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DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA, TO WIT:
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the first day of (L. S.)
August, in the thirty-second year of the independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1807, Nathaniel Chapman, M. D. of the said district, hath deposited in this office, the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor in the words following, to wit:
“ SELECT SPEECHES, Forensick and Parliamentary, with prefatory remarks. By N. Chapman, M. D. honorary member of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh, and member of the American Philosophical Society, &c. &c.
Pietate gravem ac meritis si forte virum quem
Ille regit dictis animos et pectora mulcet...VIRG." In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned.” And also to the act, entitled “ An act supplementary to the act, entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
D. CALDWELL, Clerk of the District of Pennsylvania.
OF THE FIFTH VOLUME.
for the abolition to the slave trade,
SELECT SPEECHES, .
MR. WILBERFORCE’S SPEECH,
DELIVERED ON THE SECOND OF APRIL 1792, IN THE HOUSE
OF COMMONS, ON A MOTION FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE.
IT is now more than twenty years since the momen tous and deeply interesting question of the abolition of the slave trade engaged the attention of the British senate. During this time there have been repeated discussions of it, in which the most transcendant eloquence was displayed. On each occasion, some of the noblest talents that ever adorned or dignified a deliberative assembly, were exercised. The whole of the debates are eminently entitled to preservation. We must, however, limit our selection to three speeches. These are well reported, ard will be found to produce a thorough conviction, in every liberal mind, not only of the unrighteousness, but of the inexpedi. ency of this, the most cruel, detestable, and consummately wicked measure that has ever been devised by mercantile avarice or sanctioned by a sordid, nar. row, and misguided policy.
To Mr. Wilberforce much credit is due for having introduced the subject into parliament, and for prosecuting it with unwearied zeal, and persevering industry, till his ultimate success.
Early in the session of 1787, he announced his intention of bringing forward a motion relative to the slave trade. But, by ill health, which interrupted the attendance to his publick duties, he was prevented doing it for nearly two years.
During the session of 1789, he submitted to the house of commons a series of propositions, which, after reviewing the principal circumstances, illustrative of the slave trade, concluded with declaring that no considerable inconvenience would result from its discontinuance.
These propositions were cordially defended by all the leading members of the house, without regard to political distinctions. They received especially, the support of Pitt, Fox, and Burke. But, to afford an opportunity for the collection of testimony, the house refused to come to an impromptu decision upon them. No further notice was taken of the subject, before the year 1791, when Mr. Wilberforce moved “ that the trade carried on by British subjects for the purpose of obtaining slaves, on the coast of Africa, ought to be abolished.”
Notwithstanding the eloquence and influence both of the ministry and opposition were enlisted in its behalf, the motion was lost by a majority of seventyfive yotes.
But the unfavourable issue of this contest served only to invigorate the resolution of the friends of humanity who, now swore an eternal fidelity to their cause, and pledged themselves to an unshaken constancy of exertion in its service.
When, therefore, the discussion of the subject was renewed the succeeding session, there was such a blaze of eloquence from the advocates of abolition as, perhaps, never before had been witnessed in the house of commons. The speeches of Mr. Wilberforce Mr. Fox, and particularly that of Mr. Pitt, observes a contemporary writer, are still remembered by the spectators of this scene with the liveliest emotions of intellectual pleasure. So irresistible was the eloquence of Mr. Pitt, that it was imagined the question would be carried by acclamation. The speech, indeed, had great effect, On a division of the house, there were only a comparatively small number of votes against the total abolition. But a majority were in favour of an amendment to the resolution, making the abolition gradual, instead of immediate.