Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/240

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of the parallel effort in England was the Christian spirit ; in France it was the enthusiasm of humanity which was associated with the revolutionary movement. There were in 1789 a number of mulattoes in Paris, who had come from San Domingo to assert the rights of the people of colour in that colony before the national assembly. The Declaration of the Rights of Man in August 1 789 seemed to meet their claims, but in March 1790 the assembly, alarmed by rumours of the discontent and disaffection of the planters in San Domingo, passed a resolution that it had not been intended to comprehend the internal government of the colonies in the constitution framed for the mother country. Vincent Oge, one of the mulatto dele- gates in Paris, disgusted at the overthrow of the hopes of his race, returned to San Domingo, and on landing in October 1790 addressed a letter to the governor announcing his intention of taking up arms on behalf of the mulattoes if their wrongs were not redressed. He rose accordingly with a few followers, but was soon defeated and forced to take refuge in the Spanish part of the island. He was after- wards surrendered, tried and sentenced to be broken on the wheel. When the news of this reached Paris, it created a strong feeling against the planters; and on the motion of the Abbe Gregoire it was resolved by the assembly on the 15th of May 1791 " that the people of colour resident in the French colonies, born of free parents, were entitled to, as of right, and should be allowed, the enjoyment of all the privileges of French citizens, and among others those of being eligible to seats both in the parochial and colonial assemblies." On the 23rd of August a rebellion of the negroes broke out in the northern province of San Domingo, and soon extended to the western province, where the mulattoes and blacks combined. Many enormities were com- mitted by the insurgents, and were avenged with scarcely inferior barbarity. The French assembly, fearing the loss of the colony, re- pealed on the 24th of September the decree of the preceding May. This vacillation put an end to all hope of a reconciliation of parties in the island. Civil commissioners sent out from France quarrelled with the governor and called the revolted negroes to their assistance. The white inhabitants of Cape Francois were massacred and the city in great part destroyed by fire. The planters now offered their allegiance to Great Britain; and an English force landed in the colony. But it was insufficient to encounter the hostility of the re- publican troops and the revolted negroes and mulattoes; it suffered from disease, and was obliged to evacuate the island in 1798. On the departure of the British the government remained in the hands of Toussaint l'Ouverture (q.v.). Slavery had disappeared; the blacks were employed as hired servants, receiving for their remuneration the third part of the crops they raised ; and the population was rapidly rising in civilization and comfort. The whole island was now French, the Spanish portion having been ceded by the treaty of Basel. The wish of Toussaint was that San Domingo should enjoy a practical independence whilst recognizing the sovereignty and exclusive commercial rights of France. The issue of the violent and treacher- ous conduct of Bonaparte towards the island was that the blacks drove from their soil the forces sent to subdue them, and founded a constitution of their own, which was more than once modified. There can be no doubt that the government of the Restoration, in seeking to obtain possession of the island, had the intention of re- establishing slavery, and even of reopening the slave trade for the purpose of recruiting the diminished population. But Bonaparte abolished that trade during the Hundred Days, though he also failed to win back the people of San Domingo, or, as it was now called by its original name, Haiti, to obedience. The Bourbons, when again restored, could not reintroduce the slave trade; the notion of conquering the island had to be given up; and its independence was formally recognized in 1825 (see Haiti).

England had not been the first European power to abolish the slave trade; that honour belongs to Denmark; a foyal order was issued on the 16th of May 1792 that the traffic TT** 8 should cease in the Danish possessions from the end of movement. J 8o2. The United States had in 1 794 forbidden any par- ticipation by American subjects in the slave trade to foreign countries; they now prohibited the importation of slaves . from Africa into their own dominions. This act was passed on the 2nd of March 1807; it did not, however, come into force till 1st January 1808. At the congress of Vienna (November 1814) the principle was acknowledged that the slave trade should be abolished as soon as possible; but the determination of the limit of time was reserved for separate negotiation between the powers. It had been provided in a treaty between France and Great Britain (May 30, 1814) that no foreigner should in future introduce slaves into the French colonies, and that the trade should be absolutely interdicted to the French themselves after the 1st of June 1819. This postponement of abolition was dictated by the wish to intro- duce a fresh stock of slaves into Haiti, if that island should be recovered. Bonaparte, as we have seen, abolished the French slave trade during his brief restoration, and this abolition was confirmed at the second peace of Paris on the 20th of November, 181 5, but it

was not effectually carried out by French legislation until March 1818. In January 1815 Portuguese subjects were prohibited from prosecuting the trade north of the equator, and the term after which the traffic should be everywhere unlawful was fixed to end on the 21st of January 1823, but was afterwards extended to February 1830; England paid £300,000 as a compensation to the Portuguese. A royal decree was issued on the 10th of December 1836 forbidding the export of slaves from any Portuguese posses- sion. But this decree was often violated. It was agreed that the Spanish slave trade should come to an end in 1820, England paying to Spain an indemnification of £400,000. The Dutch trade was closed in 1814; the Swedish had been abolished in 1813. By the peace of Ghent, December 1814, the United States and England mutually bound themselves to do all in their power to extinguish the traffic. It was at once prohibited in several of the South American states when they acquired independence, as in La Plata, Venezuela and Chile. In 1831 and 1833 Great Britain entered into an arrangement with France for a mutual right of search within certain seas, to which most of the other powers acceded; and by the Ashburton treaty (1842) with the United States provision was made for the joint maintenance of squadrons on the west coast of Africa. By all these measures the slave trade, so far as it was carried on under the flags of European nations or for the supply of their colonies, ceased to exist.

Meantime another and more radical reform had been in pre- paration and was already in progress, namely, the abolition of slavery itself in the foreign possessions of the several states of Europe. When the English slave trade had Aat,m been closed, it was found that the evils of the traffic, m0V emeat. as still continued by several other nations, were greatly aggravated. In consequence of the activity of the British cruisers the traders made great efforts to carry as many slaves as possible in every voyage, and practised atrocities to get rid of the slaves when capture was imminent. It was, besides, the interest of the cruisers, who shared the price of the captured slave-ship, rather to allow the slaves to be taken on board than to prevent their being shipped at all. Thrice as great a number of negroes as before, it was said, was exported from Africa, and two-thirds of these were murdered on the high seas. It was found also that the abolition of the British slave trade did not lead to an improved treatment of the negroes in the West Indies. The slaves were overworked now that fresh supplies were stopped, and their numbers rapidly decreased. In 1807 there were in the West Indies 800,000; in 1830 they were reduced to 700,000. It became more and more evident that the evil could be stopped only by abolishing slavery altogether.

An appeal was made by Wilberforce in 1821 to Thomas Fowell Buxton to undertake the conduct of this new question in parliament. An anti-slavery society was established in 1823, the principal members of which, besides Wilberforce and Buxton, were Zachary Macaulay, Dr Lushington and Lord Suffield. Buxton moved on the 5th of May 1823 that the House should take into con- sideration the state of slavery in the British colonies. The object he and his associates had then in view was gradual abolition by establishing something like a system of serfdom for existing slaves, and passing at the same time a measure emancipating all their children born after a certain day. Canning carried against Buxton and his friends a motion to the effect that the desired ameliorations in the condition and treatment of the slaves should be recommended by the home government to the colonial legislatures, and enforced only in case of their resistance, direct action being taken in the sjngle instance of Trinidad, which, being a crown colony, had no legislature of its own. A well-conceived series of measures of reform was accordingly proposed to the colonial authorities. Thereupon a general outcry was raised by the planters at the acquiescence of the government in the principles of the anti-slavery party. A vain attempt being made in Demerara to conceal from the knowledge of the slaves the arrival of the order in council, they became impressed with the idea that they had been set free, and accordingly refused to work, and, compulsion being resorted to, offered resistance. Martial law was proclaimed; the disturbances were repressed with great severity; and the treatment of the missionary Smith, which was taken up and handled with great ability by Brougham, awakened strong feeling in England against the planters. The question, however, made little progress in parliament for some years, though Buxton, William Smith, Lushington, Brougham, Mackintosh, Butterworth, and Denman, with the aid of Z. Macaulay, James