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Not until the memory of men now living did the sceptre decisively pass from the agricultural dominion, and slavery was not doubtful until that sceptre began to waver.
In 1713 the twelve judges of England, headed by Chief-Justice Holt, replied to the crown: In pursuance of his Majesty's order in council, hereunto annexed, we do humbly certify your opinion to be that negroes are merchandise.
During the whole of the eighteenth century England reserved to herself by the treaty of Utrecht the monopoly of importing negroes to all the Spanish colonies—that is to say, to nearly all South America.
The fact is noted by the annotator of Talleyrand's Memoirs that when the English colonies had a proportion of twenty blacks to one white it occurred to them to be indignant at the immorality of the traffic.
The declaration that the slave-trade was repugnant to universal morals was signed by the European powers for the first time at the Congress of Vienna, and not then by Portugal or