Lord Brougham on American slavery.
The Abolitionists of Boston
, it seems, invited Lord Brougham to be present at their Convention held in December last.
Lord Brougham answered the invitation as follows:
"Brougham, Tuesday, Nov. 20.
--I feel honored by the invitation to attend the Boston Convention, and to give my opinion upon the question--‘"How can American slavery be abolished?"’ I consider the application is made to me as conceiving me to represent the anti-slavery body in this country; and I believe that I speak their sentiments, as well as my own, in expressing the widest difference of opinion with you upon the merits of those who promoted the Harper's Ferry
Expedition, and upon the fate of those who suffered for their conduct in it. No one will doubt my earnest desire to see slavery extinguished; but that desire can only be gratified by lawful means — a strict regard to the rights of property, or what the law declares to be property, and a constant repugnance to the shedding of blood.
No man can be considered a martyr unless he not only suffers, but is witness to the truth; and he does not bear this testimony who seeks a lawful object by illegal means.--Any other course taken for the abolition of slavery can only delay the consummation we so devoutly wish, besides exposing the community to the hazard of an insurrection, perhaps less hurtful to the master than the slave.
When the British
emancipation was finally carried it was accomplished by steps, and five years elapsed between the commencement of the measure in 1833 and its completion in 1838.
‘"The declaration of the law which pronounced a slave free as soon as he touched British ground (erroneously ascribed to the English Courts
under Lord Mansfield, but really made by the judges in Scotland
) may seem to be inconsistent with the principle, now laid down.
But I am bound to express my doubts if such a decision would have been given had Jamaica
touched upon the coasts of this country.
It is certain the judges did not intend to declare that all property in slaves should instantly cease, and yet such would have been the inevitable effect of their judgment in the case supposed, which somewhat resembles that of America
It is needless, perhaps, to say that the ‘"John Brown
sympathizers,"’ on receiving this snubbing, quietly pocketed the affront, and that the letter has first been made public in the London Times.