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Immediate Emancipation

Excerpt from Immediate Emancipation: The Speech of Lord Brougham in the the House of Lords, on Tuesday, February 20th, 1838, on Slavery and the Slave-Trade I do not think, my lords, that on any other occasion but one, in the whole course of my parliamentary life, I have ever risen, in either house, with so much anxiety as that with which I now present myself to your lordships' notice. The occasion on which alone I ever experienced a similar feeling, was that on which I brought under the consideration of the House of Commons the conduct pursued in our West India Islands towards those of our unhappy brethren who were there in a state of slavery and suffering. On that occasion, I felt that on the result of the great debate in which the House of Commons then engaged, depended, not only the interests of the unfortunate negro race then existing in the West Indies, but the ultimate fate of the whole of that race in future time. But I have something now to maintain my spirits, my lords, which I did not enjoy at the period to which I have just alluded. For, whereas then the sky was dark around me, whereas then there was scarcely a ray of hope to cheer me, whereas every thing combined to inspire fear and dismay, we are now happily arrived at such a point in the discussion of this most important affair as to throw a bright light over the path on which we are about to enter, and to warrant us in entertaining the expectation of an almost immediate and most satisfactory result of our labours. I attribute much of this to the debate to which I have just alluded. I must add, my lords, that I shall feel gratified beyond measure, if, through my means, the House of Lords should be recommended to the favourable feelings of the country by leading the way to a safe, practical, but glorious settlement of a question in which the country feels so deep an interest. My lords, if your lordships already enjoy the favourable opinion of the country, depend upon it that that opinion will be maintained and increased by the adoption of this course; and if, on the other hand, your lordships should unhappily, by any accidental differences of opinion, find yourselves in a situation in which you have any part of the favourable opinion of the country to recover, I know no surer, no more speedy mode by which that desirable object may be accomplished. But, my lords, I do not rest my case and my appeal to your lordships on this ground. I claim your concurrence in my motion from your justice; I claim it from your reason; I claim it from your consciences; I claim it from your duty to God and man; I claim it from a due consideration to your own consistency. Follow up in 1838 the wise and Christian principles which you asserted in 1888; that is all that I require of you. My lords, I will rush at one into the midst of this argument. I will delay no longer on the outskirts of the ground.1 will not waste another moment in prefatory matter. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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