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The demand for a Second Edition of this little Pamphlet gives the Author an opportunity of adding, in a few pages, commencing at p. 42, a Summary of the arguments against the Right of Search which have struck him as the most forcible or the most plausible, together with the brief answer, or refutation, according to his humble judgment, which they obviously admit of.
London, Feb. 1843.
THE RIGHT OF SEARCH.
It is impossible to overrate the importance of this subject, whether with reference to the permanent peace of Europe, or to the general interests of humanity. If our French neighbours are really desirous to dissolve the amicable relations between their country and ours, it must be confessed that they have succeeded in starting a subject likely, above all others, to effect their aim. In the whole range of international questions, there is none other, in my judgment, upon which public feeling in this country might become so tenderly sensitive, that no government would venture to make the slightest sacrifice of principle, even if disposed to make concessions, for the sake of maintaining peace. French journalists and Senators, too, may abuse us as they please ; there is a deep and disinterested horror of slavery pervading the whole people of Great Britain, which is paramount to every other feeling of a public nature. The country would act as one man, in risking its very existence and braving the horrors of war, rather than tolerate any revival of the nefarious traffic in human beings. We are not blind to the fact, that this feeling is of modern growth ; that within thirty or forty years we have heard our statesmen openly defend the infamy. It may make an Englishman blush to remember this humiliating truth, but it only serves to prove the intensity of the feeling that has become, in so short a space, deep-rooted and universal as this is now--I speak of the present feeling in this country. To be sure, it may for one purpose be useful for Englishmen to recollect the rapid growth of this detestation of slavery among
ourselves; for if the abomination be still tolerated in other countries, our surprise and indignation may be mitigated by the reflection.
Honour to those nations that preceded us in this most holy war! We are but too proud to acknowledge that, long before we entered the field, America herself dealt an early blow against the slave trade.*
It was in 1811 that Lord Brougham (and it may be called one of the greatest of the many great services that eminent man has rendered to his country) carried through Parliament the Act which first made slave trading by Englishmen a crime;t whereas, on the 1st of January, in the year 1808, it became unlawful to import slaves into the United States; and on the 1st of March 1819, a law was actually passed by Congress, punishing the importation of slaves with death. Denmark was, to her great honour, before both these countries in declaring war against the slave trade. I mention, as an Englishman, these facts without hesitation; because, although we may now be considered as holding the foremost place among the advocates of abolition, we have no desire to deny merit where it is justly due to others, or to assume any, where it is not properly our own. Tardy, however, as the feeling was in taking root in this country, the quickness of its growth has made ample amends; and if stability may be predicated of any public feeling, this is assuredly beyond the chance of change.
These statements are not made in any unworthy spirit of defiance, nor with the remotest hope of inducing the angry journalists of Paris to qualify the bitterness of their tone and temper towards this country. The excessive blindness of their rancour,—the utter absurdity of the charges with which their papers abound against this country,- the very epithets of hate and contumely that seem unconsciously to slip from the
* The American Congress, in 1776, passed a resolution against the importation of slaves from Africa.—Wheaton, p. 12.
+ Hans. 59. 1198.
pen whenever they write the name of England; these things show that it is not to their reason arguments must be addressed. They have other objects in view, which no arguments of this nature can affect, and future events may teach them what cool reasoning can never hope to do.
There is, however, a powerful and estimable class of men in France, too enlightened to entertain this petty jealousy against England, too deeply interested in the preservation of peace, to risk its blessings for the gratification of prejudice, and too sensible of the duties of humanity to sully a great cause by an admixture of base and unworthy considerations. To such as these the following pages are addressed, in the humble hope of convincing them, first, that the motives of Great Britain have been unjustly impugned ; secondly, that the conduct of France upon the question of the “ Droit de Visite” has been not as blameless as would become that great country; and lastly, that nothing in the way of justification for the conduct she has pursued can be deduced from the example of the United States of America. This latter branch of the subject is probably the most important, and as it seems to carry with it most weight with people who do not take the trouble to investigate it, I will reverse the order of my statements, and commence with this part of the inquiry.
Our French neighbours either are sadly uninformed as to the real history and bearings of this question, the fruitful source of bad feeling between England and the United States, or else they dishonestly pervert the plain purport of the argument. It would seem to require not a tithe of the talent and general knowledge employed upon the French journals to discover that the argument, all-powerful with reference to America, has no force at all in the question between France and England. Whilst, however, we reprobate this injustice and asperity in others, we must lament to see insinuations of selfishness and