CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Saturday, May 22, 1830
Vol 3 No 5
Page 2 Col. 4b-5a
We copy the following extracts from the speeches of Mr. Peel and Mr. Brougham, in the British Parliament, in order that our readers many know the opinion which is entertained of justice of the Laws of Georgia, in other countries.--Poug. Int.
On the 23rd of February, Lord John Russel brought forward his motion to allow Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds to send each two Members to Parliament. Mr. H. Twiss, and Mr. Peel opposed the measure; the latter gentleman spoke to the following effect:-
When the subject of Universal Suffrage occured (sic) to his mind, he could not help being struck with a question put to him last night, by the Hon. Member for Clare, relative to a state in another country, which had the advantage of Universal Suffrage in its full extent. He begged to be understood that he had great respect for America and for its institutions, and it was not from any desire to raise a prejudice or draw invidious distinctions against any one of its States that he now made a comparison between its representation and that of England.- He was asked whether, in the state of Georgia, certain measures had not been adopted on the subject of quarantine, and he (Mr. P.) could not help reflecting, at the time, that the enactment referred to, was made in a land, and passed in an assembly elected by universal suffrage.- (Cries of "No,no.") His meaning was that every free man had a right to vote at the election of a Representative, and that entitled him to say that the assembly was elected by universal suffrage. In alluding to the subject he was willing to make allowance for the feeling which must prevail in a country where slavery was established; but still he did not think that if the same state of circumstances existed in any place for which a British House of Commons was to legislate, that such a law would have been suffered to pass. He found it enacted in that State, that if any slave or free person of colour (sic) should circulate or bring into circulation any written or printed paper inciting the slaves to insubordination against their masters, he should be punished with death. The second enactment was still more painful, and by that it was provided, that if any slave or free person of colour (sic) should teach a slave to read or write, the same would be punished by whipping, by a fine of $500, and imprisonment in the common gaol. Now making every allowance for the influence of those feelings which arise from the possession of slaves, still he was convinced that the British House of Commons though neither elected on the principles of annual Parliaments nor of universal suffrage, would long pause before it could be induced to make such an Act, if it had the power to do so, for Jamaica, or any of its West India Islands.
Mr. BROUGHAM said the Right Hon. Secretary had referred to an act of the legislature of Georgia. Holding in the highest respect and esteem his brethren in America he deeply lamented that there should exist, on the statute book of one of the states of the Union, so disgraceful a set of regulations as those which had been mentioned; but that they proved anything, whatever, against parliamentary reform he utterly denied. It was because the black people of Georgia had not only no power to be chosen to the Legislature, but had not amongst them, one single voice in the choice of the Legislature- it was for this reason, and this reason alone, that the page blackened in our sight, and that we condemned the Legislature of Georgia. What was the horrible- what was the unspeakable iniquity of the Legislature of which we complained? It was, that they had enacted the most cruel capricious, and unjust penalties-against whom? Against themselves.- their constituents- the men whom they represented? No such thing-but against the men whom they did not represent- against the men, not one of whom they would allow ever to raise his voice, even to a whisper, upon any one public measure, but least of all upon that public measure which alone made the case applicable to the present inquiry.