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121100 121100_1
(PEEL, Sir Robert.) BROUGHAM, Henry, Lord.

Lord Brougham's Speech in the House of Lords, on Tuesday, the 20th of February, 1838, for the Immediate Emancipation of the Negro Apprentices.

Availability: In stock

Published: London James Ridgway and Sons, 1838

Stock Code: 121100

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition, one of 20 quarto copies presumably printed for presentation, from the library of Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, with his bookplate and signature. Considering their proximity and active participation in the same parliamentary debates on the subject, as well as the small print run, it is highly probable that this was a presentation copy given to Peel by the author. They corresponded throughout the 1840s and 1850s and many of their letters to each other are housed in the National Archives.
This is Lord Brougham's eloquent indictment of the apprenticeship system in the British Colonies, delivered on 20 February 1838, which highlighted the abuse of the system, particularly as it was operating in Jamaica, and strove to regulate working hours and extend the protective jurisdiction of the colonies' special magistrates and governors. "On 28 August 1833, the Abolition of Slavery Bill, which had been passed by the British parliament, received the royal assent and became law It provided that slavery, as a legal status, would cease to exist throughout the British colonial empire on 1 August 1834 and that slave children under the age of six at that time would be immediately freed. As for the other ex-slaves, for them a new institution would be createdapprenticeship. They were to be registered as apprenticed labourers for a period of four years in the case of domestic servants and six years in that of field hands and slave-owners would be compensated for their losses by a grant of twenty million pounds" (Gross, p. 560). Led by Brougham, abolitionist pressure, however, accelerated the timetable and Brougham pushed for a more immediate end date, proposing to amend the Abolition Act by substituting 1 August 1838 for 1 August 1840. Although Peel presented seven petitions in favour of the abolition of the apprenticeship system in March 1838, during his speech on 28 May he argued in the House of Lords that it would be imprudent to terminate it abruptly, which he believed might make it impossible to properly compensate planters for their loss. The colonial assemblies chose to end apprenticeship themselves, and the system was effectively abolished later that year.

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Quarto (275 x 211 mm), pp. [VI], 50. Near contemporary blue half calf, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, marbled paper boards, brown endpapers, edges sprinkled red.


With the armorial bookplate of Sir Robert Peel, Drayton Manor to front pastedown and his signature to the title page. A few neat ink corrections made to the Latin excerpt on page 43. Extremities lightly rubbed, corners bruised, slight offset from oxidised bookplate, small tear to gutter of title page without loss, internally good with a little foxing, overall a bright, fresh copy.


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