LIMBS AND LIVES
It is the pride of Britain that a slave cannot exist on her soil; and if I
read the genius of her constitution aright, I find that slavery is most
abhorrent to it—that the air which Britons breathe is free—the
ground on which they tread is sacred to liberty.'
—Rev. R. W. Hamilton's Speech at the Meeting held in the Cloth-hall
Yard, Sept. 22nd, 1830.
Gentlemen,—No heart responded with truer accents to the sounds of liberty which were heard in the Leeds Cloth-hall yard, on the 22nd instant, than did mine, and from none could more sincere and earnest prayers arise to the throne of Heaven, that hereafter slavery might only be known to Britain in the pages of her history. One shade alone obscured my pleasure, arising not from any difference in principle, but from the want of application of the general principle to the whole empire. The pious and able champions of negro liberty and colonial rights should, if I mistake not, have gone farther than they did; or perhaps, to speak more correctly, before they had travelled so far as the West Indies, should, at least for a few moments, have sojourned in our own
Originally printed in Leeds Mercury (September 29, 1830). Reprinted in The History of the
Factory Movement. Vol. I. London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., 1857.