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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
William Roscoe to William Shepherd, [February? 1807]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“You will, I am sure, rejoice with me most truly, on the triumphant manner in which the question on the slave trade has been carried through both Houses of Parliament; and you will also feel an additional gratification, that I have had an opportunity of speaking my sentiments publicly on the subject.

“It required, I assure you, no small share of resolution to seize the proper moment to obtrude myself on the House, and to persevere against several competitors, all of them eager to distinguish themselves on the occasion. Mr. Fawkes, member for Yorkshire, and I, were equally unwilling to give way, till the Speaker restored order, and decided in my favour. What I had
to say, was well premeditated, but had not been written. I delivered it with tolerable clearness, and, I believe, without embarrassment, but not with sufficient energy. I should tell you, that before the debate began, the Speaker called to me, as I was passing near him, and gave me, in very kind terms, the same advice which you had done; viz. to take my station at about two thirds of the House distant from him, that, in addressing him, I might be well heard. This I complied with, and found efficient I have reason to think that, upon the whole, my speech gave satisfaction, as both
Mr. Wilberforce and Mr. Whitbread expressed themselves in particular terms to me to that effect. But what pleases me more is the idea, that by speaking so soon in the debate, and standing in the capacity of member for Liverpool, I may have contributed in some degree to that decision of sentiment which the House manifested in the result. My friend, Richard Sharp, who sat by me, says my vote was worth twenty. But it will be enough for me, if I can persuade myself that I have contributed in any degree to the success of such a cause.

“I afterwards, with the assistance of my son Edward, committed my speech to paper, which he took down with him, and which you have perhaps seen. I have since recollected some omissions, but it will give you a sufficient idea of it.


“We had a long debate on the same subject on Friday, and shall have another on Wednesday next. Wyndham has avowed his determination to oppose the measure; Lord Howick, and it is said Sheridan, will defend it. There are so many persons who have not yet spoken, that I shall not attempt it again, unless I feel myself called on to explain.

“On the whole, I find the attendance on the House of Commons, particularly whilst the election committees are sitting, a very arduous service. There are great difficulties to be surmounted, and it requires a degree of courage and of caution, not often united, to secure the favourable judgment of the House. Although I have spoken twice, my anxiety on this head is very little relieved, and I have reason to suspect that I partake this anxiety in common with many of those who have been much more accustomed to the House. I mean, however, to attempt it again when a proper opportunity occurs, being resolved that if there be any talent, it shall not, in times like the present, be buried in a napkin.”