time of these stirring events connected with
slavery in the United States, Mr. Labouchere penned the above words,
admitting that slavery at Hong Kong had descended to that lowest
level. Infamy instead of industry was the lot of these, engaged in the
"prosecution of their employment," through "no choice of their own."
Can we anticipate what legal measures would be asked for at Hong Kong,
and granted in London in order to relieve this horrible condition.
It seems at once obvious that the following would be some of them at
1st, A clear announcement that this slavery was prohibited by
the Queen's Anti-Slavery Proclamation of 1845, and would not be
2nd, Women who "supposed themselves to belong" to masters would be
at once told that they were free agents and belonged to no one.
3rd, The master who dared claim the ownership of a former slave
would be prosecuted and suitably punished.
4th, Any slave perishing miserably from disease would not only be
healed at public expense, but placed where there was no further
risk of contagion.
5th, Since such slaves had "an urgent claim on the _active_
protection of the Government," they would be treated as wards of
the State until safe from like treatment a second time.
6th, Since this slavery had sprung up in defiance of law, any
official who at a future time connived at such crime would be
liable to impeachment.
The Ordinance sent home for sanction, and approved of by Mr.
Labouchere as needed for the "protection" of slave women, was
proclaimed as Ordinance 12, 1857, after some slight modifi