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of their deliberations on this para- found an institution, on a central mount question cannot be viewed point of the coast of Africa, in the without feelings of deep humiliation formation of which all Christian states and regret. The discussions were should take part, and which,“ declaropened by Lord Castlereagh, who ed for ever neutral and estranged from explained the existing state of the all political and local interests,” trade, and announced his intention should be specially charged with the of submitting, on a future day, two execution of the law. The memoir propositions, the first containing an of the French Government also proappeal to the King of Portugal, urg- fesses much, and ends by proposing ing him to give effect to the declara- to do nothing; and with regard to the tion of the Congress at Vienna in right of mutual search recognised 1815, by consenting, as Spain had between great Britain, Spain, Portudone, to the final abolition on the gal, and the Netherlands, it declares, 30th of May 1820, and the second that the “ dangers which peculiar. allowing a right of mutual visit, ly attach to their situation, prevent as already adopted by Great Bri- them from acceding to that measure, tain, Spain, and the Netherlands. the only conceivable one, be it reThe latter of these propositions marked, by which this most nefarious was heard with extreme jealousy traffic can ever be effectually checkby the Duc de Richelieu, the ed or destroyed. With respect to French Minister; while the for the Austrian and Prussian Cabinets, mer was unanimously adopted ; with we cannot conceive what possible this modification, however, that the right or title they had to interfere, period of abolition should in no case or to be consulted, in this great and extend beyond 1823. In reference important concernment.
Without to the second point, Lord Castle- colonies, without naval force, withreagh communicated to the Con- . out the possibility of their own subgress the memorandum which he jects being in any degree benefited had furnished to the Duc de Riche. by the slave trade, or their interests lieu at his own request ; adding, that impaired by its abolition, it may in the opinion of several persons of fairly be considered as one of the great weight and authority, nothing least explicable enigmas of diploless than declaring the slave trademacy, that these powers were sufferPiracy, and punishable as such by ed, in any degree, to interrupt the international law, by the unanimous proceedings on a measure which the accession of the maritime powers, increasing lights of the age will would ever prove in any degree ef- sooner or later rendered imperative fectual in repressing the “ scourge on every government, and which that had desolated Africa, degraded they laboured to obstruct in its Europe, and afflicted humanity." progress towards completion, solely
In consequence of these proceed- from a jealousy of British naval ings, notes were received from the ascendancy. It is scarcely posPlenipotentiaries of Russia, Prussia, sible, indeed, to be grave when perAustria, and France. That of Rus, using the lecture of the Prussian sia, in particular, while it professes Plenipotentiaries against “ the into pronounce as a fundamental prin. separable inconveniences of the conciple, a law characterising this odious cession of a right of search exercised traffic as a description of piracy, and on the high seas.” A power not punishable as such, proposes to possessed of a ship of war above the
dimensions of a thirty-gun frigate, to the principle of abolition, rendered and few indeed even of this size, by the respective Plenipotentiaries might have been supposed less jea- in their notes in reply to Lord Castlelous of the exercise of such a right, reagh's communication, they remark, especially when Britain, the greatest that “ it has been the fate of this naval power on earth, had consented question, in every stage of its proto allow the exercise in the case of gress, to have difficulties represent her own vessels, by the cruisers of ed as insurmountable, which is a little Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. tim have yielded to perseverance, With regard to the clumsy machi- and to the matured impulses of hunery of a general association, found- manity ;” that “ every nation, one ed, as was stated, on the primitive excepted, has renounced this pollu. principles of Christianity, and grave. tion;" and that even the King of ly proposed by the Russian Cabi- Portugal had taken steps to deliver pet, it appears to be a
his people, in no very long time, or device better fitted for a place from a practice which must degrade in one of Kotzebue's German no- them in the scale of enlightened policy, vels, than to form part of the re- so long as it shall continue to be tocorded proceedings of a congress lerated amongst them.” With reof the greatest Sovereigns in the gard to the proposal of Russia, they world. Even if an institution, to doubt “the practicability of so novel be composed of such incongruous and and complicated a system,” and dejarring materials, could have been clare, that nothing but raising slave. fairly established and set in opera- dealing to the standard of piracy in tion, it is obvious, even if there were the criminal codes of all civilized nano other objection, that it would fall tions, and branding slave-traders as to pieces the instant war broke out a- “ hostes humani generis," could mong any of the high contracting prove effectual in extirpating a trafpowers; while it is difficult, if not fic, which cries to Heaven for venimpossible, to conceive how such an geance against all those who openly institution could have ever been patronise, or secretly tolerate it. made conducive to the attainment 'They state that the simplest mea. of an object which reason, religion, sures are sure to prove the most ef
. bumanity, and enlightened policy a- fectual, and ask why Russia, Austria, like unite to recommend.
and Prussia should postpone to an That this was the view taken by indefinite period the final abolition, the British diplomatists, is manifest seeing even Portugal had conceded from the slightest inspection of their the right of visit north of the equaable and masterly reply to the notes tor, “ where the abolition has now given in by the Plenipotentiaries of been completed, as well by herself, as The other powers. After expressing, by Spain and all the other powers ?" in strong terms, their disappointment with regard to the qualified right of that the disinterested and humane mutual search, “ as if there were purposes of the British Government some moral incompetency in the had been frustrated by the course French nation to conform themselves adopted by the other cabinets, not- to the measure," they state the unwithstanding the solemn declaration answerable argument, that “the Briand pledge unanimously given at tish people, so sensitively alive as Vienna in 1815, and stating that they they are known to be to every cir
. derive consolation from the homage cumstance that might impede their
commercial pursuits, or expose the of commissioners to carry into effect national flag to an unusual interfe. the conventions with the above rence, have betrayed no apprehension powers, dated respectively the 28th on the subject, and that not a single of July, 23d of September 1817, and remonstrance has been heard against the 4th of May 1818; and copies of it!” And in conclusion they approve all instructions, with their respective of the intended introduction into the dates, to his Majesty's ships sent to French colonies of a registry of slaves, the coast of Africa, since these con. and declare their unalterable convic- ventions were concluded. tion, “ that until all the principal Notwithstanding the treaty enpowers consent to have as against the tered into between Governor Far- illicit slave-trader, AT LEAST ON THE quhar and the King of Ovas, it ap
COAST OF AFRICA, but one common pears by recent letters from the Isle . flag, and co-operating force, they will of France, that the slave trade is still not have gone to the full extent of their carried on with the island of Madameans to effectuate their purpose, in gascar. Many hundred slaves have conformity to their declarations at Vien. been imported since the signature of na!” Thus ended the conferences at the treaty; and after all that has been Aix-la-Chapelle respecting the more done by the governor, there is reaeffectual abolition of the slave trade; son to fear, that, amongst the Euroand thus have the hopes of the friends peans settled in that quarter of the of humanity been cruelly disappoint- world, there exists no sincere or ed by a conclave of Sovereigns and hearty disposition to discourage such Ministers, who, with every human importations. On the contrary, a means to consummate this glorious determined hostility is invariably moral triumph, have failed to conse- shown to every measure, the object of crate the pacification of Europe by which is to prevent this enormous an act for which the wise and good evil. Of three of these traffickers of all after-times would have cherish. in human beings a salutary example ed their names in everlasting remem. has recently been made. Four indibrance.
viduals were brought from the MauA variety of communications have ritius, charged with the crime of been received by the directors of this trading in slaves ; but the Grand institution, representing the vast in- Jury found a true bill only against crease of the slave trade, and the three, Phillippe Caday alias Philievils arising from delay in issuing in- bert, Joseph Amand Tregrosse, and structions to the vessels of war upon Louis Amand Clerausac, who were the different stations, in terms of the accordingly tried, convicted, and sencommissions under the conventions tenced to three years' imprisonment, with Portugal, Spain, and the Nether- and to be kept to hard labour. This lands. By a letter from Africa so late is the most lenient sentence allowed as December last, it appears that Sir by Mr Brougham's act. George Collier, the naval command- In the neighbourhood of the French er on the coast, had then received settlements of Senegal and Goree, the po instructions as to the measures to trade has been carried on with pebe adopted in pursuance of these culiar and increasing activity ; and conventions. Motions were accord. many persons both in France and ingly made, and agreed to without Senegal have been proved to be conopposition, in both Houses of Par. cerned in this nefarious commerce. liament, for copies of all appointments A gentleman recently arrived in this YOL, XII. PART II.
country from Senegal where he had mandant of St Mary's, a British set. resided as a merchant ever since the tlement at the mouth of the Gambit. colony was transferred to France (in for anchoring in the road there, win 1817,) states that two French vessels, slaves on board, and ordered for as one belonging to Senegal and the other judication to Sierra Leone ; but the to Bourdeaux, took in cargoes of slaves Sophie, after having left St Mary's, at that place, and crossed the bar in was actually met off the mouth of the presence of three French men of war Gambia by a French schooner, which and a brig. He also states as his be captured and carried her, together lief, and as the general opinion, “ that with the British officer and crew, to the officers of the Administration were Senegal, where they were detaiod interested in every cargo of slaves for some time, and then, with the es. shipped off from Senegal ; and the ception of one of the crew, sent back Captain of the Postilion, which had to St Mary's. A considerable slave been detained, assured him, that trade is also carrying on at Aliredrà his detention was owing to his not and other places on the river Gass. having purchased any part of his bia. The slave trade carried on by slaves from the Government officers!” Spain and Portugal appears, in its It appears also, that a cutter named increase, to have kept pace with tha: La Sophie, belonging to St Louis, of France Senegal, was detained by the com. Accounts have been received from
• Information of a date subsequent to that from which the above outline has been car piled, not merely corroborates the statements we have given, but proves that the slave trade carried on by France, Spain, and Portugal, but especially the first of these porers, has incres sed to an extent altogether unparalleled, and been attended with atrocities and borrors the reci tal of which is shocking to humanity. Although it may be considered a species of anachra nism, we cannot refrain from giving one extract illustrative of this melancholy fact. It á copied from a French medical work, (Bibliothéque Ophtalmologique, ou Récueil d'Obserratisu sur les Maladies des Yeur, &c.) and exemplifies some of the worst horrors which attend the middle passage.
“ The ship Le Rodeur, Captain Boucher, left Havre on the 24th of January 1819 for the coast of Africa, and reached her destination the 4th of March following, anches ing at Bonny in the Calabar. The crew, consisting of 22 men, enjoyed good health during the outward voyage and during their stay at Bonny, where they continued till the 6th April. They had observed no trace of ophthalmia amongst the natives; and it was not s til 15 days after they had set sail on the return voyage, and the vessel was near the equat, that they perceived the first symptoms of this frightful malady. It was then remarked that the negroes, who, to the number of 160, were crowded together in the bold and between the decks, had contracted a considerable redness of the eyes, which spread with singular rapidity. No great attention was at first paid to these symptoms, which were thought to be caused ly by the want of air in the hold, and by the scarcity of water, which had already begun to be felt. All this time they were limited to eight ounces of water a-day for each person, sbid quantity was afterwards reduced to the half of a wine glass. By the advice of Maignar, the surgeon of the ship, the negroes, who had hitherto remained shut up in the hold, were brought upon deck in succession, in order that they might breathe a purer air. But it became pas sary to abandon this expedient, because many of those negroes, affected with nostalgia, (i es passionate desire to revisit their native land,) threw themselves in the sea, locked in each other's
The first of the crew who caught the infection was a sailor who slept under the dent, near the grated hatch which communicated with the hold. The next day a landsman tas seized with ophthalmia; and in three days more the Captain and almost the whole of the cres were infected by it. The number of the blind augmented every day, and they were seized with the farther dread of not being able to make the West Indies, if the only sailor who had hitherto escaped the contagion, and on whom their sole hope rested, should become blind like the rest. This calamity had actually befallen the Leon, a Spanish vessel, which the Rodeur met with on her passage, and the whole crew of which, having become blind, were under the necessity of altogether abandoning the direction of the ship. (The Leon has not since been
Major Gray, who succeeded the un. The funds of the institution are in fortunate Major Peddie in the com- a very low state, the nett receipts of mand of the expedition into the in. the last last year hardly exceeding a terior of Africa. From the unfriend- thousand pounds. This is as truly ly disposition of the natives, and the lamentable as it is unaccountable. want of merchandise, he was com- Surely public benevolence is flowpelled, after having arrived in the ing in an improper channel. The innegro kingdom of Bondou, to retrace come of the British and Foreign Bihis steps to Bakel on the Senegal. ble Society for the same year was There he meant to wait for intellic within little of a hundred thousand gence from the chief surgeon of the pounds. Might not a portion of this expedition, who had been sent for- enormous revenue be appropriately ward to Sego to solicit the protection and beneficently employed in pro. of the King of Bambarra ; and we moting the paramount cause of learn from subsequent accounts that African civilization and improvethe surgeon had returned from Sego, ment? and that Major Gray had received from Senegal the merchandise of which he was so much in want.
heard of, and in all probability was lost.) They entreated the charitable interference of the Rodeur ; but the seamen of this vessel could neither quit her to go on board the Leon on account of the cargo of negroes, nor receive the crew of the Leon on board the Rodeur, in which there was hardly room for themselves. The Rodeur reached Guadaloupe on the 21st of June 1819, her crew being in a most deplorable condition. Three days after her arrival, the only man who during the voyage had withstood the influence of the contagion, was seized with the same malady. Of the negroes 39 had become perfectly blind, 12 had lost an eye, and 14 were affected with blemishes more or less considerable. Of the crew 12 lost their sight entirely, among whom was the surgeon ; 5 became blind of one eye, one of them being the chaplain; and 4 were partially injured. Such is the account of the voyage of the Rodeur, as given by M. Guillie, in the medical work above referred to. But in this account one of the most horrià circumstances connected with the transaction is wholly omitted; namely, that the slaves who became blind were thrown into the sea, as they would have brought no return in the West Indies, and as ground would thus be laid for a claim on the underwriters, by whom the cargo had been insured. This additional fact we learn from the petition of M. Morenas to the Chamber of Deputies. When the circumstances of this case became known, a representation was made to the French Government, which, however, was so little attended to, that, in the interim, the one-eyed wretch, Boucher, was once more employed as master of a vessel fitted out on a new adventure to the coast of Africa ; but of his subsequent fate no intelligence has reached us. To the conduct of the Allies in general, and the French Government in particular, we would beg to oppose that of the Arab tribes in the neighbourhood of the Persian Gulf, with whom Captain Thomson some time ago concluded a treaty, in which he procured the insertion of the following article, viz. : “ The carrying off slaves, men, women, or children, from the coasts of Africa, or elsewhere, and the transporting them in vessels, is plunder and piracy, and the friendly Arabs shall do nothing of this nature.” It is sometbing remarkable, that the principle proposed by Lord Castlereagh, in his note to the Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle, and which all his influence could not procure that august body to receive as part of interational law, should have been first recognised as such by the Barbarian and Nomadic Tribes that inhabit the Borders of the Persian Gulf!!