Page images

for some time past carried on under the protection of the French Imperial flag, and to which, I regret to say, the small legitimate commerce of the east coast of Africa is again rapidly yielding.

The manner in which the traffic is conducted by French subjects is so clearly shown in the inclosures that further comment is unnecessary.

I feel confident that if foreign Governments did not allow their flags to be tarnished by this disgraceful traffic in human flesh, a stop would soon be put to the Slave Trade by Her Majesty's cruizers employed upon that service. The Secretary to the Admiralty.

I have, &c.


(Inclosure 1.-Captain De Horsey to Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker. Brisk, Pomony Harbour, July 26, 1861.


I HAVE the honour to report for your information that on the 22nd instant I gave chase to a dhow, which presently hoisted French colours.

Having come up with her I dropped a boat alongside, and the officer, having obtained permission, went on board the dhow to make inquiries about a French dhow said to have been wrecked on the coast of Mohilla.

The report of the boarding officer (Lieutenaut Adeane) was as follows:-Name of vessel, Dzonmoque; owner, A. N. Bowicier, of Mayotte; colours, French; tonnage, about 30 tons; from Mohilla, bound to Mayotte; cargoes, 93 negroes; with 3 white men on board, one of whom was M. Colow, lately Chief of the Police at Mayotte, and correct papers duly signed by the CommandantSupérieur (Governor of Mayotte).

Of the identity of the French Chief of Police, and that the cargo consisted of pure African negroes, not Comoro Islanders, there can be no doubt whatever, as Her Majesty's Consul, who happened to be on board the Brisk, went on board, in addition to the boarding officer, and recognized and spoke to the person referred to, M. Colow.

One of the principal men of Johanna, by name Lidi Drayman, also went on board as interpreter, and certifies, as well as Her Majesty's Consul, to the fact of their being simply African negroes.

The boarding officer, by my orders, clearly explained the reason which induced me to visit the dhow, and that it was in no wise to be interpreted as an exercise of authority.

It was at first my intention to accompany the slave-dhow to Mayotte, and there to lay the facts before the Commandant-Supérieur, so that he could not pretend ignorance of the Slave Trade being carried on under his authority; but, on mature consideration, I desisted from doing so, in order to prevent him from construing

my proceeding into an act of interference with a vessel sailing under the French flag.

I have the honour to lay the facts thus fully before your notice, because I can hardly think that the Imperial Government of France would, if officially informed, suffer this unnatural traffic to be per. sisted in, and not only connived at, but under the very authority of the Governor of Mayotte and its dependencies.

These negroes that are constantly being imported to Mayotte are, every one is well aware, not called slaves, but engagés; but I need not point out that this Slave Trade in dhows is of the worst kind, for the sufferings that the poor creatures undergo from scarcity of water and provisions in dhows during calm weather are very great.

Of the way in which this traffic is carried on there is little or no doubt. The French have agents at Comoro and Mohilla who induce Arabs and Johanna men to bring slaves across from the coast at their own risk; they are then transshipped into vessels or dhows under French authority, and openly carried to Mayotte as engagés from the Comoro Islands.

One would think that these facts require only to be made known to the French Imperial Government for the traffic to be stopped, and yet it has continued with impunity for two years and more.

Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker.


I have, &c.


(Inclosure 2.)-Lieutenant McHardy to Captain De Horsey. Penguin, Johanna Roads, June 13, 1861. I HAVE the honour to inform you that, in consequence of information received from Mr. Sunley, Her Majesty's Consul, having obtained permission from the King of the Island, I sent Lieutenant Buckle to inspect the papers of a dhow at anchor in the roads, with French colours, but suspected of having no French papers. I inclose a copy of Lieutenant Buckle's report.

Captain De Horsey.


I have, &c.


(Inclosure 3.-Lieutenant Buckle to Lieutenant McHardy. Penguin, Johanna Roads, June 12, 1861. ACCORDING to your instructions, I communicated to the King of Johanna your suspicions respecting the dhow at anchor in these roads. The King immediately sent for her master (an Arab), and on his arrival requested me to visit the dhow in his company and satisfy myself that he was entitled to the protection of the French flag, which I did. The master willingly produced his papers, an inspection

of which satisfied me that he was entitled to the protection of the French flag, therefore I offered to make a note on his paper of my visit, but he did not wish it, and I again landed him, he not being in the least offended at my requiring his papers.

Lieutenant Me Hardy.

I have, &c.


(Inclosure 4.)-Dr. Livingstone to Sir G. Grey.

(Extract.) April 4, 1861. You remember when every Cape paper contained the great word Mazeppa. From flaring in print she has come down to carrying slaves. We found her here with 60 on board, bought at Kilwa (Quiloa) on the east coast, at 22 dollars per head, then the owner gave 250 dollars to a Chief on Comoro Island to furnish him with a certificate that the slaves were his own people lent as free emigrants. It is here scarcely thought necessary to conceal the nature of these transactions; there is constant intercourse between the islands, and the Chief is rather admired for the amount he extracted. But the French Government official is on board, and it is illegal to touch her. Sir G. Grey.


(Inclosure 5.)-Commander Stirling to Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker. SIR, Wasp, Simon's Bay, September 18, 1861. IN compliance with your memorandum of yesterday's date, requiring me to state any facts that I am acquainted with relative to the engagement of negroes on the East Coast of Africa as free labourers for the French Colonies, I have the honour to report to you the following circumstances:

On the 6th April, 1861, while at anchor in Her Majesty's ship under my command at Johanna, a boat arrived from a French brigantine, said to be in the offing and in distress. The supercargo, who was in the boat, told the following story. His vessel had been lying off Comoro about 10 days previously during a fresh breeze, when a French brig drifted across her bows, her cable Since then she had been parted, and she was carried out to sea. drifted about by light, baffling winds and contrary currents, until her water and provisions were well nigh exhausted. She would at Johanna as soon as a breeze sprung up; in the meanappear time he had come to beg for a supply of necessaries. He described his vessel to be without boats or anchors, short of provisions, little or no water, no casks, and the crew suffering from dysentery, which was the more deplorable as she had on board 50 negro labourers, which had been embarked at Comoro for the supply of Nos Beh. Considerations of humanity, especially for the helpless Africans,

induced me to grant him a supply of bread, rum, and a couple of water-casks, all of which he paid for.

Three days afterwards, when the brigantine herself arrived, her pilot (by name Kalifun ?) a native of Johanna, declared that the socalled free labourers which she had on board were really slaves; that they were Africans of the Macua tribe, and that they had been obtained on the mainland (I think at Quiloa) at 25 dollars a head; that then the vessel had called at Comoro, where a bribe of 200 or 300 dollars had induced the Chief to give a passport, certifying that the negroes on board were natives of Comoro, and had been engaged there as free labourers.

During the vessel's stay at Johanna several of the negroes attempted to escape; one or two succeeded in doing so. This tends to confirm the pilot's statement that the engagement had not been voluntary.

On the 14th of April the brigantine sailed for Nos Beh, having obtained the requisite supplies. She carried a letter-bag for England, which was forwarded from Nos Beh, viâ Bourbon.

The name of the vessel was Antankara. Her owner, M. Daton, was on board; he is a resident at the Island of Nos Beh, where I am informed he possesses a sugar estate. There was also on board a Government officer, as is usual in vessels employed in this traffic, an officer styled “Délégué,” whose special duty it is to see that the engagement entered into between the master and the labourer is quite voluntary-that no coercion or other foul means are used. His name was M. Lenormande; he wore the Legion of Honour, and said he had served as non-commissioned officer in the French army during the Crimean war. I have, &c.

Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker.



No. 107.-Commodore Dunlop to the Secretary to the Admiralty. SIR, Imaum, at Jamaica, May 6, 1861. I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith, to be laid before the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, a copy of a letter I have this day addressed to the Commander-in-chief, informing him that the Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court in this Island has decided that he has no jurisdiction over the two vessels captured by the Barracouta in October, 1860, on suspicion of being engaged in the Slave Trade, and that they must be sent to Havana for trial before a Mixed Commission. I have, &c.

The Secretary to the Admiralty.



(Inclosure.)-Commodore Dunlop to Rear-Admiral Sir A. Milne. Imaum, at Jamaica, May 6, 1861. REFERRING to my letter of 24th January last, relative to two vessels captured by Her Majesty's ship Barracouta in October last, on suspicion of being engaged in the Slave Trade, I have the honour to inform you that, on the case coming on for trial on the 3rd instant, the Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court in this island decided that he had no jurisdiction over the vessels, and that they must be sent to Havana for trial before the Mixed Commission.

It is, therefore, my intention to send Her Majesty's ship Barracouta to that place with them in the course of a few days.

Rear-Admiral Sir A. Milne.

I have, &c.


No. 108.-Rear-Admiral Sir A. Milne to the Sec. to the Admiralty. SIR, Nile, at Barbadoes, February 21, 1861. Ix transmitting the accompanying correspondence relating to an alleged case of piracy, for the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, I beg you will acquaint their Lordships that, as the transaction in question has no reference to the property of British subjects, although Señor Cano holds the appointment of British Vice-Consul, but is entirely a mercantile question between the citizens of the New Granadian Government and the master of a vessel belonging to The United States, I do not consider I should be justified in taking any active steps in the matter, and thereby probably involve Her Majesty's Government in a question which, it appears to me, can alone be decided by reference to the respective Governments and their Civil Courts.

The Secretary to the Admiralty.


I have, &c.


(Inclosure 1.)-Captain Hillyar to Commodore Dunlop. Cadmus, at sea, lat. 13° 48' S., long. 74° 10' W., February 3, 1861.

I HAVE the honour to transmit a letter from Captain Doyle, Her Majesty's Vice-Consul at Santa Martha, inclosing a declaration made before him of an act of piracy committed by Antonio Pelletier, master of the barque William.

In forwarding this letter I have the honour to observe, that this is the same vessel that was boarded by Her Majesty's ship Gladiator, at Carthagena, under suspicion of being a slaver.

Her Commander will probably be able to supply the information wanting in the protest as to the description of the vessel.

Commodore Dunlop.

I have, &c.


« PreviousContinue »