‘File 5/74 Practice attributed to British authorities of surrendering fugitive slaves’

IOR/R/15/1/201

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The record is made up of 1 volume (65 folios). It was created in 6 Aug 1897-14 May 1900. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.

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Content

The volume contains correspondence exchanged between the Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. in Bushire (Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm J. Meade) and his assistant (John Gaskin), the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. Muscat (Major Christopher Fagan, and from October 1899 Major Percy Cox), and staff of the Government of India. Correspondence begins with an enquiry from the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. in London to the Government of India, in response to a letter sent to The Times newspaper by the Anti-Slavery Society, relating to British authorities’ procedure in surrendering fugitive slaves in Aden and Muscat.

The Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. and Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. Muscat discussed the procedure of assessing and granting manumission. The assistant secretary to the Government of India enquired into the possibility of applying the current practice of manumission at Muscat to the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. generally. Internal Residency A diplomatic office of the British Government established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. memorandums between Meade and Gaskin, noted that such measures would further intensify hostile feelings on the part of the Arab shaikhs to the British Government, and it was noted that the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi was seeking closer links with the French Consul at Muscat (folios 17-18). The memorandums also explore the merits of making the children of slaves legally free, but this measure was rejected on the grounds that it would be too expensive to administer.

In office notes from early 1899, Fagan described in detail the manumission procedure there, including the Sultan’s role in the process (folios 29-30). It was noted (folios 24) that slaves seeking refuge in Muscat tended to be manumitted, irrespective of whether their case merited manumission according to the Treaty signed with the Sultan of Muscat. In 1899 Meade embarked on a tour of the Arab shaikhdoms, in order to inform the Shaikhs of their obligations in relation to the suppression of the slave trade. The memorandum gives details of the tour made on HMS Lawrence and the Meade’s meetings with the shaikhs of Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ra's al-Khaymah and Umm al-Qaywayn, and their respective responses (folios 47-49).

In a letter to the Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. of February 1900, Cox noted what he regarded as a lack of British Protection in current manumission certificates (folios 53-55). Enclosed with Cox's letter is a specimen manumission certificate issued by the Agency An office of the British Government and, earlier, of the East India Company. in Muscat (folio 56). Cox noted in his letter that the British Consul at Muscat issueds certificates in his own name, and not in the name of the British government.

Extent and format
1 volume (65 folios)
Arrangement

Correspondence in the volume is arranged in rough chronological order, from the earliest at the front, to the latest at the rear.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The volume is foliated from front cover to inside back cover with pencil numbers in the top-right corner of each front-facing page.

Written in
English in Latin script
Type
Archival file

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers
Access conditions

Unrestricted

Archive reference
IOR/R/15/1/201
Former external reference(s)
A series: 5/74

History of this record

Date(s)
6 Aug 1897-14 May 1900 (CE, Gregorian)
Context of creation

At the end of the nineteenth century, the British Government's efforts to suppress the maritime slave trade in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. region were framed by the numerous treaties that it had signed with rulers in the region in previous decades. These treaties are described in full in C. Aitchison, Treaties and Engagements Relating to Arabia and the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. (Archive Editions, 1987). Prior to the drawing-up of formal guidelines for manumission (not achieved until 1913 by then Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. Percy Cox), manumission cases were assessed by the relevant treaty and whether the individual had been enslaved before or after the treaty came into force.

Related material

Related primary sources

The historical library of Anti-Slavery International (previously the Anti-Slavery Society, based in London) contain materials relevant to the file.

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‘File 5/74 Practice attributed to British authorities of surrendering fugitive slaves’, British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/201, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/node/306> [accessed 25 August 2019]

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