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'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎67v] (2/50)

The record is made up of 1 volume (25 folios). It was created in 29 Oct 1869. It was written in English and French. 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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4. I attribute these results mainly to the energy and activity of the officers com
manding Her Majesty's ships on this Station; but something may also be due to the
system which has been adopted of pouncing down from Indian ports upon the line of
traffic, instead of operating, as has hitherto been the practice, from Zanzibar as a centre.
Under the new plan the traders remain in perfect ignorance of the intended movements of
the cruizers, which was not always the case under the old one.
5. Finding that many years had elapsed since any flag-ship bad been to Zanzibar, 1
proceeded to that port in the month of August, and I hope that some good may have been
done by the visit, and some impression left upon the mind of Sultan Majid by the earnest
language used by me at the interviews which His Highness was pleased to grant me. The
proposals made on these occasions are recorded in an inclosure to my letter to their
Lordships, No. 237 of 1868.
6. An Embassy from the Sultan left Zanzibar for England in the autumn ; and, although
its members were charged principally with the duty of endeavouring to obtain a release
from the obligation to pay an annual subsidy to Muscat, they were also empowered (as I
was informed by the Sultan) to discuss questions relating to the Slave Trade. The results
of this mission will be recorded in the Report for 1869.
7. I observe that it is not unusual to close these reports with an expression of hope
that the heavy blows which have been dealt at the trade during the past year will go far to
check it for the future. I can express no such hope. The Trade is far too profitable, and
will not be affected by a risk so small as that incurred by the proceedings of Her Majesty's
ships. It supplies a want which has not been left unsatisfied for many centuries past,—a
want which, sanctioned by the religion of the country, has grown almost into an instinct.
To put down this trade requires far more effort and far more energy than England has yet
shown in the matter. Twenty-five years have elapsed since the first Treaty with Muscat,
and all that time we have been contented with the capture of a very small per-centage of
the total exports,—a per-centage large enough to irritate the legal traders, who are
harassed and annoyed by the visits of our cruizers, but too small to affect materially the
illegitimate trade. We must do far more than this to insure success. We must double
or treble our squadron. We must establish Vice-Consulates at the ports of export, but,
above all, we must force the Government of Zanzibar into active acquiescence in our
views, and, if necessary, purchase or take possession of that island.
8. I attach some illustrative photographs taken by Commander Sulivan on board
Her Majesty's ship " Daphne," and a water-colour drawing by Mr. Henn, Sub-Lieutenant
of that ship. The wretched emaciated condition of the slaves shown in photograph No. 3
is due entirely to the avarice or carelessness of the Arab dealers; but the drowning of men,
women, and children incidental to running dhows on shore to avoid capture, as shown in
Mr. Henn's drawing, is entirely the result of our proceedings. Five full dhows were seen
to run on shore during the recent cruize of the " Daphne," and many other similar cases
have been observed during the year.
9. I would most earnestly submit for their Lordships' consideration whether it is
right to follow the present unsatisfactory mode of attempting to put down the East
African Slave Trade. If I am right in supposing that the only result of those proceedings
has been to liberate less than 5 per cent, of the slaves exported at the expense of drowning
some hundreds a-year, and of discouraging legitimate commerce, it would seem to follow
that we should withdraw from the attempt, or make it with far greater vigour.
I have, &c.
(Signed) L. G. HEATH.
No. 2.
The Secretary to the Admiralty to Mr. Otway.—(Received July 1.)
Sir, Admiralty, June 29, 1869.
I AM commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to transmit, for
the information of the Earl of Clarendon, a copy of a letter from Commodore Sir Leopold
Heath, dated the 7th of June, forwarding an account of an engagement between the boats
of the " Nymphe" and Arabs, at Zanzibar, and the capture of a dhow with 136 slaves on
I am, &c.

About this item


This file contains correspondence between British officials regarding their attempts to monitor and prohibit slave traffic on the East Coast of Africa. The correspondence dates from March 1869 to October 1869.

Of particular interest are the following folios:

  • Folio 71 - French Government boat registration papers that had been given to 'Arab Dhows' allowing them to travel under the French flag.
  • Folio 73 - A chart entitled 'Memorandum of Number of Slaves landed and liberated at Aden, and how disposed of'.
  • Folio 74 - A copy of the Slave Trade Jurisdiction (Zanzibar) Bill, May 1869.
  • Folios 89-91 - 'A Memorandum by Mr. Churchill [Henry Adrian Churchill, Britain's Agent in Zanzibar] respecting Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa'.
Extent and format
1 volume (25 folios)

The file is arranged in rough chronological order, with the earliest correspondence at the beginning of the file and the latest at the end of the file.

Physical characteristics

Condition: contained within a bound volume that contains a number of other files.

Foliation: The foliation for this description commences at f 67, and terminates at f 91, as it is part of a larger physical volume; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional foliation sequence is also present in parallel between ff 5-134; these numbers are written in pencil, but are not circled, and can be found in the same position as the main sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎67v] (2/50), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B84, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 20 February 2020]

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