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'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎69v] (6/50)

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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they did not claim protection, and the dhow was loaded with wood, no proof existing that
she was engaged in the Slave Trade, I have registered her as a free trader.
3. On the 26th a dhow was boarded by the cutter, in sight of the ship, and captured,
with 236 slaves on board, viz., 35 men, 46 women, and 155 children. She was nine days
from Zanzibar, bound to Muscat, and had stood into the Cape to refit her sails and
steering gear, under shelter, and complete her water at the village near here.
4. Regarding the route taken by the slave dhows moving north during the monsoon,
I am of opinion that none of them can, or rather do, carry sufficient water for the whole
voyage ; and that the places of call for water are Has Mabber, Ras Hafoon, and Gollonseer
Bay, for the dhows for 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. ; and Ras Mabber, Ras Hafoon, and Guardafui
for those going to Maculla and the Gulf of Aden, 8rc. At those places we have visited
during our cruize the information obtained is not reliable, the natives being in the Slave
Trade interest, rather than our own to suppress it. #
5. Ras Mabber, I believe, from all the evidence gathered, to be the first place of call
during fine weather, and when the voyage is necessarily prolonged ; Ras Hafoon, when it
blows strong, comes next; and the other places as circumstances demand.
6. In order to intercept a slave dhow, I believe the best chance is for a cruizer to be
kept exclusively under weigh in an east and west line off the north-east Cape of Ras
Hafoon, with two boats down in-shore of her, with a store of water and provisions for their
use placed in one of the coves under the lee.
7. With reference to the legal traders running up, which, being honest, as a general
rule, are not afraid, and give no trouble, being stopped for boarding. The information
obtained from them was to the effect that this year the northern Slave Trade was seriously
crippled by the presence of an English man-of-war at anchor at Zanzibar, and the
supposed Treaties or Concessions made by His Highness the Sultan Said Majid to our
Government; at any rate, to his Edict prohibiting, under severe penalties, the purchasing
or smuggling off to Arabia of slaves from his ports. Instances were mentioned to me of
his sincerity to prevent the traffic, for example, the destruction, at Jamo, by his orders, of
northern dhows found engaged in it.
8. Most of the trade running up was principally in grain and wood, for Maculla and
other Arab ports, which, I was told, paid well ; but I was surprised to find some regular
Badein dhows, with a Soory crew, for 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. , running up in ballast. They
stated no slaves could be got from the Sultan's ports, and the trade is this season almost
annihilated. These dhows, I feel reasonably certain would have brought up slaves had it
been possible to get them.
9. Speaking generally to the masters of Arab trading-dhows, touching the subject of
carrying domestic slaves (so-called), they stated that they had no slaves working on board,
nor did they carry any of any description, be it ever so few, the reason given being that
" the risk was too great; they would be sure to lose their dhow if discovered by one of
the many English cruizers about, one of which was sure to overhaul them at some period
of their voyage." The fact of our not having come across any in all these 112 dhows
boarded, and the easy means they all have of obtaining free labour when proceeding out of
the Sultan's territorial limits, are defined by Treaty, has led me to conclude that no legal
trader out of the Sultan's dominions looks upon this rule as a hardship; on the other
hand, few of them look upon the purchasing, selling, or carrying of slaves as a crime, and
would certainly engage in it jointly with their legal cargo if no penalty was attached ; were
it otherwise, I see no possible means? of preventing any dhow evading the law, engaging in
the Slave Trade, of its extending its present limits and threatening, by small importations
and means, to become universal.
10. On the subject of selling slaves of any description no confidence whatever can be
placed in the Arab, especially if his interests or pecuniary difficulties are before him. As
an instance of the dread an African entertains of an Arab when hard up, I may
mention that, on this ship's capturing a slave dhow on the 26th May, besides a number of
slaves which were found to have been stolen and kidnapped from Zanzibar, three free
native Africans were discovered in the dhow. They claimed protection; and when brought
before me refused to accompany the crew, stating, now that the Arabs had lost their slaves
and dhowj and almost bankrupt, they would be sure to sell them at Muscat, and they
therefore wished either to join this ship or to be set down safe in an English Colony.
11. On examining the slaves, their former history is only a repetition of the old tale :
viz., native tribes fighting in the Nyanza district, Arab traders purchasing the prisoners,
marching them down to Keelwa on the coast-, transporting them to Zanzibar, and then
selling them in the market for the Northern Arabs. Numbers of the girls and women of
this dhow were found much burnt about the head and body. They stated that when their
native villages were set on fire they got singed and burnt when running out, and were

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' [‎69v] (6/50), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B84, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 22 February 2020]

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