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'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎70v] (8/50)

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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In closure 2 in ISTo. 4.
The Civil Commissioner of Seychelles to Sir H. Barkly.
(Extract.) May 6, 1869.
6. I TAKE this opportunity of mentioning that I have been able to distribute these
Africans solely from the fact that the inhabitants are under the impression that no more
liberated slaves are to be brought to Seychelles, an impression which I sincerely trust
is fraught with truth. Should another cargo of slaves arrive I am quite convinced that
I should be unable to distribute one of them ; and the cost of their detention and transport
to Mauritius w T ould amount to a very heavy sum ; an expenditure much better avoided.
But according to the accounts received by me from the Captains of Her Majesty's ships
who touch here, the Slave Trade on the East Coast fostered, in a great measure by the
protracted absence of the cruisers during the war in Abyssinia, and by the arrangements
made for keeping the whole squadron north for the past nine months, leaving all south
of Socotra unprotected, is now carried on more vigorously than ever.
7. The slaves brought here by Her Majesty's ship " Nymphe" were captured almost
in the town of Zanzibar, from a Northern Arab dhow. The boats which took her were
fired upon from the shore, two officers were badly wounded, and one man was killed, all
this taking place within earshot of the Sultan's Palace. The " Nymphe" had taken 27
dhows within a very short period; other vessels in like proportion. The " Star" now
cruizing off the East Coast of Africa may bring a cargo of slaves here at any moment,
as Zanzibar is swarming with Northern Arabs ; over these Arabs the Sultan of Zanzibar
has no control of any kind, their ostensible pursuit is Slave Trade, and they are only
waiting at Zanzibar for the change in the monsoon to enable them to run their cargoes
8. According to private information received from the Commodore all Her Majesty's
cruizers are coming south and they will probably fall in with many dhows. Although
no actual Order exists with respect to these captured dhows, it is generally under
stood that all cargoes captured south of the Equator are to be brought to Seychelles,
those taken north of the Line being taken to Aden. We may. therefore, expect more
Liberated Africans at any moment, and heavy expenses consequent upon their being
landed here, A difference in the number formerly taken by our cruizers may, perhaps be
caused by the fact that nearly all the Slave Trade between the East Coast of Africa and
Madagascar where any amount of slaves can be absorbed is carried on in dhows under
French colours which our cruizers cannot touch. The Arab owners obtain their papers
at Mayotte or Nossibe; not for one journey but for a whole year, during which period
they are solely engaged in the Slave Trade. I inclose herewith a copy of one of these
papers which I obtained from the Captain of Her Majesty's ship " Nymphe." The
papers are perfectly en regie, but not a man on board the dhow could speak a word
of French.
9. But, notwithstanding this outlet, the trade to the north is carried on to such an
extent that in all likelihood the Seychelles will be inundated with a mass of Africans who,
even under the most favourable circumstances, can do but a minimum of good to any
country could they be disposed of as labourers, but who, under the present aspects of the
labour-market, will put the Government to very heavy expense. The islands are now
overstocked, not only with the African in his normal state, but with his offspring, the
fecundity of the women being quite remarkable. Twins are very common ; and upon two
occasions I have seen three at a birth.
10. With the present race of proprietors, men who can hardly be said to cultivate the
land but a small quantity of labour suffices. A more enterprising class would naturally
absorb a much larger proportion, but of enterprise here there is small prospect. The
further arrival of liberated Africans must put the Government to very considerable
expense an expense which I venture to submit, ought not to be borne either by the
parent Colony or these islands.

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' [‎70v] (8/50), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B84, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 February 2020]

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