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'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎71v] (10/50)

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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II est pont^ avec deux mats, et il est actuellement attache au port de Nossi Be.
Prions et requdrons tous Souverains, Etats,amis et allies de la France, et leur subordonnds,
mandons h tous fonctionnaires publics, aux Commandants desbatiments de I'Etat et k tous
autres qu'il appartiendra, de le laisser surement et librement passer avec son dit batiment,
sans lui faire ni souffrir qu'il lui soit fait aucun trouble ni empechement quelconque, mais
au contraire de lui donner toute faveur, secours et assistance partout ou besoin sera.
Delivre au port de Hell-Ville (Nossi Be), le 28 Juillet, 1868.
Par autorisation du Ministre Secretaire de la Marine et des Colonies.
Le Commandant Particulier,
No. 5.
Mr. Otway to the Secretary to the Admiralty.
Sir, Foreign Office, July 21, 1869.
I AM directed by the Earl of Clarendon to transmit to you to be laid before the
Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, the accompanying copies of two despatches, with
their inclosures in original from the Acting British Consul 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. at Zanzibar,
reporting the proceedings which have taken place in the Vice-Admiralty Court in that
island in the cases of two dhows captured and destroyed by Her Majesty's cruizers on the
East Coast of Africa on suspicion of their being engaged in the Slave Trade.
It will be seen that in the case of a vessel belonging to the Government of Mombas,
destroyed by Her Majesty's ship " Nymphe," judgment has been given against the captors,
giving rise, therefore, to a claim on the part of the owners of the vessel against Her
Majesty's Government for compensation.
Lord Clarendon would wish to call the particular attention of the Lords of the
Admiralty to Dr. Kirk's observations respecting this case, and generally to the
unsatisfactory system at present pursued by Her Majesty's cruizers in dealing with vessels
suspected of being engaged in Slave Traffic on the East Coast of Africa.
As regards vessels taken with large numbers of slaves, no difficulty can arise if
captured beyond certain limits, and at certain seasons of the year; their cargoes afford
sufficient evidence of the illegal nature of the voyage on which they are engaged, and the
Commanders of Her Majesty's cruizers will be justified in destroying them if they are not
fit to send to a port of adjudication.
But in the case of vessels detained on suspicion of being engaged or being about to
engage, in the Slave Traffic, or for having slaves on board forming part of the crew of the
vessel, it appears to Lord Clarendon that the only safe mode of proceeding is to send the
vessels with a part on the whole of the crew, to a port of adjudication.
Even if the Commanders of Her Majesty's cruizers were themselves in a position to
understand the papers found on board native vessels, and i,o communicate freely with the
crew and passengers on board detained vessels, it is placing Her Majesty's officers in a
most difficult and objectionable position to throw upon tliem the responsibility of destroying
vessels, and thus practically of becoming judges of their own acts.
But where, as is almost invariably the case. Her Majesty's officers arc unable either
to translate the papers found or produced on board a detained dhow, or to communicate
with the persons on board except through an interpreter, who may himself, as sometimes
happens, understand but imperfectly the documents or language he is called upon to
translate or interpret, the position of a Commander of a cruizer becomes still more
embarrassing, and it is not to be wondered at if mistakes arise, and honest vessels are
destroyed, as has been the case in the one belonging to the Government of Mombas, which
would not have happened if the dhow had been sent to a port of adjudication.
Moreover, under the present system of dealing with suspected slavers on the East
Coast of Africa, when the vessels are destroyed, their crews are, if Lord Clarendon is
correctly informed, sent ashore at the first convenient spot, and their owners or other
parties interested in the vessels are left in ignorance where the case of their vessel will be
adjudicated in the event of their wishing to defend their property.
This will account, therefore, for the owners of native vessels seeking to place them, as
the Reports received from the Commanders of Her Majesty's cruizers on the East Coast of
Africa show that they are extensively doing, under the French flag, with the view to
withdraw them from the action of British cruizers.

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' [‎71v] (10/50), 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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