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'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎78r] (23/50)

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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known to your
jh deserve your
is the ground
>n for capturing
lomestic slaves;
: Trade Instruc-
issel is ens
to rely upon a
he Instructions,
•dities. But in
0 things which
se on which he
Majesty's ships
suppression of
negroes for the
rhe instructions
erned, we have
srfere with the
slaves in such
;ek to do is to
et, suspected of
the section in
! Trade if there
are to be those
lavery and sold
ring exclusively
it no one, much
that in a recent
for seizing and
palm-oil to this
, who had been
d in that case,
nation of almost
e time existed.
Drdships appear,
ime view of this
;hey are entitled
nestic slave, on
ie, it would be
y the Admiralty
ade, instructing
3 the statement
f the capturing
:ensure; for the
evidence of the
for what would,
destroying her.
nders of vessels
; on this point,
e numbered and
action 69 directs
1 the vessel into
Sultan's pass in
eir Instructions,
, be surprised if
ry consequences
lat I should call
le East Coast of
Africa, of immediately destroying a dhow, after what I may call a kind of pro formd
survey has been held upon her, and she has been reported unfit to proceed to a port of
adjudication. The practice has become so universal that it is rarely or ever that a
captured vessel is not burnt or destroyed within two or three days of her capture. There
might possibly have been some excuse for such a practice when the nearest ports of
adjudication were the Cape of Good Hope or the Mauritius; but there is no such excuse
at present, for, for several years past, there has been a Vice-Admiralty Court established
at Aden; and since August 1866, jurisdiction to try vessels captured in or brought into
Zanzibar waters has been given by Order in Council A regulation issued by the sovereign of Great Britain on the advice of the Privy Council (in modern practice, upon the advice of government ministers). to the British Consul at Zanzibar.
It is certainly difficult to believe that vessels, immediately on their being captured,
should be generally found to be incapable of completing the very voyages on which they
were at the time engaged; but such would seem to be the case, if the certificates of
unseaworthiness given by the capturing officers are to be relied upon. Moreover, naval
officers seem to overlook the fact that, if the vessel was not sufficiently seaworthy to
perform a voyage to Zanzibar from the place at which she was captured, it would be very
strong evidence that her master and crew could have had no intention of shipping a cargo
of slaves for conveyance to that, or possibly a much more distant, port.
Take, for instance, the two cases under consideration. In the first of them the vessel
had sailed from Zanzibar, having on board a crew of twenty sailors and ten passengers,
and laden with a valuable cargo. She had been twelve or fourteen days out, and at the
time bound to Madagascar. Is it conceivable that such a vessel was, at the time of her
capture, not in a fit state to return to Zanzibar ? And yet the captors destroyed her, on
the ground that she was not seaworthy. In the second case, that captured by the
" Nymphe," the vessel had come from Mombas to Zanzibar, there a valuable cargo
consisting of cloth and powder had been put on board of her, and she sailed with a crew
and passengers of forty-two persons in all for Lindi, a port about fifty miles to the south of
Quiloa. After landing a portion of her cargo at Quiloa she proceeded to the southward,
but finding that she was running short of water she put into Kiswara Harbour, about
twenty miles south of Quiloa, and on entering the bay was captured by the " Nymphe."
And yet this vessel also was destroyed immediately on her capture, on the ground that she
was not in a sufficiently seaworthy condition to be navigated to a port of adjudication.
But is it credible that a vessel with a valuable cargo and forty-two souls on board, bound
on a voyage to Lindi and thence back to Zanzibar, was not in a sufficiently seaworthy
condition to be taken back to Zanzibar ?
Nor can it be here pleaded, as in the case of domestic slaves found on board a dhow,
that the instructions to cruizers are not sufficiently clear on the point, for the 390th section
of the Slave Trade Instructions, p. 98, is as follows:—"If you have detained a Zanzibar
vessel upon suspicion, and are unable to send her into the proper port of adjudication, you
will not destroy her without (if practicable) having first ascertained at the nearest Zanzibar
port, by inquiries from Her Majesty's Consul and others, that she was engaged in or
equipped for the Slave Trade." In the second case, therefore, at least where the vessel was
captured in Kiswara, one of the Sultan's ports, the duty of the captor, if the dhow was not
seaworthy, was to have left her there in charge of the authorities whilst he made inquiries
into her character. And it is the more remarkable that this was not done in the present
case, as it appears that the " Nymphe," after destroying the dhow, went straight to
Zanzibar, carrying with her a portion of the persons found on board her, and there
instituted proceedings before the Consul to obtain her condemnation.
The evil, however, has now become so great that it is necessary to consider whether
some means cannot be taken to put a stop to it; and it appears to me that possibly this
might be done by making some alteration in regard to the bounties.
Your Lordships are aware that it has hitherto been the practice, in addition to the
usual slave or tonnage bounties, to award an additional bounty of 1/. 10s. a ton wherever
the vessel has been broken up and entirely destroyed.
The grounds upon which the additional bounty is granted, are as follow :—Formerly,
when a vessel was condemned for being engaged in the Slave Trade, she was sold as she
then stood, with all her equipments and furniture. As, however, the slavers were at that
time of a peculiar construction, built to sail fast and to carry light cargoes, it was found
that when sold after condemnation they were almost invariably bought by the slave dealers,
and were employed over and over again in the Slave Trade. Accordingly, it was determined
that all slavers after condemnation, instead of being sold whole, should be broken up, and
the materials thereof publicly sold in separate parts. Objection, however, was taken that
this would materially affect the interest of the captors, who were entitled to the net pro
ceeds realized from the sale of the prizes after payment of the expenses of condemnation,
and it was urged that a vessel fully equipped and in sailing condition must necessarily
t i

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' [‎78r] (23/50), 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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