Skip to item: of 50
Information about this record Back to top
Open in Universal viewer
Open in Mirador IIIF viewer

'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎84r] (35/50)

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.


This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.

Apply page layout

Inclosure in No. 14.
Proposed Draft of Instructions to Her Majesty's Naval Officers on the East Coast of
Africa Station, with reference to General Instructions for Suppression of Slave
THE attention of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty having been called to
serious irregularities and mistakes committed by officers commanding Her Majesty's ships
employed in the suppression of the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa, their
Lordships are pleased to issue the following order :—
It is not intended by this order to alter the printed Slave Trade Instructions which
are furnished to Her Majesty's ships, but merely to point out and explain to officers, in the
most marked manner, certain provisions of those Instructions, which on some occasions
have been misunderstood or neglected, and to bring to the notice of officers the provisions
of the recent statute 32 and 33 Vict., cap. 75.
3. As to what Vessels are liable to Capture. {Articles 50, 51.)
The 50th Article of the General Instructions gives the general rule as follows:—
" If, in the course of the search, you are satisfied that the vessel is engaged in, or
equipped for, the Slave Trade, and that she is subject to your authority, you will proceed
to detain her."
The 51st Article gives auxiliary rules :—
" You will be justified in concluding at a vessel is engaged in, or equipped for, the
Slave Trade—
" 1. If you find any slaves on board.
" 2. If you find in her outfit any of the equipments hereinafter mentioned." (Then
follows an enumeration of the equipments, taken from the Statute 5 and 6 Vict., cap. 91,
sec. 4.)
In construing the words in this Article, "if you find any slaves on board," reference
must be had to the general scope of the Instructions, and particularly to the language of
the preceding Article, which speaks of the vessel being " engaged in, or equipped for, the
Slave Trade." '
Slave Trade must for this purpose be carefully distinguished from slavery; with
which, as existing in foreign States, or on board foreign ships not being in British territorial
waters. Her Majesty's Government does not claim, either by Treaty or otherwise, to
interfere. As a fact, slavery as a legal institution exists in several States (amongst them
Zanzibar) with which Great Britain has Treaties for the suppression of Slave Trade. The
mere finding, therefore, of slaves on board a vessel will not justify an officer in detaining
her, if there are other circumstances which show that these persons are slaves by the law
of the country from which the ship has sailed or to which she belongs, and that they are
not being transported for the purpose of being sold as slaves. Thus, for instance, where
the slaves found on board are very few in number, are unconfined, and appear to be on
board for the purpose of loading or working the ship, or attending upon the master or the
passengers, and there is no other evidence that the vessel is engaged in, or equipped for,
the Slave Trade.
It is quite otherwise where the slaves are found crowded and chained together, and
are obviously being carried as cargo to be sold as slaves. Between these two classes of
cases there are intermediate cases, some of a doubtful character.
It must rest with the officer to distinguish to what class any particular case belongs,
by a careful consideration of all the circumstances, bearing in mind always this, that it is
his duty to detain the vessel if he is reasonably satisfied that she is engaged in, or equipped
for, the Slave Trade, but not otherwise.
Officers serving on the East Coast of Africa must further remember the 388th Article
of the Instructions, which informs them that the right is expressly reserved to the subjects
of the Sultan of Zanzibar of transporting slaves within certain limits there specified.
2. As to Documents found on hoard the detained Ship. {Articles 58, 69, 85.)
These Articles, which prescribe measures for the preservation and final delivery to the
Court of Adjudication of all papers and documents found on board the detained vessel, are
to be carried out with perfect fidelity and scrupulous care.
The unexplained loss of any such document, and still more its destruction, on any
pretext whatsoever, will lay the officer open to very serious imputation.

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
View the complete information for this record

Use and share this item

Share this item
Cite this item in your research

'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎84r] (35/50), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B84, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 February 2020]

Link to this item
Embed this item

Copy and paste the code below into your web page where you would like to embed the image.

<meta charset="utf-8"><a href="">'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [&lrm;84r] (35/50)</a>
<a href="">
	<img src="!280,240/0/default.jpg" alt="" />
IIIF details

This record has a IIIF manifest available as follows. If you have a compatible viewer you can drag the icon to load it. in Universal viewerOpen in Mirador viewerMore options for embedding images

Use and reuse
Download this image