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'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎87v] (42/50)

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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condemning dhows for having domestic slaves on board, and notwithstanding the distinct
instructions to them at page 22 of the book especially drawn up for them by their
Lordships viz.: u You will be justified in concluding that a vessel is engaged in, or
equipped for, the Slave Trade." 1st. " If you find any slaves on board, &c.they should
yet be subject to adverse decisions on this very point.
4. Dr. Kirk states that the vessel having been taken in one of the Sultan's harbours
south of Quiloa could only be captured under the letter of Sayd Saed of the 6th May, 1850.
Dr. Kirk must have written this in ignorance of Lord Stanley's decision in his reply of the
24th December, 1866, to Dr. Seward, in which his Lordship states England will not at
present respect the Sultan's temtorial waters in any part of his dominions. Upon my
recent visit to Zanzibar, I brought this letter to Dr. Kirk s notice.
5. The 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. also states, " It would be absurd to think that Zanzibar slaves
would be sold at the coast." I do not think such a supposition is at all absurd; it might
as well be said it was absurd to suppose a London horse would be sold in Yorkshire.
There are numerous cases proved by intercepted correspondence that, just as unsound
horses are sent for sale to distant fairs, so domestic slaves of troublesome character are
sent out of Zanzibar with instructions to sell them for what can be got. So long as a
man is a slave, so long is he a saleable article, liable to be sold, and as such England
must, if she continues her contest with the Slave Trade, forbid his being exported.
6. Dr. Kirk states also that the season for slave-trading with Madagascar was over;
it was in fact just about to begin.
7. The complaint made of the illiterate characters of the men generally engaged as
interpreters in men-of-war is, I think, fully justified. I have addressed their Lordships
proposing a remedy in my letter of 31st July, 1869.
These are the only points raised by Dr. Kirk upon which I can afford their Lordships
any information.
8. Referring now to Mr. Otway's letter to their Lordships of 21st July, 1869, calling
attention, by Lord Clarendon's desire, to the unsatisfactory system at present pursued by
Her Majesty's cruizers in dealing with vessels suspected of being engaged in the Slave
Trade, and suggesting that when there is not a full cargo of slaves on board, the vessels
with a part or the whole of their crew should be sent to the port of adjudication, &c., I
have to state that orders have already been given, under instructions conveyed in your
letter dated 12th March, 1869, to send into Court the master and a portion of the crew of
such vessel; but it is in most cases practically impossible to take the vessels themselves
into port owing to the strength of wind and currents, and I may quote, in illustration of
this statement, the case of the " Daphne " and " Star," in the autumn of last year—the
one capturing fifteen and the other twenty-four dhows near Brava, and it being as much as
the men-of-war could do to reach port themselves, so nearly was their coal expended.
To have towed even a single dhow would in those cases have been out of the question.
9. It is a mistake to suppose that suspected dhows are always destroyed. Their
Lordships will observe in many reports that officers have attempted to tow these vessels,
and been obliged, after a few days, to destroy them from their weakness ; but when vessels
are near a port, as when the " Highflyer" made captures under Cape Guardafui in 1867,
or the " Daphne " at Maculla in the spring of this year, the vessels were themselves taken
in for adjudication.
10. I have been informed by Dr. Kirk that the correspondence taken in a dhow
captured at Zanzibar on a recent occasion showed that a great many individuals, some of
them of high standing in Zanzibar society, were interested in that cargo, and the habit of
slave-dealing, either wholesale or retail, is so universal amongst the Arabs, that I think
the reports of some of the Commanders, under my orders, to the effect that almost every
large Zanzibar dhow, trading to the south, carries in the course of its rounds slaves to
Madagascar, may to a considerable extent be true; and if so, it remains doubtful whether the
transfer of dhows to the French flag is prompted, as Mr. Otway supposes, by the habit of
landing the crews of captured vessels at the nearest convenient place, or by a wish to carry
on Slave Trade without molestation from the English cruizers. I would refer on this point
to Commander Meara's letter inclosed in mine of June 1869.
11. Ihe printed Slave Trade Instructions enjoin the bringing into Court of the
master, crew, and passengers of captured dhows; the practice has, however, for many
} ears been generally abandoned in deference to the wishes of those persons themselves. I
am, however, of opinion that its revival under the orders given in their Lordships' letter of
12th March, 1869, will be beneficial as insuring a full representation of both parties in
suits before Vice-Admiralty Courts.
12. I believe that the last-mentioned order—the establishment of a Vice-Admiralty
Court at Zanzibar, and the improvement which will, I hope, under my letter of 31st July,

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' [‎87v] (42/50), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B84, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 July 2019]

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