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'Further Papers respecting the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa and the System Pursued for its Suppression' [‎89v] (46/50)

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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a slave dhow to distinguish her from a legal
trader. The fittings are almost the same.
Matting, large tanks, and large cooking-pots
are no criterions. Nor does slave food differ
from that used by the crew and native pas
sengers. It all consists of cassava-root and
milfet; the only difference is, that a slave
gets barely enough to keep him alive, while
a sailor gets sufficient to grow fat upon.
Since the abolition of slavery in the
United States, few, if any, square-rigged
vessels are engaged in the Slave Trade on
the East Coast of Africa; but owing to the
arbitrary proceedings of our cruizers many
dhows have adopted the French flag, and
this is easily obtained at Mayotte and Nossi
Be ; the formalities required for the purpose
vary very slightly.
2. Our Treaties with the Imam of Muskat
give us the right of arresting dhows engaged
in the Slave Trade between the African pos
sessions of the Imam and the coast of
Arabia. A few years ago, in order to faci
litate the operations of our cruizers, the
carrying of slaves in the dominions of the
Sultan of Zanzibar was prohibited from the
1st January and the 1st May, and the terri
torial rights of the Sultan were tacitly con
ceded to Her Majesty's Government by
Seyed Majid during that period. Our men-
of-war insist upon all dhows having papers
descriptive of their nationality; in the ab
sence of which they assert their right of
seizure. Passes in Arabic are issued at
Zanzibar,* 1 Johanna, Mohilla, and on the
Arabian coast, but as it is only at head
quarters that these passes are issue^, it now
and then occurs that dhows are arrested on
the African coast without papers. There
are, indeed, many small dhows built on the
coast that never go to Zanzibar, but ply
along the coast carrying cowries, carrots,
and cassava-root, and timber; nor is it just
that they should be considered as being
engaged in the Slave Trade, merely because
they have no papers ; and yet the rules and
regulations connected with the Slave Trade
distinctly say that the absence PL papers is
a sufficient reason for detaining a vf^sel.
The Sultan of Zanzibar objects to the
capture of his shipping if it is not patent
that they are engaged in the Slave Trade,
and, unfortunately, it is very difficult for
new hands to make out the difference be
tween a slave and free negro; and when
one slave on board of a vessel is sufficient
to condemn it, papers become of the utmost
But whatever stress may be laid on the
necessity of having papers, the passes
actually issued by the native authorities can
throw little light on the matter, for being
I have seen as many as 20 per cent, of
dhows under the French flag in the port of
Zanzibar, and it is notorious that they were
the bond fide property of Zanzibar Arabs and
Hindus under British protection.
This is undoubtedly a concession, for it
gives us the faculty of searching his ports,
and arresting slavers in his dominions during
this period of the year; but a more valuable
concession, and one that would be more
effectual, would be to allow Her Majesty's
cruizers the faculty of stoppin^dhows laden
with slaves at all times of th?%ear beyond
certain limits on the coast. Opposite the
islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, between
which limits alone slaves might be carried
freely from the 1st May to the 1st January.
Commanders of Her Majesty's vessels of
war should be instructed not to detain dhows
for want of papers alone.
It would, nevertheless, be conducive to
the interests of the Arab authorities in the,
Indian Ocean, to issue printed passes con
taining, in English as well as in Arabic,
where it is practicable, a full description of
the vessel. They should likewise be urged
to issue articles of agreement similar to
those issued by our shipping -masters, and
the Governors on the Coast of Africa might
receive from the Sultan of Zanzibar permis-

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' [‎89v] (46/50), 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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