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'to concert, without loss of time, the most effectual measures for the entire and definitive abolition of a commerce so odious, and so strongly condemned by the laws of religion and of nature;' a commerce which he had indeed before stigmatized as repug. nant to the principles of natural justice, and of the enlightened age in which we live.'
To what extent those 'most effectual measures of his Most Christian Majesty Louis XVIII. were carried, and what success crowned all his efforts' to wipe off this odious disgrace to the laws of justice, of religion, and of nature, we have in part shown in a former Article; and we shall now brietly inquire, whether the * efforts of his successor, his present Most Christian Majesty Charles X., have been more successful in inducing all the powers of Christendom, and, at all events, his own subjects, to abandon so odious a commerce, now that TWELVE years, instead of FIVE, have passed away since the signing of this solemn compact of May, 1814. We shall confine ourselves, for the present, to the statement of a few cases of atrocious conduct on the part of the three principal sets of slave-dealers, those of France, Spain and Portugal. The other maritime nations of Europe have, as we believe, relinquished in good faith all intentions of carrying on the trade, and every wish of skreening their subjects who may be concerned in it from punishment. Indeed, with the exception of a very few cases, there is no reason for thinking that the subjects of the king of the Netherlands are now engaged in this traffic. They have been deterred by penalties of increased severity: and the zeal of the officers and crews of the Netherlands navy
has been stimulated and encouraged, by the government having given up its proportion of the prize-money to the captors.
The government of the United States is unquestionably influenced by an honest desire to put an end to the trade; and to accomplish this the more effectually, it entered into a negociation with us, in which the principle of a mutual right of search was recognized; but the Senate, from some crotchet of jealousy, refused its sanction to a treaty, which made the slave-trade piracy. In consequence of this unhappy refusal, several American vessels, generally under the Dutch fag, have been slaving on the coast of Africa; one of them, the Bey, was lately seized under that flag, the crew of which, consisting entirely of Americans, escaped the punishment that, had the American Senate been as wise as the American Cabinet, must have awaited them. Their cruizers, however, are, we rejoice to know and to say, honestly and actively employed in looking out for offenders against the laws.
The New States of Spanish America, interested as all of them had immemorially been in the traffic of slaves, have eagerly disowned and prohibited it. The abolition of slavery was one of the first acts of the Constituent Assembly of Guatimala. It declared not only that every man in the republic is free,' but that no one who takes refuge under its laws can be a slave; and it positively debars any one who carries on the slave-trade from the privileges of a citizen. This law was no sooner promulgated than one hundred slaves from the Honduras escaped into Guatimala; and these, though demanded back by our superintendent, were justly allowed the full protection of the statute which had proclaimed them free.
The recent conduct of Spain, and of the late Spanish colonies, in regard to this matter, has been justly held up by Mr. Canning as a reproach to the ancient and civilized monarchy of France.
The cabinet of Madrid has readily entered into treaties for the abolition of the trade, and the voluntary acts of the emancipated colonies for the extinction of slavery have been already mentioned. But the urgent and reiterated expostulations of our minister, on the utter inefficiency of the existing French law for prohibiting the trade, have hitherto proved of little avail. In fact, the years 1824 and 1825 show an increased activity in the slave-trade under the flag of the lilies; and we do not find, in the papers before us, any mitigation or diminution of those atrocities which, from the first, have been exercised in the prosecution of this traffic. An earnest wish, and even a hope, it seems, was early expressed by our ambassador, Lord Granville, to the Baron de Damas, that the era of the reign of his Most Christian Majesty Charles the Tenth might be signalized by some decisive measures for the suppression of practices which he (Lord Granville) stated to be a scandal to the flag of France-and no doubt the answer was smooth. In vain, however, does Mr. Canning, up to this day, direct our ambassador to remonstrate in the strongest terms against the odious practices of the French slave-dealers, the indifference of the government, and the inefficiency of its regulations to check this disgraceful traffic under the protection of the flag of France;'this traffic which, as he distinctly says, ' disgraces the French name.' The French minister is always ready enough with his assurances, that the French naval officers are strictly charged with the execution of the laws, and are zealous in intercepting slave-traders at sea, and in bringing the parties concerned before the tribunals ; but, unhappily, these assurances are not supported by facts. We know, on the contrary, that the authorities, civil and military, seeing the indifference of the government, have openly, as well as secretly, lent their aid in support of the diplomatically denounced traffic: and we shall give one sufficient example. Les Deux Nantais was one of those numerous vessels annually fitted out at
the Bay of Conception, on the southern side of the island, as both the anchorage and soil were there most promising. Here they found some huts, with natives of both sexes, to whom they distributed looking-glasses, knives, and other trifles. The next day they erected a cross, hoisted the Spanish flag, prepared to pitch their tents, and build a temporary hospital; but the natives had disappeared. A severe sickness soon spread through the garrison, so that one half of them had died in the course of five months, and the remainder were incapable of carrying on the works. They sent a schooner to St. Thomas's to bring them assistance in men and provisions, but she was found in defective a state as to be unable to return. In the mean time the poor remainder of the Spaniards for they had been reduced to fifty-five -mutinied against the commander. They said it never could have been the intention of the king of Spain that they should remain on the island until this miserable remnant should also perish. · They therefore took the opportunity of a Spanish ship. from the Canaries to embark, one and all, and to abandon an island which had been so fatal to their companions. Of 547 men, who originally embarked, 67 only returned to Spain. The cause of this mortality was not entirely owing to want of provisions and. medicines, but partly also to the bad choice of a situation on the island, being to leeward, and to the uncleared state of the country.
Since this abandonment of Fernando Po, neither Spaniards nor Portugueze have made any attempts to occupy it. The Spanish commander complains that the Portugueze practised a fraud upon his government; denies, in short, that this nation ever had had any connection with Fernando Po, or even landed upon it. The Count of Argelejos, the commander of the expedition, in his remonstrance against this fraudulent transaction, thus rea
* For the lawful transfer of a dominion, one of two titles is indispensable, either a right of property, or actual possession. No person can pretend to deliver over as his own that which belongs to another. Under these suppositions we ask, how could the crown of Portugal lawfully give to the crown of Spain the island of Fernando Po without having either property in it or possession of it? It was only seen in the reign of Alphonso V, by a gentleman of the name of Fernando Po, and without further conquest, either temporal or spiritual, this nation asserts its claim of direct sovereignty. How easy would it be for many needy wretches, now struggling with poverty, to make conquests in this manner, if whatever they see with their eyes they could claim as their property! The commissioner, therefore, who was named by the court of Portugal in 1778, ought rather to have invited the Spaniards to undertake the con est of the island of Fernando Po, either by force of arms or by fraud and cunning, than pretend to make a delivery and solemn
cession of an island in the name of his king, when that king could neither deliver nor cede that which was not his own.'— MS. Account, &c.
This reasoning is quite conclusive, and the document in question establishes two facts: first, that Spain, finding herself grossly imposed on, renounced all claim on the island, and broke off the treaty; and secondly, that Portugal had no claim to the island, by right of discovery or of possession.
On the northern part of the coast of Africa, by the personal exertions of the late General Turner-exertions which his nerous zeal pushed beyond the bearing even of a remarkably robust and vigorous frame-a blow has been struck against the slave traffic, which, if followed up by an equal degree of energy on the part of his successor in the government of Sierra Leone, eannot fail to be attended with the happiest results. The general ascended the rivers on which the slaves are usually embarked; protected and re-assured the honest trader and the industrious natives, but pursued with fire and sword those unfeeling wretches whose trade is to encourage rapine and murder among the innocent inhabitants as far as their influence can reach into the in: terior.
« The best information,' says the general, which I can collect, warrants my rating the number annually exported at not less than 15,000, all of whom will in future be employed in cultivating the soil, preparing and collecting articles of export, and improving their own condition por will the kings or head-men of these or the surrounding nations have, in future, any interest in carrying on those cruel and desolating wars which depopulated whole districts.'
He states that, in consequence of the treaty he had concluded with the neighbouring districts, the chiefs of the country embracing the two rivers Pongos and Nunez, ‘so celebrated for their slaving transactions,' had sent to him their voluntary offer to abolish for ever the slave-trade, (and others have since done the same,) on condition of receiving in return the protection of Great Britain, and the benefit of a free trade with our settlements; and he thus concludes his dispatch to Lord Bathurst:• Our name and influence are spreading with incredible rapidity throughout this part of Africa, and I have little doubt but I shall have the honour ere long to announce to your lordship the total abolition of the slavetrade for a thousand miles round me, and a tenfold increase to the trade of this colony.'
General Turner, we are bound to mention, partook of none of those gloomy ideas to which the unhealthiness and the mortality on the coast of Africa had, for some years ere his death took place, given prevalence—and which have not, to say the least of the matter, been weakened by the circumstances of this gallant and of the trade, will imitate the supineness of the ruling power. While these traffickers are swarming on every part of the coast, few, if any of them, are captured. The master of one of them, which was boarded by one of our cruizers, said he had been visited by a French ship of war before he took on board his cargo, the commander of which only told him to take care he did not fall in with him ou his coming out some ten days afterwards; as, if he did, he should be obliged to capture him: a friendly hint which, of course, was not lost upon the slave-dealer. Another slavecaptain says to his owner,
*M. La Traite (who commands the Hebe) gave me plainly to understand that he was not ignorant of my voyage, and told me at parting, "Be prudent, and look well about you." • There appears to be some ground, therefore, for the complaint of the Baron de Damas, “ that the officers of the navy are disposed to do their duty very reluctantly. But why are they so disposed? The reason is obvious enough-they meet with a degree of discouragement from the government and the civil authorities, which the spirits and the hardihood of a seaman can scarcely be expected to surmount. Yet one French officer at least has honestly done his duty. Captain Lachelier detained and sent to Senegal for adjudication several French slaving vessels, and among others three that were afterwards boarded by the Maidstone; but mark the issue—they were all liberated by the Court there, and, when very shortly afterwards met by our Commodore, Bullen, they had already audaciously returned to complete their adventure.
The law, therefore, as it now stands, is either inadequate to the object, or there is a secret understanding that it is not meant to be acted upon. In truth, it is a mockery of common sense to proclaim a traffic to be unlawful, and to punish the offender with confiscation of the vessel only, while neither infamy nor corporal punishment attaches to the individual, and while he knows that the profits of one successful voyage will more than compensate him for the losses he may sustain in two, by the capture of his ships. France objects to a mutual right of search, and to the capture of her ships actually engaged in the slavetrade, because, forsooth, such a concession would militate against the honour of her flag—strange notions of honour, that can suffer the French flag not only to protect a trade which France has declared to be infamous and illegal, but to give security and protection to the wretches of other countries engaged in the trade who may chuse to display it! France, however, may rest assured that even her flag would not be dishonoured in assisting the British Aag in the work of extending humanity to the African race. In point of fact, the privileged pirates under the French flag