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to offer the slightest proof of its falsehood; and when we call to mind the atrocious case of the Rodeur, which the French government so carefully endeavoured to conceal, we need not hesitate in believing any enormity from a French slave-dealer, whose crimes are not visited, if visited at all, with any severity of punishment. It is the character of this hateful traffic to deaden the feelings, and to harden and brutalize the heart.
'The captain,' observe the Directors of the African Institution, who, without necessity, throws overboard the goods of his employers, is visited with the whole vengeance of the law; but if he takes on board a greater number of negroes than his vessel can conveniently transport to her place of destination, and, as has lately happened, quietly casts the supernumeraries into the sea, the crime becomes alleviated, and he escapes with comparative, nay, with almost entire impunity.'
The petition from the abolitionists of Paris, presented in February last to the Chambers, is not so incredulous on this point as is the Baron de Damas. It states that
it is established by authentic documents, that the slave-captains throw into the sea every year about three thousand negros, men, women, and children; of whom more than half are thus sacrificed, whilst yet alive, either to escape from the visit of cruizers, or because, worn down by their sufferings, they could not be sold to advantage.'
Is it possible that a nation, calling itself enlightened, can tolerate such atrocious proceedings as these, and not attempt a remedy?-QUOUSQUE TANDEM.
If we turn to the opposite coast of Africa, we there find the French flag equally active, in conjunction with the Portugueze, in carrying on the same traffic. Captain Owen states, that in the port of Quiloa, he found seven vessels preparing their cargoes for Rio de Janeiro, one of which, of 600 tons, was to take on board 1,200 slaves; the annual number exported from Mozambique, he computes at 15,000, and from Quilliman, 10,000 more; and he adds that if one-third arrive safe, it is considered a good voyage.
At the Havannah, too, the French are not less actively engaged in the slave-trade than the Spaniards. It is stated by the commissioner, Mr. Kilbee, that in the year 1824, sixty vessels landed in Cuba upwards of 16,000 slaves; that of these ships a great number were French, and that, after disposing of their negroes on the island, they make it their usual practice to take on board a cargo of colonial produce for some of their own ports. The authorities of the colony take no notice of these arrivals, and their negligence is seconded by the connivance of the naval officers, and by the obstinate indolence of the government of Spain. Indeed the Captain-General declared, that copies of the additional articles to the treaty concluded in December, 1822, had never been trans
rous rivers that fall into the bights of Biafra and Benin; to sweep their banks of all the traffickers in slaves; and to protect the legitimate trader of all nations, who is at present continually exposed in these regions to insult in his person, and robbery of his property. From this quarter of the coast, we reckon that at least two-thirds of the slaves annually carried away from Africa, are shipped. The remaining third of the traffic, from the more northerly parts of the coast, might, in like manner, be effectually checked, by two other steam-boats, whose rendezvous might be either at Sierra Leone, or the Gambia, or both. The French have already two steam-boats to navigate the Senegal; and we should find them equally useful, even in a mercantile point of view, on the Gambia.
It is of the utmost importance that the slave-ships captured in the Bight of Benin should be brought in for adjudication as speedily as possible. The horrible state in which the poor wretches are found admits of no delay in liberating them from their dungeons of disease and death. The passage to Sierra Leone is from five to twelve weeks, and is frequently attended with great mortality. We will mention but one instance, in the present year. The Seguenda Rosalia, captured by the Athol, lost in her passage up to Sierra Leone eighty-two slaves, all of which, except ten or twelve, died of absolute starvation, the ship being eleven weeks on her passage. Such was their miserable condition that, for upwards of three weeks, their daily subsistence was a handful of farinha and black beans, with half a pint of water, which was served out by spoonfuls. Nothing of this kind could happen on our plan. A day or two at the most, from any situation in the two bights, would be sufficient to carry them to Fernando Po, where they might be employed in cutting down timber, preparing billets of wood for the steam-vessels, and clearing the ground for cultivation. In the present state of this island, the savage natives produce the finest yams perhaps in the world, and appear to possess abundance of fowls. A refreshing breeze constantly blows over the island from the Atlantic; it has plenty of good anchorage in more places than one, and abundance of clear running water; and it is so situated, as to overlook and command the whole Bight of Biafra and the numerous rivers that fall into it.
Thus might this beautiful but hitherto neglected island become the rendezvous of our merchant shipping employed in the African trade, and from hence might the rudiments of civilization be carried into the very heart of Africa. At present our merchants engaged in lawful commerce have no safe depôt for their goods; they are obliged to keep them on board ship till disposed of, and are therefore at the mercy of the native dealers; but this fine.
island is so situated, as to afford not only a secure but a convenient depôt.
We now know, by the enterprizing exertions of Clapperton, that a road is open to the fertile and populous districts of Central Africa; and who can doubt that commerce will find its way thither, and in its train carry with it those improvements in civilization which have hitherto been its invariable concomitants? The paltry trade at present carried on by the Arabs over the Great Desert would no longer be worth pursuing, and the few thousand negro victims, who are at present dragged across that dreary waste, would thus be annually saved from death and slavery. Though we do not imagine that any of the great rivers which flow into the Bights of Benin and Biafra proceed from Haussa, or that the much talked of Niger crosses the great and continuous chain of mountains which cost Mr. Clapperton five days in passing, but that they take their origin from the southern side of these mountains, yet it is evident that the slaves from the interior, after passing the chain, are marched down to the banks of these rivers for embarkation; and there can be little doubt, from their magnitude, that they are navigable by steam-boats to the very feet of the mountains. By the latest accounts from Clapperton he was at Katunga, on the borders of the Fellata country, situated in lat. 9° 12′ and long. 6° 10′ E., being on the same meridian nearly with Saccatoo, and the same parallel with the scene of Major Denham's disastrous engagement with the Fellatas; he had fallen in with no great river: the Kowarra, however, which was seventy miles west of Saccatoo, was described to him as running about thirty miles east of Katunga; which strengthens the probability of Denham's supposition that it joins the Shary, after skirting the northern feet of the mountains. Even in this case, the Kowarra or Niger might be made a most advantageous conveyance of mercantile commodities through the central and best parts of Africa, when once a communication has been opened between the seacoast and the dominions of Bello.*
We have heard, since this was printed, that the undaunted and indefatigable Clapperton had reached the capital of his friend Bello; and also that the consul of Tripoli had reported the safe arrival of Major Laing at Timbuctoo. We have indeed seen a letter from Mr. Houtsen, the merchant who accompanied Clapperton to Katunga, and who had returned to the coast, relating that, before his departure from that city, he had received intelligence that Clapperton, on his approach to the frontiers of Barghoo, which borders upon Bello's dominions, had been met by the sovereign of that country at the head of 500 horsemen, to conduct him to his capital. The letter states that it was highly probable Mr. Dickson, who had proceeded from Dahomey, was already at Saccatoo. We have now, therefore, every reason to hope that the interior of Northern Africa, beyond the Great Desert, will no longer remain a Terra Incognita, and the the information brought back by our intrepid travellers may be turned to the mutual advantage of their native country and of the long-suffering African; but, be the result
The expense of keeping a squadron constantly employed for the suppression of the slave-trade, the bounty of ten pounds per head paid for every slave captured, and the salaries and other ex-: penses of the Mixed Commission, which, all together, we should imagine, fall not far short of half a million a year; and, above all, the dreadful mortality, and, at the same time, the absolute insufficiency of an English squadron, to whatever extent it might be thought proper to increase it, for the execution of the object in view, so long as the French persevere in pursuing and encouraging the trade these, taken together, are sufficient grounds, in our opinion, for making the experiment of a change of system; that is to say, for abandoning the attempt to abolish the trade by attacking it on the ocean or at the mouths of the rivers; and, in place of this, ascending the rivers into the interior, by armed steam-boats of a light draft of water, and thus cutting off all communication between the slave-hunters and the slave-factors.
We have before us a manuscript account of a transaction between Spain and Portugal respecting Fernando Po, which, shows that neither of these powers has any claim to the possession of that island; and, consequently, that it is open to any. power to negociate with the natives for a settlement upon it.
In the year 1778 the Portugueze ceded the islands of Annabon and Fernando Po by treaty to Spain; and in the same year the Spaniards sent out an expedition to take possession of them. The men, ere they reached these regions, were sorely worn down by disease, occasioned by delay, and by want of provisions and medicines; a party were landed in a debilitated state on Fernando Po, and the rest proceeded to Annabon, where, being well received by the natives, the Spanish flag was hoisted, Te Deum sung, and mass said. Here, however, as soon as the natives discovered that the Spaniards were come as lords and masters, not simply as visitors and friends, they, by the advice of a black priest, refused, in the most positive terms, to allow the strangers, to take possession of the island. The commander of the Portugueze frigate, which accompanied the expedition, wished them to land troops and compel the natives to submit; but this the Spanish commander would not allow, as he had the positive orders of his sovereign only to accept of their voluntary submission, and to avoid all contest; they therefore re-embarked and set sail for the island of St. Thomas; and from thence proceeded to Fernando Po, where it had been resolved to form a settlement in
what it may, the various expeditions that have been sent forth with the view of gaining intelligence and promoting the interests of humanity, will form lasting evidence of the enlightened and disinterested spirit of the British government under the colonial admi→ nistration of the Earl Bathurst.
opinion, that they consider the slave-trade as an honourable and legitimate branch of commerce; and so little horror is felt at the enormities which are constantly occurring, that nothing is more common than for ladies to take shares in an Ebony adventure; we find indeed that, in one capture alone, were four female consignees. We have also discovered, among the papers before us, that the amiable Donna Maria de Cruz, daughter of the governor of Princess Island, of whom we had occasion once before to make honourable mention, is still engaged in carrying on the traffic, though in a small way. The Victor sloop of war fell in with and captured a schooner-boat belonging to this paragon of her sex, called the Maria Pequina. Her burden was five tons; she had taken on board, in the river Gaboon, besides her crew, water, and provisions, twenty-three slaves, six of whom had already died; they were stowed in a space between the water-casks and the deck, of eighteen inches in height; and Lieutenant Scott reports that, when he seized her, the remaining negroes were in a state of actual starvation.
The Diana, another Portugueze vessel, was also captured by the Victor.
"Of all the vessels I was on board of,' says Captain Woolcombe, this was in the most deplorable condition; the stench, from the accumulation of dirt, joined to that of so many human beings packed together in a small space (the men all ironed in pairs) was intolerable. To add to the scene of misery, the small-pox had broken out among them; nine died before we took possession, and one almost immediately after our first boat got alongside.'
The Two Brazilian Friends,' one of thirteen vessels which sailed about the same time from Bahia, had 257 slaves on board:
Its filthy and horrid state,' says Commodore Bullen, beggars all description; many females were far advanced in pregnancy, and several had infants from four to twelve months of age; all were crowded together in one mass of living corruption; and yet this vessel had not her prescribed complement by nearly one hundred.'
The Aviso,' when captured, had 465 slaves on board, of whom thirty-four died almost immediately. The Commodore describes this vessel as in a most crowded, filthy and wretched condition, although she had on board 120 less than her passport from the Emperor Don Pedro authorized her to carry. She had only twenty days provisions on board, and less water, for a voyage to Bahia. The Bella Eliza was privileged for 368 slaves; she had taken on board 381, of whom twenty-two died before they reached Sierra Leone; the passage was seven weeks, and such was the state of suffering from want of water and provisions, that in two days more, it is stated, all hands must have perished. In the first