Imatges de pÓgina

elapsed since their introduction into the colony, and partly according to the character and opportunities of each individual,) from the enterprising trader, skilful mechanic, or industrious farmer, supporting himself and his family in comfort, and performing respectably his social, and even religious duties, to the almost brutish state of the recently liberated captive.

Of these 10,000 Africans, all, excepting those who may yet be too young to labor, or who may have been too recently introduced into the colony to be able as yet to reap the fruits of their labors, maintain themselves by their own industry, chiefly in the cultivation of farms of their own. Making due allowance for previous habits, and the difficulties arising from difference of language, they are found to be as susceptible of moral and intellectual culture as any people whatever.

In the month of October last, the schools in the colony contained 1237 scholars, whose advancement in knowledge was satisfactory to their instructers and to the Government; and it is said that a great eagerness existed among them to avail themselves of the means of instruction within their reach. The general conduct of the liberated captives has been such as to merit the approbation and confidence of their governors; and not a few have already so far improved their advantages as to be capable of discharging such subordinate judicial functions as jurors, constables, &c. &c.

From the foundation of the colony, indeed, these functions have been almost exclusively discharged by Africans; and Sierra Leone exhibits the important example of a community of black men, living as freemen, enjoying the benefits of the British Constitution, maintaining themselves by the ordinary pursuits of cominerce, agriculture, or some mechanical art, fulfilling their various social and civil relations by the means only of such sanctions as the administration of British law and the precepts of charity impose upon them, and gradually improving, by means of schools and other institutions, in knowledge and civilization.

“ A population of 10,000 freemen," observes Dr. Hogan, the Chief Judge of the colony, in a letter dated in October, 1816, collected upon one spot, so favorably situated, and guided and governed with a view to such noble and ennobling objects, forms too grand a stride in the moral march of human affairs, not to fix the attention of an enlightened observer. I take this colo. ny, then, as it is; and looking steadily to the great objects which it was, from its first settlement, intended to promote, ain well content."

He afterwards adds, that, with so much to deplore as there necessarily must be in a population such as has been described, he distinctly perceives “all the priacipal elen.ents of social order and effectual civilization in existence and vigor, requiring only the care of a skilful hand to mould them into form, and to collect from them the early fruits of a successful and rapid cultivation."

1 he case of Sierra Leone has been adduced chiefly for the purpose of showing that the African character is susceptible of improvement and civili: zation, in a degree perhaps not inferior to any other. It was in that part of the coast adjoining to Sierra Leone that the slave trade was, for a time, most effectually extinguished; and the consequence of that suspension of the slave trade was a very considerable increase of innocent commerce, and particularly of the export of rice; of that article considerable quantities were carried, during the peninsular war, to Portugal and Spain; and many cargoes have also been carried to Madeira, Teneriffe, and the West Indies. The trade in rice was one which might have been indefinitely extended, provided

the slave trade had not revived. There is reason to fear that its revival may destroy in the bud this promising branch of commerce.

Query 17. State what measures are now in progress for the improvement of Africa, and how they are likely to be affected by the continuance or discontinuance of this trade, partially or generally?

Answer 17. This question has received a partial answer above.

Sierra Leone, and its immediate neighborhood, may be considered as the only part of the African coast where plans of improvement can be pursued without immediately encountering the malignant influence of the slave trade. It is almost necessary, therefore, to confine within that sphere, at least for the present, the direct efforts made for the civilization and improvement of Africa. Even the establishment formed in the Rio Pongas for the instruction of the natives, it is feared, must be withdrawn, in consequence of the revival of the slave trade.

At Sierra Leone, between 12 and 1300 African youths of both sexes, most of them rescued from the holds of slave ships, are now under instruction. These have been brought to Sierra Leone from all parts of Africa, from Senegal to Benguela, so that there is scarcely a language spoken in that extensive range of coast, which is not spoken by some of the Sierra Leone colonists.

In instructing these liberated captives, the views of their bencfactors are by no means confined to the benefits which they themselves may derive from the instruction afforded them, but extend to the possibility that individuals may hereafter arise from among them, who may convey to their own native regions that light which they have acquired at Sierra Leone.

Query 18. Is there any reason to apprehend that the contraband trade may become extensive in time of peace, even on the coast North of the linc, where so considerable a progress had been made to suppress the slave trade generally, if some decisive measures are not adopted by the Powers conjointly to repress the same?

Answer 18. There is the strongest reason to apprehend this consequence. Indecd, the cvent here only supposed possible, is actually, at this moment, matter of history.

Query 19, 20. Has it not been found that the trade is conducted with peculiar inhumanity and waste of life by these illicit traders? State the instances that have latterly occurred to illustrate the fact.

Answer 19, 20. Undoubtedly. The slave ships are now crowded to excess, and the mortality is dreadful. The following are some of the instances which have come to our knowledge:

1. The Venus Havannera, under Spanish colors, of the burden of about 180 tons, carried off from the river Bonny 550 slaves. When captured on her passage to the Havana, and carried into Tortola, the mortality was found to have amounted to 120,

2. 'La Manella, a ship of the burden of 272 tons, sailed under the Spanish flag, and took on board, in the river Bonny, 642 slaves. l'he deaths on the passage to the West Indies, previous to her capture, amounted to 140.

3. The Gertrudes, a ship sailing under the Spanish flag, took on board upwards of 600 slaves. This ship was taken while yet on the African coast, and brought to Sierra Leone for adjudication. But, notwithstanding the short time that had elapsed since the slaves were taken on board, such was the dreadful state of crowding, that about 200 dieil before the ship was brought in, or within a short time after her arrival; many, even of those who survived, were so much debilitated by their sufferings, as never to be likely to enjoy sound health.

4. Nueva Constitucion, a vessel under the Spanish flag, of only 30 tons burden, had on board 81 slaves; but, having been brought in within a few days after the slaves had been taken on board, the bad effects ivhich must have followed such a state of crowding, on a very long passage, were prevented.

5. The Maria Primeira, a ship under Portuguese colors, took on board upwards of 500 slaves. This number was reduced to 403, in consequence of extreme crowding, before she was brought into Sierra Leone; and nearly 100 more died soon after, in consequence of the diseases contracted on board.

6. Portuguese brig San Antonio, of 120 tons, took on board 600 slaves; when captured, although she had only sailed 80 leagues, 30 slaves had already died, and many more were found to be in a dying state, and died soon after. The capturing officer took 150 of the slaves on board his own ship, to prevent the almost universal mortality he apprehended. When he first went on board the slave ship he found a dead body, in a state of absolute putridity, lying among the sick.

7. The Spanish ship Carlos, under 200 tons burden, took on board 512 negroes, in addition to a crew consisting of 84. About so slaves had died previous to her capture, and the rest were in a most deplorable state. Many more instances might be added; but these may be considered as exhibiting the ordinary rate of mortality on board the ships engaged in the illicit slave trade.

Query 21. What has been the general influence, observable on the interior of Africa, by the successive acts of abolition on the part of different States?

Answer 21. Very little is known of the interior of Africa, or of the moral or political changes which take place there. Our knowledge is almost entirely confined to the banks of navigable rivers, and to the line of the sea coast. There, indeed, the influence has been very observable, of all the variations in the policy of European nations in respect to the slave trade; and, perhaps, some corresponding effect may be assumed to be produced in the interior regions, which are removed from observation. Many proofs might be given of the evil effects produced on the coast of Africa by the vacillation and uncertainty which has attended the measure of abolition. And, if any truth be more than another fully demonstrated by experience, with respect to Africa, it is this: that, without an effective abolition of the slave trade by all the Powers of Europe, it will be in vain to expect the development of the immense agricultural and commercial faculties of that continent; or that, except in very partial instances, the many millions of men by whom it is peopled should rise a single step in the scale of civilization above their present degraded level.

Query 22. What do you conccive would be the particular effect of an abolition of the slave trade on the part of Spain?

Answer 22. An abolition on the part of Spain would at once deliver the whole of Northern Africa from the slave trade, provided effectual measures were taken to seize and punish illicit traders. The Spanish flag being now the only flag that can show itself in Northern Africa, engaged in the slave trade, the beneficial effects of such an arranger.ont may be inferred from what has been already said.

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Another effect would be this: No slave trade would be lawful but what was found moving in the line between Southern Africa and the Brazils; and no slave trader, therefore, could navigate any part of the Atlantic North of the equator; so that the risk of smuggling into the West India islands would be greatly increased.

By the prolongation of the Spanish slave trade, on the contrary, not only is the whole of Northern Africa, which would otherwise be exempt, given up to the ravages of that traffic, and the progress already made in improvement sacrificed, but facilities are afforded of smuggling into every island of the West Indies, which could not otherwise exist, and which, while slave ships may lawfully pass from Africa to Cuba and Porto Rico, it would perhaps be impossible to prevent.

Query 23. What amount of slaves do the Portuguese import annually into the kingdom of Brazil?

Answer 23. The number has been estimated at from 20,000 to 30,000 annually.

December, 1816.


Annex C to the Protocol of the Conference of the 4th of February, 1818. Answers from Sierra Leone to the queries of Viscount Castlereagh, dated

April, 1817. Query 6. What is the present extent and nature of the contraband trade in slaves?

Answer 6. For some time past, especially after the settlement was formed in the Gambia, and previous to the recent transfer of Senegal and Goree to France, the contraband slave trade was confined to the part of the coast Southward of the river Sherbro, in latitude seven degrees North, with the exceptiou of a few vessels which now and then took off slaves from Bisa sao, and the trade carried on in the Rio Pongas.

The expedition in 1814 crushed the trade in the Rio Pongas for two years; but as many of the Rio Pongas traders have settled in the Havana, they have, since their recovery from that shock, returned to it with more eagerness and rapacity than ever.

From Sherbro and the Gallinas to Cape Appolonia, a most extensive, and, by far, the most abominable slave trade is carried on: in this district the practice of kidnapping the natives who go off in canoes is chiefly pursued: the vessels employed for this part of the coast are generally under the Spanish flag, but connected with former and present slave factors on that part of the coast.

It is supposed that very little, if any, slave trade is carried on between Cape Appolonia and Popo, where the Portuguese factories commence; and from which place to their most Southern settlements, a very extensive trade is carried on.

It is generally carried on in large schooners and brigs, well armel and manncd; and from the circumstance of slaves being cheaper on the coast than whilst the slave trade was permitted by Great Britain and America, and from the risks run in each voyage, they crowd their vessels to an inhuman and destructive degrer.

The vessels are chosen for their force and swiftness, without the least regard to the accommodation or the comforts of the slaves; and the persons chosen to man and command these vessels are certainly far more celebrated for their ferocity and daring spirit than for their humanity.

There can be no doubt but that a very great proportion of the slaves carried from the coast are fairly purchased from the factories by the slave captains, however unjustly they may have come into the possession of the factors; still it is equally notorious that the Havana traders do, whenever there is an opportunity, kidnap and carry off the free natives.

Query 7. By what description of persons, under what flags, upon what part of the coast, and for the supply of what market, is this illicit irade carried on?

Answer 7. The greatest part of, indeed nearly the entire slave trade, on the Windward Coast, is carried on by vessels fitted out from the Havana, and other ports in the island of Cuba, though many vessels come for slaves from old Spain and Teneriffe, but their ulterior destination is ostensibly for the Havana.

Several vessels have been fitted out from France, as the “ Rodeur," from Nantes; and from the French West India islands, as the “Louis."

Though the settlements of Senegal and Goree have been delivered up so very lately to France, yet there is a very active and extensive slave trade already carrying ou from those places and the adjacent countries. Some of the vessels are from France, some from Teneriffe; and there can be no doubt but that this last mentioned place, from its vicinity to these settlements, will, in a very short time, become the depot for vessels intended to be employer in this trade on the Windward Coast.

From experience in the trade, it has now become the practice to have their vessels manned, &c. as much as possible, with Spanish subjects, and the voyage under the control of a Spaniard. But this is far from being universally the case. It has been clearly proved, in many instances, that the property was not Spanish: for instance, the Dolores proved to be English; the Paz, English and American; the Theresa, English and French; the Trionphante, Portuguese, &c. with many others; besides the vessels sent out by several English subjects resident in the Havana.

The Alexander and Triumverata were both the command of Anierican subjects, and came directly from North America to the coast, though documented with Spanish papers from the Spanish consuls residing in ports from whence they sailed.

The exertions of Captain Irby and Captain Scobell induced the Portuguese traders to confine themselves to their own factories in the Bight of Benin, or rather to those parts of the Bight which are considered as Portuguese.

With the exception of those places, where I fancy little but Portuguese slave trading is carried on, the greatest part of that trade, from Sherbro to Cape Appollonia, and among the rivers on the coast, as well as at Cape Formosa and Gaboon, is under the Spanish flag; and there is every reason to believe that three-fourths of the slaves carried from the coast North of the line (except by the Portuguese in the Bight of Benin) are procured in the extensive rivers of Calabar, Cameroons, Bonny, Gaboon, &c.

A very extensive Portuguese slave trade is carried on in the Bight of Benin and Biafra, especially about Popo, Whydaw, and the Cameroon; and those vessels wishing to trade in slaves from the Gaboons and the places adjoining, lie at Cape Lopez, in about one degree South, and send their large launches to

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