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merce; religious knowledge was slowAFRICA, DEGRADED EUROPE, AND ly, but progressively extending; and AFFLICTED HUMANITY*;" but who, the demand for slaves, and the imwith a callous insensibility and atro- portation of arms and ammunition, cious insincerity, incredible, unless having simultaneously ceased, the confirmed by a proofs as strong as wars of the petty chiefs in the inteholy writ,” have continued to wink rior, for the purpose of kidnapping, at, countenance, or secretly partici- and carrying to the coast, the subpate in the detestable gains of this jects of their rivals, had also, in a inhuman commerce, in the face of great measure, terminated. An extheir spontaneous Declaration at the tensive and promising trade in palmCongress of Vienna, the repeated and oil, ivory, gold-dust, &c. had comearnest remonstrances of our Govern- menced, especially with this country; ment, and subsequent Treaties, enter- and the wisdom and sound policy of ed into, it would seem, for no other the Abolition had begun to be felt, purpose than to lull asleep the vigi- even by those who had been most lant humanity of the British Nation, hostile to the measure, and upon and enable Contraband Slave-traders, whom the principles of Justice and those “ Hostes humani generis,” to Humanity, when urged as argucarry on a traffic unparalleled in atro. ments in its favour, had failed to city and crime!
make any impression. In the memorable year 1807, In due time, however, the RevoGreat Britain and America respec- lutionary Government of France was tively enacted laws, entirely prohibit- overturned, and peace restored to ing and abolishing the Slave Trade, Europe and the world; but, unhapin all its branches; and three years pily for suffering Africa, this event, after, Portugal consented “to pre- though an unspeakable blessing to the scribe local limits to her share of the other nations of the earth, proved the traffic, in that part of the African commencement of a renewed traffic Continent which lies to the north of in human flesh, more ferocious and the Equator t.” Aided by the belli- inhuman in its character, and attendgerent right of search, at that time ed with a more fearful complication rigorously enforced by Great Britain, of crime and misery, than had ever a partial cessation of the Slave Trade been known in the worst periods that took place along a very large portion preceded the era of the Abolition in of the African coast, and scarcely any 1807. The Sovereigns and Ministers, traces of it remained, from the estab- met in Congress at Vienna, publishlishment at Senegal, to the Gold ed, it is true, a Rescript, denouncing Coast, an extent of about 1400 miles. this abominable commerce, in the During this interval of repose, every strongest language, as odious in it. plea which had formerly been ur self, and highly repugnant to the ged by the abettors of the Slave principles of religion and nature,” Trade, both within and without the and mutually binding themselves, walls of Parliament, was refuted by and their respective Governinents, to facts. The western shores of Nor enact such measures as would speedthern Africa assuined a new and ily ensure its complete and final aboanimating aspect. Secured against lition. The result, however, has but the inroads of slave-factors and their too conclusively demonstrated, that banditti, the people began to turn this famous Declaration was merely their attention to industry and come intended to throw dust in the eyes of
Pamphlet addressed to the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, by T. Clarkson, Esq. * Notwithstanding this “ consent" on the part of Portugal, it was not till the 22d of January 1815 that that Power bound itself, by Treaty, to abolish the Slave Trade to the north of the Equator, nor till the 28th of July 1817 that it stipulated, within two months after the ratification of the Treaty which was to take place on the 28th of November following, to“ promulgate a law prescribing the punishment to be inflicted on such of his subjects as should in future participate in the illicit traffic of slaves." This law, however, was not promulgated till nearly a year after, and might as well have never been promulgated at all, as not a single provision contained in it has ever been enforced, in any one instance, by the Portuguese authorities !!
the friends of humanity throughout a respectable Parisian Journal * , Europe, by whose strenuous and unit- the trade continues to be carried on ed exertions, the Revolutionary Go- openly, and without the least disvernment of France had been mainly guise, even to this hour; vessels are everthrown,-and that any ulterior publicly fitted out, and Slave Adlegislative measures, calculated effec- ventures undertaken, at Havre, Hontually to check this enormous evil, fleur, and other places ; nor have were never seriously contemplated, the French Authorities, in any one either by Russia, France, Spain, or instance, interfered to put a stop to Portugal. No sooner, indeed, had those nefarious speculations, or to peace been restored, and the belli- bring the criminals, whose convicgerent right of search necessarily dis-' tion would have been easy, to juscontinued by the British cruisers, tice! During the ten years that elapthan the slave-traders renewed their sed between the Abolition of the diabolical operations, with an appe- Slave Trade, and the restoration of tite sharpened by long abstinence. the Settlements at Senegal and In particular, the slave-merchants of Goree to France, no part of Africa, France, who, from the peculiar posi- Sierra Leone excepted, had been so tioa of that country in relation to little affected with this mighty evil Great Britain, had, for twenty years as thèse Settlements, and the Counand upwards, been excluded from tries in their more immediate viciany share in this murderous com- nity. The transfer to France took merce, immediately recommenced it place in January 1817, and the with incredible vigour and barbarity; Trade almost immediately appeared and, notwithstanding the Declaration in a more malignant and ferocious at Vienna, and the pledge given in' form than ever. A single year was the Definitive Treaty of the 30th sufficient to destroy all the good that November, 1815,—notwithstanding had been done in ten t, and to the subsequent Ordonnances du Roi, plunge the whole adjacent country, ostensibly prohibiting all commerce to a great extent, in bloodshed and in slaves,-notwithstanding the re- rapine. Gangs of armed plunderers peated and earnest remonstrances of went forth on all sides. Towns and our Government, pointing out the villages were encompassed in the daring infractions of the Treaty of night, set on fire, and the poor 1815, and of the subsequent Ordon- wretches, who fled from the confianances, and recommending the in- gration of their dwellings, dragged fliction, if not of a peine infanrante, off manacled to the Négreries on the at least of a peine correctionelle, on coast, to be sold to the first slave vesall French subjects who should be sel from the West Indies. Nor are convicted of slave - dealing,--not- these savage practices confined to the withstanding the repeated assur districts in question ; the Trade is ances of French statesmen, that mea- extending itself in every direction ; sures would be taken to bring con- and the cupidity of the native despots, victed offenders to justice,-notwith- roused and inflamed by the example standing the publication of a most of the more barbarian French slaveremarkable case of slave-trading in factors, and by the high price given
The case alluded to is that of Rodeur, Boucher, master, of which we will have occasion to speak in the sequel, and the account of which first appeared in a work entitled, “ Bibliothéque Opthalmologique, ou Recueil d'Observations sur les Maladies des Yues, faites à la Clinique de l'Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles, par M. Guillie, Directeur General et Medicin en Chef de l'Institution Royale de Paris : Avec des Notes, par M. M. Dupuytren, Pariset, &c.”
How soon the resumption of the Slave Trade caused itself to be perniciously selt on the commerce carried on with the Natives, will appear by the Comparative Statements of Duties collected at the Colony of Sierra Leone. The amount of duties collected from Jan. 1, to Dec. 31, 1818, was £.5124.1.3: from Jan. 1, to Dec. 31, 1819, they had fallen to £.4656.2.0f ; making a decrease in the year 1819 of £467,19,2). We have not seen the returns for 1820; but we have heard the de. fcit was still greater than that of the previous year, with every prospect of still farther declension !
for human beings on the Coast, has haps, impossible. But what proves carried, and is still carrying farther to even more than demonstration—if and farther, fire, sword and desolation, more were possible--the unblushing into the Provinces of Central Africa. hypocrisy and utter faithlessness of “ But France,” says Sir George Col- the French Government in all their lier, in his very able Report, " but declarations, ordonnances, and mockFrance, it is with the deepest regret measures, for the suppression of the I mention it, has countenanced and Slave Trade; and that, instead of beencouraged the Slave Trade, almost ing discountenanced, it is secretly beyond estimation or belief. Under encouraged by it, is the undoubted pretence of supplying her own Colo- fact, that all their local functionaries nies, and furnishing only the means on the Coast of Africa are personally required for their cultivation, she has interested in every cargo of slaves her flag protected, and British crui- shipped off for the West-India Islands, sers can only retire when they shall being either actual partners in the see her ensign : for search being for- adventure, or receiving a certain sum bidden, power and force become un for their countenance and protection ; availing. Under this security, France and that one individual, to whom is engrossing nearly THE WHOLE OF such infamousconnection was brought THE SLAVE TRADE, and she has ex home by irresistible evidence, was tended this traffic beyond what can punished, by being forced to retire on be supposed, but by one who has wit a liberal pension !!! Well, therefore, nessed it. I exaggerate nothing in may we lament, in terms of the Resaying, that thirty vessels, bearing solutions lately submitted to Parliathe colours of Frunce, have nearlyout ment, that a nation, “eminently fathe same time, and within tuo or three voured by Providence with natural degrees of distance, been employed advantages, and among the very foreslaving, without my daring to offer most in all the distinctions and eninterruption, but at considerable risk. joyments of civilized life, should apI will add, that in the last twelve pear to be the CHIEF AGENT in blastmonths, (1820,) NOT LESS THAN ing the opening prospects of civilizaSIXTY THOUSAND
tion, which even Africa had begun to HAVE BEEN FORCED FROM THEIR present, and in prolonging the misery COUNTRY, PRINCIPALLY UNDER THE and barbarism of that vast ContiCOLOURS OF FRANCE, most of whom nent * have been distributed between the After a great deal of negociation, islands of Martinique, Guadaloupe, Spain was at last induced to decree and Cuba.” Were not these, and the final abolition of the Slave Trade many similar facts, as notorious as in all her colonies and dependencies, the sun, and even reluctantly admit- from and after the 30th of May 1820; ted by the French Ministers them- and Portugal, which had refused to selves, when our Ambassador was accede to the Declaration of the Condirected by his Government to re gress of Vienna, anathematising this monstrate against such enormous and execrable traffic, was likewise inunheard-of violations of Treaty, they duced, by the Treaty of the 28th of might well seem incredible, cr, per- July 1817, ratified on the 28th of
In his admirable Speech on the occasion of Mr Wilberforce's Motion, Sir James Mackintosh states, that when his noble friend the Duc de Broglie brought the question of the Slave Trade before the l'rench Legislature, and introduced to them the cases of the Rodeur and Jeune Estelle (of which more in the sequel) and which, " by a singular fatality, appeared to comprise in themselves an epitome of all the misery and wretchedness that were spread over the whole system of the Slave Trade," " he was openly reproached by the Minister of Finance for referring to the Treaties of 1814 and 1815, because they were an-tinational, because they were ratified under unfortunate auspices ! The Minister of Finance charged him with not being a Frenchman, because he was not a supporter of the Slave Trade ! The Minister of Finance declared, that he was not a friend to his country, because he contended that her flag ought not to cover robbery and murder ! The Minister of Finance reprobated his policy, because he was the advocate of humanity and justice because he defended those principles which it was the greatest and best interest of every country to defend ! En dextra fidcsque !"
November the same year, to suffer Spanish, or Dutch functionaries. herself to be bribed by the conditional With the exception of that establishpromise of certain commercial ad- ed at Sierra Leone, and more immevantages *, to abolish the Slave Trade diately under British influence, all to the north of the Line, and to co the Commission-Courts have been operate with Great Britain, Spain, totally useless ; not a single condemand the Netherlands, in establishing nation having taken place, either at mixed Commission-Courts at Sierra Rio Janeiro, the Havannah, or SuriLeone, and to determine and de- nam, up to the date of the latest incide on all cases of slaving-ships de- formation laid before the Committee tained under the qualified right of in May 1821. This has been prosearch, which had also been stipula- duced chiefly by two causes, viz. the ted for, and acceded to, by the sever want of British cruizers in those parts, al Powers just mentioned. The in- where, nevertheless, the Slave Ì'rade structions issued to these Commis- is carried on to an extent almost insioners do not appear to have been credible, as will appear by and by ; very definite or precise ; but if they and the countenance, and even unbad served no other purpose, except disguised protection, afforded to the to bring to light the numerous and traffic by the Commissioners, and flagrant violations of Treaty commit- other functionaries of Spain, Portuted by the subjects of each of the gal, and the Netherlands. Nay, even contracting parties, and thereby to in Sierra Leone difficulties of no comdestroy every plea of ignorance, and mon magnitude have occurred. The every pretence of subterfuge or eva- foreign part of the Court is by no sion, the appointment of these courts means hearty in the cause, as the case would be entitled to hold a distin- of Captain Leeke, afterwards to be deguished rank among those means tailed, will amply show; and “hard provided by Providence for checking swearing,” as it is called, or systemathe most monstrous and afflicting of tic perjury, being part of the profesall conceivable iniquities, ---means sion of a regular slave-dealer, the which we have no doubt will ulti. means of escape are multiplied by the mately be crowned with complete incredible obstructions thrown in the success, notwithstanding the base, way of proving facts as clear and nomalignant, sordid passions, by which torious as noon-day, and by the narthis glorious consummation is pre row construction which the foreign sently obstructed. These Courts were part of the Commission have almost furnished with a variety of interroga- invariably attempted to put upon the tories to be put to witnesses, and with provisions of the Treaty. various forms of declarations, certifi Of all the Powers who have procates, monitions, oaths, claims, de- fessed a desire to co-operate with this crees, and other judicial proceedings, country, in adopting effectual meawith power, when special points a sures for the suppression and abolirose not provided for in their in. tion of the Slave Trade, America astructions and official forms, to frame lone appears to be sincere, and to new interrogatories calculated to meet have practically and cordially secondthose particular points. When a ves ed our strenuous efforts for that pursel was condemned, she was to be pose. By an Act of Congress of the confiscated, and the slaves emanci- 20th April 1818, section 8th, it pated, and delivered over to the au- is enacted, “ That in all prosecuthorities of the country; a regular re tions under this Act, the defendant gistry of such emancipated slaves to or defendants shall be holden to prove, be made and kept by the Commis- that the negro, mulatto, or person of sioners. These Courts were to be colour, which he or they shall be established at Sierra Leone, Rio Ja- charged with having brought into neiro, the Havannah, and Surinam; the United States, or, with purchaseach Court being composed of an e- ing, holding, or selling, was brought qual number of British, Portuguese, into the United States at least five
There was some consolation that these advantages (estimated at between £100,000 and £500,000) had not been granted to her, since she had totally failed to perform what she promised.”—Mr Wilberforce's Speech 27th June 1822.
YEARS previous to the commence to sanction it in any shape, however ment of such prosecution, or was not qualified, still exists among the peobrought in, or otherwise disposed of, ple of the United States, from an contrary to the provisions of this absurd impression that it would, in Act.” This departure from the or some measure, countenance the beldinary principles of jurisprudence, in ligerent right of searching neutrals, a transferring the burden of proof from principle of international law which, the accused to the accuser, was a ma as is well known, America has alterial point gained, and, of itself a ways keenly and sensitively opposed. lone, would establish the desire of Now, if Great Britain claimed the the American Government to afford sole exercise of this right, there every facility to the conviction of
might, in that case, be good founpersons offending against the provi dation for those fears and jealousions of the Act, and the great prin sies. But it was proposed, from the ciple of the abolition. This is further very beginning, that the right should manifest from the tenor of an ad be equal and reciprocal. And when ditional Act, prohibiting the Slave Britain, the greatest Naval Power Trade, passed March 3, 1819, by upon earth, and certainly not the which the previous Acts are all de least jealous of any arrangement that clared to be in full force ; severe pe- , would compromise her maritime nalties superadded to those formerly rights, or establish a principle dangerenforced ; a bounty decreed to the ous to her naval superiority, proceedofficers and crews of the commission ed so far as to agree to permit vessels ed vessels of the United States, or trading under her flag, and suspected revenue-cutters, for every negro, mu of slave-dealing, to be searched, and, latto, or person of colour, delivered if need be, detained by the cruizers to the agent duly appointed to receive of Spain, Portugal, and the Netherthem; a reward to informers, over lands; and when it was always proand above the portion of the penal- posed to concede to America the fair, ties accruing to them by the other equal, and reciprocal exercise of the provisions of the Act; and a sum same right, there could surely exist not exceeding a hundred thousand no conceivable or tenable analogy bedollars, appropriated to carry this tween a right so qualified, and in the law into effect. Nor have the Ame exercise of which the contracting ricans contented themselves with le- parties were equally and reciprocally gislating merely. Cruizers have been to participate, and the sanction of sent to the coast of Africa—not like any belligerant principle justifying those of France, to wink at, counte one power in searching neutrals ;nance, or even protect the nefarious there could be no danger of establishcontrabandists, but to detain, and ing a principle of international law, carry to port for adjudication, every hostile to the maritime rights claimvessel, without distinction, bearing ed by the people of America ;-there the American flag, and found to have could not, in short, be any thing more slaves on board. In other respects,
absurd and unreasonable, than for too, they have zealously seconded America to bogle at a shadow, and the efforts of the British cruizers sta refuse her accession to a qualified tioned on that coast, and acting un principle, which, by her admission, der the Conventions with Spain, Por. would furnish a complete check to tugal, and the Netherlands. It is to an enormous iniquity abhorrent to be deeply regretted, however, that every doctrine upon which her free America has not yet acceded to the Government is founded, and to the principle of a qualified right of reci- sentiments and opinions of the great procal search, --a principle, without mass of her enlightened population. the adoption of which all others, What, indeed, can be a stronger inwhether viewed as preventive or pe- ducement to America to renounce nal, must in the issue prove wholly these unworthy prejudices, (for they nugatory. Last year, indeed, a Com are no better,) than the conclusive mittee appointed by the House of fact, admitted with shame by herself, Representatives recommended the a that in face of all the laws she has doption of this principle; but it passed, and the creditable exertions, would seem, that a strong repugnance of her ships of war on the African