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No. 42.-Her Majesty's Commissioners to the Earl of Clarendon. (Received March 4.)


Havana, January 31, 1857. WE have the honour of laying before your Lordship a statement of the slaves which have been landed in Cuba during the past year, 1856, of which violations of Treaty reliable intelligence has been received by us, the statement showing also the numbers captured by the Spanish Government officers; and we regret to say that the list proves that the Slave Trade continues to be carried on not only extensively, but almost with impunity, since of so large a number as 5,478, known to have been landed, only 54 have been captured, and of these 49 were seized upon information given by an agent of the Consul-General, who traced them to an estate, where he denounced them to the authorities.

The Slave Trade, it appears, is now attended with less risk than it used to be, as the system of cedulas is so imperfectly carried into execution that it has been converted into a means of protecting the recently landed negroes. These cedulas, issued by this Government, were meant to have operated as a complete registration of all the slaves, and would have answered that purpose if the law had been enforced which made it compulsory that every slave should be furnished with a cedula within a period prescribed. The want of such ticket was punishable by fine, and after the expiry of a certain. time all those slaves who were not provided with the protective cedula were to be forfeited; but we have seen, first, that there were only 317,000 cedulas issued the first six months, and 366,000 the second half-year, after the law came into operation; and, afterwards, it has come to our knowledge that the greatest abuses have been practised with regard to the issues of the cedulas, which have been obtained by the slave-traders and have been made use of to protect their Bozal negroes, who are at once furnished with those documents, with certificates of baptism, and with passes as from one part of the island to another, so that being provided with every requisite, they are landed from a coaster or "guira" (launch), which takes them from the slaver at some previously concerted point of rendezvous. With a little gratification to the local authority they are passed, and the transaction is complete; the newly-introduced African being provided with everything necessary for his purchaser's protection, is consequently worth more than he would have been without such protective requisites, and the slave-trader gets back, in the so increased value of the negro, the amount he had to pay to the officials and the priests, the price of their dishonour and venality.

The outfits for slave-trading by vessels from hence under the flag of Spain have been but few. The slave-traders find it less dangerous, and in other respects more advantageous, to purchase vessels, fit them out, and sail from The United States; the agents for such adventures have of late been chiefly Portuguese, who undertake the business in the States and are also agents for the slave-dealers in Africa; they, therefore, can with certainty direct the vessels to the factories on the coast, timing their arrival so as that, everything being ready, there is no detention, and consequently less risk of capture by the cruizers of the African squadron.

The vessels purchased in The United States for these expeditions are generally of little value, and are usually destroyed as soon as their miserable cargoes have been landed. They clear out from the States as Americans; sometimes they are transferred after their arrival at the coast of Africa, and the American papers are withdrawn, but the flag is retained and used whenever they are fallen in with by Her Majesty's cruizers, as a baulk; but it is probable that

no papers of any kind would be found on board: and the abuses which are practised under the pretended immunity assumed for the flag of The United States, by the parties who are engaged in the Slave Trade, are such as to call for some practical arrangement that would be consistent with the national dignity and the humane views of both Governments upon this important subject.

Many years have elapsed since any slaver having slaves on board has been captured and brought into this port, and all the time Slave Trade has been carried on to a considerable extent. It is true that there have not been a great many cruizers employed for its suppres sion, and it is also true that because of the other demands of the service, it has not been possible for the Commanders-in-chief of the West India Station to detach any of the smaller vessels at certain seasons of the year to the coast of Cuba; but this important branch of the Admiral's and Commodore's attention has not been neglected, and officers of the greatest zeal and ability, who were very successful on the coast of Africa, and have been in the command of cruizers along the coast of Cuba, have not succeeded in capturing a single slaver.

We would respectfully beg leave to submit to your Lordship our opinion, that the class of vessels is unsuitable, and that cruizers for prevention of the Slave Trade around this island should be of much less draught of water than the brig-sloops which have been employed in that service, drawing fourteen feet water and upwards. Vessels of that class, up to the year 1840, were found to be effective, and made frequent captures of slavers with slaves on board. But at that time, not only were the slavers more numerous, but the Trade was carried on with much less cunning and arrangement than it has been since.

At present, and for some time past, the slave-vessels manage to land their cargoes, either direct from on board, or by transferring them to coasting craft or launches at some given point, which is preconcerted, but the disembarkation is effected inside the cays or reefs which surround the island, where vessels drawing seven to ten feet of water only can go, and where not only the brigs could not follow a slaver, but where the slaver cannot be seen from the cruizer whilst engaged in the violation of the law and of the Treaty.

We would suggest the expediency of the Lords of the Admiralty taking into their superior consideration the employment of vessels of such draught of water as that they could follow the slavers through the passages between the cays and inside of them, and of the reefs; that the number of cruizers should be sufficient to watch the whole coast of Cuba; and that the vigilance of the Commanders should be directed not only to vessels from foreign, but to the coasters and island craft, the coasting steamers of the Colony inclusive, by

which latter Bozal negroes are very frequently conveyed from the ports in the neighbourhood of their landing places.

The abuses to which the cedulas have given rise call for the immediate attention of Her Majesty's Government, and they ought either to be abolished, and some other effective measure for a complete registration of the slaves be adopted, or else the regulation as to the cedulas should be rigorously enforced and followed up by occasional musters of the slaves throughout the island.

But your Lordship will easily understand that there is no very great disposition on the part of this Government to do anything that might operate to lessen the amount of labour which is necessary to the prosperity of the island, and that, therefore, the enforcement of any regulation which would have that effect can hardly be expected, and consequently our hopes of putting an end to the Slave Trade are limited to our own exertions, and to the energy of our measures of prevention.

The Earl of Olarendon.


(Inclosure.)-Statement of the Slaves Landed (7,304), and proportion Captured, by the Government Officers in the Island of Cuba, during the year 1856.


No. 58.-Her Majesty's Commissioners to the Earl of Clarendon. (Received April 25.)


Loanda, January 29, 1856. WE hasten to lay before your Lordship, in translation, what might prove, were its provisions faithfully carried out, the most important and efficient document for the suppression of the Slave Trade which we have yet had the satisfaction of reporting as originating with the authorities of this province; and, if we could but feel satisfied on this point, and that the regulations laid down in this Portaria would be sanctioned by the Home Government, at least in its most essential points, we should consider that a very great check to the facilities which this coast has hitherto presented for the prosecution of slave traffic had been effected.

Article I strikes directly at one of the greatest of these facilities, namely, the establishment of factories such as that of Equimina, ostensibly for the purpose of lawful trade, but, in fact, to serve as depôts for slaves kept in readiness for embarkation.

It is, however, to be feared that unless the special authority in virtue of which the Decree is said to have issued shall be made more apparent than it is in this document, the judicial authorities will demur in giving effect to it. The exaction of a bond, for instance, or security against any contravention of the laws for the suppression of the traffic in slaves, would, we apprehend, be found to have no legal sanction.

Article II may be considered, perhaps, as a mere Governmental requirement, dependent only on the will and power of the authority from which it proceeds to enforce it.

To the spirit of Article III no reasonable objection can, we think, be urged, unless it be the demanding the certificate of registry, to obtain which requires a sum of not less than Rs. 1$200 or 1$300 for each slave. This, considering that for every separate registry 500 reis have been already paid, seems to be a very heavy tax, which, we think, should not be imposed whenever the original receipt for the payment of the first sum may be forthcoming.

Article IV refers in its first part to a Portaria issued by Viscount Pinheiro, dated October 7, 1853, and inclosed in our despatch of November 18 of that year, forbidding generally the practice of chaining slaves together; the latter part of the Article is now directed more especially to slaves found in factories on the coast.

The Vth and last Article, though it will probably give rise to much complaint, as tending to encourage a malicious and vindictive spirit in the slave, will prove, no doubt, very instrumental in attain. ing the object it has in view.

In our commendation of the above Portaria, we have, of course, in view only its application to that part of the coast lying to the south of Loanda, which is, in fact, Her Majesty's Commissioner believes, all that is contemplated by it. It is, however, no doubt susceptible of a further extension, and may be construed as affecting the question of Ambriz and the claim of Portugal to the adjacent territory, and thereby rendering the, British and other factories established in those parts liable to be interfered with by the Portuguese authorities. This, however, would seem to Sir G. Jackson to be an overstrained interpretation of a measure which, upon the face of it, promises much good, and which, if earlier enacted, would probably have prevented many a successful slave speculation. We have, &c.

The Earl of Clarendon.


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