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the temper of the time and of the estimate formed by thinking men of the difficulties in Wilberforce's path, may be gathered from the following letter, penned by John Wesley on his dying bed. They are probably the last written words of that great servant of God :
“MY DEAR SIR,-Unless Divine power has raised you up to be as Athanasius contra mundum, I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villany which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you ? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary in well-doing! Go on in the name of God, in the name of His might, till even American slavery, the vilest that ever saw the sun, shall vanish away before it. That He who has guided you from your youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and in all things, is the prayer of, dear Sir, your affectionate Servant,
“JOHN WESLEY." The event justified these forebodings. Mr. Wilberforce's motion was lost by a large majority ; even Mr. Pitt, with whom he bad concerted his first measure, avowing his opinion that it was wiser to await more tranquil times before the trade could be abolished. Again and again did Mr. Wilberforce return to the attack. His perseverance was at length rewarded, and the House of Commons for the first time passed a Bill, in 1794, for the immediate abolition of the trade. This Bill was lost in the House of Lords; and in succeeding Sessions Mr. Wilberforce laboured zealously, though ineffectually, to induce the House of Commons to resume the ground they had already occupied. Defeat followed defeat, and the contest, which had lasted for twelve years, seemed for a while to leave the advocates of slavery the masters of the field. In 1802, however, Mr. Wilberforce resumed his attempt, though under most discouraging circumstances. A second time did the Bill pass the Commons, only to be hung up in the Lords, and the question was adjourned to the following Session. The next effort was foiled; the House of Commons, in 1805, rejecting the Bill, inflicting upon Mr. Wilberforce distress and pain beyond that suffered on any previous defeat. But the impending change in the position of parties gave promise of hope. The Ministry of Mr. Fox bad scarcely succeeded Mr. Pitt's Cabinet, when Bills were introduced into the Lords, and a Resolution carried in the Commons, condemnatory of the trade; and finally, in 1807, the Bill was passed which condemned for ever the trade in slaves. Twenty-six years afterwards, the abolition of slavery in all British Dominions took place, and the example and influence of England soon secured from all European powers treaty
engagements by which trade in African slaves was declared to be piracy, and punishable as such. Under these treaties the African squadron was maintained, and mixed courts instituted at various ports around the African coast, for adjudging all cases of capture or seizure of vessels engaged in the trade, The watch maintained by the cruisers of the African squadron, and the energy and interest in the subject displayed by the late Lord Palmerston, have brought about the result we have adverted to, and true it is, so far as the West Coast of Africa is concerned, that the African Slave Trade is a thing of the past.
But while this happy result is chronicled concerning the old Atlantic Slave Trade, the annual reports of our Consul at Zanzibar, and the despatches of the naval officers in command of the few vessels which form the East African Squadron, tell a very different story. From these reports and despatches, which are annually presented to Parliament, we learn some particulars of the trade in slaves, carried on between the East African Coast and ports on the Persian Gulf, the Southern shores of Arabia and Persia, and the Red Sea. Dr. Livingstone, in his last work, “The Zambesi and its Tributaries,” speaks from his own personal observation of the horrors and atrocities which accompany the slave raids made to supply this trade; and the late Bishop of Mauritius, at the request of the Committee, addressed a letter to the Earl of Chichester, as President of the Church Missionary Society, calling attention to the increasing extent of the trade, and urging the Society to take such measures as lay in their power to mitigate the evils and misery inflicted on that hapless land. Not unmindful of the claim that all Africa has on the Society, a claim indicated by its title, “The Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East," nor forgetting the link which biuds the memory of its earlier days with the circle which gathered round Wilberforce, and with the contest in which he was the leader, the Committee have, we rejoice to learn, responded to the call, and we would venture to express our confidence and trust in the ultimate success of any cause undertaken in the calın prayerful spirit which guides the deliberations of the men who compose that Committee.
The measures decided upon by the Committee are twofold. They have endeavoured, first, to apply to the present circumstances of the trade some mitigating remedy; and secondly, by spreading information upon the subject, and by urging upon the Government, with such influence as the Society may possess, the adoption of measures for that purpose, to bring about the suppression and extinction of this nefarious traffic. Most gladly would we assist in this enterprise, and we therefore propose to lay before our readers a short account of the present VOL 68.—No. 382.
circumstances of this slave trade, with some notice of the remedial measures already adopted by the Church Missionary Society.
We are indebted for the information we propose to supply, to a pamphlet published by the Society, compiled from the official correspondence upon the East African Slave Trade, to a memorial recently presented by a deputation from the Society to the Duke of Argyll, as Secretary of State for India, and to the Parliamentary Blue Books of recent Sessions, on the Slave Trade.
It was in the year 1822 that the attention of the British Government was first called to the traffic in slaves carried on nominally between the African and Persian dominions of the Imaum of Muscat, but in reality between his African dominions and the very ports on the Red Sea and Persian Gulf to which the slaves are now carried. The dominions of the Imaum at that time comprised the petty state of Muscat, on the Southern shore of the Persian Gulf, and a large portion of the African coast, extending from Cape Delgado, at about 11 degrees South Latitude, to a port called Jubb, about 1 degree South of the Equator, including the large and important islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Monfia. The British Government, while declaring its intention of suppressing foreign slave trading, refused to meddle with slavery as a domestic institution, and accordingly, in the case of the Imaum of Muscat, determined to permit the slave trade between port and port in his own dominions; and a treaty to this effect was arranged between our Government and the Imaum. This treaty, dated 10th September, 1822, stipulates that the Imaum will abolish the trade in slaves between his dominions and every Christian country. By the treaty and a subsequent convention, authority to search and detain Muscat vessels was given to Her Majesty's ships, and the ships of war belonging to the East Indian Company; and by a further agreement, concluded between the Imaum of Muscat and Her Majesty the Queen, on the 2nd October, 1845, the Imaum agreed to prohibit, under the severest penalties, not only the export of slaves from his African dominions, but also the importation of slaves from any part of Africa into his dominions in Asia. By that treaty permission is granted to our cruisers to seize and confiscate any vessels carrying on slave trade, except only such as are engaged in the transport of slaves from one port to another of the Imaum's African dominions, between the port of Lamoo and its dependencies in South Lat., 9° 58', and the port of Kilwa and its dependencies in 9° 2' South Lat., including the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Monfia; thus limiting the traffic to the coastwise trade in the Imaum's African dominions; the effect of this limitation being nevertheless to continue a protection from our cruisers to the slavers, over about half their journey North.
Upon the death of the grandfather of the present Imaum (who is now in exile), his dominions were divided between his two sons, one retaining the Persian, and the other succeeding to the African territories, with the title of Sultan of Zanzibar. This division was not effected without strife, which at one time went the length of a threatened invasion of the Zanzibar territory by the Imaum, who had chartered for the occasion a fleet of “dhows,” used for the purposes of the slave-trade. But the threatened invasion was summarily crushed by the appearance of a British squadron, which intimated in unmistakeable terms that England would permit no infringement of what she regarded as her sole prerogative in those waters. A truce was thereupon agreed to, and to a British officer was entrusted the task of preparing a treaty between the brothers, and settling the terms on which the division of territory should be made. The main article of the treaty was, that, in consideration of the superior wealth and extent of the African dominions claimed by the Sultan of Zanzibar, he should pay to his poorer brother, the Imaum, an annual subsidy of 40,000 crowns, equal to about £8000 sterling
Subsequent events have shown that the particular source whence this subsidy was to be drawn was the royalty derived by the Sultan from the slave-trade, of which he has the keys. We have been thus particular in detailing the connection between the saintly house of Muscat and the slave-trade, because, although there are branches of the East Coast slave-trade wholly unconnected with either Zanzibar or Muscat, there can be no question that since the decline of the Portuguese power, and the extinction of the American trade, the principal abettors of the trade have been the rulers of Muscat and Zanzibar. In former days, about twenty to twenty-five years ago, our cruisers used to seize slavers in the Mozambique Channel, bound for Cuba or South America, and the writer well remembers the arrival at the Cape of Good Hope of ship-loads of these poor creatures who were liberated there and apprenticed by the Government to such of the inhabitants as would undertake for five years the support and training of the boy or girl committed to their care. In place of this trade, now defunct, there is a small trade in slaves carried on with Madagascar and the French islands of Mayotta, Nos Bé, and Réunion; the latter used to go under the name of the free engagés systema name pronounced by Colonel Playfair, the late Consul at Zanzibar, to be but a synonym for the slave-trade.
We now come to the main division—the Northern Slave. trade-which is carried on entirely by Arabs, and the chief points between which it is pursued are from the mainland opposite and to the south of Zanzibar, to the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, and thence to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. The “dhows” used in the trade are rapid sailers before a wind, and carry as many as 250 slaves. The season for making the run North is during the southerly monsoon, from January to July and August, and the traders avail themselves of the northerly monsoon to come down to Zanzibar to make their purchases. In dealing with the subject as it now is before us, we shall, we think, present it best to our readers by endeavouring first to follow the course of the “ merchandize” from its first acquisition to its final deportation, and then to detail some par. ticulars showing the extent and present results of the trade, and the efforts made for its suppression, calling attention, in concluding, to the remedial measures proposed by the Church Missionary Society.
Let us, for our first purpose, accompany the slaving expedition of some successful hunter, probably an Arab sheikh, whose sacred writings inform him that all the African tribes south of the Somalis are proper subjects for his sword and his bow. Before starting on his expedition, he obtains from some agent at Zanzibar the needful articles either for barter or murder and kidnapping-beads, common cotton cloth, muskets and ammunition ; and the party starts for the interior, on what is now a long and toilsome march across a country once well cultivated and populous, but now desolated by the ravages of these marauders. The beads and cloth are used for paying their way during the early part of the journey, and for the purchase of ivory. According to Dr. Livingstone, these slaving parties seem to preserve their mercantile character for a large portion of the trip. They usually settle down with some chieftain and cultivate the soil, assisting him from time to time in raids against neighbouring tribes for the sake of the captives which their invariable success in these expeditions throws into their power. Either by this means, or by barter and purchase, the slave gang gradually accumulates; and we may form some conception of the value set on life by these traffickers in human flesh, by the price paid for the slave at his home, which we learn to be a few yards of cotton cloth, or, as the case may be, theft and murder. When the gang is sufficiently large to cover the terrible percentage of deaths due to the march down, and all preparations are completed, then commences the weary awful march to death or captivity. We have before us two records whence we can draw details of the atrocities perpetrated, during the march down, on these hapless“ misérables.” Both accounts are given by eye-witnesses. The first is Dr. Livingstone. In the work already mentioned, “The Zambesi