« PreviousContinue »
(Enclosure.)- The Right Hon. F. Lumb to the Duke of Infantado.
Madrid, July 2, 1826. The Undersigned has the honour to transmit to His Excellency the Duke of Infantado, Copies of Despatches, with several Enclosures, which have lately been received from His Majesty's Commissioners at The Havannah, reporting the circumstances under which the Spanish Brigantines, Mugico and Orestes, have been found on the coast of Cuba, laden with Slaves from Africa.
Both these Vessels have been condemned by the Mixed Commission; and the facts which have come to light on the Trials completely justify the Statements which have been made, on former occasions, to the Government of His Catholick Majesty, as to the mode in which the Trade in Slaves is carried on. They also tend to show, that even the Measures lately adopted for the prevention of this Traffick will fail of success, unless a greater discretionary power be given to the Cruizers of the two Nations, for the examination and detention of Slave-vessels, in Cases where no direct proof exists of the nature of their pursuits. It
appears from the Evidence given before the Mixed Commission, that it is the practice of Vessels engaged in this Traffick, to clear out for some Port on the Coast of Africa, providing themselves with regular Papers at The Havannah, for the purposes of legitimate Trade ; that, on arriving at their destination, they do not embark any part of the cargoes until the whole number of Slaves they require is complete. While these are collecting, they remain upon the Coast, during which time it frequently happens that they are visited by His Majesty's Cruizers (as occurred in the Case of the Orestes,) but having vo Slaves on board, cannot be detained. When they are ready, they take advantage of the first favourable opportunity for embarking, at once, their whole cargo (an operation which requires only a few hours,) and immediately run across, disembark them at the first convenient landing-place, and return to Port in ballast.
Unless, therefore, one of these Vessels happens, accidentally, to fall in with a Ship of War on her voyage home, which probably does not happen in above one iustance in ten, there is little chance of detection. All the Securities required against the employment of Ships in this Trade, and all the Regulations made with a view of ascertaining the real objects of their voyages, must prove abortive, while these means of evasion remain unprovided against.
It is obvious, therefore, that, under these circumstances, the greatest benefit would result from the Government of His Catholick Majesty consenting to the signature of the Additional Article, which the Undersigned had the honour of proposing to His Excellency the Duke of Infantado, in his Note of the 19th of February ultimo, which
would operate as a greater check to the practices of the Slave-traders than any Measure hitherto devised. A similar Article was signed some years ago by His Majesty The King of The Netherlands, which has fully answered the purpose in view; and when the Government of His Catholick Majesty considers the details of cruelty brought to light in the enclosed Papers, and reflects on the extent of human misery which would, in so many Cases, be prevented by the adoption of the proposed Regulation, the Undersigned feels convinced that it will not hesitate to propose this Measure to His Catholick Majesty, without delay.
He avails himself, &c. His Excellency the Duke of Infantado.
No. 7.—Mr. Secretary Canning to the Right Hon. F. Lamb. (Extract.)
Foreign Office, July 21, 1826. I am concerned to have to send to you, in the accompanying Copy of a Despatch from His Majesty's Commissioners at The Havannah, dated the 14th ultimo *, sufficient proofs of the utter inefficacy of the Royal Decree, recently passed at Madrid, for the more effectual suppression of illegal Slave-trade in the Island of Cuba.
It is almost with despair of any use ul result that I direct you to communicate with the Duke del Infantado upon this Subject; but it is necessary
you should do so, and that you should employ, in that Communication, every topick which you may think likely to make an impression on the mind of the Spanish Minister. The Right Hon. F. Lamb.
No.8.-The Right Hon.F.Lamb to Mr. Sec. Canning.-(Rec. Aug. 29.) (Extract.)
Madrid, August 18, 1826. Having taken an opportunity of speaking with the Duke of Infantado on the subject of your Despatch on the Slave-trade, of the 21st ultimo, I found him warmly concurring in the dangers to be apprehended to Cuba from the importation of fresh Slaves, and convinced that the Orders given from hence would be sufficient to put a stop to it. He seemed unwilling to believe that the indisposition of the Local Authorities, and the difficulty of procuring Evidence, would be sufficient to neutralize the effect of His Catholick Majesty's Decrees.
In the course of this Conversation, I enquired of the Duke what were the objections to signing the Additional Article, to which he answered, that he was not aware of any that need prevent it; making some, however, afterwards, which were chiefly of a metaphysical nature, as to the injustice of inflicting Confiscation where no crime had been actually committed. As I thought that, upon accurate examination, he would find these objections to be unfounded, I requested him to give me an Answer upon the Subject in writing, which he promised to do. The Right Hon. George Canning.
* Sce Class A. No. 75, Page 170.
No. 9.-Mr. Secretary Canning to the Right Hon. F. Lamb. (Extract.)
Foreign Office, September 11, 1826. I have received your Despatches of this Series to the 18th of August last.
His Majesty's Commissioners at The Havannah have been instructed to send home such accurate information as, at any time, they may be enabled to obtain (and more particularly such as can be supported by evidence, which may furnish grounds whereon to frame Remonstrances to the Spanish Government upon any infractions or evasions of the Treaty of 1817, and also such information as they can give upon the question, as to the effect of the Decree recently promulgated by His Catholick Majesty, for the more effectual suppression of the Slave-trade in Cuba.
I transmit to you a full Power for concluding and signing with the Ministers of Spain an Additional Article to the Treaty of 1817, upon Slave-trade, similar to that signed with The Netherlands.
The only difference which is desirable to be made between this Article and that which you will have to sign, is, that the power of acting under it should be extended to two degrees Westward of the Coast, instead of being, as at present, confined to within one degree thereof; and you will act accordingly in the Negotiation of this Article. The Right Hon. F. Lamb.
No. 10.-Mr. Secretary Canning to the Right Hon. F. Lamb. SIR,
Foreign Office, October 3, 1826. The enclosed Papers * contain some account of Cases, of which there have recently occurred many instances, in which the Flag of His Catholick Majesty has been abused, for the purpose of committing acts of Piracy.
It appears that it is the custom of the Owners of these Spanish Piratical Vessels, the greater part of which there is reason to suppose are equipped at The Havannah, to send them out, fitted both for Trade and for War; but their Trade is the proscribed Trade in Human Beings, and the War they wage is a War of Piracy.
It is their practice to hover on the Coast of Africa, where, if they can conveniently barter for, and embark a Cargo of Slaves, they pro. ceed with that Cargo, generally, direct to the Island of Cuba.
If * See Class A, Correspondence 1825—1826, No. 16, and Class A. of this Series, Nos. 11 and 41, Pages 23, and 60.
they do not succeed at once in this barter, or is an opportunity for Piracy previously presents itself, they seize the first Vessel they meet with, preferring one that may be laden with Slaves; taking possession of the Vessel, they murder, or put on shore, the white men found on board, and proceed with the Vessel and Cargo to Cuba, where they land the Slaves surreptitiously at the back of the Island, and then enter in ballast at The Havannah,
An instance will be found to have recently occurred, in which an English Prize Crew has disappeared, murdered, as it is suspected, by these Pirates. The name of the Pirate Vessel in question is supposed to have been the Gabilar, or Pelican, and the Captain and Crew have as yet escaped the conviction and punishment due to their crimes.
Another instance, which forms the particular object of this Despatch, has more recently occurred, in the Case of a Vessel, said to be named the Carolina, whose Captain and Crew, meeting the Netuno, a Slave-ship, under charge of an Officer of His Majesty's Ship Esk, endeavoured to obtain the Ship’s Papers, and to force that Officer to repair on board the Carolina.
They were happily defeated in their object, as the accompanying Papers will show. But His Majesty's Government have, in consequence of their attempted outrage, deemed it incumbent on them to issue Orders to the Officer commanding His Majesty's Ships and Vessels on the Coast of Africa, to seize the Carolina and her Crew, if she shall be found on bis Station, and to send them to England for trial, together with Mr. Crawford, and the party with him in the Netuno, to give evidence.
The British Admiral commanding in the West Indies has also been directed to give similar Instructions to his Cruizers, to be executed in case the Carolina should be found on his Station.
His Majesty doubts not but that His Catholick Majesty will enter fully into the feelings which have prompted these proceedings for summary redress on the Pirates in question, and will give directions to His Authorities, both in the Mother Country and at Cuba, to seize the Carolina whenever they may meet with her, and to deliver up her Crew to be tried for Piracy.
Yon will address a Representation to this effect to the Spanish Government.
I am, &c. The Right Hon. F. Lamb.
No. 11.-Mr. Secretary Canning to the Right Hon. F. Lamb. SIR,
Foreign Office, October 6, 1826. An Extract of your Despatch of the 22d April last, of this Series, which adverted to the equipments for Slave-trade, alleged to have taken place at Gibraltar, has been transmitted to the Colonial Department, and I now send to you, for your information, Copies of the
several Communications which have been received at this Office from that Department, showing the measures which have been adopted by the Governor of Gibraltar for the repression and punishment of any transactions at that Place, having for their object the promotion, direct or indirect, of African Slave-trade. I am, &c. The Right Hon. F. Lamb.
(Enclosure 1.)—R. W. Hay, Esq. to Joseph Planta, Jun. Esq. Sir,
Downing-Street, May 20, 1826. I have laid before Earl Bathurst your two Letters, under date of the 10th and 16th of May, in the latter of which is enclosed an Extract of a Despatch from Mr. Lamb, His Majesty's Ambassador at the Court of Madrid, in which he states, that “he had been deterred from making Representations to the Duke of Infantado, on the fitting out of Vessels at Cadiz, for the purpose of trading for Slaves on the Coast of Africa, by the knowledge that their equipment was completed at Gibraltar,” and for this he refers to a Communication made by Mr. Consul Brackenbury to the Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar, which is the same Communication as that of which a Copy was transmitted to Earl Bathurst, by Mr. Secretary Canning's direction, in the first Letter, of the 10th instant. Earl Bathurst, therefore, concludes, that Mr. Lamb has no other knowledge of the truth of these allegations, than what is contained in the Communication made by Mr. Consul Brackenbury, above referred to.
The Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar had already communicated to Earl Bathurst a Correspondence which had taken place, with reference to the Ships stated by Mr. Consul Brackenbury to have been equipped in the Bay of Gibraltar. A Copy of this Despatch from the Lieutenant-Governor, together with its several Enclosures, and a Copy of Earl Bathurst's Instructions to the Lieutenant-Governor, dated the 13th of October, 1825, referred to in the Lieutenant Governor's Despatch, are herewith transmitted for the information of Mr. Secretary Canning
With respect to the Draft of the Proclamation proposed by the Lieutenant-Governor to be published at Gibraltar; as any Publick Instrument generally, directing the exercise, in time of Peace, of the Right of Search, not only of British Vessels, but of Vessels belonging to Countries in amity with His Majesty, requires to be carefully examined, (regard being had to the locality of the Bay of Gibraltar, and the sensibility which Foreign Nations have shewn with respect to this Right of Search,) although confined to Vessels suspected of being engaged in the Slave-trade, Earl Bathurst referred the Draft to the Deputy Judge Advocate of Gibraltar, now on leave of absence in England, and has consulted such legal advice as appeared to be called for; and his Lordship will not fail to communicate, before the departure of the