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Captured Negroes

Volume 87: debated on Friday 17 July 1846

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On the Question that 20,000 l. be granted for the expenses of Captured Negroes,

expressed his belief that the expense of keeping up a fleet on the coast of Africa was unnecessary, and the system only led to a waste of human life.

said, that he was decidedly of opinion that the methods used to put down or diminish the Slave Trade had been attended with beneficial effects. From an account of a gentleman, it appeared that during the period, three or four years, which he passed in Brazil, the price of slaves had risen considerably, which was evidently a consequence of the interruption of the slave traffic. The result was not only a great diminution in the number of the victims of the Slave Trade carried over to America; but also the condition of the slaves in the Brazils had been essentially improved, as the owners of slaves, in consequence of their additional value and the increased difficulty of procuring fresh slaves, had begun to treat their slaves with greater kindness. Consequently, the condition of every slave in the Brazilian Empire had essentially improved from the mode adopted by this country to diminish the extent of the Slave Trade. Therefore, from all he had seen and heard, it was his belief that there was a diminution in the number of negroes carried to America, and an improvement in the condition of the slaves in America. [Mr. HUME: What is the opinion of naval officers?] He could inform the hon. Member that a very able officer, who had been some years employed on the African station, had assured him, when out of office, and when therefore there was no motive to say anything flattering to him, that if the system pursued when he was in office had been continued for two years longer, he verily believed that the Slave Trade on the coast of Africa would have been entirely put an end to.

said, that the noble Lord did not seem to be aware that that statement was a compliment to him; and he ought not, therefore, to have given credit to it.

said, that what the officer meant was, that the system of naval interruption, in pursuance of treaties connected with the right of search and operations on shore, would have been so effective that the Slave Trade would have been put down entirely.

said, that while admitting that the number of slaves carried to America might have diminished, he believed that the number taken from Africa had increased, a great proportion of the slaves dying on the passage, in consequence of the horrible treatment to which they were subjected.

was informed that the number of negroes carried from Africa in the last year was considerably less than in former periods. The Portuguese Government were acting in good faith, through their authorities, in preventing the export of negroes from their territories; the Governor of Cuba acted in the same spirit more than formerly; and the operations on the coast of Africa were to a certain degree successful. He had been informed the other day in Paris that the joint efforts of France and England had resulted in the conclusion of about thirty treaties with chiefs on the coast of Africa, by which those chiefs bound themselves to prevent the export of negroes from their territories. If it were possible to make similar agreements with the chiefs all along the coast, it was obvious that that would go a great way to prevent the continuance of the Slave Trade.

Agreed to.

House resumed. Committee to sit again.

House adjourned at One o'clock.