asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, If his attention has been called to the following statement in "The Manchester Guardian" by its correspondent at Cape Coast Castle—
and if he is able to contradict this statement?"Bands of traders come down occasionally, chiefly to buy. Their principle article of commerce is slaves, including numbers of children kidnapped from their homes and mothers, and here they find plenty of purchasers. It is strange to read in the English papers of the rejoicings and congratulations of the English people over the strides being made towards the abolition of slavery in Eastern and Central Africa, whilst here, in a British Protectorate, and especially in Cape Coast, the seat of Government, there is a market for selling captured and kidnapped slaves and children, under the special, and, it may be said, forcible protection of the British Government;"
Sir, my attention has been drawn to the paragraph in The Manchester Guardian which the hon. Gentleman quotes in his Question. I am sorry to say I am not able to contradict the statement; but, at the same time, I am happy to say, I am equally unable to confirm it. It is, of course, a matter which I shall not express any opinion about until some information is received at the Colonial Office. The matter has been referred to the local authorities, and I hope before long to receive their answer.