New York Times, “Alleged Renewal of the Slave-Trade,” July 14, 1857

    Source citation
    “Alleged Renewal of the Slave-Trade,” New York Times, July 14, 1857, p. 4: 4.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Daily Times
    Newspaper: Headline
    Alleged Renewal of the Slave-Trade
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    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Meghan Fralinger, Dickinson College
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    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    Alleged Renewal of the Slave-Trade.

    HOUSE OF LORDS, TUESDAY, June 30.- Lord BROUGHAM wished to ask a question of his noble friend (the Earl of CLARENDON) relative to a subject which had excited much alarm among those who, like himself, were friends of the African race, and who hoped they had seen the end of that great scourge- the Slave trade. It was understood that a body of West India planters had approached the noble Viscount at the head of the Government, and had urged him to facilitate the importation into our colonies of free Negroes from the Coast of Africa. It was also understood that the colonial interests of France and Spain contemplated measures of the same fort, and it was even stated that the Emperor NAPOLEON had given permission to a house at Marseilles to fit out an expedition for importing 20,000 free Negroes, as they were called, into the French colonies. One vessel, it was alleged, had already sailed to Quidah, on the coast of Africa, well known as a Slave-trading port -- the very port, indeed, from which the King of Dahomey formerly carried on that infernal traffic. No wonder, then, that alarm had been excited at the prospect of such an expedition to the port of Quidah, with the professed object of enabling Negroes to take ship and be conveyed over to the French colonies. It was well known that one of the most remarkable acts of the first NAPOLEON was his decree for putting down the French Slave Trade --- our ancient allies, the Bourbons, having altogether omitted to take such a course. He felt assured that the present Emperor of the French would not, by pursuing an opposite course, tarnish the glory of a policy which reflected so much honor upon his illustrious predecessor. It was also said that the importation of free Negroes into Cuba was to be encouraged by the Spanish Government. Now, there was a great difference between any measure having for its object the importation of free Negroes into Cuba on the one hand, and a measure the object of which was their importation into the French or the English colonies upon the other. In the case of the latter Slavery had for some time been abolished, so that free negroes could not be enslaved after their importation. The free negroes who were imported into Cuba, however, might in reality be compelled to undergo a state of endless bondage, and that being the case he hoped his noble friend at the head of the Government would be enabled to give him some assurance that the new Government of Havana was treading in the footsteps of those among its predecessors who had shown a disposition to put down the Slave-trade, and was not following the example of those whom by a contrary policy had been pursued. That a disposition existed in Brazil to put an end to the disgraceful traffic in slaves he entertained no doubt, and the course which the Government of that country had taken in reference to the subject was such as in his opinion redounded greatly to its credit. When persons emigrated from this country to the colonies care was taken that they should be provided with sufficient accommodations on board the vessels in which they were conveyed. Medical attendance was afforded them, a vigilant superintendence was exercised at the various Customhouses in their regard, security being taken that they should be landed at the port to which they intended to emigrate. In the case of those free negroes, however, who were to be shipped on the coast of Africa no such precautions would be taken, and the and the consequence would be that great abuses would arise. Such a state of things should not, he contended, be allowed to prevail. Security should be taken that those negroes should be landed at the port for which they were bound, and that whenever they became dissatisfied with their new position they should be enabled to return to their own country. Since the abolition of the Slave trade, what he might term the innocent commerce of Africa had increased to a considerable extent. In the year 1855 upwards of $1,500,000 worth of goods had been exported from this country to those ports in Africa which were not in our possession or under the dominion of France, while goods to the value of $250,000 had been exported to Sierra Leone and other English settlements on the African coast. Now, nothing could, in his opinion, have a greater tendency to check that growing commerce than the encouragement of the traffic in slaves, and he hoped, therefore to receive from the Government some assurance both as to the intentions of the Spanish and Portuguese Governments, and as to the project which had been brought under the notice of his noble friend at the head of the Government.

    The Earl of CLARENDON, who was very indistinctly heard, expressed his almost entire concurrence in the observations which had just fallen from his noble and learned friend. He regretted, however, that he was not in a position to give an answer to the various questions which the noble and learned lord had put to him, because although the noble and learned lord had given him notice that he was about to call his attention to the slave trade, he had not mentioned to him the particular branch of the subject to which his remarks would be directed. He had certainly seen by the public prints that a deputation had waited upon his noble friend at the head of the Government in connection with the question, but he was no quite aware of the precise nature of the proposal which had been made to his noble friend, or of the answer which he had given to that deputation. He felt, however, perfectly assured, from the antecedents of his noble friend, and from the [ehergy?] which he had always evinced in the suppression of the traffic in slaves, that he would give no encouragement to any proposition by the operation of which that traffic would be likely to be increased. As regarded the ship to which his noble and learned friend had referred as having sailed from Marseilles to Quidah for the importation of free negroes, her Majesty’s Government had no official had had no official information of the circumstance, and a ship could hardly have sailed from Marseilles for such a purpose without their receiving some information on the subject.

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