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Were I to credit all the reports I hear, there must have been a far greater number of Africans landed between this and Maceio lately; for instance, one tells me that he knows of an engenho where some 300 are now hid, I have, &c.
Viscount Palmerston, G.C.B.
BRAZIL (RIO GRANDE DO SUL).
No. 260.-Consul Morgan to Viscount Palmerston.-(Rec, Dec. 31.) MY LORD, Rio Grande do Sul, October 1, 1850. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's circular despatch of the 15th of May last, in which I am instructed, whenever any well-founded informations of slave-vessels may come to my knowledge, to communicate the same to the senior officer of Her Majesty's ships at or in the neighbourhood of Rio Grande, as well as to the Commander-in-chief of Her Majesty's naval forces on this coast; which instruction I shall not fail to obey whenever circumstances shall call for its execution.
I have, however, the satisfaction to acquaint your Lordship that the direct African Slave Traffic in this province has for some time past entirely ceased; and that the importation of Bozal negroes, which has taken place from Bahia, has likewise been very discouraging to importers, from the very nature of the apathy of demand.
On the other hand, the Rio Grandenses, alive to the danger they expose themselves to by multiplying the number of their enemics under the present and past state of the political relations of this country with the neighbouring Republics of the Plata, have turned their attention seriously to colonization, which has now become a subject of some importance; and I have no doubt that slavery-with the views at present held upon its viciousness and danger-will be abolished in this province, at no very distant period by some act emanating from the inhabitants themselves, when colonization shall have supplied in some degree the demand existing for labour.
In the Provincial Assembly at present sitting at Porto Alegre, a proposal has been made-which I am given to understand will shortly become law-to impose a head-tax of 16 dollars on every slave sent to this province for sale. This law is mostly directed
against the entry into the country of refractory negroes, who are sent hither by their masters residing in the northern ports of the empire. I have, &c.
Viscount Palmerston, G. C.B.
JOHN MORGAN, JR.
No. 261.-Consul Morgan to Visc. Palmerston.-(Rec. Feb. 3, 1851.) MY LORD, Rio Grande do Sul, November 30, 1850. WITH reference to the statement made in my despatch of the 1st October last, that a proposal had been made in the Provincial Assembly, to levy an extra tax of 16 dollars or rs. 32$000, on every slave brought to this province; I have the honour to transmit herewith copy and translation of that project, which has now become law, and to which certain dispositions have been added, in order to prevent emigrants in future from becoming owners of slaves, by prohibiting their introduction into the existing colonies and in those that may be hereafter established; as well as specifying the exemptions that will be allowed on such slaves as shall arrive henceforward, if re-exported within the period of a twelvemonth.
This law, although not quite so comprehensive and stringent as could be desired, is nevertheless a great bonus in favour of free emigration, which, if properly enforced with the law and regulations lately enacted at Rio de Janeiro by the General Legislature of the empire towards the effectual suppression of the Slave Traffic, and common to all the provinces, will tend most materially to assist the inhabitants of Rio Grande do Sul in their desire to free themselves from the innumerable evils attending the accumulation of a slave population in this important frontier province of the empire.
I have, &c.
Viscount Palmerston, G.C.B.
JOHN MORGAN, JR.
(Inclosure.)-Provincial Law, No. 188, of October 18, 1850. ART. I. The introduction of slaves into the territory marked out for the existing colonies of the province, or in such as may be formed in future, is prohibited.
II. The slaves which actually exist in the territory of the colonies shall be registered by the director or his agents, in a book to be kept for the purpose, within a period of 2 months from the publi cation of this law; a note of such as shall die being duly entered in the said books.
III. All persons who shall travel to the colonies or temporarily reside thereon, may take such slaves as they require for their domestic service, they shall, however, be obliged to send to the director or to his agents, a list of the slaves and to take them away when they retire from the colony.
IV. The slaves which shall be introduced into the colonies in contravention to this law shall be expelled by order of the director, the masters of the same paying all expenses attending the expulsion. V. The dispositions of the above Articles are also applicable to such colonies as may be formed by private individuals.
VI. For each slave imported into the province a tax of 328000 shall be levied in aid of the funds for colonization.
VII. Are not subject to the above tax :
§ 1. The slaves registered on board ships.
§ 2. The domestic slaves of persons who may temporarily come to reside in the province.
§ 3. The slaves existing in the province, those who leave it with their masters and return with, or are sent back by, the same, within the period of one year.
VIII. Are subject to the tax, the slaves treated upon in § 1 and 2 of the preceding Article, who do not leave the province with the ships or masters who brought them hither.
IX. All dispositions contrary to this law are revoked.
BRAZIL (RIO DE JANEIRO).
No. 262.-Consul Hesketh to Viscount Palmerston.-(Rec. May 21.)
The Custom-House returns of the intercourse between this port and the African coast during that period do not afford any information, but rather appear, as heretofore, to be purposely deceptive, merely showing of departures to Africa,
10 vessels under Portuguese flag.
with the customary cargoes of provisions and other articles generally required for the transport and purchase of slaves; the exact descrip
tion of these exports being concealed by every species of artifice, with the connivance of various officers of the Customs.
Of arrivals from Africa the official report merely gives during
either in ballast, or with too trifling a portion of cargo to afford anything approaching to a remunerating return freight. The correct number of departures from this harbour to Africa during last year cannot be ascertained, for many vessels have cleared outwards with false destinations, while others have fitted out and sailed from the various outports, a list of which ports I inclose, and where not only every convenience is provided for the outfit of slave-vessels, but also where barracoons, lighters, and large sailing drogas, and all other requisites for the quick disembarkation of Africans are known to exist.
But the Brazilian return of arrivals from the coast of Africa is even more glaringly deceptive than that of departures, for it is notorious to every person and authority, that all the vessels mentioned in the inclosed list have brought slaves from thence, and that they have been landed at some of the small harbours to the northward and southward of Rio de Janeiro, being 69 vessels with about
besides 10 justly suspected of landing about
Long as this list of vessels is, it is more than probable that it does not still comprise the entire number, from the facility with which many can elude observation in these unfrequented places.
The number of captives on this coast by British cruizers during last year, or early in this, were 6, namely, 2 with slaves, but only part of them were rescued, as both vessels were stranded by their crews; 2 on their voyage to Africa, or some place of outfit, one of which was the notorious steamer Providencia, alias Paquete de Santos; and one burnt, having previously landed her cargo of human beings.
At the close of 1849 there were about 32 vessels known to be on their illegal voyages from this district to Africa for slaves; and 18 lying in this harbour, also belonging to slave-merchants, and either recently returned from Africa, or fitting out for that coast; besides
which, there are many vessels employed in Slave Trade between the outports and Africa, that rarely appear in Rio harbour. So many deceptions are successfully practised with the connivance of the Brazilian authorities, that it is not possible to arrive at a satisfactory estimate of the number of vessels now engaged in Slave Trade, and owned by persons resident here. For instance, it has been ascertained that the 7 following vessels all proceeded from hence direct to Africa, though they cleared outwards, and under the American flag, with which they arrived from The United States, as follows: last August, brig Rio de Zaldo, for Rio Grande; barque Hannibal, for the River Plate; brig Imogene, for ditto. In September, brig Snow, for Pernambuco. October, schooner-brig Casco, for The United States, with a cargo of slave-provisions; schooner Rival, for Rio Grande; and without any publication of clearance, brig Overman.
From this short exposition, the extent of the African Slave Trade and the protection it receives from the Imperial Government are apparent.
During the last few years, those interested in this nefarious trade have so fully provided and organized the means of carrying it on in the neighbouring harbours and creeks, and have so fully secured the no less essential countenance and protection of nearly every Brazilian authority, from the highest to the lowest, that they continue their illegal operations undisguisedly, and quite undaunted by the general outcry now rising in many quarters against the wide-spread demoralization, and many other national evils inflicted by the illegal and injurious objects to which the slave-dealers as a body concentrate without any check all their energies and the influence of their wealth.
I inclose a list of the persons residing in this capital who are said to be the principal slave-traders; and also another of those who reside at the outports; besides these, a great portion of the Portuguese population is more or less engaged in Slave Trade; and the influence of such an active body, long domiciliated in the country, must be great, when backed as it is by the Government and most of the subordinate authorities, and also upheld by the planters, whose property is gradually falling under mortgage for slaves they annually purchase, and whose political independence is also in a great measure curtailed in the subservient and constrained position their obligations to the importers of slaves place them. With such commanding influence, it is not surprising that they are protected against all seizure of slaves, or any other of the punishments ordained by the unrepealed law of Brazil against all import of African slaves.
Two vessels were at the close of last year captured in the act of landing slaves at one of the outports, or soon after the debarkation was effected; and undeniable evidence adduced proving the illegality