Page images
PDF
EPUB

into The Havannah, declaring herself to have returned in ballast. These Declarations are universally admitted by the Local Authority without inquiry, and the Ship is allowed to enter. The representations of His Majesty's Commissary Judge at The Havannah are of no effect; he is either answered that it does not lie within his sphere to demand an inquiry, or he is referred from one Authority to another, and each Authority declares that it does not feel itself called upon to interfere in the matter in any way that can be effectual: when all these evasions and excuses are exhausted, His Majesty's Commissary Judge is told at times that the question has been referred to Madrid; and the fact, that the Articles of December, 1822, have not yet been acted upon by the Government of Spain, is of itself sufficient to prove how hopeless any reference from the Authorities of The Havannah to the Court of Madrid is become, upon a question of fulfilling the Treaty for abolishing the Slave Trade.

In the mean time the Trade increases. The concerns of the Traffic are carried on in shares. The adventurers in these shares do not conceal their interest in them, and it is notorious that there is scarcely an individual in the department of the local Government itself, who is not directly or indirectly concerned in the Trade.

From the correspondence in the Archives of the British Mission at Madrid, you will learn a detail of these facts, and also the notice which has been repeatedly given of them to the Spanish Government by His Majesty's Representative at that Court.

I forward to you, herewith, Copies of some further Communications which have recently been received from Mr. Kilbee, and also a communication from the Admiralty, dated March 19th, in corroboration of the statements which form the ground of this Instruction. I particularly beg your attention to the Letter of Messrs. Dutocq, merchants at The Havannah, adventurers in this Traffic, descriptive of the open manner in which the Trade is carried on, and of the protection of which they state themselves to be assured from the Local Authorities, in the support of their lawless enterprises.

I have His Majesty's especial Commands to desire that you will, referring to the several points upon this subject of deep and general interest, on which the Spanish Government have already been addressed ineffectually on the part of His Majesty, frame a strong remonstrance to the Government of Spain, calling upon His Catholic Majesty to carry into effect with good faith the engagements into which He solemnly entered for the Abolition of the Traffic in Slaves.

The Right Hon. Frederick Lamb.

I am, &c.,

GEORGE CANNING.

SIR,

(Enclosure 1.)-J. W. Croker, Esq. to Joseph Planta, Jun., Esq. Admiralty Office, March 19, 1825. I AM commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to transmit to you, for the information of Mr. Secretary Canning, a Copy of a Letter from Vice-Admiral Sir Lawrence Halsted, with Copies of the several Letters and Papers therein referred to, containing an account of the capture of a Slave Vessel, the Zee Bloem, under Dutch Colours, by a Columbian Cruiser, near the Island of Cuba, and some information relative to the Slave Trade which is carried on in the West Indies.

Joseph Planta Jun., Esq.

SIR,

I am, &c.,

J. W. CROKER.

(Enclosure 2.)-Vice-Admiral Halsted to J. W. Croker, Esq. Serapis, Port Royal, Jamaica, Jan. 12, 1825.

I HAVE the honour to transmit, for the information of My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, a Copy of a Letter with several Enclosures, from Lieutenant Cawley, of the Grecian, reporting that the Columbian Cruiser Zulmè had boarded a suspicious Vessel he was in chase of, on the 2nd instant, off the west end of St. Domingo, which proved to be the Schooner Zee Bloem, under Dutch Colours, from St. Jago de Cuba, bound to St. Eustatia, and had sent her into Carthagena for adjudication, from having first boarded the said Schooner, and in consequence also of her having thrown overboard a set of Spanish Papers during the chase.

The several Enclosures (some of which are Copies of Letters broken open by the Captain of the Zulmè) will point out pretty clearly to their Lordships the mode in which the Slave Trade is carried on, and leave little doubt, at the same time, of the Schooner in question having recently landed a cargo of Slaves in Cuba, whilst from the complete state of her equipment, as shown in the Enclosure No. 1, and the arrangements made by the parties interested, there is every reason to suppose, when she was detained, she was proceeding to St. Eustatius, preparatory to making another voyage to the Coast.

There are also amongst the Enclosures two Letters, numbered 2 and 3, which will not escape their Lordships' attention; the one (No. 3) stating the publicity in some measure of Negro sales, and the landing of the cargo of the French Brig Les Deux Nations, which was lately detained by the Primrose, and subsequently liberated, as reported in my letter (No. 245) of the 19th ultimo; the other (No. 2), detailing the favourable result of the sales of the Negroes at St. Jago de Cuba during the season, and soliciting a few more shipments of that sort. I have, &c.,

John Wilson Croker, Esq.

L. W. HALSTED.

SIR,

(Enclosure 3.)-Lieut. Cawley to Vice-Admiral Halsted.

Port Royal Harbour, January 8, 1825.

I HAVE the honour to inform you, that, in compliance with your orders of the 3rd of November last, I sailed from Port Royal in His Majesty's Cutter Grecian, under my command, on the 6th of November, and arrived off St. Jago de Cuba on the 8th, and continued cruising between that Port and Cumberland Harbour until the 28th, when I bore up for Port Antonio, and arrived there on the 29th for further orders. I sailed again on the 1st of December, and arrived off St. Jago's on the 2nd of December. On the 5th, I communicated with His Majesty's Sloop Primrose, in Cumberland Harbour, and immediately sailed for Cape Maize, and continued to cruise between it and the Island of Tortugas until the 2nd of January, on which day, at 7. 30 P.M., being then in chase of a suspicious sail, I fell in with two Columbian Cruisers, the Fumante and Zulmè, the latter of which boarded chase, which proved to be the Zee Bloem, Schooner, of 177 tons, from St. Jago de Cuba, bound to St. Eustatius, and having no satisfactory Papers on board, and being very suspicious, I agreed with the Columbians to take her into Cumberland Harbour for further investigation, and found, from the examination of her Master and Crew, that her Spanish Papers had been thrown overboard.

A Copy of the examination, as likewise the Letters and Papers found on board of her, I have herewith enclosed; part of which gives some important information, which I trust may be of service. I have this day arrived at Port Royal, where I beg to await your further orders. I have, &c.,

Vice-Admiral Sir L. W. Halsted.

JOHN CAWLEY,

(Enclosure 4.)-Inventory of Things found on board the Zee Bloem,

Schooner.

A COMPLETE set of spare Coppers; Shackles and Bolts; Hatchbars fitted for Stocks; complete spare Deck in planks, fitted and marked for laying down; One tier Ledgers; several spare Trucks for Gun Carriages; Two partition Bulk Heads; Hand Shackles and Bolts, and Implements for confining Slaves; several Casks full of Cannister Shot, and Iron Bolts cut in short lengths and tied up; one long Ninepounder on a pivot; two short Nine-pounder Carriage-guns; twentyfour Muskets and Bayonets. She was well found with every requisite for carrying on the Slave Trade.

(Enclosure 5.)-L. Dutocq and Co. to Messrs. Bannaffe and Larivière.— (Translation.)

St. Jago de Cuba, December 12, 1824. UNDER the auspices of Mr. Couronneau of Bourdeaux, our friend, we have the honour of tendering to you our services at this Place. You

know, Gentlemen, that the advantage which our market offers for the disposal of Ebony, gives it a great preference over any of our other Colonies; and it strikes us, that it would suit you to send to it a few shipments of that sort. We have received this year a great many cargoes of that article, on account of Merchants of Nantes; and towards the end of January, we expect here other ships that have sailed from the last-mentioned Port. All our sales have been attended with a favourable result, the longest credit is fourteen months. It is always difficult enough to get cash, but by making sacrifices, one may still succeed in covering the amount of the fitting out. We must, however, tell you that our Town is one of those where the payments are most punctual, and our last account-sales have left a capital of more than half cash, and half a twelve months' credit. The last cargo sold here was that of the Harriette of Nantes; 328 logs were disposed of on their landing (those that were damaged excepted) at 225 dollars each, payable part in cash, and part at eight, and part at twenty months' credit. This merchandise was of a very ordinary nature, and had suffered much; by getting rid of the article at once, you make a much better thing of it. Hitherto, the Vessels have made the little Bay Uragua Grande, situated six leagues a head of the Morro; it is a spot where the landing is easily and conveniently effected. After the landing, the Vessel enters the Port, and the repair to the planta

tion, where they are very well

It is upon this spot that the Vessels must endeavour to approach, using at the same time a great deal of precaution, on account of the Cruisers. They must guard against reconnoitering Guantanamo; and stretching along the Coast, they must pass to the southward of St. Domingo, and keep in the offing. If on making Uragua they discover a suspicious Vessel, they must immediately proceed to the Morro, and anchor under the Fort with their signal flying. There they will receive instructions relative to the spot where they must land, and they may without inconvenience send a boat on shore. The Commandant, who is devoted to us, would deliver a Letter of instruction to the Captain. In the event of being chased, it would be advisable for the Vessel to continue her course to leeward as far as a small Bay called Assaradero, which is situated about six leagues from Fort Morro, where she would meet with assistance, observing that in a case of imminent danger one may run ashore in the first small creek that presents itself. There are always there Indians, through whom a letter can be forwarded to Town. When once the cargo is on shore, all risk is at an end.

We have this day to communicate to you a circumstance that will, no doubt, afford you as much interest as it does to us.

The Brig Two Nations, [Query, Deux Nantois,] Captain Peltier, which had lately been captured by an English Cruiser (at the moment when she appeared before Uragua with a cargo of Ebony), and carried

to Kingston, has been released, the Admiral having declared that no one had the right of capturing the French Flag. In consequence of this, the Brig returned to Uragua, where she landed 456 logs. Had the wood been good, it would have had a fine sale; but owing to the bad state of the bulk of the cargo, which had suffered much, it is of the smallest kind. The liberation of this Vessel offers to us the assurance that our Flag will henceforth be respected. The three Vessels that were cruising upon our Coast were immediately recalled to Jamaica. As to the Dutch, there is only one English Vessel of War in our latitude, commissioned to capture them, the others are altogether interdicted that right.

We consider, therefore, that there is no longer any risk upon our Coast, and that Vessels may present themselves with all safety before Uragua, where we constanty keep a Pilot. The sales meet with no opposition, and are carried on in some measure publicly.

Our coffee is still falling; no one would pay on the present day more than 9 or 9 for the best: some fine has been bought lately at 8 and 8.

We have the honour to salute you,

L. DUTOCQ and Co.

Messrs. Bannaffe and Larivière, Point à Petre, Guadaloupe.

MEM.-Two Letters, one directed to Messrs. Sanbor, Toubert, and Co., St. Thomas; the other directed to Monsieur A. Anthoine, Nantes, are worded precisely the same as the above.

(Enclosure 6.)—L. Dutocq and Co. to Messrs. G. Segand and Son.(Translation.)

GENTLEMEN,

St. Jago de Cuba, December 29, 1824. We have this day to communicate to you a circumstance that will, no doubt, afford you as much interest as it does to us. [Here follow the three last paragraphs of the preceding Letter.]

We have, &c.,

L. DUTOCQ and Co.

Cate and Bourdeaux Wine at 24 and 25 Dollars the Cask. Messrs. G. Segand and Son, Point à Petre.

(Enclosure 7.)-L. Dutocq and Co. to Messrs. Cabot, Bailey, and Co. GENTLEMEN, St. Jago de Cuba, December 24, 1824.

THIS will be handed to you by Captain J. Goldwaith, Master of the Schooner Zee Bloem, who, in pursuance of instructions, visits your Port on his passage up to St. Eustatia, and we take pleasure in improving this opportunity of introducing him to your acquaintance, and to request for him your best advice and assistance towards the accomplishment of his views.

We take leave to open a credit in favour of Captain Goldwaith,

« PreviousContinue »