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Cuba or Brazil,' says Mr. Buxton, and become available as slaves, fourteen at least are destroyed.'
To account for this terrific destruction of life, let it be considered in the first place, how the persons are obtained whom it is intended to sell as slaves. Of course they do not yield themselves up voluntarily; force is used: and every species of violence, from the invasion of an army to that of robbery by a single indi'vidual, is had recourse to for the attainment of this object. In truth the interior of Africa is desolated with slave-making wars. Let our readers take the following specimen.
* Mr. Ashmun, agent of the American Colonial Society, in writing to the Board of Directors, from Liberia, in 1823, says, “The following incident I relate, not for its singularity, for similar events take place, perhaps, every month in the year, but it has fallen under my own observation, and I can vouch for its authenticity :-King Boatswain, our most powerful supporter, and steady friend among the natives, (so he has uniformly shown himself,) received a quantity of goods on trust from a French slaver, for which he stipulated to pay young slaves—he makes it a point of honour to be punctual to his engagements. The time was at hand when he expected the return of the slaver, and he had not the slaves. Looking around on the peaceable tribes about him for his victims, he singled out the Queaks, a small agricultural and trading people of most inoffensive character. His warriors were skilfully distributed to the different hamlets, and making a simultaneous assault on the sleeping occupants in the dead of the night, accomplished, without difficulty or resistance, in one hour, the annihilation of the whole tribe ;-every adult, man and woman, was murdered-every hut fired! Very young children, generally, shared the fate of their parents; the boys and girls alone were reserved to pay the Frenchman.”—pp. 57, 58.
There is reason to believe that, in these wars, as a general rule, the captives reserved for sale are fewer than the slain. p. 73. But these have yet far to go before they can be sold into slavery. What becomes of them on the march? On this point our author gives some most affecting details, for which we cannot make room; we must give, however, the following brief extract from a letter of Dr. Holroyd, in relation to the march across the desert.
I will give you from the mouth, and nearly in the words, of a fe. male slave at Cairo, her account of the journey across the Desert to Siout. We had a long, long journey, and we suffered very much. We had not food enough to eat, and sometimes we had no drink at all, and our thirst was terrible. When we stopped, almost dying for want of water, they killed a camel and gave us his blood to drink. But the camels themselves could not get on, and then they were killed, and we had their flesh for meat and their blood for water. Some of
the people were too weak to get on, and so they were left in the De. sert to die.'—pp. 84–85.
The number of those who die, merely on the journey from the interior to the coast, has been estimated at five twelfths, or nearly one half of the whole. And when they have reached the coast, what then? There is no ship, or she is not ready to sail, or she delays, for fear of a British cruiser. The Africans are therefore detained-in circumstances how horrible our readers must consult the volume before us to know; but we must give them a sample.
* Mr. Leonard informs us, “ that about 1830, the king of Loango told the officers of the Primrose that he could load eight slave-vessels in one week, and give each 400 or 500; but that, having now no means of disposing of the greater part of his prisoners, he was obliged to kill them. And, shortly before the Primrose arrived, a great number of unfortunate wretches, who had been taken in a predatory incursion, after having been made use of to carry loads of the plundered ivory, &c., to the coast, on their arrival there, as there was no market for them, and as the trouble and expense of their support would be considerable, they were taken to the side of a hill, a little beyond the town, and coolly knocked on the head.''-pp. 90, 91.
The miserable remnant left by disease, starvation, and the sword, are now on board ship, and crossing the ocean, on what has been technically called the middle passage, the horrors of which surpass both description and imagination. We cannot here do any justice to the subject by an extract. The average loss on the middle passage appears to be one third of the cargo. Or if the vessel is captured on the African side of the Atlantic, and the voyage prevented, there is still a loss of life varying from one sixth to one half of the whole number. And if, having made the voyage, they are landed and sold as slaves, it is shown that one half of the survivors die in the seasoning. The author gives the general result of his inquiries in the following appalling passage.
*We have thus brought into a narrow compass the mortality arising from the Slave Trade.
Per Cent. 1. Seizure, march, and detention
100 2. Middle passage, and after capture
25 3. After landing, and in the seasoning 20
145 So hat for every 1000 negroes alive at the end of a year after their deportation, and available to the planter, we have a sacrifice of 1450.
Let us apply this calculation to the number landed annually in Cuba, Brazil, &c., which, as I have already shown (p. 26) may be
fairly rated at 150,000 ; of these 20 per cent, or 30,000, die in the sea. soning, leaving 120,000 available for the planter.
• If 150,000 were landed, there must have been embarked 25 per cent, or 37,500 more, who perish in the passage: and if 187,500 were embarked, 100 per cent, or 187,500 more, must have been sacrificed in the seizure, march, and detention.
• It is impossible for any one to reach this result, without suspecting, as well as hoping, that it must be an exaggeration ; and yet there are those who think that this is too low an estimate.
I have not, however, assumed any fact, without giving the data on which it rests ; neither have I extracted from those data any immoderate inference. I think that the reader, on going over the calculation, will perceive that I have, in almost every instance, abated the deduction, which might with justice have been made. If then we are to put confidence in the authorities (most of them official) which I have quoted, we cannot avoid the conclusion, - terrible as it is,--that the Slave Trade between Africa and America annually subjects to the horrors of slavery
120,000 And murders
30,000 37,500 187,500
Annual victims of Christian Slave Trade
Annual loss to Africa
-pp. 168–170. We are not now about to indulge ourselves in passionate exclamations. The emotions excited by the contemplation of such a state of things are too big for words. There must be cherished a deep, a solemn, a holy purpose to pursue this system of nameless crimes, atrocities, and horrors to its extinction ; a purpose by the execution of which alone we can either fulfil the imperative dictates of humanity, or discharge ourselves of our responsibility to our fellow men and to our Maker.
But has not the voice of the British nation condemned the Slave Trade, and, in obedience to it, has not the power of the British government been, for thirty years, unceasingly directed to its suppression? We admit this. But what is the effect of the admission ? Only to render it unspeakably more mortifying that the Slave Trade should be continued in spite of us. The galling and melancholy fact stares us in the face, that notwithstanding twenty millions of money, probably as many thousands of lives, and scores of treaties, we have not suppressed this wickedness. Under the utmost pressure of our exertions for the third part of a century, it has increased, both in extent and atrocity. We are not called upon to say, that our interference has done no good, or
that it has done unmixed evil. It has doubtless withheld the traffic from acquiring the magnitude it would have reached, had it been encouraged by all nations. But it has done no more. And in doing this, it has fearfully aggravated the misery of what it has failed to prevent. By exposing slavers to the chase of ships of war, it has compelled them to sacrifice accommodation to speed; by making it difficult for them to put to sea, it has caused many to perish on the coast of Africa ; by rendering every voyage perilous, it has crowded the cargoes to fatal excess; and by making vessels liable to capture only with slaves on board, it has caused multitudes to be cast alive into the sea. It is our compassionate interference which has done all these mischiefs ; and we can scarcely admit the solitary benefit named above to be a compensation for them.
We must do something more, and something better, Mr. Buxton fully states his conviction that no augmentation of our present plans will put down the Slave Trade. We give his argument, which is in few words, and is as conclusive as it is brief.
. The power which will overcome our efforts, is the extraordinary profit of the slave-trader. It is, I believe, an axiom at the Customhouse, that no illicit trade can be suppressed where the profits exceed 30 per cent.
I will prove that the profits of the slave-trader are nearly five times that amount. Of the enormous profits of the Slave Trade,' says Commissioner Macleay, “the most correct idea will be formed by taking an example. The last vessel condemned by the Mixed Commission was the Firm.' He gives the cost of
28,000 Provisions, ammunition, wear and tear, &c. 10,600
145,000 * There was a clear profit on the human cargo of this vessel, of £18,640, or just 180 per cent.; and will any one who knows the state of Cuba and Brazil, pretend that this is not enough to shut the mouth of the informer, to arrest the arm of the police, to blind the eyes of the magistrates, and to open the doors of the prison ?'-pp. 187, 188.
If in this state of things we ask the author what must be done, he tells us that he has a plan by which he hopes the object may be attained. We will not here criticise the partial and temporary secresy which he has thought it best to observe in relation to this matter ; nor will we take advantage of the few hints he has thrown out to express our opinion upon it at present. It affords us pleasure to know that so benevolent and experienced a mind
has been employed on a subject confessedly so difficult, and still more that he sees any light breaking in upon what has long seemed a region of impenetrable darkness. We are happy also to learn, that he has been so closely engaged in maturing his plan, and so successful in procuring what he deems the necessary sanction, that the public may ere long expect its full development. In the meantime, without (we are sure) any desire to anticipate the efforts of Mr. Buxton, or to preoccupy the public regard, other labourers in the same cause (the names of some of whom will not be placed too high in being associated with the best of those who have already lived for it) have conceived and brought forward a plan of great simplicity and beauty. It is that of attempting the abolition of slavery and the Slave Trade by moral, religious, and other pacific influences exclusively. This plan having previously been discussed with many friends of humanity in various parts of the country, was at length submitted to a most respectable meeting of delegates, assembled for the purpose at Exeter Hall, on the 17th and 18th of April last; when it was with much cordiality and zeal adopted, and embodied in the constitution of a new society, to be known as the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.
This society, without committing ourselves to its proceedings as partisans, we wish to introduce to the very favourable regard of our readers. Whether the extreme position be tenable or not, that the annihilation of the Slave Trade can be accomplished by nothing short of extinguishing the slavery which it nourishes--a position in support of which, we are sorry to say, very strong arguments may be adduced—it is perfectly clear that all progress made towards destroying slavery must not only diminish the Slave Trade, but diminish it in the best possible manner; and that, if the world should ever be so happy as to see the extinction of the former, the annihilation of the latter must follow of course, without the possibility of revival, or necessity of prohibition. Nor do we think the extinction of slavery an object altogether Utopian, especially by moral, religious, and other pacific influences. In those of the British colonies to which they have been directed these have extinguished it. In the United States they are powerfully operating to the same end. French slavery, also, is feeling their energy. In the empire of Brazil, in Buenos Ayres, in the Spanish, Portuguese, and Danish colonies, the experiment of such influence has never been tried ; but there is no reason to think it could be exerted in them without beneficial effect. The season is eminently favourable for such an effort; and, without expressing either condemnation or distrust of other means, which, by all who approve them, may be separately carried out to the fullest extent-we may say that we are glad to see the use of pacific measures taken up vigorously, and taken up apart from