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Monday, large classes of artisans and mechanics intermixed with the other visitors; and who, if that place were not opened to them, might be dedicating the day to St. Monday—to the alehouse or gin-shop-to low gambling or sensual riot. This multiplication of the sources of rational entertainment is of equal promise to those vast numbers of country visitors, more pecially of youth, who come to spend an occasional month or two in the metropolis. The sight of whatever is novel, wonderful, and curious tends to enlarge and liberalize their minds, and to diminish the solicitations to vicious indulgence.
Nor even in a mercantile point of view, is this increasing taste for sight-seeing any other than a subject of congratulation. Much enterprise and much capital are invested in providing the public with these amusements, and thousands upon thousands get an honest livelihood by ministering to the public taste for them. Upon the whole, we question whether a shilling or sixpence is ever more profitably or more agreeably spent, than in going to see any one of the principal · London Exhibitions.'
Art. IV. The African Slave Trade. By THOMAS Fowel BUXTON,
Esq. London: Murray. 1839. THERE was a time when the whole realm of England rang
with the horrors of the Slave Trade, and with the voices of the benevolent and noble-minded men who summoned forth the energies of a just and-indignant people for its overthrow. The popular enthusiasm of that day was not unlike that which has lately been awakened, with such happy and complete results, we say complete, because the 31st of March in the present year, witnessed the termination of the apprenticeship in the last of the British colonies in which it had existed, and that in which it threatened to linger longest, the Mauritius—for the extinction of slavery itself; and it seemed to have a like success. The men who led on that conflict with avarice and murder laid down their weapons, for they thought the victory won; and the public mind, under the same soothing assurance, lulled itself into repose. The suppression of the Slave Trade has thus come to be set down in the mind of every one as an achievement made; and the chronis cles of the times had already recorded it as an event of English history. A generation has nearly passed away—the average duration of one has quite passed away—in this happy persuasion; when the public ear is hailed—and not only hailed but startled — by another blast of the trumpet to which the friends of humanity and freedom have so often and so readily responded, telling of perpetuated wrongs, and summoning to new exertion. The African Slave Trade again! The African Slave Trade? What, the exposed, the execrated, the condemned, the abolished Slave Trade-has this risen from the grave to torment the world anew ? Alas! it has never been either buried or dead. Amidst the silence of supposed extinction it has survived; and more, it has gathered fresh energy and perpetrated aggravated crimes. O! if the generation were now alive whose determined zeal fought that desperate battle, and won that delusive semblance of a triumph; who witnessed the efforts, listened to the eloquence, and sustained the demands of Sharpe, Clarkson, Wilberforce, and their compeers, how their hearts would thrill, and their resolution be nerved, at the appeal now made ! Not that we think the present generation less humane or less determined than their predecessors—numerous and unequivocal indications forbid us to think so; but it is their misfortune, in relation to the Slave Trade, not only that the subject is new to them, but that, believing the infamous traffic to have been suppressed, they regard all statements respecting it with a primary incredulity, which, to the ordinary difficulty of awakening sympathy, superadds an unusual difficulty of producing conviction. It is to this object more particularly that Mr. Buxton addresses himself in the important volume now before us, in which with deep feeling and earnestness he combines, in an eminent degree, research, calmness, and impartiality. His statements are at the utmost distance from being either vague, exaggerated, or passionate. He exercises even exemplary candour. He might honestly have made his case much stronger than he has made it; but it is more than strong enough to answer his purpose. His book, by the preparation of which he has created for himself a new title to the gratitude of Africa, and of every friend of the African race, must be read and pondered -it should be universally read, and deeply pondered. To us it is a sacred duty, as well as a melancholy pleasure, to do what we can for the diffusion of the authentic and afflictive information thus presented to the public.
Mr. Buxton adverts in the first instance to the extent to which the African Slave Trade is at the present moment carried on. And this he considers under two divisions. He computes first the number annually conveyed across the Atlantic, and sold as slaves. Under this head he notices Brazil, Cuba, Buenos Ayres, Porto Rico, and Texas; adducing copious evidence, every item of which is trustworthy and convincing, but a great part of which he declines to employ as an element of his numerical calculation, because it is not official and demonstrative. The number which he thus brings out is unquestionably far below the truth ; but it has this advantage, that its accuracy cannot be disputed. Of his calculations under this head he gives the following summary.
'I have then brought the case to this point. There is Slave Trading, although to an unknown and indefinite amount, into Porto Rico; into Texas; and into some of the South American republics.
• There is the strongest presumptive evidence, that the Slave Trade into the five ports* of Brazil which have been noticed, is ' much more considerable' than my estimate makes it; and that I have also under. rated the importation of negroes into Cuba. There are even grounds for suspicion that there are other places (besides Porto Rico, Texas, Cuba, Monte Video, &c., and Brazil) where slaves are introduced ; but for all these presumptions I reckon nothing, I take no account of them ; I limit myself to the facts which I have established, viz., that there are, at the present time, imported annually into Brazil 78,333 That the annual importations into Cuba amount to
60,000 That there have been captured
8,294 And I assume that the casualties amount to
Besides the traffic across the Atlantic,' our author informs us that there is an immense trade carried on for the supply of the • Mohammedan markets of Morocco, Tunis, Tripoli, Egypt, Tur
key, Persia, Arabia, and the borders of Asia. This commerce comprises two distinct divisions, 1st, the maritime, the victims of
which are shipped from the north-east coast, in Arab vessels, and 2nd, the Desert, which is carried on, by means of caravans, 'to Barbary, Egypt, &c.' The numbers which he adopts, with the same candour as before, are
We will not stop to say, that this is melancholy. Let us go
If the number annually enslaved is fearful, the number who annually perish is more so. For every ten who reach • Cuba or Brazil,' says Mr. Buxton, and become available as slaves, fourteen at least are destroyed.'
* Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Pemambuco, Maranbam, and Para.
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 follow. ing 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 female 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 o., 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 that 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