« AnteriorContinuar »
INDEX TO VOLUME I.
Elauts, Hospitality of the,
Baillee, La, (poem,)
Lucien his poem of Charle-
British Spy, Review of Letters of a,
Hermilda in Palestine, Review of, 385
FOR JANUARY, 1813.
Sixth Report of the Directors of the African Institution; read
at the Annual General Meeting on the 25th of March, 1812. To which are added, an Appendix and a List of Subscribers. 8vo. pp. 178. London. 1812.
[From the Edinburgh Review, for July, 1812.] It gives us sincere pleasure to resume, from time to time, our notices of the proceedings of this excellent and useful institution; both because we thereby obtain fit opportunities of keeping the attention of our readers directed towards the important subjects of Africa and the West Indies, and because we always find materials for extending our knowledge of that unexplored continent. The latter reason will be found peculiarly applicable to the present publication, which is inferior, in importance and originality, to none of those that preceded it.
Before proceeding to the proper subject of this article, we must remark, that a change appears to have taken place in the office of secretary of the institution. We regret to find that Mr. Macaulay is no longer able to continue the discharge of those duties, which he had with distinguished ability performed, at great personal loss and inconvenience, since the beginning of the institution. Any praise of ours, however, would be unavailing, after that honourable testimony borne to his merits in the unanimous resolution passed at the general meeting, which is inserted at p. iv. of the volume before us. Mr. Macaulay had formerly refused a similar testimony of regard, voted at the general meeting of 1810; about which time, he also, with a disinterestedness rare indeed, abandoned to the actual captors his VOL. I. New Series.
share of a large pecuniary penalty incurred by a slave trader. He is succeeded in the office of secretary by Mr. Harrison of Queen's College; a gentleman of distinguished reputation at the university, and who having recently quitted the bar, is enabled to bestow an undivided attention upon the duties of his new employment.
Our attention is, as usual, first directed to the execution of the abolition laws—the great pillar of African civilization-indeed, the point from which the course of improvement in that vast continent may be said to spring. That the English traders are at last checked, we believe, cannot be doubted. They will not risk a conviction of felony, and sentence of transportation to Botany Bay. The American government, too, having abolished the traffic, and the decision in the noted case of the Amedie having shown British cruizers in what manner they may enforce the American prohibition,-few vessels bearing that lag are now engaged in it, compared with the former amount. But, on the other hand, a prodigious slave trade is still carried on by those famous allies of ours, the Portuguese and Spaniards. Cuba is daily extending her cultivation-the Brazils are more and more crowded with miserable victims. In short, so thriving is this enormity, that the directors do not hesitate to state, from their own information, that between 70,000 and 80,000 negroes were carried over in the year 1810. This dreadful commerce was confined chiefly to the coast between Cape Palmas and Benguela. The Portuguese treaty confines the trade in vessels of that nation to places actually in possession of the Portuguese crown; and had it not been for the small island of Bissao, (a place of no earthly value, except for the purposes of the slave trade), this traffic must have been wholly destroyed to the northward of the equator. This islet, however, has become an entrepôt for all the slave merchants whom the vigilance of our cruizers has driven from the other parts of the coast; and though the treaty nominally excludes the Portuguese from every part of the coast north of the equator, except Bissao, this denunciation is of little avail, while they can smuggle over negroes from all parts of the coast, in canoes, to Bissao; from whence they have a right to transport them in open day to the Brazils. Mark the baneful effects of this exception. Bissao is situated at the mouth of the Rio Grande. An intelligent naval officer lately visited its banks; and he describes the devastation which prevails there, as exceeding all belief. He distinctly states, that the country, * on both banks, is quite unpeopled by the slave trade.'
Now, there is nothing like putting the case home to ourselves. Suppose the French had got possession of the little island called the Bugio, at the mouth of the Tagus; and, without any pre