Imágenes de página

country from Senegal where he had mandant of St Mary's, a British setresided as a merchant ever since the tlement at the mouth of the Gambia, colony was transferred to France (in for anchoring in the road there, with 1817,) states that two French vessels, slaves on board, and ordered for adone belonging to Senegal and the other judication to Sierra Leone ; but the to Bourdeaux, took in cargoes of slaves Sophie, after having left St Mary's, at that place, and crossed the bar in was actually met off the mouth of the presence of three French men of war Gambia by a French schooner, which and a brig. He also states as his be captured and carried her, together lief, and as the general opinion, “ that with the British officer and crew, to the officers of the Administration were Senegal, where they were detained interested in every cargo of slaves for some time, and then, with the exshipped off from Senegal ; and the ception of one of the crew, sent back Captain of the Postilion, which had to St Mary's. A considerable slave been detained, assured him, that trade is also carrying on at Allredra his detention was owing to his not and other places on the river Gam. having purchased any part of his bia. The slave trade carried on by slaves from the Government officers!” Spain and Portugal appears, in its It appears also, that a cutter named increase, to have kept pace with that La Sophie, belonging to St Louis, of France. Senegal, was detained by the com. Accounts have been received from

Information of a date subsequent to that from which the above outline has been compiled, not merely corroborates the statements we have giren, but proves that the slave trade carried on by France, Spain, and Portugal, but especially the first of these powers, has increased to an extent altogether unparalleled, and been attended with atrocities and horrors the reci. tal of which is shocking to humanity. Although it may be considered a species of anachro. nism, we cannot refrain from giving one extract illustrative of this melancholy fact. It is copied from a French medical work, (Bibliothéque Ophtalmologique, ou Recueil d'Obserrations sur les Maladies des Yeur, &c.) and exemplifies some of the worst horrors which attend the middle passage. “ The ship Le Rodeur, Captain Boucher, left Havre on the 24th of January 1819 for the coast of Africa, and reached her destination the 4th of March following, anchoring at Bonny in the Calabar. The crew, consisting of 22 men, enjoyed good health during the outward voyage and during their stay at Bonny, where they continued till the 6th of April. They had observed no trace of ophthalmia amongst the natives; and it was not until 15 days after they had set sail on the return voyage, and the vessel was near the equator, that they perceived the first symptoms of this frightful malady. It was then remarked that the negroes, who, to the number of 160, were crowded together in the hold and between the decks, had contracted a considerable redness of the eyes, which spread with singular rapidity. No great attention was at first paid to these symptoms, which were thought to be caused only by the want of air in the hold, and by the scarcity of water, which had already begun to be felt. All this time they were limited to eight ounces of water a-day for each person, which quantity was afterwards reduced to the half of a wine glass. By the advice of Maignan, the surgeon of the ship, the negroes, who had hitherto remained shut up in the hold, were brought upon deck in succession, in order that they might breathe a purer air. But it became necessary to abandon this expedient, because many of those negroes, affected with nostalgia, (i. e, a passionate desire to revisit their native land, threw themselves in the sea, locked in each other's

The first of the crew who caught the infection was a sailor who slept under the deck, near the grated hatch which communicated with the hold. The next day a landsman was seized with ophthalmia; and in three days more the Captain and almost the whole of the crew were infected by it. The number of the blind augmented every day, and they were seized with the farther dread of not being able to make the West Indies, if the only sailor who had hitherto escaped the contagion, and on whom their sole hope rested, should become blind like the rest. This calamity had actually befallen the Leon, a Spanish vessel, which the Rodeur met with on her passage, and the whole crew of which, having become blind, were under the necessity of altogether abandoning the direction of the ship. (The Leon has not since been


Major Gray, who succeeded the un- The funds of the institution are in fortunate Major Peddie in the com- a very low state, the nett receipts of mand of the expedition into the in the last last year hardly exceeding a terior of Africa. From the unfriend- thousand pounds. This is as truly ly disposition of the natives, and the lamentable as it is unaccountable. want of merchandise, he was com- Surely public benevolence is flowpelled, after having arrived in the ing in an improper channel. The innegro kingdom of Bondou, to retrace come of the British and Foreign Bi. his steps to Bakel on the Senegal. ble Society for the same year was There he meant to wait for intelli. within little of a hundred thousand gence from the chief surgeon of the pounds. Might not a portion of this expedition, who had been sent for- enormous revenue be appropriately ward to Sego to solicit the protection and beneficently employed in pro. of the King of Bambarra; and we moting the paramount cause of learn from subsequent accounts that African civilization and improvethe surgeon had returned from Sego, ment ? and that Major Gray had received from Senegal the merchandise of which he was so much in want.

heard of, and in all probability was lost.) They entreated the charitable interference of the Rodeur ; but the seamen of this vessel could neither quit her to go on board the Leon on account of the cargo of negroes, nor receive the crew of the Leon on board the Rodeur, in which there was hardly room for themselves. The Rodeur reached Guadaloupe on the 21st of June 1819, her crew being in a most deplorable condition. Three days after her arrival, the only man who during the voyage bad withstood the influence of the contagion, was seized with the same malady. Of the negroes 39 had become perfectly blind, 12 had lost an eye, and 14 were affected with blemishes more or less considerable. Of the crew 12 lost their sight entirely, among whom was the surgeon ; 5 became blind of one eye, one of them being the chaplain; and 4 were partially injured.” Such is the account of the voyage of the Rodeur, as given by M. Guillié, in the medical work above referred to. But in this account one of the most horrid circumstances connected with the transaction is wholly omitted; namely, that the slaves who became blind were thrown into the sea, as they would have brought no return in the West Indies, and as ground would thus be laid for a claim on the underwriters, by whom the cargo had been insured. This additional fact we learn from the petition of M. Morenas to the Chamber of Deputies. When the circumstances of this case became known, a representation was made to the French Government, which, however, was so little attended to, that, in the interim, the one eyed wretch, Boucher, was once more employed as master of a vessel fitted out on a new adventure to the coast of Africa ; but of his subsequent fate no intelligence has reached us. To the conduct of the Allies in general, and the French Government in particular, we would beg to oppose that of the Arab tribes in the neighbourhood of the Persian Gulf, with whom Captain Thomson some time ago concluded a treaty, in which he procured the insertion of the following article, viz. : “ The carrying off slaves, men, women, or children, from the coasts of Africa, or elsewhere, and the transporting them in vessels, is plunder and piracy, and the friendly Arabs shall do nothing of this nature." It is sometbing remarkable, that the principle proposed by Lord Castlereagh, in his note to the Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle, and which all his influence could not procure that august body to receive as part of international law, should have been first recognised as such by the Barbarian and Nomadic Tribes that inhabit the Borders of the Persian Gulf!!

No. III.





The winter of 1819 was mild and paired any damage that had been the spring early. In May vegetables done to them by the previous state were farther advanced than in ordi. of the weather. Reaping became nary seasons, and in every case held general in the south of England early out the prospect of abundance. But in August; and by the end of Sepabout the end of the month, the tember, the crops were secured all weather became less favourable, the over Britain in the best condition, days being cold and ungenial, with the important labours of the season frost in the evenings; and it con- having scarcely ever been interrupttinued so till about the middle of ed. Winter, however, may be said to July. Some of the crops, especially have commenced by the middle of potatoes and hay, were much injured October, before the potatoes were during this period, and in many si. all saved, and prevailed with more tuations the orchards wholly failed. than its wonted rigour to the end of But in the latter part of July, and the the year. whole of August, the temperature was high, often above 70°, which not The following is an Abstract of a only brought the corn crops speedily Register of the Weather, kept on to maturity, but seemed to have re. the Banks of the Tay, near Perth.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Comparing this with a similar ab- the most common price in the former stract in our last volume, it will be being 12d., and in the latter 10d. and seen that the mean temperature is 11d. The average prices of corn in .64 lower than that of 1818, and that Scotland, commonly only a few shil. the quantity of rain is less by 1.797 lings below those of England, were inches.

this year greatly lower. In January At the commencement of the year, the difference on wheat was lls.; on the average prices of grain in England barley 15s. 10d.; on oats 5s. 6d. the were as follows, viz. Wheat, 798. 3d.; quarter ; and on oatmeal 14s. 3d. per Rye, 58s. 11d.; Barley, 63s. 10d.; boll of 140 lb. avoirdupois. Oats, 358. ; Beans, 72s. 4d. ; This state of the markets seems to Pease, 70s. 5d. the quarter. In Fes have occasioned some surprise abruary the ports were shut against mong the corn merchants, and much foreign wheat; in May against rye alarm among the corn growers. By and beans; and in August against the former it had long been held as all other kinds of grain; yet prices an established point, that the growth gradually declined till the end of of the kingdom was not adequate to June, and, after experiencing some its consumption, even when conadvance in July and August, sunk sumption was somewhat diminished again in October. For the week by high prices; and, acting under ending 25th December, Wheat this impression, the occasional shutwas 64s. 11d. ; Rye, 42s.; Barley, ting of the ports under the act 1815 36s. 3d.; Oats, 25s.; Beans, 48s. Id.; does not appear to have affected and Pease 50s. 6d. the quarter. The their habitual speculations in foreign average prices of the year were, grain, which it was never suspected Wheat, 73s. ; Rye, 49s. ; Bar- we could long dispense with. Acley, 46s. 8d. ; Oats, 29s. 4d. ; Beans, cordingly, when it was not allowed 55s. 5d.; Pease, 568. per quarter, to be imported for sale, it was imand Oatmeal 31s. 6d. per boll of ported nevertheless and carried to 140 lbs. avoirdupois. The quartern the warehouse, the holders confiloaf in London fell from 124d. to 11d.; dently anticipating its admission inand in Edinburgh from lid. to 9d.; to our market, by the rise of prices,

within a few months thereafter. But relief were ill-judged and nugatory: the fall of prices this year, in the So early as January, when prices, as absence of any foreign supplies of we have seen, were comparatively consequence, would lead us to con- high, petitions were presented to clude (what subsequent events have Parliament for high duties on foreign confirmed,) that so great had been grain ; and the number continued to the extension of tillage, and the im- increase throughout the year, in spite provement of the soil during the of the unfavourable reception the war, as to render the produce of the first of them met with from both sides United Kingdom in corn fully equal of the house. Though sent up from to its wants in favourable seasons. different parts of the country, they

The corn growers, however, would were nearly all in the same terms, not admit that the fall of prices was having originated with a few active owing to the abundance of our own individuals, calling themselves “ The produce. They ascribed it to the Agricultural Association,” who reimports of the two preceding years, gularly met in London for the pura great part of which, as they alleged, pose. These petitions complained still hung upon the market. But of distress, which they ascribed to though the quantity imported was the admission of foreign grain, and certainly very great, as will be seen prayed for the imposition of such dufrom the abstract below, yet the ties as would have been equal to a prices of 1817 and 1818 were so high prohibition, not only upon corn, but as to prove that our own growth in upon all other commodities which 1816 and 1817 had been very de- could be raised from the soil of the ficient; and that all, or nearly all, united kingdom. the foreign supplies were really want- By others, the fall of prices was ased for immediate consumption. That cribed to the rise in the value of moany considerable portion of them ney, produced by Mr Peel's bill for should therefore have been kept back the restoration of the currency, which at the time is highly improbable ; passed in June. It is admitted on and indeed the advance that took all bands, that this measure must neplace immediately before harvest af- cessarily have lowered prices, and, fords a strong presumption that the at the same time, virtually raised stores in this country, whether of repts and all other fixed money paynative or foreign growth, had then ments; but a great difference of obecome much exhausted.

pinion has prevailed as to the extent When we look back to the prices of its operation. Its effect has proof the latter years of the late war, bably been greater than was anticiduring which many of the existing pated by its advocates; for not only contracts between landlord and te- corn, but other kinds of produce, of nant must have been entered into, which the supply cannot materially there can be no doubt that the prices vary from year to year, and indeed at the end of the present year, which commodities generally, seem to have may be stated generally at one-third gradually fallen in a greater degree lower, must have occasioned much than the paper price of gold, which embarrassment and apprehension. was then not quite 5 per cent. above But the complaints of a respectable the mint price. body of our farmers seem to have Live stock of all kinds, which

as premature, as the measures sold at high prices in 1818, did not they proposed to be taken for their experience any depression till about

« AnteriorContinuar »