§ MR. GOURLEY
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, The number and names of steam and sailing cruisers now engaged in the suppression of the 74 Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa; if it be correct that the steam cruisers are not only too slow, but also deficient in fuel capacity, and that both steam and sailing vessels are of too heavy a draught for inshore chasing; that there is no Government coaling station between the Cape and Aden, and that the cruisers have to obtain fuel from French Government depots and private firms at exorbitant prices; and, further, if it be correct that some of the vessels are very often withdrawn from slave cruising operations for the purpose of carrying minor diplomatic despatches?
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Sir, a corvette and a gun-vessel, belonging to the East Indian Squadron, are at present engaged on the East Coast of Africa for the suppression of the Slave Trade. The boats of the London, depot ship at Zanzibar, are also constantly employed cruising where larger vessels cannot act; and at the request of the local naval authorities two schooners have recently been despatched as an additional force for this purpose. It is hoped that the entire force thus constituted will prove sufficient. As regards the supply of coal, there is at Zanzibar a Government coal depot, with covered storage accommodation for 3,300 tons, and there are several places in those waters at which coal is obtained at prices which are not exorbitant. With regard to the last Question of my hon. Friend, the vessels employed on the East Coast are rarely interfered with, and never when it can possibly be avoided.