HC Deb 15 December 1893 vol 19 cc1485-6
MR. J. PEASE (Northumberland, Tyneside)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government are aware that Clause 1 of the Decree issued on 1st August, 1890, by the Sultan of Zanzibar confirms all Decrees and Ordinances made by his predecessors against Slavery and the Slave Trade, which includes the Treaty between Great Britain and Zanzibar of 5th June, 1873; and whether all slaves introduced into Zanzi- bar or Pemba since that date have been so brought in contravention of that Treaty, and are now illegally held in bondage; whether the proclamation of the Sultan of Zanzibar abolishing slavery in Kismayu and Benadir, in January, 1876, comprises the territory lately handed back to the Sultan of Zanzibar; whether the slaves now employed in coaling Her Majesty's ships of war in Zanzibar were all introduced into that island prior to 1873; and, if not, on what grounds they are now recognised as slaves; whether any means are taken by the Zanzibar Government to ensure that the money paid to slaves for coaling Her Majesty's ships is not paid over to their masters, either directly or indirectly; and whether, as the finances of the Zanzibar Protectorate are under the control of Her Majesty's Agent and Consul General, he will state whether any portion of the Revenue is derived from slave labour?


The Treaty of June 5, 1873, is in force, and its effect is correctly stated. The Proclamation of 1876 affects Kismayu, which is still held by the East Africa Company, and the Benadir Ports now administered by Italy. The coaling of Her Majesty's ships is done by a British firm under contract; the commanders of the vessels have nothing to do with the service, but the firm makes no distinction whatever as to the payment of different classes of labourers. It would manifestly be impossible for it to undertake to examine the previous history of any slaves who present themselves for employment. The sources of the Zanzibar revenues are defined under Treaties, and the Berlin and Brussels Acts, all of which, as well as the Revenue Returns, have been laid before Parliament. If my hon. Friend will refer to these, I shall be glad to give him any further explanation that is in my power; but I must point out that to exempt from duty any produce which is the result of slave labour would be to place a high premium upon the employment of slaves.