HL Deb 20 May 1862 vol 166 cc1957-9

presented Copy of the Treaty concluded between Her Majesty and the United States, for the suppression of the slave trade, signed at Washington, 7th April, 1862. The noble Earl, who was very imperfectly heard, was understood to say, that he wished to take that opportunity of stating, that the present Government of the United States had shown great anxiety to adopt stringent measures for the extinction of that nefarious traffic. Their Lordships were aware that for some years past there had been great facilities afforded to persons at Few York to fit out slavers. Those slavers went afterwards to Havannah, and thence to the coast of Africa. Her Majesty's Government were fairy informed of the names of the persons who fitted out those slavers, and they advised our Ad- miral and cruisers on the African coast of the information they from time to time obtained. Owing, however, to these vessels using the American flag, these slavers were enabled to avoid search by our cruisers, and their operations consequently could not be checked. But President Lincoln's Government had given orders for the entire suppression of the slave trade, and had also taken effectual steps to break up the practice of fitting out ships at New York for the purpose of carrying it on. Some of the persons engaged in this nefarious traffic had been prosecuted, and one had been hanged. Besides these, as occasions required, other steps would be adopted for the effectual suppression of the slave trade. The present Treaty had been negotiated between Mr. Secretary Seward and Lord Lyons; and he might take this opportunity of stating, that it afforded the best evidence of the sincerity of feeling and purpose for the suppression of the slave trade, which, since the election of the present President, had characterized the Government of the United States. The Treaty gave extensive powers of search to the cruisers of both nations, and he had now the honour to lay it on their Lordships' table.


wished, to take the earliest opportunity of expressing the very great gratification with which he had heard the announcement just made by the noble Earl. It was a matter which, as their Lordships were aware, he had long had deeply at heart. He believed this was the step in the right direction—the one which was needed to render our efforts for the suppression of the slave trade effectual. He had long felt, that if we had but a sincere and honest treaty with the United States, such as the noble Earl had just laid on the table, that the American flag should not cover the ill-conditioned of any nation engaged in the slave trade, the long services and sacrifices of this country would be effectual for its final suppression.


in expressing the same satisfaction which he was sure was shared in by all their Lordships, had only to ask this question—whether the treaty which the noble Earl now laid on the table was merely for a term of years, or indefinite in its extension?


replied, that the Treaty was to continue for ten years in the first instance; but it was renewable at the expiry of that term, if its renewal should then be considered necessary.


said, he had always considered the use which was made of the American flag the great obstacle to the suppression of the slave trade. He hoped the Government would pursue actively the measures which were necessary for putting down the slave trade; and, what was of not less importance, giving security and protection to the Native chiefs of Africa in the development of the internal re sources of that country, particularly in the cultivation of cotton. Looking to the stoppage of that staple from America, and the uncertainty of its supply from India, everything practicable should be done to encourage its growth in Africa. Already a large quantity of cotton was grown there, and it was his firm conviction, that if the necessary encouragement were given to the Native chiefs, with a view to the peace and security of that country, a large trade in cotton between Africa and England would be developed. It was quite hope less this could be done while the slave trade continued to be carried on; but, as we had now some prospect of seeing that trade suppressed, he hoped Government, in addition to what was being done at Lagos, would take measures to extend British protection to the Native chiefs of Africa, and encourage the development of the resources of that country in the production of cotton.

House adjourned at a quarter-past Five o'clock, to Thursday next, half-past Ten o'clock.