Page images
PDF
EPUB

CONVENTION between Great Britain and France, for the Suppression of the Traffic in Slaves. Signed at London, May 29, 1845*.

[See French version, Page 347.]

HER Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the King of the French, considering that the Conventions of the 30th of November, 1831, and the 22nd March, 1833 +, have effected their object, in preventing the use of the English and French flags in carrying on the Slave Trade, but that this odious traffic still exists, and that the said Conventions are insufficient to insure its complete suppression;-His Majesty the King of the French, having expressed his desire to adopt more effectual measures for the suppression of the Slave Trade, than those contemplated in the said Conventions; and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland being anxious to co-operate for the attainment of this object; they have agreed to conclude a new Convention, which, as between the 2 High Contracting Parties, shall be substituted in the place of the above-mentioned Conventions of 1831 and 1833; and for that purpose they have named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:

Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Right Honourable George Earl of Aberdeen, Viscount Gordon, Viscount Formartine, Lord Haddo, Methlick, Tarvis and Kellie, a Peer of the United Kingdom, a Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; And the Right Honourable Stephen Lushington, a member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, and Judge of her High Court of Admiralty;

And His Majesty the King of the French, the Sieur Louis de Beaupoil, Count of Sainte Aulaire, a Peer of France, Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Legion of Honour, Grand Cross * Ratifications exchanged at London, June 7, 1845. † See Vol. 4, Pages 109, 115.

of the Order of Leopold of Belgium, his Ambassador to Her Britannic Majesty; and the Sieur Charles Léonce Achille Victor, Duke of Broglie, a Peer of France, Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Legion of Honour, Vice-President of the Chamber of Peers:

Who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon and concluded the following Articles:

ART. I. In order that the flags of Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of His Majesty the King of the French, may not, contrary to the Law of Nations and the laws in force in the 2 countries, be usurped, to cover the Slave Trade, and in order to provide for the more effectual suppression of that traffic, His Majesty the King of the French engages, as soon as may be practicable, to station on the West Coast of Africa, from Cape Verd to 16° 30′ south latitude, a naval force of at least 26 cruizers, consisting of sailing and steam-vessels; and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland engages, as soon as may be practicable, to station on the same part of the West Coast of Africa a naval force of not less than 26 cruizers, consisting of sailing vessels and steam-vessels; and on the East Coast of Africa such number of cruizers as Her Majesty shall judge sufficient for the prevention of the Trade on that coast: which cruizers shall be employed for the purposes above mentioned, in conformity with the following stipulations.

II. The said British and French naval forces shall act in concert for the suppression of the Slave Trade. It will be their duty to watch strictly every part of the West Coast of Africa within the limits described in Article I, where the Slave Trade is carried on. For this purpose they shall exercise fully and completely all the powers vested in the Crowns of Great Britain and France for the suppression of the Slave Trade, subject only to the modifications hereinafter mentioned as to British and French ships.

III. The officers of Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of His Majesty the z 2

King of the French, having respectively the command of the squadrons of Great Britain and France, to be employed in carrying out this Convention, shall concert together as to the best means of watching strictly the parts of the African coast before described, by selecting and defining the stations, and committing the care thereof to English and French cruizers, jointly or separately, as may be deemed most expedient; provided always that in case of a station being specially committed to the charge of cruizers of either nation, the cruizers of the other nation may at any time enter the same for the purpose of exercising the rights respectively belonging to them for the suppression of the Slave Trade.

IV. Treaties for the suppression of the Slave Trade shall be negotiated with the native Princes or Chiefs on the abovementioned part of the West Coast of Africa, wherever it may seem necessary to the Commanders of the English and French squadrons respectively.

Such Treaties shall be negotiated by the commanders themselves, or by officers specially instructed by them to that effect.

V. The object of the aforesaid Treaties shall be confined to the suppression of the Slave Trade.

If such Treaty be concluded by a British officer, power shall be expressly reserved to His Majesty the King of the French to become a party to such Treaty; and if by a French officer, the like power shall be reserved to Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of great Britain and Ireland. Whenever Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and His Majesty the King of the French shall both become parties to such a Treaty, the expense which may have been incurred in effecting the same, whether for presents or other similar expenses, shall be borne equally by both nations.

VI. Whenever it shall be necessary to employ force, conformably to the Law of Nations, in order to compel the due execution of any Treaty made in pursuance of the present Convention, no such force shall be resorted to, either by land or sea, without the consent of the commanders both of the British and of the French squadrons.

And if it should be deemed necessary for the attainment of the objects of this Convention, that posts should be occupied on that part of the coast of Africa before described, this shall be done only with the consent of the 2 High Contracting Parties.

VII. As soon as the squadron to be sent by His Majesty the King of the French to the coast of Africa, shall be ready to commence operations on the coast of Africa, His Majesty the King of the French shall cause notification thereof to be made to Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; and the 2 High Contracting Parties shall, by a joint Declaration*, make known that the measures to be adopted in virtue of this Convention, are about to be carried into execution; and the aforesaid Declaration shall be published wherever it may be deemed necessary.

Within 3 months after the date of the said declaration, the warrants that have been issued in pursuance of the Conventions of 1831 and 1833, to the cruizers of the 2 nations, for the mutual exercise of the right of search, shall be respectively delivered up.

VIII. Whereas experience has shown that the Traffic in Slaves in those parts of the world where it is habitually carried on, is often accompanied by acts of piracy, dangerous to the tranquillity of the seas and to the safety of all flags; and considering at the same time, that if the flag carried by a vessel be prima facie evidence of the national character of such vessel, this presumption cannot be considered as sufficient to forbid in all cases the proceeding to the verification thereof,—since otherwise all flags might be exposed to abuse, by their serving to cover piracy, the Slave Trade, or any other illegal traffic; it is agreed, in order to prevent any difficulty in the execution of the present Convention, that Instructions, founded on the Law of Nations and on the constant usage of maritime Powers, shall be addressed to the commanding officers of the British and French. squadrons and stations on the coast of Africa. The 2 Governments have accordingly communicated to each other their respective Instructions, which are annexed to this Convention †. XI. Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of

*

See Pages 370, 371.

+ See Pages 342, 351.

Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the King of the French, mutually engage to continue the prohibition for ever of all Slave Trade in the colonies which they now possess or may hereafter possess; and also to prevent, as far as the laws of each country shall permit, their respective subjects from being engaged, directly or indirectly, in this traffic.

X. Three months after the declaration mentioned in Article VII, the present Convention shall come into execution. The duration of it is fixed at 10 years. The previous Conventions shall be suspended. In the course of the 5th year the 2 High Contracting Parties will concert together anew, and will decide according to circumstances, whether it is fitting either to put again in force the whole or part of the said Conventions, or to modify or to abrogate the whole or part of the present Convention. At the end of the 10th year, unless the previous Conventions shall have been put again in force, they shall be considered as definitively abrogated. And the High Contracting Parties further engage to continue to concert together for ensuring the suppression of the Slave Trade, by all the means which may appear to them most useful and most efficacious, until the time when this traffic shall be completely abolished.

XI. The present Convention shall be ratified, and the ratifications shall be exchanged at London at the expiration of 10 days from this date, or sooner if possible.

In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same, and have affixed thereto the seals of their arms. Done at London, the 29th day of May, 1845.

(L.S.) ABERDEEN.

(L.S.) STE. AULAIRE.

(L.S.) STEPHEN LUSHINGTON.

(L.S.) V. BROGLIE.

ANNEX referred to in Article VIII. Instructions to Commanders of Squadrons on the Coast of Africa.

Instructions for the Senior Officer of Her Majesty's Ships
and Vessels on the West Coast of Africa.

By the Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High
Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, &c.

WE transmit to you herewith a copy of a Convention between Her Majesty and the King of the French, dated the

« PreviousContinue »