1872 East African slave trade report 
1872 East African slave trade report 

Royal NavyEast Africa slave trade1873

Rear-Admiral Cumming to the Secretary to the Admiralty.

"Glasgow," at Zanzibar, January 10, I873.


IN accordance with the directions contained in the Slave Trade Instructions, I beg to forward, to be laid before the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, the following Report for the year 1872.

2. On my assuming command of this station on the 21st March, 1872, I found Her Majesty's ships "Wolverene" and "Columbine" employed on the East Coast of Africa and the Mozambique Channel, cruizing for the suppression of the Slave Trade. "Briton" and "Magpie" were at Bombay.

3. On the 10th April "Magpie" left Bombay to relieve "Columbine," and the latter ship proceeded to Trincomalee. "Magpie" relieved " Columbine " off Ras Hafoon in May, and remained in that neighbourhood until 2nd June, Left Zanzibar on 23rd July for the Mozambique Channel, where she remained cruizing until 3rd December, on which date returned to Zanzibar. Having completed provisions, left for Bombay, relieved by "Daphne." During the time she was employed on the East Coast of Africa (May to December} " Magpie" captured three dhows.

4. "Wolverene" remained on East Coast of Africa from March to 30th November, when she left for Seychelles, thence to proceed to Bombay. During this period "Wolverene" captured one dhow. Has been relieved by "Briton."

5. "Briton " left Bombay on 8th May for Muscat, to send "Bullfinch " to England, and, on being relieved by "Vulture," left that place to cruze between Ras-el-Had and Aden; owing to an accident to her screw had to return to Bombay; on defect being made good, left again for her station, but, when nearing Socotra, Captain Jago having fractured his leg, had to proceed to Seychelles, for the purpose of landing him at sick-quarters. Having so done, left for Aden, remained cruizing in the vicinity of that place, visiting occasionally Socotra, Abd-el-Kuri, and Guardafui, until 1st December, when she proceeded to Zanzibar, where she arrived on 15th. "Briton" has not made any capture.

6. "Vulture," on 6th September, off Ras-el-Had, captured a dhow with 169 slaves on board.

7. The inclosed Report gives the detailed account of the captures effected during the nine months I have had command of the Station. The following is a condensed abstract of the Report: -

Number of dhows captured 6
Tonnage of captured dhows 992·48
Number of slaves liberated 251

8. Their being only nine ships on the station, including the flag-ship, and having out of that number to keep six employed in Indian waters, leaves only two available for service on the whole of the Coast of Africa, from Cape Guardafui to the southern limits of the station (about 2,500 miles); these vessels can only be relieved one at a time, and that only when the flag-ship is in India, and is one of the six vessels there.

9. In order that the two ships employed cruising on the East Coast of Africa should be enabled to keep up, as much as possible, a surveillance over the line of coast entrusted to them, I would beg to suggest that a steam pinnace should be attached to each of the ships thus employed.

10. With reference to the disposal of the liberated slaves, Captain Wratislaw reports that those (seventy-nine in number) on board the last dhow he captured (27th September last) were all handed over to the French Mission at Zanzibar. I would suggest that, for the future, at all events for some time to come, all liberated slaves should be sent to the Seychelles Islands; labour is much wanted there, and the resources of the islands are capable of development; but the system of supervision and seeing that the labourers are properly allotted, looked after, and cared for, is open to much improvement. There are several public works, such as a pier, roads across to the Island of Mahé, &c., in progress, but which get on slowly for want of labour.

ll. In my letter of the 28th December last, I have forwarded a request from the King of Johanna that liberated slaves may be sent to that place, to be treated as free labourers and paid accordingly, but I question the policy of complying with this request.

12. The number of slaves that passed through the Custom-house at Zanzibar during the year 1872, I have ascertained to be about as follows (from 1st May to 31st December): -

Shipped from Quiloa and landed at Zanzibar 14,721
Shipped from other villages and ports on the coast and landed at Zanzibar 408

For the above duty was paid, but no account taken of the contraband introduction of slaves, which has been considerable.

Slaves exported fram Zanzibar to Pembra-Lamoo, &c., under the Sultan’s pass 9,381

No account is here taken of those smuggled away, which number also has been considerable.

I have, &c.
(Signed) A. CUMMING.

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