Dr. Kirk to Earl Granville.- (Received July 1.)
Zanzibar, June 4, 1873.
I HAVE the honour to inform your Lordship that Captain Malcolm, Senior Naval Officer on this station, returned from a cruise to the Northern Ports on the 31st May.
On this occasion, Captain Malcolm touched at Lamoo, Brava, and Magadoxa, and reports that at the former town he was placed in possession of six slaves supposed to he the property of British Indian, subjects, and two more escaped to his boats, claiming protection under the plea they were also held by Kutchis. These cases will be carefully inquired into, and the alleged slave-holders severely punished, should they be proved guilty.
At Brava, Captain Malcolm was surprised to find the inhabitants insolent and overbearing. On inquiry being made, it appeared a report had travelled down that, on the occasion of the "Briton's" previous visit to Magadoxa, when I was on board, an interpreter had been insulted and spat upon by the Somali, and as no redress was demanded, the opinion had been circulated that we were glad to slur over the incident. Captain Malcolm, on questioning the interpreter, found that he had actually been so insulted, but fearful of consequences, had carefully concealed the fact from all on board.
Fearing the results of such a mischievous rumour, and bad impressions upon the coast inhabitants, in order to insure respect to Englishmen, and more especially induced by the fact of having under-manned boats engaged in the suppression of the Slave Trade, Captain Malcolm deemed it his duty to steam at once to Magadoxa. On his arrival, after placing the "Briton" in such a position that the town lay at the mercy of her guns, he landed alone on the beach, having previously dispatched an Arabic letter to the Elders, summoning them to appear and account for the insult offered to the interpreter. After some delay, the Elders attended, numerously accompanied, and (before two Interpreters and a Frenchman conversant with the language) made a most ample and thorough apology, promising to do their best to discover the offenders.
Captain Malcolm assured them that the next time any insult was offered to any English subject, a simple apology would not be sufficient, but such measures would be adopted as Magadoxa would long remember, and only left after showing the natives that Her Majesty's ships were in stern earnest.
I have the honour to inclose copy of Captain Malcolm's despatch on the matter, and he is, I am glad to say, of opinion that this will create the best possible impression on the lawless inhabitants of Brava and Magadoxa.
Off Lamoo, two dhows were captured (unfurnished with the Sultan's Pass) by the "Briton's" boats; after careful investigation, Captain Malcolm being convinced of their being engaged in the Slave Trade, they were directed to be destroyed by a Committee of Officers, and the cases brought before me in the Vice-Admiralty Court; these I shall have the honour to forward in detail with their condemnations in a future letter.
I have, &c.
(Signed) JOHN KIRK.