Illegal Slave Trade in Mauritius

Topics: British Empire, Slavery, Atlantic slave trade Pages: 16 (5768 words) Published: February 14, 2013

* Name: Muhammad Naweed Dooky

* ID: 0814169

* Tutor: Mr J. Chan Low

* Words: 5000

* Year:Third year

* Course: History With Social Studies

* Module:Documents And Methodology (Slavery)

Table Of Content:
* Introduction
* Background to the slave trade act
* Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar
* Problem: Which law to follow?
* Various challenges Farquhar faced
* Some cases of Illegal Slave Trade caught in the colony
* The Slave Trade Felony Act in 1813
* The Malagasy Treaty With Radama in 1817
* Corruption found during the Farquhar Era (1810-1822)
* Corrupted Officials in the Colony
* Major General Darling
* The Treaty With The Grand Imam of Muscat
* Royal Commission of Enquiry in 1823
* The Amelioration Policy
* The Quest for Development: The Growth of Sugar Industry * Conclusion
* Bibliography
Account for the persistence of Illegal Slave Trading from 1810 to 1825 * Introduction
The system of slavery had existed in the islands of the Indian Ocean since before colonisation, particularly in Madagascar and the Comoros Islands, where slaves were brought by Swahili traders from the east coast of Africa. The arrival of Europeans in the Indian Ocean in the 17th and 18th centuries announced the beginning of slave trade, which led to the exploitation of the Mascarene Islands. The history of Mauritius is inextricably linked with that of slave trade. For the whole of the 18th century, slaves were imported from neighbouring Mozambique and Madagascar. In 1806, the slave population reached 78000, an estimated 85% of the population. When the British conquered Mauritius in 1810, slave import was effectively banned and the slave market turned into a local one, until the abolition of slavery in 1835. In his book ‘The Slave Legacy’, Jacques David notes that: “One main issue was going to set the island on fire once more: in England, the Government voted the Slave Abolition Act in 1810 and the Slave Trade Felony Act was registered in Mauritius in 1813.” Therefore, it would be during the governance of Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar that Mauritius would start witnessing the persistence of Illegal Slave Trade. By 1826, Farquhar was reprimanded in the court of justice for never prosecuting the slave traders. The main reasons behind this persistence of slave trade may be because of: Farquhar’s leniency, the corrupted officials, lack of labour force, the quest for development, the French laws, etc... All these will be emphasised in the following paragraphs * Background To The Slave Trade Act

In England, public feelings against slavery and slave owners were being roused through the intervention of humanitarians in the British Parliament. Dayachand Napal notes that: “In 1787, leaders of anti-slavery movement among whom were Granville Sharp and Wilberforce, pleaded in bold terms for the good treatment of the slaves class instead of exploiting them as if they were senseless creatures.” In 1806, Granville made a passionate speech where he argued that the trade was “contrary to the principles of justice, humanity and sound policy,” and criticised fellow members for “not having abolished the trade long ago.” When the vote was taken, the Abolition of the Slave Trade bill was passed in the House of Lords by 41 votes to 20. In the House of Commons, it was carried by 114 to 15 and it became law on the 25th of March 1807. British captains who were caught continuing the trade were fined £100 for every slave found on board. This law, however, did not stop the British slave trade. If slave ships were in danger of being captured by the British navy, captains often reduced the fines they had to pay by ordering the slaves to be thrown into the sea. Consequently, when Farquhar became governor of Mauritius in 1810, he was unwilling to enforce the Abolition Act of 1807 and made enquiries at the...

Bibliography: 1. DAYACHAND NAPAL, British Mauritius 1810-1948, Published by ELP, Vacoas, 1994
[ 12 ]. Dayachand Napal, British Mauritius 1810- 1948, Chapter I, Farquhar and Mauritius (1810-1823), 7th Paragraph, Pg: 7
[ 13 ]
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