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Die Vertreter Großbritanniens präsentieren Vorschläge, um Portugal zur Abschaffung des Sklavenhandels zu bewegen, und regen die Einführung eines allgemeinen Visitationsrechts auf Schiffen mutmaßlicher Sklavenhändler an.

Anwesende BERNSTORFF · CASTLEREAGH · HARDENBERG · KAPODISTRIAS · METTERNICH · NESSELRODE · RICHELIEU · WELLINGTON
Bezeichnung Protokoll
Dokumentenart Originalprotokoll
Ort/Datum Aachen, 4. 11. 1818
Signatur Wien, ÖStA, HHStA, Staatskanzlei, Kongressakten, Kart. 17, Fasz. 29 (alt), I/111, 134
Stückbeschreibung

Eigenhändiges Protokoll von Gentz.

Vgl. gedruckte Quelle BFSP Bd. 6 (1818/19), S. 64–65.
Vgl. gedruckte Quelle Clarke, Papers presented to Parliament 1819, Bd. 1, S. 266–269.
Vgl. gedruckte Quelle Martens, Nouveaux supplémens, Bd. 3, S. 96–98.
Bezeichnung Anlage: Britische Denkschrift bezüglich der Einführung eines allgemeinen Visitationsrechts auf Schiffen
Dokumentenart Ausfertigung
Ort/Datum o.O., o.D.
Signatur Wien, ÖStA, HHStA, Staatskanzlei, Kongressakten, Kart. 17, Fasz. 29 (alt), I/112–132
Stückbeschreibung

Ausfertigung

Vgl. gedruckte Quelle BFSP Bd. 6 (1818/19), S. 59–64.
Vgl. gedruckte Quelle Clarke, Papers presented to Parliament 1819, Bd. 1, S. 257–265.
Vgl. gedruckte Quelle Martens, Nouveaux supplémens, Bd. 3, S. 90–96.

Text

Abschnitte

Hand: Friedrich Gentz

[Bl. 111r] n. 23. avec une Annexe

Aix-la-Chapelle le 4 Novembre.

À la suite des communications faites à la Conférence le 24 Octobre, Lord Castlereagh a développé aujourd’hui ses propositions relatives à l’abolition de la Traite des Nègres ; propositions dont le but est, d’un côté, de compléter et d’étendre les mesures adoptées jusqu’ici pour parvenir à l’extinction définitive de ce commerce, et de l’autre côté d’assurer l’exécution et l’efficacité de ces mesures.1

Quant au premier objet, Lord Castlereagh a proposé qu’il soit fait une démarche auprès de S. M. le Roi de Portugal et du Brésil moyennant une lettre rédigée au Nom des Souverains dans les termes les plus pressans et en même tems les plus affectueux, pour engager S. M. Très Fidele,2 en Lui rappelant la part qu’Elle a eue à la déclaration de Vienne du 8 février 1815, à fixer sans plus de délai l’époque de l’abolition définitive de la Traite dans la totalité de ses possessions ; époque qui, d’après les engagemens pris par les Plénipotentiaires de Sa dite Majesté à Vienne et consignée au Protocole du 20 Novembre 1815, ne pourroit[Bl. 111v] outrepasser l’année 1823, mais que les Souverains Alliés désireroient dans l’intérêt de cette grande cause voir coïncider avec celle que S. M. le Roi d’Espagne avoit adoptée, en fixant au 30 Mai 1820 le terme final de la Traite. Cette proposition a été reçue à l’unanimité.

Lord Castlereagh, en portant l’attention de la Conférence à la déclaration de Mrs les Plénipotentiaires de S. M. Très Fidele3 émise à Vienne le 6 février 18154 « qu’Ils étoient forcés d’exiger comme une condition indispensable pour l’abolition finale que S. M. Britannique se prêtât de Son côté aux changemens qu’ils avoient proposés dans le système Commercial entre le Portugal et la Grande-Bretagne », a renouvelé l’assurance que S. M. le Roi de la Grande-Bretagne étoit prête à accéder à toutes les modifications raisonnables que l’on proposeroit aux traités actuels de Commerce avec le Portugale ; assurance qu’Il avoit donnée à plusieurs reprises au Ministre de Portugal à Londres.

Lord Castlereagh a surtout désiré de faire remarquer à la Conférence l’expression « modifications raisonnables » dont il[Bl. 134r] s’étoit servi, parce qu’Il ne sauroit supposer que le Ministère Portugais eut l’intention d’exiger de la part d’une seule puissance des sacrifices qu’un Etat ne peut guères attendre d’un autre comme conditions indispensables d’une mesure générale, n’ayant pour but que le bien de l’humanité.

Quant au second objet, Lord Castlereagh a communiqué un Mémorandum renfermant des éclaircissemens sur un projet de Traité général conforme à ceux conclus en 1817 entre la Grande-Bretagne, l’Espagne, le Portugal et le Royaume des Pays-Bas, établissant le droit de visite contre les vaisseaux évidemment suspects de se livrer à la traite en contravention directe des lois déjà existantes, ou à porter plus tard par les différens Etats. Persuadé qu’après les explications données et les modifications proposées dans le dit mémorandum une mesure pareille pouvoit être adoptée sans aucun inconvénient grave, Lord Castlereagh a invité Mrs. les Plénipotentiaires à s’en occuper dans le sens le plus favorable au succès de l’abolition et à l’accepter, ou, si non, à y substituer du moins quelque contre-projet propre à[Bl. 134v] prévenir efficacement l’abus que le Commerce clandestin ne manqueroit pas de faire du Pavillon des puissances qui répugneroient à concourir à la susdite mesure générale. Le Mémorandum de Lord Castlereagh a été consigné au Protocole sub Lit. A.

Lord Castlereagh a ajouté à ces propositions que, selon l’avis de plusieurs personnes dont l’autorité étoit d’un grand poids dans cette question, il seroit utile et peut-être nécessaire de considérer la traite sous le point de vue d’un crime contre le droit des gens et de l’assimiler à cet effet à la Piraterie, dès que par l’accession du Portugal l’abolition de ce trafic seroit devenue une mesure universelle. Il a prié MMs. les Plénipotentiaires de prendre cet avis en considération, sans en faire pour le moment l’objet d’une proposition formelle.

Metternich

Richelieu

Castlereagh

Wellington

Hardenberg

Bernstorff

Nesselrode

Capodistrias

Hand: Anonym

[Bl. 112r] Annexé au Protocole d’Aix-la-Chapelle du 4 Novembre 1818 sub n. 23.

1st As to the Right of Visit

None of the three Conventions signed by Great Britain with Spain, Portugal and Holland, give this right to all Kings Ships indiscriminately. In all it is confined to Kings Ships, having the express Instructions and Authority, as specified in the Treaty.

The Provision is, in all cases, reciprocal,[Bl. 112v] but the Treaty with the Netherlands restricts the exercise of this right to any number of Ships of each Power, not exceeding 12 in the whole. Each Power, as soon as it grants these Instructions to any of its ships of war, is bound to notify to the other the name of the Vessel so authorized to visit.

2dly Right of Detention

No visit or detention can take Place, except by a commissioned Officer having the Instructions above[Bl. 113r] referred to, as his special Authority for the same; nor can he detain and carry into Port any vessel so visited, except on the single and simple fact of Slaves found on Board. There is a saving clause to distinguish domestick Slaves, acting as Servants or Sailors, from those strictly appertaining to the Traffick. The Powers mutually engage to[Bl. 113v] make the Officer personally responsible for any abusive exercise of Authority, independent of the pecuniary Indemnity to be paid, as hereafter stated, to the owner, for the improper detention of his Vessel.

3dly Adjudication

The visiting Officer finding Slaves on board, as he conceives, contrary to Law, may carry the vessel into whichever[Bl. 114r] of the two Ports is the nearest, where the mixed Commission belonging to the Capturing and Captured Vessel resides; but by doing so, he not only renders himself personally responsible to his own Govt for the discretion of the Act, but he also makes his Government answerable to the Govt of the state to whom the vessel so detained belongs,[Bl. 114v] for the full compensation, in pecuniary damage, which the mixed Commission may award to the owners for an unjustifiable Detention.

The mixed Commission has no Jurisdiction of a Criminal Character, and consequently can neither detain, nor punish those found on board Ships so detained,[Bl. 115r] for any offences they may, by such Slave Trading, have committed against the Laws of their Particular State.

The mixed Commission has no other Authority, than summarily to decide, whether the ship has been properly detained, or not, for having slaves illicitly on board. If this is decided in the Affirmative,[Bl. 115v] the ship and cargo (if any on board) are forfeited, the proceeds to be equally divided between the two States; the Slaves to be provided for by the State in whose Territory the Condemnation takes place.

If the mixed Commission orders the Vessel to be released, it is required at the same moment to award such pecuniary[Bl. 116r] compensation to the owners for such detentions as appears to them reasonable. A Table of demurrage is given in the Treaties, and the Govt of the detaining Officer is bound to discharge the sum so awarded, without appeal, within 12 Months.

The mixed Commission is composed of a Commissary[Bl. 116v] Judge and a Commissary Arbitrator of each Nation, as was provided in the Convention signed between Great Britain and France in 1815, for adjudicating the private Claims.

4thly The Sphere of operation

In the Spanish & Portuguese Convention, there is no other restriction as to the limits within which detention, as above, may[Bl. 117r] take place, than what arose naturally out of the state of the Law, viz. that so long as either Power might lawfully trade in Slaves to the South of the Equator, no detention should take place within those Limits.

In the Convention with Holland, a Line is drawn from the Straits of[Bl. 117v] Gibraltar to a Point in the U. States,5 so as to except out of the operation of the Convention what may be called the European Seas.

In all the three Conventions, the whole range[Bl. 118r] of voyage, from the Coast of Africa to the opposite Shores of America, including the W. Indies, is subjected to the regulated surveillance thus established.

Observations

Upon the first Head, it does not occur that[Bl. 118v] any further Restrictions than those provided in the Netherlands Convention can be required. But this is always open to Negotiation.

The same Observation appears applicable to the second Head.

[Bl. 119r]

The same Observation applies also to the third Head, with this distinction, that a State, such as Austria for example, agreeing to the Measure, but having little or no Trade on that coast, instead of immediately going to the expense[Bl. 119v] of constituting commissions, might reserve the Power of doing so whenever she thought fit; or might be enabled, if she should prefer it, to appoint the Commissaries of any other State to take cognisance in her name, of any[Bl. 120r] cases in which the property of Austrian subjects might be concerned.

The fourth head seems most susceptible of comment, as it admits the possibility of search on the other side of the Atlantick and in the[Bl. 120v] West Indian Seas, where the trading Vessels of commercial States are more numerous than on the Coast of Africa.

Great Britain is herself satisfied, that under the checks established, abuse is so little to be presumed,[Bl. 121r] that she has not hesitated to expose her own commerce in those Seas, however extended, to this, as she conceives, imaginary Inconvenien<ce> – considering that so urgent a claim upon her humanity would not only justify, but impose upon her[Bl. 121v] as a moral duty even a greater sacrifice.

But notwithstanding what Great Britain has already done in the treaties with the three Powers, with whom she has contracted, and is ready to do with all other civilized States, namely, to run some risk of[Bl. 122r] Inconvenience for so noble a purpose, there is a distinction which may reasonably be taken between giving effect to this system upon the Coast of Africa, and for a certain distance, say 200 Leagues6 from that particular Coast, and the extending the same over the entire surface[Bl. 122v] of the Atlantick and West Indian Seas. The latter, as the most effectual measure, Great Britain has preferred, with whatever of Inconvenience it may be connected in its operation, but she would not be the less disposed to attach value to the more limited[Bl. 123r] application of the Principle.

It may be stated, that so long as the Laws of every one State shall permit a Trade in Slaves, or that any Flag shall exist in the World, which is not comprehended in this system of maritime Police[Bl. 123v] against the Contraband Slave trader, the evil will continue to exist. This reasoning is true to a certain extent, but it should not discourage a common effort against the abuses committed, and upon close examination it will be found to be substantially false.

1st The Whole of the African Coast North of the Line is, at this moment, emancipated from the Traffick by the Laws of all States having Colonies.

[Bl. 124r]

2dly By the 20th May 18207 no Flag of any such State will be enabled legally to carry on the Traffick any where to the North of the Line on either side of the Atlantic, nor any Flag, other than the Portugese, be authorized so to trade to the South of[Bl. 124v] the Line.8

Supposing, for a moment, that Portugal should not abolish to the South of the Line, till the expiration of the 8 years complete from the Declaration of Vienna, vizt in 1823, what an immense sphere, nevertheless, of salutary operation, would not this conservative Alliance have in the Interval.

The other Branch of the objection is not more solid. It is true, that the Ship and Flag[Bl. 125r] of the smallest Power might, in legal Theory, cover these Transactions, but, where the Property is not belonging to a Subject of that Power, but of a State that has abolished, the Flag of that Power, so used in fraud, would be no Cover, and the Property thus masked would be condemned, whilst the Sovereign,[Bl. 125v] whose Flag was thus prostituted, neither could nor would complain.

But so long as any of the Great Powers, such as France, having a considerable Extent of Commerce on those Coasts, shall refuse themselves to the System, not only their Example will discourage other States, whose Interest is[Bl. 126r] merely nominal, from taking a part, but it will furnish the Illicit Slave Trader with a Flag, not only so much to be respected in itself, but so presumeably to be found on the Coast for purposes of Innocent Commerce, that no Commissioned Officer will run the risk of looking into such a Vessel,[Bl. 126v] in order to detect the most glaring fraud, possibly committed even against the Laws of his own State, at the hazard of involving himself & his Govt in a question with a Foreign Power. The practical as well as the moral effects of the principal maritime States, making common Cause upon this subject, is incalculable. In fact, it must be decisive;[Bl. 127r] without it, their Flags must be made reciprocally the Instrument of withdrawing the Subject from the Authority of the Sovereign, when committing this offence.

This latter Point will appear clear, when we consider the working of the System under the two alternatives; if all the great maritime States adopt[Bl. 127v] the Principle, their Cruisers form but one Squadron against the illicit Slave Traders, and none of their Flags can be made to cover the fraudulent Transaction; the immediate effect of which would be considerably to multiply the number of the Cruisers, consequently the chance of Captures,[Bl. 128r] whilst it would reduce the number of the Flags which the Illicit Slave Trade could assume. Whereas, if France acts alone, it is reduced to the Chance of what her 4 Cruizers may be enabled to effect, along the Immensity of that Coast; and even when a French Armed Ship falls in[Bl. 128v] with a French Slave Trader, by Hoisting English, Spanish, Portuguese, or Dutch Colours, the French Officer, supposing him anxious to do his Duty, will be very cautious in hazarding a visit where there is so reasonable a presumption that the Vessel may be what the Flag announces.

[Bl. 129r]

But take the other supposition, that all the Principal Maritime Powers shall act in concert, and that the Vessel suspected of having Slaves on board hoists the Hanseatic Flag, the presumption is so conclusive against a Hamburgh Vessel trading in Slaves on her own Account, that no Officer would hesitate[Bl. 129v] to search the Vessel in order to detect the Fraud.

It may be further confidently asserted, that if the Powers having a real and local Interest, come to an understanding and act together, the other States will cheerfully come into the Measure, so far as not to suffer their flags to be so monstrously perverted[Bl. 130r] and abused.

The accession of France is above that of all others important, from its station both in Europe and from its Possessions in Africa. Its Separation from the common effort, more especially if imitated by Russia, Austria, and Prussia, will not only disappoint all the hopes which the world has been[Bl. 130v] taught to form, with respect to the Labours of the Conference established in London, under the 3d additional Art. of the Treaty of Novr 1815,9 but it will introduce schism and murmur into the Ranks of the Friends of Abolition. The States having abolished, will no longer form one compact & unanimous Body, labouring to[Bl. 131r] affiliate the State which has yet to abolish, to a common system, and to render their own acts efficacious; but they will compose two sects: one of States that have made the possible Inconvenience of a restricted visit of their Merchant Ships bend to the greater Claims of Humanity; the other, of States[Bl. 131v] considering the former objection as so far paramount, as not to admit of any Qualification, even for the indisputable advantage of a Cause, to the importance of which they have at Vienna given a not less solemn sanction. This must materially retard the Ultimate Success of[Bl. 132r] the Measure, and it may in the interval keep alive an inconvenient degree of controversy & Agitation upon a subject which has contributed above all others seriously to excite the Moral & Religious Sentiments of all Nations, but especially of the British People, where the Question has long[Bl. 132v] been regarded as One of the deepest Interest.

Zitierempfehlung Protokoll der 23. Sitzung des Kongresses von Aachen. In: Mächtekongresse 1818–1822. Digitale Edition, hrsg. von Karin Schneider unter Mitarbeit von Stephan Kurz, Wien: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institut für Neuzeit- und Zeitgeschichtsforschung 2018. URL: https://maechtekongresse.acdh.oeaw.ac.at/pages/show.html?document=Aachen_Prot_23.xml&directory=editions, abgerufen 25.08.2019, 16:39.
Verantwortlichkeiten
  • Transkription: Karin Schneider
  • Wissenschaftliche Edition: Karin Schneider
  • Technical Editor: Stephan Kurz
  • Korrekturen: Karin Schneider, Stephan Kurz
  • Beratung Kodierung: Daniel Schopper
  • Beratung Kodierung: Peter Andorfer

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