Kongress von Verona
V. Traite des Nègres et Colonies
Procès-verbal der ersten Sitzung
Auf Initiative Wellingtons fassen die Vertreter der Mächte den Beschluss, eine offizielle Erklärung zur Ächtung des Sklavenhandels abzugeben. Eine weitere Denkschrift Wellingtons befasst sich mit dem Problem der Piraterie im westlichen Antlantik und den Maßnahmen zur Anerkennung der Unabhängigkeit ehemaliger spanischer Kolonien in Südamerika.
|Anwesende||CARAMAN · CHATEAUBRIAND · LA FERRONNAYS · HATZFELDT · LEBZELTERN · LIEVEN · METTERNICH · NESSELRODE · TATISTCHEFF · WELLINGTON|
|Bezeichnung||Procès-verbal der ersten Sitzung|
|Ort/Datum||Verona, 24. 11. 1822|
|Signatur||Wien, ÖStA, HHStA, Staatskanzlei, Kongressakten, Kart. 24, Fasz. 44 (alt), V/2–4|
Procès-verbal liegt zweifach ein: handschriftlich fol. V/2–3, lithographiert fol. V/4; die Edition folgt der lithographierten Variante. Zählung mit rotem Buntstift rechts oben auf fol. 2r: „1“.
|Vgl. gedruckte Quelle||BFSP Bd. 10 (1822/23), S. 94–95 (Auszug);|
|Vgl. gedruckte Quelle||Clarke, Papers presented to parliament 1823, S. 188–189 (Auszug);|
|Vgl. gedruckte Quelle||Vnešnjaja politika Rossii, Bd. 12, S. 591–592.|
|Bezeichnung||Anlage 1: Denkschrift Wellingtons|
|Signatur||Wien, ÖStA, HHStA, Staatskanzlei, Kongressakten, Kart. 24, Fasz. 44 (alt), V/7–34, V/38–64|
Anlage 1 liegt zweifach in englischer Sprache auf fol. V/7–19 und V/38–50, sowie zweifach in französischer Übersetzung auf fol. V/21–33 und V/52–64 ein. Die Edition folgt der Variante von fol. V/7–19. Anlagevermerk auf fol. 38r: "Litt.Littera A. au protocole du 24 Novembre 1822."
|Vgl. gedruckte Quelle||BFSP Bd. 10 (1822/23), S. 95–100;|
|Vgl. gedruckte Quelle||Clarke, Papers presented to parliament 1823, S. 201–211.|
|Bezeichnung||Anlage 2: Denkschrift Wellingtons|
|Signatur||Wien, ÖStA, HHStA, Staatskanzlei, Kongressakten, Kart. 24, Fasz. 44 (alt), V/66–73|
Anlage 2 liegt in englischer Sprache auf fol. V/69–72, in französischer Übersetzung fol. V/66–68 und V/73 ein.
Vérone, le 24 Novembre 1822.
MssMessieurs les Plénipotentiaires d’Autriche, de France, de Grande-Bretagne, de Prusse et de Russie se sont réunis ce jour pour prendre connaissance de deux communications que MrMonsieur le Duc de Wellington a faites au nom du Gouvernement Britannique, telles qu’elles se trouvent ci-annexées sub litt.litteris A & B.
La première avait pour objet la continuation déplorable du commerce des Nègres, en dépit des déclarations, les lois et des traités qui ont interdit et condamné ce commerce depuis 1815. MrMonsieur le Duc de Wellington a présenté dans son mémoire des observations sur ce qu’Il regarde comme les causes du mal, et Il a indiqué différentes mesures qui pourraient y mettre un terme.
MrMonsieur le Comte de Nesselrode a déclaré au nom de S. M.Sa Majesté l’Empereur de toutes les Russies que Sa Majesté ImpleImpériale ne désavouerait jamais les principes et les sentimens qui Lui avaient fait envisager de tout temps la traite des Nègres comme un commerce réprouvé par la religion, la justice et l’humanité, et qu’Elle était prête à concourir aux mesures que Ses Alliés jugeraient exécutables pour assurer l’abolition totale et définitive de ce commerce.
MssMessieurs les Plénipotentiaires d’Autriche, de France et de Prusse ont également déclaré que leurs Souverains [Bl. 4v] persistaient dans les principes en faveur desquels Ils s’étaient prononcés dès le Congrès de Vienne ; et on est convenu de consacrer de nouveau ces principes par une déclaration analogue à celle du 8 Février 1815.
Quant aux mesures particulières proposées par MrMonsieur le Duc de Wellington, MssMessieurs les Plénipotentiaires de France se sont réservés d’en faire l’objet de Leurs réflexions, et de soumettre les résultats de ces réflexions à une Conférence prochaine.
La seconde communication de MrMonsieur le Duc de Wellington portait sur les mesures que S. M.Sa Majesté Britannique a jugé nécessaire d’adopter pour la protection de Ses sujets contre les pirateries et attentats de toute espèce qui, dans la situation actuelle de l’Amérique Espagnole, se commettent dans toutes les mers au détriment de leur commerce et de leur navigation.
MssMessieurs les Plénipotentiaires des autres Cours ont annoncé qu’ils s’occuperont également de cette pièce, afin de s’expliquer sur les questions qu’elle embrasse dans la prochaine Conférence laquelle a été fixée à mercredi, 27 de ce mois.
[Unterschriften nicht originalschriftlich: Lithographie]
|Metternich||Le Mis de Caraman||Wellington||Hatzfeldt||Nesselrode|
|Lebzeltern||Cte de la Ferronay||Lieven|
Those Minister, who had the honor of representing His Britannic Majesty at the Conferences at Vienna, at Paris, and at Aix-la-Chapelle, called the attention of the Sovereigns and of their Ministers upon each of those occasions to the State of the Slave trade; but there never was a moment, at which it was more important that Their attention should be drawn to this important subject, than the present.2
In the year 1815, after a solemn deliberation, in which the Ministers representing the eight Powers, which signed the Treaty of Paris of May 1814, took a part, they[Bl. 7v] unanimously expressed their desire to put an end to a scourge which had so long desolated Africa, degraded Europe, and afflicted humanity.
Of these eight Powers, seven have passed laws, having for their object entirely to prevent the subjects of their several States from engaging in this traffic. One only (Portugal) still permits it in Its’ own Territories and Factories South of the Equator, but has prohibited the Trade by Its’ subjects north of the Equator; and all the Maritime Powers of Europe, and the United States of America, as well as the South American Governments, with the exception of Brazil, have equally by law[Bl. 8r] prohibited their subjects and Citizens from carrying it on.
Yet I have the means of proving that this traffic has been, since the year 1815, and is at this moment, carried on to a greater extend, than it had been at any former period – that in seven months of the year 1821, not less than thirty eight thousand human Beings were carried off from the Coast of Africa in hopeless and irremediable Slavery, and that not less than three hundred and fifty two vessels entered the Rivers and Ports of Africa North of the Equator, to purchase Slaves between July 1820 and October 1821. Each of these[Bl. 8v] was calculated to carry off from five to six hundred Slaves!
Surely then, it is time that the Sovereigns, whose Ministers assist at this Conference, should mark their continued sense of the horrors of this trade, and should take some measures, which shall be effectual to put an end to a traffic so revolting, as that the very mention of its result is sufficient to afflict humanity without adverting to any of its disgusting details, which are but too well known to all those to whom this paper is addressed.
It is obvious that this crime is committed in contravention of the laws[Bl. 9r] of every country in Europe and of America, excepting only of one, and that it requires something more than the ordinary operation of Law to prevent it.
Portugal is the only Country in the World which now by Law permits a trade in Slaves, and that only in its own Factories and Territories South of the Equator, and as there is no legal sale for Slaves imported in Slave Ships excepting in the Portuguese Colonies, which are generally South of the Equator, the whole trade North of the Equator, whether in the purchase, sale, or transport of Slaves,[Bl. 9v] is forbidden by the law of every Country in Europe and is Contraband.
But it is not carried on with the usual secrecy of a contraband trade. This contraband trade is carried on generally under the protection of the flag of France. The reason is obvious: France is the only one of the great Maritime Powers of Europe whose Government has not entered into the treaties, which have been concluded with His Britannic Majesty for giving to certain of the Ships of each of the contracting parties a limited power of search and capture of Ships engaged[Bl. 10r] in this horrible traffic; and those employed in this Service have too much respect for the Flag of France to venture, excepting in cases of extraordinary suspicion, to search the vessels which sail under Its protection.
An endeavor has recently been made to improve these treaties with Spain, the Netherlands, and Portugal; but no improvement of the measures to be carried into execution under these treaties, however well calculated under other circumstances to effect the object in view, can be effectual, so long as Contraband Traders in Men can carry on their Trade by assuming[Bl. 10v] any foreign Flag, particularly one in every view so respectable as that of France.
The consequence of this state of things is, that this Contraband trade is attended by circumstances much more horrible, than any that have ever been known in former times. It is not necessary here to enumerate all the horrors respecting it, which have come before the public, in the different discussions which have taken place as well in France as in England; but it cannot be denied that all the attempts at prevention, imperfect as they have been found to be, have tended to increase the aggregate of human suffering, and the[Bl. 11r] waste of life in the transport of Slaves from the Coast of Africa to the Colonies, in a ratio far exceeding the increase of positive numbers carried off in Slavery. The dread of detection suggests expedients of concealment productive of the most dreadful sufferings to a cargo, with respect to which it hardly ever seems to occur to its remorseless owners, that is consists of sentient Beings.
The numbers put on board in each venture are far from being proportioned to the proper capacity of the vessel; and the Mortality is frightful to a degree unknown,[Bl. 11v] since the attention of Mankind was first drawn to the horrors of this traffic.
There is no hesitation in declaring that it would have been far more consoling to humanity, and that by far a smaller number of human Beings would have lost their lives by cruel and lingering sufferings, if the trade had never been abolished by the laws of any Country.
In this case, Christian Sovereigns and legislatures would have considered it their duty to provide, that those of their subjects, who carried on a Trade in Human Creatures, should take case of those whom they carried[Bl. 12r] off in perpetual captivity – that the space in which they should be confined, whether in their settlements on the Coast of Africa previous to embarkation, or in their Ships on passage to the place of sale, should be sufficient to give such human Beings the faculty of breathing and the chance of life – that the water and food supplied to them should be sufficient in quantity at least, if not wholesome in quality, for the sustentation of life – that measures should be adopted for the restoration and preservation of the health of those who should have shared the common fate of Mankind, and should have become sick, and, above[Bl. 12v] all, there would have been no necessity for the destruction of Men for the purpose of concealing that a traffic in Slaves was carried on.
This contraband trade is, in many, too many instances, carried on in vessels fitted out in France, and commanded and manned by Frenchmen. It is a known fact that, although the profits of a voyage, of which two or even three may be made in a year, are three hundred per cent, the risks are so small, the chances of detection, so as to become liable to the punishment which the French law inflicts upon conviction, so few, and so little is the punishment commensurate which the offence even after conviction, that the insurance upon[Bl. 13r] each voyage is not more than fifteen per cent.
His most Christian Majesty [sic],3 having in the year 1815 voluntarily abolished the Slave trade by His declaration published on the <29th of march>, having subsequently engaged Himself by Treaty with the Four then Allied Courts to abolish that Traffic, having since recommended to the French legislature, that Laws should be passed to carry into execution His Royal declaration, and the stipulation of His treaty – having besides employed a squadron to cruize off the Coasts of Africa, with a view to prevent the Contraband trade in Slaves by the use of His Flag, it cannot be supposed that His Most Christian Majesty is not sincere in His desire to effect the abolition. But there exists[Bl. 13v] no public Sentiment in France on this subject; and the real miseries entailed upon a whole Continent by the continuance of the Slave trade principally by the fraudulent use of the flag of France, and the cruelties to which such fraudulent use gives cover, are generally unknown in that Country. It is believed, certainly erroneously, that the views of Great-Britain in the abolition are interested, and quite distinct from those of humanity; and the late respectable Minister of France told us at Aix-la-Chapelle, that an erroneous opinion prevailed in France, that the abolition of the Slave trade had been imposed upon France as the price of Peace.[Bl. 14r]
To these unfortunate circumstances must be attributed the failure to produce any effect, of all the measures hitherto adopted in France, and the disinclination of the French Government to propose any new or stronger measure to the legislature, however well-inclined to endeavor to put down this evil, and however they may wish to put an end to a source of perpetual discussion with His Majesty’s Government.
His Majesty’s Government cannot but feel, that notwithstanding the declaration of the Congress of Vienna of 1815, They still stand alone in this question in Europe. Upon them has fallen the burthen of the execution of all the Treaties with the[Bl. 14v] Maritime Powers for putting down the Slave Trade; and upon them the odium of soliciting those Powers to put their Laws into execution, which have engaged themselves by Treaties and have passed laws to discontinue the trade by their subjects.
These importunities are erroneously attributed to some selfish Commercial Interest, and to a desire to bring the Colonies of other Countries to the state of distress in which those of Great-Britain are supposed to be.
Under these circumstances, I should wish those, to whom this paper is addressed, to consider whether it is not now desirable, that they should adopt some measure[Bl. 15r] to manifest to the World that their sentiments are unchanged – that they still consider the Slave Trade as a scourge which had too long desolated Africa, degraded Europe, and afflicted humanity, and that they will persevere in their endeavors to effect its total abolition.
It is at present obviously carried on to the Northward of the Equator solely by Contraband, and in a considerable degree, under the French Flag, and by a fraudulent use of that Flag, notwithstanding the measures adopted by His Most Christian Majesty to carry into execution His Treaty with His Allies, His own Royal declaration and the Law of France.[Bl. 15v]
There is no article or stipulation of the Treaties with the King of France, whether regarding the political or pecuniary Interests of any Power in Europe, or even of any Individual, which has not been strictly carried into execution.
Shall it then be said, that the Powers of Europe are indifferent to the complete execution of those stipulations alone which regard the Interests of humanity, and that, rather than urge His Most Christian Majesty to adopt those measures which are necessary effectually to put down the Slave Trade, They will suffer this disgrace to human nature to exist?
The additional Article of the Treaty[Bl. 16r] of Paris of November 20th 1815 does not describe any particular measure, or set of measures to be adopted to effect its purpose, but states that “the Contracting Parties engage to renew conjointly their efforts, with the view of securing final success, and to concert the most effectual measures for the entire and definitive abolition of a Commerce so odious and so strongly condemned by the Laws of Religion and Nature”.
The following appear to be the measures, which the Allied Powers might adopt or recommend, which would have the effect of checking, if not of entirely putting[Bl. 16v] down the Slave Trade:
- A declaration on the part of the Powers whose Ministers are now assembled at Verona, renewing the denunciation of the Slave Trade of the Congress of Vienna, and exhorting the Maritime Powers, who have abolished the Trade, to concert measures among themselves for proclaiming and treating it as Piracy, with a view of founding upon the aggregate of such separate engagements between State and State, a general Law to be incorporated into the public Law of the Civilised World.
- A declaration on the part of[Bl. 17r] the Powers whose Ministers are here assembled, that they withdraw the protection of their Flags from those Persons, not natives of their dominions respectively, who shall be found making use of such Flag to cover a Trade in Slaves.
- A Declaration on the part of the Allied Sovereigns that they would refuse admission into their dominions of the produce of Colonies belonging to Powers who should not have abolished the Slave Trade. This measure will apply entirely to Portugal, and the now revolted Colony of the Brazils, where alone the Laws allow the Trade to be carried on. By these Countries it ought to be carried on only south of the Equator;[Bl. 17v] but it is notorious, that the Governors and Officers in the Portuguese Settlements on the Coast of Africa North of the Equator encourage the Trade and assist by every means in their power the Slave Traders, who resort, contrary to Treaty and to Law, to that part of the Coast.
These Traders, when likely to be detected with Slaves on board, shew the French Flag, and thus escape the Penalties which the Law would inflict upon them.
To join with His Majesty in entreating His Most Christian Majesty to adopt some of those measures for putting down the Slave Trade, which had been[Bl. 18r] found effectual in other countries.
The Measures, which depend upon His Most Christian Majesty’s Government independently of the legislature, are:
1o The establishment in the Colonies of a strict Registry of Slaves, whereby to ascertain at all times, whether any newly imported Slaves have been purchased on any Plantation. The effect of this measure would not be confined to the Check it would give to the importation of Slaves. It would manifest in a still stronger degree the determination of the King to put an end to the Traffic; and It would stimulate[Bl. 18v] the Governors and officers in the Colonies to attend to the strict execution of the Laws on the subject.
It must be observed that the measure was suggested at the late Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle by the late Minister of France, but has not yet been ordered by an “ordonnance”.
2o That His Most Christian Majesty should encourage the capture of Slave Ships fraudulently carrying on a Contraband Trade under the French Flag, by the grant of the vessel and Equipment in the way of Prize to the Captors, and of Head Money for the Negroes captured.
This measure would have the same effect in stimulating to the performance[Bl. 19r] of their duty those charged with the task of putting down this trade, by shewing them His Most Christian Majesty’s continued determination that it should be put down.
It is not doubted that these measures, by drawing the public attention in France to this question, would soon rouse the public spirit against it; and then a third measure might be proposed with advantage, and some prospect of success. His Most Christian Majesty’s Government might in that case think themselves justified in proposing to the legislature, that the Law might be improved, and its severities against Persons engaged in carrying on[Bl. 19v] the Slave Trade be encreased. Those improvements might be first, to make the proof of Slave trading consist not alone in having Slaves on board, but in having on board those means of coercion, and that description of equipment and fitting up of the vessel, which is known to be necessary for a vessel so employed and for no other.
The penalties of the Law might be encreased to “Peines Infamantes” which, with the forfeiture of Ship and Cargo, and the more active check upon the Trade, might, it may be hoped, put an end to it entirely in France.
From a period commencing during the state war with France, His Majesty’s subjects have had commercial relations with the provinces in South America, heretofore forming part of the dominion of Spain, with the consent of the Government and of the King of Spain; and those relations, as well as those which exist between His Majesty’s subjects and all parts of the world, have long rendered it necessary that His Majesty should so far recognise the existence de facto of the Governments formed in those several provinces, as to negociate with them by means of the Officers commanding His fleets and Ships, regarding the Interests of His subjects; and to recognise in those several Governments the rights of War, as exercised[Bl. 69v] by Belligerents according to the Laws of Nations.
In the course of the last session of Parliament, His Majesty’s Government had occasion to propose to Parliament a review, relaxation, and consolidation of the Navigation Laws, and Vessels, bearing the Flag of Spain, or of any of the Local Governments in the provinces heretofore forming the dominion of Spain, carrying Articles, the growth, produce, or manufacture of those provinces on the Continent of America, can now import into the United Kingdom. 4
Upon a recent occasion, when the United States of America recognised the independence of all the Governments established in these Provinces,5 His Catholic Majesty 6 having thought proper to direct that a Note should be presented to His Majesty’s Government to make[Bl. 70r] known to His Majesty that Spain was about to enter upon a course of measures in relation to those provinces, having for their object their pacification and their continued Union with that Country,7 His Majesty directed that an answer should be returned, stating His wish to witness an amicable termination of the differences existing between Spain and Her Colonies of America, the readiness of His Government to receive from the Government of Spain such further explanation as H. C. M.His Catholic Majesty might think proper to give, but at the same time warning the Spanish Government of the rapid progress of events, of the dangers of delay, and of the impossibility that so large a portion of the world could long continue without some recognised relations, without disturbing the Intercourse of civilised[Bl. 70v] Society.
To this Note no answer has been received; and the time is approaching at which it will be necessary for His Majesty to take some further steps upon this subject.
The utter relaxation of the Authority of Spain over the whole of this part of the world, and the appearance of so many new Flags in the American Seas have let loose a multitude of Pirates and Buccaneers, who lurk in the harbours of the Spanish Colonies (not excepting those still under the dominion of Spain), disturb the trade of His Majesty’s subjects, and insult the Flag of Great Britain by acts of violence, confiscation, cruelty and murder.
Hopes were entertained that Spain would be willing and able to put down this Evil, and representations[Bl. 71r] have been made to the Spanish Government, which have produced promises of redress – but no redress has followed.
His Majesty has been at length obliged to undertake the task, but it is impossible to expect that this intolerable Evil should be thoroughly extirpated without the cooperation of the Local authorities, occupying the Ports and Coasts of that part of the Continent of S.South America; and the necessity of this cooperation must lead to some further recognition of the existence de facto of some one or more of these self created Governments.
His Majesty, as the Ally of His Catholic Majesty, has for many years been disposed to exert the Influence of His Government to effect a pacification between Spain and Her[Bl. 71v] Colonies on terms of mutual liberality and advantage; and, in the earnest pursuit of this friendly purpose, has refused for His subjects every commercial advantage which either party was disposed to concede to them.
On the same principle, His Majesty would have been highly gratified if He could have received the intelligence of the termination of these differences, and that H. C. M.His Catholic Majesty was so situated in respect to those provinces, as to render unnecessary the measures for the protection of His subjects which the progress of Events, the rapid growth, and existing magnitude of the unredressed Evils, under which His Majesty’s subjects are suffering[Bl. 72r] in the pursuit of their lawful occupations, have rendered it absolutely necessary for His Majesty to adopt for their protection.
His Majesty has apprised the Government of H. C. M.His Catholic Majesty of these Measures; and in the true spirit of the Union existing between Him and His Allies, having before had occasion to communicate to Them what had passed between Him and Spain upon this subject, has directed that these additional circumstances should be made known to Them.
|Zitierempfehlung||Kongress von Verona V. Traite des Nègres et Colonies Procès-verbal der ersten Sitzung. 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=Verona_V_1.xml&directory=editions, abgerufen 06.12.2023, 13:50.|