Administrative Adjustments needed to be made by the Admiralty, Foreign Office and the Vice Admiralty Courts following the introduction of new Legislation in respect of the Slave Trade since the introduction of the Act 2nd & 3rd Victoria Cap 73


3 Jan 1842

To: A circular letter to all the Judges of the Vice Admiralty Courts requesting returns

With reference to my letter of 11 March 1841 directing that all papers found on board Portuguese vessels or attested copies of them, should, after the condemnation of such vessels, be transmitted to this office together with the findings and sentence &c., to be forwarded to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs - and it being found most essential that the Department should receive regularly, not only the papers above alluded to, but also copies of the proceedings had before the Courts of Vice Admiralty in cases of all vessels which may have been tried on the charge of being engaged in the Slave Trade since the Act 2nd & 3rd Victoria Cap 73 came into operation.

I am commanded by my Lords Commissioner of the Admiralty to signify their direction to you to transmit to this office accordingly, copies of the proceedings had in the cases already so adjudicated, and for the future to transmit copies of the proceedings in each case, so soon as it is concluded, and also to transmit regularly a quarterly return, shewing as far as it is possible the following particulars of each vessel viz :

Her Name.
The Flag under which she was sailing.
The alleged cause of her capture.
Her Class.
Number of her crew.
Name of her master.
Name of her owner.
By whom captured.
Date of Capture.
Place of Capture.
Date of arrival at place of adjudication.
Date of sentence.
The finding and sentence of the Court and the ground on which it was given.
Number of slaves on board, if any, when captured.
Number who reached the port of adjudication.
Number emancipated.
Tonnage of British Admeasurement.
Remarks &c.

And my Lords further desire, that in transmitting to this office any papers relating to the Slave Trade you will accompany with them a letter from yourself under a schedule of the papers so transmitted.

Signed Jn Barrow.


15 Jan 1842

To: Viscount Canning at the Foreign Office

My Lord, with reference to your Lordship's letter of 30 Dec 1841, I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to transmit to you herewith, for the information of the Earl of Aberdeen a copy of a circular letter addressed to the judges of the Vice Admiralty Courts directing them to send copies of the proceedings had in cases already adjudicated of Portuguese vessels condemned for being engaged in the slave trade and to also transmit a quarterly return of the particulars of each vessel.

Signed Sidney Herbert.

Copies of much of the data mentioned above, excluding the papers found on board Portuguese vessels, can be found from in Foreign Office papers available for free download from the National Archives e.g. the following file appears to kick of the process, including the 2 letters mentioned above, although not necessarily in that order : FO 84-437 Admiralty Letters 1842 Jan : and please beware most of the papers are handwritten, so you are seeing copies of the original info.

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