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Slave Trade Act 1873

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Preliminary

Short title.

1This Act may he cited as the Slave Trade Act, 1873.

Interpretation.

2In this Act—

  • The term "the Treasury" means the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury: The term " the Admiralty " means the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, or the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral: The term " vessel" means any vessel used in navigation : The term " British possession " means any plantation, territory, settlement, or place situate within Her Majesty's dominions, and not forming part of the United Kingdom : The term "governor" includes the officer for the time being administering the government of any colony; and where there is a local governor or lieutenant-governor under a governor-general, means the local governor or lieutenant-governor : The term " the Slave Trade Act, 1824," means the Act of the session of the fifth year of the reign of King George the Fourth, chapter one hundred and thirteen, intituled "An " Act to amend and consolidate the laws relating to the " abolition of the slave trade:" The term " foreign state " includes any foreign nation, people, tribe, sovereign, prince, chief, or headman : The term "vessel of a foreign state " means a vessel which is justly entitled to' claim the protection of the flag of a foreign state, or which would be so entitled if she did not lose such protection by being engaged in the slave trade : The term " treaty" includes any convention, agreement, engagement, or arrangement: The term " slave trade " when used in relation to any particular treaty does not include anything declared by such treaty not to be comprised in the term or in such treaty: The term " Vice-Admiralty Court " does not include any Vice-Admiralty Court which for the time being has under its commission a limited jurisdiction only in matters relating to the slave trade: The term " British slave court" means the High Court of Admiralty of England, every Vice-Admiralty Court in Her Majesty's dominions out of the United Kingdom, and every East African Court for the time being within the meaning of the Slave Trade (East African Courts) Act, 1873 : The term "slave court" means every British slave court, every mixed commission or court established under any existing slave trade treaty, and the court of any foreign state having jurisdiction to try and condemn a vessel engaged in the slave trade : The term " existing slave trade treaty " means a treaty made by or on behalf of Her Majesty or Her Royal predecessors with any foreign state for the more effectual suppression of the slave trade and in force at the passing of this Act.

Seizure of Slave Ships

Visitation and seizure by cruisers, &c. of suspected slave ships.

3Where a vessel is, on reasonable grounds, suspected of being engaged in or fitted out for the slave trade, it shall (subject, in the case either of the vessel of a foreign state, or of the commander or officer of a cruiser of a foreign state., to the limitations, restrictions, and regulations, if any, applicable thereto contained in any existing slave trade treaty made with such state) be lawful—

(a)If the vessel is a British vessel, or is engaged in the slave trade within British jurisdiction, or is not a vessel of a foreign state, for any commander or officer of any of Her Majesty's ships, for any officer bearing Her Majesty's commission in the army or navy, for any officer of Her Majesty's customs in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, or Isle of Man, for the governor of a British possession, or any person authorised by any such governor, and for any commander or officer of any cruiser of a foreign state authorised in pursuance of any existing slave trade treaty; and

(b)If the vessel is the vessel of a foreign state, for any commander or officer of any of Her Majesty's ships, when duly authorised in that behalf, in pursuance of any treaty with that state, and for any commander or officer of any cruiser of that foreign state,

to visit and seize and detain such vessel, and to seize and detain any person found detained or reasonably suspected of having been detained as a slave, for the purpose of the slave trade, on board any such vessel, and to carry away such vessel and person, together with the master and all persons, goods, and effects on board any such vessel, for the purpose of bringing in such vessel, person, goods, and effects for adjudication. All vessels, slaves, persons, goods, and effects which may be forfeited under the enactments with which this Act is to be construed as one, as herein-after mentioned, may be visited, seized, and detained by any commander, officer, governor, or person authorised by this section to seize a British vessel.

Vessels equipped for traffic in slaves to be deemed engaged in the slave trade.

4Where any of the particulars mentioned in the first schedule to this Act are found in the equipment or on board of any vessel visited, seized, or detained in pursuance of this Act, such vessel shall, unless the contrary be proved, be deemed to be fitted out for the purposes of and engaged in the slave trade, and in such case, even though the vessel is restored, no damages shall be awarded against the seizor under this Act in respect of such visitation, seizure, or detention, or otherwise upon such restoration. Provided that this section shall not extend to the vessel of any foreign state except so far as may be consistent with the treaty made with such state.

Courts

Jurisdiction of courts in regard to slave vessels, slaves, goods, and effects.

5The High Court of-Admiralty of England and every Vice-Admiralty Court in Her Majesty's dominions out of the United Kingdom shall have jurisdiction to try and condemn or restore any vessel, slave, goods, and effects, alleged to be seized, detained, or forfeited, in pursuance of this Act, and on restoring the same to award such damages in respect of the visitation, seizure, and detention of such vessel, goods, and effects, and of any person on board such vessel, and in respect of any act or thing done in relation to such visitation, seizure, or detention, or in respect of any of such matters, and in any case to make such order as to costs as, subject to the provisions of this Act and of any existing slave trade treaty, the court may think just. Provided that nothing in this section shall give to any court any jurisdiction inconsistent with any existing slave trade treaty over a vessel which is shown to such court to be the vessel of any foreign state and which has not been engaged within British jurisdiction in the slave trade, but where any vessel of a foreign state is liable to be condemned by a British slave court, such court shall have the same jurisdiction as if she were a British vessel. Each of the said courts shall have the same jurisdiction in regard to any person who has been seized, either at sea or on land, on the ground that he has or is suspected to have been detained as a slave, for the purpose of the slave trade, as the court would have under this section if he had been so detained on board a vessel that was seized and brought in for adjudication.

Proceedings upon seizure by a foreigner.

6Where any vessel or slave seized by the commander or officer of the cruiser of any foreign state is brought in for adjudication in a British slave court, all proceedings for the condemnation of such vessel and slave, and the goods and effects on board such vessel, shall be taken in the name of Her Majesty by some person duly authorised in that behalf.

Mixed Courts

Appointment of judges, arbitrators, secretary, &c, to mixed courts and commissions.

7Where any existing slave trade treaty contains provisions o for the time being in force for the appointment of any mixed court or commission for deciding cases under such treaty, it shall be lawful for Her Majesty from time to time to, appoint such commissioners, judges, arbitrators, secretary, registrar, and other officers as are mentioned in such provisions. There shall be paid to every commissioner, judge, arbitrator, secretary, registrar, and other officer so appointed, such salary as the Treasury may from time to time direct. In case of the death, or sickness, or absence either on leave or from any other lawful impediment, of any such commissioner, judge, arbitrator, secretary, registrar, or other officer, whether British or not, the vacancy shall be temporarily filled in manner provided by' the treaty.

Regulations as to powers of mixed courts.

8The regulations contained in any existing slave trade treaty for the time being in force, with respect to any mixed court or commission, shall have effect as if they were enacted in this Act, and such court or commission shall have all necessary jurisdiction for the purpose of' carrying into effect any treaty referring to them, and in particular shall have jurisdiction to try, condemn, and restore British vessels seized in pursuance of such treaty on suspicion of being engaged in the slave trade, and shall, for the purpose of their jurisdiction, have the same power as any Vice-Admiralty Court in Her Majesty's dominions has, and may accordingly take evidence, administer oaths, summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses, and require and enforce the production of documents in like manner as any such court.

Disposal of Vessels and Slaves

Disposal of condemned vessels.

9A vessel seized in pursuance of this Act, when condemned by a slave court, may be taken into Her Majesty's service upon payment of such sum as the Admiralty deem to be a proper price for the same (which sum is in this Act called the appraised value of such vessel), or, if not so taken, shall be broken up, and the materials thereof shall be publicly sold in separate parts. Provided that nothing herein shall prejudice the right of the government of any foreign state, under any treaty, to require such vessel to be broken up, or to take such vessel into its service upon payment of a sum fixed in accordance with such treaty, and any sum paid by the government of a foreign state for a vessel taken into its service after condemnation by a slave court shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to be the appraised value of the vessel.

Disposal of slaves.

10Where any slaves are seized in pursuance of this Act, they shall, for the purpose only of seizure, prosecution, and condemnation, he deemed to be property, and shall be condemned as forfeited to the sole use of Her Majesty for the purpose only of divesting all other right or interest therein, and shall not be treated as slaves, but shall be provided for, pending the proceedings for their condemnation, in, such manner, and shall on condemnation be disposed of in such manner, or delivered over to such persons, as the court having cognizance of the case may adjudge, subject to the regulations (if any) which are from time to time made by the Treasury ; and the Treasury may from time to time make, alter, and revoke regulations for this purpose so that they be consistent with any provisions in this behalf contained in any existing slave trade treaty.

Bounties

Bounty and other payments to seizors when British Cruisers.

11Where a vessel (whether British or not) or slave, goods or effects, seized in pursuance of this Act by any commander or officer of any of Her Majesty's ships have been condemned by a slave courts there shall be paid to the commander, officers, and crew of such ship the following sums :

(1)A slave bounty of five pounds for every slave so condemned who is delivered over, or, if the commander of the ship so elect, a tonnage bounty of four pounds for every ton of the tonnage of the vessel condemned :

(2)That part to which Her Majesty is entitled of the appraised value of the vessel condemned, or, if such vessel was broken up and the materials thereof publicly sold in separate parts, of the net proceeds of such sale after deducting the charges of prosecution :

(3)Where the condemned vessel

(a)was brought into port and was broken up in pursuance of the order of the slave court, and the materials thereof publicly sold in separate parts; or

(b)was abandoned or destroyed prior to condemnation, and the slave court by the decree of condemnation declared that, after full consideration by the court of the circumstances of the case, the seizors had satisfied the court that such abandonment or destruction was inevitable, or otherwise under the circumstances proper and justifiable, a further tonnage bounty at the rate of thirty shillings for every ton of the tonnage of the vessel; and

(4)The net proceeds to which Her Majesty is entitled (after deducting the charges of prosecution) of any such goods and effects which the slave court ordered to be sold. Where any slave so condemned is not delivered over in consequence of death, sickness, or other inevitable circumstances, the Treasury may, if they think fit, pay to the seizors of such slave one moiety of the slave bounty which would have been due in respect of such slave if he had been delivered over.

Bounty and other payments where vessel, slave, or goods not seized by cruisers.

12Where any vessel, slave, goods, or effects seized in pursuance of this Act otherwise than by the commander or officer of one of Her Majesty's ships, or of the cruiser of a foreign state, have been condemned by a slave court, there shall be paid the following sums:

(1)Two thirds of the appraised value of the vessel or (if the vessel was broken up and the materials thereof publicly sold in separate parts) of the net proceeds of such sale, and two thirds of the net proceeds of such goods and effects (after deducting from such appraised value or net proceeds the charges of prosecution) for the use of Her Majesty, to such persons as the Treasury may from time to time appoint, to be carried to the Consolidated Fund :

(2)The remaining third part of the said appraised value or net proceeds of the vessel and of the net proceeds of such goods and effects to the person who lawfully seized and prosecuted the ship, goods, and effects respectively to condemnation :

(3)For every slave so condemned who is delivered over, a slave bounty of five pounds to the person who prosecuted the same to condemnation. Where any slave so condemned is hot delivered over in consequence of death, sickness, or other inevitable circumstances, the Treasury may, if they think fit, pay in respect of such slave one moiety of the slave bounty which would have been due in respect of such slave if he had been delivered over.

Payment of proceeds of vessels; &c. when seized by a foreign cruiser.

13Where any vessel, goods, or effects have been seized in pursuance of this Act by the commander or officer of a cruiser of any foreign state, and been condemned by a British slave court, such portion of the appraised value of the vessel, or (if the vessel was broken up and the materials thereof publicly sold in separate parts) of the net proceeds of such sale, and of the net proceeds of the goods and effects, as is, under any treaty with such state, payable to the seizors, shall be paid to such person as the Treasury may direct, to be disposed of in accordance with such treaty.

Regulations as to payment of bounty.

14In order to obtain payment of the bounty, there shall be produced to the Treasury the following evidence, or such other evidence as the Treasury may deem sufficient; namely,

(a)A copy, duly certified, of the decree of condemnation of the vessel or slave:

(b)If any tonnage bounty is claimed, a certificate from some person authorised for the time being to act as a registrar of British ships of the dimensions and tonnage of the vessel:

(c)If a slave bounty is claimed, a certificate from the person appointed to receive the slaves of the number of slaves condemned and delivered over. For the purpose of bounty the tonnage of a vessel shall be calculated and ascertained in the like manner in which, for the time being, the tonnage of a vessel is calculated and ascertained for the purpose of registering the same as a British vessel, or, if the same cannot be satisfactorily ascertained in that manner, shall be ascertained in such manner as the Treasury may consider satisfactory.

Payment by Treasury of costs, damages, and expenses.

15Where any visitation, seizure, detention, or prosecution purports to have been made or instituted in pursuance of this Act, the Treasury when required under any treaty shall and in any other case may, if they think fit, pay the whole or any part of any costs, expenses, compensation, and damages which may have been awarded against the person making or instituting such visitation, seizure, detention, or prosecution, or any costs and expenses which may have been incurred in respect of the same, or on account of any person on board any vessel so visited, seized, or detained; but nothing in this section shall exempt the commander or officer of the ship or other person by whom the visitation, seizure, detention, or prosecution was made or instituted from his liability to make good any sum so paid when required by the Treasury so to do, and when any such commander or officer, or other person serving under the Admiralty, or any person serving under any other department of the Government, is so required to make good any sum, that sum shall, if the Treasury so direct, be deducted by the Admiralty or other department of the Government, under whom such person is serving, from any payment to which such commander, officer, or person is entitled on account of salary, pay, prize, or bounty.

Payment and distribution of bounties and other sums.

16The bounties and all other sums payable by the Treasury in pursuance of this Act shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament for the purpose. The provisions of "The Naval Agency and Distribution Act, 1864," shall apply to all money payable to the commanders, officers, and crews of Her Majesty's ships in pursuance of this' Act.

Miscellaneous

Protection of persons authorised to seize.

17All persons authorised to make seizures under this Act shall, in making and prosecuting any such seizure, have the benefit of all the protection granted to persons authorised to make seizures under any Act for the time being in force relating to Her Majesty's customs in the United Kingdom, in like manner as if the enactments granting such protection were herein enacted, and in terms made applicable thereto.

Pendency of suit or decree a bar to proceeding for recovery of vessel, damages, &c.

18In either of the following cases, namely,

(a)'Where any proceeding has been instituted in any slave court for the condemnation or restitution of any vessel, slave, goods, or effects purporting to have been seized in pursuance of this Act and is still pending ; or

(b)Where any vessel, slave, goods, or effects purporting to have been seized in pursuance of this Act, have been condemned or restored, or any other final judgment has been pronounced thereon by any slave court,

the pendency of such proceeding, or the condemnation or restitution, or other final judgment thereon, as the case may be, shall ,be a complete bar to every legal proceeding whatever for the recovery of such vessel, slave, goods, or effects, or of damages for any costs, expenses, loss, or injury sustained by any person by or in consequence of the visitation, seizure, or detention of such vessel, slave, goods, or effects, or of any person on board such vessel, or by or in consequence of any act or thing done in relation to such visitation, seizure, or detention, or in pursuance of this Act or any existing slave trade treaty, and may be pleaded in bar, or given in evidence under the general issue.

Power of High Court of Admiralty of England as to bounties, reviewing and enforcing decrees, &c.

19The High Court of Admiralty of England shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any question arising with respect to the right of any person to any payment in pursuance of this Act in respect of any condemned vessel, slave, goods, or effects, and any question of joint capture or seizure which may arise in respect of any vessel, slave, goods, or effects seized in pursuance of this Act, and also as well to review as to enforce any decree, declaration, or order of any British slave court made in pursuance of this Act.

Review of taxation by Registrar of Court of Admiralty.

20The registrar of the High Court of Admiralty of England may, on the application of any person aggrieved, or of the Treasury, tax or review the taxation of any costs, charges, or expenses incurred or alleged to be incurred in any proceeding taken in any British slave court, or in any mixed commission or, court in Her Majesty's dominions, and shall for this purpose have the same jurisdiction and powers as he has in the taxation of any costs, charges, or expenses incurred in any proceeding in the High Court of Admiralty.

Appeal by Treasury.

21The Treasury may appeal from any decree, order, or declaration which is made by any British slave court in pursuance of this Act and involves the payment by the Treasury of any bounty, costs, expenses, compensation, damages, or other moneys in like manner as if they were parties to the proceeding in which such decree, order, or declaration was made.

Prosecution for false evidence.

22Any person who wilfully gives false evidence in any proceeding taken in pursuance of this Act in any slave court shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, and shall be liable to the like penalty as if he had been guilty of perjury, or in a British possession, of the offence, by whatever name called, which if committed in England would be perjury.

Returns by registrars.

23The registrar of every British slave court, and if appointed by Her Majesty, of every other slave court, shall from time to time make returns of the cases adjudged in such court in pursuance of this Act, at such times and in such form and containing such particulars as may be from time to time directed by any rule established with respect to such court under the Vice-Admiralty Courts Act, 1863, or if there is no such rule by Order in Council.

Slave Trade Act, 1824

Incorporation with unrepealed portions of 5 G.4 c.113.

24This Act shall be construed as one with the enactments of the Slave Trade Act, 1824, and any enactments amending the same, so far as they are in force at the time of the passing of this Act, and are not repealed by this Act; and the expression " this Act," when used in this Act, shall include those enactments.

Recovery of forfeitures under 5 Geo. 4. c. 113.

25All pecuniary forfeitures and penalties imposed by the said enactments, with which this Act is to be construed as one, may be sued for, prosecuted, and recovered in any Court of Record or of Vice-Admiralty in any part of Her Majesty's dominions wherein the offence was committed, or where the offender may be, in like manner as any penalty or forfeiture incurred in the United Kingdom under any Act for the time being in force relating to Her Majesty's Customs, or (in the case of the High Court of Admiralty or of a Court of Vice-Admiralty) in like manner as any vessel seized in pursuance of this Act. Such pecuniary penalties and forfeitures shall, subject to the express provisions of the said enactments, be paid and applied in like manner as the net proceeds of a vessel seized otherwise than by the commander or officer of one of Her Majesty's ships, or of the cruiser of a foreign state.

Jurisdiction of court over offences under 5 G.4 c.113.

26Any offence against this Act or the said enactments with which this Act is to be construed as one, or otherwise in connexion with the slave trade, shall for all purposes of and incidental to the trial and punishment of a person guilty of such offence, and all proceedings and matters preliminary and incidental to and consequential on such trial and punishment, and for all purposes of and incidental to the jurisdiction of any court, constable, and officer with reference to such offence, be deemed to have been committed either in the place in which the offence was committed, or in the county of Middlesex, or in any place in which the person guilty of the offence may for the time being be, either in Her Majesty's dominions, or in any foreign port or place in which Her Majesty has jurisdiction; and the offence may be described in any indictment or other document relating thereto as having been committed at the place where it was wholly or partly committed, or as having been committed on the high seas or out of Her Majesty's dominions, and the venue or local description in the margin may be that of the place in which the trial is held. Where any such offence is commenced at one place and completed at another, the place at which such offence is to be deemed to have been committed shall be either the place where the offence was commenced or the place where the offence was completed. Where a person being in one place is accessory to or aids or abets in any such offence committed in another place, the place at which such offence is to be deemed to have been committed shall he either -the place in which the offence was actually committed or the place where the offender was at the time of his being so accessory, aiding, or abetting. Where it appears to any court or the judge of any court having jurisdiction to try any such offence that the removal of an offender charged with such offence to some other place in Her Majesty's dominions for trial would be conducive to the interests of justice, such court or judge may by warrant, or instrument in the nature of a warrant, direct such removal, and such offender may be removed and tried accordingly ; and section two hundred and sixty-eight of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, shall apply to the removal of an offender under this section in the same manner as if the term " consular officer " in that section included the court or judge making such warrant or instrument.

Extension of 33 & 34 Vict. c.52 to Slave Trade offences.

27Offences committed against this Act or the enactments with which this Act is to be construed as one or otherwise in connexion with the slave trade, whether committed on the high seas or on land, or partly on the high seas or partly on land, shall be deemed to be inserted in the first schedule to the Extradition Act, 1870, and that Act, and any Act amending the same, shall be construed accordingly.

Application of Act

Application of Act to cases already adjudicated.

28This Act shall apply to all cases of vessels, slaves, goods, and effects seized and adjudicated upon by any slave court, whether before or after the passing of this Act.

Extension of Act to future treaties.

29Where any 'treaty in relation to the slave trade is made after the passing of this Act, by or on behalf of Her Majesty, with any foreign state, Her Majesty may by Order in Council direct that as from such date, not being earlier than the date of the treaty, as may be specified in the order, such treaty shall be deemed, and thereupon (as from the said date, or if no date. is specified as from the date of such order) such treaty shall be deemed to be an existing slave trade treaty within the meaning of this Act, and all the provisions of this Act shall apply and be construed accordingly. Her Majesty may, by the same or any subsequent order referring to the same treaty, render the application of this Act subject to such conditions, exceptions, and qualifications as may be deemed expedient. Every such order shall recite or embody the terms of the treaty so far as they relate to the slave trade, and shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament within six weeks after it is made, or, if Parliament be not then sitting, within six weeks after the then next meeting of Parliament, and shall also be published in the London Gazette. A treaty, whether made before or after the passing of this Act, which ceases to be in force shall cease to be an existing slave trade treaty within the meaning of this Act.

Repeal

Repeal of Acts in schedule.

30The Acts specified in the second schedule to this Act are hereby repealed. Provided that—

(1)All bounties and other sums purporting to have been paid in pursuance of any enactment hereby repealed before the passing of this Act shall be deemed to have been duly paid :

(2)This repeal shall not affect—

(a)Anything duly done or suffered under any enactment hereby repealed; or

(b)Any right, privilege, obligation, liability, or forfeiture acquired, accrued, or incurred under any enactment hereby repealed ; or

(c)Any investigation, legal proceeding, or remedy in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation, liability, or forfeiture as aforesaid, or any legal proceeding taken or commenced under any enactment hereby repealed; and any such investigation, legal proceeding, and remedy may be carried on and all acts consequential thereon done as if it had been commenced under this Act.

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