British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

extensively for this century; but still advancing as far as can be reasonably expected, from power and resources so slender, and disproportioned to such a gigantic undertaking, as the civilization of any considerable portion of a continent, so steeped in barbarity as Africa.

The want of the strong control of law, and of a general system of jurisprudence, is so severely felt amongst the traders in Africa, that the foundation of a colony which may attain hereafter a sufficient magnitude, to render it a suitable seat for Courts, armed with full authority to repress and punish the enormities which so frequently happen on this coast,1 and pass without animadversion; the foundation of such a colony must surely be considered as a matter worthy of very great attention; and there is no place on the whole coast which could in any degree be rendered so efficient for this most desirable purpose as Sierra Leone.

Neither has the public money (considered merely as a matter of account) by any means been expended upon this colony without a return, which deserves a much greater consideration than is generally given to it, namely, the asylum which it has afforded to the Nova- Scotians and Maroons, so that they are no longer a burthen upon the British treasury. . . .


51
RESOLUTIONS OF SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 13 July 18302

Resolved, I. That it is the opinion of this Committee, that the evidence respecting the comparative healthiness of Sierra Leone and other settlements on the west coast of Africa is very contradictory, owing to the different periods and seasons to which the evidence relates; but the whole of the coast may be considered as generally unhealthy and dangerous to European constitutions, and in some years to a very great degree; that it is, therefore, desirable to reduce the Europeans employed on shore on that coast, in the naval, military and civil departments, to the smallest number possible; and, in such establishments as must be kept up, to substitute black people:

Resolved, 2. That it is the opinion of this Committee, that the management of the settlement of Sierra Leone has not, hitherto, been productive of advantages to the extent which were anticipated, either to the liberated Africans located there, or towards effecting an intercourse with the interior of Africa to promote its civilization, although the expenditure by Government for that purpose has, for many years, been very large; but a better system has of late been

____________________
1
Committed by white people', noted the Report.
2
Parl. Papers, 1830 (661), vol. x, pp. 3-4. Joseph Hume was Chairman of the Committee.

-465-

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