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1825 | The Slave Ship




December 9, 1825. — Arrived the French bng Perle from St. John's, on the coast of Africa, having on board five negroes. She is supposed to be a slave-ship driven off the African coast. The Captain, First and Second Lieutenants, doctor, super-cargo, and five seamen dead, and the mate unable to come on deck.
December 26. — The negroes from the French brig Perle were taken on shore by Habeas Corpus, ordered to be clothed and sent to London.
December 31. — One of the crew of the Perle buried to-day.
January 23, 1826. — The French brig Perle dismantled
by Preventive men by orders from London on account of her being a slave-ship. A meeting of the inhabitants took place in the Calvinist chapel to petition the Legislature to abolish the slave trade and to eman- cipate the slaves in the West Indies. Mr. Pendarves took the chair.
January 25. — The French brig Perle released.
It would be deeply interesting to have full details of the voyage of the slave-ship from the time of her leaving the African coast to her arrival at St. Ives, but the complete story of this tragedy of the sea can never now be known.
It is most probable that the five negroes landed at St. Ives were merely the survivors of a much larger number taken on board on the African coast, and when some dreadful epidemic, cholera or yellow fever, swept through the ship, the unfortunate negroes confined below deck would be the first to succumb.
Officers and crew were then stricken, and the ship, meeting with adverse gales of wind, was driven far from her course, until the few survivors, more dead than alive, took shelter at St. Ives.


In the report of the African Institution (a Society for the repression of the slave trade) for 1826, is the following :
"The five Africans, brought accidently into St. Ives, in Cornwall, in a French slave-ship the Perle, par- ticularly call for the good offices of the directors. Mr. Wilberforce, indeed, in conjunction with Mr. Stephen, on first hearing of the circumstances, adopted prompt and decisive measures for rescuing these poor
creatures from their state of bondage. On a writ of Habeas Corpus they were brought to London, and by Chief Justice Best liberated. Two have died of illness, and the other three are leaving for Africa in a few days. This incident will cost the Society between .£200 and £300."— May 19, 1826.