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[The Consul-General]

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1310, p. 362.

April 15, 1865

The Consul-General for the negro republic of Liberia, Mr. Gerard Ralston, and the Portuguese Ambassador, Count Lavradio, have just signed a treaty of commerce between the two States which contains the following clause:--"Art. 10.--As, by the laws of the kingdom of Portugal and of the republic of Liberia, the slave trade is assimilated to piracy, the vessels or subjects of both the aforesaid countries that may be found employed in this infamous trade shall be tried and punished by the courts of their respective countries according to the aforesaid laws." It is remarkable that the two negro republics of Hayti and Liberia were the first States which set the example of introducing this provision into an international treaty of commerce, though England, America, and other States have long declared the slave trade to be piracy by their statute law and several of the Powers have made special treaties for the suppression of the slave trade. The Republic of Liberia, as our readers are probably aware, owed its existence to the efforts of the American Colonisation Society, which has from time to time, since it was established, some forty years ago, sent out large numbers of emancipated negroes from the United States, and settled them on the coast of Africa, to form an independent political community. The President now is Mr. Warner since the death of the late President Benson, who was an able and enlightened man. The population is about half a million, chiefly speaking English. Their little capital city, named Monrovia, is a place of some trade, and furnished with churches, schools, colleges, newspapers, and other civilised institutions, besides being the seat of Government, with a Senate and House of Representatives holding session there. The Republic has no standing army, but all its citizens, except clergymen and judges, are bound to serve in the militia, to which the Emperor of the French has presented 1500 muskets; while the sole vessel of the Liberian navy, a schooner of five guns, is a gift from the Queen of Great Britain. It is gratifying to hear good accounts of this experiment of self-government for the negro race.

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