Offence: Miscellaneous > kidnapping
Verdict: Guilty; Guilty
275. JAQUES ALEXANDRE CARROL and ALEXANDRE VILLEMONT were indicted (by virtue of a Special Commission) for feloniously importing and bringing into the island of Mauritius , the said island being in the
For the Prosecution, THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, MESSRS. REYNOLDS and LITTLEDALE.
MR. CHARLES BENTHAM . I am a midshipman on board his Majesty's ship Liverpool, which is stationed off the Mauritius for the purpose of detecting slave-dealing. On the 2d of July we were off Mapoor, which is part of the coast, and extends eight miles. On the morning of the 3d, a little before day-light, I was informed a vessel was in sight. I went to the mount, and observed her with my spy-glass; she was the Jenne Adolphe - I had seen that vessel before, and knew her perfectly well - she was a small ship of about one hundred and fifty tons; she appeared to be going to land off Mauritius. Her mizen topsail was aback. She was as close to the reef as she could safely be. I suspected her, and disguised the boat. After I found her in a favourable position I left my station, and went out to chase her in my boat - I came up to her about twelve o'clock; she was steering W. N. W. off the land. I boarded her, and asked the captain for the logbook; he said it was washed overboard on the 23d of last month. I asked him for his papers, and what cargo he had? he said it had been bullocks. The papers were produced, they were in French. He said the bullocks had been thrown overboard likewise on the 23d, as it blew hard, and he had split his mizen; that he had come from Tamatave (which is in the island of Madagascar) and was going to Bourbon.
Q. Was the vessel steering in a direction for Bourbon - A. It was then; but in coming from Tamatave to Bourbon she would not come to the Mauritius. I examined the vessel - she did not appear to me to be a vessel fit for carrying bullocks, from the peculiarity of her build; she was too small between decks. I do not think they could have stood upright. The breed of bullocks at Madagascar appear to be larger than in this country - they are taller, and have a hump. They are the buffalo bullocks. I never saw any others there.
Q. Was there any appearance of bullocks having been in the ship - A. Not the least. I saw no soil - they make a great dirt on board a ship. There were eleven tubs or kids on board; the vessel had only ten men on board. The tubs and kids were more than sufficient for that complement of men. There were some particles of rice in one or two of them, as if men had been fed out of them. She was brought to anchor, and the following day the same crew were on board. I found twenty-two pair of handcuffs, and three hammers for clenching the irons, under the captain's bed-place, in the lower bed-place. The crew were sent on board our frigate. General Downing is Governor of the Mauritius; it is in our possession. I do not know the prisoner, Carrol.
Cross-examined by MR. CURWOOD. Q. Do you understand French - A. A little - I cannot read French papers fluently. Neither of the prisoners were on board. I had several interpreters on board the vessel. She was ship-rigged, which is unusual for a ship of one hundred and fifty tons. She was only laying to; she might have made more away if she pleased.
Q. Did you say before the Magistrate that the vessel was unmanageable - A. That was two hours after I took possession of her; it was in consequence of their being very little wind. A cargo of bullocks would be very inconvenient on board this vessel.
Q. If she met with bad weather she would be more likely to throw them overboard - A. My opinion is, that it would be better to let them remain as ballast, for she must have taken her hatches off to throw them overboard. The captain said there were seventy bullocks - they would not roll about much. The vessel was not at all adapted for cattle. It could not have been driven up there by the the wind, there was a trade-wind blowing there; she would have been driven to the Cape of Good Hope. We have hurricanes, but they had passed before.
Q. Is it not common for a ship to lose her reckoning after a hurricane - A. Certainly. I saw no slaves on board. I do not know that the irons were rusty - they might corrode in half an hour.
Cross-examined by MR. PLATT. Q. In that district there is a commandant and police - A. I do not know it. There are officers all round the Mauritius, for the purpose of preventing the traffic. The vessel was very near the reef. I gave information to the Governor. No slave was found to my knowledge. It was moderate weather on the 2d and 3d of June - I was always able to go out in the boat. I do not think the vessel could carry bullocks; I will not say it could not.
Q. Can you say the bullocks at Madagascar are all of the buffalo kind - A. I have seen a cargo of three hundred landed, and they were all of the buffalo kind, and imported from Madagascar.
Q. The vessel did not appear to have contained bullocks - A. No, she had no stalls nor ring-bolts to fasten the bullocks to. It is usual to make cattle fast when they go to sea.
MR. REYNOLDS. Q. Have you any recollection of there having been a hurricane - A. We experienced a hurricane before, but at that time this ship was in harbour - this was before April; she had not sailed from Port Louis then. The hurricane months are about the equinox. The vessel had not the slightest appearance of having suffered from a hurricane.
JAMES CLANDOMIN (through an interpreter). I was servant to Mons. Carrol, in the Mauritius, and embarked from there with him to go to Bourbon - I had been his servant about a month before that. We landed at Bourbon, and remained there two months; we were three days on our passage. We then went to Tamatave, in Madagascar, and were six days in our passage; we went ashore, and Mons. Carrol went up the country - I remained at Tamatave; he was absent two months, and then returned to Tamatave with about fifty blacks; they remained at Tamatave two days, and were then embarked on board Le Jeune Adolphe. About one hundred and fifty more were brought down, and were all embarked together. Mons. Carrol came on board next day, and we immediately set sail for the Mauritius. When we got about two leagues from land, at the Mauritius, the boats of Mons. Villemont came out to us in the night; he was in one of them, and came on board the vessel. The blacks were all put into two pinnaces; the prisoners and I went with them - I was
Q. Did you afterwards go to Port Louis - A. Yes; I was interrogated there. Villemont was there; I pointed him out.
Cross-examined by MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Were you a freeman or a slave - A. A freeman. I was six months in his service. I was not in prison before I went into his service. I was never in prison, except after this inquiry began. I did not know Villemont before.
Q. How many men were there on board Le Jeune Adolphe - A. Ten sailors. There were eight white men in all; three were common sailors. The first time I was interrogated, I said Carrol had been to Tamatave to traffic in blacks.
Q. Why did they put you in prison there - A. Because the Judge knew I was Carrol's servant.
Q. Had not Carrol been ill at Madagascar - A. Yes. A sea voyage was advised for the recovery of his health. We were about half an hour landing the negroes. The pinnaces took the whole two hundred at one trip. As soon as the pinnaces came near the ship they began to count the blacks. I put Carrol's trunk in the pinnace.
Q. Had not your own father put you in prison - A. No. The Judge sent two officers with me. They seized Villemont's pinnace; I shewed them his house. Villemont was at Port Louis, I saw him there.
Q. Had you ever seen Villemont except on that night, and when you saw him at Port Louis - A. No.
MR. SOLICITOR GENERAL. Q. You saw Villemont on board the vessel - A. Yes, and afterwards saw him in the cabin; I also saw him at his own house. I am sure he is the person.
COURT. Q. In what way were the fifty slaves brought to Tamatave - A. Carrol and a free man brought them, they were chained. The hundred and fifty were also brought chained, and kept chained till they were put on board, they were free on board. The hold was secured at night by an iron bar; the men were armed. The men were in the hold, and the women in the cabin; they were allowed to come on deck in the daytime, twelve at a time. There were more children than grown persons; they landed in good health. We had been a month at sea.
The prisoner, CARROL, put in a very long written defence, giving an account of different voyages in which he had been engaged, and stating that Clandomir had been convicted of robbing the trunk of a passenger in a vessel in 1818, and in order to avoid punishment he told the captain M. Villemont's clerk (Mr. Pilot), had called him a rascal and a rogue, and on the captain saying that he should take him into the presence of Mr. Pilot, that Clandomir came and told Mr. Pilot that the captain was coming to quarrel with them; he then ran away; he was afterwards arrested, and begged forgiveness; that he afterwards took Clandomir into his service at the request of his father. (The only part relating to this charge is as follows:) - At the end of March I re-embarked on board Le Jenne Adolphe, from Bourbon for Tamatave. I fell ill of the Madagascar fever after my arrival, and embarked again on board the same vessel, bound for Bourbon, and laden with bullocks. We had dreadful weather, which caused the loss of our cargo, and were driven in sight of the Mauritius. I was sent to Port Louis for advice, being exceedingly ill. The day after my arrival I was taken before the Commissary General, and was sent to the hospital. Clandomir had the impudence, during our passage to England, to come to me in the night, ask a thousand pardons, and to make excuses for the false depositions he had made, assuring me he would make one quite contrary in London. It is impossible to land two hundred blacks, without being seen by the police, who are exceedingly vigilant. Search was made, but none were found, because none existed.
VILLEMONT'S Defence (written). At the time stated I was at a considerable distance from my residence. On the 2d of July I dined, supped, and slept at the house of Mons. Le Grand - I left his house next morning, and proceeded towards home, having promised them my pinnace to go to Round Island; my pinnace was not in a fit state, and I borrowed one from them. On the morning of the 7th I went to Port Louis, and next day received a letter from my wife, informing me that eight persons, guided by a Mulatto, had been at my house and had seized my pinnace, and that which I had borrowed. I returned, and went to the police to be informed of the reason; I was then arrested. I appeal to any one whether it was likely that two hundred negroes could have been landed, without any trace being left, in an island so strictly guarded as the Mauritius. I solemnly protest my innocence. I could have escaped when I heard the charge, but I preferred surrendering myself into the hands of justice.
CARROL - GUILTY .
VILLEMONT - GUILTY .
Transported for Fourteen Years .
London Jury, before Mr. Justice Burrough.