2 MAY 1931, Page 15


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—In a letter headed "Present Day Slavery" in your issue of April 4th, the following sentence occurs :— " Sir Bamford Slater, Governor of the British Protectorate in Sierra Leone, when he determined to abolish slavery, found the Churches silent upon the matter."

As an assertion of fact that statement is true, but set, as this statement is set, in a context of implied reproach, as a typical instance of the supposed " callousness " of those Churches, it is utterly unjust.

As one of those to whom the reproach, if deserved, would attach, may I say that I am wholly unashamed and un- repentant? I know, as most of the European missionaries know, and as all the members of those African churches know, what a baptism of blood the Sierra Leone Government passed through in 1898, when they determined that in the then newly-proclaimed Protectorate slave-raiding and all forms of slave-trading should be utterly stamped out. We, missionaries and African Christians alike, have watched with admiration the unceasing vigilance and the remorseless administrative pressure of the intervening thirty years, and we rejoice that in 1925 (when Sir Ransford Slater penned the words which have been so misused) the social system to which the name of" slavery" still clung had, by almost unanimous consent, ceased to be slavery in all save the name.—I am,