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Treaty of trade and friendship between
the President of the French Republic(1) and the King of Dahomey(2)

"His Majesty, the King of Dahomey, wishing to strengthen the ties of friendship which have united his nation to the French nation for several centuries, has concluded the following treaty with the officer having the full powers of the President of the French Republic.

"First article. - In consideration of the rights and customs in force to date and stipulated in the following article, the King of Dahomey ensures all protection and liberty of trade to the French who come to settle in his kingdom; for their part the French will abide by the customs prevailing in the country.

"Art. 2. - Every vessel off loading an entire cargo will pay anchorage dues of 40 piastres of white cowries, 28 items of merchandise, 5 guns, 5 barrels of powder, 60 gallons of spirits. If the vessel off loads only half a cargo, only half is to be paid; if nothing is off loaded, there is no payment even though the vessel takes on board a full cargo of local products.

"Art. 3. - If through a particular treaty another nation obtains a reduction in any dues, the King will immediately confer the same favours on the French.

"Art. 4. - Wishing to prove his goodwill to the French government in the opening of new branches of commerce to foreign traders, the King promises his particular protection to trade in palm oil, groundnuts and other products of the regions placed under his orders.

"Art. 5. - In case of shipwreck of a French vessel on the coast of Dahomey, the King will make every effort to save the men, the ship and the cargo; compensation according to local custom will be paid to the rescuers.

"Art. 7. - The King confirms he will severely punish palm oil fraud. Such fraud would cause considerable prejudice to this newly formed industry.

"Art. 8. - Minor officials such as déciméros(3) will no longer be allowed to stop on the least pretext the commerce in palm oil as they have sometimes done. The King alone will be judge of this, or at least the Governor or Yovogan of Whydah, and, in accordance with established custom, the traders will be informed of the reasons for this prohibition.

"Art. 10. - The King undertakes to give full protection to French missionaries who come to settle in his states, to give them full liberty of their cult and to encourage their efforts to educate his subjects.

"The President of the Republic wishing on his part to acknowledge the good offices and protection accorded to the French by the King of Dahomey will seize every opportunity to prove his satisfaction to the King by sending him as often as possible officers invested with his full confidence.

"Established in duplicate at Abomey on July 1, 1851".


1. Prince-President Louis Napoléon Bonaparte.
2. King Guézo.
3. Customs officers who levy 10% on the value of bought goods.
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