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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus by American Anti-Slavery Society

Part 21 out of 52

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book-keepers had to be up every night till twelve o'clock, and every
other night _all night_, superintending the work in the boiling-house,
and at the mill. They did not have rest even on the Sabbath; they must
have the mill put about (set to the wind so as to grind) by sunset every
Sabbath. Often the mills were in the wind before four o'clock, on
Sabbath afternoon. They knew of slaves being flogged for not being on
the spot by sunset, though it was known that they had been to meeting.
Mr. G. said that he had a young friend who came from England with him,
and acted as book-keeper. His labors and exposures were so intolerable,
that he had often said to Mr. G., confidentially, _that if the slaves
should rise in rebellion, he would most cheerfully join them_! Said Mr.
G., _there was great rejoicing_ among the book-keepers in August 1834!
_The abolition of slavery was_ EMANCIPATION TO THE BOOK-KEEPERS.

[Footnote A: The book-keepers are subordinate overseers and drivers;
they are generally young white men, who after serving a course of years
in a sort of apprenticeship, are promoted to managers of estates.]

No complaints were brought before Mr. Chamberlain. Mr. Gordon pleasantly
remarked when we arrived, that he had some cases which he should have
presented if the magistrate had come a little earlier, but he presumed
he should forget them before his next visit. When we left Williamsfield,
Mr. C. informed us that during five months there had been but two cases
of complaint on that estate--and but _a single instance of punishment._
Such are the results where there is a good manager and a good special

On Sabbath we attended service in the Baptist chapel, of which Rev. Mr.
Kingdon is pastor. The chapel, which is a part of Mr. K.'s
dwelling-house, is situated on the summit of a high mountain which
overlooks the sea. As seen from the valley below, it appears to topple
on the very brink of a frightful precipice. It is reached by a winding
tedious road, too rugged to admit of a chaise, and in some places so
steep as to try the activity of a horse. As we approached nearer, we
observed the people climbing up in throngs by various footpaths, and
halting in the thick woods which skirted the chapel, the men to put on
their shoes, which they had carried in their hands up the mountain, and
the women to draw on their white stockings and shoes. On entering the
place of worship, we found it well filled with the apprentices, who came
from many miles around in every direction. The services had commenced
when we arrived. We heard an excellent sermon from the devoted and pious
missionary, Mr. Kingdon, whose praise is among all the good throughout
the island, and who is eminently known as the negro's friend. After the
sermon, we were invited to make a few remarks; and the minister briefly
stated to the congregation whence we had come, and what was the object
of our visit. We cannot soon forget the scene which followed. We begun
by expressing, in simple terms, the interest which we felt in the
temporal and spiritual concerns of the people present, and scarcely had
we uttered a sentence when the whole congregation were filled with
emotion. Soon they burst into tears--some sobbed, others cried aloud;
insomuch that for a time we were unable to proceed. We were, indeed, not
a little astonished at so unusual a scene; it was a thing which we were
by no means expecting to see. Being at a loss to account for it, we
inquired of Mr. K. afterwards, who told us that it was occasioned by our
expressions of sympathy and regard. They were so unaccustomed to hear
such language from the lips of white people, that it fell upon them like
rain upon the parched earth. The idea that one who was a stranger and a
foreigner should feel an interest in their welfare, was to them, in such
circumstances, peculiarly affecting, and stirred the deep fountains of
their hearts.

After the services, the missionary, anxious to further our objects,
proposed that we should hold an interview with a number of the
apprentices; and he accordingly invited fifteen of them into his study,
and introduced them to us by name, stating also the estates to which
they severally belonged. We had thus an opportunity of seeing the
_representatives of twelve different estates_, men of trust on their
respective estates, mostly constables and head boilers. For nearly two
hours we conversed with these men, making inquiries on all points
connected with slavery, the apprenticeship, and the expected

From no interview, during our stay in the colonies, did we derive so
much information respecting the real workings of the apprenticeship;
from none did we gain such an insight into the character and disposition
of the negroes. The company was composed of intelligent and pious
men;--so manly and dignified were they in appearance, and so elevated in
their sentiments, that we could with difficulty realize that they were
_slaves_. They were wholly unreserved in their communications, though
they deeply implicated their masters, the special magistrates, and
others in authority. It is not improbable that they would have shrunk
from some of the disclosures which they made, had they known that they
would be published. Nevertheless we feel assured that in making them
public, we shall not betray the informants, concealing as we do their
names and the estates to which they belong.

With regard to the wrongs and hardships of the apprenticeship much as
said; we can only give a small part.

Their masters were often very harsh with them, more so than when they
were slaves. They could not flog them, but they would scold them, and
swear at them, and call them hard names, which hurt their feelings
almost as much as it would if they were to flog them. They would not
allow them as many privileges as they did formerly. Sometimes they would
take their provision grounds away, and sometimes they would go on their
grounds and carry away provisions for their own use without paying for
them, or as much as asking their leave. They had to bear this, for it
was useless to complain--they could get no justice; there was no law in
Manchioneal. The special magistrate would only hear the master, and
would not allow the apprentices to say any thing for themselves[A]. The
magistrate would do just as the busha (master) said. If he say flog him,
he flog him; if he say, send him to Morant Bay, (to the treadmill,) de
magistrate send him. If we happen to laugh before de busha, he complain
to de magistrate, and we get licked. If we go to a friend's house, when
we hungry, to get something to eat, and happen to get lost in de woods
between, we are called runaways, and are punished severely. Our half
Friday is taken away from us; we must give that time to busha for a
little salt-fish, which was always allowed us during slavery. If we lay
in bed after six o'clock, they take away our Saturday too. If we lose a
little time from work, they make us pay a great deal more time. They
stated, and so did several of the missionaries, that the loss of the
half Friday was very serious to them; as it often rendered it impossible
for them to get to meeting on Sunday. The whole work of cultivating
their grounds, preparing their produce for sale, carrying it to the
distant market, (Morant Bay, and sometimes further,) and returning, all
this was, by the loss of the Friday afternoon, crowded into Saturday,
and it was often impossible for them to get back from market before
Sabbath morning; then they had to dress and go six or ten miles further
to chapel, or stay away altogether, which, from weariness and worldly
cares, they would be strongly tempted to do. This they represented as
being a grievous thing to them. Said one of the men; in a peculiarly
solemn and earnest manner, while the tears stood in his eyes, "I declare
to you, massa, if de Lord spare we to be free, we be much more
'ligiours--_we be wise to many more tings_; we be better Christians;
because den we have all de Sunday for go to meeting. But now de holy
time taken up in work for we food." These words were deeply impressed
upon us by the intense earnestness with which they were spoken. They
revealed "the heart's own bitterness." There was also a lighting up of
joy and hope in the countenance of that child of God, as he looked
forward to the time when he might become _wise to many more tings_.

[Footnote A: We would observe, that they did not refer to Mr.
Chamberlain, but to another magistrate, whose name they mentioned.]

They gave a heart-sickening account of the cruelties of the treadmill.
They spoke of the apprentices having their wrists tied to the handboard,
and said it was very common for them to fall and hang against the wheel.
Some who had been sent to the treadmill, had actually died from the
injuries they there received. They were often obliged to see their wives
dragged off to Morant Bay, and tied to the treadmill, even when they
were in a state of pregnancy. They suffered a great deal of misery from
_that; but they could not help it_.

Sometimes it was a wonder to themselves how they could endure all the
provocations and sufferings of the apprenticeship; _it was only "by de
mercy of God_!"

They were asked why they did not complain to the special magistrates.
They replied, that it did no good, for the magistrates would not take
any notice of their complaints, besides, it made the masters treat them
still worse. Said one, "We go to de magistrate to complain, and den when
we come back de busha do all him can to vex us. He _wingle_ (tease) us,
and _wingle_ us; de book-keeper curse us and treaten us; de constable he
scold us, and call hard names, and dey all strive to make we mad, so we
say someting wrong, and den dey take we to de magistrate for insolence."
Such was the final consequence of complaining to the magistrate. We
asked them why they did not complain, when they had a good magistrate
who would do them justice. Their answer revealed a new fact. They were
afraid to complain to a magistrate, who they knew was their friend,
_because their masters told them that the magistrate would soon be
changed, and another would come who would flog them; and that for every
time they dared to complain to the GOOD magistrate, they would be
flogged when the BAD one came_. They said their masters had explained it
all to them long ago.

We inquired of them particularly what course they intended to take when
they should become free. We requested them to speak, not only with
reference to themselves, but of the apprentices generally, as far as
they knew their views. They said the apprentices expected to work on the
estates, if they were allowed to do so. They had no intention of leaving
work. Nothing would cause them to leave their estates but bad treatment;
if their masters were harsh, they would go to another estate, where they
would get better treatment. They would be _obliged_ to work when they
were free; even more than now, for _then_ they would have no other

One tried to prove to us by reasoning, that the people would work
when they were free. Said he, "In slavery time we work _even_ wid de
whip, now we work 'till better--_what tink we will do when we free?
Won't_ we work den, _when we get paid_?" He appealed to us so earnestly,
that we could not help acknowledging we were fully convinced. However,
in order to establish the point still more clearly, he stated some
facts, such as the following:

During slavery, it took six men to tend the coppers in boiling sugar,
and it was thought that fewer could not possibly do the work; but now,
since the boilers are paid for their extra time, the work is monopolized
by _three_ men. They _would not have any help_; they did all the work
"_dat dey might get all de pay_."

We sounded them thoroughly on their views of law and freedom. We
inquired whether they expected to be allowed to do as they pleased when
they were free. On this subject they spoke very rationally. Said one,
"We could never live widout de law; (we use, his very expressions) we
must have some law when we free. In other countries, where dey are free,
_don't_ dey have law? Wouldn't dey shoot one another if they did not
have law?" Thus they reasoned about freedom. Their chief complaint
against the apprenticeship was, that it did not allow them _justice_.
"_There was no law now_." They had been told by the governor, that there
was the same law for all the island; but they knew better, for there was
more justice done them in some districts than in others.

Some of their expressions indicated very strongly the characteristic
kindness of the negro. They would say, we work now as well as we can
_for the sake of peace; any thing for peace_. Don't want to be
complained of to the magistrate; don't like to be called hard names--do
any thing to keep peace. Such expressions were repeatedly made. We asked
them what they thought of the domestics being emancipated in 1838, while
they had to remain apprentices two years longer? They said, "it bad
enough--but we know de law make it so, and _for peace sake_, we will be
satisfy. _But we murmur in we minds_."

We asked what they expected to do with the old and infirm, after
freedom? They said, "we will support dem--as how dey brought us up when
we was pickaninny, and now we come trong, must care for dem." In such a
spirit did these apprentices discourse for two hours. They won greatly
upon our sympathy and respect. The touching story of their wrongs, the
artless unbosoming of their hopes, their forgiving spirit toward their
masters, their distinct views of their own rights, their amiable bearing
under provocation, their just notions of law, and of a state of
freedom--these things were well calculated to excite our admiration for
them, and their companions in suffering. Having prayed with the company,
and commended them to the grace of God, and the salvation of Jesus
Christ, we shook hands with them individually, and separated from them,
never more to see them, until we meet at the bar of God.

While one of us was prosecuting the foregoing inquiries in St. Thomas in
the East, the other was performing a horse-back tour among the mountains
of St. Andrews and Port Royal. We had been invited by Stephen Bourne,
Esq., special magistrate for one of the rural districts in those
parishes, to spend a week in his family, and accompany him in his
official visits to the plantations embraced in his commission--an
invitation we were very glad to accept, as it laid open to us at the
same time three important sources of information,--the magistrate, the
planter, and the apprentice.

The sun was just rising as we left Kingston, and entered the high road.
The air, which the day before had been painfully hot and stived, was
cool and fresh, and from flowers and spice-trees, on which the dew still
lay, went forth a thousand fragrant exhalations. Our course for about
six miles, lay over the broad, low plain, which spreads around Kingston,
westward to the highlands of St. Andrews, and southward beyond
Spanishtown. All along the road, and in various directions in the
distance, were seen the residences--uncouthly termed 'pens'--of
merchants and gentlemen of wealth, whose business frequently calls them
to town. Unlike Barbadoes, the fields here were protected by walls and
hedges, with broad gateways and avenues leading to the house. We soon
began to meet here and there, at intervals, person going to the market
with fruits and provisions. The number continually increased, and at the
end of an hour, they could be seen trudging over the fields, and along
the by-paths and roads, on every hand. Some had a couple of stunted
donkeys yoked to a ricketty cart,--others had mules with
pack-saddles--but the many loaded their own heads, instead of the
donkeys and mules. Most of them were well dressed, and all civil and
respectful in their conduct.

Invigorated by the mountain air, and animated by the novelty and
grandeur of the mountain scenery, through which we had passed, we
arrived at 'Grecian Regale' in season for an early West Indian
breakfast, (8 o'clock.) Mr. Bourne's district is entirely composed of
coffee plantations, and embraces three thousand apprentices. The people
on coffee plantations are not worked so hard as those employed on sugar
estates; but they are more liable to suffer from insufficient food
and clothing.

After breakfast we accompanied Mr. Bourne on a visit to the plantations,
but there were no complaints either from the master or apprentice,
except on one. Here Mr. B. was hailed by a hoary-headed man, sitting at
the side of his house. He said that he was lame and sick, and could not
work, and complained that his master did not give him any food. All he
had to eat was given him by a relative. As the master was not at home,
Mr. B. could not attend to the complaint at that time, but promised to
write the master about it in the course of the day. He informed us that
the aged and disabled were very much neglected under the apprenticeship.
When the working days are over, the profit days are over, and how few in
any country are willing to support an animal which is past labor? If
these complaints are numerous under the new system, when magistrates are
all abroad to remedy them, what must it have been during slavery, when
master and magistrate were the same!

On one of the plantations we called at the house of an emigrant, of
which some hundreds have been imported from different parts of Europe,
since emancipation. He had been in the island eighteen months, and was
much dissatisfied with his situation. The experiment of importing whites
to Jamaica as laborers, has proved disastrous--an unfortunate
speculation to all parties, and all parties wish them back again.

We had some conversation with several apprentices, who called on Mr.
Bourne for advice and aid. They all thought the apprenticeship very
hard, but still, on the whole, liked it better than slavery. They "were
killed too bad,"--that was their expression--during slavery--were worked
hard and terribly flogged. They were up ever so early and late--went out
in the mountains to work, when so cold busha would have to cover himself
up on the ground. Had little time to eat, or go to meeting. 'Twas all
slash, slash! Now they couldn't be flogged, unless the magistrate said
so. Still the busha was very hard to them, and many of the apprentices
run away to the woods, they are so badly used.

The next plantation which we visited was Dublin Castle. It lies in a
deep valley, quite enclosed by mountains. The present attorney has been
in the island nine years, and is attorney for several other properties.
In England he was a religious man, and intimately acquainted with the
eccentric Irving. For a while after he came out he preached to the
slaves, but having taken a black concubine, and treating those under his
charge oppressively, he soon obtained a bad character among the blacks,
and his meetings were deserted. He is now a most passionate and wicked
man, having cast off even the show of religion.

Mr. B. visited Dublin Castle a few weeks since, and spent two days in
hearing complaints brought against the manager and book-keeper by the
apprentices. He fined the manager, for different acts of oppression, one
hundred and eight dollars. The attorney was present during the whole
time. Near the close of the second day he requested permission to say a
few words, which was granted. He raised his hands and eyes in the most
agonized manner, as though passion was writhing within, and burst
forth--"O, my God! my God! has it indeed come to this! Am I to be
arraigned in this way? Is my conduct to be questioned by these people?
Is my authority to be destroyed by the interference of stranger? O, my
God!" And he fell back into the arms of his book-keeper, and was carried
out of the room in convulsions.

The next morning we started on another excursion, for the purpose of
attending the appraisement of an apprentice belonging to Silver Hill, a
plantation about ten miles distant from Grecian Regale. We rode but a
short distance in the town road, when we struck off into a narrow defile
by a mule-path, and pushed into the very heart of the mountains.

We felt somewhat timid at the commencement of our excursion among these
minor Andes, but we gained confidence as we proceeded, and finding our
horse sure-footed and quite familiar with mountain paths, we soon
learned to gallop, without fear, along the highest cliffs, and through
the most dangerous passes. We were once put in some jeopardy by a drove
of mules, laden with coffee. We fortunately saw them, as they came round
the point of a hill, at some distance, in season to secure ourselves in
a little recess where the path widened. On they came, cheered by the
loud cries of their drivers, and passed rapidly forward, one after
another, with the headlong stupidity which animals, claiming more wisdom
than quadrupeds, not unfrequently manifest. When they came up to us,
however, they showed that they were not unaccustomed to such encounters,
and, although the space between us and the brow of the precipice, was
not three feet wide, they all contrived to sway their bodies and heavy
sacks in such a manner as to pass us safely, except one. He, more stupid
or more unlucky than the rest, struck us a full broad-side as he went by
jolting us hard against the hill, and well-nigh jolting himself down the
craggy descent into the abyss below. One leg hung a moment over the
precipice, but the poor beast suddenly threw his whole weight forward,
and by a desperate leap, obtained sure foothold in the path, and again
trudged along with his coffee-bags.

On our way we called at two plantations, but found no complaints. At one
of them we had some conversation with the overseer. He has on it one
hundred and thirty apprentices, and produces annually thirty thousand
pounds of coffee. He informed us that he was getting along well. His
people are industrious and obedient, as much so, to say the least, as
under the old system. The crop this year is not so great as usual, on
account of the severe drought. His plantation was never better
cultivated. Besides the one hundred and thirty apprentices, there are
forty free children, who are supported by their parents. None of them
will work for hire, or in any way put themselves under his control, as
the parents fear there is some plot laid for making them apprentices,
and through that process reducing them to slavery. He thinks this
feeling will continue till the apprenticeship is entirely broken up, and
the people begin to feel assured of complete freedom, when it will

We reached Silver Hill about noon. This plantation contains one hundred
and ten apprentices, and is under the management of a colored man, who
has had charge of it seven years. He informed us that it was under as
good cultivation now as it was before emancipation. His people are
easily controlled. Very much depends on the conduct of the overseer. If
he is disposed to be just and kind, the apprentices are sure to behave
well; if he is harsh and severe, and attempts to _drive_ them, they will
take no pains to please him, but on the contrary, will be sulky and

There were three overseers from other estates present. One of them had
been an overseer for forty years, and he possessed the looks and
feelings which we suppose a man who has been thus long in a school of
despotism, must possess. He had a giant form, which seemed to be
breaking down with luxury and sensualism. His ordinary voice was hoarse
and gusty, and his smile diabolical. Emancipation had swept away his
power while it left the love of it ravaging his heart. He could not
speak of the new system with composure. His contempt and hatred of the
negro was unadulterated. He spoke of the apprentices with great
bitterness. They were excessively lazy and impudent, and were becoming
more and more so every day. They did not do half the work now that they
did before emancipation. It was the character of the negro never to work
unless compelled. His people would not labor for him an hour in their
own time, although he had offered to pay them for it. They have not the
least gratitude. They will leave him in the midst of his crop, and help
others, because they can get a little more. They spend all their half
Fridays and their Saturdays on other plantations where they receive
forty cents a day. Twenty-five cents is enough for them, and is as much
as he will give.

Mr. B. requested the overseer to bring forward his complaints. He had
only two. One was against a boy of ten for stealing a gill of goat's
milk. The charge was disproved. The other was against a boy of twelve
for neglecting the cattle, and permitting them to trespass on the lands
of a neighbor. He was sentenced to receive a good switching--that is, to
be beaten with a small stick by the constable of the plantation.

Several apprentices then appeared and made a few trivial complaints
against 'busha.' They were quickly adjusted. These were all the
complaints that had accumulated in five weeks.

The principal business which called Mr. Bourne to the plantation, as we
have already remarked, was the appraisement of an apprentice. The
appraisers were himself and a local magistrate. The apprentice was a
native born African, and was stolen from his country when a boy. He had
always resided on this plantation, and had always been a faithful
laborer. He was now the constable, or driver, as the office was called
in slavery times, of the second gang. The overseer testified to his
honesty and industry, and said he regretted much to have him leave. He
was, as appeared by the plantation books, fifty-four years old, but was
evidently above sixty. After examining several witnesses as to the old
man's ability and general health, and making calculations by the rule of
three, with the cold accuracy of a yankee horse-bargain, it was decided
that his services were worth to the plantation forty-eight dollars a
years, and for the remaining time of the apprenticeship, consequently,
at that rate, one hundred and fifty-six dollars. One third of this was
deducted as an allowance for the probabilities of death, and sickness,
leaving one hundred and four dollars as the price of his redemption. The
old man objected strongly and earnestly to the price; he said, it was
too much; he had not money enough to pay it; and begged them, with tears
in his eyes, not to make him pay so much "for his old bones;" but they
would not remit a cent. They could not. They were the stern ministers of
the British emancipation law, the praises of which have been shouted
through the earth!

Of the three overseers who were present, not one could be called a
respectable man. Their countenances were the mirrors of all lustful and
desperate passions. They were continually drinking rum and water, and
one of them was half drunk.

Our next visit was to an elevated plantation called Peter's Rock. The
path to it was, in one place, so steep, that we had to dismount and
permit our horses to work their way up as they could, while we followed
on foot. We then wound along among provision grounds and coffee fields,
through forests where hardly a track was to be seen, and over hedges,
which the horses were obliged to leap, till we issued on the great path
which leads from the plantation to Kingston.

Peter's Rock has one hundred apprentices, and is under the management,
as Mr. Bourne informed us, of a very humane man. During the two years
and a half of the apprenticeship, there had been _only six complaints_.
As we approached the plantation we saw the apprentices at the side of
the road, eating their breakfast. They had been at work some distance
from their houses, and could not spend time to go home. They saluted us
with great civility, most of them rising and uncovering their heads. In
answer to our questions, they said they were getting along very well.
They said their master was kind to them, and they appeared in
fine spirits.

The overseer met us as we rode up to the door, and received us very
courteously. He had no complaints. He informed us that the plantation
was as well cultivated as it had been for many years, and the people
were perfectly obedient and industrious.

From Peter's Rock we rode to "Hall's Prospect," a plantation on which
there are sixty apprentices under the charge of a black overseer, who,
two years ago, was a slave. It was five weeks since Mr. B. had been
there, and yet he had only one complaint, and that against a woman for
being late at work on Monday morning. The reason she gave for this was,
that she went to an estate some miles distant to spend the Sabbath with
her husband.

Mr. Bourne, by the aid of funds left in his hands by Mr. Sturge, is
about to establish a school on this plantation. Mr. B., at a previous
visit, had informed the people of what he intended to do, and asked
their co-operation. As soon as they saw him to-day, several of them
immediately inquired about the school, when it would begin, &c. They
showed the greatest eagerness and thankfulness. Mr. B. told them he
should send a teacher as soon as a house was prepared. He had been
talking with their master (the attorney of the plantation) about fixing
one, who had offered them the old "lock-up house," if they would put it
in order. There was a murmur among them at this annunciation. At length
one of the men said, they did not want the school to be held in the
"lock-up house." It was not a good place for their "pickaninnies" to go
to. They had much rather have some other building, and would be glad to
have it close to their houses. Mr. B. told them if they would put up a
small house near their own, he would furnish it with desks and benches.
To this they all assented with great joy.

On our way home we saw, as we did on various other occasions, many of
the apprentices with hoes, baskets, &c., going to their provision
grounds. We had some conversation with them as we rode along. They said
they had been in the fields picking coffee since half past five o'clock.
They were now going, as they always did after "horn-blow" in the
afternoon, (four o'clock,) to their grounds, where they should stay till
dark. Some of their grounds were four, others six miles from home. They
all liked the apprenticeship better than slavery. They were not flogged
so much now, and had more time to themselves. But they should like
freedom much better, and should be glad when it came.

We met a brown young woman driving an ass laden with a great variety of
articles. She said she had been to Kingston (fifteen miles off) with a
load of provisions, and had purchased some things to sell to the
apprentices. We asked her what she did with her money. "Give it to my
husband," said she. "Do you keep none for yourself?" She smiled and
replied: "What for him for me."

After we had passed, Mr. B. informed us that she had been an apprentice,
but purchased her freedom a few months previous, and was now engaged as
a kind of country merchant. She purchases provisions of the negroes, and
carries them to Kingston, where she exchanges them for pins, needles,
thread, dry goods, and such articles as the apprentices need, which she
again exchanges for provisions and money.

Mr. Bourne informed us that real estate is much higher than before
emancipation. He mentioned one "pen" which was purchased for eighteen
hundred dollars a few years since. The owner had received nine hundred
dollars as 'compensation' for freedom. It has lately been leased for
seven years by the owner, for nine hundred dollars per year.

A gentleman who owns a plantation in Mr. B.'s district, sold parcels of
land to the negroes before emancipation at five shillings per acre. He
now obtains twenty-seven shillings per acre.

The house in which Mr. B. resides was rented in 1833 for one hundred and
fifty dollars. Mr. B. engaged it on his arrival for three years, at two
hundred and forty dollars per year. His landlord informed him a few days
since, that on the expiration of his present lease, he should raise the
rent to three hundred and thirty dollars.

Mr. B. is acquainted with a gentleman of wealth, who has been
endeavoring for the last twelve months to purchase an estate in this
island. He has offered high prices, but has as yet been unable to obtain
one. Landholders have so much confidence in the value and security of
real estate, that they do not wish to part with it.

After our visit to Silver Hill, our attention was particularly turned to
the condition of the negro grounds. Most of them were very clean and
flourishing. Large plats of the onion, of cocoa, plantain, banana, yam,
potatoe, and other tropic vegetables, were scattered all around within
five or six miles of a plantation. We were much pleased with the
appearance of them during a ride on a Friday. In the forenoon, they had
all been vacant; not a person was to be seen in them; but after one
o'clock, they began gradually to be occupied, till, at the end of an
hour, where-ever we went, we saw men, women, and children laboring
industriously in their little gardens. In some places, the hills to
their very summits were spotted with cultivation. Till Monday morning
the apprentices were free, and they certainly manifested a strong
disposition to spend that time in taking care of themselves. The
testimony of the numerous apprentices with whom we conversed, was to the
same effect as our observation. They all testified that they were paying
as much attention to their grounds as they ever did, but that their
provisions had been cut short by the drought. They had their land all
prepared for a new crop, and were only waiting for rain to put in the
seed. Mr. Bourne corroborated their statement, and remarked, that he
never found the least difficulty in procuring laborers. Could he have
the possession of the largest plantation in the island to-day, he had no
doubt that, within a week, he could procure free laborers enough to
cultivate every acre.

On one occasion, while among the mountains, we were impressed on a jury
to sit in inquest on the body of a negro woman found dead on the high
road. She was, as appeared in evidence, on her return from the house of
correction, at Half-Way-Tree, where she had been sentenced for fourteen
days, and been put on the treadmill. She had complained to some of her
acquaintances of harsh treatment there, and said they had killed her,
and that if she ever lived to reach home, she should tell all her
massa's negroes never to cross the threshold of Half-Way-Tree, as it
would kill them. The evidence, however, was not clear that she died in
consequence of such treatment, and the jury, accordingly, decided that
she came to her death by some cause unknown to them.

Nine of the jury were overseers, and if they, collected together
indiscriminately on this occasion, were a specimen of those who have
charge of the apprentices in this island, they must be most degraded and
brutal men. They appeared more under the influence of low passions, more
degraded by sensuality, and but little more intelligent, than the
negroes themselves. Instead of possessing irresponsible power over their
fellows, they ought themselves to be under the power of the most strict
and energetic laws. Our visits to the plantations, and inquiries on this
point, confirmed this opinion. They are the 'feculum' of European
society--ignorant, passionate, licentious. We do them no injustice when
we say this, nor when we further add, that the apprentices suffer in a
hundred ways which the law cannot reach, gross insults and oppression
from their excessive rapaciousness and lust. What must it have been
during slavery?

We had some conversation with Cheny Hamilton, Esq., one of the special
magistrates for Port Royal. He is a colored man, and has held his office
about eighteen months. There are three thousand apprentices in his
district, which embraces sugar and coffee estates. The complaints are
few and of a very trivial nature. They mostly originate with the
planters. Most of the cases brought before him are for petty theft and
absence from work.

In his district, cultivation was never better. The negroes are willing
to work during their own time. His father-in-law is clearing up some
mountain land for a coffee plantation, by the labor of apprentices from
neighboring estates. The seasons since emancipation have been bad. The
blacks cultivate their own grounds on their half Fridays and Saturdays,
unless they can obtain employment from others.

Nothing is doing by the planters for the education of the apprentices.
Their only object is to get as much work out of them as possible.

The blacks, so far as he has had opportunity to observe, are in every
respect as quiet and industrious as they were before freedom. He said if
we would compare the character of the complaints brought by the
overseers and apprentices against each other, we should see for
ourselves which party was the most peaceable and law-abiding.

To these views we may here add those of another gentleman, with whom we
had considerable conversation about the same time. He is a proprietor
and local magistrate, and was represented to us as a kind and humane
man. Mr. Bourne stated to us that he had not had six cases of complaint
on his plantation for the last twelve months. We give his most important
statements in the following brief items:

1. He has had charge of estates in Jamaica since 1804. At one time he
had twelve hundred negroes under his control. He now owns a coffee
plantation, on which there are one hundred and ten apprentices, and is
also attorney for several others, the owners of which reside out of
the island.

2. His plantation is well cultivated and clean, and his people are as
industrious and civil as they ever were. He employs them during their
own time, and always finds them willing to work for him, unless their
own grounds require their attendance. Cultivation generally, through the
island, is as good as it ever was. Many of the planters, at the
commencement of the apprenticeship, reduced the quantity of land
cultivated; he did not do so, but on the contrary is extending his

3. The crops this year are not so good as usual. This is no fault of the
apprentices, but is owing to the bad season.

4. The conduct of the apprentices depends very much on the conduct of
those who have charge of them. If you find a plantation on which the
overseer is kind, and does common justice to the laborer, you will find
things going on well--if otherwise, the reverse. Those estates and
plantations on which the proprietor himself resides, are most peaceable
and prosperous.

5. Real estate is more valuable than before emancipation. Property is
more secure, and capitalists are more ready to invest their funds.

6. The result of 1840 is as yet doubtful. For his part, he has no fears.
He doubts not he can cultivate his plantation as easily after that
period as before. He is confident he can do it cheaper. He thinks it not
only likely, but certain, that many of the plantations on which the
people have been ill used, while slaves and apprentices, will be
abandoned by the present laborers, and that they will never be worked
until overseers are put over them who, instead of doing all they can to
harass them, will soothe and conciliate them. The apprenticeship has
done much harm instead of good in the way of preparing the blacks to
work after 1840.

A few days after our return from the mountains, we rode to Spanishtown,
which is about twelve miles west of Kingston. Spanishtown is the seat of
government, containing the various buildings for the residence of the
governor, the meeting of the legislature, the session of the courts, and
rooms for the several officers of the crown. They are all strong and
massive structures, but display little architectural magnificence
or beauty.

We spent nearly a day with Richard Hill, Esq., the secretary of the
special magistrates' department, of whom we have already spoken. He is a
colored gentleman, and in every respect the noblest man, white or black,
whom we met in the West Indies. He is highly intelligent, and of fine
moral feelings. His manners are free and unassuming, and his language in
conversation fluent and well chosen. He is intimately acquainted with
English and French authors, and has studied thoroughly the history and
character of the people with whom the tie of color has connected him. He
travelled two years in Hayti, and his letters, written in a flowing and
luxuriant style, as a son of the tropics should write, giving an account
of his observations and inquiries in that interesting island, were
published extensively in England; and have been copied into the
anti-slavery journals in this country. His journal will be given to the
public as soon as his official duties will permit him to prepare it. He
is at the head of the special magistrates, (of which there are sixty in
the island,) and all the correspondence between them and the governor is
carried on through him. The station he holds is a very important one,
and the business connected with it is of a character and an extent that,
were he not a man of superior abilities, he could not sustain. He is
highly respected by the government in the island, and at home, and
possesses the esteem of his fellow-citizens of all colors. He associates
with persons of the highest rank, dining and attending parties at the
government-house with all the aristocracy of Jamaica. We had the
pleasure of spending an evening with him at the solicitor-general's.
Though an African sun has burnt a deep tinge on him, he is truly one of
nature's noblemen. His demeanor is such, so dignified, yet bland and
amiable, that no one can help respecting him.

He spoke in the warmest terms of Lord Sligo,[A] the predecessor of Sir
Lionel Smith, who was driven from the island by the machinations of the
planters and the enemies of the blacks. Lord Sligo was remarkable for
his statistical accuracy. Reports were made to him by the special
magistrates every week. No act of injustice or oppression could escape
his indefatigable inquiries. He was accessible, and lent an open ear to
the lowest person in the island. The planters left no means untried to
remove him, and unhappily succeeded.

[Footnote A: When Lord Sligo visited the United States in the summer of
1836, he spoke with great respect of Mr. Hill to Elizur Wright, Esq.,
Corresponding Secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Mr. Wright
has furnished us with the following statement:--"Just before his
lordship left this city for England, he bore testimony to us
substantially as follows:--'When I went to Jamaica, Mr. Hill was a
special magistrate. In a certain case he refused to comply with my
directions, differing from me in his interpretation of the law. I
informed him that his continued non-compliance must result in his
removal from office. He replied that his mind was made up as to the law,
and he would not violate his reason to save his bread. Being satisfied
of the correctness of my own interpretation, I was obliged, of course,
to remove him; but I was so forcibly struck with his manly independence,
that I applied to the government for power to employ him as my
secretary, which was granted. And having had him as an _intimate of my
family_ for several months, I can most cordially bear my testimony to
his trustworthiness, ability, and gentlemanly deportment.' Lord Sligo
also added, that Mr. Hill was treated in his family in all respects as
if he had not been colored, and that with no gentleman in the West
Indies was he, in social life, on terms of more intimate friendship."]

The following items contain the principal information received from Mr.

1. The apprenticeship is a most vicious system, full of blunders and
absurdities, and directly calculated to set master and slave at war.

2. The complaints against the apprentices are decreasing every month,
_except, perhaps, complaints against mothers for absence from work,
which he thinks are increasing_. The apprenticeship _law_ makes no
provision for the free children, and on most of the plantations and
estates no allowance is given them, but they are thrown entirely for
support on their parents, who are obliged to work the most and best part
of their time for their masters unrewarded. The nurseries are broken up,
and frequently the mothers are obliged to work in the fields with their
infants at their backs, or else to leave them at some distance under the
shade of a hedge or tree. Every year is making their condition worse and
worse. The number of children is increasing, and yet the mothers are
required, after their youngest child has attained the age of a few
weeks, to be at work the same number of hours as the men. Very little
time is given them to take care of their household. When they are tardy
they are brought before the magistrate.

A woman was brought before Mr. Hill a few days before we were there,
charged with not being in the field till one hour after the rest of the
gang. She had twins, and appeared before him with a child hanging on
each arm. What an eloquent defence! He dismissed the complaint.

He mentioned another case, of a woman whose master resided in
Spanishtown, but who was hired out by him to some person in the country.
Her child became sick, but her employer refused any assistance. With it
in her arms, she entreated aid of her master. The monster drove her and
her dying little one into the street at night, and she sought shelter
with Mr. Hill, where her child expired before morning. For such horrid
cruelty as this, the apprenticeship law provides no remedy. The woman
had no claim for the support of her child, on the man who was receiving
the wages of her daily toil. That child was not worth a farthing to him,
because it was no longer his _chattel_; and while the law gives him
power to rob the mother, it has no compulsion to make him support
the child.

3. The complaints are generally of the most trivial and frivolous
nature. They are mostly against mothers for neglect of duty, and vague
charges of insolence. There is no provision in the law to prevent the
master from using abusive language to the apprentice; any insult short
of a blow, he is free to commit; but the slightest word of incivility, a
look, smile, or grin, is punished in the apprentice, even though it
were provoked.

4. There is still much flogging by the overseers. Last week a girl came
to Mr. H. terribly scarred and "slashed," and complained that her master
had beaten her. It appeared that this was the _seventh offence_, for
neither of which she could obtain a hearing from the special magistrate
in her district. While Mr. H. was relating to me this fact, a girl came
in with a little babe in her arms. He called my attention to a large
bruise near her eye. He said her master knocked her down a few days
since, and made that wound by kicking her.

Frequently when complaints of insolence are made, on investigation, it
is found that the offence was the result of a quarrel commenced by the
master, during which he either cuffed or kicked the offender.

The special magistrates also frequently resort to flogging. Many of
them, as has been mentioned already, have been connected with the army
or navy, where corporal punishment is practised and flogging is not only
in consonance with their feelings and habits, but is a punishment more
briefly inflicted and more grateful to the planters, as it does not
deprive them of the apprentice's time.

5. Mr. H. says that the apprentices who have purchased their freedom
behave well. He has not known one of them to be brought before
the police.

6. Many of the special magistrates require much looking after. Their
salaries are not sufficient to support them independently. Some of them
leave their homes on Monday morning, and make the whole circuit of their
district before returning, living and lodging meanwhile, _free of
expense_, with the planters. If they are not inclined to listen to the
complaints of the apprentices, they soon find that the apprentices are
not inclined to make complaints to them, and that they consequently have
much more leisure time, and get through their district much easier. Of
the sixty magistrates in Jamaica, but few can be said to discharge their
duties faithfully. The governor is often required to interfere. A few
weeks since he discharged two magistrates for putting iron collars on
two women, in direct violation of the law, and then sending him
false reports.

7. The negro grounds are often at a great distance, five or six miles,
and some of them fifteen miles, from the plantation. Of course much
time, which would otherwise be spent in cultivating them, is necessarily
consumed in going to them and returning. Yet for all that, and though in
many cases the planters have withdrawn the watchmen who used to protect
them, and have left them entirely exposed to thieves and cattle, they
are generally well cultivated--on the whole, better than during slavery.
When there is inattention to them, it is caused either by some planters
hiring them during their own time, or because their master permits his
cattle to trespass on them, and the people feel an insecurity. When you
find a kind planter, in whom the apprentices have confidence, there you
will find beautiful gardens. In not a few instances, where the overseer
is particularly harsh and cruel, the negroes have thrown up their old
grounds, and taken new ones on other plantations, where the overseer is
better liked, or gone into the depths of the mountain forests, where no
human foot has been before them, and there cleared up small plats. This
was also done to some extent during slavery. Many of the people, against
whom the planters are declaiming as lazy and worthless, have rich
grounds of which those planters little dream.

8. There is no feeling of insecurity, either of life or property. One
may travel through the whole island without the least fear of violence.
If there is any danger, it is from the _emigrants_, who have been guilty
of several outrages. So far from the planters fearing violence from the
apprentices, when an assault or theft is committed, they refer it,
almost as a matter of course, to some one else. A few weeks ago one of
the island mails was robbed. As soon as it became known, it was at once
said, "Some of those villanous emigrants did it," and so indeed
it proved.

People in the country, in the midst of the mountains, where the whites
are few and isolated, sleep with their doors and windows open, without a
thought of being molested. In the towns there are no watchmen, and but a
small police, and yet the streets are quiet and property safe.

9. The apprentices understand the great provisions of the new system,
such as the number of hours they must work for their master, and that
their masters have no right to flog them, &c., but its details are
inexplicable mysteries. The masters have done much injury by deceiving
them on points of which they were ignorant.

10. The apprentices almost to a man are ready to work for wages during
their own time. When the overseer is severe towards them, they prefer
working on other plantations, even for less wages, as is very natural.

11. Almost all the evils of the apprenticeship arise from the obstinacy
and oppressive conduct of the overseers. They are constantly taking
advantage of the defects of the system, which are many, and while they
demand to the last grain's weight "the pound of flesh," they are utterly
unwilling to yield the requirements which the law makes of them. Where
you find an overseer endeavoring in every way to overreach the
apprentices, taking away the privileges which they enjoyed during
slavery, and exacting from them the utmost minute and mite of labor,
there you will find abundant complaints both against the master and the
apprentice. And the reverse. The cruel overseers are complaining of
idleness, insubordination, and ruin, while the kind master is moving on
peaceably and prosperously.

12. The domestic apprentices have either one day, or fifty cents cash,
each week, as an allowance for food and clothing. This is quite
insufficient. Many of the females seem obliged to resort to theft or to
prostitution to obtain a support. Two girls were brought before Mr. Hill
while we were with him, charged with neglect of duty and night-walking.
One of them said her allowance was too small, and she must get food in
some other way or starve.

13. The apprentices on many plantations have been deprived of several
privileges which they enjoyed under the old system. Nurseries have been
abolished, water-carriers have been taken away, keeping stock is
restricted, if not entirely forbidden, watchmen are no longer provided
to guard the negro grounds, &c.--petty aggressions in our eyes, perhaps,
but severe to them. Another instance is still more hard. By the custom
of slavery, women who had reared up seven children were permitted to
"sit down," as it was termed; that is, were not obliged to go into the
field to work. Now no such distinction is made, but all are driven into
the field.

14. One reason why the crops were smaller in 1835 and 1836 than in
former years, was, that the planters in the preceding seasons, either
fearful that the negroes would not take off the crops after
emancipation, and acting on their baseless predictions instead of facts,
or determined to make the results of emancipation appear as disastrous
as possible, neglected to put in the usual amount of cane, and to clean
the coffee fields. As they refused to sow, of course they could
not reap.

15. The complaints against the apprentices generally are becoming fewer
every week, but the complaints against the masters are increasing both
in number and severity. One reason of this is, that the apprentices, on
the one hand, are becoming better acquainted with the new system, and
therefore better able to avoid a violation of its provisions, and are
also learning that they cannot violate these provisions with impunity;
and, on the other hand, they are gaining courage to complain against
their masters, to whom they have hitherto been subjected by a fear
created by the whips and dungeons, and nameless tortures of slavery.
Another reason is, that the masters, as the term of the apprenticeship
shortens, and the end of their authority approaches nearer, are pressing
their poor victims harder and harder, determined to extort from them all
they can, before complete emancipation rescues them for ever from
their grasp.

While we were in conversation with Mr. Hill, Mr. Ramsay, one of the
special magistrates for this parish, called in. He is a native of
Jamaica, and has been educated under all the influences of West India
society, but has held fast his integrity, and is considered the firm
friend of the apprentices. He confirmed every fact and opinion which Mr.
Hill had given. He was even stronger than Mr. H. in his expressions of
disapprobation of the apprenticeship.

The day which we spent with Mr. Hill was one of those on which he holds
a special justice's court. There were only three cases of complaint
brought before him.

The first was brought by a woman, attended by her husband, against her
servant girl, for "impertinence and insubordination." She took the oath
and commenced her testimony with an abundance of vague charges. "She is
the most insolent girl I ever saw. She'll do nothing that she is told to
do--she never thinks of minding what is said to her--she is sulky and
saucy," etc. Mr. H. told her she must be specific--he could not convict
the girl on such general charges--some particular acts must be proved.

She became specific. Her charges were as follows:

1. On the previous Thursday the defendant was plaiting a shirt. The
complainant went up to her and asked her why she did not plait it as she
ought, and not hold it in her hand as she did. Defendant replied, that
it was easier, and she preferred that way to the other. The complainant
remonstrated, but, despite all she could say, the obstinate girl
persisted, and did it as she chose. The complainant granted that the
work was done well, only it was not done in the way she desired.

2. The same day she ordered the defendant to wipe up some tracks in the
hall. She did so. While she was doing it, the mistress told her the room
was very dusty, and reproved her for it. The girl replied, "Is it
morning?" (It is customary to clean the rooms early in the morning, and
the girl made this reply late in the afternoon, when sufficient time had
elapsed for the room to become dusty again.)

3. The girl did not wash a cloth clean which the complainant gave her,
and the complainant was obliged to wash it herself.

4. Several times when the complainant and her daughter have been
conversing together, this girl had burst into laughter--whether at them
or their conversation, complainant did not know.

5. When the complainant has reproved the defendant for not doing her
work well, she has replied, "Can't you let me alone to my work, and not
worry my life out."

A black man, a constable on the same property, was brought up to confirm
the charges. He knew nothing about the case, only that he often heard
the parties quarrelling, and sometimes had told the girl not to say any
thing, as she knew what her mistress was.

It appeared in the course of the evidence, that the complainant and her
husband had both been in the habit of speaking disrespectfully of the
special magistrate, stationed in their district, and that many of the
contentions arose out of that, as the girl sometimes defended him.

While the accused was making her defence, which she did in a modest way,
her mistress was highly enraged, and interrupted her several times, by
calling her a liar and a jade. The magistrate was two or three times
obliged to reprove her, and command her to be silent, and, so passionate
did she become, that her husband, ashamed of her, put his hand on her
shoulder, and entreated her to be calm.

Mr. Hill dismissed the complaint by giving some good advice to both
parties, much to the annoyance of the mistress.

The second complaint was brought by a man against a servant girl, for
disobedience of orders, and insolence. It appears that she was ordered,
at ten o'clock at night, to do some work. She was just leaving the house
to call on some friends, as she said, and refused. On being told by her
mistress that she only wanted to go out for bad purposes, she replied,
that "It was no matter--the allowance they gave her was not sufficient
to support her, and if they would not give her more, she must get a
living any way she could, so she did not steal." She was sentenced to
the house of correction for one week.

The third case was a complaint against a boy for taking every alternate
Friday and Saturday, instead of every Saturday, for allowance. He was
ordered to take every Saturday, or to receive in lieu of it half
a dollar.

Mr. Hill said these were a fair specimen of the character of the
complaints that came before him. We were much pleased with the manner in
which he presided in his court, the ease, dignity, and impartiality
which he exhibited, and the respect which was shown him by all parties.

In company with Mr. Hill, we called on Rev. Mr. Phillips, the Baptist
missionary, stationed at Spanishtown. Mr. P. has been in the island
thirteen years. He regards the apprenticeship as a great amelioration of
the old system of slavery, but as coming far short of the full
privileges and rights of freedom, and of what it was expected to be. It
is beneficial to the missionaries, as it gives them access to the
plantations, while before, in many instances, they were entirely
excluded from them, and in all cases were much shackled in their

Mr. P. has enlarged his chapel within the last fifteen months, so that
it admits several hundreds more than formerly. But it is now too small.
The apprentices are much more anxious to receive religious instruction,
and much more open to conviction, than when slaves. He finds a great
difference now on different plantations. Where severity is used, as it
still is on many estates, and the new system is moulded as nearly as
possible on the old, the minds of the apprentices are apparently closed
against all impressions,--but where they are treated with kindness, they
are warm in their affections, and solicitous to be taught.

In connection with his church, Mr. P. has charge of a large school. The
number present, when we visited it, was about two hundred. There was, to
say the least, as much manifestation of intellect and sprightliness as
we ever saw in white pupils of the same age. Most of the children were
slaves previous to 1834, and their parents are still apprentices.
Several were pointed out to us who were not yet free, and attend only by
permission, sometimes purchased, of their master. The greater part live
from three to five miles distant. Mr. P. says he finds no lack of
interest among the apprentices about education. He can find scholars for
as many schools as he can establish, if he keeps himself unconnected
with the planters. The apprentices are opposed to all schools
established by, or in any way allied to, their masters.

Mr. P. says the planters are doing nothing to prepare the apprentices
for freedom in 1840. They do not regard the apprenticeship as
intermediate time for preparation, but as part of the _compensation_.
Every day is counted, not as worth so much for education and moral
instruction, but as worth so much for digging cane-holes, and clearing
coffee fields.

Mr. P.'s church escaped destruction during the persecution of the
Baptists. The wives and connections of many of the colored soldiers had
taken refuge in it, and had given out word that they would defend it
even against their own husbands and brothers, who in turn informed their
officers that if ordered to destroy it, they should refuse at all peril.



The actual working of the apprenticeship in Jamaica, was the specific
object of our investigations in that island. That it had not operated so
happily as in Barbadoes, and in most of the other colonies, was admitted
by all parties. As to the _degree_ of its failure, we were satisfied it
was not so great as had been represented. There has been nothing of an
_insurrectionary_ character since the abolition of slavery. The affair
on Thornton's estate, of which an account is given in the preceding
chapter, is the most serious disturbance which has occurred during the
apprenticeship. The _fear_ of insurrection is as effectually dead in
Jamaica, as in Barbadoes--so long as the apprenticeship lasts. There has
been no _increase of crime_. The character of the negro population has
been gradually improving in morals and intelligence. Marriage has
increased, the Sabbath is more generally observed, and religious worship
is better attended. Again, the apprentices of Jamaica have not
manifested any peculiar _defiance of law_. The most illiberal
magistrates testified that the people respected the law, when they
understood it. As it respects the _industry_ of the apprentices, there
are different opinions among the _planters_ themselves. Some admitted
that they were as industrious as before, and did as much work _in
proportion to the time they were employed_. Others complained that they
_lacked the power_ to compel industry, and that hence there was a
falling off of work. The prominent evils complained of in Jamaica are,
absconding from work, and insolence to masters. From the statements in
the preceding chapter, it may be inferred that many things are called by
these names, and severely punished, which are really innocent or
unavoidable; however, it would not be wonderful if there were numerous
instances of both. Insolence is the legitimate fruit of the
apprenticeship, which holds out to the apprentice, that he possesses the
rights of a man, and still authorizes the master to treat him as though
he were little better than a dog. The result must often be that the
apprentice will repay insult with insolence. This will continue to exist
until either the former system of _absolute force_ is restored, or a
system of free compensated labor, with its powerful checks and balances
on both parties, is substituted. The prevalence and causes of the other
offence--absconding from labor--will be noticed hereafter.

The atrocities which are practised by the masters and magistrates, are
appalling enough. It is probable that the actual condition of the
negroes in Jamaica, is but little if any better than it was during
slavery. The amount of punishment inflicted by the special magistrates,
cannot fall much short of that usually perpetrated by the drivers. In
addition to this, the apprentices are robbed of the _time_ allowed them
by law, at the will of the magistrate, who often deprives them of it on
the slightest complaint of the overseer. The situation of the _free
children_[A] is often very deplorable. The master feels none of that
interest in them which he formerly felt in the children that were his
property, and consequently, makes no provision for them. They are thrown
entirely upon their parents, who are _unable_ to take proper care of
them, from the almost constant demands which the master makes upon their
time. The condition of pregnant women, and nursing mothers, is
_decidedly worse_ than it was during slavery. The privileges which the
planter felt it for his interest to grant these formerly, for _the sake
of their children_, are now withheld. The former are exposed to the
inclemencies of the weather, and the hardships of toil--the latter are
cruelly dragged away from their infants, that the master may not lose
the smallest portion of time,--and _both_ are liable at any moment to be
incarcerated in the dungeon, or strung up on the treadwheel. In
consequence of the cruelties which are practised, the apprentices are in
a _disaffected state_ throughout the island.

[Footnote A: All children under _six years_ of age at the time of
abolition, were made entirely free.]

In assigning the causes of the ill-working of the apprenticeship in
Jamaica, we would say in the commencement, that nearly all of them are
embodied in the intrinsic defects of the system itself. These defects
have been exposed in a former chapter, and we need not repeat them here.
The reason why the system has not produced as much mischief in all the
colonies as it has in Jamaica, is that the local circumstances in the
other islands were not so adapted to develop its legitimate results.

It is not without the most careful investigation of facts, that we have
allowed ourselves to entertain the views which we are now about to
express, respecting the conduct of the planters and special
justices--for it is to _them_ that we must ascribe the evils which exist
in Jamaica. We cheerfully accede to them all of palliation which may be
found in the provocations incident to the wretched system of

The causes of the difficulties rest chiefly with the _planters_. They
were _originally_ implicated, and by their wily schemes they soon
involved the special magistrates. The Jamaica planters, as a body,
always violently opposed the abolition of slavery. Unlike the planters
in most of the colonies, they cherished their hostility _after the act
of abolition_. It would seem that they had agreed with one accord, never
to become reconciled to the measures of the English government, and had
sworn eternal hostility to every scheme of emancipation. Whether this
resulted most from love for slavery or hatred of English interference,
it is difficult to determine. If we were to believe the planters
themselves, who are of the opposition, we should conclude that they were
far from being in favor of slavery--that they were "as much opposed to
slavery, as any one can be[A]." Notwithstanding this avowal, the
tenacity with which the planters cling to the remnant of their power,
shows an affection for it, of the strength of which they are not
probably themselves aware.

[Footnote A: It seems to be the order of the day, with the opposition
party in Jamaica, to disclaim all friendship with slavery. We noticed
several instances of this in the island papers, which have been most
hostile to abolition. We quote the following sample from the Royal
Gazette, (Kingston) for May 6, 1837. The editor, in an article
respecting Cuba, says:

"In writing this, one chief object is to arouse the attention of our
own fellow-subjects, in this colony, to the situation--the dangerous
situation--in which they stand, and to implore them to lend all
their energies to avert the ruin that is likely to visit them,
should America get the domination of Cuba.

The negroes of this and of all the British W.I. colonies have been
'_emancipated_.' Cuba on the other hand is still a _slave country_.
(Let not our readers imagine for one moment that we advocate the
_continuance of slavery_,") &c.

When public men have endeavored to be faithful and upright, they have
uniformly been abused, and even persecuted, by the planters. The
following facts will show that the latter have not scrupled to resort to
the most dishonest and unmanly intrigues to effect the removal or to
circumvent the influence of such men. Neglect, ridicule, vulgar abuse,
slander, threats, intimidation, misrepresentation, and legal
prosecutions, have been the mildest weapons employed against those who
in the discharge of their sworn duties dared to befriend the oppressed.

The shameful treatment of the late governor, Lord Sligo, illustrates
this. His Lordship was appointed to the government about the period of
abolition. Being himself a proprietor of estates in the island, and
formerly chairman of the West India Body, he was received at first with
the greatest cordiality; but it was soon perceived that he was disposed
to secure justice to the apprentices. From the accounts we received, we
have been led to entertain an exalted opinion of his integrity and
friendship for the poor. It was his custom (unprecedented in the West
Indies,) to give a patient hearing to the poorest negro who might carry
his grievances to the government-house. After hearing the complaint, he
would despatch an order to the special magistrate of the district in
which the complainant lived, directing him to inquire into the case. By
this means he kept the magistrates employed, and secured redress to the
apprentices to many cases where they would otherwise have bean

The governor soon rendered himself exceedingly obnoxious to the
planters, and they began to manoeuvre for his removal, which, in a short
time, was effected by a most flagitious procedure. The home government,
disposed to humor their unruly colony, sent them a governor in whom they
are not likely to find any fault. The present governor, Sir Lionel
Smith, is the antipode of his predecessor in every worthy respect. When
the apprentices come to him with their complaints, he sends them back
unheard, with curses on their heads. A distinguished gentleman in the
colony remarked of him that he _was a heartless military chieftain, who
ruled without regard to mercy_. Of course the planters are full of his
praise. His late tour of the island was a _triumphal procession_, amid
the sycophantic greetings of oppressors.

Several special magistrates have been suspended because of the faithful
discharge of their duties. Among these was Dr. Palmer, an independent
and courageous man. Repeated complaints were urged against him by the
planters, until finally Sir Lionel Smith appointed a commission to
inquire into the grounds of the difficulty.

"This commission consisted of two local magistrates, both of them
planters or managers of estates, and two stipendiary magistrates, the
bias of one of whom, at least, was believed to be against Dr. Palmer. At
the conclusion of their inquiry they summed up their report by saying
that Dr. Palmer had administered the abolition law in the spirit of the
English abolition act, and in his administration of the law he had
adapted it more to the comprehension of freemen than to the
understandings of apprenticed laborers. Not only did Sir Lionel Smith
suspend Dr. Palmer on this report, but the colonial office at home have
dismissed him from his situation."

The following facts respecting the persecution of Special Justice
Bourne, illustrate the same thing.

"A book-keeper of the name of Maclean, on the estate of the Rev. M.
Hamilton, an Irish clergyman, committed a brutal assault upon an old
African. The attorney on the property refused to hear the complaint
of the negro, who went to Stephen Bourne, a special magistrate. When
Maclean was brought before him, he did not deny the fact; but said
as the old man was not a Christian, his oath could not be taken! The
magistrate not being able to ascertain the amount of injury
inflicted upon the negro (whose head was dreadfully cut,) but
feeling that it was a case which required a greater penalty than
three pounds sterling, the amount of punishment to which he was
limited by the local acts, detained Maclean, and afterwards
committed him to jail, and wrote the next day to the chief justice
upon the subject. He was discharged as soon as a doctor's
certificate was procured of the state of the wounded man, and bail
was given for his appearance at the assizes. Maclean's trial came on
at the assizes, and he was found guilty by a Jamaica Jury; he was
severely reprimanded for his inhuman conduct and fined thirty
pounds. The poor apprentice however got no remuneration for the
severe injury inflicted upon him, and the special justice was
prosecuted for false imprisonment, dragged from court to court,
represented as an oppressor and a tyrant, subjected to four hundred
pounds expenses in defending himself, and actually had judgment
given against him for one hundred and fifty pounds damages.

Thus have the planters succeeded in pulling down every magistrate
who ventures to do more than fine them three pounds sterling for any
act of cruelty of which they may be guilty. On the other hand, there
were two magistrates who were lately dismissed, through, I believe,
the representation of Lord Sligo, for flagrant violations of the law
in inflicting punishment; and in order to evince their sympathy for
those men, the planters gave them a farewell dinner, and had
actually set on foot a subscription, as a tribute of gratitude for
their "Impartial" conduct in administering the laws, as special
justices. Thus were two men, notoriously guilty of violations of law
and humanity, publicly encouraged and protected, while Stephen
Bourne, who according to the testimony of the present and late
attorney-general had acted not only justly but _legally_, was
suffering every species of persecution and indignity for so doing."

Probably nothing could demonstrate the meanness of the artifices to
which the planters resort to get rid of troublesome magistrates better
than the following fact. When the present governor, in making his tour
of the island, came into St. Thomas in the East, some of the planters of
Manchioneal district hired a negro constable on one of the estates to go
to the governor and complain to him that Mr. Chamberlain encouraged the
apprentices to be disorderly and idle. The negro went accordingly, but
like another Balaam, he prophesied _against his employers_. He stated to
the governor that the apprentices on the estate where he lived were lazy
and wouldn't do right, _but he declared that it was not Mr. C.'s fault,
for that he was not allowed to come on the estate!_

Having given such an unfavorable description of the mass of planters, it
is but just to add that there are a few honorable exceptions. There are
some attorneys and overseers, who if they dared to face the allied
powers of oppression, would act a noble part. But they are trammelled by
an overpowering public sentiment, and are induced to fall in very much
with the prevailing practices. One of this class, an attorney of
considerable influence, declined giving us his views in writing, stating
that his situation and the state of public sentiment must be his
apology. An overseer who was disposed to manifest the most liberal
bearing towards his apprentices, and who had directions from the
absentee proprietor to that effect, was yet effectually prevented by his
attorney, who having several other estates under his charge, was fearful
of losing them, if he did not maintain the same severe discipline
on all.

The special magistrates are also deeply implicated in causing the
difficulties existing under the apprenticeship. They are incessantly
exposed to multiplied and powerful temptations. The persecution which
they are sure to incur by a faithful discharge of their duties, has
already been noticed. It would require men of unusual sternness of
principle to face so fierce an array. Instead of being _independent_ of
the planters, their situation is in every respect totally the reverse.
Instead of having a central office or station-house to hold their courts
at, as is the case in Barbadoes, they are required to visit each estate
in their districts. They have a circuit from forty to sixty miles to
compass every fortnight, or in some cases three times every month. On
these tours they are absolutely dependent upon the hospitality of the
planters. None but men of the "sterner stuff" could escape, (to use the
negro's phrase) _being poisoned by massa's turtle soup._ The _character_
of the men who are acting as magistrates is thus described by a colonial
magistrate of high standing and experience.

"The special magistracy department is filled with the most worthless
men, both domestic and imported. It was a necessary qualification of the
former to possess no property; hence the most worthless vagabonds on the
island were appointed. The latter were worn out officers and dissipated
rakes, whom the English government sent off here in order to get rid of
them." As a specimen of the latter kind, this gentleman mentioned one
(special Justice Light) who died lately from excessive dissipation. He
was constantly drunk, and the only way in which to get him to do any
business was to take him on to an estate in the evening so that he might
sleep off his intoxication, and then the business was brought before him
early the next morning, before he had time to get to his cups.

It is well known that many of the special magistrates are totally
unprincipled men, monsters of cruelty, lust, and despotism. As a result
of natural character in many cases, and of dependence upon planters in
many more, the great mass of the special justices are a disgrace to
their office, and to the government which commissioned them. Out of
sixty, the number of special justices in Jamaica, there are not more
than fifteen, or twenty at farthest, who are not the merest tools of the
attorneys and overseers. Their servility was graphically hit off by the
apprentice. "If busha say flog em, he flog em; if busha say send them to
the treadmill, he send em." If an apprentice laughs or sings, and the
busha represents it to the magistrate as insolence, he _feels it his
duty_ to make an example of the offender!

The following fact will illustrate the injustice of the magistrates. It
was stated in writing by a missionary. We conceal all names, in
compliance with the request of the writer. "An apprentice belonging to
---- in the ---- was sent to the treadmill by special justice G. He was
ordered to go out and count the sheep, as he was able to count higher
than some of the field people, although a house servant from his
youth--I may say childhood. Instead of bringing in the tally cut upon a
piece of board, as usual, he wrote the number eighty upon a piece of
paper. When the overseer saw it, he would scarcely believe that any of
his people could write, and ordered a piece of coal to be brought and
made him write it over again; the next day he turned him into the field,
but unable to perform the task (to hoe and weed one hundred coffee roots
daily) with those who had been accustomed to field work all their lives,
he was tried for neglect of duty, and sentenced to fourteen days on the

We quote the following heart-rending account from the Telegraph,
(Spanishtown,) April 28, 1837. It is from a Baptist missionary.

"I see something is doing in England to shorten the apprenticeship
system. I pray God it may soon follow its predecessor--slavery, for
it is indeed slavery under a less disgusting name. Business lately
(December 23) called me to Rodney Hall; and while I was there, a
poor old negro was brought in for punishment. I heard the fearful
vociferation, 'twenty stripes.' 'Very well; here ----, put this man
down.' I felt as I cannot describe; yet I thought, as the supervisor
was disposed to be civil, my presence might tend to make the
punishment less severe than it usually is--but I was disappointed. I
inquired into the crime for which such an old man could be so
severely punished, and heard various accounts. I wrote to the
magistrate who sentenced him to receive it; and after many days I
got the following reply."

"_Logan Castle, Jan. 9, 1836._

Sir--In answer to your note of the 4th instant, I beg leave to
state, that ---- ----, an apprentice belonging to ---- ----, was
brought before me by Mr. ----, his late overseer, charged upon oath
with continual neglect of duty and disobedience of orders as
cattle-man, and also for stealing milk--was convicted, and sentenced
to receive twenty stripes. So far from the punishment of the
offender being severe, he was not ordered one half the number of
stripes provided for such cases by the abolition act--if he received
more than that number, or if those were inflicted with undue
severity, I shall feel happy in making every inquiry amongst the
authorities at Rodney Hall institution.

I remain, sir, yours, truly,


'Rev. J. Clarke, &c., &c.'

From Mr. Clarke's reply, we make the following extract:

"_Jericho, January 19, 1836._

Sir--I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 9th

Respecting the punishment of ---- ----, I still adhere to the
opinion I before expressed, that, for an old man of about sixty
years of age, the punishment was severe. To see a venerable old man
tied as if to be broken on the wheel, and cut to the bone by the
lash of an athletic driver--writhing and yelling under the most
exquisite torture, were certainly circumstances sufficiently strong
to touch the heart of any one possessed of the smallest degree of
common humanity. The usual preparations being made, the old man
quietly stripped off his upper garments, and lay down upon the
board--he was then tied by his legs, middle, above the elbows, and
at each wrist. Mr. ---- then called out to the driver, 'I hope you
will do your duty--he is not sent here for nothing.' At the first
lash the skin started up; and at the third, the blood began to flow;
ere the driver had given ten, the cat was covered with gore; and he
stopped to change it for a dry one, which appeared to me somewhat
longer than the first. When the poor tortured creature had received
sixteen, his violent struggles enabled him to get one of his hands
loose, which he put instantly to his back--the driver stopped to
retie him, and then proceeded to give the remaining four. The
struggles of the poor old man from the first lash bespoke the most
extreme torture; and his cries were to me most distressing. 'Oh! oh!
mercy! mercy! mercy! oh! massa! massa! dat enough--enough! oh,
enough! O, massa, have pity! O, massa! massa! dat enough--enough!
Oh, never do de like again--only pity me--forgive me dis once! oh!
pity! mercy! mercy! oh! oh!' were the cries he perpetually uttered.
I shall remember them while I live; and would not for ten thousand
worlds have been the cause of producing them. It was some minutes
after he was loosed ere he could rise to his feet, and as he
attempted to rise, he continued calling out, 'My back! oh! my back!
my back is broken.' A long time he remained half-doubled, the blood
flowing round his body; 'I serve my master,' said the aged sufferer,
'at all times; get no Saturday, no Sunday; yet this is de way
dem use me.'

With such planters, and such magistrates to play into their hands,
is it to be wondered at that the apprentices do badly? Enough has
been said, we think, to satisfy any candid person as to the _causes
of the evils in Jamaica_. If any thing further were needed, we might
speak of the peculiar facilities which these men have for
perpetrating acts of cruelty and injustice. The major part of the
island is exceedingly mountainous, and a large portion of the sugar
estates, and most of the coffee plantations, are among the
mountains. These estates are scattered over a wide extent of
country, and separated by dense forests and mountains, which conceal
each plantation from the public view almost as effectually as though
it were the only property on the island. The only mode of access to
many of the estates in the mountainous districts, is by mule paths
winding about, amid fastnesses, precipices, and frightful solitudes.
In those lone retirements, on the mountain top, or in the deep glen
by the side of the rocky rivers, the traveller occasionally meets
with an estate. Strangers but rarely intrude upon those little
domains. They are left to the solitary sway of the overseers
dwelling amid their "gangs," and undisturbed, save by the weekly
visitations of the special magistrates. While the traveller is
struck with the facilities for the perpetration of those enormities
which must have existed there during slavery; he is painfully
impressed also with the numerous opportunities which are still
afforded for oppressing the apprentices, particularly where the
special magistrates are not honest men.[A]

[Footnote A: From the nature of the case, it must be impossible to know
how much actual flogging is perpetrated by the overseers. We might
safely conjecture that there must be a vast deal of it that never comes
to the light. Such is the decided belief of many of the first men in the
island. The planters, say they, flog their apprentices, and then, to
prevent their complaining to the magistrate, threaten them with severe
punishment, or bribe them to silence by giving them a few shillings. The
attorney-general mentioned an instance of the latter policy. A planter
got angry with one of his head men, who was a constable, and knocked him
down. The man started off to complain to the special magistrate. The
master called him back, and told him he need not go to the
magistrate--that he was constable, and had a right to fine him himself.
"Well, massa," said the negro, "I fine you five shillings on de spot."
The master was glad to get off with that--the magistrate would probably
have fined him L5 currency.]

In view of the local situation of Jamaica--the violent character of
its planters--and the inevitable dependency of the magistrates, it
is very manifest _that immediate emancipation was imperatively
demanded there_. In no other colony did the negroes require to be
more _entirely released from the tyranny of the overseers, or more
thoroughly shielded by the power of equal law_. This is a principle
which must hold good always--that where slavery has been most
rigorous and absolute, there emancipation, needs to be most
unqualified; and where the sway of the master has been _most
despotic, cruel, and_ LONG CONTINUED, there the protection of law
should be most SPEEDILY _extended and most impartially applied_."[B]

[Footnote B: Since the above was written we have seen a copy of a
message sent by Sir Lionel Smith, to the house of assembly of Jamaica,
on the 3d November, 1837, in which a statement of the deprivations of
the apprentices, is officially laid before the house. We make the
following extract from it, which contains, to use his Excellency's
language, "the principal causes, as has been found by the records of the
special magistrates, of complaints among the apprentices; and of
consequent collisions between the planters and magistrates."

"Prudent and humane planters have already adopted what is
recommended, and their properties present the good working of this
system in peace and industry, without their resorting to the
authority of the special magistrates; but there are other properties
where neither the law of the apprenticeship nor the usages of
slavery have been found sufficient to guard the rights of the

First, the magistrates' reports show that on some estates the
apprentices have been deprived of cooks and water-carriers while at
work in the field--thus, the time allowed for breakfast, instead of
being a period of rest, is one of continual labor, as they have to
seek for fuel and to cook. The depriving them of water-carriers is
still more injurious, as the workmen are not allowed to quit their
rows to obtain it. Both these privations are detrimental to the
planter's work. Second, a law seems wanting to supply the estates'
hospitals with sufficient attendants on the sick apprentices, as
well as for the supply of proper food, as they cannot depend on
their own grounds, whilst unable to leave the hospitals. The first
clause of the abolition law has not been found strong enough to
secure these necessary attentions to the sick. Third, in regard to
jobbers, more exposed to hardships than any other class. A law is
greatly required allowing them the distance they may have to walk to
their work, at the rate of three miles an hour, and for compelling
the parties hiring them to supply them with salt food and meal;
their grounds are oftentimes so many miles distant, it is impossible
for them to supply themselves. Hence constant complaints and
irregularities. Fourth, that mothers of six children and upwards,
pregnant women, and the aged of both sexes, would be greatly
benefited by a law enforcing the kind treatment which they received
in slavery, but which is now considered optional, or is altogether
avoided on many properties. Fifth, nothing would tend more to effect
general contentment and repress the evils of comparative treatment,
than the issue of fish as a right by law. It was an indulgence in
slavery seldom denied, but on many properties is now withheld, or
given for extra labor instead of wages. Sixth, his Excellency during
the last sessions had the honor to address a message to the house
for a stronger definition of working time. The clause of the act in
aid expressed that it was the intention of the legislature to
regulate 'uniformity' of labor, but in practice there is still a
great diversity of system. The legal adviser of the crown considers
the clause active and binding; the special magistrate cannot,
therefore, adjudicate on disputes of labor under the eight hour
system, and the consequences have been continual complaints and
bickerings between the magistrates and managers, and discontent
among the apprentices by comparison of the advantages which one
system presents over the other. Seventh, if your honorable house
would adopt some equitable fixed principle for the value of
apprentices desirous of purchasing their discharge, either by
ascertained rates of weekly labor, or by fixed sums according to
their trade or occupation, which should not be exceeded, and
allowing the deduction of one third from the extreme value for the
contingencies of maintenance, clothing, medical aid, risk of life,
and health, it would greatly tend to set at rest one cause of
constant disappointment. In proportion as the term of apprenticeship
INCREASED. It is in the hope that the honorable house will be
disposed to enforce a more general system of equal treatment, that
his Excellency now circumstantially represents what have been the
most common causes of complaint among the apprentices, and why the
island is subject to the reproach that the negroes, in some
respects, are now in a worse condition than they were in slavery."

We heard frequent complaints in Jamaica respecting the falling off of
the crops since abolition. In order that the reader may know the extent
of the failure in the aggregate island crops, we have inserted in the
appendix a table showing the "exports for fifty-three years, ending 31st
December, 1836, condensed from the journals of the House."

By the disaffected planters, the diminished crops were hailed as "an
evident token of perdition." They had foretold that abolition would be
the ruin of cultivation, they had maintained that sugar, coffee, rum,
&c., could not be produced extensively without the _whip of slavery_,
and now they exultingly point to the short crops and say, "See the
results of abolition!" We say exultingly, for a portion of the planters
do really seem to rejoice in any indication of ruin. Having staked their
reputation as prophets against their credit as colonists and their
interests as men, they seem happy in the establishment of the former,
even though it be by the sacrifice of the latter. Said an intelligent
gentleman in St. Thomas in the East, "The planters have _set their
hearts upon_ ruin, and they will be sorely disappointed if it should
not come."

Hearing so much said concerning the diminution of the crops, we spared
no pains to ascertain the _true causes_. We satisfied ourselves that the
causes were mainly two.

First. The prevailing impression that the negroes would not _work well_
after the abolition of slavery, led many planters to throw a part of
their land out of cultivation, in 1834. This is a fact which was
published by Lord Sligo, in an official account which he gave shortly
before leaving Jamaica, of the working of the apprenticeship. The
overseer of Belvidere estate declared that he knew of many cases in
which part of the land usually planted in canes was thrown up, owing to
the general expectation that _much less work_ would be done after
abolition. He also mentioned one attorney _who ordered all the estates
under his charge to be thrown out of cultivation_ in 1834, so confident
was he that the negroes would not work. The name of this attorney was
White. Mr. Gordon, of Williamsfield, stated, that the quantity of land
planted in cane, in 1834, was considerably less than the usual amount:
on some estates it was less by twenty, and on others by forty acres. Now
if such were the fact in the Parish of St. Thomas in the East, where
greater confidence was felt probably than in any other parish, we have a
clue by which we may conjecture (if indeed we were left to conjecture)
to what extent the cultivation was diminished in the island generally.
This of itself would satisfactorily account for the falling off in the
crops--which at most is not above one third. Nor would this explain the
decrease in '34 _only_, for it is well known among sugar planters that a
neglect of planting, either total or partial, for one year, will affect
the crops for two or three successive years.

The other cause of short crops has been the _diminished amount of time
for labor_. One fourth of the time now belongs to the laborers, and they
often prefer to employ it in cultivating their provision grounds and
carrying their produce to market. Thus the estate cultivation is
necessarily impeded. This cause operates very extensively, particularly
on two classes of estates: those which lie convenient to market places,
where the apprentices have strong inducements to cultivate their
grounds, and those (more numerous still) which _have harsh overseers_,
to whom the apprentices are averse to hire their time--in which cases
they will choose to work for neighboring planters, who are better men.
We should not omit to add here, that owing to a singular fact, the
falling off of the crops _appears_ greater than it really has been. We
learned from the most credible sources that _the size of the hogsheads_
had been considerably enlarged since abolition. Formerly they contained,
on an average, eighteen hundred weight, now they vary from a ton to
twenty-two hundred! As the crops are estimated by the number of
hogsheads, this will make a material difference. There were two reasons
for enlarging in the hogsheads,--one was, to lessen the amount of
certain port charges in exportation, which were made _by the hogshead_;
the other, and perhaps the principal, was to create some foundation in
appearance for the complaint that the crops had failed because of

While we feel fully warranted in stating these as the chief causes of
the diminished crops, we are at the same time disposed to admit that the
apprenticeship is in itself exceedingly ill calculated either to
encourage or to compel industry. We must confess that we have no special
zeal to vindicate this system from its full share of blame; but we are
rather inclined to award to it every jot and tittle of the dishonored
instrumentality which it has had in working mischief to the colony.
However, in all candor, we must say, that we can scarcely check the
risings of exultation when we perceive that this party-fangled
measure--this offspring of old Slavery in her dying throes, _which was
expressly designed as a compensation to the proprietor_, HAS ACTUALLY
legislation which is based on _iniquity and robbery!_

But the subject which excites the deepest interest in Jamaica _is the
probable consequences of entire emancipation in 1840_. The most common
opinion among the prognosticators of evil is, that the emancipated
negroes will abandon the cultivation of all the staple products, retire
to the woods, and live in a state of semi-barbarism; and as a
consequence, the splendid sugar and coffee estates must be "thrown up,"
and the beautiful and fertile island of Jamaica become a waste howling

The _reasons_ for this opinion consist in part of naked assumptions, and
in part of inferences from _supposed_ facts. The assumed reasons are
such as these. The negroes will not cultivate the cane _without the
whip_. How is this known? Simply because _they never have_, to any great
extent, in Jamaica. Such, it has been shown, was the opinion formerly in
Barbadoes, but it has been forever exploded there by experiment. Again,
the negroes are _naturally improvident_, and will never have enough
foresight to work steadily. What is the evidence of _natural_
improvidence in the negroes? Barely this--their carelessness in a state
of slavery. But that furnishes no ground at all for judging of _natural_
character, or of the developments of character under a _totally
different system_. If it testifies any thing, it is only this, that the
natural disposition of the negroes is not always _proof_ against the
degenerating influences of slavery.[A] Again, the actual wants of the
negroes are very few and easily supplied, and they will undoubtedly
prefer going into the woods where they can live almost without labor, to
toiling in the hot cane fields or climbing the coffee mountains. But
they who urge this, lose sight of the fact that the negroes are
considerably civilized, and that, like other civilized people, they will
seek for more than supply for the necessities of the rudest state of
nature. Their wants are already many, even in the degraded condition of
slaves; is it probable that they will be satisfied with _fewer of the
comforts and luxuries of civilized life_, when they are elevated to the
sphere, and feel the self-respect and dignity of freemen? But let us
notice some of the reasons which profess to be _founded on fact_. They
may all be resolved into two, _the laziness of negroes, and their
tendency to barbarism_.

[Footnote A: Probably in more instances than the one recorded in the
foregoing chapter, the improvidence of the negroes is inferred from
their otherwise unaccountable preference in walking six or ten miles to
chapel, rather than to work for a maccaroni a day.]

i. They _now_ refuse to work on Saturdays, even with wages. On this
assertion we have several remarks to make.

1.) It is true only to a partial extent. The apprentices on many
estates--whether a majority or not it is impossible to say--do work for
their masters on Saturdays, when their services are called for.

2.) They often refuse to work on the estates, because they can earn
three or four times as much by cultivating their provision grounds and
carrying their produce to market. The ordinary day's wages on an estate
is a quarter of a dollar, and where the apprentices are conveniently
situated to market, they can make from seventy-five cents to a dollar a
day with their provisions.

3.) The overseers are often such overbearing and detestable men, that
the apprentices doubtless feel it a great relief to be freed from their
command on Saturday, after submitting to it compulsorily for five days
of the week.

2. Another fact from which the laziness of the negroes is inferred, is
their _neglecting their provision grounds_. It is said that they have
fallen off greatly to their attention to their grounds, since the
abolition of slavery. This fact does not comport very well with the
complaint, that the apprentices cultivate their provision grounds to the
neglect of the estates. But both assertions may be true under opposite
circumstances. On those estates which are situated near the market,
provisions will be cultivated; on those which are remote from the
market, provisions will of course be partially neglected, and it will be
more profitable to the apprentices to work on the estates at a quarter
of a dollar per day, raising only enough provisions for their own use.
But we ascertained another circumstance which throws light on this
point. The negroes expect, after emancipation, to _lose their provision
grounds_; many expect certainly to be turned off by their masters, and
many who have harsh masters, intend to leave, and seek homes on other
estates, and _all_ feel a great uncertainty about their situation after
1840; and consequently they can have but little encouragement to
vigorous and extended cultivation of their grounds. Besides this, there
are very many cases in which the apprentices of one estate cultivate
provision grounds on another estate, where the manager is a man in whom
they have more confidence than they have in their own "busha." They, of
course, in such cases, abandon their former grounds, and consequently
are charged with neglecting them through laziness.

3. Another alleged fact is, that _actually less work_ is done now than
was done during slavery. The argument founded on this fact is this:
there is less work done under the apprenticeship than was done during
slavery: therefore _no work at all_ will be done after entire freedom!
But the apprenticeship allows _one fourth less time_ for labor than
slavery did, and presents no inducement, either compulsory or
persuasive, to continued industry. Will it be replied that emancipation
will take away _all_ the time from labor, and offer no encouragement
_but to idleness_? How is it now? Do the apprentices work better or
worse during their own time when they are paid? Better, unquestionably.
What does this prove? That freedom will supply both the time and the
inducement to the most vigorous industry.

The _other reason_ for believing that the negroes will abandon
estate-labor after entire emancipation, is their _strong tendency to
barbarism!_ And what are the facts in proof of this? We know but one.

We heard it said repeatedly that the apprentices were not willing to
have their free children educated--that they had pertinaciously declined
every offer of the _bushas_ to educate their children, and _this_, it
was alleged, evinced a determination on the part of the negroes to
perpetuate ignorance and barbarism among their posterity. We heard from
no less than four persons of distinction in St. Thomas in the East, the
following curious fact. It was stated each time for the double purpose
of proving that the apprentices did not wish to have their children
_learn to work_, and that they were opposed to their _receiving
education_. A company of the first-gentlemen of that parish, consisting
of the rector of the parish, the custos, the special magistrate, an
attorney, and member of the assembly, etc., had mustered in imposing
array, and proceeded to one of the large estates in the Plantain Garden
River Valley, and there having called the apprentices together, made the
following proposals to them respecting their free children, the rector
acting as spokesman. The attorney would provide a teacher for the
estate, and would give the children four hours' instruction daily, if
the parents would _bind them to work_ four hours every day; the attorney
further offered to pay for all medical attendance the children should
require. The apprentices, after due deliberation among themselves,
unanimously declined this proposition. It was repeatedly urged upon
them, and the advantages it promised were held up to them; but they
persisted in declining it wholly. This was a great marvel to the
planters; and they could not account for it in any other way than by
supposing that the apprentices were opposed both to labor and education,
and were determined that their free children should grow up in ignorance
and indolence! Now the true reason why the apprentices rejected this
proposal was, _because it came from the planters_, in whom they have no
confidence. They suspected that some evil scheme was hid under the fair
pretence of benevolence; the design of the planters, as they firmly
believed, was to get their _free children bound to them_, so that they
might continue to keep them in a species of apprenticeship. This was
stated to us, as the real ground of the rejection, by several
missionaries, who gave the best evidence that it was so; viz. that at
the same time that the apprentices declined the offer, they would send
their free children _six or eight miles to a school taught by a
missionary_. We inquired particularly of some of the apprentices, to
whom this offer was made, why they did not accept it. They said that
they could not trust their masters; the whole design of it was to get
them to give up their children, and if they should give them up _but for
a single month_, it would be the same as acknowledging that they (the
parents) were not able to take care of them themselves. The busha would
then send word to the Governor that the people had given up their
children, not being able to support them, and the Governor would have
the children bound to the busha, "and _then_," said they, "_we might
whistle for our children_!" In this manner the apprentices, the
_parents_, reasoned. They professed the greatest anxiety to have their
children educated, but they said they could have no confidence in the
honest intentions of their busha.

The views given above, touching the results of entire emancipation in
1840, are not unanimously entertained even among the planters, and they
are far from prevailing to any great extent among other classes of the
community. The missionaries, as a body, a portion of the special
magistrates, and most of the intelligent free colored people, anticipate
glorious consequences; they hail the approach of 1840, as a deliverance
from the oppressions of the apprenticeship, and its train of
disaffections, complaints and incessant disputes. They say they have
nothing to fear--nor has the island any thing to fear, but every thing
to hope, from entire emancipation. We subjoin a specimen of the
reasoning of the minority of the planters. They represent the idea that
the negroes will abandon the estates, and retire to the woods, as wild
and absurd in the extreme. They say the negroes have a great regard for
the comforts which they enjoy on the estates; they are strongly attached
to their houses and little furniture, and their provision grounds. These
are as much to them as the 'great house' and the estate are to their
master. Besides, they have very _strong local attachments_, and these
would bind them to the properties. These planters also argue, from _the
great willingness_ of the apprentices now to work for money, during
their own time, that they will not be likely to relinquish labor when
they are to get wages for the whole time. There was no doubt much truth
in the remark of a planter in St. Thomas in the East, that if _any_
estates were abandoned by the negroes after 1840, it would be those
which had harsh managers, and those which are so mountainous and
inaccessible, or barren, that they _ought_ to be abandoned. It was the
declaration of a _planter_, that entire emancipation would _regenerate_
the island of Jamaica.

* * * * *

We now submit to the candid examination of the American, especially the
Christian public, the results of our inquiries in Antigua, Barbadoes,
and Jamaica. The deficiency of the narrative in ability and interest, we
are sure is neither the fault of the subject nor of the materials. Could
we have thrown into vivid forms a few only of the numberless incidents
of rare beauty which thronged our path--could we have imparted to pages
that freshness and glow, which invested the institutions of freedom,
just bursting into bloom over the late wastes of slavery--could we, in
fine, have carried our readers amid the scenes which we witnessed, and
the sounds which we heard, and the things which we handled, we should
not doubt the power and permanence of the impression produced. It is due
to the cause, and to the society under whose commission we acted,
frankly to state, that we were not selected on account of any peculiar
qualifications for the work. As both of us were invalids, and compelled
to fly from the rigors of an American winter, it was believed that we
might combine the improvement of health, with the prosecution of
important investigations, while abler men could thus be retained in the
field at home; but we found that the unexpected abundance of materials
requires the strongest health and powers of endurance. We regret to add,
that the continued ill health of both of us, since our return, so
serious in the case of one, as to deprive him almost wholly of
participation in the preparation of the work, has necessarily, delayed
its appearance, and rendered its execution more imperfect.

We lay no claim to literary merit. To present as simple narrative of
facts, has been our sole aim. We have not given the results of our
personal observations merely, or chiefly, nor have we made a record of
private impressions or idle speculations. _Well authenticated facts_,
accompanied with the testimony, verbal and documentary, of public men,
planters, and other responsible individuals, make up the body of the
volume, as almost every page will show. That no statements, if
erroneous, might escape detection and exposure, we have, in nearly every
case, given the _names_ of our authorities. By so doing we may have
subjected ourselves to the censure of those respected gentlemen, with
whose names we have taken such liberty. We are assured, however, that
their interest in the cause of freedom will quite reconcile them to what
otherwise might be an unpleasant personal publicity.

Commending our narrative to the blessing of the God of truth, and the
Redeemer of the oppressed, we send it forth to do its part, however
humble, toward the removal of slavery from our beloved but
guilty country.


We have in our possession a number of official documents from gentlemen,
officers of the government, and variously connected with its
administration, in the different islands which we visited: some of
these--such as could not be conveniently incorporated into the body of
the work--we insert in the form of an appendix. To insert them _all_,
would unduly increase the size of the present volume. Those not embodied
in this appendix, will be published in the periodicals of the American
Anti-Slavery Society.

* * * * *


_Jamaica, Hillingdon, near Falmouth, Trelawney, May 15, 1837_.


DEAR SIRS,--Of the operation of the apprenticeship system in this
district, from the slight opportunity I have had of observing the
conduct of managers and apprentices, I could only speak conjecturally,
and my opinions, wanting the authority of experience, would be of little
service to you; I shall therefore confine the remarks I have to make, to
the operation of the system in the district from which I have
lately removed.

I commenced my duties in August, 1834, and from the paucity of special
magistrates at that eventful era, I had the superintendence of a most
extensive district, comprising nearly one half of the populous parish of
St. Thomas in the East, and the whole of the parish of St. David,
embracing an apprentice population of nearly eighteen thousand,--in
charge of which I continued until December, when I was relieved of St.
David, and in March, 1835, my surveillance was confined to that portion
of St. Thomas in the East, consisting of the coffee plantations in the
Blue Mountains, and the sugar estates of Blue Mountain Valley, over
which I continued to preside until last March, a district containing a
population of four thousand two hundred and twenty-seven apprentices, of
which two thousand eighty-seven were males, and two thousand one hundred
and forty, females. The apprentices of the Blue Mountain Valley were, at
the period of my assumption of the duties of a special magistrate, the
most disorderly in the island. They were greatly excited, and almost
desperate from disappointment, in finding their trammels under the new
law, nearly as burdensome as under the old, and their condition, in many
respects, much more intolerable. They were also extremely irritated at
what they deemed an attempt upon the part of their masters to rob them
of one of the greatest advantages they had been led to believe the new
law secured to them--this was the half of Friday. Special Justice
Everard, who went through the district during the first two weeks of
August, 1834, and who was the first special justice to read and explain
the new law to them, had told them that the law gave to them the extra
four and a half hours on the Friday, and some of the proprietors and
managers, who were desirous of preparing their people for the coming
change, had likewise explained it so; but, most unfortunately, the
governor issued a proclamation, justifying the masters in withholding
the four and a half hours on that day, and substituting any other half
day, or by working them eight hours per day, they might deprive them
altogether of the advantage to be derived from the extra time, which, by
the abolition of Sunday marketing, was almost indispensable to people
whose grounds, in some instances, were many miles from their
habitations, and who were above thirty miles from Kingston market, where
prices were fifty per cent. more than the country markets in their favor
for the articles they had to dispose of, and correspondingly lower for
those they had to purchase. To be in time for which market, it was
necessary to walk all Friday night, so that without the use of the
previous half day, they could not procure their provisions, or prepare
themselves for it. The deprivation of the half of Friday was therefore a
serious hardship to them, and this, coupled to the previous assurance of
their masters, and Special Justice Everard, that they were entitled to
it, made them to suspect a fraud was about being practised on them,
which, if they did not resist, would lead to the destruction of the
remaining few privileges they possessed. The resistance was very
general, but without violence; whole gangs leaving the fields on the
afternoon of Friday; refusing to take any other afternoon, and sometimes
leaving the estates for two or three days together. They fortunately had
confidence in me--and I succeeded in restoring order, and all would have
been well,--but the managers, no longer alarmed by the fear of rebellion
or violence, began a system of retaliation and revenge, by withdrawing
cooks, water-carriers, and nurses, from the field, by refusing medicine
and admittance to the hospital to the apprentice children, and by
compelling old and infirm people, who had been allowed to withdraw from
labor, and mothers of six children, who were exempt by the slave law
from hard labor, to come out and work in the field. All this had a
natural tendency to create irritation, and did do so; though, to the
great credit of the people, in many instances, they submitted with the
most extraordinary patience, to evils which were the more onerous,
because inflicted under the affected sanction of a law, whose advent, as
the herald of liberty, they had expected would have been attended with a
train of blessings. I effected a change in this miserable state of
things; and mutual contract for labor, in crop and out of it, were made
on twenty-five estates in my district, before, I believe, any
arrangement had been made in other parts of the island, between the
managers and the apprentices; so that from being in a more unsettled
state than others, we were soon happily in a more prosperous one, and so

No peasantry in the most favored country on the globe, can have been
more irreproachable in morals and conduct than the majority of
apprentices in that district, since the beginning of 1835. I have, month
after month, in my despatches to the governor, had to record instances
of excess of labor, compared with the quantity performed during slavery
in some kinds of work; and while I have with pleasure reported the
improving condition, habits, manners, and the industry which
characterized the labors of the peasantry, I have not been an
indifferent or uninterested witness of the improvement in the condition
of many estates, the result of the judicious application of labor, and
of the confidence in the future and sanguine expectations of the
proprietors, evinced in the enlargements of the works, and expensive and
permanent repair of the buildings on various estates, and in the high
prices given for properties and land since the apprenticeship system,
which would scarcely have commanded a purchaser, at any price, during
the existence of slavery.

I have invariably found the apprentice willing to work for an equitable
hire, and on all the sugar estates, and several of the plantations, in
the district I speak of, they worked a considerable portion of their own
time during crop, about the works, for money, or an equivalent in
herrings, sugar, etc., to so great a degree, that less than the time
allotted to them during slavery, was left for appropriation to the
cultivation of their grounds, and for marketing, as the majority, very
much to their credit, scrupulously avoided working on the Sabbath day.

In no community in the world is crime less prevalent. At the quarter
sessions, in January last, for the precinct of St. Thomas in the East,
and St. David, which contains an apprentice population of about thirty
thousand, there was only one apprentice tried. And the offences that
have, in general, for the last eighteen months, been brought before me
on estates, have been of the most trivial description, such as an
individual occasionally turning out late, or some one of an irritable
temper answering impatiently, or for some trifling act of disobedience;
in fact, the majority of apprentices on estates have been untainted with
offence, and have steadily and quietly performed their duty, and
respected the law. The apprentices of St. Thomas in the East, I do not
hesitate to say, are much superior in manners and morals to those who
inhabit the towns.

During the first six or eight months, while the planters were in doubt
how far the endurance of their laborers might be taxed, the utmost
deference and respect was paid by them to the special magistrates; their
suggestions or recommendations were adopted without cavil, and opinions
taken without reference to the letter of the law; but when the obedience

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