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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 2 of 4 by American Anti-Slavery Society

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have never been used to any thing--_rougher than the cowhide_. Much
sympathy has been awakened in the North by such appeals, and vast
numbers have been led by them to conclude that it is better for millions
of slaves to famish in eternal bondage, than that a few white families,
here and there scattered over the South, should be reduced to the
humiliation of _working_.

_Hostility to emancipation_ prevailed in Barbadoes. That island has
always been peculiarly attached to slavery. From the beginning of the
anti-slavery agitations in England, the Barbadians distinguished
themselves by their inveterate opposition. As the grand result
approximated they increased their resistance. They appealed,
remonstrated, begged, threatened, deprecated, and imprecated. They
continually protested that abolition would ruin the colony--that the
negroes could never be brought to work--especially to raise
sugar--without the whip. They both besought and demanded of the English
that they should cease their interference with their private affairs and
personal property.

Again and again they informed them that they were wholly disqualified,
by their distance from the colonies, and their ignorance of the subject,
to do any thing respecting it, and they were entreated to leave the
whole matter with the colonies, who alone could judge as to the best
time and manner of moving, or whether it was proper to move at all.

We were assured that there was not a single planter in Barbadoes who was
known to be in favor of abolition, before it took place; if, however,
there had been one such, he would not have dared to avow his sentiments.
The anti-slavery party in England were detested; no epithets were too
vile for them--no curses too bitter. It was a Barbadian lady who once
exclaimed in a public company in England, "O, I wish we had Wilberforce
in the West Indies, I would be one of the very first to tear his heart
out!" If such a felon wish could escape the lips of a female, and that
too amid the awing influence of English society, what may we conclude
were the feelings of planters and drivers on the island!

The opposition was maintained even after the abolition of slavery; and
there was no colony, save Jamaica, with which the English government had
so much trouble in arranging the provisions and conditions under which
abolition was to take place.

From statements already made, the reader will see how great a change has
come over the feelings of the planters.

He has followed us through this and the preceding chapters, he has seen
tranquillity taking the place of insurrections, a sense of security
succeeding to gloomy forbodings, and public order supplanting mob law;
he has seen subordination to authority, peacefulness, industry, and
increasing morality, characterizing the negro population; he has seen
property rising in value, crime lessening, expenses of labor
diminishing, the whole island blooming with unexampled cultivation, and
waving with crops unprecedented in the memory of its inhabitants; above
all, he has seen licentiousness decreasing, prejudice fading away,
marriage extending, education spreading, and religion preparing to
multiply her churches and missionaries over the land.

_These_ are the blessing of abolition--_begun_ only, and but partially
realized as yet, but promising a rich maturity in time to come, after
the work of freedom shall have been completed.



The nature of the apprenticeship system may be learned form the
following abstract of its provisions, relative to the three parties
chiefly concerned in its operation--the special magistrate, the master,
and the apprentice.


1. They must be disconnected with planters and plantership, that they
may be independent of all colonial parties and interests whatever.

2. The special magistrates adjudicate only in cases where the master and
apprentice are parties. Offences committed by apprentices against any
person not connected with the estates on which they live, come under the
cognizance of the local magistrates or of higher courts.

3. The special justices sit three days in the week at their offices,
where all complaints are carried, both by the master and apprentice. The
magistrates do not go the estate, either to try or to punish offenders.
Besides, the three days the magistrates are required to be at home every
Saturday, (that being the day on which the apprentices are disengaged,)
to give friendly advice and instruction on points of law and personal
rights to all apprentices who may call.


1. The master is allowed the gratuitous labor of the apprentice for
forty-five hours each week. The several islands were permitted by the
English government to make such a division of this time as local
circumstances might seem to require. In some islands, as for instance in
St. Christopher's and Tortola, it is spread over six days of the week in
proportions of seven and a half hours per day, thus leaving the
apprentice mere shreds of time in which he can accomplish nothing for
himself. In Barbadoes, the forty-five hours is confined within five
days, in portions of nine hours per day.

2. The allowances of food continue the same as during slavery, excepting
that now the master may give, instead of the allowance, a third of an
acre to each apprentice, but then he must also grant an additional day
every week for the cultivation of this land.

3. The master has no power whatever to punish. A planter observed, "if I
command my butler to stand for half an hour on the parlor floor, and it
can be proved that I designed it as a punishment, I may be fined for
it." The penalty for the first offence (punishing an apprentice) is a
fine of five pounds currency, or sixteen dollars, and imprisonment if
the punishment was cruel. For a second offence the apprentice is
set free.

Masters frequently do punish their apprentices _in despite of all
penalties_. A case in point occurred not long since, in Bridgetown. A
lady owned a handsome young mulatto woman, who had a beautiful head of
hair of which she was very proud. The servant did something displeasing
to her mistress, and the latter in a rage shaved off her hair close to
her head. The girl complained to the special magistrate, and procured an
immediate release from her mistress's service.

4. It is the duty of the master to make complaint to the special
magistrate. When the master chooses to take the punishment into his own
hand, the apprentice has a right to complain.

5. The master is obliged to sell the remainder of the apprentice's term,
whenever the apprentice signifies a wish to buy it. If the parties
cannot agree about the price, the special magistrate, in connection with
two local magistrates, appraises the latter, and the master is bound to
take the amount of the appraisement, whatever that is. Instances of
apprentices purchasing themselves are quite frequent, not withstanding
the term of service is now so short, extending only to August, 1840. The
value of an apprentice varies from thirty to one hundred dollars.


1. He has the whole of Saturday, and the remnants of the other five
days, after giving nine hours to the master.

2. The labor does not begin so early, nor continue so late as during
slavery. Instead of half past four or five o'clock the apprentices are
called out at six o'clock in the morning. They then work till seven,
have an hour for breakfast, again work from eight to twelve, have a
respite of two hours, and then work till six o'clock.

3. If an apprentice hires his time from his master as is not
unfrequently the case, especially among the non-praedials, he pays a
dollar a week, which is two thirds, or at least one half of
his earnings.

4. If the apprentice has a complaint to make against his master, he must
either make it during his own time, or if he prefers to go to the
magistrate during work hours, he must ask his master for a pass. If his
master refuse to give him one, he can then go without it.

5. There is an _unjustifiable inequality_ in the apprentice laws, which
was pointed out by one of the special magistrates. The master is
punishable only for cruelty or corporeal inflictions, whereas the
apprentice is punishable for a variety of offences, such as idleness,
stealing, insubordination, insolence, &c. The master may be as insolent
and abusive as he chooses to be, and the slave can have no redress.

6. Hard labor, solitary confinement, and the treadmill, are the
principal modes of punishment. Shaving the head is sometimes resorted
to. A very sever punishment frequently adopted, is requiring the
apprentice to make up for the time during which he is confined. If he is
committed for ten working days, he must give the master ten successive

This last regulation is particularly oppressive and palpably unjust. It
matters not how slight the offence may have been, it is discretionary
with the special magistrate to mulct the apprentice of his Saturdays.
This provision really would appear to have been made expressly for the
purpose of depriving the apprentices of their own time. It is a direct
inducement to the master to complain. If the apprentice has been absent
from his work but an hour, the magistrate may sentence him to give a
whole day in return; consequently the master is encouraged to mark the
slightest omission, and to complain of it whether it was unavoidable
or not.

THE DESIGN OF THE APPRENTICESHIP.--It is a serious question with a
portion of the colonists, whether or not the apprenticeship was
originally designed as a preparation for freedom. This however was the
professed object with its advocates, and it was on the strength of this
plausible pretension, doubtless, that the measure was carried through.
We believe it is pretty well understood, both in England and the
colonies; that it was mainly intended _as an additional compensation to
the planters_. The latter complained that the twenty millions of pounds
was but a pittance of the value of their slaves, and to drown their
cries about robbery and oppression this system of modified slavery was
granted to them, that they might, for a term of years, enjoy the toil of
the negro without compensation. As a mockery to the hopes of the slaves
this system was called an apprenticeship, and it was held out to them as
a needful preparatory stage for them to pass through, ere they could
rightly appreciate the blessings of entire freedom. It was not wonderful
that they should be slow to apprehend the necessity of serving a six
years' apprenticeship, at a business which they had been all their lives
employed in. It is not too much to say that it was a grand cheat--a
national imposture at the expense of the poor victims of oppression,
whom, with benevolent pretences, it offered up a sacrifice to cupidity
and power.

this system is in some respects far better than slavery. Many restraints
are imposed upon the master, and many important privileges are secured
to the apprentice. Being released from the arbitrary power of the
master, is regarded by the latter as a vast stride towards entire
liberty. We once asked an apprentice; if he thought apprenticeship was
better than slavery. "O yes," said he, "great deal better, sir; when we
was slaves, our masters git mad wid us, and give us _plenty of licks_;
but now, thank God, they can't touch us." But the actual enjoyment of
these advantages by the apprentices depends upon so many contingencies,
such as the disposition of the master, and the faithfulness of the
special magistrate, that it is left after all exceedingly precarious. A
very few observations respecting the special magistrates, will serve to
show how liable the apprentice is to suffer wrong without the
possibility of obtaining redress. It is evident that this will be the
case unless the special magistrates are _entirely independent_. This was
foreseen by the English government, and they pretended to provide for it
by paying the magistrates' salaries at home. But how inadequate was
their provision! The salaries scarcely answer for pocket money in the
West Indies. Thus situated, the magistrates are continually exposed to
those temptations, which the planters can so artfully present in the
shape of sumptuous dinners. They doubtless find it very convenient, when
their stinted purses run low, and mutton and wines run high, to do as
the New England school master does, "_board round_;" and consequently
the dependence of the magistrate upon the planter is of all things the
most deprecated by the apprentice.[A]

[Footnote A: The feelings of apprentices on this point are well
illustrated by the following anecdote, which was related to us while in
the West Indies. The governor of one of the islands, shortly after his
arrival, dined with one of the wealthiest proprietors. The next day one
of the negroes of the estate said to another, "De new gubner been
_poison'd_." "What dat you say?" inquired the other in astonishment, "De
gubner been _poison'd_." "Dah, now!--How him poisoned!" "_Him eat massa
turtle soup last night_," said the shrewd negro. The other took his
meaning at once; and his sympathy for the governor was turned into
concern for himself, when he perceived that the poison was one from
which _he_ was likely to suffer more than his excellency.]

Congeniality of feeling, habits, views, style and rank--identity of
country and color--these powerful influences bias the magistrate toward
the master, at the same time that the absence of them all, estrange and
even repel him from the apprentice. There is still an additional
consideration which operates against the unfortunate apprentice. The men
selected for magistrates, are mostly officers of the army and navy. To
those who are acquainted with the arbitrary habits of military and naval
officers, and with the iron despotism which they exercise among the
soldiers and sailors,[B] the bare mention of this fact is sufficient to
convince them of the unenviable situation of the apprentice. It is at
best but a gloomy transfer from the mercies of a slave driver, to the
justice of a military magistrate.

[Footnote B: We had a specimen of the stuff special magistrates are made
of in sailing from Barbadoes to Jamaica. The vessel was originally an
English man-of-war brig, which had been converted into a steamer, and
was employed by the English government, in conveying the island mails
from Barbadoes to Jamaica--to and fro. She was still under the strict
discipline of a man-of-war. The senior officer on board was a
lieutenant. This man was one of the veriest savages on earth. His
passions were in a perpetual storm, at some times higher than at others,
occasionally they blew a hurricane. He quarrelled with his officers, and
his orders to his men were always uttered in oaths. Scarcely a day
passed that he did not have some one of his sailors flogged. One night,
the cabin boy left the water-can sitting on the cabin floor, instead of
putting it on the sideboard, where it usually stood. For this offence
the commander ordered him up on deck after midnight, and made the
quarter-master flog him. The instrument used in this case, (the regular
flogging stick having been _used up_ by previous service,) was the
commander's cane--_a heavy knotted club_. The boy held out one hand and
received the blows. He howled most piteously, and it was some seconds
before he recovered sufficiently from the pain to extend the other.
"_Lay on_," stormed the commander. Down went the cane a second time. We
thought it must have broken every bone in the boy's hand. This was
repeated several times, the boy extending each hand alternately, and
recoiling at every blow. "Now lay on to his back," sternly vociferated
the commander--"give it to him--_hard_--_lay on harder_." The old
seaman, who had some mercy in his heart, seemed very loth to lay out his
strength on the boy with such a club. The commander became
furious--cursed and swore--and again yelled, "_Give it to him harder,
more_--MORE--MORE--there, stop." "you infernal villain"--speaking to the
quarter-master and using the most horrid oaths--"You infernal villain,
if you do not _lay on harder_ the next time I command you, I'll have you
put in irons." The boy limped away, writhing in every joint, and crying
piteously, when the commander called at him, "Silence there, you imp--or
I'll give you a second edition." One of the first things the commander
did after we left Barbadoes, was to have a man flogged, and the last
order we heard him give as we left the steamer at Kingston, was to put
two of the men _in irons_.]

It is not a little remarkable that the apprenticeship should be regarded
by the planters themselves, as well as by other persons generally
throughout the colony, as merely a modified form of slavery. It is
common to hear it called 'slavery under a different form,' 'another name
for slavery,'--'modified slavery,' 'but little better than slavery.'

Nor is the practical operation of the system upon the _master_ much less
exceptionable. It takes out of his hand the power of coercing labor, and
provides no other stimulus. Thus it subjects him to the necessity either
of resorting to empty threats, which must result only in incessant
disputes, or of condescending to persuade and entreat, against which his
habits at once rebel, or of complaining to a third party--an alternative
more revolting if possible, than the former, since it involves the
acknowledgment of a higher power than his own. It sets up over his
actions a foreign judge, at whose bar he is alike amenable (in theory)
with his apprentice, before whose tribunal he may be dragged at any
moment by his apprentice, and from whose lips he may receive the
humiliating sentence of punishment in the presence of his apprentice. It
introduces between him and his laborers, mutual repellancies and
estrangement; it encourages the former to exercise an authority which he
would not venture to assume under a system of perfect freedom; it
emboldens the latter to display an insolence which he would not have
dreamed of in a state of slavery, and thus begetting in the one, the
imperiousness of the slaveholder _without his power_, and in the other,
the independence of the freeman _without his immunities_, it perpetuates
a scene of angry collision, jealousy and hatred.

It does not even serve for the master the unworthy purpose for which it
was mainly devised, viz., that of an additional compensation. The
apprenticeship is estimated to be more expensive than a system of free
labor would be. It is but little less expensive than slavery, and
freedom it is confidently expected will be considerably less. So it
would seem that this system burthens the master with much of the
perplexity, the ignominy and the expensiveness of slavery, while it
denies him its power. Such is the apprenticeship system. A splendid
imposition!--which cheats the planter of his gains, cheats the British
nation of its money, and robs the world of what else might have been a
glorious example of immediate and entire emancipation.

can be, it is an actual _disqualification_. The testimony on this
subject is ample. We rarely met a planter, who was disposed to maintain
that the apprenticeship was preparing the negroes for freedom. They
generally admitted that the people were no better prepared for freedom
now, than they were in 1834; and some of them did not hesitate to say
that the sole use to which they and their brother planters turned the
system, was to get _as much work out of the apprentices while it lasted,
as possible_. Clergymen and missionaries, declared that the
apprenticeship was no preparation for freedom. If it were a preparation
at all, it would most probably be so in a religious and educational
point of view. We should expect to find the masters, if laboring at all
to prepare their apprentices for freedom, doing so chiefly by
encouraging missionaries and teachers to come to their estates, and by
aiding in the erection of chapels and school-houses. But the
missionaries declare that they meet with little more direct
encouragement now, than they did during slavery.

The special magistrates also testify that the apprenticeship is no
preparation for freedom. On this subject they are very explicit.

The colored people bear the same testimony. Not a few, too, affirm, that
the tendency of the apprenticeship is to unfit the negroes for freedom,
and avow it as their firm persuasion, that the people will be less
prepared for liberty at the end of the apprenticeship, than they were at
its commencement. And it is not without reason that they thus speak.
They say, first, that the bickerings and disputes to which the system
gives rise between the master and the apprentice, and the arraigning of
each other before the special magistrate, are directly calculated to
alienate the parties. The effect of these contentions, kept up for six
years, will be to implant _deep mutual hostility_; and the parties will
be a hundred fold more irreconcilable than they were on the abolition of
slavery. Again, they argue that the apprenticeship system is calculated
to make the negroes regard _law as their foe_, and thus it unfits them
for freedom. They reason thus--the apprentice looks to the magistrate as
his judge, his avenger, his protector; he knows nothing of either law or
justice except as he sees them exemplified in the decisions of the
magistrate. When, therefore, the magistrate sentences him to punishment,
when he knows he was the injured party, he will become disgusted with
the very name of justice, and esteem law his greatest enemy.

The neglect of the planters to use the apprenticeship as a preparation
for freedom, warrants us in the conclusion, that they do not think any
preparation necessary. But we are not confined to doubtful inferences on
this point. They testify positively--and not only planters, but all
other classes of men likewise--that the slaves of Barbadoes were fit for
entire freedom in 1834, and that they might have been emancipated then
with perfect safety. Whatever may have been the sentiment of the
Barbadians relative to the necessity of preparation before the
experiment was made, it is clear that now they have no confidence either
in the necessity or the practicability of preparatory schemes.

But we cannot close our remarks upon the apprenticeship system without
noticing one good end which it has undesignedly accomplished, i.e., _the
illustration of the good disposition of the colored people_. We firmly
believe that if the friends of emancipation had wished to disprove all
that has ever been said about the ferocity and revengefulness of the
negroes, and at the same time to demonstrate that they possess, in a
pre-eminent degree, those other qualities which render them the fit
subjects of liberty and law, they could not have done it more
triumphantly than it has been done by the apprenticeship. _How_ this has
been done may be shown by pointing out several respects in which the
apprenticeship has been calculated to try the negro character most
severely, and to develop all that was fiery and rebellious in it.

1. The apprenticeship removed that strong arm of slavery and substituted
no adequate force. The arbitrary power of the master, which awed the
slave into submission, was annihilated. The whip which was held over the
slave, and compelled a kind of subordination--brutal, indeed, but
effectual--was abolished. Here in the outset the reins were given to the
long-oppressed, but now aspiring mass. No adequate force was
substituted, because it was the intent of the new system to govern by
milder means. This was well, but what were the milder means which were
to take the place of brute force?

2. Was the stimulus of wages substituted? No! That was expressly denied.
Was the liberty of locomotion granted? No. Was the privilege of gaining
a personal interest in the soil extended to them? No. Were the
immunities and rights of citizenship secured to them? No. Was the poor
favor allowed them of selecting their own business, or of choosing their
employer? Not even this? Thus far, then, we see nothing of the milder
measures of the apprenticeship. It has indeed opened the prison doors
and knocked off the prisoners' chains--but it still keeps them grinding
there, as before, and refuses to let them come forth, except
occasionally, and then only to be thrust back again. Is it not thus
directly calculated to encourage indolence and insubordination?

3. In the next place, this system introduces a third party, to whom the
apprentice is encouraged to look for justice, redress, and counsel. Thus
he is led to regard his master as his enemy, and all confidence in him
is for ever destroyed. But this is not the end of the difficulty. The
apprentice carries up complaints against his master. If they gain a
favorable hearing he triumphs over him--if they are disregarded, he
concludes that the magistrate also is his enemy, and he goes away with a
rankling grudge against his master. Thus he is gradually led to assert
his own cause, and he learns to contend with his master, to reply
insolently, to dispute, quarrel, and--it is well that we cannot add, to
_fight_. At least one thing is the result--a permanent state of
alienation, contempt of authority, and hatred. _All these are the fruits
of the apprenticeship system_. They are caused by transferring the power
of the master, while the _relation_ continues the same. Nor is this
contempt for the master, this alienation and hatred, all the mischief.
The unjust decisions of the magistrate, of which the apprentices have
such abundant reasons to complain, excite their abhorrence of him, and
thus their confidence in the protection of law is weakened or destroyed.
Here, then, is contempt for the master, abhorrence of the magistrate,
and mistrust of the law--the apprentice regarding all three as leagued
together to rob him of his rights. What a combination of circumstances
to drive the apprentices to desperation and madness! What a marvel that
the outraged negroes have been restrained from bloody rebellions!

Another insurrectionary feature peculiar to the apprenticeship is its
making the apprentices _free a portion of the time_. One fourth of the
time is given them every week--just enough to afford them a taste of the
sweets of liberty, and render them dissatisfied with their condition.
Then the manner in which this time is divided is calculated to irritate.
After being a slave nine hours, the apprentice is made a freeman for the
remainder of the day; early the next morning the halter is again put on,
and he treads the wheel another day. Thus the week wears away until
Saturday; which is an entire day of freedom. The negro goes out and
works for his master, or any one else, as he pleases, and at night he
receives his quarter of a dollar. This is something like freedom, and he
begins to have the feelings of a freeman--a lighter heart and more
active limbs. He puts his money carefully away at night, and lays
himself down to rest his toil-worn body. He awakes on Sabbath morning,
and _is still free_. He puts on his best clothes, goes to church,
worships a free God, contemplates a free heaven, sees his free children
about him, and his wedded wife; and ere the night again returns, the
consciousness that he is a slave is quite lost in the thoughts of
liberty which fill his breast, and the associations of freedom which
cluster around him. He sleeps again. _Monday morning he is startled from
his dreams by the old "shell-blow" of slavery_, and he arises to endure
another week of toil, alternated by the same tantalizing mockeries of
freedom. Is not this applying the _hot iron to the nerve_?

5. But, lastly, the apprenticeship system, as if it would apply the
match to this magazine of combustibles, holds out the reward of liberty
to every apprentice who shall by any means provoke his master to punish
him a second time.

[NOTE.--In a former part of this work--the report of Antigua--we
mentioned having received information respecting a number of the
apprenticeship islands, viz., Dominica, St. Christopher's, Nevis,
Montserrat, Anguilla, and Tortola, from the Wesleyan Missionaries whom
we providentially met with at the annual district meeting in Antigua. We
designed to give the statements of these men at some length in this
connection, but we find that it would swell our report to too great a
size. It only remains to say, therefore, in a word, that the same things
are generally true of those colonies which have been detailed in the
account of Barbadoes. There is the same peaceableness, subordination,
industry, and patient suffering on the part of the apprentices, the same
inefficiency of the apprenticeship as a preparation for freedom, and the
same conviction in the community that the people will, if at all
affected by it, be _less_ fit for emancipation in 1840 than they were in
1834. A short call at St. Christopher's confirmed these views in our
minds, so far as that island is concerned.

While in Barbadoes, we had repeated interviews with gentlemen who were
well acquainted with the adjacent islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent's,
Grenada, &c.; one of whom was a proprietor of a sugar estate in St.
Vincent's; and they assured us that there was the same tranquillity
reigning in those islands which we saw in Barbadoes. Sir Evan McGregor,
who is the governor-general of the windward colonies, and of course
thoroughly informed respecting their internal state, gave us the same
assurances. From Mr. H., an American gentleman, a merchant of Barbadoes,
and formerly of Trinidad, we gathered similar information touching that
large and (compared with Barbadoes or Antigua) semi-barbarous island.

We learned enough from these authentic sources to satisfy ourselves that
the various degrees of intelligence in the several islands makes very
little difference in the actual results of abolition; but that in all
the colonies, conciliatory and equitable management has never failed to
secure industry and tranquillity.]




Having drawn out in detail the results of abolition, and the working of
the apprenticeship system in Barbadoes, we shall spare the reader a
protracted account of Jamaica; but the importance of that colony, and
the fact that greater dissatisfaction on account of the abolition of
slavery has prevailed there than in all the other colonies together,
demand a careful statement of facts.

On landing in Jamaica, we pushed onward in our appropriate inquiries,
scarcely stopping to cast a glance at the towering mountains, with their
cloud-wreathed tops, and the valleys where sunshine and shade sleep side
by side--at the frowning precipices, made more awful by the impenetrable
forest-foliage which shrouds the abysses below, leaving the impression
of an ocean depth--at the broad lawns and magnificent savannahs glowing
in verdure and sunlight--at the princely estates and palace mansions--at
the luxuriant cultivation, and the sublime solitude of primeval forests,
where trees of every name, the mahogany, the boxwood, the rosewood, the
cedar, the palm, the fern, the bamboo, the cocoa, the breadfruit, the
mango, the almond, all grow in wild confusion, interwoven with a dense
tangled undergrowth.[A]

[Footnote A: It is less necessary for us to dwell long on Jamaica, than
it would otherwise be, since the English gentlemen, Messrs. Sturge and
Harvey, spent most of their time in that island, and will, doubtless,
publish their investigations, which will, ere long, be accessible to our
readers. We had the pleasure of meeting these intelligent philanthropic
and pious men in the West Indies, and from the great length of time, and
the superior facilities which they enjoyed over us, of gathering a mass
of facts in Jamaica, we feel assured that their report will be highly
interesting and useful, as well among us as on the other side of
the water.]

We were one month in Jamaica. For about a week we remained in
Kingston,[B] and called on some of the principal gentlemen, both white
and colored. We visited the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General,
some of the editors, the Baptist and Wesleyan missionaries, and several
merchants. We likewise visited the public schools, the house of
correction, penitentiary, hospital, and other public institutions. We
shall speak briefly of several individuals whom we saw in Kingston, and
give some of their statements.

[Footnote B: The chief town of the island, with about forty thousand

The Hon. Dowel O'Reily; the Attorney-General; is an Irishman, and of one
of the influential families. In his own country he was a prominent
politician, and a bold advocate of Catholic Emancipation. He is
decidedly one of the ablest men in the island, distinguished for that
simplicity of manners, and flow of natural benevolence, which are the
characteristics of the Irishman. He received his present appointment
from the English government about six years ago, and is, by virtue of
his office, a member of the council. He declared that the apprenticeship
was in no manner preparing the negroes for freedom, but was operating in
a contrary way, especially in Jamaica, where it had been made the
instrument of greater cruelties in some cases, than slavery itself. Mr.
O'Reily is entirely free from prejudice; with all his family rank and
official standing, he identifies himself with the colored people as far
as his extensive professional engagements will allow. Having early
learned this, we were surprised to find him so highly respected by the
whites. In our subsequent excursions to the country, the letters of
introduction with which he kindly furnished us, to planters and others,
were uniformly received with avowals of the profoundest respect for him.
It should be observed, that Mr. O'Reily's attachment to the cause of
freedom in the colonies, is not a mere partizan feeling assumed in order
to be in keeping with the government under which he holds his office.
The fact of his being a Roman Catholic must, of itself, acquit him of
the suspicion of any strong partiality for the English government. On
the other hand, his decided hostility to the apprenticeship--the
favorite offspring of British legislation--demonstrates equally his
sincerity and independence.

We were introduced to the Solicitor-General, William Henry Anderson,
Esq., of Kingston. Mr. A. is a Scotchman, and has resided to Jamaica for
more than six years. We found him the fearless advocate of negro
emancipation. He exposed the corruptions and abominations of the
apprenticeship without reserve. Mr. A. furnished us with a written
statement of his views, respecting the state of the island, the
condition of the apprentices, &c., from which we here make a
few extracts.

"1. A very material change for the better has taken place in the
sentiments of the community since slavery was abolished. Religion and
education were formerly opposed as subversive of the security of
property; now they are in the most direct manner encouraged as its best
support. The value of all kinds of property has risen considerably, and
a general sense of security appears to be rapidly pervading the public
mind. I have not heard one man assert that it would be an advantage to
return to slavery, even were it practicable; and I believe that the
public is beginning to see that slave labor is not the cheapest."

"2. The prejudices against color are _rapidly vanishing_. I do not think
there is a respectable man, I mean one who would be regarded as
respectable on account of his good sense and weight of character, who
would impugn another's conduct for associating with persons of color. So
far as my observation goes, those who would formerly have acted on these
prejudices, will be ashamed to own that they had entertained them. The
distinction of superior acquirements still belongs to the whites, as a
body; but that, and character, will shortly be the only distinguishing
mark recognized among us."

"3. The apprentices are improving, _not, however, in consequence of the
apprenticeship, but in spite of it, and in consequence of the great act
of abolition_!"

"4. I think the negroes might have been emancipated as safely in 1834,
as in 1840; and had the emancipation then taken place, they would be
found much further in advance in 1840, than they can be after the
expiration of the present period of apprenticeship, _through which all,
both apprentices and masters, are_ LABORING HEAVILY."

"5. That the negroes will work if moderately compensated, no candid man
can doubt. Their _endurance_ for the sake of a very little gain is quite
amazing, and they are most desirous to procure for themselves and
families as large a share as possible of the comforts and decencies of
life. They appear peculiarly to reverence and desire intellectual
attainments. They employ, occasionally, children who have been taught in
the schools to teach them in their leisure time to read."

"6. I think the partial modifications of slavery have been attended by
so much improvement in all that constitutes the welfare and
respectability of society, that I cannot doubt the increase of the
benefit were a total abolition accomplished of every restriction that
has arisen out of the former state of things."

During our stay in Kingston, we called on the American consul, to whom
we had a letter from the consul at Antigua. We found him an elderly
gentleman, and a true hearted Virginian, both in his generosity and his
prejudices in favor of slavery. The consul, Colonel Harrison, is a near
relation of General W.H. Harrison, of Ohio. Things, he said, were going
ruinously in Jamaica. The English government were mad for abolishing
slavery. The negroes of Jamaica were the most degraded and ignorant of
all negroes he had ever seen. He had travelled in all our Southern
States, and the American negroes, even those of South Carolina and
Georgia, were as much superior to the negroes of Jamaica, as Henry Clay
was superior to him. He said they were the most ungrateful, faithless
set he ever saw; no confidence could be placed in them, and kindness was
always requited by insult. He proceeded to relate a fact from which it
appeared that the ground on which his grave charges against the negro
character rested, was the ill-conduct of one negro woman whom he had
hired some time ago to assist his family. The town negroes, he said,
were too lazy to work; they loitered and lounged about on the sidewalks
all day, jabbering with one another, and keeping up an incessant noise;
and they would not suffer a white man to order them in the least. They
were rearing their children in perfect idleness and for his part he
could not tell what would become of the rising population of blacks.
Their parents were too proud to let them work, and they sent them to
school all the time. Every afternoon, he said, the streets are thronged
with the half-naked little black devils, just broke from the schools,
and all singing some noisy tune learned in the infant schools; the
_burthen of_ their songs seems to be, "_O that will be joyful_." These
words, said he, are ringing in your ears wherever you go. How
aggravating truly such words must be, bursting cheerily from the lips of
the little free songsters! "O that will be joyful, _joyful_,
JOYFUL"--and so they ring the changes day after day, ceaseless and
untiring. A new song this, well befitting the times and the prospects,
but provoking enough to oppressors. The consul denounced he special
magistrates; they were an insolent set of fellows, they would fine a
white man as quick as they would flog a _nigger_.[A] If a master called
his apprentice "you scoundrel," or, "you huzzy," the magistrate would
either fine him for it or reprove him sharply in the presence of the
apprentice. This, in the eyes of the veteran Virginian, was intolerable.
Outrageous, not to allow a _gentleman_ to call his servant what names he
chooses! We were very much edified by the Colonel's _expose_ of Jamaica
manners. We must say, however, that his opinions had much less weight
with us after we learned (as we did from the best authority) that he had
never been a half dozen miles into the country during a ten year's
residence in Kingston.

[Footnote A: We fear there is too little truth in this representation.]

We called on the Rev. Jonathan Edmonson, the superintendent of the
Wesleyan missions in Jamaica. Mr. E. has been for many years laboring as
a missionary in the West Indies, first in Barbadoes, then in St.
Vincent's, Grenada, Trinidad, and Demerara, and lastly in Jamaica. He
stated that the planters were doing comparatively nothing to prepare the
negroes for freedom. "_Their whole object was to get as much sugar out
of them as they possibly could_."

We received a call from the Rev. Mr. Wooldridge, one of the Independent
missionaries. He thinks the conduct of the planters is tending to make
the apprentices their bitter enemies. He mentioned one effect of the
apprenticeship which had not been pointed out to us before. The system
of appraisement, he said, was a _premium upon all the bad qualities of
the negroes and a tax upon all the good ones_. When a person is to be
appraised, his virtues and his vices are always inquired into, and they
materially influence the estimate of his value. For example, the usual
rate of appraisement is a dollar per week for the remainder of the term;
but if the apprentice is particularly sober, honest, and industrious,
more particularly if he be a _pious man_, he is valued at the rate of
two or three dollars per week. It was consequently for the interest of
the master, when an apprentice applied for an appraisement, to portray
his virtues, while on the other hand there was an inducement for the
apprentice to conceal or actually to renounce his good qualities, and
foster the worst vices. Some instances of this kind had fallen under his
personal observation.

We called on the Rev. Mr. Gardiner, and on the Rev. Mr. Tinson, two
Baptist missionaries in Kingston. On Sabbath we attended service at the
church of which Mr. G. is the pastor. It is a very large building,
capable of seating two thousand persons. The great mass of the
congregation were apprentices. At the time we were present, the chapel
was well filled, and the broad surface of black faces was scarcely at
all diversified with lighter colors. It was gratifying to witness the
neatness of dress, the sobriety of demeanor, the devotional aspect of
countenance, the quiet and wakeful attention to the preacher which
prevailed. They were mostly rural negroes from the estates adjacent
to Kingston.

The Baptists are the most numerous body of Christians in the island. The
number of their missionaries now in Jamaica is sixteen, the number of
Chapels is thirty-one, and the number of members thirty-two thousand
nine hundred and sixty. The increase of members during the year 1836 was
three thousand three hundred and forty-four.

At present the missionary field is mostly engrossed by the Baptists and
Wesleyans. The Moravians are the next most numerous body. Besides these,
there are the clergy of the English Church, with a Bishop, and a few
Scotch clergymen. The Baptist missionaries, as a body, have been most
distinguished for their opposition to slavery. Their boldness in the
midst of suffering and persecutions, their denunciations of oppression,
though they did for a time arouse the wrath of oppressors, and cause
their chapels to be torn down and themselves to be hunted, imprisoned,
and banished, did more probably than any other cause, to hasten the
abolition of slavery.

_Schools in Kingston_.--We visited the Wolmer free school--the largest
and oldest school in the island. The whole number of scholars is five
hundred. It is under the charge of Mr. Reid, a venerable Scotchman, of
scholarship and piety. All colors are mingled in it promiscuously. We
saw the infant school department examined by Mr. R. There were nearly
one hundred and fifty children, of every hue, from the jettiest black to
the fairest white; they were thoroughly intermingled, and the ready
answers ran along the ranks from black to white, from white to brown,
from brown to pale, with undistinguished vivacity and accuracy. We were
afterwards conducted into the higher department, where lads and misses
from nine to fifteen, were instructed in the various branches of
academic education. A class of lads, mostly colored, were examined in
arithmetic. They wrought several sums in pounds, shillings and pence
currency, with wonderful celerity.

Among other things which we witnessed in that school, we shall not soon
forget having seen a curly headed negro lad of twelve, examining a class
of white young ladies in scientific history.

Some written statements and statistical tables were furnished us by Mr.
Reid, which we subjoin..

_Kingston, May 13th, 1837_

DEAR SIR,--I delayed answering your queries in hopes of being able to
give you an accurate list of the number of schools in Kingston, and
pupils under tuition, but have not been able completely to accomplish my
intention. I shall now answer your queries in the order you propose
them. 1st Quest. How long have you been teaching in Jamaica? Ans.
Thirty-eight years in Kingston. 2d Q. How long have you been master of
Wolmer's free school? A. Twenty-three years. 3d Q. What is the number of
colored children now in the school? A. Four hundred and thirty. 4th Q.
Was there any opposition to their admission at first? A. Considerable
opposition the first year, but none afterwards. 5th Q. Do they learn as
readily us the white children? A. As they are more regular in their
attendance, they learn better. 6th Q. Are they as easily governed? A.
Much easier. 7th Q. What proportion of the school are the children of
apprentices? A. Fifty. 8th Q. Do their parents manifest a desire to have
them educated? A. In general they do. 9th Q. At what age do the children
leave your school? A. Generally between twelve and fourteen. 10th Q What
employments do they chiefly engage in upon leaving you? A. The boys go
to various mechanic trades, to counting-houses, attorney's offices,
clerks to planting attorneys, and others become planters. The, girls
seamstresses, mantuamakers, and a considerable proportion tailoresses,
in Kingston and throughout Jamaica, as situations offer.

I am, dear sirs, yours respectfully,


The following table will show the average numbers of the respective
classes, white and colored, who have attended Wolmer's free school in
each year, from 1814 to the present time.

White | Colored | Total.
Average number in 1814 87 87
" " 1815 111 3 114
" " 1816 129 25 154
" " 1817 146 36 182
" " 1818 155 38 193
" " 1819 136 57 193
" " 1820 116 78 194
" " 1821 118 122 240
" " 1822 93 167 260
" " 1823 97 187 280
" " 1824 94 196 290
" " 1825 89 185 274
" " 1826 93 176 269
" " 1827 92 156 248
" " 1828 88 152 240
" " 1829 79 192 271
" " 1830 88 194 282
" " 1831 88 315 403
" " 1832 90 360 450
" " 1833 93 411 504
" " 1834 81 420 501
" " 1835 85 425 510
" " 1836 78 428 506
" " 1837 72 430 502

With regard to the _comparative intellect_ of white and colored
children, Mr. Reid gives the following valuable statement:

"For the last thirty-eight years I have been employed in this city in
the tuition of children of all classes and colors, and have no
hesitation in saying that the children of color are equal both in
conduct and ability to the white. They have always carried off more than
their proportion of prizes, and at one examination, out of seventy
prizes awarded, sixty-four were obtained by children of color."

Mr. R. afterwards sent to us the table of the number of schools in
Kingston, alluded to in the foregoing communication. We insert it here,
as it affords a view of the increase of schools and scholars since the
abolition of slavery.

Schools. Scholars.
2 Wolmer's, 403
1 National, 270
34 Gentlemen's private, 1368
40 Ladies' do. 1005
8 Sunday, 1042
---- ----
85 Total, 4088


Schools. Scholars.
2 Wolmer's, 472
1 National, 260
31 Gentlemen's private, 1169
41 Ladies' do. 856
8 Sunday, 981
---- ----
83 Total, 3738


Schools. Scholars.
2 Wolmer's, 527
3 National, 1136
3 Mico, 590
1 Baptist, 250
1 Jamaica Union, 120
31 Gentlemen's private, 1137
59 Ladies' do. 1339
9 Sunday, 1108
By itinerant teachers and children. 1500
---- ----
109 Total, 7707

Schools. Scholars.
2 Wolmer's, 502
3 National, 1238
4 Mico, 611
1 Baptist 260
1 Jamaica Union, 200
34 Gentlemen's private, 1476
63 Ladies' do. 1525
10 Sunday, 1316
By itinerant teachers and children, 1625
---- ----
118 Total, 8753

We also visited the Union school, which has been established for some
years in Kingston. All the children connected with it, about one hundred
and fifty, are, with two exceptions, black or colored. The school is
conducted generally on the Lancasterian plan. We examined several of the
boys in arithmetic. We put a variety of questions to them, to be worked
out on the slate, and the reasons of the process to be explained as they
went along; all which they executed with great expertness. There was a
jet black boy, whom we selected for a special trial. We commenced with
the simple rules, and went through them one by one, together with the
compound rules and Reduction, to Practice, propounding questions and
examples in each of them, which were entirely new to him, and to all of
them he gave prompt and correct replies. He was only thirteen years old,
and we can aver we never saw a boy of that age in any of our common
schools, that exhibited a fuller and clearer knowledge of the science
of numbers.

In general, our opinion of this school was similar to that already
expressed concerning the others. It is supported by the pupils, aided by
six hundred dollars granted by the assembly.

In connection with this subject, there is one fact of much interest.
However strong and exclusive was the prejudice of color a few years
since in the schools of Jamaica, we could not, during our stay in that
island, learn of more than two or three places of education, and those
private ones, from which colored children were excluded, and among the
numerous schools in Kingston, there is not one of this kind.

We called on several colored gentlemen of Kingston, from whom we
received much valuable information. The colored population are opposed
to the apprenticeship, and all the influence which they have, both in
the colony and with the home government, (which is not small,) is
exerted against it. They are a festering thorn in the sides of the
planters, among whom they maintain a fearless espionage, exposing by pen
and tongue their iniquitous proceedings. It is to be regretted that
their influence in this respect is so sadly weakened by their _holding
apprentices themselves_.

We had repeated invitations to breakfast and dine with colored
gentlemen, which we accepted as often as our engagements would permit.
On such occasions we generally met a company of gentlemen and ladies of
superior social and intellectual accomplishments. We must say, that it
is a great self-denial to refrain from a description of some of the
animated, and we must add splendid, parties of colored people which we
attended. The conversation on these occasions mostly turned on the
political and civil disabilities under which the colored population
formerly labored, and the various straggles by which they ultimately
obtained their rights. The following are a few items of their history.
The colored people of Jamaica, though very numerous, and to some extent
wealthy and intelligent, were long kept by the white colonists in a
state of abject political bondage. Not only were offices withheld from
them, and the right of suffrage denied, but they were not even allowed
the privilege of an oath in court, in defense of their property or their
persons. They might be violently assaulted, their limbs broken, their
wives and daughters might be outraged before their eyes by villains
having white skins; yet they had no legal redress unless another white
man chanced to see the deed. It was not until 1824 that this oppressive
enactment was repealed, and the protection of an oath extended to the
colored people; nor was it then effected without a long struggle on
their part.

Another law, equally worthy of a slaveholding legislature, prohibited
any white man, however wealthy, bequeathing, or in any manner giving his
colored son or daughter more than L2000 currency, or six thousand
dollars. The design of this law was to keep the colored people poor and
dependent upon the whites. Further to secure the same object, every
effort, both legislative and private, was made to debar them from
schools, and sink them in the lowest ignorance. Their young men of
talent were glad to get situations as clerks in the stores of white
merchants. Their young ladies of beauty and accomplishments were
fortune-made if they got a place in the white man's harem. These were
the highest stations to which the flower of their youth aspired. The
rest sank beneath the discouragements, and grovelled in vice and
debasement. If a colored person had any business with a white gentleman,
and should call at his house, "he must take off his hat, and wait at the
door, and be _as polite as a dog_."

These insults and oppressions the colored people in Jamaica bore, until
they could bear them no longer. By secret correspondence they formed a
union throughout the island, for the purpose of resistance. This,
however, was not effected for a long time, and while in process, the
correspondence was detected, and the most vigorous means were used by
the whites to crush the growing conspiracy--for such it was virtually.
Persuasions and intimations were used privately, and when these failed,
public persecutions were resorted to, under the form of judicial
procedures. Among the milder means was the dismission of clerks, agents,
&c., from the employ of a white men. As soon as a merchant discovered
that his clerk was implicated in the correspondence, he first threatened
to discharge him unless he would promise to desert his brethren: if he
could not extort this promise, he immediately put his threat in
execution. Edward Jordon, Esq., the talented editor of the Watchman,
then first clerk in the store of a Mr. Briden, was prominently concerned
in the correspondence, and was summarily dismissed.

White men drove their colored sons from their houses, and subjected them
to every indignity and suffering, in order to deter them from
prosecuting an enterprise which was seen by the terrified oppressors to
be fraught with danger to themselves. Then followed more violent
measures. Persons suspected of being the projectors of the disaffection,
were dragged before incensed judges, and after mock trials, were
sentenced to imprisonment in the city jail. Messrs. Jordon and Osborne,
(after they had established the Watchman paper,) were both imprisoned;
the former twice, for five months each time. At the close of the second
term of imprisonment, Mr. Jordon was _tried for his life_, on the charge
of having published _seditious matter_ in the Watchman.

The paragraph which was denominated '_seditious matter_' was this--

"Now that the member for Westmoreland (Mr. Beaumont) has come over to
our side, we will, by a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether,
bring down the system by the run, knock off the fetters, and let the
oppressed go free."

On the day of Mr. J.'s trial, the court-room was thronged with colored
men, who had armed themselves, and were determined, if the sentence of
death were pronounced upon Mr. Jordon, to rescue him at whatever hazard.
It is supposed that their purpose was conjectured by the judges--at any
rate, they saw fit to acquit Mr. J. and give him his enlargement. The
Watchman continued as fearless and _seditious_ as ever, until the
Assembly were ultimately provoked to threaten some extreme measure which
should effectually silence the agitators. _Then_ Mr. Jordon issued a
spirited circular, in which he stated the extent of the coalition among
the colored people, and in a tone of defiance demanded the instant
repeal of every restrictive law, the removal of every disability, and
the extension of complete political equality; declaring, that if the
demand were not complied with, the whole colored population would rise
in arms, would proclaim freedom to their own slaves, instigate the
slaves generally to rebellion, and then shout war and wage it, until
_the streets of Kingston should run blood_. This bold piece of
generalship succeeded. The terrified legislators huddled together in
their Assembly-room, and swept away, at one blow, all restrictions, and
gave the colored people entire enfranchisement. These occurrences took
place in 1831; since which time the colored class have been politically
free, and have been marching forward with rapid step in every species of
improvement, and are now on a higher footing than in any other colony.
All offices are open to them; they are aldermen of the city, justices of
the peace, inspectors of public institutions, trustees of schools, etc.
There are, at least, then colored special magistrates, natives of the
island. There are four colored members of the Assembly, including
Messrs. Jordon and Osborne. Mr. Jordon now sits in the same Assembly,
side by side, with the man who, a few years ago, ejected him
disdainfully from his clerkship. He is a member of the Assembly for the
city of Kingston, where not long since he was imprisoned, and tried for
his life. He is also alderman of the city, and one of its local
magistrates. He is now inspector of the same prison in which he was
formerly immured as a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition.

The secretary of the special magistrate department, Richard Hill, Esq.,
is a colored gentleman, and is one of the first men in the island,[A]
for integrity, independence, superior abilities, and extensive
acquirements. It has seldom been our happiness to meet with a man more
illustrious for true nobility of soul, or in whose countenance there
were deeper traces of intellectual and moral greatness. We are confident
that no man can _see_ him without being impressed with his rare
combination of excellences.

[Footnote A: We learn from the Jamaica papers, since our return to this
country, that Mr. Hill has been elected a member of the Assembly.]

Having said thus much respecting the political advancement of the
colored people, it is proper to remark, that they have by no means
evinced a determination to claim more than their share of office and
influence. On the contrary, they stop very far short of what they are
entitled to. Having an extent of suffrage but little less than the
whites, they might fill one third of the seats in the Assembly, whereas
they now return but four members out of forty-five. The same may be said
of other offices, particularly those in the city of Kingston, and the
larger towns, where they are equal to, or more numerous, than the
whites. It is a fact, that a portion of the colored people continue at
this time to return white members to the Assembly, and to vote for white
aldermen and other city officers. The influential men among them, have
always urged them to take up white men, unless they could find
_competent_ men of their own color. As they remarked to us, if they were
obliged to send an _ass_ to the Assembly, it was far better for _them_
to send a _white_ ass than a _black_ one.

In company with a friend, we visited the principal streets and places of
business in Kingston, for the purpose of seeing for ourselves the
general employments of the people of color; and those who engage in the
lowest offices, such as porters, watermen, draymen, and servants of all
grades, from him who flaunts in livery, to him who polishes shoes, are
of course from this class. So with the fruiterers, fishmongers, and the
almost innumerable tribe of petty hucksters which swarm throughout the
city, and is collected in a dense mass in its suburbs. The market, which
is the largest and best in the West Indies, is almost entirely supplied
and attended by colored persons, mostly females. The great body of
artisans is composed mostly of colored persons.

There are two large furniture and cabinet manufactories in Kingston, one
owned by two colored men, and the other by a white man. The operatives,
of which one contains eighty, and the other nearly as many, are all
black and colored. A large number of them are what the British law terms
_apprentices_, and are still bound in unremunerated servitude, though
some of them for thrice seven years have been adepts in their trades,
and not a few are earning their masters twenty or thirty dollars each
month, clear of all expenses. Some of these _apprentices_ are
hoary-headed and wrinkle-browned men, with their children, and
grand-children, apprentices also, around them, and who, after having
used the plane and the chisel for half a century, with faithfulness for
_others_, are now spending the few hours and the failing strength of old
again in _preparing_ to use the plane and the chisel for _themselves_.
The work on which they were engaged evinced no lack of mechanical skill
and ingenuity, but on the contrary we were shown some of the most
elegant specimens of mechanical skill, which we ever saw. The rich woods
of the West Indies were put into almost every form and combination which
taste could designate or luxury desire.

The owners of these establishments informed us that their business had
much _increased within the last two years_, and was still extending.
Neither of them had any fears for the results of complete emancipation,
but both were laying their plans for the future as broadly and
confidently as ever.

In our walk we accidentally met a colored man, whom we had heard
mentioned on several occasions as a superior architect. From the
conversation we had with him, then and subsequently, he appeared to
possess a fine mechanical genius, and to have made acquirements which
would be honorable in any man, but which were truly admirable in one who
had been shut up all his life by the disabilities which in Jamaica have,
until recently, attached to color. He superintended the erection of the
Wesleyan chapel in Kingston, the largest building of the kind in the
island, and esteemed by many as the most elegant. The plan was his own,
and the work was executed under his own eye. This man is using his means
and influence to encourage the study of his favorite art, and of the
arts and sciences generally, among those of his own hue.

One of the largest bookstores in the island is owned by two colored men.
(Messrs. Jordon and Osborne, already referred to.) Connected with it is
an extensive printing-office, from which a newspaper is issued twice a
week. Another paper, under the control of colored men, is published at
Spanishtown. These are the two principal liberal presses in Jamaica, and
are conducted with spirit and ability. Their influence in the political
and civil affairs of the island is very great. They are the organs of
the colored people, bond and free, and through them any violation of law
or humanity is exposed to the public, and redress demanded, and
generally obtained. In literary merit and correctness of moral
sentiment, they are not excelled by any press there, while some of their
white contemporaries fall far below them in both. Besides the workmen
employed in these two offices, there is a large number of colored
printers in the other printing offices, of which there are several.

We called at two large establishment for making jellies, comfits,
pickles, and all the varieties of tropic _preserves_. In each of them
thirty or more persons are constantly employed, and a capital of some
thousands of dollars invested. Several large rooms were occupied by
boxes, jars, and canisters, with the apparatus necessary to the process,
through which the fruit passes. We saw every species of fruits and
vegetables which the island produces, some fresh from the trees and
vines, and others ready to be transported to the four quarters of the
globe, in almost every state which the invalid or epicure could desire.
These articles, with the different preparations of arrow-root and
cassada, form a lucrative branch of trade, which is mostly in the hands
of the colored people.

We were introduced to a large number of colored merchants, dealers in
dry goods, crockery and glass ware, ironmongers, booksellers, druggists,
grocers, and general importers and were conducted by them through their
stores; many of which were on an extensive scale, and managed,
apparently, with much order and regularity. One of the largest
commercial houses in Kingston has a colored man as a partner, the other
two being white. Of a large auction and commission firm, the most active
and leading partner is a colored man. Besides these, there is hardly a
respectable house among the white merchants, in which some important
office, oftentimes the head clerkship, is not filled by a person of
color. They are as much respected in business transactions, and their
mercantile talents, their acquaintance with the generalities and details
of commerce, and sagacity and judgment in making bargains, are as highly
esteemed by the white merchants, as though they wore an European hue.
The commercial room is open to them, where they resort unrestrainedly to
ascertain the news; and a visitor may not unfrequently see sitting
together at a table of newspapers, or conversing together in the
parlance of trade, persons as dissimilar in complexion as white and
black can make them. In the streets the same intercourse is seen.

The general trade of the island is gradually and quietly passing into
the hands of the colored people. Before emancipation, they seldom
reached a higher grade in mercantile life than a clerkship, or, if they
commenced business for themselves, they were shackled and confined in
their operations by the overgrown and monopolizing establishments which
slavery had built up. Though the civil and political rights of one class
of them were acknowledged three years previous, yet they found they
could not, even if they desired it, disconnect themselves from the
slaves. They could not transact business--form credits and agencies, and
receive the confidence of the commercial public--like free men. Strange
or not, their fate was inseparably linked with that of the bondman,
their interests were considered as involved with his. However honest
they might be, it was not safe to trust them; and any attempt to rise
above a clerkship, to become the employer instead of the employed, was
regarded as a kind of insurrection, and strongly disapproved and
opposed. Since emancipation, they have been unshackling them selves from
white domination in matters of trade; extending their connections, and
becoming every day more and more independent. They have formed credits
with commercial houses abroad, and now import directly for themselves,
at wholesale prices, what they were formerly obliged to receive from
white importers, or rather speculators, at such prices as they, in their
tender mercies, saw fit to impose.

Trade is now equalizing itself among all classes. A spirit of
competition is awakened, banks have been established, steam navigation
introduced, railroads projected, old highways repaired, and new ones
opened. The descendants of the slaves are rapidly supplying the places
which were formerly filled by whites from abroad.

We had the pleasure of being present one day at the sitting of the
police court of Kingston. Mr. Jordon, the editor of the Watchman, in his
turn as a member of the common council, was presiding justice, with an
alderman of the city, a black man, as his associate. At a table below
them sat the superintendent of police, a white man, and two white
attorneys, with their huge law books and green bags before them. The bar
was surrounded by a motley assemblage of black, colored, and white
faces, intermingled without any regard to hue in the order of
superiority and precedence. There were about a dozen cases adjudged
while we were present. The court was conducted with order and dignity,
and the justices were treated with great respect and deference both by
white and black.

After the adjournment of the court, we had some conversation with the
presiding justice. He informed us that whites were not unfrequently
brought before him for trial, and, in spite of his color, sometimes even
our own countrymen. He mentioned several instances of the latter, in
some of which American prejudice assumed very amusing and ludicrous
forms. In one case, he was obliged to threaten the party, a captain from
one of our southern ports, with imprisonment for contempt, before he
could induce him to behave himself with proper decorum. The captain,
unaccustomed to obey injunctions from men of such a complexion, curled
his lip in scorn, and showed a spirit of defiance, but on the approach
of two police officers, whom the court had ordered to arrest him, he
submitted himself. We were gratified with the spirit of good humor and
pleasantry with which Mr. J. described the astonishment and gaping
curiosity which Americans manifest on seeing colored men in offices of
authority, particularly on the judicial bench, and their evident
embarrassment and uneasiness whenever obliged to transact business with
them as magistrates. He seemed to regard it as a subject well worthy of
ridicule; and we remarked, in our intercourse with the colored people,
that they were generally more disposed to make themselves merry with
American sensitiveness on this point, than to bring serious complaints
against it, though they feel deeply the wrongs which they have suffered
from it, and speak of them occasionally with solemnity and earnestness.
Still the feeling is so absurd and ludicrous in itself, and is exhibited
in so many grotesque positions, even when oppressive, that the sufferer
cannot help laughing at it. Mr. Jordon has held his present office since
1832. He has had an extensive opportunity, both as a justice of the
police court, and as a member of the jail committee, and in other
official stations, to become well acquainted with the state of crime in
the island at different periods. He informed us that the number of
complaints brought before him had much diminished since 1834, and he had
no hesitation in saying, that crime had decreased throughout the island
generally more than one third.

During one of our excursions into the country, we witnessed another
instance of the amicability with which the different colors associated
in the civil affairs of the island. It was a meeting of one of the
parish vestries, a kind of local legislature, which possesses
considerable power over its own territory. There were fifteen members
present, and nearly as many different shades of complexion. There was
the planter of aristocratic blood, and at his side was a deep mulatto,
born in the same parish a slave. There was the quadroon, and the
unmitigated hue and unmodified features of the negro. They sat together
around a circular table, and conversed as freely as though they had been
all of one color. There was no restraint, no uneasiness, as though the
parties felt themselves out of place, no assumption nor disrespect, but
all the proceedings manifested the most perfect harmony, confidence, and
good feeling.

At the same time there was a meeting of the parish committee on roads,
at which there was the same intermixture of colors, the same freedom and
kindness of demeanor, and the same unanimity of action. Thus it is with
all the political and civil bodies in the island, from the House of
Assembly, to committees on jails and houses of correction. Into all of
them, the colored people are gradually making their way, and
participating in public debates and public measures, and dividing with
the whites legislative and judicial power, and in many cases they
exhibit a superiority, and in all cases a respectability, of talents and
attainments, and a courtesy and general propriety of conduct, which gain
for them the respect of the intelligent and candid among their white

We visited the house of correction for the parish of St. Andrews. The
superintendent received us with the iron-hearted courtesy of a Newgate
turnkey. Our company was evidently unwelcome, but as the friend who
accompanied us was a man in authority, he was constrained to admit us.
The first sound that greeted us was a piercing outcry from the
treadmill. On going to it, we saw a youth of about eighteen hanging in
the air by a strap bound to his wrist, and dangling against the wheel in
such a manner that every revolution of it scraped the body from the
breast to the ankles. He had fallen off from weakness and fatigue, and
was struggling and crying in the greatest distress, while the strap,
which extended to a pole above and stretched his arm high above his
head, held him fast. The superintendent, in a harsh voice, ordered him
to be lifted up, and his feet again placed on the wheel. But before he
had taken five steps, he again fell off, and was suspended as before. At
the same instant, a woman also fell off, and without a sigh or the
motion of a muscle, for she was too much exhausted for either, but with
a shocking wildness of the eye, hung by her half-dislocated arms against
the wheel. As the allotted time (fifteen minutes) had expired, the
persons on the wheel were released, and permitted to rest. The boy could
hardly stand on the ground. He had a large ulcer on one of his feet,
which was much swollen and inflamed, and his legs and body were greatly
bruised and peeled by the revolving of the wheel. The gentleman who was
with us reproved the superintendent severely for his conduct, and told
him to remove the boy from the treadmill gang, and see that proper care
was taken of him. The poor woman who fell off, seemed completely
exhausted; she tottered to the wall near by, and took up a little babe
which we had not observed before. It appeared to be not more than two or
three months old, and the little thing stretched out its arms and
welcomed its mother. On inquiry, we ascertained that this woman's
offence was absence from the field an hour after the required time (six
o'clock) in the morning. Besides the infant with her, she had two or
three other children. Whether the care of them was any excuse for her,
we leave American mothers to judge. There were two other women on the
treadmill--one was sentenced there for stealing cane from her master's
field, and the other, we believe, for running away.

The superintendent next took us to the solitary cells. They were dirty,
and badly ventilated, and unfit to keep beasts in. On opening the doors,
such a stench rushed forth, that we could not remain. There was a poor
woman in one of them, who appeared, as the light of day and the fresh
air burst in upon her, like a despairing maniac.

We went through the other buildings, all of which were old and dirty,
nay, worse, _filthy_ in the extreme. The whole establishment was a
disgrace to the island. The prisoners were poorly clad, and had the
appearance of harsh usage. Our suspicions of ill treatment were
strengthened by noticing a large whip in the treadmill, and sundry iron
collars and handcuffs hanging about in the several rooms through which
we passed.

The number of inmates in this house at our visit, was
forty-eight--eighteen of whom were females. Twenty of these were in the
treadmill and in solitary confinement--the remainder were working on
the public road at a little distance--many of them _in irons_--iron
collars about their necks, and chains passing between, connecting them
together two and two.



Wishing to accomplish the most that our limited time would allow; we
separated at Kingston;--the one taking a northwesterly route among the
mountainous coffee districts of Port Royal and St. Andrews, and the
other going into the parish of St. Thomas in the East.

St. Thomas in the East is said to present the apprenticeship in its most
favorable aspects. There is probably no other parish in the island which
includes so many fine estates, or has so many liberal-minded
planters.[A] A day's easy drive from Kingston, brought us to Morant Bay,
where we spent two days, and called on several influential gentlemen,
besides visiting the neighboring estate of Belvidere. One gentleman whom
we met was Thomas Thomson, Esq., the senior local magistrate of the
Parish, next in civil influence to the Custos. His standing may be
inferred from the circumstance, (not trifling in Jamaica,) that the
Governor, during his tour of the island, spent a night at his house. We
breakfasted with Mr. Thomson, and at that time, and subsequently, he
showed the utmost readiness in furnishing us with information. He is a
Scotchman, has been in the island for thirty-eight years, and has served
as a local magistrate for thirty-four. Until very lately, he has been a
proprietor of estates; he informed us that he had sold out, but did not
mention the reasons. We strongly suspected, from the drift of his
conversation, that he sold about the time of abolition, through alarm
for the consequences. We early discovered that he was one of the old
school tyrants, hostile to the change which _had_ taken place, and
dreadfully alarmed in view of that which was yet to come. Although full
of the prejudices of an old slaveholder, yet we found him a man of
strong native sense and considerable intelligence. He declared it most
unreservedly as his opinion, that the negroes would not work after
1810--they were _naturally so indolent_, that they would prefer
gaining a livelihood in some easier way than by digging cane holes. He
had all the results of the emancipation of 1840 as clearly before his
mind, as though he saw them in prophetic vision; he knew the whole
process. One portion of the negroes, too lazy to provide food by their
own labor, will rob the provision grounds of the few who will remain at
work. The latter will endure the wrong as long as they well can, and
then they will procure arms and fire upon the marauders; this will give
rise to incessant petty conflicts between the lazy and the industrious,
and a great destruction of life will ensue. Others will die in vast
numbers from starvation; among these will be the superannuated and the
young, who cannot support themselves, and whom the planters will not be
able to support. Others numerous will perish from disease, chiefly for
want of medical attendance, which it will be wholly out of their power
to provide. Such is the dismal picture drawn by a late slaveholder, of
the consequences of removing the negroes from the tender mercies of
oppressors. Happily for all parties, Mr. Thomson is not very likely to
establish his claim to the character of a prophet. We were not at all
surprised to hear him wind up his prophecies against freedom with a
_denunciation of slavery_. He declared that slavery was a wretched
system. Man was _naturally a tyrant_. Mr. T. said he had one good
thing to say of the negroes, viz., that they were an _exceedingly
temperate people_. It was a very unusual thing to see one of them drunk.
Slavery, he said, was a system of _horrid cruelties_. He had lately
read, in the history of Jamaica, of a planter, in 1763, having a slave's
_leg_ cut off, to keep him from running away. He said that dreadful
cruelties were perpetrated until the close of slavery, and they were
inseparable from slavery. He also spoke of the fears which haunted the
slaveholders. He never would live on an estate; and whenever he chanced
to stay over night in the country, he always took care to secure his
door by bolting and barricading it. At Mr. Thomson's we met Andrew
Wright, Esq., the proprietor of a sugar estate called Green Wall,
situated some six miles from the bay. He is an intelligent gentleman, of
an amiable disposition--has on his estate one hundred and sixty
apprentices. He described his people as being in a very peaceable state,
and as industrious as he could wish. He said he had no trouble with
them, and it was his opinion, that where there is trouble, it must be
_owing to bad management_. He anticipated no difficulty after 1840, and
was confident that his people would not leave him. He believed that the
negroes would not to any great extent abandon the cultivation of sugar
after 1840. Mr. T. stated two facts respecting this enlightened planter,
which amply account for the good conduct of his apprentices. One was,
that he was an exceedingly kind and amiable man. _He had never been
known to have a falling out with any man in his life_. Another fact was,
that Mr. Wright was the only resident sugar proprietor in all that
region of country. He superintends his own estate, while the other large
estates are generally left in the hands of unprincipled, mercenary men.

[Footnote A: We have the following testimony of Sir Lionel Smith to the
superiority of St. Thomas in the East. It is taken from the Royal
Gazette, (Kingston.) May 6, 1837. "His Excellency has said, that in all
his tour he was not more highly gratified with any parish than he was
with St. Thomas in the East."]

We called on the Wesleyan missionary at Morant Bay, Rev. Mr. Crookes,
who has been in Jamaica fifteen years. Mr. C. said, that in many
respects there had been a great improvement since the abolition of
slavery, but, said he, "I abominate the apprenticeship system. At best,
it is only _improved slavery_." The obstacles to religious efforts
have been considerably diminished, but the masters were not to be
thanked for this; it was owing chiefly to the protection of British law.
The apprenticeship, Mr. C. thought, could not be any material
preparation for freedom. He was persuaded that it would have been far
better policy to have granted entire emancipation at once.

In company with Mr. Howell, an Independent, and teacher of a school of
eighty negro children in Morant Bay, we drove out to Belvidere estate,
which is situated about four miles from the bay, in a rich district
called the Blue Mountain Valley. The Belvidere is one of the finest
estates in the valley. It contains two thousand acres, only four hundred
of which are cultivated in sugar; the most of it is woodland. This
estate belongs to Count Freeman, an absentee proprietor. We took
breakfast with the overseer, or manager, Mr. Briant. Mr. B. stated that
there was not so much work done now as there was during slavery. Thinks
there is _as much done for the length of time that the apprentices are
at work_; but a day and a half every week is lost; neither _are they
called out as early in the morning, nor do they work as late at night_.
The apprentices work at night very cheerfully for money: but they will
not work on Saturday for the common wages--quarter of a dollar. On
inquiry of Mr. B. we ascertained that the reason the apprentices did not
work on Saturdays was, that they could _make twice or three times as
much_ by cultivating their provision grounds, and carrying their produce
to market. At _night_ they cannot cultivate their grounds, then they
work for their masters "very cheerfully."

The manager stated, that there had been no disturbance with the people
of Belvidere since the change. They work well, and conduct themselves
peaceably; and he had no fear but that the great body of the negroes
would remain on the estate after 1840, and labor as usual. This he
thought would be the case on every estate where there _is mild
management_. Some, indeed, might leave even such estates to _try their
fortunes_ elsewhere, but they would soon discover that they could get no
better treatment abroad, and they would then return to their old homes.

While we were at Belvidere, Mr. Howell took us to see a new chapel which
the apprentices of that estate have erected since 1834, by their own
labor, and at their own expense. The house is thirty feet by forty;
composed of the same materials of which the negro huts are built. We
were told that the building of this chapel was first suggested by the
apprentices, and as soon as permission was obtained, they commenced the
preparations for its erection. We record this as a delightful _sign of
the times_.

On our return to Morant Bay, we visited the house of correction,
situated near the village. This is the only "institution," as a Kingston
paper gravely terms it, of the kind in the parish. It is a small,
ill-constructed establishment, horribly filthy, more like a receptacle
for wild beasts than human beings. There is a treadmill connected with
it, made to _accommodate_ fifteen persons at a time. Alternate companies
ascend the wheel every fifteen minutes. It was unoccupied when we went
in; most of the prisoners being at work on the public roads. Two or
three, who happened to be near by, were called in by the keeper, and
ordered to mount the wheel, to show us how it worked. It made our blood
run cold as we thought of the dreadful suffering that inevitably ensues,
when the foot loses the step, and the body hangs against the
revolving cylinder.

Leaving the house of correction, we proceeded to the village. In a small
open square in the centre of it, we saw a number of the unhappy inmates
of the house of correction at work under the direction, we are sorry to
say, of our friend Thomas Thomson, Esq. They were chained two and two by
heavy chains fastened to iron bands around their necks. On another
occasion, we saw the same gang at work in the yard attached to the
Independent chapel.

We received a visit, at our lodgings, from the special justice of this
district, Major Baines. He was accompanied by Mr. Thomson, who came to
introduce him as his friend. We were not left to this recommendation
alone, suspicious as it was, to infer the character of this magistrate,
for we were advertised previously that he was a "planter's man"--unjust
and cruel to the apprentices. Major B. appeared to have been looking
through his friend Thomson's prophetic telescope. There was certainly a
wonderful coincidence of vision--the same abandonment of labor, the same
preying upon provision grounds; the same violence, bloodshed and great
loss of life among the negroes themselves! However, the special
magistrate appeared to see a little further than the local magistrate,
even to the _end_ of the carnage, and to the re-establishment of
industry, peace and prosperity. The evil, he was confident, would soon
cure itself.

One remark of the special magistrate was worthy a prophet. When asked if
he thought there would be any serious disaffection produced among the
praedials by the emancipation of the non-praedials in 1838, he said, he
thought there would not be, and assigned as the reason, that the
praedials knew all about the arrangement, and did not _expect to be
free_. That is, the field apprentices knew that the domestics were to be
liberated two years sooner than they, and, without inquiring into the
grounds, or justice of the arrangement, _they would promptly
acquiesce in it_!

What a fine compliment to the patience and forbearance of the mass of
the negroes. The majority see the minority emancipated two years before
them, and that, too, upon the ground of an odious distinction which
makes the domestic more worthy than they who "bear the heat and burthen
of the day," in the open field; and yet they submit patiently, because
they are told that it is the pleasure of government that it should
be so!

The _non-praedials_, too, have their noble traits, as well as the less
favored agriculturalists. The special magistrate said that he was then
engaged in classifying the apprentices of the different estates in his
district. The object of this classification was, to ascertain all those
who were non-praedials, that they might be recorded as the subjects of
emancipation in 1838. To his astonishment he found numbers of this class
who expressed a wish to remain apprentices until 1840. On one estate,
six out of eight took this course, on another, twelve out of fourteen,
and in some instances, _all_ the non-praedials determined to suffer it
out with the rest of their brethren, refusing to accept freedom until
with the whole body they could rise up and shout the jubilee of
universal disinthrallment. Here is a nobility worthy to compare with the
patience of the praedials. In connection with the conduct of the
non-praedials, he mentioned the following instance of white brutality
and negro magnanimity. A planter, whose negroes he was classifying,
brought forward a woman whom he claimed as a praedial. The woman
declared that she was a non-praedial, and on investigation it was
clearly proved that she had always been a domestic; and consequently
entitled to freedom in 1838. After the planter's claim was set aside,
the woman said, "_Now_ I will stay with massa, and be his 'prentice for
de udder two year."

Shortly before we left the Bay, our landlady, a colored woman,
introduced one of her neighbors, whose conversation afforded us a rare
treat. She was a colored lady of good appearance and lady like manners.
Supposing from her color that she had been prompted by strong sympathy
in our objects to seek an interview with us, we immediately introduced
the subject of slavery, stating that as we had a vast number of slaves
in our country, we had visited Jamaica to see how the freed people
behaved, with the hope that our countrymen might be encouraged to adopt
emancipation. "Alack a day!" The tawny madam shook her head, and, with
that peculiar creole whine, so expressive of contempt, said, "Can't say
any thing for you, sir--they not doing no good now, sir--the negroes
an't!"--and on she went abusing the apprentices, and denouncing
abolition. No American white lady could speak more disparagingly of the
niggers, than did this recreant descendant of the negro race. They did
no work, they stole, were insolent, insubordinate, and what not.

She concluded in the following elegiac strain, which did not fail to
touch our sympathies. "I can't tell what will become of us after 1840.
Our negroes will be taken away from us--we shall find no work to do
ourselves--we shall all have to beg, and who shall we beg from? _All
will be beggars, and we must starve_!"

Poor Miss L. is one of that unfortunate class who have hitherto gained a
meagre support from the stolen hire of a few slaves, and who, after
entire emancipation, will be stripped of every thing. This is the class
upon whom emancipation will fall most heavily; it will at once cast many
out of a situation of ease, into the humiliating dilemma of _laboring or
begging_--to the _latter_ of which alternatives, Miss L. seems inclined.
Let Miss L. be comforted! It is better to beg than to _steal_.

We proceeded from Morant Bay to Bath, a distance of fourteen miles,
where we put up at a neat cottage lodging-house, kept by Miss P., a
colored lady. Bath is a picturesque little village, embowered in
perpetual green, and lying at the foot of a mountain on one side, and on
the other by the margin of a rambling little river. It seems to have
accumulated around it and within it, all the verdure and foliage of a
tropical clime.

Having a letter of introduction, we called on the special magistrate for
that district--George Willis, Esq. As we entered his office, an
apprentice was led up in irons by a policeman, and at the same time
another man rode up with a letter from the master of the apprentice,
directing the magistrate to release him instantly. The facts of this
case, as Mr. W. himself explained them to us, will illustrate the
careless manner in which the magistrates administer the law. The master
had sent his apprentice to a neighboring estate, where there had been
some disturbance, to get his clothes, which had been left there. The
overseer of the estate finding an intruder on his property, had him
handcuffed forthwith, notwithstanding his repeated declarations that his
master had sent him. Having handcuffed him, he ordered him to be taken
before the special magistrate, Mr. W., who had him confined in the
station-house all night. Mr. W., in pursuance of the direction received
from the master, ordered the man to be released, but at the same time
repeatedly declared to him that the _overseer was not to blame for
arresting him_.

After this case was disposed of, Mr. W, turned to us. He said he had a
district of thirty miles in extent, including five thousand apprentices;
these he visited thrice every month. He stated that there had been a
gradual decrease of crime since he came to the district, which was early
in 1835. For example, in March, 1837, there were but twenty-four persons
punished, and in March, 1835, there were as many punished in a single
week. He explained this by saying that the apprentices had become
_better acquainted with the requirements of the law_. The chief offence
at present was _absconding from labor_.

This magistrate gave us an account of an alarming rebellion which had
lately occurred in his district, which we will venture to notice, since
it is the only serious disturbance on the part of the negroes, which has
taken place in the island, from the beginning of the apprenticeship.
About two weeks before, the apprentices on Thornton estate, amounting to
about ninety, had refused to work, and fled in a body to the woods,
where they still remained. Their complaint, according to our informant,
was, that their master had turned the cattle upon their provision
grounds, and all their provisions were destroyed, so that they could not
live. They, therefore, determined that they would not continue at work,
seeing they would be obliged to starve. Mr. W. stated that he had
visited the provision grounds, in company with two _disinterested
planters_, and he could affirm that the apprentices had _no just cause
of complaint_. It was true their fences had been broken down, and their
provisions had been somewhat injured, but the fence could be very easily
repaired, and there was an _abundance of yams left_ to furnish food for
the whole gang for some time to come--those that were destroyed being
chiefly young roots which would not have come to maturity for several
months. These statements were the substance of a formal report which he
had just prepared for the eye of Sir Lionel Smith, and which he was kind
enough to read to us. This was a fine report, truly, to come from a
special justice. To say nothing of the short time in which the fence
might be repaired, those were surely very dainty-mouthed cattle that
would consume those roots only which were so small that several months
would be requisite for their maturity. The report concluded with a
recommendation to his Excellency to take seminary vengeance upon a few
of the gang as soon as they could be arrested, since they had set such
an example to the surrounding apprentices. He could not see how order
and subordination could be preserved in his district unless such a
punishment was inflicted as would be a warning to all evil doers. He
further suggested the propriety of sending the maroons[A] after them, to
hunt them out of their hiding places and bring them to justice.

[Footnote A: The maroons are free negroes, inhabiting the mountains of
the interior, who were formerly hired by the authorities, or by
planters, to hunt up runaway slaves, and return them to their masters.
Unfortunately our own country is not without _its_ maroons.]

We chanced to obtain a different version of this affair, which, as it
was confirmed by different persons in Bath, both white and colored, who
had no connection with each other, we cannot help thinking it the
true one.

The apprentices on Thornton, are what is termed a jobbing gang, that is,
they are hired out by their master to any planter who may want their
services. Jobbing is universally regarded by the negroes as the worst
kind of service, for many reasons--principally because it often takes
them many miles from their homes, and they are still required to supply
themselves with food from their own provision grounds. They are allowed
to return home every Friday evening or Saturday, and stay till Monday
morning. The owner of the gang in question lately died--to whom it is
said they were greatly attached--and they passed into the hands of a Mr.
Jocken, the present overseer. Jocken is a notoriously cruel man. It was
scarcely a twelvemonth ago, that he was fined one hundred pounds
currency, and sentenced to imprisonment for three months in the Kingston
jail, _for tying one of his apprentices to a dead ox_, because the
animal died while in the care of the apprentice. He also confined a
woman in the same pen with a dead sheep, because she suffered the sheep
to die. Repeated acts of cruelty have caused Jocken to be regarded as a
monster in the community. From a knowledge of his character, the
apprentices of Thornton had a strong prejudice against him. One of the
earliest acts after he went among them, was to break down their fences,
and turn his cattle into their provision grounds. He then ordered them
to go to a distant estate to work. This they refused to do, and when he
attempted to compel them to go, they left the estate in a body, and went
to the woods. This is what is called a _state of open rebellion_, and
for this they were to be hunted like beasts, and to suffer such a
terrible punishment as would deter all other apprentices from taking a
similar step.

This Jocken is the same wretch who wantonly handcuffed the apprentice,
who went on to his estate by the direction of his master.

Mr. Willis showed us a letter which he had received that morning from a
planter in his district, who had just been trying an experiment in job
work, (i.e., paying his people so much for a certain amount of work.) He
had made a proposition to one of the head men on the estate, that he
would give him a doubloon an acre if he would get ten acres of cane land
holed. The man employed a large number of apprentices, and accomplished
the job on three successive Saturdays. They worked at the rate of nearly
one hundred holes per day for each man, whereas the usual day's work is
only seventy-five holes.

Mr. W. bore testimony that the great body of the negroes in his district
were very peaceable. There were but a few _incorrigible fellows_, that
did all the mischief. When any disturbance took place on an estate, he
could generally tell who the individual offenders were. He did not think
there would be any serious difficulty after 1840. However, the result he
thought would _greatly depend on the conduct of the managers!_

We met in Bath with the proprietor of a coffee estate situated a few
miles in the country. He gave a very favorable account of the people on
his estate; stating that they were as peaceable and industrious as he
could desire, that he had their confidence, and fully expected to retain
it after entire emancipation. He anticipated no trouble whatever, and he
felt assured, too, that if _the planters would conduct in a proper
manner_, emancipation would be a blessing to the whole colony.

We called on the Wesleyan missionary, whom we found the decided friend
and advocate of freedom. He scrupled not to declare his sentiments
respecting the special magistrate, whom he declared to be a cruel and
dishonest man. He seemed to take delight in flogging the apprentices. He
had got a whipping machine made and erected in front of the Episcopal
church in the village of Bath. It was a frame of a triangular shape, the
base of which rested firmly on the ground, and having a perpendicular
beam from the base to the apex or angle. To this beam the apprentice's
body was lashed, with his face towards the machine, and his arms
extended at right angles, and tied by the wrists. The missionary had
witnessed the floggings at this machine repeatedly, as it stood but a
few steps from his house. Before we reached Bath, the machine had been
removed from its conspicuous place and _concealed in the bushes, that
the governor might not see it when he visited the village_.

As this missionary had been for several years laboring in the island,
and had enjoyed the best opportunities to become extensively acquainted
with the negroes, we solicited from him a written answer to a number of
inquiries. We make some extracts from his communication.

1. Have the facilities for missionary effort greatly increased since the
abolition of slavery?

The opportunities of the apprentices to attend the means of grace are
greater than during absolute slavery. They have now one day and a half
every week to work for their support, leaving the Sabbath free to
worship God.

2. Do you anticipate that these facilities will increase still more
after entire freedom?

Yes. The people will then have _six days of their own to labor for their
bread_, and will be at liberty to go to the house of God every Sabbath.
Under the present system, the magistrate often takes away the Saturday,
as a punishment, and then they must either work on the Sabbath
or starve.

3. Are the negroes likely to revenge by violence the wrongs which they
have suffered, after they obtain their freedom?

_I never heard the idea suggested, nor should I have thought of it had
you not made the inquiry._

We called on Mr. Rogers, the teacher of a Mico charity infant school in
Bath. Mr. R., his wife and daughter, are all engaged in this work. They
have a day school, and evening school three evenings in the week, and
Sabbath school twice each Sabbath. The evening schools are for the
benefit of the adult apprentices, who manifest the greatest eagerness to
learn to read. After working all day, they will come several miles to
school, and stay cheerfully till nine o'clock.

Mr. R. furnished us with a written communication, from which we extract
the following.

_Quest._ Are the apprentices desirous of being instructed?

_Ans._ Most assuredly they are; in proof of which I would observe that
since our establishment in Bath, the people not only attend the schools
regularly, but if they obtain a leaf of a book with letters upon it,
that is their _constant companion_. We have found mothers with their
sucking babes in their arms, standing night after night in their classes
learning the alphabet.

_Q._ Are the negroes grateful for attentions and favors?

_A._ They are; I have met some who have been so much affected by acts of
kindness, that they have burst into tears, exclaiming, 'Massa so
kind--my heart full.' Their affection to their teachers is very
remarkable. On my return lately from Kingston, after a temporary
absence, the negroes flocked to our residence and surrounded the chaise,
saying, 'We glad to see massa again; we glad to see school massa.' On my
way through an estate some time ago, some of the children observed me,
and in a transport of joy cried, 'Thank God, massa come again! Bless God
de Savior, massa come again!'

Mr. R., said he, casually met with an apprentice whose master had lately
died. The man was in the habit of visiting his master's grave every
Saturday. He said to Mr. R., "Me go to massa grave, and de water come
into me yeye; but me can't help it, massa, _de water will come into
me yeye_."

The Wesleyan missionary told us, that two apprentices, an aged man and
his daughter, a young woman, had been brought up by their master before
the special magistrate who sentenced them to several days confinement in
the house of correction at Morant Bay and to dance the treadmill. When
the sentence was passed the daughter entreated that she might be allowed
to _do her father's part_, as well as her own, on the treadmill, for he
was too old to dance the wheel--it would kill him.

From Bath we went into the Plantain Garden River Valley, one of the
richest and most beautiful savannahs in the island. It is an extensive
plain, from one to three miles wide, and about six miles long. The
Plantain Garden River, a small stream, winds through the midst of the
valley lengthwise, emptying into the sea. Passing through the valley, we
went a few miles south of it to call on Alexander Barclay, Esq., to whom
we had a letter of introduction. Mr. Barclay is a prominent member of
the assembly, and an attorney for eight estates. He made himself
somewhat distinguished a few years ago by writing an octavo volume of
five hundred pages in defence of the colonies, i.e., in defence of
colonial slavery. It was a reply to Stephen's masterly work against West
India slavery, and was considered by the Jamaicans a triumphant
vindication of their "peculiar institutions." We went several miles out
of our route expressly to have an interview with so zealous and
celebrated a champion of slavery. We were received with marked courtesy
by Mr. B., who constrained us to spend a day and night with him at his
seat at Fairfield. One of the first objects that met our eye in Mr. B.'s
dining hall was a splendid piece of silver plate, which was presented to
him by the planters of St. Thomas in the East, in consideration of his
able defence of colonial slavery. We were favorably impressed with Mr.
B.'s intelligence, and somewhat so with his present sentiments
respecting slavery. We gathered from him that he had resisted with all
his might the anti-slavery measures of the English government, and
exerted every power to prevent the introduction of the apprenticeship
system. After he saw that slavery would inevitably be abolished, he drew
up at length a plan of emancipation according to which the condition of
the slave was to be commuted into that of the old English _villein_--he
was to be made an appendage to _the soil_ instead of the "chattel
personal" of the master, the whip was to be partially abolished, a
modicum of wages was to be allowed the slave, and so on. There was to be
no fixed period when this system would terminate, but it was to fade
gradually and imperceptibly into entire freedom. He presented a copy of
his scheme to the then governor, the Earl of Mulgrave, requesting that
it might be forwarded to the home government. Mr. B. said that the
anti-slavery party in England had acted from the blind impulses of
religious fanaticism, and had precipitated to its issue a work which
required many years of silent preparation in order to its safe
accomplishment. He intimated that the management of abolition ought to
have been left with the colonists; they had been the long experienced
managers of slavery, and they were the only men qualified to superintend
its burial, and give it a decent interment.

He did not think that the apprenticeship afforded any clue to the dark
mystery of 1840. Apprenticeship was so inconsiderably different from
slavery, that it furnished no more satisfactory data for judging of the
results of entire freedom than slavery itself. Neither would he consent
to be comforted by the actual results of emancipation in Antigua.

Taking leave of Mr. Barclay, we returned to the Plantain Garden River
Valley, and called at the Golden Grove, one of the most splendid estates
in that magnificent district. This is an estate of two thousand acres;
it has five hundred apprentices and one hundred free children. The
average annual crop is six hundred hogsheads of sugar. Thomas McCornock,
Esq., the attorney of this estate, is the custos, or chief magistrate of
the parish, and colonel of the parish militia. There is no man in all
the parish of greater consequence, either in fact or in seeming
self-estimation, than Thomas McCornock, Esq. He is a Scotchman, as is
also Mr. Barclay. The custos received us with as much freedom as the
dignity of his numerous offices would admit of. The overseer, (manager,)
Mr. Duncan, is an intelligent, active, business man, and on any other
estate than Golden Grove, would doubtless be a personage of considerable
distinction. He conducted us through the numerous buildings, from the
boiling-house to the pig-stye. The principal complaint of the overseer,
was that he could not make the people work to any good purpose. They
were not at all refractory or disobedient; there was no difficulty in
getting them on to the field; but when they were there, they moved
without any life or energy. They took no interest in their work, and he
was obliged to be watching and scolding them all the time, or else they
would do nothing. We had not gone many steps after this observation,
before we met with a practical illustration of it. A number of the
apprentices had been ordered that morning to cart away some dirt to a
particular place. When we approached them, Mr. D. found that one of the
"wains" was standing idle. He inquired of the driver why he was keeping
the team idle. The reply was, that there was nothing there for it to do;
there were enough other wains to carry away all the dirt. "Then," inquired
the overseer with an ill-concealed irritation, "why did not go to some
other work?" The overseer then turned to us and said, "You see, sir,
what lazy dogs the apprentices are--this is the way they do every day,
if they are not closely watched." It was not long after this little
incident, before the overseer remarked that the apprentices worked very
well during their own time, _when they were paid for it_. When we went
into the hospital, Mr. D. directed out attention to one fact, which to
him was very provoking. A great portion of the patients that come in
during the week, unable to work, are in the habit of getting well on
Friday evening, so that they can go out on Saturday and Sunday; but on
Monday morning they are sure to be sick again, then they return to the
hospital and remain very poorly till Friday evening, when they get well
all at once, and ask permission to go out. The overseer saw into the
trick; but he could find no medicine that could cure the negroes of that
intermittent sickness. The Antigua planters discovered the remedy for
it, and doubtless Mr. D. will make the grand discovery in 1840.

On returning to the "great house," we found the custos sitting in state,
ready to communicate any official information which might be called for.
He expressed similar sentiments in the main, with those of Mr. Barclay.
He feared for the consequences of complete emancipation; the negroes
would to a great extent abandon the sugar cultivation and retire to the
woods, there to live in idleness, planting merely yams enough to keep
them alive, and in the process of time, retrograding into African
barbarism. The attorney did not see how it was possible to prevent this.
When asked whether he expected that such would be the case with the
negroes on Golden Grove, he replied that he did not think it would,
except with a very few persons. His people had been _so well treated_,
and had _so many comforts_, that they would not be at all likely to
abandon the estate! [Mark that!] Whose are the people that will desert
after 1840? Not Thomas McCornock's, Esq.! _They are too well situated.
Whose_ then will desert? _Mr. Jocken's_, or in other words, those who
are ill-treated, who are cruelly driven, whose fences are broken down,
and whose provision grounds are exposed to the cattle. They, and they
alone, will retire to the woods who can't get food any where else!

The custos thought the apprentices were behaving very ill. On being
asked if he had any trouble with his, he said, O, no! his apprentices
did quite well, and so did the apprentices generally, in the Plantain
Garden River Valley. But in _far off parishes_, he _heard_ that they
were very refractory and troublesome.

The custos testified that the negroes were very easily managed. He said
he had often thought that he would rather have the charge of six hundred
negroes, than of two hundred English sailors. He spoke also of the
temperate habits of the negroes. He had been in the island twenty-two
years, and he had never seen a negro woman drunk, on the estate. It was
very seldom that the men got drunk. There were not more than ten men on
Golden Grove, out of a population of five hundred, who were in the habit
of occasionally getting intoxicated. He also remarked that the negroes
were a remarkable people for their attention to the old and infirm among
them; they seldom suffered them to want, if it was in their power to
supply them. Among other remarks of the custos, was this sweeping
declaration--"_No man in his senses can pretend to defend slavery._"

After spending a day at Golden Grove, we proceeded to the adjacent
estate of Amity Hall. On entering the residence of the manager, Mr.
Kirkland, we were most gratefully surprised to find him engaged in
family prayers. It was the first time and the last that we heard the
voice of prayer in a Jamaican planter's house. We were no less
gratefully surprised to see a white lady, to whom we were introduced as
Mrs. Kirkland, and several modest and lovely little children. It was the
first and the last _family circle_ that we were permitted to see among
the planters of that licentious colony. The motley group of colored
children--of every age from tender infancy--which we found on other
estates, revealed the state of domestic manners among the planters.

Mr. K. regarded the abolition of slavery as a great blessing to the
colony; it was true that the apprenticeship was a wretchedly bad system,
but notwithstanding, things moved smoothly on his estate. He informed us
that the negroes on Amity Hall had formerly borne the character of being
the _worst gang in the parish_; and when he first came to the estate, he
found that half the truth had not been told of them; but they had become
remarkably peaceable and subordinate. It was his policy to give them
every comfort that he possibly could. Mr. K. made the same declaration,
which has been so often repeated in the course of this narrative, i.e.,
that if any of the estates were abandoned, it would be owing to the
harsh treatment of the people. He knew many overseers and book-keepers
who were cruel driving men, and he should not be surprised if _they_
lost a part, or all, of their laborers. He made one remark which we had
not heard before. There were some estates, he said, which would probably
be abandoned, for the same reason that they ought never to have been
cultivated, because they require _almost double labor_;--such are the
mountainous estates and barren, worn-out properties, which nothing but a
system of forced labor could possibly retain in cultivation. But the
idea that the negroes generally would leave their comfortable homes, and
various privileges on the estates, and retire to the wild woods, he
ridiculed as preposterous in the extreme. Mr. K. declared repeatedly
that he could not look forward to 1840, but with the most sanguine
hopes; he confidently believed that the introduction of complete freedom
would be the _regeneration of the island_. He alluded to the memorable
declaration of Lord Belmore, (made memorable by the excitement which it
caused among the colonists,) in his valedictory address to the assembly,
on the eve of his departure for England.[A] "Gentlemen," said he, "the
resources of this noble island will never be fully developed until
slavery is abolished!" For this manly avowal the assembly ignobly
refused him the usual marks of respect and honor at his departure. Mr.
K. expected to see Jamaica become a new world under the enterprise and
energies of freedom. There were a few disaffected planters, who would
probably remain so, and leave the islands after emancipation. It would
be a blessing to the country if such men left it, for as long as they
were disaffected, they were the enemies of its prosperity.

[Footnote A: Lord Belmore left the government of Jamaica, a short time
before the abolition act passed in parliament.]

Mr. K. conducted us through the negro quarters, which are situated on
the hill side, nearly a mile from his residence. We went into several of
the houses; which were of a better style somewhat than the huts in
Antigua and Barbadoes--larger, better finished and furnished. Some few
of them had verandahs or porches on one or more sides, after the West
India fashion, closed in with _jalousies_. In each of the houses to
which we were admitted, there was one apartment fitted up in a very neat
manner, with waxed floor, a good bedstead, and snow white coverings, a
few good chairs, a mahogany sideboard, ornamented with dishes,
decanters, etc.

From Amity Hall, we drove to Manchioneal, a small village ten miles
north of the Plantain Garden River Valley. We had a letter to the
special magistrate for that district, R. Chamberlain, Esq., a colored
gentleman, and the first magistrate we found in the parish of St. Thomas
in the East, who was faithful to the interests of the apprentices. He
was a boarder at the public house, where we were directed for lodgings,
and as we spent a few days in the village, we had opportunities of
obtaining much information from him, as well as of attending some of his
courts. Mr. C. had been only five months in the district of Manchioneal,
having been removed thither from a distant district. Being a friend of
the apprentices, he is hated and persecuted by the planters. He gave us
a gloomy picture of the oppressions and cruelties of the planters. Their
complaints brought before him are often of the most trivial kind; yet
because he does not condemn the apprentices to receive a punishment
which the most serious offences alone could justify him in inflicting,
they revile and denounce him as unfit for his station. He represents the
planters as not having the most distant idea that it is the province of
the special magistrate to secure justice to the apprentice; but they
regard it as his sole duty to _help them_ in getting from the laborers
as much work as whips, and chains, and tread-wheels can extort. His
predecessor, in the Manchioneal district, answered perfectly to the
planters' _beau ideal_. He ordered a _cat_ to be kept on every estate in
his district, to be ready for use as he went around on his weekly
visits. Every week he inspected the cats, and when they became too much

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