Skip to main content

Full text of "Jamaica under the apprenticeship system"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



I2.r J7 









/^^ t^O^-vU^ ^^'^i/^V.dl /^ 


16 ] ~ 

^.5^.>-P Y. 






** The Island is sabject to the reproach, that the Negroes in some respects 
are now iu a worse condition than they were in Slavery." — Extract from the 
Ninth Mestage of Sir Lionel Smith to the Assembly of Jamaica, on the 31s/ 
October, 1837. 









Since the printing of this Work, the Jamaica Papers to 
the 16 th of November have been received : — they contain 
several Dispatches from Lord Glenelg, which were commu- 
nicated to the House of Assembly. Many of the objection- 
able Acts appear to have been disallowed, and where they 
had already expired, such judicious instructions as to their 
renewal have been sent to the Governor, as almost to have 
rendered the remarks of the Author on the subject unne- 
cessary. It is impossible for any real friend of Jamaica not 
to be gratified by the contents of these Dispatches. 

January, 1838. 

mpiP^^^mpfVj^r-.- iviiiH a^n 



Public attention having been recently much directed 
towards the working of the Abolition Bill, and, in conse- 
quence of the examinations taken in 1836 by Mr. Buxton^s 
Committee, more particularly to the present state of Jamaica, 
I am induced to employ the leisure afforded me by a tem- 
porary retirement, in puting together some few observations, 
which have been the result of the experience acquired 
during a residence of some deration in that island. 

After the liberal gift of twenty millions to promote the 
cause of humanity, the British nation has a right to know 
what effect that sacrifice has had ; and whether the negroes 
have received all those advantages which were contemplated, 
when its representatives voted so large a sum. Great 
benefits have, I am aware, resulted to them ; but, without 
a moment's hesitation, I assert, that they have not been 
by any means such as were originally intended. 

To me it appears quite impossible to deny, that much 
abuse of the intentions of the Abolition Act has taken place, 
— and that every species of evasion within the letter of the 
law — certainly far beyond its spirit — has prevailed. 

But being aware that, however impossible such denial 
may appear to me, it still has been made in the most 
decided manner by the planters of that island, it becomes 
necessary to enter into more particulars than otherwise 



might have been requisite, and to avail myself of the evi- 
dence which was given before the committee, wherever I 
may think it necessary for the support of my assertions; 
There was no person on that committee acquainted with 
the existing state of Jamaica ; and therefore many mistakes 
were made as to the points on which the witnesses ought 
to have been examined. It appears that opinions were 
more sought for than facts ; while, had the latter been pro- 
duced, opinions — not those of the witnesses only, but of the 
hearers— would have naturally followed. The consequence 
is, that many circumstances which bear very materially on 
the ultimate success or failure of this great measure of 
humanity, have escaped observation. 

It is my intention to point these out as far as I am able, 
£^nd, for the purpose of throwing light on the subject, to 
add some details, which have come within my own know- 

In order to make the matter more clear, it will be expe-s 
dient for me to give, as briefly as possible, an account of 
the more prominent occurrences from the period imme- 
diately preceding the 1st of August 1834, to the end of 

Considerable apprehension was felt at that time, respect- 
ing the probable conduct of the negroes on the eventful 1st 
of August;, a feeling, however, in which those who did not 
see how it could be the interest of the slaves to interfere 
with the progress of an enactment so manifestly for their 
benefit, did not participate. 

Anticipations however of a general massacre of the whites, 
were entertained by m^ny alarmists, and, among the great 
majority of the planters, a deep-seated but indefinite fear 
prevailed extensively. It was fortunate in my view, that 
this opinion did pi*evail, as, without it, the measures essen- 
tial to the success of the abolition act would not, as I 
think, have been passed by the legislature. 


Mach anxiety as to an imm^iate meeting of that body 
for the purpose of making preparations for the great ap- 
proaching change, had been evinced during the whole 
Spring: various causes having, however, contributed to 
delay the arrival of the Marquis of ^igo, the intended 
successor of the Earl of M ulgrave, till the beginning of 
April, it was not until the first week in June that the Ex* 
traordinary Session commenced. For the reasons above- 
mentioned, the Members of the Council and Assembly 
appeared quite ready to meet the views of the British 
Government as to precautionary measures; and in com* 
pliance with the widies expressed in His Excellency's open- 
ing speech and in bis variour messages to the two branches 
of the Legislature they at once passed an Act in Aid of 
the original Abolition Law, containing all the provisions 
recommended by Mr. Stanley, with the exception of one 
only, namely, that of apportioning to the apprentice ^ome 
part of the pecuniary penalty inflicted by the law on the 
master for a breach of its enactments. Of the impolicy 
of acceding to this recommendation the Assembly were so 
decided, that nothing could have changed their opinion, — 
and, indeed, all those who possessed any knowledge of the 
feelings of the two parties — master and apprentice — towards 
each other respectively, thought that its enactment would 
occasion more jealousy on one side, and more frivolous 
complaints on the other, than could be imagined by any 
person not acquainted with the state of their mutual rela- 
tion, and that the result would practically be, rather to 
create discord than to promote harmony. It appears, 
therefore, to have been fortunate that it was not farther 
pressed on them. 

The Assembly also voted a police law, which, though in 
some respects to be approved, was quite inadmissible on 
other points, more particularly as it did not vest the 



authority over the police exclusively in the Executive. It 
having been known, indirectly, that the Governor felt it 
impossible, under his instructions, to assent to such a bill, 
a readiness to reconsider the measure was expressed, out of 
the House, by most of its members. A prorogation for a 
day was granted, in consequence, with the view of giving 
an opportunity for so doing ; — and all parties agreeing in 
the absolute necessity of providing a well-organized police 
force previous to the 1st of August, a bill to that effect 
was passed vnth all practicable speed, on an exceUent and 
efficient plan. 

From the disposition subsequently shewn by the House 
of Assembly, it is to be surmised that their ready com- 
pliance with the various amendments suggested to them, 
originated more in their alarm for the future than in any 
desire ta meet the wishes of the British nation — vnshes to 
which they have proved themselves singularly blind ever 
since, even during the administration of the present Gover- 
nor of Jamaica, in whom they have expressed unlimited 

The memorable 1st of August at length arrived, and 
instead of being marked by the flowing of blood, insurrec- 
tion, and disturbance, as anticipated, it was celebrated and 
made memorable, by the most extraordinary, nay, the 
almost universal, attendance of the negroes at the different 
places of worship. The great majority of the slaves, — I 
think it no exaggeration to say nine-tenths of the whole 
black population,— are either Baptists or Wesleyans. The 
chapels of those sects, which are of considerable size, were 
opened for Divine SeiTice five or six times during the day, 
and were each time crowded, to an inconvenience in such 
a climate, by a succession of negroes, till all pr'esent had 
been enabled to offer up their expressions of gratitude 
to the Supreme Being for their newly acquired privileges. 


It is said, and generally believed, that not a single drunken 
man appeared during the ivhole of that day in the streets 
of any of the principal towns. On the subsequent days, 
more particularly that on which, they were to return to 
their work, no cause for complaint was given, excepting 
in one instance. In the parish of St. Anne's alone, was 
there exhibited any disposition on the part of the negroes 
to secede from their usual labours. This occurred on the 
Monday after the first of August, the day on which they 
were to resume their former occupations for a diminished 
number of hours in each week. At Shaw Park, the seat 
of Mr. Walker, a member of Assembly, they threw down 
their hoes, and other agricultural implements, declaring 
that King William had " given them free," and that they 
would not therefore work any more without payment. 
An account of this event was sent to the Governor by an 
express messenger, who also informed him, that all along 
the road the Militia had been called out by the autho* 
rity of a planting attorney in St. Anne's. In the absence 
of Sir Amos Norcott, who happened to be on a tour of 
inspection, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Macleod, then 
Deputy- Adjutant-General of Jamaica, holding the local 
rank of Lieutenant-General of Militia, was directed to pro- 
ceed with two companies of the Mth, in the Rhadamanthus 
steamer, round the east end of the island, to Ocho Rios 
Bay, which is close to Mr. Walker's house, for the purpose 
of putting an end to this ill-advised proceeding, and of 
preventing this spirit of insubordination from spreading, 
and infecting the other negroes. With the zeal and energy 
which peculiarly marked that officer, and Captain Evans 
of the Rhadamanthus, the troops were put on board the 
same night, and reached Ocho Rios Bay thirty-six hours 
afterwards. Just before daylight they were landed, and 
marched up to ShS^ Park. The negroes were assembled 


and addressed by Mr. Ramsay, the Inspector*General of 
Police and a Special Justice. Having in vain exhorted 
them to return to their work, he was compelled to ad- 
minister corpora] punishment to a few; and those were, of 
all the negroes in Jamaica, (^40,000 in number) the only 
persons who suffered in the slightest manner, or exhibited 
any reluctance to comply with the new order of things. In 
point of fact, they really did think that they were defrauded 
of their freedom by tlie Governor, for corrupt purposes : 
they said, in their own language, " Gubernor Mulgrave 
gave we free, but Gubernor Sligo keep we slaves because 
him hab slaves of him own." In vain were they shewn 
a copy of the Abolition Law, with Lord Mulgrave's signa- 
ture, and told that he never promised them freedom such 
as they expected ; they refused to believe it. They would 
not even take Sir Henry Macleod's word ; in vain did he 
exhibit his red coat, as a King's officer, a circumstance 
which, at any other time, would have procured him implicit 
credit and obedience : at length they declared, that ** if 
he would go down to St. Anne's Bay, and make affidavit 
that they were not defrauded of their rights, they would go 
to work." He did not comply ; yet they all returned to a 
due state of subordination, and perfect tranquillity was 
restored. Thus ended the anticipated massacre and insur* 
rection. Not the slightest indisposition to resume their 
work was exhibited by them at any place in the Island 
except on this and an adjoining estate; and even that 
ceased, as I have above related, the moment the troops 
appeared. It is curious to remark, that such a spirit 
of insubordination should have occurred nowhere except- 
ing in a parish in which the resident gentry had shown 
themselves previously to be the most opposed to the British 
views in Lord Mulgrave's time, and in which the ^^ Colonial 
Union " may be said to have originated. 


The terrors of the planters as to the conduct of the 
n^oes having thus subsided, they postponed the period 
of their anticipated alarms till the Christmas holidays; 
but it ai^^red that in this respect they were again 
mistaken* The anniversary of the 1st of August was next 
&ced upon as the time of danger ; subsequent events have 
shewn how completely deceived in their calculations were 
these gentlemen, who silenced all who differed in opinion 
whh them by saying, ^^ We, who have been so long in 
the island, must know its state better than you, who have 
so lately reached it; — ^you don't know the character of the 

It would have been fortunate for the Pioprietors if no 
faarm, except this fright of the attorneys and planters, had 
residted from perhaps well-founded anticipations; but it 
turned out, in consequence of this feeling, and of their 
settled conviction that nothing would make the negroes 
work, that they neglected to put in the usual quantity of 
canes, and the crop of 18S6 necessarily became much 
diminished* Ttas diminution, which was owing to the 
prejuiUce, to the insuperable prejudice, of the planters, — 
a prejudice which has been proved to be utterly destitute 
of foundation by every subsequent event, — ^was most un- 
justly consictered by the proprietors at home as having 
been occasioned by a disinclination to work on the part of 
the negroes* In some instances, probably, it was so repre- 
sented to them by the attorneys* That the latter really 
thought they would not work, I am confident; and it 
might be naturally supposed, that they communicated their 
own impressions to their principals, and likewise the fears 
of other attorneys, who, in the House of Assembly, and 
in private conversation, expressed such fears as the result of 
their observations and experience* In other cases, where 
no cause for the deficiency was reported, excepting generally 


the bad working of the new system, the natural inference 
of the proprietor, who had not himself seen the actual state 
of things, must have been, that it was owing to the fault 
of the negroes. Now, in point of fact, it was owing to the 
conduct of the attorney in either of two cases : first, if the 
attorneys or their overseers neglected to put in a sufficient 
plant; or secondly, if the negroes refused to work, because, 
in the latter case, that refusal is to be attributed to the 
injudicious and perhaps unkind system of treatment adopted 
by the managers previous to emancipation. Continual 
representations were made to the special magistrates, that 
the apprentices were doing no work for their master in his 
legal time, that they would not work for wages, and, finally, 
that their insolence was unbearable. When those officers, 
in the exercise of the discretion entrusted to them, did not 
think the offences proved deserving of the punishment 
which the overseers thought they merited, they were some- 
times personally insulted, but more generally the most 
frivolous complaints of their partiality were poured into the 
Governor's office. The public prints, besides, were full of 
abuse of these magistrates, and they were accused of being 
in the pay of the " Aldermanbury Gang," as the " Anti- 
slavery Society" is termed in Jamaica language. The fact 
is, that these attorneys and overseers had been bred up in 
the exercise of the most arbitrary authority ; and without 
charging the inhabitants of that Island with unusual culpa- 
bility, it cannot be denied that abuses of irresponsible and 
arbitrary authority will every where prevail. If it were 
not an irresponsible and arbitrary authority in the letter 
of the law, it was so in the spirit and fact. Surely the 
^es of such abuses as have been discovered and punished 
will not be adduced as a contradiction of this assertion ; — 
they are quite the reverse. When such a spirit is exhibited, 
and when the person exercising it does not appear after- 


wards to be thereby disgraced; when, on the contrary, 
if he be punished, he is considered as a martyr, and the 
great majority of his neighbours become his loud partisans, 
and raise a cry of oppression, is it not a reasonable conclu- 
sion, that his offence is not one in their eyes ? is it impro- 
bable that they would not scruple to act in the same 
way themselves, if they thought that they could do so 
without detection ? I am convinced that the majority of 
the overseers and planters expected at first that they 
would obtain as much labour from the apprentices when 
the law gave the master only forty hours and a half per 
week of their services, as when, in point of fact, though 
not in point of law, there was no limit to their exactions 
but the powers of endurance in the slaves, and their own 
opinion of what it was their interest to require. Being 
disappointed in this expectation, they became irritated, and 
used gross language towards the negroes, from which, even 
to this day, it is notorious that they cannot refrain. The 
negroes, who appear to be quite alive to their newly 
acquired privileges, may probably have got sulky under 
such treatment, and have given answers which, during the 
time of slavery, woidd have subjected the offender to im- 
mediate punishment with a cartwhip. Thus it is that ill- 
will on one side has generated ill-will on the other, and 
that a mutual distrust has arisen. This will, no doubt, 
materially endanger the ultimate success of the Abolition 
measure, so far as the procuring from the free will of the 
negroes the labour which they had previously given from 
the stimulus of flogging, is concerned ; and therefore it is 
much to be lamented. No matter on which side the fault 
lies, the effect cannot but be very injurious in the end, 
to both. 

In page 163 of Appendix to the Report of Mr. Buxton's 
G>mmittee, will be seen a striking example of the beneficial 


effects of a contrary liileof condtict, where the jadicious sys- 
tem adopted by that most excellent and humane person, Mr« 
Hutchinson Scott, of Hopeton, in St Elizabeth's, has pro- 
<;ured him so much hired labour from the apprentices of the 
-Bog Estate. Yet, on the estate which adjoins Mr. Scott's, 
and which is very badly managed, the acting attorney has 
loudly complaint tbat he could not get one of his appren«- 
tices to work for hire. Had Mr. Scott's plan been adopted 
on other estates, there would have been no complaint of want 
of lured labour, or of the insufficiency of work pearformed 
in the legal time. A different course, however, having 
become general, and the Governor having received repeated 
representations of the insufficiency of the labour of the 
apprentices in their master's tim^ as well as of their unwill'- 
ingness to work for hire, determined to investigate the fact, 
and accordin^y issued a circular early in March 1835, call^ 
ang on the special magistrates to ascertain, by close inquiry 
cin all the estates on which they could procure infcrnmiiion, 
the comparative quantities of sugar made on them on the 
Q8Ak of February of each year respectively, in 1884 and 
183S; d^ day on whit^ in each year crop commenced; the 
number of hours of labour p^ day in each year; and the 
<}uality of the sugar made. The result was, that the quality, 
generally speaking, was better in 18d5, and that nearly 
twice as much sugar was made by the negroes per hour, 
jsince emancipation, as was made in the previous year, 
during slavery. On the majority of estaties there was 
^rtainly a decrease, but it can be shown that this decrease 
in no way exceeded what mi^t have been expected from 
die diminution of the time legaUy belonging to the master, 
when combined with the feet that, not unfrequently, under 
the plea that the estate could not afford it, the attonieyis 
reluBed to give wages for additional work. On many 
€Btatos, however, there was a decided increase in the year 


1835. The returns which prove this may be seen in the 
second part of the Parliamentary Papers on the Abolition 
of Slavery, No. 278, ordered to be printed on the 10th 
June 1885, pages 19 and 36, and page 19 of the other 
Paper, No. 238, ordered to be printed on the 14th April. 
These reports will dispose of the question whether the Ne- 
groes worked sufficiently in their masters* lime or not. Shortly 
after, the Governor sent home memoranda of facts which 
had come to his knowledge, and his deductions from them ; 
th^ are published in the same second part of No. 278 above 
alluded to, page 216 ; but a copy of them, marked (A), is 
inserted in the Appendix hereto annexed, in order diat 
it may be se^i whether those anticipations were well or 
ill founded. 

It having thus been proved that the apprentices were 

doing more work than they had done when slaves, farther 

inquiries were made on the second point asserted, namely, 

that they would not woii: for hire. The result of these 

inquiries appears in the pages 268, 269, and 270, of the 

Parliamentary Paper, No. 238. The returns, which are 

there printed, prove, in a perfectly satisfactory manner, 

that, on nine estates out of ten, the negroes have actually 

worked for hire. This ample contradiction of the two 

assertions, shows that very little dependence is to be placed 

on the reports of the planters. If fertba: proof be required, 

it will be found in a memorial, signed by seventy-three of 

the principal inhabitants of the parish of Trdawney, which 

was sent to the Governor in May 1835, and appears in the 

paper No. 238, page 44. In it a representation is made 

as to the state of the cultivation of the parish, which h 

directly contradicted by the letters of the four specisd 

magistrates in charge of it : their letters, and the proc^ 

they give, appear in the pages immediately following the 

memorial; That the Governor should have been able to 


procure any information appears fortunate ; as, in page 46, 
in the letters of one of those justices, Mn Hawkins, it is 
stated that Mr. Miller, a member of the Council, the 
Gustos of the parish, the first signer of that memorial, and 
the individual who officially forwarded it to the Executive, 
had expressed great discontent with his Overseer for having 
afforded information respecting the state of the property 
in his charge. Any remark on this fact would be super- 
fluous. In the statements thus made, these gentlemen 
certainly had not the slightest idea of any intentional mis- 
representation : no doubt they were quite incapable of it : 
they appear, however, like most of the other planters from 
different parts of the Island, to be so strongly prejudiced, 
that a colouring is given to all their opinions. That their 
opinions do bear that colouring, and that they are not 
correct, has been sufficiently shown by the extracts referred 

Early in August 1835, a summons for an extraordinary 
session of the Legislature was issued by the Governor, and 
great anxiety prevailed to know the cause of the unusual 
session. The public prints declared it quite unnecessary, 
found great fault with it, and made the most ridiculous 
guesses at the measures which it was intended to bring 
forward on the occasion. The Assembly were exhorted in 
the strongest manner to refuse at once to enter on any 
business ; and it appears that some effect was produced by 
these paragraphs, as the Assembly framed a most intem- 
perate address, in reply to the Governor's opening speech. 
In fact, it was of such a nature, that he gave them no 
answer at the moment, except a simple acknowledgment, 
and dissolved the Legislature the same day. At the elec- 
tion that ensued, several changes in the representation took 
place ; and, at some of the hustings, the members were 
called upon not to oppose Lord Sligo's administration. 


The new house met in November; and having commenced 
proceedings in the best possible temper, there was every 
s^pearance of the business of the country being carried 
on in a most satisfactory manner. The Act in Aid, and 
the Police Bill, went througli their first committee, and 
were presented to the House in precisely the form in which 
they originally existed ; but in the midst of this agreeable 
state of things, a packet arrived from England, bringing 
letters from the agent, to which may be attributed the 
immediate and marked change which took place in the 
appearance and disposition of that body. That these letters 
produced the effect attributed to them cannot be questioned. 
The next day the two bills were altered again in commit- 
tee, and the Act in Aid so changed, that it could by no 
possible means be accepted. Not tUl a week or ten days 
after was any notice taken of the Parliamentary Paper, 
No. 278, there termed " the Blue Book," which came out 
by the same packet, when the attention of the House was 
called to a paragraph in one of His Excellency's dispatches, 
No. 38, 27th March 1835, wherein he stated that the 
parish of St. James's appeared, by the returns he then 
sent home, to be in the worst condition. of any in the 
Island — that it had been so in all previous times — and that 
it now exceeded all others in party spirit. 

That Lord Sligo was justified in the assertion he made, 
will hardly be . doubted by any person unconnected with 
the parish, yet acquainted with its character. But should any 
farther testimony be required, it will be found in the Parlia- 
mentary Paper on Slavery, part 111, No. 242. In conse- 
quence of the vehemence with which the truth of His observa- 
tions was denounced in the Assembly, He ordered extracts to 
be made from the weekly returns of the Special Magistrates, 
enumerating every instance of oppression which had come 


before them for adjudication. At pages 230, 258> 349, 
873, and 393 of that Paper, will be found five of those 
returns for as many consecutive months, and in every one 
of them, the convictions ia the parish of St. James's ex* 
ceeded the number of those in any other parish in the 
Island. A meeting of the parishioners was called, and 
violent resolutions, contradicting that dispatch, were pro- 
posed. It appears, however, that they were negatived by 
a majority of that meeting, and that resolutions of a very 
different character were adopted. Two hundred and fifty 
copieg <rf that part of the Parliamentary Paper which re- 
ferred to Jamaica, were ordered to be printed by the House 
of Assembly, of which ten copies were distributed gratis 
in each of the parishes, for the professed purpose of getting 
up contradictions to those dispatches, which they pro^ 
nounced, without hesitation, to be complete misstatements* 
After much exertion, and some delay, one fancied mistake 
was discovered in the case of a Mr. Nockells of Mdunt 
Pleasant, in the parish of St. Thomas in the' East, when, 
as it afterwards appeared, the omission of the word 
^^ absent," made a change in the sense of a paragraph : 
this word was omitted in the copy sent to the Governor, 
but appeared in that which Mr. Lyon, the Special Justice 
who made the report, swore to be a correct copy. This 
was purdy a mistake of Mr. Lyon, in copying his report, 
and no sort of insinuation to his disadvantage was ever 
made in consequence : no magistrate in Jamaica ever bore 
a higher character. Their failure in getting up these con- 
tradictions, which it was notorious that they were most 
anxious to effect, exhibits a farther instance of the insuffi-* 
cient grounds on which they made the most hardy asser« 
tions, and formed the most hasty opinions. The business 
of the session not having concluded before Christmas, an 


adjournment till the latter end of January, a period of 
about six weeks, was granted, when the Legislature met 
again, and got through all that it chose to undertake, leav- 
ing several important measures quite unnoticed. The 
Police Bill, though far .from being a perfect measure, was 
assented to ; but the Act in Aid was of a nature which 
could not be accepted, and Lord Sligo therefore refused 
his assent* During thift adjourned session, while the 
Act in Aid was in course of discussion^ in his anxiety 
to promote the passing of such a measure as would ^meet 
the wishes of the British nation, the Governor remon- 
strated with the House of Assembly on the insufficient 
nature of the bill in progress. He wished to obviate the 
necessity of pointing out to the world the fallacy of the 
pretensions of that body ; since an appeal to the Imperial 
Parliament, rendered thereby imperative, would at once 
prove the right of England to legislate in cases of contu- 
macy for a colony possessing a legislature of its own* His 
remonstrance was tendered just in the same manner, and 
at the same stage of the bill, as that at which Lord Mul- 
grave before interfered in relation to the Abolition Law. 
The House of Assembly, however, not taking that view 
of Lord Sligo's motives in interfering, thought fit to enter 
a protest against it as a breach of privilege; and declared, 
in a message to His Excellency, that no more business 
could be transacted, until reparation had been made for 
this alleged invasion of their rights. 

The result wa% a prorogation for a day, accompanied 
by a speech, of which an extract, marked (B), will be found 
in the Appendix. 

The House of Assembly forwarded a long memorial to 
tlie British Government, contradicting every word of this 

It will remain for those who have an opportunity of re^ 





ferring to the Journals of the House of Assembly, to deter- 
mine whether the Governor's speech, or their memorial, 
contains the most faithful representation of the actual state 
of things at that time in Jamaica. 

The prorogation was however unavailing, and the Hause 
finally separated without transacting any business. The 
consequence of their decision on this point was, that the 
Imperial Parliament was compelled to assert its right to 
legislate fpr any part of His Majesty's dominions, whether 
chartered or not. A greater proof of want of judgment 
could not have been imagined. The Assembly arrogated 
to itself, and still does, rights superior to those pf the 
House of Commons. It denied the right of British inter- 
ference, and subjected itself, by its obstinacy, to the 
decided mark of the absurdity of its pretensions, which the 
subsequent enactment of the Act in Aid in England made 
public to the world. The members could not have sup- 
posed that they would have been allowed to nullify the 
English Abolition Act, by leaving unrenewed those im- 
portant additional enactments which Mr. Stanley had 
required of them, merely because, in an honourable confi- 
dence in their faith, he had moved his Majesty to declare 

in Council, that the Island of Jamaica had rendered itself 


entitled to share in the compensation money before those 
additional laws were made co-existent with the Island Act. 
As soon as intelligence was received from England that 
the Act in Aid had passed the British House of Commons 
without opposition, notice was given pf an immediate 
session, which was opened with an entreaty that the mem- 
bers would, by a speedy consideration of the measure, do that 
which was really most advantageous for themselves, namely, 
re-enact the old bill, and make it law before that which was 
in progress in England should be completed and come into 
operation in the Island. After some blustering and differ- 


ence of opinion^ the good sense and eloquence of a leading 
member of the bar and of the Assembly, prevailed on the 
House to reenact it. The bill was passed, and having, 
received the Governor's assent, became law, before the 
account of the completion of the British Act was announced; 
the administration of England having wisely and consider- 
ately delayed its progress through the Imperial Parliament, 
for the express purpose of allowing time for this being 

Thus had matters proceeded in this colony up to the 
end of August 1836, when Lord Sligo resigned the go- 
vernment of the Island; and it is to be remarked, that 
all the successive periods of alarm, prognosticated by those 
who declared themselves to be possessed of superior know- 
ledge of " the state of Jamaica, and the character of the 
Negroes," a knowledge which few planters will allow to 
any one who diflFers in opinion with them, passed off without 
the slightest disturbance. As both parties began to under- 
stand the law better; as the planters had certainly, at one 
period, lost much of their angry feelings; as the negroes 
had learned what the planters had a right to expect from 
them, and discovered that the special magistrates would 
enforce those rights, a confident hope was entertained that 
all would go on smoothly till the termination of the appren- 
ticeship, and that then* mutual good feelings would each 
day increase. 

It was supposed that with another Governor, against 
whom so strong a prejudice was not entertained, because 
he would not have, like Lord Sligo, to fly in the face of all 
their accustomed habits, they might get on more quietly. 
Much certainly is to be said in extenuation of the conduct 
of the planters towards that nobleman. It had been his 
duty to punish them for conduct which had been legal till 


the 1st of August) 1834; to teach them that the authority 
they had previously exercised was become criminal ; adod to 
justify the special magistrates for doing what was indeed 
most offei^ive lo them,, but what was in fact the object 
for which they were sent out to Jamaica. The planters 
thought that the new system was dSectmg their ruin ; and 
not being able to separate the mail fix>m the measures which it 
was his duty to pursue, they visited him with th^r most angry 
feelings. They looked upon the dissenting Missionaries also* 
as the fomenters of rebellion, and promoters of discontent 
and disobedience on the part of the negroes ; an opinion 
oflen maintained in England by persons connected with the 
colony. Lord Sligo, after a very short period, expressed 
his conviction of their great value ; acknowledged the obli- 
gations which were due to them for their exeritions to 
promote the spiritual instruction of the blacks; and stated 
that, in his opinion, almost all the religious feeling which 
existed among the slaves was derived from their efforts. 
That such is the truth cannot be denied ; and it is equally 
true that their unpopularity arose from their having con- 
fronted all dangers, and nearly encoimtered martjnrdom, by 
their noble attempts to protect the slave from severities, 
which though then permissible by law, could never be con- 
sidered justifiable in the sight of God. They were toa loyal 
subjects, and too good Christians, to be guilty of what they 
were so generally reproached with ; namely, trying to make 
the negroes discontented with their lot, or, as the usual 
phrase runs there, " disturbing the minds of the negroes,'* 
or exciting them to revolutionary projects. The disturb- 
ance of the mind of the negroes consisted in their boldly 
opposing every danger to protect them from the abuses of 
the law as it then stood; and, inducing them to bear 
patiently the grievances of which they complained, by point- 
ing out to them the certainty of approaching relief through 


the medittm of the British Parliament. These men were 
truly objects to be cherished ; and the support they received 
from Lord Sligo was one cause of his unpopularity in the 
colony, and of the resolute opposition which his measures 

This brief statement cannot terminate better than with 
a part of the Report of the Committee of the House of 
Commons, moved for by Mr. Buxton ; see page 8 of the 
Report : — 

" Your Committee have thus commented on the prin- 
cipal points which have been brought before their notice ; 
and upon a general review of the evidence which they have 
received, they conceive that they are warranted in express- 
ing a belief that the system of apprenticeship in Jamaica 
is working in a manner not unfavourable to the momen- 
tous change, from slavery to freedom, which is going of 

" They perceive undoubtedly many traces of those evils 
which are scarcely separable from a state of society con- 
fessedly defective and anomalous, and which can only be 
defended as one of preparation and transition. 

^^ But, on the other hand, they see much reason to look 
forward with a confident hope to the result of this great 
experiment : in the evidence they have received, they find 
abundant proof of the general good conduct of the appren- 
tices, and of their willingness to work for wages, whenever 
they are fairly or considerately treated by their employers. 
It is indeed fully proved that the labour thus voluntarily 
performed by the negro is more effective than that which 
was obtained from him while in a state of slavery, or which 
is now given to his employer, during the period for which 
he is compelled to work as an apprentice. The mutual 
suspicion and irritation of the different classes of the com- 


munity appear to be gradually subsiding ; and on the part 
of the negro population, industrious habits, and the desire 
of moral and physical improvement, seem to be gaining 



There is no point connected with the present state of 
Jamaica, on which so much might, and ought to be said, 
as that of the administration of its laws, not only by the 
judges, but by the magistrates and their subordinates. 

In all countries the administration of law involves con- 
siderations of the highest importance ; but nowhere more 
than in a place where one class is exclusively placed in 
authority to decide on the conduct of another class, in 
which it has a deep interest, but for which it entertains an 
avowed contempt ; and from which it is separated by the 
strongest prejudiced, originating in the habits of arbitrary 
government attendant upon slavery, but regarded, until 
the year 1^34, as even natural and legitimate. Those who 
are acquainted with the West Indies will be aware that the 
black and coloured population are viewed by the white inha- 
bitants, as little more than semihiunan, for the most part as 
a kind of intermediate race, possessing indeed the form of 
man, but none of his finer attributes. Every guard, there- 
fore, and security, which can be imagined, ought to be 
adopted for the purpose of ensuring to this numerous class, 
now fast rising into importance, an equal share in the bene- 
fits of the constitution of their country. 

To commence with the Judges. 

The Chief Justice was formerly selected by the Governor 
from among the gentlemen practising at the bar of the 




Colony, and recommended by him to Her Majesty, whose 
fiat was necessary for his ultimate appointment. In the 
present instance, however, this office is filled by a regularly 
educated English barrister. The salary is £4000 a year 
currency, with certain fees and allowances not exceeding 
£200 a year, making altogether a sum of about £2600 
per ann. sterling. As this remuneration is not given by any 
permanent law of the Island, when any person, not having 
practised a certain number of years at the Jamaica bar, is 
appointed to this office, a separate enactment in his favour 
becomes necessary. Previous to receiving his salary, he 
must undergo the ordeal of pleasing the planters in his 
mode of administering the law; and he is therefore wholly 
dependent on their approbation for his means of existence; 
a position most undesirable for the principal legal authority 
of the island, and one from which that officer ought to be 
rescued by the Government at home. The present Chief 
Justice was k^t nearly two years without any remunera- 
tion. It was not until the second session after his arrival, 
that his salary was voted to him : and though he at last 
succeeded in obtaining the grant, without the slightest 
compromise of principle, it is not to be supposed that all 
other persons similarly situated will be equally fortunate. 

The puisne judges are named by the Grovemor, and their 
commissions issued at once. It is his duty of course to 
report aU such appointments for Her Majesty's approbation, 
but it has rarely occurreil, that any objection to them has 
been made. They are selected fi-om among the resident 
gentry, consisting, generally, of either estates-attorneys, 
solicitors, doctors of medicine, or merchants. The salary for 
each of the two senior puisne judges of the grand court, 
which sits for Middlesex, at Spanish Town, is £700 cur- 
rency; and for each of those in Surrey and Cornwall, 
sitting at Kingston and Montego Bay, £500 annually. 
All the others serve, at first, without pay, but succeed to it 


by seniority, provided that they have sat as judges a certain 
number of days in each year. The juniors rarely exceed the 
appointed number of these days, except to oblige a friend by 
taking liis turn. None of the barristers would accept these 
commissions, because they gain much more by practice. It 
therefore remains for the Governor to make the best selec- 
tion he can among the civilians of the colony. The great 
majority, in consequence, are estates-attorneys, who have 
administered the slave law in detail, from their first arrival 
in the island till its extinction ; and even now, almost all 
managing large gangs of negroes. Those who are exclu- 
sively attorneys, all began as book-keepers during the 
times of slavery, when they had plentiful occupation, and 
certainly no time for studying jurisprudence, or even for 
enlarging their minds by education. Those who are physi- 
cians, have, it is to be supposed, educated themselves for 
that profession solely ; and the merchants, of course, have 
passed their time in their counting-houses. With the ex- 
ception, therefore, of those who have been solicitors, the rest 
have not even the pretence of knowing any thing of law, 
but instead of it, are declared to possess a " knowledge of 
the negro character," (the constant cant of Jamaica), and 
of the " habits and customs of the colony," which it has 
been gravely asserted, renders them much more fit to 
administer the law as judges, than any barrister who had 
practised in the English courts, (See Surge's Evidence, 
3408, 3409).* What can usage or the character of the 
culprit have to do with law in the decisions of the Judge ? 

* Mr. Barrett, in bis speech made at his election, on 5^th Sept. says 
— ^^ It is the constitution of our Courts, that gentlemen of the Colony 
should be judges therein, and I believe it to be a wise provision of our 
forefathers, and a great protection to our liberties and property, I hope 
I shall never see our seats of judgment entirely occupied by Lawyers 
from Westminster Hall, strangers amongst us, and ignorant of our laws 
and customs, even if they were not equally ignorant of the laws of the 
country from whence they came.'* 

b2 . 


The diflference between the English statutes and those of 
Jamaica, is not one of principle, but of detail ; and any 
barrister, accustomed to legal pursuits at home, would in a 
very short time make himself master of those small dis- 
tinctions, which a difference of social condition and local 
circumstances has rendered desirable in the colony. I 
cannot at all agree with Mr. Burge, in his Evidence before 
Mr. Buxton's Committee, when he states, *' that the con- 
stitution of the Jamaica courts has been found to answer 
extremely well." It did so indeed, in the opinion of the 
planters, during the existence of slavery, when there was 
but one interest, one party in the country,— when there 
was no individual who dared to expose the delinquencies 
and deficiencies which he could not help seeing every day 
in the common occurrences of life ; when any person, who 
exhibited feelings, such as at the present time would be 
considered highly honourable, would have been persecuted, 
and looked upon as little less dangerous than a mad dog ; 
when any newly-arrived settler, who happened to possess 
ideas on slavery different from those which were then the 
fashion, was secretly warned by his more experienced 
friends, that if he expected to get on in the colony he must 
entirely change his sentiments ; when, to detail a specific 
instance. Lord Belmore, from being the most beloved 
Governor of all who had really interfered in the business 
of the colony, became unpopular, merely because he made 
use of one phrase, viz. — " The resources of Jamaica will 
never be fully developed till slavery be abolished !" When 
the expression of such an opinion acted as a sentence of 
excommunication on that most amiable and popular viceroy, 
what would have been the fate of any private individual, 
who should have been audacious enough to insinuate that an 
ignorance of law had been evinced, or even a slight error 
had occurred in the decisions of the congregated aristocracy 


of Jamaica sitting on the judicial bench ? The only per- 
sons who, at that time, ventured to make remarks on the 
conduct of even the subordinates of the estates, were the 
Missionaries of the various dissenting sects. A history of 
the persecutions they underwent in consequence, would 
sufficiently exhibit the danger of any interference with the 
judicial character. It has been admitted, however, in evi- 
dence, (see Burge, 3418) that there has been reason, though 
unnoticed, to find fault with their decisions in civil cases. 
This, I think, affords an argument in favour of my posi- 
tion, and proves that some change is requisite. Its neces- 
sity has, in fact, been admitted, and the difficulty of paying 
the judges has alone prevented its adoption. The case 
of Mason and Oldrey has conferred that benefit on the 
colony. (See Buxton's Committee Report, Oldrey's Evi- 
dence, 2868, et seq.. Appendix, page 237, et seq.) On 
that trial, there were present only three of the puisne 
judges, in consequence of the illness of the Chief Justice, 
and the junior of these puisne judges arrogated to himself 
the duty of charging the jury, although it appertained to 
the senior sitting judge. He made, during the trial, many 
remarks, with which Captain Oldrey's counsel thought 
they had reason to find fault ; and declared in his charge, 
^^ that, in his opinion, the special magistrate had no right ^ 
to ask an apprenticed labourer what complaint he had to 
make ; but must confine himself to going upon a planta- 
tion, and to receiving such complaints as may there be ten- 
der^ to him, and to holding a court in or near it to decide 
upon them." Surely a person who would make so great a 
mistake on a point of law, is not fit to be entrusted with 
the solemn and important duties of a judge of assize. 

This evil could be remedied, in a very simple man- 
ner, without any new enactment, did not a pecuniary 
consideration intervene. Let the Governor be directed to 


appoint no more judges in the colony; and let two barristers 
of six years' standing, duly qualified, be sent out for the 
purpose of filling those commissions. There are now, 
perhaps, half-a-dozen judges of the grand court, and as 
many judges of each of the other two courts ; of these, 
only the two seniors of each court, six in all, receive 
salaries ; the rest, as they receive no remuneration, would 
have no just cause of complaint if they were removed from 
the bench. It is Her Majesty's prerogative to strike out 
of the judicial commission whomsoever she chooses, and no 
discredit whatever would attach to the persons so removed, 
in consequence of its being a general, and not a particular, 
measure. If this were done, there is little doubt but that, 
after some time, the colonial legislature would find so much 
benefit from the substitution of legal in the place of lay 
judges, and from having the forms of the courts more assimi- 
lated to those of England, that it would in consequence 
pass an enactment, confirming, and providing means for 
earring into effect, those excellent alterations recommended 
by Mr. Burge, in Reply 230 of the Examination of the 
Commissioners of Legal Enquiry, and quoted by him in 
his answer to Question 3410, before Mr. Buxton's Com- 
mittee. " I think," he says, " it would be an improve- 
ment in the administration of the civil and criminal juris- 
diction of the supreme and assize courts, if they were more 
assimilated to the courts of Nisi Prius in England : all 
causes should be tried before a single judge, and thus, 
motions for a new trial, or arrests of judgments, should not 
be heard before, or decided by, the same judge who sat 
on the trial, but such motions should be reserved for, , 
and disposed of by, the supreme court, also consisting of 
the full bench ; but this improvement would not be com- 
plete, unless the judges of the supreme court were men of 
legal education. Such an arrangement would render 


necessary the appointment of assistant legal judges at the 
assize courts, who should be included in all three judicial 
commissions, instead of being, as the judges now are, con- 
fined in the exercise of their duties to one of them," 

The want of the small pecuniary means required to efiect 
this great benefit to the colony alone prevents its being 
accomplished by a notification of Her Majesty's pleasure 
to the Governor of Jamaica. All the judges who now 
enjoy their salary would still continue in office during their 
lives, and as they vacated their places, the barristers 
would succeed to them. The very circumstance of these 
persons having become entitled to their salaries by seniority, 
renders it most probable that vacancies will ere long 
occur. Unless there is some provision in the Jamaica 
dividing act, to render it illegal that the same judge should 
enjoy seniority in more than one court, ere long these two 
barristers would succeed to the salaries of j£700 each, as 
judges of the supreme court, and £1000 each, as the senior 
judges of the other two assize courts : this would afford 
them salaries of JE1700 a-year currency. It appears un- 
likely that the British Parliament, with its usual liberality, 
would hesitate to vote an adequate remuneration to 
these gentlemen until vacancies should occur ; and make 
up, besides, their salary to £2500 a-year currency, which 
would be no more than a proper salary for barristers of 
sufficient legal acquirements. I feel no doubt but that the 
House of Assembly, as it will be then, in all probability, 
constituted, will gladly pass a vote for their salaries, after 
the great improvement in the administration of justice, 
which would thereby be secured to the Island, shall have 
been experienced. 

Leaving the question of juries to be alluded to separately, 
the formation of the courts of quarter-session is now to be 
considered. The custos of the parish, glways the principal 


resident, presides ivhen present, and in his absence the 
senior magistrate. On him devolves the duty of charging 
the jury, and explaining to them the real state of the law 
on any point on which they may happen to be ignorant. 
He has no assessor or legal adviser, unless the clerk of the 
peace may happen to be a solicitor, who, in addition to the 
duties of this office, has also to perform those of clerk to 
the magistrates. 

On the arrival of Lord Sligo in the Island, he found all 
the places of confinement full of persons under sentence of 
transportation, or imprisonment for life ; of these the ma- 
jority were for oiFences under the slave law, and condemned 
by sentences of quarter-session. Having a triple object 
in view, namely, to gain experience of the manner in which 
the laws were administered — to allow such as deserved 
mercy to obtain it — and lastly, to send to their final destin- 
ation such as it was considered advisable to punish, by 
carrying into effect their sentences of transportation, — ^his 
Lordship called upon the chairmen of the different quarter- 
sessions to send him the notes of the evidence in each case. 
He was informed in reply, that the Custodes, or acting 
chairman, rarely, if ever, took any such notes, but that the 
clerks of the peace did, and that they would be ordered to 
transmit them to him without delay. Of many of the trials 
no memoranda could be found, and of those which were 
sent to him, the majority were scanty and deficient. Great 
distrust must be felt by all impartial persons acquainted 
with tlie Island, with regard to the decisions of the local 
magistrates, whether delivered collectively in quarter- 
session or individually, in any cases connected with the 
mutual relations of apprentice and master ; — it is, therefore, 
much to be regretted, that a bill has passed the legislature 
during the last session, greatly enlarging the powers of the 
justices in quarter-session assembled, and considerably 


narrowing the rights of the subject. Among other powers, 
that of transportation has been confided to them exten- 
sively—^ power which ought not to be entrusted to persons 
like the present magistrates, men brought up in the at- 
mosphere of slavery. 

How just were the remarks of Lord Goderich in 1882, 
when discussing measures preparatory to the abolition of 
slavery ! It appears that he did not think the Assembly 
should be entrusted with such extensive powers of legisla- 
tion, and expressed himself to the following effect : — " He 
thought that the local legislatures were not so situated with 
regard to their interests and prejudices, as to fit them to 
deliberate on this great and important question. He could 
not admit that their proximity of observation was an infal- 
lible or even a safe guide to sound conclusions on the sub- 
ject. He did not find in them a freedom from local and 
personal prejudices, an absence from all personal interests, 
such as could warp their judgments ; nor did he see in 
them a' mind open to the admission of truth from whatso- 
ever quarter it might come." The conduct of the Legisla- 
ture of Jamaica since 1834, proves this to have been quite 
a prophetic truth, as it has not passed a single measure for 
the amelioration of the state of the negroes which has not 
been forced upon it. How little are they qualified to un- 
dertake the executive part of so formidable a law as the 
one in question I This law I consider to be peculiarly 
injurious at this crisis. Even had the negroes become 
suddenly civilized by instruction, and gained enlarged 
views, the policy of such a course would be very question- 
able ; but while they are still but partially enlightened, 
while they cannot be supposed to have forgotten the vices 
of slavery ; or the sufferings they had undergone during its 
existence, and while the out-purchased master, the un- 
willingly and discontented out-purchased master^ still re- 


tains his old habits of precipitation and authority, — the 
possession of such a power is a fearful thing. The special 
magistracy was appointed with a view to this particular 
point : even with all the safeguards and privileges of exclu- 
sive authority which have been conferred on this body, it 
has been found to be too feeble to effect the purposes for 
which it was instituted. When this is the case, how can 
any one of a series of measures, contrived for the sole pur- 
pose of taking from them, without observation, much of 
their authority, and of getting rid of the most troublesome 
part of the Abolition Law, be sanctioned by Her Majesty's 
Ministers? A similar attempt was successfully made in 
the police law, but it expired at the end of the year 1836, — 
and it is to be hoped, that orders may have been sent out 
to the Governor to accept no bill with those provisoes. 
In that law, the adjudication, by summary process, of all 
apprentices for stealing produce, has been confided to 
the local magistracy, though formerly entrusted to the 
special justices alone, in accordance with the spirit of the 
Abolition Law. To prevent the special magistrates being 
called upon to adjudicate under this law, these offences 
are made punishable before two magistrates only : and it is 
almost impossible that two should sit together, in conse- 
quence of their being located in separate districts, exc^t 
nuder peculiar circumstances. It will no doubt be urged, 
that this law is not made for apprentices alone, but that 
it equally affects all classes, white, black, or coloured ; this 
appears at first sight to be equitable : but it must be re- 
membered that the free people of Jamaica are rarely in a 
condition to commit those offences, and that during slavery 
they were not discovered, or, if found out, rarely noticed 
by the proprietors. Whatever may be said in other 
countries of the equity of passing laws which equally affect 
all classes, here it is not applicable ; however impartially 


such laws may appear to work in the letter, the spirit in 
which they are administered in Jamaica gives them a totally 
different character : — the truth is, that there are no sympa- 
thies between the two classes — the magistrates, and those 
on whose conduct they have to adjudicate ; and that^ with- 
out imputing any corrupt motives to the one, the result 
is most unfavourable to the other. " Qui substitue,'* says 
the author of The Elements of Political Law^ " des juges 
forces aux organes ordinaires de la loi, annonce le dessein 
de satisfaire ses vengeances, et la seule difference qu'on 
puisse apper^evoir entre les commissionaires qu*on nomme, 
et des assassins, c'est que les premiers se chargent d'infliger 
la mort, en la faisant pr^c^er de la c^r^monie d'une 
sentence, quand les demiers la donnent eux-memes et sur 
le champ." 

This sort of jurisprudence the House of Assembly is 
trying quietly to introduce, — and it is, in fact, nothing 
more than ad(^ting the worst feature of slavery under 
cover of a ceremony possessing all the exteriors of a trial, 
but none of its real advantages. 

When I assert as above, that the laws are not impar- 
tially administered as between master and apprentice, it 
would appear that I mean to involve the whole magistracy 
of Jamaica in one sweeping accusation of corruption, — such 
is indeed very far from my intention, nor is it in truth my 
feeling. My opinion is, that long-established habits, and 
the want of sympathy between the two classes, have given 
such a bias to their minds, that, with the most honourable 
and conscientious intentions, it never comes into their 
thoughts that these laws, however worded, were ever in- 
tended to meet the cases of free or white oflfenders. That 
this is not my opinion only, but that it is the real truth, 
is sufficiently proved by the answers given before last year's 
committee by Captain Oldrey, No. 4208, — by Mr. Miller, 


No. 3846, — and the three following answers, by Mr. Beau- 
mont, No. 4299, and by Mr. Oldham, 4621 and 4629. 

In the act to establish regulations for the government of 
gaols and houses of correction, an especial clause was in- 
serted to prevent the apprentice being exempted from the 
operation of any part of that law which equally affected all 
free people. No objection was taken to this clause when 
the bill was enacted, as nothing could be fairer on prin- 
ciple, or more beneficial in practice, if impartially adminis- 
tered. But how has it worked ? Whether from no white 
or free people having committed any offence since it was 
passed, or from this generally received opinion, of which I 
especially complain, that it could not have been intended 
for them —not one person of that class has been placed on 
the treadmill, or in the penal gang, with the exception of 
policemen under sentence of a court-martial, or those sent 
there by the judge of assize. None have been committed 
by the local magistracy. This being the effect, it is a 
matter of utter indifference whether the cause be corrup- 
tion, ignorance, or prejudice ; the effect ought not to be 
permitted to exist ; and it is for this very reason that it 
becomes so desirable that no additional power should be 
given to the magistrates, either individually or in a court of 
quarter-session assembled, until that body shall have been 
found to consist of persons brought up under a different 
system. Before these observations are printed, it will be 
seen how the Colonial Office has acted with regard to the 
Larceny Consolidation Act, to which allusion has been 
made above. If that bill be not disallowed by Her 
Majesty, the result will be most injurious to the interests 
of the black and coloured population. 

Of the conduct of the local magistrates, in cases of valua- 
tion of the apprenticeship term of service, more will be 
said hereafter. 



The same prejudice, and want of sympathy between the 
two classes, which have before been cited as among the 
principal causes of the maladministration of the law by the 
magistracy, have also a most injurious effect on the decisions 
of the grand and petit juries. Without accusing the gentry, 
who generally form those bodies, of any intentional opposi- 
tion to the law, there is no doubt that if any individual, 
professing opinions not in unison with their own, goes into a 
court of justice for relief, the chances against his success 
would greatly preponderate. In this belief, there are few 
of the gentlemen of the island who do not participate ; but 
there is not one who would not anticipate with certainty a 
verdict, even in a doubtful case, in favour of those whose 
political sentiments coincided with their own. That this 
opinion is not adopted on light grounds — at all events, that 
it is not singular — will be seen by reference to the evidence 
of Mr. Jeremie, who, though he has never personally visited 
Jamaica, is, notwithstanding, well acquainted with the 
colonies in the Caribbean Sea; in his answer 199, and in 
those from 203 to 213, he made a precisely similar state- 
ment. Dr. Madden at once broadly affirms this, and in 
his reply 456, states that he has specified, in the course of 
his evidence, six cases in proof of his assertion, that no 
justice can be expected from a Jamaica jury, in any case 
between a white and a black man. 

Mr. Beaumont, in his evidence. No. 4299, puts the case 
exactly in the same point of view, though not in the precise 
words. He states there, that, excepting in cases where 
slavery is concerned, justice may be obtained from these 
juries. This cannot be denied; but in cases where the 


apprenticeship is concerned, prejudice so blinds the juries, 
that their verdicts are very uncertain. Many instances 
might be quoted to show that some strong feeling must 
operate to produce* decisions so contrary to what might 
have been expected. It is to be remembered that the duty 
of the grand jurors is wholly initiative; they are not to hear 
any evidence in defence : their duty consists in merely see- 
ing if there be any adequate cause for bringing a prisoner 
to trial ; they are by no means themselves to try his guilt. 
The informations, which are sworn before the magistrates 
for committal, though often inadequate to support the 
charge preferred, generally offer proo&. quite sufficient to 
require a farther investigation, and if there is a doubt in the 
minds of the grand jurors, it is their duty to let the case go 
through the ordeal of a re-examination by a petit jury. 

For instances of the extraordinary effect of this preju- 
dice on their minds, see the case of the bills against Mr. 
Mason, for the manslaughter of Tabitha Hewett, 2869, et 
seq., and those against Mr. Parsons, overseer of Mr. 
Richard Barrett^ for a similar offence, in the case of 
another female ; the circumstances of whose deaths ought 
to have undergone the most rigid examination ; also 
those against Mr. Liddel, the overseer of Mr. T. J. Ber- 
nard, as well on his own private residence as on the estates 
of Dawkins, for the manslaughter of Juliana Ayton. In 
this case it was proved, before the magistrates, that she had 
been knocked down by the man, and kicked repeatedly, 
and that she never left her bed from that time until her 
death, which occurred soon after. So strong was the 
impression on the medical men of Mr. LiddePs criminality, 
that one of them, Dr. Stamp, very properly came into 
Spanish Town to report to the magistrates that she could 
not be expected to live through the day, — ^his object being 
to have Liddel, then out on bail, taken into custody. The 


bills against another Liddel, the supervisor of St. Andrew's 
workhouse, for flogging females in that establishment, bear 
out this case ; also those against Whiteman^ and Nelson, 
two inferior servants of the same workhouse, for the same 
offence ; against Aitcheson, Young, and Coffey, of King- 
ston workhouse, for flogging Eliza Carr, page 523 ; and 
lastly, those against the supervisor of the workhouse of St. 
John's, on informations taken by Mr. E. D. Baynes, a 
special justice, for illegally shaving the head of a female, 
sent in under suspicion — for having starved the prisoners, 
by not giving them half the legal quantity of food while in 
confinement — and finally, for having flogged, without any 
legal authority, a poor apprentice, on his lacerated 1^, 
with the view of making his punishment more painfuLf 

In the case of Mason, the bills of indictment were thrown 
out, as was said, because they were drawn up in the 
technical manner, namely, that " Mason did with swords 
and staves kill and slay the said Tabitha Hewett :" see 
No. 2940 : while it was alleged that her death was owing 
to want of care and legal medical assistance. The 
coroner was sent for by the special justice, and ordered to 
hold an inquest; but this gentleman (Christopher Luce 
Ramson) refused to hold one. Such a decision was a gross 
breach of his duty. In the case of Liddel, the overseer 
of Mr. Bernard, the grand jury threw out the bills for the 

* For the evidence in this case, vide Appendix (C.) 

f The whole of the proceedings in the case of Mr. Baynes and the 
Supervisor of the i^vorkhouse of the parish of St. John's, have heen 
printed hy order of the House of Lords, in Paper 250 of 1837. As it 
contains most interesting information on the manner in whicH appren- 
tices are sometimes treated in these establishments, it was at first in- 
tended to have been reprinted in the Appendix. Some doubt, however, 
of the extent of parliamentary privilege having recently arisen, this 
intention has been abandoned. The Parliamentary Paper itself may 
be purchased at the office of the printer of the House of Lords. 


capital offence, and subsequently, when other bills were 
preferred, found them for an assault, on the same evidence 
— thus clearly proving, that they were satisfied that the 
assault which preceded her death had been committed, 
but that they would not send the man to trial for it. So 
little was he injured by his conduct towards this woman, 
that he still remains in the service of the same mas- 
ter, Mr. Bernard, or, at least, he did so subsequently to 
the trial. In the case of Parsons, it was sworn that the 
daughter of the dying woman sate at the door of the hos- 
pital, asking permission to go in and attend her mother, 
and that it was refused her ; and when the special magis- 
trate, who discovered her wretched situation, found her, 
she was Ipng on a heap of excrement, which had accumu- 
lated since the commencement of her illness. In the case 
of Liddel and the others of St. Andrew's workhouse, 
though the bills against them were thrown out, it is re- 
markable that they were found against another man, named 
Phillips, a subordinate oiEcer, also in that workhouse, who, 
it appeared, had administered punishment to a female, 
because she had refused to submit to his impure proposals. 
The cruelties were, in other respects, sworn to quite as 
strongly against the rest, but not with similar results, — 
thereby shewing that it was the cause for which the flogging 
was given to that female, which occasioned the bills being 
found ; and that the simple fact of flogging her was not an 
offence for which so severe a punishment, as putting a 
white man on his trial, was to be administered. Another 
feature in the case was, that though the existence of the 
flogging was proved in Phillips's case, and positively sworn 
to in those of the others, the custos of the parish, Mr. 
Mais, instead of reprobating the conduct of the supervisor, 
proposed in the vestry, and succ^sfully, that the parish 


should pay the costs to which Mr. Liddel had been put in 
defending himself. Connected with the case of Eliza Carr 
was that of three other females, Aglae, Janet Williams, and 
Sarah Young. Informations for flogging them in King- 
ston workhouse were sworn, and bills prepared ; but when 
that excellent and humane solicitor, Mr. Wemyss Ander- 
son, found that the bills were ignored in the case of Eliza 
Carr, he thought it useless to send in those against the 
same people, for the illegal punishments of the three 
other women, on the same evidence. When the bills 
against Phillips were found, Lord Sligo reported to the 
Secretary of State for the Colonies the evidence on which 
the bills against the others were thrown out, and 'was 
directed, in consequence, to send a message to the As- 
sembly, requesting that the illegality of such an oflence 
might be made more clear by a specific enactment. (See 
Answer 5549 and 5457.) The only notice taken, either 
of that or of the former message sent to that body respect- 
ing the flogging of females, was a remark, that, it being 
already illegal, it was of no use to pass any other enact- 
ment on the subject. This is most true in the abstract ; 
but in what state were the liberties of these females, when 
the grand juries would not do their duty ? 

In the case of the indictment of the magistrates and 
supervisor of the workhouse of St. John's, it was proved 
that the grand jury of Middlesex threw out the bills 
witliout examining all the witnesses who 'were tendered 
to them for the prosecution ; they might have been justi- 
fied in finding the bills on the evidence of one witness ; but 
surely they ought by no means to have ignored them 
without a close examination of every witness who could 
possibly have proved the facts alleged. It is somewhat singu- 
lar, that money to any amount would have been wagefed, on 


the day of the caning of the Supreme Court, that these bills 
would not be found; but there was so little difference of 
opinion on that point, that not a single bet was actually 
taken up. What a contrast to these cases is furnished by 
the late action for false imprisonment, brought by some 
inhabitants of St. John's parish at the same time, against the 
same Mr. Baynes^ for committing a V£^bond to the house 
of correction. This was intended, it is to be presumed, 
as a set off against him for having taken informations 
against the magistrates and supervisor of that workhouse. 
It appears that a subscription was entered into to carry on 
this suit. Now, it will naturally be said, that probaUy 
there were sufficient grounds for this proceeding; that Mr. 
Baynes was not infallible, and that he might have acted 
illegally. What, however, was the result? The action 
was dismissed at once by the judges, without even the 
intervention of a barrister, on a brief statement from Mr. 
Baynes himself. 

Thus much respecting grand juries: it now becomes 
necessary to allude to the petit juries : and on that point 
there is little to be said, because their duties are quite of a 
different character; and, in the evidence produced at a 
trial, there may be many shades which would fully justify 
their decision. Unless a trial takes place, it is impossible 
to come to a safe conclusion as to the justice of the opinions 
of twelve men on their oaths. Tlie only instances which 
can here be alluded to, are those of Mason v. Oldrey, and 
Maclean v. Bourne, where the evidence has been printed 
at full length, very accurately, and where the decisions 
will certainly appear curious to those who read them. In 
the examinations before the Committee, more than one 
person has sworn that justice is not to be obtained of a 
Jamaica jiuy, in cases appertaining to slavery and appren- 


ticesbip ; but, on the other hand, Mr. Bui^e, who was so 
long attorney-general, and is now the Jamaica Island 
Agent, has distinctly sworn to the reverse, in his answers 
2714 and 3406. Each person must therefore form his 
own opinion, on a review of the evidence before him. 

That the evil exists in the tllonstitution of both grand 
and petit juries, is admitted by most people in the Island 
unconnected with apprentice property. It is one for 
which no adequate remedy can be devised; a change in 
public opinion alone can effect it. In fairness, however, it 
should be said, that hardly an individual of those t^o have 
apparently decided so illegally in these cases, had the 
remotest idea that he was acting in any other than the 
most conscientious and honourable manner. So com- 
pletely were their feelings warped by the usual tenor of 
their conversation with their associates, that their powers 
of discrimination were considerably diminished, and a false 
idea of their duties in their respective positions entertained. 
That these clouds will pass away ere long I am quite con- 
vinced : but at present, owing to the short time which has 
elapsed since the new system has come into operation, things 
have not found their true level, and, in consequence, there 
is much difficulty in carrying the law into full effect. 





The Supervisors of the Houses of Correction are another 
class of offenders of the same description : I have desig- 
nated them as the subordinates of the magistracy, and 
they are most culpable in the manner in which they fulfil 
their duties. It is a curious fact, though perhaps accidental, 
that the nineteenth clause of the act regulating gaols 
and workhouses, gives a summary power of punishing 
or removing a gaoler^ who shall have been convicted of 
any adequate improper conduct ; but does not extend it 
to keepers of workhouse. Now, in the former — the 
gaol — no prisoners are ever confined except by the sentence 
of a superior court ; while to the other — the workhouse — 
all apprentices, or persons suspected of being so, are sent 
either for detention or punishment. Thus, it appears, that 
in the latter case, where alone there is reference to slaves 
or apprenticeship, no provision is made to punish cruelty and 
oppression, except through the intervention of the course 
of law — a long, tedious, and expensive process, which 
no man is anxious to engage in. An overseer, a book- 
keeper, a policeman, an estate constable, or even any idler 
riding out for amusement, sees a black man walking along 
the road with a bundle, or, what is most frequent, a basket 
of provisions on his head; — he stops him, questions him — 
and if the man does not give an explanation satisfactory to 
the inquirer, — if the negro does not succeed in giving wliat 
he considers to be sufficient explanation, — he takes him up, 
for which he is entitled to a certain premium, and brings him 
generally before the nearest local magistrate for examina- 
tion; and in order to get the reward to which he is entitled 


for apprehending a runaway, urges the man's committal 
to the workhouse. The man, generally, has not the 
means at hand of proving to the magistrate who and what 
he is; and that officer, naturally not wishing to let a 
runaway escape, commits him on suspicion. As soon as he 
reaches the workhouse, he is at once chained to some other 
fellow-prisoner by a collar round his neck, and he is sent 
out, in the penal or chain gang, to clean the streets of the 
town, or do any other work, in which the parish penal gang 
happens to be employed. He is then, as the law directs, 
advertised for four successive weeks in the Colonial papers, 
for the purpose of being claimed; and, during all that time, 
works for the benefit of the parish, and perhaps at the end 
turns out to be a free person. In that case, he has under- 
gone an unjust and severe punishment. 

Perhaps, however, he is really an apprentice, and having 
given a false name, is not recognized ; or if he shall have 
correctly designated himself, his master has not by accident 
seen the papers in which he is advertised : what then be- 
comes of the man? It will probably be at once said, — 
" Oh ! he is of course released, when the time for the 
legally required number of advertisements has elapsed." 
In some cases this happens, where the Custodes or ma- 
gistrates are anxious to do their duty ; but more frequently 
he is detamed, at hard labour, in this place of confinement, 
till some one accidentally interferes. 

Among many instances of such abuse there was one 
which caused some conversation. A female (whether an 
apprentice, or not, has never been to this moment proved), 
was confined for nine months in the Port Royal work- 
house, on suspicion of being a runaway. When questioned, 
she admitted herself to have belonged to a man at Montego 
Bay. He had been repeatedly written to by the super- 
visor of the workhouse, to inform him that she was there in 



confinement ; he, however never took any notice of these 
letters, and she still remained a prisoner. These circum- 
stances having been accidentally made known to the 
Governor, he ordered her immediate release; but she had 

been for nine months in confinement, and had worked 


^n the penal gang in chains in the streets. Without any 
trial, conviction, or sentence, she had been kept all that 
time at hard penal labour for the benefit of the parish, 
and had no possible means of subsequently obtaining 
redress. Some instances are known to have occurred of a 
master leaving an apprentice in such a place, even at his 
own loss, thi'ough spite ; he being in no other way able to 
get so heavy a punishment inflicted. An instance is well 
known of an individual, who, though hebears the highest 
character for humanity and benevolence, left, in such a 
position, one of his female apprentices of whom he thought 
ill, in order to get rid of her ; she not being willing to 
leave his estate ; and yet there is not a man, of the most 
violent anti-slavery feelings, who would not say that a more 
humane person does not exist in the whole Island. Young 
girls, of premature age, and probably of excellent character, 
sent in on suspicion, or for some trifling indolence, or for 
turning out late to work, are seen working in chains in 
these penal gangs, cleaning the streets. Thus any germ of 
modesty they might possess is destroyed. One of these 
girls is probably chained to a thief, or woman of infamous 
character ; if she has been heretofore pure in her conduct, 
the chances are strongly in favour of her being corrupted 
by the vices of her companions. Once seen amongst the 
criminals in the streets, disgrace attaches to .her name, 
though she has really been guilty of no ofience, except 
one of the most trifling nature, proceeding fi*om the care- 
lessness of youth ; and yet, for this cause, she is made to 
associate with all the vilest criminals of the chain gang. 


The strongest representations were made by the Gover- 
nor to the different Custodes, informing them that he had 
been directed by the Secretary for the Colonies to call 
their attention to this circmnstance, in the hope that they 
would except young females, of the above description, from 
this disgraceful punishment; but it has never been asserted, 
that, in a single instance, the practise was in consequence 

The custom of cutting off the hair of all female appren* 
tices, has been lately adopted in these establishments, on 
the plea of health and cleanliness. During the time of 
slavery, when it was more the interest of the proprietor to 
take care of these people, than it is at present, it never 
was done ; this, therefore, cannot be looked upon in any 
other light than as a contrivance to make up for the other 
MHMiyneBB, wbidi, owing to the Abolition Law, it is no 
longer in their power to inflict on their apprentices. It is 
well known, that the hair of the negro is a close woolly oily 
substance, in no way resembling the hair of a white person. 
Cutting it off is a serious injury, as it deprives the brain 
of its natural protection under a tropical sun. The part 
to which the attention of the local magistracy, however, was 
more particularly turned, were the plaits which the women 
usuallv wear on the sides of their heads, llie natural hard 
curliness of their hair makes it appear so unlike that 4Qf an 
European, that they take the greatest pains to form these 
plaits, which are generally about the size and thickness of 
a woman's little finger. Tliey are exceedingly proud of 
them, and I have no doubt but that there is not one woman 
there wlio would not rather submit to personal chastise- 
ment, than lose them. Cutting them off cannot be intended 
for any purpose of cleanliness, and can therefore be attri- 
buted to no other motive than a wish to annoy these poor 
women. They are deprived of these plaits the very moment 


they enter the workhouse, even though their confinement 
is to last only a week, — sometimes if sent in merely on susr 
picion, or detention for future examination. The different 
Custodes of the parishes where this took place, were in 
vain repeatedly addressed on this subject by the Governor ; 
bills of indictment were even sent in against the supervisor 
of the workhouse, for having committed this act of gratui- 
tous oppression^ in opposition to a direct order of the 
special committing magistrate. Though this punishment 
is one quite unrecognized by law, and though the fact 
was undeniable and undenied, the Grand Jury quashed the 
trial for an assault, by throwing out the bills. 

In many parishes, regulations of the most salutary nature 
were made by the magistrates, — sent to the Governor oflB- 
cially, as those by which the management of their establish- 
ments was to be guided, — and by him transmitted to the 
Colonial OflSce. They are to be seen in the Appendix to 
the Evidence, page 110; but few, if any of them, were 
attended to, excepting so far as suited the purposes of 
the officers of the place. It is to be remarked, that in 
many instances under those regulations, the power of 
whipping is given to the supervisor, exclusive of any 
magisterial order in each specific case. In one parish £ui 
order was made, which does not appear in those printed 
regulations, that every individual sent to the workhouse, 
no matter for what cause, should be indiscriminately com- 
pelled to work a certain time in each day on the tread- 
mill. No allusion was made to their being convicts, or to 
the order of the special justice, or to the individual by 
whom the person was sentenced. The suspected runaway, 
and the convicted criminal, were subjected alike to the 
same discipline. — ^Yet this is the mode in which the law is 
administered by the local magistrates. An Englishman, 
who had never been in Jamaica, would naturally remark. 


" Oh, this will rernedy itself; such heavy actions would 
lie." — A poor negro take an action I the idea is absolute 
nonsense ; he has neither money nor knowledge enough 
to effect his purpose — and, though ignorant in other matters, 
he may justly feel the inutility of seeking to obtain justice 
against a white man. 

Though nothing can be more illegal th^n misconfiding 
to the gaoler, by the second clause of the act relating to 
the management of gaols — the Sth and 6th William IV,-p- 
a power which is taken from the local magistrates them- 
selves by the Abolition Act, namely, that of punishing the 
apprentices ; yet a still more arbitrary and unjust authority is 
given by it to one local magistrate, namely, to treat a repeated 
breach of these gaol regulations (laid down by themselves, 
and subject to no approval to render them legal) as a 
felony ; and to inflict on the offender any punishment, by 
confinement or personal chastisement (clause Srd), to which 
he would, if convicted of felony before a superior court, be 
liable. Of particular instances, where the treatment of the 
apprentices in the workhouse has been of a nature to 
warrant what I have said, numerous cases, quite beyond 
denial, might be quoted. Amongst others, the case of 
Jenkins, supervisor of Hanover House of Correction, who 
was tried for. the murder of a man named Shrives, by re- 
peated flogging. It was satisfactorily proved that the poor 
man had been flogged most cruelly, and that he had died 
soon after the punishment. 

By one of those curious coincidences which sometimes 
occur to Jamaica juries, the supervisor was acquitted, btit the 
acquittal was accompanied by a special verdict, ^< That he had 
been guilty of cruelty,* and shewn great want of feeling and 
humanity to the deceased." How they could reconcile that 

• Tor the whole trial see Papers on Slavery, 3d part, No. 242, p. 305. 


special remark with the acquittal of Jenkins, is not easily 
to be understood. The jury staid in for sixty hours, and 
it was notorious, see answer ^544, in ^< Buxton's Report 
and Evidence,*' that eleven of the jury were for an entire 
acquittal, while one alone declared the man's guilt That 
individual loudly proclaimed, that he never would have 
yielded the poyit, or agreed to the acquittal, but for two 
causes ; the first, that the measles had broken out suddenly 
in Us family, with symptoms the most fatal ; the second, 
that beiiig m Jew, he had religious scruples as to eating the 
food of which die others partook, and he was therefore 
absolutely starved into the verdict. 

Jenkins was subsequently tried under the same evidence 
for an aggravated assault, and the former verdict made the 
matter too clear to admit of any farther acquittal. 

H. Sloly, the supervisor of the House of Correction of 
Trelawny, was also tried for flogging a woman on the 
treadmill, and, though convicted, was never called up for 
judgment, in consequence of an intimation, delivered in 
open court by the Chief Justice, that there was no intention 
on the part of the Crown to punish the man ; and that 
the only object sought, was to ascertain the state of the 

Phillips, the driver of St. Andrew's workhouse, was 
likewise tried and found guilty of flogging a woman, 
Jane Henry, because she would not submit to his desires ; 
it was then proved that this species of debauchery 
and punishment of females was of frequent occurrence. 
Yet tlie supervisor, who ought to have known the fact, — 
who must have knoum of it, — ^was kept in his office, as 
befi»^ and the Custos even persuaded the parish to pay 
the expenses of his defence. It might naturally have been 
supposed that the man would have been dismissed at once ; 
and he would have been so, had not the custos and magis- 
trates approved of his conduct. 


In the cases of the tremendous cruelties which took place 
in the workhouse of the parish of St. John's, which were 
discovered by Mr. E. D. Baynes, the Special Justice, it 
wa& proved, that the prisoners were half starved by the 
supervisor; that he remained absent from the workhouse, 
contrary to the magistrates' regulations ; that excessive 
cruelties took place in chaining sick people; but, above all, 
it was sworn that a poor apprentice was flogged on an open 
ulcerated sore, in order to make his sufferings the greater. 
The bills, in these cases, were thrown out by the Grand 
Jury, as has been before mentioned. 

Some cases of great cruelty were proved to have taken 
place in the workhouse of St. Elizabeth's, but the death of 
the supervisor, immediately subsequent to their discovery, 
prevented any legal notice being taken of them : see 3168, 
** Buxton^s Report and Evidence." 

We now come to the worgt feature of the workhouse 
system, — the most palpable and barefaced violation of the 
abolition law; namely, the flogging of females within the 
walls of those establishments. The extent to which this 
was carried, and the number of cases which were dis- 
covered, and reported, by the Governor, in messages to 
the House of Assembly, were perfectly astonishing. No 
notice was, however, taken of them- by that body, except 
appointing a committee to inquire into the triith of the 
statements. No remedy was even suggested. There can- 
not be the slightest doubt but that this abuse prevailed 
in every workhouse in Jamaica. It was proved to have 
taken place at the House of Correction of Kingston, and 
in that of Spanish-town, continually, by orders of a local 
magistrate ; in those, besides, of Manchester, St. George's, 
St. Dorothy's, and some others, the names of which are 
not within reach at this moment In the Kingston case, 
the fullest informations were sent up to the Grand Jiiry 


against the supervisor, Aitcheson, and his assistants, in the 
case of Eliza Carr, but they were ignored. The cases of 
Aglie Janet Williams, and Sarah Young, were prepared ; 
but as they were supported by precisely similar evidence, 
that most humane and excellent man, Mr. Anderson, the 
solicitor, did not think it worth while to send them before 
the Grand Jury for examination. Mr. Dallas, the Gustos 
of Port Royal, however, in a letter of his, page 524 of 
the Evidence, declares that Janet Williams did get ten 
lashes with the cat, and justifies that punishment ; thereby 
proving that, at all events, the system did prevail there. 

In Mr. Jeremie's examinations. Answer 859, he states 
that he presumes, from the nature of Lord Sligo's messages 
to the Assembly, that there is some law existing in the 
island, which actually makes legal the flogging of women. 
Such is not really the case ; but when the Governor 
wrote to inquire why this oppression was committed in the 
Kingston House of Correction, the reply given to him was, 
that they considered themselves justified, by the clause in 
the Gaol Act,* in passing a rule that females should 
be flogged. This clause authorises the local magistrates 
to make regulations for the management of each House of 
Correction. The mayor of Kingston, on being informed 
that this was a misconception of the law, declared that the 
practice should be abandoned. It is, however, much to be 
regretted, that, subsequently, many instances of a renewal 
of the ofience were brought forward, and great efibrts 
made by the city authorities to prevent the special justice's 
interference in any such cases. Doubts, indeed, were 
expressed, as to his right of inspecting the prison at all. 
That these doubts are not justified by any law, it is, I 
presume, needless to say ; but as this pretext has satisfied 

* See Papers on Slavery, part 3, No. 242, p. Id. 



the Grand Juries that it would be unjust to find a bill 
against those who may have been indicted for that offence, 
— it became most desirable to have a short and clear ex* 
planatory act of one sentence, passed merely to prevent 
fiitlire misconception. This was communicated to the 
House by the Governor, at the request of the Colonial 
Secretary ; but the reply was, that there was no doubt 
but that the practice was illegal, and that, therefore, there 
was no occasion for any fresh enactment. If such was the 
case, there would have been no invasion of rights in 
passing a new law ; and had they really been disposed to 
co-operate in supporting the abolition of the prison law, 
they would surely have passed this at once ; but, by re- 
fusing to do so, they shewed their determination to 
take no steps to stop this evasion of the Abolition Law. 
As the House of Assembly has adopted such a course, and, 
in spite of the report of Mr. Buxton's Committee, has 
taken no farther steps, it is to be hoped that a short act 
will be passed in* the British Parliament, declaring that no 
local laws or regulations can interfere with the Abolition 
Law ; and that the flogging of a female, no matter in what 
place, or under what circumstances, }s a high misde- 

In illustration of the assertions contained in this chapter, 
and of the remarks, previously made, as to the manner in 
which the Grand Juries in this colony exercise their func- 
tions, it may not be inappropriate to add the notes in a 
case of criminal information, filed against Whiteman, one 
of the drivers of .the House of Correction of St Andrew's 
parish, in con^quence of the impossibility of getting bills 
found. ' They will be seen in the Appendix (C). 

After the perusal of these jiotes there cannot be any 
doubt as to the necessity of a change, in the judicial system 
of the colony, as well as of a strict examination into the con- 


dition of all those places of confinement, for the purpose of 
devising somemeans to prevent the reoixrrence of such abuses, 
not only daring the continuance of the apprenticeship, but 
after the year 1840 ^ i¥hen widi all the prejudices felt against 
the blacks, more watchfulness, even than at present, will be 
requisite to protect their liberties. 

So large a proportion of the black population passes 
through these receptacles, that the moral effect of the 
process becomes an object of the highest importance. 
This case, and that of Phillips, who was convicted of 
flogging a woman because she refused to prostitute her- 
self to him, proves what a state this establishment is 
now in ; and yet there appears an affidavit of Colonel 
Robertson, an old magistrate of the parish, and colonel 
of its militia, that he has been for a long time acquainted 
with this place of confinement, and that he never saw it 
better conducted than at this very time, when these two 
offences were committed within its walls.* The conclusion 
is obvious, that gentlemen in Jamaica have not the same 
ideas of prison discipline as are entertained in England, 
and that the sooner the gaol systems of the two countries 
are assimilated the better. 

The observation of Judge Mais is also remarkable : he 
pronounces the proceeding to be infamous, and in the same 
breath declares that he has not seen the affidavits. How 
then could he know that it bore such a character ? No 
man in the island enjoys a higher reputation in all 
respects than this gentlemen. He is Judge of the Surry 
Assize Court, Custos of the parish of St Andrews, Major- 

* Liddel, the superrisor, has since been dismissed for croelty. What 
then becomes of the indignation of the Custos and the magistrates of 
the parish, at having been previously accused of neglecting to inspect 
this workhouse, and of their declarations of the excellent discipline and 
good order prevailing in it P 


General of Militia, and President of the Jamaica Local 
Bank. When a man of his high character not only shews 
such preconceived opinions, but also persuades the parish 
to pay the expenses of the prosecution of the supervisor in 
charge of the workhouse where these enormities took place 
— after that prosecution was instituted by order of the 
Governor, — ^how can any person brought up in the same 
atmosphere be considered fit to be entrusted with judicial 
powers ? It is impossible that such a person can bring 
into court with him that impartiality which ought to be 
the constant companion of every judge. 

On the legality of chaining females in houses of cor- 
rection, much doubt waa thrown by Mr. O'Reilly, the 
Attorney-General, — that bold and humane officer, who 
has never hesitated a moment, no matter at what pro- 
fessional loss, to stand forward as the protector of the 
oppressed ; but the Court, it seemed, shrunk from a deci- 
sion which it was possible to avoid. Had the case pro-* 
ceeded to trial, there is little doubt but that the assault 
would have been proved; at least one of the witnesses 
sent before the grand jury, declared that he could testify 
to its having taken place ; but it is very difficult to pro- 
cure supporting affidavits. There is no power to subpcena 
a witness, except to attend at a trial; and the master 
generally dislikes, for various reasons, to allow any of his 
appr^itices to absent themselves for such a purpose. So 
far is this feeling carried, that a gentleman of an adjoin- 
ing parish, a magistrate, positively forbade a female appren- 
tice belonging to an estate of which he was the attorney, 
to obey the summons of Mr. Baynes, the special justice, 
until reference was made to the- Governor. 



One of the wisest provisions of the Abolition Act, was the 
taking all power over the apprentices from the local magis- 
trates, and conferring it on individuals who were not 
possessed of an apprentice, — ^because the former persons 
must be naturally much prgudiced in their opinions re- 
specting the relations of the black to the white population. 
On the exertions of these special magistrates depends the 
whole success of the apprenticeship system. Without their 
aid it would have been totally impracticable to administer 
the law in anything like its original and intended character. 
A very superficial examination, however, into the pro- 
ceedings of that body, during the past three years in 
Jamaica, will show how inadequate it is to its duties, 
without some efficient protection and support, during the 
remaining term of the apprenticeship. There were cer- 
tainly some few exceptions to the character generally 
deserved by the gentlemen who filled these offices ; but 
when allusion is made to their being a feeble body, let me 
not be misunderstood. What was in the physical power 
of man to do, they did ; and it is a matter of the greatest 
wonder that so much zeal, so much energy, and such an 
indefatigable spirit of humanity, as pervaded the vast ma- 
jority of that body, should have been displayed by them. 
In such a climate as Jamaica, where the sun has so tre- 
mendous a power during two-thirds of the day, where the 
great masses of decaying vegetable matter, and the evapo- 
ration from the marshes, produce miasma of the most fatal 
description, these gentlemen, with a courage and perse- 
verance unequalled by any on record, rode about the 
Island in all directions, defying the sun, and the rain, and 


disease. The mortality amongst them was, in consequence, 
quite lamentable, but the slightest indifference, or unwilling* 
ness to continue their exertions, has never been in a single 
instance exhibited. To give .an idea of what they un- 
derwent, it is only necessary to say, that in the twelve 
months, from the 1st of May, 1835, when the raster 
commenced, till the last of April, 1886, they rode 170,469 
miles, and visited 88,664 Estates; at 26,918 of which no 
complaints were made. During the two first years of 
the apprenticeship, more than twenty Special Justices fell 
victims to the climate and to their own exertions, and many 
more resigned, from finding that the emolument was not 
sufficient for their support ; or sickened by the opposition 
they met with from the planters; or in consequence of 
their bodily strength being unequal to the severe labour 
imposed on them. In the returns of one magistrate, Mr. 
Theobald A. Dillon, 190 miles were reported to have 
been travelled in one week, and 1^ not unfrequentlyin 
those of many other magistrates. It may probably have 
been imagined, that their pay was amply sufficient to re- 
munerate them for discharging such severe and harassing 
duties. Th6 very reverse is the fact : their salary at first 
was only £800 a-year, but was subsequently increased to 
£450. That sum, however, proved quite insufficient to meet 
their necessities. By those who possess a knowledge of 
expenses in Jamaica, from having resided any time in the 
Island, it would, without any hesitation, be fixed at a much 
higher sum — at not less than £700 a-year. Every neces- 
sary of life costs twice as much in Jamaica as in England 
— the distwces, too, which the magistrates were compelled 
to ride in the week, added to the difficulty of procuring 
good fodder for their horses ; and the great propensity of 
these animals, in that climate, to gall, obliges them to 
keep great numbers. Four horses and two mules were 


generally found necessary. Many kept more, though, of 
course, some kept fewer; but if the district was at all exten- 
sive, no smaller number would suffice. It was reported 1^ 
one magistrate, that he had ten horses, of which only one 
was fit for work, owing to the bad roads ; which made his 
district so difficult to visit according to law. Magistrates 
also frequently lose their horses by accidents ; from their 
eating poisonous herbs, of which there are many ; or from 
precipices, or other mischances, when obliged, as they often 
are, to travel by night, on their return home from the exe- 
cution of their duties. No horse, of the most moderate 
description, can be bought under £40 or £50 currency : 
and if for a heavy weight, under £60 or £70. The first 
thing that a Special Justice has to do on landing, is to 
establish an agent, and borrow from him money enough for 
his outfit of horses, saddlery, portmanteau, &c. He thus 
becomes embarrassed at the outset, and is obliged to pay a 
portion of his salary for the liquidation of his debt If he 
has the misfortune, not uncommon, of losing one of his 
horses when on duty, he gets into difficulty still farther ; 
and unless he has a private fortune, with which his expense 
as a Special Justice has nothing to do, he cannot long 
maintain his independence. The stipendiaries are com- 
pelled on this account, as well as in consequence of the 
scarcity of inns, to have recourse to the hospitality, so pro- 
verbial in Jamaica, of the planters ; and then it is difficult 
for him to do his duty honestly in a house where he has 
been received with kindness. 

Again, another great grievance of the Special Justices, 
is the manner in which their salaries are paid. The Com- 
missary is their paymaster; and they are compelled to. take 
the dollar at As. 4d. when it only passes for four shillings 
in the is}and, and generally costs the Government but 
Ss. lOid. Thus, they lose 8| per cent of their already 


md^rably insuiEeient salaries. The premium on .bills 
would afford an handsome increased income to these 
gentlemen^ if they were enabled to draw with the Gover- 
nor's indorsement, and thereby receive the marketable 
value of their salary* This is undoubtedly a serious 
grievance, asi well to tliem as to the military, and to all 
who receive their pay dutough the commissary; and it 
calls loudly for redress. At one time they are paid in 
gold at such a rate,, then again in dollars at another. It 
is well known that the magistrates, on one pecasion of a 
quarterly payment, received £7 . less than tbey usually did, 
on account of the rate of coin in which they were paid. In 
addition to these various hardships, the manner in which 
they are regarded by the planters is another very serious • 
cause of annoyance. Unless a magistrate be a notorious 
partizan of the planter, nothing is too bad for him : whereas, 
for those who are what are called " Busha Magistrates," that 
is, under the influence of the overseers, nothing is too 
good. Two magistrates have been dismissed, both of them 
accused of an improper administration of the Abolition 
Law : for. both of these a subscription was immediately and 
liberally entered into : to one a. present of plate was made, 
and the other received the amount of the subscription in 
money. Had they not been dismissed, no such project 
would have been entertained. In the case of one of these 
gentlemen, who was dismissed only a short time since, 
there is some peculiarity ; which, as it affects more espe- 
cially thie Grand Juries of Jamaica, may not be, per- 
haps, quite properly introduced here. It must, how- 
ever, be mentioned. The offence was, the having ,sanc- 
tioned a punishment inflicted by an overseer, without 
any legal .authority, (and therefore highly illegal) on an 
apprentice. The overseer did not deny the fact ; the ma- 
gistrate acknowledged his share in the transaction, — and, 



yet notwithstanding, the Grand Jury, in a presentment to the 
Judges, denounced the conduct of the Bridsh Government 
as a cruel persecution. The result was, that the dismissed 
magistrate received, as a compensation, a sum of money, 


which was raised by a subscription amongst the planters of 
the district previously in his charge. The persecutions, on 
the other hand, with which the planters visited those who 
shewed a leaning to the side of the negroes, prove the 
disposition which exists to take advantage, if possible, 
of any mistake which the Special Justices may happen to 
make, with the best and most humane intentions. The cases 
of Bourne and Oldrey are remarkable instances of the 
feeling which prevailed throughout every part of these 
* transactions. How are they protected in the execution of 
their duty, when these attacks are made on them ? The 
third clause of the Report of the House of Commons Com- 
mittee, represents ^^ the want of adequate protection to the 
Special Justices against vexatious prosecutions." It evi* 
dently was the impression of the Committee^ that the 
reenactment of the Act in Aid, giving triple costs to the 
magistrates, would afford them sufficient support. Such is 
not the case, though that clause may in some degree 
produce caution in attacks on these officers. In point 
of fact, however, this enactment is, for reasons given in a 
former chapter, quite inefficacious in the priesent state of 
the Bench and Petty Juries, as a solitary measure for their 
defence. The Special Justices, at that time about thirty 
in number^ were described as " the Thirty Tyrants,*' 
in a letter which appeared in a public print, and was 
universally attributed to a very talented and leading char^ 
Hcter in the Island, one of the party the most opposed ix> 
British influence. It was moreover stated in that letter, 
that the British Parliament had used its omnipotence to 
plunder and destroy the colony. 


As a farther example of the annoyance to which these 
gentlemen are subjected, owing to the detestation in which 
they are held, it is necessary to state, that the House of 
Assembly, in more than one instance, summoned up from 
all parts of the country to Spanish Town, to attend a 
Committee of that House, those Magistrates whose charac- 
ter, conduct, and mode of administering the Abolition 
Law was the most opposed to their views. That this was 
done only for purposes of annoyance, is proved by the 
Committee having repeatedly been urged to examine them, 
and allow them to return to their duties ; and from their 
having as constantly refused to consent Dr. Madden was 
one of those so treated-^-see Answer No. 838, Buxton's 
Report; and so was Captain Oldrey : while Mr. White, to 
whom were attributed different views, was immediately 
examined, and allowed to go away at once. A similar 
annoyance was repeated subsequently in various instances, 
but in none more remarkably tlian in that of Captain 
Edward Baynes, who was kept for thre^ weeks, in short, 
till the session closed, in Spanish Town, on the summons 
of a Committee which never met. As a farther proof ^of 
the animus with which it was done, I will merely state, 
that this event took place just after the bills for cruelty 
and oppression against the supervisor and magistrates of 
St John's bad been sent up by Mr. Baynes, and ignored 
by ithe grand jury. The natural inference must be, that it 
was done for purposes of annoyance. To crown the whole, 
not one shilling of the heavy expenses to which they were 
subjected by their journeys, or their detention in Spanish 
Town, was paid to any one of them. This became at last 
so serious a mode of persecution, that the Governor repre- 
sented the matter to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 
and was directed in reply to make application to the 
Assembly foi* the repayment of these expenses. That 


body took no notic6 of the message ; and the Governor not 
making any farther representation to them, the matter now 
rests precisely as it did before. Any Special Justice may 
now be summoned up to Spanish Town, and if prevented, 
as might be the case by pecuniary considerations, from 
attending, he is liable to committal during the remainder 
of the session for contempt of the House. Still, 
however, vexatious prosecutions are the evils to which 
a remedy ought particularly to be applied, and a most 
effectual one can in a moment be named : one, in fact, 
which is infallible. Let the Governor's instruction not to 
allow an appeal in error to be entered where a less sum than 
three hundred pounds sterling is engaged, be withdrawn, 
and let him be instructed to admit the appeal of a Special 
Justice for any amount. The principle of a right can as 
well be tried where £5 as where £500 are concerned. 
But something more is requisite, before it reaches this 
point ; the poor Special Magistrate, already embarrassed 
from the inadequacy of his salary, cannot make the neces- 
sary advances to the solicitor, and therefore his defence 
is neglected. In order to remedy this evil, let the Gover- 
nor be also directed, the moment that any suit is instituted 
against a Special Justice, to desire the Attorney-General 
to employ a solicitor, and to defend him at the public cost ; 
unless the conduct of the Special Justice is such as to make 
the Governor feel himself authorised to refuse it. Should he 
see reason to refuse, let him, by the first packet, report the 
whole of his reasons to the Colonial OflSce. But the Special 
Magistrate should be borne harmless, as long as he is in 
the right An order once given, it will be found that 
until the termination of the apprenticeship there will not 
be one vexatious prosecution commenced. An increase of 
the salary of the Special Justices should also be granted ; 


and if not a direct addition, at all events, an allowance for 
medical attendance, which is enormously expensive in 
Jamaica — £6. 6*. 8c?. being the fee for one night's attend- 
ance. It is said that a magistrate thinks himself very for- 
tunate, if he gets off for £50, when once taken ill. An 
allowance also for the purchase of horses, where they are 
disabled on duty, should be paid to the Special Justice 
by the Governor ; and then they could meet their neces- 
sary expenses better than they do now. To pass six years 
in a tropical climate; to run serious risks of life every 
day during that period ; and to end with being heavily in 
debt, in spite of the most prudent habits, is not encourag- 
ing to such exertion as is required for this most arduous 

In addition to the cases of the vexatious prosecutions of 
Bourne and Oldrey, many other instances of as strong a cha- 
racter might be given. There was an attempt by a gentleman 
in the parish of St. James, at the commencement of the 
apprenticeship, to jnake the decision of a Special Justice 
against the interest of his brown mistress, a matter of a personal 
nature. The Governor having been informed of it, saw at 
once that the effect of the Special Justices making them- 
selves targets for the young men of the colony to fire at, 
would be to nullify their exertions, and completely defeat 
the intentions of the Abolition Law. He therefore issued 
a notification, to them, that he would at once deprive of 
his commission any stipendiary, who should so far forget 
his duty as to enter upon any personal altercation, or affair 
of honour, on subjects connected with his public duties. 
This put an effectual stop to any such attempts. Another 
more successful, and also more legitimate, mode of annoy- 
ance was then adopted, namely, that of .pouring com- 
plaints, whether well founded or not, into the Governor's 


office. As soon as any such were received, a copy ivag sent 
forthwith to the accused magistrate ; and, at ail events, he 
had the trouble of entering into a long defence, and sending 
to the Governor a copy of all the evidence taken on the 
subject, to which reference had been made. The law 
compelled them to visit every estate in their district twice 
in each month; and as they could only give up five days 
in each week to this object, the Saturday being devoted 
to holding courts, and the Sunday not being a day of 
labour, any occupation taking up a part of their time was 
a great additional annoyance. Now, though this reference 
was undoubtedly the proper and legitimate mode of attain- 
ing redress wherever real injury was done, it was to many 
the fruitful cause of much annoyance; from which, how* 
ever, those magistrates were universally exempted, the 
general tendency of whose dispositions was known to be 
favourable to the views of the planters. That this persecution 
had no influence on their conduct in general, is to be hoped, 
and from the frequency of complaints made in the first year 
of the apprenticeshipj it is to be believed; but on some, of 
timid and indolent characters, it must have had, perhaps, 
unconsciously, an effect. There were two or three of these 
magistrates who were so happy as to escape this annoyance 
Without any sacrifice of principle; — one in particular, well 
known in the Island, who, in addition to great natural 
discretion and talent, which he exhibited on every occa- 
sion, had the rare good fortune of securing equally the 
confidence of the planters and of the apprentices: — 'but 
the majority, with as pure intentions, with as much zeal, 
and perhaps as much patience, had not the good luck to 
escape so easily. After this system had been continued for 
some time, the planters became tired of it, and attributing 
to the Governor a determination to support the Special 



Justiced whether in the right 6r not, began to consider 
whether they could not devise some other more successful 
means of annoyance, and of defeating the efforts of the special 
magistrates. Within the last two or three months, recourse 
has been had to a plan which will render it an absolute 
impossibility that any of ihem should venture to do their 
duty unless a proper remedy be speedily applied by the 
Governor. This plan originated in the parish of St. James^ 
where more animosity to the new system has been found 
to exist than in almost any other parish in the Island. 

Messrs. Finlayson, Facey, and Camaby, the three zealous 
and intelligent -magistrates of that parish, fined a man at 
Montego Bay for some act of oppression ; and, on his 
refusing to pay the amount of his fine, they issued a warrant 
for his apprehension, and committed him to prison under the 
provisions of the Abolition Law. Mr. W. S. Grignon, a 
practising solicitor at that place, as well as an estate 
attorney, advised the man to take an action at quarter^ 
sessions against these three magistrates. This appeal to 
the quarter-sessions, in preference to the Assizes, has 
recently become very popular, more eq[)ecially since the 
Petty Oflence Consolidation Act has come into force, and 
^ven to the local magistrates additional powers. The super- 
intendance at the trial of the only legally educated judge 
in the island has no attraction for the planters. They 
think there is more " knowledge of the negro ehartxctet^* in 
the local magistrates, and the custos their chairman, than in 
the chief justice; and they therefore prefer leaving their 
cases to such a tribunal, rather than to that which, though 
'Still defective in its constitution, has the advantage of* having 
a regularly educated barrister to preside over it. By the 
advice of the Attorney-General of the colony, these magis- 
trates denied the jurisdiction of the court of quarter-session; 
but the custos, Mr. Manderson, overruled the objection. 


The case was brought before a jury, formed, as most of 
them are, principally of estates' overseers and book-keepers, 
and a verdict against the defendants of course followed. 
The amount of the damages found, 7 id* and costs, shews 
evidently that this prosecution was got up to try the case, 
and incite other parishes to institute similar prosecutions, 
or, more properly speakings persecutions, of the Special 
Justices, who, whether acquitted or not, are subjected 
thereby, to an expense which their finances will not allow 
them to meet The Governor declares that he has no 
authority to assist them in a pecuniary manner; and if 
they happen to be in straitened, circumstances, as most of 
them are, in consequence of their wretchedly insufficient 
salaries, they have no means of making a proper legal 

This is part and parcel of the plan which has been so 
diligently, and so artfully, followed up for the past year, in 
direct opposition to the Abolition Law, of taking as much 
|)ower as possible from the special, and vesting it in the 
local magistrates. This scheme was first commenced in 
Lord Sligo's time, when, after passing a bill to give the 
special commission to all the loqal magistrates, which 
he at once rejected, an address was presented to him 
from both branches of the legislature, praying his consent 
to such a measure, and representing to him that it was 
necessary for the safety and prosperity of the island. He 
again, of course, refused to accede to their wishes. . They 
are now silently, but not unobserved, proceeding in the 
same manner ; and if " this most cunning device" be not 
at once defeated by the acuteness of the Governor, the 
Special Justices must cease to struggle with the planters 
to carry into effect either the spirit or the letter of the 
provisions of the Abolition Law. 


The only pdwer, if this scheme be allowed to continue its 
progress, as it has hitherto done, which will be left to the 
Special Justices, will be that of scourging the backs of the 
negroes, and coercing them. In the execution of those 
duties they will be assisted by the local magistracy, but 
they will be deprived of all power to protect the apprentices 
against xheir oppressors. The local magistrates are, by 
degrees, getting all the most common offences of the negroes 
within their jurisdiction ; for example, the Police Bill, and 
Petty Offence Consolidation Bill. Is any one bold enough 
to say, that, if an apprentice is charged under this latter 
Act, before those local justices, with insolence, or assault, 
they will calculate, when apportioning the punishment, the 
perhaps terrible provocation which he may have received ? 
If a negro cut a cane, or suck an orange, to slake his thirst 
in that sultry climate ; if he cut a stick even, in a country 
overrun with wood, for a great deal of which there is no 
claimant, he may, under the recent Act, be brought before 
a local magistrate. The onus probandi, where the stick, 
&c. was cut, laying on the negro, he may be taken before 
the local magistrates, whose delight, as the majority of , 
them own in common conversation, it is ^^ to punish 
the damned black rasccUSf^* and who may send him 
to the House of Correction for punishment; and when 
there, if he demur at all, he may be additionally flogged. 
Yet this law, which is open to. so many objections, 
has been for some months before the Secretary of State for 
the Colonies, and at the date of the letters which came 
by the last packet from Jamaica, its disallowance had not 
been notified there. It was reported in the Island that, in 
communicating to the Governor the disallowance of another 
Bill passed by him during the last session, the Secretary of 
State had informed him, that the remainder of the Acts 


then passed had not been decided on, as he had not had 
time to submit them to His Majesty for his consideration. 
This, perhaps, may be only an on dit, and not true ; but 
surely a Secretary of State ought to find time enough to 
consider Colonial Acts of Parliament, and not ** await with 
perfect tranquillity^^ the evil consequences which may arisen 
in the meantime, from their defects, for which he is cer- 
tainly accountable. 

The only other instance of persecution of the Special Jus- 
tices which it will be necessary particularly to advert to, 
happened to fall to the lot of Mr. Baynes. From the time 
that he took an active part in trying to punish those gross 
and cruel violations of the law, which took place in the 
workhouse of the parish of St. John*s, it was determined 
that all means of annoyance should be put into force 
against him. His wife had been recently confined. His 
persecutors commenced their operations with the wet-nurse, 
who was an apprentice. Though earning excellent wages 
in his service, much to the advantage of the probably 
absentee owner, who knew nothing of the aflair, she was 
suddenly withdrawn from his house. He was in a similar 
manner deprived of the services of his other servants, who 
were all of the same class. Finally, he was, by a general 
concerted plan, refused a residence in the parish, and is 
now actually compelled in consequence to live at a much 
greater expense, at great inconvenience to himself, and 
with great injury to the negroes at Spanish Town, some 
miles away from his district. Since writing the above, 
the following paragraph has reached this country, in a 
Jamaica print, and it is inserted, as well to shew the 
manner in which the Special Justice who does his duty, 
as Mr. Bouiiie doesi is treated, as the light in which the 
illegal flogging of iqpprentices is looked upon in the Island: 
whether the number of ^' licks" inflicted was five or six^ or 


many more, does not appear ; the paragraph is extracted 
irom the Kingston Chronicle, of the 26th May, 1887. 

^^ A full bench of magistrates was formed yesterday at 
Halfway Tree Court House, to itiqaire into a series of ab- 
surd charges, which were made at the instance of Mr. Spe- 
cial Justice Bourne, against the drivers attached to the 
house of correction, because of the disobedient conduct of 
an apprentice named Alexander Sinclair, (who had been 
sentenced to be confined within the institution) and his re- 
fusal to perform the work assigned to him, they proceeded 
to use a slight degree of coercion to compel obedience, by 
inflicting (as was admitted) five or six paltry licks. We 
shall give further particulars in a future number, but we 
cannot defer remarking upon the impropriety of Mr. 
Bourne's incurring such unnecessary trouble. Had he 
adopted the right way of proceeding, the matter might 
have been settled in a few moments in a summary manner 
without occasioning a waste of time. But no, instead of 
this, he must indulge the cacoethes scHbendi^ by addressing 
a long rigmarole communication to the Governor, merely 
that it may cause a ^ flare-up,' in the hope that he may be 
talked about in England as an enemy to oppression, and 
all that sort of humbug, and with the view of ingratiating 
himself into the favour of the Cantcraft Society^ Oh, 
Stephen, Stephen I when wilt thou abandon thy evil ways 
and mischievous propensities ?' 

To exemplify what has been stated of the insufficiency of 
the Salaries of the Special Magistrates, a calculation of 
their annual expaichture, whidi has been recently sent 
home by a gendeman hiding that commission in Jamaica, 
will be found in Appendix (D). To those who have been 
in that «olony the charges wDl not appear imreasonable. 
The keep of their horses alone might {ffobably be some- 
what reduced. It may be said, too, that only a certain 


number have been summoned to attend the House of 
Assembly, but compulsory attendance at assizes and ses- 
sions, for the furtherance of the administration of Justice, 
has been of such frequent occurrence as fully to warrant 
the charge of intentional annoyance. 


The maimer in which the Valuation of such negroes as 
wish to free themselves from the obligations of the 
remaining term of the apprenticeship service is effected, has 
been from the beginning u source of much uneasiness as 
well to the negro who desires to acquire his freedom as to all 
persons possessing humane feeling, and desiring that the negro 
shall enjoy all the benefits intended for him by the British 
Nation. Frequent representations have been made from 
various quarters, to the Home Government, on the subject, 
without, however, any satisfactory mode of overcoming the 
difficulty having been devised. The value of these servrces 
has increased enormously since the commencement of the 
apprenticeship, and if this were not the case, the valuations 
would bear even a worse character than . they do at present. 
A very large gang of negroes was sold a short time before 
the 1st August 1834, at an average of £20 currency 
each, to an eminent physician in the colony, who had the 
sense to foresee the probabilities of tranquillity during the 
apprenticeship, and to know the advantage of accustoming 
these people to reside on his properties during that period. 
He bought other gangs, which it is not probable he got 
on such cheap terms as the one alluded to, but it is be- 
lieved that they did not average £25 currency, per head: 


whereas now the compensation for each negro in Jamaica 
averages £21 sterling, or something over £30 currency : — 
in fact, he bought every negro whom he had sufficient 
means to purchase ; and the consequence is, that he not 
only realized the difference between these two sums, but 
also amassed so handsome a fortune, as to be enabled to 
retire from the practice of his profession, and, with much 
liberality, to make to his partner a present of the share 
of his business, which would have sold for a considerable 
^um in the market. Now, the average price of 1000 appren- 
tices, who had themselves valued, and who purchased their 
manumission, after their masters had received the amount 
of their compensation during the two first years of the 
emancipation, was £34 odd shillings each, currency : the 
average valuation of 668 others, who thought themselves 
valued at too high a price, and would not therefore purchase 
their freedom, amounted to about £47 odd shillings. The 
average value of the negro, can thereby be very nearly 
ascertained ; and it will be found, that at the end of the 
second year about £35 was the usual price for an able field 
negro. What injustice has therefore been done to those 
668, who have given unanswerable proof of the over-estimate 
by continuing to serve as apprentices ? Had the sums named 
for them, been anything near the former average, numbers 
of them would at once have produced the money ; though, 
it cannot be denied, that some did get themselves valued 
without having the means of paying the sum awarded. The 
great difference which has been shown to exist between 
their value, prior and subsequent to the abolition, must 
afS>rd the most cqnvincing evidence of the well-working of 
the new system, and falsify all those memorials of the 
Assembly, or of individuals, which have declared the despe- 
rate state of the Colony since it commenced. That property 


has risen also much in value is most certain. See Answer 
461^9 where it is testified that it has risen 25 per cent* 
Mr. Oldham, a most experienced planter, testifies to the 
same fact, 4841. A further proof is afforded, by the cir-* 
cumstance that Mr. R. Barrett, the Speaker to the House 
of Assembly, a man inferior to none in talent, or know- 
ledge of Jamaica, has bought no less than four estates since 
the Compensation Money has been paid. To return, how- 
ever, to the valuations : — ^it has been said above, that per- 
haps, their increased value occasions the excessive prices 
fixed on some of the apprentices. This, to a certain 
extent, may be the case ; but it is to be feared, that it also 
betokens a desire to prevent these poor people from effect- 
ing their manumission. In some instances the local ma- 
gistrate has been known to affix a higher value to the 
services of a negro than the representative of his owner 
sWore to be his opinion of it. It is also to be remarked, 
that though, at the expiration of the Act, which regulated 
the deductions to be made £>r contingencies, at one-third 
of the gross value of the negro's services, a great number, 
indeed the majority, of the local justices, adhered to their 
former legal system of deduction ; there were yet some who 
pointedly refused to do so, though the other local, and the 
special justice agreed to the value, and to the deduction. 
The magistrates thus dissenting generally propose a cei^tain 
deducti<Hi, but one totally insufficient. The special, as well 
as some other local magistrates, could not conscientiously 
consent to such a principle; and the consequence was, 
that owing to the obstinacy, and I must say, the miscon- 
duct of these few magistrates, as many apprentices as were 
so unfortunate as to be placed under them as valuators^ 
were deprived of their sihare of the benefits of the com- 
pidsory manumisnipii . clause, although they might have 
been prepared to pay the money to which their net valua- 


tion would have amounted under the old law. The evil 
was obvious, but the remedy was more difEcult than might 
be imagined. Had any corrupt motive been detected, in 
any one instance of over valuation, or any reason which 
would have satisfied the public as to the justice of such a 
stretch of power, the Governor might have at once dismissed 
such offender from the Commission of the Peace ; but, when 
a magistrate justifies his conduct, by declaring that such 
was his bona fide opinion, whether right or wrong, no man 
could reconcile it to himself to adopt so peremptory a course. 
Mr. Jeremie, in his Answer 70«5, in the Committee Evi- 
dence, gives it as his opinion, that the formation of the 
Court of Valuation was most unfavourable to the acquire- 
ment of freedom by an apprentice. Answer 732 gives a 
practical example of the fact, namely, that the local ma- 
gistrate valued an apprentice at £60, while the special 
justice valued him only at j£25. As the individual so 
valued caiuiot now be produced, it may be difficult to 
ascertain which of the two parties was in the right The 
only way of forming a correct judgment, is to recollect 
what was the average value of the majority, namely, £34 — 
and then it may reasonably be inferred, that £60 was by 
far too great an amount to be fixed. 

It is a great misfortune that the magistrates are not on 
oath, in each individual case, where they act as arbitrators, 
because the solemnity of such a ceremony would render them 
much more cautious, and induce them maturely to consider 
their verdict. It was said by a person, who gave his testi- 
mony before that Committee, and one whose evidence, 
from various circumstances, ought to carry great weight 
with it, (Mr. Burge, in his Answer 2672,) that in every 
one of these flagrant cases of over valuation, the special 
magistrate could apply to the Chief Justice, at the Supreme 
Court, for redress for the negro, and that such Court would 


then appoint another magistrate, to replace the one whose 
perseverance in so improper a course was proved, A law- 
yer of that gentleman's experience and capacity, ought not 
to have forgotten, as he must have done when he gave that 
testimony, the consideration of who was to pay for the legal 
assistance, and the other costs of such an application ; who 
was to pay the expenses of the journey of that special justice, 
and of the apprentice, backwards and forwards, from per- 
haps the most distant parish in the Island, to Spanish 
Town, and also those of their residence at that place, while 
waiting for the decision of the Court. Lastly, What would 
be said by the planters of the district, which he would be 
compelled, if he undertook such a duty, to abandon for at 
least five weeks, without the presence of any person having 
power to adjudicate between the apprentice and his master? 
The great delay which a reference to the Grand Court 
would occasion, if the difficulty arose just after one of its 
three annual Sessions had terminated, is another injustice 
to the negro in such a course. In recounting all these various 
causes for excessive valuation, it is with much regret that 
one other is to be added, — the very extraordinary, and, 
it cannot be otherwise designated, the infamous, evidence 
which has been given by some of the overseers and book- 
keepers. One instance has recently occurred. An overseer 
swore that a common field negro was worth £40 a-year to 
the estate. In this case, however, the local and special 
justices remedied the evil, and showed their sense of the 
worth of the overseer's testimony, by fixing the negro's 
value at £14 a-year. But some magistrates think that 
they must be guided solely by the evidence produced before 
them, and not by their own personal knowledge. In the 
absence of any contradictory evidence, some have conscien- 
tiously considered themselves bound to fix a valuation at a 
much higher rate than they thought jusU One instance of 


the sort may be adduced, where, from the high character 
of the special justice, for talent and humanity, it is certain 
that he conscientiously felt that he could not give a different 
decision on account of the conviction of his own mind. Being 
a man of truth and of great moral courage, every one be- 
lieved him, when he gave this feeling as his reason. It is 
astonishing that these overseers, who must so well know 
the market-price of a negro's services, should lay themselves 
open to the imputation of such dishonesty, without any 
possible advantage to themselves, except that of gaining 
favour with the attorney, who, if he did his duty, would 
instantly discharge them for such culpable conduct After, 
however, stating all these cases, I am bound to say that 
they are exceptions ; and that a great number of the valua- 
tions have been conducted on the most fair and equitable 
terms. Many abuses however have taken place, and their 
possibility ought to be removed by enactment 


With the exception, perhaps, of that which relates to the 
workhouses, there is no part of the abolition law which 
has been more abused and perverted, than that which regu- 
lates the hospitals, and the medical treatment of the appren- 
tices of Jamaica. There are various points to which atten- 
tion ought to be directed, for the purpose of enabling this 
matter to be viewed in a proper light. In the first place, 
the size and nature of the buildings is to be considered ; 
next, the treatment of the patients who are sent into them ; 
and, lastly, the abuses, both in the management and in the 
sanatory restraints which the law has placed in the hands 


of the medibal attendants. Of course, there is much variety 
in the size of the hospitals, and in the manner of conduct-* 
ing them. On some large estates, under good manage- 
ment, nothing can exceed the care which is taken of the 
negroes; but these cases are not very numerous. In 
many instances, the most cruel and improper conduct has 
been proved to have prevailed ; these cases were well known 
at the time, but no memorandum of the names of the parties 
implicated having been kept, each individual case cannot 
be particularly specified. On those estates, where the 
hospitals have been recently erected, a much greater regard, 
both to decency and to the comforts of the patients, has 
been exhibited ; a division of the sexes has been provided 
for in most, if not all of them ; but those which have been 
for some time in use, and they are by far the majority, are 
sadly deficient in all these respects. Into these generally 
small buildings, males and females, lunatics, aged people, 
and those with contagious diseases, are all huddled together. 
There is generally no second room, or any other con- 
veniency, such as health or even decency requires, for tlie 
diurnal necessities of its inmates. These poor creatures all 
sleep on a guard bed, which extends along one side of 
the room, without any bed-clothes whatever, though the 
land breeze is piercingly cold at night, and the blacks are 
peculiarly sensitive to its effects. To add to the misery of 
the place, the doors are generally kept locked, — always said 
to be so by the doctor's directions, in order to prevent its 
occupants from injuring their health by walking about. 
They are often kept thus locked up the whole of the 
twenty-four hours, with the exception of half an hour each 
morning and evening, when the doors are opened in order 
to allow the patients to receive from their friends their own 
provisions. There is much reason to fear that this species 
of confinement is frequently ordered, for the purpose of 


Annoying and persecuting the poor unfortunate appren- 
tices. The stocks are had recourse to, in addition, for the 
same purpose; people with sore legs are often placed in 
them, in order, as alleged, to prevent them from walking ; 
when it must strike every person, that inflammation is much 
more likely to ensue, if the diseased limb is placed between 
tliick boards, than if the individual were allowed to walk 
about the hospital room at his own discretion. The stocks 
are now in some instances removed; but, for the most part, 
they still remain in the hospitals, though great pains were 
taken by the special magistrates to detect cases where 
they had been used, it having been considered that the new 
law made them illegal. Instances without end have been 
brought forward, where hospitals have been made use of, 
in evasion of the law, as additional places of confinement, 
after the apprentice had been kept a prisoner in the estate's 
dungeon, for the legal number of hours. A case of a 
gross abuse of this nature occurred on an estate of one 
of the most kind and humane masters in the island — 
a man who, had he been on the spot, would have been 
the first to punish the perpetrators. A long and careful 
examination of the matter before the special justices took 
place ; and it was proved that a girl, who had been guilty 
of some offence, had been first committed to the dungeon 
for the legal twenty-four hours, and then removed to the 
hospital as a further place of confinement, in order to avoid 
thereby the penalties of the abolition law ; that she was for 
thfe space of nearly, if not quite, a week, sent out to work 
every morning, and the moment the labour was over, she 
was brought back again, and locked up for the night in a 
cell in the hospital. It came out, further, that all the inva- 
lids in the place were compelled by the overseer to clean 
the works, and besides shell corn on each Sunday ; that 
a girl was flogged by the estate's constable with a cartwhip, 


in the presence of several of the white book-keepers, and 
that not one of them made the slightest effort to stop him. 
In short, a more disreputable state of things was never 
proved to have existed, than what came to light on this 
occasion. Some medical men have behaved so improperly, 
as to give general orders to have all patients in the hospitals 
indiscriminately locked up — a power conferred on them 
which never could have been contemplated ; but, in most 
cases, the severest hardships which occurred in the hos- 
pitals, have arisen from the misconduct of the manager or 

In the case of Parsons, the overseer on the estate of Mr. 
Richard Barrett, it was proved that the poor woman, whose 
death was the subject of examination, was found by the 
magistrate, who made the discovery, lying on a heap of 
filth, occasioned by her own illness, which had never been 
removed since she was placed in a perfectly helpless state 
in that bed ; also, that her own daughter had sat for hours 
at the door, imploring in vain for permission to be locked 
in with her mother, in order to attend and clean her. 
The case of another female apprentice was somewhat dif- 
ferent, though the abuse was almost as great. Her pro- 
prietor was stated, in the report of the special justices, 
who were ordered to investigate the case, to have totally 
neglected her throughout her illness, though she had served 
him faithfully up to the moment that she was taken ill. 
It appeared that he employed no medical attendant, but 
himself administered medicine to his apprentices, when he 
considered they required it. It appeared that he had no 
hospital, as this poor woman died in her own hut Had 
the Coroner done his duty on this occasion, the truth must 
have come out. He was ordered to hold an inquest on 
the body of the woman ; but being fully aware of what the 
result would be, he declared that it was unnecessary, and 


did not hold it. He moreover threatened the poor woman's 
son with punishment, for complaining against his master 
for neglect of his mother. 

To these may be added the cases of Pomelia and Sophy, 
(there may be some mistake as to their names, but the 
cases are well known) in St. Thomas in the Vale, where 
Martin, the overseer, was found guilty of the manslaughter 
of one of these persons in the hospital of the estate under 
his charge. Many more cases might be quoted, but the 
above are sufficient. 

It has been stated, in evidence, by Dr. Madden, that the 
medical attendance on estates is insufficient. It is true, 
that the apprentices on some embarrassed estates, and those 
belonging to some small settlers, are absolutely without any. 
To prevent complaints, they get days of idleness, a very 
inadequate exchange, in lieu of clothes, medical attendance, 
and other usual aUowances; but on large well managed 
estates, it does appear that they are better off than the 
majority of the lower classes in England or Ireland. There 
is always in the store of such estates plenty of medicines ; 
there is too what is called the hothouse doctor, an intelligent 
negro, who has quite sufficient practical knowledge to 
administer the usual simple remedies in cases of the ordi- 
nary slight ailments of the negroes. He, moreover, knows 
quite well when it is necessary to send for the physician. 
The physician, if not sent for, generally calls once a week. 
If there is any sickness on the estate, he comes every day ; 
or, if necessary, as many times as may be deemed requisite. 
In short, it does appear, that, as far as the attendance of 
medical persons is concerned, the apprentices on the large 
estates of Jamaica have scarcely anything to complain of. 
The physician is paid a certain annual sum for each negro, 
and it costs the estate no more if he be called in every 
day, than if he paid only his usual visits, while by his 


attendance the sick person is the sooner able to return to 
his work ; there is seldom, therefore, any hesitation as to 
making the physician do his duty, should he be indifferent 
to it himself. 

The physician has, however, it must be confessed, rather 
a hard card to play ; of some it can only be said, that either 
from a community of feeling with the most severe of the 
overseers, or from corrupt motives, they willingly make 
themselves instruments of their oppressions. There are, 
however, many who are totally free from such an impu- 
tation, and who preserve their integrity and character 
unsullied; but these, alas, nm every risk of drawing on 
themselves their own ruin. They are all dependent on 
the caprices of the attorneys, who can, without giving any 
reason, remove them at a moment's notice from the attend- 
ance on an estate. There is an instance well known in the 
parish of St. James, where an eminent physician was dis- 
missed from the medical charge of two estates, the only 
ones under the care of a very great attorney in that par- 
ticular neighbourhood, because he gave to an apprentice on 
one of them, a certificate that he was incapable of working, 
owing to ill-health. When the attorneys commit such 
excesses, some allowance ought to be made for the physi- 
cians, who are so completely in their power, and may by 
one word be deprived by them of their means of livelihood. 

The estate rarely furnishes food to the invalid in the 
hospital ; but if it does, it is of the lowest possible descrip- 
tion; generally cold boiled plantains, or some Guinea corn, 
or great com meal. Delicacies, if ordered for the negroes, 
are provided; but it is a dangerous thing for a doctor to 
become too troublesome on an estate, and therefore they 
are not often prescribed. 

Much of the ill-treatment in the hospital is excused by 
the overseers, on the ground that the negroes are in the 


habit of " shamming sick," in order to evade work. This 
may have been true in some instances; but the negroes, 
seeing that the hospital can, under the already detailed 
circumstances, have but small attractions, without hesitation 
declare, that they would rather continue at their labour, 
however ill they may be, than go into the hospital. In 
fact, the assertion that their ailments are fictitious, is a 
very convenient way for an heartless overseer to get rid of 
the trouble of attending to a man's health, unless his illness 
be very severe. It may, probably, be with a view of keep- 
ing the hospital empty, that this system is organized; if 
so, it is certainly a successful plan. If it be necessary, as 
it may be, to prevent the patients from fatiguing themselves 
by wandering about, and getting improper food, let proper 
attendance, and all other conveniences, be provided for 
them, in that hospital ; let decency and morality be con- 
sulted, by the division of the sexes ; and, finally, let the 
severest penalties be inflicted on the overseer, if any person 
shall be placed in one of these establishments without a 
written authority from the physician. The object of this 
suggestion is to prevent the hospital being made a place of 
confinement, in evasion of the Abolition Law. Directions 
were issued by Lord Sligo to the special justices to visit 
and report upon all these estate-hospitals. In some cases — 
opposition was made to the examination ; and though 
nothing could be more unpopular than this enquiry, it was 
in almost every instance successfully made. 

The Governor declared that he would transmit to the 
Colonial Office the result of this investigation, in the hope 
of getting some modification of the sanatory restraint, 
enacted in England; as under this name have all these 
hospital abuses been carried on. Nothing, however, has 
been as yet done here to remedy the evil, and no person 


expects any amelioration at the hands of the Assembly of 

Copies of affidavits, bearing strongly on the subject of 
this chapter, having recently reached England, their sub- 
stance is here introduced, but the names of the places and 
parties concerned are for obvious reasons omitted ; they are, 
however, well known, even to the Governor of Jamaica, 
as it appears, by the conclusion of the female's affidavit, 
that she demands redress from him. 

The complainant was a female apprentice named Ellen 

T J belonging to estate, in the parish of , 

who swears, that on the 3d March 1837, feeling herself 
unwell, she applied to her overseer for admission into the 
plantation hospital according to law ; that instead of being 
sent there, she was, on that day, committed to a dark cell, 
the common prison of the estate, and was not released from 
confinement till Sunday the 12th March; that, though 
complaining of illness, she got no medical assistance till 
Monday the 6th, when Dr. , the physician of the es- 
tate, visited it. That he came there two or three times 
while she was under punishment, but that, at each time he 
came, she was taken to the hospital to be inspected; she 
does not think that he was aware of her having been in the 
dungeon ; that she received medicine and a severe blister 
on her arm while so confined ; and that she suffered very 
much from the bad air and dampness of the cell ; that the 
special justice visited the estate on the 7th, but that having 
been " kept secret^^ she had not been seen by him. 

The above affidavit is confirmed in all the principal points 

by William H , the estate's constable. Next come the 

doctor's orders, as inserted in the hospital order book, 
through which he conveys officially to the attorney and 
overseer his opinions, and directs the medical course, for 
the due execution of which the overseer is responsible. 


" 8d March 1837, Ellen T • Lock up, as she is quite 

able to go to work, and refuses to do so. — Signed by the 

" 6th March, Ellen T. Apply blister over her elbow, 
and, to prevent her walking about, lock her up. — Signed 
as before. 

" 13th March, Ellen T. Ten grains of blue pill, ten 
grains of ipecacuanha, twenty grains of calomel, ten grains 
of opium. — Signed as before. 

" Released from the black-hole yesterday." 

The affidavit of Dr. , the physician above alluded 

to, saith, that Ellen T complained to him on the 3d 

March of pain in her arm ; "that seeing no sign of ailment, 
or disease, in the part, or oiherume^^ he ordered her to be 
kept in the hospital till his next visit, subject to the restraint 
of being locked up, allowing her every morning to procure 
nourishment for the day. That on the 6th March, finding 
her still complaining of the pain, he thought it proceeded 
from chronic rheumatism, and ordered her a blister on 
the part ; he directed also, that the same restraint should 
be continued, in order to prevent her walking about and 
exposing herself to cold " or such like.'* That he did not 
see her again till the 13th, when he found her arm dis- 
charging, and ordered her pills, to be taken once or twice 
a-day, till that discharge should cease ; that after this she 
was dismissed from the hospital, and that he never ordered 
her into a dungeon, nor did he know she had been in one. 
Now, in relation to this case, several observations may 
be made. However the affidavits and proofs may diffiar 
in trifles, in the main they prove the truth of the woman's 

In the first place, the doctor at once, stio jure^ without 
the intervention of a special justice, whose sentence alone 
could legalize this deprivation of liberty, places in confine- 



ment a woman, whom, it appears, both by his order in the 
hospital book, and by his own affidavit, he thinks to be 
not at all unwell. This surely cannot be called a sanatory 
restraint^ and is, therefore, a decided breach of the law. 
Next, as he himself swears, he at once decides that she had 
no rheumatism in her arm, because he saw no sign of 
ailment or disease on the part " or otherwise." It is 
doubtful whether rheumatism is invariably evinced by any 
outward sign. His opinion, however, appears to have been 
at that time, decidedly, that it could not exist without such 
outward sign. Was his opinion the same three days after, 
when he ordered a severe blister for her arm ? It is to be 
hoped not, as, otherwise, that blister must have been 
devised as a legal mode of torture. It may be, that he 
really did feel that he had decided hastily in the first case. 
He next declares that he ordered her to be put under the 
restraint of confinement, allowing her time, every morning,, 
to go out to provide her food. Hence, it appears, that it 
would do her no harm to go to her grounds to dig yams, 
though it would to walk about the place. This is hardly 
reconcileable. Next, it proves that the planters of Jamaica 
neglect that principle of the common law of England, that 
any man who uses his own house as a prison, must feed 
those he confines in it. There has been still one more 
breach of the law committed in this affair, and that is in 
the overseer not having reported the woman's imprison- 
ment to the special justice on the 7th, when he visited the 
estate. The Abolition Law lays down distinctly, that all 
such imprisonments as shall take place under the urgency 
of any case, shall not last more than twenty-four hours, 
and shall be reported to the special justice the first time 
he shall visit the estate. Here the confinement took place 
on the 3rd; the special justice paid his usual visit on the 
7th ; nothing was related to him, and it does not appear 


that any official report was presented to him, until the 
woman made her complaint. Does not this case alone, 
exclusive of all others cited, prove the necessity of severe 
and stringent regulations, as to the use of sanatory restraint, 
and the treatment of the apprentices in estates' hospitals ? 


A RECENT decision of the Grand Court of Jamaica, on the 
effect of the non- registration of slaves, naturally turns the 
attention of those who possess an interest in that Colony, 
and indeed of every humane man, to the real position of 
the apprentices who were not registered as slaves, on the last 
occasion in 1832. The question was mooted soon after the 
Abolition Act came in force, when it appeared that the 
names of a great number of negroes, who had been pre- 
viously registered, had been omitted to be inserted by their 
owners ; some from their neglect, some from an intention 
to evade the Capitation Tax; a device not nnfrequently 
resorted to, but punishable by a heavy fine, if the prosecu- 
tion takes place within two years after the time of the 
general registration. The fact of this omission having 
been discovered by the friends of some negroes, more than 
one appeal was made to Lord Sligo on the subject, but he 
declined to give any opinion on a point involving such 
important interests, until he should have consulted the 
authorities at home. He, accordingly, requested specific 
instructions as to the rights of masters, so circumstanced, 
to tlie service of their former slaves as apprentices. 

In due course an answer was received, and a circular 
to the special justices was issued, informing them, that 
the opinion of the law officers of the crown in England 


was, that the omission of such registration absolved the 
negroes from all duties as apprentices ; that they were to 
all intents and purposes free persons, and not subject to 
the provisions of the Abolition Act, They were instructed 
that if any alleged apprentice should be brought before 
them for the purposes of coercion, and if such person should 
plead non-registration as an exemption, they should call 
upon the master to show that the man was within their 
jurisdiction, which could only be done by proving that he 
had been duly registered. 

About this time it was notified to the Governor, by the 
Secretary of State for the Colonies, that in consequence of 
the non-registration of the slaves resident in the Island of 
the Grand Caymanas, and of those belonging to the Ma- 
roons, their services as apprentices, could not be legally 
required by their owners. He was ordered further, to 
take steps to place them at once in a state of absolute free- 
dom. There were, however, some peculiarities in each of 
these cases, which took them out of the range of the simple 
non-registration question. The interposition of Parliament 
ought, in consequence, to have been immediately called for 
by the government. 

The Caymanas are a dependency of Jamaica. The 
principal Island is of coral formation, low and long, but 
narrow ; with its highest point not more than twenty feet 
above the level of the sea. It is covered with bush, and 
there are some fine trees on it. Formerly, there were a 
considerable number of cocoa-nut trees, but latterly, a 
disease has attacked those on the western side, and is gradu- 
ally spreading eastward ; so that ere long they will be all 
destroyed. It appears to affect them as soon as they reach 
a certain height, and destroys the whole head of the tree ; 
the leaves and frqit drop off, and the trees die. There are 
innumerable pools of water in all the interior parts of the 


island, and consequently, the quantity, as well as the enor- 
mous size of the musquitoes, make them a greater annoy- 
ance there, than they are, perhaps, in any other part of 
the world. There is abundance of cattle on the Island, 
and as much cultivation as, with the addition of the wheaten 
flour, which is imported from America, will support its in- 
habitants. The population consists of about 1000 whites, 
(supposed to be principally descended from the old bucca- 
neers, the Island being formerly one of their places of 
rendezvous) and 900 slaves. Their chief trade is in turtle; 
there being a vast number of small vessels belonging to 
them, which are wholly employed during the season in 
catching these animals on the small quays which abound 
all along the Spanish Main, and on the southern coast of 

The extraordinary flatness of its surface prevents its 
being seen at more than eleven or twelve miles distance ; 
and it being in the direct track of all vessels going round 
Cape Corrientes, wrecks are very frequent. In fact, the 
produce of these accidents, may be looked upon as one of 
the principal sources of private revenue in the island. Its 
taxes amount to about £200 a-year currency. It aflbrds a 
singular instance of a country existing without any govern- 
ment or any laws ; for those which they call such, do not 
deserve the name. They have, indeed, two chambers, the 
construction of which is most curious. Their upper house 
consists of all the magistrates, who hold their commis- 
sions from the Governor of Jamaica ; the lower is formed 
by deputies, sent from each of the villages ; but their elec- 
tions are carried on in a most uncertain manner. They 
profess to be guided by English law, but when that does 
not suit their convenience, they establish laws of their own. 
Some most curious instances of their litigation might be 
cited, but they would be foreign to the present question. 


Their local code consists of some nineteen or twenty short 
acts. There is not a single deputed officer of the govern- 
ment resident on the Island, and only one of any sort 
receiving salary — the constable ; but when a special justice 
was sent down to administer the Abolition Law, before 
the liberation of the apprentices, nothing could equal their 
docility and obedience. Their manner of receiving this, 
to them most fatal, communication, was remarkable. Lord 
Sligo himself went down for the purpose, in the Forte 
frigate. Commodore Pell, accompanied by the Serpent brig 
of war, with a company of the 84th regiment, under Cap- 
tain Pack, on board. The Serpent was sent forward, with 
directions to inform Mr. Drajton, the custos, that the 
Governor was coming in the Forte on important public 
business, and that he requested to see the principal in- 
habitants on board the frigate, as soon as she should arrive. 
About thirty of the most influential accordingly waited 
on him, as directed, the moment the ship bad come to an 
anchor. He then addressed them in the cabin. He in- 
formed them that the law was clear and precise, and that 
the government could not do otherwise than order the 
liberation of the apprentices. That he had in vain remon- 
strated on the unfairness of depriving them of the servicea. 
of their former slaves, on account of their non-registration, 
without allowing them immediate and ample remuneration 
for the loss : that there was no reason for placing them in 
a worse position than other slaveholders : that Lord Aber- 
deen, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, had, in his 
dispatch on the subject, declared that it was in the power 
of Parliament alone to give such compensation; that from 
such an expression, he, Lord Sligo, inferred, at the same 
time, that application would be made to Parliament for 
such grant ; but, he informed them, that he had no 
authority for so saying. He concluded, by assuring them 



of his sympathy with them on this great misfortune. They 
received the whole communication with apparent conster- 
nation, but with the utmost good humour. Some questions 
were asked, apparently for information, and the only remark 
made was by one man, who, after rising from his seat, as he 
was leaving the cabin, said, ** I came on board one of the 
most comfortable men in the island, and I leave the ship 
without knowing where to turn to get a bit of bread." 

Sir Robert Peel's administration retired from office soon 
after, and Lord Sligo subsequently informed the inhabit- 
ants, that his appeal to Lord Glenelg on the subject of 
their remuneration, was met by an undisguised and imme- 
diate ]|^efusal to propose any such measure to Parliament. 
This is really a great hardship upon them, and one which 
calls loudly for the interference of the public. Had there 
been a possibility of effecting a proper registration in the 
island ; had it been an integral part of Jamaica, which it 
is not; had the law of Jamaica, which prescribes registra- 
tion, been in force in that island ; had it been attached 
to any parish in Jamaica, so that the registration of their 
slaves could have been legally effected; much as their 
misfortune in losing the services of their apprentices would 
have been felt, at all events their own negligence would 
have made it equitable ; but, as there is much doubt whether 
the Registration Law was ever in force in that island, great 
hesitation ought to be felt as to the equity or even the 
legality of the forfeiture without compensation. The law, 
however, of fmgland, having declared that slavery shall no 
longer exist in Her Majesty's dominions, and that all un- 
registered apprentices shall be entitled to their immediate 
and unconditional freedom, those of the Caymanas were 
liberated at once. 

The case of the Maroons was somewhat similar, though 
not exactly alike. It is unnecessary to give any particular 


description of this curious race, as their position is so well- 
known. Su£Bce it to say, that they are blacks ; descended 
from African blood ; but they have been free from time 
immemorial. They are recognized to enjoy peculiar pri- 
vileges in the island. They have always been most inimical 
to all other blacks ; and have, in consequence, been em- 
ployed continually as a police, -to hunt for runaway slaves. 
They are a most eflScient body for that purpose, and have 
been distinguished most favourably in consequence. All 
that can be said to their disadvantage is, that it is to be 
regretted that they are not more mild in their general 
conduct, when employed on this service. When, however, 
this is said, it is but fair to them to add, that this reproach 
has been found to apply in a much greater degree to the 
Free Island Militia, when called out on actual service 
against the slaves. 

According to the regular rule, the superintendants made, 
previous to the abolition of slavery, regular I'etums to the 
House of Assembly at each annual session, of the number, 
age, and sex, of the slaves in the possession of the Maroons ; 
these returns were always, under such authority, consi- 
dered as the only registration requisite, and have always 
been printed among the official documents of the Assembly. 
Not a single instance was ever heard of a Maroon having 
been prosecuted for the non-registration of his slaves ; and 
certainly they were misled as to registration being neces- 
sary. They, however, submitted to the manumission of all 
their apprentices without a murmur. Thus are these two 
great bodies of former slaveholders circumstanced; and, if 
anything were wanting to add to the general feeling in 
their favour, their ready and good-humoured compliance 
with an order severely affecting their interests ought to 
Insure them the public sympathy. 

Now come we to the case of the apprentices on the plan* 


tations in Jamaica. For the owners of such as have not 
been registered according to law in 1832 no sort of excuse 
can be offered. The law was clear ; the means were not 
only at hand, but previous habit had made them quite 
familiar to every one. Some instances, no doubt, of indi- 
vidual hardship might be quoted, where the neglect of 
the vestry clerk, or some really accidental occurrence, had 
occasioned the omission : but it is to be feared that in 
general it was justly attributable to a desire to evade the 
payment of the Capitation Tax. In any case, the libera- 
tion of the apprentice is indubitably legal. In the two 
former instances, compensation for the loss of that term of 
service ought to have been, given ; but in the latter, there 
cannot possibly be any claim for remuneration of any sort; 
and all that is to be regretted is, that the freedom of the 
apprentices so circumstanced has not been universally en- 
forced. The enjoining the liberation of the apprentices 
of the Maroons, and of the proprietors of the Caymanas, 
makes the case stronger against the Jamaica defaulters. 

Soon after the circular was dispatched, a claim to imme- 
diate freedom was made by forty-six negroes belonging to 
Mr. P. A. Scarlett, of Cambridge Estate, in St. James's, 
and their non-registration having been admitted at once 
by that gentleman, they became absolutely free. They, 
however, entered into a bargain with him, to work four 
days in each week for no other remuneration than their 
houses, gardens, clothes, and former allowances of food. 
This bargain was, at the time, considered too good to last. 
How could it be supposed that they would continue to 
work for Mr. Scarlett on such low terms, when so much 
more would have been earned by them in other quarters ? 
Some persons may perhaps doubt the probability of a 
higher scale of wages being general ; but in p. 163 of the 
Appendix to the Evidence, will be found a general Report, 



which shows how much more was generally earned at 
task-work throughout the Island. Instances are given in 
the papers laid before Parliament, of eight shillings and 
fourpence a-day having been earned. (See Question 5863.) 
These people very soon found out that they had made an 
improvident bargain, and ere long some of them left his 
service, without saying a word, or giving any explanation 
of the cause of their determination, as all negroes, free or 
not, invariably do. Mr. Scarlett, as it was reported, then 
threw down the houses of two of the absentees, — a decidedly 
illegal act; as the law distinctly provides, that no proprie- 
tor shall have the right to deprive an apprentice of his 
house or land, till six months after his manumission shall 
have actually taken place. It was said that this act has- 
tened the departure of the rest ; perhaps it did : the fact 
being that every one of them left him almost immediately 

Several other individual cases of liberation occurred, but 
no such large number was ever at once manumitted. 
There can be no doubt but that there are hundreds of 
negroes, now similarly entitled to their freedom, but they 
do not know whether they are registered or not. So many 
obstacles are thrown in their way, that it is as difficult as 
it is expensive for them to establish their freedom in courts 
of law, A report was, at the time, and indeed is now, 
current in th6 island, that the negroes on three estates, in 
the possession of a well-known individual, either as his own 
•property, or as attorney for a relative then alive, are un- 
registered ; but none of them have come forward to prove 
it, and there is, therefore, no method of ascertaining how 
many are now detained in illegal servitude. The em- 
ployment of persons for the especial purpose of discovering 
such omissions, would be the only mode of effectually re- 
.medying this evil ; but so much opposition would be expe- 


rienced, that even then there would be great difficulty in 
carrying into full effect the humane intention of this part 
of the abolition law. While the liberation of Mr. Scarlett's 
apprentices was the subject of general conversation, and 
Lord Sligo much blamed for the part he had taken in the 
ailair, a letter arrived from Mr. Burge, the island agent, 
addressed to the Commissioners of Correspondence, in 
which he communicated to them the decision of the Privy 
Council in the case of the unregistered apprentices at the 
Mauritius. From what he then said, it was considered 
that this decision proved the incorrectness of the opinion 
of the law officers of the Crown in England, with regard 
to the apprentices so circumstanced in Jamaica. Mr. 
Scarlett, or others for him, declared the intention of taking 
no less than sixteen actions against Lord Sligo personally, 
as soon as he should have resigned the government, to 
recover the value of the services of those negroes. No 
such attempt was, however, made ; and it was very soon 
discovered that the cases were not parallel. Besides other dif- 
ferences, it was found out that the law of the Mauritius made 
it necessary that the Governor should issue an order for a 
registration before one could be held. No such order had 
been issued, and therefore the apprentices at that island 
still continue in the performance of their duties. No such 
law existed, either in Jamaica or the Caymanas. How 
comes it then that those of the Caymanas were liberated, 
when the fault was equally unattributable to their owners ? 
or if liberated, why was not compensation tendered them 
for the loss of their services ? 

By a packet which arrived from Jamaica some short 
time since, there came home, in the public prints, an 
account of a trial, before Special Justices Hill and Higgins, 
on this very point, respecting an apprentice in the service of 
Mr, Thos. Jas. Bernard. The decision in this case was. 


that the onus probandi rested on the negro claiming his 
freedom, and that as he could not, in this instance, show 
his non-registration, the inference must be, that he wasi 
a duly registered apprentice. Now the high character of 
these two magistrates, both of them men of good education, 
and of the strictest integrity, — one, too, possessing powers 
of mind, firmness of purpose, and talents hardly to be 
surpassed; who had before sacrificed a most valuable 
appointment, because he could not reconcile his own 
opinions to Lord Sligo's ideas on the Abolition Act, — 
must prevent any one from attributing their decision to 
party motives ; it, therefore, must have great weight. 
Without, however, meaning to insinuate any thing in the 
slightest degree derogatory to . the correctness of their 
sentence, or the purity of their motives, it is much to be 
lamented that such wias their view of the case. The poor 
apprentice in most cases is unable to read or write; he 
is never present at his registration ; in fact, morally, he 
has not, though physically he may have, the means of 
ajscertaining the fact. The progress of registration was 
as follows : — The overseer prepared a list of the negroes, 
which he took out of the plantation books, and lodged 
with the clerk of the vestry. In the list he accounted for 
increase and decrease ; how is the negro to know whether 
his name is inserted or omitted? He does not even know 
whether his overseer has been to the clerk of the vestry ; 
and even if he did, so loosely is business done by the 
parochial officials in Jamaica, and so great is their contempt 
for the blacks, that there would be great difficult in a per- 
son of that colour getting from them any reply. An instance 
of their unbusiness-like habits is here quoted. By the old 
slave law, the planter, when he gave in his annual list 
of slaves for the purposes of the poll-tax, was compelled 
to take his oath to the correctness of the return, and that 


all those named in it had received their regular legal 
allowances of clothing. It came out in the investigation 
which occasioned the trial of Mason against Oldrey, that 
Mr. Mason had not given anything like the proper quantity 
of clothing, for some years past, to his people. The ques- 
tion was immediately asked how that could be, when this 
oath had been taken every year. It was then proved that 
no such oath had been tendered to Mr. Mason by the clerk 
of the vestry, whose duty it was to have administered it 
before he accepted the givings in. 

Let us now revert to the subject more immediately 
under consideration, and that is, where the omis probandi 
ought to lie. It must be confessed that it appears strange 
to impose such a duty on any other person than the master, 
who, by the production of a single paper, might at once 
establish his right ; and it does seem hard, that a man's 
liberty should be taken from him by inference, because he 
has before worked as an apprentice, and because he does 
not produce a certificate from the secretary's office, which 
he has neither the time, the money, nor the knowledge to 
prociu'e. Surely the most favourable consideration ought 
to be given to the claimant, and the proprietor be com- 
pelled to adduce his proofs, which cannot occasion him 
the slightest trouble, if right is on his side. An extract 
from the Telegraphy a Jamaica paper, is added in the Ap- 
pendix, (E) — it contains the trial which took place before 
Messrs. Hill and Higgins, and may, perhaps, not be unin- 
teresting, as it affi^rds a complete exemplification of the 
Non-Registration question. 

A parallel case has been recently tried in Jamaica at 
the Grand Court, and until it shall have been reversed, 
(which it is to be feared there may be much difficulty 
in doing by appeal, for reasons which will be stated here- 
after,) the effect of non-registi'ation must remain, on the 


opinion of the Chief Justice of Jamaica, and of Judge 
AUwood, precisely the reverse of what it would be, under 
the opinion of the Attorney-General, Solicitor-General, 
and King's Advocate of England. Judge Bernard differed 
in opinion from his two colleagues, and therefore gave his 
views of the subject separately. As much importance must 
naturally attach to the opinion of the highest court in 
the island, a correct copy of the judgment is inserted 
in the Appendix (F). 

It will be for those persons who read the judgments re- 
ferred to, to form their own opinion of the correctness of 
each. The majority of readers will probably be inclined 
to agree with Mr. Bernard, whose reasoning certainly ap- 
pears to be unanswerable; while that of the Chief Justice 
will probably not be looked upon so favourably, for the 
following reasons : — 

The civil law maxim^ that " Partus sequltur ventreni^ 
was the rule of ownership during slavery ; the condition of 
the mother decided that of her child ; there can be no 
doubt that an omission to register the parent triennially 
would have precluded the owner from registering her 
issue and increase, as was requisite in Jamaica; that is to 
say, if the authorities did their duty correctly, which is 
seldom the case. By the irregularity of the clerk of the 
vestry, the names of her children might certainly have been 
put surreptitiously on the register ; but process of law would 
at once remove them, and the offspring not having been 
legally registered, would unquestionably have been free. 
If, however, the omission to register the mother do not 
affect the title of the owner to her services as a slave, which, 
in point of fact, appears to be the force of the argument of the 
Chief Justice, the condition of the ventre parent being 
bond, the issue, by the rule of " Partus sequitur ventrem," 
should have been bond also ; such, however, is not the case; 


and if the omission to register the parent confers freedom 
on the child, surely it must in the first place have conferred 
that freedom on the parent. This decision, this ill-considered 
decision, for such I cannot avoid thinking it, of the Grand 
Court, affords an additional reason for the appointment of 
other barristers as judges to assist the Chief- Justice, in order 
that, from there being on the bench a plurality of persons 
forensically educated, there may be a greater chance of the 
law being correctly interpreted. The present state of these ^ 
courts adds materially to the practical difficulties in the way 
of the due administration of the law, and there is no remedy 
by appeal. A great principle is involved in this particular 
case ; and because the value of the apprentice, the subject 
of this trial, does not amount to three hundred pounds 
sterling, the Governor is prohibited by his instructions 
from allowing an appeal to the Privy Council at home. 
There are thus no means of obtaining a revision of these 
ill-considered opinions ; the special magistrate must there- 
fore submit to injustice, against a strong perception of right, 
or contend against it, and suffer probably to the amount 
of £700 or £800, a sum he does not possess to meet the 
difficulty — a difficulty of which the government has been 
repeatedly warned, but for which it has, notwithstanding, 
made no provision. 

In page 238 of the Appendix to the Evidence, appears 
an extract from a dispatch of Lord Glenelg to Lord Sligo, 
which shows that the necessity of doing away this instruc- 
tion has been represented to him by Lord Sligo. At the 
conclusion of it, the following paragraph appears : — 

" Your Lordship apprehends, that the only legal obstacle 
which prevents your revision in the Court of Errors of cases 
such as those of Mr. Oldrey, arises from tlie royal instruc- 
tion, which forbids your issuing writs of error, unless the 
subject in dispute amounts in value to at least £300. 


Whether this is a coirect idew of the law appears to myself 
questionable; but there can be no difficulty in relieving 
your Lordship from any restraint of this kind, so far as 
his Majesty's authority extends. The rule itself rests upon 
no solid principle ; if in questions of such pecuniary value 
an appeal is necessary to the right administration of justice, 
the necessity does not cease in cases of less amount. The 
rule originated in the notion, that it was better for the liti- 
gant parties to submit even to an erroneous decision, than 
to harrass each other with the expense and the delay of a 
protracted controversy, unless the matter at stake were of 
such an amount as to raise a fair presumption that they 
possessed resources adequate to the charge. This, however, 
is to assume that the law must be administered in such 
a manner as to reduce all suitors to the alternative of ac^ 
quiescing on the one hand in the errors of the court of first 
resort; or of seeking the redress of those errors, on the 
other hand, at a prodigal expense of time and money. 
It is, however, discreditable to any well-ordered society to 
legislate and act on such an assumption. The restriction to 
which your Lordship refers will therefore be rescinded, as 
fer as it arises out of the royal instructions, by an additional 
instruction which I shall have the honour to transmit to 
you for that purpose. The measure, though suggested by 
Mr. Oldrejr's case, is to be defended by general principles 
of far wider application." * * 

The despatch was dated the 11th April 1836, and though 
the justice of the proposed alteration is fully admitted in 
that paragraph, and the remedy promised to be sent out 
immediately, we are now at the close of 1837, and the 
Colonial Secretary has to this day overlooked the intention 
which he there announced — at least no notice of the change 
has appeared in any of Jamaica newspapers which have yet 
reached England. 



There is in England a proper and constitutional dislike 
to legislate for a colony possessing a charter, and a legisla- 
ture of its own. It is impossible to deny the correctness of 
this feeling in the abstract, but to almost all rules there 
must be exceptions ; and if there ever was a case in which 
the mother-country could be justified in legislating for 
its colony, the conduct, as well of the House of Assembly, 
as of the majority of the planters, would make Jamaica that 
exception. Let us first speak of the House of Assembly. 

Much has been said before Mr. Buxton's Committee by 
one competent witness, (who, however, never has been 
in Jamaica since the Abolition Law came into force : and 
who therefore can know nothing except from the letters of 
tliose of whom he is the paid agent,) in denial of the opinion 
advanced by so many witnesses recently returned fi'om the 
colony, who* maintain that an organized opposition to the 
new system prevails there. It can be shown that the 
House of Assembly, with but very few exceptions, and 
consequently, their constituents, form a party, whose most 
ardent desire it is to upset the apprenticeship system. 
Their blindness appears almost incredible. The injury 
they have done, not only to their English constituents, (I 
speak of the attorneys) but to themselves, is beyond belief; 
but bitterly will they feel the fruits of their folly, after the 
termination of the year 1840. Instead of the good opinion 
of the negroes having been conciliated, and their dislike 
of their masters, whom they look on as oppressors, having 
been diminished, the feeling of mutual distrust appears to 
gain force daily. Let the whole of the proceedings of the 


Assembly, since the 1st of August 1834, be closely exa- 
mined, and it will be seen, that in no one instance has that 
body passed an act in furtherance of the measure of Abo- 
lition until compelled ; and that every extraordinary enact- 
ment, which has been passed by it, bears a precisely oppo- 
site character. Their second Act in Aid contained 
provisions of such a nature as very properly caused it to 
be disallowed. An attempt was soon afterwards made by 
the Assembly to confer the special jurisdiction on the whole 
of the local magistracy, in direct opposition to the spirit, as 
well as the letter, of the Abolition Law. When that attempt 
was defeated, another eflFort to effect their purpose was 
made. A joint address from both branches of the legisla- 
ture was presented to the Governor, although he had dis- 
tinctly declared, from the moment that the question first 
came under discussion, that nothing should induce him to 
consent to it. 

Subsequently, it may be observed, the Assembly refused 
to contribute, by any local enactment, to prevent the flogging 
of females in the workhouses, and the cutting off their hair 
for purposes of annoyance. They also refused to pass the 
renewal of the first Act in Aid, in the original form, until 
their contumacy was punished by that law being passed 
in the imperial Parliament. They were thus compelled to 
its re-enactment in the most humiliating manner, thereby 
publishing to the world the absurdity of their claims to 
legislatorial independence. 

As the House of Assembly is formed, in a great measure, 
of the principal attorneys in the island, the influence of its 
members must be very great, especially as concerns the 
overseers and book-keepers on the estates under their 
management. The feelings of these subordinates must 
be essentially the same as those of their principals, and 
however those principals may act or speak moderately. 


their real sentiments may be gathered from the conduct 
of their agents ; and it has never been denied that those 
agents have evinced a determined and unceasing opposition 
to the new system. 

The House of Assembly consists for the most part of men 
who have passed their lives surrounded by slavery, and have 
accumulated, under its influence, large fortunes from small 
beginnings. It is therefore hardly to be expected that it should 
have tendencies, collectively, favourable to a system which 
has deprived them, or at least must soon deprive them, 
of all those advantages under which they have prospered. 

The incautiousness of the people of Jamaica, in hazarding 
the most hardy assertions, and thinking that they will be 
received as proof, has been remarked before. Instances 
of the gross mistakes they have thereby made have been 
given. What, however, must the House of Assembly think 
of that passage in their statement to Lord Glenelg, (Evi- 
dence, pages 302 and 303) wherein they say, " That the 
House repudiates in the strongest terms they can find, the 
accusation, that the whipping of females is practised in 
Jamaica.'^ How can they reconcile that part of their 
representation with the Report of Mr. Buxton's Com- 
mittee,- wherein it is specifically stated, that many instances 
ofthis practice had been discovered by Lord Sligo?* They 
admitted its occurrence in only two instances, though proofs 
on oath, of more than forty, had been transmitted home by 
his Lordship to Lord Glenelg, and copies sent to them. 
It would seem, as if they had, by a kind of voluntary self- 
delusion, persuaded themselves of the truth of their own 
assertions, and therefore refused to apply any remedy. At 
all events, no remedy was applied. 

* One instance has recently occurred in Spanish Town, and two in 
the workhouse of the parish of St. David's. 


In page 376 of the Evidence, Reply 4302, a very strong 
opinion id given by a person who had long resided in 
Jamaica, and who is certainly second in talent to none in 
the island, that the Assembly had never framed an act 
relative to the apprentices, in which it had meant to deal 
honestly with them. In reply 4306, he further says, that 
in consequence of the conduct of that body, most reasonable 
men in the colony think that the functions of the legislature 
ought to be altogether suspended during the apprenticeship. 
His opinion of that body is clear from his reply 4316, when 
he was asked whether he was aware of the disposition and 
feeling of the members of Assembly, at the time of his 
leaving the island. His answer is distinct. He says, — 
^^ That he was aware of their feeling ; that he thought he 
had never known it more hostile to the black population, 
than it was at that moment; and that their unceasing 
object was, to contrive to frame their laws with such adroit- 
ness, that they might re-enact as much as possible of the 
ancient system of slavery, under a new name ;" and added, 
moreover, " that they made very little secret of it." 

The truth of Mr. Beaumont's assertion is exemplified 
in a remarkable manner in the present Police Law. An 
act for the establishment of such a body was passed in 
Lord Mulgrave's time, but it was found to be totally in- 
efficient — it may indeed be said, the plan was so imprac- 
ticable, that no notice was ever taken of it.* On Lord 
Sligo's arrival, he suggested one, which was taken into 
consideration by the Assembly, but so distorted by that 
body, that it was impossible for him to accept of it. He 
negatived it at once, and after some negociation with a few 

* It is reported that his Lordship held that opinion of it, but that he 
did not think it judicious to irritate, just at that moment, the feelings of 
the members, by declining to acce|)t the very imperfect measure pre* 
sented to him. 


leading members, prorogued the Assembly for a day, in 
order to afford an opportunity for the reconsideration of 
the measure ; when a bill was brought in, approved, and 
passed accordingly. Its duration, however, was only for 
eighteen months, and when it was renewed, the number of 
privates was reduced from 1000 to 700, which was less 
than tlie necessities of the country required. No more 
men, however, were voted ; and many complaints having 
been made of the quantities of produce which were stolen 
from the different properties, clauses were inserted, directing 
the apprehension of all suspicious persons wandering on the 
roads, or those who could not account for anything they 
might happen to be carrying with them. The police were 
directed to convey persons offending against this law before 
the special magistrates, on whom were conferred certain 
powers of punishment. 

There is not much objection to be made to this act, 
excepting that wood and grass were included in the schedule 
of produce which they were not to convey to market with- 
out a ticket of license from their masters. Now, in a coun- 
try overrun with wood, a great deal of which is unclaimed, 
and where the power to cut and sell these articles is very 
frequently given to the negro as a substitute for provisions, 
and where an overseer, relaxing from the labours of the 
day, will not be much inclined to leave his table to write 
a permission for a negro to go to market, this affords a 
means of much oppression. However, as the adjudication 
of such cases was vested solely in the special magistracy, 
there was less fear that this power would be abused. 

In the course of the last session, a second renewal of the 
Police Bill, if it can be so termed, was proposed, passed 
the two branches of the legislature, and has become law, 
wherein the numbers were reduced from 700 to 500, 
and the adjudication of the produce-stealing cases was 


transferred to ihe general body of magistrates, of whom 
not less than two were to sit in judgment. There is some 
ingenuity in this device. It is an alteration not likely to 
excite attention, or if it does, it would appear to a person 
not acquainted with the distribution of the districts of the 
special magistracy, to be one likely to ensure greater caution 
in the decisions. It is, however, quite the reverse. It 
gives a greater opening for oppression of the negro than 
any one of the many which have been recently brought 

In the former act, the adjudication was vested in the 
special magistrates alone ; here it is extended to the local 
magistracy. This is a serious change, and one very un- 
favourable to the negro. 

To use Mr. Beaumont's words, " so hostile are they to 
the black population," that a decision against the apprentice 
is nearly a matter of certainty. It may be said, perhaps, 
that as the special justices all hold a general commission, 
no great change will take place, and that they will still, 
from being always to be found, continue to decide all 
such (iases. Here lies the mistake, originating in a want of 
knowledge of the division of the island into districts, and 
the appointment of one special justice to take charge of 
each. In consequence of this distribution, it rarely happens 
that two special magistrates can sit together at any place, 
with the exception of the principal towns of Kingston, 
Spanish Town, and Montego Bay, where more than one 
occasionally hold sessions. Thus, practically speaking, the 
special justices are as much excluded from administering, 
this part of the law, as if specifically excepted. This must 
have escaped observation, or the law would not have been 
accepted by the Governor ; at all events, it would have been 
disallowed by his Majesty. Surely no stronger proof can 
be given of the desire of the Assembly to evade the Aboli- 


tion Law, and to get imperceptibly the power out of the 
hands of the special magistracy* 

Nothing has been said about the diminution of the 
liumber of the police, because its insuflSciency in con- 
sequence of that reduction is quite notorious, but the 
motive for it is more worthy of attention. The police is a 
force entirely at the disposal and under the influence of the 
executive ; it therefore became necessary for the purposes 
of the planters to diminish it, and supply its place with one 
more devoted to their wishes. For that reason they 
are now taking measures to increase the militia, of which 
the overseers and bookkeepers form a considerable part. 
These, it need not be said, are completely under the in- 
fluence of the attorneys, who are their employers ; and of 
them may be said what was before applied to certain 
emigrants who returned to France with Louis XVIII, 
that they are " Plus royalisies que le RoV* The zeal of 
the militia during the last rebellion would make an humane 
roan dislike to see them again employed against the blacks. 

Under the deficiency law, which required a certain 
number of whites, or free people, to be kept in proportion 
to the number of slaves, it frequently happened on large 
estates, that where the number of bookkeepers necessary 
for its management did not amount to the requisite propor- 
tion, unemployed white people were kept, in order to'avoid 
the pecuniary penalty. These, from having nothing to do, 
and no hopes of improving their fortunes, were often 
drunken, disreputable persons, and put the estate to great 
expense, as well for their salaries as for their maintenance. 
As soon BS the deficiency law expired, of course all these 
useless hands were discharged, and faithful apprentices 
were in very many instances entrusted with the charge of 
their masters' estates, as book-keepers, if not actually as 




overseers. Very considerable saving was thereby made in 
the estates' contingencies. The attorneys in the Assembly 
finding a great decrease in the numbers of militia-men de- 
voted to their opinions, have this year put their principals 
in England to a great additional, but perfectly unnecessary, 
expense, to gratify the wish of keeping all the power in 
their own hands. But if English proprietors and mort- 
gagees will not look after their own business, and will allow 
their agents to act in this manner, why should they not 
act according to their fancies ? 

The Assembly have farther shown their disregard to the 
wishes of the mother- country, by a most unconstitutional 
advertisement which appeared in the Jamaica Gazette, pur- 
porting, that although the several immigration bills which 
had been sent over to the Council had failed, owing to 
their having been amended there, and their amendments 
having been disallowed by the Assembly when returned, 
they would pay twelve pounds bounty for every immigrant 
imported into the colony previous to the next session. 

This is neither more nor less than declaring their deter- 
mination to make a grant of money without the consent of 
the other branches of the legislature. It will be said that 
this is impossible ; literally it may be so, but practically it 
can be eflFected in a manner which has been publicly speci- 
fied by some of these indiscreet persons. Their plan is to 
insert such grants as they know will not be approved of 
by the other branches, in the appropriation law, or " poll- 
tax bill," as it is there termed. This provides for the pay- 
ment of the public creditor, and therefore no Governor 
would like to throw out a bill which would inconvenience 
so many persons ; but it is time now to keep things in a 
proper constitutional course, and it is therefore to be hoped 
that the Secretary for the colonies will have decision enough 



to issue orders to the Governor, to withhold his consent to 
any bill containing matter from which either he or the 
Council may disagree. 

A new bill was also passed last session, called the 
" Larceny and Petty Offence Bill,*' the apparent object of 
which is to consolidate all former acts on the same subject 
into one. This it has effected ; but another very import- 
ant power has been slipped into it, as reported in letters 
from Jamaica, (no copy of the bill is known as yet to 
have reached England excepting one in the Colonial Office) ; 
it confers on, or confirms to, the general magistracy, the 
power of transportation for some minor offences. In 1832 
Lord Goderich, when discussing measures preparatory to 
emancipation, said that such deeply-interested persons were 
not fit to be trusted with legislation, on points connected 
with slavery. He most justly thought " that the local legis- 
latures were not so situated with regard to their own in- 
terests and prejudices, as to fit them to deliberate on this 
great and important question. He could not admit that 
their proximity of observation was an infallible, or even a 
safe guide to sound conclusions on the subject. He did 
not find in them a freedom from local or personal interests, 
such as could warp their judgments, nor did he see in them 
a mind open to the admission of truth, from whatsoever 
quarter it might come." How true have subsequent events 
proved these remarks to be ! and if they were applicable to 
the planters of Jamaica in cases where there, was an ulti- 
mate resort to the sovereign, how much more applicable 
must they be to these legislators when trusted with the 
executive part of this most formidable law ! Notes of the 
evidence at quarter-session trials are seldom kept, never 
indeed by the magistrate presiding, but only by the clerk of 
the peace, who is not responsible to any person for mistakes 




or omissions* and therefore the Governor has no efficient 
means of counteracting any oppressive acts which may 
have arisen from ignorance of the law, or any other cause. 
Tliis bill, it is true, will save much trouble to the judges 
of the assize courts, but they are paid for doing their duty, 
and ought therefore to do it. Any matters brought before 
them will be argued by barristers, and though mistakes 
may arise, there is a legally educated judge to preside, and 
at all events publicity to check bad feelings, if such by 
any misfortune exist. 

It may perhaps not be considered inappropriate to intro- 
duce here an account of a transaction which took place in 
the summer of 1836, for the purpose of shewing how much 
the laws actually in force may be perverted, — how, with 
the present excited feelings of the Colonists, a perfectly 
unobjectionable law may be turned into an instrument of 
oppression. The affair in question was the prosecution of 
an attorney of the name of Harvey, in Spanish Town, the 
detail of which follows : — 

By the Jamaica Act, 5th Wm. IV, c. 7, sec. 20, called 
" The Act in Aid," all persons harbouring or employing 
any runaway apprentice are liable to a penalty of £10, for 
each person so harboured or employed, and 10s. a day 
besides for each labourer, for each day he shall be proved 
to have been so. 

" M. N. G., a planter of St. Thomas in the Vale, against 
Harvey of Spanish Town, a solicitor. In this case, nineteen 
apprentices of the complainant came unexpectedly in a body 
to Spanish Town, twenty-one miles from their master's 
property, for the purpose of seeking protection against 
their master for several injuries received, and of having 
him bound over to keep the peace. Affidavits were im- 
piediately taken, which disclosed circumstances of a serious 


nature on the part of Mr. G., as well as matter for 
numerous actions against him for injuries to his people and 
their stock. All that the defendant could do, was to allay 
their fears, and prevent future injury by binding their 
master in sureties of peace. In this an unavoidable 
delay of five days was incurred by the refusal of the judges 
to interfere. A new commission to a magistrate was issued ; 
whereupon the oaths were administered. Mr. G. was 
ultimately bound over, and the people returned to their 

By way of retaliation for this interference, proceedings 
against Mr. Harvey for harbouring were issued before 
four local magistrates of the parish of St. Catherine, and 
he was fined £199. 10s. Those proceedings have since been 
removed at his instance by certiorari into the Supreme 
Court, in order to try the question, whether an act done 
in a professional character can be construed, in the legal 
sense, into harbouring. 

The question still remains undecided, and has raised a 
strong feeling on the part of the local magistracy. It ap- 
pears that the penalty may be raised by seizure of goods 
and chattels, or, in default, by imprisonment; and to this 
Mr. Harvey was condemned ; but he declared that he would 
submit to the imprisonment for the sake of other similar 
cases, and try the question by appeal to the Privy Council, 
under the announcement conveyed by Lord Sligo to the 
public, that there was not to be in future any limitation of 
value on appeals. His motive for so doing, was to ascertain 
how far the negro could be deprived in this manner of his 
constitutional right of appealing for liberty through his solici- 
tor to the superior courts. If a solicitor was to be fined a large 
sum for detaining certain apprentices, who came to consult 
him professionally, and who were not harboured or employed^ 


but unavoidably detained for the completion of the docu- 
ments necessary for the law proceedings to establish their 
freedom, it would amount almost to a deprivation of the 
negro's rights. Such solicitor might, however, from philan- 
thropic motives, proceed in the cause, and then appeal to 
the Privy Council at home against the fine ; though, be it 
said, tlie right to such appeal, so announced by Lord Sligo, 
has been no more heard of since his departure. One 
case more of the process for recovering the freedom of 
an apprentice is added, solely for the purpose of showing 
how the liberties of these poor negroes have been trifled 
with, and how laws, which apparently are impartial in their 
operation, are often, in that colony, made subservient to 
the prejudices of its administrators. 

" Treadway, a bookseller, of Kingston, against an 

officer of the commissariat, for harbouring an apprentice 
named Ashburne. A conviction for penalties was obtained 
before the local magistrates of Kingston. On a writ of 
certiorari, at the instance of the defendant, tlie proceed- 
ings were quashed in the Supreme Court for irregularity in 

The facts were these. Ashburne, a confidential servant, 
was for many years accustomed to work out on leave, ac- 
counting monthly or oftener to his master for wages, and 
being allowed about a third of his earnings for his support. 
About six years ago, an opportunity was offered him by 
his former master of purchasing his freedom ; but not being 
able to raise money for that purpose, he applied to Treadway 
to befriend him ; upon which, according to Aahburne'i* 
statement, Treadway consented to advance the required 
sum, on condition that a title should be made in his name, 
and that Ashburne should remain in bondage to him, until, 
by means of his wages, or other payments, he could work 


out the amount; upon repayment of which, with the interest 
accrued, he was to be absolutely free. On this agreement, 
which was not secured by writing, Ashbume was transferred, 
and continued to work out, rendering to Treadway a por- 
tion, as formerly, of his wages, until about two years ago, 
when calling for an account of his payments to Tread- 
way, which should then have accumulated to the full price 
paid, he was informed that Treadway considered all the 
intermediate wages his own in his right as owner; and that 
be would not emancipate Ashburne unless upon payment, 
in addition to the wages, of the sum originally advanced. 
Upon this violation of the alleged agreement, Ashburne 
refused to continue his payments. The proceeding for 
harbouring was therefore issued, and Ashbume was forbidden 
to be hired by any one under the penalties of the law. 
The defendant in consequence dismissed him from his 
service. For refusing to return to Treadway, Ashburne 
was subsequently advertised as a " Runaway," which, pre- 
venting his employment, threw him out of bread. By the 
Attorney-General's advice, a bill was filed for Ashburne 
in form& pauperis, to compel from Treadway a discovery of 
the agreement. Shortly after Treadway died, and no further 
obstacle to Ashburne's freedom took place. 

There were several en^tments besides passed of a simi- 
lar tendency, but not of sufficient importance to merit 

Now, though every one cannot go quite so far as Mr. 
Beaumont in desiring the suspension of the powers of the 
House of Assembly, that being a measure rather too strong 
for any circumstances to justify, short of the general and 
clearly expressed opinion of the colony itself, yet it will not 
perhaps be denied, that if ever an exception should be made 
to such a principle, such exception could be nowhere less ob- 

88 • JAMAICA. 

jectionable than in Jamaica. The abolition of the Assembly 
has been before made the subject of a very distinct expression 
of public feeling; but as it has not been recently repeated, 
the object in stating the above defects in its mode of action, 
is to create greater watchfulness in the authorities, both in 
the island and at home, over the measures which are 
allowed to become law ; and to show the necessity of legis- 
lative intervention by the Imperial Parliament, if there 
exists any real desire to carry into full effect the humane 
intentions of the British nation, during the remainder of 
the Apprenticeship. 


It cannot be doubted that the House of Assembly has, by 
its opposition to the Apprenticeship System, materially en- 
dangered the ultimate success of the measure of abolition ; 
but whether the greatest harm has been done by its acts, 
as a legislative body, or by the example that its members 
have given to their dependents, the overseers and book- 
keepers, it is difficult to determine. 

The opposition of the persons actually employed in the 
management of estates, and of the public generally, has 
been manifested in various ways. First, in their conduct 
with regard to the eight and nine hours system. During 
the time of the crop, when not only the interests of the 
estate, but the credit of the manager, is involved in the 
manner it is got off, and the quantity of produce made, 
the nine hour system was adopted. This mode of working 
was notoriously most pleasing to the negroes. It enabled 


them to sell more of their own time for wages to the estate, 
and made them more inclined to come to an arrangement 
for the disposal of it. Much has been said by the planters 
in their various public documents and private appeals, of 
the want of sufficient labour, and the impossibility of pre^- 
vailing on the apprentices to furnish it for wages. In order 
to obtain proof of the fallacy of these opinions, reference 
must be made to part 2nd of Slave Abolition Papers, No. 
278, page 266, and to Appendix to the Evidence, page 134, 
etseq.j and to page 162, etseq,, where it will be seen, that 
the negroes on 758 estates had agreed to work for hire. 
That on 876 estates, wages had neither been offered nor 
refused, and that on 126 only had there been a positive 
refusal to accept them. Various causes, totally indepen- 
dent of the willingness of the negroes to work, may have 
produced this last result. 

Thus did they manage in crop-time — to what plan did 
they resort for the remainder of the year? to the eight 
hour system ; and they alleged as their reason, that they did 
not want so much labour then ; that they could not afford 
to pay for it;* and lastly, that under this plan there was less 
time for the negroes to fatigue themselves by wandering 
away from the estates. Now, when the feeling of these 
apprentices towards their friends is so strong, as to induce 
them not uncommonly to walk many miles, and sacrifice a 
night's rest to pay them a visit, what right have their 
employers to prevent persons, free in every respect, ex- 
cepting so far as the forty and a half hours' labour per 
week due to the master is concerned, to enjoy themselves 
as they like ? The planters found, in fact, that they 
could not interfere at all, directly, and therefore for pur- 

* Why, then> did they complain of want of hired labour ? 


poses of annoyance devised this scheme, which an incautious 
clause in the Abolition Act leaves in tlieir power. By the 
abuse of this clause also, the apprentices are prevented 
from working their grounds, often ten or twelve miles from 
their residences, on the half Friday, and therefore cannot 
go to the Saturday's market more than once a fortnight. 
This is a serious grievance to them, it being one of their 
very few enjojrments. What right, after the adoption of 
such a system, will the planters have to complain, if the 
negroes become disgusted, and refuse to work at all for 
those who have created such vexations for them? Pro- 
prietors in England are those who will in the end be the 
real sufferers, but they are not aware of the misconduct 
of their different agents, who seem desirous of counter- 
balancing, by the adoption of this plan, the advantages 
which the negroes have acquired under the Abolition 
Law. Dr. Madden in his reply, 596, in the Evidence, 
says, that ^^ he attributes it solely to a desire to offer a 
vexatious opposition to the apprenticeship system," an 
opinion from which it will be difficult to dissent There 
is another motive also for its adoption, which ought to 
be noticed, namely, that they were enabled thereby to cheat 
the apprentice out of many hours' weekly labour, without 
his having the possibility of detecting it. Watches the 
apprentices have not, or if they had, would they understand 
them? and itjs quite certain, that though there is a nominal 
reduction of the hours per day when the eight hour system is 
adopted, there is no real diminution of the time of labour. 
For proofs of this, see Evidence, Madden, 492, 692 ; Oldrey, 
1224, et seg. ; Beaumont, 4043, et seq. In conclusion, as 
to these two systems of labour, it may be unhesitatingly 
asserted, that the negro would prefer to be worked for 
twelve hours per day for the four first days of the week. 


and half Friday, than work nominally eight hours per day 
fpr the four first days and the whole of Friday. Captain 
Oldry, in his Evidence, No. 8234, declares, that in his 
district the eight hour system was adopted only on the estates 
of those who were most opposed to the new law. It is, how- 
ever, &ir to state, that the practice has latterly much dimi- 
nished, owing to the zealous exertions of the special justices, 
and to a diawning conviction of the inutility of adopting 
vexatious measures. 

The withdrawal of the usual allowances to the negroes, 
was another injudicious and unjust act. Though not ren- 
dered imperative by law, they have been so long sanctioned 
by custom, as to cause the negroes to think that in losing 
them they have been defi:uuded of their rights. The reason 
alleged for this determination was, that the estates could 
no longer afford such an expenditure. It is to be urged 
in reply, that the outcry of the extinction of West Indian 
property has continued ever since 1823, and that those 
indulgences were, notwithstanding, given since that time, 
though not enforced by law; moreover, that the last three 
years, 1834, 1835, and 1836, were the most favourable 
years which have been known for a long time, and that, 
therefore, any extraordinary outlay could have been much 
better afforded in these than in the previous years. • 

One of the. withdrawn allowances, or rather indulgences, 
on many estates, is the service of an old decrepid woman, 
to watch the suckling children in the field while the mothers 
are at work. The old nurses so employed are never capable 
of any severe labour ; is it therefore for economy, or for 
some other reason, that they are withdrawn ? The benefit 
of the proprietor is not consulted, because the mother, being 
compelled to work all day in the fields with her infant 
strapped to her back, cannot, in that climate, do half the 


work that fihe could if her child were placed in the shade, 
and if she were allowed to go to it, when her maternal 
duties rendered her presence necessary. The negroes were 
also deprived of their water carriers in the field. Those who 
are acqudnted with a tropical climate, will feel what a 
serious privation this must be to persons working all day 
under the sun. The scarcity of water, too, in the fields, 
adds to the distress occasioned by this device. If thirst 
compelled them to get something to drink, they must go 
perhaps to a great distance to fetch it, and this, together 
with cooking their dinners, (for their cooks have also in 
some cases been removed,) used to take up most of their 
mid-day hours of rest; though, latterly, these vexatious 
annoyances have been much discontinued. Their existence, 
however, at the commencement of the apprenticeship, 
shows the disposition with which the question was met by 
their masters, until they found themselves compelled by 
self-interest to abandon the system. It is but fair, at the 
same time, to say, that in none of the large and import* 
ant estates, with but few exceptions, was this system prac- 

Of the deprivation of their fish, &c., nothing more can 
be said, than that it was most inexpedient, as nothing tended 
more to discontent the negro. One of the grossest infrac- 
tions, however, of the abolition act, and one which is only 
to be attributed to the overseers, took place in the parish of 
St James. The overseer was fined by Messrs. Finlayson, 
Carnaby, and Facy, three special justices, for oppressive and 
ill^al conduct. When the amount of his fine (£5) was 
announced, he quietly said to those magistrates, ^^ It is not 
me, but the apprentices you are punishing; you don't think 
I will pay a penny of that myself: oh no ; I will sell as 
much of their allowance of fish as will pay it, instead of 


giving it to them, and they will then be the losers, and not 
I." This was not uttered from the angry impulse of the 
moment, but from cool calculation. He did sell their fish 
for this purpose ; and if common report be credited, many 
simUar fines have been disposed of in a similar manner. 
Thus again the local opposition to the law acts to the detri- 
ment of the proprietor. An attempt was made, but speedily 
defeated, to make the apprentices repay the time lost in child- 
birth, under the plea that the offspring no longer belonged 
to the owner of the mother, and that he had a right, under 
^1 circumstances, to his forty hours and a half labour in the 
week. It was also attempted to make them repay the time 
lost in attendance on their sick relatives ; the mother, if she 
attended a dying infant ; the child, if it attended its dying 
parent; but the Governor at once put an end to this 
attempt, and the case was too monstrous to admit of con- 
test. In many cases the allowances were continued solely 
imder a special agreement that the apprentices were to give 
so many hours labour in the week in return for them, and 
great credit was taken by the attorney, in his reports to his 
principal, for having made so good a bargain. The prin- 
cipal at home has, probably from ignorance, viewed the 
matter in the same light, and will hereafter suffer accord- 
ingly. It is presumed, that, after the various facts which 
have been stated, no doubt can be entertained of the 
existence in tlie Island of a pro-slavery party. If, how- 
ever, the testimony of an individual can add any weight to 
them, a reference to Captain Oldrey's Evidence, Nos.2988, 
8021, 3070, 3138, and 3159, will abundantly show what 
is the opinion of that most competent witness* 




With regard to the manner in which the Apprenticeship 
System is now working, very little remains to be said, 
because there is little room for doubt All the past memo- 
rials of the Asssembly and of parishes ; all the representa- 
tions of the attorneys to their proprietors, made in many 
cases to explain occurrences which were the result of their 
own injudicious management; and, in short, all the loud 
declamations of individuals misled by the short-sighted views 
of the residents of Jamaica, seem to have been completely 
contradicted by the testimony of all those who have recently 
returned from the colony, and have been examined before 
Mr. Buxton's Committee. This affords another proof of 
the hasty and hardy manner in which assertions are there 
made. It appears, however, that the intellect becomes clear, 
as soon as the effects of the climate and soi], or the asso* 
ciations of Jamaica, cease to exist. The understanding in 
this cool country seems to have operated in a remarkable 
manner on the colonists, in producing a change of opinions, 
such as the actual change of circumstances could hardly have 
occasioned. Allusion is here made, more particularly to 
the evidence of the late General Miller. His talent, intel- 
lectual qualities, and excellent character, are abundandy 
proved by his success in life. From a very low origin, he 
raised himself to the possession of great wealth, high con- 
sideration, and the management of fifty estates. He was 
a general of militia, custos of his parish, and a member of 
council. He attained all that was open to him, and was 
unquestionably the most extensive attorney in the island. 
His last act, previous to his departure in June 1834, was 


to preside at a meeting of the principal inhabitants of 
Trelawney, when that parish was declared to be in a de- 
plorable state ; when it was asserted, that owing to the im* 
possibility of procuring labour from the apprentices, no 
preparations had been made for the next year's crop ; and 
that the apprenticeship system was, in fact, an utter failure* 
This memorial he conveyed, as custos, to the Governor, 
who, at once, called on the special magistrates for infor- 
mation on the subject. Their letters, and the memorial, 
each contradicting the other, appear in the parliamentary 
papers. With only these two statements before them, the 
public could scarcely come to any conclusion as to the real 
state of Trelawney. It was a question of veracity, and as 
there were seventy-three persons stating one fact, and only 
four, the special justices, asserting the reverse, the weight of 
evidence must have leaned to the side of the planters. 
Those, therefore, who think that the statement of the special 
justices was correct, must feel much pleasure in finding 
Mr. Miller's own evidence corroborating their views. It is 
particularly satisfactory to find the chairman of that meeting 
coming forward, to prove that the resolutions passed at it, 
do not accord with the state of Jamaica in July 1886, when 
he gave his evidence. Indeed, it is doubtful if he thought 
so, even at the time of the meeting, as in his replies 3812, 
et seq. he admits that he signed those resolutions as chair- 
man, and that it was his duty so to do, whatever were his 
opinions. Others however, similarly circumstanced, usually 
leave the chair. He added, that not recollecting precisely 
what the opinions contained in that memorial were, he could 
not say whether he agreed to them or not. Thus, he ac- 
counts for the seeming discrepancy between his conduct 
in respect of the memorial, and his evidence before the 
committee. Let us now see what was the testimony he 
then gave. 


In reply 8468, he says, that the system is working better 
than when he left the island, and that he could, previously 
to his embarkation, perceive the symptoms of improvement. 
Now, it appears curious, that his conviction of the improve- 
ment of the workmg of the new system, should have come 
across his mind, just at the time of the meeting, at which 
the memorial was adopted, and that he did not then ex- 
press his dissent from resolutions of a tendency so contrary 
to his own opinions. 

In reply 3601, he declares that the indisposition of the 
apprentices to enter into arrangements for labour was 
beginning to disappear. This is an important admission 
from the mouth of so extensive a planter, when the reverse 
is still a matter of complaint in the island, although the 
dates of the parliamentary reports of the numbers of estates, 
on which labour for hire has been obtained, would seem to 
prove that this indisposition had ceased long before. In 
3602, he reports that the system has improved ; and in 
3604, he admits, that on the properties under his manage- 
ment, the crops were taken off for wages from the com- 
mencement. Now the estates in Trelawney under his 
charge were so numerous, and of so consequential a cha« 
racter, that if the disposition of the negroes on them was 
stated at that meeting, it must have much influenced the 
resolution about the impossibility of procuring labour for 
hire. In 3606, he states, that the increase of the number 
of hired labourers was reported to him by every packet. In 
reply 3607, he admits, what contains the solution of the 
enigma, that he had heai*d that there had been an indispo- 
sition to offer wages, but, that neither that indisposition, 
nor the disinclination to accept them when offered, any 
longer existed; yet, in reply 3611, he states, that with ail 
this good-feeling and willingness to work for hire, it would 
be impossible, under existing (circumstances, to take off 


a full crop in the manner it used to be done. What other 
inference can be drawn from this evidence, excepting that 
under the slavery system, a greater amount of labour was 
extracted by compulsion from the negro, than the system 
of rewards, generally so successful, can accomplish ? Can 
there be possibly a more conclusive proo^ of the necessity 
of the recent change from slavery to freedom ? It is wortli 
volumes of evidence. It is a practical proof from a prac- 
tical man, unconscious of what he was proving. In reply 
3720, he alludes to his former evidence before the House 
of Assembly in Jamaica, and admits that his opinion has 
undergone considerable modifications in the interval. 
Does not this admission prove the exaggerated state of 
public feeling, when a man so well qualified to form a 
correct judgment, finds himself compelled to announce a 
change of opinion, which no intermediate change of cir- 
cumstances appears to warrant ? That there was a great 
alteration in the mutual feelings of both classes, is un- 
deniable. All concurrent testimony proves it ; but there 
is nothing to* justify of itself alone the great variation of 
opinion which has been reported. The whole of the replies 
of Mr. Miller, immediately following No. 8812, are most 
interesting, and bear unequivocal testimony to the present 
favourable state of the new system. 

- Next to be considered is the testimony of Mr. Oldham, 
a man in no way inferior to Mr. Miller, or indeed, to arty 
one else in the island, as to high character, ability in the 
management of estates, and success in the adoption of the 
new system. The whole of his evidence is deserving of the 
most serious consideration. He gave a remarkable proof 
of his confidence in the apprenticeship system, almost im- 
mediately after the Emancipation Law came into force, 
at a time when almost all other well-informed planters 




took a very different view of the future prospects of the 
colony. Having some estates in St George's under his 
charge, he happened to pay a visit to a neighbouring 
racquaintance in that parish, who was complaining loudly of 
the results of the 1st of August, and when Mr. Oldham 
expressed his dissent from those opinions, he was taunted 
by an offer to sell him the estate which he was then visit- 
ing. Though no previous idea of purchasing that property 
had ever come across Mr. Oldham's mind, yet, being well 
acquainted with its capabilities, in a few hours he concluded 
a bargain ; and in a very few days the transfer was com** 
pleted. This estate was, at the moment, in the most com- 
plete state of disorganization. There was certainly a good 
crop on the ground, but at least half the negroes were in 
different workhouses ; many were actual runaways, and the 
property gave full employment to the special justice of the 
district. From the time that the transfer was made, diere 
a{^)eared to have arisen a total alteration in the conduct 
and disposition of the negroes ; and this proves, that most 
of the difficulties which have attended the change of the 
social system in Jamaica, have originated in the mismanage- 
m^it of the attorneys. It ^is said, and it may be bdieved, 
that there has pot been a case of serious complaint on it 
ever since. Mr. Oldham has certainly be^i heard to state 
^ that the whole of the purchase-money has been subsequently 
repaid by tlie produce of the estate. 

Mr. Maurice Jones, custos of Portland, who had resided 
for upwards of fifty years in the island, in his reply 6S16, 
gives precisely similar testimony. 

Mr. Shirley, who left England to visit his splendid 

^properties of " Hyde HaD," and " Etingden," in Trelaw- 

ney, says exactly die same thing in bis reply. No. S032. 

;His evidence ought to have much weight, as be went 

to the island perfectly unprejudiced and unfettered ; and 


Struck out for himself a new plan of inana^ment under 
the apprenticeship, which has been eminently successful on 
his estate. These testimonies are most valuable, all pre- 
senting the same favourable view of the state of the colony ; 
and all proceeding from persons recently returned. It 
is a curious circumstance, that there should be a perfect 
unanimity of opinion amongst all these witnesses, and 
that there should be a similar unanimity, though of an 
opposite character, among those resident in the island, 
with but a small exception. The resident proprietors must, 
however, never be confounded with the attorneys; they 
are a perfectly different class, having different feelings, and 
acting in a different manner. Well would it be for the 
island, if there were more resident proprietors and fewer 

Let us now, however, refer to one, and only to one more 
witness, — Mr. Burge« He jrields in importance to none, as 
he is the representative of the feelings of a powerful and 
influential body in the island. From the nature of his 
avocations, and from the distinguished office of island-agent, 
which he holds, notoriously under the patronage and pro- 
tection of a party, who were known to be peculiarly opposed 
not only to this individual measure, but to all others ema- 
nating from the British connexion, it will naturally be sup- 
posed that his opinions must very much coincide with 
theirs. He disavows the idea that the appointment he 
holds can influence his evidence. This appears an un- 
necessary assurance, as Mr. Burge is, undoubtedly, too 
honest a man to let his opinion be so influenced, if 
awa4?e of it; but, as all his communications relative to 
the state of the island proceed from them, it is quite im- 
possible but that his impressions must accord with the 
weight of testimony submitted to him. Notwithstanding, 
in his replies, MIS ef seq. he gives precisely the sajne 

11 2 


opinions as to the improvement of Jamaica, which have 
been given by the others. Need we go further for proof 
of the real opinion in Jamaica of the party hitherto termed 
the pro-slavery party ? 

As additional proof of the state of the island, which is 
inseparably connected with the working of the apprenticeship 
system, it may be as well to state, that the government, or 
rather the Admiralty Wharf at Kingston, was sold lately, 
for more than three times what it would have realized 
previous to the emancipation : that Mr. Oldham offered 
£10,000 for two estates, belonging to Mr. Maurice Jones 
of Portland : that Mr. Joseph Gordon, an extensive attor- 
ney, offered £20,000 for another; and finaUy, that Mr. 
Richard Barrett, the speaker of the Assembly, has bought 
three pens within the last two years. Mr. Joseph Gordon's 
offer was for a coffee plantation, and Mr. Oldham's for a 
sugar estate. Thus, it appears that every description of 
property is in request, and has risen in value. 


A FEW words may now be added, without impropriety, 
respecting the general management of estates, which cer- 
tainly much affects the future prospect of the planters. 

The system generally adopted during slavery, at least 
until the latter part of its existence, of paying the attorneys 
for their trouble in the management of the estates by a per 
centage on the gross receipts of the produce they send to 
market, has been the cause of much injury to the British 
proprietor. That attorney who produces him the greatest 
annual crops, generally finds most favour in the eyes of 


his employer ; and, naturally so, when the circumstances 
under which the amount is increased do not fall under 
the immediate observation of the person most interested in 
its economical management. The attorney, anxious to in- 
crease his reputation, forces land into cultivation, which 
is unfit for it, and consequently incurs a great expense in 
manuring, clearing, and jobbing labour generally. The 
proprietor is informed of the number of hogsheads of sugar, 
and puncheons of rum, which are sent home ; but he does 
not know, till the end of the year, when he gets his mer- 
chants' accounts, how much the contingencies, (or expenses 
of cultivation as they would be termed here,) are increased 
by the additional produce. It has often occurred, that an 
attorney has produced several hogsheads of sugar, at a gross 
expense of £20 an hogshead, which has afterwards sold for 
only £16 ; and yet he has gained credit for his manage* 
ment, and, perhaps, receives in consequence other attorney- 
ships, though, in point of fact, his conduct ought to be much 
reprobated. Some attorneys might have acted in this 
manner from self-interested motives — some from ill-judged 
zeal, and want of due consideration ; but the evil arises 
from the mode of payment. Were they paid by a per 
centage on their net, and not on their gross, proceeds, the 
result would be different. What is now really the fault of 
the attorney, but attributed by him and his principal to 
the depreciation of West Indian property, wonld, most 
probably, not exist, and the adoption of such ordinary 
precautions as are taken in all common mercantile con- 
cerns would ensure an equally favourable result. In 
point of fact, the great secret of making estates in the 
colonies profitable is to diminish the expenditure both 
there and in England. The English expenses are those 
incurred for supplies, those in the island for cultivation, or 
for other matters which will be further alluded to pre- 


sently. It has occurred to the writer, to have had aii 
opportunity of examining the annual supply list of an 
estate for some years past, and it exhibits essentially and 
radically the folly of the system. There appears in each 
list a marvellous coincidence of the same number of tea- 
cups and saucers, of black tin jugs, of press-locks, and of 
different clothing, as if the number of slaves had always 
been the same, and as if there was precisely the same 
breakage of delf, and spoiling of press-locks, in^each suc- 
cessive year. In the store of that estate were found recently 
vast quantities of those annual stores, which it would have 
taken years to consume ; but still the same demand^was 
repeated for each year. The overseer who usually makes 
out these lists, fears to oflfend the English purveyor of 
supplies, by diminishing the quantity, and by that means 
decreasing his profits. The attorney, who sometimes does 
not see the estate which he manages above once or twice 
a year for a few hours at a time, leaves all these matters 
to the overseer, and taking for granted that the list sent 
to him is correct, forwards it probably without perusal. 
Thus a great unnecessary expenditure is created. 

The supply of herrings or salt-fish is another ground 
for much abuse : the quantity of sugar, rum, corn, fresh 
meat, salt meat, &c., which is consumed, amounts to an 
enormous sum. The time of the negroes is often taken up 
in planting corn for the use of the white servants of the 
estate, when most required for the cultivation and clearing 
the canes. It would effect a considerable saving, if all 
English proprietors directed a fixed sum to be paid to the 
overseers and book-keepers, lieu of all sorts of pro- 
visions, giving them neither food nor liquor: a portion 
of the latter would probably be taken surreptitiously, 
but the opportunity of extensive abuse would be done 


away with, and a great saving ensured. It would be also 
highly for the benefit of estates, if a money allowance were 
given to the apprentices instead of fish or clothes, so that all 
opportunities of waste or pillage might be precluded. The 
overseers and book-keepers, particularly the former, re- 
quire a horse to be kept for them ; but owing either to 
the indulgence of the attorney, or his want of observation, 
there is hardly a white servant who has not a brood mare 
or two, and a number of foals and young horses, all fed at 
the estate's cost. The number of visitors besides to the 
overseers, &c., all of whom are provided with eating and 
drinking at the expense of the proprietor, is enormous; 
while so gi«at.uaed to be the ostentation of economy, that, 
the moment a. book-keeper or overseer committed so great 
a crime as to marry, he was at once turned off the estate, 
in order that the proprietor might not have the expense of 
feeding his wife and children. Yet there is hardly an instance 
of any one of these discharged persons not having found 
an immediate asylum and maintenance on any estate to 
which he might choose to go. Such are the strange con-> 
trarieties in their ideas of economy. Lord Sligo, while 
Chancellor, issued orders to the receivers of most of the 
estates in Chancery, to give a money allowance instead ot 
food to the white servants, and then they might entertain as 
many guests as they pleased at their own expense, llie 
overseers and book-keepers, from, the advantages they 
had under the former system, which even now prevails in 
many estates, rapidly accumulated fortunes. They made 
small speculations in coffee, that being considered the most 
convenient kind of produce to send home : the estate^s 
coopers generally obliged them, by making up, (in their 
master^s time, however, and with their master's staves and 
hoops) a few coffee tierces; the estate's wagons carried 
them down to the wharf, free of cost ; the wharfinger, wh^ 


did not Kke to offend these persons, for fear they should 
induce the attorney to deprive them of the estate's custom, 
charged them nothing for the wharfage. The English 
consignee was generally very liberal to them in his charges, 
and held also the proceeds of the sales, tiU at length, in a 
few years, a tolerably respectable sum of money had accu- 
mulated in his hands. He saw the industrious habits of 
these men, and gave them appointments as attorneys, when 
vacancies arose. In this manner have most of the present 
attorneys of Jamaica created their fortunes. When they 
become attorneys, the legitimate profits are enormous for 
those even who do their duties correctly, but, for those 
who do not, the sums of money which may be realized 
exceed probability. It was reported of onelattoniejr, who 
was also a receiver for various estates in Chancery, that 
he adopted the following course with respect to the pur- 
chase of cattle ; a great source of profit if dexterously con- 
ducted. He managed several estates, otherwise he could 
not have effected his purpose. It was said that he had 
purchased a quantity of Spanish cattle, which are always 
very cheap, say worth £5 each, when landed extremely 
lean from the importing ships. He placed them for a short 
time on good grass of his own, till they appeared to have 
got a little into condition, and then sold them to the estate A, 
which required store cattle. He obtained an advanced 
price for them ; and as he made out the bill of sales in the 
name of some confidential servant, he received also a com- 
mission, besides the price, from the purchasing estate in 
remuneration for the purchase. After some time, perhaps 
a year, such of these cattle as were fit to sell for working 
cattle, were sold by him from the estate A to the estate B, 
also under his management, and he received his commis- 
sions from both ; for the sale from one party, and for the 
purchase from another. After being worked for a couple of 


years, these cattle were again resold by the estate B to the 
estate C, also under his charge, for fattening ; and again a 
per centage on each side was paid him. Lastly, they were 
sold by the estate C to the butcher, and the attorney again 
drew the commission from that estate for the sale. This 
narrative may be somewhat exaggerated, but it has been 
frequently mentioned that such a practice did prevail in a 
greater or less degree. That there are, however, many 
attorneys, nay, a great majority, quite incapable of such 
conduct, is most true. 

It may be worth while to mention another mode by 
which a certain class of English proprietors in Jamaica 
are egregiously cheated. It will hardly be credited, but 
it is, nevertheless, most certain, that several wharfingers 
at Kingston charge such proprietors as ship or land produce 
in that city a certain per centage, and then return to the 
merchant, shipper, or consignee, 76 per cent, of that charge, 
as his profit on the transactions. In short, the principal 
cause of the depreciation of West India property is to be 
comprised in one word, absenteeism. The climate, it is to 
be feared, will prevent this evil from being remedied ; but it 
may be modified to a considerable degree, by confining 
the whole payment of the attorneys to a per centage on 
the net profits ; by giving certain money allowances instead 
of food to the white subordinate servants ; and by paying 
the negroes in a simular manner, in lieu of allowing them 
clothes, herrings, corn, and other things, all of which are 
wasted in an incredible manner. 



Under Lord Slig^'s government of the colony, the line 
of conduct which he adopted towards the n^roes certainly 
^ined him their confidence; but at the same time it 
placed an invincible barrier between him and the planters. 
They at first received him with welcome, but they soon lost 
all confidence in him. To this was attributed his want 
of success in his endeavours to promote the passing, by the 
local legislature, of any of. those measures which were so 
much wanted to prepare for coming events in 1840. His 
relinquishment, th^*efore, of the government was looked 
upon auspiciously, as it was anticipated that on the arrival of 
his successor. Sir Lionel Smith, who had more experience in 
governments, who had conducted so favourably the progress 
of emancipation in Barbadpes, and who had left that island so 
universally regretted, a greater confidence would be felt in 
the intentions of the local government. Sir Lionel himself, in 
his speech opening his first session, thus alludes to the positicMi 
in which he found the island on assuming the government. 
^^ It is my anxious wish, therefore, that all animosities will 
Qease, and that the seat of government will no longer be 
considered as a magazine of combustibles hostile to your 
interests, because the times may have dictated a course of 
policy effecting many necessary changes in your social 
system. Gentlemen, the country is represented to me as 
full of grievances, many I acknowledge seem of great 
diflBculty." Nothing could be more temperate or more 
conciliating than this speech; nothing apparently more 
likely to gain the confidence of the legislature. Sir Lionel 
subsequently continued to act in the same prudent manner ; 
yet what has been the result ? He undoubtedly enjoys the 


entire confidence of the planters, as far as expressions go ; 
but have they passed, since his administration commenced, 
one solitary measure of all those \vhich were recommended 
in the report of Mr. Buxton's committee ? Lord Sligo and 
Sir Lionel Smith, each pursuing a decidedly different line 
of policy, have equally failed in ejecting the passing of a 
single necessary enactment. Why, therefore, does the 
English administration delay a moment in appealing to the 
Imperial Parliament to legislate in such a manner, as shall 
enforce the complete fulfilment of the Abolition Law? 
The country which, with but one opinion, carried that law, 
would not surely hesitate to make those subordinate arrange- 
ments, which the omissions in the original Act have rendered 
necessary. The anti-slavery party, who find that the law 
has been much abused, and that the humane intentions of 
the original promoters of this most benevolent measure have 
been defeated, cry out loudly for an immediate abolition of 
the apprenticeship. But it appears doubtful, if such a mea- 
sure would in the end be advantageous to the negro. 
The success of immediate and total abolition in Antigua, 
has been quoted as an argument in its favour ; but the 
cases are not parallel. Jamaica has thousands of acres of 
waste and unclaimed land, and every acre which is not 
actually kept in tillage, is soon covered with bush impe- 
netrable to all except the negroes. Into these places, where 
food can be procured at the least possible expenditure of 
labour ; where, as has been proved before the House of 
Lords, a man can provide a year*s food for a reasonable 
family by twelve days labour at his plantain ground, — 
where from the heat of the climate no more clothes are neces- 
sary than what are required by decency — where the quantity 
of unclaimed wood, and of the thatch palm, enables the negro 
to erect a comfortable hut in a few hours, — into these places 
will he probably retire, and there lazily pass his life, never 


issuing from his recess until the want of some luxuries 
may lead him to bring produce to market, or perhaps if 
the market is overstocked, may induce him to labour for a 
few hours. Under these circumstances no continued labour 
is to be expected from him. How is the case in Antigua? 
It is a small island, every acre of which is well known ; in 
which it is said that there exists not a single spring of 
fresh water, and where the provisions are all imported; 
where there is no resource but work, with the produce of 
which the negro goes to market and purchases his daily 
bread. There the immediate emancipation was a wise 
measure; but in Jamaica more time is required to prepare 
the minds of the negroes for freedom. If the colonists 
have not availed themselves of the opportunity, if they 
have not made use of the interval to get rid of the feelings 
engendered among the blacks by a long course of oppres- 
sions during the continuance of slavery, it is their own fault 
— they will suffer for it. It is to be hoped, however, that 
they will employ the remaining time better, and that 
nobler feelings will succeed those now existing. 

Could there be anything more injudicious, than the 
attempt of the planters to establish one common scale 
of labour throughout the colony ? In the first place the 
attempt was decidedly illegal, being in direct opposition 
to the 51st clause of the Jamaica Abolition Act, and 
the 16th clause of the Imperial Act for the same object, 
which distinctly prohibits any task-work whatever, except- 
ing such as shall have been agreed to by a majority of the 
apprentices, and then sanctioned by a special magistrate. 
There was a meeting at the King's House to discuss the 
best means of carrying this intention into effect ; one very 
sensible and able attorney, Mr. George Gordon, to his 
honour, opposed the measure, as one of an unconstitutional 
nature ; he argued that there could not with propriety be 


any such interference with the black man ; and that every 
attorney, who adopted a proper line of conduct towards his 
apprentice, could get from him as much labour as was 
requisite. This noble and truly constitutional language 
completely upset the scheme, which, besides being illegal^ 
was quite impracticable. A system or scale of labour, which 
might be most appropriate in one parish, would be perfectly 
unfit for another, differently circumstanced. Let the attor- 
neys follow Mr. Gordon's advice, and they will require no 
illegal compulsory labour scales. Mr. Beaumont says, in 
examination, No. 4470, " That all the planters conspired 
against the working of the Abolition Act, until they found 
that they could make it, by ingenious devices, very nearly 
approach to slavery, and that then they withdrew their op- 
position to it." 

This, it is to be hoped, is an exaggeration; but, in 
any case, let a line of conduct be forced on them, which 
will, in spite of their folly, produce the desired effect; 
it can easily be done ; but the remedy must come from 
England. In truth, there is no justipe in the general 
local institutions of Jamaica; because there is no public 
opinion to which an appeal can be made. Slavery has 
divided society into two classes; to one it has given power, 
but to the other it has not extended protection. One of these 
classes is above public opinion, and the other is below it ; 
neither are, therefore, under its influence; and it is much 
to be feared, that owing to the want of sympathy between 
them, to the want of dependence and mutual confidence, to 
the poorer class being able to provide for the necessities of 
life without any application to the higher, there never will 
be in Jamaica, or in any other slave colony, a community of 
feeling on which public opinion can operate beneficially. 
There now exists indeed something so termed; but it 
does not deserve the name ; it makes the timid man afraid 

1 10 JAMAICA. 

to act rightly, and confirms the" designing intriguer in his 
schemes. It is to be hoped that this complete separation may 
melt away, and that some kind of approximation of the two 
classes may arise. The prospects otherwise may be awful — 
great indeed is the blindness which does not see this, great 
indeed is the fatuity which does not provide against it. 
What must be the feelings of the negro towards those who 
show such an utter want of confidence in him, that all 
their public acts are of a stringent nature? That 
they deprive him of the only trade which he is able with 
his limited means to engage in, — ^namely, with the next 
island, St. Domingo, lest he should there learn too much 
of the common right of all people in a representative 
State — namely, a share in the representation. If that 
scheme has not succeeded, it is not to the white inhabitants 
of Jamaica that the negroes owe its failure, but to the 
British government. Can the negro endure to have himself 
cursed, and called ^a damned black rascaV on all occasions? 
Can he like to have all sense of morality and decency out- 
raged in the persons of his wife and daughters ? Let the 
inhabitants of Jamaica look to these things in time, and 
remedy the evil before it is too late. Let them recollect, 
that unless tliey regain the confidence of those from whom 
alone fi:ee labour can be obtained, the year 1840 will be 
the unprofitable commencement of a series of still more 
unprofitable years ; that if the negroes do not labour fi^eely 
in 1840, it will be difficult with their small necessities, to 
induce them to do so at any future period. Let them 
support, and not on every occasion vilify, their religious 
teachers, to whom they already owe more of the good 
conduct of the negroes than they are willing to acknow- 
ledge. Let them not endeavour to diminish the natural and 
legitimate influence of those excellent men, the miissionaries, 
whose assistance they may perhaps one day themselves 



require. Let them not imagine, because the skin of the 
negroes is darker than their own, that they have not the 
feelings of men. Let them not suppose that, when these 
despised blacks are free, and when they gain the additional 
knowledge which the change in their social condition will 
inevitably impart, they will calmly submit as they have 
hitherto done. It would be much better for the Jamaica 
proprietor to give liberally now, whilst he has it in his 
power to give, than wait for a reaction, which, if once 
it takes place, will be terrible in its consequences. He 
would not hesitate, if he was aware of the effect of a little 
kindness on the mind of the poor contemned black. Little 
does he know how deep every act of considerate regard 
and kindly feeling sinks into his heart, or how it carries 
with it gratitude and devotion. 

Let him not say, ^^ I thank God that I am not a publican 
and sinner as this man is,'' but let him pour wine and oil 
into his wounds, and make him his friend. 

'- J 






1. The quality of the sugar made this year is bond fide 
far superior to what has been heretofore made by night 
work, on the majority of estates in this Island. 

2. ITiere has been by far less stock lost in this year's 
crop than in that of the precedinjg years, and in many 
places the produce has been taken off by a smaller number. 

S. The stock are, generally speaking, in much better 
condition this year than they were at the close of any 
former year's crop, when they were so weak, that many 
of them died in consequence. 

4. The apprentices generally are evidentlv becoming 
more reconciled to the system, and work cheerfully for 
money-hire, both night and day, and they are daily be^ 
coming better behaved. 

5. They may be expected still farther to improve, as soon 
as they begin to feel the natural impetus of education and 
religion, and as they get rid of the system of deceit which 
slavery occasioned, in order to save them from oppression. 

6. ^veral estates will exceed the present crop in the 
next year, and a majority will equal it. 

7. When this is not the case, it can be traced to sufficient 
causes independent of the loss of labour, which of course 
must have considerable effect, when it is recollected that on 
many estates the slaves were compelled not only to work 
day and night as long as nature would allow of it, and 
in such manner as their bodily endurance would permit, 
for the six week days, but were often compelled to pot 
sugar on the Sunday. 



8. A manifest siipineness has been exhibited on several 
plantations, which is proved by the fact, that the next 
year's crops are often estimated at much more than the 
present. I know of several individual instances of persons 
declining to put in plant canes last year, in consequence 
of the certainty which they felt, by anticipation, that the 
crop would not be taken off at all. 

9. The returns I send home herewith will show that 
the preparations for the next year's crop have not been so 
entirelyneglected as has been asserted. 

10. The New System has furnished a most admirable 
excuse for any failures and neglects which may have taken 
place, and which will not, therefore, be attributed to their 
real cause. 

11. My conviction is, that in many instances the opinions 
of individuals are much more favourable to future prospects 
than they choose to allow ; and I offer, in proof of it, the 
reluctance which has been shown, in but too many instances, 
to permit me to get any information upon the subject. 

12. The overseers in many, I will fearlessly say very 
many, instances, have not given hearty co-operation to 
the new law, feeling themselves shorn of all their beams 
by its operation. 

13. Many of the attorneys and managers have been so 
very loud in their assertions of the failure of the system, 
that they are now unwilling to admit the errors of their 
opinions. The first prophecy was, blood and destruction 
on the 1st of August; in this they were wrong. The 
second, that this scene would take place at Christmas, as 
it had not taken place in August ; in this they were wrong. 
The third, that the apprentices would not work for W2^es ; 
in this they were wrong, as I know of no instance where 
the usual wages were offered and where they were refused. 
The fourth was, that this crop could not be taken off; 
in this they were wrong, as it has been taken off in 
many places much earlier than usual ; and if protracted in 
others, it has been as much from the weather, and the 
refusal to give wages in many instances, as from any 
other cause affecting the success of the new system. 

14. Having been driven from all these points, they have 
now created for themselves a fresh object of terror, namely, 
the next year's crop. On this point 1 have had some 
doubts myself all along, and therefore send the informa- 
tion I have received, in order that judgment may be given 


by others. I confess freely, that the report is, on the whole, 
much more favourable than I ever expected. 

15. The manu&cture and cultivation of sugar have been 
conducted on the most antiquated systems possible, and 
received the least possible assistance from the modem 
improvements in machinery. The plough is hardly ever 
used ; where adopted this year from necessity, it has 
answered completely. The cattle mills, which are so 
general, must be abandoned, as they work so very slowly, 
that they cannot meet the diminished hours of labour of 
ihe n^oes. 

16. The ginger, arrow-root, and coffee plantations, are 
as flourishing as ever they were known to be. 

17. The negroes will improve, because they have done 
so since the 1st of August, gradually but certainly, in 
all parts where severity has not been practised. 

They have had very little encouragement from many 
of the managers. 

In the whole of the early part, the number of spe- 
cial magistrates was quite insufficient; this affects them 
more than might be at first imagined, as they show un- 
limited confidence in those (the great majority, I am 
proud to say) who treat them with true kindness. They 
passed their holidays at Christmas in an unusually orderly 
manner, there was, literally speaking, I verily believe, not 
twenty absentees from their labour on the 29th December ; 
and they worked on New Year's day without a murmur. 

There has been as yet no increase of religious instruc- 
tion or education, and very little of good example. 

The crop this year has been taken off without a single 
instance of^ resistance, and of a superior quality to that 
heretofore made. 

There has been less stock lost this year than usual. 

They have in most instances worked cheerfully, day and 
night (when allowed to do so by night), for hire, on five 
days of the week. 

They now dig cane holes in many parts of the Island 
at one half-penny per hole, earning a dollar a day, digging 
160 often in a day, when 70 to 80 were their task during 

Several planters reluctantly confess that more work has 
been done this year than the last, and many objections 
have been made to any comparison between the work of 
these two years. 


The amount of this year's crop is not therefore to be 
attributed to the exertions of the last year of slavery, as has 
been asserted. Every one confesses that things are going 
on, though not at all well, much better than tney expected. 

There has been a singular want of uniformity in the 
administration of the law, which was not, and could not, 
be got over till after some months* experience of it. 

There has been a great variance in their allowances, 
indulgences, and rates of payment. 

Many have not been paid at all, but have been persuaded 
by the managers to give additional labour for their old 

The planters looked upon the special justices with great 
jealousy, and struggled at first in many places to maintain 
as many of their old rights as possible. 

Manv planters have openly and loudly expressed their 
conviction that the plan must be a perfect failure. 

Many of the managers, though, thank God, not all, 
still maintain their former habits towards them, as far as 
the law allows them. 

There has been little time for the apprentices to recon- 
cile their feelings to those whom they deem their former 

When all these things are recollected, and it is seen 
that, under all these disadvantages, they have behaved so 
well, and shown such improvement, may it not naturally 
be inferred, that they are in a state of progressive amend- 

Thus much of the conduct of the apprentices. What, 
now, has been that of the whites ? Of some of the 
managers I cannot speak too highly ; but they have reaped 
the iruit of their discretion, m the remarkable success 
which has attended their efforts. A reference to the reports 
will shew what success has attended the efforts of some ; 
and ; how deplorable is the state of some of the properties 
under the management of others, though enjoying precisely 
similar advantages. 

On the whole, I come to the conclusion, that the perfect 
success of the new system, during the continuance of the 
apprenticeship, depends entirely on the conduct of the 
miite people, and that, if it fails, on them will rest the 
entire blame. 





THE 3d FEBRUARY 1836. 

" Gentlemen of the Council, 

Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the Assembly : — The 
very extraordinary nature of the message I have received 
from the House of Assembly, compels me to point out to 
the Legislature of Jamaica, the position in which the con- 
duct of one of its branches has placed the colony. To that 
branch, therefore, must I more particularly adcu*ess myself, 
while I review its proceedings during the present session ; 
while I point out what disposition it has evinced to meet 
the wishes of the mother-country, after the unparalleled 
sacrifices that country has lately made in its favour; and 
while I recount the measures which have been recom- 
mended by me, with the fate which has attended those 

The two messages I have recently sent down on the 
subject of the Police Bill, and the Act in Aid, have placed 
my views of the manner in which those two measures have 
been treated in the House of Assembly in too clear a light 
to require more than a very few remarks. 

I pressed on you the establishment of more courts of 
assize, so strongly recommended by the presentment of the 
Grand Jury at the late Supreme Court: — ^you took no 
notice of it. A revision of the laws affecting the discipline 
of gaols and other places of confinement, was recommended 
to you. You were reminded that the infliction of CQrporal 
punishment had been deputed to the supervisors and mana- 
gers of such establishments, a class to which the constitu- 
tion does not confide those magisterial powers, which have 
been placed by you in their hands ; all those subjects have 
remained unnoticed. 

The whipping of females, you were informed by me, 
oflScially, was in practice, and I called upon you to make 
enactments to put an end to conduct so repugnant to hu- 
manity, and so contrary to law : so far from passing an act 
to prevent the recurrence of such cruelty, you have in no 
way express^ your disapprobation of it. You have not 


even denied the truth of my assertion, and therefore must 
have credited it ; notwithstanding, you have taken no steps 
to put an end to the practice. 

1 communicated to you my opinion, and that of the 
Secretary of State, of the injustice of cutting off the hair 
of females in the houses of correction, previous to trial, 
and with no judicial sentence to authorise it; you paid no 
attention to this subject. 

I informed the House, that, in the opinion of the British 
government, the taxation imposed by the local authorities, 
on the property of apprentices, was quite illegal, and that 
it was incompatible with the spirit of the British Constitu- 
tion, that any body which is unrepresented, should be sub- 
ject to taxation : — ^you totally disregarded this suggestion. 
I sent you down no less than four messages on the subject 
of an extended svstem of negro education ; I recommended 
to you the establishment of a plan, even without a vote in 
support of it, in order that the British Government might 
have some grounds to go upon ; as no measure on the sub- 
ject has emanated from the House, can I do otherwise than 
conclude that you are indifferent to it? I informed you 
that £25,000 sterling had been voted by England for the 
support of any just or expedient system of education in the 
colonies, with the prospect of still farther assistance being 
afforded, — but you have taken no steps to make it available. 

I transmitted to you a dispatch from the Secretary of 
State, recommending the repeal of the 23rd Canon, with a 
view to increase the means of religious instruction in the 
colony : such has been your disregard to this most desirable 
object, that you have not attended to the recommendation. 

I recommended the introduction of an Emigration Bill : 
I see by the Minutes of the Council, that you introduced 
into it a clause, which obviously affects one of the most 
undeniable rights of the Crown, the possession of the soil, 
until granted away by it. 

I pointed out to you the injury done to the poorer classes 
of claimants for compensation, by schemes of interested 
persons, and sent to you a dispatch of the Secretary of 
State, suggesting a mode of relief: — ^you have neglected to 
consider the matter for the purpose of providing a remedy 
for the injury sustained by your constituents. 

I communicated to you the circumstances, owing to your 
own decision, relative to the Police Bill, under which I was 
with much pain compelled to call on you to resume that 


solemn and long^stablished compact, to provide for the 
subsistence of your garrison, a claim which has not, owing 
to the generosity of the British Parliament, been insisted 
on for some time : you have taken no notice of it. Besides 
these measures, on which no enactments have become law, 
there are many of much importance to the country, which 
are either before you for amendment, or laying on the 
table of the Council for their consideration ; among these 
may be named the Domestic Animal Bill, and that for the 
Relief of Insolvent Debtors, — respecting which, a confer- 
ence, I find, has been demanded by the Council, in order 
that the principles of it may be discussed ; also those for 
Offences against the Person, Masters in Chancery, Gun- 
powder and Fire-arms, Savings Banks, and others, which 
must drop to the ground for a want of co-operation, and 
time to consider them : thus, I fear that many most useful 
Bills will be lost for a certain time, — ^a matter much to be 



" In a matter of criminal information versus Whiteman, 
on motion of Mr. Attorney General, and on reading the 
affidavits of Jane Rentford, filed on the instant, and 

of William Wemyss Anderson, filed on the 14th instant, it 
is ordered that a criminal information be filed against John 
Whiteman, of the parish of St. Andrew, unless cause be 
shewn to the contrary by the first day of next grand court. 

The following are the Affidavits on which were grounded 
the motion which resulted in the above order nisi : — 

** Affidavit of Jane Rentford, an apprentice belonging to 
Mrs* Starks of Halfway Tree, in St. Andrew's, and now 
working out on hire at Mr* Frasefs, Tailor, Harbour 
Street, Kingston — 

" States — That she was conunitted to the house of 
correction, otherwise called the workhouse, at the Halfivay 
Tree aforesaid, some time before last Christmas, for 


not paying three dollars alleged to be due to her said 
mistress for wages* The sentence was pronounced by Mr. 
Lloyd, the special justice ; and, as she understood its pur- 
port, her imprisonment was ordered for one week only. 
But she was detained during a period of three weeks in 
the said workhouse. During that time she was frequently 
worked on the treadmill, and also out of doors, chained to 
another girl. While working on the treadmill, she was 
frequently struck by one of the drivers called Waddell. 
One day being struck by the said Waddell while on the 
mill, she fell therefrom to the grownd, and while lying there, 
Mr, John Whiteman, the overseer, or other superintendant 
of the said workhouse, took the cat out of the driver's 
hand, and strtick her across the shoulders, and thereby cut 
her so severely that blood was brought ; he. then kicked 
and made her go on the mill again. She was also struck 
during the said period by the other driver, Edward Phil- 
lips, while worlcing with the gang in the field near 
* molynes.* 

" That during her imprisonment in the workhouse, 
CHAINS were upon her day and night, and the only times 
they were taken off were, whilst she was with the people 
on the treadmill. 

" That the marks of the said fogging are still on her 

" Affidavit of William Wemys Anderson,^ of the city and 
parish of Kingston, Attorney-at-law. — 

" States — That a certain bill of indictment, * Rex versus 
Whiteman,' for an assault committed by one John White- 
man, of the parish of St, Andrew, on Jane Reiitford, an 
apprentice, was presented to the grand jury of the county 
of Surry, at the last Surry assizes, and by the said grand 
jury ignored. 

" Tnat the subject matter intended to have been tried 
by the said indictment is contained in an affidavit of Jane 
Rentford, filed in the grand court now sitting, on which 
has been made a motion to the said court, for a criminal 
information against the said John Whiteman." 

" The confirmation absolute of the order nisi, is opposed 
on the following affidavits : — 

* See papers on Slavery, 3rd part, No. 242 ; p. 38. 


" Affidavit of John Whiteman, of the parish of St. 
Andrew, gentleman — 

" States — That in the month of October, 1835, and 
whilst this deponent was employed in the St. Andrew's 
house of correction as an overseer or superintendant, an 
apprentice named Jane Rentford was remanded to that 
institution by Samuel Lloyd, Esquire, special justice for 
the said parish, until the following week, to afford her an 
opportunity of paying wages for the time she had been 
absent from the service oi her mistress ; and not having 
done so on Tuesday in the following week, the said appren- 
tice was brought before and tried by the said Samuel 
Lloyd; and by him sentenced to be imprisoned in the 
house of correction for two weeks, to be worked in the 
penalgang, and occasionally on the treadmill. 

" Tnat when the said Jane Rentford was first put on the 
treadmill to undergo the sentence of the special magistrate, 
she immediately threw herself from off the mill, and seized 
the driver, and took the whip away from him, and, at the 
same time, made use of very obscene lanmiase, and inde- 
cently exposed her person,* and otherwise oehaved in a 
veiy violent and disorderly manner; which induced deponent 
to interfere, and take the whip out of her hand, and return 
it to the driver : but deponent most positively denies that 
.he either then, or at any other time during uie imprison- 
ment of the said Jane Rentford, ever struck her, or in any 
other manner ill-treated her ; nor was she ever punished 
in any other manner than according to the said sentence, 
and the directions of the magistrate, to the best of 
deponent's knowledge and belief. 

" That he sometime since left the said situation of over- 
seer of the house of correction, for the purpose of taking 
another situation at £70. per annum, in consequence of 
being a married man, and his wife not keeping her health 
by residing in that institution, having, as he verily believes, 
conducted nimself to the entire satisfaction of his employers. 
And deponent being dependent upon his exertions to 
obtain a livelihood tor himself and &mily, humbly hopes 
this honourable court will declare his innocence, by being 
pleased to discharge the said order nisi with his fml costs 
incurred in this matter." 

* This female was at the time labouring under periodical sick- 
ness, and acted in this manner, in the extremity of her suffering, 
with an hope of avoiding that part of her punishment. 


'^ Affidavit of Robert Waddell^ Jamm Martins^ Edward 
PhUlipsy\ and John McDonald^ Convicts, in tlie St. 
Andreufs Workhouse — 

** States — (deponents severally say) That they recollect 
when an apprentice, named Jane Rentford, to Mrs. Dorothy 
R. Starks, was committed to the said house of correction 
by Special Justice Lloyd ; deponent, Robert Waddell, being 
at that time employed as driver to the treadmill. 

" (Deponent Waddell says) That the conduct of the said 
Jane Rentford was very unruly, violent, and indecent, and 
when placed x)n the mill she threw herself off, several times, 
and on one occasion she took the cat out of deponent 
James Martin's hand, when John Whiteman, the overseer, 
took it away and returned it to deponent. 

" (Deponents severally say) That they never, on any 
occasion, saw the said John Whiteman strike or beat the 
said Jane Rentford or any other prisoner in the said insti- 
tution, with the cat or otherwise; but, on the contrary, 
d^K>nents were perfectly satisfied with the conduct of the 
said John Whiteman, which was kind and attentive to the 
prisoners in general, although strict." 

(These deponents cannot read nor write. It is citified 
that the affidavit was read and explained to them.) 

" Affidavit of William Robertson, of the parish of St. 
AndreWf Esquire — 

" States — That he resided in the immediate vicinity of 
the house of correction the whole period that John White- 
man was the overseer ; and deponent was in the habit of 
visiting that institution frequently, and considered both the 
said John Whiteman and his wife very kind to the inmates : 
and he appeared to deponent to be the only person that 

Eaid attention to his duty, without receiving that support 
e was justly entitled to from his superiors attached thereto. 
" That he has known that institution under the denomi- 
nation of a workhouse, and as a house of correction, having 
been president of it under both those names, and never 
saw it better conducted than by the said John Whiteman. 

" That from his sober and correct conduct, the said John 
Whiteman obtained a superior situation." 

f This man, Phillips, was convicted at last Surry Asssizes of 
flogging a female in the same workhouse, because she would not 
prostitute herself to him. He held office as one of die drivers of 
the establishment He was sentenced to receive 39 lashes. 


" Affidavit of Dorothy R. Starks of the parish of St. 
Andrew, Widow — 

" States — That Jane Rentford, an apprentice to the 
deponent, is a notorious thief and liar, and a most violent and 
worthless character; and is so bad, that deponent could 
not keep her in the house with her as a servant. 

** That Jane Rentford hath been in her possession for 
about twelve years, and deponent would not believe any 
statement made by her, even upon oath.'* 

Remarks of the Court when motion made. 

The Hon. Mr, Mais.* — " This is an infamous proceeding. 
I have not seen the affidavits. It is an application to be 
disposed of by the discretion of the court." 

Attomey-Generah — " The court is to exercise such a 
discretion as a grand jury would in the evidence. There- 
fore the denials of the flogging in the affidavits should not 
be conclusive. I have serious doubts as to the legality of 
chaining women in workhouses ; and I want the court to 
say whether it be legal or illegal to do so. If it be not 
legal, then the application must be granted. It embraces 
three matters : chaining, flogging, ana causing to be flogged. 
— I want a decision on the right to chain." 

Chief Justice* — " We will give you a decision on that 
point if we must do so, but not otherwise ; we will, after a 
further consideration of the case give our opinion." 

Opinion of the Court refusing the application. 

The Chief Justice. — " This is an application against a 
subordinate officer of the St. Andrew's house of correction. 
Its disposal must be regulated by the discretion of the 
court in a consideration of all the circumstances. The 
affidavit comprehends chaining and corporal punislunent ; 
but the only real ground of complaint is the latter. We 
are not called upon to pronounce as to the chaining. 
There are four affidavits denying the principal charge ; the 
preponderance of evidence is therefore in favour of White- 
man, and we must deny the application." 

* Mr. Mais is Gustos of St. Andrews, in which parish this offence 
was committed, as well as one of the presiding judges on the Bench. 



No. 1. 

Currency at 128. 
sterling to the Sterling. 

- £1 currency. 

House rent, without ^rniture, per 
annum - - - - lOO 60 

Three horses' forage and keep, at 
76/. Os. lOd. per annum each horse, 
as allowed to County Inspectors of 
Police - - - - 228 2 6 136 7 6 

One waiting boy, at ISs, 4d, per week 
per annum is - 

One groom, at ISsAd. ditto ditto - 

A cook and house cleaner, at 1S«.4(/. 
ditto ditto - . - 

Doctor's bill, average per annum 

Horse-shoeing, per contract, 51. 6s, Sd. 
each, per annum 

Saddlery, Portmanteaus, and other 
indispensible necessaries for tra- 
velling, per annum 

Stationery, and printed forms of sum- 
monses, warrants, &c. 

Washing at 5$, per dozen, including 
table and bed linen, and allowing 
for the frequent changes caused by 
wetting and the heat of the climate, 
5 dozen per week, is 25s, per week 
per annum - - -65 00 39 00 

Taxation on house, horses, and wheels 30 18 

Loss sustained by being paid by the 
Commissary the stipend at 4^. 4;d, 
the dollar, which can only be 
passed in Jamaica at 4«. being an 
actual loss of 1.12th. - - 57 15 34 13 

34 13 




34 13 




34 13 














£686 17 6 411 12 6 



No. 2, Necessaries of Life^ 8^c, Sfc, 

Currency at 18s. 
sterling to the 
£\ currency. 

Clothing, including uniform coats - 50 



Food, Fuel, Candles, &c. at 20s., or 

12«. sterling per diem - - 365 

Wine and other liquors, at 5s. per 

diem - - - - 91 5 54 15 


£1,193 2 6 706 7 6 

No. 3. Contingent Expenses. 

Rent on outlay of furniture, risk on 
loss of horses, and tavern expenses 
on compulsory summonses to at- 
tend Committees of the House of 

Amount of stipend - 
Annual surplus of debt 

- 80 















" Peace-Office, Spanish Totem. Be/ore Richard Hill and 
G. O. Higgins, Esqrs. Special Justices. 

Monday, Jan, 9, 1837. 

" Hon. T. J. Bernard^ master, v. JVillam ConnagCi ap- 
prentice, for desertion. 

" Hon. Thomas James Bernard, sworn — stated, that 
William Connage was residing on the pen, called Bernard 
Lodge, and absented himself sometime in the month of 
June or July last; he was apprehended within the last 
three weeks, and had been absent from his work, to the 
best of witness's belief, during that period of time; Con- 
nage was a slave in the possession of witness previous to the 
1st of August 1834, and remained, after that period, as an 


apprentice labourer until the time of his desertion before 

" Mr. Bernard, in concluding this testimony, submitted 
that he had proved his case. 

" Mr. Harvey, solicitor, on behalf of the accused,, sub- 
mitted, that no case of apprenticeship had been proved. If 
the complainant claim a right in the services of the accused, 
under the law for the abolition of slavery, the proof of due 
registration, which is the condition of apprenticeship, ought 
to have been in evidence. 

" Mr. Bernard replied, that evidence of possession, as in 
a question of land, was tide of apprenticeship. If the accused 
claimed immunity from apprenticeship, he must rest on the 
strength of his own, not on the weakness of his adversary's, 

*^ Mr. Bernard was permitted to amend his case, by in- 
serting, after * Wm. Connage was,' the words, * an ap- 
prenticed labourer in witness's possession.' 

" Mr. Harvey urged, that although evidence of posses- 
sion was presumptive title during slavery, yet, now, that 
slavery was abolished, there was no analogy between the 
right of freedom, and a question of title ; that, therefore, 
the complainant's assertion of apprenticeship, ought not to 
to be received as evidence of a fact, which could only be 
explained by circumstances, to which the Justices would 
apply the law. The question, he submitted, involved one 
of the most sacred principles of freedom, the right of pro- 
perty in a man's own services, which should always be 
presumed as stricdy personal in himself, until a better ad- 
verse right were proved. By the abolition law, the eman- 
cipated slave had been invested with all the immunities of 
freedom, and was entitled as his master to the benefits and 
protection of the common law, subject only to certain obli- 
gations of serv^itudcy and to the restrictions for enforcing 
those obligations, the condition of which, was due registrar 
tion. Implication of freedom was the rule ; apprenticeship 
theexception, which must be stricdy shewn by proof, to bring 
the case within the operation of the law. 

" The Justices thought, that a presumptive case of ap- 
prenticeship had been proved. The accused might give 
evidence in his defence. 

" Question by Mr. Harvey, on behalf of the accused. 

" Was the apprentice, William Connage, registered as a 
slave in the general registration of 1817 r 



^' Mr. Bernard submitted, that he ought not to answer 
this question. Urging, as a reason, that the Spacial Justice 
has no right to enquire if the apprentice was registered in 

" Mr. Higgins considered, that the question ought not 
to be put with respect to the year 1817. 

" Mr. Hill considered, that the question was essential to 
assertain, whether or not the Special Justices have juris- 
diction, dve registration being the very condition of ap- 

" The question was not put. 

" Mr. Harvey, on behalf of the defendant, denied the 
jurisdiction of the court, unless registration was shewn. 

" Mr. Bernard submitted, that the evidence which he 
had given, proved the defendant an apprenticed labourer, 
and called for the judgment of the Justices. 

** Mr. Higgins, on Mr. Harvey's denial of the jurisdic- 
tion of the court, considered, that their being a distinct 
declaration on oath, that the party was an apprenticed 
labourer, and was then in a state of desertion, the court had 

" Mr. Hill, in reference to the same denial of the juris- 
diction of the court, considered, that as there was a distinct 
declaration on oath, that the accused was an apprenticed 
labourer ; that as he was receiving and taking orders for a 
certain period of time without question ; that then, without 
proof that there has been no due registration, the court 
must be held to have jurisdiction. 

" By Mr. Harvey. — Has Wm. Connage been included 
in the registry of 1832 ? 

" Mr. Bernard declined to answer this question^ because, 
first, the Special Justices had no right to enquire if the 
apprentice was registered in 1832, and, secondly, because 
the Magistrates had already decided that they have juris- 

*' Mr. Hill, in explanation, stated, that his decision was 
made conditionally ; that is, that without proof that there 
had been ?io due registration^ the court must be held to 
have jurisdiction ; but, of course, wHh proof, that there has 
been no due registration within the meaning and intent of 
the law, the court would be held to have no jurisdiction. 
" Mr. .Harvey left this point to the court. 

" The Justices thought, that Mr. Bernard having sworn 
to the facts of apprenticeship and desertion, he ought not 


to be compelled to giva evidence against himeelf, and tending 
to invalidate his right. 

" Mr. Harvey tendered evidence, that the accused was 
not duly registered under the abolition law. 

" James Melard, sworn. 

" Did you make the search of the registration of one 
Wra. Connage in the registry-office?" 

" Mr. Bernard objected to that evidence being received, 
because the Special Magistrates were not authorised or 
empowered to take evidence as to the registration, or non- 
registration of an apprentice, formerly a slave. He con- 
tended, that the question of due registration, and the effect 
thereof, on the condition of the apprentice, could only be 
tried and determined in the Superior Courts, and, farther, 
that the Magistrates have already decided, that they had 
jurisdiction in this case, between master and apprentice, 
that they could not afterwards receive evidence, except 
touching the guilt or innocence of the party accused. 

" Mr. Harvey, on behalf of the accused, insisted on his 
right to put the question, because that, by the principles of 
common law, which were as much the right of apprentice 
as of master, all persons brought to trial for an offence, 
must be tried according to the rules of the law, and be held 
innocent until found guilty. The allegation of a person 
claiming the services of another, was no evidence of the 
claimant's right against a denial of that right. The com- 
plainant, after givmg evidence for himself, having refused 
to answer the questions hereinbefore stated, on behalf of 
the accused, the latter was entided to bring forward proof, 
to shew that he is not an apprentice, and, therefore, not a 

" Mr. Higgins considered, that acting on the opinion of 
the law-officers of the Crown of England, that when there 
is no due registration, there is no apprenticeship under 
the abolition act, and that, when there is no proof of due 
registration by the complainant, and when he refuses to 
afrord that proof, the Magistrates are bound to hear the 
defendant in the negative, to wit, that there has been no 
due registration. 

" Mr. Hill concurred. 

" Mr. Harvey's question to Mr. Melhard repeated. — 
Did you search for uie registration of Connage ? , 

« I did. 

^' State the result of the search, and in whose names did 
you search ? 


" I searched in Mr. Wm. Hewitt's name, and in Mr. 
Bernat'd's, and in Mr. Stewart's, as executors; and in 
Mr. Bernard's in his own right, and in Mr. Stewart's in 
his own right, and in the right of their wives. I searched 
from 1817 to 1832, but could not find the name of Wm. 

" By the Court — Were you sufl&ciently acquainted with 
all the interests of the family you have named, to enable 
you to say, whether all the search possible has been made, 
to prove tnat Wjn. Connage is not duly registered ? 

" I am only acquaintea with the interests of the family, 
as far as they relate to the parishes of St. Catherine and 
Clarendon. I cannot say, from the searches I have made, 
that Wm. Connage is not duly registered. 

" Did you look in the registrations for Clarendon, as well 
as St Catherine? 

" I did, from 1817 to 1832, and in neither of these 
parishes, under the names mentioned, did I find the regis- 
tration of Wm. Connage. 

" " Mr. Harvey submitted, that having proved his negative, 
no registration in the names of the complainant or his 
family, he should not be called to make a voyage round all 
the names and registries in the island. The accused was 
entitled to proper information from the complainant him- 
self, of the nature of his right. He had shewn a reasonable 
presumption of non-registration. If the contrary were 
alleged, the affirmative should now rest on the complainant 

" The Justices considered, that inasmuch as there was 
only reasonable presumption, and not decisive proof pf 
Wm. Connage not being duly registered, they are bound 
to consider, that on the evidence that he was receiving 
and taking orders for a certain period as an apprentice 
labourer, without question, that he is still bound to serve. 

" On this decision, Mr. Bernard did not press for 
punishment for the desertion, but that the accused should be 
admonished, and ordered to return to his duty at Bernard 

The following observations on this case, which appeared 
in the same paper (the " Telegra/pK^)^ being quite worthy of 
notice, are here inserted. 

" Friday, January 13, 1837. 

** The case of Bernard v, Connage, reported in this day's 
impression, involving, as it does, the great general princi- 



pie of freedom, is one which will be found of very deep 
importance to society at large in the colony. This was a 
case tried before the Special Justices^ with the view of 
ascertaining how far a non-registered apprentice might 
deny the jurisdiction of a Special Justice's Court, to com- 
pel his service as an apprentice, and how far the Special 
Justice might affirm the jurisdiction of his Court, for the 
purpose 01 taking evidence to establish the fact of non-re* 
gistration. To understand the peculiarities of this issue^ 
it seems necessary to go back to the R^istry Bill. That 
law enacted, ^r«^, that in 1817, a registration of all the 
then slaves in the colony should be taken and recorded. 
Secondly i that in every three years after, this original 
registry should be referred to, for the origiual names and 
numbers^ taking up the segregate contained in the original, 
while the future increase and decrease of the persons on 
that record, were to be triennially registered : and in a new 
record, all the changes of location and proprietorship of 
the existing slaves, were to be shewn by a de novo registrar- 
tion. Thirdly^ that in case of any omission to comply with 
the provisions of the act, a certain period of indulgence 
should be allowed, viz., eighteen mondis, during which, the 
party might, on petition to the Governor, be admitted to 
register. Fourthly ^ that on the neglect to retrieve the error, 
by having recourse to this " indulgence^*' the party should 
be involved in the conclusion of having illegally imported 
slaves into the colony. Fifthly^ that on information filed 
against him, he might extricate himself from this conclusion, 
by pleading that it was not an illegal importation, but an 
error of omission, or that it was, in other words, a case of 
non-registration. On this plea, judgment was to be taken, 
and a penalty of £100 entered up, on payment of wliich 
fine, the party, under direction of the Court, might be 
permitted to restore the return omitted to the registry, that 
is, be still allowed to record and hold the persons therein 
included as slaves* 

" Now, the penalty was a remedy for the act of omission. 
Without this, the person omitted, if he were claimed as 
a slave after non-registration, was to be held as a slave 
illegally imported. If the penalty was not sued within the 
statutary period, that is, within one year after it was in- 
curred, if sued by an informer ; and within two years more, 
if sued by the Crown, its recovery was barred by the statute 
of limitations. But the Registry Bill, besides being a 


penal law, was also a remedial law for the ppevention of 
frauds : and statutes against frauds are to be liberally con- 
strued; the difference being this^ that where the statute 
acts upon the offender ^ and inflicts a penalty, it is then to 
be taken strictly ^ but when the statute acts upon the offence^ 
by setting aside the fraud, it is here to be liber ally con- 
strued. By efflux of time the offender escaped pajnnent 
of the penalty^ but the character of the offence remained. 
This being plainly and intelligibly the law, we can arrive 
at no opinion of its influence on the question of apprentice- 
ship, but that, without due reffistrationy the party being 
concluded to be a person illegally held as a slave, he could 
not be found as an apprentice. 

^' According to the arguments illustrated in this case, a 
<}uestion of non-registration before the Special Justice, then, 
is simply this, that on proof of that fact, the magistrate 
holding special commission, and exercising jurisdiction 
between master and servant under the apprenticeship esta- 
blished by the abolition law, has no authority to compel 
service, seeing, that during the existence of slavery, the 
person was to be concluded to be illegally held in skt/very^ 
unless the omission had been established by the pleadings, 
or an information filed, and then there could have been no 
restoration to the Register, but on the penalty paid and 
judgment satisfied. A person now involved in the accusa- 
tion of a non-registry case, unless he can shew this judgment 
and penalty paid, is for ever excluded from the benefits of 
the Register, and apprenticeship is one of those benefits. 
If omission in one registration could be allowed at ally that 
allowance could at any time cover a fraudulent importation. 
But, inasmuch as fraudulent importation was the evil to be 
guarded against, the preventative remedy never could be 
oispensed with, and hence the necessity or a rigid triennial 

" We oflFer our tribute of conimendation on the very 
admiraUe spirit, by which this case has been brought on 
by Mr. Bernard : his sole object, we believe, being simply 
to try the question of right. We do think, however, that 
the decision of the Magistrates in compelling the servant 
to his proof of a negative, is at variance with the general 
principles evolved. If their position be law, that dtie regis- 
tration is in the condition of apprenticeship; we should 
infer, that the proof of the affirmative rested on the master, 
as in the case of articles of agreement, or apprenticeship at 



the common law : the only difference with regard to the ap- 
prenticeship of persons who were slaves, being this, that tne 
test of slavery, which is * due registration,' is requisite to 
the bringing the emancipated slave within the restrictive 
operation of the law- If a consequence of freedom be the 
proper understanding of one's rights and duties, a man 
cannot be lawfully controlled by another, without informa- 
tion on the nature and character of the dominant right. 
The registration of apprentices seems clearly analogous to 
the registration of vessels under the navigation laws, which 
declare confiscation the penalty of non-registration; and 
the non-production of the Register, presumptive evidence 
of piracy or illegal trading, which justifies her seizure, and 
condemnation at law." 


Grand Court, Spanish Town. Tuesday, June 6, 1837. 

Bayley v. EwarU — " Mr. Justice Bernard delivered his 
reasons for dissenting from the judgment of the majority of 
the count, as follows : — 

Mr. Justice Bernard. — " The plaintiff in this case seeks 
to recover his immediate discharge from the remainder of 
the term of apprenticeship, created by the acts for the 
abolition of slavery; and the fact upon which he rests his 
claims is, that, although returned by his former owner, and 
included among his slaves as required by the 57th Geo. Ill, 
chap. 15, commonly called the Registry Act, for the years 
1817, 1820, 1823, 1826, and 1829; yet, inasmuch as he 
was not included in any return for 1832, he has not been 
duly registered in conformity with the laws in force in this 
island ; that he therefore did not pass into apprenticeship, 
under the 1st clause of the 3rd and 4th William IV, c. 73, 
and did not incur the obligation imposed by that act, and 
that of consequence under the twelfth clause he becomes 
absolutely free. 

" The points therefore to be decided are : 1st Does the 
3rd and 4th William IV, cap. 73, manumise at once and 
unconditionally persons not duly registered in conformity 
mth the taws of the several colonies ; and 2ndly. If it does 


SO, what constitutes a due registration under the Island 
Act, 57 Geo. Ill, cap. 15. As there is no difference of 
opinion on the first point, namely, that persons not duly 
registered as slaves in conformity with the acts in force in 
the respective colonies, become at once free and absolutely 
manumitted, I will proceed to state my reasons for differ- 
ing from the majority of the court, m thinking, as I do, 
that the plaintiff has not been duly registered in conformity, 
with the 57th Geo. Ill, cap. 15, and that therefore he is 
entitled to a verdict in the case. 

^^ The counsel for the defendant mentioned the case of 
slaves at the Mauritius. That case does not at all bear upon 
the present. There were two points raised with regard to 
the Mauritius, and, in order to make them understood, it 
is necessary to show the difference between the law at the 
Mauritius, and the law here. The orders in council by 
which that island is governed, directed that there should 
be a registration every two years, at such times as the 
governor should by proclamation appoint. Their method 
of registration was, by giving in a list of names, and the 
r^strar of slaves having inspected them, filed the regis- 
tration. In 1832, the owners gave in the slaves, but 
Mr. Mylius, the registrar, not being satisfied with their 
accuracy, did not register them ; of this fact, however, he 
never acquainted the owners, and it seems to have been 
held by their lordships, that the parties had complied with 
the ordinance and proclamation, and therefore ought not 
to be damnified. 1 he other point was as to the skves in 
1834. The Abolition Bill having passed in 1883, the 
governor did not issue a proclamation appointing a time 
lor registration in that year; their lordships could not, 
therefore, declare the people free, for want of due regis- 
tration, because the governor's proclamation to appoint a 
time was part of the law under which the registration was 
to be made, and in want of it no registration could take 
place; so that no decision to which their lordships came on 
that question, can, in my opinion, prejudice this, or be 
consid!ered in point. 

" It is necessary, in the first instance, to notice the title 
of the act, which is usually termed the Registry Act, it is 
'An Act for a more particular return of Slaves in this 
Island, and the ^rolment thereof;' the first clause directs 
that all holders and possessors of slaves on the 28th June, 
1817, shall, on or before the 28th September, 1817, render 


to the Testry clerk of the parish where such slaves are 
settled, worKed, and employed, ^a true and feithful list 
or return in writing, or true and faithful liste or returns in 
writings of all and every slaye or slaves so possessed by 
him, her, or them;' and the clause proceeds to state that 
the name and other particulars by which such slaves might 
be identified, should be set forth in such list or returfh 
according to a form or schedule marked A. After pro- 
ceeding to give &rther directions, and making other enact- 
ments respecting this first return of 1817, the act tfien goes 
on to provide for a triennial return ; and accordingly, by 
the 4th clause, it is enacted, that all persons in possession 
of slaves on the 28th June, 1820, and in every third suc- 
ceeding year, shall, on or before the 28th September then 
next ensuing, render to the clerk of the vestry * a true and 
perfect list or return in writing, according to the schedule 
D annexed to the act ;' and this section of this act proceeds 
to point out that this last ^ list or return in fcritirfg dutll, 
in the first place^ state the total of males and females 
contained in the last return i* and then it proceeds to 
direct how the return shall point out the increase and 
decrease of the slaves in the hlands of the persons making 
such return ; and this section contains an express direction 
in these words : — * And at the foot of every such return 
required by this clause, there shall be stated in distinct 
lines the total number of slaves in possession on the 
9Sth June, in the year of which such return shall be made^ 
also in like manner the total number of births or deaths, 
since the last return.* Certain clauses then follow as to 
the proceedings to be resorted to; first, for the recovery of 
penalties against persons omitting to make returns in con- 
formity with the act, and then the manner in which slaves 
not registered should be proceeded against; but on these 
points it is quite unnecessary to comment. We are not 
trying the defendant in an action for that penalty, or an 
information filed after the recovery of sucn penalty ; we 
are not now seeking how the slave is to be dealt with under 
the 57th Geo. Ill, chap. 15, section 17, with reference to 
the laws for abolishing the slave trade ; but we are consider- 
ing the right of this supposed apprentice to freedom under 
the 3rd and 4th William IV, chap. 78, the law for abolish- 
ing slavery itself. Having gone through so much of the 
act as appdies to this case, let us now apply the law to the 
facts. We find the plaintiff was duly returned in 1817, 


according to schedule A, and for several periods triennially, 
after 1829, he was not included in any list or return. I 
think the law as much requires that he should have been 
included in the number given in 1882, as in the list of 
names given in 1817, and I cannot see that it was less 
necessary that he should be returned according to schedule 
B in 1832, than in 1829 or 1820. If a triennial return 
was necessary in 1820, 1823, 1826, and 1829, it was also 
necessary in 1832, and if it was not necessary in 1832, 
then it was not necessary in 1820, and all these enactments 
of the 57th Geo. Ill, chap. 15, which directed triennial 
returns, are surplusage and powerless, and the intention of 
the legislature to prevent illicit importations of slaves, by 
means of ascertainmg, after the year 1817, the number of 
slaves, at stated periods of three years, within the island, and 
in what manner the persons holding had acquired them, 
would have become a nullity; but I cannot so take it, the 
words ' perfect lists or returns' are used both with respect 
to schedule A and schedule B. The counsel for the 
defendant felt the force of this when put by the plaintifTs 
counsel, and he was about to contend that schedule A was 
a registration, and schedule B a mere return, but he could 
not support that argument on reference to the act. 

^^ The law requires both kinds of returns for the purpose 
of enrolment, in the same strong operative language ; in 
plain and express words, it directs both the first and sub- 
sequent returns, and fixes a penalty for omission in the 
^ first returfh or any subsequent triennial return ;' it also 
requires that the number of slaves, of which the plaintiff 
formed one, and which had been progressively brought 
forward firom the first triennial return in 1820 up to 1829, 
should have been stated, < in the first place,' in a return to 
be made in 1832, and his decrease, if by death or purchase, 
accounted for. The defendant might have ascertained by 
a search in the secretary's office, if the plaintiff had been 
registered ; and the 19th clause of 57 Geo. Ill, afforded 
him means, when he purchased the plaintiff in 1833, to 
fl^ply to the governor at any time befoi'e the 31st August 
in that year, to amend the defective return of 1832. In 
considering this case, I have not allowed myself to look at 
the abolition acts as laws in &vour of liberty, while I have 
viewed the Registry Act as a highly penal statute. Yet I 
cannot come to any other conclusion than that I have 
already stated. I am of opinion that the plaintiff being, on 


the 28th of June, 1832, in possession of the same person 
who registered him as of the 28th June, 1829, and that 
person not having included him in any list or return, was 
not duly registered in conformity with the 57th Geo. Ill, 
cap. 15; that therefore he did not pass into apprenticeship 
under the first clause of 3rd and 4th William IV, cap. 73; 
and consequently that, as he was not subject to any of the 
obligations imposed by that act, he became, under the 12th 
clause, to all intents and purposes free and for ever manu- 

His Honor the Chief Justice then delivered the judge- 
ment of the majority of the Court as follows : — 

" Bayley v. Ewart, — This is an action of Iwrnine replegi- 
anda^ brought for the purpose of deciding whether the 
plaintiff is entitled to his unqualified freedom, or whether 
he is under the obligation of serving the defendant in the 
capacity of a praedifl apprentice, and as there was no dis- 
pute about the facts, the counsel very properly consented 
to the finding of a special verdict, which is as follows : 

" That the plaintiff was registered as a slave in possession 
on the 28th June 1817, 1820, 1823, 1826, and 1829. That 
the plaintiff was not registered in 1832, or at any time sub- 
sequent to 1829. That he came by sale into possession of 
defendant by purchase in May 1833 ; and that there was 
no opportunity to make any subsequent registration. 

" This state of facts raises the question, whether in the 
case of this plaintiff there has been such a registration of 
him as a slave, as will place him within the class of persons, 
who, under the first section of the Abolition Act, became 
apprentice labourers. 

'* It is impossible to say, that the case is without difficulty, 
which it was scarcely within the power of the legislature to 
avoid, when it is considered that tne act was to have operated 
within nineteen colonies, in many (if not all of which) the 
laws relating to the registration of slaves are different, and 
therefore it is incumbent on us to discover, if we can, what 
was the intention of parliament, and see whether that in- 
tention cannot be- fully and effectually worked out, and the 
rights of individuals still preserved. This intention is in 
our opinion clearly evidenced by the preamble, and the en- 
acting part of the first section, which was not to deprive 
the owners of slaves altogether of their services, but to 
convert into apprentices all persons held in slavery above 


the age* of six years, and who had been duly registered as 
slaves ; and, therefore, all in whose case these circumstances 
are hot found are absolutely manumitted. That the plain- 
tiff, before the passing of the Abolition Act, was holden 
in slavery, and above the age of six years, there is no doubt; 
and, therefore, the main point we nave to consider is, what 
will satisfy the words, * all persons, who, in conformity with 
the laws now in force in the said colonies respectively, shall, 
on Of before the 1st day of August 1884, have been duly 
registered as slaves in such colony.' 

" On this point it was contended, on the part of the 
plaintiff, that as the registration act makes a triennial return 
of slaves necessary ; if any one return is wanting, there is 
no registration ; and that, therefore, although the plaintiff 
was beyond all dispute legally held in slavery, but was not 
returned by his owner in 1832, he is absolutely free, and 
the defendant cannot now claim his services as an appren- 
tice. If this argument on the part of the plaintiff be good 
it must go to this extent — that any one omission of a return 
since 1817 would render a slave free; as for instance, none 
in 1820, but regularly since that year, including 1832. I 
do not recollect that the argument was pushed to this ex- 
tent, as the learned counsel appeared to rely on the want 
of a return at the last period preceding the Abolition Act ; 
but if the position be correct, that to convert a slave into 
an apprentice, there must have been an exact compliance 
with the provisions of the Registration Act, viz. — a trien- 
nial return ; then whether the omission be of an interme- 
diate year, since 1817, or of 1832, the slaves not returned 
must now be free. I cannot conceive that any one will 
6"»ntend, that a slave registered with all the formalities 
required in 1817, and returned, with the exception of an 
intermediate period, regularly to 1832 inclusive, would not 
now be an apprentice ; and if such an omission would not 
work his freedom, I cannot bring my mind to the conclu- 
sion, that the neglect to return in 1832 only, would deprive 
the master of the apprenticeship term ; but for the defen- 
dant it was said, that duly registered as a slave, it is to be 
taken only as prima facie evidence of the servile condition 
of the party ; and that any one registration by which his 
complete identity can be established, is sufficient to convert 
him into an apprentice — leaving him to establish that he 
has been illegally returned as a slave. To decide this point, 
it is necessary to consider the Registration Act of this 


island (57 G«o. III. cap. 15), passed ^ to guard against any 
possible infringement of the laws for abolishing the slave 
trade, and also to provide a more particular return of the 
slaves in this island,* and see whether the facts in this case 
show sttch a registration as the 3d and 4th William IV» 

*^ The first section of the Registration Act directs that 
on or before the ^8th September then next following, a 
return shall be made of ail slaves according to the form 
prescribed by schedule A, which states the name, sex, 
colour, age, and nation — everything which is in fact neces- 
sary to a complete identity of eacn slave. And the 4th 
section requires a triennial return; but in which, if there 
has been no increase by birth or purchase, or decrease by 
death or sale, the total of males and females is only stated — 
so that no registration, excepting the first, when there has 
been no change of property, would give any evidence of 
identity. The ISth section imposes a penalty on persons 
not making the return — whether the first or the triennial 
one, which, under the 13th section, is recoverable by action 
of debt ; and when recovered, the Attorney-General, under 
the 14th section, is to file an information, ea: officio ; and 
the issue to be tried is, whether there has been an illegal 
importation of Africans or slaves, and the persons against 
whom the penalty has been recovered, may take the defence 
in his own name, and plead not guilty; and thereunder 
prove, that the slaves included in the information were not 
imported contrary to the slave-trade abolition laws ; and by 
the 16th section, if the verdict shall be found, and judgment 
given for the defendant, the slaves in such information shall 
be held and enjoyed in t?ie safne estate as before the trial ; 
and the original return shall be amended, or a new return 
made, under an order of the judges of the court in which 
the issue was tried. It is clear, therefore, that under this 
act a slave did not become free by reason of any omission ta 
register, and equally clear that he might be legally held in 
slavery notwithstanding non-registration. Did the 3rd and 
4th William IV intend to place the owners of slaves in a 
worse situation than they were under the Registry Act of 
this island, or did the Emancipation Bill require more than 
such a registry as would give prima facie evidence of servile 
condition, and clear evidence of identity? We think it did 
not. The first section states, that all persons duly re^B- 
tered a« da/ves {as slaves being important words in tne con- 

W W^ M 



stroctioti of this Act) shall become apprenticed labourers. 
Now what is duly registered as slaves ? We think it means 
that record of the parties' name, a^e, sex, colour, and 
nation, which in this case was made m 1817, and not the 
gross numbers by triennial returns. In confirmation of 
this, the 12th section of Srd and 4th William IV may be 
referred to, which declares that subject to the obligations 
imposed by the Act upon apprenticed labourers, all persons 
who, on tne 1st August 1884, shall be holden in slavery 
within any British colony, shall, after the 1st August, be- 
come and be to all intents and purposes free, and discharged 
of and from all manner of slavery, and shall be absolutely 
and for ever manumitted ; which we consider clearly shows 
that all persons legally held in slavery, and of whose servile 
condition there is evidence in any one registration, shall 
become apprenticed labourers. Whilst this construction of 
the Act preserves the right which the defendant had in the 
services of the plaintiff before the Abolition Act, for the 
term of the apprenticeship, which we think may fairly be 
considered as a part of the compensation, it works no in- 
justice to the plaintiff, as he was a person legally held in 
slavery, and had been registered as a slave, with all the 
particulars of his name, age, sex, colour, and nation. That 
the 1st section only requires such a registration as contains 
all the particulars just mentioned, which shews the servile 
condition of the plaintiff, is, in our opinion, farther induced 
by the fact, that the two classes of individuals, viz. children 
under six years, and slaves who have been taken to Eng- 
land, are declared unconditionally free. If the legislature 
had intended that any one omission of a trienni^ return 
should work the freedom of a slave, where there is a full 
and complete registration of him on record, with all those 
particulars which are sufficient to establish his identity, we 
think there would have been a distinct enactment to that 
effect. None such, however, is to be found. The view we 
have taken of this case appears to me to be, in principle, 
the same as that of the Mauritius case by the Privy Council; 
and their decision is, I think, conclusive of the n^t of the 
defendant to the apprenticeship of the plaintiff. The point 
before the Privy Council was, so far as we have been able 
to ascertain the facts, whether the omission of some public 
officer to register the returns in the year 1882, made the 
slaves free under the Srd and 4th William IV, on the 
ground that they were not duly registered in conformity 


with the laws in force in that island. Now, if the slaves, 
by the operation of that Act had an absolute right to un- 
qualified freedom, by any omission to make the return 
required by the laws of the island, then no matter by whom 
that omission was made, they should have been declared 
unconditionally free ; and the owners, who had been dam- 
nified by the neglect of a public officer, would have had 
their remedy against him ; and as this case is put on the 

ground that there is a right in all slaves to freedom, who 
ave not been returned at any one period, and the Privy 
Council having by their decision denied such right in the 
Mauritius case, and as I am unable to distin^ish any sub- 
stantial difference in principle between an omission made by 
a public officer or tne owner, we think, as I before said, 
this decision is conclusive of the defendant's right to the 
apprenticeship of the plaintiff. Many other points were 
pressed on the attention of the court, which we do not think 
it necessary to notice. We have given this case our best 
attention, and shall feel much satisfaction if our judgment 
should undergo the revision of a court of error. We are 
of opinion that the facts found in this special verdict make 
such a registration as the Abolition Act required, to convert 
a slave into an apprentice, and therefore the verdict must 
be entered for the defendant." 




Gentlemen, — You have been pleased, in your present- 
ment to their Honours, the Judges of the Supreme Court 
of Judicature in this island, after considerable vituperation 
and obloquy cast on other special magistrates, to make me the 
object of your peculiar hostility, and to assail me personally, 
in language and terms, the intemperance, precipitation, 
and party bias, betrayed by which, I readily persuade 
myself you warily guarded against, and utterly repudiated 
in the previous exercise of your sworn and responsible 
judicial functions. 


Gentlemen, — Firm in conscious rectitude, alike of action 
tind intention, I repel, with indignation and contempt, all 
and every part of your odious and libellous imputations. 
I solemnly declare, that whatever may be the grounds or 
motives on which you have come to such conclusions, that 
they are, in every particular, unjust, calumniatory, and 
untrue ; and such I undertake to prove them, even to your- 
selves, if you are not ashamed, (the worst of shames,) to 
acknowledge an error — if you possess the moral courage to 
do justice to another at your own expense — if, in fine, you 
can only bring yourself to be one ty the part as dispassionate, 
as devoid of prejudice, and as deliberate in re-examining 
your opinions, as you have shown yourselves rash, partial, 
inconsiderate in adopting them. 

Had you, gentlemen, not conceived it altogether a work 
of superfluity to consult the law, you might, by opening 
Blackstone, have learned, that as a grand jury hears the 
evidence on one side only, their presentment is in the 
nature of simple inquiry or accusation, not of proof or con- 
viction; as you, gentlemen, have now either ingeniously 
discovered, or egregiously mistaken. Extend your legal 
research somewhat farther, and, after decision, do what, 
perhaps, it would have been as well to have done before 
it — look into the laws of the island —consult the act for the 
regulation of gaols and houses of correction, passed only 
two years since by the legislature, of which your worthy 
chairman was, at the time, and still is, a component part. 
Sect 3, rule 2, would have disembarrassed your minos of 
any lurking doubts, whether or not prisoners in the House 
of (Correction are entitled to a sufficiency of food. By 
sect 7, you would have been instructed that "two or more 
justices are to be appointed to visit each gaol or house of 
correction, to examine into the behaviour and conduct of 
the respective officers, and the treatment and condition of 
the prisoners, and into all abuses in the prison or house 
of correction ? Section 8 authorises any justice of the 
peace, of his free will and pleasure, to visit, as often as he 
thinks fit, for the purpose of inquiry into abuses. When 
you read the depositions which will be published, together 
with the certificates of sub-inspectors Dunne, Adams, and 
Serjeant Nicholson, who were present, you will find that 
the unhappy suflerers spontaneously deposed, not before 
me alone, but before Mr. Special Bedford also, that four 
heads of corn, and a little shad, formed the whole of their 


sabBistence from Friday morning until the Monday evening 
following. When you are farther told that I was acting aU 
this time in compliance with the strict injunctions of the 
executive, pn what do you base the foul charge of tamper* 
ing with evidence, brought against me by twenty-three 
gentlemen, solemnly sworn to decide according to the 
truth, and to present or screen no man, from hatred, 
malice, fear, favour, or affection ? Where is an allusion 
made to, or the name mentioned, of any member of that 
respectable body? Where did you gather that I charged 
them with authorising or countenancing the neglect or 
inhumanity of the supervisor of the House ctf Correction ? 
or with even being aware that sufficient and proper nutri- 
ment was withheld from the prisoners ? Again, gentlemen, 
permit me to enquire on what evidence submitted to you, 
you ascertained that I was troubled with private grievanees? 
From which of the witnesses examined before you, did you 
collect this fact ? Was it from Eleanor Lorraine, the sick 
female, who testified before you, on oath, that she was kept 
chained by the neck, when ill, in the hospital? Front 
Letitia^ or Robert Valentine, who accused tbe supervisor 
of the House of Correction with nearly starving them? 
From Ann Francis, or Hanna Williams, who swore that 
they were heavily ironed, and worked out of the institution,, 
in direct contradiction of the commitment of the special 
magistrate ? Or, was it from Richard Francis, whose back 
appearing somewhat insensible, the keeper's deputy in- 
geniouslv resorted to the Turkish mode of administering 
the bastmado, and applied it to a part sufficiently sensitive^ 
the poor creature's oiseased foot ? From which of these 
six injured persons, every indictment for the redress of 
whom you threw out ? From which of these six, I adc — 
for, of thirteen witnesses of the Crown in attendance, it 
pleased you to examine only sis, — did you contrive to dis- 
cover what did not exist, was not in case, that the special 
magistrate of St. John's had private grievances to complaia 
of^ or to avenge ? The indictments were not prefeirred ia 
refutation or revenge c^ any wrongs, either real or fictitious, 
as youy gentlemen, gratuitously and unwarrantably assume ; 
but to prove principles, and to set at rest the questions, 
whether, females committed for detention as runaways, are 
subject to be worked out of the establishment, and in irons; 
whether the commitments of apprentices, by special m^uai- 
traJies, have the weigiht. of las^, and bt^ to be compfied 


with) and enforced; or whether they are unmeaning and 
idle scraps of papers, the injunctions of which can be dis- 
regarded, altered, set aside, or added to, at the pleasure of 
the senior magistrate, or other parochial authority. 

Gentlemen — By rejecting these bills, sup^rted, as you 
would have found them, by an overwhelming weight of 
evidence, had you not dispensed with the ordinary and not 
universal precaution of examining the witnesses in atten- 
dance; you have done much, I fear, to justify the imputar 
tions of those who are by some styled enemies to Jamaica. 
Will they not now triumphandy contend, that the chaining 
of sick and diseased apprentices in hospitals has been pro* 
nounced the lawful and ordinary course in this island by 
the grand inauest of the country r That you have repro- 
bated, with all the indignation and force of language your 
incensed feelings at the time supplied you with, tae attempt 
of a lawfully constituted authority to check so monstrous a 
practice, as a general nuisance. 

Gentlemen — it will be asserted, and without fear of con- 
tradiction, that you have designated an effort to bring to 
justice an individual, for mdicioiisly and cruelly beating 
a prisoner on a diseased part of his body, as a general 

Gendemen — Mr. Batty, a distinguished counsel, whose 
attachment to Jamaica is at least equal to your own, in 
conjunction with Mr. Price Watkins, gave it as their joint 
opinion, in their reply to certain questions proposed to uiem 
by the Corporation of Kingston, that deserters sent only to 
the House of Correction tor detention, cannot be worked 
in chains. Your alleged enemies, Gentlemen, will declare 
that you have represented a magistrate, for holding the same 
opinion with your favourite counsel, as a general nuisance. 

Gendemen — ^The law which I have already cited, enacts 
that it is the bounden duty of a magistrate to make strict 
research into the treatment of prisoners. You surdy will 
yourselves admit the quality and quantity of food aUotted 
to them to be most essential, as. starvation may haply be 
the consequence of continued and habitual neglect; yet, 
Gendemen, it will be loudly proclaimed throumout these 
colonies, the mother-country, and the whole civiBzed globe, 
that the Grand Inquest of Jamaica has denounced all such 
inquiries, as a general nuisance. 

Such, Gendemen, will be the assertions of those whom 
you hold to be your enemies ; nor will they, in support 


of their conclusions, fail to dwell on the following facts : — 

You threw but every bill sent in at the instance of a spe- 
cial magistrate. 

You returned a true bill on every indictment sent in 
against a special magistrate. 

Of thirteen witnesses for the crown in attendance, whose 
names were all before yon, to prove the facts stated in the 
indictments, you examined only six, neglecting or omitting 
to call in the remaining seven. 

You ignored a bill against Patrick Thomas, for assault- 
ing and ill-treating apprentices in the house of correction, 
without taking a smgle deposition in support of it 

On the other hand, you found a true bill, and took the 
depositions in the case of Special Justices Baynes and 
Bedford, though the evidence before you was not on oath, 
on which ground, the Gentleman first mentioned, to your 
considerable mortification no doubt, quashed your finding 
in open court. 

Gentlemen, — 1 doubt not of your concurrence when I 
say, that no upright judge, nor conscientious juror, will 

E renounce the decisive fiat of condemnation without hearing 
oth sides of the question ; nor be at all desirous of merit- 
ing a share of Seneca's ironical encomium on the imbecile, 
besotted, and contemptible Claudius : 

" Quo non alius, 
Dicere causas, 
Potuit citius, 
Parte AuditsL, 
Una tantum, 
Ssepe et necitra/* 

Permit me. Gentlemen, without any peculiar reference, to 
observe, that a greater moral delinquency, whether in judge 
or juror, than carrying party feelings, or private enmity, 
to the judgment seat, does not exist An impartial and 
upright judge will carefully eschew the bare suspicion of 
such unpardonable dereliction of the duties of the most 
august and responsible functions with which humanity can 
be invested. Kings were formerly held to be God's vice- 
gerents on earth ; judgies are so at present ; it is theirs to 
punish crime, to uphold the right, to repress injustice, to 
redress wrongs, to protect the lives and properties of their 
fellow-citizens. On the bench they should have neither 
party prejudice nor passion ; at their bar they sliould know 


neither friend nor enemy. But, Gentlemen, to pervert this 
high and holy oflSce into an engine of oppression — ^to view 
the accused through the lens of party mterest or private 
affection — to farther the purposes of faction, or gratify par- 
ticular resentments — ^is to destroy and confound, especially 
in a nascent community, all sense of moral discrimination ; 
to strike at the foundation of all society, by prostrating the 
barrier between right and wrong; to pollute and poison 
the stream of civilization at its source ; and under the mask 
of justice, to rear up and plant injustice in her st^ad. In 
such hands, Gentlemen, the balance of Astrsea resembles 
the rod of Moses, which on the ground became a serpent. 

Gentlemen, I fear that I have occupied your attention 
too long; and, therefore, now, leaving your presentment 
with the court, your motives with the public, and your con- 
science with your God, 

" Verbum non amplius addem," 

E. D ACRES Baynes. 

Saint John's, November 8, 1886. 

extract of a despatch from the secretary of state 


No. 40. — " But while for the present I pass over these 
topics, I cannot postpone the notice of another, which is 
pressed on my attention, both, by the presentment of the 
Grand Jury, and by your despatch. I refer to the impu<- 
tations cast by that body upon the Special Justices, Mr« 
Baynes and Dr. Palmer. 

** Mr. Baynes is accused of having instigated negroes to 
complain of the quantity of food allowed m the St John's 
workhouse. The magistrate is declared a slanderer, and 
is denounced as havmg used the cloak of his authority to 
avenge his private grievances. On the authority of a letter 
addressed to the loreman. Dr. Palmer is represented as 
having, at a social meeting, uttered improper expressions ; 
and then assuming the truth of all that is said by the un- 
named writer of mis letter, the Grand Juir proceed to 
found upon it a very strong denunciation of the conduct of 
Dr. Palmer. 


^^ It is, I am aware^ difficult or impossible to define pre* 
cisely the boundaries of the power of the Grand Juries, in 
bringing under the notice of the court whatever they may 
regard as a violation of the law. We can look only to usage 
and to the immutable principle of justice; and I must avow 
the difficulty which I find to reconcile the proceedings on 
this occasion with either. 

^^ First, as to usage. So far as my information extends, no 
Grand Jury in this country has ever attempted to convert 
its presentments into a vehicle for impugning the conduct 
of individuals, either in their public capacity or in private 
life, except when such charges have been relevant to the 
matter of some indictment to be preferred against the 
parties so accused. Neither am I aware, that any Grand 
Jury in England has ever drawn up such accusations in the 
controversial and reproachful style employed in this pre- 
sentment. Still less can I suppose, that Grand Juries are 
accustomed to found such heavy imputations upon the mere 
quotation to. them, by one of their own number, of a letter 
received by him from some unnamed correspondent. 

*' As to the justice of this proceeding, it is obvious, that 
no reputation is safe, if any body of gentlemen are at liberty 
thus to promulgate charges of which the accused party has 
no notice, and which it is impossible for him to brine to 
the test of a judicial inquiry. Messrs. Baynes and Palmer 
had it not in their power to insist upon indictments being 
fi'amed against them, because the imputed oflences, how- 
ever grave, were not of an indictable nature. Neither 
could they bring actions for defamation against their 
accusers, because the Grand Jury are, of course, privileged 
against any such responsibility. Thus, these gentlemen 
could have no recourse except in an appeal to the public 
journals, a remedy to which it is scarcely reasonable that 
any of the king's suWects should be left. Nor can I per- 
ceive any necessity tor such a mode of bringing forward 
a charge agauist a public officer. If any party had a rea- 
sonable ground of complaint against any special magistrate, 
that complaint might, without difficulty, be preferred to 
the Governor, by whom such an investigation could be 
directed, as he might think it his duty to institute, with a 
view to that redress, which he has in such case the power 
of applying. 

" As to the truth of the charges, it is my duty to offer 
some observations. Mr. Baynes has adduced, in refiitation 


of the charges affecting him, such evidence, as I am bound 
to declare, not only satisfactory, but complete. Whether 
it is possible to repel the force of his proofs by any counter 
testimony, I am, of course, unable to determine. But, 
confining myself to the documents before me, I must regard 
this gentleman as having been subjected to an imputation, 
as unfounded as it is serious. With respect to Dr. Palmer, 
whatever views I may entertain of his conduct, as exhibited 
in other parts of your correspondence, and allowing that 
some want of caution was evinced by him on the occasion 
in question, I am constrained to admit, that he has refuted 
the substance of the charge made against him by the Grand 
Jury, by showing that the words spoken by him, do not 
require or warrant the construction which they have re- 
ceived. Yet, both Mr. Baynes and Dr. Palmer remain 
burthened with these disgraceful imputations before the 
public at large. Nor do I know how they can be fully 
relieved from the effect of these imputations. It is, how- 
ever, but due to them, that publicity should be given to 
the enactments, which I have felt it my duty to address to 
you, with reference to this case. 

" I have, &c. &c. 

" Glenelo* 
( True extract) " C. H. Darling, Sec."