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as coal-heaving; 70 .cane-holes is a day's work for an able man or woman. When dug by task the slave saves time, sometimes two or three hours, with which he does what he pleases. The other work of an estate is comparatively light. In crop-time about 26 persons are employed about the works, so that 52 are required for keeping spell, dividing the night between them. Those who keep spell at night leave the field half an hour before the others. On strong-handed, estates, affording three spells, the night labour is lighter, and one spell rests the whole of every alternate night. He considers 26 days in the year, with occasional reasonable additions, sufficient for cultivating their grounds; he does not say whether with or without Sunday labour. The slave seldom has to resort to his master's store for food if he properly employs his own time. His property is his own to sell, or will, as he pleases. Mr. Sharp's remarks on population partake of all the hackneyed and mistaken notions of the colonists on that subject, and may be fairly thrown aside as unsound both in fact and argument. Mr. Sharp finds it difficult to decide when the slave will be fit for emancipation; but he is quite sure he will not work when free beyond his own few immediate wants. The condition of the slaves is much improved, Mr. Sharp thinks, of late years; but here he blunders in confounding law with practice. Catechists are occasionally employed to teach the slaves, but he does not specify what is taught, or how much time is given to instruction. The slaves were improving in disposition, but they have been unhinged by late events. They now look to emancipation as leading to a life of idleness, free from all restraint. Emancipation in their present state would lead to all excess, and property and life would be insecure. The African dreads it as a subjection of the weak to the strong, and the old and young would become destitute ;* and the property of the planters, without labourers, would become valueless.f Nine hours a day, prescribed by the Order in Council, is too limited for the manufacture of sugar. J Sending out two pair of shoes would be ruinous.§ The matter of food should be left to the kindly feelings of planters, who must be the best judges.|| Immediate emancipation would be the greatest misfortune that could befall the slaves (p. 779—781).
Mr. Sharp had known free men cultivate coffee, never sugar. The free man would not degrade himself by labouring with the slave. If all were free, still they would not labour in the field; and this he inferred from no free man • ever having done it. On coffee plantations, free men, he says, work with their own slaves. Yet he does not believe the free would cultivate the ground for hire in any case. Free
* And yet nothing is more certain than that even now, in a state of slavery, the old and young are not maintained by the masters, but by the slaves.
f What, then, is to become of the labourers? Are they to die of freedom?
I Mr. Sharp makes the present labour out of crop to be only nine hours and a half, and the Order in Council does not forbid the planter to hire night labour.
§ Why send them out? Are there no hides in the island?
|| Unfortunately this is a bad dependence, as is proved by experience; witness the Leeward Islands (above, p. 514).
men sometimes cultivate sugar canes for their hogs. The lands of the Negroes are generally well cultivated. On good soils 26 days are enough; not on bad soil. Poor soils will not yield enough by 26 days' cultivation. Some cultivate on Sundays and at their dinner hours. The punishments he inflicted were rare, and with switches, not with the whip. The whip in the field, he thinks, may be abolished; he has done without it himself, and substituted solitary confinement, and the stocks, and switches which draw blood but do not leave marks; they are inflicted on the posteriors of men and women, and on both by the hands of men (p. 782—786).
The hogs of slaves were shot when they got into the cane pieces (p. 786).
Many free people lived about the estates he managed; some were mechanics, and some cultivated land, if they could get it, raising food for themselves, and growing cocoa, arrow-root, &C. ; but he had never seen them acquire much property beyond that. Many slaves acquire property, not only by cultivation, but by raising hogs and poultry. A slave of Mr. Mitchell's, on Bushy Park, a mason, who built the works there, had slaves of his own, and possessed some houses in Spanish Town: he treated his own slaves kindly, as far as he knew (p.787, 788).
Mr. Sharp admitted that slaves working at task-work were much more industrious, that they might gain time; but did not believe, notwithstanding this, that they would work for wages. The book-keepers and overseers are bound to inspect the Negro grounds, for they make a return on oath every three months. The return is made and sworn to, but the grounds are not always inspected. There are few proprietors in Jamaica; therefore the slaves cannot be attached to them: their attachment to an overseer depends on circumstances (p. 789, 790).
Mr. Sharp is, on the whole, the fairest colonial witness we have met with.
14. Andrew Graham Dignum, Esq.
The evidence of this gentleman before the House of Commons will be found in our last number (104, at p. 440—442). That given before the House of Lords hardly differs from it, and need not be re-stated. He tells the same absurd story, with embellishments, of his going, at the head of an armed party, into a Negro village, and having a disclaimer from them of any wish for freedom. Mr. Dignum's credulity is the most absurd part of this absurd story and of the sweeping inference he draws from it. It may be useful to give Mr. Dignum's explanation to the slaves of what he meant by freedom, and which, doubtless, is the orthodox colonial doctrine on the subject. The following dialogue takes place between him and Timothy, the head driver, an intelligent man. There was a great number of slaves listening to it. "Timothy," said Mr. Dignum, " suppose your master says he will give you free to-morrow ;—but this is not your land: you may take your hogs and poultry with you. But, if he makes you free, you must go and work some where for any body who will take you; and he must get some one in your place, and give him this house." He said,
"Ah, you hear the word the Captain say!" Mr. Dignum continual. "Your master says you are free, and you may go away, Timothy. You get on the road, and are very hungry, and have nothing to fill your belly. You know that Negroes do not like to see free people coming to their place to beg for food. You will be turned away like a dog, as you always turn away the free people when they come to beg of you here. You will be driven away in the same manner. Then you will get very sick on the road, and call for doctor. Now, Timothy, you must recollect master will not pay for doctor. When you are his servant, it is his interest to keep you in good health. Now you work for him, and you have a comfortable house according to your desert." He said, "You hear the good word the Captain say. I hope the Captain does not suspect any one of us. We are all good people. Massa, we no want for free;" meaning they had no wish to be emancipated.
What a driveller must Captain Dignum have appeared in the eyes of Timothy, if he regarded this conversation as serious! And how much more surprised will he be if he should hear that the Captain had produced it on oath, before a Committee of the House of Lords, as a proof that neither he nor his fellows desired their freedom !—(p. 813.)
As for Mr. Dignum's circumstantial details respecting the evidence taken in Manchioneal, which he says showed a connection of the late insurrection with St. Domingo and a general ramification throughout the island (all this being stated on mere hearsay),—together with the story of Mr. Panton's slave having taken a letter from St. James to Manchiomeal, and afterwards having killed himself,—there is not one syllable of it in the examinations taken by the Jamaica Assembly, and which have been laid on the table of Parliament. The whole, therefore, must be regarded as a fable, as the mere gossip of Mr. Digaum and his informants (p. 814—821).
Mr. Dignum understood that the sectarian chapels were destroyed by the militia, aided by the slaves belonging to the sectarian congregations; but this he only knew from newspaper rumour. A slave of his own had belonged to a Methodist chapel, who told him he was not obliged to contribute money, but he nevertheless did do so. All he knew of the bad instruction given by the sectarian missionaries was from newspaper reports. He knew nothing of it himself (p. 818, 819). And as to free men being mendicants, he only knew of that too from hearsay, however confidently he had spoken of it (p. 820). He saw no jealousy on the part of the slaves to his entering their houses, though he went at the head of an armed party; but still he thought they would be jealous of the visits of a protector. The appointment of a protector, moreover, would degrade the master's authority in the eyes of the slaves, and would breed discontent and complaints, and do much evil (p. 824).
Mr. Dignum said that, in the late insurrection, great barbarities, amounting to murder and rape, had been committed by the slaves, in every instance where whites had fallen into their power, such as ripping open bowels, and scalping heads, and throwing children into the
fire. He had heard of trials proving these facts in St James but he had not been present at them himself* (p. 657).
Mr. Dignum did not believe there was any truth in what was said of the attachment of slaves to the missionaries, or their regret for the burning of the chapels; he thought it was quite the contrary. To prove this, he told one of his strange stories, as follows: "On my way to the assizes, in July last, I staid a day or two with Mr. Jobson, of Cotton Pen, in St. Ann. He told me it was very unpleasant to him— the constant singing during the night of psalms and hymns by the slaves; that he could not rest, and he thought it injurious to their health. But he did not like to prevent it; for rather than be troubled with questions from the Colonial Office, as Mr. Bettyf was, he preferred the annoyance going on to interfering with it. On my visit to him in March last, on my way to the assizes, I heard the gomby and the slaves dancing to it; and, on my making the remark that the sounds were very different from those I heard last July, his answer was that he had been speaking to his head driver that morning and asking him how Methodism was going on; his answer was, 'Massa, I am very glad Methodism is all over, chapel down, and minister gone, for so long as the chapel was standing and minister there we were obliged to give our money, or we should be read out of the chapel, but now we have our fowls and our money, and do not spend our money as we did before, and we go to church.' While he was saying this, a man passed, and addressed him 'Daddy,' the name he was called among the Baptists, he being a Baptist; he said, 'Do not call me daddy now: call me father, as you used to do.' Mr. Johnson added that since the chapel wasdestroyed the slaves were more cheerful, and had their amusements of dancing and gomby, and were attending church. He had heard complaints about losing rest by singing psalms at late hours, ever since the missionaries had been in the island (p. 958).
Mr. Dignum had never heard the slaves complain of the courts that tried them. The slaves were many of them very ignorant; but it was their feeling that they could obtain justice against acts of oppression, though the oppressor was their master. He does not believe that of late the slaves are disposed to suppress their complaints from a fear of not having redress; but frivolous complaints have of late been so much attended to by Government that complaints multiply: and this Mr. Dignum thought a strong argument against having protectors (p. 559). There is no bias which prevents a slave obtaining justice. He has seen, by the newspapers, of overseers being fined for misconduct. He has heard also of many frivolous complaints being dismissed. He had never heard of slaves being oppressed by overseers for having made frivolous complaints to magistrates, or of their having been punished for the evidence they may have given.
* This must also be untrue. We have seen the Jamaica newspapers and have met with no such trials.
f S»e Anti-Slavery Reporter, vol. iii., No. 69. p. 431 ; and vol. iv., No. 76, p. 136; No. 77, p. 145.
15. James Simpson, Esq.
This gentleman's evidence was confined to one or two points, and did not go to the same extent as in the House of Commons. He seems to have been called chiefly to weaken, if he could, the powerful effect of Mr. Taylor's evidence, by representing him on his oath, to th? Committee, as a weak and chimerical visionary, unworthy of attention: an attempt, we doubt not, in which he completely failed. And he took the occasion to declare also, on his oath, his belief that any overseer who should be mad and profligate enough to punish * woman for refusing to sleep with him would incur the risk of being driven from society and punished. This, however, is quite as true as that Mr. Taylor is a weak and chimerical visionary.
16. Mr. Edward John Wolsey.
Mr. Wolsey, a native of the United States, resided in Hayti six months as a merchant, collecting debts for his father. He had been on estates growing the sugar cane; but sugar is badly manufactured, from the ignorance of the Negroes who manage the estates. The labourers are indolent and do little, but are happy in their indolence. They grow a great deal of coffee, which does not require much labour, but not sugar. They trade much both with the United States and with England. Many of the population, both black and coloured, wear shoes. The blacks and browns do not seem to like each other. The trade, he thought, had fallen off from the very low price of produce, added to the indolence of the people. They were expecting there might be a French invasion, but had no fear of the result. He saw much of the blacks. Reading and writing are the chief branches of education, and music, of which they are fond, and play well. Pianofortes are very common among them. Music is taught by blacks. The religion is Catholic. The proportion of the married is small: but their manners are not dissolute, for they maintain a kind of matrimonial connection among all classes, high and low. They call it placing themselves, and, though no legal ceremony takes place, they raise and educate their children and treat them as if they were legally married (p. 1057—1060).
Mr. Wolsey lived on a plantation which grew cane, the juice of which was boiled into thick syrup and made into rum. The labourers worked but little, though they were partners in the estate, every one receiving his share. All the cultivators were partners in the produce of the estate, but he did not know the proportions. He has, however, seen beautiful sugar made in Hayti; but in general they use syrup instead of sugar, and the syrup is so thick that it does not ferment. He has not seen any of them work hard. A few hours' labour in the day is enough for their wants. He never knew any instance of coercion but one, where a man was brought back to the estate, having quitted it, but he was not flogged (p. 1061, 1062).
Mr. Wolsey was also on a cotton estate belonging to an Englishman, worked by slaves, in South Carolina. He never saw the whip used there, though they worked indolently. Rice and tobacco are