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First Settlers

In 1657 Collo. Stokes wth. 1400 Whites and Blacks came down from Nevis: And many

In 1664

[img. 134, f. 69, recto] Of the Inhabitants, Masters, Servants, and Negroes; Their Number, Strength, and manner of living; as also an Account of the Negroes, who were many Years in Rebellion, and settled in the Mountaines, together with the Treaty made with Them in 1738, upon which They submitted, and became Free Subjects of Great Britain.

The first English Inhabitants of Jamaica were Military men who, some Years after They had taken the Island and intirely [entirely] dispossessed the Spaniards, were disbanded; and having Lands divided amongst them setled there; and from them are descended several of the Oldest Families now in the Island.*

Persons, who were uneasy at Home in Oliver’s time, and during the Rump Parliament; thought it a proper place to Retire to; as well as others who were Busy and Active in those distracted times, and went over after the Restoration of King Charles the Second, particularly the Sons of President Bradshaw and Commissioner [img. 135, f. 2, verso] Axtell, whose Families are now Extinct.

[struck through] Sr. Thomas Modyford and [struck through] many [struck through] other [struck through] Planters and others removed from Barbadoes, Nevis and Bermudas, upon the Encouragement, that was given by the Crown to Persons to go over and Settle there; And when Surinam was Exchanged for New York, most of the English Inhabitants likewise removed from that Country to Jamaica, and settled Contiguously, according to their own desire, in St. Elizabeths.

Monmouth’s Rebellion furnished this Island with a great Number of those deluded People, who were Engaged in his Interest: and the unhappy Reign of King James the Second, as well as the Revolution, brought over many others, who thought themselves not safe at Home upon these changes in the Government.

But Felons, and Convicts, were always prohibited, as far as lay in Their Power, by imposing a heavy Duty on them; so that I never heard of above two hundred, that were ever imported there; and in less than twelve months not twenty of them remained on the Island: some of them followed their old Practices and were Executed, others returned to England, many went and joined the Pyrates, and some Escaped to Cuba; where [struck through] those good Christians [struck through], the Spaniards, openly received them, with the Negroes and other Effects, which They had Stolen and carried with them, and permitted them to settle there with impunity.

Notwithstanding the diversity of Opinion, and Principles, of those Several Classes of People, They wisely buried in oblivion all former distinctions, and never upbraided one Another with the past, they had acted [img. 136, f. 70/3, recto] at Home; though they seemed to be more particularly attached to those, who were engaged in the same Interest.

It would have been happy for Their Successors, had They always Acted with the same Prudence in other Respects, and not suffered themselves to be divided, as They often have been, by little Emulations, private piques, or the Interest of Governours; from whence have flowed numberless Evils, and the general Interest of the Country has been greatly prejudiced, and Obstructed: for by those means the Island has often been inflamed, and divided into Factions, Artfull and designing Men have made advantages, and Their Enemies had an opportunity of misrepresenting them to the Government at Home. And Indeed it is not strange, that the Ministry have often been perplexed and under great difficulties, how to Reconcile and Compose those differences, considering the distance of the Place, and the Contradictory Representations, made to Them by the Contending Parties.

The Inhabitants in general

The Inhabitants of this Island are Ranked in these four Orders, vizt. Masters, who are English, Scots, and Irish, and some Portoguese Jews; White Servants; Free Negroes, and Mulattos; and Negro Slaves. And the Masters may be divided into those two Classes, Merchants or Trading People, and Planters.

Merchants and Tradesmen

The Merchants and Tradesmen, reside in the Towns, and carry on Their Several Professions in the same manner they do in England; some of Them have Plantations or Country Houses, but in general they are [img. 137, f. 4, verso] looked upon as transient People, or Sojourners, because they remove to Great Britain, or other parts of the British Dominions, where they have acquired Estates, or what they think sufficient to maintain them there.

The Method, and manner, of carrying on Business Here, is much easier in some Respects, than in London, and other Parts of Great Britain, especially with regard to Entring and Clearing of Ships, and Goods, which is attended with much less trouble and Expence: But some Innovations, and bad Customs, have lately been introduced and tollerated, notwithstanding the Laws for Regulating the Publick Offices, and for Ascertaining and Establishing their Fees;

These Innovations require the Speedy Notices and Consideration of the Legislation, or they will become grievous and Burthensome to the Planting, as well as to the Trading Interest.

The Port Officers are obliged, under the Penalty of Twenty pounds for every default; to give their Attendance in their Respective Offices from nine to Eleven in the forenoon, and from two to four in the Afternoon, Sundays and Holidays excepted; and their Books are open to all Persons; who have the liberty of Searching or inspecting the same, paying fifteen pence fee, which is about ten pence Sterling.

And all Persons keeping Publick Wharfs, are obliged under the Penalty of ten Pounds, for every default, to keep a Book, wherein is fairly enterd the marks and Numbers of all such Goods as are landed on his or their Wharf; also the Weights of Sugars, and other Produce of the Island, bought and Sold, or Shipped off; with the names of the Person, or Persons, by whom such Goods were landed, bought and Sold, or Shiped [img. 138, f. 71/5, recto] off and also to take a Receipt of the Person, to whom the said Goods are delivered.

The greatest inconvenience, that attends the Trade of this Island, and is often the Cause of great Reproach, is the difficulty of recovering of Debts; which in a great measure may be attributed to the unfair Practices of the Deputy Marshalls, and other Officers belonging to the Provost Marshall or High Sheriff: for there is often as much trouble to get a Debt from them, after they have received it, as there was to recover it from the Debtor.

This and some other abuses of the like Nature, also require the notice and Consideration of the Legislature; for nothing will tend more to the Interest, as well as the Honour of the Island, than to Establish Publick and private Credit and put them on a proper Basis or foundation.


The Planters live upon their Estates, and seldom come to Town; except those that are near St. Iago delavega; where many of them have Houses and often reside, when the Crop or Planting Season is Over; for at those times the Masters Eye is highly necessary.

It must in Justice and Honour to them be Remarked observed, there is not more Hospitality, nor a more generous freedom Shown to Strangers in any part of the World; for any Person, who appears like a Gentleman, and behaves himself well, is Sure of a Wellcome to their Houses, and the best Entertainment they can afford. Those, who go over with a wounded or Ruined fortune, are received with great humanity and good manners, without any Scorn or insult from the Rich to the Poor, but on the Contrary [img. 139, f. 6, verso] a Generous Friendship, and a ready disposition to assist them in retreiving their Circumstances; and more Especially those, who are Soberly inclined, Industrious, and deserving of Notice. A man may Travell from one Part of the Country to another, and even round the Island, with very little or any Expence: for there being very few Publick Houses, but in the Towns, He may with freedom go and dine, or lodge, at the next Planters House; and Persons of low rank and Condition, are as cheerfully received and entertained by their Servants. In fine, however they have been Represented, I don’t know a more Industrious, usefull, and beneficiall Society to the Nation, than they are; which will appear by the advantages arising from this Island through their Care, and Industry, and are more particularly set forth in the 8 and 10 Chap. as well as the Opinion, and Testimony of Sr. Josiah Child, who declared, that one Person in the Plantations have Employment to five at home. Which will not appear improbable, when its Considered what a great number of Seamen, Manufactures, Labourers &c. are daily Employed by means of the Trade to and from the Plantations. It therefore only Remains to shew the Care, Frugality, and painfull manner of living of the Planters; which will remove the false notions that have been instilled, of their Extravagance, Luxury, and Immorality.

The Life of a Planter, is attended with great Anxiety, Care, and trouble: for he is Obliged not only to be up Early, and ride about his Plantation great part of the day, in the Scorching heat of the Sun, but to have a Constant Eye over his Servants and Negroes. And it requires great Thought, Temper, and Discretion [img. 140, f. 72/7, recto] To order and manage them, their disposition being as different as their Several Countries, or Nations; and many Quarrells, and Controversies, often arise amongst them, which are heard and determined in Every Plantation, by the Master, or Owner, and in his absence the Overseer, who has an Absolute Authority over them, life and limb Excepted.

Their Common Dress and manner of living.

The Planters Dress is generally a Waistcoat, and breeches, made or Ornabrigs, which is a Coarse German linen; a Frock made of the same, or of Fustian, light Duroy, or some other English Manufacture. They have indeed a Dress suit, that is better and Genteeler, to appear in, when they go to Town, or upon extraordinary Occasions: but very few have more than one such suit at a time, and that commonly serves them three or four Years. They are, as I have observed, Hospitable to Strangers; and upon such Occasions, or when they Expect their Friends and Neighbours to Visit them, they make the best appearance they can; and sometimes perhaps exceed what is necessary or may Reasonably be expected; from whence in some measure arises the Notion of their Luxury, and Extravagance, without considering their common, and ordinary manner of living, which is generally upon Irish Provisions, or such as they raise within themselves; and their drink small Rum punch, made of their own Sugar unrefined; for though most of them keep Madeira Wine by them, and some of them other sorts of Liquors, yet these they seldom use but upon the occasions before mentioned.

Nevertheless some of them Constantly live in a generous genteel manner: and as they are clear of incumbrances and can afford it, they are rather to be commended than [img. 141, f. 8, verso] Reproached on that account. Nor is the Expence of Housekeeping to any of them, so great as is imagined, having most necessaries within themselves, like the Country Gentlemen in England, and with a Provident Care, they might raise all Sorts of Provisions for their Servants, as well as themselves, and not be under the necessity of purchasing salted Provisions from Ireland and North America. But I cannot commend their good husbandry in that Respect, because they are therein wanting to their own Interest, as a great Expence might thereby be saved.

Common Dress

Planters unjustly Reproached

As to the Immorality, and Profligate manner of living, the Planters and other Inhabitants are charged with, I know no just Reason to distinguish them from the rest of mankind; nor did I ever See; or hear of such abandoned lewdness, as is commonly practiced in London, and other Sea Port Towns. I would not hence be thought to insinuate, that none of them are Vitious, profligate, or Extravagant, nor to justify those that are; but I can with truth affirm, that in general I have impartially delineated them, and without favour or Affection. In all Countries, and in all Societies, there are undoubtedly Good as well as Bad men, and though it must be Confessed, that there are loose and Wicked Persons, in Jamaica; yet I may venture to assert, from my own knowledge, and Experience, there are amongst them many Persons of great Honour and Virtue.

Unjusty Reproached


Their manner of Educating Children

Their common and Ordinary Diversions, are Dancing, Horse-Racing, Fishing, Fowling, Cards, back Gammon, and Billiaids. The former may perhaps be thought too Violent an Exercise in a hot Country, but as they choose the coolest part [img. 142, f. 73/9, recto] of the day, from 7 in the Evening to 11 or 12 at Night, and are Carefull in not going too Soon into the open Air, very Seldom any inconvenience, or prejudice to their health arises from thence.

And here it may not be improper to observe the manner and method of the Planters Educating their Children; as it will naturally point out, and probably Convince them of some mistakes in that Respect. The Boys are sent to England at 5 or 6 years of age, to their Agents and Factors, and placed out in some Private or Publick School; and some of them sent afterwards to one of the Universities, or according to the Custom of their Mother Country, to France, Italy, and other Parts; where they, [struck through] like many other Pretty Gentlemen [struck through] learn acquire little more, than the Foppish Airs, and Ridiculous Customs of those Countries. The Girls are generally bred at Home, and brought up under their Mothers, who are Carefull to Instruct them very early, in needle work, and good Housewifery, as soon, if not before they are taught Musick, Dancing, and other Accomplishments.

Were the Planters truly sensible, of the prejudice and disadvantage, that attend the sending Their Children over to be Educated and to pass so much of their Time here and in other Parts of Europe, I am persuaded, they would take some other method by giving due and Reasonable Encouragement, to men of Ability and Virtue, to settle amongst them, and set up Schools and Nurseries of Learning. And that it is Practicable to give their Children a very good Education in the Island, and equal to most, or any, that have been in England, some severall Instances may be given; [struck through] and particularly a [struck through] of Gentleman [struck through] now living [struck through], who never [struck through] was [struck through] were off the Island yet are as well Instructed in Grammar, and other usefull parts of [img. 143, f. 10, verso] Learning, make as good a figure in Conversation, and in the Publick Stations [struck through] he is in [struck through], as well as in the conduct and management of [struck through] his [struck through] their private affairs, as any in the Island.

To point out all the objections, which may be made to this Custom may however Reasonable and just, may be thought insidious; therefore shall leave it to themselves to consider and Improve what I have hinted at; and shall only observe that this Custom generally Allienates the Childrens Affections to from their Parents, as well as to from the Country; and this in my Opinion, was there no other, is a Cogent and Sufficient Objection. Many of them, upon their Return to the Island know neither their Father, nor Mother, and bring over the Habits, Customs, and Constitutions, of Europeans, improper for this Climate; and which renders them unfit to go through the hardships, and fatigues of a Planter. Besides, they Contract such a taste of the Pleasures, and luxury of England, that they cannot reconcile themselves to any other manner of living and when they get Possession of their Paternal Estates leave them to the management of their Agents, and Overseers; and through their neglect or mismanagement (for how can it be Expected that a Plantation can be so well managed and improved, as by the owner or Proprietor) and their Expensive way of living in England, they become involved, and in a few Years, are Ruined and undone. This, however, is not always the Case, for some of the Gentlemen educated in this way have turned out well and done Honour to their Country; but it is too often otherwise, and the Imputation of Luxury and Extravagance, which the Planters in general are Loaded with, is I conceive in a great Degree owing to the Conduct and Behaviour of some of these Gentlemen in England.

In Regard to truth, and Justice, I must likewise observe, that the Women Born and Educated in the Island, generally prove Good [img. 144, f. 74/11, recto] And make Discreet frugal Wives and Tender Mothers. They are Abstentious, living chiefly upon Chocolate, Tea, Fruits, and ground Provisions; and few of them from the highest to the lower, will touch any Spiritous liquors; their common drink being Water, or a little Madeira Wine mixed; and they generally are extremely neat. They are mostly Tall, Streight, and well Shaped; for I never saw above two, or three, that were Awry; and they are also well featured, but pale; though some of them have the advantage of Colour. The Principal, if not the only, objection to this Conduct, is in some measure excusable; because it is a Naturall foible; and that is an over fondness for their Children, which makes it absolutely Necessary, for the Boys to be removed at some distance from them though even this may be done in the Island.

Diversions and Education


* Experienced in the present War, notwithstanding the discouragement they are under by being some times pressed by His Majestys Ships; or They would be more Numerous and Serviceable than They have lately been.

Seamen were formerly very numerous, Especially in War-time, and when they had a flourishing Trade. In my Memory there were not less than 3000 such men on the Island; but their Number is very much diminished, since the Settlement of the Assiento Contract, and the South Sea Company, which deprived them of all, or the greatest part of a very beneficiall Commerce; and hath been of infinite prejudice to the Island, a loss of the Proprietors, and all things considered, of no manner or Advantage to the Nation.

Nevertheless the advantageous situation of this Island will constantly draw a Concourse of those People, from all Parts in time of War, with France or Spain, particularly for the Service of our Privateers, as wee have *



* holding a Correspondence and

As to the Jews they are mostly Portoguese; and among [img. 145, f. 12, verso] themselves Speak no other language. They chiefly reside in the three great Towns, and have a Synagogue in each of them; though many of them are Scattered about in the County Villages, where they keep Shops, and furnish the Planters, as well as the Negroes, with many Necessaries. They are at least Eight or Nine hundred in Number, Men, Women, and Children. But notwithstanding they are allowed to purchase Lands, and other great Privileges, yet very few have any Notion of Planting, so that they have not amongst them all more than Eight or ten Plantations, of which three or four are Sugar Works; though great part of the Houses and Ware Houses at Port Royall and Kingston, belong to them. Severall of them are Rich, and Trade considerably upon their own Accounts, as well as on Commission for the Merchants of their own Nation, in London; and like some of them, are men of Probity, Exact and Punctual in their dealings. Their Industry, Moderation, and Oeconomy, may serve as Patterns to the other Inhabitants and Others; And it would conduce to the Preservation of their Healths, as well as their Interest, if they would likewise imitate them in Temperance and their Regular manner of living.

I have considered the Advantages, and disadvantages, which accrue to the Island from that Nation or People in generall; and upon the whole I cannot perceive the Policy of our Ancestors, in giving them so much Encouragement, or our own in the Continuance of it, or Even in permitting them to remain on the Island; some of them as I have observed, are indeed men of Probity, and Virtue, as well as Substance, but the generality of them Trade, and Subsist on Credit, and have so many little Roguish Tricks, as are detrimental [img. 146, f. 75/13, recto] to the Country, they live in, and a Scandall and Reproach to their own Nation. It is well known that they Corrupt the Negroes, and Encourage them to Steal, by Receiving, Concealing, and Purchasing Stolen goods of them; and it is a Common Custom amongst them to purchase Houses, which are not Subject to the Payment of Debts (to the great discredit of the Island) to screen them from Arrests, and to make a Provision for their Family; so that when they die their Creditors are generally defrauded of great part, if not all, their Debts.

The Negroes who are under the necessity of dealing with them, often detect them (as well as others) in false weights and measures; and as they are frequently imposed upon by these, and other vile Practices, they have conceived so implacable a prejudice to the Jews, that were they not Protected by our Laws, the Negroes would soon Root them out of the Island. It is an Observation among the Negroes, that all other People Even themselves, have a King or a Country or both, but that the Jews have neither: which puts them often on enquiring From whence they came, and Who they are? And the Information, that is given them, seems not only to puzzle and Surprise them, but to raise their Indignation and Contempt.

It is likewise to be considered, that those People deprive many Poor Christian Families of Subsistence, by Supplanting them in business, who would be much more usefull to the Community than they are: the Jews do not serve on Juries, nor upon many other Publick occasions, nor indeed is it Reasonable that they should; and very little Service can be expected of them in Case of an Invasion or Insurrection [img. 147, f. 14, verso] as twenty Resolute fellows will drive five hundred before them. What use or Advantage are they then of, to an Island that wants Inhabitants to improve and defend it? They Earn the bread of others, who would be more usefull and of more Service, upon those Emergent occasions, when these People will rather be a Prejudice; as a Dastardly few may, and sometimes to Strike a damp Even on men of Courage and Resolution.

Nor are these all the objections, that are commonly made to them for they have often been Suspected on good grounds of * giving Intelligence to the Spaniards. [struck through] and of holding a Correspondence with the Negroes in the Mountains, when they were in Rebellion; and even of furnishing them with Powder and Arms. [struck through] These Circumstances are worth the Notices, and Consideration of the Legislature, that some Effectual measures may be taken to Remedy those inconveniencies, and to render these People more usefull or less Noxious.



Conditions of This Servitude

Industrious Servants Encouraged

Laws relating to Servants

Time of Servitude

Suits between Masters and Servants to be determin’d by two Justices of the Peace

Penalty on Masters turning away Servants when Sick.

no Servant to be Whipped naked

Servants Allowance, or Provisioning

Servants Allowance of Cloaths

Differences between Masters and Servants to be Decided by two Justices

Mistakes in Peopling the Island

The Liabilities of common Servants in Defence of the Country

Proper Methods to be taken for Settling the Island

The Eng. improper to settle New Colonies

The Welch, more able to Sustain hardships and Fatigue. allso Scots and Protestant Swiss.

The Irish chiefly to be excepted.

Severall Laws for the Encourageing the Settlement of the Island.

Servants are generally Indentured, as Carpenters, Bricklayers, Coopers[,] Smiths, &c. and many are of no Trade or Profession or meer Country fellows. The latter are Employed as Drivers, as they are called, that is in looking after the Negroes at work or in overseeing the Boiling of Sugar, which is no hard Service, and much less trouble and fatigue, than the day Labourers in England undergo.

When Indentured Servants go over, it is Customary for the Masters to pay their passages, to provide them with tools, to advance one Quarters wages, and to find them with Lodging, and Board, during the Contract. Tradesmen are allowed from 15 to £30 p ann according to their abilities; those that have no Trades, from 5 to £10 p ann and many nothing but Board Lodging, and Cloaths.

The generality of them take to drinking strong Rum Punch, or Rum unmixed [img. 148, f. 76/15, recto] which destroys many of them, or impairs their Healths, Some desert their Masters Service, and make their Escape out of the Island, without Serving their time; and others Combine with the Negroes, who often Ensnare and draw them in to betray their trust. Those that are Stupid, Roguish or Sottish, are Severely treated; and, what is their great misfortune, few will Employ them, when their Contract is Expired; so that they generally remain in a low Abject State all the remainder of their lives.

But such as are Sober, Honest, and Industrious, meet with due Encouragement, are well used, and find the Benefit of such behaviour, when their Contract is expired. I know Several, that are now Masters of Families, live in good Credit, and by their Industry have raised Considerable Fortunes. This ought to warn and Admonish all, that go over in those Circumstances, how they demean themselves, and to behave in such a manner, as will most Effectually Recommend them, to the good Graces of their Masters, and their notice of the World.

Indeed there is no Encouragement wanting to People of all Professions, who are carefull to recommend themselves by their Sobriety, Industry, and discreet Behaviour; as many have happily experienced. Nor need nay apprehend want or an Opportunity of Advancing themselves, but the Slothfull, and Intemperate, or such as have no Regard to their own Private Character, and Interest. I don’t Remember to have seen in all the time, I resided in the Island, which was upwards of twenty Years, one Person begging in the Streets, except some Prisoners in time of War, and now and then a poor old or decrepit free Negro; which [img. 149, f. 16, verso] is a sufficient proof of what I have asserted.

There are several Municipall Laws relating to Servants; and it will not be improper to transcribe a few heads, of some of them. Because it will manifest, the Justices and Care of the Legislature; though as an impartial Writer, I must observe, that those and many other Excellent Laws, are not always duly and truly Executed.

By a Law intituled, an Act for Regulating Servant; it is Enacted as follows:

All Servants, are to serve according to their Contract, and Indenture; and where there is no Contract, or Indenture, Servants under Eighteen Years of Age, at their arrival in the island shall serve Seven Years; and above Eighteen Years shall Serve four Years.

All suits between Servants, and their Masters, or Mistresses, relating to their freedom, shall be heard and determined by any two Justices of the Peace without appeal; and if any Servants absent themselves from their Masters, or Mistresses, Service, without leave, they shall for every days absence serve one Week, and so in proportion for a longer or Shorter time, the whole time not to exceed three years.

If any Person shall turn away a sick or Infirm Servant, under pretence of Freedom, or Otherwise; and such Servant shall die for want of Releif, or become Chargeable to any Parish, the Offender shall forfeit Twenty pounds to the use of the Parish, where such Death, or charge shall happen.

That no Servant be whipped naked, without order of a Justice of the Peace, on Penalty of Five Pounds.

Whosoever shall not give to each White Servant, weekly, Four [img. 150, f. 77, 17, recto] pounds of good Flesh, or Four pounds of good Fish, together with such Convenient Plantation Provisions, as may be sufficient, shall forfeit to the Party injured ten Shilling for Every Offender.

And Whosoever shall not Yearly give to each Servant man three Shirts, three pair of Drawers, three pair of Shoes, three pair of Stockings, and One Hat or Cap; and to the Women proportionably, shall forfeit to the Party injured forty Shillings.

And, by a Subsequent Act, it is Enacted that all differences hereafter to arise, between Masters, and Servants, hired, Contracted or Indentured (Overseers of Sugar Works, or Sugar Planters excepted) shall be fully heard, and determined, before any two Justices of the Parish, or Precinct, where any such difference shall happen to Arise, without Appeal; although the Sum determined or adjudged shall exceed Twenty pounds, or any other Sum whatever.

This last Clause is more particularly, and Evidently in favour of Servants, who it cannot be supposed are able to Contest or go to Law, with their Masters for Wages; or upon any other occasion, where they are injured, or Aggreived; and therefore this Easy Remedy is provided, to save them that Expence and trouble.

And here it will not be improper to observe, that it is a mistaken Notion in the Planters to imagine, they will never be able to Settle, and Strengthen the Island, with such Persons, as are obliged to leave their own Country for debt, or some misbehaviour, though neither Convicts nor Felons. Many of them as I have observed, Run away from their Masters, [img. 151, f. 18, verso] soon after their Arrival, and return to England; Others take to drinking, and by that means impair their healths, and Shorten their days; and very few Serve out their Time, or have any notion or thought, of advancing themselves, notwithstanding the great Encouragement given them.

They whose Servitude Renders their Liberty little more than nominall; and such as have no Property, may sometimes fight, thought they are not always to be depended on; for it cannot Reasonably be supposed, that they will have the same spirits, or Arm with the same generous Ardour, as those who Act in Defence of their Liberty, and Property, which is the principall motive to great and Noble Actions. I need not give the Gentlemen of the Island, any Instances to Evince the truth of this Position; let them only reflect on the Conduct and Behaviour of the Parties, that were fitted out from time to time, to pursue and Reduce the Negroes in the Mountaines, before they Submitted; and this will convince them, that such Persons are not to be depended on upon the like Occasions; and that there is a necessity of taking some other measures, to People and Strengthen the Island.

The most likely means, will be to introduce Poor Families, and give them due and Reasonable Encouragement. And for this purpose, the first step to be taken, in my Opinion, will be to Reduce the price of Provisions, by taking proper measures to make them plenty and Cheap; for unless this be done it will be in vain to think of Peopling the Island: And another proper Method, will be to import Boys, and Girls, that are about ten or twelve Years of Age, who have not contracted any Ill [img. 152, f. 78/19, recto] habits, nor entered into any kind of Debauchery; for they will Soon be inured to the Country, and the Climate become as Habituall to them, as to the Natives.

But, of all Countries, England is the most improper to furnish Colonies, or Infant Settlements, with Inhabitants, the People being accustomed to great Plenty, and not inured to the hardships many other Parts are Subject to, and which they must expect to Encounter, when they go abroad.

The Welch are certainly the properest, and the most unexceptionable, especially in our sugar Islands, because they are used to hard living, and a Mountainous Country, and are unacquainted with the Vice and Debauchery of other Nations: and next to them Scotch, and Protestant Swiss Families.

But, the Irish are by all means to be avoided, as the common People are mostly Papists, and naturally attached to the Spaniards.

There are indeed Severall good and sufficient Laws, in force, to Encourage People to go over, and Settle in the Island, though I am sorry to observe, that they are not always Regarded, as they ought to be, nor duly put in Execution, according to the meaning and intention of the Legislature, but often Evaded and pervert’d, private Interest, and Advantage, being Considered and preferred to the generall good of the Country, by those, who are instructed with the Exeution of them.


Free Mulatos, Indians and Negroes

Free Mulattos

Free Indians

the Laws relating to free Mulato’s Indians and Negroes

how to be Tryed

Free Mulato’s &c. to wear a Badge of a blue Cross on the right Shoulder

The other Inhabitants of Jamaica are Mulatos, Indians, and Negroes, of which near two thousand are Free, besides those in the Mountaines; some Obtained their Freedom by their Fidelity, and good Services to their Masters; and others by distinguishing themselves, when the Island [img. 153, f. 20, verso] was invaded by the French in 1693, or in some Expeditions against the Rebellion Negroes, their liberty having been granted them by their Masters, or purchased at the Publick Expence for their good Service; and some are descended from those who were active and usefull on those occasions.

The Mulatto’s are a mixed Breed, between Whites, and Blacks; and are a very unhappy Race of People, being despised by the one and hated by the other: they are hardy but in generall very slow and Idle.

The Indians are brought from the Continent, and not Natives of the Island; none of them remaining when the Island was was taken from the Spaniards. They are of a meek, mild Temper, and must be gently treated, or they will Pine away and die as they are not accustomed to hard labour. There are very few in the Island, and those seldom employed in any other way, than in fishing, in which they delight, and are very Expert, which makes them usefull to the Planters, who are near the Sea Coast or large Rivers.

By the laws of the Island, Free Negroes and Mulatos for, all offences, Capitall or Criminall, are to be tried and adjudged after the same method and manner that Negroe Slaves are directed to be tried; that is by two Justices and three Freeholders, who are Sworn to Judge uprightly, and According to Evidence; and the Evidence of a Slave against them shall be good and Valid.

That every Free Negro, Mulato or Indian, not having a Settlement of ten Negroes thereon, shall furnish Him or Herself with a Certificate of his or her being Free, under the hand and Seal of any Justice of the Peace and shall wear a Publick [img. 154, f. 79/21, recto] Badge of a Blew Cross upon the Right Shoulder to denote the same.

Indigeous People and Free People of Colour

Negro Slaves

The Negroes not allowed to keep arms and dangerous Weapons

Precaution to prevent Conspiracies or disorders

Regular Forces and Troops is nan Awe and Terrour to Them.

The Security of the Inhabitants in regard to Roberies.

The Negroe Slaves are very Numerous, there being at least One hundred thousand in the Island, Men, Women and Children; which being far Superior to the White People, the Planters are by Law Obliged, to keep one White Man, to thirty Negroes; or in Case of a Deficiency to pay the Personal Sum of £13.6.8 p ann, and in proportion for a greater or lesser number: so great a Superiority in Number, one would think should render it exceeding dangerous, and unsafe living amongst them. But the Security of the White People is, under Providence, owing to the Laws for the good order, and Government of Slaves; and their being brought from Severall parts of Guinea, which are different in language, and Customs, consequently they cannot Converse freely, nor confide in Each other. And those of different Countries, have as great and Natural an Antipathy to Each other, as any two Nations in the World; so that they are under mutual apprehensions of falling into Subjection one of the other, should they Shake of the Yoke of the English, which makes them Easy and have no thoughts of attempting it. Beside the men of War that are constantly on the Station, and the great number of Shipping, Continually Coming, and going, gives them an Idea of the Strength, and Power, of the English Nation, and Strikes an Awe and Terrour into them.

But, the chief security of Jamaica against any general Insurrection of the Negroes, is the great Extent of the Country, separated by Woods and Mountains, difficult of access; the Plantations lying at a great distance from each other, so that the Negroes can have no communication together, or if they had, it would be almost impossible, they should join to Execute their Designs. This Natural Security distinguishes this Island from all the other British Sugar Islands. For in the latter, notwithstanding they have every other Security, I have mentioned, but extent of Country, general Conspiracies have been formed, and sometimes with great probability of Success. But I never heard that this Island was at any time in the like danger; though their friends in the Mountains were not wanting to promote and encourage such a Design. *

None of the Negroe Slaves are allowed to keep Arms, or dangerous Weapons in their Houses; [img. 155, f. 22, verso] nor suffered to go out of the Plantation, they belong to, without a Certificate from the Master, or Overseer, Expressing the time, he has leave to be absent, and upon what occasion: nevertheless this is sometimes winked at, and not Strictly put in Execution.

However Guards are constantly kept on Sundays, and Holidays; and the Troops or Horse in the Several Parishes, or Precincts, are Obliged to Patrol in their Respective Divisions, to prevent Conspiracies, or disorders, amongst the Negroes; who generally assemble together at those times, get drunk and Quarrell amongst themselves, and sometimes in their drink grow turbulent, and even Mutinous, if they are not timely dispersed.

When they see White People Muster or Exercise, especially the Regular forces, and Troops of Horse, it strikes an Awe and terrour into them; and they will shun a Person cloathed in Red either on foot or on Horseback; for which Reason Some Gentlemen put on a Coat of that Colour, when they Travell: though the Negroes seldom Rob or disturb any Person on the Highway, nor attempt to Steal any thing but Mony, Provisions, or ordinary Cloathing such as they usually wear, being sensible that their having any thing else in their Possession would betray them.

And for this Reason the Planters, as well as those in the Towns, live in greater Security in that Respect, than People do in England; for it is very common to leave their Windows, even on the ground floor open all Night.

Enslaved People

Creole or Native Negroes

The Tractable Genius of the Creole Negroes.

But, the Creole Negroes or those born in the Country, are so far from being under the like apprehensions of a [img. 156, f. 80/23, recto] Master, that they are familiar with it; and many of them can Exercise, and make use of fire Arms as well as the Militia, which is as good as any in the World, though not so well Disciplined as formerly.

These Creole Negroes, speak very good English, especially such as are brought up in the Towns, or in Gentlemens Houses, and have so good and tractable a Genius, that they are easily instructed, in most Mechanical Trades, and to be usefull in many other Respects. They look upon themselves to be as much above the Salt water Negroes, as they call them, or those that are brought from Guinea, as the Gentry think themselves above the Commonalty in England; and will seldom keep any of them Company.

Creole Enslaved People

Divers Country Negroes

[struck through] Whidah Negroes [struck through] Whidah

Different Countries of Gold Coast Negroes

The Coromantines easily taught any Art or Science.

Fractious and Turbulent in their Nature.

The Angola’s

The Angolas proper for handicraftsmen or Seamen.

The Stupidity of the Negroes brought from the inland parts of Guinea.

* This notion could not prevail among so stupid a race, if they had not been accustomed to see human flesh eaten in their own Country.

The Negroes brought from Guinea are of more than twenty different Countries, or Nations; but those that are most esteemed are from Whidah, the Gold Coast, and Angola.

The Whidah’s are very justly preferred to all others; because they are more manageable, Accustomed to labour, and hard living in their own Country; and they are of so cheerfull a disposition that they generally sing or Whistle at the hardest work, they are put to, insomuch that it is Common amongst them, when twenty or more are at Work in the Feild, to be Singing in Parts or together; so that they are often heard at a considerable distance.

The Gold Coast Negroes, though they generally go under the denomination of Coromantees, are of different Provinces or Clans; and not under the same Prince [img. 156, f. 24, verso] or Chief, nor do they Speak the same language. Of these the Coromantines, Fanteens, Shantees, and Achims, are mostly Esteemed; the others which are generally brought from the Windward part of the Coast, or the Island Countries, are not equal to them in any Respect; because the former are more accustomed to labour, and hard living in their own Country: where their Common food is Maiz, or Corn, Plantains, Yams and other ground provisions. They have indeed some Cattle, Sheep and Horses which they dispose of to the Europeans, who come there to Trade, and to the Factories, but seldom kill any for their own use; and seem very much surprized upon their first Arrival, when they See those Creatures at work in the Mills, Coaches or Carts.

They are most of them, particularly the Coromantines, ingenious, and when they are Young easily taught any Science, or Mechanick Art; Remarkable for White teeth, of which they are extreme carefull; and so Neat and Cleanly in other respects, that the first thing they do after they have done work, is to wash themselves all over.

But they are Fractious, and in their nature Deceitfull, Revengefull, and blood Thirsty, and require a Stricter hand being kept over them, than those of any other Country, for which Reasons Every Prudent Planter, is cautious of having too many of them in his Plantation; and therefore the Common Custom is to Mix other Countries with them; for there never was, as I have heard of, in this, or any other Colony, any Plot or Conspiracy, but they were at the bottom of it.

The Angola’s are likewise used to Labour, but the Reason [img. 158, f. 81/25, recto]

of their not being so much esteemed by the Planters as the others, is their having been accustomed to Eat flesh in their own Country, which they cannot afford them; tho they are not very delicate or nice in their Choice, for a Dog is as acceptable to them as a Pig, provided he is fat.

This Country Negroes are therefore generally brought up to Trades, or to go in Sloops, Cannoes, and Wherries, as Watermen; where a better Subsistence can be allowed them, than in Plantations.

To enter into a particular Description of all the other Nations brought to this Island, would be tedious and unnecessary; not indeed will I pretend to it there being so many, and some of them, especially those brought from Inland parts of Guinea, are so strangely Stupid and Ignorant, that they cannot give any Account of themselves. They seem to have no thought or Notion of any thing more than Satisfying the present Wants of Nature; and would spend the rest of their time, if they were indulged, in Sleeping. Some are so senseless as to imagine, the White People have no other intention in bringing them from their Own Country, than to * Eat them; and this Notion causes them to Pine, and take to eating of Dirt, or using other means to make away with themselves.

African Identities
Enslaved Life

The manner of Subsisting and Providing for the Negroes.

Times of Recess and Diversion

Their manner of Dancing

Their Instruments of Musick

The Negroes of a Naturall Gloomy Countenance

Their Entertainments

Their Vices and Passions.

Their Marriages

Polygamy allowed.

The Neccessity of a Vigilant Eye and a Strict hand over Them.

Fidelity of some Negroes

The faithfull Services of Negros duly rewarded

Trusty Negroes distinguished

Their Aversion to changing of Masters and removing from one place to another.

Their Affection to their first Master.

The Planter generally buys Eight or ten at a time, according as He is furnished with Provisions, or His Occations require; and the Custom is to give to Each man and his Wife a peice of Ground; which they are told, they must Cultivate and improve for themselves, as fast as they can; because their Master is to subsist them for [img. 159, f. 26, verso] for Six months only but that after the Expiration of that term that they must provide for themselves: an Industrious Negro, out of the land allotted him, will not only be able to raise as many Plantains, Yams, Pottatoes and other ground provision, and also Hogs, and Dunghill Fowles, (for which he is allowed to keep) as will be sufficient for Himself and Family; but to Sell enough to purchase better Cloathing, than he is annually furnished with by his Master; and likewise salted Beef, Pork, Fish and other necessaries: nay some of them that are frugall as well as Industrious, will lay up Mony beside; which they are Careful to keep from the knowledge of their Masters, though few or none of them, I believe, would be so unjust, as to deprive them of it. However they generally hide their Wealth in some private place in the Earth, so that if they happen to die suddenly, or insensible, the Mony is often lost, they being extreme Carefull to Conceal the Place even from those of their own Family. * [No corresponding asterisk]

Sunday Mornings, they are allowed to bring their Provisions to Town, and sell them in the market; but they are obliged to remove at nine a Clock or before Divine Service begins: and on Sundays, and Holidays in the Evenings as well as in Moon light night, after they have done work, they Assemble, Dance, Sing or Play together.

In Dancing the Men, as well as the Women, keep very good time; though in other Respects their Parts Consist of little more, than Shewing Postures, and an Agility of Body. But the Women have a great Variety of Steps, and are more decent and Modest, in their Manner [img. 160, f. 82, 27, recto] and Behaviour.

Their Instruments of Musick are very noisy, and have no manner of Harmony, except the Merry Wang; which has a bridge with four Strings, and is played upon in the same manner, as the Guittar. It is far from being disagreeable, when it is in a good hand and I have heard Minuets, and other English Tunes played thereon, so distinctly, and which so good time, as might serve European Dancers upon Occasion.

The Negroes in generall have a Naturall gloomy Countenance, and seldom look cheerfull or pleased; so that it is difficult for a Person, who is unacquainted with their language or Custom, to distinguish, when they Sing, and play on their Musick, whether it processed from Mirth, or Sorrow; unless they Cry at the same time, as they often do, when they are very much grieved: for they Sing and Play on their Musick, when they are under any Affliction or Trouble, to dissipate Melancholy thoughts, as well as to amuse and divert themselves upon other Occasions.

Most of them Compose their own Songs, which as to the Sense and Substance of the Words, are after the Italian manner; though their Notes are not so agreable and Harmonious. Thus when any of their Freinds die; when they have been severely, or unduly Corrected; or when their favourite Wife or Mistress, gives them any Cause of uneasiness, they put together some words bemoaning themselves, and Complaining of their Loss, or Injuries, and Sing them to some of their Country Tunes. And in like manner when any Event pleases the, they Sing [img. 161, f. 28, verso] some particular Circumstance, or Passage, that Strikes them, and perhaps to some tune, or some other very like it; for they have very few tunes, which I ever heard, that are brisk or Airy; but in generall there is something in them extremely Melancholy. So that when many of them at a distance, are Singing and Playing on their Musick in parts or together, no body can be Certain, not even their Countrymen, who are unacquainted with the occasion, whether they are at a Funeral, or a Festival; for all of them, except the Angolas and Creole Negroes, sing, play on their Musick, and Dance, round the Graves of their Dead, at Funerals; and for a Month after, as well as at Festivals, or Publick Meetings or Holidays.

Their Entertainments are likewise Remarkable; and particularly a Coromantee Feast, which is become a kindof a Proverb in the Island; because the Person, who entertaining is always a Gainer. The Custom is to invite their Friends on some Holiday: When they kill a Hog, and dress it several ways, and every one of the Guests contributes something; one sends Fowls, others Rum, Sugar, &c. or money; so that upon the whole, they are gainers instead of being at any Expence.

Nature has implanted in them, as well as the rest of Mankind, Pride Ambition, Dissimulation and all other Passions and Vices; though they have not the same Opportunity of exerting them: But they are particularly Remarkable, for the Art of concealing their passions, or any Compact or Agreement amongst themselves: for when they are detected, or Convicted of any Crime, they will not [img. 162, f. 83/29, recto] only persist in denying the fact, but of some such a Countenance, as would almost persuade one of their Innocency: and they will suffer any Punishment, even Death itself, rather than make a Discovery, or reveal any Engagement, or Confidence reposed in them. And though they are not easily, or often dashed, Yet I have sometimes seen them out of Countenance or what we call Blush, which may be perceived in them, as well as in other People, for a White Persons on such occasions turn Red, they change to a Pale or Whitish black.

In their Marriages they have no Form or Ceremony, but take one anothers Words; and I have known some, that never Separated or Acknowledged any other Husband or Wife during the life of the First. But in general they often change, when any Quarrel arises between them, through Jealousy or upon other Occasions. However, they are always fond, and take care of their Children, even in those Cases.

And notwithstanding Polygamy is allowed amongst the Negroes, yet many of them have no more than one Wife; and some have none. For Interest governs them, as well as the rest of Mankind; and unless a man can provide better Cloaths, and other necessaries, than his Masters allows, He will find some difficulty in getting a Wife. Nor have any of them more than three, which go under the Denomination of Wives; and these are generally Politically chosen; One in regard to Interest, that is a House Wench, or One, who has mony Relations or Friends, who can be usefull or Serviceable to Him; Another is the Object of His Affections; and the [img. 163, f. 30, verso] Third to dress his Victuals, and manage his House; and in short is little more than his Drudge or House keeper. The first mentioned has always the Precedence; and though they often meet at the Husbands House, and in other Places, yet they Converse freely, and in an Amicable manner. Nevertheless disputes and Controversies sometimes arise amongst them, which are determined by the Husband agreable to his own Humour or Caprice, and not according to the Rules of Reason or Justice: and if He happens to be displeased with, or has taken a dislike to any of them, he makes use of their Dispute or takes some other occasion for turning her off; without any Ceremony; and takes another. Nay, some of them keep their Wives in such Awe, and Subjection, that they will not suffer them to Dine, or Sup with them; but make them wait, till they have done; and the Reason they give is, because it would make them Sawey[? Could be Sawcy], as they express themselves.

In the management of those People, though it is absolutely necessary to keep a Vigilant Eye, and a Strict hand, over most of them, so as to keep them in Awe, and prevent their doing wrong or mischief; yet Care must be taken to treat them with humanity, and not to Correct them unjustly or without proof of their having committed some Fault; for though they never repine, when they are Conscious of having deserved Correction, yet they seldom or ever forgive Injustices or Maltraitment.

And here, I must in Regard to Truth and Justice observe, that there are many Instances of great Fidelity in some Negroes, and particularly the Creoles or those Born in [img. 164, f. 84/31, recto] the Country; not only as to what is Committed to their Care, and management, but in making known to their Masters and Mistresses the Treacherous Practices, and Rebellious designs of other Negroes by which means several Families have been preserved, and much mischeif prevented.

Nor have they failed of a due Reward on such, and upon other Occasions, for their Faithfull Services, as is Evident from the great Number of Free Negroes now in the Island, not less than two thousand; beside those that were Settled in the Mountains, and obtained their Freedom by the Treaty made with them in 1738.

There are very few Plantations or Families but have some Negroes more or less, who behave extremely well, in other Respects, and are therefore distinguished by their Masters, and employed as Drivers, or under Overseers, Boylers, and in other places of Trust: and I am persuaded, that many of them, who understand the use of Fire Arms, may be confided in, and will be very serviceable, in Case the Island should be at any time Invaded by a Foreign Enemy: not only for the Reason given, but because they have a kind of Property to defend;

and can’t endure a change of Masters, even among the English: for they are greatly disturbed on such occasions, and are with difficulty removed from one Plantation, or part of the Island, to Another. And the Reason of it is evident, they have new Settlements to make for themselves; and as they think, are to begin the World again, according to the Common Phrase.

Besides they are acquainted with the Temper and Customs [img. 165, f. 32, verso] of their first Master, and perhaps Contracted an Affection for Him, especially if He uses them well; or they are doubtfull of the treatment, they shall meet with from the New, even though they have some knowledge, and are acquainted with him, and have no prejudice or dislike to His Character among themselves.

* But, the Strongest objection, is the Freindship and Alliances they have Contracted; or perhaps they have Children, and other Relations, in the Neighbourhood. They have likewise terrible Notions of the Inhumanity and Cruelty of the French, as well as the Spaniards from the Account they received from some Negroes, who had been transported, and Sold to the French at Hispaniola; and made their Escape from thence at a very great Hazard of their lives on the Seas. So that tho Negroes, in generall, think it the greatest Punishment that can be inflicted on them, is to be transported to either of those Nations. *

Slave Law

Laws relating to the Negroes

Negroes punish’d for Striking a White Person.

How Negroes shall be Cloath’d

Owners of Plantations to have one Acre planted with Provisions for five Negroes.

Negroes Houses to be Search’d for Mischeivous Weapons and Stolen Goods.

Penalty on Persons Attempting to Steal Slaves.

Run-away Slaves to be deem’d Rebellious after twelve Months.

Transported Slaves to be Executed in Case they willfully Return

Justices to Issue out their Warrants for Apprehending and Trying Felons.

Slaves to be Executed that compass or imagine the Death of a White Person.

Masters and Overseers not to Suffer Slaves to Rendevouz, beat Drums &c.

That no Master, Mistress or Overseer shall suffer any meeting of Slaves, not belonging to their own Plantation, to Rendevouz, Feast, Revell, beat Drums or Cause any other disturbance; but shall forthwith disperse them.

Slaves declar’d not to be Free by becoming Christians, to be deemed and taken Assets for Payment of Debts and Legacies otherwise to remain as Inheritance

Slaves to be instructed in the Christian Religion

Justices to appoint the number of Holidays Yearly.

No Slave to be dismembred at the Will and pleasure of his Owner.

White Persons that kill a Negro or a Slave how punish’d

Other Laws relative to Negroes.

The Laws for the better order and Government of Slaves, among other things Enact:

That if a Slave strike a White man, or offer any Violence to him, such Slave shall be punished by two Justices of the Peace, and three Freeholders, who may inflict Death or any other Punishment, According to their discretion; provided such striking, or Assault, be not by command His Owner, Overseer or Person having Power over Him or in the lawfull Defence of His Owners Persons or Goods.

That all Slaves shall have Cloaths, that is Men, Jackets and Drawers, and Women, Jackets and Petticoats once, every Year, on or before the 25th day of December, upon the Penalty of five Shillings for every Slaves wanting the same.

That all Masters and Owners of Plantations are required to have at all times hereafter one Acre of Ground well planted with Provision, for every five Negroes, he hath in his Plantation, under the Penalty of forty Shillings for every Acre so wanting.

That every Master, or Mistress, or Overseer shall cause all Slaves Houses to be searched every fourteen days for Clubs, wooden Swords, or other mischievous Weapons, and finding nay shall cause them to be burnt [img. 166, f. 85/33, recto] and also upon Request, to search for stolen goods, and any Slave, or Slaves, in whose Custody such stolen goods shall be found, shall suffer Death, Transportation Dismembring, or any other punishment at the descretion of two Justices, and three Freeholders, or the major part of them, one of which to be a Justice.

That no Person shall attempt; or endeavour to Steal or Carry off the Island, Hide, Conceal, or Employ any Slave on Penalty of One hundred Pounds. But whosoever shall Actually steal any Slave, or deface his, her, or their mark, shall be guilty of Felony, and shall be excluded the Benefit of the Clergy.

That all and every Slave or Slaves, that shall run away, and Continue for the space of twelve months, except such Slave or Slaves, as shall not have been three Years in this Island, shall be deemed Rebellious; and their taking shall be paid for accordingly which slave or Slaves so taken, as a Punishment for their Crimes, shall be Transported by order of two Justices and three Freeholders, or the major part of them, one of which shall be a Justice, though no other Crime shall appear against them: which Order the Owner or Trustee shall see duly Executed, under the Penalty of Fifty pounds for Each offence.

That if any Slave or Slaves Transported by order of two Justices, and three Freeholders, willfully return; upon complaint made to any Justice of [img. 167, f. 34, verso] the Peace, He upon View of the Record is impowered and directed on Penalty of Fifty pounds, immediately to issue out a Warrant under his Hand and Seal, to any Marshal or Constable to Apprehend, and Execute the Slave, or Slaves so returning.

That upon Complaint made to any Justice of the Peace of any Felony, Burglary, Robbery, burning of Houses or Canes, Rebellious Conspiracies, or any other Capital Offence, the said Justice shall Issue out his Warrant for the Apprehending the Offender, or Offenders, and for all Persons to come before him that can give Evidence: (and the Evidence of one Slave against another in this, and all other Cases, shall be deemed good and sufficient proof) and if, upon Examination, it appears, that the Apprehended are guilty, He shall commit him, her or them to Prison, and Certify to the next Justice the Cause, and require him to Associate himself, which Such Justice is thereby required to do: and they, so associated, shall Issue out their Warrant to Summon three Freeholders, setting forth the matter, and Requiring them to attend at a Certain day and hour, and at Such a place, as is Appointed by the Justices, and Vestry of the Parish, for such Trials: And if they on hearing the matter (the Freeholders being first sworn to judge uprightly and According to Evidence) shall judge the Person or Persons guilty, they or the Major part of them, of which one shall be a Justice, shall give Sentence of Death, Transportation, or any other Punishment, as they shall think meet to inflict; and forthwith [img. 168, f. 86/35, recto] by their Warrant cause immediate Execution to be done, Women with Child only Excepted, who are hereby reprieved till after their Delivery.

And if any Slave, or Slaves, compass or imagine the death of a White Person; and thereof be attainted by open deed (or Overt Act) before two Justices, and three Freeholders, such Slave or Slaves shall suffer Death; and all Petit Crimes, Trespasses, and Injuries, committed by the Slave or Slaves, shall be heard and determined by any Justice of the Peace.

And for the Prevention of the meeting of Slaves in great numbers on Sundays and Holidays, whereby they Contrive and bring to pass many Bloody and Inhuman transactions, it is ordered and directed:

That no Slave shall be Free by becoming a Christian; and for payment of Debts and Legacies, all Slaves shall be deemed taken as goods and Chattells, in the hands of Executors; and where other goods and Chattells are not Sufficient to Satisfy such debts and Legacies, then so many as are necessary shall be Sold, and the Remaining, shall be judged accordingly. And all Children of Slaves shall remain, or Revert as their [img. 169, f. 36, verso] Parents do.

That all Masters, Mistresses, or Owners, and in their absence Overseers, shall, as much as in them lies, and savour the Instruction of their Slaves, in the Principles of the Christian Religion, whereby to facilitate their Conversion; and shall do their utmost to fit them for Baptism: and as soon as they Conveniently can, shall Cause to be Baptised all such, as they can make sensible of a Deity, and the Christian Faith.

That the Justices within the several and Respective Parishes and Precincts, shall at the first Session in Every year, limit and appoint the number of Holidays, at the usual Festivalls of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide.

That no Slave or Slaves be dismembred at the will and pleasure of his Master, Owner, or Employer, and under the penalty of one hundred pounds.

That if any Person shall willingly, wantonly or bloody mindedly kill a Negro, or other Slave, He, She, or they so offending, being Convicted thereof by a Verdict or Confession in the Supreme Court of Judicature shall be adjudged guilty of Felony, for the first Offence and have the benefit of the Clergy. But the Second offence shall be deemed Murder, and the Offender suffer Death, according to the Laws of England; but is not to forfeit lands, and tenements goods and Chattells.

Beside these, there are many other Excellent Laws Relating to the Negroes, too tedious and indeed unnecessary [img. 170, f. 87/37, recto] to transcribe, the aforementioned, Abstracts or Clauses being sufficient to Show, the care, Justice, and tenderness of the Legislature with regard to them; as well as to the Interest and Preservation of the Island, and I would with, they were at all times duly observed, and strictly put in Execution.

The Planters vindicated of Inhumanity and Cruelty to their Negroes.

The legal Punishment inflicted on Negroes

Greater Severity practiced in Camps and Garrisons.

Free Negroes and Mulato’s the most Severe Masters

The Negroes manner of living in our Plantations and in their own Country

The Priviledges allowed to Negroes

Their Diet and Cloathing

The absolute Power of their Princes in Their own Country

The Condition of the Negroes and common People in other Countries Compar’d

The Difficulties the lower Sort of People are under in Europe.   

As to the Inhumanity and Cruelty of the Planters to their Negroes, though I will not pretend to say, there is not any ground for that Charge, yet in general it is very much aggravated; and very few are so Barbarous as they are Represented to be. But, Whoever considers the Negroes Superiority in Number, the sullen, deceitfull, Refractory Temper of most of them: that some are Careless, others Treacherous or Idle, and apt to Run away; and how much their Masters Interest depends on the Care, and Diligence of His Slaves, must needs be Convinced, that there is an Absolute necessity of keeping a Vigilant Eye, and Strict hand over them.

The Punishment usually inflicted on them, unless by order of two Justices, and three Freeholders, is a severe whipping on the bare back: and though such a Correction may be shocking to a tender mind, yet it is indispensably necessary for the Reasons, I have mentioned.

Nor is that kind of discipline so Rigid and Severe as is practised in English, as well as Foreign Camps and Garrisons; where I have seen the Common Soldiers punished with much greater Severity than I ever saw the Negroes in Jamaica. However [img. 171, f. 38, verso] it must be Confessed that the usage and treatment of the Negroes, greatly depends on the Temper and discretion of the Master; for such men are of a more tender, Human, Compassionate disposition, than others; and are led by those Motives and Principles, as well as a Regard to their Interest to be kind to their Negroes, to be carefull that they neither want Provisions, nor proper Cloathing, and to preserve their lives and limbs; because the death or disability of a Negro is a Certain Loss and their Plantations depend on keeping up the Number, which is not easy as some imagine: for though Polygamy is practised amongst the Negroes; it rather hinders than promotes their multiplying; so that when Mortality or any other Accident happens, a Planter is undone, or falls behind hard, unless He has mony or Credit to purchase others; a good working feild Negro being worth from 30 to £50 and good Boiliers Carpenters, Bricklayers and other Tradesmen from £60 to £150, Each according to his Skill and Ability.

And though it will appear very strange, yet it is a matter of Fact to my own knowledge and Observation that the Free Negroes and Mulattos, even those who have been Slaves themselves, are the most Rigid and Severe Masters in all Respects.

The Negroes manner of Living in our Plantations, and above all the very name of Slavery, may be disagreeable and Shocking to an Englishman, who has always Enjoyed his Liberty and Lived in Ease and Plenty. But when it is considered that their Condition in general is [img. 172, f. 88/39, recto] much better, and that they live happier than they did in their own Country, or even than some of the Working People in England, and preferably to those of some other Nations; those Circumstances will remove the Prejudices, which many Persons unacquainted with our Colonys, have conceived against them.

For Every Plantation Negro in Jamaica is allowed to build a House for himself and Family, after His own manner; which though mean and low, Yet is Such, as they have been used to in their own Country: they are also allowed to fence in a small yard contiguous, and to raise Hogs, and Poultry for themselves, besides his little Plantation, which produces Corn, peas &c. and all sorts of ground Provisions, some of which they dispose of and purchase other necessaries.

Their Diet is indeed Coarse, yet they are very well Contented with it, as it is the same and in some Respects much better, than they were used to, which was nothing more than Maiz or Corn, in some Parts Rices, Plantains, Yams and Potatoes roasted or boiled (and now and then a Goat, or a Small Deer) But, in Jamaica they not only have those sorts of Provisions in great Plenty, but Salted beef, Pork and Fish, which many of them prefer to fresh Meat. In some parts of the Island they have also plenty of fresh Fish, and most of them, as I observed, are allowed to keep Hogs and Fowls; by which means they are able to purchase a better allowance of there things, than have from their Masters, which is only at Christmas and in Croptime. They have likewise Cloathing and many other [img. 173, f. 40, verso] Necessaries, which they were Strangers to, and never knew the use of before, they came to the Island.

Nor was their Liberty in their Own Country any more than Nominall or imaginary: for as most of them were Subject to the Arbitrary will and Pleasure of their Kings or Chief Men, who disposed of them as they thought proper, and had an Absolute Power of Life and Death, they may justly be said to be less Slaves in our Plantations, than they were in their own Country. Because in our Plantations their Masters are allowed no Power of Life and Death over their Slaves and are even Restrained from Maiming or Dismembering them upon any Pretence whatever, without a Legal Trial.

Whoever considers the condition of the common People in most other Countries, and Compares it with the Condition of the Negroes in our Plantations, must allow, that the latter has the Advantage, notwithstanding all the objections and Cavills that are made against the usage and treatment, the Negroes meet with. A Negro has a kind of Property, and looks upon his little Plantation as such, it being seldom taken away, without giving Him an Equivolent. He has Stated Times of working and Recess, and several Holidays in the Year, beside Saturdays in the afternoon and Sundays. He is allowed at those times to go upon his own occasions, divert Himself, or Visit his friends, provided he asks leave and Obtains a Certificate: He is taken care of in Sickness and Health, and at no Expence for Rent, or an Apothecary, or Surgeon. He has plenty of ground Provisions [img. 174, f. 89/41, recto] and with Care and Industry and may furnish himself with salted Provisions, and other Necessaries, beside what he is allowed by his Master. And when He is grown old, Infirm, or past labour, he is supported by his Master. This is the Circumstances or Condition of most, though not all of them, as some of them are so Roguish or Idle, as not to take that Provident care, and therefore often Suffer want and Extremity, which they very justly deserve.

The Condition and Manner of Living of the Common People in England, and other Parts is very well known and therefore I shall only observe, that many of them are under great difficulties in Subsisting themselves and their Families, in Sickness, or the dead of Winter; and sometimes in the Summer Season; that their Diet in general is as coarse as the Negroes, few of them being able to purchase Meat, above once a Week, and that of the Worst sort; that many of them are as Ragged, and bare of Cloathing as the Negroes, considering the difference of the Climate, and that often in Health, as well as in Sickness, Old Age, or Disability, they are Reduced to very good Extremity; yet those People Startle, and are Shocked at the proposition of going over to the Plantations; where they may live better and have a prospect of raising their Fortunes.

Religon and Spiritual Practices

The Planters Censured for not instructing their Negroes in Christianity

Objection answered

Negroes notions of a future State.

Their manner of burying the Dead.

Their Notion of returning to Their Own Country, the Cause of their being fearless of Deathe.

The method of prevented them from destroying Themselves

Angolas Baptized in Their own Country.

Probability of inculcateing Religious Principles into some of the Negroes

There Remains one Objection to the Conduct of the Planters which I wish I could as Easily Answer, as those I have already mentioned; and that is the little care they take to instruct their Negroes in the belief of a Deity, and the Principle of Christian Religion. The Legislature indeed have by law directed, that every Master, Mistress, or Overseer Shall, as much as in them lies, endeavour to Instruct their Slaves, and to fit them for Baptism; but it must be observed, that there is no Penalty on those who omit or neglect it; nor would it be to any purpose, if there was, as many other Penal Laws which affect themselves, are very seldom put in Executions. The Reason commonly assigned for their neglect of this Vizt. that the Conversion of their Slaves to Christianity would Set them free is Entirely groundless; because there is an Express law [img. 177, f. 44, verso] of the Country to the Contrary, not do I conceive any foundation for such a Suggestion, if there was not.

It must be Confessed, that those People show no manner of Inclination to be Instructed, or Converted; nor could I ever perceive it had any good Effect on those, that were taught to Read, and had been Baptised, however Devout and Attentive they appeared to be during Divine Service; and many of them are so very Dull and Stupid that it is impracticable to instill into them any Notion of Religion or a future State of Rewards and Punishments. The most Sensible among them, and especially the Creole Negroes, so Indeed beleive in a Deity, and that there is a future State; though their own Notions and Opinions are very dark and Obscure.

As to their being Idolators, and they Worship Snakes and other Animals, I never met with any Such or who really were of Opinion, that when they die they shall return against to their Own Country, as is Commonly related of them; and if there be any, it must be only the most Stupid and Ignorant amongst them.

It is true, that all of them, except the Angolas, put Meat and Drink into the Graves with their Dead, and for some weeks after, Sing, Dance, and poure liquor over them but this proceeds from the general Opinion amongst them of removing after Death to some other Country, where they shall Enjoy their Freedom and live happily; and therefore they must have Provisions for Supporting them.

It is that Hope or Expectation, which makes them so fearless of Death, and in their last moments [img. 178, f. 91/45, recto] seem to be under no other Concern, than that of parting with their Freinds; and it is so strongly imprinted on some Negroes, particularly the Eboes, that upon the least disgust or uneasiness, and sometimes to avoid Punishment, they will hang themselves.

Nor has any means been found effectual to deter them from that Abominable Practice, but to dismember and burn the Bodies of such Negroes: for as they have not any Ideas of a Resurrection, or the dead Changing of Bodies it Strikes the greatest terrour into them; because they think it Annihilates, or disables such Persons from pursuing their Journey to the other Country. Nay many of them have discovered the greatest uneasiness, when they have seen, or heard of any of their Friends or Country men being opened or dissected; and the Surgeons sometimes have been obliged to desist in order to pacify them, although they were acquainted with the Motives and Reasons, and many Arguments made of to Convince them of their absurd and Ridiculous Notions, though to very little purpose.

As to the Angolas, many of them have been Baptized in their Own Country, and have some notions of Christianity, though very dark and obscure. For about two hundred Years ago their King; and many of them were Converted by the Portoguese, who Continue to Send Missionaries among them. They have also some Black Priests of their own Country, who are Slaves as well as themselves, and tell their Beads [img. 179, f. 46, verso] and perform the Offices at Funerals after the Romish manner in broken Portoguese; though I never could inform my Self, that they had any other Publick or private Meetings for performing Divine Worship; or that they were better than other Negroes in any Respect.

Upon the whole, I am of Opinion, that it is possible to Instruct many Negroes, especially the Creoles, or such as are brought Young to the Island, in the Beleif of a Deity which they seem naturally inclined to, and of a future State of Rewards and Punishments. These and some Principles of Morality which might likewise be inculcated would tend very much to make them better Servants and Subject, as well as to fit them for another World; But to Attempt any thing more, will be in Vain and a Herculean labour, though I am far from discouraging so laudable a design and should be glad to seem some Attempt to Accomplish it.

The Maroons

The Tradition of the Wild Negroes in the Mountains

The Government at a great Expence to prevent their Excursions.

Their Origin

The Spaniards encouraged the 20 Negroes They left behind them to harass and distress the English.

The Spanish Negroes Erect a kind of Government, Independent of the Spaniards and English

Relations of the Spanish Negroes who returned to Submit to the English.

The Spanish and Eng. Negroes become acquainted and Commence a Correspondance.

Major Lobbys Negroes Rebell and retreated into the Mountains

An Insurrection at M. Sutton’s Plantation in Clarendon, and M. Guys at Guanaboa.

The Fugitives settle in the Mountains under Separate Commanders.

An Insurrection at St. Eliza.

The Fugitious intice the Plantation Negroes in the Neigbourhood to join them.

Dispute and Battles among the Fugitious

They incorporate and choose a Commander.

The Spanish Negroes become acquainted with the Fugitious and make Excursions.

They incorporate with some small Bodies of the Fugitious

The Causes of Their being so long neglected

The N. E. part of the Island mostly possessed by the Wild Negroes

Their want of salt and manner of preserving Hog &ca.

They attain a Communication wth. Manchianeal Bay.

The precaution of the Government to prevent their procureing [Po]

Their chief Commander vested with an absolute Power

Their Chiefs appointed as many Captains under Them, as They Thought Necessary

Their Policy in prohibiting all languages being spoken except the English.

They provided Plants of Retreat, upon being routed from one Settlement to another.

Their Settlements in Places surrounded with Mountains and difficult to Access.

Their Vigilance and Care against being Surprised

Their Custom in blowing Shells when they Engage to terrifie their Enemies.

Their first care, on mutiny with Success, to Search for Powder and Ammunition.

Negroes who desert from Plantations and join them not intrusted till they have served a time of Probation.

The Wild Negroes disposed of Nanny Town.

Thy Separate themselves in Small Bodies in hopes of distressing the English and Regaining the Town.

As to the Negroes, who are setled in the Mountains, and for many years gave great disturbance and uneasiness to the Inhabitants, more particularly to the Planters in the remote Parts of the Islands their Origin is very dark and Obscure; and all that can be collected of them is chiefly by Tradition from some of the old Standers and themselves particularly the Capt. Cudjo, who is their Chief or Head man, and a very Sensible fellow.

The Government was at a Vast expence in building Defensible Barracks in the Mountains to prevent their excursions, as well as in raising Parties, to pursue and reduce them. But, all to very little purpose; for having [img. 180, f. 92/47, recto] many Fastnesses and Places of Retreat, when they were discovered and routed from one Settlement they retired to another, where our People could not follow not being well Acquainted with the Mountainous Parts, nor Capable of ascending them, but with the greatest difficulties. By those means they were not only able to support and defend themselves, but to be very mischievous and troublesome; and as they encreas’d and gathered Strength, by the Fugitives (from time to time) from the Plantations, they became formidable and threatened the Subversion of the Island.

According to the best Information I have been able to get, They are partly descended from some Spanish Negro’s, who refus’d the Terms and Conditions, which were offered by Collo. Doyley, and had been accepted of by many others; but, chiefly from the Negro’s who some years after Rebelled at Major Lobby’s Plantation in St. Anns. Mr. Suttons in Clarendon, and Mr. Guys at Guanaboa and never were Subdued.

When the English Forces had routed the Spaniards who were setling themselves at St. Anns (after the Island was by Treaty Surrender’d to General Venables) They left behind them a considerable Number of Negro’s and Mulatto’s, whom they were able to carry with them, for want of embarkation. To encourage them to continue their Fidelity to harass and distress the English, they promis’d them great Rewards, and that they would soon return with sufficient Forces to recover the Island. At the same time to Exasperate [img. 181, f. 48, verso] and prevent their making any Agreement; They insinuated that the English were a Bloody minded People, and never gave any Quarter.

These Negro’s finding themselves at liberty, and that their Masters did not return, according to their promise, killed the Mulatto’s and others who were appointed to conduct them; Erected a kind of Government among themselves, and Chose a Person, whom they thought fit to Govern them. But, having already given a Relation of their Transactions, from time to time, I shall now proceed to give an account of those who Continued Obstinate and refused to Accept of the Terms and Conditions which were granted to Others.

When They found their Numbers so reduc’d that they were not able to make any Resistance they resolved to retire and Settle in the most remote Parts of the Island; And if possible to avoid being discover’d or giving any Offence. Accordingly they divided themselves in two Bodies, that they might be better able to subsist themselves, and remain undiscovered; the one of them setled among the Mountains between St. James’s and Hanover Parishes, and the other at the Easternmost part of St. Georges near Port Antonio. There they liv’d in an inoffensive manner, many Years; carefully avoiding the English, when they came to Settle in those Parts, or of doing them any Injury, insomuch that it was generally thought they had found means of getting over to Cuba, or perished in the Woods, so that they were almost forgot; and the News Setlers in those Parts scarcely ever heard of, much less imagined [img. 182, f. 93, 49, recto] they had any such Neighbours, or under any Apprehensions of them.

In process of time the Hunters fell in with theirs, who at first were very shy, but afterwards they became Acquainted, grew familiar, and held a Correspondance with the English Negro’s; however, they did not encourage them to desert, and those that did were treated with great severity, obliged to do all Servile Offices, they put the to, which prevented many others from joining them.

In 1673, the Negro’s belonging to Major Lobby, who were mostly Coromantines, a Fractious, Turbulent, bloody minded People, mutinied, kill’d their Masters and 12 white men, seized all the Arms and Ammunition they could meet with, and retreated to the Mountains where they setled and remained undiscovered many Years.

The same accident hapned, some Years after, at Mr. Suttons Plantation in Clarendon; and Mr. Guys at Guanaboa. And many of their Negro’s who Escap’d, also Setled in the Mountains separately and under distinct commanders, who were chosen among themselves.

These three Gangs lived some years, in their Respective Retreats without any knowledge of Each other, or of the Spanish Negro’s and were contented to hide themselves in those Parts, where they could Subsist without doing any Injury to the Planters or giving them the least umbrage. But, the want of Cloaths, ammunition, and other [img. 183, f. 50, verso] Necessaries made them afterwards venture in the Night, Surprise and Rob the remote Settlements. Their Success not only animated them, but encouraged several small Bodies of Negro’s to desert from the Plantations, who likewise setled Separately; and particularly a parcel of New Negro’s belonging to Captn. Herring in St. Elizabeths, who not being at Home, they mutinied kill’d His Lady and two children and retired into the Mountains, where they hapned to meet with, and joined one of those Gangs.

And, in 1718 another Body of Negro’s, belonging to Mr. Downs of St. Elizabeths, went away and put themselves under the command of a Madagascar Negro, who was a Resolute, cunning fellow and setled near Deans Valley.

These inveigled many discontented Negro’s from the Neighbouring Plantations, and became Considerable about the year 1720. When by means of their Hunters the several Gangs became acquainted with each other Settlements, and most of them incorporated in two great Bodies the one under the Command of the Madagascar Negro, and the others who were mostly Coromantines, under the command of a Negro belonging to Mr. Sutton.

These, two Parties, after many disputes, and bloody battles wherein a great Number were slain on both Sides and among others the Madagascar Captain, joined and incorporated themselves.

Hence arose that great Body of Negro’s, near Deans Valley in St. Elizabeths, now under the Command of Captn. Cudjo, who afterwards encreased by the desertion of other Negro’s from [img. 184, f. 94/51, recto] time to time.

But, However inoffensively the Spanish Negro’s lived, for many Years, yet when their Posterity became acquainted with some of the small Bodies, of Rebellious Negro’s and observ’d that they Supported themselves by Robbery or Violence; They made use of the same means to furnish Themselves with Arms, Ammunition and Women which they were in great want of. They likewise associated themselves with some of those small Bodies, follow’d the same Customs, and abated of their Severity to those, who deserted and came to them.

Hence arose the other Great Gang, which Consisted of the Descendants of the Spanish Negro’s, who had seated Themselves in St. James’s & St. Georges, were joined by divers small Bodies, and after many disputed and Battles with some other Gangs, incorporated and setled together in the Mountains near Port Antonio, where They made a considerable settlement, which They called Nanny Town.

Hitherto, those Gangs only came down in the Night, and robb’d the out Settlements, without committing any Murder, which was the principal Cause of the great neglect of the Government in not taking Vigorous measures earlier than they did to subdue or Extirpate them, until their Strength and Number began to appear, which was about the year 1730. For having been overlook’d and disregarded many Years, They began to grow formidable by Continuall desertions; and many hundred Stout, able Negro’s [img. 185, f. 52, verso] being born in the Woods, who were trained up to Arms and being, from their Infancy accustomed to Steep Rocky Mountains, it was exceeding difficult, and almost impracticable for White Persons to follow them.

The North East Part of the Island being uninhabited by the English was for many Years, entirely possessed or Over run by this Windward Gang; and St. James’s by the leeward Gang. And, They had not only a Communication from the Mountains to the Sea (where they frequently came down to Catch Turtles, and make Salt) But, from one end of the Island, (over the Mountains) to the Other, by which means they held a Correspondance with each other.

I am Credibly informed that before they had an intercourse with the Plantations or a Passage to the Sea, Their want of Salt was one of the greatest inconveniences they were Subject to (being Naturally fond of it an accustomed to use great quantities) and they found their Healths impaired by the disuse. Nor, could they without it preserve their Wild Hog and other Games, which they met with in the Mountains and on the Sea Coasts. But, this they afterwards Supplied by making a strong lixivium of Wood Ashes, which they accidentally discovered to be Salt: and by dipping their Hog and other Game, in the pickle which They made of it, and afterwards Smoking them They were able to preserve their Hog and other Game a Considerable time.

But, for several Years past They not only came to Manchianeal Bay, and other Parts near the Sea, [img. 186, f. 95/53, recto] where they supplied themselves with Salt, Turtle and Fish; but they also had an Opportunity of furnishing Themselves with Arms, Powder and other Necessaries, by their Corrsepondance with the Negro’s in the Plantations and even in the Towns, where it is generally imagined, some of them often came; and by the favour or privity of the other Negro’s, and the great crouds which assembled there, every Sunday Morning to sell the Produce of their little Plantations, they passed undiscovered, gain’d such Intelligence as they wanted, and furnished themselves with whatever They had occasion for.

The Government used all the precautions in their power, to prevent those Practices and Inconveniences; and the Assembly passed an Act, which not only confined the sale of Power to a very few hands, but imposed a heavy Penalty on Those, who should disposed of or deliver any quantity to a Negro, Mulatto or other Person, who was not a House keeper of known Residence. Notwithstanding which the Rebells found means to supply themselves, for upon Computing the Quantities which they met with in the Plantations, They robbed from time to time, and what was taken by Them from some of our Parties, whom They defeated it was found vastly short of what They must have expended in Severall Engagements, with Them, and upon other Occasions.

I have already observed, That the Ring leaders of those Rebells (who were Bold, Resolute Fellows) were by the suffrage of the whole invested with an absolute Power, which out of fear or Necessity was continued to their [img. 187, f. 54, verso] Heirs; and particularly the leeward Gang; for Capt. Cudjo who Commands Them, is the son of one of Mr. Suttons Negro’s, who was at the head of that Conspiracy and Governed the Gang to the time of His Death.

The chief commanders of these Gangs appointed occasionally as many Captains as were Necessary, whom He chose out of the ablest men under Him: and divided the rest into Companies: And, to each Captain He gave such a Number of Men, as He thought proportionable to His Merit and Services. This Distinction made those Captains Ambitious to excell in whatever might Contribute to the good of the whole. Their chief Employment was to Exercise their Respective Men; to Instruct Them in the use of the lance and small Arms, after the manner of the Negro’s on the Coast of Guiney; and to Conduct the Bold Resolute, and Active in Robbing Plantations &c. Other He employ’d in Hunting and Catching Wild Holds, making salt and catching Turtle or with the Women, in Planting Provisions, and such like Offices.

And having experienced that the Divisions and Quarrells which had hapned amongst Themselves, were owing to their different Countries and Customs, which created Jealousies and uneasiness; He prohibited any other language being spoken among Them, but English. This wise Institutions prevented all further distinctions and Animosities on the Account and kept them United, so that all of them, even those who were born in the Mountains, speak very good English.

When either of the Settlements of those Gangs were discover’d [img. 188, f. 96/55, recto] and they were routed by our Parties, They were not at a loss for subsistence, or a place of Retreat.

For foreseeing such accidents might happen, They prudently made other settlements to retire to; the inland Parts of Jamaica affording them many such Places, which were not only difficult of access, but the Soil very good and yielded Them plenty of Corn, Yams &c. nor were They otherwise at a loss for Provisions to Subsist Them, there being abundance of Wild Yams and other Roots in the Woods, which They knew how to dress and make tolerable good, in any Extremity.

Their Settlements were made in places commonly called Cock Pits, being Surrounded with Mountains which are almost inaccessible and difficult of access, having not more than one or two Avenues, leading to them, and so narrow or rocky that only one or two men can pass abreast; nor without great difficulty, especially to those who are not used to such Parts.

At the Entrance into those Avenues, They kept a Continual Watch or Centinel, to prevent being Surprised; and upon the least appearance of danger, He made the best of His way to the Town or gave a Signal or Alarm upon which every man who was able to manage a lance, or use Fire Arms immediately repaired to His Post under His respective Captain, which was in some Ambuscade or Place that was easy to be defended. In the mean time the Women and Children who commonly had their Cloaths, and best moveables ready for a flight, made their Escape to some other Place or Settlement, appointed for a Rendevous in Case of an Attack, or being defeated by our Party. [img. 189, f. 56, verso]

When they Engaged they constantly kept blowing Horns, Conch Shells, and other Instruments, which made a hideous and terrible noise among the Mountains in hopes of terrifying our Parties, by making them imagine their Number and Strength much greater than it really was.

And, when They robbed any of the Plantations, the first things they looked for, was powder, and lead or pewter to make balls. They were likewise Industrious in finding out Negro Women, and Girls to carry with Them.

But, when any Negro men deserted from the Plantations and went among them, They would not Confide in them, until They had served a time prefix’d for their Probation; which made some of Them return to Their Masters not liking the usage or treatment they met with.

In this Situation They were in, when two Strong Parties were fitted out to Suppress Them, and were so Successfull as to drive them out of Nanny Town which was one of their strongest holds, and being dispossessed of that Place they were reduc’d to very great Extremities. But, having already given a particular account of this and other passages relating to our Parties, and the Severall Skirmishes they had with the Rebells in the third Part of this Treatise. I shall proceed to give an account of what passed among them afterwards, and until they came to an agreement and Submitted Themselves.

When the Windward Gang was dislodged from Nanny Town they hovered near the Place in Small Bodies, in hopes of distressing our People and obliging them to desert it. But finding them determined to keep Possession, and that they [img. 190, f. 57/97, recto] were not only duly Supplied with Necessaries, but had cut a road of Communication to Port Antonio, and frequently sent out Parties which greatly harassed and annoy’d them; They marched to Leeward, in hopes of being recieved and entertained by the other Gang near Deans Valley. But, they did not meet with the reception, which They expected, for Captn. Cudjo refus’d to admit their Continuing with them for the following Reasons.

  1. He was apprehensive that He had not sufficient Provisions to maintain Them, and His own People.

  2. He blamed Them for their indiscretion, and imprudent Conduct before those Parties were Sent against Them. For, He said, it was always a Rule with Him, not to molest or injure the White People unless He was provok’d to it. And, shewed them Severall Graves, where He said were buried some of His Men whom He had executed for Murdering of White People Contrary to His orders.

  3. He upbraided them with their Insolence, and Barbarity to the White People, which was the Cause of their Sending out Parties, who in time would destroy them all.

And, lastly, as He had an absolute command over His People, He was unwilling to recieve another Body, who were Independent of Him, and Subject only to their own Chiefs, who would not Submit to Him, so that He recieved and Entertained Them as Guests but would not allow Them to settle in that Part of the Country. And, as soon as they had information that our Parties in the windward Part of the Island were retired to Nanny [img. 191, f. 58, verso] Town and Port Antonio, upon the desertion of the Rebells; The windward Gang were drove away, or refused any further Entertainment by Captn. Cudjo and His People.

Upon Their return to the Windward or Eastward part of the Island. They made a Settlement on the Mountains in St. Georges, where They remained undiscovered and contented Themselves with Their Circumstances, rather than give any further umbrage or uneasiness to the White People by their Excursions and Depredations.

In this Situation the Affairs of this Island was in, with regard to Them, when Mr. Trelawny came to the Government, in 1738, and though they had been quiet for some time Yet He was convinced of the necessity of reducing Them or the Island would be, in a few years, in danger of being over run by them. He likewise thought it necessary not only to send out strong Parties, but Persons of more consequence and Distinction to command Them than had hitherto been sent out. And, accordingly proposed to Collo. Gutherie who had resided many Years (and had a Considerable Interest) in the Island, Observed with Concern all the Efforts which had been made to reduce the Rebells by Force, were fruitless and ineffectuall, and that it was Necessary to think of some other expedient. For as they were certain of being executed, if they were taken, being proscribed by the Laws of the Country (and their Children not suffer’d to live on the Island but transported to other Parts) Their Chiefs took care to remind Them [img. 192, f. 98/59, recto] of what was to be Their fate, in Case They were taken, and which made Them desperate despairing of any accommodation or Agreement with the White People. He therefore thought the only method would be to grant them a full and generall pardon, on Certain Conditions, and that the same should be ratified and Confirm’d by an Act of Assembly. Accordingly He propos’d the same to the Governour, who approved of it, and promis’d to endeavour to procure a law for ratifying whatever terms He should grant the Rebells. Upon this Collo. Gutherie accepted of the Command which was offered Him; and being a Gentleman who was greatly esteemed and Approved of He soon raised 200 able men fit for the Service beside several of the Neighbouring Planters who went with Him as Volunteers. and Lt. Sadler with 40 Soldiers draughted out of the Independent Companies, were also ordered to join Them and be under His Command.

Collo. Gutherie who had duly considered this Affair, and attained by good intelligence the Situation and Strength of the Rebells, marched with this Party without much inconvenience until They came to one of their Ambuscades, from whence, after a warm dispute and the loss of several men, They drove Them out and Continued their March toward their chief Settlement. They afterward passed through deep and narrow Vallies, bound with Rocks on each side from whence the Negro’s continually kept firing at Them, and as some of Them personally knew severall of the Gentlemen [img. 193, f. 60, verso] who went Voluntiers, They called to them by Their Names and with much abusive language, ask’d Them why They came out against Them, who never did Them any Injury? Collo. Gutherie thereupon desired to speak with their Commander, in the mean time promis’d Them a Truce and that He should return, without any Hurt or Injury. This They would not Consent to but upbraided our People with perfidiousness, and told Them that They were not to be Confided in. In this manner two days were spent, in small Skirmishes and bitter Reproaches until They were drove near the Town; When by degrees They became more Familiar, began to listen to the Offer that was made; and agreed to send one of their Gang to meet one of our Men unarmed and to hear what we had to propose.

Accordingly a discreet sensible Person was sent to treat with one of Their Captains, who after some discourse together, and an Indemnity proposed on Certain Conditions, He departed with the presents which were made to Him and the other Commanders and an invitation to Captn. Cudjo who is Their Chief or head man, to meet Collo. Gutherie in the same place and Manner in order to bring this matter to an issue. upon which a Truce was agreed on, Hostages exchanged and their Apprehensions removed, by the reception and Entertainment They met with, They cheerfully accepted of our Proposalls and agreed to the following Articles.


Copy of the Treat made with Captn. Cudjoe, and the other rebellious Negroes, &c [img. 194, f. 99/61, recto]

By Order of Edward Trelawney, Esqe.; Governor of the said Island.

At the Camp near Trelawney, March 1, 1738-9/

In the Name of God, Amen

Whereas Captain Cudjoe, Captain Acompong, Captain Johny, Captain Cuffoe, and Captain Quacow, and several other Negroes their Defendants and adherents, have been in a State of War and Hostility for several Years past, against our Sovereign the King, and the Inhabitants of this Island; and whereas Peace and Friendship among Mankind, and the preventing the Effusion of Blood is agreeable to God, consonant to Reason, and desired by every good Man. And whereas his Majesty, George the Second, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, and of Jamaica, Lord, &c. has by his Letters Patent, February the 24th, 1738, in the 12th Year of his Reign, granted full Power and Authority to John Guttery and Francis Sadler, Esqes; to negotiate and finally conclude a Treaty of Peace and Friendship with the aforesaid Captain Cudjoe, the rest of his Captains, Adherents, and others his Men; they mutually, sincerely, and amicably have agreed to the following Articles.

  1. That Hostility shall cease on both Sides for ever.

  2. That the said Captain Cudjoe, the rest of his Captains, Adherents, and Men, shall be for ever hereafter in a perfect State of Freedom and Liberty, excepting those who have been taken by or fled to them within two Years last past; if such are willing to return to their said Masters and Owners, with full Pardon and Indemnity from, their said Masters or Owners for what is past; provided always, that [img. 195, f. 62, verso] if they are not willing to return, they shall remain in Subjection to Captain Cudjoe, and in Friendship with us according to the Form and Tenor of this Treaty.

  3. That they shall enjoy and possess for themselves and Posterity for ever, all the Lands situate and lying between Trelawney Town and the Cockpits, to the Amount of 1500 Acres bearing North West from the said Trelawney Town.

  4. That they shall have Liberty to plant the said Land with Coffee, Cocoa, Ginger, Tobacco and Cotton, and to breed Cattle, Hogs, Goats, or any other Stock, and dispose of the Produce or Increase of the said Commodities to the Inhabitants of this Island; provided always, that when they bring the said Commodities to Market, they shall apply first to the Custos, or any other Magistrate of the respective Parishes where they expose their Goods to Sale, for a Licence to vend the same.

  5. That Captain Cudjoe, and all the Captains, Adherents, and People now in Subjection to him, shall live together within the Bounds of Trelawney Town, and that they have Liberty to hunt where they shall think fit, except within three Miles of any Settlement, Crawl, or Penn; provided always, that in Case the Hunters of Captain Cudjoe, and those of other Settlements meet, then the Hogs to be equally divided between both Parties.

  6. That the said Captain Cudjoe and his Successors do use their Endeavours to take, kill, suppress, or destroy either by themselves, or jointly with any other Number of Men, commanded on that Service by his Excellency the Governour, or Commander in Chief for the Time being, all Rebells wheresoever [img. 196, f. 100/63, recto] they be throughout this Island, unless they submit to the same Terms of Accommodation granted to Captain Cudjoe and his Successors.

  7. That in case this Island be invaded by any foreign Enemy, the said Captain Cudjoe and his Successors herein after named, or to be appointed, shall then upon Notice given immediately repair to any Place the Governour for the Time being shall appoint, in order to repel the said Invaders with his or their utmost Force, and to submit to the Orders of the Commander in Chief on that Occasion.

  8. That if any white Man shall do any Manner of Injury to Captain Cudjoe, his Successors, or any of his, or their People, they shall apply to any commanding Officer or Magistrate in the Neighbourhood for Justice, and in case Captain Cudjoe, or any of his People shall do any Injury to any white Person, he shall submit himself, or deliver such Offenders to Justice.

  9. That if any Negroes shall hereafter run away from their Masters or Owners, and fall into Captain Cudjoe’s Hands, they shall immediately be sent back to the chief Magistrates of the next Parish, where they are taken, and those that bring them are to be Satisfied for their Trouble, as the Legislature shall appoint.

  10. That all Negroes taken since the raising of this Party by Captain Cudjoe’s People shall immediately be returned.

  11. That Captain Cudjoe and his Successors shall wait on his Excellency, or the Commander in Chief for the Time being once every Year if thereunto required.

  12. That Captain Cudjoe during his Life, and the Captains [img. 197, f. 64, verso] succeeding him, shall have full Power to inflict any Punishment they think proper for Crimes committed by their Men among themselves, Death only excepted in which Case, if the Captain thinks they deserve Death, he shall be obliged to bring them before a Justice of Peace, who shall order Proceedings on their Trial equal to those of free Negroes.

  13. That Captain Cudjoe with his People shall cut, cleave, and keep open large and convenient Roads from Trelawney Town to Westmoreland and St. James, and if possible to St. Elizabeth’s.

  14. That two white Men, to be nominated by his Excellency, or the Commander in Chief for the Time being, shall constantly live and reside with Captain Cudjoe and his Successors, in order to maintain a friendly Correspondence with the Inhabitants of this Island.

  15. That Captain Cudjoe, during his Life, shall be Chief Commander in Trelawney Town, after his Decease the Command to devolve to his Brother Acompong, and in Case of his Decease, on his next Brother Captain Johny, and failing him Captain Cuffoe shall succeed, who is to be succeeded by Captain Quacow; and after all their Demises, the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being shall appoint from that Time whom he shall think fit for that Command.

In Testimony of the above Presents they hereunto set their Hands and Seals, the Day and Date above written.

The Maroon Treaty

[img. 200, f. 102/67, recto] St. Georges who were more Considerable in Number, to accept of the same Condition or to reduce Them by Force, and Collo. Guttery who had succeeded so well in the last Expedition was thought the properest person to conduct the same. But, it was with some reluctance He accepted of this Commission, because those Rebells were seated in a distant part of the Country, which He was not acquainted with, nor with the Neighbours and others who were to be employed on that Service. However, as He was desirous of manifesting, on all occasions, His Zeal for the Publick Utility, He was prevailed on to accept of it, and Lt. Collo. Bennet of St. Katherine was appointed to commander under Him.

Captain Cudjoe being obliged by the Treaty to Engage Them to accept of the Terms and Conditions which were granted to Him and His followers, or to assist in reducing Them, sent one of His Brothers, who is a Captain with fifty men for that purpose. And, some others of Their Chief men were prevailed with to go with Collo. Guttery as Guides, and to be Sent with proposals to the Rebells. But, the day after His departure from Spanish Town He was seized with a griping pain in His bowels; however; He continued His Journey and reached De. Stuarts Plantation in St. Georges, where the several detachments which were to compose the Grand Party, was to Rendevous. There His disorder encreased and terminated in a Bloody flux, which bafled all the Endeavours that were used for His Relief, and Carried Him of in 3 or 4 days.

This was the End of That Worthy Gentleman who fell a Sacrifice to the resentment of the discontented Negroes, for the [img. 201, f. 68, verso] for the signall Service He had done the Island; since, it cannot be doubted but They found means to poison Him. For when They found He was going to reduce the Windward Rebells, as He had done those to Leeward They were in the utmost despair, especially those who deserted and had been brought to Their Masters by Capt. Cudjoe’s Gang, pursuant to Their Agreement. He had this affair so much at Heart that in the intervals of His pain, He sent out some of Capt. Cudjoes men, who were acquainted with the Rebells, and where They were setled, to acquaint Them with the Terms They had accepted of, and to invite Them to Submit on the same Conditions. They at the same time assured Them of Strict Justice, and a punctuall Compliance with the Articles; upon which some of Their Chiefs came down to Lt. Collo. Bennet on whom the Command devolved, Submitted Themselves and agreed to the same Conditions which were granted to the others.

Thus was this Island delivered from the Danger which was impending so many Years from an intestine Enemy, who threatened no less than the extirpation of the White Inhabitants (had not this Treaty been happily Concluded with Them) especially at so Criticall a juncture when we were on the brink of a War with Spain. For it has been lately discovered (as I am credibly informed) that the Inhabitants of Cuba, held a Correspondence with Them, supplied Them with Ammunition and other Necessaries, and were to have joined Them, in order to reduce the Island, and dispossess the English. And had that been done it is not to be supposed they would have Submitted to be under the Spanish Government, but preserved the Independancy and possession of the Island without recieving Laws [img. 202, f. 103/69, recto] Or impositions from any other Country or People.

The Settlement of them indistinct Bodies, in distant parts of the Country, and under their proper Chiefs, was Certainly more adviseable, than to have brought them all under the Subjection of Capt. Cudjoe, or any other of their Chief Men. Because they cannot now so readily Consult or Combine together upon any disagreement with the White People; nor so easily United in Case the Spirit of Rebellion should ever arise and Spread among them. On the Contrary, it will probably Cause an Emulation between the two Societies which shall be the most usefull and Faithfull to the White People, to engage their favour and Encouragement.

However it is Necessary to have a Strict Eye over them, to restrain as much as possible their having any intercourse and Correspondence with the Plantation Negroes, or permitting them to have any quantity of powder and Arms. Care ought also to be taken that all just grievances be redressed without delay. That the Treaty be as faithfully observed on our Parts, as it has hitherto been by Them; and that no Injury be done Them, nor any Cause given Them of umbrage or Offence, upon any Occasion.

But, as it will be dangerous to allow them to Continue and Multiply as a distinct People, from the rest of the Island, all just and proper methods ought to be taken; to induce them and their Posterity to incorporate and mix with the other Inhabitants; to render them usefull upon all occasions; and prevent their being noxious in any degree whatever. This may be done by allowing and giving Them Encouragement to bring up their Children [img. 203, f. 70, verso] to some laborious handicraft Trades, which will conduce towards their incorporating themselves and becoming, at least one and the same People with the rest of the Inhabitants of the Island. But, this or such like Encouragement can be done only by publick law, which is well worth the notice and consideration of the Legislature.

After the Treaty
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