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Of the Inhabitants, Masters, Servants and Negros their Number, Strength, and manner of living as allso an Account of the Negros who were many years in Rebellion, and setled in the Mountains, together with the Treaty made with them in 1738, upon which they submitted and became Free Subjects of Great Brittain.

(f. 158) The First English Inhabitants of Jamaica were (IW) men, who some (IW) they had taken the (IW), and (IW) the Spaniards, were disbanded, and having lands, divided amongst them setled their; and from them are descended several of the Oldest Familys now in the Island. many (IW) who were uneasy at Home In Olivers time and during the Rump Parliament as well as others who were busy and active in those dietracted times. and went over after the Restoration of King Charles the Second; particularly the Sons of President Bradshaw and Commissioner Axtell whose Familys are now Extinct: Barbadoes, Nevis and (IW) upon the (IW) that was (IW) the Crown; to (IW) go over and settle. And When Surinam was Exchanged for New York, all the English Inhabitants, likewise removed from that Country to Jamaica and setled Contiguously, according to their own desire, in St. Elizabeths.

(ff. 159) Monmouths Rebellion furnished the Island, with a great Number of those (IW), who were Engaged in his (IW) 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 those changes of the Government.

But Felons, and Convicts , were always prohibited, as far lay in their Power, by imposing a heavy Duty on them; so that (IW) never heard of above two hundred that (2 IWs) imported there, and in less than two 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 those (IW) Chieftans the Spaniards openly received with the Negroes and other Effects which they had stolen and carried with them, and submitted them to settle there with impunity.

The Rump Parliament refers to the purging of Members of Parliament, thought unlikely to support the punishing of King Charles I, in 1648.

The reinstatement of the monarchy in 1660.

Under the Treaty of Breda (1667), following the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667), the Dutch ceded New Netherland to the English and the English ceded Suriname to the Dutch.

The attempt to overthrow King James II in 1685. The rebellion was led by the Duke of Monmouth, who was Charles II's illegitimate son. 

Notwithstanding the diversity of Opinions and Principles of these Severall classes of People, (IW) of distinctions, and (IWs) then with the past they (IWs) they seemed to be more (IWs) to those that were engaged in the (IWs). It would have been happy for their Successors had they (IW) with the same Prudence in other Respects, and not suffered themselves to be divided by little Emulations, private piques, or the Interest of Governours; from whence have flowed numberless Evills, and the generall Interest of the Country been greatly prejudiced and obstructed; for by those means the Island has often been inflamed, and divided into factions; Artfull designing men have made advantages, and their Enemys 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 (IW) how to (IW) and Compose those differences, considering the (IW) of the Place, and these contradictory Representations, made to them by the contending Partys.

The Inhabitants of this Island are ranked in these four Order (IW) Masters, who are English, Scots, Irish, and some Portoguese Jews; (f. 160) White Servants, Free Negroes and mulattos and Negro Slaves: And

A person of mixed white and black ancestry.

The Masters may be divided into two classes Merchants or Trading People and the Planters. The Merchants and Tradesmen reside in the Towns, and Carry on their Severall Proffessions(?) in the same manner they do in England. Some of them have Plantations, or Country Houses, but in generall they are looked upon as transient People or sojourners, Because they move to Great Brittain or other parts of the British Dominions, when they have acquired Estates or what they think sufficient to maintain them there.

[Knight inserts an asterisk to the following pages]

(f. 160) The method and manner of carrying on buzyness Here is much easier in some Respects than in London, and other Parts of Great Brittain, especially with regard to entering and Charing of Ships and Goods, which is attended with much less trouble and Expense; But, some Innovations and bad Customes have lately been introduced and tollerated, (IW) notwithstanding the Law for Regulating the Publick, ascertaining and Establishing their Fees, and which the Notice and Consideration of the Legislature, or (IW) will become grivous and Burdensome to the Planting as well as to the Trading Interest.

The Port Officers are oblidged 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 Hollydays excepted; and, their Books are open to all Persons, who have the liberty of searching or inspecting the same, paying fifteen pence for which is about ten pence Sterling.

And, all Persons keeping Publick Wharfes are oblidged under the Penalty of Ten pounds for every default, to keep a Book, where in is fairly entered the markes, and (ff. 161) Numbers of all such Goods, as are landed on his or their Wharfe; allso the weights of Sugar and other Produce of the Island bought and Sold, or shiped off, with the names of the Persons or Persons by whom such Goods were landed, bought and sold or shiped off and allso to take a Receipt of the Persons 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 Pracitces of the Debuty marshalls and other offices belong 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 was to recover it from the Debtor. this and some other abuses of the like nature, allso 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.

[End of asterisk]


(f. 160) The Planters live upon their Estates, and seldome come to Town, Except those that are near St. Jagodelavega, where many of them have Houses, and often remove, when the Crop of Planting Seasons is over, for at those times the Masters Eye (IW) highly necessary. It must in Justice, and Honour to them be Remarked, there is not more Hospitality, nor a more generous freedom(?) Shown to Strangers, in any part of the world for any Person who appeared like a Gentleman and behaves Himself well, is Sure of a welcome to their Houses, and the best Entertainment they can afford them. Those who(?) go(?) over with a wounded or Ruined fortune are(?) (f. 161) received with great humanity, and good manners, without any scorn or insult from the Rich to the Poor, but on the Contrary a Generous friendship, and a ready disposition to assist theme in reprieving 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 round the Island, without being at any Expense, for as there are very few Houses of Entertainment but in the Towns, He May with freedom go and dine, or lodge at the next Planters House; Persons of low rank and Condition, are as cheerfully received and entertained by their Servants. In fine, however they have been Reprisented, I dont know a more Industrious, useful, and beneficiall Society to the Nation than they are, as will appear from the advantages arising from this Island, through their care and Industry, which are particularly, set fourth in the 8 & 10 chap. as well as the Opinion and Testimony of Sir Josiah Child who declared that our Persons in the Plantations gave Employment to five at home, (ff. 162) which will not appear improbable when its Considered what a great number of (IW) Manufacturers, labourers &ca. are (IW) Employed by means of the Trade to and from the Plantation. It there fore only Remains to say the Care, Frugality, and painfull manner of living, of the Planters which will remove false notions that have been instilled of the Extravagance, luxury, and Immorality. The Life of a Planter is attended with great Anxiety Care and trouble, as he is Oblidged not only to be up Early and ride about the 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 required great thought, Tempered distinction to order and manage them, their dispositions are as difficult as (IWs) Severall Countrys or Nations, and many Quarrells and Controversys often arise among them, which are heard & determined(?) in Every Plantation by the master and owner, and in His absence the overseer has an Absolute Authority over them, life and limb Excepted.

Merchants and Traders

St. Jago de la Vega

An English merchant and politician who became governor of the East India Company. (1630-1699)

The Planters Dress is generally a Waistcoat and breaches made of Osnabrigs [Osnaburg], which is a course 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 & Neighbours to Visit Theme, they make the best appearance they can, and sometimes perhaps exceed what is necessary or may Reasonably be expected; from whence some measure, arises he 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 those the seldom use: but (ff. 163) upon the occasions before mentioned.

Planter's Dress

As to the Immorality and Profligate manner of living the Planter and other Inhabitants, are charged with, I know just Reason to distinguish them from the rest of mankind; nor did I See or hear of such abandoned lewdness as is commonly practiced in London, and other Sea Port Towns. I would not from hence be thought to insinuate that none of them are (IW) profligate or Extravagant, nor to justify those that are; But, I can with truth affirm that in generall I have impart delineated them, and without favour or Affection. In all Countrys and in all Societys there are undoubtedly good as well as bad men, and thought it must be confessed that there are loose and Wicked Persons in Jamaica, yet I may venture to also say from my own knowledge and Experience there are amongst them many Persons of great honour and Virtue.

their common and ordinary Diversions are Dancing, Horse Racing, Fishing, (IW) Cards, back Gammon, and Billiards; the (IW) may perhaps be thought to Violent an (IW) in a hot Country, but as they choose (f. 166) the coolest part of the day from 7 in the evening to 11 or 11 at Night, and are Carefull in not going to Soon into the open air, very Seldom any inconvenience of prejudice to their healths arises from thence. 

[Pages appear to be inserted. First couple cover the weather and then move to educating planter children]

(ff. 164) And here, it will 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 six years of age, to their Ajents or Factors, and placed out in some Private Publick School; and Some of them sent afterwards to one of the Universitys, or according to the Custom of their Mother Country, to France, Itally, and other Parts, where they, like many other Pretty Gentlemen, learn little more than the Popish Sins, and Ridiculous Customes of those Countrys. the Girles are generally bred(?) at Home and brought up under their Mothers, who are Carefull to Instruct them very early in needle work, and good Housewifing , as soon, if not before they are taught musick, Dancing, and other accomplishments. there the Planters truely sensible of the prejudice and disadvantages that attend the sending their Children over to be Educated in that manner, 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 Nurserys of (ff. 165) learning. and that it is Practicable to give their children a very good Education in the Island and equall to most of any that have been in England, some Instances may be given and particularly a Gentleman now living who never was off the Island, that is well instructed in Grammar and other useful parts of learning, make as good a figure in Conversation, and in the Publick Stations he is in, as well as in the conduct and management of his private affairs, as any man in the (IW) to point out all the objections that may be made to this Custome, however Reasonable just may be thought invidious, and there fore shall have it to themselves to what I have hinted at; and shall only observe that it generally Allienates their Childrens Affections, to their Parents as well as to the Country; and this, in my opinion, were there no Other, is a cogent and Suffitient Objective. many of them upon their Return to the Island, know neither their Father or Mother, and bring over the Habits, Customes, and Constitutions of Europeans improper for the Climate, and which renders them unfit to go through the hardships and fatigues of a Plantation. Beside they contract such a taste of the Pleasures and luxury of England, that they cannot reconcile themselves to any other manner of living, and as soon as they come to their Estates, leave them to the management of their Ajents and Overseirs, and through their neglect or mismanagement (for (IW)) can it be Expected that a Plantation can be so well managed & improved 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. And, I conceive, the imputation that Planters are under of luxury and Extravagance is in a great way owing to the Conduct and behaviour of some of those Gentlemen in England. this is often though not always the Case, as Some have turned out well and done Honour to the Country. and, in Regard to truth and Justice, I must likewise observe that the Women born and Educated in the Island, generally prove well and make Discreet, Frugall and tender Wives; they are Abstemious, living chiefly upon chocolate, Tea, fruits, and ground Provisions, and few of them from the highest to the lowest will touch any Spirituous liquors; their common drink being water or a little madeira wine mixed, and are Extreamely neat(?). they are mostly tall straight and well shaped, for I never saw above two or three that were awry; they are allso well featured but pale, though some of them have the advantage of Collour. the Principall if not the only objection to their Conduct, is in some measure excusable, as it is a Naturall foible, and that is an over fondness to their Children, which makes them absolutly necessary for the Boys to be moved at some distance from them, though were this may be done in the Island.

[End of asterisk]

Education of Children

(f. 166) 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 upon 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, on the greatest part of a very beneficiall Commerce and hath been of infinite prejudice to the Island; a loss to the Proprietors; and all things considered of no manner of Advantage to the Nation. Nevertheless the ([margin]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 Privateers.)


as to the Jews they are mostly Portogeuse, and among themselves Speak no other language. they chiefly reside in three great Towns and have a Synagouge in Each of these, though many of them are scattered about in the Country Villages where they keep Shops and furnish the Planters as we all as the Negroes, with many Necessarys. 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 (ff. 167) Privileges, yet very few have any Notion of Planting, so that they have no amongst them all more than Eight or ten Plantations, of which three or four are Sugar works, thought greatest part of the Houses and Ware Houses at Portt 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 (IW) Probity, Exact and Punctuall in their dialogue, their Industry, Moderation, and Acconomy may serve as Patterns to many Traders and Others and it would conduce to the Preservation of their Healths as well as their Interests, if they would likewise instate them, in Temperance, and their Regal manner of living. I have often considered the Advantages and disadvantages that arise(?) to the Island from this Nation or People in generall, and upon the whole I cannot perceive the Policy of our Ancestors in giving them so much Encouragement and our Continuance of it, or Even in permiting 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 Traders Subsist on Credit, and have so many little Roguish tricks, as are detrimentall to the Country they live in and a Scandall and Reproach to their own Nation. ([margin] It is well known that they Corrupt the Negroes (IW) Encouraging them to (IW) Receiving, Concealing and Purchasing stolen good of them and) It is a common Custome amongst them, to purchase Houses which are not Subject to the Payment of Debts (to the great discredit of the Island) to (IW) them from arrests, and to make a Provision for their family; so that when they dye their creditors are generally defrauded of great par 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 frequently impound upon by those and other vile Practices. they have conceived so implacable a prejudice to the Jews that were they not Restricted 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 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, Sums not only to puzle and Surprise them, But to raise their Indignation (ff. 168) and Contempt.

It is likewise to be considered that those People deprive many Poor Christian Familys of Subsistance by supplanting them in buzyness who would be much more useful to the Community than they are; the Jews do not serve on Jurys , nor upon many other Publick occations; nor indeed is it Reasonable that they should; and very little Service can be expected of them, in Case of an Invasion or Insurrection, as twenty Resolute fellows will drive five hundred before them. What use or Advantage are them of, to an Island that wants Inhabitants to improve, (IW) they Earn the bread of others who would be more usefull and of Service, upon those (IW) occations, when those People will rather be a Prejudice, as a Dastardly few may sometimes do, Strike a damp Even on men of Courage and Resolution. nor are these the objections that are commonly made to them, they have often been suspected, on good grounds, of giving Intelligence to the Spaniards; and of holding a Correspondence with the Negroes in the Mountains, when they were in Rebellion; and were of furnishing them with Powder and Arms, these Circumstances are worth the Notice and Consideration of the Legislature, that some Effectuall measures may be taken to Remedy those inconveniencys, and to Render those People more usefull or less Noxious.

Portuguese Jews

The Asiento was a licence issued by the Spanish crown that allowed merchants a monopoly on a specific trade. Under the Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the British were granted the Asiento, giving them exclusive rights to sell enslaved people to the Spanish colonies. 

Servants are generally indentured as Carpenters, Bricklayers, Coopers, Smiths, and many are of no Trade or Proffession, or Country fellows; the laws latter are Employed as Drivers as they are called, that is in looking after the Negroes at work, or in overseing the Boyling of sugars; 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 (IW) wages, and to find them with lodging and Board during their Contract. Tradesmen are allowed from 15 to £30 & according to their abilitys; those that have no Trades from 5 to £10 per annum; and many nothing(?) but Board, lodging, and Clothes. the generality of them take to drinking strong Rum Punch or Run unmixed, which destroys many of them or impairs their (ff. 169) Healths, some detest their Masters Service & 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, few will Employ them whence 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 severall that are now Masters of Familys, live on good Credit, and by their Industry have had 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 (IW) Effectually Recommend them to the good Grace of their Masters, and the notice of the (IW) and indeed there is no Encouragement (IW) to People of all proffessions, who are carefull to commend themselves, by their Sobriety, Industry, and discreet behaviour; as many have happily experienced. Nor need any apprehend want or Opportunity of Advantage themselves, But, the Slothfull, and Intemperate, or such as have no Regard to their own Private Character and Interest. I dont Remember to have seen in all the time I resided in the Island, which was upwards of twenty years, one Person beging in the Streets, except some Prisoners in times of War, and now and then a poor old or decrepid free Negro, which is a sufficient proffer of what I have asserted.

Indentured Servants

there are several Municipall Laws Relating to servants; and, it will not be improper to transcribe a few head of some them, Because it will manifest the Justice and Care of the Legislatures, though as an impartiall Writer I must observe that those and many other Excellent Laws are not allways duly and truly Executed.

([Margin] By a Law intitled an Act for Regulating Servants 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 this 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 (ff. 170) be heard and determined by any two Justices of the Peace, without appeal; and if any Servant 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 sick or (IW) Servant under pretence of Freedom or otherwise and such servant shall die for want of Relief of become chargeable to any Parish, (IW) offender shall forfeit Twenty pounds to the use of the Parish where such Death or (IW) shall happen.

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

Whosoever shall not give to each White Servant, weekly, Four 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 Shillings for Every Offence.

and, Whosoever shall not yearly give to each Servant man three Shirts, three pair of Drawers, three pair of shoes, three pair of stocking 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 (overseirs of sugar works, or Sugar Plantations 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 pound 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 occation where they are injured or aggrieved, and therefore this Easy Remedy is provided, to save them that Expence.

and Here it will not be improper to observe that it is a mistaken notion in the Planters to imagine they will ever be able to Settle and Strengthen the Island with such Persons, who are oblidged to leave their own country for debt, or some misbehaviour though neither Convicts nor Felons. many of the as I have observed, Run away (ff. 171) from their Master soon after their Arrivall and return to England; Others take to drinking and by that means impair their healthes 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 nominal and such as have no Property may sometimes fight though they are not allways to be depended on, for it cannot Reasonably be supposed that they will have the Same Spirits, or (IW) the same generous Ardour, as those who act in Defense 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 Instance to Evince the truth of this. Position, let (IW) only reflect on the Conduct and Behaviour of the Partys that were fitted out from time to time to pursue and Reduce the Negroes in the Mountains, before they Submitted (IW) this will Convince them that such Persons are not to be depended on, upon the like (IW); 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 Familys, and give them due and Reasonable Encouragement to import Boys & Girles that are about Ten or Twelve years of age, who have not contracted any habits nor entered into any kind of Vice 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 Countrys England is the more improper to furnish Colonys 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 Welsh are certainly the (IW) and the most unexceptionable as they are used to hard living and a Mountainous Country, and are unacquainted with the Vice & Debauchery of other Nation; and next to them Scotch and Protestant swiss familys; 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 (f. 172) the Island, though I am sorry to observe that they are not allways Regarded as they ought to be, nor Duly put in Execution according to the meaning and intention of the Legislature; But often evaded and perverted, private Interest and Advantage being considered and prefered to the generall good of the Country, by those who are intrusted with the Execution of them.

The other Inhabitants of Jamaica, are Mullatos, Indians, and Negroes, of which near two thousands are Free, besides those in the Mountains; some Obtained their Freedom by their Fidelity and good services to their Masters, and others by distinguishing themselves, when the Island was invaded by the French in 1698 or in some Expeditions against the Rebellious Negroes, their liberty having been granted there by their Masters or purchased at the Publick Expense for their good service; and some are descended from those who were active & usefull on those occations.

The Mullatos are a mixed Breed between Whites and Blacks, and are a very unhappy Race. People, being dispised by the one and hated by the other. they are hardy, but in generall Slow and Idle.

The Indians are brought from the Continent and not Natives of the Island, none of them (f. 173) remaining when the Island was taken from the Spaniards; they are of a much mild Temper and must be gently treated as they are not accustomed to hard labour. (IW) are very (IW) the land, 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 Coast or large Rivers.

[Inserted pages. Knight has an asterisk pointing to these pages before his section on the enslaved]


(f. 172) By the laws of the Island, Free Negroes & Mulattos for all offences Capitall or Criminall are to be tried & adjudged after the same method and manner as other Negroes that are 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, mulatto, or Indian- not having a settlement of the 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 Badge of a Blew Cross, upon the Right Shoulder to denote the same.

[End of asterisk]

Indigenous Americans

(f. 173) The Negroes 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 Oblidged to keep one white man to thirty Negroes or in Case of a Defitiency the pay the penall of £13.6.8, 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 Customes, consequently they cannot converse freely not confide in Each other. and those of different Countrys have as great and naturall Antipathy to Each other, as any (ff. 174) two Nations in the world, so that they are under mutall apprehensions of falling into Subjection one of the other, should they Shake 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 shiping Continually coming and going, give them an Idea of the Strength and Power of the English Nation and Strikes an Awe and Terrour into them. None of them, except the Free Negros, are allowed to keep Arms or dangerous Weapons in their Houses, nor suffered to go out of the Plantation they belong to, without a Certificate from the Master or Oversier, Expressing the time he has have to be abroad, and upon what occation; nevertheless this is sometimes winked at and not Strictly put in Execution. However, Guards are Constantly kept on Sundays and Hollydays, and the Troops of Horse in the several Parishes or Precincts are Oblidged to Patrol in their Respective divisions, to prevent Conspiracys or disorders amongst the Negroes who generally assemble together at those times, get drunk and Quarell amongst themselves, and sometimes in their drink grow turbulent and were mutinous f they are not timely dispersed. When they See the 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 Collour when they travell, though the Negroes seldom Rob or disturb any Persons on the Highway, nor, attempt to Steal anything, But mony, Provisions or ordinary Cloathing such as they usually wear being sensible that their having any thing (IW) other Possession would betray them; and for this Reasons, the Planters as well as those in the Towns live in greater security in that Respect, than People in England, and it is very Common to leave their Windows, Even on the ground floor open at night.

Enslaved People

But, the Creole Negroes or those born in the Country are so far from being under the like apprehensions of a 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 (ff. 175) as formerly; those Creole Negroes speak very good English, especially such that are brought up in the Towns, or in Gentlemens Houses, and have so good and tractable Genius that they are easily instructed in most mechanicall Trades, and to be useful in many other Respects. they look upon themselves (IW) 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.

The Negroes brought from Guinea are of more than twenty different Countrys or Nations; But those that are most esteemed are from Whidah, the Gold Coast, and Angola. the first are very justly prefered to all others as 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, when twenty or more are at work in the Field, 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 Coromantines, are of different Provinces or Clans and not under the same Prince or Chief, nor do they Speak the same language; of these the Coromantines, Fanteens, Achims, & Shantees are mostly Esteemed; the others which are generally brought from the Windward part of the Coast or the Inland Countrys, are not Equall 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 (IW) Europeans who (IW) there to Trade (IW) to the Factorys, but some kill any for their (IW); and seem very much surprised upon their first arrivall when they see those Creatures at work in the Mills, Coaches or Carts. they are most of them, particularly the Coromantines, injenious, and when they are young easily taught any Science or Mechanick Art. Remarkable for white teeth of which they are Extream carefull, and so Neat and Cleanly in other respects, that the first thing they do after they have done (ff. 176) 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 Reason Every Prudent Planter is cautious of having to many of them in his Plantation, and therefore the common Customes is to miz other Countrys with them, for there never was, as I have heard of, in this or any other Colony, and Plot or Conspiracy, but they were at the bottom of it.

The Angolas are likewise used to labour, but the Reason of them not being so much esteemed by the Planters as others, is their having been accustomed to Eat flesh in their own Country, which they cannot afford them, though 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 Trader or to go in Sloops, Cannoes and Wherrys as Waterman, where a better Subsistance can be allowed them, than in Plantations.

to enter into a particular Description of  all the other Nations of Negroes brought to this Island would be tedious and unnecessary, nor indeed will I pretend to it, there being so many, and some of them especially those brought from the Inland part 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 Ethnicities

Knight was likely referring to the Fante People, the people of the Axim region, and the Ashanti people.

The Planter generally buys Eight or ten at a time, according as He is furnished with Provisions, or His occations require; and the Custome is to give Each man His wife and a piece of Ground which they must Cultivate & improve for themselves as fast as they can, Because their master is to (IW) them for six months, But that after the Expiration of that term they must provide for themselves; an Industrious Negro (ff. 177) out of the land allotted Him, will not only be able to raise as many Plantains, Yams, Pottatoes & other ground prov. and allso Hogs, and (IW) fowles 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 necessarys; (IW) some of them that are frugall as well as Industrious will lay up mony beside, which they are carefull 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. Moreover 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 Extrem Carefull to conceal the Place where well from those of their own family. Sunday morning they are allowed to bring their Provisions to Town and sell them in the markets, but, they are oblidged to remove at nine a Clock or before Divine Service begins; and on Sundays and Hollydays in the Evenings, as well as in moon light nights 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 consists of little more than showing Postures and an agility of body: (IW) the Women have (IW) Variety of Steps, (IW) more decent and (IW) in their manner. their Instruments of musick are very noisy & 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 in a good hand, and I have heard minuets and other English tunes played there on so distinctly, and with so good time, as might serve European Dancers upon Occation.

Jamaican planters provided enslaved people with provision grounds, which they were expected to grow food on. 

The laws for the better order and Government of Slaves, among other things Exact,

That if a slave strike a white man, or off any Violence to him, such slave shall be punished by two Justices of the Peace and three free holders, who may inflict death or any other Punishment, according to their discretion; provided such striking or Assault, be not by command of His owner oversier or Persons having Power over Him, or in the lawfull Defence of His Owners Person or goods.

That all slaves shall have cloths, that is (ff. 178) Men jackets and Drawers, and women jackets and petty Coates, 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 each (IW) so wanting.

That every Master, Mistress or Oversier shall cause all slaves Houses to be searched every fourteen days for Clubs, wooden Swords or other mischievous Weapons, and finding any shall cause them to be buried and allowed upon Request to search for stolen goods, and a slave or slaves in whose custody such stolen goods shall be found, shall suffer death, Transportation, dismembring or any other Punishment at the discretion of two Justices and three Freeholders, on the major part of the one of which to be a Justice.

That no Person shall attempt to endeavour to Steal or Carry off the Island, hide, Conceal or Employ any slave on penalty of one hundred pounds; But whosever shall actually steal and slave or deface his, her, or their master shall be guilty of Felony, & 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 to be a Justice, thought no other crime shall appear against them, which Order the Owner or Trustee shall see duly Executed under the penalty of Fifthy pounds for Each offence.

That if any slave or slaves transported by order of two Justices and three Freeholders, wilfully return, upon complaint made to any Justice of the Peace, He upon View of the Record is impowered and directed, on penalty of Fifthy pounds, immediately to issue out a Warrant under his hand and Seal to any Marshall 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, Robery, burning of Houses or Canes, Rebellious Conspiracys, or any other capital offence, the said (ff. 179) Justices 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 comend him, her, or them to Prison, and Certifie to the next Justice the Laws and require him, to associate himself, which such Justice is thereby required to do: and they so assosiated shall issue out their Warrant to summon three Freeholders, seting 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 Tryalls, and, if they on having the matter (the Freeholders being first sworn to judge upright and according to Evidence) shall judge the Persons 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 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 Persons, and they of attained by open deed before two Justices and three Freeholders, such slave or slaves shall suffer death; and all Petit Crimes, trespasses, and injurys committed by any slave or slaves shall be heard and determined by any Justices of the Peace.

That no Master, Mistress or Oversier shall suffer any meeting of slaves not belonging to their own Plantation to Rendevous, Feast, Rivell, beat drums or Cause any other disturbance, but shall forthwith disperse them.

That no slave shall be free by becoming a Christian; and for payment of debts and legacys, all slaves shall be deemed and taken as goods and chattells in the hands of Executors, and where others goods and chattells are not sufficient to satisfie such debts and legacys, there so many as are necessary shall be sold, and the Remaining slaves after the payment of debts and legacys, shall be judged, deemed, and taken as Inheritance and shall deemed accordingly, and all children of slaves shall remain or Revert as their Parents do.

(ff. 180) That all Masters, Mistresses or Owners and in their absence oversiers shall as much as in them lies, endeavour 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 causes to be Baptised all such as they can make sensible of a Duty and the Christian Faith.

That the Justices within the several Respective Parishes and Precints, shall at the first Session in Every year limit and appoint the number of Hollydays at the usuall Festivales of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide.

That no slave or Slaves be dismembered at the will and pleasure of his Master, Owner or Employer, 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 of Confession in the Supream 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, to forfeit lands and (IW) good and Chattells.

Beside these there are many other Excellent Laws, Relating to the Negroes, to tedious and indeed unnecessary 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 could wish they were at all times duly observed, and strictly put in Execution.

Slave Laws

As to the Inhumanity of and Cruelty of the Planters to their Negroes, though I will not pretend to say there is not any grounds for that charge, yet in generall it is very much aggravated, & 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 (ff. 181) are careless, and others Treacherous, Idle and apt to Run Away, and how much their Masters Interest depends on their care and diligence of His Slaves must needs be Convinced that they are Absolute (IW) 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 whiping on the bare back, and though such a Correction may be shocking to a tender mind, yet it is indispensably necessary, for the Reasons Thus mentioned; nor is that kind of discipline so rigid and Severe as is practiced 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 is must be confessed that the (IW) treatment of the Negroes, greatly depends on the Temper and discretion of the master for such men are of a more tender, (IW), compassionate disposition than other, led by those motives and Principles as well as a regard to their Interest, to be kind to their Negroes, so be carefull that they neither want Provisions or 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 so easy as some imagine; for though Polygamy is practiced amongst the Negroes, it rather hinders than promotes their multiplying, so that where mortallity or any other accident happens a Planter is undone, or falls behind hand unless He has mony or Credit to purchase others; a good working field negro being worth from 30 to £50. and good Boylers, Carpenters, Bricklayers, & 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, were those who have been slaves themselves, are the most Rigid and fierce Masters in all Respects.

The Negroes manner of living in our Plantation and above all the very name of slavery may be disagreable & shocking to an Englishman, who has allways enjoyed his liberty, and lived in Ease, & Plenty; But when it is Considered that their Condition in generall is much better and that they (f. 182) live happier than they did in their Own Country, or Even than some of the workers in England, and much better than some of other Nations, those Circumstances will Remove the Prejudices which many Persons unacquainted with our Colonny have conceived against them.

[Knight inserts an asterisk, presumably to the following inserted page]

(f. 182) for Every Plantation Negro in Jamaica is allowed to build a House for himself and his Family, after His own manner, which though mean & low, yet in such as they have been used to in their Country; they are allso allowed to live(?) in a small yard Contiguous, and to raise hogs and Poultry for themselves, beside his little Plantation, which produces Corn, (IW) and all sorts of ground Provisions, some of which they dispose of and purchase other necessarys.

[End of asterisk]

(f. 182) their Died is indeed Course, 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 (IW), Plantains, Yams, and Pottatoes roasted or boyled (and now and then a Goat, or a small sort of 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 they Island they have great plenty of (IW) fish, and most of them as I observed are allowed to keep Hogs and fowles, by which means they are abll to purchase a better allowance of those thing than they have from their Masters, which is only at Christmas and in Croptime. they have likewise cloathing and many other necessarys,

(f. 184) which they were Strangers to and never knew use of before they came to the Island; nor was their liberty, in their Own Country, any more than nominall or imaginary

[Knight puts an asterisk, presumably leading to the following inserted page]


(f. 183) for as most of them were Subject to the Arbitrary will and harm of their Kings or Chief Men who disposed of them as they thought proper, and had an Absolute Power of life & 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 lives, and are were Ristrained from miming or Dismembering them upon any Pretence whatever without a Legall Tryall.


(f. 184) Whoever, considers the condition of the common People in most other Countrys, and Compares it with the Negroes must allow that the latter has the Advantage, notwithstanding all the objections and Cavills that are made against the useage and treatment the Negros meet with in our Plantations [Last three words crossed out] A Negro had a kind of Property and looks upon His little Plantation as such, it being seldome taken away without giving him an Equivalent. He has stated times of working and Recess, and several Hollydays in the Year, beside Satturdays in the afternoons (ff. 185) and Sundays. He is allowed at those times to go upon his own occations, divest Himself, or Visit his friends, provided he (IW) have, and Obtains a Certificate. He is taken care of in Sickness and health, and at no Expence for Rent or an Apothecary or a Surgeon, He has plenty of ground provisions, and with care and Industry may furnish himself with salted provisions, and other necessarys, 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 ease, and therefore often Suffer want and Extremity, which they very justly deserved.

The Condition and Manner of living of a the Common People in England, & other parts is very well known and therefore I shall only Observe that many of them are under great difficultys in Subsisting themselves, and their Familys, in Sickness or the dead of Winter, & (IW) in the Summer Season; that their Died in generall 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 base of cloathing as the Negroes, considering the difference in the Climate and that often in health as well as in Sickness, old age, or disability they are Reduced to very great Extremity, yet these People Starth(?) 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.

Planter Violence

The Negroes are not only Subject to the Common diseases, but are likewise troubled with some Distempers peculiar to themselves, and probably owing to their manner of living as they feed much on Salted provisions, or such as they Season so Excessive high salt and Pepper, that no body can touch it but themselves, were the very tasting of it will inflame the mouth to such a degree, that it cannot be cool for sometime after: the most terrible Distemper amongst them is the yaws, which is very (ff. 186) seldome known among the White People, though some of the Poorer sort who Converse, and Cohabit with them, are sometimes troubled with it. it break out in Blotches or sores full of ulcerous matter, and when it Spreads and is thick over the Body, it is more offensive and frightfull than the smallpox. it is Seldome cured in less than two years; and very few but their own Doctors, for such they have amongst them, have the Art of making a perfect cure; for though our Phisitians and surgeons undertake it, and do seemingly make a cure, yet it generally breaks out again. As I have mentioned the Negro Doctors it will not be improper to take notice, that some of them have made very Surprising Cures, and particularly one belonging to Mr. Dawkins of Clarendon, their method of Practice is generally making a hot Bath with several sorts of Herbs and Simples, or by fomentations which are attended with wonderfull success and more particularly in the small Pox. they very seldome prescribe anything to be taken inwardly which probably is one Reason that attaches their own collour so much to them to them, and makes them have so little Confidence in our own Phisitians and Surgeons; for though every Plantation has one that constantly attend them every day, yet it is with great difficulty that many of the Negroes are prevailed upon to take their Medicines. the Negro Doctors very seldom discover their Nostrums or method of practice, though some of our Practitioners have now and then got out of them the use and Virtue of many Simples that were unknown to them or to any Phisitian in England. and I am of the Opinion that many secrets in the Art of Phisick, may be obtained from the Negro Doctors were proper methods taken which I think is not below our Phisitians to Enquire into as it may be of great service to themselves and mankind.

Doctors and Disease

A disease related to syphilis, although not sexually transmitted. The symptoms were similar to leprosy. 

there Remains one objection to the Conduct of the Planters, which I wish I could as Easily Answer as those I have allready mentioned, and that is the little care they take to instruct their Negroes in the belief of a Deity, and the (ff. 187) Principles of the Christian Religion. the Legislature indeed have by law directed that every Master, Mistress, or Oversier shall as much as in them lies, endeavour to Instruct their salves, and to fit them for Baptism. But, it must be observed that where is no Penalty on those who omit or neglect it, nor would it be to any purpose if there was, as many other Penall Laws which affect themselves, are very seldome put in execution. the Reason commonly assigned for their neglect of this Duty is that the Conversion of their Slaves to Christianity would set them free, is Entirely groundless; as there is an Express(?) Law of this Country to the Contrary; nor to 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, not could I never 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 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 to Indeed believe in a Deity and that there is a future state, though their own Notions and Opinons are very dark and Obscure.

As to their being Idolaters and that they Worshipped Snakes and other Animalls, I never saw (IW) with any (IW) such or who really were of Opinion that when they die they shall return again 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 Grave with their dead, and for some weekes after Sing, Dance, and pour liquor over there; But, this  proceeds from the generall Opinion amongst them of removing after Death, to form some other Country where they shall Enjoy their Freedom, and live happily; and therefore they must have Provisions for Supporting them. And it is that hope or Expectation, which makes them so fearless of Death and in their last moments Seem to be under no other Concern than that of parting with their Friends; and it is so strongly imprinted (ff. 188) on some Negroes, particularly the Eboes, upon the last (IW) or uneasiness, and sometimes to avoid Punishment they can hang themselves. nor has any means been found effectuall to deter them from this Abominable practice; but to dismember and burn the Bodys of such Negroes, (2 IWs) have not any Idea of a Resurrection or the (IW) changing of Bodys, it strikes the great terrour into them, Because they (IW) Annihilates or disables such Persons pursuing the Journey to that other Country. Nay many of them have discovered the (IW) uneasyness when they have Seen or heard of any of their friends or Country men being opened(?) or dissected(?); and the Surgeons sometimes been oblidged to desist in order to (2 IWs) them, although they were acquainted to the motives and Reasons, and many (IW) made use of to Convince them their absurd and Ridiculous Notions to very little purpose.

as to the Angolas many of them have been Baptised in their own Country, and have some notions of Christianity, though dark and obscure; for about two hundred years ago their King and many of them were converted by the Portuguese, who continue to send missionaries among them. they have allso some Black Priests in their own Country who are Slaves as well as themselves, and tell their beads and perform the Offices, at Funeralls, after the (IW) manner in broken Portuguese, 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 Beliefs of a Deity, which the seem naturally inclined to and of a future State of Rewards and Punishments; these and some Principles of morallity which might likewise be inculcated would lend very much to make them better Servants & Subjects as well as to fir them for another World; But to attempt any thing more, will be in Vain and a Herculean labour, though I am far (ff. 189) from discouraging so laudable a design and should be glad to see some Attempt to Accomplish it.

Religious Practice

The Kingdom of Kongo converted to Christianity following contact with the Portuguese.  

As to the Negroes who are setled in the Mountains, and, for many years gave great disturbance and uneasyness to the inhabitants, more particularly to the Planters in the remote Parts of the Island, their Origin is very dark and obscure; and all that can bee collected of them is chiefly by Traders from some of the old (IW) and themselves particularly Capt. Cudjo, who is their Chief or Head Man, and a very sensible fellow.

The Government was at a vast expense(?) in building (IW) Barracks in the Mountains to provide their excursions, as well as in (IW) Parties, to pursue and seduce them. But (IW) to very little purpose; for having(?) many (IW) and Place of Retreat; when they were discovered and routed from one Settlement they retired to another, were People could not follow not being acquainted with the Mountainous Parts or Capable of ascending them, but with the greatest difficulties. By these means they were not only able to support and defend themselves, but to be very mischievous and troublesome; and as they (IW) 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 Negroes, who refused the Terms and Conditions, which were offered by Coll. Doyley, and had been accepted of by many others; but, chiefly from the Negroes who some years after Rebelled at (IW) Lobbys Plantation in Sutton’s in Clarendon, and in Mr. Guys at Guanaboa.

When the English Forces had routed the Spaniards who were settling themselves at St. Anns (after the Island was by suspended to Generall Venables) and went over to Cuba; They left behind them a considerable Number of Negroes and Mulattos, whom they were not able to carry with them, for want of embarkation. To encourage them to continue their Fidelity to harass and distress the English, they promised them great Rewards, and that they would soon return with sufficient Forces to recover the Island. At the same time, to Exasperate and prevent them making any agreement, They insinuated that the English were a Bloody minded People, and never gave any Quarter. (ff. 190)


These Negroes finding themselves at liberty and that their masters did not return, according to their promises, killed the mulattos and others that were appointed to conduct them; Erected a kind of Government among themselves, and chose a Person, who they thought fit to Govern them. But, having allready given a relation of their Transactions, from time to time, I shall now proceed to give an account of those who continued to obstinate and refused to accept of the Terms and Conditions which were granted to the others.

When they found their Number so reduced that they were not able to make any Resistances they resolved to (IW) and settle in the most (IW) parts of the Island, And if possible to avoid being discovered 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 settling amongst the Mountains between St. James & (IW) Parishes, and the other at the East(?) part of St. Georges near Port Anthonio. Here(?) They lived in an inoffensive manner, many years; carefully avoiding the English, when they came to settle in those Parts, or of doing them any injury in so much that it was generally thought they had found means of getting over to Cuba, or perished in the Wood; so that they were allmost forgot; and the New Setlers in those Parts scarcely ever heard of, much less imagined they had any such Neighbours, or under any Apprehensions of them.

In process of time the Hunted fell in with theirs, who are first were very shy, but afterwards, they became acquainted and grew familiar and held a (IW) anew with the English Negroes; however, they did not encourage them to (IW), and those that did were treated with great ferocity(?), oblidged to all severall offices, they put them to, which prevented many others from joining them.

In 1673, the Negroes belonging to Major Lobby who were mostly Coromantines, a Factious, Turbulent, bloody minded People, mutinied, killed their master 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 in Suttons Plantation in Clarendon; and Mr. Guys at Guanaboa. And many of these (ff. 191) Negroes who escapted after setled in the Mountains in (IW) and under distinct commanders, who were Chiefs among themselves. Those two Gangs lived some years, in their Respective Retreats without any knowledge of Each other, or of the Spanish Negroes and were contented to hide themselves in those Parts, where they could Subsist without doing any Injury to the Plantations or giving them the least (IW): But, the want of cloathes, ammunition, and other Necessarys made them afterward venture out and in the Night, Surprise and (IW) the remote Settlements. Their Success not only animated them, but encouraged severall small Bodies of Negroes to desist from the Plantation, who likewise setled Separately and particularly a parcell of New Negroes belonging to Capt. Hessing in St. Elizabeths, who not being at Home, they mutinied killed His Lady and two children and (IW) into the Mountains, where they hapned to meet with, and join one of those Gangs.

And in 1718 another Body of Negroes, belonging to Mr. Downes of St. Elizabeths, went away and put themselves under the command of a Madagascar Negro who was a Resolute, cunning fellow and setled near Diaws(?) Valley those inveighed many (IW) Negoes from the Neighbouring Plantations, and became considerable about the year 1720: Where by means of their Hunters became acquainted with each others Settlements, and most o them incorporated in two great Bodies the one under the Command of the Madagascar Negroe, and the others which were mostly Coromantines, under the Command of a Negroe belonging to Mr. Sutton. Those two parties after many disputes, and bloody battles, where in a great Number were Slaves on both Sides, and among other the Madagascar captain joined and incorporated themselves.

Hence arose that Great Body of Negroes, near St. Elizabeths, now under the Command of Capt. Cudjo, who afterwards (IW) by the desertion of other Negroes from time to time.

But, However inoffensively the Spanish Negroes lives, for many years, yet when their Posterity became acquainted with some of the severall bodies of Rebellious Negroes and observed that they supported themselves by Robbery and Violence; They made use of the same means to furnish Themselves with Guns, ammunition, and Women which they were in great want of. They likewise associated themselves with some of those small Bodies, followed the same Customes, (f. 192) and abated of their Severity to those, who deserted and came to them. Hence arose the other Great Gang, which (IW) of the Descendants of the Spanish Negroes, (IW) has setled Themselves in St. James & St. George were joined by (IW) small Bodies; and after many disputes and Battles with some of the other Gangs, incorporated and setled (IW) 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 robed the outsettlements(?), 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 to Extirpate them, untill their Strength and Number began to appear, which was about the year 1730. For having been overlooked and disregarded for many years, They began to grow formidable by continuall desertions; and many hundred(?) (IW) able Negroes being born in the Woods, who were trained in arms, and being from their Infancy accustomed to the Rocky Mountains (IW) it was exceeding difficult, and almost impracticable for White Persons to follow them.

The Maroons
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