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The French government, by a decree of the 30th of August, 1784, expressly forbade any payment to be made for such things as were permitted to be imported from foreign markets, except in syrups, taffia (rum), and commodities brought from France. Spain alone granted to its colonies the power of carrying all their productions, excepting cacao, to foreign markets. “Civil, social, and religious order was established in Grenada. Stipends were granted, by an act of the Assembly, to five clergymen of the Church of England, of £330 currency, and £60 for house-rent. One of the clergymen was for the town and its environs, in the parish of St. George — three to do duty, by rotation, in the five out parishes, and one at Cariacow. The glebe lands which had belonged to the Roman Catholic priests, while their religion constituted a part of the government, became the property of the crown, and were granted by his Majesty to the legislature of the island, for the better support of the Protestant churches; deducting an allowance for the maintenance of the Roman Catholic priests, who were still paid,” for the pastoral care of the Papists. A perpetual tax, of eighteen-pence currency per head, was laid upon all slaves in Grenada, to support the clergy. The number of slaves in Barbadoes, as given in on oath by Mr. Agent Brathwaite, was 61,808. The number of slaves imported into the Grenades was 1688. In Grenada, an act was passed, October 18th, 1784, “for regulating the fees of the clerk of the market, and authorising him to take eighteen pence for every slave he shall flog, whether it be ordered by the magistrate or owner.” The inhabitants voted 3620,000 to join the Lagoon to the harbour of St. George's. On the 29th of June, 150 houses, in the most opulent part of Port-au-Prince, St. Domingo, were destroyed by fire, and the royal magazine reduced to ashes. The damage was estimated at 30,000,000 of francs. On the three first days in August the island suffered severely from a storm. Jamaica suffered from a hurricane. Upon the night of July the 30th, every vessel in the harbour, except four, was either sunk, dismasted, or driven on shore, and numerous lives lost; the barracks at Up Park Camp were blown down, and five soldiers killed; the workhouse was destroyed, and ten of its inmates killed or wounded. The storm began at half-past eight P.M., and continued till past eleven P.M. Two severe shocks of an earthquake were felt. mm. Depon's South America, vol. ii. p. 41. Coke's West Indies, vol. ii. p. 58. Parliamentary Papers, 1789, Campbell's Evidence. Report of the Lords of the Committee, 1789, Supplement to No.15.
Parliamentary Papers, 1790, Lieutenant H. H. Dalrymple's Evidence.
His Majesty's ship Janus, Commodore Pakenham, rode out the Storm. The legislature of the Bahama islands, in the twenty-second section of an act passed this year, enacted, “That the oath of Negroes, Mulattoes, Mustees, or Indians, shall not be good or valid in law against any white person, excepting in matters of debt; and then any free Negro, Mulatto, Mustee, or Indian Christian, shall be allowed to prove her or his account, and sue for the same, in any court in these islands, where the same shall be cognizable.” Thus these people are allowed to be witnesses, and are to be believed only when they swear for their own advantage. And the rule of exclusion is extended from slaves to the testimony of free persons, if they happen to be Negroes or Mulattoes except in respect of freed Negroes, Mulattoes, Mustees, and Indians. Then by the same act, “the evidence of a slave against them shall be good and valid to all intents and purposes.” Thus the credibility of evidence is made to depend on the colour of the defendant against whom it is given, and white criminals must escape, when Blacks and Mulattoes would be hanged It further states — “Whereas many heinous and grievous crimes, such as murder, poisoning, burglaries, robberies, rapes, burning and breaking open houses, and other felonies, are many times committed by Negro, Mulatto, Mustee, or Indian slaves, or are many times maliciously attempted by them to be committed; in which, though by divers accidents they are prevented, yet are their crimes nevertheless heinous, and therefore deserve punishment; and whereas Negro, Mulatto, Mustee, and Indian slaves do many times steal, wilfully maim, kill and destroy horses, cattle, sheep, or other things of the value of six shillings, or above, or are accessary to the committing of such crimes as are before mentioned, which several offenders, for danger of escape, ought not to be long imprisoned, and deserve not, for the basemess of their condition, to be tried by the established laws of England, nor is execution to be delayed in case of their committing such horrid crimes,” therefore, the justices are commanded “to cause immediate execution to be done.” “The average maintenance of a slave, for food and cloathing, in health and sickness, cannot be estimated at less than four pounds sterling per annum.” Part of an estate called Crab Hole, under Hackleton's Cliff, Barbadoes, slipped in the direction from north to south, several hundred yards. The ground was intersected by fissures, and in laces swelled into tumours. Most of the buildings upon Mr. PhilÉ s plantations were thrown down, or almost ingulphed. A large piece of edoes occupied the site of the house, and brought with it
Stephen on west Indian Slavery, pp. 180. 280. Report of the Lords of the Committee, 1789, Council and Assembly of Antigua.
along slip of the road, as entire as if nothing had happened. The face of the country was so changed, that the inhabitants were unable to determine where many familiar objects had stood before. An act of the Bahamas, this year, enacted, “That when any slave shall suffer death,” inquiry shall be made “what treatment such slave had received from his or her owner;” and if it shall appear Z. “that the owner of such slave had inhumanly used him or her, and . . . that necessity or cruel usage might have compelled such slave to run \o away, or to the commission of the offence for which he or she shall \ have suffered, the owner shall not be entitled to, or receive, any allowance for such slave.” Thus it appears the slave was to be executed first, and the necessity that led to his crime be inquired into afterwards. “Who can conscientiously say of assemblies by which such opprobious laws have been made, that they are fit to be trusted with the sacred functions of legislation? Parliament might be embarrassed with the details of a slave code; but the delegation of the work to such bodies as the colonial assemblies, was an expedient in the last degree unjust. The very worst of legislators for a community of slaves, is a popular assembly composed of and elected by their masters; and in abandoning them entirely to such lawgivers, England has stood alone among the colonizing powers.” By an act passed this year in Antigua, a jury of six white inhabitants were ordered for the trial of capital offences. This was probably the first institution of the kind in the West Indies, and its operation was limited to three years. Previous to this, the justices decided in all cases, both on the law and fact; and, without the intervention of any other authority, awarded execution, which was done in obedience to their warrant by the marshal (sheriff) or his officers. The evidence of one slave against another was ordered to be admitted, but not against a free person. In some colonies, on the trial of capital charges, the justices are now (1823) required to associate with themselves three or more house-keepers, who, jointly with them, decide questions of law, as I well as of fact, and have an equal authority with them in adjusting o the punishment, when of a discretionary kind: a majority of votes being sufficient for either purpose, provided one justice of peace be concurrent.
The number of Negroes in Barbadoes, according to the return upon oath of Mr. Agent Brathwaite, was 62,775.
Stephen on West Indian Slavery, pp. 316. 327, 330.
The number of Slaves in the Grenades was 28,926, of whom 3,012 were imported this year. Captain Gardner was appointed commander-in-chief on the Jamaica station, the 8th of September, 1785; hoisted his broad pendant on board the Europa, fifty guns, and kept the command three years. On the 9th of November, 1785, the conseil souverain of Martinico issued an arrêt concerning the capture of runaway slaves, and the declaration of Negroes killed. “When slaves are killed as runaways, by detachments duly authorized, declaration to be made at the greffe of the Sénechaussée, by those who killed them, or were at the head of the detachment; and the orders given to that effect to be there deposited, copies of which will be joined to the requêtes presented for payment of the slaves so killed.” The gains of the Danish West India Company, during the war of Great Britain with her rebellious colonies, amounted frequently to a hundred per cent. in one year. But the prosperity of the institution ended with that war, and this year the shares or actions were given up to the Danish government. The value of the goods imported by Sweden, this year, from the West Indies, did not exceed £13,400. The exports from Essequibo and Demerary employed fifteen ships, and consisted of 49954 hbds. of sugar, 440 tierces and 12,383 bags of coffee, and 1039 bales of cotton. The quantity of British colonial sugar imported, exported, and consumed, upon an average of five years ending in 1785, was as follows:– Imported, 131,628; exported, 13,120; consumption, 118,502 hhds. of 12 cwt. each. From the custom-house returns made to the House of Commons, it appears, that in 1785 Great Britain imported from her West India colonies 1,782,431 cwt. of sugar, from which she derived a revenue of £984,221, exclusive of the monies paid for drawback upon the sugars re-exported. In July, Benjamin Johnson was hung at Jamaica, for piracy and murder, on board the schooner Friendship: his plea, of being born in the United States, was overruled. The Caribs and runaway Negroes in Dominica had committed numerous depredations. The legislature of that island, to reduce them to obedience, raised a corps of about 500 free people of colour and able Negroes, and placing them under the command of officers
- Memoirs of Lord Gardner, Naval Chronicle, vol. viii. p. 1802.
of the 30th regiment of foot, they were encamped in the woods, and called legions. These preparations made the fugitives more desperate: they attacked a plantation at Rosalie in the night, and murdered four white persons and the chief Negro driver. They continued two days upon the plantation, rioting in their plunder, and escaped unmolested. John Richardson, a carpenter, was employed to rebuild the works on the Rosalie estate; while at that place a party of the legions, in their way to the camp, called for refreshment, and Mr. Richardson prevailed on them to accompany him, and attack Balla, the principal runaway, in his retreat upon the mountains. They set off in the evening, and travelled all night through the woods. By noon the next day, they were at the foot of the mountain whereon Balla was encamped. The runaways had cut steps, at a great distance apart, up the mountain, and this was the only road up. These steps the party mounted one by one, handing their muskets up from one to the other. Mr. Richardson was the first on the top : he hid himself till the whole party were up, and then they attacked the runaways (who were preparing their dinner) so vigorously and unexpectedly, that they fled in dismay, several throwing themselves down the sides of the mountain. Among the prisoners was Balla's son. From an opposite mountain a sharp firing was kept up on Mr. Richardson's party; whose presence of mind, in calling out the names of the different commanding officers directing them to the right or left, made their opponents believe they were surrounded, and induced them to abandon the place with precipitation. Many valuable articles, stolen from the plantations, were found in the huts. The survivors were disheartened, and dared not afterwards assemble in any great number; but flying from place to place, were either killed or taken. Balla was taken, gibbetted alive, and a week in dying, and about 150 others either killed or taken. These were the men whom the Marquis Duchilleau supplied with arms, and acknowledged as his friends, forbidding any attempt to be made to destroy them. Upon the 27th of August, Jamaica suffered from a hurricane. At St. Christopher's Mr. Jordan Burke was indicted for cutting off one ear, and slitting the other, of his female slave, Clarissa. Upon the 8th of March, 1785, he was fined £50 currency for the offence. Upon the same island, August the 24th, Mr. Wadham Strode was indicted for cutting off one ear, and slitting the other, of his Negro-man, Peter, May the 11th, 1785. He was fined £100 currency for the offence.
Atwood's History of Dominica, pp. 230, 245, 246. 248, 249.