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that Port-au-Prince should be thus benefited at the expence of the cape, and that the power of the court should be increased in the colony.
A statement of their griefs, signed by 5000 of the inhabitants, was sent to Paris, to the Marquis de Paroi, and M. de Raynaud, to lay before the King.
The intendant took possession of the money arising from a polltax of a dollar a head upon the Negroes, which the parishes imposed upon themselves, to keep the churches in order, and supply the expences of divine worship. It amounted to about 1,500,000 livres annually, and the expenditure was under the controul of the council. The intendant disposed of it in the same manner he did the royal taxes. This seizure augmented the irritation in the north, and many refused to pay the tax. The disobedient were ordered to Port-au-Prince, where one of the wealthiest died: his death was imputed to vexations occasioned by the “chef des finances,” and this added fuel to the general animosity.
September the 23d, at Balize, between four and five A.M., a hurricane came on from the N.N.W. About ten, it shifted to the S.W., and blew with increased violence. At the same time the sea rose and prevented the running off of the land floods. The lowlands were overflowed: not a house, hut, or habitation of
any kind, on either side the Balize, was left standing — more than 500 were thrown down. One hundred persons perished: dead carcasses and logs of mahogany were floating about in every direction. Eleven square-rigged vessels, besides smaller ones, were totally lost.
The field Negroes in Cuba were found, by actual enumeration,
100 St. Kitt's
102 Nevis, &c.
170 St. Vincent's
Soirées Bermudiennes, par F.C., 1802, Bordeaux, pp. 30. 33.
Annual Register, 1788, p. 193.
Population of the British West Indian Isles, from Report of the
Priry Council, 1788.
Whites. Free people of colour. Slaves.
1,912 1,908 20,435
10,000 Tortola, &c. &c. 1,200
14,967 St. Vincent's 1,450
1,397 1,050 10,539
The number of converted Negro-slaves under the care of the Moravian brethren, at the end of this year, was — in Antigua, 5465; in St. Kitt's, 80; in Barbadoes and Jamaica, about 100; in St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, about 10,000; in Surinam, about 400 making, in the whole, 16,045.
In August, Dominica was visited by three gales of wind, on the 3d, 23d, and 29th, which destroyed all the vessels at the island. All the barracks and buildings upon Morne Bruce were blown down and destroyed, and several houses in the town shared the same fate.
May the 1st, the Earl of Dunmore was appointed governor of the Bahama islands.
In January, the number of Methodists in society, in Antigua, amounted to nearly 2000.
The first Methodist missionaries landed in St. Vincent's on the 9th of January, 1787, and preached in Mr. Claxton's house, the same evening, to a large congregation. The next evening they preached at Mr. Clapham's, about ten miles from Kingston; and here Mr. Clarke, the missionary, was offered the use of a room for his congregation.
The president of the council also gave him leave to preach in the court house on Sundays. Six or seven of the soldiers stationed on the island were Methodists. The Negroes considered the missionaries as men imported for them, and the commencement of the undertaking was considered by the society exceedingly favourable.
The number of slaves imported into the Grenades was 3693.
Sir W. Young's West India Common-place Book, p. 3.
Coke's West Indies, vol. ji. pp. 253, 254, 255. 438.
Governor Seton remarked, that there were a considerable number of free Negroes in St. Vincent, but the number could not be ascerained with any exactness.
General export of the four staple articles of produce of the British agar colonies, from return to order of House of Commons, May the 5th, 1806, for 1787:
154,066 hhds. of sugar,
33,990 cwt. o coffee, and
9,430,515 pounds of cotton. Jamaica, St. Vincent's, Grenada, and Dominica were the only islands in which coffee was cultivated; and more than one-half of the produce of them all came from Dominica.
From the capture of Jamaica, to December, 1787, 676,276 Negroes were imported into that island, of whom 31,181 are said to have died on board ship, after their entry, previous to their being distributed among the planters. Two hundred and forty thousand Negroes were upon the island in December, 1787. Between the latter end of 1780 and the beginning of 1787, 15,000 Negroes are said to have died from famine, or of diseases contracted by scanty and unwholesome diet. The inhabitants blame the interdicting foreign supplies - as though, in one of the most fertile countries in the world, an agricultural population could not feed themselves, if allowed so to do.
In January, the first Methodist missionary was established at Basse Terre, St. Christopher's: his name was Hammet.
Barbadoes, to 1787, returned, on yearly average, of sugar crops, 12,211 hhds.
Antigua produced and exported 19,500 hhds. of sugar and Grenada produced 13,500 hhds. of sugar.
Dominica produced 18,149 cwt. of coffee.
The produce of the French colony in St. Domingo freighted, for Europe alone, 470 ships, which contained 112,253 tons, and emplored in their navigation 11,220 seamen.
From the report made to the privy council in 1788, it appears, that in 1787, the British West India trade employed 575 ships, carrying 132,025 tons of produce.
And from the returns made by the custom-house to the House of Commons, it appears that Great Britain imported 1,926,791 cwt. of sugar, from which she derived a revenue of £988,513, exclusive of the monies paid for drawback upon the sugars re-exported.
this year ;
So W. Young's Common-place Book, pp. 18, 19, 20, 21. 29, 30. 32, 33. 36. 56. 74.
Coke's West Indies, vol. iii. pp. 56. 398.
The mode of death in capital cases has by several acts that of the Virgin Islands, 1783, sect. 1; acts of Jamaica, 1744, sect. 4. been referred to the discretion of the court; but in other islands, ? where no such acts existed, a practice prevailed, of inflicting, under » the authority of an order from the governor and council, what is a there called an “exemplary death."
The most common modes of such executions have been, roastings the convicts alive, or hanging them in irons upon a gibbet, to perish by hunger and thirst.
In several islands, and especially in Barbadoes, no acts appear, from the parliamentary papers (1823), to have been yet passed, prohibiting such practices. The King's prerogative is a fountain of mercy, and not of torture; and the West India governors, to whom it is delegated, should have no power to order or permit these
. “exemplary deaths,” or aggravate the severity of the law against any criminal.
În consequence of repeated failures in their sugar-crops, the planters of St. Christopher made, for the first time, an unsuccessful trial of cotton; and immediately all slaves were prohibited by law to plant that article, to sell it, or to have it in their possession.
It is a common practice in the islands to prevent the raising and owning certain articles of agricultural produce, lest a dishonest traffic might be carried on by the slaves. A cruel law! The indigent majority are violently deprived of the benefit of their little
possessions, lest the opulent few should want any possible security against theft! The general maxim is, that whatever articles the planters may raise for profit, slaves shall not be suffered, in the same island, to raise or possess at all.
In Barbadoes, ginger and cotton are considered staple productions; and there the growers having, as the act recites, found it inconvenient that slaves should be at liberty to plant those articles, it declares, that should, thereafter, any be found in the possession of a slave, they shall be deemed stolen goods.
In Jamaica, breeding horses and mules is a source of profit to the planters : here, therefore, the slaves are forbidden to own any; and heavy penalties were imposed on any planter disposed to encourage the industry of any head slave upon his “ pen,” by permitting him to acquire such property.
A like prohibition exists in the Virgin Islands as to cattle, and from a like cause.
Stephen on West Indian Slavery, pp. 299. 309.
In St. Vincent's, the restriction comprises cocoa and coffee, as well as cotton and ginger; and to possess them subjects a slave to the same punishment as the receiving stolen goods.
In Bermuda, where vegetable provisions and small live stock are tzple articles, the slaves are absolutely interdicted from raising any çecies of either for their own use, even though they should have their master's permission.
And in the Bahama islands, where there is abundance of vacant lands, the slaves were, by sect. 11. act of 1784, prohibited from raising the articles of food necessary for subsistence; and the plantations they had made were cruelly to be destroyed.
The meliorating act of Dominica, passed this year, enacts, “That if any white or free person shall be convicted of maiming, defacing, or mutilating, or cruelly torturing, any slave, he shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months, or fined in any sum not exceeding £100, current money of this island (£57 2s.104d. sterling).”
The reader will wonder at the confidence of those who attempted to pass upon the privy council and parliament the following piece of mummery, when they are told that the witnesses examined on the part of this island (Dominica) stated that there were no legal marriages among the slaves :
“ And in order to protect the domestic and connubial happiness of slares, be it, and it is hereby further enacted and ordained, by the authority aforesaid, that any white person or free person of colour whatever, who shall take away and cohabit with the rife or wires of any slave or slaves in this island, shall, on conviction thereof before any three or more magistrates, be subject to a fine not exceeding the sum of £50, to be recovered and appropriated in manner and form as is directed by the first clause of this act;" — i.e. to be paid into the treasury, for the public uses of the island.
But this enactment has been omitted in the existing acts of those Hands.
In Jamaica, it was enacted, this year, “ that if any slave shall offer any violence, by striking or otherwise, to any white person, such slave, upon due and proper proof, shall, upon conviction, be punished with death, or confinement to hard labour for life, or otherwise, as the court in their discretion shall think proper to inflict; provided such striking or conflict be not by command of his or their owners, overseers, or persons intrusted over them, or in the lawful defence of their owners' persons or goods.”
Sir William Blackstone says, “ the future process of law is by no means an adequate remedy for injuries accompanied with force, since it is impossible to say to what wanton length of rapine or cruelty outrages of this sort might be carried, unless it were permitted a man immediately to oppose one violence with another. Self
Stephen on West Indian Slavery, pp. 19. 159. 187, 188.