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Manuscript - Slave Registrar of Woodford Estate
Grenada, 1823. London, 4 February 1823. Signed manuscript document tallying and describing the slaves of Woodford Estate, a sugar plantation in Grenada owned by Archibald Armstrong Jr, a member of the Council of Grenada, being a register of slaves held as of February 1823 listing 132 individuals by the English names assigned to them, their approximate age and basic physical description, also recording births and deaths, one female purchased, and one female manumitted (freed). Folio. 6 pages, on two string-tied double-leafs, laid watermark paper of Dartford papermaker J. Budgen 1822 featuring a large fleur-de-lys emblem. Leafs measure approximately 48 x 33,5 cm. Docketed to verso. Signed in the original 3 December 1823, by Thomas Amyot, the Registrar of Colonial Slaves in Great Britain. Together with single leaf, 32 x 20 cm, tallying the slaves and labourers of three of Armstrong's plantations in 1835, beginning with the Woodford, and providing a cursory "Classification and valuation of Negroes." Very good, original condition, a rare primary source document which survived the highly conflicted abolition period. Archibald Armstrong Jr. and John Armstrong, cousins, were also connected with the Revolution Hall Estate in Grenada, as well as the Garden Estate and Prospect Estate in Trinidad. The latter two are mentioned in the accompanying document. In 1807 when the Abolition of Slave Trade Act came into force, the trade of slaves from Africa to the British colonies became illegal. In 1819 the Office for the Registry of Colonial Slaves was established in London in order to combat ongoing illicit transportation. British Colonial administrators began keeping registers of black slaves who had been so-called "lawfully enslaved." Copies of the slave registers, such as, and including the present document, were submitted to the office in order to prove compliance. Registration generally occurred once every three years, and continued through to 1834 when slavery was officially abolished. "A List of Slaves belonging to and worked upon Woodford Estate in the Parish of Saint John & in the Possession of John Armstrong as the lawful attorney of Archibald Armstrong Proprietor" heads this rare manuscript document from Grenada-born slave-owner and member of the Council of Grenada who was involved in the West Indies sugar trade. Especially unusual, albeit dating to the abolition period of colonial slavery, one (1) young woman twenty-two years of age, was in fact freed from slavery. A scarce primary source record of a sugar plantation estate in Grenada, one hundred and thirty-one slaves are named in this slave register. Seventy-two males and sixty-one females, the oldest being a female aged sixty-two, their country of origin being either Africa or Grenada, a single-word description of their physical status, and their assumed age, essentially summarizes their worth. Occasionally, a remark "Country marks on forehead" further identifies the enslaved individual. In addition, the birth of 3 boys and 1 girl are recorded in this year. One female from Dominica, of approximately 28 years of age, was purchased. Two slaves died of lock jaw in this year. Archibald Armstrong junior, Esq. (1790-1868) was born in Grenada and inherited Woodford Estate in Grenada from his father Archibald Armstrong Senior of London, on condition that he pay £3400 to each of his four sisters and £30 per year to his brother Joseph. Archibald junior was in London for the proving of his father's will on 15 November 1823, being one of three executors together with his cousin John Armstrong who is also named in this document. Under the 1833 Abolition Act, Archibald Jr was the awardee of the compensation for the enslaved people on the Woodford estate on Grenada, and presumably for two other small awards there. As executor of Richard or Archibald Armstrong, he was also granted part of the compensation for the Garden estate in Trinidad. In addition, he was assignee with John Hoyes of George Armstrong in the award for the Prospect estate in Trinidad. Interestingly, he was a member of the council of Grenada, in 1835 took a twelve months leave, and by 1841 had settled with his wife Anne [née Munro Gibbs] who was also born in Grenada, and their three children, in St Peters Port, Guernsey. In West Coast Grenada, just slightly north of Halifax Bay, the Woodford sugar plantation estate house stands in dilapidation today. Thomas Amyot (1775-1850) was an English antiquarian, a solicitor, private secretary to Secretary of State William Windham, Registrar of Colonial Slaves in the government offices of Great Britain, Secretary and Registrar of Records in Upper Canada, author and a founder of the Camden Society. Almost all the men and women awarded compensation under the 1833 Abolition Act are listed in what is called a Parliamentary Return, an official reply by a government body to a request from an MP. The return is often referred to as the Slavery Abolition Act: An account of all sums of money awarded by the Commissioners of Slave Compensation while its full title is Accounts of slave compensation claims; for the colonies of Jamaica. Antigua. Honduras. St. Christopher's. Grenada. Dominica. Nevis. Virgin Islands. St. Lucia. British Guiana. Montserrat. Bermuda. Bahamas. Tobago. St. Vincent's. Trinidad. Barbadoes. Mauritius. Cape of Good Hope. It can be found in House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 1837-1838 (215) vol. 48 and is 365 pages long. In 1832, before the abolition of slavery, there were 653 sugar estates in cultivation and over 500 coffee plantations in the British West Indies. The British Slavery Abolition Act provided grant totalling £20 million to compensate the slave-owners for the loss of their "human property"!. Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2016-08-31           Check availability:      Biblio    

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