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Manuscript - Slave Registrar of Sugar Plantation, Charlton Estate - St. Thomas Parish - Female Slave Freed
Jamaica, 1818. Jamaica, 1 January 1818. Signed manuscript document from Jamaica's Scottish owned Charlton sugar plantation estate in the Saint Thomas Parish, being a register of slaves held in the year 1817, listing 195 slaves by their assigned English name, with their estimated age, health, and occupation on the estate, and further recording 6 acquisitions and 5 deaths the same year, for a final tally of 200 slaves working a single plantation estate of the time of this submission. Qto. "List of Slaves on Charlton Estate January 1st 1818." 7 pages on two double-leafs, laid paper watermarked Radway 1815 and featuring a large fleur-de-Lys emblem. Leafs measure approximately 23 x 37 cm. Small tear at one fold, otherwise in very good, original condition, a primary source slavery record in a fine hand. This document pre-dates the founding of the Registry of Colonial Slaves (London, 1819), and as such, is presumably a document made and kept onsite by the administrators of the plantation estate. At the time of this document, one third to half of all the slaves in Jamaica were owned by Scottish pen-keepers and estate tycoons. Over two hundred slaves are named in this register of slaves. An equal number of males and females, their assigned duty and a single-word description of their physical status in essence summarizes their individual worth. In addition, 4 births are recorded in this year, 1 female "works out" and is added to the crew, and 4 deaths occurred - one at birth, two of old age and debility. The so-called occupations listed are carpenter, blacksmith, sawyer, cooper, blacksmith, hot house doctor, head driver and driver, mason, midwife, slaves nurse, gardener, grass cutter, field cook, cattleman, and watchman. There are one house boy and one house girl. The majority of the slaves however are field workers, vaguely assigned to the small gang or the great gang. Most are described as either healthy able, healthy, weakly, or sickly; a few are invalid, lame, ulcered or having dysentery. [The driver held a completely unrelated to the piloting of a vehicle, the term being an abbreviation of 'slave driver'. The driver was an overseer of other slaves, and often a violent oppressor with a whip. The "great gang" or "first gang" of slaves was made up of the strongest workers. Sometimes women outnumbered men in the great gang. They did all the heavy fieldwork, such as digging and cutting cane.] Of particular interest is a transaction attributed here in the manuscript notes to have been the decision of James McIntosh, a known slave plantation owner, therefore suggesting that the Charlton Estate belonged to McIntosh and that this register was made by his manager. This particular exchange also reveals intimate relations between slave and slaver. Details as follows: An acquisition of 1 male slave named Peter was made, to replace 1 female slave named Quadroon Margaret, who was "manumissed" (freed from slavery) by James McIntosh, and baptised as "Margaret McIntosh." In addition, 5 slaves working the "Cremona Pen," in the parish of Saint Catherine are described in the same manner. Cermona Pen was a small plot of land connected by ownership to the Charlton Estate and served its porters. [Looking forward nine years, on 9 April 1827 the Glasgow Herald contained an advertisement for the sale of the above described Charlton Estate and the associated Cremona Pen. Together comprising some 2700 Acres, the freehold asset included all buildings, "213 Negroes, effective and well disposed," and 120 head of stock. Cremona pen was described as a "resting place in bringing down the produce to the Barquidier" and consisted of 300 acres with some buildings.] This document pre-dates the founding of the Registry of Colonial Slaves. 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 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. Scotland has had direct social and economic links with the West Indies since settlement began in 1626 when James Hay, the Earl of Carlisle, was appointed Proprietor of Barbados, an event which led to a number of Scots making their way to the island. The Act of Union in 1707 gave Scottish merchants access to the slave trade. Scots travelled out to the colonies and generated great wealth for their homeland, with slave labour. Scottish landowners in Jamaica were actively involved in the sugar industry, and were as pro-slavery as their English counterparts. In 1817 Scots owned almost one third of all the slaves in Jamaica. Some estimates claim that over 50 per cent of the pen-keepers in the era of enslavement were Scottish, Charles Stirling, George Forbes, Hay Haggart, James McIntosh and Benjamin Scott-Moncrieffe (of Soho and Thatch Hill pens) being among them. On 25 March 1807 the UK Parliament passed the Bill that abolished the trading of slaves in the British Empire. Scotland also played a leading role in abolishing the slave trade. 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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