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Manuscript - Slave List of Sherwood Park Estate
Tobago, 1818. London, 30 January 1823. Signed manuscript document being a registrar's true copy of an early annual Slave Return to record the number of slaves working and owned by the Sherwood Park Estate in the parish of Saint Andrew, Tobago, in the year 1818, as reported by the plantation manager William Walsh. Features clerical annotations to record a note made on 14 December 1820, by registrar James Crooks who authenticates the document, and a second note made on 31 July 1823 by Mr. Manning of the Department of Registrar of Deeds in reference to the conveyance of the property. Docketed to verso. Qto. 5 pages on two double-leafs, laid watermark paper made by Kingsford in 1822 and featuring a large fleur-de-Lys emblem. Leaf measures approximately 19 x 31 cm. Ink faded to first page, otherwise retaining a strong impression and in very good, original condition, an interesting early example of slave returns. 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. As one of the earliest examples of an official 'Slave Return', the format is rather simple and includes only the basic information which a slaver would have deemed pertinent for his purpose, ultimately illustrating the utter disregard for the African people. Data includes the captured individual's name (an assigned English or Scottish name first name only), gender, skin colour, approximate age based on a visual assessment, ethnic origin, and the labour assigned to them. A column is present for remarks, with only one entry being made in this case, a two-year old infant called Martha being blind. The plantation estate represented in this document, named Sherwood Park, and described as being situated in Saint Andrew Parish, may be the present site of the popular Sherwood Park Apartments in Carnbee, some 5 kilometres southwest of Scarborough. This estate was conveyed from John King to Honorable Benjamin Alleyne, according to a manuscript annotation made on 31 July 1823 by Mr. Manning of the Department of Registrar of Deeds (London). Benjamin Alleyne is named as a member of the Tobago branch administrative committee in the 1827 "Report of the Incorporated Society for the Conversion and Religious Instruction and Education of the Negro Slaves in the British West India Islands." Its meetings were held at the Court-House in Scarborough. Benjamin Alleyne most likely descends from a prolific line of estate owners who first settled in Barbados in the eighteenth century. One hundred and fifty-eight slaves are listed here, all being African or Creole. A close division of males and females, their so-called employment was, in most cases, as a field worker. Several women and a few men are "jobbers," essentially everybody's slave and called upon for various jobs around the plantation, sometimes being contracted from other plantations. A scant few are coopers and carpenters; there are two drivers, one washwoman and one mason. The labourers' ages ranged from 11 to 60, keeping in mind that these were merely estimates and the child may have been even younger. [The driver did not pilot 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.] 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"! 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. . Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2016-08-31           Check availability:      Biblio    

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