Document Source Pages 311 - 335, transcribed to HTML by Kim Holburn 2020 (tested with Firefox)
EXTINCTION OF SLAVERY THROUGHOUT
THE BRITISH DOMINIONS;
THE MINUTES OF EVIDENCE,
AND GENERAL INDEX.
Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed, 11 August
REPRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. HADDON, 27 IVY LANE,
SOLD BY SHERWOOD, GILBERT, AND PIPER, 23 PATERNOSTER ROW
The Testimony of Robert Scott Esq.
Robert Scott, Esq., called in; and examined.
4933. ARE you connected with the island of Jamaica? - Yes.
4934. What is the nature of you connexion with that island? - I am a proprietor.
4935. How long have you resided in that island? - From 1802 and 1826, and afterwards a few months in 1828 and 1829.
4936. What particular parishes or districts in the island were you principally connected with? - My property is in Trelawney.
4937. Have you been in the habit of visiting different parts of the island? - I visited most of the island; I had concerns in Hanover, St. James's, Trelawney, and St. Anne's.
4938. What might be the number of negroes at any one time under your management? - The greatest number, I believe, about 4000.
4939. Are you intimately acquainted with the details of the management of estates in the island of Jamaica? - I fancy myself so.
4940. Do you consider you have had an opportunity of becoming well acquainted with the negro character? - Certainly, having the management of them so long.
4941. Will you state the provision grounds that are attached to the different plantations, and also what is the quantity of labour that is required by a negro for the purpose of raising the provisions necessary for his support? - On most of the plantations they have an unlimited quantity of grounds; where the land is abundant, they have no limit to what they choose to cultivate.
4942. Are the provisions which are raised of a nature to require, with reference to the soil, any considerable labour on the part of the negroes; and if so, what is the quantity of labour that would be required by the negroes in taking care of it? - I can state the time they get, which is found to be quite sufficient; they have not only provisions to subsist themselves, but they sell a great quantity, generally speaking.
4943. Are you aware that the law of the island gives them twenty-six days? - Certainly.
4944. In point of usage, is there any addition made to that time? - In my own concerns, the custom that prevailed was to give them every Saturday, except during crop-time.
4945. The usage, then, as to the allowance of time, exceeds that which was prescribed by law? - Generally so, I may say always.
4946. To what extent did you exceed it? - I am not competent to answer that question; sometimes the crop lasts longer than at other times; but the crop generally lasts four months, that is the average time; I would say that eight months, at all events seven months in the year, they have every Saturday, or one day in the week at all events, whether it is Saturday or another day.
4947. Do you consider it necessary, for the purpose of raising the provisions which the negro requires for his own support, and for taking to market, that he should break in upon the Sunday? - There are very few of them that work on Sundays now at all; I believe formerly that was the case a good deal.
4948. Is not the market on a Sunday morning.
4949. Are you aware what is the ordinary distance that negroes have to go to market from their place of living? - It varies so much that it is impossible to state.
4950. Are you aware that when the principal town in the parish is at any considerable distance from the spot where the negroes, having privisions to sell, reside, there is generally some half-way place where the persons of the town go out to meet the negroes? - Certainly; in Trelawney, which I am best acquainted with, the distance from the town does not generally exceed ten miles, and even there the people from the town meet the negroes from the country halfway; they have different places where they hold markets.
4951. Do you know that in the district between the mountains at the back of Spanish Town above Rocks there is an intermediate market-place to which the negroes resort, and from whence the people of the towns go to purchase provisions? - I believe so; but I am not so particularly acquainted with that part of the country as to state positively; but I know the negroes of St. Mary's carry a great deal of provisions to St. Thomas in-the-Vale, where the Spanish Town people meet them to purchase.
4952. Should you say that twenty-five or twenty-six miles, and in some cases thirty miles, was the distance which the negroes have to go with their provisions? - I do think they could manage that, they might do it occasionally, perhaps, with the aid of mules.
4953. Is it necessary that the negro should go twenty-five, or twenty-six miles,or thirty miles to the market for the purpose? - I dare say if a negro had provisions spoiling on his hand, which they often have, he would go and get mules probably for the purpose: in St. Mary's they do so.
4954. Is there no other market nearer than that to which the negro could go? - I should think there are very few places where the market is so distant as that, or at all events if it is so distant they cannot avail themselves of it frequently.
4955. Will you state what are the allowances given by the master to his slave. First, what do you consider the clothing is worth that the negro has? - If I had been aware of that question, I could have brought the clothing list of my own people, which would show minutely what they got.
4956. Do you conceive it to exceed 15s.? - I never made any particular calculation, at least if I had I have forgotten it at this moment.
4957. What is the allowance given to them of fish, and how often is it given to them? - I send from this country 100 barrels of herrings for 250 negroes, and I believe that is about the usual allowance.
4958. Is there any fish bought in the island for them? - Yes; there is cod fish, which we get from America.
4959. Exclusive, then, of the 100 barrels of herrings which you sent from hence, your manager purchases cod fish? - Yes; at harvest home and Christmas.
4960. How often is the allowance of herrings delivered out? - Once in two weeks, or once a week in some plantations, according to the custom.
4961. Will you state what are the hours of labour? - The length of the days varies very little in that latitude.
4962. What What time does the negro go out in the morning, what time is allowed him for breakfast, and what time for dinner, and at what time does he return home? - They begin to work at day-light, that is in the very longest day till a little after five o'clock; in the the shortest day about six or a little after six; they have half an hour allowed for break fast, and an hour and a half, or from that to two hours for dinner; it is more than two hours before they return to the field.
4963. How are those intervals employed? - They have their breakfasts in the field, it is cooked for them; there are always cooks for so many negroes; there is one cook for about twelve.
4964. Does it form part of the establishment in the field that there are cooks employed in preparing the breakfast of the negroes? - The negro gives out his breakfast to this cook before he leaves his home, and the breakfast is carried out to the field about nine o'clock, between nine and ten.
4965. What is the sort of breakfast they have? - They haven great variety of food, plantains, yams, cocoas, cassavers, and various other roots, and bread fruit, and they boil those into soup, and sometimes they roast them, and they use salt fish or pork to season their mess.
4966. What do they do at the time they have for their dinner? - They do not eat much at that time of day; they dine late; they are very fashionable in that respect; they do not care about eating at that time of day.
4967. How do they employ themselves at that time? - Generally in doing any thing for themselves in their gardens, or sometimes in sleep; but they very often work in their gardens, if they have gardens, near their houses.
4968. What is the nature of the garden? - Those that have gardens in the negro village generally have provisions and vegetables in them, plantains and fruit, oranges, and a kind of pear.
4969. What is the description of labour which they bestow in working in their gardens during that time? - Weeding and planting at different seasons.
4970. At what time do they return in the evening from their work? - Immediately - on quitting the field at sunset, or a little after sunset; there is very little twilight in that country.
4971. You have, of course, often seen them returning home from their labour, and know how they pass the rest of the evening; do they pass the evening as persons in a state of gloom and despair, and oppression, and exhausted, and worn out by the fatigue and labour they have undergone during the day? - I never saw any thing of that sort about them; they pass the evening as they please themselves; they do not go to bed very early.
4972. Is it not the practice of the negro to sit up late? - Till ten or eleven at all events; they sup from nine to eleven, and that is their principal meal.
4973. Will you describe the distribution that takes place during crop time of the population with regard to working at night; is it the ordinary practice for the negro at that time to work eighteen hours out of twenty-four? - All the able people are divided in to spells; upon some estates there are three spells, and upon others only two, according to the population; each of those spells is subdivided, so that one division of them take the work the first part of the night, and the other division the second part.
4974. Be so good as to state the hours? - The night spell generally commences about eight o'clock, and then the spell that has to come to work relieves the other at eight o'clock till about twelve, and then they are relieved by the second division of that spell, and the others go to bed, or where they like, and then the spell that came on at twelve are relieved at six the next morning.
4975. Is the negro who has gone to the field at five o'clock included in the eight o'clock spell; without rest, does he work from five in the morning till twelve? - He does every third night, if there are three spells upon the estate.
4976. Take one where there are only two spells? - Then he does it every second night; if the first division of the spell takes it from eight to twelve the first night. the same division takes the last spell the next night; for instance, if he has been at work from eight to twelve on Monday, on Wednesday he would be from twelve to six.
4977. Then when he leaves the boiling-house at six, he repairs to the field, and he works in the field till sun-set that day, with the exception of the time for breakfast and the shell blow? - Yes, every body works during the day.
4978. If he begins at five o'clock on the Monday morning, and works on till twelve that night, then when does he begin working again? - On Tuesday morning at sun-rise.
4979. And work till when? - Till that night at six o'clock.
4980. And then does he come on again at twelve? - No, he has nothing to do on Tuesday night at all, he goes to bed.
4981. Then when does he go to work again? - Not till Wednesday morning, then he goes to work in the morning as usual.
4982. And work till when? - Till six o'clock, and then, if it is his first spell, he goes at eight o'clock into the boiling-house; a man that has the first spell on Monday night has no spell again till twelve o'clock on Wednesday night.
4983. Then he works on Wednesday night from twelve to six in the morning, and then from six in the morning till six in the following evening? - Yes.
4984. Then what does he do on Thursday at six? - He goes home; when there are two spells, the negro is deprived of one-half of his night's rest each alternate night; if there are three spells, he is deprived of his night's rest every third night. You must have your spells so strong that they can be subdivided.
4985. On estates of large proprietors, are there not generally three spells? - Yes.
4986. And on the smaller estates they have two? - Yes; and if there are not enough they hire more.
4987. If a proprietor be impoverished, is it not the natural tendency that the slaves should be worked harder, and that assistance should not be procured? - You cannot do it.
4988. Would it be a correct description of the average state of the slave in Jamaica to say that he has only six hours rest a day four months in the year? - That is not the case.
4989. Do the white persons sit up in the same way as the negro does? - They have more of it in fact, because upon a plantation where they have one or two under overseers, or what we call book-keepers, they relieve each other every night, or they take the whole night alternately.
4990. How long generally does this night-work last upon an estate? - During crop time, which is about four months; if the seasons are adverse, it may last longer.
4991. What is the description of work which is done during the night? - Grinding the canes and boiling the sugar.
4992. Are not some grinding, some watching and some supplying? - The mill must be kept going, and the boiling-house.
4993. Is the heat excessive in the boiling-house? - No, the boiling house is a very open place; it must be so to allow the steam to get away.
4994. Is it much hotter than the temperature of the day? - No, it is cooler; I have often felt it too cool.
4995. What is the description of labor generally going on in the field during the time the crop is manufacturing in the boiling-house? - Cutting the canes.
4996. Is them any cane hole digging then? - No; in fact if you had to dig cane holes you must stop the manufactory altogether.
4997. Then in point of fact the sugar manufacture and cane hole digging never go on together? - No, they cannot; generally speaking the strength of the plantation is not more than sufficient to keep the works in operation; the only labour during the sugar boiling is cutting the canes, and carting them off the field to the mill yard.
4998. Is that comparatively slight labour to the slave, compared with either clearing the land, or digging cane holes? - I do not think there is any hard labour, except digging cane holes.
4999. Will you describe the recess of the manufacture, from the cutting the cane till the sugar is put in the cask, and the rum put in the puncheon? - The cane is cut with what we call bills, the top is cut off of it, and the cane is cut into lengths of about a yard, tied up in bundles; and those are put into carts and conveyed to the mill-yard: they are then carried to the mill, when the juice is expressed; the trash, after the juice is expressed, is conveyed to the houses, or spread in the yard to dry; the liquor from the canes is conveyed to the boiling-house by a gutter, and then it is manufactured into sugar.
5000. During the process of manufacturing the sugar, what would be the effect of your having to depend upon the caprice or the will of the persons whom you employ as labourers in the course of that work; how could it effect the planter, suppose the person whom he employed chose to stop work in the midst of it? - After the canes are cut they must be manufactured into sugar in the course of forty-eight hours, otherwise they spoil; the juice becomes acid.
5001. Upon an estate making 200 hogsheads of sugar, supposing you had the regular quantity of canes to be brought home in the course of the day, and the negroes who were employed for the purpose of carrying on the work should strike work, what might be the loss which, even in that case, by stopping the work with respect to the canes then deli- vered, the planters would sustain? - In general they have canes out sufficient to make three or four hogsheads of sugar, and if you are prevented from manufacturing those canes into sugar, you of course would lose the whole of them in the course of forty-eight hours; in fact, I have known that happen by a mill giving way, or the coppers burning out, and they could not replace them in time.
5002. Supposing you were dependent upon free labourers, who would come when they chose, and go when they chose; if they chose, at that particular period when the mill-yard was full of canes, to strike work and go away, would not the planter be utterly unable to convert those canes into sugar? - Unquestionably, unless he had labor for that purpose.
5003. Are you acquainted with any manufactories in England of any description? - Not much.
5004. Do you know any manufactory in England in which, if the labourers were to abandon their work at certain periods, great damage would not accrue to the master? - I should think the master would sutler great loss in any manufactory in which the labourers chose to strike work.
5005. Do you know any thing of brewing? - No.
5006. You have said that during crop, on the first day of the week, for example, the negro would be in the field nineteen hours, that is, from five in the morning till twelve at night? - Yes, the field and about the works, including the time allowed for breakfast and dinner.
5007. And the second day he would be thirteen hours, that is, from five in the morning till six in the afternoon.
5008. The third day he would be nineteen hours again, and the fourth day thirteen hours again? - Yes, there are two spells.
5009. Then in point of fact the average number of hours is sixteen? - Yes; that is including the time for breakfast and dinner.
5010. Then, including the time for the breakfast and dinner, the average number of hours they do labour is sixteen? - Yes.
5011. What time elapses from their leaving the field to their proceeding to the work in the boiling-house? - They generally go to the first spell about eight o'clock; they go home to their houses, and give out their suppers to be drest.
5012. Then they go home to their houses to get their suppers prepared before they go to the boiling-houses? - Yes.
5013. Then it would not be correct to represent that they are at work from five o'clock to twelve at night? - No, they are not exactly; but it cannot be supposed they can do much for themselves in the interval.
5014. What is the interval they have in the evening between their leaving off work and going to the boiling-house? - It is from the time they leave the field till about eight o'clock; they make that arrangement among themselves.
5015. How much time has the negro for himself at that period? - At least an hour; he has his arrangements to make for the night, and he has to give his supper out to be dressed; they do not generally sup at that early hour, but it is brought to them at the boiling-house.
5016. Are they allowed to eat their supper in the boiling house? - Yes.
5017. What is the general condition of the slaves during crop time, both as to their health and as to their dispositions, and their general appearance and contentment? - I have always found the negroes most healthy in crop time, whether it is that the season is drier then, or what other reason may be assigned for it, but I have frequently known the hospitals shut during crop time.
5018. Immediately subsequent to crop time have you seen any illness which you could refer to in the sitting up at night during the crop time? - Certainly not; they do not appear to suffer the least injury; on the contrary, I have stated that they are generally most healthy during crop time.
5019. Is not the general observation of persons who see them, that they are more healthy, and of a better appearance then than at any other time of the year? - I think I shall be quite borne out in stating so, by any evidence of persons who have had experience in the country.
5020. Are the negroes employed in the night spells, the whole negroes upon the estate? - No, only the able people, generally speaking.
5021. What proportion of the whole negroes upon an estate are employed in this sort of labour? - More than one-third.
5022. Are women ever employed in that labour? - Yes; for instance, women generally put the canes into the mill.
5023. Are pregnant women ever so employed? - Never; a woman who is pregnant goes to the lightest work, in fact, any work she chooses; she is allowed to join any gang she chooses; she generally goes with the children.
5024. Are women employed during the periodical recurrence of weakness? - If a woman that complained she was unfit for work, she would be sent to the hospital; if there is no complaint, no inquiry is made.
5025. Are the Committee to understand that, in crop time, the negroes are not allowed the alternate Saturday at all? - No.
5026. Is the loss of that Saturday compensated by having two days in a week at other periods of the year? - I have already stated, that out of crop they have one day each week for cultivating their grounds, and when these are distant, they frequently get two or three days together for that purpose.
5027. Are there any periods in the year when they have two days in the week? - No, but they may have it sometimes given to them gratuitously; if there is a fine season for planting provisions, sometimes they give them two or three days together for the provision grounds.
5028. You stated that, during your experience, you gave them more than twenty-six days in the year; and that, except during crop time, you gave them every Saturday? - Always.
5029. Will you explain to the Committee to what extent, generally speaking, cane hole digging is carried on upon the average of the estates? - It varies so much, that it is difficult to say; in some plantations they have little or no cane hole digging at all, in others, they have a good deal.
5030. Upon any plantation does cane hole digging prevail over the whole estate? - No; there is only a portion of the estate planted yearly.
5031. What time, generally speaking, might be occupied in cane hole digging, on estates under your charge, upon an average of years? - The cane hole digging generally is in October and November, but that is not constant; I should say that, upon the average, it occupies about two months in the year, upon the estates that are what are called planting estates.
5032. In the selection of a person who is called a driver upon an estate, what are the motives which principally influence the selection of him? - He is generally a man of the best character, a man that you can place confidence in.
5033. Is he a person, generally speaking, who is looked up to by the negroes upon the estate, and of the best character upon the estate? - Certainly.
5034. Is he selected on account of his strength, and of the power with which he may wield the whip? - No, that is of no consequence whatever; I have known frequently very old infirm men drivers, and the best drivers.
5035. Is it not one of the principal duties of a driver, to exact from the working gang, the largest quantity of work during field labour? - It is the duty of the driver to see that the people do their work.
5036. When they do not work by task-work, is it not his duty to exact from them as much work as their strength will allow? - It is his duty to see that they are diligent in the field.
5037. Suppose they are idle, what is his duty then? - He must coerce them.
5038. How? - He generally has a lance-wood switch for that purpose.
5039. What other instrument has he? - The driver generally carries a whip but that is used under the direction of the overseer.
5040. Does the driver never use that, except under the direction of the overseer? - I believe not now; formerly he did; but the customary method now, I believe, is to use switches where they require instruments of coercion, but it is seldom ever necessary to resort even to them, where the driver has the people under proper control.
5041. Are you to be understood to say that the driver never now uses the whip, except under the direction of the overseer? - No, I will not say that, but very rarely now.
5042. Is it much more rarely used now than when you First knew Jamaica? - Yes,I think so.
5043. In the selection of an overseer for a property, is it not the first inquiry which the manager or proprietor makes, what is the state and disposition of the negroes upon the property that he was last employed upon, and would it not be an objection to the employment of him, if you found that the negroes upon the estate on which he was formerly overseer, had been in the habit of making complaints, or had been ill used by him? - I should think that no prudent employer would choose to have an overseer of doubtful character.
5044. Would it not be considered an objection to the employment of an overseer, that he was unable to conduct the estate of which he had been previously overseer without severity? - Most unquestionably it would.
5045. Is the driver always a black man? - Not always, but in general he is; I have known drivers people of colour, but not frequently.
5046. Are they always slaves? - Yes, always.
5047. What is your opinion of the general state and condition of the negro population altogether? - I think the general state of the slaves in Jamaica, is much better than what the people of this country have any idea of; I do think they are not so ill off in any respect, as people here imagine.
5048. Are you aware of their acquiring, by means of the sale of their provisions and of poultry and hogs, considerable sums of money? - Certainly they do; many of them have a good deal of money.
5049. Do you apply that observation to the field negroes as well as to the head people upon the estates? - Certainly; a great many of the field Negroes have money.
5050. Are not some of them allowed to have stock upon the property of their owners? - They have all pigs and poultry.
5051. Do you know any instances upon Lord Seaford's property, of their having cattle? - Yes, many of his negroes have cattle.
5052. Have you seen the effect produced upon the industry of the slave by the acquisition of property; when he acquires property, does it generally make him idle or more diligent? - I should think it increased his diligence, and I have always remarked that a slave that had a good deal of property is the best and most easily managed.
5053. Is he the most industrious? - Unquestionably.
5054. Have you been acquainted with many slaves who have been emancipated? - Not many.
5055. Have you ever known any slaves, after being emancipated, hire themselves out for field labor upon any estates? - No, I never knew a free man that would hire himself upon an estate, except as a tradesman, such as a cooper or carpenter.
5056. Is not field labor considered a distinguishing mark of slavery, and consequently held to be degrading? - It certainly must be considered so by them, because I never knew one that would hire himself for field labour; I recollect, upon one occasion, a number of poor people of colour applying to the vestry of Trelawney for relief; a number of them were young people, and I recollect, upon one occasion, offering them employment upon a sugar estate, the boys and girls to drive mules, and do any little work of that sort, and there was not one of them that would take employment, though they were receiving parish aid at the time.
5057. Have they any legal claim to relief from the parishes? - Certainly they have.
5058. Do the poor laws of England prevail there? - I do not know what the poor laws of England are; but I know that in Trelawney they have from 1500l. to 2000l. a year raised for paupers.
5059. Is there any distinction made in the distribution of that relief, between persons of color and white persons? - None whatever.
5060. Do not the justices and the vestry lay a rate for parochial purposes? - Yes.
5061. Is there not an old Act of the island, by which they are required to raise a sum for the support of the church, and the rectory, and for other parochial purposes, and amongst those purposes, the maintenance of the poor of the parish? - Certainly, I know the contingencies of our parish were about from six to seven thousand a year.
5062. You have stated a case were parties came for relief, and you offered them work; were you compelled to give them money, although they refused to work? - We were compelled to give to the parents.
5063. In this distribution of parochial money, were they all people of colour that applied for relief? - Mostly.
5064. Do you consider that, of the amount raised in this colony for parochial purposes, the greater portion is given to free people of colour? - There are a few whites that fall into disrepute that cannot get into employment, or have become helpless from sickness or disease, and then we are obliged to take them into the poor-house, or give them maintenance otherwise.
5065. Are you aware that there is a Parliamentary Return from Jamaica, by which it appears that the parochial relief given to the whites exceeds greatly the parochial relief given to the free people of colour? - I can speak to my own knowledge as to the parish in which I resided and where I was a magistrate, that is Trelawney, and I am sure that if there is such a Return as that, it is incorrect with respect to Trelawney.
5066. Speaking of your own knowledge of that parish, are you quite sure that more relief upon the average of years was given to the people of colour than to the whites? - Yes; there are very few white paupers, comparatively speaking. In the large towns, such as Kingston, probably it may be different.
5067. You have spoken of the condition of the slaves being much better than is gene rally supposed here, and even such as to bear comparison with the condition of our labourers; have you not seen frequently punishments inflicted to exact work, which were very revolting to your feelings? - I have certainly seen punishments inflicted which I have disapproved of, but not very frequently.
5068. Are you of opinion that any thing, except the infliction of punishment or the fear of severe punishment, can induce men to work hard, who have not the stimulus of the fear of want? - When you have a slave population, you must have the means of coercing them, otherwise they would not work at all? - I am certain of that; but it does not follow that they require constant whipping to make them work, but you must have the power of coercion.
5069. Must there not occasionally be severe examples, in order to infuse that fear? - If it were necessary, but it is very seldom necessary.
5070. You mean to state that the control and the coercion which is exercised over them is maintained rather by the circumstance of the knowledge that a power exists of punishing, than by the frequent infliction of punishments? - Certainly.
5071. Do you think that if the power of flogging females were absolutely withdrawn, it would be possible to make the females work at field labour? - I think it likely they would become excessively troublesome; they are, generally speaking, much worse to manage than the men.
5072. Do you think there are any other motives that could induce human beings to work hard, except the fear of want or the fear of punishment? - I do not.
5073. While therefore the slave proprietors are by law compelled to find the necessaries of life for their labourers, and the fear of want has therefore no power, can you conceive that labor can be carried on, except by fear of punishment? - No, I do not think it can.
5074. If therefore the fear of punishment were withdrawn, and the power of flogging taken away, and at the same the proprietor was obliged to maintain his slaves, do you think that order could be preserved among the slaves, or labor exacted from them? - I think it is hardly reasonable to expect that it could be.
5075. Do you think the authority of the magistrate could be substituted for that of the master in enforcing labour? - I doubt it extremely; there must be an immediate power over them where there are slaves concerned, and the more distinctly they know that, the less trouble they give; if they know that by committing faults or neglecting duty they are subject to instant punishment, they will not be so apt to try experiments, and there is much less punishment where a strict discipline is maintained upon an estate, than where that discipline is too much relaxed.
5076. Were you in the habit of employing any of your slaves upon task work? - Sometimes; in digging cane holes for instance, the overseer would give them task work.
5077. Have you found that they performed that task work with greater expedition than they would do the same quantity of work at day labour? - Certainly; they generally finished the task work by two o'clock in the afternoon by working at their dinner-time.
5078. To what did they betake themselves after that, during the rest of the day? - They often went to their grounds or to their gardens.
5079. At the period of the year when cane hole digging is carried on have you observed any wasting in the condition of the slaves, or any great exhaustion? - No, I cannot say that I ever have; the fact is they never work hard at any employment.
5080. To what do you ascribe that, do you ascribe it to the fear of punishment not being so strong a stimulant to labour as the fear of want, and that when a man works for his own immediate profit, he will work harder than when he works for another under the fear of punishment? - I have no doubt they will work harder when they have a task set them.
5081. If is has been stated to the Committee that a slave, when working for himself for his own profit, will lift, for instance, a much greater weight than by the fear of punishment he could be induced to do, does that consist with your observation? - Yes, it does in this respect: that I have known slaves carrying loads of revisions to market, which if any manager or overseer had directed them to do they would have refused, and no compulsion could have forced them to do it.
5082. It has been stated, that access is frequently refused to persons upon estates, and that, there is a great difficulty for any person unconnected with a plantation to be able to see what is going on there; is that a correct statement? - I can only say that I never refused admittance to any person who wished to visit an estate under my charge.
5083. Do you believe that it is generally the feeling in Jamaica, on the part of persons in charge of estates, to refuse access to persons who may be desirous of going upon an estate? - I do not think so.
5084. Have you observed any difference in the industry of the negroes upon a Saturday afternoon, when they are working for themselves, from what it was upon the Saturday morning when they were working for their masters? - I am not competent to answer that question, because when they are working for themselves the white people are not in the habit of looking after them at all.
5085. Have you had an opportunity of seeing that they are indolent when employed for their masters, and industrious when employed for themselves? - There are some of them industrious enough when they are employed for themselves, but there are others of them that will hardly work for themselves at all. I have known many individuals that were obliged to be looked after to prevent their neglecting their own provision grounds.
5086. Do you find among the blacks all the varieties of temper and disposition that are found among the whites? - Yes, the very same.
5087. Should you consider the following as a correct description of the slave population of Jamaica, between the periods of 1817 and 1820, namely, that they submitted to their condition as to a great evil; that they seemed like persons in despair, and to have no hope whatever; and that they exhibited that sort of gloom which would necessarily arise from a whole class of society being oppressed without any hope of relief? - No, I do not think it is a correct description at all, or a fair description, by whomsoever made.
5088. Are the habits of the negroes cheerful in general? - They were so when I knew them; I doubt whether they are so now.
5089. What do you allude to, when you say that you doubt whether they are so now? - I think the late events in Jamaica have shown that they are discontented with their situation.
5090. You left the island in 1826? - Yes, and I was afterwards there in 1828 and 1829.
5091. Do they ever execute any hard labor upon their own provision grounds? - No, I do not think there is any hard labor in their own provision grounds; they carry enormous weights to market sometimes, such as no man would have ventured to have asked them to carry.
5092. Do they dig or hoe in their own grounds? - Yes; in the first place, in establishing plantains, they must dig great deal; but when the plantain walk is established, it lasts for an age.
5093. What is your impression as to the feeling of the negroes with respect to their provision grounds; do they consider them very much in the light of their own property? - They consider them as much their own property as I do my estate.
5094. Have you ever known a little plot of ground, which has been brought into nice cultivation by a negro, taken from him, and the negro put upon fresh ground to bring it into cultivation? - Yes, I have known that, but before you can do anything of the sort you must satisfy the man; I have known them occupying grounds for provisions which were wanted for the purpose of putting in canes, but before those provision grounds could be taken from the negroes you must compensate them for them; I have known a proprietor kept out of it for years before they would give it up, because you would not choose to discontent the negro by taking it from him, and you must give him time to get his provisions out.
5095. Do you think, therefore, that any general measure, which proceeded upon the assumption that the provision grounds were the property of the master, with which he might arbitrarily deal without reference to the feelings of the slave, would incur the danger of? being regarded as a measure taking from the slaves what they held to be their property? - Certainly.
5096. Supposing the negroes were to know that they were to be made free, but that the owner told them that as their freedom was given to them, they were no longer to have their grounds without paying a rent to for those grounds, what would be the feelings, and what would be the state of the population upon such a proposition being made to them? - It is very difficult to so auld think a great many of them, who have good and productive grounds, would hesitate a good deal before they would even accept of any privilege upon the condition of giving them up, but that is a mere matter of opinion.
5097. Looking at the number of the slave population in the island of Jamaica, compared with the number of the white proprietors resident there, do you think the great majority of the negro population would acquiesce in their grounds being taken from them, in order that they might be let out to them afterwards by their masters? - No, I do not think they would give them up, and I do not see how they could be compelled to give them up: they would starve in they had no provision grounds.
5098. Supposing a plan of emancipation were contemplated of the following kind: that the slaves were to be made free, and inasmuch as the grounds are not their own, but their master's, their masters were to take those grounds from them in order to make a new bargain with them, and let those grounds out to them; from your own knowledge of the state of negro population, in 1826, do you believe they would acquiesce in any such arrangement? - It is impossible to say; I think it would be a very difficult matter to settle.
5099. You are aware of the extreme reluctance which the Negroes feel to remove from their village which has been built for them? - They have a most unaccountable aversion to it; I recollect an instance upon my own estate, where I thought it necessary to remove them from an unhealthy to a healthy situation, and I bad a great deal of trouble about it; I not only built new houses and better houses than they had before, but I bad great difficulty in getting them to go into them.
5100. How did you manage to change the provision grounds in that case? - When they have new grounds given to them, you must allow them to keep possession of their old grounds till they take all the provisions out, and even then they claim a right of property in them? you must buy them out,
5101. Had you to pay money upon that occasion? - Certainly, you must satisfy them.
5102. Then do you think that any plan which proceeded upon the assumption that the slave had no right in the provision grounds, would be regarded by the slaves as an act of spoliation? - I think they would consider it as such.
5103. Did you ever remove any slaves from one estate to another? - Yes, I have done that.
5104. How did you deal with those slaves? - Before you can remove slaves you must have houses put up for them, you must have grounds prepared for them and planted, or you must give them an allowance of food and money till the grounds coming into bearing, probably for eighteen months.
5105. In case of removing slaves from one estate to another, and providing, as you say, new provision grounds, and allowing them money till their new provision grounds come into sufficient bearing, did you allow them any compensation for quitting their old grounds? - No, it might so happen that they had none.
5106. Is not this delusion with respect to the right of property in their provision grounds constantly destroyed by the sale of slaves from one property to another? - There are very seldom sales of slaves from plantations, except when the plantation is thrown up.
5107. Are there not judgment sales in Jamaica? - Very seldom upon sugar estates.
5108. Are you not of opinion that, when those sales take place, the negroes must be undeceived as to their imagined right of property either in their houses or in their provision grounds, since they are tom from both without any regard to any right of property? - I never knew any sale of slaves from a sugar plantation, under writs of venditioni.
5109. Have you never known them seized for taxes? - Not upon a plantation.
5110. If a debt existed against a person of such an amount that a levy could be made on the slaves upon the plantation, would it not be the fact, that that debt would be secured by mortgage, and consequently would not both land and slaves be equally subject to proceeding at the instance of the creditors? - I do not know any instance of any such seizure, but it is possible that may have occurred in the island.
5111. Are not both individual slaves, and even gangs of slaves, sold in Jamaica? - Yes.
5112. Consequent upon those sales, is there not a transfer from one place to another constantly taking place? - Yes; I have known coffee plantations thrown up, and jobbing gangs sold.
5113. In those cases it is not clear that the right to the provision ground is not in the slave, and is it not made apparent to the slave that is so? - Certainly; but I believe slaves quitting one district of the country where they leave grounds, dispose of them to other people in the neighbourhood.
5114. Have you ever known a case of that kind? - I do not know it myself, I know it from hearsay only.
5115. Are not those cases of sales of slaves otherwise than with the property to which they are attached so very rare, as scarcely to be capable of removing the impression upon the mind of the slave that his grounds are his own? - They are certainly very rare at the present time.
5116. Reflecting both upon the necessity of corporal punishment and the use of it, and reflecting upon the power of sale in the proprietor, which sale drives the negro from his provision ground and his hut, and, perhaps, even separates him from some of his relations; are you still of opinion that the situation of the black slave in Jamaica bears a fair comparison with that of the labourers in England? - I do not mean to say that a slave and a free man are to be brought into comparison at all, because the very idea of being under compulsion must be very bad.
5117. Do you recollect how many slaves there are in the parish of Trelawney? - About 28,000.
5118. During the period of your residence in Jamaica, from 1802 to 1826, do you recollect in that extensive parish any instance in which the slaves upon any property were sold separately from the property itself? - Yes, I know one instance; an estate under my own care was broken up, in consequence of a disagreement among the proprietors; there was a partition, and the slaves were sold to neighbouring estates; one of the proprietors took his portion of them; that was a plantation of which I had the management, and they were very well contented to be so sold, because upon the estate to which they belonged they had no provision grounds, and I put them where they had good provision grounds.
5119. Was that the only instance which occurs to your recollection? - That is the only instance I recollect at present.
5120. In that case, were the provision grounds such as to make it an object with the negroes to desire to retain them? - The provision grounds were very much worn out; they had nothing in them, in fact, but oranges.
5121. Were the negroes and the families upon those estates separated? - No, when the partition took place they were partitioned with reference to families.
5122. In point of fact, when a sale takes place of that description, would not the decree direct them to be sold in families? - I think so.
5123. Then you think that the slaves are not living under the apprehension of being sold off an estate, or having their families broken up? - They know that they cannot be broken up; the law prevents it now, I believe; but even when the law did not prevent it, there was no instance within my knowledge of families being broken up, no person would buy two or three out of a family and leave the others.
5124. Is not a great mass of the property in Jamaica in settlement, or under mortgage? - I am afraid it is.
5125. In either of those cases, do not the slaves follow the destination of that mortgage, or of that settlement? - Yes I should think so.
5126. In truth, would not a person who advances such a sum as to obtain a mortgage of an estate according to the universal practice in Jamaica, take up any judgment prior to his mortgage, in order that he, the mortgagee, might have a prior lien upon the estate, so that there could not be a judgment that could affect the slaves upon the estate? - No prudent man would take a mortgage upon an estate against which there were judgments.
5127. So that, speaking generally, the slaves that would be subject to be levied upon an estate are always comprised in the mortgage, and which mortgage covers the land? - Certainly that is generally the practice I believe.
5128. Are not the slaves that appear advertized in the newspapers to be levied upon all domestic slaves, or slaves belonging to jobbers, and not attached to the estates generally speaking? - Yes.
5129. Is the situation of those jobbing gangs very hard when compared with the gangs of field negroes upon settled estates? - Yes, in so far as they are liable to be carried from home a very considerable distance to labour.
5130. What becomes of their provision grounds when they are so jobbing at a distance from their own homes? - If they have provision grounds, they are allowed time to go to them.
5131. How are they fed when jobbing? - If they go any distance their owner must allow them mules to carry their provisions to where they are labouring, or he must give them money, which they frequently do, when they go to a distance, to furnish food for themselves.
5132. When they receive money, are they provident in the use of it? - Some of them are.
5133. Compared with the English labourer, have you observed the black slave receiving money to have been less provident in the use of that money than an English labourer? - They know how to make use of money very well, generally speaking.
5134. You were understood to say that, in the parish of Trelawney, you knew very few instances of any money, in the shape of parochial relief, given to white persons? - I should at the great proportion of money given to paupers was given to people of colour.
5135. Did you know a person of the name of James Sheddon, the vestry clerk, in the parish of Trelawney? - Yes, I did know him.
5136. The Committee have before them an account of his, by which it appears that there was paid to the poor of the parish of Trelawney, in the year 1821, £977. 10s. could you believe that out of that sum there was £530. 11s. 8d.; paid to white persons? - I was not aware of that; but I suspect that will not be found to be generally the case.
[An Account was shown to the Witness.]
5137. Having now examined the account, do you find that out of that £977. 10s. the sum of £530. 11s. 8d. had actually been paid to whites? - That is evident from this statement; I suspect that that is exclusive of the sum of £490 which is distributed in the poorhouse, because I know that the sum is much greater than this generally.
5138. Have the goodness to look at the Return for the same parish in the year 1823; upon examining that account, do not you find that the great proportion of the amount of £1002. 10s. in that year, has been paid to whites? - No doubt of that, certainly; the amount of the whites in proportion to the whole, is much greater than I imagined it to be.
5139. Is the amount paid always a sufficient test of the number of individuals relieved? - No; because they are relieved according to circumstances.
5140. Would a greater allowance be made to the white persons than to people of colour? - Certainly; because they are more helpless.
5141. After referring to that document, do you still adhere to your statement, that a greater number of people of colour were relieved than of white persons? - Yes; I think that would appear by the Return.
5142. Do you know in the parish of Trelawney an estate belonging to a person of the I name of Gardiner? - Yes; that was an estate that was thrown up, and the slaves were removed by Mr. Colvil to his estate adjoining.
5143. Supposing a negro had been seized for taxes upon that estate, and sold to a person of the name of John Fergus, would that negro have access to his own provision grounds? - Not if he is sold off the property.
5144. Does it not consist with your knowledge, that before the law was passed for facilitating manumissions, in case of persons having temporary interests, in order to give a complete title to freedom, a sale was made under a collecting constable's levy expressly for that purpose? - Yes.
5145. Seeing here the statement of a slave being levied upon for taxes by the collecting constable, upon an estate on which Wedderburn and Colvil were proprietors, can you conceive that that levy could have been made for arrears of taxes by those persons? - It is impossible in respect to Mr. Colvil's property.
5146. Does it not consist with your knowledge, that a mortgagee paying the taxes upon an estate, has, as against the mortgager, a lien upon the property, and may add that to the mortgage debt, as part of the necessary expenditure upon the plantation? - I believe so.
5147. Then it does not follow, because it appears upon the Return that a slave upon this estate had been levied upon for taxes, that there was a levy made with a view of removing the negro from the estate, but it might have been made consistently with his remaining there, and, perhaps, with his acquiring his freedom? - I should say that, if any negro appears to have been sold in that manner, off Mr. Colvil's property, it must have been for a particular purpose; for the purpose of manumitting him, probably.
5148. Bearing in recollection that Wedderburn and Colvil are persons of very large property, what is your belief when you see a statement of a negro upon which they had a mortgage levied upon in that manner? - I should say it must have been for a particular purpose.
5149. If you find a Parliamentary Return signed Charles Campbell, C. C. Trelawney, stating that a negro has been sold from the estate of Gardiner, and bought by a person of the name John Fergus; do you doubt the fact that the negro was so sold? - Certainly not.
5150. Do you know an estate belonging to person of the name of Graves? - I think I do.
5151. If a negro is from that estate, and bought by persons of the name of F. and W. Bell, would not that negro be removed from his provision ground? - Yes, he may; I would not answer for the provision, he might have been sold for the payment of taxes, because I know that that person was in embarrassed circumstances.
5152. Might he not also be torn from his nearest relatives? - It is possible.
5153. Is there any law to prevent a person sold under a levy in that manner being carried away from his family? - There was not formerly, but I believe there is now.
5154. Who was Mr. Graves? - Mr. Graves was the proprietor of a very small sugar property, so small that it scarcely deserves the name, and I know that he was in embarrassed circumstances.
5155. Who were Messrs. Bell? - They have a wharf in Trelawney, a shipping place.
5156. Then if the Committee find slaves sold in the parish of Trelawney for taxes, and bought by those persons, are the Committee to consider that those negroes would, generally speaking, be removed from their provision grounds? - Certainly, if they are sold for taxes; but I know that many slaves of colour particularly are sold for taxes for - the purpose of manumitting them.
5157. Even though the present slave law has prohibited the severance of the slave sold from his nearest relatives, do not you consider that it must greatly embitter the man's lot to be torn from his acquaintances and friends, and be transferred, against his will, to a distant part of the island among strangers? - Certainly; there is no denying that.
5158. If from any circumstance the West Indian proprietors in Jamaica generally should have become greatly embarrassed and straitened in their circumstances within the last few years, have you any doubt that that circumstance alone would have added to the privations of the slaves upon their estates, and diminish their comforts? - I have no doubt it will do so; because I believe that generally the proprietors are disposed to be very liberal to their slaves, as far as they can afford to be so,in respect to clothing and every other comfort.
5159. If the slaves rely principally upon their provision ground for their support, how are they dependent for their comforts upon the comparative affluence or poverty of their proprietor? - Suppose the provision grounds fail to produce, which they sometimes do from the effect of bad seasons, the proprietor then must make up the deficiency.
5160. Then it can only be in years of drought or scarcity that they would much depend upon the liberality of the proprietor? - Certainly; but in many situations they are frequently dependent upon it; there is a vast quantity of food imported into that country from America almost every year.
5161. Does not the island of Jamaica easily produce sufficient for the maintenance of the slaves within it? - I dare say it will be found, that in the island returns there are vast quantities of corn, flour, meal and rice imported.
5162. You said that the slaves lived principally upon vegetables and rice? - Yes; but they like to vary their food, they buy a great deal of flour and rice.
5163. Do they buy this with money procured by their vegetables and other productions? - Yes.
5164. Then they are aware of barter and the use of money, and the exchange of commodities? - Many of them know it as well as any set of people in the world.
5165. Is there not a considerable supply of rice and flour for the infant children upon an estate? - Certainly; I send out myself a great deal of rice and meal, and things of that sort, every year, though my people have as good provision grounds as any in the country, but for fear of any scarcity to guard against it.
5166. Is it not considered a necessary supply for the young children? - Yes; they have a weekly supply of meal and sugar, and rice, and things of that sort, given out for the children.
5167. Are there any extra allowances during crop to those employed upon the night work? - No, except they have as much sugar and cane liquor as they choose to consume.
5168. Have they any allowance of rum? - A good many have.
5169. Is the effect of increasing distress upon the part of a proprietor ever such as to lead him to diminish the number of slaves upon his properly by sale? - I never knew any instance of a proprietor selling negroes from his estate.
5170. Have you ever known the distress of proprietors produce this effect, that the spells should be reduced from three to two? - No, I never knew an instance of the sort; no doubt there have been instances of removing negroes from one estate to another, where one estate was unproductive altogether.
5171. Is it not natural that a proprietor becoming distressed, should endeavour, from a smaller quantity of negroes, to exact an equal quantity of work, thereby diminishing his expense, and actually gaining capital by the sale? - No, I do not think it is possible; you cannot compel your negroes to work more than they like, or are accustomed to do.
5172. You have mentioned the difference between some estates, when the sugar boiling is conducted with three spells, and other estates where they have two spells, and you stated, that in general that it is the poor proprietor who has two spells? - No; a proprietor that has 200 negroes may have an estate that is more productive eventually than one that has 300; but if you are only numerically strong to a certain extent, you cannot have probably more than two spells.
5173. Is it not the money interest of a proprietor to obtain the largest quantity of work from the smallest number of slaves? - Certainly it is, but he cannot press a slave beyond his strength; you cannot get the same work out of forty slaves that you can get out of sixty.
5174. Is it not possible by severity to extract from fifty-five the work ordinarily done by sixty? - I do not think it is; you discontent the people, and you would eventually lose by it.
5175. Do you think the feeling that prevails among the planters is, that of pushing the slaves so as to obtain the greatest possible amount of work from them? - I do not think so.
5176. Would not interest as well as humanity require a different course to be pursued? - I think most people are anxious to see their slaves contented and healthy, and good looking.
5177. Can you get as much labour from a discontented gang as from one that works cheerfully? - Certainly not.
5178. From your experience of the negro character, are you of opinion that they have obtained those habits, that if they were made free they would employ themselves upon sugar plantations to work for wages? - I should doubt that extremely; at all events I should think the experiment would be equal to dispossessing the present proprietors.
5179. In expressing that opinion, do you contemplate that it would be very revolting to the feelings of the negroes to be told, that they were no longer to be considered as having a property in their grounds, and that in future they were only to hold them in consideration of their work? - Yes, I think there would be a great difficulty in any such arrangement.
5180. Supposing the negroes chose to rise at once in a mass, and to say they would not give up their grounds, what would be the necessary effect of that? - It is difficult to tell; it is a matter of opinion; I think there is nobody competent to give an opinion upon that.
5181. If, in the insurrection amongst the negroes which recently took place in Jamaica, it was contemplated on the part of the ringleaders the acquiring the possession of the estates which they knew belonged to their masters, is it not reasonable to suppose that they would rise for the purpose of maintaining their right to retain their provision grounds? - It is natural to suppose so.
5182. Have you ever contemplated any plan by which it would be possible to secure to the cultivators of sugar the employment of labourers in the island of Jamaica for wages, upon the slaves being no longer bound to work, but being in fact free? - No, I have never contemplated any thing of the sort, because I cannot conceive the thing possible; but, if this country is tired of this odious system, there is one plain way of doing the thing; and if the people of this country are satisfied that it ought to be done, why do not they adopt it, that is, to compensate the present proprietors, and then make the experiment in any way they think proper. If it answers, the country will not lose by it; but, at all events, as a proprietor, I would protest against any experiments being so tried with my property.
5183. Should you consider that a person who had been thirteen years in the island of Jamaica, seven of which he was engaged in commercial pursuits, two of which he was absent from the island, and two years and a half of which he was in the management of 700 negroes, a person competent to pronounce an opinion as to the general character of the slave population of the whole island of Jamaica, and to suggest the practicability of emancipation, and to predict the probable effects of that emancipation? - No doubt any man may pronounce an opinion, but it may be a just one or otherwise.
5184. Should you consider a person with a personal experience of the conduct and disposition and habits of 700 negroes during a period of two years and a half, competent to speak of the general character of the whole negro population, as well as of the practicability of any particular scheme of emancipation? - I should receive the opinions of that person with doubt, if they differed from those of men of greater experience; a man of observation certainly may gain a good deal of experience in two years and a half.
5185. Will you be so good as to look at this Statement, which has been laid before the Committee, of the manner in which an estate could be carried on by free labour? - [A Statement produced by Mr. Taylor, upon the 12th of June, in answer to Question 703, was shown to the Witness.] - Upon a cursory view of this, it is impossible to state whether it is correct or incorrect; but, even allowing it to be correct, I do not know how it can be insured that you can get the labour.
EVIDENCE OF ROBERT SCOTT, ESQ.
Mercurii 25º die Julii, 1832.
THE RIGHT HON. SIR JAMES GRAHAM BART IN THE CHAIR.
Robert Scott, Esq. called in; and further Examined.
5186. HAVE you, since the last meeting of the Committee, examined the statement that was put into your hands? - Yes.
5187. Be so good as to state any observations you have to make upon the plan contained in that statement? - I consider, in the first place, that the statement of expense is decidedly under-rated, in so far that the number of negroes assumed as capable of producing 200 hogsheads is too small by one-third nearly; it states that it is to be 40 or 45 able Negroes; now I consider that an estate that produced regular crops of 200 hogsheads must have at least 220 negroes in the aggregate, of which there ought to be 60 able labourers, and probably half as many weakly people and children. This plan speaks of 2s. 64. a day for cane-hole digging; I can only say that I never paid less than half a dollar, and that 51. per acre is the very lowest estimate for digging cane holes in the lightest soil in the island. I should say that 7l. 10s. or 8l. was the average rate, and I think I shall be borne out in that by any planter who may be examined upon the subject. As to the minor details, it is impossible to judge of them, but I shout be disposed to think they are correct, because I think that the weakly people upon the estate would be glad to get employment at any wages, in the event of emancipation, for the able people would always demand and get the highest wages, and they would require them if they had themselves and their families to support.
5188. Referring to the state of Jamaica or to any other island, with respect to the currency of the country, how do you conceive it possible that this mode of conducting an estate by payment of wages could be carried on? - I suspect it would not be practicable to carry it on with specie; you would be obliged to keep accounts with the people.
5189. Would you have to keep a debtor and creditor account, with labor on the one hand and wages on the other? - Certainly.
5190. Here is "Clothing, &c. supposed to be sold at the same cost as purchased, and therefore not counted upon?" - Yes, that is very likely.
5191. According to that statement, there would be a balance to the proprietor of 3,000l. upon this estate? - Yes, but that is assuming a rate of price for produce which I should be excessively glad to see warranted, but it is not at present.
5192. Will you put those 200 hogsheads of sugar at the price at which sugar is selling and has been selling? - I have done so, and I have made a counter statement; and in place of producing a balance in favour of the proprietor of 3,000 currency, which is about 2,000l. sterling, I have made a balance against the proprietor of 889l. sterling, and I conceive I am under the mark, in regard to expense charged against the producer.
5193. Have you got that statement in writing? - Yes.
[The Witness delivered in the same.]
Evidence of Robert Scott
hhd: Hogshead (~221 litres)
pun: puncheon (~383 litres)
See: English brewery cask units
5194. The present owner ceasing to be the owner of those slaves, of course he could not be called upon to pay the poll-tax, that poll-tax being chargeable in respect of his ownership of the slaves, upon the slaves in his possession? - They could not of course levy a tax in the same manner, but the money must be raised, and to an extent probably much greater than at present.
5195. Bearing in your recollection the most prosperous period of trade between any foreign country and the island of Jamaica, what possible mode of revenue could be raised in that island to supply the poll-tax, which is now raised from the owner of slaves upon each of his slaves? - I know no manner in which the tax could he raised except upon produce itself.
5196. Is there any allowance made in Mr. Taylor's statement for a number of other I articles which may be required? - I do not know, but I suppose he has included them in what he calls incidental expenses, for which he allows about 1,400l. Now, I conceive, that is completely understated, because the very stores that would be required from England would amount at least to 500l. sterling; that is half the money at once, and then you have all the other expenses. You have the lumber, and you have the mill work; you have the Irish provisions supplied for the white people, and your white people's salaries, and the taxes on the estate, the whole of which I put at 1,900l. in place of 1,400l. which I am satisfied is greatly under the mark.
5197. Have you calculated that the owner is to pay under this, the medical man of the estate? - There is nothing mentioned about medical attendance, but I could show the Committee the contingencies of an estate upon rather a larger scale than that, an estate of 260 hogsheads; I have it here, from 1827 to 1831, and the island contingencies of that estate for 1829 are 2,500l.; that is, exclusive of the home supplies. The contingencies of 1830 are 3,200l. that is for 270 hogsheads shipped. The contingencies of 1831 are 2,700l.; those sums are all currency. Besides that, there are stores imported from this country to the amount of about 900l. sterling a year. I do not see in Mr. Taylor's account any allowance for stock at all for an estate of that description, I would allow 400l. a year at least.
5198. Would there not have to be carried to the credit of the estate the sale of cattle? - There is always a great deal of wear and tear of cattle.
5199. Is there no profit upon the feeding of cattle? - Some estates cannot feed their cattle, and they are obliged to sell them when they get old, and then to the grazing properties where they feed them.
5200. Do they import the cattle or breed the cattle? - They breed the cattle mostly in the island; but they do import cattle too.
5201. Have you looked at the writing which precede that statement in Mr. Taylor's plan? - I read part of it.
5202. This plan contemplates that the slave is to retain his house and his garden, but it says nothing about the grounds. If the grounds are to be given up, the house and the garden attached to the house would not furnish the necessary stock of provisions, would they? - Certainly not; in many instances they have no grounds about the houses that they could depend upon at all.
5203. As an experienced planter, do you consider such a plan as that which is contained in that statement at all practicable? - No, I consider it quite chimerical.
5204. Do you believe that the negroes, from their present disposition, would acquiesce in that arrangement? - From my knowledge of them I do not; I do not think it is reasonable to expect it. In fact, what we see before our eyes, and in history, tells us to the contrary. I fancy that the negroes in Jamaica are like all other Negroes.
5205. It is proposed also that emancipation and strict police should be contemporaneous; and it is stated that ample materials would be found for a police corps in the coloured class, whose services could be had at a low rate of charge; are you acquainted with the general disposition of the people of colour, and of the slaves towards them; and do you believe that there is a feeling on the part of the slaves towards the coloured people, that the coloured people would form a police establishment at all suitable for the purpose? - I doubt whether it would very much; I think it would be very dangerous to bring the people of colour in the island in collision with the new peasantry which it is meant to create.
5206. What would the danger be? - There is a considerable jealousy existing between them now.
5207. Is not it because part of them are slaves and the others free? - Probably it may be.
5208. It is proposed by that plan to avoid paying the emancipated slaves by means of allotments of land, because this would deter them from daily labour, but to pay them them in money, in the present state of Jamaica, or any previous state of it, even within your knowledge, do you think in could be possible to carry on a cultivation of that sort of money payment of slaves? - I think if you were to put the emancipated slaves in possession of their grounds, you could not depend upon their labour for cultivation of sugar or any thing else, because they would find it more profitable to cultivate their grounds as long as they could get a market for their provisions; and on the other hand, if you gave them no ground and paid them in money, how are they to procure food; it must be by importation, and that might fail, and thereby produce famine in the country.
5209. If on the other hand, you allow them to retain possession of the grounds which they have under the present system, which grounds furnish them with abundant supplies of provisions for themselves and for sale, you are of opinion that they would not be disposed to work for wages upon sugar estates? - I should think not, and for - I should think not, and for this simple reason, that they would probably get much more profit by cultivating their grounds than they could by any wages the planter could afford to give them.
5210. If, on the other hand, instead of allowing them to retain their grounds, they were left to be paid by wages, are you of opinion that that would be a mode exposed to the danger of leaving them dependent entirely upon a foreign supply of provisions, and consequently exposing the island to the risk of famine? - Certainly.
5211. Do you consider that in such a state of things there would be an adequate cultivation of provisions by any other description of persons in the island, so as to enable the slaves to obtain those provisions at a market to which they could resort? - I should think it very doubtful.
5212. In point of fact, would you not say now, that the great supply of provisions - which is to be found in the different markets throughout the island, in a great measure proceeds from the slave population? - The great bulk of it does unquestionably; in some parts of the country there are provisions cultivated by free people, but the great bulk of the provisions are raised by Negroes belonging to plantations.
5213. Bearing in recollection the peculiar situation of Jamaica, the extent of the parishes and the distance at which estates are situated from each other in each parish, how do you conceive it possible to establish the species of stipendiary police force which would be requisite for the purpose of maintaining discipline? - That is a subject that I never had in contemplation, and I do not feel qualified to answer that question; It appears to me to be a measure of great difficulty, but whether it is possible or not I will not pretend to say.
5214. In old settled parishes on the sea side, does not the cultivation take place as nearly as possible towards the seaside? - Yes.
5215. Does there not remain another part of the same parish which is at a considerable distance from thence in which there are no sugar estates, and perhaps in the intermediate spaces there are no estates at all? - The sugar estates upon the north side of the island are mostly upon the sea coast; there are scarcely any of them above ten miles from the shore.
5216. Then where those estates terminate in what may be considered an opposite direction from the sea shore, there is a space in which sugar estates are very thinly scattered? - There is a great part of the country, about the centre of the island, that is totally uncultivated. When I state that there are no estates much farther back than ten miles from the coast, I do not mean to include in that Clarendon, which is an interior parish altogether, but that is the character of the plantations upon the north side of the island.
5217. Is not the distance at which estates are situated from each other still more striking in the interior parishes? - Of course the freeholds are larger.
5218. Have you formed an estimate of the practicability of establishing, in such an island as that, the species of police force that might be required? - It is a thing I never thought of.
5219. Is it your opinion, from your knowledge of the negro character, that the slaves have yet acquired those habits, or evinced a disposition, from whence you infer that they are likely at once to possess those habits of industry, which would induce them to labour in the cultivation of sugar for wages? - From my experience of the negro character, I should say certainly not; and I think we have before us, in neighbouring islands, a sufficient proof of this, as I stated before, and from what we know from history. So far back as the year 1793, Victor Hughes declared the negroes in Guiana and Guadaloupe free; but he was obliged to apply to the French Directory to have that boon taken from them, and he did deprive them of it after playing the Robespierre of the West, by hanging and shooting and bayoneting them till he was tired of it, he was obliged to replace them in the state in which he found them.
5220. Was all that done by Victor Hughes? - So I have read; I have no other knowledge of it.
5221. From your experience as a planter, will you state to the Committee whether with reference to the soil and situation required for the cultivation of sugar, it would be impossible to convert those sugar estates into settlements for coffee or for any other produce which can he raised in that island? - It is impossible to establish coffee, except in virgin soil, and it requires a soil of a peculiar nature, a very deep soil; the coffee tree has a tap root, which goes perhaps 15 or 20 feet into the soil. Now our best cane land is a soil of a different nature altogether; it is a black mould upon clay, where a coffee tree would not live at all.
5222. Then if the cultivation of sugar should cease, in consequence of the emancipation of the slaves, it would be impossible to apply the sugar estate to any other purpose? - I conceive so: I conceive they would be of no value.
5223. Is not the temperature of the situation, which is suitable for sugar, too warm for raising coffee? - Yes, both the temperature and the soil would he adverse.
5224. With respect to the conversion of a sugar estate into a pen or farm, would not the pen be valuable only in consequence of the cultivation of sugar being carried on in the island, consequently requiring a supply of cattle? - It would be very easy to convert them in to a pen farm, but they would be of no value; because what would you do with the cattle?
5225. Would there be no demand for cattle if there were no sugar estates? - If the sugar estates are abandoned, I do not know who is to buy cattle.
5226. Then if you destroy the solar estates you destroy the demand far cattle, and therefore render the pens of no value? - Certainly, generally speaking; but there would be still some demand, because there are cattle wanted by the butchers.
5227. If sugar cultivation ceased, and there should present itself no other mode by which the cultivation of the estates could be carried on by the great bulk of the free population, would not that contribute still further to reduce the demand for cattle, even by the butchers? - I should conceive that none of the pen properties in existence now would be of any value if the sugar estates were abandoned; in fact, they breed more cattle now than the planters require.
5228. Are sugar estates capable of being converted into provision grounds advantageously? - Some of them might; they would all grow provisions of some description.
5229. If they produce more cattle upon the estates than the planters require, why do they import cattle? - They do so; it is considered bad policy by the people that have pen farms, but it enables the planter to get cattle cheaper.
5230. Can you suggest to the Committee any other species of cultivation to which sugar estates could be applied, so as to produce any advantage whatever to those who might still retain them, supposing that the result of emancipation should be, that they could not find free labourers to cultivate those sugar estates? - No, I cannot; because it would be of no avail to cultivate provisions, for that would mainly go to support the inhabitants of the country; you might subsist the people by that means, but you could make nothing of it for exportation.
5231. With respect to European grains, such as wheat, barley and oats, are they capable of being produced? - No, they are not capable of being produced; I know of no grain that is grown in Jamaica, except Indian corn, the Guinea corn, and in the mountains of Clarendon they grow a little rice.
5232. Is the rice which is grown in the mountains of Clarendon to any extent? - To no great extent; the negroes grow some rice for themselves.
5233. Does it consist with your knowledge, that with a view to see whether a rice establishment could be formed in Jamaica, a party of Dutchmen came over some years ago to Jamaica, and settled themselves in the neighbourhood of the Y. S. estate, in St. Elizabeth? - I am not aware of it; I do not recollect that I ever heard of that, but I do not think it would answer.
5234. Is it your opinion, or do you conceive it to be the general opinion in the island of Jamaica, that the cultivation of sugar is the cause why there has been a decrease or a non-increase of the population of the island of Jamaica? - I should think not; for this reason, that upon plantations where the population consists entirely of Creole negroes they do increase at this moment.
5235. Is it an observation which you yourself have made, that upon plantations where the Creoles exceed the Africans there is an increase? - I have generally observed it, but I cannot say whether it is so all over the island.
5236. Has your attention ever been directed to the two estates of Lord Seaford? - I know the estates perfectly well, but I had nothing to do with the management of them.
5237. Do you happen to know that upon one of those estates there is a majority of Africans, whilst upon the other of the estates there is a majority of Creoles, and that upon the estate where the Creoles exceed the Africans an increase has taken place; whilst upon the other estate there has been a decrease? - I should think it very likely to happen; but I do not know it of my own knowledge; but I have heard that there was a considerable decrease of negroes upon Lord Seaford's estate, in consequence of the removal of a large gang from a very dry part of the island (Saint David's, I think), his Lordship's property, which is upwards of 100 miles distant; and those negroes turned on very ill I they were removed to a climate which did not suit their constitution, and a great many of them died; I am not speaking of this as a matter of fact; but my as a matter I have heard of.
5238. Do you believe that it is correct, if there is a failure in the increase of a population upon an estate, to ascribe it to the flogging of women when in a state of pregnancy? - I do not think so; because I cannot believe that any person would flog a pregnant woman, knowing her to be pregnant; there may be people savage enough to do it, but I should hope they are only exceptions. I have now an account of the increase and decrease of negroes for three years upon my own estate, which shows that there is not a single African that breeds upon the property.
5239. Are you aware; at the time of the Registry in the year 1817; of the proportion which the African population really throughout the island bore to the Creole population? - I do not recollect I believe it to be considerable.
5240. Do you happen to know the age at which in is usual to import Africans at the time the Slave Trade prevailed? - The Slave Trade I had very little experience of, for it was finished a few years after I first went to the island; but it was generally adults who were imported, people fit for work, both men and women.
5241. Then when the Registry commenced in 1817, a great proportion of the population would be at rather an advanced age? - Of course there would be a greater proportion of such than if the population had consisted of people raised in the ordinary way of nature; because, while the African trade existed, there were few or no children brought to the country.
5242. What is the ordinary payment for the jobbing gangs per day when they are employed to work in making cane-holes? - Three shillings and fourpence per day when they are employed by day labour; that is what I have always paid.
5243. Then, of course; the owner of the gang makes a profit by letting them out? - Of course he contemplates making a profit.
5244. Therefore it would not of course follow, if emancipation took place, that that rate of wages would be necessary to recompense the emancipated slave? - I rather think it would, for this reason, that you would have so few able people working in comparison to others who would have no employment at all, and the man, out of his wages, would have his family to support and clothe.
5245. Why would you have so few people working? - Because the proportion of working people upon an estate is about one-third, all the rest are either old people or children; when I say one-third, I do not mean to say they are all able-bodied people, there are a number of weakly people and children among those who work, for the weakly people and children of ten years are as efficient in such work as cleaning canes as the able-bodied people are.
5246. Why in case of emancipation should there, be fewer ready to work? - You would not have more people than you have now.
5247. Would you not have as many? - Yes, I think you would have as many, certainly, if you could control them.
5248. If you had as many, why should the wages of labor be higher in case of emancipation than they would be now? - I do not say they would be higher, but I think the negro would require that sort of compensation to enable him to live and support his family.
5249. How does he maintain himself now? - By his provision grounds, and if these fail, his master must support him, and he has his clothing from his master.
5250. How many days labour has he now to employ tor himself? - His wife and children work in his provision grounds as well as himself.
5251. How many days labour of the slave himself is sufficient to provide him with enough provisions for the year? - The law allows him twenty-six days, which he still would require if he had provision grounds, but I am assuming that he is to have no provision grounds according to that plan.
5252. Does he not now maintain himself, according to your estimate, by 35 days' labour in his grounds? - Yes.
5253. What do you apprehend to be the value to a proprietor of the ground, which he so allots to the negro per acre? - I do not know bow to answer that question, but I think if he had his grounds be could much better supply himself than if he earned his 2s. 6d. or half a dollar a day. Those high wages are only for this particular sort of work; I do not mean to say he is to get 3s. 4d. per day all the year round.
5254. Does not the negro, at the present moment, by 35 days' labour, maintain himself and his wife and children with the provision ground allotted to him by his master, independently of the allowance of fish and so on? - Yes, he does generally speaking.
5255. What would you consider to be the value of the ground allotted to him for his provisions, would you consider it worth more than the 35 days' labour? - It must be worth more than that, because he sells a great deal of provisions out of it.
5256. Would you say that it is the value of 50 days' labor? - I cannot state what may be the value of it.
5257. Suppose it to be worth 50 days' labour, then the result would be, that he maintains himself at the cost of 85 days' labour, and consequently he has a great superfluity of labour. Then if you gave him the whole of his time, could not he afford to work much cheaper? - He might; I do not presume to say what the rate of labor will be in the event of the negroes becoming free, it will depend upon the demand for labour, and their willingness to give it.
5258. Is not it manifest, that supposing he gave a rent for the land to any extent you please, and expended 35 days' labour upon the land, he would have a superfluity of time which he might employ in labour upon the plantation? - Certainly.
5259. If all the negroes were to be emancipated, can you state any reason why they should not come and seek employment when they are paid for it? - It is a matter of conjecture altogether.
5260. Did you ever know any number of negroes refuse to work for wages when wages were offered them? - I never knew any free negro work in a field upon a sugar estate or a coffee estate for wages.
5261. Did it ever happen to you upon any estate, to offer the negroes any small compensation for additional labour? - I dare say it has, though I cannot call any instance to my recollection at this moment; I know that Negroes are frequently paid for their extra labour.
5262. Do not they work willingly then? - Certainly they do.
5263. If they work willingly when they are paid for their extra labour, why should not they work willingly when their subsistence depends upon it? - If a negro is upon a good understanding with his overseer, he will not refuse to work upon the negro day when he is required to do so, and is compensated for it.
5264. What would lead you to suppose, that if emancipation took place the negro would not work, as he would be dependent entirely upon his own exertions for his subsistence? - I have reason to suppose so from what we have learnt of other negroes similarly situated.
5265. What other places do you allude to? - I allude to St. Domingo particularly.
5266. You have spoken of a French colony; do you believe that there is no French colony where the slaves were emancipated, and where the slaves continued to work at sugar cultivation for seven years afterwards? - I am not aware of it; I have stated all that I know on that subject.
5267. Since the emancipation of the slaves in Mexico, have they not, to your knowledge, continued to work in the cultivation of sugar? - Not to my knowledge.
5268. Did you ever read Mr. Warner's Account? - No; I have no knowledge of the Mexican negroes whatever, except that I heard they were emancipated in consequence of the revolution in that country.
5269. Are not the slaves very much attaches to their present homesteads? - Yes, I believe they are, generally.
5270. Do you not think that in case of emancipation, they would be ready to pay a certain rent to be allowed to remain? - A great many of them would; and I think a great many of them would go to the towns.
5271. Do not you think that if they were industrious they would be able to pay that rent? - If they were industrious, certainly.
5272. You have said that they would be disposed to cultivate provisions in preference to working upon sugar plantations? - I think it very likely if they had good provision grounds to work on, and as long as they could find a market.
5273. Must not there be a limit to the quantity of provisions raised? - Certainly.
5274. Would not the market rate of price for those provisions, as they became larger in quantity, decrease? - Certainly it would; and when they overstocked the market, they would very likely quit the cultivation of provisions, and they would work a while for the sugar planter or coffee planter.
5275. Is there any quantity of land in the island of Jamaica, which the negroes could get possession of without paying rent? - There is a great deal of land that they might take forcible possession of.
5276. Is there any land that is common property, where no one would molest them? - Not that I know of; I believe it is all owned by some one; but there is a great deal of country unopened; there is a district between Trelawney and St. Elizabeth, of upwards of forty by thirty miles, which is unopened to this moment.
5277. You have been asked as to the establishment of a police there; are not the Maroons, generally speaking, quiet and well-behaved persons? - Yes they are perfectly well-behaved persons.
5278. Is it necessary to establish any strong police to keep them in order? - No; they are not so very numerous; there is a superintendent always at the town, who settles all their disputes, and they have their own courts and regulations, which they make for themselves.
5279. Are there not several Maroon towns? - Yes.
5280. How many white persons are there upon an estate that gives 250 hogsheads? - Four generally.
5281. Is that the whole force of white persons necessary to keep down 250 negroes? - It would not be necessary if force were requisite, but it is the usual white strength upon an estate, an overseer, two book-keepers and a carpenter.
5282. And with the exception of the late insurrection, the slaves have generally been obedient? - Yes, perfectly so.
5283. Are they a submissive race, or are they impatient of control? - They are excessively impatient of control if you exact more from them than you ought to do, they will not submit to it; but they know very well the duty they have to do upon plantation, and if nothing more than that is exacted, they are very easily managed, and they require no harsh treatment whatever.
5284. Then they exercise a judgment as to the quantum of work that ought to be required of them? - Yes, because if you exact more from them, they will -resist it.
5285. Will you state any good reason why the coloured people should not make an efficient police? - I do not think the coloured people would make at all a better police than people selected from the negroes themselves, on the contrary, not so good, for this reason, that there is always a jealousy existing between the free people of colour and the slaves, and I think they would not be likely to submit to the authority of officers appointed from among the free people of colour.
5286. Do you think you could organize a system of police out of the negroes them selves from the head drivers and people of that description? - Yes, I think better than the others.
5287. Do not the free people of colour form a considerable part of the militia at the present time? - Yes, they do.
5288. From bearing the climate better, are they not more efficient than the white militia? - I would not say so, because I have seen the white people in the field, and I think they are generally as efficient, and as active, and as equal to any business in the field, as the people of colour; but the people of colour make very good soldiers.
5289. You have stated that it would not be possible to cultivate many articles that have been mentioned, would the land in Jamaica bear indigo? - Yes, indigo has been has been cultivated there, and was to a considerable extent, till the heavy duties laid on by this Government drove it out of cultivation.
5290. Do you think that indigo was driven out of cultivation in the West Indies by the heavy duties, or by the great competition? - I have always understood it was in consequence of the heavy duty that was laid on, which did not make it pay to cultivate it.
5291. Then presuming the duty to be diminished, or the duty to be entirely taken off, do you think it would be practicable to cultivate indigo to any extent in Jamaica? - I have no knowledge of the cultivation of indigo; I have seen it, and it is indigenous there.
5292. Is not the soil well adapted to the cultivation of indigo? - It will grow almost in any soil, but it is hardly cultivated at all now, and I have no experience of that cultivation.
5293. Were you ever upon the Spanish main? - I Never was.
5294. You are by law compelled to keep a certain number of white persons upon an estate? - Yes, or to pay a money penalty.
5295. Were You yourself ever in the capacity of in overseer? - No, I never was.
5296. What are the wages of an overseer? - I should say that 209l. a year was the general wages, and he is maintained.
5297. And of a book-keeper? - Eighty pounds and 70l.; but in some instances they are less rather.
5298. Do not a great proportion of them come from Scotland? - A great many.
5299. Can you give any solution of that? - Really I cannot; I think we get the best planters from Scotland, because they are generally young men that have been brought up on farms.
5300. Are they not generally better educated than persons of their condition in England? - I think so; because they can all read and write.
5301. Did you purchase the property that you posses now? - No, I succeeded to it.
5302. During the time you were in the island has there been any change in the treatment of slaves? - Yes, I think there has.
5303. In what respect? - I think the punishments are much less frequent.
5304. Do you think there has been less work exacted from them? - I am not clear, of that, because many estates areas are as productive as under the old system; but we had a great many savage Africans to deal with formerly, which we have not now.
5305. Upon the property you possess were the slaves in any degree educated? - Not at all.
5306. Was there env religious instruction afforded to them? - Many of them went to church, and went to meeting-houses; they were never controlled in that respect.
5307. Did the clergyman of Trelawney superintend the negroes? - Whenever they went to him, and they did frequently go to him; they went to church frequently and to the meeting-house.
5308. When you first went to the island did the clergyman of the perish pay any attention to them? - I cannot any that he did.
5309. When did the change take place? - I should say the Bishop made the clergy a little more alert than they used to be.
5310. Is the clergyman in that parish pretty sharp in his attention to the negroes? - I have had no knowledge for some years.
5311. When you were there last? - I believe so; but I will not say positively. He is rather an old man now, but he has a curate who is active.
5312. When you quitted the island had the negroes any reasonable proportion of religious instruction? - As to that I will not say; I think they have a very imperfect knowledge of religious matters.
5313. Do you know when the Act passed appointing additional curates? - That I do not recollect; the negroes are mostly all christened; it does not follow that they know any thing about Christianity.
5314. Did you ever calculate what was tire cost of rearing a slave? - No, I never did.
5315. At what age does he begin to pay for himself? - You get no work whatever out of a child till he is nine or ten years old.
5316. Would not the value of a slave a great deal depend upon the whole cost that he might occasion his master before he became capable of earning anything? - Of course; but I have no idea of what it is; I have never made any calculation upon that subject; but I know that he is nine or ten years old before he is fit for any purpose whatever, and then only to do light work, such as weeding.
5317. Do you believe that a man will maintain himself and his wife and family, or especially when he entirely does it by his own exertions, and would starve if he did not, than when he is maintained at the cost of another? - I do not know.
5318. Did you ever know the difference between the maintenance of a man in the workhouse and the maintenance of a man when he maintains himself out of it? - It depends upon the sort of provision that is made for him in the workhouse.
5319. Do you knew that the lowest possible cost at which a man can be maintained in the workhouse is much more than that which will maintain him when he is out of it? - I do not know it.
5320. Did you ever consider the difference between the economical management of an individual who manages for himself, and the waste that follows where an individual is provided for at the cost of another? - I can easily conceive that a family of five or six for instance, living amongst themselves, would live much more economically than if all those people were living separately.
5321. Is not there a saving when a man provides for himself, and a waste when another provides for him? - That depends upon the management.
5322. Is not that usually so? - Very likely it is; but I have no experience of that.
5323. Do you think that the overseers upon all the estates are particularly saving in the use and consumption of what they have at their disposition? - Some of them are, Some of them are; and some of them are negligent in that respect; but it is the duty of the overseer to take care of the stores, an to make the most economical use of them that is possible.
5324. Is not he at liberty to nuke use of what he pleases for his own consumption at the expense of his master? - Yes.
5325. Do you think he makes the same economical use of those articles if he paid for them himself? - If they are conscientious men they will do so; and I know many of them that live very economically.
5326. Is not the quantity of stores that comes under the overseer limited by the quantity that is allowed? - Certainly; there is a certain quantity of stores that is considered sufficient imported; and if they go beyond that, they must give a reason for doing so.
5327. You were asked as to the poor fund; have you any knowledge of the poor fund, generally speaking, throughout the island of Jamaica? - Not except as to the parish in which I live; and I found that I was not very correct in stating my opinion of that from recollection.
5328. You have been asked as to the decrease and increase of Negroes; do you know whether the decrease or the increase is the same upon pens as in is upon sugar estates? - I do not think I have any knowledge upon that subject.
5329. What is your reason for supposing that the African does not produce children in the same way that the Creole does? - Because all the Africans are getting old now in the island, and the Africans formerly were much more generally dissipated in their habits than the Creole negroes.
5330. Do you believe that the increase of the negroes depends upon their good and regular habits very much? - Certainly; I think they would increase faster if they were to become more moral in their conduct.
5331. Are they becoming more moral? - I think the Creole negroes are a very superior class of people to the Africans; and they are becoming more and more civilized every day.
5332. Do you think it is from education they are becoming more civilized? - From education partly, no doubt; and from not being contaminated with African habits.
5333. And from intercourse with white people? - They always had that.
5334. You think that when they become more civilized they become better in their habits? - I think so.
5335. You think that an increase of education would render them more civilized? - There can be no doubt of that.
5336. And more likely to augment their number? - I should think so, if they become more moral in their habits.
5337. Then you are of opinion that it would be desirable to extend religious instruction among them? - No person can object to that, on the contrary.
5338. Do you think that giving them education and religious instruction would be likely to render slavery more or less permanent? - I do not know, I think it is possible to over educate them, and if you were to do so you might discontent them.
5339. They have not been over educated yet, in your opinion? - Not yet, certainly.
5340. And it would take some time to do so at the present rate? - Certainly; the great danger of over educating them is from their getting access to books and tracts that will discontent them with their situation; I have no other objection to it.
5341. Then the teaching them to read is productive of risk? - Yes.
5342. And the more ignorant you keep them, the more safe will be the state of slavery? - There can be no doubt about that; if you instruct people, you make them discontented with the state of slavery.
5343. As soon as they come to a knowledge of their own situation, compared with that of others, you think they are more likely to become discontented? - I suspect so.
5344. When were you last in Jamaica? - In 1829.
5345. Have not the profits arising from property in Jamaica been for some time diminishing? - Very much; there are scarcely any profits now at all; many plantations are getting the proprietors into debt.
5346. To what particular cause do you attribute the diminution in profits? - To the very low price of sugar and rum.
5347. To what do you attribute the very low price of sugar and rum? - To over production, I fancy, because there is more made than there is consumption for in this country.
5348. If a considerable part of the sugar land, therefore, could be withdrawn from sugar cultivation, the remaining land would be likely to yield a tolerable return? - those who could stand out such change a those might benefit by it, but a great many would be sacrificed.
5349. Is it possible to keep up a system of over production which shall be beneficial to the planters? - I do not think so; the quantity of sugar that is now got from the Mauritius, Demerara, &c. has damned the old West India colonies altogether.
5350. Had not you a good deal of distress prior to that? - Not so much.
5351. Not in 1816? - The prices in 1816 were not so very bad.
5352. Did not the Assembly in Jamaica petition in 1816, stating their distress? - It is very likely they were in a distressed situation, in comparison to what they had been before; for from 1812 to 1815 or 1816 the colony was rather flourishing, and it has fallen back ever since; from 1812 to 1815, sugars were producing 30l. a hogshead upon the average, and they began to decrease in 1816, and they have continued ever since, because the importations from the Mauritius and Demerara have been increasing.
5353. Is it not absolutely necessary, during the continuance of a state of slavery, in the present condition in which Jamaica is, in order to pay the demands upon them, to keep up the production of sugar? - I should think so.
5354. You cannot state to the Committee any change in the cultivation whatever that would be beneficial to the island? - I do not know any thing you can substitute for sugar on the sugar estates.
5355. Are you of opinion that nothing but a reduction of the quantity of sugar produced would restore prosperity to planter? - Or a reduction of the duty, so as to increase the consumption.
5356. To what extent? - If the whole war duty were taken off, it might afford some relief.
5357. Supposing it was reduced to 18s. a hundred weight? - I think it ought to be to 15s.
5358. Do you suppose that if the duty were lowered one-half, the consumption would be doubled? - I am not clear that it would be doubled, but I think it would be greatly increased.
5359. In case emancipation was to take place, what are the evils you would apprehend as immediately resulting from that emancipation? - I apprehend that property would become valueless altogether.
5360. Do you think the land would not let? - I should be glad to know who would take it.
5361. Would not the slave be able to occupy that land and pay a rent? - I do not think so.
5362. Why not? - I do not think you would get white people to remain in the island and how would the rent be paid?
5363. Do you think it would not be practicable, taking one of Lord Seaford's estates, for example, upon which he has got 700 negroes, to let part of that estate to those negroes upon condition of paying a certain rent? - I think if his Lordship tries the experiment he will fail.
5364. Is there any country in the world where land is not let, where there is abundance of land to let, and a number of persons to be maintained? - Yes, but you must have a different description of people to deal with.
5365. Why so? - It is my firm opinion that property would be of no value in the event of emancipation; but if I am wrong, why do not the country take that responsibility upon themselves?
5366. If the negro is industrious upon his own provision grounds, and if he raises articles beyond what are necessary for his own maintenance, why should he not exercise this industry, if he had an opportunity of doing so, in a state of freedom? - The negro in the state of control he is in now, and a free negro, are very different characters altogether.
5367. Do you think a man is more industrious in a state of slavery than when he is in a state of freedom? - I rather think he is; and I judge of that from the history of it. Domingo up to this moment.
5368. Do you think a man will do more work when the benefit of his work to his master than when the benefit goes to himself? - When he is his own master he will work if he pleases, or let it alone; we cannot command his work.
5369. Is not the motive of maintaining himself, and acquiring the comforts of life sufficient to stimulate persons to labour? - Yes; but the great body of them would be content with so little, that I do not think it would stimulate them at all.
5370. Are they contented with so little now? - Many of them are.
5371. Do not a considerable portion of them work to acquire articles of luxury? - Certainly they do; there is no doubt that there are a number of negroes who are wealthy, and there will be found among them more money than among an equal number of the peasantry in this country.
5372. Is there not a considerable number of such negroes? - Yes.
5373. And the money they have so acquired has been the produce of their own industry? - Yes.
5374. Why should they not do the same when they become free? - Those people could do the same, but they are a small proportion of the whole.
5375. The Committee have been informed, that a very large proportion of the field negroes possess considerable comforts and luxuries beyond them mere necessaries of life? - So they do, they have plenty of food, and so on.
5376. Do not they set a high value upon clothing of a. different description from that which their masters give them? - Yes, they buy a good deal of clothing themselves.
5377. Are they not very fond of finery? - Yes, many are
5378. Then if, notwithstanding they are compelled to work so many hours for their master, they will yet work in their extra time to get those articles of luxury, why should they do the same if they are emancipated? - A great number of them would, I have no doubt, but not generally.
5379. Is not their present motive the acquisition by their. labor of things deemed beneficial, and would not that motive exist even more strongly if they were capable of dedicating their whole time to the acquisition of that which they deem valuable? - Yes, with a certain proportion of them; but I should say the smaller proportion.
5380. Supposing that the greater proportion were to show themselves to be industrious, would not the inevitable consequence of that industry be an increased demand for all those articles which are now consumed by the negroes as articles of luxury? - I think a great proportion of the negroes would be contented with very little, and which little they could get with very easy labor.
5381. Are they contented with that little now? - A great many of them are.
5382. Do not a large proportion of them try to get something beyond what the master allows them? - I do not think it is likely that a large proportion of them would do more was necessary to afford them the usual comforts of life.
5383. Do you think that the desire for fine clothing would end with emancipation? - No, I do not.
5384. If a man has a desire for the luxuries of life, is it not consistent with your experience that that desire goes on increasing? - It is human nature, certainly.
5385. Did you ever know a man say when he had got 100l. that he had got enough, or would he not rather try to get a little more? - Certainly.
5386. Would not the negroes act upon that principle? - Many would, no doubt, but some would not.
5387. Are not the negroes possessed of the same feelings, generally speaking, in that respect as white persons? - I suppose they are; they are human creatures, and according to their intelligence they are influenced in the same way.
5388. Moved by fear, and excited by reward? - Of course.
5389. Is there any marked distinction between the industrious habits of the Creoles and the Africans? - There are some of the Africans vary fund of money; they are fond of keeping it. I think the character of the Creoles generally is, that they spend their money more freely than the Africans; that the Africans are fonder of hoarding money
5390. If freedom was given to both, have you any fixed opinion which of the two classes would be most disposed to work? - I could not venture to answer that question. I think in a few years there will be no Africans fit to work, they would be all too old.
5391. You have said that there is a large importation of stores from England; you consider that importation absolutely necessary? - Certainly; we do do not import one article that we can do without.
5392. Do not you think a larger quantity of provisions might be raised in the island? - There are not much provisions imported from this country; it is only for hospital use and for young children.
5393. Do not you import provisions from Ireland? - That is for the white people's table; they have salt beef, park and butter, and things of that description; they are obliged to have that kind of supply in a climate where they cannot keep fresh provisions.
5394. Might not they produce in the island of Jamaica a larger quantity of provisions, sufficient to maintain all the people there now? - So they might, but still they require salt provisions, because you cannot preserve fresh food in that climate.
5395. Is not that only for luxury's sake, and is it not the fact that there need not be any absolute necessity for importation? - No, I believe what is now imported to be necessary.
5396. Might not the production of food in the island be increased to a great extent? - Yes.
5397. Might not more cattle be reared? - Certainly; but enough are raised for the demand.
5398. Is there not ground fit for the production, of cattle to almost a boundless extent in the interior? - Certainly; but no labourers, except the sugar estates be abandoned.
5399. Where do you get your lumber from? - America, chiefly.
5400. From the United States? - Yes, now; formerly we were excluded from intercourse with that country, though we did get lumber in a roundabout way from a neutral port.
5401. You have been asked about the currency of Jamaica; do you think there would be any difficulty in establishing a, system of payment for labour to any extent in case of emancipation? - No, if that were all the difficulty it would be easily got over; it would occasion difficulty, but I should think nothing of it.
5402. How would you manage it? - You would be obliged to substitute paper till you got coin; and you would be obliged to keep accounts with the people.
5403. Supposing there were to be on the Saturday a settlement for the work upon the estates by paying wages to the persons employed for their labour during the preceding five days, what sort of specie could be found for the purpose of that payment? - Iam quite aware that there is not specie enough in the island for that purpose; in fact, there is scarcely enough at present for the current business of the country.
5404. that the slaves would like to take paper money? - Not at present; it would be long ere they would comprehend the use of it.
5405. Would there be any more difficulty than what is experienced with respect to the free at present? - The free people are a comparatively small number to what they would be in the event of general emancipation; but certainly that is not an insurmountable difficulty.
5406. When you talk of an estate with 220~negroes upon it, what would be the proportion of that number that could be considered as constituting labourers effective, either in the great gang or the small gang? - I should say, that where there is a gang of 220 negroes there ought to be about 60 effective people, and about half that number of weakly people and children working; you would have about 90 altogether.
5407. Then of those sixty that you would-call-the effective gang, how many would be of that description that would be likely to dig cane-holes? - Perhaps the whole of them, when I speak of an effective negro, I mean a person that is fit for any work; but the cane-hole digging is by no means such tremendous work as might be imagined; Yes. it is not half so hard as digging ditches, cutting hills on roads, and filling up ravines, which is done by labourers in this country.
5408. Is it not a little hotter there? - Yes, but the negroes do not dislike the heat.
5409. Are not the women employed upon it? - Some of them are; - in fact, I know the general practice upon my estate is that the cane-hole diggers are all volunteers.
5410. Do you give them any encouragement for it? - When they are upon that work they have plenty of punch, and they take a sort of pride in being considered able for that description of work
5411. Is it generally task work? - Sometimes it is.
5412. You have been asked about the practicability of letting land, do you think you could you could find a slave, or any number of slaves that would take an estate for the purpose of carrying in the cultivation of sugar themselves upon their own account? - No, I do not believe it all.
5413. Would not the effect of changing slave for free labour be, to throw the growing of sugar entirely into the hands of great capitalists possessing large estates, and displacing the sugar from the small estates in the possession of the poorer capitalists? - I think it would be very likely to have that effect, and indeed the small estates will be thrown out of the cultivation of sugar upon the present system, if the present state of the market continues.
5414. Would not that reduce the quantity of sugar made? - Yes.
5415. Would that be a benefit or an injury to the island? - It would be a benefit to some, and ruin to others.
5416. Have you ever considered the effect upon a certain body of the slave population; suppose, for instance, several estates were thrown up in any parish, what would be the effect of leaving unemployed the slaves upon those estates that were so thrown out upon the tranquility and good order of the slaves upon the surrounding estates? - I cannot contemplate any thing of the sort, because if the slaves remain unemployed, how are they to be supported? I conceive that if there were any number of unemployed slaves to be let loose upon the country without having any thing to do, they would endanger the tranquillity of the country; they would occasion great discontent among the slaves who were employed.
5417. In the event of the sugar planting being confined to the large capitalists, would or would not those capitalists extend their plantations so as to meet the demand which at present exists for sugar? - I do not think that under the present circumstances of the country, any man in his senses would extend the cultivation, or lay out one farthing of capital which he was not obliged to do; I cannot conceive it possible that any person would invest more money in sugar plantations, or that he would buy those negroes from the plantations that were thrown up.
5418. Suppose the change from slave to free labour should take place, would not the able-bodied slaves now upon the smaller estates that would then be displaced, find a market for their labour upon the larger estates in the possession of large capitalists, who would then extend their cultivation? - Of course every labourer would have to get work where he could.
5419. In that case there would not be a mass of unemployed labourers, because labour being free and the market being open, the able-bodied men would of course apply for employment to those persons that were extending their cultivation of sugar? - Certainly, if they wanted work.
5420. Have you any statement of the clothing delivered out to the negroes upon your estate? - I have a statement containing the names of all the negroes upon the estate, and the clothing that was giving to each of them on the 9th of May 1829; the total number of negroes on the 28th of June 1829, was 265. I have drawn out the substance of the account of the clothing, which I will deliver in.
[The same was delivered in and read, as follows:]
1 Share of . . . . 8
92 Shares of . . 6 . . 552
128 Shares of . . 4 . . 512
43 Shares of . . 2 . . 86 . . 1,158 yards of penistones.
1 Share of . . . . 20
12 Shares of . . 14 . . 168
182 Shares of . . 10 . .1,820
26 Shares of . . 8 . . 215 . . 2,431 yards Osnaburgs.
100 Shares of . . 4 8/10 . 480 yards long ells.
42 Shares of . . 2 1/2 . . 105
20 Shares of . . 3 1/2 . . 70 . . 175 yards check.