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Slave Revolt in Jamaica.docx

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York University
HIST 1050
Kate Mc Pherson

HISTORY 10501LIFE LOVE AND LABOUR AN INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL AND CULTURAL HISTORYTUTORIAL READING OCT 8 AND 10 2013THE SLAVE REVOLT IN HANOVER PARISH JAMAICA 1776This is a set of documents on an intended slave revolt in Hanover parish Jamaica in 1776 Itcame at a time when Britain was at war with its colonies in America who declared independence in July 1776 It was a troubled time for Britons who were worried about their Atlantic possessions and wrangling among themselves about the efficacy of the war with their American brothers Within two years debating societies in London were calling for the withdrawal ofBritish troops from the American mainlandJamaica was the largest and by the mideighteenth century the most significant sugar island at least in terms of production It had a high ratio of black slaves to whites well over 10 to 1 and increasing over timeIn 1750 there were 10400 whites and 118100 blacks and a small but growing free black population The total population of the British West Indies in 1787 was58350 whites 7700 free blacks and 461800 slaves About 34000 slaves were exported from Africa to the Caribbean annually Most of the black slaves in Jamaica were African not Caribbean born or creole Jamaica also had several maroon escaped enslaved people who declared themselves free societies They had existed since the British took over the island from the Spanish in 1655 and by the late 1730s after a decade or more of bush warfare with the British settlers they signed a treaty whereby they were ceded territory in the mountains on condition that they returned future runaways to the planters for which they were to be paidHistorians disagree as to the extent they observed the terms of the treaty of 1739 signed by their leader Cudjoe and in 1776 there were fears they sometimes known as Cudjoe negroes were collaborating with the Hanover rebelsThe main sources for this revolt are from the British Colonial Office and Admiralty papers in effect letters from the colonial governors or admirals stationed in the area to the secretary of state for the colonies in London Below are some excerpts of those letters or reports as well as a few excerpts about the Jamaican revolt in the London newspapers British readers would have been anxious about the future of one of their principal tropical islands in the light of the American conflict and the likelihood that Britains main commercial competitor France would enter the war on the side of the colonists which it did in 1778 In 1776 the war against America very much absorbed British attention and rather diminished news from other colonies often listed as plantation newsFor tutorial on Oct 8 and 10 read these sources and put them in chronological order Be prepared to discuss who participated in this conflict and whose voices we hear in the source We will be considering what we can know from these sources about ordinary peoples agency and resistance SLAVE REVOLT IN JAMAICA JULYSEPT 1776th On the 24of July last his Excellency Sir Basil Keith Governor of Jamaica published the following proclamationWhereas a great number of negroes in the parish of Hanover have been and now are in a state of actual rebellion we have thought fit for the service of this our island and to prevent any further attempts by the slave of other parishes to join with those already concerned that for the defence and security of this our said island and for the immediate suppression of the said rebellion martial law shall now be in forceth On the 25July last his Excellency our Governor published another proclamation on account of the rebellion of the negroes in the parish of Hanover setting forth That as there is danger of the insurrection becoming general unless the greatest precautions and vigilance be used to prevent the same and as the strength of the island in white people would be much diminished by the suffering the several ships and vessels in the merchants service to depart from the island in the present critical and dangerous juncture and it appearing that the negroes have partly relied oncarrying their mischievous designs into effect on the departure of the said ships for Great Britain his Excellency has therefore ordered a general embargo to be laid on all ships and vessels within the several ports of Jamaica until the causes of apprehension be removed and the internal peace and tranquility restored and establishedFrom the Kingston Jamaica Journal 3 August 1776 and cited in the London Chronicle 2224October 1776 General Evening Post 2224 October 1776Extract of a letter from Port Royal Jamaica 6 August 1776 cited in the London Chronicle 2426 October 1776There has been a great insurrection of the negroes in Hanover parish These ignorant savages it is much suspected have been deluded and set on to rebel at the instigation of some American emissaries from the Northern Continent who have privately supplied them with firelocks hangers small cutlasses c which they carefully concealed a considerable time in the woodsExtract of a letter from Jamaica 24 July 1776 cited in ther 25 October 1776Public AdvertiseLast week Mr Chambers observing his favourite Boy loading his Pistols with Black Sard stone instead of Powder was put upon the Watch and at length discovered a Plot formed by th the principal Creole Negroes upon his and four neighbouring Estates for rising the 19instant ie July It was deep laid and pretty general Six Ringleaders have been tried and were hanged on nd mSaturday Eighty odd ore were in custody to be tried The 52regiment consisting of seasoned Men who had formed Connections here were forced to embark for America to be replaced by Recruits who die like rotten Sheep There being no Soldiers in Hanover or Ships upon the Station is supposed to have been the Cause of the Negroes rising at a Time when all were engaged on the sailing of the Fleet for England The Inhabitants are all in Arms and keep constant GuardExtract of a letter from Jamaica 30 July 1776 cited in the General Evening Post 2426 October1776
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