Download A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica by Richard S. Dunn PDF

By Richard S. Dunn

Forty years in the past, after e-book of his pathbreaking e-book Sugar and Slaves, Richard Dunn begun a thorough research of 2 thousand slaves dwelling on plantations, one in North the USA and one within the Caribbean. Digging deeply into the documents, he has reconstructed the person lives and collective reports of 3 generations of slaves at the Mesopotamia sugar property in Jamaica and the Mount ethereal plantation in tidewater Virginia, to appreciate the starkly assorted kinds slavery may well take. Dunn’s wonderful success is a wealthy and compelling background of bondage in very varied Atlantic global settings.

From the mid-eighteenth century to emancipation in 1834, lifestyles in Mesopotamia used to be formed and stunted by way of lethal paintings regimens, rampant illness, and dependence at the slave alternate for brand new workers. At Mount ethereal, the place the inhabitants regularly multiplied until eventually emancipation in 1865, the “surplus” slaves have been offered or moved to far-off paintings websites, and households have been often damaged up. Over 2 hundred of those Virginia slaves have been despatched 8 hundred miles to the Cotton South.

In the genealogies that Dunn has painstakingly assembled, we will hint a Mesopotamia fieldhand via each degree of her bondage, and distinction her harsh therapy with the fortunes of her rebellious mulatto son and shrewdpermanent quadroon granddaughter. We tune a Mount ethereal craftworker via a stormy lifetime of interracial intercourse, break out, and family members breakup. the main points of people’ lives let us to understand the entire adventure of either slave groups as they worked and enjoyed, and eventually grew to become free.

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Extra resources for A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia

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4 per annum). These totals are by no means complete. Though the Barhams’ bookkeepers kept slave birth and death registers, they never reported abortions or miscarriages and only occasionally reported stillbirths, and they seem to have omitted a large number of infants who died within a few hours or days after birth. The true birth total was undoubtedly much higher than 420, which would make the true death total equally higher. The bottom line was the same—331 more deaths than births. To sustain their Mesopotamia workforce, the Barhams bought 415 new slaves between 1762 and 1833—137 directly from the African slave ships and 278 from other estates in Jamaica.

In 1791 they bought sixty-one seasoned slaves from Southfield, a farming settlement in Westmoreland, said to be an attractive purchase because there were fi fteen children in the group and only two invalids. 48 The new purchases led Barham to believe that he now had enough slaves to lighten the workload on the estate and that he could encourage the young Mesopotamia women to have more babies. And he decided to stop dealing with the African ships. ”49 Thus, Barham withdrew from the Atlantic slave trade fourteen years before Parliament prohibited it, a span of time (1793–1807) in which his fellow Jamaican planters imported more than 150,000 slaves from Africa.

In sum, although Mesopotamia’s population structure in 1833 was quite different from the structure in 1762, we once again see a workforce not very well designed for effective sugar production. In 1832 Joseph II’s eldest son, John Foster Barham (1799–1838), inherited Mesopotamia, but he took no interest in his slaves, since they were on the brink of emancipation. He directed his agents to stop taking slave inventories, and he closed the Moravian mission. He was, however, very interested in receiving recompense from the British government for the loss of his property.

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