British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

29
LORD BATHURST TO CERTAIN WEST INDIA GOVERNORS, 9 July 18231

[He suggests the experimental introduction of task work and wages in the interest of master and slave.]

. . . There is another point to which I must also particularly call your attention which is a general enactment that all female children born after a certain time shall be free with the following qualifications. The female child so born should be apprenticed to the master for a certain number of years after she had attained a certain age as a remuneration to the master for the expense incurred by him in bringing her up: but the freedom secured for her would necessarily secure for her children the same advantage whether those children were by a free or slave father or whether indeed they were of legitimate or illegitimate birth. You will at once perceive that such an arrangement could in no degree affect the existing slave population, but it would necessarily accomplish the ultimate extinction of slavery progressively and almost imperceptibly at some definite and distant period, during which time the measures now actually introduced cannot fail to effect such a progressive change in the general character and habits of the slave population that when this distant period shall arrive the transition from slavery to freedom will be finally accomplished without revulsion or danger. . . .


30
JAMAICA: ADDRESS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE ASSEMBLY, 11 December 18232

May it please your Grace,

We are ordered by the House to wait on your Grace to acquaint you that in compliance with their answer to the speech your Grace was pleased to make at the opening of the present session, they have proceeded to a deliberate and careful revision of the Consolidated Slave Law, and find it as complete in all its enactments as the nature of circumstances will admit, to render the slave population as happy and comfortable in every respect as the labouring class of any part of the world. The House most solemnly assure your Grace, that they will at all times be ready (if left to themselves) to watch and take advantage

____________________
1

C.O. 29/30, pp. 260-1. Private and confidential. A supplementary dispatch sent to the Governors of colonies having legislatures.

2

Parl. Papers, 1824, vol. xxiv, pp. 452-3. Enclosed in Manchester to Bathurst, 23 December 1823, together with a Petition to the King against the acceptance of false representations on the treatment of slaves and against the threats of parliamentary legislation.

-565-

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