Slaves who Abolished Slavery: Blacks in Rebellion

By Richard Hart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX

TACKY'S WAR

The peace treaties with the Maroons secured for the planters 20 years of relative peace and calm. But this was rudely shattered in 1760 when large numbers of slaves rose in rebellion in two widely separated areas. In yet a third area an uprising which had been planned was discovered and frustrated before it had got properly under way. These rebellions were uncoordinated, though that was not the opinion of Edward Long 1 who believed that there was but one conspiracy to which "almost all the Coromantin slaves throughout the island were privy" [24 vol. 2 p.447].

The first uprising occurred in the north central part of the island, in the parish of St. Mary, and commenced on Tuesday 8 April. 2 Bryan Edwards gave this version of how it started:

Such I well know was the origin of the negro rebellion which happened in Jamaica in 1760. It arose at the instigation of a Koromantyn negro of the name of Tacky, who had been a chief in Guinea; and it broke out on the frontier plantation in St. Mary's parish, belonging to the late Ballard Beckford, and the adjoining estate of Trinity, the property of my deceased relation and benefactor Zachary Bayley, to whose wisdom, activity and courage on this occasion, it was owing, that the revolt was not as general and destructive as that which now rages in St. Domingo" [11 (1st ed. ) vol. 2 p.268].

Concerning the original participants Edwards wrote:

On those plantations were upwards of one hundred Gold Coast negroes newly imported, and I do not believe, that an individual amongst them had

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