collars which the owners of slaves may compel them to carry as a punishment. I apprehend that His Majesty's Government have already expressed the most unequivocal disapprobation of all punishments of this nature. If any argument against them were wanting, the instruments of torture, for they are nothing less, which the Commissioners deposited in this office as specimens of the chains and fetters in use in the Colony, would be conclusive on the subject. It is indeed singular that so late as the month of September 1829, the Governor and Council of Mauritius should authorize the chaining together of women and boys of the age of fifteen, and the chaining boys, apart from each other, whatever may be their age. The weight of the chains is indeed regulated, though the Protector is authorized to augment it. There is no attempt to determine the form of these instruments, except that the collar may not have three branches. But two branches are amply sufficient to render the wearer miserable in the extreme. No provision is made respecting the length of time for which these instruments are to be borne, nor respecting the crimes for which they are to be put on.
It would be a waste of time to discuss the merits of such a law as this. It appears to me to demonstrate the unfitness of the Governor and his Council to legislate at all on any subject connected with the condition of the slave population. I would submit to you whether this Act should not be disallowed by His Majesty in Council, and whether the same should not contain an absolute prohibition of the use of chains, collars and fetters in all cases, except for the security in gaol of prisoners who cannot be secured otherwise. . . .
The Ordinance numbered 53, for the amendment of the Slave Law of the Colony, has been superseded by the recent order of His Majesty in Council. . . .1
MAURITIUS: LORD GODERICH TO GOVERNOR SIR CHARLES COLVILLE, 28 February 18312
[Ordinance No. 51 respecting the use of chain and fetters is disallowed.]
. . . My predecessor in office, in his despatch of the 8th May 1829, conveyed to you in the strongest terms the expression of His Majesty's____________________