Slaves and Missionaries: The Disintegration of Jamaican Slave Society, 1787-1834

By Mary Turner | Go to book overview

The missionaries also made a direct impact on the government: it was Knibb's evidence to the Commons committee on the extinction of slavery which convinced Lord Howick, parliamentary undersecretary at the Colonial Office, of the need for immediate abolition."77

The missionaries served, in effect, as spokesmen for the rebel slaves. They testified to their confidence in the Negro population. They proclaimed that Negroes were intellectually the equal of any man, that their ambition for freedom was legitimate and could not properly be restrained by Christianity. They threatened that delay might promote further rebellion. With passion and conviction they urged emancipation; "I firmly believe," said one, "that [the difficulties] are more in theory than they would ever be found to be in practice."78 Prompted by Sam Sharpe and his supporters, the missionaries made their commitment explicit: humanitarian values had at length completely triumphed over the pious neutralism of Dr. Coke.


NOTES
1.
Estimate of the losses sustained as taken by the commissioners appointed by the House of Assembly, totaled by parish: St. James, £606,250; Hanover, £425,818; Westmoreland, £47,092; Manchester, £46,270; St. Elizabeth, £22,146; Trelawney, £4,960; St. Thomas in the East, £1,280; Portland, £772; grand total, £1,154,589. Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers (Commons), "Copy of the Report of a Committee of the House of Assembly of Jamaica, appointed to inquire into the Cause of, and Injury sustained by, the recent Rebellion in that Colony" (no. 561), 1831-32, 47:182 (hereafter cited as P.P. (Commons) (no. 561), 1831-32, 47).
2.
W.M.M.S. Letters, Edney, Grateful Hill, Sept. 22, 1831, f. 203; Duncan, Kingston, June 7, 1831, f. 119, Box 130; Higman, Slave Population, p. 11.
3.
Higman, Slave Population, p. 72, Table 10.
4.
P.P. (Commons) (no. 285), 1831-32, 47:263, 166-68, Petitions of Freeholders and others; Burn, Emancipation and Apprenticeship, p. 49.
5.
Belmore was advised that such a meeting would only be unconstitutional if it had a seditious intention. Belmore avoided any direct action by letting it be known that if the Assembly corresponded with the delegates, he would dissolve it. Belmore to Goderich, Dec. 17. 1831, no. 130, C.O. 137/179.
6.
P.P. (Commons) (no. 285), 1831-32, 47:263, Belmore to Goderich, July 20, 1831.
7.
Hinton, Memoir of William Knibb, pp. 112, 113, 115, quoting letter to Dyer, July 6, 1831; Henry Bleby, Death Struggles of Slavery (London,

-173-

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Slaves and Missionaries: The Disintegration of Jamaican Slave Society, 1787-1834
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vi
  • Abbreviations vii
  • Chapter One - The Planters and the Missionaries 1
  • Notes 30
  • Chapter Two - The Jamaican Slaves 38
  • Notes 59
  • Chapter Three - The Missionaries and the Slaves 65
  • Notes 95
  • Chapter Four - The Humanitarian Challenge 102
  • Notes 126
  • Chapter Five - The Struggle for Religious Freedom 132
  • Notes 144
  • Chapter Six - The Baptist War 148
  • Notes 173
  • Chapter Seven - Emancipation Achieved 179
  • Notes 191
  • Conclusion 195
  • Notes 202
  • Bibliography 204
  • Index 215
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