Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 15 December 1788

By the end of 1788, the assembly had produced a report, to be publicised in Britain, in response to the calls for an end to the slave trade and criticisms of slavery in the West Indies. Taylor hoped that this would be sufficient to put an end to the abolitionist campaign.

[…] I see that the spirit of persecuting us still continues, if they mean to take away our property alltogether they had better say so at once, they will find from the report of the Committee that there has not been the cruel usage to the negroes they talk about and many punishments are described by Mr Clarkson that I never heard of, there has been another consolidated slave law passed & is sent home to be printed by the Agent, & which I hope will shew them that negroes cannot be arbitrarily killed, or mutilated by any one whatsoever, if this is not sufficient for God’s sake let them pay us for our properties, & negroes, & take them, & manage them themselves, as they please, I am sure no man wishes or wants to stay here that can go away elsewhere, I am glad to hear 2 of the turtle I sent you arrived safe […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1788/27, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 15 December 1788)

Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 21 July 1788

The Jamaican assembly’s representative in Britain was the Island Agent, Stephen Fuller, who was responsible for reporting metropolitan developments to the assembly in Jamaica and for promoting the views and interests of the assembly in Britain. The Consolidated Slave Act, passed by the assembly at the beginning of 1788 legislated for the treatment and punishment of enslaved people in Jamaica. Proslavery advocates presented it as evidence of humane reforms in the colony, but critics pointed out the limits of those changes as well as the fact that they law remained a tool in the hands of slaveholding whites that could easily, and often, be ignored. 

[…] I wish that Capt. Watt was arrived, for I sent home by him a copy of the consolidated slave act, and I apprehend when it getts among the people at home, they will then see that slaves are better provided for than any of their poor at home, and are regarded in a very different view to what they are pleased to represent, what would these people say if we were to attempt to rob them of their property and the means of their existence, as they are attempting to do with us, out of a mere party phrensy. I am exceeding happy to hear the Agent has been active, and hope his endeavours will be crowned with success. I have ever since his being first appointed Agent allways been his friend, and constantly voted for him at every appointment. […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1788/19, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 21 July 1788)