Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 10 October 1783

By the end of 1783, Taylor expressed his satisfaction with work at Golden Grove, under the supervision of the overseer, Madden. Taylor described his plans for improving the cultivation and productivity of Golden Grove, which included the purchase of more enslaved workers and the avoidance of ‘jumping crops’, which were years of heightened productivity created by managers and overseers who overworked enslaved people more than Taylor thought was advisable in order to impress absentee proprietors with a large and lucrative crop.

[…] Madden seems to me to go on very well, you have as industrious, and good sett of white people there as at any estate in the island, and your negroes are healthy and well and abounding in provisions, there are 40 acres in cocos untouched, which I reserve for new negroes, and in case of a hurricane, the next thing I must begin on is to fence off some land next Hampton Court to put into guinea grass as a beginning to keep up your cattle & by & bye [sic] when I have enough to keep what steers I shall reserve for the plough to hole your land with that instrument shall begin that method, and do away with jobbing, the new negroes I have lately bought for you are well, after buying one more lott of men, I must then think of buying some Eboe women, the estate is now coming on into its proper train, and I think that it will hardly in future make less than 600 hdds provided that no jumping crops are made, which by distressing, and harassing both negroes and stock, as well as throwing the estate back, takes three years again to bring matters into their proper channell again […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1783/38, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Lyssons, 10 October 1783)

Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 26 June 1783

Taylor, despite his loyalty to Britain before and during the American War, was disillusioned with British policy by 1783 and believed that the remaining American colonies, such as Jamaica, were over taxed and abused by the metropole. He assessed the island’s prospects of becoming more self-sufficient with regard to clothing and livestock as well as speculating that white Jamaican colonists were so disillusioned with the empire that they might now think twice before rushing to defend the island from a foreign invasion.

I really think that the time is not farr of that will force us to sett about making our own cloathing ourselves, as for cattle there has been a very large number of penns lately settled, and many more are settling, and as the sugar works are thrown up they must begin some manufacture to employ the negroes. […] this country was loaded with taxes last year to the amount of £24000 which is to be paid this, for forts fortifications and the expences of the last martial law, and I cannot conceive what they want to do now with forts and fortifications, except they intend to send out an army to garrison them for they surely cannot be mad enough to think there is a man in the island who will be stupid enough to risque his life, or have his property destroyed, or his slaves carried off, to promote the benefitt, or to live under the protection, and contribute to support the revenue of a country who has so damnably oppressed us as Britain has lately done, and who have behaved so inconsistently with common sense, as in on session to give us charity, and at the same time burden us with a tax of £500000 stg p ann, can they conceive that we are so wanting in common sense, as not to think we consider ourselves but as the potters ass & will give the same answer he did, who when his cruel master wanted him to run from an enemy replies, can I ever gett a crueller master than you have been to me and therefore I do not care to whom I belong. […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1783/23, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 26 June 1783)

Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 1 June 1783

Economic prospects for Taylor and Arcedeckne improved with the ending of the war. Taylor laid out his plans for buying more enslaved workers from the next ‘Guinea man’ (slave ship) to arrive from ‘a good’ part of Africa and indicated that slaves from Africa were in much demand across the Caribbean. He noted that the enslaved people living on Arcedeckne’s property were in good health (before commenting on the state of the livestock), and his letter details some of the many tasks and jobs involved in maintaining a sugar estate.

[…] there will not be any danger or your negroes wanting a belly full, and there is plenty for new negroes as soon as any Guinea man from a good country arrives, many ships have been expected but there has as yett but few arrived from their having stopped at St. Thomas’s and there disposed of their cargos for to supply the French and Spaniards […] as soon as negroes come in I must buy as many as I can for you, untill I gett 30 this year, and when I can buy payable in 1785 I must again gett 30 more for there is really plenty of work for them in clearing and billing your pastures which are really foul at the estate, and making fences and planting the rocky parts into Guinea Grass, for it is absolutely necessary to have pasturage as canes, from the looks of your people a man would hardly know them they are so much altered in their looks for the better, the cattle are in good working order but not so fatt as I could wish, the mules are in good order and from every appearance there ought to be a good crop […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1783/19, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 1 June 1783)