Slavery and Revolution


Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 29 May 1788

By Admms |

In May 1788 Taylor continued his defence of Jamaican slavery in response to the upsurge of abolitionist activity in Britain. He told Arcedeckne his opinions about the treatment of enslaved people and the prospect of a rebellion. He also promised to send his friend a detailed plan of Golden Grove sugar estate, which suggests that Arcedeckne was interested to know how his property was being arranged and managed, particularly with regard to innovations in pasturage and provision grounds. These were features of the estate that Taylor developed in response to needs for increased self-sufficiency and more reliable food sources following the disruption of trade with North America and famine conditions created during the early 1780s by bad weather and poor planning.

[…] As for cruelty there is no such thing practiced on estates, I do not believe that the mad men at home wish to hurt themselves, but they should endeavour to regulate their own police, and shew humanity to their own poor, before they think of making regulations for our slaves, who think themselves well of as matters are at present situation, and do not wish for their interference. God knows if they were treated as the miscreants report, they would have cutt all our throats allready, from what they have allready heard from home. There is a man now at Golden Grove doing the views, and I will gett a plan of the estate made out to send you home by him, or another good one, who can do it, and mark all you want, but as for wood land you have none but brush, but he shall mark out where the guinea grass pastures are to be, which will be hilly land, and where your provisions are. […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1788/10, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 29 May 1788)