Sunday, March 9, 2014

Jamaica’s Plantation Class and the Whip Hand of Slavery

Some Jamaicans are so desperate trying to identify Jamaica’s “Oh So Special” moment in history, trying to identify with something big, great and special from our past that they are now claiming that the period of Slavery was Jamaica’s “Oh So Special” moment to be proud of. I often wonder why Jamaica’s half breeds and white population are so willing to identify with the whip hand of slavery, with the plantation slave owner, so quick to sing their praises to the black population, like rubbing salt in the wound.

Any comparison between wealth generation during the period of slavery and wealth generation today is flawed and should never be made by anyone. To treat the period of slavery as a special time in Jamaica’s history is an insult to humanity and a bigger insult to Jamaica’s black population. To make a statement like “How did we go from such prosperity in 1814 to such poverty today…” is not only showing that you are completely ignorant of Jamaica’s history but also a bit retarded, not to mention this shows a complete lack of respect for Jamaica’s black population and legitimizes slavery. Between 1662 and 1807 nearly three and a half million Africans came to the new world as slaves to provide free forced labour. In 1740 Liverpool was sending 33 slave ships a year on the Triangular trip from England to Africa to the Caribbean.

What type of person, what type of Jamaican, what type of black person would bask in the glory of Slavery, praising its wealth generation abilities but ignoring its cruelty and inhumanity. What type of person would use the period of Slavery as a shining example of Jamaica’s strength and ability to generate wealth through such cruel and disgusting means, not to mention the fact that the wealth generated was not distributed among the black population but mainly extracted back to the “Mother Country”…to build the great cities of England.

Slave labour was free labour, it was extracted from the black population by force because the black man was not even regarded as a human being and he was valued less than a donkey while often referred to as “it” in many planters’ journals. The Jamaican based English planter Edward Long, wrote in his journal that Africans were devoid of genius and seem almost incapable of making any progress in civility or science. They have no plan of system of morality among them and they have no moral sensations. They were, he concluded simply an inferior species. The wealth generated from slavery and colonization was never intended to develop the lives of Black Africans, was never intended to build a nation state where a black man could be all he could be, part and parcel of a growing society and economy, it was never an inclusive society, was never intended to be. The British repatriated the money generated from sugar and tobacco among other things and the colonies spent money importing things from Britain, it was a win/win situation and the labour cost of such production in colonies was almost unnaturally zero since they did not have to pay any wages for this labour. Trade was the order of the day as the British became major re-exporter of goods from the colonies to different parts of Europe and the empire.

The Jamaica Gleaner published an article titled “Why is Jamaica so poor”, written by Keiren King, in which Mr. King stated… “Two hundred years ago, Jamaica was the richest colony in the British Empire by a distance, and its citizens, like Simon Taylor and Thomas Thistlewood, the wealthiest. Falmouth famously had running water before New York. How did "we" go from such prosperity in 1814 to such poverty today”… These few lines gutted me as a human being and a black Jamaican. I was filled with rage and disgust especially after reading various comments from Black Jamaicans agreeing with Mr. King’s position, speaking about Slavery’s wealth like it was their wealth, the nation’s wealth to equally share and enjoy by free black men and women. Our slave masters did not have to pay a day’s wages, did not have to invest in infrastructure with the entire population in mind, the slave masters did not have to invest in the development of the black population, did not have to invest in the education or health care of the Black population. So how can we talk about such wealth as if its purpose was to create an egalitarian nation state where all men are created equal? So what is this “WE” Mr. King is talking about because Jamaica as we know it today did not exist in the time period Mr. King was referring to, Jamaica was England, a satellite outpost and no nation state called Jamaica existed.  

Jamaica’s population is made up of black 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6%. So to tell the 91.2% that they were more productive and profitable during slavery to me is disgusting. But I assume you may have a point after all slavery if organized properly can be a very productive and profitable business for the organizers and the Europeans were expert at squeezing the last drop of productivity from slavery. During slavery there was no such thing as worker's rights or human rights for the slave, no trade union movements, black people was property for the owner to do with what he pleases, to beat and mutilate. The master could work them long and hard, feed them very little or not at all, house them with the other farm animals thus keeping the cost of production down.

Thomas Thistlewood and many others like him was the “Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Ilse Koch, Franz Stangl, Paul Blobel, Josef Kramer, Joseph Mengele” of slavery. Thomas Thistlewood was a man who took great pleasure shitting in the mouth of slaves, mutilating them and making them eat various body parts that he had cut off, so what type of person would use this man as an example of Jamaica’s “oh so special time”. This is where the Jews zig and Jamaicans seem to zag because if slavery had happened to the Jews then the plantations with its great houses would be Holocaust sites. I have yet to hear members of the a Jewish population praise the period of Nazi Holocaust as a great period in German history, so why and how do we black Jamaicans seem to find glory in slavery… this is not only sick but a sure sign of inferiority, was Edward Long wrote in his description of the Black man?....

Lashed and cudgelled, slaves would have salt rubbed in their wounds or molasses poured on them to attract biting flies and ants. Firebrands were applied to their bodies; ears would be cut off, roasted then forced fed to them. From Thom Thistlewood’s diary, author Douglas Hall narrates:

  • In July, Port Royal, who had run away, was taken and brought home. ‘Gave him a moderate whipping, pickled him well, made Hector shit in his mouth, immediately put in a gag whilst his mouth was full & made him wear it 4 or 5 hours.’
  • Next day, the 24th, a woman slave, Phillis, caught breaking canes, was similarly treated, but spared the gag.
  • Friday, 30th July 1756: Punch catched at Salt River and brought home. Flogged him and Quacoo well, and then washed and rubbed in salt pickle, lime juice & bird pepper; also whipped Hector for losing his hoe, made new Negro Joe piss in his eyes & mouth &c.
  • On the 4th, Derby was again caught, this time by the watchman as he attempted to take corn out of Col Barclay’s Long Pond cornpiece. He was severely chopped with a machete, his right ear, cheek and jaw almost cut off. On the 27th of the same month Egypt was whipped and given ‘Derby’s dose’ [that is Derby was made to shit in his mouth] for eating cane. On Thursday, 5th October, Hector and Joe and Mr Watt’s Pomona were similarly punished for the same misdemeanor. [2]

Keiren King’s position is not much different from Michelle Rousseau of Bellefield Great House when she stated: “It really is a step back in time, you know, in the heyday of our sugar production. So, you know, that’s kind of what we try to do here: take people back in time, you know, to 1805 before the abolition of slavery when Jamaica was a really Special Place….”…… Before the abolition of slavery when Jamaica was a really Special Place….. and I must ask ….. “Special place” FOR WHOM???

How can these people be so incentive, would she describe the period of the Holocaust as a special time and place, so why was slavery special to her and the answer is very simple both Keiren King and Michelle Rousseau does not identify with the black population, with the suffering of slavery but with The Whip Hand of Slavery, the one that delivered the punishment and got all the wealth and therein lies the problem with the lack of development of Jamaica since independence, with mindset like these how can their be progress.

Redemption Song

Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition, equates to around £16.5bn
  • Dr Nick Draper from University College London, who has studied the compensation papers, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from the slave economy."There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation." A John Austin, for instance, owned 415 slaves, and got compensation of £20,511, a sum worth nearly £17m today. And there were many who received far more.
  • Academics from UCL, including Dr Draper, spent three years drawing together 46,000 records of compensation given to British slave-owners into an internet database. The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their "property" when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain's colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury's annual spending budget and, in today's terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn.
  • In his famous 1944 book 'Capitalism and Slavery', the Trinidadian scholar Eric Williams argued that profits from slavery 'fertilised' many branches of the metropolitan economy and set the scene for England's industrial revolution'. The buoyancy of the Atlantic trade, including slaving, allowed merchants and bankers to supply credit.
  • The slave plantations themselves anticipated the intense organisation of labour, with coerced slave gangs working under the eye and whip of the slave driver. On all slave plantations hours of work were very long, but on the sugar estates the mills were kept going 24-hours-a -day, with enslaved people working at night as well, in 18-hour shifts. 
  • Colonial purchases of British goods were a major stimulus to the economy. Around 1770, 96.3% of British exports of nails and 70.5% of the export of wrought iron went to colonial and African markets. Around the same time, British exports of iron manufactures took 15-19% of domestic iron production. 
  • Around 1770, total investments in the domestic British economy stood at £4 million, (or about £500 million in today's money). This investment included the building of roads and canals, of wharves and harbours, of all new equipment needed by farmers and manufacturers, and of all the new ships sold to merchants in a period of one year. 
  • Around the same time, slave-based planting and commercial profits came to £3.8 million (or about £450 million in contemporary terms). Of course profits were not all reinvested, but they did furnish a convenient pool of resources available for this purpose. British West Indian planting profits can be estimated at £2.5 million in 1770, while trading profits on the West India trade were around £1.3 million, at a time when annual slave trading profits were at least £1 million. Even if not all reinvested the slave-generated profits were large enough to have covered a quarter to a third of Britain's overall investment needs. 
  • Notwithstanding the interruptions of war, the plantations made a very substantial contribution for many decades, indeed for the greater part of the century after 1720. Between 1761 and 1808, British traders hauled across the Atlantic 1,428,000 African captives and pocketed £60 million - perhaps £8 billion in today's money - from slave sales. 
  • Henry Phillpotts (1778'1869) was the Anglican Bishop of Exeter from 1830 to 1869 as compensation paid for lost of his 665 slaves,Henry was paid almost £13,000 in 1833 (equivalent to more than £1,000,000 in present day value), under the terms of the Slavery Abolition Act
A documentary film on the history of the relationship between evolutionism, Social Darwinism, racism, and eugenics.


  1. Guilty I have been of ignorance, information and thought all at hand yet I remain blinded by the stereotype that is perpetuated in our Government schools, what is the history of the Jamaican African what is the history of the African period! I thank you for this post, though I may not argue with all your views from other posts, it is refreshing to be challenged to think. In the land of the thoughtless the thinker, even if average, will forever be the great manipulator

  2. The truth hurts, but is none the less true.