By Richard S. Dunn
Forty years in the past, after book of his pathbreaking ebook Sugar and Slaves, Richard Dunn all started a thorough research of 2 thousand slaves dwelling on plantations, one in North the US and one within the Caribbean. Digging deeply into the records, he has reconstructed the person lives and collective reviews of 3 generations of slaves at the Mesopotamia sugar property in Jamaica and the Mount ethereal plantation in tidewater Virginia, to appreciate the starkly diversified varieties slavery may possibly take. Dunn’s lovely fulfillment is a wealthy and compelling background of bondage in very diversified Atlantic international settings.
From the mid-eighteenth century to emancipation in 1834, lifestyles in Mesopotamia used to be formed and stunted by way of lethal paintings regimens, rampant affliction, and dependence at the slave alternate for brand spanking new workers. At Mount ethereal, the place the inhabitants always increased until eventually emancipation in 1865, the “surplus” slaves have been offered or moved to far away paintings websites, and households have been normally damaged up. Over 2 hundred of those Virginia slaves have been despatched 8 hundred miles to the Cotton South.
In the genealogies that Dunn has painstakingly assembled, we will be able to hint a Mesopotamia fieldhand via each level of her bondage, and distinction her harsh therapy with the fortunes of her rebellious mulatto son and smart quadroon granddaughter. We song a Mount ethereal craftworker via a stormy lifetime of interracial intercourse, break out, and relatives breakup. the main points of people’ lives permit us to understand the complete adventure of either slave groups as they worked and enjoyed, and finally turned free.
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Additional resources for A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia
The seasoned slaves who came to Mesopotamia from Three Mile River, Southﬁeld, Cairncurran, and Springﬁeld between 1786 and 1819 had quite different characteristics from the people who were purchased from the slave ships. They arrived at the Barhams’ estate already formed into family groups, they ranged in age from infancy to seventy-plus, and the sexes were almost evenly balanced (52 percent male). 54 And since they were forced to leave their families and friends at their former plantations, most of them did not want to come to Mesopotamia.
Recognizing that his father had installed an especially detailed form of bookkeeping, he decided not to change it. He directed that the Moravian missionaries continue to receive salaries and supplementary allowances. 46 So he especially urged the attorneys to treat his slaves humanely. ”47 Barham’s attorneys were eager to implement Barham’s expansion plans. In 1791 they bought sixty-one seasoned slaves from Southﬁeld, a farming settlement in Westmoreland, said to be an attractive purchase because there were ﬁ fteen children in the group and only two invalids.
For example, a girl named Joan, who is listed in the July 1762 inventory as age eight, was a newborn in 1751, so I have corrected her to age eleven in 1762. The adolescent African boys and girls imported to Mesopotamia did not, of course, have known birth dates. But when the bookkeepers added a year or two to their ages, I ﬁgured that they had noticed pubertal changes justifying these revisions, and so I accepted their new age statements. I have also attempted to systematize estimated age at death for the many slaves whose birth dates are unknown, by retaining the previous year’s age for the people who died between January and June, and adding a year for the people who died between July and December.
A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia by Richard S. Dunn