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A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica by Richard S. Dunn

By Richard S. Dunn

Forty years in the past, after e-book of his pathbreaking publication Sugar and Slaves, Richard Dunn begun a thorough research of 2 thousand slaves residing on plantations, one in North the United States and one within the Caribbean. Digging deeply into the documents, he has reconstructed the person lives and collective stories of 3 generations of slaves at the Mesopotamia sugar property in Jamaica and the Mount ethereal plantation in tidewater Virginia, to appreciate the starkly varied varieties slavery might take. Dunn’s beautiful success is a wealthy and compelling heritage of bondage in very assorted Atlantic international settings.

From the mid-eighteenth century to emancipation in 1834, existence in Mesopotamia used to be formed and stunted via lethal paintings regimens, rampant affliction, and dependence at the slave alternate for brand new workers. At Mount ethereal, the place the inhabitants constantly increased till emancipation in 1865, the “surplus” slaves have been bought or moved to far-off paintings websites, and households have been usually damaged up. Over 200 of those Virginia slaves have been despatched 8 hundred miles to the Cotton South.

In the genealogies that Dunn has painstakingly assembled, we will hint a Mesopotamia fieldhand via each degree of her bondage, and distinction her harsh remedy with the fortunes of her rebellious mulatto son and shrewdpermanent quadroon granddaughter. We tune a Mount ethereal craftworker via a stormy lifetime of interracial intercourse, get away, and relatives breakup. the main points of people’ lives allow us to know the total event of either slave groups as they worked and enjoyed, and finally turned free.

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Additional info for A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia

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At Mesopotamia there were 331 more recorded slave deaths than births between 1762 and 1833, and the owners— Joseph Foster Barham I (1729–1789) and his son Joseph Foster Barham II (1759– 1832)—continually brought in new slaves in order to keep the place going. At Mount Airy there were 293 more recorded births than deaths between 1809 and 1863, and the owners— John Tayloe III (1771–1828) and his son William Henry Tayloe (1799–1871)—took full advantage of this population growth. They moved their surplus laborers to new work sites or made money by selling them.

Ages are not stated, but this population—like the Mesopotamia population in 1727—must have been young and vigorous. Most of the adults had been purchased between 1727 and 1736, and if they came from Africa they would have been in their teens or twenties on arrival at Mesopotamia. ” If this statement is taken literally, it means that 23 percent of the Mesopotamia slaves in 1736 were under the age of seven or eight— the age at which children were routinely put to work on Jamaican sugar estates. And the statement may be literally true.

The scene at Mount Airy was a world apart. Here the Tayloes were hands-on managers, like almost all southern slaveholders. They lived among their slaves and knew them personally. Mesopotamia The detailed Mesopotamia inventories dating from 1762 to 1833 that the two Joseph Foster Barhams received in England record a total slave population of 1,103 males and females. Appendix 1 tabulates the population changes under the elder Barham during the years 1762–1789, followed by the changes under his son’s management during the years 1790–1833.

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