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Published by jack elliot

 

 

An English concept, chattel slavery was established by the Barbados Slave Act of 1661 which ratified enslaved African peoples as property with no right to life.

 

 There was a  transition from indentured servitude to chattel slavery in Barbados, arguing that the early development of the plantation economy depended on exportation of vagrants and the poor as well as criminals and political and religious exiles.

Thus, the labour force of the embryonic tobacco and sugar plantations was created by forced and voluntary emigration from Scotland, England and Ireland.

White indentured servitude was eventually superseded by African slavery from the 1630s which became entrenched in the colonial legal system after 1661.

Chattel slavery developed into a hierarchical system of exploitation based on class and subsequently race which evolved into the most lethal form of slavery known to mankind. Indentured servants had legal personhood whilst enslaved persons were viewed as sub-human chattel.

They were listed in plantation inventories next to cattle with names such as Fido, Caeser and Jumper, and sometimes places names such as Scotland. 

The enslaved were treated as beasts of burden to be bought and sold and worked to death on sugar plantations.

Mutilation as a punishment was permitted as was murder by hanging, slow burning and starvation in gibbets.

The penalty for slaves striking a white person was death, unless the assault was to protect a slave’s owner.

Furthermore, indentured servants worked for set periods (usually three to seven years) and, in theory at least, there was an end to their servitude. 

By contrast, the Uterine law meant the offspring of slaves were born into the status of their mother, thus thirling successive generations for life to plantations and owners and perpetuating the hereditary cycle of racial hierarchy.

An English concept, chattel slavery was established by the Barbados Slave Act of 1661 which ratified enslaved African peoples as property with no right to life.

 There was  the transition from indentured servitude to chattel slavery in Barbados, arguing that the early development of the plantation economy depended on exportation of vagrants and the poor as well as criminals and political and religious exiles.

Thus, the labour force of the embryonic tobacco and sugar plantations was created by forced and voluntary emigration from Scotland, England and Ireland.

White indentured servitude was eventually superseded by African slavery from the 1630s which became entrenched in the colonial legal system after 1661.

Chattel slavery developed into a hierarchical system of exploitation based on class and subsequently race which evolved into the most lethal form of slavery known to mankind. Indentured servants had legal personhood whilst enslaved persons were viewed as sub-human chattel. T

hey were listed in plantation inventories next to cattle with names such as Fido, Caeser and Jumper, and sometimes places names such as Scotland. The enslaved were treated as beasts of burden to be bought and sold and worked to death on sugar plantations.

Mutilation as a punishment was permitted as was murder by hanging, slow burning and starvation in gibbets.

The penalty for slaves striking a white person was death, unless the assault was to protect a slave’s owner.

Furthermore, indentured servants worked for set periods (usually three to seven years) and, in theory at least, there was an end to their servitude. 

 

By contrast, the Uterine law meant the offspring of slaves were born into the status of their mother, thus thirling successive generations for life to plantations and owners and perpetuating the hereditary cycle of racial hierarchy.

 

In the colonial period, Scots were both forcibly transported and voluntarily emigrated to the New World.

 Only small numbers were transported as criminals.

 600  Scottish prisoners were deported to the Americas between 1707 and 1763.

 

Of 395 prosecuted in Edinburgh High Court between 1718 and 1775, nearly one half were transported to America.

Many Jacobites were also banished and transported after uprisings in 1715 and 1746.

 

Of 1700 prisoners taken in Scotland after the 1715 uprising, more than 450 Jacobites were sent to North America and 170 to the Caribbean.

‘mercy’ was to make Jacobites sign allegiance to the King, followed by signing indentures and eventual transportation.

Many Jacobites refused to sign the seven-year indentures offered by the British Government.

Yet, in the eyes of the law, they were prisoners to be transported to the colonies under indenture, not chattel slaves.

In fact, many who did sign indentures bought the contracts from ship captains and freed themselves from their term of labour.

 

 

In 1716, John Dunbar wrote from Chester Castle to relatives in Scotland pleading for the ‘means to get me set at liberty when I arrive in the Indies … when I am sold as a slave, to relieve myself from bondage and servitude’.

, he used a credit note supplied by family to purchase a privileged berth in the ship he was transported in.

On arrival at Sandy Point on the James River, he was released as a free man, presumably after purchasing his indenture from the captain. Instead of labouring in tobacco fields as a ‘white slave’,

Dunbar took up the life of a mariner in Virginia and eventually returned to Scotland. In 1723, he inherited the family estate of Bishopmiln near Elgin.

Many other Jacobites transported to South Carolina remained. In some cases, their indenture was bought by the Governor and they were instantly recruited to fight Yamassee Indians on the frontier.

Others, survived their indenture, such as William Cumming, who served in Public Office as a member of the House of Assembly (which slaves could not do).

Even more revealing, on his decease, Cumming bequeathed his property – including forty slaves and three servants – to his son. Slaves were not allowed to own property and definitely not other enslaved people.

After the 1745 uprising and defeat at Culloden a year later, punishment was even harsher.

Of 3463 Jacobite prisoners, 936 were transported and 348 banished.

Some were intercepted by the French.

 

Others made it to the colonies and their labour sold by agent, one of whom commented that he would make a ‘proper disposition of them amongst his friends, who I fancy will make them useful members of Society and in time they may possibly become good subjects’.

 

However, none of the 1745 transportees signed indentures in Great Britain and were intended to be set for ‘lifelong service’.

 

Even then, their children would have been free in contrast to the children of chattel slaves. 

 ‘those [Jacobites] who signed indentures in Jamaica had their terms reduced to seven years’.

 that they were able to progress in a matter of years from unfree labourers to free persons: one returned to Scotland, the other rose to plantocracy elite in the colonies.

This was only possible because they were white and therefore legally regarded in the colonies as human beings.

Adherents of the white slaves myth commit the cardinal sin that those striving to be historians avoid:  judging the past by standards of today.

Yes, indentured servitude is illegal in many countries today.

But at the time, the indentured system in England and Scotland was not considered oppressive bond labour. It was an accepted rite of passage – virtually all workers were in some form of hierarchical work relationship: rural servants, maids or apprentice tradesmen.

There were significant differences between servitude in England and Scotland and indentured servitude in the Anglo-Caribbean in the early seventeenth century, but the indentured servants, banished exiles or transported convicts were neither de jure or de facto enslaved.

In the colonial period, Scots were both forcibly transported and voluntarily emigrated to the New World.

 Only small numbers were transported as criminals.  only 600 prisoners were deported to the Americas between 1707 and 1763.

 

Of 395 prosecuted in Edinburgh High Court between 1718 and 1775, nearly one half were transported to America.

Many Jacobites were also banished and transported after uprisings in 1715 and 1746.

. Of 1700 prisoners taken in Scotland after the 1715 uprising, more than 450 Jacobites were sent to North America and 170 to the Caribbean. 

‘mercy’ was to make Jacobites sign allegiance to the King, followed by signing indentures and eventual transportation.

Many Jacobites refused to sign the seven-year indentures offered by the British Government.

Yet, in the eyes of the law, they were prisoners to be transported to the colonies under indenture, not chattel slaves.

In fact, many who did sign indentures bought the contracts from ship captains and freed themselves from their term of labour.

 In 1716, John Dunbar wrote from Chester Castle to relatives in Scotland pleading for the ‘means to get me set at liberty when I arrive in the Indies … when I am sold as a slave, to relieve myself from bondage and servitude’.

Despite Dunbar’s assumptions, he used a credit note supplied by family to purchase a privileged berth in the ship he was transported in.

On arrival at Sandy Point on the James River, he was released as a free man, presumably after purchasing his indenture from the captain. Instead of labouring in tobacco fields as a ‘white slave’,

Dunbar took up the life of a mariner in Virginia and eventually returned to Scotland. In 1723, he inherited the family estate of Bishopmiln near Elgin. Many other Jacobites transported to South Carolina remained.

In some cases, their indenture was bought by the Governor and they were instantly recruited to fight Yamassee Indians on the frontier.

O William Cumming, who served in Public Office as a member of the House of Assembly (which slaves could not do).

Even more revealing, on his decease, Cumming bequeathed his property – including forty slaves and three servants – to his son.

Slaves were not allowed to own property and definitely not other enslaved people.

After the 1745 uprising and defeat at Culloden a year later, punishment was even harsher.

Of 3463 Jacobite prisoners, 936 were transported and 348 banished. Some were intercepted by the French. Others made it to the colonies and their labour sold by agent, one of whom commented that he would make a ‘proper disposition of them amongst his friends, who I fancy will make them useful members of Society and in time they may possibly become good subjects’.

However, none of the 1745 transportees signed indentures in Great Britain and were intended to be set for ‘lifelong service’.

Even then, their children would have been free in contrast to the children of chattel slaves.

Jacobites]who signed indentures in Jamaica had their terms reduced to seven years’.

they were  then able to progress in a matter of years from unfree labourers to free persons: one returned to Scotland, the other rose to plantocracy elite in the colonies. This was only possible because they were white and therefore legally regarded in the colonies as human beings.

Adherents of the white slaves myth commit the cardinal sin that those striving to be historians avoid:  judging the past by standards of today.

Yes, indentured servitude is illegal in many countries today.

But at the time, the indentured system in England and Scotland was not considered oppressive bond labour.

It was an accepted rite of passage – virtually all workers were in some form of hierarchical work relationship: rural servants, maids or apprentice tradesmen.

There were significant differences between servitude in England and Scotland and indentured servitude in the Anglo-Caribbean in the early seventeenth century, but the indentured servants, banished exiles or transported convicts were neither de jure or de facto enslaved.

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