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A third reason, a weighty one for both master and Slave, is, that by marketing on Saturday and resting on Sunday, the Negro would be fresh and vigorous for labour on Monday morning, whereas, if he went to market on Monday, he would be so much fatigued on Tuesday morning, many being fifteen or twenty miles from a good market, that he would commence his labour with reluctance, and would not do half a day's work. Let the Slaves then have every Saturday throughout the year to cultivate their grounds and go to market in, which I imagine would be sufficient for them, as twothirds of those days (viz. thirty-four or thirtyfive) will enable them to raise an abundance of provisions, and the remainder will be enough to carry and sell what they do not consume. The owner will then have five clear days of labour from his Negroes, quite enough to carry on the business of the plantations, and as much as he can reasonably expect, even if the crop should be something less; but from what I have seen of the Negro character, I think I may safely say, they will (seeing the additional interest taken in their temporal and eternal welfare) go to the field with more alacrity, and put forth all their strength; so that neither a hogshead of sugar nor a tierce of coffee, less than usual, will leave the colonies for Old England.*
*Note 8. See Appendix.
I am aware that there is a law in Jamaica, imposing a fine on proprietors or overseers, for compelling the Negroes to do certain kinds of labour on the Sabbath; but it is notorious that this law is altogether a dead letter, and that with respect to their grounds, the Negroes not only go of their own accord to work there, as not having sufficient time allowed them otherwise; but if they are found inattentive, it is a custom to send one of the book-keepers, on that holy day, to see that all the Slaves are at work, and to watch them a certain time, that there may not be a want of food.
For putting the mill about (viz. for making sugar) on a Sunday, there is a fine of £50., one half of which, I believe,, goes to the informer; but though this is done in defiance of law in almost every, if not every parish in the island, I never heard of an information being laid for that offence, as those planters who do not put their mills about, wink at it in others, and no clergyman or other religious person would venture, I think, to inform, as he would be sure to meet with insult, or some worse injury, for his conscientious interference.
A short time before I left Jamaica, I was in St. Thomas in the East, the most religious parish in the island (Kingston perhaps excepted), and on one of the Sundays I was there, several over
seers put their mills about, in the afternoon, and the whole, or greater part of the gangs were busy at work but where the mills are not put about, they work so late, on most estates, on Saturday nights, that the Negroes, and even the Whites belonging to the boiling-house department, are employed all the forenoon of the Sabbath, potting sugars, &c. so that they are prevented from going to church.
I will record one lamentable instance of this, as coming more particularly within my own knowledge; it was on a large estate, in the parish of St. David, belonging to George Hibbert, Esq. the agent for Jamaica, a gentleman who wishes (as I have been informed) to afford his people every facility, that they may attend to religious duties, and encourages them to go to church as often as possible. I had been staying a week with the Rector of the parish, and on my return to Kingston, on a Monday morning, called with a friend at Albion, the estate alluded to, as it was too hot to ride all the distance (nearly 20 miles) without stopping; it was about breakfast time, and the head book-keeper invited us to breakfast, of which we gladly accepted. We remarked, to rather a fine young Irishman, who had been only a few months in the country, that we had not seen him or any of the others at church yesterday; he replied that
he used to attend regularly in his own country, but having been generally engaged of a Sunday morning, since he came upon that property, he had not been able to attend church, and that yesterday in particular, he was in the boilinghouse till twelve o'clock, superintending the Negroes whilst they were potting sugars, as the mill had been kept about late on Saturday night. The young man seemed to have a sense of religion, and spoke with regret of his inability to attend a place of worship. On this estate there were six or seven white men, and four or five hundred Negroes, scarce any of whom attended the parish church, which was only about three miles distant, and the Rector of which parish, was most anxious to instruct those who would attend.
The churches throughout the island, indeed, are, with few exceptions, very badly attended; principally, I presume, from the above causes, as far as the Negroes are concerned, very few of whom have any time to go to a place of worship; so that nearly the whole of the field Negroes (nine-tenths of the population) have not even the outward form of religion, and are just as great heathens as if they were on the banks of the Gambia or Niger.
Some of the parishes in Jamaica contain upwards of twenty thousand Slaves each, others
nearly thirty thousand, and none of them less than six or seven thousand, independent of white inhabitants and free people of colour. These parishes have but one church each, (some have also a chapel,) and though of a small size, by far the greater part are not half filled, except at Christmas, when numbers of the Negroes go, who do not think of attending there at other seasons. In the parish church of Clarendon I have often been, and never saw a hundred of all colours there, latterly a much less number, and once in particular, about ten or twelve only; though within five or six miles of the church there were several thousands of inhabitants. The churches of St. John's, St. Thomas's in the Vale, St. Dorothy's, St. George's, St. Mary's, Hanover and Vere, are but little better attended, some of them even worse, as I can testify from my own knowledge, and the assurance of creditable persons; the remaining churches I believe to be but little better, with the exceptions of those in the parishes of Kingston, St. Thomas in the East, St. Catherine, Port-Royal, and St. Andrew.
In stating this, I do not mean to throw the blame on the Clergy, many of whom are anxious to advance the interests of religion in their respective parishes; several I could mention, who have opened their churches in the afternoon as well as on the morning of the Sabbath, but for