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The Cruel Treatment Of James Williams -Title Page

The Cruel Treatment Of James Williams -Title Page

Author: Williams, James

Medium: Letterpress

Date: 1837

Shelfmark: 1570/1797.(13)

Item number: Title Page

Length: 12.1

Width: 19.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Printed Text

This is the title page of James Williams' autobiography 'The Narrative of the Cruel Treatment of James Williams, a Negro Apprentice in Jamaica.' Apprenticeship was introduced in some parts of the Caribbean following the introduction of the Abolition of Slavery Act. This Act was passed in 1833 and began the very slow process of emancipation in the British Colonies. It came into force on 1 August 1834 but in many areas of the Caribbean ex-slaves were to remain bound to their former owners for another four years. On the one hand, the government was fearful that it might not be able to maintain control if all slaves were liberated immediately, whilst on the other, the estate owners demanded - and got - a 'period of grace' during which the labour supply for their plantations was preserved. Former slaves were thus required to remain with their owners and to serve a period of 'apprenticeship' before becoming free. It was not until August 1838 that emancipation finally became a reality in the British Caribbean.

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