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The Cruel Treatment Of James Williams -Page 17

The Cruel Treatment Of James Williams -Page 17

Author: Williams, James

Medium: Letterpress

Date: 1837

Shelfmark: 1570/1797.(13)

Item number: Page 17

Length: 19.7

Width: 12.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Printed Text

This is the text of James Williams' autobiography, 'The Narrative of the Cruel Treatment of James Williams, a Negro Apprentice in Jamaica.' Williams was an apprentice on the Penhurst plantation in St Ann's in the 1830s. Apprenticeship was introduced in some parts of the Caribbean following the introduction of the Abolition of Slavery Act (passed in 1833, and enacted in 1834). Former slaves were required to remain with their owners and to continue to work for them as 'apprentices' for a period of time before they could become free. Williams supported the Abolitionists' campaign against the apprenticeship system, which made many enslaved people even worse off than they had been before. Here he describes some of the punishments that he received for minor offences, including floggings and time on the treadmill. He recounts how prisoners, especially females, were flogged for their inability to keep up. Williams' freedom was eventually bought by William Sturge for the price of eight doubloons, ten and a half dollars, and two bits. Later, he came back to England with his benefactor.

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