Extract from James MacMahon's "Jamaica Plantership", 1839
The gradual hardening of Lady Nugent’s attitude to the slaves was a precise reflection of the plantocracy’s approach. Their increasing terror of the slaves provoked greater brutality which, in turn, increased the precariousness of their position, and so on, in a vicious circle which only outside intervention could break. James MacMahon, a young book keeper drafted into the militia in Jamaica, describes a gang of ruffians let loose on the countryside on the slightest excuse, to murder the slaves at will;
“In approaching the estate we met a man on the road, who became terrified at our appearance, and jumped over a wall to escape; the whole company immediately fired upon him; he was struck but rose again, and ran, bleeding; again he fell, rose up again, and several times fell and rose, running a few paces each time – the militia still firing on him. At length, one of the troopers sprang over the wall, went up to the poor creature, and began to hack and chop him with sword, but without killing him; when finally one of the others finished the brutal tragedy, by shooting him through the head”.