300 LASHES ‘FOR HIS MANY CRIMES AND NEGLIGENCES’
[ 16 July 1750 ]
Today in 1750, plantation overseer Thomas Thistlewood, newly posted to the remote Vineyard Pen sugar plantation in the British Colony of Jamaica, noted in his diary that his employer, Florentius Vassal, ordered one of the slaves under his supervision to be given three hundred lashes ‘for his many crimes and negligences.’1 He did not claim to find it shocking, probably because he was by then already fully acclimatized to the brutality of slavery. Two months earlier, while working for another wealthy planter, William Dorrill, Thistlewood had observed what he termed the ‘justice’ doled out to ‘runaway Negroes.’ They were mercilessly whipped and salt, pepper and lime juice was rubbed into their wounds. A few days later, when the body of a dead runaway slave was brought back, Thistlewood noted how Dorrill had the escapee’s head severed and skewered on a stake in the open for the birds to prey on and to instill terror into the others.2
‘HIDEOUS SPECTACLE’ OF ‘A NEGRO IN KHAKI WITH A WHITE WOMAN’
[ 16 July 1919 ]
On 16 July 1919, a letter, appearing in the Hull Daily Mail, typified the racist panic which gripped Britain over the presence of black soldiers. It also clearly demonstrated the importance which many British men attached to maintaining African subservience and ostracism in Britain’s African colonies.
- Thomas Thistlewood’s diary 16 July 1750 cited in James Walvin, The Trader, The Owner, The Slave, Jonathan Cape, London, 2007 p. 113.
- Trevor Bernard, Mastery, Tyranny and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and his slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World, The University of North Carolina Press, 2004, p. 3
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