The Last Words of Thomas Jubiter

 

Iam a negro and a free man, but close to death. I
was born in Guinea in 1760, I have been told, and was sold to a ship’s
captain from Bristol. He bought me with red cloth. I know now that cloth
came from Stroud.

I was taken to Barbados. I
can do no better than to describe that voyage through the words of Olaudah
Equiano (I was later taught to read and write by a minister on the plantation.
I have carried two books with me always since on my travels: The Bible and The
Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, the
African):
‘This produced copious
perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration, from a
variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of
which many died, thus falling victims to the improvident avarice, as I may call
it, of their purchasers. This wretched situation was again aggravated by the
galling of the chains, now become insupportable; and the filth of the necessary
tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated. The
shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene
of horror almost inconceivable.’
I excelled at my studies and so became a
servant to ————
——————-. My artful dissimulation enabled me to play
perfectly the role of periwigged, liveried footman. There never was a more
attentive peacock. At length, my master decided to return to his estate in England.
I was given the ‘privilege’, as he put it, of voyaging to England too.
There would be no return to Guinea for me; that was my hoped-for reward,
but that was a mere phantom.
My master’s estate was in the south of the
shire and north of Bristol. After about a year, a coachman ‘of sable
hue’ arrived one day with some new materials for my master’s chosen livery: Stroud
Scarlet; Uley Blue and Berkeley Yellow. He called me over
before the coach departed and whispered in my ear. He told me that my long lost
brother was in this country too – and only some 30 miles away.
I resolved to ask for my freedom, and head
north for Rodborough, near Stroud. Alas! My plea was peremptorily
refused – how could I be such an ingrate? The following night I exchanged my
livery for fustian brown and disappeared into the darkness of the night.
Comforting light for a fleeing slave!
I concealed my person in the newly
planted hedgerows by day and walked by night, keeping the moonlit River
Severn
on my left and close to sight. My coachman friend had told me that I
should go to Arlingham, where there was a chance of obtaining a place on
a crew of a vessel heading for Gloucester. My good fortune continued and
I duly found a place on the Quadrille, bound for Gloucester. Here
I met more men of colour, some from America.
One of these mariners told me the whereabouts
of Rodborough and that he had heard that a negro was in habitation
there. This news spurred me as much as my hearty dinner – my brother! The
mariner advised me to head back toFramilode, so that I might join a crew on a
ship heading for Stroud through the Stroudwater Navigation. When
I mentioned the Quadrille, that was sufficient testimony to my prowess,
and I took my place on the Sabrina.
I alighted at Wallbridge to take the
path up the hill to Rodborough. It was with a little trepidation but
much expectation that I entered that parish on that autumn day. I sought out
the clergyman at the church and explained my quest. I showed him my Bible in my
bag; my name in the front’s piece seemed to reassure him of my bona fides. He
looked at me solemnly and dropped his gaze. He asked me to follow him and this
I did, following in his dolorous wake.
He lifted the parish register and leafed
through the pages. After some moments of pensive perusal, he showed me this
entry:
1st July, 1778, William Jubiter,
ye black, buried.
I buried my head in my hands and cried the
salt tears of loneliness. At length, I was led from the church and so made my
melancholy descent back to Wallbridge.
I despaired of human company and
recoiled from the thought of contact, such was my sadness. I resolved to make a
solitary way along the cut and so reach the River Thames; and thence to London.
The beauty of the bosky hills and vales; the serenity of the sylvan shade;
the laughter of the waters; the wind in the reeds; the white stone cottages
like so many pebbles thrown on the hillsides; the pure green fields – all of
these conspired to give me endurance, fortitude and make thanks to God. Two
days walking led me to Lechlade where I found a place on the William
Butler,
bound for Deptford. Here I found friendly mariners and also
negroes. They told me that the riversides in London possess a whole
reticulation of havens and hidey-holes for escaped slaves and servants. A
trudge through a labyrinth of streets, creeks and chimneys led me to my haven,
where I presently lie on my bedding.
The death-rattle of my cough echoes the call
of the birds of my homeland in Guinea. My birthplace is no phantom now.
The call of my mother and father is as insistent as the waves on the shore-line
of my village. I know that I shall, at last, be returning to that bourn ere
long.
These are the last words that I shall write.
Thomas Jubiter
Story written by Stuart Butler, August 2013, inspired by an entry in a
parish register.
“Non-fiction uses facts to help us see the lies.
Fiction uses metaphor to help us see the truth.”

Race and the Enlightenment: Contested Territories

RE: EDITING

Race and the Enlightenment: Contested Territories

By Christopher Johnston
Introduction
 When analyzing the contested territories of ‘race’[1] and the Enlightenment, this paper will primarily be concerned with analyzing as to what extent ‘race’ as we know it, is a created, invented concept. A large portion of this project will also be focused on surveying to what extent the concept holds its roots in an enlightenment discourse, prevalent in the 18th and early 19th centuries, with particular focus on the definition and categorization of the ‘black’ African during this time. This project will set out to show in chapter one that ‘race’ is a created concept, which became a ‘common sense’ phrase. The project will then engage with ‘race’, as a concept that has no biological basis, but has a powerful historical one. In chapter two I engage with the writings of the Enlightenment thinkers Immanuel Kant and Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon and their perceptions of what ‘race’ is, and how ‘race’ as they measured it, came to be. Chapter 3 engages with two contemporary theorists of ‘race’ and its relevance to the Enlightenment, David Theo Goldberg and Kenan Malik. The chapter is concerned with how these very different theorists locate the emergence of racist discourse in relation to the Enlightenment, and how it was during this time that ‘scientific’ and ‘rational’ method allowed people of the day to categorize different ‘races’ within a chain of hierarchy.
Chapter 1: What is ‘Race’?
For Miles the concept of ‘race’ is a process whereby actual biological differences between people become secondary to imagined differences.[2]. Thus Miles argues that ‘race’ might be viewed by some, as a biological reality, where in actual fact it is a “socially imagined” construction[3]. This construction of ‘race’ for Miles is the stepping-stone to exclusionary practices, a pre-condition to racism[4][5]. Banton suggests that only by the association with an imagined racial category, and subsequent internalisation of this categorisation by the categorised grouping of people, do racial groupings come to be considered existing as historical and biological facts. What this highlights is the instability of ‘race’, and its roots in social rather than biological categories. Thus, in this sense, ‘race’ is a creation, distinctly related to the power of the outside observers and their perceptions and power to label and categorise.
This process shows that there is no scientific or ‘natural’ basis for ‘race’ and the distinction of ‘races’, but instead ‘race’ is a social construction, with the eventual creation of those within particular ‘races’ as holding the position of a distinct ‘other’.
Stuart Hall brings forth an argument surrounding a power relationship in relation to the ‘Other’ in what is deemed to be the cultural set of values that is intrinsically tied to ‘the West’. The West as a distinct ‘concept’ for Hall is highlighted by a society, which is developed, urbanized, industrialised, capitalist and modern[6]. The West as a concept, merely highlights the fact that there are no geographical boundaries for the West as a particular concept away from the fact that these values were started and developed within western Europe, some of which are directly associated with the Enlightenment[7]. Hall highlights how the West is intrinsically tied in with what he deems ‘the rest’, those societies that do not hold the characteristics that are tied in with the ‘West’. Hall suggests that without the existence of the rest “the west would not have been able to recognize itself and represent itself as the summit of human history”[8], away from the “dark side…the reverse image of the west”[9] which was characterised by the ‘other’. Hall suggests that this ‘othering’ eventually takes on a “racial form”[10].  As Miles notes, it was the Africans’ Blackness that reflected the Europeans’ whiteness[11]. Thus racial categorisations of ‘otherness’, worked also to stabilise the western concept of self, within an historical framework of power.
Thus ‘race’ is a concept which is defined by the observer, not those who are being observed, whose attributes get associated meanings. Miles, along with Malcolm Brown in a later edition of Racism expands on this argument by highlighting the ever changing nature of ‘the Other’ along historical lines as “for a long time in European history the primary other was found in the Muslim world rather than central and southern Africa”[12]. So surely this changing perception of ‘otherness’, whereby different signifiers are chosen to characterise racial inferiority calls to question the idea of what ‘race’ is, and goes a distance in showing the socially imagined nature of ‘race’. What’s more, it is this process of ‘othering’ that enables ‘race’ discourse and as a result racial exclusionary practices
Malik argues that race is a narrative whereby “social inequalities became to be regarded as natural ones” which were fuelled by the emergence of capitalism[13], in an attempt to further profit potential. This gives structure to points that sociologist Oliver Cromwell Cox highlights as to how ‘race’ could be perceived as a social construction, as well as ‘race’ as a class issue within capitalist superstructure[14]. Social ‘facts’ for Cox can be understood “only as features of historical constellations”[15], so any ‘facts’ should be attributed to historical framework; this is particularly relevant  when analysing ‘race’ as a class issue. When Cox argues that the creation of racial difference is based on capitalism, he highlights that as the Enlightenment coincided with the early stages of industrial capitalism, during the rush for new markets and new goods, non-Europeans, specifically here, Africans, were regarded less as people than as a potential labour force. Of which “if white workers could be persuaded, that [they, the] black workers were different” [16] they could exploit them for free labour. For Cox, discrimination on account of perceptions of human difference “was a new phenomenon that was part of the growth of capitalism”[17]https://dub116.mail.live.com/mail/17.1.7118.6000/Compose/RteFrameResources.aspx?ch=4573132873918381086&mkt=en-gb – _edn14. Thus, for Cox ‘race’ and racism emerged from a distinct historical context in which wealth creation predominated and phenotypical differences took on particular meanings, which served specific societal interests, and thus become perceived as social facts.  So an ascription of the inferiority of Africans emerged from the perceived needs of 18th century capitalism which itself eventually led to a racist discourse: so it was already existing inequalities that for Cox led to the creation of ‘race’ rather than a distinct ‘scientific’ discourse of categorisation..
Chapter 2 
The perception and ‘creation’ of ‘race’ during the Enlightenment


This chapter will set out to achieve an understanding of the views of Kant and Buffon within the historical period of the Enlightenment on ‘race’. The focus in the chapter will be on these thinkers’ perceptions of the creation of ‘race’ :
Both thinkers believed that humanity was split into different ‘races’ of which the likes of the ‘black’ African and ‘white’ European were relevant and often put on either end of a hierarchical spectrum, be it biological or cultural. Crucially both Buffon and Kant believed that humanity was a single species, all originating from a single ancestral line. Kant even cites the “rule of Buffon”[18], the theory that because all humans can “generate fertile children between them” they must therefore be of the same species, rather than having derived from numerous ancestors[19]. Both also had a similar view on how differing ‘races’ themselves were created. Climate played the most significant role for both thinkers in how the original ‘race’ became divided and classified as different ‘races’. Buffon claims for example that “climate is the principal cause of the varieties of mankind” and ‘black’ people are created in those areas with a “constant and an excessive heat”[20]. Kant similarly maintains this, claiming that “air and sun seem to be the causes which can penetrate most deeply into the generative force…that can found a race”[21], with ‘black’ Africans “suited to [their] climate”[22] more so than a European in Africa would be, this is as a result of generations of adapting to a particular environment, to eventually become a perceived ‘race’.
 Having clarified this line of thinking in both Kant and Buffon’s’ work it must not be assumed that because all humans derive from a singular source, that this would create an equality amongst the ‘races’ which were created as a result of weather and climate. The opposite is in fact the case for Kant, in that due to these environmental factors there was a distinct change in the physical and mental capacities of different ‘races’.  
For Buffon, because of “harsh climates, poor diet, and brutal customs”, he viewed the ‘races’ of “Lapps and negroes as having degenerated” [23]. A ‘degeneration’ suggesting that a “sense of superiority was founded not on a race hierarchy, but on the belief that Europeans had achieved a level of civilization unknown in other nations”[24]. So any hierarchy is distinctly associated with nation, rather than ‘race’. While race denoted a distinctly different set of hereditary characteristic as a result of climate, nation “designated a heritage of social customs and beliefs”[25] which Buffon may have associated with those ‘brutal’ customs already mentioned. So analyzing the view of hierarchy in relation to Buffon’s perception of ‘race’, it is significant to note that Buffon sees a degree of hierarchy attached to Nation and culture rather than a sense of biological superiority, which, as demonstrated above, can be seen from the work of Kant[26].
 Kant’s views on hierarchies in association with ‘race’ differ to a large degree with Buffon. Kant was far clearer in his view of the distinction of ‘races’ and the hierarchies which are associated with them. Kant recognizes a “hierarchy between the races in which whites were the most favoured” [27] and associates ‘black’ as those who “undoubtedly [hold] the lowest [position] of all the remaining levels by which we designate different races”[28]. Kant’s wholly negative view of Black people is one which appears to more closely resemble the ‘race’ theories of the 19th century.

It is important here to make a distinction between the discourse of scientific classification and the rise of racial science in the 19th century. As Nicholas Hudson argues, it was “only with the rise of racial science could racism take form” and in using this scientific method there was an “increasing willingness to subject the human species to the same kind of biological analysis and classification previously used for plants and animals”[29].  The argument here chimes with the argument put forward in chapter one which reiterated the relationship between ‘race’ and the power of categorization. 
While Kant, and to some extent Buffon, ascribe to the idea of a hierarchy of ‘races’, I wish here to analyze the differences in their ‘race’ theory: in particular Kant’s prefiguring of later race thought, where there is in his work a slippage between the cultural and innate. For Kant, ‘races’ and the “human genus” in general should be “viewed as if they were predetermined…through original predispositions”[30]. So for Kant the fact that certain ‘races’ are suited to their particular climate(s) shows that certain members of the original ancestral group  were always destined to become members of the ‘race’ they are now associated with. Kant argues that it was through nature that “humanity develops all its talents and approaches perfection”[31]: thus asserting that nature perfected each ‘type’ of humanity to suit the particular climate they are in. However while Kant is an advocate for the theory that climate was the main element in the creation of ‘races’, he was under the belief that the “present division of races was permanent and indissoluble”[32]. ‘Races’ were all they were ever going to be, they would not change any further regardless of climate. Kant asserts this as a “teleological” [33] analysis of ‘race’ division, a predetermined means to an end that ended with those ‘white’ Europeans being the most superior of the ‘races’. Kant predicted that “all races will be extinguished…only not that of whites”[34].
To further understand the views of both Buffon and Kant in relation to the perceptions and creation of ‘race’, their respective views on ‘race’ mixing must be analyzed. This is relevant because as previously stated, both Kant and Buffon were believers in monogenesis: a single ancestor for all ‘races’.  It must be noted that the idea of monogenism advocated by Kant and Buffon was widely held during the Enlightenment, but there were exceptions. Voltaire, for example, suggested that “bearded whites [and] wooly haired blacks…do not come from the same man”[35].  Unsurprisingly, considering Kant’s views on hierarchy and predetermined ideas on ‘race’, he was uniformly against the idea of ‘races’ mixing. For him “race mixing degrades the ‘good race’ without lifting up the ‘bad race’”[36] . Kant believed ‘races’ were suited to their own particular climate, so mixing them would create an unsuitable character for any climate; and considering ‘races’ were generally geographically distant for the most part, for Kant it showed that “nature seems to prevent the fusing together of characters”[37]. This begs the question as to why Kant opens the door to the possibility of humans of all ‘races’ being of the same ancestral line, but closes the door on the reproduction of said ‘races’. 
This chapter has argued that Enlightenment thought categorized human beings hierarchically: as David Goldberg has suggested, racial thinking became “normalized”[38].
Chapter 3
To what extent was the Enlightenment instrumental in the creation of ‘race’?
The chapter will focus mainly on the work of Goldberg and Malik in relation to ‘race’ and the Enlightenment; as well as how through biological measurement the Enlightenment demonstrated an attempt to “define man’s place in nature”[39].
George Mosse suggests “eighteenth-century Europe was the cradle of modern racism”[40]. Malik in The Meaning of Race argues that “it is not race that gives rise to inequality but inequality that gives rise to race”[41], Malik cites slavery as the central historical moment in this period. Malik argues that it was not racism which gave rise to slavery, but eventually slavery which gave rise to racism. He points out that initially “principal arguments for slavery were not racial but ventured around the practicality or economic utility of the use of slaves” rather than the idea that the slaves were biologically inferior[42]. Moreover Malik insists that Africans were not chosen as slaves because of a distinct racial theory but because of economic utility[43]. Of importance for the argument here is the emergence of John Locke’s liberal philosophy in relation to property rights. As a result of this, the right of property, even if the property was human, became central to the concept of liberty, as Locke himself announced, his profound belief was in the liberal state’s duty to the “protection of life, liberty, and estate”[44]. This relationship between property values and ‘race’ will be examined in further detail within the context of Goldberg’s perspectives.
. For Goldberg it is Enlightenment thinking which is paramount in the creation of ‘race’. Moreover modernity itself and especially liberal ideology are dependent on racial classification: “liberalism plays a foundational part in [the] process of normalizing and naturalizing racial dynamics and racist exclusions”[45]. This focus on modernity and liberalism is essential for Goldberg, even though he does not disagree with Malik that slavery, to a large degree can be explained through economics[46].
 As argued above, Locke’s focus on the ‘protection of life, liberty, and estate’ in liberal society is complicated in the context of human commodities. As Malik argues: “how one perceived slavery depended largely on how one perceived private property”[47], thus a liberal doctrine concerning the rights to property became embedded within a culture that kept and worked people as utilities. As Locke also claimed that those “behaving irrationally [are] to… [a] degree a brute and should be treated as an animal”[48], it could be easily asserted that property in the perceived ‘irrational’ ‘black’ African would be justified on the grounds of irrationality.
So the West saw its views on modernity and the standards for civilisation to be universal, so those not adhering to particular categories of what was to be considered civilised would be categorised, as ‘other’. Kant’s work discussed in chapter two, can certainly be read in this context, where the categorisation of different ‘ races’ was undertaken as perceived ‘nature’. This is further highlighted when considering that for Goldberg enlightenment thinkers saw themselves as the “highest representatives” of the state of civilisation”[49]. Goldberg thus repudiates Malik’s view that ‘race’ was not a direct result of Enlightenment thinkers- as it was directly this association with their belief in themselves as the most rational and distinctly modern in a civilised society, which in turn allowed them to associate different ‘races’ within a hierarchy with themselves at the pinnacle. This point is given further support by Hall who maintained that the “Enlightenment was a very European affair. European society it assumed was the most advanced type of society on earth”[50].
Miles and Brown insist that because of the Enlightenment, ‘race’ became a method to categorize and show that there were “biological type[s] of human being”[51]. The Enlightenment period was one in which the belief of a great chain of being, tying beasts to men and men to god still predominated[52] .The task of science became to document it in more detail[53]. Mosse suggests that human nature came to be defined in aesthetic terms with significant stress on the outward physical signs of inner rationality and harmony”[54].
This can be seen in the work of the 18th century Dutch physician Petrus Camper who studied facial angle as a way to determine different ‘races’. As David Bindman notes, Camper sets up a spectrum from “animality to godliness”[55]. At the bottom of the scale, Camper showed the orang-utan and at the pinnacle the ancient Greek. Although Camper expressed a belief in the equality of different people[56] , his use of ‘scientific measurement’ in relation to facial angles has disturbing echoes in the context of later ‘race science’. Camper placed the African close to the Orang-utan while the ‘white’ European was placed near the perfect expression of the ancient Greek[57] …

Thanks Chris, for allowing us to use edited extracts from your undergraduate piece, and for showing how the Age of the Enlightenment, the Augustan Age of the Grand Tour, the age of the classics and aesthetics, the age of western rationality, the age of modernity were all rooted in slavery and the development of racist ideology.


[1] ‘Race’ will continually be used in quotation marks in order to exemplify its status as an undefined and ever changing term and concept; this will be analysed in greater depth throughout the project.

Pre Windrush Gloucestershire parish register entries

 

If you are a teacher, the link above, and a bit of navigating, will take you to some questions I wrote for schools based on the information below. That was over ten years ago … Otherwise, just have a look at these fascinating entries …
The Gloucestershire
Record Office holds references to black and Asian people in the county dating back to 1603. These were obtained from parish registers from around the county. This list has been compiled by James Turtle at the Gloucestershire Records Office over a number of years. However it is widely believed that there must be many more yet to be unearthed.
Place
Ref
Date
Content
Bisley
P47 IN 1/1
22 Nov 1603
John Davies ‘ye black’ was buried.
Arlingham
P23 IN 1/3
4 Dec 1668
Hannah, daughter of Thomas Liston, a Barbados merchant was baptised
Great Badminton
P32 CW 2/1
1678
‘Gave unto 3 men that came from Barbadus: 8d’
Great Badminton
P32 CW 2/1
1678
‘Gave unto 5 men that had been 3 years in slavery: 1s 8d’
Driffield
P120 IN 1/1
5 Jun 1687
Jacob the servant of George Hanger Esq ‘a moore’ was baptised.
Great Barrington
P36 IN 1/2
9 Sep 1705
George Tudor, ‘a native of the Kingdom of Golconda’, was baptised.
Newnham on Severn
Q/SO4 1714-24
Easter 1715
John Prince ‘a black boy lately bought into England’ was apprenticed to John Trigge, Attorney at Law.
Nympsfield
P234 IN 1/1
31 Dec 1719
Daniel ‘a black stranger’ buried
English Bicknor
Dean Forest Mercury 21/9/84
6 Nov 1721
Charles [Ashume] ‘ a black servant to Mr George Wyrall who departed this life…aged about 24’.
Norton
P32 IN 1/1
30 Sep 1724
Mary, the wife of ‘Black Samuel Cox’ was buried.
Gloucester
Gloucester Journal
24 Aug 1731
Charles Powell, a lusty, black fellow, said to be born in ..Monmouth, Ran away the 16th inst. from the service of Mr Viney of the City of Gloucester, with a blue Livery lined with yellow… and a dark brown wig: These are therefore to caution all Gentlemen & others from hiring him…
Awre
Bishop’s Transcript
3 Oct 1733
George Bristol ‘a black’, was baptised.
Sherborne
P289 IN 1/2
12 Aug 1736
George, a black slave, was baptised.
Hinton-on-the-Green
Bishop’s Transcript
27 Feb 1736/7
‘ was bap’zd a Negro by the name of Jno Caesar Hinton.’
Gloucester, St.Nicholas
P154/15 IN 1/2
19 Aug 1737
‘John son of Catrna, a black woman belonging to Mr Vernon, base born’, was  baptised.
Twyning
P343 IN 1/1
17 Apr 1767
Peter ‘a black boy of Peter Hancock, Esq’ was baptised.
Nympsfield
P234 IN 1/2
20 Jun 1773
Francis London ‘a servant to the Rt.Hon. Lord Ducie supposed to be 17 years of age – a native of Africa’ was baptised
Almondsbury
Bigland Historical Monuments Part 1 1791
17 Mar 1773
16 Feb 1776
James Long (d. 17 March 1773) and Charles Morson (d. 16 Feb 1776). ‘They were natives of Africa and servants to Sir James Laroche at Over [Over Court, Almondsbury], who caused this stone to be erected.’
Tidenham
Bishop’s Transcript
18 Oct 1776
William Gloucester ‘a black negroe’ was buried.
Rodborough
P272 IN 1/2
1 Jul 1778
‘William Jubiter – black’, was buried.
Tidenham
Bishop’s Transcript
24 Oct 1780
John Romes ‘a black negroe’, Charlotte Braithwaite ‘a black negroe’ & Elizabeth Millington ‘a black negroe’ were baptised.
St Briavels
P278 IN 1/4
25 Feb 1780
John Coolin, an African brought from ‘Goree’, was baptised.
Littledean
P110 IN 1/3
28 Jul 1782
Romiack, a black, was buried
Stroud
P320 IN 1/6
28 Feb 1786
Adam John Parker, Negro, 32, was buried. Parish Funeral.
Newland
P227 IN 1/4
6 Feb 1788
Thomas Pipes, an East Indian Black, was baptised at Coleford.
Frocester
P153 IN 1/3
4 Nov 1790
William Frocester, supposed to be about 11 or 12 yrs old, born on the island of Barbados and now a servant of Edward Bigland Esq. residing in Jamaica, was baptised.
Bristol: St Philip
& St Jacob
D260 (Coroner’s Account)
24 Feb 1792
Samuel Sewer, a black, found dead in Messrs Wilcox & Co glasshouse, 22 February. Verdict: Visitation of God.
Gloucester: St
Michael’s
P154/14 IN 1/3
25 Feb 1795
Julius Cesar, a black drummer, was buried
Thornbury
P330 IN 1/5
5 Jun 1797
Susanna Young, late of St Elizabeth, Jamaica, a free woman of colour aged 55 was buried. Died at and brought from Alveston.
Tidenham
P333/1 IN 1/2
29 Jan 1800
Peter Evans, a negro, was buried.
Stroud
P320 IN 1/6
7 May 1801
William Ellis, son of Qualquay Assedew, a Negro of Guinea, aged 12 years, was baptised.
Gloucester: St Mary de
Crypt
P154/11 IN 1/3
27 Nov 1802
Thomas Williams, a negro of the parish of St Mary de Crypt, was buried.
Tidenham
P333/1 IN 1/2
24 Nov 1805
Dido, a female negro belonging to Sir George Bolton, was buried.
Cheltenham: St Mary’s
Bishop’s Transcript
21 Oct 1810
Romeo Hamilton, a negro, was buried.
Hasfield
P166 IN 1/6
9 Apr 1815
Wm Hamlet, son of African parents aged about 16 years as alleged, of Hasfield, servant, was baptised.
Bisley
D149 R38
5 Jul 1815
Testimonial from Richard Raikes supporting the application of John Hart, Writing Master, to the post of master at Bisley Blue Coat School ‘Unfortunately he is a Mulatto, a native of the West Indies…
Cheltenham: St
Gregory’s
D4290 pp 1/1
16 Feb 1816
James Hudson, a Negro aged about 30 years, was baptised.
Cheltenham: St Mary’s
Bishop’s Transcript
12 Jul 1817
Mingo, a black man, 30 years old, was buried.
Cheltenham: St Mary’s
Bishop’s Transcript
13 Aug 1817
Margaret Walden, spinster, a ‘person of coller’, was baptised.
Hasfield
P166 IN 1/6
21 Jul 1820
James Austin, son of African parents aged about Thirty years as alleged, of Hasfield, servant, was baptised.
Cheltenham
PS CH RA 2/1 [Settlement examination]
Nov 1820
Edward Williams: born in the island of Santa Cruiz in the West Indies, and has been in England about 7 years… About 2 years ago was hired by Mr [?Breesnall] who then lived in London for a year at wages of 20 guineas…
Minchinhampton
P217 IN 1/18
20 Jun 1826
Thomas Davis, ‘an infirm travelling Black’, was buried. 67 years old
Tetbury
P328/1 IN 1/19
10 Mar 1827
Mary Ann Elding, about 40 years old, was buried. ‘a travelling woman, the wife of a man of colour’
Newent
D5102/22/G67
7 Oct 1829
Thomas Bloomsbury ‘a Native of Africa and for…55 Years a faithful servant to the late Samuel Richardson Esq.’
Cheltenham: St Mary’s
Bishop’s Transcript
6 Aug 1831
Jane Ross was baptised. Parents unknown. An adult, born a household slave at the Cape of Good Hope, now the servant of Major Robertson.
Littledean
Q/GLi 16/5 (Gaol Register)
24 Mar 1849
John Collins, sailor, native of Antigua, aged 19. 2 months hard labour for larceny. ‘Left his home 10 yrs ago. Since then has been at sea in a merchant ship…’
Littledean
Q/GLi 16/6 (Gaol Register)
6 Sep 1867
Henry Dyson, 20, Antigua; David Hunt, 25, W.Indies; Emmanuel  Davidson,22, W.Indies; all Men of Colour together with James Kear, 24, W.Indies, Mulatto; Mariners; jointly charged with stealing a wooden bottle and a quantity of bread & cheese & cider. Remanded overnight.
Littledean
Q/GLi 16/6 (Gaol Register)
20 Aug 1875
William Bailey, pedlar of Pennsylvania, America, blackman. Charged with sleeping rough at Littledean.
Eastington
P127 IN 1/17
29 Feb 1876
Ann Johnston, a woman of colour, 35 years old, was buried.
Littledean
Q/GLi 16/6 (Gaol Register)
12 Aug 1879
John Delen, 35, ‘mallotta’ [?mulatto] from Calcutta. 7 days imprisonment for drunkenness at Newnham-on- Severn.
Cheltenham:
Christchurch
P78/3 IN 1/2
26 Jul 1882
Ruth an adult Native of Madras, Ayah in the service of Colonel Rowlandson, was baptised in the Tamil Language.
Littledean
Q/GLi 16/7 (Gaol Register)
16 & 23
Sept 1886
Frank Decrews, 34, ‘man of colour’ born at Demerara. Begging at Cinderford (16th) & Drunk & Disorderly at Ruspidge (23rd). 7 day Hard Labour on each count.
Littledean
Q/GLi 16/7 (Gaol Register)
10 Dec 1888
Robert Allen McCall, cook & baker of South Africa, complexion ‘black’. Theft of valuables to value of £6-10s. Committed to Assizes for trial.
Littledean
Q/GLi 16/7 (Gaol Register)
6 Aug 1890
John Shields ‘American man of colour’ drunk at Cinderford
Cirencester
P86 IN 1/9
21 Feb 1894
Sidh Bisill Mahli, child of Nizam Ull Din and Rasham Bibi Mahli of Badoo-Mahli, Punjaub, India, was baptised. Father’s occupation: private gentleman.
Cinderford
D3921 V/8
1927
In Memoriam: Dr M.L.Bangara 1881-1927. Doctor at Cinderford 1914-27.
St Briavels
D7979 5/4
c.1930
Testimonial and subscription for Dr R.N. Nanda at St Briavels c.1923 – c.1945

Slavery, Culture, Economics, Aesthetics and the UCL Slavery Research Project

The acknowledgement of the influence of the slave trade on contemporary Britain is, of course, contentious. For some, that is.
When I was growing up, the rich used to show their supremacy, culturally and economically, by paying in ‘guineas’ rather than pounds. I had to become an adult before I found out the precise provenance of that word. Similarly, I had to wait for maturity and beyond, before anyone wondered if Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley might have made their money from slavery. And don’t get me started on Colston Hall …
Part of the reason for this lies within mainstream school and university twentieth century textbooks – the ‘Whig view of History’ has prevailed in this country, pretty much, throughout my lifetime: incremental, empirical, pragmatic, non-ideological, practical progress. Omniscient and generous rulers, who knew when it was exactly the right moment to bring in exactly the right amount of reform, and so avoid those beastly continental revolutions.
It is this historiographical trope that trots out a so-called line running from Magna Carta, through the ‘Glorious (‘peaceful’, and exaggerated) Revolution’ of 1688, and on through the Reform Acts of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This trope misses out the Commonwealth (‘Interregnum’), of course, but includes the 1807 Act ending the slave trade in the British Empire, and the 1833-4 Abolition of Slavery Act.
Oh, beneficent all-seeing rulers: born to rule, and always knowing best: lucky Britons and lucky Britain.
This is, needless to say, an illusion at best, false consciousness at worst – and dangerously deceptive with regards to slavery. The foregrounding of the 1807 and 1833 Acts has too often got our past off the hook – two centuries worth of slave trafficking sent backstage. And the history books that have contrasted the domestic programme of the ‘Modernizing Whigs’ of the 1830s with the ‘Reactionary Tories’ pre – 1832, have often glossed over some of the detail of the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act. The textbooks have focused upon Whig/Benthamite reforms for factories, towns, workhouses and so on, rather than the abolition of slavery.
The 1833-4 Act freed slaves within the British Empire (but let the East India Company off), but provided £20 million in compensation for the slave owners. That was not far off half of all governmental expenditure for that year, and is the equivalent of some £17 billion in today’s values. The UCL research project indicates that about half of those slave owners resided in this country and half in the West Indies (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/commercial/). The mapping of these beneficiaries shows how slave owners pop up in the most unlikely of places in the United Kingdom in 1834.
The project also shows what was done with much of this compensation and, unsurprisingly, a huge amount went into investment in the railways.
In a sense, the ‘Railway Mania’ of the 1840s, and the subsequent speculative investment cycles in the British domestic economy, were fuelled by those handouts to slave owners – and when you take into account the Keynsian multiplier effect, it’s hard to imagine almost anyone whose lives weren’t touched by that dirty money.
I researched two areas on the database for slave owners: Stroud and Portland Place in London. Portland Place was absolutely rife with slave owners; Stroud had but one in 1834: Samuel Baker of Lypiatt Park. Think of that, the next time you gaze out on that grand house; think about Baker’s 410 slaves on his two estates in Jamaica and how all his compensation helped fund many of our local railway lines: ‘A Day in the Life of a Penny’.
Appetite whetted, I typed in Painswick and discovered: Rev. Joseph Duncan Ostrehan, Sheepscombe Parsonage, He received compensation of £85 8s 11d for 3 slaves in Barbados, God bless him.
I then typed in Gloucestershire – why was I so astonished to find so much compensation being paid to Bristol in general, and Clifton, in particular? But a few more local parishes popped up. (Stop Press! I have now decided, whilst writing this, to collate all of these so as to put together a walk around the county and around the city – so no more of these entries for now. I’ll post all of that in a couple of weeks’ time.)
As regards the consequences of compensation for culture, the sullied cultural legacy resulting from this dirty money is shown at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/cultural/ and https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/physical/
also shows how compensation paid to the 46,000 owners of about 800,000 slaves helped pay for new grand houses. It also funded many charities; indeed, the Royal Lifeboat Association was floated with slavery compensation. (To name but one.) Your own delving will reveal this hidden history of widely tainted philanthropy.
Another cultural legacy – albeit delayed – was racialist ideology. The campaign led by free traders against mercantilism, monopoly and slavery meant that imperialism and empire were regarded with thrifty suspicion by the Manchester mid 19th century zeitgeist – but the ‘Age of Empire’ would see the resurrection of racialist ideas in the late nineteenth century.
And how.
And, of course, it’s still with us today.
And how.
More of this on a future post – and working backwards, more on the economics, ideology and cultural consequences of slavery in the 18th century on a future post too.
To conclude for now, the link below takes you to the two excellent documentaries on BBC 2 in July 2015. David Olusoga was quite brilliant in these programmes about the UCL project. His presentation was especially poignant when reminding us that the abolitionists were, in the end, only allowed to free fellow human beings, by denying those slaves their humanity. This was, in a sense, a denial of the abolitionists’ fundamental beliefs.
The slave owners were triumphant in defeat: compensation for property, not humanity. That is why there is no equality of payment; instead there is a calibrated proportionality; Jamaican soil was becoming sugar-exhausted, whereas British Guiana was sugar-fertile, and so, Jamaican slaves were worth less … indeed, some were ready reckoned down to the most exact halfpenny.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2015/28/britains-forgotten-slave-owners/

Redemption, the Pink Cabbage, Slavery and Stroud

Redemption

Redemption: a typically Christian conflation of the spiritual, the mundane and the material. Redeeming: an act of atoning for a sin, mistake or fault; salvation from sin through the incarnation and crucifixion of Christ; the state of being redeemed from evil or error; deliverance from sin, salvation; atonement. Repurchase of something sold; paying off a mortgage, debt, bond or note; recovery of something pledged, pawned; conversion of paper currency into bullion or specie; fulfilling an obligation. Archaism: buying one’s freedom from ransom; rescue. Origin: Middle English, Old French, Latin: redemptio/redimere (to buy back).

The immediate successor of the Indian, however, was not the Negro but the poor white.These white servants included a variety of types. Some were indentured servants … Still others, known as “redemptioners”, arranged with the captain of the ship to pay for their passage on arrival or within a specified time thereafter; if they did not, they were sold by the captain to the highest bidder.’
Capitalism and Slavery, Eric Williams

Redemption’s Song: ‘Old pirates, yes they rob I, Sold I to the merchant ships’

Stroud Scarlet, Uley Blue and Berkeley Yellow. Watch those explorers canoeing Canada, Trading Stroud Scarlet with the Iroquois, When fair exchange was no robbery
For the Hudson Bay Company, Or for the East India Company too. See that Stroud Scarlet cloth, Stretched out on tenterhooks in our fields, Eventually shipped down to West Africa; Its folds concealing any human cargo. Admire General Wolfe and his red coats, Up there on the steps of Quebec, A few short years after riding down Stroud Scarlet weavers in the streets and fields: “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves, Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

Sunday July 1st, 1739: “Today I heard George Whitefield preach at Minchinhampton. He has inspired me with his breath of the Great Redeemer and I am resolved to provide the funds for the building of a Tabernacle at Rodborough. I am also resolved to do something about the licentiousness and intemperance of the local population of Stroudwater. I am hopeful of making a start with the notorious Pink Cabbage. Redemption could begin with its conversion from an inn to a coffee house.” Thomas Adams

George Whitefield’s views on slavery:

“Though liberty is a sweet thing to such as are born free, yet to those who never knew the sweets of it, slavery perhaps may not be so irksome. However this be, it is plain to a demonstration, that hot countries cannot be cultivated without negroes. What a flourishing country might Georgia have been, had the use of them been permitted years ago? How many white people have been destroyed for want of them, and how many thousands of pounds spent to no purpose at all? Had Mr Henry been in America, I believe he would have seen the lawfulness and necessity of having negroes there. And though it is true, that they are brought in a wrong way from their own country, and it is a trade not to be approved of, yet as it will be carried on whether we will or not; I should think myself highly favoured if I could purchase a good number of them … It rejoiced my soul, to hear that one of my poor negroes in Carolina was made a brother in Christ. “

Colonel Wolfe, The Pink Cabbage, Stroud, October 1756

” The people are so oppressed, so poor and so wretched, that they will, perhaps, hazard a knock on the pate for bread and clothes. I have charge of six companies of foot soldiers, enough to beat the mob of all England. The Gloucester weavers and I have not yet come to blows nor do I believe we shall, but the poor half-starved weavers beg about the country for food. The masters have beat down their wages too low to live upon, and I believe it is a just complaint. But those who are most oppressed have seized the tools and broke the looms of others who would work if they could. The face of this country is different from anything I have seen in England. Numberless little hills, little rivulets running in all the bottoms; the lower parts of the hills are generally grass, the middle corn, and the upper part wood and innumerable little white houses in all the vales, so that there is a vast variety; and every mile changes the scene, and gives you a new and pleasant prospect. It is melancholy to reflect that in the midst of this beauty, the weavers have little likelihood of their redemption.”

Iam a negro and a free man, but close to death. I was born in Guinea in 1760, I have been told, and was sold to a ship’s captain from Bristol.He bought me with red cloth. I know now that cloth came from Stroud. I was taken to Barbados where I excelled at my studies and so became a servant to ———— ——————-.My artful dissimulation enabled me to play perfectly the role of periwigged, liveried footman. There never was a more attentive peacock. At length, my master decided to return to his estate in England. My master’s estate was in the south of the shire and north of Bristol. After about a year, a coachman ‘of sable hue’ arrived one day with some new materials for my master’s chosen livery: Stroud Scarlet, Uley Blue and Berkeley Yellow. He called me over before the coach departed and whispered in my ear. He told me that my long lost brother was in this country too – and only some 30 miles away – a servant at The Pink Cabbage in Stroud.

The following night I exchanged my livery for fustian brown and disappeared into the darkness of the night. Comforting light for a fleeing slave! 
I concealed my person in the newly planted hedgerows by day and walked by night, keeping the moonlit River Severnon my left and close to sight. My coachman friend had told me that I should go toArlingham, where there was a chance of obtaining a place on a crew of a vessel heading for Gloucester. My good fortune continued and I duly found a place on the Quadrille,bound for Gloucester. Here I met more men of colour, some from America.

One of these mariners told me the whereabouts of The Pink Cabbage and that he had heard that a negro was in habitation there. This news spurred me as much as my hearty dinner – my brother! The mariner advised me to head back to Framilode, so that I might join a crew on a ship heading for Stroud through the Stroudwater Navigation. When I mentioned the Quadrille, that was sufficient testimony to my prowess, and I took my place on the Sabrina.

I alighted at Wallbridge to take the path up the hill to The Cross. It was with a little trepidation but much expectation that I entered that parish on that autumn day. I sought out the clergyman at the church and explained my quest. I showed him my Bible in my bag; my name in the front’s piece seemed to reassure him of my bona fides. He looked at me solemnly and dropped his gaze. He asked me to follow him and this I did, following in his dolorous wake.

He lifted the parish register and leafed through the pages. After some moments of pensive perusal, he showed me this entry:

1st July, 1778, William Jubiter, ye black, buried.

I buried my head in my hands and cried the salt tears of loneliness. At length, I was led from the church and so made my melancholy descent back to Wallbridge.
 I despaired of human company and recoiled from the thought of contact, such was my sadness. I resolved to make a solitary way along the cut and so reach the River Thames; and thence to London. The beauty of the bosky hills and vales; the serenity of the sylvan shade; the laughter of the waters; the wind in the reeds; the white stone cottages like so many pebbles thrown on the hillsides; the pure green fields – all of these conspired to give me endurance, fortitude and make thanks to God. Two days walking led me to Lechladewhere I found a place on the William Butler, bound for Deptford. Here I found friendly mariners and also negroes. They told me that the riversides in London possess a whole reticulation of havens and hidey-holes for escaped slaves and servants. A trudge through a labyrinth of streets, creeks and chimneys led me to my haven, where I presently lie on my bedding.

The death-rattle of my cough echoes the call of the birds of my homeland in Guinea.There is no song of Redemption for me here.

Some entries from Gloucestershire parish records:

Newnham on Severn, Easter 1715: John Price, a black boy lately brought to England, apprenticed to John Trigge, attorney at law.

Nymphsfield June 20th, 1773: Francis London, a servant to the right honourable Lord Ducie, supposed to be 17 years of age- a native of Africa- was baptized.

Stroud February 28th, 1786: Adam John Parker, negro, 32, was buried. Parish Funeral-paupers grave.

Frocester November 4th, 1790: William Frocester, 11 or 12 years of age, born on the island of Barbados, now servant of Edward Bigland Esquire, residing in Jamaica. Baptised.

Stroud May 7th, 1801: William Ellis, son of Qualquay Assedew of Guinea, a negro, aged 12. Baptised.

Bisley July 5th, 1815: Testimonial from Richard Raikes, supporting the application of John Hart, writing master, for the post of master at the Bisley Blue Coats school – unfortunately he is a mulatto, a native of the West Indies.

Henry Wyatt decides to erect an arch on the drive to his Farmhill Estate, Stroud 1834, in an act of symbolic redemption:

ERECTED TO COMMEMORATE THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN THE BRITISH COLONIES THE FIRST OF AUGUST A.D. MDCCCXXX1V

But there was also redemption for the owners of slaves: £20 million (about 40% of the British government’s spending that year), nearly £17 billion, using today’s values.

But the tyranny of time can still prevent redemption:

Opposite the Pink Cabbage is the National School where the “Black Boy”, “one of Stroud’s most celebrated symbols”, stands above the clock.  He was fashioned by John Miles of Kendrick Street in 1774. A Stroud Local History Society leaflet goes on to tell us that he first stood outside a watchmaker’s shop in the High Street, before migrating to the Duke of York in Nelson Street.  He ended up at the school in 1844. The leaflet tells us:

“He held a hammer which rang a bell in front of him when the hour struck.”

This is no Song of Redemption for Stroud

These are the words of T h o m a s J u b i T e r , once known around Gloucestershire as ‘the travelling black mariner’

These are the words of T h o m a s J u b i T e r , once known around Gloucestershire as ‘the travelling black mariner’

Iam

a negro and a free man, but close to death. I was born in Guinea in 1760, I have been told, and was sold to a ship’s captain from Bristol. He bought me with red cloth. I know now that cloth came from Stroud.
I was taken to Barbados. I can do no better than to describe that voyage through the words of Olaudah Equiano (I was later taught to read and write by a minister on the plantation. I have carried two books with me always since on my travels: The Bible and The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, the African):
‘This produced copious perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died, thus falling victims to the improvident avarice, as I may call it, of their purchasers. This wretched situation was again aggravated by the galling of the chains, now become insupportable; and the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable.’
I excelled at my studies and so became a servant to ———— ——————-. My artful dissimulation enabled me to play perfectly the role of periwigged, liveried footman. There never was a more attentive peacock. At length, my master decided to return to his estate in England. I was given the ‘privilege’, as he put it, of voyaging to England too. There would be no return to Guinea for me; that was my hoped-for reward, but that was a mere phantom.
My master’s estate was in the south of the shire and north of Bristol. After about a year, a coachman ‘of sable hue’ arrived one day with some new materials for my master’s chosen livery: Stroud Scarlet; Uley Blue and Berkeley Yellow. He called me over before the coach departed and whispered in my ear. He told me that my long lost brother was in this country too – and only some 30 miles away.
I resolved to ask for my freedom, and head north for Rodborough, near Stroud. Alas! My plea was peremptorily refused – how could I be such an ingrate? The following night I exchanged my livery for fustian brown and disappeared into the darkness of the night. Comforting light for a fleeing slave!
I concealed my person in the newly planted hedgerows by day and walked by night, keeping the moonlit River Severn on my left and close to sight. My coachman friend had told me that I should go to Arlingham, where there was a chance of obtaining a place on a crew of a vessel heading for Gloucester. My good fortune continued and I duly found a place on the Quadrille, bound for Gloucester. Here I met more men of colour, some from America.
One of these mariners told me the whereabouts of Rodborough and that he had heard that a negro was in habitation there. This news spurred me as much as my hearty dinner – my brother! The mariner advised me to head back toFramilode, so that I might join a crew on a ship heading for Stroud through the Stroudwater Navigation. When I mentioned the Quadrille, that was sufficient testimony to my prowess, and I took my place on the Sabrina.
I alighted at Wallbridge to take the path up the hill to Rodborough. It was with a little trepidation but much expectation that I entered that parish on that autumn day. I sought out the clergyman at the church and explained my quest. I showed him my Bible in my bag; my name in the front’s piece seemed to reassure him of my bona fides. He looked at me solemnly and dropped his gaze. He asked me to follow him and this I did, following in his dolorous wake.
He lifted the parish register and leafed through the pages. After some moments of pensive perusal, he showed me this entry:
1st July, 1778, William Jubiter, ye black, buried.
I buried my head in my hands and cried the salt tears of loneliness. At length, I was led from the church and so made my melancholy descent back to Wallbridge.
I despaired of human company and recoiled from the thought of contact, such was my sadness. I resolved to make a solitary way along the cut and so reach the River Thames; and thence to London. The beauty of the bosky hills and vales; the serenity of the sylvan shade; the laughter of the waters; the wind in the reeds; the white stone cottages like so many pebbles thrown on the hillsides; the pure green fields – all of these conspired to give me endurance, fortitude and make thanks to God. Two days walking led me to Lechlade where I found a place on the William Butler, bound for Deptford. Here I found friendly mariners and also negroes. They told me that the riversides in London possess a whole reticulation of havens and hidey-holes for escaped slaves and servants. A trudge through a labyrinth of streets, creeks and chimneys led me to my haven, where I presently lie on my bedding.
The death-rattle of my cough echoes the call of the birds of my homeland in Guinea. My birthplace is no phantom now. The call of my mother and father is as insistent as the waves on the shore-line of my village. I know that I shall, at last, be returning to that bourn ere long.
These are the last words that I shall write.
Thomas Jubiter
Story written by Stuart Butler, August 2013, inspired by an entry in a parish register.
“Non-fiction uses facts to help us see the lies. Fiction uses metaphor to help us see the truth.”
See: A book that changed me, Nadine Gordimer helped me see how fiction writing can illuminate reality, by Aminatta Forna, The Guardian, August 20 2013.