27Enslaved gardens also meant a “staggering array of crops” beyond the basic fare offered them by the planter. For a listing of crop diversity, see Berlin and Morgan, The Slaves’ Economy, 9.

28As Simon Taylor, the attorney for the Golden Grove sugar plantation in Jamaica remarked, “If they [the Negroes] do not get provisions from their present owners, will they not perish with hunger…” Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 19th April 1788, Vaneek Estate Papers, Boxes 1-3, University of Cambridge Library.

29Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 1st May 1788, Vaneek Estate Papers, Boxes 1-3, University of Cambridge Library.

30Turner points out that, in fact, “For much of the eighteenth century, enslaved owners and managers presided over a seasonal hunger cycle.”  Mary Turner, "Slave Workers and Labour Bargaining," in Berlin and Morgan, The Slave Economy, 95.

31The ‘slave’ doctor, William Wright, for example, felt that many Negro diseases, such as “fever, fluxes, and pleurisys” were caused by their going to “Negro plays in the night” and their “many acts of sensuality and intemperance.” William Wright to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 1st March 1788, Vaneek Estate Papers, Boxes 1-3, University of Cambridge Library.

32As an area of power formation, the estate would rely on small administrative units that determined the power of the centre, rather than the extent of their power being primarily derived from the power of the centre. Therefore, estates never automatically wielded the same power over their enslaved people. Power was directly reflective of the skill that the managers displayed in setting up their power network of overseers, middling whites and elites. For a parallel study in seventeenth century English agriculture, see also Michael Braddick, "State formation and early social change in early modern Europe,"Social History XVI, 1   (1982): 2.

33Historiography refers to this power network as “plantation society.” This definition postulates that in as much as the plantation was created for economic reasons, its aspect of racist oriented labour procurement and divisions set up a related social structure peculiar to the territories within which it existed.

34Craton expands this point by arguing that "enslaved society included white masters and managers in an ever more tangled web of interdependence." His argument points to the legalism that kept the enslaved people in check but which was frequently ignored for the actual running of the plantation. Craton, Testing the Chains, 35.


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August 2000