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Thomas Dougan (d.1797)
A report written by
John Dougan (1765-1826)
, and after his death submitted by his daughter
Mary Stephen Dougan
can be found in
Slave Trade. Three volumes. Volume 2. Papers Relating to Slaves in the colonies; Slaves manumitted; Slaves imported, exported; manumissions, marriages; Slave trade at the Mauritius; Apprenticed Africans; Captured negroes at Tortola, St. Christopher's, and Demerara; etc. (1826-1827)
It is in fact a fascinating and dramatic read.
Inspired by the work of people like
John Barton the Elder (1754-1789)
Slave Trade Act of 1807
had supposedly abolished the trading of slaves (though not owning them). In places like the West Indies however slaves were still being used, abused and traded under the guise of 'apprenticeships'. John Dougan and Thomas Moody, living in
, both volunteered to be 'commissioners' for the government to investigate claims that these 'apprentices' were in fact treated just like slaves.
View Larger Map
It came down to a matter of 'he said, she said'. John Dougan was inclined to believe the testimony of the 'apprentices', while his opponent Thomas Moody (who was in fact a relative having married John's neice) was determined to believe the testimony of the landowners. Moody evidently had powerful allies, including the president of Tortola. John, for his part, had idealistic friends back in England agitating on his behalf.
It was apparently the case of one H. C. Maclean that particularly divided them. Maclean was the comptroller of the customs on Tortola, and a substantially wealthy man. After his apprentices complained in front of the commission, Maclean presented some affidavits in support of his version of events, and then promptly had his apprentices beaten for lying. Incensed by this, and by the feeling that Moody was biased against the blacks and was playing dirty to defend his wealthy friends, Dougan promptly resigned and immediately boarded a ship to England, there hoping to protest Moody's behaviour in person. Thus unfettered, Moody wasted no time in submitting "the commission's" report without John's knowledge or blessing, forcing John, who was by then very ill, to put the record straight by assembling his own contradictory report, which is reproduced here. Moody was still given the right to reply though, and got the last word in the end.
Somehow, while fighting this cause in the last 4-5 years of his life, John Dougan went from being very well off to being practically destitute.
I have reproduced most of the text below, reformatted for easier reading. The early section is written by his daughter Mary and is coloured purple. The documents contain responses by Moody, which are coloured red. Later on there are letters by and on behalf of H. C. Maclean, which are coloured green.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE
, &c. &c. &c.
No. 25, Hadlow-street, Burton Crescent, Nov. 1826.
The inclosed letter from my deceased Father will inform Your Lordship of his having committed to me the care of his Manuscripts, and the task of finishing and presenting to Your Lordship, after his decease, the statements he had drawn up, and which your Lordship promised to lay before the House of Commons in reply to Major Moody's Report respecting the African apprentices. His notes and memoranda contain many more materials than he was able himself fully to employ as he had intended, in vindicating the Report he had made to Your Lordship, and in showing the unfairness of many of the representations of his colleague. These I should most willingly have exerted myself, agreeably to my Father's wish, to reduce into such order as would make them fitter for Your Lordship's inspection; but I feel myself unequal to the task, and have therefore resolved to decline it, and to confine myself to the communicating to Your Lordship such statements and observations, as my dear Father himself had prepared before his growing weakness put a stop to their progress. As far as they go they express, I know, his mature and most sincere sentiments; and after anxious deliberation, I think it better to forward to Your Lordship in their present state, with all their imperfections of style and arrangement, than to attempt any improvement or addition of nay own. There is not, I am sure, a line in the papers I now transmit, which my dear Father, in the immediate view of his approaching dissolution (an event which, for months, he had in near expectation), was not satisfied with as perfectly correct. It continued to the last to be the subject of his unceasing regret, that he had been unable, before he quitted life, to prove to your Lordship, as he hoped to have done most conclusively, not only the truth of his own statements, but, above all, the injustice that had been done to the unfortunate objects of his mission, and the wrong that had been inflicted on them by means of the opposite views and statements of his colleague.
Permit me to remind Your Lordship, that my Father's first Report, which has been printed by order of the House of Commons, was dated the 20th December 1823, and that the first two Reports of Major Moody, which have since been followed by a third (a), are dated the 2d of March 1825.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (a) Major Moody never wrote a third Report. He had, at one time, intended to submit a third Report, but finding that he had already given reasons sufficiently satisfactory to prove the correctness of his inferences, any farther Report was deemed unnecessary, as regarded Mr. Dougan's Report.]
No part of these Reports, not even those parts of the first which my Father was assumed (b) to sanction, had ever been submitted to him ; and it was not till the month of October 1825 that he accidentally knew of their existence in a printed form.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (b). Major Moody is not aware that he ever assumed, that Mr. Dougan sanctioned his Reports.]
On the 27th of that month he addressed a letter to Your Lordship, soliciting a copy of Major Moody's Reports, and permission to reply to them. On the 12th of November following he received from Mr. Wilmot Horton a letter accompanying the reports, and signifying that Your Lordship had directed him to lay before Parliament any additional report my Father might think it necessary to make; he taking care, however, in such report, not to introduce any fresh matter. This condition, I believe, has been strictly (c) complied with in the papers I now submit to Your Lordship.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (c) It will be obvious, on the slightest inspection of Mr. Dougan's papers, that a great mass of "fresh matter" has been introduced. For example, the very first paper which Mr. Dougan has here given, is relative to Mr. Maclean's apprentices, a subject which had not been even noticed in Major Moody's Reports, and is now for the first time to be explained in a public document to be printed.]
It seems proper that I should add a brief description of these papers, which form the whole of the unfinished Report prepared by my Father in reply to Major Moody, as far as it is in a state sufficiently intelligible to be transmitted to Your Lordship, and laid on the table of Parliament.
I.—Copy of a Letter from my Father to Your Lordship, dated 27th October 1825; and of a Letter to him from Mr. Wilmot Horton, dated 12th November 1825.
II.— A Statement communicated to Your Lordship by my Father, in August 1822, of the facts which obliged him to desist from continuing to act with Major Moody under the Commission, and to return to England; comprising an account of the case of Mr. Maclean's Apprentices, which led to that determination.
To this statement are annexed the following papers:—
1. Copy of the original Minute of the Commission in the case of Mr. Maclean's Apprentices.
2. Copy of a Letter from Mr. Maclean to the Commissioners, dated Tortola, 28th May 1823.
3. Copies of the Affidavits of John Lettsom and others.
III.— The unfinished draft of a letter from my Father to Your Lordship, which the state of his health prevented him from completing. It is accompanied by a solemn declaration, signed by him in the presence of a friend, of his firm belief of the truth of all the assertions and information contained in it.
IV.— Remarks on the testimony afforded by Major Moody, Mr. Crabb, Mr. Isaacs, and other inhabitants of Tortola, respecting the character and conduct of the African Apprentices; with a view of their character and conduct drawn by my Father, from the official records of the Commission.
To these remarks (the accuracy of which is also solemnly attested by my father), is attached one explanatory paper; viz.—
4. Results of the Examinations of the Commissioners into each individual case of 291 African Apprentices in Tortola.
V.—Remarks on Major Moody's Returns of African and Creole Negroes captured in small vessels; similarly attested by my Father.
VI.—Remarks on various Statements made by Major Moody, which appeared to my Father to be unfounded, and not supported by the minutes originally taken by the secretary, or by the facts of the case. This paper is similarly attested; and there is annexed to it, as an illustrative document,—
5. The special case of the Apprentice Adeline Ejogo.
My father was also preparing a list of some mistakes, chiefly clerical, which had crept into his first Report, but he has left it unfinished, and none of them appear to have been very important, consisting chiefly of errors in the numbering of the African apprentices, and in one or two dates of seizures; one statement, however, he was anxious to correct, which occurs in his first Report, p. 35. He had there said that the free black persons, the Nottinghams, "had chiefly intermarried with each other;" but this he afterwards found to be a mistake.
He had entered upon a full vindication of his former account of these Nottinghams, and a refutation of what he conceived to be the very erroneous representation of Major Moody respecting them; but it is in an unfinished state.
He had also collected materials for a list of errors and ommissions in the examinations of the Commissioners, drawn from a comparison of the report of them made by Major Moody, with the original minutes, and he was strongly of opinion that the correction of those errors, and the supply of those omissions, would have thrown additional light on the incorrectness of Major Moody's statements, and on the generally unprotected state of apprentices, and of those among them especially who were under masters or mistresses having no proper title to their services, and being bound by no adequate engagements.
I have only now to add my hope that Your Lordship will regard with indulgence the imperfect, though I hope not unfaithful, manner in which I have executed the trust which the affectionate confidence of a dying parent reposed in me.
I have the honour, &c.
Mary Stephen Dougan
25, Hadlow-street, 27 October 1825.
Having learnt by accident that the different Reports of Major Moody and myself, in our capacity of Commissioners of Inquiry into the state of Africans liberated from slavery under the Abolition Acts, had been laid on the table of the House of Commons, and having been permitted through the favour of a friend to peruse them, I perceive that they contain statements and remarks on which it is necessary, with a view to the interests of truth and justice, that I should address some observations to Your Lordship.
Had I been favoured with a perusal of these papers previously to their having been laid before Parliament, I should have deemed it my duty to have pointed out the inaccuracy of many of the statements to which I myself am represented as a party, as well as of some which have the sanction only of Major Moody's name; but that opportunity not having been afforded me, I have now only to request that Your Lordship would have the goodness to direct that I may be furnished with a copy of all the printed papers relating to the inquiry in which I had the honour to be engaged, that I may be the better enabled to rectify the errors which they at present contain.
I have, &c.
(signed) John Dougan.
Earl Bathurst, K. G. &c. &c. &c.
Downing-street, 12th Nov. 1825.
I am directed by Lord Bathurst to inform you, in answer to your letter of the 28th ultimo, that you shall be furnished with copies of all the printed papers relating to the commission to which you belonged; and that his Lordship will direct me to lay upon the table of the House of Commons, at the commencement of the next Session, any additional Report which you may think it necessary to make; you will, however, take care in such Report not to enter into any fresh matter, but to confine yourself to the rectification of those errors which you say appear in the Report of Major Moody.
Your Report was submitted to Major Moody, with the view of ascertaining whether he concurred in it sufficiently to attach his signature thereto. He stated that he felt himself unable, to concur in several of your statements and opinions, and you must be aware that there would be no termination to the controversy if each report were to be examined by the other party. Should your intended additional Report contain any observations to which Major Moody may claim a right to reply, he will be restricted (a) from any thing beyond explanation.
I remain, &c.
(signed) R. J. W. Horton.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (a) As "fresh matter" has been introduced by Mr. Dougan, and ordered to be printed, Major Moody feels himself entitled to have inserted such correct statements and arguments, as will best serve to correct the misrepresentations of his late colleague, so that the real truth may be made manifest.]
Bath, 12th April 1826.
As I am very ill, and my recovery very doubtful, I have committed to my dear wife the duty of finishing and presenting to Your Lordship after my decease, if I should not live to do so, the paper Your Lordship promised to lay before the House of Commons, in reply to Major Moody's Report. I leave with her the unfinished statement, notes and observations which I have been preparing for the purpose, till I was too ill and weak to proceed further, and of which I now solemnly protest the sincerity and truth.
I am, with the highest respect, &c.
(signed) John Dougan.
25, Hadlow-street, June 5th 1826.
Since the preceding letter, dated Bath 12th April 1826, I have continued very ill, and been confined to my bed and to my room.
On further consideration of the subject of the person with whom I should deposit and commit the future disposal of the papers alluded to in the foregoing letter, I have deemed it most advisable, for many considerations, to cancel the authority committed to my dear wife, as to those papers, and to transfer the whole and sole charge of them to my daughter, Mary Stephen Dougan, trusting to her well-known integrity, and the knowledge she has already experienced of the papers alluded to, by having been the person employed in transcribing copies of most of my manuscript notes.
Trusting that God may enable her faithfully to discharge this trust, I have this day committed the papers to her care and disposal.
(signed) John Dougan.
London, 11th June 1827.
Have the honour to transmit the First and Second Parts of Mr. Dougan's posthumous Documents against me, with some Remarks thereon, explanatory of the real truth of the points at issue between us.
You are well aware, Sir, how much my time is occupied with public business of a different kind, and I trust therefore that you will pardon the very hasty manner in which I have been obliged to write my remarks in defence of myself.
As in the present, and other portions of Mr. Dougan's posthumous documents, much new matter is introduced to which no reference had been made in my reports, the explanations necessary to elucidate the real truth require, on my part, reference to documents, and the production of new evidence, to disprove the new assertions which my colleague has been pleased to make, or which at least now appear to be made under his name. This will occasion some little delay; but the moment I have time I shall easily correct the misrepresentations of the truth contained in these documents.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
R. J. Wilmot Horton, Under Secretary of State for War and Colonies.
Statement of the Facts which obliged Mr. Dougan, in his own view of his duties as one of the Commissioners of Enquiry into the state and treatment of the Apprenticed Africans, to desist from further proceedings with Major Moody, under the Commission, and to return to England.
Mr. Dougan, in defending or explaining his own conduct, has no desire to inculpate his brother Commissioner, who is a pretty near relation to him by marriage, and has claims on his gratitude as a friend. Major Moody being bound to act, not on Mr. Dougan's views of duty, but his own, is not necessarily in the wrong, supposing Mr. Dougan to have been in the right. Yet the differences between them were so great, and were such in their nature and practical tendency, as to make it impossible they should continue to act jointly, and without an umpire on the spot, compatibly at once with Mr. Dougan's sense of moral obligation, and with principles and views which Major Moody held himself bound to maintain. It became necessary therefore in Mr. Dougan's judgment, that one of them should cease to take part in the execution of the Commission, until it should be otherwise constituted, in order that the other might be at liberty to act alone; and as he could not impose the taking this course on his colleague, he determined to take it himself. Hence it becomes necessary to be his own apologist, but not to be, and he expressly disclaims intending to be, the accuser of Major Moody.
Several differences and oppositions of views had arisen between the Commissioners before their arrival at Tortola, but as means were found by mutual concessions and approximations, to prevent any discussion, or any practical inconveniences immediately resulting from these differences, they were not, with one exception, reported to Earl Bathurst, nor will Mr. Dougan enter into any explanation of them now, unless required by his Lordship to do so.
[Remarks by Major Moody.
This statement of Mr. Dougan never was referred to, in any manner, in the reports of Major Moody, which contained his reasons for not signing the report of his colleague, when presented to him for that purpose. This statement was not drawn up in the West Indies, nor was it ever submitted to Major Moody as containing a fair statement of the circumstances which induced Mr. Dougan to return to England, otherwise Major Moody would immediately have corrected the errors into which his colleague has fallen. Major Moody's knowledge of this document was obtained from the Edinburgh Review, No. 90: since which he has obtained permission to make his remarks more in detail than perhaps he otherwise would have desired.]
The exception alluded to, was the question (a) whether the original minutes of the proceedings of the Commissioners should be preserved after their being transcribed by the secretary into the book kept for the purpose. Mr. Dougan held the affirmative, but Major Moody maintained, and persisted in maintaining, that they ought to be destroyed. It became necessary therefore that the question should be decided by his Lordship’s authority.
[Remarks by Major Moody. (a) Mr. Dougan's memory seems, probably from the lapse of time, to have failed him in stating the first question on which he and Major Moody did not altogether agree in opinion.
In the minute of the proceedings of the Commissioners, dated 1st May 1822, it is plainly stated in Mr Dougan’s own words thus:
"Mr. Dougan proposed that the outside directions of all letters on public business to the Commissioners, or either of them, should be preserved.
"Mr. Dougan also proposed that the rough originals of all minutes, letters and Reports should also be preserved."
Major Moody could not then, nor can he now, comprehend the utility of such regulations being adopted. He objected to the proposal of Mr. Dougan, because Major Moody thought that after the fair minutes, letters, or reports had been agreed upon by the Commissioners, that the mere brouillon papers, or rough originals, were altogether useless. The respective opinions of each Commissioner in all discussions were preserved in the minutes, by each Commissioner's name preceding the opinion or argument used by him, and this was continued in all stages of the discussion, until the final resolution expressed the joint or final opinion of both. When such a joint opinion did not result from a discussion, the respective opinions or arguments of each Commissioner remained as distinctly recorded in the fair minute as in any brouillon, or "rough original." The same consideration applied to the outside directions of letters. All such superfluous papers became lumber in a well regulated public office in the opinion of Major Moody, and therefore he could not perceive any use in preserving them; and Lord Bathurst, seeing the matter in the same light, decided accordingly.]
As it may naturally enough be supposed that a question like that ought to have been decided by the Commissioners themselves, and as their referring to their official supervisors in England may on the one hand seem to imply that a captious and contentious spirit was mutually indulged by them; and on the other hand, that no difference of views more weighty had then arisen between them, Mr. Dougan thinks it due to himself to state, that his insisting on the preservation of the rough minutes was so far from proceeding from any discordant feelings on his part, that he was actuated in it by the directly opposite motive; viz. by a desire to enable himself with safety to his own principles and credit, and without prejudice to the general interest of the trust reposed in them, to recede from his own opinions and meet those of Major Moody, as far as such sacrifices to unanimity could justifiably be made; for the rough minutes were so formed, as to show, in case of need, in some degree, how far the concurrence of the Commissioners in the fair minutes or reports afterwards agreed upon arose from spontaneous unanimity; and how far it was the effect of alterations or qualifications of statement and language admitted on either side for the sake of harmony and peace. Mr. Dougan therefore felt that his conduct might be more conciliatory, because he might, in particular cases, more safely concede if they followed in that respect the course taken by the Commissioners of West India Accounts (b) which, as he understood, had been approved by His Majesty’s Government.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (b) Major Moody has no knowledge how the Commissioners of West India Army Accounts transacted their business. The object or the two commissions being entirely distinct, there was no analogy between them: and all that Mr. Dougan professed to have in view was actually accomplished by an easier and simpler mode of proceeding.
Major Moody, instead of the declaration imputed to him, actually recorded on the minutes as follows: "Major Moody never prescribes to himself any other mode of carrying into effect his public duty than what is becoming his character as an officer and a gentleman." After the discussion had finished, Mr. Dougan was told by Major Moody, at dinner, that he should feel it his duty to write a private letter to the Under-secretary of State, and which he did solely to this effect, That Mr. Dougan possessed many estimable qualities to redeem the apparently silly proposals which he had insisted on being transmitted for the decision of Earl Bathurst.
The intended delicacy in preventing Mr. Dougan's own silly conduct injuring him, may be understood by those who feel as Major Moody felt towards Mr. Dougan: he respected his virtues, but had only a very poor opinion of his judgment on some occasions.
The decision of Earl Bathurst, as may easily be conceived, was perfectly satisfactory to Major Moody's view of the case.]
Major Moody had reasons, satisfactory no doubt to his own mind, for refusing to follow that precedent, but Mr. Dougan need not state what they were, as Major Moody declared at the time that he would state them in a separate letter to Earl Bathurst or Mr. Wilmot; and Mr. Dougan understood that he had accordingly done so, in opposition to the proposal of Mr. Dougan, that they should mutually concur in an amicable statement of the question, and leave it without a comment for his Lordship's consideration and direction.
As no other difference of views led to any joint communication to his Lordship or any open disunion between the Commissioners, Mr. Dougan will proceed at once to the case of Mr. Maclean's black apprentices at Tortola; the immediate cause of that measure on his part which he is bound to explain and defend.
Among the apprentices, respecting the state and treatment of whom they had to inquire in that island, were four women in the possession of Mr. H. C. Maclean, then comptroller of the customs; who though he claimed (c) and held them as apprentices, had no legal title to them by indenture; they had been indented about seven years and a half before, one of them to a Mr. Pennistown, and the three others to a Mr. Lettsom, the father-in-law of Mr. Maclean, for the purposes of domestic services; hut no transfer of the identures, which were all for the term of ten years, had been made to Mr. Maclean, except an imperfect one of the indenture for Betty, one of the said women.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (c) The schedules will show, that, in Tortola, apprentices were employed by very many black and white persons, who had no legal transfer of their services. This was chiefly to avoid paying the expense of such transfer. The practice, however, though illegal, and prevalent, does not appear to have operated as a bar against the individual from producing witnesses to be examined in his defence, when charges or complaints are preferred against him. In Mr. Maclean's case this was the sole and only difference of opinion between Mr. Dougan and Major Moody at the time; and Mr. Maclean was the only man in Tortola to whom was refused the ordinary privilege of producing his own witnesses to be examined his defence. Yet many persons, both white and black, besides Mr. Maclean, had employed Africans as apprentices without having a legal transfer of their services.
Those cases where black masters were concerned never were even noticed. This remark is not intended to apologize for Mr. Maclean, but to show that in his case, as in the others, the irregularity was not deemed sufficient to justify the refusal to hear the witnesses which he wished to be examined in his defence, but which Mr. Dougan positively refused to allow: and it was in that respect that Major Moody differed from his colleague, inasmuch as Major Moody thought that the Commissioners ought to have examined those witnesses whom Mr. Maclean produced, or at least some of them; whereas Mr. Dougan refused to examine any, and proposed a plan which had that effect when acted upon, from the necessity, under which Major Moody was placed, to agree to it.]
The plan (d) of proceedings adopted in all cases by the Commissioners was to call the master and apprentice both before them; to examine the former as to all the general subjects of inquiry that they deemed expedient, and among others the character of the apprentice, and then to ask the latter whether he or she had any thing to say or any observation to make.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (d) Major Moody does not admit that this is a fair statement of the plan of proceeding adopted by Mr. Dougan in the examination of the apprentices.
It was on the 12th June 1822 that Major Moody, in a special memorandum or paper, pointed out the unfairness of the mode introduced by Mr. Dougan occasionally, and which produced such untoward results. As some particular cases of these results had just occurred at that time, Mr. Dougan could not deny them, and as he could not answer the paper presented to him, in an hour or two after receiving it, he determined to return to England. The paper itself is printed in pages 132 and 133 of the Tortola Schedules, and was on Mr. Dougan's return to England transmitted by Major Moody to Earl Bathurst, to show the only cause of Mr. Dougan's retirement which Major Moody could conceive; for it was utterly impossible to imagine the cause to be what Mr. Dougan is here attempting to prove, but which Major Moody denies.
It is necessary to understand that Earl Bathurst disapproved of the plan introduced by Mr. Dougan, and which was unfortunately consented to, for a time, by Major Moody. When Mr. Dougan, on his arrival in England for instructions, discovered that his plan was not approved, he then appears to have endeavoured to assign another cause for his voyage. But in any case, the voyage was unnecessary, as Earl Bathurst stated, so far as Government was concerned.
It is not for Major Moody here to show the necessity which Mr. Dougan was under personally to communicate with his party of friends in England, on the exposure of the system under which he had been acting.]
The answers of both, as far as they were thought material, were taken down in writing, with such remarks as the Commissioners (e) thought proper to add; and the whole of the examinations were taken in the presence of the master as well as the apprentice, any private examination of the latter being supposed to be invidious in appearance, and likely to excite suspicions and complaints among the masters.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (e) Mr. Dougan omits here to mention, what he recorded on the minutes dated 6th November 1822, and which was quoted in Major Moody s first report, page 69, by which it appeared that Mr. Dougan, who "at first put the questions to the apprentices, and took down their answers, &c." in doing which Major Moody had often great difficulty in ascertaining the real meaning of the apprentices, although well acquainted with the broken English used on the occasion. On such occasions he wished patiently to investigate the real meaning of the apprentice, and which sometimes turned out to be very different from that dictated to the secretary by Mr. Dougan, and consequently was generally altered by scoring out one sentence, and interlining the real meaning. This inconvenience was less felt, than the mode in which Mr. Dougan proceeded in putting his questions, when the apprentices of certain persons were to be examined. Major Moody's duty at that time was not only to attend to what was going on, but to draw up any remark which was to be recorded in the column for that purpose. These were not numerous, but that drawn up in the case of Mr. Maclean actually was done by Major Moody, and was altogether approved by Mr. Dougan, although it would appear that Mr. Dougan (from his present statement, and that in the Edinburgh Review), had prevailed on Major Moody to concur in it.
No special notice was sent to Mr. Maclean, but he took his turn with other persons, who had brought their apprentices to be examined, and as none could tell when they would be called in, it was impossible for him, or any one else, to be immediately ready with witnesses to repel allegations against them; and of which it was only fair to suppose them ignorant, until they were preferred.
Mr. Maclean therefore had no witnesses ready, and when he did offer to produce them, Mr. Dougan would not agree to their being examined; but at the same time, as Mr. Maclean professed ignorance how his apprentices were treated at the time they preferred their charge, Major Moody did think it was a fair case for the collector's consideration, whether such a person was a proper master to be intrusted with apprentices, more especially where a punishment had been inflicted, which, although it might not have been severe, yet it might have been unjust. The causes assigned by Mr. Maclean for his ignorance, were unfortunately omitted by Mr. Dougan, in taking down the desultory conversation which took place at the time of examination.
It was however under all these considerations, that the minute, or remark, made in page 281, of the Tortola schedules, never was intended by Major Moody to exclude Mr. Maclean from producing witnesses afterwards to be examined for the further elucidation of the truth.]
Mr. Maclean having notice to produce the said women, did so accordingly, and attended with them at a meeting of the Commissioners at Road Town, Tortola, on the 24th day of May last. A copy of the minutes of the examination that then took place accompanies this statement, and is marked No 2.
It appeared that three of the women, Kitty, Betty and Amelia, had been apprenticed after their capture and condemnation, one on the 3d Dec. 1814, and the two others on the 23d Feb. 1815, to the said Mr. Lettsom, and had been so treated by him that they had run away from his service, and continued absent for a long time, until he had tacitly relinquished his claim to them in favour of his son-in-law, Mr. Maclean, six or eight months prior to the examination; and the latter had sent them from Tortola to a small island in its neighbourhood, called Quay Manors, on which he was clearing land to make a cotton estate; there the women had since been kept, together with the other female apprentice, Kilah by name, also indented for domestic service; and all four had been and still were employed as field negroes in clearing the land of the trees and brushwood with which, from having been many years out of culture, it was overgrown. Kilah and Kitty had each a child, the one nine months and the other eighteen months old.
Mr. Maclean gave, in the first instance, as will be seen from the minutes (f), pretty good characters of these women, stating of Kilah that she had behaved pretty well, and was industrious and sober, and that she stole nothing but victuals; an offence for which, if the complaints hereinafter mentioned deserve credit, there was probably too much temptation. To the other three women he gave equal praise, and without any serious exception. The women then being asked if they had any observations to make, Betty alone of the four answered, but in a manner strongly showing reluctance and timidity, that she had nothing to say. How far the punishment she was admitted to have received for what was called being impudent to her mistress might deter her from complaining like the rest, in the masters presence, of being worked in the field, must be left to conjecture. The other three women all complained of the being employed in field work, and two of them described it as being work of severe labour in its kind.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (f) Mr. Dougan means the Tortola schedules of examinations, which were printed, and laid before Parliament. The minutes taken afterward on the 27th May, 28th May, and 31st May 1822, on this matter, had no relation to Mr. Maclean's character of his apprentices. In pages 278, 279, 280, 281, of the Tortola schedules, the examinations of Kitty and Amelia, who complained, are given. In pages 218 and 306 of the same schedules, the examinations of Betty and Adeline are given. These two last apprentices of the same master do not appear to have preferred complaints. Betty was examined by both Commissioners, and Adeline by Major Moody, in the presence of the secretary, the collector, Mr. Bear, and the comptroller, Mr. Snow. How Mr. Dougan can say that Betty alone of the four apprentices said, "in a manner strongly showing reluctance and timidity that she had nothing to say", is incomprehensible to Major Moody. Mr. Dougan was in England when Adeline was examined, and Major Moody was present on both occasions, and confidently denies the correctness of the assertion as to Adeline and Betty having shown reluctance in their manner of giving their evidence.
As to the complaints of those who said they had been employed in cutting down trees— "big tree, high enough to make post for a negro house," it is fair to say that this was denied by Mr. Maclean at the time. And by stating that the cotton land on which he admitted they had been partly employed, had been eight years only out of cultivation, he distinctly conveyed to the mind of any person practically acquainted with agriculture on such a soil as that on Quay Manors, that the assertion could not be correct, from physical causes. Of this fact Major Moody personally satisfied himself, whilst Mr. Dougan retains the assertion, and appears to believe it, although the proof to the contrary was before his eyes.]
They complained also of being very ill fed, stating that their allowance was of corn meal (the cheapest and coarsest of the farinaceous food allowed to slaves in our West India islands), and of this an insufficient quantity. As to animal food, Kitty stated, that in the then week they had received two mackarel (meaning salted mackarel), but never had any fish (g) or meat before; and she accounted for the change by saying, that it was in consequence of hearing that they were going away; meaning that they were to be sent to Tortola to be examined by the Commissioners.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (g) It is perfectly true that Kitty, in page 278, after saying that on one occasion she had received two mackerel (meaning salted or pickled fish imported from other countries), also said that she "never got any meat or fish before". An ambiguity arises here from the use of the term fish, by which it would appear from the schedules that Kitty received no kind of fish. Both Major Moody and Mr. Dougan have given instances of the abundance and cheapness of fresh fish in Tortola, but which, though excellent, is less prized than salted mackarel. In page 119 of Major Moody's second report, it will be seen that the flesh of turtle and salt fish sold at the same price per pound in the Tortola market, and that fresh fish sold for only 1½d. in town, and was "much cheaper" in the country; and it was from such places as Quay Manors that the town was occasionally supplied with so cheap an article. The obvious meaning of the apprentice Kitty, at the time, was to complain that she had not received salted mackerel previously; and by putting "fish" a general term, instead of a particular species, Mr. Dougan gave that turn to the evidence which unfortunately he was too apt to do on similar occasions, during the time he dictated the evidence to the secretary.
It is true the people might not have had much salt mackerel allowed to them, but they had abundance of fresh fish. Indeed, if the evidence of Kitty and Amelia, as dictated by Mr. Dougan, were to be believed, as to the mode in which they were fed, they ought to have appeared as in a starving condition; yet this very Kitty, in page 279, is reported by Mr. Dougan himself to be in "good health," which certainly was calculated to excite a suspicion that there was at least some exaggeration in the complaints made, in the mind of an unprejudiced commissioner.]
The other woman, Amelia, stated that half a hatfull of corn-meal, and a piece of mackarel, was her whole week's allowance. They both added that they had no time allowed to work for themselves except on the Sundays; they could not therefore, by cultivating any ground for themselves, materially supply any deficiency of the master's allowance. In respect of clothing they stated, and to the entire conviction of the Commissioners, a case in which disengenuous and fraudulent artifice was added to an oppressive parsimony.
Both Kitty and Amelia appeared before the Commissioners very well dressed, and in a style beyond their condition; they both wore a white thin striped muslin lady's dress, with sleeves so long as to be tied up with ribands over the arms, and which it would have been preposterous for a field negro to wear. It must have been intended to raise the idea of their being much favoured domestic servants, instead of the field drudges they were found to have been ever since they came into Mr. Maclean's possession; but both the women discovered that these clothes had been provided for them the same day of their appearance before the Commissioners; and both declared that the only allowance of clothing they had was four yards of brown (h), i. e. brown Holland or Osnaburghs at Christmas, a degree of parsimony equalling or exceeding that with which slaves are treated by penurious masters. Amelia having mentioned that she then had on, as under clothes, her own dress which she wore the day before, being the only clothes she had, the Commissioners thought it right to make her confirm this by lifting up her fine outer garment, and found accordingly a filthy and ragged petticoat below; a shocking though ludicrous contrast with the finery that covered it. This incident was not noticed in the minutes; Mr. Dougan did not think it necessary to load the case with all the discredit that belonged to it; concluding that enough was established without it for every desirable practical purpose. But he is ready to confirm, by his oath if desired, this and every other part of the present statement, that the minutes do not embrace. Kitty also, it will be seen, complained of having been beaten and whipt with severity, in the same way in which slaves are commonly punished; and this not only by the master, but by a driver under whom she had been worked; and the marks on her body confirmed the charge beyond the reach of dispute. Mr. Maclean was heard (i) in answer to these complaints of his apprentices; and the minutes will show to what extent only he attempted to repel them. It should be observed, that what he said in explanation or reply is entered in the same column with the character given by him of these apprentices in his original statements, immediately after those statements, and without any express determination between them.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (h) Mr. Dougan might have found in the very examination which he himself dictated, that at first Kitty said she "never received any clothes, except what were given her this morning, and she now has on;" and as to the four yards of brown, she maintained that she "never had four yards of brown from one Christmas to another." After the examination was nearly over, Mr. Maclean recollected a circumstance connected with the issuing of the brown linen, and from it he was enabled to cross question the witness, so that at last she admitted she did receive it last Christmas; and which Mr. Dougan was reluctantly obliged to dictate, omitting all the circumstances by which the confession was obtained. Vide Tortola Schedules, p.278, in the last line.
Much stress is laid by Mr. Dougan on the gaudy manner in which they were dressed when examined, and the exhibition they were required to make to display their under garments. What Mr. Dougan may have done Major Moody cannot say, further than nothing of the kind was done in his presence, and that the apprentices did not appear to him to be dressed in the exaggerated manner described by Mr. Dougan, who, as well as Major Moody, might have seen common field negroes as gaudily dressed on any Sundav or festival among themselves.
Mr. Dougan's declaration that he did not wish to load the case with more discredit than belonged to it cannot be credited by Major Moody, who was a daily witness of Mr. Dougan's anxiety to load any case, where certain white persons were concerned, with such criminatory matter as he could produce by his mode of examination. When Major Moody brought this part of the conduct of Mr. Dougan under consideration, Mr. Dougan could not deny it, and never attempted even to reply to it. It was the same when Mr. President Porter objected to certain modes of proceeding, and required that his objections should be recorded on the minutes. Mr. Dougan then proposed that all proceedings or memoranda relative to the complaints of Mary should be withdrawn, to which Major Moody agreed. Vide Schedules, p. 161.
The death of Mr. Dougan prevents Major Moody from saying any thing on the proposal to confirm the truth, of these statements by an oath.
(i) This declaration of Mr. Dougan is incomprehensible to Major Moody. The minutes subsequent to the examination of the apprentices on 24th May, all prove that Mr Maclean was constantly entreating the Commissioners to hear his evidences by an examination of them. And it is equally true that Mr. Dougan refused to examine them, and that Major Moody failed in obtaining a hearing of such witnesses as Mr. Maclean might produce, or the Commissioners farther deem proper to be examined on the business, and therefore that matters remained exactly as Mr. Dougan wished, so far as a reference to the collector was concerned.
Mr. Maclean afterwards offered to Earl Bathurst that he would immediately give up the apprentices if his conduct should appear to have been such as it had been represented by two out of his four apprentices; because it was on this condition that other commissioners were directed to examine them. The final result was, that after an examination the apprentices were left with Mr. Maclean; but whether that was a proper decision or not it is not for Major Moody to say: he merely has to state that Mr. Maclean was not allowed by Mr. Dougan to produce witnesses to be examined in his defence, after Mr. Maclean having stated in the first examination, that he was then unable to repel the charges made against him, because he had no reason to believe that any would be made, and circumstances had prevented his residing where the apprentices, except Adeline, were employed.
That Mr. Maclean did not rest his defence on his own testimony on the 24th May is manifest, merely from his application to have other persons examined. It is true these evidences may have produced no effect, but still both the spirit and the forms of justice required that they should have been heard. Major Moody is not prepared to say whether he would have acted as his successors did, but he certainly recommended an examination of some kind, and which Lord Bathurst subsequently ordered to be taken.]
This was a clerical inaccuracy, to which the want of any other space in the blanks prepared for the purpose of the examination led; but the words, "further remarks and statements by Mr. Maclean," and "Mr. Maclean states further," mark the commencement of what he said after hearing the complaints; and it is a distinction important to be kept in view for a right appreciation of his defence, as afterwards brought forward.
It will be observed that the master expressly, or by plain implication, admitted almost every subject of complaint; be expressly admitted the improper employment of these four women in field work, the ordinary occupation of slaves, although he had no pretence of title to their service, except their having been indented to other persons, and for terms not yet expired, as domestic servants. Instead of performing the duties of the masters whose rights he assumed, by teaching them the business of female domestics, he admitted having worked them for six or eight months together, the whole term of his possession, in clearing land for planting, and bringing lumber to build his house.
He merely said in respect of Amelia, that he had not worked her beyond her strength. Clearing land is in general the most laborious and unhealthy work in which male slaves are employed; and though pains were taken to extenuate the case in Quay Manors, because the land had been cleared of its largest timber before, when it had been planted with cotton eight years ago, the work must still have been more than other labours of the field unfit for domestic female servants. It is not denied that they worked with the bill (k), the instrument usually employed by male slaves in cutting down large trees: as to the duty of instructing them in the domestic functions, to learn which they were apprenticed, Mr. Maclean appeared to think the neglect of it required no apology. "He was not aware," he said, "of any knowledge that Betty and Amelia had of business as a domestic, as he had them so lately," &c. After profiting by their labour for six or eight months, he had yet to learn whether they knew any thing of the business which it was his duty to teach.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (k) Although Mr. Dougan's mercantile pursuits may apologize for his want of knowledge of a nature purely mechanical, yet the insertion here made for the purpose of drawing an inference from it, is so manifestly founded on an ignorance little anxious to know the truth, that Major Moody cannot help asserting, in opposition to Mr. Dougan, that in the West Indies men do not cut down "a large tree with a bill" if an axe can be procured. The bill is used to cut canes, a spungy reed, to trim cotton bushes, an annual plant in Tortola, rarely exceeding the size of an ordinary gooseberry bush, and in similar kinds of work. It is such traits that show the animus, in which Mr. Dougan has been conduced to write.]
In respect of the allowance of food, Mr. Maclean expressly admitted it had been corn meal, without any meat, and fish only occasionally; he did not attempt to contradict them as to the quantity of corn meal, which he professed he could not ascertain (l). He admitted the allowance of clothing to be as stated, viz. only four yards of Osnaburgh at Christmas; nor did he attempt to deny the fact of the women being dressed up with clothes given them for the day, an artifice of which he could not possibly have been unconscious.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (l) Mr. Maclean's words in the schedule, page 278, are only, "he could not tell the quantity of corn meal allowed;" meaning, as his whole evidence showed, he could not tell at the moment, from his not personally residing with his apprentices, at Quay Manors. But this ignorance though undoubtedly culpable, did not mean that Mr. Maclean could not "ascertain" the quantity allowed, for he did afterwards ascertain it, and offered to prove it by witnesses, whom Mr. Dougan refused to examine. This remark extends to the other parts of Mr. Maclean's evidence.]
To the charge of their having no time but Sunday to work their own grounds, he answered only, that he could not then ascertain whether another day was allowed; a statement which, like his ignorance of the stated allowance of food, would imply that he had been, during eight months, regardless of the most material branches of economies on his own small estate.
The whipping was admitted; indeed the marks shown by the woman had made denial impossible; she, notwithstanding the high character he had given her, stated she had been recently whipped by the driver for picking pigeon peas out of her master's ground, a fact which sufficiently indicated her want of food; and Mr. Maclean could find no better way to excuse the whipping of this poor woman, of whom he had said half an hour before that her character was very good, and that she was industrious and sober, than by alleging she had eaten part of a dead sheep, and thought he had some undefined causes of suspicion of her having killed it. As he said several sheep had died, it is not easy to guess on what such a suspicion could rest; but at all events, the act, like stealing the pigeon peas, would have indicated a want of food, the small island, a quay, furnishing no means of selling what was stolen, as Mr. Maclean and his slaves were the only (m) inhabitants.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (m) As Mr. Maclean himself did not then live on Quay Manors Island, it surely was very possible for his property to be stolen by his servants, and sold to the trading huxters or neighbouring shops, where it is on evidence in the schedules that stolen goods and poultry were taken for sale. Nor is it correct to say there was no other persons living on the island but Mr. Maclean and his slaves; for there were other families, both white and free coloured, besides the slaves of other persons.
In 1815, it was computed that only about seven thousand pounds of fresh fish were caught at Quay Manors; but in 1823, Major Moody ascertained that upwards of double that quantity was annually caught. Therefore, although the allowance of fresh meat or salted mackarel was certainly very scanty, yet there was the greatest abundance of fresh fish for all classes of the inhabitants.]
In addition to all the ill treatment thus admitted or undenied by the master, it was an acknowledged fact, that neither of the four women had ever been baptized except Kilah, who had received baptism while in the possession of Mr. Pennistown. It was not, nor has it since been pretended, that the most important duties of a Christian master have been in any degree fulfilled by Mr. Maclean (n) or his father-in-law. It may therefore be safely inferred, that after having above seven years in the service of this family, under the indentures of which Mr. Maclean claims the benefit, these poor women are still in a state of African barbarism and ignorance; while to prevent their desertion, he has placed, and means to retain them in an island destitute of all public means of Christian instruction and worship.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (n) From a circumstance which will be explained on another occasion the following certificate was entered and recorded on the Minutes of the Commission, and was perused by Mr. Dougan. It was dated 13th December 1822.
"I do hereby certify that Mr. Maclean sent four of his apprentices to me on the 9th of June last for the purpose of being baptized.
"(signed) Thomas Truscott.
Rose Grimes, a free woman, and a leader among the Wesleyan methodists, in her affidavit annexed hereto by Mr. Dougan himself, when speaking of Kitty, who had complained, says, that she, the deponent, "has several limes seen Kitty at chapel, as well dressed as any girl there; from deponent's living at Beef Island, she would have known if Kitty was ever badly or cruelly treated, which never has been the case." These statements would at least seem to show that the apprentices went to chapel occasionally, and that they had been sent to be baptized; and so far as Mr. Maclean is concerned, it would appear, that however imperfectly he may have performed the duty of instructing his apprentices in Christianity, he was not altogether so culpable as Mr. Dougan asserts.]
Upon such a case, in so great a degree incontestable and undisputed (o), Mr. Dougan at first hoped that his colleague would be willing to act with him to the extent at least of delivering the apprentices from the oppression under which they laboured; to this end no strong measure seemed to be immediately necessary, as Mr. Maclean had no legal title to the indentures, and it is understood that they cannot be assigned without the concurrence of the collectors of the customs, it seemed sufficient, in the first instance, at least to call the collector's attention officially to the facts thus established, and submit to his consideration whether any transfer of these apprentices to Mr. Maclean ought to be allowed. This had been done in a previous case of Amanda, a female African, under similar circumstances; and the collector had exercised his authority of taking the apprentice away from Mr. White, the person complained against, and placing Amanda as an apprentice with another person. Mr. Dougan therefore drew up (p) and obtained Major Moody's concurrence in the minute at the foot of the paper already referred to (No. 2), referring to the particular consideration of the collector the case of the Africans Kitty and Amelia, and submitting to him whether it was not such as to preclude Mr. Maclean from receiving a transfer of the indentures.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (o) On what grounds Mr. Dougan can assert that his statement was "in so great a degree incontestable and indisputed," Major Moody cannot comprehend. Mr. Maclean offered to produce witnesses to disprove the accusations; how far he may have succeeded is a different question; but there is no doubt whatever but that he considered them contestable, and liable to be disputed, indeed Mr. Maclean always declared his readiness to give up the services of the apprentices, and all that he required was an opportunity to prove that he had been falsely accused; and that opportunity Mr. Dougan would not grant. When Mr. Dougan left Tortola, Major Moody, perhaps erroneously, considered himself bound by the minute of 31st of May 1822, and consequently could not recede from the resolution then come to by Mr. Dougan's refusing to accept of the amendment proposed by Major Moody, which simply consisted in proposing to appoint a day to hear Mr. Maclean's witnesses in person, instead of receiving illegal and ex parte affidavits, which Major Moody at the time stated did not afford fit evidence to found a satisfactory decision upon.
(p) As both the Commissioners agreed upon the minute referred to, it is of little consequence who drew it up; but the fact was, that it was Major Moody who drew it up, and submitted it for Mr. Dougan's approval; Mr Dougan himself having been employed in taking down the evidence, and dictating it afterwards to the secretary to be inserted. This minute was drawn up on the same principle as that of Amanda, with this difference only, that Mr. Maclean living in a different place from that where his apprentices resided, it seemed fair to submit the case for the collector, on the evidence produced, to prevent any indenture being given, until at least the charges alleged were satisfactorily disproved. In the case of Amanda, the collector immediately acted on the suggestion of the Commissioners, as no future inquiry was necessary; but in the cases of Kitty and Amelia, the collector, who was present and heard all the evidence (much of which favourable to Mr. Maclean is not recorded), did not act on the suggestion of the Commissioners on his own responsibility until he had inquired farther into the case. At that time the Commissioners, not having the power of magistrates, did not think themselves empowered to remove an African serving any master or mistress, and hence they applied to the collector, who in this case acted, as if he thought justice had not been done to Mr. Maclean.]
It ought perhaps to be here noticed, that the collector had attended all the examinations; nevertheless such an official communication was deemed to be proper, it being understood that Mr. Maclean was desirous of obtaining from him assignments of the apprentices.
The next (q) proceeding was on the part of Mr. Maclean, and will be best related by referring to a letter he addressed to the Commissioners, dated the 28th May, a copy whereof, marked No. 3, accompanies the present statement, and to the affidavits therein referred to, copies of which are also herewith enclosed, marked No. 4.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (q) As Mr. Dougan thinks Mr. Maclean could not have offered a greater insult to the Commission than what the letter of the 28th May contains, it is to be regretted, in fair dealing, that Mr. Dougan should have described that letter as the "next proceeding on the part of Mr. Maclean;" such not being the fact, as the minutes will prove. On the 27th May Mr. Maclean personally waited on the Commissioners at their office, to request them to appoint a day to hear the evidence which he said he was enabled to produce to disprove the charges preferred against him on the 24th May. He added also that the apprentices when confronted with other evidence, confessed they had told "lies," and that they wished to live in town, which made them do so. On farther conversation the Commissioners discovered that Mr. Maclean had assumed to himself the power of punishing the two who had told lies on him, as he alleged, accompanied with a statement about magistrates not interfering, as the apprentice laws of England were not in force in Tortola; and that he did not punish them more than he would one of his own children for the same offence. To Major Moody it appeared desirable to have the truth upon all these points ascertained by an examination; but Mr. Dougan thought it would be better to obtain Mr. Maclean's statement in writing as to the punishment, with his signature thereto; and therefore, on the 27th May Mr. Dougan inserted on the minutes as follow:—"The Commissioners requested Mr. Maclean to make his statement in writing as soon as he possibly could, and which he promised to do to-morrow;" to which Major Moody acceeded.
Mr. Maclean's letter of the 28th May was not delivered to the Commissioners till the 29th May; and on the 31st of May the Commissioners discussed what mode of proceeding was to be adopted, and which ended in Mr. Dougan refusing to examine Mr. Maclean's evidences; and as Major Moody had only one voice, he was obliged to submit; nor was the subject ever afterwards directly or indirectly mentioned between Mr. Dougan and Major Moody, prior to Mr. Dougan's departure for England, in consequence of another difference of opinion between him and Major Moody on the 12th June, upon a subject altogether different, as will be shown hereafter.]
Mr. Dougan, in noticing these papers, is placed in a dilemma of some embarrassment between the respect or tenderness due to the opinion of his late colleague on the one hand, and feelings which such papers naturally excite on the other.
To his own apprehension Mr. Maclean could not have offered a grosser insult to the Commissioners, and to the high authority from which their powers were derived, if he had studied to insult them both, than is contained in the following extracts of his letter, in which, after accusing the women of falsehood in their statements to the Commissioners, he avows having punished them for it. "I had them whipped with tamarind switches. It is only necessity which obliges me to chastise them; to have omitted it in this instance would surely be doing them injustice." Mr. Dougan cannot sincerely impute to the writer a spirit of wanton contumacy, in needlessly declaring to the Commissioners that he had thus treated the hapless protegees of His Majesty's Government for answering their inquiries. His object, as will be seen, was to obtain a re-examination, and however reasonably he might rely on the influence of such punishment on the minds and tongues of the poor examinants (r), he no doubt foresaw that ocular evidence of its severity might, as in the former instance, remain, or that the sufferers might possibly be bold enough again to tell the truth, he therefore perhaps thought it best to anticipate the discovery by announcing what he had done.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (r) Mr. Dougan here asserts, that Mr. Maclean wished his apprentices, who had complained, to be re-examined, after he had punished them. This is another of those assertions incomprehensible to Major Moody, which is sometimes made by Mr. Dougan. Neither verbally, nor in his letter to Major Moody and Mr. Dougan, did Mr. Maclean ever ask to have the apprentices re-examined, but only that certain other persons should be examined, and the letter incloses the affidavits of some of these other persons. Major Moody thought that the apprentices who had complained, ought to be present when the persons were examined, to repel the charges preferred against Mr. Maclean, because afterwards the Commissioners might obtain from them the names of persons who might be able to confirm their charges, or confute the evidence alleged by the persons to be produced by Mr. Maclean.
Although such were his views at the time, Major Moody does not mean to state, that the Commissioners who succeeded himself and Mr. Dougan, had acted erroneously in following a different course, because their examination was made long afterwards.]
To Mr. Dougan’s feelings, and to his coolest and most deliberate judgement, this avowal would alone have sufficed to make it impossible for His Majesty’s Commissioners to re-examine the case, with a view to the acquiescing in a transfer of these apprentices to such a master (s), if the testimony and explanations offered to them had been in other respects of the most credible and satisfactory kind. Whereas he humbly submitted to the judgment of Earl Bathurst, on the face of the affidavits themselves, that they were of a very different description, and worthy of no consideration whatever; he regarded taking such affidavits from the wife, father and mother-in-law of the party accused, all of them directly implicated in the imputed misconduct and oppression, and from persons under the influence and authority of Mr. Maclean himself, instead of bringing them forward in the first instance (t) for examination by the Commissioners, as a proceeding highly unfair as well as disrespectful, and such as was destructive of any credit, however slight, that their testimony might otherwise have claimed.
He at the same time found their affidavits irreconcilable with the unpremeditated admissions of the master in his examination, and insufficient, even if admitted, for his defence, against the still uncontroverted facts of the case. It would, he conceives, appear like distrust of his Lordship's judgment, as well as a needless trespass on his time, to enter into an explanation of the documents themselves in support of these remarks.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (s) It is now impossible to say what the result would have been had Mr. Dougan consented to examine the witnesses produced Mr. Maclean. It is true the successors of Mr. Dougan and Major Moody, permitted Mr. Maclean to retain the services of the apprentices, after examining witnesses; but in some respects circumstances were not the same as they were Major Moody wished to have certain persons examined, and therefore the result in May 1822, might have been different from what it was upwards of a year afterwards. Major Moody agreed that the ex parte affidavits were not the best evidence, and he has only referred to them on one occasion, because the deponent was a leader among the Wesleyan Methodists, and a pious free woman living by her talents as a midwife. Mr. Dougan would apparently wish it to be believed, that Major Moody attached importance to these documents, whereas the minutes of the 31st May show that Major Moody considered them as being "in an illegal form, so as not to be received in evidence;" and again "that the affidavits being ex parte statements, have no other force than showing the probability of falsehood in the allegations," which the witnesses were to be produced to disprove.
(t) Mr. Dougan appears here to be rather unreasonable, in expecting Mr. Maclean to have brought forward his witnesses in the first instance, i.e. on the 24th May 1822.
For it must be obvious he could not tell what charges would be made against him till he heard them; and every one of his witnesses were living in the country, and on the small keys.
On the 27th May, however, Mr. Maclean requested permission to produce his witnesses, and on the 31st of May it was determined not to grant his request.
Such remarks as these now noticed, are so very unreasonable that they appear to have been suggested by some person exercising an improper influence over Mr. Dougan in England at a time when his mind was strongly excited against those whom he considered as having acted improperly, for in Tortola Mr. Dougan never assigned such silly reasons for his conduct towards Mr. Maclean. Mr. Dougan has entirely misrepresented Major Moody's sentiments, in the following statement.]
Widely different, as Mr. Dougan, with unfeigned sorrow, has further to state, were the sentiments of his colleague Major Moody; he resolved to overlook the contumacious conduct of Mr. Maclean, to suspend or retract the reference to the collector already mutually agreed upon, and to enter into a re-examination of the case as between the apprentices and the master.
The accompanying paper, No. 5 (u) will show to his Lordship the propositions that were thereupon made by Mr. Dougan to Major Moody for preventing a final difference between them and the answers of Major Moody.
Mr. Dougan has much less fear that his Lordship will not think his conduct sufficiently moderate and conciliatory, than that it may be thought not so firm and so well calculated to sustain the authority and credit of the Commission, after the insult that had been offered to it, as upon Mr. Dougan's own view of the case it ought to have been; but had private reasons of a painful kind, as well as public ones, in regard to the interesting objects of the Commission for shrinking from a breach with Major Moody, while any expedient, consistent with his clear sense of duty, could be found to avoid it; he therefore did not insist on any measure more opposite to Major Moody's views than an adherence to the reference of the collector previously agreed upon, and was willing even to add to it, a communication of that subsequent evidence, if it deserves the name, which had been so improperly taken; but he could not consent to the exposing the unfortunate objects of their trust, and of His Majesty's benevolent consideration, to the cruel dilemma of being obliged either to retract their complaints under the influence of terror, or undergoing again severe corporal punishment, and perhaps long protracted miseries, from the vengeance of a master from whom, without the concurrence (v) of his colleague, he had no power to deliver them.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (u) Reference is here made to a document not annexed to this statement of Mr. Dougan. In the letter of Miss Mary Stephen Dougan, the papers referred to as being annexed to this statement, are only three in number. One is the original schedules of examinations, called by Miss M. S. Dougan original minutes of the commission and it is numbered I. The copy of Mr. Maclean’s letter is numbered II, and the collection of affidavits is numbered III.
The state of Mr. Dougan’s health may satisfactorily account for the omission, which Major Moody will take care to supply on another occasion. It is not a little singular that the first proposal made in the minute of the 31st of May by Mr. Dougan himself, here omitted, distinctly alludes to the "application made to them" (the Commissioners) "on the 27th May, and their reply thereto." It was that minute of the 27th May which requested Mr. Maclean to send the letter of the 28th May to the Commissioners, on which occasion Mr. Dougan thinks so great an insult was offered to the Commissioners by Mr. Maclean's doing that in writing, which they had requested him to do.
Major Moody's yielding to the wish of Mr. Dougan to send everything to the collector, and leave matters as they were on the 24th May, virtually required of the collector to make that investigation, which the Commissioners ought to have made; but as Mr. Dougan insisted upon this mode of proceeding, Major Moody was obliged to acquiesce in the plan, however contrary to his judgment, but having done so, he never introduced that subject again to Mr. Dougan in order to avoid the recurrence of disputes. So that Mr. Dougan's statements respecting Major Moody are unfounded.
(v) At the time neither Mr. Dougan nor Major Moody considered themselves as empowered to remove the apprentices from the master without the consent and aid of the collector, as at that time they had not the power of magistrates. The concurrence of Major Moody, therefore, was useless without the aid of the collector. Afterwards being empowered to act as magistrates, the Commissioners were able to do that which they thought at first they had not the power to enforce. Now the examination of the evidence offered by Mr. Maclean in his defence did not involve any one of the alternatives stated by Mr. Dougan, who altogether misrepresents the nature of the question at issue.]
He also felt that in the extensive inquiries which remained to be prosecuted in Tortola and other islands, such a precedent would be fatal to every hope of fair or useful investigation, by making the apprentices afraid to complain, and the masters reckless of any means, however openly contumacious, by which their oppressions might be carried on, and the victims of their avarice retained.
Major Moody nevertheless perseveringly insisted in rejecting the very moderate measure of a reference to the collector, without a re-examination of the case (w); and Mr. Dougan in consequence, after a most painful struggle with conflicting feelings, finally concluded that it was his least objectionable course and therefore his line of duty to retire.
Major Moody, on hearing that such was his purpose, made through a third person some vague overtures towards reconciliation, but without intimating any disposition whatever to relax his resolution in the case of Mr. Maclean. He also sent a paper by the secretary, to be read to Mr. Dougan, but instructed the secretary neither to deliver the paper, nor give any copy of it; Mr. Dougan therefore refused to let it be read to him, reasonably conceiving that such a mode of proceeding could have no amicable object, and that it might be dangerous to allow a written document to be thus notified, without his having any means, by the possession of a copy, to ascertain its authenticity, if afterwards brought forwards against him.
[Major Moody's Remarks. (w) Mr. Dougan's memory appears here to have failed him altogether in making this assertion; it is contrary to the facts of the case. The reference was made to the collector on the 24th of May, by a minute put on the schedules, which minute was drawn up by Major Moody himself; and never afterwards was disturbed by him. Mr. Maclean requested on the 27th May to have certain persons examined in his favour. He was told by the Commissioners to write a letter, which he did, and it was received by the Commissioners on the 29th May. On the 31st May, Mr. Dougan made a proposal, the effect of which was to refuse Mr. Maclean's request to have his evidences examined by the Commissioners in any way; not "re-examined," for they never had been examined. Major Moody failing in convincing Mr. Dougan of the unfairness of this mode of proceeding, was obliged to submit; so that, in point of fact, Mr. Dougan's proposal was carried as he intended. This is asserted so often by Major Moody that he has to apologize for it; but he wishes to show, that this case here brought forward was not, and could not be the reason for Mr. Dougan determining to go to England on the 12th June, in the sudden and abrupt manner he did, upon the exposure of his mode of proceeding upon a question altogether different from that about Mr. Maclean. Major Moody did all he could to induce Mr. Dougan to remain in Tortola. Major Moody could never imagine that Mr. Dougan went to England on Mr. Maclean's business, for there was on the 12th June no question between Mr. Dougan and Major Moody at issue on that subject, Mr. Dougan having obtained his own way in that business. And it is to be observed that Mr. Dougan does not even say, that he ever, directly or indirectly, gave Major Moody to understand that such was the cause of his going to England. How then could Major Moody ever make any proposals to Mr. Dougan on that subject? Major Moody had not carried any resolution respecting Mr. Maclean, and therefore could not relax it. As an opinion, he thought Mr. Dougan's mode of proceeding was unjust, but he could not prevent it, and therefore was obliged to yield, so far back as the 31st May 1822.
As for Major Moody hearing of Mr. Dougan's purpose to go to England, it is necessary to say, that Mr. Dougan officially conveyed it to the secretary in a letter, dated 12th June 1822, a short time after the exposure of Mr. Dougan's mode of proceeding in exciting the apprentices on certain occasions. On that occasion the secretary wrote thus in reply to Mr. Dougan:—
"Tortola, 13th June 1822.
"I have had the honour to receive your letter of yesterday, desiring me to make known to Major Moody, that you are under the necessity of declining to act any longer under His Majesty's gracious appointment of 6th November 1821, further than closing transactions up to the date of your letter, by a fair record on the minutes. And further adding that Major Moody will therefore act as sole Commissioner from yesterday.
"I am desired by Major Moody to express his sincere regret at the resolution you have taken, and wishes you would still reconsider it.
"I am also instructed by him to say, that he has informed the collector of the suspension of any farther examination of African apprentices for the present.
(signed) J. Barrow.
"To John Dougan, Esquire."
It is indeed true, as Mr. Dougan states, that Major Moody employed common friends to induce Mr. Dougan to alter his resolution; and only thinking of the mortification which Mr. Dougan must have suffered by the exposure which took place on the 12th June; and as president Porter's papers were not entered, Major Moody begged the secretary to ascertain what part of Major Moody's remarks of 12th June Mr. Dougan would wish altered, and if softenings of expression would be satisfactory. This last proposal, however, was not to be given in writing, unless Mr. Dougan would first point out to what part he objected, that no important principle might be sacrificed.
Mr. Dougan on this, as on the previous occasions, rejected all Major Moody's overtures, as he has himself stated, whilst he never made any himself in any manner whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, to Major Moody.]
Perceiving that no adjustment of their differences was possible, without compromising his own principles and clear sense of duty, he persisted in his purpose, and accordingly took his passage in a ship then just sailing from St. Thomas's.
It may be thought perhaps that by this measure he needlessly put a stop to the proceedings under the commission; delay in which, after their initiation, is likely much to prejudice its ultimate effects.
If Major Moody in his absence had power to proceed alone, which he conceived to be the case, this consequence would not follow; and it was his opinion that Major Moody, in proceeding upon his own responsibility without a colleague, would be less likely to depart widely from those principles upon which, in Mr. Dougan's judgment, the truth ought to be discharged, than if that responsibility had still been shared by a colleague who could not control him, and who could make no progress jointly with him in the work, without giving in to all his views. But the strong case of Mr. Maclean made it quite impossible that they should longer proceed together, without consequences still worse than delay. Their disunion could no longer be concealed; and if, after such conduct as that of Mr. Maclean, no redress had been administered to the injured apprentices, not even so far as to prevent their oppressor from obtaining a legal transfer of their indentures, under the authority of the Crown, the commission, difficult enough of execution before, from local circumstances that need not be explained, must have fallen into total impotence and contempt; its further attempts at investigation would have been a mere mockery, cruel in their consequences to the unfortunate subjects of them, and fruitless of all the good effects that His Majesty's Government had in view. Mr. Dougan consequently thought, that had he continued in the West Indies, he must have remained in a state of inaction (x), because he could not conscientiously proceed to any further investigation, until some remedy should be provided for the irreconcilable differences in principle and practice between Major Moody and himself. The shortest way of obtaining such a remedy, if practicable, seemed to be that of his coming to England, to submit the case to Earl Bathurst, and await his Lordship's decision, which he hopes will not be adverse to him; but if it should, though the private consequences be severe, he shall bow to it with utmost deference and respect.
[Major Moody’s Remarks. (x) As Mr. Dougan still did act, and did continue to examine masters and apprentices from the 31st May, when the final minute was made respecting Mr. Maclean's apprentices, up to the 12th June, when the exposure was made, on a question altogether different, it is impossible to conceive the reasons which prevented the continuance of Mr. Dougan's services, until at least a case similar to that of Mr. Maclean should occur. It is certain that between the 31st May and 12th June Mr. Dougan discovered no reason to prevent his acting with Major Moody, nor did he then discover it, until an exposure was made on another subject, when Mr. Dougan immediately determined on going to England, never breathing one word, or indicating in any manner, that his reasons were what he is now anxious should be believed. Major Moody is perfectly able to show why the friends of Mr. Dougan are now anxious to have it believed that it was the case of Mr. Maclean, and not the exposure of his mode of proceeding in the examinations, which induced Mr. Dougan to return personally to England for instructions. It is not undeserving of notice, also, that this subject relative to Mr. Maclean, which Major Moody had not noticed in his Reports, forms a prominent feature in the review of these Reports in the Edinburgh Review, the author of which could not have any information on the subject from the works then under examination; but the reviewer particularly referred to this present Report or Statement of Mr. Dougan, which never had been before the public, although it must have been submitted in manuscript to the Reviewer, previous to its being laid before Parliament.
The case stands thus. On the 24th of May 1822, some of the Africans with Mr. Maclean were examined, and then Mr. Maclean distinctly and repeatedly stated, that as his business confined him to town, and he returned to Beef Island at night, where his wife lived with her parents until his own house was finished, he had not an opportunity of knowing in detail how the African apprentices were attended to in Quay Manors Island, where a house was putting upon his little property, and which he only visited occasionally; that during these visits no complaints had been made to him, and therefore he had believed that no cause for complaint existed, which he trusted would account for his being unable to reply, on the instant, to the accusations preferred, as to want of food, &c.
Mr. Maclean, however, might be altogether wrong in this statement, and Major Moody felt it was no apology for the treatment of the apprentices if their statement was true. He therefore proposed, and his colleague concurred in the following minute, recorded in page 28 in the Schedules forTortola:—
"The Commissioners referred the case of the Africans to the particular consideration of the collector, and whether he deemed it such as to preclude Mr. Maclean from receiving a transfer of the indentures."
Mr. Dougan and Major Moody at that time had not the magisterial powers of justices of the peace, which afterwards were conferred upon them, and therefore they referred the matter to the collector of the customs in the manner stated.
It was on the 27th of May 1822, or three days after the examination, that Mr. Maclean personally waited on the Commissioners, and verbally stated that he had inquired more fully respecting the treatment of the apprentices from those persons who were most with them, and he stated that the Africans had confessed that they had told falsehoods to the Commissioners for the purpose of getting away from Quay Manors. Mr. Maclean added also, that he had punished them for the false accusations which they had confessed to have preferred against him: and at that time he entered into details of various kinds, and among others, to justify the punishment he had inflicted, because the magistrates of Tortola refused to take cognizance of such complaints between masters and apprentices, from the apprentice laws of England not being in force in Tortola; and he farther maintained that the punishment inflicted was not greater than he would have given to one of his own children for telling a falsehood. This was not deemed by either of the Commissioners to be any justification, and Major Moody proposed to record all that had passed in a minute. Mr. Dougan considered it better in the first place to have an acknowledgment of the punishment inflicted in a letter from Mr. Maclean himself, and therefore, on the 27th May, Mr. Dougan proposed the following minute only should be made, viz. "Mr. Maclean called on the Commissioners relative to the complaints of some of his apprentices (or whom he claims as such) preferred against him, on Friday last, and requesting permission to offer proof in opposition to the statements made by them: and that in consequence of the lies which, he says, they admitted having told, he had whipped two of them with tamarind rods. The Commissioners requested Mr. Maclean to make his statement in writing as soon as he possibly could, which he promised to do to-morrow." To this minute Major Moody acceded finally, and it accordingly stands on the minute for the day.
On the 29th of May 1822 it was recorded on the minutes merely as follows:— "Received a letter from Mr. Maclean, dated 28th inst. enclosing six affidavits respecting his African apprentices examined on the 24th inst."
On the 31st of May 1822, all discussion respecting Mr. Maclean's business was finally settled, for Mr. Dougan founded on the letter a proposal which he forbore making on the 27th of May, when Mr. Maclean first made the communication verbally, and much more fully than it is done in the letter which is here given in Mr. Dougan's papers.
Mr. Dougan's proposal on the minutes of 31st May was this:
"Mr. Dougan proposed that the collector of the customs be furnished with copies of minutes taken by the Commissioners, in the inquiry made in the presence of the collector, relative to the Africans produced by H. C. Maclean, esq. comptroller, on the 24th instant; as also the observations noted on such minutes, as addressed from them to the collector, on the subject of those Africans. He further proposed, that copy of a minute of an application made to them by Mr. Maclean on 27th May, and their reply thereto, be furnished the collector, with copy of a letter from Mr. Maclean to the Commissioners, dated 28th May, and certain original affidavits transmitted them therewith. That the secretary be directed to make and retain copies of such affidavits."
In the above proposal nothing was said by Mr. Dougan about Mr. Maclean's application to have certain witnesses examined in defence of himself against the accusations preferred, although such request is specifically mentioned in the minute of 27th May, referred to by Mr. Dougan. Major Moody therefore recorded on the same minutes as follows:— "Major Moody thought it would be more proper to answer Mr. Maclean's letter, acknowledging the receipt thereof, and the affidavits enclosed, which should be sent to the collector of the customs, and a day appointed to enable him to produce witnesses to repel the allegations made against him, when all the parties would be present."
Mr. Dougan adhering to his views, which refused to Mr. Maclean an opportunity to produce his witnesses to be examined, and Major Moody having only one voice, he was of course obliged to submit; and from that day Mr. Dougan and Major Moody never directly nor indirectly spoke on the matter, previous to Mr. Dougan's return to England.
The final result of Mr. Maclean's case was, that Earl Bathurst directed witnesses to be examined by Messrs. Bowles and Gannon, who succeeded Major Moody and Mr. Dougan; and Kitty and Amelia were left in the service of Mr. Maclean, and were not removed, as is asserted by the Edinburgh Review, No. 90, p. 385.
It appeared to Major Moody impossible that Mr. Dougan could have retired from the commission on a disputed point, wherein he had obtained all he wished, viz. a reference of the case to the collector, without any examination of the evidence produced by Mr. Maclean, by the Commissioners.
It was not till the 11th and 12th of June that an entirely new question arose between Mr. Dougan and Major Moody, from the mode of examination recommended by Mr. Dougan, and unfortunately agreed to by Major Moody. By this mode the apprentices were brought before the Commissioners in an excited state against their masters or mistresses.
On the 11th of June 1822, in taking the evidence of Mr. Michael Fraser, a free coloured man, a scene occurred, as stated in the schedules, page 131, which induced both Commissioners to agree in submitting "the insolent and insubordinate conduct of the apprentice Pitt in the presence of the Commissioners," as a fit case to bring before authority competent to try his conduct.
It was on an occasion solely connected with the mode of examining the apprentices that Major Moody submitted, for Mr. Dougan's consideration, the observations recorded in page 132 of the schedules. A similar occurrence had recently arisen from excitement, in the case of a female apprentice of the president of Tortola, on which occasion the president showed, what was obvious to every person, that Mr. Dougan's mode of proceeding was calculated more to excite the complaints of the servant against the master, than to discover the truth. But Major Moody preferred taking the case of Michael Fraser, a free coloured man, hoping thereby better to secure the attention of Mr. Dougan, from the interest he took in Mr. Fraser.
On finding the effect of this system visible to every one, and that the results thereof could not be denied, on the receipt of Major Moody's observations on the 12th of June, Mr. Dougan wrote the following letter, dated on the same 12th of June 1822, when all these defects of the mode of proceeding had been at the moment brought under his notice.
"Tortola, Wednesday, 12th June 1822.
"I beg leave, through you, to make known to Major Moody, that I am under the necessity of declining to act any longer under His Majesty's gracious appointment of the 6th November 1821, further than closing transactions up to this day, by fair record on the minutes.
"Major Moody, therefore, will act as sole Commissioner from this day.
"I have the honour to be, &c.
(signed) John Dougan.
"James Barrow, Esq. Secretary to the Commission for Captured Africans."
Major Moody, on the 14th June 1822, wrote the following letter lo Earl Bathurst:
"Tortola, 14th June 1822.
"It is with the most sincere regret I have the honour to enclose a copy of the resignation of Mr. Dougan, as Commissioner for inquiring into the state and condition of the liberated Africans in the West Indies.
"I have also the honour to enclose the copy of a paper* (drawn up by me), on the mode which we were at the time (a few days ago), conducting the examinations relative to the objects of our inquiry; and therein I felt it my duty to suggest to Mr. Dougan the propriety of trying another mode of proceeding, to remove the evils which had arisen in our first attempt to exercise a duty so delicate as that of inquiring how the relative duties of master and servant had been performed in a colony where slavery exists sanctioned by law. "
[* This paper is printed in the Tortola Schedules, and was given in at the time, and on the occasion referred to.]
"A few hours after the delivery of the above for the perusal of Mr. Dougan, I received, as I have said, with sincere regret, the resignation already referred to, which deprives the Commission of the services of a gentleman, whose zeal, diligence, intelligence and humanity I have often had occasion to witness and admire, which made me the more regret the different views which we occasionally took, on important subjects connected with the due performance of the duties of the Commission.
"Being ignorant of the reasons which have influenced his resignation, inasmuch as I am left to conjecture, I still beg leave to express my hope that they will be such as will induce your Lordship not only to approve of them, but to find an occasion to employ his talents for the benefit of His Majesty's service, in some appointment where they will be useful to the country, and honourable to himself.
"If it be your Lordship's pleasure that the system of examination be followed which has been deemed dangerous by the president of the island and myself, perhaps on erroneous principles, I know no person better able to carry it into effect than Mr. Dougan, with as little danger as its defective principle will admit; in which case I would respectfully submit to your Lordship's consideration the propriety of my being relieved, or a third commissioner added.
"I shall, however, as soon as possible, give in more detail reasons in support of the opinion on the necessity of adopting some other system for the examination of the masters and African apprentices, than the one we have begun with, and which I propose to alter, so as to obtain all the objects for which the Commission appears to have been formed; and at the same time remove the objections against the mode of examination adopted in the first attempt.
"I have, &c. &c.
(signed) Thomas Moody, "Commissioner of Inquiry."
To the Right hon. Earl Bathurst, K. G. &c. &c. &c.
From some circumstances to which Major Moody will not refer, because he may have misunderstood the meaning of his colleague, he was left in doubt, when writing that letter, whether the crimination of the masters by the apprentices was not a point of importance to be established under any circumstances.
On Mr. Dougan's return to England, however, Earl Bathurst disapproved of exciting the apprentices by his mode of examination, the consequences of which had been brought under his Lordship's notice; and hence Mr. Dougan and his friends have now endeavoured to make the matter of Mr. Maclean (which had occurred previously, and wherein he had his own way in every respect) appear to be the cause of his return to England. Mr. Dougan returned to the West Indies, and feeling himself supported by his party, conducted himself in such a manner as induced Major Moody to resign.
The perusal of Major Moody's letter to Earl Bathurst will show in what tone of mind he wrote with respect to Mr. Dougan. Major Moody is, however, obliged to say, that after he had seen more of Mr. Dougan's mode of proceeding, he would not write the same letter again, although in other respects he had a very sincere respect for the benevolence and kind feelings of Mr. Dougan.]
No. 2.—(in Miss Dougan's Letter, No. 2.)
The Commissioners Inquiring into the State of Captured Africans, &c. &c. &c.
Tortola, 28th May 1822.
On Friday last, the 24th instant, you examined the following African apprentices indented to me: Kilah, with her female child; Kitty, and her male child; Betty and Amelia. Kilah stated to you she did not wish to remain with me on account of her being kept on an island distant from the town, and having been made lately to work in the cotton plantation. While I resided in town she was my cook, and so soon as I inhabit my house, which is just finished, at the island of Quay Manors, I intend her to resume that situation; and it is only owing to my not living there, she, as well some of the other apprentices, have been put with my negroes to clear old cotton land, which is but slight employment. Kitty stated to you that she was starved; that she did not get a hat full of corn-meal for the whole week, and no peas, potatoes or other food, and except for a day or two previous to coming to town she never had any fish given her; that she was badly clothed, her mistress having only given her the clothes she had on for the purpose of coming to town; that she was worked very hard, and was made to clear land on which were large trees or bush, sufficient for negro house posts, which she had to cut down with a bill; that she been severely beaten for nothing, and complained generally of hard treatment and cruel usage. Betty made no complaints: I had reason to suppose if any were made, they would have come from her; for previous to my obtaining her, she had been run away from Mr. Lettsom sixteen months, and I was under the necessity of ordering her to be kept strict, and not permitted to leave the island, to prevent her absenting herself and being secreted by persons who would keep her in vice and idleness. Amelia had also been run away for a long time, and when discovered, by my directions, was in a very sickly state. Having, as she says, acquainted herself with Kitty's examination by you, and supposing it would be the means of Kitty's being taken from me, she was induced, for the like purpose, to make similar complaints, and also stated that she had been obliged to cut down trees or bush as large as her arm, and that she had no clothes except those on her.
It is almost a year since I have had my negroes working in the island of Quay Manors, having no house there, and business preventing my going but seldom; and not having interfered in the victualling or clothing of my female African apprentices, which Mrs. Maclean attended to, and in her absence Mrs. Lettsom, who resides at Beef Island, in the vicinity of Quay Manors, I was quite unprepared to meet the different serious charges those two African apprentices alleged of their treatment. I was certain what they said could not be true; but being unable then positively to contradict them, I thought it best merely to mention what I really was acquainted with, and to make strict inquiry as to the mode they had been fed, clothed and worked, and to submit a statement thereof to you, which I now beg leave to do through the affidavits of Mrs. Maclean and Mrs. Lettsom, who have supplied them with clothes and provisions, and by those of other persons, and also by affidavits of their fellow apprentices. When I went occasionally to Quay Manors, those Africans appeared to me to look well and to be contented: I knew they would rather be in town, or in the neighbourhood of the town, with persons who had formerly harboured them when runaway; but I had no idea that to effect their purpose of being taken away from me, they would have combined to tell so many infamous falsehoods; on the discovery of which, I had them whipped with tamarind switches: it is only necessity which obliges me to chastise them; to have omitted it in this instance would surely be doing them injustice. It appears they have been clothed and fed as well as, under the circumstances of my not residing on the spot with them, it was possible for them to be; but, as I informed you on Friday last, I make no doubt when I reside in my own house, I will have an opportunity of making them more comfortable, and of employing them in the capacities mentioned in their indentures. Enclosed are six affidavits, which I trust, Gentlemen, will erase from your minds any unfavourable opinion you may have formed of me from the statements made to you; and convinced that your mission to this country is to make an impartial inquiry into the treatment of the captured Africans,
I am, Gentlemen, your obedient humble servant,
(signed) H. C. Maclean.
No. 3.—(in Miss Dougan's Letter, No. 3.)
Tortola, 28th May 1822.
APPEARED John Lettsom, senior, who being duly sworn, deposeth, That he has for many years been well acquainted with the island of Quay Manors, and resided for some time in that part now possessed by Mr. Maclean; that he has been there since Mr. Maclean's negroes have been clearing out land, which, to deponent's knowledge, was formerly planted with cotton, but now grown up. Deponent verily believes and declares that he did not see any bush or copse-wood in the ground Mr. Maclean has been working, but what he could easily cut down with a pocket pruning-knife.
(signed) John Lettsom.
Sworn to before me this 28th May 1822.
(signed) Charles Lloyd, Justice of the Peace.
APPEARED Kirwan, an African apprentice, indented to John Lettsom, senior, esquire, who being informed of the nature of an oath, and appearing perfectly sensible thereof, declares, That he is personally acquainted with all Mr. Maclean’s African apprentices, that they have always had plenty of good food, and that he has never known them to be badly or cruelly treated; that Mrs. Maclean has always kept Kitty and the other women in good clothes; that he knows them to have been ran away, with the exception of Kilah, when Mr. Lettsom had them; but since Mr. Maclean has had them they have not run away, because they know he can catch them again.
(signed) Kirwan, x his mark.
Sworn before me this 28th May 1822, being first read, and particularly explained.
(signed) Charles Lloyd, Justice of the Peace.
APPEARED Adeline, an African apprentice, indentured to Mr. Maclean, who being informed of the nature of an oath, and appearing sensible thereof, declares, That she has been since after Christmas last in the possession of Mr. and Mrs. Maclean; that she has been mostly during that time at Quay Manors, where she never was made to work too hard, and always got enough victuals from her mistress; that she got flour and fish, corn-meal and potatoes; that every day she got butter, milk, and bonny clubber; that her fellow apprentices have been treated the same way as her; that her mistress had given one suit of clothes since she had her. Before Mr. Maclean had her she was run away for a long time from Mr. Lloyd, and was harboured at the President Hetherington's estate near town, by a slave woman called Bella Martanella.
(signed) Adeline, x her mark.
Sworn to before me this 28th May 1822, being first read, and particularly explained. And the said African apprentice further declared, that since she had lived with massa she had never been any good, because she was sick.
(signed) Charles Lloyd, Justice of the Peace.
APPEARED Rose Grimes, free woman of colour, midwife, and for many years one of the leaders of the Methodist Society, who being duly sworn deposeth, That she has known the African apprentices Adeline, Kitty, Amelia and Betty, since they were first brought from town by Mr. Lettsom; that Kitty has always been under the care of Mrs. Maclean, who taught her to sew and mark, and kept her in very good clothes; that she has several times seen Kitty at chapel as well dressed as any girl there. From deponent's living in Beef Island, she would have known if Kitty was ever badly or cruelly treated, which never has been the case. When Kitty lay in with her male child, the only one she has had, deponent attended her as midwife, for which she got paid by Mrs. Maclean, and that every care was taken of Kitty, and every thing that was necessary given to her. Deponent likewise attended Kilah when she lay in, and whom she was also paid for, and the like care was taken of her as Kitty. She has known Adeline, Amelia and Betty to be run away for a long time, and considered them as bad girls; that Kitty has also run away to town since, when she does not behave so well as formerly. When Kitty was first brought from a board of ship she was very sickly and scroffy; and Mrs. Maclean took as much care of her, and to make her good and healthy, as if she had been a white child.
Deponent hears Kitty has belied her mistress; says it must be to get to town to bad people.
(signed) Rose Grimes. X her mark
Sworn to before me this 29th day of May 1822, being first read and explained.
(signed) Charles Lloyd, Justice of the Peace.
Tortola, 28th May 1822.
APPEARED Elizabeth Lettsom, who being duly sworn, deposeth, That she is acquainted personally with all the African apprentices in the possession of Mr. Maclean; that the allowance given to each apprentice residing in the island of Quay Manors by Mrs. Maclean, is a pint measure heaped up of flour or corn, meal daily, and also a sufficient quantity of pickled fish is given to them when to be had, which, in the absence of Mr. Maclean, deponent shared out to them. Deponent has understood, and verily believes, that the apprentices do likewise receive a share of the ground provisions growing at Quay Manors, and that corned fish, sugar, and other articles have been occasionally sent to them; and deponent declares it as her opinion, that the African apprentices are as well fed as it is possible or necessary for them to be. That to deponent's knowledge, Mr. Maclean's apprentices have been well clothed, particularly the apprentice Kitty, who has been longest with Mr. Maclean, whom she has known to have had several suits of clothes at one time in her possession, and was permitted by her mistress to attend divine worship whenever she requested to go, and that she went as well clothed as any free or slave person going to chapel. Deponent has never known Mr. or Mrs. Maclean treat their Africans severely; has known Kitty to run away twice, since when she has not been so good a character, being always desirous of going to town: that the apprentices Adeline, Amelia and Betty were formerly apprenticed to Mr. Lettsom, and although every thing was done to make them good, they were constantly running away; and since Mr. Maclean has had them, they have been behaving better than she has known them since they have grown up. Deponent positively knows, that the apprentice Amelia had other good clothes besides those she wore in town on Friday last; the complaints that the apprentices made to the gentlemen of the Custom-house on Friday last having been recited to deponent, she declares the greater part to be false, for the purpose of being taken away from Mr. Maclean, and getting to some persons in town, who have been enticing them from their duty, both to God and their master and mistress.
(signed) Elizabeth Lettsom.
Sworn before me this 28th May 1822.
(signed) Chs Lloyd, Justice of the Peace.
Tortola, 28th May 1822.
Appeared Frances Sullivan Maclean, who being duly sworn, deposeth, That she, together with Mrs. Lettsom, has had the sole care of Mr. Maclean's female African apprentices; that the daily allowance given them at the Island of Quay Manors, is one heaped up pint of flour or corn-meal, with a sufficient quantity of either pickled, corn or fresh fish; and also their share of ground provisions, which have been applied to no other purpose than feeding them, and the other negroes at Quay Manors, and the masons and carpenters working there ; that the apprentice Kitty has been for a long time under the particular care of deponent, to whom she has given sufficient clothes to appear decent, and to change them at least once a week : that deponent taught Kitty to work with her needle, and to mark clothes with silk; and also taught her prayers ; that since she has grown up she has not behaved so well as formerly, and has twice run away to town ; that since Kitty, and the other appreuticies have been at Quay Manors, all the work they have done has been no more than keeping them from idleness ; that deponent has permitted Kitty to go sometimes to town, where they have always been inclined to stay. When deponent wanted corn-meal or flour, fish, or other articles for them and the negroes, she applied to Mr. Maclean, who always got them if to be had. Mr. Maclean, considering them satisfied, never inquired from deponent how they were fed or clothed.
(signed) F. S. Maclean.
Sworn to before me this 28th day of May 1822.
(signed) Charles Lloyd, Justice of the Peace.
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