Toiling in the Fields
Affy was born into slavery in 1767, and later baptized by her owners as Sarah Affir. She was still alive, age sixty-six, an old woman by Jamaican standards, when emancipation came in 1834. She lived on Mesopotamia Estate in western Jamaica. Mesopotamia produced sugar and rum, which meant that for much of her life, certainly for the period in which she had her six children (a very large number for an enslaved Jamaican woman in the latter half of the eighteenth century), Affy was involved in planting, growing, and harvesting cane. She started work at age seven in the gang of young, largely unskilled slaves who weeded the lawns. After escaping that work briefly for a few years in her early teens, she graduated to working in the second field gang (each gang involved slaves employed in growing sugar). From age sixteen until age thirty-one, she was assigned to the Great Gang. In this occupation, she shared the fate of 85 percent of adult women on Mesopotamia of doing the most onerous and backbreaking work within the Jamaican plantation economy. During her time as a member of the Great Gang, working from sunrise to sunset, six days a week, she had four black and two mixed-race children. The black children followed her into the field. Her two daughters had lives perhaps more typical of female enslaved women in Jamaica than that of Affy. Both Princess and Hagar died in adulthood—Princess at twenty-six and Hagar at forty-one—and neither had children. By 1798, when Affy was thirty-one, the years of toil had destroyed her health. She was listed as “weakly” in one of the inventories that provide what little information about her life we have. By 1803 she had to be removed from the field to work as a washerwoman and then as a nanny for children and a seamstress. By 1824, age fifty-seven, she was an invalid, afflicted by scrofula. The last mention in the records that we have of her came in 1833 when she was considered “worthless” by her employers, being assigned a value of £0, down from the £85 she would have fetched if she had been sold off the estate when she was a “prime” field hand in her twenties. That value of £0 is a poignant reminder of how slave owners’ managerial strategies, which on Mesopotamia involved concentrating more and more females after 1800 into the demanding tasks of sugar cultivation, wrecked women’s lives and their health.1
Few groups in human history have been more interested in profit seeking, more interested in developing, measuring, and improving the human capital investments that they had, and less concerned about the morality with which they treated the human capital that they had than Jamaican slave owners in the eighteenth century.2 As the eighteenth-century historian Charles Leslie declared, “no Country excels them in a barbarous Treatment of Slaves, or in the cruel Methods they put them to death.” They also excelled in the infant discipline of human capital evaluation. A study of early accounting methods on British West Indian plantations suggests that the accounting methods used were highly effective in monitoring and evaluating labor. A study of such practices, it is suggested, shows that planters in the West Indies had a greater concern for short-term economic performance than for moral and social considerations.3
No other slave society in the Americas, with the possible exception of early nineteenth-century British Guiana, worked their enslaved people so hard and with so little concern about how enslaved people coped.4 White Jamaicans were not only assiduous in working slaves as hard as they could, they were also increasingly successful in implementing accounting systems that measured their human capital more comprehensively and more effectively than was the case in any industry before well into the nineteenth century. During the eighteenth century, planters worked out means whereby they made use of an increasingly large number of items of agency information in order to make increasingly more accurate and increasingly detailed assessments of the individual characteristics of enslaved people so that they could value them more precisely.5 By the middle of the eighteenth century, the pricing of slaves was becoming more precise and more detailed. The majority of enslaved people were listed by name in slave lists and were individually priced with relatively little lumping of prices around predetermined values. In other words, when slaves were priced in an inventory, the prices varied considerably within a listing. Thus, in the inventory of Samuel Orr, from 1779, his 132 slaves were listed one after another by price, with the prices of women working the field varying from £40 for the cheapest and thus least valuable to £90 for the most valuable. Consequently, Celia, valued at £85 was followed immediately by Dido, valued at £70, and then by Quasheba (noted as “old”) at £45 and Chloe at £90. The three “housewenches” were valued at the end of a list of field women and were valued more highly than other enslaved women. Maria was considered to be worth £100, while Grace and Mulatto Nancy were each valued at £120.
From the 1730s, appraisers of inventoried estates increased the information they presented in inventories about individual slaves so that enslaved people were differentiated by such things as health and occasionally by age and presumed ethnicity. Appraisers almost always differentiated by gender, with lists of slaves customarily dividing men from women and girls from boys. We have no description of how appraisers went about the process of evaluating the values they assigned to individual men, women, and children. The composition of inventories, however, with their monotonous lists of enslaved people, listed by name and price, one after another, in large batches suggests that appraisers followed a common practice of calling enslaved people together, dividing them by gender and then by occupation before inspecting each enslaved person minutely and assigning a value, based on their perception of an individual’s age, health, and capacity, to each slave they saw. The order by which groups of enslaved people were assessed reflects white Jamaicans’ understanding of hierarchies within slave communities. The standard list of a slave labor force started off with men, headed by drivers and then by tradesmen, before listing field workers and ending usually with the superannuated men, followed by women, usually more undifferentiated than men, given that the vast majority of women were field workers, and ending with boys, girls, and occasionally children. In most cases, women with “suckling” children were listed alongside other women without any notice in price being given to the infant child (who by this definition had no independent value).6
One indication of the hard-headedness and calculating business sense of Jamaican slave owners was their determination to get as much value out of enslaved women’s labor as they could. Indeed, Jennifer Morgan has argued that one explanation for the introduction of slavery into the West Indies is that African women—who tended to be the primary field workers in Africa—were quickly introduced as field workers on West Indian plantations, inverting a “gender ideology that applied to white women and work” whereby white women did not work in the field and thus entailing “a fundamental restructuring of the notion of women’s work.”7 From the start, West Indian planters were innovative, by European standards, in not differentiating between men and women as field workers. Indeed, in early Jamaican listings of slaves in inventories, men and women were listed indiscriminately, suggesting that slave owners saw little difference in the work capacities of men and women.8 Such lack of gender differentiation in gangs on sugar estates became customary. Planters divided slaves by physical capacity but not by sex: they insisted that the “stoutest and most able slaves . . . without any regard being had to their sex” should do the hardest work, such as digging cane holes, doing dunging and cutting, and harvesting cane. David Collins in 1803 insisted that there are “many women who are capable of as much labour as man, and some men, of constitutions so delicate, as to be incapable of toil as the weakest women.”9 By the early eighteenth century, women not only worked in the field doing hard work as much as men, but they also became the majority of field hands on sugar plantations. Women and men were hired at the same rate by plantations needing extra labor, suggesting that there was little differentiation in what they did as ordinary field laborers on estates. Moreover, there was no technical reason women could have not have been trained in high-value occupations such as boilers or carpenters.10
The question to ask, given the above information, is why Jamaican slave owners consistently discounted females when pricing slaves when they had few reasons to think of female slaves as less valuable than male slaves. (I use “males” to refer to both adult men and male children. Similarly, I refer to “females” when discussing both adult women and female children. Children were considered adults around the age of sixteen.) Tables 2.1 and 2.2 show that females were worth less than males, both on their arrival on the island on slave ships and also when put to work in occupations in the countryside and in the town.11 Moreover, the gender differential in favor of males and especially men increased considerably over time, especially as more elaborate accounting systems for valuing slaves developed in the late eighteenth century.12 In the late seventeenth century, the gender differential between men and women was relatively small—13.8 percent. By the early eighteenth century, this differential had increased to 17 percent. The real increase in gender differentials came in the 1730s and lasted until at least the 1780s. It reached a peak of 36 percent for slave listings made between 1735 and 1744 but remained very high, even if declining until the mid-1780s. The gap in the price of men over women remained stubbornly over 25 percent from the 1730s onward.
Several reasons suggest themselves to answer the question posed above. First, the nature of the work experience and the extent of gender discrimination against women by mostly male planters, especially in agriculture, made it difficult for women to attain positions that were valued highly in the marketplace (which, of course, was a marketplace shaped mostly by what white male planters thought most important and which did not necessarily correspond to the elusive concept of what was actually “valuable,” such as the amount of money produced for planters by any worker). The slaves who attracted the highest values in inventories were drivers and tradesmen: virtually no woman became a driver, and the trades were entirely closed off to women. Thus, most women became field workers, with fewer than 15 percent of adult women workers in non–field work occupations. Female slaves working outside of the plantation economy, in places like Kingston, tended to be seamstresses and washerwomen. Urban male slaves found employment on the wharf, within the transport sector, or as tradesmen, all of which were relatively highly valued and which also provided means whereby they could augment earnings by private work.13 The gender differential between males and females in urban environments was particularly high. Second, slave owners demonstrated a clear gender bias toward males and against females, reflecting a wide acceptance of patriarchy as a value that operated not only in white society but also within slave communities as well. Slave owners favored slave men as leaders over women and children and even when there were no obvious advantages for slave owners in having their slaves male rather than female—as in the fields—they tended to value more highly what males did over the value they placed on female labor.
Prices of Slaves by Gender, Jamaica 1775–1787
Slave Prices and Gender Differentials in the Jamaican Slave Population, 1675–1784
The extremely wealthy planter and attorney Simon Taylor made planters’ bias clear when he advised his fellow planter and client Chaloner Arcedeckne that “You want Men infinitely more than Women, for there are many things which Women cannot do, as Cutting Copperwood, Wainmen, Boilers, Distillers, Stokers, Mulemen etc.”14 In part, slave owners’ gendered attitudes made it axiomatic that what women did would be devalued. Because more women did field work than men, this activity, even though it often involved quite a lot of skill in certain areas and was physically very demanding, was often denigrated as both unmanly and also unimportant. By contrast, slave owners thought that what men did was automatically more valuable than what women tended to do.15
Finally, slave owners valued slaves, at least during the period before abolition when the supply of new slaves from Africa was abundant, almost solely for their productive rather than for their reproductive potential. Until at least the 1770s, children were priced so low for their value to be close to nominal. Indeed, women’s reproductive role was close to totally discounted. The evidence suggests strongly that, before the 1780s, slave owners not only preferred to buy rather than breed fresh additions of slaves but also that they considered pregnancy a sickness and the production of children by their enslaved women to detract from their primary value, which was mostly as field hands doing hard manual labor.
But why did slave owners concentrate so much on improving the human capital implicit in men rather than in women? It is true that in the most significant area of the economy—the large, integrated plantation sector—slave owners were able to increase greatly their investment in women as well as their investment in men. The increases in both women’s and men’s values on large plantations were dramatic. The data in tables 2.3 and 2.4 show that the increase in the value of adult men was 166 percent and that of adult women was 169 percent over the whole period of this study, and 96 and 88 percent, respectively, for the period after 1700. The differential between the price of adult men and the price of adult women on large estates, most of which would have been sugar plantations, neither increased nor decreased. Given that productivity in sugar cultivation rose appreciably from midcentury, and given that women were disproportionately numbered among the ganged laborers who were responsible for that remarkable rise in productivity, the differential in prices between adult men and adult women on large estates should have shrunk.
Average Price by Age, Jamaica 1775–88, Healthy Slaves Only
Average Price by Occupation and Gender, Healthy Adults Aged 20–40, Jamaica 1775–88
Why it did not shrink is unclear. It is possible that field men were valued more than field women both because they were more usually chosen as work leaders and also because when certain tasks—such as building or construction work—were to be done, men tended to be chosen to do this rather than women.16 Of course, this is a circular argument: because men did certain kinds of work, that work was then valued more highly just because men did it. Table 2.4 gives the price differentials between men and women, with the main factor influencing prices being the very high values assigned to tradesmen. But the evidence from inventories suggests that such circular thinking indeed applied in the assignment of values placed on individual slaves. Whether planters were right in thinking that men produced more income and thus should be valued more for purposes of resale requires more detailed investigation through examination of productivity and income production on individual estates. The limited evidence available about what income was produced in what kind of work suggests that planters valued field workers too low and tradespeople too highly. David W. Ryden suggests that productivity gains and increases in plantation incomes came mainly through agricultural innovation, mostly in the production of tropical crops, more and more of which were produced by women as men were assigned to other tasks.17
In addition, women were more likely to do low-status jobs such as weeding than were men. Outside the large plantation, planters tended to place more importance on increasing the value of men than of women, with the value of enslaved men belonging to planters increasing 185 percent from 1674 to 1784, and 130 percent after 1700, while the value of enslaved women advanced less rapidly, the respective figures being 141 and 103 percent in the same period. Overall, men working in agriculture became more valuable over time in relation to women. Whether this relative increase in the value of men as priced in inventories compared with women reflects real differences in the productivity rates of men is unclear. What is important is that planters thought men more valuable than women and indicated their gender preferences in slave valuations. This gender bias had an impact on how planters went about increasing human capital within slave-holdings, with males the focus of human capital increases rather than females.
Were white Jamaicans correct to value women less than men? Was what women did as workers in fact less valuable than what men did? To an extent it was less valuable because women were not able to move out of the field in order to do skilled work that was either deemed more valuable or was in fact (though this is unproven) more valuable than work in the field. More importantly, planters’ de-valuation of female work had a self-fulfilling function. Women could have been trained to be masons or boilers or drivers. Instead they were given the worst jobs on the plantation, especially dunging and cane holing. The effect on their health was serious. David W. Ryden shows in analyzing an early nineteenth-century planter’s slave force that the values of females declined dramatically after their “prime” in their twenties and early thirties. He argues that the divergence in price among field slaves after slaves reached past the age of thirty can be explained by the harshness of the tasks assigned them. They were never released from the field to less demanding occupations. They continued to work in the occupations that historians have shown were the most physically demanding and the most sapping of health.18 Planter management strategies ensured that female health would suffer as they got older. Significantly, much of the damage to women’s health was done when women were in their prime childbearing years. There were a greater number of older women who were unhealthy than there were older enslaved men who suffered ailments.19 Applying survival analysis techniques to mortality patterns on Mesopotamia Estate, Simon D. Smith and Mark Forster have shown that the labor regime that women endured exerted a large and quantifiable effect on female mortality that became worse relative to men after 1800, just as the percentage of field workers who were women rose from around 44 percent between 1762 and 1792 to 52 percent female from 1809 to 1834. This increase was most likely caused by women’s growing involvement in cane growing. Increased exposure to field labor reduced a woman’s likely survival rate by about 30 percent.20
But even if slave owners did not value the work that women did as highly as they did the work of men, why did they not put a value on other aspects of female life? Women were not just producers; they were reproducers. They were also sexual objects. That slave women were readily available for sexual exploitation was hugely important to white men, who felt that exploitation of slave women was one of the advantages pertaining to being white and male in Jamaica. Indeed, the raping and sexual exploitation of slave women was endemic in eighteenth-century Jamaica, even if slave owners knew that the fact that they and white underlings could rape slave women with impunity seriously compromised smooth management of estates.21
Was there any value placed on reproduction? A body of literature has grown up that assumes that planters placed high values on women’s reproductive potential. In the main, this literature bases its arguments on common sense—the common sense that any owner of slaves would appreciate the essentially “free” additions to a slave force that children would bring. Consequently, it has become almost axiomatic not only that slave women actively sought abortifacients to abort children but also that such abortions were a form of resistance against slavery.22 It might be possible that slave women had abortions as a means of demonstrating some sort of control over their bodies or as a form of self-defiance, although that flies in the face of the high value placed on motherhood within African societies as a mark of defining what becoming a woman meant. It is certainly true that some enslaved women had abortions. If they did so, however, they did so for reasons that were unrelated to what their owners thought of such actions.23
If women thought procuring abortions would alarm slave owners, they were wrong, at least before amelioration began in the last two decades of the eighteenth century. Slave owners were at best indifferent and usually hostile to women producing children. They knew that good treatment allowed women to breed more successfully. Edward Long, for example, claimed “that those Negroes breed the best, whose labour is least, or easiest” and lamented that on sugar estates, where reproductive rates were lower than elsewhere, “but few children will be brought up . . . whatever number may be born; for the mothers will not have sufficient time to take due care of them.”24 From long practice, however, women were given little time before the birth to prepare themselves for childbirth; did not receive sufficient nutrition to be able to bear children with ease, especially as male field workers ate most of the animal protein available; and were forced back into the fields before children were weaned.25 Both Richard Ligon in Barbados in 1647 and Hans Sloane in Jamaica in the late 1680s indicated that women went back to work either one week or at most two weeks after childbirth.26
That practice of making nursing women work soon after giving birth continued throughout the eighteenth century. Even in the nineteenth century, the lack of time allowed pregnant women to recover from childbirth and planter resentment at slave women’s practices with children, such as lengthy lactation, was a major source of friction between slave owners and women.27 Planters would have greatly preferred women not to become pregnant. It harmed women’s health and sometimes resulted in death for women as well as for their children. It certainly resulted in large numbers of miscarriages. Amanda Thornton has done a detailed study of women’s fertility patterns in the well-documented slave force of Thomas Thistlewood. She shows not only that miscarriages were frequent but that infant mortality was probably around 420 infant deaths per 1,000 births, which is extraordinarily high, even by eighteenth-century standards.28
Slave owners were probably right, if callous, to discourage women from getting pregnant, at least in the period prior to 1788 before abolitionist pressures made the politics of child-rearing more complicated for slave owners and after which date they had to at least show some concern with managing pregnancies and for trying to increase the number of children born and raised into adulthood.29 But before 1788, the pregnancies of enslaved women hardly ever resulted in additional inputs of labor into the plantation. We are handicapped by the lack of evidence about children in West Indian slave societies (the lack of evidence in itself says something about slave owners’ indifference to children). We do not even know, except in rare circumstances, how many children women had and how many survived past infancy. Moreover, we do not even know how many children were born into slavery in Jamaica and how many were transported to Jamaica through the slave trade. Probably most children were born in Jamaica. The only slave listing that details ethnicity for children under the age of fifteen, for the slaves on the York estate of William Gale, suggests that 113 were born in Jamaica and 6 were born in Africa.30
How then do we answer why slave women were valued less highly than men, even when women were worked very hard and were probably very productive? There are three possible answers. It may be that women did less valuable work than men. As already discussed, that seems unlikely, given the value that was provided by women working very hard in cane fields. Also as discussed, it may have been due to unthinking sexist assumptions that saw whatever man did as valuable and whatever women did as less valuable. It also may have been connected to issues of social control. Men were valued more than women because if they were not placated, then they might use physical resistance against enslavement. For that reason, slave owners advocated that privileged slaves, all of whom were men, would be “particularly encouraged, and invested with some authority over the rest of the Negroes.”31
The nature of the sources used in this chapter does not allow for a definitive answer to this question. But an examination of white attitudes toward gender supports an interpretation that the reason that women were valued less than men revolves around a modified version of social control. White men were frightened by black men, and although they tried to tell themselves that when black men were courageous and unflinching under the worst kinds of torture that this reflected their unfeeling animalistic nature, they were inclined to doubt the efficacy of such an interpretation. Certainly, white Jamaicans’ response to Tacky’s Revolt (a large slave rebellion, headed by enslaved men, in 1760) indicates that white Jamaicans had very complicated responses to the stoicism that black men exhibited under torture.32 Moreover, African males’ ability to withstand or at least endure torture and violence directed against them made slave owners realize that they could not control slave men solely through violent means. Slave men needed to be bought off with positions of authority. Just as importantly, they needed to be bought off through allowing slave men to exercise in Jamaica the kind of patriarchal authority over women that they had exercised in Africa. A belief in patriarchy united black and white men. But in Jamaica, patriarchy had an unusual valence. The patriarchy of white men was that of unrestrained power and sexual opportunism. A white man was expected to fornicate with black women, drink excessively, gamble, fight, and cow dependents—not least black men—through the constant and arbitrary application of violence and terror.33 But when white men had sexual relations with black women who were the wives of enslaved men, black men fought back. In particular, black men could draw on shared patriarchal values that made clear to white men that they should not meddle with established enslaved marital relations.34
White men believed that authority should be in the hands of men and assumed that slave men would be leaders in the slave community. They gave them the best jobs and allowed them authority over slave women. As long as slave men’s authority did not interfere with the ability of white men to do as they pleased on plantations, masters were happy to allow black men to exercise a degree of patriarchal dominance.35 Planters expected men to be dominant and organized their work forces so that slave men had more power than slave women. What little evidence we have from slaves directly about the proper gender balance of power suggests also that black men expected to be bosses within their own patriarchal kingdoms.36
White men’s pursuit of black women then was problematic in a society with shared patriarchal assumptions. Slave owners needed to show black men in particular that they were strong, virile men who ruled as they pleased the little kingdoms of white autocracy that were Jamaican plantations. What better way was there for white men to show who was in control than for them to have the pick of black women whenever they chose?37 But, as white men knew, their violation of slave women breached a common understanding held by both black men and white men that men had a measure of patriarchal dominance over women of their own color. Black men were pushed into rebellion when white men infringed on their patriarchal and sexual rights. John Taylor, an early chronicler of life in Jamaica, argued as early as 1687 that while black men could only be controlled through violence, it was also necessary to ensure them access to black women. He argued that “After a planter hath purchased some twenty, thirty or more Negroa slaves, he first gives to each man a wife, without which they will not be contented, or worke. Then he gives to each man and his wife one half accre of land for them to cleare for themselves.”38
Masters were convinced that supporting male authority was the way to prevent discord in the slave quarters. They made men heads of household and accepted that slave men had rights over their wives and children, analogous to what they considered to be their own rights over white women and white and colored children. Yet slave patriarchy was a tender fruit, always likely to be stamped out by masters’ assertions of authority and by the overwhelming presumption that white Jamaicans made in favor of white men indulging their every desire. In short, when we ask why black women were valued less than black men in the valuations that slave owners made, we can start to understand the apparent contradictions implicit in slave owners not maximizing their investments in slave women through connecting the pricing of women to a larger context of white men maintaining not just white but also black patriarchy.
The consequences of white men affirming some degree of black men’s authority over women, conflicted though this was by the constraints placed on any slave exercising authority within a slave system controlled by violence from white men, were significant for black women in the period of African slavery. The most important consequence was that women were increasingly limited in the kinds of work they did. They found it much harder to escape work in the fields than did men, as can be reflected in the price differentials assigned to women rather than men in inventories. They appear to have started work in the fields slightly earlier than men (being assigned to the hardest working field gangs two or three years before men) and seldom escaped such work while they were in their most fertile years. The result was very low fertility, considerable reproductive problems, and little assistance, at least from white managers and overseers, in combining the arduous task of raising children in slavery while doing backbreaking field work.
The sad story of Abba, one of Thomas Thistlewood’s slaves, shows just how difficult it was to be a mother and a worker in mid-eighteenth-century Jamaica. Purchased in 1758 as a young girl arriving from Africa, she was Thistlewood’s property until he died in 1786. Her thirteen pregnancies resulted in ten live births and six surviving children. The work that she did in the field reduced her health so much that she could not provide for her children through working in her family’s provision fields when she wasn’t working in the cane field. Thistle-wood tried to assist her by having her taught to be a washerwoman and seam-stress, but even this was not enough. The system worked against her. Enslaved women could prosper only if they remained healthy, protected their provision grounds from theft by other slaves, worked hard, and had only a small family. When slaves became ill, as Abba often did, and had a large family, they struggled. When Thistlewood died, the effects of field work and the difficulties of finding the necessities of life and a large family meant that Abba was deemed to be “old” and weak—even though she was probably only in her early forties. She was valued at £40, which was £30 to £40 less than women of a similar age who did not have large families. Abba had not quite become “worthless” but was well on her way to being seen as such. Studying how enslaved women in Jamaica were valued shows clearly how rationally effective slave management and ruthless accounting methods made slaves into disposable people.
1. Sarah (Affy) Affir’s life is covered in Richard S. Dunn, A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2014), 75–90.
2. The empirical evidence is from two databases, one being derived from 10,222 inventories. This database lists the prices recorded for 259,617 slaves. Inventories, IB / 11 / 1–64, Jamaica Archives, Spanishtown, Jamaica. The second database contains 1,405 slaves from five lists of slaves that have detailed agency information on such things as age, ethnicity, health and color. Inventories, IB1 / 11 / 3 / 56, Records of Prospect Estate, 0627–0019, Barclays Group Archive, London; “List of Slaves on York Estate, Jamaica, 1 Jan. 1778,” Gale-Morant Papers, 3 / c, University of Exeter Library, Exeter, England.
3. Richard K. Fleischman, David Oldroyd, and Thomas N. Tyson, “Plantation Accounting and Management Practices in the U.S. and the British West Indies at the End of Their Slavery Eras,” Economic History Review 64 (2011): 786.
4. Richard S. Dunn, “Sugar Production and Slave Women in Jamaica,” in Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas, ed. Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993), 49–72; and Kenneth Morgan, “Slave Women and Reproduction in Jamaica, c. 1776–1834,” History 91 (2006): 231–54.
5. Trevor Burnard, “Collecting and Accounting: Representing Slaves as Commodities in Jamaica, 1674–1784,” in Collecting across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern World, ed. Daniela Bleichmar and Peter C. Mancall (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011); and Trevor Burnard, “From Periphery to Periphery: The Pennants’ Jamaican Plantations, 1771–1812 and Industrialization in North Wales,” in Wales and Empire, 1607–1820, ed. H. V. Bowen (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011).
6. For how enslaved people viewed this brutalizing and dehumanizing process, see Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave (1845; rpt., Amawalk, N.Y.: Golden Owl, 1995), 27.
7. Jennifer L. Morgan, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 60, 145, 147; and David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 85–113.
8. Burnard, “Collecting and Accounting,” 185–86.
9. David Collins, Management and Medical Treatment of Negro Slaves in the Sugar Colonies (London: J. Barfield, 1803), 176.
10. Peter Thompson, “Henry Drax’s Instructions on the Management of a Seventeenth-Century Barbadian Plantation,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 86 (2009): 565–604; and Heather Cateau, “The New ‘Negro’ Business: Hiring in the British West Indies, 1750–1810,” in In the Shadow of the Plantation: Caribbean History and Legacy, ed. Alvin O. Thompson (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2002), 100–120.
11. David Eltis and Stanley L. Engerman, “Was the Slave Trade Dominated by Men?,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 23 (1992): 237–57.
12. Caitlin C. Rosenthal, “Slavery’s Scientific Management: Accounting for Mastery,” in Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development, ed. Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 62–86.
13. B. W. Higman, “Jamaican Port Towns in the Early Nineteenth Century,” in Atlantic Port Cities: Economy, Culture, and Society in the Atlantic World, 1650–1850, ed. Franklin W. Knight and Peggy K. Liss (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991), 117–48.
14. Simon Taylor to Chaloner Archdeckne, July 23, 1770, in Travel, Trade, and Power in the Atlantic, ed. Betty Wood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 93.
15. Trevor Burnard, “Evaluating Gender in Early Jamaica, 1674–1784,” History of the Family 12 (2007): 81–91.
16. Justin Roberts, Slavery and the Enlightenment in the British Atlantic, 1750–1807 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
17. David W. Ryden, West Indian Slavery and British Abolition, 1783–1807 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 84–92.
18. Richard S. Dunn, “‘Dreadful Idlers’ in the Cane Fields: The Slave Labor Pattern on a Jamaican Sugar Estate, 1762–1831,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 17 (1987): 795–822.
19. Amanda Thornton, “Coerced Care: Thomas Thistlewood’s Account of Medical Practice on Enslaved Populations in Colonial Jamaica, 1751–1786,” Slavery and Abolition 32 (2011), 535–59.
20. Martin Forster and S. D. Smith, “Surviving Slavery: Mortality at Mesopotamia, a Jamaican Sugar Estate, 1762–1832,” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, ser. A, 174, pt. 4 (2011): 907–29.
21. Sidney Mintz, Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010), 49; Trevor Burnard, Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 156–64.
22. Morgan, Laboring Women, 114; Barbara Bush, Slave Women in Caribbean Society, 1650–1838 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 139–49; and Stella Dadzie, “Searching for the Invisible Women: Slavery and Resistance in Jamaica,” Race and Class 32 (1990), 21–38. But see Morgan, “Slave Women and Reproduction,” and Dunn, Tale of Two Plantations, 163.
23. Londa Schiebinger, “West Indian Abortifacients and the Making of Ignorance,” in Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance, ed. Robert N. Proctor and Londa Schiebinger (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2008), 149–62.
24. Edward Long, The History of Jamaica . . . , 3 vols. (London: T. Lowndes, 1774), 2:435–36.
25. On slave nutrition, see Kenneth Kiple, The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 80–85; Richard Follett, The Sugar Masters: Planters and Slaves in Louisiana’s Cane World, 1820–1860 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005).
26. Long, History of Jamaica, 2:435–36; Richard Ligon, A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes . . . (London: Peter Parker, 1657), 46–48; and Hans Sloane, A Voyage to the Islands of Madeira, Barbadoes, Nieves, S. Christopher and Jamaica, 2 vols. (London: By the author, n.p., 1707, 1725), 1:cxlvii, xlviii, lii.
27. For Louisiana, see Richard Follett, “Heat, Sex, and Sugar: Pregnancy and Child-bearing in the Slave Quarters,” Journal of Family History 28 (2003): 510–39.
28. Thornton, “Coerced Care.”
29. Katherine Paugh, “The Politics of Childbearing in the British Caribbean and the Atlantic World during the Age of Abolition,” Past & Present (2013): 119–60; Sasha Turner, “Home-Grown Slaves: Women, Reproduction and the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Jamaica, 1788–1807,” Journal of Women’s History 23 (2011), 39–62.
30. “List of Slaves on York Estate.” See also Audra Diptee, “African Children in the British Slave Trade during the Late Eighteenth Century,” Slavery & Abolition 27 (2006): 183–96.
31. Gordon Turnbull, Letters to a Young Planter . . . (London: Stuart and Stevenson, 1785), 43.
32. Trevor Burnard, “Slavery and the Enlightenment in Jamaica, 1760–1772: The Afterlife of Tacky’s Rebellion,” in Enlightened Colonialism: Civilization Narratives and Imperial Politics of the Age of Reason, ed. Damien Tricoire (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 227–46.
33. Ibid., 83–84.
34. Burnard, Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire, 53.
35. B. W. Higman, Slave Population and Economy in Jamaica, 1807–1834 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), 187–211; and Michael Craton, Searching for the Invisible Man: Slaves and Plantation Life in Jamaica (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978).
36. Burnard, Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire, 175–240.
37. Ibid., 156–62.
38. David Buisseret, ed., Jamaica in 1687: The Taylor Manuscript at the National Library of Jamaica (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2008), 267.