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Colonial Cases

R. v. George and others [1811]

slave court - rebellion

Slave Court, Jamaica

25 July 1811

Source: The Morning Chronicle (London, England), 4 October 1811, issue 13231 from the the British Library's 19th Century Newspapers site

Kingston, Aug. 3. - At a Slave Court, held at the Court-house, Port Maria Bay, on Thursday the 25th. ult. came on the trial of five negro men, belonging to Nonsuch and Unity Estates, named George, Ben, Bibby , Essex, and James, capitally arraigned for being actively concerned in sundry rebellious outrages, and other unlawful acts, committed by them (with the other negroes on these properties) on the night of the 8th May last, when a patient hearing and full investigation of the circumstances took place.

Mr. Zachary Hume Edwards, the proprietor of these estates, attended, and gave evidence that he was present at Nonsuch on the night of the rebellion, and that it was he who directed the culprits to commit the several acts with which they stood charged at the Bar, declaring that he came forward for the express purpose of assuming the whole and the consequences on himself, thereby wishing, as he stated to the Court and Jury, to save their lives, and mitigate the punishment to be inflicted, upon which the Jury returned their verdict "Guilty" of all the charges against the three first named, and in part against the other two; but taking into consideration the peculiar circumstances under which these unfortunate men acted, recommended them to the mercy of the Court. Sentence of transportation for life was then pronounced on George, Ben, and Bibby ; on Essex, three months hard labour, and two public floggings; and on James one week's hard labour, and one flogging of twenty lashes.

After these proceedings had taken place, upon affidavit of one of the Gentlemen concerned in the management of Nonsuch and Unity estates, Mr. Edwards entered into a recognizance to appear at the ensuing Supreme Court, to answer such indictments as might be preferred against him - himself in £2000 and two sureties in £1000 each.

Source: The Times, 4 October, 1811.
 

KINGSTON, AUG. 3.
  At a Slave Court, held at the Court-house, Fort Maria Bay, on Thursday, the 25th ult. came on the trial of five negro men, belonging to Nonsuch and Unity Estates, named George, Ben, Bibby, Essex, and James, capitally arraigned for being actively concerned in sundry rebellious outrages and other unlawful acts, committed by them (with the other negroes on their properties) on the night of the 8th of May last.
  Mr. Zachary Hume Edwards, the proprietor of these  estates, attended, and gave evidence that he was present at Nonsuch on the night of the rebellion, and that it was he who directed the culprits to commit the several acts with which they stood charged at the Bar, declaring that he came forward for the express purpose  of assuming the whole and the consequences on himself; thereby wishing, as he stated to the Court and Jury, to save their lives, and mitigate the punishment to be inflicted; upon which the Jury returned their verdict, Guilty of all the charges against the three first named, and in part against the other two; but taking into consideration the peculiar circumstances under which these unfortunate men acted, recommended them to the mercy of the Court. Sentence of transportation for life was then pronounced on George, Ben, and Bibby; on Essex, three months' hard labour, and two public floggings; and on James one week's hard labour, and one flogging of twenty lashes.
  After these proceedings had taken place, upon affidavit of one of the Gentlemen concerned in the management of the Nonsuch and Unity Estates, Mr. Edwards entered into recognisances to appear at the ensuing Supreme Court, to answer such indictments as might be preferred against him - himself in 2000 l. and two sureties in 1000 l. each.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School