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Colonial Cases

R. v. Gardiner and others [1832]

slave court - rebellion - capital punishment - transportation - flogging

Slave Court, Jamaica

28 May 1832

Source: The Bristol Mercury (Bristol, England), 14 July 1832, issue 2203, from the British Library's 19th Century Newspapers site [1]

Lucea, May 28. - The rebels who remained in gaol here for trial were finally disposed of by the Slave Court, which was held here on the 24th & 25th inst., when the notorious Col. Gardiner was sentenced to be hanged, which was carried into execution at Greenwich Estate (to which he belonged) on the 26th.   Captain Dove was also sentenced to transportation to the hulks for life, the majority of the Bench considering him to have acted more under the influence of Gardiner than from his own free will. - I believe this sentence has surprised many, as Dove was so generally supposed to be one of the chiefs and also the most active leader, as to induce the executive to offer a large reward for his apprehension.   The evidence against Wm. Hall, who was also sentenced to be hanged here, and which was carried into execution yesterday, proved him to have been the most active villain among the incendiaries, for it turned out that he was the celebrated "rider on the white horse," possessing such power of ubiquity is rendered it almost incredible how the was seen at distant places nearly at the same time.   Another rebel, called Wiley, was sentenced to a military flogging, which has terminated the fate of all that were in the gaol here.


[1]  By the early 1830s, there were few reports of trials in the slave courts. Instead, the newspapers discussed changes to slave law, including a slave evidence bill, allowing them to be witnesses in court. On that see The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Tuesday, January 9, 1827, issue 17883. On other changes to law, see The Newcastle Courant etc (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England), 26 January 1828, issue 7894; Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), 15 August 1828, issue 899; The Examiner(London, England), 18 July 1830, issue 1172; The Bristol Mercury (Bristol, England), 7 September 1830, issue 2107.

There was a very interesting trial about the practice of obeah, reported in The Morning Chronicle, 7 July 1829, issue 18661, but it is reproduced poorly in the British Library's website, so it cannot be transcribed here.

See also The Derby Mercury (Derby, England), 30 May 1832, issue 5211: "At the St. James' Slave Court, on the 27th of March, eight negroes, slaves, seven men and one female, were convicted of rebellious conspiracy, murder, and arson, and sentenced to be hanged."

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