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Colonial Cases

R. v. Parker and Harris, 1836

[slavery abolition]

R. v. Parker and Harris

Source: The Times, 26 November, 1836

.  .  .   
  The papers of that island [Jamaica] are largely occupied with the proceedings of a special commission, issued to ascertain the correctness of certain charges against Dr. Parker, and Mr. Harris, for the parish of St. Thomas-in-the-Vale, the commissioners sitting at Rodney-hall; the general character of the complaints being, that these stipendiary magistrates had wrongfully and improperly omitted to sanction numerous sentences on slave apprentices. There are many cases preferred against them, and the extent of the proceedings may be imagined from the fact that Dr. Palmer alone is stated to have subpoenaed 56 witnesses.
  The commissioners are to inquire, "if any, and what part of the abolition law had been violated" by Messrs. Harris and Palmer. The proceedings, as may be imagined, have produced an extraordinary excitement and much party feeling, the future efficiency of this magistracy being considered to be in no slight degree involved in the result of the inquiry; and the anxiety was not diminished by the adjournment of the Court on the 28th of September to the 24th of October, in consequence, as was alleged, of the enabling of the Grand Court; but the Governor (Sir L. Smith) refused to sanction so long an adjournment, and required the commissioners  to re-assemble on the 10th of October, to proceed with the inquiry, and to make their report with all convenient despatch. There had been some agitation among the slave-apprentices, but the proceedings of the Government, and the forwarding of troops, had allayed the disposition to disturbance.

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