JAMAICAN HISTORY 3
After Rodney's victory, the French and Spanish Governments made no further serious attempt to capture Jamaica. France was soon to have very grave troubles of her own, for in 1789 the French Revolution began, and two years later there was a rebellion in Haiti, which was the first step taken towards the independence of that country. Spain, conquered by Napoleon after the Revolution, afterwards lost her extensive possessions in South and Central America.
Great Britain had also suffered a severe loss in 1776. In that year the American Colonies declared themselves independent of the Mother Country. Canada remained attached to Great Britain and many of the American loyalists went over to Canada rather than become subjects of the American Republican Government. Some of these Loyalists came to Jamaica and some went to the Cayman Islands with their slaves. The agitation against the slave trade, and against slavery itself, had already commenced.
In 1772 Lord Mansfield and other learned English judges declared that the moment a slave set his foot in England he became a free man. This judgment was the result of the effort of Mr. Granville Sharpe to secure the liberation of three Jamaican slaves taken to England.
In 1777 a Mr. Hartley moved a motion in the British House of Commons that "The slave trade was contrary to the laws of God and to the rights of man." The motion found no support. Then, in 1789, Mr. Wilberforce moved twelve resolutions in the House of Commons, all against the slave trade, and from that time the fight against slavery continued until its final abolition in 1838.
In 1783 General Campbell was appointed Governor.
On February 5 of the year, Prince William Henry, afterwards William IV, visited Jamaica. He was the first Royal Prince to come to this island.
In 1784 General Alured Clarke became Lieutenant-Governor.
On July 10 and 30 of that year, severe storms occurred. In the following year another storm swept over Jamaica. This was followed by a drought in 1786, then in October of the same year there was another storm. The result of these repeated calamities was awful. It was calculated that, since 1780, fully 15,000 slaves had perished from want, caused by the destruction of the provision fields and the plantations. Owing to the separation of America from England, there was no trade at that time between Jamaica and America, and so food could not be imported from the latter country.
In 1790 the Earl of Effingham arrived as Governor. He was received with festivities. It was then the custom to welcome Governors with three days of feasting in Spanish Town and two in Kingston. Nearly ú4,000 was voted by the House of Assembly for this purpose, but after the arrival of the Earl of Effingham the Assembly decided that this expenditure must cease.
The Earl died within a few months of his arrival in Jamaica.
In 1791 General Williamson became Governor.
The white planters in Haiti, who were opposed to the French Revolution and who objected to their slaves being set free, eventually appealed to England for help. France, now a republican country, became involved in war with England and other European states. Some of the French Royalists came to Jamaica seeking aid. They offered Haiti to the British Crown.
In 1793 a detachment of British troops and black soldiers went from Jamaica to Haiti. Some important Haitian cities were taken, but the troops died rapidly from disease.
Lord Balcarres succeeded General Williamson as Governor of Jamaica and the General led another military expedition to Haiti. He went as the Governor-General of that island, but did not succeed in taking it. The English were eventually defeated and expelled by Toussaint I'Ouverture.
Trouble arose between the Government and the Maroons of Trelawny who complained that they were not being properly treated. Two Maroons had been flogged in a Montego Bay workhouse, instead of being handed over to the Maroons to be dealt with, as they ought to have been. They also asked for more land, as their numbers had increased. The Governor did nothing to make peace. He preferred to fight the Maroons, and so a new Maroon war broke out.
About 5,000 troops were employed against the Maroons, and bloodhounds were imported form Cuba to hunt them down. A reward of 10 pounds was offered for every Maroon captured.
For some months the struggle continued without any clear victory. At last the Maroons surrendered, having been promised that they would be allowed to remain in the island. This promise was broken: they were shipped away to Nova Scotia in Canada, and from that country they were later sent toSierra Leone, in Africa. Since the Maroons in other parts of the island had not been involved in this war, they were left undisturbed. They continued to enjoy the rights and privileges they had won during the administration of Governor Edward Trelawny.
In 1798 there was a rising of the slaves in the parish of Trelawny. It was soon suppressed. The colonists were also very much alarmed by rumours to the effect that the victorious republicans in Haiti were endeavoring to stir up a rebellion among the slaves in Jamaica. Two men from Haiti were arrested on a charge of conspiracy, and one was hanged.
The people of Jamaica raised a very large amount of money to assist England in her war with France. The sum is said to have been 80,000 pounds.
In 1801 General Nugent arrived as Lieutenant-Governor.
In 1803 Kingston was made a "corporate city", that is, a city with a Mayor, twelve aldermen, and twelve councillors. These formed the governing body of the city. In this year also the largest crop of sugar ever produced in Jamaica was exported.
In 1804 two hurricanes occurred.
In 1805 Martial Law was proclaimed in Jamaica. England and France were at war, and a French fleet had been sent into West Indian waters. This fleet was not intended to capture any of the islands but to destroy as much property as it could, and to draw the English fleet away from European waters since Napoleonwas planning to invade England. After ravaging Dominica, the French fleet returned to European waters where it was defeated by Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
In 1806 General Nugent left Jamaica, and Sir Eyre Coote succeeded him as Lieutenant-Governor.
In 1807 the Slave Trade between Africa and Jamaica was abolished by the British Parliament. It was decreed that, after March 1, 1808, no more slaves should be brought to the island. Thus the first part of the fight against slavery had been won by the abolitionists.
It is estimated that from the time when Jamaica passed into the hands of the English, until the abolition of the slave trade, over one million human beings were imported from Africa. When the trade was abolished, there were 319,351 slaves in the island.