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picture of life there during the first year of the occupation. He was strongly opposed to the inhumanities of slavery and the callousness of the slave owners horrified him. Here is a passage in which he describes their treatment:

'The corporal punishment of slaves is so common, that instead of exciting repugnant sensations, felt by Europeans on first witnessing it, scarcely does it produce, in the breasts of those accustomed to the West Indies, the slightest glow of compassion. The lady I have above alluded to appears of good natural disposition, and in no degree disposed to general cruelty; but the frequency of the sight has rendered her callous to its usual influence on the feelings. Being one morning at her house, while sitting in conversation, we suddenly heard the loud cries of a negro smarting under the whip. Mrs. expressed surprise on observing me shudder at his shrieks, and you will believe that I was in utter astonishment to find her treat his sufferings as a matter of amusement ... she exclaimed with a broad smile, “Aha, it will do him good, a little wholesome flagellation will refresh him; it will sober him; it will open his skin and make him alert. . . ."

But Pinckard has another passage on the slaves which deserves to be quoted since it shows that in spite of cruelty and suffering the Negroes were allowed their times of celebration. Here is his description of a dance given for the slaves by the Governor at Government House.

'At the Governor's a dance and fête were given in the evening to the slaves, and we were extremely delighted to see how much they enjoyed themselves. They assembled in the great hall of the government-house, having a violin, with the fife and drum for their band. Both negroes and mulattoes danced with a degree of animation and pleasure, which bespoke them free from care. Until now I had only seen the slaves perform the rude African dance upon the open green, and had not imagined them to be capable of moving with such order as they here exhibited in regular country dances. Even minuets were led down, in precise and stately step, and with a degree of ease and gracefulness of movement which are seldom witnessed among the common people of England.'

During this second period of British occupation from 1796 to 1802 the Colony advanced considerably. Trade and population increased, Stabroek was improved, libraries were opened, roads and bridges and canals built, while the coastal reclamation begun by the Dutch was continued. Where the Dutch had plodded along the British drove hard. But, it seemed, no stability could be allowed to Guiana. At the Peace of Amiens

in 1802 she was returned to Dutch sovereignty and the unfortunate English settlers were given three years to wind up their affairs and leave. But the Peace of Amiens was in reality a truce, and a year after it was signed war had broken out again, and Britain could no longer respect Holland's neutrality. In September Hood arrived at the mouth of the Demerara and demanded the surrender of the Colony. It was handed over without fighting, and was never again to be restored to Holland. The new owners continued their interrupted work, building schools and extending the cultivated land in Demerara down to the Bonasika Creek. The satisfaction of the planters was short-lived; in 1807 Fox carried his Bill for the abolition of the slave trade and the planters claimed that this would be disastrous for them. At first they bought slaves illegally and then began what can only be described as a systematic breeding of slaves-for Britain had taken the passing of the Bill so seriously that she spent £20 million in rescuing a total of 43,665 slaves on the high seas.1 Meanwhile the movement for the total abolition of slavery was gaining ground in Britain, and the planters warned the Government that its abolition would destroy the West Indies sugar trade.

In taking over the Colony Britain had given an assurance that most of the 'laws and usages of the Colony' should be maintained and this was largely done, although under Governors Carmichael and Murray, between 1812 and 1822, the ideas of the Dutch were gradually eliminated. Yet even today the Dutch system of land tenure and the use of 'transports' in the buying and selling of land is continued; and it was not until 1917 that the English Common Law was substituted for a modified form of Roman-Dutch law.

In 1823 Buxton and Canning attempted legislation to ameliorate the conditions of slavery and the resulting euphoria among the slaves in Guiana brought about the action of a certain missionary named John Smith, who has become one of the heroes of the Guianese under the name of 'Martyr Smith'. Guianese with a knowledge of the history of their country revile the name of Governor John Murray, whom a local historian has called a sadist and a 'perfect Crown Colony Crassus whom liberal-minded British Guianese examine in a spirit of 1 Or £450 per capita.

zoological curiosity'. When John and Jane Smith arrived in the Colony Murray threatened to expel them if they tried to teach the slaves to read and write. After the slave insurrection of 1823 Murray and the planters saw in the humane activities of the Smiths an attitude to slavery which would be ruinous to them. The Smiths were to become scapegoats and examples. John Smith was arrested and charged with promoting discontent among the slaves and inciting them to break out in revolt. He was accused of giving advice to the leaders of the insurrection on the method of their uprising. His speech of defence is an odd document. He begins by insisting that throughout his years in the Colony he has kept to his instructions from the London Missionary Society to have nothing to do with the temporal conditions of the slaves. He points out that he moved his chapel away from the plantation so that he might not have to see how his flock lived. One by one he denies the charges, only admitting his aversion to slavery, believing it unnecessary for him to justify himself in this. There is a certain weakness in his speech; had he admitted all and taken this great opportunity to denounce the cruelty of the system he might have deserved the title of Martyr better. He was sentenced to be hanged, but died in gaol before knowing that a reprieve had been granted him.

The Act of Abolition in 1833 was passed and the £50 for each slave which was offered to the planters as compensation did little to mitigate the ruin which faced most of the planters. John Gladstone, W. E. Gladstone's father, had made a fortune in Demerara (and won a reputation as a stern slave-master) and he was one of the many planters who faced ruin. The slaves were not given complete freedom, but bound to their masters for three-quarters of each day for a period of seven years. These seven transitional years were years of break-up on the old plantations, and the ex-slaves, as a natural result of their semifreedom, refused to work as they had once worked and prepared to leave the plantations as soon as they could. Others used their savings to join together and buy plantations which were now coming on the market at peppercorn prices. The first of these communal settlements was named after Buxton, the abolitionist, and the modern village of Buxton is celebrated in British Guiana for producing an individualistic type of person

who still treats white men with extreme suspicion. 'Never let the sun go down on a white man' is a Buxton saying, meaning that if you don't see him off your property he will be up to some mischief.

In 1837 John Gladstone suggested that in view of the drift of the Africans from the plantations indentured labourers from India should be brought over, and he was given permission to bring 'Coolies' for his two plantations. In this way began one of the great social changes of the Colony.

Indentured Labour

The first indentured labourers were largely drawn from the hill areas of southern India, and were recruited by agents who proved to be neither trustworthy nor efficient. The Coolies were under indenture for five years and for the first part of their term were housed and given rations, but were not paid. As the scheme grew in size the planters attempted to make a return to the methods of slavery and the Governor was forced to prosecute some of them for the maltreatment of their Coolies. In 1843, at the end of the first period of indenture, many decided to return to India. The Governor reported that when he interviewed those leaving he found that all had saved a little money and many said that they would like to return to Guiana if they were allowed to bring their wives and families with them. The anti-slavery party in Britain exposed the weaknesses of the system and it was suspended. Now desperate, the planters adopted a form of metoyage by which the plantations were divided into strips amongst the labourers and the sugar yield was divided between the landlord and the tenant. But this failed and immigrant labour from India, Portugal (mainly Madeira) and China was permitted again, this time under Government control, with a Government subsidy of £75,000. The Portuguese immigrants soon found that the hard work of cane cutting in a tropical climate was too much for them and they withdrew from the plantations. The sugar crop was at this time now principally maintained by the 8,000 Indian labourers and it has been said that ‘humanly speaking, the Indians have been the salvation of the Colony, for by the continuous stream

of labour that they had afforded, she has risen phoenix-like from the prostration and ruin into which she had sunk'.

This ruin was much aggravated by the Sugar Act of 1846 which brought about a new levelling of the differential duty on sugar. The price of sugar fell in competition with that produced by slave-owning countries such as Cuba, and labour was demanding higher wages. The decade beginning in 1840 saw the final dissolution of the old plantocracy, whose remaining plantations were being bought up by small syndicates who intended to re-group them into large and efficient units when the time was propitious.

Labour in those days, as now, was seasonal and at times the labourers suffered. Their cause was taken up by the AgentGeneral for Immigration, James Crosby, who was appointed in 1856, and fought for the Coolies' rights in great and small matters. He was loved by the Indians and until a few decades ago all holders of his post were known among the Indians as 'Krasbis'.

The Last Century

The history of British Guiana during the past century has been linked intimately with the history of sugar. The early settlers had grown coffee, cotton and other crops with success, but with the ending of the plantocracy all was concentrated on sugar and as its price fluctuated on the world market so the people of Guiana prospered or suffered. Sugar fell in price from the mid-seventies till the end of the century. A Royal Commission investigating conditions in the West Indies generally criticized the sugar interests who 'have seldom turned their attention to any other cultivation except when the sugar industry ceased to be profitable'. But sugar recovered and the First World War brought consolidation to a time of fair prosperity, but depression returned during most of the 'twenties and the early 'thirties.

The immigrant labourers had brought about an alternative crop to sugar-rice. It was their staple food and they grew it on land not used by the sugar plantations—often badly drained land on which they might take a chance that the crop would succeed. As the rice-lands extended so the labourers found they

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