Prize Negroes in Cape Town and the Atlantic Abolitionism

Jorge Felipe Gonzalez             

Introduction[1]

In 1809, the British brig Racehorse captured the French sloop Le Victor on its way from St. Denis to Port Louis. At that point, Great Britain was at war with France as one of the many episodes of the Napoleonic conflicts. On the captured vessel, the captors found four slaves. One of them, Jean Elle, was native of the isle of Bourbon (Reunion) and around twenty-four years old. The Act of Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1808 stipulated that those slaves on board of seized vessels should be placed under the terms of apprenticeship for a period not exceeding fourteen years.[2] Therefore, Jean Elle was the object of a legal process in the Vice-Admiralty Court of Cape Town in January 1810. During the trial, Jean identified himself as a free man, although the first mate of the captured ship swore that he was just a common slave and under that condition he had served on the ship. After deliberations, the court confiscated the French vessel and sent the four African slaves to Charles Blair, the Collector of Customs in Cape Town.

By law, the Collector of Customs was the person in charge of distributing the Prize Negroes among the city neighbors. Jean served first under the tutelage of a Dutch individual, but, after several complaints of ill-treatment, he was reassigned to the merchant Samuel Murray in March 1810. After Samuel Murray died in August 1823, Jean Elle worked for Mr. Lancelot Cook. The new ‘consignee’ was, if we believe in the sources, pleased for having Jean with him. Jean, he said, was a skilled cook. In November 1823, the Collector of Customs sent an order addressed to Lancelot Cook to deliver up Jean in the hands of a new individual. This new consignee turned out to be a friend of the Collector of Customs, and the possible fraud did not escape Lancelot Cook’s attention, who protested and refused to give Jean. When Cook met in person with Mr. Blair to talk about the order, the discussion took a violent turn. The Collector of Custom threatened him with “blowing his brain out,” not before calling him “a damned son of a bitch.” The offended Lancelot Cook submitted a memorial to the Lords of the Treasury and to the Governor of Cape Town claiming justice and denouncing Charles Blair for corruption on the “Prize Slaves” distribution. Once the fiscal of the colony, Daniel Denyssen knew about the memorial, he instituted a criminal prosecution for a libel against Cook, his professional adviser, and the amanuensis. After a short legal process, the authorities released them.

The intimidation had any effect. In April 1824, Cook left Cape Town in direction to England to continue with the legal complaint. As a result, a Commission of Inquiry traveled to South Africa to examine the case and to get information respecting the disposal and treatment of Prize Negroes in the colony. The outcomes of the investigation corroborated Cook words. Mr. Blair had used his power to regulate the Prize Negros’ distribution for private purposes. The inquiry commission found that Mr. Blair consigned the Prizes Negros to important merchants of the city, many of them persons to whom he was indebted or were his friends. The Collector also kept the Prize Negroes in servitude beyond the legal period of apprenticeship.  The investigation ended with the removal of Charles Blair from his position in 1826.[3]

Jean Elle’s case, the behavior of the Collector of Customs, and Lancelot Cook’s reaction, are an open window to study the insertion of the community of Prizes Negroes in the slave society of Cape Town after 1808. The report offers a glimpse on the fate of indentured apprentices in the city and the institutional frame that straddled them. Although the inquiry was mostly regarding possible acts of corruption, the final document overflowed the original aim. The report shows new social tensions in the Cape such as the contradictions between the Metropole and the colony in relation to the topic of the slave trade, the conflicts between the local government and leading neighbors, and the political mismanagements of colonial authorities.

This paper focuses on the community of Prizes Negros in Cape Town between 1808 and 1834. According to the historian R.L. Watson, there were two distinctive phases. The first period started in 1808 and lasted until the end of the Napoleonic war when it took place the first peak of slave ships’ captures, mainly French. The second moment began in 1839 when new groups of Prize Negros landed in Cape Town due to the slave trade prosecution against Portuguese/Brazilian ships. After 1839, the Vice-Admiralty Court condemned seventy-four slave ships and, in 1843, the legal work continued with the Anglo-Portuguese Mixed Commission Court in the city.[4] This paper will focus on the period between 1808 and 1834.

By studying the insertion of this new social group into the body of the colonial slave society in Cape Town, I aim to analyze the internal tensions and contradictions of the abolitionist narrative in the backdrop of the Atlantic world. The Prize Negroes were not a peculiarity of the Cape colony. They existed, first that anywhere else, in Freetown, under the name of “recaptives” or “liberated Africans”. Prize Negroes shared a similar experience with their counterparts “liberated Africans” in other places in the Atlantic world. They were over-exploited. The consignees tried to maximize the profits and to extend the period of possession beyond the deadline through illegal methods. Their distribution was the motive of corruption among colonial officers. The authorities used them for particular purposes such as to pay their own bills, or to produce for their own benefits. The colonial State used them for public works that, often, hid private investments. In many senses, some authors have argued, the life of these indentured apprentices was worse than the actual slaves.

Nevertheless, Liberated Africans were the center of attention of the abolitionists in London who considered them, metaphorically, their offspring.  They supposed to be the showcase of the slave trade prosecution in the Atlantic world; the living outcome of the large budget that the British Parliament destined to the campaign for the ending of the human traffic. To a large degree, this international interest explains why they had greater levels of protection than other African slaves in America or in Africa. If a liberated African knew about the existence of legal mechanisms, had people able to help them, possessed the resources and the right language to fight for their rights; he or she could make use of the abolitionist channels. No other community of Africans in the Atlantic world produced so many documents during the 19th century.

The bibliography on “Prize Negroes” is not abundant. The historian Christopher Saunders could be pointed out as the main academic authority in the study of these indentured apprentices. He has written the most groundbreaking article about this topic.[5] In 2009, R.L. Watson continued Sanders’ research about the Prize Negroes and the development of racial attitudes in the Cape Colony.[6]  These texts have offered significant information about the “Prize Negroes” by referencing primary sources from archives in South Africa, London, and historical newspapers. The approach to this subject focused mainly on Cape Town. But, as we know, ‘liberated Africans’ existed in other places in the Atlantic world. They shared similar experiences in the societies where they lived and colonial officials, planters, and merchants reacted in the similar ways. The goal of this paper is to place the Cape Town community of Prize Negroes in an Atlantic context. By doing this, I pursue to show the tensions of the abolitionist discourse/Praxis in the Atlantic slave societies. This goal implies a transnational and comparative approach. I will relate Cape Town to other spaces such as Havana, Rio de Janeiro, and Freetown.

The Slave Trade in Cape Town and the origin of the “Prize Negroes”

In 1808, the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act took effect in England and its colonies. According to the letter of the law, every slave “rescued” from ships should be apprenticed for a period up to fourteen years in the nearest British colony to the place of capture.  The theoretical intention of this tutelage was to instruct these “liberated Africans” about the social rules of the hosting societies, the language, some Christian values, and the protestant ethic of work.  The process of adjudication was similar in each British colony. The Royal navy patrolled the coasts to capture the ships engaged in the illegal commerce.[7] When a slave ship was seized, the captor transported it to the closest Vice-Admiralty court for trial. The law, at least in 1808, included only the subjects of Great Britain, but because the Napoleonic wars, the British squadron captured slave vessels from neutral or ally nations such as Portugal, the US, Spain, or Holland.

The Royal Navy seized slave ships on both sides of the ocean. They came from dissimilar regions in Africa at the time of capture. This variety of port of embarkations resulted in a diverse geographic origin of the liberated Africans along the Atlantic. They covered a broad spectrum of ethnicities and linguistic groups. Freetown received most of them, which transformed the city in an ethnic melting pot.[8] Unlike Sierra Leone, in Cape Town the “Prize Negroes” had a quite homogenous origin. The Royal Navy stationed in the Cape of Good Hope captured slave ships mainly from Southeastern Africa. A list of condemned vessels in Cape Town showed that slave ships followed the itinerary of the Southeastern Indian Ocean trade to the Americas during the nineteenth century: mainly from Madagascar and Mozambique to Brazil and, in second place, to Cuba.[9]  While in the Americas, liberated Africans –and slaves in general- were from disparate places in Africa; in Cape Town they came mainly from Southeastern coasts.

The Prize Negroes’ in Cape Town was the continuation of an earlier history of slave trade the Cape of Good Hope. The South African city owes its origins to the interest of the Dutch East Company (VOC) in establishing a way-station for ships. When a slave vessel was traveling in direction to the Americas from Madagascar or Mozambique, it often stopped for provisions in Table Bay or Robben Island and there, they sold part of their cargo. Since the 17th century, slaves in Cape Town were primarily from the East African Coast. [10]  During the whole slave trade period (until 1860), around 909 slave ships transported slaves from Southeastern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands to the New World. Of them, 661 ships disembarked their cargoes in Brazil and 523 during the nineteenth century.[11]

At the end of the eighteenth century, the French slave trade from East Africa rose, mainly because the growing of the sugar production in Haiti. However, the golden age of the French slave trade was short. The Haitian revolution and the European wars destabilized the Gaul external commerce. In February 1793, the revolutionary France –who had established the pro-French Batavian Republic in the Netherlands- declared war on Great Britain.  In 1795, English forces occupied the Cape Colony and during these years they captured some French ships with slaves on board. This is the origin of the first Prize Slaves in Cape Town.

In 1799, British vessels captured two French vessels -La Rose and La Africano-. The Prize slaves were sold in the city.[12]  During the Dutch Batavian Administration (1803-1806) and the first years of the second British occupation, and before 1808, the importation of slaves in the Cape increased their figures, which is consistent with the Atlantic slave trade trends during its last years of the legality of this commerce.[13] In 1806 the British reoccupied the Cape and once again, because the war, new groups of Prize Slaves arrived to the colony.

Image 1: Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser, March 10, 1801.

prizeslaves sale 1801

Another source for prize slaves before 1808 came from ships condemned under accusations of smuggling. Also, it happened often that the Vice-Admiralty Court adjudicated vessels based on dubious accusations. That was the case of the Ann, a Rhode Island slave vessel that was transporting its cargo to Montevideo. The Vice-Admiralty Court confiscated it for contravening the Act of Congress of 1794 that prohibited US citizens from engaging in foreign human traffic.[14] British authorities did not have any right to apply a domestic US law in British soil. The slaves were sold by auction in the city and the Collector of Customs was in charge of the business. Unlike the next generation of Prizes Negros after 1808, these were just slaves.

Slave ships’ captors received, according to the Abolition Act, juicy rewards that[15] This stimulated the Royal Navy to capture many vessels as possible. When the Parliament passed the Abolition Act, Portugal was the major flag crossing the Cape of Good Hope with slaves. During the first months of 1808, the British navy seized five Portuguese vessels carrying a total cargo of 1133 slaves. Simultaneously, the news of Lisbon occupation by Napoleonic forces, and the alliance between Portugal and Great Britain arrived in the Cape. As a consequence, the authorities released the captured slave ships anchored in Table Bay.[16] In 1810, the “Treaty of Alliance and Friendship” between both crowns, recognized the Portuguese right to trade in slaves south of the equator. Portuguese slave ships could stop at Table Bay to refresh and acquire supplies to continue their voyages to Brazil. Allowing slave ships to anchor in Table Bay was not only incoherent with the Abolitionist politic in Great Britain, but also stimulated the slave smuggling in Cape Town. It also deprived the Royal Navy of major sources of revenue. If we take for certain the words of the Admiral Stopford, the stay of the ships in the harbor also harmed the public health:

Serious injury –he wrote to his superiors from Table Bay on January 1812- is also likely to rise to the inhabitants of this Colony by these Slave Ships making a practice of stopping here. Two of the vessels now in Table Bay have the Small-pox on board; and though every precaution is taken to prevent communication with the shore, yet it is very possible to introduce the contagion, by means of the boats which supply the ships with water.[17]

The political alliance and the legal right of Portuguese vessels for trading in slaves via Cape Town did not stop the Royal Navy and the Vice-Admiralty Court for adjudicating them. They adopted a similar legal strategy used in Freetown to condemn Spanish and Portuguese ships. The treaty had allowed Portugal to trade slaves, but in Portuguese vessel only, with a Portuguese crew, and with a Portuguese port of destination; if the court proved that the vessel had a dubious national origin, it could be condemned. Although, the law’s interpretation was broad; most times the Portuguese flag was hiding actual US investors.[18] Take the case of the ship “Restaurador.” The Vice-Admiralty Court condemned this slaver because it had been built in the US.[19] Using this legal strategy, other Portuguese vessels ended being sold by auction in the Cape and the slaves consigned as apprentices.[20] On 27 November 1812, the authorities prohibited the anchorage of Portuguese slave ships in Table Bay unless in case of extreme circumstances. In July 1817, Portugal signed a treaty with Great Britain to suppress the commerce in human beings.[21] There was not more Portuguese slave ships condemned until 1839, except for the case of the vessel the Pacquet Real that shipwrecked in Table Bay in 1818 which slaves were distributed in Cape Town as Prize Negroes.

Image 3: Skeleton of a Prize Negro from the Portuguese ship Pacquet Real, 1818 (Taken from: Worden, Nigel; Elizabeth Van Heyningen; and Vivian Bickford Smith. “Cape Town: The Making of a City. An Illustrated Social History,” David Philip Publishers, 1998, p. 109)[22]

skeleton

The Prize Negroes

The group of “Prize Negroes” had the same origin than their predecessors the Prize slaves. They resulted from captures by the British Royal Navy. The main difference is implicit in the term: the “Prize Negroes” were neither slave nor free. Between 1808 and December 1816, the Vice-Admiralty Court at the Cape condemned twenty-seven ships. The Collector of Customs indentured over 3,400 slaves as apprentices.[23] To be granted with “Prize Negroes,” the neighbors of the Cape should apply and sign their names in a list held by the Collector.[24] The list was long. Ideally, the applicants should have special reasons for having Prize Negroes, and the law should prioritize neighbors with clear social necessities such as widows. Most important, the “Prize Negroes” should serve their time of consignment in public institutions such as hospitals or orphanages, or public works such as the construction labors. The army and the navy enlisted the fittest. Consignees should provide the apprentices with livelihood, clothes, and instruction and they could not be ill-treated or sold.

In 1813, the Collector of Customs, Mr. Charles Blair, consigned the Prize Negro Myndola to the merchant R. Desacotaix. The “contract” offers valuable information about the duties of the consignee with the apprentice. According to the document, the “tutor” should instruct Myndola to be a useful employee and a faithful Christian. He could not assign the Prize Negro to any other person, or carry him abroad without previous license of the Governor. “From time to time,” the apprentices should be brought for inspection of their health conditions:

“(…) The said Desacote shall provide the said apprentice with sufficient and comfortable food, clothing, and other necessaries during the said stipulated time of service, and not treat the said apprentice with hardship or severity.”[25]

Consignees treated the Prize Negros as actual slaves. In fact, they overexploited them, under the principle of maximizing the period of consignment. During the investigation undertook against the Collector of Customs, some witnesses testified about the condition of the Prize Negroes in comparison with the slaves. “They have not the privilege of a manumitted slave –J.B. Hoffman pointed out- (…) they are obliged to find a master with whom they make a contract; they cannot take a house, as a manumitted slave may do.”[26] “Precisely –Thomas Thwaits continued-; if there is a difference between them, I think that it is in favor of the slaves, from the regard the master feel for them, as their property.”[27]

Although most of “Prize Negroes” lived in Cape Town, a group of them ended their lives in places such as Rondebosch, Wynber, and Groenkloof. Living in the city was much better than in the wine field in the countryside. The investigation against Blair showed how common the ill-treatment of Prize Negroes was. Dixon, a neighbor in Cape Town, beat and flogged their Prize Negroes in the “most unmercifully” way with a broomstick.[28] The apprentice W. Cousins testified in front of the Commission of inquiry against the Collector of Customs that:

“Mr. Blair is so very passionate, that he whips and flogs all the Prize Negroes in his service in a most cruel manner, which was the reason he the deponent was determined not to continue in his service.”[29]

Malamo, another Prize Negro, stated that his consignee, Mr. Blair, had flogged him “with a samtock (sic), because the candle was not fixed properly in the lamp.”[30] The Collector and many other consignees in the city violated in different manners the laws regarding the “Prize Negroes.” In 1813, for instance, the fiscal Daniel Dennijson wrote a letter to the Governor denouncing that some “Prize Negroes” were not baptized by their consignees:

“Sir! There are in this colony a sort of servant, not unlike the Hottentots, who hire themselves into the service of the inhabitants, but to whom the regulations proscribed respecting said Hottentots by the Proclamation of the 1st November 1809 does not extend, I mean the emancipated slaves and other free blacks who have not been baptized or been confirmed in the Christian religion, and among those are also Prize slaves or Apprentices.”[31]

Cape Town’s censuses listed “Prize Negros” as apprentices. In 1819, there were 1,373 of them living in the Cape (961 male and 412 female) and in 1821 the number was about 1,369 (918 male and 451 female). In 1821, it was met the first fourteen years of apprenticeship. Cynical voices suggested ingenious methods to keep them in bondage:

“They may be required to bind themselves in annual service, but allowed to seek masters for themselves, in the first instance; subject to be treated as vagabonds if they remain out of service or employment, and with no visible means of livelihood; and liable, therefore, as the penalty of their vagrancy, to be articled anew, for a limited term, to a master selected by the magistrate.”[32]

Authorities applied vagrancy laws against some of the “Prize Negroes” after their liberation. To extend the consignment period, the governor, Charles Somerset, passed an ordinance in 1823 that took away the children under the age of 18 years from the hands of their mothers. The law stated that those “born during the Apprenticeship of their mothers, shall, by contract before the competent authority, be placed until they shall have attained their 18 year of age, under the charge and care of the Masters or Mistresses to whom the mother was last engaged.”[33] The method restricted the access of female Prize Negroes to their freedom. They authorities knew that these women would not abandon their children. The first fourteen years of consignment ended in 1822. To announce it, the Government listed in the newspaper the names of the “Prize Negros” and their respective consignees (See Image No. 4). Those in the lists were free. During the 1930s the first group of “Prize Negroes” had been liberated.

Image 3: Public notification of apprenticeship expiration: Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser, April, 26, 1823.

elle emancipationCape Town was not an isolated case of ill-treatment and violation of domestic laws regarding the ‘liberated Africans.’ The consignees in Freetown, for instance, tried to maximize the time of apprenticeship, and as a consequence, the number of complaints by the liberated Africans was noticeable.[34] In Barbados, Bahamas, Tortola, Jamaica, or Mauritius, the conditions of distributions and treatment of the slaves were not much different.[35] Unlike the British Colonies, Cuba and Brazil had liberated Africans after the treaty with England in 1817 abolishing the slave trade in both countries. As a result, Mixed Commission Courts opened their doors in Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Surinam, and Freetown in 1819. British officials and members of the other country signing the treaty integrated these international courts. Thus, for example, if a Portuguese ship was captured in Africa, the captor transported it to Freetown or to the nearest Anglo-Portuguese Mixed Commission. If the capture took place in American waters, the vessel was judged in Rio de Janeiro. Members of the Mixed Commissions from both sides of the Oceans had an active communication among them. These transnational networks support the main argument of the scholar Jenny Martinez that these courts constitute the precedent of the international laws of human rights.[36]

Between 1821 and 1865, Brazil had, according to some studies, around 13,610 “emancipados,” while Cuba reached the number of 31,952.[37]  The rate of mortality was even higher among the liberated Africans than among the slaves.  The figures in Cape Town are lower. In 1824, 956 Prize Negroes lived in the colony and a census listed in 1827 showed that the population of Cape Town was 18,296 individuals, of whom 8,805 were whites, 3,269 “free blacks,” and 6 222 slaves. The differences between Cape Town and other slaves’ societies in the Atlantic World were not only about numbers. They suffered different dynamics in relation to the slavery during the same period. This implied, as we will see, dissimilar reactions regarding the accommodation of the “apprentices.”

The “Prizes Negroes” came to Cape Town when the slave trade was being abolished. This situation caused that these captives were very convenient for the planters and merchants in the city. It was a substitute of labor force along with the Khoikhoi, Bastaard-Hottentoten, and convicts. Prizes Negroes ameliorated, in fact, the negative impact of the abolition in the production.[38] Between 1808 and 1823 slaves dropped from 40 per cent to 29 per cent of the total of the colonial population. At the same time, the prize of the slaves rose as they became more valuable in the farming district.[39]

Unlike Cape Town, in Rio de Janeiro and Havana, the local reaction was contrary to the “emancipados.” First, because they resulted from the prosecution of the slave trade and this was not a comfortable topic for planters, merchants, and colonial authorities in the Americas. Second, they interpreted the legal condition of the “emancipados” as a wrong example for the slaves and they were not wrong. British officials knew that the “emancipados” could be a Trojan horse and they did not doubt to use them in their secret campaigns to spread abolitionist ideals.[40] These socio-political concerns did not mean that neighbors in each city did not profit from the liberated Africans in the same manner that in Cape Town.

“Prize Negroes” resisted to be indentured in Cape Town using similar strategies than in other slave societies in the Atlantic World. Insubordinations, running away, or contesting the social order in everyday actions are some of the main examples. The “Cape Town Gazette” listed the cases of “Prize Slaves” running away from their consignees.[41] Frequently, Prize Negroes used the legal apparatus to present charges against their consignees for ill-treatment.[42] Another example of resistance noticed by historian was the religious conversion to Islam among Prize Slaves. More than a half of “Prize Negroes” in 1824, according to Iman Muding, had converted to Islamism.[43] The reasons were mainly practical. According to John E. Mason:

Converts to Islam who were slaves and Prize Negroes sought and found membership in a community distinct from that of their masters. In doing so, they established a degree of cultural autonomy and diminished their social marginality.[44]

In 1826, the Fiscal in Cape Town cited “the frequent intercourse with Mahomedan (sic) slaves as the reason Prize Negroes were becoming Muslim in large numbers.”[45] The Commissioners investigating the Collector of Customs reported that the “great majority” of Prize Negroes were Muslim.[46] The particularity of Muslim conversion among these indentured apprentices would be a remarkable topic of research.

Although Prize Negroes were an opportune labor force for the dying slave society of the Cape, their introduction increased the racial and ethnic complexity in the city.[47] Some of them were released before 1834, increasing the free population, which in the long term could constitute a threat for the stability of the slavery as an institution. The Prize Negroes from this first period set a precedent in the legal frame of post-abolitionist societies. The concept of apprenticeship adopted during the four years after 1834 owed, in part, for the thirty years of experience with Prize Negroes. After 1838, the shortage of labor force was a problem when, once again, a new law passed in 1839 allowed the Royal Navy to capture Portuguese slave ships. The decision could not have been more convenient for some resident in the Cape. This is the time when the Brazilian slave trade with Mozambique and Madagascar was reaching unprecedented levels. Just in the year 1840, the Vice-Admiralty Court in Cape Town condemned twenty-one ships.[48] Two years later, 1,360 Prize Negroes arrived into the city from St. Helena.[49] The number of Prize Negroes increased over the following years until the release of the last group in the 1860s.

Conclusions:

Prize Negroes in Cape Town were resulted from an Atlantic abolitionist movement that began in 1808. The condition of apprenticeship was the legal method applied to those captives found on board of captured slave ships. They were part of a broader community. The “liberated Africans” existed in dissimilar places in the Atlantic World and in some regions in the Indian Ocean. Their lives’ conditions were similar in each place in terms of work and livelihood. They were the source of corruption in disparate places such as Rio de Janeiro, Suriname, or Mauritius. Nevertheless, the Cape colony’s case is different to other Atlantic slave societies in some aspects. While places like Cuba and Brazil, the slave trade and the slavery was growing, in Cape Town the slave trade finished in 1808, at least on paper, and the slavery in 1834/1838. While in Havana and Rio, the “emancipados” constituted a serious social problem and a bad example for the rest of the slaves, leading neighbors in the Cape were much than happy for receiving new indentures during the decline of the slavery. In every place they existed, they set the precedent for the legal status of indentured apprenticeship, which was very important in each post-abolitionist society.

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Thompson, A.O. “African Recaptives under Apprenticeship in the British West Indies 1807-1828,” Inmigrants and Minorities, 9 (1990), pp. 123-144.

Watson, R. L. “Prize Negroes and the Development of Racial Attitudes in the Cape Colony,” South African Historical Journal, 43 (Nov 2000), pp.138-61.

Dissertation:

Reidy, Michael Charles. “The Admission of Slaves and “Prize Slaves” into the Cape Colony, 1797-1818,” Master in Arts dissertation, University of Cape Town, 1997.

Primary Sources:

Bird, W.W. “State of the Cape of Good Hope in 1822,” London: John Murray, Albermale Street, 1823.

Steel, David. “The Ship Master’s Assistant, and Owner’s Manual,” London, 1821.

House of Commons. Parliamentary Papers Online. 1812-13 (41), Papers relating to the slave trade

“Memorial of Mr. Lancelot Cooke to the lords of the Treasury (of which a copy was presented to Lord Charles Somerset,) respecting the state of the prize slaves at the Cape of Good Hope; and, the report of the commissioners of inquiry into the truth of the statements and affidavits contained in that memorial, relative to the manner in which the collector, Mr. Blair, has been in the habit of disposing of the prize Slaves,” in: House of Commons, Parliamentary Papers Online, 1826-27 (42).

Cape Town Gazette and African Adevrtiser.

Digital sources

www.slavevoyages.org

www.african-origins.org

[1] This paper has been prepared for the purpose of fulfilling the requirements for the course HST 830, prof. Peter Alegi, Michigan State University (spring 2015).

[2] Steel, David. “The Ship Master’s Assistant, and Owner’s Manual,” p. 971.

[3] This description summarizes the “Memorial of Mr. Lancelot Cooke to the lords of the Treasury (of which a copy was presented to Lord Charles Somerset,) respecting the state of the prize slaves at the Cape of Good Hope; and, the report of the commissioners of inquiry into the truth of the statements and affidavits contained in that memorial, relative to the manner in which the collector, Mr. Blair, has been in the habit of disposing of the prize

Slaves,” in: House of Commons, Parliamentary Papers Online, 1826-27 (42).

[4] Watson, R.L. “Slave Emancipation and Racial Attitude in Nineteenth-Century South Africa,” p. 55.

[5] Saunders, Christopher. “Between Slavery and Freedom: The Importation of Prize Negroes to the Cape in the Aftermath of Emancipation,” Kronos, 9 (1984), pp. 36-43. (Ibid) “Liberated Africans in Cape Colony in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 18:2 (1985), pp. 223-239. (Ibid) “Education and Liberation: The South African College and Prize Negroes,” Cabo, 4 (1986), pp. 19-21. (Ibid) “Free, yet Slaves, Prize Negroes at the cape Revisited,” in Breaking the Chains: Slavery and its legacy in the nineteenth-century cape colony, Nigel Worden and Clifton Crais (eds.), Witwatersrand University Press, 1994, pp. 99-115.

[6] Watson, R. L. “Prize Negroes and the Development of Racial Attitudes in the Cape Colony,” South African Historical Journal, 43 (Nov 2000), pp.138-61.

[7] Edwards, Bernard. “Royal Navy versus the Slave Traders: Enforcing Abolition at Sea (1808-1898),” Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2007. Ward, W.E.F. “The Royal Navy and the Slavers. The Suppression of the Atlantic Slave Trade,” New York: Schocken Books, 1970.

[8] Northrup, David. “Becoming African: Identity Formation among liberated slaves in nineteenth-century Sierra Leone,” Slavery and Abolition, 27:1 (April, 2006), pp. 1-21.

[9] See list of captured ships and place of origins in: Reidy, Michael Charles. “The Admission of Slaves and “Prize Slaves” into the Cape Colony, 1797-1818,” MbA dissertation, University of Cape Town, 1997, pp. 114-30. See also: Virginia Bever Platt, “The East India Company and the Madagascar Slave Trade,” The William and Mary Quarterly, 26:4 (Oct., 1969), pp. 548-577.  Gwyn Campbell, “Madagascar and the Slave Trade, 1810-1895,” The Journal of African History, 22:2 (1981), pp. 203-27.

[10] Elphick, Richard; Hermann Giliomee; and James C. Armstrong. “The Shaping of South African society, 1652-1840,” Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press, 1989, Chapter 3: The slaves, 1652-1834, p. 112.

[11] www.slavevoyages.org , visited 04/27/2015.

[12] Reidy, Michael Charles. “The Admission of Slaves and “Prize Slaves” into the Cape Colony, 1797-1818,” p. 54. “Over 250 “prize slaves” were captured from French slave boats (the Oisseau (June 1799), Le Gleneur (December, 1800), La Raisonable (Sept, 1801), and Les Deux Amis (Late 1801)) by the Roya Navy during a flash point of Anglo-French hostility from 1799-1802)” p. 62

[13] Eltis, David. “Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade,” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987, pp 31-46.

[14] Harries, Patrick, “Slavery and Abolition: Cape Town and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” Slavery and Abolition, 34:4 (2013), p. 580.

[15] They received £40 for an adult male, £30 for a woman, and £10 for child less than 14 years.

[16] Harries, Patrick, “Slavery and Abolition: Cape Town and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” p. 580.

[17] House of Commons. Parliamentary Papers Online. 1812-13 (41), Papers relating to the slave trade, p. 41.

[18] Graden, Dale T. “Disease, Resistance, and Lies,” Chapter 1: US involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade to Cuba and Brazil,” pp. 12-39. Marques, Leonardo. “Slave Trading in a New World: The Strategies of North American Slave Traders in the Age of Abolition,” Journal of the Early Republic, 32:2 (Summer 2012), pp. 233-260.

[19] House of Commons. Parliamentary Papers Online. 1812-13 (41), Papers relating to the slave trade, pp. 73-77.

[20] This is the case of: Feliz Dia, Resolucao, Eneas , and the Providente.

[21] Poruguese ships had to travel with a passport signed by the king or the governor and these documents should reflect the port of origin and destination. British could detain and inspect these vessels.

[22] See also: Cox, Glenda and Judith Sealy. Investigating Identity and Life Histories: Isotopic Analysis and Historical Documentation of Slave Skeletons Found on the Cape Town Foreshore, South Africa,” International Journal of Historical Archaeology,  1:3 (September 1997), pp. 207-224.

[23]Christopher, “Liberated Africans in Cape Colony in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century,” p. 224.

[24] In House of Commons, Parliamentary Papers Online, 1826-27 (42). P. 145.

[25] Ibid, p. 125.

[26] Ibid, p.129.

[27] Ibid, p. 131.

[28] Ibid, p. 133.

[29] Ibid, p. 32.

[30] Ibid, p. 170.

[31] Shell, Robert Carl-Heinz. “Children of bondage: a social history of the slave society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1838,” p. 364.

[32] Bird, W.W. “State of The Cape of Good Hope in 1822,” p. 357.

[33] Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser, Vol. XVIII, No.906, May 24th, 1823.

[34] Fyfe, Christopher. “A History of Sierra Leone,” pp. 136-140. Susan Schwarz, “Reconstructing the Life Histories of Liberated Africans: Sierra Leone in  the Early Nineteenth Century,” History in Africa, 39 (2012), pp. 175–207.

[35] Thompson, A.O. “African Recaptives under Apprenticeship in the British West Indies 1807-1828,” Inmigrants and Minorities, 9 (1990), pp. 123-144. Carter, M.; V. Govinden; and S. Peerthum. “The Las Slaves: Liberated Africans in 19th Century Mauritus,” Mauritus: Center for Research on Indian Ocean Societies, 2003.

[36] Martinez, Jenny S. “The slave trade and the origins of international human rights law,” New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. See also: Leslie Bethell. “The Mixed Commissions for the Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century,” The Journal of African History,  7:1 (1966), pp. 79-93.

[37] Sofela, Babatunde. “Emancipados, Slave Societies in Brazil and Cuba,” New Jersey: African World Press, 2011.

[38] Ross, Cf. R. “The Last Years of the Slave Trade to the Cape Colony,” Slavery and Abolition, 9:3 (1988), pp. 209-219.

[39] Keegan, Timothy. “Colonial South Africa and the Origins of the Racial Order,” p. 53.

[40] Conrad, R. “Neither Slave nor Free: The Emancipados of Brazil, 1818-1866,” Hispanic American Historical Review, 53 (1973), pp. 50-70. Ines Roldan de Montaud. “Origen, evolucion y suppresion del grupo de negros emancipados en Cuba: 1817-1870,” Madrid : Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1982.

[41] Cape Town Gazette, June 16th, 1824.

[42] Saunders, Christopher.“Liberated Africans in Cape Colony in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 18:2 (1985), p. 228.

[43] Shell, Robert C-H. “From Rites to Rebellion: Islamic Conversion, Urbanization, and Ethnic Identities at the Cape of Good Hope,” Canadia Journal of History, 28 (Dec. 1993), p. 423.

[44] Mason, John Edwin. “Social Death and Resurrection: Slavery and Emancipation in South Africa,” Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003, p. 198.

[45] Saunders, Christopher “Free, yet Slaves, Prize Negroes at the cape Revisited,” in Breaking the Chains: Slavery and its legacy in the nineteenth-century cape colony, Nigel Worden and Clifton Crais (eds.), Witwatersrand University Press, 1994, pp. 112-113.

[46] PP XXI (42) p. 129

[47] Watson, R.L. “Prize Negroes and the Development of Racial Attitudes in the Cape Colony,” p. 140.

[48] Saunders, Christopher. “Liberated Africans in Cape Colony in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century,” p. 232.

[49] Ibid, p. 232.