Catalogue description Reports that 'a serious insurection of the Slaves' ['Bussa's Rebellion'] took place on...

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Details of CO 28/85/4
Reference: CO 28/85/4

Reports that 'a serious insurection of the Slaves' ['Bussa's Rebellion'] took place on the night of 14 April, and that martial law has been proclaimed. Forwards various papers as follows:

  • report of Colonel Edward Codd, commanding officer of the troops;
  • manuscript copy of proclamation instructing military commanders receiving prisoners to proceed according to the 'Rules and Discipline of War in trying the said Slaves and carrying the Sentence thereof into immediate Execution', and also urging 'all Persons of every description to aid and assist in the discovery and apprehension of such Offenders';
  • manuscript copy of proclamation requiring owners of horses to make them available to the military authorities;
  • printed copy of proclamation urging the 'utmost humanity' to be shown not only to women and children 'who, from their condition, cannot be supposed to be aiding or assisting in such Crimes', but also towards all slaves found to have been involved through fear of the insurgents. Offers free pardon to all slaves not being principal instigators who give themselves up or return to their 'owners and occupations' within five days. [Damaged.];
  • printed copy of 'An Address to the Slave Population of the Island of Barbados' stating that 'the insurrection ... was principally caused by the misrepresentation and instigation of ill-disposed Persons, who have been endeavouring to induce a belief that the Slaves were actually made free, but that the Manumisions were improperly withheld from them ...'. The address goes on to state that slavery has always existed, to stress the continuing involvement of Africans in slave ownership and slave trading, and to claim that the enslaved old, infirm, sick and children are dependent on their masters. It urges all enslaved persons 'to return with cheerfulness to your Duties';
  • extract from an anonymous letter describing a military operation against the insurgents;
  • copy of the Barbados Mercury of 30 April 1816 with a brief account of the insurgency and copies of the proclamations and address described above;
  • copy of private letter from Lord Bathurst, secretary of state for the colonies, to the governor of Barbados referring to criticism of the conduct of the West India Regiment stationed at Barbados, and requesting a report.

No. 5, folios 8-26

Date: 1816 Apr 30
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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