Method of Controlling Kidnapped Slaves

Method of Controlling Kidnapped Slaves Slaves and Slave Owners American History African American History Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs

This drawing, created by Lt. Henry Hand of the British Navy, circa 1858, is based on his personal observations of incidents occuring after the abolition of the slave trade.

The caption reads:

A French Free Emigrant on his Way to the Barracoon of M. Regis.

Lt. Hand was stationed onboard the HMS Vesuvius. While cruising along the West African coast, he took a small vessel and went ashore.  While ashore, he saw how "the 'French Free Emigrants' are conveyed to the Barracoons."

Enclosing his drawing with a letter, which he wrote to his commanding officer on 8 September 1858, Hand also provided more details:

…you will observe, sir, by the manner in which he is made fast to the end of a pole that there is little probability of his being permitted to change his mind without incurring considerable risk of breaking his neck …

This observation is significant because the tethered person was supposed to be “free.” 

Captains of French ships purchased slaves, from African locals, then declared them “free.”  These “free” people were then shipped to French-owned islands in the Caribbean to serve as indentured servants. 

The period of indenture was usually six years. 

Lt. Hand was reporting this because, among other things, the British government found this practice to be another form of illegal slave trading. See Freedom and Indentured Labor in the French Caribbean, 1949-1900, by David Northrup, included in David Eltis, ed., Coerced and Free Migrations:  Global Perspectives (Sanford University Press, 2002, at pages 204-28).

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

The original of this image is maintained in London:  Public Record Office, London (FO 84/1070). 

Online, courtesy "Slavery Images" sponsored by Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library; compiled by Jerome Handler and Michael Tuite.  Image Reference:  PRO-4.


Public Domain


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"Method of Controlling Kidnapped Slaves" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 22, 2020.
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