Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/633

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WHITE SLAVES IN THE PLANTATIONS.

and the remainder marched to Durham and shipped for North America and the West Indies. How those who reached the former country were disposed of we learn from Hutchinson's Papers relative to the History of Massachusetts (Boston, 1769), in which is a letter from the Rev. John Cotton to Oliver Cromwell, as follows: "The Scots whom God delivered into your hands at Dunbar, and whereof sundry were sent hither, we have been desirous as we could to make their yoke easy. Such as were sick of the scurvy or other disease have not wanted physic and chirurgery. They have not been sold for slaves to perpetual servitude, but for six or seven or eight years, as we do our own; and he that bought the most of them, I hear, buildeth houses for them, for every four a house, and layeth some acres of ground thereto, which he giveth them as their own, requiring them three days in the week to work for him by turns and four days for themselves, and promiseth as soon as they can repay him the money he laid out for them, he will set them at liberty."

The lot of these unfortunate Scots was pitiable enough, but it seems they were treated with far more consideration than their follow-sufferers in the West Indies. In Massachusetts, too, to judge from the foregoing letter, the purchaser could terminate the period of slavery when he wished; but in the West Indies the banished were sentenced to specific terms of servitude which could not be shortened; and where no term was mentioned the slavery was, before the law of 1681 (33 Charles II), for life. There is still in existence in Jamaica a deed executed in the secretary's office in November, 1671, between Robert Nelson and Thomas Pitts, by which the former, in consideration of the sum of £10, conveys to the latter and his heirs forever one white servant named Stephen Ayliff.

As we have said, Englishmen were likewise banished, and a great many of the royalist party who took part in the abortive rising of Wagstaff and Penruddock at Salisbury in March, 1655, were sent to Jamaica and Barbadoes, with reference to whom Carlyle says: "A terrible Protector this. . . . He dislikes shedding blood, but is very apt to 'barbadoes' an unruly man—has sent hundreds and hundreds to Barbadoes, so that we have made an active verb of it, 'barbadoes you.'"

After the Restoration, Charles II did not scruple to use against his political opponents a weapon which they had employed so effectually against his party. The House of Commons which was returned by the general election of 1661 revived the old ecclesiastical policy and recommenced the persecution of Nonconformists, a series of penal statutes against them being passed and assented to by the king, in spite of the promises he had publicly made, both before and after his restoration, to grant liberty of conscience to