“Negro Generosity” in 1790 Jamaica

Jamaica, Feb. 5, 1790

The following are recent instances of negro generosity, notwithstanding we are too apt to consider them as mere stupid beasts of burden:

An estate under a heavy mortgage was sold from its owner, who soon after died, leaving a widow, a son, and two daughters in very distressed circumstances. The negroes (having been formerly well treated) had a meeting, and agreed to pay an annuity of half a bit a week, each, for the support of their old master’s family. Seeing the son, soon after, passing through the plantation in a ragged coat, they assembled again, and made up a purse of three pounds (equal to nine dollars) with which they bought cloth and linen to refit him. This was an extra bounty, not interfering with the stipend, which they continue to pay regularly.

Another planter was sued for a very considerable amount, in consequence of several protested bills. Judgment was obtained, and writs issued against the property, when the negroes assembled before the door with a large sum of money tied up in bags made of old stockings, and said, if that was insufficient, hey would try to borrow as much more from their friends and relations.

These instances prove, that negroes are not brutish in their nature, and by no means divested of the finer feelings.

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution—until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century.

Source: The Pennsylvania Gazette, March 17, 1790

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