intereting things I found in the genealogies of Barbados book...
- Will of Benjamin Bowen of St Michael, mariner, will dated 10 April
To housekeeper Henrietta Moore 150 (lires) with apparel and household
furniture. to son john N. Bowen10/- excluding him from having
anything to do with his estate of whatever kind. Certain slaves to
be manumitted, others devised to friends. Residue to nephews Samuel
N. Sober and John W. Sober and niece Mary Elizabeth Sober equally.
(p.512)excerpt from the will of Martha Bersheba Sober:
Codicil,26 April 1795. Lord Harewoods mortgage on Sober Castle
estate not quite liquidated all sugars must be consigned to Messrs.
Elliot Adams and Esq., Merch, Crutched Friars. If any Ex'or be dead
Nath Elliot, estate to Hope Elletson Sober for his life only, as I
believe his attachment to the Indian is not legal and his children
are an illegitimate injustice to the rest of my husbands family. His
handsome legacy from his grandmother and aunt. Ex'ors 100 Lire each.
p( 509)There is a will of John Sober, late of the p. of St. Peter in
the Island of Barbados, now of Little Burstea, co. Essex, Esq. Will
dated 12 Oct, 1751. He left to his father in law Nich. Wilcox from
his sugar plantations 200 negroes, 100 cattle, and 10 horses to be
kept on the estate, 60 acres to be planted in provisions, negroes to
be well fed,and clothed, and casks to be made.
I looked up terms to see what they meant. That was interesting too:
cacks and it means Trousers or underwear
codicil means an addition to the will
Manumitted: The motivations of slave owners in manumitting slaves
were complex. Three strands may be detected, though they cannot
always be disentangled from each other. Manumission may present
itself as a sentimental and benevolent gesture. One typical scenario
was the freeing in the master's will of a devoted servant after long
years of service. This kind of manumission generally was restricted
to slaves who had some degree of intimacy with their masters, such as
those serving as personal attendants, household servants, secretaries
and the like. In some cases, master and slave had had a long-term
sexual relationship, perhaps with tenderness felt on one or both
sides. Some manumitted slaves were the offspring of such sexual
encounters. While a trusted bailiff might be manumitted as a gesture
of gratitude, for those working as agricultural laborers or in
workshops there was little likelihood of being so noticed.
Such feelings of benevolence may have been of value to slave owners
themselves as it allowed them to focus on a 'humane component' in the
human traffic of slavery. A cynical view of testamentary manumission
might also add that the slave was only freed once the master could no
longer make use of them. In general it was also much more common for
old slaves to be given freedom, that is to say once they have reached
the age where they are beginning to be less useful. Legislation under
the early Roman empire puts limits on the number of slaves that could
be freed in wills (Fufio-Caninian law 2 BC), suggesting a pronounced
enthusiasm for the practice.
At the same time freeing slaves could also serve the pragmatic
interests of the owner. The prospect of manumission worked as an
incentive for slaves to be industrious and compliant, the light at
the end of the tunnel. Roman slaves were paid a wage (peculium) with
which they could save up to, in effect, buy themselves. Or to put it
from the master's point of view, they are providing the money to buy
a fresh and probably younger version of themselves. (In this light,
the peculium becomes an early example of a "sinking fund".)
Manumission contracts found in some abundance at Delphi specify in
detail the prerequisites for liberation. For instance, a female slave
will be freed once she has produced three children over the age of
two. That is to say, the slave is freed after having replaced
herself. Any slave could be manumitted for performing a heroic deed,
as in one slave was qualified for manumission after saving his
masters family from a burning house. Many slaves had to be released
in manumission through will, but this rarely worked.