The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 36, Issue 1

Article 1
Three Slaveholders in the Antilles: Saint-Domingue, Martinique and Jamaica

Robert Forster


Based on the correspondence and diaries of three slaveholders in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this article identifies the differences in the attitudes and behaviour of each planter towards his slaves in response to structural constraints or norms. These include political, administrative, civic and religious institutions, but also the economic system, social expectations and cultural norms. The author concludes that, although one can detect degrees of harshness in the treatment of field labourers, sexual exploitation seems constant and intractable in all three cases.