Colonel Jack Advocates Kindness To The Slaves
From 'The Life of Colonel Jack ' by Daniel Defoe (1724)

Now I began indeed to see that the cruelty so much talked of, used in Virginia and Barbados, and other colonies, in whipping the negro slaves, was not so much owing to the tyranny and passion, and cruelty of the English as had been reported; the English not being accounted to be of a cruel disposition, and really are not so; but that it is owing to the brutality and obstinate temper of the negroes, who cannot be managed by kindness and courtesy, but must be ruled with a rod of iron, beaten with scorpions, as the Scripture calls it, and must be used as they do use them, or they would rise and murder all their masters; which, their numbers considered, would not be hard for them to do, if they had arms and ammunition suitable to the rage and cruelty of their nature.

But I began to see at the same time that this brutal temper of the negroes was not rightly managed; that they did not take the best course with them to make them sensible, either of mercy or punishment; and it was evident to me that even the worst of those tempers might be brought to a compliance, without the lash, or at least without so much of it as they generally inflicted.

Our master was really a man of humanity himself, and was sometimes so full of tenderness that he would forbid the severities of his overseers and stewards; but he saw the necessity of it, and was obliged at last to leave it to the discretion of his upper servants; yet he would often bid them be merciful; and bid them consider the difference of the constitution of the bodies of the negroes; some being less able to bear the tortures of their punishment than others, and some of them less obstinate too than others.

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