A Descriptive Account Of The Island Of Jamaica Analysis

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Beckford, William. A Descriptive Account of the Island of Jamaica. Michigan: Library of the University of Michigan, 1790. Ebrary Reader e-book. https://ia802706.us.archive.org/15/items/adescriptiveacc00beckgoog/adescriptiveacc00beckgoog.pdf The infamous Jamaican slave-owner, William Thomas Beckford, recounts his experiences on the sugar cane island in this two-volume novel. He provides a well-rehearsed argument that advocates for the perpetuation of slavery in the industry and expounds on its importance to the production of sugar. He begins his defense of slavery by bestowing a title of honour upon the slaves and claiming that they are awarded with the sense of freedom that they would never have been able to receive if they had still…show more content…
The author makes special reference to John Tailyour, a Scottish native who embarked on his journey to Jamaica merely with the vision of eternal fortune. Radburn argues that Tailyour’s wealth largely emanated from selling captive slaves that arrived on slave ships to sugar planters, an unexplored concept that contemporaries called the “Guinea factor”. The author aims to uncover the predominance of this concept in the success of the sugar economy by studying the case of the second-largest slave trader on the island. He explains that Tailyour would conduct his business by extending credit to planters for their purchase of slaves and organizing the return shipments of slave-grown sugar. However, Tailyour’s affluence mostly stemmed from his involvement in the degrading process of channeling slaves to buyers according to their age, gender, and health. The author’s analysis suggests that the profitability of the sugar economy was purely based on the sale of slaves, the capital. The resources of the sugar industry and the organization of slave trade were all orchestrated in this system of markets and…show more content…
Murdoch, explores how the transformations engendered by the slave trade facilitated the development of the ethnic and cultural patterns that are present in today’s society. He claims that the inhabitants of the Caribbean islands will perpetually be binded to the cruel injustice faced by their African descendants. Murdoch specifically examines the relationship between sugar and slavery in Jamaica and its governance over society’s perception of racism and discrimination. The author believes that the combination of the white merchants and black slaves in the sugar industry instigated a community that developed an overlapping division of race and class. He affirms that the whites were subdivided into two main social statuses during the era; the “principal whites” and the “poor whites”. However, even the whites that were not considered to be wealthy were still able to impose their superiority through their skin colour. Thus, the author alludes to the fact that there is value placed in the pigment of one’s skin and that it determines the distribution of power among society. He suggests that this concept of white supremacy still exists in the soils of the island and continues to imprison the black community
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