Unlawful Slavery abolished … to usher in Lawful Slavery

William Wilberforce

Ask any one if slavery has been abolished, and I would suggest that the overwhelming response would be a resounding “Yes!”.

But has it? Before we can answer that question, it would pay to define the word ‘abolish’;

a·bol·ish     /əˈbäliSH/   verb.

Formally put an end to (a system, practice, or institution)

Seems self explanatory: to abolish means to formally put and end to a practice, which is wholly consistent with what we believe to have happened.


So now let us see if what we believe is echoed in the political reality, for which we turn our attention to the official record of Parliament, that being, Hansard.

Mr Wilberforce, House of Commons, 13 June 1815 Hansard Vol 31   [link]


Many of his friends who then heard him would remember that, during the various discussions upon the abolition of the Slave-trade, it was constantly urged, both in that House and out of it, that no substantial benefit could be obtained, unless measures were devised to introduce those moral regulations with respect to the treatment of the slaves, which might secure a supply of slaves without looking to the slave-market for that supply.

Surely this must be some mistake! Securing a supply of slaves?


Great and dreadful abuses also in the treatment of those unhappy beings still prevailed; and it was impossible, he feared, to expect any beneficial reform till some positive enactment took place, which should clearly render it the interest of those who had a property in them to promote their comforts, and secure the means of their increase without any possible supply from Africa. He was now contending for the happiness and benefit of the West Indian slaves; and undoubtedly if there were any means that could be proposed which would render completely effectual the Abolition Act, he could not doubt that the House would be earnestly disposed to promote them. He would therefore state to the House the measure which he had in contemplation for accomplishing that object. It was in fact by the means of registering the slaves. The House was aware that a register of them was already kept in every island; but it was not so particular and exact, as to render it a specification by which the identity of the slave could be ascertained. The mode of registry which he intended to propose would precisely accomplish that object; a duplicate or counterpart of it would also be transmitted to this country, where it would be preserved, and constitute the title of the owner to the negro; so that in order to prove that title or claim to a negro, it would be absolutely necessary to produce the register. The illicit introduction of slaves would thus be effectually prevented, as all frauds or falsification in that register would be subjected to heavy punishment.

Hold on, what’s going on here? Why are the discussions focused on proof of title and ownership? If slavery is to be abolished, then how can the Parliamentary discussions be primarily on a system providing proof of ownership of slaves?

cc 775

Another stimulus to a due attention to the interests of the negro population arose from the contemplation of the numbers of our brave soldiers who had fallen victims to their efforts. How desirable would it be to convert the slaves into a free and happy peasantry, capable of defending the islands which they inhabited, instead of endangering them by their presence!

Well, well well … an interesting twist indeed. Convert ‘slaves’ into ‘happy peasantry’.

Slavery by any other name would smell just as putrid.

A Review of the Colonial Registration Acts  [link]  (pdf download)  [download link]

It will be enough for your satisfaction, that your suggestions have certainly given birth to the colonial Registries of Slaves; in other words, to the only system that can effectually and permanently exclude the Slave Trade from the British Colonies, and thereby lay a sure foundation for humane improvements in the exercise of the master’s power, and in the general condition of the Slave Population.

I must be in some parallel universe here. How can there be any reference to the general condition of a Slave Population? Wasn’t slavery supposed to have been abolished??

The difficulties would not even end here. But without any further enumeration of them, it will be manifest that either the main pillar of the system must be plucked away, and its whole executory principle renounced, by absolving planters from the necessity of shewing to future purchasers and mortgagees a registered title to their Slaves; or else this single defect must be to them an intolerable evil, as producing a virtual incapacity to alienate their property, or raise money on their estates.

This is all pertaining to; registered title, purchasers, mortgages, property, raising capital … all terms of commerce and banking. With the business matter at hand being that of slavery – which is supposedly abolished??

… if it be considered that so long as the importation of Slaves from one British colony into another shall be permitted by law, it will be necessary to allow a certified registration in one island as a sufficient title to registration in any other, to which the Slave may be sent with a regular customhouse clearance. Such were the provisions of the Parliamentary Register Bill; and the Colonial Acts of course are not less indulgent to proprietors of Slaves. It follows, therefore, that if the Registry of a single island is so corruptly or negligently managed, as to admit with facility the introduction of smuggled Negroes from Africa, or from the foreign colonies, they may be transferred thence with security, by regular certificates and clearances, to all other places to which Slaves can be lawfully carried in the British West Indies: nor can the Registrar at the place of importation, however upright and vigilant, refuse to give them a place in his books. There must of necessity be a mutuality of credence among these officers to each other’s records and certificates, as the only means of reconciling the general system of registration with the right of mutual commercial intercourse between the colonies, and the removal of Slaves from one island to another, independent as they are of each other in point of legislative and judicial authority.

So there we have it; passports, visas, arrival/entry cards and registration upon arrival with Internal Affairs of the receiving country. It is also wholly consistent with Settlement Certificates in the UK and the guarantees they gave, from settlement to settlement, regarding the ‘removal’ costs of an illegal alien.

It is an obvious consequence of this strange defect, that records on which the evidence of a lawful title to property in Slaves and their posterity, if not also the title itself, is hereafter to depend, are not only to have no public depository, but no fixed place. They are to be ambulatory, following the person of the Registrar on every removal during his life, or while he holds the office; and, upon his death, or his quitting the colony, will have no better protection from mutilation, fraudulent alteration, or destruction, than any of his private papers.

Be mindful that the subject being referred to is slavery, something we have been ‘educated’ to believe is abolished and an evil of the past, and yet here it is being referred to as normal, commercial practice, with the ‘lawful title’ extending to ‘their posterity’; in other words, it is perpetual and far from being abolished or ceased.

Slave Populations of the British Caribbean, 1807-1834    [link]

The orders in council for Trinidad and St. Lucia, and the various colonial acts, contained provisions for the administration of the registration system, set fines for the omission of slaves, and specified the data to be included in the returns. In most of the colonies, the system was administered by a salaried Registrar of Slaves, appointed by the government, who received the returns and employed clerks to copy them into volumes, or “registers.” Duplicate copies of the latter were also made and sent to the central Slave Registry Office in London. Although many of the original registers no longer survive in West Indian archives, the duplicates exist as in intact series.

Things haven’t changed much at all. Today, the Registration system is administered by a local Registrar, appointed by government, who receives returns and enters them into the Register, which is then delivered in quarterly returns to the central General-Registrar Office [GRO], now part of Identity and Passport Service [IPS]. In fact, it could be argued it hasn’t changed at all.

In Trinidad and British Honduras slaves were grouped into “families,” the names of which were the same as the surnames of the slaves in the group. No kinship relationships were noted between family groups or between the family groups and those slaves placed in the general lists of males and females. In St. Lucia, the registration returns did not separate kin (identified in the “relations” column) into distinct groups, though slaves with the same surname were generally listed together. In Berbice, only some returns noted kinship, and a wide variety of listing patterns occurred, not always placing identified kin in groups.

The “families,” then, approximated family household units.

From this it is clear that ‘family’ is NOT blood relative or kin; it refers to those with the same ‘surname’, which was often a name given to the slaves by the master, as he deemed appropriate.

“Kin relationships were recorded more often than families, but generally the data were confined to the names of the mothers. Only those colonies listing families identified fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, grandmothers, grandfathers, grandsons and granddaughters. “

Go look at some old legal Maxims; the heir is of the father, the slave assumes the condition of the mother. Who is the ‘default’ guardian in a custody battle? Which of the two is more important pertaining to current day birth registration? Mother is the information for birth registration that is required; father can be added at anytime – even omitted entirely.

“Even in Trinidad the masters had a certain amount of latitude, being instructed to record “the relation that the slave bears to the superior relative, or slave, by whose name the Family Section of the List to which he belongs is entitled as aforesaid, with such further particulars of genealogy or family connection as the owner or party making the return shall think fit to add.

Again, ‘Family Name’ can be wholly assigned and have no link to kin.

The Register

To Negroes wrongfully held in slavery, the same defect must be fatal. Such is their helpless situation, and such their extreme difficulties in asserting their rights against a master de facto, that to give them any tolerable chance of relief from the provisions of the Register Act, their title to it ought to be deducible in the easiest and clearest way. This facility, the regulations of the Trinidad Registry have given to them, or their protectors, as completely as the case allowed. On the complaint of a Negro named Thomas Anderson, or John Thompson, held in wrongful slavery on the Fountain Plantation there, nothing more would be necessary than to search in the registry for the Fountain Plantation returns. If the name Thomas Anderson, or John Thompson, with personal and other descriptions corresponding with those of the. complainant, was not found in the books, his title to freedom by non-registration would be established. If the name was found, a further search in the same registry (which its prescribed indexes, and the references directed to be entered in the books, must make extremely easy) would furnish, in dates and numbers, and other particulars, the means of detecting any fraud by which the name and description might have been surreptitiously inserted.

This point is absolutely fundamental and crucial to comprehending the concept of Lawful Slavery. The entry in the Register becomes the evidence of slave status; non registration evidences no Slave status. Read that again – it is hugely significant.

But what hope could there be of ascertaining such oppressions by searches in books, in which the Slaves of the same plantation are not distinguished from the other Slaves of the same owner or possessor, much less referred to in the index by the proper and permanent name of the plantation itself; but in which they must be identified, if at all, only by such a complex and laborious investigation as has been already described? Before it could appear to any court or magistrate, or to the satisfaction of any patron of the injured party, that there was a defect of registration, so as to make a prosecution advisable or safe, it would be necessary to discover the names of all the proprietors or lawful possessors of Slaves by whom the plantation had ever been held, at or since the time of the original returns; and afterwards to examine every list of Negroes registered under any of those names, so as to ascertain that no Slave answering the description of the complainant, had ever been returned. Such difficulties would hardly be supportable in any case, even if the registered personal descriptions of the Slaves were as particular as they are required to be in Trinidad : and they would become progressively more and more formidable by lapse of time; whereas, the regulations of the Order in Council for that island are calculated to make the test of due registration the more certain, and the more easily applicable, the longer the system is in use.
But the Colonial Acts have also departed very widely from the precedent, as to the personal descriptions of the Slaves required to be returned and registered, and this in a way still more effectually to frustrate the main objects of the plan.

This is eluding to the fact that Registration would not just be by name, but with a description as well, to positively identify the Slave.

The Register Particulars

The Order in Council directed that the Slaves should be individually described in eight different particulars; viz., Name, Surname, Colour, Employment, Age, Stature, Country, and Country Marks, and, in the case of families of Slaves belonging to the same proprietor, a ninth particular was to be added, under the title of ” Relations,” specifying the relation in which the Slave stood to the principal member of the family, called ” the superior Relation,” under whose name, all such family Slaves were to be ranged in the returns.

The last particular is plainly of great importance to the identification of Creole Slaves, (which all future lawful additions to the existing stock in the British islands collectively must be); and by shewing the genealogies of Slaves born on the plantations, it would tend powerfully at once to fortify a real, and overthrow a fraudulent title. Yet every Colonial Register Act has omitted this descriptive particular altogether! Even the Act of Tobago here forms no exception.

Another omission, nearly allied to it, and equally universal, is that of Surnames.

Negroes in the colonies are usually known only by a single name; and this is often common to a number of individuals of the same colony, and to several even on the same estate, or owned by the same proprietor; but in the latter cases, a surname, or other distinctive appellation, is commonly added for the sake of the master’s convenience.

To give every Slave a surname, would manifestly be a considerable and necessary advance towards accurate discrimination in the Registry, and would afford the means of convenient research.

The Order in Council, therefore, directed, that when the Slave had been called or known by any surname, it should be inserted in the returns and Registry; and when not, that a surname should be given for that purpose; which in the case of families of Slaves, should be taken from the name of the superior relation; and, in other cases, the choice was left in the first instance to the master’s discretion; but the registered surname was ever after to be that by which the Slave and his issue and descendants should be called.

When a baby is born, the ‘given name’ does not include the surname; a mother and father does not consider and express the baby as ‘Joe Bloggs’; the naming is concerned with ‘Joe’ only. The addition or affixing of a ‘Family Name’ or ‘Surname’ is wholly directed by the Registrar and officials, and is indoctrinated in every action throughout a lifetime. This insistence of ‘Joe Bloggs’ as the name is the confirmation and agreement to the status of Slave.

When they desert, they are advertised, as almost every Jamaica newspaper may shew, by these marks; when apprehended by the police, the keepers of workhouses, or gaol-keepers, are required to publish in the newspapers of the island not only their names, and sex, and country, but also their ” Height” and ” Marks*,” as notice to the-master; and what is stronger still, the laws of the island anxiously preserve these necessary evidences of ownership, by punishing capitally those who alter or deface them.

Think of any crime announcement on the media; “the offender is described as a male Caucasian, 5’10”, brown hair, blue eyes …”

Yet when the object is effectually to exclude the Slave Trade, and to prevent unlawful slavery

This is what is commonly referred to as ‘the smoking gun’.

The object is to abolish slave TRADE … to prevent UNLAWFUL slavery … which by omission, does nothing to stem slavery as long as it doesn’t involve trade; i.e. lawful slavery.

by the identification of those who are the legitimate subjects of that state …

Legitimate subjects = lawful slaves.

Can you fully comprehend what this is documenting? Slavery was never abolished. Never. It was legislated to a ‘lawful’ form. Trade was prevented, but with the introduction of registration, a perpetual system of slavery was created by the inclusion of the slave’s posterity as being the property of the ‘master’.

The general result of these observations is that of nine descriptive particulars, required to be specified for the purpose of identification, and the prevention of frauds, by the Order in Council, and the Bill brought in by Mr. Wilberforce, the Acts of Assembly have all rejected four at least, and for the most part five ; and have retained only those which are the most general, and therefore of the smallest utility. Surnames, stature, parentage or other family relations; and marks also, with the exceptions already noticed, are, with a striking uniformity, rejected;—while the single appellation, common to thousands; the country, which is still more comprehensive; the colour, one shade of which comprizes above nine-tenths of all the Slaves in the colonies; and the usual employment, which, in regard to Field Negroes, the great subjects of imported slavery, is scarcely any distinction at all; are, with a uniformity equally remarkable, retained.”

Surnames, stature, parentage or other family relations; look familiar? What details were demanded of your mother and father when you were registered?

The Registrar

The expedient chiefly relied upon, in the Order in Council, for at once securing obedience to its positive requisitions, and releasing freemen from a slavery wrongfully imposed, was to lay the onus probandi, as to due registration, upon the party who best could, and ought to sustain it; namely, the master. It was enacted, that, in all judicial proceedings, whether for the recovery of Slaves as property between free persons, or on the question of slave or free, the master or claimant should, in the first place, be bound to shew, that the Slaves in question had been duly registered as such.

Master = Registrar ?
Plantation = Local Registry location/district/county ?

i.e. the local registrar is obligated by statute to ensure the registration of all slaves on his plantation.

Modernising Slavery   [link]

The transition from chattel to wage slavery was effected in the British Caribbean by restructuring colonial labour laws.1 The process began in 1823; under pressure from abolitionists inside and outside parliament and with support from the West India lobby, the imperial government made an unprecedented attempt to alter existing owner and slave laws and prepare the slaves for freedom. It marked the seriousness of its intention by promising slave owners £20 million compensation for their property losses when abolition finally took place. Dismantling the slave laws, in the event, took fifteen years: between 1823 and 1833 laws were framed to prepare the slaves for the “civil rights and privileges” of other classes of His Majesty’s subjects2 and from 1833 to 1838 when the slave status was abolished and a master- apprentice system was substituted as a preliminary to wage work.”

1. An early version of this paper was presented at the “Master and Servant in History” Conference at York University, Toronto in 1996. I want to thank Douglas Hay, Bridget Brereton, and David Eltis for their comments.
2. Public Record Office (PRO), London, Colonial Office (CO) 854/1, Circular Despatch, Bathurst to the Governor of Jamaica, May 28, 1823.

– Mary Turner, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London
Modernizing Slavery: Investigating the Legal Dimension

Slave owners were ‘compensated’ for their property. Registering was effectively a conveyance of ownership; the register created a title of ownership, which was now vested in the state. The state now held title to the ‘right of use’ of the Slave, facilitating taxation and first claim over the product of the ‘right of use’, which was the sweat equity or labour.

Wage Slavery   [link]

Wage slavery refers to a situation where a person’s livelihood depends on wages, especially when the dependence is total and immediate. […] e.g. working for a wage not only under threat of starvation or poverty, but also of social stigma or status diminution.
– Wikipedia

Karl Marx described Capitalist society as infringing on individual autonomy, by basing it on a materialistic and commodified concept of the body and its liberty (i.e. as something that is sold, rented or alienated in a class society).

“The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master’s interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labour only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence.”

More on ‘wage slavery’;

“Wage slavery is the same as chattel slavery. There is no difference between selling yourself and renting yourself …”
– Noam Chomsky

more …

The connection between chattel slavery and wage slavery as alternative modes of exploitation is visible in the debates within the British and American ruling class that led up to the abolition of chattel slavery. While religious abolitionists condemned slave-holding as a moral sin, the clinching argument against chattel slavery was that it was no longer the most effective way of exploiting the labouring population. It was abandoned because it was impeding economic and especially industrial development – that is, the accumulation of capital.

Current Registration Process

Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 (c.20)    [link]

§ 1. Particulars of births to be registered
— (1) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, the birth of every child born in England and Wales shall be registered by the registrar of births and deaths for the sub–district in which the child was born by entering in a register kept for that sub–district such particulars concerning the birth as may be prescribed; and different registers shall be kept and different particulars may be prescribed for live–births and still–births respectively:

§ 8. Penalty for improper registration after three months from date of birth
Save as provided in the two last foregoing sections, a registrar shall not register the birth of any child after the expiration of three months from the date of birth . . . F1, from the date of the finding, and any person who registers any birth, or causes any birth to be registered, in contravention of this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding

§ 12. Certification of registration of birth
At the time of registering the birth of any child, the registrar shall, if so required by the informant of the birth . . . F34 give to the informant a certificate under his hand in the prescribed form that he has registered the birth.

§ 35. Offences relating to registers
If any person commits any of the following offences, that is to say—
(a) if, being a registrar, he refuses or without reasonable cause omits to register any birth or death or particulars concerning which information has been tendered to him by a qualified informant and which he is required by or under this Act to register; or
(b) if, being a person having the custody of any register of births or register of deaths, he carelessly loses or injures the register or allows the register to be injured,
he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding [F1level 3 on the standard scale].

There is NOTHING in current statute which obligates the father or mother to ‘register’ the birth of their issue; in fact, by definition, it is impossible. Only a Registrar can register a birth, due to the fact that the act of registration is limited to one who controls or is custodian of a register.

In other words, all penalties regarding ‘non-registration‘ pertain to the Registrar. The only penalty for the father or mother pertains to ‘non-compliance by a qualified informer.’

So, just as the Master was responsible and obligated by statute to complete the Slave Registration on his plantation, the Registrar is similarly charged with the duty and obligation to ensure the complete registration of all births in his assigned area.

Global Slavery


Articles 7 and 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) declare that national governments must register children immediately after birth.

In fact, all members of the UN follow UN procedure regarding registration, as outlined in the Handbooks On Civil Registrations, from which the following is taken;

The International Programme, which was designed by the United Nations Statistics Division, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organization, and the International Institute for Vital Registration and Statistics, was endorsed by the Statistical Commission at its twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sessions, in 1989 and 1991. It is being implemented in phases during the 1990s by the United Nations Statistics Division, which is the focal point for the Programme. Financial support has been provided mainly by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with the cooperation of the economic and regional commissions of the United Nations Secretariat and the UNFPA country support teams. […] those systems will become the foundation of a legal system for establishing the rights and privileges of individuals and a source of continuous vital statistics.

Basically … blah, blah, blah … registration is the foundation of the legal system for establishing rights and privileges. So if it’s about establishing a legal system, why are the likes of WHO involved?

(a) Uses of vital records
5. Vital records are the records of events recorded as part of a civil registration system. They include such events as live births, deaths, foetal deaths, marriages, divorces and other related occurrences, such as adoptions and legitimations. Civil registration systems are established by law to meet the specific needs of Governments and of the individuals subject to the jurisdiction of the civil registration law. Those needs are complex and entail many purposes, but collectively the satisfaction of those needs forms the justification for the registration system.

In other words, we’re not privy to those ‘specific needs’, however, we are expected to be part of them, and the information will be extracted, however possible, as the ‘ends justify the means’.

Do you see how this is all just one large global plantation system?



Q: How was the Slave Trade abolished?
A: By making it global.
If it’s global, in a ‘free market’ environment, without ‘nation constraints’, then it is simply moving titles between franchise operations. It isn’t trade; it is internal asset redistribution.

Q: How was Unlawful Slavery abolished?
A: By making it lawful and a function of State, via various for political and social changes.

Q: Why did the Plantation Owners agree to it?
A: Basic economics; it was good business and they were compensated.
Modernisation – from chattel slaves to wage slaves – allowed for capital accumulation.
No front end costs, lower overheads and the ability to incur costs on an ad hoc basis


Final Thoughts

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

– Norman Cousins


“The debt and work cycle is an ingenious tool of subjugation. Make people think they need all these things, then they must have a job, and they give up control of their lives. It’s as simple as that. We live in one of the most free countries in the world, but we fix it so we are not free at all.”

– Larry Roth


“Supposing we suddenly imagine a world in which nearly everybody is doing what they want. Then we don’t need to be paid in order to work and the whole issue of how money circulates, how we get things done, suddenly alters.”

– Robert Theobald

5 Responses to “Unlawful Slavery abolished … to usher in Lawful Slavery”
  1. Liz says:

    The Great White Lie – is a gem of a book it gives all the information about the economic sense it made to ‘abolish’ slavery.We are now facing a fresh onslaught on our lives however.
    Many of us, and more everyday have become a ‘cost’ to the global plantation. A machine or technology can produce much more than a person. Cost cutting is always ongoing in the pursuit of profit.
    thank God for the net.

  2. anon says:

    So do you think the certificate of live birth is a receipt for our share in the commonwealth by birthright i.e. our claim, as has recently been suggested ?

    Could this be why we have two birth certificates, the short one being a receipt for what the state owes us .

  3. anon says:

    An overview of the orders
    in the Children Act 1989

    Click to access 102_0.pdf


    No longer to be Often used to gain
    used by local the direction of the
    authorities as a court when an
    route into care, but application for
    orders under the a care order had
    inherent jurisdiction failed, was not
    of the High Court appropriate, or the
    with or without result was uncertain
    wardship may be
    available under
    s100, except that a
    child may not be
    both a ward of
    court and in care

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] which existed precisely around the time of this 19 c. amendment to the use of ‘Mr.’. ‘Family names’ were a hot topic in discussions of changes to slavery; specifically the data to be collected and registered in order for property titles to be accurately […]

  2. […] Unlawful Slavery abolished … to usher in Lawful Slavery (epinoiasphere.wordpress.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: