'Emigrants Shall Be Treated With Kindness'


This document is a standard charter party (shipping contract) for transporting Indian indentured labourers to the West Indies. It conforms to the British government's new policy of trying to ensure that indentured labourers were given tolerable conditions on the voyage to the Caribbean.

The document also reveals a great difference between the earlier transportation of enslaved Africans, and that intended for Indian workers. Africans had been bound by chains to the lower decks of slave ships and fed meagre rations, whereas the Indian workers were to be supplied with all their dietary needs, including rice, dhal and chillies, as well as the medicines they might need on their long voyage. This does not, of course, mean that these rations were supplied in all cases, although workers were of no use to the plantation owners if they arrived in poor health.

CO 318/165, ff. 152, 154 (1844)

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