Physical Punishment, Rebellion, Running Away

  • Marks of Punishment Inflicted upon a Colored Servant in Richmond, Virginia

    This illustration shows the back of woman with burn marks. The victim was thirteen years old when, for reasons unexplained in the article, she annoyed or upset her mistress. She was locked in a room by herself for over a week, during which time the mistress repeatedly burned her back. The mistress was arrested, but released on $ 5,000 bail. The original photograph is located in the Houghton Library at Harvard University (Wendell Phillips Papers, [bMSAm1953(942)]. In a letter from Richmond, dated July 6, 1866, which enclosed this photo, John Oliver wrote Wendell Philllips that "although the photograph is a very poor one. . . from it you will be able to see quite well the barbarism of Slavry [sic] as it now exist[s] in King William Co, Virginia in 1866. This girl with a twin Sister and their morthe [sic] lucy [sic] Richardson were Slaves to a Mr Henry Abrams, his wife, one of the most cruel tyrent [sic] read of in any age put out the left eye of the mother, and her constent [sic[ habit has been to take the Childr[e]n and burn their backs in the man[n]er which this picture explains, this chil[d] is now 16 years old and when brought to me, at the freedmen's Court was too weak to walk with me 4 square to gete [sic[ something to eate[sic]." Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization was an American political magazine based in New York City and published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916. It featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects and humor, alongside illustrations. It covered the American Civil War extensively, including many illustrations of events from the war.
  • View of Darlington Courthouse and the Sycamore Tree Where Amy Spain, the Negro Slave, Was Hung by the Citizens of Darlington, South Carolina

    This image shows the hanging of Amy Spain in front of a large crowd gathered before a courthouse. Amy Spain's crime was that she had yelled, "Bless the Lord, the Yankees have come!" The author of the Harper's Weekly article hailed her as a martyr to the cause of freedom for her people. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization was an American political magazine based in New York City and published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916. It featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects and humor, alongside illustrations. It covered the American Civil War extensively, including many illustrations of events from the war.
  • Punishing Slaves in Cuba

    This image shows an enslaved person laying face down and tied to a ladder, while other slaves watch as a black slavedriver whips the victim. The Harper's article discusses Cuba's economic importance as a Spanish colony because of revenue produced by slave labor on sugar, coffee, and tobacco plantations; however, the scene illustrated refers to a major slave conspiracy, called La Escaler (The Ladder), in 1844. Robert Paquette identifies this illustration as the ladder to which slave suspects were bound before interrogation by the lash. See Sugar Is made with Blood (Wesleyan University Press, 1988), p. 207. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization was an American political magazine based in New York City and published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916. It featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects and humor, alongside illustrations. It covered the American Civil War extensively, including many illustrations of events from the war.
  • Iron Mask and Collar for Punishing Slaves, Brazil, 1817-1818

    Aragos voyage took place between 1817 and 1820, during which time close to two months (early December to the end of January 1818) were spent in Brazil, particularly Rio de Janeiro. The engraving shown here, based on a sketch by Arago, is captioned Chatiment des Esclaves, Brasil (Punishment of Slaves). It shows an unidentified male and probably represents a composite of several enslaved Brazilians who Arago observed in the streets of Rio. This illustration is often confused and misidentified in secondary sources on slavery. Among other errors, such sources identify the subject as a woman, but Arago quite explicitly refers to the figure as a man. For a detailed discussion of this image and its historical context, see J. Handler and A. Steiner, Identifying Pictorial Images of Atlantic Slavery: Three Case Studies, Slavery and Abolition 27 (2006), 56-62. The transformation of this image in Brazil in modern times to represent a martyred female slave is discussed in J. Handler and K. Hayes, Escrava Anastacia: The Iconographic History of a Brazilian Popular Saint, African Diaspora: Journal of Transnational Africa in a Global World 2 (2009), 1-27.
  • Iron Mask, Neck Collar, Leg Shackles, and Spurs, 18th cent.

    Bound into this abolitionist work, but consecutively paginated with the title poem, is a separate essay, The Method of Procuring Slaves on the Coast of Africa; with an account of their sufferings on the voyage, and cruel treatment in the West Indies (pp. 252-274). This essay is accompanied by a number of engravings including the one shown here, described (p. 270) as follows: A front and profile view of an African's head, with the mouth-piece and necklace, the hooks round which are placed to prevent an escapee when pursued in the woods, and to hinder them from laying down the head to procure rest. At A [see letter over mouth of figure on the right] is a flat iron which goes into the mouth, and so effectually keeps down the tongue, that nothing can be swallowed, not even the saliva, a passage for which is made through holes in the mouth-plate. On the lower right is an enlarged view of this mouth piece which when long worn, becomes so heated as frequently to bring off the skin along with it. The lower left shows leg shackles used on the slave ships; also, spurs used on some plantations in Antigua (placed on the legs to prevent slaves from absconding). Another illustration in the Penitential Tyrant, which does not appear to be present in all copies of this work (and is not shown on this website), shows a slave lashed to an upright ladder, which is leaning against a tree, while being whipped by another slave as the slavemaster looks on. The item shown here closely resembles a type of Scold's bridle, or Branks, an instrument of punishment occasionally used, particularly on women, in early England, Scotland, and Wales. See also, for example, image NW0191.
  • Treadmill, Jamaica, 1837

    Captioned, An Interior View of a Jamaica House of Correction, this illustration shows a scene during the Apprenticeship Period (1834-38); man on left being flogged, in center at bottom, a woman has her hair cut off. Below the title is a message from Jamaica's Governor Lionel Smith to the Jamaican House of Assembly: The WHIPPING OF FEMALES, you were informed by me, officially, WAS IN PRACTICE; and I called upon you to make enactments to put an end to conduct so repugnant to humanity, and SO CONTRARY TO LAW. So far from passing an Act to prevent the recurrence of such cruelty, you have in no way expressed your disapprobation of it. I communicated to you my opinion, and that of the Secretary of State, of the injustice of cutting off the hair of females in the House of Correction, previous to trial. You have pad no attention to the subject. This engraving (a copy of which is held by the National Library of Jamaica) was first published by British abolitionists in 1837 and distributed separately; it was also bound into some editions of James Williams, A Narrative of Events (London and Glasgow, 1837 and other editions) which described many of the conditions shown in the illustration. For more details on the illustration and its background, see Diana Paton, ed., A Narrative of Events, since the First of August 1834, by James Williams, an Apprenticed Labourer in Jamaica (Duke University Press, 2001), esp. pp. xxxvii-xxxviii, 44. A version of this engraving, clearly a copy of the original, was published in James M. Phillippo, Jamaica, its past and present (London, 1843), facing p. 172.
  • Escaping Slavery, U.S. South, 1850s

    Caption, running away; fugitives trying to elude white captors. The Fugitive Slave Act (1850) authorized slave catchers to track down runaway slaves.
  • Fugitive Slave Attacked by Dogs, 19th cent. (?)

    This seems to be cropped from a larger image, probably from an abolitionist publication; the area is unidentified.
  • Fugitive Slave Trapped, U.S. South, 19th cent.

    Slave hiding in a tree, trapped by armed whites on horseback; dogs surrounding tree. Illustration aken from p. 265 of an unidentifed publication, probably an abolitionist tract.
  • Fugitive Slaves and Bloodhounds, U.S. South, 1850s

    Comments on the use of bloodhounds to track fugitive slaves are given on pp. 292-93 of this abolitionist book. This illustration seems to be based on an illustration in Henry Bibb, Narrative of the Life and Adventures of . . . an American Slave (New York, 1849), p. 129.
  • Whipping a Slave, Brazil, 1825-26

    Pencil and sepia drawing by Charles Landseer, an English artist who visited Brazil when he was around 26 years old. The sketch shows a white (?) man whipping a black slave who is tied to a post and held by another black. Captioned Black Punishment at Rio de Janeiro, there is no other information on this scene, which Landseer presumably witnessed during his stay in 1825-26. The original drawing is in a private collection in Rio de Janeiro although it, along with Landseer's other approximately 130 Brazilian sketches and drawings, was published in a facsimile limited edition, edited with an introduction by C.Guinle de Paula Machado, Sketchbook containing studies made in Brazil, 1825-26 (Sao Paolo, Brazil, 1972).
  • Public Whipping of Enslaved Man, Brazil, 1820-24

    Water color on paper titled Punishing Negroes at Cathabouco [i.e., Calabouco], Rio de Janeiro. An unclothed black man is tied to stake and being whipped by another black, supervised by a white man. Augustus Earle, an English painter who travelled widely, lived in Rio from early 1820 to early 1824, with occasional trips to Chile and Peru during that period.
  • Whipping a Slave, Surinam, 1770s

    Caption, Flagellation of a Female Samboe Slave. Shows a female hanging from a tree with deep lacerations; in background two white men and two black men, the latter with whips. Stedman witnessed this event in 1774. The female was an eighteen-year old girl who was given 200 lashes for having refused to have intercourse with an overseer. She was lacerated in such a shocking manner by the whips of two negro-drivers, that she was from her neck to her ancles literally dyed with blood. This and other engravings are found in the autobiographical narrative of Stedman, a young Dutchman who joined a military force against rebellions of the enslaved in the Dutch colony. The engravings are based on Stedmanís own drawings and were done by professional engravers. For the definitive modern edition of the original 1790 Stedman manuscript, which includes this and other illustrations see Richard and Sally Price, eds. Narrative of a five years expedition against the revolted Negroes of Surinam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988).
  • Breaking on the Rack Punishment, Surinam, 1770s

    A young free black carpenter being beaten on the rack. Stedman witnessed this scene in 1776. The man (on the orders of white authority) had been accused of stealing a sheep and shooting an overseer who discovered the theft. This method of torture was intended to keep the victim alive long enough to endure extreme pain before his eventual death. In this case, the victim's left hand was cut off before he died as additional punishment for theft and to serve as an example to others. This and other engravings are found in the autobiographical narrative of Stedman, a young Dutchman who joined a military force against rebellions of the enslaved in the Dutch colony. The engravings are based on Stedmanís own drawings and were done by professional engravers. For the definitive modern edition of the original 1790 Stedman manuscript, which includes this and other illustrations see Richard and Sally Price, eds. Narrative of a five years expedition against the revolted Negroes of Surinam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988); the above scene is described by Stedman on pp. 546-549 of the Price edition.
  • Hanging by the Ribs Punishment, Surinam, 1770s

    Caption, A Negro hung alive by the ribs to a gallows; background shows skulls (presumably of beheaded slaves) on posts. This illustration was based on a 1773 eyewitness description. An incision was made in the victim's ribs and a hook placed in the hole. In this case, the victim stayed alive for 3 days until clubbed to death by the sentry guarding him who he had insulted. This and other engravings are found in the autobiographical narrative of Stedman, a young Dutchman who joined a military force against rebellions of the enslaved in the Dutch colony. The engravings are based on Stedmanís own drawings and were done by professional engravers. For the definitive modern edition of the original 1790 Stedman manuscript, which includes this and other illustrations see Richard and Sally Price, eds. Narrative of a five years expedition against the revolted Negroes of Surinam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988).
  • Whipping a Slave, Brazil, 1816-1831

    Caption, Feitors corrigeant des Negres (plantation overseers punishing blacks). Foreground, European whipping black on ground with arms and legs lashed together; background, black tied to tree being lashed by another black. The engravings in this book were taken from drawings made by Debret during his residence in Brazil from 1816 to 1831. For watercolors by Debret of scenes in Brazil, some of which were incorporated into his Voyage Pittoresque, see Jean Baptiste Debret, Viagem Pitoresca e Historica ao Brasil (Editora Itatiaia Limitada, Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1989; a reprint of the 1954 Paris edition, edited by R. De Castro Maya).
  • Iron Collars as Punishment for Fugitive Slaves, Brazil, 1816-1831

    Caption, Le Collier de Fer, chatiment des fugitfs (Iron collar, punishment for runaways); urban scene, marketers of various goods; man/boy on right has weight on his head (also punishment for running away), attached to his ankle by a chain. The engravings in this book were taken from drawings made by Debret during his residence in Brazil from 1816 to 1831. For watercolors by Debret of scenes in Brazil, some of which were incorporated into his Voyage Pittoresque, see Jean Baptiste Debret, Viagem Pitoresca e Historica ao Brasil (Editora Itatiaia Limitada, Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1989; a reprint of the 1954 Paris edition, edited by R. De Castro Maya).
  • Whipping Slaves, Missouri, 1856

    Caption, Flogging the Negro; from an abolitionist book which gives a detailed description of the scene illustrated here ( pp. 206-8). The public whipping took place in Lexington, Missouri in Feb. 1856. This illustration appears to be a composite of several illustrations that appear earlier in Henry Bibb, Narrative of the Life and Adventures of . . . an American Slave (New York, 1849), pp. 106, 133.
  • Punishment for Fugitive Slaves, 17th cent.

    Captions, (top), comme les Portugais fouettent leurs esclaves lorsquils ont desertè (how the Portuguese flog slaves who have escaped); (bottom left), invention d'un Francois de la Martinique (invention of a Frenchman of Martinique); (bottom right), esclave qui a la jambe coupè pour avoir desertè (slave who had his leg amputed for having escaped). In a discussion of slavery in Brazil and the miserable state of the enslaved, Froger talks about runaway slaves and the punishments they receive when captured. The following translation appears in the 1698 English edition: . . . if their masters once catch them, they give them no quarter; for they hang a great iron collar about their necks on each side whereof there are hooks, whereunto is fastened a stake or branch of a tree, with which they thrash them at pleasure. . . . But if it so happen that after this sort of chastisement they relapse again into the same fault, they . . . cut off one of their legs, nay, and sometimes hang them for an example, of terrour [sic] unto others . . .. I knew one [slave master] in Martinico who being of a compassionate nature could not find in his heart to cut off his slaveís leg, who had run away four or five times, but to the end he might not again run the risquè of losing him altogether, he bethought of fastening a chain to his neck, which trailing down backwards catches up his leg behind, as may be seen by the cut [engraving]. And this, in the space of two or three years does so contract the nerves that it will be impossible for this slave to make use of his leg. And thus, without running the hazard of this unhappy wretchís death, and without doing him any mischief, he thereby deprived him of the means to make his escape (pp. 119-120).
  • Punishment of Female Slave, Surinam, 1770s

    Shows a woman carrying a weight chained to her ankle; in background, a man tilling ground with a hoe. The woman was judged guilty of not speaking when spoken to by a white person; for this she received 200 lashes and was forced to carry a 100 lb. weight for several months. This and other engravings are found in the autobiographical narrative of Stedman, a young Dutchman who joined a military force against rebellions of the enslaved in the Dutch colony. The engravings are based on Stedmanís own drawings and were done by professional engravers. For the definitive modern edition of the original 1790 Stedman manuscript, which includes this and other illustrations see Richard and Sally Price, eds. Narrative of a five years expedition against the revolted Negroes of Surinam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988).
  • Battle During Slave Revolt, Saint Domingue (St. Domingue, Haiti), 1802

    Caption, The Battle of Snake Gully; gives artist's rendition of a battle at Ravine a Couleuvres (Snake Gully); Toussaint's troops encounter the French Army. The battle is described in Alexis, p. 188. This image is also published in the 1985 Paris reprint edition of Antoine Mètral, Histoire de l'expedition des Francais a Saint-Dominique (Paris, 1825), plate 9, where the source is identified as the Museè de la Marine.
  • Armed Maroon, Surinam, 1770s

    Caption, A Rebel Negro Armed & on his Guard. This and other engravings are found in the autobiographical narrative of Stedman, a young Dutchman who joined a military force against rebellions of the enslaved in the Dutch colony. The engravings are based on Stedmanís own drawings and were done by professional engravers. For the definitive modern edition of the original 1790 Stedman manuscript, which includes this and other illustrations see Richard and Sally Price, eds. Narrative of a five years expedition against the revolted Negroes of Surinam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988).
  • Revenge Against French Soldiers, Saint Domingue (Haiti), 1805

    Caption, revenge taken by the black army for the cruelties practised on them by the French; shows a number of French soldiers being hung from gallows by black soldiers. The author was a British military officer who visited Haiti; some of the engravings in his book may have been based on his sketches.
  • Public Whipping a Slave, Brazil,1816-1831

    Caption, L'execution de la Punition du Fouet (executing the punishment of whipping/flogging); black man being whipped by public flogger in a town square; onlookers, others waiting to be flogged, soldiers guarding prisoners. The engravings in this book were taken from drawings made by Debret during his residence in Brazil from 1816 to 1831. For watercolors by Debret of scenes in Brazil, some of which were incorporated into his Voyage Pittoresque, see Jean Baptiste Debret, Viagem Pitoresca e Historica ao Brasil (Editora Itatiaia Limitada, Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1989; a reprint of the 1954 Paris edition, edited by R. De Castro Maya).
  • Punishment in Stocks, Brazil,1816-1831

    Caption, Negres au Tronco (blacks in stocks); three men with their feet in stocks, surrounded by their cooking utensils. The engravings in this book were taken from drawings made by Debret during his residence in Brazil from 1816 to 1831. For watercolors by Debret of scenes in Brazil, some of which were incorporated into his Voyage Pittoresque, see Jean Baptiste Debret, Viagem Pitoresca e Historica ao Brasil (Editora Itatiaia Limitada, Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1989; a reprint of the 1954 Paris edition, edited by R. De Castro Maya).
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