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← The Sins of the Fathers [Also in Polish]

Aussie's Avatar Jump to comment 100 by Aussie

It may provide some comfort to you Richard to know that my own ancestor David Duncombe II also owned sugar and coffee plantations in Jamaica at the same time as your forebears and was probably a neighbour. His operations were of course worked by slaves and I have a copy of his will including details of how he wished to bequeath his slaves to the beneficiaries of the will.

His own father David Duncombe I (the son of a vicar no less!), owned a shipping line operating out of Bristol, picking up slaves in West Africa, shipping them to the east coast of America and the West Indies, and then backloading sugar to the UK. I have copies of the official records of each journey detailing the specific ship, the name of the captain, the number of slaves that boarded and the date and port where they embarked, and how many were eventually delivered to the specific destination in the New World. (Typically each load included about 500 slaves). The attrition rate can therefore be easily calculated from the embarkation and disembarkation numbers.

I have in my possession a very disturbing transcript of the detailed and graphic evidence that David Duncombe I gave to the Wilberforce Parliamentary enquiry on slavery that is so harrowing that I have not been able to bring myself to show it to the rest of the family.

The tradition of bonded labour continued when David Duncombe III, the son of the plantation owner David Duncombe II above, migrated to Australia and was granted several parcels of land as well as a number of convicts to work the properties.

As far as inheriting any benefit accruing from these ill-gotten gains is concerned the fact is that unless you institute a system of primogeniture any wealth from previous generations is very rapidly diluted (much more rapidly even than gene dilution).

Although I certainly abhor their actions in the light of the current zeitgeist I have never felt any guilt or sense of responsibility for the actions of my ancestors whether they be slave owners or vicars. I consider myself responsible for my own acts alone.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 22:37:31 UTC | #919398