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On the flogging of women (ca. 1827)

An excerpt from the second page of an anonymous commentary on the treatment of Jamaican slave women.

British anti-slavery activists were the individuals initially responsible for pressuring their colonial government to improve the conditions of slave life, so it only made sense that they took it upon themselves to spread word of the Jamaican debates. In the anonymous commentary the author learns of the Jamaican defeat of Bathurst via "No. 21 of the Anti-slavery Reporter" (1). The Monthly Anti-Slavery Reporter , established in 1825, was the paper of the British Anti-Slavery Society. The Reporter was distributed across the Atlantic world and provided a common source of information that travelled across traditional geographic borders. One historian estimates that, "Between 1823 and 1831 the Anti-Slavery Society published 2.3 million copies of tracts, speeches, and meetings" (Morgan, 182). These documents were designed to create an emotional reaction in the reader and educators could possibly design an exercise comparing "On the flogging of women" with other anti-slavery documents in the 'Our Americas' Archive, such as Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative . The commentary could also be paired with U.S. slave narratives such as Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life (1845) or Harriet Jacob's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861). Students could be asked to dissect these historical texts with a particular focus on how the 'standard' format of the slave narrative crossed geographic boundaries and could be used effectively in documents such as anonymous commentaries or novels.

The commentary "On the flogging of women," also demonstrates that the anti-slavery dialogue was one that included both male and female reformers. Educators can use Charlotte Elizabeth Browne Phelan Tonna, pen name Charlotte Elizabeth, as an example of this gendered reformist movement (for a portrait of Tonna see Figure 2). Her poem "On the flogging of women" appears at the end of the anonymous commentary. The author of the commentary wishes that "the planters who thus voted" against flogging reform "could be induced to peruse" the poem for it would surely change their minds (2). However, it is certainly possible that a few Jamaican planters knew of Tonna because she was a very prolific and well-known British author. After a nasty divorce in the mid-1820s, Tonna lived off of the profits of her anti-Catholic, anti-slavery writings. Tonna focused many of her writings on the universal suffering of women as she believed that women were "specially suited for detecting injustice and comforting the unhappy" (Paz, 272). Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Tonna's poem "On the Flogging of Women," pushes for men baring "a Christian's name" to defend enslaved women against injury by the whip (3). In particular, Tonna expresses concern for the injury done to an enslaved "female's modest pride" (3). As historian Diana Paton argues, both Lord Bathurst and Tonna "invoke[s] the commonly held view that a society's level of "civilization" could be measured in its treatment of women" (7). Tonna's poem was undoubtedly partially motivated by her belief that enslaved women already possessed less shame than British middle-class women and therefore, could not afford to be degraded any further. It is critical to understand that for the proper Victorian lady shame was an asset, not a liability. Therefore, a possible classroom application for the anonymous commentary, including Tonna's poem, lies within an investigation of how depictions of violence against enslaved peoples across the globe share certain gendered descriptions. For example, how do the violent episodes found within Celia, A Slave (1991) compare with Douglass' experiences with punishment? Or, introductory history and literature courses could explore the methods, practices, and experiences of female Atlantic reformers. Tonna could be discussed alongside the Grimké sisters from South Carolina. This comparison makes sense not only because South Carolina was often considered the sister-site to Jamaica, but also because the Grimkés were prolific authors operating at the same time as Tonna. In a similar vein, students could explore how Harriet Tubman's anti-slavery speeches act as a companion to, and diverge from, the writings of Tonna and the Grimkés. For an excellent work on the Grimké sisters, see Gerda Lerner's The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina: Pioneers for Women's Rights and Abolition (full biographical details follow the module). In general, Tonna's writings helped emphasize a bond between women that knew no geographic borders, but the written word was not the only tool used by anti-slavery activists.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, The atlantic ocean and hemispheric histories. OpenStax CNX. Oct 11, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11310/1.6
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