Leela Gujadhur Sarup



Leela Gujadhur Sarup is a historical researcher and author on colonial emigration of indentured workers. Her works are based on hard to find documents as they originally appeared in the records of the British Empire. We reproduce, with permission, an extract of a sermon preached in Cathedral Church of St. John’s, Antigua by the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Antigua on 3rd March, 1861

From the Notes accompanying a Sermon preached in the Cathedral Church of St. John’s, Antigua, by the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Antigua, on 3rd March 1861, and published by request of the Governor and Chief Justice of the Island.

“In no West India Colony, perhaps, are the laborers so comfortably domiciled as in the Danish Island of St. Croix; there the laborer is invariably under annual contract, his dwelling being provided for him on the Estate. The laborers’ homes are under the inspection of the Government, which is equally careful to provide for them medical attendance in sickness, education for their children, and asylums for the aged and infirm. Possibly some of the provisions of the “Labor Act” of that Island might be considered inconsistent with our notions of British freedom, for every adult person is required to have an occupation and to pursue it industriously. But there is no denying that a paternal care is excercised by the Government over the laboring class whose rights are jealously guarded at any rate, they nowhere present to the eye of the stranger such a picture of domestic comfort and healthiness as in that picturesque little Island.”

Colonial Emigration 19th-20th Century
Proceedings 1863 - 1869
Vol. 4

Draft of Ordinance Concerning Immigrants From Trans-Altaltic Places And Their Protection In St. Croix.

1. The Governor shall appoint a Superintendent of Immigration at such a salary as may be fixed by him with the advice of the Burgher Council of St. Croix.

2. The Governor shall, with the advice of the Burgher Council, in such Trans-Atlantic places from which immigration to St. Croix is to be carried on, appoint or cause to be appointed Agents to procure, engage, and forward the Immigrants in conformity with such instructions as may be fixed by him with the advice of said Burgher Council. When immigration is carried on from the English possessions in the East Indies, such Agents must be approved by the Indian Government, and must be instructed to conform in every respect with the Laws and Rules and Practice regulating the emigration and passage from such places to the British West Indies. The Agents to forward by the Vessels carrying the Immigrants to the Governor of St. Croix exact lists of all the Immigrants, put on board, together with the original contracts entered into with the Immigrants, of which contracts a copy attested by the Agent is to be given to the Immigrant before his embarkation.

3. On arrival in St. Croix of a Vessel having Immigrants on board, it is the duty of the Superintendent of Immigration, in company with the King’s Physician, to go on board as soon as the free intercourse with the Vessel is granted by the Health Officer. He will then compare the list of Immigrants forwarded by the Agent at the place of embarkation with the number of Immigrants actually arrived, and ascertain, by inspection and examination of the Immigrants and others, if the Charter Party and the Laws and Regulations mentioned in the same with respect to the fitting of the Vessel, the proportion between the tonnage and the number of Immigrants, the provisions and the treatment of the Immigrants during the passage have been duly observed. 

4. The contracts with the Immigrants are to be made in writing, and to be signed by the Agent and the Immigrant. They are to be furnished with an attestation from the Danish Consul or Vice Consul, that he has satisfied himself that the engagement is voluntary, and that the Immigrant has a perfect knowledge of its nature, contents, and effects. For Immigrants from the English possessions in the East Indies an equal attestation must be given by the Agent appointed thereby the English Government to take care of the interests of the Emigrants.

—To be continued

March 2011

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