Maroons, self-organized communities of runaway slaves, existed wherever slavery was present. One of the most vital and persistent maroon communities was tucked away in the mountainous rainforests on the Caribbean island of Dominica, at the time a British colony. This “state within a state,” as the colonial authorities tellingly described it, posed a direct challenge to the slavery system, and before long, the Dominican Maroons rose up to challenge the British Empire. Ultimately, they were captured and put on trial. Here, for the first time, are primary documents, carefully edited and contextualized, that richly present the voices and experiences of the Maroons—in resistance and defeat.
Your Time Is Done Now tells the story of the Maroons of Dominica through the transcripts of trials held in 1813 and 1814 at the end of the Second Maroon War. Using the trial evidence to explain how the Maroons waged war against slave society, the book reveals fascinating details about how they survived in the forests, defended themselves against attack, and maintained support from enslaved allies on the plantations. It also examines the key role of the British governor, George Ainslie, a notoriously cruel ruler, who succeeded in suppressing the Maroons, and how the Colonial Office in London reacted to his punitive conduct. This book provides a moving and valuable addition to the growing literature on slavery and slave resistance in the Americas.
We know far too little of the Maroons, and of their attempt to carve out a free existence for themselves in a dark and oppressive time. It’s good to have this new window onto that past in this book, and to be reminded again of the cruelty of Caribbean slavery and the bravery of those who tried to escape it.
This is a very valuable book…the documents allow us to hear the voices of the enslaved.