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Read the 1739 Peace Treaty signed between Britain and the Maroons of Jamaica

March 01, 2019 at 12:00 pm | History

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson | Staff Writer

March 01, 2019 at 12:00 pm | History

Painting, The Pacification of the Maroons in Jamaica'... Agostino Brunias

Captain Cudjoe of the Maroons, as he is widely known and celebrated in Jamaica and the Caribbean, was the brave leader who fought and resisted the British until both parties came to an agreement now known as the 1739 Peace Treaty between the British and Jamaica represented by the Maroons of  Trelawney Town.

Originally from the Gold Coast, which is now present-day Ghana, Cudjoe is described as a very short and stout man distinguishable through the large lump of flesh on his back he may have been born with or gotten from a severe cut. He is of Akan descent traced through his name which has several alternatives such as Kojo or Kwadwo. The Akans are themselves known for their feisty history.

Born to a rebel leader, it is no surprise that Cudjoe himself became a fearless warrior and leader of the Trelawney Maroons who gained their freedom around 1665 after defeating the British and fleeing. He was made the leader of the Leeward Maroons after killing a Madagascan slave leader in 1720.


Artist rendition of Cudjoe left, sketch of Cudjoe on right.

Captain Cudjoe then led the Maroons into a victorious battle that started around 1730 with the British who were hoping to defeat the Maroons, force them back into slavery and take over the whole of Jamaica. However, for more than 8 years, the Maroons fought off the British until they came into an agreement with the British through the treaty highlighted below.

Articles of Pacification with the Maroons of Trelawney Town, Concluded March the first, 1738

In the name of God, Amen, Whereas Captain Cudjoe, Captain, Acompong, Captain Johnny, Captain Cuffee, Captain Quaco, and several other Negroes, their dependents and adherents, have been in a state of ware and hostility, for several years past, against our sovereign lord the King, and the inhabitants of this island; and whereas peace and friendship among mankind, and the preventing of effusion of blood, is agreeable to God, consonant to reason, and desired by every good man; and whereas his Majesty George the Second, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and of Jamaica Lord, Defender of the Faith, &c. has by his letters patent, dated February the twenty-fourth, one thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight, in the twelfth year of his reign, granted full power and authority to John Guthrie and Francis Sadler, Esquires, to negotiate and finally conclude a treaty of peace and friendship with the aforesaid Captain Cudjoe, and the rest of his captains, adherents, and others his men; they mutually, sincerely, and amicably, have agreed to the following articles:

Articles of Pacification with the Maroons of Trelawney Town, Concluded March the first, 1738

In the name of God, Amen, Whereas Captain Cudjoe, Captain, Acompong, Captain Johnny, Captain Cuffee, Captain Quaco, and several other Negroes, their dependents and adherents, have been in a state of ware and hostility, for several years past, against our sovereign lord the King, and the inhabitants of this island; and whereas peace and friendship among mankind, and the preventing of effusion of blood, is agreeable to God, consonant to reason, and desired by every good man; and whereas his Majesty George the Second, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and of Jamaica Lord, Defender of the Faith, &c. has by his letters patent, dated February the twenty-fourth, one thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight, in the twelfth year of his reign, granted full power and authority to John Guthrie and Francis Sadler, Esquires, to negotiate and finally conclude a treaty of peace and friendship with the aforesaid Captain Cudjoe, and the rest of his captains, adherents, and others his men; they mutually, sincerely, and amicably, have agreed to the following articles:

First, That all hostilities shall cease on both sides for ever.

Secondly, That the said Captain Cudjoe, the rest of his captains, adherents, and men shall for ever hereafter in a perfect state of freedom and liberty, excepting those who have been taken by them, or fled to them, within two years last past, if such are willing to return to their said masters and owners, with full pardon and indemnity from their said masters or owners for what is past; provided always that, if they are not willing to return, they shall remain in subjection to Captain Cudjoe and in friendship with us, according to the form an tenor of this treaty.

Thirdly, That they shall enjoy and posses, for themselves and posterity for ever, all the lands situate and lying between Trelawney Town and the Cockpits, to the amount of fifteen hundred acres, bearing northwest from the said Trelawney Town.

Fourthly, That they shall have liberty to plant the said lands with coffee, cocoa, ginger, tobacco, and cotton, and to breed cattle, hogs, goats, or any other flock, and dispose of the produce or increase of the said commodities to the inhabitants of this island; provided always, that when they bring the said commodities to market, they shall apply fist to the customs, or any other magistrate of the respective parishes where they expose their goods to sale, for a license to vend the same.

Fifthly, That Captain Cudjoe, and all the Captain’s adherents, and people now in subjection to him, shall all live together within the bounds of Trelawney Town, and that they have liberty to hunt where they shall think fit, except within three miles of any settlement, crawl, or pen; provided always, that in case the hunters of Captain Cudjoe and those of other settlements meet, then the hogs to be equally divided between both parties.

Sixthly, That the said Captain Cudjoe, and his successors, do use their best endeavors to take, kill, suppress, or destroy, either by themselves, or jointly with any other number of men, commanded on that service by his excellency the Governor, or Commander in Chief for the time being, all rebels wheresoever they be, throughout this island, unless they submit to the same terms of accommodation granted to Captain Cudjoe, and his successors.

Seventhly, That in case this island be invaded by any foreign enemy, the said Captain Cudjoe, and his successors hereinafter named or to be appointed, shall then, upon notice given, immediately repair to any place the Governor for the time being shall appoint, in order to repel the said invaders with his or their utmost force, and to submit to the orders of the Commander in Chief on that occasion.

Eighthly, That if any white man shall do any manner of injury to Captain Cudjoe, his successor, or any of his or their people, they shall apply to any commanding officer or magistrate in the neighbourhood for justice; and in case Captain Cudjoe, or any of his people, shall do any injury to any whiter person, he shall submit himself, or deliver up such offenders to justice.

Ninthly, That if any negroes shall hereafter run away from their masters or owners, and shall fall into Captain Cudjoe’s hands, they shall immediately be sent back to the chief magistrate of the next parish where they are taken; and these that bring them are to be satisfied for their trouble, as the legislature shall appoint. [The assembly granted a premium of thirty shillings for each fugitive slave returned to his owner by the Maroons, besides expenses.]

Tenthly, That all negroes taken, since the raising of this party by Captain Cudjoe’s people, shall immediately be returned.

Eleventhly, That Captain Cudjoe, and his successors, shall wait on his Excellency, or the Commander in Chief for the time being, every year, if thereunto required.

Twelfth, That Captain Cudjoe, during his life, and the captains succeeding him, shall have full power to inflict any punishment they think proper for crimes committed by their men among themselves, death only excepted; in which case, if the Captain thinks they deserve death, he shall be obliged to bring them before any justice of the peace, who shall order proceedings on their trial equal to those of other free negroes.

Thirteenth, That Captain Cudjoe with his people, (Repeat: subjects, peoples.) shall cut, clear, and keep open, large and convenient roads from Trelawney Town to Westmorland and St. James’s, and if possible to St. Elizabeth’s.

Fourteenth, That two white men, to be nominated by his Excellency, or the Commander and Chief for the time being, shall constantly live and reside with Captain Cudjoe and his successors, in order to maintain a friendly correspondence (Not dominance, correspondence — see “waiting”. These are ambassadors, not governors) with the inhabitants of this island.

Fifteenth, That Captain Cudjoe shall, during his life, be Chief Commander in Trelawney Town; after his decease the command to devolve on his brother, Captain Accompong; and in case of his decease, on his next brother Captain Johnny; and, failing him, Captain Cuffee shall succeed; who is to be succeeded by Captain Quaco; and after all their demises, the Governor, or Commander in Chief for the time being, shall appoint, from time to time, whom he thinks fit for that command.

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