The Apprenticeship System - Summary

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THE APPRENTICESHIP SYSTEM
Aims of apprenticeship
* To provide a peaceful transition from slavery to freedom * To guarantee planters an adequate supply of labour during the period and prepare for full freedom * To train apprentices for freedom especially working for wages * To enable the colonial governments to revise the system of justice and establish institutions suitable for a free society. The SMs were retired naval and army officers on half pay, appointed from Britain who were accustomed to rough conditions and enforcing discipline. They were chosen because they were not connected to the planter class and it was felt that they would not be biased. Duties of stipendiary magistrates

* To supervise the apprenticeship system
* To settle disputes between masters and apprentices
* To visit estates at regular intervals and hold court
* To inspect jailhouses and workhouses
* To assist in fixing the value of negroes who wanted to buy their freedom These duties were strenuous and led to the death of many SMs who were not accustomed to tropical conditions and could not afford the high cost of medical treatment. Conditions of employment

Salary - £300 for the first year then increased to £450 for travel expenses and housing. There was no pension for dependents if the SM died in service. There was no sick leave and he had to pay his own fare back home if he was dismissed or out of service. These bad working conditions prevented SMs from performing their duties satisfactorily and many were easily bribed by planters. They were also overburdened by work because they were so few in numbers. Those who tried to do their duties were sometimes persecuted. They were abused physically, verbally and via the press. They were all obstructed in the performance of their duties as planters sometimes refused to allow them on the estates. Success of stipendiary magistrates

* They listened to complaints from both sides and acted as a buffer between...
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