Richard Robert
Poems by a slave in the island of Cuba, recently liberated; translated from the Spanish, by R. R. Madden, M. D. With the history of the early life of the Negro poet, written by himself; to which are prefixed two pieces descriptive of Cuban slavery and the slave-traffic
Thomas Ward & Co.
Abolition Campaigns;Travel Writings
Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature, University of London. British Library. Biblioteca Nacional de España. Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
Poetry Slave Cuba Spanish Translation Mild Slavery Slave Trade Juan Manzano Autobiography
This collection of poetry contains two poems written by Irish abolitionist Richard Madden and eight by the former Cuban slave Juan Francisco Manzano (translated by Madden into English, and attributed to the anonymous "Juan ___"). It also includes a short autobiography written by Manzano of his life as a slave, which Madden describes as: "the most perfect picture of Cuban slavery that ever has been given to the world" (iv). Published by Madden in order to prove the intellectual capacities of slaves in the Americas, the collection was also intended to contradict the prevailing idea of Cuban slavery as a 'mild' form of slavery. Madden stresses that the laws which had been put in place to protect the slave were never enforced, and argues that despite appearances: "slavery in Cuba is more destructive to human life, more pernicious to society, degrading to the slave, and debasing to the master, more fatal to health and happiness, than in any other slave-holding country on the face of the habitable globe" (164).
Additional author: Juan Francisco Manzano (1797-1854). A number of appendices are attached, including questions and answers about slavery and "the state of religion" in Cuba, an article warning Irish emigrants to the Americas not to become involved in slave trading or slave owning, with citations from Catholic authorities condemning these practices (Necessity of separating the Irish in America from the Sin of Slavery, 135-49), and short articles about Las Casas, the Cuban slave trade, the condition of slaves in Cuba, laws for their protection, and the problem of slave emancipation in Cuba. A glossary of Creole terms relating to slavery or plantation life in Cuba is also included.