Archive for June 28th, 2020

Sunday, 28 June 2020

On the Flogging of Women by Charlotte Elizabeth Browne Phelan Tonna

No. 21 of the Anti-slavery Reporter contains some particulars of the Jamaica Debate on Lord Bathurst’s proposition for “the abolishing of the driving whip, the regulation and record of punishments, and the abolition of female flogging.”

It was not even proposed, that driving in the field, or the flogging of females should be abolished; but merely that the cat should be substituted for the cart-whip both to coerce labour, and to inflict punishment; and that in the whipping of women there should be no indecent exposure.

The clause for substituting the cat for the cart-whip was negatived by a majority of 28 to 12 as was that for prohibiting the indecent exposure of women. However painful to the feelings the knowledge of these proceedings may be, it is better they should be known and reprobated, whithRegularized:with a view to their suppression, than
perpetuated to future generations by a weak concealment of truth.

How much is it to be wished that the planters who thus voted for the flogging of women could be induced to peruse the following lines:

Bear’st thou a man’s, a Christian’s name;
If not for pity, yet for shame.
O fling the scourge aside!
Her tender form may writhe and bleed,
But deeper cuts thy barbarous deed
The female’s modest pride.

Sin first by woman came;- for this
The Lord hath marr’d her earthly bliss,
With many a bitter throe;
But mercy tempers wrath, and scorn
Persues the wretch who adds a thorn
To heaven-inflicted woe.

Thine infancy was lull’d to rest
On woman’s nurturing bosom prest,
Enfolded by her arm;
Her hand upheld thy tott’ring pace;-
And Oh! how deep the foul disgrace,
If thine can work her harm!

Hush not they nature’s conscious plea
Weak, helpless, succourless, to thee
Her looks for mercy pray;
He who records each lash, will roll
Torrents of vengeance on thy soul!-
Oh! fling that scourge away.


Date: 1827

By: Charlotte Elizabeth Browne Phelan Tonna (1790-1846)