Mary Prince

A Slave Account

One slave, Mary Prince told her story. She lived on Grand Turk for 10 years. Her story was published in 1831 and was used by the anti-slavery movement in England to persuade the British Government to abolish all slavery.

Mary Prince’s words describe the hardship she and other slaves faced in the salt industry:

“We slept in a long shed, divided into narrow slips, like the stalls used for cattle. Boards fixed upon stakes driven into the ground, without mat or covering, were our only beds. On Sundays, after we had washed the salt bags, and done other work required of us, we went into the bush and cut the long soft grass, of which we made trusses for our legs and feet to rest upon, for they were so full of the salt boils that we could get no rest lying upon the bare boards.”

“Sometimes we had to work all night, measuring salt to load a vessel; or turning a machine to draw water out of the sea for the salt-making. Then we had no sleep–no rest–but were forced to work as fast as we could, and go on again all next day the same as usual. Work–work–work–Oh that Turk’s Island was a horrible place! The people in England, I am sure, have never found out what is carried on there. Cruel, horrible place!”