Joseph Boyden

No Dates


Joseph Boyden was mentioned in abolitionist literature following his abuse of an enslaved woman called Amey. An account of his actions was given in the Jamaica Royal Gazette and recounted by Alexander Barclay:

‘ On Monday the 19th of January (1818,) in the Surrey Assize Court (Jamaica), Joseph Boyden was tried under the Slave Act, for cruelly, maliciously, and wantonly maltreating, by flogging and marking in different parts of the body, a Sambo slave, named Amey, his property, jointly with others. ‘This indictment was brought by the justices and vestry of Port Royal against the traverser for the crime above noticed, and from what was given in evidence, it appeared that Amey had committed some transgression which induced her to apply to a neighbour, to intercede with her master for forgiveness, which he agreed to grant; but she was afterwards marked in five places with the initials of his name, and that of the property he owned. In consequence of conduct so contrary to every principle of humanity, and to the general treatment of slaves, she left her home, and sought redress from those empowered to grant it. The traverser was accordingly summoned before a board of magistrates, where he confessed having branded the female in question in two places, but disowned any other act of cruelty committed on her, and there was no proof of flagellation. Amey was produced in court, and the brands examined. After hearing counsel on both sides, his honor the chief justice made a charge to the jury, characterizing the crime as one of a barbarous, savage, and horrible nature, and upon which but one conclusion could be formed. The jury, with little deliberation, returned a verdict of guilty. ‘ On the Friday succeeding his honor the Chief Justice passed the following sentence :— ‘ Joseph Boyden,—You have been tried and found guilty of maltreating a female slave, named Amey, the property of yourself and relations. The evidence in this case discloses in you a disposition at once so base and so ferocious, that the court despair of inducing any amendment in you, by any words they are capable of using. You can serve only as an example to deter others, if there be others like you in this country, from actions of similar atrocity. This at least may be fairly pronounced from this transaction, that whatever lawless and wanton severity is exercised towards a slave, the law is both ready and able to interpose for his protection. On her simple complaints, unsupported by other evidence, except that which your cruelty has, to your lasting shame, branded in indelible characters on her person, the Governor directed an inquiry to be made by the magistrates, who in consequence directed this prosecution. The sentence of the law is, that you the said Joseph Boyden, be and stand committed to the Common Gaol of the county of Surrey, there to remain, without bail or mainprize, for the space of six calendar months, to be computed from this 23rd January instant, and that at the expiration of such imprisonment you be discharged; and it is hereby declared, that the said Sambo woman slave, named Amy, is free, and discharged from all manner of servitude, to all intents and purposes whatsoever.’—Jamaica Royal Gazette.

Boyden also features in a list of nineteenth century runaways - an enslaved woman called Sue (described as a Creole with the brand owoL on her shoulder) was listed as belonging to Joseph Boyden of Windsor Lodge. She was kept in the Port Royal workhouse in 1813. There were several other entries included for enslaved people who had run away from Joseph Boyden.


Alexander Barclay, A Practical View of the Present State of Slavery in the West Indies; or, an Examination of Mr. Stephen's"Slavery of the British West India Colonies"containing more particularly an account of the actual condition of the negroes in Jamaica; with observations on the decrease of the slaves since the abolition of the slave trade; and on the probable effects of legislative emancipation; also strictures on the Edinburgh Review, and on the pamphlets of Mr. Cooper and Mr. Bickell (Smith, Elder&Company, 1828) pp.75-79.

Further Information


Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1815 [EA] - 1819 [LA] → Owner