[Matanzas: 1881;1884].  leaves, plus pp. pamphlet in original plain wrappers, string tied. Light wear at edges. A few very small worm holes. Contemporary ink stamps. Light tanning and foxing. Still very good. Item #2025
The Spanish Cortes approved a gradual manumission law in 1880 for slaves in Cuba that provided for an eight-year period of patronato (tutelage) for all slaves liberated according to the law, which essentially amounted to indentured servitude. The transition to the patronato system was overseen by a provincial network of government agencies called Juntas de Patronato. Most of the workings of the slave system were preserved, but patrocinados, as former slaves came to be known, received a minimal set of legal rights and were to be paid a token wage.
This fascinating set of Cuban manumission documents from the Junta de Patronato of Matanzas records this process, and contains a rare cedula de patrocinado, an identification booklet stating a slave is now a freedman with a supporting sponsor. The cedula, completed in manuscript, states that "Moreno Luis Morejon, Natural de Africa...Vecino del Potrero Miraflores...Patrocinado de Da Josefa Morejon de Rodriguez" is "Gratis Sin Enmienda" as of September 15, 1881. The second leaf of the pamphlet prints the rights of the freedman and the responsibilities of the sponsor, such as the provision of food, clothing, and nominal salary.
The second document present here is a contemporaneous manuscript letter from Josefa Morejon de Rodriguez confirming that she will act as sponsor for the freedman, and the final document, dated January 28, 1884, and signed by Rodriguez and the relevant local magistrates, states that the sponsorship has been completed and is now legally concluded. With the ink stamp of the Matanzas Junta Provincial on first page, and the contemporary stamps of several other relevant authorities. An outstanding record of the process of gradual manumission in Cuba during the last years of legal slavery on the island, with a rare surviving freedman's identification book.