by Donna Every
Vaucluse is the story of the struggle for freedom versus the fight against emancipation during a period of great turmoil in Barbados. It is 1816 and the planters are determined to maintain their enviable lifestyles. Many plantations are heavily indebted and are going into Chancery. Henry Peter Simmons, owner of the prosperous Vaucluse plantation, claims that the negro is not yet fitted for his freedom and fights against abolition. However, in his will he left the plantation to his two natural coloured and reputed sons whom he manumitted before the end of slavery. One former slave referred to Simmons in his own will as a kind master. Who was the real Henry Peter Simmons? The profit-driven anti-abolitionist or the kind master? You decide.