Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Philip D. Morgan, Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1998), 524–25. Ekirch seemingly misinterprets the context in which the phase is used, in the full passage it is clear that the phrase is intended to convey that the “servant’s” master has no dominion over his sleep, it has nothing to do with people “father down the social scale most looking forward to slumber”.  here “This is their usual exordium, as well when they bring complaints against others, as when they are called upon to defend themselves; and it is in vain to interrupt either plaintiff or defendant. Yet I have sometimes heard them convey much strong meaning in a narrow compass : I have been surprised by such figurative expressions, and (notwithstanding their ignorance of abstract terms) such pointed sentences, as would have reflected no disgrace on poets and philosophers. One instance recurs to my memory, of so significant a turn of expression in a common labouring Negro, who could have had no opportunity of improvement from the conversation of White people, as is alone, I think, sufficient to demonstrate that Negroes have minds very capable of observation. It was a servant who had brought me a letter, and, while I was preparing an answer, had, through weariness and fatigue, fallen asleep on the floor: as soon as the papers were ready, I directed him to be awakened; but this was no easy matter. When the Negro who attempted to awake him exclaimed in the usual jargon, You no hear Massa call you? that is, Don't you hear Master call you? Sleep, replied the poor fellow, looking up, and returning composedly to his slumbers, Sleep hab no Massa. (Sleep has no Master.)” BACK
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