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This essay explores the idea of the “pious humaneness” of the Spanish monarchy as it manifested in the legal and judicial activities of the Real Audiencia of Santo Domingo. In the 1780s, two new imperial policies relating to slavery held the potential to improve slaves’ lives. I focus on slaves’ power to denounce and correct neglect or abusive punishment in light of the new imperial policies. I reexamine social historians’ assumption that laws related to “humane” treatment were not enforced. They often were, and were several times even strengthened over masters’ objections. Slave treatment was a social order problem.