Plantation Jamaica, 1750-1850: Capital and Control in a Colonial Economy
Plantation Jamaica analyses the important but neglected role of the attorneys who managed estates, chiefly for absentee proprietors, and assesses their efficiency and impact on Jamaica during slavery and freedom. Meticulous research based on a variety of sources, including the attorney's letters, plantation papers and slave registration records, provides rich quantitative and literary data describing the attorney's role, status, range of activities and demographic characteristics. Higman charts both the extent of absentee ownership and the complex structure of the managerial hierarchy that stretched across the Atlantic. Detailed case studies compare the attorney Simon Taylor's management of Golden Grove Estate in the decade before the American Revolution and Isaac Jackson's control of Montpelier in the years immediately following the abolition of slavery. These examples provide a wealth of information about plantation life and labour, technology, trade, investments and profits. Higman also makes a unique contribution by investigating and describing several topics previously neglected, including the postal service, the history of accounting and the role of attorneys in the British Isles. The writing style is clear, persuasive and elegant, which makes the work accessible to Atlantic and Caribbean historians and to general readers as well. This book is critical in the ongoing historiographical debate about the impact of absenteeism in Jamaica, Great Britain's largest sugar-exporting colony. The sophisticated economic and social analysis reveals how managers, overseers and owners constructed an efficient value system, which permitted ethical behavior among themselves yet perpetuated thebrutal exploitation of plantation workers, enslaved and free.
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Plantation management hierarchy
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abolition absentee planters absentee-proprietors Accounts Produce acres agent Arcedeckne's argued attorneyship Beckford Britain British West British West Indies Burnard cane Caribbean cent Chaloner colonies Cowell creole crop accounts Cussans economy eighteenth century employers England English enslaved Golden Grove Hall Higman History of Jamaica hogsheads Ibid India Indian Slavery Isaac Jackson Letterbooks island Jackson to Seaford Jackson told James John Journal June Kelly Kingston labour land Letters of Simon Liber Library of Jamaica lived London merchant metropolitan mill Montego Bay Montpelier Montpelier Estate Montpelier Pen Negroes nineteenth century Old Montpelier overseer parish Plantain Garden River plantation economy planting attorney population power of attorney profits properties proprietor purchase Registrations of Slaves rent resident role Select Committee Sheridan Shettlewood ship Simon Taylor Slavery Spanish Town sterling sugar sugar estates Taylor reported Taylor told Arcedeckne Thomas told Seaford trade wages West Indies William Wood workers wrote