Legal papers relating to estates in Jamaica

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers relating to Stephen Drew's Jamaica tontine and to the estate of Adam Smith of Bossue, Manchester, Jamaica, comprising: 1.Papers of Troward & Merrifield, 94 Pall Mall, London, solicitors to the trustees of the Dry Sugar Works Estate tontine, including in-letters, drafts and copies of out-letters, drafts and copies of minutes of meetings of subscibers, letter-books, accounts, lists of subscribers, nomination forms, and some printed items, including a printed prospectus, 1805-1821.

2. Papers apparently of J.W. Bromley, solicitor of 1 South Square, Gray's Inn, 1832-1836, relating to claims and counterclaims to compensation for the negroes on the estate of Adam Smith of Bossue, Manchester, Jamaica, whose will was proved on 4 Sep 1815. A printed form, dated 1836, of the Commissioners of Compensation, gives details of the settlement: William Shand, acting trustee under will of Adam Smith, claimant to compensation for 39 slaves, admitted counterclaim of William and Thomas Smith, executors and devisees in trust under will of Adam Smith (N.B. Copies of a number of letters to and from a William Shand in Jamaica are among the papers of Drew's Tontine.)

Administrative / Biographical History

A tontine is an investment plan in which participants buy shares in a common fund and receive an annuity that increases every time a participant dies, with the entire fund going to the final survivor or to those who survive after a specified time.

Stephen Drew, formerly of the island of Jamaica but then of Stoketon, near Saltash, Cornwall, was the agent of the tontine on the Dry Sugar Work Estate (1435 acres), in St Catherine's parish on the Rio Cobre River, one mile from Spanish Town. The tontine was to begin in May or June 1805, but Drew did not reach Jamaica until November 1805. In December 1806 the trustees gave power of attorney to Messrs Pinnock & Shand of Jamaica, to proceed against Drew, as his management was unsatisfactory. By September 1808 the estate was in the hands of a receiver; in November 1808 Pinnock estimated the value of negroes and stock at £10,800, exclusive of the freehold. Probably by about that time Drew had received £18-19,000, the trustees retaining little more than £1000. From 1809 Pinnock & Shand acted as managers of the estate, being occupied in selling the negroes, and trying to sell the land. In 1821 the tontine was still not wound up, and a bill was pending in Chancery against the trustees, for an account of the estate.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research. Please give 24 hours notice of research visits.

Acquisition Information

Bought from W. Myers in 1966.

Other Finding Aids

Fully catalogued

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Geographical Names