Collection of papers relating to politics, genealogy and slavery in Jamaica

Scope and Content

Collection of papers relating to politics, genealogy and slavery in Jamaica, comprising:
1. 'Plott or no Plott; in a dialogue between a clergyman of the city and Mr. A. of Hanover Square', in which the protagonist appears to support the reaction of Sir Robert Walpole's ministry to the Jacobite conspiracy of May 1722. Mentions the reaction to the Quarantine Bill [of 1721], the declaration of the City of London clergy against Quakers [concerning the Affirmation Act of 1722], and the South Sea Bubble, memory of which was 'too fresh to be forgot'. The manuscript possibly dates from 1722.
2. Copy of a legal opinion by Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, Attorney-General, concerning the claims of John Kynaston to the barony of Powys, 25 Mar 1731. Kynaston's claims were contested by Sir Nathanial Curzon, Bt.
3. A political satire in verse, dating from the 18th century, and beginning 'A Hen, a farmer's pride and care / who lives at W-- or elsewere'. A note in pencil plausibly suggests that the subject of the satire was John Wilkes.
4. Papers, 1832-1868, assembled by Lyndon Howard Evelyn, with a copy of a covering letter (dated 15 Jul 1868) to George Sclater-Booth, Secretary to the Treasury, which supported a claim to compensation for dismissal from the post of Collector of Customs in Jamaica in 1834. Includes testimonials, copies of letters, a printed Statement of certain services...laid before the government by Governor Sir Henry Barkly K.C.B., for its consideration describing Evelyn's role in the slave revolt of Jan 1832 in Jamaica, and 'The entire narrative of Mr. Evelyn's oppression'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Walpole's new position as Prime Minister was strengthened by his handling of a Jacobite conspiracy (known as the Atterbury plot after one of the main protagonists) uncovered in April 1722 and intended to take control of the government.
John Wilkes (1727-1797) was a politician and journalist who bought a seat in parliament in 1757. His outspoken attacks on King George II and his ministers in his journal the North Briton led to his arrest for seditious libel. He eventually served 22 months in prison, and, though repeatedly elected to Parliament from Middlesex, was refused his seat by the King's party. Wilkes was also elected Sheriff (1771) and Mayor (1774) of London.
The Emancipation rebellion of Western Jamaica was the largest rebellion in the British West Indies, involving some 20,000 slaves and led by the Baptist preacher Sam Sharpe whose main plan was a 'General Strike' against slavery. This led to widespread arson and military attacks, which ended with the death of 201 rebels during fighting and the trial and conviction of 750 slaves and 14 free persons.

Access Information

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Given by T.S. Blakeney, Secretary of the Friends of National Libraries, via the British Records Association, in 1973.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

1. 20ff, 240 x 186 mm; 2. 23ff, 308 x 208 mm; 3. 8ff, 190 x 155 mm; 4. 5 items.

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.


For background on the first item, see A.J. Henderson, London and the National Government, 1721-1742 (Durham, North Carolina 1945), and J.H. Plumb, Sir Robert Walpole, II (1960).