Scholarly article on topic 'Political Culture in Jamaica Before Anticolonial Nationalism'

Political Culture in Jamaica Before Anticolonial Nationalism Academic research paper on "History and archaeology"

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Academic research paper on topic "Political Culture in Jamaica Before Anticolonial Nationalism"

History Compass 15/2 2017:e12332, 10.1111/hic3.12332

Political Culture in Jamaica Before Anticolonial Nationalism

Jake Christopher Richards*

Gonville and Caius College


This paper considers scholarship on political culture in Jamaica in 1865, the year of the Morant Bay rebellion. It situates the historiography of political culture in relation to three trends: first, an older historiography that envisaged the rebellion as indicative of nationalist consciousness; second, a more recent focus on the local politics of protest in the period 1838-1900; and third, another recent approach of explaining political culture through the dynamic relationship between metropole and colony. The paper then goes on to suggest that the latter two approaches are congenial to analysing the Underhill Meetings, a set ofkey political discussions prior to the rebellion which nevertheless have been underutilized in the historiography. The paper concludes by considering the possible linkages between the Underhill Meetings and the reform initiatives of the post-rebellion colonial state. Overall, it argues for the possibility of island-wide political consciousness without the need for ethno-nationalism or "imagined communities"


On 7th October 1865, a confrontation at the Morant Bay Court House, in the parish of St Thomas in the East, Jamaica, precipitated a traumatic rebellion. An armed group prevented police from arresting James Geoghagan, who had disrupted proceedings in the court. The police then attempted to arrest one of the group's leaders, a Native Baptist deacon named Paul Bogle, at the small village of Stony Gut. Instead, the group captured the policemen.1 On 11th October, Bogle's group, with some planning, marched on the town of Morant Bay, taking weapons from the police station and killing and wounding targeted individuals.2 The rebels spread throughout the area, attacking various plantation estates including those in Blue Mountain Valley and the Plantain Garden River District.3

Governor Edward Eyre used martial law to suppress most of the rebellion by 20th October.4 But three days later, he authorized the trial by court martial of a political opponent, George William Gordon, on the charge of high treason. There was no evidence that Gordon had been involved in the rebellion; but he was found guilty and executed. Overall, the authorities executed at least 439 people, flogged thousands and burned down many homes.5 The rebellion resulted in a Royal Commission of Inquiry investigation in Jamaica in 1866 and the abolition of the legislative House of Assembly in favour of Crown control of the colony.

In Britain, Eyre's permission for, if not active endorsement of, the brutal suppression of the rebellion provoked public campaigns between the Jamaica Committee and Eyre Defence Committee. The Jamaica Committee attempted to prosecute Eyre (twice) for murder. The Committee also tried to prosecute two members of the court martial that condemned Gordon, Alexander Nelson and Herbert Brand, for murder.6 These prosecutions were unsuccessful, although they raised larger questions about the legal limits of a colonial governor's authority and the political and legal status of colonial subjects. Eyre defended his use of martial law as the only means of preventing a 'Haytian' Black nationalist revolution in Jamaica. The rebellion is now commemorated in Jamaica through public symbols of Paul Bogle as a national hero.7

© 2017 The Authors History Compass Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

The build-up to and suppression of the rebellion have prompted historians to argue that the period from the end of apprenticeship, in 1838, to rebellion, in 1865, witnessed a decline in almost all aspects of life. Material conditions worsened due to the removal of tariffs on sugar that had favoured production within the empire. Planters and the colonial government tightened their belts; the concomitant decline in the provision ofplantation-based medical care and local stipendiary magistrates (who were often considered protectors of slaves) and the imposition of a tax on carts used to take provision-ground produce to market affected emancipated Black agricultural labourers the most. One-third of the emancipated workforce, equivalent to 100 000 people, were dependent on free villages for the basic structuring of their everyday lives.8 This system combined missionary disciplinary oversight with labour on abandoned plantations.9 Any psychological improvements from emancipation were thus rapidly offset by disappointment and disillusion with the new system, with channels for expressing grievances unpromisingly narrow and ineffective.

The Underhill Meetings formed one such channel. In January 1865, Edward Bean Underhill, secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society, wrote to the Colonial Secretary, Edward Cardwell. He explained that he had received reports of distress in Jamaica, caused by drought, high tariffs and executive and legislative misconduct. The effects had been serious: an increase in crime, a decline in religious attendance and financial hardship. Underhill proposed that a commission from the metropole should investigate these problems.10 Cardwell forwarded the letter to Eyre in late January, requesting him to report on the letter's claims. Eyre authorized each parish custos (the local executive figure in each of Jamaica's 22 parishes) to sanction meetings for discussion of the letter.

The subsequent Underhill Meetings held between April and September 1865 involved male participants from the entire cross-section of Jamaican society in terms of occupation and racial background. An 'Underhill Convention', with branches across the colony, helped to coordinate Meetings.11 The Meetings involved electing a chair to coordinate a discussion of the various aspects of Underhill's letter. Individual participants then proposed and seconded resolutions, which were written down. Underhill Meetings' participants appointed representatives to sign the resolutions and to transmit them to Eyre; resolutions were also printed in local papers, which were read aloud to contacts and colleagues.12 Eyre forwarded these resolutions, as well as newspaper articles and custodes' letters about some of the Meetings, to Cardwell in London; these are the archival traces in the UK National Archives of a key part of political culture in Jamaica prior to the rebellion. The Meetings connected oral and print cultures, modes of deliberation and of formal petitioning, rumour and discussion and interaction with political authority and criticism of it.13 They created an 'imagined community' of island-wide discussion connected by a common practice in terms of constituting a meeting, and a common set of problematics raised by Underhill's letter, before the advent of mass print capitalism in Jamaica.14

Two recent trends have enriched historians' understandings of political culture in Jamaica from 1838 to 1865. The first has been a close focus on the local politics of protest. The second has been to situate Jamaica in part of a metropole-colony dynamic. The following two sections survey each trend, contextualized in relation to an older historiography of nationalism. The third section applies some of the insights from these two trends to the Underhill Meetings. The conclusion considers possible linkages between the Meetings and projects developed by the post-rebellion colonial state for large-scale agrarian and urban reform in Jamaica.

Local Protest

Philip Curtin's 1955 study, Two Jamaicas, was the first comprehensive historical study of the colony's pre-rebellion political culture. The 'two Jamaicas' were African and European,

separated by race, class and the cultural roots ofcollective identities. For Curtin, the build-up to the rebellion witnessed the development ofnationalism. The rebellion's nationalist protagonists were (to follow contemporary usage) "coloured" intermediaries who were 'Europeanized, self-conscious, real natives of Jamaica and visibly different from the creole whites', for example, George William Gordon.15 The late Sidney Mintz similarly located successful anticolonial nationalism in the actions of a large intermediary group, but interpreted the rebellion as indicative of a failure of Jamaicans to develop a sufficiently large afranchi class analogous to Haiti's revolutionaries.16 These attempts to draw a causal link between class formation and national consciousness were part of a more general movement in the social sciences to analyse the conditions, logic and ideological agenda of international development at the time of gradual decolonization within the British empire.17 That said, such a line of argument has origins in Eyre's own response to the rebellion; he had alleged that the rebels aimed to 'do as the Haytians had done' by creating an independent nation state with a Black and coloured majority and where White settlers would be under threat.18 Indeed, Eyre accused the Underhill Meetings of fomenting nationalism in his despatches to the Colonial Secretary.19 Nationalism, as a set of class- or race-based social relations, explained the motives for and actions of the rebels in the most influential historical accounts in the century following the rebellion.20

The older historiography sometimes portrayed the rebellion's organization and scale as little more than a parish riot.21 In particular, the role of women such as Isabella Geoghagan, who triggered the resistance on seventh October, was downplayed. This oversight also unwittingly continued contemporary analysis of the rebellion; the Royal Commission sent to investigate the 'origin, nature and circumstances ofdisturbances' in Jamaica produced a report that referred to the protagonists as 'rioters' and focused on the 'men' drilled by Bogle and a Colonel Bowie as the vanguard of the disturbances.22 As will become clear, the alleged causal connection between the Underhill Meetings and the rebellion is another shibboleth that has survived from contemporary analysis of the rebellion.

These limitations have been rectified by a much closer focus on the local politics ofprotest in Jamaica between 1838 and 1865. The result has been a rich, multi-causal explanation of the rebellion. Don Robotham arguably pioneered this approach by highlighting the importance of earlier protests. Robotham demonstrated the sociopolitical effects of economic conditions in Jamaica; for instance, the sense of disillusionment caused by increase in taxes on labourers' basic provisions such as clothes (a total increase of 150% in the period 1840-1865) and carts (no tax in 1840 to 18s p.a. in 1865).23 His account also observed that the everyday relationship between labourers and the legal system became increasingly fraught due to legislation that made picking wild roadside fruit - a source of subsistence for many ex-slaves - a criminal offence.24 Swithin Wilmot's several papers demonstrated that elections in Jamaica produced regular protests, violence and race-based campaigning, thereby developing a pattern of political participation that included those not eligible to vote. His research has also shown how some ofthe alleged protagonists of the rebellion, such as Samuel Clarke, participated in earlier political debates and controversies including vestry and House of Assembly elections in St David from 1850 until 1865.25 In an important corrective to the older historiography, Wilmot argued that women were involved in major withdrawals of labour from plantations and participated in election-based protest from 1834. Women's political activities culminated in targeted attacks during the 1865 rebellion on dishonest shopkeepers and employers who withheld wages.26 Wilmot's attention to the practice of protest, to the different strategies available to protagonists and to how those strategies produced a sort of genre of elections-based mass political disruption in the 'public sphere' lends an important insight to the next section on the Underhill Meetings.27 The close focus on the pattern of protest at Morant Bay has inspired important research regarding the operation of criminal justice in St Thomas in the East. Gad Heuman's narrative

account of the rebellion noted that Thomas Witter Jackson, a stipendiary magistrate respected for his independence in a parish in which magistrates were often the friends of the planters who were plaintiffs in the court, was removed in September 1865 because of his reputation.28 Mimi Sheller has also pointed out that the rebels had particular reasons for attacking Baron von Ketelhodt, the custos in St Thomas; he was partly responsible for the 'Tramway affair' in which the executive reclassified a public road from Kingston to Spanish Town as a toll road to fund the construction of a tramway. The tramway was never completed, but the executive left the road in private hands.29

Finally, some scholars have called attention to the importance ofmigrant groups in causing unrest in Jamaica before the rebellion. Monica Schuler, and then Robotham, uncovered evidence that indentured 'liberated African' labourers had attacked toll houses at Savannah-La-Mar in 1859 because the tolls prevented them from bringing provision goods to market.30 Matthew Smith has, following Sheller, posited that Haitian political exiles in Kingston made Eyre's government anxious about the prospect of a mass uprising against the regime.31 For instance, the exile Lysius Salomon was friends with William Kelly Smith, editor of the newspaper the Watchman and People's Free Press, which was published by Gordon and adopted a highly critical stance towards Eyre and Ketelhodt.32 Both studies conclude that the colonial government's anxiety was misplaced, but that there was mutual participation in anti-government politics in both locales. Studies of local protests have successfully nuanced the causality of the rebellion. These studies have replaced the older causal explanations that relied on nationalism with one that integrates multiple inputs such as patterns of election-based protest, local maladministration of justice, the visibility of corrupt local officials and business owners and the uncertainty and mistrust caused by the presence and activities of recent migrant groups.

Metropole and Colony

The second key approach has put the Morant Bay rebellion in the context of a metropole-colony dynamic. This approach was partly inspired by a reaction against studies of nationalism and the centrality of the nation state in historical scholarship. For example, Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper's seminal edited collection of 1997, Tensions of empire, argued that key moments in the formation of the nation state, such as the French Revolution, raised problems for the concept of empire - for instance, what was the status of a nation state's non-contiguous territory and its inhabitants?33 The legal framework that united aspects of commercial and social life in Britain and its colonies, such as the Abolition Act of1807 and common law, meant that an understanding of the metropole's legal systems was a necessary grounding for an interpretation of how colonial subjectivities arose. Perhaps above all, the development of network theory in the social sciences suggested that the circulation of information, capital and migrants - the vectors of formal and informal empire — did not always move from the imperial 'centre' outwards, could result in blockages along one connection and the opening of another and could help to define how the metropole and the colony were made and remade as separate but connected locations.34

In the case of Jamaica, Tom Holt pioneered a metropole-colony approach in 1992.35 For Holt, liberalism as a conceptualization of free individuals consenting to democracy and capitalism by voting, producing and consuming had at first delayed, and then excluded, the admission of non-White people from its emancipatory embrace. That process was first put into practice in British governance ofJamaica. Catherine Hall developed a similar argument in relation to nonconformist missionaries, whose lower middle-class, White, male head-of-household backgrounds shaped their response to Jamaican heathen between 1830 and 1867.36 Missionaries were optimistic about the amenability of ex-slaves to Christianity and industriousness with

the onset of apprenticeship in 1834. But the scales fell from their eyes once evidence of backsliding from conversion became apparent, resulting in scepticism about the civilizational potential of non-Whites in the 1860s.

These metropole-colony approaches have demonstrated the ways in which subjectivity in Jamaica was the product of multiple forces of formal and informal empire. Holt's work has emphasized how Victorian models of the male head-of-household were imposed upon Jamaicans in the post-emancipation employment contracts and relations between individual and the state — despite the fact that a sugar plantation economy relied upon women to conduct the majority of the complex fieldwork.37 The approach also keeps in view the possibility that empires unleash forces, such as missionary critiques ofgovernment policy, that formal structures cannot fully control.38

However, the two historiographical trends outlined above both tend to present the Underhill Meetings as part of a causation of the Morant Bay rebellion rather than as an example of political culture distinct from that rebellion. For Heuman, the meetings formed the 'prologue' to the rebellion, whilst Sheller focuses on the colonial government ministers' concerns with a 'Gordon-Haytian' uprising.39 But the Meetings were not associated with seditious activity prior to the rebellion — after all, Eyre himself circulated Underhill's private letter to Cardwell in order to gather evidence about the claims he made, and the Meetings happened with government sanction. Indeed, when Eyre became anxious about rumours of insurrection in the north of the colony, he sent HMS Bulldog to Montego Bay and Black River as a precaution. Captain Charles Wake reported that 'I cannot find out that there is any ground whatever for believing in a preconserted [sic] rising of even that small portion of the population which is discontented'.40 The Meetings were only implicated in the rebellion when Eyre needed to justify his decisions to Cardwell, fantasizing about the influence of demagogic Baptist preachers on the populace.41 The Meetings were conceptually distinct from the rebellion; they were sanctioned by government, even if they made resolutions that Eyre did not expect; they were peaceful rather than seditious. The final section attempts to unpack the meaning and implications of the Meetings in this spirit, using the insights from the approaches of focusing on local politics and on the metropole-colony dynamic.

The Underhill Meetings

The two historiographical tendencies help to unpack three elements ofthe Underhill Meetings: the manipulation of Underhill's initial letter, the practice of subjectivity in the formation of the meetings and their demographic inclusions and exclusions.

The metropole-colony framework invites the historian to pay closer attention to the relationship between Underhill's letter and the discussions at the Underhill Meetings. One area that has received little attention has been the first point raised in Underhill's letter: the increase in crime. Underhill only obliquely related this criticism to Eyre's maladministration; the primary reason was extreme poverty, which in turn had numerous causes. Recent drought, the exhaustion of some sugar estates and the lack of cultivation in other areas and heavy taxes were all contributing factors, but the principal cause was the 'simple fact [that] there is not sufficient employment for the people; there is neither work for them nor the capital to employ them. The labouring class is too numerous for the work to be done'.42 For Underhill, crime and associated declines in moral standards were the unavoidable result of population size.

But the readers of Underhill's letter in the colony transformed this metropolitan concern with population into an argument about government provision. At Meetings in Kingston and Spanish Town, any decline in moral standards was wholly attributed to failures in government

policy. Crime and youth delinquency were due to failures by government to provide retraining and rehabilitative schemes for the thousands of domestic workers and skilled artisans left destitute by general economic decline.43 The problem was not one ofpopulation size in a rural environment, as Underhill had envisaged, but rather ofhow the workforce could be deployed and redeployed in urban as well as rural economies. The Underhill Meetings formalized public reason in a way that crossed registers such as diglossic rumour about the causes of distress and formal petitioning to advocate particular solutions.44 The Meetings' resolutions produced a "spilling over" of an argument from the control of a potential agent of informal empire and into the hands of colonial subjects.

Second, the Underhill Meetings were constituted by a set of common practices. The participants were capable of recasting even the most demeaning aspects of these practices as a form of critique. These aspects included the obligation to ask permission from the custos to hold the meeting and the use of the court house for that meeting. At St James, the participants engaged in a strategy of epistemic resistance. They elected the custos himself to chair the meeting, thereby compelling him to report back to Eyre as a colonial state official and as a signatory ('with reservations') to the resolutions that criticized Eyre.45 Legitimate opposition to the colonial government required participants to enforce their own subjectivity as a precondition to participation, but that very process was amenable to function as an act of defiance, critique and parody.

Diana Paton has uncovered several cases of popular participation in court hearings through commentary, applause or shouting in the post-emancipation period - such engagement manipulated and extended the 'conditional' entitlement citizens enjoyed to spectate at trials, granted by elites to Black subjects.46 The Underhill Meetings were the culmination of subjects' ability to appropriate the space ofthe court house as conditional citizens; the Meetings' format meant that they did not comment on a prescheduled legal process (such as a trial), but rather deliberated on proposals for alternative visions of Jamaica as a colonial society. Paton's analysis suggests that obeah, myalism and Native Baptism facilitated 'subaltern' conceptions of justice that existed outside the remit of the colonial state's judicial system.47 The Underhill Meetings were another alternative means for the discussion of retributive and distributive justice, but one that took over a space previously used for the judicial operations of the colonial state.

At St Thomas in the East, the custos refused to sanction the use of the court house.48 The participants responded by holding the meeting outside, presumably in the town square, and included a resolution critical of the custos's 'generally arbitrary[,] illegal and inconsistent conduct'.49 The meeting therefore represented a flight from colonial jurisdiction, but one that signified its unity with the other Underhill Meetings by retaining the common format of resolutions. The injunction to explore the 'inner plantation', the fact that everyday life and politics in Caribbean history drew upon the social death and denial of forms of representation wrought by slavery, should have room for a more tactical use of these subjectivities.50

Third, the intensive focus on local politics asks us to consider the demography of the participants in the meetings. The meetings were surprisingly, perhaps uniquely, broad in their inclusions in terms of race and class. The St James meeting included Baptist missionaries, merchants, Black labourers, a Jewish newspaper editor and a coloured Assemblyman amongst its participants.51 Unlike Sheller's framework, the meetings were not evidence of Black peasant democratic participation but rather a much broader forum that enabled all men to speak. The meetings therefore contrasted to the tripartite division into White, coloured, and Black populations that characterized electioneering in Wilmot's studies.52

At the same time, a close attention to the Meetings' proceedings suggests a more exclusive gendered dimension. Sheller argues that women were involved in the meetings, citing the example of the 'crinolined and handkerchief-turbaned females' at the Hanover Underhill

Meeting.53 But, although women were present at the meeting, none of them spoke, nor were women attendant at depositions that gave resolutions to Eyre.

Considering the scale of the meetings, this would appear to be indicative of a systematic silencing of women's voices; but the reasons for such silence are puzzling. Perhaps, it was the product of the expectations of discourses of female domesticity that the colonial government prized.54 However, this kind of explanation would need to answer an immediate question: Why did gendered norms of behaviour marginalize women at the Underhill Meetings but did not prevent women's visible participation in withdrawals from plantation labour, riots, electoral violence and the Morant Bay rebellion? This is a pressing issue for further research.


The intellectual cultures developed thorough the Underhill Meetings were responses to and reconfigurations of metropolitan conceptions of liberalism, empire and political economy. Resolutions from the Meetings were not mutually compatible, with some demanding far more state intervention to subsidize exports or increase productivity through immigration schemes, whilst others wished that the state would reduce taxation and step back from the labour and commodities markets. The Underhill Meetings represented arguably the first time that deliberation about possible futures ofthe colonial state and society was possible on an island-wide scale. These possible futures set the precedent for post-rebellion reform initiatives under successive governors, starting with John Grant.

These initiatives have their own historiography. Gisela Eisner's 1961 study, using land tax and valuation rolls, argued that Grant's reforms stimulated the growth of the small settler peasantry in the second half of the 19th century.55 These reforms are perhaps best conceptualized as a kind of authoritarian liberalism, which used land surveys and the forcible eviction ofsquatters from land (on condition that these squatters had first refusal on the option to rent it) in order to regularize abandoned plantations. Veront Satchell's analysis of conveyance deeds reached the opposite conclusion; the majority of transactions resulted in the transfer of land from small settlers to merchants and professionals who began to displace indebted planters as the major landowners.56

Satchell acknowledged qualifications to his argument, which offer grounds for considering the post-rebellion period as one of alternating paradigms between attempts at greater distribution and movement towards the entrenchment ofplanter-labourer inequality. First, the periods c. 1866—1870 and the 1890s witnessed concerted government attempts to enable small settler tenure, including low interest rate policies.57 Second, the 1890s also saw the development of the kinds of accountability systems, such as inspectors from the Department of Agriculture, and the spread of knowledge required for training and retraining through the Jamaican Agricultural Society (established 1895) that could help small settlers become and stay profitable. Third, Satchell's use of conveyance deeds did not include the transfer of 'family land', which, as Jean Besson has argued, resisted the state's attempts to impose primogeniture via a legitimate heir.58 Family land had an 'unrestricted cognatic' transfer system, that is, it was inherited by all the children of its owners on an equal basis, including children born out of wedlock. Besson's analysis of family land in the parish of Trelawny suggests that the state and small settlers moved in a dynamic of negotiation over the recognition, taxation and contestation of the status and ownership of family land from 1838 onwards.59

The lineage between the Underhill Meetings, Grant, the late 19th-century growth in small settlers and the use of family land suggests that political culture in Jamaica was not necessarily subject to increasing marginalization and decline between c. 1865 and 1900. The period was instead one of different programmes competing with one another, including those that liberalized education and land tenure and those that criminalized obeah or facilitated the development

of new planter classes.60 These tensions and competitions, rather than the supersession of liberal post-emancipation government by harsher Crown Colony control, offer an alternative explanatory framework for political culture in Jamaica, in the era before a nationalist political culture in ethnic or imagined terms.


I am grateful to the AHRC and St Catherine's College, Oxford, for funding the postgraduate research on which this article is based. I am especially grateful to Dr Brian Young for supervising the dissertation research ofwhich a portion is presented here. I thank Dr Mark Hannam, Naomi Carlisle, Dr Sujit Sivasundaram, Sujit Sivasundaram's postgraduate reading group and the conference organizers for their helpful comments on drafts of the paper presented at the Unmaking the nation conference, as well as drafts of this article. Thanks also to those who asked questions at the conference and the anonymous referees, who have helped me to rethink this piece. Thank you to Dr Philip Boyes at the University of Cambridge for help with Open Access requirements. All responsibility for the piece is mine alone.

Short Biography

Jake Christopher Richards is a PhD student in History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He is interested in the intellectual, cultural, and social history of the 19th-century Atlantic world, with a particular focus on the political cultures ofpost-emancipation societies. Within those societies, he studies how ex-slave and migrant populations engaged in debates over political controversies, scandals, and conceptions of public reason. His research is funded by an AHRC-Isaac Newton Trust doctoral award.

* Correspondence: Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge CB2 1TA, UK. Email:

1 Sheller, Democracy after Slavery, 202.

2 Heuman, "Killing Time," xiii.

3 "Parliamentary Papers 1866 XXXI [3683-I]. Jamaica. Report of the Jamaica Royal Commission, 1866 Part I. Report," 15.

4 "Parliamentary Papers 1866 LI [3594-I, II, III]: Papers Relating to the Disturbances in Jamaica. Parts I—III," 5.

5 This is the official figure. Sheller suggests it could be higher. Sheller, Citizenship from below, 291—92; Huzzey, Freedom Burning, 184 gives the total as "more than eight hundred rebels."

6 Kostal, "Jamaica Committee (Act. 1865—1869)."

7 Dacres, "'But Bogle Was a Bold Man': Vision, History, and Power for a New Jamaica."

8 But for analysis that stresses the limits to missionary control of free villages, see Besson, Martha Brae's Two Histories.

9 Mintz, Three Ancient Colonies, 61—64.

10 Underhill, Letter.

11 Sheller, Democracy after Slavery, 190.

12 See the testimony ofBacchus Williams. Colonial Office, Confidential Print West Indies Series, 1862—1873, CO 884/2, UK National Archives (henceforth UKNA).

13 See, for instance, the 'Memorial of the inhabitants of the parish of Hanover', which reads as a petition. See Colonial Office, Original Correspondence, CO 137/391, Despatch 148, UKNA.

14 Anderson, Imagined Communities.

15 Curtin, Two Jamaicas, 176 (quotation), 184 (for Gordon).

16 Mintz, Caribbean Transformations, 262.

17 Curtin, Two Jamaicas, ix.

18 "Parliamentary Papers 1866 XXX [3682]. Jamaica Disturbances. Papers Laid before the Royal Commission of Inquiry by Governor Eyre," 3. The quotation comes from a despatch by Eyre to Cardwell, repeating a phrase allegedly (but probably never in fact) uttered by Gordon.

19 CO 137/396 Despatch 336, UKNA, enclosing a clipping from the Jamaica Guardian, 20th December 1865.

20 Kim, McClure, and McQuade, "Making and Unmaking the Nation in World History," 3.

21 Curtin, Two Jamaicas; For a critique, see Robotham, The Notorious Riot especially Part 1, "Bogle and the historians."

22 "Parliamentary Papers 1866 XXXI [3683-I]. Jamaica. Report of the Jamaica Royal Commission, 1866 Part I. Report," 12, 13.

23 Robotham, The Notorious Riot, 41.

24 Ibid., 78.

25 Wilmot, "The Politics ofSamuel Clarke."

26 Wilmot, "'Females ofAbandoned Character?'," 292.

27 Quoted from ibid.

28 Heuman, "Killing Time," xvi; The fact that magistrates were unpaid led to infrequent petty sessions. See Paton, No Bond but the Law, 165.

29 Sheller, Democracy after Slavery, 210.

30 Schuler, "Alas, Alas, Kongo"; Robotham, The Notorious Riot, 24.

31 Sheller, Democracy after Slavery, Conclusion; Smith, Liberty, Fraternity, Exile, chap. 7.

32 Sheller, Democracy after Slavery, 216; Smith, Liberty, Fraternity, Exile, 138.

33 Cooper and Stoler, Tensions of Empire, 22.

34 Lester, "Imperial Circuits and Networks: Geographies of the British Empire," 131.

35 Cooper and Stoler, Tensions of Empire; Holt, The Problem of Freedom.

36 Hall, Civilising Subjects.

37 Wilmot, "'Females ofAbandoned Character?'," 280; Holt, "The Essence ofthe Contract."

38 Stoler and Cooper, "Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda."

39 Heuman, "Killing Time," 44; Sheller, Democracy after Slavery, 194, 223.

40 Quoted in Smith, Liberty, Fraternity, Exile, 134.

41 See CO 137/393, UKNA. Despatch 253.

42 "Parliamentary Papers 1866 LI [3595 3749]. Correspondence Relative to the Affairs of Jamaica," 1.

43 CO 137/391, Despatch 132 (Kingston) and 143 (Spanish Town), UKNA.

Wilmot, "The Politics of Samuel Clarke"; Derby, "Beyond Fugitive Speech: Rumor and Affect in Caribbean History"; Schuler, "Myalism and the African Religious Tradition in Jamaica."

45 CO 137/391: Despatch 137, UKNA. This despatch comprised a memorial from the Underhill Meeting participants to Cardwell, the resolutions from the Meeting and a clipping from the County Union newspaper, 23rd May 1865. One reviewer pointed out to me that custodes often chaired parish meetings. However, as far as I can tell, it was wholly unprecedented for a custos to chair a meeting against his will and with prior knowledge that the meeting would be highly critical of the colonial government. I thank the reviewer for helping me to clarify this point.

46 Paton, No Bond but the Law, 170 Paton, however, does not connect her analysis of the court house to the Underhill Meetings.

47 Ibid., 190.

48 Jamaica Watchman and People's Free Press, 1.

49 "Parliamentary Papers 1866 LI [3594-I, II, III]: Papers Relating to the Disturbances in Jamaica. Parts I—III," 1157.

50 Bogues, "Writing Caribbean Intellectual History," 170, 175.

51 County Union, 23rd May 1865.

52 Wilmot, "'The Old Order Changeth'"; It should, however, be noted that Jewish political activity could sometimes complicate matters — see Wilmot's analysis of the 1853 mayoral election in Kingston. Wilmot, "'Females of Abandoned

Character?'," 289.

53 Sheller, Democracy after Slavery, 196 note 24. Sheller quotes from the Falmouth Post, 23rd May 1865.

54 Holt, "The Essence ofthe Contract."

55 Holt, The Problem of Freedom, 337; Eisner, Jamaica, 221—222; 220 Table 35.

56 Satchell, From Plots to Plantations, 151—55.

57 Satchell, "Crown Lands and Peasant Development in Jamaica, 1895—1910."

58 Satchell, From Plots to Plantations, 15.

59 Besson, Martha Brae's Two Histories, chap. 4.

60 On obeah, see Paton, The Cultural Politics of Obeah, chap. 4.


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