Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5d6d958fb5-jkwcl Total loading time: 0.257 Render date: 2022-11-26T15:10:00.547Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

The World of Alexander Campbell: An Eighteenth-Century Grenadian Planter

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2017

Get access

Extract

In 1763 few Europeans doubted the enormous importance of their Caribbean possessions, a fact indicated by the ready willingness of the French to cede Canada in order to regain British-occupied Martinique. The British were no different, and in the West Indies they were in the process of establishing a New World aristocracy whose riches were based upon African slavery and the production of tropical crops. The British prized their Caribbean territories, especially since the sugar revolution that had begun during the mid-seventeenth century first in Barbados where the crop had become dominant by 1660 and then in Jamaica. British planters continued their success in the Leeward Island settlements of Antigua, St. Christopher, Nevis, and Montserrat, where entrepreneurs converted their lands to sugar cane by the early 1700s. West Indian planters became influential within the British Empire, and exercised profound social, political, and economic importance in the metropolis. By the eighteenth century they were the richest colonists within the empire; they were landed aristocrats who could have vied in wealth and prestige with their counterparts in Britain.

Type
Research Article
Information
Albion , Volume 35 , Issue 2 , Summer 2003 , pp. 229 - 256
Copyright
Copyright © North American Conference on British Studies 2003

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1 Dunn, Richard S., Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class I the English West Indies, 1624–1713 (Chapel Hill, 1972)Google Scholar; Carl and Bridenbaugh, Roberta, No Peace Beyond the Line (New York, 1972)Google Scholar; Sheridan, Richard, Sugar and Slavery: An Economic History of the British West Indies, 1623–1775 (Baltimore, 1974).Google Scholar

2 Ragatz, Lowell, The Fall of the Planter Class in the British Caribbean, 1763–1833 (New York, 1928)Google Scholar; Pitman, Frank, The Development of the West Indies, 1700–1763 (New Haven, 1917)Google Scholar; Williams, Eric, Capitalism and Slavery; Dunn, Sugar and Slaves; Sheridan, Sugar and Slavery.Google Scholar

3 Drescher, Seymour, Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition (Pittsburgh, 1977)Google Scholar; Ward, J. R, British West India Slavery, 1754–1834 (London, 1988)Google Scholar; Drescher, Seymour, “The Decline Thesis of British Slavery since Econocide,” in From Slavery to Freedom: Comparative Studies in the Rise and Fall of Atlantic Slavery (New York, 1999).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

4 Bailyn, Bernard, Voyages to the West (New York, 1987)Google Scholar; Canny, Nicholas, Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World, 15001800 (Oxford, 1994)Google Scholar; Thornton, John K., Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1680 (New York, 1992)Google Scholar; Karras, Alan and McNeill, John R., Atlantic American Societies: From Columbus through Abolition, ¡492-1888 (New York, 1992)Google Scholar; Liss, Peggy K., Atlantic Empires: The Network of Trade and Revolution, 17131826 (Baltimore, 1983)Google Scholar; Davis, Ralph, The Rise of Atlantic Economics (Ithaca, 1973)Google Scholar; Curtin, Philip, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census (Madison, 1969)Google Scholar; Curtin, Philip, Africa Remembered: Narratives of West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade (Madison, 1967).Google Scholar

5 Karras, Alan, Sojourners in the Sun: Scottish Migrants in Jamaica and the Chesapeake, 1740–1800 (Ithaca, 1992), pp. 38.Google Scholar

6 Curtin, Philip D., The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History (Cambridge, 1990).Google Scholar

7 Contemporary accounts include: Turnbull, Gordon, Revolt in Grenada (Edinburgh, 1795)Google Scholar; Wise, T T., A Review of the Insurrection (St. George’s, Grenada, 1795)Google Scholar; A Grenada Planter, Brief Enquiry into the Causes of the Insurrection (London, 1796); McMahon, Francis, Narrative of the Insurrection in Grenada (St. George’s, Grenada, 1823)Google Scholar; Hay, John, Narrative of the Insurrection (London, 1823).Google Scholar

8 Craton, Michael, Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies (Ithaca, 1982), p. 140.Google Scholar

9 Curtin, Plantation Complex, pp. 1–10; Davis, David Brion, Slavery and Human Progress (Oxford, 1984), pp. 4271Google Scholar; Galloway, J. H., The Sugar Cane Industry: An Historical Geography from its Origins to 1914 (Cambridge, 1989).Google Scholar

10 Craton, Testing the Chains, p. 141.

11 Devine, T. M., “An Eighteenth-Century Business Elite: Glasgow-West India Merchants, c. 1750–1815,” Scottish Historical Review 57 (1978): 4067.Google Scholar

12 Higman, B. W., Slave Populations of the British Caribbean 1807–1834 (Baltimore, 1984), pp. 4071.Google Scholar

13 Ibid.

14 Scots Magazine 23 (1761): 614. Mitchell, J. O., The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry (Glasgow, 1878), pp. 209–14.Google Scholar

15 Campbell, Alexander, “Minutes of the Evidence taken before the Select Committee appointed for the Examination of Witnesses on the Slave Trade” (13 February 1790), Parliamentary Papers, 29 (1790): 134–35, 154.Google Scholar

16 Hancock, David, Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 1735–1785 (Cambridge, 1995), pp.1014.Google Scholar

17 Higman uses the terms first phase, second phase, and third phase colonies to distinguish between the periods of development in the Caribbean (see Slave Populations, pp. 40–71). See also, Dunn, Sugar and Slaves and Sheridan, Sugar and Slavery.

18 Batte, Robert, “Why Sugar? Economic Cycles and the Changing of Staples on the English and French Antilles, 1624–54,” Journal of Caribbean History 8–9 (1976): 141Google Scholar; Zahedieh, Nuala, “The Merchants of Port Royal, Jamaica, and the Spanish Contraband Trade, 1655–1692,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 53, 4 (1986): 570–93; ‘“A Frugal, Prudential and Hopeful Trade’: Privateering in Jamaica, 1655–1692,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 18, 2 (1990): 145–68Google Scholar; “Trade, Plunder, and Economic Development in Early English Jamaica, 1655–89,” Economic History Review 39, 2 (1986): 205–22.

19 Hancock, Citizens of the World, pp. 143–71 and ‘“A World of Business to Do’: William Freeman and the Foundations of England’s Commercial Empire, 1645–1707,” WMQ, 3rd ser., 57, 1 (2002): 1, 3–34.

20 This strategy had been frequently employed by planters in the older British West Indian colonies. See Bennett, J. H., “Cary Helyar, Merchant and Planter of Seventeenth Century Jamaica,” WMQ 3rd ser., 21 (1964): 5376Google Scholar, “William Dampier, Buccaneer and Planter,” History Today 40 (1964): 113–23, “William Whales, Planter of Seventeenth-Century Jamaica,” Agricultural History 90 (1960): 113–23; Pares, Richard, A West India Fortune (New York, 1950).Google Scholar

21 “William Lushington and James Law Ledger,” Grenada Supreme Court Registry, St. George, Grenada, ff. 81–88 (hereafter cited as “Lushington & Law Ledger”).

22 ”The Will of Colin Campbell,” Perogatory Courts of Canterbury, Prob. 11/1099, ff. 35–37; “The Will of Archibald Campbell,” Bermudan Archives, Wll: 141.

23 Paterson, Daniel, A Topographical Description of the Island of Grenada; Surveyed by Monsieur Pinel in 1763, by Order of Government with the addition of English Names, Alterations of Property, and other Improvements to the Present Time (London: 1780)Google Scholar; Byres, John, Plan of the Island of Tobago, Laid Down by Actual Survey under the Direction of the Honorable the Commissioners for the Sale of Lands in the Ceded Islands (London, 1776)Google Scholar; Byres, References to the Plan of the Island of St. Vincent, as Surveyed from the Year 1765 to 1773 (London, 1777); References to the Plan of the Island of Dominica, in PRO, CO 76/9.

24 Ragatz, Fall of the Planter Class, p. 127.

25 Jeffreys, Thomas, Description of the Island of Grenada and Its Different Quarters (London, 1760).Google Scholar

26 Young, William, An Account of the Black Charibs in the Island of St. Vincent (London, 1795)Google Scholar and Atwood, Thomas, History of the Island of Dominica (London, 1791).Google Scholar

27 Ward, J. R., British West Indian Slavery, 1750–1834 (Oxford, 1988), pp. 9699.Google Scholar

28 Jeffreys, Description of the Island of Grenada.

29 ”Correspondence of Governor George Scott,” PRO, CO 101/9.

30 Cox, Edward L., Free Coloreas in the Slave Societies of St. Kitts and Grenada, 1763–1833 (Knoxville, 1984), p. 14.Google Scholar

31 “Private Information of the Present State of the Island of Grenada and its Dependencies and of its value and importance to the crown of Great Britain, most humbly submitted to the consideration of His Majesty’s Ministers by the British Merchants,” 1788, PRO, CO 101/26, Miscellaneous.

32 PP, 29 (1790), p. 135.

33 Cox, Free Coloreas, pp. 3–4.

34 ”Lushington & Law Ledger,” ff. 100–01; “31 December 1772 Mortgage Indenture between Alexander Campbell, Henry Hope, John Harman and Jeremiah Harman,” Supreme Court Registry, St. George Grenada, Deeds L2, ff. 29–51 (hereafter cited as Grenada Deeds).

35 Patterson, A Topographical Description.

36 “State of the Island of Grenada, 1772” (in Governor Leybourne to [?], Aug. 10, 1772), PRO, CO 101/16.

37 Shepherders, Verene and Marginality,” Social and Economic Studies 41, 2 (1991): 183201Google Scholar; Sheridan, Sugar and Slavery, p. 176.

38 Ibid.

39 Craton, Searching for the Invisible Man, p. 2.

40 Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade, pp. 62–72.

41 PP, 29 (1790), p. 136; Patterson, Topographical Description of the Island of Grenada; Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade, pp. 62–72.

42 ”State of the Island of Grenada, 1772,” PRO, CO 101/16.

43 Ibid.

44 Ibid.

45 Ibid.

46 Patterson, A Topographical Description.

47 This was a common feature throughout the Caribbean as planters sought to generate the necessary investment capital through the production of smaller crops. See: Craton, Michael, Searching for the Invisible Man, p. 12.Google Scholar According to Cox these crops provided the basis of support for free colored populations, see Cox, Free Coloreas, p. 64.

48 “Governor Melville’s Response to the Additional Heads of Enquiry,” PRO, CO 101/28.

49 Among these cases between French and British colonists in Grenada are Herbert v. Scott and Rochará v. Campbell, see PRO, CO 101/25.

50 Ragatz, Fall of the Planter Class, pp. 175–81.

51 Drescher, Econocide, pp. 60–64; Ward, British West Indian Slavery, pp. 38–60.

52 O’Shannesy, An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (Philadelphia, 2000).

53 PP, 29 (1790), p. 138.

54 ”Debates in Parliament,” The Gentleman’s Magazine (1773), pp. 204–11; Thomas, Paul, “The Caribs of St. Vincent: A Study in Imperial Maladministration, 1763–73,” Journal of Caribbean History 18, 2(1984): 6073Google Scholar; Boucher, Philip, Cannibal Encounters (Baltimore, 1992)Google Scholar; Craton, Michael, “Planters, British Imperial Policy and the Black Caribs of St. Vincent,” in Craton, Empire, Enslavement and Freedom in the Caribbean (Princeton, 1997); PP, 29 (1790), p. 158.Google Scholar Duncan Campbell was a prominent planter with properties in St. Vincent, Tobago, and Dominica. He served in the St. Vincent Assembly in the 1780s and 1790s. See “The Will of Duncan Campbell,” in Oliver, Vere L., ed., Caribbeana: Being Miscellaneous Papers Relating to the History, Geneaology, Topography, and Antiquities of the British West Indies 5 vols. (London, 1902-19), 2: 354Google Scholar and Scots Magazine 41 (1779): 89.

55 O’Shannessy, An Empire Divided, pp. 185–210.

56 Ragatz, Fall of the Planter Class, pp. 127–28; O’Shaughnessy, An Empire Divided, pp. 131–32. Curious for its omission of Campbell v. Hall is Oldham’s, James The Mansfield Manuscripts and the Growth of English Law in the Eighteenth Century (Chapel Hill, 1992).Google Scholar

57 “16 October 1772 lease agreement between Alexander Campbell and John Aitcheson,” Grenada Deeds W2, f. 121; “21 July 1773 Purchase Agreement between Alexander Campbell and John Aitcheson, Sr.” Grenada Deeds R2, 504–08.

58 ”22 May 1772 Purchase Agreement between Alexander Campbell and Hugh Dalrymple and John Dumaresq,” Grenada Deeds E2/1772, ff. 490–93, ff. 508–14; “18 May 1772 Purchase Agreement between Alexander Campbell and Hugh Dalrymple,” Grenada Deeds M2/1773, ff. 81–95.

59 “3 January 1777 Purchase Agreement between James Cockburn and Alexander Campbell,” Grenada Deeds A3, ff. 485–511.

60 “Lushington & Law Ledger,” ff. 48–51.

61 “16 October 1772 lease agreement between Alexander Campbell and John Aitcheson,” Grenada Deeds W.2, f. 121.

62 ”State of the Island of Grenada, 1772,” PRO, CO 101/16.

63 PP, 29 (1790), pp. 138–39.

64 Ibid. In addition, Ward describes the encroachment of planters on slave provision grounds (British West Indian Slavery, p. 19). See also Higman Slave Populations, pp. 210–12.

65 PP, 29 (1790), pp. 156–59.

66 “13 July 1787 Lease and Mortgage between Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell and John Campbell, Sr.,” Supreme Court Registry, Kingstown, St. Vincent Deeds 1787, fF. 224–27 (hereafter cited as St. Vincent Deeds); “13 December 1790 Mortgage between Alexander Campbell, John Campbell, Thomas Campbell, William Lushington and James Law,” St. Vincent Deeds 1791, ff.1-32.

67 “Lushington & Law Ledger,” ff. 40–51.

68 Young, William, West-Indian Common-Place Book: Compiled from Parliamentary and Official Documents; Showing the Interests of Great Britain in the Sugar Colonies (London, 1807), pp. 2832.Google Scholar

69 “Lord MacCarntney’s Description of the defenses of the Grenadines,” 22 July 1778, PRO, CO 101/22, f. 70.

70 “21 July 1773 Lease between John Aitcheson and Alexander Campbell,” Grenada Deeds R: 2, ff. 504–08.

71 “13 December 1790 Mortgage between Alexander Campbell, John Campbell, Thomas Campbell, William Lushington and James Law,” St. Vincent Deeds 1791, ff. 1–3.

72 For Duncan Campbell see above, n. 54. James Campbell held estates in Grenada, Tobago, Dominica, and St. Vincent, and served in the assemblies of Grenada and Tobago for much of the 1760s and 1770s, and later in the Councils of both colonies (Scots Magazine 59 (1797): 78. Thomas Campbell was a merchant in St. George and served on the Council of Grenada during the 1790s before dying in Demerara in 1795 (Scots Magazine 57 (1795): 480.

73 “Alexander Houston Papers,” National Scottish Archives, ff. 201, 317.

74 Ward, British West Indian Slaveryp. 43.

75 “Lushington & Law Ledger.”

76 Anstey, Roger, “Religion and British Slave Emancipation,” in Eltis, David and Walvin, James, The Abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade (Madison, 1982), pp. 3762.Google Scholar

77 PP, 29 (1790), pp. 163–66.

78 Ibid, p.138.

79 Oldfield, J. R., Popular Politics and British Anti-Slavery: The Mobilization of Public Opinion against the Slave Trade, 1787–1807 (Manchester, 1995), pp. 155–79.Google Scholar Honour, Hugh, The Image of the Black in Western Art, vol. 4, pt. 1 (Houston, 1992), pp. 6568.Google Scholar

80 Campbell’s defense of the plantation system is part of a protracted historical debate. Lowell Ragatz saw the plantation system in decline after 1763. Eric Williams argued that abolition itself occurred because of Britain’s industrial interests. Seymour Drescher contends that slavery and the West Indian system were just as profitable at the end of the Eighteenth and early nineteenth century as it had been at the beginning of the eighteenth century. For the latest summary of the debate see: Drescher, Seymour, “The Decline Thesis of British Slavery since Econocide” in From Slavery to Freedom: Comparative Studies in the Rise and Fall of Atlantic Slavery (New York, 1999).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

81 PP, 29 (1790), p. 163.

82 Ibid.

83 Young, William, West-Indian Common-Place Book (London, 1805).Google Scholar

84 PP, 29 (1790), p. 156.

85 Series of Paintings of Alexander Campbell and Ninian Home at Paraclete, in Benjamin, John, A Short History of Grenada (St. George’s, c. 1980).Google Scholar

86 Jeffreys, A Survey of the Island of Grenada Commissioned by Lieutenant General George Scott, and Patterson, A New Survey of the Island of Grenada.

87 “Agreement between Alexander Campbell of St. Andrew Parish, Grenada, John Campbell, Sr. of Glasgow, and Thomas Campbell of St. George’s, Grenada, 30 November 1787” St. Vincent Deeds 1787, ff. 227–47. See also: Slade, H. G., Proceedings of the Society for Antiquities, Scotland 114 (1984): 497.Google Scholar

88 ‘Lushington & Law Ledger.”

89 ”13 December 1790 Mortgage between Alexander Campbell, John Campbell, Thomas Campbell, William Lushington and James Law,” St. Vincent Deeds 1791, ff. 1–32.

90 Hancock, Citizens of the World, pp. 10–14.

91 Patterson, A Topographical Description; “An Account of Sugar, Rum, Molasses, Cotton, Coffee, Cocoa and Indigo made in the Island of Grenada, 1792,” PRO, CO 101/33.

92 Ibid.

93 Ibid.

94 Ibid.

95 Gaspar, David Barry and Geggus, David Patrick, A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean (Bloomington, 1997)Google Scholar; Craton, Michael, Testing the Chains (Ithaca, 1982).Google Scholar

96 Gaspar, Barry, Bondsmen and Rebels: A Study of Master-Slave Relations in Antigua (with implications for Colonial British America) (Baltimore, 1982)Google Scholar; Beckles, Hilary, “Caribbean Anti-Slavery: The Self-Liberation Ethos of Enslaved Blacks,” Journal of Caribbean History 22 (1988):l6Google Scholar; Beckles, “The 200 Years War; Slave Resistance in the British West Indies: An Overview of the Historiography,” Jamaican Historical Review (1982) 13: 1–10; Craton, Michael, “The Passion to Exist: Slave Rebellion in the British West Indies, 1650–1832,” Journal of Caribbean History (1980) 13:1.Google Scholar

97 Devas, Raymond P., Conception Island; or, The Troubled Story of the Catholic Church in Grenada (London, 1932)Google Scholar, The History of the Island of Grenada, 1650–1950 (Grenada, 1964).

98 Henry Dundas to Samuel Williams, 2 January 1793, PRO, CO 101/33.

99 In 1793 James Campbell claimed that he had spent the years between 1763 and 1791 in residence in the West Indies (Letter to Henry Dundas, 7 December 1793 PRO, CO 101/33, Miscellaneous). James Campbell returned to Grenada in 1796 after the death of Alexander Campbell and continued his residence in the West Indies until his death at Argyle, Tobago in 1805. At the time of his death he was President of the Council of Tobago (Scots Magazine 68 (1806): 78.

100 Samuel Williams to Henry Dundas, 10 November 1792, PRO, CO 101/33.

101 Cox, Free Coloreas, p. 14.

102 Ninian Home to Henry Dundas, 15 February 1793, PRO, CO 101/33.

103 In his letter to Henry Dundas James Campbell claimed to have been resident in the West Indies since 1763. Yet he left the Ceded Islands on many occasions, including a trip to Bermuda for his health. During the 1790s there was a high rate of absenteeism in Grenada as planters and merchants increasingly left the island to pursue opportunities in Dominica or even foreign Caribbean territories (PRO, CO 101/33, Miscellaneous).

104 Ninian Home to Henry Dundas, 2 May 1793 and 16 July 1793. PRO, CO 101/33.

105 Kenneth Francis McKenzie to Henry Dundas, 28 March 1795, PRO, CO 101/34.

106 “Alexander Campbell and Lushington & Law, 1792,“ Grenada Wills E2, 601–09,” Alexander Campbell and Lushington & Law, 1799–1800," Grenada Deeds H2, 434–38. See also PRO, CO 101/35, Miscellaneous, which contains several petitions from planters who claimed considerable losses.

8
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The World of Alexander Campbell: An Eighteenth-Century Grenadian Planter
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The World of Alexander Campbell: An Eighteenth-Century Grenadian Planter
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The World of Alexander Campbell: An Eighteenth-Century Grenadian Planter
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *