Skip to main content

Letters concerning the Codrington Family Estates in the West Indies

 Single Item
MS. 15096
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request
    this
Thirty-three letters, one memorandum and two notes relating to the Codrington estates in the West Indies, particularly Antigua and Barbuda. The letters report on the management of the estates and the impact on labour of the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire with the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833 which took effect on 1 August 1834.

Also two letters concerning French military forces in Italy in circa 1802. The connection of these letters with the Codrington papers is not clear.
  1. fol. 1: letter from Samuel Redhead to Messrs Codrington and Miller concerning estate accounts with a list of sugar shipped and a request to execute a deed for a 'mustee child', 10 Jun 1771, Antigua
  2. fols. 2-3: letter from James Millett, an apprentice for 13 years upon the estates, to Sir William Codrington complaining that he has been cruelly treated by Samuel Redhead during his service, 12 Jun 1779, Antigua. Millet has had four children with a woman on the estate, three of whom he bought, and he asks to buy the fourth child and their mother.
  3. fols. 4-5: unsigned, incomplete letter, presumably to Sir William Codrington, concerning the possibility of a French attack on the island since the loss of Grenada and capitulation of St Vincent, with reports on the harvest of various crops, 29 Jul [1779], [Antigua]
  4. fols. 6-9: letter from Richard Clarke to Sir William Codrington concerning the plans for new buildings for boiling and curing sugar to produce rum and molasses and a request for more stallions, 25 Feb 1781, Antigua
  5. fol. 10: letter from B. Entwistle to Richard Clarke regarding their arbitation, concerning which Sir William Codrington is due to see Mr Redhead, 27 Apr 1781, Antigua
  6. fols. 11-12: letter from Richard Clarke to Sir William Codrington concerning the nomination of Sir William as umpire in the arbitration case and requesting that a 'white cooper' be sent out as a superintendant, 4 May 1781, Antigua
  7. fols. 13-14: letter from Dennis Reynolds to Richard Oliver discussing the need for horses on the island, the theft of mutton and the rations which slaves receive, 6 Nov 1782, Barbuda
  8. fols. 15-16: letter from Charles Forsyth to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington concerning the latter's inheritance of lands from his uncle, 4 Oct 1817, Green Hill Cottage
  9. fols. 17-18: letter from William H. Gale to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington regarding a fine of £50 for having inflicted twelve lashes upon a woman, 18 Jul 1824, Antigua
  10. fols. 19-20: letter from Samuel Pearson to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington applying to be manager and attorney on his Windward Estates, 1 Dec 1828, Antigua
  11. fols. 21-22: letter from Owen Pell to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington applying to manage his Windward Estates and describing his relevant experience, 4 Dec 1828, Antigua
  12. fols. 23-24: letter from Meade H. Daniell to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington thanking him for his kindnesses and warning against Captain Haynes' excessive insincerity, 5 Dec 1828, Antigua
  13. fols. 25-26: letter from Messrs Davidson and Simpson to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codington providing a reference for Owen Pell to support his application to manage the Codington estates, 25 Jan 1829, London
  14. fols. 27-28: letter from William Gleyas [or Gluyas] to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington applying to work for him, having already served twelve years as overseer and manager on his estates, 5 Feb 1829, Antigua
  15. fols. 29-30: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington concerning agitators in town who are constantly stirring the slaves, the weather, the condition of the sugar plantation, and news of two runaways, 7 Jan 1833, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  16. fols. 31-32: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington concerning the crop which will be disappointing due to the drought, the welcome departure of Sir Patrick Ross who has encouraged the mob and the anticipated arrival of Sir Evan McGregor as Governor. Jarritt is not aware of any slaves being able to purchase their freedom and reports on a slave who wishes to marry a free woman. 8 Feb 1833, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  17. fols. 33-34: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington concerning the serious effects of the drought, the debates in Parliament and the refutation of calumnies circulated by the Anti-Slavery Committee, 10 Apr 1833, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  18. fols. 35-36: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington reporting on some showers which have eased the drought, former slaves who steal wood and live among slaves on estates, the eloquence of Mr Borthwick in speaking against the Anti-Slavery Society and the death of a faithful slave from fever, 11 May 1833, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  19. fols. 37-38: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington discussing the debates in Parliament about abolishing slavery and how property legally acquired must be defended, and reporting that he has presented Edward George with his manumission, 5 Jul 1833, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  20. fols. 39-40: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington discussing the proposed compensation for slave owners and the effect of freed slaves on wages, 5 Aug 1833, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  21. fols. 41-42: letter from William H. Gale to Thomas Warner, editor of The Antigua Herald, defending his actions in the punishment of a slave following the publication of criticism in the Free Press, 30 Mar 1834, Garden Estate [Antigua]. Endorsed as a true copy by Robert Jarritt.
  22. fols. 43-44: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington reporting on produce to be sent to him, on a recent shipment of sugar which he believes was plundered and on the slaves' slow work, 5 May 1834, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  23. fols. 45-46: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington anticipating the abolition of slavery in one month's time, wondering how estates will remain solvent when they have to pay their labourers, reporting on the quantities of sugar being shipped from the various estates and suggesting that the slaves on Barbuda be apprenticed, 1 Jul 1834, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  24. fols. 47-48: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington reporting that Agricultural Meetings have agreed that able-bodied labourers should be paid one shilling per day and less able-bodied nine pence, considering how this will affect the estate's finances and worrying about the new system after the abolition of slavery, 2 Aug 1834, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  25. fols. 49-50: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington reporting that the first month of freedom has passed without violence although the labourers' work is done 'so slovenly and ineffectually', and saying that machinery needs to be substituted for manual labour, 30 Aug 1834, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  26. fols. 51-52: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington reporting on the reduced supply of labour following emancipation, the prospect of a famine if supplies are not received from America and the claims being made for compensation, 7 Nov 1834, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  27. fols. 53-54: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington describing how the labourers took several days' holiday over Christmas, how proprietors are not acting together but taking each other's labourers, and how a strike at the commencement of harvest forced managers to pay three pence per day for overtime, 7 Jan 1835, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  28. fols. 55-56: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington concerning the laziness of the former slaves and the decline of the colonies, 12 Aug 1835, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  29. fols. 57-58: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington describing the damage caused on the plantations by a destructive hurricane, 25 Aug 1835, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  30. fols. 59-60: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington reporting that some of the labourers are working better and describing the repairs carried out since the hurricane, 19 Sep 1835, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  31. fols. 61-62: letter from Robert Jarritt to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington reporting how an outbreak of yellow fever has swept off all newcomers, particularly Europeans, and describing how some former slaves are suffering following emancipation, 28 Nov 1835, Betty's Hope [Antigua]
  32. fols. 63-64: memorandum from C. Foster to Sir Christopher Bethell-Codrington discussing the settlement of Codrington estates, including those in the West Indies, upon the marriage of Codrington's son to the daughter of the 7th Duke of Beaufort, 20 Dec 1836, [London]
  33. fol. 65: incomplete letter to Sir Christopher William Codrington concerning sugar duties and recent shipments, 12 Jun 1854, Antigua
  34. fols. 66-67: part of a letter discussing horses and other animals on Barbuda, n.d.
  35. fol. 68: undated list of payments
  36. fol. 69: unsigned note about a tree known by different names by the French and Spanish and used for making fences, n.d.
  37. fol. 70: copy of letter in French from Louis-Alexandre Berthier to General Jourdan concerning accommodation for officers in Turin and other towns in Piedmont, 14 Sep 1802 (28 Fructidor an 10)
  38. fols. 71-72: letter in French on partially printed page to 'Citoyen Préfet' from General Jourdan at the 27th Military Division of the Department of War concerning accommodation for officers, 28 Sep 1802 (7 Vendémiaire, an 11)

Dates

  • Creation: Majority of material found within Bulk, 1828-1835
  • Creation: 1771-1854

Extent

1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 15096, fol. 1].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Shelfmark:

MS. 15096

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15096

Abstract

Letters concerning the Codrington Family Estates in the West Indies.

Biographical / Historical

The Codrington family was one of the most influential and prosperous landowners in the West Indies during British colonial rule, owning extensive estates and slaves. Already well established on Barbados the Codringtons acquired Betty's Hope in Antigua in 1674 and turned it into the first large-scale sugar plantation on the island.

In the early 18th century the family returned to England to live at their Dodington Park estate in Gloucestershire. Their West Indian estates were left in the charge of attorneys and managers such as Samuel Redhead and Robert Jarritt.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The letters were purchased by the Bodleian Library from Heritage Auctions in August 2018.

Related Materials

Material relating to Codrington estates in the West Indies, particularly Barbados, can be found in the archive of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) in the Bodleian Library. Further papers relating to the estates are in the National Archives of Antigua and Barbuda and microfilm copies are available at the Bodleian Library (Micr. W. Ind. 22/1-15).
Title
Catalogue of Letters concerning the Codrington Family Estates in the West Indies
Status
Published
Author
Finding aid prepared by Lucy McCann
Date
2021
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Contact:
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom