Interesting Tracts relating to the Island of Jamaica

JAMAICA  (1800.)

£6500.00  [First Edition]


Consisting of curious state-papers, councils of war, letters, petitions, narratives, &c. &c. which throw great light on the history of that island, from its conquest, down to the year 1702.

First edition. 4to. Nineteenth-century full tree calf with red and green labels, and handsome gilt tooling to spine. 2pp. manuscript notes added to front free endpaper and rear blank; approx 50 blank leaves bound in for further notes. Ownership inscription to title-page of James Duff, Port Royal Jamaica, overwritten on printed titles. Front free endpaper and blank loosening, a very few spots inside, else very good plus. vi, 300pp. St. Jago de la Vega, Lewis, Lunan and Jones,

A rare and impressive work of Jamaica history, beautifully printed in Spanish Town. 


Described by Frank Cundall as "one of the most valuable contributions to Jamaica history", this compilation is of forty-four tracts and documents covering diverse subjects concerning the island's colonial history. They include Oliver Cromwell's "A Proclamation of the Protector", an apocryphal letter from Christopher Columbus to King Philip of Spain, General Venables' accounts of his taking of Jamaica, Beeston's narrative of the attack by the French, plus various speeches, letters and addresses made by and to Governors and Grand Juries. 


The manuscript notes are likely by General Sir James Duff (1753-1839) an army officer and plantation owner whose ownership inscription is on the title-page. The front free endpaper notes, dated Jamaica 1807, concern a brief history and description of the island. The memoranda after the printed text continue in this vein, with further thoughts on the history, rivers and infrastructure. It's evident from the copious blanks that Duff intended to continue to add to this volume. These blank pages are watermarked with the shield and posthorn motif and initials of Thomas Gilpin, a successful Philadelphia Quaker firm of papermakers. This would suggest the binding was at least commissioned in North America, if not in Jamaica itself (cf. Fig. 915 in Gravell, Miller & Walsh, American Watermarks 1690-1835). 


The last and only copy we've traced in auction records was Sotheby's 1952. 


ESTC, T95717; Sabin, 35591 ("a very rare volume"). Cundall, Frank. A History of Printing in Jamaica from 1717 to 1834. (Kingston, 1935) pp.22-23.


Stock Code: 233231

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