Early West Indian Government: Showing the Progress of Government, in Barbados, Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, 1660-1783 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Early West Indian Government: Showing the Progress of Government, in Barbados, Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, 1660-1783

Some years ago I wished to write the story of the decline of West Indian constitutions in the nineteenth century. In order to do this I had to start with a clear and reliable picture of what they had declined from, i.e. What they had been in their prime in the late eighteenth century. I sought information widely from both people and books, but, incredible as it may seem, could find no source of full and exact information. American investigators had worked out the story so far as the ex-mainland colonies were concerned, but so far as the West Indies were concerned published material was extremely patchy. It was generally understood that constitutional practices within all the older West Indian colonies had by the end of the eighteenth century become widely divorced from the spirit and letter of the original Restoration pattern as enshrined in the royal Commissions and Instructions issued to each governor. But to what extent, and in what detail? And too, by what steps? Practically no clear information was available.

Accordingly, I have had to look the facts out for myself, and this book is the result. The investigation has proved surprisingly long and involved for I have had to go back to the origins of our colonial system, examine the constitutional position enjoyed by governors and their councils in the seventeenth century, and trace the ways by which these powers came to be reduced and even eclipsed by the popular Assemblies as the years rolled by. The greatest changes occurred in the field of executive government, and I have deliberately devoted the bulk of my attention to this sphere. I disregard the Bahamas and Bermuda not only because space does not permit their inclusion, but because their story is already better known than that of their sister islands. Even as it is, to cover so wide a field within the compass of a single book has compelled a drastic selection of material. The study has been terminated in 1783 because by then the movement towards formalisation and reduction of the governors' powers had become as complete as it was ever going to be.

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This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.


Publisher - Forgotten Books

Language - English

Author(s) - Frederick G. Spurdle


Published Date - August 23 2019

ISBN - 9780260597939

Dimesions - 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm

Page Count - 277

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