Kingston, Jamaica: Printed by Alexander Aikman, 1787. Two volumes bound in one. ,31,262,,,15,82pp. [bound with:] AN ABRIDGEMENT OF THE LAWS OF JAMAICA, IN MANNER OF AN INDEX.... Kingston: Aikman, 1787. ,29pp. [bound with:] APPENDIX: CONTAINING LAWS RESPECTING SLAVES. Kingston: Aikman, 1787. ,32,5pp. Large folio. Old calf, rebacked. Internally near fine. [with:] ACTS OF ASSEMBLY, PASSED IN THE ISLAND OF JAMAICA; FROM 1770, TO 1783, INCLUSIVE. Kingston: Printed for James Johnes, Esq. by Lewis and Eberall, 1786. v,31,-424pp. [bound with:] AN ABRIDGEMENT OF THE LAWS OF JAMAICA.... Kingston: Lewis and Eberall, 1786. ,40pp. Quarto. Old calf, rebacked. Fine. [with:] ACTS OF ASSEMBLY, PASSED IN THE ISLAND OF JAMAICA, FROM THE YEAR 1784 TO THE YEAR 1788 INCLUSIVE. Kingston: Printed by Alexander Aikman, 1789. xvi,300,iv,,23pp. Quarto. Old calf, rebacked. Near fine. Item #WRCAM13337
All together, an extraordinary collection of 18th-century Jamaican printing, combining six separate imprints (one of them consisting of two volumes) in three bound volumes, all printed between 1786 and 1789 by two different printers in Kingston, Jamaica. The texts retrospectively cover the Acts of the Assembly from its beginning in 1681, up to date with the last printing in 1788. Also included are two separate publications containing abridgements of the various acts, and a further separate publication combining all of the slave statutes in one place. As anyone who has sought them knows well, all 18th- century Caribbean imprints are rare, most extremely so, and these laws are no exception. Furthermore, most Caribbean printing is fairly slight, not substantial volumes such as these. Printing began in Jamaica in 1718. It was the first British colony south of Maryland to have a printing press, and except for several items printed in Havana by a press briefly established there, this was the first press in the Caribbean; however, only a handful of fugitive pieces survive from the 1770s. In that period the economic importance of Jamaica was supplemented by an influx of Loyalists, including printer Alexander Aikman, who seems to have invigorated the cultural and publishing life of the colony, while the British government liberalized its colonial policy to avoid a repetition of the problems of the American Revolution. In that climate, these retrospective and current laws of the local colonial government were printed. Of all early Caribbean printing, that of Jamaica is best documented through the early and thorough work of Frank Cundall. His bibliographies illustrate both the rich variety of material printed on Jamaica, and its rarity. Following are the NUC locations and citations of the laws offered herein: 1) ACTS OF ASSEMBLY, 1681-1769. Kingston, 1787. Not in the NUC. CUNDALL, p.52. 2) ABRIDGEMENT OF LAWS. Kingston, 1787. Not in the NUC or Cundall. 3) LAWS RESPECTING SLAVES. Kingston, 1787. Not in the NUC or Cundall. 4) ACTS OF ASSEMBLY, 1770-83. Kingston, 1786. The NUC locates DLC, MH, RPJCB, MChB, NN. CUNDALL, p.52. SABIN 35617. 5) ABRIDGEMENT OF LAWS. Kingston, 1786. The NUC locates NN. Not in Cundall. SABIN 35617. 6) ACTS OF ASSEMBLY, 1784-88. Kingston, 1789. The NUC locates DLC, RPJCB. CUNDALL, p.53. In all, a remarkable assemblage of Caribbean printing.