Kingston, Jamaica: Printed for James Jones, Esq. by Lewis and Eberall, 1786. v,31,,4-424; ,40pp. Quarto. Modern polished calf, gilt leather label. Contemporary ownership inscription on titlepage of ACTS...: "George Harrison Lincolns Inn 1791." Titlepage worn and soiled, repairs in top and bottom margin with no loss of text. Occasional minor foxing, last two leaves dampstained. Small hole in leaf F* with loss of a few letters. First four leaves and last four leaves of AN ABRIDGMENT... dampstained, leaf aa repaired (no loss of text), final leaf supplied in facsimile. These exceptions noted, very clean internally. A very good copy. Item #WRCAM36081
First editions of two rare 18th-century Jamaican legal imprints. The volume was previously owned by legal author Sir George Harrison, the son of Thomas Harrison, who served as attorney-general and advocate- general of Jamaica. The elder Harrison's name is included in the list of subscribers for the ACTS..., and father or son have made minor manuscript additions on a half dozen pages in the text. The volume records both public and private acts, organized chronologically for 1770 through 1783. The ABRIDGMENT..., published as a separate work with separate titlepage, clearly supplements the ACTS... by listing the acts by subject and providing an index. There are numerous acts regarding slaves which provide much insight into that institution on the island, including legislation regarding runaways, "Free-Negroes," "Negro towns" and maroons, firearms, holidays, and even drumming. Other acts cover a wide range of laws and activities, including those related to land, roads, cattle, gaming, hawkers and pedlars, the militia, settlers, ships, and smuggling. All 18th-century Caribbean imprints are rare, most are extremely so, and these laws are no exception. Furthermore, the majority of Caribbean printing is often ephemeral and fairly slight, rather than a substantial volume such as this one. The first British colony south of Maryland to have a press, printing began in Jamaica in 1718. 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 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 this social and political climate, these retrospective laws of the local colonial government were printed. A very good copy of two rare 18th-century Jamaican imprints, with provenance related to the island and British legal history. SABIN 35617 (ACTS... and ABRIDGMENT...). CUNDALL SUPPLEMENT 446, 447. GOLDSMITHS 13208. ESTC T140415. OCLC 28209638, 30304147, 31220784. DNB IX, p.32.