Lady Nugent's Journal of Her Residence in Jamaica from 1801 to 1805

Lady Nugent's Journal of Her Residence in Jamaica from 1801 to 1805

Lady Nugent's Journal of Her Residence in Jamaica from 1801 to 1805

Lady Nugent's Journal of Her Residence in Jamaica from 1801 to 1805


Lady Nugent's husband was governor of Jamaica, the most important of the highly prized British sugar colonies, during a critical period of the Napoleonic Wars. Her entertaining personal diary conveys fresh impressions of life among the slave-owning colonial gentry, and a distinguished American scholar has called it "an utterly inimitable and imperishable picture of planter society."

The Journal was first published by the Institute of Jamaica in 1907 and a fourth (revised) edition was issued in 1966, and has been out of print for decades. This paperback reprint is designed for those scholars and general readers who have been requesting copies for years.


A Journal of a voyage to, and residence in, the island of Jamaica, from 1801 to 1805, and of subsequent events in Englandfrom 1805 to 1811, by Maria, Lady Nugent, was first printed in 1839, for private circulation only, five years after the death of its author. A separate journal dealing with her residence in India from 1811 to 1815 was printed at the same time. The Jamaica journal was edited, together with extracts from the India journal, by Frank Cundall and published in 1907 with the title Lady Nugent's Journal; subsequent editions appeared in 1934 and 1939.

Cundall's treatment of the text of the Jamaica journal has been generally followed in the present edition; that is to say, in the part dealing with Jamaica nothing has been omitted except some trivialities and repetitions, but the part dealing with life in England is considerably abridged. A few entries omitted by Cundall have, however, been restored to the text, while extracts from the India journal are altogether excluded. The title of previous editions, Lady Nugent's Journal, is retained, but in the introduction and notes the author is referred to as Mrs. Nugent, the style by which she was known throughout her stay in Jamaica, while writing the journal.

Identifications of people mentioned in the journal, and biographical notes, are incorporated in the index of persons at the end of the book; in a few cases only, biographical information is repeated for convenience in the footnotes. The introduction attempts to fill in some of the background of the diary mainly by reference to General Nugent's official correspondence. The results of his labours, so often alluded to by his wife, are preserved in several collections. Many of his despatches among the Colonial Office papers at the Public Record Office, London (C. O.), are duplicated in the Nugent MSS at the Institute of Jamaica. All quotations in this edition from Nugent's letters to Admiral Duckworth are from the MS collection of Nugent-Duckworth correspondence in the Library of Rhodes House, Oxford. I am grateful to the Curators of the Bodleian Library for allowing use to be made of this collection, and for permitting reproduction of part of one of the two letters in it . . .

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