Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Jamaican Plantations and Slavery

I have recently received several questions and comments about John "Mad Jack" Fuller's connection to the sugar industry and slave trade in Jamaica. I believe that the slave trade is a subject that deserves to be treated seriously and with due respect. Upon the completion of further research I plan to publish a page on the main website on the topic. Until then, here is what is currently known.

" The Fuller family benefited by inheritance from the business activities of one of the original Jamaica settlers, Captain Fulke Rose, a landowner, merchant and physician. Rose became an important island personage: in 1675, 1677-9 and 1682-3 he was a member, for St Thomas in the Vale, of the Jamaica assembly; in 1680 he became a JP and was subsequently listed as among the 'fittest men in Jamaica to be Councillors' for the island. "
The Fuller Letters; Guns, slaves and finance 1728-1755, Crossley & Saville, pp xxiv

Fulke Rose died in 1694 and his estates and business were left to his widow and her four daughters. The eldest daughter Elizabeth Rose (1681-1728) married John Fuller (1680-1745) in July 1703. (Elizabeth & John Fuller are "Mad Jack" Fuller's paternal grandparents) The part of the estate that came to the Fullers in 1703, " consisted of Mickelton (Knollis) Plantation, which comprised 1128 acres in several parcels in St Katherines and St Johns parishes; 820 acres in several blocks known as the Bullers Savanna Pen land; 195 acres in the Lower Sop Garden Land in St Katherines parish, and a house and parcel of land in Spanish Town (St Jago de la Vega). There were also lands in St Marys and St Georges, and some not referred to in the letter book. Fuller also shared half of 766 acres at Rose Penn with Thomas Isted.", Crossley & Saville, pp xxvi-xxv. Thomas Isted (1677-1731) had married another of Fulke Rose's daughters, Ann Rose (c. 1679-1733) on 20 July 1703.

John Fuller (1680-1745) was an absentee owner and relied on the efficiency and honesty of several distant relatives, attorneys and factors to run the business until his son Rose Fuller (1708-1777) went to Jamaica in 1732. (There are several male members of the Fuller family with Rose as a first or second name). A medical doctor trained at Leyden and Cambridge, Rose Fuller was appointed as physician to the British troops in Jamaica.

"Yet, despite the wealth created by sugar and slaves, the contribution of plantation profits to industrial investment is not clear-cut. In some cases a direct connection existed. Among the familes that transferred funds from their Jamaican sugar estates to domestic industrial enterprise were the Pennants and the Fullers. Rose Fuller ran his family's Jamaican estates betwetten 1734 and 1755 and later became MP for Rye and a prominent member of the West India Interest. Other members of the family also had Caribbean connections. The Fullers put some of their capital into charcoal ironworks and gun foundries in the wealden part of Sussex (Crossley and Saville, 1991). " Slavery, Atlantic Trade and the British Economy, 1660-1800, Kenneth Morgan, 2000, pp. 53.

Rose Fuller married Ithamar Mill (c. 1721-1738), the daughter of Richard Mill and Anna Maria Herring, in St Katherines Jamaica on 26 April 1737. Sadly Ithamar died at the age of 17 in childbirth. The infant did not survive and Rose Fuller did not remarry. He died without issue on 7 May 1777 and his property including Rose Hill, Brightling and the Jamaica estates were left to his nephew John "Mad Jack" Fuller.

Jack Fuller left the estates to his nephew Sir Peregrine Palmer Fuller Palmer Acland.
"... and also of my negroes and other Slaves and all my horses Mules Asses Sheep Cattle carriages Mills Coppers Stills Worms Worm Tubs and all other goods tools implements utensils and things whatsoever being in or upon or about the plantations Sugar Works lands
tenements or hereditaments in the Island of Jamaica now in my possession under or by virtue of the will of my late Uncle Rose Fuller Esquire deceased " The last will and testament (with codicils) of Mr John Fuller of Rose Hill in Brightling, 5 November 1823.

More to follow.