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Politics and Law

A wide-ranging collection that encompasses compendia of laws, disputes over territorial jurisdiction, accounts of trials, and more.

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Printed in Jamaica in 1859, this volume is comprised of records of the debates of the Jamaican General Assembly between the end of 1858 and beginning of 1859. Despite (or because of) the limited length of time encompassed, this volume is comprehensive in describing, day-by-day, each subject debated or argued in the General Assembly, from bills to committee action to addresses by members of the assembly.

(In Spanish) Written by a Cuban Lieutenant General and printed in Havana in 1838, this short volume addresses the structure of the Cuban government and its political-military relations. The author, outgoing from his role, set down his thoughts on "the relation of the superior government" with the armed forces of the island, in order to pass along to his successor. It is an excellent resource for its insight into the development of "pol-mil" relations in an international context.

(In Spanish) Translated into English the title would be "Practical observations on a theory of law." This small bound volume was published in Havana in 1813. The author, a Cuban lawyer who became a controversial judge, responds to criticism and defends his judgments in a variety of cases, in doing so revealing a great deal about the legal system as well as the legal history of Cuba at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

An account of a trial that took place in the Virgin Islands in 1811 was published in Middletown, Connecticut, in an excellent example of the importance of examining North American sources for accounts of the Caribbean. The trial described was noteworthy in itself, as the defendant was a former member of "His Majesty's Council for the Virgin Islands" who was put on trial for the abuse and death of an enslaved person in his possession. The prosecutors, who describe the defendant's "cruelty" as "notorious," act on behalf of the Crown.

A pseudonymously published pamphlet addressed to the "Gentlemen of His Majesty's Colonial Assembly of the Bermuda Islands" expresses the author's unwavering support for the assembly's claims on the right of resource collection in the Turk's Islands, a subject explored further in another text below. The legal dispute regarding jurisdiction over the Turks Islands pitted two British territories, Bermuda and the Bahamas, against each other, in an intriguing example of proto-international legal arguments, with strong reliance on the historical status of the respective island groups as the determining factor.

An exhaustive list, this publication does not reprint all the contents of all the laws in force on the island of Jamaica for the year 1792. Printed in Jamaica, this volume represents AAS's strong holdings of Jamaican laws. It also contains a great deal relevant to Jamaica's interactions, political and commercial, with the rest of the Caribbean and North America.

(In French) This French translation of the United States Constitution was printed in Haiti in 1791, the typically-recognized date of the start of the Haitian Revolution. The "preliminary discourse" clearly states the intention of the volume to inspire the people of St. Domingue, who are poised for the first time in their history to have a Constitution. In addition to the U.S. Constitution several state constitutions are also included. The volume's editors clearly hope to expose their Haitian readers to as much Constitutional inspiration as possible.

A fascinating folio-bound volume lays bare the inter-regionality that undergirds all aspects of Caribbean history, as well as displaying the means by which Caribbean citizens would petition the British government for action. The claim presented here was protesting Bahamnian infringement on the historical right of resource collection in the Turks, with evidence in the forms of previous correspondence, tax codes, tariffs and fees.

(In French) A short printed account of the proceedings of the locally-elected assembly of North Saint-Domingue, this book predates the start of the Haitian Revolution. It deals mostly with unrest and violence and plans an official response.

Passed by the Assembly of the island of Jamaica, this 1787 act was intended to induce the "better order and government of slaves." This mainly meant legal protections for enslaved people, from guaranteed medical care to limits on overworking to rewarding slaves for informing on "runaway slaves." 

Part of a large set of the compiled laws of Jamaica, this particular volume stands out for being an eighteenth-century volume printed in Jamaica, whereas most legal volumes of the time were printed in London. This bound volume of laws comprises a table of the public and private acts in force in 1883, and the reprinting of all those laws in toto. AASs collections of Jamaican laws extend well beyond the thirteen-year period of this volume.

Printed in London and preceded by a twenty-five page index of the titular laws, this volume consists of 313 pages of laws of Barbados, printed in their entirety.