B.W. Higman


Of the few personal journals that record details of West Indian everyday life during the period of slavery one of the best known is Lady Nugent’s Journal of Her Residence in Jamaica from 1801 to 1805.1 The journal’s author, Maria Nugent (1770–1834), journeyed to the island with her husband George, on his way to take up appointment as Governor of Jamaica, then one of the most important colonies of the British Empire and at the peak of its powers as a sugar producer. When the Nugents reached Jamaica in July 1801, Maria was just 30 years old and George, who had served in the British army’s colonial wars, was aged 44. They were unusual as a couple; few of the earlier governors of Jamaica arrived with wives, and while in the island Maria gave birth to two children, one in October 1802 and the other in September 1803. Although Maria became a ‘Lady’ only in 1811, six years after she left Jamaica, she has regularly been given the title for her time in the island.



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