Heritage At Risk – Grenada Plantation Ledger Found

Grenada Ledger of Accounts of Personal and Estate Expenses 1852 to 1854 found!

 Photo: Grenada Ledger of Accounts of Personal and Estate Expenses 1852 to 1854 found!

Just recently (in 2000) Kenneth E Ingram unearthed and catalogued  some Grenada Ledger of Accounts of Personal and Estate Expenses (1852-54).

There is only one volume yet it contains 164 pages. It includes the accounts of Revolution Hall Estate (p.79), Dougaldston Estate (p.94) and Gouyave Estate (p.95). Each entry in the Ledger gives the date, nature/who/why of payment and the total expenditure further down. The top of the page, which is the title section, gives the name of the owner, attorney or overseer. Essentially, the Ledger is organised like any other account book.

The Ledger of Accounts of Personal and Estate Expenses enumerates the things purchased by individuals for their comfort and routine estate items. Personal items include silk stockings, sherry wine, lace and shirts. Estate items include nails, bricks, powder and cane hoes.

The date coincides with the maturity of the Sugar Duties Equalisation Act which came into being in 1846. By 1854, the effects of the Sugar Duties Equalisation Act were felt all over the Caribbean and Grenada was no exception. As such, the Ledger would allow for a useful study of the cost of living and the profit/loss of the estates in Grenada during this period.

The Ledger gives an idea of prices, cost of living, monies paid in and out and the balance remaining. Additionally, the Grenada Ledger of Accounts of Personal and Estate Expenses reveals the consumerism and purchasing power of a portion of the Grenadian populace. As such, the Ledger of Accounts and Personal Expenses will prove especially useful for persons studying Grenada’s economic and social history.

This Ledger of Accounts is very useful for those particularly interested in the study of capital expenditure of sections of the Grenadian population in the mid-nineteenth century. It gives an idea of prices, cost of living, monies paid in and out and the balance remaining. Additionally, the Grenada Ledger of Accounts reveals the consumerism and purchasing power of a portion of the Grenadian populace. As such, the Ledger of Accounts and Personal Expenses will prove especially useful for persons studying Grenada’s economic and social history. Altogether it gives a snapshot of one tiny aspect of three Grenadian Plantation Estates.

The ledger are public domain and housed within the card catalogue and held by the custodians under the Special Collections and Conservation Dept. of the National Library. The Ledger is filed under MS 129.

Update: Feb 2010
In Feb 2010 the National Library of Jamaica (formerly the West India Reference Library) has undertaken to compile a register of the little known but significant heritage documents of the Caribbean. This “Caribbean Memory Register” is aimed at complementing UNESCOs Memory of the World (MOW) Initiatives and to create a source of potential nominations to the UNESCO MOW Regional Register for Latin America and the Caribbean.  Sadly the newly discovered entry of a Grenada Ledger of Accounts of Personal and Estate Expenses covering 1852 to 1854 was not placed on the UNESCO MOW list.

  1. http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=1538&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
  2. nljins@cwjamaica.com
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