The Prevalence Of The British Order In The Caribbean Colonies

1018 words | 4 page(s)

Colonization forms the history of many nations in the world. In most cases, the colonizers impose their culture on the colonized. One such example can be found in the British Caribbean colonies. As time passed by, the colonized began to express a desire for freedom from the master by staging rebellions. The revolt groups majorly comprised of slaves, unemployed persons, and peasants from the Caribbean region. The reasons cited as causes of unrest included poor pay for employees, unemployment and underemployment, and racial segregation among other issues. As such, writers participated in painting their perception of the struggle through writing. Henry Adis, A. B. (a diligent observer for The Times), and Anon’s literary pieces create the impression that the colonies are a long way from Britain and even though they struggle with the with the prospect of unrest and rebellion, there are ultimately places where the British order will prevail.

In A Letter Sent from Syrranama, Adis (3) writes “…but being invited hither by an Act of the Council of the Colony, and having obtained (by the good hand of God upon me) a free pass from the King and his Council, not only for myself and mine, but also for six families more, to transport ourselves into this Place…” The statement foregrounds the requirement for proper movement of persons from one place to another within the Caribbean region. The British government ensured that there existed a Council in each colony that acted on its behalf. Therefore, the inhabitants of the Caribbean could not move and settle in new places without the consent of the King who ruled through the Council of the Colony. As such, the British order always prevailed in the colonies despite the unrest and rebellion.

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In response to Mr. Adis’ letter, Lord Willoughby says “…all new colonies you know of what sort of people generally they are made up of; so that, what we in probability can expect from them, must be from length of time, and the good example of those who have been more civilly bred…” (Adis 4). This means that Britain took her time to study and understand her subjects to make ruling easy. In turn, the gathered information (about the Caribbean population) would be applied by the colonial establishment to prevent possible cases of revolt. Thus, the British order had the edge for surviving because it was administered via an understanding of the subjects. The colonial government profiled the Caribbean region based on their likelihood to oppose or support colonial rule. This enabled Britain to apply appropriate control measures in individual cases.

A diligent observer of The Times records that “…the inhabitants of the Barmudas having turned the well-affected to the parliament off their island, sent an agent to Barbados…” (A. B. 3). The British order utilized a political style of leadership where the parliament was tasked with passing laws. In this case, Barmudas is complaining about the enactment of disenfranchising laws by a body that lacks a physical presence in the island. The British colonial government established an elaborate law-making infrastructure in the region that ensured laws for maintaining order were discussed and applied to the colonies (Nanton 466). As such, the British government did not need to be physically present in any of the colony island. The Caribbean folk who vehemently sought retribution from the British colonial government ironically sent an agent to Barbados to articulate their interests. Their approach to the resolution of the standoff embraces aspects of the British order. While the British colonial government sends a representative to rule on its behalf, the Caribbean folk send agents to the established authorities to advocate for their interests.

This demonstrates that the British order inevitably prevails in the region. In another instance, the article records that “…about this time Col. John Colliton came to this Island, to whom likewise his Lordship unfolded his thoughts, and desired him to Write to the Merchants of London, to procure a Commission from the State of England for him…” (A. B. 6). The economic stability of the colonial Caribbean depended upon England’s funding. Major economic activities were owned and run by the British government or its representatives. Today, the traditional practice manifests itself when the Caribbean people through their respective governments borrow loans and grants from the British government. The borrowed capital is pumped into the economy to boost the living standards of the Caribbean people.

Anon (13) writes that “Five impeached Hanged themselves because they would not stand Trial.” Two words (impeached and trial) stand out in Anon’s statement. Impeachment refers to the process of filing legal proceedings against public officials to be removed from office after committing some offence. Trial refers to an appearance at the judicial court. The British government used the mentioned mechanisms for taming rebellion in the colonies. Any rebel would be stripped of leadership roles, subjected to a trial, and charged in a court of law based on the offence(s) committed. Thus, even though Britain was a long way from the Caribbean colonies, the British order always prevailed.

The article further describes that “…compasses that bay, in which there is constantly mounted 40 guns, whose warm mouths spoke Terrour to De Ruyter in his Attempt on that Island in the Year 1664…” (Anon 7). In both the colonial times and the present, wars are worn by the superiority of nations’ militaries. In this case, Britain boasts of a more advanced and equipped army compared to its colonies. The powerful weapons inflicted fear in the Caribbean folk and promoted respect for the colonial master. As such, the colonized look up to Britain and wish to advance to her level. To do so, they live and act as the colonizer hence preserving the British order.

  • A.B. A Brief Relation of the Beginning and Ending of the Troubles of the Barbados. British Library, 1653, pp. 1-10.
  • Adis, Henry. A Letter Sent from Syrranam. Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 1664, pp. 3-7.
  • Anon. Great Newes from The Barbados. Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 1676, pp. 3-10.
  • Nanton, Philip. “Migration Dynamics: Great Britain and The Caribbean”. State University Of New York, vol. 22, no. 4, 1999, pp. 449-469.

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