Douglas plantation owners who received compensation

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The Slave CompensatThe Slave Compensation Act 1837 (1 & 2 Vict. c. 3) was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom, signed into law on 23 December 1837.

After decades of campaigning, the Slavery Abolition Act had been passed in 1833. The plantation owners in the Caribbean, represented by the London Society of West India Planters and Merchants (now the West India Committee), had opposed abolition. This Act paid substantial money to the former slave owners, but nothing to the newly liberated people.

The Act empowered the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt, under the direction of the Treasury, to either pay the compensation that was still owing to slave owners out of the West India Compensation Account, or to transfer a proportionate amount of 3½% government annuities. The various acts of William IV relating to slave compensation were to be considered, as far as applicable, to apply to this act.

Slave owners were paid approximately £20 million in compensation in over 40,000 awards for enslaved people freed in the colonies of the Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape of Good Hope according to a government census that named all owners as of 1 August 1834.

This is part of a series of articles on
The Slave Trade


St Kitts 207 (Douglas) 22nd May 1837 | 174 Enslaved | £3259 0s 7d.  The compensation for both St Kitts nos. 207 and 208 was paid into the Chancery suit of Neave v Douglas, and the two claims should be analysed together.
  • William Douglas of 59 Prospect Place, West Square [Southwark] was tenant-for-life of the Douglas estate on St Kitts. His son was tenant in tail and had family: the estates were subject to his father's debts and were in the hands of the merchant, Sir Thomas Neave, who is receiver in Chancery and also mortgagee.
  • John St Leger Douglas of Springfield Place, nr. Chelmsford, Essex, MP for Hindon 1768-1774 and Weobley 1774-23/05/1783, 1st son of John of the West Indies, grandson of Col. Walter Douglas of Baads and brother of Sir James Douglas bart., slave-owner on St Kitts.
St Kitts 208 (College?) 22nd May 1837 | 183 Enslaved | £3200 16s 10d
  • William Douglas of 59 Prospect Place (as above). William Douglas is possibly the son (b. 1755), more plausibly a grandson, of John St Leger Douglas, who left his estates in St Kitts in trust for his son William Douglas.
Jamaica St Thomas-in-the-Vale 197 26th Oct 1835 | 1 Enslaved | £26 12s 2d
  • Adam Reid Douglas owned/managed 12 acres
Trinidad 524 29th Feb 1836 | 1 Enslaved | £64 0s 1d
  Ann Rose Douglas
British Guiana 2020 24th Oct 1836 | 5 Enslaved | £236 6s 11d
  • John Douglas (1772 - 1840) partner in J, T & A Douglas, and probably the John Douglas who was father of the illegitimate man of colour James Douglas (1803-1877), governor of British Columbia.
  • Thomas Dunlop Douglas (1st Jan 1776 - 30th Jan 1869) was an unsuccessful claimant.
  • Archibald Douglas (1776 - 1860) was an unsuccessful claimant
British Guiana 476 British Guiana 476 (Plntn Union) 25th Jan 1836 | 176 Enslaved | £9174 19s 1d
  • J. T. & A. Douglas (John, Thomas and Archibald) were unsuccessful claimants.  William Fraser and the executors of Colin McKenzie had agreed to pay J. T. & A. Douglas in three installments of £2333 6s 8d, 1832-34.
British Guiana 550 (Pln Better Hope) 30th Nov 1835 | 236 Enslaved | £12407 13s 2d
  • John, Thomas and Archibald Douglas and their brother James who died 13 July 1852, formerly of Demerara and amerchant in Glasgow.

See also:href="../Documents/slave_compensation.pdf">List of individList of individuals - partially complete [pdf]


Sources for this article include:

  • Legacies of British Slave-Ownership at the University College London

  • Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


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