Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library


by Frederick J. duQuesnay

Samuel Long was baptised in England in 1638. He accompanied the expedition under Penn and Venables in the capture of Jamaica in 1655. He received large grants of land in the Island, and was the first settler of the estate of Longville in the parish of Clarendon. He entered into the political life of the newly acquired island, and was in part responsible for a change in its government.

When the Earl of Carlisle became governor, he set out to change the existing laws, under the instructions of Charles II. Carlisle proposed that the Governor and Council should pass all laws. Hitherto, the Assembly had this power, now the tables were to be turned, and all the Assembly could hope for were ratifications. They absolutely could not reject the Governor's and Council's decision once that decision had been accepted by the king.

This form of government had been introduced in Ireland and was working well, so why not here in Jamaica?

On being queried, Carlisle then referred to the Island in the sweetest of terms, saying that Charles was pleased to call it "his darling Plantation". Carlisle then asked the Assembly if they would submit to this form of government, only to be met by a storm of protest from the majority.

At this, he is supposed to have called them: "Fools, asses, and cowards." Bitterness followed through the years 1678 and 1679, during which Carlisle issued manifestos referring to some of the opposition members as traitors. It seems he would gladly have imprisoned some of them, but was naturally reluctant to do so. Finally, his wrath turned to Samuel Long, a member of the Council who did not share his views. Long, a former Speaker, was at that time Chief Justice. Carlisle deprived him of his offices and threw him into prison.

Long, now totally in sympathy with the Assembly, would have liked to have become one of their members, but was barred from doing so by the fact that no member of the Council who had been deprived of that office could become a member of the lower house.

Resentment was now stronger than ever, and when Carlisle again asked the house to vote upon the new form of government, they once more totally rejected it, whereupon Carlisle dissolved it. Later it was decided to send Long and the Speaker, William Beeston, to London to put their case before the Crown. Upon this decision, Carlisle added that he himself would be going to England to press charges against Long for his part in the disgraceful affair.

Long's and Beeston's success in London was nothing short of ecstatic. Long, in particular, made the accusations of Carlisle appear trifling, offered counter-charges against the Governor and pleaded the cause of Jamaica, most eloquently. Finally, the King presented them with a form of government which was completely acceptable, and similar to the form used in England. With this accomplished they returned in triumph to Jamaica.

Charles Long, the son of Samuel, was born in Jamaica in 1679. He is styled 'of Longville'. He married first, Amy, daughter of Sir Nicholas Lawes, in 1699 (governor of Jamaica). He married for the second time Jane, daughter of Sir William Beeston (Governor of Jamaica).

His son Samuel (issue with his wife Amy), is styled of 'Tredudwell, and Longville, Jamaica', and was born in 1700. He too entered politics and was a member of the Council. He married Mary Tate of Northamptonshire, and they had several children of which Edward Long the historian was one.

Edward Long, (the historian), was born on August 23rd, 1734. He became a law student going to Gray's Inn in 1752. In 1757, his father, Samuel, died in Jamaica.

His sister, Catherine Maria Long, had married Henry Moore (Governor of Jamaica), and it is believed that Edward came to Jamaica and became private secretary to Sir Henry, his brother-in-law. Always of literary inclinations, he wrote several articles and light tales. His History of Jamaica, published in 1774 in three volumes, was his greatest work, however.

While in the Island, he became judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court. In 1758, he married Mary, the daughter of Thomas Beckford. She was the widow of a certain John Palmer of 'Springvale' in Jamaica. Later, he left Jamaica and lived in England where he devoted himself to his literary works, especially completing his History of Jamaica. His wife, an invalid towards the end of her life, died in 1797. He himself lived for many years after. He died at Arundel Park, Sussex, England, in 1813.

Catherine Maria Long (Edward's sister), who married Sir Henry Moore, went to America with her husband in 1765 when he was appointed Governor of New York. He had been created a baronet in 1764. He died in America in 1769. Catherine then went to England where she married Captain Richard Vincent.

Catherine's Peak in Jamaica is supposed to have been named after her, for she is believed to have been the first white woman to climb its summit.

Edward Long's picture of Jamaica in the Eighteenth Century as seen from the pages of his historic work is both informative and fascinating. This book has become over the years extremely rare and valuable and is seldom found in private collections in these days. One of the last prices quoted by an antique book dealer in London was somewhere in the vicinity of £65. 0 0.

[This article was written in about 1964]

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