Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Harnage, George, compiler
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Boarded Hall Estate (Barbados) Plantation Records
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1676-1887 (mostly 1712-1845)
2 boxes and 1.5 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-2


Consists of eighteenth and nineteeth-century records of Boarded Hall Estate, a slave plantation in Barbados in the West Indies. The material was found on the estate in the 1820s by George Harnage, the son of its last English owner, and annotated by him in subsequent years.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of records -- correspondence, manuscripts, accounts, slave lists, drawings, a deed, and a newspaper -- relating to the life history of Boarded Hall Estate, a Barbados slave plantation, starting with its first owner in 1676. Compiled by the son of its last English owner, Captain George Harnage, the material documents an important period in the history of Barbados and its slave plantations. Harnage found much of the material during his visits to the plantation in 1819 and 1820. He also supplied annotations and footnotes on almost all of the items which he signed and dated, the last of which (item number 6) is dated 1887 (probably by someone else). One of the main documents in the archive is a narrative in the hand of General Henry Peers, an earlier owner, which provides a history of the seventeenth-century origins of the estate and its owners. There are figures about the production of sugar and rum on the plantation from 1789 to 1828. There is an account book for the years 1823 and 1824, which itemizes salaries, purchases, money paid for physicians attending to sick "Negroes," necessaries for sick "Negroes," cost of a cage for a "Negro" who absented himself from work , cost of a trial and execution of one "negro" who committed a robbery, as well as the cost of purchasing candles and nails. At the time, plantation owners were required to keep records of their slaves, and an account book, dated 26 April 1824, contains a list of "Negroes" on the estate with their names, gender, age, value, state of health, and occupation. There is also a list showing an increase or decrease in slaves since the last account.

Correspondence includes a letter (1745) from Tobias Frere in London to the Hon. John Lyte, an owner of Boarded Hall Estate in 1740, regarding its management. In letters to George Harnage, Sr., John Goring, manager from 1785 to 1823, writes about the mismanagement of the estate after it was taken over by Edmun Nagels, and his mistreatment by Nagel's trustee, a "Mr. Powell." He writes about the destruction of "Negro huts" after the hurricane of 1831 and refers bitterly to the aftermath of the 1833 abolition of slavery act in England and its effects on the economy in Barbados. Other correspondents include Catherine Perry, who wrote to Harnage about the destruction of Goring's home in the fire of 1845, and Thomas Pierrepoint, the attorney for the estate.

Also included are a deed for property in Jamaica, dated 26 March 1712 and signed by John Lucie Blackman and a "Mr. Thompson," pen drawings of building structures on the estate, and an issue of the newspaper Barbados Globe for 6 February 1845, reporting the destruction of 180 homes in Bridgetown by a fire on February 3rd and 4th. In 1824, Harnage had the collection of documents he found bound in England.


The collection is organized into one series with all the material arranged in chronological order with the exception of the first and last end-papers.

Collection Creator Biography:

Harnage, George, compiler

Boarded Hall Estate was located in the parish of St. George on the island of Barbados in the West Indies. According to records in the collection, George Keyzar was probably the first owner of the estate when it consisted of one hundred forty acres of land and thirty "Negroes," or, according to historian John Camden Hotton (see Works Cited), forty-two "Negroes" and one white servant. The property was then sold to General Henry Peers (d. 1740), and in 1748 it was bequeathed to the Hon. John Lyte, a judge in Barbados, who in 1743 married Susannah Blackman, George Harnage's great-great aunt. An account dated 1748 (item no. 5) indicates that the estate, divided between John Lyte, Tobias Frere, and Peers Alleyne, was valued at £23,335 that year. In 1785 it became the property of John Lucie Blackman, Harnage's grandfather. At his death in 1799, the estate was passed down to George Harnage's father, in whose hands it remained until he fell into bankruptcy and mortgaged it to Admiral Sir Edmund Nagles and to Nathaniel Saxon, Esq., in 1823.

Sir George Harnage, Baronet, was a captain in the British Royal Navy.

Collection History


The collection was purchased from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books on October 8, 2007 (AM2008-46).


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Some of the material was originally bound in a dark blue, half calf, English case. (Go to Box 2 for a description of the case.) It was disbound so that individual records could be organized and stored in a flat box. Paper conservation was completed by Ted Stanley on November 28, 2007.

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on December 18, 2007. Finding aid written by Dina Britain on January 2, 2008.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Boarded Hall Estate (Barbados) Plantation Records; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-2