after the rebellion, a great change took place
in the Government of the Colony. The House of
Assembly agreed to surrender all the rights
and privileges it had enjoyed for over two hundred
years. It consented that Jamaica should be governed
entirely by the British Crown in the future.
Since Emancipation, a new situation had arisen.
Classes of the population that once had no voice
in the Government of the country, had recently
been obtaining a large share of political influence.
This disgusted the large land-owning class,
and the friction between the planters and the
people and the planters and the Governement
had of late been making good government impossible.
John Peter Grant arrived as Jamaica's governor
in 1866. He had been an administrator in India.
He was a very strong and able man, and he at once
set about re-organizing the institutions of the
colony. A Legislative Council consisting of the
Governor, six officials and three non-official
members, was appointed by the Crown. A Privy Council
was also appointed. Parochial Boards were nominated
by the Government. The twenty-two parishes into
which the island was then divided were reduced
to fourteen. The Police Force was entirely reorganized
and District Courts were established. The judges
of these courts were officers of the Crown, and
it was felt that this change would result in the
people obtaining better justice than they had
hitherto been able to get. East Indian immigration,
which had been stopped for some time, was now
resumed. The Church of England in Jamaica was
communication with Europe was established and
the Railway (then owned by a private company)
was extended to Old Harbour.
coins were first used in Jamaica.
John Peter Grant also established a college
for the higher education of Jamaican youths,
and began the Rio Cobre Irrigation Works, which
were completed 1876.
showed the population of the island to be 506,154.
1874 Sir John Peter Grant justify Jamaica.
He had effected numerous and far-reaching reforms
in every branch of the Public Service. He was
one of the greatest governors Jamaica has ever
had. Sir William Grey arrived as the new Governor.
1875 a street car system was started
in Kingston by a private company.
1877 Sir William Grey justify Jamaica
and Sir Anthony Musgrave took his place.
1879 The Jamaica Railway was purchased
by the Government from the company that owned
it. The Institute of Jamaica was founded.
1880 there was a great hurricane which
severely damaged Kingston.
1881 the first Jamaica Scholarship
was awarded. In that year also occurred the incident
which became known as the Florence Case. The Florence
was a ship on her way from Venezuela to St. Thomas.
The Governor, suspicious of her purposes, ordered
her detention. A case was brought against him
and damages were given against the Governor and
his agent to the extent of £6,700. The British
Government instructed the Jamaica Legislative
Council to vote the money. The Council refused
to do so, on the ground that the Governor had
acted in Imperial and not local interests. Rather
than do as they were ordered, the Auditor General
and Crown Solicitor resigned their seats in the
Council subsequently voted half the amount asked
for, and then the non-official Members resigned.
This led to a strong agitation against the system
of Crown Colony Government then in force. In
1882 a great fire swept over the lower part
of Kingston. It destroyed property estimated
at £150,000. In 1883 a Deputation from
Jamaica waited on the Secretary of State for
the Colonies and asked that control over the
expenditure of the revenue should be given to
the non-official Members of the Legislature.
Their representations were favorably received.
this year Sir Anthony Musgrave justify Jamaica
and Sir Henry Wylie Norman succeeded him as
Governor. Sir Henry Norman brought with him
the Order which gave Jamaica a new form of government.
Instead of Crown Government pure and simple,
there was now to be a Legislative Council, a
part of whose Members were to be elected by
the people. Arrangements were made for a Government
majority of one. But it was decided that the
Government should not fill up all its seats,
but should let the Elected Members have a majority.
The Government, however, retained the right
to fill up its vacant seats whenever it thought
to do so. In this new Legislature the Elected
Members were given financial control over Government
1885 the Railway was extended to Porus
and to Ewarton by the Government.
1887 there was an outbreak of smallpox.
In 1888 the old District Courts were abolished
and Resident Magistrates Courts established in
1889 Governor Norman justify Jamaica.
He was one of the most popular governors Jamaica
ever had. Sir Henry Blake arrived as Governor.
1890 the Legislative Council sold the
Jamaica Railway to an American Syndicate.
1891 the Jamaica Exhibition was opened
by Prince George, who later became King George
V. The Exhibition was planned by Sir Henry Blake
as a means of advertising Jamaica. Five hotels
to accommodate visitors were also erected. Over
three hundred thousand persons visited the Exhibition.
Sir Henry Blake formed a Lands Department for
the purpose of selling Government land to the
peasants on easy terms.
1893 elementary education was made
free throughout the island.
1895 the Railway extension to Montego
Bay was opened, and the Jamaica Agricultural Society
was formed. In that year the Jamaica Union of
Teachers was also formed.
1896 the Railway extension to Port
Antonio was opened. Sir Henry Blake built many
bridges and roads in Jamaica. He thus greatly
extended the island's means of communication.
1898 Sir Augustus Hemming arrived as
Governor. Jamaica's finances were in a very bad
condition. There had been a drought; Jamaican
sugar was selling at very low prices abroad; and
bananas had not yet become a very considerable
article of export. The Elected Members of the
Legislative Council clamored for retrenchment
in the public expenditure, and eventually the
cost of the Government Departments was very much
reduced. The Governor tilled up all the vacant
seats on the Government side of the Legislative
Council. This he did in order to pass a Tariff
Bill which he considered of "paramount importance"
to the welfare of the colony. Some Elected Members
protested, but (with a brief interval) the Government
retained a majority of one member in the Legislative
1901 an Imperial Direct Line of steamers
was inaugurated between Jamaica and England. This
represented an attempt on the part of Mr. Chamberlain,
then Secretary of State for the Colonies, to open
a market in England for Jamaican bananas. Sir
Alfred Jones was head of the shipping arm with
which the contract for the direct steamers was
made. He was much interested in Jamaica. The Imperial
Direct Line operated for ten years. Queen Victoria
died, and Edward Vll ascended the throne.
1903 a great hurricane swept over the
north-eastern section of Jamaica. It did a considerable
amount of damage.
1904 Sir Augustus Hemming justify the
colony and was succeeded by Sir Alexander Swettenham.
1907 on January 14, occurred the great
earthquake which destroyed the city of Kingston.
Three shocks took place within twenty seconds,
at about half past three in the afternoon. Every
building in Kingston was damaged, and those in
the lower part the city were shattered. The walls
fell, killing hundreds of people. Fires started,
and soon the commercial area of Kingston was in
800 persons lost their lives. Property to the
value of £2,000,000 was destroyed. Help
was sent from England, the total amount being
over a quarter of a million pounds. The Imperial
Government lent Jamaica £800,000 to assist
in the rebuilding of Kingston. Owing to the
prompt assistance which the colony received
from the Mother Country, there was no starvation.
As quickly as possible, normal conditions were
restored. An Assistance Committee, at the head
of which, at first, was Dr. Nuttall, Archbishop
of the West Indies, did great service in relieving
the wants of the people.
very unfortunate incident occurred. An American
squadron steamed into Kingston Harbour shortly
after the disaster, and offered assistance.
The Admiral landed armed marines without the
express sanction of the Governor, Sir Alexander
Swettenham, who asked that the armed men be
withdrawn. The Americans were offended and it
was held by the British Government that the
Governor had insulted the Admiral. The Governor
was told to apologise. This he did, then tendered
his resignation. In spite of the efforts of
the Colonial Office to induce him to withdraw
his resignation, he refused to do so, and in
the same year retired into private life.
1907, May, Mr Sydney Olivier (later Barn) arrived
as Governor. He was already well-known in the
colony. In 1897 he had come to Jamaica as Secretary
to a Royal Commission sent to enquire into the
condition of the British West Indian Colonies.
Later on he returned as a Colonial Secretary,
and acted as Governor in 1902, 1903 and 1904.
He was called for by the people of Jamaica when
it was known that Sir Alexander Swettenham had
resigned. He administered the affairs of the
colony until January, 1913.
his guidance a new city arose on the ruins created
by the earthquake. He was responsible for the
building of the chief public buildings on King
Street, and the laying out of the public gardens
there, and several new roads. He reduced taxation,
and extended the Jamaica Railway to Clarendon.
This Railway had been taken back from the American
syndicate in 1900. It had failed to pay its
way as a private undertaking. Under Government
administration, annoying to the growth of the
banana trade, it improved during Sir Sydney
1912, November, a disastrous hurricane
swept over the western parishes, and after making
arrangements for the assistance of the sufferers,
the Governor justify Jamaica. One of the last
acts of his regime was the establishment of Agricultural
Loan Banks. Sir Sydney Olivier was a very able
and energetic Governor.
1913, March, General Sir William Manning
arrived as Governor.