Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The Atlantic Revolutions and the movement of information in the British and French Caribbean, c. 1763-1804
Author: Morriello, Francesco Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 0750
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Thesis embargoed until 01 Jan 2400
Access from Institution:
This dissertation examines how news and information circulated among select colonies in the British and French Caribbean during a series of military conflicts from 1763 to 1804, including the American War of Independence (1775-1783), French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802), and the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). The colonies included in this study are Barbados, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Saint-Domingue. This dissertation argues that the sociopolitical upheaval experienced by colonial residents during these military conflicts led to an increased desire for news that was satiated by the development and improvement of many processes of collecting and distributing information. This dissertation looks at some of these processes, the ways in which select social groups both influenced and were affected by them, and why such phenomena occurred in the greater context of the 18th and early 19th century Caribbean at large. In terms of the types of processes, it examines various kinds of print culture, such as colonial newspapers, books, and almanacs, as well as correspondence records among different social groups. In terms of which groups are studied, these include printers, postal service workers, colonial and naval officials, and Catholic missionaries. The dissertation is divided into five chapters, the first of which provides insight into the operation of the mail service established in the aforementioned colonies, and the ways in which the Atlantic Revolutions impacted their service in terms of the different historical actors responsible for collecting and distributing correspondences. Chapter two looks at select British and French colonial printers, their print shops, and the book trade in the Caribbean isles during the 18th century. Chapter three delves into the colonial newspapers and compares the differences and similarities among government-sanctioned newspapers vis-à-vis independently produced papers. It uses the case of the Haitian Revolution to track how news of the slave insurrection was disseminated or constricted in the weeks immediately following the night of 22 August 1791. Chapter four examines the colonial almanac as a means of connecting colonial residents with people across the wider Atlantic World. It also surveys the development of these pocketbooks from mere astrological calendars to essential items that owners customized and frequently carried on their person, given the swathes of information they featured after the American War of Independence. The final chapter looks at the daily operations of Capuchin and Dominican missionaries in Martinique and Guadeloupe at the end of the 18th century and how they maintained their communications within the islands and with the heads of their Catholic orders in France, as well as in Rome. Overall, this project aims to fill in some of the gaps in the literature regarding how select British and French colonial residents received and dispatched information, and the effect this had in their respective Caribbean islands. It also sheds light on some of the ways that slaves were incorporated into the mechanisms by which information was collected and distributed, such as their encounters with printers, employment as couriers, and use as messengers to relay documents between colonial officials. In doing so, it hopes to encourage future discussion regarding how information moved in the British and French Caribbean amid periods of revolution and military conflict, how and why these processes changed, and the impact this had on print culture and mail systems in the post-revolutionary period of the 19th century.
Supervisor: O'Reilly, William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Empire ; Colonialism ; Europe ; Caribbean ; England ; France ; Communications ; Mail ; Post ; Print Culture ; Slavery ; Newspapers ; News ; Missionaries ; Catholic Church ; Christianity ; Missions ; History of Christianity ; Atlantic World ; Book History ; Literature ; 18th Century ; 19th Century ; Information ; Networks ; Correspondence ; British Caribbean ; French Caribbean