A Parcel of Ribbons : Letters of the 18th Century Lee Family in London and Jamaica
Paperback, 374 Pages
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Set among the sugar plantations of Jamaica and the balls and masquerades of Georgian London the story is told by the Lee family in their own words. In 1749 thirteen year-old Robert Cooper Lee sailed to Jamaica taking a parcel of ribbons for sale. When his family was left all but penniless, Robert and his brothers forged new lives in Jamaica, fathered children with women who were the descendants of slaves and supported their sister left behind in England. Robert returned to London with his family in 1771. A prominent attorney, respected throughout Jamaica and among the West Indian lobby in London, he had built a fortune that enabled his children to mix with royalty. This remarkable collection of letters tells a story of triumph against adversity, of a family that suffered sickness, bankruptcy, sudden death, a clandestine marriage and an elopement. Through it all the bonds of family endured.
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Dec 14, 2012Back in the summer I had the opportunity to interview Anne M. Powers, author of the fascinating book A Parcel of Ribbons. You can read that interview at http://anglersrest.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/i-recently-had-opportunity-to-intervie.... Anne also very kindly sent me a copy of her book to read and review and what a treat it was! I am only sorry that it has taken so long to post the review. The catalyst for the book was a series of letters that have survived the test of time. Anne was given access to these letters and they have been lovingly transcribed and form the foundation for the book. What has developed, is a really beautiful story of the Lee family and their time in Jamaica. Their story has not only been recorded and survived, but has been further explored which absolutely enhances the experience of understanding the social, International and domestic situation of the time. The book contains a few illustrations along with a very comprehensive bibliography and index. The research... More > has been thorough and there is a huge attention to detail within the confines of the cover. If you wish to research, record and publish your own ancestry then aspiring to produce a book just like this one would be a wonderful way to preserve your ancestry. A Parcel of Ribbons - The Letters of an 18th Century family in London & Jamaica was published in July 2012 and is available from http://www.lulu.com/shop/anne-m-powers/a-parcel-of-ribbons-letters-of-the-18th-c... Anne's website to accompany the book is at http://aparcelofribbons.co.uk/< Less
Oct 2, 2012‘A Parcel of Ribbons’ tells the story of one family’s Jamaican connections, starting with Robert Cooper Lee, who set off for Jamaica in 1749 at the age of thirteen, having spent two years in the Royal Navy. The bulk of the book is made up of the letters which the Lee family wrote to each other, and gives a fascinating insight into the daily lives of one family in the eighteenth century. The mundane is mixed with the momentous, and business with pleasure. There are black sheep in the family (bankruptcy, an elopement), and there are unexpected deaths, hats to be bought and teeth to be pulled. There is more to the book than family history, however. The more you read, the more you become aware of the impact of national and international affairs, and fascinating questions arise. Why would a thirteen-year-old go to Jamaica in 1749? How on earth can you run a transatlantic business when a letter takes about five months to cross the ocean (assuming it gets there at all)? How did the white... More > settlers get on with the descendants of the slaves? How close did Jamaica come to going the same way as the American colonies following the war of independence? Is it possible to circumvent the 1761 Devises Act, which prevented negroes, mulattos and illegitimate children from inheriting more than £2000? In the end, it’s the intriguing details that fascinate me. ‘The Turtle is to be killed tomorrow Night. You are expected to Dinner on Sunday. I will give you half of my Bed and return with you as early as you please on Sunday morning.’ [Robert Cooper Lee to his wife, Priscilla – turtles from Jamaica were a regular delicacy for the Lee family in London]. And there is a list of items sent by Robert Cooper Lee to his son, at Harrow: ‘A Suit of Nankeen, Two Cravats from Frances, A ruffled Shirt, A pair silk Stockings, And Chocolate.’ His father tells him he left the chocolate at home, not in the post chaise as he had thought. And he ends his letter with a paternal reminder to use the dictionary – ‘NB Derivations – not Derrivasions ...’ I hoped this book would give me some insight into the early history of white settlers in Jamaica – it did this, and so much more. Thoroughly recommended.< Less
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- Anne M Powers (Standard Copyright License)
- July 6, 2012
- Perfect-bound Paperback
- Interior Ink
- Black & white
- 1.38 lbs.
- Dimensions (inches)
- 6 wide x 9 tall
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