[Lord Stanley (later Earl of Derby) and West Indian trade.] Manuscript, signed by Stanley, of a 'Circular Dispatch to Governors of West Indian Colonies' on the 'Act to amend the laws for the regulation of the Trade of the British Possessions abroad'.

Earl of Derby, British Prime Minister [Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby] (1799-1869), as Lord Stanley [Sir Frederick Peel (1823-1906), Liberal MP; British West Indian colonies]
Publication details: 
The present draft dated from Downing Street, 30 July 1842. The circular as published, from teh same place, 17 August 1842.
SKU: 21158

An apparently-unique Manuscript – signed by Lord Stanley as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, and dated from 'Downing Street, | 30: July 1842' – of what W. P. Morrell describes in his 'British Colonial Policy in the Age of Peel and Russell' (1966) as a 'Circular Dispatch to Governors of West Indian Colonies', regarding the 'Act to amend the laws for the regulation of the Trade of the British Possessions abroad' (5 & 6 Vic. c. 49). The document discusses the act with regard to 'the West Indian Colonists' and 'the British Possessions in South America and the West Indies'. Stanley hopes that 'the Legislative Bodies, and the Colonists at large in the West India Colonies' will find in the act 'enactments calculated to be of essential advantage to their commerce'. The present draft contains a passage with a gap in it for later completion, in which Stanley requests the recipient to 'take the first opportunity of communicating copies of this Act to [BLANK] under your Government'. (Different versions were tailored to the various colonies; another one, printed severally in 1843 in the Journals of the Legislative Councils of the Provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, is dated to 17 August 1842 and addressed to Sir Charles Bagot, first Governor General of the Province of Canada. That version corresponds with the present draft for the first page and a half, and then diverges considerably in its emphasis and content.) The present item is disbound from a collection of parliamentary papers assembled by Sir Frederick Peel (1823-1906), Liberal MP for Leominster, who was Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, 1851-1854; and Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1854-1855. It is 7pp, foolscap 8vo. On two bifoliums. Paginated 29-35 by Peel, who has written 'Trade of British Possessions' at the head of the first page. In good condition, lightly aged. The document is in a secretarial hand, but is signed by Stanley: '/sd/ Stanley' (the '/sd/' was probably for the purpose of the printer, should the document be put into type). At the beginning of a long communication, Stanley explains that 'Her Majesty's Government having undertaken soon after their accession to office the revision of the laws by which the commerce of the United Kingdom is governed, felt it to be their duty to consider with equal care the regulations bearing upon the trade of the Colonies, and having in view the experience which had now been obtained of the legislation promoted by the late Mr Huskisson, and some of his successors in office, and being satisfied with its results, their object has been to give fuller effect to the spirit in which that legislation was conceived. They have applied themselves therefore to remove restrictions upon Colonial industry, to bring the provisions of the Imperial law more and more into accordance with the terms of the Declaratory Act of 1778 […] The Act now sent to you is the fruit of these endeavours and I trust that the Legislative Bodies and the Colonists at large in the West India Colonies will find in it enactments calculated to be essential advantages to their commerce, to be of effectual advantage as consumers of imported goods.' The present draft concludes: 'With a view to give time to the local Legislatures to make any arrangements which shall appear to them to be expedient previously to the commencement of the new Act, its operation is postponed by the 1st. Section, so far as the British Possessions in South America and the West Indies are concerned, to the 5th. April, 1843.' (In the version published in 1843 quoted above, the postponement is made, 'so far as the British Possessions in North America are concerned, to the 5th July, 1843'.) Goods involved include wheat, meat, tea, blubber linen, leather, etc etc.