Since the launch of this research site many interested persons from the family historian to leading academics have contacted the site for further information. More excitingly, many have contacted the site willing to share their knowledge of the Hibbert family. This has led to many exciting discoveries of unknown journals, documents, diaries, portraits etc. To my surprise this site has also shown that there is considerable academic interest in members of the extended Hibbert family that I had not considered important (please see Related Articles section for details). To all those that have contacted the site with new information many thanks.
In 2008 the Jamaican Diaries of Robert Hibbert 1750-1835 were discovered and transcribed. The first volumes cover the years from December 1771 to 1780, and detail Robert Hibberts journey to Jamaica with his uncle Thomas Hibbert 1710-1780. These diaries with their maritime information concerning the shipment and sales of slaves, give a new understanding to the organization of the slave factoring businesses of Jamaica. Many of these shipments that are not currently in the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database. These diaries are particularly important as they cover the years leading to the American Declaration of Independence and the death of Thomas Hibbert who founded the Hibbert Interest in Jamaica in 1734.
This has led to a rewrite of the book ‘The Price of Sugar’ as the details of the Jamaican end of the Hibbert families Atlantic Empire has now been incorporated into the Robert Hibbert diaries. The first version of which should be published soon.
The second tranche of the diaries 1787-1802 is under preparation for publishing. The diaries covering the years 1781-1786 were known to exist but are currently missing and the search is on for them.
In my opinion the Robert Hibbert Diaries sit comfortably between the Thomas Thistlewood Diaries and Lady Nugent’s Journal. Many of the characters in the Robert Hibbert Diaries flow effortlessly through into Lady Nugent’s Journal allowing a better understanding of the lives and times of the other leading merchants of Jamaica, particularly Simon Taylor but also John Tharp, William Beckford and many of the other key players of the age.
In the past few days about 70 Robert Hibbert letters have been discovered from the period of the 1771-1780 diaries which gives a much more complete chronology of the age.