This chapter discusses the experiences of Beckford and his family and why they merit great interest beyond the prominence of his family and its ultimate success in the mother country. Peter Beckford played a prominent part in extending the island's transatlantic interest, highlighted by the successful campaign for war with Spain in 1739. While elite Jamaicans could take much encouragement from these developments, the public and private challenges faced by the Beckfords demonstrate the difficulty with which “absenteeism” was achieved. Also, relocation to Britain did not preclude constant attention to the island's affairs. As scholars have pointed out, colonists could become absentee landowners for a variety of reasons, ranging from the accidents of inheritance to a disdain for colonial society, but the actual processes of removal are less clear.
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