James Cadett Trinidad and Tobago

Biography of James Cadett

James Cadett was the son of a sugar planter, also James, who owned the River Estate, formerly Carapichaima Hall in Trinidad, which in 1822 depended on the labour of 233 enslaved people. James senior had a high public profile. He was first Alcalde, or official of the old prestigious Spanish ‘Cabildo’, or town council under the governorship of Sir Ralph Woodford. In this capacity in 1825 he had opposed measures proposed to ameliorate the lives of the enslaved with respect to justice, punishment and marriage. Indeed as master of Plantation River he was notorious for his punishment of women slaves. He died in 1830. His will discloses that there were a number of natural children, and that Angelle Darcueil, who was the mother of Dr James Cadett, had sufficiently offended his father on the grounds of ’base ingratitude’ that she was denied support other than the house she occupied in Port of Spain.

James Cadett matriculated at Glasgow in 1825, recording his home as in Trinidad and his father as James. He enrolled in the classes of Anatomy, Surgery and Midwifery, though he may subsequently have withdrawn from the last of these classes. He did not graduate from Glasgow. It was a common practice to study at more than one medical school, and by the time his father made his will in 1829, James was continuing his studies in Medicine at Edinburgh University (where he later graduated M.D.). Two of his brothers are also known to have been living in Britain at the time - William in Glasgow and Thomas in London. These three natural sons were beneficiaries of annual allowances.

The executors of their father’s will made a substantial claim for compensation when its 117 enslaved were freed. The sum awarded was £5604 18s 10d. Dr. James Cadett was an investor in the Kent Railway. He died on 3rd March 1865 at Carapichaima, Trinidad. His will discloses that he left effects under £800.

Ancestry.co.uk, England and Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administration), 1858-1995

‘The Caribbean History Archives: Town Council’ https://caribbeanhistoryarchives.blogspot.com

‘James Cadett’, Legacies of British Slave-ownership database, http://wwwdepts-live.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/1295623392


James Cadett
Died 3 March 1865.
GU Degree:
University Link: Student
English snippet: Medical student at the University of Glasgow 1825.
Record last updated: 10th Jun 2022

Country Associations

Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago

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University Roles

  • Student