Edward Long (23 August 1734 – 13 March 1813) was an English-born British colonial administrator, slave owner and historian, and author of a highly controversial work, The History of Jamaica (1774). He was a polemic defender of slavery.
Long was the fourth son of Samuel Long (1700–1757) of Longville, Jamaica, son of Charles Long MP, and his wife Mary Tate, born 23 August 1734 at St. Blazey, in Cornwall. His great-grandfather, Samuel Long, had arrived on the island in 1655 as a lieutenant in the English army of conquest, and the family established itself as part of the island's governing planter elite. His sister, Catherine Maria Long, married Sir Henry Moore, 1st Baronet (Governor of Jamaica), and Long, in Jamaica from 1757, became his private secretary.
In 1752 Long became a law student at Gray's Inn, and from 1757 until 1769 he was resident in Jamaica. During this period he explored inside the Riverhead Cave, the Runaway Bay Caves and the Green Grotto. He was judge in the local vice admiralty court, and briefly Speaker of the Assembly, elected 13 September 1768.
Long was an influential and wealthy member of British society, as well as an established Jamaican planter and slave owner. He moved permanently to England, in 1769, for health reasons.
History of Jamaica
Long's History of Jamaica, first published in 1774 in three volumes but again in the 1970s, was his well-known work. This book gives a political, social, and economic account with a survey of the island, parish by parish from 1665 to 1774. It is a comprehensive book, yet it contains some of the most virulent descriptions of Jamaicans and Africans in general.
The book contains a racist description of American black slaves during the Age of Enlightenment. In a similar fashion to his contemporaries, Long's description of race discussed it as a "natural state" compared to the Romantic period. Long, in his rather shocking descriptions argues that American 'Negroes' were characterised by the same "bestial manners, stupidity and vices which debase their brethren" in Africa. He maintained that "this race of people" is distinguishable from the rest of mankind in that they embody "every species of inherent turpitude" and imperfection that can be found dispersed among all other races of men. Unlike the most "abandoned villain" to be found in civilisation, argues Long, these peoples have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Racist views were widespread among European writers at the time, some of whom used to write detailed descriptions of Africans and Africa based only on accounts of missionaries and plantation owners. Long echoes David Hume and Immanuel Kant in his deeply racist descriptions of Africans and claims to find it astonishing that despite being subject to colonisation for a long time, the "Negroes" have failed to demonstrate any appreciation for the arts or any inventive ability. He observes that throughout the entirety of Africa, there are few natives who "comprehend anything of mechanic arts or manufacture", and those who do, perform their work in the manner of some under-evolved ape. This is due to them being "void of genius". However, his views, even for his time, were extreme. The book also contains descriptions of interracial marriage. In the book he included a poem by Francis Williams, which he then proceeds to criticise in an attempt to justify his theory of white racial superiority.
In 1758, Long married Mary, daughter of Thomas Beckford who was the brother of Peter Beckford the younger, and widow of John Palmer of ‘Springvale’ in Jamaica. They had three sons and three daughters:
- Edward Beeston, who married Mary, daughter of John Thomlinson M.P.
- Catherine, who married Richard Dawkins, son of Henry Dawkins M.P. of Standlynch
- Charlotte, who in 1791 married Sir George Pocock, 1st Baronet M.P.
- Elizabeth, who in 1801 married Henry Molyneux-Howard M.P.
- the elder, Robert Ballard, and
- Charles Beckford, who married Frances Monro Tucker. Charles Edward Long was their son.
Edward Long died at Arundel Park, Sussex, the seat of his son-in-law Henry.
- Edward Long (1774), History of Jamaica, London: T. Lowndes v.2, v.3, contents
- Inheriting the Earth: The Long Family's 500 Year Reign in Wiltshire; Cheryl Nicol
- Morgan, Kenneth. "Long, Edward". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/16964. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- John Burke (1836). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Enjoying Territorial Possessions or High Official Rank: But Uninvested with Heritable Honours. Colburn. pp. 166–7.
- leMercier duQuesnay, Frederick. The Longs of "Longville". 1964. 25 August 2006. <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 December 2005. Retrieved 3 December 2005.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)>.
- Jamaican Caves. The Underground World of Jamaican Caves - Part II (Guidance Part VI) 2003. 25 August 2006. <http://www.jamaicancaves.org/article_2.htm>.
- Eviatar Zerubavel, Time Maps: Collective Memory and the Social Shape of the Past, 2003 p. 70
- Open2.net. History. 2006. 25 August 2006. <http://www.open2.net/historyandthearts/history/books_weblinks.html>.
- The History of Jamaica, McGill Queen's University Press, 2003.
- Kitson, P. J., and D. Lee, Institute of Historical Research. Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Writings in the British Romantic Period (eight vols). 1999. 25 August 2006. <http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/paper/johnmar.html>.
- Edward Long, The History of Jamaica (London: T. Lowndes, 1774), 2 vols, 2. 476.
- The Great White Lie, John Gratus p. 270.
- Parker, John. Society for the History of Discoveries. 2004. 25 August 2006. sochistdisc.org.
- John Burke (1836). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Enjoying Territorial Possessions Or High Official Rank: But Uninvested with Heritable Honours. Colburn. p. 167.
- John Burke (1836). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Enjoying Territorial Possessions Or High Official Rank: But Uninvested with Heritable Honours. Colburn. p. 679.
- Debrett's Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. G. Woodfall. 1828. p. 423.
- "Dawkins, Henry (1728–1814), of Over Norton, Oxon. and Standlynch, Wilts., History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "Pocock, George (1765–1840), of Twickenham, Mdx. and Hart, co. Dur., History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "Howard Molyneux Howard, Lord Henry Thomas (1766–1824), of Thornbury Castle, Glos., History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- Erben, Michael. "Long, Charles Edward". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/16963. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)