"Sad as Horrour, Black as Hell": The Parke Murder, the Catiline Conspiracy, and the Wentworth Execution

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Abstract

The 1710 assassination of Daniel Parke, the royal governor of the English colony of the Leeward Islands, was a sensational event, especially as the killers were not rebellious enslaved people or foreign attackers but instead some of the wealthiest and most respected white men of the Antiguan plantocracy. This murder has been described as one of "the most lurid episodes in English Caribbean history," an occurrence that "summed up many long years of life on the tropical firing line." But although the murder of a colonial governor, a man who had been appointed as the sovereign's personal representative within this colony, was deeply shocking to Englishmen at home and abroad, it was not as unprecedented as it might seem initially. An obscure and anonymous text that circulated in London soon afterward shows that Parke's assassination could be incorporated into the histories of the ancient world and earlier Stuart England alike. The epic poem Forty One in Miniature offers a prism through which readers can better understand the political culture of the eighteenth-century English Caribbean, helping them to appreciate its relationship to metropolitan values and practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-754
Number of pages16
JournalEarly American Studies
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2022

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