Electoral Politics and Lord Seaforth as a Landed Proprietor in Scotland and as Governor of Barbados
This essay offers a case study in the role of Scots in the governance of the British Empire and in the contrasts between electoral politics in Britain and in Caribbean colonies whose economy was based on plantation slavery. Seaforth was a Highland proprietor (1783–1815) and governor of Barbados (1801–06). He dominated the politics of Ross-shire for thirty years, but had constant struggles with the local assembly in Barbados. This chapter compares the extent to which he was able to control elections, use patronage and win personal loyalty in the two arenas. McKichan argues that, whereas in Ross-shire he could still depend on clan loyalty in politics, in Barbados he suffered by promoting policies which threatened the interests of the slave owning electorate.