Dorothy Little

1763 - 1840

Claimant or beneficiary


Awarded the compensation for a group of 13 enslaved people in St James whom she hired out. Widow of Rev. Simon Little, Rector of Hanover, who died in 1802: Dorothy Little then returned to England. She was one of the most perceptive correspondents of the Commissioners of Slave Compensation on the financial aspects of compensation, especially on the privileging of landed property in the structure of compensation, which she believed favoured estate owners over the owners (like herself) of 'unattached' enslaved people.

  1. Death of Dorothy Little registered at Clifton Bristol Q4 1840. Her petition in 1833 set her age at 70. The S.G. Little of her correspondence was her son Simon George Little, whom she apprenticed as a lawyer in 1818 and who was a barrister in Bristol in 1841, his death registered at Chipping Sodbury in 1844.


T71/1608: letter, dated 26/12/1833, from the Court of Chancery to Dorothy Little, care of Mr S. G. Little, Bristol. Letter from Dorothy Little, dated 31/03/1835, asking: 'what certificate or document it is necessary I should receive from Jamaica, to enable me to make good my claim (in this country) for compensation for my Negroes, I have an authenticated list of them, sworn to by the Gentleman on whose estate they have been for twenty years, but this I suppose is not sufficient?'. Letter, dated 05/03/1835, from Dorothy Little (3 Lower Park Row, Bristol), asking: 'whether the compensation for my few Negroes cannot be paid in this country instead of Jamaica? otherwise I am fearful of being charged with premium on bills of Exchange, which I cannot possibly afford'. Letter, dated 12/05/1834, from Dorothy Little, asking if the power of attorney she is sending out to Jamaica will 'have any influence over the valuation of my Negroes, as I have no relation or friend now in the Island who I can flatter myself will feel any great interest in my welfare'; 'I am anxious to ascertain if there is a prospect of my getting full and fair compensation for my unattched field labourers, they will I fear be put down as inferior labourers, for out of the whole number (14) 10 of them are females, but from that very circumstance they have been more valuable to me than if they had been very strong men, for they have more than doubled their original number, and of course doubled my income, I speak strongly on this subject as my existence depends on the rent of these few negroes, and what am I to do when seven-eighths of my income are taken away?'.

T71/1608: letter, dated 27/09/1833, from Dorothy Little, with a petition to Lord Stanley. The cover letter states: 'I have with the greatest attention read every debate in the House of Commons on the West Indian question and I have not seen my case mentioned by any one MP'. Petition to the House of Lords states that Dorothy Little is aged 70, the widow of Rev. Simon Little, formerly Rector of Hanover, who died in 1802, since when Dorothy Little has been resident in England. Dorothy Little receives an annuity from the Clergy Fund of Jamaica, much reduced in late years, and now 32 pounds sterling only per annum (threat to fund from anarchy and revolution in Jamaica). The rent from slaves was never less than £80 sterling per annum during the 15 years previous to 1832, when the valuation was reduced and rental fixed at £80 Jamaican or £57 3s 0d sterling. Compensation at £26 per slave will not exceed £364 sterling; the income will not be more than £12 14s 9d. But it is more likely that the owner of the estate will refuse to rent any who are infirm, throwing one aged slave and two children upon Dorothy Little. 'Each of the immutable principles of Religion and Justice which will be committed in thus depriving an aged widow of her property without any fault alleged on her part'. Different positions are held by those who are owners of slaves only and those with estates; at the end of 7 years, the former have nothing: it is not equitable. 'She believes that there are many in her situation, but that they are principally widows and orphans and she is sorry to perceive that the large Proprietors have not had the generosity to put forward their particular situation'.

  1., England & Wales, Free BMD Death Index: 1837-1915 [database online];, UK, Articles of Clerkship, 1756-1874 [database online]; 1841 census online.

Further Information

Rev. Simon Little
Simon George Little

Associated Claims (1)

£297 13s 6d

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1820 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner

Addresses (1)

3 Lower Park Row, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England