Sir Anthony Musgrave (1828-1888) - The National Library of Jamaica

Sir Anthony Musgrave (1828-1888)

Sir Anthony Musgrave was born in St. John’s Antigua on the 3rd of August 1828. He was the third son of Anthony Musgrave, M.D, Treasurer of Antigua. He received part of his early education in Edinburgh ,Scotland. In 1850, he  became Private Secretary to the Governor of the Leeward Islands and began studying law the following year. After the death of his father in 1853, which required him to return to Antigua, Musgrave returned to London to resume his studies in law. Under the persuasion of a friend, he later accepted the post of Colonial Secretary in Antigua . In 1860, Musgrave was appointed Administrator of Nevis and two years later he was made Lieutenant Governor of St. Vincent. He was given a significant promotion in 1864 when he was made Governor of Newfoundland. His next post was the governorship of British Columbia. Appointed Governor of South Australia in 1873.

Soon after being sent to Australia, Musgrave was offered governorship of Jamaica. He arrived in Jamaica on August 24, 1877. His wife Jeannie and family arrived in the Autumn of that year. Sir Anthony’s 6 year term in Jamaica was highly eventful as he worked tirelessly for the improvement of island. Musgrave is noted to have said that his best work was done in Jamaica. He was particularly effective in the fields of the Arts & Education. Sir Anthony Musgrave,  is the founder of the Institute of Jamaica 1879, with its purpose being, for the encouragement in all branches of  literature, art and science.

Under his governorship,  several  measures were carried out such as the regulation of Coolie immigration, the reform of  legal procedure and state law, and  establishment of electric telegraphs. He also encouraged the government to purchase and extend the railway for the Jamaica Railway Company at a cost of  93,932 pounds. The re-organization of the public gardens, re-modeling of educational institutions and consolidation of the public debt may also be attributed to Sir Anthony Musgrave.

Sir Anthony was next assigned to Queensland, Australia where his health began to deteriorate. In 1887, he was able to pay a short visit to Jamaica. However, he died a year later on October 9, 1888. Following his death,  the board of governors of the Institute of Jamaica proposed a memorial in his honour. It was decided to acquire a portrait of Sir Anthony and to create a medal, which would be awarded for achievements in the fields of Literature, Science and Art or effective service in their promotion.