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SINGULARITY OF ITS APPEARANCE-AN ISLAND GROUPWANT OF WOOD — HON. BENJAMIN GUMBS – THE GOVERNOR - CONDUCT OF THE FRENCH THERE – supine NESS OF THE LAWS-METHODISTS –PROJECTED IMPROVEMENTS - SALT POND - POPULATION.— CONDITION OF SLAVES,
ON Wednesday afternoon we re-embarked and steered for Anguilla. It was the glorious first of June, and we all drank to the memory of Lord Howe, as in naval duty bound. We passed between St. Eustatius * and Saba, both of them Dutch islands. They rise out of the sea in majestic comes, but, like Nevis, fall away on their north sides into a broken level. We were within a mile of the town in St. Eustatius, which seemed large, and divided into an upper and lower range of houses;...few ships were within the bay, which is a commo
* “The inhabitants of this island live decently and Christianly.”—Davies. “There is in the island one church, which hath from time to time been supplyed with very able pastors; of whom one was Mr. May, who, among other writings, put out a learned commentary on the most difficult places of the five books of Moses, wherein there are many curious observations of nature.”—Davies. Another of these pastors was Mr. Audain.
dious one, and the colony is said never to have recovered from the effects of the capture by Lord Rodney in 1781. I am afraid the scandalous manner in which this island was lost a short time afterwards to a handful of French soldiers, was only a just punishment for the unworthy severities before exercised by the captors. Plunder generally burns the fingers of those who are concerned in it. We sailed the whole length of St. Bartholomew's, or St. Bart's, as it is commonly called, and just looked into the harbour of Gustavia, which is difficult of access, but otherwise a very fine one. This belongs to the Swedes, and is, I believe, the only colony they possess. It is a long, uneven island without that central rising which is . almost universal in the other islands, and which seems to indicate volcanic action. Barbados indeed is an exception. After St. Bartholomew's, we coasted along St. Martin’s, which is divided between the Dutch and the French, and on the afternoon of the 2d of June we came abreast of the low and level shores of Anguilla. Shorten sail, sound starboard and larboard, and be very careful in going into the road of this island. The Dutch chart is imperfect. We anchored a little way from a sand-bank, not five feet under water, where the chart gave five fathoms. You might run upon Sandy Island itself by night without seeing it three. minutes before. I must say it seems to me
that it would be more creditable to the greatest maritime power on earth to ascertain something certain of the navigation of its own Caribbean sea by a scientific survey, than to reprint the old Spanish maps, and when they fail, to send its officers to pick up information, as they may, from an unintelligible chart of Samuel Fahlberg. The French manage these things better, much better *. Anguilla presents a very singular appearance for a West Indian island. A little wall of cliff of some forty feet in height generally rises from the beach, and when you have mounted this, the whole country lies before you, gently sloping inwards in a concave form, and sliding away, as it were, to the south, where the land is only just above the level of the sea. The Flat island and St. Martin’s terminate the view in this direction. Seven-tenths of the country are entirely uncultivated; in some parts a few coppices, but more commonly a pretty species of myrtle, called by the negros maiden-berry, seems to cover the whole soil; the roads are level grassy tracks, over which it is most delightful to ride, and the houses and huts of the
" * In one of the charts of the Gulf of Paria you see “breakers' here, “breakers’ there, * breakers' everywhere, the water being always as smooth as a millpond. Their history is this. In the Spanish chart the soundings are marked by braças, fathoms; hence our aforesaid “breakers,’ for which at least the translator's head ought to have been broken.
inhabitants are scattered about in so picturesque a manner, that I was put in mind of many similar scenes in Kent and Devonshire, Indeed there were scarcely any of the usual features of West Indian landscape visible; neither of those prominent ones, the lively windmill or the columnar palm, was to be seen, and there was a rusticity, a pastoral character on the face of the land, its roads and its vegetation, which is the exact antipode of large plantations of sugar. I believe I did see one dwarf cocoa mut-tree, but it looked miserable and unhappy, and was evidently out of its element. I had great fun with a parcel of laughing, lazy, good-for-nothing women, who were assembled in the evening on a grassy space where four tracks met, for the purpose of talking, at all events, as much as possible, and then of drawing water at the public well. This well had no wheel attached to it for facilitating the drawing up of the water; the women let down a bucket, then began to laugh, then dragged away at their bucket by main force, then showed their teeth again, then dragged away again, and after five or six alternations of laughing and quarrelling, dragging and screaming, they secured about half a bucketfull of water; the rest of course being spilt by the vessel striking against the sides of the well. Their ropes too were quickly frayed by the friction against the edge, and, I should think, could never last more than a fortnight in constant use. We offered to send a carpenter and some men from the ship to construct a windlass for them, if any timber could be found, for all which about three hundred teeth grinned upon us very graciously. However, our benevolent intention had no effect, for, although, upon application to the lieutenant-governor, his Honor was pleased to promise sufficient wood for the purpose, yet, upon the most diligent search being made throughout the vicinage, the returning-officer certified that there was no such timber to be found; and so the Anguillan damsels must be fain to draw their water as aforetime, unless and until his Majesty, in conformity with his other wholesome provisions for the reformation of the interior economy of this unconquered, and, as the Honorable Benjamin Gumbs added, unconquerable colony, shall order the collector of his customs at Old Road to import one tree, pitch, pine, or other as shall seem expedient, to be devoted to the single object of constituting a wheel or windlass for the said well, and for no other use or purpose whatsoever. It may be as well to mention too, that the colonial flag has been long since worn out; the staff remains before the government-house, but Union, Standard, or St. George is there none. To be sure, as the Honorable Benjamin Gumbs remarked, it matters little; ‘for mo enemy, Sir, will ever penetrate into this coun