Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

himself happily possessed of. If the Doctor had in view that precept of Horace, which advises,

-Neque, te ut miratur turba, labores;

Contentus paucis lectoribus.he has certainly acted right; for his performance is far from being calculated to engage the multitude; nevertheless, it may probably furnish a fufficient degree of entertainment for the class of readers for whom it appears to have been designed, and to whom only it is evidently adapted. A consciousness of this, perhaps, produced the following apology.-. There are more

men than naturalists, and perhaps more of these than physi• cians. In the part which treats of the civil state of the island, • I own, I have been the most brief. The lives of the go

vernors, the civil and military transactions, and various other

particulars, would have made no improper part of such a • work; but this would take up a large share of my time, on ' a subject to me not so materially interesting; and of conse

quence hindered me from pursuing that part to which I found ' myself more equal; more strongly inclined ; and in which I

thought my researches more likely to tend to public advan

tage. The natural history is therefore by much the most exs tensive part ; the productions are both numerous and cucrious; and contains (b) great numbers of articles, whereof

many have been left wholly unnoticed, while others were but « imperfectly or inaccurately represented to us.'

Agreeable to this plan, out of five hundred pages contained in this volume, twenty-seven only are appropriated to the civil history of Jamaica; the former state of which, from its discovery by Columbus, to the beginning of the present century, employs the first chapter. The conquest of the island by the Spaniards, their expulfion by the English, the different administrations of the government previous to any fettled form, the charter granted for that purpose by King Charles II. the destruction of Port-Royal by an earthquake in 1692, and the invasion of the French in 1694, are here mentioned; but the accounts are not always just, (c) and in general too superficial, to gratify the curiosity of an inquisitive reader.

Chap (6) So Dr. Brown expresses himself. (s) Our Author, speaking of the retreat of the Spaniards to Cuba, takes norice, that they left behind them ' many of the negros and

mulatos, to keep possession of the place, and to prevent the con

querors from settling in the country parts: these people,' adds he, . continued very troublesome for a time: but the English, who • were not used to the woods, at length called in some of the Buc

cancers

1

6

Chap. 2. is divided into three fections. The first gives a short account of the parishes, and number of representatives,

ports of entry and clearance, and courts of judicature.' With respect to the representatives, our Author takes notice of a law pafled by the Assembly for chufug them by ballot, but which has not yet received the royal sanction: allo of another law for the institution of circular courts, under the same cir. cumftances. Such a law would certainly contribute greatly to the ease and advantage of those who live remote from the common feats of justice. He has likewise judiciously pointed out the inconveniences arising to those ships that load in the western harbours, from the want of a contiguous port of entry and clearance.

Sect. 2. treats 5 of the lands, fettlements, foils, produse, 6 and income of Jamaica.' The quantity of fertile land in the island is computed at about four millions and an half of

acres; of which one million, fix or seven hundred thousand acres are already patented.' The Doctor, with great justice,

caneers to their affiftance, and soon after brought them under subjeca • tion.'-Now it is a known fact, that tho' the Negros might perhaps be then, for a time, suppressed, yet they were not fubdued ; seeing they, and their descendants continued their depredations till within thele twenty-five years: among them every discontented negro that ran away from his owner, was sure of finding an asylum ; till their numbers grew formidable. Thus ftrengthened, they frequently made incursions on the settlements, plundered the plantations, and murdered the inhabitants. Many attempts were made to reduce them by force, but their retreats being, in a great measure, inaccesible to the parties sent out against them, rendered those attempts fruitless. Abundance of lives had been lost in the pursuit of these favages, and the terror of them greatly impeded the cultivation of the more inJand parts of the island. The inefficacy of force having been wofully experienced, the late Governor Trelawny found means to bring them to a treaty; whereby the negros were allotted certain portions of Land, and permitted to live under the direction of their own chiefs ; commissions were granted by the Governor to those chiefs, who folemnly engaged for themselves and their people, thenceforward, to live peaceably, and as became good subjects. The more effectually to disincline them from receiving or harbouring any run-away slaves, an act soon after passed the aliembly, encouraging them, by suitable rewards, to discover and bring home any such llaves, wherever they should meet with them. The engagements thus entered into have been punctually oblerved, and these long and much dreaded enemies have ever since continued faithful and useful subjects; to the no little case and advantage of the inhabitants, and to the particular honour of that worthy Governor.

cen

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

censures the unequal distribution of those lands: his remarks upon this subject are so pertinent, that we apprehend no apology necessary for laying them before our readers ; especially if it be remembered, that every bar to industry in any of our colonies, extends itself to the prejudice of the parent country.

• To avoid a more tedious and uncertain computation on • this occafion,' says our Author, I shall only give an in

ftance of the parish of St. James's, one of the most thriving • in that island, and one that at this time seems to keep a due ( medium between the most populous, exclusive of towns, " and those that are yet the least cultivated. In this parish, on « an exact computation, I find one hundred and fix thousand, <three hundred and fifty-two acres already patented; and now " the property of about one hundred and thirty-two persons,

whereof ten are only nominal proprietors, being possessed of no more than thirty-five or forty acres one with another : a quantity of land nearly equal to the whole island of Barbadoes, formerly computed at 106470 acres; which in 1676 was

computed to maintain no less than seventy thousand Whites, ( and eighty-thousand Blacks, in a decent and plentiful man

ner. From hence we may observe, how much the prudent o distribution of lands contributes to the settlement of a co

lony; for, in Barbadoes, and the other sugar colonies, no

man was allowed to take up more land than he could culti(vate in a certain space of time, and the new-comer had always

his choice of the unpossessed lar:ds, to enter upon immediately, which, tho' perhaps more remote from the mar• kets, or shipping-places, equally answered his purposes, while

every neighbour, whose plantation was already settled, wanted the produce of this, as yet unfit for any thing but provisions, to supply both his table and his slaves. Thus industry was

still promoted, for every eftablished settler wanted an oppor• tunity of encreasing his possessions with his family, and the “produce of his labour was the only means of attaining it, · which, for this reason, he was resolved to employ to the great

eft advantage ; and made use of the major part in advancing • his fortune, while a smaller portion served to purchase the ' neceffities of his family and flaves. By these means the colo« nies were soon settled, and at length brought to such per"fection, that the generality of cane-land now sells there from I thirty to eighty, or one hundred pounds sterl. per acre; while

the most promising fields in Jamaica, continue ftill adorned

with their native productions, and the cultivated are scarcely < valued at above ten or fifteen pounds an acre.

! The neceflity of putting a stop to such inconveniences must be then apparent to every person who considers orie Review, July 1756.

D

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

gards

6

gards the general welfare of the colony; but the means of • redreling them must be the peculiar work of that wise body, ( to whose care the supreme power is committed; and yet I

am afraid, that many of its members will think themselves tou nearly interested, to consider the public happiness with

warmth on this occasion.'—From the knowlege we have of this island, we are sorry to say, there is but too much reason for our Author's fears: the scheme he proposes for remedying this mischief, . by laying a heavy tax on uncultivated lands (we presume he means only those that are possessed) and reassum

ing the forfeited without favour,' is not new; the same project was talked of at least fifteen years ago, particularly by some new settlers, who came from the island of Antigua ; where, as Dr. Brown rightly observes, such a tax had fullý fucceeded.---His proposal for allotting a certain number of acres to form regular plantations of the most useful timbertrees, such as braziletto, fuftic, lignum vitæ, ebony, bastardcedar, cedar, and mahogony, is practicable, and seems to deserve a serious consideration.

Tho' this island is not so far improved as it might or ought to be, its importance to Great Britain cannot better be determined than by its produce, exports, and imports. The respective value of these, our Author has taken more than a little pains to ascertain. The materials from whence he has collected his informations, are, the books in the public offices of Jamaica, and schedules occasionally laid before the house of Hence he computes, that

1. 1. The quantity of sugar exported (d) annually

at a medium for four years, ending in De-
cember 1751, to be about 476338 Ct, nett
or short weight, which at the usual price
that sugars bear in that place, will amount
to in currency (e) about

738280 7 6 2. Rum (f) exported about 4600 puncheons,

valued according to the common price there 69575 0 0

commons.

s. d.

807855 76

Brought (d) Exclusive of the sugars consumed in the island, which are reckoned to be seldom less than 4300 hogsheads, of 1 15

Ct. each. (e) Jamaica currency is to iterling, as seven to five, or 140 to ico.

Our Author observes, that the quantity of rum is not proportionable to the quantity of sugar, which he accounts for from the export of molasses to the North-American continent.

N.B.

Brought over

807855 76 3.- Molasses, 258707 gallons, about

12367 0 0 4. Cotton, 1253 bags, at a medium one year with another

18895 00 5. Coffee, 220 casks

3300 O o 6. Pimento, 438000 lb. weight (8)

21925 0.0 7. Mahogany

25000 8. Sundries, as logwood, nicarago, braziletto,

fustic, lignum vitæ, cocoa, ginger, canella, or winter's bark, Peruvian bark, balfams, indigo, aloes, hides, slaves, dry goods, and bullion sometimes exported from thence, whose value is not so easily computed, and

chiefy the produce of their foreign trade (h). 45000 OO 9. To the above is also added, for charge at

tending about 450 hips that annually resort to the island

20000 OO

Total of Exports (i) currency

954342 7 6

Equal to sterling 681673 2 2 The foreign trade, imports and revenues are considered in the third section: our Author's estimate of the two former is taken from the collector's books for the year 1752 ; which year, he informs us, he more particularly made choice of, because

the intercourse of that year was deemed pretty moderate, and

rather under the medium, having immediately fucceeded the • hurricane in fifty-one.' According to this account, the number of ships trading to Jamaica, in the course of the year 1752, were as follows.

From N. B. One hundred and fixty puncheons are computed to be retailed in the island, besides what is used in private families, and at the plantations where it is manufactured, which is here fuppored to be tripple the quantity of what is retailed.

(8) That is, at the rate of something more than One Shilling per pound: surely an extraordinary price!

(b) Our Author fays of these articles, that of late years they have been • seldom computed to bring in more than 45 or 50,000 l. a year, but frequently not so much.'

(i) Dr. Brown makes the total of the exports amount to only 945,7841. 75. 6d. but if his computation of the respective articles is right, the sum of the whole ought to be as it stands above. Whether he had any particular reason for this deduction of upwards of 8000l. or whether it is owing to inadvertency, is not quite clear to us ; tho' we are inclined to impute it to the latter, as this is not

the

D 2

« AnteriorContinuar »