A true & exact history of the island of Barbadoes

Material Information

A true & exact history of the island of Barbadoes illustrated with a map of the island, as also the principal trees and plants there, set forth in their due proportions and shapes, drawn out by their several and respective scales : together with the ingenio that makes the sugar, with the plots of the several houses, rooms, and other places, that are used in the whole process of sugar-making ...
Alternate title:
True and exact history of the island of Barbadoes
Ligon, Richard
Place of Publication:
Printed, and are to be sold by Peter Parker ... and Thomas Guy ...
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 online resource (122 pages, [11] leaves of plates) : illustrations, 1 map ;


Subjects / Keywords:
Botany -- Early works to 1800 -- Barbados ( lcsh )
Sugar -- Manufacture and refining -- Early works to 1800 -- Barbados ( lcsh )
Botany ( fast )
Sugar -- Manufacture and refining ( fast )
Travel ( fast )
Description and travel -- Early works to 1800 -- Barbados ( lcsh )
Barbados ( fast )
Early works. ( fast )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Early works ( fast )


General Note:
First ed. published 1657.
General Note:
Reproduction of original from Goldsmiths' Library, University of London.
General Note:
Goldsmiths'-Kress no. 02039.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Richard Ligon ...

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
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Resource Identifier:
65321808 ( OCLC )
036552315 ( ALEPH )
HB151 .M35 ( lcc )

UFDC Membership

Digital Library of the Caribbean

Full Text

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78 A True and ExaU Hifory

them (unlefs towards the points) two foot long, that part which tou-
ches the talk, fall, but strong enough to bear the leafe, aud hath a
little fhort ftalk, to which the leafe growes, which leafe is as cxadly
form'd as the ftalk, growing by degrees, to make two inches broad
in the middle, and lofing that breadth infenfibly to the poynt. There
leaves are thin, but tough enough to indure the ftrongeft wind that
blowes, without being broken, and not above four inches diftant one
from another 5 which multiplicity of leaves, makes the beauty of the
tree the fuller. About the time this tree parts with her belly,& growes
to a lender kind of fhape,fhe drawes up amongft her roots rome of the
foyle that bred her, about two foot higher than the level ofground
that is near it; and by reason it is held in by an infinity offmall Roots,
that come from the body, it there remains firm, and falls not down 5
the outside of this earth is about a foot round about, broader than the
Diameter of the Tree 5 fo that if the Diameter ofthe Tree be a foot,the
Diameter ofthis earth is three foot at top, but fomwhat more below 5
for the fides are not fo fleep as to hold one breadth above and below.
If this earth were beautiful, smooth, andlarge enough, it might be
called the Pedeftal to that Corinthian Pillar, the Palmeto Royal.
But what is wanting in the Pedeftal, is fupplyed itn the dimenfions
of the Pillar 5 for, the Corinthian Pillar is allowed for length but nine
of her own Diameters, and this will not aske leave to take 150. which
makes her the more beautiful, fince the ftrength fhe hath, is able to
support the weight fhe bears : And for the Architrave, Frize,and Cor-
nice, they are not to be compared to the beauty of the head ofthis
Pillar, together with the fruit and supporters. And I believe,if Vetruvi-
us himfelfhad ever been where this Pillar grew,he would have changed
all his deckings and garnifhings ofPillars, according to the form ofthis.
And though the Corinthian Pillar be a Column lafcivioufly deckt, like
a Curtefan, and therein participating ( as all inventions do) of
the place where they were firft born 5 ( Cerinth having been without
controverfie, oneofthe wantonneft Towns in the world ) yet, this
wants nothing of her beauty, and yet is chaff, which makes her the
more admirable, and the more worthy to be prized. One thing more
I have to fay ofthis Tree, which is not only the Root that brings forth
all this beauty, but the root of much admiration and wonder; that,
being a tree ofthat height, bearing a top of fo vaft an extent, as from
the poynt of the branches on one fide, to thepoynt of the fralk on the
other fide, to be 78 foot, upon which the winde cannot but have a
main power and force, yet, I never faw any ofthem blown down, nor
any root ofthis Tree bigger than a Swans quill : but there are many
ofthem, and they faften themselves in the Rocks, which hold them
very firm. The wood ofthis Tree is fo extream hard, fnd tough with-
all, as moft ofthe axes that are employed to fell them, are broken in
the work and they are well enough served for cutting down fuch
beauty. The ufe our Planters made of them at firft coming, before
they knew how to make fhingles,was,to faw the bodies of thefe trees
to fuch length, as might reach to the ridge pole, to the Eves of the
houfe 5 for they were hollow, and then Cawing them long wife, there
were two concaves, which they laid together, fett ing the hollow fides

1 6 6A rue A/;;/ i eLI xanL JIfiory
l, __--~-~.--- ---- ~-------- ---- ~--- ---
the .; .ftCem, the other in order to make a well fhap'd Top, to fo
beautiful aftem. The branches fproutforth from the middle, or in-
trinfick part of the tree, one at once ; and that wrapt up fo clole as 'tis
rather like a Pike than a branch with leaves, and that Pike always
bends towards the Eaft but being opened by the Suns heat fpreads
Sthe leaves abroad, at which time the outmoft or eldeft branch or
I ;i-, below withers and hangs down, and pulls with it the film that-
Sbears it, and to both it and the film which holds it up turn ofa ruffe
colour and hang down like a dead leaf, till the wind blows them off 5
by which time the Pike above is become a branch, with all its leaves I
opened 5 then comes forth another Pike, and then the next ontmoft
branch and film below, falls away as the former, and fo the tree grows I
Sfo much hlih!-.., as that branch took room, and fo a pike and a dead
leaf a pike and a dead leaf, till fhe be advanced to her full height,
which will not be till Ioo years be accomplished : about thirty or
forty years old, fhe will bear fruit, but long before that time, chan-
ges her fhape, her belly being leffened partly by the multiplicity ofi
roots, fie fhoots down into the earth (nature forefecing how great a
weight they were to bear, and how great a firefs they were to fuffer,
when the winds take hold of fo large a head, as they were to be
crown'd with) and partly by thrufting out fuftenance and fubftance,
to raifeand advance the tem or body (forout of this belly which is
the flore-houfe fall this good it comes) fo that now fhe becomes ta-
per, with no more leffening than a well fhap'd arrow, and full out as
trait, her body then being ofa bright Alh colour, with fome dapples
ofgreen, the films a top retaining their fmoothnefs and greennefs;only
a little variation in the fhape,and that is a little fwelling near the place
Sthat-touches the ftem or body, not much unlike an Urinal, fo that the
filling that was in the body, is now railed up to the films or skins
above. But at this age, the branches ftand not fo upright, as when
the tree was in her minority, but has as great beauty in the ftooping
and declenfion, as fbe had in the riling of her branches, when her
youth thrufts them forth with greater violence and vigour, and yet
they had then fome little stooping near the points. And now there is
an addition to her beauty by two green ftudds, or supporters, that rife
out of her fides, near the place where the films joyn to the tree, and
they are about three foot long, fall at the place from whence they
grow, but bigger upwards, purely green, and not unlike the Iron that
Glafiers ufe to melt their Sawder with.
One grows on one fide of the tree, the other on the other fide, and
between thefe two of the fame height, on either fide the tree, a bufh
upon which the fruit grows, which are of the bignefs of large French
grapes, fome green, fome yellow, fome purple, and when they come to
be purple, they are ripe,and in a while fall down, and then the yellow,
becomes purple, and the green yellow ; and fo take their turns, till
the tree gives over bearing. Thefe fruits we can hardly come by
being of fo great a height, nor is it any great matter : for the tafte is
not pleasant ; but the Hogs find them very agreeable to their palats
ftorthofe that eat ofthem grow fuddenly fat. I have feen an Negro
with two fhort ropes clime the tree and gathe the t fiLat about this
^ ^ un ,

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""-c VcIt varcict. t

IM 70-
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of the Iland of Barbadoes. 15

An account of Expences ifuing out yearly for loathing for the Chrnifian Ser-
vants, both Men and Women, with the Wages of the principal overfeer,
which hall be 5o. flerling, or the value injfch Goods
as grow upon the Plantation.

To the five fubordinateOverfeers,
for each mans clothing. To the fourteen common fervants.
1. s. d. 1. s. d.
Six flirts,at 4s. a piece I 04 o Six Shirts to each man I 04 o
Six pair ofDrawers,at 2 s. o 12 o Six pair of drawers to each man o 12 o
Twelve pair ofShoes, at 3 s. X 16 o Twelve pair offhoes, at 3 s. I I6 o
Six pair ofLinnen or Irifh fto- Three Monouth Caps, at 4 s. 0 12 o
kings,at 20d. I3 o
Three Monmouth Capsat 4 s. o 12 o Sum total to each man 4 04 o
Two doublets of Canvasand
fix Holland bands 0 5 Sum total, ofthe fourteen,
fervants by the year 58 6
Sum totallfor each man 5 9 o
Sum total for the fiveOverfeers 27 5 0

Now for the ten women fervants, we will difpofe of them, thus:
Four to attend in the houfe, and thofe to be allowed as followeth in
the firft Columne, viz.

The four that attend in the houfe The other fix that weed, and do the
to each of them common work abroad yearly.
1. s. d. 1. s. d.
Six fmocks, at 4 s. a piece I 04 o Four fmocksat 4 s. a piece o 16 o
Three petticoats, at 6 s. o 18 o Three petticoats,at 5 s. a piece o 15 o
Three waftcoats,at 3 s. o 09 o Four coifs, at 12 d. a piece 0 04 o
Six coifes or caps, at 18 d. a 9 Twelve pair offhoesats. 16 o
piece09 0
Twelve pair offhoes,at 3 s. I 16 o Sum is 3 II o
Sum total ofthe fix com- 2 1 6 o
Sum is 4 16 o mon women fervants
Sum total of the four wo- 19 4 o
men that attend in the houfe

Thirty Rug Govvnes for there thirty fervants, to caft about them?
when they come home hot and vveariedfrom their vvorkand to fleep> 37 10 o
in at nights,in their Hamock,at 25 s. a Govvn or mantle.
Now for the Negres,vvhich vve vvill account to be a hundred ofboth
Sexes, vve vvill divide them equally 5 The fifty men (hall be allovved
yearly but three pair of Canvas dravvers a piece, vvhich at 2 s. a pair,
is 6s.
The women hall be allowed but two petticoats a piece yearly, at
4 s. a piece, which is 8 s. yearly.
So the yearly charge ofthe fifty men Negres, s 15 oo o
And of the women 20 00 o
Sum is 35 oo o

Gg 2 Now

70 A True and Exa Hir ory

Lemon. The Lemon tree is much better fhap'd and larger, but this fruit is
but here and there, ftragling in the flpand. .1 have feen fome of the
fruit largeand very full of juicewith a r.i.; rut fmell :the leaves both
of there and the Orange trees,I hall not need to mention being fo well
known in England.
Lime-tree. The Lime tree is like a thick Hollybufh in EngRland, and as full of
prickles: ifyou make a hedge ofthem, about your houfe,'tis fiifficint
proofagainft the Negroes 5 whofe naked bodies cannot poffible enter
it, and it is an extraordinary fure fence against Cattle 5 it commonly
grows even or eight foot high, extreamly thick of leaves and fruit,
and of prickles ; the leaves not unlike thofe of a Lemon tree,the fruit
fo like as not to be difcerned, at the distance of three yards but only
that'tislefs, but in the tafte of the rind and juice, extreamly diffe-
rent, much fitter for fauce than the Lemon but not Co good to cat
Prickledap- The Prickled apple, grows on a tree extreamly thick leav'd and
ple. thofe leaves large, and ofa deep green, fhap'd not much unlike the
leaf of a Wallnut tree in England : this fruit is fhap'd like the heart of
anOxe, and much about thatbignefs 5 a faintgreen on the outside,
with many prickles on it, the tafte very like a muftie Lemon.
Pricked The next in order, (hall be the prickled pear, much purer in tafte
Pear. and better form'd ; the fruit being not unlike in Ihape to a Greenfield-
pear, and ofa faint green, intermixt with fome yellow near the talk 5
but the body of a mixt red, partly Crimfon, partly Stammell, with
prickled fpots of yellow the end of it growing somewhat lar-
ger than the middle, at which end, is a round fpot of a murrey
colour, the breadth of an inch, and circular with a Centre in the
middle, and a fmall circle about it, and from that circle within, lines
drawn to the utmoft extent of that round Murrey fpot, with faint
circles between the fall circle and the largest upon that Murrey
Thefe lines and circles, of a colour no more different in light-
nefs from the murrey, than only to be difcerned, and a little yellower
Pomegra- The Pomegranate is a beautiful tree the leaves fall, with a green
nate. mixt with Olive colour, the blofflm large, well fhap'd, and ofa'pure
Scarlet colour 5 the fruit not to large there, as thofe we have from
Spain. The young trees being fet in rows, and planted thick make
a very good hedge, being clipt even a top with Garden hears. The
fruit is very well known to you, and therefore I Phall need fay nothing
of that, and there are all the remarkable fruits that grow on trees,
and are proper to this Ifland, that I can remember, though I believe -
there are many more.
Papa. The Papa is but a fmal! tree, her bark of a faint willow colour, her
leaves large, and ofthe (hape of the Phyfick nut tree, but ofthe colour
of her own bark, the branches grow out four or five ofone height, and
fpread almost level, from the place where they bud out 5 to the ends
of the branches, and about two foot higher, fuch other branches fprea-
ding in the fame manner, and if the tree grow to a greater height than
ordinary, a ftory or two more of thefe bows : the top handfomely
___ _

8o A True and Exai Hiflory

Cucuaber. Having inflam'd this leafe with a burning heat, it is fit to apply a
Cooler, left it fall on fire; and that is fuch a one, as is cold in the third
degree,a Cucumber; of which kind we have excellent good, from the
beginning of Novewber, to the end of Februarj;but after that, the wea-
ther growers too hot. They ferveas Sallets cold, with Oyle, Vinegar,
and Pepper; and hot, being flewed, or fryed, of which we make
Sawce for Mutton, Pork, Turkeys, or MuCcovia Ducks. Geefe I
never faw but two in the Ifland, and thole were at the Governours
Mellons. Millions we have likewife for thofe four months but before or af-
ter, the weather is too hot. They are for the moft part larger than
here in England. I have feen them cut four inches thick; they eat moi-
fter then here they do, which makes them the lefs wholfome. We
take no other care (after the feeds are put into the ground) but to
weed them, I have feen of them fixteen inches long.
The Water Millon there, is one ofthe goodlieft fruits that growes.
Water-Mil- I have feen ofthem,big as a Cloakbagvvith a fruit ofcloaths in it5 pure-
lon. ly green, engrayl'd with ftraw colour; And fo wanton Nature is, in
difpofing thofe figures, as though they be upon all parts of the fruit
yet, they vary and flow fo infinitely, and no inch offquare or circle is
to be found upon the rinde, that is like one another, and the whole
rinde as fmooth as polifht glais. Where they put out upon the ground,
there they lie; for the Vine they grow by, has not firength to re.
move them. This fruit within is not unlike an Apple for colour but
for tafte, not like any fruit I know in England, waterifh, and wal-
lowifh; yetthe people there eat strange quantities of it, two or three
pieces, big, asifcut round about a twelve-penny loafe,an inch thick:
They hold it rarely cooling to the body, and excellent for the ftone.
The feeds are of themselves fo strong a Purple, as to dye that part of
the fruit it touches, of the fame colour; and till they do fo, the fruit
is not full ripe: They account the largefr,beft. Extreamly full of feeds
they are,which in the eating flip out with fuch eafe, as they are not at
Grapes. all troublefome.
Grapes we have in the Ifland, and they are indifferently well tafted
but they are never ripe together; ome may be pickt out to make
Wine, but it will be fo fmall a quantity, as it will not be worth the
while. There is alwaies fome green, fome ripe, fome rotten grapes in
the bunch.
Though the Plantine bear not the moft delicious fruit that growers
Plantine. on this Ifland ; yet, for that (he is of great ufe, and beauty too, and for
many other rarities that the excels other Plants in, I fall endeavour
to do her right in my description. And firft, for the manner of plan-
ting ,we put a root into the ground, fix inches deep, and in a very
liort time, there will come forth three or four fprouts, whereof one has
the precedence, and holds that advantage, (as the prime Hawke does
in an Ayery.) And as this fpzout growes, it springs from the intrin-
fick part of the ftem, and the out-leaves hang down and rot but
fill new ones come within, as rife up as the Palmeto does, like a pike,
which opened with the Sun, becomes a leafe; and about the time it
comes to be eight or ten foot high, the pikes (and consequently

S' Ato p o a r ap h i ca D e s c r i p t i o n d

-. Ade asurement of the YIAND o
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~Tb, yong ra Pmcto Royal!




^ .7 Aving been cenfur'd by fome (whofe Judgements
S'' I cannot control, and therefore am glad to allow)
'.)I for my weaknefs and Indifcretion, that having ne-
i ver made proofofthe Sea's operation, and the feve-
ral faces that watry Element puts on, and the chan-
ges and chances that happen there, from Smooth to
Rough,froti Rough to Raging Seas,and High going
Billows, (which are killing to fome Conftitutions,)I should in the laft
Scene of my life, undertake to run fo long a Rifco as from England to
the Earbadoes 5 And truly I should without their help conclude my felf
guilty of that Cenfure, had I not the refuge of an old Proverb to fly
to, which is, [Need makes the old Wife trot] for having loft (by a Bar-
barous Riot) all that I had gotten by the painful travels and cares of
my youth by which means I was ftript arid rifled of all I had, left de-
ftitute ofa fubfiftance, and brought to fuch an Exigent, as I muft fa-
mifh or fly ; and looking about for friends, who are the belt fuppor-
ters in fo staggering a condition, found none, or very few, whom griefs
and affli&ions "id not deprefs'd, or worn out, Banifhirentabfented,
or Death devour'd fo that in ftead of there near arid Native com-
forters, I found my felf a stranger in my own Countrey, and therefore
refolv'd to lay hold on the firft opportunity that might convoy me to
any other part of the World, how far diftant foever, rather than abide
here. I continued not many weeks in this expe&ation, when a friend,
as willing to fhift his ground as I,, gaye mie an Overture which I accep-
ted, and fo upon the fixteenth day ofjfne, I647. we embarked in the
Downs, on the good Ship called the Achilles; a veffel of35o tunns,
the Mafter Thomas Crowder of London;& no fooner were we all aboard,
but we presently weighed Anchor, and put to Sea 5 in to cold weather
as at that time of the year, I have not felt the like 5 and continued fo
till we came to Falmouth-Harbour : where we put in, and refted for
a night but in our paffage thither, were very uncertain upon what.
Coaftwewere, by reafor of the unfteadinefs of the winds, and
cloudinefs of the weather 5 fo that I perceived more troubles and
B doubts


ie 0 Ldet ?am-,to R oy a,[

f *

Thtsplant Iere exrrepst is of] the Utest agmnitu lietg9
utajfpot M' diametre, an 4-e Apt rm, t lef! 3the too ty *
his wne dia4mntre; iB.ttherer hIave bin-Jomez growing upon.,
th e Iland, wvich have, bin -two fot diameter hav e b;in
5o -tymgs theyr owner diamnetre, wlich i.s 5oo foot hYh.

Pi,3 ".78.L~S =



Of the Ifland of

Illustrated with a Map of the Ifland, as alfo the
Principal Trees and Plants there, fet forth in
their due Proportions and Shapes, drawn out by
their several and refpective Scales.
Together with the Ingenio that makes the Sugar, with
the Plots of the federal Houfes, Rooms, and other places, that
are ufed in the whole procefs ofSugar-making 5 viz. the Grinding-
room, the Boyling-room, the Fllling-room, the Curing-
houfe, Still-houfe, and Furnaces5
All cut in Copper.


Printed, and are to be fold by Peter Parker at his Shop at the Leg and Star
over against the RaoalExchange, and Thomas Guy at the corner
Shop of Little Lumbard-freet and Cornhill ,1 673.