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|Table of Contents|
|On the eve of war|
|The first two weeks|
|In aid of England|
|Offers of military service|
|Hopes and fears|
|The first five hundred|
|The woman's movement|
|The National Movement|
|The final appeal|
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
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|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
On the eve of war
The first two weeks
In aid of England
Offers of military service
Hopes and fears
The first five hundred
The woman's movement
The National Movement
The final appeal
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR
Jamaica and The Great War
HERBERT G. deLISSER,
'TWENTIETH CENTURYR Y JAM.\AI'A"
'" Sr ;SA. PRfI.IDL:IiOGH"'
"'TRIUMPI.ANT SQUALITONE," ETC.
PlINTED FOR THZ AUTHOR BY
THE CLEANER CO, LTD.,
STORE IN JAMAICA.
Every description of Clothing
LADIES, GENTS & CHILDREN.
IHousehold Linens and Furnishings
WE ARM SOLE AGENTS
BECTIVE and K.G.
BOOTS AND SHOES.
NATHAN & CO., LTD.
Lascelles deMercado & Co. Ltd.
PORT ROYAL STREET,
General Commission Merchants, Exporters
THE OCEAN WHARF, KINGSTON.
We are prepared to assist anyone who desires to
bring anything into the Island, or to export any of its
Produce to any part of the world.
We sell on commission the Produce of several
Estates, and we also purchase for Cash, crops of Sugar
and Rum on our own account. Ask us for our current
We buy at any time and pay the best current prices
for all sorts of Produce-Coffee, Cocoa, Annatto, Gin-
ger, Sarsaparilla, Honey, Beeswax, etc.
We have a modern plant for manufacturing Coffee
and Cocoa for export, and can prepare these crops for
market on your account.
Roasted Blue Mountain Coffee is our Great Specialty.
We are the Pioneers of Local Industries-and are
the Selling Agents for the TIMES and UNION JACK
Matches which are made in the Local Factory,
also we are Selling Agents for the Jamaica Biscuit Co.
Ltd.-the makers of excellent local biscuits. See a
full page advertisement elsewhere in this Book.
Lascelles de Mercado & Co. Ltd., Kingston.
sl**^ >*| rt I^^ ^>*|** ^***^ *| ^ >^* **^M* ^^*
The Palace Theatre, IN insmTo.
The Movies Theatre, N ST. ANDREW
.4 These are the homes of the best
Amusements obtainable in Jamaica.
Don't fail to visit
if you appreciate
MOST REASONABLE PRICES.
S.------ ------- ---- --------- -----1-
owrsity nf Ur."n
Cable Address: .: P. 0. Box 65
"Nike"Jamaica Telephone 6.
Army & Navy Stores
136 Harbour St. (Cor. Orange St)
Contractors to H. M. Naval and
Fresh Provisions, Coal, Water,
Towing & Lighterage at Lowest Rates.
V. C. Alexander,
50 PORT ROYAL ST.
The Auctioneer who carried
out the great Wray & Nephew
Sale, and also some of the
largest Cattle sales in Jamaica.
Keeps out tre sun,
Lets in the fresh air.
Has it ever occurred to you
Shopping is a Real Pleasure
When done at Our Store ?
The assortment of Goods displayed makes
selection an easy matter, and you are sure
to leave feeling throughly satisfied with your
SASSO & MILLER,
8tb KING ST., KINGSTON.
THE HOUSE FOR REAL SATISFACTION.
_----- ------------L~-l----- -'~ ~---~-LY-Y-
A COOL, SHADY RETREAT
E IRL TO BE HAD IN
PORCH SHADES OLIVE GREEN,
jg DARK GREEN,
GREEN & WHITE.
In Widths of 6' 8' and 10'
13-17 ORANGE ST.,
To-day it is the efficient man who counts. No matter what
your position in life is, be efficient. An inefficient man or wo-
man is a liability to those who hire them, and a greater liability
Try to get away from the bottom of the ladder-so many
are there. The numbers decrease with each rung. The higher
you climb the less competition you have. That is the reason
that on the topmost rungs there are so few people.
Boost Quality Goods
Boost Quality Goods
The store that boosts-sells-quality goods will get away
from the bottom of the ladder-climb to the top. The people to-
day want pure goods, quality goods, and the store that sells
quality goods will attract and draw business.
Get your Goods from Myers: Myers sell
I "Gold Medal" Flour
"Vulcan" & "Torpedo" Matches
White & Brown Rice
Coarse & Fine Salt
All these are goods of Quality, and the store that sells
them will soon appreciate their excellence as quick selling
profit making goods.
FRED. L. MYERS & SON,
Myers Wharf P.O.
To the Officers, the Non-Commissioned
Officers and the Men of the Jamaica
Contingent, who by their patriotism,
loyalty, courage and their devotion to a
high cause have made a new and honour-
able name for their country, this little
book is, with all admiration, dedicated.
Some of the Best
Things in the World
WE ARE AGENTS FOR THEM
HERE 'IiIEY ARE
Some of the Best
Things in Jamaica
WE PRODUCE THEM
J. Wray & Nephew
ALE & STOUT.
Bull Dog Brand
Bass & Guinness
Page and Sanderman's.
Bol's Creme de Menthe.
Ross's Royal Belfast and
Dry Ginger Ale.
C'HAM 'PA ; NE.
Pommery & Greno's
Heidseick & Co's
Sir Robert Burnett's
Old Tom Gin.
St. F'aplh l.
A for Accordeons, much in request.
B for Brass Instruments, all kinds and best.
C stands for Clerk-Astley Clerk his full name;
D for the Dulcimer, great is its fame.
E the Euphonium, most bands have one.
F for the Flute, for the Fiddle as well,-
G the Guitar, for a love song to tell.
H the Harmonium, second to none.
I for Instruction Books,-all kinds are kept,-
J for the Jews-Harp, small boys get adept.
K stands for King Strcet,-remember 14,
L for the Lieu where I am to be seen.
I1 for Music of all kinds, your wants we can meet,
No one need lack of a musical treat.
0 stands for Organs, melodious and grand,-
Pianos also-the best in the land.
Q the Quadrilles,-all dance music we sell,
R for Reed Instruments, resin, and reeds;
Sthin'i, or string instruments, whatever your needs;
T for Triangle, should one you require.
U should go, and at Astley Clerk's store first enquire.
V for Violins, these, and strings, bridge, or bows,
Whatever you need Astley Clerk surely knows.
Xylophones, whistles, or tuning forks, say-
Year after year, Astley Clerk knows no stop
Zeal for his customers keeps him on top.
Reader, can you beat above ? Try!
THE BEE HIVE,
Corner of KING & HARBOUR STS.
For the Best of Everything in
Ladies' & Gent's Outfitting.
Boots & Shoes.
Perfumery & Toilet Goods.
Solid Silver Presentation Goods.
Art Needlework Specialists.
Jamaica Coupons on all Purchases.
------ --------- -- -- -- -------- --- E
Shortly after the organisation of the movement to send
by voluntary effort a contingent of men from Jamaica to
take part in the Great War, it occurred to me that there
should be some permanent record prepared of the efforts
made by Jamaica to show its solidarity with the Mother
Country and the rest of the Empire. At the beginning
of 1915, therefore, I began to collect material for this
work, and announced that the work itself would deal with
Jamaica's activities in the first two years of the war.
But I delayed publication for a little while; and so this
volume covers the period dating from the last week in July
1914, to the end of the first week of April 1917. In other
words, the record is brought down to the passing of the
Universal Military Service Law, an event which, in the
writer's opinion, marks an important turning point in the
history of this country's connection with Great Britain and
with the British Empire.
It may be that later on I shall issue another volume, a
kind of sequel, written with the intention of showing the
probable effect of the war on the spirit of Jamaica and on
Jamaica's future. Such a work, however, could not be
written until the war was over, and will not be published
before 1919 or afterwards. .
Other books on Jamaica's connection with the Great
War will doubtless be produced in the future by other men.
What I claim for mine is that it puts in handy and easily-
accessible form some facts and information in regard to
what our country has done or has tried to do to aid the
Motherland and to uphold its own reputation as "an ancient
and loyal colony." We have no reason to be ashamed of
those endeavours, or of our actual achievement up to this.
Many of the illustrations in this book have never ap-
peared before. The Governor, General Blackden and other
gentlemen, and some of the ladies whose portraits adorn
the pages of "Jamaica and the Great War," sat specially
for their photographs at the author's request. The picture
printed of the Legislative Council, just after it had passed
the Universal Military Service Law, April 6, 1917, is the
first phi-to--raph of that assembly ever taken in Jamaica.
Most of the illustrations I owe to the Cleary Studio.
And I wish here to express my gratitude to that Studio for
the pains it took to render me all the assistance it could.
Mr. Elliot of the Cleary Studio thought nothing of putting
his valuable time and services at my disposal whenever
asked to do so: but for that I should never have had the
picture of the Legislative Council It is a pleasure to find
men so willing to aid as Mr. Cleary and Mr. Elliot have
aided me. As for the photographs made by them-those
who purchase this book will doubtless be delighted with their
I must also thank Mr. Brennan for the photograph of
Mr. J. H. Allwood. The picture of Mrs. Trefusis was taken
by Mr. J. B. Valdes.
Kingston, May 27, 1917.
t-j^i j '.
The Times Book Club of London claims to be the largest Book
Shop in the World.
The Times Store of Kingston claims to be the largest and the
best equipped Book Shop in Jamaica.
Come to us for your Books. If we do not carry the one you need,
we will be glad to import it for you. No order is too small
Prayer and Hymn Books of all denominations, Bibles in great
variety, Prize Books, School Books for both Elementary and
Secondary Schools, Useful Books, Books of Reference, War
Books and Novels.
In our store you will find all the latest English and American
Magazines. We are prompt and up-to-date. You can buy
The Saturday Evening Post from us on the very day of pub-
lication in America. The Ladies' Home Journal is on sale on
the 10th of each month.
Commercial Jamaica looks to us for its requirements in office
equipment and stationery.
You can buy from us the best in:-
Inks, Pens, Pencils, Ruled Papers, Printed Forms, Account
Books, Loose Leaf Ledgers, Inkstands, Paper Clips, Law
Stationery, Blank Books, Typewriters, and the hundred and
one items that help to make an office more efficient.
People of refined tastes buy their Note Paper from us because
we know what they use and stock the lines all the time.
Writing Pads, Boxed Note Paper, Correspondence Cards, Visit-
ing Cards, Wedding Cards, Condolence Cards, Dance Pro-
grammes, Invitations, etc., etc.
This Department is full of all the popular English, French and
American Perfumes, Soaps, Creams, Manicure and Face Pre-
parations. We have gained the Good Will of hundreds of
satisfied lady shoppers.
A very wide range of goods to choose from including:-
Silverware, Glassware, Leather Goods, Fancy Goods, Books,
Perfumery, and Athletic Goods.
The Times Store
8-10-12 KING ST.,
DANIEL FINZI & CO., LTD.
30, 32, 34 Port Royal Street.
Used all over the World.
1-------- "I ...............UC3.
~CIIIM~-------_r-_- _-.--. __. ____. __ .______~__;
Appearing below are the names of the firms and busi-
ness institutions which have co-operated with the author in
the production of this book.
The term "co-operated" is used advisedly, as but for
the advertisements which the work carries its publication
would have been practically impossible. To have put
"Jamaica and the Great War" on the local market at, say,
six shillings a copy, would have been to confine it to a
strictly limited circulation: if it now is offered to the pub-
lic at one-fourth of that amount, that is because the adver-
tisers of Kingston, understanding the situation, have with
their accustomed generosity determined to make the book
as cheap as it could be made for the general public.
It is these same advertisers, with other persons, who
have made every War Fund in Jamaica a signal success.
These businessmen aid, time and again, every public effort
put forth which requires financial assistance. In so far as
" Jamaica and the Great War" is concerned, they have sought
for, and have expected, no acknowledgment of the part they
play in its production. But the author would not feel satis-
fied did he not attach to the work this brief word of appre-
ciation and thanks, along with the names of those who have
made the publication possible.
M. M. Alexander Chemical Hall
V. C. Alexander Astley Clerk
Army and Navy Stores Cavendish House
Bee Hive Store Leonard deCordova
James Boyd Direct W. I. Cable Co.
Colonial Bank Cecil deCordova & Co.
Edwin Charley Elias C. D'Azevedo
Cassidy's Motor Car Co. C. M. DaCosta
Educational Supply Co.
Daniel Finzi & Co., Ltd.
F. Chas. Fisher
Hurcomb & Sollas
E. A. Issa Bros.
C. T. Isaacs
Imperial Life A~ri'ace Co.
Jamaica Tobacco Company
Jamaica Biscuit Company
C. E. Johnston & Co.
J. E. Kerr & Co.
E. D. Kinkead
Lascelles, DeMercado & Co.
Adolph Levy & Company
Fred L. Myers & Son
Mutual Motor and Carriage
B. & J. B. Machado
Palace Theatre Company
A. E. Perkins
Sherlock & Smith
Sasso & Miller
Tem ple of Fashion, Ltd.
The Times Store
United Fruit Company
Victoria Mutual Bldg. Scty.
J. Wray & Nephew
Louis Winkler & Son
(i--.1 i-i' .----
Leonard de Cordova. .
Post O.fe Bo- No. 24 HARDWARE AND
A u' LU.MBER MERCHANT
HARDWARE LUMBER YADS
DEPARTMENT r 2 TEMPLE LANE AND
810 HARBOUR bTREEBT I CHURCH STREET
Telephone No.1 Telephone No. 19
Hardware, General Ironmongery, and Ship Chandlery
Agricultural Implements of all descriptions +
Building and Furnishing Hardware .
Estate and Plantation Supplies +
American White Pine and Pitch Pine Lumber
Shingles, Doors and Sashes, Orange Box Shooks and *
SOLE AGENT FOR
HALL'S DISTEIIPER PAINT
"ALPHA" PORTLAND CEMIENT
MAJOR'S DISINFECTANT ;
SOLIGNUM (WOOD PRESERVATIVE)
44E G 9 E.ANT. 7
Palatial New Steamers.
WEEKLY SAILINGS.-Passengers, Mails and Freight
from New York, Kingston, Colon, Cartagena and
Santa Marta, returning from Kingston to New York
FORTNIGHTLY SERVICE to Guatemala, Honduras,
steamers calling at Port Antonio and Kingston south
bound, and at Port Antu.ni. only. north bound, taking
passengers for Santiago de Cuba and New York.
Fortnightly Freight and Passenger Service.
Cargo steamers sail from New York weekly, carrying
freight for Kingston and outports on direct bottom,
accepting at all outports freight for New York,
ELDERS & FYFFES
Fortnightly Direct Service to and from England.
For rates, etc., please apply to
UNITED FRUIT COMPANY,
KINGSTON and PORT ANTONIO.
Those Interested in Jamaica
Should not fail to investi-
gate and patronize the
products of a thriving and
You are using the best
the Island produces. .
We make them for you.
You smoke them for the
JAMAICA TOBACCO CO.,
Wine and Spirit Merchant
62 & 64 KING STREET, KINGSTON.
Representative of the following Firms:
JOHN WALKER & SONS, LTDO
GORDON CO., LTD,
J. R. TENNENTS, LTD.
WM, GRANT & SONS, LTD,
A.G. MEUKOW, GCO
RUINART PERE ET FILS
KOREG & GO,,
WANE & CO.
WILLIAMS & HUMBERT
WHEELER & CO.
Dry & Old Tom Gin
Ale, Stout, and Lager
SGrand Marnier Liqueur
Belfast Ginger Ale
Blender and Shipper of Very Fine OLD
RUMS in Bottle and in Bulk.
Enquiries solicited; can supply in Puncheons or in $
Casks of 20, 30,40, or 50 gallons; state Strength
and Colour required.
I On The Eve of War .................................. ......... 1
II The First Two W eeks.............................................10
III In Aid of England....................................................18
IV Offers of Military Service ..................................29
V Hopes and Fears ....................................................38
VI The First Five Hundred.............................. ..47
VII The Woman's Movement............................. ..61
VIII Historic Days......................................................... 71
IX The National Movement........................................86
X Complementary ................................................. 95
XI An Interregnum............................... .......111
XII The Final Appeal.........................................123
ARE WE DOWNHEARTED? NO!
THERE'S NO TIME TO BE AT
The Temple oi Fashion, Ltd,
Busiest and Brightest Store.
YOU GET THE BEST VALUES IN
Dry Goods, Men's Outfitting, Boots & Shoes,
At 83 KING ST.
Fancyfand UsefultArticles of Home or Gift
At 85 KING ST.
Fine Stationery, Newest Books and
Magazines and Printing
At 85/2 KING ST.
S And in the Premi um Parlour you can exchange
for Gifts of the Best, none so good or so varied
can be obtained from any other firm.
Thl Temple of Fashiorn, Ltd, are Contractors to the Jamaica
War Couiiup li.t aud Auxiliary Forc c..
is recognized as the King of Beasts; Sunlight Soap
is recognized as the King of Laundry Soaps. The
rule of the Lion extends only over the animal
world; The rule of
extends to wherever
Soap is necessary. It is
withoutarival for wash-
ing clothes, household
linen and all fabrics
even of the finest tex-
ture. It is the best Soap
that skill and money can
produce. Give it a trial
and you will be con-
vinced of its value.
Royal Vinolia Toilet Luxuries.
There are some people whose every action reveals
the note of refinement. An air of quiet distinc-
tion hangs around them like an atmosphere. So it
is with the Vinolia Toilet Luxuries. They appeal
instinctively to people of refinement. Their ex-
quisite perfume and their soothing and refreshing
qualities are irresistible. To experience the real
poetry of a healthy existence you must use
ROYAL VINOLIA TOILET LUXURIES.
VINOLIA COMPANY LIMITED,
r ------- --
Agencies held by
Lascelles deMercado & Co. Ltd.
Nestle's Milk, Nestle's Infants' Food, Nestle's
Chocolate, Plain, Milk, and Milk with Nuts.
Ogilvie's, King George's Millers in Canada for
"Special Patent," the best Wheaten Flour.
Maconochie Brothers, Ltd., for every sort of
Potted Meats and Fish, and "Pan Yan" Sauce
and Pickles, as well as Flavouring Essences.
Humphrey Taylor & Co., Chemists and Distil.
lers, for "Junora", the World-famous Wine of
James Baird & Co., Newfoundland, for all sorts
of fish-stuffs of thevery best kinds and brands.
The best Tpyewriter is the "Royal,"-the
easiest to run, the best in alignment, the really
Lascelles de Mercado & Co. Ltd.
PORT ROYAL STREET, KINGSTON.
~cumrrurueru-- ---------- -----------1---- ;i--~i"~"' ---4iiii~izL~
Sir W. H. MANNING, C. B., K. C. M. G.
The MutualMotor & Carriage Co., Ltd.
DELGADO'S GARAGE & CARRIAGE WORKS,
1, 2, & 3, EAST PARADE.
WILLIAM WILSON, President.
G.L. DELGADO, Manager. C. L, DELGADO, Secretary.
Overland and Hudson Cars.
Dealers and Repairers of Motor Cars, Waggons,
Carriages. Builders of Carriages, Waggons,
and Harness for Carriage and Waggon
use, and all accessories for same.
AUTO ACCESSORIES OF ALL DESCRIPTIONS.
Michelin and Goodrich Tyres and Tubes.
VULCANIZING a Specialty.
Painting of Motor Cars and Carriages. Motor Oar Tops
supplied and fitted in 24 hours. Motor Car Engines
cleaned by Oxygen process and delivered in 4 hours.
Mechanical repairs to Automobiles skilfully carried out
under the supervision of our English Mechanic and a well
trained staff of assistants. We can also make replacements
of gears or other parts of machinery which may get broken.
First-Class and Reliable Motor Cars For Hire.
Tours arranged to all parts of the island at Moderate
A call or letter of inquiry for prices and quotations is respectfully solicited.
Estimates furnished for repairs to Cars or Carriages.
Incorporated March 1917,
In the third year of
THE GREAT WAR.
HEAD OFFICE :
OLIVIER PLACE, KINGSTON.
Branches at ST. ANN'S BAY, BROWN'S TOWN, Etc.
Dealers in Sugar
Exporters of Tropical Produce
Importers and Distributors of
Foodstuffs & Manufactured
i REPRESENTATIVES OF
GRACE BROS, & CO., LTD, London & Liverpool,
GRACE & CO., LTD. Montreal.
W. R. GRACE & CO.
New York, San Francisco and New Orleans.
Correspondents of numerous firms abroad,
Cable Address: GRACE.
Janmaica Water Crackers
I.trk.:. wl'h a "J." this the
murt popilir biscuit retailed
Iis Ju ai 1 i13 found everywhere.
A small, square biscuit, The
best for cheese.
The new sweet cracker Is as
Good as its Name.
A fine small, sweet biscuat-a
r. fr ..-'i', Ir ii -...
The Popular Favourite.
Fli.our,:l ailb the extract of
The best Soda Cracker sold In
theT :T.ln.]-no btit,.r im .,)rI.
WV.tll .v rt i tr3 i i.
Very popular in Jamaica. The
biscuit with the salty flavour.
Tho mOit r. -o -hlar1 h i- -u ., the
' ure i r I..jlg.: ;lo n,
Flavoured with the essence of
Blue Moantain Coffee.
A small, salt biscuit, excellent
.\ igih-Cl.: Mixture which Is
rnu. h III d,
The Manufacture of Excelsi.lr read is a new development
of thi-s ('on1mpny's entlrpri.e. t'he chief factor is eleanli-
ne[i coupled with sciienliic prec rrio in the mixing and
leaking. Absolute uniformity in the ,repar;tialii is guar.
anteed and early deli cry will be also a feature.
The Jamaica Bisc Co., Ltd.
Church Street. Kingston.
Lascelles delMerca do & Co., Ltd.
;i^~~l 5~),C')SE-'''''"'''^'''''^'''''' '''' ''c^~~i;c;~ ~~S~SS cCIC'~ "
.-~- rrhh~lN~nm~hC~.~21~*r~~l~\~l~Rh~~*~M~1 -
BREAD and BISCUITS
We offer the best value in EiJc:its in Jamaica. Here for
your selection we mention
any or all of which will compare with the corresponding
Imported Biscuits, many of which cost twice as much as
Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1836.
Subscribed Capital 2,000,000
In 100,000 Shares of 20 each, 6 paid.
Paid-Up Capital 600,000
Reserve Funds 150,000
16 Bishopsgate, London, E.C.
Cash and Bill Dept., 51 THREADNEEDLE ST.
Current accounts opened in London and a general Banking
business conducted there.
NEW YORK AGENCY:
22 W illiam Street.
BI.ANCHES AND AGENCIES IN JAMAIC\A:
Kingston Port Maria Lucea
Montego Bay Sav-la.Mar Port Antonio
Annotto Bay Morant Bay St. Ann's Bay
Savings Departments at all Branches. 4/ and upwards received
on Deposit. Interest compounded Half-Yearly.
OTHER BRANCHES (IN WEST INDIES):
Antigua St. Lucia
St. Vincent St. Kitta
Port of Spain San Fernando
IN BRITISH GUIANA:
Georgetown & Mahaica, Demerara
New Amsterdam, Berbice
ALSO BRANCHES IN BRITISH WEST AFRICA.
AGENTS IN CANADA:
The Bank of British North America
What will you have?
OLD RUMS. OLD RUMS.
Our assortment of OLD REUMS is so varied that there is
a rum to suit almost every taste.
There are the old time favourites, BLACK and GREEN
SEAL, and the popular and mellow blend of the APPLEMONY.
Our GOLDEN STAG brand has struck the right note in
public favour, and for ageing and richness our ONE, TWO,
and THREE DAGGER are unequalled; while we can tickle
the more delicate palate of the experienced 'connoisseur with
our VERY SPECIAL OLD or SPECIAL RESERVE.
Our RUM S gratify the most exquisite taste and are above
all others in purity and popularity. They have set the
standard for all other Rums in Jamaica for nearly a century.
DRINK NO OTHER.
J. Wray & Nephew,
JAMAICA'S LEADING RUM MERCHANTS.
24 Port Royal Street,
~ ia~tm m#umt#111 gol0 01Pis1mifoilt t m1fff
J. E. Kerr & Co.
GENERAL MERCHANTS & COMMISSION AGENTS.
HEAD OFFICE: NEW YORK OFFICE:
MONTEGO BAY. 25 BEAVER STREET
BRANCHES IN JAMAICA:
KINGSTON, ST. ANN'S BAY,
PORT MARIA. FALMOUTH.
W. Coke Kerr, Lloyds' Agents at Montego
Bay and Falmouth.
A. B. C, 5TH EDITION AND PRIVATE CODES.
AGENTS IN JAMAICA FOR
Armour & Co., Chicago, Illinois.
Ardath Tobacco Co., Ltd., England.
James Buchanan & Co., Ltd., England.
Chivers & Sons, Ltd., England
James Everard's Breweries, Ltd., New York, N.Y.
Kansas Milling Co., Wichita, Kansas.
Lever Brothers, Ltd., Liverpool, England.
William McEwan & Co.,Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland.
Peek Frean & Co., Ltd., London, England.
The Royal Insurance Co., Ltd.
PROPRIETORS OF THE WELL KNOWN
PURE JAMAICA RUM.
Kingston Office: No. 73 Port Royal St.
ll.& ,, .., -. -. : _. .. + '.-
4, > ., : ,-:,*"; '* : .*"-' -" -+- ,'+ ".
;.;. Manufactured by .
.' ,1 + ,- _. -. +; ] "..-' : n E n gl" an' ". .
The superior quality of Gossage's
; has made the brand a liosehblcfwbfc
-IL .. .. roBr
"t --1.Aiq '.^ i 1'_ I' -'. ,.' '." -, *' ."
'-. ESO A ^. ""
Adolph Levy & Bro.
C. E. Johnston &Co.
PORT ANTONIO, JAMAICA.
Sole Representatives in the Island, and
Distributing Agents for Goods.
QUAKER OATS CO, New York US.A,
WESTERN CANADA FLOUR MILLS CO. Toronto, Canada.
TEXAS STAR FLOUR MILLS, Galveston, Texas.
SOUTH-WESTERN MILLING CO. Kansas City.
TEXAS CO. REFINERIES, Port Arthur, Texas.
CORN PRODUCTS REFINING CO. New York,
NATIONAL BISCUIT GO. New York.
SWIFT & CO. Chicago & Jersey City
LIPTON, LIMITED London.
ST. THOMAS BAY RUM CO, St, Thomas,
Jamaica And The Great War
ON THE EVE OF WAR
N the long hot days of the tropical summer a wave of
inertia sweeps over and settles heavily upon the Island
of Jamaica. Gone is the brief winter season, passed is
the interlude of verdant spring, that all too fleeting period of
rejuvenation when the foliage of the forest is of a tender
green, the blue of the skies soft and limpid, when gentle
breezes blow caressingly and there is a stirring of the blood,
a pleasurable balmy sense of living and of life. Summer has
come, and over wide spaces of sunlit country a great deep
silence broods. In the city and the towns there is but little
movement; the mind feels itself occupied sufficiently with the
mere exertion of will required to strive against the influence
of the deadening tropical languor; nothing it would seem
could startle this half-torpid community into full-blooded life,
could awaken it to eager, compelling, absorbing mental ac-
tivity. But in August, 1914, Jamaica was to receive a shock,
the reflex of that which startled the world in those thrilling
days that are now so far away. And Jamaica was to throw
off its languor and its placid calm as sleep flies from the eyes
of the soldier when he hears the cannon's summoning roar.
Supplied daily as the colony is with news from the outer
world, it has for years been able to follow the trend and course
of European affairs with a fair degree of knowledge and in-
telligence. The very insignificance of its local problems has
forced it to take an interest in those larger questions of
English and international politics which concern the peoples
and the statesmen of countries which number their inhabitants
2 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
by the million and which dispose of vast armies and magnifi-
cent fleets. It has sometimes been asserted that the Jamaica
youth knows more about English history than of the history
of Jamaica, more about the men who have made England
famous than of those who in the past have been conspicuous
in his own little island. This is true; and if it has deplorable
and blameworthy aspects there is something to be advanced
in its favour. For this acquaintance with English history
has helped to make of the Jamaican a lover of England, one
acquainted with her past as well as identified with her present,
proud of his connection with a great Empire and devoted to
that Empire's cause. It has helped to make of the Jamaican
a patriotic British subject; it has caused him to follow the
sequence of events with which England is concerned with an
interest, sometimes with an anxiety, which no alien, no mem-
ber of a merely subject people, could ever possibly feel. Thus
the Irish crisis which had become so acute in the first part
of the year 1914 was followed in Jamaica with passionate
eagerness, and the uni\erail hope was that some peaceful
solution of that terrible problem might be found. It was
instinctively felt that civil war in Ireland would affect the
integrity of the Empire, and Jamaicans are above everything
imperialistic in their sympathies. It is in their blood. They
can never forget that their country was one of the Empire'j
foundation stones. They proudly remember that in West
Indian waters were performed some of the deathless deeds of
the British Navy.
It was on Monday, July 27, 1914, that Jamaica first learnt
of the possibility of a European war. The news had arrived
on the preceding Saturday; but although it was given prom-
inence in the Press, it was not displayed in that startling
fashion which the Jamaica newspapers have borrowed from
their American contemporaries and by means of which they
signal to the public their appreciation of the news they print
on that particular day. The telegrams were fairly compre-
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
hensive. They told of the ultimatum which Serbia had re-
ceived from Austria, of the demand for an answer from
Serbia in forty-eight hours, of Russia's intimation that she
could not remain indifferent to the issue of the dispute be-
tween the two nations, of Germany's determination that no
third Power should interfere in the quarrel that had so sud-
denly arisen. The conclusion of the whole matter was that
Europe was faced with the prospect of a general war. No
word was said about England; even France was not men-
tioned. But there was no man in the colony, with any reading
or with any understanding of international political affairs,
who did not know that France and Russia were allied. And
perhaps a few of these realized that the war that was pre-
dicted might be of far greater dimensions, and of more
terrible consequences to the European nations, than even the
The majority of the people who read these despatches,
however, were not much moved by the news which they con-
veyed. Serbia was the country chiefly concerned, and in no
part of the British world had anything but horror been felt
at the news of the Austrian heir's assassination. But it
seemed incredible that all Europe should be plunged into a
devastating conflict because of the murder of one man, even
though that man would have been Emperor of Austria-Hun-
gary had he lived. Balkan affairs were not well understood;
the situation in that part of Europe was not appreciated as
bearing directly upon the problem of maintaining the world's
peace. That France should fight to recover her lost provinces
of Alsace and Lorraine, that Germany might fight in order to
establish herself as the leading Naval as well as the greatest
Military Power of the world: these were comparatively simple
propositions and easily grasped. But why should Europe
go to war on account of Serbia or of an Austrian Archduke?
The question seemed to answer itself with a decided negative;
the telegrams were considered interesting from the view-
4 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
point of sensationalism but were not looked upon as reliably
indicating the rapid approach of a tremendous earth-shaking
And indeed it was difficult for men who had seen Europe
at peace for four-and-forty years, to believe that the old order
was swiftly and irrevocably changing. The average man
reads the future in terms of the past; he does not easily im-
agine changes of a revolutionary nature; he finds it difficult,
if not actui lly impossible, to believe that thlin ",- will be much
different from what he has always known-them to be. Also,
one had become accustomed to hearing of "the war clouds
lowering over Europe." Nothing terrible had happened in
Europe since the Franco-Prussian War, and that had been only
a war between two nations, a war that lasted but a few months;
it seemed to have taken place so long ago too that it was re-
garded as an event of a time when diplomacy was almost im-
becile in its impotence and when the icmper of men was
sterner and more eager for war. There had been wars since
then. But the lRuo-Turkish War was a dim and distant
memory and the Balkan Wars were regarded as merely local
conflicts between half-civilised peoples. Japan had defeated
China, America had defeated Spain, England had beaten the
Boers, Japan had conquered the Russian Army and Navy and
had won an acknowledged position amongst the Great World
Powers. This last was the greatest of these wars, but its
theatres were the plains of Manchuria and the Eastern Seas;
and tL:.ugh it?- i.su damrn'sd the prestige of Russia, there was
none who did not know that it could not seriously and per-
manently alter the status of Russia in the world. Such wars
had happened often, would happen again. But that Europe
itself should be the scene of a great struggle between the
mightiest of its nations-that was not believcil, because it
could not easily be conceived.
News of the developing war situation continued to arrive.
On July 28 the Jamaica papers announced that Ausria and
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
Serbia were on the verge of actual hostilities. But what was
discussed in the island as of more intimate interest were the
efforts then being made to prevent a collision in Ireland be-
tween Nationalists and Ulstermen, and the editorial columns
of the ne'~spapers gave little space to a discussion of the
threatening European crisis. Local matters were still being
commented upon at length. The leading journal of the colony
dealt, on this particular date, with a proposal to bring to
Jamaica, early in the next year, a cricket team from England,
and also devoted more than a column to a consideration of
the merits and demerits of sundry parochial orators. A
leaderette placed after these articles spoke briefly of "the
peace of Euir.pe again threatened," and concluded with the
conventional hope'that "wise statesmanship will find a way
out of the danger." In a few days all thought of cricket teams
and local orators was to be forgotten in the startling realiza-
tion that the peace of Europe was not merely threatened but
had ceased to exist, that Europe had embarked upon what
was to be known as the greatest war of all the ages.
It was not until July 31 that the extreme gravity of the
situation began f.rcihly to impress itself on the minds and
imaginations of the Jamaica public. There could now be no
longer any.doubt that war, war in Europe, was approaching
with almost lightninglike rapidity; and now it began to dawn
upon the colony that Great Britain might be dragged into the
struggle, that England, which had been at peace in Europe
since the Crimean War, might once again have to send armies
to the Continent and to mobilise her fleet to fight a powerful
foe. The British Prime Minister had said in the House of
Commons that "this is a moment of extreme gravity to the
Government." The London Times had in the most explicit
language announced that England could not stand aside and
see France crushed or Belgian territory violated. The efforts
of Great Britain were still being directed to the maintenance
of peace; but the British fleet had sailed under sealed orders;
,5 JAMAJCA AND THE GREAT WAR.
What does that mean? it was everywhere asked, but thou-
sands would not whisper even to themselves an answer which
could only be a confession of despair. For still it was hoped
that the peaceful counsels of England would prevail. Still
men strove to believe that, even at the eleventh hour, war
would be averted. This they hoped; this they strove to be-
lieve; but puckered brows and anxious faces witnessed to
the fear and the uneasiness that gripped painfully at their
This uneasiness and fear found yet more definite expres-
sion in speculations as to what effect the participation of
England in the approaching conflict might have upon Jamaica.
One newspaper pointed out that food prices would inevitably
rise, but counselled the people to accept this with patience
and even with cheerfulness. It went further: it advised that
the general attitude should be one of preparedness to make
sacrifices, if necessary, for the cause of the Empire and of
England. Thus early in the opening stages of the struggle
was sounded the note that was to ring louder and louder
throughout Jamaica, that was to be taken up and universally
echoed from one part of the island to the other. But this note
of warning and exhortation was on the whole considered pre-
mature. Even if war was coming, men preferred to believe
that the conflict would be localised and that England would
play no conspicuous part in it.
On Saturday, August 1, a telegram from New York bear-
ing the date of the previous day announced that Germany had
declared war on Russia. There was also another despatch
of the same date which minimised the significance of the first
statement by pointing out that it lacked official confirmation.
It is indicative of the prevailing attitude of mind in the colony
that this second telegram was the one that was most readily
accepted. Yet it was on the evening of July 31 that the Kaiser,
addressing a vast concourse of his subjects, had uttered the
memorable words: "A stern hour of tribulation for Germany
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
has arrived. Envy on all sides compels us to assume a right-
eous attitude of defence. The sword is forced into our hand."
After such an utterance only a miracle could have averted war.
The statesmen of Europe knew by then that the struggle was
inevitable; the whole world was to know that in another few
hours. Sunday intervened, and Monday, a public holiday,
dawned in Jamaica. Significant news had come over the wires
on Sunday; and in Kingston no doubt was now entertained
as to Germany's determination to strike.
In Jamaica, as is customary on a holiday, the people
began early on the Monday morning to prepare for the day's
festivities. This was more from force of habit than from
any inclination to levity; a strong current of unwonted ex-
citement swept the thoughts and feelings of the populace out
of their usual channels, and though picnics, excursions and a
number of other diversions were supposed to be occupying
the general attention, the talk of everyone was of the ap-
proaching war. So absorbing was this topic, so powerful the
influence it exercised over the mind of every adult, that even
an earthquake experienced that day caused but a temporary
distraction and alarm. No one could forget the cataclysm of
January 14, 1907, which overthrew Kingston and was felt in
every part of the country. The slightest subsequent shock
would bring back to the memory a vivid realisation of that
calamity, the greatest in the experience of all living Jamaicans.
On this Monday morning, at about 6.25, the whole island was
shaken by an earthquake of a duration and intensity second
only to that which had shattered the walls of Jamaica's capital
but a few years before, and fears were for the moment enter-
tained that a repetition of that disaster was imminent.
There were three shocks; the northside town of Port
Antonio had its public buildings damaged, the public clock in
the square at Halfway Tree stopped working; articles of
furniture and ornaments were thrown to the floor every.
where; in the parish of St. Andrew several landslides occurred.
8 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
Ordinarily, such an awe-inspiring reminder would have dis-
placed every thought save that of danger from earthquakes.
But in an hour or two, if not forgotten, this earthquake was
relegated to a very subordinate place in the minds of most
people; and though there were minor shocks later on in the
day, their mental effect was inappreciable. The war, and
the part which England might play in the war: that was all
that could possibly be dwelt upon now.
And now the newspapers had almost nothing to say but
what was connected with the terrible situation that had so
rapidly developed in Europe, Conventional optimism had
given place to the sober realisation of an awful actiiality. It
was not so much asked whether England would declare war,
as when England would declare war; rTewspaper offices were
thronged by eager enquirers, the offices of the Cable Com-
panies in Kingston were besieged by anxious crowds thirsting
for the last item of information which the Government would
allow to be made public. For the Government had already
assumed control of all telegraph systems, and its censors sat
night and day in the telegraph buildings scrutinizing every
telegram that came from the outer world or was handed in
to be despatched to some other country. There were Germans
and Austrians in the island, and messages from these could
not lightly be transmitted. Great Britain was still officially
at peace with Germany and Austria, but the Governor had
received his instructions and these were being carried out
with scrupulous fidelity. No chances were taken.
In the last week of July a German warship, the D. ',sih i,
had come into Kingston harbour with President Huerta of
Mexico as a refugee on board. It had probably received from
Berlin instructions in code by wireless telegraphy, for shortly
after news of the critical situation in Europe was received
here, the Dresden left the harbour. And H.M.S. Su!Tfolk, then
Admiral Cradock's flagship, had afterwards entered the port
and soon after had cleared her decks for action. The atmos-
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
here was charged with the electricity of war; the censors
were busy, and all day long, and working far into the night,
the Governor of the colony, with his secretaries toiled at de-
ciphering code messages flashed from England, and at trans-
News was coming, but the news that had now begun to
come over was scanty, for the line of the Direct West India
Cable Company was down. It had been cut, as was subse-
quently discovered, cut by the Dresden which had so quickly
departed from British waters on the receipt of its instructions.
Thus, just when the country was most anxious for informa-
tion the means of obtaining it was lessened. Disappointment
was keen. It grew to anger. The Government was accused
of having established an unnecessarily rigid censorship; many
began to entertain unfounded apprehensions, to suggest that
the colony was purposely being kept in the dark. Then, on
the morning of August 5, Jamaica woke to learn that England
had declared war upon Germany, that the expected had hap-
pened, that the crisis had hurried to its climax, that the
Empire was at war.
The Empire was at war. It was about 2.15 a.m., August
5, that the Governor, Sir William Manning, sent out the
thrilling news to every section of the island of Jamaica. The
telegraph wires hummed with the momentous tidings; sleepy
telegraph clerks were startled into alert wakefulness as the
significant message was spelled out by the tapping electrical
instruments; on every public building, in the early hours of
that sultry summer morning, the statement was displayed.
Wireless telegraphy flung it into space with the dawn of day,
and ships two hundred miles and more from Jamaica received
it and knew that England was at war. Ships passing one
another slowed down and signalled the tidings. German
cruisers caught it. Over the wide Caribbean and the Southern
Atlantic the air was alive and, vibrant with messages, with
warnings and commands.
THE FIRST TWO WEEKS
T HE expected had happened, the Empire was at war.
Nevertheless the actual declaration of war by England
came as a shock to th,:ousands: it fell with the force of a
blow, disturbing for the moment the usual calm processes of
feeling and thought. On the news being known, the streets
of the city and the towns became filled with excited people
who spoke and argued as if the next four-and-twenty hours
would decide the fate of nations, as if they expected great
battles to be fought and won even while the German armies
were rushing furiously towards the frontiers of Belgium and
France. Order prevailed, but it was not the order of placid,
every-day life. It was the order which people, accustomed to
the social discipline and good behaviour of all established Bri-
tish communities, preserve even under the stress of strong
excitement; underlying it was an intense nervousness which,
in different conditions, might have developed into panic.
There was a rush on the part of hundreds to secure food
at the shops, the opinion being that there might soon be a
serious shortage of supplies. Food prices soared immediately,
rising in some instances over a hundred per cent. Fearing
famine, fearing financial stringency, apprehensive of the un-
known, and realizing that war must bring about many changes,
the people at once ceased to purchase any but the bare necessi-
ties of life, and already there were rumours of an impending
And other rumours also, arising no one knew how, filled
the air and contributed to increase the nervous tension. We
have said that there were Austrians and Germans in the island.
People now remembered or> thought that they remembered
having heard that some of these had been seen, in the still
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
hours of the night, prowling about suspiciously. One German
was said to have designed to poison the reservoir which sup-
plies Kingston with water. Another was believed to be in
the possession of wireless apparatus with which he could send
messages to German warships in the Caribbean Sea. German
cruisers were also reported seen from different seaports of
the island. Where was the Dresden? Was not the Bremen
in these regions? And the Karlsruhe--the popular imagina-
tion magnified that light cruiser into a great super-dread-
nought armed with formidable twelve-inch guns. Jamaica
might at any moment be attacked! At any moment shells
might be screaming over her capital city, and falling to scatter
ruin and destruction and death!
But panic never prevailed; fear was not allowed to attain
ascendency. External agencies helped to reinforce the effect
of custom and of social discipline. Admiral Cradock's flagship
was in the harbour. There she lay, grey, grim and silent, and
suddenly it was noticed that she was in full war attire, with
her decks cleared for action-ready, as England's Navy has
always been since the days of the great Nelson. Crowds
thronged to the waterfront to gaze at the Sufolk, and cheer
after cheer rang out as hundreds watched admiringly that
powerful symbol of the colony's safety and protection.
Cheerful though quite unreliable information was also
coming to the island, and this did much to enliven the spirits
of the more timorous. As early as August 6th the public
journals of Kingston could publish telegrams telling of vic-
tories gained by the French troops over the German armies,
and also announcing that "the armed forces of the Republic
are now on the soil of their formidable foe." It was stated in
the Press that "this news, when generally known, created
much enthusiasm in the city." It naturally would ; men al-
ready began to see victory in sight ; already, everywhere, the
belief was blithely expressed that the war would last but for
three months, and the bolder of the war prophets would not
12 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
allow a single triumph to the enemy. But though, according
to the popular opinion, the war was to be fought and won in
an incredibly short space of time, the Government energeti-
cally proceeded with its efforts to place the island in a state of
adEq.uate defence and to put into operation those ordinances
prepared long before for just such a situation as had now
so suddenly arisen.
The day after England's declaration of war, martial law
was proclaimed in Jamaica. All persons in the colony were
directed to take notice and to govern themselves accordingly.
It was also announced that the Governor might deport any
person deemed an undesirable inhabitant (which power was
soon exercised in respect to some .well-kno.wn business men of
German descent), that the Governor might require and use the
services of any persons or property in the island for military
or naval purposes, and that the Governor might seize and take
possession of any food or fuel and sell same again at prices
determined upon by a Board appointed by him. This Board
for the regulation of food prices was appointed three days
later, with one of the ablest men in Jamaica, Mr. H. I. C.
Brown, Registrar of the Supreme Court, as its Chairman. It
immediately fixed prices on a scale much lower than that
which obtained at the moment.
There was one official rroclanmti)on especially intended
to prevent undue excitement. It was addressed to the Island
of Jamaica, and stated that "We do hereby call upon our loving
subjects therein to continue peacefully and tranquilly to pur-
sue their usual avocations, carefully abstaining from all actions
likely to produce popular excitement, unrest or confusion, and
doing their utmost to check, restrain and dissuade all who may
be inclined to such action." This was generally understood
as coming directly from the King ; necessarily, therefore, its
influence was immense. The people of the British West Indies,
brought up with a reverence for authority and inspired with
a sincere affection for the Throne, may always be relied upon
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
to yield to any command accepted as proceeding from the
Sovereign a public obedience as absolute as human nature is
capable of in moments of intense feeling or extraordinary
agitation. The experience gained in Jamaica at the time of
the great earthquake had taught most persons that from no
considerable element of the population was disorder to be ex-
pected at a crisis; and during the first two weeks of the war,
and ever after, there were visible no precautions of a more
than ordinary description for the maintenance of order in the
country. "Trust the people" has never been the published
motto of any Jamaica Government, but every Government has
had to proceed on the assumption that it can and does trust
the people. One West Indian administrator, indeed, Sir
Charles Bruce, has written that no Governor who knew the
West Indies would be apprehensive of political demonstrations
in these days; and Sir Alexander Swettenham preferred to
deal with the situation created by the earthquake of 1907, with
his very inadequate resources, rather than accept the aid of
American marines to maintain discipline and order in the
ruined city of Kingston.
What Sir William Manning felt in that first week of
August no one can know; he may have been anxious; but his
anxiety could scarcely have been caused by serious fears of in-
ternal disturbances. What he said about the local situation
remains on record. An interview which a representative of
the Gleaner had with him on the 7th of August was printed,
with some comments, on the following day. He is described,
and the description is accurate, as perfectly calm and self-
possessed, looking as though he had not a worry in the world
and professing the utmost confidence in the loyalty and patri-
otism of the people. He spoke hopefully of the island's future
trade. He expressed the opinion that there would be an in-
creased demand abroad for many of its products. He expected
some financial stringency at first, but believed that in a little
while the trade and commerce of the colony would recover
14 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
from an inevitable though temporary dislocation and that Ja-
maica would then find itself "on velvet". It may be that the
Governor expressed himself more hopefully than he actually
felt at the moment; it is certain that his words had both a
calming and stimulating effect upon the country. They
calmed those who were thinking darkly of the future; they
stimulated the naturally energetic who had been somewhat de-
pressed by the dismal forebodings of pessimistic people. What
is certain is that the panicky feeling, very slightly manifested
yet unquestionably existing, now began to disappear; and so,
when the third week of the war situation dawned, all classes
of the people were attending much as usual to their business
and the life of Jamaica had almost resumed its wonted routine.
By this time also the Government had practically deter-
mined upon the programme to be carried through at once, and
had already issued summonses to the Legislative Council to
meet at Headquarter House on Thursday, August 13. Orders
had been sent to the several Government departments suspend-
ing all expenditure upon public works not considered abso-
lutely necessary, the Parochial Boards of the Island were
warned to practise the most rigid economy. The Council met
on the date prescribed. Every elected member was present,
and nearly all the Government members. Under the constitu-
tion of Jamaica all the elected members voting together can
veto any ordinary proposal of the Executive, while nine elected
members voting unanimously can negative any financial meas-
ure. But the Governor has the power to declare of paramount
importance any measure that he thinks essential to the colony's
welfare; when that is done the votes of his official supporters
in the House can be recorded against those of the elected mem-
bers; and as the Government has fifteen members, or a ma-
jority of one, it is certain of victory when it exercises this ex-
traordinary power. In the past, there had been times when
the Government had deemed it wise to be fully represented
in the House. On this occasion, the elected members outnum-
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
bered the official and nominated members. The Governor had
not thought it necessary to take precautions against an ad-
verse vote. He did not believe in the possibility of an adverse
vote; he counted upon the people's representatives supporting
the Government without hesitation, and their patriotic action
showed that he had understood their attitude aright.
But before the formal meeting in the Council Chamber
there was a private conference between both sides of the
House. This was held in order to give to the legislators what-
ever explanations they might desire regarding any items of
the Government's programme, so that, in open Council, the
chief legislative assembly of the island should present an un-
divided front. When the Council was called to order, there-
fore, everyone knew what was going to be proposed and ac-
complished. There was no unnecessary affectation of solemn-
ity. The House presented a businesslike appearance. The
Governor, as President of the Council, opened its proceedings,
all the members and visitors standing to hear the speech which
he read distinctly and with deliberation. We quote the ex-
"I have called the Council together to-day to deal with
certain urgent business due to the outbreak of hostilities
between Great Britain and the German Empire. It is per-
haps hardly necessary for me to remark at this juncture upon
the momentous questions that are involved. I feel that Ja-
maica will loyally and patriotically assume her part in main-
taining the integrity of our Empire, and will comport herself
as gallantly to-day as she has done in the past. History relates
that in days gone by this island has resolutely defended her
shores and has taken no small share in the wars of the past.
That she may not again be called upon to defend her homes I
sincerely trust, but I feel that I should be wrong to stifle the
fervent spirit of patriotism which has led to the offers of per-
sonal service which have poured in, and that I should be wrong
to disregard the possibility, however remote, that the island
16 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
might once more be compelled to drive an invader from her
shores. The Navy of Great Britain is, and must be, our main
defence, but we should be prepared to assist our Navy by
taking upon ourselves such responsibilities of defence as we
can well assume .
He then outlined his programme of local defence, A force
to be known as the Jamaica Reserve Regiment was to be con.
stituted and organized in every parish ; the cost of this force
for six months was estimated at 10,000, which the Council
would be asked to vote. The Governor next intimated that he
expected a decrease of revenue, and a consequent deficit at the
end of the then current financial year, nearly eight months
away. Having suspended all save purely necessary public
works, he calculated upon saving by such retrenchment about
100,000. He had also secured the consent of the Secretary of
State for the Colonies to suspend the investment of the island's
Sinking Fun for the remainder of the year, which would set
free another 30,000 to meet the anticipated deficit. These
were his main financial provisions ; he also estimated that he
would have, as a surplus from the last year's financial trans-
actions, about 15,000.
He did not leave out of account the po-sibility of having to
afford some relief to persons rendered temporarily indigent
through the war and through drought prevailing in some parts
of the country. The sum of 5,000 was set aside for this.
Then he passed to a brief commentary on a Bill to establish a
Censorship throughout the island, and seized the :prliort.un it
to pay a compliment to the Jamaica Press. "As soon as I re-
ceived the news that the war was imminent," he said, "I called
upon the Press to enter into an honourable agreement not to
publish the movements of British men-of-war and troops, since
such news might be of advantage to an enemy. That honour-
able agreement has been most scrupulously observed, and it is
a pleasure to me to be able to publicly so state; and I have no
hesitation in affirming that I feel that the provisions of this
Brig.-General L. S. BLACKDEN.
Mr. WILLIAM WILSON, J.P.
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
Bill in regard to the Press will be a dead letter, as I look to the
Press to loyally carry out its obligations, and by its writings to
assist, as it can, in educating the public to maintain that calm
spirit which it has up till now inculcated."
The speech was a short one. An important programme
had been outlined in a few concise sentences. It concluded
with a spirited exhortation to Jamaica which is here trans-
cribed in full:-
"In conclusion I can only ask-and in asking I feel con-
vinced that I shall be supported-that all those in authority, all
those to whom the people of this island look for guidance, will
calmly go about their business, will set an example of steadfast
belief in the strength of our mighty Empire, that neither in
the hour of victory we shall be too greatly elated, nor in the
hour of misfortune we shall be too greatly disconcerted. If
Jamaica enters upon this great crisis in the history of the Em-
pire in this spirit, then we shall but be emulating the example
of our ancestors who faced triumph and disaster with an even
mind and with an invincible belief in the destiny of our Empire
and of our peoples. Jamaica, sure in the loyalty and patriotism
of its inhabitants, will present that united front to its enemies
that is expected from every part of this mighty Empire. That
is our duty and the duty of all who have the privilege of being
citizens of the British Empire."
The Governor ceased, resumed his seat, and the routine
business of the day began. In a couple of hours every measure
placed before the House had been passed through all its stages
without comment and without division, and the Council ad-
journed until it should be summoned to meet the Governor
again. All that it was necessary to do immediately to prepare
for the exigencies of the situation confronting the country had
been done. And the Legislative Council, as well as the country,
had shown its desire to support the Executive in every effort
it might deem necessary and advisable for the protection of the-
island and the public good.
IN AID OF ENGLAND
IN the midst of the ferment of feeling engendered by the
realization that the Empire was at war and that the
present generation of Jamaicans was about to witiites
the greatest struggle of all times, there v.'iftly emerged a
desire to help, a strong and fervid aspiration that the colony
as a whole should do something to express in tangible form its
loyalty to the Mother Country and its sympathy with her
cause. This desire was spontaneous, originatin. in the minds
of hundreds at one and the same time. It was confined to no
single class, it was not the result of Government suiggeetion.
The man in the street felt vaguely that in any war in which
Engr4,ld was engaged, and especially in such a war as that
into which the world had been precipitated by the statesmen
of Austria and Germany, it was the duty of Jamaica to take
a 'detinite part. The great planter remembered he was a de-
scendant of Englishmen, and that with England Jamaica
stood or fell.
There was precedent fZr this. Tradition had it that dur-
ing the Napoleonic Wars the colony had contributed a million
pounds to the Tmperial Trea.ury. Historical research had
recently shown that the amount actually donated by Jamaica
had been greatly exaggerated. It was in 1798 that merchants
and planters of the island raised by public subscription about
80,000 to assist England in her strupile against Napol.',n;
this was the foundation of fact for the million pounds fict ion
which had always been repeated with pride. But even 80,000
was no contemptible contribution. from a country with only
some three hundred thousand inhabitants, of whom the free
people, white, coloured and. black, numbered less than fifty
thousand, especially when we remember that the value of the
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
sovereign was very much more at that time than it is at
the present day. That 80,000, in fact, would be equivalent
to nearly half a million pounds sterling to-day. It was also
incumbent on the colony in those times to make provision
for its own defence, and this is estimated to have cost the tax-
payers, for several years, an average of not less than 120,000
a year. Who first asserted that it was a million pounds that
Jamaica had given is, naturally, not known; but the belief
that this amount had been sent as a free gift to the English
Government, during the last great war which England had
waged to preserve the balance of power in Europe and the
liberties of the world, had a powerful though unconscious in-
fluence in fixing in the minds of the people the standard of
Jamaica's financial obligations to the Empire in this later and
Then, again, during the South African War, subscrip-
tions had been raised for the widows and orphans of English
soldiers. This effort was not confined only to the upper orders
of the population; it was general. The middle classes of the
people probably contributed the larger part of the money col-
lected, but the working classes also gave. In August, 1914,
however, it was felt that, in order that whatever gift Jamaica
offered to England should be of distinctly national character,
it should take the form of a vote from General Revenue; hence,
some time in the second week of the war, a suggestion to the
Governor was privately made by the elected members of the
Legislative Council that 100,000 should be voted as Jamaica's
contribution to the expenses of the war.
In view of the unsettled commercial and financial condi-
tion of the colony, the suggestion was a bold one. A great
part of Jamaica's revenue is derived from import and excise
duties, while a not inconsiderable portion of it is contributed
by the earnings of the Government Railway. And these
sources of revenue are most sensitive to fluctuations of trade.
It was seen at the start that overseas trade would suffer on
20 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
account of the war. All exports to and imports from Germany
and Austria had automatically ceased. A drought had recently
been afflicting the island; it was not known whether Jamaica
would be able to obtain the usual quantity of goods annually
imported from England, from the d(ltih:s on which the Govern-
ment derived a fair pr.p.rtiHon of its revenue, Everyone was
aware that there must be a falling off in trade, if only tem-
porarily; but the idea in the minds of the elected members was
the floating of loan in the colony. It was confidently believed
that the loan would be gladly subscribed, its object being one
that would appeal to the patriotic sentiments of all classes of
The Governor, however, was not inclined to act so quickly.
His view was that the first duty of the Government and Legis-
lative Council was to review calmly and carefully the financial
position and resources of Jamaica before deciding upon voting
money from General Revenue for Imperial purposes. He did
not veto the proposition; he expressed sympathy with it. But
he counselled a little patience, a delay of a few days, or weeks.
As the suggestion of a monetary gift had not been made pub-
licly, there was no public protest against this advice; on the
other hand, as nothing was yet being done whereby the colony
might give concrete expression to its desire to help, there were
many criticisms on the cautiousness of the Government in
such a connection. The criticisms were expressed in conversa-
tion everywhere. It became more and more obvious that
Jamaica would never be content with a policy of caution, even
if a policy of precipitancy should cost Jamaica dear.
It is perhaps in the nature of a tropical people to act im-
ulsi\vely. then to relapse into apathy induced by e.:hauition
of energy and of intellectual interest. It is of course a com-
monplace of all political experience that popular action is fol-
lowed by popular reaction; but in.the West Indies the periods
of reaction are greatly prolonged and there is ample time and
opportunity thus afforded to-detect mistakes made in moments
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR
of enthusiasm, and loudly to regret them. But in this particu-
lar desire that Jamaica should make a present of some sort to
the Mother Country, there was more determination than en-
thusiasm. The general feeling was that the best that could be
done would be but small, and this gave birth to a sentiment
somewhat resembling shame. The great self-governing colo-
nies were rising to a recognition of their Imperial responsibili-
ties in a manner truly magnificent Jamaicans knew quite
well that their country could not remotely compare, from the
viewpoint of population, industries or resources, with Canada
or Australia; but this did not render them less desirous of
showing a spirit equal to that exhibited by Canada or Austra-
lia. They could not do much, and this was a bitter reflection;
but to do nothing, or to delay too long in doing anything, was
simply not to be thought of. They wanted to do more besides
make a money offering to the Mother Country; they sug-
gested that more should be done, as will be told in a following
chapter. But to send a gift to England would be an immediate
achievement; and the intense though quiet patriotism that
prevailed, the impulse to action which everyone experienced,
made it imperative that Jamaica should immediately fall in
line with the rest of the Empire in demonstrating practically
that Imperial unity and that willingness to make sacrifices for
the Empire's cause of which nearly every part of the Empire
had boasted in times of peace.
It was, then, in obedience to no mere temporary flush of
enthusiastic feeling that the people of Jamaica began every-
where to discuss the necessity of the colony's sending to Eng-
land an earnest of its loyalty. The Governor himself recog-
nised this fully. To the representative of the Gleaner news-
paper who put before him on August 16 a picture of the
popular mind, he replied quite frankly that he knew what the
people were thinking, that he was aware of their desire to do
what they could for the Empire. But he himself thought that
voluntary effort would be most useful at that moment; he
22 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
suggested that the women of Jamaica should form local organ-
izations for the purpo.-e of supplying warm woollen clothing
to the Englih soldiers during the coming winter. In the
North of France and in Germany the Engli-h soldiers would
suffer terribly, he said, and they would be grateful for such
gifta as he had mentioned. "In this effort every one can help.
It gives an opportunity to every woman in the island, from
the richest to the poorest, to add her quota to the endeavour
being put forth in our Empire for our .oldiers. In this way,
I think, Jamaica can best help."
This conversation was published on the following day as
a definite invitation to the women of Jamaica to begin at once
to work for the o!diers of the Empire. It was followed by an
:ippral to the men for funds to enable this work to be under-
taken. This was not exactly what Jamaica had expected; yet
if the proposal had been deliberately put forward with a view
to testing the sincerity of individual profesaions of willing-
ness to help, the response that it met with must effectively
have silenced all doubts on that point. As a matter of fact,
the Governor was perfectly free from any desire to test the
genuineness of Jamaica's generoz-iy. What he wished to do
was to suggest an effort in which, as he had distinctly' stated,
the poor as well as the rich could join, an effort also which
would make on the country no demand greater than it could
reasonably bear at that disturbing time. In such uncertain
days it was not easy to say what was the financial situation
of anyone; but a scheme requiring work as well as money was
not calculated to tax overmuch the resources of any, especially
as the work would be done by that half of the population who
usually had some leisure and who, therefore, would not be
called upon to abandon their ordinary \vocations for this pur-
pose. The response to the appeal for funds, however, soon
showed that the island was ready to do more, voluntarily, than
either the Governor or anyone else had expected it would do
or was in a position to do, Sir William Manning's remarks ap-
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR
peared on August 17. On August 22 the Gleaner could an-
nounce that it had received 1,155, in donations of a hundred
guineas each. As usual, the merchants and business corpora-
tions and the legal firms of Kingston had set the example of
generous giving, and every day after that came large indi-
vidual contributions from different parts of the island towards
"The Jamaica War Relief Fund."
Other efforts of a voluntary nature were immediately
planned: thus the Palace Amusement Theatre opened a sub-
scription list and distributed collecting boxes among the sev-
eral stores of Kingston, while the Syrian and Chinese com-
munities started small funds among themselves for the purpose
of making a respectable donation to some larger War Fund.
But the most important voluntary effort was inaugurated by
the Governor himself, who despatched letters to the different
custodes of the parishes, and to other representative men in
various parts of the island, asking these to organize commit-
tees for the collecting of money. On Sunday, August 23, an
announcement was made in many of the churches throughout
Jamaica that public meetings would be held to discuss the
Governor's suggestion. On the 26th the first meetings were
held at Mandeville, Port Antonio and Manchioneal; on the
next day there was a similar meeting at Spanish Town; on the
day after the people of Morant Bay gathered together to dis-
cuss and decide what steps should be taken to promote the
success of the effort now definitely set on foot. On the 30th
the people of Montego Bay met, and at their first meeting 400
Other public meetings followed. They were held all over
the country, and not only in the chief towns; they took place
wherever there was a fairly large number of persons settled,
with a few amongst them possessing the faculty of initiative
and leadership. Women as well as men were invited to these
gatherings, for it was to the women of Jamaica that the appeal
had first been made. All classes responded to the general in-
24 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
vitation, there were speeches from the chief men of the
parish or district, the duty of the people to contribute as liber-
ally as they could was placed before the audiences in a plain
and practical manner, and committees and sub-committees
were appointed to collect contributions everywhere. These
committees were composed of women and men, and, as the
results showed, they set to work with energy and a laudable
desire to do the very best they could. But almost at the very
first public gathering it became apparent that the original
suggestion of the Governor's was no longer popular, because
it was no longer considered practicable. Comparatively few
Jamaica women knew anything about the knitting of socks
and mufflers, and it was seen that the money that would be
collected would lie idle if it were to be utilis.d only in the
purchase of wool for the knitters. Most persons, too, looked
forward to so short a war that it was -felt that very little
warm clothing would be sent to the men at the front before
peace was once more restored to Europe. Accordingly it was
advocated that the money obtained should be transmitted to
England and, as the idea was that the poorest, if willing,
should contribute as well as the wealthiest in the land, it was
generally agreed that the smallest sum should not be refused
from those who wished to give.
And now began a movement the like of which had never
been seen in Jamaica before. Any one who reads over the
lists of contributors to the War Funds which the Gleaner
printed daily, will be struck by the large number of very small
men who gave their mite for the cause that was England's.
Cart drivers, cab drivers, motor-men, conductors, peasant-
proprietors, labourers-one and all gave something, however
small. A shilling, sixpence, threepence, these sums occur
hundreds and hundreds of times in the lists; on the banana
properties, on the sugar estates, on the cocoa plantations the
collecting card went round, and not in vain. Through its
chief officials the United Fruit Company organized a system
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
whereby all its employees could regularly contribute to the
Fund: the result was excellent. There was no coercion ap-
plied. There could be no coercion applied. There was little
persuasion needed, for to contribute something to the War
Funds was now considered a privilege as well as a pleasure,
a right as well as.a moral obligation. Generosity had now be-
come the highest of duties.
One estate overseer tells a story that is well worth re-
cording here. Some of his labourers came to him one day
and expressed the wish that, for a certain time, he would de-
duct a small amount weekly from their wages as their con-
tribution to the War Relief Fund. "Understand," he said to
them, "you are not doing this because you are being begged to
do it. If you want to give, it must be of your own free will,
and not, either, as charity." Here pride spoke-he admitted
it; he did not wish Jamaica labourers to think that English
soldiers were in need of help from them. He afterwards con-
fessed that the answer returned was a sufficient rebuke. The
men told him that they gave because they desired to give,
that they gave because, as British subjects, they had as much
right to give as he. And for several weeks after not one
man missed contributing the quota of his wages that he had
that day agreed should be deducted.
Tli ro were now two large Funds in existence: the Jamai-
ca War Fund, collected by the Gleaner, and the Central War
Fund, directly organized by Sir William Manning. On Septem-
ber 9th, under the auspices of the Governor, a public meeting
was held in the Ward Theatre in Kingston, and a committee
was appointed to administer the money that would be received.
The general plan of distribution to be followed was outlined:
most of the money would be donated to the Prince of Wales
Fund, in England; a portion would be sent to the committee
attending to Belgian relief. The Gleaner Company fell in line
with this proposal. The money sent to the Gleaner was
divided into three parts, one half to the Prince of Wales Fund,
26 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
a quarter to the British Sailors and Soldierg Association, a
quarter to the Belgian Relief Committee. The total of the
two Funds amounted to nearly 20,000 by the end of the year
Other minor Funds, such as that started by the Ghlea.r
for sending cigars and cigarettes to soldiers at the front, and
that organised by some Jamaica ladies for entertaining at
Christmas the sailors of the warships in the harbour, were
well supported. But even while the committees for the col-
lection of money to assist the Empire's fi1iht:rs were being
formed, and though it was apparent that the voluntary effort
being made would be more successful than anyone had
thought that it would be, it became apparent that Jamaica
would not be satisfied with private giving only.
Instead of dimini.hing, the feeling that the colony as
a constituent part of the British Empire should present a gift
to the Mother Country was growing apace. Letters written
to the newspapers advocated a special tax for this purpose.
At meetings called to make arrangements for the collection of
subscriptions it was urged that Jamaica should assume some
small portion of the debt which England would incur as part
of the cost of war, At the IMnteg- Bay meeting it was sug-
gested that 200,000 should be the amount of liability assumed
by the colony. The Mayor and Council of Kingston passed a
resolution recommending that the Government should take
ster- "to charge the revenues of this island for the purp ,-'
of providing a contribution to Great Britain towards the costs
of the war." The other Parochial Boards of the island fol-
lowed this example and adopted a similar resolution; but in
the meantime, and before the close of the month of August,
the Government had already determined that there should be
a gift offered by the colony to the Imperial Government.
The matter had been arranged privately between the
Governor and the elected members of the Legislative Council.
The member for St. Ann, the Hon, J H, Allwood, had cir-
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
cularised his colleagues, and all of these had heartily agreed
that there should be some contribution made to the Mother
Country by Jamaica. This decision was immediately followed
by a letter from the legislators to Sir William Manning, who
replied on September 1 that he greatly appreciated the action
taken, and that "however small the island's contribution may
be, limited by its resources, it will be none the less an ac-
reptable proof of the desire of the people of Jamaica to do
what lies in their power to assist at this crisis in our history."
On that same day the Governor despatched to the Secretary of
State for the Colonies a telegram stating what Jamaica was
at that moment prepared to do.
The gift decided upon was a very small one. The financial
outlook was still considered too vague and uncertain to war-
rant indulgence in overflowing generosity. A present of
sugar to the value of 50,000 was to be made to the Mother
Country, then greatly in need of sugar on account of the
sudden stoppage of German and Austrian supplies. The
present was promptly accepted by the Secretary of State for
the Colonies, who telegraphed to say that His Majesty's Gov-
ernment heartily appreciated the patriotic and generous offer
of the people of Jamaica, and considered that a gift of sugar
would be most acceptable. When this was known, some per.
sons suggested a gift of fruit. But fruit and other products
of the island were already being freely offered by the peasants
and planters of the country, and arrangements were being
made to send these presents by each outgoing ship. On
September 17 the Legislature met in special session and em-
powered the Government to purchase sugar for the Imperial
Government to the amount of 50,000. Certain taxation re-
mitted some time before was re-imposed on the country to
meet this particular charge.
As the system of taxation levied in Jamaica falls upon
rich and poor, upon the babe in arms as well as on the
wealthiest planter, professional man or merchant, the colony's
28 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
gift of sugar was made by everyone in Jamaica: it was a
thoroughly representative contribution. Had it stood alone,
it might have been supposed that the majority of the people,
never very articulate, and having what passes for their views
expressed by persons not of their own class, had merely
acquiesced in an action transacted in thefr name. But when
we remember that labourers gave gladly to the voluntary
funds, and that peasants sent presents of fruit, cocoa, coffee
and other things to the Jamaica Agricultural Society to be
transmitted to England for the use and comfort of British
soldiers and anilors, it is impossible to believe that the island
as a whole did not heartily approve of the Legislature's act.
And when the month of December came and Sir William Man-
ning publihted his annual message to the p.ci-ple of Jamaica,
he made certain statements which proved that he had had
an exceptional opportunity of judging of the feelings of
worker and peasant as well as of the sentiments of the mer-
chant and the planter. His remarks deserve to be permanently
preserved in any record dealing with Jamaica and the War,
and may fittingly conclude this chapter.
-That the people of this island have done much to prove
their value and their worth," wrote the Governor," I can bear
full testimony. Their gifts to help those who are struggling
for their destiny, and for the destiny of the Empire show
the trend of their thoughts, that though they are not able to
bear an active part in the defence of their Empire, they are
still able to do their share, however small, in lightening the
burdens of those who have the greater fortune of taking a
more active part. I know of not a few acts of self-racri'.ce.
acts of thoughtful kindness, and these are but the few out of
the many which will never be known."
OFFERS OF MILITARY SERVICE
IN one of the despatches sent to Jamaica shortly after
England's declaration of war, the Secretary of State for
the Colonies laid it down that provision for local defence
must be a first charge upon the revenues of the colony. Such
provision was rightly understood to be exclusive of the
maintenance of the Imperial garrison in the island, this being
a charge upon the Imperial revenues. The colony was expect-
ed to organize a defence force of its own and at its own ex-
pense ; but even before the message of the Secretary of State
had been made public-which was done on August 13-offers
of service had been sent to the Governor from all parts of Ja-
maica, and in the newspapers suggestions as to the organizing
of volunteer corps had already begun to appear. And when
it was known that a Jamaica Reserve Regiment was to be
formed, with members in every parish of the island, there
were public meetings called almost everywhere and volunteers
came willingly forward in answer to the Government's appeal.
This was quite in accordance with the traditions of Ja-
maica. Whenever the island had been threatened in the past
the people had always shown the greatest willingness to arm
in their own defence. More, they had fought in their own
defence. However lacking in historical sense the average Ja-
maican may be, he knows that his forefathers had had to
fight for the safety of his country when, in 1694, Admiral
DuCasse landed on the north and east coasts of the island,
burning, slaying, plundering, and spreading terror through-
out Jamaica. It was on the 19th of July that the French
landed at Carlisle Bay. They were fifteen hundred strong;
to oppose him at that point there were only about two hundred'
whiite.nei'nn and some negroes. It is significant that, even at-
80 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
this early date in the colony's history when slavery in its
most oppressive form existed, the black population was called
upon to assist in the general defence. We shall see further on
in this chapter that, as time went on, the black population,
although still in a state of bondage, was recruited for other
than purely defensive military operations.
Subsequently, whenever invasion threatened, Jamaicans
invariably showed that they were ready to defend the island,
to keep it English against all invaders to the best of their
ability. But it was felt and perceived in August 1914 that
the old conditions of warfare had been revolutionised, that
only if the British fleet were defeated could an enemy secure
a foothold in any part of the British West Indies; that
though a local defence force was necessary, and might be call-
ed upon to repel a raid, yet that the defence of the island, as
of the whole Empire, was to be maintained on the battlefields
of the European Continent and especially on the sea. If Ja-
maicans were to take any active part in this war, therefore,
they must enlist in the British Armies, then rapidly being
formed. This realized, there arose a demand for co-operation
with the British Army. And young Jamaicans in the colony,
as well as those in England and in Canada, immediately pre-
pared to offer themselves to the military authorities of Ja-
maica, England and Canada for service in France or in any
other theatre of the war.
There were already some Jamaicans in the English Army.
Soon their countrymen were to hear of these-amongst the
wounded and the dead. Those young men who were studying
in English or Canadian universities, or who were working
abroad, began to enlist, and their services were willingly ac-
cepted. Those in Jamaica who wished to enlist were informed
that men were not being recruited in this country. Then be-
gan an exodus of these young men, and of young English,
Scotch and Irish men in the colony, these proceeding to Eng-
land or to Canada at their own expense; and this movement,
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR
began as early as August 1914, continued even after no man
who wished to serve the Empire was called upon to pay his
passage to Canada or England for the purpose of offering him-
self. Week after week and month after month it was re-
peatedly recorded that some of the younger men had sailed to
join the British Army or the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
Positions were given up, savings were devoted to providing
for the expenses of the journey. All Jamaica regarded with
pride the eagerness and the devotion of these gallant young
The agitation for the sending of a contingent from Ja-
maica naturally found its most urgent expression in the public
prints. An anonymous letter, written on August 25, and pub-
lished in the Gleaner on the 31st, urged the formation of a
contingent for active service. A scheme for recruiting a body
of mounted men, three hundred in number, the little force to
be entirely supported by the Jamaica Government, was formu-
lated and placed before Sir William Manning by Mr. S. C.
Burke. Then came the news that the Home Government had
accepted the offer of the Indian Army for active service at
the front, and it was generally felt that there was no reason
why Indians should be accepted and West Indians refused.
Was money the difficulty? Did the Government feel that the
finances of the colony were not in a condition to undertake the
charge of sending men to the Mother Country? Then, it was
urged, a part of the money being subscribed in aid of the
soldiers and sailors of the Mother Country might be devoted
to transporting the finest aid of all-men to fight the Empire's
battles in the Empire's cause. "Perhaps even a special fund
might be opened for this purpose," suggested a writer signing
himself "Volunteer", in a letter to the Press. But the most
important suggestion at that time came from Major A. N.
Dixon, then recently elected a member of the Legislative
Council. It was the most important because it had the back-
ing of the elected members, and, if any body of men had in-
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
fluence with the Colonial Government, and through the Colo-
nial Government with the Secretary of State for the Colonies,
it was undoubtedly the elected members of the Legislative
Major Dixon suggested that a strong Militia should be
formed, there being hundreds of discharged West Indian sol-
diers in the island and in Central America who would willingly
return to the colours. Such a force would relieve for active
service the West India Regiment then garrisoning the island,
and the whole cost of local defence could be undertaken by the
colony. Thirty years before it would have been impossible
for anyone to advocate that a country like Jamaica should be
left with only a Militia composed mainly of persons of African
descent, a volunteer organization of all classes of men, and the
x.istin Police Fore.-. Yet the upper classes of Jamaica saw
nothing strange in the suggestion made by one of themselves.
The old distrust of the people as a whole had silently evapo-
rated in the years that had passed since the generation that
had witnessed the Morant Bay Rebellion had given place to a
new type of men born in a new order of things. It was felt
that the island of Jamaica could consent to the sending away
of the regular troops and could with confidence undertake to
maintain internal order and to defend itself, if attacked, until
the arrival of the only means that could ult imately ensure its
safety, a Brit i;h warship. But though the elected members, at
a private conference, decided to support Major Dixon's scheme,
the Governnr refused to support it. He did not think, he said,
that the Imperial authorities would approve of it just then.
The elected members took the Governor's refusal quietly;
NIai.:.r Dixon, writing to the Press, stated that there was no-
thing to be gained by discussing his suggestion any further.
"But I hope," he continued,"that it may still be possible for the
loyalty and patriotism of Jamaica to show itself in sonie other
suitable act of devotion. For excellent as the gift of sugar is,'
as far as it goes, it wold almost amontm to a mockery to offer
MEN OF THE JAMAICA CONTINGENT AT DRILL.
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR
it except as a first instalment and earnest of what we intend
to do later on." That Jamaica should send men to the front
was still his firm conviction, and he left it to the country to
say what it would do. A month after this, on October 16,
the Gleaner published a long leading article strongly advocat-
ing the formation of a West Indian Contingent, with Jamaica
taking the lead and inviting the co-operation of the British
West Indian Colonies in this movement.
The idea of a West Indian Contingent, then, was propa-
gated very shortly after the war; but soon there came to the
West Indies information which made the realisation of the idea
impossible at that moment. Before the month of October was
ended it was known that the Imperial Government (which
probably meant the War Office) had decided that all men in
the British West Indies capable of bearing arms should re-
main in these islands to assist in defensive operations should
such become necessary. This was really the reply to the offer
of a West Indian Contingent which one of the West Indian
Governors must have forwarded to the War Office. The reply
was not officially published. It was simply permitted to be
known. "Defend your homes," was the advice of the Imperial
authorities, and there was nothing more' to be said just then.
Nothing, that is, by way of argument or rejoinder, but this
decision was much discussed in all the colonies, and not least
so in Jamaica. The disinclination of the Home" Government
to have a Contingent from the West Indies was thought in Ja-
maica to be due to its reluctance to arm black troops against
"The British soldier can stand up to anything except the
British War Office," says Mr. Bernard Shaw, and during the
first months of the war it did seem as if men willing and eager
to become soldiers were being deliberately prevented by the
regular routine officials of the British War Office. It was only
after the war had endured for some months, and it was dis-
covered that our so-called victories existed on paper only, that
34 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
reform in the War Office led to better methods of recruiting.
The offer of India was not one that could be dealt with merely
by permanent officials, or even by the Secretary of State for
War himself. It came before Parliament; it was really Par-
liament, led by Lord Curzon, who accepted that offer which
India has so magnificently made good. But the West Indies
-who would deal with their timid proposal of a thousand men
or so: who save someone who thought it was of no importance?
And the moral effect of a refusal was probably not dwelt upon
for a single instant. Happily, the disappointment felt in Ja-
maica, though it gave rise to some ordinary conversational
comment, created no bitterness. Jamaicans had offered to
serve in the South African War. It had been plainly inti-
mated to them that it would be impossible for the Mother
Country to employ coloured troops against the Boers, as the
latter were notorious for their fierce race prejudice, and also
because, in a land like South Africa, the employment of black
troops against white men might have a dangerous after-effect.
Jamatcans believed that England was considering, not her
own inclinations, but the thoughts and feelings of others by her
refusal to accept black men for service in South Africa;
the difficulty of her position was admitted. But it was thnucht
strange that against an enemy such as the Germans were re-
ported to be there should be any reluctance to have at the front
a body of West Indians, white, mixed-blood and black, who
had been born and brought up as British subjects and who
could not possibly be classed amongst savages. Was this race
prejudice? The newspapers answered the question which they
knew was being asked in the one effective way they could.
They pointed out that no black or coloured man of military age
was refused in England or in Canada by the recruiting agents,
and this fact had a salutary effect.
Individuals in Jamaica ignored the suggestion that they
should remain and enlist for home defence. They continued
to sail for England, and news soon came that they were being
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR
welcomed there. Then public opinion took a swift turn, and
it was said and believed that if the local Government would
only act with firmness, and urge that a Jamaica Contingent
should be accepted, all would be well. There was a deep-
rooted disinclination to believe that England would refuse a
loyal offer from one of her oldest colonies. This feeling, al-
most amounting to an instinct, was perfectly sound. England
had not refused the offer of the West Indies, though the War
Office had done so. But the War Office methods of recruiting
were shortly to be subjected to severe criticism, and the day
was coming when West Indian troops would be welcomed with
acclamation in the mother country.
West Indian troops had never been used on European
battlefields in the past, it is true, but this was probably due to
two sufficient reasons: first, because all former wars were
fought in Europe by comparatively small professional armies;
and next, because when England had had to contend with
other nations, the war was waged in the West Indies as well
as on the plains of Europe and India. During the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries England was often at war with
France and Spain, or with both combined, and in these wars
Jamaicans played some part. Thus in 1739 England declared
war on Spain, and Admiral Vernon attacked Porto Bello on
;he Isthmus of Panama. Jamaica was an important naval sta-
tion in those days, and Vernon naturally came to this island
after the capture of the Isthmian seaport The next year he
sailed to bombard Cartagena, and most probably some Jamai-
cans went with him; the year after that Vernon's fleet was re-
inforced by another fleet which arrived from England under
Sir Chalonger Ogle, with whom an English army also came.
Jamaica volunteers accompanied this army to Cartagena.
More, a Negro Contingent was specially organized by the
Governor, Edward Trelawny, and this contingent formed part
of the King's forces that were intended to reduce Cartagena,
then considered the strongest city and fortress on the Spanish
36 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
Main. The expedition was unsuccessful; a year afterwards
more reinforcements arrived from England, and this time it
was determined that the city of Panama should be taken. The
Governor raised a regiment of soldiers in the island and ac-
companied them himself: once more the white, black and col-
oured inhabitants of the island sailed forth to meet and fight
the Empire's enemies. This expedition was no more success-
ful than had been the former one. This was due to bad gen-
eralship and the generally wretched arrangements made for
the comfort and care of the troops.
War was again declared by England against Spain in
1762, and what is described as "a formidable expedition" sail-
ed for Havana; a fleet from Jamaica joined the fleet from Eng-
land; with the former went a number of Jamaica Negro
troops. These had been raised at the special request of the
Imperial Government; they were mostly slaves who had been
hastily trained to the use of arms. Havana was taken, and
was held by the British until peace between England and
Spain was concluded. In 1779 an expedition against the Span-
ish colonies of Central America was again despatched from
Jamaica; it was organized by Governor Dalling and with it
went Horatio Nelson, afterwards to be celebrated as the hero
of Trafalgar. There were some Jamaicans with this force
also, and when in 1793, England then being at war with
France, a small white contingent sailed from Port Royal and
captured the town of Jeremie in Hayti, it was soon reinforced
by two hundred Negro soldiers, with the aid of whom St.
Nicholas was taken. Our efforts to subdue the Island of
Hayti and San Domingo went badly after the initial successes.
It is stated that reinforcements from England, to the number
of eighteen thousand men, were sent out during the years
1795-1796. Nothing was understood about tropical health
conditions in those days, and the lives of soldiers did not seem
to be regarded as of much consequence. These English troops
died like flies; then a attempt was made to create a large num-
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
ber of Negro regiments, and slaves from Jamaica were des-
patched to Hayti for that purpose. The end of that effort to
take the Island is well known; here we are only concerned with
the briefest possible statement of the activities of Jamaicans
in the previous wars of England. Contrary to the opinion
that has sometimes been expressed, we must assert that the ex-
peditions in which the people of this country took a fairly con-
siderable though usually an unfortunate part were not con-
sidered as trifling by the Imperial Government. They were
regarded as of the first importance. Nelson sought in West
Indian waters the fleet he defeated at Trafalgar, and to have
taken Cartagena and Panama would have been to deal a ter-
rible blow to the overseas power of Spain.
After the defeat of Napoleon and the revolt of the Spanish-
American colonies from their mother country, the West In-
dian waters and the Spanish Main and islands ceased to be the
battlefields of the European Powers. For a hundred years the
Jamaican was not troubled by war at his very doors; he no
longer prepared to leave his native land for service in another
country under the British flag, save indeed in so far as he
became a soldier in the West India Regiments and was sent
to subdue uprisings in the hinterland of British Africa. He
became a man of peace, forgetting the days when his fathers
had so often been at war. But when the great World War
broke out and loyal British subjects were hastening from all
parts of the globe to serve under the British colours, he felt
that he too must be represented. As we have seen, his first
endeavours to that end were baulked. We shall presently see
how a subsequent effort was rewarded with success.
HOPES AND FEARS
WHEN the first flush of excitement created by the
'tirrinw events of the first three weeks of August
1914 had passed away, there was, as has been
already indicated, a subsidence of feeling into something like
its customary calm. The routine work of the country and
of the individual had to be performed, men had to live as
usual, and no excitement or enthusiasm could possibly main-
tain for long the same exalted level. Nevertheless it was not
with the old attitude of mind that the people turned to face
the new problems which had suddenly arisen: a new situation
had developed and that must needs be dealt with imme-
diately, though many had to act, as it were, in the dark.
Ni-arly half the import trade of Jamaica was done with Great
Britain, and now the English firms began urgently to enquire
into the financial condition of the colony's business men,
while many of them declined to sell except on a basis of cash
payments. The public as a whole continued to purchase spar-
ingly, a policy of economy which was maintained until towards
the middle of December. Merchants and storekeepers re-
duced their staffs or reduced the wages of their staffs, and
this, coupled with the suspension of much Government and
Parochial work, which had given, employment to thousands
of the labouring classes, produced a new feeling of depression
which was increased and deepened by the then prevailing
Since the earthquake of 1907 the seasons had been ir-
regular, and the rainfall had been less on the whole than
during the previous seven years. In spite of this, and in
spite also of a hurricane in the latter part of 1912, which
had occasioned severe loss to the western parishes of the
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
island, the output of the plantations had maintained a fairly
high level. This was due to the extension of cultivation gen-
erally and to the spirit of enterprise which planters and
peasants alike had shown in the face of all adverse and un-
settling circumstances. Jamaica had never entirely abandoned
the sugar industry or neglected the production of coffee. To
the cultivation of cocoa she had of late years been devoting
much attention. Pimento, oranges and dyewoods grew
practically wild, and there was the banana, her main article
of export. But a large quantity of her coffee and pimento,
and some of her rum, had been sold to Germany and Austria
previous to the war; and this trade, of course, had now dis-
appeared. It was on fruit, dyewoods and cocoa that she be-
lieved she would now have mainly to depend; such sugar as
she had would be sold also, and at good prices; but the pre-
vailing opinion was that rum would be a drug on the market.
Still, with good seasons, all might be fairly well; unfortunately
it was the good seasons that were lacking. The drought
that might have been accepted philosophically at any other
time, was at that moment contemplated with serious though
not with loud misgivings. If it did not break in October the
situation might become difficult to cope with, and the island
would be threatened with considerable suffering and possibly
a financial crisis.
There was another reason for the wave of depression
which swept over the colony about this time. In spite of a
firm faith in the ultimate triumph of the Allies, intelligent
people could not help observing just then that the Germans
were pressing on victoriously. The telegrams that came to
Jamaica were full of rhetoric and of prophesies of the enemy's
speedy defeat: they were gladly believed, but in the mean-
time the enemy was compelling the Allies to retreat. This
fact no amount of reasoning could explain away; it was so
evident that the Governor, on the night of August 30, com-
manded the chief censor to inform the public through the
40 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
Press that the information then being received through the
ordinary news agencies must be accepted with the greatest
reserve, His Excellency's official information tending to show
that the German advance and the withdrawal of the Allies'
forces had not the significance claimed for them, but rather
appeared to be resulting in the exhaustion of the German
efforts. Such an assertion would not have been made with
any deliberately dishonest intention. It was quite on a par
with the general belief prevailing during the first phase of
the war. Whatever the enemy did or achieved was regarded
as having no permanent significance; he was rapidly becom-
ing exhausted; we should begin to drive him back almost
immediately; the duration of the war could only be a matter
of months. Nevertheless, that the Germans should be able to
make any progress whatever was not considered in the colony
as what ought to have happened, and there were not lacking
some to shake dismal heads and mutter sad predictions. But
a swing of the pendulum of public feeling soon occurred. This
was the result of the capture of a German auxiliary cruiser
on the high seas, the prize being brought into Kingston
Harbour on the morning of September the 11th.
Jamaicans have always had some understanding of what
sea power means. An island people are well acquainted with
the sea; they realise that if cut off from overseas intercourse
they must suffer severely; and there is hardly a literate
Jamaican who is not well aware that if the British Navy were
once destroyed the whole structure of the Empire must in-
evitably fall to pieces. So even if the land campaign was not
yet going as satisfactorily for the Allies as one could wish,
there was always the satisfaction of knowing that on the sea
the British Navy was supreme. That supremacy had been
directly demonstrated in the Caribbean by the immunity
from attack hitherto enjoyed by all the British West Indian
Islands. It was now to be further proved by a fact which all
the inhabitants *of the colony could easily appreciate.
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
It was historical that, in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, rich prizes captured by the English had been
brought into Kingston Harbour. There had been a time when
that spacious plane of gleaming water had been covered with
the captive vessels of the nations with which the Empire was
then at war. But hardly anyone had hoped to see a prize of
war brought into a port of Jamaica once more; and so, when
the news of the German cruiser's capture was rumoured
about the city on the morning of September 11, and it was
further said that the ship was coming here, the report was
at first regarded with considerable incredulity. But it grew
and it spread: it was the Karlsruhe which had been taken,
went the story, and taken only after a desperate fight. It
was a bigger armoured cruiser still. However, whatever it
was, there were thousands upon thousands of people deter-
mined to trust only the evidence of their own eyes; and thus,
long before the captive and her captor could make their ap-
pearance in the offing, the waterfront of Kingston was
thronged with an eager expectant crowd.
It was in the afternoon that the Bethania, with five hun-
dred German reservists on board, and H.M.S. Essex which
had captured her, came into view beyond the Palisadoes.
Then there was no longer doubt. A storm of enthusiasm
burst forth suddenly. The crowds that clustered on every
pier, that occupied every available foot of space on every high
building in the lower quarter of the city, that thronged the
sidewalks and had to be prevented from obstructing the
traffic in the streets-these realized with joy and pride that
their country was, in a way, taking some part in the war,
that German prisoners were coming here, that the seas, free
to them as British subjects, were inexorably closed to those
who were at war with England. When the two ships had
entered the harbour and were steaming parallel to Kingston's
waterfront, a man, perched on an outlook upon one of the
piers, produced and waved a tattered Union Jack. That was
42 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
the signal for a thunder of cheering such as Kingston had
seldom heard before. The sailors on the Essex made no reply
to a greeting which they knew was intended for them, but
the band of the v,'arship played and the strains of its music
came over the waters and were heard in the intervals of the
wild huzzahing, the tumult and the shouting of the people.
The prisoners on the captured auxiliary cruiser Bethania
gathered upon the shoreside of their ship and gazed at the
immense multitude in silence. But when they landed they
found that not an insulting expression was hurled at them
from any of the crowd, and that the authorities had neglected
no precaution to protect them from any avoidable inconveni-
ence. They were not paraded as a spectacle. As quickly as
possible those of them who were to be conveyed to Up-Park
Camp were placed in closed cars and driven away; but for
hours after the prisoners had landed the streets of lower
Kingston were crowded with thousands of the excited citizens,
and each and every one spoke only of the scene they had wit-
nessed that day, while some recalled with pride the old naval
traditions of Jamaica and felt that, in the future, the colony
might yet again become a station of some importance to that
Nav.' with which it had been so closely and so gloriously con-
nected in the past.
The progress of the war in France and Flanders con-
tinued to be followed with the liveliest attention and interest.
It was well understood that, with the German retreat from
the Marne to the Aisne, Paris was for the present safe, and
hopes were entertained that the Germans would be driven
back much farther still. Even the sinking of the three
British cruisers, the Cressy, Aboukir, and Hogue, by a Ger-
man submarine, caused but little uneasiness in Jamaica: the
loss was not overestimated and it was confidently believed
that a similar unfortunate occurrence could easily be avoided
in the future. Also, with the telegrams stating that on the
Aisne the Germans were fighting "with courage born of des-
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
pair," and with the local papers bravely prophesying that
the enemy had shot his bolt in the West, it was natural that
many people should begin to think and speak of the war as
already entering on a new and victorious phase.
But on the 9th of October the Germans entered Antwerp.
This news was published in Jamaica three days afterwards.
The loss of Antwerp was regarded in the island as a
most serious blow. It seemed to impress the imagination of
large numbers. It was looked upon as proof that the enemy
was far more powerful than he had been thought to be, that
he might succeed in reaching Paris at his next venture, might
take Calais, and then might make an effort at an invasion of
England. For a while something like pessimism was felt
and expressed-not in regard to the ultimate issue but in
regard to the immediate prospects of the war. And when in
the afternoon of November 7 it was announced that on the
first of that month Admiral Cradock had fought a German
squadron in the Southern Pacific and hadbeen totally de-
feated, the apprehension and gloom amongst all classes
deepened to its darkest.
The details at first received of this engagement were
scanty, and there still prevailed notions in regard to modern
naval armament which prevented most persons from seeing
that South Pacific fight and its issue in their proper perspec-
tive. That the German shells had so quickly and so speedily
set the British ships on fire, startled those-the vast majority
-who had not yet learnt that this was precisely the expected
effect of shell fire, and was not at all due to some special
invention which the enemy had kept secret, only to employ
with deadly effect upon British ships of war. Dejection was
plainly visible on the faces of those in Kingston who had
heard of the battle on that Saturday afternoon; dejection
was everywhere visible in another day or two when the news
had spread to all parts of the island. It was said that this
was the first time for a hundred years that England had
44 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
met a European Power on the sea, ship to ship and gun to
gun; and for the English to have been beaten without in-
flicting any material damage on the foe was a bitter fact to
face, a fact which suggested possibilities which no one
wanted to acknowledge, even in the secret recesses of his
But further details began to arrive, and the newspapers
were able to comment on what had taken place in the Pacific,
and to show that the defeat of Rear Admiral Cradock con-
tained nothing of shame, nothing at which the British Empire
could need to blush. Cradock had recently been in Jamaica. He
had been in command of the ships coming and going in these
waters. He had been observed by hundreds: it had been said
by some who saw him that, if he should ever meet the enemy,
the end of that meeting could only be victory or death. Vic-
tory, as the people soon learnt, was out of the question for
Cradock off the Coast of Coronel. His ships were outclassed,
his guns outranged; he fought two of the finest armoured
cruisers in the German Navy; fought for five hours, then
sank beneath the waves in the thick darkness of the southern
night with his flag still proudly flying, with high courage in
his heart, conscious that, though beaten in this battle, he had
upheld his country's honour to the last, and had proved him-
self worthy to be named with those great seamen whose
prowess had made England the Mistress of the Seas.
The colony's spirits revived as the truth became known
and as its significance became appreciated. The Germans had
accomplished no miracle. The destruction of the German
Pacific squadron might safely be counted upon. This last
was of very practical importance to the least imaginative;
since, if Admiral von Spee should come into the Atlantic by
way of the Panama Canal, or even by rounding the Horn, it
was well within the bounds of probability that he would pass
near enough to the island of Jamaica to do some damage
with his modern nine-inch guns. In September the Emden
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
had fired on Madras, and von Spee's ships were infinitely
more powerful than the Emden. But although there was no
positive information on the point, it was confidently assumed
that the avengers of Cradock would soon be on their way to
meet von Spee. On November 17 a telegram, coming origin-
ally from Valpariso, and dated on the 13th, was published: it
stated that another naval engagement was momently ex-
pected between German and English naval forces. This, of
course, was a mere guess: it was an anticipation of what
was considered certain. But when, a few days later, H.M.S.
Princess Royal, one of the finest superdreadnought battle-
cruisers in the British Navy, steamed into the harbour of
Kingston and anchored, it was understood in Kingston at least
that the days of von Spee's squadron were numbered.
A telegram dated December 2, but given out by the
censors only on December 8, announced that a battle between
German and British squadrons was imminent in the South
Atlantic. On that very day, though no one in Jamaica could
know it, the Falkland Islands Battle was fought. The news
came late on the following afternoon; special editions of the
newspapers were issued in the city and the newsboys ran
about the thoroughfares and among the suburbs crying out
the joyful tidings of the Germans' utter defeat.. Other
cheerful intelligence was just then being passed from one
part of the country to another. Towards the end of October
the drought had broken. Rain in abundant showers was
steadily falling everywhere. It had come in good time, it
gave promise of continuance. This promise was kept, and
thus one cause of anxiety was removed. So when the Christ-
mas holidays came round they were enjoyed with much the
usual heartiness; there was, perhaps, a little less spending
than usual; otherwise there was no difference. The year 1914
had ended in Jamaica on a cheerful note.
The New Year dawned upon a country wondering what
the next twelve months would bring to it, praying for a
46 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
speedy end to the terrible struggle then proceeding, but in-
clined to view the immediate future with hopeful eyes. During
the five months just elapsed it had passed through many
varied phases of feelings. It had run a whole gamut of in-
tensely contrasted emotions, had risen high on the wings of
enthusiasm and been plunged deep into the slough of dismay.
But it had all along, and in spite of every uncertainty or
present adverse circumstance, struggled to show its traditional
loyalty to Throne and Empire. It had wanted to testify in
a practical manner its willingness to make sacrifices for the
common cause. Its dearest wish, to take part in the actual
fighting at the front, had been denied to it, and the disap-
pointment was felt. But at least it had tried to do its duty;
and it stood ready to prove at any moment that its offer of
men for the King's service had been no idle one.
THE FIRST FIVE HUNDRED
OR a while the colony apparently accepted as final
the War Office's decision in regard to a West Indian
Contingent. For a little while nothing more was said
in the Press about the sending of men to take part in the
great struggle. But in the meantime letters from Jamaicans
who had joined the British Army in the first weeks of war
had begun to appear in the local papers; these breathed a
high spirit of courage and patriotism, and the perusal of
them very naturally served to fire afresh the ardour of young
men who envied the good fortune of the few who were already
in the Press about the sending of men to take part in the
who wished to have their names enrolled as recruits, and who
desired to be examined so as to be ready for enlisting at any
moment it might be decided to send a contingent from Ja-
maica. Thus the question of a contingent of some sort soon
became again one of the living topics of the day: the problem
was, how could any men be sent from Jamaica? The solution
of that problem was suggested on April 23, 1915, by Mr.
William Wilson, well known as a merchant and business man
of Kingston, as an Englishman who had long resided in
Jamaica, having made this colony his permanent home. Mr.
Wilson's plan was a very simple one, as usually are the plans
which immediately attract public attention and approval and
which signally succeed. We will give it as it appeared in his
own words, in his letter to the Gleaner:-
"The Editor. Sir,--There has been, and is, correspon-
dence in your valuable paper in re Jamaicans who are desirous
of going to the war, but who are unable to bear the necessary
expense. Enquiry at the Military Headquarters proves that
15 will equip and land a man in England. If ninety-nine
48 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
other men will subscribe 30 each, I will give an equal amount
to send two hundred native-born Jamaicans to the front. Like
myself, there must be many men in the island who, though
unable to volunteer, would like to feel that they were doing
even a little bit to help. I am, etc., William Wilson."
So straightforward and practical a proposal called forth
immediately a hearty response from persons who were in a
position to aid financially and who had long thought that
Jamaica as well as other parts of the British Empire should
be represented amongst the fighting forces of the Mother
Country. Mr. Wilson's communication appeared on a Friday.
On the next day he received three letters warmly commending
his proposal. These letters, and a few others which did much
to popularise the new contingent idea, may well be transcribed
here. Mr. Robert Craig, of Chapelton, wrote: "I have just
read your appeal in to-day's Gleaner. I feel exactly as you do,
so just put me down for 30, and ask me for my cheque when
it is required. The Empire needs every man it can muster,
a fact which does not seem to be appreciated even at home!
but which, I am qualified to know, is clear to many patriotic
young fellows here." Messrs. Manton and Hart, of Kingston,
said: "We heartily approve of your admirable suggestion for
helping the Empire, and hope the idea will grow, and that
you will get more than you dream of towards the fund. Please
put us down as contributors to the sum of 30." Messrs.
Sherlock and Smith, of Kingston, wrote: "We both feel that
your idea is a good one, and that everyone in Jamaica that
can afford to help the Mother Country in any way just now
should do so. You will find Sherlock's cheque for 15, and
mine for the same amount." The letter was signed by Mr.
J. R. Smith.
It was then announced that subscriptions to the fund
could be sent either to the Gleaner or to Mr. William Wilson,
and during the next week other commendatory letters were
published by the Gleaner. Mr. F. G. Sharp, of Trout Hall,
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
Clarendon, sent a cheque for 15, and very wisely urged that
those who might not be able to afford the sum mentioned by
Mr. William Wilon should nevertheless contribute to the
fund. Mr. T. N. Aguilar wrote: "Please put me down for a
subscription of 30 to the War Contingent Fund. I heartily
approve of the scheme, but I think that whether enough money
is obtained to send 200 men or not, the number of men we can
actually send should go." Mr. Horace Myers said in his letter:
"I am in full sympathy with the suggestion to send a first
Jamaica Contingent to the front, and would like very much to
see it arranged-the sooner the better. I go further and say
that every effort should be made to this end. It gives me
great pleasure to subscribe the sum of thirty guineas to help
along the scheme, which I sincerely trust will materialise."
Mr. Leonard deCordova wrote: "Please put me down for 30
towards the Jamaica War Contingent Fund. I entirely ap-
prove of it, and wish it every success. I would suggest that
some effort should be made to encourage young men willing to
enlist to send in their names at once. Many may be waiting
to do so. When the names begin to come in, the money, I
think, will follow very quickly." Mr. M. M. Alexander ad-
dressed his letter to Mr. Williap Wilson, asking that his name
should be put down for 30. "I hope," he concluded, "the list
will continue to grow rapidly; it is a matter that should be
carried through without delay." This letter appeared on the
last day of April; so that, within a week of the publication of
Mr. Wilson's suggestion, the idea had received the support of
many men whose views would have considerable influence
while it had also been strongly taken up and commended by
the island's Press. It started under the most auspicious cir-
cumstances and was to have a far greater development than
its originator could possibly have imagined or hoped.
Confident now of the scheme's success, Mr. Wilson in-
vited Mr. Baggett Gray, Mr. M. deCordova and Mr. Frank
Jackson to assist him in the work that was to be done, and
50 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
this committee at once set about to appeal for subscriptions,
the Gleaner being the medium of its communications with the
public. A telegram was prepared and despatched through the
local military authorities to England, offering a contingent of
from one hundred to two hundred men. By the beginning of
June the War Contingent Fund stood at over 2,000, and no
one could doubt that the sum required for the transportation of
200 men would easily be collected. But in the interval the
Press and the public had come to the conclusion that the con-
tingent movement should not merely be a voluntary one; an
agitation for a national movement was begun: led by the
Gleaner it daily grew stronger, It was the direct and logical
result of the reply which had been made to Jamaica's offer by
the British War Office and the Secretary of State for the
Colonies. It followed inevitably on Mr. Wilson's practical and
The reply of the British authorities was received in the
last week in May. It was made public on the 28th. The War
Contingent Committee's telegram had mentioned recruits up
to the number of 200, and special emphasis had been laid on
the fact that these recruits would be black, coloured and white
men, a mixed body representing the different strata and com-
position of the island's population. The despatch accepting
the offer stated that any number of men the colony might wish
to send would be welcomed, which response at once assured
Jamaicans that any objection that may at first have been en-
tertained in regard to West Indians of all colours joining the
King's Armies in appreciable numbers had now completely dis-
appeared-Jamaica was free to send 10,000 men if she de-
sired to do so.
This put it beyond question that Jamaica's offer had been
taken seriously, and many persons perceived quite clearly that
a mere 200 men sent by private subscriptions would have more
of a sentimental than a practical value, and would be a con-
tribution altogether incommensurate with the size and historic
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR
reputation of a colony like Jamaica. The agitation for a larger
contingent was therefore bound to continue and to grow. On
the 2nd of June there was a meeting of the St. Thomas Paro-
chial Board. At that meeting the Chairman, Mr. J. H. Wil-
liams, moved a resolution in which the Board unanimously
expressed the opinion "that a representative contingent of at
least 1,000 men and officers, to be maintained at full strength
during the war", should be sent to England, the cost being
borne by the Government. A special land tax to defray the
expenses of this contingent was suggested, the members of
the Board individually expressing their willingness to pay this
special tax. Other Parochial Boards soon followed this ad-
mirable lead, but the War Contingent Committee itself had
also perceived that the original scheme must now be modified
and considerably expanded.
The committee had now been enlarged. The contingent
movement having received the approval of the British au-
thorities, the Governor felt free to associate himself with it.
Accordingly, he and General Blackden became members of the
new War Contingent Committee, which, as finally constituted,
contained these members: His Excellency the Governor,
Mr. William Wilson, Mr. Baggett Gray, Mr. Michael de Cor-
dova, Mr. Frank Jackson, General Blackden, Lieut. Otley, Mr.
John Tapley, Mr. John Barclay, Mr. Edward Morris, Cap-
tain List, Hon. Sydney Couper, Hon. Coke Kerr.
This body met early in June with Mr. William Wilson as
Chairman, and it was then decided on the suggestion of the
Governor that the contingent should consist of 500 men, with
reserves to replace casualties which might from time to time
occur through sickness or other causes.
Jamaica having set the example of a practical effort to-
wards contributing a contingent of soldiers to the British
Army, the sister colonies of Trinidad, British Guiana and Bar-
bados immediately prepared to follow that example. Sir
Wil'iam Manning had entered into communication with the
52 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
Governors of those colonies; these had promptly replied, and it
was arranged that there should be a West Indian Battalion
of 1,500 men, including those from Jamaica; it was under-
stood, however, that the formation of the Jamaica Contingent
should be in no way dependent on the action of the other
colonies, and that the despatching of the recruits would take
place as early as it was convenient to do so. Young men all
over the colony had already been sending in their names to
the committee, the district medical officers were now asked to
examine these volunteers free of charge, while officers com-
manding the several local defence corps and gentlemen in-
teresting themselves in obtaining recruits for the contingent
were requested to select the best men that could be found and
to take care that volunteers should be able to read ma:nu;.r ript
and write fairly well.
And now members of the Legislative Council began to ex-
press their opinion as to what Jamaica should do. Several
were emphatic on the necessity of a national movement; in all
parts of the colony it was being asked why the Government
hesitated to take the step which Jamaica as a whole so strongly
approved. But the Government gave no hint of its intentions.
In the third week of June the examination of recruits began
at the Camp, men from Kingston, St. Andrew and St.
Thomas being the first to be summoned for this ordeal. Then
the recruits from other parts of the country were ordered to
These men came to the city in batches, and in almost
every case their departure from their town or district was
made the occasion of a popular demonstration. The leading
people of the neighbourhood come out to see them off; they
marched to the railway station to the accompaniment of music;
they were cheered to the echo as the train thundered out of
the station, and in Kingston they were received by members
of the War Contingent Committee and conveyed in special
cars to Up-Park Camp.
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
The examination of recruits went steadily on; and sub-
scriptions towards the Contingent Fund continued to come in.
The Contingent Committee did not hesitate to ask the public
for contributions as small as threepence. The appeal had
first been for 3,000. The sum of 5,000 was next asked for.
Then the committee boldly placed the figure at 10,000, sug-
gesting that the voluntary effort might be able to do all that
was needed. The public responded liberally. But the public
meant that Jamaica should send far more than 500 men, and
day after day there was something said in this connection.
On June 29 there was a meeting of the War Contingent
Committee, and there it was stated that 748 recruits had pre-
sented themselves for examination, of whom 442 had been
accepted. There were still 155 new applications for enrol-
ment, so it seemed certain that the 500 men wanted would be
forthcoming when a transport ship should be obtained. This
announcement was pleasurably received, the more so as there
had not been wanting pessimists to suggest that Jamaica, in
spite of all the talk, would not be able to find 200 willing re-
cruits when the moment came for a final decision on the part
of the younger men. This was said quite freely, and only
facts could refute the pessimists: now that they stood refuted
they at once attacked the suggestion that the colony should
send "at least 1,000 men." Thisiwas quite out of the question,
they said; 500 would be as many as the colony could scrape
together. Then the quality of the recruits was pronounced to
be miserable, especially by those who had not set eyes upon
the men. As a last resort it was confidently asserted that
the contingent would never be sent for, that our offer had
only been accepted so that our feelings should not be too much
hurt, that some good excuse would be found for keeping the
men in Jamaica until the war was at an end.
In July the public criticism of the Government's apparent
disinclination to make the contingent movement a national
one attained its most vigorous expression; from every quarter
54 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
came strenuous protests, and some of the expressions used
were positively bitter. All the colony's church papers had
but one thing to say, and that consisted of a demand for a na-
tional contingent. Men occupying leading positions in their
respective parishes implored the Governor and Legislative
Council not to allow the island to be disgraced at a time when
every other part of the British Empire was hastening to make
sacrifices for the great Imperial Cause. These gentlemen had
all contributed handsomely towards the War Contingent Fund;
more than one had each given enough to send away six or
eight recruits. It was therefore with no desire to escape their
personal obligations that they urged on the Government a na-
tional movement. The immediate though indirect reply of the
Governor to all these exhortations was the announcement that
out of public funds he would provide two weeks' training for
the recruits at Up Park Camp, prior to their leaving the is-
This was considered so utterly inadequate a contribution
from General Revenue towards the contingent expenses that
the Gleaner called upon the elected members to take the ini-
tiative, hold a meeting among themselves, and represent
strongly to the Colony's Executive the desire of the people
that something substantial and truly representative of the
national capabilities should be attempted and carried through.
This paper suggested that the contingent should consist of
5,000 men, and that for this purpose the colony should become
responsible for an expenditure of 500,000. It professed a
preference for a still larger scheme, namely 10,000 men and a
capital expenditure of a million pounds, or 60,000 a year for
forty years. But the smaller scheme was the one which it
strongly and deliberately advocated; and now that the appeal
direct had been made to the elected members, the efforts of
many persons in the country were directed towards inducing
these legislators to use their influence with the Government
in the interest of a national contingent movement.
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
August came. The agitation continued. The hurricane
season was well now advanced; but as in November 1912 Ja-
maica had been visited by a devastating cyclone, most persons
hoped and believed that for some time to come the island
would be spared. But on August 12 came warnings from
Washington, and on the evening of August 13 masses of black
cloud on the northern and eastern horizons, and fierce squalls
with sharp stinging showers of rain, foretold only too plainly
the inevitable approach of the ancient scourge. In a few hours
it had come and gone, but in the interval it had destroyed pro-
duce to the value of several hundred thousand pounds, and
had damaged roads and railway lines severely. It had found
the country fair and flourishing and had left destruction in its
wake. The colony had suffered serious loss, and for a mo-
ment many must have felt that there could be no more talk of
a national contingent movement.
But no one said so. The previous year had been, in spite
of drought and war, one of the best industrially and financially
that the colony had known for half a century. Its export
trade had amounted in value to nearly three million pounds
sterling, according to the official computation, and was prob-
ably actually more than that. The people had been practising
economy too; hence it was felt generally that the restoration
of damaged plantations would not be so difficult now as it had
proved to be on some previous occasions. It was not long be-
fore it was perceived that though the island had suffered loss
it was by no means crippled; hence on August 18 the Press
was able to state that all the arguments which had been ad-
vanced in favour of a national contingent still held good, and
that the occurrence of the hurricane was no reason whatever
why Jamaica should not do something substantial for the sake
of its own honour and for the Imperial Cause.
The Governor called the Legislative Council together on
September 21. The financial situation created by the hurri-
cane was put before the members. Hurricane repairs to
56 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
public roads and works would cost 57,652; in addition there
was an estin-ite-d decrease of revenue over the whole year's
transactions amounting to f6:.2 making a grand total of
120,870. rThe sums available to the Government to meet this
amunr,"t :`,r.. 159,20f2. leaving the deficit to be met at 61,578.
It was expected that the Governor would propose to levy new
taxes to c.'ver thin anticipated deficit. Instead of that he pro-
posed to finane the colony by overdrafts on the banks until
the end of the current financial year. Then came the an-
nouncement which the colony had been longing and praying
to hear, but which few persons thiou,:ht could be made in the
exFisting flnancinl circumstances of the country. "It may be
held expedient,", said His E:cellkncy, "that a loan should be
raised to cover the e-;nmnditure which may be incurred by
sending a contingent of troops to the Uniti~- Kin g.lomn, and
for meeting the cost of the raising and ?e nd ina of drafts to
keep the ':.nt;lnent up to str.enth; and it would seem proper
in the circumstances in which we find ourselves at pr?'eent.
that the burden of these charges should not fall entirely upon
this P-eneratiin, but should be in part left to posterity to bear."
So the decision had come at last, and had, it was gener-
ally admitted, been announced in the proper place and to the
rnPp-ir p:'pie--th members of the Jamaica Legislature. Per-
haps the word decision is rather too strong a one to use just
here, for the Governor, though showing that he was himselff
inclined to make the contingent movement a national affrtir,
put for'.v;-r his sugei;r-j n tentatively, leaving the Council to
express its opinion on it. But as only the Governor could
propose the epren,.iture of public money for any purpose
lwhiatver, and as the views of the elected members were al-
ready well lmnv,-n, it was generally felt that His E:-:cpllency''
few remarks had settled the country's policy in so far as a
limited national contingeint movement was concerned,
On the :fllo,.,ing day some of the ..'ectLd members took
up the question, each one of them giving as his opinion that
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
the country as a constituent unit should become responsible
for the sending of a contingent of troops to the front. On
these speeches the Governor commented. He paid to the mem-
bers of the War Contingent Committee a tribute which they
certainly deserved, praising them for the work they had ac-
complished and the success they had achieved. "The nucleus
of the contingent," he said, "had been formed by the commit-
tee," and in this view the general public decidedly concurred.
He then proceeded to explain his position. He admitted
that he had been very cautious in the matter of the contingent.
The Home Authorities had asked him to accept certain liabili-
ties with regard to gratuities and pensions which would have
to be paid to the men who might be disabled, and with re-
gard to -eparation allowances to be paid to relatives whom
the men might leave behind. This had been known in July:
the Imperial Government had suggested that Jamaica might
assume half the responsibility for these charges. It was be-
lieved at the time that the Governor had refused to counten-
ance the suggestion; he now stated that he had replied saying
that he did not feel he could accept such liabilities without the
approval of the Council, but that he felt certain that when
the war was over and Jamaica knew what really were the
liabilities that must be met, the Island's Legislature would
be willing to take them up. He wanted it to be distinctly un-
derstood that he had accepted no liability whatever so far as
the contingent was concerned. He had left the whole matter
to the Council to decide.
On the legislators, then, and ec:pec aly on the elected
members of the Council, was placed the entire responsibility
of deciding whetherr Jamaica should pay out of the public
revenue the cost of sending men to the front. What was the
object of the Governor in pursuing this course?
The right conclusion most probably is that he would not,
as an agent of the Imperial Government, urge the country, or
even induce the country, to spend money raised by taxes from
58 JAMAI.CA AND THE GREAT WAR.
a population mainly of African descent on the sending of men
to fight in a war with whose origin the West Indies had
had nothing to do. The colony was a poor one, it was some.
times difficult to obtain yearly the money needed for the pro-
vision of public necessities. Since the beginning of the war
taxes had been increased and expenditure on public utilities
curtailed. Har.ir timesr might be in store for the colony, and
the people who would feel them most would be the poorest:
if then Jamaica was to undertake a national contingent move-
ment she must do so of her own initiative; the elected members
must declare their views. This, we believe, was the idea in
the Governor's mind: in what concerned expenditure for Im-
perial purposes he would follow, not lead, the country. When,
however, the country had once accepted the principle of a na-
tional movement, he would feel himself entitled to make offers
to the Imperial Authorities in its name. He did not say this,
but later on he acted it, as will presently be seen.
That brief September session of the Council formally de-
creed that Jamaica was to be responsible for all expenses con-
nected with the contingent of 500 men, over and above the
amount of money up to then collected by voluntary contribu-
tions and somewhat similar means. The colony was to pay
for the clothing and trinisprfatifon of the drafts needed to
maintain the continent at full strength, and it was estimated
that some 75 men per month would be required for this pur-
pose. The men were to be paid what the English soldiers of
the new armies received, and this pay they would receive from
the Imperial Authorities. Jamaica's share was to be confined
to the defraying of expenses incurred in recruiting and des-
patching the men to England, and in giving them a certain
amount.of elementary military training before they left our
Something more was done that session. As already men-
tioned, the Imperial Government had suggested that Jamaica
might assume half the liability for pensions, gratuities and
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
separation allowances connected with the contingent. On the
motion of Mr. J. H. Allwood the Council agreed that "all
charges for separation allowances and disabilities, gratuities
and pensions on such scale, and commencing at such period as
may be arranged between the Government and the War Office"
should be undertaken by the colony. This made Jamaica re-
sponsible for the men who should return from the war, and
for the dependents they would leave behind them. Thus the
Council had done more than the Home Government had sug-
gested should be done, and the wish of Jamaica was that she
were in a position to follow the example of Canada and
Australia and defray all the costs of her contingent. That,
however, was simply out of the question. It was also felt and
said throughout the island that the Council should have decided
upon a larger contingent. Still, as the reinforcements would
amount to 900 in one year, and were to be sent month by
month whether there were any casualties to be replaced or not,
there was comfort in the reflection that in a year the Jamaica
Contingent would number 1.400, whereas the first proposal
had mentioned 200 soldiers only.
Then followed a period of waiting. The contingent had
been accepted in May, but up to the end of September no trans-
port to take the men away could be procured. Either there
was difficulty in procuring a ship in England or there was
dilatoriness on the part of the War Office. Doubts again began
to be expressed as to whether the contingent would ever go,
and the pessimists then had the happiest time of their lives.
In the second week of October the recruits, who up to
then had only been examined and enrolled, were called up to
enlist. It was then found that only 400 men answered the
call. Some, tired of waiting, had already left the island for
England. Others had grown lukewarm (these enlisted after-
wards.) Recruiting meetings were at once commenced all
over the island, and the response of the young men was most
satisfactory. Then on Saturday, October 20, the King's appeal
60 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
to the Empire for men and yet more men to meet the enemy
was received by the Governor and was published on the same
afternoon. It had what might almost be called an electrifying
It was eagerly read all over the island. It called upon men
of all classes to come forward voluntarily and take part in
maintaining against the foe the Empire "which your fathers
and mine have built." There were some in Jamaica to hold
that this appeal was not intended for Jamaica. Primarily it
was not. It was intended for the people of the United King-
dom and Ireland, but it was despatched to every part of the
Empire, and in every corner of the British Empire men of
pure British descent were to be found. There were others,
not of pure British descent, who might rightly regard this
appeal as made to them also. Every man with British blood in
his veins might claim that his ancestors had helped to build
and to defend the British Empire, now grown to so much
greatness, and men with no drop of British blood in their veins
could equally utter that proud boast. Jamaicans of all classes
and colours had not for nothing sailed with Nelson to Nicar-
agua, accompanied Vernon to Cartagena, or assisted in cap-
turing Havana. The ancestors of the present generation of
Jamaicans had fought and toiled and died in foreign lands
under the British flag. Hence the King's appeal was accepted
generally as a call to his loyal subjects in Jamaica, and Ja-
maica was prepared to answer to the best of its ability. The
first contingent with part of its reinforcements would go
shortly; a much larger scheme must now be adopted; and
until the war should end the colony must do what it could in
the way of recruiting men for active service. That was the
settled determination of the people within a few days of the
publication of the King's Appeal, and it soon found expression
in energetic and successful action.
THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT
WE have seen how the effort to send to the front a con-
tingent of Jamaica recruits was initiated, how
Mr. Wilson's eminently practical suggestion was
welcomed by the colony and soon transformed into a move-
ment of growing proportions and importance. The success
of this movement, however, did not depend upon the activity
and the exertions of men alone.
In the history of public events in Jamaica the names of
women have not appeared; in the past, women have played a
practically negligible part in public life. They have worked
along with men in the cultivation of the soil; they have been
school-teachers, latterly they have entered offices as steno-
graphers and accountants; and no objection has been taken
to this extension of their activities. They have had to contend
not so much with opposition and prejudice as with inertia and
apathy-an inertia and apathy of their own creation mainly.
But the war seemed to stimulate them; from the outbreak of
hostilities they began to manifest a patriotic enthusiasm which
was as welcome as it was novel; they assisted greatly to col-
lect funds for the assistance of wounded British sailors and
soldiers and for the families of these; soon they were to make
a new departure, were to initiate an effort which will always
be remembered as one of the most successful ever put forward
in Jamaica on behalf of the Empire's cause.
Who was "Q. A. T. M. N. S. R., Retired"? That question
was asked by many on the morning of June 11, 1915, when
these letters appeared as signature to a communication ap-
pearing in the correspondence columns of the Gleaner. In
that communication an earnest appeal was made to the women
of Jamaica. "Now," ran the exhortation, "is the time for
62 JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
women to show what they are made of," and the women of the
country were asked to raise their own fund for the purpose of
assisting the young men of Jamaica to take "the places of
those who have fallen." The writer suggested a committee of
influential ladies and offered her services to any committee
that might be formed; "Let us get together and show our
brave boys what we can do to further their heart's desire,"
were the closing words of this opportune appeal. The letter
was widely read; no one seemed to guess the writer's identity.
In these pages alone it is revealed, and permission for that
has been obtained. It was Miss Annie Douglas, who had served
with credit in South Africa as a Red Cross Nurse, whose words
struck a responsive chord in the hearts of the women of Ja-
maica. It was felt that this unknown writer had urged the
right thing, it was everywhere acknowledged that the time
had come when our women should make a special effort
to aid the contingent movement. On the day after Miss Doug-
las's letter appeared Mrs. William Wilson sent a cheque for
five pounds as the first donation towards the suggested Wo-
A movement of this sort, however, require a great deal
of personal exertion and organization. Miss Douglas had of-
fered her services to any committee that might be formed, but,
except perhaps her personal friends and the staff of the
Gleaner (which must always respect the anonymity of its
contributors), no one knew who was "Q. A. T. M. N. S. R."
Nor did Miss Douglas make any attempt to torm the commit-
tee she had suggested; as matron of the Asylum she was a
busy woman filling a responsible Government position, and she
had not even been sure if she had the right to sign her name to
the letter she communicated to the Press. Nevertheless she
began at once to work quietly for the cause in which she was
so deeply interested. By the 1st of June she had collected the
sum of 2 14s towards the Women's Fund. For some days
after this the movement seemed to languish; it required vigor
JAMAICA AND THE GREAT WAR.
ous personal effort to bring it to success. Though the women
of Jamaica were willing enough to do what they could for the
contingent, an independent effort on their part was something
new to them. They hesitated; waited for a more definite lead.
The appeal, we are afraid, in spite of the general interest it
aroused, would have gone unheeded through the influence
of inertia and hesitation had not an organization been formed
to realize its patriotic purpose. The initiative in this connec-
tion was taken by three ladies, and when their plan was pub-
lished to the island the Women's Movement began in earnest
and was certain of success.
On June 26 the Women's Fund stood at only 35 18s.
On that same day a circular was published in the Gleaner.
It was addressed to all the women of Jamaica and was accom-
panied with the outlines of a programme to be followed by
all those women in every part of the island who wished to aid
in the sending of a contingent to the front. We transcribe the
words in full:-
"It is not given to women in this island to nurse the
wounded or to take the place of men as motor-car drivers,
train or tram conductors, or to perform various other duties
now being undertaken by our sisters in Great Britain; but it
is given to us to send our sons, brothers, or husbands if neces-
sary, to the front, to share the privilege of fighting for our
"The principal means to our hands for so doing is to sub-
scribe to the War Contingent Fund whatever little we can, no
sum being too small.
"Women may say, 'Our husbands, our brothers or our par-
ents are subscribing, and what little we subscribe will come
from them.' But all of us women spend a sum, great or small
as the case may be, on ourselves. Let us for once forego a por-
tion of this and send to the Fund some part of what we would
in normal times spend on ourselves, as our personal contribu-