QUARTERLY OF THE INSTITUTE OF JAMAICA
MARCH-JUNE 1973 VOL. 7 NO. 1-2
Jamaica Journal is published Quarterely
'by the Institute of Jamaica, 12-16.East
Street, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.
Rex Nettleford, Chairman
Dahlia Mills,.Vice Chairman
C. Bernard Lewis, Director
Neville Dawes, Deputy Director
Design and Production
Lithographed in Jamaica
l.itho Press Limited
Jamaica 50c U.K. & Europe 37%p
U.S. & Canada $1.00
West Indies $1.50 (B.W.I.)
The Autobiography of Norman Washington Manley .
Preview,.James Carnegie's Aspects of Politics
in Jamaica, 1918-1938 ... . . . .
The Stony Hill Barracks . . . . . .
Archaeological Analysis of Material Culture as a
Reflection of sub-cultural differentiation in
18th Century Jamaica . . . . .
Political Aspects of Garvey's Work in Jamaica 1929-35
Some Aspects of the Deficiency Question in Jamaica
in the Eighteenth Century . . . . .
ART AND LITERATURE
A Politician looks at the Arts . . .. interv
R. Dobru, Three Poems . . . . . .
Self-taught Artists Exhibition of Paintings, 1973 . .
Lorna Goodison, Nine Poems . . . . ..
Plato, Black Sultan of the Hills . . . . .
National Exhibition of Paintings, 1973. . . .
Nicolas Guille'n, Three Poems . . . . ..
Review of Anthony McNeill's Reel from "The Life Movie"
1 year $2.00
3 years $5.00
5 years- $9.00
lyear- S$3.50 plus $1.00 p.o ta
3 years $10.00 plus $3A00 (0dtage
Syears-$16.00plus $.00 postage
P (United States Currency)
1 year $5.00 plus $2.00 postage
3 years- $14.00 plus $6.00 potag
5 years $18.00 plus $10.00 portage
U.K. & Europe
1 year 1.40p plus 5p postage
3 years 4.00p plus 1.50p -postage
5 years 6.50p plus 2.50p postage
Africa, Asia, Australia
US or UK subscription rates plus
double their respective postage rates.
Must Kingston go Dry?. .. . . . .. Roy Fletcher
Towards Education for Technology . .... .. . Henry I.C. Lowe
Research in Corn Hybridization in Jamaica ....... C. Roy Reynolds
FROM THE INSTITUTE
The Living Garment of a Nation, an overview of the
manuscripts of the West India Reference Library .. . . . . 93
Cover Picture: National Exhibition of Paintings, 1973.
NEXT ISSUE: Letters written by
SIR ALEXANDER BUSTAMANTE to the PRESS in 1935
marking his emergence as a public figure in JAMAICA.
. Trevor Munroe
S. David Buisseret
R. Duncan Mathewson
. . Rupert Lewis
. N.A. T. Hall
iew by Basil McFarlane
. F.J. Duquesnay
. Wayne Brown
rr ~..g ~-L1~ i- ~ii Y~LLYCCiiPC-~L YI-~II~~IC
Bronze Bust by American negro sculptor, Richmond Barthe
Photo- Raphael Shearer
I I ~
It has become almost a habit for the authors of
memoirs to begin an Introduction to the book with
the firm assurance that "this is not a history" They
then go on to explain that either they do not have
the sort of memory that stores up personal detail or
that they do not have the depth of knowledge or the
detachment required of a person who attempts to
write the history of his own times and of events in
which he played a leading part. What then is this book
I plead guilty. I am saying the same things myself
but I am anxious as well to say what the book is all
about and why I think that it may be important and
may be some contribution to knowledge to attempt a
personal account of the growth and development of
Jamaica between 1938 when the National Movement,
as understood in modem times, began and 1962 when
Independence as a unit Nation was achieved.
Few if any of the colonies of the ancient British
Empire have a comparable history. In few are found
such a unique combination of factors as the story will
disclose. Is there any other country achieving nation-
hood since World War II that had been a British Colony
for 300 years and more before it became a member of
the United Nations; that launched a National Move-
ment in the course of World War II, in spite of and in
the face of deep traditions of friendship and loyalty
to the Imperial power; that secured in the middle of
the War a break-through with a new Constitution that
gave it a beginning of responsible Parliamentary
Government; that based that Constitution on an all-
elected Parliament the product of free voting with
universal adult suffrage; that, in spite of a beginning
with a united collective team of vigorous and able
men, soon saw the emergence of a charismatic leader
of immense personal power and unlimited and unin-
hibited ambition, whose conflict with the existing
and determined team was able to produce a two-party
system which as of this time is as firmly rooted and
disciplined and all-embracing, perhaps more so than
any other country in the world; that became a mem-
ber of a Federation of 10 units based on a law of the
Imperial Parliament which did not contemplate seces-
sion and yet contrived a way of breaking up the
Federation and becoming as a unit a Nation by resort
to the ballot box and with not the smallest sign of
This is a remarkable blend of historical events, and
to all that there is still much to be added. It will be
claimed that when we became a Nation with a motto
of which I am proud to be part author "Out Of
Many One People" we were expressing our faith in
a future in which we would be an example to the
world of inter-racial harmony. It will be claimed that
we have achieved a rate of growth and development
over the past 15 years that is almost unequalled by
any other country in the world. It will be demonstrat-
ed that Jamaica is a classic example of a vital field for
study of the problems of an undeveloped country
struggling to break through the two-tier economic
system which is growing stronger and stronger and in
which the gap between the mass of the poor, the small
peasant farmers and the unemployed, and the driving,
dynamic and efficient middle class is advancing at pro-
digious speed and all this because of the basic
economic factors and in spite of the fact that there
is a positive awareness of the problem and a growing
concern about the ways in which it might be solved.
MEMOIRS OF N.W. MANLEY: 1938-1962
Early in 1968 the House of Representatives, the
elected branch of our Parliament, set aside an after-
noon for Sir Alexander Bustamante to go to the House
when a motion of praise for his service to the Jamaica
Parliament was moved. He had been a member of
Parliament from 1944-1967 and had become our
first Prime Minister when we achieved Independence
in 1962. It was in that year that he replaced me as
Premier in an election I arranged, and won to power
for the second time. I spoke on the motion and half
in jest told him then that when I came to retire, which
I explained was not very far away, I intended to
write my political memoirs.
I reminded the House that for nearly 30 years we
had been responsible to a large extent, as Leaders of
the two parties that dominated Jamaica from 1943
to the present day, for most of what had happened
to this country and that it was inevitable that my
memoirs would refer to Bustamante (as I will call him
in this book) fairly extensively.
I was astonished to find how much excited atten-
tion this statement caused, how many publishers wrote
me expressing interest and how many people of all
classes assumed it would be done and how many urged
me to do it because it would have, for us, great histor-
I had long had it in mind and it did not take any
time for my intention to harden and for me to begin
to prepare to do it.
Well, I retired in February this year and at long last
became free to try. I was and am proud of the fact
that my son Michael was elected my successor by a
large majority and has been doing a very good job.
The party has indeed rallied to the charge and is
clearly stronger than before.
I believe my story will have value. Jamaica's mod-
ern history, which largely dates from 1938, has many
factors of real historical interest and the evidence of
what 300 years and more of Imperial rule does to a
people is almost unique. And the way we threw off
colonialism is also unique. And the evolution of two
strong parties that have dominated the scene all the
time is unique. So too is the leadership of those
parties and the inter-relationship of that leadership.
One leader, myself, a highly successful Barrister, aged
45 in 1938, a man of great popularity and enjoying
the esteem and regard of all classes, a man who had led
his own life in his own way; and the other leader, a
man 10 years older, not very successful in life up to
1938, but a very remarkable man who by sheer force
of personality came to be regarded as a messiah by
the masses and, though entering public life late, has
held on and won increasing esteem and respect.
It so happen that we are cousins, and for that and
other reasons I think the best thing I can do is to be-
gin with a very simple account of our families as a
sort of background to the story I have to tell.
I was born in 1893 at Roxburgh in Manchester. My
father was the son of a peasant woman, fathered by
an Englishman who left at least 2 other sons by differ-
ent women. Father was a hard driving man and be-
came a well known produce dealer in Porus where he
met and married my mother,a near-white woman, who
was postmistress at Porus and, as happened in those'
days, lost nearly all her friends when she married a
Negro. My grandmother on my mother's side had
married twice. First to one Clarke and, on his death,
to Alexander Shearer, a young North Irish immigrant.
The first marriage produced Bustamante's father who
in turn married twice. The second marriage produced
a large family and the two families, my mother's and
Clarke's, were very close together all her life.
Father died when I was 6 and mother, a woman of
great courage and personality, got rid of Roxburgh
and by 1901 the family, mother, 4 children, Grand-
father Shearer, and usually a member of the Clarke
family were all living at Belmont, a large, almost
derelict property at Guanaboa Vale in the remote
parts of St. Catherine. There I lived till mother died
when I was 16 years old.
I was a youngster of about 9 or 10 (I just don't
remember what year) when Bustamante (Clarke as
he then was) came to stay with us as a junior overseer
on the property. I remember him as a lively and
irrepressible young man. He was a fine rider and
people from all the surrounding districts used to bring
their young mules and horses for him to work in. I
don't recall that he did any systematic work he
enjoyed life too much. Actually he had come to us
from one of the Johnson & Co. chain of stores on the
North Coast. After about one year he cleared out for
Cuba with, or following, our own coachman and I
never saw him again till 1923.
One of the odd legends that you have today is that
my mother treated him like a servant and he never
forgave it, so could not settle down with me in one
party. Hence our two party system. That, of course,
is nonsense. He was a member of the family just as
his sisters were when they stayed at Belmont ...
My Biography and Bustamante's have been arrang-
ed for by our present government which is concerned
to build up a historical record of our country. Mine
is to be written by Vic Reid and he will tell the story
of my days before 1962 in detail. His book will nQ
doubt explain how it came about that in 1938 I was
one of the best known persons in Jamaica and, I think
I can say, regarded with affection by many and res-
pected by nearly all. I am not concerned with the
past before 1938 except to talk a little about Jamaica
as a Colony and the question of Colour as it had
affected me throughout my life both before and after
I became a politician in 1938.
As a boy at Belmont, I look back on an isolated
life. There were no middle class families nearer than
Spanish Town, 10 miles away. In a vague way I knew
that Mother liad lost all her friends when she married
a Negro. The only visitors were the Clarkes and one
or other of a remarkable family of spinsters called
Plummer, coloured folk who lived at the top of
Church Street in Kingston. My life at home was either
spent reading or in friendly association with the
peasants around us who worked on the property as
logwood chippers or billing pastures. We were good
friends and I just was not conscious of colour in any
way at all,nor at any of the schools I went to did I
find anything of the sort, neither at Elementary
schools nor at Jamaica College where I spent some 7
When mother die& and the family rented Belmont
and went to live in England where my sister, the
Music Teacher was well established in a good job, my
younger brother, killed in the War at Ypres in 1917,
was sent to Felsted, one of the English public schools.
He it was that introduced me to the problem of colour
as he had seen it and felt it in his own person in
So I went to England after I won the Rhodes
Scholarship in 1914 with no practical experiences
based on colour but aware of it largely as an English
problem. That, of course, was naive but in those days
when a young person in a country like this lives an
intense and largely successful life this is not a prob-
lem that obtrudes too much on consciousness.
As far back as 1914 after the start of the first
World War it was impossible to be in England and
not be aware of the problem of colour. You were
immediately aware in a thousand ways that you
belonged elsewhere but not there. You were different
even if you were not concerned with lodgings and
children and all the things that have arisen since the
mass migration to England in the 1950's and there-
after. I had a readymade entrance. There was my
family and there were my mother's 2 sisters, one with
a large family of nine children ranging in age from 21
to 10 or 11 and their friends and associates.
At Oxford there was a strange situation. Something
like 70% of all the students enlisted before 1914 was
out and it was a ghost-like city. There was no obvious
colour prejudice among the students, though even
then I detected an anti-Indian sentiment which be-
came more marked and obvious after the War.
[From the First Autobiography]
The Oxford I entered was not the Oxford of peace
time days. I doubt if we had more than seventyfive
men out of a normal quota of about three hundred.*
For the most part they were, like myself, young men
from abroad, or established older men expecting to
take their degrees in June of the following year. All
Colleges had lost about 80% of their men and when
next Summer term we began to play a little cricket,
it actually took five Colleges to muster a cricket team
and the Varsity Athletics were abandoned for that
I was recovering my strength and fitness from the
Typhoid I had had and it took me nearly a full year to
regain full health again, though I never regained my
old toughness. I spent the two winter terms introduc-
ing myself to a new sport rowing. I did a lot of
work in fours, and later on in a college training eight,
but mostly I did individual solo work and before I left
I was fairly good at sculling and knew a little about
punting. I am still a good oarsman and love the sea,
and that new skill I owe to Oxford, just as my boy-
hood had made me an expert, as I still am, with axe
In each College. There were 27 Colleges in Oxford University
at that time.
It was not a good time for serious work I had to
pass Responsions as I had done little Greek at J.C.,
and 1 read a lot of European History. But my time
was spent mostly in reading and I really gave myself
a good grounding in English Literature and was devoted
to most of the influential modern writers.
I had decided before 1914 was ended, to leave
Oxford at the end of my first academic year and
agreed with my brother to join when and where we
could together. Came the end of my year in June and
what would have been the long vacation till the
October term began.
I was sure we should take a six week holiday and
enjoy life before we closed all doors. So off we went
to Simonds Yat, just inside Wales, to spend time on a
very sporting river, rowing and swimming with our
two sisters, the whole family together.
We had a wonderful six weeks, then set off to enlist.
First we tried for the Airforce. It had already become
clear that the aeroplane would play an important role
and it was then a very gallant survival of a sporting
element in a war that had developed into a grim, slow,
brutal business mostly of stalemate. But the air, so far
as England was concerned, was a new and undeveloped
thing. Training schools were to a large extent privately
operated under special contracts with the British
Government, so we were told that if we could find
150 each, we could get into such a school and if we
qualified in six months and earned flying certificates,
we would be considered for admission. I did not have
that money since my first duty would have to with-
draw temporarily from the use of my Scholarship, and
of course my brother by now wasmakingmunitions.
It was easy to decide that we would sooner join the
Field Artillery than an infantry regiment. Easier de-
cided than done. The recruiting centres, still operating
on a voluntary basis, were looking for infantry men.
Field Artillery was short of horses and guns. It was a
horse affair, not yet, or even by the end of the War,
We moved around London for some four weeks
before we found, eventually by our own efforts, an
artillery recruiting centre for 4.5 Howitzers one of the
two branches of the Field Artillery and then could
not get into one of the gun brigades, there were six,
but had to be content with the ammunition-carrying
section where we stayed for about six months, till we
arranged, in interesting circumstances, for a transferto
a gun brigade.
I had intended to pass over the next four years in
silence but once again it is Edna who persuades me
that although all this is not for publication, it is an
important part of my own record and should not be
First, about the men I was to live with in such
strange circumstances. I joined in East Deptford, a
Centre of East End London. Seventy percent of these
men were Cockneys with a view of life all their own. I
got to know them very well and a great affection
developed between us. They were first-class thieves
and would rob your last farthing if you gave them the
chance, but for kindness and generosity I have never
met their equal. If you were broke and did not have a
cigarette to smoke they would not hesitate to give you
one if they had two. They came to look on "Bill", as
they called me, as a great oracle and I was to settle a
thousand arguments about everything under the sun.
When deadlock occurred, the watchword was "Let's
ask Bill!". I was careful to plead ignorance unless I
really knew and could explain, and so preserved res-
pect and confidence.
They shewed an innate courtesy, I suppose because
we liked each other, and soon found out that I did not
like being called "Darkie" as came natural to them,
and I have heard a real tough guy get hold of a new
arrival, a casualty replacement, who automatically
called me "Darkie", and take him aside and say,
"Don't call him that he doesn't like it. We call him
Bill and we like him!".
I remember once when I was ill for about a week
with 'French fever', how they looked after me. If I
was on guard duty, a friend would take it on for me
and when I was real bad they nursed me in a simple
way so that I could avoid reporting 'sick' and so
leaving my unit by being sent off to hospital. I did not
want that to happen as I liked where I was.
As I say, more than half of our men were East
Enders and my own Sergeant was a Covent Garden
market porter, and I shared with another Covent Gar-
den market youngster the honour of being reported
to be best gun-layer (that was my job) in the Division
with its six batteries of 4.5 Howitzers.
By some strange chance, I never found out why, the
rest of our men were Yorkshire miners and there was
a small sprinkling of Irish Volunteers, one of whom
was from Dublin College where he was light heavy-
weight boxing champion. We were very proud of him
and whenever we could arrange a match with another
Division's Champion we did so and always he won by
the K.O. route. He had a devastating punch.
It was an odd life. Once you grew used to its hard-
ships, hard work, dull work, poor food and hard
living quarters, to say nothing of the eternal misery of
body lice which were found everywhere that soldiers
lived I have often wondered how when the War was
over the civilians returning to their old villages and
homes got rid of them we had found it totally
impossible; in spite of all these things, there was a
strange and fascinating irresponsibility about the life
of a private. I had for reasons I will explain,* finally
made up my mind to accept no form of promotion -
I was a gunner and a gunner I would remain. So I was
not worried about promotion. Nothing in the future
gave you concern. Your job was to do your job as a
soldier and stay alive if you could. You blessed each
day, you prayed to be spared some fear-raising ex-
perience like being caught in a severe German artillery
barrage or a gas attack with gas shells, but that aside,
to be alive was to have a future and worry aboutthe
future had no place.
I am often asked what was it like to be afraid. Of
course one was afraid because you were intensely con-
cerned with staying alive, but fear was largely an
intense awareness of levels of danger and an intense
alertness to do what you could to avoid it. Once the
danger was passed you largely forgot it except for
boasting about a lucky escape a way of keeping up
morale and I suppose it was that ability to forget
'till next time' that kept me sane. The day you began
to count the escapes and think of how the odds got
narrower each time, that day you were on a down
slope with no hope of peace of mind or the happiness
that is found in just being alive.
I speak in a purely personal way when I use the
word irresponsible. It did not mean not being a good
soldier. Indeed I was sorry to watch the anguish of
those who had responsibilities of a severe nature and
tried to be really good soldiers. One odd effect of the
life on me was that I cut myself off from the outside
world. In four years (nearly) I do not recall writing
one letter to my friends in Jamaica.
But I go too far ahead. I want to tell the story as
well as indulge in reflections that derive from a total
experience. I don't want to tell it in too great detail. I
have never liked to talk about the actual experiences
of war. Though there are very few left who actually
know what the 1914 war was like. World War II was
a very different matter, just as Vietnam today is some-
thing again that does not resemble anything we of
another generation can quite envisage.
When I joined, I joined a mounted unit and I was
part of the most mobile part of it, the ammunition
supply. I had grown up with horses and horse-drawn
vehicles, and I knew more about them than miners
and town-bred Londoners, so naturally enough within
a month I was a Lance Corporal or Bombadier as they
were called in the Artillery, and by the time we left
for France I was promoted Corporal. Here I came up
against violent colour prejudice. The rank and file
disliked taking orders from a coloured N.C.O. and
their attitude was mild by comparison with that of my
fellow N.C.O's. Corporals and Sergeants resented my
sharing status with them. They were more spiteful and
later conspired to get me into trouble. It was only the
Officer class that I could expect to behave with ordi-
nary decency and both aspects of this phenomenon I
fully understood. To be frank I had the greatest con-
tempt for my fellow N.C.O's and I was later to discover
that a sense of superiority was a good protection from
the obsessions that colour-feelings can create.
FRANCE, 1916: THE YPRES FRONT
However, the short period of training, four months
only, passed easily enough and by early January 1916
we were sent off to France spending one night at Le
Havre and being sent by slow train to the Ypres Front,
then formal and quiet since preparation for the great
battle of the Somme was by then afoot.
The week before we left England I had had a day
and night off in London and went to hear a distin-
guished production of Madame Butterfly. All night
long the train that carried us to the front was to echo
the rhythm of a famous melody from that opera and
set up a completely sentimental relationship. Even
now, more than fifty years later, I am still deeply
moved just to recollect it.
We settled down to the routine of trench warfare
and our training was completed by moving the guns
around from place to place and taking up new
positions. My job was to locate each battery in the
Division on each move, and as map-reading was for
me an easy exercise, I was given that special task. I
liked the work. You got to know the country very
well flat dull farming country, deserted by those
who belonged to it, but fresh and with a beauty of its
own in the early morning or later when twilight fell.
On one move I had a lot of trouble finding all the
batteries and the job took me from my Headquarters
for a good four days. On arrival home an angry
Sergeant met me and demanded to know where I had
been for four long days. The answer was obvious and
the question put in a rude and spiteful way. I decided
to have fun. So I concocted a story of being overcome
after eight hours in the saddle and fainting and waking
up to find my horse gone and my rifle vanished. A
comrade rescued the horse but the rifle I had, I feared,
The Sergeant's rage, born of prejudice, knew no
limits. He affected to disbelieve the whole story and
proceeded to charge me with grave negligence involv-
ing the loss of valuable Army material to wit, one
rifle. He laid his charge at once and when I showed him
the rifle next day, with appropriate comments on
spiteful folly, he then charged me with insubordination.
In due course I came before our C.O., a decent fellow
with whom I was on good terms. He adjourned the
matter and had a long private talk with me afterwards.
I explained that the N.C.O's resented my status be-
cause of my colour and that there would never be a
peaceful relationship. He said that if he entertained
the charges there would have to be a courtmartial and
we set to work to think out a solution. I saw that I
disliked the unit and would prefer to be in a brigade
of guns, and I offered to throw in my stripes if he
would transfer both of us to a battery of guns. The
offer stood for my brother and myself. The C.O.
jumped at this and promised to put through a transfer
in a week. So when the transfer was arranged I resigned
as Corporal and reverted to the rank of gunner and
went off to D battery of the 39th Division.
I remained as a gun layer till I left the Army in
1919. Incidentally, I was the fastest gun-layer in the
battery. A gun-layer, by the way, is the man who
operated a fairly complex unit that sets the gun dead
on target when it is fired.
In my new unit I started with a clean sheet, did not
repeat my earlier mistakes and built up a most agree-
able relationship with everybody. They respected and
liked me and would follow my leadership in any
circumstances. I liked them as men and human beings.
Later that year we were sent to the Somme, one of
the bloody battles fought for four months with a
limited advance of about six miles at a cost of half a
million casualties. Early the next year an experiment
with tanks had a tremendous success when in one day
we advanced as many miles as we had done in four
months on the Somme, but had no plan to exploit
success. That, indeed, was not to come till 1918.
We went back to Ypres where six months was spent
in open preparation for the greatest offensive of the
War, timed for June 1917. I had a hard time. We all
did, including my brother who had been wounded
earlier on in 1917 but managed to wangle his way
back to the Division, and indeed to the very battery in
which I was serving.
The plan of battle was to mass an inconceivable
number of guns on a front of about six miles due
East of already battered Ypres, break through to high
ground beyond and get rolling over the plains of
Belgium. Our Division was to follow the first wave of
the attack and our guns were about alongside and in
front of the second line trenches. So we spent two
months preparing gun positions in very dangerous
terrain. It meant building dugouts for six guns and
about 1000 rounds of ammunition for the guns, each
shell weighed 45 Ibs. and they came up in boxes in
pairs, about 100 lbs. to the box. Since we were to
follow the first wave of infantry we prepared nothing
for ourselves. We were to move up four to five miles
the first night after the battle started that was the
plan. We stayed put for at least six weeks after the
start! But that is part of the story I am to tell.
Preparation was hard work. For about one month
at the start about thirty of us used to leave our camp
at about 5.00 p.m. .. . to walk ten miles to where
the shells had been dumped by lorry. Then, arriving at
9.00 p.m. we kept on till 4.00 a.m. carrying boxes of
shells about two miles to where gunpits had been pre-
pared. Then we broke up and got home to camp as
best we could. If you could not beg a lift in a lorry
going home, you just walked it. The Germans knew
perfectly well what we were doing and all roads were
heavily shelled from early morning till the sun was well
up. Usually we got to camp by about 7.00 a.m., had
breakfast, slept, had dinner at 4.00 p.m. and off again
for another night's work. Twenty miles walking and
seven hours carrying a heavy load half the time!
Steady progress was made and thetime came when
we moved up to about six miles West of Ypres and
about four miles from a little wood that lay ahead of
us, surprisingly undamaged. We were then in the last
stages of preparation and night work was largely a
matter of sending a team of about twenty men to put
the finishing touches to our advanced gun positions.
Every week twenty of us went to the wood where
we lived, looking after our own cooking, sleeping by
day and working by night. I suppose we were careless,
but we were soon spotted by the Germans who
worried us by raising quite a few guns in our wood one
I was not there when they struck, but my brother,
then just twentyone years old was. It was just at dusk
when they opened a terrific artillery fire on the wood.
In five minutes half our men were dead or wounded.
Those who could, ran out and among those running
was my brother Roy, carrying on his back a man
thought to be wounded it turned out he was dead -
and then he too fell, killed by a shell that burst a little
distance off and sent a small fragment of its casing
straight into his heart.
We buried him with others next day, all wrapped in
blankets and placed in a field already established in
anticipation of the battle, not far from where we had
our camp. I cannot speak of how I felt. We were good
friends and I was to be lonely for the rest of the war -
lonely and bitter. Roy had a fine mind and a large and
generous love of life and people. He intended to make
writing his career and spent all his spare time when he
was not talking to people, writing short stories and
scenarios for the cinema.
I have never in my long life met anyone who found
it so natural and habitual to get in touch with perfect
strangers, people seen on the street men and women
and to get lost in a talk in which they revealed all
they could of themselves, their background, their
problems and the things they were worried about. For
him every walk in a city by himself was a potential
short story taken from life.
Shortly after, we moved up to where our guns had
been put in the places near the front line with such
labour and, for me, sorrow.
I will never forget 4.00 a.m. on D-day, when all the
thousands of guns we had laboriously assembled
opened fire at aprecisely-timed second of time. How
can I describe it? It has to be imagined to realize how
the world can dissolve into one vast sound, so that
nothing exists except the continuous unbroken rhythm
of sound, like a great wave drowning every feeling
and every emotion sound broken every minute by
the vast roar of our 18 inch guns, and punctuated
constantly by the staccato tattoo of a couple dozen
seventyeight pounders sounding a practised roll like
supermachine-gun fire but mostly just sound that
you could feel that it enveloped you and bore you up.
The attack was doomed from the start. About the
first half-mile of enemy held territory was lightly
protected, but then came a highly fortified line with
enormously strong machine gun emplacements built
on the surface, since the land was totally flat and the
least bit of rain would make it like a swamp. And
before dawn a heavy rain began. One of the worst
rains I have ever known. For eleven days it rained
steadily, almost constantly. I do not recall that it ever
let up for more than three hours at a time. I would
say, eighteen hours rain and six hours none.
Picture our plight; we had no dugouts, no shelter
at all. It was alright when you were working. I did not
mind the first two days when I fired my gun without
break for fortysix hours, firing a round a minute for
the last twelve hours.
And the state of mud in that flat country. I found
a spare sheet of zinc and put it on about six sandbags
of mud, leaving a slanting shelter, say 20" high. When
night came, if I was not on duty, I took off my muddy
boots and puttees and socks, washed them carefully in
a shell hole filled with water, put them back on and
rolled under my shelter where my waterproof sheet
and two blankets were prepared to receive me. Till
we moved forward, which was not to be till eight
weeks had passed, these were the conditions under
which we lived. I am certain no one caught a cold or
left us sick from natural causes. None the less our
casualty list was heavy. Very few gunners survived.
I bore a charmed life. Two incidents stand out.
Once we were being shelled it was about a daily
occurrence and a great run for safety ensued. I was
running North at top speed when I heard the roar of
a coming shell they come with an awesome sound
as their velocity was just a little less than sound. I
knew from the increasing horror of the noise that I
was in for a near shave and at the last split second
dived for the ground and felt the shake of the air as it
passed so near to me. As I fell I heard a shout from a
runner behind me, "Bill is gone they've got him!"
Then I felt myself showered with earth and the noise
of an exploding shell and came to realise that I was
actually at the bottom of the crater made by the
shell say six feet deep by 10 feet wide. My escape
But the very next night I had an equally miraculous
escape. It happened that I was on guard for the night.
We found it better and were allowed to abolish guard
duty with four men on one N.C.O. and three men
each doing four hours duty. We took a chance with
one man for twelve hours, well understanding that if
the single man on duty was ever caught sleeping we
would be forced to undertake the proper system.
It never happened in three years, although there
was always an officer doing the rounds and himself on
duty for the full twelve hours.
Well, I was on duty that night and a sudden shower
of gas shells fell on us. Those were high velocity. You
did not hear them coming. The shell casing was light
as they exploded on touching the ground, with an
instantaneous fuse, and you knew you were under gas
attack because the noise of the explosion was different
from that of a high explosive shell. My duty was to
wake up everyone and see that they ran out of danger
and this was easily done. But next morning I found
my little lean-to upset and my rolled up blankets and
things riddled with fragments of a shell which explod-
ed right beside the shelter. If I had been there and not
on duty, I would have been as riddled as my blankets
After three more weeks of this misery, we were
ordered to move forward about three miles to just
under the famous Paschendale Ridge.
It was an interesting move. It had been a very wet
late summer and it was to be a wet autumn. Months
of intense shell fire had obliterated everything. No
tree stood, nor wall, nor fence. Roads were pulverized
but still firmer than the surrounding mud. You laid
long lanes of duckboards on these roads and just
managed to crawl along slowly. You could only walk
on a duckboard. To leave it was to run the risk of
sinking in mud unless someone came to your rescue.
So you travelled never alone, but always two by two,
or better still, three by three. You saw a lot of dead
people, three-parts buried by mud you spotted
them by an emerging hand or foot, or even a head.
It was indescribable and you placed your guns on
flat platforms made of board.
Where did the gun crew stay? It happened that
they chose a site hard by a brick kiln, whose enor-
nously thick rounded roof and strong walls had
survived all the shells that had struck it. Lying heel to
head we could just squeeze twentyfour people into
this hole, but it was indeed a very tight squeeze.
One remarkable feature about all this was the fact
that Paschendale Ridge, a mile away, was still in
German hands and every time we fired our guns they
could spot us doing it and they had a battery trained
on us; so within five minutes we could be certain we
in turn would be under shell fire. Usually you fired
about ten rounds from each gun, then discreetly mov-
ed away to the brick kiln to see what would happen
and to avoid being knocked out. We had three guns
destroyed and after a week or two were moved out
by the authorities to be reequipped. But we stayed in
that battle and in that forest till it was all over some-
where in November. Five months of it. As a battle it
was the great failure of the War. It is estimated it cost
the British 750,000 men killed and wounded. The
cream of the British Army and of the men who volun-
teered in 1914 to 1916 when conscription was intro-
I have dwelt on this battle since it gives at its worst
a vivid idea of what World War I was like; what the
Infantry suffered in those five months I can only
imagine, I cannot describe.
When I got married in 1921 I went to Paris for a
fortnight after spending my honeymoon in a tent I
erected in the New Forest. I visited Ypres and took a
car over the desolate plain that led to Paschendale
Ridge. The desolation of war was still there, but the
roads had been restored and I could guide the driver
of the car from memory to that old brick kiln. I still
have a picture I took with my camera, or rather a
picture Edna, my wife, took of me sitting in that hole
in the wall that was the entrance to the brick kiln and
its round roof. The only picture I have of what the
battle front looked like.
After those months we needed refreshing and were
sent to a fishing village near Boulogne. It had hard
sands when the tide was out,at least a quarter of a mile
broad, good for galloping horses and guns and doing
all sorts of manoeuvres while you thought of what
the trenches and dugouts were like. But we had a
wonderful time. I practiced my French on the fisher
girls and mostly on one I took a great fancy to, as
she to me. She was a remarkable person, at least 6'2"
tall, the tallest girl I have ever seen. She was handsome
and slim with an infectious smile and a most happy
laugh. A few of us wondered around the village late at
night and when the Military Police came rounding us
up, she would take me to her own room in the cottage
and hide me under the bed and woe betide the Police-
man who, searching the cottage, would dare to enter
to ask if any soldiers were there.
I think my three weeks there was the only happy,
truly happy time I ever had in all my years in France
Eventually we were back in the Line and our Divi-
sion held the last bit of front where the French took
over South of our position. In short, it was at the
junction of the French and British Armies.
It was quiet and deceptively peaceful. Early spring
and hardly a sign of war. I turned to frivolous things
and decided to paint a canvas and make myself a
'Crown & Anchor'. The job was done and with a bare
300 francs capital I ventured out with my partner
and when the game closed we had held our own and
made 11 francs.
Our battery had comfortable huts about 10 miles
from the front line trenches and I will always remem-
ber blowing out my candle when the last thing I saw
was the "Ace of Spades" of the Crown & Anchor
board lying at the foot of the vire bed and idly won-
dering if this was an omen of luck.
So it proved. Around 3.00 a.m. we were all awake
listening to the rolling noise of a distant barrage, the
heaviest artillery we had heard since the year before
By 5 that morning we had the order Prepare to
move forward into battle. The enemy had launched a
terrific attack and the rumour was that they were
doing very well indeed. And so they were. They had
worked out a technique of infiltration and in two
days they broke through completely and advanced in
five days 45 miles in all about far enough to begin
to talk about Paris a bare 20 miles away. Happily they
had not worked at the technique of how to keep en-
rolling forward and not allow on attack to lose com-
pletely its own momentum.
I was to spend the ten toughest days of the whole
war from that morning we moved up and to see
-a.." Yr a.'- '^ <
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ e .. - .-. ."'' ..'
- -. WP% -:",L'r .:
** -r- r
- t a-~*
A N.W. Manley, back row, third from left. Freshman at Jesus College. B By the St. Thomas sea with one of his many
friends, Nona. C A master of the axe. D. The young Lawyer. E Washing up by the sea. F Always willing to accept
G-Familiar entrance to his home of many years, Drumblair. H-The Drumblair home, N.W. Manley's bedroom upstairs, two windows
on the right, directly in front is the Jamaica Yoke tree under which along with Mrs. Manley the decision was made to go into politics.
I-Mrs. Manley with one of her sculptures. J-N.W.Manley at Denbigh,on his right,GovernorMunoz of Puerto Rico. K-The last years.
L- Over the Conference table with Sir. Alexander Bustamente, on his right, Frank Hill on his left.
our division, artillery and all, completely broken and
We took up position late that evening with our
six guns in line along a sunken road and beside the
guns was an old farm house hardly damaged at all.
Actually, we were about ten miles from where the
front had been just before dawn and where it had
been stationary, more or less, for over two years. The
Germans had advanced at least five miles in one day
and if they could have repeated this for another day
they would indeed have broken through. The Germans
did not know that the rush of the first day had com-
pletely smashed the light structure of defense for a
length of some seven to ten miles. The division hold-
ing our sector, and thinly spread out, had literally
disappeared. Guns were lost and half the survivors
taken prisoner. There was an ominous quiet every-
where. Very little sign of retreat and little forward
movement except for ourselves.
We slept lightly that night and early in the morning;
how I remember the dense fog everywhere and the
cold rawness of it all, for this was March and morning
temperatures dropped to 32 or 33. But there was
more to remember.
It suddenly struck us with a chill of surprise that
shells from the other side were going high overhead
and near at hand we could hear the rat tat tat of
machine gun fire and a rifle shot every now and then.
The enemy were on us, coming slowly but inexor-
ably through the fog. We rushed to our guns, and
turned them down the road we had come and angled
so they faced where we came from. They were safe
where they were for the sunken road had banks at
least ten feet high; but would the horses, six per gun,
come in time. The guns had taken a forward position
but ammunition and horses and wagons, and all the
paraphernalia of a battery of 6 guns were, as was usual,
about three miles behind.
I loaded my rifle, the rifle I had thought never to
use, with care and prepared to sell my life dearly, not
in the cliche sense, but for the practical reason that I
was half-Negro and the stories of what happened to
coloured men taken prisoner of war were very grim
and of course believed by all of us implicitly.
The Germans came nearer and nearer. I was expect-
ing to see them any minute and wondering how any
officer in charge of teams of horses would think it
possible with rifle fire passing over his head as he came
along that sunken road, to reach the guns in time.
Then a great cheer arose. The youngest of our Officers,
a tall lad of twenty, was seen coming along, striding at
a fast trot down the road, and followed by the gun
teams for each gun. Never was a series of hook-ups
done more smartly and away down the road we gallop-
ed in turn. We were proud of that young man and of
the fact that we at any rate had saved all our guns. As
it turned out, we were the only battery in the Division
that saved our guns as the Germans advanced a solid
seven miles that day and broke clean through our
defences into open country where villages had still
been occupied precariously, and evicting mostly wo-
men and children and elderly men who fled leaving
most of what little they had behind.
Where were we going? We had no idea and from
then for the next six days chaos prevailed. We lost
touch with our own headquarters. We lived off the
land as best we could or made use of food in stray
wagons looking for their own units in vain.
I will never forget on about the fourth day we ran
into the whole army on that front in retreat. As far as
the eye could see every road was blocked with wagons,
supply vehicles, Red Cross ambulances and a vast array
of men some going up to meet the enemy and some
going where most of us were going going West away
from the advancing Germans. We avoided these traffic
jams and travelled slowly by day straight cross count-
ry, constantly harassed by low flying enemy planes
firing machine guns at us as we hid behind trees and
fired back, and dropping small bombs neither side
damaging the other.
We were travelling light. We had two wagons with
shells, about fifty per gun, very little food, no water
at all; and as for the men I had a water proof sheet
and a spring overcoat and that was all any of us had.
We slept each night till about 2.00 a.m. and then woke
nearly frozen and walked about till dawn. Nearly
every evening an English scout plane would fly over
and drop messages telling us where to move the next
day. This did not prevent awkward incidents happen-
ing. It was hard to tell where the enemy was and there
was a night when we lost a gun because we walked
straight into a village already captured by the Germans
and by the time we could turn our guns and put back
the horses to carry them, in most cases going down
side lanes, it was touch and go for safe exit and one
team failed to find a safe way out.
We only lost one other gun after 48 miles travelling
to where we managed to stop. It happened this way.
We were firing, lined up close, gun beside gun, firing
at a range of two miles at a bridge the enemy had to
cross, when the gun next to mine was blown up by
one of its own shells which exploded in the barrel as
it was fired. I and my gun had a lucky escape. The
breech block of the exploding gun blew out to the
left where I stood acting as loader for my gun, passed
through my open legs and crashed into the trailer of
my gun which could still be used but was badly
damaged and had to be replaced.
I could talk a lot about the only open warfare I
ever saw and tell stories of what it is like to be in an
army in open retreat.
Three incidents stand out in my mind and they are
not without their funny side, so I briefly refer to them.
We eventually stopped at a little town comparative-
ly near to Paris. We had been on the go for eleven
days with little food, which grew less and less, and
very little sleep which also became less and less as you
roamed about more or less in a random way. The
inhabitants of this little town had just left the day
before we arrived and there stood some grocery shops
with first class stocks. I leave it to be imagined how
we fared that night, and especially my gun's team of
gunners and what they said to me when I arrived with
a dozen Clicquot champagne, Vintage 1905.
But the retreat was over. A counter-attack was
being planned and we moved forward four guns
left and a handful of totally exhausted men to take
part in it as best we could. Unfortunately, as it turned
out, we were just behind a large empty unit already
being fixed up as a Red Cross advance station with
Australian medical men in charge, since the Division
we were attached to was an Australian Division.
By 2.00 p.m. we were all set for the next day, the
day of the counter-attack, and wandered off to see
what the Red Cross fellows were like. They greeted
us warmly and were vastly entertained by our account
of the retreat we had come through. Then they offer-
ed us a drink and down we went into the cellar where
stood some dozen small barrels of raw white wine.
Never had anything like this happened to me before.
I drew a pail of wine and drank with care and preci-
sion till I literally could hold no more. What happen-
ed after that is only known to me by what I was told.
It happens that I used to have the capacity to get so
drunk that next day I did not know what I said or did
and yet to keep going for hour after hour. I know as
a fact that we all got drunk that at midnight when
the guns were to take part in the start of the battle
our guns managed to fire one shell only that I was
up and about behaving most dangerously and dis-
agreeably till about five in the morning.
At 10, the C.O. summoned the ringleaders. We
were told what we had been up to and very sensibly
told we would not ....... [Break: in manuscript]
and as for the officers I could take care of them.
Besides after Ypres and the German breakthrough, I
had pretty well. exhausted the experiences of war. I
could not envisage our suddenly starting to make
deep advances, and could not imagine what winning
the war in battle could be like so there was no rea-
son not to go and no special reason to stay. Next day
I said Yes, filled in forms and forgot all about it.
Not long after all this we began to take it in turns
to get leave to go to England. It was 22 years we had
been away without leave. It was usual to get 14 days;
all the units we knew of who had had leave had gone
for 14 days. Imagine the level of our indignation
when we were told it was leave for 10 days only.
I was with the first batch of about ten and I invited
them all to agree that we would take an extra four
days to make it up to 14. So with all sorts of solemn
pledges we .embarked and left Victoria station shak-
ing hands on our mutual pledge. I, for one, had a
marvellous fourteen days. I went to concerts and
plays and art galleries. I visited where my wife to be,
Edna, now a most exciting girl of 17, was staying
with her mother, a great friend of mine.
Edna was very troubled about her future. She
worked at the Pension Office. She had, or was about
to qualify at St. Martins and they wanted her to teach.
She was determined not to teach but to find a way
to go on with Art. In the end she left home and
endured great hardships, but had her way about teach-
To return to my stay. I was delighted when at the
end of 14 days I returned to France and my battery,
to find that every one of us had kept his promise -
we all turned up four days late. So we were all duly
courtmartialled. I stated as simply and exactly as.I
could why I had done it. There was no lecturing. It
was a clear case and we were all sentenced to fourteen
days No. 1 Field Punishment. This, for the benefit of
those who don't know, is a very ominous punishment.
It involves virtual imprisonment, even if that is only
confinement to a place in the barracks or quarters. It
involves very hard labour at the front in the form of
fatigue duties and it involves being lashed to a gun
wheel for one hour near midday each day.
It turned out we had the most lazy and boring
fortnight of our lives. We were confined to an army
hut. We did no hard labour and were not tied to gun
wheels. The truth is that this barbarous form of
punishment was not the sort of thing done to picked
veterans, each of whom, as was the case with all of
us, held positions with particularly important duties.
Good gun layers and good wheel drivers were picked
men and you treated them with some respect. On
the other hand, we had been guilty of a very serious
offence. So a compromise was quickly, and with no
words spoken, effected.
It is possible for the moralist to smell discrimina-
tion in what I say about preferred specialists like gun
layers and wheel drivers. And you will be right.
A battery's reputation depended on the speed and
accuracy of its gun layers. In trench warfare raids are
common. As soon as the signal light goes up Very
lights you are warned by the guard. A raid in your
trenches is on you have a pre-set target and the gun
is ready to load and fire. Woe betide the battery that
is late or a little off target. There is the most rigid
enquiry and the battery has to clear itself if it can.
War is a practical matter; need I say more?
As for wheel drivers the gun moves with six
horses. The first pair is next to the gun itself. One
man mounted on the nearside controls the first pair.
He choses the road. Safe travel through mud and shell
holes depends on his skill and courage. One slip and
the gun is ditched and a convoy of perhaps twenty
vehicles may be held up for half a day. Good and
energetic wheel drivers are worth their weight in gold.
The sequel was obvious for me. I went to our
Commanding Officer, reminded him of the West
India Regiment application for training to be an
officer, pointed out that after this Courtmartial that
was no longer possible and asked for leave to with-
draw my application. To tell the truth I was hugely
delighted. I loved the regiment I was in. I had numer-
ous friends that I had deep affection for and I pre-
ferred to remain a gunner for the rest of the war. So
that ended that in a very happy way.
There isn't much more to tell about the war. We
were aware that great assaults were being planned
for autumn and we knew the balance of power was
dramatically changed with the arrival of the divisions
for the line from America. All was quiet, however,
when they started a new scheme on the expectation
of at least another eighteen months of war.
We learnt that each artillery unit (battery) through-
out the whole army was being asked to supply two
men to go to England for about six months for a
special course of training for heavy artillery work. I
never found out why this was done and all that I
knew was that they were looking for men with a
good practical record for work and men considered
specially fit for training. A few of us were interview-
ed to see if we would be willing to go. I was one. This
was something special. I guessed that the next six
months were going to be more arduous than all that
had gone before and I also hoped that that six months
might see the end of the war. I felt there was a good
I thought of my own future. I was already twenty-
four years old and I decided that, things being as they
were, I could safely and with due self-respect say
"Yes". In due course an offer was actually made and
accepted and within two weeks I was on my way to
Le Havre to wait shipment to England to take the
Thousands of us spent a very dull three months at
Le Havre. Shipping was urgently needed for other
purposes. Then news began to come through of terri-
fic battles with new techniques based on a proper use
of the tanks and positive break-through. It was ob-
vious that the end phase of the war had begun.
With that there came a great lessening of tension.
The experience of war as war had for me ended and
my thoughts turned to Oxford, the Inns of Court, and
doubts began to harass me as to whether I was the
right person to try to become a barrister.
One effect of all this combined was to uncover a
fairly severe bottled up nervous strain in myself, still
manageable and not too alarming. I also discovered
in some locally organised athletic games in camp that
my old athletic abilities had sadly deteriorated. I
think it was the effect of the 1912 bout of typhoid.
War had merely made me tough and strong and
restored stamina. Track athletics requires more. It de-
mands a special quality of muscle for most events
except long distance, which either you have or you
don't and most people don't.
In due course around October we left for England
and took up an easy course of training in compara-
tively comfortable surroundings. Obviously we were
near the end of the war and my great anxiety was to
be demobilised so I could take up active work at
Gray's Inn, starting with the Bar Exams before I went
back to Oxford which it was logical to plan to do in
October, so that you could have two clear scholarship
I was on leave in London when Armistice day came.
I was in Hyde Park that night with an estimated
crowd of one million. It was over, but I could get no
great sense of joy. Long anticipation of some events
leaves you cold and practical when they arrive. Here
was the war ended. Over a million families faced the
future without the stimulus of an unfinished war and
with the intuition that the future would engage every-
body's mind and less and less would the sacrifices of
the past be remembered. The things that are behind
would soon be forgot. I remembered my fallen friends
but the number was so great that each loss was re-
duced by some strange rule of feeling.
I thought of the future of mankind but it did not
seem that the spirit that had fused in unity with the
slogans about "The war to end war" and "Make the
world safe for Democracy" was going to survive the
passions and hazards of peace. Then I thought of my-
self, my family and my future. My brother was gone,
my sisters were reasonably set for careers. There was
hope of selling Belmont, but our share would hardly
leave each of us with more than about 300. Enough
for me for one extra year to make up for the scholar-
ship year I had lost. I had not, to be frank, fully de-
veloped the agonizing doubts I was to suffer from
about the profession I should choose. Four years of
tough open air, do-it-yourself life, four years with
little reading and without study, had formed a power-
ful link with the life I led in my holidays from school.
A life largely spent in the open, but a real bush life.
To think of a life spent in talk and study seemed a
denial of self besides, how did I know I could talk
or learn to talk ....
And talking of reading. I was lucky my sisters
always sent one book in each food parcel. One had to
read and throw away. Space was limited and you
travelled very light. But I just managed to keep abreast
of the most interesting current events and for keeps I
carried a small King James Bible, Samuel Butler's
"Note Books" and Brownings "Ring and the Book",
which I read and read again and again. I have not read
it since the war was over.
FROM THE SECOND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Returning to civilian life in England I saw at once
that race prejudice has greatly increased. At Oxford,
for two years I had no problem but not so in London.
I was a constant and almost continuous user of Gray's
Inn and its Common Room for nearly three years. I
never came to know a single white man there or to
speak to any except to say "Good morning" or "Good
day". I felt race hostility or suspicions moving around
in lodging houses or shops. I saw clearly what was
happening. I was angry but in a very general way. I had
a great sense of superiority to most whom I met,
though I deeply admired all men of worth and value.
In my last year in England 1921-1922 after I had
married to my cousin, Edna and was spending a year
reading in Chambers and walking the Courts, I got to
know a great number of coloured Jamaicans, (all
would be called "Negro" in the U.S.A.) but we didn't
talk about colour in Jamaica and I had no direct con-
tact with Jamaica till I returned in September 1922.
In Jamaica I lived my own life in my own way I
had got through a great volume of work and when
not working was deeply interested in Music, Sport and
in boxing and racing. And my wife made friends with
all the artists in Jamaica and later started a voluntary
school at the Institute; (it has now become the Jamaica
School of Art) and won for herself the first Gold
Medal ever awarded by the Institute for her contribu-
tion to art in Jamaica. So we belonged to no class or
set and our friends were drawn from all ranks and
class in Jamaica. People did not talk much about
colour in Jamaica in the 20's and 30's. It was a deep
undercurrent to all life.
Garvey returned to Jamaica in 1923 and left for
England in 193 *. He had laid a small but powerful
foundation of people dedicated to the cause of the
Negro the world over but as a man in Jamaica his
influence diminished greatly before he left us for
England where he died.
It is one of the legends that the Jamaica Labour
Party have sought to embarrass me with over the years
when they say I tried to injure Garvey and indeed
claimed that I partly succeeded.
The fact is that when we [Bustamante and Manley]
both began our public lives in 1937-1938 the Garvey
Movement was a quite negligible factor in Jamaican
life. He himself had tried to found a party with
admirable objectives but it never began to be a politi-
cal party. He had himself run for a seat in the Leg Co.
against George Seymour and failed; he had become a
member of the KSAC; and he ended up by supporting
Lewis Ashenheim when he fought H.A.L. Simpson in
a quite a famous campaign for St. Andrew. I had
nothing whatever to do, directly, or indirectly, with
his being prosecuted for what he is to supposed to
have said about the Supreme Court. I remember being
briefed to appear before a Corporation Committee
and having a furious row with him at the hearing and
once I appeared for a comparatively poor lady who
brought an action against him in relation to an article
he published in his own weekly paper. He defended
himself and did much to enhance his own reputation.
He made a brilliant closing address to a Special Jury
hearing the case. He was witty and amusing, took
every advantage open to a litigant who defends him-
self and though I won the case, which was really quite
indefensible, he got that jury to await the lady a bare
half the damages we had expected to win. It was a
The famous case of the American employee, a man
named Marks, of the U.N.I.A. in America, who brought
a quite honest action for wages due against the UNIA
in Jamaica claiming that both organizations were part
and parcel of one body and aiming at the assets of the
local body who owned Liberty Hall, came to me in
my office as an ordinary routine matter. It did not
occur to me nor to any of my associates that there
was any reason why I should not hold the brief for
I may mention that I always took a very strong
view that the Counsel had no right, nor has he, to
pick and choose who he should appear for. May be it
was too simple a view. Later my colleagues were to
complain bitterly about it and made it clear that they
did not expect me to appear against any well known
member of the PNP. I made a rule for myself and
gave it wide publicity. I did not, even for clients with
general retainers, appear except for labour in any
matter involving a Trade Union, and I always appear-
ed for my political associates and colleagues and never
against them. I added one thing to this rule of practice:
I never charged a fee in any matter involving a Trade
Union or labour cause nor in a case where a political
associate was involved.
But the Marks case fell outside this rule altogether.
It was just a run-of-the-mill matter. Actually, before
the then Chief Justice, I won the case quite easily. My
instructing solicitor then took steps to sell Liberty
Hall and at the sale my old friend Lewis Ashenheim
turned up to warn all bidders that they should beware
as he had appealed for the Jamaican branch of the
UNIA and they might find that they had bought a
lawsuit. For this and another matter he was hauled
before the Court for contempt in seeking to dampen
a sale ordered by the Court, and find 300.
The UNIA appealed and won the appeal and then
the problem arose what happened to the sale of
Liberty Hall? It was easy to know that being a bona
fide sale under an order of the Court and the land being
under a Registered Title the sale could not be put
aside. At this stage Ashenheim advised his clients to
bring proceedings to recover the value of the premises
from the Insurance Fund established under the Regis-
tration of Titles Law to help people who lost their
land because of the drastic provisions of that Law.
I held a brief for the UNIA of Jamaica in this
matter, there being no conflict of interest.and Govern-
ment found they could not defend the case which we
won with very substantial damages enlarged, I thought
of the time, I can't say that I knew, by the amount of
the fine imposed on Ashenheim himself in respect of
the Liberty Hall proceedings.
Marcus Garvey was buried in England but in 196 *
his body was brought back to Jamaica on the proposal
of an old colleague and friend of mine who had be-
come my bitter enemy in 1938 and remained so till
he died. Garvey is now one of Jamaica's National
Heroes, one of 3 or 4 known of for certain, since we
abolished English honours and made our highest
honour that of National Hero awardable only to those
who have retired from public life and public affairs.
Both Bustamante and I in our respective years of
growth were careful to refrain from reference to
Garvey and the UNIA in Jamaica. Garvey has gained
the fame he deserves in recent years and is one of the
honoured names in modern times in Negro History.
I am afraid this is being a rather long disgression
but necessary and I hope of interest
Let me return.
What more did I know of Alexander Clarke, now
Bustamante, before 1938? I had seen him briefly in
1923. I saw him again around 1928 when he owned
a milk business somewhere down the Molynes Road.
I often saw him driving his milk van through Cross
Roads but we seldom met and then he vanished from
Somewhere around 1931 he came to me with a con-
tract to buy an apiary. Clarke was certain he had made
a bad deal and I was asked to make sure that the
contract was enforceable. I had to tell him that it was
a sound contract and he then and there made up his
mind to go back to Cuba which he did in a matter of
a day or two. How he came to leave Cuba I do not
know. But I know that early in the 1930's he had
settled in Boston and had changed his name to Busta-
mante. At that time, about 1932 or 1933, his sister's
son, Donald Purcell went to America andbecamea
student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
and he stayed in Boston with his Uncle who was then
known as Bustamanti. Donald became a good motor
engineer and has never returned to Jamaica except
once when Bustamante invited him and Dr. Kenneth
Evelyn, a very well known doctor doing research
work in Canada and another of Bustamante's nephews,
to come to Jamaica in 1962 when Independence was
established under his Prime Ministership.
I next heard of Bustamante when he came back to
Jamaica around 1935 and attracted attention because
of a remarkable series of letters* he wrote The Gleaner
using the name Bustamante ....
When his money lending business in Jamaica was
firmly established with a little Capital help by the.
Rev. Cawell Lloyd or maybe when he found himself
getting more and more involved in Jamaican affairs
and in Coombs' Union, which he was Treasurer in
1936, he let it be known that he really was a Jamai-
can. Then it was that he built up the legend of his
adoption as a young boy by a Spanish Captain name
Bustamante and of his growing up in Spain and fight-
ing in Morocco. A picturesque story but not nearly as
interesting or significant as the truth.
Any suggestion that I had anything else to do with
Marcus Garvey is totally untrue.
And as far as Bustamante is concerned I have heard
a vague rumour about Clarke, as he then was, being
angry at the way he was treated at Belmont when he
spent a year there. That is just a concoction. He was
a relative and treated as such in the same way as
his sisters. What happened between us between 1938
and 1962 is another matter and this will be explained
in due course.
I do not intend at this point to do a personal analy-
sis of what Jamaica was like in 1938 or to discuss the
effect of being a colony for nearly 300 years. In 1955
we celebrated our 300th anniversary as a British
Colony. It was a long history. It began with England
driving out Spain and it developed as English settlers
built up the island and came very near to local Self
Government for themselves. This included and involved
the growth of the Slave Trade from Africa, the coming
of Emancipation and the St. Thomas troubles of 1865
and the subsequent surrender of our Constitution by
our Parliament which entrusted the British Govern-
ment with the right to create a Constitution for
Jamaica; a right from time to time to amend that
Constitution and an unstated right to exercise that
right for the last time as was done in 1962 when we
won Independence as a nation and joined the United
Nation itself. As I write in 1969, it is being publicly
argued that we suffered some handicap, mental and
moral or practical,by not having a Constitution that
is based on some law erected by our own Parliament.
I merely remark that history is history and you cannot
wipe it out by pretending it happened some other way.
The important point is to have a basic document that
stands in terms of itself and can only be altered as
itself provides. So long as Independence is certain I
do not see that much else matters. The Jamaica Con-
stitution was drawn by the two parties in Jamaica
except for one important matter our basic method
of Voter Registration where the Constitution itself
provides for a local law.
It is true to say that our history has made us what
we are and what we were in 1938. Many, many books
have been written about Jamaica and about the British
West Indies in modern times. Very few have dealt with
each Island or each Government and tried to examine
it as it is and to examine the problem of how they
vary. One of the best was written by an Englishman
for years employed in the University of Puerto Rico.
He is a very well known figure and has made a major
historical contribution to the Islands in the 20th
century. I refer to who published
this year The Modern Growth of the British West
Indies. If you wish to understand the ways in which
we resemble each other and the ways in which we are
different it is a good book to start with.
Jamaica had many unique factors in 1938.
We had an extreme Colour Problem carefully hidden
Gordon K. Lewis, The Growth of The Modern West Indies (pub.
MacGibbon and Kee, London, 1968).
and not talked about. It had been intensified by
Marcus Garvey but he had seen it in USA terms and
world terms or in his lifetime he may have made a far
deeper effect on Jamaican life.
There was a growing and expanding upper class -
and I use the term clearly to identify the men who
had or controlled money and its uses. These were men
for the most part of comparatively recent immigrant
You start with the Pantisocracy, [sic] then you come
to the Jews, then in a much more recent times to the
More than anywhere else in the British West Indies
we had a growing and expanding middle class who
were the first to think of Jamaica as a possible
National Unit and actively to work for it.
Then we had the workers of the Country, regular
steady workers who in separate groups had formed
workers organizations for upwards, in 1938, of 20
There was among the workers a strong tendency to
resort to violence under provocation and to resist by
violence any tendency among themselves to make
strong workers'action futile. Quite the most remark-
able feature in the expansion of trade union activity
in Jamaica has been the rapid acceptance of the idea
that you do not break strikes by resort to the large and
increasing number of workers who are unemployed.
No one in 1938 knew what the amount of unem-
ployment in Jamaica really was. A number of persons
were quite seriously disturbed about it and disturbed
at the fact that it was obvious that the unemployed
were steadily drifting into Kingston and St. Andrew.
One accepted idea was to expand the Land Settle-
ment Programme and enlarge the class of small Farmer
which was then, in spite of the inadequacy of the size
of landholding and all the difficulties with which the
small Farmer existed, the most stable element in the
community patient, humorous, accepting life and
whatever was brought into it and accepted with great
fidelity and tenacity.
Indeed there was a small group, before 1938, which
was working hard and with regularity on preparing
plans making land settlement into a more highly
organized form of economic development for Jamaica.
It should be remembered that we were years away
from the discovery of Bauxite, that the Tourist
Industry had only begun with small individual efforts
and that Industrial development was not yet thought
of in serious terms.
When disturbances occurred in Trinidad and Barba-
dos a few of us in Jamaica wondered what might
happen in Jamaica and what we might do to foresee
and forestall it. But we suffered from a Legislative
Council with no one and no groups alive to what might
happen and suffered under a Government with a
Constitution that almost made it a duty for those in
power to maintain an appearance of great stability
and to take no chances and never, never to rock the
Ididnot myself understand that we had, in Jamaica,
reached the stage where what we needed was to start
thinking about Self-Government and making ourselves
responsible for our own development. I regarded our
practical problems as economic in character and
ignored the considerable development of political
thinking which was taking place in Jamaica.
When the Jamaica Progressive League of America
was founded in 1936 to work for and support Self-
Government in Jamaica they sent Adolphe Roberts
to tour Jamaica in 1937. He had a very poor recep-
tion here and when he came to see me I recall that I
told him Jamaica's problems were economic and
would not be answered by Constitutional Reforms.
I did not take part in the local organization
* of which N.N. Nethersole was Chairman, who was
to become one of my most valuable supporters in
1938 and whence other vital members in the forma-
tion in 1938 of the PNP and its growth in its early
years of struggle.
Early in 1938 the West Indies Sugar Company was
organized in Jamaica by Tate & Lyle of England-and
began to develop the Industry in Westmoreland. It
had plans to amalgamate all the sugar estates in the
parish that had their own factories and form, at
Frome, what was to become and did become the
largest sugar factory in Jamaica and in the West Indies.
It enjoyed and made for itself a great deal of publicity
and its presence and plans attracted attention from
one end of Jamaica to the other. Those in charge did
not anticipate what was going to happen and did not
prepare for it. The unemployed all over the Country
flocked to Frome in their thousands. No organization
was ready for them; they had nowhere to sleep, and
all could not be. employed. A dangerous state of
unrest got hold of everybody and some internal slip
that affected pay caused intense anger and threats of
violence. A resort to force by the Police led to quite
unnecessary deaths and a full scale riot broke out.
Bustamante rushed to the scene and the whole thing
was blown up by lurid accounts published by the
Jamaica Standard which was busy building up a very
large circulation and making a legend of Bustamante
himself by featuring his attack on the Governor at a
Victoria Park meeting when the Standard came out
with Banner Headlines BUSTAMANTE SAYS
"DENHAM MUST GO!" A lot of well-informed
people understood what was happening. The Busta-
mante money lending business had been gravely
threatened by the new Money-Lending Law of 1937
and The Standard was looking for something to build
itself up on in its drive against and challenge to our
sole daily paper The Gleaner. The paper and the rising
labour leader played into each other's hand and by
the time of the end of the Frome riot Bustamante had
been made the best-known person in Jamaica.
Ultimately an official enquiry was opened by the
Government which took place in Westmoreland. I
was asked to attend it on behalf of the West Indies
Sugar Co. the owners of Frome, and we met one morn-
ing at 10 o' clock before his Honour Mr. Justice
H.I.C. Brown. The proceedings were just about to
begin when the Judge looking very grave informed
us all that he had just received a telegram from King-
ston that very severe rioting had broken out and that
things were getting worse.. He proposed that we ad-
journ at once as it was likely that our presence in
Kingston would be advisable. All agreed and we then
and there adjourned and I set off for Kingston.
That afternoon was spent moving around to see
what the City looked like. It was strangely still.
Everywhere was shut up. The crowds had seen to
that and soldiers moved around passing at street
corners knots of silent sullen people waiting in ugly
frame of mind. I did not at all like what I saw. Then
I heard there was trouble at the Fire Brigade and set
off to go there when I heard that they were to strike
that afternoon and that Bustamante had gone there
to address them when he and his faithful friend of
those days, St. William Grant, had been arrested. What
for, I could not then discover and I was deeply worried
lest they had arrested him on some trumped up
charge as I foresaw how that might make things worse.
Near the Fire Brigade I saw a few people I knew
very well and paused to talk when Audley Morais
rushed up and besought me, almost with tears in his
eyes, to go and talk with the men in the Fire Brigade
for God knows what would happen if they did go on
strike. I was not easy to persuade to join in a situation
where I just did not know the facts but eventually I
went and met nearly all the men actually at Brigade
H.Q. I heard all sorts of complaints and spoke to the
men, promising to go and see the Mayor, Dr. Ander-
son and KSAC officials and to take up the matter till
I got a final settlement. My intervention was welcom-
ed by the men who knew me well, at least by name,
and I dashed off to see the Mayor and set up a con-
ference with the Brigade for the next day. I saw
nothing that could not be cleared up in one confer-
ence and indeed so it turned out.
Then I went home deeply persuaded, by all I saw
and beard that with Bustamante arrested and all work-
ers in the Corporate Area on strike we were in for a
serious time and that violence, disorder and bloodshed
would be the final result.
, ~&A i~ ..%~ cl ~3
C _C r / 'j i( s. "c -".- D J
)"^-oo* d1-ix vk At.4 L A. *
^'h~yJ -A;A- LLrt ^t^ d0
4k,,4y ~ 7L~
^^'^^(c*^^C^ (*h^ ^<' ^CH~/,-<^^
I rang the Governor, Sir Edward Denham and told
him that I proposed to announce next day that I
would put aside legal work for the time being and
entertain proposals from any group of workers in
Jamaica who had grievances and negotiate on their
behalf with their employers or with any Committee
which the Government might set up to hear represen-
tations that were made on behalf of workers. He
accepted the proposal with eager approval and we
arranged a meeting next day to consider what could
be done with his collateral. I then told The Gleaner
precisely what I proposed to do and asked them for
the fullest publicity. Then I returned to my wife
Edna and announced what had happened and we sat
far into the night both realising that we faced an
unforseeable future. I knew my own temperament and
well understood that I had entered on a new road and
that I would walk it wherever it led.
I arrived bright and early at the office next morning.
My announcement had been well carried by The
Gleaner and I was anxious to see what the response
would be for a great deal would turn on that. I was
yet so see the Governor and discover what I could
do in helping to set up a Committee that would grasp
the opportunity of taking charge of the situation in
the interest of the workers in Jamaica. So much was
to depend on that Committee and my influence in
forming it would largely depend on the response to my
invitations that I would be able to report.
As I arrived at 21 Duke Street, my office, I was
met by a group of young women. They were outside
workers for a garment-making establishment. They
were about six in number but they spoke for at least
60 to 70 workers engaged for the garment factory. It
was the most obvious case of sweated labour that one
could imagine. The best of them, I was assured, could
not make on the rates set for them as much as 2 per
week, less by far than what a domestic servant got. I
took all the details. myself and told them what I hoped
to be able to do and off they went looking happy and
pleased. My next visitor was a great surprise. Who
should come in to see me but the late William Seiv-
wright, later to become one of the best Mayors the
KSAC ever had and one of my Ministers of Agriculture,
a post which he held with enthusiasm and success. He
ended his career with Government after we had
achieved internal Self-Government in 1957 when I
made him our first Minister of Home Affairs. What
had Seivwright come to say? I just barely knew him
but he already had a fine reputation as a citizen of
good-will and ability. Imagine how I felt when he said,
"Good morning. I have seen your offer in The Gleaner.
You are going to need help and I have come to offer
my services unreservedly in this great effort to help
Jamaica through a crisis". I was more than warm in
my response and my love and respect for that man
grew greater and greater as the years went by. I told
Seivwright what I had in mind and that I hoped to
see the Governor before the day was over, and put him
in charge of the room at my office where I would
pursue my work, and turned to meet my next workers
delegation. To my delight it turned out to be a large
delegation from the waterfront. The men knew exactly
what they wanted both as to straight time work and
as to overtime. They had a straight position for which
they were fighting and had been offered very little on
their demands. But over and above all that, there was
an intervening problem. They insisted that they had
struck without any advice from Bustamante. As they
explained it he had intervened on their behalf and
told them what the employers were prepared to do
but had been careful to say that he was not advising
them to strike or not to strike. They insisted that they
had struck on their own responsibility. Naturally they
were certain that Bustamante had been arrested be-
cause they had struck and they told me that they had
no intention of going back to work unless Bustamante
was released from jail. They knew that his first appli-
cation for bail would be made by J.A.G. Smith, his
advocate, wh6 in fact did make the application with
Ross Livingstone, Solicitor, instructing him. They were
not sure what would happen but they had decided,
and the decision hardened, that under no circumstances
would they go back to work till Bustamante was
That these men had come to me to put their case
in my hands was vastly important. Already forces
were at work attacking me and directing the workers
that my intervention was dishonest and all part of a
plan by the employers these forces grew in the next
day or two and were quite a problem. I ignored them.
Their leaders ended up by becoming important figures
in the political party I was soon to form.
Before the day ended two or three other small
groups had come to see me and enlist my help and in
the afternoon I went to see Sir Edward Denham who
was a very anxious and troubled man. He was basically
a sincere man of goodwill and he had been hoping
against hope that Jamaica should be spared what had
happened in the other British Islands of the Caribbean.
We got on well and easily and he was most cooperative
about the Committee and promised to give it the
widest terms of reference. Wc discussed the personnel
of the Committee and found that our ideas agreed at
most points. He naturally wanted one or two key men
in Government Service. We agreed on some distin-
guished and well regarded public figures and I asked
for some friends of mine well known for their public
views. Altogether we agreed on a fine public-spirited
body of men who served Jamaica well and made a very
major contribution to eventually settling our troubles
which were soon to become widespread and to involve
many casualties but to end up by success for the men
of ideas who saw what had caused the trouble and
what was essential if it was to be settled to the advan-
tage of the Country.
When all these practical details were safely settled
and I was assured that the Committee would have its
first sitting on Wednesday and would as far as possible
sit on a day by day basis I was well satisfied. But the
arrest of Bustamante on Monday had made him an
immediate National Hero. His name and his persona-
lity were already known from one end of Jamaica to
the other and it was reasonably well understood that
he had not called or proposed any strikes in Kingston
and should not reasonably be regarded as responsible
for what had happened and was happening nor could
anyone think of anything concrete and against the law
that he had committed.
I was satisfied in my own mind that the waterfront
workers were not going to yield or abandon their uni-
que display of loyalty and I felt that to a large extent
the Committee would prove valueless unless he was
So at the end of my interview with the Governor
I swiftly asked if it was possible for Bustamante to be
released and explained how the workers felt about it.
I urged that my work and that of the Committee
(which I hoped would be at work on Wednesday
night) would be wasted since if we got all that the
workers would hope for I was certain they would not
accept it except on condition of this release. Iwas
careful not to ask why he had been arrested because
I feared that it had nothing to do with the instant
situation but related to something from the past and
that revealed, I would be in a very controversial
position. I could not keep quiet if the Governor had
told me that it was something he had said some
months ago that was being trumped up because of the
situation that had arisen in the last few days. The
Governor, as I expected, did not tell me of anything
done recently by Bustamante but insisted that he was
rightly to be regarded as leader at this time and there-
fore responsible for all that might yet occur. He quite
sincerely told me that if he were to release Bustamante
only to discover that trouble spread or exacerbated
itself and to find that he would do nothing to help to
pacify things he would be condemned on all sides for
irresponsible conduct. I warned him against what he
was doing and argued as strongly as I could against
the course he proposed to take. It was a waste of time.
On that point the Governor was adamant.
By early on Wednesday the Committee held its first
sitting. I found them very sympathetic and helpful.
They felt that they had a real responsibility to Jamaica.
They saw the situation as historically inevitably. They
were alarmed but sympathetic. I think they under-
stood from the start that they were going to have to
deal not only with a Kingston and St. Andrew situation
but with something which was likely to affect the
island as a whole. And they saw themselves as activists
not as mere arbitrators. As to Bustamante, I said
nothing except to point out that if Government con-
tinued to keep him detained our difficulties might be
great. They saw the point but they were not in any
position to express an opinion about it. I was fully
satisfied with the line I could foresee them taking
and left with an assurance that they would talk with
the Shipping Association. I was content with that
because by now I had a great volume of work on my
hands with people responding to my promise of help
and I had agreed to hold a mass meeting with the
workers that very day after I had seen the leaders of
the Shipping Association. The Shipping Association
had agreed to all claims as far as day work was con-
cerned but where night work and overtime were
involved they had rejected the claims of the workers.
The public meeting was held. I had a good reception
but had to report failure on the night issue. I allowed
a worker's leader to speak and he made a quite remark-
able speech in which he announced the determination
of all the workers not to break the strike until Busta-
mante was released. He spoke with passionate em-
phasis of the fact (and it was a fact) that Bustamante
had neither called nor advised the strike and jointly
with his colleagues accepted full responsibility for
what had actually taken place. Of his sincerity there
could be no doubt and of their joint determination to
hold out until justice appeared to be done I was per-
sonally satisfied. I let them know that I agreed with
their stand and promise them to work to secure it. It
was a good meeting. It worried many. It led to renewed
left-wing attacks on me and carried wide publicity. r
was worried but I wholeheartedly agreed with the
This was Wednesday. I saw the Governor early next
day, Thursday, and spoke very strongly about the
absurdity of keeping Bustamante locked up and there-
by endangering the peace of the Corporate Area. He
Later that day the Committee asked me to see them.
They were jubilant. They had seen the Shipping
Association who had been under pressure fiom men
I fully trusted like Charlie Johnston who worked
behind the scenes with the clarity and vigour of a
man who had forseen all that was then happening and
the move that was threatening and understood well
what was likely to be the upshot of it all if right
courses were taken. They told me they had great news
for me. The shippers had agreed to all my demands on
the part of the workers. They were certain that this
eliminated the demand for Bustamante's release and
they were certain that once they got what they wan-
ted, loyalty would seem much less important. They
had the idea that I was the best person to let the
workers know and would not only get acceptance but
would be greatly strengthened in their eyes.
They expected me to share their view. I did not. I
told them bluntly that I would not carry any offer
with Bustamante in jail. I warned them that a danger-
ous situation was developing. I would not be respon-
sible for what happened to the Corporate Area if the
weekend passed and Bustamante remained in jail.
There were, I said, active plans to start a graver level of
trouble. True, I said, the Fire Brigade issue had been
settled by me but there were active plans to start on
Sunday a scale and range of fires that would leave the
Brigade helpless and might leave us all without a city
to worry about. I spoke strongly. I had it in mind that
only pressure from the Committee could make the
Governor change his mind. I did not advise them to
do anything. The move had to come from within this
body itself. But would it? I guessed right. I had no
sooner said my say than Dr. Anderson, the Mayor,
began to talk. How could he sit by and watch his city
destroyed? He knew that I was in touch with all
elements. He was sure I was right in my tears. He
elaborated and then he moved that they decide to ask
the Governor to see them as a body so as to try and
persuade him that there was only one thing to do and
that was to see to it that Bustamante got bail. He was
joined by others and soon the idea began to appeal to
the most quiet and conservative of all those present.
There was talk of sending two or three but soon it
was established that all must go as soon as possible
and that the Governor should be advised precisely why
they were coming and what were their fears.
I have mentioned so many matters that have a parti-
cular historical or sociological interest that perhaps I
should conclude by adding one more and making a
general explanation about the character of the book.
(continued on page 92)
A' Aby Tr evor2MoeI1
im ig .
1918-1938, the period examined by Carnegie's book, is of
considerable interest to students both of modem Jamaican
politics and of the development of our people's struggle against
It was perhaps the last time that different wings of the local
ruling class fought openly among themselves on political and
economic questions such as, for example, whether the banana
industry should be dominated primarily by national capitalism
or American imperialism. It was the period too when the
leaders of the emergent black middle class thoroughly wedded
themselves to the precepts and practises of British parliamen-
tarism in the Crown Colony Legislature and the Parochial
Boards of the day.
Most importantly, these were the years that the anti-colonial
struggle, gradually at first, then in a revolutionary outburst,
changed its character and moved into a new stage. The main
content of this process was the change in the class basis of the
fight against British colonialism. The black petty bourgeois -
particularly the clergymen, the teachers, the journalists (who
formed its embryonic intellectual component), the middle
farmers and urban artisans -set the aims, determined the style
and provided the leadership of the non-establishment politics
of the two "decades between the world wars. At the same time
colonialism in its imperialist stage had brought together relative-
ly large concentrations of wage workers to facilitate its own
exploitation of our country. The development of dock facilities,
urban transport, light and power generation, rail communica-
tion, government services, large banana plantations and, most
importantly, central sugar factories had gradually created a
new class with special needs. The efforts of this class to meet
these needs and improve its standard of living efforts that
were sporadic, unorganised and inexperienced at first formed
an increasingly important but nevertheless subsidiary aspect of
the politics of the period. By the late 1930s the interests and
activity of the working class had taken over as the main basis
of Jamaican anti-colonial politics.
The two interwar decades therefore marked both the end of
petty bourgeois hegemony over national politics and the rise
of the workers movement. Despite this significance, politics in
these years has received relatively little attention. Most of the
work done by Jamaican academics has either tended to be
mainly on economic questions or to focus on the post-war
period. Of the studies done by expatriates, those of Olivier,
McMillan and Eisner are all useful in different ways. None,
however, look exclusively at politics and in any event reflect
outside views of the society.
It is in the context of the importance of the period and the
relatively little notice paid to it that Carnegie's book has got
to be seen. In the author's words the study "attempts an en-
quiry into and analysis of Jamaica's political life from 1919-
1938 and seeks to explain the emergence of Bustamante and
Manley and their movements." Coming at a time when most
analyses tend to focus on the limited achievement and the
deleterious effects of 1938-1972, Carnegie's study throws up
information which, among other things, helps to uncover the
root aspects of the contemporary situation.
For example, the question of Black Power. The book ex-
poses clearly both the historical character and material basis
of white racism and of black protest in Jamaican society. Most
young Jamaicans are no doubt aware of the racism of slavery
and the black nationalism of the Garvey movement. Very few,
however, would be informed of the extent to which open
racism characterized Jamaican government and society in the
lifetime of the generation before the present. Perhaps more
significantly, few middle class youths would know and perhaps
a lesser number of their parents would recall that agitation
against this racism was being led by the black petty bourgeoisie
Carnegie's book provides ample substantiation of both of
these propositions. For example his study reveals that, in 1920,
black elementary-school head teachers could earn as low a
salary as 84 per annum while the white Food Controller in
the colonial state was paid 125 per month; that only one
black Jamaican was knighted during the twenty years; that the
first black man to be nominated to the Legislature was Rev.
Barclay in 1920 almost 60 years after the establishment of
Crown Colony government in Jamaica. This open discrimina-
tion against black Jamaica, reflected in these and other
incidents recorded by Carnegie, generated a pervasive and
progressive racial self-assertion on the part of African Jamaicans.
The work of the Garvey movement is perhaps well known in
this respect though many authors insufficiently indicate the
widespread nature of Garvey's Jamaican and West Indian influ-
ence. Less well known but as important for an understanding
of the deep-rooted character of black self-assertion which has
surfaced in recent times are other manifestations recorded by
Carnegie. In this respect the author identifies the work of the
Jamaica Reform Club which proposed UniversalAdult Suffrage
and advocated "Jamaica for Jamaicans" as early as 1924. Less
"respectable" and more short-lived was the Native Defender
Committee which in 1930 attacked the Colonial Government
for tolerating a situation in which the Chinese monopolised
the grocery trade and allegedly exploited the poor.
The reaction detected by Carnegie to these and other signs
of racial protest is equally significant. For example, the
Jamaica Imperial Association, the main defence organ of the
planter and merchant interest, expressed its concern over what
it called Negro "racialism" in 1920. Ten years later Garvey was
accused of recreating the atmosphere of 1865. Kerr-Jarret, one
of the leading planter spokesmen, was upset that he accused
Jamaican Garveyism of having "a germ of Bolshevism". This
characterisation reflected the extreme seriousness with which
the ruling class of the time viewed the struggles of the African
Jamaicans for racial self-respect. The recurrence of evidence of
these struggles in the pages of Carnegie's book and the recollec-
tion of establishment efforts to discredit and crush them
suggest strongly that the presence of race in modern politics is
not simply a relic of slavery. Less can it be realistically dismissed
as an ogre created by shadowy subversives. Rather, information
contained in Carnegie's work indicate that racial agitation
derived its force from the entrenchment of discrimination and
racist practice in the Jamaican state and social structure a cen-
tury after emancipation. This is but one aspect of post-1938
politics whose antecedents in the previous period are uncovered
by Carnegie's book.
In a similar vein the work broadens our understanding of
other factors in modern Jamaican politics. For example, the
role of the Daily Gleaner and its power as a shield and tool of
the ruling class in the period 1918-1938 is clearly brought out.
More interestingly were the apparently varied tactics of this
organ in pursuing its general objectives on the one hand over-
exposing certain currents of dissent; at other times completely
ignoring others. In this latter respect Carnegie found that while
between 1935 and 1937 Bustamante published over 100 letters
in that newspaper, it ignored the PNP editorially up until fully
three months after its formation.
Despite this general thrust of much of the information in
the book, it would be misleading to suggest that this study
sets out to prove any particular "thesis" about Jamaican
politics. As the author states in his introduction, it is an
enquiryy". The fact that the enquiry throws up much which
bears out nationalist and anti-imperialist interpretations of
Jamaica's politics seems to result not so much from the author's
predispositions as from the historical record. Indeed it could
be persuasively argued that one main strength of the work is
its dry, non-committal, sometimes over-descriptive presentation
of the facts.
Some of these are startling original and full of significance
for understanding the period and its results. For example,
Carnegie painstakingly records no less than 103 groups, the
overwhelming majority middle class or "grass roots" which
emerged, and more often than not passed away, during the
period. Within this general pot pourri the author correctly
identifies the persistence throughout the period of four organi-
sations the Jamaica Imperial Association, the UNIA, the JAS
and the JUT the first exclusively representing the national
capitalist class and the last three speaking for the various strata
of the local petty bourgeoisie. The workers' groups on the
other hand were relatively short-lived and uninfluential, reflect-
ing the weak and halting steps of which the workers movement
was capable at that time. The main significance of all this of
course is to confirm that during this period the main social
classes were preparing themselves even if unwittingly for 1938
and the organisational forms which grew out of it.
Other factors simply serve to remind us of the mess into
which colonialism first put our people and then into which it
pompously enquired. For example, Carnegie tells us, between
1918 and 1938 there were Commissions of Enquiry into
Hookworm, Veneral Disease, Housing, Unemployment, Wages,
Working Conditions, Cost of Living, Chinese Immigration and
Land Settlement. At no stage, despite the facts disclosed by
some of these investigations, did expenditure on Medical
Services, for example, rise above 10% of the total budget of the
All in all, Carnegie's history confirms, informs and stimulates.
It confirms much of what we suspected about latter-day
colonialism. In other places we are informed of somewhat
unexpected features of colonial politics, for example the fact
of considerable variation both in the performance and recep-
tion of different governors. Lastly, the reader can hardly fail to
be stimulated by the appearance, sometimes in embryo, at
other times fully formed but perhaps dressed in somewhat
unfamiliar garb, of some of the main actors in contemporary
politics. Such for example is our reaction to Rastafari who
appear briefly, for the first time publicly, according to Carnegie,
on the Coke Church steps preaching in 1933.
No doubt the book has weaknesses of which the student
wishing to advance some of its findings ought to be aware. For
example, the narrowness of the source material is only partially
compensated for by the depth and thoroughness of the author's
investigation of them. There is perhaps too little analysis in
general and insufficiently serious treatment of Garveyism in
particular. Less substantially there seem to be factual incon-
sistencies on certain questions, e.g. who it was who first
advocated self-government for Jamaica. Weaknesses must
inevitably accompany any important work. Carnegie's book
certainly is a long-overdue complement to the studies on colon-
ial politics and of Jamaica's modern political life. It is essential
reading for all students of colonialism and the development of
the movement for national liberation.
* Dr. Trevor Munroe is a Lecturer in Politics, Department of Govern-
** Forthcoming 1973, as Volume 4 in the Cultural Heritage Series
published by the Instilute of Jamaica.
Very little has been written about the
ROAD TO ABOVE ROCKS Stony Hill barracks, in spite of the fact
that they are still very extensive and of
some architectural interest. Indeed, it does
not even seem to be known when the first
building was constructed there. The
Journals of the Assembly of Jamaica
(henceforward 'JAJ) do not mention any
SMEN'S UPPER BARRACKS military installations at Stony Hill before
the late 1770s, and then they describe
only those little fo ts which defended the
north-south defile. It seems, though, as
STONY HILL POST OFFICE if it was the establishment of those re-
doubts which led to the much more
ZINE extensive barrack-complex being sited at
.- -. Stony Hill.
This is easy to understand, for the
PARADE GROUN CHOOL soldiers quartered there could not have
failed to notice how much more agree-
4 o ,o0 able and healthy it was to live some
--- '. hundreds of feet above the coastal plain.
:FICERS' Until the 1780s all the British soldiers'
LOWER barracks were in fact on the plain, at
RRACKS Up-Park Camp, Fort Augusta and Spanish
S L Town, with a detachment at Port Royal.
S M At Spanish Town in particular the bar-
TRACK OF OLD ROAD
Sracks had acquired a very bad reputation
for ill-health, as this letter of December
1774 to Captain Ogilvy, commanding the
OFFICERS' UPPER BARRACKS 50th regiment, shows:
ROAD We, the undernamed surgeons at-
tending that part of His Majesty's
STONY HILLBARRACKS SITE 50th regiment quartered at Spanish
Town, are unanimously of opinion
*Dr. David Buisseret is the Head of Department of History at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
that the sickness and mortality
which has reigned and now contin-
ues among the soldiers is greatly
owing to the low situation of, and
confined air in, the barracks, and
we are the more confirmed in this
our opinion, as a company quarter-
ed in an upstair barrack, with a
balcony, have neither lost half the
number of men as any one of the
other companies, or at any time
had so many sick. We are likewise
of opinion that the hospital for the
sick soldiers is in a very low and
About 1785, then, a largish body of
soldiers was moved up to Stony Hill,
where a barrack was built for them. This
must have been a sizeable structure, as in
JAJ for November 1785 the 'new barrack
at Stony Hill' is mentioned as having cost
more than 10,000,4 and it was not then
quite finished. Its site was some way to
the east of where the main complex was
eventually built (see map*); it stood by
the present Stony Hill Post Office. Al-
ready by December 1801 it was 'in a
state of decay'5 and today nothing of it
is visible above ground.
In any case, it must have become
inadequate in size very soon after it was
completed, for the 1780s and 1790s saw
an increasing concentration of troops at
Stony Hill. This migration was rather like
that of the 1840s to Newcastle, which
eventually proved much healthier than
Stony Hill.. By December 1803 the bar-
racks there contained 700 men, as against
500 at Spanish Town and 500 at Fort
Augusta.6 It was in the following year
that Lady Nugent stayed at Stony Hill,
and greatly appreciated the change from
what she calls 'the dreadful heat of this
town (Spanish Town)'.7
The building in which Lady Nugent
stayed was probable the 'officers' lower
barracks'.(See map). This structure, which
now houses the administrator of the
Approved School, seems to have been
built in the late 1790s, perhaps on the site
of an earlier (planter's?) house. To the
north, it has a fine view over the parade-
ground, now a cricket field, and to the
south it looks right down to the sea.
Not far from this early officers' bar-
racks stood what came to be called the
'men's centre barracks'. This also seems
to have been built in the late 1790s,
roughly where the school now stands
(see map). Nothing now survives of this
structure, though its foundations could
no doubt be traced under the school and
workshop. Just across the cricket-field
may still be seen a charming little maga-
zine. This may well be the one built about
1791,8 and is very well preserved. It has
all the features normally found in such
powder-stores: a vaulted interior, a pitch-
ed roof, and window-apertures with a
sharp angle, to reduce the risk of explos-
ion following some external blast (plate
The 'men's centre barracks' was soon
Plate No. 1. The magazine at Stony Hill, c. 1791 (Author's photograph)
Plate No. 2. The 'men's lower barracks' from
too small, and about 1802 another block
was completed, and came to be known
as the 'men's lower barracks' (map and
plate 2). This building now contains the
dining-hall of the Approved School, and
has various ancillary structures attached
to it. But its general shape is clearly seen
on the aerial photograph, which was tak-
en from the south-west and shows the
characteristic double-entrance stairway.
Lady Nugent notes in her diary for
January 18029 that 'General (Nugent
went) off at 5, to fix upon the site for a
new barrack at Stony Hill . .'. This
barrack, probably designed by Captain
William Fraser, the Island Engineer,10
must have been the 'men's upper barrack',
shown in plates 3 and 4. As the aerial
photograph shows, it is an extensive and
well-proportioned building, and it was in
ersupper barrack'from the air (Jack Biscoe)
ers' upper barracks'from the air (Jack Biscoe)
December 1807.12 This block survives
intact, as plates 6 and 7 show. The aerial
photograph brings out its general shape,
and plate 7 shows the rather unusual
arrangement of the covered stairway.
Notice the system of jalousies, and the
sturdiness of the stone base on which the
wooden superstructure lies.
Although the buildings at Stony Hill
are getting on for two hundred years old,
they were well constructed and remain
basically sound. They provided an excel-
lent centre for the Approved School, and
before that for an Industrial School, once
the soldiers had left them. Now, with the
impending transfer of the Approved
School, their future seems to be uncertain.
It would be a pity if this great complex
fell into the hands of private individuals,
for it remains an ideal site for some
public institution, probably of education
1. Frank Cundall is wrong, as we shall see,
when in Historic Jamaica (London 1915, p.
209) he writes that the barracks date from
2. These are described in the present writer's
The Fortifications of Kingston (Kingston
1971), p. 35-6.
3. JAJ vi, 562; see also Edward Brathwaite,
The Development of Creole Society in Jama-
ica 1770-1820 (Oxford 1971) p. 278-9.
4. JAJ viii, 119.
5. JAJ x, 641.
Adapted from Edward McGeachy's 1826
survey preserved at the Institute of Jamaica.
6. JAJ xi, 150.
7. Lady Nugent's Journal, ed. Philip Wright
(Institute of Jamaica, Kingston 1966) p.229.
8. JAJ ix, 47.
9. Lady Nugent's Journal, p. 53.
1O.op. cit., p. 60.
I1.The latest building was that of 1805, JAJ
12.JAJ xi, 633.
7. The stairway to the 'officers' upper barracks' (Author s photograph)
use until quite recently. Plate 4 is a photo-
graph taken during a visit there with Mr.
H.P. Jacobs, who is seen at the head of
the steps, discussing the building with a
local amateur. Just below them is a tablet,
which bears the date '1808'.
The view from this building is that
shown in plate 5, looking southwards to
the original officers' barracks, across the
parade-ground (or cricket field). This
photograph catches something of the
charm of the site, with its flat central
area and surrounding hillocks, from all of
which there are splendid views. The build-
ings to the left are on the site of the
successive hospitals, of which nothing
now remains. 1
The last building to be constructed at
this site was probably the 'officers' south
barrack', mentioned for the first time in
Analysis of Material Culture
as a Reflection of
Sub -Cultural Differentiation
in 18th Century Jamaica
R. DUNCAN MATHEWSON
Perhaps one of the more important developments within
historical archaeology in the last few years is the growing
awareness that archaeological data from historical sites not
only provide new insights into the cultural history of these
sites, but also present an unrivalled opportunity for testing
general cultural concepts and hypotheses. As South (1972)
and Binford (1972) have recently emphasized, this approach
to the examination of cultural problems is well suited to the
discipline of historical archaeology for two main reasons:
1) The nature of the archaeological data potentially allows
for a more rigorous analysis and specific ordering of the
artifactual material than is possible in prehistoric contexts, and
2) The presence of written documentation provides for a
known historical and cultural background against which to
view and to interpret the data.
In the report on the 18th century ceramics from Fort\
Michilimakinac, Miller and Stone (1970) explicitly make the v
point that archaeologists should be able to define the relative
socio-economic level and major status differences within a
population in a New World context, through ceramic analysis.
Although they made no real attempt to do so at this site,
some interesting general observations were made by these
authors concerning ceramic differences which might reflect
socio-economic differences between the successive French and
English occupiers of this frontier fort during the 18th century.
In the absence of sufficiently reliable comparative data, how-
ever, the concept of socio-economic differentiation has been
seriously questioned by South (1972), who contends that
status and socio-economic differences have yet to be demon-
strated within the context of an 18th century British-American
The main approach used in demonstrating the existence of
socio-economic factors must be based upon the comparative
study of the totality of ceramic assemblages from different
archaeological contexts. In order to test the hypothesis of
whether socio-economic differentiation can be detected in
18th century ceramic assemblages, one must first isolate as
many of the other variables as possible, which might influence
the character of individual assemblages. In this way, one can
establish greater precision as to the possible socio-econbmic
interpretation of comparative data. The obvious methodologi-
cal procedure, and the one suggested by South (1972), is to
excavate house sites of affluent people, known from historical
sources, and then to compare this ceramic data to that recover-
ed from sites used by less affluent people living at the same
period of time.
* Paper for Bicentennial Symposium: "Eighteenth Century Florida
and the Caribbean" hosted by Florida International University in
Miami, 31 May -2 June 1973.
Over the last two years in Jamaica, excavations at the site
of Old King's House, the 18th century Governor's residence,
have produced a considerable amount of data, serving as a
basis for a comparative study to investigate this issue of status
and socio-economic differentiation as reflected by material
culture. I shall deal very briefly with some of the aspects of
the ceramic analysis for the Old King's House site, and its
application towards the recognition of socio-economic factors
within the material culture of contemporary sub-cultural
groups within 18th century Jamaican society. I shall first
consider the theoretical basis upon which such a ceramic
study lies. This will be followed by some mention of the
methodological and analytical procedures involved. I shall end
with some conclusions concerning further testing of some of
the concepts which I am now going to discuss.
It is a well-known tenet of archaeology that material cul-
ture is supposed to reflect something of the life style of its
user. There has, however, been little effort towards defining
how far this basic cultural concept can be applied to 18th
century material culture. Though considerable documentation
makes it quite apparent that socio-economic factors directly
affected the utilization of different wares by different levels
of society in 18th century England, such factors have largely
been neglected by archaeologists when interpreting ceramic
assemblages within a New World context.
During the 17th century, Noel-Hume (in South: 1972)
believes that the lower-class household of colonial America
had a much greater dependency on pewter, leather, and wood-
en trenchers, and less daily use of ceramics than did the
gentry. From this he postulates that the ruins of 17th century
mansions should yield more ceramics than should the house
sites of the lower class. Although this type of status differen-
tiation is not thought by Noel-Hume to be similarly detectable
in ceramics from 18th century sites, I find that there are defin-
ite indications that this is due to the lack of proper definition
of the linkages between status and ceramic utilization for this
period. Work by Stone (1970) on 18th century inventories for
the Boston area clearly indicates a definite association between
porcelain and the wealthier people. This is prime facie evidence
that similar socio-economic distinctions should be visible with-
in 18th century ceramic assemblages. Indeed, Watkins (1968),
in considering the ceramic assemblage from Marlborough,
Virginia, has drawn clear distinctions between the high inci-
dence of porcelain in the Great House during the prosperity
peak of Mercer's plantation, and the incidence of the more
mundane ceramics during its transition to an overseer's
Although there are others like Cleland (1970) who have
pointed out the potential of using ceramic differences as a
reflection of social status, there has not yet been a systematic
archaeological investigation of this hypothesis. What has per-
haps stimulated the need to test this hypothesis more than
anything else is the heuristic ceramic model, devised by South
(1970), to provide a mean ceramic formula for the dating of
18th century sites. The construction of this ceramic model is
based essentially upon the horizon concept, which presuppos-
es the rapid spread of all types of ceramics, to all levels of
18th century sites. The construction of this ceramic model is
18th century society, on a uniform basis. The postulation of
contemporaneous diffusion throughout the society as a whole,
of similar wares at any one time, is seen by South to present an
ideal situation in which to develop ceramic sequences based
upon the known manufacturing dates of particular pottery
types. By the quantification of ware types within a given
ceramic assemblage, a ceramic mean formula date can then
be arrived at, and should correspond closely to the known
mean historical date of any 18th century site. In all cases, a
normal unimodal curve was taken by South to represent the
frequency of ceramic types, beginning with the initial manu-
facturing date, showing a subsequent rise to popularity, and
then a steady uniform decrease in popularity to extinction;
the latter was then taken to represent the terminal manufac-
As a general dating technique for 18th century sites,
South's ceramic model undoubtedly seems to have great
validity. In all cases but one, his calculated mean ceramic
dates were all within a few years of the known historic mean
dates. However, South's ceramic model broke down on a
17th century site where the deviation of the calculated mean
ceramic date of 1654 was twenty-one years off the known
historical mean date of 1675. This anomaly was interpreted
by South as the result of either the lack of knowledge of
17th century ceramic types and manufacturing dates, or the
influence of status factors.
I believe that, when South negated the influence of socio-
cultural factors in the construction of his model, the signifi-
cance of actual ceramic utilization by different levels of society
was greatly oversimplified. Although the horizon concept and
the hypothetical unimodal curve are useful constructs for
developing temporal sequences, they do not lend themselves
to the study of cultural dynamics.
The totality of 18th century ceramic assemblages should
reflect irregularities of ceramic utilization, varying with groups
in the society having different statuses and life styles. Different
ceramic utilization patterns are in themselves a measure of
socio-cultural variance, primarily determined by the social
criteria of occupation, wealth, and ancestry. All ware types
will not be utilized to the same degree by all levels of society.
Particular ceramics will inherently display varying status and/
or functional trait categories. It is the recognition of these
ceramic trait categories which should go some way towards
the further elaboration of a ceramic utilization model. As
Deetz has pointed out (1967:7), the patterning of the archae-
ological data is a reflection of the culture which produced the
material assemblage. Thus, properly applied ceramic analysis
of 18th century material should reflect the socio-economic
level and cultural patterns of the peoples known to have been
associated with it.
Eighteenth century Jamaican sites offer an excellent oppor-
tunity to test this type of hypothesis. This is so for two main
1) The availability of relatively undisturbed archaeological
sites of known varying historical and cultural backgrounds
provides the basis for a comparative analysis of large ceramic
2) The historical process involved in the settlement and
colonization of Jamaica by people from two completely
diverse cultural traditions produced the sharply contrasting
sub-cultures of the English plantocracy and the West African
Where the socio-cultural boundaries between the upper and
lower classes are so clearly demarcated and well documented
as they were in 18th century Jamaican society, it can be
postulated that corresponding status differences and socio-
economic differentiation should be readily reflected within
the ceramic assemblages associated with these two different
levels of society. The different ceramic utilization patterns
reflected by the ceramic assemblages are a measure of the
socio-economic disparity between the affluent and indigent
members of society. Although the level of socio-economic
variation will be more apparent between these two sharply
distinct sub-cultural groups, it should also be possible to
distinguish an artisan/commercial class. The existence of
socio-economic differences seen reflected in the respective
material cultures, particularly in the ceramics, of these three
different levels of society is a manifestation of the essential
differences in the way of life and conceptual patterns of these
contemporary sub-cultural groups.
The main methodological approach to the study of socio-
economic differentiation must be based upon the comparative
analysis of contemporary assemblages, and upon the defini-
tion of the variable ceramic trait components as reliable re-
flections of the different levels of society which these respect-
ive assemblages represent.
The 18th century material culture excavated from Old
King's House in Jamaica is providing an excellent basis for
such a comparative study. The ceramic data to be considered
here is only a part of a very rich and varied assemblage consist-
ing of perhaps the largest collection of cream ware, Wedgwood
ceramics, and Chinese export porcelain recently excavated
anywhere in the New World. To a considerable extent it has
been possible to reconstruct many of the porcelain plates and
bowls as well as the Wedgwood vessels, many of which are
marked. These ceramics, along with numerous other wares,
make up an assemblage which provides an excellent sample
of ceramic types associated with the aristocracy, and even
more directly with the official households of the English
Governors of the 18th century. In addition, the Old King's
House site has produced a wide range of locally produced
earthenwares, clearly originating from within the Afro-Jamai-
can community, and therefore having an essential bearing on
the future study of the material culture of the peasantry and
Black communities. More will be said about these earthen-
Extant documentation, and known historical dates associat-
ed with the English occupation and building on the site since
1655, provide a temporal scale for checking the chronological
contexts of the individual assemblages within the site. The
three key dates of 1700, 1761-62, and 1801, which are
known to be associated with major developments on the site,
provide valuable ante post quems and terminus post quems
for dating associated structures and ceramic assemblages. This
has led to considerable progress in defining intra-site variabil-
ity, in terms of ceramic variation seen as a function of both
time and space. In other words, it is not only possible to get a
general diachronic view of the ceramic variation of the Gover-
nor's household throughout the 18th century, but it is also
possible to get a better idea of the distribution of particular
wares on the site in any one period of time. This is particularly
true for the latter part of the 18th century which has produc-
ed interesting data upon which inferences can be drawn relat-
ing to the spatial relationship of utilitarian kitchen wares on
the one hand, and table wares on the other hand. This synchro-
nic approach towards defining functional variability of differ-
ent ware groups within different areas of the site is one which
has not often been rigorously applied to 18th century sites.
It is hoped that further ceramic analysis of the Old King's
House material will produce results which clearly demonstrate
the need for this type of approach in any attempt at defining
the socio-cultural status of the different social groups repre-
sented on 18th century New World sites.
At the moment, very little is known about the material
culture of the Black peasantry. Up until now there has not
been any serious archaeological work done in Jamaica on slave
settlement sites. Although some early 19th century ceramics
were recovered by Higman, Hall, and Greene in recent work
in the slave quarter on the New Montpelier Estate, far more
extensive excavations in a mid-18th century context, under
controlled conditions, need to be carried out in order to
obtain sufficiently reliable data to use for comparative pur-
However, some interesting comparative material does exist
in the form of the recently published site report of the Port
Royal land excavations conducted by Mayes during 1969-70
(Mayes, 1972*). Mayes' excavations produced a considerable
amount of quantitative ceramic data from an area of Port
Royal known from historical sources to have been the Old
Naval Dockyard of the British fleet from around 1735. On
archaeological evidence, Mayes believes that the main occupa-
tion zone does not date any later than around 1800. On the
whole, this particular Port Royal assemblage lends itself quite
well to a comparison with the assemblage from Old King's
House, dating roughly to the same period.
Although there is not time here to go into the comparative
analysis in any great detail, nevertheless I should like to point
out briefly some of the major differences which illustrate the
varying ceramic utilization patterns between these two contem-
porary ceramic assemblages. The assemblage from Old King's
House cutting 52 shows the following preliminary sherd count
of major ceramic wares:
Chinese blue and white export porcelain: 494
Blue and white delftware:
White saltglaze stoneware:
Coarse English stoneware:
By comparison, Mayes' level 4 Old Naval Dockyard assemblage
produced the following count of major wares:
Chinese porcelain (all types):
Blue and white delftware:
White saltglaze stoneware:
Coarse English stoneware:
(no count, only est-
From the comparison of these two sherd counts, one car.
immediately see very obvious differences in ceramic frequenc-
ies for these two coeval assemblages. The high frequency of
cream ware and porcelain, coupled with the low frequency of
delftware, slipware, and stone ware, for the Old King's House
assemblage is in marked contrast with the low frequency of
cream ware and porcelain, and the high frequency of slipware,
delftware, and stoneware from the Old Naval Dockyard. There
is little doubt that the disparity between these two assem-
blages is primarily the result of different ceramic utilization
patterns, reflecting, in turn, socio-economic differentiation
and varying cultural status of people involved in maritime-
mercantile activities on the one hand, and the Governor's
household on the other hand.
Part of the comparative study of socio-economic factors
within these two 18th century ceramic assemblages concerns
the testing of South's model, in order to see how close the
* Published by The Jamaica National Trust Commission, 1972:
Price J$5.00. Available at the Institute of Jamaica, East Street,
j ^ )
Eighteenth century Afro-Jamaican folk pottery, recovered from the excavations at Old King's House
mean ceramic date coincides with the known mean historical
date of the respective assemblages. Although there has not yet
been the opportunity to test the Old King's House ceramic
material in this way, initial results concerning the Old Naval
Dockyard assemblage are of some interest. By taking thirteen
wares representing a total of 2,295 sherds, a mean ceramic
date of 1749 was obtained, which is sixteen years off the
the known mean historical date of 1765. This discrepancy is
much larger than the usual "plus or minus" 4-year margin
off the known mean historic date which South has obtained
in most instances through the use of his chronological ceramic
model. This I believe, must indicate that actual ceramic utili-
zation patterns at the Old Naval Dockyard site do not con-
form to the normal unimodal frequency curves defined by
the manufacturing dates of the particular ware types. Clearly
the frequency of the ceramic wares at this site is more a mea-
sure of the functions and activities of the people directly
associated with the site, than of the terminal manufacturing
dates of the ceramics themselves. Certainly one would expect
dockyard workers to be using stoneware, particularly in the
form of tankards, jugs, and storage vessels, and the more
common slipwares and delftwares, to a far greater extent than
the more expensive and prestigious porcelain and cream ware.
The study of 18th century Jamaican ceramic utilization
patterns is still very much in its infancy. Much more needs to
be done in exploring the concept of cultural status as an
influence on the utilization of different wares by the various
levels of society, and as a reflection of the general socio-
economic level of the respective sub-cultural groups. Although
a point has been reached now where differences in ceramic
frequency generally define varying ceramic trait categories,
and ware utilization within different sub-cultural groups,
much more data needs to be collected in order to make these
differences quantifiable. Quantification will in turn permit
more reliable cultural inferences concerning socio-economic
differentiation within 18th century Jamaica.
The analytical description of archaeological material is
crucial, as it provides the data from which socio-economic
interpretations and historical inferences are drawn, and hence
can be added to the known historical and cultural information
for a given period. Within relatively recent times considerable
strides have been made towards bringing more sophistication
to the study of 18th century material from British colonial
sites. However, much more needs to be done in refining the
ceramic analysis if historical archaeology is to begin to answer
some of the essential questions concerning socio-economic
and cultural differentiation in 18th century New World soc-
Cream ware (all types):
Throughout the ceramic analysis of the Old King's House
material, a special effort has been made to recognize and to
define typological variants within the limits of the known
ware types. By adhering to the techniques of pre-historic
ceramic analysis in considering vessel form, surface treatment,
decorative motifs, and fabrics, an attempt was made to achieve
a more meaningful ceramic typology, particularly in the case
of the major English wares which occur so commonly in pre-
1800 contexts. Though there is nothing really new in this
analytical approach, in historical archaeology it has generally
received more lip service than actual application.
As is well known, different ceramic wares will require
different classificatory criteria. It is necessary, therefore, to
determine which of several ceramic criteria will best order
the data by quantifying the ceramic trait norms of particular
wares, in order to reflect significant temporal and/or cultural
factors. For instance, it has been found that cream ware
(often erroneously considered to be synonymous with Queen's
ware) can in most instances be readily classified by the color
and crazing pattern of the lead glaze, in conjunction with
vessel form. By examining over 2,000 sherds of cream ware in
this manner some progress has been made towards defining
considerable variation, not only within the products of the
same factory over time, but also between contemporaneous
vessels from different factories producing competitive cream
wares. Although differences were often imperceptible, it was
nevertheless possible to subdivide the total cream ware assem-
blage into the products of at least four different cream ware
factories, namely, Wedgwood, Neale & Co., Turner, and Leeds
Pottery. By using the individually marked pieces within the
assemblage, it was possible to make some headway towards
formulating patterns of cream ware characteristics on the
basis of observed ceramic variation. This should help to
achieve more precision in the classification and definition of
other cream ware assemblages found elsewhere, which in turn
should lead to a more sophisticated understanding of possible
socio-cultural implications represented by this particular ware.
Different classificatory criteria were used for the Stafford-
shire slipwares, as in this case fabric type and decorative motif
were thought to be more significant. It might be mentioned
that there is far more variation within this ware than has been
previously indicated in the published descriptions of 18th
century ceramics. As with the case of cream ware, the quanti-
fication and correlation of ceramic traits can indeed go a long
way towards bringing more order to the classification of a
major ware about which archaeologists still know very little.
A similar approach to analysis has been used in the case of
other European and Asiatic imported ceramics. Particular
success has been achieved in distinguishing significant variation
between English delftware and French faience, through an
examination of fabric and glaze characteristics, decorative
An earthenware bowl of Afro-Jamaican ceramic tradition.
motifs, and vessel forms. Although these two significantly
different wares are often confused with one another, a close
study of their respective fabrics and glazes, in conjunction
with one or two other criteria, should in most cases make such
Of all the wares recovered from Old King's House, perhaps
the most interesting are the locally made coarse earthenwares,
to which I have previously referred. There is little doubt that,
for the most part, these earthenwares are the products of Jam-
aican potters of African descent. For this reason they can be
referred to as Afro-Jamaican wares. Unlike the case of Barba-
dos, where the contemporary local ceramic tradition is seen
by Handler (1963) as a European innovation, the archaeologi-
cal evidence from Old King's House indicates that an on-going
Jamaican crafting enterprise dates from the late 17th century,
and is firmly rooted in African ceramic traditions introduced
by transplanted slaves of probable West African origin. Both
cultural and historical inferences strongly indicate that this
Afro-Jamaican ceramic tradition is of essentially Akan origin
and inspiration. However this may be, gone are the days when
defining "Africanisms" and survivalss" is thought to be the
quintessence of anthropological research for New World Black
communities. What is more important than defining the pre-
cise African origin of this type of ceramic tradition is deter-
mining its structure and role within the socio-cultural sub-
systems of the black peasantry of 18th century Jamaican
The study of Afro-Jamaican earthenwares certainly presents
an unrivalled opportunity to contribute to the knowledge of
18th century Blacks in Jamaica, particularly when one realizes
that there is a great dearth of reliable documentation for Black
communities much before the early 1800's. Even during the
amelioration period around 1820, when there was a concerted
effort to improve the living conditions of the slaves, there
appears to be very little documentation. The descriptive pole-
mics of the abolitionists are known to have been often highly
exaggerated and misguided, as are also many of the later 19th
century descriptions of Black Jamaican culture. Although to
some extent one may utilize 19th century documentary evid-
ence to extrapolate backwards into the 18th century for the
purposes of reconstructing particular conditions in the earlier
period, this is at best an unsure method which must be used
with considerable caution. Quite clearly then, the study of
18th century cultural systems of the Black peasantry will
largely depend upon the archaeological study of the surviving
material culture, and in particular, Afro-Jamaican ceramics.
These locally made coarse earthenwares are far better cultural
indices of the socio-economic ethos of the Black peasantry,
than are the completely alien, factory-manufactured, European
Just what do the Afro-Jamaican wares from Old King's
House tell us, and to what extent can they provide data for
the study of 18th century socio-economic and sub-cultural
differentiation? In the first place, they represent the first
tangible evidence of a relatively well-developed craft tradition
within the slave population. Prior to this, one could only rely
on sparsely scattered and brief references to Black tradesmen,
such as carpenters or masons, within the 18th century docu-
ments available. Although Mintz and Hall (1960) refer to the
bartering of craft products as part of the internal marketing
system, they do not specify the craft products to which they
are referring. We now know that Afro-Jamaican earthenwares
must have played a substantial role in this marketing system.
Data presently available, however, are not sufficient to tell us
what proportion of the Black peasantry's household inventory
these earthenwares actually represented. Judging from the
contemporary folk crafting survivals, one must certainly con-
sider that both wooden vessels and straw woven baskets
would have been important additional household items.
The Afro-Jamaican earthenwares at Old King's House, as a
general rule, were probably utilized by the household servants
within their own quarters. Some of the finer glazed wares,
however, were probably used from time to time by European
members of the household as well. But at present, there is not
sufficient data, from this site or other comparable contexts,
to determine clearly who used which specific wares.
At present, five major Afro-Jamaican wares have been
identified, of which two have been finished with a lead glaze.
One of these wares shows a greater variation in form than the
others, and as it has also revealed throwing marks from a
potter's wheel, it clearly represents more of a technical inno-
vation than does the rest of the assemblage. The major portion
of the assemblage, totaling over 2,000 sherds, consists of vessels
having a wide range of both form and fabric type; this wide
range is clearly indicative of the work of different potters.
Surface treatment is seen to differ from one ware to the
next. Where decoration does occur, it is often a very simple
incised pattern, though occasionally more intricate designs
are present. Apart from the two glazed wares already men-
tioned, all this pottery has clearly been hand-made and fired
under open-hearth conditions. These ceramics, made without
either the use of a potter's wheel or a kiln, clearly point to
the crafting technique of the African potter, and although the
existence of flat bottoms and double handles also indicate
European innovating influences, the conceptualization of the
vessels themselves clearly arises from the cultural heritage of
All the data on these Afro-Jamaican wares have not yet
been properly analyzed, so that the general cultural picture of
what these locally made ceramics represent, in terms of their
socio-economic functions throughout the 18th century, is still
far from clear. The occurrence of geometric marks on some of
the wares clearly suggests the varying marks of different potters.
Although there has not yet been an opportunity to amass
sufficient data on the temporal and spatial distribution of the
different wares, it is hoped that the clay analysis of the Old
King's House wares will be the start of providing information
on different clay sources from which the individual wares were
made, and on the general areas of manufacture as well as on
the subsequent trading and distribution patterns.
An holistic approach to the ceramic study of socio-econo-
mic differentiation must be based on a broad comparative
analysis of the ceramic utilization patterns of the major wares,
as they vary within different cultural contexts and with differ-
ent levels of 18th century Jamaican society. In short, there are
two main questions which need to be answered:
1) To what extent do the utilization curves, representing
ceramic popularity within the different socio-economic groups,
overlap one another, and
2) How do these overlapping ceramic utilization curves
shift through time in respect of one another, within the differ-
ent contextual socio-economic levels of 18th century society.
Quite clearly, the concepts of ceramic fashion and function
must be examined carefully in relation to their total effect on
the utilization of individual wares by different levels of society.
Time lag in ceramic usage will not be easy to quantify. Al-
though at the present time one can see different socio-cultural
factors influencing and in part determining the over-all
character of the respective ceramic assemblages from Old
King's House and the Old Naval Dockyard, there is not yet
sufficient data to permit anything but very general statements
concerning the socio-cultural preferences for certain types of
ceramics at these two sites. However, more precision in deter-
mining actual utilization curves is likely to be obtained in the
future by carefully controlled excavations on a 18th century
sugar plantation of known historical background, in which the
Great House, overseer's yard, and slave quarters are still relat-
ively undisturbed. By sampling the material culture from with-
in the occupation deposits of these closely associated, though
culturally distinct, contemporary settlement areas of the same
plantation, it is likely that sufficient data will be recovered
for empirical confirmation of socio-economic differentiation
in the form of overlapping utilization curves, in which the
ceramic time lag for particular wares might be quantified.
Varying ceramic utilization patterns found to exist between
'ing imitation metal riveted handles.
the sub-cultural groups within such a plantation ceramic study
would represent a microcosm of material culture and process-
es of cultural change within Jamaican society during the latter
years of the 18th century.
Binford, Lewis R.
"Evolution and Horizon as revealed in Ceramic
analysis in historical archaeology A step toward
the development of archaeological science" The
Conference on Historical Site Archaeology Papers
1971, 6, 1972.
Cleland, Charles E. "Diverse comments and sundry suggestions con-
cerning ceramics in Suffolk County, Massachusetts,
Inventories 1680-1775 A preliminary study
with diverse comments thereon, and sundry suggest-
ions", The Conference on Historical Site Archaeol-
logy Papers 1968, 3, 1970.
Deetz, James Invitation to Archaeology, National History Press,
Handler, J.S. "A historical sketch of pottery manufacture in
Barbados" Journal of the Barbados Museum and
Historical Society Vol. 30, 1963, pp. 129-53.
Mayes, Philip, Port Royal, Jamaica: Excavations 1969- 70, Jam-
aica National Trust Commission, 1972 Kingston,
Miller, J.J. and Stone, L.M. Eighteenth-Century ceramics from Fort
Michilimackinac, Smithsonian Studies in History
and Technology, no. 4, 1970.
Mintz, Sidney, W., and Hall, Douglas, "The origins of the Jamaican
Internal Marketing System",-Yale University Publi-
cations in Anthropology, no. 57, 1960 pp. 3-26.
"Evolution and horizon as revealed in ceramic
analysis in Historical Archaeology", The Confer-
ence on Historic Site Archaeology Papers 1971,
Stone, G.W., "Ceramics in Suffolk County, Massachusetts,
Inventories 1680-1775", The Conference on His-
toric Site Archaeology Papers, 1968, 3, 1970.
Watkins, C. Malcolm, The Cultural History of Marlborough, Virginia,
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.,
in Jamaica 1929 35
by RUPERT LEWIS **
In order to understand the political role of the Garvey
movement in Jamaica during the years 1929-1935 we must,
firstly, place the Garvey movement in the context of the
worldwide struggle against imperialism in the early twentieth
century and, secondly, look at the main aspects of imperialist
penetration in Jamaica between 1865 and 1930 a penetration
which had at its core the enslavement consequent on the "land
Marcus Garvey recognized that the October revolution of
1917 in Russia was not only a socialist revolution but also an
anti-colonialist revolution which pointed the way forward to
the national liberation of the millions of oppressed and exploi-
ted colonial peoples around the world. Amy Jacques Garvey
notes in Garvey and Garveyism that "on the death of Lenin
in 1924, Garvey sent a cable to Moscow, on behalf of the
Negroes of the world expressing sorrow at his passing. "I
This was at a time when it was dangerous to sympathise with
the Russian revolutionaries and when the major imperialist
states were working to undermine the revolution and restore
Russia to capitalism and imperialist control.
A Negro World editorial referred to Lenin as "probably
the world's greatest man between 1917 and 1924"2 and
Garvey argued that what Lenin did for Russia should be emu-
lated by black men in the struggle for African emancipation.3
This, of course, does not mean that Garvey was a Marxist. The
point that is being made here is that one of the leading nation-
alists of the period was responding to a new international
situation, the main feature of which was the emergence of the
world's first socialist state. And there was a strong imperialist
reaction to the Black nationalists'stand of solidarity with the
first socialist and colonial revolution andtheirdetermination to
strive for national liberation. As early as October 1919, J.
Edgar Hoover, who had initiated the campaign for Garvey's
deportation from America, filed a memorandum on Garvey's
activities to the Department of Justice, in which he wrote:
"In his paper, the 'Negro World' the Soviet Russian Rule
is upheld and there is open advocation of Bolshevism "4
In the British colony of Jamaica the landowners and the
Daily Gleaner which represented the interest of the merchants
and planters also associated Garveyism with Bolshevism and
recognized the clear anti-imperialist content of Garvey's United
Negro Improvement Association.
P aper presented to the International Seminar on Marcus Garvey 2-6
January 1973 UWI JAMAICA Sponsored by the African
Studies Association of the West Indies.
** Rupert Lewis is a Lecturer in the Department ol' Government,
University of the West Indies.
At the time of the October Revolution the vast majority of
the world's population was in a state of direct colonial depen-
dence. It is worth rehearsing at this point the full extent of
the domination of a large number of oppressed nations by an
insignificant number of oppressor nations possessing great
wealth and powerful armed forces.
By the start of the twentieth century Britain, for instance,
controlled over 9.3 million square miles of territory obtained
through plunder. Between 1884-1900 Britain acquired some
3,700,000 million square miles of colonial territory. The United
Kingdom was in comparison only 121,000 square miles.The
population of this empire was 431 million while that of the
U.K. plus the white dominions such as Canada and Australia,
only amounted to 60 million. On the eve of World War II
Britain's Empire included V of the world's population and /4
of the world's area. The rate of British foreign investment at
the turn of the century was:
1901-1905 under 50 million per year
1907-1910 150 million per year
1911-1913 200 million per year5
47% of Britain's foreign investment was in the Empire in places
like Canada, New Zealand, India, Burma, Malaya, Ceylon,
Africa and Latin America.
British capitalists reaped huge profits from making loans
at high rates of interests. It was through her finance capitalists
that she met her frequent Balance of Payments problem. S.
Britain, it must be remembered, showed a substantial
unfavourable balance on merchandise trade of the order
of 150 million annually. This negative balance, to which
must be added (net) bullion imports and tourist expen-
diture abroad of about 20 million, was almost exactly
counterbalanced by large and rising credit items for net
invisible exports: banking, insurance and shipping earn-
ings. The surplus was provided by dividends and interest
rising from about 100 million to 200 million between
1900 and 1913, and it was these which allowed Britain
to increase her foreign investments at an equally rapid
Since foreign railways, docks or naval yards, if financed
by British investors, would naturally favour British sup-
pliers, a boom in capital exports was bound to be
paralleled by a boom in the exports of merchandise. .6
The indebtedness of colonial Jamaica and the high taxes
imposed on the peasantry must be seen in the context of these
Portrait of the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, by Jamaican artist, Leonard Morris, 1971.
The public debt in Jamaica grew from million pounds
in 1875 to 1% million pounds in 1885 to 3 million pounds
by 1905. Much of this is due to loans for railway construction.
In 1884, for example,130,000 of a 183,000 loan was raised
in London at interest rates 3 to 4 times higher than that paid
on the balance which was raised in Jamaica. This, of course,had
to be paid for by tax increases on imports which affected the
peasantry most of all.
This period of colonial territorial expansion and economic
growth for British capital was at the same time one of intense
competition with U.S. imperialism in Latin America and Ger-
man capital in the Middle East. Chamberlain's (1895-1903)
protectionist policy and his colonial policies cannot be under-
stood outside of this context. The attacks against British colo-
nialism by the early nationalist, Robert Love, at the turn of
the twentieth century centred on Chamberlain's land and fiscal
policies and his statements concerning the withdrawal of the
paltry political liberties granted to property-owners in Jamaica
in 1884 and 1895.
Inter-imperialist conflicts rooted in the late nineteenth cen-
tury development of monopoly capitalism set the stage for
World War I, the main issue of which was the re-division of the
world and the struggle for markets. As a consequence of this
taking place there was greater national oppression and the
democratic rights promised the colonial peoples for their parti-
cipation in that imperialist conflict were denied. It was in this
new international situation that theGarvey movement developed
into a powerful anti-colonial force representing millions of
Africans who along with other colonial and semi-colonial
peoples in China, India and Latin America were challenging
The post-World War I years found the colony of Jamaica in
crisis. During June-July 1918 there were strikes in the parishes
of Kingston, St. Catherine, Portland, St. Thomas, Clarendon and
Manchester, primarily among dockworkers, railway employees
and labourers on sugar and banana estates, who were protesting
working conditions and calling for more wages. On the Amity
Hall sugar estate in Clarendon, the reading of the Riot Act
preceded the shooting to death of three workers.7 The workers
generally, had resorted not only to strike action but also to the
cutting of telephone wires and the burning of cane fields.
Organizationally the upsurge among the workers was reflected
in the formation by Alexander Bain Alves of the Longshoremen's
Union No. 1 of the Jamaica Federation of Labour on the 10th
of January 1918.8 The majority of workers, however, had no
union organization and no political organization; their spon-
taneous anti-colonial movement shortly subsided.
W.F. Elkins in a number of essays has dealt with this anti-
colonial upsurge elsewhere in the Caribbean.9 The years follow-
ing World War I witnessed the great expansion of the Garvey
movement in the United States, the Caribbean and parts
of Africa, the basis of which is to be found in the severe
conditions of exploitation and oppression to which the African
people were subjected.
Imperialist war and economic crises in the capitalist countries
had disastrous consequences for the colonial peoples. This was
the position during 1929-33 when an acute international
capitalist crisis occurred. This was the longest, most destructive
and profound economic crisis that capitalism had ever known.
Industrial output in the capitalist world during the early nine-
teen-thirties shrank by 38%. Agricultural output dropped by
one-third. Thousands of banks crashed and currency depreciated
in 56 countries. Unemployment in the capitalist world rose to
35 million. This included 16 million in America, 5.5 million in
Germany, 3 million in Britain and 2.8 million in Japan. For
the colonies it meant that the prices received for agricultural
raw materials and food dropped considerably in value on the
world market. The imperialists increased their plunder in the
colonies as the land of millions of peasants was seized by
money-lenders and landowners and thus literally millions were
on the verge of death by starvation.
In the West Indies these consequences were also experienced
in addition to the fact that thousands of migrants were return-
ing from the United States, Cuba and the Central American
republics. Between 1930-34 over 28,000 migrants returned to
Jamaica to live in further misery.
This economic crisis expressed itself in the growth of the
working-class struggle in the capitalist countries. There were
19,000 strikes involving 8.5 million employees during 1929-32
in 15 of the world's largest countries. There was also growing
disaffection in the colonies which expressed itself in the
widening of the anti-imperialist struggle throughout the world.
The high point of struggle in the British Empire at the time
was in India where over 60,000 patriots were arrested in 1930
along with Gandhi and other leaders of the Indian National
Congress. The only person who publicly supported the Indian
nationalists in Jamaica was Marcus Garvey who in militant
articles and editorials in his newspaper attacked the reactionary
newspaper The Gleaner,whose editor H.G. DeLisser attemp-
ted to discredit and denigrate the anti-imperialist movement
which was growing throughout the dying British Empire.
Garvey, in an editorial entitled In Praise of Gandhi wrote:
Today the whole world is attracted to the movement
of that wonderful man of India Mahatma Gandhi who
has for several weeks been on the march through India
toward a given point, arousing his countrymen to the
consciousness of national independence .... The Indians
are an oppressed race oppressed by some of their own
as well as by external forces. Like the Negro they must
struggle upward to justify their national existence, and so
Gandhi, is leading and pointing the way . .10
Garvey, who was then living in Jamaica, was intensely invol-
ved in the political life of the country. His writings on the anti-
colonial movement in China, India, Ireland and Egypt are today
the precious heritage of the anti-imperialist movement in
Jamaica for they explicitly denounce the reactionary, narrow
and pro-imperialist nationalism which forms the ideological
basis of neo-colonial Jamaica. This, then, was the international
situation during the early nineteen-thirties when MarcusGarvey
confronted British imperialism in Jamaica. It was a period
characterized by sharp conflicts between imperialism and anti-
imperialist forces throughout the world.
ASPECTS OF IMPERIALIST ENSLAVEMENT OF
The 1865 rebellion clinched the victory for the plantation
sector (then dominated by British capital) over small commo-
dity peasant production. This led, politically, to the imposition
of direct crown colony rule and economic underdevelopment
which naturally benefitted the absentee plantation owners in
England and the United States. One saw the growth of ; local
mrrrch? it-planter class which had exploitative relations with the
small proprietor strata that formed the basis of the middle class
in the twentieth century and the further pushing into the
ground of the mass of peasants, many of whom were forced
back on the plantations either in Jamaica or in Latin America.
The general decomposition of the peasantry was consequently
speeded up. The major legal instrument through which London
merchants secured Jamaican land which had either been aban-
doned or farmed by the peasants was the Encumbered Estates
Act of 1854. Although British capitalist control of the land
was predominant most of the colony's exports in the 1870-90
period went to the United States where the cane producers did
not have to face the stiff competition of the European beet
sugar industry until the 1890s and after which time competition
from sugar in Cuba, Hawaii and the Phillipines made the
American market a difficult one. This period marked the
investment of the U.S. monopoly firm, United Fruit Co., in
the banana trade. The colony was therefore tied to British and
American capital, with the former maintaining the dominant
One of Governor J.P. Grant's assignments after the Morant
Bay rebellion was to dispossess the peasantry of the land "by
prohibiting squatting and inhibiting the development of isolated
peasant communities where possible." Through the establish-
ment of the Lands Department the Crown foreclosed on thou-
sands of acres farmed by peasants for which they had no legal
titles. Between 1871-75 a total of 90,000 acres were reclaimed
by the Crown.
At the same time that British and American capitalist pene-
tration into agriculture grew,the conditions of the poor peasants
deteriorated and many were forced back into wage labour.
However, the picture of the class composition of the society
would be incomplete if one did not point to the growth of a
middle stratum within the peasantry whose development had
been determined by the economic relations in agriculture at the
time and encouraged by British imperialism for its own interest.
This is demonstrated in the fact that at the turn of the twen-
tieth century at least 1/3 of the 7500 members of the JAS were
employed as rural constables. The majority of these were small
property-holders who employed a few wage-labourers. The
growth of this middle stratum is seen in the fact that the num-
ber of holdings under 10 acres increased from 52,000 owners
in a total population of 580,000 in 1882 to 81,900 owners out
of a population of 650,000 in 1896. These middle-peasants,
were those small farmers who, either as owners or tenantshold
small plots of land which in good time may produce a surplus
which may be converted into capital and therefore they quite
frequently resort to employment of hired labour. One should
distinguish between this stratum and the agricultural workers
on theestatesand the poor peasants who worked occasionally
on the plantation and on their own small plots of land.
The middle peasants were engaged primarily in minor export
crops such as coffee, pimento and banana s. Claude McKay's
novel Banana Bottom, several of his short stories in Gingertown
and his unfinished autobiography My Green Hills of Jamaica
reveal the lives of this upper and middle stratum of the peasantry
and provides an insight into the contradictory and ambivalent
nature of their relations with the other classes in the society.
As far as the period 1929-35 is concerned the vacillation of the
leading representatives of this stratum whom Garvey expected
to play an important role in the anti-colonial struggle,- served
more the interests'of British imperialism especially when they
found that Garvey's programme ran counter to the class interests
of the big landowners on whom they depended.
Organizationally, the small farmers were to be found in the
Jamaica Agricultural Society and the Jamaica Union of
Teachers. However, in Dr. Robert Love, whose influence on
Garvey was significant as the latter himself later admitted, the
left-wing of the middle-stratum and the mass of poor peasants
found their most consistent protagonist. Love's struggle against
the system of land tenure, inequitable taxation brought about
by British finance capital against the poor peasantry, his work
in establishing a Pan-African Association along with H. Sylvester-
Williams, his struggle against Chamberlain's reactionary colonial
policy and his forceful democratic journalistic writings in the
Jamaica Advocate made him an outstanding anti-colonial leader
in the Caribbean.
The fiscal policies of the Crown in the post-1865 period
clearly demonstrates the big planter interests of the colonial
state. One of the main tasks of the Constabulary Force set up
by the "liberal" Governor Grant, was the immediate imprison-
ment of all persons charged with non-payment of taxes which
also meant the stamping out of any protests against tax collect-
ors. Goods used by the peasants were heavily taxed, while the
imports of the rich were exempt. 11 Land taxes were regressive
so that one paid proportionally less the larger the holdings
were. In the 1880's taxes ranged from 1/- per acre for holdings
under 100 acres to 1d for every acre over 500 acres, while
on ruinate land belonging to the latter,payment was a farthing
per acre. Tax on peasant dwellings, draught animals, carts and
trade licenses were also high. The peasant practice of trans-
porting produce .to market by head instead of using carts or
drays had to do with the unbearable taxation which made it
impossible for them to afford draught animals. At the same
time carriages, carts and wagons for plantation use were duty-
It is no wonder then that so many people migrated to the
Americas at the turn of the century.
In 1910 when Garvey travelled through Costa Rica, Bocas-
del-Toro, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras and other areas of
South America he felt compelled to throw in his lot with West
Indian workers on the mines and plantations and vigorously
protested the disgraceful working conditions and poor wages.
Black Nationalist protest in the early twentieth century was
therefore inextricably bound up with the land question and
the decomposition of the peasantry as a result of imperialist
penetration of agriculture.
GARVEYISM IN JAMAICA
We will not cover the entire period here but will focus in
particular on the People's Political Party, its programme and
battles during the years 1929-30. This is the most crucial and
important period for Garvey.
Marcus Garvey returned to the colony in December 1927
after spending two years and nine months in the Atlantic
Federal prison as a political captive of American Imperialism.
When he landed in Kingston the Gleaner reported that "Mr.
Garvey's arrival was perhaps the most historic event that has
taken place in the metropolis of the island" and "no denser
crowd has ever been witnessed in Kingston."l2
Black people in Jamaica saw Garvey as their spokesman
but the planters and merchants necessarily saw him as an
enemy. Anticipating his deportation, two years before, in
1925 the Gleaner wrote:
Whether Mr. Garvey comes here shortly or five years
hence there can be no doubt that he will prove a dan-
gerous element in Jamaica unless it is made unmistakably
clear at the very beginning that the authorities arf3not
prepared to tolerate any nonsense on his part....
After Garvey returned, repression was not long in coming from
the British colonial government. His wife and himself were
denied visa entries to visit British Guiana or any of the British
West Indian islands. In Trinidad there was an anti-Garvey lobby
among some school-teachers who in their journal were opposed
to Garvey's visit. In Cuba, the Government banned the Negro
World in 1928 and declared the UNIA an illegal organization
in 1929. Garveyites were charged with stirring up racialism
under the Morua law,named ironically after an Afro-Cuban
This Morua law had been the basis for the brutal suppression
and murder by the Cuban authorities and American marines of
3,000 Afro-Cuban peasant rebels in the Oriente province in
1912. It was effectively used against the UNIA at the end of
the nineteen-twenties. It was no wonder then that one of the
leading figures of the constitutional reform movement in the
West Indies, at the time, T.A. Marryshow, could write in 1928:
We will not be surprised to find that Jamaica is meant to
be his St. Helena on authority of a powerful internation-
al combination whose interest some observers say is to
keep Garvey down. 15
It was therefore very clear that the prime tactic of the colonial
authorities was to isolate Garvey from the main divisions of
his movement in the Caribbean after his deportation from the
U.S. through a denial of civil and political liberties. In April
1928 Marcus Garvey and his wife travelled to England. While
in London Garvey concentrated on establishing contacts with
African students and seamen. He assisted the West African
Students Union out of which several nationalists emerged. His
wife noted . for the entire period of our stay he did splen-
did work in organizing and financing the underground move-
ment to all parts of Africa ."16 On the public level he spoke
in Hyde Park, sent circulars to M.P.'s and some church and
liberal minded secular leaders explaining his organization's
At a public meeting at the Royal Albert Hall on June 6th,
1928 Garvey asserted the right to self-determination for all
colonial peoples. This was repeated at meetings in Paris and
other West European capitals where he spoke. In Geneva he
presented a petition to the League of Nations on behalf of the
Negro Peoples of the World. This petition includes important
documentation of the worldwide economic exploitation and
oppression of African people.
Garvey's activities in Europe were reported in the Jamaican
press and pamphlets of his major speeches published and dis-
tributed through the UNIA on his return.17 This showed that
Garvey was battling against the limitations placed on him and
was determined to conduct an international campaign against
colonialism. This was repeated, on a lesser scale, during his
1931 visit to England.
Garvey's re-entry into colonial politics at the end of 1928
showed that he was neither cowed nor intimidated by the
many threats and obstacles put before his path by the British
colonial rulers and that for him there was no contradiction
between the struggle for Africa and the democratic economic
and political rights in the colonies outside Africa where African
people lived. After launching the PPP in Jamaica in December
1928 he promised to organize similar parties in the French and
British territories of the Caribbean. Because of the priority
which was given to organizing the Sixth UNIA Conference and
establishing the headquarters in Kingston the P.P.P. did not
receive Garvey's full attention until September, 1929, when
some 5,000 people were reported to have attended a party
convention at Edelweiss Park in Kingston.
At the end of March 1929, Garvey's daily Black Man news-
paper started publication. This newspaper served not only as
the organ of the local UNIA,so complementing the American
Negro World, but was a forum for the PPP's agitation.
The small and committed staff of the newspaper was super-
vised by Alexander Aikman, the literary editor; Aikman was
fifty years old and had combined school-teaching with journa-
lism. He was assisted by Leo Rankin, the news editor,and A.
Wesley Atherton, a talented journalist was the chief reporter.
J. Coleman Beecher who had compiled and published a history
of cricket in Jamaica contributed articles on sports and was the
business manager. Garvey, the editor-in-chief, wrote a daily
column called "The World as it is" and a week-end article which
was sometimes published in the New York based Negro World.
Stennett Kerr-Coombs, who along with H. Buchanan (ex-Garve-
yite and probably Jamaica's first Marxist) published the Jamaica
Labour Weekly newspaper in 1938, was at the time a printer's
apprentice at the Black Man's office.
The Black Man newspaper achieved a very creditable circu-
lation figure of 15,000 copies. However, it did so under pressure
from the police who harassed the vendors and from some post-
mistresses who delayed the immediate delivery of the news-
paper through the Post Office. During 1929 the P.P.P. registered
three electoral victories to the Kingston and St. Andrew Cor-
poration and the Legislative Council in by-elections. J. Coleman
Beecher was elected to the K.S.A.C. in early 1928 and. in April
Dr. Veitch won the legislative seat for the parish of Hanover.
In another by-election Garvey set the precedent of being elected
to the Muncipal Council while serving three months in the St.
Catherine District Prison for contempt of court after being
fined 100. This charge arose from the elaboration he had
given on the tenth plank of his electoral manifesto which
called for a "law to impeach and imprison judges who with
disregard for British justice and constitutional rights dealt un-
fairly," at a public meeting in Cross Roads.18 This plank had
to be removed from the manifesto and could no longer be a
part of his platform.
Garvey's historic 1929 manifesto was the first practical
and realistic anti-imperialist political programme in this country.
It summed up briefly and clearly the major economic, political,
legal and educational demands of the working people as a whole.
It was on that basis that Garvey waged a campaign against
imperialism and the big landowners.
Before looking at the actual programme let us note Garvey's
approach to the political struggle and the forces in the country
whom, he argued, should unite in the anti-colonial struggle. In
1921 while on a visit to Jamaica,Garvey wrote a lengthy open
letter to the Gleaner in which he outlined the economic and
political conditions facing the African people. He suggested:
I recommend that the poorer classes of Jamaica the
working classes get together and form themselves into
unions and organizations, and elect their members for the
Legislative Council. With few exceptions, the men in the
Council are representing themselves and their class. The
workers ofJamaica should elect their own representatives,
and if the Government here will not pay the Legislators,
as is done in England, and America, then the Unions and
Organizations should pay these men so that they can
talk out without caring whom they offend. 19
This was his practical organizational approach. As far as the
forces in the country that should unite, Garvey advocated a
united-front strategy which would involve the growing working
class in the towns, the agricultural labourers, poor peasants and
the small proprietors. Who constituted this latter category?
There were the small farmers, produce-dealers, parsons, con-
stables and teachers who also owned land. As a class, the petit-
bourgeoisie was caught between the big landowners and the
mass of poor peasants and agricultural labourers. Depending
on the alignment of class forces and their objective economic
conditions the petit-bourgeoisie was tugged between these two
major forces. Marcus Garvey appealed to this class largely in
terms of the interests of the African race, and nationality;
however, they did not respond favourably to this call but were
in fact hostile at times and ambivalent because of the choice
they were called upon to make between colonial and anti-
colonial politics. They tried to ignore or argue away the basic
contradiction of colonial society between the foreign oppressors
and the predominantly African population.
The British had since the late nineteenth century through
land grants, credit and limited educational concessions made
efforts to win the ideological support of the petit-bourgeoisie.
This was one of the reasons why the Jamaica Agricultural
Society was established. The big farmers also did much to win
their support through other commodity associations such as the
Jamaica Banana Producers Association. These small proprietors
constituted a social force of significance and functioned as an
important buffer between the ruling class and the masses. The
British and the big landowners dominated them through their
control of the economy and distribution of patronage. The
latter was used to assure the support of the petit-bourgeoisie.
Garvey did not fully comprehend the economic basis of the
wavering of this class of black men and underestimated the
danger they posed as opponents in the nineteen-twenties. He
tried to win them to a democratic programme from which
they stood to benefit directly. Only a minority supported
Let us look at the 1929 programme. The economic de-
1. protection of native labour.
2. a minimum wage for the labouring and working classes of
3. a law to protect the working and labouring classes of the
country by insurance against accident, sickness, and death
occurring during employment.
4. an eight hour working day throughout Jamaica.
5. land reform.
6. a law to encourage the promotion of native industries.
7. a law to compel the employment of not less than 60% of
native labour in all industrial, agricultural and commercial
activities engaged in, in this island.
8. the establishment by the government of an electrical
8. system to supply cheap electricity to such growing and
prospering centres as are necessary.
9. the compulsory improvement of urban areas from which
large profits are made by trusts, corporations, combines
10. a law to prevent criminal profiteering in the sale of lands
in urban and suburban areas to the detriment of the ex-
pansion of healthy home life of citizens of moderate
means profiteering such as has occurred in lower St.
Andrew by heartless land sharks.
11. a law to empower the parochial boards of each parish to
undertake, under the direction of the central government,
the building of model sanitary homes for the peasantry
by a system of easy payments over a period of from ten
to twenty years.
12. a law to empower the government to secure a loan of
three million (or more) pounds from the Imperial govern-
ment, or otherwise, to be used by the government, under
the management of a department of the director of agric-
culture in developing the crown lands of the island,
agriculturally and otherwise, with the object of supplying
employment for stranded Jamaicans abroad; and that the
government purchase such ships as are necessary from
time to time, to facilitate the marketing of the produce
gathered from these crown lands, and at the same time
offering an opportunity to other producers to ship and
market their produce.
This last plank cannot, of course, be separated from the demand
for land reform. These then are the economic demands of
Garvey's manifesto. They reflect the intensity of the class
struggle not only in the colony but in particular in Britain
and the United States the imperialist countries to which the
economy was subordinate. Most of these planks are self-
explanatory. I would, nevertheless, like to comment on Plank
11. This demand for reform in rural housing is based on the
view that local government reform is necessary and that the
working people must have their representatives in the Parish
Councils to oppose the planter policies. The Parochial Boards
were direct instruments of the landowners and were utilized
as a means of systematic exploitation of the peasants primarily
through trade of hawkers' licenses, market fees and water rates.
For example, in St. Ann, the parish of Garvey's birth, in
1903/4 over 20% of the revenue came from market fees. The
rural populace hardly benefitted from the parochial taxes
they paid. During the electoral campaign Garvey lashed out
against the inequitable tax in the rural areas.
On the question of political self-determination the manifes-
to simply called for -
13. representation to the Imperial Parliament for a larger
modicum of self-government.
Garvey argued that greater political and civil liberties would
provide the pre-conditions for the advance of the working
people in their struggle against colonialism. On the question
of legal and penal reform the planks read:
14. a law to impeach and imprison judges who, with disre-
gard for British justice and constitutional rights, dealt
15. the appointment of official court stenographers to take
the official notes of all court proceedings in the Supreme
Court, Resident Magistrates Courts and Petty Sessions
Courts of the island.
16. the creation of a Legal Aid Department to render advice
and ptorection to such persons who may not be able to
have themselves properly represented and protected in
courts of Law.
17. prison reform.
Plank 23 exposes public immorality in politics, attacking
the patronage system of the large landowners who sought to
prevent the emergence of radical anti-colonial spokesmen in the
island's legislature. Plank 26 embodies very modern ideas with
regard to para-medical services. The programme embodies a
broad statement of demands around which the nationalist forces
could have been consolidated. This was Garvey's aim. In his
campaigning he explained with concrete examples what he was
calling for and pointed out that he was against the class system
here which keeps the poor man down; and the poor are mostly
black people. It is only natural, therefore, that their interest
should, be nearest, and dearest to my heart. .."
It was on this basis that Garvey was prepared to forge an
alliance with R. Ehrenstein, a white planter who supported the
PPP's programme and ran for the election in the parish of St.
Thomas. The petit-bourgeoisie, on a whole, could not be budged
in large numbers to support this national-democratic programme.
One of its leading ideologues, D.T. Wint, a teacher and small
proprietor who supported the big planters argued:
Garvey said the labouring man should get 4/- per day,
with an eight hour day. Could the smaller people who
had to employ labour send such an impossible man to
the Council?... If Garvey wants to go to Africa, let him
go, but it is an insult to every Jamaican to tell him he
shouldgo back to African savagery to darkest Africa -
This shows the anti-working class and ridiculous British
colonial view of Africa that this black man used not simply as
a demagogic attack on Garvey but to whip up support among
the small proprietor class by suggesting that in so far as they
employed wage-labourers Garvey's programme would damage
their interests. By implication they had more in common with
foreign and big local capital than with the mass of working
people. The frustration of Garvey's programme came from this
class as the small proprietors, in a system where political
liberties were based on property ownership, constituted the
largest section of the electorate. They took the side of the
imperialists and the large landowners. The defeat of Garvey
himself and most of his candidates in the January 1930 election
to the Legislative Council was due, firstly,to the fact that the
masses had no vote. Secondly, the big landowners, merchants,
and the colonial officials had won the support of the small
proprietor class i.e. farmers, produce dealers, inspectors,
parsons, teachers, policemen, and shopkeepers in the urban
and rural areas. Thirdly, the Peoples Political Party was not a
strong political organization. It went out of existence after the
election. However, in the 1930 electoral combat the first two
factors were decisive.
This election was a political victory for the Jamaica Pro-
ducers Association which gained 12 out of the 14 seats21 in
the Legislative Council. The political representatives of the
United Fruit Co. were also defeated.A.B. Lowe, a director of
the Jamaica Banana Producers Association who had been de-
feated, succintly summed up the situation when he wrote:
It seems to me that the issue which has been decided
is, that no agent of any foreign fruit company will be
allowed to represent any parish in the Legislative Council.
Lowe is referring to the United Fruit Co. But this did not
mean a triumph for national interests for it was British capital
that was in conflict in the country with American and this
election marked a victorious battle for the former in which the
colonial petit-bourgeoisie was on the front-line. The largest
section supported Britain, the remainder supported the United
Fruit Co. and the PPP.
I have focused on Garvey's practical political programme
because it is a turning point in the history of the struggle of our
people against imperialism. There are of course other areas -
such as his trade-union-type activities in the Jamaica Workers
andLabourers Association, his cultural work at Edelweiss Park,
his activities in the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation and
the international conferences of the UNIA which were held in
Kingston in 1929 and 34, in addition to his political visits to
One should bear. in mind Garvey's own statement:
To fight for African redemption does not mean that we
msut give up our domestic fights for political justice and
To deny the one and assert the other a position current
among repatriationists, who stress Garvey's ideas for African
redemption and ignore whatever else he may have done, is to
misrepresent the man's work and ideas. However, more than
this, it is to capitulate and surrender the exploitation and con-
tinued oppression of African people by imperialism to a fatalism
which denies the importance of our struggle outside of the
One should pay close attention to the actual political
struggles of Garvey in this period because they provide the
only way of understanding the man and the period in which
For plank 14, Garvey was tried for contempt of court,
sentenced to three months imprisonment and fined 100. He
served the sentence in the Spanish Town District prison and
paid the fine. The British saw this demand as an attack against
the entire legal basis of their rule which had been established
in the post-1865 period. Justice Clark, who disagreed with
the harshness of the sentence imposed by the Chief Justice,
nevertheless made it clear in his opinion that:
The Courts are the King's Courts administering the
King's justice, and an insult to the Courts is an insult
to the Crown itself...
The courts were the main instrument of peasant dispossession
in land cases and were used to destroy the democratic-nation-
alist movement in the colony. Garvey's manifesto speaks direct-
ly to this situation.
Plank 15 is crucial because judges took their own notes and
hence discrimination and abuse of the peasants and radicals
who filled the courts were inevitable. The impoverishment,
which forced 'people into crime and the innocent into the
courts had its roots in British and American private capital,
which dominated the economy and created hardship for the
The remaining nine planks deal largely with the country's
social and cultural development.
18. a Jamaica University and Polytechnic.
19. the establishing of a Government High School in the
capital town of each parish for the supply of free second-
ary education. Attached to the said High School to be a
night continuation school to facilitate those desiring to
study at night in order to advance their education.
20. a parish library in the capital town of each parish.
21. a national opera house with an academy of music art.
22. the expansion and improvement of city, town or urban
areas without the incumberance or restraint of private
23. a law for the imprisonment of any person who by duress
or undue influence would force another person to vote
in any public election against his will, because of obliga-
tion or employment or otherwise.
24. the granting to the townships of Montego Bay and Port
Antonio the corporate rights of cities.
25. the beautifying and creating of the Kingston race course
into a national park similar to Hyde Park in London.
26. a law to establish clinical eentres from which trained
nurses are to be sent out to visit homes in rural districts
and to teach and demonstrate sanitary and better health
methods in the care of home and family.
1. Amy J. Garvey Garvey and Garveyism, New York, 1970, p. 96.
2. Edmund D. Cronon Black Moses The Story of Marcus Garvey
and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, Wisconsin
1968, p. 197.
3. Philosophy and Opinions Vol. 1 p. 96
4. J. Edgar Hoover "Memorandum for Mr. Ridgely," October 11,
1919, National Archives, R.G. 60, 198940, I Items 2-4 and
291-293 in this file (198940/1-293) of the Dept. of Justice on
Marcus Garvey. At present, items 5-920 are closed. Quoted from
W.F. Elkins: Origins of the Deportation of Marcus Garvey (ms)
5. Sydeny Pollard The Development of the British Economy
1914-1967. London 1969 p. 19.
7. Rupert Lewis A Political Study of Garveyism in Jamaica and
London 1914-1940 MSc. Thesis (UWI) p. 74.
8. Central Bureau of Statistics Trade Unionism in Jamaica 1918-
1946, Kingston, c, 1946. p. 9.
9. W.F. Elkins Black Nationalism in the British Caribbean.
Institute of Caribbean Studies, 1973.
10. Black Man, April 12, 1930.
11. In 1870 property taxes yielded 58,500, customs receipts
221,300, while in 1890 property taxes had declined (due to
economic depression) to 17,300 but customs receipts had
increased to 344,000. Customs receipts were the most important
source of revenue and judging by the items taxed (smoked fish,
flour, salted or cured beef and pork, soap and salt), and those
exempted (books, carriages, carts and wagons, dogs, diamonds,
fresh fish and meat, manure, pipes, ploughs, barbed wire, apples,
grapes, peaches, strawberries and bacon etc.) it was obvious that
they were mainly by the poorer sections of the population. Land
taxes also hit the peasants hardest . . See Graham Knox-
Political Change in Jamaica (1866-1906) and the Local Reaction
to the Policies of the Crown Colony Government in The Caribbean
In Transition Institute of Caribbean Studies p. 150-151.
12. Daily Gleaner, December 12, 1927
13. Ibid, February 11, 1925, p. 10
14. Rupert Lewis, op. cit, pp. 111-113
15. TheHerald, February 11, 1928.
16. Amy Jacques Garvey, op. cit. p. 191.
17. See for example Speech delivered by Marcus Garvey at Royal
Albert Hall, London, England on June 6, 1928 in setting forth
"The Case of the Negro for International Racial Adjustment,
Before the English People". UNIA 1928.
18. Amy Jacques Garvey, op. cit. p. 208-209.
19. Amy Jacques Garvey, op. cit. p. 65.
20. Amy Jacques Garvey, op. cit. p. 212-213.
21. J.A. Carnegie Some Aspects of Jamaica's Politics 1918-1938.
(Institute of Jamaica Forthcoming, 1973)
22. Rupert Lewis. op. cit. p. 140.
23. Philosophy and Opinions, Vol. 2 (Antheneum edition, p. 35)
One of the constants of slave society in Jamaica in the
eighteenth century, and indeed of all British Antillean possess-
ions, was the disproportionate numerical relationship between
the enslaved blacks and their European masters. This deficiency
of the white population was brought about not only by
absenteeism as that term is conventionally understood, but
also by the absence of a white peasantry or yeoman class
which had effectively disappeared from the Anglo-Saxon
Indes by the middle of the seventeenth century. The fact of
their disappearance is explained by the third casual element
of the deficiency problem: the massive and continuous import-
ation of African slave labour into the bottomless pit of a
plantation economy in an "open resources" situation.1 In the
Leeward Islands for the greater part of the century blacks
outnumbered whites by 8 to 1; in Barbados by 4 to 1;2 and
in Jamaica by 10 to 1.3
A deficient white population in circumstances of a contin-
uing slave trade posed problems not only from the point of
view of internal security. There was as well the associated
problem of external security. Nor, clearly, could the operation-
al efficiency of whatever island bureaucracy there was be opti-
mised without adequate personnel. The demographic problem
was equally responsible for the creation of that limbo caste of
free coloureds, whom Lord Seaforth so succinctly described in
Barbados as unappropriated people.4 A great deal too of the
antipathy between resident and absentee proprietors was gen-
erated by the former's not unreasonable view that the latter
had left them to face the music. There were, equally, implica-
tions at the local level for the relationship between planters
and the merchants who were factors in lte entrepot slave trade.
And in the final analysis any response on the part of the Jam-
aican plantocracy to limit the inflow of slaves i.e. to tackle the
problem of 'deficiency' at roots, had to contend not only
with the interest of British slave traders but with an imperial
administration which reserved to itself the right to promote
the empire's trade and devise appropriate policy.
One immediate and continuing consequence of the demo-
graphic situation was that the human resources were simply
inadequate to cope with the most basic needs of the island's
bureaucracy. One suspects that this particular dimension of the
difficulty occasioned little concern, least of all in a mother
country where Jamaica was certainly perceived as a particular-
ly agreeable station for outdoor poor relief 5 Pluralism was not
unnaturally rife, and the situation was comparable in many
respects to that which obtained in the North American colonies
before Independence. Charles Andrews, the historian of colon-
ial America has pointed out that it was not uncommon for the
1. The concept has been elaborated by H.J. Nieboer in Slavery as an
Industrial System quoted by Sidney Mintz in his introduction to
R. Guerra y Sanchez Sugar and Society in the Caribbean, pp. XIV-XV.
2. F.W. Pitman: The Development of the British West Indies, pp.
3. Ibid. For an estimate in the last third of the century see Journals
of the Council (Jamaica Archives, Spanish Town) 15 December, 1773.
4. See the present author's forthcoming article The Law and Society
in Barbados at the end of the Eighteenth Century, in Journal of
Caribbean History, November 1972.
5. See the present author's Fragments of Empire (U.W.I., Trinidad
unpublished typescript) pp. 264 et seq.
same man to be a councillor, a customs collector and justice
of the peace.6 The scarcity of men, worse, competent men,
made it obligatory for one man to hold two or even more
positions. There are abundant testimonies of this kind of
multiple office-holding in Jamaica. The Almanacks teem with
illustrations of persons who were at once assembly-men,
parish custodes, or chief magistrates; militia officers and mem-
bers of the vestry.7 All of these duties were conflicting to the
degree that as a member of assembly a given person's presence
was required in Spanish Town for a good third of the year.
Governor Trelawney remarked in 1747: The small number of
inhabitants makes the duties of magistrates and all Commiss-
ions, Civil and Military very hard on the residents and there is
no choice.8 Combining the duties of magistrate with political
office flew in the face of an ardently protested belief in the
separation of powers. Yet even that combination found accept-
ance. Time made virtuous what necessity dictated.
Virtue, however, like beauty was only in the eye of the
beholder. For what planters would accept for themselves they
were certainly not prepared to concede for governors. Certain-
ly in 1766 Nicholas Bourke, assembly member for Clarendon,
himself a judge, and son-in-law of the Chief Justice Thomas
Fearon, who was also an assembly member, found the combin-
ation of judicial,legislative and executive power on the gover-
nor's part quite unacceptable.9 There was, however, an
element of bias in Bourke's remarks for both himself and his
father-in-law had had their commissions revoked by Lyttleton,
the governor in question, to whom his remarks were meant
particularly to apply. The circumstances which created their
vendetta with the governor are not presently material,10 but
the grounds upon which Lyttleton justified sending Fearon
his quietus are especially illuminating. Apart from the discredit
which he brought to the bench for his monumental indebted-
ness, Fearon hardly qualified for office having never been bred
to the profession.11 The comment could have applied with
equal justice to most of the contemporary judiciary, for the
most part gentlemen planters and merchants whose knowledge
of the law was acquired in the performance of their duties.
More positively, deficiency tended to facilitate social levell-
ing, the annihilation of distinctions of class. Estate agents,
book-keepers, boiler men and other white functionaries of the
plantation who were not themselves landowners, could, in the
words of a contemporary approach their employers with ex-
tended hand, anda freedom, which, in the countries of Europe,
is seldom displayed by men in the lower orders of life towards
their superiors.12 Planter and planter-hand, merchant and
6. C.M. Andrews: The Colonial Period of American History, Vol. 4,
pp. 181, 182.
7. Thomas French in 1776 was not a-typical. He was at once
assembly representative for Kingston; Judge of the Guard Court; Justice
of the Supreme Assize; Custos of Kingston and Major General of Militia.
See Jamaica Almanack, 1776.
8. Pitman op. cit., p. 36 quoting Sir William Trelawney to Board of
Trade, 19 January, 1747.
9. The Privileges of the Island of Jamaica Vindicated, (London
1766) pp. 49 & 50.
10. See George Metcalf: Royal Government and Political Conflict
in Jamaica, p. 164.
11. CO 137/33: Lyttelton to Board of Trade, 20 Aug. 1765
mechanic were randomly united in a sense of community, and
the collective security which this was intended to promote
among them generated reciprocal dependence and respect.
The population situation also reflected a characteristic
common to most frontier communities: there was a desperate
shortage of women. Curiously enough, despite the prevailing
concern with deficiency, despite the legislative attempts which
were made to deal with it throughout the century, no attempt
was ever made to encourage women to go to the island. Per-
haps,the omission was to be explained by the fact that the
attractions of colonial life were distinctly masculine. However
it was, two logical consequences ensued. Firstly, it is apparent
from the fragmentary collection of newspapers that the re-
marriage of widows was a fairly frequent occurrence.1 As a
commentary on the availability of women this is significant.
Lovell Stanhope, island agent in the 1760's reported in a
memorial to the Board of Trade that:
The number of white women is ... small, and from the
extreme heat of the climate are worn out sooner or
become less amiable than they would in a colder, which
has introduced to a most scandalous degree an unlaw-
ful commerce with Negro slaves which habit reconciles
and numbers sanctify. 14
The creation of a substantial mulatto population was the
second consequence of the shortage of white women. Atti-
tudes to the mulattoes and the miscegenation which spawned
them were curiously ambivalent both in Jamaica and Great
Britain. In Jamaica they lived in a racial and legal penumbra
from which they only emerged when they were formally
embraced within the pale of white society by enabling act of
assembly. The usual form of the act was to entitle the person
or persons who had been regularly baptized and properly
educated to the same rights and privileges of English citizens
under certain restrictions. The rights and privileges did not
include those of voting or of giving evidence, but made it
possible for them to be recognized as heirs. In the two decades
between 1760 and 1780 for example, the number of such
enabling acts was sixty.15 With an average of some three
persons per act, no more than two hundred mulattoes received
this charter of second class citizenship.
This latter figure, however, by no means represents the
sum total of the enslaved mulatto population. Indeed in the
1770's their numbers were reliably estimated at more than
one thousand.16 Legal interposition on the mulattoes behalf,
its effectiveness already vitiated by its half-heartedness, was
further rendered nugatory by the attitude of the generality
of whites. Even the most lowly among them considered him-
self superior to the best educated and wealthiest men of
colour.17 In a society where the difference between slavery
and freedom was largely determined by the colour of skin,
men of colour were clearly disadvantaged. Envied and hated
by the slave population, despised by his white progenitors
and legally condemned to second class citizenship, the free
coloured was perceived as a social inconvenience and a
From their own point of view there was certainly little to
be gained from massive exertions either in their own behalf or
for a country in which they had only the most marginal stake.
Their marginality was re-emphasised by the act of 1761,
2 Geo. 111.c.8 which required that no testamentary devices
12. Bryan Edwards: History . . of the West Indies, vol. 2, p. 7.
13. Over the two-year period 1779-1780 at least 40% of marriages
announced in the Jamaica Mercury and Kingston Weekly Advertiser
were those of widows. Perhaps the century's most celebrated and
re-married widow was Theresa Constantina but then she was rather
special. See below fn. 65.
14. C.O. 137/33 f35, 1763: Stanhope to Board of Trade.
15. Journals of the House of Assembly of Jamaica (cited hereafter
as JHA) vols. 5-7 passim.
16. Edward Long: History of Jamaica, vol. 1, p. 378.
17. Edwards op. cit., Vol. 2, p. 20.
from a white person to a black or mulatto born out of wed-
lock, in real or personal property, could exceed 2,000.
The measure came in for severe criticism from the absentee
lobby in London, but in this as in so many other issues relat-
ing to the island's demographic realities, their interests were
significantly different from those of resident planters. The
latter's position was canvassed before the Board of Trade by
the island agent Lovell Stanhope. In a lengthy brief, Stanhope
explained that the island's prosperity depended upon slavery;
without it, the white population could not sustain itself and
the keeping up of that state depends upon keeping up a
distinction of colour ... and of consequence it is the spirit of
the constitution to receive every law which is calculated for
the maintenance of that barrier. 8
This submission on behalf of the bill appeared to have
carried great weight. For although the absentee opposition
included the redoubtable Alderman Beckford,19 and the
local opposition was headed by some members of the council
in collaboration with a few influential mulatto women,2d
little was done to counteract the general intention of the
measure. Certainly in the two decades immediately following
the act, there were no more than six private acts which passed
the assembly allowing persons to make unlimited bequests of
real and personal property to their mulatto offspring.21
The problem of internal security arising out of the island's
state of ethnic disequilibrium, had been illustrated with grap-
hic and violent clarity during the Maroon rebellions of the
early part of the century. Then the local militia and the
detachments of the British army had proved how ineffective
conventional forces were against a body of runaway slaves,
relatively unarmed but using to advantage the inaccessible
fastnesses and precipitous ravines of the central mountain
chain. When a settlement was arrived at in the so-called
treaties at the end of the 1730's the assembly made every
effort not to antagonise them in any way: not only were
their enclaves inviolable and beyond the jurisdiction of the
assembly and the courts; from time to time legislation was
introduced by which Maroons, designated as pioneers,were
the principal agents in the tracking down of runaway slaves.
Until the uprisings of 1795, this policy of wooing the Maroons
was permanent.22 The rationale which produced it is not
difficult to appreciate: they were an ever present reminder to
blacks on the plantations of the salutary results some deter-
mined resistance could achieve. Sir Basil Keith who was
governor in the 17 70's, showed a crucial awareness of this
fact of life when he used all his powers of persuasion to pre-
vent a rupture with them.23
But despite the neutralising of the Maroons, the white
population stood in constant apprehension of danger from
the teeming multitude of enslaved Africans so numerically
superior. All too often the prorogations of the assembly at
Christmas time were accompanied by the governor's reminder
that the presence of the assembly men was needed in their
parishes, not merely as magistrates but as private upholders of
law and order, at a time when there were a number of days
set aside for the slaves' merrymaking.
In the course of the eighteenth century there were a dozen
or more slave revolts and countless conspiracies. In terms of
organisational scope those of 1760 and 1765, Akan inspired
and led, appear to have been among the most important.24
The casualty list of the earlier uprising numbered some 60
18. C.O. 137/33 f35, 1763: Stanhope to Board of Trade.
19. Ibid., f 24.
20. Ibid., f 36.
21. Laws of Jamaica (ed. Alex Aikman, Kingston 1802-37 Passim.
22. A.E. Furness: The Maroon War of 1795 in the Jamaican Histori-
cal Review, vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 31-3.
23. C.O. 137/69: Sir Basil Keith to Dartmouth, 22 April, 1774 and
Dartmouth to Keith, 6 July, 1774.
24. Monica Schulcr: Slave Resistance and Rebellion in the Caribbean
in the Eighteenth Century, (U.W.I., Mona unpublished typescript) pp.
Europeans and about 400 blacks.25 The immediate aftermath
was a re-organisation of the militia, both cavalry and infantry,
with a view to making it a more effective police force.26 The
militia never became that, then or subsequently. Lady Nugent's
perceptive observations about their lack of discipline and
general incompetence made at the start of the nineteenth
century27 would have been applicable at any time in the course
of the eighteenth. Several of the parishes after this also levied
special vestry taxes to build more barracks for the accom-
modation of British troops in the event of further disturb-
ances.28 None of these efforts, however, prevented a subse-
quent major uprising in 1765, which like the earlier originated
in the North-eastern parish of St. Mary.
It is abundantly evident that the disproportionately small
number of whites in the parish was an important casual
factor.29 Interestingly and significantly enough some of the
larger estates in St. Mary seem to have been owned by absen-
tees and functional absentees.30 After the 1765 uprising a
St. Mary planter, James Charles Sholto Douglas31 was con-
strained to write to Governor Lyttleton: In my opinion some
of the gentlemen of property now residing out of the parish
ought to come and examine into this affair. For my own part
notwithstanding the seeming absurdity and improbability of
the scheme, I am somewhat uneasy to learn that such a one
was even thought of.32
It was no doubt this preoccupation with internal security
which led Lyttleton's successor Roger Hope Elletson to begin
another re-evaluation of the problems of internal defense. The
details of his attempts to revitalise the militia need not detain
us,33 but their juxtaposition with the 1765 uprising is very
The problem of internal security posed by deficiency cannot
be entirely separated from that of security against the external
enemy. There was always the feeling that the Spaniards had
not quite forgiven Cromwell for 1655. However justified the
fear, it was increased rather than diminished by the fact that
from time to time Spanish, and indeed French, privateers, ven-
tured ashore and made off with slaves.34 The loss from these
incursions in terms of the labour force might not have been
significant, but a slave was under no obligation to conceal
information about the disposition of fortifications and other
military works, and might indeed be expected to give informa-
tion of this kind to his captors. In the event of an invasion as
distinct from a raiding incursion the loyalty of the slaves would
also have been problematic. When therefore the Spaniards in
Havana and the French at Port au Prince, driven by the impera-
tives of the Second Family Compact, began an intensive
military build up from 1769, it is not surprising that the
Jamaican assembly addressed the throne for help. They request-
ed not only naval reinforcements to protect the particularly
vulnerable North coast, but also troop reinforcements to cope
25. Ibid., p. 101.
26. See for example, Governor Lyttelton's address to the Assembly
and Council in Journals of the Council, 17 October, 1764.
27. Lady Nugent's Journal (ed. Frank Cundall) pp. 77-8.
28. C.O. 137/34: Lyttelton to Board of Trade, 8 October, 1765.
29. Schuler op. cit., pp. 90, 102, 123 and Orlando Patterson, The
Sociology of Slavery, p. 275.
30. Schuler, op. cit p. 222.
31. Owner of Esher Plantation. On Douglas' colourful career as a
customs official see the present author's Public Office and Private
Gain: A note on Administration in Jamaica in the later 18th Century,
forthcoming in Caribbean Studies, 1972.
32. Douglas to Lyttelton, 5 December, 1765 in Yale Historical Mss.,
33. Roger Hope Elleston Ms. Correspondence, Circular letter to
Colonels of Militia Horse and Foot, 24 November, 1776. (Institute of
Jamaica, West India Reference Library). For an extensive discussion of
Elleston's militia reform see H.P. Jacobs in Jamaican Historical Review,
December 1949, pp. 56 et seq.
34. The 1761 complaint of several merchants, including Simon
Taylor, Thomas Hibbert & Thomas French of "Daily seizures" and the
incompetence of the commanding Admiral, Holmes, is fairly illustra-
tive. See C.O. 137/60, 1 October, 1761, f 391.
with the threat posed by a disproportionately large slave
Many methods were employed in the course of the century
to redress the balance of population. In the earlier years
statutory attempts were made to attract European settlers as
well as planters from other islands.36 This policy met with no
noticeable success; nor did the attempt which came later, in
1776, to impose a tax on all bachelors over twenty one,37
which had all the appearance of a variation on the Pauline
injunction: Marry or be taxed! The only legislative expedients
of any permanence were the annual deficiency laws. Initially,
these laws by establishing a legal ratio of white to black below
which a plantation could fall only at the risk of financial pen-
alty, sought to increase the white population by coercion. By
1763, however, the original intention had been obliterated by
the pressure of financial exigencies.38 The deficiency law by
that date had become a revenue measure and retained this
characteristic for the remainder of the century.
These were the shoals upon which the deficiency laws
foundered. The penalties under the law were never administer-
ed with any consistency and in any given year were dictated
by the island's budgetary needs. The ratio of 1 white for every
30 slaves, and the same for 150 head of cattle, or 1 tavern or
retail shop, remained constant. However, it was not uncommon
for the penalty to vary in any of these categories from 13
in one year to twice as much or half as much in another
year.39 Moreover, in the statements of account toward the
end of each autumn session of the assembly, the taxes antici-
pated from the deficiency laws figured prominently in the
estimates of revenue.40
As policy measures, the deficiency laws seemed to have
been conspicuously unsuccessful. Throughout the century,
and particularly the later decades of declining prosperity plan-
ters were more preoccupied with reducing the contingent
charges on their estates, and to maintain no more slaves than
were absolutely necessary. Long complained bitterly of the
planters folly in this regard, and observed that whereas in
1720 there had been at least twenty white persons in each
estate, as the prevailing fashion of the 1770's went, several had
no more than two.41
One cannot help feeling that the planters in their capacity
as assembly-men, deliberately conspired to keep the deficiency
penalties as low as possible.42 In view of the security problem
their behaviour made little sense; and less logic if the laws
were to contribute to the revenues. By way of comparison, the
planters in the Windwards, where the problem existed with
comparable acuteness, were less purblind. The deficiency laws
with rates of 40 to 50 for each offense have every appear-
ance of having been more effective as deterrents and revenue
Among the many shortcomings of the deficiency policy,
was the absence of any attempt to use creole whites to supply
the deficiency on the estates. There were concentrations of
paupers and irredeemably insolvent persons in the larger town
areas, notably Spanish Town and Kingston. Debtors jails cer-
tainly existed in both places, and in other less well populated
areas along the coast, Savanna-la-Mar in the South West and
Montego Bay in the North, parish rates were levied for the
support of the poor.44 Long who was very preoccupied with
35. JHA vol. 6, 23 Dec. 1770 pp. 337-38
36. Pitman op. cit., pp. 50-51.
37. JHA, Vol. 6, 27 November, 1776, p. 661.
38. Pitman op. cit., p. 53.
39. Long, Vol. 1, p. 381.
40. See for example JHA, vol. 6, 2 December 1771, p. 391. Of
46,000 anticipated revenue, 'Deficiency' was expected to contribute
11,000 or 24%.
41. Long, vol. 1, p. 381.
42. Ibid., p. 384
43. Ibid., p. 382.
anti-criollismo in the dispensation of patronage in Jamaica,45
was also very critical of the insistence there seemed to have
been on rectifying deficiency with imported Europeans. With
a scarcely concealed bias in favour of creoles he observed:
At the same time creole whites should not be discourag-
ed as they are by the requirement of Europeans or
imported servants to save their deficiency; excluding
those born and bred up in the country who are innured
to the climate. They might by an act of assembly encour-
age the binding out young creole lads apprentices to the
estates, where they would grow up in habits of industry
instead of turning hog hunters and idle vagabonds for
want of other employment.46
It was as though resident planters were subscribing to metro-
politan rejection of colonial society.
The rejection found its most articulate expression in the
physical withdrawal of the absentee planters. The resentment
which this bred among their resident colleagues, was com-
pounded by the ostentation for which, by mid-century, they
had become famous. Jamaican resentment at the inequities of
the situation came to a climax in the six years between 1746
and 1752. Prior to this, the deficiency laws, modelled annually
on some passed earlier in the century notably in 1718 and
1723,47 required a higher percentage of whites on absentee
estates, though not a higher penalty of absentee owners. From
these discriminatory provisions of the law, the absentees
sought relief in a petition to the Crown in 1746, and
Governor Trelawney was extremely unhappy at this develop-
ment. He acknowledged that the law, as the absentees claimed,
was a revenue source; but it raised money only as a conse-
quence of the penalties inflicted on those who failed to comply
with its provisions. Jamaica would be considerably better off,
he felt, if the law were complied with and not a farthing
raised by it; for the additional financial burdens it imposed
on absentees was by no means commensurate with the incon-
venience and danger they brought upon the country.49 His
was a vain hope, however, that the Board of Trade would be
convinced that Jamaica had more reason to complain of the
absentees than they of the Deficiency Act. An Order in
Council of 1748 forbade him to impose any greater tax on
absentees than on residents.50
This was not, however, the end of the matter and it is of
some significance that the assembly reactivated the issue in
1760. Like 1746 it too was a war year and by definition a
year in which the threat of invasion was more concrete than
normally. It was also the year of the most serious slave uprising
the island had witnessed in the course of the century. It is not
therefore wholly surprising that the Deficiency Act of that
year doubled the ratio of white servants required in proper.
tion to slaves, cattle etc. Superficially the act appeared to
affect both absentee and resident equally, but there were
provisions in the act that the justices and church-wardens, who
administered the act in the parishes, should remit half to
residents.51 This piece of legislative leger de main pleased the
Board of Trade not at all. When the bill was considered early
in 1764, its report to the Privy Council Committee on Plant-
ation Affairs concluded:
Upon the present occasion it becomes our duty to
recommend that such measures be taken as may enforce
an exact obedience to his Majesty's instructions which
we have the mortification to find are too little regarded
44. See for example, Journals of the Council, 20 December, 1773.
45. N.A.T. Hall: Fragments... pp. 263, 265.
46. Long, Vol. 1, p. 384.
47. Pitman, op. cit, p. 35.
48. Ibid, pp. 35-38
49. Ibid, pp. 36.
50. Ibid, p. 38.
51. C.O. 137/33. Petition of William Beckford, Rose Fuller et al
to Board of Trade.
in many of the colonies.52
It should hardly be surprising that consideration of the
acts was undertaken after complaints from some of the more
prominent members of the absentee community: Rose Fuller
and William Beckford among others. It was at the instigation
of this group that the instruction of 1748 had been drawn up
in the first instance, and one could hardly expect them to allow
further attempts detrimental to themselves, and derogatory to
the prerogative to pass unnoticed.
Tactically, the absentees enjoyed a considerable advantage.
Their geographical proximity to the corridors of power, their
influence and parliamentary connexions outweighed the passion
and self-evident justice of the residents' claims. The sense of
futility which this engendered among the latter was ve y much
in evidence in some legislative council resolutions of December
1773. They attributed the great disproportion between whites
and blacks, especially acute in that year, to the absentee
interest. They accused them not only of opposing continuous-
ly every endeavour to oblige them to provide for the defense
of their own estates, but also of deliberately misrepresenting
the case to the Crown in order to obtain the much resented
instruction. It was unfair to residents, the council argued, to
have their lives endangered by the delinquency of absentees,
whose properties they were obliged to defend with their own.
It was also the council's earnest hope that the Crown would
see fit to withdraw the instruction.53 This,needless to say,was
as groundless a hope as governor Trelawney's.
The deficiency acts apart, there was one other expedient
to which the assembly had resort especially in the years after
mid-century. It consisted of the manipulation of the import
duty on slaves. As a measure of taxation there was nothing
unusual or extraordinary about the duty. It figured through-
out the earlier decades of the century as one of the major
revenue sources. Indeed funds from it had been one of the
principal means of supporting the regiments stationed on the
island. The duty was not constant, however; its level was
related in direct proportion to the sense of fear in any given
year. However, the measure was not, like its companion piece
the deficiency act, a mere taxation measure. Lyttleton for
example, found it possible to inform the Board of Trade in
1765 that if the tax were discontinued some alternative mea-
sure of taxation could be found.54 He drew attention to the
fact that of five revenue yielding measures in 1762, the import
duty on slaves was but one. As a revenue measure, therefore,
it was clearly dispensible, and was perceived primarily, but
not exclusively, as a defense mechanism against the deficiency
The act of 176355 'for raising sums of money and apply-
ing the same to several uses for subsisting for one year the
officers and soldiers of his Majesty's 49th regiment of foot'
is one of the more interesting acts of this kind. Its fiscal
significance was negligible for it imposed the same duty of
ten shillings per slave as had been levied since at least 1750.56
However, the act came into being in circumstances of a marked
upward trend in slave importations since 1758. The numbers
elicited from among the planters a concerned response which
found expression in certain novel provisions in the bill. There
52. Ibid. Board of Trade to Governor Lyttelton, 6 March, 1764.
53. Journals of the Council, 15 December, 1773.
54. C.O. 137/34: Lyttelton to Board of Trade, 8 October, 1765.
55. C.O. 139/22, 53.
56. Clause 1.
57, JHA, Vol, 6, 30 November, 1775, pp. 589-90.
were elaborate regulations for the verification of manifests58
and equally elaborate fines up to a maximum of 1,000 for
failure on the part of ships' masters to comply. At the same
time, the tariff on slaves brought in for re-export to the
Spanish Main from Kingston's thriving slave entrepot, was
twice that for slaves imported for local sale.59
At first this appears paradoxical, for if the concern was
with deficiency and the burgeoning black populace, the tax
discrimination should surely have operated the other way. The
paradox is explained generally by the ever present antagonism
between the merchant and planting interest,60 Indeed when in
1769 the deficiency bill came up for discussion some elements
among the planters moved a resolution to the effect that
the trading part of this island doth not bear a proportionable
share in the expense of the government though they receive
equal advantage and protection with the rest of his Majesty's
subjects from the same. They therefore proposed that the
several trading inhabitants of the towns of St. Jago, Kingston
and. Port Royal and all the towns ... and trading places ... be..
obliged to pay a sum equal to all such several sums of money
as they are respectively assessed at ...61 The merchants for
their part attempted to settle the score by exposing a favourite
planter dodge and moving in turn: "And that this law may the
better answer the end for which it was intended, be it enacted
... that no white man, white woman or white child be allowed
to stand as deficiency in any parish but in that which they
More particularly the paradox of 1763 is explained by the
fact that there was some suspicion that local factors were in
the habit of entering blacks for export but in fact disposing
of them locally. This did not present a problem of any magni-
tude for Anglo-American customs supervision was notoriously
lax.63 One governor had reason to complain of this particular
kind of fraudulence,64 and from the assembly's point of view
the crime was compounded by such an insidious increase in
the threat to the island's safety. The duty was therefore a kind
of corrective punishment directed at those fraudulently engag-
ed in the re-export trade.
The irate merchants, led by Jasper Hall, a considerable
slave factor and a Kingston merchant of legendary wealth,65
entered a caveat at the Board of Trade through their solicitor,
a Mr. Eyre. In the brief presented by their counsel Messrs.
Ambler and Jackson, the central argument was that it was
injurious to the trade of the mother country.66 So far as the
Board was concerned this was the only material consideration.
Accordingly a despatch was prepared to the governor in which
he was informed that the said duties were an inexpedient and
improper restraint upon trade and that this practice should
not be continued unless the exigencies and necessities of the
island should appear absolutely to require it.67
The exigencies which the Board had in mind were, need-
less to say, fiscal. Later that same year, 1765, the Board
enquired of governor Lyttleton whether it was necessary to
continue the duties on blacks for export.68 This illustrated if
not ignorance, wilful disregard of the essentials of the question.
58. Clauses 2-4.
59. Clause 1.
60. See for example, Long, vol, 1, p. 392.
61. JHA, Vol. 6, 31 October, 1769, p. 181.
63. Andrews, op. cit., vol. 4, p. 215.
64. C.O. 137/34: Lyttelton to Board of Trade, 8 October 1765.
65. He, Thomas Hibbert and Eliphalet Fitch, were supposed to have
"built three houses to please a bitch". The object of their attention in
this contest was the ineffable Theresa Constantina. See Institute of
Jamaica, West India Reference Library Biographical Notes collection
on Simon Taylor.
66. Journals of the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations (here-
after cited as JCTP) 8 Jan., 1765, p. 136.
67. Ibid., 7 February 1765, p. 146.
68. C.O. 137/34: Lyttelton to Board of Trade, 8 October, 1765.
Whitehall's basic preoccupation was that the law did violence
to the concept of the mother country's exclusive right of
mercantile regulation. When after a decent interval of some
years the assembly attempted the passage of similar bills, the
Board's legal adviser Robert Jackson gave the entirely predict-
able opinion that the bills were liable to serious objection. By
imposing the tax on blacks carried to Jamaica in British ships
the assembly were thereby in effect assuming to themselves
the right of admitting British ships into their ports upon such
terms only as they think fit.69
The island agent, Stephen Fuller, summoned before the
Board of Trade was very curtly informed that "the imposing
of any duties or taxes by the laws of Jamaica that affect the
commerce of Great Britain in general, is both inexpedient and
improper".70 His principals were to find some other less
exceptionable mode of passing the annual supply.71 The
Jamaican bills as they stood not only levied taxes without
distinction of the goods of the growth or manufacture of
this kingdom, 72 but also were in patent breach of the Free
Port Legislation of 1766.73
There was, however, a clearly defensible rationale from the
assembly's point of view in persisting in the early 1770's with
legislation of this kind. There was, from 1769, a marked up-
ward movement in the number of blacks imported annually:
When the alarming proportions of the 1773 importations
were first realized, the assembly in February 1774 immedia-
tely raised the duty on all slaves by a further 40 shillings,75
and even before that act expired passed a similar measure in
November.76 No sooner had news of the earlier bill reached
London than the Mercantile lobby of London Bristol and
Liverpool sent up a combined howl of protest.77 Dartmouth,
the Secretary of State, virtually condemned it before it had
been defended. In December 1774 he wrote to' Governor
Keith that unless the agent could suggest better reasons in
support of the act than at present occur to me, I think it is a
measure that ought to be condemned, and you may at least
expect an instruction from the king restraining you from giving
our assent to any Act of the like for the future. 78
It was in vain that Fuller submitted that the assembly's
motives proceeded from the great danger to which the island
was exposed from the great disproportion between the white
inhabitants and the slaves, increasing of late years by more
than ordinary proportion to the later. 79 With deep foreboding,
Fuller pointed out that the rebellions of the 1760's had
happened immediately after great and unusual importation of
negroes, and ... there was an absolute necessity for us to stop
69. C.O. 137/37: Jackson to Board of Trade, 23 April, 1773.
70. JCTP, 11 June, 1771.
72. Ibid., 17 May, 1773: Fuller writing to the assembly's Committee
of Correspondence on 24 December, 1774: C.O. 137/70 said he had
"long found it immoveably determined at the Hon. Board to prevent
as far as in them lies, any articles of British Commerce from being taxed
in the course of trade by any other Legislative Body, than the Parlia-
ment of Great Britain".
73. C.O. 137/37: Jackson to Board of Trade, 7 March, 1774.
74. JHA, vol. 6, 30 November, 1775, pp. 589-590.
75. C.O. 139/29 # 259, Clause 1.
76. See below p. 28
77. JCTP, 28 November, 1774, pp. 401-411.
78. C.O. 137/37: Dartmouth to Keith, 6 June, 1775.
79. JCTP, 6 March, 1775, p. 415.
in time and attend to our preservation.80 The tax, he con-
ceded, yielded useful revenue and did amount to a prohibition,
but if it were imposed it would discourage merchants from
importing further numbers of slaves.81 Fuller's difficulties
were not lessened by the fact that the Kingston merchants also
joined in the hue and cry of opposition; that some planters
denied that there was any fundamental principle behind the
bill, thus removing the core from the agent's submission. It
was these planters' contention that the merchants had less to
complain of than they since the burden of the tax fell event-
ually on the purchaser.82Weakened therefore by unco-ordinated
and contradictory submissions and confronted by vigorous
opposition the case could not but fail. By February 1775, the
Board had prepared the draft of an additional instruction and
by July the act had been disallowed.83
The seriousness with which the breach of received mercan-
tilist doctrine was regarded by Dartmouth is reflected in his
despatch to Keith in March 1775:
I send you by his Majesty's Command, an instruction
forbidding you on pain of Removal from your Govern-
ment to assent to any Law or any alteration in the
mode, or increase in the Quantum of the Duties on
Negroes imported, as those Duties stood antecedent,
to the passing of the Additional Duty Act of Febru-
The censorious tone of the note is to be accounted for
by the fact that, as Dartmouth pointed out in his despatch,
the merchants had by then received news of the passage of the
November act.85 This had somewhat enlarged on its February
predecessor by including even more restrictive provisions. The
elaborations included, for example, a number of clauses estab-
lishing closer customs supervision of the outports, and a
discriminatory duty on slaves over 30 after December 177486
- on the double assumption, presumably, that younger slaves
were better investments and at the same time less likely to be
rebellious. Keith's failure, moreover, to send copies of the
offending acts, so that the Board of Trade could at least have
some documentation on which to asses the merits of the case,
did not help. In Dartmouth's view, The complaints ... in the
current State of the Business have a reference more to your
conduct than to the merits of the Question arising upon the
Acts themselves.87 One cannot help feeling, however, that
it was less Keith's conduct than the generality of the American
situation which was the source of the minister's ire. Moreover,
the Jamaican assembly in an address to the throne in December
1774 had given qualified moral support to the American insur-
gents;88 conduct which Dartmouth stigmatised in the same
despatch to Keith as indecent not to say criminal.
It was to no avail that Keith confessed his "deepest concern
and affliction" at having incurred the displeasure of his King
and Minister. His error he said was one of judgement only,
since he thought he was acting in the best interests of the
Crown and the island:
Upon my arrival here I found a Number of the
Assembly, and of the People of Property, and Conse-
quence under the Greatest alarm, and apprehension
from the vast increase of Negroes already out of all
prudent or safe proportion to the white inhabitants:
who I am sorry to see are decreasing...89
80. C.O. 137/37: Fuller to Board of Trade, 6 June, 1775.
81. JCTP, 6 March, 1775, p. 415.
83. Acts of the Privy Council, Colonial Series, vol. 5, 27 February,
84. C.O. 137/70: Dartmouth to Keith, 3 March, 1775.
85. C.O. 139/30 f 274.
86. Ibid., clauses 9 & 10.
87. C.O. 137/70: Dartmouth to Keith, 3 March, 1775.
88. JHA, vol. 6, 23 December, 1774, pp. 569-570.
89. C.O. 137/70: Keith to Dartmouth, 12 June 1775.
The council resolutions of 1773 substantiated Keith's point,
and the evidence of Stephen Fuller before the Board in 1775
indicated that there had been no improvement. But all these
considerations were of little moment to Dartmouth occupied
as he then was with larger American concerns. In August he
wrote to Keith a summary and consummate dismissal of the
All questions upon the propriety or impropriety of
the Act laying Additional Duties upon the importa-
tions of Slaves having been brought to an issue in the
Royal Disallowance of the Act, I shall avoid entering
into any further discussion of that business ...90
The objective realities of the Jamaican situation could not,
however, be disposed of in a flourish of Whitehall prose. Indeed
the island's worst fears were on the brink of realisation with
the discovery of the Hanover slave conspiracy of 1776. The
planned uprising was as massive in scope as that of 1760 and
was viewed with all the more alarm on account of many of
the Creole Negroes being concerned in it, who never were
concerned in former rebellions.91 A measure of calm was only
restored with the invocation of martial law and the use of the
services of Admiral Gayton of the Naval Station.92
Such a convincing empirical demonstration of the relation-
ship between the demographic factor and internal security,
confirmed the Jamaican assembly in their obstinacy to re-enact
the laws, as they stood in 1774, on an annual basis. The local
slave factors did make another protest towards the end of
1777 but their case was weakened, as Fuller the agent pointed
out, by the fact that "their losses were owing to far other
causes".93 Among these was the increased cost of insurance
during war time.
By then the Board of Trade had more or less reconciled
itself to the assembly's view. It continued annually to solicit
the law officer's opinion on the legality of the acts, but each
year his reply was invariably the same: they were liable to
objections which had frequently been under their lordships'
consideration. After 1778 and up to 1780 Jackson's opinion
significantly included the view that although the laws were
repugnant to the general policy that had been adopted by the
government the merits of the acts ... have ever outweighed
the objections to them.94
The evidence seems to suggest, therefore, that long before
the humanitarian initiative of the later decades of the century,
the logic of the situation created by the slave trade to Jamaica,
had imposed its own mechanisms of control. The imperial
government, too, had reluctantly acknowledged the validity of
the Jamaican position, and already distracted by the American
mainland situation was not disposed to demanding the last
pound of mercantilist flesh. Little though they might have
intended it, the assembly's demands of the 1770's might very
well have created the ambience which ultimately made possible
the Abolition Act to which they were utterly opposed.
90. Ibid: Dartmouth to Keith, 2 August, 1775.
91. C.O. 138/27: Fuller to Board of Trade, 27 October, 1776.
92. Journals of the Council, 22 October, 1776.
93. C.O. 137/38: Fuller to Board of Trade, 30 January, 1778.
94. See C.O. 137/38: Jackson to Board of Trade, 23 November,
1778. ff 13-14 andlbid., 7 June, 1780, f115.
The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. Michael Manley, talks to
Basil McFarlane about the findings of the Prime Minister's
Special Committee on the Arts in Jamaica.
McF: Soon after becoming Prime Minister, you appointed
a committee to survey and report on the condition
of the arts in Jamaica. Now, I believe the committee
in fact has reported. Do ybu feel disposed, for the
purposes of this interview, to discuss the report?
MANLEY: Well, let me say this: I'm not at liberty to discuss
the report in detail. It was, as you know, the result
of very considerable effort by a greaf number of
people. It made a number of important recommen-
dations; and some of these recommendations of
course have structural implications, in terms of the
actual, detailed way in which the Government can
relate to the arts generally and can help with the
arts generally; and, in so far as those are concerned,
I would not really be at liberty to discuss them now:
because they are all in the process of inter-Minister-
ial discussion, and that sort of thing: and will
shortly be leading to a set of specific recommenda-
tions which will be made public. But I think I
could comment, generally, that there are three -
I would think important principles that emerge
from the report and which have been accepted by
the Government. First of all, it has been accepted
that the Government has a basic responsibility to
provide training facilities for the arts in the widest
sense. That has been firmly accepted. Secondly,
that it is important that we try to rationalize the
use of our resources our unfortunately scarce
resources generally and in this field in particular -
so that we don't suffer from unnecessary over-
lapping of effort, and that sort of thing. And,
thirdly, of course that the term, 'culture', has got
to be accepted as having a far wider meaning than
the old, conventional implication of the fine arts
like painting and sculpture, and so on; that cultural
development really implies the development of
people in a far wider, perhaps in a total sense.
McF: Mr. Prime Minister, you make reference to the term,
'culture'. Does that imply that you are ready to
propose, as a matter of policy, that the Govern-
ment should be actively interested to discover ways
in which people have already, by their own initia-
tive, gained access, invented means to self-expres-
sion however primitive rather than impose
readymade concepts as to what constitutes 'the arts
MANLEY: I entirely agree. Actually, I think I would express
it this way: that there are, always, certainly in
Western civilization, a number of conventional -
in the sense of traditional ways in which people
can express themselves artistically; and these are,
as I mentioned earlier . like, you know, in the
area of the fine arts. But there are also ways in
which people express themselves as as an expres-
sion of their own process of self-discovery; and I
think that it is important that a Government see
itself, not in terms of attempting to impose atti-
tudes and patterns of self-expression on a people,
but rather that it be at the disposal of the actual
ways in which people express themselves. Now, what
do I mean by the Government being 'at the disposal'
of people? I think I mean precisely this:that,whether
you are expressing yourself in a painting, sculpture
or in a 'protest' song, perhaps set to a reggae
beat, there is an element of the spontaneous and
there is, quite separately from that, the element
of technique. And, therefore, however you choose
to express yourself in whatever area you can
always enhance your capacity for self-expression as
an artist, I think, if your technique grows in
sophistication. I think this is just obvious. And
I think that what a Government reallyneeds to do
is to create avenues of opportunity for expression;
in the sense that, if you have a reggae artist. for
instance obviously a Government can assis. in
promulgating the statement of that artist. But I
think a Government can do something else; I think
a Government can realize that a youngster born in
tough circumstances, and not even able to read a
note of music, will have imposed upon him by that
deficiency a severe limitation on how far he can
develop himself as an artist. And, therefore, I think
that a Government can assist enormously in taking
that kind of artist and helping him learn how to
read music, get a basic concept of what composition
is, how different instruments can be brought to-
gether in an arrangement and so on, and so forth.
In fact, as you know, we actually do this sort of
thing; already, at the very outset of this Govern-
ment, we have begun to provide training through
the School of Music for reggae artists; and a num-
ber of them are now learning to read music and
are, as a result, I think, without losing any of the
spontaneity or the sense of the beat or the sense
of protest, the sense of singing the story of the
ghetto, to put it that way, are beginning to com-
pose music that is more sophisticated, that is better
put-together, that hangs-together better; are beginn-
ing to learn the relationship between the lyrics and
the sound of music in a much more effective way.
So that, I think, we are doing what we ought to do,
which is to enhance the capacity of this group to
really sing their song and make it something elo-
quent of the condition of the people and of their
own need to express themselves.
McF: You mention the element of protest; which, of
course, we have become accustomed to, as being
part and parcel of the artistic expression of our age.
How would you countenance protest if it were con-
ceived as being directed against your Government?
MANLEY: Oh, there already is. There are all sorts of songs
that are directed against my Government, or direc-
ted against things for which my Government as
you call it is blamed. If you take, for instance,
you know . the problem of the cost of living;
with this terrible world inflation in which the
whole world, naturally including Jamaica, is caught
there have been lots of songs protesting against
that. And I think that's entirely healthy. In fact,
I recall that, during a previous administration -
just the other day, in fact when there were a
number of protest songs, that eventually the
Government banned them off the radio stations;
and, generally, I think, reacted in a very repressive
and really rather short-sighted way over it. And
there have been lots of songs that might be inter-
preted as protesting against us, and against me,
because of problems, now; and I don't interfere
with this, at all; I think it's entirely healthy: and,
in fact, I know some of the song-writers involved,
and have made it quite clear that I want all the
training facilities of the School of Music to be just
as available to them as to anybody else.
McF: But, of course, there is well-expressed protest; as
well as badly expressed protest. Am I right in sen-
sing a point there?
MANLEY: Absolutely; and my point is, if anybody is going to
protest against me, at least I want them to do it with
McF: Before becoming Prime Minister, you were known
in your own person or by identification with other
members of your family as having particular
interests among the arts. Your mother, for instance,
is the well-known sculptor. You yourself were, in
a less crowded time, quite closely associated with
the National Dance Theatre Company. And I think
your musical enthusiasm are fully well-known .
Now that you are Prime Minister, do you, in a
purely private capacity, pursue this interest in a
MANLEY: Well, no. I really don't have the chance any longer.
What I do try to do is to keep in touch with the
arts as much as one can; you know, I try not to
miss the exhibitions, I try not to miss the plays. I
think that, actually, the Jamaican theatre is in a
particularly vigorous phase at the moment... doing
some very interesting work. I never miss that. I
don't miss the dance shows. I mean, I never miss a
National Dance Theatre production; and am natu-
rally going to be there at Eddy Thomas' first show*
in years, I think and looking forward to that
with the keenest anticipation. So that what one
tries to do is to keep very closely in touch, partly
as an expression of one's own basic interest, and
also because I think that any political leader who
loses contact with as vital an element of the total
stream of society as the arts is in danger of develop-
ing at least a partial myopia: so that I think there is
both an inclination and a responsibility that coin-
cide in this-regard. But, in so far as self-expression
is concerned, of course what I have done is to
complete writing my own first book; which I've
just completed the actual work on, and have des-
patched to a publisher.
McF: But, Mr. Prime Minister, this is news. What is the
MANLEY: Well, it really is basically about my own political
philosophy; and how this relates to Jamaica and its
political system and its present problems. I think
that's the best way that I could sum it up. And it
has been accepted by a publisher, actually Andre
Deutsch in London and they are hoping that they
will actually have it ready for ... it should be on
the bookstalls, I would think, by November of this
McF: I think you know that my own interests and, in
any case, the special area intended to be covered
by the book I am engaged in writing for publication
by the Institute of Jamaica, is that of the fine arts;
that is, painting and sculpture. The presumption is
that, as the son of an artist, you would be especially
well-equipped to, as it were, report on the creative
process to those whose identification with it has been
less immediate than yours. Do you agree?
MANLEY: Well, I'm not sure. Agree with what? Agree that
I'm better-equipped to report? I don't know. I'm
not sure how well-equipped anybody else is any-
body else, I mean, other than the artist herself or
himself. and sometimes even including the artist.
But I will say that I find the whole question of the
creative process one of absorbing interest; to ob-
serve the different ways in which different artists
seem to evolve within themselves the things that
they write about, or the things that they carve or
paint and so on, and so forth. I have often been
struck by one thing, which is I suppose quite
obvious, and that is that some artists seem to react
to inner compulsions... in the sense that their art
seems to flow from some sort of inner, emotional
journey that they take; which is only, in a sense,
tangentially concerned with external reality. In
other words, external reality seems to trigger parti-
cularly episodes in what is in some an internal
voyage. And then there are other artists who seem
predominantly to work in the other way; that they
seem to react from the observation of external
reality, and from the desire to record that or to
illuminate it -as an external reality. This is often
discussed, of course: the difference between the
subjective and the non-subjective artist. But, also,
the other thing that has interested me very much
in observing the creative process is how far trauma-
tic experience in a particular artist's life can seem to
create watersheds in their own artistic expression;
seems to create, sort of, whole new phases in their
development as artists. One can think of the obvious
case of Goya, for instance: you know, moving from
being, I suppose, a brilliant and accomplished court
painter to becoming a person profoundly involved
with the expression of human misery and suffering
S. .and this sort of thing, all of which was related
to his own sort of traumas inner traumas at a
stage of his life. Out here, one can observe, though
I don't think I should name names, interesting
examples of artists who seem to be on an internal
voyage; one that you mentioned, very close to me,
I think is a classic example of that; by comparison
with other artists, just as great, just as important,
who seem for instance, if you think of a person
like Albert Huie, one gets the impression that the
Huie journey is the journey of an observer of
external reality: in the way that I feel that Cezanne,
for instance, was an observer of external reality.
And that didn't make it less interesting, it just made
it different. It meant that, the whole of the excite-
ment of that work seems to stem from the different
ways in which the particular artist illuminates the
external reality that they all observe. And this is in
fascinating contra-distinction to people like, I think,
my own mother; or like, perhaps, Vincent Van
Gogh: where the whole process seems to be an
internal discovery which is only expressed through
external reality, but where it is not essentially
external reality that is being described but some
inner journey that the person is on, that the
artist is on. I think this contrast, throughout all of
the creative process, is completely fascinating; in
trying to see which artists react in predominantly
McF: There is, of course, in the general context of art,
or the arts, another sense in which you can, with
due respect, lay claim to the attention of our
Jamaican people. Your father, the Right Excellent
Norman Washington Manley, was probably the first
head of government in Jamaica's history to incor-
porate recognition of the arts as an active element
in government policies; and, to me at least, it
would seem that you are extending his work in this
direction. Am not sure that you haven't, in a great
deal of what you have already said, anticipated -
indeed answered my final question in this inter-
view: but, would you describe yourself as having
a general philosophy of government in relation to
the arts, or vice versa?
MANLEY: Well, in the sense of feeling that the artistic life
of a country is just as vital to its health as anything
else; and just as vital a part of the whole business
of the unfolding of a nation's personality through
time -put it that way, if you like: yes, I do have
a very clear philosophy: in believing that a Govern-
ment has got to be involved inandsympathetic to
and responsive towards every aspect of life that has
validity and importance. And, I feel . I think I
feel two things, really. I think I feel, first of all, that
since the arts are so bound-up in a nation's dis-
covery of itself, in the way in which a people, not
only express themselves, but form that separate
thing -that separate personality that is themselves
I. think this is the way that it happens, this is
the mirror that a society almost creates for itself
and holds up to itself that (since that is so) if a
Government really is concerned with the attempt
to create a quality of life as well as a quantitative
improvement in the foundations of life (and this is
a vital distinction), then a Government has got to be
concerned with the arts, it has got to be concerned
to see that the arts are both visible to and audible to
the population at large. And also, as we said earlier,
to discover where the people are trying to say
things for themselves; and to help them to say that,
and to help others to hear what they are saying. So
that, I think that any government that fails to
understand the profound inter-relationship between
the artistic movement in the widest sense and the
quality of life of a society fails to understand the
dynamics of those whom it seeks to govern.
And, in that sense, one does have a really profound
sense but, as I say, not an authoritarian sense; I
have no authoritarian sense about a Government
and the arts, at all; as some modern societies seem
to do: but, rather, this other concept of being
available to all the natural forces that are at work:
to help enhance them, and to enhance their capacity
for self-expression; and so on, and so forth. Of
course, another aspect of this that I do feel quite
strongly about, too, in Jamaica's situation, particu-
larly, is that we are so ill-at-ease still, in the presence
of our total heritage; there is so much in our heri-
tage about which we are confused, that I think that
a Government has a very important role to play in
Jamaica: in trying to open-up the road back -
from the people, as they are, to their own past and
the understanding of that past. I feel,very strongly,
that Jamaica needs to become at-ease with all the
strands of its heritage; and I think that we need to
have in context and in perspective the things that
we readily admire; which stein from our sort of...
you know, from the Anglo-Saxon influence in our
heritage. I think this is fine. Nobody knocks it. But
I think we need to get it in perspective. And I
think we need to get also brought out of the shadow
of a half-guilt our awareness of Africa. I think that
this still looms as a sort of . a slightly out-of-
focus element in the consciousness of every Jama-
ican. And I don't think that you'll ever fully re-
lease the Jamaican personality, either to an aware-
ness of itself, a confidence in itself and therefore,
a capacity for genuinely original creativity and,
perhaps, genuinely original achievement as a people
- until we have got our heritage in focus. And I
think that a Government can help enormously in
this by, as part of its total pattern of cultural
development, bringing into the stream of normal
focus all the elements of our heritage; and what
has happened to all the strands of our past as they
have proceeded upon their own voyages of self-
discovery. So that when, you know, people think,
for instance, that I'm all hung-up on this African
background: the whole point is that I am not
hung-up on the African background. I think a lot
of other people are hung-up about the African back-
ground; because they will either refuse to see it as
a normal part of their background and, there-
fore, try to hide it under a blanket of shame or
they try to exaggerate its importance, as if it were
the only thing that has any relationship to Jamaican
life, at all: which is equally defensive and equally
unrealistic. I honestly think that I take a perfectly
detached view, but see it as a clearly important as-
pect of development: that we see the whole of our
background in what I have just described as, focus:
as having its proper place, its proper strengths, its
weaknesses to be understood, its spectrum of
achievement to be proud of: and to see how it re-
lates to all the strands of the fabric that is us. as a
Mr. Prime Minister, thank you.
R. DOBRU* reePoems
SCHRIJF GEEN WOORDEN
om armoede op te blazen
om onrecht te bezweren
schrijf woorden tot gedichten
geweren en granaten
voor de onafhankelijkheid van volk en vaderland.
WRITE NO WORDS
write no words
to eradicate poverty
write no sentences
to stop injustice
write words to poems
guns and grenades
for the independence of our people and
A Nofo (enough) (Mahogany)
Sculptor. Johan Pinas
*R. Dobru (Robin Ravales) was born in Paramaribo, Surinam
in 1935. He has published five volumes of poetry, three
books of short stories and a novelette. Dobru scored a per-
sonal success with his poetry and presence at CARIFESTA,
Guyana 1972. FLOWERS MUST NOT GROW TODAY, a
collection of Dobru's poetry is on sale at the Institute of
IK WIL IEMAND HATEN VANDAAG (Dutch)
Ik wil iemand haten vandaag
ik voel het in mijn beenderen
in de zon
ik moet iemand haten vandaag
het moet regenen
de hemel moet dit koelen
anders vermoord ik nog iemand vandaag
het gaat niet om het gat in mijn maag
de pijn in mijn zak
dat is gewoonte
ik zal iemand haten vandaag
het groeit als een kool in mijn keel
en stijgt als een vuur naar mijn haar
brandt in mijn huid
jeukt in mijn fingers
het moet emit
vandaag ga ik de bedelaar niets geven
laat hij ook haten vandaag
kinderen hoeven niet te eten
laat allen haten vandaag
bloemen moeten niet groeien vandaag
ik ga een fajalobi in het vuur gooien
een hond schoppen
de straat niet oversteken met de oude vrouw
niet lachen tegen jou.
I WANT TO HA TE SOMEBODY TODAY
I want to hate somebody today
I feel it in my bones
I feel it in the sun
I must hate somebody today
it has got to rain
heaven shall cool this
or I will murder somebody today
it's not the hole in my stomach
the pain in my pocket
that is a habit
I shall hate somebody today
it grows like a cabbage in my throat
goes like a fire through my hair
burns in my skin
itches in my fingers
it has to come out
today I will give the beggar bothing
let him hate me today
let the whore be poor today
children don't have to eat
let everybody hate today
flowers, flowers must not grow today
I.am going to cast a fajalobi into the fire
kick a dog
not cross the street with the old lady
and I won't laugh with you.
Photo: Frank Agerkop
Depression Sculptor: Johan Pinas
WAN BON (Surinamese)
ala e go na man se
prakseri pe wan boen moes de
someni fasi foe anbegi
ma wan Papa
so many leaves
so many creeks
all are going to one sea
so many thoughts
thoughts among which one good one
so many ways of worshipping
but one Father
so many hair types
so many skin colours
so many tongues
Mother Almond Sculptor: Johan Pinas
Sydney McLaren "DEV(
Awarded by th
** Awarded by th4
ral Section of the Office of the Prime
d of Governors, Institute of Jamaica
Jamaica Tourist Board
ENDED Roy Reid "MOVING RED DEVIL"
**SECOND PRIZE Victor Smith "JONA THAN LIVINGSTONE SEAGULL "
HIGHLY COMMENDED Everald Brown "MAN OF SORROW"
LORNA GOODISONne oes
All the defences I'd carefidly built
came crashing down that day.
The wall I'd smoothed over my face
the smile I use to keep awake.
The reserve I thought I had in my heart
for days like this,
having never been used.
For I came again like a defenceless child
and smiled and touched in wonder;
and the woman that is me is staring at the ceiling
is scattered and diffused
while the wind blows the pieces howling
about my ears.
And my confidence falls down like tears.
SKETCHES OF SPAIN
(For Miles Davis)
The parched faceless
landscape of distant
fields endless notes
from your horn.
The Clicking teeth
of a madonna's castanets
punctuates your wails
Somewhere a rough peasant hand
strokes the belly of a Romany guitar.
You stand pelvis curved
feet anchored in the foreign
to face the charge of a Goya bull,
maddened by a padded
save for the evil
in your horn.
Miles lonesome Matador.
When the full moon blows
She'd get this silver strange
desire to assume gossamer colours
and float through the secrets of trees,
to rest in the womb of a moon.
Sometimes it would be a half wane of a moon
with a silver of a stoop
ready for her to sit,
trailing her skirts to cover
the heads of sleeping birds.
But the real desire was to use the moon
as a moon vehicle to travel to his window
blowing kisses on his
She'd leave a sign between the pages
of a poem that gave ways
to catch a bird
and keep it.
Some nights the moon it seemed
would send cobweb invitations
to her eyes.
She'd wake from a pillow
sprayed with witches' tears
to find the longing still
floating in the pools of her eyes.
MY LATE FRIEND
My friend is on the surface black.
Africa's eyes and lips.
My friend is softest midnight black
and (no Rap-Brown Rhetoric) beautiful.
She's fled the tropics
because the sun "Darkens" her.
My friend wants to be one with the
She's disciplined her hair till it lies
in exhausted submission.
And each night from her sheets of white,
she thanks a WASP God for bleaching cream.
She has a white lover,
"They treat you better".
Each day my friend grows whiter.
When I admire lean evil brothers with
crowns of Afro
She smiles at me in pity;
and tells me how good it is to go skiing
and of the pearls her lover gave her.
She never wears colours like
Ghetto green, or coloured people purple.
I lost my friend somewhere between
my love for the sun
and the eternal peace
I can find only on
I have a bad case of deja vu
which comes in the form of recurring
Actions done and over done.
The cure I'm told is to find things
things to do that have never been done.
But this image that keeps flashing
this note that keeps sounding
occupies all my waking time.
Today I'll try again
to paint a new landscape
for tired eyes.
If the pigment is where
I think it lies
and the colours are all
what will I do about you?
When your lady dances to the
dictation of your drums
Love comes pouring from you
strong men are stirred
their loins envy you
and Love is a presence
bourne on the wings
of a crazed blackbird
that disregards the ceiling
and aims for other skies.
When your lady dances.
You control her
you hold her
bring her to you now
in the mating of her
with the playing of your drums.
Love pours from you brother
as your wild eyes allow
to go as
far as only you
when your lady dances
to the call of
Love's black drums.
My eyes find a place that is covered in cool:
I genuflect to take care of you and the sun
making peace with another power
for sin left undone.
Tantalus stands buried in water that never
stirs to bouy him:
You are somewhere between god and reality
and a child's urge to destroy him.
All night I've moved away from the thought
of making real your cry.
Earthly love makes for leaving:
If you came and left me
I could die.
One crooked crown
Fro the Queen of Dreamers.
A pile of Love Letters
That burned comets across the Atlantic
Lying like frozen white birds
Among her winding-sheets.
A tiny Little Book
With an inscription that slopes to say
"IN LOVE, VICTORY GOES TO THE MAN
WHO RUNS A WA Y",
One Blue Picture
To mirror a very lost
Little girl in a blue deep sky.
A Book of Notes from the Sierra Miestra
From CHE with love.
Not even the uncertainty
His column read
All the words
that colour black
are offspring of blood red.
Glory to black woman
The word is hard,
so the white man made it.
Your lips are deep and wide
to carry the storm
that burst from your head,
bare and undefiled
the rows and rows of cane
Tonight we reap.
If you can hear me
don't stop singing
till the pale woman sitting
stunned by your wonder
worried because her man
is moved by your sweet sensuality
feeling the call that made the slave master rape us,
Sing till the cold bitch
is moved to rise
and free her set European spine
and make it move
in obedience to drums
and ask not why.
"I don't know about that, dear, but who could trust such
a rogue? No, what I meant to say was that he is after our
apparel bonnets, shawls, in fact everything he can lay hold
of, all carried away to deck his wanton beauties. I mentioned
how he held up poor Mrs. Ricketts, well, he didn't rob any of
her money, but he took her band-box full of all her lovely
clothes which she had worn to a ball the night before in
Savanna-la Mar, and forced her pretty little Negro maid to
accompany him to the hills. Mind you," she shrugged, "I
don't think the wench put up much resistance judging from
the report I hear, shameless creature. But as I have said before,
these girls are quite taken with the handsome villain."
They were now passing a small grove of yokewood trees,
and the roadway was dappled with sunlight filtering through
their lacy branches. Beyond, the rocky hillsides rose on both
sides casting deeper shadows, as the carriage jolted along enter-
ing the narrow pass through the hills. They turned a bend in
the road, and suddenly the vehicle came to a staggering halt.
"Oh dear," cried Mrs. Storer, trying to replace her bonnet
which had fallen forward with the sudden jolt. "Whatever is
the matter with that coachman, he will be the death of us all
before this journey is over."
Her niece peered through the window, and for all her
former cheerfulness, the scene which met her eyes was far
from reassuring: There stood a band of fierce-looking Negroes,
naked but for their stained and dirty pantaloons, brandishing
cutlasses, where a large boulder had been placed in the middle
of the roadway blocking the carriage's passage.
"What's wrong, dear?" queried Mrs. Storer anxiously, hear-
ing the shouts of the Negroes.
But before the frightened girl could answer, the carriage
was suddenly surrounded by the men all shouting and jabber-
"Oh, Lord preserve us," cried the older woman. "It is Plato,
I am sure." And she slumped on to the seat in a dead faint.
A peal of rough laughter broke from the tall handsome
Negro who stood peering into the carriage.
"You is right, is Plato, and Plato is angry for you keep him
waiting. Me did expect de carriage to pass here long ago. Me
did know say you went to de Bay yesterday." He grinned
cunningly. "Plato know all dat happen around here."
"Oh, Mr. Plato," implored the girl, "please do not harm us.
Take what you want, but please let us go on our way. My
poor Aunt has fainted."
"You very pretty buckra lady," said the dusky giant, dis-
playing a set of pearly teeth, and somehow there was a strange
kindness in his tone. "Me no harm buckra ladies, me have
enough fe me self, but me want de band-box dem."
"Take them by all means," cried the distracted girl. "Take
them and let us be on our way." And she tried to lift the two
large boxes which had fallen to the floor of the carriage, but
her trembling hands refused to do her will.
"Please call the coachman to help me," she pleaded, won-
dering whether her aunt was dead from fright, or had really
only fainted. Wondering too what on earth had happened to
the poor coachman.
"You'coachman can't help you; mistress." And again the
mocking laughter of the robber echoed through the gorge.
"Him is quite useless, trembling like when high breeze trouble
tree leaf. Me will teck de boxes-dem." And he opened the
door of the carriage and lifted the boxes carefully on to the
All at once the petrified girl saw the coachman crouched
near the rocks beside the road, his head between his hands,
and moaning softly.
"Get up you worthless nigger," bawled Plato. "And go see
if you pretty mistress need you."
But the coachman continued to crouch beside the road,
rocking himself to and fro in an agony of fear.
"Give him the side of your cutlass, Caesar," said Plato ad-
dressing one of the men who stood beside the trembling coach-
"Oh no, please do not harm him," begged the girl. "Have
pity on us and leave us in peace."
But before the words were properly out of her mouth, the
OF THE HILLS
by FJ. DUQUESNA Y*
The carriage rumbled heavily along the uneven roadway
linking Montego Bay with the large plantations in the interior
of the parish of Westmoreland.
It was a bright April afternoon in 1780. The countryside
was green and fresh from the recent showers. The large silk
cotton trees cast gigantic shadows on the rolling pasturelands
which bordered the roadway. Beyond, the low hills of the area
rose unevenly, dotted with a tangle of overgrowth clinging to
the rocky limestone terrain.
"Oh dear," sighed Mrs. Storer addressing her niece who sat
beside her in the carriage, "I do wish we were safe at home
again, for I am terribly uneasy about passing through those
"Dear Aunt," replied the niece with a smile, "I am sure you
are upsetting yourself needlessly. We passed along this same
road quite safely yesterday on our way to Montego Bay, and I
really don't feel that anything unpleasant will befall us.
Besides it is such a lovely day, and I am so absorbed by your
wonderful wild scenery. I can hardly take my eyes away, for
fear of missing something."
"Oh my dear," exclaimed the older woman, "When you
have lived out here as long as I have, you will soon forget about
the scenery, and now the prospect of traversing through those
beastly hills again, only fills me with dread." She paused, then
looking more earnestly into her niece's eyes: "That black
villain is someone to be reckoned with. Why, only last week,
poor Mrs. Ricketts of Canaan plantation was held up along
this very road by the crafty devil. Oh, it really is too horrible -
she might have been ravished -"
"Oh," said her niece, suddenly filled with excitement for
adventure. "I think it's really all quite exciting. We have
highwaymen in England, but I must confess that I have never
yet encountered one on all my travels there."
"Exciting," gasped her aunt. "My dear child you must have
taken leave of your senses. Those rogues in England are gentle-
men, I can assure you, in comparison with this wild creature. I
haven't said too much about him since your arrival for fear of
spoiling your holiday, but since you seem to think that I am
just making a fuss over nothing, I will acquaint you with all
that has transpired here over these last few months."
Mrs. Storer then launched into an excited narrative regard-
ing the exploits of the intrepid Negro robber, who had been
terrorising the countryside for months.
The man's name was Plato. He was an African slave who
had run away from one of the plantations, and had set up a
stronghold in the mountains. A substantial band of runaway
Negroes had soon joined him there, forming a troop of banditti
of which he was the unquestioned leader. Now, over the last
months, these outlaws had become a menace to the parish and
its environs, where they descended on the plantations by night,
Mr. F.J. Duquesnay is the Editor of the Historical Society
Bulletin published by the Jamaican Historical Society.
rifling the store-rooms and chicken coops, and setting fire to
many of the factory buildings. Occasionally, they even resort-
ed to murder if any attempt was made to apprehend or frus-
trate them in their purpose. A substantial reward had been
offered for Plato's capture, but so far this had failed dismally,
partly due to the fact that the Negro slaves were terrified of
the villain knowing him to be very powerful in the practice of
obeah. There was absolutely nothing which the Negroes feared
more than this dreadful black art in which they believed
implicitly, and through which they had seen so many of their
companions die swiftly, or suffer slow mental torture which
finally resulted in death.
"There is a popular maxim in Jamaica," continued Mrs.
Storer, "which says that 'belief kills and belief cures', and it is
by this creed that the practice of obeah retains its power. This
fact the slave owners could vouch for to their cost, having so
often witnessed the swift inexplicable demise of some of their
choicest slaves. Now this rogue Plato, already knowing how
much he is feared by his companions, has spread the news that
who ever dares to lay so much as a finger against him, will
suffer the most frightful spiritual torments. Naturally, after
this announcement of doom, the frightened slaves have ab-
solutely refused to assist their masters in trying to capture the
rogue and bring him to justice."
Mrs. Storer gasped as the carriage wheels jolted over a large
stone. "I do declare," she said testily, "that that fool of a
driver will have us overturned at any moment." And she rapp-
ed her fan sharply against the panel of the outside window of
the coach to warn him to continue more carefully. Almost
immediately the cumbersome old vehicle slackened its pace.
They were drawing closer to the hills, which stood out with
the distinct green of large forest trees, splashed white where
the flowering Spanish elms crowned their heights.
"Oh how I wish that this long journey were over," sighed
Mrs. Storer, settling herself more comfortably against the
leather upholstery. "I am getting quite exhausted, but we did
have to see your cousins in Montego Bay before you returned
"I have enjoyed the excursion very much," said her niece
with a bright smile.
"And I would have enjoyed it too had it not been for that
wretched Plato," whined the older woman. "Such a horrid
business my dear, and poor Mr. Storer not being able to accom-
pany us due to the reaping of the sugar cane. It's a pity that
your visit came at such an unhappy time."
"Dear Aunt, I have been having a wonderful holiday, and
am not at all worried about the daring Plato, ugly or threaten-
ing though he might appear to the stupid slaves."
"Ugly, oh no my dear, not physically anyway I have
been told he is a wonderful figure of a man, tall and graceful
in his movements, with a most pleasing countenance. In fact,
dear," and she lowered her voice confidentially, "he is a
regular Don Juan with the black wenches around the estates.
Many of them have eloped to his stronghold in the hills, where,
if what one hears is true, he has assembled a regular harem of
dusky beauties for himself, just like a sultan in the East. Shock-
ing as it might seem, I don't mind telling you that these
shameless creatures are quite enamoured of him, and at the
slightest pretext of a complaint against their masters, run off
to join the vagabond where they find freedom, protection,
and unbounded generosity."
"How dreadful," remarked her niece, trying to smother a
smile behind her fan, completely enthralled by the escapades
of this daring outlaw.
"Dreadful it is indeed," replied Mrs. Storer. "And it's
largely because of these concubines, that we the planters'
wives are in so much danger, for it's not only money he is after
my dear -"
"You don't mean to say that he actually assaults the white
ladies as well?" enquired the young lady, a blush of colour
tingeing her face.
coachman let out a piercing cry, as Caesar dealt him a sound
blow on his thigh with the flat side of the weapon.
He was up on his feet immediately, running towards the
carriage where he flung himself down at his mistress' feet.
"That's good," cried Plato. "Me will teach you fe look after
you' backra people, dem should a heng you when you ketch
Belleisle Then, turning to his followers: "Move de rock stone
and let de backra dem pass."
The men immediately set about the task, and in a few
moments the large rock was rolled out of the way.
"Now let us go back a mountain," cried the leader. He
gathered up the band-boxes carefully, led the way up the
sloping hillside, and was soon lost to sight.
Mrs. Storer, who all this time had lain perfectly still, now
"My poor dear Aunt," cried the girl, distressed, but nonethe-
less relieved to find that her relative was still alive. "It's all
over now dear they have gone and left us." And searching
in her reticule she found her smelling-bottle, and applied it to
her Aunt's nostrils.
"What ever has happened?" gasped Mrs. Storer, rising
feebly as the vapour of the smelling salts aroused her to
"Please be calm, dear, we are safe now, and completely
"Oh that dreadful Plato, now I remember it all -" And the
older woman turned pale, looking as if she were about to
"It's alright dear, please try and compose yourself, and let
us get home to Belleisle as quickly as possible."
The coachman who was still trembling, was now standing
against the carriage. The girl put her hand gently on his should-
er. "It's alright, Cupid, get back on your box, and take us home
Moments later, the vehicle jerked into action, rolling along
through the lonely gorge on its way to B:elleisle the West-
moreland plantation of the Storer family.
Some weeks after Plato's encounter with Mrs. Storer and
her niece, the daring villain took himself off to the outskirts
of the town of Montego Bay in an effort to purchase or steal a
a supply of rum. Apart from his desire for the close intimacy
with pretty Negro wenches, the bandit had another and more
powerful weakness in the form of a craving for alcohol. This
commodity he found difficult to procure, for the still-houses
on the estates were always well-guarded against the slaves.
Plato had hardly entered the town,however, before a Negro
slave called Taffy recognizing him, gave an immediate alarm.
Unfortunately for Taffy, all his companions, who he had
thought to have been within ear-shot, seemed to have sudden-
ly disappeared from the scene, and the poor fellow was left to
confront the angry Plato alone.
Seeing that no one had heard the alarm, the robber raised
his bill-hook and attacked Taffy with the intention of cleaving
his skull, but Taffy dodged the blow, and took to his heels
with the exasperated Plato hot in pursuit.
It did not take Taffy long to realise that it would only be a
matter of minutes before his assailant would catch up with
him and finish him off, for the robber was the younger and
more agile of the two. But suddenly a ray of hope appeared in
the form of a large bread-nut tree. Now, Taffy, if not an able
runner, possessed a gift for climbing trees which was unexcell-
ed in the parish, a gift which he hoped was not equally shared
by his attacker.
In a moment, Taffy was up the tree, with Plato panting like
an angry bull below.
Taffy realized that at least he was safe for a while, for
instead of trying to climb the tree, Plato began chopping
away at the trunk with his bill-hook. Taffy soon realized that
soon the tree would come crashing to the ground, and he
began screaming for help at the top of his voice, at the same
time breaking off branches and pelting Plato. In this way he
managed to keep the brute at bay, giving his companions time
to come hurrying to the scene to see what all the noise was
Immediately upon seeing the other slaves appear, Plato, real-
ising that he was hopelessly outnumbered, hurried away as fast
as his agilr legs could carry him.
The night was dark, and the persistent drizzle which had
started ea lier in the afternoon was heavier now, as Plato, naked
but for a loin cloth, stumbled down the mountain trail. The
jagged limestone rocks with which the path was strewn, bit
into his I eet, causing pain, but he did not seem to notice it.
He movei.. instinctively in the thick darkness on his way to the
His whole being was on fire now, and he could think of
nothing but the ecstasy of quenching his desire in long draughts;
of heady cane liquor. This fire which consumed him seemed
even more terrible than the desire of the flesh, for even his
harem of dark beauties could no longer satisfy him, and he
knew that this craving which was gnawing at his vitals would
have to b; satisfied somehow.
Recen :ly, he had been thwarted at every turn, especially
since they had offered this reward for his capture, and he had
been unable to beg, borrow, or steal anything more than
tantalisingly small quantities of liquor.
The old watchman on Canaan estate, the property of the
Ricketts' family, was his last hope. Plato had known the watch-
man for many years, long before he had run away to make
his home in the hills. The old fellow had been impressed with
Plato's powerful obeah and had seen many of his evil spells
put into practice. The watchman was certain of the power of
Plato's magic. Plato realized this.
The mountain pass suddenly gave way to an open hillside.
Plato paused. Looking below he saw the pale flickering lights
of the Great House and the Negro village of Canaan Planta-
tion. His journey was almost over, and as this fact entered his
mind the desire for the drink increased, putting wings to his
feet as he passed quickly over the soft grass that covered the
He was nearing his destination now, and the cluster of huts
surrounded by their plantain trees where the estate slaves lived,
were less than a quarter of a mile away. He avoided these pur-
posely, skirting the canefields in order to reach the watchman's
dwelling which lay in an isolated spot on the border of the
It was still raining heavily, and no doubt the slaves were all
tightly locked inside their huts (for fear of the night air which,
it was believed, caused fever), he was taking no chances and,
even if it meant a longer tramp through the wet grass, he could
not risk passing too near the village. The incentive of the large
reward offered for his capture might be more powerful than
his obeah to those who did not know him well.
For the first time since he had set out on his journey, the
chill of his rain-soaked body sent a shiver down his spine. He
stood before the delapidated hut, but seemed unable to lift his
hand to rap on the door, for with that sudden cold shiver,
fear, an almost new emotion for him, suddenly gripped his
It took only a moment to dispel the disquieting feeling,
and lifting his hand he knocked boldly on the door.
There was a soft scurry of feet inside, and the door creaked
open. The anxious eyes of the little old man peering through
the darkness, met the stony stare of the visitor, lit now by the
pale light coming from within the chamber. "Plato," he gasped.
"What you doing here?"
"Me come fe you. Me want some rum man. Me want it
bad." And Plato pushed the door open roughly and entered
The watchman's voice trembled audibly in the presence of
this terrible personage. "Me only hab a little here." he mur-
mured, then rushing into a corner, produced a small bottle.
"Dis is nothing," cried Plato. He tore the bottle from the
man's hands, uncorked it with his teeth and took a large gulp.
"Is rum me need man. Plenty rum dem is watching me
too close, me can't get it fe buy or steal." And he glared into
the frightened eyes of the old man. "You have fe help me get
The evil gleam on Plato's face, left no room for doubt as to
the terrible fate which would be meted out to the watchman
did he not comply with the request.
"Me will try," stammered the watchman, his tone showing
visible distress. "But me na want fe get in no trouble by steal-
ing it from de still-house."
"Here," said Plato drawing a dirty leather pouch from the
folds of his loin cloth, and tossing it across to the watchman.
"Enough money to buy ten flagons of rum." He glared at the
watchman. "You will get it fe Plato -" And the heavy mean-
ing in his tone conveyed unquestioned command.
"When you want it?" queried the watchman nervously.
"Me want it now, but me will wait 'till tomorrow night.
Tomorrow night at dis time me will come fe it. Me will take
what me can carry wid me, for me no trus' de men dem. Dem
no wise like Plato, and hab no obeah to protect dem."
"Me will buy it fe you tomorrow morning, and hab it
"Dat sound better," hissed Plato. "You help me, and me
keep rolling calf, and other bad duppy from trouble you."
The old man quaked at the words. "Thank you Plato," he
stammered, full of fear at the mention of these evil spirits, and
praying fervently that the obeahman would go away and leave
His hopes were realized almost immediately, for Plato tak-
ing the half-empty bottle of rum, moved towards the door, and
without so much as a backward glance, went out and dis-
appeared into the blackness of the night.
For a long time after the obeahman had departed, the
watchman could not sleep. He lay on the plantain-trash mat-
ting which served as his bed, thinking over the events of the
evening. How brave and strong Plato was! Had he no fear of
being apprehended? With all that money offered for his cap-
ture, some might even dare to brave his evil power to gain the
reward. Yet, here he comes to Canaan, the Ricketts' planta-
tion, a place where he was well known, and much talked about
since his daring "hold up" of Mrs. Ricketts' carriage on the
road from Savanna-la-Mar.
The noise of the rain, and the restless moaning of the wind
outside his hut, suddenly filled him with fear, and thoughts of
those evil spirits, the rolling calf, the three legged horse and
the duppy, brought a cold sweat to his brow. This Plato was a
dangerous criminal, he would have to walk warily, for betrayal
could mean slow torture and death brought on by the power
of the robber's obeah spells.
Towards morning, the rain stopped, and the watchman
finally fell into a restless sleep, the money pouch which the
robber had given him tucked into a pocket of his dirty smock.
He turned in his sleep, and the hard wad of the purse against
his side, woke him. There was a great deal of money there,
enough to help keep him in his old age. It was true that his
Massa would ordinarily look after him, for Massa Ricketts was
a good man; still, life was uncertain, and he had known of
large estates with their accompanying slaves being sold off on
the death of a proprietor. Yes, life was uncertain, and in the
event of such a calamity occurring at Canaan if he had
enough money, then he could run away to the mountains,
rather than be subjected to the tyranny of some cruel master.
Yes, there was much money in the pouch, but the reward
offered for Plato's capture meant even more money, so much
money in fact that it was quite beyond belief.
Then as the dawn began to break, seeping into the room
through the crannies of the ill-fitting window, momentarily
dispelling the fears of the night, the old man hit upon a daring
plan. He would need help,however, for he could not accom-
plish it alone. Prince and Peter would help him. They were his
close friends, they were clever and strong for the recklessness
of youth was still with them, they would not fear the obeah
- 1 *
magic. A faint smile crossed his lips they could all three
share in the reward.
He got up hastily from the bed. He would have to go over
to the Negro village at once and have a talk with them before
the shell blew to summon them to work on the plantation.
The plan was carefully laid. The watchman would purchase
the rum during the course of the morning and store it in his
cabin. Later, the two slaves, Prince and Peter, would secrete
themselves outside the hut armed with cutlasses and ready to
capture the robber when he was leaving the hut laden with the
flagons of liquor.
Now, the day was drawing to its close, and everything was
in readiness. The rum had been stored in the cabin, and the
two slaves had already stationed themselves outside, hidden by
a plot of cassava bushes.
The minutes dragged by slowly, night fell, and with its
coming all the fears and anxieties of the previous evening
returned to haunt the watchman, as he paced up and down
outside the hut, unable to keep still and waiting impatiently
for his dreadful visitor to appear. He longed for the moment
when the awful business would be over and done with, when
the reward would be his, but the time went by slowly and his
agitation increased until he felt that he could endure the
agony no longer.
He was just about to abandon the plan, to let Prince and
Peter return to their homes, and deliver over the rum peace-
fully to the robber, when he heard the fall of bare feet on the
soft earth. The old man barely had time to squat down beside
the door of the hut, when Plato, looking more terrifying than
ever appeared out of the darkness.
The watchman got up shakily, and a shiver went over his
body as Plato seized him roughly by the arm.
"What happen man, you look frighten, don't tell me you
no get de rum?" And the lips of the brigand fell away from his
teeth in an awful grimace.
Before the other could reply, the pressure on his arm in-
creased until he cried out in pain.
"Yes Massa Plato, me get it fe you. Is inside, just as you tell
"Dat is very good," growled the robber, his grip slackening,
and his face lighting up in a cruel smile, "for as me feel now,
me would a kill you here tonight. Me whole body is on fire
fe de drink."
Without another word, the watchman pushed open the
door and led the way into the dusky interior. His head swam
dizzily as he stumbled across the hard dirt floor, and with a
trembling hand indicated a spot in the corner where the rum
had been deposited.
Plato rushed for the booty, and like a half-crazed animal
flung his arms around the flagons with an unrestrained moan
The old man, almost paralysed with fear, looked on as
Plato, squatting on the floor, proceeded to open a flagon and,
raising the large container to his lips, take gulp after gulp of
the heady raw rum spirit.
Would the brute never go? The old man was beside himself
with anxiety. Why didn't he take the stuff and go. Then sud-
denly a gleam of hope flashed across his brain, changing every-
thing and bringing back courage. Let him stay, this was a happy
stroke of fortune after all; soon he would be drunk with the
strong liquor, making it easier for them to overpower him.
True enough, Plato had barely set down the flagon, breath-
ing heavily, when his whole body began to sway uncertainly.
The watchman smiled, the rum was beginning to take effect,
soon the robber would fall into a drunken stupor. He had had
a long treck down from the hills, and his belly was probably
half empty, for the craving for the liquor would have blotted
out all thoughts of food.
It was soon over, for three minutes later the great brute,
who had been the terror of the neighbourhood for months, lay
completely defenseless on the floor, totally intoxicated.
It did not take long for the watchman to summon the two
slaves, who were just beginning to wonder what on earth was
happening to keep them so long inside.
Moments later as they bound the robber fast with the stout
cords they had brought along, they found it difficult to be-
lieve that this daring enterprise on which they had embarked
with so much trepidation could have been so easily accom-
The only thing which now remained to be done was to
transport the criminal to Montego Bay, and turn him over to
the magistrates there in order to receive the reward.
After some debate as to how this should be done, it was
finally agreed that they would use one of the small wagons
from the estate shed for the purpose, and set out immediately
on the journey to Montego Bay while the robber was still
Half an hour later, they were on their way, taking the
uneven trail through the estate, then on to the main road.
As the cart jolted along they started discussing the prospects
of their good fortune. How happy their Massa would be when
he discovered what they had done; maybe he would even grant
them their freedom for this great act of bravery. In their
triumph and joy they gave hardly a thought to the power of
the obeah which Plato might set on them for this act of betray-
al; for looking at him now, lying there helpless and bound to
the wagon, he appeared a poor specimen of his former self. It
was certainly difficult to believe that this helpless besotted
Negro had been the terror of the parish for months on end.
Unfortunately, it has never been recorded what became of
the watchman and his comrades after they had delivered Plato
over to justice. No doubt they obtained the much-coveted
reward, and maybe having been witnesses of the abject state
of the robber after the strong liquor had done its work, they
had come to realise, that he was only a man, and not really so
powerful after all; and believing this, the obeah would have
been powerless to harm them. This,however, was not the case
with the Negro jailor into whose custody Plato had been con-
signed, for it is stated that on the morning of his execution,
Plato informed the jailor while the man was tying him to the
stake in preparation for his death by burning, that he had
taken care to obeah him, and that he would not live long to
triumph in his death.
Full of terror at this curse which he believed had been put
upon him, it is reported that the man sickened and pined away
despite all the remedies which were offered to assist him, and
was dead before the year was out.
Plato is said to have suffered his torturous execution hero-
ically, retaining to the last the proud mien characteristic of a
dreaded obeahman, the same guise he had employed in terrify-
ing the countryside. He told the magistrates who had condemn-
ed him that his death would be avenged by a tempest which
would lay waste the entire island that year; and strangely
enough a most fearful hurricane which lasted from October 3rd
to October 12th did in fact ravish the Western part of the
island that very year, completely destroying Savanna-la-Mar,
the capital town of Westmoreland.
"Green Lady Seya Parboosingh
ming George foreman & Joe trazter Koy Keia
"Sunset" Keith McLean
"The Hallelujah Dancers" Victor Smith F
'a "Q~r\ ,; .a
"Home from Market" Everald Brown
"Valerie" Grace Johnson
"'iryall Waterwheel" (erry Dunlop
"The Squatters" Stafford Schliefer
I'i ~ y ~ ~
"Illiterate Man" Winston Eccleston
"Countryman Judy MacMillan
"Mother's Day Pregnancy Roy Reid
"Canadian Landscape" Heather Sutherland
"Victim Judy MacMillan
i" Karl Parboosingh
"Wildman Street"- Ralph Campbell
"Beating Chocolate" Headley D'Acres
"Granny" Winston Eccleston
"Cultivators"' Headley D'Acres
"Boats" Vivian Morrison
Painting by Mouth
"Daydream Judy MacMillan
"Ritual Expression "I
Karl Parboosingh ,
j /-The Parade of the City"
, Sidney McLaren
"Alan & Cart" Heather Sutherland
"Quarry" Ralph Campbell
"The Harbour" Vivian Morrison Painting by Mouth
CDULL InUU% LUzypLu DLniLu JULUvit I cUUULY
"Spring" Keith McLean
itk -A I
"Moon Rise, Hope Gate, Papine" Donald Ricketts
"Hasty Feast" Roy Reid
s!mtrtey George ioaney
"Meditation Whitney Miller
"Mystic Meditation of the Obeah Man "
"Face Man" Judy MacMillan
"Pine Trees" Ralph Campbell
'Fruit of Our Labour' Everald Brown
"Haunted Woman" Victor Smith
"Orange Park" Karl Parboosingh
"Sisters" Seya Parboosingh
Layers v emw natren
"Leonie Valerie Bloomfield
"Sleeping Boy Judy MacMillan
"Two Models" Karl Parboosingh
"Self Portrait".- Sylvester Marsh
"Abstract" -Heather Sutherland
"Seated Figure In Landscape" George Rodney
Cuando me veo y toco
yo, Juan sin Nada no mas ayer,
y hoy Juan con Todo,
y hoy con todo,
vuelvo los ojos, miro,
me veo y toco
y me pregunto como ha podido ser.
Tengo, vamos a ver,
tengo el gusto de andar por mi pais,
dueno de cuanto hay en el,
mirando bien de cerca lo que antes
no tuve ni podia tener.
Zafra puedo decir,
monte puedo decir,
ciudad puedo decir,
ya mios para siempre y tuyos, nuestros,
y un ancho resplandor
de rayo, estrella, flor.
Tengo, vamos a ver,
tengo el gusto de ir
yo, campesino, obrero, gente simple,
tengo el gusto de ir
(es un ejemplo)
a un banco y hablar con el administrator,
no en ingles,
no en senor,
sino decirle campanero como se dice en espanol.
Tengo, vamos a ver,
que siendo un negro
nadie me puede detener
a la puerta de un dancing o de un bar.
0 bien en la carpeta de un hotel
gritarme que no hay pieza,
una minima pieza y no una pieza colosal,
una pequena peiza donde yo pueda descansar.
Tengo, vamos a ver,
que no hay guardia rural
que me agarre y me encierre en un cuartek,
ni me arranque y me arroje de mi tierra
al medio del camino real.
Tengo que como tengo la tierra tengo el mar,
no country, no jailaif,
no tennis y no yacht,
sino de playa en playa y ola en ola,
gigante azul abierto democratic:
en fin, el mar.
Tengo, vamos a ver,
que ya aprendi a leer,
tengo que ya aprendi a escriber
y a pensar
y a reir.
Tengo que ya tengo
lo que me tengo que comer.
Tengi, vamos a ver,
tengo lo que tenia que tener.
When I see and touch myself
I, only yesterday Destitute John,
and today John with Everything,
I turn my eyes, I look
I see and touch myself
and I ask myself how could it be.
I have, lets see,
I have the pleasure of walking about my country,
master of all there is in it,
looking very closely at what before
I didn't and couldn't have.
Sugar crop I can say,
countryside I can say,
city I can say,
army I can say,
now mine forever and yours, ours
and a broad resplendence
of sun rays, stars, flowers.
I have, let's see,
I have the pleasure of going
I, a peasant, worker, simple person,
have the pleasure of going
(as one example)
to a bank to talk with the manager,
not in English,
not in senor,
but to say companero to him as it's done in Spanish.
I have, let's see,
nobody can stop me
at the door of a dance hall or a bar.
Or at a hotel desk
shout at me there is no room,
a small room and not a great big room,
a small room where I can rest.
I have, let's see,
there is no rural police
to catch me and lock me up in a barracks
nor grab me and throw me from my land
to the middle of the highway.
I have, well, like I have the land I have the sea,
no country club,
no tennis and no yacht,
but from beach to beach and wave to wave,
immense blue, open, democratic:
in brief, the sea.
I have, let's see,
I have already learned to read
I have, I have already learned to write
and to think
and to laugh
I have, I now have
a place to work
what I need to eat
I have, let's see,
I have what I had to have.
(Translated by Keith Ellis)
What black love,
so widely shared
with all colours.
Why wouldn't he have a black soul,
that heroic parson?
Black as coal.
(translated by Keith Ellis)
Nicolas Guillen, left, with Keith Ellis
What a white soul, they say,
the soul of that noble parson
His skin so black, they say,
his skin, so black in colour
inside was snow,
What pure whiteness.
No stain at all
on his pure inward whiteness
(In sum, a great discovery:
"The black man with
with the white soul," that tired old story)
But it could be said another way:
what a powerfully black soul
the soul of the sweet parson.
What a deep black passion
burned in his big heart.
What pure black thoughts
his fertile brain nourished.
This is hunger. An animal
all teeth and eyes.
Nobody deceives or distracts it.
It isn't satiated at one sitting,
It isn't satisfied
With a lunch or a supper.
It always announces blood.
It roars like a lion, squeezes like a boa,
thinks like a person.
The example displayed here
was caught in India (suburbs of Bombay),
but it exists in a more or less savage state
in many other places.
Conversation with Nicolas GuillenbyKeithEis
Nicolas Guillen, Cuba's national poet, and president of that
country's National Union of Writers and Artists became
seventy years old on July 10, 1972. The seventieth birthday
of a poet who throughout his career has been attuned to the
historical realities of his country is inevitably an occasion for
much retrospection and appraisal, particularly by the literary
critics. The volume of interest in such a poet is augmented
when the country with which he has been involved throughout
his career is revolutionary Cuba. In addition to those studies
that have been done and are being prepared, it is of vital
interest to hear from the poet himself an appraisal of aspects
of his career. I had several conversations with him in Havana
during December 1972 and January 1973; and I give below
the translated text of an interview which occurred on February
K.E. When and in what circumstances did you begin to
N.G. I started to write poetry in high school. This resulted
from certain school exercises that were of a literary
character. I needed to memorize the metrical forms;
and I made up my own examples of each form, in-
cluding sonnets. I realized that I had a certain facility
for doing this, and I continued writing poetry. My
first poems among those that are now published were
written in 1918. And in 1922 I finished my first book,
Cerebro y corazon which includes La balada azul and
more than forty other poems. I had no literary forma-
tion in any strict sense of this term. In the houses of
both my father and my godfather, however, I found
books of Spanish and world literature that awoke a
great artistic restlessness in me. My father was well-
informed about the politics and writings of his time;
and it was to him that I submitted for his judgement
my first literary efforts. My father was, besides, one
of the leaders of the old Liberal Party and was well
known as a professional newspaper man. He founded
along with a friend of his a newspaper that they
called Las Dos Republicas. I am quite convinced that
those "two Republics" were Cuba and the United
States. It seems to me that my father and his friend
were victims of the mirage of U.S. friendship that de-
ceived many Cubans at the beginning of the Republic,
since it is well known that the Americans disguised
their imperialist penetration in our country and their
exploitation of our resources, under the cloak of a
"protection" that never existed. My father, however,
was always a good influence in my creative work. In
addition, he taught me typography, a trade at which
I worked part-time while I studied. In fact after his
death, in 1917, which came at the hands of soldier-
assassins who served the Conservative Party in a mean-
ingless civil war, I had to interrupt my programme of
studies to work full time as a typographer. When I
could get no work as a typographer with friends of
my father, I was, in fact, jobless. Being black, jobs in
the Civil Service and in foreign-owned and other large
companies were closed to me.
As for interrupting my studies, school at that time
was not an attractive institution. The time table was
not as it is now. You entered school at seven in the
morning and left at twelve noon, returned at one and
left at six. At that time the regular teachers not only
gave private classes (with payment in advance, of
course,) but they gave them from a textbook which
they themselves had written and which the students
had to buy. A shameful thing happened with the
English teacher. He made up a scale of fees and sold
results to students according to their ability to pay:
twenty-five pesos, pass; fifty, good; seventy-five, ex-
cellent. Before the exams the students would go to
his house, and there he would go over the questions
that he himself had set. Young Cubans of today have
no idea about this kind of thing; and I understand
very well why then can't conceive of such a thing.
When I finished my pre-University studies, I enrolled
in the University of Havana the only university that
there was at that time as a student in the school of
law. I studied only for a year which I got through
successfully; but I abandoned studying for that career.
Some idea of why I chose to continue is given in
some sonnets that you know entitled Al margen de
mis libros de studios. The sonnets were published in
the first number of the university journal Alma mater.
Soon after this I returned to Camaguey; and I stayed
there working as a newspaper man until December
1927, when I went back to Havana.
K.E. All of the poetry that you have so far mentioned, that
is to say your very early poetry, is quite different
from your Motivos de son published in 1930. Would
you explain something of how you came to write
Motivos de son?
N.G. I must say that at first I, like everyone else, noticed
no relationship between the metrics that I practiced in
my early poetry and the son (a form of popular music
which originated with the blacks in Eastern Cuba). I
had heard the son in Camaguey. In fact in ore of the
houses of the section of the city in which some Jamai-
cans lived there were often dances where sones were
played. But until 1930 I didn't take any literary in-
terest in the son. I published articles protesting the
discrimination against blacks in Ideales de una raza,
a page of the newspaper El diario de la marina edited
by Urrutia. At that time sones by the Trio Matamoros
and the Sexteto Habanero were very popular in Havana.
In fact the whole island resounded with the son. One
night in the middle of March 1930 I was half asleep,
and suddenly I heard something as if a voice were pro-
nouncing the words "negro bembon" (fat-lipped
negro). And all night that night the sound of these
words was vibrating in my head. On the following
morning I wrote Negro bembon, my first son, and the
other seven sones as if I had dreamed them. I showed
them to Urrutia but I didn't want to publish them
immediately because I feared that they were a re-
collection of something I had known before. I attri-
bute that to the force that the son had in Cuba at
K.E. What do you yourself judge to be particularly impor-
tant about the Motivos de son?
N.G. I believe that those poems caused the literary critics
to recognize a phenomenon which until that time
wasn't considered to be of any importance or even to
exist: that is to say, the contribution of the blacks to
Cuban national culture. Those poems represented
proof of that contribution. Their rhythm indicated
the possibility of "mulattoizing" the old Spanish
"romance," of Cubanizing it in fact. Foreign influ-
ences were not important to me. My sources are vital
not bookish. I read during the late nineteen twenties
most of the writings of the black revival: Gide, Cen-
drars, Frobenius. . But I do not believe that these
writings were important for either my Motivos de son
or Songoro Cosongo. Langston Hughes, for instance,
was in Cuba in 1929, or early 1930; and we were good
friends. And even though I didn't know his work well
I didn't read English I realized that he was a very
important poet. Nevertheless, I don't believe that it
can be said that his work influenced mine. There is
one central fact in all this: and it is that when the
black vogue reached Cuba, not directly from Africa,
but passing through Montparnasse and the Latin Quar-
ter, it became converted into a way of life, determined
by the historical formation of our people, daughter of
African cultures which came to the country during
more than three centuries and of the Spanish culture.
The importance of the Motivos de son and of Songoro
Cosongo must be judged by the extent to which they
represent the serious contribution that one culture
makes to another in an unceasing and vital inter-
change. From the guitars of the people, the son went
to the salons of the aristocracy; and it influenced not
only our music but also our literature. I believe that
this intermingling of cultures is not very difficult to
see throughout the course of my work, from Motivos,
of forty-three years ago, until today.
K.E. It is not unusual to find your name mentioned along-
side the names of other poets, Leopold Senghor, for
example, a poet who really seems quite different from
you, as belonging to the category of poets who repre-
sent negritude. As you have been saying and as has
been recognized by your readers, you have shown
profound concern for the situation of blacks within
Cuba and, in your later work, of blacks outside of
Cuba as well. But, inspite of this, do you consider
yourself to be one of the poets who represents negri-
N.G. As your questions implies, negritude is a very vague
concept. And my answer to your question would have
to be no. The problem with negritude is the same kind
of problem that we encounter with other definitions
like that of socialist-realism, for example. Almost
everyone has a different definition of these terms; and
perhaps these definitions are all correct. Sometimes
this reminds me of the definition given by Voltaire of
metaphysics: the search in a dark room for a black
cat that is not in the room. I believe that negritude is
a phenomenon which is produced in countries where
there is a black population exploited by a white colo-
nial sector. The blacks find it necessary to strive to
expose their cultural values: their music, their sculp-
ture, painting, and so on. In the countries where a
revolution has taken place, as in Cuba, the problem
of negritude does not make sense, because it would
be a kind of racism, a dispersing element rather than
an agglutinating one. If I had continued after the
Revolution with a black line of writing, I would be
isolated. And moreso when I personally believe that
the aim of the struggle is not to separate whites and
blacks but to unite them. And that struggle cannot be
racist but revolutionary in order to abolish the division
of society into classes, since this very division is the
source of racism.
In Cuba itself, before the Revolution, an emphasis
on blackness was explainable because the artistic,
political, cultural, indeed the human, values of the
black man had to be stressed in the face of discrimina-
tion or slavery; and one had to give emphasis to this
element within the national culture. It was one of
the manifestations of the class struggle. But when a
revolution erases that struggle and gives power to the
working class without any regard for skin colour, the
concept of racial superiority does not exist any more.
There are moments historical moments when
negritude is linked to movements of national liberation;
but it is impossible to maintain negritude as a primary
attitude because then it would be converted into
another form of racism. In 1929, for example, I wrote
the Oda a Kid Chocolate, exalting the black boxer,
exalting his blackness. But today in Cuba this would
not make sense.
K.E. What view did Cubans, as far as you know, hold of
the Jamaicans who came to work in Cuba before the
N.G. The answer to that question has several interesting
complications. There were two black groups who came
to work in Cuba: the Haitians and the Jamaicans.
The Jamaicans traditionally felt great disdain towards
the Haitians. A Jamaican would become quite angry
if he were mistaken for a Haitian. The Cubans also
had a higher opinion of the Jamaicans than they had
of the Haitians. The Jamaican element was considered
to have a greater stature that derived largely from their
high sense of responsibility. The influence of both
groups was very great on Cuban culture. In Camaguey
and Oriente, in particular, their contributions to folk-
lore are significant.On the other hand, in the economic
sense, the Cuban tended to think that the Jamaican,
like the Haitian, was willing to work for less than a
Cuban. The Jamaican particularly also lived more fru-
gally; the Cuban would spend more. But in reality
these differences were exaggerated owing to a lack of
political consciousness, because, in fact, all the workers
were exploited. And the divisions were a tool for
carrying out this exploitation. Divisions between
whites, mulattoes, blacks, Cubans, Haitians, Jamaicans,
all were in fact exploited in Cuba by the Americans
and by the large Cuban plantation owners.
K.E. Would you say that your book, West Indies, Ltd.,
derived in part from your experience with other Carib-
bean people in Cuba?
N.G. In part, no doubt. But certain events had their decisive
effect on my evolving outlook. The fall of Machado,
(in 1933) for example, changed the political picture
in Cuba quite profoundly; and my reaction to certain
clearly fascist tendencies, such as the racism and the
disdain for the masses by certain groups, no doubt
revealed itself in all that I did during that period, in-
cluding the book West Indies, Ltd. of 1934, and pre-
pared the way for the Cantos para soldados y sones
para turistas of 1937.
K.E. I notice that on your desk there is an impressive replica
of a tank with the inscription "We are the same thing,
you and I," signed by the Head of the Cuban Revolu-
tionary Armed Forces, Raul Castro. The inscription,
a paraphrase of a verse from one of the best known
poems of Cantos para soldados would indicate that
some special importance is given to that book by the
Cuban Revolution. Is this so?
N.G. Yes. The book is regarded as announcing the Revolu-
tion, as indicating the character that the soldier ought
to have, the fraternity that there ought to be between
soldiers and people, the defeat of U.S. imperialism, the
need for urban reform and the end to racism in Cuba.
And to continue my answer to your previous question,
other events had an important effect on me the
Spanish civil war, for example, the assassination of
the trade union leader Jesus Menendez. The impor-
tance of these events is clearly indicated in my work.
But of course what has influenced my life most pro-
foundly has been our Revolution. And the relation-
ship that has been perceived between the Revolution
and my work is for me a great source of pride.
K.E. How do you see the role of the writer in the Revolu-
N.G. I believe that, since in Cuba everything has changed
and everything is changing under the Revolution,one
can't conceive within Cuba of a literature or an art
that is in disagreement with that process of change:
that is to say, an art or literature that denies or con-
tradicts the Revolution in order to serve our enemies.
In the same way that we are politically and economi-
cally free, we want to be free too in the cultural
sphere. It isn't that we should attack or reject universal
culture: and we are agreed that the triumphant class
receives from the conquered one a cultural heritage
which it criticizes and purifies, incorporating it into
the national mainstream, adjusting it to its necessities.
But we believe that it is necessary to express our life
and that we cannot invent types or conflicts that do
not belong to our peculiar character, to our genius.
There is no Cuban Proust, no Cuban Joyce, no Cuban
Gide. On the other hand, present everywhere within
Cuba is that so multiple, so grandiose character of
ours which is the Revolution. Imperialism has made
use in Cuba of innumerable agents to colonize our
spirit, to transform us into mimic men of its way of
being; that occurred with the cinema, with music and,
what is most serious, with the language. The Congress
of Education and Culture (of April 1971) specified
the responsibility of our artists and writers, calling
upon them to fight openly against all spiritual coloni-
K.E. How do you explain the ease with which you adapt
to new situations in your poetry, with which you can
apply irony and satire to certain situations, mostly
pre-revolutionary ones, and an open, joyful attitude
to other situations, usually post-revolutionary ones -
the change in short from the poetry up to Paloma de
vuela popular of 1958 to Tengo of 1964 and La rueda
dentada of 1972?
N.G. It is difficult not to sound immodest in my answer,
but I must say that the element that is constantly
functioning is my political formation. This provides a
certain clarity of vision of the facts and events which
preceded the Revolution and which were produced by
the Revolution. Added to this of course is the question
of a sufficient poetic technique to give the vision a
suitable poetic form. It is necessary to find an expres-
sion in which artistic quality is not lost but in which
there is political orientation. So that in La Rueda
dentada, for instance, things are said joyfully, popu-
larly, but at the same time politically. I share the view
that the political view should spring from the poem
itself without the artist needing to show it superficially.
The book La Rueda dentada as you have noticed is
varied. It shows how the revolutionary poet can write
of love, painting, satire, birds, sculpture, etc., but
never of a counter-revolutionary theme, a theme
favourable to imperialism, in favour of racism, sectari-
anism, divisionism. The pre-revolutionary situation
still applies outside Cuba. I feel free to write of exploi-
tation in any country.
K.E. How do you work?
N.G. I work when I feel like it. As soon as I begin to feel
that I am losing the urge to write, I don't write any
more. I type whatever I write. I cannot write at all by
hand. Also,I'm always seeking for perfection; but per-
fection is always unachievable. I correct unceasingly
what I write; and I am never satisfied with what I put
down. You'll remember that it took me three years to
write the Elegia a Jesus Menendez.
K.E. On being with you in different parts of Havana, I have
noticed that people of all ages recognize you imme-
diately and greet you affectionately. I have noticed,
also that the people really know your poetry. An
elevator operator, for instance, quotes you easily in
the course of her conversation. In all this there is
abundant cause for satisfaction. But in your pre-
revolutionary photographs you usually seemed cheer-
ful. How have you managed to have always a look of
N.G. I tend to see unpleasant things with irony rather than
with anger, to smile rather than react violently. Before
the Revolutionary irony gave me vitality. Now society
itself gives me great satisfaction.
Nicolas Guillen is officially recognized as Cuba's National Poet
"THE LIFE MOVIE"
by Wayne Brown
The figure of the Clown, under one guise or another, haunts
the pages of Western Literature. As Jester, Fool, Idiot, and,
finally, as Anti-hero, he resides on the edge of (what we are
pleased to call) History, standing in relation to History as a
negative to a print. He is all-seeing, inept, generous to the point
of selflessness; bewildered, well-meaning, apologetic, absurd.
Though he is invariably the subject of ridicule among his
fictional community (and often in the eyes of the reader also)
he takes his being out of a notion of the world as pathos. His
appeal for us arises out of the frank, the terrible surprise with
which he exhibits his wounds. For though he surfaces seldom,
and less often in some types than in others (less often, for
example, in the politician or messianic masquerader than in
the private citizen) he waits at the heart of all of us, the silly
smile of "hidden grin" that Hughes writes of. When he surfaces,
the price in self-esteem is likely to be heavy, especially for
those who have tried to base their self-credibility on the mas-
querade. (Who, among those who witnessed the marches in
Trinidad at Easter 1970, will ever forget the sudden, small,
foolish grin that momentarily altered the face of Attorney
General Carl Hudson-Phillips as he gravely addressed the
nation on T. V.?)
The figure of the Clown, under one guise or another, haunts
the pages of Reel from "The Life Movie", the second collection
of poems by the young Jamaican poet, Tony McNeill. And he
is not always as explicitly portrayed as in the poem Who's
Sammy, where Sammy, the poet infers, is the subtlee buffoon"
who "undertakes for us all the clown's crucifixion"; he is also
the ape in the title poem; Saint Ras in the poem by that name;
Aunt Angel; the self-dramatising, self-masquerading (until at
the last line he possesses truly his own pathos) speaker of
Dermis; the God whom the God-Maggot destroys; the speakers
of 1-2x, Hello Ungod, God Dread, Rimbaud Jungle, and of
Who'll See Me Dive?:
Who'll see me dive? Here am I
at the crest, arms flung out like a TV
antennae, like Jesus,
and not a God soul on the street.
It is a kind of black comedy, a sick joke; and if it contains
rage it is the rage of a fundamentally civilized and aesthetic-
seeking soul against its disordered century. In a less sensitive
writer, that rage might be adduced rather than suffered; rhetori-
cal rather than felt. But no reinforcing, reality-deflecting ego
or mask preserves this writer from threat. Even the seasons, as
in Wind-Change, threaten him with metamorphosis, and one
thinks of Keats' "negative capability". Therefore it is insuffi-
cient to remark, as I have just done, that McNeill's rage is a
response to some external circumstance, for the disorder is
also within; and it is that fact, and McNeill's own "terrible
surprise" at that fact, that commands, as the Ancient Mariner
his guests', our identification. By an act of generosity that
becomes at times almost monstrous, McNeill in his poems
achieves the status of Everyman.
Not that it was always so. In some of these poems, notably
in Cliff-Walking and in that beautiful prayer, For the D. Don.
there is a strong lyrical bent (if I may use that word without
the derogatory connotations given it by such writers as Scott
and Rohlehr, which seem based on a bad understanding of
lyricism). But by Notes on a September Day something has
gone seriously wrong. The signposts of lyricism are there; the
landscape is not yet some surreal acre of the mind, the line-
endings match the cadences, simile has not yet been replaced
by metaphor (that is, the tree does not sing but "seems" to
sing; the apples are not Christmas decorations but "like"
Christmas decorations; in short, objects still retain their distinct,
as-yet-uninvaded identity, and as such they (and the world)
are trustworthy (orderly). And yet something is wrong.
Notes on a September Day is a curious poem. I was for
some time at a loss to explain its peculiar power, the extra-
ordinary "kick" with which it ends, even after recognizing -
what is obvious the analogy which the last verse provides;
until I realized than an important ingredient was the literalness
of all that had gone before. For the poem up to the last verse,
is as narrow and clearly-edged as a knife. It "means" nothing
more than it says. (In the light of McNeill's subsequent
development one might risk saying it refuses to mean more.)
Hence the double shock of the ending. (There is the further
shock, when one doubletakes from that innocuous-seeming
simile yolking apples and Christmas decorations to recognize
in it a bitter social commentary, but it is sufficient for my
purpose to focus on the narrowness, the meticulousness of
description which most of this poem contains).
It is this which contradicts the lyrical signals in the poem,
for lyricism is always taking to itself the edge of another
reality; to adduce a phrase from Lowell (used in another
context) it "feeds on an abundance of reality"; and as far
as the external world is concerned McNeill's eye is adamant. It
sees what it sees; and one discovers here a curious affinity
between the sensibilities behind the works of McNeill and Vidia
Naipaul. For both, the journey through observation-pain-out-
rage is the same (though they arrive of course at very different
destinations) both apply what Scott calls (in relation to
McNeill) "a cold and brave (and, I would add, narrowly-
This would seem to connote a certain visionary weakness
and if such is the case, it would be, to my mind, the only
serious criticism one could make of McNeill's work. But
whether this is so or not, it is clear that given McNeill's evident
moral courage it is this way of seeing that has provided him
with the angst that makes his poems come alive with agony.
For the enduring experience of this collection is one of pain,
and it is pain rather than sadness, anguish rather than grief.
Yet the corollary of the sharply-focused, the non-lyrical
eye, is "to have the experience but miss the meaning", or else
to arrive at a basically disordered, basically meaningless world.
At this point, given the courage of one's (non-) convictions,
absurdity arrives. Enter the Clown.
I must learn to live with these clowns,
These serious freaks who act out
myv own absurdity, these touts
of jidfillnent, these harlequins!
It is a world most of us will recognize, and it is the twentieth
century, the Western world. A brittle world, one without gods,
where one's "true country" alternates between "doubt and
light", and the perennial question (echoing Walcott's "There's
nowhere to go. You'd better go.") is "Shall we go? Let's go.
Where shall we go?" (McNeill: God Dread). Since the expected
efforts have already been made to claim McNeill's poetry for a
particular political platform it is necessary to insist that his is
not the "world of grace" of the Rastafarian (Saint Ras is a
typical in this respect), nor the integrated world of the folk,
though McNeill's feeling for these is deep and obvious: in
these worlds there are no clowns.
To shift the bias of this essay somewhat from exposition
to assessment it may be useful here to ask whether Reel works
better as a book than as a collection of individual poems. There
appears to be evidence for both cases. Considered as an homo-
genous whole, the book is weakened by a certain amount of
repetitiveness. That is to say, poems like Elegy Plus and The
Lady Accepts the Needle Again, though ostensibly "about"
very different subjects, behave in such similar ways; enact, by
every signal of syntax, rhythm and intonation, such similar
voyages, that one must conclude that McNeill has written the
same poem twice. Conversely, even when pairs of poems
"about" the same subject, like Ode to Brother Joe and Saint
Ras, or Suicide's Girlfriend and Who'll See Me dive? remain
through differences of perspective and treatment, manifestly
separate poems, the former in each case reads more like notes
towards the latter, sketched maps of the territories that the
poet, in the latter efforts moves in to occupy.
On the other hand, no good poet can fail to benefit when
his poems are allowed to feed off one another, as in a collection.
For there is a sense in which a writer's poems are the con-
tinuing biography of a life and to read, with some knowledge
of their chronology, the poems in Reel is to be fascinated and
awed by the way in which their formal evolution is yolked to
what we can deduce to be the psychical development of the
consciousness behind them.
What one encounters then in McNeill's development is a
steady withdrawal of belief, accompanied by a corresponding
heightening of anguish- which is precisely what one would
expect. The signals of this came early: in Notes on a September
Day, as I have shown (we should notice too that the poem's
landscape is that of a temperate country, and that therefore
September, autumn, prefigures winter, in the Walcottian sense
of "some winter-bitten novelist"); and in that pure lyric, For
the D, Don, where the speaker acknowledges his alienation:
guide through these mournfullest journeys
I back into harbour Spirit
But the way back into harbour, to "the shore where I was
happy, inside the oar of your body", is not easy in our time, a
time, as McNeill sees it, of cities, needles and pills, when"the
promised ship/is a million light years/from Freeport" and
Ungod has no ear for the supplications of the hollow men. It is
a diseased, disordered time. How will the poet, if he is not to
"shatter, yank loose in the wind," deal with it? McNeill's
answer brings to mind Eliot: "A condition of complete simpli-
city, costing not less than everything". He, McNeill, is prepared
to yield much; he will stand, finally, on nothing less irrefutable
than his own heartbeat.
So both the furniture and behaviour of the poems change.
The external, organic world is abandoned and the landscape
now is either man-or-mind-made. Syntax becomes simplified,
conjunctions fall away; till the poet is down to the bare bones
of language, subject/verb/object, the poems read like mantras
or litanies, and what the poet is really saying is "I exist, I exist,
I exist." Simile, too, is abandoned, and then metaphor; and
that last stand, the poetry of statement, arrives.
Ungod I can't hear you
Ungod I am trying
Ungod I can't reach you ....
Finally, the caesura, harbour of the speaking voice, at peace
with itself, of the breath on the point of cadence, is subverted:
and to do this McNeill has had to introduce a device not used,
to my knowledge, in West Indian poetry before. It is the mid-
line initial capital, applied in the absence of a preceding period,
as in The Lady Accepts the Needle Again:
The Lady recoils The Lady
tilts bottles ofclairol Topples
from speed parachutes down whisky
accepts the bad needle
into her skin The Lady freaks........
Notice how it works, the reading eye, conditioned to look for
periods as signals for cadence, for the renewal of breath, travels
naturally past the end of the sentence ("The Lady recoils") and
is into the next sentence ("The Lady/tilts bottles of clairol")
before it catches on. Its warning therefore comes late, forcing
the breath to be exhaled suddenly on, after, "recoils", and then,
in an effort to keep up with the eye, to be inhaled equally
quickly. The effect is close to a gasp, which, by itself pitches
higher the emotional anguish of the line, and allows the reader
no resting place. This is the sense in which, I think, Scott in his
introduction referred to some of the poems as "coldly violent
I wrote earlier that the enduring experience of Reel is one of
pain, pain rather than grief. It seems to me that the recognition
of this is what our political militants are fumbling towards when
they lay claim to the poetry of Tony McNeill. For pain con-
tains (what the figure of the Clown also contains) incompre-
hension. It is therefore accompanied by (what the Clown is
helpless to will) the rejection of itself, and what follows this is
anger. (While grief, based as it is on a notion of acceptance,
which in turn arises out of a mythology of the world as order-
ly, of the Greater Plan, is manifestly non-revolutionary). It is
the difference between Who'll See Me Dive? and Cliff-Walking,
between TheMummy, with its terrible last-line affirmation, and
For the D, Don. If I say that McNeill seems to me to be the
first truly 20th century, Western poet these islands have pro-
duced, it is this experience of pain, the experience of that
time and that place, to which I am pointing. (This sense of
pain surfaces also in Walcott's poetry- see for example A Map
of Europe, or A Village Life; but he is finally rooted, and in a
real landscape, while the sense of pain in Braithwaite's trilogy
is, to my mind, more often rhetorical than enacted.)
Yet it is difficult to know where McNeill's poetry will go
from here; for pain, unless or until it becomes other than itself,
can only be restated, and the Clown, heartbreaking as he is,
must remain a clown. My guess is that McNeill, as he grows
older, will travel at least part of the way back towards lyricism,
that he will begin to turn outward towards history rather than,
as at present, downward into myth, as a river after its furious,
narrow first run begins to slow and widen and enlarge the
world of its going; but this is only a guess. In the meantime a
collection like Reel from "The Life Movie" deserves finally
only our gratitude. Any collection of real poems, of course,
deserves that; but with McNeill's work there is another reason.
For the islands are beginning to harden, to believe in their
rhetoric; and as the private faces become impassively public,
as the masquerade heightens, we need more than ever the faces
of Sammy, "That mad clown" to reassert for us the touching
pathos and weird joy of our fallible, inept, bewildered, adamant
I am assuming we can use that adjective without the inverted commas
tacked on to it by Edward Braithwaite in his judges report on the
Poetry Competition of Festival, 1972 as if apologising to some
by Mr. Roy Fletcher,
Chief Engineer, Water Commission
This paper was presented at a Seminar on "Water"
organised by the Jamaica Union of Scientists and Technologists
(J. U.S. T.), and held at the University of the West Indies on 17th
Continuing this series, we plan to publish in our next issue,
related papers on the Ground Water and the Surface Water of
As far back as 1766, efforts were made to supply Kingston
with drinking water. One Roger Hope Elletson owner of Hope
Estate constructed, at his own expense, a conduit to the down
town area with branches at three major streets through which
surplus water from his property flowed to supply the City with
water. However, some 12 years later due to lack of maintenance
of the system and other political implications, this supply was
lost to Kingston.
It was not until 1942, when a private company named
Kingston & Liguanea Water Works was incorporated, that
another attempt was made to supply the City of approximately
30,000 people with running water. Three years later the
proposal of an engineer was adopted which entailed the sinking
of an open shaft to a depth of 150 ft. in the Barbican area with
adits driven horizontally breaking the surface in the vicinity of
present West King's House Road; then by conduit to a tank at
Half Way Tree with cast iron pipe main for distribution and
storage reservoir at Montgomery Corner. Incidentally, the
engineer's estimated yield from the presumed water-bearing
strata was calculated to the nearest gallon in a total of just over
1 million gallons per day. The location of the proposed open
shaft as presented in the Report to Directors of the Company
was to be founded on the engineer's property. The prospect
proved a costly failure with all aspects of the Works constructed
before any test of the yield of the source was carried out.
Following this failure, the Hope River source was again con-
sidered, and an existing dam and aqueduct used at that time for
diverting the Hope River flow to a sugar plantation and mills
were converted in part to establish a water supply system in
1849. It is interesting to note that the Hope dam, aqueduct,
reservoir and other minor facilities are still in use within the
The service provided by this Company was, however, poor.
and when the seat of government was removed to Kingston from
Spanish Town in 1870 the Government purchased the assets of
the Company and a Government Board was named to administer
the water supply.
By 1880, 4,200 customers were connected to the system
and the demand rose to 3 million gallons per day in 1890. The
capacity of the slow sand filters completed in 1876 (which are
still in use) at Cavaliers, was being exceeded and again a portion
of a sugar estate at Constant Spring had to be purchased to
obtain water rights from the Wag Water River to augment the
City's supply; and in the mid 1890's additional slow sand filters
were built at Hope and Constant Spring. Also, a sewage system
for a portion of the City was established.
In 1901, the demand reached 5 million gallons per day and
by 1912 it exceeded 7 million gallons per day with 7,000
premises connected to the system. The Administrative structure
of the organization had many changes until in 1936 the present
body, the Water Commission, was formed. The Hermitage Dam
had been completed in 1927 with a capacity of over 400 million
gallons. The water supply system of Kingston had suffered many
set backs resulting from the earthquake of 1907, devastating
floods of 1909 and 1933 and other adversities of a lesser degree.
There were also periods of prolonged drought resulting in
restrictions on the use of water being imposed.
In 1928 the chlorinator was introduced in the system and
in 1937, following the forming of the new Water Commission
body, development of the system was vigorously pursued with "
the Stony Hill area brought into the system, being supplied by a
newly constructed rapid gravity treatment plant. In 1939 the
slow sand filter plant at Constant Spring was replaced by a
modern 8 million gallons per day rapid gravity filter plant.
Further improvement continued as the demand increased. A
number of wells were developed in the Alluvial and Limestone
aquifers* of the Liguanea Plains and in addition, the Mona A
Reservoir was begun in 1940, and after long delays due to
difficulties experienced, this reservoir was brought into service
in 1959. The present capacity is 825 million gallons.
The Second World War had great adverse effect on the
development of the system because equipment and materials
'could not be obtained. However, in the early 1950's and 1960
the Hermitage source was augmented by the Ginger and Boar
River Schemes which produced an average yield of 5 million
gallons per day and 3.5 million gallons per day respectively;
and with further development of wells, etc. the system's present
capacity of 34.6 million gallons per day average reliable yield
comprises the following sources:
M. G. D.
Sand & Gravel Walls Liguanea Plain
Wag Water Catchment
The Limestone Wells total nine and
The Demand Growth from 31.3.65
YEAR ENDING ESTIMATED
31ST MARCH TION SERVE
the Sand and Gravel five.
to 31.3.72 is as shown in
M. G. D.
S O Proposed Pumping Station
0 Proposed Well
A Existing Service Res.
] Balancing Tank
Harkers Hall # Dan
Sea 0 Dam
Ferry Springs Spring
Service oClihancery Hall
Reservoir q Forest Hills
Caymanas sDam Site
Balancing Tank Cockburn Pen
Station \ Oakland Rd. Mona Reservoir
White -' el l Montgomnery Corner
Long Mountain &
1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Miles
Figure 1. Kingston Water Supply Existing Sources and Rio Cobre Project generall Layout
The System now provides a satisfactory water supply for
nearly 600,000 people of the Corporate Area with an average
per capital of over 60 gallons per day. The average daily demand
for the past year is 35.5 million gallons per day with a peak
month average of approximately 39 million gallons per day and
a maximum day peak of 42.5 million gallons per day. Over 700
miles of water mains now exist within the system and there are
nearly 60,000 metered supplies.
THE RIO COBRE SCHEME
The foregoing figures, as you may observe, indicate the
current trend of the operation of Public Utilities in Jamaica
today. Let me, however, hasten to assure you that Kingston
will not go dry as a new source called the Rio Cobre Scheme
is nearing completion and will be commissioned at the end of
June this year adding eventually 12.5 million gallons per day to
The Rio Cobre Project is described in general terms below:
The general layout is shown in figure 1 and involves the
developments of two sources.
a) TULLOCH SPRING The whole yield of the spring,
varying from a minimum discharge of 5 million gallons per day
to an economical upper limit of 8.5 million gallons per day will
b) HEADWORKS WELLS Wells in the White Limestone
North of Spanish Town will be pumped at an average rate of up
to some 5 million gallons per day, with dry season abstraction
of up to about 6 million gallons per day.
In the dry season, when the Rio Cobre discharge is less
than the contract irrigation supply, it is proposed to compensate
the river for abstraction of Tulloch Spring water by seasonal
pumping of groundwater into the river or main canal system
from wells in the Bog Walk and Headworks areas. These wells
have been termed base flow wells, or river compensation wells.
A further complication on the sources side is that The
Commission were obliged to compensate the owner in securing
the rights to Tulloch Springs. This has involved drilling and
testing wells, known as Tulloch Compensation Wells, in the
Estate area in order that the owner can irrigate bananas as
necessary, at rates of up to 2.65 million gallons per day.
The transmission main (24" nominal bore) from Tulloch
will follow the main road from the gorge entrance to Flat Bridge,
from where it will be laid overland to Caymanas and Ferry Hill.
In the Headworks area, the main size will be increased to 30"
nominal bore in order to receive the input from the wells in this
area. Wells adjacent to the main route will be pumped directly
into the main, but the more remote wells West of the Rio Cobre
will deliver to a relift station where water will be boosted into
the transmission main. Facilities will be provided at the station
for a bulk supply to the Spanish Town system.
A balancing tank will be included in the transmission line
at Caymanas in order to ensure that the hydraulic gradient from
Tulloch to Kingston clears the ground level in this area at low
deliveries. Moreover, the tank will help to reduce the consider-
able variation in the performance required of the Tulloch pumps;
notwithstanding this provision, the pumps require variable speed
At Ferry Hill, brackish water from the Ferry springs will
be injected into the transmission main. Pumps again driven by
variable speed motors will boost the transmission main delivery
as necessary. The head duty of these pumps is subject to
considerable daily variation since the main will deliver directly
into supply at a number of points in traversing the lower pressure
zone. In addition, provision will be made for boosting the mixed
water from the transmission main to the existing Ferry Hill
Service Reservoir, and from the reservoir direct into supply in to
the middle Pressure Zone.
The Ferry Hill Station will be the control centre for the
project, and a telemetry system will be provided to show the
state of all pumps and reservoirs and the discharges in ,the
The transmission main has been aligned along Spanish
Town Road and through the central area, with cross connections
into the distribution systems before terminating in Cavaliers
Service Reservoir. A branch main will terminate at Trench Town
Reservoir, where booster pumps will deliver into the Lower
Water abstracted at Tulloch and at Headworks Wells will
be chlorinated at source; the transmission mains will convey
treated water, facilitating the provision of bulk supplies to
communities en route. For ease of control, Ferry Springs water
will be chlorinated at Ferry Hill.
The distribution component of the projects includes a 1
million gallon service reservoir at Harbour View, a booster
station to improve the performance of Vineyard Town Reservoir,
additional service reservoirs and pumps to serve the Hope
Pastures and Norbrook Areas, and additional mains to allow full
use of the production capacity of the Constant Spring and Hope
Treatment plant in the wet season.
The construction programme has been divided into the
(i) Preliminary Phase: Drilling and Testing of Headworks
and Compensation Wells:
Ferry Springs project: Tulloch access road.
(ii) Phase 1: Tulloch Intake pumping station: trans-
mission mains: booster stations and Cavaliers
Service Reservoir roof.
(iii) Phase 2: Headworks and Compensation Wells
equipment: branch mains and Relift Station:
distribution mains, service reservoirs and minor
pumping stations in the Kingston area.
The Water Commission have entered into a loan agreement
vith the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development,
5or assistance with construction of the project. The loan was
agreed in April, 1969, with the Government acting as guarantor
- in the sum of US$5 million. Generally, the proceeds are to be
devoted to the purchase of equipment manufactured overseas.
The overall cost of the scheme has been estimated at
This additional source of 12.5 million gallons per day will
ensure a reliable maintainable yield of approximately 48 million
gallons per day and the projections are that this will provide a
satisfactory supply until early 1977.
The Water Commission, of course, envisaged this many
years ago and planned ahead to prevent Kingston going dry,
hence the feasibility study of the Blue Mountain Water Supply
Project carried out by Harza Engineering Company of U.S.A.
and Hue Lyew Chin of Jamaica. The Report was submitted in
June 1972 after approximately two years of study. The Study
area was not restricted to the Corporate Area alone. It covered
a region about 50 miles East to West and 22 miles between the
North and South Coast (see figure 2).
Very briefly, the report recommends a 4-stage develop-
ment to provide a reliable water supply for the region to the
year 2000 and beyond, the first stage to be completed in the
late 1970's and the final stage commissioned by mid 1990's.
The first stage will consist of a diversion at the Yallahs
River near Middleton Abbey to provide a minimum flow of 13.5
million gallons per day through approximately 10 miles of
tunnel in three sections with intermediate sections of pipeline
totalling 2% miles. This conveyance system is to terminate at a
proposed Treatment Plant in the Long Mountain Area adjoining
Mountain View Avenue. The estimated cost of Stage 1 is
approximately J$17 million at 1971 prices.
facilities to lift a minimum of 20 million gallons per day into a
15-mile long tunnel to discharge at the Yallahs diversion to
increase the flow to a minimum of 33.5 million gallons per day
to the Treatment Plant, which will need expansion also at this
stage. The approximate cost of the second stage is J$19,000.00
This Stage includes the diversion of the Guava River and
Back Rio Grande into a tunnel approximately 5 miles long,
pumped up the tunnel of the Second Stage and then on to the
Treatment Plant in Kingston. Another expansion of the Treat-
ment Plant will be needed also. This Stage will increase the
supply by a minimum of 21 million gallons per day at an
additional cost of approximately J$14 million (1971 prices).
This includes the cost of completing the Final Stage of the
Treatment Plant to allow for facilities for treating a flow some-
what more than the total minimum flow; also included is the
cost of duplicating the 2 miles of pipeline in the First Stage.
Other Studies have been carried out and reported on; one
of which is the Linstead Basin Part of the South Eastern St.
Catherine-Study done by Howard Humphreys and Sons for the
National Water Authority.
Briefly, it has been reported that approximately 25 million
gallons per day yield exists in this Basin. This, of course, is not
Certain recommendations have been made relative to
implementation. However, they are still being examined by the
Authorities concerned. A decision is expected shortly.
Considering all the steps already taken on the Development
of Water Supply for this Region KINGSTON CANNOT GO DRY
within this CENTURY.
*The fourth stage will be the construction of a large dam for storage at
Alligator Church on the Rio Grande.
The second stage involves the diversion of the Upper Rio
Grande near Alligator Church and provision for pumping
by Raphael Shearer
Nowadays in most parts of the World, including Jamaica,
the term "Technological explosion" seems to be an appropriate
description of the dramatic need for more and better technical
skills, to meet national requirements in technology.
A look at the nature of technology will help one to under-
stand the reasons for this technological explosion. Technology
may be regarded as the total methods by which man changes
and controls his environment, or applies his 'scientific' know-
ledge to solution of "human material problems", in order to
produce a better quality life.
Despite this vital role of technology, it is often regarded as
the 'poor cousin' of Science, (and other 'academic fields')
because these are regarded as being superior pursuits.
This of course is untrue, and instead, Science and Technolo-
gy should be seen as complementary or related areas of know-
ledge. In fact, it could be said that "Technology stimulates
Science and Science spurs Technology".
Having appreciated the nature and importance of technology,
it is necessary to be also aware of some of the possible un-
desirable effects of technology on our society.
Even with our modest technological developments here in
Jamaica, certain human problems have quite definitely develop-
ed, indirectly or directly as a result of technology. Some of
these are urbanization and crime, economic attitudes of devel-
oped countries, increased mental illnesses, breakdown of the
"family structure", and the very real threat of severe environ-
* Head, Department of Science, College of Arts, Science & Technology,
Aeriat view oj me LUouege oj Arts, octence aun I ecrnnrougy
These problems suggest that in our technological develop-
ment and education, both the material and human factors must
be adequately considered.
Quite apart from general education to allow us to function
properly as citizens in a technological society, there is also the
need to consider our technical education from a sociological
point of view. That is our technical education is necessary not
only to provide skilled manpower for all levels of our techno-
logical requirements, but also to provide a pool of skills which
can be creative and be mobilized to solve national social pro-
blems in our own way.
The climate for further development of quality and quantity
technical education at all levels is now present. Although there
are no available statistics on the total need for skilled technical
manpower in Jamaica, assumptions on the requirements can be
made around the following:
1. Many jobs are now being done by workers without the
proper skills and this problem will need to be corrected
very soon, in order to produce the required efficiency.
2. The dynamic economic growth of the country.
3. Continued development in Science and Technology.
4. Further increases in the complexities of industrial pro-
duction and processes.
5. Continued growth in research and development of local
industries, essentially centred around the dynamic poten-
tial of our Scientific Research Council.
However, before we take our next big bold step forward, it
is necessary for us to identify and be fully aware of some
obstacles in the path of the development of our Technical
The Attitude of Parents to Technical Education
Many parents in Jamaica, as well as in some other countries,
seem to attach a "second rate label" to technical education, and
seem to feel that it is good for other people's children but not
This unfortunate attitude has developed for a number of
a) The selection for secondary schools and the school system.
The Common Entrance Examination has been used to sort
out the "brighter" students for the secondary schools, while
the "intellectually inferior child" has had to go to a technical
school at a later age. In addition to this, until very recently,
very little technical or vocational training was offered in most
of these secondary schools.
Fortunately, this situation is now changing, and it is envisag-
ed that very soon each child in every secondary school will at
least be exposed to some form of technical or vocational
education irrespective of "intellectual ability"
b) The effects of Colonization
During the Colonial era the 'white collar' job was seen as the
type of job to aim for,.and this attitude has been passed on.
Oddly enough, this attitude is so entrenched in the society that
many people who are skilled in Science and Technology cannot
fully appreciate the need for them to use their "heads and
They somehow identify their success in terms of mobility
from the shop or laboratory to an air-conditioned office, where
they soon lose contact with the real day to day problems.
c) The fetish of a degree
Many parents see a University degree of any sort, as the ulti-
mate achievement for their child. These parents do not realize
that having a degree (e.g. in history or biology) for the sake of
a degree, is often unsatisfactory for the individual and the
society. Nowadays, if one asks many university students what
they hope to do when they complete their degree course, they
are at a loss.
Many of these students might have felt more satisfied and
better able to contribute more to the society by taking techni-
cal education instead. Of course, this does not mean that there
Figure 1. A Model of the Relationship between Institutions offering Vocational and Technical Education in Jamaica.
is no need for the university (non-professional) degree graduate
in all fields. The questions are, "Is that person having the most
suitable type of education?" and "What role are they prepared
to play in the Society?"
d) Ignorance about the nature and opportunities of technical
Parents often do not try hard enough to find out about the
wide range of technical education opportunities available, very
often because of bias. They do not realise that many university-
type professional courses, such as medicine, dentistry and en-
gineering, are classified as technical. They also fail to understand
the differences between vocational and technical education.
Parents seldom realize that Technical education can have
an "intellectual demand" similar to the college/univeristy
type academic education. In addition, 'College Level' technical
education although applied, is open-ended and permits mobility
to a more academic type of education later, if desired. Thus,
students can enjoy the benefits of both worlds.
The Attitude of Students
a) Ignorance about the real purpose of Technical education.
As a result of the attitude of some parents, students although
knowing their interest in and ability for technical education
often allow themselves to be confused. The technical student
should be more interested in the application rather than the
derivation of principles, in other words, he should be more
interested in things rather than theory. As a result, he should
be "mission orientated" and interested more in problem-
solving techniques. In order to achieve a sound technical
education, the training should include not only high school
and college training, but also suitable work experience.
b) Students very often do not find out enough about tertiary
Students often need information about higher education (of
which College level technical education is a part), but unfortu-
nately, cannot or do not obtain this information and as a result
may take an unsuitable course and later become frustrated. In
many cases, high school students who have had technical
education, do not realise the need to move on to College level
technical education and therefore regret this later on, when they
discover their limitation in knowledge and skills.
c) Need for pride in being a technologist or technician.
Lack of effort to find out about suitable courses, the bright
career opportunities, good salaries and further educational
training, prevent many students from developing the necessary
pride related to their training.
Students need to realize that the broad based technical edu-
cation with its skills and related theoretical know-how is vital
for necessary creativity.
d) Lack of certification does not mean lack of skills and
Students need to realize that technically, there are no real
'drop-outs' from technical education. Provided a student applies
Fine Arts & Humanities'
Marketing & Distribution
Communications & Media
Business & Office
Figure II. Cluster Concept of Technical Education
and Related Job Opportunities
himself to his training and acquires his skills, he is still very
functional although he may not have a certificate or a diploma.
The Attitude of the Teacher
Since many teachers are parents, they would share many of
the "parent attitudes", mentioned above. In addition, there
are a number of additional attitudes which need correction.
a) Lack of awareness
Very often, many teachers are not aware enough about techni-
cal education, mainly because they themselves have little
acquaintance with it, and often do not bother to find out, des-
pite the fact that students require career training and guidance.
b) Teaching careers
The unwillingness of technical teachers to remain in the class-
room, mainly because of better earning potentials in commerce
and industry, is and will be a major problem which will require
c) Part-time teachers
The reluctance of more part-time teachers from the public and
private sectors to come forward and also to show greater
interest and involvement in teaching and school activities.
d) Research in Technology.
The indifference of many teacherS to join government, industry
and commerce in identifying and researching new and emerging
technologies, such as Environmental Management Technology
and Urban Control Technology for applications to national
Below is a list of post-secondary careers in technology which
are tabulated as established and emerging careers.
Only some of these careers are now offered in Jamaica.
Established Careers in Technical Education
Air Traffic Controller
Agriculture Conservation, fisheries, forestry, etc.
Architecture and drafting
Aviation (Careers in Airlines)
The Attitude of Comnlerce and Industry
Although it must be acknowledged that Commerce and
Industry have demonstrated interest in Technical Education,
nevertheless, there are a number of specific areas which need a
change of attitude in order to bring about a further involve-
ment by commerce and industry.
a) Assistance and Information
To offer sufficient technical assistance and information to
College level students and staff, in order that the training may
become more relevant to local Commerce and Industry.
b) Holiday jobs and in-service training
To make special provisions for holiday jobs for students and
assist with further 'in-service training'. This is desirable because
most technicians' jobs are becoming more complex and
c) Employment of Graduates
Show a greater willingness to employ and pay skilled college
graduates in relationship to their contribution and importance.
To have a planned programme for up-grading of their technical
personnel at C.A.S.T. and other institutions.
Having so far identified the philosophy of technical education
and some attitudes which need correction, the question is now,
"What are some of the established and emerging careers in
Technology and where can the training be obtained?"
Further information may be obtained from the relevant insti-
A 'cluster concept' of Vocational and Technical Education
and related opportunities are included in Figure II.
Type of Institution of Study
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
Dietetics and Nutrition
Data Processing and Computer Sciences
Engineering Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, etc.
Mathematics and Statistics
Mining & Metallurgy
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
Some Emerging Careers in Technologies
Environmental Control Technicians
Water conservation and pollution control
Urban Control Public Service Technicians
Urban Planning and Development
Forensic (Police Science)
MPdincl & Related Health Technicians
Orthopaedic and Prosthetic
Education and Related Technicians
Science & Engineering
It is hoped that this article will help to create the much-
needed awareness and appreciation of the nature, importance
and opportunities and problems of Technical Education in our
All of us especially teachers and curriculum developers, can
help to foster the development of our technological manpower
resources by teaching our youth respect for the dignity of all
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
Univeristy & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
University & College
Type of Institution of Study
types of work, and for the workers who perform the duties.
Education in a technological society must teach people to per-
form their work with pride, develop imagination and creative
attitudes, provide the services necessary for the maintenance
of the society, and to cope with the changing social and politi-
cal emphases which evolve with the development of the society.
Prakken, Lawrence Technician Education Yearbook 1971-72. (Prakken Publications 1971.)
College of Arts, Science & Technology Five Year Development Plan 1972-73.
by C. Roy Reynolds
Until comparatively recent years corn, (Zea mays)was, in
Jamaica, a crop almost exclusively grown by the peasantry.
Yields were extremely low and this was accepted philosophi-
cally as just another fact of life. Today, though the situation
has not changed dramatically, at least a number of larger farm-
ing interests have been taking another look at corn. For the
peasant farmer, yields have been almost magically increased.
The new developments in corn are a direct result of scienti-
fic effort by Pioneer Hi-Bred International Incorporated, of the
United States. The company which specializes in hybridiza-
tion of various grain crops, established a Tropical research
station in Jamaica in 1964. Out of the efforts here were later
to come significant developments in corn-growing over a wide
geographical area of tropical and sub-tropical countries on
both sides of the Atlantic.
Hybridization, loosely defined, refers to the cross-pollina-
tion of any plant. However, as it is used commercially today
in the corn industry hybridization is the controlled crossing of
several distinct inbred lines.
But it is not only in Jamaica that the research programme has
had its impact. Since 1967 tests, using locally developed
hybrids have been conducted over a wide geographical area.
These hybrids have performed well in countries such as the
Dominican Republic, Haiti, Trinidad, Barbados, Surinam,
British Honduras, Curacao, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and
a number of countries in the Far East.
As a direct off-shoot of the Jamaican experience a sub-
station has been set up in India; and a large-scale production
outfit has been established in Brazil. Up to the end of 1969
most of the hybrid corn seeds supplied to the above-mentioned
areas were produced in Jamaica. But the demand grew so
tremendously that by 1970 a production plant was established
in Nicaragua, with a capacity of two million bushels per year.
In 1971 another station was set up in Nigeria. The situation
corn geneticest, Ur. .. .engai points our tne uniformity in ear size ana neignt on tne staiK o ne oj tre successful nyona corn
developed at Caymanas Station.
now is that the Jamaican station which was the nucleus of the
research programme, is only required to produce hybrids for
the local and Caribbean markets.
A secondary research programme,now underway in Jamaica,
is concerned with the breeding of high lysine corn. This type
of corn because of its higher content of this important amino
acid, is more nutritious, and has been found in other countries
to be a significant factor in nutrition. It is expected that high
lysine hybrids will be available from the Jamaican station for
full-scale commercial production within a year.
The development of hybrid corn has been described as one
of the most significant factors in American agriculture. In that
country the use of hybrid seeds has led to production levels of
well over two hundred bushels per acre. The impact on the
livestock industry, for example, can be readily appreciated.
Hybrid seed corn production is a direct result of genetic
studies conducted during the early part of this century by G.H.
Shull of the Carnegie Institution, and E.M. East of the Con-
necticut Agricultural Experimental Station. On the basis of
their discovery a new method of corn improvement was
advanced that increased yields might be obtained by crossing
previously inbred lines of corn.
These inbred lines are the basis of all commercial hybrid
seed corn production. In all hybrid corn-breeding programmes
it is necessary to develop large numbers of such lines. They are
isolated by bagging ear shoots of selected plants and fertilizing
the silks with pollen from the same plant. This process is
repeated a number of times until complete uniformity of the
plants has been achieved: The inbreeding process, however,
reduces the vigour and productiveness of the strains to some-
what less than half of those of the original varieties.
When two inbred lines are crossed there is an immediate
return to the vigour of the original varieties, accompanied by
the uniformity of the parental inbreds. The discovery that a
higher yield than that of either original parent was sometimes
obtained by crossing two inbreds is responsible for the develop-
ment of the hybrid seed corn industry of today, with its
accompanying impact of agriculture generally.
In Jamaica the increased corn production to be obtained
from the use of hybrid corn seeds has not led to a dramatic
turn towards large-scale commercial corn growing, though
encouraging results have been recorded by some estates and
big farms. However, the small farmers, who traditionally grown
corn, have been able to lift their production levels significantly
and corn seems headed for a new era in crop rotation practices
and mixed farming on larger farms.
But the most important side effect of the corn hybridization
research is the practical demonstration to the small farmers of
the impact that science can have on agriculture. The psycholo-
gical effect on these farmers who hitherto have been welded to
tradition to the exclusion of science, could help to produce a
climate where science and technology in other areas of
agriculture are more readily accepted as the foundations of a
viable agricultural industry.
The research too has shown that developing countries can
benefit from exchange of research findings.
The research programme here, involved in conformity with
established scientific practices, the growing and observing for
desirable and undesirable factors of several tropical and sub-
tropical varieties of corn. Having established the materials with
the most desirable characteristics, these were put through an
intensive process of inbreeding, covering eight to ten genera-
tions. At this stage, a state of homo zygosity has been reached,
that is, all the plants are completely uniform.
Using this process several inbred line were produced. The
next step was to produce crosses using about six of these lines.
The result indicated the combining ability of the lines. Among
the desirable characteristics looked for were high yield; good
rooting systems, which serve to anchor as well as to feed the
plants adequately; sturdy stalks capable of supporting heavy
ears; ability to respond to fertilizer, and water applications,
and insect, disease and weed control measures.
The results of the continuing hybridization process in corn
at the research station located at Caymanas in St. Catherine,
give a clear indication of what can be achieved with the appli-
cation of scientific principles to agriculture, and indicate the
importance of on site research. Corn production levels among
growers in Jamaica, before the introduction of hybrids varied
from almost nothing to about twelve bushels per acre. Since
the first commercial hybrids were introduced here in the
summer of 1966 the outlook has changed so dramatically
that today small farmers can obtain yields of some forty
bushels per acre while their more commercially geared counter-
parts, with more sophisticated methods of cultivation can reap
sixty-five bushels per acre.
Research sources put the ceiling production of the present
hybrids at about one hundred bushels per acre under commer-
cial conditions, but much higher under controlled experimental
cultivation. However, the present hybrids do not represent
what the researchers think possible and the programme is
"AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NORMAN WASHINGTON MANLEY"
It is vital to remember the British Caribbean Area
as a whole and Jamaica in particular are almost unique
in the Colonial world. Unique in terms of the time
they have existed as colonies, in terms of origins of
the inhabitants whereas in Jamaica, all those who are
here derived origin from other lands and consequently
unique in what is revealed by a study of colonialism
as it has affected Jamaica over the period under study.
And what about the book itself, regarded not as a
history of the Epoch but as a personal account by one
who played a leading role over the whole period from
1938 to 1962 and has much to tell which is known to
. continued from page 19
him personally and in regard to which there are no
historical sources available and much to say about the
significance and meaning of the period and its events
about which I have brooded with as much detachment
as a detached person who enters as an activist into
current affairs can muster.
I do not at all like this writing. It is almost as if I
am going to have to learn to write again. My hand is
shaking but worst than that it is always trying to keep
pace with my thoughts and rushes ahead beyond
capacity of the fingers to "Keep the record straight
The Second Autobiography ends here
The Living Garment of a Nation
of the Manuscripts of
The West India Reference Library*
People react to the word "manuscript" in a variety of ways.
For many this word carries the connotation of dusty old
hand-written documents; for others it may mean an author's
original copy of his book, and we could go on multiplying the
variety of meanings this word has for different people.
Within the context of the West India Reference Library, we
would like to show how our manuscript collection not only
fits into the above arbitrary definitions, but is relevant to
moder-day life and is playing an increasingly important role
in the understanding of our history and culture.
We have called this article "The Living Garment of a Nation"
because we believe along with the late Norman Washington
History is a living garment of a nation; the culture and
traditions that are embedded in the history of the
people are the very soul and life of nations. 1
Manuscripts are one of the sources which tell us of our history,
for "the all-important thing is the profound light it (history)
can throw on the potentialities of the present and its creation
of a sense of a living process that has a future."2
Those persons who put pen to paper or paper in a type-
writer and produced a manuscript were, whether they knew it
or not, assisting in this "living process", and recording our
history; be it from a personal or business point of view, these
are the records which have thrown light (and will continue to
throw light) on our past, present and future. It is therefore the
aim and responsibility of libraries and archives to preserve
such material. A sense of history is something which young
nations develop. Too often in the past letters and personal
documents have been destroyed by well-meaning people who
were tidying up a house or office, and cleared out what they
thought was "rubbish." Some of it may well have been rubbish
and not worth keeping, but much of what we know of our past
is due to the fact that people took trouble to keep the letters,
diaries, & business documents which they or their families had
written. Of course, contemporary books and newspapers are
invaluable sources of information also, but often these do not
give the intimate view which is required to get a proper under-
standing of the particular period or subject being investigated.
How does the .manuscript collection of the West India
Reference Library in some measure meet this need to know
more about our past? The best way to answer this question
would be to give a brief idea of the variety of manuscripts in
the collection, showing the types of enquiries they can help
Frequently people are trying to get biographical and genea-
logical information about persons who have lived in or had
connections with Jamaica. In the collection there are some
personal letters and diaries which sometimes provide the infor-
mation being sought.
Recently an enquiry was received from someone in Canada
By senior staff of the West India Reference Libray
who is collecting information on Brigadier General Ernest
Cruikshank. Our correspondent said that the Brigadier, a Cana-
dian military man and a notable historian and author, spent
his winters in Jamaica from the 1920's to the 1930's. He had
written several of his books in Jamaica, including The Life of
Sir Henry Morgan. While in Jamaica the Brigadier and his wife
lived at Seven Oaks. Our correspondent wanted to know where
was Seven Oaks, and what other information could be found
about the Cruikshank's stay in Jamaica. Nothing could be
found in the library's biographical files. Only a long search
through the newspapers of the period might possibly have elici-
ted such information; but the time-limit would not allow for
this, so our correspondent had to be disappointed.
Not long after we had received this enquiry, the cataloguer
of the Manuscript Collection found 3 letters concerning the
Brigadier all written to the late Frank Cundall, former Secre-
tary/Librarian of the Institute of Jamaica. One of these letters
written by Cruikshank himself and dated January 2, 1926,
gives the address as Seven Oaks, Runaway Bay (MS 1820 C15,
CC4). So the manuscript collection had provided the informa-
tion which could not be found elsewhere.
Researchers are often interested in the historical develop-
ment of areas of Jamaica. It is from the manuscript map collec-
tion in the West India Reference Library that they have often
been able to find maps which bring together the past and the
present land divisions. Jack Tyndale-Biscoe and David Buisseret
have published a book which brings together this evidenceIn
Historic Jamaica from the Air it is fascinating to see the aerial
photographs of Jamaica in the 1960's and compare them with
old maps of the same area. Some of the illustrations in this
book, in particular those maps showing estates and great houses
during the British period, are from the West India Reference
Library's large collection of manuscript maps. Maps are very
useful in establishing how Jamaica was divided up after the
English conquest of 1655. For example, in the early divisions
we see many patents of thousands of acres granted to the mili-
tary, presumably as reward for services rendered.
These maps are also a record of many of the famous persons
who owned property in Jamaica. Sir Charles Modyford son of
the famous governor of Jamaica in the 17th century owned
over 2,000 acres, and we find such a famous man as the Duke
of Buckingham (favourite in the court of Charles II) owning
the plantations ofMerryman's Hall and Middleton in St. Andrew.
The layout of many of the old plantations are shown in
these maps. Some give an exact plan of how the plantation was
divided. How many acres were planted in cane, how many in
woodland, and how many given to the slaves for their own
Anyone interested in the history of sugar plantations and
their economy would want to look at estate account and letter
books. There are quite a few of these in the collection. Some
which are detailed and beautifully penned are the Account
ULA'8&RY JndVIA'J AIO
3'Patagefrt in iab ~h~ Bad, E 'haBn L
,~ ~ 7 ivyf Aftmg
jV 101M ~Rome.
Plan of Salt Pond Pen Estate, 1767 in the parish of St. Catherine. (Henry Dawkins Esq.)
Books of Paisley and Windsor Lodge Estates (MS32). It is
interesting reading the lists of supplies which were ordered,
direct from England, for the estate. One wonders sometimes
what some of the articles were used for. In 1835 the following
items were shipped on the Ann S. Palmer for the estates. They
appear to be mainly supplies for clothing the slaves.
17 Ps best flax Osnaburgs 2676 yds @ 534d
27 Ps best blue frized Negro clothing 1431 yds @ 15d.
20 yds white flannel @ 22d
20 lb osnaburg thread @ 2/-
12 lbs Blue Thread @ 3/-
12 Bds Milld Blankets @ 5/-
2 Ps Shirts Check 103 yds @ 74d
30 yds 9/8 sheeting @ 2/1%
1 lb white thread 3/2
3 lb Osns needles @ 5/- 100 find d: l/-
Rm F. Cap 13/- 50 Quills 2/6
2 Ink Pdrs 1/- Box Wafers 1/6
1 Guaging Rod Imperial Measure
4 Tinnd Iron Ladles @ 4/6.
Land transactions, how and when, for instance, such a pro-
perty owner as Henry Dawkins acquired the lands which are
today known as Caymanas Estate, are recorded in the set of
Dawkins Estate books. (MS 181) These volumes record in detail
the indentures and title deeds, and show the plots of land pur-
chased. One volume consists of maps beautifully drawn on
parchment. One or two of them have exquisite little water-
Men who have played an important part in the forging of
Jamaica's history are also represented in the manuscript collec-
tion. The West India Reference Library has some autograph
letters of the national hero George William Gordon. These
letters are concerned with the purchase of his property, Cherry
Garden, St. Andrew and the surveying and sale of land at
A very interesting insight into the happenings of the 1865
rebellion, and a personal comment on Gordon is given by C.A.
Lopez in a synopsis of his life (MS 1630) from which the
following quotation is taken:-
I shall now give you an account of the Morant Bay rebellion
it took place in 1865. I regret to say my friend The Hon.
M. [sic] Gordon was branded as being the instigator of it. I am
quite certain when Iaffirm, that he was a gentleman in manners,
education, and ability he was a little over 6 feet, he wore
glasses, he was a man of colour, he was also a loving husband,
fortunately he had no children. His wife (Janette) was an
English woman. I have seen him when driving in Harbour St.
with her he would very often alight at Mr. Morborough's store,
he always lifted her from the carriage and put her on the piazza,
which showed how he loved her, she was indeed a dear lady.
I was personally acquainted with them, we were members of
Free .Man Chapel. "Gordon" was a kind hearted man, a great
friend of the poor, a man beloved by one and all. He was a
member of the Legislative Council in the time of Gov. Eyre. He
and Dr. Bowerbank whose statues are now to be seen at the
north of Parade, were members of the same council. It appears
they could not agree. Through the Dr. the Governor supposed
Gordon stirred up the people to rebel. "Gordon" of course used
to hold religious meetings, which they said were political,
these meetings were held in Kingston, and in various parts of
the Island. This mistake was caused through the Hon. Dr. B.,
after that the sad outbreak took place at M.B. I am quite
certain in stating that almost every black man of quality were
taken up and sent to (M.B.) for trial, amongst them was a black
Dr., after he became freed from the authorities, he firmly de-
clared that he would never again have any dealings with the
black people. He afterwards spent many years in England.
Gordon and his wife were residing in Kingston, he was how-
ever apprehended, lashed down in a most disgraceful manner,
sent on Board one of her Majesties Ships the "Woolvereen"
although a live man, he was almost dead, I am sorry I cannot
reproduce the letter he wrote his wife and sisters from the
ship, he was however taken to M.B. He and his Secretary Mr.
Gentle were publicly executed, on a Bamboo gallows as traitors,
Richard Hill may not be a name which is as well known
today as George William Gordon's, but he was one of Jamaica's
important men, who in his time, created a name for himself
in the world of natural history. He was also one of the liberal
thinkers among Jamaica's free coloured population who played
a critical although not particularly spectacular part in the fight
against slavery, and in the succeeding years of adjustment after
its abolition. He was able to prove by his ability that even in
those days it was possible for a "man of colour" to make an
international name for himself, and this in itself is worthy of
note. WIRL has a variety of manuscripts concerning Hill. These
consist of Hill's "Natural History Notes", "A Manuscript diary
of journey to Cuba, America and Canada in 1826", "Sketches
and Notes" and about 50 letters written to him from a variety
of persons. A research student who has been working on the
subject of Richard Hill for a Master's degree found that although
there was material on Hill in many published sources, these
manuscripts gave an invaluable insight into the man as a person
and his wide and varied fields of interest. The Diary of his
journey to Cuba, America and Canada in 1826 is interesting
because his itinerary is comparable to that of any 20th century
tourist who covers all the major sights of America and Canada.
In Havana he noticed the predominance of Americans and
in his entry for April 2nd he notes astutely, three years after
the Munro Doctrine declaration and 60 odd years before the
American take over of Cuba that
Many planters are also American so that it may safely be
said Cuba is in the American interests.
Mr. Hill's manuscripts also contain a number of his poems and
a variety of pen and ink sketches which he drew on his journeys.
The letters to Mr. Hill show the wide variety of activities he
was involved in and the requests he received for help and infor-
mation. Particularly interesting are the following extracts:
Letter to Richard Hill from George Weir of Horncastle,
England July 1848
I have now a favour to beg of you and if you have time
I think you will enter on the commission con more -
and that is to write for me a little story which shall be
merely a row of pegs on which to hang ancedotes and
songs and which I may use for the amusement of a
party of friends next winter -
Letter from Phillip Gosse, Nov. 15, 1862
I an much interested in the suggestions you make about
the Fish which swallowed Jonah; they are very striking
indeed. If you kept a copy of your paper and would
forward me the portion omitted, I do not doubt I could
get it inserted in a periodical of very large circulation.
The foregoing examples of manuscripts and their relevance
today give abrief idea of the immense possibilities for research
there are within the manuscript collection. The West India
Reference Library's Manuscript Section is not a very large one
but it is a vital part of the library's research service. At present
WIRL is in the process of cataloguing the collection, and have
catalogued over 1,820 Manuscripts. This number refers to
O p -^ ^
A^. ^^oy9~-7-^^^-^^^ --^^-'-*-^^
^^^ ^^y^ y^ ^- <<
0, e k- r
A-^ -^ _S _->^^^ ^.
A^>* M7Cte*! ^~^ yV- --^^
A Plan of Wallen's Plantation in the
parish of St. Thomas in the Vale,
Jamaica 1787. (John Blackburn Esq.)
collections and single items; sometimes, collections are made up
of several items and volumes. It is estimated that there are over
35,000 single items within the Manuscript Department. For
example, the Nuttall Collection consists of approximately 600
items, made up of single letters, 68 letter books and 19 diaries.
The Institute has acquired its manuscript collections through
gift and purchase and concentrates on private records. Since
the establishment of the Jamaica Archives at Spanish Town,
the public records previously housed in the West India Reference
Library have been transferred there as it is their responsibility
to conserve the records of Central and Local Government
The West India Reference Library collection covers not only
Jamaica but the West Indies generally, and in particular there
is a fair amount of material relating to the naval and military
movements within the West Indies in the 18th and 19th cen-
turies. There are also autographs and letters of such historical
figures as Sir Henry Morgan, Horatio Nelson, Lord Rodney
and Toussaint L'Ouverture.
There are documents concerning people who are not histori-
cally famous,but these records are valuable because they give
us the true feeling of the events of those days and people's
personal reaction to them.
The following extract from a letter by James Oxburgh
written in Port Royal on April 30, 1701, (Manuscript 399)
gives an idea of what was happening in the West Indies at the
I am a little concerned in ninety Angola Negroes brought
about six weeks ago out of a Company ship at 20 per
head round. We sent them by Mr. Blake to Cape St.
Frances a French settlement upon Hispaniola where we
had encouragement, and had made a good voyage, had
not Mr. Blake been unfortunately killed within two
leagues of the port by a sloop that fought him under
French Colours . We know not whether to call this
sloop a Pyrate or an Enemy, but her fighting under
French Colours makes us afraid this is the beginningof
a War, for the further news we have from Englandis three
months old, and by the custom of the French to be
before hand when they are certain a Warr is near. It if be
a Warr, without an English Squadron be sent hither, this
Island has but a survey prospect...
A series of letters which have had a rather interesting and
precarious history are those of Thomas Kidd (MS 609). In 1963
these were discovered in the St. Thomas Church Rectory in
Stewart Town, Trelawny forming part of a huge rat nest. The
letters are somewhat eaten and discoloured, but thanks to the
rats, these documents have remained hidden for nearly 100
years. Among them are a number of letters from Thomas
Kidd's daughters who were at school in England.
Flora Jane Kidd wrote on February 27th, 1845 rather
plaintively that she had not heard from her parents for a long
time, and a note of homesickness can be denoted as she tells
"We have had very cold weather since Christmas which
however has not affected me as I have been extremely
well all the winter, with the exception of my cough which
has been rather troublesome".
In the literary field we have the manuscripts of a few plays
written by West Indians. There is also a rather unusual literary
document in the form of The Singers Quarterly. This is a
manuscript magazine which has appeared over the past 40
years. Prepared by Mrs. Albina Davis, it consists of prose and
poetry writings, some of which are by Jamaicans. The editor
types these out and decorates each issue with pictures from
magazines and Christmas cards. There is only one copy com-
piled and this is circulated to a group of about 12 persons and
then sent to the Institute for preservation. There are not many
libraries which have a current manuscript magazine.
The West India Reference Library is interested in any sort
of private records which relate to Jamaica and the West Indies.
We would particularly like to increase our collection of con-
temporary author's scripts. For instance there have been a num-
ber of plays written by West Indians yet relatively few have
been published. Perhaps someone reading this might have
written or acted in such a play and have a copy of the script
available which he would be willing to present to the Library.
The Library has received a number of collections in recent
years from association and societies which have played an
important part in the social and economic life of Jamaica.
This is encouraging because it shows that people are becoming
aware of the need to preserve their history; and are making
sure that the records of this "living process" which they have
helped to create will be available for the future.