• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Sketches of the manners and customs...
 Signification in English of some...
 Meteorological table
 Advertising






Group Title: account of the British settlement of Honduras
Title: An account of the British settlement of Honduras
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095343/00001
 Material Information
Title: An account of the British settlement of Honduras being a brief view of its commercial and agricultural resources, soil, climate, natural history, &c. : to which are added, Sketches of the manners and customs of the Mosquito Indians, preceded by the journal of a voyage to the Mosquito shore ...
Physical Description: xi, 203, 4 p., 1 folded leaf of plates : 1 map ; 20 cm. (8vo)
Language: English
Publisher: Printed for C. and R. Baldwin ...
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1809
Copyright Date: 1809
 Subjects
Subject: Miskito Indians -- Social life and customs   ( lcsh )
Indians (C.A.): Mosquito
Indians of Central America -- Social life
Belize   ( lcsh )
Honduras   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Mosquitia (Nicaragua and Honduras)   ( lcsh )
Mosquito Coast
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Nicaragua
Honduras
Belize
 Notes
Citation/Reference: Sabin
Statement of Responsibility: by Capt. Henderson, of His Majesty's 5th West India Regiment.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095343
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Belize National Library Service and Information System
Holding Location: Belize National Library Service and Information System
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 43431977

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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page iii
    Dedication
        Page iv
    Preface
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
    Chapter I
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Chapter II
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Chapter III
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    Chapter IV
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    Chapter V
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Chapter VI
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
    Chapter VII
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
    Chapter VIII
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
    Chapter IX
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
    Sketches of the manners and customs of the mosquito Indians, made during a short residence amongst them in the year 1804
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
    Signification in English of some words in the Mosquito tongue
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
    Meteorological table
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
    Advertising
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
Full Text
AN

ACCOUNT
OF THE

BRITISH SETTLEMENT
or

HONDURAS;
BEING
A aRIEa VIEW oD ITr COMMERCIAL AND AGbRICUiTVBA RG
SOOuCEa, sOI, CIMb ATE, wariBAL HToElty, &Ce
To which are added,

SKETCHES
OF TRA

MANNERS ANW'CUSTOMS
OF THE

MOSQUITO INDIANS,
PRECd~EBn F THE JOURNAL Or A rorA TDo TO
MosQu7rro MAORE.
ILIAUSTRATED BY A MAP.


By CAPT. HEN PERSON,
OF HIS MAJESTY'S, Ta WEST INDIA REGIXEiKT.

I.ONDON :
PRINTED BY AND FOR C. AND R. BALDWIl,
-EW BDIDG)ESTILET.

1809.






BRIGADIER GENERAL BARROW,

TATE 1H MAJESTY'$ SUPEINTENDANT; COMMANDER OP THE
TRoOPs; &C. &C.

AT HONDURAS.

SIR,
.AT the moment I submit the following
pages to the indulgence of the Public, I feel a verr
sincere gratification that I am also enabled to offer
an acknowledgment to you, however unequal to
my wishes, of the perfect recollection I hold of
the favour under which I have been placed.
And I beg you to believe-that, in common with
many others, I cannot ut recur with singular sa-
tisfaction to the period of service passed under your
command, throughout the whole of which you in-
variably shewed that the duties of the Superior and
the urbanity of the Gentleman were not incompa-
tible.
Ihave the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient
and most humlie Servant,
GEORGE HENDERSON,
Capt. 5th IV. I. Regiment.




PREFACE.


IT is most anxiously hoped that the
succeeding attempt may not be found
anl4llethel r divested of interest. Yet
it must be confessed, tiha it would
very materially encourage the confi-
dence of the writer, could lie in any
way be persuaded, that an excuse for
the imperfections with which it
abounds w would be as readily admit-
ted as he is willing to acknowledge
the necessity for mailing it.
It will not be denied, that the op-
portunities for useful investigation,




PREFACE.


even a midst the fluctuations of a mili-
tary life, are often found singularly
favourable: but, at the same time, it
is probably to be regretted, that the
ability and inclination to profit by
these advantages are not more fre-
quently united. On some occasions,
it may nevertheless prove inconveni-
ent, that the latter should consider-
ably exceed the former; a circum-
stance -which, it is far from being
insisted, may not be too conspicu-
ously illustrated in the present in-
stance.
PHTunu parra decent

cutvaps a truth, which, if rightly
borne in remembrance, would prevent





PREFACE.


much evil; and that might, if it had
been closely regarded, have entirely
removed the necessity of this suppli-
cation. But it is more easy to im-
plore forgiveness than to avoid error;
and the liberal indulgence, which has
been so frequently extended to faults
of similar description, may perhaps
have indirectly contributed to ther
commission of one more.




THE CONTENTS.


CHAP. I.

Geographical posilion of the British Esta-
Idishment of Honduras. Shart political
acounti of the condition of the Settlers until
th present period. Clinate. Description
qfthe Town of Baliz. Outline of the Coast,
Ac. tc. First Settlers exposed to hostile
aInians. ................... ......
CHAP. II.
lsideratons on the Coimmercial Adcantage,
g' onduras. Agricldtrual Resources.
Mi and CRlmawte, aspd to IteA ttnre of
at of the productiors if the iest India
aonds. Domestic Animals. Fisheries.
k.its...........................
CHAP. III.
malisze and Sibun, their importance to
ISettlement : particulars connected with
Ma6tor of both. Seasons for cutting
hogany : the operation described. Corh-
mmal advantages annexed to the above.
0ti their labour and condition. Con-
rg t remark ......................




XTHE CONTENTS.

CHAP. IV.

A code of law s formed iy Capt. Burnay. Page
Present administration of justice. Courts
of Honduras, how held. Humane regula-
tion for protecting manumitted slaves. Re-
venue. Population. Diseases. ........ 63

CHAP. V.
The pursuits nf the Settlers of Honduras lead
to distant and widely different directions.
Christmas the season of general f ,tir'6y.
The slaves"particularly happy at this period.
Water sports. Tlh Dory and Pitpan boats,
peculiar to the Settlementdescribed. Shoot-
ing and fishing parties................ 74

CHAP. VI.
Subjects connected with the Natural History
of Honduras. Extraordinary advantages
that might attend many pursuits annexed
to cultivation again insisted on. Trees and
plants, their great variety : the uses of se-
veral species described................ 81

CHAP. VII
Natural History continued. Quadrupeds... 94

CHAP. VIII.
Natural History continued, Birds. ...... 109
4





THE CONTENTS. xi

CHAP. IX.
Page
Natural history concluded. Fishes. Reptiles. 1 2

Journal of a Voyage to the Mosquito Shore.. 133
Sketches of the Manners and Customs of the
Mosquito Indians ................... 177

Siganication in English of some words in the
Mosquito Tongue ................... 193

Meteorological Table kept at Balize in the Bay
of onduras .................., .... 197






ACCOUNT


OP Tuin
BRITISH SETTLEMENT
or
HONDURAS.



CHAP. 1

Geographical position ofthe British Esial'lishment
of Honduras. Short political account of'the con-
di Pon~' of the Sttlers until th~e pre~entperi.
Climate. Description of the Town of Balise.
SOutlin of the Coast, &c. &. First Sctllers
exposed.to hostile Indians.

THE British Settlement of Honduras
i situated in the province of Yucatan,
or Jucatan, a peninsula-extending from the
province of Honduras to the sea north-
wardly, forming the Bay of Campeachy
on the west, and the Bay of Honduras on




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


the east. It extends from about 16 to I
deg. north latitude, and from about 84 to
94 4eg. west longitude. This part ofAme-
rica was discovered by Columbus in 1502.
Previous to the treaty of Paris, in 1763,
the English settlers had established them-
selves, with the friendly approval of the
Indians, their immediate neighbours, on
the east coast of Yucatan, The nearest
Spanish settlements are those of Bacalar
to the northward, and of Omoa and Trux-
illo to the southward. An inconsiderable
military body is kept at each of the for-
mer places, but the latter is a situation of
much more importance, possessing a re-
gular force, and having very extensive
fortifications. The harbour of TruxiUlo
is also large, open, and commodious, an
advantage that is connected with very few
places on this inimense coast.
On concluding the treaty of peace,
in 1763% by the i1th article it was sti-
pulated, that all the fortifications which




OF iHOND'RAS.


had been formed by the subjects of
Britain in the Bay of Honduras should
within four months after its ratifica-
tion be-entirely demolished. The works,
which had been raised for their de-
finee, were consequently destroyed; and
in consideration of this, his Catholic
Majesty engaged to protect them during
their residence in the country. And
by the reciprocal article (36) of the
treaty of Madrid. the king of Spain fur-
ther engaged, "that in ease'of war; nio-
tite--huld bee given to the respective
subjects of the King of Great Britain,
that six mouth -would be granted them to
remove their imlef adistheand d effects with-
out molestation* This condition i -un-
derstood to have made part of every stb-
sequent treaty b teen the two nations.
Trnth, however;: uges the reeitil, flikt
netwithstandiiglr the above engagemg nts:
i'-tiberally mid& and so solemnly con-
cetded, i- th0 nonth' f September, 177 ;




DRITISH SETTLEMENT


the subjects of Great Britain, w without ainv
previous information being given to them
on the part of the government of Spain,
of any misunderstanding having taken
place between the countries, were attack-
ed in their defenceless state by a strong
force, their properties materially injured,
their persons seized and treated in a way
of rather unusual severity. Many per-
sons were blindfolded and put closely in
irons, and all of them, of different sexes
and ages, marched from their homes to
Merida, the capital of Yucatan, after.
wards countermarched to the coast, thence
shipped to the Havannah, where they
were held in captivity until July, 1782,
when they were suffered to return to
Jamaica.
The losses sustained by many indivi-
dualsby this extraordinary event, amount-
ed to a very considerable, sum; and al-
though many respectful solicitations
were made to the British ministry to ob-,




OF RONDURAS.


tain if possiblesomeindemnificaticn from
the court of Spain for the outrage, the
frequent changes, added to the very fcie-
tuating and uncertain state of public af-
fairs, at :this particular junttetre eiderdd
all applications of the kind ineffectual
Between 1779 and 1784, many of the
settlers sought a refuge among the Indians
on the Mosquito shore, and formed their
principal establishment on Black-river:
but in the month of November of the lat-
ter year, the treaty of convention was
concluded between England and Spain,
and the Bri- i sujecs again rio s-
session of their former situation. Since
this'period no particular opposition has
been shewn towards them, with the ex-
ception of an ineffectual attack made inr
the year .1798. This force was fitted
out at Bacalar, and conducted' by Do'
O'Niel, a field-marahal in the service of
Spain, but. which, .after an, imperfect at-
tempt, was afrced toetire with insi2i.-




6 BRITISH SETTLEMENT

ficant loss from before -StGeorge's: KeA
a distance of ten or twelve miles from the
chief settlement. of Balize. It was com-
puted: hat the number of the enemy em-
ployed on, this occasion amounted to neat
three thousand.*

The sense his Majesty entertained of the united
exertions of the Javy and Army, and the settlers,
he was pleased to express, by directing the follow.
ing communication to be made to them through
Lieuteenant.general the Earl of Balcarras.
Extract of a letter from his Grace the Duke of
Portland, to Lieutenant-general the Earl of Bal,
carries, dated, Whitehall, 8 February, 1799,
My Lord,
I had great pleasure in laying before his Ma.
jesty the account you transmitted of the defeat of
the Spanish Flotilla, in its attack upon our Settle.
Meant of Honduras.
." The able and judicious conduct of Lieutenant.
colonel Barrow, and Captain Moss of the Merlin
sloop, the bravery of the troops and seamen under
their respective commands, and the spirited exer.
tions of theSettlement Id general, on this occarn,
hse been jach ato receive his Majesty's appro,





OF HOSDURKAB.


Previous to this attack, commissioners
had been regularly appointed by the Spa-
nish government to. visit the. British set-
tlement at certain stated periods. The
chief purport of their midsiuon was to ex4
act a scrupulous observance on the part
of the settlers of the several conditions en-
tered into by the respective countries:
that no forts or fortifications of any kind
should be again erected; that. the limiits
assigned for the cutting of mahogany and
dye-woods, should not be exceeded; that
no plantations beyond a certain extent
should be fomed tor.waybutMsustiualar
ipodes of culture pursued.. The above
event, however,- occasioned the disconti-
nuance of these visits, and the settlers, in

nation, which your Lordship is hereby directed to
signify through Lieutenant.colonel arrow, to.
gether with the just sense his Mdjesty entertains
of their gallant and meritorious eodlict."
,A true extract.




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


consequence of it, have ever since consi-
dered themselves less bounden to an ob-
servance of their original obligation.
The intercourse which subsists betwe in
the English and Spaniards is chiefly cay-
ried on by a communication with Merida,
the capital of the province of Yucatan.
During war the English are not permitted
to approach nearer Merida than the
look-out post, as it is termed, of St. Anto-
nio, a s ort,,distance from the town of
'Bcalar: from this last place the public
dispatches are forwarded by India cou-
riers to the capital. The officer who at
present holds; the distinguished rank of
Captain-general of Yucatan is, Don Be-
nito P eZ, a most respectable character,
who enjoys a full share of the esteem of
those he is placed over, as well as the high
regard of' al who approach him in his of-
ficial capacity.
The climate of this part.of the Ameri-
can continent is greatly superior to that




OF ONDURAS.


of most other parts of the same vast por-
tion: of the globe, either in higher or
lower degrees of latitude. It is equally
superior to the climate of the West India
islands generally: for persons whose
health and constitutions have become ir-
paired from the effects of the latter, very
frequently acquire a sudden restoration of
both, after at arrival at Honduras.
- With the exception of a few monthsin
the year, this country is constantly re-
freshed by regular sea-breezes, accom-
panied by an average of heat that may be
taken at the" teiiprature drdidegs
The seasons have also their marked dif-
erence, though Nature may not have de-
termined the shades of variation here with
the same strong lines she has affixed to
most other situations under her dominion.
Within the tropics, a change of wind,
or a shower of rain, often produces a sud-
den and singular revolution in atmosphe-
rical regularity, and occasions a no less




BRItiSH SETTLEMENT


sudden effect on the human system. The
periodical raineswhich fall in this country,
and which- re neither considered unseas
soamtle nor extraordinary, might almost
presage a returning deluge, did.they hap-
pen in some other parts of the world. But
the wtsneason, as it is emphatically deno-
minatedis not considered here the season
of disease. It is fatally otherwise with the
whole of the West Indies. The mostfre-
quent n-iid violent instances of sickness
which occur at Honduras, happen during
the dry-&reton, which is usually Coinrpre
ended within the months of April, May,
and June. The sun, during this space,
is always most powerful, and its scorching
rays are not mitigated bythe same unifor-
mity of breeze which prevails during the
other months of the year. At the begin-
ning of October, what are called the
northls, north winds, comnience, and ge-
-nally continue, with little variation, till
the return of February or March. Whilst




7F I-OHDURts.


these winds last, the mornings and even-
ings are cold, frequently unpleasantly so
and whatin this country is understoodhby
awetnort/s mightperhaps:furnish no very
imperfect idea of a November day in
England; a dry-north, on the contrary,is
healthful, agreeable, and invigorating.
The state of the weather during the north/
is extremely-variable; fbr depression of
more than 15 degrees in the thermometer
has been remarked in the space of a few
hours. Thunder storms are frequent dur.
ing the greater part of the year, and in
the hottest months te~ i ftenitrtneatd6dy
violent.
The town of Balize, which is placed at
the mouth of the river of the same name,*
is the only regular establishment which
the English settlers have formed in this
country. It is immediately open to the
gea; and, though the situation islow, the
The Spaniards invariably name this river,
]WILriS.




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


groups of lofty cocoa.nut trees, -and
thickly interspersed and lively foliage of
the tamarind, contribute to, give a very
picturesque and pleasing effect to the
dwellings of the inhabitants, indepepd-
ent of the advantage conferred by their
grateful shade, a luxury which only those
who have felt the powerful and subduing
influence of a tropical sun, can fully
appreciate. The regularity of the winds'
whiehb prevail. in this country' has beei
mentioned, and. were it not for the salu-
brity of these, the settlement would cer,
tainly be far less healthful than it is, as it
is placed at the edge of an immense
swamp which extends many miles back,
and which at most seasons abounds with
stagnant waters, but that during the rains
is completely overflowed.
The number of houses of all descrip-
tions contained in Balize may be number-
ed at about two hundred. Many of these,
particularly such as are owned by the




OF HONDURAS.


Opulent merchants, are spacious, coonho-
dious, and well finished. They are en-
tirely built of wood, and generally raised
eight or ten feet from-the ground, on pil-
lars of mahogany. The stores and flies
are uniformly on the lower story, the din-
ing and sleeping apartments on the up-
per. Every habitation has likewise its
upper and lower piazzas, appendages
which are indispensably necessary in hot
climates, and that are resorted to as
forming the most cool and pleasant parts
anndixed to it.;' Th buildings within
these few years have mostly been shingled;
an improvement, which, independent of
the security it affords from accident, at
the same time furnishes a more finished
Appearanee:'to the town. Before the in-
troduction of this, the roofs were entirely
thatched with a material of the country;
the leaves f the palmetto-tree,(Chamrrops
excelsa) and which has obtained the name
Sof iy-.thatch. It supplies an excellent




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


and durable defence against the weather,
and is found particularly valuable for
plantation buildings, and these bf-ai infe-
rior kind.
The town' being situated as previously
deseritbd, renders any intercourse with the
interior country especially by land, ex-
tremely 'difficult; there ~iot having been
any roads formed, nor is it possible there
tcoldi -vitkout extraordmtin y laboui ahd
expenceZ travelling tAtlhis can therefore
only be conveieni.tly pemformedtbyrn ater:j
at tfitance, however, of four ori five miles
has been cut through -the swamp;, whicfi
in fniereahber, afford '-a tbierably pleasant
ride on horseback-: the'sids of 'this road
being profuiely lined with a mnostagre&e
able variety :f foliage,,of whihl' tIat tisr
fdrded by the staeiy-mna ngrinve; (r-'i'ito no
angj) tnainc hieel, (hippoM6i an -uwanc
tella,*~) and -pop'onax, L it iMst pred4mbn
*The deleterious quality of the fruit of the
manchineel is well known. It is believed.' hwever'A




OP HONDURAS.


aant: the last is a singularly pleasant
utee from the delicate fragrance of its
snall yellow flower. A lavish species of
the mimosa, or sensitive-plant, is also
find in every spot.
SIn all directions, the approach of the
extensive coast, which lies contiguous to
the Bay of Honduras, is attended with
iniient anxiety and danger : and the
difficulty of the navigation is alarmingly
demonstrated by the numerous.remains of
V~~iels which have been wrecked on the
di hfedt eefandt deyssvhich arewo-abun,
dant in those seas. The liazard lis great
at all inies, but, during the continuance

4 thi country, tht cattle do not pjperience any
injp5' fi m eatingit. This noxious property may
also be considered as being connected with the
leaves or bark of the tree, a soldier belonging, t&
fte 5th West Indian Regin6nt having been comA
pletely.deprived af the sight of.one of his eyes, by
th lunatlu aon of some drops of rain which had
.lean from it whilst he was sleeping under its
* shade.




i BMUTIRnI SETTlLEMENT
of the north-winds, the danger becomes
much increased. The weather at 'such
seasons is usually hazy and thick; and!tha
currents, which, in this part of thF
world, are peculiarly governed by the
influence of the winds., run with, sch
extraordinary rapidity, as frequently id8
iives all calculation, and renders veqr
precaution ineffectual. There is:atthr
ihing Mbhich may alsq be deserving o!ofke
mark: so-ieeepEtius ar the different .ey
ffam: the general re emgbl nce fheybearx t
each other, that the most experienced sea'
man when placed amongst tbp :ofeq
becomes fatally perplexed from the.:impost
sibility he finds of accurately ascertaining
hit sitnatiodi. Indeed,' onri making thi
coast, it is seldom sa ito pr6ed& jthbi't
a pilot. 30On taking a depaiture from Hon-
duras, thie hazard -becomes,: if pVosibe4
greater than that of approaching it, froi
thIe 'i-cTeaed'nunitber of the1 foregoTi'g im'
pediments. The first obtjcCfto l ttaitin"




IF HONDURAS. -
thisinstance isito make what are called the.
Northern Triangles which are threeke s,
immediately lose together, of a form anaF
logous to that which their name imports,
and distant ib a N.N.E. direction about
10 leagues from lalize. .A further depr-,
ture is then taken for Cape Antonio, on
the west side,pfthe Island of Cuba. The
uiaking of this last place is considered as
most important on the voyage homeward.
for it has sometimes happened that va"-.
selI failing in this respect have been
driven by .the force of currents and light
winds, into the Gulf of Mexico ad not
frequently remained becalmed there
massy weeks, or have had to beat up for ftb
Widf of Florida, an equally tedioustiime".
Thogh :on a retrospective view of the
difliulties and privations which are inse-
parably connected t~itfilrst establish neCts
in remote countries .much could not be
found interestingas far assuch events relate
tt the settlement at Honduras: vet there




is BRITISH SMTTLEMENT


einn be little doubt but that some portion
ofthat persevering energy, of mind, which
has compassed moir sublime designs,
might be found to have actuated the early
settler in his solitary and unprotected avo-
cations in the early history of this Not
many years past, numerous tribes of hos-
tile Indians often left their recesses in the
woods for the purpose of plunder. This
they often tecomplished ; and if resistance
were offered, notunfrequently committed
the most sanguinary murders. The habi-
tatioes of these, people have never been
tried. Their dispositptionare peculiarly
fertloiti, and they are always armed with
bows andarrows of urious workmanship:
the latter are generally thought to li
poisoned:' They/are without loathing of
any kind, and wander over an 'immense
extent of' country but little known. The
Spaniaxrds have given to these people the
general appellation of Braews.
The lndians, however, of this part of




FP H1ORND AS. 19
America possess little resemblance to the
tribes of the more northern parts of ihav-
ing neither their personal bravery, nor
characteristic hardihood: and the dread
ofthe military, whom it has been found
expedient frequently to dispatch in pur-
suit of these fugitives, has latterly ope-
rated as a very eRfetual cheek totheir oc-
casional visits.




BRITISH. SETTLEMENT


CHAP II.

COnsiderations on the Commercial Advantages of
Honduras. Agriculatral Resurces, Soil and
Cinate adapted to the culture of most of the
pmodstionse of Ae West itdia bslends. Do.
mestic Animals, A fisheries. Fruits

I. opportunities were offered for an un-
interrupted exercise of the many great
commercial advantages which the settle-
ment of Honduras possesses, it might per-
h.ps prove as valuable to the parent
country as any one of its dependencies.
In point of situation, it is so favourably
placed for such purposes in the Spanish
American dominions, that the benefits re-
sulting from the indulgence of a licensed
trade, granted so late as 1806, have been
already very sensibly felt; and there cam-
not be a doubt, but hat a more unre-
strained intercourse,, especially durVt




Of HONDURAS.


peace, would be productive of the most
substantial ends. This must, however,
in a very essential degree, depend on
Spanish colonial arrangement, which has
seldom discovered an excess of enourage-
meirt towards any attempts of the kind:
the times, nevertheless, are more favour-
able than heretofore.
It might perhaps be found the most
convenient depbt of trade in this part of
the world. Its iminediate contiguity to
so many important stations on the con-
tinent seems to strengthen this opinion,
and t render it in most respect forall
the purposes required, more eligible than
any of the West India or Bahama Islands.
The establishment at Balize could at
once command the trade of Yucatan to
the northward, and of the extensive pro-
vince of Guatilixala and its valuable de-
paeidenicies to the southward. This last
'l' peculiarly rci 'in many important ar-
hales ofexport, of which may be parti-




BRITIS SETTLEMENT


tilarly enumerated a superior kind of In-
digo, which has always obtained a very
marked preferneo in the several European
Pawrlket Large quantities of this comic
modity sometimes find a vent by the oppo-
sit sea, but more frequently by the river
Police, whi4i kmpties itself into the At*
lantic, through theaGultf the same name.
Considerable sums in specie-are also ship-
pd at stated periods from Guatimala for
Q144d ain. Thi A ticles of commerce
obtained from the Spaniards are chiefly
pgroured by money,. but it is exceedingly
well understood, that goods of British
manufacture,. suitable to their wanh
wouQld-tbeA' more acceptable to them.
. The Gulf of Dolce but a few leagues
distant from the English Settlement, and.
Truxillo, from the excellence of its hart
bour, would deserve important consider-.
tion, if an extension of our commercial in-
tercowse were attempted in this quarter of
the world. Establishments for the purposes




0F WaOWl Ap*.


of trade might iso-be-uformed&ai various
partti 4' the ineighbouingg Mosquit
country, -ndthe friendship of itU inhabit
tantsj whic4itihas btef the good fortune
ofthe w glfBh At l tkpen4erppwerwi
wotld certainly give very material tSeSf
ragement tw'such view,
The principal,articles.iimpwrte.ati pre'
sent from Europe, intth S~etlpot Of
Hondurms, afe linens of all.kirds, priAte
cottobs, muslins ofthe most costly manw
facture, negrnwelething, btoad-eloths, ho-
siery, hat'fine and course, shoes, boots
earthen alda-. wearnlved n'iplatu
goods hardware and cutlery; of the latter
large quantities particularly of cutlass
blades, which are used for clearing the
grounds of underwood. Salted provisions
of different kinds, either from Britain or
America, are also continually demanded
for the-suppot of the slavea ,
The vast consumption, independent of
Uey re-eIportatioun of most of the fow




M RITlsfI SETTLEMENT
going articles ij extraordinary, consider-
ing the size of the Settlement; This is:in
a'great degree oceasioned by the coinpa-
fttive influence of the greater number of
the persons comprising it. The proptief
ters-of slaves.re in general'wealthy :that
is, the productiveness of labour renders
their` O. "The slaves themselves possess
indulgencies which are not granted to
their condition in any other country.
Thw': people' of Icolurt a ana ifree-blacks,
who Are likewise numerous, all possess
S~iete property ; a fet are rich, and, are
alike distinguishable for the feature which
sob srotgly characterizes the saie race
throughout the West Indies; an expensive
gratifcation of-their appetites, and an
extravagant passion for dress.
i Many of the vessels, however, engaged
in this trade, arrive partly in ballast, a few
cargoes being adequate to the demands of
the country. 'The case is widely different
with those which arrive from the States




ar1eansD asA 2s
of Aserica; for here5as if happens in
our colonies generally, articles ofAme-
rienn,production are determine to be
altast indispensable requisite. What are
obtained.in thi ,vay usually consist of
fItor, salt-fish, potatoes, onions, &c. &c.
An importation of -beef or pork is only
occasionally permitted, on a represent,
tion of scarcity .by the Governor.of Ja,
maica, Lumber of. all kinds from the
same quarter also finds a ready and ad-
vantageous market The prohibitions
exercised at Honduras towards the Ame-
ticias, are much the same as thosa sed
towards them in our different islands,
particularly in that of Jamaica, which
.in this respect must be supposed to
direct.
Vessels from the United States are par.
ticularly restricted in the size of the aIa
hqqgny they are suffered to carry: this
,aist not exceed twenty inches in the
widest part, and for carrying -ten thou-




BRTISH BETTLEMENT *


sand feet of the above they are permitted
to Ctake three tons of the dye-wood.*
A vety profitable commerce, in;cattle,
i carried on by a few individuals of the
Settlement with the Spaniards, who are
resident on what is called: the Main. It is
principal conductedby barter, the Spa.
niards exchanging their cattle for linen,
cloths, sugars, rum, &c. &c. It is con-
jectured that a profit of five or six hun-

The number of American vessels which clear.
ed outwards from the Settlement of Hondurus,
from the Ist of January, 1806, to 31st of December,
1807, amounted to
Ship .. Tonnage 5966. Carry.
Brigs.... 25 in ug about 14000 feet
SchoanexrT., 19
slos .. of mahogany, and a
Sloops .... ]
o proportionate quantity
Total 49 of dye.wood, &c.c.

Thie embargo having taken place during the last
year, the intercorrso has consequently subsided,
rand my privilege teteohport provnison is no longer
of effect.




or sEOWoaEs,


dried per cent. is very commonly relied
by this traffic. The cattle obtained in
this way are either slaughtered, or pur-
chased by the cutters of mahogany, to
whom they arm peculiarly vatuable, for
the purpose of draught. The breed is
large, and well formed, and the meat they
afford extremely well-flavoured. On the
Spanish Mainis likewise raised an uncom-
moily large and serviceable breed of
mules: these are usually transported to
Jamaiea.
The frequent inconvenience which is
fiet in the West Indlia tilands, htthe
want of regular supplies of provisions
from the mother country, is felt as severely,
at least in a comparative degree, in the
Settlement of Honduras. And without
the remotest attempt to arraign that po-
licy which is so pieremptorily insisted on
as the exclusive privilege of the parent
state,it may nevertheless be -determined,
that unless it had been for the occasional




IS BRITISH SETTLEMENT


relaxation of this spirit, the small depen-
dency of which we speak,. as well as the
islands collectively, would in numberless
instances have been reduced to & condi-
tion little short of famine. Indeed, at
this moment, the most gloomy prospects
may be said'to await the whole of them,
and which a war with the American States
would too sorrowfully demonstrate. Un-
less some amelioration shall suddenly take
place. in this respect, it can scarcely be
doubted, but 'that many persons must be
forced to the unavoidable expedient of
.turning their thoughts from their present
puruits, to the exclusive one of cultivat-
ing articles offood for the sustenance of
their families and slaves.
Few countries, perhaps, ever possessed
higher advantages, in an agricultural
point of view, than the greater partTof
that which is placed contiguous to th*
Bay ofHonduras. It is certainly btim-
.perfdtry known to us, but what has been




OP HONDURAS


ascertained respecting it, discovers in a
very striking degree, the vast obligation it
owes to Nature, if it be not in any way
beholden: to the industry of man. The
extraordinary benefits which aight result
from the happiest combination of climate
and soil, are almost disregarded; and the
cultivation of the earth, which, in almost
every other spot of the habitable world;
claims our first regard, is here held of
no consideration at all. Pursuits, there-
ire, of :the most important utility give
pai ce to those which are viewed as.being
infinitely more profitable. Nort it pro-
hable that such resources wf~ieuggest
themselves until the:opportunities afforded.
by the latter shall begin to :'il. This
must happen, and it will be only then
that.the real value of this country can
.possibly be.$istovered. The mahogany
and log-wood cutters bav't- cng. since
,Smplai-ned of the limits assir4 em by
treaty t pain, with pain within wich iti




BRITfIH SETTLIEENT


both these comnodities wre becoming or.
ceedingly scare.
SThe productions common o the West
India Islands, with a considerable variety
at those mort familiarly known to that
pat of the continent, .thicb i compre-
hedted within the Tropics, might n-
uestionably be cultivated at, Honduras
with equal if not, in many instances, with
superi-rnecess. h'isugar-tcaa viewed
as the- nm; v3labli xf a% l lI 'ta i v ith
tit richest luxuriaae. G Caffee% another,
mandno becorie oae of the.most profitaly
articles of our island cultuagrowswiIaq ly
well. Iton mat likeis be iit ludkr
lndigo might also' aakiply reward the
bthour of tihe ultivit;t: an inferior :sort

: Pr'tiat tohe evacuation pf the Engivshlaibt
ties from the oUqulto shore, se~iaraJlugapipb
optionss ha4 been formed on Black ]ji.qr, and the
sugar mad Mni ich the furnished were ver g-
nutrally' 4fl *y coiemteny t jtAdges, sot i'ertd
ibiir dii, ara i*es from Jamaici




OF HON DURAS.


is indigenous.- Indian arrow-root is abun-
dantly produced, and pimenta has been
tried under the most encouraging appear-
ance of profits
Contiguous to the banks of the many
rivers with which this country is so abun-
dantly supplied, the lands wouId, without
question, be found, from the extraordi-
nery richness of their soil, exceedingly
well adapted to the growth of rice and
the periodical rains woed .certainly be
highly conducive to the perfection of th~i
most useful grain. That which has been
produced for domestic use in niainy ita-
ations on the River Balize in paaiscular,
forooodness of quality and quantity to7
the acre, has been considered every way.
equal to the finest from the American
States.
The above may be contemplated as the
most important kinds of culture that
might be advantageously attempljL .0L
other kinds, however, though perhaps ant




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


of equal consideration in anextendedriew,
yet scarcely less valuable from their con-,
tributing .so immediately to the wanitwf
man, may be enumerated: the maise, or
Indian corn, yams of various species,
cassava-root, of which is made a very pa-<
latable bread,* But of all, perhaps the
best known substitute for this indispen-
sable necessary, is the plantain, which
fourishes under the congenial ipntence
of a tropical climate, scarcely requiring
the labour of attention. Every ;Settle-

Until the cassava receives very particular ;re.
paration,it is known to possess the most dangerous
poisonoa qualities. ITfok (Voyage to South
America, Vol. i. p. 70,) observPs, thatit is used,
ifter carefully taking off the upper skin ofthe rooi
It is grated and steeped in water to free it from its,
acrid juice, the water being frequently shifted.
In a quotation from Dr. Darwin, by Bryan Ed.
wards, Hist. West Indies, Vol. 1. p. i8 it is
remarked, that_~assava, vhen made lntbti'ead, Is
ret lerej ld iy the heat it undergoes, rather
than by pre9sing its superfluous jice.




OP HONDURAS,


meant at Honduras has itsjplantain-walki
and many of these comprehend an extent
of, at least, an hundred acres: 'nor calf
any thing exceed the beauty and'rikhuieis
which the continued groves of these tree
display, us the Iraveller pursues hliourse
up the different rivers. The pine-apple
and melon; being very commonly inter-
spersed between the rowsr of plantains,
contribute to heighten the luxuriance! of
the scene; arid the mountain-cabbage,
occasionally;rearing itst lefty head far
above the whole, adds no inconsiderable
shate of grandeur to the general effect.
The domestic- animals .'f Honduras are
su h as are fniliarly known in most
parts of the world. The pasturage afr
frdiled them here being extensive and
good, cattle, particularly oxan antd cows,
thrive uncommonly well; and the' latter
supply a plehti&fl quantity of milk. Shea
daso, knd goats, are found to succeed, th
Iast-,in a mbst prolific degree. Of the
D




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


sheep it may be observed, as a singular
circumstance, and as an additional proof
of the wildMnem.of this climate, contrasted
with that of the West Indies, that it does
notloose its fleece, as it invariably does
in the dimrent islands, and which is sud-
denly -eceeded by a kind of goat-like
hair; a changethat may be very fairly at-
tributed to the extreme violence of the
heat.
Of fisheries th* most profitable, and
consequently the most pursued in this
eotetry, is that of the turtle. This forms
an excuuive occupation, and the quan
tity ally taken is., considerable. A
few ,of the turtle find their way to the
Londoa nar et being punhased for the
purpose by the masters of vessels from that
port i but the principal consumption of
this article of food is domestic, and it is
vwy gaterally preferred by: the settlers.
The taking of the specie. called the
hawks-bill is particularly desirable, from




OF HONDURAS.


the value which is affixed to its shell:
this in Europe usually obtains the name
of tortoiseshell, and is manufactured into
a variety of ornamental articles.
The persons engaged in turtling are
generally inhabitants of the different keys
in the neighbourhood of Balize. Many
of them, however, have placed themselves
close to the Spanish settlements ; but they
seldom meet with interruption from this
circumstance. At the seasons of their
employment, they commonly form them-
selves into parties of four or five; and,
perhaps, with a small share of occasional
industry, a more independent description
of beings could scarcely be found. When
the time for taking the turtle is past, they
are chiefly occupied in the catching of
fish for themselves and their families.
The produce of their labour, which in
successful seasons is often considerable,
is invariably disposed of in the most li-
centious way, being solely appropriated
D 2




3S sBRITIH SETTLEMENT
to the gratification of one indulgence, an
inmoderate con:magtimL of um. During
.te period .of their labour; nevertheless,
they are conspicuous for a religious ad-
herence to sobriety, water only being per-
mitted to-be taken on the exouksion
BIt" this over, a penawuce o mortify-
ing is at once atoned for in weeks of ton-
tinued drunkenness. An entire puncheon
oftairt favourite-hoverage amoAea n
deemed nPo proAte allowance for the
celebration of a single rgie.'i Of the
Turtler, as of the voluptuous Antony, it
noay be ai4
i.e eis, diks, and wastes
The lamps of night Iin ieteL

From the uscommon, variety of ishs
with which the sea, con-igups to is
coast, so plentifully abound, itmight'he
coiectured that the curingofs svemalsor
of thma waou form an advanageus em-
ployment. Of the kinds which might




OF IlONDURAS.


more immediately answer this purpose,
may be named, the baracouta, and jew-
fish, both exceedingly well-flavoured and
firm. The former is often caught of sixty
pounds weight; the latter frequently up-
wards of two hundred. The manati is
also taken on the coast and in the neigh-
bouring lagoons, the flesh of which, either
fresh or salted, is considered a great deli-
cacy. The weight of this sometimes ex-
ceeds a thousand pounds.
The inferior kinds are so numerous,
that a particular specification of them,
with that of many other productions,
connected with the natural history of this
part of the world, will appear more con-
veniently reserved for another part of these
sketches.
Whoever has become at all acquainted
with tropical countries, must have dwelt
with peculiar delight on the grateful pro-
fusion of fruits with which they have
been so kindly furnished by an indulgent




BTITISH SETTLEMENT


Providence: the whole, or the greater
part of which being so singularly adapted,
from the exquisite properties they possess,
to the convenience of man. Amongst
the choicest of these, and which are abun-
dantly obtained in the country of which
we speak, may be here enumerated: me-
lons of several sorts, pine-apple in equal
variety, oranges of superior flavour, shad-
docks, mango, guava, mammee, cashew-
apple, tamarind, prickly-pear, avocado-
pear, pomegranate, wild-plums of many
species, sea-grape, &c. It may also be
worthy of remark, that the grape of Ma-
deira has been recently introduced into
Honduras, and gives every promise of be-
coming familiarized to its new situation.




OF IHONDURAS.


CHAP. HI.

Rivers Balizc and Sibun, their importance to the
Sellttement ; particulars connected uith the his.
tory ('/loth. Seasons for cutting mahogany :
the operation described. Commercial advan-
tages annexed to the above. Slaves, their la-
Iour and condil ion. Concluding remark.

IT has been already observed that cul-
livation forms no part of the leading
pursuits of the British Settlers at Hlon-
duras. The cutting of mahogany and
logwood is, therefore, almost their sole
occupation.
The River Balize, from which the
principal establishment has obtained its
name, from having the oldest and most
valuable mahogany works connected with
it, claims the first consideration. Some
of the wood-cutters have placed them-
selves as high up the Balize as two hun-




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


dred miles from its entrance, and from
the sea to this distance, it is perfectly na-
vigable for all the purposes required; the
continuance of it further, though conjec-
tured to be far, is not very accurately
known.
At no very great distance, however,
from the more remote situations of the
settlers in this direction, it has been ascer-
tained, that roads of communication can
be found which extend from the northern
possessions of the Spanish government to
its southern ones. Cross ways are also
spoken of, which lead to and unite with
its interior dependencies. It is perfectly
well understood, that the public dis-
patches which relate to the Spanish colo-
nial departments are principally forward-
ed by land, particularly during war.
They are entrusted to Indian couriers,
who perform the longest journies with ex-
traordinary dispatch. Few English have
had the opportunity of knowing any thing




OF HONDURAS.


accurately of these roads, or of the places
to which they lead. It having been in-
variably the policy of Spain to guard as
strictly as possible against every informa-
tion of the kind being obtained; those
persons therefore who have travelled over
them, have in most instances been in a
state of captivity, and not unfrequently
compelled to haue their eyes closely ban-
daged. At the head of the River Balize,
a town of considerable size and popula-
tion, named Potent, is situated. It is
placed in the centre of a large lake, and
is considered a place of, haisai.hmeiit for
Spanish culprits. It has a governor and
small garrison annexed to it, and in a
south westerly direction is deemed about
eight or ten days journey from the highest
of the English Settlements. The com-
iunication from Potent, to the rich and
extensive city of Guatimala is believed to
be uninterrupted.
The Sibun, or Sheeboon, as itis usually




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


called, is the next river of importance in
this country. The navigation of this is
much bolder than that of the Balize, and
vast quantities of mahogany are floated
down it, and from the many branches and
creeks with which it is united. The
banks of this river are thickly studded with
plantations, and the soil connected with
it is generally considered of rich and pro-
ductive quality. During the rains, the
floods in the Sibun are extremely great, for
in a few hours, it has been known to rise
from its original level upwards of fifty
feet: its decrease is usually as rapid; and
little inconvenience, excepting the occa-
sional loss of a few cattle, happens to the
settlers from this circumstance. Its en-
trance from the sea is about three leagues
in a southwardly direction from the ri-
ver Balize.
Several of the rivers comprehended
within the English limits, plentifully
abounding with both mahogany and




OF HIONDURAS.


logwood, were abandoned at the com-
mencement of our recent hostility with
Spain. The immediate contiguity of these
rivers to the possessions of the latter, and
the insecurity that might have attended
the unprotected settler in his employment,
no doubt suggested the expediency of this,
Our establishments of this kind were more
particularly confined to the Rio-Neuvo,
and Rio-Honda, each of them a very short
distance from the principal settlement,
and both navigable for vessels of consider-
able burthen.
About thirty miles up the Balize, on
its banks, are found, what in this country
are denominated, the Indian-hills. These
are small eminences,which are supposed to
have been raised by the aborigines over
their dead, human bones and fragments
of a coarse kind of earthen-ware, being
frequently dug from them. The Indian-
hills are seldom discovered but in the im-
mediate vicinity of rivers or creeks, a




BRITLSH SETTLEMENT


circumstance which has afforded another
supposition, that they were formed by the
natives as places of refuge during the pre-
valence of floods. The foot of these hills
is regularly planted round with large
stones, and the whole may perhaps be
thought to bear a very strong resemblance
to the ancient barrows, or tumuli, so
commonly found in various parts of
England.
On branch of the river Sibun, named
Indian-creek, arc situated the caves.
These are subterraneous passages which
have been formed at the base of three or
four mountains of very considerable
height, no doubt by the force of the cur-
rent of water, which probably for many
centuries has forced its way through them.
The largest of these passages is somewhat
more than a quarter of a mile in length,
though in this country it has a greater
extent given to it.
It would certainly require no common




01O HONDURAS


powers of description to delineate with
fidelity the exquisite beauties connected
with the largest of the caves. The en-
trance to it from Indian-creek, after many
w\indings, bursts suddenly on the sight,
;nd resembles very closely the aperture of
an oven, and is thickly overhung with
rocks and trees of the grandest, but wild-
eso workmanship. When this is passed,
a wide and spacious lake instantly com-
mences, the water of which is silent and
deep, being scarcely heard to murmur,
but during the most tempestuous floods.
The lofty roof is arched with the most
exact proportion, and is profusely studded
with glittering crystallizations. Torch-
light affords the visitor the only means of
advantageously viewing this sublime piece
of scenery ; for if in one or two places, an
occasional beam of the sun, burlsing with
inconceivable lustre through clefts of the
mountain, be withdrawn, entire darkness
pervades the whole; and the smallest




BRITISIL SETTLEMENT


sound made in passing, being quickly
loudly reverberated, is forcibly calculated
to strike the ear with a feeling of solemn
grandeur.
The caves are thought by some to have
been produced by the labour of the In-
dians: hence the name of the water
which finds its course through them; but
this conjecture stands divested of every
probability to support it. When the
waters are at the lowest, the solitary re-
cesses of the caves are the chosen haunts
of many animals of prey, of which the
tiger may be most frequently traced.
There are two seasons in the year for
the cutting of mahogany : the first com-
mencing shortly after Christmas, or at
the conclusion of what is termed the wet
season, the other about the middle of the
year. At such periods all is activity, and
the falling of trees, or the trucking out
those that have been fallen, form the
chief employment. Some of the wood is




OF IIONDURAS.


rough-squared on the spot, but this part
of the labour is generally suspended until
the logs are rafted to the different rivers'
mouths. These rafts often consist of more
than two hundred logs, and arc floated as
many hundred miles. When the floods
are unusually rapid, it very frequently
happens, that the labour of a season, or
perhaps of many, is at once destroyed by
the breaking asunder of a raft, -and the
whole of the mahogany being hurried
precipitately to the sea.
The gangs of negroes employed in this
work consist of from ten to fifty each; tiew
exceed the latter number. The large
bodies are commonly divided into several
small ones, a plan which it is supposed
greatly facilitates labour.
Each gang of slaves has one belonging
to it, who is styled the huntsman. He is
generally selected from the most intelli-
gent of his fellows, and his chief occupa-




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


tion is to search the woods, or as in this
country it is termed, the bush, to find la-
bour for the whole. A negro of this de-
scription is often valued at more than five
hundred pounds.
About the beginning of August, the
huntsman is dispatched on his errand, and
if his owner be working on his own
ground, this is seldom an employment of
much delay or difficulty. He cuts his
way through the thickest of the woods to
the highest spots, and climbs the tallest
Iree he finds, from which he minutely sur
veys the surrounding country. At this
season, the leaves of the mahogany tree
are invariably of a yellow reddish hue,
and an eye accustomed to this kind of ex-
ercise can discover, at a great distance,
the places where the -wood is most abun-
dant. He now descends, and to these his
steps arc directed ; and without compass:
or other guide than what observation has




OF HONDURAS.


imprinted on his recollection, he never
fails to reach the exact point to which h
aims.
It not unfrequently happens, when the
huntsman has been particularly successful
in finding a large body of wood,' that it
becomes a contest with his conscience,
whether he shall disclose the matter to
his master, or sell it to his neighbour: a
liberal equivalent for this breach of fide-
lity being always punctually discharged.
Those, however, who afford encourage-
ment to such practices, by such impolitic
temptation, are perhaps not more mindful
of the old adage than of their interest, as
it cannot but indirectly sanction their
own slaves to take equal advantage when-
ever the opportunity presents itself.
On some occasions no ordinary strata-
gem is necessary to be resorted to by the
huntsman to prevent others from availing
themselves of the advantage of his disco-
veries; for if his steps be traced by those
E




BnITISH SETTLEMENT


engaged in the same pursuit, which is a
very common thing, all his ingenuity must
be exerted to beguile them from the true
scent. In this, however, he is not always
successful, being followed by those who
are entirely aware of all the arts he may
use, and whose eyes are so quick, that the
lightest turn of a leaf, or the faintest im-
pression of his foot, is unerringly per-
ceived: even the dried leaves which may
be strewed on the ground often help to
conduct to the secret spot. Patents for
discovery having never been contemplated
by the Honduras wood-cutters, any inva-
sion of the right appertaining to it has
therefore seldom been very scrupulously
regarded by them. And it consequently
happens, that persons so engaged must
frequently undergo the disappointment
of finding an advantage, they had pro-
mised to themselves, seized on by others.
The mahogany tree is commonly cut
about twelve feet from the ground, ans.a




OF HONDURAS.


stage is erected for the axe-man employed
in levelling it. This to an observer would
appear a labour of much danger, but an
accident rarely happens to the person en-
gaged in it. The body of the tree, from
the dimensions of the wood it furnishes,
is deemed the most valuable; but for pur-
poses of ornamental kind, the branches
or limbs are generally preferred, the grain
of these being much closer, and the veins
more rich and variegated.
The last day of falling, if the negroes
have not been disturbed in their labour,
is always one of festivity and merriment;
and these people now anticipate a leisure
that will allow them to think of comforts
in which they could not indulge at the
commencement of their work. Some are
busily employed in the improvements of
their dwellings, which are nothing more
than huts composed of a few sticks and
leaves, that of the master being seldom
better: whilst others search the woods for
EQ




frRITISH SETTLEMENT


game, in which they generally are abun-
dantly successful. The more ingenious
turn their attention to the manufacture of
a variety of small articles, from the less
valuable mahogany, for domestic use;
and which, either as presents to their
wives, or as matters for sale, are disposed
of on their return from the woods.
The mahogany tree is seldom found in
clusters or groups, but single and often
much dispersed; what, therefore, is de-
nominated a mahogany work, compre-
hends an extent of several miles. The
growth of this tree is considered rapid,
but that of the logwood much more so,
which, it is said, attains maturity in five
years.
It has been remarked, that the maho-
gany which is fallen between the months
of February and September is very liable
to split; the same observation extends to
that also which grows in rocky or moun-
tainous situations. This is the bay-man'e




OF HONDURAS.


greatest evil, for the wood more particu-
larly subject to this inconvenience, is in-
variably the largest and of the finest qua-
lity. There is but one precaution against
this, whenever the tendency towards it is
discovered, which is to keep the tree im-
mersed as closely as possible in deep
water.
The logs of mahogany are generally
brought out by cattle and trucks to the
water side, or to the Barquadier, as it is
termed in this country, which has been
previously prepared by the foreman of the
work for their reception. When the dis-
tapee is great, this is a labour of infinite
and tedious difficulty. As soon as a suf-
ficient number to form a raft is collected,
and the waters have gained the necessary
height, they are singly thrown from the
banks, and require no other aid or guid-
ance than the force of the current to float
them to the booms, which are large cables
placed across the rivers at the different




54 BRITISH SETTLEMENT
eddies or falls. Here they are once more
collected, each party claiming his own
from the general mass, and formed into
separate rafts for their fiaal destination.
Sometimes more than a thousand logs to-
gether are supported by the booms, and
the catastrophe attendant on their break-
ing asunder, which during extraordinary
floods often happens, has been previously
noticed.
The mahogany, when disposed of at
Honduras, produces from sixteen to thirty
pounds, Jamaica currency, per thousand
feet: the price of this article, however,
tan seldom be fixed, and must always
fluctuate as it may be governed by qua-
lity or size. The shipping of it to Eu-
rope, especially during war, has seldom
been found advantageous, excepting to a
few individuals, who have succeeded in
establishing a kind of preference in the
London market. The exporting of it to
the American States would, it is consi-




OF HONDURAS.


dered, be highly beneficial to the settlers.
were there less restriction in the way
of the dimensions of that which is per-
mitted to be carried to them: this ren-
ders the intercourse, as it exists at pre-
sent, of insignificant importance.
To give some idea of the profit, though
perhaps the instances of such success are
not numerous, which has been known to
attend the cutting of mahogany : a single
tree has been found to contain, 12000 su-
perficial feet, and this to produce up-
wards of one thousand pounds sterling.
This certainly is a most flattering view of
the subject, but unquestionably many
more examples of opposite advantage
might be produced. The great expense
the settler must incur in the purchase,
feeding, and clothing of a number of
slaves; the tools, cattle, and furniture, for
the purposes of draught, exclusive of a
variety of miscellaneous disbursements,
are all material drawbacks from any
6




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


thing like extraordinary gain in this un-
dertaking.
The annual cost of the negro alone
is estimated by each proprietor at llondu-
ras, at something more than 35 pounds
Jamaica currency: an expence which, in
the history of slavery, is probably without
parallel. As a fact so unusual may re-
quire more than naked assertion to sup-
port it, it may not be unnecessary to par-
ticularize what is commonly granted on
such occasions, and which custom has
long since brought into a regular exac-
tion. First, tlerecfure, of provisions:


Of Irish salt pork, to each ne-
gro, 5Tb per week, which
on an average of price, may
be estimated for 365 days at
Of flour, always the finest,
1It per day each, estimated
at...................


Carried forward


I'. s. d.



8 10 0



10 0 0

d 18 10 0







OF HONDURAS.


Brought forward
Of rum, supposing a gill to be
allowed to each slave per
day, during the days that
work is carrying on, which
may be numbered at 260:
the spirits at 10s. per gallon
Of sugar, 129 allowed, at
each, to each, at Is. 3d.
per f. ................
Of clothing: two suits of fa-
tigue, or working clothes,
usually of osuaburgs, at
about Is. 8d. per yard to
each, and making ........
One pair of coarse shoes ditto
ditto ................
Miscellaneous: tobacco and
pipes to each negro ....
Medical attendance, or medi-
cine, per contract, to each


. s. d.
18 10 0






4 1 3



0 15 0





1 4

0 13 4

1 10 0

0 13 4


Carried forward t 27 6 3




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


Brought forward
Saturday's labour, invariably
the privilege of the slave,
and which is generally en-
gaged by his owner: esta-
blished rate 3s. 4d. per day*


.. s. d.
27 6 3






8 13 4


Jamaica currency X 35 19 7

Equal in sterling, for each
slave, per annum. .... X 25 13 114


If he be not employed in regular mahogany
cutting, he is at least engaged in some occupation
by his master which gives him claim to this com.
pensation. This allowance, however, though it
be paid at the nominal rate of 3s. 4d. per day,
seldom actually amounts to any thing like so
much; it being in most instances accounted for
in slops, trinkets, or liquors, of the most infe-
rior kind; and which no doubt are given out in
this way at a profit of more than 200 per cent.
besides, the principal number of the persons en.
gaged in the cutting of mahogany being also in




OF HONDURAS.


The chief property of the settlers of
Honduras, from what has been advanced,
must be supposed to consist in slaves.
These have mostly been imported from
Africa by the intercourse with Jamaica,
no direct importation having ever taken
place; but many of these people are cre-
oles of the different West Indian Islands,
and several have been brought into the
Settlement, by their owners, from the
United States. And in no part of the
world, where slavery prevails, can the
condition of beings so circumstanced be
found of milder or more indulgent form.
The labour they undergo bears no pro-
portion to that which they sustain
throughout the islands: nor is it more to

trade, of course the above is provided for in the
way of business. To those who may not be so si.
tuatqd, of whom there are likewise several, and
who must depend on the merchant for such supplies,
this expense consequently bears a very different
proportion.




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


be compared with what they experience
in tihe States of America, a country which
at least professes to confer higher portion
of freedom than most others, whether it
really happen or not.
The value of the negro, if recently from
Africa, is computed from 120 to 160
Jamaica currency. Those who have
passed a few years in the country, and
have become accustomed to the labour of
it, frequently produce from 200 to
300.
A convoy is appointed from Jamaica
for the protection of the Honduras trade
to Europe twice a year, in January and
July.
It may be here observed, that if the
English were removed from the privileges
they at present enjoy at Honduras, scarcely
any other people could derive equal ad-
vantage from them. Even the Spaniards
themselves, in the very limited state of




OF HONDURAS. 61
their immediate commercial relations, and
while a maritime superiority remains to
the former, could be little, if in any way,
benefited by the circumstance. Indeed it
will possibly be not too much to assert,
that the people of the Spanish colonies
generally would very cheerfully wave all
pretensions of the kind, for the advantage
of obtaining an extension of mercantile
intercourse, by which the manufactures
of Britain might more readily reach
them, and for which they at all times
discover the most eager predilection.




6B BRITISH SETTLEMENT


CHAP. IV.

A code of laws formed ly Capt. Buranaby, Pre.
sent administration of justice. Courts of Hon-
duras, how held. Humane regulation for pro-
tecting manumitted slaves. Revenue. Popu-
lation. Diseases.

A code of laws or regulations was
formed for the English settlers at Hon-
duras by Capt. (afterwards Sir William)
Burnaby, in the year 1779. These yet
retain the name of their founder, and
Burnaby's laws have always been consi-
dered the fundamental or statute law of
the settlement. An examination of this
code will discover that it comprehends
little more than what is adapted to society
in its most contracted state, and which
never could have been intended to em-
brace any thing connected with a more
extensive population and growing in-




OF HONDURAS.


crease of property. When these regula-
tions were therefore enforced, it must.be
believed, it was merely intended, that
some direction or restraint should be im-
posed on a description of persons, who
had before lived without respect to rules
of any kind; and whose irregularities,
murders, piracies, and atrocities of every
sort, were continually perpetrated with a
barbarous indifference, because punish-
ment was unknown. Such unquestion-
ably was the state of society in this re-
mote quarter, and one that, no doubt,
powerfully actuated the British com-
mander, to adopt such measures as he
very properly considered might be pro-
ductive of results more consonant to jus-
tice and humanity.
The present administration of justice
is vested in a bench of magistrates, con-
sisting of seven. These officers are elect-
ive, annually: a mode of appointment,
which, in this respect at least, must have




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


many obvious defects, and which, when ex-
ercised in small communities, will not al-
ways be found the most certain way of se-
curingthe impartial ends which ought ever
to be borne in view when annexed to a
matter of such solemn importance. And
it may very fairly be presumed, that a
proper interpretation of laws would be
more likely to occur, from the nomination
of persons in some previous shape quali-
fied to fill such situations, than could
possibly happen from the accidental, or
as it is more frequently found, capricious
privilege of electing to them. In the
weighty and serious business of jurispru-
dence, the maxim,

Ne sutor ultra crepidam,

should never be forgotten.
If it be the will of government to re-
tain this establishment, it may be hoped,
that an early attention of the legislative
power towards this momentous point will




OF HONDURAS.


occur : for, as it has been remarked, the
increase of property, the more fixed state
of society, and above all, the commercial
consequence it has attained, would cer-
tainly seem to require something of a
more defined and systematic form than
what at present is acknowledged in it.
The courts of Honduras are held three
times in each year : other courts are also
occasionally held to determine matters of
inferior kind, and to adjust the differences
of transient persons. From the adjudi-
cations of these courts it is contended there
can be no appeal: a conclusive power,
that may not appear altogether so satis-
factory, especially to those who may have
become in any degree acquainted with the
more enlarged system of jurisprudence
adopted in other countries.
A recent law has been enforced, which
entitles the settlers to much commendation,
though the feeling idea which suggested
F




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


the necessity of so humane a measure may
have originated in another quarter.* It is
one prohibiting the manumission of slaves,
unless the owner previously enters into a
specific cngagementwith an equivalent se-
curity, that the persons so manumittedshall


Tt is believed, in tli i.lanud of Jamn:ica. Pre-
vious to the introduction of this rrgulatiun, it will
not be denied, that the condition of the slave was
often found truly deplorable. Broken down by
age or infirmity, the boon, thus obtained, was more
frequently extended, because perhaps that he had
creasi dc, fIrol one or both of the foregoing causes, to
be longer capable of toiling, than from any impulse
of a more generous nature.
A temple of JEsculapius might occasionally have
begun quite as convenient in our colonies as it was
foundon the island in the Tiber, to which the Romans
consigned their sick slaves, and from which, if the
god was indulgent in restoring them to health, they
once more were taken into their masters' employ:
if they died, no farther inquiry was made about
them.
Mors ultima line rerum est.
1




OF HONDURAS.


not, in sickness or oldage, becomeburthen-
some to themselves or to the public. A si-
milar regulation also extends to such
freedom as may be granted by testa-
mentary bequest.
The domestic revenue of the settlement
is principally drawn from a duty or tax
on transient traders, who pay five pounds
per cent. on all articles of merchandise.
This duty is productive, but much more
so whilst an intercourse with the United
States remains uninterrupted.
From all wines and spirits imported,
one shilling and sixpence per gallon is
levied: this contributes very considerably
to the Honduras treasury.
From annually licensing retail liquor
shops, of which the number in Balize, if
its size be considered, is prodigious : these
shops are rated as high as thirty pounds
each.
From fines levied by the courts on civil
and criminal actions.
V 2




6O BRITISH SETTLEMENT
From non-performance of the duty
of magistrate, when elected, one hun-
dred pounds. Non-attendance of ju-
rors, &c.
From public retailers of goods, ten
pounds per annum each.
From tonnage of vessels, seven-pence.
halfpenny per ton ; and a harbour duty
on ships of three pounds.
The total of this revenue may be taken,
communibus annis, at between six and seven
thousand pounds Jamaica currency. It
isdisposed of at the will and under tihe
direction of the magiLtracy for the. time
being.
It is computed that there is not more
than 200 white inhabitants in the settle-
ment of Honduras, and somewhat more
than. 500 people of colour and free blacks.
The number of negro slaves is supposed
to be near 3000. No census of the
entire population has been recently
take.n. It may be observed, however, that




OF HONDURAS.


the increase of the white population
bears no kind of proportion with its de-
crease.
The diseases more particularly inciden-
tal to this part of the world are fevers,
chiefly of the intermittent kind. During
the hottest months those of a bilious and
inflammatory nature are likewise preva-
lent, and frequently prove fatal to per-
sons newly arrived. Complaints of a
pulmonic description are seldom the at.
tendants of hot climates, and are therefore
but little known in this.
The influenza, so common and fre-
quently so fatal in Europe, proved pecu-
liarly destructive here during the months
of December 1807, and January 1808.
It may be remarked, as a singular cir-
cumstance connected with this complaint,
that it proved invariably more fatal to
blacks than to whites.
There is an evil with which the ne-
groes employed in the woods are very corn




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


only afflicted, and from which the
whites are not entirely exempt; this is
called the bay-sore. This disorder is believ-
ed to be peculiar to Honduras. It usually
breaks out in the hands or legs, and is at-
tended in almost every instance with very
acute pain. Medical opinion has deter-
mined it to be of cancerous description,
and the cure is only effected by powerful
caustics, or applications of a corrosive
nature.
The tetanus, or locked-jaw, the fre-
quent and dreadful attendant on almost
every kind of wound throughout the West
Indies and the greater part of the Ame-
rican continent, is not known here.
The force contributed by government
for the defence of the settlement of Hon-
duru, both maritime and military, is
highly respectable. The settlers from
amongst themselves have formed a body
of militia, composed chiefly of persons
of colour and free blacks; confidential




OF HONDURAS.


slaves may likewise be included. A con-
siderable share of reliance is placed on
the militia, and which, from the zeal and
collective energy it evinced, when the
Spaniards attempted an invasion in the
year 1798, seems very justly to belong to
it. And in any instance of future attack,
it is entirely evident that the most essen-
tial service might be expected to result
from a co-operation of this body with the
regular force. Still, however, it must be
declared, that the present organization of
the militia is in no shape as perfect as it
is capable under proper direction of being
made.
It never has been believed that the
settlement can be attacked but by sea. On
the land side it is an entire swamp or
morass for many miles back, at most sea-
sons nearly covered with water, through
which it would be impossible to move
guns of the lightest weight, and indeed
through which a man would find infinite




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


difficulty to move himself. If an attempt
should he made by the river Balize, an
event that at certain periods has been ex-
pected, innumerable small vessels would
be required for the purpose, and after,
these were obtained, the passage of them
could only be effected during the rains, a
season most disadvantageous for every
kind of hostile operation in tropical
countries. At every other time the navi-
gation of this river would be effectually
impeded.
The channel is protected by the guns
of a strong fort lately erected by a comi
petent engineer; and, in honour of his
Majesty, this work is named Fort
icorge. Its situation is singularly com-
manding, and, in any attempt of a land-
ing, would be. capable of throwing a most
destructive fire, An enemy not choosing
to iace this fort, but inclining to either
flank of the town of Balize, the only pos-
sible points of gaining the shore, would
4





OF HONDURAS.


have to encounter the passage of shoals of
mud and sand which extend a conside-
rable way into the sea, and on each side
would be received by the guns of several
batteries most judiciously 'placed, and
which must inevitably expose him to the
most annoying of all opposition, a cross-
fire, independent of what, in addition to
this, he might expect to be treated with
from the shore, a well-directed discharge
from light field-pieces and musquetry.*

The whole of the slaves of fIonduras are per.
mitted to use army, and possibly a more expert I'oly
of marksmen could no where be found. To many
this'would appear an impolitic and questionable'
kind of indulgence; but let it be borne in view,
that the expectation of fidelity and attachment
may be best founded on the consistent exercise of
humanity and forbearance, and much of every in.
convenient result will ib at once diminished.




74 RRITISH SETTLZMBNT


CHAP. V.

The pursuits of the Settlerr of Honduras lead to
distant, and widely different directions.
Christmas the season of general festivity. The
slaves particularly happy at this period.
Water-sports. The Dory and Pit-pan boats,
peculiar to the Settlement, described. Shooting
and fishing parties.

ONE of the most frequent, and cer-
tainly not least founded, complaints, that
has been advanced against establishments
in remote countries, is the entire want of
neighbourhood and society connected
with them; an inconvenience that can
scarcely be compensated for by the posses-
sion of every other advantage, and one that
has often shaken the resolution of the
hardiest adventurer. Thus it happens in
the country of which we speak; for labour
here, and that with a small share of occa-




OP HONDURAS.


sional relaxation, almost exclusively occu-
pies the attention of whites and blacks;
and, engaged in pursuits that lead to di-
stant and in widely different directions,'it
seldom happens, perhaps not more than
once in many months, that the settlers of
Honduras have any kind of intercourse
with each other, or for the same interval
with their homes or families. The set-
ting out on a mahogany-cutting expe-
dition resembles in some degree that of
departing on a long voyage, the prepa-
rations for both being nearly similar; ad
the dreary time that must be passed in the
woods, in this employment, may not un-
aptly be compared to what is felt by many
in a long confinement on shipboard.
Christmas, however, is the season that
in this country usually brings all ranks
together-the bond and the free; and the
hilarity which prevails amongst the former
order cannot possibly be more largely par-




B ITSl SETTLEMENT


taken of by any beings in the world. The
young, the old, even the maimed and the
dccrepid, all unite in contributing to ren-
der this period joyous and happy; it may
be added, and noisy !
The morning of Christmas-day is inva-
riably ushered in by the discharging of
small-arms in every direction, every thing
now from established custom being free
and unrestrained; and the master's house
(where the festivity commences) and
whatever it contains is now open to all.
The members of the several African tribes,
again met together after a long separa-
tion, now form themselves into different
groups, and nothing can more forcibly,
denote their respective casts of nationil-
charantcr than their music, songs, ahd
dances. The convulsed rapid movements
of some, and the affectedly reluctant steps
of otl :rs, appear inconceivablyludicrous ;
whilst the occasional br Fst- of old chorus,




.OF HONDURAS.


with which all are animated, contribute
greatly to heighten the singularity of the
entertainment.
The endurance of the negroes during
the period of their holidays, which usually
last a week, is incredible. Few of them
are known to take any portion of rest for
the whole time; and for the same space
they seldom know an interval of sobriety.
It is the single season of relaxation grant-
ed to their condition; that it should be
partaken of immoderately may therefore
appear not altogether so extraordinary.
At this season water-sports are also com-
man, and Dory-racing affords a verygene-
ral amusement; and on these occasions
jge sums are freely betted both by
owners and slaves. This species of diver-
sion has no small share of utility attached
Sit, as it contributes to render the latter
hghly expert in a kind of exercise that is
iiseparably connected with the labour in
1hich they are principally engaged.
Thle Dory i usually formed of maho-




78 BRITISH SETTLEMENT


gany or cedar, generally from a solid piece;
its length is from 25 to 50 feet; and so
buoyant and safe is this sortof vessel found,
that persons accustomed to the manage-
ment of it often fearlessly venture out to
sea in it, and in weather when it might
be unsafe to trust'to vessels of much larger
kind. It is worked with paddles instead
of oars, and the fastest and best manned
rowing boats have universally failed in a
competition with it and the negro paddlers
of Honduras.
Tie Pit-pan is another water vehicle
much used in this country, and for cele-
rity is preferred to the former; but this
can only be employed in smooth water.
It is formed of the same materials, t0l
shape alone constituting the difference-
the Pit-pan being flat-bottomed, the Dory
round. Much taste is displayed by al
orders in fitting out both these convey-
aices-; and as they afford the onlyopportu-
nities of travelling in this country, every
expedient is resorted to, to render theci




OF HONDURAS.


pleasant and commodious. They are
commonly furnished with capacious
awnings, hung round with curtains to
defend the passenger from the sun by day
and the dews of night; precautions that
are extremely necessary, for in journey-
ing to the distant mahogany works, an
abode for some time must frequently be
taken up in them, and when any exposure
in an unhealthy climate might be attended
with evil consequences.*

*It is probable that little alteration has takli
place in the form and construction of these vessels
since the time that Bartholomew Columbus, (on the
authority of Herrera; and as related by B. Ed.
wards, Hist. West Indies, vol. i. Svo. p. 103) met
one of them in passing through the gulf of Hoodn.
ras. It was eight feet in breadth, and in length
equal to a Spanish galley. Over the middle was an
awning, composed of mats and palm.tree leaves;
underneath which were disposed the women and
children, secured both from rain and the spray of
the sea; it was laden with commodities from
Jucatan.




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


Numerous parties of the settlers also
now avail themselves of this period of
leisure, to make excursions to the woods, or
out amongst the sea-islands or keys, to
enjoy the amusements of fowling and
fishing. On these occasions an ample
stock of wines, liquors, &c. is laid in, and
the gun and net seldom fail to procure an
abundant supply of whatever else is re-
.quisite. Wherever the most sport pro-
mises to be found, a temporary encaml.-
ment is speedily formed ; and the hours
not occupied in the pursuit of game are
always passed with great hilarity.




OF HONDURAS.


CHAP. VI.

Subjects connected with the Natural History cf
Honduras. Extraordinary advantages that
might attend many pursuits annexed to cultiva-
tion again insisted on. Trees and plants, their
great variety : the uses of several species des-
cribed.

AN early attention has been directed
towards the probable degree of success
that might attend the culture of most of
the vegetable productions peculiar to tro-
pical situations in the settlement of
Honduras. An outline, or general descrip-
tion of those which at present are most fa-
miliarly known in it having likewise been
given, a farther enumeration of them
cannot be necessary. But previous to
concluding this part of the subject, it
may yet be remarked, that this pros-
pect of advantage is very materially encou-
G




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


raged by the acknowledged superiority of
the climate and soil of this part of the
continent, and from the circumstance of
its being happily removed from the dis-
couraging inconvenience of the frequent
and continued droughts so fatal to every
agricultural attempt in many other parts
of it, and from which the greater num-
ber of the West India islands arc seldom
exempt.
It will, therefore, only remain for hu-
man industry, if no intervention shall
offer to the exercise of it, to improve
the benefits thus conferred by the indul-
gence of nature; for beside her almost
spontaneous gifts, little has hitherto
been sought in this quarter of the
world.-
Leaving this branch of the natural
history of the country, we now proceed
to another, which it is presumed may be
less known, though certainly, from the
many valuable advantages annexed to




OF HONDURAS.


it, it can scarcely be deemed less impor-
tant.
Independent of the mahogany tree, the
value of which has been previously point-
ed out, there is an infinite variety of other
kinds, the growth of Honduras, fitted in
as many ways for the most useful purposes,
but more particularly for purposes of a
maritime nature. Of this class may be
enumerated, as being entitled to particular
distinction, the three species of the Man-
grove, red, white, and black: that of the
former colour is greatly preferred for
the firmness of its texture and its extraor-
dinary durability: the bark it furnishes
has been thought little inferior to that
of the oak, when applied to the pur-
pose of tanning leather. This species
of the Mangrove usually grows on the
borders of the sea, or on the edges of
the rivers and creeks contiguous to it:
the second and last kinds are found
more inland.




BRITISI SETTLEMENT


The Santa Maria, Sapodilla, and Sea-
grape, are all found extremely useful; the
last particularly so, from the naturally
formed knees and timbers it supplies for
small vessels. Cedar is also found plenti-
ful and large, and is usually applied to
similar purposes.
The Palmetto, of two kinds, the royal
and the humble,* is abundant on the dif-
ferent islands or keys. The first is a tree
of considerable size, and found remark-
ably serviceable in the constructing of
wharves, or when put to any use where
a continued' resistance to water may be
needed. The last is useful in building,
and furnishes a durable thatch from its
leaves.
Parallel wiith the different rivers, in al-
most every direction, are found extensive
PineRidgcs, tractsof land aboundiugwith
the Pine tree. The timbers which these

*So distinguished by Browne, Nat. Hist Ja-
maica, Fol. 1.90, 330.




OF RONDURAS.


furnish can scarcely be exceeded in size,
and are very generally considered, for
every necessary purpose, greatly superior
to what can be imported of the same kind
from the United States. But the cause
which has been before,assigned, the high
value of labour in this country, has occa-
sioned the settlers in most instances, rather
to prefer purchasing such materials from
the Americans than have recourse to those
before them of domestic growth. Of the
pine the kinds are various.
For a variety of purposes, the Bullet
tree, Iron-wood tree, Calabash tree, and
Button-wood tree, are all much admired.
On the sides of most of the rivers the
Willow is common, so likewise is a
species of the Bamboo.
The Mohoe, or Althea, is also found
at some distance up the several rivers.
The body of this tree is usually converted
into rafts to float the logwood down to
the sea. The bark of it is woven into




BRI'rISH SETTLEMENT'


ropes, which are found to be little inferior
to those made from hemp for strength and
durability.
The tree which exudes the resinous
substance called Caoutchouc, or elastic
gum, from which the well known material
of Indian rubber is made, is abundantly
found in most places. The name which
this tree bears in Honduras could not be
learned; Siplionia elastica is that by
which it is familiar to naturalists.* The
Locust tree, which affords another valua-
ble gum is likewise common.

It would be impossible to contend for the accu.
racy of the nomenclature, which, whenI treating
of the natural productions of remote countries, canl
only in many instanc.cI he resorted to. And as an
infinite variety of subjects, connected both with the
vegetable and animal kingdoms, may lhave escaped
enumeration in the catalogues of the scitntihc, such
names, therefore, can alone he properly continued
to them, which may have been suggu'sted by their
respective uses, or which local circumstances may
have poir *d out.




OF HONDURAS.


Of the trees which furnish dye woods,
the most plentiful and easily obtained are
those of the Fustic and Logwood. Some
other kinds adapted to the like uses are
occasionally found, but not in such quan-
tites as to render the discovery of them of
much importance. A species of that
which bears the name of Brasiletto is
sometimes met with on the islands con-
tiguous to the coast, and forms an article
of export. The Pterocarpus Draco,
which yields the valuable commodity of
Dragon's blood, is a-native of the interior
country.
Of a class different from the foregoing,
the first place may very properly be as-
signed to the Cocoa-nut tree, from
the well known variety of uses to
which it may be applied. This is
the common inhabitant of -almost
every situation within the tropics; and'
in this country, both on the con-
4




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


tinent and different islands, is most abun-
dant.
The Cabbage-tree, the Areca oloracea
of Linneus, and Palma of Browne, the
beauty of which has been before slightly
noticed, is justly entitled to more particu-
lar remark. It may be considered, as the
latter has denominated it, the queen of the
woods. In height it frequently rises to
upwards of an hundred feet, entirely erect,
and tapering with exquisite proportion to
its summit. The trunk iswithoutbranches
or leaves until within a few feet of the top;
and the cabbage, or substance from which
it has derived its familiar appellation, is
also found near the top, enclosed within
a thin, green, spongy bark. In trees that
have acquired full growth, the cabbage is
large, in form not unlike the thick part
of the tusk of the elephant, perfectly white,
and in long thin convolute flakes. When
boiled it is exceedingly pleasant to the




OF HONDURAS.


taste, closely resembling that of the arti-
choke; and in its natural state animals
of most kinds eat of it with avidity. It
likewise forms a very agreeable pickle, in
which way it is often used. The young
Cocoa-nut tree also contains a similar kind
of substance within its trunk, equally
good with the above; but in this it is
found nearer the root.
The Silk Cotton tree, a species of the
Bombax of Linnaus, in this country at-
tains an height nearly equal to the former;
and whilst in bloom, is certainly one of
the most splendid productions of nature.*
At such season it is entirely crowned with
a profusion of brilliant flowers of rich
and variegated hues, of which the colour
of the carnation is the most predominant.

This is not altogether assented to by Browne,
Nat. t. Jamaica, Fol. 277. But the species of
which he speaks, as being common to the East and
West Indies, may perhaps differ from that which
is found on the American continent.




BRITISH SETTLEMENT


This bloom is suddenly succeeded by a
multitude of small pods which contain
the cotton, and which burst when suffici-
ently ripe. The crop of cotton it affords
is said to be triennial.* The trunk of this
tree is much used in the building of ca-
noes and small vessels.
For purposes of a medicinal nature, the
variety of trees and shrubs peculiar to this
country is astonishingly great. Indepen-
dent of which, many others have become
familiar to it from cultivation. Of the
former, the Jatropha, or Physic nut,
claims particular notice. It is the pro-
pecry of this nut to act upon the human
systemm either in the way of emeutic or ca-
thartic; or if it be required, powerfully
as both; effects which depend on the
mode of its preparation, and which in
all ways is intimately understood by the
inhabitants. It is very generally consi-
dered one of the most efficacious antidotes
Natural Hist. of Guiana, Oct.06.




OF HONDURAS.


to bile, and consequently must be deemed
singularly valuable in a climate where
the disposition to such habit is so pre-
valent.
The Palma Christi, from which the
castor oil is obtained, grows abundantly.
The plant which bears the name of the
Vegetable Musk, or, as it is commonly
called, Snake Okro, is also plentiful. The
seeds of this contain an highly aromatic
oil; and which when bruised and taken
internally, are believed to be an infallible
remedy for the bite of the most venomous
snake. An application to the womuled
part, in the way of poultice, of the same
kind, is likewise recommended. The
Eryngo, also a native of Honduras, is
much resorted to for the like purpose.
The Dolichos pruriens, or Cowhage, is
common. Its generally established qua-
lity as a powerful vermifuge is well
known, and occasions it to be much ued
in this country.




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