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CAR I B BE
Reprinted from a copy in the collections of the
University of Florida Librairies
Reprinted by permission of
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES, Kingston, Jamaica
A Division of
KRAUS-THOMSON ORGANIZATION LIMITED
Printed in Germany
VOL. 1 No. 2
JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER 1949
GREAT MEN OF THE CARIBBEAN
Toussaint L'Ouverture, W. Adolphe Roberts 4
Poem. And the Pouis Sing. C. L, Herbert 8
THE ABORIGINAL REMAINS OF TRINIDAD AND THE WEST INDIES (Pt. II)
J. A. Bullbrook 10
DIALECT. S. Sharp 16
CARIBBEAN VOICES. PROLEGOMENA TO A WEST INDIAN CULTURE
H. L. V Swanzy 21
AN EXPERIMENT IN LAND SETTLEMENT AT LUCKY HILL, JAMAICA
James Wright 29
THE MILKY WAY. Dr. T. W. J. Taylor 39
The Sunlit Caribbean 45
The Negro in America 46
The Guiana Edition 47
PHILIP SHERLOCK, University College, Jamaica, B.W.1.
ANDREW PEARSE, Gordon Street, St. Augustine, Trinidad, B.W.I.
COVER ILLUSTRATION was taken from the film "Jamaica Problem"
MSS. AND COMMUNICATIONS TO THE EDITORS should be addressed to the Editor of the
Caribbean Quarterly, and not to an individual. Unsolicited MSS. which are not accepted
for publication will be returned if accompanied by a stamped addressed envelope.
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4/2 p.a. ; $1.20 or 5/- p.a. post free.
HOW TO OBTAIN CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY
I. The journal will be available from certain booksellers at 30c. or I/3d. per copy.
2. If you order the journal through the Resident Tutor in your area, and call for
it, the annual subscription is $1 or 4/2d. to be paid to your Resident Tutor.
3. If you wish to have the journal sent to you regularly by post, you should send
an annual subscription of $1.20 or 5/- to your local Resident Tutor, or to the
Editor in Trinidad, according to the information given below :-
Trinidad and Tobago
Subscribers in United
Kingdom or Abroad
... Mrs. G. Cumper, Extra Mural Dept., University
College of the West Indies.
... Stanley Sharp, Esq., Stuart House, Gabourel Lane,
F. W. Case, Esq., Extra Mural Dept., St. John's,
B. H. Easter, Esq., 68, Micoud Street, Castries,
A. Lennox-Short, Esq., Extra Mural Dept., Kitty
Douglas Smith, Esq., c/o Education Office, Bridge-
A. C. Pearse, Esq., Gordon Street, St. Joseph.
THE EXPECTATIONS of the Extra Mural Department and the Editors in launching
Caribbean Quarterly have been fully justified by the eager response to its appearance
throughout the West Indies. Supplies of No. I are running low, inspite of the fact
that we printed 2,00o copies. Our circulation is being built up on the basis of an
annual subscription for four issues of the journal. So far the public has collaborated
by subscribing. We now look for help by criticism, and contribution.
It may strike readers as odd that the article on West Indian Literature comes
from the hand of someone who has never been in the West Indies. Mr. Swanzy,
the author of the article, describes himself as "caretaker" As London editor of
the programme "Caribbean Voices" many hundreds of West Indian manuscripts
have passed through his hands. He daily awaits the end of his caretakership, and
hopes to see some West Indian agency or agencies take over from him the task
of collecting, assorting, criticising, and circulating the work of West Indian writers.
Our policy is to publish one or two poems, and perhaps a story of especial
merit, every quarter. These may be appearing for the first time or they may
have appeared in some local paper or publication. In order to do this work, we
must receive copies of publications as they appear. We also hope that writers will
send us manuscripts, so that the scope of our choice may be wide.
We also invite artists to assist us with the journal's cover. We should like
them to send us photographs of their work which could be printed on the outer
cover as part of the simple design. Photographs of drawings or engravings in black
and white, of works of sculpture, and of paintings which are rather bold in form
would be most suitable.
Finally, letters to the Editor could be considered for publication if they make
a serious contribution to the problems they discuss.
This number of Caribbean Quarterly contains more articles than the last.
Those who are looking forward to further news of the work of the Extra Mural
Department will have to wait till No. 3, when we shall once again publish
"Resident Tutors Notes".
Great Men of the Caribbean
I. Toussaint l'Ouverture
W. ADOLPHE ROBERTS
IT IS AN open question whether Toussaint l'Ouverture of Haiti, Sim6n Bolivar of
Venezuela, and Jos6 Marti of Cuba are the three greatest men of the Caribbean
region, but one of them Sim6n Bolivar easily stands first in any appraisal
of Caribbean heroes, and must be accounted one of the outstanding personalities
of all time. He is called The Liberator, because he freed five Spanish-American
countries and eventually came to be recognized by every Spanish-speaking land
in the New World as the supreme champion of the republican ideal. Jos6 Marti,
a saint-like character, who gave of himself without stint, is known to Cubans as
The Apostle. Toussaint l'Ouverture could wear either of these titles, and they
would be more suitable than some of the pompous names that have been applied
to him. But I prefer the title he bore when he joined the revolutionists against the
French. He was The Healer, in the sense of the physician, and when we come to
analyse it, that was the gift that he brought in a spiritual as well as a practical
sense to the salvation of his people.
Chronologically, Toussaint is the first of the three. He was born about the
year 1743, the son of black slaves on the Breda plantation in northern Haiti. The
full name given him was Francois Dominique Toussaint, and according to custom
he bore the family tag of Br6da, after the plantation. His absentee master was
the humanitarian Comt6 de No6, who had given instructions that the slaves should
be well treated and his boss was the equally kindly manager of the plantation,
Bayou de Libertas.
Toussaint was a frail child with an inclination toward learning which his owners
did not thwart, as most owners would have done. He was allowed to pick out his
letters until he could read and write, though he was an adult before he attained a
fair command of these accomplishments. The few books around the house were
at his disposal. He began as a shepherd of goats. His passionate love for all
animals attracted attention and he was made steward of all the livestock. Finally
he was promoted to be coachman, a position of relative dignity, which, combined
with his knowledge of herbs obtained from his African-born father, gave him
considerable prestige with the Negroes of his own and adjoining plantations.
Toussaint reached his forties without creating the impression of being anything
more than a studious, somewhat religious, hard-working man who did not resent
the condition of slavery. Yet his secret views on human liberty were far otherwise.
There was being developed the most statesmanlike brain produced as yet by the
Negro race in America-a brain with intuitions of moral leadership, and, what is
more strange, with theories of military strategy that were to prove entirely sound.
It is said that there was a manual of arms, with special instruction for officers, at
the Br~da plantation. There undoubtedly was a copy of the Abb6 Raynal's
Histoire Philosophique des deux Indes, published in 1774, for Toussaint afterward
declared that he had read it some time before the slave insurrection, and had been
especially moved by the following paragraph
"Nations of Europe Your slaves are not in need of your generosity or of
your councils, in order to break the sacrilegious yoke which oppresses them. The
Negroes lack but a chief. Where is the great man ? He will appear ; we have
no doubt of it. He will show himself ; he will unfurl the sacred standard of liberty.
This venerable signal will cause to gather around him the companions of his
misfortune. More impetuous than the torrents, they will leave everywhere the
indelible traces of their just resentment. The Old World will join in applause with
the name of the hero, who shall have established the rights of humanity.
Everywhere the people will institute trophies to his glory"
The storming of the Bastille, the first overt act of the French Revolution,
occurred in July, 1789. E ut it took two years of chaos in Haiti, of agitation among
the mulattoes and the bu:chery of their leaders, of civil war among the whites-it
took those two long years before the urge toward freedom came to a head among
the Negro slaves. In August, 1791, there occurred what seemed to be a spontaneous
outbreak on several plantations of the northern plain. It actually had been plotted
by leaders of a crude type, notably a Voodoo priest named Boukman. The most
savage excesses were practised, all the whites encountered being put to death
without regard to age or sex. In return the French militia slaughtered every Negro
found under arms.
The insurrection surged to the gates of Cap Frangais, now called Cap Haitien.
It was repulsed there, with the loss of hundreds in dead and prisoners. Boukman
was killed, his head cut off and raised on a pole within the city. Many of the
captives were broken on the wheel. The Negroes in the field still had the upper
hand, due to their overwhelming numbers. But their leadership was poor. Their
new commander, Jean-Francois, was a windbag who dubbed himself with the
fantastic title of Grand Admiral of France. It is possible that the Negroes would
have been crushed if they had not had a great patriot, a genius, to come to
Toussaint had refused to take part in the original uprising, because he had
known that atrocities would be committed under Boukman, and methods of the
kind disgusted him. He had held together the slaves on Brida plantation, had
sent his former mistress Mme. Bayou de Libertas to safety under the escort of
his brother Paul. He now led his followers into the field and offered his service to
Jean-Francois and the later's associate Biassou. They treated him coldly, but
recognized his standing as an amateur doctor and placed him in charge of all
At once Toussaint's marvellous qualities as The Healer became apparent-
healer of dissensions and warped ideals even more than of bodies, the inspired
healer of the nationalist cause itself. It quickly became necessary to call upon his
talents as an officer and he was made a Brigadier-General. He was then forty-eight
years old, more or less. Recalling the principles he had learned in the manual of
arms, he introduced discipline among the volunteers, and he taught the rough
chiefs how to practice diplomacy of a kind in dealing with friends and foes. His
ability as a commander in action was obvious, even to the most jealous. I am of
the opinion that he showed up better in the grand strategy of a campaign than in
the tactical handling of any given battle. Where he had learned his technique is
an unanswerable mystery. He was one of those born leaders of men who require
no formal training.
I can barely hint at the confusion that prevailed in Saint Domingue for the
next ten years. There were new revolutions and counter-revolutions-of the whites
among themselves, the mulattoes in alliance with a faction of the whites and
mulattoes on the side of the blacks, and other variations. Steadily, through it all,
Toussaint rose to undisputed leadership of the only profoundly-rooted revolution,
that of the slaves. Early in the war Toussaint changed his last name from Br6da
to l'Ouverture. There has been much argument about the significance of the name
adopted. L'Ouverture means in French "the opening" It has been said that he
received it as a sobriquet because he had made a breach for his people in the
ranks of their enemies. Some authorities think it more probable that fellow slaves
had long applied the nickname because of a gap in his teeth.
After the beheading of Louis XVI in 1793, England, Spain and Holland went
to war with France. The Spaniards threatened the colony from their half of the
island, and the English sent an expedition from Jamaica to the southern peninsula
to aid the white planters there. Toussaint was capable of duplicity when he believed
that this would be useful to his cause. He was never bitter against republican
France. He saw his country's future as that of a self-governing commonwealth
under the French flag. But the French forces then in Saint Domingue were bent
upon destroying the Negro bid for autonomy. So Toussaint went over to the
Spaniards, was commissioned by them a general, returned with a well-equipped
army of picked men and won notable victories over the French. A year later he
held half the country, while the English held almost half, the independent mulatto
general, Rigaud, a large district in the South, and the French only the town and
environs of Port-de-Paix. Toussaint then entered into secret negotiations with the
French commander, Laveaux, and agreed to change sides in return for recognition
as the military chief and first magistrate of his people. He was made a French
He quickly drove out the Spaniards and inflicted severe defeats upon the
English. In 1705 Laveaux was made Governor-General, and one of his first acts
was to appoint Toussaint his chief aide with the title of Lieutenant-Governor. The
Negro leader was the real ruler of the country, but there were still years of warfare
ahead of him. He drove out the last English garrison in 1798, turned his attention
to Rigaud and eliminated him with the potent assistance of Dessalines, a rising
military star. Dessalines massacred the mulattoes with all the ferocity that had
previously been directed at whites. Toussaint shook his head when he heard what
had been done. "I told him to prune the tree, not to uproot it !" he remarked.
Toussaint then overran Spanish Hispaniola which meanwhile had been ceded
to France. He entered the ancient capital of Santo Domingo in January, 18o1,
and became the unchallenged lord of the entire island a little less than ten years
after the start of the slave revolution. Shortly afterward he proclaimed a
constitution, by the terms of which he assumed the office of Governor-General for
life, with the power to name his successor. Note that he aspired only to be
Governor-General. He sent his constitution for approval to the First Consul
Bonaparte and asked that the country be recognized as a French protectorate.
Toussaint l'Ouverture was allowed just one year to function peacefully as the
head of the state. He proved himself to be a far-seeing, humane administrator,
in many respects a brilliant one. Again he manifested superb qualities as a healer.
The country had been wrecked economically. Most of the old plantations had been
devastated and allowed to go back to the jungle, the very tools smashed by
ex-slaves who childishly felt that tools and sugar-refining machinery were symbols
of bondage. Even before his conquest of Spanish Hispaniola, Toussaint had
launched a plan of rehabilitation. Now he applied it on a country-wide basis. He
invited those whites who had not been declared public enemies to come back from
exile and reclaim their estates-and many did so. He leased confiscated lands to
a selected list of Negro citizens, chiefly officers of the army, requiring them to
pay part of their earnings to the government and part to the field workers on a
co-operative plan. Labour was assured by adopting an ordinance against
vagabondage which compelled the willfully idle to work on the plantations a fixed
number of hours per day. The whoe scheme proved remarkably successful.
Shipping, particularly from the United States, began once more to crowd the ports
of the country.
Toussaint indulged in a good deal of pomp and ceremony. He had a personal
guard of 1,500 men whom he dressed in gaudy uniforms. Yet he was modest and
simple in his private life. The only luxury he allowed himself was fine horses.
He was very industrious, sometimes working eighteen or twenty hours out of the
twenty-four and attending to every problem of administration with extraordinary
efficiency. He insisted upon a rule of justice without the least trace of favouritism.
To the end of his life his French was imperfect. He always dictated in the
Creole patois, which his secretaries rendered into formal language. He much
preferred to speak the patois, and foreigners who attended his receptions thought
him an unlettered man. But the scope of his knowledge, acquired by self-education,
went far beyond the average. In the archives at Spanish Town, Jamaica, there is
a fragment of a diary kept by Toussaint, which I have examined. The signature
is bold and even. The body of the text was probably written by a secretary.
The lamentable decision of Napolean to repudiate Toussaint's constitution and
restore ordinary colonial rule in Saint Domingue led to the invasion of the island
by a great European army in 1802. It was under the command of General Leclerc,
Napoleon's brother-in-law. The Negro forces were simply overwhelmed. Toussaint
himself was badly defeated at the battle of the Ravine aux Couleuvres. All the
other black generals-Dessalines, Christophe and the rest-capitulated and accepted
military rank under the French. Toussaint retired to his private estate at Ennery.
He was basely tricked by means of a letter in which his help was solicited, induced
to go to the seaport of Gonnaives, arrested and sent in a warship to France, where
he was imprisoned in a dungeon in the Alpine fort of Joux. Back home
the revolution had flamed up afresh, with an epidemic of yellow fever as a potent
aid. The unacclimatised French troops were dying at the rate of almost two
hundred a day.
Dessalines and Christophe deserted Leclerc and resumed their leadership of
the masses. Again, both sides practised fearful atrocities. Step by step the French
were driven from the island. Its independence was proclaimed under the Arawak
name of Haiti, Dessalines assuming the title of the Emperor Jacques I. After only
a few months of confinement the great Toussaint had succumbed in his cell, mainly
of the cold, the physical evil he most dreaded.
Napoleon at St. Helena, nearly twenty years later, told his secretary that the
Leclerc expedition to Saint Domingue had been a mistake, and that he should
have been content to govern the island through Toussaint l'Ouverture.
Two further articles in this series "Great Men of
Roberts will be published in later issues of the
Marti and Sim6n Bolivar.-Ed.
the Caribbean" by W Adolphe
journal. These will be on Jose
And The Pouis Sing
C. L. HERBERT
C. L. Herbert is a Trinidad poet, whose work has appeared in "Bim" and has
been included in the B.B.C. programme "Caribbean Voices" from London.
In far days in happy shires
In the perfumes that all day creep
From virgin mould, in the fires
Of a sullen but tolerant sun, deep,
Our roots drilled deep and found
In caverns underground
Rich as the laughter
That slept in Carib eyes before fierce slaughter.
Through the soft air falling,
Swifter than the sleek hawk dives
On the dove, on silent wing
Pilfered their caciques' lives
At our feet in our shade
Where once they had played
Children of the sun
Who prayed to the sun to avenge their blood.
Hostile grew the sun and pitiless
Spear sword arrow of light grew fiery
And in the blindness of their bitterness
Bored bird and beast and tree ;
Under the whip of savage winds
And intricate with wounds
Fell fold by fold from flanks
That never before had known the driver's lash.
Old, we are old before our prime
(Springs of laughter ran dry
And hearts atrophied) and in our time
Have heard lips lift their cry
To the stone-deaf skies, have seen
How the hawk has been
Stripped of pride
In necessary propitiation;
In vale on hill where slave and cacique died.
Have seen from the blood arise
The cactus, live columbarium
Of the winged tears of indignant eyes,
And from its flowers come
Dim odours, sweetening the air
Through the desolate years
To brittle, barren hearts
Auguries of new days, new faith, bright singing.
The Aboriginal Remains of Trinidad and the
J. A. BULLBROOK
TOOLS AND WEAPONS
THE most important thing to bear in mind concerning the culture of the West
Indian aborigines is that they lived entirely in the stone age, until the arrival of
the Europeans. They had no knowledge of any metal except gold, and that was
known only in the Greater Antilles. Therefore all their tools and weapons were
made of stone, shell, bone or wood. Stone being the most durable of all is
naturally preserved best in the middens, so that we probably know every type
used. It is somewhat surprising to find how few types there are. The best known,
but not the most common, stone tool-weapon is the so-called axe or celt. These
vary considerably in size, but none reaches the magnitude of axe-like implements,
rare in Trinidad, but found fairly frequently in some of the Antillean islands.
These were formerly ascribed to the Caribs, but are now sub judice as to origin.
Some of them, though true to type, are enormous and far too heavy for any
practicable purpose. We can only surmise that they were of ceremonial use.
None of this large variety has yet been found in Trinidad, though many of the
smaller have been found, especially in the south-west peninsular. This affords
another problem in the archaeology of the Island. With two possible exceptions
the writer has never seen any celts in Trinidad made of local stone. Practically all
were imported ready made, from the Mainland and the volcanic islands. The most
common stone object found in the middens-and it is found in hundreds, even in
a small midden-is the pebble or boulder, formed by beach action and carried to
the villages for probably a variety of purposes. These objects range in size from
small pebbles to boulders as large as one's head, and are usually chert (flint) or
quartzite, though occasionally softer sandstone is found. We know very little of
the various uses of these stones nor why they were collected in such large numbers.
From the bruising on many of them, we may assume that these were used as
hammers. The use of the chert pebbles appears to have been mainly to afford
sharp chips and flakes with which small bone objects were fashioned and
ornamented. Such chert flakes are fairly common, as well as the chipped cores,
showing their derivation from the pebble.
Sometimes pieces of broken celt seem to have been reworked. The only other
worked stone objects found at all commonly are pestles and mortars. These are
always small and never assume the proportions of many similar utensils of Carib
origin. Many other natural stone forms occur in the middens whose use, so far,
we cannot even conjecture. Finally, there are of course, fragments of procellanite
and other minerals used for pigment.
Of the bone objects found, probably only about two types can be classed as
tools These are the awl and needle and a group of small worked bone articles
whose most probable use was in designing and finishing pottery. The awl, made
from sharpened deer-horn, is fairly common; the needle, made from hard bird-
bone, is very rare. Two excellent specimens are exhibited in the society's collection.
Apart from bone objects used for ornament or magic, there are occasionally found
artefacts of this material, whose use is, as yet, unknown to us.
The only object of shell which we may legitimately suppose to have been
tools in the large sense of that word are of two types. The one, fairly common,
consists of the spiral core of a conch shell, worn naturally by wave action and
brought from the beach. It may have been used as a pestle. The other type is
worked from the external portions of the conch and suggests use as a spoon. There
is, however, one common material allied to shell-namely coral-which was used as
a file or rasp in rough-finishing the bone artefacts.
Of wooden tools and weapons, naturally none has survived. We may infer
from what we know-from the Spaniards-of the other islands, that the Trini-
dadians made basket work, and it is stated in the near contemporary work referred
to at the end of the Introduction, that these people used the bow and arrow. If so
the arrow tips were probably of hardened wood. This material is that most
commonly used for the purpose by most of the forest dwelling Indians of South
America, whether they use arrow poison or not. Also, even fish-hooks are often
made of the same substance. We do not know whether the Trinidadians used the
blow-pipe. It is possible, but not probable, because there are certainly no suitable
canes (or reeds) indigenous to Trinidad. Even on the mainland, these grow only
in a few areas, from which they are collected by the Indians living in the vicinity,
who barter them over thousands of square miles.
DRESS AND PERSONAL ORNAMENT
In these matters, admittedly, our knowledge is meagre and mainly inferential.
We know from the Spanish records, that in the more northerly islands the aborigines
spun and wove cotton both for dress and ornamental purposes and so it is probable
that the Trinidadian did the same. The finding of the exquisite bone needles
exhibited tends to confirm this although they could have been used also in stitching
hides. The use of hides, however, is not at all common among the forest dwelling
South Amerindians, because it is so extremely difficult to prevent their destruction
in the humid forest atmosphere. It is highly probable, then, that the Trinidad
Arawak did use cotton, but as to how they dressed we know very little. The dress
was almost certainly scanty, being hardly more than a loin-cloth for the men and
an apron or short petticoat for the women, as one sees even now in the Guayanas.
Of personal ornament we know a little more, because many of the objects
used are durable and have been left in the middens. How far these were merely
ornamental or had a magical or other significance cannot be discussed in this brief
account. It is practically certain that both types existed. These objects consist,
for the most part, of amulets and beads, using the latter term in a very wide sense.
They are made of stone-sometimes foreign-coral, shell and bone. They are
of great variety, too much so to admit of detail here, but attention should be
drawn to the carving on some of the bone ornaments and to the teeth of ferocious
animals, such as peccary and crocodile, which were probably only allowed to be
worn after passing the initiation test into manhood.
Exceeding few races of the world, since, at latest, the close of the earliest
stone age, have been entirely without some form of belief in and practice of magic
or religion. It may be assumed, then, that the original Trinidad Arawak was no
exception, but our knowledge of his beliefs is very meagre. The Spaniards have
left various records of the beliefs of the Caribs and of the Arawak of the Greater
Antilles, but their observations were always viewed through and tinctured by their
own religion, and so their accounts are liable to be garbled, if not altogether
untrustworthy. They will not, therefore, be quoted in this uncritical essay, but
there is one fact of our own discovery which proves that these people must have
had some kind of sincere religious belief. With every system of religion that has
ever been recorded, there is, apparently inevitably, closely associated some dogma
as to what happens to the individual after the death of the body. Usually, as
Frazer has so abundantly shown, this takes the form of a belief in some kind of
life, of longer or shorter duration, after this life on earth is finished. If, therefore,
we find in any archaeological investigation, that provision has been made-even if
it be only in a few instances-for the after-welfare of the dead, this is sufficient
evidence that some kind of religion was believed and practised. Such is the case
in Trinidad. Of the eleven human burials found by the writer in the Palo Seco
midden two were buried with mortuary offerings, namely a water jar and food
plates. Of the six human entities found in the Erin midden, one has been found with
two complete dishes. There can be no doubt that these were intended to serve the
deceased in his after life, whether or not water and food were originally placed in
the vessels. Usually the skeletons are found in such a state of disintegration that
only a few bones can be salvaged, but in this one instance at Erin, it has been
possible to remove most of the skeleton, though crushed by earth creep, and so-
for probably the first time in history-we have been able to exhibit a skeleton of
a Trinidad aboriginal as he was buried.
ORIGINS AND CONTACTS
Many years of research on the mainland will be needed ere we can hope to
solve the problem of the original homes both of the Carib and the Arawak. It is
pleasing to know that such research is seriously being started up the Orinoco. It is
supposed by most archaeologists that both races, in the first origin, came down
that river, but beyond this there is little agreement. The writer believes that this
surmise is open to question, though his reasons cannot be given here. Of one
thing we are certain, namely that the peaceful Arawak came first. It must have
been a very considerable time thereafter that the Carib migration took place,
because the Arawaks had by that time spread as far as Cuba-travelling round
the arc of the Antilles-and greatly improved their culture as they went. The
Caribs, who followed, massacred the unwarlike Arawak men and absorbed the
women, as they advanced through the islands and had just finished off Puerto Rico
and taken a good bite into Hispaniola (San Domingo) when the Spaniards arrived,
and proved themselves even better at the game than the Caribs. One of the greatest
problems we have to face is why the Trinidad Arawaks did not suffer the same
fate at the hands of the Carib, especially since the very near island of Tobago was
the first to be overrun, and was for many years after the Spanish discovery, one
of the chief and most impregnable of the Carib strongholds. This problem would
be less difficult if we knew that the Caribs never arrived in this island at all.
There is no evidence that they did. No recognisable relics of them have been
found in this island, although in near-by Tobago their occupation continued well
into historic time.
We have seen that the Trinidad Arawak was also a good mariner, since lie
was an expert deep-sea fisherman and one of his most important tools was almost
invariably imported. It is interesting to note that, while many of these celts can
be shown to have come from the Northern Islands-by their rock types-a still
larger number come from the Guayanas. This again tends to corroborate the
writer's suggested source of the people's origin, especially since the rock types from
the islands are vastly better for tool making than the fissile Guayana schists. It
would seem that there was possibly a remembered sentimental value attached to the
article made in the ancestral home.
Of other contacts we, as yet, know very little, but we are becoming ever more
certain, as we work, that the Trinidad aboriginal did have contact with several
other peoples than his congeners of the other islands and on the main. The
evidence for this is growing, but is yet too obscure to be analysed here. All we
can say is that it affords a very hopeful line of research, the latest evidence, based
on pottery types, tends to indicate that there was commerce from this island as
far as Puerto Rico.
This essay is admittedly sketchy for two reasons. Firstly it would defeat its
purpose if it were too long or too critical. Secondly, there are many gaps in our
knowledge, which can only be filled in the course of time. The Society has had
only one season's work, and that work represents the beginning of the first really
serious investigation yet proposed of the aboriginal remains in which Trinidad is
now known to be so rich. It is true that other attempts at research have been
made since 1912, but they were sporadic and-one has to admit it-sometimes not
carried out with the scientific forethought so greatly to be desired.
Our knowledge of the culture of the aborigines of Trinidad may seem some-
what meagre when stated with the brevity which is all we can allow in this
summary, but if the reader will study the implications of each of the necessarily
terse sentences, he will find that we really do know a good deal of the lives of
The real aborigines of the West Indies were not Caribs', but a physically
similar, yet psychologically very different race, probably one of the various
branches of the widespread Arawak stock.
The Caribs2 followed, after a considerable lapse of time, and, with the exception
of Trinidad-and possibly Martinique and Guadeloupe-they exterminated the
unwarlike Arawaks, until they reached Hispaniola (San Domingo-Haiti), by
which time the Spaniards arrived and enslaved or exterminated Arawak and Carib
alike. Why the Caribs never got a footing in Trinidad is a problem we still
have to solve. As to why Martinique and Guadeloupe escaped their ravages is
probably explained by the writer's own observations. At the time of the
"Discovery" Martinique, at least, was found uninhabited, nor could the writer,
through two years of work in that island, find any authentic aboriginal remains.
Eventually he found, in the extreme north-west, an Arawak midden, buried under
the strata of four eruptions from Mt. Pelee, prior to that of 1902. These
four previous eruptions are unknown to history, but obviously there was a
tradition of one or more of them among the West Indian aborigines.
The Trinidad Arawak was a mild, inoffensive person, a great hunter and
fisherman, even into the deep sea. Therefore he must have been a boat builder
of no mean order.
The people lived in small communities and built round, cool, yet draught
and rain proof houses, with very little furniture save a few stools and hammocks.
These "villages" were always placed either on high or windy places, so as to avoid
mosquitoes and sand-flies as much as possible.
The people had another hygienic habit, in that they threw their rubbish into
a communal dump, which was, where possible, either to leeward of, or "down-hill"
from the village.
These rubbish heaps, which we know as "kitchen-middens" were also the
chief cemeteries, although burials were occasionally made elsewhere.
Although undoubtedly the principal food of the people were flesh-shell-fish,
fish, mammals, reptiles and birds, in that order-they did cultivate plant food in
a rather haphazard manner. Since so few edible plants are indigenous to Trinidad
and the near mainland, this cultivation was probably confined to cassava and
pepper, but a few other plant foods may have been imported from the mainland,
such as maize and beans, and even pineapple. Evidence is accumulating to show
that the indigenous food plants cultivated in South America, and spreading there-
from were much more numerous in species, than had hitherto been supposed. It
will be obvious that the plants imported will bear strict relation to their time of
perfected cultivation on the mainland and the overflow of human population from
the mainland to the Caribbean islands. Among the remains of the mammals used
for food, have been discovered the bones of a deer now extinct and at no time
known previously in Trinidad. This, of course, points to an occupation of the
island for a very long time before the Spanish discovery.
The people were expert potters, though they knew nothing of the wheel. The
pottery forms found point to individuality of work, rather than an esoteric craft.
This is confirmed by the types of paste, firing and ornament.
The people obviously thoroughly understood the use of fire, which they made
by friction of hard wood on soft or chert and Pyrites.
The aborigines were entirely in the stone age. Metals were unknown. There-
fore all their tools and weapons were of stone, shell, bone or wood. All the last
have inevitably perished, but many remains of the others have survived. The
most important of these are (i) the celt, almost always imported ready-made and
(2) the "handstone", of local origin, and of many purposes, some not known to
us. In addition they used knives made of flint chips for a great variety of purposes.
They had to grind their pigments and probably some of their food. For this
they used mortars made of a variety of stones, and pestles of stone and shell.
They knew the use of the file. For this they used cylindrical pieces of coral,
with which they rough finished their shell and bone artefacts.
Probably, in ultimate analysis, most of their tools and weapons were made
of wood. Of these, naturally, nothing remains, but we are not sure whether they
used the bow and arrow. The paucity of birds represented in the food remains
suggests that they did not. There are some aboriginal peoples in the Northern
South America still existing, who do not use this weapon, and depend only on the
deadly blow gun and a form of throwing spear or "dart" On the other hand the
writer has met several peoples in South America who are very competent with the
bow and arrow, but use it almost exclusively for the capture of fish. These people
include "Bush Negroes" as well as Indians. Among all of them the writer cannot
recall any instance of the eating of birds. The use of the arrow for fishing has
produced one of the greatest skills that man has ever acquired :-the allowance
for refraction and estimation of depth. Despite that handicap, the resulting catch
Concerning dress and ornament, we may be sure that the people cultivated,
spun and wove cotton. That this was stitched is proved by the finding of two
Of bodily ornament, there are abundant examples. That many of these were
associated with magical properties seems certain, and these include teeth of animals
only allowed to be worn after the initiation into manhood.
That there was some form of sincere religious belief and practice is proved
by the mortuary offering placed with many of the burials. This indicates beyond
doubt that there was belief in some form of survival after earthly death, and such
belief inevitably connotes a religious code.
We have seen that they could make voyages into the deep sea. Therefore
their contacts with other races, both of the islands and the mainland, were probably
numerous and frequent. It was thus that they derived their "celts" and possibly
certain forms of pottery. What they bartered in exchange is still a problem which
will only be solved after much research in the Guayana and Caribbean areas.
i Whence Caribs and Arawaks came is still a subject for research, but it is accepted, for
the moment, that both came from the western mainland. The writer would compare
them-of course on a smaller scale-with the western and southern migration of the Indio-
Europeans. In this comparison, it is believed that both races sprang from the same stock,
and that one-like the Aryan Indians-remained peaceful and conquered (perhaps the
Cyboneys) by peaceful penetration, while the other, more migratory and restless, (like the
very early Greeks and the early Persians) turned warriors, such as we know them to have
2 There is one thing in which this publication may afford the opportunity-long wished for-
of disabusing the Carib in the public mind. That he was a cannibal has to be admitted,
but he did not eat human flesh because he preferred it. It is even possible that he did
not actually like it. He ate no-one save a brave enemy, and he ate him entirely for the
purpose of gathering to himself that enemy's bravery. To be eaten by a Carib was a
compliment. The writer has met far worse cannibals in Africa, who ate human flesh when
they were starved for other meat. The Carib scarcely enters into the archaeology of
Trinidad, but he cannot avoid being mentioned, even if only because of the popular
prejudice against him. He has been greatly maligned.
ERRATUM. The word CIBONEZ in Mr. Bullbrook's last article should read CIBONEY.
"That comyn englisshe that is spoken in one shyre varyeth from another. In so
moche that in my dayes happened that certain marchauntes wente for to
refreshe them ; and one of them cam in-to an hows and axed for mete; and
specyally he axyed after eggys ; and the gode wyf answerde, that she coude speke
no frenshe. And the marchaunt was angry, for he coude speke no frenshe, but
wolde haue hadde 'eggys', and she vnderstode hym not. And theene at last
another sayd that he would haue 'eyren' then the gode wyf sayde that she
vnderstode hym wel. Loo, what sholde a man in thyse dayes now wryte, 'egges'
or 'eyren' ?
Certaynly it is harde to plays euery man by cause of dyversite and change
THE diversitye and change of language" which gave concern to Caxton in the
fifteenth century is still with us ; there are still in England as many dialects as
there are shires, and the spread of British colonisation since that time has added
to the number. It is true that we now have Standard English, but even that started
as a dialect, and in modern times has developed a number of offshots. The
"My deah, how too, too mahvelous !" of a class of English people ranks equal
with the "Ee, by gum !" of Lancashire and the "No, man !" of the West Indies
in the eyes of the philologist.
What, then, is a dialect, and how does it differ from a language ? This is
not an easy question to answer. There is no essential difference between the two.
Dialects sometimes shade off into languages over long periods and by insensible
gradations. Thus the break-up of the Holy Roman Empire caused Latin to throw
off a number of dialects which gradually grew into modern French, Spanish,
Italian, Portuguese and Rumanian. Perhaps one may say that it is the degree of
differentiation from the standard speech which must be considered. Thus Jamaican
is a dialect of English, but Welsh is a language-although they may be equally
unintelligible to the uninitiated. A dialect is a mode of speech peculiar to an area,
a class or a trade, and it may exhibit its own forms of pronunciation, vocabulary
and idiom. A nice question arises in the case of the speech of the United States ;
it certainly fits the test for a dialect, but it is much nearer Standard English than,
for instance, broad Yorkshire. Perhaps, for the sake of international amity, we
ought to concede its status as a language. Incidentally, we may note that it has
in turn given birth to its own dialects.
The languages of Europe (and of the Americas, where these are of European
origin) arose from Indo-European, a hypothetical language spoken by tribes living
near the Black Sea, between what are now Russia and Turkey, about 2000 B.C.
A thousand years later various factors caused a wave of migrations to the west,
and Indo-European split into nine main dialects which, in the course of the next
two thousand years, developed into the basic European tongues. It is interesting
to study this process in greater detail.
In early times isolation had a strong influence on the development of language.
Europe had many barriers, both natural and man-made. There were vast forests,
deep rivers and high mountains, and transport was limited and inefficient.
Political boundaries and serfdom further inhibited movement from the place of
one's birth. Communities thus cut off from outside influences did not experience
the standardising effects of wide social intercourse. We may assume further a
great percentage of illiteracy, so that the relative permanence of the written word
could not as yet exercise an effect. Over a period of years, therefore, minute
divergences from the norm, hardly perceptible to the untrained ear, would be
passed on orally from one generation to the next and since these divergences
would vary from group to group, a whole system of dialects would grow up.
This process is the more intelligible when we remember that speech is produced
by muscular movements. No two individuals can produce exactly the same sound.
The ear may not be able to detect any difference, but over a period of centuries
it will become apparent.
During such a period of development circumstances often combine to make one
of these dialects or local languages the favoured one which gains the support of
the cultured few, and that form of speech becomes in the course of time the
'official' language of the whole country. This process actually happened in
England, where Chaucer in the fourteenth century wrote in the language spoken
in the London district. It also happened to be the language spoken at court, and
Caxton's introduction of printing half a century later facilitated the growth of
this formerly local speech into a language which was ultimately to become modern
English. Incidentally, Chaucer has a story in the Northern Dialect of his time,
and this shows interesting variations from the language of his other poems. It also
shows his humour at its most Rabelaisian.
I have mentioned isolation as a factor in the growth of dialects, but it is not
the only one. Raiders and immigrants add their quota of influence, especially in
island communities, where raiders may become settlers. Although they may
eventually be absorbed into a larger society, they usually leave traces of their
language in the speech of their hosts. An interesting example of this is to be found
in North-West Yorkshire in the North of England, where the Danish raiders of
more than a thousand years ago have left their mark. To this day there exists a
dialect word dainsh-obviously a corruption of 'Danish'-which gains its meaning
of disagreeable and proud from the overbearing manners of the Viking conquerors
who were attracted to the high moorland and fertile valleys of this part of the
country. All the foreign invasions (hostile or peaceful) of Britain have left their
mark on spoken English. This influence is more or less apparent in the modern
Climate, too, makes a contribution, although the extent of this influence may
be easily overstressed. There does seem to be some correlation between prevailing
climate and the character of the language spoken ; for instance, chilly Northern
Europe produces hard-sounding, 'prickly' tongues like Dutch, German and the
Scandinavian group, whilst the warmer lands bordering the Mediterranean give us
the softer, more liquid sounds of French, Italian, Spanish and modem Greek.
Some of the islands of the South Pacific where, at least until recent times, life was
easy in a debilitating climate, have languages in keeping with this background.
Professor Jespersen has pointed out* that in the sentence-I kona hiki ana aku
ilaila un hookipa ia mai la oia me ke aloha pumehana loa-no single word ends in
a consonant. If we except the liquid I there are eight words without any consonant
-nearly one half of the total. Only six words contain a 'stop' consonant (p, k)
it is, of course, such consonants which form the hard sounds, whilst vowels give
a more fluid effect. Some people would tell us that these hard and soft languages
are linked with a vigorous or easy-going character.
To some extent dialects exhibit the same influences of climate thus Scotland
is the part of the British Isles where the gutteral ch sound is most heard. Southern
England has dialects which tend to be drawling and softer to the ear.
The last great influence on dialect which I shall mention is probably the most
important ; it is simply human laziness. Philologists dignify this phenomenon by
talking of 'sound shifts' and 'mutations' Briefly, it may be said that the sounds
of a dialect generally tend to be modified in the direction of ease of pronunciation.
Thus there is a tendency to what is known as the 'off-glide' Pure vowels like the
French d and i have to be pronounced with the muscles controlling speech tense
and strained. For most people this entails too great an effort the muscles are
allowed to relax, and the pure sound 'glides' off into some other vowel. This
constitutes the difference between, for instance, French ces and English say. The
French word contains only one pure vowel sound the English word has two, as
its spelling indicates, the original vowel developing an off-glide into a y. It is
difficult to represent this exactly without using a phonetic script, but the reader
who doubts it is invited to repeat to himself aloud the words say, I, war and fire
with some attention to what is happening in his mouth.
This tendency has gone so far in modern Standard English, and in many of
the dialects, that more off-glides and diphthongsj are to be met with than pure
vowels. In the West Indies the tendency is even stronger in Belize one learns
In Growth and Structure of the English Language, by Otto Jespersen.
1 Combination of two vowel sounds, as o and i in boy.
to discount the second of two vowels occurring in succession, so that lee-ak is
recognizable as leak, hoo-um as home and clee-an as clean. In many West Indian
territories the general slackening of the speech muscles converts o to a-the slight
lip-rounding of an o demands some effort-so that one hears lang for long, battam
for bottom ; and the habit is carried over into such examples as lak for like and
ya for here.
Consonants are subject to a somewhat similar process. Apart from the familiar
West Indian d for th (French and German, too, avoid the th sound) and b for v,
both of which are movements towards simplicity, there is an interaction of
consonants in juxtaposition. To take one instance, there is a city in the North of
England called Bradford, which most of its inhabitants pronounce Bratford.
The reason for this lies in the difference between what are known as 'voiced' and
'unvoiced' sounds. A voiced sound is one which requires vibrations of the vocal
cords; an unvoiced sound does not require this. Here is a list of a few voiced
sounds with their unvoiced equivalents
In 'Bradford' the voiced d is followed immediately by unvoiced f the change
from one to the other entails a slight but perceptible effort, so the Bradfordian
tends to make both sounds unvoiced in order to conserve his energy for what he
considers more important occasions.
Many English words of Latin origin were subject to a sound mutation known
as Grimm's Law. This lays down that in the transition from Latin to English
p becomes f and t becomes th; so Latin pater changes into English father. There
were other changes too, but this single example will serve to suggest how the Latin
dialects changed over the years so that the Romans themselves could not
The word contractions common in Standard English, such as won't, can't,
I'll and we're are present in even greater numbers in dialects, as one might expect.
Readers of 'King Lear' may remember that Edgar, in his disguise as a Somerset
rustic, threatens the head of Oswald in the following terms
"Chill pick your teeth, zur."
Chill is a contraction of ich will-I will. It is interesting to note that this is identical
with German ich will, with the same meaning. From Yorkshire we have ammot
(am not), from British Honduras haffu (have to) and gwine'a (going to).
These varied influences are long-term in their effects, spread over a thousand
years or more. Changes hardly perceptible in a man's lifetime have altered-
"He sceolde healden hi rihtlice beon and lufian hi, and hi wolden him beon
holde and gehyrsume."
(Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, about I1oo A.D.)
"He should treat them rightly and love them and they would be faithful to
him and obedient".
In this process of change the dialects look before and after. Sometimes they
change more quickly than the standard tongue because they are not slowed down
by the influence of the written word ; more often they retain words which were
once part of the main language but have long since been discarded. Thus it comes
about that the dialects often have a pungency and raciness which Standard English
lacks. "Too much hurry get dey tamarra Tek time get dey tiday"* says the
British Honduras Creole and "Tha' gurt gaumless clahtheead !" says the
Yorkshireman to his clumsy companion. Gaumless is a beautiful word. Colourless
would-be synonyms like 'gauche', 'awkward' and 'clumsy' quail before the
magnificent, all-embracing sweep of its implications. The word is probably
Icelandic in origin. Clahtheead (cloth-head), too, has a satisfying sound. The
clahtheead's wife, on the other hand, may be as threng as Throp's wife. Who
Throp was and why his wife was so busy I have never been able to discover;
but there is no doubt of the verbal felicity of threng, perfectly conveying the bustle
of a woman at her tasks. Similar triumphs are tump (hillock) from Worcestershire,
picknie (child) from the West Indies and bawbee (halfpenny) from Scotland.
It is this vitality and appositeness, rather than their pictureness, which is
valuable in our dialects. To maintain freshness and expressiveness after a long
period of use a language must be kept alive by contact with reality and by
constant recruitment of new words and expressions. Dialects provide this reality,
for they are often the language of people whose lives are lived in close association
with the natural world the words and expressions tend to be alive and forceful,
redolent of earthy matters.
The original train of development which saw the rise of many dialects is
nowadays being reversed. Class dialects (like the Mayfair accent) and trade dialects
(he nearly bought it when his kite pranged in the drink after a spot of rhubarbing)
continue, but area dialects are slowly dying, especially in highly developed
countries. In England bands of enthusiasts form dialect societies and meet to
keep alive the speech of the districts in which they are interested. One fears that
they sometimes harbour condescension-"literary gents," as J. B. Priestley puts
it, "having their fun" And ranged against them are the steamrollers of the press
and the radio, ironing out local peculiarities and sometimes substituting English.
Quoted by A. H. Anderson, 'Brief Sketch of British Honduras' New Edition, 1948).
Prolegomena to a West Indian Culture
H. L. V SWANZY
The writer of this article, occupies a peculiar position in West Indian Literature.
Having been in charge of the B.B.C. programme "Caribbean Voices" for some
years, he has probably read a wider variety of prose and poetry by contemporary
West Indians than any other single person. We are very glad, therefore, of giving
our readers an opportunity of reading some of his conclusions.-Ed.
IT IS NOT inconceivable that of all the English-speaking world, the West Indies
may be revealed as the place most suited for maintenance of a literary tradition.
For real maintenance relies upon real development and to that almost every
important factor in the Caribbean cultural situation conspires. Listed almost at
random, there is the new social need for self-consciousness, which politically takes
the form of Nationalism ; and to this we may add the special need to communicate
provided by small islands, isolated as their very name implies. Then, as was seen
by the late Harold Stannard, the racial stock of a potential writer is one of the
richest in the world, providing wonderful chances of cross-fertilisation European,
African and Asiatic strains mingle, as with the Greeks of old as amongst Aegeans
and Dorians of Greece, the Teutonic and Latin are contrasted. So far as the
subject-matter is concerned, the self-realisation of a people through the acceptance
and sublimation of the facts of slavery and the colour-bar are the grand theme
for tragedy and eventual triumph. There is all the colour, there are the capes and
promontories of a rich peasant life. And, linked with this, there is reverence for
the word, preserved in a society still largely illiterate, unspecialised, given to open
air gatherings. In the view of someone writing in contemporary Europe, this is
perhaps the most important of all the factors that should encourage the development
of a really significant regional literature within the Caribbean, the first stage
towards the establishment of standards recognized in the wider English-speaking
Reading makes a full man, writing makes an exact man, conference makes a
ready man. As we have seen, the last two necessities are as well met in the
Caribbean as anywhere else. But what of the first ? It is the obvious and
important gap in the West Indian scene today, and there is no need for me to
labour it, for, without it, there would be no place for someone like myself in a
magazine like this, an European producer of the B.B.C., writing on a sunny
morning in London, of a country he has never visited and of problems that are
not directly his own. The trouble for West Indian writers is that there are far too
few readers. In fact, with the exception of the week-end editions of the newspapers,
the literary pages in the dailies, and the occasional gallant small anthology, of
which one must particularly mention the Barbadian BIM under the editorship of
Frank Collymore, there are no outlets or forum of exchange, except the B.B.C.
No doubt, the extremely rare writer does write only for himself; but most writers,
like Dr. Johnson want to write to be read. And, failing the solitary and
introspective genius, the only way of overcoming this isolation is through the
organisation of clubs, which all too often fall into that bane of true literature, the
mutual admiration society, with standards that gradually fall lower and lower,
through refusal to make living contact with the outside world, either the
metropolitan zones outside, or, perhaps even more dangerously, with the mass
world about them. Odi profanum vulgus.
Now, what is the real reason for this state of affairs ? Because it is no use
to think of changing it until we analyse the causes, and change them. And it is
no use to talk glibly of a Caribbean culture, in its own right, before we build up
a climate of ideas. Naturally, there is the entire preceding hundred years to account
for, with its poverty, its materialist culture even less interested in literature and
the things of the spirit than, for example the French, with their long tradition of
humanism. But it is too easy to blame the class society. It is the sad truth that
nearly all great literature have, as their catalyst at least, an ilite. This is often
politically reactionary, since Beauty, one literary virtue, and the one most easily
grasped perhaps, can frequently only be obtained at the expense of Goodness, as
for example in the sacrifice of social justice in the creation of the leisure class,
which, at least in the past, has been absolutely essential for the encouragement of
really good writers, as opposed to those who are facile, popular, or with other social
uses. For quality is a virtue that requires much schooling really to-grasp. If we
take this view, the absence of the apparatus of a literary culture in the Caribbean
cannot be put down only to material poverty for, there has been a leisure class,
however small, for some hundreds of years. Why then has it evolved nothing ?
Pat comes the answer because of colonialism and capitalism. It is true that
the uninspired shibboleths of teachers who are not creators, have in fact saddled
past generations of West Indian children with English classics, set for some distant
examination. But why has there never been a literary revolt as in Scotland, a
colony of England, a conquered colony, almost as poor as the West Indies, which
has a continual tradition of poetic revolt against the major English centre ?
Because Scotland was an independent kingdom ? That may be one answer, but
it is not the whole answer. Then again, the reason for the lack of the beginnings
of a West Indian culture is given as the materialist capitalist organisation in the
last century. It is true that the plantation period produced far more numerous and
better literary progeny than anything since Emancipation. Colonisation est
chosification, according to Aim6 C6saire, the Communist deputy for Martinique,
and himself a poet of the surrealist persuasion colonising is thingifying. There
is a great deal of truth in this for an economic view of society, is purely statistical
and purely quantitative, and totally unconcerned with quality, which is the essence
of literature. On the other hand, with all its faults, there has been a certain
development of literary culture in the French colonies, despite capitalism, or perhaps
even because of it if we remember the theory of the leisure class as necessary
What then is the final answer ? Of course, there is none but, greatly daring,
I would like to suggest one approach, if only to combat a dangerous tendency,
observed in conversations with young West Indians in London, and in the body
of the 750 odd manuscripts I must have seen in the last three years. That tendency
is the blaming of external sources, especially the unfavourable circumstances of
history, for the failure to produce. What I would like to suggest is that we should
also consider geography, which is a far more intimate, indeed painful matter.
Unless he is very gifted, or very happy in his society, the writer must also be a
reader, and the exuberance, the glory that the Negro people saw depart when
buckra come, must be accompanied by hard thought, comparative study, a sense
sometimes of dedication, if a real act of creation is to ensue. It is, as it were, the
masculine principle against the feminine. What seems to me the very great problem
in a potential Caribbean literature, under capitalism, socialism, communism,
nationalism, or any other ism, is in fact that tropical dolce far niente; the easy
drift, the acceptance of the facile and immediately brilliant, the lovely flower
that so quickly becomes over-blown. Without claiming omniscience, I have seen
this tendency elsewhere, of easy synthesis, the parallel of the proliferation of organic
molecules in the sun. I have seen it in other tropical writings more- advanced
perhaps than anything I have yet seen in the Caribbean, in Brazil, for instance,
or Mauritius. Whatever the effect of climate, I think that it would be well if the
West Indian writer bore such a question in mind, if only because it would force
him back upon his own spiritual resources, in confronting the many very grave
problems of his people.
By all that has gone before, it must be clear that, whether rightly or wrongly,
I do not think that there is as yet any clear sign of a definite West Indian
literature that is to say, a literature so definitely different, that one has to rub
one's eyes, and start anew at a passage, speculating on the questions, the moral
imperatives that lie beneath it. Equally, the language is not yet in my opinion
sui generis, although now and again I think I detect the rhythm of common
speech, dying away in a fall in Jamaica and in Trinidad very fast, and shot out
of the corner of the mouth. But I cannot detect more, because I am only a
temporary caretaker and such things are for West Indian themselves. Of course
I do not mean by language dialect language alone, although writers gifted with
sensitive ears are able to reproduce rhythms and idioms which make their strong
effect even on gross Northern senses. By language, I mean the climate of ideas,
worked out by speculative minds, and put into words by sensitive artists. And
the problem of relating a regional literature to a world-language like English is
always this, the precise degree to allow for the common link of understanding, the
precise degree to infuse it with local idioms, rhythms and, above all, values.
I now intend to give some examples from the literary programme organised by the
B.B.C. of work, which, if not specially West Indian, does at least show that the
talent is there to provide the clothing for genuine self-consciousness in the high
sense. For, writing and writers are not necessarily the founders of a culture, but
its expression, the expression of the best thought of the age.
It is for this main reason that I would really select poetry as the main example
of work in progress, rather than prose. Poetry is inevitably more highly organized.
the poets show signs of having read *more, of having more influences, and they
* Prose influences seem to be Hemingway, Steinbeck, Dickens, Wells, D. H. Lawrence.
do not hesitate to make value-judgments, which are to some extent ignored in the
prose, which tends to be descriptive writing. Nor, despite some excellently clear
and honest writing, has any outstanding prose personality emerged, on a scale
which can be as easily assessed. One knows of no profoundly original mind,
except it be the quick mind of the columnist A. E. T. Henry in Jamaica. One knows
of no profoundly moving style, except it be, very occasionally, Karl Sealy in
Barbados. Of outstanding arrangers and harmonisers of social material, we know
Samuel Selvon and Willy Richardson in Trinidad, or Inez Silbey, R. L. C. Aarons,
John Mansfield in Jamaica. One knows of no remarkable internal ear, unless it
belongs to Eugene Bartrum of British Guiana, or R. E. B. Braithwaite of Trinidad.
One knows of no delicate and humorous fancy, except it be Eula Redhead in
Grenada, with her jewelled nancy stories, or "Philip Phumbles" in Honduras,
with his more pungent social humour. One knows of no power of conveying
personal emotion in prose unless it is John Wickham of Barbados, now in Trinidad.
One knows of no genuine social protest, except it be Roger Mais in Jamaica, or
Clifford Sealy or Lennox de Paiva or Errol Hill in Trinidad. One knows of no
blunt and affecting "peasant writing", unless it is Wi'liam Arthur in Barbados,
or Wilfred Redhead in Grenada. One knows of no brilliant pictorial talent, except
it be "P. D. Lincott"; or of specific wisdom, except glimpses in C. M. Hope of
Barbados. One knows of no general inventive capacity, except it be Ernest Carr
and Egbert Gibbs, among the older generation in Trinidad, or Edgar Mittelholzer
among the younger. And there are other prose writers one could mention, good
but not outstanding, the corpus of the future laboriously constructing the ground-
work pour servir, to serve those that come after. I doubt if it is necessary to point
out that not all the creative writers of the Caribbean contribute to the programme,
especially certain eminent practitioners in Jamaica.
So much for the prose, although it may be worth adding that one reader is
now able to distinguish between a story written by a writer of Negro stock, and
another of East Indian the former much more concerned with dialogue, much
less with scenery and pictures, perhaps more full of "heart" the latter in all ways
the reverse an interesting racial observation which follows wider generalisations,
and shows the difficulty of uniting the two streams and the reward when and if
this is successfully achieved.
For the poetry, the story is different. I would put three and possibly four
among the first class, and three among the class of aspirants, with honourable
mention for perhaps two or three more. But personal comparisons are odious,
and I do not propose to give the names of this private grading, since some of
them will emerge in the examples that I give in the course of this enquiry.
For this is in fact to be an enquiry, slight though it will have to be, into the
possible existence of something unique, of itself alone, in West Indian poetic writing.
And the answer might as well be given at once. There seems to be no specific
gift-bringer to the Parnassus of the world, saying Admit me, I come from the
West Indies, with fruits that you can find nowhere else. I think that all the better
writers show signs of their origin, even when they are not specifically describing
the West Indian scene, either natural or human. And I feel that a more elaborate
psychological examination of some of them might reveal even deeper mysteries.
But a pint of practice is worth a gallon of theory, and it may be worth starting
off with one West Indian poet who would, for good or bad, be accepted on his
own merits by a London publisher. I refer to Derek Walcott, the phenomenal
young school-master in St. Lucia, who is barely 19, but writes with the assurance
of a man much older, in a volume of poems recently published. It would need
two articles of this length to deal with it. Here I can give but one example
After that hot gospeller had levelled all but the churched sky,
I wrote the tale by tallow of a city's death by fire.
Under a candle's eye that smoked in tears, I
Wanted to tell in more than wax of faiths that were snapped like wires.
All day I walked abroad among the rubbled tales,
Shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar,
Loud was the bird-rocked sky, and all the clouds were bales
Torn open by looting and white in spite of the fire
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked why
Should a man wax tears when his wooden world fails.
In town leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths
To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath
Rebuilding a love I thought was dead as nails,
Blessing the death and baptism by fire.
That poem on the fire at Castries could have been written, I think, by any good
young poet, influenced by the private poets like Dylan Thomas in England. But
this is only as it should be for poets must always be influenced. Every word
we use we have learned somewhere. I quote the poem because it is complete, and
intelligible at a high level. Although Derek Walcott has written several poems
on definite Caribbean themes, none of them are more specifically West Indian,
and few are so immediately attractive. And indeed why should they, how could
they, be West Indian, when we have said already that there is no West Indian
canon ? It is work by men of talent like Walcott that will build it.
Next comes something very different
There is a limit to all human ways
There is a limit to all human love
And a great darkness in all human light
Yet faith flows down the river, peace fills trees,
And glory lights the morning when she comes
All wet and radiant from the golden clouds
And walks upon the mountains like a bride.
For there is promise in all human pain
There is a morning in all human night
And life and birth and beauty beyond death.
We have constructed Time with fear and greed
We have imprisoned Space with avarice
And murdered Life, the vision, with our sloth.
We have constructed Time
We have created Death in all our walks.
Here is a poetic personality more formed than Derek Walcott the suffering
pantheist, nurtured on the bible, who finds unity and beauty in the sun. He is
Michael Smith, a young Jamaican anthropologist, now in West Africa, who came
to Europe, and was influenced by the German poet Rilke.
And so one morning when he answered not
She came and found his straw upon the floor
Cold, and the goatskins untouched. Martha said
"Jesus has gone into the wilderness"
Since first she knew that prayer had not ceased.
"0 God Almighty, give me back my child.
Take this cup from me. Thou hast many sons.
0 Father, Father, give me back my light"
This was a land where rumour, like the wind,
Bathing the cedars, swept the villages
With a great mounting tide of mood and dream,
Disabling the judgment of all fact,
And so the news came in blue rolling waves
That surged up suddenly and rushed and broke
Upon her clouds, and thundered till the deep
Swallowed the echoing heavens in their wake
And gave all calm an unreal sense of trance.
Michael Smith has eloquence, and a visual imagination, which he gives to a deep
spiritual purpose. A. J. Seymour, an older poet, in Guiana, gives his force to
simple narrative, on optimistic, forthcoming, American lines, and speaks of
Columbus with the personal interest of someone really discovered.
Music came thundering through the North-East Trades
Fuller than orchestras, and bent the masts
All through the nights, and made them sorrow-laden
For green-graced islands that the ships had passed.
Each day broke on the ocean like a wheel
Bound to a hub of ships though driving fast
Deep to the westward under a sky now steel
Blue-gray and fatal, and now sapphire blue
Buttressed with golden evenings men could feel
All of their fears come mellow with the hue.
Behind them lay the far and wistful heights
Of Ferro and the Fortunate Islands and they knew
Back of these Spain, and widowed women, and light
From lovely Palos glittering on the sea.
The full poem has more technical mastery than the others, and it is certainly less
uneven. But it does not perhaps aim so high. "Political verse", it does not have
the direct impact of George Campbell in Jamaica.
She sings triumphant and with notes held long
She sings of mighty rivers
She sings of noble givers
And with accents strong
She sings of the African womb
Everlasting above the tomb
She sings of her island Jamaica
She sings of the glory of Africa.
The land calling
Clean fresh showers
Of rain falling.
The Grecian heroes
Even features ;
These new creatures
With strong noses
Walking about the world today.
Magnificent rhetoric, but to an outsider, it is in none of these poets that one finds
the special flavour of a new voice. This may be secreted in three poets writing in
Trinidad, although one of them, G. W. Lamming comes from Barbados.
We looked on your countenance and found nothing
That we could recognize, nothing to revive the memory,
You had lost your tears, offered them back to your mother,
Mended your prodigal ways and returned to your mother.
And so we wished that time and the age would change,
Your mother would unclasp her arms, grant you your will,
Perchance your lover should come back, take your hand
And make you what you were before, a little island.
I cannot remember any original music of which this is an echo. Another very
young poet in Trinidad, C. L. Herbert, also has a power of phrase.
He whose blind quest for his mother's breast
Ended, his lifeline frayed by nibbling bullets,
As August unfurled her sixteenth morning
But the stanza that I always myself quote, which brings goose-flesh to my neck
as I hear it, the sure test of poetry, is one by Harold Telemaque, an uneven writer,
bat one who is a true servant of his Muse.
In our land,
We do not breed
That taloned king, the eagle,
Nor make emblazonry of lions
In our land
The black birds
And the chickens of our mountains
Tell our dreams.
I hope that when, as is not so impossible in these days, a really good anthology
of West Indian writing of the modern age is made, that that will form the
dedication. The compilation will depend on further sifting. In the meantime,
I should like to suggest that newspapers show the same alacrity in printing poems
and short stories criticised as they show in reprinting the criticism of writers in
The main value of a programme like Caribbean Voices is to provide an outlet
for writers who would otherwise be mute, a means of inter-communication with
like minds, and, if anything so sordid can be mentioned, money, for it must not
be forgotten that the B.B.C. is subsidising West Indian writing to the tune of
f1,5oo a year in programme fees alone. It is for this reason that we encourage
"local" writing, descriptive and otherwise, as well as for the more obvious reason
that people write and speak best about the things they have made most their own,
which in most cases are all the little details of personal living to which they bring
almost automatically the writer's discipline of speech and selection. I do not
know whether listeners have learned anything more about themselves from the
countless little stories and sketches about aspects of present life, in country and
town, in work and leisure, in race-conflict, and class-conflict, in humour and
tragedy. I know that it has made the region alive to at least one reader in London,
who has difficulty at times in visualising the West Indian scene. The time allowed
is of course not enough to build up a cumulative effect but if at any time there
appears a talent (usually a prose talent) which needs 3,200 words to make its effect,
and not I,6oo only, they may rest assured that they will be given the outlet.
An Experiment in Land Settlement
at Lucky Hill, Jamaica
JAMES WRIGHT, B.SC. (HOns). A.I.C.T.A.,
Department of Agriculture, Jamaica
IN HIS 1940-42 report on Development and Welfare in the West Indies, Sir Frank
Stockdale states that land settlements have been established only as palliatives to
agrarian discontent. This fragmentation of properties into small, and in the main,
uneconomic units has been undertaken with little caution and with a singular lack
of regard to the profound social and economic problems which are involved. All
evidence points to the creation of small holdings on an unrestricted freehold basis
as a very costly undertaking and, as a rule disappointing to both settlers and
Government. Yet it remains the popular choice of Jamaica. It is often stated
that the provision of land spells freedom and that because of the past evil days,
the Jamaican peasant of African descent has an innate desire to own land, to be
his own master rather than serve an employer. The opinion is ventured that there
is little in this popular contention. Several generations have passed since the days
of slavery, days which were of short duration as compared with the days during
which the race has existed, and in the very many days before slavery, no land
in West Africa was owned by the individual. It would seem that in Jamaica as
in fact all over the present day world the desire is not really for land but for a
regular source of income and some form of security. The land offers a way of
life to meet these needs, but if it is to meet them, it must be carefully used and
conserved. All over Jamaica land has been exploited fertility has to be restored
and maintained, a difficult problem requiring scientific skill and heavy expenditure.
The peasant of Jamaica can provide neither of these.
OBJECTS OF THE SCHEME
In its broad concept the Lucky Hill Scheme was to test out a method of
introducing Agricultural workers to estate-scale agriculture. All persons engaged
on the project were to have a say in the management of the property and a
financial interest in its operations. The property was to be developed and worked
as a single unit. If the scheme proved to be workable, the means whereby a lease
of the property could be granted to the settlers by Government were to be
investigated during the period of the experiment and due regard was to be paid
to the future rights, privileges and obligations of Government, the Community and
the individual settler.
The efficient use of land was an important item in the scheme but it was
realized that no matter how efficient land use may become in Jamaica the rate of
increase of the population through illegitimacy and unrestricted families was an
extremely disturbing factor which would render negative any satisfactory efforts
to increase the productivity of the soil. It was considered that pride in the family
and the home might do much to combat this very vexed problem and at Lucky Hill
a prominent place in the development projected was to be the family unit as the
basis of the community with every effort directed towards making the homes as
comfortable and the surroundings as pleasant as possible.
Other factors allowed for in the experiment were the education and training
of the persons participating in the scheme to develop initiative and self-help and
to foster among themselves the spirit of co-operation in all its aspects.
INCEPTION OF THE SCHEME
The project may be said to have had its origin in 1940. In that year the
Government Food Production Board, with the object of furthering the Food
Production Campaign and at the same time providing relief for unemployed
agricultural workers, leased, with the option to purchase, Lucky Hill Pen, a cattle
property of some 873 acres in the Parish of St. Mary. Funds for operating the
scheme were provided by Government. In the vicinity of Lucky Hill Pen is
Walkerswood district, where a Pioneer Club, sponsored by Jamaica Welfare Ltd.
was in operation. On the invitation of Government, the Pioneer Club agreed to
operate Ioo acres of the project on a communal basis. The operation of the project
was placed in the hands of a committee of interested persons and representatives
of the workers under the chairmanship of an officer of Jamaica Welfare Ltd. It
was felt that by this arrangement, social welfare activities among the workers
would receive attention. Subsequently, four more pioneer clubs were formed in
the vicinity of Lucky Hill and eventually all operations on the Lucky Hill property
were conducted by these clubs.
After operating on this basis for some time it was found necessary to transfer
the supervision of the scheme from the Government Food Production Board to the
Department of Agriculture. This transfer was effected in 1942 by which time
Government had sustained very considerable financial losses. The scheme was
now completely revised in accordance with the recommendations of Mr. A. J.
Wakefield, then Agricultural Adviser to the Comptroller of Development and
Welfare in the West Indies. Assistance in the proper financing of the scheme was
forthcoming from Colonial Development and Welfare funds, and the Government
of Jamaica agreed to provide a working advance account.
Theoretically, a start was made with the new scheme on Ist April, 1943, but
for some reason it appears that the need for a valuation of the property was not
appreciated and no valuation report was prepared. A two-year period of muddling
and misunderstanding followed and the scheme continued to be operated at a loss.
The position was again reviewed on 31st March, 1945.
A fresh start was made on Ist April, 1945, by which time the membership,
with a single exception, had been reduced to the original members of the
Walkerswood Pioneer Club. Members, in addition to supplying labour, had their
own cultivations in outlying parts of the property, and some were actually
employing labour to work for them. Privately owned cattle were allowed to run
with the cooperative herd. Members found their own markets for their produce ;
some sold milk to the Condensery. The whole set-up was a travesty of the
collectivist farm which had been the objective of the new scheme.
Since the fresh start, however, abuses have gradually been removed and there
has been a steady growth of understanding and confidence in the scheme.
Modifications in the original scheme have been introduced in the light of experience.
The experiment is in its final stages and plans are now ready for the future of
FINANCING OF THE SCHEME
This experiment as Scheme D550 was approved and funds provided under the
Colonial Development and Welfare Act in 1942. The sum approved was 19,535
covering both grant and loan.
From the approved sum Government took 4,Ioo for the purchase of the
property. Actually the final figure for the purchase was 4,o61 os. od. It was
decided that the property would be rent free for five years and that the rental
would be 3 per cent. of the purchase price. The rental was instituted on
Ist April, 1948.
Of the balance of the approved sum funds were allocated as follows :-
7,5oo-as a loan for the provision of housing, at the rate of 3 per cent.
interest and 3 per cent. sinking fund as soon as the total loan had been
5,ooo-as a grant to assist in the development of the property as a mixed
farm. The sum was allocated under clearly defined sub-heads.
2,285-to provide the wages of an Overseer and Assistant Overseer for a
period of five years.
The management of the experiment was vested in a Managing Committee
working through a committee of the settlers and guiding the work of the Overseer
through an Executive Sub-Committee.
The Managing Committee was appointed by the Governor and was composed
of the following :-
A nominee of the Director of Agriculture (Chairman),
A nominee of the Financial Secretary and Treasurer,
A nominee of Jamaica Welfare (1943) Ltd.,
Three persons resident in the Lucky Hill area selected by the Governor,
The Chairman and two members of the Settlers Council.
The Executive Sub-Committee was composed of the three Lucky Hill area
residents and had as chairman the President of the Settlers Council.
The Settlers Council was composed of a Chairman and two members who
were elected annually by vote at a general meeting of the settlers.
The Managing Committee held quarterly meetings while its Executive
Sub-Committee met fortnightly and, later, monthly. The members of the executive
were always available for consultation with the overseer and the Department of
Agriculture was represented at all sub-committee meetings in an advisory capacity.
The Settlers Council held monthly meetings and emergency meetings as
For the purposes of education in the details of the scheme the settlers met in
general assembly once per month and these meetings were attended by various
members of the Managing Committee, Welfare Officers and interested visitors who
took part in the discussions and deliberations. To further the work of the
assemblies the members were formed into small study groups and these groups
also undertook various 'working together' projects.
This organisation permitted of approach by the Managing Committee to the
individual settler and also of the individual settler to the Managing Committee.
The terms of reference of the Managing Committee, the Executive Sub-
Committee and the Settlers Council were laid down in the printed Wakefield
memorandum on the scheme.
Broadly, the functions of the Managing Committee were, in consultation with
the Settlers Council, to define the objectives of the project, to determine and submit
plans of work together with estimates of expenditure on capital works and the
general operation of the property, to ensure that approved works were properly
carried out and to have all monies brought into proper account.
The Council, apart from transmitting suggestions on the development and
operation of the property to the Managing Committee, was held responsible for
the good conduct of all members, ensuring that all rules were adhered to and the
instructions of the overseer obeyed. The Council was also responsible for the
election of new members and the expulsion of persons who were considered
Unanimous agreement between the settlers and the Managing Committee was
reached in regard to the distribution of profits and effected according to plan, on
the approval of the Governor.
The Settlers Council was also required to form holiday and sick benefit,
canteen and education sub-committees.
The financial administration fell under two heads :-
(a) Operation of Colonial Development and Welfare funds.
(b) Operation of the Working Account.
The detailed accounting required by Government proved to be a matter of some
concern but eventually difficulties were overcome by allocating duties in
connection with costings to the assistant overseer and detailing an accounting officer
of the Department of Agriculture to maintain the accounts and prepare regular
financial statements. The accounting officer was awarded an annual honorarium
of 25 os. od. for his services.
Subsistence wages were paid to settlers for duties and tasks assigned by the
Overseer. The rates were similar to those on neighboring properties and were
equivalent to wages which varied from 2 os. od. per week to 3/- per day. A
strict account of each man's earnings and the number of days worked was kept.
Wages were paid fortnightly.
Outside labour for property operations was employed in rush periods but
gradually the need for this was reduced to a minimum. It was found from
experience that it was best to detail settlers for work on the property operations
and to employ outside labour for capital works.
From 1945 profits were realized and were distributed in the following
(a) io per cent. to Reserves,
(b) 24 per cent. dividend on Share Capital of individual settlers,
(c) The balance to settlers as divisible bonus of which one-third was credited
to the members' share capital accounts.
In 1948-49, in accordance with a previous decision of the settlers, the divisible
bonus was distributed among those settlers who had performed 200 days work on
the property during the year except in the case of unavoidable circumstances and
the maximum earning on which profits to the individual was calculated was
40 os. od. per annum. This arrangement allowed for an equitable distribution of
the profits to hard-working settlers while the value of any member to the community
was recognized by the differential in subsistence wages.
The member capacity of the property has not yet been accurately determined.
Membership in accordance with the Wakefield Memorandum was restricted to men
and the original suggestion was that there should be 75 members. The Managing
Committee decided on a membership of 50 men as a first target. This figure was
reached in 1948 but was later reduced to 33, mainly by the expulsion of undesir-
ables. Arrangements are in train to elect to membership well tried youths who
have passed through an Agricultural Practical Training Centre and a Student-
Apprentice Farmer Course of the Department of Education.
An applicant, if accepted for membership, had to pay an entrance fee of 2/6
and had to serve a period of probation of six months. If found to be satisfactory
he was elected to full membership and was required to take out a minimum of
five shilling shares. Thereafter a man was entitled to the rights, privileges and
obligations of membership and the continuation of membership was subject to his
abiding by the rules of the community and of the scheme.
A member was required to live on the property as soon as a house could be
provided. After it became possible to provide all settlers with houses no rentals
were charged but until this could be done a nominal rental of 5/- per month was
levied. Around each house was reserved approximately I acre of land on which
a settler was allowed to cultivate food crops for his family's needs. Settlers were
required to develop soil conservation measures in their gardens in such a manner
as would conform to the general plan for the residential area.
Priority of houses was given to married settlers who on taking up residence
were required to give proof of marriage to the Council. No concubinage was
permitted. Bachelors were allocated houses on the understanding that they would
have to share houses and make messing arrangements as more houses were required
for married couples.
Shares were refunded to men who ceased to be members and arrangements
were made to pay over share capital to the heirs of any deceased member, together
with all interest and bonus due.
POLICY AND WORKING PLAN
One of the objectives of the Managing Committee was to demonstrate to the
settlers the efficient use of land within the property boundaries and at the same time
to aim at a balanced economy. No plan of the property was available and the task
of making a compass survey of all fields and building up a composite plan was
undertaken by an officer of the Department of Agriculture. Lands thereafter were
defined and reserved as suitable for-
(a) cultivation of food and field crops by mechanical means,
(b) permanent crops to be undercultivated by hand during period of
establishment of the crops,
(e) woodlands to be left as such.
A road system was planned and sites were selected for farm buildings and
CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT 1943-49
Permission was obtained to extend the experiment beyond the five year period
as originally planned, and it will be brought to finality at 30th June, 1949, when
the funds for the wages of the overseer and assistant overseer will become
exhausted. The Housing loan and the capital grant for development were fully
expended by 31st March, 1949.
In addition to the 7,500 loan, f115 os. od., then the available share capital
subscribed by settlers, was expended on the following :-
One Overseer's House
One Assistant Overseer's House
31 Cottages for settlers.
The cottages were constructed of an hardwood framework supported on
concrete pillars, walls of Spanish walling (stone, marl and lime) faced with lime
plaster, roofs of shingles or sarking with 'paroid' continuous roofing material and
steps and floors of verandah, kitchen and bathrooms of concrete.
With few exceptions all cottages were built to one pattern, a modified type oi
the Central Housing Authority, and consisting of two bedrooms Io' x o1', a central
room io' x 14', and a front verandah To' x 6' Separate are a kitchen, bathroom
and pit latrine. All cottages have electric light and there is a piped water supply
with a stand pipe for every two or three cottages.
All building materials possible were extracted on the property, lumber and
shingles prepared in the property sawmill and all materials made over at cost only
to the housing account. All housing was insured against fire, hurricane and
earthquake and the annual premium is 124 os. od.
Expenditure of the 5,00ooo grant was as under :-
Light, Power and Water Supply
Machinery and Equipment
1,538 11 9
591 I6 8
499 18 4
287 13 It
2,081 19 4
5,000 o o
For this expenditure the property was equipped with a modern dairy with
mechanical milking and dairy apparatus, an electrically driven shingle sawmill,
an office and equipment store, a crop store with drying trays and a barbecue. An
underground river was tapped and water lifted by deep well electric pump to a
storage tank on the highest site on the property from where the water was piped
by gravity to the points where it was required. Three ponds were reclaimed and
put in order. Walls, fences and gates were all overhauled or renewed. An adequate
road system was developed. Agricultural machinery and rolling stock as were
required were purchased with draught stock. A selection of good foundation dairy
and beef cows was added to the herds taken over.
54 acres of citrus (Marsh Seedless Grapefruit, Valencia and Parson Brown
Oranges) were established. Some 14,000 trees, mainly mahoe, Hibiscus elatus, were
planted out in areas selected for afforestation. In preparing arable lands and
orchards due attention was paid to soil conservation measures.
The economy was based on field and orchard crops, a few pigs, dairy and beef
cattle, and to these farming activities were added the extraction and preparation
of building materials and the operation of a sawmill.
The relative importance of the property operations can perhaps best be
indicated by furnishing the revenue figures for the last two years.
Property Building Materials
Rent and Electric Light
S s. d.
984 o 8
90 3 to
292 19 5
406 o o
II o 0
778 o 2
32 7 7
16 9 o
2,611 o 8
2,279 14 8
188 18 II
387 17 9
290 3 6
9 3 o
1,334 7 4
89 5 o
27 i6 6
4,607 6 8
In the plan for proper land use only go acres could be set aside for mechanical
cultivation. Preparation of the land is now done by a local contractor who is
participating in the Farm Implements Scheme of the Department of Agriculture.
A rotation involving roots, pulses, grain, vegetables and fodder grasses was worked
out and is now being followed. In addition to the arable lands the citrus orchards
are being under-cultivated with pulse crops for as long as possible. Plantains,
bananas and pineapples were established in some fields.
In addition to the 54 acres of orchard citrus there are semi-wild sweet and
bitter orange trees on the property in the pasture lands. The Community was
registered as a member of the Citrus Growers Association.
Pimento trees are also scattered through the property but the average annual
crop is only about 400 lb.
A small avocado pear orchard was planted in the early days of the scheme
and trees are now fruiting and yielding small income.
Coconuts were also planted in the early days although the area which is over
r,ooo feet above sea level is not suitable for this crop. However, of the 524 seed-
lings planted in 1940 some which are under-cultivated and heavily manured are
bearing nuts. A coconut nursery was maintained for supplying seedlings to local
planters and this proved quite a lucrative undertaking.
Seven acres were reserved for planting out with the high yielding strains of
cocoa now being made available by the Department of Agriculture and bananas,
plantains and breadfruit were planted to provide temporary and permanent
protection for the cocoa.
Two acres were prepared for a coffee plot and the establishment of a mixed
plot with coffee as the important crop is being supervised by the Coffee Officer of
the Department of Agriculture.
Dairy Cattle. By culling and purchasing better stock and by the use of a
series of pure bred imported Guernsey bulls made available by the Department of
Agriculture under a Loan Bull Scheme it was possible to build up a very high
grade Guernsey herd. At 31st March, 1949, this herd totalled 93 head, including
46 cows, and was valued at 1,388 Ios. od. Milk production during 1948-49 was
29,920 quarts of which 16,321 quarts were sold to the Condensery.
Beef Cattle. A small herd of grade red poll cattle was maintained and run
on the outlying pastures. Young steers were purchased locally when opportunity
permitted and fattened for sale. At 3ist March, 1949, the beef herd totalled
52 head and was valued at 680 os. od.
Working Stock. At 3rst March, 1949, there were 26 head of working stock
on the property. The 14 mules, 2 horses and Io steers were valued at 51o os. od.
Extraction, Preparation and Sales of Building Materials
The materials which were extracted and sold locally or made over to the
building programme were cedar and hardwood lumber, cedar shingles, stone, marl
and white lime. The sawmill was not put into operation until June 1948, but by
the end of the 1948-49 financial year 62,400 shingles had been sold.
Apart from every settler having subsistence wages at the usual rates, a free
house and I of an acre of land to cultivate, the settlers shared the following profits
after deducting zo per cent. for Reserves :-
1945-46 76 9 9
1946-47 54 8 4
1947-48 220 13 6
1948-49 215 7 6
General expenses including such items as interest on loan, rent, insurance,
traveling of the overseer and the maintenance of the property and equipment
amounted to 740 I5s. od. in 1947-48 and 1,414 I2S. 5d. in 1948-49, which figures
provide enough evidence of the attention given to the maintenance of the property,
buildings and equipment.
The Managing Committee was assisted in some measure in developing certain
welfare activities among the settlers by the officers of Jamaica Welfare (1943) Ltd.
An old wooden shack on the property was converted into a school room. A
kindergarten school with 19 pupils and with the wife of the Assistant Overseer as
teacher was started off in October 1948. Remuneration of .1 os. od. per week is
now paid to the teacher by the Community.
This Club was administered by a sub-committee of the Settlers Council assisted
by the one lady member of the Managing Committee. Members were required to
make a compulsory subscription of 2/- per month and were eligible for full benefits
on payment of the first subscription. This Club inherited 25 os. od. from the
Walkerswood Pioneer Club. A miniature Agricultural Show and fete day was held
to augment the funds. This Club functioned very satisfactorily.
This also was operated by a sub-committee of the Council. Another old shack
was converted into a shop. The Club became a member of the Cooperative
Wholesale and goods, when transport arrangements permitted, were purchased
through the Wholesale organisation.
A cricket pitch was rolled out and some second-hand gear was obtained.
Training courses to educate settlers in the principles of the scheme and to
develop leadership were held several times by Jamaica Welfare Officers.
On several occasions short courses were given by officers of Jamaica We'fare
on nutrition, cooking, weaving and other homecrafts to the wives and daughters
of settlers and on carpentry and furniture-making to the men themselves.
FUTURE OF THE SCHEME
The Managing Committee gave considerable attention to the future of this
scheme as members are fully convinced that the Lucky Hill form of land settlement
provides at least a part answer to the vexed problem of land settlement in the
Proposals have been submitted to Government to the effect that the settlers
should be formed into Lucky Hill Farming Cooperative Society Ltd., the Society
together with its rules to be registered under the Cooperative Societies Law which,
it is hoped, is about to be enacted. Comprehensive rules to govern the operation
of the Society have been prepared and are at present being considered by the
settlers and members of the Managing Committee.
It is further proposed that the settlers should be given a 99 years lease of the
property and that this lease should contain a special agreement to provide funds
as may become necessary for the operation of the property. The rent is suggested
as 3 per cent. of the purchase price of the property as at present arranged and
according to the terms of the lease Government would agree to furnish loans at
3 per cent. interest for any further capital development, including housing and
for the provision of a working account. Any loan would be repayable at the rate
of a minimum of 3 per cent. per annum of the loan issued.
B. J. Surridge, Esq., Cooperative Adviser to the Secretary of State for the
Colonies, visited Jamaica in the early part of 1949 and he rendered extremely
valuable assistance and guidance in the finalising of these proposals. Mr. Surridge
voiced the opinion, an opinion which has been shared by many notable persons
who have visited Lucky Hill and studied the scheme, that at Lucky Hill has been
evolved a pattern for land settlement not only in Jamaica but in the whole of the
In concluding this article, as there may be extension of this form of land
settlement in Jamaica and already there is information of similar land settlements
being considered elsewhere in the West Indies, it may be useful to give a few
suggestions based on some of the difficulties which were encountered at Lucky Hill.
The original settlers to form a society should be very carefully selected with
due attention to medical examination by an appropriate authority. The aim should
be to have a range of age classes, with emphasis on the younger classes. The
great need for a high proportion of literate members is stressed and it is necessary
that applicants who have only what may be termed a "labourer's mentality"a
desire to receive regular money for work performed-should be rejected. In
Jamaica it appears that the most promising applicants would be youths who have
undergone training at the Agricultural Practical Training Centres and Student-
Apprentice Farmer Courses of the Education Department.
Accommodation should be provided right at the start of operations. There
can be no community centre until there is adequate housing for all settlers. As
the basis of the Society must be the happy family unit the houses should be as
comfortable as possible. Housing and other capital works, contrary to what is
usually expected, should be performed by outside contractors of hired labour. It
is desirable and even necessary to have artisans in the community but in the early
days all settlers must be able to give their undivided attention to getting the
property into efficient operation.
The original Lucky Hill Scheme provided for the withdrawal of the overseer
after the experimental period. It has become obvious that this must not happen.
A trained manager is a necessity for all time if the property is to be operated
efficiently. Eventually it is hoped that the son of a settler will be trained to become
the manager when his services can be paid for by the Community. Meanwhile
the way could be prepared for this step by Government's deducting from the profits
of any scheme which is making good progress a limited percentage to help to defray
As set out in the Wakefield Memorandum, the financial administration of the
Lucky Hill Scheme appeared to be simple and straightforward. In actual fact it
proved to be cumbersome and unwieldy and long undue delays in financial matters
nearly wrecked the scheme. In any similar undertaking it is stressed that the
psychology of the settlers must be given even more consideration than the
development of the property. Delays and uncertainty in financial matters are
dangerous and mi'itate against progress.
Knowledge, Sympathy and Understanding
This, a last suggestion, is perhaps most important of all. It is impossible to
stress too strongly that all who are in any way to be connected with land settlement
of this design should, before operations commence, have a sound working knowledge
of the plan in all its many aspects. All factors, all implications, must be thoroughly
understood and only those who are in full sympathy with and have every confidence
in this form of land settlement should be entrusted with the task of sharing the
duties associated with its early administration.
The Milky Way
DR. T. W. J. TAYLOR,
Principal of the University College of the West Indies
WHEN ON A CLEAR NIGHT with no moon we stroll into our gardens and look at the
heavens, we see the arch of closely packed stars called the Milky Way stretching
across the sky. It often looks as a luminous cloud of irregular width, brighter in
some parts and with curious dark patches in others. Though to the eye it looks
like a luminous belt, it does not need a very powerful telescope to show that it
consists of a dense collection of stars, most of them too faint for the human eye
to see as points of light, but so many that together they give the effect of a cloud.
The human eye is an admirable instrument for earthly purposes, one of the best
optical instruments known, but not sensitive enough for astronomical purposes such
as this. There are only about ten thousand stars bright enough to be seen by the
eye as separate stars and of these not more than one third are visible at one time.
Telescopes backed up by photography can see much more. For this there are two
main reasons. First a telescope can be made with a much wider opening to take
in the light than the human eye, which is limited to the diameter of the iris, and
so it can gather more light and concentrate it into a brighter image. Secondly the
photographic plate goes on collecting an impression until enough has been built
up to give something which can be developed, while the eye either sees or does
not see. In other words you can prolong a photographic exposure and get an image
of a very faint object while with the eye you see no more however long you gaze,
after the first period of getting used to the intensity of the light has passed.
Here in the West Indies we are sufficiently far south to see the whole of the
Milky Way if we watch throughout the year. In North America or England the
southerly part of it, near the Southern Cross, can never be seen. Here we can
realize that it is a continuous belt stretching round the heavens. Certain parts are
visible at certain times of the year because we cannot see the stars in daylight ; the
sun is too bright. If we watch while the seasons pass, some part of it is always
there so that it must be a continuous belt of densely congregated stars, much denser
than in the other parts of the sky. It must have struck many people as curious
that this should be so. If the stars were distributed at random, there would be no
concentration of them in one part of the sky. The existence of the Milky Way
must mean that there is some particular arrangement which affects a large number
of stars but not all.
As we look at the stars, they appear to be attached to the inside of a sphere,
or rather of a hemisphere, since we can only see half of the sphere at one time.
Of course we know that this is not so. They are at different distances away and
if we knew how far the various stars are, we could get a true picture of their
arrangement in space and some idea why so many are congregated in one belt.
Until we can do this, we cannot expect any satisfactory answer to our problem.
It is only comparatively recently, within the last thirty years or so, that it has
been possible to measure the distances of many stars. The first distances were
measured in 1838 when three stars were successfully dealt with by three separate
people one of these was the well-known star Vega. The method can only be used
for the nearest stars and no new method was worked out until 1890 or so. Thirty
years later the third and much more powerful method was discovered at Harvard.
Hence the problem under discussion, the structure of the Milky Way, has only been
answered during the life-time of many of us.
These methods form the basis of attack and so it is best to give some
simple description of them. The first method of 1838 is like ordinary surveying
a base line of known length is taken and from each end of it the angle is
measured which the direction to the object makes with the base line. The
distance of the object can then be calculated by simple trigonometry. For
the stars the base line is the diameter of the path of the earth round the
sun, which is known to be 186 million miles. The angles are measured
at intervals of six months when the earth has reached the opposite end of
the diameter. The method breaks down for a star at any distance and there are
very few which are near. The nearest is about four and a half light years away.
The light year is the unit used for such distances, just as the yard is used for
measuring cloth. Light travels fast so that it is a large unit, but the distances are
large. Light takes eight and a half minutes to travel from the sun to the earth
so that a star at four and a half light years is more than Ioo,ooo times as far away
as the sun. This method can be used up to about 600 light years and then becomes
too inaccurate. It can be extended by the second method which is difficult to
explain in simple terms because it involves so much physics. Let us leave it by
saying that it reaches out further than the first, but is limited to stars which give
enough light to be split up into its various wave-lengths by a prism or grating and
even then it is limited to stars of a certain type, the so-called F stars. The third
method is the most important for our present purpose. It is generally known that
many of the stars are variable, that is, their brightness is not constant but goes
through a cycle. Starting from their brightest stage, they grow fainter down to a
minimum and then brighter up to a maximum and this cycle is repeated indefinitely.
There are several types of variable stars ; some are irregular like the bright star
Betelgeuse which forms the head of Orion, but many are completely regular and
go on with exactly the same time elapsing between two successive maxima, the
same period as it is called. The North Star, Polaris, is one of these with a period
of not quite four days and there are many others with periods varying from a few
hours up to eleven days. In 1906 Miss Leavitt of Harvard noticed something about
these stars, which are called Cepheid Variables, in a star cluster in the southern
sky, one of the Magellanic Clouds. These are called after the great navigator,
Magellan, who got far south enough in his circumnavigation of South America to
see them well and was the first to describe them. Miss Leavitt noticed that there
is a relation between the brightness of these Cepheids and their period ; the brighter
the star the longer the period and the fainter the star the shorter the
period. These clusters are so far away that it can be assumed for all
practical purposes that all the stars in them are at the same distance from
the earth. Hence if we measure the period, we can predict the brightness and
vice versa. Now the apparent brightness of a star depends on two things, its
actual brightness and how far it is away, just as a street light has a constant
brightness, but gets fainter the further one walks away from it. If we know the
actual brightness and observe the apparent brightness, we can calculate the actual
or absolute brightness. Shapley of Harvard used these facts to construct a new
method of measuring star distances. Certain Cepheids are close enough for their
distances to be measured by the older methods. Their apparent brightnesses can
be calculated. Their periods as variable stars are also known and from these data
we can say that a certain period means a certain absolute brightness. If we then
go to a variable star at an unknown distance, we can measure the period and now
can interpret this as an absolute brightness. But the apparent brightness can be
measured, so that the distance can be calculated. This third method can be
extended to any group of stars which contains Cepheid variables and has been used
for distances up to 130 million light years. This is a very long way indeed and
gives some idea of the enormous scale on which the universe is constructed. It
means that light from an object at that distance has completed 99 per cent. of its
journey to the earth by the time that the human race began. In spite of this fact,
there is no doubt that these distances are real and can be measured with
Armed with these facts we can return'to the Milky Way and proceed to discuss
its true shape. If the distances of a fair number of characteristic stars belonging
to it are measured, their positions in space can be plotted and we can see whether
it is really the flat belt which it appears to be. Sir William Herschel first tried to
do this is the middle of the nineteenth century. He got something like the right
answer in spite of the paucity of his data, but nowadays there is such a mass of
evidence that there can be no doubt. To give the answer first and discuss later
how it reached, it can be said that the Milky Way is a collection of stars to which
our sun belongs and which has the shape of a circular flattened disk thickened in
the middle of a sort of hub. Looked at from one angle it is a circle and from a
direction at right angles to the first it is a cigar with a marked bulge in the middle.
The sun, and therefore ourselves, is placed out in the thin part away from the
centre. There is really no sharp edge to the collection, but the density of stars
thins out to leave a region of higher density of this shape. There may also be a
roughly spherical distribution of stars, rather sparse, in which this disk arrange-
ment is embedded. The centre is where the star density is greatest and we should
expect it to be in the direction of the brightest part of the Milky Way. This is true
since the centre is in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. The centre is
about 40,000 light years away from us and the whole galaxy, as it is called, is
very large with a diameter of about ioo,ooo light years and about 1o,ooo light
years thick in the middle. This at once accounts for the belt-like appearance of the
Milky Way. We are in a rather flat collection of stars so that if we look along
any other direction, there are fewer stars. There will be a belt round the heavens
in which we see stars densely congregated. One can imagine oneself living inside
a flattish bun and looking out from it in various directions.
The evidence for this conclusion is manifold and the following points are
examples. First there is the distribution of particular kinds of stellar objects, such
as the globular clusters which are quite bright and can be seen at great distances.
About one hundred are known and one, in Hercules, is a naked-eye object. Shapley
worked out the distribution in space of these if it is taken to be the framework
of the shape of the galaxy, that is, if we assume that the globular clusters are
equally distributed throughout the galaxy, we get the shape which has been
described above. Next we can take the novae, the new stars which flare up from
time to time their positions, which have been recorded for many years, agree
with the same picture. Then there is the laborious business of star counts, which
is simply the counting of all stars down to a particular magnitude. An entirely
different method of attack is given by the so-called star-streaming phenomenon. If
the shape of the galaxy is as described, it must be rotating since this alone can
give a reason for its flatness, just as the earth is flattened at the poles by the
gravitational effects due to rotation. If the galaxy rotates, the sun, and ourselves,
must be moving round the centre and so must all the other members of the galaxy.
Now simple gravitational theory demands that the members closer to the centre
move faster than those further out. Thus the stars between us and the centre are
going round faster than we are and those outside us more slowly. We can measure
the speeds of the stars relative to the earth by means of the spectroscope and
from these speeds we can deduce the direction of the centre about which the
galaxy is rotating and its distance away from the earth. The position, in Sagittarius,
and the distance, 40,000 light years, agree completely with the deductions made
by the other methods. We can also dedice the time taken for the sun to make one
complete revolution round the centre it is about 250 million years. The earth
has existed for at least 3,000 million years, so that the sun has done twelve turns
round the centre since the earth was formed. Another way of confirming the
picture leads conveniently to the next topic. One way of finding the shape of
anything is to put it up against a bright background and see what shape the dark
obscure part of the background has. There are plenty of celestial objects which
do not belong to our galaxy. Of naked-eye stars there is about one at the galactic
pole, that is, the direction at right angles to that of the Milky Way, to three and
a half in the galactic plane, while for all stars down to magnitude 21, which is
about as far as the big telescopes go, there is one at the pole to 44 in the plane,
so that there is no lack of bright objects to form a background. Among them
there are objects at a great distance which do not occur in the galactic plane at
all and these are called nebulae. They are very characteristic and quite different
from stars ; only one is visible to the naked eye, the Great Nebula in Andromeda,
and that can only be seen under the best conditions. Photographs taken with the
Ioo-inch telescope, however, show incredible numbers of them and it is estimated
that there are 200 million which could be photographed by a telescope of that size
if anyone had the time to do it. The first point of interest is how these nebulae are
distributed in space. There are so many that the chance is very high that they
would appear equally dotted about in every direction if we were isolated and
alone in space. This is not so in the galactic plane and on each side of it none
can be seen, but on going towards the galactic pole they appear comparatively
suddenly and their frequency remains fairly constant all the way to that pole.
This suggests at once that something is blotting out part of the picture and the
shape of the something so deduced agrees quite well with the shape of our galaxy
deduced in the other ways. The reason for the blotting out is that our galaxy
contains a good deal of what is called cosmic dust, very fine particles which in
consequence have a high power of absorbing light. It is this dust which is
responsible for the black patches that can be seen so easily in the Milky Way.
The next logical question to ask is whether this galaxy, of which the earth is
a humble member, is unique or peculiar, or whether there are other objects like
it in the sky. Of the 20 million nebulae which have been referred to, about
three-quarters have a shape which is very like the shape which has been proved
for our galaxy. Some are irregular in outline, but most are disk-like and they can
be seen from all sorts of angles so that some look like circles, others like cigars
swollen in the middle and others are tilted and look like ovals. At first sight this
seems a very large number of nebulae, but if contrasted with other populations, it
is not so large. For example the human population of the earth in 1940 was about
2,100oo millions, so that there is only one nebula for every Ioo people alive. Oddly
enough 20 millions is also the milk production of the earth in gallons a year,
excluding countries like Russia, China and India which do not record their milk
production. The number of nebulae must be very much smaller than the number
of insects alive on the earth at any moment there are at least three million separate
species of insects and no one knows how many members there are of each species ;
there must be millions in certain species, so that the total of insects must be several
millions times as great as that of nebulae visible in the Ioo-inch telescope. To
return to our galaxy these facts show that it is not unique and not peculiar, but
a representative of a large class. Many of the nebulae are spiral in appearance
with a disk-like centre and two arms sweeping out in spirals from it. These furnish
some of the most splendid objects, but can only be seen in the big telescopes. Our
galaxy may be of this spiral type and some astronomers think that the sun may
be in an arm of the spiral, but the evidence is not conclusive and the answer will
not be known until the evidence has accumulated.
There is another interesting point which shows that our galaxy is nothing out
of the ordinary. It has been observed that the distant nebulae in most cases occur
in groups which, comparatively speaking, contain several nebulae close together.
Why this should be so, no one knows; it is just an observed fact. Hence it
would be expected that a few nebulae should be closer to our galaxy than the
rest so as to form a group. To be in the fashion, as it were, we should have
companion galaxies. This proves to be true. The distance of some nebulae can
be measured because they contain Cepheid variables and that of others can be
estimated by assuming that the new stars, novae, which flare up in them, are of
the same brightness as the novae in our galaxy. Another way of estimating their
distances is to assume that all galaxies are roughly of the same size, an assumption
justified by the sizes of those where direct measurement is possible. Most of them
come out to be a very long way of, anything from six million to one hundred
million light years, but there are a few which are much nearer, notably the nebula
in Orion which is known quite accurately to be 800,ooo light years away and the
two Clouds of Magellan at about the same distance but in another direction. These
latter are irregular and not spirals. There is another spiral, M33 in Triangulum,
which is only a little further away. It therefore appears that our galaxy is a
member of a group, just as those at a great distance fall into groups. For the closer
nebulae it is a simple matter to measure their size, as far as one can for a thing
which has no true edge. The two spirals, in Andromeda and Triangulum, are both
a little smaller than our galaxy, with about two-thirds of the diameter, but this does
not mean that they are really very different. In our own galaxy we can see, and
hence measure, the fainter outer parts of it, while with the other two they are so
far away that we cannot see the outer part which is almost certainly there. It may
well be that their size is much the same as that of ours and the conclusion to draw
is that we cannot claim our galaxy to be special or peculiar in any way, but
probably very similar to the millions of others which populate the sky.
THE SUNLIT CARIBBEAN Alec
Waugh.-- (Evans Brothers Ltd.,
London, 1948, 127 pp.)
TOURIsT books are often baffling exhibitions
to the inhabitants of the areas concerned
The Sunlit Caribbean will even stump the
Somehow, Mr. Waugh manages to feature
an immigrant London crooner, a frustrated
New York lecture agent, and an obeahed
French colonial official, in his treatment
of the three islands, St. Lucia, Dominica,
and Martinique. The rest of the Carib-
bean-and the author must admit this
is considerable-receives a spotty survey
in three general chapters. Rather irrele-
vantly, Tahiti comes in for more attention
than most of the West Indian isles. The
Spanish-speaking territories are given short
shift-they have "lain outside the general
pattern of West Indian life." (p. II7). One
wonders, on the basis of this attitude, how
a Spanish tourist might be expected to
refer to the English-speaking islands.
Apart from unbalanced content, errors
of fact detract from the authority of the
book. The nineteenth century sugar
depression is ascribed directly to Emanci-
pation ; the fact that the decline had
set in more than a generation earlier, as
far as the British islands were concerned,
is ignored. (p. 27). The statement that
Jamaica was captured "under Cromwell's
orders by Penn and Venables" is certainly
misleading since those two gentlemen,
while under Cromwell's orders, had been
instructed to do something quite different.
(p. z15). Although Mr. Waugh notes the
diversities of the islands, he writes
generalities and it is sometimes difficult to
ascertain which imperial power's posses-
sions he has in mind. Thus some of his
statements which appear questionable may
be so because the reference is not clear,
rather than that they do not apply to some
The several photographs are singularly
dull scenes considering the animated
possibilities of the typical West Indian
Throughout the book there is the sug-
gestion that Mr. Waugh would like very
much to talk about his near-past adven-
tures during the war period, but he has
been commissioned to attempt to glean
tourist titbits from his more distant, and
certainly sketchy, Caribbean experience.
Which is a pity !
The best of The Sunlit Caribbean are
the chapters on Martinique. These are
reprints in the main, and may be read to
better advantage in Most Women and The
Coloured Countries (titled Hot Countries
in the American edition). The latter
books are much more substantial efforts
than the work under review.
If a tourist wishes to get behind the
scenes, a book such as this should be helpful
if it be worthy of the name. The Sunlit
Caribbean fails miserably. For example,
when it refers to the problem of colour
prejudice in the British islands the couple
or so pages are so inadequate as to be
useless-and unfair. To look at the slums
of western Kingston and ruminate on the
misery of freedom and the paternalism of
slavery is fastening blinkers on the tourist.
Considering the lack of content, the
title is most extraordinary.
THE NEGRO IN AMERICA-Arnold
Rose.-(Harper and Bros., New
York, 1948, 321 pp.)
An American Dilemma is a book-already
acclaimed as a classic of a type with which
the West Indies may not be blessed for
generations to come. Ignorance and pre-
judice in the islands are comparatively
unchallenged by scientific social studies.
In 1937, the Carnegie Corporation of
New York began negotiations with the
noted Swedish economist, Gunnar Myrdal,
to get him to direct "a comprehensive
study of the Negro in the United States,
to be undertaken in a wholly objective
and dispassionate way as a social pheno-
menon" That is just what An American
Dilemma is; The Negro in America is a
3oo-page condensation of the 1,500-page
The original study was a team project;
besides using the extensive literature on
the problem, a battery of experts attacked
some of the special aspects and produced
monographs. The author had the assist-
ance of two specialists in writing up the
mass of collected information. Arnold Rose,
who is responsible for the condensation,
was one of these assistants. Professor
Myrdal has written the foreword to The
Negro in America and therein testifies to
the faithfulness of the abridgment. iHe
points out, however, that "The condensa-
tion is more definitely focused on
the Negro problem as such This
inevitable shortcoming is not minor. With
"the supporting evidence" missing, the
reader who is unfamiliar with the American
scene may be put off balance by the sharp
impact of the work. Condensations are
so often sought for by those least able to
From the start, Professor Myrdal faces
The American Dilemma is the ever-
raging conflict between, on the one
hand, the values which we shall call
the "American Creed", where the
American thinks, talks, and acts under
the influence of high national and
Christian morals, and, on the other
hand, the values of individual and
group living, where personal and local
interests . dominate his outlook.
He then proceeds to examine American
life-not just the White or the Negro
community-on this question. At each
step he outlines the principled profession,
and then details the variable practice.
North and South. City and country.
Black and white. How the situation
seems to be getting worse, and how it is
getting better. "Race Beliefs and Facts",
"The Old Plantation Economy and the
New" "Economic Discrimination and How
it Works" "The Basic Political Factors",
"The Basis of Social Inequality", "Caste
and Class", "The Unequal Administration
of Justice", "Negro Leadership and the
Negro Protest" Chapters such as these,
with their dispassionate content, are
meaningful, useful, to the members of a
black and white society anywhere in the
world ; a value not less where racial dis-
crimination does not have the doubtful
distinction of being legal.
Not the least iniquitous side of racial
prejudice is that evident when the non-
white believes the lie of white superiority.
If a predominantly black or coloured com-
munity has generally accepted this false
belief but maintains justice on the basis
of equality, the hypocrisy of the situation
is patent. Though the conflict of values
is more or less under cover, it is there.
The need for scientific thinking, educa-
tion, is there, as it is in the northern
states where there is justice but some
unofficial discrimination, and in the South
where the Negro is the victim both in the
court and in the society at large. The
author notes how the intensive research of
recent years is gradually emancipating
both white and black from the bondage of
ignorance. As he says, "The last two or
three decades have seen a revolution
in scientific thought on the racial charac-
teristics of the Negro." (p. 34). This is
indeed a palatable, and long overdue, truth
for the Negro. He adds-
But the whites have been very slow
to change their ideas, since the findings
of modern science do not coincide with
their interest in defending the caste
order. However, it is now becoming
difficult for even popular writers to
express other views than the ones of
racial equalitarianism and still retain
intellectual respect. This is true even
in the South. Research and educa-
tion are bolstering the American
Creed in its influence toward greater
equalitarianism. (p. 35)
As critical as an outsider may be of the
treatment of Negroes in the United States,
and particularly in the South, he can
hardly fail to be impressed with the
evidence in this book of the powerful
attacks by liberal forces on the problem
and the rapidity of change. These changes
bring new problems. It is increasingly
difficult to keep the Negro in his "place";
prejudice is aggravated. (p. 223). The
poor whites of the South find their position
more in jeopardy as unionism spreads.
"Many of the new unions have a policy
of 'no discrimination against Negroes'."
(p. 200). Friction increases as the Federal
Government presses the southern states to
liberalize. More Negroes are educated and
more vote ; fewer Negro leaders are
"accommodating"-more are protesting.
All this stirring up is not without dan-
gers for the Negro.
As Negro institutions are improved
and increasingly manned exclusively by
Negro professionals, segregation is un-
doubtedly becoming strengthened in
America. Powerful Negro vested in-
terests in segregation are thus created.
the rise of the Negro protest
means intensified "race pride" and
voluntary withdrawal and increasing
isolation of Negroes from the larger
American scene. (p. 260-I).
Yet notwithstanding changing difficulties
which often seem to involve proverbial
vicious circles, the overall situation is not
of a circle, but, as the author declares.
a spiral. Good is being increasingly mani-
fested. Of this, a glance at the historical
record gives irrefutable proof.
One could say that this or that aspect
of the problem is underdone, e.g., the reli-
gious, or overdone, e.g., the economic, but
the study is so grand in scope that any-
thing short of a leisurely discussion of the
disputed emphasis would be an injustice.
The complete two volumes of An
American Dilemma are essential reading
for the student of race problems. The
Negro in America in its compactness which
is yet comprehensive, is a remarkable
achievement of condensation ; the general
reader who fails to acquaint himself with
it is losing a unique opportunity of gaining
an insight into the United States' problem
THE GUIANA EDITION-Published
by the Daily Chronicle in George-
town, British Guiana.
THE demand for books on the history of
the West Indies and the Caribbean is one
of those permanent headaches which all who
are connected with Adult Education have
to suffer. Old works may sometimes be
read in libraries, but they are so honey-
combed with worms, so decayed, that even
if they are legible they may not be taken
out. So one rejoices to come upon the
enterprise which Mr. Vincent Roth and
the Daily Chronicle of Georgetown have
shown in publishing a series of reprints-
The Guiana Edition. Since 1942 fourteen of
the series have appeared, and eight of
these are historical in character.
Travels in South America by Adriaan
van Berkel (who, "incited by a wholesome
desire to visit foreign climes and coun-
tries" joined a trading expedition in
Amsterdam in 1670), contains an interest-
ing description of the Arawaks in British
Guiana and the touchy Dutch Colonisers.
and though the writer is anxious to
recommend the "wonders" to his friends
of the great city of Amsterdam he restrains
himself and must be judged accurate in
observations, though often wild in his con-
Guiana at the end of the eighteenth
century and the beginning of the nine-
teenth is described by Henry Bolingbroke
in A Voyage to Demerary 1799-1806, and
Dr. George Pinckard's Letters from Guiana
1797-1799. The attitudes of these two
writers are sharply contrasted. Pinckard
a physician to the British forces is a
humane, painstaking teller of his own
experiences, with a very personal style.
Bolingbroke is a man of much broader out-
look, prepared to make large generalisa-
tions in the true manner of the eighteenth
century whose grand style he imitates
with unconscious humour as
It is fortunate when by a rare
chance, the Governor brings with him
a wife. Few married English women,
of rank and character, are at any time
induced to make their appearance in
these distant edges of the world, to
exhibit the fashions of domestic ele-
gance, and teach the graces of moral
dignity. The female servants and
humble companions of such married
ladies very commonly attach them-
selves independently and advanta-
geously in the colonies; and produce
by their stay a great and lasting effect
in civilizing the local manners, and
transplanting those feminine arts of
life, which our tawny wenches never
saw exemplified. From imitating the
dresses of the white ladies, they will
proceed to imitate usages of a higher
Amongst other interesting musings, he
recommends the organisation of a scientific
survey of the natural resourL.s of Guiana
the importation of Chinese immigrant,
labour, and wants to see "Nathan der
Weise", a play about a Jew by the great
German Lessing, produced in Paramaribo
to diminish prejudices against the Jews,
whilst he remains a believer in the
economic necessity of slavery.
Four further volumes in this edition
are A Soldier's Sojourn in British Guiana,
by Lt. Thomas St. Clair 18o6-o8 ; Demerara
Martyr, memoirs of Rev. John Staunton
Smith by Rev. A. Waldrige 1848 ;
Experiences of a Demerary Magistrate by
Sir G. William des Voeux 1865-187o and
Twenty-five Years in British Guiand by
Henry Urich 1872-1897. Finally Peter
Ruhomon's East Indians in British Guiana
supplies much valuable information on
this subject. It is clear that none of the
writers mentioned are professional his-
torians and it is true that many of the
assertions made by them are open to
question. But taken altogether, they
make an excellent pool of original material
for the study of West Indian History for
those whose critical faculties are alive, and
they also reflect various streams of Euro-
pean thought for a period of nearly
Designed and printed at the Government Printing Office, Trinidad, B.W.I.