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. 2, No. 3
THE EXTRA-MURAL PROGRAMME
Philip M. Sherlock 4
THE EMERGENCE OF AFRO-CUBAN POETRY
G. R. Coulthard 14
MARBIAL VALLEY PROJECT
Tibor Mende 18
T. W J. Taylor 22
SOME NOTES ON SIR RALPH JAMES WOODFORD, Bt.
Gertrude Carmichael 26
BIRDS OF THE WEST INDIES
Father Raymund Devas, o.p., 39
MANAGEMENT AND THE AGRICULTURAL TRADITION IN PUERTO RICO
Simon Rottenberg 44
WEST INDIAN SOCIETY A CENTURY AGO 47
A SURVEY OF DIALECTS IN THE BRITISH CARIBBEAN
R. B. Le Page 49
NOTE ON LE PAGE'S ARTICLE
M. Sandmann 51
P. M. Sherlock 52
E. M. Roach 54
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 56
PHILIP SHERLOCK, University College, Jamaica, B.W.I.
ANDREW PEARSE, Old Post Office, St. Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, D.W.I.
MSS. AND COMMUNICATIONS TO THE EDITOR 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.
HOW TO OBTAIN CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY
Caribbean Quarterly may be obtained from booksellers in the Caribbean area
from 30c or Is. 3d. per copy.
Persons wishing to become subscribers should send $1.20 (B.W.I.) or 5/- to
the Resident Tutor of their particular Colony, or else to the Editor in Trinidad.
This xxill entitle them to four successive issues.
Trinidad and Tobago,
Subscribers in United
Kingdom or Abroad
Mrs. G. Cumper, Extra Mural Department, University
College of the West Indies.
...Stanley Sharp, Extra Mural Department, St. John's,
...B. H. Easter, 68, Micoud Street, Castries, St. Lucia.
...A. Douglas-Smith, Hythe, Welches, Christchurch,
...Adolph Thompson, 78, Carmichael Street, Georgetown.
A. C. Pearse, Old Post Office Building, St. Vincent
Street, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
WITH this issue of Caribbean Quarterly we give readers for the first time a fairly
full account of the work of the Department of Extra Mural Studies of the University
College of the West Indies in an article by the Director, and this will be followed
in No. 4 of this volume by an assessment of the work in a single territory, namely
Trinidad and Tobago.
G. R. Coulthard, who contributes Emergence of Afro Cuban Poetry, is on the
staff of the Modern Languages Department at the University College; readers who
are interested in this subject will be glad to know that it will be taken up in our
next issue by Dr. Eric Williams, under the title Four Poets of the Greater Antilles.
From Puerto Rico we have a short contribution on Management and the Agricultural
Tradition in Puerto Rico from Simon Rottenberg, a new contributor, who is Director
of ihe Labour Relations Institute at the University of Puerto Rico. A further article
by him on The Problems of "Over-Population" in Puerto Rico will appear in
Vol. II, No. 4.
Students of Caribbean speech and languages will be glad to know that both the
Departments of English and of Modern Languages are preparing to undertake
studies in this field, and it will be encouraging news to them to know that
J. J. Thomas-The Theory and Practice of Creole Grammar, first published in
Port-of-Spain, 1869, is likely to be reprinted shortly.
Mrs. Gertrude Carmichael, who was for many years Librarian at the Imperial
College of Tropical Agriculture, contributes material on the life of Sir Ralph
Woodford, one of the outstanding Governors of Trinidad.
This may be the place to refer to the welcome appearance of Documents on
British West Indian History 1807-1833 published by the Historical Society of
Trinidad and Tobago and edited by, Dr. Eric Williams. We are also looking forward
to the appearance, within the next few months, of Dom Basil Matthews' work
Crisis of the West Indian Family, a worthwhile and bold contribution to the study
of West Indian Society.
The Extra-Mural Programme
PHILIP M. SHERLOCK
THE central office of the Extra-Mural Department is in Jamaica, at the University
College of the West Indies. There are seven Resident Tutors, a Staff Tutor and a
Director. Of these the Director, Staff Tutor and Resident Tutor for Jamaica work
at the central office, and a Resident Tutor resides in each of the six other British
West Indian territories, in Barbados, British Guiana, British Honduras, the Leeward
Islands, Trinidad and the Windward Islands. This is like having a central office
at the University of Bristol with Resident Tutors in Genoa, Rome, Naples, Palermo
Resident Tutors have now been at work for three or four years. This first
period has been one of study and observation, and much of the work has been
experimental. A comment by the Resident Tutor for Trinidad indicates the
"One cannot assess the educational needs of a community by guess work.
We are embarking on an extensive and several intensive surveys, and
consulting with responsible persons before making any definite assumption
of needs. This is being carried out in conjunction with a committee set up
to prepare a five-year plan for adult education."
All the Resident Tutors began by organising classes on an experimental basis, so
as to learn something about local demands and needs, the supply of class tutors,
and the educational attainments of students.
Reports from the various territories show how the class programme is
developing, and point to the problems and possibilities. In territories with small
populations and with limited facilities for higher education there are comparatively
few people qualified to become class tutors and there is little demand for classes
of the academic sort. Indeed, to many, classes of this sort seem a needless and
pointless luxury in poor communities. The Resident Tutor for British Honauras
"Evening classes in various subjects form probably the least important
and the least successful aspect of the work in this Colony. Public reaction to
them substantiates my conviction that there is as yet little scope in British
Honduras for extra-mural work along the classic lines of those in the United
In the Windward and Leeward Islands also the demand for extra-mural classes
of the 'orthodox' sort is limited. The Resident Tutor for the Windward Islands
"Grenada In spite of some discouraging features the work in Grenada
shows progress. The aggregate attendance at ordinary courses shows an
increase of 562 or 47 per cent. over the preceding year in spite of the
"disturbances" in the middle term which caused the attendance to drop to
less than a third of that in the last term.
One feels that with a large and compact population like that of
St. George's far more people should take advantage of the courses than do.
We need to find ways and means of attracting a wider circle of students
especially among primary school teachers, civil servants, clerks, shop
assistants, trade unionists, &c."
"St. Lucia We seem to have settled down to smaller but more regular
classes in place of the larger but more fluctuating ones The work cannot
be measured solely by attendance at classes. An increasing number make
use of the library and I think that we have given a certain stimulus to various
forms of intellectual and cultural activity. Nevertheless it is the regular
attendance at classes, year in and year out, which forms the solid basis on
which the work rests,"
Dominica has suffered more than other islands in the Windwards from
difficulty of access and lack of internal communications, so that work was not begun
until May, 1950 :-
"The large numbers which appear to be characteristic of the initial stage
of operations in all the islands and which were a feature of the first term's
work have not been maintained but there is a live student body The
work has also suffered from unavoidable changes of tutors The aggregate
attendance at ordinary courses shows an increase of 682, or 57 per cent.
It must be remembered, however, that the work was not in operation during
the whole of the previous year"
Dominica and St. Vincent suffered until recently from poor communications,
and in the latter
"It has so far proved impracticable to maintain a regular programme of
courses on the lines which have proved successful in other islands. In
Dominica initial large numbers settled into a small but live student body."
The territories with larger populations and better educational facilities present
a different picture. They have many important advantages such as better systems of
communication, better press and broadcasting services, a better and more compre-
hensive system of education, a larger supply of potential class tutors. In Barbados,
for instance, the past year "has seen very satisfactory progress in the work which
in many ways may be said to have become established and consolidated." The
Resident Tutor for Jamaica reports that there are forty classes, and makes these
"There were still in Kingston a large number of language classes and the
number of these in the country rose to five. Of the Kingston classes the
majority were intermediate or advanced; the number of beginners' classes
were only two this year. As was predicted, the interest in the study of a
language for the sake of learning its grammar and conversation has now
been largely replaced by a desire to learn more of the history and literature
of the people whose language is being studied. This means that the numbers
are smaller but the quality of the class better. We have also had a chance
of assessing what the language classes have been achieving. Passes in
matriculation and the Intermediate B.A. have been reported by students who
have had little or no teaching supplementary to the classes in Spanish,
German and Italian Language classes were begun in 5 centres in the
country after a good deal of anxious thought. In each case there was an
urgent request for a Spanish class, but it was recognized that after a term
or so there would be only a few students willing to work hard left, while, on
the other hand, there would be many more students who would be interested in
attending classes in some other subject. In each case there was a Spanish
Tutor of competence on the spot, while classes in other subjects would
only be feasible if tutors were brought from some distance away. The finances
of the Department seemed to indicate either a Spanish class or a closed centre
so that in each case a Spanish class was set up, with misgiving.
There were the usual requests for the Social Science subjects
Economics, Social Psychology, Public Administration, &c. A special class
was arranged in Public Finance for Civil Servants, a course in Statistics for
Civil Servants, planned in collaboration with the Central Bureau of Statistics
and the Caribbean Commission, and a course in Child Welfare was specially
arranged at the request of and in collaboration with the Industrial Schools,
the Probation Office and the Central Council of Voluntary Social Services.
This latter course was not as successful as we could have wished because in
spite of the great interest shown in it, it proved impossible to find one tutor
to carry through a weekly lecture course for the year, a course which aimed
to provide a general introductory background to the various aspects of Child
Welfare, We had to resort to asking a number of lecturers to give talks on
their particular field of operation, which is never very satisfactory."
In British Guiana the class programme has been re-organised, emphasis being
laid on the fact that "a major task is to provide tutors for groups of adults who
voluntarily organise themselves for classes in selected subjects" and the methods
of organising now being used there are of interest and importance for the whole
region, since they are based on the assumption that "all the schemes that the
department of extra-mural studies is contemplating depend on one essential require-
ment, namely the creation of a voluntary body"
Why do people attend these extra-mural classes? From what groups in the
community do they come? What are the subjects in greatest demand? What is the
quality of teaching and of class work? A report from Trinidad gives in part an
answer to these questions. A study of 1,060 students showed that 52 per cent. had
been to secondary schools, 44 per cent. to elementary schools, and the remaining
6 per cent. had had post-secondary or technical education. One half of the total
group were middle-class people working as civil servants, teachers and nurses;
every tenth person was a technician, tradesman or artisan. Most students were
between 18 and 30 years of age. One of the most important results of the extra-mural
class programme in Trinidad has been the emergence of what may be called a
student population, that is to say, a group of people between the ages of 20 and 40,
usually in the teaching profession or the civil service, whose main interest is to
study and who are entering in large numbers for external examinations of the
University of London. The resident tutor has paid special attention to the needs of
this group in planning the class programme with the object of helping the students
to broaden their education while pursuing their examination courses.
Resident Tutors soon found that there were important groups whose needs were
not fully met by the class programme. There were civil servants, teachers, welfare
officers and others, who wished to increase their professional competence and to
satisfy their intellectual interests. There were persons who were aware of the
profound change. that were taking place in West Indian society and who were
anxious for the opportunity of discussing and studying the social problems of the
region. There was a need for training in social responsibility and for an under-
standing of the techniques and methods that have been developed in other
communities to improve relationships between such groups as employers and
employees, or within such movements as the trade unions. Brief accounts of a few
of these special courses show why they have become an important part of the
In St. Lucia four special courses were held during the summer
"Self Expression through Drama" by Mrs. Christine Sturgeon, a course of
4 lectures and discussions for a group of 90 teachers.
"Education" by Professor Argyil Sturgeon to the same group of teachers.
"On Reading Literature" by the Resident Tutor to a group of 18 teachers.
"Acting and Stagecraft, &c. a course of 10 lectures with practical work
by Mrs. Christine Sturgeon. 32 students.
The number of classes for all these Courses was 27 and the aggregate
In Trinidad two special full-time day courses have been held for the purpose
of stimulating a feeling of social responsibility and of giving instruction in methods
and techniques. First, a 3-months' course in civics was organised in 1950 with
the generous assistance of the British Council. The granting of the new constitution
to Trinidad, discussions concerning reforms in local government and the publication
of proposals for closer association between the West Indian territories all helped
to concentrate public attention on forms of Government and on the responsibilities
of citizenship. Among the students there were 15 teachers and 10 civil servants
from Trinidad, as well as representatives from Dominica, Grenada and British
Guiana. Each student worked at a special project and in addition there were group
projects on such subjects as West Indian Federation and the Trinidad oil industry.
The report on the course states
"To the benefit the students derived from the information and the
opportunity for study, I would add the benefit of communal living. Trinidad
tends to be a rather a divided society. But on this course we had a
variety of classes and races and occupations, and the middle class housewife
was able to listen to the oilfield worker and to discover that he had a point
of view well worth listening to, and the librarian listened to the teacher, and
the Indian listened to the creole. I am not sure that the lessons drawn from
this interchange were not the most important benefits derived from the
The course was a co-operative effort, with the Trinidad Government, the
voluntary organizations and the British Council all collaborating. It was followed
in 1951 by a course on Rural Leadership and Extension Work under the directorship
of Mr. Maurice Barley, Deputy Director of Extra-Mural Studies of the University
of Nottingham. In his report on the course Mr. Barley said
"For the Civics Course last year the students were selected by the
Resident Tutor from a larger list submitted by Government departments. This
year the students were recruited by open advertisement with the exception of
4 teachers submitted by the Education Department and 4 sanitary inspectors
by the Health Department. The former method may be more appropriate
to the pioneer stages of adult courses in such a colony as this; the latter
obviously must be adopted sooner or later. It means that the students may
well be of a much more varied quality. They will be keen on the course, but
for different reasons; the former because of the prospects of promotion, the
latter because of strong personal interest.
The course included work on a number of projects :-
"The students were divided into 3 groups of 8, each for work on
(a) Home improvement project;
(b) Social survey project;
(c) A presentation project.
The first two were both carried out in the village of Maraval, 4 miles from
Port-of-Spain. The first has left, in one very poor home in Maraval, a number
of new pieces of furniture and considerable improvements in the kitchen. The
project was launched very skilfully at a public meeting; money was raised
by a concert in the village; the project was not a complete success until the
later stages in getting the co-operation of the householders and their
The social survey group succeeded in carrying out the survey of a selected
area and like the first group, has learned by experience just what is involved
in a project which is now often advocated. They were advised by Mr. Lloyd
Braithwaite and gained sufficient experience in preparing questionnaires and
schedules, in conducting interviews, and in tabulating results to formulate
valuable opinions on the process of a social survey, its difficulties and its
The third group has studied and experimented with a number of
educational techniques to awaken interest in social problems by using visual
aids. They prepared an interesting range of posters, charts, paper mAche
and cement and clay models, and they had some experience of the use of
film strips and epidiascopes. Incidentally, the film strip was completely
unknown to them and roused great interest; several students hope to persuade
their organisation to buy a projector.
Mr. Barley felt that the success of the course lay in
(1) "The imparting of information about economic and other problems of
rural Trinidad, and particularly in provoking intensive thought about
the problems of West Indian agriculture and the urgent need for the
development of a co-operative movement.
(2) Introducing students to representatives of Government departments,
particularly Education, Health and Agriculture, and in shaping a more
informed view of their work.
(3) Introducing students to the technique of Adult Education and especially
that of the discussion group.
(4) Showing to students the technique of Adult Education and especially
that of the discussion group.
(5) Developing among most of the students a real sense of alliance with
the Extra-Mural Department in particular and also with Govern-
ment Departments such as Education Extension. They have acquired
an understanding of the basis of possible co-operation.
In British Guiana the Resident Tutor was Director of Studies for a training
course sponsored by the British Guiana Trade Union Council. The purpose was to
study practical work in Trade Unionism. The students consisted of 40 trade union
officials and lasted for ten days. It is significant that the planning committee for
the seminar included four of the senior officers of the Labour Department, members
of the Education Committee of the Trade Union Council, the Principal of the
Government Training College for teachers and the Schools Medical Officer. The
funds to cover the cost were provided by the Government, the Sugar Manufacturers'
Association, the Demerara Bauxite Company, participating Trade Unions and
benefactors. The seminar proved so effective that it has become the starting point
for a programme of work with the Trade Unions. The British Guiana press justly
commented on it as an excellent example of co-operative action in the field of adult
The third illustration of this kind of work is taken from Jamaica, where the
Staff Tutor, Mr. Eric James, organised a Programme for the Public Service for the
period October, 1951 to March, 1952. The programme included courses of lectures
and seminars in Human Society, the Study of West Indian History, Current
Economic Problems. Correctional Administration, Personnel Management and
Industrial Relations. The whole programme was 'well conceived and carefully
planned, and there was an immediate and enthusiastic response to it. Here again
a significant feature was the ready co-operation which the Staff Tutor received from
the government and from industry The courses were attended by a number of
senior members of the Civil Service, by employers and managers of industrial con-
cerns and sugar estates, and by representatives of some of the trade unions.
Dr. Simon Rottenberg, Director of the Institute of Labour Relations at the
University of Puerto Rico was Visiting Lecturer to the course during January, and
the Staff Tutor also secured valuable help from members of the staff of the Institute
of Social and Economic Research at the University College. The cost of the
programme was met by contributions from some of the industrial concerns of the
Other courses which were planned for special groups include those on Public
Administration which were organised and carried through by the Staff Tutor in the
Leeward Islands," Barbados and British Guiana, and which in every instance were
welcomed by Civil Servants and members of the Government.
Some of the summer schools have also been planned to meet specific needs,
like those which have been organised at the University College over the past three
years for teachers of science in primary schools. Here the purpose has been to give
a selected group of teachers instruction in a subject like biology and to show them
how to improve their teaching by the use of inexpensive but effective experiments and
methods of demonstration. Other summer schools are more general in character, like
that held during 1951 at Codrington College in Barbados. It included courses on
West Indian History, Society and Economy. Midway between these two kinds of
summer schools are those which have been organised by the Resident Tutor in
Jamaica primarily for such groups as welfare workers and co-operative officers.
This kind of school has served as a point ot contact with other territories. The
Resident Tutor for Jamaica writes
"At one time during the last summer schools, w\e could count among our
students persons from eleven different territories. Most of these came to the
course which we ran with the Jamaica Co-operative Development Council.
We had co-operators from Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic,
Barbados, British Guiana and British Honduras. Teachers on holiday from
the United States joined summer schools, and it seems likely that much might
be made of a connection through summer courses with schools and colleges in
the United States. We were privileged to have as our visiting tutors for the
summer, Professor Forrest La Violette, Chairman of the Department of
Sociology a n d Anthropology of the Tulane University, Louisiana;
Mrs. Gertrude Williams, Reader in Social Economics of Bedford College,
England, and Mr. Arnold Bonner of the Co-operative College, Loughborough,
One of the most interesting and significant things about the extra-mural
programme has been the increasing importance of the special project. In British
Honduras, for instance, the class programme was very limited but the special
projects have proved highly successful. In Mr. Sharp's words
"The Drama Group functioned as an Extra-Mural Class during the
Autumn term of 1950. By Christmas sufficient interest had been aroused to
cause the class to demand an actual production. This had been my own
long-term plan. The Spring Term of 1951 was therefore devoted to the
rehearsal and production of James Bridie's Tobias and the Angel. At first the
class met twice a week, but soon it was meeting on every day of the week,
including Sunday. On a visit to Jamaica in February, 1950. I had tentatively
suggested that Mr. C. L. Fyfield of the British Council pay us a visit, and
just a year later this materialized. Mr. Fyfield spent a week of very hard
work with us at rehearsals, and the final success of the production was due
in very large measure to him. About 70 was spent on stage equipment and
costumes and the play was finally presented to a packed audience. It was
a tremendous success, and on all hands people were saying that a new
standard had been set. A few days later a second performance attracted an
audience that overflowed the hall, and many people paid to be allowed to
stand outside and watch through the window. In spite of the relatively high
cost of the production a profit of about $70.00 was made.
"More could be written about this venture, but it is probably enough to
say, since a detailed report has been made elsewhere, that in amateur
dramatics the Department has hit on the form of popular culture which is
most likely to receive widespread support in British Honduras. The Drama
Group is still in being, and is continuing as a Study Group.
A class in Music Appreciation in 1950, under an excellent tutor, was
a failure. I was determined to have another try, and on being elected to the
recently formed Broadcasting Committee, I offered to organise a weekly
half-hour of broadcast music with a suitable commentary. The method used
was to choose a subject-the Tenor Aria, Violin, Overture, Piano are
instances-and select four or five examples on records. A two-minute
introductory talk was followed by the playing of the records, interspersed with
suitable comments. The level was popular and non-technical.
As an experiment, the programme was followed on a few occasions by
a 10-minute Short Story by a West Indian Author, read by some local person
who could combine microphone technique with some dramatic sense and a
West Indian accent. This, too, was the subject of favourable comment
There is another form of the special project which has been used on a modest
scale with good results. In Barbados and in Antigua a group of students attending
extra-mural classes in Public Administration carried through projects under the
direction of the Staff Tutor, Mr. Eric James. The Antigua group, for instance,
studied the problems of recruitment, promotions and transfers and public relations
in the public service. In Trinidad the Resident Tutor has outlined a series of projects
in the study of West Indian folk-lore and though the work has been done on a
very limited scale the results have been encouraging. If programmes of carefully
selected projects can be formulated for the study of such subjects as West Indian
folk-lore, history, social and economic conditions, the whole conception of extra-
mural work will be profoundly affected. The possibilities are fascinating, since
through projects of this kind the extra-mural student would gain some understanding
of the exacting demands of the academic disciplines, and would also become a
discerning contributor to knowledge.
Two other experiments in method should be mentioned. The first is the
"break-even budget" which is now being successfully used by the Resident Tutor
in British Guiana. A statement showing the cost of running the class is given to the
group, and the group works out the cost of the class for each student. The second
method is the Extra-Mural Round Table, through which the Resident Tutor seeks
to meet the needs of groups for whom no class tutor can be provided, The method
is not unique, being similar in some respects to the "study kits" used by the
University of Sidney or by the Extra-Mural Department of the University College
at Ibadan. The Resident Tutor in British Guiana is experimenting in this field
with a study group programme in Sociology and Economics covering a period of
one academic year. Mr. Adolph Thompson's statement shows that :-
"The programme will include 8 radio lectures on Sociology to be broad-
cast in the Spring Term and subsequently released to the Press.
The reading and discussion programme begins when the group has
mastered discussion. This should be accomplished by the fifth meeting.
A questionnaire is provided to measure how much the group knows about
Sociology and how well-founded their opinions are. Members of the group
need not sign the answer papers. The answers should be written at the sixth
meeting. The same questionnaire will be used at the end of the third term to
measure what the group absorbs from the course.
The success or failure of the programme may well rest on pre-planning.
It cannot be determined precisely, however, how much pre-planning is
necessary to keep the programme elastic enough to permit changes in
activities, yet structured enough to give direction and a positive over-all
programme. Group members will complete a 'What the students think'
questionnaire at the end of each term. Information from the questionnaire
will indicate needed refinements and changes in the programme.
Group members will find much useful material on sociology and
economics in the daily newspapers. They should clip and preserve such
material for use as supplementary study material.
Concerning the MacKenzie Study Group, Mr. Thompson writes
"The Mackenzie Study Group in Sociology and Economics began the
first term's work on the 9th September, 1951. Letters from the Group
Leader indicate that they are having a good time and work faster and
harder than I anticipated when setting out the programme.
Many of the extra-mural classes and groups find it difficult, often impossible,
to lay hands on information about the British Caribbean. Throughout the region
there is a lack of factual material, and the result is that discussion is often charged
with emotion and nothing else. There is no habit of reference to facts; argument
is generally based on the unknown rather than on the known, on assumptions and
generalisations rather than on facts. This lack of factual material often makes good
discussion difficult; it also means the lack of one of the most vitalising elements in
education, the study of one's social and physical environment. In order to meet
this need the Department publishes this journal, Caribbean Quarterly and a number
of booklets in a series called "Caribbean Affairs. This includes such pamphlets as
those by George Cumper on "The Social Structure of the British Caribbean" (in
three parts) and on "The Social Structure of Jamaica"; a summary of Sir Frank
Engledow's report on "West Indian Agriculture"; a revised version of Ligon's
"A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados"
Only a beginning has been made in such important fields as the use of the
radio and of visual aids. Indeed, only a beginning has been made in this whole
field of extra-mural studies and of adult education in the West Indies. The
expansion and development of this work depends on the people of the West Indies;
on their realisation that adult education is an indispensable part of all programmes
of economic and political development; on their creation of a voluntary movement.
The report on the work of the Department for the period ending August, 1950,
closed with these words :-
"The voluntary movements in Britain, in Scandinavia, in the Caribbean
exist because of a dynamic; in Denmark it was expressed in Grundtvig's
'living word'; in England, in education for social emancipation; in Jamaica
Welfare, it is an appeal to 'build a new Jamaica'.
The voluntary movement in the West Indies may come in one or in
both ways. It may spring out of the people's movements themselves, or
out of the growing number of extra-mural class students. Already, quite
spontaneously, there are signs of this happening among groups of extra-mural
students. The Department will seek to encourage its development within the
people's movements. It is already clear that in most places the dynamic is
to be found in the words 'Education for Nationhood' and this will become
the recurring theme in the work of the Department. If the programme of
the work can be organised in such a way as to engender and preserve the
dynamic, education will cease to be regarded as a ritual suitable to the
immature years of class-room and will be seen as a process rich and deep
as life itself; not formal and static, but vital and dynamic."
The Emergence of Afro-Cuban Poetry
S. R. COULTHARD
THE movement of Latin American independence which started in Venezuela brought
in its wake a new feature in the sphere of literature. This feature has come to be
known as literary Americanism and consists of an effort on the part of writers to
depict and interpret life in America in its most characteristic and original aspects.
The struggle against Spain and the subsequent nationalism tended to draw Latin
Americans all over the Continent to identify themselves, at least in theory, with the
aboriginal inhabitants of the New World, the misnamed American Indians. Miranda
had suggested in one of his many draft constitutions that there should be a here-
ditary Emperor of Inca stock, and at the Congress of Tucuman in 1816 a similar
proposition was put forward and accepted by the Congress. None of these projects
came to anything in practice, but they are, nevertheless, significant of a wide-spread
feeling that there existed an identity of cause between the ancient inhabitants of
America and the new revolutionaries. All this enthusiasm for the Indians was pure
literature and the lot of the Indians in countries like Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador was
not in any way improved. But in literature the Indian got a chance he was not
given in social reality. He was, in many countries, taken as a symbol of criollo
America and was usually represented as a noble, freedom-loving creature heroically
defending his native soil against rapacious, treacherous and cruel Spaniards. Perhaps
the finest Indianist writing was produced in Brazil by Goncalves Dias and
Jos6 de Alencar. This is understandable, as Brazil has a large Indian and caboclo
(mestizo) population. Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay--all had their share of
literary idealizations of the Indian. They also had their share of Indians. What is
really remarkable is that, after Brazil and possibly Uruguay, it is in the Antilles,
in Cuba and Santo Domingo that one finds the most abundant, and some of the best
manifestations of literary Indianism. As is well known, the Indian populations of
these islands had virtually disappeared within a hundred years of the Conquest and
the original stock had been replaced by imported African slaves.
Perhaps it may be well at this point to stop and consider the nature of literary
Indianism. There are, I think, two main factors. The first is a political one the
Indian was a good stick to beat the Spaniard with. The Spaniard had taken away
the Indians' lands by force; the American criollo had taken these lands back.
Accounts of the Spaniards' cruelty in the course of the Conquest were good
propaganda and theoretical identification with the original inhabitants was a good
means of creating a national spirit. Secondly, identification with the Indians supplied
roots in the past and answered a deep-rooted psychological need that of
1. It is interesting to note in this respect that the Indian of the Americanist romantics
is invariably an Indian of the past, possessing all the glamour which only remoteness in time
or space can give. The contemporary Indian does not appear until the beginning of the XXth
century except in the Argentine, where we find a realistic treatment of the Indian shortly
after the wars of independence. The Indian of the Argentine frontier war and of the raid is
depicted as a savage, bloody monster, not only uncivilized but incapable of civilization.
belonging to a country. The Indian, after all, was the only true American. In Cuba
and Santo Domingo, as we have mentioned, there were no Indians, not even the
remains of an Indian culture, yet Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes, Pedro Santacilia,
Jos6 Fornaris y Luque of Cuba, and Salom6 Henriquez de Urefia and Jose Joaquin
Perez of Santa Domingo have left some of the finest and most deeply felt Indianist
poems in Latin American Literature.
Indianist literature, then, was a literature of protest and affirmation; protest
against Spanish rule and affirmation of a strictly national, American spirit. This
being the case, one might have expected that in the Antilles, where all trace of the
Indians had been so completely blotted out, the criollized Negro might somehow
have found his way into a literature of protest and emancipation. There are indeed,
a few isolated instances of sympathetic treatment of the Negro, but nothing to
compare in scope and depth with the idealization of the Indian. There are several
explanations for this situation
1 The Negro was too close for idealization, and did not possess the
vague glamour of the Indian at the time of the Conquest. Contemporary
Indian themes were not used even in countries where Indians survived in
great numbers. (See footnote 1.)
2. In Cuba the political situation prevented an over sympathetic
treatment of the Negro in literature. Any such literature would have been
regarded as subversive. In Santo Domingo the excesses of the invading Haitian
armies would not incline the coloured aristocracy to idealize the Negro.
3. No such prestigious literary precedents as Chateaubriand's Atala or
Marmontel's Les Incas existed to'point.the way to the treatment of the Negro.
Literary Indianism sprang from a desire to provide American literature with
original, distinctive elements and, as such, it is a phase of literary Americanism.
Yet, as far as the Antilles were concerned, the only distinctive element was that
provided by the population of African origin, largely in the shape of popular poetry
and music. It was, indeed, from this source that the first consciously Afro-Cuban
poetry sprang. In 1930, the Cuban poet Nicholas Guillen, published his Motivos
de son and in the following year Songoro Consongo. The poems in these volumes
exploit the rhythms of popular Cuban song and music, with their repetitions and
nonsense verse, much of which is meaningless as far as intellectual content
concerned, such as the untranslatable :-
The poems are a series of rhythmical, suggestive sounds interspersed with
exclamations, often in Cuban dialect. The subjects of the poems or rather the
atmosphere is concerned with working-class negro life in Cuba, particularly with
dancing. The Afro-Cuban manner spread to other Caribbean poets such as
Emilio Ballagas, Ramon Guirao, Luis Pales Matos, and to French speaking poets
like Jacques Roumain, Emile Roumer and Aime Cesaire. Its main features, in
addition to the effects of rhythm and dancing already mentioned, came to be a
heavy, sultry sensuality, a lavish use of tropical colouring and the exuberant shapes
of tropical vegetation and an atmosphere of nostalgic atavism for the African jungle
manifesting itself in magic incantations and the eerie beating of Voodoo drums.
A characteristic example of this kind of atavistic emotion is found in a poem of the
Haitian writer, Jacques Roumain: Quand bat le tam-tam
Your heart trembles in the dark, like a face
reflected in troubled water
The old mirage rises in the pit of the night
and you know the sweet magic of memory
A river carries you away far from the banks
carries you towards the ancestral landscape.
Listen to those voices singing the sadness of love
and in the mountain, hear the tom-tom
panting like the breast of a young black girl.
Your soul is that reflection in the whispering water
where your fathers bent their dark faces
Its secret movements blend you with the wave
and the white man who made you a mulatto in this bit
of foam, cast up, like spit, upon the shore.
Another characteristic expression of the African atavism is found in the following
poem by the Portoriqueno poet, Luis Pales Matos
Oh my fine, my honey-coloured Duke of Marmalade
Where are your alligators in the distant camp on the Pongo
And the round, blue shadow of your African baobabs
and your fifteen wives smelling of jungle and mud?
No longer will you eat the succulent roast child
Nor will the tame monkey kill your lice at siesta time,
Nor your gentle eye follow the steps of the effeminate giraffe
Across the hot silence of the plain.
Gone are your nights with their loose hair of bonfires
and the somnolent everlasting dripping of drums,
Night into whose depths you would sink slowly as into warm mud
Till you reached the ultimate shores of your great
Guillen, however, the originator of the movement, did not allow himself to
settle down into the rut of sensuality, atavistic Africanism and self-conscious
primitiveness and although in West Indies Ltd. (1934) and Rhumbas for Soldiers
and Tourists (1937) he continued to use the manner of the Cuban popular song, he
infused the poems with a more serious social content. These poems, singable, easy
to understand, alternately ironic and pathetic are a protest against the oppression
of the Cuban coloured worker and against racial prejudices. Afro-Cuban poetry
had appealed strongly in Paris and New York to the avantguarde with its insatiable
appetite for the primitive and the exotic, and Guillen and other poets rebelled against
this particular form of exploitation. I would like to quote part of a poem by the
Cuban poet Regino Pedroso which gives a fine point to the refusal to pander to the
taste for exoticism and novelty :-
For their petty pleasures
The rich make you a clown
And in New York and Havana, in Paris and Madrid
You are treated like
Those black straw dolls made for foreign trade.
Are we only black men?
Are we only noise?
Are we only rhumba, black lust and dancing?
Are we only grimaces and colour?
Grimaces and colour?
Give the world your rebellious anguish,
Your human voice,
And for a moment lay aside your maracas.
So Guillen in his Rhumbas for Soldiers and Tourists tells the soldiers not to shoot
and beat up their fellow-workers and his tourists are told a few home truths about
the lives of the Cuban plantation workers and are invited to inspect the living
conditions of the man playing the guitar or the maracas.
The greater part of Afro-Cuban writing (and I include writers from Santo
Domingo, Puerto Rico and Haiti under this heading) is not in the style of Guillen.
It is characterized by thick coats of often ill-applied local colour and by a self-
conscious, artificial primitiveness. However, whatever the ultimate fate of this type
of work, many of the poems of Guillen and Pales Matos, I think, are here to stay.
Otherwise the Afro-Cuban movement can be said to have performed at least
one service that of drawing the attention of writers to a hitherto undiscovered and
unexplored mine of literary material. The elaboration and refinement of popular
poetry by cultured literature has been fecundated by the popular muse. Afro-
Cubanism at least seems to have achieved the incorporation into literature of the
spirit of the popular poetry of the Antilles and to have contributed in no small
measure to the individualization of the literature of the New World. It is also the
expression, at its best, of the Hispanicized African elements of the Caribbean area.
Marbial Valley Project
BY TIBOR MENDE
In 1947, the Government of Haiti and Unesco inaugurated a pilot project in
fundamental education-that is, education to achieve better living standards-in
the Marbial Valley region of this island republic. This year, the Haiti project became
part of Unesco's programme of technical assistance for economic development. Now
educators from Haiti and Unesco are working to make it a laboratory where
teaching methods and materials can be tested under practical conditions before they
are placed into general use. In order to get a first-hand picture of conditions in
Marbial, Mr. Tibor Mende recently visited the Valley during a trip to Central and
South American countries on assignment for Unesco. The article published below
is reprinted from the UNESCO "Courier"
THE rain stopped, leaving the tropical vegetation which enveloped the wooden
building swollen with fresh water. Three youngsters had been sheltering on the
verandah, talking seriously, while the water dried up a little. Now, we started to
talk together, their Creole resembling French as much as my French their Creole.
Toulin Jeremi, a boy of 12, was holding a piece of cow-horn in his hands and
Elid Daglin, a curly-haired girl of nine, had her copy-book. The third of the group,
Job Lerich, the tallest and oldest of the three, stood by, listening with all that
aloofness of the most experienced. After some hesitation, they admitted that they
were talking of their plans for the future.
The girl proved to be the most communicative. They were talking, she said, of a
store in the Marbial Valley where they live. She would be the couturier, taking
charge of dresses; Job would make sandals; while Toulin was a born merchant and
would arrange matters very successfully. But Toulin hastened to add that he too
had his speciality, and proudly showed the cow-horn in his hand. With the help of
the instructor, he explained, he had started to make combs, and now he could finish
one in half-an-hour and sell it for 15 cents. Elid, with a bright smile, interrupted
him "He's already selling them to the local hairdresser, and even in Jacmel. For
this one, he has been paid in advance and her little brown face was shining
with pride for all three of them.
These three young Haitians were children of the Valley. Their parents and
grandparents lived between the steep hills rising on both sides of the Gosseline river.
Trivial as this chat with the three children seems, there was something about it that
was as new and as startling in this sad valley as if the denuded hillsides had suddenly
turned green again. That something was hope.
The name of Marbial is little known, even in the Caribbean area. It is a
forgotten valley. It has neither villages nor hamlets, and its people, living in their
scattered wooden huts, are no part of any community They are merely the folk
of Marbial. They have to work hard to keep alive. A few decades ago, as the older
ones still remember, life was much easier. Since then tropical disease, soil erosion
and over-population have combined to spread ignorance and misery.
Trees have been cut down and the once blossoming hillsides are barren; meat
has become a rarity; children grow up illiterate and their parents have to make
almost superhuman efforts to try to pay off debts and feed their increasing families.
Most families own or rent three to five acres of land, and grow coffee for sale at the
Jacmel market; but they must clear more and more of the coffee groves to produce
maize and other foodstuffs for themselves. While the population of the valley nears
the 30,000 mark and the land is sub-divided among the children in ever smaller
parcels, there is more and more exhausted land and the valley has been slowly
In this picture of desolation, the practices of Christianity are but a thin veneer
over the old Afii an traditions. The terrors of the supernatural world, of voodoo and
magic, are still important .in the lives of the people of Marbial. But none of these
practices helps to provide what so deeply needed in this atmosphere of
There are some craftsmen among the people of the valley, such as leather
workers, tailors and basketmakers; but their main job is on the land, and their
craftsmenship only provides for the needs of the neighbourhood. If Elid wants to
make dresses, Job to learn tanning and make sandals, and Toulin to make combs,
there is nothing very unusual in it. What is new is that they are thinking of trade
with the town, of combining to create a store, that they display an awareness of
things beyond the valley, and that they are building plans for the future. The new
realization of wider horizons beyond their valley, the unconscious search for some-
thing new for a better future-these are new. They show that these three young
Haitians, in one of the forgotten corners of their country, have re-discovered what
their parents lost long ago hope.
To reach the wooden verandah where the three were discussing their plans
called for a rough journey of several hours in a jeep. From Port-au-Prince the road
leads across plantations and forests, hills and ravines; often it disappears under the
thick tropical vegetation. Or you can fly in a quarter-of-an-hour from the capital to
Jacmel, where the plane lands on a meadow studded with thatched cottages, without
a runway. From there, along neglected roads, it is another hour's drive to the
Valley. After the rains the river is often too swollen even for the jeep, and the
traveller has to mount a horse to cross it. Poor communications have made it difficult
to bring hope to Elid, Job and Toulin.
When Unesco first decided to start a pilot-scheme for basic education in Haiti,
the Marbial Valley seemed the least promising place for such an experiment. It was
a courageous decision to launch the experiment among people bent under the weight
of a merciless nature, rather than taking the easier road. It meant that no quick
or spectacular results could be expected; but it also meant that, in case of success,
it would provide experience which would prove invaluable in a variety of other
tropical areas faced with similar obstacles and difficulties.
Today, after barely three years of work, the decision seems to have been
justified. The results have been slow, but they are unmistakable and have probably
been achieved more quickly than was generally expected. The verandah on which
the children's conversation took place surrounded the project's centre their
confidence was a small and symbolic indication of what the project was achieving.
From a small solitary building, the centre has grown into a group of hutments,
carrying out a variety of activities, all in a modest way. It now has a primary school
with two classrooms and meagre equipment for its 105 pupils aged between six and
16. A doctor holds a clinic four times a week, a dentist receives patients once a
week, and the people of Marbial are getting used to the idea of qualified medical
aid. They accept this as one more example of the usefulness of the centre in their
daily lives, and on the morning of the appointed days long rows of patients queue
up between the banana plants in front of the doctor's building.
There is a small stock-raising station which gives practical demonstrations under
expert guidance of better ways of poultry and pig raising, thus showing the local
farmers how they could appreciably improve their living conditions. Its vegetable
nurseries and afforestation school meet a similar need.
The activities of the Unesco experimental station are discussed in the adult
educational classes and the results achieved are made known to the population by
word and picture, by pamphlets and leaflets written in simple language. In tiny
workshops, under the guidance of local specialists, groups of students learn sisal and
mat making, tanning and basketry. Later, pottery-making will be taught. There
is plenty of clay in the Valley, but up to now nothing has been done to utilize it,
though potteries could contribute to the meagre income of the population.
The credit co-operative, launched with the help of a small Unesco loan,
making good progress. Begun in June, 1950, it already has over a hundred members
and, apart from its practical benefits, its open discussions help members to air their
grievances and encourage them to take an interest in the improvement of their
community. The co-operative's meeting, usually attended by the local priest, is
convincing proof that the self-reliance and resourcefulness of the peasants can be
improved with a judicious appeal to their self-interest as well as to their
co-operative instincts. More recently a regional committee was organized, and it is
fast becoming a democratic discussion forum where constructive proposals are
examined and analysed by the very people who would carry them out.
While the new building of the social worker's centre is under construction,
19 small centres in the open air are in operation. The shaded and simple wooden
benches of these "classrooms" are used by over 800 people, with an average
attendance of 40 adult pupils for each group. Twenty student-teachers, selected by
competition, get a token salary of $10 a month, while the others come voluntarily
before or after their daily work in the fields. Conventional subjects like arithmetic
and history are taught, as well as practical subjects such as hygiene, soil improve-
ment and domestic economy. The pride of the centre is Visciere Pierre, a woman of
42 who learnt to read and write there and, in her anxiety to disseminate her newly
acquired knowledge among the people of the valley, is busily preparing for her new
role as a social worker. She goes around and talks to people about the great work
ahead and encourages them to follow her example.
Added to a variety of other activities-like the regular spraying of houses with
DDT, the building of pit-latrines, the hygienic cleaning-up of markets and
the construction of an abattoir to prevent the bleeding of slaughtered animals into
the river-the centre is making progress in the Marbial Valley. People are displaying
growing confidence in the centre. No longer do they just regard it as another
"official" building to do things for them; they realize that the centre is there to help
and guide them to achievements by their own efforts.
In growing numbers they come to the clinic and to the dentist and discuss their
personal problems with the members of the centre. As a typical example, the female
equivalent of the medicine-man in the valley, the woman who used to help at child-
birth, is now attending the clinic to complete her education with a few bits of "real
medicine" More and more of the people of the valley send their children to the
centre with confidence and its gardens and building are gay the whole day long with
children in classes, or workshops, or at table tennis.
And now two merchants from the neighboring town of Jacmel have decided to
establish branches in the valley "This is the first time a merchant of Jacmel has
taken any interest in us, a voluntary worker boasted to me. "What is more, once
a week a bus has started to come to the valley
And so, what were originally reticent and suspicious peasant greetings have
now turned into friendly smiles when the people of the valley meet someone from
the centre. A new feeling is developing among them; the incredulous growing belief
that, after all, the people of "the forgotten valley" are not abandoned.
T. W J. TAYLOR
EVERY ten years or so a volume of the Dictionary of National Biography is
published in which there are short life-stories of the eminent men and women of
British nationality who died during the preceding ten years. The biographies are
usually written by those who knew them well and are factual and somewhat dry in
style. There are no vague eulogistic phrases. Indeed the motto of the Dictionary,
it has been said in jest, is "No flowers by request" The volume giving the lives of
those who died in the period 1931-1940 was published last year, a stout volume of
over 900 pages printed in double columns, and to read it makes one think of the
great variety of eminence. Some become eminent as soldiers, admirals, judges,
civil servants; some as poets, authors, musicians; some through fraud, such as
Horatio Bottomley; some by devotion to the needs of humanity And there are
some who reach eminence in none of these more creative or practical ways, the
great scholars. These are men and women whose genius lies in their power to learn,
retain and know things, often very abstruse things, not because they are pursuing
some practical or humanitarian end, but because they cannot help it. Their minds
are acquisitive and they have well developed critical faculties which enable them to
weigh evidence, though it is often very slender, to sort the chaff from the grain and
to distinguish the true from the false and the important from the trivial. They
often lead lives which have no close connection with their field of knowledge and
often they pursue their studies with no hope of material gain or advancement in the
world. They do it because they cannot help it. It is scholars such as these who
quite rightly are adjudged as eminent after their death and worthy to rank with
those of the more spectacular kinds of eminence, since it is largely by their genius
that the stock of accurate knowledge is accumulated.
A good example of a pure scholar is A. H. Saycc who was born in 1845,
the son of a country clergyman in England. He was extremely delicate as a
child, so much so that he was not even taught the alphabet until he had passed
his seventh birthday. His lungs were always weak and it is said that his first
utterance on birth was a cough. In spite of 'this by the age of ten he' was
reading the simpler Latin and Greek authors and attacking the more difficult ones
and at fourteen he had learnt the heiroglyphic alphabet of the ancient Egyptians
and a little later during an attack of typhoid fever the cuneiform or wedge-shaped
alphabet of the Assyrians. Before he left school he had learnt in addition something
of Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit and was deeply interested in comparative philology,
the study of the different ways in which languages are constructed and used. His
undergraduate studies at Oxford, were repeatedly interrupted by ill-health; his
eyes were always a trouble to him and because of lung trouble he had to spend
some time in the south of France, but this only gave him the opportunity to learn
Basque, the intriguingly strange language spoken in the western Pyrenees. He was
suffering from pneumonia when he took his final examinations at Oxford, but this
could not prevent him getting first-class honours. He w'as then elected to a fellow-
ship at Queen's College, Oxford, which he retained until his retirement and of which
the modest stipend was almost his sole financial reward throughout his life.
Outstanding contributions to knowledge began early; at the age of twenty-nine, he
published his translations of the very difficult astronomical tablets which had been
dug up at Nineveh and had defeated all the earlier scholars and at thirty-five he
achieved one of his greatest triumphs, the deciphering of certain very early
Armenian inscriptions which added a new ancient language to present-day
knowledge. In this he had no assistance from an inscription in two languages such
as the famous Rosetta stone which gave the key to the Egyptian heiroglyphs.
Enough has been said to show what kind of man Sayce was and there is little point
in giving his life in detail. He never married and in spite of his bad health he lived
to the age of eighty-eight, learning and writing almost to the end. He is said to
have had a greater knowledge of languages than any scholar of his time and to
have been able to write good prose in twenty languages, ancient and modem.
A very different career was that of T. W. F. Gann, an Irishman born in 1867
and his field of knowledge was one which has a particular interest in the British
Caribbean. Gann was not a university graduate; he qualified in medicine at
Middlesex Hospital in London and after a little general practice in England he
joined the Colonial Medical Service and in 1894 was sent to British Honduras as
district medical officer. Here he stayed for nearly thirty years and became principal
medical officer of the Colony. He retired from that post in 1923 and lived in
England where he died in 1938. Almost from the moment he reached British
Honduras he felt a deep interest in the remains of the ancient Mayan civilization
which abound especially in the Corozal and Cayo districts where he was stationed
during most of his time. He carried out the duties of his appointment, but devoted
all his spare time to archaeological excavation and to discovering new groups of
ruins. His first report to the Society of Antiquaries in London was published
within a year of his arrival in the Colony He was the discoverer of many of what
have proved to be the most important sites in Mayan archaeology, Lubaantun in
southern British Honduras with its magnificent masonry Coba in the Quintana Roo
district of Mexico, which has radically altered all previous views on the history of
Yucatan, Tzibanche in the same district with its peculiar architectural style and
Noh Mul and Louisville in northern British Honduras which have yielded the best
Mayan pottery and portraits moulded in stucco. Gann achieved a great reputation
as a Mayan scholar and gained the friendship of other scholars, but for the rest he
was a member of the Colonial Medical Service all his working life. His true memorial
is the collections of Mayan antiquities now safely housed in the great centres of
archaeological research, the British Museum, the Liverpool Institute of Archaelogy,
and the Middle American Research Institute at New Orleans.
There are, of course, scholars who can be described as professionals in that
they were fortunate enough to obtain posts where the exercise of their scholarship
was their official duty. Many members of the staff of the British Museum in London
and of the Metropolitan Museum in New York belong to this category. Those,
however, who had no such opportunity but nevertheless pursued their subject
unrelentingly are the more interesting cases, and the diversity of their professions
is surprising. There was on the one hand Sir Thomas Heath (1861-1940) who
entered the British Civil Service at the age of twenty-three and remained there to the
age of sixty-four. He was in the Treasury of which he became Comptroller-
General and he has been described as an excellent civil servant of the old type.
He may hardly be remembered for this, but he will always be remembered as
one of the greatest authorities on ancient, and particularly Greek, mathematics. His
editions of the works of Archimedes, Euclid, Diophantus of Alexandria and
Appolonius of Perga were the first to show clearly the true genius of these early
mathematicians and his "History of Greek Mathematics" (1921) was his crowning
work as a scholar. In contrast there is the career of C. G. Druce (1850-1932).
He was the illegitimate son of a country girl in England and at an early
age was employed by a firm of retail chemists in Northampton. He had
to educate himself and this he did to such effect that he soon passed the
qualifying examinations in pharmaceutical chemistry. By this time he had saved
400 with which he boldly set up his own shop in Oxford. He worked hard and
built up a good business which was well-known to many generations of under-
graduates. He further became a figure in public life and served as Sheriff and
Mayor of the City of Oxford. This is a meritorious career, but it has nothing to do
with Druce as a scholar. He will be remembered as a great authority on the wild
plants of Great Britain and as a famous field botanist with an encyclopaedic know-
ledge of the plants, their habits and their habitats. It was his work in this field that
led to his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society and to the honorary degrees
which the universities were glad to bestow on him. There were other men like
Druce. F. C. R. Jourdain (1865-1940) was a country parson, but he was also the
man who placed the study of British birds on a scientific basis. His book
"A Practical Handbook of British Birds" has been the foundation and stimulus of
nearly all the subsequent investigations. Edward Meyrick (1854-1938) was a
schoolmaster all his life. For ten years he taught in Australia and New Zealand
and for twenty-five years he was a classical master in England. He was a good
schoolmaster, but his name lives as a man with exceptional knowledge of butterflies
and moths and particularly of the small moths, the microlepidoptera. He was the
first to revise the classification of these insects and treat it scientifically and in the
words of the Dictionary "he was one of the greatest lepidopterists there has ever
been. At one time he published his own private scientific journal "Exotic
Lepidoptera" and he described in it some twenty thousand species which were new
There are curious cases among these scholars. E. D. Ross (1871-1940) is one
of the scholars who cannot fit into the ordinary traditions of education. At school
he was so backward that his promotion from the bottom class of the school was
due to the fact that the class was abolished. His tutor said he was quite incapable
of passing the entrance examination for the University of Cambridge, so he went
abroad where he rapidly learnt French, Italian, German and Russian and a variety
of oriental languages. As a result he was appointed professor of Persian at
University College, London, at twenty-five, an age at which he would not long
have finished an undergraduate course at Cambridge. He was soon working on
ancient Turkish manuscripts and then, after Sir Urch Stien's discoveries in China,
he decided to devote himself to ancient Chinese. One of his great contributions to
knowledge was made during a time when he was principal of a college in Calcutta;
there he found an Arabic manuscript which threw new light on certain periods in
the history of India and on this he laboured for twenty-five years and eventually
published with a detailed commentary in three volumes. His other published works
cover an enormous range of oriental subjects and not only these, since he also
lectured in King's College, London, on Portuguese studies. Guy le Strange
(1854-1933) is another case of an orientalist by nature who overcame great natural
handicaps. He went as a youth to an agricultural college in England, but his eyes
were weak and so he lived with his mother in Paris. Here he met a Persian scholar
and in spite of his sight he set to work at the language and soon found his subject,
the historical geography of the Middle East, on which he published works of the
first importance. At the age of fifty-eight he became almost totally blind, but he
continued his oriental researches and in addition took up the study of Spanish and
published editions of various early Spanish authors. Among the historians,
W. L. Mathieson (1868-1938) should be mentioned for his interest in the British
West Indies. His life was completely uneventful. He inherited a modest sum of
money from his father, a ship-owner, and supplemented the income from this by
tutoring. He lived quietly in Edinburgh and devoted his whole life to historical
studies, first the history of the relations between Church and State in Scotland and
then later to similar aspects in the history of England. Later in life he became the
outstanding historian of the slave trade and the abolition of slavery; his last
published work was "The Sugar Colonies and Governor Eyre 1849-1866" which
appeared in 1936. One more scholar must be mentioned in conclusion, P. S. Allen
(1869-1933) who was President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He led a busy
life as schoolmaster, as professor of history at Lahore in India and as a teacher in
Oxford, but his fame rests on his monumental edition of the writing of Erasmus
which has been described as "perhaps the most accurate book in the world.
This is not an article with a moral and its intention is not to preach "Go thou
and do likewise" The men who have been mentioned were exceptional and very
few will be able to follow their example. Those who can will not do so because
they are following an example; they will do so because they cannot help it. The
purpose is rather to illustrate the mysteries of the human intelligence and to show
how in some of its most striking activities it is little hampered by bodily handicaps
or the business of earning a living. Perhaps there is a moral to be drawn after
all, since so many of us allow these factors to influence and determine our whole
Some Notes on Sir Ralph James Woodford, Bt.
(Governor of Trinidad, 1813 to 1828)
Mrs. Gertrude Carmichael was for many years Librarian at the Imperial College
of Tropical Agriculture, and was recently employed by the Government of Trinidad
and Tobago to make an index of the Governors' Despatches. Her notes on Sir Ralph
Woodford will be followed in the next issue by an account of the public works which
he undertook in Port-of-Spain.
SIR RALPH JAMES WOODFORD, BT., son of Sir Ralph and Lady Gertrude Woodford
was born on 21st July, 1784. His father was at one time Minister to the Hanse Towns
and later Minister Extraordinary to the Court of Denmark. He was created a Baronet
for his services to his country.
At the early age of 29 Sir Ralph James Woodford, 2nd Baronet, became
Governor of Trinidad. He was a well educated man of decided character, with a
colourful personality; well thought of by the British Government, who gave him
great power, no doubt to enable him to take strong action. This was needed to
reform the government and put down many abuses which had followed the previous
experiments in the government of the island. The task required skill and judgment.
At the time of his appointment Spanish Laws were still in force and under them
the Governor had all the powers of a Court of Royal Audiencia. I
When Woodford was appointed, the jurisdiction of this Court was centred in
him as Governor, Commander-in-Chief and Vice-Admiral. Under the original
jurisdiction he had power to deal with all suits in which widows and children were
concerned, Causas de Cortes, In criminal cases he was Judge of Appeal and as
President of the Royal Audiencia, and he had criminal jurisdiction over all offences
and crimes, from petty larceny to murder. He also had power over the judges of the
inferior courts, whom, with the exception of those directly appointed by the Crown,
he could remove from office. In the case of those directly appointed by the Crown
he had powers to suspend them until the matter in question was referred to and
decided by the King. He was also Intendant of the Royal Domain and judge in all
matters connected with Crown Lands. He dealt with escheats and other transactions
in which the Crown was interested. As time went on these powers were increased
by Orders in Council. In addition to his judicial functions, he directed the whole
financial, legislative and executive machinery of the Colony.
L. Fraser. History of Trinidad. Government Printing Office, Trinidad, 1896, Vol. 2, p. 3
"According to Spanish Law a Royal Audiencia was a College of Advocates composed and
governed according to lixed rules, for example the Audiencia of Caracas which was created
in 1783, consisted of a Dean (Decano Regente), 3 Oidors (Judges) 2 Fiscals, an Escribano
or Rr.gistrar, a Relator or Remembrancer, whose duty it was to keep the Court fully
informed of everything connected with the causes before it, and an Escribano de Camera
or Judge's clerk."
From the first Woodford made it quite clear that he intended to govern and he
took steps to find out about everything. He made his first appearance as President
of the Cabildo on 21st June, 1813. In his opening address, he said that he would
always support the Cabildo in every way. But he would not tolerate any attempt
to interfere with the Executive.
On 16th August, when the Governor and the Council met he informed the
members that he had examined the accounts of the Committee appointed to control
the Z50,000 voted by the English Parliament to rebuild Port-of-Spain after the fire
of 1808, and he found that the gaol had already cost almost Z30,000 and to complete
the Protestant Church another 24,000 was necessary. He went on to say that he
had stopped all further work until he had reported the matter to London and had
received further instructions from the English Parliament.2
After the business of the day had been transacted the Governor surprised the
members of the Council by informing them that he had received a despatch from
the Secretary of State for the Colonies in connection with the difference which had
occurred between General Hislop, former Governor of the Island and Mr. George
Smith, the chief Judge. General Hislop had suspended Judge Smith, who was well
versed in Spanish law, and who was very strongly opposed to its abolition, then
under consideration. The Judge considered that under his commission his power
was almost unlimited. This gave offence to the English Party who wanted English
Law established in Trinidad. The British Government after due consideration
instructed Woodford to inform the members of the Council that the case and all
circumstances in connection with it had been carefully considered and that their
Lordships had come to the conclusion that Mr. Smith had shown "a great want of
temper, discretion and tact so peculiarly required in the position he held, therefore,
they could not recommend to His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, that he
should be reinstated. Woodford went on to say "The view taken by the Privy
Council has been adopted by the Prince Regent, who, however, on a review of all
that has occurred, holds that the same want of temper, tact and discretion, which
had been shown by Judge Smith, has been equally apparent in the Members of
His Majesty's Council, whom he, therefore, directs shall be removed from their
seats, His Majesty having no further use for their services."3 The unseated members
left the Council Chamber with mixed feelings of indignation and surprise. At the
time there were people who thought this step had been taken at Woodford's sug-
gestion, but there was no evidence of this, though no doubt he did not regret it.
For several months the Government was carried on without a Council. Towards
the end of the year a body of men was appointed representing all the principal
peoples of the Colony at the time. They were: Manuel Sorzano, a Spaniard,
Laurence Nihel]l, an Irish settler under the Cedula of 1783, General Loppinot, a
French Royalist, and William H. Burnley, an English-American.
During the time between the dismissal of the old Council and the appointment
of the new one the Governor was fully occupied making investigations in all govern-
ment departments and becoming acquainted with the general condition of the Island.
2. Fraser, Vol. 2, p. 5.
3. Despatch from the Secretary of State to Governor of Trinidad 21-6-1813. Public Records
Office. State and Colonial Papers C.O. 296/5. Trinidad and Tobago Historical.
Society Publication 537.
He attended to his correspondence, leaving little or nothing to his Secretary, so that
the whole government was under his control. One of the first letters he wrote was
to Mr. E. Maingot, the Surveyor General, concerning the conditions of the roads,
instructing him to carry out his duties and get the necessary work done before the
wet season. Many times during his administration Woodford tried to open up the
country by making new roads as well as having repairs done to the old ones. He
suggested the introduction of the turnpike system, but the planters objected to it
so it was not carried out.4
Ever since the early days of British occupation of Trinidad the question of
Crown Lands in the Colony, in fact all matters connected with land had presented
The two chief causes were
1. Immediately after the capitulation of the island, it was uncertain whether
it would remain British or be returned to Spain, which prevented the
disposal of lands which might shortly revert to Spain.
2. Land held under the Spanish Crown were held contrary to the English
Law of land tenure.
The land question cannot be understood without reference to the proceedings
and regulations issued, during the time of Chacon's administration in the Cedula
In 1784 Chacon published a government order in which was stated that from
various reasons the entries in the Libro Becerro, laid down in Clause 3, had not
been made and in order to remedy this the following was proclaimed
"All colonists who had been admitted previous to the date of the publi-
cation of the Cedula should appear before the Governor and renew their
oaths of allegiance, making a report of the lands which had been apportioned
to them, and making entries thereof in the Libro Becerro, specifying
particulars so as to obviate for future all possibility of obscurity.
The penalty for not obeying this order was forfeiture of the rights to be con-
sidered a colonist within the meaning of the Cedula, and any favours in the future
which the King of Spain might think fit to confer upon settlers in Trinidad as a body.
This order was signed by Chacon as Governor and by his assessor. It became law
at once and was to remain in force until repealed by the King.6
In 1785 another decree was issued. In it the Governor explained the care he had
taken ever since his arrival in the Colony to see that the Cedula of 1783 was carried
out. He also referred to the trouble caused by "confusion, contradiction and
uncertainty in which landed property was involved from the arbitary occupancy
thereof by ancient Spaniards, without previous form, concession, admeasurement or
4. Capadose, Lt.-Colonel. 16 years in the West Indies. T. C. Ne\\by, London, 1845, Vol. 1.
The Cedula of Colonization of 1783. Histoire de la Trinidad. P J. L. Borde, Vol. 2,
p. 382. Translated from the Spanish, 1882. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 108.
6. Fraser, Vol. 2, p. 78.
demarcation of boundaries, &c. In order to remedy this he issued regulations,
which clearly stated under what terms colonists and others could hold land.7
Early settlers seem to have taken advantage of the Cedula of 1783 when
Roume de St. Laurent succeeded in persuading the Court at Madrid to abandon in
favour of Trinidad its policy of excluding all foreigners from Spanish Colonies. At
that time, of course, it was impossible for any one to foresee the different
nationalities which would become immigrants.
The first colonists came and settled, quietly taking possession of their grants.
They were a little more active than the settlers who were already in the island, but
otherwise very much the same, they were aroused a little from their indolence when
refugees from St. Domingo arrived, followed by republican fugitives from other
French Islands who had been driven out by British troops.
Eventually Chacon found himself in a difficult, not to say dangerous
position because he had no means at his disposal with which to enforce
his will upon men whose political creed taught them to disobey constitutional
authority as the first duty of a true republican. Under these circumstances Chacon
was unable to apply the law and he was obliged to let the lands remain with those
who occupied them. When the Island was occupied by the British, even though
the grants had not been confirmed and for various reasons had legally become
forfeit, the persons occupying the lands remained in possession.8
Such were the difficulties which beset land tenure. The question had often
been brought before the Council in Trinidad and laid before the House of Commons,
but it was not until September, 1815, that the Trinidad Government was told that
a decision had been reached. Grants of land made by the Spanish government and
former British Governors were to be confirmed and authority was given for new
grants to be made. Woodford promptly acted on these instructions and a proclama-
tion was issued on 5th December, 1815.9 This Proclamation almost caused a panic
amongst those who had taken up land before and after the capitulation. They seemed
to think that it was the thin edge of the wedge of confiscation and efforts were made
to get the new law repealed. Little of this movement was to be seen in Trinidad,
for in those days it was almost impossible to hold any kind of public meeting, if
the purpose was one of criticism of the Government or opposition to the Governor,
and Woodford was not a man who could be taken lightly. But in London opposition
was very active through a body of interested parties, calling themselves the Committee
of Landholders of Trinidad, under the leadership of Mr. Joseph Marryat, formerly
Agent for the Colony in London.
Towards the end of 1816 a correspondence was entered into between this
Committee and the Colonial Office on the subject. In a letter dated 1st November,
1816 was the following passage
"The Committee are instructed by their legal advisers, that the new
rights claimed by the Crown and enforced by Sir Ralph Woodford, upon
7. A Proclamation as to land tenure by the Governor of Trinidad 27-7-1815. Red House,
Port-of-Spain. Trinidad Duplicate Despatches, Vol. 2, 1815/16. The original in these
Despatches is a translation from the Spanish. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 142.
8. Regulations for making new land grants, 5-8-1815. Public Records Office. State Papers
Colonial. C.O. 296/5. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 389.
9. A Proclamation as to security of land tenure 5-12-1815. Red House, Port-of-Spain.
Trinidad Duplicate Despatches, Vol. 2, 1815/16. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 144.
lands held in Trinidad under Spanish Grants may be effectually resisted in
a court of appeal, but had much rather owe the redress of that and other
grievances of which the inhabitants of Trinidad and others interested in that
Colony complain, to the grace and justice of His Majesty's Ministers, than
to any other mode of proceeding, and with this feeling submit the present
statement to their consideration."10
Whilst the petition from the Committee was under consideration the original
Proclamation of 1815 which caused all the trouble was modified and another one
The whole question had to be settled not only for individuals, but more especially,
in Woodford's eyes, for the good of the Colony as a whole. Capitalists in Europe or
elsewhere would not invest money where land tenure was so uncertain. Since it
was Spanish Law he had to enforce, he carried out the policy of Chacon. If he had
tried to introduce English Law at this stage of the Colony's development it would
have made things even more difficult. He had to act firmly and with tact, using
the great power that he been given. He proposed to allow all holders of land, who
through ignorance or not, had broken the law, to redeem their position and make
it- secure by the payment of fines to the Crown within a fixed period. This the
Committee of Landowners, said was a hard and tyrannical measure and in every
way contrary to English Law.12 Nevertheless, it was carried through.
LAND SETTLEMENT SCHEMES
After the American War of 1812 some American Negroes who had served with
the British Forces were brought to Trinidad.13 The first fifty arrived during, the
wet season of 1815. They all wished to settle on the land rather than become appren-
tices.14 As they could not be settled on the land until the dry season all expenses
in connection with them had to be met. In the first instance all the expenses were
paid from the Colonial Chest, the sum expended being afterwards refunded by the
British Government. Another party made up of 34 men, 15 women and 17 children,
including 3 white people arrived in November, 1815 and were landed at Naparima,
where 2 large sheds had been prepared for them and some ground cleared. In order
to give these settlers every chance to make a good life for themselves, they were
given as much assistance as possible. A superintendent was provided to look after
them, they were given tools, seeds, &c., and were to be provided for in every way for
at least six months, when it was hoped that they would be partly if not entirely
self supporting. 15s 16 The descendants of these settlers are to be found in the Company
10. Fraser, Vol. p. 61.
11. Proclamation waiving Quit Rent for certain lands. Red House, Port-of-Spain. Trinidad
Duplicate Despatches, Volume 2. 1815/16. 7-11-1816 T & T.H.S. Pub. 540.
Papers relating to the Island of Trinidad, ordered to be Printed by the House of Commons.
13. Southey's Chronological History of the Island of Trinidad. I.ongmans Green. 1827.
Volume 3. p. 609.
14. Red House, Port-of-Spain. Trinidad Duplicate Despatches. (T.D.D.) Volume 2. 1815/16.
No. 131. 8-11-1815. T.T.II.S. Pub. 294.
15. T.D.D. No. 134. 30-11-1815 T. & T.H.S. Pub. 555.
16. T.D.D. No. 251. 1817. T.T.HI.S. Pub. 13.
Villages, near Princes Town, where they farm the land inherited from their ancestors,
and refer to themselves as "Americans"
The Eastern Settlements
Around 1795 the West Indian Forces consisted of white regulars, local
militia and several corps of black troops.17 Later on when these regiments were
disbanded some of the men were granted land in Trinidad and settlements were
founded in 1819.
Woodford visited these settlements and reported on them in 1824. In the settle-
ments near Arima, he found that the children looked strong and healthy, though
he thought there were not enough women to ensure complete success.
The new settlements made in 1824/25 extended seven miles to the East Coast
where the land was good. He stressed the necessity and importance of making new
roads, since communication by sea was only possible from Manzanilla, where there
was a safe harbour. Another site on the Caroni River, five miles from Arima had
been suggested, but was abandoned on account of its being considered unhealthy.18
In 1825 Woodford reported that the 3rd West India Regiment's Settlement
was progressing in spite of difficulties, especially in obtaining suitable Civil and
Medical Superintendents. He hoped that at the end of twelve months all would be
well and that the expenses would not exceed the limit set by the Lords of the
Treasury, in London. He suggested that women should be brought from Sierra
Leone, as there were not enough of them to make the settlement a success. He said
"The women would be subsisted on arrival and disposed of to such men as could
support them. At the same time the settlers would be made happy and the settle-
ments become nurseries of a young and free population."19 No doubt he had in
mind the failure of the settlement of Chinese on account of the men coming without
their women folk.20
During the time when Trinidad was a Spanish Colony the Law of the Indies
decreed that special protection should be given to the Indians of the New World.
Their case was presented by Dominican Missionaries, the best known of whom was
Bartolomeo de las Casas, who was called the Apostle of the Indies. Indirectly he
was responsible for the introduction of African slaves into the West Indies. His life
was one of sacrifice in the cause of the Indians, who physically were not strong. He
firmly believed that the powerfully built African was stronger and better fitted for
the work of cultivating the land.21
When Woodford arrived in the Colony, he found that there were Indian
Missions at Toco, Siparia, Savana Grande and Arima. Each mission was run as a
community on the same economic plan. By law no Indian as an individual, could
17. E. W. Daniel. West Indian Histories. Thomas Nelson, London and Edinburgh. 1936.
Vol. 3. p. 163.
18. T.D.D. Vol. 4. No. 584. 6-12-1824. T.T.H.S. Pub. 1008.
19. T.D.D. Vol. 5. 10-11-1825. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 921.
20. T.D.D. Vol. 1. 3-10-1814. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 126.
21. Daniel. West Indian Histories. Volume 1. p. 71.
own property. Each Mission had its own Cabildo and a Corregidor appointed by
the Governor. There was also a priest whose duty it was to instruct them in their
religious duties. The Indians had to give their services for the cleaning and upkeep
of the Church and Presbytery, but no punishments could be given by the Priest
for neglect of this duty.22 Woodford took very great interest in these missions,
visiting them whenever possible. He never failed to attend the Santa Rosa Festival
which was held at Arima every year.
Labour was always a matter of great importance in the West Indian
Colonies. All efforts to supply a labouring population had failed. Colonising
by introduction of slave labour could only be done by frequently importing
more and more slaves from Africa. This was the argument used by the
abolitionists and was unfortunately the incentive to planters to resist the
abolition of slavery. When the Slave Trade was abolished in 1807, it made
the maintenance of existing estates difficult, and the opening up of new
estates almost impossible. Planters, therefore, saw ruin staring them in the face.
Woodford realized all this and in June, 1818, he asked the Members of the Council
to make suggestions as to how free labour could be attracted to Trinidad. Mr. Bigge,
the recently appointed Chief Judge, was in favour of European settlers and sug-
gested that as there was now peace in Europe, discharged soldiers should be invited
to come and should be given grants of land cleared for them at the expense of the
Crown. This, however was not seriously considered, because apart from the expense,
it was too much of an experiment to risk the trial. Mr. Nihell, thought Negroes
might be obtained from Africa as indentured labourers for periods of ten years. He
was also inclined to agree with Mr. Bigge's suggestion. Don Manuel Sorzano, who
had held office under the Spanish Crown, was very much opposed to the introduction
of free labourers from the Main. He was a Royalist and considered them to be
undesirable. He thought the best and cheapest way would be to extend and improve
means of communication in the island, so as to make it easier to open up settlements
in remote districts, and reduce the cost of necessities to the labourers, this he thought
would result in a steady influx of immigrants from other countries. General Loppinot,
a Frenchman of the old regime, was convinced that the abolition of slavery would ruin
the Colony. Mr. W. H. Burnley, an English American was of the opinion that if
Trinidad could increase its population it could supply all the other West Indian
Islands with cattle, rice and corn. He was very much opposed to indentured Peons
from the Main whom he looked upon as a dangerous and objectionable class of people.
He considered that whilst Africans were robust, they were ignorant and would have
to be taught everything that they had to do. He ended his report by saying
"Upon serious reflection I am fully convinced that from Asia alone is to be derived
the population we require." He went very fully into his scheme, which was tried
thirty years later. None of the schemes put forward were acted upon at the time.n
In the meantime, war on the Main between Royalist Troops and Patriots in
Venezuela dragged on, upsetting trade and causing trouble with refugees who came
to Trinidad. It was thought at the time that Woodford's sympathies were with the
22. Fraser. Volume 2. p. 99.
23. Fraser. Volume 2. p. 13.
Royalists but if so, it did not prevent him doing all in his power to try and bring
about reconciliation between both parties. Many Independents took refuge in
Trinidad when General Morales took possession of Guiria. Mr. Bideau with his
family and many others arrived, and Trinidad was a haven of refuge for these
people. Woodford's enemies accused him of refusing admission to refugees. Those
refused were people from Guiria and the Coast who had made themselves notorious
in the French Colonies during the latter part of the 18th century and had been
banished by General Picton. Woodford did not wish to have them back in the
Colony to create trouble again.24
During the time that Woodford was Governor he visited many parts of the
Island that no governor had ever visited. His purpose was the improvement
of communications by road as well as by sea, and the encouragement
of agriculture and land settlements. With this in view he made proposals which
were approved by the Council. Commandants of Quarters were instructed to make
full reports of their districts to the Court of the Intendant, giving details as to soil,
water supply, available supplies of timber and road making materials, &c. It was
brought before the notice of the public that the Government would grant lands
under the usual conditions.
About 1818 efforts were made to attract white settlers and instructions were issued
that lands would be granted to any one who would cultivate cacao, coffee, cotton,
ground provisions or for the establishment of stock farms. This scheme came to
nothing because Europeans did not want to live in a place that was said to have a
deadly climate. In an effort to improve livestock Woodford arranged for imports of
cattle from the Main, where a supply of suitable animals was available and could be
obtained under licence.25
After the abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807 the question of emancipation of
slaves was under consideration. In 1815 a Slave Registration was introduced into
the British Parliament, but it was thrown out on account of the opposition of the
Colonies. At the same time the Secretary of State for the Colonies recommended
the Colonial Legislatures to adopt the measure. In 1817 a Registration Act was
passed making the Registration of all slaves compulsory, and Parliament concerned
itself in the improvement of conditions and treatment of slaves.26 The whole ques-
tion of slavery is too well known to be discussed here. It is sufficient to say that
during Woodford's administration the welfare of slaves was a matter'which received
his serious consideration.2
24. Parliamentary Papers concerning Trinidad. 1823.
25. T.D.D. No. 151. 1816. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 304.
26. Daniel. West Indian Histories. Volume 2. p. 219-220.
27. Trinidad Public Library, Port-of-Spain. Proclamations and Orders in connection with
slavery and improvement in condition of slaves. (Bound volume of Proclamations and
The Militia was originally formed by General Picton to assist the Military in
keeping peace and order in the Colony.28 Under Woodford it was reorganised.
A Proclamation was issued in December, 1813 ordering all white, coloured and free
people to join the militia, it having come to the knowledge of the Governor that a
large number of people living in the island were receiving the benefit and protection
of its laws and government, though they had evaded this form of military service.
He, therefore, considered it necessary to stop breaking of laws passed to secure the
peace and security of the Colony.29
As the result of this Proclamation the strength of the Militia in 1814 was over
3,000 rank and file and consisted of
I Regiment of Light Dragoons
1 Regiment of Hussars
3 Regiments of Infantry
1 Brigade of Artillery
3 Corps of Mounted Chasseurs-8 separate companies
2 Batallions of Sea-fencibles.
Every year during the month of December Martial law was enforced. This
period extended over the Christmas holidays, which was a time of gaiety and
festivity. Many dinners, balls and suppers were held and houses were thrown open.
During this time all officers and men were obliged to wear uniform, perform all
the routine of a garrison, including drills and parades. All the Civil Courts were
closed and crimes and offences committed during the time were dealt with by a
Military Court. Before the arrival of Woodford duels were frequent, on account
of the very mixed population and long years of military rule. He was determined
to put an end to this practice. He looked upon it as a great offence to carry, send
or accept a challenge to a duel. However, this season of Martial Law gave those who
wished to settle a difference by fighting a duel, the opportunity to do so. Because
at this time the Governor had no power to stop it. Nevertheless, during Woodford's
administration duelling was checked and eventually died out.30
FINANCIAL STATE OF THE COLONY
On his arrival Woodford found that the financial state of the Colony was very
bad. There was only about 150 in the Public Chest and liabilities amounted to
almost [14,000. The Parliamentary Grant of 50,000 for the rebuilding of the
Port of Spain, which was ruined by the fire of 1808, was almost all gone and there
were still many public buildings unfinished and other projects for the good of the
Colony which needed money. Trade was bad and the war was raging on the Main.
Roads and communications in the Island were so bad that it was very difficult to
get produce to market.
New taxes were imposed in order to increase revenue. In addition to the Slave
tax and the tax on imports and exports, taxes on houses, wines, spirits and strong
28. Public Records Office, State Papers Colonial, C.O. 295/4. 3-3-1803. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 874.
29. Proclamation regarding the Militia. 9-12-1813. Red House, Trinidad. Duplicate
Despatches. 1813. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 543.
30. Papers relating to the Island of Trinidad. 1823. p. 14.
waters were imposed in an effort to nmect the necessN expenditure, and pill the
finances of the Colony on a sound basis.31
The Medical Board, which was originally formed in Spanish times, allowed no
one to practice medicine or surgery in the Island without a degree or licence. This
board was reconstituted by General Picton and later renewed by General Hislop,
but owing to lack of Government support was no longer taken any notice of.
Woodford very soon found that there were many persons practising medicine
without the necessary licence. To end this abuse he issued a Proclamation on
20th December, 1814, to re-establish the Medical Board on the original law
laid down in 1579. 32 & 33
In the early part of 1814, Bartholomew Portel, who at that time was Alcalde
of First Election, reported to the Council that there were a number lepers wandering
about in Port-of-Spain, and that the number appeared to be increasing. The
Governor at once took steps to segregate these unfortunate people in a place where
they could be properly looked after. Actually he had been considering the matter
before receiving Portel's report, but no decision had been arrived at as to where a
Lazaretto should be established.
Mr. E. Maingot, Surveyor General had been instructed to survey the Island
of Monos. He reported that there were too many inhabitants on that island who
would have to be compensated by Government if they had to give up their houses
and lands. The island of Huevos was then suggested, but it had no fresh water. The
other islands of the Bocas were ruled out for the same reason as Monos. Woodford
in his letter to Maingot referred to the Bocas Islands as belonging to the Cabildo.
The idea of a Settlement on the Bocas Islands was abandoned, but Woodford did
not give up. He directed that a census should be taken to see exactly how many
lepers would have to be accommodated. The number did not appear to be more
In 1819 on account of an epidemic of smallpox on the Main all inhabitants of
Trinidad were ordered to be vaccinated to prevent the disease spreading to the
Yellow fever was also very prevalent at this time
In 1813 the Roman Catholic religion was that of the majority of the inhabitants
of Trinidad, although it was a British Colony
Under Spanish Law which was still in force in the Island, ecclesiastical
jurisdiction, within certain limits belonged to the British Crown, though it was part of
the Diocese of Guayana. This was not a very satisfactory arrangement. The matter
was taken up with the British Government who conferred with the Vicar-General
31. T.D.D. Vol. 1. No. I. 4-1-1814. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 292.
32. T.D.D. Proclamation regarding new Medical Board. 20-12-1814. T & T.II.S. Pub. 554
33. T.D.D. Vol. 2. 1815/16. Proclamation constituting the Medical Board. 1-12-1815.
T. & T.II.S. Pub. 143.
34. T.D.D. Proclamation regarding Smallpox in the Island. 26-3-1819. T. T.H.S.
and Rome. After the question had been gone into and discussed by the Colonial
Office and the Right Reverend Dr. Poynter, Vicar Apostolic of the West of England,
it was decided by the Court of Rome that Trinidad should be separated from the
Diocese of Guayana and with the other West Indian Islands placed under a Vicar
Apostolic. The first man to be appointed Vicar Apostolic was the Right Reverend
James Buckley, Bishop of Gerren, in 1820. Dr. Buckley proved himself to be
wise, firm, an excellent guide and pastor, a scholar and a gentleman of the world,
he and Woodford though holding different religious views were great friends.
As Governor, Woodford was also head of the Protestant Church and during his
administration much was done to establish the Protestant Church in the Colony on
a proper footing. At the time Protestants and members of other religious bodies
were very much in the minority.35
In 1817 Regulations were drawn up for the opening and conducting of educational
establishments. Any person who wished to open a school was obliged to obtain a
licence from the Government to enable him to do so.36, 37 & 38
COMMISSION OF LEGAL INQUIRY
After the capitulation, British Colonists who had come to Trinidad were dissatis-
fied with Spanish Laws which were still in force. Between 1802 and 1820 at least
four petitions were presented to the British Parliament asking for British Laws and
trial by jury. These moves failed through the opposition of the Anti-slavery party,
which asserted that the Colonists wished to substitute the harsher regulations still
in force in some of the older colonies for the more humane Spanish Slave Laws. The
continued dissatisfaction, however, induced the British Government to appoint a
Commission of Legal Inquiry, to go to Trinidad and report on the matter. In 1823,
Messrs. Henry Maddox and F. Dwarris who had been appointed Commissioners to
inquire into matters concerning the laws, especially the laws affecting Land Tenure,
arrived in the Colony.
As the result of this Inquiry the Crown Colony System was introduced into the
new colonies. A Chief Justice was to be appointed from England, and two Puisne
Judges together with an Attorney General, who was to be a qualified barrister; and
the Governor of Trinidad was instructed to appoint a Council selected partly from
the public officers and partly from the principal proprietors of the Colony.31'
A full report of the Commission was published in 1827.40
When Woodford had been in Trinidad for more than eight years the climate
had undermined his health. He, therefore, applied for leave to go to England. This
was granted and in April, 1921, he left the Colony. During his absence the senior
35. Fraser. History of Trinidad. Vol. 2. Chapter 9.
36. Trinidad Public ,Library, Port-of-Spain. Bound Volume, Orders and Proclamations.
1813-1833. Order for licences for keeping schools. 5-2-1815.
37. T.D.D. Vol. 5. 1825. T. & T.H.S. Pub. 919.
38. Trinidad Public Library, Port-of-Spain. Bound volume Orders and Proclamations.
1813-1833. Rules and regulations for school. 2-2-1826.
39. Daniel. West Indian Histories. Vol. 3. p. 247.
40. Trinidad. Report of the Commission of Legal Inquiry on the Colony Ordered to be
printed by the House of Commons. 29th June, 1827. (551).
Military officer in the Colony. Lieut. Colonel A. W Young, 1st West Indian
Regiment administered the Government. Colonel Young was an able man and clever
enough not to change Woodford's policy. He realized that in the past Trinidad had
suffered very much from the many changes in its Governors, and was content to
carry on along the lines laid down by Woodford.
On his arrival in London, Woodford found that the Committee of Landowners
of Trinidad had been making trouble for him, with the result that the whole land
question was gone into by the British Government whilst he was there on leave.
During his absence from Trinidad things appeared to have gone on smoothly. On
his return early in 1823, he was welcomed by all the principal officials, the
Military, Regulars and Militia and by crowds of the inhabitants.
The years which followed as we have seen were most strenuous; Woodford
always exerting himself to improve conditions for the good of the whole Colony
In March, 1827, Dr. Buckley died after a few days illness. He was deeply mourned
by all sections of the community, but especially by Woodford, as they had always.
worked together in harmony and their friendship was very real. Three days after
Dr. Buckley's funeral, Woodford, whose health had not been good for some time,
informed the Council that he was going for a short cruise for the good of his health
on board H.M.S. Slancy, and that during his absence Colonel Capadose, the Senior
Military Officer in the Colony would act for him. When he left on April 1st, his
health was poor, but he was in good spirits, confident that he would soon be restored
to health and able to return to his post, strong and well to carry on the Government.
For a few months nothing of importance happened, then on July 23rd it was
rumoured that he was dead. No one really believed it, but in a short time it was
confirmed by a letter received by the Acting Governor from Robert Snell,
Commander of H.M. Packet Duke of York, dated 19th May, 1828. The letter said
that Woodford had embarked at Jamaica on 13th May a very sick man; a change
of climate had been recommended as the only chance of his recovery. However,
he gradually became worse and died peacefully on 16th May, 1828. In his letter
Commander Snell after reporting Woodford's death went on to say :-
"From the high and noble character of the deceased, and his well earned
popularity in Trinidad and at the request of his faithful servant, I enclosed his
respected remains in a cask of spirits in the hope of being able to forward it to
that Island where he was so loved and to that Church built under his immediate
eye but the extreme heat of the climate has prevented me from having
this melancholy pleasure of shewing my respect for the inhabitants of
Trinidad, but not until the Official Report of my Surgeon that five of my
crew were ill from the effluvia from the corpse, did I this day reluctantly
commit it to the deep.
"You will be pleased, Sir, to make this unhappy event known to his
family and friends assuring the former that no attention was spared on the
part of my Surgeon and particularly by his faithful and effectionate domestic."
Woodford's mortal remains were committed to the deep off the Island of
41. Fraser. History of Trinidad. Vol. p. 203.
When Sir Ralph Woodford came to Trinidad in 1813 the Colony was in a very
bad state politically, economically and socially. It was in need of a strong man to
take things in hand. When he left the Colony, fifteen years later in 1828, the Colony
was prosperous, trade was good, roads and communications improved, with the
result that new estates and settlements were being opened up. Public buildings
were completed. New Churches and Schools were established on a proper footing,
and the town rebuilt. The Militia was under discipline and all public services
working well. He laid the foundation upon which the continued prosperity of the
Colony was to be built. Even to this day the people of Trinidad owe him a great
debt of gratitude.
Woodford was a refined, elegant and very handsome man, dignified with a
strong personality. His enemies said that he was haughty and proud, but those who
worked with him and really knew him described him as courteous and well bred.
He could be severe if necessary. In private life he was amiable, kind and friendly.
He always upheld the dignity of his position and demanded deference to which as
Governor he was entitled. No doubt his reputation for pride and haughtiness was
given him by those who forgot their position and in consequence had been rebuked
by him. He never forgot the dignity of his position as Governor. He enjoyed show
and ceremony, but not from any personal vanity, but because he considered a
certain amount was necessary to his position. He arrived in Trinidad when the
Colony was entering upon a critical time in its history, when the affairs of the
Colony were in a state of transition. The change from Spanish to English Law was
being contemplated, there were many people against this change as was to be
expected in an island where the inhabitants were of so many different nations. The
Slave Trade had been abolished and preparations were being made for emancipation.
As the first civil governor he had to introduce many reforms and new measures for
the improvement of the Colony as a whole. Previous governors had been either
Naval or Military officials, whose policy was one which attempted discipline rather
than civil administration. When he left the Colony it was very much improved in
every respect and a lasting testimony to his ability. Trinidad could look forward to
continued prosperity in the years to come.
Birds of the West Indies
FATHER RAYMUND DEVAS, O.P. M.C.
Ir you have never taken any notice of the birds around you, begin doing so now and
you will not regret it. The present writer started from scratch in 1922, and far from the
subject wearing out it becomes as a hobby more and more fascinating.
Don't forget it the birds that you see are your birds. Pay no attention to the
pessimists, to people who would put you off by suggesting that we have no birds,
or that most of our birds belong to the mainland, or that they all come from South
America! A large number of our birds may be found in the Americas, North, South
and Central, just in the same way as many birds of Britain are also met with in
Europe, and indeed much further afield. That makes no difference. The birds that
live with us are ours the birds that breed in our i lands are obviously our own.
I would go further and say that the migrants, which spend many months with us.
in some cases more than half the year, we may also claim.
This brings us to the final interesting issues what are we to think of the
passage migrants, which, like human passengers in transit, just call at some place
or places in the West Indies before proceeding on their way to and from the northern
and southern hemispheres? And how are we to regard those other birds that regularly
fly across the sea to us, and remain a number of days, or a few weeks, or for two
or three months? Now the destination or objective of the passage migrant is roughly
speaking fairly obvious, north or south; but by no means do we always know
precisely, or even roughly, where these others, the visitors, have come from. Yet,
in some cases at least, you simply have to reckon with them, because they arrive in
hundreds if not in thousands. Besides, in their short sojourn in our midst they may
do a lot of good, or a lot of harm. Even these then, albeit we have no very strong
claim to them, we call our birds.
Have you ever heard, I wonder, of the Black-poll Warbler? I This is a passage
migrant from the extreme north to the very heart of South Americi but one that is
rarely seen. It has been recorded in islands so far apart as Jamaica and Barbados, but
never in Trinidad or Tobago. Taking a walk one October evening in Grenada with
a young friend we suddenly spotted a fairly large flock of at least fifty strange birds
playing about, For a moment I thought that they were crowds of female Cowbirds 2
but soon realized my mistake. The birds had no black polls to give us a clue They
were chirping, yes, and calling, but by no means warbling, for warblers do not sing
in migration. Clearly these birds were migrants, and a process ot elimination carried
us quickly along the way to final identification. For by noting the season of the year,
1. Dendroica striata (Forster).
2. MIolothrus bonariensis minimus (Dalm;
and the size of the flock, by watching the behaviour of the bird; among the small
trees and shrubs, as well as by a careful scrutiny of the plumage and approximate
size of the little creatures, actually 5J inches, and clothed in their "winter" garb,
with brown caps instead of black, and their general brownish appearance, we were
delighted to be able to diagnose them at last as Black-poll Warblers, never before
recorded for Grenada. That year, for some reason unknown to man, they had
decided to drop off in this particular island, where they remained a short while before
pushing off again, on their next long flight to central Brazil.
Again, you may have read in the newspapers at the time, March 1951, of the
invasion of Trinidad by the Dicksissel or Black-throated Bunting.3 This bird seems
to he classified as a Finch. It had been in Trinidad before, but apparently not for
some fifteen or twenty years. It is, like the Black-poll Warbler, a migrant from the
north, coming down to spend the winter in a warm climate and to secure the food
it likes. This, among other items, is evidently rice, for you saw the record of how
these little birds stripped the rice fields, and also attacked peas in their pods. Here
was an example of birds doing harm, especially as in this case they came in such
Other migrants pass up and down singly or in pairs. Some of them seem to
loiter in the West Indies, and others actually to remain there the whole period of
migration. The Belted Kingfisher4 unmistakable along the coast, is one that may
be seen any time between the end of September and the end of May. Another that
may remain long, in Trinidad at least, is the Water Thrush,5 with its spotted breast,
white line over its eye, and its loud call of chink-chink. The glorious Scarlet
Tanager6, brilliant red save for its black wings and tail, is on the other hand a
passage migrant, not likely to make a long stay.
Then there are the stray birds, or what the books call stragglers, which every
now and then spring such pleasant surprises upon us; but as I have mentioned them,
I cannot resist thrusting just three upon your notice. For imagine Golden Warblers7,
of the Northern Island coming as far south as little Union Island in the Grenadines.
Or fancy a Black-necked Stilt,8 also so well known up north, condescending to stay a
whole fortnight in Carriacou, in the month of February! That was surely against
all the laws of the Medes and Persians, because it is in the summer that these Stilts
are more likely to roam abroad. Or fancy finally an isolated specimen of that much
sought after bird, the Scarlet Ibis,9 making up its mind to spend most of April and
the whole of May and June in the south of Grenada. I must tell you something about
this. When it first arrived the Little Blue Herons or Gaulins,t0 were obviously
scared of it, and no wonder, as never before can they have seen so large a bird of
such brilliant plumage. The Ibis however remained standing quietly, on its not
3. Spiza Americana (Grmelin).
4. Megaceryle alcyon alcyon (Linnaeus)
5. Seiurus noveloracensis noveboracensis (Gmelin).
6. Piranga erythomelas (Vieillot).
7. Dendroica petechia alsiosa (Peters),
8. Himantopus himantopus mexicanus (Muller).
9. Guara rubra (Linnaeus)
10. Florida caerulea (Linnaeus).
exceptionally long legs, and kept carefully under control its curved bill, which is
very long and powerful, as though wanting to reassure the birds on whose territory
it had so surprisingly alighted. The Gaulins meanwhile seemed to be taking counsel
among themselves. Presently two of their number slowly approached the stately
stranger, and I distinctly heard them asking him, "Is thy coming hither peace-
able?"; and he answered "Peaceable"; and after that all fear was gone from them,
and Ibis and Herons stalked and fed together on the strand, as though they had
known one another all their lives, albeit by no means birds of a feather! Nor were
the larger and stronger Yellow crowned Night Herons, 11 to be outdone in their
hospitality; for during the heat of the day the Ibis would fly across the bay to a tiny
isle teeming with these Crabiers, as they are called locally, and share with them the
shelter of the trees and shrubs.
But let us return to what I really want to talk about, our regular visitors.
I do not know what there may be in this line up north or in Jamaica, but
down here in Grenada and Trinidad we have quite a number of such visitors
most interesting to observe. In Trinidad the Small Black Finch,12
indigenous, nesting and breeding there, and it is very common. Now every year
some of these birds fly across to Grenada for a month or two, about July and
August, and scatter themselves, by no means in large numbers, over the island,
travelling up even to the extreme north. You cannot mistake them (male blue-
black, female brown) because it is the male bird of this species that incessantly
jumps up and down off the branch on which it has perched, twittering and chirping
as it does so. But is it from Trinidad, you ask. that these birds have come? Ah,
there you have caught me! I had presumed so, but in truth I do not know, and
they may equally well have flown across from Venezuela, or from the Guianas, or
even from Brazil, who is to say? And you are quite right, because listen to this.
Another Finch, the Yellow-bellied Seed-eater,13 with his black face and white beak
(the female uniformly brown save for the pale yellow breast), also comes over to
Grenada, in this case in large numbers, and they remain there for five or six months.
Now the Yellow-breasted Seed-eater, we are told, nests in Trinidad between April
and July; yet it is precisely in April that these birds arrived in flocks in Grenada,
young and old. So it looks very much as though these attractive little Finches
take the trip over the ocean, not from Trinidad, but from the mainland, where they
must have bred in March, or even earlier in the year.
As regular visitors, Swifts and Swallows too present us with a number of
problems. The large White-collared Swift,14 visits Trinidad between June and
September, coming over from the mainland of South America. The same bird
(I have no proof as yet that it comes every year) visits Grenada in July or
August, but is said to come from the north! Perhaps it does. For when we
turn to the Swallows, we find ourselves face to face with something still
more puzzling. The Barn Swallow,15 well known to us in the islands between the
end of December and the beginning of June, is considered in Trinidad to be a passage
11. Nycticorax violacea violacea (Linnaeus).
12. Volatinia jacarina splendens (Vieillot).
13. Sporophila nigricollis nigricollis (Vieillot)
14. Streptoprocne zonaris albicincta (Cabanis).
migrant, passing south in the month of September! Chubb, in his Birds of British
Guiana, states that the Barn Swallow is a winter migrant to that country, thus
supporting what they say in Trinidad; but he helps us somewhat by adding that
this Swallow is known also in North America, Northern Europe and in
Asia as far south as to Burma-some bird! So we may with reason conclude
that a number of Barn Swallows may be winter migrants to South America, but that
others, come from where they may, spend the first five months of the year in the
islands north of Trinidad. I wish someone in Jamaica would tell us what has been
observed about this bird there.
Again, look at the Purple Martin'6: swallows and martins are treated alike in
these parts. This bird is well known in Grenada, Tobago and British Guiana, but
curiously enough is not recorded for Trinidad. They nest in Grenada, as in other
places, but never until this year, 1951, have 1 come to realise what sweet and
persistent singers they are in the breeding season. I had often heard them singing
on the wing, and in the rain (like some other birds these too are known as Rain
Birds). But here in Victoria in Grenada, they have their nests in holes left con-
veniently for them in the church walls. These swallows are wonderfully tame,
remaining within a yard or two of me sitting by the window in my room abutting on
the church. They stand singly or in crowds in their old nesting places, or cling
(apparently in comfort!) to the rough stone wall around these nests, or perch under
the eaves or on the telephone wires: but all day long singing! The point however to
which I want to draw attention is this. From about the end of November to the
end of January, or even to the beginning of February, these birds become noticeably
scarce. Is it that they then go for a short visit to some other place, like the other
birds we have been considering, and return again later in good time for the breeding
season? The curious thing is that when they are scarce, not only do the Barn
Swallows begin to arrive, which remain, but yet another kind of swallow turns up
for a short while, the Cave or Cliff Swallow. 17 This bird has the slow flight of the
European Sand-martin I have seen cats catch them, so low and leisurely do they
fly. They may be distinguished from other Caribbean swallows by their rump,
which if not quite white is at all events light-coloured. In this they resemble the
Rough-winged Swallow of Trinidad, 18 to which I feel the Cliff Swallow must be
A final example of swallows visiting a place for a couple of months is the Blue
and White Swallow. 19 June and July are the months in which to look out for them,
this time in Trinidad; but indeed, if they have arrived in the locality, little need will
there be to look for them, because they come over from South America in their
hundreds, albeit no one has been able to discover why.
Explanation sometimes can be given for the behaviour of birds, but such
explanations do not always cover all the ground. As a final example of bird visitors,
15. Hirundo erythrogaster (Boddaert).
16. Progne subis dominicensis (Gmelin).
17. Petrochelidon fulva fulva (Vieillot).
18. Stelgidopteryx ruficollis aequalis (Bangs).
19. Pygochelidon cyanoleuca (Vieillot).
and one that is of special interest, we may mention the famous Fork-tail Fly-
catcher.20 These birds, the fully developed males among them exhibiting extra-
ordinarily long scissor-shaped tails, spend three or four months every summer and
autumn in Trinidad. In this case an explanation is off e r e d by agricul-
turists. These Flycatchers, they point out, flock over to Trinidad in their thousands
just at the season when the pestilential froghopper is likely to be plentiful in the
cane-fields, and the birds confer a big benefit by devouring them. But the higher
critic within me recoils at this explanation, so kindly proffered, and then seeks to
refute it! For is it only at this season that the froghoppers abound? Or, on the
other hand, why is it that a few of these Flycatchers regularly fly over every year to
Grenada, a land not over-troubled, or troubled at all, by the froghopper? May it not
be that, seeing us staring at their tails, the birds are retaliating by pulling our legs?
The froghopper business may be simply a side line, and the real reason of their
annual visit the urge of quite some other instinct. Who knows!
20. Muscivora tyrannus (Linnaeus).
Management and the Agricultural Tradition
in Puerto Rico
Director Labour Relations Institute, University of Puerto Rico
THE PUERTO RICAN ECONOMY has been dominated by agriculture throughout its
history. The percentage of employed persons engaged in agriculture has been
decreasing but is still very large.I & 2
Percentage of Employed
Year Persons Engaged in Agriculture
Does the historical predominance of agriculture in this economy, and elsewhere
in the underdeveloped part of the world, create management patterns which impede
economic development? The answer seems to be in the affirmative.
In a traditionally agricultural economy, management habits are likely to be
learned which are different in kind from those of an industrially-traditional
It is true that the fundamental production decisions which must be made by
managers in industry must also be made by managers in agriculture. These are
decisions which answer the questions What products shall be produced? What
quantities shall be produced? What shall be the technique of production? How
shall the input factors be combined?3
Production in industry, however, is continuous and the cycle of production
(the time span between the start and end of the processes yielding a unit of output)
Descartes, S. L., Basic Statistics of Puerto Rico, Washington, 1946, p. 62 and Sierra
Berdecia, Fernando, Statement before Sub-committee of Committees on Labour and
Education and Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, San Juan, 1949, Mimeo.
In the United States, the percentage of gainful workers, ten years old or over, engaged in
For 1940, percentage is of persons fourteen years old or over.
U.S. Bureau of the Census, 16th Census of the United States, Population, Comparative
Occupation Statistics for the United States, 1870 to 1940, Washington, 1943, Table XXI,
p. 101, Table 3, p. 59 if. Population, Vol. IV Characteristics by Age, Part 1, United
States Summary, Washington, 1943, Table XIV, p. 7.
3. See Black, John D., Clawson, Marion, Sayre, Charles E., Wilcox, Walter W Farm
Management, New York, 1947, Chapter 1, "The Farm Management Function"
is short while production in agriculture is discontinuous (peaks and troughs in
inputs are required during the process of producing a single unit of output) and the
cycle of production is long,
As a result of this difference, managers in industry may make new decisions
with respect to volume of output and factor combination with much more frequency
than managers in agriculture.
In addition, the possibilities of dilution of labour and task specialization are
much greater in industry than in agriculture. This is, of course, a facet of the problem
of factor combination and it is not completely absent in agricultural enterprises.
The case is clearly one, however, where degree differences create differences in kind.
There is, thus, a large area in which industrial managers must make day-to-day
decisions which is outside the ken of agricultural managers.
In still another respect, the management problem of industry and agriculture
is dissimilar. In agriculture, especially in owner-operated farms, the relationship
between owner and hired labour is likely to be of a personal and face-to-face nature
and to persist beyond working hours. In industry, on the other hand, the relation-
ship is ordinarily impersonal and, in any case, ends with the end of the working
day. It is true that in Puerto Rico, industrial establishments are, on the average,
small and managers could establish personal relationships with their employees.
It is also true that many sugar cane growing farms hire large numbers of workers,
especially during the cane cutting season and that especially when the land is
owned by institutions like corporations or trusts, a pattern of impersonal relations
exists. In addition, if the institution is American, a social gulf separates upper-
level managers from the workers. Generally, throughout the agricultural area,
however, a kind of personal relationship exists between farm operators and workers
in which the operator plays a paternalistic or patriarchal role. This is true even in
the cane growing regions and where large estates and large numbers of men are
involved, if the operator is a Puerto Rican. This seems to have had almost no
carry over to the urban centres.
Since the problem of basic human relations in the employment situation is
vastly different, so must be, prima facie, personnel, supervisory, and labour
relations techniques. The management skills acquired in agriculture, therefore,
have limited usefulness for industry.
The character of management habits in agriculture is accentuated in Puerto
Rico by the fact that fundamental areas of decision-making are "closed out" in the
management of the island's major crops. That is to say, once a management
decision has been taken, it tends to be fixed and immutable or to be altered by
circumstances outside managerial calculations.
The island's main crops (measured by acreage devoted to cultivation) are
sugar cane, coffee and food crops.
Land Use in Puerto Rico, 1909-19394
(thousands of cuerdas)
Total cultivated, all crops 535 804
Sugar cane 145 230
Coffee 187 181
Food crops 142 332
4. Source: Descartes, op. cit., p. 25.
The cultivation of cane requires relatively little attention and management
functions are frequently performed in Puerto Rico by hired managers. Cane does
not even require replanting for each crop. Many cane-farm owners on the island
are absentees from their farms, and live in San Juan or in semi-urban communities
near their lands, and visit them at infrequent intervals. "Absenteeism" (the
preference for leisure over work) is a manifestation of the tendency of the well-to-
do to maintain high standards of consumption.5
Cane is regularly and habitually put in the coastal lands where most of the
crop grows; there is no system of crop rotation. The cane grower is not, in real
terms, faced with the problem of choosing among alternative crops. He does not
even choose among alternatives with respect to volume of output. In recent years,
the acreage put in cane has been either that allocated to each grower by the Depart-
ment of Agriculture under the Sugar Acts or (as in the war years) the maximum
technically possible for which arrangements can be made with a mill for grinding.
For some time, most of the coffee grown in the island has been picked from
trees that are being permitted to go wild with time and here, also, owner absenteeism
is widespread. The assumption is widely held that the land of the coffee regions
cannot be used for the cultivation of any crop other than coffee.
Food crops are generally grown on small hillside plots by farmers without
capital resources and on land to which the use of advanced machines and tools is not
Thus the special character of Puerto Rican agriculture is such that some of the
basic areas of decision-making in agriculture are not open. Re-evaluation of
decisions is less frequent than they may be in agricultural production elsewhere.
Once management decision is made with respect to crops, volume of output, and
production techniques, the tendency has been for it to be unchanged.
This is not something, of course, which is peculiar to Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico,
however, agricultural management appears to have been, in at least some of its
aspects, unaggressive. Grading and product standardization is, for example, infre-
quently practiced even for products exported for sale in mainland markets in compe-
tition with mainland-produced graded products. Neither have advanced management
practices been employed generally with respect to packaging, seed selection,
fertilization, crop selection and marketing.6
The question being raised here is not simply the mechanical one of degree of
transferability of management skills. It is, rather, the fundamental one of whether
management aptitudes and traditional patterns of managerial conduct that pervade
an agricultural society do not create habits which are not easily thrown off and
which raise obstacles to the industrialization of the economy.
5. See p. 58. The present Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce has said that cane-
growers properly ought to be called "investors" rather than "farmers"
6. See Clark, Victor S. et al. Porto Rico and Its Problems Washington, 1930, pp. 479 ff.
Many of the management malpractices reported by Clark and his associates are still
engaged in t\\o decades after the report was written.
RED SET-GIRLS AND JACK IN THE GREEN
Drawn by Belisario
JAMAICA 1836 Drawn by Belisario
THE JAW BONE, OR JOHN CANOE
West Indian Society a Century Ago
P. M. SHERLOCK
DURING the 1830's two artists published books dealing with contemporary West
Indian life. One of these was J. M. Belisario, who in 1837 published in Jamaica
a book with eight coloured lithographed plates and ten leaves of text under
the title "Sketches of Character, in Illustration of the Habits, Occupation and
Costume of the Negro Population in the Island of Jamaica" The book is now
In his preface Belisario says that he published the book because he had "firstly,
the ambition to acquire repute in his favourite occupation-the Arts; secondly, a
desire to hand down faithful delineations of a people, whose habits, manners, and
costume bear the stamp of originality and in which changes are being daily effected
by the rapid strides of civilisation; and lastly, the hope of receiving an abundant
harvest from the undertaking
In 1836, at Christmas-time, Belisario drew a number of John Canoes from life.
He says that twelve years before bands of actors dressed in costume paraded the
streets at Xmas time, putting on dramatic performances and competing for the
prize for the finest costume The dramatic performances had fallen off, but
"If competitors for dramatic excellence be wanting in the present day, the vanity
of excelling the costliness of attire at least has not expired, as may be annually seen,
when a struggle for superiority in that respect amongst these "Actor Boys" takes
place on the Parade, a large and much frequented thoroughfare in Kingston
Gentlemen who may be passing, are requested to decide which is the smartest
The Actor Boy presented in the cover illustration was runner-up. Belisario
says that a friend informed him that the term "Koo-Koo" derived from an earlier
period when "this John-Canoe performed in pantomimic actions only, consisting of
supplications for food-as being demanded by his empty stomach. At each request,
an attendant chorus repeated "Koo-Koo"; this was intended in imitation of the
rumbling sound of the bowels, when in an empty state.
Plate I shows the Jaw-Bone or John Canoe-wearing regimental coat and sash,
"half-military half mountebank" The author points out that the coat and sash were
always retained, whatever other changes of costume were made. He always wore
a mask, whence one suggestion that the name John Canoe is from Gens Inconnus,
"unknown folks" The House was of pasteboard and coloured paper, the dance
consisted of "rapid crossings of the legs and terminating in a sudden stoppage"
He was accompanied by a band including "a small square wooden frame, over
which a goat's skin is tightly strained, termed a "Gumbay" or "Bench drum"
The term "Jaw-bone" is derived from "The lower jaw of a horse, on the teeth of
which a piece of wood is passed quickly up and down, occasioning a rattling
At Christmas-time also there were "sets" or groups of girls who paraded the
streets. The "Queen" conducted a "lively and graceful band of female dancers",
called Set-Girls. The origin of the name is given by Monk Lewis in his Journal
of a West India Proprietor, where he states that "many years ago an Admiral of
the "Red" was superseded on the Jamaica station, by an Admiral of the "Blue"
and both of whom gave Balls at Kingston to the Brown Girls; for the fair sex else-
where, are called Brown Girls in Jamaica In consequence of these Balls, all
Kingston was divided into parties from thence the division spread into other
districts and ever since the whole island, at Christmas. is separated into the rival
factions of the "Blues" and the "Reds" (the Reds representing the English, the
Blues the Scotch) who contend for setting forth their processions with the greatest
taste and magnificence."
So much for Monk Lewis. Belisario says the bands went out at ten or eleven
in the morning, paraded the town till night, and collected money, and that rivalry
between the bands sometimes led to fighting and bloodshed. They carried "open
umbrellas in their nocturnal as well as day-light rambles" and they had a "Jack in
the Green" who "differed in very few points from the same description of personage,
who accompanies the chimney sweepers on the I st May in England The covering
of the former is composed of portions of the leaves of the coconut tree
There was an order of procession. First came four Grand Masters to protect
the set, then Adjutants bearing flags, and the musicians and singers. The Commodore
came next, with set girls in Equal Numbers and the Jack in the Green.
One of their songs told how
"There is a Regiment of the 64th we expect from home
From London to Scotland away they must go
Now pray my noble King if you really love me well
Disband us from slavery, and set us at large
Red set girls and Jack in the Green can be seen in Plate II.
A Survey of Dialects in the British Caribbean
R. B. LE PAGE
THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH of the University College has plans, when funds
become available, to conduct a survey of the dialects spoken in the territories from
which the College draws its undergraduates. The Caribbean is an area which
presents a fascinating and largely unexplored field for linguistic research, and the
College is a natural centre to conduct that research. We are primarily, but not
exclusively, interested in dialects of English; we hope eventually to attract the
attention of linguists competent to deal with all the "transplanted" languages, such
as that spoken by the Hindu community in Trinidad, and we are working in
collaboration with the Department of Modem Languages, whose special interests are
described later by Professor Sandmann. We have enlisted the willing co-operation
of the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, and of the
Department of Linguistics of Birmingham University. Professor Cassidy, of the
University of Wisconsin, is here at the moment as a Senior Fulbright scholar, working
on the dialects of Jamaica. All that we need to put our plans into operation, is the
money necessary to pay and equip the trained field-workers. The problem of raising
this money is a difficult one to solve, but we have hopes that it will not prove
The dialects situation here is a complex one. The speech of the educated middle
classes differs from Standard Southern English ("BBC English"), and differs again
from the speech of the rural agricultural worker. The speech of both differs from
one area to another. There are thus social, economic and regional maps to be
drawn. We have to study not only the influences acting upon the living speech
today-the proximity, for example, to North American or South American cultures-
but also the influences which have combined in the past to shape the present dialect
of any one group of people. The differences between groups may be differences of
vocabulary (the one most apparent to the layman), of grammar, of pronunciation,
stress and intonation-this last being the most difficult to deal with, but possibly of
great importance in tracing the history of African influences.
A great many factors must be taken into account in any attempt at linguistic
history. They include: the place of origin of both coloured and white immigrants;
the date of their immigration; the subsequent degree of social contact between
groups, and their contact with the outside world (isolated communities naturally
tend to be more conservative in their speech-habits than those in constant touch
with others). There are the problems of what kind of new life, new sights, new
sounds, new physical environment the immigrant groups found; to what extent did
they coin new words and phrases to describe their new life? To what extent did
they adopt the speech of the aboriginal inhabitants? To what extent did they
continue to translate their new experiences into the familiar terms of their country of
origin? We are all conditioned by our background environment to notice some
sights, some sounds more forcibly than others; we do not all see or hear alike-the
man from the flat, swampy country will instinctively have a lower horizon than the
man who has lived among mountains; nor do we all translate what we see or hear
into the same kind of mental image-some will find romance where others find
nothing but drabness, squalor and discomfort. The study of language, in its most
complete and satisfying form, is a study of life.
The comparative philology of Western Europe has been painstakingly built up
from minute scholarship on contemporary records dating back to the early centuries
of Christianity. Moreover, before the advent of printing, most of the records were
reasonably phonetic-that is, differences in pronunciation would be accurately
reflected in differences of spelling. Neither of these aids exists to help us in the
Caribbean. Most of the records of the early immigrants are either in the standardised
spelling of the literary language of the period, or, where they attempt to transcribe
dialect, at best in a very rough approximation to a phonetic script. Accurate
records of African speech contemporary with early slave days probably do not
exist. It is only quite recently that accurate phonetic transcription of many African
languages has been undertaken; a great deal of this work is being done at the
moment by the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Our first job, then, is descriptive. We plan to make recordings, and then to
listen to them carefully and transcribe them into phonetic script. Here, the question
of intonation presents us with a difficulty. We must record it, otherwise we may
lose sight of a factor of importance for the next stage of the survey. The problem
is to devise some convenient way of indicating the rising and falling cadences of
speech, one which will not be too complicated or clumsy for readers in other parts
of the world who will be interested in our material. Several methods exist-one of
them is used by Lorenzo Turner in his book, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialeot, in
which he investigates the language of the negro communities along the Coast of
Carolina and Georgia. At first, our work will have to be done by specialists from
abroad. We have been offered the services of a lecturer from the School of Oriental
and African Studies, who would be familiar with philology of both Western Europe
and Africa. Later, we hope to train suitable undergraduates here so that when
they leave the College and return, as we hope, to their own Colonies, perhaps as
school-teachers, they will be able to collect material for us.
The second job is to assess the historical and linguistic significance of the material
we collect; to write, for example, an etymological dictionary and an historical
grammar of each dialect we investigate. All this will require a great deal of time
and patient study, and it may be several years before we can produce any very
tangible results. In the meantime, we shall welcome the assistance and helpful
interest of anybody in the British Caribbean to whom the study of their own
language may appeal. We know that many people here have already made such
a study on their own, and we hope to be able to co-ordinate and systematise their
efforts. It has been suggested that we should form a Caribbean Dialect Society,
with a small annual subscription, to ensure that those interested should be kept in
touch with what is being done and should be able to contribute directly both
financially and materially to the survey. We would be glad to have some indication,
both from private individuals and from Public Authorities-Schools, Institutions,
Departments of Education, and so on-as to how much support exists for such a
Note on Mr. Le Page's Article
EVER since my arrival in Jamaica, I have been propagating the idea that
investigation of the linguistic traditions of the area of what we hope will one day
be the Caribbean Federation, is of the greatest interest and importance.
I am very glad to know that my colleagues in the English Department of the
College are planning in a big way to carry out this programme as far as English is
concerned. Not less fascinating are the problems in which the Modem Languages
Department of the College is primarily interested. There are, first of all, the
questions of French Creole which survives in some islands (St. Kitts, Dominica,
St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad) and that of Continental Spanish (British Honduras
and, to some extent, Trinidad), that concern us. But apart from this, both French
and Spanish survive also in certain areas where English is now exclusively spoken
(e.g. Jamaica). Vestiges of Latin tongues (French, Spanish) are found in place-
names, certain parts of the vocabulary, and perhaps even, in a more subtle way,
in constructions where only English words appear on the surface. We have further-
more to reckon with deeper linguistic undercurrents, survivals of Indian languages.
In British Honduras the fascinating Maya language is still spoken.
I foresee that we shall have to break down certain linguistic prejudices. How
often have I not heard that the peasant "has no grammar" The truth is that his
language may not fit the moulds of the grammar of the schools, but this does not
make it less, but rather more, interesting to the linguist. We shall also have to
preach that it is not good policy to regard with contempt one's own mother-tongue,
whatever it may be. Only by taking the non-standard languages very seriously and
by studying them with care can we hope to interpret correctly the spiritual
inheritance of the people, and in this way further a sound social consciousness
which is both critical and sympathetic.
P M. SHERLOCK
[Lines written after seeing a drawing by Edna Manley.]
This is the ascension
This upward moving from the encaging flesh
Freedom and winged exaltation
Of that first moment when the spirit stirs
And moves with certitude
From the fair world till then so all-engaging.
At the resurrection
There is breathing of life
Into the dead.
Earth shakes, tombs open
Coffins break asunder.
That which was lifeless comes to life,
At the word.
This is the greater wonder of the ascension
That the living, warm with home and love,
Feet firm on the solid earth
Set about not with dark and corruption
But with the light of the stars, the splendour of sun and moon
With the ageless beauty of sea and land
That these living ones should in a moment
From sight to perception, hearing to heeding, living to life
At the word.
Within the room there was light,
The drawing, against the books.
Outside was the day.
Who speaks the word
And whence the light?
See Lincoln at Gettysburg
Tight-fisted, hard headed
Country bred peasants son
Light bearer, light giver
His words fall upon the men and women who crowd about the monument
The light shines round about them,
Hearts weary beneath the dragging burden of sorrow
Grow light at the word, crutches fall way from the maimed
Widows, mothers without sons
Men returned from the wars with bitter hopelessness
Fathers broken by nameless graves
Exultant move with calm certitude
Into this exaltation at the living word.
Perchance one man speaks the word, the word
Not fashioned in the mind, the heart of one man.
Through him, through his responsive spirit
The generations speak, through him
The timeless agonies endless crucifixions
Enduring and sorrow and all
The unseen and hidden faithfulness
Of the sons of liberty
These made the words that Lincoln spoke
The words of the ascension at Gettysburg.
Within the room there was light
The drawing against the books,
Outside was the day.
Four men stripped to the waist mend the road
Black bodies gleam with sweat
Move the earth by a bank where cactus grows
And red hibiscus flames.
Dark bodies gleam in the light,
Green cactus red hibiscus.
Their beauty needs the sun.
The sun's fierce heat first gives them birth
First stirs the seed within the earth
And drives the pulsing root to find
Food withirl the firm set rock,
Relentless drives the sap to flow
The tender leaf to thrust its way
Through clod and clinging clay.
But look how through the sunny land
How down along the mountain side
Spithodia and the flamboyant
Deep red of the shoe black
And at this season the red of the poinsettia.
Red flows down the mountainside,
Through the land and through its people's past
Through space, through time
Sweeps away bitterness, sweeps away fear
Our father's blood, our land.
Turn again to the room.
Outside it is day
Within the splendour needs no sun
Those bodies do not bend but move upward with calm certitude
Here is the upward looking the upward moving
Of the ascension.
E. M. ROACH
Seven splendid cedars break the trades
From the thin gables of my house,
Seven towers of song when the trades rage
Through their rich green season foliage.
But weathers veer, the drought returns,
The sun burns emerald to ochre
And thirsty winds strip the boughs bare.
Then they are tragic stands of sticks
Pitiful in pitiless noons
And wear dusk's buskin and the moon's.
And north beyond them lie the fields
Which one man laboured his life's days
One man wearying his bone
Shaped them as monuments in stone,
Hammered them with iron will
And a rugged earthly courage,
And going, left me heritage.
Is labour lovely for a man
That drags him daily into earth,
Returns no fragrance of him forth?
The man is dead but I recall
Him in my voluntary song.
His life was unadorned as bread;
He reckoned weathers in his head
And wore their ages on his face
And felt their keenness to his bone,
The sting of sun and whip of rain.
He read day's event from the dawn
And saw the quality of morning
In the sunset mask of evening.
In the fervour of my song;
I hold him firm upon the fields
In many homely images.
His ghost's as tall as the tall trees.
He tramps these tracks his business made
By daily roundabout in boots
Tougher and earthier than roots;
And every furrow of the earth
And every wind-blown blade of grass
Knows him the spirit of the place.
A slave-man's son, a peasant one,
Paysan, paisano, any common
Man about earth's fields, world over
In the cotton corn and clover
Who are unsung but who remain
Perpetual as the earth winds pass,
Unkillable as the earth's grass.
And from their graves within their graves
They nourish arteries of earth
And give her substance, give her worth.
0 sons, 0 strong ones from their loins,
Boldly inherit the rich earth
Though you keep their homespun traces
Or run in splendid gilded races.
0 poets, painters, thinkers turn
Again and take new craft from old
Worth and wisdom on the wold.
O cornerstones of the crazed world,
O nourishers of earth's best blood
Reclaim the weary dying good.
(This poem, by E. M Roach of Tobago, w'as selected us the best out of twently-sl, I t IhI
Birthday Contest of the Readers' and Writers' Guild of Trinidad and Tobago).
Letters to the Editor
I should be grateful if I might be allowed
to make a brief reply to Professor Hersko-
vits' remark on my paper 'West Indian
Contrary to the opinion expressed by
Professor Herskovits I have made a study
of his book 'Trinidad Village'
In the earlier part of that book (page 12)
he writes, 'In short, what slavery did to
African culture was to strip it of all its
formal aspects; its broader institutional
structures, its principal mechanisms of
control That is a statement with which
I am in complete agreement. But a little
further on Professor Herskovits writes
(page 13) what then was left to these
Negro societies? The answer to this ques-
tion when phrased in these terms, becomes
at once apparent. Those more immediate
concerns of living, the more intimate and
detailed phases of women' And on page 16
'but the immediate family, especially the
nuclear grouping (presumably of West
African origin) with a woman as its
effective head, has everywhere persisted. .'
It was such statements that led me to
write that in Professgr Herskovits' view
'the original West African forms of the
family survived in the Caribbean and the
New World generally' I still feel that this
was a legitimate inference.
My own view, based on fieldwork in
Jamaica and historical research, is that
May I seek space in your valuable
columns in order to let readers know that
a small selective anthology of West Indian
poetry in the form of a special issue of the
magazine Kykoveral will be published in
British Guiana early in the first half of
1952, and that anyone who desires to
obtain copies at 2/- each may book his
orders with the undersigned, 120 Fourth
Street, Georgetown, British Guiana.
I would like, with your permission, to
make a few remarks about the anthology.
It is an endeavour to put together in the
Confines of one volume, poems written by
although there are elements of African cul-
ture in West Indian societies today, for
example in Obeah, these are of less
importance than the structural forms of
such institutions as the family which are
specifically West Indian rather than West
African. On the structural level West
Indian institutions owe their contemporary
form almost entirely to the influence of
The concepts of 'retention and reinter-
pretation' are of value on the cultural level,
but the quotation in your last issue from
Professor Herskovits' paper 'The Present
Status of Needs of Afro-American Research'
suggests that their application is somewhat
If I may put forward an analogy. In
attempting a structural analysis of contem-
porary English society the contribution of
Saxon culture would no doubt be noted but
the fundamental problem would remain the
analysis of the contemporary social struc-
ture of England today.
In common with other British anthro-
pologists I make an important distinction
Between culture and social structure. May
I suggest that part of the disagreement
between Professor Herskovits and myself is
due to the different emphasis we place
upon these concepts?
The University, Leeds.
the majority of the well known poets of
the British Caribbean, and the names of
the proposed contributors include Sherlock,
Adolphe Roberts, Una Marson, J. E. Clare
McFarlane, Basil McFarlane, Vivian Virtue,
George Campbell, M. G. Smith (Jamaica);
Collymore and Vaughan (Barbados); Derek
Walcott (St. Lucia); Herbert, Telemaque,
Lamming (Trinidad); Roach (Tobago);
Forde (Grenada); Keane, Owen Campbell,
Daniel Williams (St. Vincent); and others
from British Guiana and British Honduras.
The purpose is to introduce collectively,
the work of these poets to readers in the
West Indies. Nearly everyone has heard
mention of the individual names, but many
have not come upon the poems themselves,
and perhaps only a few have attempted
to collect the individual booklets and the
magazines in which the poems have
appeared. Here will be a collection of some
of the representative work of the poets
of the West Indies which readers can put
upon their shelves and send to friends and
relations outside of the region.
Poetry is for delight, and it is for
pleasure that these poems have primarily
been chosen, but there is also the possi-
bility that a collection of this kind
(limited though it is by the need for
economy, and also traditional magazine
size, to a proposed total of 80 pages or so)
may help to give us the feeling of being
spiritually at home in the imaginative
writings that have their birth in the
peculiar conditions of our West Indian
people, a feeling that no other literature,
however splendid, can give.
Thank you for the courtesy of your
A. J. SEYMOUR,
120, Fourth Street,
Georgetown, British Guiana.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Documents on British West Indian History
SELECT documents from the Public Record Office, London, relating to the Colonies
of Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica and Trinidad.
Price $5.00, 400 pages. Compiled and Edited by Eric Williams.
Caribbean Historical Review, No. II
Edited by Eric Williams. Price $1.50.
Both may be obtained from the Honorary Secretary of the Society, Mr. Eric
Johnson, P.O. Box 102, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.