VOL. 8. No. 2.
EDITORIAL COMMENT AND NOTES 65
STATEMENT AT PRESS CONFERENCE, APRIL 25, 1962
Dr. Arthur Lewis 67
TRADE UNION DEVELOPMENT IN JAMAICA-PART 2
George Eaton 69
LITERATURE AND SOCIETY
W. I. Carr 76
PRODUCTION METHODS IN WEST INDIES AGRICULTURE 94
EMPLOYMENT PROBLEMS IN A MULTIRACIAL SOCIETY
George E. Sampson 105
Albert H. Marckwardt III
PROLEGOMENA TO A WEST INDIAN CULTURE
H. L. V. Swanzy 121
Peter Rudder 129
BOOK REVIEWS :
Social Needs in a Changing Society 130
British Honduras 132
SHORT LIST OF RECENT BOOKS PUBLISHED BY MEMBERS OF
THE STAFF OF THE UNIVERSITY 133
NOTE ON MANUSCRIPTS
MSS. and Communications to the Editors should be addressed to either Editor of
the Caribbean Quarterly at their respective addresses, and not to an individual.
Unsolicited MSS. which are not accepted for publication will be returned if accom-
panied by a stamped addressed envelope.
Copyright reserved, and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF THE WEST INDIES
HECTOR WYNTER, Director of Extra Mural Studies, University College
of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.
RUBY SAMLALSINGH, Resident Tutor, Trinidad and Tobago.
The Editors are advised by an Editorial Board consisting of members of
the College Staff, Mona, Jamaica.
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A SELECTION OF CONTENTS FROM PAST ISSUES
Vol. V, No. 3
An Anthology of West Indian Verse
Price: $1.00 (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 4/2 U.K. per issue.
Vol. V, No. 4
Dorothy Payne-a Newcomer to Sculpture ... ... M. Sandmann
Rejection of European Culture as a Theme in Caribbean
Literature ... ... ... ... G. R. Coulthard
Vegetation in the Caribbean Area .. ... ... G. F. Asprey
The Couronians and the West Indies-The First
Settlements ... ... ... ... Edgar Anderson
Willia- Dampier (1652-1715)-- Writer and Buccaneer
in the West Indies ... ... ... ... John A. Ramsaran
The Panan, an Afrobahion Religious Rite of Transition Melville J. Herskovits
Dark Puritan, Part 111 ... ... M. G. Smith
Price : 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue.
Vol. VI, No. I
Queen Anne's Government and the Slave Trade .. D. A. G. Waddell
George Charles Falconer ... ... Joseph Borome
British Representation in Venezuela in 1826 William M. Armstrong
A trip to Nassau, 1882 .. .. Samuel Proctor (Ed.)
A Rnyal Birthday in Haiti .. .. Joan ('omhairo
Cultural Relations within the Caribbean ... ... Lou Lichtvold
Vol. VI, Nos. 2 and 3
Canada's Federal Experience ... ... ... Alexander Brady
Australia Background to Federation ... ... F. W. Mahler
The Constitution of Australia ... ... ... S. S. Ramphal
Early Constitutional History of Jamaica ... ... C. V. Gocking
The Road Back-Jamaica After 1866 ... ... R. N. Murray
The Temporary Federal Mace ... ... ... Bruce Procope
Constitutional History of Trinidad and Tobago ... H. 0. B. Wooding
Constitutional History of the Windwards ... ... Coleridge Harris
Constitutional History of the Leewards ... ... Cecil A. Kelsick
Federalism in the West Indies ... ... ... S. S. Ramphal
Summary of Constitutional Advances-
Trinidad and Tobago
Jamaica ... ... ... ... ... Harvey de Costa
Leeward and Windward Islands ... ... F. A. Phillips
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Faculty of Agriculture- U.C.W.I. ... ... C. Holman B. Williams
Oriens Ez Occidente Lux... ... ... ... Hugh W. Springer
A Theory of Small Society ... ... ... Kenneth E. Boulding
An Economic Phenomenon ... ... ... Alfred P. Thorne
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Terre Bois Bois ... ... ... ... Harold F. C. Simmone
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Drums and Colours-an Epic Drama commissioned
for the Opening of the First Federal Parliament
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West Indian Culture ... ... ... ... M. G. Smith
West Indian Poetry ... ... ... ... R. J. Owens
The French West Indian Background of "Negritude" ... G. R. Coulthar
Du Tertre and Labat on 17th Century Slave Life in the
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The Turks and Caicos Islands-Soare Impressions of an
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Vol. VII, No. 4
Education and Economic Development ... ... W. Arthur Lew
The University College of the ll'est Indies ... ... T. W. J. Taylo
Drugs from the West Indies ... ... ... Compton Seafo
Political Education in the Developing Caribbean ... Rex Nottleford
Book Reviews :
Frederic G. Cassidy, Jamaica Talk
Muntu, An Outline of Neo-African Culture,
A House for Mr. Biswas
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Editorial Comments and Notes
"CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY" VOL. 8 NO. 2
THE University College of the West Indies was granted a Royal Charter on
April 2nd, 1962, converting it into a University with the power to award its
own degrees. For historical record and other reasons, we set out below a
statement by the first Vice-Chancellor Dr. W. A. Lewis in the meaning of
independence to the University. The Vice-Chancellor has not referred to the
Department of Education, nor to the Department of Extra-Mural Studies.
This is no doubt because both these departments have not been in special
relation with London University. Although enjoying the advice of London
and other Universities, both these Departments have from their inception
been developing programmes as if they were part of an Independent University.
But the independence of the University of the West Indies, the expansion
of political power in the area, bring new challenges and opportunities to these
two education Departments. It is probable that both these Departments will
form part of a Faculty of Education which may be created soon. There is also
the probability of an Institute of Education being established with the function
of developing educational research and supervising training and standards in
teacher-training institutions in the Caribbean. The involvement of a Depart-
ment of Extra-Mural Studies concerned with Adult Education in a Faculty of
Education will add the very necessary dimension to its work of research in
adult education methods, and of teaching undergraduate, postgraduate and
other students the principles and methods of Adult Education. Almost every
report on Education in the West Indies refers to the great need for Adult
Education-a need which increases as the demand grows for the development
of an educated democracy.
We welcome the following new contributors :
Prof. Albert Markwardt of University of Michigan. Prof. Markdwardt
visited U.C.W.I. on behalf of the Rockefeller Foundation and gave the stimu-
lating lecture on Applied Linguistics which we now reprint.
Mr. Lewis Campbell, Lecturer in Agricultural Engineering and Farm
Mechanization, at the Faculty of Agriculture, U.C.W.I. Trinidad.
Mrs. Sybil Francis, our Staff Tutor in Social Work.
Mr. Peter Rudder, an Undergraduate at U.C.W.I.
We reprint in this issue, the interesting article by H. L. Swanzy of the
B.B.C. on West Indian writing. Mr. Swanzy's article was first published in
1949 in Vol. 1 No. 2.
The concluding section of Dr. George Eaton's "History of Trade Union
Development in Jamaica" is included, as well as a lecture by Mr. W. I. Carr
of the English Department on Literature and Society ".
LIST OF BOOKS WRITTEN ON, OR ABOUT, OR IN THE CARIBBEAN
As from this issue, we include a short list of some books written by persons
in the Caribbean or written on the Caribbean.
Vol. 8 No. 3 will be a special issue dedicated to the Independence of
Jamaica and the coming independence of Trinidad.
Statement by Dr. Arthur Lewis, Vice-Chancellor,
at Press Conference, April 25, 1962
THE granting of a new Royal Charter, converting us from a University College,
teaching for degrees of the University of London, into a University awarding
our own degrees, marks tile completion of our period of apprenticeship. It
recognizes that excellent foundations have been laid over the past fourteen
years. The College has achieved a reputation for high academic standards,
and can now go forward in confidence on its own.
We must forever be grateful to the University of London for the part it
has played in helping to make this reputation. The University of London did
more than just set examination papers and mark the results. It helped us to
recruit staff, and every year sent some of its own Professors to visit us. It also
advised over a wide range of problems. The apprenticeship system is valuable,
and we profited greatly by it.
The University of London accommodated us by modifying its syllabuses
to suit local requirements. This is more successful in some departments than
in others. For example, Physics is the same wherever you study it, and so are
Classics, Mathematics or French. Other subjects are difficult to adapt,
whether because the subject matter is different, or because the purpose of the
training is different. The subject matter of the social sciences is very different.
Britain is an industrial, urbanised, racially homogenous community, with
small closely knit families, while the West Indies is agricultural, rural and
racially mixed, with a unique family system. No amount of modification
could produce a social science syllabus which fitted both Britain and the
West Indies. Or if you take Medicine, the London medical degree includes
neither Public Health nor Psychiatry, since in Britain both these fields are left
to specialists. But in the West Indies we train a doctor who goes out into the
country for his first job, and may find himself doing both Public Health work
and Psychiatry, so we need subjects in our medical training. Having the
right to devise our own syllabuses will make only marginal difference to some
subjects, such as Engineering, or Chemistry, but it will be quite significant in
the biological and the social sciences.
It will also make quite a difference in the Final Honours year. Honours
students are supposed to come up to the frontier of knowledge in some part of
their subject; to be familiar with the latest researches, and to see how the subject
is advanced. Here the research which the teachers are doing spills over into thlir
teaching. Since different teachers are doing different researches, you cannot
regulate this by having a standard syllabus. Each Final Honours teacher must
decide what he is going to teach, and frame his examinations accordingly. To
the students this is the most exciting part of their work, because here they
see their subject actually being made. Our new freedom will therefore
virtually add a new dimension to the teaching of our Final Honours classes.
The quality of the University will also be upgraded in another way,
namely that we shall now be able to have a large body of postgraduate students.
As an external College of London, the University College could register a student
for a Master's or a Doctor's degree only if he already had a Bachelor's degree
of the University of London. If a graduate of Oxford or Manchester or Harvard
presented himself, we couldn't take him. Now, most Universities build up
their graduate schools by taking students from other universities. You send
your own students to another university for postgraduate work, and take in
postgraduate students from elsewhere. Today there are more than 4,000
West Indians taking Bachelor's degrees in universities overseas. The sensible
place for them to do their postgraduate work is here, where researches of
special West Indian relevance are going on. We plan to have two to three
hundred graduate students immediately-that is our next big step forward.
It will make a big difference to us academically, since the academic core of a
good university is its postgraduate teaching and research. And it will also
make a big difference to the general life of our students to have a large body of
mature postgraduates around. This is much the most important effect of
getting a new charter, and much the most important reason why we needed a
new charter as soon as possible.
From what I have said you may correctly surmise that the standards of
the College are more likely to rise than to fall, as a consequence of our indepen-
dence. Our intention is to hold them constant, at the level at which they have
now been stabilised by the University of London. We have to keep at this
level for several reasons. First, we want to attract the best students born in
the West Indies, and they won't come unless we offer a first class education.
Secondly, we want our best students to go on to other universities for post-
graduate training, and other universities will not take them unless we keep up
our standards. Thirdly, we have an obligation to the West Indies to do first class
research into West Indian problems of all kinds, social, medical, engineering,
linguistic, agricultural, and so on. Research and teaching are intimately linked
both ways. You don't get first class teaching staff unless you are doing first
class research, and if you are doing first class research the standards of teach-
ing will be high. Given the amount of money that is pouring into this
University from research foundations for research of all kinds, there is much
more danger that our standards may be too high than that they be too low.
The way universities maintain common standards is to have external
examiners from other universities. Examination papers are drafted by the
teaching staff, and are then sent to teachers in other universities for approval.
The examination scripts are marked in the university, and then sent to the
external examiners to be marked again, and the external examiners have the
last word. This is how we have worked with London. Our new charter
provides that we must continue to have external examiners, and the Senate has
already decided that we will not reduce the number of external examiners.
The cost of all these examiners is very high, but we think it is money well spent.
Our new Charter does not merely recognize that excellent foundations
have been laid ; it also challenges us to erect an excellent structure on these
foundations. We eagerly accept this challenge.
Trade Union Development in Jamaica
THE TRADE UNION LAW 1919
IT CANNOT therefore be said that there was any feeling of urgency behind the
passage of the Trade Union Law in 1919, and at best we can only surmise as to
the reasons for this piece of legislation. Serious labour unrest in the United
Kingdom and the United States reports of which were given full coverage in the
Jamaica press probably helped to create the climate of reform.t In Great
Britain the militant railwaymen and miners threatened through their work
stoppage to tie up the economy. In the United States, the steelworkers and
miners created a similar situation.
The Trade Union Law was in a way the personal contribution of Sir Leslie
Probyn, who by his actions and pronouncements displayed very definite
sympathies for the cause of the workers. He was critical of employer reluctance
to make concessions except in the face of strike action. On more than one
occasion Sir Leslie intervened to recommend the acceptance of Conciliation
Boards, but employing interest expressed the fear that these Boards would
become the springboard for airing workers' grievances, real and imagined.
The strikes in 1918 and 1919 made the Governor and his administration
amenable to the suggestion by Bain Alves that trade unions be given legal
recognition, and there were influential voices raised in support of the cry of the
working people for improvement in wage rates and living conditions. Such
a voice was that of the Reverend Ethelred Brown who conducted a series of
Sunday lectures at the Oddfellows Hall, 78, King Street, Kingston, in the
latter part of 1918 and throughout 1919. In February 1919 he commenced a
series with "The Labourers' Challenge to the Church" and at the close of the
meeting the names of those willing to become members of a labour union were
enrolled. This was followed by an address entitled "Four reasons why wages
should be increased immediately."30 These were :-
(1) Because the wages now paid are insufficient to provide the bare
necessities of life and so enable the worker to live as a decent human
*This is the second part of Mr. Eaton's art icle on Trade Union Development in Jamaica.
Part I took us up to 1919 with events leading to the passing of the Trade Union Law of
tit is astonishing how extensive was the coverage given by the local press to labour
unrest in the Motherland and foreign countries such as the United States, Latin
America, France and Germany. Local developments were sadly neglected and the researcher
is hard put to obtain a clear and coherent picture.
30 Daily Gleaner-February 25, 1919.
(2) Because on an appreciable increase in the rate of wages largely
depends the much needed improvement in our social and moral
(3) Because it is necessary to remove the present disaffection to stay the
growing antagonism between the employers and the employed and
in their place to create satisfaction, pleasure and interests, which
will eventually mean increased efficiency on the part of the workers
and general improvement of the community.
(4) Because an immediate increase in wages will be the only just and
effective method of stemming the extraordinary and undesirable but
under the circumstances inevitable tide of emigration. (In this
last reason Reverend Brown struck a note that evoked general
In one address, the duty of the better paid (clerks of Kingston)", Brown
referred to the conditions of the labourers as beasts of burden, living-nay,
existing-as dumb animals without aspirations" and appealed to the better
paid to provide leadership for the labour movement.3 Yet another of his
addresses was entitled Sleeping beside the Volcano and at the meeting he
announced plans to hold mass open air meetings throughout the city for two
Another public figure-a Mr. W. IH. Orrett, an influential correspondent
repeatedly wrote in the Daily Gleaner32 suggesting the appointment
of a Commission to enquire into the exodus of people from the island and to
adjust the needs of capital and labour. Among the wants of capital he listed-
(1) that labour should put forth its notice of any changes in wages,
(2) that labour should not be unnecessarily withdrawn.
(He was apparently perturbed about the high propensity to strike). Among
the wants of labour on the other hand appeared- . .the Trades Disputes
Act and the Factory and Workshop Acts .... as obtained in the Motherland
today should be introduced here (Jamaica). Orrett subsequently called for
economic development to stem the tide of emigration.
THE PROVISIONS OF THE TRADE UNION LAW, 1919
The main objective of the law was indicated in paragraph 2... "The
purpose of any trade union shall not, by reason merely that they are in restraint
of trade, be deemed unlawful, so as to render any member of such trade union
liable to criminal prosecution for conspiracy or otherwise." The Law provided
for compulsory registration of trade unions (by any seven or more members)
in consequence of which the union could deal in real and personal property,
initiate and defend actions at court, amalgamate, change its name, dissolve
or otherwise conduct its affairs. An interesting feature of the law was the
31 Daily Gleaner--March 7, 1919.
32 Ibid.-February 27, 1919.
definition of a trade union so as to include employers associations (a combination
.... for regulating the relations between .... master and masters. Similarly
trade dispute was defined equally broadly. The Law did not, however, release
the unions from liability for suits for damages as a result of strikes, nor did it
legalize peaceful picketing.
There can be hardly any doubt that these omissions from the law was due
to Sir Leslie Probyn's belief that a big majority of the labourers in Jamaica
were not sufficiently acquainted with economic principles which so greatly
affect the wage question."
Notwithstanding the shortcomings of the Trade Union Law of 1919,
Jamaican workmen were at least freed from the doctrine of criminal conspiracy,
a protection however which trade unionists won for themselves 95 years earlier
in England (the Combination Laws Repeal Act, 1824) and 77 years earlier
in the United States (Commonwealth v. Hunt, 1842). The way was made clear
for union organisation to take place under the protection of the law, but sur-
prisingly only one trade union took steps to register to secure recognition under
the law and this was not until nearly three years later. The Longshoremen's,
Union No. 1 of the Jamaica Federation of Labour was registered on the 14th
February, 1922. Article 18, Sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution read-
"By a unanimous vote of the officers and members of the Union, Mr. A. Bain
Alves, founder, organiser and president of this Union for meritorious work has
been made a life member of this Union, to enjoy all the rights and privileges
of the Union free of all dues, assessment, &c., whether he elect to remain an
active member of the Union or not. 33
Why did not more extensive trade union organisation arise out of the
post-war Labour unrest, especially when the Trade Union Law of 1919 afford
legal protection from prosecution for criminal conspiracy ? Alves and his
longshoremen offered fairly dynamic leadership during the period of unrest.
In June, 1918 he urged striking banana carriers and coal heavers to form their
own union and to affiliate it with the Longshoremen's Union No. 1. Apparently
some organisation resulted, for in August of the same year in sending a letter
of good wishes to the retiring officer in command of the island's military forces,
Alves signed on behalf of the Longshoremen's Union as well as the Banana
Carriers, Coal Heavers, and the Match Workers Union.84 Alves pressed claims
for wage improvements and in December, 1919 amid a revived spate of strikes
the Longshoremen's Union voted for an island-wide strike if their demands
were not met within three hours. Two thousand dockers went on strike in
Kingston but not before three cheers were given foi His Excellency the
Governor-the workers' friend (Sir Leslie Probyn). The example set by the
33 Trade Unionism in Jamaica, 1918 to 1946. Issued by the Central Bureau of
Statistics. Kingston, Jamaica, Printed by the Government Printer, Kingston, 1946. This
very useful booklet on the Trade Union movement in the island was not released for public
consumption-apparently for purely political reasons. The pamphlet describes the
constitutional provisions, aims and early activities of the Longshoremen's Union No. I of
the Jamaica Federation of Labour.
34 Daily Gleaner-June 27, 1918.
dock workers was followed by Sorters and Carriers at the General Post Office,
Tramway workers of the West Indies Electric Company. The press joined in the
call for the setting up of Conciliation Boards so ardently espoused by the
Governor. In the case of the tramway workers, the Governor suggested that
the Company announce the wage increase they were willing to give and arbitrate
on a resumption of work. On the 2nd January, 1920 the tramway workers
announced they would accept such terms, and it appeared that a mechanism
had at last been found through which to channel labour unrest. But on the
same day, the Myrtle Bank Hotel, Barmen, Barmaids and Hotel Waiters
Union of the Jamaica Federation of Labour (apparently the result of Alves'
organisational drives) called out on strike, seventy-six employees of the Hocel.
There was mounting tension as the shipping companies and the hotel manage-
ment brought in strike-breakers under police protection to break both the
longshoremen's and hotel workers' strikes. The Daily Gleaner became
critical editorially of the Jamaica Federation of Labour-" Dockers .. they
were paid three pence an hour some three or four years ago. They were
gradually increased to six pence an hour, that being the average rate of
remuneration for some months last year. They struck the other day, not
stating just what they wanted. Then they said they must have a shilling an
hour. A day or so later they declared they must have two shillings an hour and
a dollar (four shillings W.I.) an hour overtime; and then something calling
itself the Jamaica Federation of Labour issues a mandate to all Longshoremen
in Jamaica-most of whom have been quietly going on with their work- to
quit forthwith unless paid the new rate which is now demanded. What are we
to say to all this ? This thing sounds like pure madness... Then there is the
strike of the hotel waiters and other employees. Here again we see the hand
of the Jamaica Federation of Labour Wages are immediately to increase over
100 per cent. all around, two shillings an houi overtime shall be paid to
every member of a hotel staff after eight o'clock at night no matter
apparently what may be the workers' status or capacity; and if any member
of the staff does anything that he should not do, his delinquency will be dealt
with by a special committee of the workers and both the management and
the delinquent member shall have the right to appeal to the union... and
what is this Jamaica Federation of Labour anyhow? We hear that "it is
connected with some organizations in America, (and) in Canada."35
FIRST CONCILIATION BOARD
The tramway employees having accepted the Governor's call to arbitration
submitted to the Honourable Colonial Secretary in letter dated January 5,
1920 the names of their representatives-J. M. Nethersole, Rev. C. A. Wilson
(Officer of the Jamaica League), Rev. A. A. Barclay, Mr. U. Theo McKay,
Dr. R. M. Stimpson, Mr. James Daley, J.P., Mr. J. H. Williams, J.r., and
Mr. H. Gordon Tennant, J.P.
35 Daily Gleaner-February 2, 1920.
On the 15th January, 1920 the first meeting of the Conciliation Board
was held. The sub-committee named by the Governor comprised Hon. T. C.
Roxborough, c.M.Q., Chairman, Messrs. R. S. Gamble and J. C. Farquharson
representing the Company and Rev. A. A. Barclay and J. M. Nethersole
(Solicitor) for the employees. At the second sitting of the Board, Lewis
Ashenheim of Messrs. Milholland, Ashenheim and Stone, Solicitors, appeared
to represent the motormen and conductors. He argued that the question for
the Board to decide was whether the men were getting a living wage and not
whether the Company's earnings were sufficiently high. On the 22nd January
the Board recommended two pence to three pence per hour extra according to
length of service.
16 years and over ... ... ...3 pence
5-10 years ... ... ... ...24 pence
Under 5 years ... ... ... ... 2 pence
The Board also recommended in principle the payment for holidays but left
this for arrangement between the Company and men.36
Not only was there then a good deal of labour agitation, but an attempt
was made very successfully at that to establish some formal machinery for the
resolution of labour disputes without the inevitable stoppage of work. Very
little emerged however, from the labour unrest organisationally and in answer
to our question posed earlier as to why trade unions did not take root in this
period, we will discuss but two of many factors.
Firstly, with the exception of Alves who was a skilled cigar maker, there
were very few other leaders from the ranks of skilled workers themselves.
Secondly, it would appear that the persons with influence and prestige who were
sympathetic to the needs of labour and acted as their spokesmen saw no reason
why the interests of labour could not be pursued within the framework of already
existing organisation such as the Jamaica League.
THE JAMAICA LEAGUE
Very often meetings of workmen and their sympathizers called together for
the purpose of forming labour organizations ended up with the establishment
of a branch of the Jamaica League. As a case in point, this was the end
product of the series of meetings and addresses given by the Rev. Ethelred
Brown. Out of what should have been the inaugural meeting of his Labour
Reform Association to spearhead trade union organisation came the Kingston
Branch of the Jamaica League. Other public figures present argued that it
would be better to strengthen existing organizations rather than dissipate
energies in new ones.37
The Reverend Ethelred Brown who appears to have been an Assistant
Secretary of the League, set out at a meeting the aims of the organisation.
(a) to promote patriotic sentiments and mutual interest;
36 Daily Gleaner-15th, leth, and 22nd January, 1920.
37 Daily Gleaner-March 17, 1919.
(b) to encourage unity of aim and effort among all sections of the
(c) to stimulate and foster individual and co-operative ventures tending
to the intellectual, economic, social and moral improvement of the
people of the island.
The League appears to have been a very powerful and influential organisa-
tion. It extended throughout the island forming branches in the country
towns, in many instances in the wake of labour disturbances. Their President
throughout 1918-1919 was a Mr. J. T. Palache a member of the Legislative
Council who evidently also enjoyed the reputation of a political economist.
But although the Jamaica League sponsored a Labour Conference in 1918 and
resolved to launch an island-wide labour union, its membership comprised
employer interests as well as other groups of citizens. By far the greater part
of its energy and publicity went into fighting for a more liberal income tax law.
Because of the breadth of its activities and the heterogeneity of its following,
the League may unwittingly have contributed to stifling the organisation of
labour unions to represent more narrowly the interests of wage earners.
ASSESSMENT OF THE PERIOD 1834-1920
Beginning with the closing years of the 19th century, there were sporadic
attempts to form and keep alive craft organizations. The craft movement
failed because there was little scope for skilled craftsmen in an essentially
agricultural economy with very little industrial activity. Although the number
of craftsmen was small the supply seems to have been greater than the demand
for their services. Faced with depressed economic conditions, these skilled
turned to emigration to seek their livelihood elsewhere. In the early decades of
the 20th century attempts at organisation by unskilled workers primarily
stevedores or longshoremen proved more fruitful. However, with unemploy-
ment so rampant, workers could not enforce demands except by widespread
withdrawal of labour (requiring some organisation) and a willingness of the
unemployed to respect the cause. It was, however relatively easy for employers
to replace striking workers. Enactment of the Trade Union Law did not
provide an impetus to organisation for it is true to say that the legislation was
not in response to urgent worker agitation but was endowed by a colonial
administration. The failure of the law to provide protection for trade unions
against actions for damages was not a handicap to the development of such
organizations because it was not necessary for vested interests to seek the
assistance of the courts when existing organizations were still ephemeral or
insubstantial. Another feature of the law, the compulsory registration of
trade unions, which has been retained in later legislation, could also be
criticized from the point of view of being undemocratic as well as having a non-
salutary effect on trade union mentality. Lord Passfield (Sydney Webb)
had this to say in the issue in 1930, I recognize that there is a danger that,
without sympathetic supervision and guidance organizations of labourers
without experience of combination for any social or economic purpose may fall
under the domination of disaffected persons, by whom their activities may be
diverted to improper and mischievous ends."38 On the other hand it may also
be pointed out that the effect of compulsory registration may be to identify
registration with recognition. This may lead to an emphasis on rights on the part
of trade union members, often overlooking the accompanying responsibilities.
The significant feature of worker agitation which emerges in reviewing the
eighty-seven year period, since 1834, is the use of the strike as a medium of
protest. We have shown that as early as 1863 work stoppages were used as
the normal means of bringing to management's attention that a grievance existed
and really represented a failure of communication between the parties. The
strike instead of being the ultimate sanction to be employed in enforcing a
settlement of a dispute, preceded even the formulation of demands, to say
nothing of collective bargaining. The withdrawal of labour or refusal to work
represented therefore a desire on the part of the down-trodden, largely illiterate
and inarticulate, to assert their collective personality. This inclination to
strike first and make demands after, is still a significant feature of labour
relations in Jamaica and poses serious problems (of rank and file control) for
leaders who negotiate and sign collective agreements in good faith only to
observe them frequently breached without warning or resort to the grievance
procedure. Increasingly, however, there should be less reliance on the strike
as a medium of protest and an avenue of self-assertion as workers realise that
the political, economic and social changes, which have taken place since 1938,
have given them unquestionable rights in society.
38 Walter Bowen-Colonial Trade Uniona-A Fabian Colonial Bureau Pamphlet,
Research Series No. 167. p. 4.
Literature and Society
W. I. CARn
This article is based on an open lecture given at the University of the West
Indies on the 26th November, 1961. For a much fuller discussion of some
of the points dealt with, readers are referred to the lecture "The two Cultures"
by F. R. Leavis-Spectator, March 16th, 1962.
A CHARACTERISTIC formulation by Henry James came to my mind when I
began to think about what I would say this evening : a sort of cheerfully
hopeless protest in the name of the ideal ". Actually, it doesn't clinch to what
one with my job really feels ; but one savours it, cherishes it almost, in
embarking on as foolhardy an enterprise as talking in public about literature
and society. For the arts are on the defensive. I don't mean that they are
under direct attack-we are all aware, for instance, of the inert references
to the need for an Arts Faculty in a University. But references of this order
(often envisaging liberal arts) have little weight of understanding behind them
and what they ultimately reflect is indifference, however earnestly humane in
intention they may offer to be. The arts discipline themselves, it seems to me,
and certainly English-which is my particular concern here-reflect the
defensiveness, the radical loss of direction. One finds then predictable
responses : apathetic refuge in scholarship, or literary scholarship aggressively
asserted as in itself a discipline of the mind. It may be-but it is a dangerous
argument ; nearly any discipline can defend itself in these terms, and in Arts
subjects the consequence is confusion, and the ultimate frustration, of what
are decently humane impulses. Or one finds literary criticism trying to turn
itself into a subordinate branch of linguistic philosophy-as though the
discipline had not a value of its own, as though it had to take refuge behind
another discipline that has at least the sanction of longevity. Or finally, one
finds a strident, erratic missionary fervour from which irony has taken flight,
that proposes that living can hardly be undertaken by people who have not had
at least the beginnings of a literary training. With this last view I am inclined
at least to sympathise-I dare not, at the moment, put it more strongly than
that-though it is necessary to suggest that the study of English does not
exclude the possibility of one's being a criminal, lunatic, a Peter Pan, a
charlatan, or merely muddle-headed. Literary critics, and students of English,
are after all human beings and will behave as most human beings behave. So
this then is the proposition I shall start from ; not that literature and the
discipline of its study require defence. Anyone who supposes that this is so is
simply not worth the trouble of engaging in argument. But that what is
necessary, and what I shall try to do, is to re-define the value that in my view
they have-or, if re-define is too ambitious a verb, to indicate tentatively the
value that they have.
I shall begin by talking about that fibreless little pamphlet by Sir Charles
Snow, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, which was offered to us
in the form of a lecture at the University of Cambridge in 1959 with all the mock
trenchancy of a classic statement. I can't as yet apologise for my tone as I
hope to make it clear, among other things, that I am only appropriating the tone
of Sir Charles Snow. I remember the pamphlet receiving extended attention in
responsible quarters when it was published ; but I do not recollect the
expression of any dissident opinion. Sir Charles, so went the general tenor of
the discussion, had precisely formulated a grave contemporary problem. And
Sir Charles might well road his reviews and reflect that he had struck a blow for
clarity. I shall be concerned here with two things ; firstly, the relevance and
quality of his argument, and secondly his strategy. And I hope to show, and
the points are not after all minor, that the two cannot be separated.
The two cultures are, of course, those of science and literature, and the key
formulation runs as follows :
.... constantly I felt I was moving among two groups-comparable
in intelligence, identical in race, not grossly different in social origin,
earning about the same incomes, who had almost ceased to communicate
at all, who in intellectual, moral and psychological climate had so little
in common that instead of going from Burlington House or South Kensing-
ton to Chelsea, one might have crossed an ocean. 1
It is as firmly put as that. Now, I would be among the first to sympathise
with Sir Charles in the encounters he may well have had with the incumbents
of Oxford and Cambridge High Tables. Though the author of The Masters
and The Affair cannot, in all conscience have so veiy much to complain about.
I shall suggest, a little later, that the formulation has not the appropriateness
it plainly supposes itself to have. But at the momo.t 1 wish to attend to the
quality of the argument. Having made his initial point, Sir Charles goes on to
verify it with instances. He cites aberrations frcm an ideal norm on the part
of both scientists and, shall I say, students of literature. Two things soon
present themselves as one follows his course. He refers to a scientist whom
lie once interviewed as saying that lie only used his books as tools. Sir Charles
treats the remark with adequate iiony. But ufol rtunately fur the strategy of
his argument-its moral strategy 1 mihlit say-this particular person is so
comprehensively illiterate as hardly to stand as the representative of a hostile
point of view. Secondly, lie refers to scientists throughout his essay, but
elects to refer to literary intellectuals and literary persons ". Now, anyone
with any awareness of the techniques of denigration will immediately see that
these terms are denigratory : they aie not at all valid descriptive terms, And
I am quite certain that Sir Charles Snow is acute enough to realise this. If you
talk about literary peisons, then you are in fact taking your argument for
granted. Sir halvess' arguinel.t depends upon the built-in assumption that
1. C. P. Snow The T,7, Culturrs qnd the Seiniific Revolwuion
Camblridge Unmo'or-ity Pr 8. 1939, p. 2.
these literary persons are either congenital brick-throwers at the achieve-
ments of science, or the smirking tenants, in arrears of rent, of an ivory tow er.
I hope this doesn't strike anyone as an exasperating-or exasperated-quibble.
Because it cannot in fact be separated from the quality of the judgments he
makes. Literary persons are also referred to as intellectual Luddites-which
must have got quite a laugh from those among his non-literary acquaintance
who knew who the Luddites were. As a predictable corollary we learn that
Lawrence and John Ruskin, among others tried various kinds of fancies which
were not in effect more than screams of horror against the Industrial revolution.
This registers with me as a grossly insensitive ai-d wrongheaded judgment, and
the point is not simply that Sir Charles and I evidently differ in our opinion of
these two writers. The point is that it occurs in a pamphlet which has
representative status. We all know, and we would all agree, and regard as
right, that the Industrial Revolution resulted in a considerably improved
standard of living for large masses of people in Europe and the United States ;
and we all agree, or should, that the accumulated wealth and resources of the
industrial nations should be shared with the inhabitants of the under-developed
areas of the world. I can't think of a responsible literary person 1 have met
who would dispute this-and the irresponsible ones have no business to be
appearing in what was hailed as an authoritative investigation. There is
however another side to the Industrial Revolution-Sir Charles Snow concedes
this, too. Or rather, not so much a side, as an element, an ingredient,
inseparable from many people's experience of it. Let me give some instances.
When the acrimonious debates for the shortening of the working day were
going on in England in the 1840's an eminent economist, Nassau Senior, opposed
the abbreviation of working hours on the grounds that it was in the last two
hours of the working day that the capitalist made his profit. I have no doubt
that Nassau Senior was advancing this argument in perfect sincerity-but what
he failed to realise was that at the end of a twelve hour day in the factory
conditions of those times men were exhausted, waiting for the mill bell to send
them home, and that the amount of work they could do would be negligible.
And in fact when working hours in Lancashire were reduced by two hours a day,
productivity increased. Another instance. Edward Baines was for mapy
years a leading Nonconformist, editor of the Leeds Mercury and member of
Parliament for the city of Leeds. In 1835 he published a history of the cotton
industry in which he solemnly quotes, as an argument in his own favour, these
calculations : a child operating a piece of fine-mill machinery is obliged to
attend to it for only I of a minute in every minute. Therefore in a twelve hour
day a child is in fact working for only three hours. He know s, he says, children
who have contrived to educate themselves in the spare nine hours. One can
picture it-the child pulling the appropriate lever, and making sure he doesn't
get his arm lopped off in the process, spitting the cotton fibres from his lungs,
and hurrying back to his copy of James Mill, or perhaps even his Nassau Senior,
in a temperature of sixty-five to seventy. There are other instances worth
recording. When the government obliged mill-owners to set aside time and
space for the education of their child workers, many mill owners promptly fired
them. This, says Baines, indicates how dangerous it is for government to
meddle with the independence of the British capitalist. Finally, it is an
important part of his intention to indicate the satisfactory nature of employ-
ment in cotton factories, satisfactory in terms both of health and wages. He
cites figures which read as follows : 2
between the ages of 11 and 16, 1,169 : wages, 4/ 1j per week.
Do. 31 and 36, 215 : wages, 22/ 8j per week."
What has happened to able-bodied men in their thirties, one is obliged to ask ?
Either they are in their graves, or they have been dismissed in favour of child
and adolescent workers. I see no alternative explanaticrs. And Baines
cannot be allowed to have it both ways. His book appeared during that early
Victorian phase when the blue book and the statistical table were seen as more
than interpretative tools. They tended to be seen almost as the cause of results
rather than a sometimes inaccurate account of them. One would expect then a
degree of marked eccentricity in their use. Ard furthermore I see no reason
for supposing that Baines is either a villain or a hypocrite. We all should know,
also, that a man like Robert Owen, a benevolent mill owner was not an isolated
phenomenon-there were others, even though less well-known than him. But
still one cannot shirk the implications of books like Baines, or the work of civil
servants like Edwin Chadwick, or indeed that whole enterprise, before the
middle of the century, to sell political economy to the working classes as a
definitive science to whose methods and conclusions there were no alternatives.
I have no time here to examine the conduct of what was essentially a propa-
ganda campaign-any one who is interested can find the relevant data in
Professor R. K. Webb's book The British Working Class Reader 1790-1848.
And my attention heie is not to launcn a Ruskinite attack on political economy.
Ruskin's famous 'Unto this Last' appeared in the 1860's-a humanist
endeavour to charge political economy with the dehumanisation of industrial
and social relations. It provoked such a storm that even Thackeray, the
confident Thackeray, was obliged to discontinue its publication-and it was
perhaps unfortunate for Ruskin that it was John Stuart Mill, one of the
finest representative of the Victorian rationalist intelligence, that Ruskin
directed his main assault against. Though even Mill, in his political economy
can speak in this vein-
"..... I shall only indicate among the probable consequences of the
industrial and social independence of women, a great diminution of the
evil of over-population. It is by devoting one-half of the human species
to that exclusive function, by making it fill the entire life of one sex, and
interweave itself with almost all the objects of the other that the animal
instinct in question is nursed into the disproportionate preponderance
which it has hitherto exercised in human life."3
2. Edward Baines, History of the Co'lon Manufacture in Great Britain
Fisher and Jackson London, 1835, p. 438.
3. J. S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy
Longmans, Green, London, 1865, p. 459
This means making love and having babies ; and is fairly representative of the
deodorising impulse which characterized the rationalist Mill in significant
measure. And Mill's classic essay on Liberty could be used in the support of
aggressively individualistic doctrines that Nwould not have ccmmar.ded much
of Mill's sympathy. Such as we find in Herbert Spencer's The Man versus the
Slate, written in the 1880's where Spencer uses a battery of quasi-scientific
evidence in favour of observations of very dubious import. He suggests, for
instance, that to restrict the activity of jerry-builders would sap the energeti-
cally independent spirit of the British builder-to such a x.crdition dees
abstraction lead you, and let it not be supposed that this sort of unwittingly
hilarious function is confined to the political right.
But as I say, it isn't my intention to make specific attacks. Though I
think I am right in supposing that my selected instances collectively indicate
a growing tendency in the Victorian period to interpret human life in terms of
abstract categories, to analyse experience at the behest of theory and system.
The almost symbolic representative of this procedure is of course the French
systematiser of knowledge, August Comte, an altogether more significant
thinker than his suggestions for the organisation of private life might lead one
to suppose. For him, private life, oven down to the position in which you said
your prayers and the persons to whom you offered them, was to be organised.
And should it be thought that I am picking on eccentrics, let me say that
Comte was an important influence among Victorian rationalist intellectuals
from the 1850's onwards. I hope that I can begin to command some agreement
for my suggestion that Sir Charles Snow's remark about screams of horror "
is ludicrously ill-informed. He seems entirely to fail to realise just what the
critical response was directed towards-in a word or two it was directed
against abstract ion, against the staivat ion of imagination and spirit systemati-
cally contrived views comprehensively applied to life necessarily entail, and
against the brutalising consequences of factory and industrial town experience.
Sir Charles Snow's wholly inadequate view of the crit ical enterprise from Carlyle
to Lawrence is essentially in keeping, it seems to me, both with the moral
strategy of his argument, and with such specific points about "literary persons"
that he attempts to make. We are even confronted with that creaking old
judicial engine of the busy man of affairs-the question of a writer's politics.
W. B. Yeats was a confirmed reactionary. But the point is that the
implications of Yeats' politics-if they can be called that-is properly the
sphere of the literary critic. It is the literary critic who can see better than
anyone how Yeats' intensely conservative romanticism has an adverse effect
upon the quality of his poetry-his pathetic attempt, for instance, to elevate
the Irish upper class to the status of heroes of legend. But, firstly, this is a
limitation which ought to be viewed w ith sympathy, and secondly it doesn't at
all discountenance Yeats' perceptions, central to his poetry, of a radical
insufficiency in the emotional texture of twentieth century life.
Things fall apart ; the centre cannot hild ;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned ;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity." 4
And again ;
Nor self-delighting reverie,
Nor hate of what's to come, nor pity for what's gone,
Nothing but grip of claw, and the eye's conmplaceiney,
The innumerable clanging wings that have put out the ioon.''
It has lost none of its vitality, either ris poetry or as social judgment-any
more than Dickens' humanity becomes suspect becar.se he supported Governrt-
Eyre during the Morant Bay uprising. Ai.d what is tiue of Yeats is true of
T. S. Eliot who also has a dubious reputation as a social critic. It is the liteiamy
critic who is best qualified to diagnose that arrogance cf spirit uhich mais
Eliot's plays and some of his poetry ; and the assertion car.:( t Le evaded by
saying, but it is not his poetry that Sir Charles might have in mind. Eliot's
poetry and his literary criticism is all (i.e hi s any business to talk about.
However, this sort of But he said argument is finally an irrelevant bcgey.
As irrelevant as for a literary person to stigna.t isc scierne Lc(i.use it was enlisted
in support of eccentric theories of race in the nineteenth century, to the extent
that Imperialism was provided with What seemed to be verified ethnic ideology.
People are what they are whatever their funet ion, whatever the value of their
achievement, and we cannot all of us to that purity of response so characteristic
of the rationalist left.
Perhaps the last point to take up from Sir Charles' pamphlet is his discus-
sion of specialisation in education. I haven't time to enter into all the appropriate
details, let it be sufficeint to say that once I would have agreed with Sir Charles
that specialisation is a bad thing, but now I do not. Plainly a society with a
drastic shortage of schoolteachers cannot afford to establish a University
entirely devoted to the specialist pursuit of disciplines. There isn't time and
there are not all that many people who can benefit from it. But to have a
per se objection to specialisation is I think mistaken. Let me give some
instances from my own field. A student undertaking relevant research in the
nineteenth century, if he did not attend to the historians, the philosophers, and
the economists, would find himself gravely handicapped. And the reverse is
almost equally true. A historian who ignores the major literary achievement
of that period is not properly studying the nineteenth century. I speak from
irritating experience. I remember historians, not undergraduates, at Cam-
bridge, dismissing Arnold as a smart aleck, Mill as a knowall, and taking their
knowledge of Victorian politics from the fictions of Anthony Trollope, and
4. The Secind C(ming by W. B. Yeats
5. Meditations in time of Civil War
their sociology from that very intelligent French critic H. A. Taine's Notes on
England. I flattered them when I supposed that they were merely joking.
There is no reason why these writers should not be present in a historian's
sense of the period, but it is surely perverse to ignore, for instance, George Eliot,
Tennyson, James, Arnold and Mill. The equivalent would be to handle, say,
the Elizabethan period in terms of two minor dramatists and to forget that
there is, after all, Shakespeare. And my general instance isn't confined to the
nineteenth century ; a student of the eighteenth would not get very far unless
he were prepared to deal with philosophers like e.g. Hume and Paley, and try
to understand, among other things, the role of the landed estates in the
eighteenth century economy. And he would be handicapped in his work on,
say, Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, if he paid no attention to Bacon, the New
Science, and the important economic changes taking place during the Jacobean
period. Instances could be multiplied, alternatives to those that I have
proposed. They are intended simply to illustrate my suggestion that it is the
specialist who is capable of making entry into disciplines other than his own,
who is capable of associating himself with other ways of examining human
experience. It is the non-specialist, surely, who is likely to be shut up, in a
state of baffled enthusiasm (we suppose it to be that) within the confines of his
own subject. If a specialist is found who is ignorantly dogmatic about the
priority of his own subject, then this is simply a defect of character, not a defect
of education. And defects of character tend to stand apart from whatever
education one has had-nobody can be conditioned into sense. The hostility
to specialisation, then, doesn't strike me as a thought-out educational aim,
but as a sort of genuflection towards the liberal conscience, the uneasy feeling
that to do any one thing well and thoroughly is in some obscure way harmful.
This practically concludes all that I wish to say about The Two Cultures and
the Scientific Revolution. Though there are a couple of mean little pokes
that I cannot resist making. Sir Charles tells us of two eminent 20th century
mathematicians who regarded the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos as having
killed serious mathematics in Cambridge for a hundred years. A literary
person, Matthew Arnold, had pointed out the weaknesses of the old Tripos as
early as 1868. The movement for reform in the University of Oxford in the
1850's received much of its impetus from people who could with some justice be
described as having at least one and a half feet in the literary camp. And the
Cambridge University Professor who spoke with the most conspicuous
irrelevance on questions of moral philosophy was the Professor of Geology.
It needed John Stuart Mill, in important ways a literary person, to set him
Now, it hasn't been my purpose simply to exhibit my dislike to Sir Charles'
pamphlet. I have been particularly anxious to point out what strike me as its
weaknesses, weaknesses in response, weaknesses in argument, to prepare the
ground for my assertion that the entire formulation is wrong, that the two
cultures do not exist on the terms that Sir Charles alleges that they do, and
that the expression the two cultures is no more than a convenient tag,
which, having once been tacked on to a contemporary dilemma, absolves the
person who does so from the need for any further thought. There is little point
in merely enlarging the opportunities for knowing chatter ; the scientist
earnestly putting a question on the imagery of The Winter's Tale, and the
smiling Arts man happy in his new-found liberalism countering with a question
on the second law of Thermo-Dynamics. And both reminding one of babies
extinguished by top hats. What is required, if we accept Sir Charles' formula-
tion for a moment, is a genuine respect on the part of each for the modes of
imaginative activity that science and arts separately are, the recognition
that each has its peculiar value. And I am talking about scientists and
literary critics-not technicians and journalists. If we are deficient in our
recognition, then we are deficient in our understanding of our disciplines.
But as I suggested Sir Charles has erected what seems to me to be a bogus
paradigm. The real cleavage lies in contrasted ways of interpreting experience
-and in relation to the cleavage that I have in mind-and I shall try to
describe it in a moment or two-the scientist could be on either side, and so
I think, could the Arts man. I can begin with a rough generalisation-the
English have, for some time, been inordinately suspicious of the potential of
imagination. They seem to treat it as a variety of malformation, interesting
enough, like goitre, but something that normal people don't have. I'm
exaggerating but it saves words. let me supply what I think are concrete
In 1860's England was poised for rapid social change. We find, in the
first half or so of that decade, this phenomenon; a rapidly expanding industrial
society governed by institutions, which, if they ever had any appropriateness,
belonged to the end of the eighteenth century. Working class people had no
vote ; trades' unions were still regarded as illegal organizations, our educational
policy was non-existent. We had instead meagre government handouts
largely implemented by feuding religious organizations. Contemporary
observers speak of workhouses being run on lines we associate with Dickens'
Oliver Twist-and that novel was written in 1838. The economy was
disconcertingly volatile and acute poverty was widespread. The Times
was still talking about nature's natural laws when increasing numbers of
workers were losing their jobs as the result of slumps in different industries.
There were scattered riots, mainly in provincial towns, but the decade as a
whole cannot be described as revolutionary-reformist would be a better label.
The best of the middle class intellectuals gave articulate expression to what they
felt to be wrong. Critical writings, attempting to define the state of affairs
I have sketched in, were widespread both in books and periodicals. Of course
there were reactionaries-middle class persons portentously stupid about
vitriol throwing in the north of England ; a predictable class response to the
American Civil War, the manifest hope that the South would win and thus
prove that democracy couldn't take care of itself ; Robert Lowe, member of
parliament and parody end-product of a classical education, the Edmund Burke
of The Times public, (whom some historians seem determined to erect into an
important thinker) talking about 'educating our masters' and the drunkenness
and venality of the working class. But the best middle class intelligence felt
that things were going badly and said so. This is the context of what seems to
me to be the finest of the attempts at critical formulation-Matthew Arnold's
Culture and Anarchy I shall not be talking about that essay-it is its
reception that interests me here. In spite of a consensus among the positive
thinkers of the time that something was wrong, that work met with almost
uniformly adverse reviews, even from reviewers who agreed with Arnold's
diagnosis. They accepted the anarchy, they disapproved of culture ". There
were of course other points of disagreement, but this is the chief one. What has
culture to do with social criticism, they ask, Arnold simply isn't equipped to
tackle the job. And the approved skills were history, sociology as then
understood, political economy, moral philosophy-that combination of
approved modes of enquiry which constitute the Victorian rationalist
intelligence. An admirable intelligence, it seems, but whose defects are these,
the erection of disciplines into an hierarchy, and the repudiation of imagination
in the field of social enquiry. And imagination, I think, is a useful working
synonym for Arnold's culture. Of course, there were exceptions-there always
are. But the main response was as I have briefly indicated-and it is here, in
my view, that we find the decisive split, not in what Sir Charles Snow
adumbrates as the two cultures.
Now Arnold's culture, is imagination controlled by a literary training.
And he was the last literary critic for many years to positively utilise his
training in social enquiry. The stress falls upon positively. William Morris
attempted to but his social criticism too frequently suffers from that phoney
picture of the middle ages that he constructed as an antithesis to the civilisation
of the nineteenth century. Oscar Wilde attempted it in The Soul of Man
Under Socialism-an essay which starts well, and has some provokingly
intelligent formulations, but too soon resolves itself into the soul of Oscar Wilde
under socialism-a subject of merely bizarre interest. T. S. Eliot tried it, but
would seem not to realise that the England of the seventeenth century cannot
be recreated in the England of the twentieth. It is the work only of the
historian R. H. Tawney, the American critic Lionel Trilling, and the Cambridge
critic F. R. Leavis that can be said in varying ways to have sustained the
Arnoldian function-and all these three acknowledge a sufficient debt to
I apologise for the display of names, but at least they make it possible for
me to ground my argument in a basis of verifiable fact, and they bring me
to the most difficult part of my task, which perhaps serves me right for having
brought them in. I am trying to describe a situation in which trained
intelligence is drastically fissured, in which disciplines have tended to go their
separate ways with much snapping of their fingers in each others faces. My
plea is for unity, for co-operation, and talking about literature and society
invloves me in the difficult task of defining the value of my own function, as a
gesture towards this unity, this co-operation.
Any major artist, or major literary critic for that matter, is a vital part of
the finest consciousness of his time, a vital part, not the whole. His particular
sphere is human feelings, human attitudes, human relationships-literature is
about these, it is not simply a way of escaping time, or avoiding the difficulties
of living, nor a way of convincing ourselves that we are, after all educated, nor
of tormenting undergraduates. Very briefly, the value of the literary artist
lies in the fact that lie understands his experience; he can interpret it and
organise it more fully than we can ourselves, and he makes it available to us,
he deepens our knowledge of ourselves, by which I mean, among other things,
lie deepens our knowledge of what we do not know and what we cannot find
out unaided. This is a description rather than a definition but it will serve.
His medium is language, and insight its feelings, and knowledge of the processes
of thought, depends upon language. If t(lihe medium is debased, then feeling,
becomes corrupted by ignorance and the quality of thought irresistibly
degenerates. The guardian both of the precision and the suggestive complexity
of words is the literary artist, assisted one might say, by the literary critic.
The study of literature, then, involves the closest attention to the concrete
to words, and to words as realising complex states of feeling and intelligence.
Now all this is very abstract. What about pleasure and enjoyment, someone
may be asking ? Well, if you don't enjoy reading works of literature then
don't read them-the loss is, of course, yours. And if you do, well then, the
enjoyment is an important part of the experience though, enjoyment of a
distinctive kind. What you are enjoying is qualitatively different from other
kinds of enjoyment, and not to be mixed up in a lucky dip of pleasurable
sensations. The study of literature, as I said, involves close attention to the
concrete, the particular poem, the particular play, the particular work of
fiction. It entails among things discriminating the good from the worthless,
though this is not the primary justification of the study-this arrival at a
hierarchy of value. In studying a work of literature the student is ideally
being invited to recreate, under guidance, his experience of that work, his
experience of course being a growth from the medium, language.
I hope it is plain what I mean when I say that this study fully undertaken,
this attention to the particular, induces an intensely pragmatic imagination,
the capacity to respond to what is done and said, and to talk about the
experience, the human experience, as the artist proffers it. I can generalise its
value by suggesting that it develops the unavoidable humanist insistence that
individual human beings are the sources of life, the centres of the experience
that matters. It is among the things that Keats had in mind, I think when he
spoke of "The Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in
uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and
reason." And what Conrad had in mind with his destructive element :
A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea.
If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavour to
do, he drowns-nicht wahr ? No, I tell you! The way is to the
destructive element submit yourself, and with the exertions of your hands
and feet in the water make the deep, deep sea keep you up. So if you
ask me how to be ? In the destructive element immerse ..... that was
the way." 6
The two quotations seem to me to have a discernible relation and what they
describe, of course, is peculiarly the experience of the artist, or peculiarly his
response towards it. The uncertainties, the mysteries, the doubts, the destruc-
tive element-they are metaphors for life as the major artist conceives it.
Images whereby he imposes significance upon the shifting chaos which is
However, it isn't part of my undertaking here to talk about the relation
between the artist and society. It is a peculiarly English topic when the
English are in the grip of one of those infrequent but irresistible fits of self-
edification and it tends to resolve itself into gossip about Oscar Wilde or
posturing in the weeklies or denunciations of town councillors for insisting upon
the removal of statuary with manifest genitals. It is a trivial topic in other
words and suggestive of something wrong with a society which feels the need
to canvass it-there was a time when it simply couldn't have presented itself.
The prospect of arguing about it makes one positively gape with boredom.
My function this evening is simply to verify my assertion that the study of
English is a discipline and one of peculiar value. I was talking earlier about
close attention to the concrete, to the particular play, poem, or novel-it is
worth describing what this supposes.
Most English departments undertake work in what is known as practical
criticism-an unfortunate name perhaps. This means putting a poem or a
piece of prose in front of a student and inviting him to comment. The
suggestion isn't at all that he should arrive at a one right meaning, or even to
suppose that there is one. Nor is he expected to announce that poem (a) is
better than poem (b), if the exercise is one calling for comparison and contrast.
He is expected to realise, to recreate his own experience of the poem, to account
for his response to it, in the endeavour to arrive at as full a reading as possible
of the experience that the poem is. And our insistence isn't all that he be
right-it is that he be relevant to the extent that his own private experience
as a human being makes it possible for him to be so. There is hardly
time now to give a demonstration of this, tempting though the prospect is.
I have to confine myself to the general value of the exercise, without supplying
instances. Part of the academic value of the exercise, of course, lies in the fact
that it is intended to inculcate in the student the habit of close and disciplined
attention when he is reading a fullscale work-a Shakespeare play, a Jane
Austen novel, a Henry James short story, or whatever. For the purposes of
argument I shall assume ideal teachers, ideal teaching conditions and ideal
students-though it is clear that we are all of us the victims of our own limita-
tions. The personal value of practical criticism, especially when it has matured
into responsible, independent critical enterprise on the part of the student, is
6. Joseph Conrad. Lord Jim
this-it creates a responsive, flexible, non-specialist intelligence trained in the
close discrimination of experience as embodied in major literary achievement.
Criticism is a word which may cause hackles to rise-it doesn't mean a carve-
up, it is not a vile antithesis to "appreciation" (whatever that may be): It
simply means reading with full, responsive attention and reporting on your
findings. And it involves recognizing, of course, that work of literature
doesn't exist for the meagre purpose of endorsing one's sentimental prejudices.
What value does this kind of intelligence have ?
Its distinctive sphere is personal experience : its distinctive insistence is
that human beings, individual human beings are the sources and centres of life,
its distinctive concern is with the quality of their experience, its worth, its
value, and with those factors in society which impoverish it, and those factors
which encourage it.
A literary critic, by which I mean a student of literature writ large, is
unavoidably committed to responsive attention to the quality of contemporary
experience. Now perhaps I can return to the selective instances of the earlier
part of my lecture and their relevance to the work of Matthew Arnold among
others. I threw out the assertion that the Victorians constructed something
like a hierarchy of disciplines for the purposes of social enquiry, and that a
consequence of this was the repudiation of imagination, of the literary critical
function, as having relevance in social enquiry. I am simplifying here, but not
oversimplifying. A large part of Arnold's investigation, in that most dis-
tinguished essay of his, depends upon the assumption that the individual's
capacity for living was being steadily eroded, that his experience was stunted,
and that the individual and the quality of his experience ought to be the
significant centres of social enquiry. It isn't an argument without weaknesses
but that is its essence. Disciplines of enquiry that do not take their centre in
the experience of the individual sacrifice a large part of their relevance and
value, and it is Arnold's claim that this was what was happening during his
own lifetime. It is my claim that it is a process that has not yet stopped.
I remember a review which appeared in Cambridge a few years ago, a review
of the work of an Oxford sociologist who had conducted an enquiry into the
experience of trying to live together by the inhabitants of a newly built housing
estate. Here is a representative formulation from that review :
Surely the successful operation of any system of social relations
demands that its participants internalize as norms the standards of
behaviour expected of them by their fellow citizens ; that they
spontaneously seek to fulfil the roles society requires of them ? The
decisive weight of this value-determining process may of course be
concentrated in the hands of particular subsections of the society
following the social and political bias of its structure ; but all men, in so
far as they enter into social relationships with each other, are involved
in it both passively and creatively, receiving and passing on impressions
Now it is possible to determine, after scrutiny, the sense of the passage. My
objections to it are not simply objections against jargon as such, and they are
not narrowly aesthetic ones. If they have a status then they have the status
of moral objections. The way you write is the way you respond-style is
response not an artificial acquirement like looking graceful in a calypso shirt.
And what kind of response is evident here ? The article as a whole is
humane in intention, but the writer, and he is representative in my reading,
simply isn't alert to the experience he is trying to talk about. What conceivable
human activity does an expression like internalize as norms intend to
indicate ? What is a value-determining process How do you process a
value, or value a process ? What does passively and creatively receiving and
passing on impressions and expectations mean ? For me it conjures up in
incongruous image of the furtive exchange of betting slips. And words like
" spontaneously and creatively stun one by their sheer irrelevance to the
total sensibility of the passage, a sensibility hard, conceptualised and
mechanical-and embarrassingly indifferent to the life it offers to talk about.
Just think of an actual man or woman living in an actual housing estate and
reflect on what this response to their condition implies. It is the response of
a writer bewitched by the defining implications of terminology, whose concern
is to reduce experience to readily understandable conceptual patterns, and
the life itself, the people he is talking about, are finally neither here nor there.
And it is the same with many of the other cant expressions-organised labour,
bourgeois leadership, democratic objectives, and so forth. They are the signs of
of a writer incapable of achieving a living relation with the experience he is
talking about, who is emotionally indifferent to it, who has something like a
compulsive need to interpret human behaviour in the forms tf pattern and
category. My point is that the consequences of this sort of attitude are
deeply harmful. They result in responses towards people and social groups
which are purely automatic. So and so is middle class therefore, so and so is
working class therefore, West Indian federation is the conception of a con-
servative colonial office therefore. And so on. One could extend the dreary
attitudes almost indefinitely like the empty clanking wagons of an enormous
goods train on a circular track. My contention is not that the attitudes
are necessarily inaccurate in what they point to in actual social experience
-they may often be right. They are indicative of a naively sinister
indifference to actual human beings, how they feel, and how they experience.
A literary instance is relevant. Mr. E. M. Foster's novel A Passafe to
India dramatises among other things the conflict between Ii dian needs ai.d
expectations and the oppressively suburban weight of English colonial iule.
One doesn't find oneself liking his Anglo-hldians but they are fully established
in the novel ; one knows them, their weaknesses, their perverted integrity,
their foolishness, their pathos, their isolation from any sort of life ;which is worth
living. We have there created human beings whose motives w e can comprehend,
not a tissue of thuses and therefore. Indeed it was one of the weaknesses of
the stage version of that novel the Anglo-Indians were presented as a group of
alternately sneering and tittering morons by actors and actresses who must
have been kept in cold storage for that very purpose from the nineteen twenties.
It considerably weakened the impact of what Mr. Forster wished to say.
My remarks during the last few minutes then, I hope, define the cleavage
I referred to earlier ; the cleavage between professional social enquiry and
imaginative understanding, the cleavage between conceptualised intelligence
and the literary critical lunctinii. II the paradigm lwio cultures "' has any
relevance, it is to this condition that it must apply.
I need to say that I would not wish to be misunderstood. I should think
I had missed my way were it to be supposed that I sought to raise the status of
my own subject by diminishing that of others. If 1 regard it as a weakness
that the Victorians thought in terms of hierarchies of c(iquiry, then I prolong
the weakness if I seem to be doing something similar myself. I have the
highest respect and I think a real interest in, for example. sociology. We need
sociology, not simply for the accumulation of social data, but for its humane
interpretation. I am thinking here of the work pr( duced by the Institute of
Community studies in Loindon during the last few years-the value and quality
of their enquiries into the family life of old people, into the life of widows
in an East London working class district, into family ai d kinship lelatio s in
the same area. The subjects are in no sense trivial-they ame qualitative
investigations into the experience( of sub-sections of English society with a
view to understanding how people live together, how they create values, how
their relationships develop and are sustained. And the point is that the
people themselves remain as the centres of enquiry.
The basis of enquiry being interviews conducted with a delicate tact and
humble insight, so that the final effect is of a sustained conversation with
numbers of people, conversat ions conducted in a spirit of imaginative intimacy.
We need sociology-not to buttress our own assumptions but to help us to
understand what we are like. If we consider for a moment the context in which
Emigration to the United Kingdom is being argued out-that context of sick
prejudice and decrepit illusion. Who can say they have an honestly informed
conscioLsness of what the issues are ? Who cannot say that the decision of the
Conservative government, if made, is a wrong one, if it avoids co-operat ion with
the sociologist and the economist ? Would it not be likely that the consequence
of their findings would be advice against the proposed legislation ? My
criticisms, then, were directed not against other disciplines, not even against
the article from which I quoted. They were directed against the cast of mind.
the numbingly automatic response to the living and the personal that the style
of that article embodied. And it has been my contention that the attitude is
representative, that its roots may be historically traced back to the nineteenth
century-back indeed to Jeremy Bentham w ith his remark about poetry being
as good as pushpin and his sterile investigation into morals, that this is what we
ought to mean when we talk about the two cultures, not the nagging amour
propre of Sir Charles Snow,'s discussion, and that its consequences are infinitely
damaging. There are two classic essays by John Stuart Mill which enable me
to gather together my preliminary concluding remarks--his essays on Betham
and Coleridge written in the thirties and forties ?
John Stuart Mill
For among the truths long recognized by Continental philisophers,
but which very few Englishmen have yet arrived at, one is, the
importance, in the present state of mental and social science, of
antagonistic modes of thought : which, it will one day be felt, are as
necessary to one another in speculation, as mutually checking powers
are in a political constitution. A clear insight, indeed, into this necessity
is the only rational or enduring basis of philosophical tolerance ; the
only condition under which liberality in matters of opinion can be
anything better than a polite synonym for indifference between one
opinion and another.
and on Bentham ;
In many of the most natural and strongest feelings of human
nature he had no sympathy ; from many of its graver experiences he
was altogether cut off ; and the faculty by which one mind understands
a mind different from itself, and throws itself into the feelings of that
other mind, was denied him by his deficiency of imagination .... How
much of human nature slumbered in him he knew not, neither can we
know. He had never been made alive to the unseen influences which
were acting on himself, nor consequently on his fellow-creatures ..... 7
With this I go along, and this really is the heart of what I wished to say.
Whether Mill himself in fact achieved the reconciliation is another matter, but
it is an ideal statement of need and procedure.
I shall end by going back into my own field. I have talked enough in
general terms about the literary critical function, and I hope I have said enough
to indicate its value. It is a function which ought to be seen as irrevocably
committed to a critical account of contemporary experience ; its value
deriving from its sources of enquiry, works of literature. It isn't gossip about
books, it is the realisation of achieved masterpieces as related to the ways we
try to live. But for the detail of the general description. I threw out a
remark at the beginning of my lecture about it hardly being possible to under-
take the business of living without at least the beginnings of a literary training.
I said that this was a school of thought, and I had the temerity to suggest that
at least I sympathised with it. Of course, the assumptions that underlie such
a formulation are largescale in their arrogance ; and I don't intend to suggest
that students of English have a sort of wholesome purity of experience as
opposed to the maimed enterprise of everybody else. I meant-and I am
selecting-things like the following. We would all of us be the poorer without
7. Mill on Bentham-Coleridge with an introduction by F. R. Lewis, Chattoo Windus,
London, 1959, p. 61 and 104.
the Romantic period-that remarkable body of achievement occurring roughly
between 1780 and 1830-Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Jane Austen
come promptly to mind. It was during that period that we witness a quite
astonishing deepening of the account available to us of how we experience, of
our hidden sources of feeling and imagination, of the complex life below the
level of consciousness. It wasn't a purely literary enterprise, but it is the
writers of the time who come most readily to mind.
Their achievement helped to make possible the nineteenth century novel,
which means, among other things, helped to make possible the images of
ourselves that most of us live by even if we don't happen to be aware of it. I
don't mean that people before that period lived stunted lives, simply that we
would be different-if we can imagine such a state of affairs for a moment-
'yithout what was done then. The scrutiny of this achievement, the attempt
to understand and as far as he may evaluate it, is the particular business of the
student of English. He is closer to it than anyone else, better qualified to talk
meaningfully about it than anyone else. And a historian of the period, if he
were indifferent to the literary achievement, would surely be examining only a
limited segment of the consciousness of the time. Again a literary student of
seventeenth century, working on the poetry of Andrew Marvell, has available to
him a rare insight into what it means to retain a fine, discriminating intelligence
in the midst of a major social upheaval-the English civil war. Marvell's
poetry doesn't resolve itself into just this-he isn't a political poet but part
of the experience of his poetry is to make most political loyalties, indeed
most loyalties, look gross.8
He nothing common did, or mean
Upon that memorable scene,
But with his keener eye,
The axes edge did try ;
Nor called the gods in vulgar spite,
To vindicate his helpless right,
But bowed his comely head,
Down as upon a bed.
He has the genius not merely to see two points of view, but to experience them.
And a little of that rubs off on us as a result of our association with him.
And finally there is Shakespeare. Not at all capable of reduction, but a
vital element in the imaginative life of anyone who takes the trouble to read
him, and the pains to respond to him. What one says in the face of master-
8. An Horation ode Upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland.
pieces of the order of Lear, Antony and The Winter's Tale is necessarily meagre ;
the idea of confronting the student with that achievement almost ludicrous in
its ambition. But the effort is made nonetheless in order to bring him into
contact with a dimension of experience and a range of massive insight into it,
that I think no other study offers. The intensity of relation that characterises
Lear, the extent of one's involvement in what is not an account of experience but
experience itself, defy most attempts at reducing it to explanatory coherence.
All that one can say, without even the opportunity to gesture at analysis, is
that there is tragic experience, this is how we (an suffer. It's all a colossal
remove from the Foreshore Road, the 106,500 in West Kingston it would seem,
unless we consider say the distributing implications of Lear's encounter with
Poore naked wretches, where so ere you arc
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness defend you
From seasons such as these ? 0 1 have tane
Too little care of this : Take physic, Pompe.
Expose thyself to feele what wretches fecle,
That thou maist shake the superflux to them,
And show the Heavens more just.
and the disconcerting relevance of 10
See how yond Justice railes upon yond simple theefe.
Hearke in thine eare : Change places, and handy-dandy,
which is the Justice, which is the theefe .....
Thous rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand : why dost
thou lash that Whore ? Strip thy owne back, thou hotly
lusts to use her in that kind for which thou whip'st her.
The Usurur hangs the Cozener. Through tattered clothes
great vices do appeared : Robes, and Furred gownes hide all.
Place sins with gold and the strong lance of Justice
hurtless breaks : Arme it in rags, a Pigmies straw do's pierce it.
It isn't the total truth of the play, but neither is it a residual cynicism.
It's reductive force is of the fabric of living. Antony presents us with a
marvellously charged account of the impulse to be, of the energies of life
paramount over sordid origins and weak limitations ; and in The Winter's
Tale we find life remade on an ideal plane-infinitely tantalising, infinitely
9. William ?Shakespeare, King Lear. Act III, Sc(,n, IV
10. William Shakespcare, King Lear, Act IV, Scene V
encouraging, even though we never make entry into it. I think it is a loss to be
shut out from what art of that kind can offer, what it can point to, what it can
remind one of. For finally it is ourselves and our potential that the art is
about, to whom and to which it is addressed. And the report we make on it is
of value to those to whom it can be made. It is not a matter of substituting
literature for life, of preferring the written report to the actual thing. It is a
matter of trying to understand the gift that is thrust into our hands-the gift
of imaginative consciousness, the gift of being alive. We are all of us responsible
to it and responsible for it in spite of what it can entail-the boredom, the
horror and the glory, in Eliot's words. Too much of any one of this ambigu-
ous trinity cannot help us to evade it. And our own mistakes don't deprive
us of it.
Production Methods in West Indies Agriculture
The precarious position of agriculture in the West Indies is a subject
which occasionally receives attention, particularly when new threats to the
heavily protected markets rear their ugly heads. In recent months there
has been genuine concern about the subject, (1) mainly because of the possi-
bility of Britain joining the European Common Market and the consequences
on the economy of the West Indies.
The Commonwealth Sugar Agreement protects our sugar market, and
this is guaranteed until 1969. In addition, special preferences are allowed on
the United Kingdom market. When West Indies sugar has an assured market
at $216.48 per ton (1961 price) and the producers complain that business
is extremely tight, the price on the free world market is about $72.75 per ton
Banana production is on a more precarious footing. The greater part
of our exports to the United Kingdon depend on quantitative restrictions
imposed on non-Commonwealth bananas. This limited amount from non-
Commonwealth sources also has to bear a general import tariff of $36 W. I.
per ton. It is suggested that, even with what presently amounts to a
preference of $36 W. I. per ton on the United Kingdon market to the West
Indies, some Central American countries can sell bananas in the United
Kingdom at about $48 W.I.-per ton cheaper than that which is paid to
West Indian producers.
The cocoa market may not appear to be in the same position as sugar
and bananas, but it is worthwhile bearing in mind that premium prices are
obtained mainly because of the apparent superior flavour of West Indies
cocoa. The flavour standards are ill defined (2) and the factors leading to
the presently accepted good qualities are generally not well understood
(Forsyth and Quesnel, in preparation). This makes their control hazardous.
and therefore one cannot be sure that the cocoa will continue to be in demand
for improving the flavour qualities of that from the larger producing territories.
But, even with the comparatively good prices presently paid for it, West Indies
cocoa cannot boast of good profit margins.
Coffee is faced with dropping prices arising from over-production in
places such as Brazil which virtually control the world market and the
interest in producing this commodity is very low.
Citrus depends on quantitative restrictions on the non-Commonwealth
supply to the United Kingdom market. Small producers, such as the West
Indies, cannot easily survive dumping which the very large producers such as
the United States, with protected home markets, can practise.
Governments and vested interests in the area are making every
effort to ensure reasonably safe export markets for these crops. Protected
markets undoubtedly have certain values and they should be vigorously pursued
as long as we can find co-operation or tolerance in so doing. However, in
our enthusiasm or desperation to secure protected markets abroad, we must
not lose sight of an important, and perhaps more reliable, manner of ensuring
good markets for our produce, i.e. attempting to bring production costs
Sufficiently low to allow free competition even on a world market, remote as
this may appear.
There may be many areas in the world which can be cited as examples
with more costly production methods in agriculture than ours. This, how-
ever, must not be taken to mean that our production is highly efficient and
cannot stand improvement. In fact, evidence seems to point generally
to comparatively high production costs in practically all the agricultural
enterprises of the area.
There are many factors responsible for the relatively high unit cost of
production in the West Indies. Perhaps most important of these is the
high labcur input which continues in spite of the rising cost of this commodity.
The area is not backward in pursuing higher standards of living for its
population, and the workers in agriculture are, with every justification, as
eager as those in industry and urban enterprises to improve their lot. With
few exceptions, the existing methods of production in agriculture are several
decades old and based primarily on the assumption that a plentiful supply
of cheap labour is available. Labour is still a very important agent of
production but the time has come when we must relate its cost to its produc-
tivity. Every unit of labour or effort must have a productivity which will
measure up in value to the standard of living it is to support. There is
abundant evidence that manual power by itself is limited in productivity
rates, but when it is combined in varying proportions with relatively cheap
forms of power which are readily harnessed and exploited, it is reasonable
to expect that the upper productivity limits may not be attained in the
It is important that the community cease looking at agriculture as an
art or hobby indulged in purely for the sake of the joys and satisfaction given
to lovers of plants and animals. It is a business needing serious treatment
if it is ever to have a chance of producing successfully and being profitable.
The Americans have fittingly coined the word Agribusiness to describe
the new age of agriculture, and, more important, to distinguish it from the
past. The measure of its success depends on how well one is able
to economically exploit the natural resources to produce and process the
agricultural raw materials that are in demand. Here, it is most essential
that labour be considered only as one of the many means by which the proper
environment for optimum crop and animal production is achieved.
While attempting to improve labour efficiency and productivity in order
to reduce the unit costs of agricultural produce, we should also attempt to
find avenues which would lead to increased yields without proportionately
increasing the costs of the efforts responsible for these increases. The standard
of husbandry in West Indian agriculture is very variable, and there is great
scope for improvement on field practices, relying only on present information.
At the same time too, one finds considerable room for investigation into
many existing agronomic problems. This falls within the sphere of the
agricultural scientist interested in ascertaining the best environmental needs
for maximum crop production. This article is concerning itself with
the aspect of how to provide those needs as cheaply as possible.
STATUS OF MECHANISATION IN THE WEST INDIES
Considerable progress has been made in the mechanisation (3) of many
field operations in tropical agriculture, but its impact in the West Indies
has not been as great as might be desired. Mechanisation is not the only
approach to increasing productivity of labour. There is room for considerable
work simplification in the field practices, and successes in this direction can
lead to enormous savings in production costs. This is particularly important
on steep terrain which will not easily allow the use of mobile equipment to
reduce on the burdens of labour.
The sugar industry has undoubtedly led the way in the development of
mechanisation of its field operations. But, even here, full mechanisation
has progressed only to the stage of land preparation. This operation may
be done every four to eight or more years, depending on the number of ratoons
taken from the field. All the other operations are undertaken with an unduly
large input of labour. These include planting, fertilizer applications, weed
and insect pest control, and harvesting, but most of them are under-
The harvesting operations have high demands for manual labour. Sugar
cane is bulky, the average yield per acre in these parts being about 30 tons
(2.5 to 3.75 tons of sugar, depending on the factors influencing sucrose content).
Its harvesting is a seasonal operation and to ensure the availability of
sufficient labour at harvest time many estates generally maintain a large
labour force practically throughout the year. Other operations such as
crop protection measures and fertilizer applications are undertaken by
In 'o-oi and coffee, practic;dly every field operation is undertaken by
manual labour only. Citrus and coconuts are not far removed from cocoa
in this respect. Here, however, some of tlie better estates resort to mechanical
aids to undertake brush cutting wherever the fields are developed to enable
the operation of mechanical equipment.
POSSIBLE FUTURE TRENDS
It is certain that many of the field operations can be undertaken with
reduced manual labour and an attempt will be made to indicate this by very
briefly taking examples from some of the important agricultural enterprises
of the area.
Practically all the field operations in the sugar industry can be
mechanised or simplified. Since cane harvesting at present involves a high
labour input, perhaps it is the operation which should be given the earliest
attention. The development of mechanical sugar cane harvesters has been
going for a number of years and it has not been by any means any task for
the engineers. The unruly growing habits of the sugar cane, e.g. poor
uniformity in growth, proneness to lodging, bulkiness, etc., have been major
obstacles to the designers of harvesting machines. In the post world war II
yeais, when the Hawaii producers were faced with phenomenal increases in
wages and the prospects of their sugar industry being put out of business,
they settled for the rather crude method of bulldozing the cane out of the
field in order to reduce production costs. Since those days much progress
has been made. While the engineers were developing machines which could
remove the crop satisfactorily, the plant breeders in the larger sugar producing
countries were paying attention, in their breeding and selection of varieties,
to the features which would facilitate mechanical harvesting. In most of
these countries mechanical harvesters are playing an important role in
In the West Indies some thought is being given to reduction of the labour
load in the harvesting operation. In a few areas, mechanical loaders have
been tried with some measure of success, but the cutting is still done by hand.
Among the new sugar cane harvesters on the market, some can harvest both
fallen and erect cane. The problem of removing tops from the cane at sharply
varying heights is being overcome. These machines will enable an
estimated reduction of more than the 50 per cent. on harvesting and loading
costs in the West Indies.
However, before the successful introduction of such machines, there will
be need to modify the present land preparation and forming methods. These
machines harvest canes which aie planted in straight continuous rows on
uniformly prepared land. Any system of beds and box drains or cane holes
will impose instability and operation difficulties on the harvester and the
transport equipment. Drainage of the soil is the main factor which
has determined the land forming practices on the heavy soils of high rainfall
areas. Therefore, systems which allow good soil drainage as well as the
reliable operation of the mechanical harvester must be devised and tried out.
The successful application of mechanical harvesters in the cane fields will
replace what appears to be the very wasteful efforts in handling the material,
i.e. cutting and placing on the ground, loading in carts by hand for haulage to
rail head or weighing points where it is either transferred immediately to road
or rail transport, or stacked to await later transport.
If the fields are laid out and developed to accommodate mechanical
harvesters, the task of mechanising the other operations, such as weed control,
fertilizer applications, etc., which now have high labour demands, could be
undertaken with reduced manual effort.
In many of the territories much progress has been made in the use
of selective herbicides in cane fields. However, they are used mainly by
the larger growers. The methods of application vary widely between territories.
In one area we find the extreme where aerial application is done extensively,
but in too many instances these chemicals are still being applied by band
operated knapsack type sprayers. A boom type sprayer attached to a suitable
wheel tractor will achieve comfortably a rate of work of 5 acres per hour
while it is very doubtful that the average worker can maintain a rate of work
of 0.5 acre per hoar during a normal working day.
Feitiliser applications are generalWy made when the plant cane is still
young or immediately after harvests, but it is usual to have it done by hand
labour. This is perhaps the easiest of all to be undertaken by mechanical
equipment if continued as a surface application. But there is also room to
investigate the merits of placement of the fertilizer. Should it be found
desirable to introduce the material in bands or otherwise directly within the
active root zone, then there are far greater chances that machinery will more
successfully undertake the operation than hand methods.
With pest control the problem may be complicated, depending on what
is to be done. For example, in froghopper (Aeneolomia varia saccharine,
Distant) control in Trinidad greater success is attained by attacking the
insects with direct dusting at the base of the stools. Overhead dusting can
be readily undertaken by large power dusters or aerial applications, but it is
considerably less effective than stool dusting and even of doubtful value.
Tree Crops. An important group of export crops are the tree crops and
these pose different production problems. The initial land development
and planting requires extremely careful thought if general management
operations are to be done at reduced costs. Bad planning and layout at
this early stage can be very costly in the long run and it is not easy to rectify
them after the trees are established.
AE with sugar cane, provisions for effective soil moisture control are
vital necessities especially in the high rainfull areas if soil types possess
imperfect or impeded drainage characteristics. The accepted type of drain
is the open trench. The layout is variable but most generally irregular in
the older orchards, particularly under cocoa. Among the more costly of the
field operations is bush or weed control. The cutlass or hand-swipe is indis-
pensable when deep open trenches, especially if irregularly laid, prevent the
use of mechanical brush cutting equipment. Some of the better managed
citrus estates use this type of mechanical equipment. but there is serious need
for its widespread application.
In comparison with grain or some root crops, the harvesting of tree
crops, including orchards in temperate countries, is yet to make startling
progress in reducing its labour requirements. Fortunately, the coconut,
cocoa and coffee do not require the delicate handling at harvest as citrus,
especially that for the fresh fruit market.
Labour Use in Citrus Production In United States (5) and Trinidad (6)
Ma.Hotras PER ActE PEn ANNux Yield
Variety Location per acre
Pre-harvest Harvest Total (boxes)
U.S. 36 69 105 346
T'dad 196 163 359 250
U.S. 42 56 98 210
T'dad 196 120 316 150
Navel U.S. 50 82* 132 202
Table (1) gives a comparison of the average labour requirements for
citrus production in the United States and Trinidad. Pre-harvest operations
include general maintenance, disease and pest control, fertilizer application
and irrigation. In Trinidad, irrigation is not practised. The total man-hour
input per acre per annum in Trinidad citrus production is more than three
times that for the United States farms and the United States yields are 40
per cent. and 38 per cent. greater in oranges and grapefruit respectively.
The figures indicate the comparatively slow progress made in simplifying
and mechanising harvesting. This accounts for more than 50 per cent. of the
total labour in United States farms. In Trinidad, the harvesting labour,
although three times that of the United States, represents less than 50 per
cent. of the total labour. This shows clearly that there is room for improvement
on the harvesting operations in Trinidad with the help of time-motion studies
and work simplification, leading to greater application of orchard handling
and transport equipment such as tractor trailers, mechanical fork lifts,
*Navel oranges in Western United States go into the fresh fruit market and call for
extreme care in handling, hence the high labour input in harvesting.
conveyors, ladders, &c. But more important,it points to the relatively small
effort made so far to minimise the costs of the pre-harvest tasks. Here these
use five times as much labour as in the United States. In Florida the
cost of labour, power and equipment, represent between 45 per cent. and 54
per cent of the total operating costs for mature orchards, (7) while in Trinidad
the cost of labour represents between 75 per cent. and 79 per cent. of the total
operating costs, when wages ranged between $1.15 and $1.50 U.S. ($1.95 and
$2.55 W.I.) per hour in the United States, and between $0.36 and $0.60 W.I.
per hour in Trinidad.
For more indications of the extent of cost reductions possible with
mechanisation in agriculture, consider a standard wheel tractor with an
attachment and assume an effective working life of 5,000 working hours
(a low figure), spread over 5 years in the tropics. This is estimated to cost
(fixed and running costs, but excluding operator's wages) $2,000 per annum.
The rate of work of such a machine in terms of human capabilities is variable,
depending on the type of work and the local conditions. A tractor operator
with a brush cutter or mower will work 20 to 40 times faster than one man
and his cutlass. A fertilizer spreader will work 14 to 20 times as fast as one
man spreading from a bucket. Orchard high volume spraying, desirable in
some areas, is made possible with such a unit. The continuous employment
(44 hours per week) of one man for a year costs about $1,200 (not including
value of leave benefits, perquisites and liabilities to absence from work.)
The position of coconut and copra production is not far removed from
that of citrus, although it is felt that the field operations here will impose
less difficulties in their simplification and mechanisation. Methods successfully
applied in field management operations of citrus will find at least equal success
under coconuts. In some instances, there may be need for modifications to
suit particular conditions. An example of this is in the control of bush where
damage to fallen coconuts must be avoided. The robust roller type cutters
have been reasonably effective and economical in keeping down the bush.
However, if the foliage being cut is palatable and nutritive to stock, it may
be better to use a flail type forage harvester adjuster to cut just clear above
the nuts. This will control the bush, expose the nuts for collection with
minimum risk of being damaged, and load the chopped material directly
into a trailer to be taken away f or feeding livestock.
The processing of the dry nuts presently involves a fair amount of handling
in moving from the field to yard, husking or cracking and removal of kernel,
drying, bagging and weighing. Efforts should be directed towards organising
and mechanising, or simplifying these operations where possible.
Up to recently, cocoa establishment or rehabilitation has followed the
methods under which the crop was grown in the early days. The methods
of development of the fields leave them in a condition which makes the intro-
duction of mechanised operations difficult or impossible. This crop too is
often located on steep terrain, and this helps to aggravate the problems of
field management operation.
Many of the high labour demanding operations may be cut to reasonable
proportions. Weed control and fertilizer applications are perhaps the most
obvious of these. The planting methods and the low branching habits of the
cocoa tree, particularly the vegetatively propagated chupons, preclude the
use of conventional tractor operated mechanical brush cutters for at least
ten years after planting. Seedling cocoa, however, tends to form a higher
canopy and the problem may not be as serious. In any case, hope is not lost
with the growing possibilities of chemical weed control. For the purposes
of pest and disease control, the application of chemicals to the field in the form
of a dust or spray by power driven machines, or even hand operated knapsacks,
can be extremely low in cost.
Harvesting can be improved in the field handling the procedure for
extraction of beans from the pods and the transport with sensible layout of
fields. Like the production of copra, the fermentation and drying of the
cocoa beans can be mechanised to a large degree, and its gratifying to note
that many producers in Trinidad are beginning to accept mechanical handling
of the beans and work simplification methods in fermenting, drying, polishing,
grading, weighing and bagging.
Coffee closely follows the lines of cocoa in possible improvements of
Bananas, although a comparatively shorter term crop, can in many
respects be put in the same clasa as the other orchard type crops with regard
to field operations. In its harvesting, however, one is dealing with a bulky
commodity which is highly prone to damage and rejection by the buyers.
Improvements in handling and transport should be directed at reducing not
only labour input but also chances of damage to bunches. The planting
operation appears to lend itself to a reasonably high degree of mechanisation
and this merits close study.
RICE IN TRINIDAD
The rice industry is considered important in some areas of Trinidad
but Benson and Steer (8) have shown that it takes an average of 684 man-hours,
to cultivate an acre of rice, yielding 2,500 lbs. on the average. If one is
permitted to neglect charges for land, materials, water, &c., which should
generally enter into the production costs, the returns from an acre would never
bring in enough money to pay for the labour at the minimum wages of the
territory. Rice is generally grown as a subsistence crop and labour values
are not taken into account. Holsheimer, (9) working along lines investigated
by Rosher in Trinidad, (10) shows that with changes in production methods,
mainly applying simple field techniques, it is possible to reduce labour
requirements of peasant rice production to 215 man-hours while maintaining
or increasing the yields. This is an example where complete mechanisation
is not applicable or practical because of size of holdings.
The last group being mentioned here consist of the starchy food crops and
vegetables. They are not export crops, but by no means must they be con-
sidered of least importance in the economy of the area. Trinidad, for example,
imported in 1960, $5.75 million worth of canned and fresh vegetables and the
Irish potatoes importation during the same period was valued at $1.34
million ("1). The islands in the Windward group also import large quantities
of these commodities and even sweet potatoes from the United States is finding
a market in the area.
Considerable doubt exists in the minds of West Indians on the accepta-
bility of many of the local starchy foods, and Thorne (12) shows how social
statute in the community tends to aggravate a disturbing situation. It is
possible, however, that this had been brought about by uncertaintyin supplies,
poor production methods, low quality in the absence of grading standards, &c.
But in spite of all this the retail prices of locally produced starchy foods (yams,
eddoes, tannias, potatoes, dasheen, &c.) are higher than that of the imported
Irish potatoes. Although the middle man and the retailer can be made to take
a fair share of the guilt for the high prices, the producers are not without blame.
The production methods are costly. It is estimated that an acre of yams
requires a little over 700 man-hours, even when the land is ploughed and put in
banks with machinery and involving a mere six man-hours plus six machine-
hours. Many of these food crops exhibit undesirable behaviour for complete
mechanisation, but these are problems which are presently engaging the
attention of research workers of the University College of the West Indies.
Considerable progress has so far been made in mechanising and simplifying the
production operations. The aims are to devise new and acceptable techniques,
fabricate equipment and find new varieties which will lead to substantial
reductions in the labour requirements while maintaining or increasing the
yields. For example, from studies made in Barbados (13) it is found that it
takes two machine-hours and two man-hours to put an acre of ploughed and
harrowed land (with a rough tilth) into banks spaced 4 feet 4 inches apart.
This was estimated to cost (including fixed and operating costs of the machine
and operator's wages) $6.00 per acre. The cost of the same operation by hand
and the conventional garden hoe at the task rate of 10 cents for each 10 feet of
bank amounts to $W0. In Trinidad, it takes about 30 man-hours to expose
sweet potatoes yielding about 16,000 lbs. per acre using an ordinary fork. With
a simple low cost lifting device attached to the three point linkage of a wheel
tractor, one man undertakes the job in one hour. But not many sweet
potatoes have the type of root distribution suitable for mechanical harvesting
While the plant breeder is trying to incorporate in new varieties, the charac-
teristics for high yield, disease resistance, good eating qualities, &c., he is
also looking for acceptable tuber shapes and sizes and proper distribution to
facilitate efficient mechanical harvesting (14). Similar lines of approach are
being made with respect to yams. tannias, &c.
An important consideration in mechanisation of crop production is the
suitability of the terrain for mobile equipment. Slopes of up to 30 per cent.
without rough surface normally present no difficulty to mechanical equipment.
It is also possible to go up to 45 per cent. if some measures are taken to lower
the centre of gravity of the equipment and improve their stability on the slopes.
In the West Indies, especially the volcanic islands, there is high proportion of
steep lands. The problem of these slopes can be resolved with proper land use,
leading not only to conservation of the soil and water, but also to cropping
systems having low demands on labour. For example, it may be very useful
to evolve a system of low cost establishment and maintenance of pastures on the
hillslopes and allow the animals to go up and utilise the forage and bring i!
down as meat or milk. Alternatively, intensive production of high value crops,
which in any case call for large amounts of labour, can be practised with due
recognition given to the hazards of erosion and its attendant ill effects.
THE UNEMPLOYMENT SCARE
When it is suggested that there is need to reduce the labour input in the
production of agricultural crops in the West Indies, the immediate reaction is
generally to question its advisability, bearing in mind the possible effects on
employment. There are many ways of looking at this problem. In the first
place, agriculture deals with the business of producing focd and fibre and, as
such, it must be put on an economic footing. The purpose of agricidulture is
not solely to employ labour. It uses labour only as one of many commodities
applied in production operations and, like any of the others, in the absence of
subsidisation, labour has to justify its use on the basis of its productivity.
This view, true as it may be, appears extremely harsh and ventures little
suggestion on avenues which might be followed to take up possible displacement
of labour. Before going further, it is necessary to stress the fallacy that
mechanisation results in large scale unemployment. It is only occasionally
that one finds it leading to temporary unemployment. In every instance,
however, it has resulted in a healthier economic picture for the industry or
Work simplification and mechanisation leads to reduced cost of production,
lower market prices, larger returns per unit of labour, and, therefore, larger
incomes and better standards of living for the workers involved.
The danger of unemployment occurring would exist if alternative sources
of employment were non-existent. There is no reason to suggest that agricul-
ture, more than industry, must be made the sponge for absorbing surplus
labour, but in some areas of the West Indies, considerable scope still appears to
exist for agricultural intensification and expansion. The value of imported
vegetables, starchy foods and fruits clearly indicate an extremely good market
which can be exploited with local production of some of these commodities.
By increasing the labour productivity and efficiency in the export crops, it is
possible to divert land and labour to such other agricultural enterprises,
provided that better avenues cannot be found for their maximum utilisation.
But this is not expected to completely solve the problem. There appears to be
urgent need for redistribution of the labour resources of the area. It is hoped
that other enterprises, mainly in industry, will play their part in finding the
solutions by making more profitable use of this abundant commodity. In the
United States, in 1960 only 3.8 per cent. of the total population was employed
in agricultural production, each worker producing food and fibre for 25.21 other
If agricultural enterprises in the West Indies are.to compete successfully
for markets, assuming present trends in world production continues, there is no
alternative to reducing production costs. For the territories ever to satisfy the
desire to raise standards of living, the productivity of labour must increase. We
can reduce production costs by obtaining more from the investments in labour
and increasing yields. Continuing to tolerate the present status of low labour
productivity is, in effect, condemning the worker in agriculture to the low
standards of living which we are all wanting to bring to respectable levels.
(1) Anon. (1961). The European Common Market. J. Agri. Soc. Trin. & Toab. 61,
(2) Vyle, L. R. (1959). Chocolate Flavour. Its Assessment and Speculation as to its
probable origin. Trop. Agriculture, Trin. 36, 287-297.
(3) Bates, W. N. (1957). Mechanisation of Tropical Crops. London, Temple Press.
(4) Institution of Agric. Engineers. (1960). Yearbook 1959-60. Brighton: Frazer
(5) Gavett, E. E. Labour used for Fruits and Tree Nuts. Statistical Bull., U.S. Dept.
(6) Campbell, J. S. (1957). Farm Management Crop Manual. I.C.T.A. (unpubl.)
(7) Savage, Z. (1961). Twenty-eight Years of Citrus Cost and Returns in Florida-
1931-1959. Univ. of Florida, Economic Series : 61-10.
(8) Steer, H. J. and Benson, E. (1953). Survey of the Rice Industry. Statistical
Studies. No. 2. Trinidad and Tobago : Government Printery.
t9) Holsheimer, J. (1962). A report on the study of improved methods of rice production
D.T.A. Report (unpubl.)
(10) Rosher, P. (1957). Means of Increasing Rice Production in Trinidad/J. Agric.
Soc. Trin. & Tab. 57, 365-379.
(11) Central Statistical Office. (1961). Overseas Trade 1960. Trinidad. Government
(12) Thorne, A. P. (1961). An Economic Phenomenon. Caribbean Quarterly, 6,
(13) Campbell, L. G. (1962. Increasing Efficiency of Sweet Potato Production in
Barbados. A Report : U.C.W.I. Library (unpub.)
(14) Gooding, H. J. and Campbell. J. S. (1962). Recent Developments in Production
of Food Crops in Trinidad/(In Press). Trop. Agriculture, Trin.
Employment Policy Problems in a
Multiracial Society *
GEORGe; E. SIMPSON
IN MANY parts of the world, in the last decade, mankind has learned that the
industrial growth of "underdeveloped" countries is not simply a matter of
building a few factories, power plants, and railroads. Production patterns are
thoroughly entwined with habits of consumption, attitudes toward work,
family patterns, religious values, the distribution of political power. To
change one of these requires attention to the ways in which it is tied to all the
others. The speed with which industrialization can be accomplished depends
upon the many ways in which it is related to the whole "system".
We have learned, for example, that school integration in the United States
does not depend simply upon the outcome of a conflict in Little Rock, Arkansas,
on the results of an election in Virginia, or even on the pronouncements of our
highest court. Dramatic changes in the structure of American society are
bringing with them new compulsions that cannot be disregarded. Whether to
support segregation or integration is not simply a matter of taste or private
value preference. Once a society has taken the road of industrialization, a
whole series of changes begin to take place that undermine the foundation of
the segregation system regardless of the nature of the system. These changes
may be regarded as "salutary or the reverse", but they cannot be brushed aside.
We need scarcely add that when the industrialization is taking place in a
democratic society, moral and legal forces are added to the requirements of the
industrial process to create enormous pressure on the patterns of segregation.
In a segregated society, such as we have in the southern United States and,
to a certain extent, in other sections of the country, or in multiracial societies
such as one finds in many parts of the West Indies, including Trinidad, and
parts of South America, Central America, Africa, Asia, and the islands of the
Pacific, racial and ethnic groups are partially or largely separated one from the
other. There may be separate schools, relative exclusion of the members of
certain groups from politics, separately defined jobs for this or that group,
separate churches and residential areas, differential access to public facilities
*This paper was given on August 26. 1960, by Professor Simpson, Department of
Sociology and Anthropology. Oberlin (College. Ohio. U.S.A., in the seminar for upper level
ianagi-rnent sponsored by the Government or Trinidad and Tobago and the Extra Mural
Department of the University College of the West Indies. Dr. H. D. Huggins, Director of
the Institute of Social and Economic Research. U.C.W.I., was in charge of the seminar.
Parts of the introductory section of this paper are taken from J. Milton Yinger and George
E. Simpson, "Can Segroation Survive in an Industrial Society?" The Antioch Review,
Spring, 1958, pp. 15-24.
and services. Each part of this structure re-enforces, and is re-enforced by, the
others. Oppositely, however, once significant changes begin to occur in any
part of the pattern, strains are felt throughout the system of segregation.
From this point of view, the vital fact in the United States, is that desegre-
gation has begun in almost every aspect of the society. While public attention,
in the last few years, has been focused upon Tuscaloosa, Alabama ; Clinton,
Tennessee ; and Little Rock, Arkansas, a quiet revolution has continued to cut
away at the foundations of segregation. And this revolution, unlike the
process of desegregation, has nearly unanimous support, North and South,
among segregationists and integrationists. Since what has been happening in
the United States has parallels in the West Indies, I shall outline briefly those
Someone has said that desegregation in the southern states began with the
boll weevil a quarter of a century ago. That insect pest clearly had some help
in attacking the one-crop cotton economy and the rural, plantation society with
which it was connected. A major depression, governmental encouragement to
crop diversification, increased mechanization of agriculture, strenuous efforts
to bring industry into the South all began to change social patterns that had
been relatively stable for half a century. Paradoxically, many an ardent
segregationist was also a supporter of the efforts to bring industry into the
South, often without realizing that he was making a fundamental choice.
Urbanization, the increase in industrial jobs with hourly pay rates, the
beginnings of unionization, diversification of jobs for Negroes, the growth in
literacy and awareness of democratic values, the sharp increase in the size of the
urban middle class, a growing integration of the national economy-these and
other forces are changing the patterns of race relations in all parts of the
THE WEST INDIES
I shall return now to the West Indies. Some social scientists have
referred to the kind of multiracial society that is found in British Guiana and
Trinidad as the "plural society". By this they mean that there are two or
more subsocieties in the country, each with its own subculture. They see
these subsocieties leading more or less independent existences. If they also
mean, as it seems to me that some of them do, that these ethnic communities
will continue indefinitely to be as separate as they are now, I cannot agree with
them. The same forces which have been undermining segregation in the
United States, and continue to undermine it, are at work in other multiracial
societies. The separation of ethnic groups here and elsewhere will not break
down easily or immediately but a reduction of separation may come faster than
many persons would predict today. In recent years the tempo of social change
has increased rapidly in most of the world.
Let us turn to some questions of hiring policy in a multiracial society.
Ag ain, I shall refer first to the U.S.A. During the past century and a quarter,
we have had wave after wave of immigrant groups. I refer to large-scale
immigration. First the Germans and the Irish came. For the most part,
they were poor people. They came in at the bottom of the social structure and
there was strong prejudice against the members of both groups. In the
eighties, the nineties, and the early 1900's, large numbers of Italians, Russians
.1nd other southern and eastern Europeans migrated to the United States.
In many quarters there was strong resentment against them-as there was
againstt the Chinese inunigrants of the 60's and 70's and the Japanese immni-
grants of the 1890's. During World War I Mexican nationals started to come
to the United States legally or illegally, in rather large numbers. Also, the
migration of Negroes from the rural South to the urban South and to the urban
North and West has tremendously increased during the past forty or fifty years.
The most recent arrivals are the Puerto Ricans. Between 1950 and the end of
1956, the Puerto Rican population of continental U.S. increased from 309,000
to 736,000 (these figures include those of Puerto Rican birth and those of
Puerto Rican parentage living in the United States.) Nearly 600,000 Puerto
Ricans by birth or ancestry lived in New York City ar the end of 1956 and the
number is considerably larger now.
I mention the situation in the United States because I think it throws
s )me light on the present situation in the West Indies. Reference has been to
the prejudice which each of these migrant groups faced. Claims were made by
racialists of one kind or another that certain racial and ethnic groups differed
markedly from others in intelligence, temperament, dependability, morality,
biological adaptability, and dozens of other ways. These allegations cannot be
examined in detail. Suffice it to saythat none of these claims have been borne
out by reliable scientific evidence. I do not suggest that there are no differences
of any kind except those of external physical appearance, but we can say that
there is no reliable evidence to indicate that whole groups of people differ
markedly on any of the characteristics mentioned. What seem to be marked
differences often turn to be superficial differences, and what seem to be inborn
differences are often found to be differences due to the exposure of individuals
to diverse cultural, subcultural, social class, regional, and other influences.
A specific personnel practice which is used in some countries, including some
parts of the West Indies, is the use of photographs in personnel selection.
Sometimes it is said-not openly of course-that "we can't or won't employ"
a member of a certain group or "we don't employ darker persons". Or there
may be an unwillingness to hire darker persons in certain kinds of jobs. I
would like to question the advisability of such policies on several grounds.
First, such policies may be questioned from the point of view of enlightened
self-interest and firm-interest. A rational policy of employment seeks the best
qualified applicants regardless of color or other physical characteristics.
Second, it is in the national interest to secure the maximum utilization of
manpower and womanpower. Artificial restraints on the basis of race or of
ethnic group prevent such utilization.
Third, such policies are questionable for an ethical reason. In a
democratic society, the members of all groups should have equal opportunities
for employment. Political democracy without economic democracy is hollow.
Fourth, for a very practical political reason. In the United States there is
no possibility of any racial or etlmic minority becoming a majority of the
population. However, there is a distinct possibility-more than that-a high
probability that it will happen in Trinidad. If fair economic opportunities are
not provided now for members of a large ethnic minority, it may be difficult
twenty years hence for persons now in the majority to get jobs. Along the
same line, it may be pointed out that darker persons far outnumber others in the
West Indies. With the extension of educational facilities to a larger and
larger part of the population, and with the growth of labor unions and new
political parties, the possibilities of political cleavage along color linesis entirely
possible. There have been indications of such development in several West
For the reasons just given, it seems to me that it is highly important for
those who have personnel responsibilities to consider carefully the adoption of
nondiscriminatory policies in employment and in upgrading. In seventeen
states in the Unites States, fair employment policy laws have been enacted.
These laws and their administration are not foolproof, but they have obtained
some results for members of racial and cultural minorities. They represent an
attempt in these states to do something at the political level about fairness in
employment. I hope it will not be necessary for such steps to be taken in
Trinidad and in other parts of the West Indies.
AMERICAN INDUSTRY DURING WORLD WAR U
Certain experiences in American industry during World War II may be
of interest in the present discussion. Like most countries, the United States
experienced a manpower shortage. Employers "scraped the labor barrel" and
took on workers in categories they have never utilized before, or they employed
certain classes of workers in types of jobs where they had been unwilling
previously to employ them. Thus, age restrictions were relaxed or abolished
and persons above the age of 40, 50, 60, or 70 were taken on. Women were
employed in jobs previously assigned only to men. Persons with minor
physical handicaps were employed, and many companies employed members of
racial and ethnic groups whom they had barred in the past. In some instances,
changes in hiring policy presented no real problems, but some firms experienced
difficulties in employing for the first time members of certain racial and cultural
minorities. In New York the state War Industries Council issued a report on
the integration of Negro workers into industrial plants. Similar reports were
published by at least one of the larger labor unions and by other organizations.
These manuals gave attention to a number of matters which had been sensitive
points to the work force within plants and offices. Intergroup hostilities were
reduced and human relations within organizations were considerably eased by
the following (among other) procedures.
First, in introducing members of a racial or ethnic group not previously
employed by a firm, the first individuals hired were personable and capable
workers at the white collar level. This was done to convince workers in the
plant that management too intended to do some integrating.
Second, to allay fears which some workers had on the score of health,
company officials assured employees that thorough physical examinations
would be given to all prospective employees. These insured that no new
health hazards would be introduced into the plant and that health standards
of the work force would not be reduced.
Third, special attention was given to keeping toilet facilities immaculately
clean. This was done so that no worker could claim that any uncleanliness in
toilet rooms was due to the employment of a new group of workers.
Fourth, dining, recreational, and housing facilities were studied carefully
in order to provide arrangements which would enable the company to avoid
charges either by the old or the new workers that they were being discriminated
Fifth, workers in many plants were given advance notice of the change in
hiring policy and were given a chance in group discussions to talk out the
changes. This procedure gave personnel officials a chance to answer questions
about health, about production, about maintaining the standards of the plant
by careful selection of workers, about the company's commitments to the war
effort, about economic democracy, and so forth. In other cases, it was thought
best not to have any advance discussion and thus give any opposition a chance
Sixth, in many cases, the change in hiring policy was put into effect
gradually in ordei to keep anxieties and hostilities at as low a level as possible.
Seventh, some companies employed liaison people who were themselves
members of the group being introduced into the plant. These persons were
applied social scientists, social workers, or whatever you wish to call them.
They were not grievance officers, shop stewards, or foremen. They were
available to the new employees, many of whom had never had employment in
industrial plants before and many of whom were new to the region or even
to an urban community. These liaison workers attempted to help those
who needed help to adjust to the new situation. They provided counsel
and assistance in such areas as family difficulties, absenteeism, health
problems, adjustment to plant routines, and adjustment to workers of other
In summary we have tried to make the following points :-
(1) When a society begins seriously to industrialize, a series of changes
starts to take place that undermines the foundation of social
segregation or social separation regardless of the nature of the
(2) Hiring policies almost invariably reflect the prejudices, anxieties,
and hostilities of the community at large. In addition to any
explicit or implicit company policies on employment, managers,
personnel officers, foremen and others are influenced by the
beliefs which prevail in the groups to which they belong. Generally
the most recently arrived and the most economically depressed
groups are most affected by formal or informal discriminatory
employment policies. The fact that many members of such groups
have had fewer opportunities for academic education and technical
training, plus the fact that often they live in the poorest houses in
the community and fall farther short of the standards of middle-class
behavior than do other groups, plus, perhaps, the existence of
differences in religion, language, food habits, and dress, makes it
relatively easy to dismiss all persons of these backgrounds as
unworthy, unpromising, and undesirable potential employees.
The living conditions, physical appearance, and speech habits of
such persons often seem to document the sweeping generalizations
which are made about whole groups of people. Hence, as Gunnar
Myrdal pointed out, the vicious circle continues. The poor housing,
lack of training, and low income are used to prove the inferiority of
a certain group of people. Their alleged inferiority makes it
difficult for them to gain employment, training, and better housing.
And so on ad infinitum.
(3) If the members of the economically and politically dominant group
or groups, whether it or they constitute a numerical majority of the
population, do not take some steps to equalize employment
opportunities, the members of discriminated-against groups may
in time be able to counteract or even reverse the process of
(4) Industry, labor organizations, and government have an interest
in trying to obtain and maintain fair employment practices.
(5) Experience in other countries, and especially in the United States,
provides some guide lines for those who are concerned about
employment policy problems in a developing multiracial society.
ALBERT H. MARCKWARDT
IN viLRTUAILY every field of science there appears to be a distinction between
that portion of it which is spoken of as pure and that which is called applied.
An orderly and systematic extension of the boundaries of knowledge may be
thought of as constituting an advance in pure science. The employment of
that knowledge in connection with specific physical and human situations,
usually to ameliorate them, falls into the category of applied science. Both
physics and chemistry find their applications in various types of engineering.
These plus geology form the basis for metallurgy. The agriculturist applies
the findings of botany, along with other sciences.
It is not unusual for the application of scientific knowledge to lag con-
siderably behind its development or discovery. It is pointed out at times that
although Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood in 1608, George
Washington was bled for pneumonia as late as 1798, almost two centuries
later. It has taken decades to translate what we know of the chemistry of
soils into farm practices the world over.
The purpose here is to consider the applications of the science of language.
We may best begin by citing the now-familar definition of language as
"patterned human social behaviour." The science of language would then
consist of an orderly and systematized description of the patterns of any one
language, a dialect or an idiolect of that language, or of a group or family of
languages. Such a systematic description must be made with all the rigour, the
clear recognition of basic assumptions, the avoidance of circularity that any
description normally requires if it is to merit the label scientific. In short,
linguistics seeks to isolate and recognize all the components of a linguistic
system and to determine how they work, how they operate. As long as we are
on this level, we may still think of ourselves as being in the realm of pure
science. If such is the case, what are the possible areas of application?
I shall name one or two without stopping to elaborate on them. Spelling
reform comes almost immediately to mind. Let me hasten to explain that I
have no particular zeal for this cause, since it has always appeared to me that
English spelling mirrors so precisely the legal and constitutional temperament
of the two great English-speaking countries : namely, a series of principles
none of which is carried out to its ultimate conclusion, and all of which are
practically compromised somewhere along the line. Yet it is clear that the
vagaries of our orthographic system cause a vast waste of time in our elementary
education, place a completely false value upon the ability to spell, and con-
stitute the most serious hindrance to the wider use of English as an international
language. No attempt to improve the system, however, could afford to ignore
two of the most significant concepts in descriptive linguistics-these of the
phoneme and the grapheme.
The construction of artificial languages is another area in which linguistic
principles could be used to advantage, although this comes somewhat closer to
what in the United States is spoken of as Communication Science. But
certainly, whatever can be learned about the structure of existing natural
languages, taking into account particularly the ambiguities and the redun-
dancies inherent in them, can serve as a guide in devising an artificial linguistic
framework. Mathematical and logical concepts would also unquestionably
play a part here, but basically such a constructed language would have to apply
what is known about linguistics.
Certainly one of the places where linguistic science may be most fruitfully
applied is in the language classroom. It makes little difference whether the
language being taught is native to the student or a foreign tongue. In either
event, the more the teacher knows about the structure of the language or
languages involved and about the nature of the language-learning process, the
more effective the operation is likely to be.
If he is teaching a foreign language, the teacher is in effect seeking to
develop in the student the ability to react automatically, or almost so, to
situational or verbal stimuli in terms of a new series of vocal behaviour patterns.
In teaching the native language, the instructor is trying to enable the student
to expand and to employ with greater dexterity the language patterns which he
already commands. Teaching the student to use a different dialect of hid own
language is, I suspect, somewhere between the two, involving elements of both.
We shall deal with this in greater detail after a moment. I propose, for
the present, to return to the so-called pure science itself. It must be recognized,
first of all, that our concepts of language and language structure have undergone
a marked alteration, particularly during the last thirty years, although portents
of an impending change were clearly evident as early as the turn of the century.
Unfortunately, in the United States at least, the increase in knowledge in both
the fields of linguistic and literary studies has led to a degree of specialization
where scholars in the two disciplines can no longer communicate with each
other easily. A few like myself are sufficiently at home in both that we are
considered to be linguists by our literary colleagues and are looked upon as
students of literature by our linguistic associates, but we are in the minority
and possibly schizophrenic as well.
Nevertheless, linguistics as it has developed during the past three decades
has placed considerable emphasis upon certain ideas and concepts which I
believe to be not only useful to the foreign-or native-language classroom
teacher, but indeed they virtually constitute basic essentials to the successful
pursuit of his craft. Before going into detail about the possible application of
these fundamental concepts, I should like to discuss the nature of three or
four of them in some detail.
The first has to do with what the linguist often speaks of as the primacy
of the spoken language, and I may add parenthetically that he is misunderstood
or misinterpreted almost every time that he speaks in these terms. What he
means is that the essence of a language, considered as patterned behaviour, is
to be found in the vocal manifestation of that behaviour. Writing is a
secondary manifestation, a symbolization of a symbolization, as is sometimes
Frequently the written form of a language fails to reveal either the signals
or the patterning of a linguistic structure. For example, noun plurals in
Standard English constitute a very neat arrangement, with the voiceless
inflection [s] following such voiceless consonants as t or f in cats or cuffs, the
phonetically voiced [z] following such voiced sounds as g or v as in dogs, eaves
(to say nothing of all the vowels), and such sibilants as z or ch being accompanied
by the [ez] inflection, as in noses, churches. Here is a language pattern which
makes eminent good sense ; it occurs not only with noun plurals but with noun
genitives and with the third person singular, present indicative of most verbs
as well, yet our writing shows it only very imperfectly.
To take just one further instance where writing wholly conceals an
important structural element of the language, let us suppose that someone
makes the statement, "Mr. Jones has gone to the city." The person addressed
follows with the interrogative that in writing can only be spelled Where? Yet,
in my dialect at least, if where, were uttered with a downward intonation turn
(where) this would be understood as a request for more precise information:
what part of the city, what street, or what business establishment? "To the
north end," "To the airlines agency," "To see his solicitor," would all be
considered contextually acceptable answers. If, on the other hand, the word
where were spoken with a rising intonation (where) this would signal, "I didn't
hear you, please repeat," and "To the city," would be the acceptable reply.
This difference in intonation pattern with words that function like where at
the beginning of a sentence (when,who, which, &c.,) is part and parcel of the
structural system of English.
Incidentally, recent studies of the structure of English, and of dozens of
other languages as well, have shown how important the elements of intonation,
stress, and pause are to the grammar of a language. We have come to realize
that they are fundamental to it. Not only must they be taken into account
in any really competent analysis of the language, but they play an equally
important role in the teaching process.
There are other considerations as well which lead the linguist to focus
his attention first upon the language as it is spoken. The human race has
been speaking for something like one hundred thousand years, to cite one of
the more conservative estimates. It has been writing for no more than six
thousand. There are literally hundreds of languages which are spoken but
not written ; there are no languages which are written but not spoken. Even
in this literate age, man speaks more than he writes. It has been estimated
that the average person talks the equivalent of a fair-sized novel weekly. And
certainly speech comes before writing in the linguistic development of the
Now, I do not mean to suggest that the written form of a language is
unimportant or unworthy of study. After all, the greatest monuments of our
culture appear in written form. If one will only realize, however, that because
our writing systems have not as yet developed a mechanism for indicating this
second dimension of language, that they are committed to a purely linear
presentation, the very necessity of a greater regard for logic, for tightness of
structure in writing becomes understandable. What we do in writing is
unquestionably capable and worthy of analysis, but if we are to remain on a
scientifically sound basis, we can do this only in terms of a description of the
structure of the spoken language.
As our studies of languages ranged beyond the familiar Western European
orbit to include those of Africa, Asia, and the indigenous languages of the
Americas, we came to see that the grammatical apparatus which filtered into
the modern western world through Priscian and Donatus was not only ill-suited
to Hausa, Kazakh, and Athabascan but left something to be desired as a
descriptive mechanism for English as well. In defence of the traditional
grammar with which most of us are familiar, it must be said that it served
rather admirably as an analytical tool for Greek, and almost as well for Latin.
But these languages depend heavily upon inflection to signal structural
meaning ; they might be described as quasi-synthetic. When it comes to
thoselanguages which are sometimes classified as incorporating, tending toward
the sentence word, on the one hand, and those which have largely dispensed
with inflection in favor of the use of function words and word order on the other,
as has English, the traditional apparatus needs a vast amount of tinkering in
order to make it work.
There is little point, for example, in employing a case terminology where
there are no divergent noun forms to match the terms. Let us rather
recognize for, from, of, at, in, on, &c., as a particular group of function words
which are followed by a substantive construction of some kind or other. Are
we doing justice to a description of English verb structures when we try to fit
them into a terminology which is half tense and half aspect ? Can we not
devise a series of mutually exclusive part-of-speech categories which would
avoid such blatant confessions of overlapping as are the terms pronominall
adjective" and conjunctive adverb "?
This is half of what is wrong with much of our conventional grammar
what it seeks to describe or classify and does badly. The other half consists
of what it does not describe at all. Where, for example, may one encounter a
cogent account of the situations which call for the future tense with going to
rather than with shall or will? Or the situations which will permit going to as an
alternative form? How often does one find a franic recognition that he sted to
play the piano is really the past form of he plays the piano, whereas he played the
piano along with he was playing are alternative past forms of he is playing?
How frequently does one come upon a description of the ordering of modifying
elements before a substantive sufficiently accurate to predict the sequence
all the ten fine old gray stone houses, uhich is the situation in current English,
rather than say all the fine gray ten stone old houses ? And finally, who hlIs
included within a description of English verb structures such combinations as
keep saying and get moving, which are quite as aspectual as muat say or should go
My desire here is neither to confuse nor to overwhelm with complexity,
but ncerely to suggest that no single grammarian has settled the business of
hoti for English or properly placed oun, figuratively speaking, nor would the
funeral of such a one permit the cessation of further examination into English
structures. There is still much to be done. What we are looking for at
present is as perceptive and as sound a description of the language as possible,
based upon formal criteria (and within the term formal 1 include statements of
distribution, of word order, of the behaviour of stress, pitch, and juncture) and
then a working backward from these to the meanings which they convey.
Over the past century we have learned a great deal about the development
of standard languages and their relationship to other class and regional dialects.
We know, for example, that each standard language was once a regional dialect,
which acquired its prestige not because of anything in the dialect itself but as
a result of a combination of social and political factors. We have come to
understand that the Southeast Midland dialect of Middle English did not
become the standard form of English because Chaucer wrote in it, but rather
that Chaucer wrote in it because it was the speech of the center-as did his
contemporaries Bower, born in Kent, and Wycliffe, born considerably to the
Thus the facts of social and linguistic history become a powerful corrective
to the notion that the standard language is in itself somehow superior as a
means of communication to other non-standard forms. As I have already
indicated, all natural languages, standard and otherwise, have structural
ambiguities ; all have redundancies. We cannot say with certainty that a
language, or any form of it, is incapable of communicating any particular
lexical concept or grammatical relationship.
For centuries English had no passive infinitive, no future participle, and
indeed, at one time, no future tense. Now we have a periphrastic construction
that does for a passive infinitive, more feature time constructions than we quite
know what to do with, and we are still without a future participle. And I
honestly doubt that we are capable of assessing the net loss or gain in these
These are just a few of the ideas about language which have come in the
wake of the modern developments in linguistic science. If they seem to less
than exciting or provocative, it is undoubtedly to be ascribed to my failure to
communicate rather than to a shortcoming in the discipline. I should lixe,
however, to get back to the language-teaching situation and indeed to that
aspect of it which one must face here in Jamaica, in order to consider how .ome
of these ideas might be put to work. What are the potential applications of the
science? I must make it quite clear, however, that on the basis of my limited
experience with the language situation in Jamaica and my even more frag-
mentary knowledge of the schools and school curricula, I can do little more
than to pose the questions which might be asked. I am certainly in no
position to furnish the answers.
The first two questions that inevitably occur whenever a language-teaching
program is under consideration are : first, what form of the language is lo be
taught, and second, what language experience or degree of command does the
pupil bring to the classroom or teaching situation? One problem which arises
in connection with the language to be taught concerns the recognition of what
is to serve as a standard. We face it in foreign language classes when we mLst
decide between Castillian or some form of American Spanish, and again later
on in our universities when some decision must be made as to which variety of
spoken Arabic will be selected : Egyptian, Moroccan, Lebanese, Iraqui.
Europe and many parts of Latin America have difficulty in determining
whether the British or American variety of English will be more useful or more
prestigious for the student to learn. Whst is important in each case is that the
decision should be made on the rational ground of social utility rather than
on the basis of some ill-digested linguistic superstition or folklore.
There is undoubtedly a form of English which might justly and aptly be
called Standard Jamaican or Standard West Indian, possessing certain features
or characteristics which would set it apart from Standard American on the one
hand and from Standard British on the other. In fact, Le Page, Cassidy,
De Camp and others who have written on the language situation here constantly
use the term. It is interesting, though, to note that it has neve- been com-
petently defined or described in terms of its simi!aritiesto and departure'sfrom
other forms of Standard English. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind
that the first important task to be accomplished here is a description of Jamaican
Standard. Then and only then can one even approach the question of the
extent to which this should se-ve as the basis for the language program of the
schools. I suspect th-t with the spread of education which is certain to take
place here, it will do so anyway, irrespective of whether this is a conscious aim.
The determination of a goal is half the problem. The other part, equally
significant, is an inventory of the language experiences the pupils bring to the
school as they begin their education. Here it must not be forgotten that
children at school-entering age are already in command of a language system of
some sort or other. They have been using a language for purposes of corm
munication since the second year of their lives. This may seem self-evident.
I mention it only because I have seen so many elementary teachers in the
United States who failed to recognize this very obvious fact and were somehow
under the impression that as they introduced their charges to such inanities as
occur in American beginning readers as "Run, Dick, run," and "See Jane,"
they were teaching language. Of course they were not. They were teaching a
writing system at a level far below the linguistic sophistication and experience
of their pupils at that point.
My purpose in calling this to your attention is to avoid what may be a
related misconception, namely the belief that Jamaican Creole (or any form of
it), which will have constituted the linguistic experience of many of your
pupils at the beginning of their school careers, is somehow not a language.
It is, of course, a self-contained linguistic system, incidentally one with some
highly interesting features.
But to return to my point : the child entering school here has undoubtedly
mastered the phonological structure of some form of Jamaican Creole. Its
phonemes are not those of Standard Jamaican, Standard British, or Standard
American, but they do constitute a system. The same can unquestionably
be said for most of the morphology. He has the basic elements of the syntax.
Just what his uotal vocabulary would amount to at the age of five and one-half,
I could not even guess. I do know thaL all reliable samplings of the vocabularies
of American children at that age reveal a surprisingly large figure.
Please do not misunderstand me. By saying that the school-entering
child, be he American, British, or Jamaican, has acquired the essentials of a
linguistic system, I do not mean to suggest that there is nothing left to teach
him. There is, of course. His grasp of the language must keep up with the
demands of his developing intellect for ever more complex modes of expression,
and much of this expansion comes during the period of adolescence. He must
be taught to comprehend and to employ the writing system to a point where
he is enabled to read and understand structures more complex that he will
normally employ. All 1 am pleading for is the recognition that the six-year
old is neither in a language vacuum for the unhappy victim of a tendency
toward original sin, linguistically speaking. What we do in the way of teaching
him the language must not proceed upon these clearly mistaken assumptions.
What is needed at this point is another type of study which falls properly
within the realm of applied linguistics, namely what we now speak of as a
contrastive analysis. I can most conveniently illustrate the way in which such
a contrastive study is used by referring to the foreign-language teaching
situation. Suppose I want to teach Spanish to native speakers of English.
Iknowat the outset that some features of Spanish will be easy for them-easier,
say, than for native speakers of German-and that others will cause great
difficulty. Which features of Spanish will be easy? The obvious answer is,
those which are most like English. I can predict, for example, that noun
plurals will be no problem, sinoe the--# pattern of Spanish plurals is roaeonably
close to the inflectional ending demanded by the majority of English nouns.
I can also predict, however, that it will be difficult to accustom the students to
inflect adjectives for plurality, since in English, words of secondary rank have
absolutely lost all vestiges of inflection. I can prophesy furthermore that the
placing of the adjectives after the noun will give trouble, since this runs
precisely to the English pattern. My conclusion, even from this fragmentary
listing of similarities and contrasts, is that there would be relatively little
point in concentrated drill on noun plurals, since my students are likely to pick
these up quite satisfactorily by a simple transference of the English pattern.
It would, however, be very much to the point to drill on noun-adjective
combinations in both singular and plural, to the degree that native-language
interference would be overcome and that the correct Spanish form would
emerge as a matter of habit. The extension of this logic and this approach
to the entire grammar gives us our fundamental strategy of language teaching
and makes clear the value of the contrastive analysis as a means of arriving at
an inventory of what needs to be accomplished.
I indicated a moment ago, in introducing this topic, that another study
was needed. I really should have said two or possibly three, now that I think
about them. Let me assume at this point that we already have or will have the
systematic description of Jamaican Creole which is being prepared by
Mrs. Bailey as the third volume in the series of Creole Language Studies. I have
examined parts of this and find it of extreme interest. I should hope that
similar studies for the creoles of the other islands would not be too long in
Given the phonology and grammar of Jamaican Creole, we must contrast
these point by point with whatever form of Standard English is chosen as the
target language of the schools, so that just as with the case of Spanish that was
outlined briefly a moment ago, the areas of particular difficulty will be
identified. In addition, we need what I might call language inventories of
entering school children, so that we may know precisely what in the way of
language patterns they bring to their first classroom. Beyond this, it would be
advantageous to have some developmental studies of child language, com-
parable to the work of Piaget or the Sterns-or better still, some linguistically
enlightened analyses of the kind that are being produced in the United States
by Roger Brown, Jean Berko, and others, studies which reveal the order in
which various details of the system emerge.
Once given these kinds of information, we shall know exactly the nature
and extent of the local language-teaching problem, and a well-devised language
curriculum may be planned accordingly. Let me hasten to say that I do not
mean to suggest that conscientious and devoted teachers have not done good
work up to the present without these complex preliminaries. I am certain
that they have ; in fact, I have seen some very resourceful performances in the
junior schools, at times under extremely difficult conditions. My point is
merely that if the science of language has anything to contribute to an increase
in the effectiveness of language teaching, here are the ways in which we have
been going about it.
With my limited knowledge of the local language situation, I cannot
venture to predict what the results of the contrastive studies might be. I
should like, however, to make one suggestion. If a contrast between Jamaican
Creole and the target standard language reveals an extensive list of differences,
the problem of teaching the standard becomes that much more akin to that of
teaching a foreign language, namely giving the pupil a command of a totally
different language system. If, relatively speaking, the differences are few in
number, the task ahead is much more one of a slight alteration and expansion
of the native language pattern. In short, one must decide whether to build
on what is already there or to simulate the approach to a wholly different
In either event, however, it is likely that the most profitable ordering of
the four aspects of language will be that which is characteristic of the kind of
foreign-language instruction which has been emphasized recently in the
United States. This consists first of comprehending the spoken word ; next
of producing the language orally (within a series of minimal but basic patterns);
then understanding the written word, and finally developing the ability to
produce writing or composition. In short, speaking before writing ; reception
before production. A series of what I believe to be our best foreign-language
text books illustrates this point in their titles better than anything else I could
say. In the Spanish version the first volume is called Entender y Hablar, the
second Hablar y Leer, and the third Leer y Escribir. This procedure is directly
modeled upon the linguist's view of the spoken language as primary and reflects
the fact that in the development of the individual, reception precedes
I scarcely think that it would be prudent for me to risk further predictions
in an area where my factual knowledge is so meagre. It is timely, perhaps,
that I should utter one warning. What Bloomfield once called the primary
reaction to language is that of understanding or taking in the message that the
speaker intended to convey. A secondary reaction encompasses the emotional
overtones in the message, whether intended or otherwise. A tertiary reaction
imputes cultural and social attributes to the speaker as a consequence of the
way in which the message was conveyed.
When dialects or creolized forms of language enter into a linguistic
situation, all manner of tertiary reactions may result. All the suggestions
I have made concerning grammar, concerning standards, concerning teaching
procedures presuppose a calmly reasoned and objective attitude toward
language matters. In a sense this is a fantasy.
People are not objective about language, nor are they generally well.
informed. The applications of the results of linguistic science which I have
suggested as possibilities, at least, cannot be brought about without the help
of a considerable core of persons with enlightened attitudes-both within the
profession and outside of it. A program of general linguistic education must
inevitably accompany any sweeping changes in our language-teaching goals
I utter this warning because I see the language problem as a vital element
in the democratic social order which is emerging here in the West Indies.
Democracy depends for its very existence upon an informed and enlightened
electorate. An electorate can be neither informed nor articulate without a
competent working command of the language-a point so obvious that it
scarcely needs to be elaborated. This places the responsibility for the
continued existence of all that we regard as fundamentally worthwhile squarely
upon the educational system and the teaching profession. In the past, events
have moved slowly enough and problems were sufficiently simple that we could
afford a certain degree of bungling and failure. The portents of the future
leave us little or no margin of comfort here. As teachers and educators we
must either produce or bear the responsibility for what may well happen to
destroy our way of life.
Prolegomena To A West Indian Culture
H. L. V. SwANZY
The writer of this article, occupies a peculiar position in West Indian Literature.
Having been in charge of the B.B.C. programme "Caribbean Voices" for
some years, he has probably read a wider variety of prose and poetry by
contemporary West Indians than any other single person. 1I'e are very
glad, therefore, of giving our readers an opportunity of reading some of
IT is not inconceivable that of all the English-speaking world, the West Indies
may be revealed as the place most suited for maintenance of a literary
tradition. For real maintenance relics upon real development and to that
almost every important factor in the Caribbean cultural situation conspires.
Listed almost at random, there is the new social need for self-consciousness,
which politically takes the form of Nationalism; and to this we may add the
special need to communicate provided by small islands, isolated as their very
name implies. Then, as was seen by the late Harold Stannard, the racial
stock of a potential writer is one of the richest in the world, providing
wonderful chances of cross-fertilisation : European, African and Asiatic strains
mingle, as with the Greeks of old; as amongst Aegeans and Dorians of Greece,
the Teutonic and Latin are contrasted. So far as the subject-matter is
concerned, the self-realisation of a people through the acceptance and sub-
limation of the facts of slavery and the colour-bar are the grand theme for
tragedy and eventual triumph. There is all the colour, there are the capes
and promontories of a rich peasant life. And, linked with this, there is
reverence for the word, preserved in a society still largely illiterate, unspecial-
ised, given to open air gatherings. In the view of someone writing in con-
temporary Europe, this is perhaps the most important of all the factors that
should encourage the development of a really significant regional literature
within the Caribbean, the first stage towards the establishment of standards
recognized in the wider English-speaking world.
Reading makes a full man, writing makes an exact man, conference makes
a ready man. As we have seen, the last two necessities are as well met in the
Caribbean as anywhere else. But what of the first? It is the obvious and
important gap in the West Indian scene today, and there is no need for me
to labour it, for, without it, there would be no place for someone like myself
in a magazine like this, an European producer of the B.B.C., writing on
a sunny morning in London, of a country he has never visited and of problems
that are not directly his own. The trouble for West Indian writers is that
there are far too few readers. In fact, with the exception of the week-end
editions of the newspapers, the literary pages in the dailies, and the occasional
gallant small anthology, of which one must particularly mention the Barbadian
BIM under the editorship of Frank Collymore, there are no outlets or forum
of exchange, except the B.B.C. No doubt, the extremely rare writer does
write only for himself; but most writers, like Dr. Johnson want to write to
be read. And, failing the solitary and introspective genius, the only way of
overcoming this isolation is through the organisation of clubs, which all too
often fall into that bane of true literature, the mutual admiration society, with
standards that gradually fall lower and lower, through refusal to make living
contact with the outside world, either the metropolitan zones outside, or,
perhaps even more dangerously, with the mass world about them. Odi
Now, what is the real reason for this state of affairs? Because it
is no use to think of changing it until we analyse the causes, and change
them. And it is no use to talk glibly of a Caribbean culture, in its own right,
before we build up a climate of ideas. Naturally, there is the entire preceding
hundred years to account for, with its poverty, its materialist culture even
less interested in literature and the things of the spirit than, for example the
French, with their long tradition of humanism. But it is too easy to blame
the class society. It is the sad truth that nearly all great literatures have, as
their catalyst at least, an dlite. This is often politically reactionary, since
Beauty, one literary virtue, and the one most easily grasped perhaps, can
frequently only be obtained at the expense of Goodness, as for example in
the sacrifice of social justice in the creation of the leisure class, which, at
least in the past, has been absolutely essential for the encouragement of
really good writers, as opposed to those who are facile, popular, or with
other social uses. For quality is a virtue that requires much schooling really
to grasp. If we take this view, the absence of the apparatus of a literary
culture in the Caribbean cannot be put down only to material poverty; for,
there has been a leisure class, however small, for some hundreds of years.
Why then has it evolved nothing? Pat comes the answer : because of
colonialism and capitalism. It is true that the uninspired shibboleths of
teachers who are not creators, have in fact saddled past generations of West
Indian children with English classics, set for some distant examination. But
why has there never been a literary revolt as in Scotland, a colony of England,
a conquered colony, almost as poor as the West Indies, which has a continual
tradition of poetic revolt against the major English centre? Because Scotland
was an independent kingdom? That may be one answer, but it is not the
whole answer. Then again, the reason for the lack of the beginnings of a
West Indian culture is given as the materialist capitalist organisation in the
last century. It is true that the plantation period produced far more numerous
and better literary progeny than anything since Emancipation. Colonisation
est chosification, according to Aimd Cesaire, the Communist deputy for
Martinique, and himself a poet of the surrealist persuasion: colonising is
thingifying. There is a great deal of truth in this; for an economic view of
society, is purely statistical and purely quantitative, and totally unconcerned
with quality, which is the essence of literature. On the other hand, with all
its faults, there has been a certain development of literary culture in the
French colonies, despite capitalism, or perhaps even because of it if we
remember the theory of the leisure class as necessary for literature.
What then is the final answer? Of course, there is none : but, greatly
daring, I would like to suggest one approach, if only to combat a dangerous
tendency, observed in conversations with young West Indians in London,
and in the body of the 750 odd manuscripts I must have seen in the last
three years. That tendency is the blaming of external sources, especially the
unfavourable circumstances of history, for the failure to produce. What I
would like to suggest is that we should also consider geography, which is a
far more intimate, indeed painful matter. Unless he is very gifted, or very
happy in his society, the writer must also be a reader, and the exuberance,
the glory that the Negro people saw depart when buckra come, must be
accompanied by hard thought, comparative study, a sense sometimes of
dedication, if a real act of creation is to ensue. It is, as it were, the masculine
principle against the feminine. What seems to me the very great problem in
a potential Caribbean literature, under capitalism, socialism, communism,
nationalism, or any other ism, is in fact that tropical dolce far niente, the
easy drift, the acceptance of the facile and immediately brilliant, the lovely
flower that so quickly becomes over-blown. Without claiming omniscience,
I have seen this tendency elsewhere, of easy synthesis, the parallel of the
proliferation of organic molecules in the sun. I have seen it in other tropical
writings more advanced perhaps than anything I have yet seen in the Carib-
bean, in Brazil, for instance, or Mauritius. Whatever the effect of climate,
I think that it would be well if the West Indian writer bore such a question
in mind, if only because it would force him back upon his own spiritual
resources, in confronting the many very grave problems of his people.
By all that has gone before, it must be clear that, whether rightly or
wrongly, I do not think that there is as yet any clear sign of a definite West
Indian literature : that is to say, a literature so definitely different, that one
has to rub one's eyes, and start anew at a passage, speculating on
the questions, the moral imperatives that lie beneath it. Equally, the language
is not yet in my opinion sui generis, although now and again I think I detect
the rhythm of common speech, dying away in a fall in Jamaica and in
Trinidad very fast, and shot out ot the comer of the mouth. But I cannot
detect more, because I am only a temporary caretaker and such things are
for West Indian themselves. Of course I do not mean by language dialect
language alone, although writers gifted with sensitive ears are able to reproduce
rhythms and idioms which make their strong effect even on gross Northern
senses. By language, I mean the climate of ideas, worked out by speculative
minds, and put into words by sensitive artists. And the problem of relating
a regional literature to a world-language like English is always this,
the precise degree to allow for the common link of understanding, the precise
degree to infuse it with local idioms, rhythms and, above all, values. I now
intend to give some examples from the literary programme organised by the
B.B.C. of work, which, if not specially West Indian, does at least show that
the talent is there to provide the clothing for genuine self-consciousness in the
high sense. For, writing and writers are not necessarily the founders of a
culture, but its expression, the expression of the best thought of the age.
It is for this main reason that I would really select poetry as the main
example of work in progress, rather than prose. Poetry is inevitably more
highly organised, the poets show signs of having read* more, of having more
influences, and they do not hesitate to make value-judgments, which are to
some extent ignored in the prose, which tends to be descriptive writing. Nor,
despite some excellently clear and honest writing, has any outstanding prose
personality emerged, on a scale which can be easily assessed. One knows of
no profoundly original mind, except it be the quick mind of the columnist
A. E. T. Henry in Jamaica. One knows of no profoundly moving style,
except it be, very occasionally, Karl Sealy in Barbados. Of outstanding
arrangers and harmonisers of social material, we know Samuel Selvon and
Willy Richardson in Trinidad, or Inez Silbey, R. L. C. Aarons, John Mansfield
in Jamaica. One knows of no remarkable internal ear, unless it belongs to
Eugene Bartrum of British Guiana, or R. E. B. Brathwaite of Trinidad. One
knows of no delicate and humorous fancy, except it be Eula Redhead in
Grenada, with her jewelled nancy stories, or "Philip Phumbles" in Honduras,
with his more pungent social humour. One knows of no power of conveying
personal emotion in prose unless it is John Wickham of Barbados, now in
Trinidad. One knows of no genuine social protest, except it be Roger Mais
in Jamaica, or Clifford Sealy or Lennox de Paiva or Errol Hill in Trinidad.
One knows of no blunt and affecting "peasant writing", unless it is William
Arthur in Barbados, or Wilfred Redhead in Grenada. One knows of no
brilliant pictorial talent, except it be "P. D. Lincott"; or of specific wisdom,
except glimpses in C. M. Hope of Barbados. One knows of no general inventive
capacity, except it be Ernest Carr and Egbert Gibbs, among the older
generation in Trinidad, or Edgar Mittelholzer among the younger. And there
are other prose writers one could mention, good but not outstanding, the
corpus of the future laboriously constructing the ground-work pour servir, to
serve those that come after. I doubt if it is necessary to point out that not
all the creative writers of the Caribbean contribute to the programme,
especially certain eminent practitioners in Jamaica.
So much for the prose, although it may be worth adding that one reader
is now able to distinguish between a story written by a writer of Negro stock,
and another of East Indian : the former much more concerned with dialogue,
much less with scenery and pictures, perhaps more full of "heart", the latter
in all ways the reverse; an interesting racial observation which follows wider
generalisations, and shows the difficulty of uniting the two streams and the
reward when and if this is successfully achieved.
*Prose influences seem to be Hemingway, Steinbeck, Dickens, Wells, D. H. Lawrence.
For the poetry, the story is different. I would put three and possibly
four among the first class, and three among the class of aspirants, with
honourable mention for perhaps two or three more. But personal comparisons
are odious, and I do not propose to give the names of this private grading,
since some of them will emerge in the examples that I give in the course of
For this is in fact to be an enquiry, slight though it will have to be, into
the possible existence of something unique, of itself alone, in West Indian
And the answer might as well be given at once. There seems to be no
specific gift-bringer to the Parnassus of the world, saying; Admit me, I come
from the West Indies, with fruits that you can find nowhere else. I think
that all the better writers show signs of their origin, even when they are not
specifically describing the West Indian scene, either natural or human. And
I feel that a more elaborate psychological examination of some of them might
reveal even deeper mysteries. But a pint of practice is worth a gallon of theory,
and it may be worth starting off with one West Indian poet who would, for
good or bad, be accepted on his own merits by a London publisher. I refer
to Derek Walcott, the phenomenal young school-master in St. Lucia, who is
barely 19, but writes with the assurance of a man much older, in a volume
of poems recently published. It would need t,\o articles of this length to
deal with it. Here I can give but one example :
After that hot gospeller had levelled all but the churched sky,
I wrote the tale by tallow of a city's death by fire.
Under a candle's eye that smoked in tears, I
Wanted to tell in more than wax of faiths that were snapped like wires.
All day I walked abroad among the rubbled tales,
Shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar,
Loud was the bird-rocked sky, and all the clouds were bales
Torn open by looting and white in spite of the fire;
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked why
Should a man wax tears when his wooden world fails.
In town leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths
To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath
Rebuilding a love I thought was dead as nails,
Blessing the death and baptism by fire.
That poem on the fire at Castries could have been written, I think, by
any good young poet, influenced by the private poets like Dylan Thomas in
England. But this is only as it should be; for poets must always be influenced.
Every word we use we have learned somewhere. I quote the poem because
it is complete, and intelligible at a high level. Although Derek Walcott has
written several poems on definite Caribbean themes, none of them are more
specifically West Indian, and few are so immediately attractive. And indeed
why should they, how could they, be lW'est Indian, when we have said
already that there is no West Indian canon? It is work by men of talent like
Walcott that will build it.
Next comes something very different:
There is a limit to all human ways
There is a limit to all human love
And a great darkness in all human light
Yet faith flows down the river, peace fills trees,
And glory lights the morning when she comes
All wet and radiant from the golden clouds
And walks upon the mountains like a bride.
For there is promise in all hum:;n pain
There is a morning in all human night
And life and birth and beauty beyond death.
We have constructed Time with fear and greed
We have imprisoned Space with avarice
And murdered Life, the vision, with our sloth.
We have constructed Time
We have created Death in all our walks.
Here is a poetic personality more formed than Derek Walcott : the suffering
pantheist, nurtured on the bible, who finds unity and beauty in the sun.
He is Michael Smith, a young Jamaican anthropologist, now in West Africa,
who came to Europe, and was influenced by the German poet Rilke.
And so one morning when he answered not
She came and found his straw upon the floor
Cold, and the goatskins untouched. Martha said
"Jesus has gone into the wilderness".
Since first she knew that prayer had not ceased.
"O0 God Almighty, give me back my child.
Take this cup from me. Thou hast many sans.
O Father, Father, give me back my light".
This was a land where rumour, like the wind,
Bathing the cedars, swept the villages
With a great mounting tide of mood and dream,
Disabling the judgment of all fact,
And so the news came in blue rolling waves
That surged up suddenly and rushed and broke
Upon her clouds, and thundered till the deep
Swallowed the echoing heavens in their wake
And gave all calm an unreal sense of trance.
Michael Smith has eloquence, and a visual imagination, which he gives to a
deep spiritual purpose. A. J. Seymour, an older poet, in Guiana, gives his
force to simple narrative, on optimistic, forthcoming, American lines, and
speaks of Columbus with the personal interest of someone really discovered
Music came thundering through the North-East Trades
Fuller than orchestras, and bent the masts
All through the nights, and made them sorrow-laden
For green-graced islands that the ships had passed.
Each day broke on the ocean like a wheel
Bound to a hub of ships though driving fast
Deep to the westward under a sky now steel
Blue-gray and fatal, and now sapphire blue
Buttressed with golden evenings men could feel
All of their fears come mellow with the hue.
Behind them lay the far and wistful heights
Of Ferro and the Fortunate Islands and they knew
Back of these Spain, and widowed women, and light
From lovely Palos glittering on the sea.
The full poem has more technical mastery than the others, and it is certainly
less uneven. But it does not perhaps aim so high. "Political verse", it does
not have the direct impact of George Campbell in Jamaica.
She sings triumphant and with notes held long
She sings of mighty rivers
She sings of noble givers
And with accents strong
She sings of the African womb
Everlasting above the tomb
She sings of her island Jamaica
She sings of the glory of Africa.
The land calling
Clean fresh showers
Of rain falling.
The Grecian heroes
These new creatures
With strong noses
Walking about the world today.
Magnificent rhetoric, but to an outsider, it is in none of these poets that one
finds the special flavour of a new voice. This may be secreted in three poets
writing in Trinidad, although one of them, G. W. Lamming comes from
We looked on your countenance and found nothing
That we could recognize, nothing to revive the memory,
You had lost your tears, offered them back to your mother,
Mended your prodigal ways and returned to your mother.
And so we wished that time and the age would change,
Your mother would unclasp her arms, grant you your will,
Perchance your lover should come back, take your hand
And make you what you were before, a little island.
I cannot remember any original music of which this is an echo. Another
very young poet in Trinidad, C. L. Herbert, also has a power of phrase.
He whose blind quest for his mother's breast
Ended, his lifeline frayed by nibbling bullets,
As August unfurled her sixteenth morning . .
But the stanza that I always myself quote, which brings goose-flesh to my
back as I hear it, the sure test of poetry, is one by Harold Telemaque, an
uneven writer, but one who is a true servant of his Muse.
In our land,
We do not breed
That taloned king, the eagle,
Nor make emblazonry of lions:
In our land
The black birds
And the chickens of our mountains
Tell our dreams.
I hope that when, as is not so impossible in these days, a really good
anthology of West Indian writing of the modem age is made, that that will
form the dedication. The compilation will depend on further sifting. In the
meantime, I should like to suggest that newspapers show the same alacrity
in printing poems and short stories criticised as they show in reprinting the
criticism of writers in England.
The main value of a programme like Caribbean Voices is to provide an
outlet for writers who would otherwise be mute, a means of inter-communica-
tion with like minds, and, if anything so sordid can be mentioned, money,
for it must not be forgotten that the B.B.C. is subsidising West Indian writing
to the tune of 1,500 a year in programme fees alone. It is for this reason
that we encourage "local" writing, descriptive and otherwise, as well as for
the more obvious reason that people write and speak best about the things
they have made most their own, which in most cases are all the little details
of personal living to which they bring almost automatically the writer's
discipline of speech and selection. I do not know whether listeners have
learned anything more about themselves from the countless little stories and
sketches about aspects of present life, in country and town, in work and
leisure, in race-conflict, and class-conflict, in humour and tragedy. I know
that it has made the region alive to at least one reader in London, who has
difficulty at times in visualising the West Indian scene. The time allowed is
of course not enough to build up a cumulative effect; but if at any time there
appears a talent (usually a prose talent) which needs 3,200 words to make
its effect, and not 1,600 only, they may rest assured that they will be given
(Reproduced from Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. I No. 2)
Head thrust forward, arms pistoning smartly,
He puffed in
The pause, the final blast of smoke,
The cinder of his cigarette arching away,
The performance was on :
A little pink, performing engine,
Shy smile, brisk good morning
(He was clever enough)
The slightest of pauses in the sweep of the fatal glance
And girl X fluttered dangerously ;
How obvious to all was this comedy !
Then the subtle crudities :
He spoke of inabilities as impotence ;
Reiterations, ejaculations ;
The intercourse of consenting minds ..
But it made sense !
What a calculated coincidence !
The ending was tragic,
She succumbed to that simple performance.
A curious group were we,
He and she,
And I who loved the silly maid.
I am all things,
Insane blasphemous conceited at least
They call me, and yet
Its true I tell you, I know ..
I feel it to be so.
Rockets, wars, Planets mere reality . .
I outflanked them, engulf
With a single glancing thought . .
A part of me they are . not I
A teeming world am I, full
Of myself ;
Not the Sun, nor yet
The outer constellations, but all .
And Venus I insist has her
Corner, no more.
I am a consciousness and all
I am conscious of.
SOCIAL NEEDS IN A CHANGING SOCIETY
Report of the Conference on Social Development in Jamaica, 1961.
" UP to the present ", comments a U.N.
writer, the periods of large-scale social
advances have usually followed wars,
depressions, and revolutions." (1)
One of the outstanding features of th(lie years
following the second world war has been the
widespread acceptance of new concepts of
social rights and social justice for all men.
As the British historian Arnold Toynbee puts
it-" This is the first age since the dawn of
history in which mankind has dared to
believe it practical to make the benefits of
civilisation available to the human race ".
This philosophy has resulted in a wider,
and more comprehensive approach to human
problems and human needs, both nationally
and internationally. Social Development ",
now the operative term, is defined as not
just the sum total of development activities
carried out by those agencies usually grouped
together under the social services ", but
" nothing less than the whole process of
change and advancement in the territory
considered in terms of the well-being of
society and the individual ". A process
which covers the economic, social, political,
and cultural fields ". (2)
Jamaica, like many other under-developed
countries has, in the last decade, been caught
up in a bewildering whirlwind of change and
advance in all these fields-changes which, in
the words of Mr. N. W. Manley would
impose severe stresses on almost any form of
social structure that one could imagine "
(3). As the country has advanced politically
towards Independence, the problem of
satisfying, with limited resources, the needs
expectations-and demands-of an over-
whelmingly poor population for better
standards of living (standards based, under-
standably, on those of affluent neighbours)
has become a very real one. The situation is
further compounded by the peculiarly
complex nature of the Jamaican society.
This is the background which, in July 1961,
prompted the Council of Voluntary Social
Services in Jamaica to sponsor. in collabora-
tion with the Extra-Mural Department of the
U.C.W.I., a Conference on Social Develop-
ment in Jamaica ", designed to enable
persons with a wide range of background,
experience and outlook to examine together
the social implications of the many changes
which are rapidly taking place in
Jamaica ". (4)
The Conference set out to assess the
changing needs in the social development of
Jamaica ; to examine policies and practices in
the light of present trends and changing
conditions, and to formulate a practical
programme for the future development of
the social services as an integral part of
national development ". (5)
The Conference, which lasted for nine days,
was indeed widely representative-a fact
which greatly enriched the discussions.
Delegates included not only persons directly
concerned with social services, but represent-
atives of every major sector of the country's
life, including commerce and industry, trade
unions and political parties, the Bar
Association, the Jamaica Constabulary, the
U.C.W.I. Guild of Undergraduates, and many
Advisers were : Dr. George Davidson,
Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigra-
tion in Canada, and past President of the
International Conference of Social Work ;
Mr. Paul Berthoud, Director, Social Affairs
Division of the UN. Economic Commission
for Latin America ; Miss Leslie Sewell,
Secretary of the U.K. National Association
of Youth Clubs ; and Dr. George Cumper,
Senior Lecturer in Economics, U.W.I.
The Report of the Conference on Social
Development in Jamaica, which has recently
been published (at a subsidized price of 5/-)
is a comprehensive account of the work of the
Conference. It is conveniently divided into
five sections :
The first consists of background papers
by leading authorities in Jnmasics, designed
to give delegates a knowledge of the
social, economic, and demographic back-
ground to the problems to be discussed.
The second section gives the texts of
evening lectures by the Advisers, and
others, intended to provide a background
.... in a rather different sense, by setting
out some basic issues of social policy in
terms of general ideas and of international
The third section gives the texts of short
talks which opened each day's work, and
were intended as starting points to the
In the fourth section, Dr. Cumper, who
edits the Report, gives his own brilli nmt
evaluation of the Conference, and
synthesizes the Reports of the nine Study
Groups into which the Conference was
divided. These Group Reports are set
out in the fifth section of the book.
The Conference aroused widespread
interest in Jamaica, and there is no doubt
that it helped greatly to focus attention on
the problems of Social Development in the
Island. How far, one might ask, did it
succeed in its avowed and somewhat
ambitious aims ?
One must, I think, agree with Dr. Cumper
who, in his evaluation considered that
". . it achieved much more than thIe cynics
expected, though rather less than its
organizers aimed at in their statement of
purposes. It did not produce a unified
blueprint for social development, but it did
indicate the desirable lines of advance in the
moat important fields of social policy, and it
generated among the minember a frame or
mind in which they were prepared to devote
themselves wholeheartedly to whatever pro-
gramme is founded on the word of the con-
ference ". (p. 121)
This book is a valuable addition to the
literature on Social Work in Jamaica. It
presents a concise, comprehensive review and
critique of the social background, policy and
problems. On the quality of the material,
Dr. George Davidson, in his closing address to
I lie Conference stated :
You have every right to enjoy the
growth in your self-respect and in the pride
that you must feel in the capacity and
talent of your own fellow workers who have
stood before you and given what to me are
some of the most impressive presentations
that I have heard at a conference for many
years. You won't go to conferences
anywhere that I know of and find any
presentations finer or more sensitive than
the presentation of Peter Abrahams (The
Influence of Ideas) or of Lewis Davidson
(Acceptance of Social Change.) You won't
find anything, no matter how large the
conference, more exciting, more efferves-
cent in its spirit than the presentation of
Rex Nettleford (New Goals in Education) ;
you won't find any more full of competence
and sounder in approach in any conference
I have attended than that which was
presented to you by Arthur Brown
(Economic Factors in Social Develop-
mnent) ". (p. 176)
The effort to compress the Report into one
hundred and eighty one pages, makes it
rather difficult reading, but it is well worth
the effort. It is a book which will,
undoubtedly be of value not only to the
busy officials who care responsible for
planning and executing programmes of
development, but also to the ordinary
thoughtful men and women who are equally
concerned with the future of the country ".(6)
The overall problems discussed are common
to most developing territories and the Report
should be. therefore, of interest also to
students, planners, and social workers in
many other countries.
It should assist in providing for readers
what, in the words of Dr. George Davidson,
it provided for delegates to the Conference-
" a little better understanding of the nature
of the problems and the nature of the causes
with which we are endeavouring to cope in
promoting the social development of the
people . ." (p. 176)
(1) International Survey of Programmes of
Social Development, 1959. p. 7.
(2) Ashridge Conference on Social Develop-
ment in the British Overseas Terri-
(3) Foreword to Programme of Conference
on Social Development in Jamaica.
(4) Introduction to Programme of Con-
Staff Tutor, Social Work.
D. A, G. WADDELL, O.U.P 1961
" IF THE world had any ends, British
Honduras would certainly be one of them.
It is not on the way from anywhere to
anywhere else. It has no strategic value.
It is all but uninhabited." D. A. G. Waddell,
in the Preface to his book British Hon-
duras (OUP 1961) quotes and endorse this
pronouncement made in the 1930's by
Aldous Huxley (" Beyond the Mexique Bay.")
One was therefore justified in expecting very
little that is useful from the chapters that
follow Dr. Waddell's preface. The 142 pages
of text have, however, produced some
material that will undoubtedly benefit
students of West Indian and British Hon-
duran affairs; for to quote Dr. Waddell
himself, "no fullseale history of British
Honduras exits (p. 143). Such i history
may never exist in view of Huxley's
pronouncement. However, Waddell, for all
the 'tentative" nature of his general work,
lets the reader feel otherwise.
For although this little outpost of empire
is all but useless to Great Britain, le coeur a
sea raisons. Hardly one Englishman in
fifty thousand derives any profit from tile
Britishnees of British Honduras (Huxley
quoted on p. 141). So as long as Britain
will regard it her duty to discharge what
she considers to be her political responsi-
bility towards British Honduras ", and as
long as resolutions of loyalty to the British
Crown are passed by the Legislature of the
colony, there will be much to write about.
Moreover, more and more diplomatic
histories are likely to be written if Guatemala,
with or without the Organisation of Contral
American States (ODECA), continue to press
for her claims to British Honduras. British
Honduras itself is not without its politicians
who appreciate the political significance of
thle claims as Dr. Waddell makes George
Price and Leigh Richardson out to be ; and
the flirtations by B. H. politicians with
Guatemalan overtures can even serve to
make the world sit up and take notice by
sparking some minor world crisis especially if
thile Guatemalan President of the day happens
to be suspected of fellow-travelling as in the
case of President Arbonz in 194!9 (p. 127).
It is clear that Dr. Waddell has not been
able to escape the B. H.-Guatemalan
dispute. How could he 't Yet his book is
not conceived purely, or even, largely, inl
these terms and lie has actually opened up for
future serious work erstwhile negloctedi
aspects of the country's history and develop-
mont. His account of the constitutional
history of the country (p. 49-56) is to the
point if a bit concise, though this is inevitable
owing to tile paucity of sources now avail-
able. The chapter on The Economy succinctly
points to the problems inherent in an
underpopulated, underdeveloped, primary-
producing and natural-disaster ridden
country despite the optimistic pronounce-
ments by the many experts on Biritsh
Honduras' potentialities. In a world of
artificial markets quotas, subsidies, tariffs
and restrictions, it might well seem advisable
for such a small country as British Hon-
duras, which cannot hope to have any
significant influence on world markets, to
protect its industries by attaching itself in a
close and permanent fashion to some larger
unit (p. 107-108). It is in the light of this
assessment that Waddell in his last chapter
suggests and discusses the active dynamic
force in British Honduran contemporary
history-i.e. contemplated association, in
some form or other, now with Guatemala
(and Central America), now with the West
Indies Federation and at times even with
Mexico. By this token Dr. Waddell gives
to this colony the somewhat unique distinc-
tion of having an active foreign (or external
affairs) policy, however limited in scope.
With Ilth West Indies Federation about to be
dissolved, British Honduran internal politics
is presumably robbed of what has so far
proved to be a powerful motive force. But
as Dr. Waddell keeps reminding his readers,
lBritish Honduran political life is underlined
by a precarious economic condition which is
threatening to leave the country timberless,
underpopulated, untilled and without any
significant industries. As long as this
condlitioni persists, British Honduras will
continue to have a contemporary history
worth writing about-albeit a colonial one
revolving around British grants-in- aid,
British insistence in imilinistering or auditing
ihese grants, and British Honduran
Dr. Waddell has provided the West Indies
with certain informal ion between hard covers.
At this time all possible information (facts as
well as views on these facts) are necessary for
building up our still too scanty sources for
fu tre serious work on the territories in the
Wrest Indies. He need hardly apologise for
the period after World War II. He is indeed
at his best in the straightforward history but
his views on political thinking and the
economic situation in thli territory are more
than a mere indication of what has taken
place in British Honduras since 11949, from
which year lie, wisely or unwisely,
dates "the emergence of modern politics in
British Honduras" (p. 109). This work has
beenii long overdue thus making Dr. Waddell's
book oven more welcome. Sixth Formers
and first year undergraduates as well as the
general interested reader will find it useful.
What is more, thle book has the merit of
Short list of recent books published by members of
the staff of the University
CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY VOLUME 8 NO. 2
Carrington, A. G. ... Aspects of Martials Epigrams, Shakespeare, Head Press,
Hall, D. G. ... Free Janmaica, 1838-1865 : An Economic History, Yalo
University Press, Caribbean Series No. 1, 1959.
1Hall, D. G., Augior, F. R., The Making of the West Indies, Longmans, London, 1960.
Gordon, S., Reckord, M.
Smith, M. G. ... Goocrnmnent in Zazzau 1800-1950, Oxford University Press,
Lo Page, R. B. and Creole Language Studies I, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., London,
Short list of recent books on West Indian subjects
* John Hearno
* Frederick C.ts9idy
R. D'Aeth (Ed.)
* V. S. Naipaul ...
Philip Sherlock ...
*Tyrone Guthrio ...
*R. B. Davidson
Land of the Living, Faber and Faber-18/-
... Jamaica Talk-Three Hundred Years of the English Language
in Jamaica, Macmillan & Co., Ltd.-30/-
... A Biology for the West Indies and British Guiana, Macmillan
& Co., Ltd.-1-1/-
... Secondary Schools in the British Caribbean-Aimrs and
Methods, Longmans Green-7/-
A House for Mr. Biswas, Andre Deutsch-21/-
West Indian Story, Longmans Green-4/-
... A Life in the Theatre, Published by Hamish Hamilton-25/-
... Trade Unionismn-A Practical Approach, Published by
Longmans Green & Co. Ltd.-6/-
* Reviewed in Caribbean Quartorly.
CARIBBEAN QUARTERLY VOLUME 8 NO. I
Review "A Life in the Theatre" by Hugh Morrison
"The Maroons in 18th Century" by George Cumper.