r'~~ h- -
VOL. 9 NOS. 1 & 2
Editorial Comments and Notes 1
T. S. ELIOT Thd Waste Land
R J. Owens 3
PATRICK JOSEPH KEENAN'S REPORT, 1869 Part II.
Secondary and Higher Education
Shirley C. Gordon .--- 11
THE SETTLEMENT OF FREE NEGROES IN TRINIDAD BEFORE
K. 0. Laurence 26
STABILISATION POLICIES IN THE WEST INDIAN SUGAR
George C. Abbott .... 53
TEACHING ENGLISH IN THE WEST INDIES
Cecil Gray .... 67
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN PURE AND APPLIED
R. 0. Robinson 78
Jean Creary .... 88
Jamaica The Search for an Identity .... 89
Love Leaps Here .... .... 91
Dark Puritan 96
NOTE ON MANUSCRIPTS
MSS. and Communications should be addressed to the Editor. Unsolicited MSS.
which are not accepted for publication will be returned if accompanied by a stamped
Copyright reserved, and reproduction without permission strictly forbidden.
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES
Editor: HECTOR WYNTER, Director of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies, Mona,
The Editor is advised by an Editorial Board, consisting of
members of the University Staff, Mona, Jamaica.
Single copies can be obtained in the West Indies, from
booksellers or from the Extra-Mural Department in any territory.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
Subscribers in the West Indies and the
United Kingdom (4 issues post free) .... $2.00 W.I. or 8/4d.
Subscribers in other countries .... .... $2.00 (U.S.) or equivalent
Fill in the form below and send with subscription to:
Department of Extra-Mural Studies,
University of the West Indies,
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica.
or to the local office of the Resident Tutor in any territory.
"Caribbean Quarterly" Subscription Form
N a m e : ..............................................................................................................................
A d d ress : ............................................................................... .....................................
I enclose..............................n payment of............................ subscriptions)
Valid from Vol. ..................No...................for 4 issues.
Signed: ..................... .............................
D ate : ......................... ........................................
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 ...... ....... F. Asprey
The Couronians and the West Indies-The First
Settlements ...... ..... Edgar Anderson
William Dampier (1652.1715)-Writer and Buccaneer
in the West Indies ..... ...... John A. Ramsaran
The Panan, an Afrobahian Religious Rite of Transition Melville J. Herskovils
Dark Puritan, Part III ...... .... M. G. Smith
Price: 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue.
Vol. VI, No. 1
Queen Anne's Government and the Slave Trade D. A. G. Waddell
George Charles Falconer ...... ...... .... Joseph Borome
British Representation in Venezuela in 1B26 William M. Armstrong
A trip to Nassau, 1 2 ...... .... ..... ..... Samuel Proclor (Ed.)
A Royal Birthday in Haiti ........ Jean Comhaire
Cultural Relations within the Caribbean Lou Lichiveld
Vol. VI, Nos. 2 and 3
Canada's Federal Experience ..... ...... ...... Alexander Brady
Australia Background to Federation F.... F. W. Mahler
The Constitution of Australia ... ....... S. Romphal
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. Ramphal
Summary of Constitutional Advances--
Trinidad and Tobago ...... ...
Jamaica ...... ...... ...... Harvey de Costa
Leeward and Windward Islands __ ...... ..... F. A. Phillips
Price: $1.50 (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 6/3 U.K. per issue.
Vol. VI, No. 4
Faculty of Agriculture-U.C.W.I. C. Holman B.
Oriens Ex Occidente Lux ..... .. ...... ...... Hugh W. Spri.
A Theory of Small Society ... ...... Kenneth E. Bou
An Economic Phenomenon -..... ...... Alfred P. Thor
La Reconnaisance Estate, Lopinot Valley, Arouca ...... ...... Gertrude Carm
Terre Bois Bol .. ... - Harold F. C. S
Price: 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K., per issue.
Vol. VII, Nos. 1 and 2
Drums and Colours-an Epic Drama commissioned
for the Opening of the First Federal Parliament
of The West Indies, April 23rd, 1958 ...... ...... Derek Walcott
Price: $1.20 (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 5/- U.K. per issue.
Vol. VII, No. 3
West Indian Culture ... ..... ...... M. G. Smith
West Indian Poetry ...... ...... R. J. Owens
The French West Indian Background of "Negritude" ...... R. Coultha
Du Tertre and Labat on 17th Century Slave Life in the
French Antilles .. .. ...... v. C. Jesse
The Place of Radio in the West Indies .... .W. Richardson
The Turks and Calces IslandsSome Impressions of an
English Visitor .. .. ......Doreen Collins
Price: 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue.
Vol. VII, No. 4
Education and Economic Developmet ...... W. Arthur Lew
The University College of the West Indies ...... ...... T. W. J. Taylo:
Drugs from the West Indies .... ...... ...... Compton Seafo
Political Education in the Developing Caribbean .. ...... Rex Nettleford
Frederic G. Cassidy, Jamaica Talk
Muntu, An Outline of Neo-African Culture,
A Home for Mr. Blswas
Price 60 cents (B.W.I. or U.S.) or 2/6 U.K. per issue.
Editorial Comments and Notes
WE should like to express our thanks publicly to the Trinidad
Government Printery for the excellent service which it has given to
the University in the printing of "Caribbean Quarterly." It will be
remembered that from its inception "Caribbean Quarterly" has been
prepared by the Government Printery and over the years it has pro-
duced this journal with a high standard of printing which has drawn
favourable comment from all quarters.
In the last two years, there has been increasing pressure on the
Government Printery through the rapid increase of Government print-
ing involved with the major changes which have taken place in
Trinidad. That the Government Printery has been able, despite this
pressure, to be able to bring out issues for us has been worthy of the
We should like to thank publicly also the Premier of Barbados who
has kindly offered the services of the Government Printery in Barbados
for the printing of "Caribbean Quarterly."
This co-operation between governments and the Department is an
indication of the great interest in adult education evinced at all levels
in the Caribbean.
At the time of writing the University has been considering its
future role in the new West Indies. The Council of the University has
set up a Committee which will have reported by the time this issue is
published. It is quite certain that there will be some measure of
administrative decentralisation, some modification of the general
degree structure, and some modification in the role of the Department
of Extra-Mural Studies and its organisation.
The decision to bring out a double issue enables us to present a
much wider selection of topics to our readers.
We welcome as contributors for the first time, Keith Laurence, a
lecturer in the Department of History who contributes an interesting
article on The Settlement of Free Negroes in Trinidad before Emancipa-
tion; George Abbott, Research Fellow in the Institute of Social and
Economic Research who contributes an article on Stabilisation Policies
in the West Indian Sugar Industry; Cecil Gray, Lecturer in the Depart-
ment of Education who contributes an illuminating article on The
Teaching of English in the West Indies; Rudolph Robinson, Senior
Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering who explains
in a refreshing manner the difference between Pure Mathematics and
Applied Mathematics and Jean Creary, Lecturer in the Department of
English, two of whose poems appear for the first time in this issue.
We continue an interesting series by Shirley Gordon on Education
reports which have influenced the development of education in the
West Indies, and welcome again contributions from the following:
Frank Hill who reviews Katrin Norris' book on Jamaica, Mervyn Morris
who reviews John Figueroa's book of poems; R. J. Owens contributes
an article on T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land.
T. S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land.'
R. J. OWENS
IT IS over 40 years since The Waste Land appeared and what once
seemed to be a baffling poem is so no longer. Partly through the
passage of time and partly through a growing familiarity with Eliot's
subsequent poetry much of the original obscurity has disappeared. Yet,
although generally recognized to be a landmark in English poetry, a
seminal influence on much of the verse written during the last three
decades Mr. Derek Walcott, to cite a local example, owes much to
lMr. Eliot The Waste Land continues to provide difficulties, for many
educated readers. There is still room, it seems, for some explanatory
comment, particularly perhaps in the West Indies, where Eliot has
begun to figure in the syllabuses at teachers' training colleges.
The first impression of The Waste Land is of multiplicity, of
plurality. The reader is aware of, and responds to, the various parts
of the poem, but he feels that the parts are separate, unconnected,
and lacking in any cohesion. Repeated reading makes it fairly clear,
however, that this breaking up of the more usual modes of discourse
ir intended to reflect the chaos of modern civilization. Further, the
fragmentation is only apparent, for underlying it there is an artistic
unity. Eliot's poem is concerned with his experience of a civilization
which is confused and chaotic, but it is also a means of ordering and
harmonizing his experiences. The means by which this order is
achieved are complexly related and interdependent, but they are by
now fairly clear. There is, first, a poetic analogy to the composer's
use of motif and theme to relate the separate parts of a composition;
secondly, the use of psychological association deriving from the poet's
insight into the complex structure of our feelings by which apparently
opposed feelings are connected or apparently similar feelings are
opposed; and thirdly, the unifying effect of what he has called the
mythic method. The significance of myth in Eliot's poetry is overriding.
Central to the poem is the feeling of dissatisfaction signified by
the barren land where all life dies for lack of water. The poet is
sickened by the realities of his time and yearns to escape from them,
but at the same time he thirsts for a renewal of life. Together, these
attitudes produce the essential feelings which underlie all the varia-
tions in the poem. For Eliot examines not only the present but his
own reaction to it in the light of a wider context. He finds his own
state of mind and feeling parallel to that of other men in the past, and
mirrored, too, in those primitive rites through which earlier men found
relief for their anguish at nature's death in the dry time of the year
and their longing for the return of Spring. The idea of incorporating
the primitive fertility rite into the poem was suggested by a study of
the history of religion which suggested a new interpretation of the
Grail legend. I
In the mediaeval legend of the Grail the hero comes to a waste
land which is visited by a whole series of evils. It is barren through
long years of drought, or it has been devastated by war; the crops do
not grow, both man and beast have lost their powers of propagation,
and all this stands in a mysterious relation to the fact that the ruler
of the land, the fisherman King, has lost his virility. Miss Weston
seeks to explain certain elements in the saga by reference to old
fertility cults. The common elements in the archaic and primitive
magical and religious rites of the old agricultural cults the idea,
namely, of a vegetation spirit which yearly dies and is later resurrected
- should be found still present in the ground motif of the saga. The
situation corresponds to one of the critical stages in the performance
of the rites: the death of the God of growth and fruitfulness.
The literary principle motivating the fusion of a complex of
elements from past tradition in a poem dealing with the present has
been characterized by Eliot himself, in a critique of James Joyce's
method, as the mythic method: the using of a running parallel between
the past and the present. The method is common to the two authors.
Eliot without doubt has been aided by Joyce's work: several chapters
of Ulysses were first published in periodicals 2 and its influence on the
development of literature began long before the complete work came
out in book form in the same year that The Waste Land was published.
Joyce used the parallel with the Odyssey as an ironic contrast to
Bloom's none too heroic goose-chases in Dublin, but by letting the un-
important advertising solicitor play the role of a revenant of Odysseus
he lifts him at the same time into a large perspective. Such a two-fold
lighting is just what the myth can give us. The Homeric prototype
has also however its limitations, because it can scarcely lend any
increased reasonance to the tragedy in Ulysses, to the brooding and the
feeling of loneliness.
In The Waste Land the connection between myth and the topical
is more immediate and more intensive. On both planes the psycho-
logical situations are of the same kind: a transition period in which
the basic needs are not satisfied: in which man is shown to live in a
mixture of "memory and desire" to cite a formula which opens the
poem and is one of its key expressions. This negative experience which
is directly expressed in the poem Is not of itself sufficient: it gets mean-
ing only through being apprehended in relation to its positive opposite.
The primitive rite contained both these "moments" both the death
of the god of fertility and his resurrection. When Eliot chose it for his
mythic understructure he thereby also gave an indirect expression to
his own anguish in the face of the uncertainty of that later completing
moment: is a new life possible even for us? The hope of a new fruit-
fulness is given its accentuation through being intimated at the
beginning and toward the end of the poem. The title of the first part,
"The burial of the dead," alludes to the god of fertility ("the hanged
1 Although Eliot has poohpoohed the significance of his Notes to The Waste Land,
Miss J. L. Weston's From Ritual to Romance still seems relevant to an understanding
of the poem.
2 The Egoist, 1919, (of which T.S.E. was an editor), and the Little Review.
one") who, in the nature cult, is sacrificed only to come back to life
in a renewed form. And when the hanged god for the second time
returns as the crucified Christ the idea of resurrection is again implied.
"The dead" are at the same time inhabitants of the modern
metropolis which for Eliot has become the epitome of the desolation
of the time. The sterility in men's relations one to another is perceived
not least in the life of love which is one of the dominating themes of
the poem. When, in one of the central scenes, the seduction of a
typist by a book-keeper is sketched, the act of love is apathetic: and
we see the same type of relation in the series of feminine silhouettes
which Eliot calls the daughters of Thames. But even when men are
not excluded from love relationships which have real importance for
their lives, the experience, as Eliot sees it, is in the end negative. In
his leading motif he opposes two contrasting "moments" in the
relationship between man and woman. The one which states a positive
possibility, is the episode with the hyacinth girl in the first part, a
setting forth of the ecstasy of young love. In the other a man and
woman meet again, but this time neither of them feels more than his
own isolating lifelessness ("A Game of Chess"). This significance
of contrasting motives for the poet's critique of life is underscored and
further explained when it is taken up for the last time: when the
thunder speaks, and as the condition for life's fruitfulness postulates
community and sympathy. Eliot's human being must answer that he
lacks the ability to realize the terms of the charge. Communion he
has experienced only once, "in the terrifying daring of a moment's
self-abandonment." What is left has become only one continuing
certainty: that every one of us is Immured in the prison of his own
personality, like Dante's Ugolino in the tower of hunger.
The common dissatisfaction which is symbolized in the dry land's
longing after rain is expressed in the individual's longing for "life"
in contrast to impotence and emotional impoverishment. But another
stream of feeling, that death-wish, which is the life-hunger's psycho-
logical complement, likewise goes through the poem from beginning
to end. The emotional ambivalence the contradiction between
desire on the one hand and fear of strong vital contacts on the other
hand is just as essential for the structure of the poem as the mythic
method. The poem is enclosed between two citations which give a
strong emphasis to this death wish. One, Eliot has taken as his motto:
the age-old sybil, shrunken to homunculus-proportions, has only one
wish to die. And then this wish is echoed in that last word of
Oriental nihilism which is also the poet's shantih shantih shantlh.
Eliot has the great poet's ability to find symbols which bring to a
concentrated expression the buried connections in his experience.
The Waste Land is from one point of view the end piece which rounds
out late romanticism's great Grail cycle. That Eliot abstained from
using the whole apparatus of the Grail symbolism is to be taken as a
criticism; it is also a measure which again indicates that he is above
others the poet of implication. Not even the chief symbol is here; the
Grail is never mentioned by name. When Eliot Instead lets water
itself stand forth as the principle of life, he has not only freed his
poem from a romantic cliche; he has made a positive advance for it:
the Grail has been sufficient to symbolize the soul's salvation and the
powers of life at the same time, but the symbol of water has an even
richer import: it carries the idea of the water of life, but over and
above that it has an altogether different aspect which appears in the
new leading motif, "death through water." Here it becomes evident
the water is apprehended as both a life giving and a lethal element.
So, as the motif is developed in the poem, it testifies to the same
essential cleavage which"we have already noted: man is drawn to life
but fears it and is drawn to death but fears it.
Eliot achieves a high concentration when he borrows a line from
The Tempest, bringing it in as a variant of the drowning motif, death
through water. "Those are pearls that were his eyes" brings with it
the mood of Ariel's song with its suggestion of cradling rhythm, of
waves which lull the drowning one to peace. At the same time the
words become a formula which covers one more foundational contradic-
tion in the poem the contrast between the necessary imperfection
which characterizes living beings and the dead object's pure beauty:
between eyes and pearls. In its simplest form this contradiction is
given us when the church interior's "gleam of Ionic white and gold"
is set over against the city's rumbling and clatter in the Thames-side
proletarian quarters. The same treatment is evident when the foul
(one is tempted to say "desecrated") river of Part III is associated
with the Renaissance poem "Sweet Thames," and when the Thames
daughters' degraded loves lead the thoughts to Elizabeth and Leicester,
and when the vulgar street-song's unbeautiful Mrs. Porter is destroyed
by a line from Verlaine's Parsifal poem. Eliot's backward glances
always gives us something of this conflict of interests between the
soiled actuality of our daily living and memory's transfigured vision.
Another concentrated symbol has a close connection with the one
just stated. The ravished Philomela who is changed into a nightingale
is a variation of the eyes which are changed into pearls: still an
expression of the same death wish, the same longing to get away from
the waste land's soiled world. The poet has for ages been likened to
the nightingale, and Philomela's inviolable strains are his creation of
beauty, his conversion of life to "a costly treasure," in order again to
link it to Ariel's song and the refuge to which it invites. But memory
preserves also the picture of the hyacinth girl which includes a longing
fcr communion with a living person, one who will not pass over into
the realm of poetic beauty: and there again we have the psychological
ground-conflict of the poem in another modulation. Philomela has a
more general import than this: she is the desecrated and ruined life
in a mythical form. Apart from the transformation, Philomela is
suffering mankind in general, and suffering womankind in particular.
Philomela walks again in the typist, in the Thames' daughters, in
women who are exclusively means to sexual enjoyment: they are
violated, their feelings desecrated.
Some of the threads which, in this complex work, lead between
its life and its death mysticism, have been pointed out. The greatness
of such a poem as The Waste Land does not however lie in the fact
that it is complex but in the fact that it gives at once a forceful and a
subtle expression of something that is centrally human. Eliot's
endeavour has been to state wholly his life's experience without
emphasizing any one conflict or falsifying any element. The feelings
which belonged to himself and his time have been the materials which
he, as a poet, has had to utilize whether they won his admiration or
Formless is the last adjective one can apply to the poem. It is not
by accident that it reminds us, in its complexly interwelded structure,
of a musical composition. At the same time that Eliot and Joyce
developed the utmost consequences of the breaking away by romanticism
from classical forms of rhetoric to the benefit of a freer and more
psychological exposition they strove, too, for a formal classical
structure: and so they sought an alliance with the aesthetic of music.
In spite of their opposed direction Joyce toward expansion, and Eliot
toward the greatest concentration they exhibit in common this will
to form. The inner monologue in Ulysses seems to be a stream of free
associations and is intended so to seem; really it is a weaving of return-
ing leit-motifs. If we follow the course of the presentation a short way,
and trace out how different items stand in juxtaposition, we may
possibly make the unity of the whole much more perceptible.
The first theme to be sounded is composed of the two aspects of
the life-motif: Spring awakens the memory of life and desire after
life: but it is cruel; fear before life awakens as well. So the thought
glides over to the lethargy of winter; in this contra-theme is expressed
the longing for passivity and oblivion which is an aspect of the death
motif. Lethargy is a state not far removed from death, there is in it
only "a spark of life" but that is enough to ward off annihilation which
is death's other, feared aspect. The tone is bitter, first because a
minimum of life Is unsatisfactory, and secondly in the insight which it
seems to gain into what makes resignation alluring: the deep satisfac-
tion which must be given by the dream of a condition that is free from
A remarkable thing about Eliot's management of his themes is that
he often works with alternations of mood. The Spring theme is suc-
ceeded without transition by a "Summer" theme with a motif out of
tourist life which has no reference, to speak of, to anything in this
section: all one is reminded of from other sections are some meaning-
less bits of repartee traversing the passages of desolation. The contrast
in moods has its rhythmic counterpart. The Spring theme's tense.
arrested, but still forward-pressing rhythm suggesting both impulse
and its checking, forced to desire and forced to renounce, is loosened
suddenly, and moves in a swifter but looser time which characterises the
tourists' small-talk. Just as suddenly is stated the next theme, the
first picture of the desert; the solemn tone links it to the Spring
theme's reality in contradistinction to the triviality of summer. It is
the suffering poet's vain protest against the reality which tortures him;
a word from Hezekiah presses home the impotence of the man who
lacks the prophet's calling; he seeks a refuge but finds none. But he
finds a shadow under the red cliff and over this dark association of
ideas the thought is led further toward the refuge which is found, in
spite of all, and which has already been adumbrated in the lethargy
of the Winter theme. Here the thought ends In the fear of death;
that aspect of death which was only intimated in the Winter theme
is now explicitly stated.
The 'hyacinth girl' in the next part ties in naturally to the Spring
theme. With the aid of a quotation from Wagner there are intimated
here both the unconscious yearning which is present before the
moment of first love and the new feeling of loneliness which is left
after it. In the desolation of the sea at the end of the tragedy of
Tristan, there is an echo of the death theme. When Madame
Sosostris, the contemporary degenerate sybil, follows the hyacinth girl
the contrast is at once cutting and subtle. This fortune teller repre-
sents several of the soiled characters of the Summer theme in com-
parison with the youthfulness of the Spring theme and of the hyacinth
girl. At the same time, however, she is a mouthpiece for something
essential, for a deeper insight. It is through her mouth that we are
introduced to the motif of death through water as a new variation of
the death theme.
The last section in the first part gives a wider variation of the
death theme in a new lelt-motif, the unreality of the great metropolis,
introduced in two quotations from Dante's Inferno and ended by a
reference to a poem of Baudelaire's dealing with the modern city
dweller's falseness his lukewarm, inhibited desire finds no outlet in
action but only in the form of degrading daydreams. Eliot represents
this type by Stetson, who has buried, but only in fantasy, a body in his
garden in a more heroic time one really dared to do things: "thou
who wast with me when we strove at Mylae!" This voice is of the
1920's rather than the 1950's but not even now should Baudelaire's
pharisaical readers lack brothers among civilized mankind, in this
epoch of inescapable war.
In their seeking for a form which is both that of musical and of
psychological organization, Eliot and Joyce have been able to avail
themselves of both the practical and the philosophical theory of French
symbolism. Paul Valery had been engrossed in the problem of the
taking over by poetry of richer possibilities of expression through the
utilization of musical aesthetic. But before that, Mallarm6's The
Afternoon of a Faun tried to carry through a poetic counterpart to the
fugue. Such an experiment has been significant not only for Eliot:
one chapter in Ulysses is built upon a "fugue per canon." The distance
from literary symbolism to Bergson's philosophy is, in this connection,
a short one. Bergson's main idea duration is at once that of time
and that of the psychic. To visualize his conception of the psychic he
constantly uses musical analogies. He compares the single feeling to
a single tone in a melody when he is trying to prove that states of the
soul are not sharply separated but invade one another, interpenetrate
one another, just as a succession of tones is an indivisible organic
whole whose elements would not be the same if they were apprehended
A similar idea we find again in Eliot. He writes, of Baudelaire's
use of contrasts of feeling, that with this writer every new mood is
prepared for and implicated in the preceding mood, a sign that the
poet's experience has unity and interconnectedness. Of another poet
h- says that "a change in the mood is rather a regrouping of the same
elements in a new mood that hitherto was subordinate than a sub-
stitution for one mood of an altogether different one." The analysis
of theme development in the first part of The Waste Land as attempted
above, ought to have shown that in the above quotation Eliot has also
written of his own work.
Another feature that may be spoken of in connection with the
musical technique, is Eliot's way of using literary quotations and
allusions. The resulting effect becomes sometimes a poetic corres-
pondence to musical counterpoint. The poems Eliot plays upon or
travesties, are melodies to accompany his own melody. The song of
the Thames' daughters is accompanied contrapuntally by that of
Wagner's Rhine daughters; and when in the Summer theme he
celebrates the polluted Thames, he permits Spenser's pastorals to
become a disharmonic accompaniment to his own ironic writing. For
the rest, the chief myth fertility rites and the Grail motif is a
contrapuntal theme which plays over the whole of the modern presenta-
The mythic method has finally, when looked at as a hypothesis
in the history of ideas, an all-embracing conception of tradition which
can be joined with a method of observation not unusual in modern
ethnology, psychology, and culture-philosophy, and which is most
cogently expressed in the words, "the living past": the idea that every
moment in the historical progression preserves all the past. This idea
is met with in other forms than Bergson's, for instance in the thought
of certain psychoanalysts who say they discover in the unconscious of
the individual a collection of the essential "moments" in the psycho-
logical history of the race. According to the idea which Eliot himself
has set forth a poet becomes traditional, in the best sense of the word,
through the ability to separate the continually living, essential
Ingredients in tradition and to experience them as an organic unity.
The inter-war period's waste land in his poem is also filled with the
living past which thrusts itself into the present.
In one respect there is a great difference between Eliot and such
philosophers of evolution as Bergson and Croce. Eliot never subscribes
to the idea that evolution as such has worth, whether once and for
all this idea is bound in with the belief in a steadily forward movement
or whether it simply appears as a thesis that evolution implies increas-
ing values just because every moment in the present contains within
itself all the foregoing moments and consequently something more
that hitherto had never existed. Eliot does not see mankind as a
reservoir of endless possibilities, he emphasizes rather mankind's
limitedness. What has value for Eliot is not the evolutionary process
itself but certain definite human states of being which are lacking in
our time but could be realized in the future even as they have been
a reality in the past. In his poetry the idea of evolution seems oftener
than not to be conceived as running a cyclical course in which pro-
ductive and sterile periods of respectively similar characters succeed
one another: the twilight motif at the end of the poem can very well
point to the possibility of an approaching regeneration.
Perhaps one can find in this poem an agreement with a teaching
which in its long history has most often been stated in terms of con-
tradiction to "creative evolution," the teaching of "the eternal return."
Even if one disregards Nietzsche's idea of a cosmic eternal return, which
after all does not have immediate importance for Eliot, one can advance
literary parallels, first, of course, Ulysses. Joyce has gone so far in his
speculation on the question that in plain terms he has taken up such
a variant of the thought as transmigration and made it a leit-motif in
his book: Mr. Bloom is Odysseus. Both with Eliot and Joyce resurrec-
tion more or less exactly understood, becomes an expression for the
feeling that nothing is new under the sun, and, taken more generally,
becomes a point of view from which to observe the problem of what is
lasting and what is accidental in man's time-and-space-dictated per-
sonality. The Intention of the myth and of the many citations is, in
the end, to reveal and concretely embody a human community through
the ages. All the people who appear in The Waste Land are, says the
author, a single human being.
Documents Which Have Guided
Educational Policy In The
West Indies 3
Patrick Joseph Keenan's Report 1869-Part II
Secondary and Higher Education.
SHIRLEY C. GORDON
KEENAN, Chief of Inspection of the Board of National Education
in Ireland, who was sent by the British Government in 1869 to report
on the system of education in Trinidad, found two secondary schools
as well as the range of primary schools. The second part of his report
is concerned with a description of both these schools, a critical
comparison between their recruitment of pupils and contribution to
the Trinidad community, and finally he recommended a co-ordinating
machinery for secondary schools which included a proposal for a West
Indian university similar to the University of London, with examining
but no teaching functions.
The two secondary schools were Queen's Collegiate School opened
by the Government in 1859, and the College of the Immaculate Con-
ception established by the Catholic community in 1863 who had
invited the Fathers of the Congregation of The Holy Ghost to run it;
they were a French order committed to work overseas in French-
speaking areas. Both schools were founded in a spirit of rivalry. The
forerunner to the College of the Immaculate Conception was St.
George's College started in the Bishop's house in 1837 for Catholic
boys who could not afford to go abroad for their secondary education.
Governor Keate who proposed a secular government secondary school
in 1857 used the existence of St. George's College as one of his argu-
ments with a reluctant Colonial Office for financing a government
secondary school as the apex to the secular system of ward schools
started six years earlier. Queen's Collegiate School was to provide a
secondary education suitable for boys of all denominations in a
British colony, and to counteract the effects of the Catholic College
now housed in the residence of an Italian Archbishop.
The school in the Archbishop's house did decline in the first
years of Queen's Collegiate School's existence; but the barrage of
criticism of the secular or "godless college" did not. A petition to the
Queen, to prevent 3,000 a year of Catholic taxpayers' money being
spent on a godless college that they could not use, failed; but
constant criticism was maintained on the same argument in the
In 1867 Archbishop Gonin petitioned the Government for the
withdrawal of public money from Queen's Collegiate School on the
grounds that, although it provided a sound education, it had largely
failed to meet the requirements of Trinidadians. As it was not a
boarding school, it did not provide for boys from the country and
the lack of religious education of any kind made it unacceptable to
Catholic Trinidadians, and many Protestants too. The Colonial Office.
always reluctant to finance secondary schools from public funds, was
inclined to favour the Archbishop's petition for their own reasons.
Governor Gordon just retrieved the situation by a vigorous despatch
explaining that what the Archbishop really wanted was government
assistance for the Catholic college as well as Queen's Collegiate
School. These negotiations were the background to Keenan's recom-
mendations for secondary schools.
His description of the work of both schools revealed fundamental
differences. Queen's Collegiate was under Horace Delghton (later to
be first headmaster of the newly organised Harrison College,
Barbados), a Cambridge graduate from England. The curriculum was
that of the newest English public schools and the local examinations
of the Cambridge Syndicate (started in England In 1859) were the
yardstick of the school's achievement. Trinidad scholarships were
available for boys to proceed to English universities, if they could
compete for them at the Cambridge Senior Examination level. The
school, for these reasons, was often popularly referred to as "the
The College of the Immaculate Conception on the other hand
was known as "the French School". French was the first language of
many of the boys as well as of the majority of the Fathers of the
Holy Ghost who taught them. The curriculum was based on classical
studies, as it would be in any school under European influences at
the time; but the additional studies were much wider in range than
at Queen's Collegiate School, a brass band in particular had become
much the vogue on public and social occasions. There was no system
of external examination but the concours at which the boys were
publicly examined each year was a function well-attended by the
Trinidad elite. Since the College had no part in the government
scheme of education, the boys did not qualify for the Trinidad
Scholarships for university education in England. This was in fact
one of the benefits that the Catholics were trying to secure,, and they
had realized that they would have to change to a more "English"
form of education to secure a British colonial government's consent
to such participation.
The main point of contrast between the schools emphasised by
Keenan was in their recruitment. He criticised both for the high fees
which prevented all but the wealthier families from contemplating
secondary education for their boys. He then analysed the kinds of
families from which the pupils of both schools were drawn. The con-
clusion was that the Catholic college had gained the support of
Trinidadian families far more than the secular government college
which was much patronised by the sons of public officials, the
majority of whom were ex-patriate English civil servants edu-
cating their boys at the expense of the Trinidad taxpayer. Above all
the roll at the College of the Immaculate Conception was nearly
twice as high as that of Queen's Collegiate School. Keenan concluded
that this fact demonstrated that a secular college did not meet the
requirements of Trinidad.
He proposed that the Catholic college should be encouraged to
adopt examinations and syllabuses of a more English character, and
then be given government grants to bring it into the system.
Keenan's final proposal was a scheme for a West Indian univer-
sity to provide examinations and degrees for colleges in all the West
Indian colonies as they attained standards which could qualify them
for affiliation to such a university. By this means he felt that both
secondary and higher education could be provided in the area with
standards equivalent to those in England, but allowing for a variety
of foundations by religious bodies, governments or others.
In this way Keenan In the second part of his report, as he had
done in the first, made a proposal for a partnership between the
religious bodies and the government to respect denominational dif-
fedences of opinion while also setting common goals and standards
in general education.
EXTRACTS FROM THE REPORT.
1. Queen's Collegiate School.
a) The rented premises.
Having no public buildings available for the accommodation of
the school, and not being prepared to incur expense in the erection
of a suitable establishment, the Government rented, at 200 a year,
the premises in which the school is at present held.
It would be difficult to conceive any more unsuitable or more
uncomfortable house for school purposes than that which was selected.
The site is bad. The public street is at the very door. Every passing
carriage is heard within. The sun's rays are intercepted by no system
of verandahs or shading trees. In the wet season the exposure must
lead to inconvenience and interruption. There are three schoolrooms-
none of them either cheerful or comely, and the furniture appears
to be ill-assorted and ungainly.
b) 15 per term is a high fee.
The resolution-passed in September, 1857-of the Board of
Council, in justification of the foundation of a collegiate school,
professes that the object in view was "to place within the reach of
the youth of the colony the opportunity of obtaining a classical
education at a moderate charge.0 . "''he youth of the colony"
could never have had reference simply to the youth of the wealthy
class of the colony; and in the case of a poor man who is the father
of a youth desirous of a classical education, the term "moderate
charge" can assuredly not apply to a fee of 15 per annum. In such
a case the term "moderate" is certainly misapplied. But even to the
well-to-do people of the colony, such a fee must be looked upon as
high. Poor and rich know that besides paying the "moderate" fee
they are contributing, in the general taxation, to the maintenance
of the school.
c. Free places for the sons of deceased public servants.
The governor has the right of granting free places to the children
of deceased public servants who may have left their families in
strained circumstances. Up to the present time 19 free places have
been granted: 13 of the pupils occupying those free places are still
in the school; 11 of them are the sons of civil servants, and 2 are
the sons of a Protestant rector. Of those who are the sons of civil
servants, 8 are Roman Catholics.
d. Numbers of pupils and their denominations in the first ten years.
of Protestant Roman
Year England Denominations. Catholic Total
1859 24 1 9 34
1860 30 5 14 49
1861 31 4 17 52
1862 39 6 14 59
1863 32 9 20 61
1864 32 6 13 51
1865 34 5 11 50
1866 34 4 14 52
1867 38 4 16 58
1868 46 5 21 72
1869 47 4 17 68
e. The curriculum is dominated by the requirements of the Cambridge
i) Subjects taken at the school.
Since 1862 some of the pupils of this school have been examined
annually, under the provisions of the Syndicate appointed by the
University of Cambridge to conduct the examination of students not
members of the university.
These examinations are, I understand, of a searching and solid
character and so devised as to reduce to a minimum the factitious
advantages of mere cramming.
The subjects of examination are-a preliminary course, embrac-
ing reading, dictation, English grammar, arithmetic, history, geog-
raphy, and English composition; and a higher course, embracing
religious knowledge, English, Latin, Greek, French, German, mathe-
matics, zoology, botany, geology, drawing, and music.
The boys of the Queen's Collegiate School are not put forward
for examination in religious knowledge, German, chemistry, zoology,
botany, drawing, or music.
ii) The examination requirements determine books and syllabuses
Preparation for the examination in the other subjects is the
basis-the predominant characteristic-of the course of studies pursued
in the school. The portion of history, the play of Shakespeare, the
books in Latin and Greek, the authors in French, and the branches
of mathematics prescribed by the university authorities for the exam-
ination, are the groundwork and scope of the instruction in the
second and third terms of each year. Even the business of the first
term is directed, by anticipation towards the same object. Masters
and pupils seem to be alike animated by an enthusiastic determina-
tion to exercise all their energies and employ all their resources to
produce creditable results at these examniations.
iii) The measure of success in the examinations.
During the six years ended in December, 1868, 25 different boys
of this school obtained certificates; some succeeded once only; some
succeeded twice; some three times; and some four times. On an
average, each succeeded 1.76 times-so to speak; and the average
number of boys certificated yearly was 7.3, or about 1 in 8 of the
average attendance of the six years.
iv) The exhibitions for university study abroad are connected with
the results of the Cambridge examinations.
In connection with the plan of the Cambridge local examinations,
in which the pupils . gain only honours, and the school only eclat,
there is in operation a scheme of exhibitions of a very valuable char-
acter. A sum of 900 a year is available for the maintenance of six
exhibitions, of 150 each tenable for three years, at a university in
Great Britain or Ireland; and those exhibitions are determined by
the position gained by the pupils in the Cambridge examination held
in the December of each year. No boy is qualified to gain a university
exhibition who has not been a pupil at the school during the nine
terms immediately preceding the examination, and who has not passed
his seventh birthday. A minor exhibition of 50 is awarded to any
younger boy who gains the position that would entitle him to the
exhibition were he of the required age; but this minor prize is
awarded only on condition that he shall remain at the school, and
compete at the following examination; and it is not payable until he
is about to proceed to Great Britain or Ireland, to enter one of the
v) It might be considered whether so much energy should be con-
centrated on a limited examination.
It would be irrelevant to the purpose of this report to discuss
the policy of concentrating upon an enterprise of the limited scope
and dimensions of the Cambridge examinations, so much of the
energy and so many of the aspirations of the community. The subject,
however, is one deserving of grave consideration.
f) The masters are gifted and thorough and the boys are kept hard
i) Mr. R. W. Caird, M.A. Oxon, second master.
Mr. Caird's method of teaching is highly intellectual and effective.
Every sentence is analysed and every word assigned its proper position
on the black board. If any fault at all were found, it could only have
reference to the prolonged and rigorous strain on the mental powers
which forty minutes lesson in this method necessarily imposes, espe-
cially upon beginners. Yet the . work connected with the black
board is to some extent, a relaxation of this strain. A few of the boys
certainly appeared to be quickly fatigued and to grow listless, but
the general effect of the class is animating-indeed almost inspirit-
ing. Mr. Caird is an enthusiast. His energies appear to be inexhaust-
ible. His indifference to his own ease or comfort is quite surprising.
Besides, he has a natural aptitude for demonstration. Hence this
analytical system could not fail to succeed in his tuition. With a less
sanguine or less anxious-although equally careful and conscientious-
teacher it might prove an utter failure.
The notion is very general that a clever man would spurn the
drudgery of teaching elementary things, and that if he attempted it
he would be sure to fail. Now, this school affords a very interesting
illustration of the groundlessness of such an opinion; for Mr. Caird
is both clever and accomplished and, without any airs of condescen-
sion or humility, he pursues most energetically and devotedly the
humblest duties connected with teaching, with, I cannot hesitate to
acknowledge, a very reasonable measure of success.
ii) The work of the top class which is taught by the head master.
I have carefully Investigated the routine of the lessons and the
general organization of the classes. The routine Is skilful, and the
general organisation judicious. No one Is ever idle. If not immediately
under tuition, the boys are engaged at the desks, pursuing some scien-
tific investigation or writing some exercise in Latin, Greek, or French;
or working upon paper some series of questions in mathematics. Even
at home the work of the boys is incessant. Those in the senior division
besides coming prepared in the set business of each day, have to bring
with them to school a Greek exercise every Monday and Friday; a
Latin exercise every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; miscellaneous
examples in arithmetic every Wednesday; an algebraical exercise
every Saturday; and an English composition every Monday. I have
now before me, as I write, a set of the exercises which, in the ordinary
course, had been intended for Mr. Delghton's eye only, and which
came into my possession in a purely incidental manner. The style
of the exercises surprises me. The penmanship is finished, the notation
of mathematical signs and formulae is as clear as print and the
matter itself Is succinctly and logically expressed. One of the Latin
exercises which I examined was a prose composition. The language
in nearly every case was good, and the construction grammatical. In
a few instances, to be sure, there were errors. But that which struck
me most-the theme being the same for all-was the variety of
suitable treatment and appropriate words which the several exercises
g) Art and music are neglected and there is no provision for the
teaching of science.
I cannot avoid observing that the aesthetical element is singu-
larly overlooked. Neither music nor drawing is taught. The Principal
desiderated the latter very much, but a former Governor, himself an
amateur in art., declared that drawing was an affair of intuiilon. He
accordingly declined to sanction the employment of a master of the
subject. I received no explanation as to the exclusion of music. Again,
the physico-scientific element is strangely in the back-ground. There
is no laboratory-no apparatus to illustrate the physical sciences.
There is no museum of geology, although Mr. Caird gives instruction
in the science. The walls are destitute of charts of natural history
and natural phenomena. There are no diagrams of machinery or
illustrations of discoveries.
2. The College of the Immaculate Conception.
a) The professors.
The Fathers of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost are a distin-
guished teaching community of the Roman Catholic Church. In
France their organization is very extensive. In Ireland they have a
large and important establishment, which is yearly advancing in
public estimation, and is recognized as one of the most efficient schools
in the country.
There are 12 professors, of whom 5 are priests, 1 is an ecclesias-
tical student, and 6 are lay brothers. Of the 12 professors, 6 are
English, and 6 are French. The Very Rev. Fr. Corbet is the Principal.
b) The college has good buildings and recreational facilities.
The buildings in which the school is held consist of two different
establishment, separated from each other by one of the public streets.
One part of the establishment is the old house which was formerly
used as a seminary; the other part is the new building, expressly
designed and erected for the new Catholic college.
The old house is in a somewhat neglected and dilapidated
The new house is a neatly designed structure, containing capacious
schoolrooms, refectory, dormitories, etc. etc.
The play-grounds are spacious. The swimming bath is large
enough to accommodate several boys at a time. The architecture is,
of course, peculiarly adapted to the exigencies of the climate-
delighting in plenty of shade and endless means of ventilation. The
material of the building is wood.
c) The pupils.
i) Numbers of boarders, half-boarders and day pupils.
There are 111 pupils in the school of whom 56 are boarders.
Of the 56 boarders, 33 are full boarders, and 23 are half-boarders.
The full boarder is the same in all respects as a boarder in a
The half-boarder follows the same rule, and is subject to the
same discipline and scholastic regulations, as the full boarder, but
he is "nourished" by his parents.
The half-boarders sit together in the refectory. Their food is
brought to them from their homes.
ii) Rates of fees for each category.
The pension for boarders is, I think, exceedingly moderate. It is
surprising how, in an extremely expensive place like Trinidad, so much
can be given for 40 a year. The pension for the half-boarders-
22. 10s,. a year-is, I think, equally moderate.
The pensions for externs, which, except in the preparatory class,
is at the rate of 15 a year, I consider rather high. I do not mean
to say too high for the value which is given-but too high to enable
the portals of learning to be opened to any but the well-to-do classes.
Considering, however, that the conductors of the school receive no
aid from the State, I can very readily appreciate the difficulties which
beset them in respect to a reduction of fees.
iii) There have been a few Protestant pupils.
The school, although essentially Catholic in its organisation, has
been always open to Protestants. There were 2 Protestant pupils in
1864, 5 in 1865, 3 in 1867, and 3 in 1868. At present there are no
Protestant pupils In attendance.
d) The organisation of the school into preparatory, commercial and
i) The curriculum of the courses and the number pursuing them.
The preparatory course comprehends reading, writing, arithmetic,
English and French grammar, history and geography.
The commercial course embraces reading, writing, mathematics,
natural sciences, book-keeping, grammar, geography, history and
The classical course extends from the rudiments of the Latin and
Greek grammars to the study of the great ancient authors, and also
some of the principal fathers of the Church . .
English and French are obligatory studies upon all. German and
Spanish are optional.
Pursuing the preparatory course there are 52 pupils; the com-
mercial course, 8 pupils, and the classical course, 51 pupils.
The classical pupils all learn a course of English; but neither the
commercial nor the preparatory pupils learn classics.
Drawing, vocal music, instrumental music (including the instru-
ments of a full band), and the pianoforte are also part of the
ii) The classics are translated into French.
The classical system of instruction is peculiar. The pupil first
reads aloud a few sentences of the Latin or Greek business of the
day; he next transposes the language into the ordo; and then he
translates into French. The fluency with which this was done in the
different sections, especially in the third was quite remarkable. I
inquired if the translation was ever into English. Systematically it
was not, I was informed. I then caused the boys to translate differ-
ent passages in Latin and Greek into English; and although this
exercise was rather novel to them, it was performed with very credit-
able ease and tolerable precision. The English was not as good English
as the French was good French; yet the result was satisfactory, for
it showed that the boys had a thoroughly excellent knowledge of
their Latin and Greek. Prosody is very carefully taught. Whilst, in
English, the pronunciation was in numerous cases foreign in its
character, and defective in accent, yet in the Latin and Greek a false
quality was very rarely observable.
iii) Recitation is a special feature of the college, displayed at the
Elocution is carried into the regions of dramatic act. Some of the
boys recited pieces-serious and comic-from the great poets and
dramatists in such a manner, and with such histrionic effect, as to
I afterwards learned that some of the same pieces had been
recited by the same boys in presence of His Excellency the Governor a
few months previously, at the annual examinations; but no matter
how often they may have been repeated, or how specially rehearsed
or got up, the performance evinced the possession of singular talents
by the boys and of great capacity as elocution masters by the teachers.
iv) The commercial course.
The commercial course is designed expressly for lads destined for
mercantile pursuits. There are 8 pupils in the class. The languages of
the course are English and French. The character of the instruction
is eminently practical. As much grammar is taught as enables a lad
to express himself clearly and succinctly; as much arithmetic as makes
him a good clerk or accountant, and as much practice in penman-
ship as makes him a legible and off-handed writer. The economy of
this class is directed mainly to a utilitarian view of instruction.
e) Keenan discusses the admitted need to give the college a more
English tone if it is to have government support and warns against
a full suppression of the French element.
The fact that such prominence is given to French in the system
of instruction; that the community who conduct it are a French
order; that half the professors are Frenchmen; that nearly half the
pupils are the children of French families; and that the discipline
and ceremonials of the school are founded upon French models, have
all contributed to inspire the designation of the "French College" by
which the institution is popularly known. Indeed, the fact that the
college is a Catholic college would be quite reason enough to suggest
to the people to call It the "French College", just as they call a
Catholic church the "French church."
In an English colony it would seem only natural to expect that
a great public school like this, advancing a claim on Governmental
consideration for its support, and appealing for the popular favour
to its success in turning out intelligent and enterprising citizens,
should be conducted on what are recognized as English principles-
that is, that the language, the tone, and the social atmosphere of the
school should be English. To a certain extent I sympathise with such
an expectation. Every person I met with in Trinidad, including His
Grace the Archbishop, the leading Catholic clergy, Dr. De Verteuil,
Mr. Farfan, and the professors themselves of the college, sympathised
with it. But I cannot close my eyes to the difficulties of-and even
the objections to-a sudden metamorphosis. I have before me as I
write, the name of every boy in the school with the nationality of
his parents or family.
Of the 111 boys:
48 belong to French families
33 ,, ,, Spanish ,,
30 ,, ,, English
Would it be rational to attempt to extinguish the instincts ol
vernacular speech in the vast majority of the children? Would it
be philosophical to fail to cultivate the mind, and fill it with stores
of knowledge, in the language most natural to it? I do not, there-
fore condemn the college because it is so French in its character; nor
do I venture to advise the suppression of the French element; but,
at the same time, I think that, without being made less French, the
college could be made much more English than it is. The professors
themselves are of this opinion, and have expressed their readiness to
act upon it.
f) The routine of the school week.
At five o'clock the pupils take a bath, dress etc. At a quarter to
six, after morning prayer, they engage in study. At a quarter past
seven they attend Mass. At eight o'clock they breakfast. From half-
past eight to eleven the school business proceeds. It is then that the
classical, historical, and geographical classes are taken up. Next comes
a quarter of an hour's relaxation, which is followed by study for three
quarters of an hour. At twelve o'clock dinner is partaken of, and at
half-past one o'clock school business is resumed. The afternoon in-
struction occupies three hours; made up of an hour and a half at
the English classes, half an hour at the arithmetical classes, and an
hour at the French classes. At half-past four o'clock luncheon-as
the superiors of the school term it-is eaten; and at five the boys sit
down to study again. At seven there are prayers and a spiritual con-
ference. At half-past seven supper is served; and at eight o'clock
the pupils retire to their dormitories.
On Sunday and Thursdays the programme is varied. None of
the classical, English, historical, geographical, French, or science
classes are held-the boys being engaged in religious instruction,
vocal and instrumental music, penmanship, and drawing; and also
in taking a walk which lasts two hours and a half.
3. Keenan assesses the relative support given to the schools by an
analysis of the numbers of the pupils and the occupations of their
fathers. He finds that Trinidad wants a religious foundation and
recommends that the College of the Immaculate Conception be
included in the public system of education.
Upon the subject of secondary education, feeling runs high in the
colony. There are some who would rank it next to sacrilege to touch
a penny, or disturb even a form, of the Queen's Collegiate school.
There are others who, if they could, would with a single stroke
anihilate it. Similarly, the Catholic College has its champions and its
foes. Incidentally to the remarks which I have made on the con-
dition of the collegiate establishments, I have touched upon the
leading points of the controversy connected with them . .
The first thing likely to strike a person who has considered these
reports is the strangeness of the fact that whilst the white popula-
tion, which is only between 5,000 and 6,000, furnishes 142 pupils to
collegiate establishments, the coloured population, which, exclusive of
the Coolies, numbers from 60,000 to 70,000, furnishes only 37 pupils.
Twenty-four of the coloured pupils are in the Catholic College, and
18 in the Queen's Collegiate school.
The next conclusion, which a person reading the reports will
probably arrive at, is, that the Queen's Collegiate school has not
obtained the confidence of the people generally.
Of the 68 pupils on its rolls, 28 are sons of members of the Civil
Service. This is a large proportion of the whole attendance. The
children of the public officers receive a most excellent education,
which, however, is mainly paid for by the taxes of the people. The
Queen's Collegiate school is therefore a great boon to the public
servants of the colony. But is the interest of the public servants to
be primary and paramount in the consideration of this question?
Measuring the relative acceptability of the two colleges to the
people of the colony, I have to turn to the other classes-the
merchants, the planters, and the professional men. And how does the
case appear from this point of view?
In the Queen's Collegiate school there are 14 sons of mer-
chants; at the Catholic College there are 41. At the Queen's Col-
legiate school there are 13 sons of planters or of proprietors, at the
Catholic College there are 41. At the Queen's Collegiate school there
are 10 who are the sons of professional men or of others; at the
Catholic College the number is 29. The Queen's Collegiate school has
28 sons of members of the public service, exclusive of 3 who are the
sons of rectors; whilst the Catholic College has only 6.
These facts are conclusive. They require no comment. The people
flock to the non-endowed college; not because its education is better
than that which the Queen's Collegiate school affords, but because
the principle of its foundation-the introduction of the religious
element-is more acceptable to them.
In the Queen's Collegiate school there are 17 Catholic pupils-
but 8 of them, as the sons of deceased public servants, are receiving
a free education. The measure of spontaneous Catholic support given
to the Queen's Collegiate school is therefore represented by 9 pupils.
From a population of something like 50,000 Catholics this is a small
expression of confidence or favour.
In the College of the Immaculate Conception, on the other hand,
there are 111 Catholic pupils.
The fact that the Catholic College admits boarders is, of course,
an immense advantage and a powerful source of attraction. The
Queen's Collegiate school suffers immensely from the drawback that
it does not receive boarders. Even of Protestant pupils it would, I am
sure, have a much greater number if boarders were admitted. But
the principle of secularism on which it is conducted renders boarding
impracticable; a fact which goes to show that, even for secondary
education, the secular idea is unsuitable to Trinidad, or any other
country where the homes of the people are scattered, and far away
from the school.
It is perfectly clear to my mind that the institution which
manifestly enjoys the public favour, and which, as I have shown,
exhibits in an educational point of view some of the highest evidences
of efficiency, should if possible be brought within the scope of the
public system of education established in the colony.
4. Keenan's most original suggestion was for a West Indian university.
a) He demonstrates the need from his observations in Trinidad.
In Trinidad alone there are 179 pupils in the collegiate establish-
ments. If such a number, subject to the same scholastic training and
endowed with the same general capacity were met with in two cor-
responding schools at home, one would conclude, and with much
reason, that from them would emanate a considerable proportion of
university students. But very few of those 179 pupils are destined to
join a university.
From the Catholic college, it is true, 25 lads have, in the course
of five years, gone to colleges in England or France-a circumstance
which shows that on the part of the Catholics a considerable desire
exists to obtain a collegiate education for their children. But 25 is
only a small proportion of the college students that the Catholic
community should have produced in the same period. I have not
obtained a corresponding return from the Queen's Collegiate school,
except in reference to the 4 exhibitioners who had gone to England;
but I am satisfied that, the population of the whole colony being
taken into account, the number of lads who ever enter upon a uni-
versity career, as compared with the number eligible to become uni-
versity students, is extremely small.
Trinidad possesses the elements that constitute a society in which
learning might be expected to flourish. It has a large civil establish-
ment; distinguished medical men; rich planters; flourishing mer-
chants; wardens; magistrates; etc.
But the sacrifices which a colonist--especially one in moderate
circumstances-has to make in order to obtain a university degree
for his children are of a most serious character. Of this I have had
ample evidence. Of the anguish suffered by parents who have to send
their children 4,000 miles away, and who can see little or nothing
of them during the years of their collegiate or scholastic career, I
have also met with impressive instances.
b) Trinidad alone cannot support a university; the West Indian
colonies should combine for the purpose.
But Trinidad alone, no matter how improving its conditions may
be, would fail to endow with due proportions, or furnish adequate
materials for, a university. If joined, however, by its sister colonies,
there would be ample resources for the foundation of an important
university. The aggregate population of the colonies that I propose
to combine for the purpose is 1,120,000 of whom nearly 70,000 are
whites. These colonies are Trinidad, British Guiana, Barbados, Tobago,
Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St.
Kitts, Nevis, the Virgin Islands, Turks Islands, Bahamas, Jamaica &
The Crown colonies should be particularly requested to co-
operate in the foundation of the University. The attention of the
other colonies might be specially drawn to the object and advantages
of the University and their co-operation solicited. Each colony
desirous of availing itself of a connection with the University should
pass an ordinance declaratory of this purpose, and at the same time
providing for its quota of the expenses.
The expense of the University would be about 5,000 a year-an
amount which when distributed over a number of colonies, would fall
lightly upon each.
c) The proposed organisation of the university for an examining
The University should possess an examining function solely. The
examinations for matriculation and degrees should be carried on
simultaneously throughout the several colonies, and be conducted by
means of printed papers prepared by the University examiners, to
whom the answers of the candidates should be subsequently returned
The Senate should meet at stated times, to confer degrees, or
to authorise the conferring of them by Deputy Councils in the
It should be competent for the Senate upon the invitation of a
colony other than that which is the seat of the University, to hold
in such colony its annual ceremonial for the conferring of degrees
and the transaction of general business. The colony inviting the
Senate for such a purpose should defray a portion of the travelling
and other expenses of the visit.
d) The Boards of Education should act as Deputy Councils of the
University in each participating colony and provide the college
education necessary to "feed" the system.
The most important part of my scheme relates to the organiza-
tion and operations of the Deputy Councils in the several colonies
connected with the University.
When a colony becomes connected, with the University, the first
step should be to establish a local Deputy Council.
Wherever there is a Board of Education, the Deputy Council and
it should be one and the same body . .
The University functions of the Deputy Council would be to
superintend and manage the examinations of the students, and to
confer degrees authorised by the Senate. But to the Deputy Council
I would give the patronage of seminarial and collegiate education.
If the University is to flourish seminaries and colleges, to serve as
feeders to it, must be encouraged and aided by liberal grants of
The Deputy Council should be empowered to grant a certificate
of affiliation with the University to any seminary or college which
fulfils the fundamental condition-the palladium of the public school
system of the future-of being bona fide open to all classes, irres-
pectively of colour or creed, and of rendering proselytism-directly
e) Keenan defines a University Arts' course for the colleges and a
method of payment by results to finance such higher education.
The University Arts' course should correspond, in classics, mathe-
matics, modern languages, history, logic, moral philosophy, political
economy, natural philosophy, natural science, etc. with the most
liberal curriculum of any of the European universities. Law, medicine,
and engineering, for professional students, should of course be in-
cluded in the curriculum.
The University Arts' course should, as I have said, extend over
a period of three years. At the end of each year there should be an
examination; and for each student who passed successfully, a results'
fee of 20 for the first year, 25 for the second year, and 30 for the
third or A.B. year should be awarded to the college to which the
f) A recommendation for Trinidad to proceed with the higher courses
in affiliated colleges if the West Indian university proves
Should it for the present unhappily appear to be impracticable
to establish the university for the West Indies, I would then propose
that the Board of Education in Port of Spain should assume all the
functions, except the conferring of degrees, of the Deputy Council;
should affiliate colleges or seminaries; should carry out the examina-
tions in the elementary and arts' courses; should award the results'
fees; etc.-Just ag if the University were in full operation.
Neither the Colonial Office nor Governor Gordon of Trinidad felt
that the time was ripe for a West Indian university. Gordon further-
more disliked the idea of a university body confined to the examining
function. It was therefore an adaptation of Keenan's substitute for a
West Indian university that was made in Trinidad.
In 1870 Queen's Collegiate School was re-named Queen's Royal
College and a College Council was formed to deal with the affairs of
Q.R.C. and any affiliated college. The College of the Immaculate Con-
ception was the only school qualifying for affiliation and in October,
1870 this was effected. In practice this meant that the boys from the
Catholic College were examined annually to earn grants of 10 a head
up to a maximum of 1,000, the headmaster was paid by the Gov-
ernment, and pupils could compete with Q.R.C. candidates for the
exhibitions for university study abroad through the Cambridge Senior
The boys from the College of the Immaculate Conception were
soon in keen rivalry for the Trinidad Exhibitions and there was no
complaint about that aspect of the arrangement.
It took the Holy Ghost Fathers, however, only three years before
a hundred boys could annually without fail earn the school 10 each
and there was no provision for grants beyond the 1,000. On the
other hand Q.R.C. received approximately 3,000 per annum which
was in no way dependent on the examination of the pupils; there
were not a hundred pupils in any case and the Q.R.C. roll remained
half that of the Catholic college. There were regular appeals to the
College Council against this differential treatment which embittered
for many years what could have been friendly rivalry between the
Gordon had intended the College arrangement to be more than
a grant-earning device for an affiliated school. He had hoped that
the two colleges would combine for at least senior classes in all
secular teaching. In fact this never occurred except for a short period
when the Government Professor of Chemistry gave joint classes for
senior boys. The College Council never developed as the kind of
Deputy Council to encourage higher education that Keenan had
wanted. Its activities were concerned with secondary education and
its meetings were sometimes only the scene of acrimonious discussion
between the rival headmasters. It survived until 1921, by which time
the Naparima secondary school for boys and girls and St. Joseph's
Convent had also successfully sought affiliation to Queen's Royal
College simply to secure government grants, the payment of their
principals and permission for their able pupils to compete for the
university exhibitions. Keenan's proposal in effect had resolved itself
into a special machinery for enabling denominational secondary
schools to become grant-aided once they had reached a defined and
somewhat limited level of achievement.
The Settlement Of Free Negroes In
Trinidad Before Emancipation
K. 0. LAURENCE
AFTER the Napoleonic Wars had ended, the return to civilian life
of large numbers of demobilised troops was sometimes a considerable
problem for the British Government. Among other experiments two
attempts were made to settle in Trinidad negro troops who had served
in the British forces, together with a few other free negroes for
whom Britain had been responsible.
The first of these experiments involved a number of negroes, most
of them American born, who had fallen into British hands during the
war with the United States of 1812-15, and for whom the British
Government accepted responsibility when the war ended. Some of
these negroes had been enrolled in the British forces as Colonial
Marines, and had thus borne arms, even though most had earlier
been slaves. 1 Others seem simply to have been former slaves
liberated by the British during their campaigns in America. All fell
to be disposed of by the British Government, and in view of their
past history to return them to the United States was clearly out of
the question. Eventually some were settled in Nova Scotia while others
were sent to Trinidad, a colony then newly acquired with a popula-
tion of about 30,000 only, and a very considerable area of virgin soil
available for settlement. Several settlements were thus founded in the
Naparima District of southern Trinidad.
A completely separate but very similar group of settlements was
established during the same period in northern Trinidad, in the area
between what are now the town of Arima and the village of Manzanilla.
The Imperial Government had decided to reduce the strength of the
Sixth West India Regiment, then stationed in Tobago, but the
Governor of that island, Sir F. P. Robinson, could find no land there
suitable for forming a settlement of the men about to be discharged.
He therefore took up a suggestion from the men themselves that they
might be settled in Trinidad. 14 The West India Regiments had
originally been recruited in the West Indies from free negroes and
slaves specially purchased from the planters. Subsequently other
sources of recruits had proved necessary, and in 1812 a recruiting
centre for the West India Regiments was established at Bunce Island,
Sierra Leone. 2 For many years thereafter most recruits were secured
either direct from Sierra Leone or from the ranks of Africans liberated
from captured slave ships either in Africa or in the West Indies.3
Many of the West India troops settled in Trinidad were thus of
The first settlement was formed from a group of American negro
refugees, as they were commonly called, who arrived in Trinidad in
May 1815 in H.M.S. Levant: 61 Men, 18 Women and 7 children. The
Governor, Sir Ralph Woodford, had been warned to expect them, but
preparations for receiving them were not yet complete, and in fact
a decision as to what to do with them had to be taken hurriedly.
They were offered a chance between being apprenticed as servants
to local employers and being settled on small plots of land. 4 Naturally
enough, they all chose to accept grants of land; but the arrange-
ments were greatly slowed up by a period of very heavy rains, and
were not yet completed when, on 5 July 1815, another party of
American negroes arrived, comprising 15 men, 14 women and 29
At first the Governor of Trinidad was uncertain as to the best
location for this body of future peasant farmers. Should they be
settled in the Naparima District, where the soil was very fertile, or in
some other area nearer to Port of Spain and so to official supervision? 6
A quick decision had to be taken, as the first settlers were already
in the colony, and the desire to have them easily under the official
eye prevailed: some were settled in Caroni, others in Laventille, both
within easy distance of Port of Spain. 8
These first settlements however were essentially experimental, and
it was not until November 1815, when a third group of American
negroes arrived from Bermuda, whither they had initially been taken
from America, that the first of the main group of American refugee
settlements was established in Trinidad. This group of 32 men, 14
women and 17 children was settled in the district of Naparima, 15
miles inland from San Fernando, and more than 40 from Port of Spain. 7
By this time the disposal of these refugees was sufficiently under
control for two large sheds to have been erected for the accommoda-
tion of the new arrivals, and indeed a small area of land hadi already
been cleared for distribution among them.10
The next settlements were established in 1816, when the Corps
of Colonial Marines, composed of American negroes and stationed in
Bermuda, was disbanded, and the men accepted the Government's
offer to settle them on Crown Lands in Trinidad. In August 1816 they
appeared: 574 people, including 83 women and 87 children form easily
the largest group ever to arrive. 9
When in 1817 the Sixth West India Regiment was disbanded
these settlements were about able to maintain themselves, and had
succeeded sufficiently for Sir Ralph Woodford to welcome the sug-
gestion that the troops be settled in Trinidad on condition that the
colony should not be required to bear the cost. 15 The scarcely
inhabited East Coast of Trinidad was suggested as a suitable site,
and the proposal went forward. In January 1818, 180 demobilised
soldiers were granted permission to reside in Trinidad. 19 The Governor
was now anxious to form still further settlements and the oppor-
tunity for this came in 1819 when the Trinidad-based Third West
India Regiment was disbanded. The men themselves objected strongly
to the idea of settlement in West Africa, which seemed the only
praoticable alternative to Trinidad, and it was agreed that they too
should be settled on Crown Lands on the East Coast of the island. 22
In June and July 1819, 233 men, 40 women, and 26 children, soldiers
of the Third West India Regiment and their families, 24 were settled
in three villages on the banks of three small rivers, in a line stretch-
ing eastwards for about three miles from a point some six miles east
of Arima. 37
A year later these 1819 settlements were making satisfactory
progress. Through 1821 and 1822 nothing worthy of official notice
appears to have occurred at Quar6 where they were located, and one
is left to assume from the general silence that their progress was still
at least not unsatisfactory. Five companies of the Third West India
Regiment still remained under arms, but the men had been promised
in 1819 that as soon as arrangements could be made to relieve them
they too would be disbanded and settled on the land. When in 1822
it was proposed to transfer the regiment to St. Lucia, Sir Ralph
Woodford, anxious to extend his list of successful negro settlements,
reminded the War Office of their promise, and the regiment remained
in Trinidad. 28 Not until December 1824 was the promise redeemed,
and then the Commander of the Forces in Trinidad attempted
suddenly to present the Colonial Government with 400 new settlers
at three weeks' notice. Governor Woodford however refused to be
treated thus unceremoniously. Apart from the administrative diffi-
culties involved, men who had been quartered In Port of Spain for
twelve years should, he thought, be given more than three weeks'
notice of so complete a change in their circumstances. 32 Eventually,
in February 1825, 376 men, 35 women and 34 children were settled in
villages stretching in a line from Manzanilla inland for about five
miles. 37 These linked up with the earlier settlements to form a line
of villages extending from a point six miles east of Arima right up
to the East Coast, and thus completed a line of communication from
Port of Spain right across the northern half of Trinidad through
country which was, in places, almost wholly un-populated. The
Governor hoped that this would facilitate the completion and main-
tenance of a good road.
From the outset Woodford had planned the location of the
settlements with a view to economic advantage. He intended not only
that they should be used to open up areas which were unpopulated
and, in the case of the American refugee settlements in Naparima
especially fertile, but also that they should be so spaced out as to
facilitate the construction and maintenance of roads. Just as the
West India Regiment settlements were used to spearhead a road across
northern Trinidad to the East Coast, so the American refugee settle-
ments were intended to assist the building of roads connecting the
South and East Coasts of the island with San Fernando. 10 Such a plan
was more useful in the long run than merely to encourage the refugees,
and later the ex-soldiers, to seek employment as estate labourers at
a time when Trinidad possessed a labour force quite adequate to the
needs of the existing estates, however much shortage of population
may have inhibted extension of cultivation by the planters. Had they
been distributed among the estates, as many planters would have
liked and as would have been easily practicable with the American
refugees if not with the West India troops, they would doubtless have
been merged more easily into the existing population; but a great
opportunity would have been lost both of enabling the more energetic
among them to get on in life, and of opening up some of Trinidad's
uncleared land. It was many years before the road from San Fernando
reached the east or South Coasts, and the road from Arima to
Manzanilla was, as we shall see, frequently impassable, but these
settlements certainly helped towards a better system of communica-
tions in Trinidad.
One interesting illustration of the benefits which these settlements
brought to Trinidad deserves to be mentioned here. Early In 1816
Woodford set up a fleet of Government carts, manned by American
negroes from the earliest settlements near Port of Spain, which he
employed on public projects at a cost considerably below the normal
charges for hiring private carts. The normal charge for hiring carts
was $3 a day, but the American refugees employed as carters were
paid 304 a day plus clothing and medical attention. The difference
was far more than could be accounted for by the capital cost of the
carts. Furthermore, the Governor believed that only the availability
of these "intelligent" American negroes had made it possible for him
to establish the fleet of Government carts at all. 8 The location of
the West India Regiment settlements, in an almost completely un-
inhabited area, aroused no opposition; 19 but the moment the settle-
ment of the American negro refugees in Naparima was sug-
gested in 1815 protests had been heard from the principal inhab-
itants of the District. It is not surprising that the Naparima planters
were averse to the distribution among free negroes of some of the
most fertile land in Trinidad, or that they were worried over the
possible effect on the behaviour of their slaves of introducing a large
free negro population into the district. It was partly in deference to
these objections that the first two groups of American negro refugees
to arrive more settled nearer to Port of Spain, and the first Naparima
settlement was created in November 1815 in the face of local objections. 7
Nine months later, when the Corps of Colonial Marines was settled
in the same area, the earlier settlers had shown exemplary behaviour.
Nevertheless, Governor Woodford so far took account of the objec-
tions of the Naparima planters as to recommend that a military
garrison be stationed at San Fernando, the principal centre of the
Naparima District, in order to give them greater peace of mind. There
were in Naparima an appreciable number of free coloured planters,
many of whom were wealthy enough to excite considerable economic
jealousy on the part of the whites, and undoubtedly the latter were
seriously concerned at the sudden increase In the free coloured
While the apprehension of the white planters does not in any way
appear to have been justified by events, the establishment of these
free negroes settlements in Naparima certainly produced problems
which needed to be watched. In 1815 it was discovered that a few of
the new settlers had once before been slaves on a Trinidad estate,
and had relatives who were still slaves there. Governor Woodford
thought that any contact between the free settlers and their slave
relatives would be very dangerous to the peace of the district, and
tried to prevent any communication between the two groups by pro-
hibiting the entry of slaves into the Naparima settlements. 10 This
step does not appear to have been very successful, but such contact
as was achieved seems merely to have led the settlers to wish to buy
the freedom of their still enslaved relatives. Contact between the
new settlers and the slaves on neighboring estates did not, as it
turned out, give rise to any serious problems; but the desire to avoid
it was one of the factors which led Woodford to think the remote
Manzanilla area especially suitable for settlement by free negroes. In
general the settlers mixed freely and easily with the slaves when
they were working on the estates, though a minority, usually including
the village headmen, were said to keep themselves aloof. 37
Nevertheless, it was some time before the white planters of
Naparima came to accept the existence of the settlements, and when
in November 1816 they petitioned the Governor against establishment
of the latter, they contrived to gain the support of a number of free
coloured people. Their petition incorporated every conceivable argu-
ment against the refugees settlers, and some barely conceivable ones-
There were in Naparima only 549 free persons, it was said, including
both white and coloured, and 3300 slaves; several hundred free negroes
posed an impossible problem of assimilation. The refugees would
compete with the free coloured inhabitants in the market for their
produce. Because the refugees had been employed in the forces they
must of necessity have become idle and disinclined to work. The soil
of Naparima was too fertile to be given to negroes. The preponder-
ance of males among the newcomers would lead to disturbances, both
among themselves and between male refugees and male slaves, over
the available negro women. The planters in fact wanted the refu-
gees to be scattered thinly over the island as so many additions to
their labour force. 11
Nevertheless, Governor Woodford still maintained that Naparima
was the best place for the refugees, though the reasons he adduced
were merely the superior fertility of the soil, an alleged lack of suitable
Crown land elsewhere, and the great expense which any change of
plan would entail now that the settlements had already been estab-
lished. This last point was conclusive, and Woodford claimed that
wherever the settlements were placed any local inhabitants would be
sure to protest. Fundamentally, Woodford did not shares the apprehen-
sions of the planters. The existing settlements had been a substantial
success, and there had been no specific complaints of any importance
about the behaviour of the settlers. The Council of Government con-
sidered the Naparima planters' petition most carefully, and decided
to give the refugees the option of throwing up their lands and work-
ing as labourers for the planters instead. But this offer was of course
declined, and the process of settlement went ahead. 18
When new settlers first arrived in Trinidad they were usually
provided with rough accommodation for the first few weeks, and with
tools to build their own houses and agricultural implements for
cultivating their lands. Sometimes native Indians were employed to
clear the lands before the settlers arrived. 23 They were provided also
with an outfit of clothes and a blanket, and for the first six or eight
months they received food from the Government-usually a daily
ration of plantains and salt fish or meat-though In some cases this
allowance was scaled down gradually over a period of months, some-
times as long as a year or more, as the settlers' firstV food crops began
to appear. Thereafter food was provided only for the sick. In some
cases the allowance of clothing was repeated once, or even twice, in
the following two years. In Naparima each refugee was allotted 16
acres of land, though as the process of survey and distribution took
several years to complete they were at first allowed to cultivate as
much as they chose. In most cases however 16 acres was more than
one man could cultivate, and at the later settlements at Quar6 and
Manzanilla single men were allowed only 8 acres, families 16. The
settlers paid nothing for their lands, or for the necessary surveys,
though the American refugees paid an annual quit rent of $1.56 (6/6d)
for each allotment.
Altogether eight refugee villages were established in Naparima,
each under the general supervision of a sergeant and a corporal, who
were unpaid but had minor disciplinary power and were charged with
keeping the peace. The Quar6 and Manzanilla settlements too were
organized on such semi-military lines, though here each village had
four sergeants and four corporals with the senior sergeant as headman,
and the former regimental organization into companies was retained,
usually one to each village. 37 Technically the settlers from the West
India Regiment were liable to be recalled to military service if need
arose. 60, 66.
From the first Governor Woodford had regarded it as essential
that these negro settlements should be under close and continuous
supervision. Without this, he believed, the settlers "would soon be-
come dangerous inhabitants of these forests," 23 and so for each group
of settlements a superintendent was appointed. The Naparima settle-
ments were most fortunate in theirs, Robert Mitchell, a planter who
had previously held office as Commandant of the Naparima Quarter,
Mitchell devoted a great deal of his time to his duties as superin-
tendent, and in ascribing the early success of these settlements
entirely to his efforts Sir Ralph Woodford made it clear that he was
indeed the "friend and protector" of the settlers in his charge. 21
After Mitchell's death in 1827 the Government soon came to be less
careful of the welfare of the settlements. 46 Lieutenant William Wright,
appointed superintendent of the Quare settlements in 1819, 35 also
carried out his duties effectively for some years. In the early stages
of a settlement the superintendent paid frequent and regular visits
but after it was deemed able to stand on its own feet, and the issue
of rations and clothing was discontinued, these visits became less
frequent until eventually it was usual for a monthly visit to be deemed
sufficient. In later years the superintendent was not subject to any
higher supervision, but ran his settlements pretty much as he liked. 55
Except for a single instance in which the Governor reported that
some of the American settlers were extremely idle, S reports of the
condition of these settlements during the early years were usually
favourable. 10 A year after the foundation of the first Naparima
settlement the crops were coming along well, and the behaviour of the
settlers had been very good, except for a few cases of disorderliness
and theft. 11 Woodford visited these settlements in July 1817 and
was very pleased with what he found. The only really unsatisfactory
feature was that as many as 80 persons were under medical treat-
ment for "ulcers". The settlers had built good huts for themselves
and had cleared a large area of ground, though progress had been
seriously retarded by a severe drought in consequence of which the
Governor ordered rations to be issued to the women and children,
who were unable to find work on the neighboring estates. The dis-
tribution of food continued for two months, after which the settlers'
crops had recovered sufficiently to render it unnecessary. 16 The first
settlers, who had been located near Port of Spain, now pass from
official notice, many of them having forsaken their lands in favour
of casual labour in the capital.
After the Naparima settlements had been in existence for two
years their Superintendent, Robert Mitchell, reported that good
progress was still being made. After the first year or eighteen months,
during which many had suffered illness, the health of the settlers
was as good as that of any other section of the population. The
mortality rate was said to be only 2% per annum. The principal
corps were potatoes, Indian corn, pumpkins and plantains, 17 and in
later years rice and coffee were also cultivated and many people
kept chickens and pigs, though no one seems to have owned a horse
or a cow. By May, 1818 the cleared area of the Naparima settlements
was about 1200 acres, most of which was planted. 20 In fact once
their provision grounds were well established and able to provide for
their own subsistence, the American refugees seem to have lived
very successfully. Their standard of living was noticeably higher than
that of the slaves, and the village headman lived in a style similar
to that of the estate drivers. The settlers were no trouble to anyone,
save perhaps to their superintendent, and soon began to market
appreciable quantities of provisions, pigs and poultry. In 1825 they
produced about 2,000 barrels of corn in the ear, and over 400 barrels
of rice in the husk, according to the superintendent's estimates 37-
this from a settlement which in April 1823 had numbered 396 men
180 women and 300 children. The value of their casual labour on
neighboring estates during crop time was also very great, some of
them even leaving their holdings altogether during this period in
order temporarily to take up casual labour. 29
By 1825 too the settlements inaugurated at Quard in 1819 were
well established and making good progress. During the six years of
their existence there had been no serious complaints about the
behaviour of the settlers except that two men were notoriously bad
characters. Woodford reported "their huts are comfortable and clean;
the children are strong and they are all generally healthy". 32 Their
houses were said to be "much more spacious, comfortable and cleaner
than the houses of slaves." 43 They were growing considerable quanti-
ties of high quality rice-an estimated 400 barrels in 1824-and some
coffee and cocoa. 32 The Quar6 settlers however faced far graver dif-
ficulties of transport than did those of Naparima, so that their pro-
gress was relatively slower. The former had to depend entirely on five
or six miles of road which they had themselves constructed to enable
them to market their produce In Arima. 37 The proper maintenance
of the road however was beyond them, and in 1826 It was reported
in such bad condition as to be "unfit for cartage" and this was a
grave hindrance to production. 43 The settlers often had to bring
their produce to market on their backs. 72
Yet Quar6 was 14 miles nearer to both Arima and Port of Spain
than was Manzanilla. The even greater remoteness of the latter
settlements meant that they faced problems more serious than those
encountered at Quare or In Naparima. Transport was again the root
of the matter. Although the soil was generally regarded as good, it
was 40 miles to Port of Spain, where the produce would have to be
marketed. When these settlements were first established it was appre-
ciated that until a road was completed, In itself a problematical
matter, transport would have to be by sea, around the north coast of
the island. Manzanllla Bay however offered an acceptable harbour
for small vessels, 32 and the Government had undertaken to provide
sea transport, and had purchased a vessel for the purpose. 39 Yet in
spite of these difficulties, and a tendency to desert the villages, Wood-
ford was able to report in August 1826 that with the aid of the
Government ship the Manzanilla settlements were "prospering", all
things considered, and had reaped their first crop. 43
Both at Quar6 and at Manzanilla 1827 and 1828 were difficult
years. In September 1828 the funds available for Manzanilla were
completely exhausted by the construction of a bridge across the River
L'Ebranche at a cost of $6,192, which had to be financed from settle-
ment funds although it helped towards the provision of a public road.
Only a loan from the Colonial Government enabled the continued
maintenance of the ship "Lion" to transport produce from Manzan-
illa to Port of Spain. 49 Despite repeated efforts at roadbuilding, this
sloop remained almost the only means of contact with Port of Spain.
Produce was shipped to the capital two or three times each year,
where it was sold by agents who journeyed with it from Manzanilla.
A single cargo could realize as much as $3,000, and the sloop then
returned to Manzanllla with clothing and other aritcles purchased in
Port of Spain. This procedure was employed for some years, but by
1838 the regular sloop had been disposed of and vessels were being
hired as occasion demanded. Transport by sea however was only
partially successful, and the difficulty of getting to market remained
the Manzanilla settlers' main complaint. Occasionally "their yams
rotted on their hands" from their Inability to find a market for
Communication between the two groups of settlements was
usually very difficult, as despite Woodford's design for a road to the
East Coast, that from Quar6 to Manzanllla was little used, and hence
extremely difficult to keep open. Lt was frequently overgrown with
bush, which appeared extraordinarily quickly, and even by 1840 there
were only the barest rudiments of a road east of Quare. An attempt
was made to transport Manzanilla's produce by mule instead of sloop
in order to keep the road open, but it proved much too expensive. 74
Since the Naparima settlers were located within a very few miles
of existing sugar estates, it was from very early days usual for many
of the settlers to undertake casual labour on the neighboring estates
during crop time, returning to their own holdings round about June
to look after their own cultivations. As the years passed more and
more of those who thus took casual employment outside their settle-
ments failed to return home after the crop ended. 17 In 1825 about 150
of the 400-odd adult males nominally in the Naparima settlements
were no longer in any sense permanently resident there. Most of the
absentees were single men, and about 65 were in fact almost perma-
nently absent, sometimes actually living on the estates. Most of them
were employed on estates in the same district, where they preferred
to reside, but some had wandered as far afield as Port of Spain, and
at least two had squatted on Crown lands outside the area of their
villages. Indeed, during crop time there were only about 50 of the
400-odd men, all of them married, who never took work on the estates
but devoted all of their time to their own holdings. Those who took
estate work were probably able to earn up to 900 for a hard day's
work, though average earnings were probably nearer 48e. Most of the
men seem to have worked out in this way for anything up to six
months in each year, planting and cutting canes, cutting firewood, or
clearing land, at which they were especially efficient. 37
The settlers at Quare and Manzanilla, especially the latter, being
further removed both from any market and from estates where casual
employment was possible, where less prone to absenteeism than those
in Naparima. They placed much greater emphasis on cultivation for
their own subsistence than either the Naparima settlers or the free
negroes in the better populated areas nearer Port of Spain. Although
free to wander off whenever they wished, nearly all the original settlers
at Quard were still in their villages in 1825, and were growing con-
siderable quantities of produce. Nevertheless, even here it was esti-
mated that about half of the settlers worked out from time to time
as casual labourers on the estates, and since this often involved a
difficult journey at least as far as Arima, those who took such casual
employment were often absent for weeks, or even months, at a time.
But whereas only about half the Quar6 settlers worked out, usually
for less than five months each year, in Naparima over 80% of the
settlers did so, for an average period of six months. 32 It must be
remembered however that the Naparima settlers had had three years
longer in which to acquire the habit. Even at Manzanilla, the most
isolated of all the settlements and having in consequence probably
the lowest rate of absenteeism, only 240 out of the 360 men were
working regularly on their own lands 18 months after the settlement
was started. The existence of regulations against unauthorised ab-
sence and the fact that some of these deserters were apprehended
and punished for "loitering" about the country did little to discourage
the settlers from wandering off at any of the three groups of settle-
ments. 43 After emancipation the Government itself assisted the
withdrawal of men from the Manzanilla and Quar6 settlements by
enrolling a substantial number of them as special magistrates' con-
stables. 56 By the time the settlements had been going for some years
some of the more industrious of the Naparima settlers, especially
those who, like the sawyers, possessed some skill or trade, were earn-
ing enough money to hire labour to assist with their own lands, so
that they could keep these in full production while yet following their
own trades. 37 The presence in the vicinity of such skilled workmen
was especially valuable to the Naparima planters, who now completely
accepted the Naparima settlements as part of the local scene. The
idea was even put forward in 1819 that an attempt might be made to
create further such settlements for the sake of the casual labour
which they would provide. The question of finance however prevented
this being taken seriously, and there was always the fact that slave
labour was more dependable than free. The failure of the free
labourers to turn out sometimes even before emancipation caused
serious less to the planters who employed them. 24
Not unnaturally, it proved difficult to induce these settlers to
exert themselves for the general benefit of the settlements as a whole.
They were said to have scant conception of communal duty, and this
was particularly noticeable at Manzanilla where the isolation of the
settlements put the greatest premium on such communal tasks as
road maintenance. In 1826 Sir Ralph Woodford reported of Manzan-
illa: "Saturday was fixed on as the day to be given to the fatigue
duties touching the general interest of the settlement. The men at
first refused to turn out and afterwards went most reluctantly and only
from the apprehension of losing their allowance of spirits, a penalty
that was inflicted more than once. But they invariably laboured less
on that day than when working for themselves: on being reproached
with it they said that they did not want a road or bridge: that it
might be very well to enable the white men (meaning the superin-
tendents) to ride, but that they always walked and could find their
way through the forest. And yet these people had served as soldiers
for 20 years, and had enjoyed ample opportunities of appreciating
the advantages of improvements of this nature". Clearly, thought
Wocdford, they were not yet properly civilized. Certainly their atti-
tude in such matters increased the difficulty of keeping the villages
in satisfactory condition. 44
We have noticed that the heavy preponderance of males in these
settlements had alarmed the planters of Naparima in the early days.
It was a problem, which had also worried the Governor, who thought
that the unattached men would be certain to desert the settlements
sooner or later, and would tend until they did so to precipate quarrels.
He took up the question with the Colonial Office. The Secretary of
State, Earl Bathurst, replied by giving instructions for a party of
negro women recently captured from a French slaver and landed at
Barbados, to be sent to Trinidad and settled among the American
refugees. 13 Accordingly 42 African women joined the Naparima
settlements in 1817. 17 In the next year when some of the settlers
who had been in the Corps of Colonial Marines claimed that some of
their relatives had been settled at Halifax, Woodford asked that the
females at least should be transferred from Halifax to Trinidad. 20 In
December 1319 Woodford again raised this question, and this time
Bathurst asked the Imperial Treasury to pay the cost of such a re-
settlement. 24 Eventually, in 1821, a small party of American negroes
did arrive from Halifax, 29 though Woodford described them as
"inferior to those already established." But a large scale removal of
negro settlers from Halifax to Trinidad does not seem ever to have
been taken really seriously, though vague discussions about this pro-
ject were still going on in 1825.33
The disproportion of the sexes was even more marked at Quare,
which began with 40 women to 233 men, than in Naparima where
there were by 1817 about 139 women to 436 men, and Woodford had
argued from the first that these settlements would never succeed
unless this could be corrected. 23 He even argued that if necessary
women should be specially brought from Africa. Otherwise "these
soldiers will inevitably disperse, disturb the gangs of estates and even-
tually become a nuisance, while the expense bestowed on them will
be thrown away." 24 In 1820 Earl Bathurst instructed the Governors
of neighboring colonies to send to Trinidad any African females
with whose disposal they might be concerned, 25 and in 1821 fifty two
liberated female slaves were transferred from Antigua and "dis-
tributed" among the Quar6 settlements. 26, 27.
The disproportion of the sexes was again noticed when the Man-
zanilla settlements were establsihed in 1825, 32 but Bathurst de-
clined to send over women from Sierra Leone. 39 The matter was
discussed at intervals thereafter, 41, 42. but no concrete results were
ever achieved; 50 though in 1828 the Governor complained that there
were still 150 unattached men at Quar6 and Manzanilla who, in con-
sequence of this lack of attachment, were unsettled and "irregular"
in their work. 48 The shortage of women at the settlements was in
fact always noticeable, and in consequence the single men, who in
any case usually worked part time on the neighboring estates, often
formed connections with the slave women. This in turn acted as an
inducement to the men to neglect their lands at the settlements. 29
As early as 1817 it was reported that the Naparima settlers had
been asking that a Church and a Minister should be provided for
them. 16 As Americans they were of course well acquainted with such
things, but their relatively remote location in Trinidad meant that
they scarcely saw either. They were however by no means the only
people in Trinidad in such a plight, and the position had not changed
when six years later Woodford asked whether the Imperial Treasury
would meet the cost of providing the Naparima settlements with a
clergyman. 30 The Treasury however was most reluctant to consider
such a step any part of its business, and when in 1824 Woodford
finally elicited a Treasury promise to pay a clergyman's stipend he
was sufficiently sceptical to write in a private letter, "we know the value
of their promises in such matters." 31
The hopeful now turned towards the Bishop of Barbados for the
provision of a clergyman, 34 and in 1825 plans were made for pro-
viding a school for the children, 36 after the settlers themselves had
paid the salary of a schoolteacher for 18 months and then been forced
to stop for financial reasons. 37 In 1826, after the Bishop had promised
to provide a clergyman, the Naparima settlers began work on erecting
a church and school for which the Treasury undertook to pay. 43
Nothing came of their plans however. The Treasury refused to pay a
school-teacher, and, as we shall see, in 1827 they urged that Govern-
ment expenditure on these settlements should be terminated. Claim-
ing that the Treasury was hard pressed, Earl Bathurst began to urge
that the settlers should as far as possible be thrown back on their
own resources. 45
Although there was no regular clergyman at these settlements
there were among the settlers in 1825 five men who were described
as "Anabaptist preachers". They sometimes held forth on Sundays,
and the majority of the settlers were reckoned as their followers
though nominally they included perhaps 200 Methodists and 20
Muslims. 37 When we note that in the eight years 1818 to 1825 the
Naparima settlements were only once visited by a clergyman, and that
subsequent visits were little more frequent, while for lack of a clergy-
man none of the 30 or 40 couples "matched" in this period had been
legally married, it is easy to visualise the situation in 1835 when
Governor Sir George Hill reported than in the absence of any
alternative the religious minded among the settlers were following
one of their own number who had received "a call from heaven". He
further remarked that this man's followers were the most industrious
of all the settlers. 57
Because of their greater isolation, the absence of either clergyman
or schoolmaster at the Manzanilla settlements was if possible an even
more serious problem for their inhabitants than in Naparima. The
nearest place of worship was the Roman Catholic church at Arima,
six miles from Quard and about eighteen from Manzanilla. 70 At Man-
zanilla two proposals for providing a clergyman and a schoolmaster
had produced no result, although the settlers were reportedly very
anxious to have them. In 1831 a house was at last built for a
catechistt", but none could 'be found to occupy it. 54 And the coming
of Apprenticeship in 1834 had served to detract official minds from
the affairs of the settlements generally.
The end of slavery however was followed by a wave of concern
for these settlements in humanitarian circles, and the long neglected
question of religious instruction was taken up in many quarters. There
were now 443 men, 91 women and 151 children at Quard and Manzan-
illa. 57 Before leaving the colony in 1834 Governor Sir Leslie Grant
had begun negotiations for the establishment of a Moravian mission at
Manzanilla, 55 and In 1835 his successor, Sir George Hill, continued to
agitate this question. The Moravians were favoured for this work be-
cause "they are humble, but industrious and persuasive and have not the
ambition of clerical advancement to disturb them". A school and a house
for a schoolmaster had now been built and increasing pressure was
being applied. 57 The Chaplain to the forces in Trinidad badgered the
War Office about providing a clergyman, 58, 64 the Governor badgered
the Colonial Office. Both complained that the Bishop of Barbados
took no interest in Trinidad, for the religious life of which he was
nominally responsible, despite his promises of assistance. Governor Hill
remarked in 1836 that the Bishop scarcely seemed to regard Trinidad
as being in his diocese. 59 Of official support for religious teaching at
the negro settlements there was still none; the only effort at religious
instruction at Manzanilla had been made privately by the Superin-
tendent. 57, 72.
Nothing was done at Naparima or Quar6, but a schoolteacher was
eventually appointed at Manzanilla in 1836, and plans were again
laid for appointing a clergyman there. Disinclination to spend money
was still a great hindrance, as the building of a school was suspended
for this reason, and the house provided for a clergyman used for the
purpose 62 The schoolmaster, however, a Mr. David Lynch, worked at
Manzanilla only for two periods of a few months each before throwing
up his appointment in 1837. 69 His successor, a Mr. Cassidy, died within
a few months. Thereafter the school was entrusted to the Mico
Charity, Government making a grant of 100 a year towards the
teacher's salary. 72 Matters then began to improve, and after 1840
the Mico-controlled school did excellent work. 74 Another Mico school
was established at Turure, near to Quare, and in 1841 an evening
class for adults was also being run there, while there were 53 children
enrolled. Average attendance however was only about 20, and persuad-
ing the settlers to send their children to school rather than to work
in the fields was always a problem. By 1846 the Naparima settlements
too had been provided with a school, this one' being run by the
Still however there was no resident clergyman at any of the
settlements, and clerical visits were extremely rare. When in 1841
Rev. J. H. Hamilton, rector of Tacarigua, paid a visit to Manzanilla,
it was so long since the inhabitants had seen a clergyman that he
found a backlog of 18 marriages and 12 baptisms waiting to be
performed. 77. 78. The journey from Tacarigua to Manzanilla and back
was so difficult and expensive that the Government allowed Hamilton
$80 towards it. 82 At Quare Islam had now become the major religion,
there being no competition to the activities of one of the settlers who
claimed to be a Moslem priest. 78 In the 1840's however a Baptist
missionary began to pay occasional visits to the Naparima, settlements.
Initially medical attention at the settlements was provided free
of charge, but subsequently a levy of $1.80 (7/6d) per man per quarter
was imposed at the Naparima settlements as a contribution towards
the cost of this service. In practice however it proved extremely difft
cult to collect this contribution and a few of the settlers paid at all
regularly, while at Quare and Manzanilla it does not seem ever to
have been tried. The cost of medical attention thus continued to be
borne largely by the Imperial Government, as part of the general
costs of the settlements. 37 In the first twelve months alone, 1815/16,
when the first settlers were much troubled by illness-ascribed to an
unfamiliar diet aggravated by a severe wet season 6, 8 $2625 (547)
was spent on providing medical attention. This service however was
attended with many difficulties, and was never really adequate. 10, 12
The Naparima and Quare settlements were at least within reach of
a doctor provided the roads were passable, and for many years the
Superintendent of the Manzanilla settlements was also a doctor.
Dr. Warden, but after he died in 1836 medical attention scarcely
existed at all. 62 The official doctor resided 22 miles away and was in
consequence scarcely ever seen at the settlements. 77
The cost of establishing and maintaining the various negro
settlements was always of the gravest concern to the Imperial
Treasury. In the very first experimental year the settlement of just
over 200 American refugees In Trinidad cost the Imperial authorities
$19,296 (4020) 6, 8 and as early as 1818 the Treasury began to urge
that Government expenditure on the Naparima settlements should be
terminated as soon as possible. They suggested that the settlers
should be asked to contribute to the cost of medical attention as soon
as their lands became reasonably productive, tried unsuccessfully to
persuade the Governor to reduce the Superintendent's salary, and
always counselled economy. 20
In fact the cost to the Imperial Government of settling the
American refugees in Trinidad does not seem to have been excessive.
The initial cost of establishing the settlements varied between $57
and $67 a head, to which had to be added the recurrent cost of
medical attention and the salaries of the Superintendent and his
assistants. 21 Over the eleven years 1815 to 1825 the total cost was
$74,995 (15,624), while the total population in 1825 was 260. 41 Robert
Mitchell maintained that without this assistance from Government
the settlements could not possibly have succeeded, and his argument
that but for the regular weekly visits of the Superintendent or his
assistant, the settlers would neglect their lands was to a large extent
borne out by events. 37
The cost of establishing the Quar6 and Manzanilla settlements
was at the outset limited to the total of the pensions to which the
former soldiers would normally have been entitled at the official rate
of 10d per man per day. These pensions were in consequence with-
drawn. The limitation was even pushed to the point where, when
after five months it appeared that expenditure on the first settle-
ments at Quare was exceeding the total of the pensions, the allowance
of food was reduced in consequence. 24 Woodford protested against
this parsimony-the expenditure in these five months had been $8424
of which $5490 went on provisions and $1820 on the capital cost of
tools, houses, &c., while the total of the pensions was only $5341-but
the Treasury appears to have ignored his representations. 26
In 1827 the Treasury commenced a more determined attack on
the expenditure of the settlements generally. It was remarked that
with regard to the American refugees similar settlements had been
established in Nova Scotia without expense to the Imperial Govern-
ment. If, said Secretary of State Lord Goderich, money was still to
be spent on the Naparima settlements, now twelve years old, it should
come from the Colonial rather than the Imperial Government. By
the time the only expenditure involved in Naparima was the salaries
of the Superintendent and his assistant, and by dispensing with the
assistant the sum required was reduced from $2649 (552) to $1896
(395) a year. 46 This the Imperial Government eventually agreed to
continue paying. 47
Such economy was more difficult at Quare and Manzanilla be-
cause the settlers there had a claim on the Imperial Government
through their pension rights. It was still assumed that the Colonial
Government could spend Imperial funds on these settlements, equi-
valent to the total of the pension the men would normally have
received, the rate being 21d. per day now. Actual expenditure however
remained far below the permissible maximum, although great benefits
could have been conferred by spending more money on the road and
yielding to the growing pressure for a school and a clergyman. In
practice the settlements accumulated a credit balance, known as the
Manzanilla Fund though it applied equally to Quare, which in June
1830 had reached the large sum of $8007 (1668). Current expenditure
was in fact little more than the salaries of a superintendent and a
medical officer, whose visits were infrequent. 51 By 1834 the Manzan-
illa Fund amounted to $24,000 (5,000) but still almost nothing was
being spent on the settlements.
The fate of all the settlements had iow become directly connected
with the determination of the Imperial Government to reduce ex-
penditure on them. They attracted little attention except for the spas-
modic efforts to provide a clergyman and a schoolteacher, and to
reduce expenditure, and Sir Ralph Woodford was no longer there to
protect their interests. The Naparima settlements pass almost com-
pletely from official notice once an untoward incident in 1831, by
calling attention to them, resulted in the termination of all official
expenditure for their benefit. The then Superintendent was found to
be exploiting his position in order to get the settlers to work on his
own estate at sub-standard wages. 52 The Governor, Sir Lewis Grant,
thought that the time had come to leave these settlements to them-
selves, and soon afterwards the Superintendent was finally withdrawn. 55
In 1835 the population of the Naparima Settlements exceeded 1,000,
and although the withdrawal of the Superintendent had been followed
by an increase in absenteeism, many of the Individual holdings were
reported to be doing very well. 5
The Quar6 and Manzanilla settlements were of course less easily
abandoned, but were equally neglected, while the Manzanilla Fund
mounted. By 1831 these settlements were reported to be "decidedly
retrograding in morality and civilization". 53 Very rarely a little was
spent on maintaining the road and the bridges. Some of the latter
had cost over $2880 to provide, but were "almost every year washed
away by the floods of the Rivers", and of late no attempt at regular
maintenance had been made. As Governor Grant reported, "the line
of Road for many miles was perpetually getting obstructed and re-
duced to a footpath by the quickness of the Vegetation. As the road
was never used for any sort of carriage and no prospect of its being
required for that purpose I conceived the annual outlay was much
too great in proportion to any benefit derived and therefore limited
it to keeping it in a fit condition for Horses and Persons on foot to
pass". 55 So the balance of the Manzanilla Fund continued to rise,
while the road continued to be "scarcely passable" during the wet
Grant thought, in fact, that to place these settlements so far
from Port of Spain had been a mistake, and thaat the idea of using
them to keep open a road to the East Coast had become a great
liability. He proposed moving the whole establishment nearer to civili-
zation, and to use the balance of the Manzanilla Fund for the purpose. 55
With the coming of the Apprenticeship System however Governors had
scant time for such projects, and in January 1836 it became apparent
that the Colonial Office had forgotten the very existence of the Man-
zanilla Fund. Although this had been steadily accumulating over
the years, supposedly with Imperial consent, the Secretary of State
had to ask Governor Hill to explain its very existence. 61 At that date
the Fund stood nominally at about $34,000 (7208) while annual
expenditure on the settlements was not much more than the $3,878
spent on official salaries. 62
But the Imperial Treasury now tried to question the existence
of this Fund. They argued that each year's expenditure must be
limited to the equivalent of the settlers' pensions for that year alone,
and that the unspent balance of each year's allocation should not
be carried forward to the settlements' credit; in other words, that
there was no such thing as the Manzanilla Fund. As Lord Stanley
was to write in 1842, the pensions had never been intended to be
cumulable; "a maximum of expenditure was fixed, but not a minimum",
probably this was technically true, but the opposite had hitherto
always been assumed by the Colonial authorities. 79 Since the number
of pensioners was naturally declining as time passed, and with it the
total of the pensions, the Treasury refused to sanction appointments
which would one day cost more than the total of the pensions. Hence
the refusal to pay a clergyman and the reluctance to pay a school-
master which we have already noticed. 65
This decision that allocations of money could not be carried
forward was a fundamental blow to the plans now being put forward
by the Colonial Government under Sir George Hill, since only by
using the balance of what they had believed to be the Manzanilla Fund
would it be possible to build a church and school, provide religious and
secular teaching, and otherwise assist the development of QuarA and
Manzanilla. It was useless for the Treasury to say that within the
limits of expenditure which they now saw fit to impose they had no
objection to the Colony's plans. Everything depended on the existence
of an unexpended balance, now amounting to some $34,000 (7,008)
which had been generally believed for over a decade, but was now
denied in London. A maximum limit of $2,880 (600) per annum was
imposed on religious and educational expenditure, and since the
pensions would one day stop, it was emphasised that all expenditure
was necessarily temporary. 63
Despite this controversy over the existence of a Manzanilla Fund,
the Colonial Office three years later again appeared unaware of the
financial arrangements with respect to the settlements. 73 On the
other hand in 1840 the Governor of Trinidad wrote again of such a
fund though in 1836 it had been decided that the unspent balances
each year were not to be carried forward. These facts provide an
interesting commentary on the efficiency of colonial administration
immediately after Emancipation. At the same time Lieut. Colonel
J. A. Mein, acting Governor for a few months advanced an elaborate
proposal for reorganising the settlements to suit his own whims. 74
Mein wanted to disband the settlements altogether. He thought
that they could only be maintained if money was spent on them,
that the pensions would soon fall below the minimum total required
for the purpose, and that abandonment would then be inevitable.
The population of the Quar6 and Manzanilla settlements was now
made up as follows:-
Living in the Settlements Absent Total Pensioners
Men Women Children Total Men
Manzanilla 154 118 191 463 89 552 243
Quare 60 44 126 230 45 275 105
TOTAL 214 162 317 693 134 827 348
One third of the whole number of pensioners therefore worked out
permanently, and so gained nothing from the continued maintenance
of the settlements. It was a simple matter to pile up arguments show-
ing that in a material sense the settlements were unprofitable. In
1839 Government spent $600 in transporting to Port of Spain crop
which realized only a few thousand dollars, although the remaining
settlers who still worked their own lands worked as industriously as
anyone could ask. Transport was still difficult and expensive, a
chronic problem; in 1839 two sloops were wrecked at Manzanilla. Mein
also claimed that since the produce of the settlements was brought
to market in bulk at long intervals, it frequently flooded the market
and had to be sold at low prices. He thought that the settlers had
"neither been satisfied nor benefitted" by twenty years in assisted
settlements; but few others in Trinidad seem to have shared this
opinion, and it is scarcely borne out by the evidence, which shows
small trace of active discontent, and some positive prosperity. 74
Yet Mein's suggestions received serious considerations in London.
He wished to abandon the settlements and pay the pensioners the
cash value of their pensions for the rest of their lives instead. This he
thought would lead them all to move closer to Port of Spain, where
if necessary grants of new land. but no other assistance, might be
offered to them, and it had the great merit of relieving Government
of its responsibility for these settlements. As the remaining pensions
totalled much the same sum as the actual current expenditure, there
would be no additional expense.
These proposals entailed the unilateral abrogation by the Imperial
Government of the agreements made with the settlers in 1818-25, and
on these grounds they were opposed by Sir Henry Taylor, Assistant
Under-Secretary of State. 74 The Treasury however were delighted at
an opportunity to escape a financial responsibility which might con-
ceivably become onerous one day. To adopt Mein's scheme would cer-
tainly have been to break faith with the settlers, but Lord John
Russell passed over this with the comment that the existing shortage
of labour in Trinidad, and consequent high wages, would enable those
forced to quit Manzanilla to find work easily, while special allow-
ances could be made to anyone incapable of work. 75
Certainly by 1841 the condition of the Quar6 and Manzanilla
settlements was in some ways unsatisfactory. They had disappointed
the more sanguine hopes entertained by their founders, and it might
legitimately be asked how far further public expenditure on them was
justified. Some of the houses were very good, but the majority were
'very inferior", and though some had good provision gardens many
of the houses were surrounded by bush. 76 The plots of land originally
granted were no longer clearly defined: "the survivors have appro-
priated to themselves the lands of the deceased settlers, and made
encroachments upon the unappropriated lands in the neighbourhood".
The road was still a major problem, and the difficulties over religious
education disturbed many people. It is possible that with wages in
Trinidad ranging from 40e. to 50t. a day many of the settlers might
well have been able to make a better living as wage labourers than
as peasant farmers.
Yet this is not a complete picture. Some of those settlers who
appeared to have neglected their lands may well have had provision
grounds elsewhere in the area. In 1841 Governor Macleod concluded
that the average annual sales in Port of Spain of produce from Man-
zanilla and Quar6 totalled $7000 in rice, yams, corn, ginger and plan-
tains, while much produce was sold in the country, generally at Arima,
and there were also the coffee and cocoa plantations. Even at Quar6,
where the fields were said to be less fertile and productive than the
very good ones at Manzanilla, the average annual production of rice was
said in 1841 to be 34 barrels per man. 78 Furthermore, striking evi-
dence exists of how well the settlers could do for themselves if they
displayed energy and initiative. In 1837 Philip Finlay and Jackson
Harvey, who had been settled at Quar6 in 1818, paid $70 each for
their passage to London together with their wives in the hope of
being able to return to Africa. 71 and the Colonial Office then asked
the Admiralty to provide them with free passage from London to
West Africa. 58 At Turure, near to Quard, the orderly sergeant, John
Brook, had two cocoa plantations in 1841 valued at between $2000 and
$3000 besides a large quantity of stock. At Manzanilla were one or
two men believed to be worth even more. 7s
However the admittedly serious drawbacks to the Quar6 and
Manzanilla settlements do not seem to have played much part in the
counsels of the Imperial Government when Lieut. Colonel Mein pro-
posed to abandon them. The Colonial Office and the Treasury were
concerned essentially to terminate as quickly as possible an item of
government expenditure, and they proposed to do so without con-
sulting those on whose behalf that expenditure had, as part of a
bargain, been commenced. Before any action could be taken however
Mein's term of office came to an end, and with the arrival of Sir
Henry Macleod as Governor in 1840 the situation again changed.
Macleod strongly opposed his predecessor's views: "the abandonment
of these settlements as proposed would be fraught with great disad-
vantage to the Colony and injustice to the discharged soldiers".
Macleod's chief argument was familiar: it was very important to
maintain a good road to the East Coast, and with such a road the
settlements would flourish. The fact that many settlers had deserted
their villages did not justify a step detrimental to the industrious
ones particularly as efficient supervision would have checked idleness
Macleod thus recommended that Government should continue to
maintain these settlements, and suggested the immediate expendi-
ture of $14,400 (3,000) on roads, buildings and bridges. Macleod's
idea was to establish a good road to Manzanilla once and for all,
and then leave the settlers to their own devices, paying them their
pensions of 21d. a day in cash and terminating all Government ex-
penditure on the maintenance of the settlements as such. He also
proposed that the Crown should resume the lands of those who had
The new Colonial Secretary, Lord Stanley, however maintained
that there was no money available for Macleod's project, and reiter-
ated the 1836 decision that no Manzanilla Fund existed. Regardless
of what he deemed to have been earlier misconceptions on this point,
Stanley decided that justice to the settlers did not require the con-
tinued maintenance of the settlements. Rather did he see the question
as one of expediency, and Stanley did not accept the contention that
the disappointing results of these experiments had been due to neglect.
Successive Governors had claimed that this was so, and then them-
selves failed to improve matters; therefore was Stanley "led to believe
that the failures have been owing to the inherent difficulties of the
design". The road was admitted to be the crux of the matter, "But in
such a climate and such a tract of country, it may be doubtful whe-
ther anything but an agricultural and commercial demand for a road
will keep a road in a practicable state". Furthermore, the high wages
then being paid for agricultural labour would probably continue to
draw off the less successful settlers as well as some of the more
enterprising, and Stanley thought with Mein that work on the estates
for high wages was likely to bring more benefits than remaining in
the settlements. Therefore he declined to sanction further expenditure
on their maintenance. When the pension holders died out it would
cease anyway, and when it ceased the settlements would almost cer-
tainly be abandoned. Therefore, said Stanley, the sooner the better. 79
The maintenance of such settlements by Government assistance was
against all the principles of the Colonial Office in the 1840's. Perhaps
the wonder is that it continued for so long, a fact due almost entirely
to the Government's belief that It owed some sort of duty towards
men who had served in the armed forces.
In an effort to fulfil that obligation the Imperial Government
planned the abandonment of the settlements with some care. Those
absentees who after three months' notice had not returned to their
holdings were to forfeit all claims upon the Government, but the
resident settlers were to retain their lands, and would in future be
paid their pensions in cash for the rest of their lives. Governor Macleod
argued that to deprive the absentees of their pensions was a breach
of faith, but the Treasury, probably rightly, rejected this view. In
future the only assistance which Government would grant to the
settlements as such would be for the maintenance of the schools.
The office of Superintendent was to be abolished, and absence from
a settlement for more than two months in any one year would entail
forfeiture of pension rights. 79
Sir Henry Macleod argued strongly that if Government ceased
to maintain the road it would prove impossible to keep the school at
Manzanilla going, and if Government ceased to provide medical
attention it would probably pass wholly out of the reach of nearly
all the settlers. so The local press agreed that Lord Stanley's pro-
posals were unjust to the settlers, though it accepted the argument
that since the settlements were too remote and isolated they had
best be disbanded gradually. 83 The Colonial Office and the Imperial
Treasury however were determined to be rid of an irksome respon-
sibility, and in April 1843 Stanley's plans were brought into operation.
Absentees were given until 1 August 1843 to return and claim their
pension rights. None did so, and at the end of the year the Superin-
tendent and Medical Officer were both dispensed with. The aged and
infirm were inr the end allowed to forsake their holdings and yet
retain their pension rights, 81 and were allowed a pension of 5d. a day
instead of the normal 21d. If they were "Incapable of work". This
allowance was eventually paid to 118 men, most of whom were over
60 years ofi age. 85 Many of the settlers decided to abandon their
lands now that the road was no longer to be maintained and sea
transport was withdrawn, and the Governor believed that they had
little option. We may agree with his final conclusion: "In many cases
perhaps this is not to be regretted but among the settlers are some
of very industrious habits who have considerable cultviation in coffee,
cocoa, and ground provisions, and to them it will be a great hard-
ship". s4 When the Quar6 and Manzanilla settlements were thus cast
off on their own there were 268 men still on the pension roll, of whom
165 still lived on their lands. 85
Probably a settlement so isolated as that at Manzanilla must, in
the conditions of the 1840's, either have been artificially supported
for many more years, or else relapse into a frontier community living
at a subsistence level. Thus if Government declined to keep the road
open, or to maintain the system of sea transport, for which purpose
money would one day cease to be available under the original arrange-
ments, probably the best thing for the settlers would have been to
move closer to populated districts. But it may be wondered whether,
had the original arrangements been continued, and effectively imple-
mented, until the dwindling of the pension money as the men died
made their termination inevitable, the settlements might not by that
time have been able to sustain themselves satisfactorily without arti-
As it was, even when money had been abundantly available the
road had been largely neglected. Certainly, to maintain it in face of
Nature's efforts to overrun it was a difficult task, but it was one which
was attacked, for the most part, only fitfully. If circumstances had,
at least since Emancipation, been working strongly against the success
of these settlements, the fact remains that the attempt to make them
succeed had been pushed with too little energy. Success could only
be achieved if communications were regularly maintained. The fact
that this would cost money was never squarely faced; neither indeed
was the need for such maintenance.
If the failure of successive plans for improving conditions at the
settlements was partly due to Imperial parsimony, it is also true
that determined action by the Colonial Government, instead of the
intermittent bursts of planning which occurred, could have achieved
much more. For example, the house built for a catechistt" in 1828
at a cost of 500 was never occupied largely because no adequate effort
was made to secure such a person. As James Stephen very rightly
and the original plan of the late Sir Ralph Woodford . has been
remarked in 1837, "the Government of Trinidad is one of those which
is the better for frequent 'pressure from without'," and in this in-
stance that pressure was not forthcoming. 67 Sir George Hill was a
determined seeker after popularity, and never displayed much
energy. In fact after the death of Sir Ralph Woodford in 1828 the
the administration of Trinidad was most undistinguished until the
arrival of Lord Harris in 1846. Further, the settlements were more
than once endangered by the hare-brained schemes of incompetent
Governors, such as Hill's proposal in 1837 38 to move the Quare
settlements to Manzanilla because the land there was said to be more
fertile. 72 The summing up of Sir Henry Macleod in 1841 is convinc-
ing: . the whole establishment bears the imprint of having been
well commenced, but also of having been suffered to get from bad
to worse . No steady principle appears to have been followed,
repairs seem to have been made only as parts of the road were
reported impassable, without paying any attention to the general
line of communication, by which means, in the aggregate, a con-
siderable sum has been entailed without producing any lasting benefit;
entirely lost sight of." 77
After Government assistance was withdrawn in 1843 those who
chose to remain on their lands as peasant farmers, the more success-
ful of the settlers, who had something to lose by moving elsewhere,
became almost wholly isolated as the road ceased to be maintained.
They ceased to attract attention, as the Naparima settlements had
done, once they were no longer a source of Governmnet expenditure.
Thereafter only the Mico Trustees, still responsible for the schools
at Manzanilla and Turure showed any interest in the settlers' fate.
Meanwhile, although the relative nearness of established civilisa-
tion meant that the Naparima settlers were never faced with the same
positive incentive to move which was presented to those at Quare and
Manzanilla in 1843 when Government assistance was withdrawn, an
increasing proportion of them had come to neglect their lands in
face of the very high wages for work on the estates which Emancipa-
tion had brought with it. Furthermore, since 1831 they had had no
Superintendent to urge them to maintain their own cultivation. By
1846 most of the Naparima allotments were said to be in a sorry
state, though the nominal population was now over 1,000 and was
still increasing. The majority of the people were now working out,
as skilled workmen rather than field labourers, and few now took
their own cultivation really seriously Many had wandered off to
other districts. It was in fact now Lord Harris's opinion that the
Naparima settlements no less than those at Quar6 and Manzanilla,
had been complete failures and were "in a state bordering on disso-
In seeking to explain this situation Harris suggested one possible
factor which had not occurred to his predecessors. His attention had
first been directed to these negro settlements by complaints that
although the settlers had originally been promised outright grants of
land, those in Naparima had in fact been allowed only the "occupancy"
of them. 86 As regards the settlers in Naparima, said Harris, this
failure to grant them "full and free possession" of their lands had
discouraged them from cultivating their plots with maximum energy.
Harris was in effect suggesting that the settlers' tendency to neglect
their cultivations was not due, as was commonly supposed, merely to
"idleness". In this he was of course correct, but it seems extremely
doubtful whether the technical failure of the Government to grant
the lands outright from the start had any significant effect on the
history of the settlements. Harris was perhaps nearer the point when
he criticized the fact that there had been no opportunity for the
more industrious settlers legally to acquire additional lands, while
the idle had retained their title to their allotments. 87 When the com-
plaints were brought to his notice Harris verified that outright grants
had indeed been the original intention of the Imperial Government,
and these were accordingly made in 1846 47 -
None of these settlements attracted any further official comment
until 1858. By that time the extension of cane cultivation that went
with the large scale importation of Asian and other immigrants had
destroyed what remained of the original relative isolation of the
Naparima settlements, which were now surrounded by sugar estates
the cultivation of which was still being extended. The Manzanilla
settlements, and to a larger extent those at Quare, still however
existed in isolation, with communication still the major problem of
their remaining inhabitants. But even at Manzanilla the old isolation
was beginning to break down. A few new settlers were being attracted
to the area as squatters, as Trinidad became more fully opened up.
Squatting had by 1858 become extremely fashionable in Trinidad
since in many areas land, or at least the use of it, was to be had
for the taking. In all of the former negro settlements the remaining
settlers could no longer hope to cultivate the whole area, and new-
comers were able to move in and squat on or buy up the disused land. 89
The settlements were officially noticed for the last time in 1871 when
it transpired that the original grants of land at Manzanilla had never
been confirmed, and confirmation was then granted in respect of
62 allotments. 9o By this time the Naparima settlements had become
just so many more negro villages amid a group of estates, and no
longer occupied a special position which could mark them off from
the several post-Emancipation villages now in evidence.
Thus began the settlements in the area east of Princes Town,
Trinidad, known as Third Company, Fourth Company, Fifth Company
and Sixth Company, and the villages of Valencia (which seems to
be the original Quard settlement), Turure, Le Sleva and Upper, Lower
and North Manzanilla in the North East of the island. They were
founded not so much as experiments in negro colonisation, but
rather as a means of disposing of a number of free negroes for which
the Imperial Government had become responsible. Initially, under
official sponsorship, they enjoyed much success. But in the 1830's not
only did Government treat the settlements with neglect and par-
simony; the coming of Emancipation completely changed the situa-
tion by increasing the opportunities which competed for the attention
of the settlers and led them to neglect their small holdings. But it
also paved the way for the development and settlement of Trinidad
to the point where these pre-Emancipation settlements ceased to be
isolated and lost their peculiar interest.
Po-nte a Pie 1
FERNAN P **t PRaNCE
GSIPARIA ...* .
S- Ap r DD* Kli e' bovjndiany c
Pr-esent day roads
SCALE i MILES TO
0 Refugee Set-tlememnts
4 Npa'ma a3i.-it
....... Pre t bay Roa ds
0 West In.ia Rep'rnt ttl Ont
ScA&.. 6 M-ies TO I LNt-Ct
SCALE I : I.SOO000
OR 23-(7 MILES TO I INCh
1. A. B. Ellis, History of the First West India Regiment, p. 165.
2. Ellis, op cit., pp. 16, 178, 188.
3. J. E. Caulfield, One hundred Year History of the Second West India Regiment.
pp. 5-6, 28, 36.
4. C.O. 295/37: Woodford to Bathurst, 5 June 1815, no. 103.
5. C.O. 295'37: Woodford to Bathurst, 5 August 1815, no. 113.
6. C.O. 295/37: Woodford to Bathurst, 9 Nov. 1815, no. 131.
7. C.O. 295"37: Woodford to Bathurst, 30 Nov. 1815, no. 134.
8. C.O. 295/39: Woodford to Bathurst, 8 Feb. 1816, no. 153.
9. C.O. 295/5: Bathurst to Woodford, 25 April 1816.
10. C.O. 295/40: Woodford to Bathurst, 28 Aug. 1816, no. 189.
11. C.O. 295/40: Woodford to Bathurst, 10 Nov. 1816, no. 205, & encs.
12. C.O. 295/40: Woodford to Bathurst, 10 Nov. 1816, no. 207.
13. C.O. 296/5: Bathurst to Woodford, 17 Jan. 1817.
14. C.O. 295/43: Sir F. P. Robinson to Woodford, 9 May 1817, enc. in no. 234.
15. C.O. 295/43: Woodford to Sir F. P. Robinson, 13 May 1817, enc. in no. 234.
16. C.O. 295/44: Woodford to Bathurst, 31 July 1817, no. 251.
17. C.O. 295/44: Woodford to Bathurst, 10 Aug. 1817, no. 258 and encs.
18. C.O. 295/46: Woodford to Bathurst, 6 Jan. 1818, no. 273.
19. C.O. 295/46: Woodford to Bathurst, 29 Jan. 1818, no. 274.
20. C.O. 295/46: Woodford to Bathurst, 5 May, 1818, no. 288.
21. C.O. 295/47: Treasury to Goulburn, 24 Jan., 20 Nov. 1818 and encs.
22 CO. 296'/5: Bathurst to Woodford, 24 Feb. 1819.
23. C.O. 295/48: Woodford to Bathurst, 8 April 1819. no. 321.
24. C.O. 295/48: Woodford to Bathurst, 12 Dec. 1819, no. 351, and minutes.
25. C.O. 296 5: Bathurst to Woodford, 6 July 1820.
26. C.O. 295/51: Woodford to Bathurst, 16 Dec. 1820, no. 391.
27. C.O. 295/53: Woodford to Bathurst, 11 April 1821, no. 403.
28. C.O. 295/55: Woodford to Robert Wilmot, 16 Dec. 1822.
29. C.O. 295 '59: Woodford to Bathurst, 30 April 1823, no. 481 and encs.
30. C.O. 295/59: Woodford to Bathurst, 8 June 1823, no. 493.
31. C.O. 295/63: Woodford to R. Wilmot Horton, 30 Oct. 1824, Private.
32. C.O. 295/63: Woodford to Bathurst, 6 Dec. 1824, no. 584.
33. C.O. 296/6: Bathurst to Woodford, 12 May 1825, no. 13.
34. C.O. 295/65: Woodford to Bathurst, 25 April 1825, no. 615.
35. C.O. 295'65: Woodford to Bathurst, 7 May 1825, no. 622.
36. C.O. 295/66: Woodford to Bathurst. 12 June 1825, no. 629.
37. C.O. 295/66: Evidence of William Wright before Committee of Council, enc. in
38. C.O. 295/66: Woodford to Bathurst, 12 June 1825, no. 630.
39. C.O. 295 67: Woodford to Bathurst, 10 Oct. 1825, no. 654.
40. C.O. 295 '71: Woodford to Bathurst, 27 April 1826, no. 27.
41. C.O. 295 71: Woodford to Bathurst, 27 April 1826, no. 29 and encs.
42. C.O. 296 6: Bathurst to Woodford, 1 July 1826, no. 55.
43. C.O. 295'72: Woodford to Bathurst, 8 Aug. 1826, no. 56.
44. C.O. 295/72: Enc. in Woodford to Bathurst, 31 Oct. 1826, no. 69.
45. C.O. 296/6: Bathurst to Woodford, 20 Oct. 1826, no. 66.
46. C.O. 295/75: Woodford to Goderich, 25 Sept. 1827, no. 14.
47. C.O. 296'8: Huskisson to Woodford, 20 Nov. 1827, no. 12.
48. C.O. 295/78: Act. Govr. Farquharson to Sir G. Murray, 18 Sept. 1828, no. 17.
49. C.O. 295/78: Act. Govr. Farquharson to Sec. of State, 25 Sept. 1828, no. 22.
50. C.O. 296/8: Twiss to Act. Govr. of Trinidad, 2 Dec. 1828.
51. C.O. 295/85: Act. Govr. Smith to Sir G. Murray, 16 July 1830, no. 7, and encs.
52. C.O. 296/10: Howick to Grant, 6 Sept. 1831.
53. C.O. 295/88: Act. Govr. Smith to Goderich, I Oct. 1831, no. 120.
54. C.O. 295/92: Grant to Henry Taylor, 2 Jan. 1832, Private.
55. C.O. 295/105: Grant to Lefevre, 23 May 1834.
56. C.O. 295/103: Hill to Spring Rice, 7 Aug. 1834, no. 7.
57. C.O. 295/107: Hill to Glenelg, 6 July 1835, no. 14.
58. C.O. 295/109: Enc. in War Office to Colonial Office, 16 Dec. 1835.
59. C.O. 295/110: Hill to Gleneig, 20 Jan. 1836, Private.
60. C.O. 295/110: Hill to Glenelg, 6 Mar. 1836, no. 31.
61. C.O. 296/12: Glenelg to Hill, 30 Jan. 1836, no. 78.
62. C.O. 295/111: Hill to Glenelg, 24 July 1836, no. 106 and encs.
63. C.O. 296/12: Glenelg to Hill, 13 Dec. 1836, no. 157.
64. C.O. 295/113: War Office to Colonial Office, 9 June 1836.
65. C.O. 295/113: Treasury to Stephen, 29 Nov. 1836.
66. C.O. 295/115: Hill to Glenelg, 10 Nov. 1837, no. 75.
67. C.O. 295/118: Encs. in War Office to Colonial Office, 27 March 1837 and minutes.
68. C.O. 295/118: War Office to Colonial Office, I Aug. 1837, and encs.
69. C.O. 295/119: Rev. D. Evans to Glenelg, I June 1837.
70. C.O. 295/119: Rev. D. Evans to Glenelg, 3 June 1837.
71. C.O. 295/119: Memorial of Philip Finlay and Jackson Harvey, 19 July 1837.
72. C.O. 295/122: Hill to Glenelg, 30 Oct. 1838, no. 109.
73. C.O. 296/14: Russell to McGregor, 18 Dec. 1839, no. 31.
74. C.O. 295/129: Act. Govr. Mein to Russell, 12 April 1840, no. 9 and encs.
75. C.O. 296/14: Russell to Act. Govr. Trinidad, 30 Nov. 1840, no. 71.
76. P.P. 1842. XXIX. 425: Evidence of Rev. J. H. Hamilton before Committee of Agri-
cultural and Immigration Society of Trinidad, 6 May 1841.
77. C.O. 295/134: Macleod to Russell, 14 Oct. 1841, no. 93.
78. C.O. 295/134: Enc. in Macleod to Russell, 14 Oct. 1841, no. 93.
79. C.O. 296/16: Stanley to Macleod, 24 Mar. 1842, no. 53.
80. C.O. 295/136: Macleod to Stanley, 11 June 1842, no. 63.
81. C.O. 295/138: Treasury to Colonial Office, 3 Sept. 1842.
82. C.O. 295/138: Treasury to Colonial Office, 27 Sept. 1842.
83. Port of Spain Gazette, 25 April 1843.
84. C.O. 295/142: Macleod to Stanley, 3 Feb. 1844, no. 17.
85. C.O. 295/148: Enc. in Treasury to Colonial Office, 30 Dec. 1845.
86. C.O. 295/151: Harris to Gladstone, 13 July 1846, no. 24.
87. C.O. 295/152: Harris to Grey, 18 Nov. 1846, no. 94.
88. C.O. 296/18: Grey to Harris, 28 Dec. 1846, no. 85.
89. P.P. 1859 ii. xxi. 438: Keate to Lytton, 26 Sept. 1858, no. 131.
90. P.P. 1873. XLVIII. 96: Longden to Kimberley, 26 April 1872.
In The West Indian Sugar Industry
GEORGE C. ABBOTT
Traditionally the sugar industry has been the mainstay of the
economic life of the West Indies. 1 This is an historical fact which
does not escape the notice of even the casual visitor to the area. True
enough some of the units, particularly the larger ones, have tended
within recent years to move away from this marked dependence on a
'one-crop economy' but sugar still remains the most Important agri-
cultural export crop in the West Indies today. In Barbados and St.
Kitts it accounts for not less than 90% of the value of total exports, in
British Guiana about 50%, in Jamaica not less than 30% and in
Trinidad for about 10%.
Although sugar is so important to the economic life of the West
Indian islands whether individually or collectively, the amount which
the area as a whole contributes to the world production of cane sugar
is at best marginal, and certainly pales into insignificance when com-
pared with such areas as Cuba and Java. In 1940 the West Indies
contributed 2.4% of the world's total production of cane sugar, and
although by 1960 production had increased by nearly two and a half
times, the West Indies still contributed less than 3% to the world's
total. The West Indies therefore find themselves in the extremely
vulnerable position of depending on the production and export of an
agricultural crop in which they hold a very marginal position in the
overall world picture.
Their position is rendered even more precarious when we realise
that this marked dependence upon sugar is not expected to change
very significantly In the future. If, therefore, the industry is to expand
or even to adjust itself to changing world situations without any undue
social stress or dislocation It is essential that It should possess some
means whereby it can insulate itself against the violent export price
fluctuations to which all primary export crops are notoriously
3 The term West Indies includes the newly independent nations of Jamaica and Trinidad
and Tobago, the mainland territory of British Guiana and the British colonies of
Barbados, the Windward and Leeward Islands.
Instances of the social and economic repercussions of the fluctua-
tions of the export prices of primary products are too numerous and
varied to mention here. The West Indies themselves are not without
their fair share of examples. (Some of us would even like to forget
the widespread distress of the Terrible Thirties). We do not therefore
propose to elaborate on the need for stabilisation measures but rather
to examine those measures which have been introduced whether
consciously or unconsciously, in order to ensure the stability of West
Indian sugar in the face of the enduring instability of the world's sugar
As stabilisation policies can and do assume a multiplicity of forms,
it is perhaps appropriate to define the scope of the term as used in this
paper. By stabilisation policies is meant those measures which are
instituted with the primary objective of reducing the violence and
magnitude of temporary fluctuations in the incomes of producers and
exporters of primary products which in turn result from fluctuations
in the export prices of their commodities. Fortunately in the context
of the West Indian sugar industry the analysis becomes extremely
simplified and is limited to a consideration of the more general and
Reviewing the history of the sugar industry since the end of World
War I, we find that stimulated by high prices received during the war
production reached an all time peak in 1920. Vast expansions in
acreages were undertaken and modern factories establisnea. The world
price for raw sugar (c.i.f. New York) had risen from 2.83 U.S. cents per
lb. in 1914 to 11.35 U.S. cents per lb. in 1920, and everywhere there were
signs of growing prosperity in the industry. But prosperity was short-
lived for in 1921 the sugar market collapsed and the world price of
raw sugar fell to 3.36 U.S. cents per lb. Except for a brief respite in
1923 it continued to fall throughout the twenties until it reached an all
time low of .93 U.S. cents per lb. in 1932.
This ruinous fall in the world price of sugar did not fail to have
its full consequences on West Indian sugar which was then being sold
in the United Kingdom market at the "world price" that is the price
at which Cuba dumped her exportable surplus sugar on to the world
market after her preferential market requirements had been met. In
their effort to survive West Indian producers were forced to adopt
economically suicidal methods in the course of which scores of estates
went bankrupt and labourers were thrown out of work.
The British Government expressed concern for the welfare of the
West Indian colonies by appointing a Royal Commission to examine
and report upon the state of the sugar industry. By the time the
Olivier Commission of 1929 had reported the world was already
immersed in the Great Depression and sugar was just another depressed
commodity in the world market.
The West Indian sugar industry was so hard hit that even the
institution of the Imperial Preference of 1 per ton of West Indian
sugar imported into Britain as from the 1932 crop proved inadequate
to arrest the downward movement which the industry had been follow-
ing. The industry seemed too far gone to regain its natural momentum
and things got progressively worse.
Production was falling and prices were bad. What is more the
establishment of buffer stocks, which on theoretical grounds at least
would have been a sound investment, was out of the question. For
one West Indian sugar producers did not have the financial resources
to stand out of their money for any period of time. Secondly they did
not have adequate storage facilities to undertake such a venture and,
thirdly, they were so hopelessly disorganised and parochial in approach
that any attempt to institute buffer stocks was doomed to failure. It
was pretty well a case of everyman for himself. The significant thing
about this whole era was that West Indian sugar producers found
themselves at the mercy of a depressed commodity market; they were
aware of their own precarious existence but they could do nothing
Further the British Government was not prepared to underwrite
the establishment of a buffer stock of West Indian sugar. It had
already learnt its lesson for being dependent on Caribbean and United
States dominated supplies of sugar. Its primary objective throughout
the inter-war years was therefore to stimulate its home-grown beet
sugar production and so avoid a recurrence of this situation. Added
to this the Great Depression had given rise to strong nationalistic
policies to stimulate local production to isolate the domestic economy
against the world depression. In the overall scheme of things the West
Indian sugar industry did not count.
It is not surprising therefore that things came to a head in the
wave of social and industrial unrest which swept the West Indies in
the late thirties and necessitated the appointment of another Royal
Commission in 1938. What is surprising is that the disturbances which
occurred did not assume more hideous proportions.
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939 Britain's sugar policy
underwent a radical change. The United Kingdom Government now
decided to rely on Empire and home grown supplies to meet its war-
time needs and to use long term contracts as a means of preventing
prices from getting out of hand. To this end it contracted in 1940 to
purchase for the duration of the war and up to one year after, all the
'exportable surplus' of Colonial sugar at a price of 7/6 per cwt.
(approximately equal to 11/3 with Empire preferences), subject only to
rises in the 'cost of production and/or transportation.
By its nature this undertaking was not intended to solve any of
the problems facing the West Indian sugar industry, for under war-
time conditions it was impossible to obtain the plant machinery equip-
ment spares implements and fertilisers which were so vital if the
industry were to profit from this long-term contractual arrangement.
If anything this war-time guarantee tended to have a de-stabilising
influence on production as it accelerated the depreciation of already
heavily overworked machinery. It also tended to keep machinery in
use which had long passed the stage of usefulness.
These were however war-days and as long as there was a war,
there was the over-riding pretext of the war effort. By 1944 however
a series of events had conspired to bring about a change of the United
Kingdom's sugar policy. Poor weather conditions coupled with short-
ages of labour and fertilisers as well as inadequate plant and equipment
in Commonwealth producing Countries had severely curtailed Britain's
supplies from these sources and by 1945 United Kingdom's stocks of
sugar were down to pre-war level. The problem was further aggravated
by the acute shortage of hard currency dollars with which to purchase
foreign sugar in the face of this shortage of Empire grown sugar.
The United Kingdom Government therefore decided to continue
its long-term guarantee to overseas and Colonial producers of sugar
"for on the revival of non dollar supplies hinged the prospects of an
early removal of sugar rationing. The very policy that war-time events
had partly frustrated thus became the means to post-war salvation.
As the dollar shortage persisted, and with it rationing, the commitment
to Colonial and Commonwealth sugar producers were not only con-
tinued, but by their mere continuation became more firmly established
for the future." 1
The immediate post-war years represent one of the rare instances
in which Colonial Interests coincided with those of the metropolitan
power. This identity of basic interests was even more overtly recog-
nised in 1947 when the United Kingdom Government decided to impose
a statutory levy of 2.15/- 2 on every ton of sugar imported into Britain
from colonial countries. The amount thus collected was to be paid
back to the colonial exporters for the establishment of a Reserve Fund
for the benefit of the sugar industry and its workers.
Under the terms of this levy three separate funds were to be
established. The first, the Sugar Price Stabilisation Fund was to
stabilise the price of sugar in the event of any violent fluctuations in
the export price of sugar. The second, the Sugar Industry Capital
Rehabilitation Fund was for the express purpose of assisting producers
to catch up on arrears of maintenance which had accumulated during
the war and generally to rehabilitate the industry, (rehabilitation being
defined as any expenditure on replacements plant machinery or equip-
ment pertaining to sugar factories or their ancillary services and on
new cultivations and includes expenditure on deferred maintenance
or on new capital development) and the third, the Sugar Industry
Labour Welfare Fund was to be applied "to any purposes in connection
with the conditions of living social well-being and recreation of all
classes of workers in the industry."
The amount paid into each fund varied quite considerably in the
different exporting units. In Antigua, British Guiana and Trinidad the
only units with any degree of uniformity in the distribution 1. 5. 0
1 The World's Sugar Timoshenko and Swerling p. 213. Food Research Institute,
2 The Jamaican Government decided to reduce this amount to 2. 5/- per ton and add
the extra 10/- to the effective "cash price" for sugar.
per ton was paid into the Price Stabilisation Fund, 1. 0. 0 to the
Capital Rehabilitation Fund and 10/- to the Labour Welfare Fund.
In the case of Barbados the contribution paid into the Price
Stabilisation Fund has continually been subject to revision. From
1947 to 1950 it was 1. 5/- per ton. Then it was lowered to 1. 0. 0
per ton between 1951 and 1953. It was again increased to 1. 5/- per
ton in 1954, but in 1955 it was paid at the rate of 17/6 per ton. From
1956 onwards, however, it has been fixed at 13/4 per ton.
The contribution going to the Labour Welfare Fund has also been
subject to some variations. Originally It stood at 10/- per ton but
between 1952 and 1955 it varied in proportion to the amount by which
the Negotiated Price exceeded 30. 10/- per ton. In 1956 it was fixed
at 1. 0. 0 per ton, and the smin of 3/4 per ton set aside for the
establishment of a Provident Fund for sugar workers. The amount
paid to the Capital Rehabilitation Fund has remained fixed at 1. 0. 0
Initially the distribution in Jamaica was 1. 5/- per ton to the
Price Stabilisation Fund, 15/- per ton to the Capital Rehabilitation
Fund and 5/- per ton to the Labour Welfare Fund, but in 1954 the
Sugar Workers Pension Fund was set up to provide pension and other
superannuation benefits for workers (including casual workers) in the
sugar industry. For the purpose of financing this scheme the Sugar
Price Stabilisation Fund was abandoned and two thirds of it (approx-
imately 1,250,000) were transferred to this new Fund. The rest was
paid over to the Capital Rehabilitation Fund.
The present distribution is roughly of the order of 1. 5/- per ton
to the Capital Rehabilitation Fund and 10/- per ton to both the Labour
Welfare Fund and the Sugar Workers' Pension Fund. 1
In St. Kitts the proportion going to the Labour Welfare Fund and
the Capital Rehabilitation Fund was reversed with the Labour Welfare
Fund getting 1. 0. 0 per ton and the Capital Rehabilitation Fund 10/-
per ton. While in St. Lucia the 1. 7/6 per ton paid to the Capital
Rehabilitation Fund is divided between the cane farmers and the
factory, with the cane farmers getting 2/6 per ton and the factory
1. 5/- per ton.
Taking Barbados as an example it is interesting to trace the history
of these funds between 1947 and 1960. Starting from the modest sum
of $1,452,000 (B.W.I. currency) in 1947-48 annual payments to the
different funds have more than doubled. In 1959-60 total payments
ran to $2,905,000 (B.W.I. currency). On the other hand disbursement
on an annual basis have consistently fallen short of receipts except for
1959-60, when substantial grants were made to the sugar workers who
were displaced due to the bulk installation facilities for the shipment
of sugar. On a cumulative basis the state of these funds for the five
year period 1955 to 1959 was as follows:
1 For a more detailed breakdown of the distribution see page 12 of the Report of the
Commission of Enquiry on the Sugar Industry of Jamaica. (1960). Jamaica Govern-
ment Printing Office.
TABLE 1. CUMULATIVE TOTAL OF RESERVE FUNDS IN
BARBADOS 1955/6 1959/60.
$'000 B.W.I. currency
Capital Price Labour
Year Total Rehabilitation Stabilisation Welfare
1955-1956 11,208 247 7,580 3.381
1956-1957 11,468 184 8,442 2,842
1957-1958 12,724 196 9,429 3,099
1958-1959 12,928 66 10,019 2,843
1959-1960 12,272 39 9,051 3,182
Source: Table 55, Savings and Investment, Abstract of Statistics,
Government of Barbados.
The accumulated balances of the different funds are interesting
from the point of view of expenditure already undertaken, bearing in
mind the stated objectives of the funds when they were first instituted.
'The declining balance of $39,000 of the Capital Rehabilitation Fund
gives a good indication of the amounts which have been spent in
rehabilitating the industry. Moreso when we realise that between 1955
and 1959 total payments to this Fund ran to no less than $3,922,000.
The position in Jamaica and Trinidad is hardly any different.
The increasing balance of the Sugar Price Stabilisation Fund was
a feature of all the West Indian exporting countries until recently when
the majority of them began to think in terms of how best to utilise
these reserves for the betterment of the industry as a whole since con-
ditions had never arisen to necessitate any withdrawals from the Fund.
Jamaica abandoned the Fund in 1954 and used two-thirds of its
accumulated balance to establish a Sugar Workers Pensions Fund.
By the Sugar Industry Special Funds (Amendment) Ordinances
1954, the Trinidad Government transferred the money standing to the
credit of the Sugar Price Stabilisation Fund to the other Funds. The
amount credited to the Capital Rehabilitation Fund ran to a little over
S2,500,000 B.W.I. currency.
In 1960 Barbados had plans for utilising the $10 million (B.W.I.
currency) of the Sugar Price Stabilisation Fund by diverting $4 million
to the Bulk Loading Installation, $2.5 million for the financing of a
Provident Fund and $3.5 million for reserves to finance any carry-over
There is little doubt that these Reserve Funds gave West Indian
sugar producers a degree of confidence which had been singularly lack-
in'; in the early forties in spite of the fully guaranteed war-time market
of which their exports were assured. Without the Capital Rehabilita-
tion Fi.nd for example, it would have been difficult for factories to
maintain their standard cf efficiency, let alone catch up on the vast
amount of renovation and rehabilitation which had accumulated during
the war. Without the assuring knowledge too, of a stabilisation fund
with v.hich to cushion any violent fluctuations in the export price of
sugar it is doubtful whether production would have shot up as it did
in this post-war period. But by 1954 we find that the two major pro-
ducers of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago had decided to abandon
the Stabilisation Fund in favour of a Pension Fund for the sugar
As the abandonment of the Sugar Price Stabilisation Fund less
than ten years after its inception carries with it serious implications
for the future of the industry it is necessary to examine some of the
reasons by which it was justified. Perhaps the main and certainly the
most popular reasons were that up to the time of its abandonment no
calls had been made upon it, and that substantial sums of money were
accumulating which could be better spent for the industry. This is of
course tantamount to saying that since one has not had occasion to
use one's umbrella on the first ten days of the year one might as well
dispense with it for the rest of the year. The fact that there had
never been any occasion to call on the Stabilisation Fund could hardly,
in itself, have justified its abandonment. There must have been other
The alternative uses to which the money from the Sugar Price
Stabilisation Fund has been put present some very interesting indicators
of the general climate of opinion at the time that the abandonment
was first mooted. As we have already seen these were (a) the establish-
ment of a Provident Fund for the sugar workers and (b) additional and
increased increments to the Capital Rehabilitation Fund.
While no one will deny the social benefits of a Provident Fund nor
the desirability of a pension for retired and/or disabled, sugar workers,
it is questionable whether, in terms of priorities or ultimate goals in a
West Indian society, it is not more socially desirable or economically
feasible to stabilise the export price of sugar and in turn ensure a
steady and rising level of income to the labourers rather than to
establish a Provident Fund for the benefit of the sugar workers. Surely
the existence and success of a Provident Fund must of necessity be
related not only to the overall economic conditions prevailing in the
industry, but also to the industry's position vis a vis other major sugar
producing countries neither of which can hardly be described as healthy.
Secondly, social considerations apart, it must be admitted that the
establishment of a Provident Fund has created certain institutional
rigidities which it will be very difficult to dispense with if the industry
is to re-adjust itself to changing economic conditions in the world.
Pension funds are self-sustaining. They tend to grow with the level of
economic activity and the size of 'the labour force' to which they cater.
Relating this to actual conditions in the industry where the spectre of
unemployment (consequent upon mechanisation) looms on the horizon,
the West Indies may yet find themselves in the anomalous or even
embarrassing position of having a dwindling pension fund with a grow-
ing body of pensioners. There is little doubt that the prospects of a
pension holds no charm for the average sugar worker if there is no
work by which he can earn that pension.
These are not however arguments which appeal to the average
sugar worker. On the other hand the establishment of a Provident
Fund and the provision of a pension is something which is near and
dear to the ordinary workers, and in terms of priorities will always
enjoy their support rather than the abstract and recondite functions
of supply and demand conditions of the world's sugar market. Further
in the West Indies where It is the rule rather than the exception for
the workers' representatives to hold the dual offices of Trade Unionists
and Members of Government simultaneously, the establishment of a
Provident Fund not only makes good politics but also ensures con-
tinuance in office.
Two further points may be mentioned to show the extent to which
politics and the Influence of Trade Unionism has entered into the
control and disposition of these Reserve Funds. The first big instance
was undoubtedly the distribution of funds. In Antigua, British Guiana
and Trinidad the only units with any degree of uniformity, capital
obtained twice as much per ton as labour. This made good sense for
a situation in which either the industry lay on the verge of bankruptcy
(Antigua) or capital is in a stronger position vis a vis labour to press
its claims. St. Kitts with Its strong and militant trade union movement
reversed the order however and gave Labour twice as much as Capital.
Secondly the Sugar Price Stablisation Fund was in a sense mutual
ground into which either side of the industry could only move with
the consent of the other side. It was natural therefore for the West
Indian "Labour-Unionist" Governments to look to this fund for the
necessary funds to establish a Provident Fund for the benefit of the
sugar workers from whom they derive the broad base of their popular
The employers' side of the industry (capital) could hardly agree
to the wholesale conversion of the Stabilisation Fund to a Provident
Fund without some consideration. Their 'quid pro quo' was an In-
creased contribution to their Capitalisation Fund. In this way both
sides of the industry were satisfied. Small wonder therefore that the
abandonment met with such popular approval and was so expeditiously
effected. The cautious approach adopted by Barbados and the other
smaller units in dispensing with the Stabilisation Fund seems if any-
thing to indicate these islands' realisation of their utter dependence on
sugar and their natural diffidence 'to kill the goose that lays the
There are however arguments by both sides if the industry were
able to justify their appropriation of the Stabilisation Fund. The
Commonwealth Sugar Agreement had just been signed and the fact
that It offered a guaranteed market for an overall export quota of some
900,000 tons of West Indian sugar for a period of ten years at least,
was considered sufficient to ensure the orderly expansion of the in-
dustry and to insulate it from any violent fluctuations occurring in the
world's sugar market.
It was quite natural therefore for some people to question the
advisability of the double insurance of the Sugar Price Stabilisation
Fund when exports were in fact already guaranteed by the Common-
wealth Sugar Agreement. Past experience had not required any with-
drawal from the fund. Here was a position in which substantial sums
were being accumulated against an eventuality which in the early
fifties seemed a remote possibility. The Stabilisation Fund was there-
fore in the nature of a 'surplus' set apart by the United Kingdom's
Government for the benefit of the sugar industry, and what better
way to use it than to establish a Provident Fund for the workers?
The short point is that in the context of the fifties West Indian
sugar producers considered that the Sugar Price Stabilisation Fund
could be more profitably spent for the benefit of the industry inasmuch
as the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement gave them a reasonably safe
outlet for their sugar for a reasonably long time with the prospects of
extension. Since then the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement has
remained the only form of protection which the West Indies enjoy
against the instability of the world's sugar market. It will not be
inappropriate therefore to examine some of its more important features
and the degree of protection which it offers the West Indies.
To begin with, the agreement was initially to extend for a period
of ten years. It has since been extended and now runs to 1970 if not
extended before that date. Of the total quantity of Commonwealth
sugar (the Overall Agreement Quota) which is guaranteed by this
agreement the share falling to the West Indies runs to about 38%.1
This is incidentally the largest individual share to any Commonwealth
Of this figure some 640,000 tons 2 are sold at prices which are to be
negotiated annually and which "shall be reasonably remunerative to
efficient producers", subject to the proviso that the price finally agreed
upon shall not fall below a figure of 30. 10/- the base year (1951) of
the index. The difference between the Negotiated Price Quota and
the Overall Agreement Quota is sold in guaranteed markets, primarily
the United Kingdom and Canada, at world prices plus Imperial Prefer-
ences. Any other sugar in excess of the Overall Agreement Quota,
(usually referred to as "Free Sugar") is then sold in unguaranteed
markets at world prices. There are therefore three prices at which
West Indian producers dispose of their sugar 1) the Negotiated Price;
(except for the solitary year of 1957 when the Suez crisis caused the
world price to skyrocket the Negotiated price has always substantially
1 Now that South Africa is no longer a member of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement
the West Indian share of the Overall Agreement Quota has been increased to approx-
2 This figure is an irreducible minimum but may be subject to upward revision in the
light of increased consumption in the United Kingdom. In 1959 it stood at 657,000
tons. In 1960 it was further revised upward to 676,000 tons, but in 1961 it was
reduced by j% to 672,000 tons.
exceeded the world price; 1 2) world price plus Imperial Preferences
and 3) "Residuals" at going price.
During the early fifties when total exports from the West Indies
averaged approximately 750,000 tons a year the Commonwealth Sugar
Agreement seemed the solution to West Indian sugar problems, and
900,000 tons a target for total exports. Today the situation has changed
markedly. In 1960, the year in which total exports first exceeded the
million tons mark, guaranteed (whether totally or partially exports
ran to about 85% with unguaranteed or "free" sugar making up the
other 15% of total exports.
If therefore we assume that production will increase by 2% per
annum, a very conservative estimate in view of past trends, and that
total exports will continue to run at about 85% of total annual produc-
tion, we can see at a glance the problem which will of necessity obtrude
itself upon West Indian producers with time. For as production con-
tinues to expand with total guaranteed (whether partially or fully)
exports remaining constant at 900,000 tons, the quantity of "free" sugar
which the West Indies will be forced to dispose of must rise above the
present critical level of 15% of total exports. This will in turn reduce
the average selling price per ton, a state of affairs the West Indies
can ill-afford. So that the protection which the Commonwealth Sugar
Agreement offers the West Indies is not only now considerably less
than what it was ten years ago but it is gradually declining as produc-
tion expands. The West Indies cannot afford to ignore the implication
of this fact.
Further the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement brought about a
fundamental shift in the formula under which the West Indies exported
sugar. Throughout the forties when "Imperial sentiment and United
Kingdom self-interest pointed in the same direction" the United
Kingdom Government was prepared to buy West Indian sugar under
the simple and convenient formula of "all the exportable surplus," a
formula which, by and large, tended to encourage the expansion of
production in the West Indies. By the time the Commonwealth Sugar
Agreement was signed the world's sugar situation had eased consider-
ably. The blanket approval of "all the exportable surplus" was there-
fore replaced by quotas and a differential pricing system with the
operative part of the formula being expressed by the phrase "reasonably
renumerative to efficient producers". Though vague in several respects
this formula left one thing clear namely, the call was now for efficiency
in production rather than expansion. The British consumer was now
not only demanding cheaper sugar but questioning his ability to sub-
sidise West Indian sugar.
But what is perhaps more disconcerting is that the Commonwealth
Sugar Agreement with its differential pricing system is itself a potent
destabilising influence on the West Indian sugar industry. A simple
diagram will illustrate the point.
1 Since this article was first written the world price has again shot up above the
Negotiated price due to the failure of the Cuban Crop, expected shortfalls in the
European supply of beet sugar and the destruction by five of a sizeable part of the
Australian crop. These pressures forced the free market price, which is usually below
30. 0. 0 per ton, to rise to over 100. 0. 0 per ton.
DIAGRAM 1. THE EFFECT OF THE COMMONWEALTH SUGAR
AGREEMENT AND DIFFERENTIAL PRICING ON
WEST INDIAN SUGAR
NPQ FREE MARKET
X(i) TONS OF SUGAR
(1) = Negotiated Price Quota
(2) = World Price Plus Imperial Preferences
(3) -- World Price
X = Maximum Profit Output for Industry
X(i) = Actual Output for Industry.
Since each producer receives the average revenue per ton of sugar
sold his marginal revenue curve is in fact the average revenue curve
for the industry as a whole. If he acts rationally he will produce up
to the point where his marginal cost will be equal to his marginal
revenue, that is MR = MC. But his marginal revenue curve is in effect
the same as the average curve for the industry so that the point of
equilibrium and maximisation of profit will be where MC = MR (for
the producer) = AR (for the industry). This equation is however not
satisfied as can be seen in the above diagram for X which is the point
ol profit maximisation is different from the point of actual output for
the industry X(i).
There is therefore a built-in tendency for the industry to over-
produce at less than maximum profit. Further as the Negotiated Price
Quota increases it tends to shift the AR curve for the industry outward
causing the divergence between actual output and profit maximisation
point to increase.
It must also be remembered that the United Kingdom Government
has on several occasions indicated that it is not prepared to underwrite
the cost of producing West Indian sugar indefinitely. So that while it
is true that the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement does now run to 1970,
the air of uncertainty which surrounds the annual 'Sugar Conference'
in London, the hard bargaining that takes place and the resultant one
year's extension of the Agreement are, if nothing else, a clear indica-
tion of the United Kingdom Government's lack of genuine interest in
the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement itself. To put the question
bluntly, of what real significance to the West Indies is a year to year
extension of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement unless it provides
increases in quota allocation to accommodate the orderly expansion
and disposal of their sugar?
World events too, will not be without their repercussions on the
Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. When this article was first written
Britain's application for entry into the European Common Market
seemed a mere formality. In which case the problem facing Common-
wealth sugar producers would have hinged on the question of cheaper
and alternative sources of supply and stiffer competition. While this
may not have called for any immediate and violent disruption of tradi-
tional trading patterns it is certain that basic economic considerations
would have played a more prominent role between Britain and her
former Commonwealth partners in any subsequent trading relationship,
notwithstanding the assurance which the British Government had
given Commonwealth sugar producing countries that it would have
been able to secure them a permanent quota at least equivalent to the
Negotiated Price Quota.
Political events have since dictated otherwise. If however Britain
does renew her application, and the weight of evidence suggests that
she will sooner or later, it is certain that she will have to undertake
some 'streamlining' of the present economic and commercial structure
which she shares with her Commonwealth partners if her application
is to be successful. The question is will the Commonwealth Sugar
Agreement escape scrutiny? So that although the wolf has in a sense,
been driven from the door West Indian sugar producers cannot afford
to ignore the trend of world politics.
The Cuban crisis is another event of major significance to the
West Indian sugar industry. On account of their proximity to the
American market and their basic political affiliation, West Indian sugar
producers were led to believe that they would have enjoyed a larger
and more permanent share of Cuba's re-allocated quota. In its present
form however America's policy of "first come first served" at world
prices can hardly be considered adequate cover against the possible
risks of such a policy to a marginal producer like the West Indies.
Further the fact that half of Cuba's original quota is kept in reserve
for her in the event of normal diplomatic relationships being resumed
suggests that the American market offers little scope as an alternative
guaranteed market in which to recoup some of the possible losses which
may result from any retrenchment in Britain's sugar policy.
With the prospects of alternative guaranteed markets looking
equally foreboding the pressure of world events seem to demand a more
realistic assessment of the economics of sugar production in the West
Indies. But the question is how far can the West Indies go along these
lines. By dispensing with the Sugar Price Stabilisation Fund they
have pinned their hopes to the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement which,
as we have already seen, is slowly losing its significance either as a
stabilising force or as a protective measure.
Further, political events in the West Indies are expected to cause
some amount of loosening of economic ties among the sugar islands
themselves 1 and the existence of some form of a buffer fund would
undoubtedly be one of the prerequisites in helping the area as a whole
to adjust itself to a changing and changed political relationship.
It would appear therefore that world events have overtaken the
West Indian sugar producers. Within the brief space of ten years they
have slipped from a position of relative security to one of basic in-
security, and although production has expanded at an accelerated rate
there has been no corresponding long range planning along realistic
lines. Today the industry is as vulnerable as in the days of the
Thirties, perhaps even more so. Whereas it was possible for the West
Indies during the Thirties to identify themselves as the victims of
circumstances about which they do very little, today things are different.
The march to political independence and a nationhood has fairly well
removed the accusing finger of moral and economic responsibility from
Britain and the abandonment of the Stabilisation Fund stands as a
silent condemnation of their own undoing. In the event of an un-
favourable run on export prices the West Indies have only themselves
for whatever social and economic consequences eventuate for by
abandoning the Stabilisation Fund they have dispensed with the sub-
stantial means of tiding themselves over difficult days.
With the hindsight of ten years the unwisdom of abandoning the
Stabilisation Fund Is now beginning to obtrude itself upon West Indian
sugar producers. Both sides are equally aware of the very vulnerable
nature of the industry and its lack of reserves. It is therefore not
without good reason that matters of an ordinary industrial nature are
so readily referred to a Commission of Enquiry. Rightly or wrongly
labour has become accustomed to an annual increase of wages. Faced
with this yearly round of negotiations both sides take up their
accustomed positions of intransigence full well knowing that a Com-
mission of Enquiry will relieve them of any embarrassment. One has
only to count the number of Commissions of Enquiry which has been
appointed since 1954 to look into the various aspects of the sugar
industry in the different islands to see the significance of this point.
While it does make good politics to have an 'impartial opinion' from
a Commission of Enqtiry the spate of such opinions coming forward
recently is certainly indicative of the failure of the industry to come to
grips with problems of a fundamental nature. This much is'certain.
The industry cannot continue indefinitely being run on a 'shoe-string'
budget hoping for external assistance in the event of an unfavourable
run on export prices. Which brings us to a very significant point about
the nature of such stabilisation measures as have been introduced in
the sugar industry.
It is very significant that the Stabilisation measures which have
been introduced have all been externally induced with the West Indies
contributing very little if anything. This has in a way conditioned the
West Indies to looking outward for all forms of assistance and certainly
1 The influence of political events upon the future of economic co-operation is discussed
in my paper entitled "The Future of Economic Co-operation in the West Indies in
the Light of the Breakup of the Federation". Published in Vol. 12 No. 2 of Social
and Economic Studies. University of the West Indies (June 1963).
goes a long way toward explaining a condition of mind which is
still very much in evidence today. Unfortunately the comparison stops
short at this point for with the attainment of political independence
the larger units must of necessity be expected to bear a greater share
of their own economic burdens.
It is therefore essential if the industry is to adjust itself with the
minimum social dislocation to changing world conditions, political as
well as economic, that it should have adequate reserves at its disposal.
It is not too late for the West Indies to start and by their own efforts
to establish some form of stabilisation against evil days. Whether
these take the form of the re-institution of the Stabilisation Fund or
the establishment of buffer stocks is something that can be worked out
but the important thing is to start now. History has a way of repeat-
ing itself especially to those who do not learn!
Teaching English In The West Indies.
INCREASING references are now being made to English as a second
or foreign language in the West Indies where hitherto it was assumed
that English was the mother tongue of all West Indians. The conference
on the teaching of English as a second language held at Makerere in
April, 1961, no doubt helped to focus attention on this aspect of educa-
tion in these islands. A recent report on language teaching and
linguistics in an emergent Jamaica has this to say: "If the curriculum
is to be improved at all, it must be on the basis of a program which
takes into account realistically the present state of languages in the
island, both standard and creole. Such a program must recognize that
English teaching in Jamaica is in reality something of a concealed
second-language teaching problem. Accordingly, it must proceed upon
the most current and relevant knowledge of the structure of language
and the principles of language learning." 1 Although this has been
said in reference to Jamaica, the same statement can be made in
reference to the whole West Indies. The size of the problem varies
between, say, Barbados and St. Lucia, or between Jamaica and Trinidad.
But the fact remains that it is a concealed second-language teaching
problem in any territory.
What children learn in these islands as their mother tongue is not
in any sense standard English. The forms and patterns of standard
English have to be taught more than caught. Children and adults in
most informal situations speak one of the various brands of dialect or
pidgin English prevalent in the region. Even at the university level
West Indian lecturers in normal conversation with one another would
sometimes use dialect forms and patterns. At lower levels the incidence
is greater, of course, and at the very lowest it is only with great diffi-
culty and self-consciousness that any consecutive group of sentences
can be put together in correct English. It is unrealistic, therefore, to
think of English as the mother tongue of West Indians. It is better
for us to admit the nature of the problem and to make plans more
consistent with known facts.
Traditionally we have sought to solve this problem by teaching
English grammar. Articles and letters still appear in the press, and
numerous oral statements are made, claiming that the prevalence of
dialect speech, and the mistakes made in examinations particularly,
show that pupils are not being taught their grammar. By "grammar"
these persons seem to mean "the memorizing of paradigms, or the
logical analysis of sentences, or the learning of the rules of a
philosophical or universal grammar". 2 It is still generally held that
1 Consultants' Report: Language Teaching and Linguistics in an Emergent Jamaica,
submitted to the English Department, U.W.I. by A. Marckwardt and J. C. Catford.
2 Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language, Charles C. Fries, University
of Michigan Press, Chapter III.
the abandonment in some quarters of this traditional approach to
teaching "correctness" in English is responsible for what is often
described as "falling standards". This abandonment is not far spread
in the West Indies. What goes on is more negligence than abandon-
ment. Teachers neglect to teach English grammar not for the reason
given by Professor Fries: "For those English speaking children who
have studied English by diagramming sentences by 'parsing', by
memorizing logical definitions of the 'parts of speech' and the 'rules' by
which to measure the 'correctness' of every construction, 'grammar' is
remembered as a highly abstract and intricate subject that has never
had any really vital relation to their own practical use of their native
language, except to give them a distrust of their natural way of talking
and make them feel that neither they nor the people about them speak
'correct' English." No, the neglect is caused more by the difficulty of
getting the rules down the children's throats. The abandonment is not
generally based, as it is in some education systems, on the contention
that learning the rules of grammar is not the natural and effective way
of learning a language. It is not based on the fact of the greater value of
imitation. Hence, no answer, of those sometimes offered, really
demolishes the criticism that less "grammar" teaching means poorer
standards in English speech and writing.
The critics referred to (and nearly all of us in the profession are
among them) interpret the teaching of English to be identical with the
teaching of traditional English grammar. Their methods of teaching,
it seems to me, rest on two main principles. The first is one which
is an unconscious assumption: that it is more important for our pupils
to know what is wrong and why (according to the rules) it is wrong,
than for them to habitually use the right forms, patterns and structures
without knowing why. The second principle that is apparent from
their teaching is that we can begin the study of a language by being
told about the language before we come into contact with it. It is the
first of these principles that teachers of experience know to be mislead-
ing, but under the pressures of one sort or another continue to respect.
When I was a primary school pupil, and up to 1960 within my
certain knowledge, pupils of eleven years of age in schools in Trinidad
were taught to and very often could parse sentences like "Oft in the
dawn the clarion call was heard", giving part of speech, inflexion, and
syntactical relation of each word. Definitions of categories like copula-
tive verbs, dative case (so called), compound-complex sentences had to
be known, and pupils were tested in their ability to pick out these
entities from sentences. The College Exhibition Examination forced
on the teaching of English this sort of activity. There was a slight
change in this examination from about 1950, but syllabuses in schools
did not change very much and the emphasis in the teaching remained
unaltered. The introduction of the new Common Entrance Examina-
tion in 1961 should affect this emphasis somewhat but it is as yet too
early to judge how far.
While all this was going on, it was palpable to the most unreflective
of practitioners that there was a wide, almost unbridgeable, gap between
the pupils' ability to parse and analyse, and their ability to express
themselves in clear and correct English. It was frequently admitted
that the teaching of grammar of that sort had little if any effect on
the errors in speech and writing that continued to appear. It was a
common sight to see teachers frantically appealing to pupils to use
their reasoning powers and apply the rules they had learnt in their
grammar lessons to their composition exercises. Part of the dis-
crepancy no doubt arose from the teaching material used, that is the
actual sentences that were presented as examples of grammatical
correctness and for analysis. These were very seldom sentences from
the pupils themselves. No pupil ever said "Oft in the dawn the clarion
call was heard". The greater part of the discrepancy however must
be accounted for by the lack of "any really vital relation to their own
practical use" which such lessons had.
Two things bothered teachers who were embarrassed by this
dilemma. One was the assertion by the secondary school teachers that
the teaching of foreign languages, and particularly Latin, was greatly
retarded when pupils came up "not knowing grammar". The other
was the question as to what to tell pupils when they enquired why a
structure is correct English or not. The former misconception of
effective language teaching is fortunately being cleared up as more
secondary school teachers are getting professional training to teach.
The second is based on a mistaken application of logic. The funda-
mental answer to why a structure is right 'He is' for example is
just that it is right. The rules of grammar, that is, the rules governing
the arrangement of words in sentences, are drawn from usage and
sanction and not handed down from heaven to determine disputes of
right and wrong. It is rightness that determines the rules and not the
other way round. It is important to remember that English is not yet
a dead language.
The question is not whether grammar should be taught or not, for
if by grammar we mean the correct habits of speech there is no tenable
argument against it. The question is to what extent our traditional
teaching of certain categories (some of which are doubtful categories)
contributes to the formation of correct habits of speech. Unless we
put correct and automatic responses as our first aim, and analysis after,
we will continue to plod the way of frustration and wastage. If we
admit, however, that it is more important for our pupils to BE right
than to know about being right, then we would be prepared to consider
a change of approach since there are so many complaints about the
results of the old one.
One different approach to teaching correct habits of speech is the
structural approach. It is the approach that most good teachers of
foreign languages now use, sometimes without calling it so. The
teacher bases his teaching on two principles: imitation and memorisa-
tion through drill. Imitation must, of course, be of a good model.
Memorisation depends on practice which, to be abundant enough, must
have variety and purpose.
The English language has been analysed by linguistic experts into
elements called forms, patterns and structures. "Words" are put
together in certain ways to express certain meanings. The most
characteristic device for signalling meaning in English is word order
and there are certain definite patterns of form and arrangement of
sounds in English which make the grammar of the language. As
Professor Fries says, "The devices of arrangement and form that con-
stitute the grammatical materials of a language are just as necessary
to express meaning as are the words of which we are more conscious".1
In English we say 'the red house', In Spanish 'la casa roja'. A pattern
might itself be defined as an ordering of structures. Take these
structural units: that, the car, I bought, this is. In English we do not
say 'The car this Is that I bought'. The pattern into which these fit is
'This is the car that I bought'. When the right words are put into the
right order we get correct patterns, i.e. correct grammar. The structural
approach has been devised to drill learners in using the right words in
the right order. The patterns are carefully graded for teaching
The teacher might begin his first lesson in Spanish by showing a
book and pointing and saying "Esto es un libro. Es un libro. Un libro"
several times before asking the class "6Qud es esto?" in a way to in-
dicate the answer he requires. As the students reply, some saying
'libro', some 'un libro', a few perhaps 'Es un libro', the teacher says for
them, 'Es un libro' and repeats the question. After getting the correct
reply several times he passes on to use the same pattern 'Esto es...'
substituting another common object about which the pupils might wish
to say something. The entire lesson is devoted to the pattern 'Esto
es un- -' with substitution of a few selected names.
One point to be noted is that the correct pattern and forms are
drilled in before the wrong ones get a chance to establish themselves,
as they are more likely to do if the teacher had begun by explaining,
for example, that in Spanish 'un' means 'one' but is masculine, while
'una' is feminine; and that more masculine nouns end in 'o'. These
features can be pointed out later when the correct pattern has had some
chance of being fixed, but the language as used precedes the analysis.
The teaching of English in the West Indies might improve considerably
if we could introduce some such more positive approach into our lessons.
The National Council of Teachers of English in the United States
have just prepared a series of six textbooks for teaching English in
just this way. 2 Book One (subtitled 'At Home and at School') begins
with the same pattern referred to a while ago: 'This is a -', its
equivalent 'It's a - ', and the question 'What's this?'. The other five
books in the series are due to be published in 1963, but are designed
to take "the student from his first acquaintance with English sounds
and words to the point where he is reading adult material with some
facility". This seems an answer to James Sledd's criticism: "For a
long time, a good many American linguists and teachers of English
have been urging that the English Grammar taught in our schools
should be made linguistically respectable. They have found it easy to
show the absurdity of much that is now taught, but until recently they
have not provided the better textbooks which are necessary to the
success of their argument". 3 It is filling the need which W. H. Mittins
1 Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language, Ch. III.
2 English for Today, National Council of Teachers of English, McGraw Hill, 1962.
3 Quoted by W. H. Mittins in The Teaching of English Studies In Communication 3,
Secker & Warburg, Ch. IV, from Language, vol. 33 (1957), p. 261.
found when he said "We need in this country (United Kingdom) text-
books similar to those referred to, similar for instance to Dr. Paul
Roberts' 'Patterns of English' (New York, 1956) though not, one
hopes, so big and expensive". 1
Mr. Mittins' plea should be circulated in the West Indies too. We
need such a series of textbooks produced specially for the West Indies,
because the problems emanating from the linguistic background of West
Indian children are not the same as elsewhere. It seems to me we
can introduce a structural approach to teaching English in one of two
ways. We can put textbooks such as the National Council's English for
Today in the hands of teachers, and let them use what there is in it
relevant to their particular problems. (They will, of course, have to
get some training, however small, in using it.) This seems to me to
be an immediately cheaper but somewhat wasteful method for two
reasons. One is'that most teachers are slaves to textbooks once text-
books are put into their hands. The other is that the time spent in
making mistakes of selection from external textbooks could be better
spent in investigating throughout the islands the peculiar needs to be
met and the possible ways of meeting them. This appears to be the
better way to do it. It calls for money and for the services of an
organisation like an Institute of Education, and for more time.
The questions of the proper grading and control of the structures,
for example, would need to be gone into. Do we begin with 'This is
a - ? As Professor Figueroa said, ". . there are not many people ...
who are frightfully interested in the earth-shaking statement 'This is
a door'". 2 But young pupils might be. The Marckwardt Report 3
which makes recommendations to tackle the problem in Jamaica sees
the necessary tasks as not merely one of research, but also the
centralisation of material collected, the provision of a training centre
for linguistic study, the development of a new language curriculum, the
training of teachers and the establishment of a demonstration centre.
People who might otherwise admit the usefulness of the struc-
tural approach in teaching Spanish or French might question the
permanency of English structures learnt In such a way, in the light
of the enormous amount of interference that must exert a wiping-off
effect on structures drilled in. This is a real difficulty which the
teacher of Spanish does not have to face. The teacher of Spanish as
a foreign language can use means to Immerse the pupils in a Spanish
atmosphere for some period every day, where the pupils hear and
repeat correct and carefully controlled Spanish structures. There will
be some loss of mastery between one immersion period and the next
but, assuming that the child hears no other Spanish in the meantime,
there will not be an intensive exposure to wrong structures, which
would tend to substitute themselves In place of the right ones recently
1 The Teaching of English, Studies In Communication 3, Chapter IV. Published by
Secker and Warburg.
2 "Language Teaching: Part of a General and Professional Problem", Article by John
J. Figueroa in English Language Teaching, London, June 1962.
3 'Language Teaching and Linguistics in An Emergent Jamaica', Marckwardt and
This, unfortunately, is the position of English in the West Indies.
Pupils begin to learn English after they have acquired many un-
English structures in a language that passes for English. Worse, what-
ever correct structures are introduced, there is less chance of their
survival in speech and writing because of the immense number of
times every day the wrong structures are heard and used. The users
of the dialect get by without having to speak 'proper' English.
Besides that, the social attitudes to correct English and to the dialect,
although ambivalent, contribute to make the situation more difficult.
There is a weaker motivation, at least in children, for eschewing
dialect forms than for using them.
Another thoughtful objection might be the apparent uselessness in
our circumstances of much of what is included in externally produced
textbooks. Some teachers would think most of it too elementary,
despite the flourishing errors. For instance, do our pupils need practice
in saying a pattern like 'We walk to school every morning'? In some
parts of the West Indies the vernacular form for that sentence would
be something like this "We does walk (or wahk) to school a morning'
(or marnin) ". While "We walk to school every morning" would seem
unnecessary it has very definite usefulness for drill in certain cir-
cumstances. The answer to this whole question has already been
suggested. We must find out more about the actual language (lan-
guages) now spoken so we can see what we need, and we must
analyse the psychological and social factors to give the right sort of
motivation to the classroom procedure.
So while we may be convinced of the economy and good sense of the
structural approach we need in our circumstances something more.
The lessons giving practice in drilling graded structures will not be
enough. We have to counter the dialect immersion by immersion in
standard English. Permanency has to be doubly reinforced to meet
the competition. To achieve this reinforcement we have to exploit all
the sources of motivation which will serve our purpose in providing
interesting and abundant practice in standard English. We have to
find ways to give point and reasonableness to drill and drudgery. We
have to Invest mechanical techniques with some acceptable and
palatable purpose. Above all, we have to increase beyond measure the
amount of time during which our pupils are submerged in the sounds
and structures of standard English.
For one thing this means a stupendous increase in talking in the
classroom. Pupils must have innumerable opportunities to say things,
using the most correct English they have so far mastered. We have
to say good-bye to the mottoes which adorn many of our primary
school classrooms: 'Silence is golden' and 'Empty vessels make most
noise'. It means more, much more, dramatic activity in the classroom
in connection with all aspects of language practice. It means plenty
of writing to follow what is talked about and done. We should aim at
having our pupils do some amount of writing every day and a larger
proportion of this should be creative writing, that it the writing of
sentences embodying the pupils' own thoughts on matters which have
some meaning for them.
Professor Gurrey has suggested certain principles which he
thinks go to the foundations of the teaching of written English. 'The
main principles are: (a) Expression is closely related to Experience,
(b) Purpose is the source and sustaining impulse of Expression, (c)
Interest provides attention and staying power, (d) A clearly focused
Aim gives direction and certainty, as well as a criterion for the
selection of words, etc. The subsidiary principles are (a) Pupil respon-
sibility, (b) the value of confidence, and (c) a mastery of language
cannot be acquired without Practice." 1 We cannot here go into a
detailed discussion of these principles. We should, however, ask our-
selves some questions. To what extent do we relate our syllabuses,
for instance our reading and composition lessons, to the experiences
of our pupils? What purpose do we infuse into their work besides the
winning of marks and the passing of examinations? What active
interest is produced by our present methods? What place do pupil
responsibility and the building up of confidence have In our system of
evaluation, marking and correction? Each of these questions has far-
reaching implications which we cannot explore here.
The gist of the argument however can be put briefly thus: (1)
We need an abundance of opportunities for practice in standard
English. (2) Practice can only be sustained by absorbing interest in
the activities planned for this purpose. (3) This absorbing interest
rests on the relation which the activity has to the pupils' experiences
and to the reasons which are held out to the pupils for the activity.
The reasons which are held out must appeal to the natural drives
of the pupils. For example, the enjoyment of dramatic activity, which
we all share in varying degrees, can be used to encourage pupils not
only to get practice in doing plays and scenes given to them, but,
better, to get them to make their own scenes and plays and to practise
doing them. This very day a second form at St. Andrew High School
in Jamacia is performing four such little plays that they have been
making over the past eight weeks. They used one period every Thurs-
day morning to work on them in four separate groups. One group
made up a play on the Independence celebrations in Jamaica;
another dramatised the story 'Federigo's Falcon' adapted from
Boccacio; a third dramatised an Anancy story 'Cherry Island'; and
the fourth made up a play about Joan of Arc. Mrs. Tess Thomas, the
teacher of the class, was kind enough to allow some students of the
Department of Education, University of the West Indies, to have a
small share in bringing this about. No doubt this sort of interesting
activity is going on in some schools, both primary and secondary, in
the West Indies. It is very far from being general enough, however,
and there is dire need for teachers to have experience of promoting it.
Another natural drive that is not utilised enough is the satisfac-
tion we all get from the appreciation of an audience. This is not only
useful in stimulating dramatic activity but Is the reason for the
success of things like form compilations, class magazines, wall news-
papers and so on. A form compilation which will be available to
1 The Teaching of Written English, P. Gurrey, Ch. 5, Longmans Green & Co. Ltd.
readers in the class or school library is immensely more interesting
to work at than a weekly 'composition' exercise chosen by the teacher.
At the same time it ensures relatedness to the pupils experiences
and interests and is, therefore superior preparation for examination
purposes. These remarks by Dr. Atkins are not inappropriate in this
context: "If a candidate is writing from his own personal experience
or on something in which he has a genuine interest and about which
he really wants to say something, the expression will almost certainly
take care of itself". 1
An enormous deal more writing for an audience, and an enormous
increase of dramatic activity of all forms we certainly need. But
perhaps what gets least attention in West Indian schools is the oral
practice that is the basis of any written work. If we adopt the struc-
tural approach to teaching language, most of our lessons, if not all,
will provide a fair amount of oral practice. Yet, more will be needed
to get our pupils to a competent pitch of fluency and articulateness
on matters within their experience. Abundant oral practice in saying
things about a wide range of topics is a prerequisite to the writing
of essays and, so on. In the classroom, discussions and debates must
form a very large part of the preparation and follow-up in dealing
with any topic. At the primary level 'discussion' will be much less
organised but must always be the opportunity the children get to put
their own ideas in the framework of sentences they can form. These
sentences will be less controlled than in the drills used in a formal
lesson. But this is inevitable if we are to avoid making the pupils
into stammering foreign speakers of English. The fundamental
change called for immediately is to get abundant oral practice in the
A useful suggestion for interesting oral practice in a form of
dramatic activity that would be followed up by written practice for
children of ten to thirteen is given by E. J. Burton in his book "Teach-
ing English Through Self-Expression". It is a game which he calls
"Interruptions". A team and a leader stand before the class and the
leader starts to say very slowly a nursery rhyme or a well-known
story. The rest of the class are free to interpret the narration with
questions which the members of the team must answer. It might go
"Leader: Little Boy Blue .
Interruption: Why was he little?
Answer: Because he was very young.
Interruption: Why was he called Boy Blue?
Answer: Because all his clothes were that colour.
Interruption: What was he wearing, anyway?
Answer: He had on a jersey, knicks, stockings, and shoes
and they were all blue.
Leader: Come blow up your horn ..
Interruption: Why was he carrying a horn?
1 Notes on Examinations in English Language at "0" Level, S. H. Atkins, Hulton
Answer: You will find that out later.
Interruption: What was the horn made of? 1
and so on.
The requirements of this game force invention and imagination into
play and give practice in expansion of ideas and in speaking English.
Mr. Burton goes on to suggest that pupils could afterwards discuss
whether the game showed them any way to improve their compositions
and could also write out the stories or descriptions they heard,
including all the necessary details.
The nursery rhyme or story to be used for that game must be one
with which the pupils are familiar, one that they have already
'experienced' in the sense of having a group of images or perceptions
connected with it. For historical reasons in the West Indies the teach-
ing of English (and of geography and history) generally disregards
the importance of this relevance to experience. This is most obvious
in the material chosen for reading. The most vital source of our
lessons in speaking, in reading, in writing, in literary discrimination
is the experience of our pupils in their communities. Vidia Naipaul
should come before Jane Austen, not because he is the great r artist
but because we only adequately appreciate Jane Austen when we
have had contact with her attitude in relation to something nearer
home. Miss Binney's recently published textbooks 2 attempt to set
a better balance in this matter by including passages from several West
Indian writers dealing with the West Indian scene. Unfortunately
these books embody an approach to the teaching of English entirely
against the principles of purposeful interesting activity and include
the sort of grammar teaching which, I have suggested, gets us
Another recently published textbook 3 is more valuable in this
respect. There is a lack of range in style here as the passages are all
written by the author himself. The book too would be more valuable
as a teaching aid if, instead of having the same pattern of exercises
with each passage, the author had suggested ways and, means of ex-
ploiting the passages and left it to the teachers to devise questions
and exercises to suit their partciular classes in their particular cir-
cumstances. For no textbook can be better than the teacher using it.
The teacher without insight into his work will misuse the best text-
book. The good teacher uses the textbook only so far as it can be a
good tool to get nearer his objectives. He really makes up his own as
he goes along, putting together in his mind and elsewhere his own
original ideas and ideas he finds in several textbooks, to meet the
needs of the children he is teaching. Dr. Howes might have served
the teaching of English in the West Indies better by not helping the
teachers so much, but more by forcing them to think and apply
suggestions which he could have made. It is unlikely, however, that
his publishers would have agreed to that.
1 Teaching English Through Self-Expression, E. J. Burton, pp. 59-60.
2 English in the Caribbean, A. Binney, Ginn & Co. 1962.
3 Comprehension for West Indian Students, H. W. Howes, Harrap.
Besides better textbooks and reading material the Immersion in
abundant language practice calls for many other provisions. For
example, dramatic activity often calls for more space than is common-
ly available. A stage is not at all necessary and may be a hindrance,
but space for movement Is essential. Smaller classes are also essen-
tial. Plentiful oral practice depends on separate classrooms, as sound-
proof as possible, and smaller classes. The increase in writing, espe-
cially 'creative writing' *, so that a certain minimum is done every
day, depends on an understanding on the part of teachers, head-
masters, and inspectors of schools of the functions and forms of
correction. As long as teachers think they must give a weekly or
fortnightly 'composition', and dutifully amend each deviation from
perfection, practice in writing will be kept at the lowest possible
minimum, as it is today. Form compilations, short story antologies,
class magazines, class newspapers and such continuous projects do
not fit into the rigid pattern that most teachers now think necessary.
A project like a form compilation requires freedom for the children
to get information and experiences if what they write is to be worth
reading. Suppose, for instance, a class of fifteen-year olds chooses
a subject like 'A Book of Careers' for a form compilation. They may
come up with individual topics like 'A Secretary's Apprenticeship',
'The Work of a Hospital Nurse', 'How to Become a Teacher', 'The
Civil Servant and His Job', 'Room at the Top' (A study of the careers
of some successful businessmen)', 'The Men who Produce our Food'
and so on. The writers on these topics need to get both first- and
second-hand information. The material to be read must be easily
available. The school should have a well-stocked, well-organised
library. The pupils must be free to arrange to visit places and people
to cbserve and to interview. This means letters must be written to
these people by the pupils requesting assistance, and later thanking
them. (This is the right way to deal with letter writing.) Interviews
with these people will have to be conducted-an opportunity for oral
practice beforehand as pupils will WANT to be correct at the inter-
views. And so on.
Activities of this sort connote different approaches and attitudes
to our teaching than are now prevalent. They connote quite different
criteria and aims. Inspectors, heads and teachers have all to revise
their criteria, removing the false yardsticks of the examination and
putting in its place the improvement of the quality of the lives of our
pupils. The old cast-iron syllabuses that are still in force in some
places must be burnt. One such I can be quoted from. It says: "English,
Standard II, Second Term-(1) Use of the comma (2) The use of
'was' and were', 'has' and 'have'. (3) Simple vocabulary extension by
groups of related words (4) Further examples in the use of action
words (5) Word building and filling blanks in sentences with suitable
words (6) Simple homonyms (7) Language games (8) Dramatisa-
tion." This sort of syllabus enforced a kind of teaching from which
we need to escape. These words of advice from the "Suggestions to
* See definition of "creative writing" on page 73.
1 "Syllabus of Work for Primary and Intermediate Schools" issued by the Department
of Education, Trinidad and Tobago, 1952.
Teachers in Primary Schools" published by the Ministry of Education,
Jamaica, should infuse all syllabuses suggested to teachers: "The
activities are not, however, isolated in practice, and therefore the
approach to the teaching of Language Arts should be a unified one,
in which they merge and reinforce each other. There will, of neces-
sity, be some practice periods for the development of special skills, but
the general teaching methods should be based on the recognition that
speaking, drawing, writing and reading are interchangeable in the
other periods." 1
In brief, then, the teaching of English in the West Indies must
now be measured by what it does to help pupils to grasp and com-
municate ideas both utilitarian and aesthetic. The aesthetic aspect
of language teaching which is in an even worse state (poetry is the
worst taught part of the curriculum) has not been dealt with here,
except very indirectly. From the more utilitarian point of view the
teaching of English seems to need first a more economical and
effective approach to building in correct patterns. The structural
approach, adapted suitably, seems to be the answer. But since the
teaching of correctness is not by any means all that the teaching of
English is, it needs a lot more by way of properly motivated immer-
sion. The arrangements for sustained immersion rest on certain ad-
ministrative action, such as the establishment of smaller classes
(not more than 35 pupils) and better teacher training facilities.
There may be irrefutable facts in our present economic and
political circumstances which seem to indicate that we cannot afford
smaller classes and adequate training of teachers. The truth of this
interpretation cannot be tested. But as time goes by the need for
improving the quality of teaching done in our schools will be ines-
capable. As long as we can get by with the minimum of efficiency in
our society we can afford a lower quality of teaching. The time will
come when a higher quality will be vital to our survival. We will have
to afford it then. John Vaizey has pointed the problem very clearly
for Great Britain, 2 Russia, the United States and other countries
have had to face up to it. The West Indies are beginning to feel the
i P. 20.
2 Britain in the Sixties: Education for Tomorrow, John Vaizey, Penguin, 1962.
The Distinction Between Pure
And Applied Mathematics
R. 0. ROBINSON
BY AND LARGE it is a bad practice to subdivide intellectual fields
into such broad categories as pure and applied. It is a simple matter
to distinguish algebra from geometry, statics (the science of
equilibrium) from dynamics (the science of motion), and the study of
heat from the study of magnetism. On the other hand when we sub-
divide mathematics into pure and applied, or physics, or chemistry, or
economics, we risk confusion. What, for example, is the difference
between applied physics and electrical engineering? What is aero-
dynamics which is called applied mathematics but a segment of
The divisions can be very fine and refer usually to differences in
outlook and approach between groups of workers who must collaborate
towards a common end-product, whether this be designing a new
aircraft having certain preferred characteristics or devising a general
predictive scheme for nuclear processes. Each group is essential to
overall advance and is in a position to supply particular skills and
particular modes of thought.
The divisions may also reflect differences in taste, as is the case
with some of the more recent and novel subdivisions among historians
and among economists.
Engineering firms make a distinction between research, the dis-
covery of fresh technology, and development, the streamlining of not
so fresh technology. This is a precise distinction stated in terms of
function; but clearly it does not apply to the situation with which this
The practice can cause confusion, not only in the minds of the
general public who are on the whole not impressed but also in
the minds of the practitioners themselves who may tend, as a result,
to lose sight of the common purpose.
Many mathematicians both pure and applied have indeed lost
sight of the common purpose. For historical and technical reasons the
proportion is greater among the applied, who occasionally go so far as
to complain that pure mathematicians will not invent the sort of
mathematics that they really need. Since it is the business of mathe-
maticians to invent mathematics, such complaints reveal the full horror
of the inherent danger of division: the complainants have ceased in
effect to be mathematicians.
It is easy to give comprehensible working definitions of individual
disciplines: history is the recording and interpretation of human
events; electrical engineering is the harnessing and elucidation of
electromagnetic phenomena, etc. When we subdivide to the point where
such simple definitions cease to be possible, it seems to me that we
court serious misunderstanding.
The Nature of Mathematics
Mathematics is concerned first and foremost with proof. This is
what distinguishes it from other disciplines, the inexorable demand for
proof. Hence the development of axiomatics, together with deductive
and manipulative systems which allow step by step advance to a
wide class of results; hence the facility to generalize, through a
modification of axioms, to even wider systems and wider classes of
There are other procedures involved. For example trigonometry
can be looked upon as a numerical specification of Euclidean geometry,
which deliberately returns it to the fields of elementary algebra and
arithmetic. Dynamics is much more than a generalization of statics,
since it involves the fundamental difficulty of constructing laws of
motion; but, from a sophisticated point of view, one can claim that
statics is a special case of dynamics, the case in which all velocities are
zero. Statements like these are valuable in that they contain fresh
understandings which can be utilized in a positive way and are often
so utilized. However, the two basic procedures of mathematics are
(i) axiomatization, (ii) generalization.
Readers will be more familiar with the second procedure:
elementary algebra generalizes the number system of elementary
arithmetic; the concept of similar triangles generalizes that of con-
gruent triangles. Unfortunately our school certificate mathematics
stops just at the point where exciting examples begin to appear. The
unwanted so called "imaginary" solutions of quadratic equations
which involve the square roots of negative numbers (and which we
therefore dismiss at school as irrelevant) lead to the wider system of
"complex" numbers which occur in the most elementary books on
electrical circuits. The Cartesian geometry, based on the systematic
use of two perpendicular axes in a plane, reduces the whole deductive
fabric of Euclidean geometry to simple algebraic manipulations. Since
it takes less than a year to learn trigonometry and the Cartesian
scheme, one wonders why school certificate mathematics is selected in
such a curious way.
To give a more modern example of generalization and one which
exhibits the similarity between pure and applied the special theory
of relativity requires a four dimensional geometry which possesses,
on its space "cross-section", all the properties of the normal three-
dimensional Euclidean-Cartesian space.
At school axiomatics tend to be suppressed (in all disciplines) in
the name of commonsense. Everything must be made to appear obvious.
In a way this attitude is valid, though its danger to mathematics and
physics in particular cannot be overstressed. Very few of our school
texts give a clear presentation, for example, of the axioms of plane
Euclidean geometry. Indeed one text, widely used in Jamaica, makes
the following strange assertion: "An axiom is a truth which is so
obvious that it can be stated without proof". An axiom is a definitive
assumption; axioms define the conceptual system within which in-
ductive and deductive logical process are to be immediately confined
and to be immediately applied.
Here is a quotation from the book "A Survey of Modern Algebra"
written by Harvard professors Birkhoff and Maclane, and considered
to be one of the most splendid pieces of modern mathematical writing.
The symbols < and 7= mean respectively "less than" and "not
"AXIOM. A field F Is an integral domain which contains for
each element a =- o an inverse element a-1 satisfying the equation
a-1 a = 1.
"THEOREM 1. Division (except by zero) is possible and unique
in any field.
"THEOREM 2. In any field, quotients obey the following laws,
where b '-4 o, d =/- o.
(i) = If and only if ad = bc
a c ad + bc
(11) + =
b d bd
a c ac
(111) = --
b d bd
Take a close look at the axiom. The term integral domain is
defined earlier in the book. The authors now define a special class of
integral domain, namely the class which consists of elements and their
multiplicative inverses. To divide by 3 is to multiply by J, its multi-
plicative inverse. Hence the first theorem.
The results under theorem 2 appear trivial. The authors are
engaged in a careful examination of number systems and of the basic
arithmetical operations. It is amazing what new results they are able
to establish about the number system of elementary arithmetic -
within a hundred pages. In addition, of course, the generalization to
the complex number system is achieved without any reference to
quadratic equations or electrical circuits.
Here is another quotation, this time from an Introduction to
Calculus. The author is discussing properties of continuous graphs,
i.e. unbroken curved lines.
"THEOREM. If the graph y = f(x) is continuous for
a < x < b and f(a) =- f(b), then if k is any number between
f(a) and f(b), there exists some number c between a and b such
that f(c) = k."
In other words you cannot draw an unbroken curve from
1 to 2 without passing through 14.
"THEOREM. If the graph y = f(x) is continuous in the
interval a < x < b, there exist numbers c and d in this domain
such that f(c) is the minimum and f(d) is the maximum value of
f(x) in a < x < b."
Readers might be surprised to learn that such statements are
thought to require proof. The mathematician knows that they must
not be accepted without proof, i.e. proof on the basis of a minimal set
of axioms. He must find this minimal set and then proceed to investi-
gate the structure that they yield. Invariably the investigation leads
him to results much richer than were originally anticipated.
The foregoing quotations are recognizably pure. To emphasize
once again the similarity to applied, here is a final quotation from
Dirac's text on quantum mechanics.
"A profound change has taken place during the present century
in the opinions physicists have held on the mathematical founda-
tions of their subject. Previously they supposed that the principles
of Newtonian Mechancis would provide a basis for the description
of the whole of physical phenomena and that all the theoretical
physicist had to do was suitably to develop and apply these
principles. With the recognition that there is no logical reason
why Newtonian principles should be valid outside the domains in
which they have been experimentally verified has come the realiza-
tion that departures from these principles are indeed necessary.
Such departures find their expression through the Introduction of
new mathematical formalisms, new schemes of axioms and rules
of manipulation, into the methods of theoretical physics.
"We shall begin to set up the scheme by dealing with the
mathematical relations between the states of a dynamical system,
at one instant of time, which relations will come from the mathe-
matical formulation of the principle of superposition. Superposi-
tion is a sort of additive process and implies that states can in
some way be added to give new states. The states must therefore
be connected with mathematical quantities of a kind which can be
added together to give other quantities of the same kind ...... "
The word quantity is being used in the algebraic sense of Birkhoff
and Maclane; and indeed Dirac's book has a good deal in common with
their Survey. Yet quantum mechanics is the mechanics of atomic and
sub-atomic phenomena, i.e. it concerns the most extremely physical
This brings me to the second major point, which is that mathematics
is concerned next with the real world. Notice how advance within the
discipline hinges upon algebra, not only as the operational manipulative
tool but also as the vehicle for axiomatisation and generalisation. One
cannot see four dimensions, but it is possible to define a four-
dimensional geometry by algebraic analogy with and extension from
the three-dimensional environment. All such abstract and formalistic
constructs retain a relationship to the real world. It is sometimes
argued that philosophers can achieve a sort of mental divorce from the
common environment; if so, mathematicians are not philosophers.
There is no branch of pure which is irrelevant to applied and no
branch of applied which does not contribute to pure. This can be quite
discouraging for people who work close to mathematicians, such as
physicists and engineers, since truly abstract ideas cannot be made to
appear "obvious". As physics becomes more complex, it ceases to be
possible to give explanations in terms of simple, everyday models.
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which states that the position and
velocity of a particle cannot both be known simultaneously with
precision, will never be explained in everyday terms; but if it is regarded
as an axiomatic, algebraic constraint placed upon Newton's mechanics,
it quickly yields a good half of modern quantum mechanics.
Proof, in other words, is confined within a given axiomatic struc-
ture, Mathematics claims absolute logic but not absolute truth; and
in this way (since axioms can be varied at will) retains the freedom
which makes further abstraction possible.
Motivation and Mathematics
Ultimately of course mathematics is always concerned with numbers
and numerical results. It is a long path from the Survey to books on
electrical circuit theory or from Dirac to the solution of a specific
problem in reactor design. No one would actually take the first of
these paths: the Survey is too abstract and aims at a wide range of
deeper concepts. The second path, on the other hand, is unavoidable
if you really want to comprehend the physics of reactor design.
This is important for the distinction that this article seeks to make.
The applied mathematician remains closer to physical or human
phenomena. He faces a set of experiments to be "explained", and must
build a predictive scheme capable of systematising an infinite variety
of possible further experiments. He therefore enjoys a great deal less
freedom than the pure mathematician, and for him the problem of
defining a minimal set of axioms is more than just a question of their
This is not the same thing as to say that applied must "keep its
feet on the ground". The quotation from Dirac shows that this is not
the case. What is meant is that systems of applied mathematics, how-
ever elegant and consistent, are rejected unless they explain the
phenomena to which they are said to apply. Historically a lot of per-
fectly sound mathematical schemes have been neglected at any rate
temporarily on these grounds; and the authors of such schemes are
nevertheless called applied mathematicians.
Thus the distinction is one of motivation and Interest, rather than
of procedure. All mathematicians calculate, some more than others;
all reach numerical results, whether in statistics, function theory or
aerodynamics; all are confronted with abstractions of much the same
The concern with numbers is a concern with applications and
results. There is the final concern with self-improvement, which is the
particular preserve of the pure.
These divisions are in terms of taste, not training, in terms of
individual motivation, not of professional demand.
What then do mathematicians do? We can summarize this as
1. Examine and streamline existing systems; e.g. rewrite Euclidean
geometry in more sophisticated terms or present relativity from
a more fruitful point of view.
2. Create and examine new systems; e.g. the current work in
statistics, computer logic and Boolean algebra.
3. Prove fresh results, often proving (or disproving) old conjectures;
e.g. new theorems appearing every month on particular non-
Euclidean geometries or new theoretical predictions on the
behaviour of crystals in magnetic fields.
4. Use existing systems and theories to carry out calculations, e.g.
on aircraft wing performance or on the number of prime
numbers between 10 and 10 10.
5. Propose new laws of physical or human behaviour and study
their theoretical consequences.
Categories 1 and 2 belong mainly to pure, 4 and 5 mainly to applied.
However it is obvious that all important mathematics straddles the full
spectrum of categories.
Distinction on the basis of motivation has a few interesting con-
sequences. Geometry is pure, while trigonometry, which is frankly
practical in outlook and was invented by surveyors, should perhaps be
called applied (and taught from this point of view). Newton invented
a rudimentary form of calculus along his route to mechanics. Calculus
and its more recent elaborations are pure, while mechanics remains
applied. In the same way most statisticians, econometricians, etc. are
applied, though they resist the classification.
To illustrate the distinction in more detail, I will now refer to the
work of two brilliant mathematicians. The first is Professor A. S.
Besicovitch of Cambridge.
Take a pencil, around 6 Inches long, hold it at the mid-point and
turn it round a complete circle. The formula for the area of this
circle is well known.
Now start again from the beginning. Turn the pencil a little bit,
then slide it backwards a little bit, turn again, slide again and so on.
You will realise that by turning and sliding it is possible to achieve a
complete turn of the pencil and yet sweep out a much smaller area than
One is immediately tempted to ask how small the area could in
fact be made. This problem has bothered mathematicians for centuries.
It was solved by Besicovitch in recent years. The answer is zero; you
can turn the pencil completely round and sweep out no area at all.
This is very different to saying that the pencil can be turned within
a zero area; the result implies that there is room for you to turn and
Actually the result is rather subtle. It is this:
Given any area A, however small, it is possible to devise a method
of turning the pencil in which the area swept out is less than A.
In other words, the result doesn't claim zero, but says simply that
you can always do better and indefinitely. This is pure mathematics
at its intriguing best.
The second is the nineteenth century French mathematician
Fourier, whose work was mainly devoted to the analysis of heat con-
duction through solids. His most valuable contribution was a solution
in terms of what are now known as Fourier Series. For more general
(and complex) situations he further developed the Fourier Integral
method. This led him to consider more abstract problems on Fourier
Much of his work was untidy from the analytical point of view.
Later it was seen to hinge on the use of an orthogonall system of
functions", a term which he did not himself define, though the property
of orthogonality is exploited throughout his work. Today there are
whole books on Orthogonal Functions and their study and application
are by no means exhausted.
These examples show that all mathematics is essentially the same
continuously creative enterprise. Pure mathematicians may be the
custodians of rigour, but they do not necessarily lead in sophistication
and inventive power. The first-rate mathematician, whether pure or
applied, is usually faced with the same problem of devising the required
tools and much of what is called pure is the careful processing and
elaboration of the more abstract creative efforts of applied. That
sophistication in mathematics is so largely due to applied arises from
the fact that Nature is herself an extremely sophisticated Queen. As
the philosophers so often complain, commonsense seems to have
departed from natural science. Recently the Nobel Prize was awarded
to two young theoretical physicists who dared to suggest that what we
see on the far side of a plane mirror might not, after all, be what is
actually taking place on our side of the mirror.
I shall argue later that in our teaching we mistreat applied in the
name of motivation. Motivation means different things to different
people and in different contexts. It should therefore be clarified before
When as teachers we speak of motivation we usually have in mind
the difference between the concepts of mathematics and their applica-
tions, between a mathematical model and the real world. Motivation
of concepts can often be supplied by formulating real situations which
lead to the construction of reasonable models which exhibit both the
desirability and the usefulness of the concept. Thus, motion of a
particle, or growth of a bacterial culture, may be used as physical
motivation for the basic concepts of calculus. It is also possible, of
course, to give a purely mathematical motivation for a new mathe-
matical concept; for example, the geometrical motion of a tangent line
to a curve leads also to calculus. In teaching, both kinds of motivation
should certainly appear whenever possible. In both cases, however, it
is necessary to be very clear in distinguishing the motivating situation,
whether mathematical or physical, from the resulting abstraction.
This is vital in connection with what modern educationists call
"transfer". Unless we achieve this we are really not teaching mathe-
matics at all.
There Is however a more profound meaning to motivation which
is revealed in the context of the creative scientific process. It is a long
way from the early Greek conjectures to Professor Besicovitch's result;
similarly it is a long way from Fourier's first fumbling solutions to
Professor Titchmarsh's volume on "Eigenfunction Expansion". These
are among the best available examples of the human mind working
under the powerful motivation of new physical and mathematical
Readers may know of the stupendous triumphs, achieved during the
first half of this century, by theoretical physicists now in their fifties
or sixties; for example of the construction of quantum mechanics by
Bohr, Heisenberg, Dirac, Pauli and others. All sorts of mathematical
situations got drawn in; here and there axioms were tampered with,
while others were bolstered to prevent things from collapsing. In time
incomplete systems began to yield a few experimental results. And so
the process went on for many years, with so-called Pure and Applied
mathematicians completely identified together, until the main body of
the theory was achieved in 1927. As by-products we now have a goodly
number of fresh abstractions to be used, improved and elaborated
regardless of their supposed utility or non-utility. And already by 1950
the quantum mechanics was being challenged as inadequate for many
fresh observations on the fundamental particles.
The motivation of the practitioner of mathematics, whether mathe-
matician, physicist, engineer or economist, is therefore quite a different
matter from the pedagogic business of trying to make abstract concepts
appear useful and necessary. Good teaching must penetrate the
abstraction, not deny it; must insist upon its value rather than attempt
desperately to circumvent it.
The Tool-Kit Attitude
The term Applied Mathematics, which incidentally is seldom heard
outside Great Britain, is understood by mathematicians to embrace only
the twin sciences of equilibrium and motion. Trigonometry is not
called applied; nor is statistics; nor Is econometrics.
As a statement of the distinction it is obviously much more precise
than mine; there is nothing woolly about it. However it can be shown
that the separation of these two sciences has done them a certain
amount of damage which has caused a harmful reaction in the
inevitable sense of action and reaction upon the subject as a whole.
The term was invented in the nineteenth century to represent, one
supposes, the technical complement of mechanistic philosophy. The
mechanistic mathematician pretended as follows: "I have in my
possession all the tools needed to predict the future course of Nature.
Simply give me a few basic observations and leave me to get on with
As a philosophical presumption this pretence does not concern us
here; as a mathematical presumption it Is known to be absurd.
Einstein and Dirac have compelled upon the new mechanists an
attitude of theoretical flexibility which has sent them chasing back to
geometry and other such "useless" pursuits. The pure mathematician,
long disregarded and underpaid is understandably amused. More-
over the pressure of new technology, for example the computing
machine, has pushed into sudden prominence such "obscure" investiga-
tions as Boole's Theory of Logic.
The mechanistic mathematicians are responsible for what might be
called the "tool-kit" attitude to mathematics. They have propagated
the impression that there is a body of mathematics called Pure, the
useful portions of which can be learned by say age 24; one can then
proceed to "apply" this material to an ever-widening set of phenomena.
This is not exactly what they said, but it is the impression they have
left. You can encounter traces of it everywhere. Engineers often seem
to say: "Hand me the theory quick and let me get on with the
job". So sometimes do agriculturists who need statistics; so do eco-
nomists and others interested in the applied side of mathematics. So
do schoolboys, who are drilled on applied problems involving physical
systems of such complexity as to be of no interest whatever to anyone.
In other words separation, far from elevating the twin sciences
to the important position that they properly deserve, has exposed them
to the risk of being removed altogether from mathematics, and exposed
the whole composite discipline to dangerous misunderstanding.
The tool-kit attitude is seen at its worst in the mathematics
syllabuses of inferior engineering schools, where the attempt is always
made to define "the amount of mathematics that students need". Such
schools train engineers less rigorously than we train surveyors; and
their graduates feel a little let down when fresh mathematical demands
are made upon them in their own professional work. This arises for
example if the company decides to install a computing machine; and
it is obvious that in the age of most rapid scientific and technological
advance such situations will arise with increasing frequency.
In the same way universities are often bothered by young men
seeking higher degrees in applied who feel rather let down and con-
fused when faced with the sterner demands of group theory or non-
Euclidean Geometry. It is as if the thing they call Pure Mathematics
suddenly becomes for them a horrible barrier to truth! After all, the
tool-kit school likes to represent the pure mathematician as a clever,
irresponsible type who really should be made to do some useful work.
The tool-kit attitude is beginning to disappear. We can assist its
disappearance most rapidly by reforming our presentation of mathe-
matics in school and university. Last year our Extra-Mural Department
sponsored a conference at St. Augustine on School Physics. This year
it will sponsor, in conjunction with the Mathematical Association of
Trinidad & Tobago, a conference on School Mathematics also to be held
at St. Augustine. The proceedings of this conference will be edited
and compiled. Ideas such as these will no doubt be presented to the
conference, where the full ramifications of the tool-kit attitude should
It is suggested that the distinction between pure and applied
mathematics is best stated and apprehended in terms of interest and
motivation. Applied is concerned in an immediate predictive sense
with a particular group of observations whether of physical systems or
of human behaviour, while pure is more concerned with the statement,
development and elaboration of mathematical systems as such and with
the proof or disproof of mathematical notions and conjectures. In
either case the procedural aim is for pattern, i.e. structure, which
involves abstract and sophisticated axiomatic formalisms. In either
case too manipulative technique is subsidiary to and subservient to
the major elements of creative investigation. Applied cannot be written
without pure; while without applied, pure would be lacking its vital
Non-mathematicians often appear to grasp this more readily than
mathematicians. Perhaps mathematicians are too involved in petty
comparisons, at any rate early in their careers; it is the mathematicians
- and their more immediate associates who waste endless hours on
the futile question whether applied is more "useful" than pure.
Often also non-mathematicians appear to grasp more readily the
other great subdivision of mathematics into the discrete and the
continuous. Scientists who are drilled in the continuous, mechanistic
techniques often dislike probabilistic limitations to the point of pleading
despairingly that Nature could not possibly be so perverse as to impose
It is suggested that commonsense has indeed disappeared from
natural phenomena of the type that are of interest in this century, if
by commonsense is meant the sort of tedious model-building which fills
old-fashioned texts in physics, whose object is presumably to rescue the
supposedly immature from any contact with abstract thought.
Finally it is suggested that the more undesirable consequences of
the distinction are beginning to disappear, though not as rapidly as
one would wish.
Step feet, tread on (read
Stepfall of the friar's feet
To Juliet's last bed.
Stairs, stairs lead flickering lantern light
Lead shrunken Capulet, speechless wife
To where my love lies dead.
Down from sound, from day, Verona street
Straight stairfall in the dark
Damp sleepinghouse: that jewelled mark
Daggerhilts of rubies burn
Steadily upon the ivory curve
Of her uncovered breasts.
Alas. No shame to you so openly to lie
Before the dazzled eye
Of shaven priest, of halting age, and I
My life's blood welling up my throat
Last gasp, last sickening
Flags, with nothing on them
Flags for no ships
That never sailed, never set sail-
Blank flags flying
In my empty head.
By JEAN CREARY
JAMAICA THE SEARCH FOR AN IDENTITY
By Katrin Norris Oxford University Press.
JAMAICANS seldom get a chance to have a good look at themselves.
American students, preparing a doctoral thesis, may write about some
aspect of our political or trade union history which, because of its
specialisation, fails to catch a wide readership. On the other hand,
the British or North American newspaper reporter may slice off a
chunk of our social habits and customs and then put it out of context
in his zeal for a good story.
Katrin Norris, a keen student as well as a good reporter, has taken
a sweeping survey of our new nation and its people and set down her
observations in a slim volume, "Jamaica: the Search for an Identity",
published in London by the Institute of Race Relations. It makes no
attempt at being a historical record, so Miss Norris finds little need
to quote source references to sustain her facts and figures.
Rather, "Jamaica" is a bit of reportage: perceptive, analytical
filled with reliable details. It is told in an easy narrative form that
is suited to the editorial feature page of the more serious newspapers.
As such, it becomes a luminous mirror in which our society can take a
good look at itself.
But many won't like what they see in the mirror, for the very reason
that forms the theme running through Miss Norris' book: the facility
of Jamaicans to live apart from each other in varied groups that spin
around themselves artificial ideas of themselves that bear little rela-
tion to reality. So when the artificiality is ruthlessly brushed aside, as
Miss Norris has done in her shrewd observations, some of us will deny
the truth of the portrait because they resent the exposure.
But what does the mirror reflect? On the eve of independence,
Miss Norris showed us a society split into two nations "sharing the
same space but hardly touching each other": one well-off, the other
poverty-stricken. A society riven by a white bias that feeds a sense
of self-contempt among its black citizens, further sundered by a class
bar that upholds a halo of worthiness round the upper class that is
supported in its bluff by "the press, the exploitation of every occasion
which lends itself to formality, the colonial honours list".
Above all Miss Norris presents a picture of a society that still bears
the slavish heritage of colonialism and she details the traces in our
complete dependence on foreign Investment, in our educational system,
in our mincing manners and our formal European dress.
She writes: "Just as the vocal manifestations of national pride
are not supported by a deep confidence in the attributes most character-
istic of Jamaica, so the lip-service which is paid to Garvey's exhorta-
tions to racial pride is not supported by a spirit of confidence in the
And this is the psychological blinker that blinds us in our search
for an identity. Who are we? Where did we come from? What are we?
The public atmosphere in which we creep through our daily routines
insists that we are a multi-racial country, not a black country; that
we are an insufficient people who "must learn to think, speak, dress,
furnish their homes and have industries like their rich relations and
the mother country"; and that "anything less is uncivilised, crude, 'not
decent', 'not right'."
But Miss Norris is far from pessimistic about the future. She
thinks that though our social and political leadership still subscribes
to European standards and culture, these are signs of the emergence
of an articulate movement which passionately rejects these values.
She says hopefully:
"It is the beginning of a conflict which may well intensify as there
is more education, more communication with Africa, Cuba and even
with radical thought in Britain, as the generation of politicians who
were products of colonialism is replaced by a generation raised in an
atmosphere which condemns colonialism."
Miss Norris adds more soberly: "Which group speaks with most
authority for the Jamaican nation and which dream will materialise
in the next ten or twenty years? It is impossible to say. There cannot
be a predictable national plan until there is a nation, and twenty years
of gradual progress towards self-government have not wiped out three
centuries which have given Jamaica a schizophrenic society. Before
she can be called a nation, more equitable economic and social condi-
tions must be created for people of all classes, and the Negro must be
given confidence and self-respect. The overpowering cultural image
of Britain must be diluted and replaced by new ideas rooted in Jamaica
herself. Only in these ways can the concept of being Jamaican come
to have any true meaning and the people of Jamaica discover the many-
sided physical and human potential they have at their command."
Although Miss Norris was a colleague of mine at the Gleaner for a
couple of years, I did not have the opportunity of developing with her
these views which are so close to mine.
LOVE LEAPS HERE
By John Figueroa
IN John Figueroa's book of poems, Love Leaps Here, I find things to
admire, and in it are a few poems I shall refer to lovingly from time to
I can recommend warmly, for example, "Epiphanies III, on his
Grandmother's Death, news of which he received in Lans-en-Vercours".
In this poem Professor Figueroa explores an important universal theme;
he writes of growth, death and their inevitable inter-relation. Nature
is here especially meaningful, not just something seen (as in some of
the other poems); the opening stanza richly conveys growth:
"From where the slug-trailed custard-apple grows
And the bastard bombay mango daily fills
Its olive skin with juices that attain
The cycle's point of closure where fullness kills,
From where her trees so blindly know the gain
That sunlight brings, that soil provides, I hear
That she is dead.'
The fruit and trees all relate quite intimately to the important
subject of the poem. The hint of soil, for example, is taken up in
stanzas two to three:
"the sapling I beneath her shade
Not dreaming yet that time that made me tall
Would bend her to the earth and with its spade
Plough her ashes back to bless the soil..."
The diction here is very careful but it convinces as finely appro-
priate. The poet's control has wrought what seems to be a consider-
able poem out of what communicates as an important experience. The
poem ends in triumph, with the verse realizing the energy that the
experience demands. The emphasis falls naturally on that plosive
"bursting" in the last line:
"but you whose death
Disturbs these snows, scorching cold eyes that fill
The soul with wonder and with salt, even without breath
You live, not an impressed scent among yellow pages,
Not conjured back by any reader's breath,
But fountain of your being plays against the rages
Of time's raucous sea, the rose you were and are
And ever will be is your self still bursting through the ages.
I use this poem, which I greatly admire, as a point of departure
for my comments on the book as a whole.
Interviewed on the J.B.C., Professor Figueroa remarked that one
must "distinguish between a cry of horror and a poem; a poem is a
thing that is made, as a Grecian vase is made." Poets, he said, must
take time to shape their poems. The advice is fair enough. But what
is shaped is often, in the beginning, a cry of some sort; and it seems
to me the great weakness of Professor Figueroa's book that not many
of the poems persuade us they are about experiences that pressed on
the poet and forced him to cry out (and shape his cry). Too many of
these poems seem to be efforts or feats of technique, too few of them
come to grips with recognizably important experience. This impression
may be due entirely to a failure in technique: it may be that Professor
Figueroa has been deeply moved by many things which seem in this
book to be the basis of literary exercise; it may be that what we face
here is simply a failure in rhetoric, an inability to persuade us that he
felt as he really did feel. But, for myself, I am inclined to doubt this;
and there are evidences which support my doubt.
Professor Figueroa himself, in his J.B.C. interview, placed great
emphasis on the need to shape a poem, and told us that he had taken
two years to write some of the poems in this book. (Does it really
matter whether a poem takes two years or two hours to shape?) Asked
what poems gave him most pleasure, Professor Figueroa named two
poems which he said had given him most trouble to shape. But what
was he shaping? and how important was it to him? it may be signi-
ficant that he said nothing that touched on these questions.
Some of the poems in this book are palpable frauds. Let me quote
from the worst of them: "Tenebrae, Holy Week 1945":
Thy sons know not
Save in hurried weekend furloughs
Which dappled bombers bring.
Thy mothers are not mothers now
But bearers of children and wearers of uniform.
Thy fathers have not now the seed of life
But sow (by bullet birds) the seed of death."
This seems to me all very literary: the careful juxtaposition of
different levels of styles ("thy" against "hurried weekend furloughs"),
the playing off of "Mothers" (intended, I take it, to suggest The Virgin
Mary) against "mothers" all this seems to me the merest literary
cleverness; and the search for cleverness leads him into the awkwardly
contrived "bullet-birds". There are worse things in this poem: one
passage of this lament runs:
"Oh my people
Let thy face
Oh mother oh father
Oh son and oh daughter..."
and so on. Professor Figueroa's sense of humour might surely have
saved him the embarassments of this poem with its solemn plea
"Convertere ad Dominum
We may contrast with this "A Prayer" in which the voice is less self-
advertising and the pretensions are more acceptable:
"I have loved the beauty of thy house, Lord,
And the place where thy glory dwells:
The black diamond night which you gently twirl
Till every facet shines a star;
The lignum vitae, gold of fruit
And blue of bud;
The everlasting sea with its diurnal heaving,
Breathing, sighing and at night its whispered tales
And meteor trails where the fast fish stirs
The place where thy glory dwells."
The literariness is still there, in the Psalm-like quality of the opening
lines and the Wordsworth-hallowed "diurnal"; but the echoes are used,
they help rather than impede.
In some of the religious poems there is pseudo-intellectual language
that does not convince: its pretentiousness leaps at the reader:
"Bethlehem is the still centre;
Around it radii twirl, swirl and hurl us
Off into prehistoric and post-prophetic ooze..."
Professor Figueroa is evidently a literary man. He writes transla-
tions of Horace and one poem after St. John of the Cross, he refers
frequently to classical mythology and writes poems on classical themes,
he produces titles such as "THE GRAVE-DIGGER (Written Holy Week
1947 at Paul Valery's grave in Cette on the Mediterranean, after listen-
ing to a reading of his verse)" and footnotes to titles, such as "TENDER
IS THE NIGHT". "The reference is rather to Fitzgerald's novel, with
its heroine Nichole, than to Keats." To be literary is not necessarily a
disadvantage in a poet. But to be literary in an external way, to fail
to convince your readers that your literary references were necessary
and important, is a very great defect indeed. Too much of Professor
Figueroa's literariness is a matter of names deployed like counters or
a matter of a contrived tone. What is one to make, for example, of the
mock-Milton manner of the first stanza of "Blue Mountain Peak
"Hills which are but a green, petrified
Magnification of yonder distant, quiet blue ocean,
Caught and calcified when blown, long ago,
Into roaring walls by rebellious breezes,
Caught, and no longer shifting currents of
Uncertain liquid, but adamantine..."
It is strange that this should occur in the same poem as the beautiful
"You wonder not at warm eyes blurred
When strong mountains brace
And soft clouds shelter..."
In a poet capable of suggestive simplicities such as this, one deeply
regrets the posturing of other passages and poems.
There are things that a very literary sensibility can do particularly
well and Professor Figueroa's book contains some successes of this type.
Next to the powerful, deep "Epiphanies III" I like best "The Garden
Green and Great" in which exquisite taste establishes a fantasy world
of delicate leaves, mauve blossom floating down to perfect water, sweet
bowers with delicate girls in them, a yellow moon dripping butter over
all a dream world which is suddenly and symbolically disturbed by
"A tense unquiet bull
Escaped from a nearby farm."
Other successes seem to me "The Garden Gate," a playful, expertly
contrived little poem, the brief painting "Yes, I Recall," "Winter Night".
a word-painting which seems to suggest something more important,
hints of death and emptiness:
"From my window I could see
That silver ice had bent the birch
And forced it, cross-beam wise, to lurch
Against a coal-black tree.
On the hearth, as on a perch,
Sparrows of russet flame
Leapt in an aery game
As vigil lights in a midnight church.
A black gust shrieked its wrath,
The white birch, falling, sighed,
The sparrows gasped, then died
And left their grey ash cold upon the hearth."
"Dream" achieves a careful musical beauty. I like too "At Home The
Green Remains" which is tightly descriptive, the description organized
in telling images. Here we are given an experience without the poet
feeling the need to be solemn or conspicuously to intellectualize; the
images themselves convince us of the reality: how very accurate is
"the palm throws back
Its head and breathes above the still blue sea" !
"Palinurus" is the most satisfying of the poems on classical themes.
The rhythms persuade us of the too-much-trusting, and the last stanza
is particularly impressive in its well-chosen sounds and rhythm which
"Now naked, unknown, unknowing the sea,
Your body will drift to the beach;
To some beach, somewhere, calm, yellow and unknown."
"Brou" as a prose poem and "Brou" as a verse poem (written with Derek
Walcott) seem excellently done within their limitations but around
both there hangs an aura of the precious.
It was, I think, unwise to mention Derek Walcott's name in the
acknowledgments and to include a poem to which he contributed,
because, seeing these, the natural tendency is for readers to compare
Figueroa and Walcott. Let us set two not dissimilar passages next to
each other, from Figueroa's "Oh When In Green Fields I have
Recalled. . (placed at the end of his collection and therefore, one
trusts, a poem with which he is not dissatisfied) and from Walcott's
"Pays Natal": here is Professor Figueroa:
"Oh when in green fields I have recalled thy
Beauty, love, when the rounded furrows imitate
Thy breast and silent pines thy posture
Oh earth cannot be separate from thee
Nor stars that cluster round the stems of night:
The landscape takes thy many shapes without
Thy sublety and has no rivers deep
As thy mysterious waters."
And here is Derek Walcott:
"Your gaze, so full of sadness,
Contained the emptiness of long canoes,
The patience of brown rivers,
In those eyes was the sorrow of villages.
The touch of your fingers was sand
Brittle and hot in the forenoon,
Your forehead was an unmarked beach
Where no shadowy thoughts pass."
First of all, we notice a greater naturalness in Walcott: his stanza
is better "shaped" than Professor Figueroa's and yet far more natural-
seeming. The experience absorbs Walcott's full attention; he does not
stop to talk about it, the poem is the experience; Walcott does not feel
this need to explain the inter-relation of disparate experiences, in his
imagination they are fused as a single experience.
There are West Indian poets who lose less than Professor Figueroa
in the comparison with Walcott: in his best poems, A. L. Hendriks, for
example, whose lyricism, control, and interest in important experiences
of whose reality he convinces us, make him interesting to compare
with Walcott who has the richer imagination and the surer technique.
But between Figueroa and Walcott there is little useful comparison:
for nearly all Professor Figueroa's successes in this book seem ultimately
unimportant: he is a craftsman at work (not always with happy
results), he is a litterateur amusing himself, a Christian doing his
devotions; but far too rarely does he persuade us that he is a man
in the grip of some Important experience which makes him have to
write a poem.