Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Chapter IX : San Josef
 Chapter X : Naparima and Monse...
 Chapter XI : The northern...
 Chapter XII : The savanna...
 Chapter XIII : The Cocal
 Chapter XIV : The 'education question'...
 Chapter XV : The races --...
 Chapter XVI : A provision...
 Chapter XVII : Homeward bound

Group Title: At last
Title: At last a Christmas in the West Indies
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00019785/00002
 Material Information
Title: At last a Christmas in the West Indies
Alternate Title: A Christmas in the West Indies
Physical Description: 2 v. : illus. ; 19cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kingsley, Charles, 1819-1875
Publisher: Macmillan and co.
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 871
Subject: Description and travel -- Trinidad   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: By Charles Kingsley.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00019785
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000143461
oclc - 01903126
notis - AAQ9647

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front cover
    Half Title
        Half title
    Title Page
        Title page
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Illustrations
        Page ix
        Page x
    Chapter IX : San Josef
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
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        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Chapter X : Naparima and Monserrat
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
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        Plate 1
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    Chapter XI : The northern mountains
        Page 91
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        Plate 2
        Page 107
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        Plate 3
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
    Chapter XII : The savanna of Aripo
        Page 164
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    Chapter XIII : The Cocal
        Page 185
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        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
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        Plate 4
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        Page 222
        Page 223
    Chapter XIV : The 'education question' in Trinidad
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
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    Chapter XV : The races -- a letter
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Plate 5
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
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    Chapter XVI : A provision ground
        Page 268
        Plate 6
        Page 269
        Page 270
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    Chapter XVII : Homeward bound
        Page 292
        Page 293
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Full Text



A M alpnrore Strup.

I ~

,..;. ;..








Toubcn ant sutb 3 godr

[The Right of Translation and Reproduction is reserved.]




SAN JOSEF . . '.













. 27

. 164

. 185


~ I








. 259

. . 268

. 292
















. .. Front.


. . 1

.. 47

. 61

Toface 81

.. 85

. . Toface 107

.. 109

. 114

. Toface 160

. 198

Toface 200

.. . 257

I _





YAM ...

GUAVA .. ...

To face


. . .

* K II

Coolie and Negro.





THE road to the ancient capital of the island is pleasant
enough, and characteristic of the West Indies. Not, indeed,
as to its breadth, make, and .material, for they, contrary to


the wont of West India roads, are as good as they would be
in England, but on account of the quaint travellers along it,
and the quaint sights which are to be seen over every hedge.
You pass all the races of the island going to and from town
or fieldwork, or washing clothes in some clear brook, beside
which a solemn Chinaman sits catching for his dinner strange
fishes, known to my learned friend, Dr. Giinther, and perhaps
to one or two other men in Europe: but certainly not to me.
Always somebody or something new and strange is to be seen,
for eight most pleasant miles.
The road runs at first along a low cliff foot, with an ugly
Mangrove swamp, looking just like an alder-bed at home,
between you and the sea; a swamp which it would be worth
while to drain by a steam-pump, and then plant with coco-
nuts or bamboos; for its miasma makes the southern corner of
Port of Spain utterly pestilential. You cross a railroad, the
only one in the island, which goes to a limestone quarry, and
so out along a wide straight road, with Negro cottages right
and left, embowered in fruit and flowers. They grow fewer
and finer as you ride on; and soon you are in open country,
principally of large paddocks. These paddocks, like all West
SIndian ones, are apt to be ragged with weeds and scrub. But
the coarse broad-leaved grasses seem to keep the mules in
good condition enough, at least in the rainy season. Most of
these paddocks have, I believe, been under cane cultivation


at some time or other; and have been thrown into grass
during the period of depression dating from 1845. It has
not been worth while, as yet, to break them up again, though
the profits of sugar-farming are now, or at least ought to be,
very large. But the soil along this line is originally poor and
sandy; and it is far more profitable to break up the rich
vegas, or low alluvial lands, even at the trouble of clearing
them of forest. So these paddocks are left, often with noble
trees standing about in them, putting one in mind-if it were
not for the Palmistes and Bamboos and the crowd of black
vultures over an occasional dead animal-of English parks.
But few English parks have such backgrounds. To the
right, the vast southern flat, with its smoking engine-house
chimneys and bright green cane-pieces, and, beyond all, the
black wall of the primeval forest; and to the left, some
half mile off, the steep slopes of the green northern moun-
tains blazing in the sun, and sending down, every two or
three miles, out of some charming glen, a clear pebbly brook,
each winding through its narrow strip of vega. The vega is
usually a highly cultivated cane-piece, where great lizards
sit in the mouths of their burrows, and watch the passer-
by with intense interest. Coolies and Negros are at
work in it: but only a few; for the strength of the
hands is away at the engine-house, making sugar day and
night. There is a piece of cane in act of being cut. The


men are hewing down the giant grass with cutlasses; the
women stripping off the leaves, and then piling the cane in
carts drawn by mules, the leaders of which draw by rope
traces two or three times as long as themselves. You wonder
why such a seeming waste of power is allowed, till you see
one of the carts stick fast in a mud-hole, and' discover that
even in the West Indies there is a good reason for every-
thing, and that the Creoles know their own business best.
For the wheelers, being in the slough with the cart, are power-
less : but the leaders, who have scrambled through, are safe
on dry land at the end of their long traces, and haul out
their brethren, cart and all, amid the yells, and, I am sorry
to say blows, of the black gentlemen in attendance. But
cane-cutting is altogether a busy, happy scene. The heat
is awful, and all limbs rain perspiration: yet no one seems
to mind the heat; all look fat and jolly; and they have
cause to do so, for all, at every spare moment, are sucking
You pull up, and take off your hat to the party. The
Negros shout, Marnin', sa !" The Coolies salaam gracefully,
hand to forehead. You return the salaam, hand to heart,
which is considered the correct thing on the part of a
superior in rank; whereat the Coolies look exceedingly
pleased; and then the whole party, without visible reason,
burst into shouts of laughter.


The manager rides up, probably under an umbrella, as you
are, and a pleasant and instructive chat follows, wound up,
usually, if the house be not far off, by an invitation to come
in and have a light drink; an invitation which, considering
the state of the thermometer, you will be tempted to accept,
especially as you know that the claret and water will be
excellent. And so you dawdle on, looking at this and that
new and odd sight, but most of all feasting your eyes on the
beauty of the northern mountains, till you reach the gentle
rise on which stands, eight miles from Port of Spain, the little
city of San Josef. We should call it, here in England, a
village: still, it is not every village in England which has
fought the Dutch, and earned its right to be called a city, by
beating some of the bravest sailors of the seventeenth
century. True, there is not a single shop in it with plate-
glass windows: but what matters-that, if its citizens have all
that civilized people need, and more, and will heap what
they have on the stranger so hospitably that they almost pain
him by the trouble which they take ? True, no carriages and
pairs, with powdered footmen, roll about the streets; and the
most splendid vehicles you are likely to meet are American
buggies-four-wheeled gigs with heads, and aprons through
which the reins can be passed in wet weather. But what
matters that, as long as the buggies keep out sun and rain
effectually, and as long as those who sit in them be real


gentlemen, and those who wait for them at home, whether
in the city or the estates around, be real ladies ? As for the
rest-peace, plenty, perpetual summer, time to think and read
-(for there are no daily papers in San Josef)-and what
can man want more on earth ? So I thought more than
once, as I looked at San Josef nestling at the mouth of its
noble glen, and said to myself,-If the telegraph cable were
but laid down the islands, as it will be in another year or
two, and one could hear a little more swiftly and loudly
the beating of the Great Mother's heart at home, then would
San Josef be about the most delectable spot which I have
ever seen for a cultivated and civilized man to live, and
work, and think, and die in.
San Josef has had, nevertheless, its troubles and excite-
ments more than once since it defeated the Dutch. Even as
late as 1837, it was, for a few hours, in utter terror and
Danger from a mutiny of free Mlack recruits. No one in the
island, civil or military, seems to have bee, to blame for the
mishap. It was altogether owing to the unwisdom of mili-
tary authorities at home, who seem to have fancied that
they could transform, by a magical spurt of the pen, heathen
savages into British soldiers.
The whole tragedy-for tragedy it was-is so curious, and
so illustrative of the Negro character, and of the effects of
the slave trade, that I shall give it at length, as it stands in


tha' clever little History of Trinidad, by M. Thomas, which I
have quoted more than once:-
"Donald Stewart, or rather Daaga,1 was the adopted son of
Madershee, the old and childless king of the tribe called
Paupaus, a race that inhabit a tract of country bordering on
that of the Yarrabas. These races are constantly at war
with each other.
"Daaga was just the man whom a savage, warlike, and
depredatory tribe would select for their chieftain, as the
African Negros choose their leaders with reference to their
personal prowess. Daaga stood six feet six inches without
shoes. Although scarcely muscular in proportion, yet his
frame indicated in a singular degree the union of irresistible
strength and activity. His head was large; his features had
all the peculiar traits which distinguish the Negro in a
remarkable degree; his jaw was long, eyes large and pro-
truded, high cheek-bones, and flat nose: his teeth were
large and regular He had a singular cast in his eyes, not
quite amounting to that obliquity of the visual organs deno-
minated a squint, but sufficient to give his features a pecu-
liarly forbidding appearance;-his forehead, however, although
small in proportion to his enormous head, was remarkably
compact and well formed. The whole head was dispro-
portioned, having the greater part of the brain behind the
1 Pronounced like the Spanish noun Daga.


ears; but the greatest peculiarity of this singular being was
his voice. In the course of my life I never heard such sounds
uttered by human crgans as those formed by Daaga. In
ordinary conversation he appeared to me to endeavour to
soften his voice-it was a deep tenor; but when a little
excited by any passion (and this savage was the child of
passion) his voice sounded like the low growl of a lion, but
when much excited it could be compared to nothing so aptly
as the notes of a gigantic brazen trumpet.
"I repeatedly questioned this man respecting the religion
of his tribe. The result of his answers led me to infer that the
Paupaus believed in the existence of a future state; that they
have a confused notion of several powers, good and evil, but
these are ruled by one supreme being called Holloloo. This
account of the religion of Daaga was confirmed by the mili-
tary chaplain who attended him in his last moments. He
also informed me that he believed in predestination;-at
least he said that Holloloo, he knew, had ordained that he
should come to white man's country and be shot.
Daaga having made a successful predatory expedition
into the country of the Yarrabas, returned with a number
of prisoners of that nation. These he, as usual, took, bound
and guarded, towards the coast to sell to the Portuguese.
The interpreter, his countryman, called these Portuguese
WHITE GENTLEMEN. The white gentlemen proved themselves

r II


more than a match for the black gentlemen; and the whole
transaction between the Portuguese and Paupaus does credit
to all concerned in this gentlemanly traffic in human
Daaga sold his prisoners; and under pretence of paying
him, he and his Paupau guards were enticed on board a Por-
tuguese vessel;-they were treacherously overpowered by the
Christians, who bound them beside their late prisoners, and
the vessel sailed over 'the great salt water.'
This transaction caused in the breast of the savage a deep
hatred against all white men-a hatred so intense that he
frequently, during and subsequent to the mutiny, declared he
would eat the first white man he killed; yet this cannibal
was made to swear allegiance to our Sovereign on the Holy
Evangelists, and was then called a British soldier.
On the voyage the vessel on board which Daaga had been
entrapped was captured by the British. He could not com-
prehend that his new captors liberated him: he had been
over-reached and trepanned by one set of white men, and he
naturally looked on his second captors as more successful
rivals in the human, or rather inhuman, Guinea trade; there-
fore this event lessened not his hatred for white men in
the abstract.
I was informed by several of the Africans who came with
him that when, during the voyage, they upbraided Daaga


with being the cause of their capture, he pacified them by
promising that when they should arrive in white man's
country, he would repay their perfidy by attacking them in
the night. He further promised that if the.Paupa.us and
Yarrabas would follow him, he would fight his way back to
Guinea. This account was fully corroborated by many of the
mutineers, especially those who were shot with Daaga: they
all said the revolt never would have happened but for Donald
Stewart, as he was called by the officers; but Africans who
were not of his tribe called him Longa-longa, on account of
his height.
Such was this extraordinary man, who led the mutiny I
am about to relate.
"A quantity of captured Africans having been brought
hither from the islands of Grenada and Dominica, they were
most imprudently induced to enlist as recruits in the 1st West
'India Regiment. True it is, we have been told they did this
voluntarily: but, it may be asked, if they had any will in the
matter, how could they understand the duties to be imposed
on them by becoming soldiers, or how comprehend the nature
of an oath of allegiance? without which they could not,
legally speaking, be considered as soldiers. I attended the
whole of the trials of these men, and well know how difficult
it was to make them comprehend any idea which was at
all new to them by means of the best interpreters procurable.



It has been said that by making those captured Negros
soldiers, a service was rendered them: this I doubt. Formerly
it was most true that a soldier in a black regiment was better
off thap a slave; but certainly a free African in the West
Indies now is infinitely in a better situation than a soldier,
not only in a pecuniary point of view, but in almost every
other respect.
"To the African savage, while being drilled into the duties
of a soldier, many things seem absolute tyranny which
would appear to a civilized man a mere necessary restraint.
To keep the restless body of an African Negro in a position to
which he has not been accustomed-to cramp his splay-feet,
with his great toes standing out, into European shoes made
for feet of a different form-to place a collar round his neck,
which is called a stock, and which to him is cruel torture-
above all, to confine him every night to his barracks-are
almost insupportable. One unacquainted with the habits of
the Negro cannot conceive with what abhorrence he looks
on having his disposition to nocturnal rambles checked by
barrack regulations.1
Formerly the 'King's man,' as the black soldier loved
to call himself, looked (not without reason) contemptuously
on the planter's slave, although he himself was after all but

1 See Bryan Edwards on the character of the African Negros; also Chan-
velon's Histoire de la Martinique.



a slave to the State: but these recruits were enlisted shortly
after a number of their recently imported countrymen were
wandering freely over the country, working either as free
labourers, or settling, to use an apt American phrase, as
squatters; and to assert that the recruit, while under military
probation, is better off than the free Trinidad labourer, who
goes where he lists and earns as much in one day as will keep
him for three days, is an absurdity. Accordingly we find
that Lieutenant-Colonel Bush, who commanded the 1st West
India Regiment, thought that the mutiny was mainly owing
to the ill-advice of their civil, or, we should rather say, un-
military countrymen. This, to a certain degree, was the
fact: but, by the declaration of Dhaga and many of his
countrymen, it is evident the seeds of mutiny were sown on
the passage from Africa.
"It has been asserted that the recruits were driven to mu-
tiny by hard treatment of their commanding officers. There
seems not the slightest truth in this assertion; they were
treated with fully as much kindness as their situation would
admit of, and their chief was peculiarly a favourite of Colonel
Bush and the officers, notwithstanding Daaga's violent and
ferocious temper often caused complaints to be brought
against him.
"A correspondent of the Raval and Military Gazette was
under an apprehension that the mutineers would be joined by


the praedial apprentices of the circumjacent estates: not the
slightest foundation existed for this apprehension. Some
months previous to this Daaga had planned a mutiny, but
this was interrupted by sending a part of the Paupau and
Yarraba recruits to St. Lucia. The object of all those con-
spiracies was to get back to Guinea, which they thought they
could accomplish by marching to eastward.
On the night of the 17th of June, 1837, the people of
San Josef were kept awake by the recruits, about-280 in
number, singing the war-song of the Paupaus. This wild
song consisted of a short air and chorus. The tone was,
although wild, not inharmonious, and the words rather
euphonious. As near as our alphabet can convey them,
they ran thus:-
Au fey,
Oluu werrei,
Au lay.'

which may be rendered almost literally by the following
Air by the chief: Come to plunder, come to slay ;'
Chorus of followers: We are ready to obey.'

"About three o'clock in the morning their war-song
(highly characteristic of a predatory tribe) became very loud,
and they commenced uttering their war-cry. This is dif-
ferent from what we conceive the Indian war-whoop to be: it


seems to be a kind of imitation of the growl of wild beasts,
and has a most thrilling effect.
"Fire now was set to a quantity of huts built for the
accommodation of African soldiers to the northward of the
barracks, as well as to the house of a poor black woman
called Dalrymple. These burnt briskly, throwing a dismal
glare over the barracks and picturesque town of San Josef,
and overpowering the light of the full moon, which illu-
mined a cloudless sky. The mutineers made a rush at the
barrack-room, and seized on the muskets and fusees in the
racks. Their leader, Daaga, and a daring Yarraba named
Ogston, instantly charged their pieces; the former of these
had a quantity of ball-cartridges, loose powder, and ounce
and pistol-balls, in a kind of grey worsted cap. He must
have provided himself with these before the mutiny. How
he became possessed of them, especially the pistol-balls, I
never could learn; probably he was supplied by his un-
military countrymen: pistol-balls are never given to in-
fantry. Previous to this Daaga and three others made a rush
at the regimental store-room, in which was deposited a
quantity of powder. An old African soldier, named Charles
Dixon, interfered to stop them, on which Maurice Ogston, the
Yarraba chief, who had armed himself with a sergeant's sword,
cut down the faithful African. When down Daaga said, in
English, 'Ah, you old soldier, you knock down.' Dixon


was not Daaga's countryman, hence he could not speak
to him in his own language. The Paupau then levelled
his musket and shot the fallen soldier, who groaned and
died. The war-yells, or rather growls, of the Paupaus and
Yarabbas now became awfully thrilling, as they helped
themselves to cartridges: most of them were fortunately
blank, or without ball. Never was a premeditated mutiny
so wild and ill planned. Their chief, Daaga, and Ogston,
seemed to have had little command of the subordinates, and
the whole acted more like a set of wild beasts who had
broken their cages than men resolved on war.
"At this period, had a rush been made at the officers'
quarters by one half (they were more than 200 in number),
and the other half surrounded the building, not one could
have escaped. Instead of this they continued to shout their
war-song, and howl their war-notes; they loaded their
pieces with ball-cartridge, or blank-cartridge and small
stones, and commenced firing at the long range of white
buildings in which Colonel Bush and his officers slept. They
wasted so much ammunition on this useless display of fury
that the buildings were completely riddled. A few of the
old soldiers opposed them, and were wounded; but it fortu-
nately happened that they were, to an inconceivable degree,
ignorant of the right use of fire-arms-holding their muskets
in their hands when they discharged them, without allowing


the butt-end to rest against their shoulders, or any part of
their bodies. This fact accounts for the comparatively little
mischief they did in proportion to the quantity of ammu-
nition thrown away.
"The officers and sergeant-major escaped at the back of the
building, while Colonel Bush and Adjutant Bentley came
down a little hill. The colonel commanded the mutineers to
lay down their arms, and was answered by an irregular dis-
charge of balls, which rattled amongst the leaves of a tree
under which he and the adjutant were standing. On this
Colonel Bush desired Mr. Bentley to make the best of his
way to St. James's Barracks for all the disposable force of the
89th Regiment. The officers made good their retreat, and the
adjutant got into the stable where his horse was. He saddled
and bridled the animal while the shots were coming into the
stable, without either man or beast getting injured. The officer
mounted, but had to make his way through the mutineers
before he could get into San Josef, the barracks standing
on an eminence above the little town. On seeing the adjutant
mounted, the mutineers set up a thrilling howl, and com-
menced firing at him. He discerned the gigantic figure of
Daaga (alias Donald Stewart), with his musket at the trail:
he spurred his horse through the midst of them; they were
grouped, but not in line. On looking back he saw Daaga
aiming at him ; he stooped his head beside his horse's neck,



and effectually sheltered himself from about fifty shots aimed
at him. In this position he rode furiously down a steep hill
leading from the barracks to the church, and was out of
danger. His escape appears extraordinary: but he got safe
to town, and thence to St. James's, and in a short time,
considering it is eleven miles distant, brought out a strong
detachment of European troops; these, however, did not
arrive until the affair was over.
In the meantime a part of the officers' quarters was bravely
defended by two old African soldiers, Sergeant Merry and
Corporal Plague. The latter stood in the gallery near the
room in which were the colours; he was ineffectually fired at
by some hundreds, yet he kept his post, shot two of the
mutineers, and, it is said, wounded a third. Such is the
difference between a man acquainted with the use of fire-
arms and those who handle them as mops are held.
"In the meantime Colonel Bush got to a police-station
above the barracks, and got muskets and a few cartridges from
a discharged African soldier who was in the police establish-
ment. Being joined by the policemen, Corporal Craven and
Ensign Pogson, they concealed themselves on an eminence
above, and as the mutineers (about 100 in number) ap-
proached, the fire of muskets opened on them from the little
1 This man, who was a friend of Daaga's, owed his life to a solitary act of
humanity on the part of the chief of this wild tragedy. A musket was
levelled at him, when Daaga pushed it aside, and said, "Not this man."


ambush. The little party fired separately, loading as fast as
they discharged their pieces; they succeeded in making the
mutineers change their route.
"It is wonderful what little courage the savages in general
showed against the Colonel and his little party; who abso-
lutely beat them, although but a twenty-fifth of their number,
and at their own tactics, i.e. bush fighting.
"A body of the mutineers now made towards the road to
Maraccas, when the colonel and his three assistants contrived
to get behind a silk-cotton tree, and recommended firing on
them. The Africans hesitated and set forward, when the
little party continued to fire on them; they set up a yell, and
retreated down the hill.
"A part of the mutineers now concealed themselves in
the bushes about San Josef barracks. These men, after the
affair was over, joined Colonel Bush, and with a mix-
ture of cunning and effrontery smiled as though nothing
had happened, and as though they were glad to see him;
although, in general, they each had several shirts and pairs
of trousers on preparatory for a start to Guinea, by way of
Band de 1'Est.'
In the meantime the San Josef militia were assembled,
to the number of forty. Major Giuseppi, and Captain and
1 People will smile at the simplicity of those savages ; but it should be
recollected that civilized convicts were lately in the constant habit of at-
tempting to escape from New South Wales in order to walk to China.


Adjutant Rousseau, of the second division of militia forces
took command of them. They were in want of flints,
powder, and balls-to obtain these they were obliged to
break open a merchant's store; however, the adjutant so
judiciously distributed his little force as to hinder the
mutineers from entering the town, or obtaining access to the
militia arsenal, wherein there was a quantity of arms. Major
Chadds and several old African soldiers joined the militia,
and were by them supplied with arms.
A good deal of skirmishing occurred between the militia
and 'detached parties of the mutineers, which uniformly ended
in the defeat.of the latter. At length Daaga appeared to the
right of a party of six, at the entrance of the town; they
were challenged by the militia, and the mutineers fired on
them, but without effect. Only two of the militia returned
the fire, when all but Daaga fled. He was deliberately re-
loading his piece, when a militia-man, named Edmond Luce,
leaped on the gigantic chief, who would have easily beat him off,
although the former was a strong young man of colour: but
Daaga would not let go his gun; and, in common with all
the mutineers, he seemed to have no idea of the use of the
bayonet. Daaga was dragging the militia-man away, when
Adjutant Rousseau came to his assistance, and placed a sword
to Daaga's breast. Doctor Tardy and several others rushed
on the tall Negro, who was soon, by the united efforts of


several, thrown down and secured. It was at this period that
he repeatedly exclaimed, while he bit his own shoulder, 'The
first white man I catch after this I will eat him.'1
"Meanwhile about sixteen of the mutineers, led by the
daring Ogston, took the road to Arima; in order, as they said,
to commence their march to Guinea: but fortunately the
militia of that village, composed principally of Spaniards,
Indians, and Sambos, assembled. A few of these met them
and stopped their march. A kind of parley (if intercourse
carried on by signs could be so called) was carried on between
the parties. The mutineers made signs that they wished to
go forward, while the few militia-men endeavoured to detain
them, expecting a reinforcement momently. After a time the
militia agreed to allow them to approach the town; as they
were advancing they were met 'by the commandant, Martin
Sorzano, Esq., with sixteen more militia-men. The com-
mandant judged it imprudent to allow the Africans to enter
the town with their muskets full cocked and poised ready to
fire. An interpreter was now procured, and the mutineers
were told that if they would retire to their barracks the gentle-
men present would intercede for their pardon. The Negros
refused to accede to these terms, and while the interpreter was
addressing some, the rest tried to push forward. Some of the

1 I had this anecdote from one of his countrymen, an old Paupau
soldier, who said he did not join the mutiny.



militia opposed them by holding their muskets in a horizontal
position, on which one of the mutineers fired, and the militia
returned the fire. A melde commenced, in which fourteen
mutineers were killed and wounded. The fire of the Africans
produced little effect: they soon took to flight amid the
woods which flanked the road. Twenty-eight of them were
taken, amongst whom was the Yarraba chief, Ogston. Six
had been killed, and six committed suicide by strangling
and hanging themselves in the woods. Only one man was
wounded amongst the militia, and he but slightly, from a
small stone fired from a musket of one of the Yarrabas.
"The quantity of ammunition expended by the mutineers,
and the comparatively little mischief done by them, was truly
astonishing. It shows how little they understood the use of
fire-arms. Dixon was killed, and several of the old African
soldiers were wounded, but not one of the officers was in the
slightest degree hurt
"I have never been able to get a correct account of the
number of lives this wild mutiny cost, but believe it was not
less than forty, including those slain by the militia at Arima;
those shot at San Josef; those who died of their wounds
(and most of the wounded men died); the six who committed
suicide; the three that were shot by sentence of the court-
martial, and one who was shot while endeavouring to escape


"A good-looking young man, named Torrens, was brought
as prisoner to the presence of Colonel Bush. The Colonel
wished to speak to him, and desired his guards to liberate
him; on which the young savage shook his sleeve, in which
was concealed a razor, made a rush at the Colonel, and nearly
succeeded in cutting his throat. He slashed the. razor in all
directions until he made an opening; he rushed through this:
and, notwithstanding he was fired at, and I believe wounded,
he effected his escape, was subsequently re-taken; and again
made his escape with Satchell, who after this was shot by
a policeman.
Torrens was re-taken, tried, and recommended to mercy.
Of this man's fate I am unable to speak, not knowing how
far the recommendation to mercy was attended to. In ap-
pearance he seemed the mildest and best-looking of the
mutineers, but his conduct was the most ferocious of any.
The whole of the mutineers were captured within one week
of the mutiny, save this man, who was taken a month
On the 19th of July, Donald Stewart, otherwise Daaga,
was brought to a court-martial. On the 21st William Satchell
was tried. On the 22d a court-martial was held on Edward
Coffin; and on the 24th one was held on the Yarraba chief,
Maurice Ogston, whose country name was, I believe, Mawee.
Torrens was tried on the 29th.


"The sentences of these courts-martial were unknown
until the 14th of August, having been sent to Bar-
bados in order to be submitted to the Commander-in-
Chief, Lieutenant-General Whittingham, who approved of
the decision of the courts, which was that Donald Stewart
(Daaga), Maurice Ogston, and Edward Coffin, should suffer
death by being shot; and that William Satchell should be
transported beyond seas during the term of his natural life.
I am unacquainted with the sentence of Torrens.
"Donald Stewart, Maurice Ogston, and Edward Coffin were
executed on the 16th of August, 1837, at San Josef Bar-
racks. Nothing seemed to have been neglected which could
render the execution solemn and impressive; the scenery and
the weather gave additional awe to the melancholy proceed-
ings. Fronting the little eminence where the prisoners were
shot was the scene where their ill-concerted mutiny com-
menced. To the right stood the long range of building on
which they had expended much of their ammunition for the
purpose of destroying their officers. The rest of the pano-
rama was made up of an immense view of forest below them,
and upright masses of mountains above them. Over those,
heavy bodies of mist were slowly, sailing, giving a sombre
appearance to the primeval woods which, in general,
covered both mountains and plains. The atmosphere indi-
cated an inter-tropical morning during the rainy season, and


the sun shone resplendently between dense columns of
"At half-past seven o'clock the condemned men asked to be
allowed to eat a hearty meal, as they said persons about to be
executed in Guinea were always indulged with a good repast.
It is remarkable that these unhappy creatures ate most
voraciously, even while they were being brought out of their
cell for execution.
"A little before the mournful procession commenced the
condemned men were dressed from head to foot in white
habiliments trimmed with black; their arms were bound
with cords. This is not usual in military executions, but was
deemed necessary on the present occasion. An attempt to
escape, on the part of the condemned, would have been pro-
ductive of much confusion, and was properly guarded against.
"The condemned men displayed no unmanly fear. On the
contrary, they steadily kept step to the Dead March which the
band played; yet the certainty of death threw a cadaverous
and ghastly hue over their black features, while their singular
and appropriate costume, and the three coffins being borne
before them, altogether rendered it a frightful picture: hence
it was not to be wondered at that two of the European
soldiers fainted.
The mutineers marched 'abreast. The tall form and horrid
looks of Daaga were almost appalling. The looks of Ogston


were sullen, calm, and determined; those of Coffin seemed to
indicate resignation.
"At eight o'clock-they arrived at the spot where three graves
were dug; here their coffins were deposited. The condemned
men were made to face to westward; three sides of a hollow
square were formed, flanked on one side by a detachment of
the 89th Regiment and a party of artillery, while the recruits,
many of whom shared the guilt of the culprits, were appro-
priately placed in the line opposite them. The firing party
were a little in advance of the recruits.
"The sentence of the courts-martial, and other necessary
documents, having been read by the fort adjutant, Mr.
Meehan, the chaplain of the forces read some prayers
appropriated for these melancholy occasions. The clergy-
man then shook hands with the three men about to be
sent into another state of existence. Daaga and Ogston
coolly gave their hands: Coffin wrang the chaplain's hand
affectionately, saying, in tolerable English, 'I am now done
with the world.'
The arms of the condemned men, as has been before stated,
were bound, but in such a manner as to allow them to bring
their hands to their heads. Their night-caps were drawn
over their eyes. Coffin allowed his to remain, but Ogston
and Daaga pushed theirs up again. The former did this
calmly; the latter showed great wrath, seeming to think him-


self insulted; and his deep metallic voice sounded in anger
above that of the provost-marshal,i as the latter gave the
words Ready! present!' But at this instant his vociferous
daring forsook him. As the men levelled their muskets at
him, with inconceivable rapidity he sprang bodily round, still
preserving his squatting posture, and received the fire from
behind; while the less noisy, but more brave, Ogston, looked
the firing-party full in the face as they discharged their fatal
In one instant all three fell dead, almost all the balls of
the firing-party having taken effect. The savage appearance
and manner of Dhaga excited awe. Admiration was felt for
the calm bravery of Ogston, while Edward Coffin's fate
excited commiseration.
"There were many spectators of this dreadful scene, and
amongst others a great concourse of Negros. Most of these
expressed their hopes that after this terrible example the
recruits would make good soldiers."
Ah, stupid savages. Yes: but also-ah, stupid civilized
1 One of his countrymen explained to me what Daaga said on this occasion,
viz.-" The curse of Holloloo on white men. Do they think that Daaga
fears to fix his eyeballs on death ?"

'r I



I HAD a few days of pleasant wandering in the centre of the
island, about the districts which bear the names of Naparima
and Montserrat; a country of such extraordinary fertility, as
well as beauty, that it must surely hereafter become the seat
of a high civilization. The soil seems inexhaustibly rich.
I say inexhaustibly; for as fast as the upper layer is im-
poverished, it will be swept over by the tropic rains, to
mingle with the vegas, or alluvial flats below, and thus
enriched again, while a fresh layer of virgin soil is exposed
above. I have seen, cresting the highest ridges of Mont-
serrat, ten feet at least of fat earth, falling clod by clod
right and left upon the gardens below. There are, doubtless,
comparatively barren tracts of gravel toward the northern
mountains; there are poor sandy lands, likewise, at the
southern part of the island, which are said, nevertheless, to
be specially fitted for the growth of cotton: but from San


Fernando on the west coast to Manzanilla on the east,
stretches a band of soil which seems to be capable of
yielding any conceivable return to labour and capital, not
omitting common sense.
How long it has taken to prepare this natural garden for
man is one of those questions of geological time which have
been well called of late appalling." How long was it since
the "older Parian" rocks (said to belong to the Neoco-
mian, or green-sand, era) of Point a Pierre were laid down
at the bottom of the sea ? How long since a still unknown
thickness of tertiary strata in the Nariva district laid down
on them ? How long since not less than six thousand feet of
still later tertiary strata laid down on them again ? What
vast, though probably slow, processes changed that sea-
bottom from one salt enough to carry corals and lime-
stones, to one brackish enough to carry abundant remains
of plants, deposited probably by the Orinoco, or by some
river which then did duty for it ? Three such periods of
disturbance have been distinguished, the net result of
which is, that the strata (comparatively recent in geological
time) have been fractured, tilted, even set upright on end,
over the whole lowland. Trinidad seems to have had its
full share of those later disturbances of the earth-crust,
which carried tertiary strata up along the shoulders of the
Alps; which upheaved the chalk of the Isle of Wight,


setting the tertiary beds of Alum Bay upright against it;
which even, after the Age of Ice, thrust up the Isle of
Moen in Denmark, and the Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire,
entangling the boulder clay among the chalk-how long
ago ? Long enough ago, in Trinidad at least, to allow water
-probably the estuary waters of the Orinoco-to saw all the
upheaved layers off at the top into one flat sea-bottom once
more, leaving as projections certain harder knots of rock,
such as the limestones of Mount Tamana; and, it may be,
the curious knoll of hard clay rock under which nestles the
town of San Fernando. Long enough ago, also, to allow that
whole sea-bottom to be lifted up once more, to the height, in
one spot, of a thousand feet, as the lowland which occupies
six-sevenths of the Isle of Trinidad. Long enough ago,
again, to allow that lowland to be sawn out into hills and.
valleys, ridges and gulleys, which are due to the action of
Colonel George Greenwood's geologic panacea, "Rain and
Rivers," and to nothing else. Long enough ago, once more,
for a period of subsidence, as I suspect, to follow the period of
upheaval; a period at the commencement of which Trinidad
was perhaps several times as large as it is now, and has
gradually been eaten away by the surf, as fresh pieces of the
soft cliffs have been brought, by the sinking of the land, face
to face with its slow, but sure destroyer.
And how long ago began the epoch-the very latest which


this globe has seen, which has been long enough for all
this? The human imagination can no more grasp that
time than it can grasp the space between us and the
nearest star.
Such thoughts were forced upon me as the steamer stopped
off San Fernando; and I saw, some quarter of a mile out at
sea, a single stack of rock, which is said to have been joined
to the mainland in the memory of the fathers of this genera-
tion; and on shore, composed, I am told, of the same rock,
that hill of San Fernando which forms a beacon by sea
and land for many a mile around. An isolated boss of the
older Parian, composed of hardened clay which has escaped
destruction, it rises, though not a mile long and a third of a
mile broad, steeply to a height of nearly six hundred feet,
carrying on its cliffs the remains of a once magnificent vegeta-
tion. Now its sides are quarried for the only road-stone met
with for miles around; cultivated for pasture, in which the
round-headed mango-trees grow about like oaks at home; or
terraced for villas and gardens, the charm of which cannot be
told in words. All round it, rich sugar estates spread out,
with the noble Palmistes left standing here and there along
the roads and terraces ; and everywhere is activity and high
cultivation, under the superintendence of gentlemen who are
prospering, because they deserve to prosper.
Between the cliff and the shore nestles the gay and grow-


ing little town, which was, when we took the island in 1795,
only a group of huts. In it I noted only one thing which
looked unpleasant. The Negro houses, however roomy and
comfortable, and however rich the gardens which surrounded
them, were mostly patched together out of the most hetero-
geneous and wretched scraps of wood; and on inquiry I found
that the materials were, in most cases, stolen; that when a
Negro wanted to build a house, instead of buying the mate-
rials, he pilfered a board here, a stick there, a nail somewhere
else, a lock or a clamp in a fourth place, about the sugar
estates, regardless of the serious injury which he caused to
working buildings; and when he had gathered a sufficient
pile, hidden safely away behind his neighbour's house, the
new hut rose as if by magic. This continual pilfering, I was
assured, was a serious tax on the cultivation of the estates
around. But I was told, too, frankly enough, by the very
gentleman who complained, that this habit was simply an
heirloom from the bad days of slavery, when the pilfering of
the slaves from other estates was connived at by their own
masters, on the ground that if A's Negros robbed B, B's
Negros robbed C, and so all round the alphabet; one more
evil instance of the demoralizing effect of a state of things
which, wrong in itself, was sure to be the parent of a hundred
other wrongs.
Being, happily for me, in the Governor's suite, I had oppor-


tunities of seeing the interior of the island which an average
traveller could not have; and I looked forward with interest
to visiting new settlements in the forests of the interior,
which very few inhabitants of the island, and certainly no
strangers, had as yet seen. Our journey began by landing on
a good new jetty, and being transferred at once to the tram-
way which adjoined it. A truck, with chairs on it, as
usual here, carried us off at a good mule-trot; and we ran in
the fast-fading light through a rolling hummocky country,
very like the lowlands of Aberdeenshire, or the neighbour-
hood of Waterloo, save that, as night came on, the fireflies
flickered everywhere among the canes, and here and there
the palms and ceibas stood up, black and gaunt, against the
sky. At last we escaped from our truck, and found horses
waiting, on which we floundered, through mud and moon-
light, to a certain hospitable house, and found a hungry
party, who had been long waiting for a dinner worth the
It was not till next morning that I found into what a
charming place I had entered overnight. Around were
books, pictures, china, vases of flowers, works of art, and all
appliances of European taste, even luxury: but in a house
utterly un-European. The living rooms, all on the first
floor, opened into each other by doorless doorways, and
the walls were of cedar and other valuable woods, which


good taste had left still unpapered. Windowless bay win-
dows, like great port-holes, opened from each of them into
a gallery which ran round the house, sheltered by broad
sloping eaves. The deep shade of the eaves contrasted bril-
liantly with the bright light outside: and contrasted too with
the wooden pillars which held up the roof, and which
seemed on their southern sides white-hot in the blazing
What a field was there for native art; for richest orna-
mentation of these pillars and those beams. Surely Trinidad,
and the whole of northern South America, ought to become
some day the paradise of wood-carvers, who, copying even a
few of the numberless vegetable and animal forms around,
may far surpass the old wood-carving schools of Burmah and
Hindostan. And I sat dreaming of the lines which might
be made to wreathe the pillars; the flowers, fruits, birds,
butterflies, monkeys, kinkajous, and what not, which might
cluster about the capitals, or swing along the beams.
Let men who have such materials, and such models, proscribe
all tawdry and poor European art-most of it a bad imitation
of bad Greek, or worse Renaissance-and trust to Nature and
the facts which lie nearest them. But when will a time come
for the West Indies when there will be wealth and civiliza-
tion enough to make such an art possible? Soon, if all
the employers of labour were like the gentleman at whose
' vOL. II. D


house we were that day, and like some others in the same
And through the windows and between the pillars of the
gallery, what a blaze of colour and light. The ground-floor
was hedged in, a few feet from the walls, with high shrubs,
which would have caused unwholesome damp in England,
but were needed here for shade. Foreign Crotons, Dracenas,
Cereuses, and a dozen more curious shapes-among them a
" cup-tree," with concave leaves, each of which would hold
water. It was said to come from the East, and was unknown
to me. Among them, and over the door, flowering creepers
tangled and tossed, rich with flowers; and beyond them a
circular lawn (rare in the West Indies), just like an English
one, save that the shrubs and trees which bounded it were
hot-house plants. A few Carat-palms1 spread their huge
fan-leaves among the curious flowering trees; other foreign
palns, some of them very rare, beside them; and on the
lawn opposite my bedroom window stood a young Palmiste,
which had been planted barely eight years, and was now
thirty-eight feet in height, and more than six feet in girth at
the butt. Over the roofs of the outhouses rose scarlet Bois
immortelles, and tall clumps of Bamboo reflecting blue light
from their leaves even under a cloud; and beyond them and
below them to the right, a park just like an English one
1 Sabal.



carried stately trees scattered on the turf, and a sheet of
artificial water. Coolies, in red or yellow waistcloths, and
Coolie children, too, with nothing save a string round their
stomachs (the smaller ones at least), were fishing in the shade.
To the left, again, began at once the rich cultivation of the
rolling cane-fields, among which the Squire had left standing,
somewhat against the public opinion of his less tasteful
neighbours, tall Carats, carrying their heads of fan-leaves on
smooth stalks from fifty to eighty feet high, and Ceibas-
some of them the hugest I had ever seen. Below in the
valley were the sugar-works; and beyond this half-natural,
half-artificial scene, rose, some mile off, the lowering wall of
the yet untouched forest.
It had taken only fifteen years, but fifteen years of hard
work, to create this paradise. And only the summer before
all had been well-nigh swept away again. During the great
drought the fire had raged about the woods. Estate after
estate around had been reduced to ashes. And one day our
host's turn came. The fire burst out of the woods at three
different points. All worked with a will to stop it by cut-
ting traces. But the wind was wild; burning masses from
the tree-tops were hurled far among the canes, and all was
lost. The canes burnt like shavings, exploding with a per-
petual crackle at each joint. In a few hours the whole estate,
works, Coolie barracks, Negro huts, was black ash; and the



house only, by extreme exertion, saved. But the ground
had scarcely cooled when replanting and rebuilding conm-
menced; and now the canes were from ten to twelve
feet high, the works nearly ready for the coming crop-
time, and no sign of the fire was left, save a few leafless
S trees, which we found, on riding up to them, to be charred
at the base.
And yet men say that the Englishman loses his energy in
Sa tropic climate.
We had a charming Sunday there, amid charming society,
down even to the dogs and cats ; and not the least charm-
ing object among many was little Franky, the Coolie
butler's child, who ran in and out with the dogs, gay in
his little cotton shirt, and melon-shaped cap, and silver
bracelets, and climbed on the Squire's knee, and nestled in
his bosom, and played with his seals; and looked up trust-
ingly into our faces with great soft eyes, like a little brown
guazu-pita fawn out of the forest. A happy child, and in
a happy place.
Then to church at Savannah Grande, riding, of course; for
the mud was abysmal, and it was often safer to ride in the
ditch than on the road. The village, with a tramway through
it, stood high and healthy. The best houses were those of
Chinese. The poorer Chinese find peddling employment
and trade about the villages, rather than hard work on the


estates; while they cultivate on ridges, with minute care,
their favourite sweet potato. Round San Fernando, a Chinese
will rent from a sugar-planter a bit of land which seems
hopelessly infested -with weeds, even of the worst of all
sorts,-the creeping Para grass 1-which was introduced
a generation since, with some trouble, as food for cattle,
and was supposed at first to be so great a boon that the
gentleman who brought it in received public thanks and
a valuable testimonial. The Chinaman will take the land
for a single year, at a rent, I believe, as high as a pound an
acre, grow on it his sweet potato crop, and return it to the
owner, cleared, for the time being, of every weed. The richer
shopkeepers have each a store: but they disdain to live
at it. Near by each you see a comfortable low house, with
verandahs, green jalousies, and often pretty flowers in pots;
and catch glimpses inside of papered walls, prints, and smart
moderator-lamps, which seem to be fashionable among the
Celestials. But for one fashion of theirs, I confess, I was not
SWe went to church-a large, airy, clean, wooden one-
which ought to have had a verandah round to keep off the
intolerable sunlight, and which might, too, have had another
pulpit. For in getting up to preach in a sort of pill-box on a
long stalk, I found the said stalk surging and nodding so
1 Panicum sp.


under my weight, that I had to assume an attitude of most
dignified repose, and to beware of "beating the drum eccle-
siastic," or danging the Bible to shreds," for fear of toppling
into the pews of the very smart, and really very attentive,
brown ladies below. A crowded congregation it was, clean, gay,
respectable and respectful, and spoke well both for the people
and for their clergyman. But-happily not till the end of the
sermon-I became aware, just in front of me, of a row of
smartest Paris bonnets, net-lace shawls, brocades and satins,
fit for duchesses; and as the centre of each blaze of finery-
" offam non faciem," as old Ammianus Marcellinus has it-
the unmistakable visage of a Chinese woman. Whether they
understood one word; what they thought of it all; whether
they were there for any purpose save to see and be seen, were
questions to which I tried in vain, after service, to get an
answer. All that could be told was, that the richer Chinese
take delight in thus bedizening their wives on high days
and holidays; not with tawdry cheap finery, but with things
really expensive, and worth what they cost, especially the
silks and brocades; and then in sending them, whether for
fashion or for loyalty's sake, to an English church. Be that
as it may, there they were, ladies from the ancient and incom-
prehensible Flowery Land, like fossil bones of an old world
sticking out amid the vegetation of the new; and we will
charitably hope that they were the better for being there.


After church we wandered about the estate to see huge
trees. One Ceiba, left standing in a cane-piece, was very
grand, from the multitude and mass of its parasites and its
huge tresses of lines; and grand also from its form. The
prickly board-wall spurs were at least fifteen feet high, some
of them, where they entered the trunk; and at the summit
of the trunk, which could not have been less than seventy or
eighty feet, one enormous limb (itself a tree) stuck out quite
horizontally, and gave a marvellous notion of strength. It
seemed as if its length must have snapped it off, years since,
where it joined the trunk; or as if the leverage of its weight
must have toppled the whole tree over. But the great vege-
table had known its own business best, and had built itself
S up right cannily; and stood, and will stand for many a year,
perhaps for many a century, if the Matapalos do not squeeze
out its life. I found, by the bye, in groping my way to that
tree through canes twelve feet high, that one must be careful,
at least with some varieties of cane, not to get cut. The
leaf-edges are finely serrated; and more, the sheaths of
the leaves are covered with prickly hairs, which give the
Coolies sore shins if they work barelegged. The soil here, as
everywhere, was exceedingly rich, and sawn out into rolling
mounds and steep gullies-sometimes almost too steep for
cane-cultivation-by the tropic rains. If, as cannot be
doubted, denudation by rain has gone on here, for thou-


sands of years, at the same pace at which it goes on now,
the amount of soil removed must be very great; so great,
that the Naparimas may have been, when they were first
uplifted out of the Gulf, hundreds of feet higher than they
are now.
Another tree we went to see in the home park, of which
I would have gladly obtained a photograph. A Poix doux,1
some said it was; others that it was a Figuier.2 I incline to
the former belief, as the leaves seemed to me pinnated: but
the doubt was pardonable enough. There was not a leaf on the
tree which was not nigh one hundred feet over our heads. For
size of spurs and wealth of parasites the tree was almost as
remarkable as the Ceiba 1 mentioned just now. But the
curiosity of the tree was a Carat-palm which had started
between its very roots; had run its straight and slender stem
up parallel with the bole of its companion, and had then
pierced through the head of the tree, and all its wilderness-
of lines, till it spread its huge flat crown of fans among the
highest branches, more than a hundred feet aloft. The con-
trast between the two forms of vegetation, each so grand, but
as utterly different in every line as they are in botanical
affinities, and yet both living together in such close em-
brace, was very noteworthy; a good example of the rule,
that while competition is most severe between forms most
1 Inga. 2 Ficus.


closely allied, forms extremely wide apart may not compete at
all, because each needs something which the other does not.
On our return I was introduced to the "Uncle Tom" of
the neighbourhood, who had come down to spend Sunday at
the Squire's house. He was a middle-sized Negro, in cast of
features not above the average, and Isaac by name. He told
me how he had been born in Baltimore, a slave to a Quaker
master; how he and his wife Mary, during the second
SAmerican war, ran away, and after hiding three days in
the bush, got on board a British ship of war, and so became
free. He then enlisted into one of the East Indian regi-
ments, and served some years; as a reward for which he
had given him his five acres of land in Trinidad, like others
of his corps. These Negro yeomen-veterans, let it be said
in passing, are among the ablest and steadiest of the coloured
population. Military service has given them just enough of
those habits of obedience of which slavery gives too much-
if the obedience of a mere slave, depending not on the in-
dependent will, but on brute fear, is to be called obedience
at all.
Would that in this respect, as in some others, the white
subject of the British crown were as well off as the black,
one. Would that during the last fifty years we had followed
the wise policy of the Romans, and by settling our soldiers
on our colonial frontiers, established there communities of



loyal, able, and valiant citizens. Is it too late to begin now ?
Is there no colony left as yet not delivered over to a self-
government which actually means, more and more-accord-
ing to the statements of those who visit the colonies-
government by an Irish faction; and which will offer a
field for settling our soldiers when they have served their
appointed time; so strengthening ourselves, while we re-
ward a class of men who are far more respectable, and far
more deserving, than most of those on whom we lavish our
philanthropy ?
Surely such men would prove as good subjects as old Isaac
and his comrades. For fifty-three years, I was told, he
had lived and worked in Trinidad, always independent; so
independent indeed, that the very last year, when all but
starving, like many of the coloured people, from the long
drought which lasted nearly eighteen months, he refused all
charity, and came down to this very estate to work for three
months in the stifling cane-fields, earning-or fancying that
he earned-his own livelihood. A simple, kindly, brave
Christian man he seemed, and all who knew him spoke of
him as such. The most curious fact, however, which I
gleaned from him was his recollection of his own "conver-
sion." His Mary, of whom all spoke as a woman of
a higher intellect than he, had "been in the Gospel"
several years before him, and used to read and talk to


him; but, he said, without effect. At last he had a severe
fever; and .when he fancied himself dying, had a vision.
He saw a grating in the floor, close by his bed, and through
it the torments of the lost. Two souls he remembered
specially; one "like a singed hog," the other "all over
black like a charcoal spade." He looked in fear, and heard
a voice cry, "Behold your sins." He prayed; promised,
if he recovered, to try and do better; and felt himself
forgiven at once.
This was his story, which I have set down word for word;
and of which I can only say, that its imagery is no more
gross, its confusion between the objective and subjective no
more unphilosophical, than the speech on similar matters of
many whom we are taught to call divines, theologians, and
At all events, this crisis in his life produced, according
to his own statement, not merely a religious, but a moral
change. He became a better man henceforth. He had
the reputation, among those who knew him well, of being
altogether a good man. If so, it matters little what cause
'*he assigned for the improvement. Wisdom is justified of
all her children; and, I doubt not, of old black Isaac among
the rest.
In 1864 he had a great sorrow. Old Mary, trying to
smoke the mosquitos out of her house with a charcoal-pan,


set fire, in her short-sightedness, to the place; and everything
was burned-the savings of years, the precious Bible among
the rest. The Squire took her down to his house, and nursed
her: but she died in two days of cold and fright; and Isaac
had to begin life again alone. Kind folks built up his
ajoupa, and started him afresh; and, to their astonishment,
Isaac grew young again, and set to work for himself. He
had depended too much for many years on his wife's superior
intellect: now he had to act for himself; and he acted. But
he spoke of her, like any knight of old, as of a guardian
goddess-his guardian still in the other world, as she had
been in this.
He was happy enough, he said: but I was told that he had
to endure much vexation from the neighboring Negros, who
were Baptists, narrow and conceited; and who-just as the
Baptists of the lower class in England would be but too apt
to do-tormented him by telling him that he was not sure of
heaven, because he went to church instead of joining their
body. But he, though he went to chapel in wet weather,
clung to his own creed like an old soldier; and came down
to Massa's house to spend the Sunday whenever there was a
Communion, walking some five miles thither, and as much
back again.
So much I learnt concerning old Isaac. And when in the
afternoon he toddled away, and back into the forest, what


wonder if I felt like Wordsworth after his talk with the old
leech-gatherer ?-
"And when he ended,
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
In that decrepit man so firm a mind;
God, said I, be my help and stay secure,
I'll think of thee, leech-gatherer, on the lonely moor."

On the Monday morning there was a great parade. All
the Coolies were to come up to see the Governor; and after
breakfast a long line of dark people arrived up the lawn, the
women in their gaudiest muslins, and some of them in cotton
velvet jackets of the richest colours. The Oriental instinct
for harmonious hues, and those at once rich and sober, such
as may be seen in Indian shawls, is very observable even in
these Coolies, low-caste as most of them are. There were
bangles and jewels among them in plenty; and as it was a
high day and a holiday, the women had taken out the little
gold or silver stoppers in their pierced nostrils, and put in
their place the great gold ring which hangs down over the
mouth, and is considered by them, as learned men tell us it
was by Rebekah at the well, a special ornament. The men
stood by themselves; the women by themselves; the chil-
dren grouped in front; and a merrier, healthier, shrewder-
looking party I have seldom seen. Complaints there were
none. All seemed to look on the Squire as a father, and
each face brightened when he spoke to them by name. But



the great ceremony was the distributing by the Governor of
red and yellow sweetmeats to the children out of a huge dish
held up by the Hindoo butler, while Franky, in a long night-
shirt of crimson cotton velvet, acted as aide-de-camp, and took
his perquisites freely. Each of the little brown darlings got
its share, the boys putting them into the flap of their waist-
cloths, the girls into the frofit of their veils; and some of the
married women seemed ready enough to follow the children's
example; some of them, indeed, were little more than chil-
dren themselves. The pleasure of the men at the whole
ceremony was very noticeable, and very pleasant. Well fed,
well cared for, well taught (when they will allow themselves
to be so), and with a local medical man appointed for their
special benefit, Coolies under such a master ought to be, and
are, prosperous and happy. Exceptions there are, and must
be. Are there none among the workrien of English manu-
facturers and farmers ? Abuses may spring up, and do. Do
none spring up in London and elsewhere ? But the Govern-
ment has the power to interfere, and uses that power. These
poor people are sufficiently protected by law from their white
employers; what they need most is protection for the new-
comers against the usury, or swindling, by people of their
own race, especially Hindoos of the middle class, who are
covetous and ill-disposed, and who use their experience of the
island for their own selfish advantage. But that evil also


Government is doing its best to put down. Already the
Coolies have a far larger amount of money in the savings'-
banks of the island than the Negros; and their prosperity
can' be safely trusted to wise and benevolent laws, enforced
by men who can afford to stand above public opinion, as

97- -- .-.- ,

A Coolie Family.
well as above private interest. I speak, of course, only of
Trinidad, because only Trinidad I have seen. But what I
say I know intimately to be true.
The parade over-and a pleasant sight it was, and one not
easily to be forgotten-we were away to see the Salse, or
easily to be forgotten--wve were away to see the Salse, or


S"mud-volcano," near Monkey Town, in the forest to the
south-east. The cross-roads were deep in mud, all the worse
because it was beginning to dry on the surface, forming a
tough crust above the hasty-pudding which, if broken
through, held the horse's leg suspended as in a vice, and
would have thrown him down, if it were possible to throw
down a West-Indian horse. We passed in one place a quaint
little relic of the older world; a small sugar-press, rather
than mill, under a roof of palm-leaf, which was worked by
hand, or a donkey, just as a Spanish settler would have
worked it three hundred years ago. Then on through plenty
of garden cultivation, with all the people at their doors as we
passed, fat and grinning: then up to a good high-road, and
a school for Coolies, kept by a Presbyterian clergyman, Mr.
Morton-I must be allowed to mention his name-who, like'
a sensible man, wore a white coat instead of the absurd regu-
lation black one, too much affected by all well-to-do folk, lay
as well as clerical, in the West Indies. The school seemed
good enough in all ways. A senior class of young men-
including one who had had his head nearly cut off last year by
misapplication of that formidable weapon the cutlass, which
every coloured man and woman carries in the West Indies-
could read pretty well; and the smaller children-with as
much clothing on as they could be persuaded to wear-were
a sight pleasant to see. Among them, by the bye, was a


little lady who excited "my astonishment. She was, I was
told, ;twelve years old. She sat summing away on her
slate, bedizened out in gauze petticoat, velvet jacket-be-
tween'which and the petticoat, of course, the waist showed
just as nature had made, it-gauze veil, bangles, necklace,
nose-jewel; for she was a married woman, and her Papa
(Anglice, husband) wished her to look her best on so im-
portant an occasion.
This over-early marriage among the Coolies is a very
serious evil,- but one which they have brought with them
from their own land. The girls are practically sold by their
fathers while yet children, often to wealthy men much older
than they. Love is out of the question. -But what if the
poor child, as she grows up, sees some one, among that
overplus of men, to whom she for the first time in her life
takes a fancy ? Then comes a scandal; and one which is
often ended swiftly enough by the cutlass. Wife-murder
is but too common among these Hindoos, and they cannot
be made to see that it is wrong. I kill my own wife.
Why not? I kill no other man's wife," was said by
as pretty, gentle, graceful a lad of two-and-twenty as
one need see; a convict performing, and perfectly, the office
of housemaid in a friend's house. There is murder of wives,
or quasi-wives now and then, among the baser sort of
Coolies-murder because a poor girl will not give her ill-


earned gains to the ruffian who considers her as his property.
But there is also-law in Trinidad, and such offences do not
go unpunished.
Then on through Savannah Grande and village again, and
past more sugar estates, and past beautiful bits of forest, left,
like English woods, standing in the cultivated fields. One
patch of a few acres on the side of a dell was very lovely.
Huge Figuiers and Huras were mingled with palms and rich
undergrowth, and lighted up here and there with purple
So we went on, and on, and into the thick forest, and what
was, till Sir Ralph Woodford taught the islanders what an
European road was like, one of the pattern royal roads of the
island. Originally an Indian trace, it had been widened by
the Spaniards, and transformed from a line of mud six feet
broad to one of thirty. The only pleasant reminiscence
which I have about it was the finding in flower a beautiful
parasite, undescribed by Griesbach ; a wild pine" with a
branching spike of crimson flowers, purple tipped; which
shone in the darkness of the bush like a great bunch of rose-
buds growing among lily-leaves.
The present Governor, like Sir Ralph Woodford before
him, has been fully aware of the old saying-which the
Romans knew well, and which the English did not know,
1 Echmea Augusta.


and only re-discovered some century since-that the "first
step in civilization is to make roads; the second, to make
more roads; and the third, to make more roads still."
Through this very district (aided by men whose talents he
had the talent to discover and employ) he has run wide,
level, and sound roads, either already completed or in pro-
gress through all parts of the island which I visited, save
the precipitous glens of the northern shore.
Of such roads we saw more than one in the next few days.
That day we had to commit ourselves, when we turned off
the royal road, to one of the old Spanish-Indian jungle
tracks. And here is a recipe for making one :-Take a rail-
way embankment of average steepness, strew it freely with
wreck, rigging and all, to imitate the fallen timber, roots, and
lianes-a few flagstones and boulders here and there will be
quite in place; plant the whole with the thickest pheasant-
cover; set a field of huntsmen to find their way through
it at the points of least resistance three times a week during
a wet winter; and if you dare follow their footsteps, you
will find a very accurate imitation of a forest-track in the
wet season.
At one place we seemed to be fairly stopped. We plunged
and slid down into a muddy brook, luckily with a gravel bar
on which the horses could stand, at least one by one; and
found opposite us a bank of smooth clay, bound with slippery



roots, some ten feet high. We stood and looked at it, and
the longer we looked-in hunting phrase-the less we liked
it. But there was no alternative. Some one jumped off,
and scrambled up on his hands and knees; his horse was
driven up the bank to him-on its knees, likewise, more
than once-and caught staggering among boughs and
mud; and by the time the whole cavalcade was over,
horses and men looked as if they had been brick-making
for a week.
But here again the cunning of these horses surprised me.
On one very steep pitch, for instance, I saw before me two
logs across the path, two feet and more in diameter, and what
was worse, not two feet apart. How the brown cob meant to
get over I could not guess: but as he seemed not to falter or
turn tail, as an English horse would have done, I laid the
reins on his neck and watched his legs. To my astonishment,
he lifted a fore-leg out of the abyss of mud, put it between
the logs, where I expected to hear it snap; clawed in
front, and shuffled behind; put the other over the second
log, the mud and water splashing into my face, and then
brought the first freely out from between the logs, and-
horrible to see-put a hind one in. Thus did he fairly walk
through the whole; stopped a moment to get his breath;
and then staggered and scrambled upward again, as if he had
done nothing remarkable. Coming back, by the bye, those

__ 1_1_~ __1__ ___


two logs lay heavy on my heart for a mile ere I neared them.
He might get up over them: but how would he get down
again ? And I was not surprised to hear more than one
behind me say, "I think I shall lead over." But being in
front, if I fell, I could only fall into the mud, and not on the
top of a friend. So I let the brown cob do what he would,
determined to see how far a tropic horse's legs could keep
him up ; and, to my great amusement, he quietly leapt the
whole, descending five or six feet into a pool of mud, which
shot out over him and me, half blinding us for the
moment; then slid away on his haunches downward; picked
himself up; and went on as usual, solemn, patient, and seem-
ingly stupid as any donkey.
We had some difficulty in finding our quest, the Salse, or
mud volcano. But at last, out of a hut half buried in ver-
dure on the edge of a little clearing, there tumbled the
quaintest little old black man, cutlass in hand, and, with-
out being asked, went on ahead as our guide. Crook-backed,
round-shouldered, his only dress a ragged shirt and ragged
pair of drawers, he had evidently thriven upon the forest
life for many a year. He did not walk nor run, but tumbled
along in front of us, his bare feet plashing from log to log
and mud-heap to mud-heap, his grey woolly head wagging
right and left, and his cutlass brushing almost instinctively
at every bough he passed, while he turned round every

. 53


moment to jabber something, usually in Creole French,
'which of course I could not understand.
He led us well, up and down, and at last over a flat of
rich muddy ground, full of huge trees, and of their roots
likewise, where there was no path at all. The solitude was
awful; so was the darkness of the shade; so was the stifling
heat; and right glad we were when we saw an opening in
the trees, and the little man quickened his pace, and stopped
with an air of triumph not unmixed with awe on the edge of
a circular pool of mud and water some two or three acres
in extent.
"Dere de debbil's woodyard," said he, with somewhat bated
breath. And no wonder; for a more doleful, uncanny, half-
made spot I never saw. The sad forest ringed it round with
a green wall, feathered down to the ugly mud, on which,
partly perhaps from its saltness, partly from the changeable-
ness of the surface, no plant would grow, save a few herbs and
creepers which love the brackish water. Only here and there
an Echites had crawled out of the wood and lay along the
ground, its long shoots gay with large cream-coloured flowers
and pairs of glossy leaves; and on it, and on some dead
brushwood, grew a lovely little parasitic Orchis, an Oncidium,
with tiny fans of leaves, and flowers like swarms of yellow
There was no track of man, not even a hunter's footprint;


but instead, tracks of beasts in plenty. Deer, quenco1 and
lapo," with smaller animals, had been treading up and
down, probably attracted by the salt-water. They were safe
enough, the old man said. No hunter dare approach the
spot. There were "too much jumbies" here; and when
one of the party expressed a wish to lie out there some
night, in the hope of good shooting, the Negro shook his
head. He would "not do that for all the world. De debbil
come out here at night, and walk about;" and he was much
.scandalized when the young gentleman rejoined, that the
chance of such a sight would be an additional reason for
bivouacking there.
So we walked out upon the mud, which was mostly hard
enough, past shallow pools of brackish water, smelling of
asphalt, toward a group of little mud-volcanos on the further
side. These curious openings into the nether-world are not
permanent. They choke up after awhile, and fresh ones
appear in another part of the area, thus keeping the whole
clear of plants.
They are each some two or three feet high, of the very
finest mud, which leaves no feeling of grit on the fingers or
tongue, and dries, of course, rapidly in the sun. On the top,
or near the top, of each, is a round hole, a finger's-breadth,
polished to exceeding smoothness, and running down through
1 Dicoteles (Peccary hog). 2 Ccelogenys paca.

____^__ ___


the cone as far as we could dig. From each oozes perpetually,
with a clicking noise of gas-bubbles, water and mud; and
now and then, losing their temper, they spirt out their dirt
to a considerable height; a feat which we did not see per-
formed, but which is so common that we were in some-
thing like fear and trembling, while we opened a cone with
our cutlasses. For though we could hardly have been made
dirtier than we were, an explosion in our faces of mud.with
"a faint bituminous smell," and impregnated with "common
salt, a notable proportion of iodine, and a trace of carbonate
of soda and carbonate of lime,"1 would have been both
unpleasant and humiliating. But the most puzzling thing
about the place is, that out of the mud comes up- not
jumbies, but-a multitude of small stones, like no stones
in the neighbourhood; we found concretions of iron sand,
and scales which seemed to have peeled off them; and
pebbles, quartzose, or jasper, or like in appearance to flint;
but all evidently long rolled on a sea-beach. Messrs. Wall
and Sawkins mention pyrites and gypsum as being found:
but we saw none, as far as I recollect. All these must
have been carried up from a considerable depth by the
force of the same gases which make the little mud
Now and then this "Salse," so quiet when we saw it, is
1 Dr. Davy (West Indies, art. Trinidad).


said to be seized with a violent paroxysm. Explosions are
heard, and large discharges of mud, and even flame, are said
to appear. Some seventeen years ago (according to Messrs.
Wall and Sawkins) such an explosion was heard six miles
off; and next morning the surface was found quite altered,
and trees had disappeared, or been thrown down. But-as
they wisely say-the reports of the inhabitants must be
received with extreme caution. In the autumn of last year,
some such explosion is said to have taken-place at the Cedros
Salse, a place so remote, unfortunately, that I could not visit
it. The Negros and Coolies, the story goes, came running to
the overseer at the noise, assuring him that something terrible
had happened; and when he, in defiance of their fears, went
off to the Salse, he found that many tons of mud-I was told
thousands-had been thrown out. How true this may be, I
cannot say. But Messrs. Wall and Sawkins saw with their
own eyes, in 1856, about two miles from this Cedros Salse,
the results of an explosion which had happened only two
months before, and of which they give a drawing. A surface
two hundred feet round had been upheaved fifteen feet,
throwing the trees in every direction; and the sham earth-
quake had shaken the ground for two hundred or three
hundred yards round, till the natives fancied that their
huts were going to fall.
There is a third Salse near Poole river, on the Upper


Ortoire, which is extinct, or at least quiescent; but this, also,
I could not visit. It is about seventeen miles from the sea,
and about two hundred feet above it. As for the causes of
these Salses, I fear the reader must be content, for the present,
with a somewhat muddy explanation of the muddy mystery.
Messrs. Wall and Sawkins are inclined to connect it with
asphalt springs and pitch lakes. "There is," they say,
"easy gradation from the smaller Salses to the ordinary
naphtha or petroleum springs." It is certain that in the
production of asphalt, carbonic acid, carburetted hydrogen,
and water are given off. "May not," they ask, "these
orifices be the vents by which such gases escape? And in
forcing their way to the surface, is it not natural that the
liquid asphalt and slimy water should be drawn up and
expelled?" They point out the fact, that wherever such
volcanos exist, asphalt or petroleum is found hard by. The
mud volcanos of Turbaco, in New Granada, famous from
Humboldt's description of them, lie in an asphaltic country.
They are much larger than those of Trinidad, the cones being,
some of them, twenty feet high. When Humboldt visited
them in 1801, they gave off hardly anything save nitrogen
gas. But in the year 1850, a "bituminous odour" had begun
to be diffused; asphaltic oil swam on the surface of the
small openings; and the gas issuing from any of the cones
could be ignited. Dr. Daubeny found the mud volcanos of


Macaluba giving out bitumen, and bubbles of carbonic acid
and carburetted hydrogen. The mud-volcano of Saman, in the
Western Caucasus, gives off, with a continual stream of thick
mud, ignited gases, accompanied with mimic earthquakes like
those of the Trinidad Salses ; and this out of a soil said to be
full of bituminous springs, and where (as in Trinidad) the
tertiary strata carry veins of asphalt, or are saturated with
naphtha. At the famous sacred Fire wells of Baku, in the
Eastern Caucasus, the ejections of mud and inflammable gas
are so mixed with asphaltic products, that Eichwald says
"they should be rather called naphtha volcanos than mud
volcanos, as the eruptions always terminate in a large emis-
sion of naphtha."
It is reasonable enough, then, to suppose a similar con-
nection in Trinidad. But whence come, either in Trinidad or
at Turbaco, the sea-salts and the iodine ? Certainly not from
the sea itself, which is distant, in the case of the Trinidad
Salses, from two to seventeen miles. It must exist already
in the strata below. And the ejected pebbles, which are
evidently sea-worn, must form part of a tertiary sea-beach,
covered by sands, and covering, perhaps, in its turn, vege-
table debris which, as it is converted into asphalt, thrusts
the pebbles up to the surface.
We had to hurry away from the strange place; for night
was falling fast, or rather ready to fall, as always here, in a


moment, without twilight, and we were scarce out of the forest
before it was dark. The wild game was already moving, and
a deer crossed our line of march, close before one of the
horses. However, we were not benighted; for the sun wias
hardly down ere the moon rose, bright and full; and we
floundered home through the mud, to start again next morn-
ing into mud again.
Through rich rolling land covered with cane; past large
sugar-works, where crop-time and all its bustle was just
beginning; along a tramway, which made an excellent horse-
road, and then along one of the new roads, which are opening
up the yet untouched riches of this island. In this district
alone, thirty-six miles of good road and thirty bridges have
been made,' where formerly there were only two abominable
bridle-paths. It was a solid pleasure to see good engineering
round the hill-sides; gullies which but a year or two
before were break-neck scrambles into fords often impassable
after all, bridged with baulks of incorruptible timber, on
piers sunk, to give a hold in that sea of hasty-pudding,
sixteen feet below the river-bed; and side supports sunk
as far into the banks; a solid pleasure to congratulate the
warden (who had joined us) on his triumphs, and to hear
how he had sought for miles around in the hasty-pudding
sea, ere he could find either gravel or stone for road metal,
and had found it after all; or how in places, finding no


stone at all, he had been forced to metal the way with
burnt clay, which, as I canl testify, is an excellent substitute;
or how again he had coaxed and patted the too-comfortable
natives into being well paid for doing the very road-making
which, if they had any notion of their own interests, they
would combine to do for themselves. And so we rode on
"While all the land,
Beneath a broad and equal-blowing breeze,
Smelt of the coming summer;"

for it was winter then, and only 80' in the shade, till the
road entered the virgin forest,
through which it has been driven,
on the American principle of i
making land valuable by begin- -
ning with a road, and expecting / .,
settlers to follow it. Some such ,'
settlers we found, clearing right ''.....'
and left; among them a most satis- ,
factory sight; namely, more than .,.
one Coolie family, who had served
their apprenticeship, saved money, $ ,
bought Government land, and set :i
up as yeomen; the foundation, it Bana ma.
is to be hoped, of a class of intelligent and civilized peasant

._-__ _.._ ___


These men, as soon as they 'have cleared as much land as
their wives and children, with their help, can keep in order,
go off, usually, in gangs of ten to fifteen, to work, in many
instances, on the estates from which they originally came.
This fact practically refutes the opinion which was at first
held by some attorneys and managers of sugar-estates, that
the settling of free Indian immigrants would materially affect
the labour supply of the colony. I must express an earnest
hope that neither will any planters be short-sighted enough
to urge such a theory on the present Governor, nor will the
present Governor give ear to it. The colony at large must
gain by the settlement of Crown lands by civilized people
like the Hindoos, if it be only through the increased exports
and imports; while the sugar estates will become more and
more sure of a constant supply of labour, without the heavy
expense of importing fresh immigrants. I am assured, that
the only expense to the colony is the fee for survey, amount-
ing to eighteen dollars for a ten-acre allotment, as the Coolie
prefers the thinly-wooded and comparatively poor lands,
from the greater facility of clearing them; and these lands
are quite unsaleable to other customers. Therefore, for less
than 41., an acclimatized Indian labourer with his family (and
it must be remembered, that, while the Negro families increase
very slowly, the Coolies increase very rapidly, being more
kind and careful parents) are permanently settled in the


colony, the man to work five days a week on sugar estates,
the family to grow provisions for the market, instead of
being shipped back to India at a cost, including gratuities
and etceteras, of not less than 501.
One clearing we reached-were I five-and-twenty, I should
like to make just such another next to it-of a higher class
still. A cultivated Scotchman, now no longer young, but
hale and mighty, had taken up three hundred acres, and
already cleared a hundred and fifty; and there he intended to
pass the rest of a busy life, not under his own vine and
fig-tree, but under his own castor-oil and cacao-tree. We
were welcomed by as noble a Scot's face as I ever saw,
and as keen a Scot's eye; and taken in and fed, horses
and men, even too sumptuously, in a palm and timber
house. Then we wandered out to see the site of his intended
mansion, with the rich wooded hills of the Latagual to the
north, and all around the unbroken forest, where, he told
us, the howling monkeys shouted defiance morning and
evening at him who did
"Invade their ancient solitary reign."
Then we went down to see the Coolie barracks, where the
folk seemed as happy and well cared for as they were certain
to be under such a master; then down a rocky pool in
the river, jammed with bare white logs (as in some North
American forest), which had been stopped in flood by one



enormous trunk across the stream; then back past the site
of the ajoupa, which had been our host's first shelter, and
which had disappeared by a cause strange enough to English
ears. An enormous silk-cotton near by was felled, in spite
of the Negros' fears. Its boughs, when it fell, did not reach
the ajoupa by twenty feet or more; but the wind of its fall
did, and blew the hut clean away. This may sound like a
story out of Munchausen: but there was no doubt of the
fact; and to us who saw the size of the tree which did the
deed it seemed probable enough.
We rode away again, and into the "Morichal," the hills
where Moriche palms are found; to see certain springs and
a certain tree; and well worth seeing they were. Out of the
base of a limestone hill, amid delicate ferns, under the shade
of enormous trees, a clear pool bubbled up and ran away,
a stream from its very birth, as is the wont of limestone
springs. It was a spot fit for a Greek nymph; at least for
an Indian damsel: but the nymph who came to draw water
in a tin bucket, and stared stupidly and saucily at us, was
anything but Greek, or even Indian, either in costume or
manners. Be it so. White men are responsible for her being
there; so white men must not complain. Then we went in
search of the tree. We had passed as we rode up some
Huras (sandbox trees), which would have been considered
giants in England; and I had been laughed at more than


once for asking, Is that the tree ? or that ?" I soon knew
why. We scrambled up a steep bank of broken limestone,
through ferns and Balisiers, for perhaps a hundred feet; and
then were suddenly aware of a bole which justified the saying
of one of our party-that, when surveying for a road he
had come suddenly on it, he "felt as if he had run against
a church tower." It was a Hura, seemingly healthy, un-
decayed, and growing vigorously. Its girth-we measured
it carefully-was forty-four feet, six feet from the ground,
and as I laid my face against it and looked up, I seemed to
be looking up a ship's side. It was perfectly cylindrical,
branchless, and smooth, save, of course, the tiny prickles
which beset the bark, for a height at which we could not
guess, but which we luckily had an opportunity of measur-
ing. A wild pine grew in the lowest fork, and had kindly
let down an air-root into the soil. We tightened the root,
set it perpendicular, cut it off exactly where it touched the
ground, and then pulled carefully till we brought the plant,
and half-a-dozen more strange vegetables, down on our heads.
The length of the air-root was just seventy-five feet. Some
twenty feet or more above that first fork was a second fork;
and then the tree began. Where its head was we could not
see. We could only, by laying our faces against the bole,
and looking up, discern a wilderness of boughs carrying a
green cloud of leaves, most of them too high for us to dis-



cern their shape without the glasses. We walked up the
slope, and round about, in hopes of seeing the head of the
tree clear enough to guess at its total height: but in vain.
It was only when we had ridden some half mile up the hill
that we could discern its masses rising, a bright green
mound, above the darker foliage of the forest. It looked
of any height, from one hundred and fifty to two hundred
feet; less it could hardly be. It made," says a note by one.
of our party, "other huge trees look like shrubs." I am
not surprised that my friend Mr. St. Luce D'Abadie, who
measured the tree since my departure, found it to be one
hundred and ninety-two feet in height.
I was assured that there were still larger trees in the
island. A certain Locust-tree and a Ceiba were mentioned.
The Moras, too, of the southern hills, were said to be far
taller. And I can well believe it; for if huge trees were as
shrubs beside that Sandbox, it would be a shrub by the side
of those Locusts figured by Spix and Martius, which fifteen
Indians with outstretched arms could just embrace. At
the bottom they were eighty-four feet round, and sixty
where the boles became cylindrical By counting the rings
of such parts as could be reached, they arrived at the con-
clusion that they were of the age of Homer, and 332 years
old in the days of Pythagoras. One estimate, indeed, reduced
their antiquity to 2,052 years old; while another counting,


I presume, two rings of fresh wood for every year) carried
it up to 4,104.
So we rode on and up the hills, by green and flowery
paths, with here and there a cottage and a garden, and groups
of enormous Palmistes towering over the tree-tops in every
glen, talking over that wondrous weed, whose head we saw
still far below. For weed it is, and nothing more. The wood
is soft and almost useless, save for firing; and the tree it-
self, botanists tell us, is neither more nor less than a gigantic
Spurge, the cousin-german of the milky garden weeds with
which boys burn away their warts. But if the modern theory
be true, that when we speak (as we are forced to speak) of
the relationships of plants, we use no metaphor, but state
an actual fact; that the groups into which we are forced to
arrange them indicate not merely similarity of type, but
community of descent-then how wonderful is the kindred
between the Spurge and the Hura-indeed, between all the
members of the Euphorbiaceous group, so fantastically various
in outward form; so abundant, often huge, in the Tropics,
while in our remote northern island their only representa-
tives are a few weedy Spurges, two Dog's Mercuries-weeds
likewise-and the Box. Wonderful it is if only these last
have had the same parentage-still more if they have had the
same parentage, too, with forms so utterly different from them
as the prickly-stemmed scarlet-flowered Euphorbia common
F 2

--- I~ 1_


in our hothouses; as the huge succulent cactus-like Euphor-
bia of the Canary Islands; as the gale-like Phyllanthus;
the many-formed Crotons, which in the West Indies alone
comprise, according to Griesbach, at least twelve genera and
thirty species; the hemp-like Maniocs, Physic-nuts, Castor
oils; the scarlet Poinsettia which adorns dinner-tables in
winter; the pretty little pink and yellow Dalechampia,
now common in hothouses; the Manchineel, with its glossy
poplar-like leaves; and this very Hura, with leaves still
more like a poplar, and a fruit which differs from most of
its family in having not three but many divisions, usually a
multiple of three, up to fifteen; a fruit which it is difficult to
obtain, even where the tree is plentiful: for hanging at the
end of long branches, it bursts when ripe with a crack like a
pistol, scattering its seeds far and wide; from whence its
name of Hura crepitans.
But what if all these forms are the descendants of one
original form? Would that be one whit more wonderful,
more inexplicable, than the theory that they were each and
all, with their minute and often imaginary shades of dif-
ference, created separately and at once ? But if it be-
which I cannot allow-what can the theologian say, save
that God's works are even more wonderful than we always
believed them to be? As for the theory being impossible:
who are we, that we should limit the power of God? "Is

_ ~___~__


anything too hard for the Lord ?" asked the prophet of old;
and we have a right to ask it as long as time shall last.
If it be said that natural selection is too simple a cause
to produce such fantastic variety: we always knew that God
works by very simple, or seemingly simple, means; that the
universe, as far as we could discern it, was one organization
of the most simple means; it was wonderful (or ought to
have been) in our eyes, that a shower of rain should make
the grass grow, and that the grass should become flesh, and
the flesh food for the thinking brain of man; it was (or
ought to have been) yet more wonderful in our eyes, that
a child should resemble its parents, or even a butterfly
resemble-if not always, still usually-its parents like-
wise. Ought God to appear less or more august in our
eyes if we discover that His means are even simpler than
we supposed? We held Him to be almighty and allwise.
Are we to reverence Him less or more if we find that
His might is greater, His wisdom deeper, than we had ever
dreamed ? We believed that His care was over all His
works; that His providence watched perpetually over the
universe. We were taught, some of us at least, by Holy
Scripture, to believe that the whole history of the universe
was made up of special providence : if, then, that should be
true which Mr. Darwin says-" It may be metaphorically said
that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, through-


out the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting
that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good;
silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever
opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being
in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life,"-
if this, I say, were proved to be true, ought God's care, God's
providence, to seem less or more magnificent in our eyes ? Of
old it was said by Him without whom nothing is made-
" My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Shall we quarrel
with physical science, if she gives us evidence that these
words are true? And if it should be proven that the gigantic
Hura and the lowly Spurge sprang from one common
ancestor, what would the orthodox theologian have to say
to it, saving-" I always knew that God was great: and I
am not surprised to find Him greater than I thought
Him ?"
So much for the giant weed of the Morichal, from which
we rode on and up through rolling country growing love-
lier at every step, and turned out of our way to see wild
pine-apples in a sandy spot, or "Arenal" in a valley
beneath. The meeting of the stiff marl and the fine sand
was abrupt, and well marked by the vegetation. On one
side of the ravine the tall fan-leaved Carats marked the rich
soil; on the other, the sand and gravel loving Cocorites
appeared at once, crowding their ostrich plumes together.


Most of them were the common species of the island I in
which the pinned of the leaves grow in fouis and fives,
and at different angles from the leaf-stalk, giving the whole
a brushy appearance, which takes off somewhat from the
perfectness of its beauty. But among them we saw-for
the first and last time in the forest-a few of a far more
beautiful species,2 common on the mainland. In it, the
pinnae are set on all at the same distance apart, and all
in the same plane, in opposite sides of the stalk, giving to
the whole foliage a grand simplicity; and producing, when the
curving leaf-points toss in the breeze, that curious appearance
which I mentioned in an earlier chapter, of green glass wheels
with rapidly revolving spokes. At their feet grew the pine-
apples, only in flower or unripe fruit, so that we could not
quench our thirst with them, and only looked with curiosity
at the small wild type of so famous a plant. But close by,
and happily nearly ripe, we found a fair substitute for pine-
apples in the fruit of the Karatas. This form of Bromelia,
closely allied to the Pinguin of which hedges are made, bears a
straggling plume of prickly leaves, six or eight feet long each,
close to the ground. The forester looks for a plant in which
the leaves droop outwards-a sign that the fruit is ripe.
After beating it cautiously (for snakes are very fond of coil-
ing under its shade) he opens the centre, and finds, close to
I Maximiliana Caribea. 2 31. regia.

_ ___


the ground, a group of whitish fruits, nearly two inches
long; peels carefully off the skin, which is beset with innu-
merable sharp hairs, and eats the ,sour-sweet refreshing
pulp: but not too often, for there are always hairs enough
left to make the tongue bleed if more than one or two
are eaten.
With lips somewhat less parched, we rode away again to
see the sight of the day; and a right pleasant sight it was.
These Montserrat hills had been, within the last three
years, almost the most lawless and neglected part of the
island. Principally by the energy and tact of one man,
the wild inhabitants had been conciliated, brought under
law, and made to pay their light taxes, in return for a
safety and comfort enjoyed perhaps by no other peasants
on earth.
A few words on the excellent system, which bids fair to
establish in this colony a thriving and loyal peasant pro-
prietary. Up to 1847 crown-lands were seldom alienated.
In that year a price was set upon them, and persons in
illegal occupation ordered to petition for their holdings. Un-
fortunately, though a time was fixed for petitioning, no time
was fixed for paying; and consequently the vast majority
of petitioners never took any further steps in the matter.
Unfortunately, too, the price fixed-2 per acre-was too
high; and squatting went on much as before.

__ ____I_ ~



It appeared to the late Governor that this evil would best
be dealt with experimentally and locally; and he accordingly
erected the chief squatting district, Montserrat, into a ward,
giving the warden large discretionary powers as Commissioner
of crown-lands. The price of crown-lands was reduced, in
1869, to 1 per acre; and the Montserrat system extended, as
far as possible, to other wards; a movement which the results
fully justified.
In 1867 there were in Montserrat 400 squatters, holding
lands of from three to 120 acres, planted with cacao, coffee,
or provisions. Some of the cacao plantations were valued at
1,000. These people lived without paying taxes, and almost
without law or religion. The Crown woods had been, of course,
sadly plundered by squatters, and by others who should
have known better. At every turn magnificent cedars might
have been seen levelled by the axe, only a few feet of the trunk
being used to make boards and shingles, while the greater
part was left to rot or burn. These irregularities have been
now almost stopped; and 266 persons, in Montserrat alone,
have taken out grants of land, some of 400 acres. But this
by no means represents the number of purchasers, as nearly
an equal number have paid for their estates though they
have not-yet received their grants, and nearly 500. more have
made application. Two villages have been formed; one of
which is that where we rested, containing the church. The



other contains the warden's residence and office, the police-
station, and a numerously attended school.
The squatters are of many races, and of many hues of
black and brown. The half-breeds from the neighboring
coast of Venezuela, a mixture, probably of Spanish, Negro,
and Indian, are among the most industrious; and their cacao
plantations, in some cases, hold 8,000 to 10,000 trees. The
south-west corner of Montserrat' is almost entirely settled
by Africans of various tribes-Mandingos, Foulahs, Homas,
Yarribas, Ashantees, and Congos. The last occupy the lowest
position in the social scale. They lead, for the most part, a
semi-barbarous life, dwelling in miserable huts, and subsisting
on the produce of an acre or two of badly cultivated land,
eked out with the pay of an occasional day's labour on some
neighboring estate. The social portion of some of the Yar-
ribas forms a marked contrast to that of the Congos. They
inhabit houses of cedar, or other substantial materials. Their
gardens are, for the most part, well stocked and kept. They
raise crops of yam, cassava, Indian corn, &c.; and some of
them subscribe to a fund on which they may draw in case of
illness or misfortune. They are, however (as is to be ex-

SI quote mostly from a report of my friend Mr. Robert Mitchell, who, almost
alone, did this good work, and who has, since my departure, been sent to
Demerara to assist at the investigation into the alleged ill-usage of the Coolie
immigrants there. No more just or experienced public servant could have
been employed on such an errand.


pected from superior intellect while still uncivilized), more
difficult to manage than the Congos, and highly impatient of
These Africans, Mr. Mitchell says, all belong nominally to
some denomination of Christianity: but their lives are more
influenced by their belief in Obeah. While the precepts of
religion are little regarded, they stand in mortal dread of
those who practise this mischievous imposture. Well might
the Commissioner say, in 1867, that several years must
elapse before the chaos which reigned could be reduced to
order. The wonder is, that in three years so much has been
done. It was very difficult, at first, even to find the where-
abouts of many of the squatters. The Commissioner had to
work by compass through the pathless forest. Getting little
or no food but cassava cakes and "guango" of maize, and now
and then a little coffee and salt fish, without time to hunt the
game which passed him, and continually wet through, he
stumbled in suddenly on one squatting after another, to the
astonishment of its owner, who could not conceive how he
had been found out, and had never before seen a white man
alone in the forest. Sometimes he was in considerable danger
of a rough reception from people who could not at first
understand what they had to gain by getting legal titles, and
buying the lands the fruit of which they had enjoyed either
for nothing, or for payment of a small annual'assessment for


the cultivated portion. In another quarter-Toco-a noto-
riously lawless squatter had expressed his intention of
shooting the Government official. The white gentleman
walked straight up to the little forest fortress hidden in bush,
and confronted the Negro, who had gun in hand.
"I could have shot you if I had liked, buccra."
"No, you could not. I should have cut you down first: so
don't play the fool," answered. the official quietly, hand on
The wild man gave in; paid his rates; received the crown
title for his land; and became (as have all these sons of the
forest) fast friends with one whom they have learnt at once
to love and fear.
But among the Montserrat hills, the Governor had struck
on a spot so fit for a new settlement, that he determined to
found one forthwith. The quick-eyed Jesuits had founded a
Mission on the same spot many years before. But all had
lapsed again into forest. A group of enormous Palmistes
stand on a plateau, flat, and yet lofty and healthy. The soil
is exceeding fertile. There are wells and brooks of pure
water all around. The land slopes down for hundreds of
feet in wooded gorges, full of cedar and other admirable
timber, with ,Palmistes towering over them everywhere.
Far away lies the lowland; and every breeze of heaven
sweeps over the crests of the hills. So one peculiarly tall


palm was chosen for a central land-mark, an ornament to
the town square such as no capital in Europe can boast.
Traces were cut, streets laid out, lots of crown-lands
put up for sale, and settlers invited in the name of the
Scarcely eighteen months had passed since then, and
already there Mitchell Street, Violin Street, Duboulay Street,
Farfan Street, had each its new houses built of cedar and
thatched with palm. Two Chinese shops had celestials
with pig-tails and thick-soled shoes grinning behind cedar
counters, among stores of Bryant's safety matches, Huntley
and Palmer's biscuits, and Allsop's pale ale. A church had
been built, the shell at least, and partly floored, with a very
simple, but not tasteless, altar; the Abbd had a good house,
Smith a gallery, jalousies, and white china handles to the doors.
The mighty palm in the centre of Gordon Square had a neat
railing round it, as befitted the Palladium of the village.
Behind the houses, among the stumps of huge trees, maize
and cassava, pigeon-peas and sweet potatoes, fattened in the
sun, on ground which till then had been shrouded by vege-
tation a hundred feet thick; and as we sat at the head man's
house, with French and English prints upon the walls, and
drank beer from a Chinese shop, and looked out upon the
loyal, thriving little settlement, I envied the two young men
who could say, "At least, we have not lived in vain; for


we have made this out of the primeval forest." Then on
again. We mounted" (I quote now from the notes of one
to whom the existence of the settlement was due) "to the
crest of the hills, and had a noble view southwards, looking
over the rich mass of dark wood, flecked here and there with
a scarlet stain of Bois immortelle, to the great sea of .bright
green sugar cultivation in the Naparimas, studded by white
works and villages, and backed far off by a hazy line of forest,
out of which rose the peaks of the Moruga Mountains. More
to the west lay San Fernando hill, the calm gulf, and the
coast toward La Brea and Cedros melting into mist. M-
thought we should get a better view of the northern
mountains by riding up to old Nicano's house; so we went
thither, under the cacao rich with yellow and purple pods.
.The view was fine: but the northern range, though visible,
was rather too indistinct, and the mainland was not to be
seen at all."
Nevertheless, the panorama from the top of Montserrat is
at once the most vast, and the most lovely, which I have
ever seen. And whosoever chooses to go and live there may
buy any reasonable quantity of the richest soil at one pound
per acre.
Then down off the ridge toward the northern lowland, lay
a headlong old Indian path, by which we travelled, at last,
across a rocky brook, and into a fresh paradise.


I must be excused for using this word so often: but I use
it in the original Persian sense, as a place in which natural
beauty has been helped by art. An English park or garden
would have been called of old a paradise; and the enceinte
of a West Indian house, even in its present half-wild con-
dition, well deserves the same title. That Art can help Nature
there can be no doubt. "The perfection of Nature exists
only in the minds of sentimentalists, and of certain well-
meaning persons, who assert the perfection of Nature when
they wish to controvert science, and deny it when they
wish to prove this earth fallen and accursed. Mr. Nesfield
can make landscapes, by obedience to certain laws which
Nature is apt to disregard in the struggle for existence, more
beautiful than they are already by Nature; and that without
introducing foreign forms of vegetation. But if foreign forms,
wisely chosen for their shapes and colours, be added, the
beauty may be indefinitely increased. For the plants most
capable of beautifying any given spot do not always grow
therein, simply because they have not yet arrived there; as
may be seen by comparing any wood planted with Rhodo-
dendrons and Azaleas with the neighboring wood in its
native state. Thus may be obtained somewhat of that variety
and richness which is wanting everywhere, more or less, in
the vegetation of our northern zone, only just recovering
slowly from the destructive catastrophe of the glacial epoch;


a richness which, small as it is, vanishes as we travel north-
ward, till the drear landscape is sheeted more and more with
monotonous multitudes of heather, grass, fir, or other social
plants. But even in the Tropics the virgin forest, beautiful
as it is, is without doubt much less beautiful, both in form and
colours, than it might be made. Without doubt, also, a mere
clearing, after a few years, is a more beautiful place than
the forest; because by it distance is given, and you are
enabled to see the sky, and the forest itself beside; because
new plants, and some of them very handsome ones, are intro-
duced by cultivation, or spring up in the rastrajo; and
lastly, but not least, because the forest on the edge of the
clearing is able to feather down to the ground, and change
what is at first a bare tangle of stems and boughs into a
softly rounded bank of verdure and flowers. When, in some
future civilization, the art which has produced, not merely a
Chatsworth or a Iropmore, but an average English shrubbery
or park, is brought to bear on tropic vegetation, then Nature,
always willing to obey when conquered by fair means, will
produce such effects of form and colour around tropic estates
and cities as we cannot fancy for ourselves.
Mr. Wallace laments (and rightly) the absence in the tropic
forests of such grand masses of colour as are supplied by a
heather moor, a furze or broom-croft, a field of yellow char-
lock, blue bugloss, or scarlet poppy. Tropic landscape gar-

r---- -S

I. 5

I l J ~i






dening will supply that defect; and a hundred plants of
yellow Allamanda, or purple Dolichos, or blue Clitoria, or
crimson Norantea, set side by side, as we might use a hun-
dred Calceolarias or Geraniums, will carry up the forest walls,
and over the tree-tops, not square yards, but I had almost
said square acres of richest positive colour. I can conceive
no limit to the effects-always heightened by the intense
sunlight and the peculiar tenderness of the distances-which
landscape gardening will produce when once it is brought to
bear on such material as it has never yet attempted to touch,
at least in the West Indies, save in the Botanic Garden at
Port of Spain.
And thus the little paradise at Tortuga to which we
descended to sleep, though cleared out without any regard to
art, was far more beautiful than the forest out of which it had
been hewn three years before. The two first settlers regretted
the days when the house was a mere palm-thatched hut,
where they sat on stumps which would not balance, and ate
potted meat with their pocket-knives. But it had grown
now into a grand place, fit to receive ladies: such a house, or
rather shed, as those South Sea Island ones which may be
seen in Hodges' Illustrations to Cook's Voyages, save that a
couple of bedrooms have been boarded off at the back, a
little office on one side, and a bulwark, like.that of a ship,
put round the gallery. And as we looked down through


the purple gorges, and up at the mountain woods, over which
the stars were flashing out bright and fast, and listened
to the soft strange notes of the forest birds going to roost,
again the thought came over me-Why should not gentlemen
and ladies come to such spots as these to live "the Gentle
Life ?"
We slept that night, some in beds, some in hammocks,
some on the floor, with the rich warm night wind rushing
down through all the house; and then were up once more in
the darkness of the dawn, to go down and bathe at a little
cascade, where a feeble stream dribbled under ferns and bali-
siers over soft square limestone rocks like the artificial rocks
of the Serpentine, and those-copied probably from the rocks
of Fontainebleau-which one sees in old French landscapes.
But a bathe was hardly necessary. So drenched was the
vegetation with night dew, that if one had taken off one's
clothes at the house, and simply walked under the bananas,
and through the tanias and maize which grew among them,
one would have been well washed ere one reached the stream.
As it was, the bathers came back with their clothes wet
through. No matter. The sun was up, and half an hour
would dry all again.
One object, on the edge of the forest, was worth noticing,
and was watched long, through the glasses; namely, two or
three large trees, from which dangled a multitude of the pen-


dant nests of the Merles: birds of the size of a jackdaw
brown and yellow, and mocking-birds, too, of no small ability.
The pouches, two feet long and more, swayed in the breeze,
fastened to the end of the boughs with a few threads.
Each had, about half-way down, an opening into the round
sac below, in and out of which the Merles crept and fluttered,
talking all the while in twenty different notes. Most tropic
birds hide their nests carefully in the bush: the Merles
hang theirs fearlessly in the most exposed situations. They
find, I presume, that they are protected enough from monkeys,
wild cats, and gato-melaos (a sort of ferret), by being hung
at the extremity of the bough. So thinks M. LUotaud, the
accomplished describer of the birds of Trinidad. But he
adds with good reason: "I do not, however, understand how
birds can protect their nestlings against ants; for so large is
the number of these insects in our climes, that it would seem
as if everything would become their prey."
And so everything will, unless the bird-murder be stopped.
Already the parasol-ants have formed a warren close to Port
of Spain, in what was forty years ago highly cultivated
ground, from which they devastate at night the northern
gardens. The forests seem as empty of birds as the neigh-
bourhood of the city; and a sad answer will soon have to be
given to M. Ldotaud's question:-
1 Cassicus.



"The insectivorous tribes are the true representatives of
our ornithology. There are so many which feed on insects,
and their larve, that it may be asked with much reason,
What would become of our vegetation, of ourselves, should
these insect destroyers disappear ? Everywhere may be seen"
(M. L. speaks, I presume, of five-and-twenty years ago; my
experience would make me substitute for his words, Hardly
anywhere can be seen,") one of these insectivora in pursuit
or seizure of its prey, either on the wing or on the trunks of
trees; in the coverts of thickets, or in the calices of flowers.
Whenever called to witness one of those frequent migrations
from one point to another, so often practised by ants, not
only can the Dendrocolaptes (connected with our Creepers)
be seen following the moving trail, and preying on the ants
and the eggs themselves, but even the black Tanager aban-
dons his usual fruits for this more tempting delicacy. Our
frugivorous and baccivorous genera are also pretty numerous,
and most of them are so fond of insect food that they unite,
as occasion offers, with the insectivorous tribes."
So it was once. Now a traveller, accustomed to the swarms
of birds which, not counting the game, inhabit an average
English cover, would be surprised and pained by the scarcity
of birds in the forests of this island.
We rode down toward the northern lowland, along a broad
new road of last year's making, terraced, with great labour,


along the hill, and stopped to visit one of those excellent
Government schools which do honour, first to that wise legis-
lator, Lord Harris, and next to the late Governor. Here
in the depths of the forest, where never policeman or school-
master had been before, was a house of satin-wood and cedar

Coolle group.

not two years old, used at once as police-station and school,
with a shrewd Spanish-speaking schoolmaster, and fifty-two
decent little brown children on the school-books, and getting,
when their lazy parents will send them, as good an education
as they would get in England. I shall have more to say on

-. -----~----------------


the education system of Trinidad. All it seems to me to
want, with its late modifications, is compulsory attendance.
Soon, turning down an old Indian path, we saw the Gulf
once more, and between us and it the sheet of cane cultiva-
tion, of which one estate ran up to our feet, "like a bright
green bay entered by a narrow strait among the dark forest."
Just before we came to it we passed another pleasant sight:
more Coolie settlers, who had had lands granted them in
lieu of the return passage to which they were entitled,
were all busily felling wood, putting up bamboo and palm-
leaf cabins, and settling themselves down each one his own
master, yet near enough to the sugar estates below to get
remunerative work whenever needful.
Then on, over slow miles (you must not trot beneath the
burning midday sun) of sandy stifling flat, between high
canes, till we saw with joy, through long vistas of straight
traces, the Mangrove shrubbery which marked the sea.
We turned into large sugar-works, to be cooled with sherry
and ice by a hospitable manager, whose rooms were hung
with good prints, and stored with good books and knick-
knacks from Europe, showing the signs of a lady's hand.
And here our party broke up. The rest carried their mud
back to Port of Spain; I in the opposite direction back to
San Fernando, down a little creek which served as a port
to the estate.


Plastered up to the middle like the rest of the party,
besides splashes over face and hat, I could get no dirtier than
I was already. I got without compunction into a canoe some
three feet wide; and was shoved by three Negros down a
long winding ditch of mingled mud, water, and mangrove-
roots. To keep one's self and one's luggage from falling out
during the journey was no easy matter; at one moment,
indeed, it threatened to become impossible. For where
the mangroves opened on the sea, the creek itself turned
sharply northward along shore, leaving (as usual) a bed
of mud between it and the sea some quarter of a mile
broad; across which we had to pass as a short-cut to the
boat, which lay far out. The difficulty was, of course, to
get the canoe out of the creek up the steep mud-bank.
To that end she was turned on her side, with me on
board. I could just manage, by jamming my luggage under
my knees, and myself against the two gunwales, to keep in,
holding on chiefly by my heels and the back of my neck.
But it befel, that in the very agony of the steepest slope,
when the Negros (who worked like really good fellows) were
nigh waist-deep in mud, my eye fell, for the first time in my
life, on a party of Calling Crabs, who had been down to the
water to fish, and were now scuttling up to their burrows
among the mangrove-roots; and at the sight of the pairs of
long-stalked eyes, standing upright like a pair of opera-


glasses, and the long single arms which each brandished,
with frightful menaces, as of infuriated Nelsons, I burst into
such a fit of laughter that I nearly fell out into the mud.
The Negros thought for the instant that the buccra parson"
had gone mad: but when I pointed with my head (I dare not
move a finger) to the crabs, off they went in a true Negro
guffaw, which, when once begun, goes on and on, like thunder
echoing round the mountains, and can no more stop itself
than a Blackcap's song. So all the way across the mud the
jolly fellows, working meanwhile like horses, laughed for
the mere pleasure of laughing; and when we got to the boat,
the Negro in charge of her saw us laughing, and laughed too
for company, without waiting to hear the joke; and as two
of them took the canoe home, we could hear them laughing
still in the distance, till the lonely loathsome place rang
again. I plead guilty to having given the men, as payment,
not only for their work but for their jollity, just twice what
they asked, which, after all, was very little.
But what are Calling-Crabs ? I must ask the reader to
conceive a moderate-sized crab, the front of whose carapace is
very broad and almost straight, with a channel along it, in
which lie, right and left, his two eyes, each on a footstalk half
as long as the breadth of his body; so that the crab, when at
rest, carries his eyes as epaulettes, and peeps out at the joint
of each shoulder. But when business is to be done, the eye-

_ __ _I __~_I


stalks jump bolt upright side by side, like a pair of little
lighthouses, and survey the field of battle in a fashion utterly
ludicrous. Moreover, as if he were not ridiculous enough even
thus, he is (as Mr. Wood well puts it) like a small man gifted
with one arm of Hercules, and another of Tom Thumb. One
of his claw arms, generally the left, has dwindled to a mere
nothing, and is not seen; while along the whole front of his
shell lies folded one mighty right arm, on which he trusts;
and with that arm, when danger appears, he beckons the enemy
to come on, with such wild defiance, that he has gained there-
from the name of Gelasimus Vocans-" The Calling Laugh-
able:" and it were well if all scientific names were as well
fitted. He is, as might be guessed, a shrewd fighter, and uses
the true old Bristol guard" in boxing, holding his long arm
across his body, and fencing and biting therewith swiftly
and sharply enough. Moreover, he is a respectable animal,
and has a wife, and takes care of her; and to see him in his
glory, it is said, he should be watched sitting in the mouth of
his burrow, his spouse packed safe behind him inside, while
he beckons and brandishes, proclaiming to all passers-by the
treasure which he protects, while he defies them to touch it.
Such is the Calling-Crab," of whom I must say, that if
he was not made on purpose to be laughed at, then I should
be induced to suspect that nothing was made for any purpose


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