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QUARTERLY OF THE INSTITUTE OF JAMAICA
DECEMBER 1971 VOL. 5 NO. 4
Jamaica Journal is published Quarterly
by the Institute of Jamaica, 12-16 East
Street, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.
Frank Hill, Chairman
Rex Nettleford, Vice Chairman
C. Bernard Lewis, Director
Neville Dawes, Deputy Director.
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Africa, Asia, Australia
Letter to the Editor . . . . . . ....
HISTORY . . . . . . . .
Rooth's Sea Journal . . . . . . . . . .
Port Maria (Aquatint Full Colour) . . . . ... .J.B. Kidd
Cuba A Review Article of Professor Thomas' Book. . .Patrick Bryan
Rt. Excellent N.W. Manley's Statue ... ..... Alvin Marriott
Ackee and Avocado . . . . . .Marjorie Davidson
Jamaican Forests . . . . . . . .Guy Symes
ART LITERATURE MUSIC .. . ...
Photography -An Interview of Amador Packer and Errol Harvey. Alex Gradussov
What's New at Rio Bueno (Short Story) . . . ... .Vic Reid
The Poetry of Dennis Scott . . . . .. Anthony McNeill
Infrapiscatoria (Photo Full Colour) . . . Dr. Warren S. Robinson
Violent Interlude -Extract from a Novel. ... . Neville Dawes
Foul Poets Four Neighbours (Poetry)
Ian McDonald, Fredericka DaCosta, Cecil Gray, Richard Kiya-Hinidza
Cycas revoluta, sometimes
called "Sago Palm "although
not a palm at all.
The Editor wishes to apologize to Dr. Warren S. Robinson whose colour photo appeared on the back
cover of the June/Septemberissue and was wrongly attributed to Dr. Paul Steinbok. It is reproduced
in this copy on page 53.
The Editor wants to correct also a typographical error in Mr. Richard Hart's letter to the Editor in the
June/September issue where in the second paragraph the Maroon Treaties were given as 1793. This
should read 1739.
In printing Mr. George Clarke's letter, the Editor wishes to point out that Jamaica Journal has in the
past and shall in the future publish all views expressed in scholarly terms and useful to Jamaican readers
and those interested in Jamaica.
US or UK subscription rates plus
double their respective postage rates.
letter to the editep
The Editor, October 28, 1971
12 East Street,
Normally I do not write letters to Editors, but after reading George Beckford's
Review of "A Jamaican Plantation" History of Worthy Park, lam compelled to write.
When Ireached half-way through the article I had to look back at the cover to make
sure I was reading Jamaica's best magazine and not "Abeng". When I completed the
article I was thoroughly aroused at the savage attack on one of the best researched
historical books written on Jamaica in many years. I then calmed myself by remembering
who had written the Review and realising why it had been written. The historical dis-
tortions and the criticism of the authors can well be answered by them, but I must admit
that I was naive enough to think that history was based on fact.
The first criticism is that no white author should write on the history of slavery. In
fact I gather from the article that this would include black authors with white hearts. I
am prepared to accept the fact that some authors are biased, so we must now speculate
whether a white author who is a Professor of History at a Canadian University, with no
connection with sugar, would or would not be as biased as a black author who is a
Lecturer in Economics at the University of the West Indies and known to be anti-sugar.
If we even assume that they would be equally biased, who could re-write an unbiased West
Indian history to "illuminate the black experience "?. I would have thought that the ideal
historical approach would be an unbiased one. We can see to what absurd lengths Dr.
Beckford's biases take him when he claims, "... white people... have contributed little
or nothing to the country's economic advance." It also seems an unscientific approach
to state, "... any serious interpretation of our history MUST (my emphasis) demonstrate
that the plantation is a canker close to the heart of black people." The peak of absurdity
is when he states, . English people exercised superior military might to capture the
valley from the black people . ." The books states, ". . ancestors of the present
Maroons were two or three bands of Spanish Negroes ... who roamed the interior..."
and "one such band under Juan de Bolas first populated the southern approaches of
Lluidas Vale'" This area was never a part of Worthy Park, in fact, Juan de Bolas was made
Col. of Black Militia, given powers of a magistrate, and all his followers over 18 got 30
acres of land and their freedom for having joined the English against the Spanish.
Incidentally, the author of the article is astonished that no one from the University
of the West Indies was thought fit to write this book. It would have been very easy to
have phoned the head of the History Department of the University of the West Indies to
ascertain the true position.
The "crooked and ruthless" Price generation must be defended. Aside from living
at a time when slavery was accepted, the only blot was the actions of Sir Charles Price,
the Patriot, the empire builder, when he used political patronage (also accepted in those
days) to develop Jamaica and his personal fortune. Today developers are praised, and I
would wish that political patronage was a thing of the past. The aqueduct at Worthy Park
was not built with public funds. In fact for 200 years every person in Lluidas Vale has
benefited by his foresight.
We all accept that slavery was a terrible experience for the black people, and was
brought to the West Indies by white men, but surely our job today is to look ahead and
get on with the development of our country and not dwell on the misfortunes of the past.
We have received a number of very complimentary Reviews of this book, a list of
which I enclose. It is surprising that Dr. Beckford could not find one good word to
describe the book. He lists the areas where the authors have failed in their research, and
then proceeds to quote from the book to prove his points. Surely if the book contains
material to prove his points, the subject could not have been completely neglected.
Finally, having criticised the sugar industry for many years for having all the best
lands, he is now fearful that the farmers who will be taking over lands, such as at Wisco,
will end up in another form of slavery. This is based on a quotation from the Mordecai
Report. Mordecai does state that in the year 1965 the average cost of estate cane was
more than the price paid for farmers' cane. There are reasons for this, but in any event
this situation does not apply at Worthy Park then or now, which disproves Beckford's
statement that our success is built on the backs of small farmers.
In spite of the Review, we at Worthy Park are very proud of our contribution to
our Nation, which must be more satisfying than writing bad racist propaganda.
Yours faithfully, G. F. CLARKE.
REVIEWS OF "A JAMAICAN PLANTATION" by CRATON and WALVIN Farmie .. "n-ot hy fl-t. "
aE bfllUantpe op f i holanhip ..
BOt k N ew.. "A.a social do cument t 1, a ." CisibbisBudlse News.. rthen an o ho willtn no y loma
CekE M^f ^ p u b ik li a i o n of b o ok a b t th me e e t
autmr pt .p bentaftoh i aa a a or
flfnIioai Sip, Joimnl . b uniub i nie t* arnag ah, Sutbau 0 hao .
oert ofa oa gar estate." a,**a deu l ory.. "
Sa.N .. ba.able p-cce mf V .
Wea b~d a fion _1e. -y o ake Iti place atonode Riard apt d by te thoroughne of the author
Western Design, 1654-55
Edited, with notes and an introduction, by John F. Battick
*Dr. Battick is Professor of History at the University of Main at Orono, U.S.A.
In the manuscripts department of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, lies a
tall, narrow signature made up of nine sheets of old paper, the sheets of a size upon which
letters were written before the ready-made envelope came into vogue. The nine sheets
had been folded at their longer axis and sewn together, and on one of the end sheets thus
formed, someone has written, twice, the name of William Fowler. In the catalogue of the
Museum, this document is described as "Sea Journal to the West Indies, 25 Dec. 1654 14
Sept. 1655 (from the papers of Sir William Penn)" and has been given the pressmark
The description immediately caught my attention as I scanned the catalogue in
December 1961, for I was doing research for my doctoral dissertation on the relationship
between Oliver Cromwell 's use of the Navy and his foreign policy, and had already come
to the conclusion that the Western Design was a key to the Lord Protector's greater
schemes for enhancing England's role in the world. The details of the Western Design
were already known to me through my reading of Granville Penn's Memoirs of ... Sir
William Penn, Knt. (London, 1833) and Charles H. Firth 's edition of The Narrative of
General Venables, (London, 1900), so I was only curious as to the authorship of the
journal before me, and what, by way of corroborating or contradictory evidence on events
in the West lndies it might contain. The name "Fowler" I associated with the Cromwellian
Judge Advocate of the Navy, but his given name was John. "Some relation, no doubt, "I
thought, for them, as for much later, the salt waterfraternity were a nepotistic lot. And
so, as I took my bits of notes, they were tagged "Fowler's jour." When I reached the
part of the journal in which its author described his role in the attack upon Santo
Domingo, IrealizedI was into something. After his return to England in September 1655,
Penn was accused of not coordinating the fleet to the actions of the forces ashore in
Hispaniola, and of not doing his utmost to harass and damage the enemy. Granville
Penn's exculpation of his ancestor had cited the Admiral's own journal to prove that he
had sent vessels into the harbor of Santo Domingo to distract the enemy and to second an
assault on the city by the land forces. "Fowler", however, had a slightly, but significantly,
different story to tell, one which seemed to reflect little credit on the Admiral. After
taking note of the evidence, I realized that I would have to somehow come up with an
attribution of the journal in order to validate its testimony, and so I read more closely
the earlier portions which I had merely skinned in my eagerness to get to the critical
points of the campaign. The first clue I came upon which might reveal the author's name
was the entry of March twenty-fifth, the reference to "my brother Thornton, bos 'n of the
Swiftsure." Thornton who? Apparently my problem was near solution. I need only find
two men onboard the flagship (the author's own title on the first page revealed this), with
a common surname. I remembered seeing in the British Museum a manuscript sheet
listing the officers of some ten vessels in the expedition, one of them the flagship Swiftsure.
Rummaging through my notebook of sources scanned, I found my document, the Duke
ofPortlandMSS. folio 194. A check at the British Museum revealed that the bos 'n's name
was John Thornton, but that no other with that surname was among the flagship's
officers. Which of the other eight names might be the right one? (I had already assumed
that the author was a ship's officer.) Carpenter, cook, and gunner. I ruled out. The
warrant officers did not seem to fit my notion of the sort to keep such a journal. Down
to five candidates. But what if my man were a supernumerary, and thus not listed? Wait
a minute. Somewhere, the author mentions being given command of a ship while the
fleet was at Barbados. On March second, yes and on June ninth, at Jamaica, he was
shifted to another vessel. Who was commissioned to command the Hound on March
second, and to command the Bear on June ninth Where to find this? Then came reason
to the fore. An Admiral on foreign station was always authorized to name commanders
of prizes, and to replace deceased or disabled commanders, and Penn's commission follow-
ed the usual form. Somewhere in Penn's papers there must be, or there once were, at least
four formal documents which contained the answer to my question, copies of the
Admiral's commissions to the officer whose name I was seeking, and copies of orders
given him as he took up his new commands. Back to Greenwich where I now realized
the answer had been all along: in the "Journal of Every Days Proceedings in the Expedi-
tion . into the West Indies", and "William Penn's Letterbook", both, like the journal
by an unknown, in the Wynn Collection of Manuscripts. In two minutes I had the
answer. On the dates specified, commissions to command the ships Hound and Bear had
been made out to one Richard Rooth, lieutenant of the Swiftsure in the Duke ofPortland
MSS. list. My intuition had been right, but the obvious had temporarily escaped me. But
what of "brother Thornton?" From the frequent pious commentaries which he appended
to his accounts of fortune, both good and bad, Rooth was by way of being something of a
Calvinist. Perhaps Swiftsure's bos'n was a member of the same Independent congregation
as Rooth, hence was entitled to the appelation "brother" under God. But more probably,
their relationship was a mundane one. To judge by his care for Thorton 's estate and the
references to "her" (see the entry of March thirtieth) the two were brothers-in-law and
Rooth was merely looking after his sister's interest. Why the name of William Fowler
appears on the end-leaf is still puzzling, but I can find nothing to associate the name to
Rooth and the question is probably irresolvable.
The value of this journal lies, as Isee it, in its independent nature as a witness to the
nautical events of the Design. Rooth, unlike the others whose accounts have come down
to us (Penn, Venables, Francis Barrington, Henry Whistler), had no share in the respons-
ibilities, planning, or fruits of the expedition. With the possible exception of some minor
speculations in which he became involved in Barbados (see the entries for February
thirteenth and fifteenth, and March fourteenth and twenty-first), Rooth embarked for the
voyage only with the natural and normal hopes ofa ship's officer to survive, and to
achieve, if fortune and the Admiral smiled, the penultimate sign of success, a commission
to command a ship. The ships he was given were small but he had achieved them, and
handled them well, to judge by his own account. His notes on navigation, while marred
by frequent omissions, show him to bean excellent navigator (see his reductions of latitude
for the several islands and the meticulous soundings taken as he returned to the English
Channel), he obeyed his orders speedily, was adroit in action at Kingston, obviously cared
about his crew, and took great pains with all that concerned his ship. As a capable
officer, and a God-fearing man, his veracity is, I think, beyond question, and he had no
reason to falsify his account. Others must have believed so, for after his return to
England he was commissioned in yet another vessel, Dartmouth, a fifth rate of twenty-
two guns, newly built at Portsmouth. For the next four years he was busy in the North
Sea and the Channel, carrying out a wide variety of missions in Dartmouth.2 At the
Restoration he received a commission as her captain from the Duke of York and served
with distinction until the late 1670's. Curiously enough, in 1674 he was named command-
er of Swiftsure, the name-sake of the ship in which he began his climb up the ladder of
success, while a year later he received the accolade of knighthood from Charles 11.3 Of
his antecedents, his early life, and the end thereof, we know nothing.
It is always tempting for an editor to write the story contained in his document as
part of his introduction. In this instance, I prefer to tell the story of the story, and let
Rooth tell his own. My major editorial function has been to modernize the spelling and
punctuation of the journal and to supply explanations for terms which may be unfamiliar
to the reader. Where Rooth's spelling of a proper name is ,at variance with the modern
version, I have left his form intact because that form may indicate the pronunciation used
in his time. I can only hope that, having recognized who he was and brought his journal
to the attention of the reader, I may have helped him achieve a slightly greater measure of
Left to right, above General Venables, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, Admiral Sir William Penn.
"Prince Royal" (English)
After a Dutch engraving 1613.
A journal of the passages in my voyage to the West Indies on board the state's ship
Swiftsure5 wherein was General Penn*, Commander in Chief of the whole fleet, etc.
Wherein I humbly implore the Lord to accompany us with His owning presence
and wonted loving kindness, prospering our undertakings, which I earnestly desire will all
tend to the honor and glory of His name, and the good of His people. Amen, sweet Jesus.
'25th. Being Monday, at break of day we fired a gun and loosed our foretopsails. About
noon Gen. Venables, etc., came onboard, and likewise Gen. Desbrough and Commissioner
Willoughby6, who presently after returned [ashore?] again. About 2 [in the] afternoon,
we weighed out of Stokes Bay**, most part of the fleet staying there, and turned up to
Helen's Road with the wind at ENE, where about 4 we came to anchor. A very fresh gale
26th. Early in the morning, the General7 having sent orders to that end by Capt.
Newberry to the commanders of the other ships in Stokes Bay, they weighed about 11,
and bore away with the wind easterly to go through the Needles. About noon, we, with
the Vice Admiral, Dover, and two or three more, weighed and turned out, (but standing
too far to the northward, we struck several times on [half-line blank] butblessedbe God,
it being flood, we presently got off again with no damage). At 8 at night Dunness bore
[quarter-line blank], a fresh gale, the wind veering out southerly with a little rain, the
fore part of the night.
27th. A fine gale between the SEbyE and the SSE all day. At noon, Portland bore NbyW,
some 4 leagues off. We stood away SW. Towards evening the wind coming about more
easterly, we left orders with the Hound [interlineated: and Naylor's ketch] to give to the
rest of the fleet, having seen but eleven of them all day. And Capt. Newberry informing
the General that he had delivered the aforementioned orders to all save the Halfmoon and
Pelican Prize, we with the rest, stood away SW and WSW all night. About 8 at night the
Start bore NbyW some 12 leagues off.
28th. About 2 in the morning, we heard several guns fired but could not see what became
of her that fired them. At noon, the Lizardt bore NWbyN some 12 leagues off, by
computation. We bore away with only our foretopsail to tarry for the rest astern to come
up with us. A fresh gale easterly all day.
29th. At noon, having espied two sail early in the morn, we came up with one of them,
which called [line blank] and was chased by the other, supposed to be a Brest man-of-war.
He was a great way to the southward of us and clapped by as soon as he perceived us to
make to him. The General sent home a packet by the said Master, the Lizard then
bearing [blank] some 34 leagues off. Now look into my journal for the ships way, etc.8
5th. About noon we spied two sail astern of us, as far as we could descry them on our
poop, and perceiving they did fetch upon us, we shortened sail, and they, towards sunset,
came up to us. It was the Grantham and the Adventure dogger. Capt. Lightfoot,
commander of the Grantham, came on board and informed the General that he left the
Indian, Hound, Martin and Halfmoon about forty leagues astern, and that the Mathias,
Rosebush, and Golden Cock were, as he supposed, not above fourteen leagues astern, that
on the [blank] the Pelican prize sprung a leak some 23 leagues off the Lizard and that
having found her not fit to keep the sea, it was concluded by the commander of her [MS.
damaged] three aforementioned ships she stood away for [MS. damaged] first port either
in Ireland, or elsewhere she could conveniently attain, they taking out all the soldiers.
And he [was] not able to give us any information what had become of the Great Charity
whom we had not seen since the 27th of the last, we concluded it was she that fired those
guns that we heard on the 28th in the morning, and do hope she got into Falmouth.
29th. About 8 in the morning we espied the island of Barbados, it being some 7 leagues
West of us. About 2 [in the] afternoon, we came to anchor in Carlisle Bay, where we
found the Rear-Admiral with those ships that were sent before us from Portsmouth, only
the Marston Moor was missing, who was sent three weeks before by the Rear-Admiral and
the rest of the Commissioners9 who were in her to provide necessaries against her arrival,
and also the arrival of the General with that part of the fleet with him. This day, the
Laurel was sent out with the Arms of Holland by the Rear-Admiral to bring back a
Fleming that ran away out of the Road last night and left the skipper behind. About 7,
the General called a Council of War. All the commanders came onboard. The Selby went
30th. About 10 in the morning the Mathias, Cock and Rosebush arrived here. Presently,
after our General*, General Venables, his Lady, etc., went ashore, about 2 [in the]
afternoon, here came in the Selby and Marston Moor, who was put to leeward of the
island, having missed it. Maj. General Haynes, Col. Buller, etc., that came in her, went
ashore to the General.
*Should be Admiral and subsequently should be read when our General or the General is mentioned.
**South-East of Plymouth, England.
tSouthern most point of Cornwall
After Dutch painting c. 1620.
31st. We warped further into the bay. About 10, the General went ashore, etc. Presently
hereafter arrived the Indian, Hound, Lion, Halfmoon, Sampson, Adam & Eve, and Bear.
1st. About 10 in the morning the General went ashore. This afternoon we sent our
empty casks and coopers ashore to rim them, having made a booth right ashore on the
bay. William Poole, the collector for prize goods, had an order to go on board the Dutch
ships and seal and nail up their hatches, which he did. [Remainder of this entry is in a
lighter ink, with the date (2nd) in the margin, even with the last line of the entry.] Col.
Fortescue's regiment were put on board the Martin, hoy and dogger, and sent to Spikes
Bay [Speightstown?] to quarter thereabouts. This night about 10, the bos'n's mate, Rich.
White, flung his call and chain overboard for being demanded why he did not see the
candles out, etc. [In the margin: 3rd.] Towards evening, the Laurel and Martin were sent
by the General into Spikes Bay some three leagues to leeward to fetch in a Dane which we
had intelligence was there.
4th. About noon the Laurel, etc., with the Dane, did arrive here. Presently after, the
Martin had orders to go and ride in Austins Bay [Oistin Bay].
5th. About 8 we fired a gun and hung out a flag. All the commanders repaired onboard.
There were several orders issued forth to them in reference to keeping the seamen onboard
and putting them six to four men's allowance, etc. Several were punished onboard for
misdemeanors. The Steward of the Convertine was one.
6th. About 9 this morning, Gen. Venables, the Governors, Col. Modiford, Morris, etc.,
came onboard and dined. They sat in council all this afternoon.
7th. Early this morning, the Marston Moor [struck out: Grantham], Selby set sail for the
leeward Isles, the Grantham for Austins Bay. The General went ashore about 10 and
returned about noon. A little after, here arrived the Martin from Austins Bay.
8th. Early we fired a gun and hung out a flag. All the commanders repaired onboard
and had notice given them that tomorrow should be set apart to give the Lord thanks for
his mercy hitherto bestowed on us, and to desire the continuance thereof. All the Dutch
skippers were dispossessed of their ships unto the Admiral and Vice and Rear Admiral
which did belong to the Governors of the New Netherlands, who being sent for by the
General came this afternoon onboard.
9th. This day was set apart as aforesaid.
10th. Early here arrived a New England vessel, being a French bottom, with English, as
also the Grantham from Austins, whither she was again sent.
11th. Being Sabbathday, nothing was done.
12th. About 8 in the morning the General went ashore.
13th. About 8 in the morning I went ashore to speak with Col. Yeomans about 1 shp [?].
14th. About 4 [in the] afternoon, here arrived the Grantham from Austins Bay and the
Portland was ordered to go thither.
15th. I went to Spikes Bay to deliver 1 shp [?] [to ?] Col. Yeomans and there I received
an obligation from him to pay 10,000 wt. of sugar within four months, and he to [MS.
damaged] whom I should appoint10. This night I lay on [board?] the Dover frigate
which rode in that bay.
16th. About 9 in the morning I went ashore to Spikes and received one butt of sugar
from Mr. Speede by order from Col. Yeomans which I brought aboard here with me.
This evening the Portland came in from Austins Bay and brought in two Dutch vessels,
one a pink* [in the margin: Black Lion] of about forty cask, come from Buenavista [?]
one of the Cayes westward islands and bound hither, being freighted with 24 asinegoesl
and one horse upon some Englishmen of this island's account, the other, a square stern
[in the margin: the Peace] of about [blank] with 240 negroes, come from Guinea and
pretend for Martinique, Eustatius, etc., with just ten men on board the first, and the
viceadmiral manned the latter. The Portland went to her station again.
17th. I went by the Captain's order on board the foresaid pink, and taking an inventory
of all the goods and furniture of the ship, and having sent ashore the asinegoes and horse
ashore by the General's order, I nailed and sealed up her hatches and delivered the keys
to Mr. Wm. Poole, etc.
18th. Being Lord's day nothing was done.
19th. About 8 in the morning the Generals went ashore, etc. About 3 [in the] afternoon,
*Sailing vessel especially with narrow stern (Originally small and flat bottomed)
"The Red Lion "(English)
After Dutch painting.
here was sent in a small vessel belonging to the Dutch, come from Martinique with'some
tobacco, etc., of about 12 tons, having license from the Governor of this island to go
thither, from Capt. Saunders in the Dover, now in Spikes Bay.
20th. About 8 in the morning, the General sent me ashore to excuse his not coming this
day to Gen. Venables and Mr. Winslow, which I did and presently returned. The negroes
being sold by the candle,12 went ashore this afternoon. All the commanders came and
dined aboard and had an order about the short allowance, how much was due to the
seamen there hence.
21th. This day there was an order out about the seamen that were willing to go ashore if
any occasion should be.
22th. We sent ashore about 60 men ashore to exercise, they having listed themselves to
go ashore if commanded, etc.
23th. This afternoon the Dover sent in a Hamburger* come from Curacao with some goats,
etc. I took the skipper's examination, by the General's order.
24th. About 3 [in the] afternoon we saw a sail plying up to windward. The General
ordered the Grantham to go out and fetch her in. She presently set sail, as also the Dover
out of Spikes Bay.
25th. About 8 in the morning the Grantham came in and brought a Dutchman come from
Curacao with 29 horses, some goats, etc. Presently after here came in the vessel that we
saw in the offing yesterday, being surprised by the Dover and sent in hither. She had
about 200 goats. About 2 [in the] afternoon, here arrived another small pink come from
Curacao and surprised by the Dover. She had four horses and about 120 goats. [In the
margin: David [of] Rotterdam, Armes of Fernandbrook, David [of] Amsterdam.]
26th. Our bos'n was sent with order to land all the goats at Col. Hawley's which he did.
27th. Here arrived Col. Saunders, being sent for by the General concerning his men's
plundering of the Dutchmen that belonged to the two aforementioned vessels.
28th. The Dutchmen were dispossessed of their vessels and the horses landed. All of the
masters of the merchant ships were called onboard and notice given that they should not
harbor any of our men, etc.
1st. About 10in the morning the General went ashore and returned again in the evening,
2d. This morning I received a commission from the Rt. Hon. our General to command
the Hound, the lieutenant thereof being to command the ship Peace, a prize. About 1 [in
the] afternoon, I took possession. I humbly desire the Lord to direct and assist me with
His holy spirit to act nothing but what becomes His servant, etc.
3d. I went this morning onboard of the General and spoke to him about our cookroom,
which is very defective. He ordered Capt. Poole to order me some bricks, etc., to repair it.
Here arrived a small pink [in the margin: Charity] of Amsterdam, about 100 tons, come
from Nantes laden with brandy and French wine.
4th. Being Lord's day, little was done.
5th. I went early this morning onboard the General who was before gone onshore,
intending for Col. Modyford's plantation. There was a private council of war on Barnaby
Dennis who paid five shillings rather than he would be ducked. I received an order from
Capt. Poole to Mr. Peters to deliver me 200 bricks to mend our hearth and furnaces.
6th. Early in the morning we sent the jollyboat to the Indian Bridge for the mason who,
about 7, came on board and fell on [to] mending the hearth. This afternoon I spoke to
our men to know who were willing to go onshore if there were any occasion. They
expressed a great deal of readiness, and to that end I listed fourteen. About 4 here arrived
a small pink of Plymouth, come from Cape Verde with asinegoes, etc.
7th. I went onboard the General this morning and got, by order from Capt. Poole, 6
hatchets. I went to the meeting on the Rear-Admiral this afternoon. We pulled down our
furnaces, the iron work being broken, which we sent ashore to be mended.
8th. This morning we sent for the bricklayer, who could not come (he being on the
guard), but sent his servant. But by reason of the smith's not letting the ironwork come
without money, could do but half a day's work. I went ashore and caused the smith to let
the grates and bars to be brought onboard, bidding him bring account and I would get an
order for the payment. This afternoon here arrived two ships, one of Plymouth, the other
*Ship from the Hanseatic City State of Hamburg in Germany.
of Ship constructed in 1629.
of London. Both came from the Cape Verde Islands with asinegoes, goats, etc. All the
commanders were by the General's ordered to bring into Capt. Poole their Gunners'
indentures and an account of what ammunition they received for the Fleet and the Army.
9th. Early in the morning, the General having fired a gun, hung out a flag of council, and
the commanders repaired on board, where the General was pleased to nominate who
should command the regiments and companies of seamen that were appointed for the
land service, and likewise told us that with encouragement, either in reference to prizes,
loss of life or limb, or otherwise maimed, was, while we had wars with the Dutch, the same
should continue, etc., and did likewise require each commander to bring in this night an
account, how much, both of musket and pistol shot, and match, and what powder, over
and above our own proportion [we have] now on board, which I did. We had a survey on
the beef yesterday received, and there was 265 pieces found not eatable. We were
likewise ordered to go onboard the Golden Star to receive the Flemish beef, pork, and
mutton which is designed for each respective ship, and to cut the beef into quarter pieces,
and the mutton, but the pork into half pieces.
10th. This morning betimes, we sent onboard the Golden Star and received two barrels
and a quarter of beef.
11th. Being Lord's day, nothing was done, etc.
12th. I ordered the Master to cause the abovementioned beef to be new pickled and cut
into quarter pieces, which was done accordingly, and there was in all [blank]. The mason
made an end of the furnaces, etc. [In the margin: This morning we entered a Master.]
13th. This day the seamen that were appointed for the land service, according as it was
concluded on Friday the tenth, went on shore to muster. I received an order from Capt.
Poole to receive from the [crossed out: Golden Star] Black Lion two barrels and a half of
pork, and one barrel and three-quarters of mutton.
14th. This morning we received the abovementioned pork and mutton. I received this
afternoon my Cozn Po accord 8 a 1 Grally ord 1 case & bi y 2 ps & li no 2 by & br a oc
1 fort [?] .13 This morning Capt. Saunders sent in a small Dutch vessel.
15th. This day about noon here arrived the Sampson of London, Wm. Wolters, Master,
come from Palma, etc. All the commanders were desired to send in an account of what
salt they received in England, what they have expended in repacking and saving their meat,
since they have come out, and what remains onboard to the commanders in chief of the
respective squadrons, and accordingly I did bring it unto Capt. Poole. [In the margin:
memo, he turned up from [blank] in 3 days being the full of the moon.]
16th. This morning the General hung out a pendant at the mizzen yardarm. I went
onboard. There was a courtmartial sat on John Giffee, bos'n of the Rosebush, for being
drunk several times, lying ashore without leave, swearing, disobeying their master's
command, etc., for which they dismissed him of his employment, etc. This morning we
received [blank] of bacon out of the Black Lion, by Capt. Poole's order.
18th. The Steward General sent an order this morning for 400 pieces of beef, which we
delivered to the Gilbert and other ships that were bound home for the Dutchmen. I went
onboard the General and heard the sermon both before and afternoon. About 8 at night,
Capt. Collins in the Gilbert, etc., set sail.
19th. This morning, having received orders from the General to that purpose, we took two
8 pounders out of the Heartsease, and two 8 pounders out of the Cock and four sakersl4
out of the Brown Fish prize, with all the materials thereunto belonging, except powder.
We received also one barrel of tar out of the Fortune prize by orders from the General.
20th. This morning we careened our ship with her guns, etc., some four strakes, and
tallowed with tallow and lime, etc. The [clerk of the] chequel5 and steward went on
board the General and received the short allowance money for a month, amounting to
21th. We received 4 barrels of powder out of the Heartsease and 40 round of shot and
the same quantity of powder, but 20 round of shot out of the Cock. We likewise filled
about 15 tuns of water. I was up to country this day, vizt. o Co Drs. Fo etc. Mr. d frs. ate.
and returned again at night. [sic]
22th. The men appointed to go ashore went to muster this morning. We filled about 3
tons of water. About 5 this afternoon we saw a ship coming in. It proved to be Mr.
Pasfield in the Barbados merchant come from England. He had been about 6 weeks from
Falmouth, from whence there came out with him the Great Charity, etc., whom he lost
about three days after his departure. I received an order from Capt. Poole to send aboard
Capt. Elliot's ship for as much salt as we spent in our passage from England.
23th. About 7 in the morning the General fired a gun and hung out a flag. All the
commanders repaired thither. He was pleased to intimate our short stay in this place,
which he did believe would be but 'til Tuesday at farthest, and did likewise desire us
to get all our ships in a fit posture to sail. Capt. White, commander of the Mathias, died
this day about noon. We received the abovementioned salt from Capt. E[lliot] being 20
24th. This afternoon, Capt. White was carried on shore and buried at the church at the
Indian Bridge where after his interring, Mr. Norcrosse, minister of the Swiftsure, preached.
All the commanders did accompany his corpse and there was about 150 seamen in a
company, who fired three volleys, after which the Swiftsure fired 12 and the Mathias 22
pieces of ordnance. I pray God fit us all for our dissolution and departure herehence.
25th. Being Lord's day, little was done. My brother Thornton, bos'n of the Swiftsure,16
departed this life about 3 [this] afternoon, and Capt. Poole sent for me to take his things
into my custody, which I did. The lieutenant of the Mathias was buried this afternoon.
26th. Early, I sent ashore for a grave to be dug in the church near Capt. White, which was
done accordingly, and also to borrow the black cloak which came onboard the Swiftsure
about 9. We carried his corpse ashore with the surgeon of the Mathias, who died yesterday
likewise, being accompanied with all the bos'ns and surgeons of the fleet. The charges,
both of the church grave and cloth, came to 84 pounds of sugar, which at 3d. per pound
is 1.1s.0d. Mr. Baker, the [clerk of the] cheque, and the Gunner of the Swiftsure, with
myself, took an inventory of all his things. He had but half a Crown in money that we
27th. I received an order from Capt. Poole to take two brass guns, etc., out of the Golden
Star, which we did. I went onshore to speak with Col. Yeomans about the sugar and told
him I had an intention to employ Mr. Robinson about it, etc. The Laurel came in from
28th. Early in the morning the General fired a gun and hung out a flag for council. All
the commanders being repaired onboard, he was pleased to nominate which soldiers each
ship was to receive and did to that purpose order that their boats might be ready early
tomorrow to take them in. He likewise ordered the Gloucester, Indian, Portland, Sampson,
Falmouth, Tulip, Falcon, fireship, Katherine, etc., to go to Spikes Bay to take in Col.
Buller's and Col. [blank] regiment, and accordingly this afternoon they set sail thither.
We received twenty deals from onboard the Black Lion by order from Capt. Poole. I
likewise had a quarter cask of white wine from my cousin Poole, according as the General
had ordered each commander, etc. [In the margin: we had 400 pieces of beef frcm the
Rosebush in lieu of the Indian's beef.]
29th. About noon, having sent our boats ashore to the bay according to the Ge ieral's
order, the soldiers came on board each ship they were appointed. Capt. Parsons a id his
company came onboard of us. I received six goats from the Windhound per ordeal from
Capt. Poole to keep.
30th. This morning Mr. Ganor came onboard, to which [MS. damaged] I showed my
brother Thornton's rundlet [sic] of brandy, being about 8 gallons, for which hi: is to
give her [?] 170 pounds of sugar. He gave me a receipt likewise for 500 pounds more
payable to her, which he received from my brother before his death. [indecipherable
31th. About 4 [in the] afternoon, General Venables and his lady, with the rest being
come onboard the General, we weighed with the whole fleet and set sail. The Lord
accompany us with His presence and bless all that we shall undertake, which I hope and
desire shall tend to His glory, and the propagation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.
Amen. Little wind all night. We steered away NNW. [indecipherable marginalia]
Ith. We stood away as before with an easy sail to stay for the fleet which was a great way
astern. About 9 the General fired a gun and hung out a flag in his mizzen shrouds. It was
only to give the commanders notice that they should not, when far to leeward of the
General, shorten sail when he does, but tack and stand toward him, as also that we should
endeavor to keep company, but in case of separation to repair to the road of [St.]
Christopher's where we should meet with the fleet. There was one of the prizes lost all
of her masts save the mizzenmast. The Dover towed her. There was two of the prizes fell
foul, one of the other, and were in some distress, insomuch as they fired some guns. Col.
Fortescue was left behind and the Grantham was ordered to go back again for him.
About 1 [in the] afternoon, the General stood away NW. A fresh gale; we carried an
easy sail all day and night. About noon, the body of Barbados bore NEbyE some 5
2d. Early in the morning we saw Mattalina [Martinique?] and St. Lucia. The General
bore in between them, but not above two miles from the latter. About noon we came to
common vessel of 17th century
an anchor about 1 mile from the shore, under the West side of St. Lucia in 161 fathoms
of water, sandy ground. Afternoon I went aboard the General, the pendant being aboard,
where I understood that our stay here was occasioned through the prizes which were to be
repaired what they could between this and tomorrow noon, when we were ordered to be
ready to sail. Each commander likewise had a letter sealed, which he was to keep 'til his
arrival at Christophers, and then to restore to the General, but in case of separation from
all the flag officers, then to repair thither, or endeavor it and if, after endeavor, could not
attain it, then to open and follow the directions therein. About 5 the General went ashore
into the harbour [at Castries?] where there is about 9 fathom water at the entering and
as much when you are in. [[In the margin: St. Lucia large as the Barbados, very woody,
mountainous, so much inhabitable & not [?] French ini [sic] on W[est] part & have
Dutch [and] English [manuscript damaged] rom it as Matalino w[hi] ch is inhabitedd [by]'
French, NbyE 20 leags.] ]
3d. Early in the morning I went ashore and returned about noon, when presently after,
we weighed and followed the General who stood away N and NbyW. About 6 after
[noon?] the body of Martinique bore NE some [blank] leagues off. This island lies
NWbyN about thirty leagues from Barbados, only inhabited with the French. [indeci-
[4th?] At 8 in the morning, Dominica bore [blank]. It is an island larger somewhat than
the Barbados, but very cragged and full of high mountains, and woody, inhabited only
with Indians, and about 12 leagues distant from Martinique, bearing NNW and SSE one
from the other. It lies in the latitude of 15d. 30m. We had very little wind all day 'til
! toward 4 [in the] afternoon, and then a fine gale at ENE sprung up. We made sail and at
8 at night the northward end of Dominica bore NEbyN some 4 leagues aft. This morning
Capt. Mills, by the General's order, brought the General's pinnace for us to tow. We
received it, he being ordered to go to leeward to tow up a ship that [is] very far to leeward.
A fresh gale all night.
5th. At 8 in the morning, the NW end of Guadeloupe bore North of us some 3 leagues.
This island is some 12 leagues in length and 5 in breadth only [interlineation: in one place
where it is not above a league in breadth] inhabited with [2/3 of line blank] It is very
woody and cragged as the others. It lies in the latitude of 16d. 15m., and distant from
Dominica 8 leagues. Little wind 'til toward noon, and then a fine gale westerly, 'til about
7 after noon, when a fine gale at ENE. At 8 at night the North end of Guadeloupe bore
NEbyE some 3 leagues off. This afternoon I spoke with Capt. Fenn, commander of the
Gillyflower, who told me that yesterday a boat with Indians came off from Dominica and
was aboard. When putting off from the ship, to which they not being permitted to come
the second time, they shot several arrows and wounded three of his seamen. [In the
margin: In the midst between Dominica and Guadeloupe lie 4 small islands called Todos
6th. Early this morning we sailed close by on the W side of Nevis which is inhabited with
the English. About 9, the General lifting in some with several forts [?], saluted him and
he answered them again. There were 6 or 7 small Englishmen in the Roads. There were
about the same number of vessels of the French in the Road of [St.] Kitts, which did the
like, the General answering them. The General sent in the Laurel to the road where the
Marston Moor, Selby, Grantham with about seven prizes which they did here intercept.
They, about 3 in the afternoon, weighed and stood out to us. Lt. Col. Holdipp, etc.,
which were sent here for that purpose, has raised about 1500 men, which are shipped
aboard the above said prizes. Col. Fortescue arrived here yesterday in the Grantham.
The General, putting abroad the pendant on the mizzen peak, I went on board. He was
pleased to inform the commanders that Monday he did desire might be set apart to seek
the Lord in, for a blessing on our design, etc. and to that end desired us to fit ourselves for
it onboard each respective ship. We lay still 'til about midnight, when the General, firing
a gun and making sail, we stood after him. When the North end of Christophers bore
NbyW about 3 leagues off. A fine fresh gale easterly. [In the margin: This Isle of Kitts is
as big as Barbados and lies from it NWbyN some 90 leagues in the Lat. of 17d. 25m.,
inhabited with French who possessed the Easterly part of it and with English who possess
the West part of it, etc.]
7th. At 8 in the Morning the island of Saba Savia [sic] bore ENE about 4 leagues off.
Calm all day 'til about 8 at night when there sprang up a fine gale easterly. We bore away
West, a fine gale all night.
8th. At 8 in the morning, St. Croiz bore WNW about 8 leagues off and at 8 at night NNW
about the same distance. A small gale all day. Being the Lord's day, nothing was done.
The Grantham was ordered to go the the windward of the islands.
9th. This day we kept according to the General's desire. I hope the Lord will in His
due time, answer our humble petitions for His own name's sake. A fine gale all day,
10th. This morning at 8 the Westward end of Puerto Rico bore NWbyN some 8 leagues
off. About 1 in the afternoon the General came by the lee and all the Fleet, he putting
aboard his pendant. I went aboard where I received order verbally from Capt. Poole to
deliver unto each of our men that went ashore, 14 rounds, both of powder and shot, as
also to the land soldiers which we have on board. As also to send 16 men ashore. I
likewise received fighting and sailing instructions together with some for seizing and taking
of prizes, etc. I oe s r g t one Emint mr. so 1 Is so pl-ys to b. st up on hs unworth svs the
dy. vizt comd r 1 genll r p Capt. wch on bor hs shp by the mr neglige fo w I or b, cross hs
hawse, the shp bes going o fo had no way w had sh r- or for litt w had undoubtedly 11 eie
o rs a o us perish b. blesse b. his name w. escaped. g Grs J mr neve rgt hs mr. a return h
prass r h- Ame ame Sw J.18
11th. At 8 in the morning the island [of] Mona being [blank] leagues to the eastward of
Hispaniola bore NE some 10 leagues off. About 4, the Grantham came into our company.
Presently after, the General firing a gun and putting out a flag, all commanders repaired
thither. He was pleased to take an account how many pikes and muskets each ship sent
ashore with their men. Ours had 13 muskets and 2 pikes. He also ordered to give the
soldiers that were on board each ship 3 days provision from the time of their landing, and
desired all commanders, early in the morning, to repair to the chief of their squadron. A
fine gale all day. We lay by the lee all night, a fresh gale.
12th. By sunrise, I went on board the General where Capt. Poole ordered [me] to deliver
8 pikes onboard the Laurel, which was done, and when we saw a jack on the General's
ensign staff, then to send for and receive Capt. Bett's soldiers outof the Bear, as also to
send our men that were appointed to go ashore to Capt. Ketcher [?]. This afternoon, we
delivered rounds of both shot and powder to the soldiers which [we] have onboard, and
three yards of match to each musketeer, with the like proportion to our own men, etc.
They all received three days beef and bread, to begin on Saturday, as the General was
pleased to order last night. At 10 in the morning the General filled and bore away. The
Grantham was ordered to go near the shore, and at 12 the westward end of Savona [Isla
Saona], being a small island near Hispaniola bore NE some 10 leagues off. A fine gale all
13th. Early, the sign being out, we sent our seamen that were to go ashore aboard the
Gloucester and took in Capt. Betts and his company out of the Bear. About 9 I went
onboard the General, who ordered me to follow the Vice-Admiral. We sailed along the
shore, being not above 2 leagues from it. About 1 in the afternoon we were athwart of
St. Domingo. The General lay muzzled,19 and all the fleet. About 2, Lt. Col. Ward, the
General Major [sic], and about 70 men more that came out of the Parrot came on board.
Presently after, the Vice-Admiral filled and bore away. We followed him and the most
part of the fleet, save the General [Swiftsure], Mathias, Laurel, Sampson, Halfmoon, [line
and one-half blank] wherein were Col. Buller's and half Col. Holdipp's regiment who are
to land to windward of the town. At about 9 at night we all anchored in the bay to lee-
ward of the point called [blank]. The Vice-Admiral sent word to all of the commanders
that when he fired [a] gun, we should get our boats and send them onboard the ships that
had the lights out, to carry their men onshore. [In the margin: 14th]. About 4 he fired.
We sent our pinnace on board the Cardiff, from whence, having assisted them in carrying
their men, returning, we sent our own men away, who were all landed before 10 in the
morning. I received an order from Lt. Col. Ward to furnish 34 men of the General's
regiment with 14 rounds of powder and shot, and match proportionally. All the boats in
the fleet were employed all day in landing the men and horses. About 8 at night I went
aboard the Rear-Admiral who ordered me, if I had landed all our men, etc., to make my
repair with all expedition to the General, [in the margin: 15th.] for which end I got our
ship under sail by 1 in the morning and stood off (the land breeze being come), 'til about
8, when the land breeze coming [sic], we tacked and stood in. The most part of the fleet
were under sail astern, and plying of it up. About 2 in the afternoon, I went onboard the
General, who having just then ordered the Indian and the rest to stand in for Hind River
[Rio Jaina] to land Col. Buller's regiment and half Col. Holdipp's regiment, who attempt-
ed to do it yesterday, but could find no convenient place, sent me away with a letter to
the Rear-Admiral to stand in and follow the Indian and to hold correspondence with
General Venables, and to furnish him with whatsoever the fleet could afford as to
provisions, ammunition, etc. About 5, I came up with the Rear-Admiral who returned an
answer in writing by me. He steered in after the Indian and desired me to inform the
General that he would use all diligence in landing the men and holding correspondence
with General Venables, etc. About 7, having dispatched with the Rear-Admiral, I tacked
and stood off to sea, the wind all ESE. [In the margin: 16th.] About 4 in the morning I
tacked again and coming up with the General, I went onboard the Martin, where the
General was even then come, and delivered the Rear-Admiral's letter to him. He ordered
me to speak to Capt. Poole, to send Mr. Carter in some one of the small boats to the
Rear-Admiral, which I immediately did. We lay too and again before the town. About 4,
coming near the Laurel, Capt. Crispin told me that Col. Buller and Holdipp's [troops] were
landed, but that the army were not yet come to Hind River. Presently after, one of our
men (vizt. Tho. Lidy) going up to put a vane on the foretopgallant masthead fell there
thence upon the deck and was sore bruised, his left arm at the wrist broken and his skull
much contused, but praised be God he is very hearty and I hope will recover. God grant
us grow that we may all repent for our sins, which is the cause of all our injuries. We lay
still 'til about 8 and then stood off. Little wind all night. The General came not onboard,
but stayed with the Rear-Admiral. The wind ESE.
,o 111. 9! 'ii, ',
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J. B. Kidd
17th. This morning the army were not above 8 miles from the town, towards which they
were to march about 10. About 4 in the afternoon, the General being come off again in
the Martin, came onboard the Swiftsure. There were several guns fired from both the forts
to the westward of the town. We lay off, too and against the town all day. Little wind.
18th. About 8 in the morning, the General sending for me, I went aboard. He ordered me
to follow the Arms of Holland and to anchor as near to him as I could with conveniency.
I, presently coming again onboard, made all the sail I could and followed Capt. Story [i.e.
Arms ofHolland] (the Falmouth with us), who bore away directly for the harbor's mouth
to which, when we were somewhat about 2 miles and a half off, we hauled up our lower]
sails (they doing the like) and drove in with our foretopsails on the mast (sounding all the
way, but could get no ground with 60 fathom of line) 'til we came within a little above 2
shot of the Castle on the westward point going into the harbor who, with the other forts,
fired several guns at us, whereof two did hit us, the one grazed the foremast about 4
inches in, and the. other came in between decks but did no harm, blessed be God, where-
upon we put our ship to stays, which she would hardly do, so much so that we feared we
should be constrained to-bear up into their very mouths, but she with much ado stayed,
and then we stood off a little further.20 Presently, after the Falmouth and the Arms of
Holland coming to an anchor, we put her to it twice but she would not stay, so that we
were constrained to set our mainsail and then she came about. Then supposing we could
weather the Arms of Holland, and having an intention of anchoring between her and the
Falmouth, the master caused our lower sails to be furled, which being done, we could not
fetch the Arms of Holland, so that we were constrained to let fall our anchor astern of him
to the westward, and before our anchor came to ground we drove nearly midway between
the two forts, but not a mile from the shore, the eastward fort about a mile and a half
from us. We lay in upwards of 90 fathoms of water. This night we removed 26 barrels of
powder which lay not above a foot under water in the carpenter's store room, which was
cleared for the same purpose. About 5 the castle fired several guns at the Falmouth, who
returned some to them again. About 8 the Dover anchored a little within the Falmouth
and the Laurel between the Arms of Holland and us. Little wind all night.
19th. Little or no wind stirring all morning 'til about 8, and then the sea breeze coming,
the fort began to fire at us and the rest. We returned the like salutation. They continued
with the castle 'til about 10, firing, and the Laurel, Dover, Falmouth and Arms of Holland,
but we fired only two guns. They shot [struck out: some shot] into the town, and the
fort over the ships. About 5 in the afternoon the fort began to fire again, but the General
sending order a little before, that we should fire no more guns but what needs must, none
of us answered them. Presently, after the General driving somewhat near, I went onboard
of him where I met with Capts. Crispin, Saunders, Story, and the General ordered us to
bring in an account tomorrow of all our liquors we have onboard. General Venables came
onboard the General this afternoon. They had some bickerings on Tuesday with the square
fort some three miles of the town, wherein Capt. Cutts, Capt. Jennings who commanded
I \ I' the reformados*, Capt. Cox who was their guide, and some others were slain. They wanted
water very much and were constrained thereby to retreat to Hind River to recruit. About
7, the wind coming off the shore, the General and the rest stood off to seaward.
20th. This morning the Dover, Arms of Holland and Falmouth warped out some 2 or 3
cables length. About 10, the fort fired 17 guns whereof 4 shot took place in the Laurel
but did no harm, blessed be God. We fired none, having order to the contrary. About
S.one in the afternoon, Capt. Crispin sending for me, I went onboard. There came likewise
S9Capt. Saunders, Capt. Story, and the master of the Falmouth. He told us it was the
General's desire we should send in an account of what hatchets, axes, and brownbills each
had, and to get them ground. We have but 6 brownbills, and no axes. We have likewise
8 tuns of water, and 3 of beverage, the account whereof I sent by Capt. Story who went
onboard the General. He likewise informed us it was the General's pleasure we should not
lie as a mark to be shot at, but to berth ourselves, if convenient, without the reach of
Their shot. About 4 I returned onboard. This morning the Grantham brought into the
fleet a pink of [blank] guns, whereof there were two commanders, one with a French,
and the other with a Holland's commission.
21 th. This morning early, according to the General's order by Capt. Crispin yesterday, we
tripped our anchor and fell a cable's length or two to the SW. Our anchor lies in 120 [sic]
fathoms of water. I lent Capt. Crispin, who stood in need thereof, a tun of water. Capt.
Crispin and the rest moved their station likewise. The enemy shot not today. Our army
Swedish Man-of War ca. 1630 has made no appearance as yet.
from Sjohistoriska Museum, Stockholm.
22th. Being Lord's day, little was done. We rode fast. The army are not to march from
Hind River 'til morning.
23th. About 8 in the morning, the General came in and anchored near us, a little to the
westward. There came in likewise the Vice-Admiral, Selby, Marston Moor, Gloucester,
Portland, Seahorse prize, from Hind River with water, etc. I went onboard the General
who was pleased to order me to get what water I could ready in hogsheads and barrels
against he sent for it. I returned and understood by the Cooper that we have but one
hogshead onboard and no quarter casks. I sent to know of Capt. Poole whether I should
get ready any punchions. He sent me word I should get as many as I could ready filled
against he would send for them.
24th. About 2 this afternoon there was a sign, vizt., a jack conbors21 put out on the
General's ensign staff, for the soldiers to march down to that sunny bay which was right
against22 him ashore. There was no appearance of the army this day. The Gillyflower,
Cardiff, and some prizes came from Hind and anchored here.
25th. About 8 in the morning the General hung out a flag of council. I went onboard. He
ordered some commanders to send match onboard the Gillyflower for the army, as also
that the commander should put out an ensign on the crosstrees of his topmast which
would be?] a sign to the army to march down to the waterside where they would
receive water (which he ordered each commander to get ready in their boats against the
signal was out, which would be a flag on his maintopmast shrouds, to be sent ashore in
the sandy bay) and all other necessaries which they wanted. We sent two tuns in the
Heartsease's longboat and 2 tuns in our own pinnace, which I sent to ride at the
Gillyflower's stern against the aforesaid signal was out. About 2 our army began to
appear. The fort Jeronimo fired several guns and an ambuscado of the enemie's. There
was some bickerings with them and our people now and then 'til about 9 at night. [[In
the margin: our men retreated again to the westward. We could see but one company
which passed by the savanna before the fort, they being forced back by [several lines
deleted] our own horse, who were before, and broke in amongst the foot, who were
thereby disordered.] ] The wind was off the shore all day.
26th. About 4 in the morning there was some skirmishing with our army and the enemy
about a mile to the westward of Fort Jeronimo. This morning the General sent one of the
sloops with a letter to the Rear-Admiral. About 7 she returned with an answer.
Commissioner Bull[er?] likewise came. He related how that many of our men were slain
the last night, amongst whom was the Major General, Haines. Many of our men played
the cowards and flung down their arms, etc. The whole army retreated to Hind River, etc.
It rained very hard tonight, and blew fresh northerly. [In the margin: this morne the
army retreated to Hind River, necessitated there unto with want, and where they burned
one carriage of the mortar piece and buried shells and they brought out 1 mortar piece.]
27th. About 6 this morning our General, with Commissioner Butler and Winslow went
onboard the Selby who was loose under sail, and bore away to leeward to Hind River to
consult with General Venables. (I pray God direct and council them for the best.)
Presently, the pendant being out, I went onboard the Swiftsure. Capt. Poole told me it
was the General's pleasure the whole fleet should go to half allowance, and ordered] me
to send for our pinnace, who lay these two nights onboard the Gillyflower with water for
the army if they could attain that sandy bay to the eastward [?] of Fort Jeronimo. Capt.
Poole took in 4 of our punchions of water that were in the Heartsease's longboat. [In the
margin: the Laurel and Cardiff weighed and went to Hind River.]
28th. About 8 in the morning the Swiftsure weighed. The Marston Moor, Gloucester,
Arms of Holland did the like. About noon, the two latter came to an anchor again. The
other lay too and again under sail. I received an order from Capt. Poole to put all our
empty cask onboard the Westergate, which I did, being 17 tuns, all ironbound. This
morning early, I sent our pinnace to leeward with a little bread and brandy for our men
and to see how they did. About noon they returned and informed how they were all well,
only Jonathon Webber, the corporal, was slain the last Wednesday. Mr. Colebanick [?]
being wounded, came onboard with them. About 6 in the afternoon the Swiftsure
anchored again in her old berth.
29th. This morning the General, General Venables, the Commissioners, etc., came
onboard the Swiftsure. About 2 in the afternoon, General Venables and the Commission-
ers went again to leeward to Hind River, where the army encamped, in the Martin. This
morning I sent our boat to the camp, the [clerk of the] cheque having desired her to go
and see his brother. About midnight they returned and brought three of our men that
were sick and not capable of marching. About 2 in the morning all the ships weighed and
stood off, except the Arms of Holland, the Falmouth, and we, who had orders to ride still.
30th. We ride still, the General and 6 or 7 lying to and again without, the rest of the fleet
at Hind River. No news of the army's marching. Towards evening, some showers of rain.
About 4 this afternoon, there rode out of town a troop of horse towards Fort Jeronimo.
1st. We ride still. A fresh gale most part of the day. No news of the army's marching.
The General, with 7 or 8 sail more, lay too and again, as before. A great deal of rain fell
2d. Little wind, with rainy and hazy weather all the morning. We ride as before, the
General and the rest plying too and again in the offing.
3d. Little wind, with rainy and hazy weather all the morning. Capt. Mills, who came
onboard his own ship last night, informed me he believed the whole army were shipped off
last night, but whither we should go was not known. The general voice was for Jamaica.
It was concluded by Capt. Story, Capt. Mills, and myself (we seeing all the fleet weighed
from a Dutch Model 1641.
and standing off from Hind Bay, the General and the rest as far to leeward as we could
well descry them) to weigh [interlineated: this night when the wind came off the shore]
and stand too and again, 'til we heard from the General, unless we should receive order for
the contrary, and to that end we began to weigh about 11 at night, and about 4 got up
our anchor. The Falmouth, and Arms of Holland doing the like. Little or no wind.
4th. About 9, we, driving with our foretopsail on the mast, came up with the Windhound,
with a letter from the General to Capt. Story. I went onboard of him, where I understood
by the said letter, it was the General's pleasure we should weigh and stand after the fleet
with all the haste we could, and in case we lost them, to repair for Jamaica. The fleet
lying muzzled, there being a council of war onboard the General, we came up with them
presently, after the receipt of this letter. I went onboard the Swiftsure where I met with
all the commanders of the fleet. We were ordered each to take in the same companies of
soldiers that we brought hither, to which end I immediately took Capt. Parsons and his
company from onboard the Halfmoon, our seamen likewise, from the Cock. We were
ordered [to report?] what soldiers, seamen and water we had onboard, what men and
arms we sent ashore and how many returned, that a pint of brandy be daily given to every
ten men, that all boats be mended with all speed and to fix all the soldiers' arms, that all
soldiers should have the same allowance with seamen, and that all care be taken to
[p] reserve love between them, that they [have] a supply of ammunition as before, and 3
days victuals at landing, etc. I returned an account of what I could in those particulars to
Capt. Poole. About 7 in the evening, when the General making sail, we followed him. I
had likewise an order from Capt. Poole to take 5 tuns of water out of the Seahorse, which
we did, save one punchion. [At] 8 at night, Nizao bore North, 4 leagues off. We steered
away S this night to get clear of the southward most point on Hispaniola.
5th. We steered away with an easy sail all day. About 8 in the morning, Alta Vela, an
island, bore north about 3 leagues off. A fresh gale all day. This day, it being so ordered
last night by the General, our men went to twoithirds allowance again, some bread of
which they have but half allowance.
6th. Being Lord's day, little was done. We steered away with an easy sail. At about
noon, Alta Vela bore [blank]. A fine fresh gale all day.
7th. Early this morning the General fired a gun and hung out a jack color on his ensign
staff. The Vice and Rear-Admirals did the like, which was a signal (as Capt. Poole
informed me, the 4th instant) for the whole fleet to set apart this day for to seek the Lord
in, to desire His owning presence may go along with us and bless us in all our undertakings,
etc., which was done onboard here, accordingly. The Lord, I hope, will pardon and
amend all the imperfections and defects therein, and for His mercy and loving kindness
sake own us, guide and protect us. Amen. At 6 in the afternoon, the island Boyne [le a
Vache?] bore North, nearest about 4 leagues distant.
8th. -At 8 in the morning, Cape Tybourne (Tiburon) being the westward most land on
the south side of Hispaniola, bore North, about 6 leagues off. A fresh gale all day at
9th. About 8 this morning we saw the eastward most part of Jamaica. It bore [blank].
Presently, after the General firing a gun and hanging out a flag of council, I went onboard.
He ordered us to get 3 days provisions for the soldiers, not reckoning the day of their
landing, likewise 1 day's allowance of brandy, 14 rounds of powder and shot, 6 yards of
match. All ships, if not drawing 12 feet of water, to follow the Martin. The rest to
anchor within the General's [blank].
10th. About 6 in the morning, the General luffed in near the shore. About 9, it proving
little wind, the General fired a gun to come to anchor, which most part of the fleet did.
It being foul ground, many lost their anchors. Among the rest, we had our cable cut,
whereof we lost about % and our anchor. About 10, the gale springing up, the General got
under sail and bore directly into the harbor. All the fleet followed, [the] General, and all
those ships that drew about 12 feet of water anchoring a little within the point. All the
rest followed the Martin 'til they came to the second point, [Lazaretto Point?] where most
of them ran aground, which we perceiving, anchored a little to the [blank] of them.
Presently after, the General coming by gave me order to weigh and stand in farther (upon
my desiring to know his honor's pleasure therein) which we did, but run aground, not
knowing the channel. Capt. Hubbert calling here onboard, I went into his boat to the
Martin, where the General was, and about whom all the boats in the fleet having soldiers
in, rode. Present[ly], after I had informed the General of our being aground, the Martin
weighed and all the small boats, with an intention to run ashore under the three forts who
had fired several guns, that were within the two ships which our men had possession of
[??]. But before we came, all the enemy had quitted the forts. Our men being landed, the
General came onboard our ship, where he stayed 'til 6 in the afternoon, and ordered me
to send and speak with all the boats and vessels to take in the soldiers that were in the
prizes aground and carry them ashore, which we did, and when I had sent our soldiers
away, then to get off and come to the fleet. Presently, after we got off our ship without
any harm (blessed be God), this night about 9 the Vice-Admiral came by our side and
ordered us to send a hogshead of water to the army, which was done accordingly.
1 th. Early this morning we weighed and towed our ship down to the fleet, it being little
wind. Presently, after we came to anchor, which was about 7, the General sent for me
to get our ship ready to careen by the Rosebush. He ordered Capt. Blake in the Gloucester
[to send] his carpenter to assist us. The Laurel, Portland, Dover, Arms of Holland,
Falmouth, Martin were to careen also. I came onboard and set our men to work. About
noon, the Gloucester's carpenter came, etc. This evening, having struck our topmasts and
yards, we hauled onboard the Rosebush. I went onshore to cut some boughs to burn our
ship.23 The General came by the ship and ordered [all?] to expedite their business.
12th. This morning, having got an order for ten fathoms of junk from the Adam & Eve,
we received it, as likewise a barrel of pitch from the Arms of Holland. About noon, the
Gloucester's men murmured about their victuals and would not work unless they had
extraordinary allowance. I had given them brandy in the morning and they had the same
as our own men. I went and acquainted the General therewith, who desired Capt. Blake
to see and inquire into the business, who presently came onboard, and having checked
them, returned. The men fell to their work again. They had done about 2/3 of the
starboard side. We had from the Adam & Eve a set of blocks. We hoisted our guns and
most of the bos'n's stores out this day.
13th. Being Lord's day, nothing was done. Capt. Mills, commander of the Falmouth, died
this day, about noon. I pray God fit us all for our change.
14th. We began to work before daylight. The Gloucester's men came onboard and brought
their own provisions, etc. There came likewise 16 seamen from the Mathias to assist us.
This afternoon the General came to our ship's side to see how our work went on, and
seemed angry because of our backwardness, which I informed him was occasioned through
our want of carpenters, etc. I borrowed the Gloucester's shallop to put our ballast in.
This day we got our ship clear, the carpenters made an end of the starboard side. I went
onboard of the General in the evening and got an order for a barrel of pitch from the Bear,
as likewise for half a hundredweight of lead and 1,000 lead nails and a careening pump out
of the Mathias, etc.24
15th. This morning the General went to town. It blew very fresh all day. Our carpenters
fell to work on the larboard side and made a floating stage. We intend, God willing, to
heave down tomorrow. We received all the particulars that I had an order for last night,
save the careening pump, which they said they had disposed of some time before. We had
two boatloads of dry canes come onboard to burn the ship withal.
16th. It blew so fresh and was so rainy that we could not possibly heave down this day,
though none [nor any?] of the rest, though they ride with us in smoother water. This
day the carpenters made an end of the larboard side. Capt. Poole sent onboard a sloop
to take in our flint stones which we having [had?] put before into the Gloucester's and
Mathias'two shallops. I sent the said sloop to get more burning stuff for us.
17th. This morning the Rear-Admiral called by our side and ordered Capt. Hodges and us
to warp in further, which we presently did. About 6 at night the Rosebush came and
lashed aboard of us. We reeved our tackles, etc., [and] fitted our ship to heave down in
the morning, it blowing so hard that could not do it this day.
18th. About 2 in the morning, we began to heave. We had 100 men from the Gloucester
besides as many carpenters. The ship came down very heavy and by reason of the
carpenter's negligence in leaving a shot-hole unplugged in the forecastle we had near 6 feet
of water in hold and were thereby constrained to righten the ship. Having finished one
side, we fitted her to heave down on the other in the morning and borrowed for that
purpose, to strengthen our mainmast which buckled much (as did the foremast), we
borrowed the Indian's davit, etc.
19th. About 9 this morning we began to heave down, the carpenters having not fitted the
bulkheads 'til then. The fit [?] of the tackle block, which was seized out of the middle
port of the Rosebush's gun deck, giving way, caused the jeer capstan to come up amain.
The minister's boy of the Rosebush was knocked overboard and drowned and one Robt.
Allen, belonging to this ship, was bruised in the skull but I hope will recover. The Lord
grant that we may be always fitted for our latter ends, etc. Our ship being righted again,
we took the tackle block and seized [it] in the hatchway about the mainmast and hove
again, and with much ado got her down within a foot of the keel, which we should have
seen above water, but did not dare to do it in regard of the badness of the mast, the fore-
mast being formerly wounded in 2 places near together and the mainmast being split from
the partners at the gundeck up about 3 feet above the upper deck. We tallowed this side
and got in our cables and some other things out of the Rosebush. This day, about noon,
there came in 3 ships, one called the Wm. [blank], the other the Recovery [half a line
blank], the last Capt. Lightfoot's prize, a small pink wherein were French and Dutch,
a man of war.
20th. Being Lord's day, nothing was done.
21th. This day we got in our ballast, guns and stores, with most of the bos'n's stores. Our
"Sovereign of the Seas"
The Sovereign's rig of 1637 as it appears in J. Payne's well-known engraving.
14. Spritsail topmast
16. Fore topmast stay
17. Fore topgallant stay
18. Fore royal stay
20. Main topmast stay
21. Main topgallant stay
22. Main royal stay
23. Mizzen stay
24. Mizzen topmast stay
Mizzen topgallant stay
Fairleads for the fore tacks
after Dutch model ca. 1650.
foremast was, by order from the General, surveyed'and cast [i.e., declared unfit]. We are
to have another out of the Falcon flyboat and for that purpose the General ordered Capt.
Fleete to get out all the masts he had onboard with all expedition. We sent our cooper
with 5 or 6 men to get some hoops this morning, but they did not return this night.
22th. This morning we got in all our guns, [and] sent our casks ashore to be trimmed. I
went onboard the General about our foremast. He said we should have his maintopmast,
if it were long enough. It wanted some 2 yards. He ordered me to send our boat to the
ship building for some 4 inch plant to head him [the maintopmast] and lengthen him,
which I did, and our carpenter with them. About ten at night, the cooper came and
brought about 300 hoops which he cut.
23th. Being onboard the General, he ordered his carpenter and Capt. Fenes to go and see
whether there were any masts onboard the Falcon flyboat that would fit us better than
his topmast. We went, but the least mast in her was too big to make us a mainmast. He
ordered us to go and take one out of any of the prizes. We went to the Arms of France
whose mainmast will serve, it being somewhat defective at the partners, but being fished25
will fit us. Capt. Poole ordered us a fish from the Heartsease. I sent men to unrig the
prize's mainmast and had order from Capt. Poole to Capt. Dare to heave it out. Capt.
Poole likewise lent us a sloop which I sent [interlineated: about 8 at night] with 8 tun of
cask to fill [with] water and our pinnace to help them, as also an order to get some beef
and bacon out of the Black Lion. We had some fish this day by order from the Steward
General out of the [obliterated] prize.
24th. This morning we hove out our foremast. The Tulip did the like as aforesaid, etc.,
and carried it with the fish from the Heartsease ashore. The carpenters fell to work on it
immediately. About 10 the General called a council of war. All commanders repaired. It
was concluded by all [interlineated: In regard our provisions fall short, and it's thought
the heavy sailers will not be any way useful to the army, whose request is that no more
should stay, etc.] that all the English frigates and the Arms of Holland, Falmouth, and this
ship, who were to be made men-of-war, should stay here, the rest to return home with all
speed, save the Falcon flyboat, Golden Falcon and Adam & Eve, who are to go for New
England for bread, both for [the] army and squadron that remains here. The Cardiff
likewise to go very speedily away for England with the Commissioners' letters; the
Martin to go over for Cartegena; the Arms of Holland and Falmouth for the Caymens
[Cayman Islands] to get turtle, etc. We had an order to bring in an account of our
victuals onboard of all sorts, to order the Surgeons and [Clerks of the] Cheque to bring
in an account what charge they have been at for the sick and wounded soldiers, what
stores each ship has for use of the fleet and army, that all ammunition, etc., belonging to
the army be put onboard the [deleted: Arms of France] White Swan prize, that all coals,
iron and smiths' instruments be put onboard the said White Swan, that the [Clerks of the]
Cheque be ordered not to dispose of any clothes before the State's clothes be distributed,
as they answer the contrary.
25th. The carpenters were about the mast. They told me they should not use the great
fish for it would be big enough about the partners, so that they will only fish it with 2
inch planks. This evening, the Discovery, being hauled away from the Swiftsure's side,
whose lower tier of guns and most of her provisions she had taken in, about 7 in the
afternoon was accidently fired by drawing of brandy which, they could not, after all
means use, extinguish, all the boats in the fleet went to their assistance and towed her
aground upon the point to the westward, but the land breeze coming, she drove again into
the bay and there went ashore on the bank, but did not long continue before she blew
up, having 120 barrels of powder. The Lord, of his mercy, sanctify this, His fatherly
affliction, to us, etc. [In the margin: We had some 2 inch plank of the carpenter of the
Swiftsure to case our mast.]
26th. This morning the General sent several boats to see whether they could find the hull
of her or any guns, but [upon] the coming they could do no good therein. The General
was very ill. Capt. Wilkes [of the Discovery] came onboard with me and took up his
quarters. Our mast was almost finished this day.
27th. Being Lord's day, little was done.
28th. By order of Capt. Poole, I had 11 tuns of casks [formerly belonging to?] the
Discovery. We filled our water. We got our foremast in, etc., and we received some
provisions out of the Rosebush, etc. completing our stores to?] 4 months, etc.
29th. Capt. Story, Mr. Greer [?] and myself had order to take the Discovery's men
between us to complete our number. They were divided. I had 22 of them. Most of them
came onboard. Our foremast was rigged and topmast got up, etc. We filled some water
and got in our provisions out of the Rosebush.
30th. This night there came in a small vessel from Barbados. We were getting our water
and provisions out of the Rosebush, etc.
31th. This morning the Little Charity arrived here. She had been in Ireland and missed
Barbados. She brought Capt. Jones and part of his troop that were left at Portsmouth.
No news of the Great Charity more than that she, being put out to sea, sprung a leak and
put into Plymouth where she is laid up, being not found fit to proceed this voyage. They
got up one of the Swiftsure's brass guns which were sunk in the Discovery. We were
getting in our water and provisions, etc.
1st. We were getting in our provisions and water this day. We heeled our ship and
tallowed between the bends.
2d. I received an order for 2 demi-culverins and 2-12 Is. [pounders?] out of the Cock
with all things belonging to them, etc. We got in all our provisions from the Falcon
flyboat and some water in.
3d. Being Lord's day, nothing was done.
4th. This morning here arrived the Augustine and Edward from Barbados with provisions
for the fleet and army. The first had the Pelican prize's provisions, etc. I waited on Capt.
Poole for an order to get what stores which we wanted to complete what we have. We got
in all the abovementioned guns and materials out of the Cock, etc.
5th. We got some water onboard and waited for an order to get our bos'n's and carpenter
stores onboard, but could get none. Capt. Poole promised I should have ours tomorrow,
6th. Early this morning the Cardiff set sail for England with the Generals' and
Commissioners letters. I pray God go along with her and remain with us here.
7th. I went to the town of Santiago [Villa de la Vega], the [sic]
8th. I received an order from the Vice-Admiral to be ready to sail this evening.
9th. It pleased the General to give me a commission to command the Bear, Capt. Ketcher
going into the Mathias, Capt. Kelsey into the Laurel, and Capt. Crispin to be commissioner
for providing of provisions in New England. Capt. Powell had likewise a commission to
command the Hound. And this morning there was a council of war onboard the General
concerning the exchange of the Paragon's brass guns for the Torrington's, the Vice-
Admiral being to stay here in her. It was concluded that they should [be exchanged?].
This evening I went to take possession of the Bear. I pray the Lord to accompany me with
His owning presence. Amen. This morning the Falmouth and a brigantine set sail to
cruise to and again in the sea.
10th. This morning early, the Dover, Arms of Holland and Hound set sail for the Caymens
to get turtle. It being the Lord's day, little was done.
1 th. We filled some water. And had 6 tuns of casks out of the Strong Rowland, etc.
12th. We filled what water we could and delivered some of our stores, etc.
13th. We filled all the casks we had.
14th. I got an order for 6 tuns of water out of the Heartsease. We heeled and tallowed the
ship between wind and water. We sent for water, etc.
15th. This day the Martin frigate came in, etc.
16th. This morning we loosed our foretopsail, the General and all the ships that were to
depart herehence. About 8 the General hung out a flag of council. Capt. Wilkes's business
was debated and he was cleared, being not found blameworthy in the ship's being burned,
all the fault being in John Gall, who drew the brandy, etc. Capt. Wilkes and his Master,
having put in articles against each other, were tried. The Master was cashiered for signing
false tickets. The captain being charged by the Master, that he gave order for the making
of them it was thought fit they both should go home to clear themselves, and it was
[interlineated: humbly] left to the General to give him a command homeward, his ship
being designed for New England. The Master of the Strong Rowland was to be ducked
and to go through the fleet with a rope about his neck for abusing the Vice-Admiral, to
whom it was left to extenuate this punishment. We filled our water and sent what stores
we could aboard the Arms of France. The General desired all the commanders that were
bound home to be ready next Monday. This day [blank] Greene going ashore with some
others to kill a cow, was left behind and supposed to be lost.
17th. Being Lord's day, nothing was done.
18th. We sent our boat for water. I delivered the seine to Capt. Newberry. This day
there arrived the K[ing?] David from Barbados, Mr. [blank].
After painting 1665.
19th. Capt. Wilkes was ordered to command the Little Charity, Capt. Tubb26 going
ashore to command a foot company. Capt. Samuel Howard had likewise a commission
for the Falcon flyboat, Capt. Tickle being laid aside 'til he could clear himself of the false
tickets, etc. This morning Mr. Tho. Lawes, the General's secretary, died and was buried.
Capt. Poole this afternoon sent for a tun of ironbound cask, etc., to get beer from the
Augustine for the General.
20th. We filled what cask we had with water. The Rear-Admiral ordered us to be ready
to sail early in the morning. The bos'n delivered the shallop and Hound's old pinnace to
Mr. Ross onboard the Marston Moor.
21th. This morning, the sea breeze blowing hard, we stirred not, etc. [In the margin: To
go home: Swiftsure, Paragon, Lion, Mathias, Bear, Indian,Convertine,Heartsease, Halfmoon,
Rosebush, Gillyflower, Sampson, Westergate, Little Charity, Marigold, Cock, Tulip. For
New England: Falcon flyboat, Falcon, Adam & Eve. The rest to stay.]
22th. About 2 in the morning we made ready to weigh, which we did about 5, it being
little wind, and towed our ship (as all the rest did) about a mile to the southward of the
point. About 7, the sea breeze coming, and blowing hard, the General and all were con-
strained to anchor under the 2nd island. We sent in our boat with 3 empty hogsheads to
exchange for full ones, which they did, with the Portland. It blew very hard all day and
23th. It blew so hard that we were forced to lie still.
24th. It blew so hard out of the sea that we could not lead it out, it being Lord's day.
25th. About break of day, the land breeze coming, we began to weigh, the General firing
a warning piece, and about 6 we got under sail and, blessed be God for it, got safe through,
and all the fleet, save the Marigold and the Goodfellow (the last of which was a New
England man which the General freighted at Barbados to bring soldiers to this place)
which both ran ashore on the small island to the westward of the Narrow Gut going out
of the South Channel. About 6, the westward end of Jamaica bore NW about 7 leagues
off. A fresh gale easterly all day.
26th. Little wind all the morning 'til towards noon and then a fresh gale with rain. Calm
all the afternoon. At 6, the west end of Jamaica bore NbyE about 4 leagues off. Little
wind all night. This day our men went to half allowance.
27th. Early we saw three sail which proved to be the Dover, Arms of Holland and Hound
who had been at the Caymens aturtling, of which they got good store. The General, about
8, fired a gun and hung out a flag. I went onboard. He was pleased to desire us to keep
company, but in case of separation, to repair with all speed for Portsmouth and he was
resolved to touch at the Caymens, and for that purpose, he sprung his Coofe [sic]. At 6
in the morning the northward point of the west end of Jamaica bore E some 8 leagues off.
About noon the three ships stood away for Jamaica, and we for the Caymens. A fresh gale
28th. This morning the General bore away, being not minded to touch at the Caymens,
which bore, at 8, [blank] some 10 leagues off, by judgement. We steered away NW. A
fine gale all day and night. [obliterated line: Saw several small islands which we supposed
were the keys of Cuba.27 In the margin: this afternoon we had but 7 fathom line, etc.]
29th. This morning about 9, we spied the highland of Cuba to the NW of the Cayman
Major. It bore NNE about 10 leagues off. The General went away SWbyS.
30th. A small gale all day. We saw and sailed by many small flat islands which we
supposed to be the keys of Cuba.
Hereafter, the journal becomes the chronicle of a very slow passage homeward.
After sighting the Isle of Pines the next day, Rooth records five days of alternating calms
and contrary winds. Cape Antonio was rounded on July tenth, and as the fleet turned
northward, Penn summoned his captains to a council onboard Swiftsure where he ordered
that the next Friday be set aside as a day of prayer for God's blessing on their voyage and
of thanksgivingfor past mercies. At about noon on that Friday, the thirteenth (!) of July,
the Paragon frantically signaled for assistance, and was soon seen to be afire. Rooth sent
his pinnace to help rescue the crew of the unfortunate ship, but the blaze was so intense
that the combined boats of the fleet had to stand off forcing Paragon's crew to perish in
the flames or risk drowning as they swam to the circling boats. At about three in the
afternoon, the pinnace returned to Bear with three survivors, and shortly thereafter, the
flames reaching her magazine, Paragon's agony ended. The survivors told Rooth that all
hands had been mustered on deck for prayer when the fire broke out, apparently in the
steward's cabin, and by the time it was detected the entire 'tween-decks was alight. The
remnant of Paragon's crew were distributed about the fleet and the day of prayer and
thanks was postponed a week.
For the next several days a succession of calms and east winds kept the ships tacking
between Cuba and the keys of Florida, their course made good only as the current bore
them toward the maze of the Bahamas. In such circumstances the fleet began to straggle
andPenn was hard put to retain communication and control. Just as he should have come
within sight of the Bahamas, on July twentieth, Rooth once again ceased writing in his
journal. Though he left a whole page blank, obviously intending to fill it in at leisure, he
never did, and his account does not resume until six weeks have passed. Then, on August
twenty-ninth, with the General and most of the fleet just in sight ahead, he records
another interesting event. Early in the morning, most of the fleet was seen to turn north-
ward, as if in pursuit. In the afternoon, Rooth met with three vessels of the fleet which
had in tow a Greenland pink of about 200 tons found shot-holed below the waterline, her
hold flooded, and utterly deserted. He was given to understand that the pink had been
taken by a Turkish corsair which, upon sighting the fleet, had relinquished her prize and
fled with Penn and three other ships giving chase. As night came on, the deepsea lead was
dropped and gave a sounding of seventy fathoms, sandy bottom with cockle shells and
small dark grains like mustard seeds. Early next morning, another sounding gave sixty-
three fathoms, small pebbles and "brandy sand", from which he deduced that Bear was
fifteen leagues SW of the Lizard. At eight o 'clock another sounding led him to assert that
he was seven leagues SW of that point, and one hour later, the Lizard was seen five leagues
NE, a very accurate landfall made solely on the basis of soundings. He soon met with one
of the frigates patrolling the mouth of the Channel, and fell in with the General and others
at six o'clock in the morning on August thirty-first. By sunset all were at anchor at
Spithead where they found the other half of the fleet already arrived.
The sick were soon sent ashore and fresh stores began to be brought onboard. Penn
departed overland for London on the fifth of September, leaving orders for Swiftsure,
Bear,and four others to sail round to Chatham, the rest of the fleet to go to the dockyards
on the Thames. On his way to the Downs in company with Swiftsure, Rooth encountered
a group of Dutch colliers bound from Newcastel to Rouen who neglected to render the
expected salute as they passed. He sent off his launch which returned with two of the
skippers from whom he demanded an explanation. This matter, of foreign vessels striking
their topsails when meeting with an English man-of-war in the waters about Great Britain,
was a source of continuous friction. The opening shots of the First Dutch War (1652-
54) had been exchanged over this nicety, and though the Dutch had consented to observe
it by the Treaty of Westminster (April 1654), they most frequently neglected to do so.
In the event, the skippers' excuses were lame, but Rooth soon let them go, no doubt
mindful that a favorable wind and tide were being wasted over a trifle. After rounding
the North Foreland on the ninth, Rooth spent an exasperating week clawing up the
Thames against strong headwinds which, together with tides and currents, frequently
forced him to anchor for periods as long as sixteen hours. On the fourteenth of September,
endeavouring to reach the mouth of the Medway, he made his last entry in the journal.
His activities over the ensuing five months cannot be clearly traced. Bear was
reported to be at Chatham on October fourth, and a survey of ships there, made on
October twenty-sixth, shows that she was in need of little repair.28 By the middle of
February 1656, Bear was listed among the squadron operating out of the Downs, together
with Dartmouth,and it is possible that by then Rooth had taken command of the latter.29
I. See my forthcoming article on the place of the Western Design in the Protector's imperial scheme
in the May 1972 number of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society Journal.
2. Calendar of State Papers, Domestic 1655-56, pp. 402, 511; Public Record Office (London),
S. P. 18/133, no. 126; Adm. 2. 1730, folio 58 b; S. P. 18/157 A. no. 94; British Museum, Add. MSS.
9305, ff. 134 b, 181, 204 b, 224; Carte MSS. 73, ff. 70, 74.
3. John Charnock, Biographia Navalis (London, 1794), vol. I, pp. 28-29. The Swiftsure of the
Western Design was captured by the Dutch in 1666. A new ship of that name, with seventy guns, was
commissioned in 1673; R. C. Anderson, English Ships, 1650-1700 (London, 1935), pp. 12 and 31.
4. Readers wishing to acquaint themselves with the general history of the Western Design may
refer to Mr. S. A. G. Taylor's Western Design. An Account of Cromwell's Expedition to the Caribbean
(Kingston, Jamaica, 1965); William Laird Clowes's The Royal Navy, A History, vol. 11 (London 1898),
pp. 203-208, or S. R. Gardiner, History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate, 1649-1656 (various
editions), chapters XXXIV and XLV.
5. For ships names, their commanders, and the guns they bore, see the appended list from the
journal of Penn's clerk.
6. Robert Venables, commander of the land forces. John Desbrough, Admiralty Commissioner,
Francis Willoughby, Navy Commissioner; M. Oppenheim, A History of the Administration of the
Royal Navy (London, 1896) p. 347.
7. i.e., Penn.
8. Within the "Journal of Every Days Proceedings . ." referred to in the Introduction, there are
tabular entries of winds, courses, and distances sailed each day. These commence with December
thirtieth, are kept with regularity through January nineteenth, and then lapse into consecutive dates
with only blank spaces beside them until January 29th when Barbados is reported in sight. Perhaps
Rooth, as lieutenant of the Swiftsure, made these tabular entries, and it is to this that he refers here.
This supposition is conditional, however, for the narrative which accompanies the tabular entries is in
a hand other than Rooth's, the writer's style is at variance with his, and some of the narrative is in
French, which Rooth never uses in his journal. I believe that the narrative was penned by Penn's
secretary, Thomas Lawes (see entry for June nineteenth, below), while the tabular entries were made
by Rooth who, as a sailor, would perhaps have been more cognizant in matters of winds and courses
than the secretary.
9. Presumably Venables, Edward Winslow, and Gregory Butler. These three, together with Daniel
Searle, already governor of Barbados, had been appointed commissioners to "order and manage the
affairs of this Commonwealth in America" by Cromwell. W. C. Abbott, Writings and Speeches of
Oliver Cromwell (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1927-1947) vol. I1I, p. 542.
10. From Rooth's abbreviation "shp" and the quantity of sugar mentioned, which at 3d. the pound
(see entry for March 26th), would be worth 125, I believe that the entry refers to the sale of a prize
vessel to Col. Yeomans, either by Rooth on his own behalf or as agent for Penn.
11. Asinego; a small ass, donkey.
12. That is, at auction.
13. Rooth, as should already be apparent, was intent upon lining his pockets, and those of his
relations. Try as I may, I cannot decipher the shorthand he employed here and in later entries. But
see entries for 28 March, below, and 1 and 17 February, above, for "Po[ole? ."
14. Saker: a gun intermediate between a culverin and a falconet, firing a six pound shot.
15. An officer appointed by the Navy Commissioners. Somewhat like a purser, he was responsible
for the ship's stores, victuals, etc.
16. See my introduction for his probable connection to Rooth.
17. Modern le des Saintes.
18. In this instance, Rooth's shorthand is just early decipherable. I take this passage to record a
narrow escape from tragedy when two vessels, one probably Hound, nearly came into collision.
19. i.e., hove to.
20. In the light airs, Rooth was finding it difficult to bring his ship about to the other tack.
21. Or "converse", reversed (?).
22. Nearest, or abreast, of the ship.
23. The customary practice to kill shipworm was to scorch the planks below the waterline.
24. From the nature of Rooth's preparations, the work of the next several days consisted of rolling
the ship as far over as possible (careening) in order to inspect and repair the lead seating on her
bottom. This necessitated removing almost everything within the hull, dismantling most of her rigging,
and taking purchase on a suitable object with a very heavy tackle. Though the vessel thus became
virtually a hollow shell, the task called for much effort and was fraught with hazards, as the account
25. That is, pieced together from two lengths of timber placed end to end and the joint reinforced
with lateral timbers, like splints.
26. Presumably Robert Heytubb, or Hartlib.
27. The Archipelago de los Canarreos. See entry for June 30th.
28. National Maritime Museum, MSS. Adl/l/c; Public Record Office, S.P. 18/101, no. 90, 1.
29. Ibid., S.P. 18/133, no. 126.
A List of the Vessels Under the Command of Admiral William Penn in the Western Design.*
Adam & Eve
Arms of Holland
William Garrat [sic]
*From National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, MSS. Wyn/10/2. Spelling modernized. A contem-
poraneous list shows that Hound and Falmouth each bore twelve guns, and that the former was
commanded by Jonathan Hyde. Public Record Office, London, S. P. 25/75, p. 413.
~L! --1L- 1
-I-- : ,i
by Patrick Bryan*
*Mr. Bryan is a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona
Campus, specializing in Latin American history.
In seeking to explain Castro's Cuba, Hugh Thomas informs
us in his preface (xxi), there was a compelling urge to go well
into the annals of Cuban history as far back as 1762 when the
British captured Havana. The result has been a volume on
Cuban history extending over 1696 pages, including fourteen
Appendices, a Glossary, a Bibliographical note, a General
Bibliography, statistical tables, photographs, maps, and an
ample index. Certainly from the point of view of Bibliography
which includes both primary and secondary sources in English,
Spanish, and French covering over 700 titles, the work of Hugh
1. Published by Eyre & Spottiswood, London 1971
Thomas is at least worth a glance. In his work, however,
Thomas also makes effective use of interviews with people
who have at one time or the other been involved in the Cuban
Revolution. He sensibly rejects the notion that history must
only be written from moth-eaten documents years after the
protagonists are dead and can no longer reply, much less defend
themselves. Obviously, the latter part of the work dealing with
the Batista and Castro regimes cannot be regarded (at least not
yet) as definitive, but there seems to be no obvious reason why
Cuban twentieth century history should not at least begin to
be put into some form of historical perspective.
The general treatment of Thomas's history consists of a
rather uncomfortable alliance of strict chronology and treat-
ment by themes. In several instances this treatment leads to
repetition. There are also too many short chapters which do
not necessarily have to stand alone as chapters, but could be
readily incorporated into other chapters. But the work is
readable generally. The sub-title of the book "The Struggle
for Freedom" is certainly not developed thematically, and
Thomas does not make very clear the link or links between
Castro's Cuba and Cuba before Castro. From the text, how-
ever, it can be gathered that the links between Cuba and the
United States, the plantation economy, the Negro in Cuba,
provide important continuities in Cuban history. His declara-
tion, (p.1492) that "the long shadows of past habits stretch
across the most radical reforms, either blacking them out or
giving them quite different colours" may have been one at-
tempt to see modem Cuba in the light of that country's past.
In the course of the work Thomas discusses the development
of the plantation in Cuba, slavery and its abolition, the in-
creased economic ties between Cuba and the United States, the
decline of Spain's political influence and economic strength in
Cuba and the Cuban War for Independence between 1868-78,
the second war for independence in 1895 directed by the
heroic figure of Jose Marti (not ignoring the latter's anti-
Americanism), the U.S. Protectorate over Cuba (pros and
cons), the Machado dictatorship, the development of military
influence in Cuban politics, the rise of Batista, labour in Cuba,
Castro's struggle against Batista, and the details of Castro's
regime. He touches upon such themes as the meaning of
Cuban "culture", Afro-Cuban folklore, and demonstrates the
importance of Cuba in the Cold War.
It is obviously impossible to deal with so large a work in a
few pages, but there are certain points raised by Thomas which
should at least be noted. In the economic sphere Thomas is
acutely aware of the parallels between the Cuban plantation
economy and the similar economy of the British Caribbean.
The establishment of the slave trade and slavery to service the
growing sugar plantations, the increased prosperity of Cuba
precisely because of slavery, the debate as to whether free
labour would not be more economical and more efficient, the
the economic over the humanitarian motive in the abolition
of slavery all these points which bear strong resemblances
to the British Caribbean scene are discussed by Thomas. Even
in the importation of Chinese labour there is a relationship
between the Cuban and British-Caribbean economy. Cuba,
like its sister islands, has always been a victim of world market
conditions, and indeed Castro for all his charisma and
caudillismo cannot change that. Indeed Thomas concludes,
The Caribbean seaboard, like the Mediterranean, has common
economic problems and common traditions; a fact which
those who come from the region continue to appreciate in
defiance of remote bureaucracies in distant capitals . .
However, in spite of these traditions which are economic in
nature (and partly cultural), "Castro has affirmed Cuba's
cultural Spanish and Spanish-American links, rather than her
economic Caribbean ones.. ." (p.1434). And in questioning
the present policies of Cuba, Thomas concludes, interestingly
Yet in the long run it is hard to see how any of the islands
of the Antilles can ever achieve political freedom unless
they do so in common with each other, and here the black
and African tradition in Cuba is certain to be the most
resilient, in contrast with the endless rhetoric of the
Spanish-American revolutionary tradition.
Another vital link with the Caribbean is the presence of a
substantial black population in Cuba. Thomas sallies into the
controversy regarding whether 'Latins' treated their slaves more
kindly, and rather sensibly concludes that it amounts to a
waste of time (p.281). In Chapter XXIV, "The End of Slavery",
which deals not so much with the process whereby slavery
came to an end but more with the situation of Cuba at the
end of slavery, Thomas confounds us with a series of mightts,
"probablys","it is inconceivables". "Probably a majority of
them (slaves) were already slaves in Africa beforehand"' "It is
not inconceivable that many Africans ... offered a possibility
of being fed and housed in return for labour, might have actually
chosen to go to America." He seems rather uncertain about
his data here. Also it is not altogether clear from Thomas why
"Africans might also have generally preferred to have been
slaves to Europeans than to Arabs ... It is also irrelevant (to
a slave who was given the choice of going to America) that "the
food available to nineteenth-century sugar workers in Cuba
was superior to that available to nineteenth-century workers in
industrial conditions in England" (p.283).
The author is, however, well aware of the survival of
African culture in Cuba, and in a number of chapters (XIII,
XLIII, XCI), he gives a fairly composite picture of African
survivals in Cuba, including religion, folklore, music and dance.
Negroes were extremely important in the Wars of Independence,
and certainly Maceo's army in 1895 was principally Negro.
(Maceo was himself a Negro, and this fact would explain in
part the composition of his army). In spite of the role of
Negroes in Cuban history, it is significant that their role in
politics has tended to decline and that in spite of the Revolution
"older racial prejudices and habits, attitudes of subservience by
Negroes as of arrogance by whites, seem to continue." (p.1433)
In spite of the fact that, according to a survey by Maurice
Zeitlin in 1962,80% of Negroes in contrast to 67% whites were
for the Castro regime, there is a minority of Negroes who have
General Maximo Gomez (1838-1905)
JoseAntonio Maceo (1849-1896)
expressed disillusionment with the Castro regime or have run
into trouble with the Castro regime. Thus Walterio Carbonell,
a Negro Communist, has "already spent some time in a camp
of rehabilitation on the ground that his folkloric investigations
had racist overtones" (p.1433).Carlos Moore, a black Cuban
Communist, has described the Cuban revolution as "a victory
of the white national bourgeoisie... (p.1433).
Under the pen of Hugh Thomas the Batista regime looks far
milder than it has been made out to be in the past, though of
course Batista certainly refused an offer made by the U.S.
Ambassador (Gardner) that an agent of the F.B.I. or of the
C.I.A. be sent to the Sierra Maestra to assassinate Castro. He is
pictured as a man who wrongly relied on the advice of the least
intelligent of the military corps, and who appeared incapable
of suppressing the machinations of the sinister General
Tabernilla. Thomas goes into great detail on the struggle of
Castro to attain power, the financial resources of Castro
obtained from Venezuela later an arch-enemy of the Cuban
regime the stories of betrayal, torture by Batista, the civil
action movement in the cities, terrorism by those disillusioned
with Batista, the steady accumulation of support by Castro
from most of the institutions in Cuba including the Roman
Catholic Church, the political and military tactics of the
guerillas including the formation of a kind of sub-society in the
hills with its own school, lecture-hall, leather factory, armoury,
bread-ovens, hospital etc. He points to the growing weakness
of Batista's regime, particularly because of dissension between
military men the tanquistas who were angling for a total-
itarian regime such as Rafael Trujillo's was, and the puros,
younger army officers who were anti-Batista. Furthermore,
the contrast between Castro's relatively mild treatment of
prisoners and Batista's tactics of torture and murder made
Castro not only a hero in Cuba but internationally reputable.
Above all, however, is the intellectual evolution of "Che"
Guevara and Fidel Castro, and the relationship between Castro
and the Communists. He makes it clear that Castro had no
blue-print for the new Cuba he hoped to create, but that he
was unwilling in spite of meetings with communists in Mexico
and in the Sierra Maestra to work closely with the Communist
Party. He emphasises, too, that the communists were at first
reluctant to associate with Castro, but were themselves
influenced to work with Castro because of Batista's repressive
tactics against them.
It is clear, in his analysis of events in Castro's Cuba, that
Hugh Thomas prefers to see a country with parliamentary
institutions, freedom of speech, and he questions what he
terms the arbitrary system of justice in Cuba, in which, so to
speak, Castro often appears as witness and jury. Not
surprisingly, he concludes (p.1487) that "the Cuban Revolu-
tionary Government is hence an experiment whose moral, not
whose example, needs to be borne in mind by others" (p.1487).
And he nervously states (p.1486), "the question, therefore,
whether these achievements have been worth the candle is
likely to be subjective". While describing the Castro regime as
despotic, ruthless, he also sees it as a 'popular despotism' "with
many remarkable social reforms to its credit, and which,
whatever label is given to it, represents a serious challenge to
the liberal society" (p.1492). Fearing to make what he might
conceive of as a subjective judgement, Thomas satisfies himself
with stating what seems to be the arguments on either side.
The manner in which this ancient university (Havana) lost
its liberties was deplorable. Nevertheless, these liberties in
the past had led so often to licence, its institutional fabric
was so rotten with politics and gang warfare, that mere
reform could arguably never have altered the fundamental
On the question of the international reactions to Cuba's
experiment, he is doubtful that the Russians under Khrushchev
were very eager to accept the 'blandishments' of the Cubans.
He sees Russia's interest as stemming from the crisis over the
U.2 incident, when it became clear that a detente between the
United States and the U.S.S.R. appeared unlikely; that in fact
Khrushchev would have liked Castro to be another Nasser. He
Cult dancers in Bayamo, Cuba 1950
Cult dancers in Ndhiigo procession in Cuba
Devil'figure in Ndnigo cult in Cuba
'Little devil' figure in Ndniigo cult in Cuba
criticizes the idea that Castro's Cuba turned to communism
because of the sugar policy of the United States, though he
does state that the Cubans needed the Russian market to sell
their surplus sugar after the U.S. reduced the sugar quota. The
large oil-companies appear less greedy and 'imperialistic' than
usual, for, argues Thomas, the companies were about to agree
(albeit reluctantly) to refine Russian oil, but their reluctance
stemmed from the fact that a concession to Castro would have
been damaging to Venezuela. The impression is that political
pressures from the U.S. forced the oil companies to turn down
Castro's demand, in spite of their own wish to concede to
Castro. He queries the ambivalence of U.S. policy towards
Cuba, but generally regards the policy as 'on the level', while
Cuba was bent on 'playing games' with the yanquis. After
rejecting the notion that U.S. sugar policy forced Cuba into the
Soviet orbit, and a communist system, he suggests that Castro
desired "to 'alienate' the United States and then (planned) to
socialize Cuba in consequence" (p.1060). He appears to have
accepted the notion that "Castro's desire to challenge the U.S.,
if not hatred of it, appears to have been deeply based", and he
introduces in a footnote a most interesting quotation from
It was not Castro's predilection for Communism but his
pathological hatred of the American power structure as he
believed it to be . in Cuba that led him eventually into
the Communist camp. (p.1060, footnote)
Thomas has attempted to ignore certain questions introduced
from as early as 1964 by Robert Scheer and Maurice Zeitlin,
(Cuba an American Tragedy, Penguin, 1964, p.261). In some
respects Thomas is similar to his American counterparts:
Generally, Cuba's critics in the United States have seen fit
to remonstrate about forms parties, elections, separation
of powers -but have not been willing to grapple with the
problems or at least recognize them as valid of socialist
democracy. Are economic planning and government owner-
ship of the means of production compatible with the
traditional separation of powers, or with a parliamentary
system? Can a free press be guaranteed when there is no
private ownership, and how? How are the technical require-
ments of expertise and authority in a planned economy to
Drummer using the 'French drum' in Cuba.
be reconciled with popular election of government
Thomas, in his search for 'impartiality' and 'objectivity'
often becomes ambiguous. In his discussion of whether Cuba
would have been better served as an autonomous state within
the Spanish Empire he writes (p.380), "in the long term
autonomy . would perhaps have been the solution to
guarantee a permanent political and economic structure in
Cuba better designed than independence to secure a consist-
ently rising standard of living, accompanied by cultural and
social homogeneity". But, (p.413) "the trouble however was
that there was no real long-term solution to the problem of
Cuba within the Spanish Empire...". Earlier in the text (p.30)
Thomas writes, "Such plantations were usually maintained to
produce sugar only. There was no thought of diversification.
Rarely even was food grown to feed the slaves .. ". But (p.63)
"Whereas in the past some sugar mills had been almost self-
sufficient growing some maize and vegetables burning their
own woods, killing their own cattle the new ones were often
dependent on provisions from outside..."
There are also a couple of errors, some of them printer's
errors beyond a doubt. On page 1057 enterprisess' should no
doubt read 'enterprises' and on page 1285 the date '1969' must
be wrong. Also slavery was not abolished in Brazil in 1890 as
Thomas states on page 279, but in 1888 by LeiAurea.
All in all, however, this should be an extremely useful work
for all interested in the History of Cuba.
RT. EXCELLENT NORMAN WASHINGTON MANLEY
Situated in Victoria Square, Kingston.
STA TUE BY AL VIN MARRIOTT
Photo Derek Jones
by Majorie Davidson
Mrs. Davidson was educated at the University of St. Andrew in Scotland and at Cambridge.
She is at present a Fruit Crop Agronomist with The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The words have an euphemistic ring,
but the former is a native of the Old
World, while the latter is indigenous to
the New. Both are favourites in Jamaica
and we have chosen the naturalized
foreigner as an emblem instead of the
The scientific name for ackee is Blighia
sapida; it is believed that seeds were
brought to the Island by African slaves,
but it is not known that the fleshy aril*
was eaten as a food in Africa. Reputedly,
the seeds were beaten to a pulp and
thrown into fishing rivers where they acted
as a narcotic on the fish, and these were
caught as they rose to the surface.
By what stages the aril became used as
a food is unknown, but its favourite
position in our diet led to the canning and
exporting of 100 cases to Canada by
DaCosta Brothers around 1954. Later the
trade was extended to Britain, which
proved an even more lucrative market.
Since then, the processors have found this
a profitable export and the output has
grown, but figures are not available as it is
included with other canned vegetables and
not classed separately in Trade Statistics.
Exporters complain that it is impossible
to obtain sufficient to meet the demand,
and it is the opinion of one that if the
situation does not improve shortly our
market abroad will disappear as the newer
generation of West Indians become acclim-
atized to the foods of their adopted land.
Two kinds "are widely recognized,
"hard" or "cheese", and "soft" or "butter"
ackees; as plants seldom come true to
seed, the variation between the two types
is infinite. Until they are grown from
selected material, proper standardization
of the canned product is impossible,
though with the development in prepara-
tion of pastes and "dips" by the Jamaica
Industrial Development Corporation Food
Technology, the breaking up of the arils
in processing is not so important as
formerly, as these can be used as a by-
In the past, little scientific work was
done on this "crop" which is grown mainly
in house compounds, in fence rows, and
wild in sub-marginal land on the Southern
side of the Island. Some years ago, the
Agricultural Development Corporation
planted a grove at Vernamfield, and in
1967 work was started by the Ministry
of Agriculture & Lands, Crop Agronomy
Division, to select for good canning
material from this. The Jamaica Industrial
Development Corporation, Food Techno-
logical Department, assisted in this work
by processing the samples submitted.
These were graded by the Bureau of
Standards and about 50 "Mother" trees
were selected from Vernamfield grove and
elsewhere. In these, the processed arils
were classed as "Fancy" or highest grade,
in "Wholeness", appearance, flavour and
texture in the processed pack.
Vegetative propagation, to insure the
continued quality of the "Mother" trees
was the next stage, but ackees had never
been propagated by any other way than by
seed. In 1968, Orange River Experimental
Station was successful in rooting branch
tips, under mist and polyethelene sheets.
Since then, the work has been carried on
by the Hope Agronomy Nursery, but the
percentage of success is still very low and
the problem is not yet solved.
At most experimental sites, the rooted
cuttings are not proving as hardy as seed-
lings, and shade in the early stages appears
*Yellow edible part of the fruit.
The Ackee Fruit and Leaves Drawn by Audrey Wiles
to be beneficial, but at one site, on the
irrigated plain of St. Catherine, fruiting
started at thirteen months.
Much remains to be done before
selected rooted cuttings can be offered to
(a) Further selections should be made
for characteristics other than can-
ning quality e.g.: Yield and low
(b) The problem of rapid multiplication
must be solved.
Better reaping and transportation
methods should be adopted as there is a
great wastage at the factory from immature
fruit picked in the field. At the stage when
the pod splits to expose the seeds, the
hypoglycine present in the arils tend to
Some people eat raw arils without any
apparent ill effects and my mother used
to tell me how as children in St. Vincent,
she and her brothers picked and ate the
fruit as "ackee poisoning" was unknown.
Here's my favourite ways of serving
Make a curried sauce and heat the
boiled ackees in it, or use cheese
instead of curry. It makes a won-
derful hors d'oeuvre or side dish to
"TRY IT NUH"
**The critical substance that is associated with
Avocadoes, or "pears" as we call them
in Jamaica, are known scientifically as
Persea americana. They are said to have
been cultivated in Tropical America from
pre-Columbian times. There are three
races the West Indian, the Guatemalan
and the Mexican, but numerous natural
hybrids occur between these.
The general characteristics of the races
are given in the table below:-
The hybrids have a wide variation
between these characteristics, and selec-
tions have to be made to choose qualities
that are favourable to industry. In general,
the North American and European trade
prefers a smooth leathery green skinned
fruit with a small close fitting sf.ed and
deep flesh. Small to medium sized fruit,
in preference to large, are favoured except
in some speciality markets. Fuerte (see
II), the best known variety in Europe and
North America, appears to be a natural
hybrid between the Mexican and Guate-
malan races. It was found in Mexico and
taken to California. One of the original
plants at Riverside is a national land-mark;
it is fenced off beside a busy highway and
has a commemorative tablet to honour it
as the foundation of the Californian
Fruit oil content
No Anise scent
large, rough surfaced
Thin to medium
e.g. Simmonds (see I)
280 to 390F
This variety has been widely publicised,
but is not now recommended for planting
by the Californian Avocado Variety Com-
mittee except in three of the eight districts
where Avocadoes are grown, while "Hass",
a Californian hybrid of Mexican and
Guatemalan strains is recommended for
The University of California at River-
side, has an ambitious 20 year programme
now under way with a full time geneticist
and technician working on selections of
new hybrids. Seeds from isolated groves
of their main varieties such as "Hass" and
"Nabal" are planted; when they fruit the
quality is assessed. There is a wide varia-
tion in the fruit of seedlings from any
variety (see III a, b, and c). New hybrids,
which prove inferior over several years are
cut out; others which appear to be
superior, are grafted on seedling stock and
planted in the eight districts. They will
No Anise scent Anise scented
10-15 months 6-8 months
1--5 lbs. 1 lb. and under
rough, woody smooth, papery
medium to high highest
Thin to thick Thin
260 to 280F 240 to 260F
Tropical Highlands Tropical Highlands
SSuitable for avocadoes \
Figure 1: Kap of Jamaica shOyg th areAS of shallow soils Over
limestone with 50 75 inches of rainfall per annum.
Various Commercial Varieties of Avocadoes
not be recommended by the Variety
Committee, until they have definitely
proved to be superior to the present
By careful selection of hybrids, Cali-
fornia, Florida, South Africa and Hawaii
all market avocadoes throughout the year;
Trinidad and Jamaica are now trying to
do the same. In California, the work is
on Mexican-Guatemalan strains as West
Indian proved unsuitable to their climatic
conditions. In Florida the main crosses
have been West Indian and Guatemalan of
which Lula and Collinson are the best
known in Jamaica. The Ministry of
Agriculture and Fisheries are now estab-
lishing museums or collections of the best
West Indian and hybrid avocadoes avail-
able. The Californian hybrids tend to be
too hard and dry for the popular taste
here; it remains to be seen, if, under these
climatic conditions they will mellow, or if
we can develop a type more to our taste,
which will mature "out of seasonn. By
cross pollination, the earlier introductions
pre World War II, such as "Lula" and
"Linda", already have some effect on our
hybrids. We have three Jamaican seedlings
in our collection which mature between
December and February. These have
improved characteristics of smaller close
fitting seeds and deeper flesh.
One of the reasons that the "out of
season" avocadoes are not liked, is caused
by the tendency to pick too early before
they mature. A point not sufficiently
appreciated, is that avocadoes do not ripen
on the tree, but they must be allowed to
mature before picking or they will shrivel
before softening and be of inferior quality.
If mature, they will ripen between 3 to
10 days when kept at a temperature of
about 800F, and ripening can be delayed
for a longer time if kept at 550F. Gener-
ally, signs of maturity are a lightening of
the green colour, or a yellowish tinge, and
a dulling of the shiny skin. There is also a
tendency for the fruit to drop, though this
characteristic varies in cultivars*. By
careful choice of ecological zones the same
types can have an extended cropping
period in Jamaica apart from early and
late reaping varieties. In California,
avocadoes are classed as Sub-tropical and
* Artifically selected varieties of a species
we should try planting on the slopes of the
Blue Mountain range up to 4 or 5000 ft.
The Fuerte, for instance, will not do well
much under 4000 ft. as it originated in
the Mexican highlands.
The areas recommended for growing
avocadoes in Jamaica are free draining
soils, over limestone, in high rainfall
districts (60" and over) or in free draining
alluvial soils with irrigation in the drier
areas. If the internal drainage is poor as in
heavy clays, there is grave (IV map) danger
from root rot (Phytophthora cinnamomi)
which wiped out some of the earlier groves
established before this point was suffi-
Apart from this, Scab (Sphacelonia
perseae) is one of the few diseases which
are important to the crop; it may be
controlled by sprays.
Termites should be controlled in this,
as in all tree crops, as they do a great deal
of damage in neglected groves. Faulty
pruning leads to rotting limbs and en-
courages nesting of termites and ants.
When trees are crowded together yields
are seriously affected, and so is plant
hygiene, so, where close planting is prac-
tised in the early stages, some trees should
be cut out when branches overlap. In this
way the best way be saved, and the poorer
Planting more than one variety of
avocadoes tends to increase yields, as
stigmas and anthers ripen at different
times and there are two patterns. Also
some varieties, like Collinson, are self
sterile. Lula appears to be a good
pollinator, a prolific and early bearer, but
has less resistance to scab than others now
grown in the Island. The seed is large in
proportion to the flesh and the quality is
not very good. If the specific soil and
crop requirements are not known, a gener-
al recommendation for fertilizing is to
apply 1 lb. N.P.K. such as 15.15.15, for
each year of growth up to 10 years.
In the first year this should be given in
small doses every second month, but in
the second year it can be given in three or
four doses and, thereafter, in two equal
doses to coincide with the maximum
rainfall, if irrigation is not available.
Aquaduct, Belvedere Estate, St. Thomas
Photo Derek Jones
,,c3 MM;n JIma cn
BssrjB'1*Tib^ ^^.^^^ -
Most of the popular descriptions of Jamaica make some
mention of our forests. However, very few of these descriptions
really do justice to the forests, perhaps because the nature of
forests tends to remain somewhat of a mystery to most people.
There is actually nothing mysterious about forests, although
there may be a lot that is naturally beautiful and therefore
romantic to the eyes of most people who come in contact with
Forests are essentially plant communities dominated by
trees, and they occur naturally where environmental conditions
are favourable for their existence. It is, therefore, reasonable
to expect that a given forest will reflect the prevailing conditions
of itslocation. In order to appreciate our Jamaican forests, it is
necessary to know something about the conditions where these
forests occur, and also about the needs of the basic components
of the forest, i.e. trees, which decide whether or not the forest
will grow and survive in a locality. Trees are very big plants
and they require a considerable amount of moisture and
nutrients to maintain them during their lifetime. Forests are,
therefore, usually found in areas of high rainfall. Trees require
a medium in which they can be anchored, and from which they
may obtain the essential nutrients for life. In addition ample
sunlight is necessary for the processes of their nutrition. So
that climate (rainfall, sunlight and temperature) and soil
(derived from weathered rocks and decayed materials) are
essential to the development of forests. Different species of
trees have different requirements, and the variations of climate,
soil and tree species can result in a considerable variation in the
form and structure of the forests which result from combi-
nations of these factors.
In general, Jamaica has a tropical climate, as dictated by the
fact of its location between North Latitudes 17045' and 18030'
and from 76015' to 78030' West Longitude. The island is,
however, quite mountainous and the altitudinal effect results
in a number of sub-climates. In general the average annual
temperature decreases with increase in ground elevation, while
rainfall tends to increase from south coast to north coast and
also with elevation. Recent studies have shown that there are
seven of these sub-climates or life zones in Jamaica which are
directly related to natural vegetation types. These are given in
the following table:
(Taken from Forest inventory Report, K.M. Gray and G.A.
M. A. B. = Mean Annual Biotemperature
M A R = Mean Annual Rainfall
t by Guy A. Symes.*
JAMAICA'S LIFE ZONES
(based on L.R. Holdridge )
Elevation M. A B M.A. R** Life Zone
0 -1250'A.S.L. 79.59F 20"-40" .Tropical very dry forest
40"-80" Tropical dry forest
80"-160" Tropical moist forest
160"-320" Tropical wet forest
Over 1250' A.S.L.75.20F 40"-80" Premontane moist forest
80"-160" Premontane wet forest
160"-320" Premontane rain forest
Each life zone therefore defines the major climatic factors
of the particular environment, and suggests the potential forest
or vegetation type likely to exist there. However, the forest or
vegetation type which now exists in any environment also
depends on its history of other influences such as man and
animals, as well as on the soil conditions.
Jamaica's soils have been classified according to the geology
of the island's three major land forms:
(a) Soils of the Basement and Intrusive Series found in the
interior Mountain Ranges, e.g. the Blue Mountains and
Bullhead Mountain region in Clarendon. These soils are
derived from sedimentary and igneous rocks such as
shales, conglomerates and tuffs, and are of variable
fertility. They are also prone to severe erosion.
(b) Soils of the Upland Limestone Series found in the karst*
topography of more than 60% of the island. These soils
are not as variable as the previous series, and comprise
deep bauxitic soils and shallow rendzina** soils (found
in coastal areas). The nutrient status of these soils tends
to be low.
(c) Soils of the Alluvial Series found in the coastal plains,
inland basins and alluvial valleys. These are the most
fertile soils, some of which, however, are low in nutrients
and poorly drained.
The island was at one time covered by forests and wood-
lands. Several hundred years of human settlement has reduced
the forest cover to 24% of the land area. In addition,exploit-
ation and use of these areas since the nineteenth century has
*Mr. Symes is Senior Assistant Conservator of Forests. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh
and at the University of California.
Aerial pnorograpn ol part ol me m ue mountran main ttage
showing: A. Ruinate Forest; B. Lower Montane Forest;
C. Montane Mist Forest.
left us with only 190,000 acres of moderately intact natural
forests, about 7% of the and area. In recent decades there have
been sustained attempts to create new forests in place of over-
exploited ones, but these man-made forests will be completely
different from the original natural forests. There are, therefore,
three classes of forests in Jamaica:-
(a) Natural forests;
) "Ruinate" forests;
(c) Man-made forests.
The natural or climax vegetation has been studied by G.F.
Asprey and R.G. Robbins who have described the various plant
formations. Of these, the following four types contain stands
which conform adequately to the forester's definition of forest,
viz "land with trees whose crowns cover more than 20% of the
area, and used primarily for forestry purposes".
i) The Dry Limestone Scrub Forest. This is the natural
vegetation of the life zone Tropical very dry 'forest', which
occurs mainly in the southern limestone hills of the island. The
best known examples are at Hellshire Hills and Portland Ridge.
The canopy is thin and low, rarely exceeding 30 feet in height
but with occasional emergence of Red birch (Bursera simaruba)
and cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra) up to over 60 feet.
Aerial photograph of the souther Dry Harbour Mountains, St.
Ann showing:- Natural Wet Limestone Forest (FNB); Ruin-
ate Forest (FNU); Cultivation (NAC).
There are many species of trees, most of which are small in
size and intermixed with tall shrubs. The ground vegetation is
sparse and there is hardly any soil or leaf litter. Though poor
in timber, much of this forest type has been exploited for
fuelwood and poles. However, there is still a considerable
acreage of relatively intact cover. In addition to trees, these
forests are inhabited by a variety of wild life, including reptiles,
birds and mammals.
ii) The Wet Limestone Forest. This formation is confined
to the life zone Tropical moist forest, and is found mainly in
the Cockpit Country, Mount Diablo and Dolphin Head Moun-
tain. The canopy is dense and twice as tall as the previous
forest, with emergent trees up to 100 feet or more, usually
Broadleaf (Terminalia latifolia) and Santa Maria (Calophyllum
brasiliense). There are many more trees and a good deal of
fairly large girth. The presence of epiphytes, lianas and
bromeliads give the forest a luxuriant appearance. Ground
vegetation and leaf litter are more evident, although soil may
be absent on the hillsides but deep in the valleys. Most of this
forest has been heavily "creamed" of its timber, especially
Cedar (Cedrela odorata) of which hardly a living specimen can
be found in the Cockpit Country. The most common trees
include Breadnut (Brosimum alicastrum), Lancewood (Oxandra
laurifolia) Odor (Xylopia muricata) and Timber sweetwood
Three view of Chestervale, Silver Hills,
Wallenford with Carib pine forest and
natural mist forest.
(Nectandra sanguinea. Other important timber trees are
Broadleaf, the Bullets (Bumelia spp.), and Galimenta (Pouteria
iii) Lower Montane Rain Forest. This formation is found
only on the northern slopes of the Blue Mountain Range
(including John Crow Mountain) up to 4,000 feet elevation in
the life zone Premontane rain forest. This forest consists
of many of the tree species found in the Wet Limestone Forest
and has a similar appearance. However, the most important
species here is Santa Maria, closely followed by the Sweetwoods
(Nectandra spp.),.Slugwood (Beilschmiedia pendula) and Musk-
wood (Guarea glabra). The more accessible areas of this forest
have also been "creamed" of timber and the occasional stand
of Cedar is now extremely rare. Most of this forest has been
too remote and steep to permit economic exploitation and there
are still some 35,000 acres in a relatively untouched state.
iv) The Montane Mist Forest. Located in the Blue Moun-
tains above 4,000 feet elevation, this forest is extremely poor
in economic timbers. The life zone is Premontane Wet Forest
and is characterized by high humidity due to the constant
feature of mist or cloud. The condition together with the
skeletal soils supports a cover with a low canopy of up to 50
feet, the trees being of poor form and multi-branched crowns.
There is an abundance of undergrowth shrubs, tree ferns and
herbs, and lower order plants such as mosses and ferns. The
main tree species arePodocarpus urbaniiand Cyrilla racemiflora,
and in certain aspects our most valuable but rare indigenous
conifer Juniperus barbadensis may be found. Due to its low
economic value and extreme inaccessibility this forest has not
been spoilt by man. It is, therefore, a very interesting forest
for scientific study as well as for recreational use.
The ruinatee" forests have been derived from the original
forests by the action of man in clearing and burning for culti-
vation and settlement, and in excessive exploitation of timber
for various purposes. Ruinate is, therefore a sort of secondary
forest, of which there are some 460,000 acres. Although trees
are the dominant plants, clumps of bamboo and climber-infested
ground are also very evident. It is very likely that the ruinatee"
forest would again develop into a high forest cover after several
centuries. However, our modern society demands that we make
use of all our resources such as they are and as best as we can,
and it is, therefore, considered an excellent idea to convert the
ruinatee" forests to commercial plantation forests wherever
feasible. These new forests would be our man-made forests of
which there are now some 20,000 acres on Government-owned
The objective of plantation forests is the cultivation of trees
as a crop for the production of timber. In practice, the
plantations usually consist of one tree species, a situation quite
rare in nature. However, man with his ability to learn and
think is capable of dealing effectively with the natural hazards
of monoculture. These hazards consist of natural effects such
as the build-up of pests and diseases in the crop, and adverse
changes in the environment due to the presence of the crop.
Another general rule is the use of a fast-growing species to be
reaped as early as possible. In Jamaica as in many other
countries, it has been found that the valuable native tree species
will not readily grow gregariously, and also that they require
many years to reach maturity. We have, therefore, had to seek
suitable exotic species, the most promising of which is Carib
pine (Pinus caribaea). This species is now being planted at the
rate of 2,000 acres annually, in addition to 1,000 acres of other
species including the native Blue mahoe (Hibiscus elatus).
Hollywell Rose Hill Forest, pines surrounded by natural forest. Wallengford in the distance, Hardwar Gap at the right side.
F. Clydesdale Forest of pines and eucalyptus photo G. Symes
H. 15 Year old stand of Blue Mahoe at Mt. Diablo Forest after
thinning and pruning.
The Jamaican forests are extremely valuable to the nation,
but in terms which are difficult to assign monetary values.
Firstly, trees contribute to replacing the oxygen of the
atmosphere which is necessary for human and animal life.
Forests are, therefore, vitally necessary. Secondly, where our
forests grow, our water supplies originate, too. These supplies
are replenished by rainfall which in Jamaica occurs seasonally,
in very heavy showers. Our forests are able to break the force
of these showers and thus allow the moisture to percolate into
the natural aquifers or ground-water table. Without our forests,
the rainfall would rapidly run off the steep slopes causing a loss
of water to replenish our supplies as well as damage to soil and
crops in the path of the run-off. The forests also provide us
with a source of raw materials for building, furniture, crafts,
and so on. At present we cannot satisfy our growing needs for
wood but there are golden opportunities to increase timber
production on the ruinate forest land; improve our ability to
G. 8 year old Carib pine trees at Silver Hill photo G. Symes
J. Fine specimen of Carib Pine.
extract and mill the available timber, and develop a viable
national industry supporting a large labour force. These
opportunities could be of considerable benefit to the needs of
the society. A fourth value is that of knowledge and recreation.
Forests provide essential elements for scientific study as well
relaxation and enjoyment, both of which are necessary to the
quality of human life. Lastly, the forest land of Jamaica has a
potential for development with considerable social benefits.
The conversion of ruinate forests to commercial forests by a
system of plantations can offer job opportunities in small areas
and create new industries and wealth for the country.
Aft LtaerAue -IdsiG
A Talk with
Amador Packer and Errol Harvey
Interview by Alex Gradussov
A.G.: How do you make a person real in
A.P.: That's hard if the person doesn't
have a personality. You'll find that
only if a man reaches fifty or older;
then you'll get a personality. But
take a lad of twenty, handsome,
conceited, full of himself, what can
you do? I don't do it. He wants to
look intelligent, he wants to be
something else but himself; I can't
A.G.: I did not realise men were conceited
when it comes to a photograph.
E.H.: Are you kidding! They're worse.
A.P.: Yes it is possible that men are more
conceited than women. (That is, in
A.G.: What about a young woman? You
do get her specific "something" that
attracts men to her or makes her a
focus of interest. How do you get
A.P.: The problem of the photographer is
time. Nobody has time. Take a
young lady who has an appointment
for ten o'clock. At ten thirty she is
looking at her watch and says she
has to mend her teeth or something.
How does she expect me to take her
picture? I can't get to know her.
What she thinks, how she feels.
She's got to relax too. All this and
she gives me half an hour. Impossible.
A painter has it easier. He has as
many as thirty sittings and nobody
E.H.: It takes time. What I've found with
girls is this. I load my roll film
camera and I shoot pictures for half
a day. I see light coming through a
window, and the subject has relaxed
and even then only two or three of
the last pictures that I've shot are
A.G.: You'd say then that the girl must
respond to you, the photographer,
as well as you respond to her.
A.P.: Take the picture of the girl we're
going to print in colour... you see
she's a born actress. You like her
picture? [see colour page]
A.G.: Yes, naturally.
A.P.: Now take another girl; prettier but
no talent. Can't adjust. She appears
on a picture dull and lifeless. You
see the first one has personality and
if you've got none, you can't get it.
A.G.: So the picture is in the model and
the photographer brings it out.
E.H.: You try to do that.
A.G.: When you photograph in colour is it
any different from black and white?
A.P.: In portrait photography?
A.P.: I don't think there is any essential
difference. Did I show you a book
by Karsh a world famous photo-
grapher all in black and white?
Don't you see the personality of the
sitters come across?
E.H.: And that's what we want.
A.G.: But,Errol, aren't the vast majority of
portrait pictures in black and white,
why then use colour? Still in the
picture we're going to print there
seems to be some extra glow coming
across. Or is that just coincidence?
A.P.: There are very few things in real
life that have no colour. A colour
photograph comes closer to life.
A.G.: What puzzles me sometimes is the
right background for a portrait.
Usually the background is neutral
but there are exceptions.
E.H.: The background should not detract
from the sitter. If your subject likes
the background more than their
likeness, it's a bad portrait.
A.P.: It would have to be a background in
common with the person. Say,books
for a writer.
E.H.: Yes when it is directly related with
the profession of the sitter it can be
A.P.: It's used in advertising a lot. You
got to be careful.
A.G.: Background is not necessary for a
good portrait then.
A.G.: To another subject then. What
subjects do Jamaican photographers
E.H.: Not so much about Jamaica, judging
by the various public exhibitions.
A.P.: What I've noticed is that we don't
photograph enough of Jamaican life.
You take for instance the Camera
Club exhibition. If you took that
to Australia or Nigeria or somewhere
away from Jamaica, people looking
at it could have thought that it was
an American, USA exhibition ... in
E.H.: We don't project enough of the
A.G.: Why don't Jamaican photographers
start off with the familiar, the every-
E.H.: It should be so.
A.P.: I give you an example: Ian Fleming's
books. They deal with places all
over the world but they were written
in Jamaica. But a Jamaican photo-
grapher can't stay here and photo-
graph China or Greece or Egypt. He
has to be there.
A.G.: But surely you photograph best
what you know best.
E.H.: So I take pictures about Jamaica
and not China.
A.G.: We were talking about Jamaican life.
What are the areas that you'd like
photographed? What is typical of
Jamaican life? Or put it the other
way round,what is done?
E.H.: There is landscape photography. I
do quite a lot and others, too.
Architecture, too. And a fair amount
A.G.: But aren't the people always at
functions or other official places?
E.H.: No, no; I take people in their every-
day occupation or at play or doing
nothing, just being themselves.
Perhaps one of the reasons why we
don't take enough pictures of things
Jamaican could be that we take them
for granted. Lots of the subjects are
simple in themselves. Some of us
must think that simple things don't
make attractive photographs.
E.H.: It's actually the opposite. It does
however take imagination to see a
picture in the ordinary.
A.G.: To make the simple thing important.
E.H.: Yes, that's what I'm trying to do.
A.P.: Another thing we don't do enough
of is photo-journalism.
A.G.: Could you define this term.
A.P.: Tell a story. Go to war and see the
war. That's photo-journalism. Not
just a static view of one event. It's
the whole that makes the impact not
the single picture. We should photo-
graph the life of a farmer. His
family, his animals, his work . .
everything. It's a picture story.
A.G.: And you'd like to see more of that.
A.P.: But you see from the commercial
angle, somebody will have to pay.
And photo-journalism involves a lot
of work. So I can't go out and do
a photo story unless I knew some-
body wants it. I'd have to take
maybe 400 or even 500 pictures to
tell a story of, say, ten or twenty
A.G.: You're really not quite fair to your-
self. Remember we were travelling
in St. Ann's somewhere and you
saw some boys fishing in a pond.
Even though you had no commercial
sponsor, you stopped and took at
least twenty pictures of those boys.
You climbed a barbed wire fence,
you took the boys unawares, and
unposed, with one camera and with
another. Why? We spent at least
an hour there, if nobody paid for
that hour, why did you do it?
A.P.: Things like that are part of life. Its
A.G.: Is that true for you, too, Errol?
E.H.: You always have to look out for
A.G.: What captures your imagination
A.P.: Iput it this way: the trees are there.
A.P.: The forests are there. Errol sees a
picture and you don't see it. Maybe
I don't see it ether. He sees it. The
composition of the light or whatever
it is strikes him and he takes that
A.G.: The painter has an easier job accord-
ing to you two.
E.H.: He puts things into the picture, we've
got to find it.
A.P.: I don't know about easy or hard.
You just have to recognize the
E.H.: And then there is the timing. Both
time of the year and of the day. It
has to be right. You know the Bogle
and Gordon memorial in George VI
A.G.: Yes, I do.
E.H.: I went into the park at least three or
four times with camera and film and
looked at the thing and on the last
occasion when I went there, con-
ditions were perfect. By the time I
got around to putting the camera on
the tripod it so happened that
Senior School was dismissed and
down came the kids. Every one
wanted to be in the picture.
A.G.: Was that the end of the picture
E.H.: No, I got rid of the kids and I got
A.G.: So a photographer does not only
have to click his camera; he has to
marshall his personnel. Talking
about the difficulties of photo-
graphy, are there photographers who
A.P.: Sure, aerial photography, industrial
and commercial, figure photography
... you name it!
A.G.: But you are not one, Amador, are
A.P.: No I'm a general photographer.
E.H.: And so am I.
A.G.: But you must like taking certain
things more than others.
A.P.: Ill tell you what I don't like to
A.G.: Yes what is that?
A.G.: Well, I understand that. Next?
A.P.: I don't know.
A.G.: What about aerial photography? Do
you mind going up in a helicopter?
A.P.: YesI've been up. I don't mind. But
I don't really care for it. You'd be
amazed to feel the strong vibration
in a small plane or especially in a
helicopter. It makes taking pictures
E.H.: Short exposure and little composi-
A.G.: We've sort of touched on a technical
point. How much training does a
photographer need and how much
In the Midst of Life we are Lying
... His Innocent Queen Posed Red...
Fragrant Flowers Gladioli Amador Packer
talent does he have to have?
E.H.: It depends on whom you call a
photographer. If you can call some-
one who can take up a camera and
go out and make a proper exposure
and come back with an image that
is reproducable, a photographer,
you don't have to worry much about
training or talent. But if you mean
by a photographer somebody creat-
A.G.: Well that's what we are talking about.
E.H.: That photographer will have to be
able to photograph a simple object
and make it a piece of art. Then it
has to be somebody who has some-
thing inside of him that can be
trained and developed.
A.G.: You start with a talent and then ...
but how do you develop the talent?
E.H.: It has to be basic training in the use
of materials and camera but the
important thing is self-discipline.
Self-discipline is going to play an
important part in the sort of thing
that you are going to produce. And,
naturally, constant work. You have
to do in order to know. Practice,
experience, that's what you need.
In the technical field you must know
what a film can do and what it can't
do. The big professionals,'they know
what they want and know how to
get it. That's why they get high fees.
When you see an advertisement for
a soup in one of the glossy maga-
zines, the soup has to look appetiz-
ing regardless of its real taste. That's
what the photographer gets paid for.
A.G.: Most professions have a professional
literature. How much is there in
A.P.: Whatever field of endeavour you're
in, you have to keep abreast of your
subject. You see, a lot of people
like photography but photography
does not like a lot of people.
Photography is a widespread hobby
so there are many magazines catering
for those kind of photographers but
the professional needs different guid-
ance. And again there are thousands
of professional photographers but
there is always room at the top.
A.G.: Are there special trends among the
top men that are different from
A.P.: Today the emphasis, broadly speak-
ing, is on colour. Colour. A new
found realism. There is no more
the retouching of say twenty years
ago. The technical advances are
there in photography we don't
need some of the work we used to
have to do. Still, realism is not just
putting it on paper, its seeing the
significant. The trend is to show
life as it is.
A.G.: And Errol are you a realist too?
E.H.: To a great extent. Where I'm con-
cerned I like portraits. Most people
want their portraits retouched. Well
I don't. Anyway less than 5% of
the portraits I take are retouched at
A.G.: How does one get into photography?
E.H.: I remember when I started out, I
did not have a camera. A good
friend of mine had a box camera
and whenever we went out, I took
the pictures. I was never in the
pictures. This went on for some
time. Finally I bought myself a
small camera. I paid ten pounds; a
lot for those days. When I took it
home, I was obliged to say that it
only cost me five pounds because I
feared my mother would quarrel
with me for wasting money. Then
I got my first experience in the dark
room. I worked at the UWI hospital
and then joined their camera club.
This is how I learnt. With the help
of a number of people, Boswell
deLisser, who was a member of a big
commercial lab in New York; Pro-
fessor Bras of the University and
Dr. March. I tried to get as much
literature as I could and then I got a
good camera. Finally I started
working with the film unit until they
sent me to New York for formal
with I returned to Jamaica. And as
Errol told you, it just did not happen
overnight. I, too, drifted into
A.G.: You have been in the game for some
time and, I'm not trying to flatter
you, people who know think you
one of the most successful ones.
A.P.: No. There is Walter G. Morais. He's
been a photographer for donkey's
years. He was trained to be an
optician, you know? Yes, his is the
oldest studio in Kingston.
A.G.: But you come pretty close on his
A.P.: I don't know about the oldest
practitioner but if you said the first
photographic artist,you'd be nearer
to the truth.
A.G.: All right, I enjoy being corrected.
E.H.: You see there are lots of good
professionals and some of them
could be classified as artists.
A.G.: You're a bit cagey about your past,
Amador. Can't I get some inform-
ation about yourself.
A.P.: I am a photographic accident. I did
not set out to be one, I just was. I
like it. I can do it. One day I put
some photographs of mine in a
downtown store window, and people
asked, 'who took these pictures?'
and they were told that I did it. And
so they came to me and I made a
living taking their pictures. One
other thing: before I opened my
studio I had never been in a pro-
fessional studio in my life. Or a
dark room. That's in 1942. What
has changed? Films are different,
there is no shortage of film . but
it's still people and Jamaica. What
amazes me and annoys me is that in
Modern Flats in Kingston Amador Packer the present day, a boy wants to be
a photographer and he buys a Leica
or Cannon or Hasselblad.
A.G.: How important to you was your
E.H.: Very important. In the sense that
before I went to Maurice Germain's
School of Photography, New York
I thought I did very well. And
then I saw that it was not so good.
Germain taught us a number of
things. We had some excellent
instructors. Sebert who did portrait- %.*A
ure in particular ... and ... who did Z-"
colour. There are lots of things that A
you might take for granted, if you 4 1
had not had formal training. .
A.G.: When was that? /
E.H.: In 1959/60. I learnt about colour
photography a lot. Some people 4
think that you can light colour the ... ..
same way as black and white and ."
therefore they hash it up. ..
A.G.: Amador, you told me some time ago
that you started life as a house .
painter in Cuba. How did you come "
to photography? -.
A.P.: There were lots of things. To start -, -.' .
Tense Moment in Cricket Errol Harvey
A.G.: Not like Errol and his Brownie?
A.P.: No effort. They think the camera
can do it. They are like tortoises:
they lay millions of eggs and perhaps
some will hatch. Ha, ha ...
A.G.: And your advice?
A.P.: Take a picture .. see it .. don't
jump before you can run. Some of
these young men can't even focus
their camera. I suggest you buy a
box camera. I tell you I once saw
an album, the only picture in it with
merit, you know, atmosphere, char-
acter, the lot, was taken with a box
camera. Cameras don't make pic-
tures, it is the photographer.
A.G.: This brings us to a very controversial
point in photography, to me any-
way, how do we judge excellence?
A.P.: A picture either tells a story or it
doesn't. It has a message for you or
A.G.: Anything else?
A.P.: The technical aspect, reproduction,
composition, that sort of thing.
A.G.: How about you Errol?
E.H.: It's really putting across the person-
ality and then technical details,
A.G.: What do you think of some recent
photographic exhibitions? What is
their standard? What do they
E.H.: Many people have advocated, like a
foreign judge of Jamaica Festival
photography, that we should use
more experiment. I don't see how
technique can supply substance.
A.G.: You think painters should experi-
E.H.: Or people who rely solely on tech-
nique to sell their product. You
come up with a new technique and
A.G.: Double exposure .. negative print.
E.H.: Mind you there are cases where these
They serve their purpose very well,
take as an example the fish-eye lens
A.G.: Could you explain a little this fish-
eye lens, please.
A.P.: It is a slightly distorted view of a
very wide field.
A.G.: What is the difference between the
wide-angle lens and the fish-eye lens?
E.H.: The wide angle has no appreciable
distortion but a smaller range of
A.P.: It's like seeing something in a drop
A.G.: Anyway what both of you are saying
is that technique can only rarely
enhance a picture; it cannot replace
observation and experience.
A.P.: What I'd like to say is this, during
all the local exhibitions or for that
matter anywhere, the straight for-
ward pictures won the top prizes.
A.G.: Simplicity wins over pretence and
pseudo-sophistication. So you agree
by and large about the standard of
A.P.: The life of a judge is not an easy
one. From my experience both as a
judge and as an exhibitor, I would
like the judge to be a photographer.
A.G.: No laymen?
A.P.: You wouldn't ask a painter to judge
music or vice versa?
A.G.: You wouldn't like any lay opinion?
A.P.: No, I want the professional. That's
E.H.: What seems not so good to me is the
way photographs have been grouped
in recent times.
A.G.: What groups would you like to see?
E.H.: Portraits, Landscape, Industrial, fig-
ure studies, architecture, advertising,
micro-photography (like insects and
flowers), human interest. And no
confusion of some pictures being in
several conflicting groups. It makes
A.G.: Errol brought in a category we've
not spoken about: figure photo-
graphy. Has it a future?
A.P.: It's catching on.
E.H.: One of the problems is the smallness
of Jamaica, many models would not
want to be recognized. So we have
really few, if any, professional models.
And then the photographers funds
for paying are limited.
A.G.: But the general attitude towards the
nude is changing, is it not?
A.P.: Every photographer wants to be a
figure photographer. But here there
is even more skill required.
E.H.: Which brings us back to the amateur
who is starting off. Figure photo-
graphy is not for him. You can't
start at the top.
A.G.: I thought that there were relatively
few people interested in figure
A.P.: No, no, you'd be surprised. But
Aged But Upright Errol Harvey
artistic, top class ones . they are
E.H.: You see most people whether
amateur or professional only do
figure photography once or twice a
year and therefore all of us lack
A.G.: I see.
E.H.: And then you should work with the
same model . it's the same pro-
blem as with portraiture only per-
haps more difficult.
A.G.: Yes and another thing some people
are so prejudiced or so narrow-
minded that they see all nude
photography as pornography and it
is only when they are exposed to
photography as opposed to porno-
graphy that they would grasp the
E.H.: Somebody said to me, "Why you
take this naked woman?" and I had
to reply, "I beg your pardon, this is
A.G.: Don't touch the nude if you can't
take other pictures.
E.H.: That's the trouble, too many people
come into photography as a last
A.P.: It's my last resort but I don't want
E.H.: You don't, I can't.
,. ,Ebony Illuminated
Man Made Lake Bauxite Waste in
St. Catherine Errol Harvey
An Antonio & Morales Tale
by Vic Reid
Antonio talked all the way across the Diablos, mostly
asking a question: What was Arnaldo de Ysasi up to?
They had no need for caution, he and Morales, for now the
Redcoats never ventured into the mountains. The Maroons,
the black guerillas, of which Antonio and Morales were leading
citizens, seemed to ambush every inch of the mountains.
"I want to know," Antonio said as they clambered their
way through the terrible broken country where the fine motor
road to Ewarton now is, "Why has that devious Ysasi decided
to build that fort at Rio Nuevo? I keep telling him he cannot
fight a stand-up fight with the English. He must do it as we
have been doing it. Hit them in the balls and run, guerilla
"Goddamn, said Morales enthusiastically in Castillian. He
was very good at hitting and running and he was very good
close in too. He was an allrounder.
They had come up out of Los Angelos, the swamp lands
northwest of Spanish Town where the Ariguanabo Mills now
stand. They had come up with the end of the moon after
having accomplished certain horrible deeds on the English
garrison that was bivouacked in Spanish Town (See THE SHOE
BLACK CAPER, June '70). It was a nice June day for walking.
A dew lay fresh on the jalaps twining over the Mountain
Mahoes. Pigeons cooed in the clearings and ground doves
fluttered underfoot. The sky was blue and a gentle wind fanned
Antonio's heated mouth.
"I swear by my belly and the bellies of all the saints in this
year of Our Lord, 1658, that I, Antonio, chief scout in Jamaica
for the scragging of the English, will do nothing to assist that
Spanish nut, Arnaldo de Ysasi, out of any predicament he may
be in for not heeding my advice," he said in the Jamaican-
Spanish of the island.
"Bullshit," said Morales in Castillian, loping easily beside
"Upon you, Antonio said coldly.
Antonio grasped a hoop-withe and hauled himself to the
top of a boulder. The massif of the Diablo range towered
around but his skills and instincts instantly told him how they
were located at the moment. His fine head uptilted, he lustily
raked the cool wine air into his heaving chest. He was a power-
ful work in ebony against the white limestone cliffs, a fellow
who had lived clean for a whole fortnight, away from cane
liquor and the nubile nomad girls who roved with the troops of
the mountain. He was a beautiful machine, oiled and causeless.
"Let us look at it, "he said on top of the boulder. "He gets
his reinforcements at last, from Mexico. He proceeds to build
a fort on top of the cliff, in sight of every mother's son who
for a doubloon wished to tell the English. We sent him word
What's new at
Illustrated by Lloyd Young
that the English had left Port Royal and were sailing to attack
him. Yet he doesn't move. Why?"
Morales straightened from the juniper tree. He wore a
pigskin bullet sack about one naked shoulder and the Spanish
musket he had liberated slung on the other. His canvas
pantaloons hugged his legs closely below the knees. He was a
broad, strong man of catlike movements whose sensational
wenching was a scandal up and down the high country of the
guerillas, from the Rio Grande to Accompong. Morales was
essentially a machete man, one of that nerveless breed which
liked the blood sport. He was known to hum a flamenco
during body combat with the enemy.
"Why?" Antonio said.
"Because he's a nut, Morales said. He was speaking with
the sibilants he had picked up from the Spanish-Mexican
soldiers who had come to reinforce de Ysasi. He was a showoff
and knew it. He had an easy good-humoured face. He cracked
a tamarind shell and popped the seeds in his mouth. He and
Antonio could go for days on tamarind seeds. "We have kept
the war going for three years now, feeding de Ysasi with the
information we think he would like to have but this looks like
the end, compare. "
Antonio jumped down. "Not if I can help it, amigo. Our
Spanish comrades and the heretics from England must bleed
each other more. The Spaniards must not be defeated before
they have inflicted grievous wounds on the English. We have
enough black brothers and sisters in the Maroon settlements
from Port Antonio to Montego Bay to lick the winner of this
duel, whoever it turns out to be, English or Spaniard. "
"And whom do you hope will be the winner, black brother?"
Morales asked dreamily, thinking of the fun ahead when he
would be required to rid his island of the final foe.
"A few of each, if they fight to a standstill, Antonio said
joining him in the dream.
"Oh, Antonio, that would be nice, said Morales softly.
"With the help of the blessed Virgin," Antonio said piously.
He was quite religious.
They came out of the Diablos and marched fast through the
Fern Gully. They struck the coast at Ocho Rios. There was
still no sign of the English fleet.
"The English ships will be getting their asses battered
around Yallahs and Port Morant and the nasty piece off
Manchioneal. They won't be here for hours yet, said Morales.
"Bueno Amigo. We separate here. You do as we agreed."
Antonio leaned his back against a yacca tree and regarded
the Spanish commander. Arnaldo looked uncommonly clean.
His old field boots were rubbed to a glisten with pig's fat and
he was fresh shaven. He smiled affably at Antonio.
"But, I'm not worried, senor. We've fought them for three
years and with the help of you, my old comrade-at-armsand
others of those loyal black subjects of His Catholic Majesty, we
shall regain this island of Jamaica for the glory of Spain."
"Up yours," Antonio said absently, thinking of Morales.
Arnoldo de Ysasi wrinkled the ugly beaked nose and the
monkey-thin Caucasian lips. Antonio knew the Spaniard wished
he could rebuke him but times had changed. Antonio embraced
neither don nor milord. Neither did his brothers of the
mountain see any future with the old defeated Spanish masters
nor the psalm-singing English with their rough tongues and
outlandish customs. He thought again how, if given all the
weapons the Europeans had, the guerillas would have swept
them into the sea. And even as it was now, the encounters
between the Maroon guerillas and the English always ended
with the Redcoats drag-tailing for camp.
Arnaldo de Ysasi lifted one heavy eyelid and squinted down
at the sea. The English were taking to the boats.
"They have musketmen and pikemen and they are led by
the great English Colonel D'Oyley, your messenger said. "
"He's a formidable man, senor," Antonio said. "I would
be happy if you were more worried. He has beaten you
He looked with great care at the Spaniard. An unlikely
serenity spread over de Ysasi's face, erasing the bitter lines which
three years of defeat and neglect from his king in Spain had
left on it. It is the serenity of lunacy, Antonio thought with
terrifying clarity, he has finally flipped his lid. (Or however he
would have said it in 1658.)
"I am a proud man, my black compare, Arnaldo de Ysasi
said. "For three years I have skulked and hidden my proud
Spanish neck from the English. Now at last my king has heeded
my pleas and sent me reinforcements from Mexico." Ysasi
chuckled and a look of childish malicious delight spread over
his face. "My king thinks that now I have reinforcements, I will
continue the guerilla warfare with which you and I have been
engaging the English. But I shall not, amigo."
Antonio was very still. It seemed he had figured right. He
hoped to God that Morales would be successful in his scout.
"Then what will you do, senor? Turn your ass in?"
With incredible speed, de Ysasi leaped to his feet. His
emaciated body drew to full height somewhere below Antonio's
collar stud. (Antonio may have worn a collar stud? No?) His
right hand went to his sword hilt and stayed rigidly akimbo.
He flung out his left hand toward the English fleet anchored in
"I shall fight him, senor, once and for all!" he cried. "I
shall fight him and when I have shown him how well I can
fight, then I will take my victorious soldiers and sail for Cuba!"
"You won't get past the English fleet, compare. They will
chop you finer than a piece of eight."
The sly look spread over Arnaldo's face.
"I have a hidden bav. Antonio. One so secret that not even
Arnaldo's eyes flashed fire.
"You will not dare!"
There was a stir in the stockade and a sentry called:
"Commander, the English are sending in to us!"
Antonio looked over the parapet. The cadence from a
solitary drum floated up. They could see the tiny redcoated
figure stumbling up the hill.
"He has sent you a drummer-boy bearing terms," Antonio
Arnaldo swore. "I am going to drop you as chief scout.
Where is Morales?"
"He has gone to look for your ace in the hole."
"Balls," Arnaldo said unbelievingly.
Morales came over the parapet with a grunt. Antonio
looked. Morales brushed his finger across his throat in the
you or your friend Morales can find it. I shall sail from there "I found them, amigo," he said to Antonio, looking nicely
and when I am gone you shall name that bay Victory Bay. at Arnaldo. "A dozen newly built silk-cotton canoes eighty
"I shall name it Runaway Bay, senor. feet long, the kind that could take an army to Cuba."
"Our Founder, Chris Columbus used some like those, years
ago, "said Antonio.
Antonio shook his head. "You will have to come back to
the bush with us, senor, but you can have your little fight first. "
Arnaldo was understanding. "For the history books,
"For the history books."
The drummer-boy came to the parapet. His pinched
Cockney face was anxious. Antonio reached into Arnaldo's
loot-bag and liberated a jar of sweets.
"Here, boy, don't be scared. Go back and ask your chief
would he please find those dozen silk-cotton canoes under the
cliff where the Playboy Beach Club will be built in about 300
years time, and stove them in for us?"
HISTORIC NOTE: Before the battle of Rio Nuevo, D'Oyley sent his
drummer with a surrender call to de Ysasi on terms including safe
passage to Cuba. A jar of sweetmeats and a courteous refusal were sent
back to D'Oyley.
DENNIS SCOTT, Maker
by Anthony McNeill
Lawrence Durrell once referred to one of his poems as an attritional product, "made
like fire by the rubbing of two sticks".1 This, though variously expressed, is a catholic -
and, I think, truistic concept, needless to say, the attritional source differs with the
poet. With some poets to give just a few examples the attrition accrues from the
natural; with others, the societal; with others, the religious, with others, the linguistic.
In the West Indies as has been repeatedly pointed out the attrition (and, hence,
the poetry) results from the poet's relationship with West Indian culture, specifically
cultural discontinuity and, correlatively, cultural disinheritance. And it is, of course, this
conceptual tension though there is an obvious divergence in execution and conclusion -
which informs the work of the two leading West Indian poets in English, Derek Walcott
and Edward Brathwaite.2
This similarity of conceptual tension, but dissimilarity of execution and conclusion,
on the part of Walcott and Brathwaite, is especially relevant when one considers the work
of Dennis Scott, a poet who, in a sense and with important qualifications is a poetic
successor of both.
To elaborate very briefly on Walcott and Brathwaite: both men, as pointed out,
are visibly and unmistakably concerned with the previously mentioned cultural problem;
but the resemblance ends there. Apart from obvious textural and linguistic differences
there is, I think, this important distinction: Walcott's methodic approach to the subject3
is centrifugal, Brathwaite's centripetal. By this I mean: Walcott's conveyance of the
cultural problem is almost always an organic extension of a personal, not necessarily or
ineluctably linked,encounter: the famous confrontation with the great house, for instance,
could have extended in other directions, could have, in fact, become another kind of poem
entirely. Brathwaite, on the other hand, adopts the problem as the premise of his
impersonal almost to the point of dramaturgic -trilogy: all the individual pieces move
inevitably and centripetally inward to the poem's didactic centre. And it may be precisely
this centre which some regard noble, others simplistic that permits Brathwaite, unlike
Walcott, to conclude on a positive, resolute note, the creation of ".. .some-/thing torn/
Scott, as mentioned (and this is not meant, by any means, to detract from his
originality and excellence, which are substantial) combines aspects of both these poets.
Methodically, he is similar to Walcott in that his personal corrosions extend into this
wider cultural problem; ideologically, he is similar to Brathwaite in that he has evolved to
a kind of Third World consciousness/acceptance.
There are at least three important distinctions: (1) Scott's problem or was -is
/less cultural disinheritance than cultural ambivalence (2) his centrifugal extensions are/
were usually more subtle or less explicit than Walcott's (3) his Third World acceptance
differs in essential respects from Brathwaite's.
Let's start with the first distinction: the earliest poem in Scott's first manuscript
Journeys and Ceremonies (67 poems: 1960-69) is a piece which has already achieved
almost classical proportions in Jamaican literature, Uncle Time:
Uncle Time is a ole, ole man...
All year long 'im wash 'im foot in de sea,
long lazy years on de wet san'
an shake de coconut tree dem
quiet-like wid 'im sea win' laughter,
scraping away de lan' ....
Uncle Time is a spider-man, cunnin' an' cool,
him tell yu: watch de hill an 'yu se mi.
Huhn! Fe yu yi no quick enough fe si
how 'im move like mongoose; man, yu tink 'im fool?
Me Uncle Time smile black as sorrow;
'im voice is sof'as bamboo leaf
but Lawd, me Uncle cruel.
When 'im play in de street
widyu woman wath 'im! By tomorrow
she dry as cane-fire, bitter as cassava;
an'when 'im teach yu son, long after
yu walk wid stranger, an 'yu bread is grief
Watch how 'im spin web roun 'yu house, an creep
inside; an' when 'im touch yu, weep ....
Mr. McNeill, a past Assistant Editor of Jamaica Journal is a poet whose work has just been published in book form in the U.S.A. He
was awarded a M.A. degree by the Johns Hopkins University and at present he is engaged in writing a Ph. D. thesis for the University
This poem, apart from being precociously well-executed (Scott was not yet 21
when he wrote it) is and profoundly a Third World poem. Its informing tension is
not cultural disinheritance, but cultural debasement. Thematically and linguistically the
poem accepts the reality of a cultural continuity; let's examine it in more detail:
On the exterior, perhaps more superficial, level, this Third World consciousness/
acceptance is exhibited in the choice of language and the evocation (one of the many
excellences of Walcott and the brilliant young Trinidadian, Wayne Brown) of an
unmistakably Caribbean landscape.
On the interior, by no means superficial, level, the poem's equation of time to a
"spider-man, cunnin' an' cool" is revelatory of an essential aspect of the Jamaican, no,
doubt, West Indian, psyche. For spider-man, undoubtedly, is Ananse, who to quote
from a Brathwaite glossary is "an Akan (West African) Creator God who has become,
in the popular imagination, both in African and the West Indies, a spider". Ananse, in
fact, has undergone a thorough debasement in a remarkably short space'of time. So, in
contemporary, even modern Jamaican consciousness, he has diminished to a kind of
confidence man. His American equivalent would, perhaps, be a composite of Brer Ramus
and Uncle Tom a survivor through guile. Nevertheless, Ananse is still very much a
creator in terms of being an architect of certain essential components of the West Indian
spirit. And Scott's poem illustrates this awareness, as well as the deep historical nexus.
Conventional formal virtues aside (virtues like the deceptively easy, in fact difficult
to achieve, modulation of tone; the deadright placement of "shake" in the first stanza;
the perfect line-break in the penultimate line which permits "creep" to work in the next
verse, as well) the poem is a consulate aesthetic reconciliation of two seeming irreconci-
lables4: a subtle/profound poetic conveyance and dialect form. For me, Uncle Time is a
miracle as much as You, Andrew Marvell and Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy
Evening are miracles and an enduring West Indian poem. And when one considers that
(a) of the succeeding poems in the manuscript .only two are written in dialect (b) the
majority of these exhibit an unmistakable and paradoxical enchantment with English,
(c) there were no precursive dialectal poetic models, with the exception of Louise Bennett,
of course, at the time the poem was written (d) the entire manuscript, in which Uncle
Time appears, is largely the nine-year record of an excruciating progression through an
alternately European and partially African to a Third World consciousness, Uncle Time's
A comparison with a similar, equally well-known5 poem written nearly two years
later, further shows up Uncle Time's excellence and precocity. The peom is called
They hanged him on a clement morning, swung
between the falling sunlight and the women's
breathing, like a black apostrophe to pain.
All morning, while the children hushed
their hopscotch joy and the cane kept growing
he swung their sweet and low.
At least that's how
they tell it. It was long ago
and what can we recall of a dead slave or two
except that when we punctuate our island tale
they swing like sighs across the brutal
sentences, and anger pauses
till they pass away.
This poem is, technically, just as accomplished. The lineation, a Scott strength, is
consistently right through the 13 lines: "swung", "breathing", "hushed", "brutal", for
example, are doubly operational; and "sweet and low" is a fine ironic play on the
Tennyson piece. But the poem, perhaps because of the want of a subtler, yet more
obviously symbolic death-image, lacks the resonance of Uncle Time. Epitaph is a good
poem; but it may also be, as they say, more valuable for its promise than its :achievement.
And what it promises is a very special approach to history: history seen as inseparably and
therapeutically coiled in the present; history which, husked to its profound symbolistical
innards, is the informing spirit of later quintessential Scott poems like Farmer's Notebook6
The second distinction (by way. of comparison with Walcott) I pointed out earlier,
was the subtler and more implicit centrifugal extension of Scott's personal conflicts into
the wider cultural problem. Part of the reason for this is that the extension takes place
from the least likely generic source, the love poem. In fact, at least 27 pieces (or between
a third and a half) of Journeys and Ceremonies are with varying degrees of emphasis -
love poems. Nor can these be dismissed as symptomatic of a youthful penchant for the
subject: (1) Scott's love poems are not the work of a well-meaning, but unskilled appren-
tice, but that of a skilled, intelligent, complex and accomplished poet (2) through 11 years
poetic activity he continues to write poems of the genre. In fact, Scott's love poems often
reveal where some of other genres do not his deepest concerns and responses, and
may be the key to this mystifyingly flexible and various poet.
A fine example of the kind of extension I've been talking about, occurs in the love
poem, Guests, written December, 1966:
You walk through my blood
like small lights in a hundred rooms, you smile
and there are mirrors, you walk softly between
my hates and your hand carresses
some sleep-eyed beast,
perhaps your fingers are twined
in the white mane of a unicorn,
perhaps a whisper of hooves
like a shadow of laughing, perhaps
the glimmer of silence and white
like an echo of candles
your going like guests
through the rooms of my heart
on soft naked feet, your warm side
how he trembles
under your hands.
There is nothing unconventional, I think, about this love poem. It is addressed to
the usual part-mythical part-actual heroine and is concerned with the usual conflict
between flesh and spirit that has besieged lovers immemorially. Yet the salient placement
of "blood" (1.1) and "white" (1.10), the explicitness of "sleep-eyed beast" (1.5) and its
reiteration ("poor beast": 1.16), the presence of "unicorn" and the strong suggestion that
rooms refer to a polyglot or, at least, dual ancestry, almost illimitably extend this
seemingly private poem. Guests, in fact, is resonant with the spirits of two antithetical
cultures, or, to put it another way, it brings into bruising confrontation the ghostly echoes
of Classical Europe and the awakening beast of Africa. In this case, perhaps needless to
say, there is the implication that Europe comes out on top: the beast ends as an object of
Another of the many love poems that extend, with a wonderful subtlety, into this
cultural conflict is The Sovereigns, January 1966. This poem, like Guests, is addressed to
a near-mythic woman, and dramatizes, like the other, the conflict between refinement
and animality. Addressing this Hellenic presence, the speaker inquires: "what wars rage
in the mountains of your blood,/what battles, hidden in these careful motions/ toward a
book, the chair, an argument,/ close off the roads of your anger/ with silence?", then
goes on to describe the similarity of his own posture: "In me also/ are lost causes, certain
armistices,/ great places where sentinels of madness watch/ at the wheeling rivers and the
blood-sluices,/ where no birds sing;/ where the quiet word tastes of famine/ and the
ravenous heart. seeks out each obsidian,/ sacrificial friendship." But this "sacrificial
friendship" and (later on in the piece) the "ceremonial sword" of "charity and the
commonplaces of intercourse" are insufficient: the poem concludes with addresser and
addressee-more alienated, and ever, "each in (his) sullen, separate kingdom".
This isn't to say that the conflict articulated in Guests and The Sovereigns is
solely cultural ancestral: this would contradict the sublety of their extensions. In fact,
a common Scott theme is precisely the conflict that one encounters in love relationships,
and this is explicit in lines like "Love is the subtlest treachery we know" (from A Sound
of Birds), "we/who counterfeit a careful bliss/ may find a brutal charity/ as evanescent as
your kiss" (from The Invitation), "the tender, blind/ treacheries of being together again"
(from The Re-Union) and, finally, "she will welcome him out to a final peace/ and he will
fall/ forever and voiceless, fall/ in her unchanging, sharp embrace" (Visitor). But always
one gets the impression that the addressee in these, and the numerous other, love poems,
is not just a woman or even the spirit of woman, but a composite of Helen, Circe, muse,
an embodiment, in fact, of an important aspect of the classical tradition. It is significant
that Scott's eventual and recent resolution of his love themes has resulted in a general
poetic resolution: for him, more than any other poet that comes to mind, the love poem
has been a route to poetic maturity and a new poetic sensibility.
Not all of the poems that dramatise this cultural ambivalence are implicit, however.
The first word of the title, Journeys, is both significant and appropriate. Most of these
journeys, however, whether actual or mythical, end with frustration and disillusion -
negative attributes which have the positive function of propelling the poet, almost of
necessity, into a Third World acceptance.
The most explicit of these, I think, is Tactical Error:
Determining the bright The sun lit moted its great head lifted
castle keep he knuckled his greaved feet swang barely, lay there, lay
a summons, like torches, cold waiting.
I'm back stone smoked, the walls The tapestries windowed
he said, brave now, I'm sweated silence, a rich as, a brown as
late but I'm here And in a summer of battle, flags
hear the vault hall alone, frozen in scarlet
heard its jewelled back shifted the dim cloth dark
echoes. Door open. uneasy, the air gloamed, and the thin blades flint
as his footsteps'
I'm here, he said,
here. The cold hall
back, I've come back,
the old dust sifted
the soldiers wounding
the wall. Already
he planned sword's bite
at its carapace, weight
in his hand, felt
the great carved mouth eat
at his face.
The warriors fell, pausing,
half living, half lying,
the horses neighed
never falling, undying,
and no one heard.
Soft, as if hurt
by such courage
the dark lord mewed
and stirred. The enemy
knelt, and purred.
thinking all done, the knight
bent tende&, deceived
by the victory unwon,
cradling that rough lord
out to the sun
it would blind them.
the threaded soldiers
never ceased falling,
the jewels winked
though the beast hung slack
and behind them
the tapestry calling,
For me, Tactical Error (June 1968) is one of the most important poems in Scott's
development to his own special kind of Third World acceptance. The poem undertakes a
return to a European (note the heraldic imagery: tapestry, cloth, sword etc.) and African
(the dark lord) ancestral consciousness, but concludes with a disillusionment with both.
In this immensely subtle poem, echoes both classical and African stimulate only to
frustrate. The only serene persona, in fact, is the cat who "kneel(s) and purr(s)" and who
is symbolic of the Third World consciousness'7 which is cool and hip, in contrast to the
regnant and sober "dark lord (Africa)" who "mew(s)". Like Edward Brathwaite's trilogy,
this poem illustrates that the journey back, though, no doubt, necessary, is a "tactical
error", that salvation, poetic and otherwise, lies both temporally and geographically -
only at home.
This sensibility-shift is borne out by at least two poems written in the following
year. One, Homecoming, (placed significantly near the end of the manuscript) discusses
an apparently part-actual part-imaginary journey to "(the) Orient, Africa,/ New York,
London's white/ legend" whose "ports have/ a welcoming ring", whose "richness" is
"end (less)", but where, ironically, "the sirens sing". In addition, the speaker, after the
poignant confession that "as children we were/ sad, wanting a rainbow", describes himself
in an immaculate phrase as "heart-sailed/ from home", declares "again, again these/ hot
and coffee streets/ reclaim my love ... and the wind calls back/ blue air across the town;
it tears/ the thin topographies of dream, it blows/ me-as by old, familiar maps-/ to this
affectionate shore", concluding with: "it is time to plant/ feet in our earth. The heart's
metronome/ insists/ on this arc of islands/ as home."
The other poem, both better-known and more significant, is Third World Blues:
I go among the fashionable drums
trying to keep true my own blood's subtle beat.
Something of darkness here, ofjazz-horn heat,
but something too of minuet; it hums
cool in my voice, measures my heart, my feet
strictly. And not all the blues, the concrete
jungles of this Third World, mine, can defeat
that pale and civil music when it comes.
So I make my own new way; I entreat
no tribal blessing or honour. I build -
lonely a little -my house. It is filled
with ghosts, with their summoning air, I greet
them all; their tunes, their joys mine. I advance,
my feet bare to a strangely patterned dance.
This poem, in my opinion marks the resolution of the excruciating nine-year
developmental journey enacted in the manuscript. For the first time the poet is able to
unqualifiedly accept his divergent cultural "ghosts", to reconcile the "fashionable drums"
with the "minuet", to "greet them all" tenderly, and more importantly, ceremonially.
For to Dennis Scott, the key to reconciliation is ceremony8 the ceremony of poetry,
the ceremony of the dance which alone permit conflicting genera to complement -
rather than abrade each other.
And this reconciliation of opposites through ceremony, is to be the motif of the
second Scott manuscript Resurrections, composed of nearly 100 poems written prolifically
over the last two years, and the subject of part II of this essay: Ceremonies and Resurrec-
tions: The Poet as Prophet.
1. Excerpted from To Ping-
Ku, Asleep, Collected Poems,
E.P. Dutton & Co.
2. This excludes Edward Lucie-
Smith and Louis Simpson,
two poets recently included
(in a Gleaner article) on 4.
John Hearne's short list of
West Indian poets. Except
for some of the earlier work
of Lucie-Smith, I do not
think that oeuvre of these
two men qualifies as West
I am talking of the master's
poetry here, not plays
These may no longer be
regarded as irreconcilables,
but Uncle Time was written
5. Well-known to the point of
being quoted in Andrew
Salkey's "The Late Eman-
cipation of Jerry Stover".
6. See Jamaica Journal Vol. 4
7. Another poem where the
cat has an identical symbo-
logy is Because of the Cats,
Jamaica Journal, Vol. 2,
8. It is precisely in this cere-
monial reconciliation that
Scott's Third World accept-
ance differs from Brath-
9. Hence the last line: "My
feet bare to strangely pat-
Warren S. Robinson
r ~ i
EXTRACT FR OMA NOVEL
by Neville Dawes
WE WENT for a pimento-picking in Scarlet Piece.
I woke up that morning as Ruben, the leghorn rooster my
father had given me for my birthday, crowed in and out of my
dream and Robin, my father's horse neighed casually, and from
the tail-end of sleep he seemed to be miles away though he was
quite near, tethered behind the kitchen ten yards from my room.
I foldedup my camp-cot and heard my mother calling me, "James,
James" and for once I like the tone of her morning voice though
she was going to give me work to do before I drank tea. Her
voice was carefree for she too was going for the pimento-picking
in Scarlet Piece.
I scooped water from the new tar-smelling barrel, washed
my face quickly and stood near the barrel chewing a piece of
chewstick and going over in my mind the expectations of the day
- the picnic world, the old tales, the new gossip,'the competition
in the picking, the roast breadfruit, the shad, Lucien Taylor and
Reggie Boreland and those twelve our brothers and (yes, it might
not happen) Mercedes and Cissy Burton would join us at the
picking. And then, to round off this brimful day, the tentative
voices of the goat-skin drums we would hear, punctually at
sunset, from Brother Belnavis' pocomania yard just across the
stone wall from the pimento walk.
"James, you best hurry up an' do what you have to do this
very morning," my mother's voice sang out.
"Yes, mama," I said.
For a moment I envied Lucien the indiscipline of his
widower father but immediately was ashamed, for my mother
never beat me, only threatened and scolded me and I always got
off by using my crafty sunday-school voice.
I heard my father making important noises in our front
room which was the village Post Office and I knew it was getting
"See if Peely lay," my mother ordered from the kitchen.
Peely, a peel-necked common hen, was our best layer. I
found three eggs in the coop and handed them warm and acrid,
through the kitchen opening.
Then I pulled the slip-knot with which I had tied Robin
the night before and turned him loose in John's Hall, the adjoin-
ing lot that my father and Old Saul were having a law-suit over.
I hid behind a clump of fever-grass and set two springs. Then I
started spreading out the half-dry pimento on the barbecue.
Before I had finished, my mother sent me to Aunt Tun (who was
not my aunt) to beg a little coarse salt.
Aunt Tun lived about forty yards away across the road so I
took a long cut through Tabernacle Road, going in the opposite
direction, and joined the main road again at Chen's shop, nearly
half-a-mile away. I stood on the shop piazza deliberately forgetting
Aunt Tun and coarse salt and watched the flies gathering around
the mackerel barrels. Reggie Boreland came by, carrying a pan of
water from River. We were both in a hurry but he put down the
pan and we had time to skate in the dew-moist gutter outside the
shop before the sun began to drive away the dawn mists and the
I gave Reggie a turn carrying the pan and the fresh mountain
water splashed through the pimento leaves that covered the pan
and trickled down my face. The sun was behind us, rising over the
curved back of Antrim mountain.
"We giving Brother John a day today at Scarlet Piece," I
said. "You coming?"
"Papa going to Antrim today," Reggie said. "Things hard!"
We were 'giving' Brother John Scarlett a 'day' of free labour
in his pimento walk. All he had to provide was the roast bread-
fruit and shad and coconut water. For the same job of picking in
Nesfield Estate or in Antrim Estate, a journey away across the
mountain, you could earn ten shillings, even a pound. But to 'give
a day' was almost an obligation for the adults and for us children
it was the nearest thing to a fete we ever had in the village. It was
hard on Reggie that his father, Papa Jabez Boreland, had to go to
"Duppy will hold you in Antrim Pass tonight," I said.
I gave the pan to Reggie and we raced each other down the
next hill. He lost half the water and a quarter of the leaves and I
chugged into Aunt Tun's, hard on a sweeping right turn, like
Chen's Chevrolet truck.
'Y4,00 V.."M P- IWA&
i+ -7 -, W---- k, iKkk, W." Wk W., G,
*13 VIOIENT *13
WAVAR P" MA,
WAIR INTERIUDE Pi NA,
There were two two-roomed cottages facing each other on
two sides of Aunt Tun's long rectangular yard. At the far end,
across from the slightly unhinged gate was a small, high and very
worn barbecue from which you stepped down into the kitchen.
They hadn't put out the pimento yet, so still dizzy and blind
from running I walked across the barbecue calling, "Morning,
Aunt Tun! Morning Aunt Tun!" Then I saw them, as if they had
appeared suddenly out of the grey of the morning, sitting on the
edge of the barbecue.
I saw the boy first. I had never seen him before and I
noticed with a shock his Indian hair, his clean white Sunday
clothes and his shoes and stockings. The woman's back was
towards me. The boy and I bristled up at each other like stranger-
dogs but though he had this air of far places and travel about him,
I stood my ground because I could see across the road, the green
smoke rising from the safe citadel of my mother's kitchen.
Before I called again, I heard Aunt Tun's laughter from the
"Morning, Aunt Tun," I said.
"Who that?" she asked, still in the kitchen.
"Is me, James Duncan, Aunt Tun. Aunt Clara say to tell
you "morning" and beg you a little coarse salt."
"How she do this morning?" Aunt Tun said, coming to the
door of the kitchen. She was a stout high-faced woman, very
black with a smooth muted skin; she laughed easily and it was
warm to be near her.
The woman and the boy must have only just arrived at Aunt
Tun's and had been waiting, resting after their long dusty doubting
journey or had been gathering courage for the encounter that had
to be successful since they had come to Nesfield Town, the dead-
end of the great gay world, the final comforting place for the
prodigal daughter, the wayward and betrayed. Aunt Tun stopped
abruptly at the door, staring. The woman moved awkwardly
towards her but her eyes could not meet the reproof or love in
Aunt Tun's eyes. This was Lucille, Aunt Tun's Kingston daughter,
not young, not beautiful but wrapped in the different, alien,
somewhat frightening air of the city. The boy's fingers picked
bits of mortar from the decaying edge of the barbecue.
Aunt Tun said to me, very calmly "Rosa will give you the
coarse salt, mi son. Tell Aunt Clara I shouldn't think I would be
at the picking this morning." She shouted to the girl in the
kitchen "Rosa give this James Duncan little coarse salt for Aunt
The two women were poised before each other, still without
greeting. Then Aunt Tun's voice rose in lament and under it was
the heavy gathering flood of Lucille's crying.
"But Lucille! Is what this you bring here to me? Not a
word from you, month 'pon month you in this fornicating
Kingston and now you come here with yo' belly rising like full
moon over Antrim mountain, I should box you down to the
ground but for the God's grace of what you carrying. Lucille, is
Lucille sank beside the barbecue and sat there exhausted but
neither ashamed nor lost. Aunt Tun lifted her gently and
supported her into one of the cottages. I slipped round behind
the kitchen and met the strange boy still leaning on the barbecue
"You come from Town?"
"From Sin' Andrew," he said. He smelled of Kingston,
"You come by the Bay?" I asked. I had been to St. Ann's
"We walk from Orange Town," he said. "We lose the way
in a pasture."
I wondered how Lucien T. would like this boy.
Aunt Tun put her head out the door and shouted for Rosa.
I dodged behind the cottage. When Rosa had passed I said to the
new boy, "Ah gone, man". "O.K. passero," he said, easy, un-
"But Lucille! Is what this you bring here to me?"
Illustrated by Joan Beckford
I told my mother that Aunt Tun didn't have any coarse salt
and that she said she couldn't come to the picking because her
daughter from Kingston just come home this morning with a big
"Say what?" my mother said. Then her eyes moved from
surprise to reprimand. "You better find better manners than to
use them kinda words to your mother!"
She gave me a penny to buy the coarse salt at Chen's shop.
When I came back I chopped up some stale coconut for the fowls.
Then I drank my morning mint tea with hard-dough bread and
salt butter. My father sent me to call Posty who lived behind the
school at Peter's Hill and on the way I met Reggie Boreland and
his father going to Antrim. When I got back home I knew, without
being told, that my mother had gone to visit Aunt Tun.
* ** * * * * *
Lucien Taylor's father, Ebeneezer Taylor, never came to
pimento-picking and in every way was remote from the village. He
had lived for so long in Panama or Cuba that he never developed
the inter-relations of near and far blood relatives and in-laws that
bound the little village together like a single will. He had no
affectionate nickname like "Old Saul" or "Tata". He was a small
man, delicately built and, to those who had never seen his temper
rise and flash in the brilliant deadly point of a Cuban stiletto, he
was a quiet peaceful man. He was over fifty at this time (one
computes with logic only) but ageless, unwrinkled, with hair that
never turned grey. His skin was a light ebony colour, dull like
leather and his sharp-featured face was a mask except for the
bright eyes, alive and darting like a young girl's.
For the past five years for the five years since I had
become aware of Lucien's distinct, separate existence; before
that, other children had merely drifted, unheld, in and out of my
consciousness Lucien and his father had lived on the hill over-
looking what we called "River" which was only a stream that came
out of the ground suddenly, apparently without a source and gave
the village water that was pure and cool all the year round. No
one else lived near that hill, but this alone does not account for
Ebeneezer Taylor's remoteness. It was the cut of his clothes and
his sombrero: it was his "caramba" and cojoness" when he was
in his rum; it was the night he terrorised the drinkers in Chen's
rum-shop, holding them, carelessly, for an hour at the point of his
stiletto; it was the homeric and lost struggle with Busha Burton.
Ebeneezer did not work after Busha Burton had driven him
off Nesfield Estate, but he had a gold box hidden in his house,
Lucien told us. It must have been true for he lived well (whenever
we went to his house there was always, at any time of day or
night, enough food for a feast), was clean and neat in new clothes
and brightly polished brown boots. He had two splendid frisky
horses. And I remember how immaculately swept the yard in
front of the house used to be, and the scrubbed floors in the
three-roomed cottage, the glimpses of large black trunks of
treasure under the beds; and particularly, I remember the golden
horse pistol that hung on the sitting-room wall and glinted in the
splash of the sunlight.
He had lived his life near violence and in it and had heard the
music of the street-fight and the battle-cry of the dispossessed. He
told us about the hot Latin American blood and the stirring leaders
with names like Del Prado, Pedro Mureno, of the causes and
treacheries and the assaults on the castle, the short cold steel and
the casual death, the mass hunger of the workers on the sugar
He was our legend-maker, there in his hill-retreat.
Our last pimento-picking had no farewell shades but it was
a ceremonial goodbye to the village. The day was speckled with
shadow as the mists gathered and dispersed. The spaced intervals
of sunlight were bright and brilliant without heat. The flowers on
the roadside and around the houses were in late colour, particularly
the hibiscus beds in Brother Belnavis' yard which were drooping
to a stained red.
So we gathered in Scarlet Piece and picked the pimento,
propping our backs on the smooth whitish tree trunks and flicking
away the pungent black ants that follow pimento. Brother
Scarlet's eldest son, who stammered sentences-long, broke the
At first we were silent, getting the rhythm, the flowing
action for gathering the berries in with a hard inward sweep.
Lucien and I were picking together from an overripe tree and we
had to be gentle to avoid squashing the soft fruit. He was wearing
one of his father's sombreros and a brown shirt laced up without
buttons. My mother was sitting about ten yards away, picking
with Miss Faith Shand, so I gradually turned my back towards
"A big thing happen this morning," I said to Lucien. "A
"At Aunt Tun."
"I hear," Lucien said. "Is not such a big thing. Happen all
the time." He might have been my father speaking, if my father
had been more articulate.
"You know, a boy from Kingston at AuntTun," I said. "A
"I meet him outside Aunt Tun," Lucien said. "He name
"Kingston mus' be a bitch of a place, man," I said. "I met
a boy in the Bay went to Kingston on excursion."
"Kingston not much," Lucien said. "What you want is
"Havana not in Jamaica. I want to see Kingston first and
then compare her with Havana."
"Havana about three times the size of Jamaica," Lucien said.
"Let's take this Roy down Mary Bottom an' lost him," I
"Roy is a ginal, you know," Lucien said. "You never catch
him with that."
At midday Brother Scarlet gave the alarm that his sow had
got away. We left the picking and had a fine chase down the hill
behind Scarlet Piece down to the rock-dry Patience Valley, and
they caught the sow in a cane-root. Lucien and I tripped up little
Eugene Shand and he scratched his elbow on a makka-bush. When
we came back we told his mother, Miss Faith Shand, that the sow
had frightened him.
"This Jamaica life too hard," one woman said. "You
would think say Massa God curse this land."
"Nesfield get the worse of it," another said. "The ground
too hard, from the day I was a child you never make a good yield
"Look how yo' children turn 'pon you. Look Aunt Tun..."
"Sh-sh-sh," my mother said and the topic of Aunt Tun was
"Wait till Land Settlement come," Maas Felix Hull said. He
was an elderly man with white hair and he had three vexatious
sons. "Land Settlement will give this land a yield and everybody
"Is .what Land Settlement is, rightly, though?" a woman
"Mark my word," another woman said, "I never trust a
Government thing. Suppose they give you land, they tax it till
you couldn'plant a seed, till the land dry up with taxes. Mark my
very word, Aunt Clara, I would never trust a Government thing."
"But the thing in the ring-ding," Manny Boreland said. He
was the comedian, did very little picking and waited for openings
like this. "The thing in the ring-ding" was vaguely improper. We
picked with new enthusiasm.
"But what Busha going to do when Land Settlement come?"
I asked Lucien.
"Go an' learn a trade, man!" he said sharply, distantly, his
father's cynicism, a joke in another dimension.
When Mercedes and Cissy arrived we had stopped picking
and were eating the roasted yellow-heart breadfruit and shad.
They had excellent country manners and greeted the older people,
each by name. Cissy was so simple you might not have noticed
her. But Mercedes was wearing a short, flared, inadequate red
skirt and she swung her hips widely and carelessly.
"You never bring the birds again," Cissy said to me. "Busha
nearly beat me: he say not a one but Ebeneezer Taylor son shoot
"This Lucien Taylor!" Mercedes said. It was more than a
week since we had been at the Great House and I had not prepared
"We studying for scholarship," Lucien said. "No time for
"Is a lie," Mercedes said. "Fanny see you shooting birds in
Spring Piece pasture yesterday morning."
The picking started again and Cissy told me her latest dream.
". .. 'an' it was a Rolling Calf breathing fire, breathing fire,
an' I was running through Mary Bottom pasture going to Ball
ground an' so I cry so I couldn't mek a soun an' the Rolling Calf
still a-come so near so till I could see the eyes and the brimstone
One of the women began humming a Sankey hymn tune but
Manny Boreland immediately began "Love is the Sweetest thing -
when it is new" in a high falsetto as piercing as a flute. The
sweetest love triumphed over Sankey's hymn and through the
pimento walk fragments of undersong followed Manny's voice.
Cissy had stopped her tale and her neck was arched, absorbed in
the picking and the song I saw her in profile and now remember,
unwillingly, the life of a nerve that quivered near her ear.
". .. like it was the Devil himself give me this dream. I
stan' there till I could' frighten no more. Then I hear somebody
calling me, far away far away, "Cissy, Cissy! What you one doing
down here in Mary Bottom. Mind you catch bad cold and get
your death from consumption. Come child, mek we go." You
know is who a-call me? Not a soul but Aunt Tun ..."
Meanwhile the boys (those twelve our brothers) had gathered
round our tree. I recall some of their mighty names Stirling
Tracy, Ramon Brown, Rupert Johnson, Son-Son Green. And
Roy, the new boy from Kingston.
"Where Reggie?" Son-Son asked.
"He gone Antrim from morning."
"Wait. Mercedes, where Donald? Doan you did say Donald
have a air-gun, Lucien?" Ramon said and we were all asking that'
"What you want with Donald air-rifle?" Mercedes asked
"Is you help him buy it?"
"We doan catch a glimpse a' Donald since he gone Kingston
school," Ramon said. "Roy here come from Kingston tiday. I
bet you he know Kingston better than Donald."
"Which Roy that?" Mercedes asked.
Roy was introduced and shook hands gravely with the girls.
"A t'ing ah doan unnerstan'" Lucien said, using the intona-
tion of Mount Zion, a neighboring village, "is why you have a
Red Man as Busha at Great House an why you doan have a Black
"You are a facety boy, Lucien Taylor," Mercedes said.
"You going to dead bad."
"Is a white man there," Ramon said. "He born white but he
"You ever go Antrim Great House?" I asked. "Is a white
"Ask Mercedes," Lucien said. "She have a sweetheart live
there." Mercedes, now completely angry leapt at Lucien and
threw him. He held her and they rolled over, scratching and
kicking towards the tree-trunk and knocking over a basket of
pimento. In a moment the older people had parted them.
"It would mus' be Lucien Taylor behaving disgraceful."
"Boy, there is never a trouble but you in it," Manny
Boreland said with something like approval.
"You mus'-a mad to put yo' hand on Busha Burton daugh-
"Boy, you doan know yo' place. You think she have to
mix-up with all like you-so?"
"Is a pity yo' father leave you to run wild like this in
And so on. There were no reproaches for Mercedes. We
stood around and watched Lucien dusting off his sombrero,
indifferent, whistling. Mercedes was half-hidden behind the tree
adjusting her clothes. It was then that I noticed that Cissy was
crying. She was still sitting over the pimento basket, crying
deeply but getting no relief from her tears. It was heart-breaking
and worse when this new Roy patted her on the back and said,
"Doan take it like that. Is only joke they joking."
At sunset Brother Scarlet thanked us and started gathering
in the picked pimento. From our village we never saw the actual
sun set but watched, without remarking, the changes of colour
and light out at sea, reflected ten miles across the valley in
Runaway Bay. We played twilight games running, dodging
behind trees, pinching each other, calling old nicknames, new
nicknames. I saw without embarrassment, as natural as the day-
light, the shadowy recesses of Mercedes' thighs as her skirt belled
and cascaded. Cissy was inviolate. As the purple haze, drifting
the early fire-flies before it, came in from the sea, my mother,
somewhere in the shadows told me to come straight home. The
day was ending and the night that would throb till dawn an-
nounced itself with the bluish dusk and the punctual voices,
subdued and brooding, in Brother Belnavis' pocomania yard.
"In the craas
In the craas
Be my glory ever,
Till my ransom soul shall fine
Rest, beyond the river."
The drums that would fill the night with the rhythm of
salvation rolled softly, against the voices, and as we left Scarlet
Piece we danced and imitated the groans and contortions of
converts in the Spirit.
At the main road the boys dispersed leaving Lucien,
Mercedes, Cissy, Roy and myself. Dusk lingered and we walked
with Mercedes and Cissy to the Great House, going through Spring
Piece and climbing the steep hill from Mary Bottom to the road
and the big house full of lights over us. I was uneasy about Roy
but at the gate Cissy came back three times to shake hands with
me and say goodnight.
Lucien, Roy and I walked, with the moon just silvering the
top of Antrim mountain, along the parochial road towards
"Who your father, Roy?" Lucien asked.
"He in town. He work at Chelleram."
"You know Victoria College?" I asked.
Donald Burton that go to Victoria College?"
"Pass it every day in the tram," Roy said.
"My father use to drive a tram-car in Havana, you know,"
Lucien said. "One day he knock a car clean out the road."
"One day," Roy said, "I see two tram-car collision in Half-
way-Tree, ben' up and the sparks flying, man, they call the Fire
"You are a real ginal," Lucien said with a tremendous
laugh that cut into the dark. Silence again and the shuffle of
Roy's canvas shoes on the loose gravel.
We thought we could frighten him with the night, and we
stopped, pretending that galowasps were rushing at us from the
bushes but Roy was immune from that, from the patoo owls
crying to the moon and the eerie shapes of the old-man-beard
"What happen to you, boy?" "Felix chop up Papa!"
We found Lucien's father sitting alone, smoking his heavy
curved brass-tipped pipe in the chocho arbour. The light from
the storm lantern was pale in the moonlight and Ebeneezer
Taylor, in a good mood began a rollicking story.
"Once Brer Anancy mek up to catch some a him frien' so
him dig a deep hole an' wait till him see Brer Rat a-pass. Him say
to Brer Rat: 'Brer Rat, mi frien', ah have a little place, ya, it
sweet you see; so me jump in an' say "wee", you tek me out. So
you jump in an' say "wee'" me tek you out.'
"Brer 'Nancy jump in an' say "wee"; Brer Rat tek him out.
Then Brer Rat pick up himself an' jump in "WEE". Hear Brer
Anancy, 'You will stay deh an' say "wee".'
"So Brer Rat say 'wee' till him dead an' Brer Anancy put
him in him bag.
"Brer Anancy see Dog a-pass. Him say: 'Brer Dog, ah have
a little place ya, it sweet yuh see. So me jump in an say "wee",
you tek me out; so you jump in an' say "wee", me tek you out!,
So Dog too him jump in an' say "wee" till him dead, an' Anancy
put him in him bag.
"Now all this while Brer Puss hiding in a tree a-watch Brer
Annancy rascalities ..."
We heard the end of that story some other night for it was
interrupted by a moaning, deep in the bush behind the house on
the bridle path over Antrim mountain.
"Lord God, I dead! Lord God, I dead!"
Lucien's father rushed into the house and came out loading
his pistol. Someone was running towards us through the bush and
we could hear him stumbling and panting. As he came nearer,
Lucien's father fired into the air with a great roaring echo. He
shouted: "Hif you mek another move, ah shoot you!" The
running stopped abrubtly. Then a voice: "Mass Ebeneezer, Mass
Ebeneezer." It was a boy's voice.
"Who you, in this night?" Lucien's father shouted.
"Is me Reggie Boreland, sah!"
Reggie came within the lantern-light, weak-kneed and in the
last stage of terror. There was blood on his shirt and hands.
"What happen to you, boy?"
"Felix chop up Papa," Reggie said. "Felix chop up Papa,
kill him on Antrim mountain-pass." Felix was Papa Boreland's
nephew who lived in a kind of exile in Mount Zion. I knew only
that Papa Bbreland had warned him not to come back to our
Lucien's father took his torch and we ran behind the long
beam through the slippery undergrowth, excited but secure
against cutlasses behind our leader of Cuban wars. We found Papa
Boreland bleeding from slashes on his chest and arms and from a
deep cut on the cheek. He was still conscious and strong enough
to hold himself up when we carried him back to the house. Death
and near-death did not startle us, any more than birth did, for we
had not yet learned the possibilities of life: and, in any case,
violence was always just below the surface of our lives in the
village. We were more impressed by Ebeneezer Taylor's calm.
We set out for the Great House Lucien's father carried
Papa Boreland on one horse, Roy and myself (Roy held me tightly
round the waist) rode on the other horse, and Lucien and Reggie
came last in our night procession, flying on the tail of the wild
mare. Papa Boreland was barely conscious and soaked in blood
when we reached the Great House.
"Busha Burton! Busha Burton!" Lucien's father called.
Lucien and I tied a tourniquet on Papa Boreland's arm and watched
the blood ease to a trickle. Busha shouted from the dark space of
an open window.
"Me. Ebeneezer Taylor."
"What you want now, this damn time a' night?"
"We have trouble here. Felix just chop up Papa Boreland
in Antrim pass. He's on dying."
Busha came down and the two men confronted each other
over the wounded man. No sparks flew; it was a feud deep enough
to be shelved when the two men were united by pity and anger.
"I knowthis Felix would make trouble. He's a bad boy,"
Busha said. "You find any trace of him?"
"I will find him tonight," Lucien's father said, holding the
"You be careful how you handle that gun, Ebeneezer
"I am a careful man, Busha," Ebeneezer said quietly. While
they talked, Miss Stephens washed Papa Boreland's wounds with
jeyes and water. Busha brought out his car and accompanied by
Reggie and Miss Stephens, took the groaning man to St. Ann's
"Unu boy best go home, now," Lucien's father said before
galloping off towards Antrim pass. Roy and I ran all the way
home from Lucien's house.
As I slipped in through the back door, my father caught me
and gave me the expected lashing, only half-hearing and half-
believing my broken story about Jabez Boreland. I lay to sleep
with the drums of salvation and the throbbing of my own crying
in my ears but the remembered excitements of the day soothed
my unransomed soul.
Crab Catching At Night
Painting by Judy McMillan
IAN MCDONALD FREDERICA DeCOSTA CECIL GREY RICHARD KIYA-HINIDZA
Affairs in the young Republic do not go well.
Problems weigh like stones on every man.
In everyone's heart there is growing doubt.
The most placid people have begun to grumble:
The playing children notice the unusual scowls.
In the rumshops there is moody silence, with bursts of anger,
And the Churches are filled with arid sermons.
The nation seems to trudge a weary road:
On all sides ardour is withdrawn.
It is not that progress is not made.
No, the burnished buildings grow,
Machinery hums in the new factories,
Bush is cleared and new crops are extended.
Men are urged to be prouder and are probably so;
Beards sprout fearlessly, non-colonial clothes sell in all the
Great advances are made in education and medical care.
Our foreign embassies every day report fresh diplomatic initiatives.
New dances are discovered for the new culture.
The people are a flame, not easily put out,
Unless you raze wide swathes around their rights.
What has happened? Why are knives pulled in the street?
There is not much time, that is generally recognized.
Illustration by Lloyd Young
*Mr. McDonald is also a novelist. He lives in Guyana.
FOR A GENERATION OF SONGMAKERS LOOKING OUT FROM THE THIRD WORLD
WITH A CLEAR EYE SEEING TOMORROWS WHICH BELONG (HEREAFTER/ONLY
FOREVERMORE) TO PEOPLE WHO DANCE BY RHYTHMS OF THE TRUE EARTH
You no longer
(if you ever I was lied to too)
use apologetic terms
to explain away your existence
and that of your kin.
So I no longer
shamefacedly acknowledge that
you speak of me
lam proud because
you have made me so -
You have symbolized my dreams
in black scratches
on white paper
(or is that your blood
dampening the sheets?)
saying that they could be so if I
not memorized but
examined with the seventh sense
and learned my lessons.
I thank you
I being we
you know who "we" is
I thank you
and beg you to continue your interpretive vision.
I will feed you the candied apples
(so far an only food)
of our civilization
to keep you whole
if you keep me sane so
together we can get free.
I will play you the siren sounds
of our western world
waiting for the feedback to be an echo
of our past
predicting the future.
I will wind you in cloth
from fading mills
knowing you understand
it is only to keep you warm till
the summer sun can touch us all.
But know now as do threatened husbands
of tired drunken wives
that I neither forgive or forget
and I can suspect a false message.
If you leave me humming a soundless tune
speaking only of hopelessness
I being we
you know who "we" is
will revert to the ranks of your enemies
and call you sheep
so deliver me with song.
*Mrs. DeCosta is an Afro-American who feels close links with the Caribbean.
WHEELS OF PROGRESS
When I was sent to school
it was not gadgetry and gimmicks
we were given.
The teacher told you clearly
what you had to know
and so you learnt it even though
it had no piston-rod attached to living.
A strait-jacket was all
our flailing minds were held to grow in.
For English Language it was verbs and nouns
and for Geography promontories
and names of towns.
None of my teachers was at liberty
to help me use the bricks of words
to build a dome to house experience.
None thought the axis of Geography
Then some acknowledged Dewey
had just uncovered a
that turned the door to
better learning through
And for a time
the minds of lucky children
were set free.
But soon the adoration
made quick abortion
of that prophet's theory
about the road we tread
to human dignity,
so cranks installed instead
and now we dance among
mass gimmicks, metal gadgetry,
programmed learning and objective battery
those modern instruments to put
the minds of children back
in the strait-jackets
where they belong.
*Mr. Grey comes from Trinidad. At present he teaches at the U.W.I. in Jamaica.
by Richard Kiya-Hinidza
down the earth's abyss,
Where our origins stay
In towns whose fares are
And their journeys show
no return, nor the gates
So then do we sit up
to see flowers that once thrived,
pardon their mercy
With this secret message
From my heart through
Blessed and wired into you;
Tell them we are alive
So then do we need their
Their footsteps are almost gone,
And their farm paths are
should not be changed;
Lest we change more of the
Over which we pray
Take just our tongues;
Our hopes lack efforts
We are late in the forward
Our visitors are turning masters,
And disorder is our disease -
where those lost seeds lay
Hidden in their secret
Beyond the trace of our
The earth has claimed its toll;
Our tears fell but rebounced
But you trace them with patience
Tell them our voices are withheld,
Strangulated by strangers -
by Richard Kiya-Hinidza
Shall I live and see
Can my legs grow and watch
This would be when my gods
Into their shrines.
The hapoons boomerang in the bush,
And bows twang in the thicket,
But the baboon clasps at her hold;
Clouds release their thundering cracks,
The rains make their horrid descent,
But the sky does not give in to land;
Fragments of bombs can zoom past me,
While other grenades explode beside,
But my voice from rescue will still be raised;
Bullets from guns can threaten my song,
And words of lament will fail to flow,
Through my mouth pellet threatened,
But I cannot see the living turn to dead.
A crack, a whiz, a splinter of killers -
An inclination to kill and have extra space -
But shall I live and see
Can my legs grow and watch
This would be when my gods
Into their shrines.
The battle rages in cold bloodedness,
And walking babies tear in mumpy argony,
To milk from their mothers'lifeless breasts;
Ifeel pity for the dead, and more for the dying,
When tins of blood flow through clustered ribs
I wish I could crawl to their rescue,
But there is a gap of inches that seem miles
In eyes that see through blood-flooded lids;
Gleaming green grasses turn to flaring flames,
While the smoky sky looks with deep concern,
And hears me lament the lying and the dying;
I see bodies neglect their skulls in turns,
When the flesh respond to the deathly messages,
Despatched in mortars, bombs and shells;
I wish it were within my range,
To shade rattling shells from cracking men,
But it is a wish not within my means.
And so shall I live and see
Can my legs grow and watch
Awake from your shrines.
*Christopher Okigbo, 37,
a well known poet, was killed
in battle at Akwebe in Sept.
1967 on the Nsukka sector of
*Mr. Kiya-Hinidza is a Ghanaian and works at the University of Ghana at Legon.