Front Cover
 Table of Contents
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Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00038
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: February 1983
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00038
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

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Full Text




Treasures of Jamaican Heritage


Jamaican Peoples Museum,Spanish Town
Institute of Jamaica

Traditionally used for storing,
cooling, and carrying water.
Jamaica's Monkey Jar is made in
the syncretic ceramic tradition, i.e.
it combines African and European
ceramic features. Date of
commencement of the tradition is
uncertain: archaeological evidence
suggests 1750-1800. However, the
Monkey Jar could have been
introduced from other areas; it
is also found in Barbados and in
North Carolina, U.S.A.

Jamaica Journal is published by
the Institute of Jamaica
12-16 East Street, Kingston, Jamaica

ISSN:0021 -4124

Publications Committee
Professor Edward Baugh Chairman
Rev. Philip Hart
Professor Gerald Lalor
teila Thomas
Stephney Ferguson
Dr. Alfred Sangster
Olive Senior

Managing Editor
Olive Senior

Design and Production
Camille Parchment

Assistant Editor (Circulation)
Faith Myers

Mechanicals Artist
Clive Phillips.

Patsy Smith

INDEX: Articles appearing in Jamaica Journal
are abstracted and indexed in Historical
Abstracts and America: History and Life.
A cumulative author-article index is in
Back Issues: Most back issues are available.
List sent on request. Entire series available on
microfilm from the National Library of
Jamaica, 12 -16 East Street, Kingston, or
University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan
48106, U.S.A.

For subscription information, see p. 49

Vol. 16 No. 1 Copyright @1983 by the Institute
of Jamaica. Cover and contents may not be
reproduced in whole or in part without prior
written permission.
Retail single copy price: J$8 (in Jamaica only);
Overseas: U.S.$8 (or equivalent in other
currencies) post paid (surface mail).

Moon over Kingston, temporary headquarters
of the International Seabed Authority.
Photograph taken from the St. Andrew Hills.
,olour transparency by Andreas Oberli.



by Robert Hill

by Horace O. Russell

by David Buisseret

by G. A. Aarons


by Peter Bretting


2 TREVOR RHONE, interviewed by
Mervyn Morris


by Gloria Escoffery


by Dennis Scott

59 DANCE NDTC at 20
Reviewed by Wycliffe Bennett C

61 BOOKS The Sure Salvation by John Hearne
Reviewed by Edward Baugh

"Alas, Alas, Kongo": A Social History of
Indentured African Immigration into Jamaica, 1841 1865
Reviewed by Mavis C. Campbell

by Mary Twining


Heather Royes talks to Senator Tom Tavares-Finson


Vol. 16 No. 1

Mervyn Morris


Trevor Rhone

In two interviews conducted
over a 22-month period

[Friday 24 October 1980]
MM: Trevor, where were you born and
TR: I was born in Kingston; under the
clock, I think, as they say. It was like
one of those quick trips into town, be
born, and out again. Bellas Gate, a little
place in St Catherine, is really what I'd
say, from I was a couple days old until
I was in my teens, was home. Bellas
Gate, St Catherine. And I was born 24th
March, 1940.

How large a family were you born into?
I'm the twenty-first child of my parents.
My father, actually, was married twice,
and I think had some children in bet-
ween marriages. My mother, his second
wife, has three children three boys -
and I'm the third. And I'm actually the
last of 21.
Where were you educated?
Primary education was at a little school
in St Catherine, a place called Red
Ground, briefly, then at Barton's
Primary, in St Catherine, for quite a
long while. Brief spell at Ginger Ridge
Primary, again in St Catherine. In fact,
I never went to the school in the dis-
trict that I grew up in, strangely enough.
And then it was on to Beckford and
Smith's, now St Jago, from 1952 until
1957, I think it was. And then on to the
Rose Bruford College of Speech and
Drama in Lamorbey Park in Sidcup,
Kent, in England.
Why did you decide to go and study
People always ask this question, and
I've never been able to give the answer
that satisfies. Before I had seen a play
in fact, I knew pretty much what my
life's work should be: how I wanted to
spend my days, in other words. It was
a thing that happened when I was
about nine. In the little district that I
lived in they had these concerts where
you paid a shilling to take off a man
and sixpence to put him back up. I
think that must have had a profound
effect on my mind. So that stayed
with me, and when I went to school -
Beckford and Smith's I got heavily
involved with the Schools' Drama
Festival and then into the pantomime
- you know, the yearly pantomime -
and round about that time (sixteen,
seventeen, eighteen) I started think-
ing seriously much against the odds,
you know, at that time of going off
to study some place, and met Edric
Connor, the Trinidadian actor, and he

suggested the Rose Bruford College in
England, but said to me, very clearly,
"Whatever they teach you, forget half
of it" which I've managed to do.
But there are some aspects of what
you learned that are still very helpful.
Is it possible for you to identify one
or two of these things which you
learned at Drama School which you
have found have been of lasting use?
Oh yes. The English Drama School,
and particularly the one I went to -
their technical knowledge of the theatre
is absolutely- first-rate. They know.
And in a way the conditions that pre-
vail in England are very similar to
the conditions here: very little money;
it's a lot of making do, in fact, and
re-using things, being able to convert
things, to do with the minimum, at
the same time allowing your mind to
maximize itself for usage. While in
America there's so much money, usu-
ally, and these sort of very splendid
theatres and everything is all techno-
logy. That's an important thing about
England: stagecraft itself, I think, is
first-rate you know, the ability to
use the stage. History of the theatre -
you know, from the very very begin-
ning and the development of the
theatre is also something which they
taught you and taught you very well.
And the use of the body, in fact the
mime, the fencing, very valid things.
The Voice and Speech was helpful,
apart from the fact that they insisted
that you speak like them which was
a bit of a tragedy. And I think the
worst aspect of it all was the fact that
they denied one was forced to deny
- one's roots and saying it wasn't
important. All that there was for them,
and should be for you, was their roots,
the Chaucer and the Shakespeare com-
ing up the line. That, I think, was the
real hazard of the place: that they
tried to make you into somebody that
you were not, and make you into what
they were.
Were you, at the time that you were at
Drama School in England, already
beginning to think of becoming a
writer as distinct from a man of the
theatre who was an actor, primarily,
and also a director?

No, no. In England one had two choices.
I wanted to become an actor. There's
nothing more in the world that I wanted
to do than act and act and act and act.
One also had to do a teaching course,
one had to do both. And all my intent-
ions, in fact, were set on the stage:

The young playwright Trevor Rhone at the
start of his career.

desperately, really wanted to, thought of
nothing else but acting. Directing was an
additional thing, a sort of vague avenue
that one could explore, but the thing to
do was to act. You were taught, you
know, some directing principles; but
very few people in the college actually
took it- on seriously acting was the
thing. Came back to Jamaica and really
was trying to carry out that vision of
In what year did you come back to

Went to England in 1960. Came back
in 1963. It was a very traumatic time,
in fact; because when I came back I
started teaching, because there was
very little else one could do at that
time, and in fact my salary was half
what my tuition had cost. And the
whole climate was really sort of very
desert-like in terms of activity. You
know, having left the sort of metro-
polis where there were theatres and
plays, to come back here and be liter-
ally scrounging around . So I fled
from Jamaica after nine months and
went back to England. Found it even
more distressing in fact when I went
back, because there were all these
theatres and I was playing the little
black boy who ran away with the
little white girl which distressed me
totally because I didn't have that
intention at all!
Where in England did you go to when
you went back? Was it London?



Yes, I went to London . As I say,
the work really was propagating a
sort of image which didn't make me
feel good about myself. And so I
fled, again, back to Jamaica. It was
a sort of routine: every couple of
months I was doing that. And here
I made a very conscious sort of choice.
I really sat down and said, look, I
really am a part of the society. Uncon-
sciously or subconsciously I took Mr
Connor's word about forgetting half
of what you had learned. And here
was just about when . I used to take
the bus at that time . and I remem-
ber spending a lot of time at Cross
Roads. I used to spend an hour or two
there a day waiting for the bus. And
the first thing I wrote was that little
poem called "Look Two", which was
just repeating the sounds that I'd
heard, and the thing sounded so damn
good and went down so well that I ...
But I really never thought about any
furtherance in terms of writing.
I n what year was "Look Two", Trevor?
"Look Two" was 1967. In fact, the
writing thing came about quite by
accident in many ways. Before I went
to college, England, and I was here, I
remember now spending a lot of Satur-
days and Sundays at the university
(where I used to be a clerk) around a
typewriter, writing a play, it was a radio
play. Because at that time JBC had just
started and there was this whole advent
of radio drama with Robin Midgely and
people like that. And I wrote one of
those. And I also wrote a couple of other
plays which I still have. So in fact the
writing thing was emerging long before
I had gone to drama school, but it had
died a sort of death. And it really resur-
faced when I was teaching at St Andrew
Technical and the gentleman said to me
he needs a pantomime, for Christmas.
So, okay, I go to the library and I find
the usual things "Puss in Boots",
"Cinderella", "Jack and the Beanstalk"
- and I take it back, and the children
looked at it and looked away from it.
So I said to the gentleman, the head-
master, "Sir, I think I know what
would interest these children, but I can-
not find it."
And he said to me, "Mr Rhone, if you
know what it is, why don't you write it
I said, "Fine. We should start rehear-
sals next week and I don't have the
script. But if I could have a week off
from school, I think I can write this
thing down."

So I simply took a week off from classes
- I sat at my desk at school, and there
was a young miss there from the typing
department, and as I finished a page I
gave it to her and she typed it. And by
the end of the week, without even read-
ing the damn thing over, we were in
rehearsals. And that thing was "Cinder-
ella" I used the title and the basic
theme and set it in our area. And that
thing really earned so much money and
was such a pleasure, both for me and
the children. But it was something one
had to do at that time. You know, one
did it, and one went back to teaching.
And the second year I wrote another
one. And the third year I also wrote
another one. And it was becoming
something that was expected of me: Mr
Rhone writes the pantomime, you
know, every year. And, oh yes, I was
like doing two schools, and doing two
productions, you know, writing one and
maybe writing both sometimes.
What was the other school?
KC. And I think Queens as well. So I
was really harassing myself tremendous-
ly. And then what happened was, I
think, one day I was at KC and I looked
across at this old man and this is re-
flected in School's Out, right? and I
saw reflections of myself, Mervyn,
twenty-five years from now. And I said
to myself, "Boy!" Oh yes, I was twenty-
nine. When one is twenty-one it's
glorious, right? Twenty-nine, and you
haven't realized your dreams or are even
beginning to realize your dreams, you
begin to panic. And I think I panicked
a little bit; panicked a lot. And some-
how I managed to opt out of school -
resigned, because of ill health or some-
thing. My mind, in fact, I think, was
playing tricks on me. And I went home
and looked through my window that
Monday morning, and all my W.A.S.P.
habits and indoctrination really took
hold of me when I looked through and
saw everybody streaming to work on a
Monday morning, and me sitting here
with these blank sheets of paper because
I said I was going to write. And it panic-
ked me, it was really a very frightening
experience at the time. But there was a
certain sense of determination within
myself, and I stuck it out and I wrote
the play and I put it on and it worked
very well. And for me it was very satis-
fying. That was the play The Gadget.

Do you remember what year that was?
That, I think, was '69, '68-69, that
happened. Yes, because I was twenty-

nine. That was the period. But the really
sort of important step I made was when
I wrote Smile Orange. Because there's
always been the quandary and problem,
the dilemma in my mind as to what
language to write in, right? Because here
I was, I spoke the English language fair-
ly well, I had lived in England, nearly
all my theatrical experiences were ex-
pressed in that sort of standard type
English language, and my vowel sounds
were all perfect and what-not and what-
not and what-not . And I thought to
myself that if I wished to reach an inter-
national audience that is the language.
But then I thought to myself that my
roots and my background doesn't ex-
press itself in that language. And I said I
have to make a choice. I remember the
day sitting in my room and really agoni-
zing about it: whom do I write for? And
I said to myself: okay, I know who I ...
I'm beginning to realize who I am. And
I said: okay, I'm Jamaican, this is
Jamaican language, I'm going to try and
write a truly Jamaican play in terms of
the language, the body language, the
spoken language, the shape of the play,
the form, everything, I'm just going to
go fully overboard. And I really stuck
my neck out that time. And there was
panic. I remember when the play open-
ed, and the first night was fairly full,
they were all complimentaries; and the
second night there was 18, and the next
night I think there were 14. Panic! I
only had eighteen dollars left in the
bank. But the fourth night was full, and
it was full for years after. But that for
me was a conscious decision, choice, I
made: to write a play which was so ur-

ban, the language it's such a beauti-
ful language, you know; doesn't reach
out beyond here very much; but it made
a great impact on me and on the society,
in terms of, you know, the cross-reflect-
Yes, but you are about to have three of
your plays published in England, and
one of them is Smile Orange. Do you
think that this will be accessible to
people who are not familiar with Jamai-
can language?
Yes, because what we have done with it
is sort of straightened out the language
a little bit . Another thing I learnt in
England which has served me very well
is I was taught phonetics, and I develop-
ed a fantastic ear, so I could reproduce
these sounds very accurately, and I
wrote them down almost in phone-
tics. The play in the original version is
almost phonetic. It took, I think five
hours to read the first morning. Because
the actors themselves who actually
spoke the language had never seen it
written as accurately, and in fact couldn't
make head or tail of it: they had to sit
there and work out the phonetics as
well. I think it would be a problem in
terms of international audiences, in the
original phonetic way I had written it.
But will a Jamaican reader be able to
hear the Jamaican sounds in the com-
parative standardization that you have
done for the book?
Yes, I think so. I think so. Most definite-
You wrote Smile Orange, then, in
Jamaican language partly because you

A scene from School's Out, one ot the author's earlier plays.

had made a choice about language. Could
you say a little about your choice of
subject matter and, possibly, of theme?

The choice in fact carried through with
subject matter and with theme; although
a lot of people do say that a lot of the
work is very Moli're. And I wouldn't
deny that it may be, although it was a
conscious thing not to be, because
MoliBre is really one of my favourites.
I remember when I was blocked com-
pletely with Smile Orange. I found it
was getting useless and I wasn't saying
exactly what I wanted to say. So I just
took off to clear my head, and I thought
the seas would have done it. I went to
England, nothing happened; on my way
back, nothing happened. Pure despera-
tion. And as good luck would have it, I
met a man who was coming back from
England after about ten years, to go
back to his job.
"What is your job?" I asked.
"Oh, I'm a waiter. I used to be a waiter
at Tower Isle."
And we sat with that man for it was
a twelve day voyage, and for the last
seven days I spent my entire life and
time with this man. And I probed his
mind in all sorts of directions, every
angle. And every night I went back to
my cabin and I just wrote reams and
reams and reams of notes he solved
every single problem for me: all the
questions that I needed answered, about
the actual spirit of that man, you know,
he answered them. And I came back to
Jamaica, and in three weeks I had
finished writing. The whole thing just
became very clear to me, as to his whole
dilemma, because he was a reflection of
everybody else, all our spirits actually.
Smile Orange, I think, first turned up as
a film script in a Festival competition.
Did you write it as a play originally?

How Smile Orange really came about: I
was asked by the Tourist Board to write
a radio serial that reflected something to
do with tourism. Right: a letter from
the Tourist Board, that's what happened.
And I said; "Fine, but 1 know nothing
about tourism, apart from the usual sort
of middle-class way people view it, you
They said: "No problem, we will send
you to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios
and all the sort of tourist resorts and
you can spend as much time as you like
there, and soak up the scene, learn
about it, and come back."

Geraldine Connor and Errol Johns play Miss
Aggie and Pa Ben in the Trinidadian product-
ion of Old Story Time.
So in fact I spent about six to eight
weekends on the North Coast, which
the Tourist Board paid for. So I came
back and I sorted out my notes and my
thoughts and I heard everything, and it
took me three months to write the first
episode, of fourteen minutes. three
months work and it's like 10 an epi-
So I phoned up the lady at the Tourist
Board and said: "Do I have a commit-
ment with the Tourist Board in terms of
this thing? Must I give you a radio serial
in return?"
And they said: "No, we've asked two or
three or four people, you know, to
check out this thought, and any person
who wanted to -"
I said: "What about the fact that you
paid for me?"
And they said: "It's alright."
So I kept the little episode, my one epi-
sode, and I started developing the thing
as a film. That's how it happened. And
then it went to the play and back to the
film and now it's ...
Which episode was that?

Which episode was it? I think it was the
episode of him coming, the beginning of
the season, coming to the hotel, that's
what it was, him and Joe.
After Smile Orange what did you write?
Orange opened '71. Between '70 and
'71 was an extraordinarily productive
year. Because I was working with Perry
Henzell on The Harder They Come for

'70. I had the option to write pantomime
as well, for the LTM. In fact I wrote
that in one week. Started on Monday
morning. It's the fastest I've ever work-
ed, I just sat down . And Act II
shows! It was terrible! In that year -
eighteen months I did The Harder
They Come, I did Music Boy, and I did
Smile Orange. And I did a little docu-
mentary as well, I can't remember what
it was.

What was the next major play after
Smile Orange?

The next major thing was Oh, there
were a couple of little things. There was
Comic Strip which wasn't terribly suc-
cessful. And there was Sleeper which is
something I'm now in the process of re-
working. And the next really important
thing for me was School's Out which
was drawing on the five or six years that
I'd spent as a schoolteacher. I disregarded
a lot of the really bad episodes: You
know, some really frightening things
happened. It would be unfair to have
used those as a general picture, so I

Did you find yourself doing any kind of
background research for School's Out,
or were you able to write it from your
basic experience?

I had some notes, lots of little notes. In
the last year of my teaching I was taking
the odd note of things. And after I left
teaching I spoke with a lot of school-
teachers who were still involved in the
teaching process, and picked their brains,
and asked what was happening, you
know, if it had improved, if what I was
going to be doing now would be accur-
ate. A lot of research went into School's
Out months, before I actually sat
down to writing the damn thing.

You're pretty well known, I think, as
an author who spends a lot of time try-
ing to make sure he gets the background
of fact correct. This is so, isn't it?

That is so. Because I panic if I should
ever say something that was not true, or
not real in terms of my work. So I
check just about every detail. I check, I
find out.
There have been at least two major pro-
ductions of School's Out in Jamaica,
and you have been yourself clearly asso-
ciated with one and you saw the other.
Do you have any comment to make on
the realization of your script, in either

The first one, I'd say the production
by Yvonne Jones was by far the bet-
ter one. (In fact, the most exciting pro-
duction I saw of School's Out was one I
did myself, funnily enough just one
performance of it. It was done in a vast
theatre, in the O'Keefe Centre in Tor-
onto, and the stage there was really a
thrust, a complete thrust stage, with all
the exits and entrances made through
the audience under the stage. I think it
was the space that really just let the
play explode).
I've been thinking about a very novel
production of School's Out it would
need a little rewriting here and there -
where I would see the staff all as kinder-
garten, all dressed as children, using just
some little thing when they become
schoolteachers, and then the other six
would take on the roles of the students.
I think it could be very exciting.

And while we're on the realization of
scripts Smile Orange has been done as
a film as well as a play. Would you like
to compare the two?

I, to be very honest, wasn't as satisfied
with the film as I would have liked. And
I think it was partially my inexperience
in terms of translating from the stage
into the medium of film. I would have
liked to have started over the day I had
finished, because by then I had learnt
enough from and about film to begin
making a picture. The next picture that
I make will show the effect of that first
What is the next picture you're likely to
Mervyn, I don't know. Films are a tricky
business. They cost so much, and one
has so little control of the film business.
Because I've been ripped off parti-
cularly with The Harder They Come -
so badly that the experiences, they leave
scars on your mind. I've had some good
friends in fact you know, people like
yourself and Dr Basil Keane and the
people like Rex Nettleford who keeps
sending little messages that whatever I
do, don't ever stop writing, don't ever
stop writing. And there are the people I
meet on the street who come up and
just tell me thank you very much, and
they go their way. And people come
and say like at the Awards thing1 a
lady came and said that she just came
for one express purpose, she hoped I
would be there and she just wanted to
say hello to me because I had given her
so much pleasure. And it's those things
that tend to erase the scars, you know

the times in one's life when one is
ripped off.
What was your official role in relation
to the film of Smile Orange?
Author and director. In both capacities
I was a little bit of a novice. Most people
spend three or four or five or six, up to
ten years, working as go-fors or in some
capacity, you know, assistant this, assist-
ant that, and working their way up. I
literally jumped in head first on the first
morning. I'm not making excuses for
myself, but .. In fact, you know, I
shouldn't be knocking myself. It's been
by far the most successful Caribbean
picture in terms of its appeal. And what
it's done in the region has been absolute-
ly wonderful. I'm not ashamed of it,
it's just that my sense of my own need
for perfection wasn't satisfied in that.
And what about your exact role in The
Harder They Come? You were a co-
author. How much of the writing did
you actually do?
Most of it, in fact ...
You've mentioned "the next film that
you do" but you're not sure what that
will be. Has it occurred to you that you
might, for example, film any of your
successful plays?
It would be a shame, in fact, If Old
Story Time wasn't filmed. I think it
would make a wondrous, really beauti-
ful, film. People have spoken with me
about it, but at this particular time I
really want to explore. . for example,
what I'm doing now, this musical thing
..... g l

Pa Ben (Charles Hyatt) quotes chapter and
verse to his friend Miss Aggie (Cyrene Tomlin-
son) in the Jamaican production of Old Story

that I'm in to, I wouldn't want to stop
until I've tried out the show and seen
how it works.

This musical thing that you're into,
would you say a little about it?

I've been rewriting the Everyman
Miracle play. I did a very sort of straight
translation of it. But more and more, as
I work on it, my own thoughts, my own
self, my own times, are beginning to re-
flect more and more strongly within the
context of the script. Always wanted to
do a musical. And I'm hoping that this
one will be it, you know, because I'm
combining all the forces the music,
the drama, the costumes, the set, every-
thing has great meaning . .
You said you've always wanted to do a
musical. What do you think, looking
back, of your pantomime Music Boy, of
which, you've already said a little, Music
Boy, was, of course, a musical.
It was half-half. My initial thing when I
started was to break the tradition, right?
Everybody always writes these panto-
mimes, I'm going to write a musical.
And halfway through it I got cold feet
and it became very pantomimic and
really lost all its meaning for me. I
thought Act II was dreadful.
Three of your plays are about to be
published together, and each of these
was a great success, in terms of the
number of performances and the res-
ponse of audiences. Can you help us by
telling us how many performances of
Smile Orange there were, how many
performances of School's Out, and per-
haps how many performances of Old
Story Time so far?
Smile Orange was 245 or 247. School's
Out was 278. And Story Time is well
over 200, I'm not certain of the exact
figure. In its brief time Old Story Time
has played in more countries than, I
think, all the other plays put together.
In which countries has Old Story Time
been put on?
It has played in Cayman, in St Thomas
in the Virgin Islands, St Croix, in Trini-
dad, in Miami, and here in Kingston. I'm
a little bit tired of moving around with
it, you know. I need to do something
else. But there's a possible production
lined up for Barbados early next year,
and I'm investigating one in Washington,
in America.
These productions are of two kinds,
aren't they? There is the Jamaican pro-
duction taken abroad, as to Miami. But

there have also been a number of pro-
ductions where you yourself have gone
and have directed a local cast. Would
you tell us which is which?
In Trinidad I used a local cast, and in
Nassau where the play opened. The
Jamaican production was very good, but
what may have made the difference in
Nassau was that it played in a much
better theatre and the equipment was a
lot better, one could light it in the cor-
rect way, one had the correct set and
the correct distance to conjure the illu-
sion and the spaces the play needs.
Close-up doesn't work, it needs perspect-
ive. And one had two really marvellous
actors in Nassau, as good in fact as
Charlie and Leonie are in Jamaica.
What? Would you tell us their names,
One is Winston Saunders who is an ama-
zing Caribbean talent. In fact he is a
lawyer. He is the most amazing male
talent I've discovered in the Caribbean.
He sings incredibly well, he plays the
piano fantastically any of those things
could, I think, have become his life's
work. He writes very well plays -
directs well as well, acts well, sings well,
I don't think he dances. The girl, who is
the sort of Louise Bennett of Nassau is
Pandora Gomez again an amazing
The Nassau production I was up until
three, four, in the morning trying to
work things out for me was total ex-
citement, that very first production,
you know, just trying to put it together.
I didn't know what the set should be
like, I mean it was all new to me. And
having spent so much time writing it,
you know, to go from one thing to
the next was very difficult. But it work-
ed, it really worked.
One of the most striking things of the
play in performance is the skill of the
transitions. At what stage did that come
to you in the composition of the play?
Or was it something that was finally dis-
covered in the directing?
It was finally discovered in the direct-
ing. Because I worked on a principle:
when I started rehearsing the play, I said
to the actors they asked about the set
- "I'm really not certain what the set
should be, but I'm going to try some-
thing and let's see how it works." I
said: "We will start with a bare stage,
we will have no set. Whenever we ab-
solutely need an object I will supply it.
Come the end of Act I, whatever objects
we have needed and used we will recycle

for Act II". It worked like an absolute
dream. The absolute minimum, and
really used and re-used. One can't do
that with everything, but with that sort
of play it was the perfect strategy to
have adopted.
What about the story-telling frame, was
that in the original writing?
No, the story-teller wasn't in the original
way I conceived the play. I spent so
much time on that play, like two and
a half going three years. And it wasn't
until I discovered Pa Ben that I really
solved all my problems. Because just the
whole forty-year span I had to find
the mechanics of doing it. I did, eventu-
Would you say something about the em-
phasis on ritual in this play? Particularly
the whole thing about the putting on of
obeah and the taking off of obeah.
Pre- Old Story Time, I'm trying to dis-
cover form and structure that works for
me as a Caribbean playwright. I think
it's going to take a long while of probing
and, I mean, really chopping down trees
before one finds this thing. I sort of said
to myself: I'm getting very bored and
tired with the proscenium, and it's re-
stricting my thought in many ways. So
I'm going to try and go outside of it,
but where do I go? And I said to myself:
I would like to touch bases with some
of my own traditions, my own roots -
I hate to use the word but: roots. And
so I did a lot of research on the African
methods of transmitting ideas and
thoughts and facts, right? And the story-
teller often has these flights of fancy
where they can take off, it's this going

from being a bird to a man to a stone,
oh within a fraction of a second, you
know, a couple of seconds. And the
whole of the research I did fascinated
me. The whole of this ritual thing, and
the obeah which also comes out of that
environment, I researched that thorough-
ly. Rex Nettleford was very helpful, be-
cause he and I chatted and he suggested
some books, etc. that I could read. On
the question of forrn and structure, I
would ... in many ways a lot of England
and my traditions there, my schooling
there, seeped into me and, being a pro-
duct of colonial society, I'm not able to
rid myself completely of it. So Story
Time for me is still in many ways cross-
cultural, there are still two forces at
work there. Maybe that's not such a bad
thing after all ...

It's amazing, though: a couple of friends
of mine have been round the Schools
Festivals and the Drama Festivals in
schools and around the island, and
it's amazing, I hear, how much root the
Old Story Time form is taking in the
society, you know, similar form,
people are using it, and that makes me
feel, you know, very very pleased.
It's a kind of circular thing, though,
isn't it? In that it's a story-teller's form
which is itself folk; it is there in Anancy,
it is there in our folk tales.
I have another thing which I must ex-
plore in terms of form. If I go back to
the origins of my interest in the drama
- the concert, the concert form, where
it's just a stage, any drum will do, or any
little box will do, and the community
sits around and one man goes up and

Lois (Karen Ford) and Lennie (Karl Binger) drift apart in Old Story Time.

sings and they pay to take him off. I
think that, in its own way, could be
developed into some real areas of excite-
ment that I want to think about. Another
thing I really want to do. .. is the two-
hander,2 I'd like to write a two-hander.
.. I want to explore the mechanics of
the two-hander.
Now, you've decided on three plays that
you're going to publish together, and
you've written a number of other plays,
some of them you're re-working. I won-
der if you'd say just a little more about
some of those plays which you don't
happen to have chosen for inclusion.
For example, what about Sleeper?
Sleeper, I'm rewriting. Talk about re-
search! That topic, the thing about man
and woman and all the mythologies that
go along with it, I mean, I've actually
done just about a year's research on it.
You mean reading?
Reading, yes, and chatting with people.
I go through all those American maga-
zines. I go back to the Bible, I check the
whole Jewish mythology there of Adam
and Eve. And I'm trying to decipher
now how much of that mythology in
fact has become a harsh reality in our
Were you dissatisfied with Sleeper as it
Not dissatisfied. I've thought that there
was more I may have done with it. I
might have explored more in terms of
the traditions, where they are at this
point, and I wanted to know how come
they got here. This is what I'm doing
now. Because when I research the role
of woman through all the periods, the
agricultural periods and what-not and
what-not . The research I'm doing is
really beginning to excite me.

We've mentioned The Gadget, Smile
Orange, Sleeper, School's Out, Old
Story Time, Comic Strip. Are there any
other major plays you've written which
we don't happen to have mentioned? -
There's Music Boy, of course.

Which has a beautiful Act I. I think it
will make a great musical some time.
And there's The Harder They Come.
Those, basically, are the ones that I've
kept. I have, upstairs, dozens of un-
finished works. And when I start read-
ing some of them I say, "This really
sounds exciting". But because one has
to divide one's life between producer,
director, writer, one isn't as productive
as one often might like.

Old friends Miss Aggie (Leonie Forbes) and Pa
Ben (Charles Hyatt) have a disagreement and
in the vexation silence. (Old Story Time -
Jamaican production).
In publicity for Old Story Time and in
some of the reviews a connection bet-
ween that and The Gadget was frequent-
ly mentioned.
In fact I've used very little of The Gad-
get really, very little: like three or four
minutes in fact, if that much. The rela-
tionships remain pretty much the same,
because I've just developed them a lot
more and found new hope and new sal-
vation which I hadn't thought of be-
fore. The original was very cynical I
thought not necessarily cynical, but
incomplete in terms of the psyche of
the people that we're dealing with.
Just some general questions now, Tre-
vor, before we end. Is there any instance
that you can think of in which you
wrote a particular role with a particular
actor or actress in mind?



Our back issues are in demand
because they represent a pre-
mier research source for ma-
terial (articles and illus-
trations) on Jamaica's history,
culture, artistic and literary
We have in stock a small back-
list of past issues and would be
pleased to send you a list of
numbers available and cost.

Yes, and it never worked out at all . .
So now I just write. Quite often what I
do is I have people in mind when I'm
writing not necessarily actors, just
Has any actor, by choosing a particular
bit of business or a particular interpre-
tation, shown you, as a writer, something
about what you have written that you
had not really understood when you
wrote it?
Yes. In fact, Charlie in many ways,
Leonie, and, even more so, this young
man in the Bahamas, Winston Saunders.
He's a whizz, an absolute whizz! He'd
come back with something that utter-
ly surprised you, that sub-text which is
there and because it's your sub-text you
don't see it but he saw it, you know.
And that is a real thrill, actually, for a
writer: another mind has managed to
pick it up ..
You've mentioned Molilre in the course
of this conversation. Are there any
other playwrights who you think have
had a special influence on your work?
Maybe not so much 'influence' .
People that I really admire, I mean really
admire, I think they're so talented.
Ayckbourn: I think he's a genius, Alan
Ayckbourn. Shaffer, the man who
wrote Equus, I think he's a whizz.
Well, Shakespeare, he's so good.
Ibsen, Ibsen.
Ibsen is behind Sleeper, isn't he?
No, I'm just enthralled by Ibsen and his
sense of constriction.

Still available
No. 44 which includes

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Dance by Cheryl Ryman
Complete documentation of
all traditional dances of Jam-
aica, with map showing dis-
tribution around the island.
Over 30 dances are described.

No. 45
Charles Hyatt

Each J$5 or

on the Jamaican

U.S.$7.50 post-

I remember some years ago you were
interviewed and talked about the growth
of The Barn and the fact that you had
set yourself a personal time-table, which
you don't happen to have mentioned
yet today. Could you tell me about that
time-table and its fulfilment?
That time-table came about, actually, in
England when one was being eaten away
by frustration, and there were these
eight people who had all just finished or
were just finishing drama school to
come back to Jamaica. And it was '65
at the time. And we said twelve years
should be the time that we would need,
you know, to do this thing. So The Barn
initially was called Barn Theatre '77:
that's the correct name for The Barn.
What has happened in twelve years is
really beyond my own wildest dreams,
in terms of my own work and in terms
of other work within the society. Un-
fortunately, though, I'm a little bit dis-
tressed sometimes about the lack of
care and concern from a lot of the
other playwrights, and the people who
put on plays. People are seeing theatre
now as a good money-earner which
it can be, but at the same time I would
like for them to delve a little bit into
quality and try and show the society a
little bit more about itself rather than
just making them laugh, you know, all
the time.

You are Jamaican, Trevor, and you are
frequently in Jamaica, but you seem to
be living partly abroad now. Where are
you living? Where are you really based?
You see my house is still intact, right?
But I live in Trinidad half of the time, I
go between here and there. I need a
sense of real quiet, to work. It doesn't
have to be a quiet place or a quiet
space, but I need very little intrusion.
And Jamaica for me, in many ways,
has become very negative, there are sort
of negative thoughts that are floating
about, and on any given day if I go out
on the streets or if people come here,
when two or three are gathered together
negative thoughts or negative thinking
erupt and people are saying, "Boy, you
leave yet?" Or, "So-and-so gone, you
know, and So-and-so leaving!" And it
interrupts my thinking, it really does.
At this time, I'm not very much involved
in the Trinidadian society, what happens
there doesn't affect me; what happens
here affects me deeply. So I remove my-
self for a couple of months, which I'm
going to do again shortly just to sit
down, it could be any space that I can
find a room, where the news items don't

Lennie (Karl Binger) plays "show me yours
and a show you mine" with his friend down
by the river. A hilarious scene from Old Story
Time (Jamaican production)
affect me, and just to work. A quiet
room, you know. That's not asking
Why Trinidad?
Because my family is in Trinidad. My
wife is from Trinidad. So it seemed a
convenient enough place, in terms of
bureaucratic tangles, you know to find a

Your child is a Trinidadian citizen?

No, a Jamaican citizen, and very proud
of it too. At school she's only five -
she says, "I'm a Jamaican lady" so
she terms herself. She's very well aware
of herself. And a great fan of the plays,
- she hasn't seen School's Out yet, but
she has seen Story Time and Smile
Orange and she loves them.
Your work has been very closely invol-
ved with Jamaican society and Jamaican
experience, you have written as a very
acute observer of the scene, and yet
there is very little that is overtly politic-
al in the work. How do you respond to
the present time as a writer? Do you
think our political situation might
become a focus of your work?
I suspect it will. In fact, the two-hander
that I'm thinking about doing gets very
heavily involved in the dilemma that
two people face by living within this
society. I suspect that the effect on
people's lives of what is happening now
will make a really classic sort of drama.
And the actual event, the actual pulling
of the gun that is going on now would

be dramatic, yes, but it's the effect of
the pulling of that trigger that is fascin-
ating me, and not so much on those
who die but on those who live, who
are alive, and how they are responding
and will continue to respond and how
they will begin to act as people.

The two-hander, I think, will begin to
broach the subject. I know how it

Are you religious, Trevor?
Yes, in a way, Mervyn. I don't go to
church, haven't been to church for years.
Somebody said that the apostles aren't
necessarily the best people to listen to.
I'm from a very religious Christian-type
family. I believe that in my work, when
I really get into a sense of quiet, and if I
can explore and if I starve myself a
little bit, if I don't eat: if I have mini-
mum breakfast, minimum lunch, really
minimal, right? and maybe minimal
supper if I'm completely alone, with
nobody around, you know, no inter-
ruption at all I find I can make com-
munication with a medium whom I
refer to as God, I trust myself to that
Being that surrounds me in this state,
and the thoughts that come through my
head, I oftentimes wonder . That
thought had to be coming through
another Person or another Being or
something. But it needs preparation,
you have to prepare yourself for the ex-
perience. And when I write in that cir-
cumstance I really write well, I really
Like at the end of Old Story Time,
which is a kind of hymn to love in the
final moments.
Yes. I wrote that actually, I wrote most
of Story Time, in Trinidad, removed
from other influences because I wanted
to concentrate my energies almost com-
pletely on that. When you read the new
work- Everyman -... I'm hoping that
it will move people, when they watch
that final moment in the play, that they
too will begin to feel that sense of
communication that I have with my
Being. And that's ultimately what I'm
hoping for in that.

[Wednesday 21 July 1982]
Now Trevor, your book Old Story Time
and Other Plays, which has in it Smile
Orange, School's Out and Old Story
Time, has been published. How well has
it been received?
So far I think it has surprised the pub-
lishers. I think initially they published

5,000 copies, which was sort of the
minimum that they normally do, and I
gather there've been either one or two
reprintings since it was first published.
S. It's being done, I know, at various
universities it's being done in the
Caribbean, also it's being paid attention
to in North America; at Howard, I think,
it's being done in the fall, and at York
University in Toronto and one or two
others in Montreal. I think the problem
we're having now is just finding copies.
Now when you say 'done' you mean
studied as an academic thing or also
being produced?
Studied as an academic thing. There'll
be a production of the play in Toronto
in August of '82.
Which play?
Old Story Time.
Oh, that's your production, though, is it
not? Isn't it a production that you are
taking from Jamaica with some of the
original actors I think, Charles Hyatt
and Leonie Forbes?
It's really the Jamaican production that's
Fine. Now, since Old Story Time,
Trevor, you've had a couple of plays on
in Kingston. I think the first one after
Old Story Time was Everyman. Would
you like to say something about how
that went?
Didn't go too well for me. One, I lost
money on it. Two, I wasn't totally satis-
fied with how the production turned
out. I guess because there are certain
levels of excitement that I wanted to
see happen in the production which
didn't happen for me. I've been thinking
about it since why it didn't work as
well as it should have done or could
have done. I'm thinking now of rewrit-
ing the thing to work for television,
video. And more and more I think I'm
coming back to setting it almost totally
within the Jamaican experience. An
Everyman in Germany is not the same
as an Everyman in Jamaica different
problems, different dilemmas. And I
think I was maybe trying to reach out
and not paying enough attention to
the problems that exist here in this
society. I think that when I do re-write
the thing, it'll have more meaning to,
say, the Jamaican audience and will be
for, say, the North Americans maybe
fascination, really.

I wonder, though, whether the play was
as unsuccessful as you fear. Were you

The gunshots are fast and furious. Jim is scared so Gloria sings him a lullabye. Grace McGhie and
Charles Hyatt in Two Can Play.

not facing a special problem with the
expense of paying an orchestra, of having
a larger theatre than your plays are usu-
ally performed in, and the need to start
filling it very quickly before you allow-
ed the word-of-mouth enthusiasm to

I don't think so, Mervyn. The sort of
excitement that I envisaged wasn'tthere:
for example, there's one particular se-
quence, the Day of Judgement, which
for me should have either been terri-
fying or euphoria, really, but whatever
way you see it, it's very ultimate. I have
these crazy notions at times, and the
crazy notions were not achieved put
it this way for me, as the writer. In
fact, when it's redone, on film, hope-
fully, I'm going to try and push for
some of these crazy notions, win or
lose, rather than playing it safe.
I wonder, though, whether you would
say a bit about how it fitted in that
space, in the Little Theatre? One of the
things that some of us felt, who were
enjoying what we saw, was that in a
smaller theatre precisely the same pro-
duction, and particularly the same
music, which I certainly greatly admired,
by Peter Ashbourne, might have worked
more strongly.

It is very likely that what you say is
true, Mervyn. The music I really enjoyed
a lot. A lot of the production I enjoyed
as well, except that it seemed to have
got very lost in the space. And I suspect
as well there were lots of actor problems
- for instance, not everybody could
sing as well as they ought to have been

able to sing for that sort of show. I
suspect with a strong cast who could
better carry the thing it might have been
a bit more successful.
Yes. I wonder if you'd say a bit in de-
tail about financial problems of a show
like that...
When one adds musicians, actors, crew,
security, the people who do the sound,
the technicians for the microphones and
what not, one needed an audience of
about 400 people a night to break even.
When one fell below that figure it was
really sudden death that one was dealing
with, in terms of the economics. One
lost a fair amount of money on it.

mmma *1W I
Pa Ben (Charles Hyatt) comforts his friend's
son Lennie (Karl Binger) in a scene from Old
Story Time.

though we did have a sponsor who was
fairly generous. One still had to dig fair-
ly deep into one's pocket to pay the
How many people does the Little
Theatre seat when it's full?
I think it's 652. And one needed to have
it three-quarter full every night to begin
to turn a profit.
Now, going back to your idea that when
you're reworking Everyman, as you in-
tend to do, you would like to look more
closely at Jamaican attitudes to death, I
wonder if you'd say a little bit more
about that because the production
felt to many of us very Jamaican.

Okay. I'm hoping to go back the
source of all my work really tends to be
my childhood. I remember when some-
body died in one's community, and I
gather this is a very African thing one
suppressed the sorrow and the sadness
and replaced it with joy and mirth and
singing and dancing and eating and lots
of eating, lots of drinking . In re-
writing Everyman I'm going to add the
fact of how we dealt with death. I
remember the tombing, one year after,
was really celebration. My mind still
has not focused totally on the avenues
that I am going to travel. But it's search-

The other new play thatyou've put on in
Jamaica since Old Story Time has recent-
ly opened, and it's Two Can Play, a two-
hander which you talked about on a
previous occasion as something you
were grappling with. Would you say
something about how you feel that has
gone, and also what sort of reception it
has had?
Still grappling with it, in many ways, be-
cause the grappling, for me, continues
for years. There's some reworking, re-
writing, that I'm going to be needing to
do. I want to redesign the set almost
completely. I want to look at the play
again. I believe some place in there that
the basic concept that I started out the
play with, where the people spend
twenty years of their lives dealing with
crisis and not having time to deal with
themselves as two people, and in the
final analysis having to deal with that -
I believe that still exists as my basic
concept. Whether I have the inner work-
ings of the play, I don't think I've
fully accomplished that at this time. I
thought in fact that the basic structure
of the play, the basic theme, was so fool-
proof that I think I just forgot to work
it out as carefully as I should have done.

"Ah it datl" Gloria (Grace McGhie) in Two Can Play exults to Jim (Charles Hyatt) as they find a
way to smuggle $2,500 American dollars out of the country to pay for a permanent visa to the

So far though the play isdoingvery well:
people come in and cry a little bit, laugh
a lot sometimes too much. Michael
Manley wrote a review of the play
which will be out soon.3 He, of all the
critics, funnily enough, seems to have
understood the play best of all, and in
fact to have gone beyond what short-
comings might exist in the structural
working-out and to have gone right to
the very source. He is well taken with it
as a piece that looks at our society and
offers maximum hope. I believe that I'm
on this eternal kick with the work that
I'm doing, of making ourselves and our
lives extremely valid. I think unless we
begin to see ourselves as being totally
valid, tomorrow doesn't hold any hope.

I think many of the reviewers under-
stood the basic thrust, but they were
perhaps less persuaded than Michael
Manley was that the end had been

I spent less time on Two Can Play than
I've usually spent on a piece of work. It
took me about nine months, from when
I really started, to when I started to
stage the thing. Oh there's more work
yet to be done.,

I think there's a prospect, is there not,
of Two Can Play being made into a
Two Cah Play has been swamped by
people saying, Can I make this into a
film? I think it'll make an incredibly
beautiful movie. What I'm doing now is
trying to seal all the contractual loop-

holes that can lead one to distress five
years from now. So it's with my lawyers,
trying to organize the details of a con-
tract. But there're two or three com-
panies that are interested in making
it into a film. I need to sit down and
just simply conceptualize the damn

"Is inna my arms him dead" Gloria (Grace
McGhie) recalls the terrible night of Pop's
death. A scene from Two Can Play.

thing in terms of movie or television.
But it's on its way.

When do you think a script for the film
might be ready, and when do you think
some company might start making the
The company is ready. I am not. Be-
cause I need the contracts to be absolute-
ly clear before I start writing the screen-
play for it. It's advice I'm giving to
everybody nowadays: get a damn gbod
lawyer, because relationships do change
when the till starts to tinkle; change
drastically, really change so it's best
to organize properly and well before
one gets involved.
Now, you've worked in film before, and
you've worked of course a great deal in
theatre. Do you find yourself increasing-
ly interested in film?

Ninety per cent of my interest, really, is
with the theatre. I will continue, for
the rest of my life I believe, strongly, to
take pot luck on myself with the
theatre which is, to stay at home, sit
down, without a contract, and spend a
year or two years trying to write a piece,
and at the end of that time attempting
to put it on and hoping that it works.
With film, I need a firm contract before I
go in. It's more or less for me a job to
do. While with the theatre it's something
that I have to do, it's a sort of com-
pulsion that drives me. I'll never write a
film script again on spec, but a play I
will always do.

Now, as you know, the video revolution
is here. And I think you have been talk-
ing in some other places about the need
for us to provide material for that.
Would you like to say more?
I have visions, Mervyn. What really up-
sets me terribly is the other day I
heard that a BBC crew was here making
a six-hour reggae documentary. Now
that really upsets me. Because here
again, here now, we have the raw
material, the sources are all here; we
should be doing it. I believe that, one,
just in terms of basic employment for
people; two, in terms of foreign ex-
change; three, in terms of writing our
own records, because I think we will do
them best and most accurately; I believe
we need to be doing it. I have problems
as well with the satellite just coming in
this direction all the time, feeding us
what I call the wrong energies almost;
because unless there are positive images
of ourselves, the imbalance, I find, of
95 per cent of the faces on television

Gloria (Grace McGhie) tells Jim (Charles Hyatt) of his sexual inadequacies in a scene from two
Can Play.

being European and North American, I
think it's just bad. Bad for me; bad for
the children; I think it's bad for our-
selves, really; and I think it's something
that we have to right r-i-g-h-t, and
w-r-i-t-e as well because I think we
need to sit down and start pushing our-
selves, from both angles, both from the
spiritual and from the economic. I think
there's much money to be made out of
entertainment, and there's much that
we can do to build these very firm
images of ourselves. And I believe that I
have to start taking a more active role in
making this thing possible. Because, as
I've said earlier, I've devoted, and will
continue to devote, most of my life to
the theatre. But I believe that, right at
this point in time, all of this video thing
needs to have a person who has a
concept in the back of his head and who
will simply, like talk to somebody, and
say, I need a script immediately. Because
right now the problem is not so much
money or lack of technology, the
problem is lack of material.
What we need now, desperately, are
writers. The money is there, the money
is waiting, and the equipment is there,
and the markets are there.
Now, finally, Trevor, are you beginning
to think yet of your next new play?
Yes, Mervyn. What has happened is that
from Everyman ended until now I've
been excessively tired, really. I need a
couple of weeks to cool my head out.
I'm hoping to write a new play that
looks at the opposite side of the coin to
Old Story Time. Old Story Time dealt

with Len, the man, being pushed, you
know, up the ladder into the society.
And I'm hoping to look, in great depth
and detail, at the woman's side of the
story, how she fared. It's the same
theme again, but looking at the woman's
point of view.
You mean she develops rather like Len,
up the ladder, or stays home and doesn't?
Or what?
No, the routing is quite different. Well,
one, she'll be a fair-skinned woman. Len
was black. She'll be a brown-skinned
woman. And, without exposing too
much of that story, I'm aware of the
great distress of a lot of brown Jamaican
families who inr fact relied almost com-
pletely on the colour of skin for sur-
vival and on thinking that that was
enough to get them through life. And
I'm looking . That's not the whole of
my story I don't want to give too
much of it away at this time, but it
will start in the rural area, it will go very
urban, and it will find its salvation,
hopefully, on a beach in a rural area.
Like Old Story Time it will be quite an
involved tale. Should be interesting.
Trevor Rhone, thank you very much.

1. At a ceremony on 20 October 1980
Trevor Rhone received from the Governor-
General the national award of Commander
of the Order of Distinction.
2. A play with a cast of two.
3. Rising Sun (August 1982).

Current Statusof

Copyright Legislation

in Jamaica

Heather Royes talks to Senator Tom Tavares-Finson

Modern copyright legislation is a complex and far-reaching
legal framework which often means different things to
different people. For example, musicians, writers and
creators of artistic works are often under the impression that
copyright law will help them to protect their works from
foreign exploitation, but at the same time, they will utilize
or plagiarize works from abroad without receiving the crea-
tor's permission. Copyright law does give protection but also
carries sanctions against abuses of the law.
The notion of copyright as an abstract concept existed
many centuries ago in China and Korea, with the idea of
assigning ownership to intellectual works. When printing and
engraving developed in Germany in the 15th century, there
began a more pronounced attitude towards the recognition
of ownership of intellectual creation. This was regulated by
licenses and privileges to print, usually controlled by the
State or even the Sovereign. By the 17th century, there was a
chaotic situation in Europe regarding the system of granting
privileges to stationers.
In 1710 the English House of Commons passed a law
known as the Queen Anne Statute "For the encouragement
of learning, by vesting the copies of printed books in the
authors or purchasers of such copies during times therein

mentioned" This was the first law on copyright and it recog-
nized the individual's right to protect a published work. In
copyright legislation, England was closely followed by
France, the United States, Germany, Denmark and other
European countries.
At present, Jamaica is governed by the United Kingdom
Copyright Act of 1911. Despite many changes to the U.K.
law as well as a new Act brought into force in 1956, these
amendments are not applicable to Jamaica. In 1977, the
Jamaican Government passed a new copyright law but be-
cause of certain problems, it was never enacted. In 1981,
a copyright committee was set up under the chairmanship
of Senator Tom Tavares-Finson. The final report and recom-
mendations of this committee were submitted to the Prime
Minister, the Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga, in June 1982.
The Committee examined the numerous facets of copy-
right, not only in relation to the Jamaican situation, but also
pertaining to the International Copyright Conventions and to
the more modern aspects of copyright. Some of the subjects
reviewed were: computer software, works of artistic creation
(fine arts), literary works, photography, photocopying, folk
lore, popular music, sound recordings, film and video pro-
ducts, and satellite broadcasts. Whenever necessary, the com-
mittee called in qualified persons from these areas to give evi-

dence about the Jamaican situation.
In view of the widespread interest in the topic, Jamaica
Journal commissioned this interview with Senator Tavares-
Finson. Particular emphasis is placed on those specific areas
covered by copyright which are most pertinent to Jamaica.

Question: How do you define copyright?
Sen. Finson: I would describe it as the rights granted by law
to the author or creator of artistic, literary and musical
works to release his creations to the public as his own and to
authorize the use of those works in specific ways. Inherent in
that definition are essentially two sets of rights. Economic
rights which refer to the right to receive remuneration from
the use of the work, and moral rights which refer to rights
such as the right to claim paternity of the work and to pre-
vent what the artist or court regards as being mutilation of the
work. So it's two sets of rights moral rights and economic
rights, both of which go together to make up one copyright
in a particular piece of work.

Could you give us the background to the Jamaican situation?
The first piece of copyright legislation which was made appli-
cable to Jamaica was the Copyright Act of 1911. It is a United
Kingdom Act extended to Jamaica and other countries of
the Commonwealth. In terms of British and Jamaican copy-
right, it codified the existing copyright laws and it abolished
common law copyright. So that all copyrights now flow not
from the common law, but from the Statute of 1911. The
original U.K. Act was altered on numerous occasions between
1911 and 1956. However, these changes were never made
applicable to Jamaica, with the consequence that we remain
governed by the 1911 United Kingdom Act.

What about the 1977 Jamaica Act?
Between 1911 and the present time, the United Kingdom
abolished, altered, changed or enacted new legislation which
took account of the rapid developments in technology and
communications. In 1974, a Jamaican Government copyright
committee was established to make recommendations to
update the legislation in Jamaica. Following submissions of
that committee, a Jamaican Copyright Act of 1977 was
passed into law but never brought into force. Surprisingly,
from my point of view; section one of the Act states that -
and I quote "This Act may be cited as the Copyright Act
1977, and shall come into operation on a date to be appoint-
ed by the Minister, by notice published in the Gazette and
different days may be appointed for the purpose of different
provisions of this Act". The result is that although legislation
was put on the books, principally to deal with the increasing
pressure for copyright legislation from that very vocal sector
in our society the musicians and writers of songs, popular
music, etc. this Act was never brought into force. The
principal reason is that the infrastructure necessary for copy-
right legislation was never put into effect and there was never
a complete understanding of precisely what was involved in
operating effective copyright legislation in terms, for example,
of a tribunal and in terms of what is involved in registration.
In fact, that legislation requires optional registration, but at no
time was any budgetary provision made for such registration
which would require a considerable outlay of money, training
of personnel and so on.

But as a piece of legislation, was the only reason it was not
enforced because it was expensive? Why are we going through

the same exercise again if that was the only reason?

No. It's not the only reason. There were certain flaws in the
legislation. The point I was making was that regardless of the
flaws, it could have been implemented and it would certainly
have done some good because there are many provisions in it
which are regarded as being standard provisions. The 1977
legislation bears a striking resemblance to the 1956 United
Kingdom Act. The major change relates to optional regis-
tration. But while the resemblance to the 1956 Act is very
striking, many provisions of the legislation are what one
would regard as being basic copyright provisions, so that one
can alter them only so much. It's a framework of legislation
which was repeated in 1977. The intention of government to
enact this legislation, this copy of the 1956 Act, came in for
quite a bit of criticism locally and internationally and it
was felt that many of the decisions taken by the committee
itself established by the government were not put into effect
in the legislation. In their report on Caribbean Copyright
Laws, the unit for the Harmonization of Laws of the CARI-
COM Secretariat, appealed to the Jamaican Government not
to bow to pressure from the community and implement this
legislation, but to study carefully the question of copyright
in the modern context. The report of the Secretariat was in
1977, and particularly in view of the fact that the Whitford
Committee in the United Kingdom had studied the 1956
Act and recommended that it should be re-drafted to take
account not only of modern means of communications
and modern means of reproduction but to tidy up the draft-
ing style, it was regarded as silly for the Jamaican Government
to adopt that piece of legislation in 1977.

What do you feel are the most problematic areas of copyright
for Jamaica?
I think the areas dealing with popular music and folklore.
Those provisions which relate specifically to the music in-
dustry and the problems of the music industry, are in my
opinion perhaps the most important, and those that we have
to take particular care with to ensure that that delicate
balance in our music industry is not overturned. I think it
would be advantageous if we could incorporate a system of
optional registration which would apply across the board in
all aspects of copyright but especially in terms of the music
industry. It would be of great importance for the individual
author, the individual writer of songs. I think it would add to
the possibility of his receiving protection. It would instill a
degree of discipline because what would be required is for
the individual author to make a copy of his work, to write
down his work in some form and have it registered with a
central agency. That registration would prove a case of
ownership if it was required in a court of law. I think that
that is one of the things that is most important and that it
should be adopted in our upcoming legislation. Secondly, we
have to look very closely at the whole question of the
infringement of copyright and remedies available to aggrieved
parties with particular reference to the music industry. We
have to look at some innovative ways to prevent pirating of
musical works in Jamaica. It has been suggested, for example
(and I do not know what the government is going to decide
about this), that before a record company begins to press a
record a certificate of clearance must be secured from the
copyright owner stating the terms that this owner gives the
maker of the record. That certificate would certainly go a
long way in cutting down on the piracy in the music industry


in Jamaica today. I think we also have to look very closely at
the question of neighboring rights. Because quite often
when Jamaican artists and musicians talk about copyright,
they are in fact talking about neighboring rights and the
rights which fall under that heading.
Could you define this for us?
Neighbouring rights involve several different types of rights.
The trend nowadays is either to include these rights within
the copyright legislation or alternatively to use separate legis-
lation to cover these rights. What I think has come out before
is that copyright seeks to protect the author of original
works. That is to say, original literary, dramatic or musical
works. When we speak of neighboring rights, we are refer-
ring to a group of rights which relate to the protection which
is offered to the producers of phonograms or sound record-
ings that is to say records, audiovisual works, films, videos
etc. broadcasting organizations and performers, as distinct
from authors in relation to their activities. Let us take the
situation 6f a person who is singing a song on a stage in
Jamaica. When he speaks about copyright, what he is often
talking about is his right to prevent people from, for example,
taping his performance or filming his performance and using
that performance at will. The problem is that in terms of
copyright his performance would not be protected as such,
since he is merely a performer, the assumption being that he
is not the author of the work being performed. It is the
author of that work who would be protected. But often times
the need exists to protect that performance. If we look at
the question of the producers of phonograms once more, we
can identify this problem again. A record is a piece of plastic.
It is not original material, not an original work. It is a com-
posite of several original works, that is to say, the music and
the lyrics. The music and the lyrics would be protected. The
authors of that music and those lyrics would be protected
under copyright. The problem is, what protection should one
offer the person who actually invests his money to produce,
to print and to press that record? Now a situation has arisen
in the United Kingdom, for example, where the producers of
records are given what is regarded as a general copyright.
Their work, that record, that disc, is protected under copy-
right legislation as an original work. I think that this is a
wrong principle. I believe that the producers of phonograms
and the performers, should be protected under neighboring
rights. That is to say, a group of similar rights akin to copy-

Translate that into laypeople's terms. Say you are talking
to a Jamaican musician.
What I will do is deal with the performers' right, with the re-
cording rights, audiovisuals, etc. When you speak of per-
formers' rights . these are the rights that we are speaking
of: John Brown who is a performer of works say, for
example, he is singing a Bob Marley song the work itself,
the song itself would already be protected in the interest of
Bob Marley or his estate as the case may be. However, the
person who is singing that song should have some rights as
well. These performers' rights would include the right to pre-
vent someone going to where he is singing, with a large tape-
recorder, taping it, transferring that tape on to record, sell-
ing those records and making a lot of money. Or the right
to prevent a person with a camera from filming him, making
a film of his performance and using that film to make
money. In reality the position in Jamaica at the moment is

that without these performers' rights, there is actually no-
thing to prevent a person from filming a performance, and
incorporating it into a film or a video or whatever, and
making money out of it. Money would have to be paid to
the copyright owner who in the instance that I am giving,
would be Bob Marley but in terms of the performer him-
self, he in fact would be entitled to nothing at all since he
is not the owner of the original work. That is the basis of the
performers' rights.

But by the new law he would have the right to request pay-
Yes. What I hope will be included in the new legislation is the
right to exercise control over the use of performances by per-
formers. That is to say the exclusive right to authorize a mak-
ing of a record from the performance, the broadcasting of
that performance and the filming of that performance or the
fixation of that performance.
In an instance where you have a film: you have three parties
involved, you have the originator, the performer and the pro-
ducer. Who would pay whom? Who would pay Bob Marley's
estate for example?
The person who is making the film.
And would he also pay the performer?
In this instance, this would be required.
Therefore, anyone using the film would pay the producer, or
the person who owns the film?
The person who owns the film. He is going to go out and sell
that film commercially. He is going to receive some commer-
cial benefit from that film. Out of the money that he gets, he
is required to pay royalties both to the owner of the copyright
material, and to the performer who is performing that work.
Now suppose he does not sell that film. Say it's JBC and they
are doing it for a charity show. They are not making money
from the film and they are not making money from the show,
and they say 'we can't pay the performer or the creator of
the original material'.
There are, quite naturally, exceptions to copyright. In other
words, there are certain circumstances in which the right
would not arise because of exceptions written into the legis-
lation. If it were a case where these exceptions arose, then
that obligation to pay royalty would not exist. That not-
withstanding, it would seem to me that it would be between
the corporation and the individual artist, or the owner of the
copyright and the performer to come to some arrangement,
indicating to them whether it is for charity or whatever. I
personally would like to see a situation in which if the cor-
poration intends to have an educational section -all material
used there would be free of any copyright obligation on that
particular channel. This has been mooted and I have suggested
that it be included in the legislation as well. Whether it is,
remains to be seen.
What I would like to do now is to say a brief word about the
question of sound recordings. In the United Kingdom, as I in-
dicated earlier on, the makers of sound recordings, by the
interpretation of the courts originally and then subsequently
by the 1956 legislation, by Section 12 in fact, have been
given a general copyright for sound recordings. That is to say,
the copyright that the maker of this plastic disc receives is
similar to any other copyright. It is a general copyright.

The result is that the maker of this disc is entitled to receive
money, for example, for public performance. So that, if a
record is played in a discotheque in London, the owner of
that disc is entitled to a royalty for public performance. By
some quirk this has been adopted in Jamaica, principally be-
cause of pressure from the manufacturers of discs, and the
position now in Jamaica is that the makers of sound record-
ings by interpretation of the 1911 Act, enjoy a general copy-
right on their products. The result, as I indicated, is that they
are entitled to collect public performance royalties, so they
are entitled to collect from the radio stations, the discothe-
ques, from the juke boxes. All of this while the performer
is not entitled to collect. So when a record station plays a
record by, say, John Brown on the Griwax label, the radio
station is required to pay Griwax a royalty but is not required
to pay John Brown a royalty. This position I personally
believe is iniquitous and should not be allowed to continue. I
think that the makers of sound recordings should naturally
be protected against unauthorized copying. I don't think
they should be given any further right; this would be burden-
some and unnecessary to trade. It is interesting to note that
presently only a few of the manufacturers of records four
in fact collect a pool from the radio stations and they have
over a period of years tried to donate a portion of this
money to what they regard as some charity. They have made
no effort to collect from discotheques or juke boxes, not be-
cause they do not want the money, but they realise it would
almost be impossible for them as the manufacturers to
monitor and collect it.

What does registration for copyright purposes mean?
Copyright- the rights that flow under copyright legislation,
the rights that flow under the 1911 legislation, for example-
begins, as it were, to flow from the time that the work is cre-
ated. In other words, if I sit in my home and I write a little
poem or a song, from the time that that song is written, con-
ceived and put into some material form, protection flows
under the legislation. Now there have been moves in many
nations to require registration as a prerequisite to protection.
By registration, I refer to the process of registering or filing
a copy with a central organization, as a prerequisite to any
protection whatsoever. The only country where this operates
effectively is the United States. Most other countries do not
require registration and in fact some of the international con-
ventions explicitly prohibit compulsory registration. Com-
pulsory registration, of course, is the situation where there is
no protection unless there is registration. In our situation,
optional registration has been looked at and I hope that is
employed. It is the system whereby one is not required to
register one's work for protection, but registration would
prove a prima facie case if the question of ownership ever
was brought up. So that, if an artist John Strokes regis-
ters his works and it is claimed by Peter Smith, then the onus
would be on Peter Smith to prove ownership against the per-
son who has already registered the work. As I indicated,
there are three possible permutations for registration (1)
as a formality required for the subsistence of copyright (2)
as a mandatory formality without effect on the subsistence
of copyright, or (3) optional registration which I think Jamaica
should go for an optional formality for the sake of prima
facie evidence only.
What about folklore and copyright?
The question of folklore and copyright protection is one

which is very vexing, particularly for developing countries.
This is because the onus has been thrown essentially on the
developing countries to implement processes for the pro-
tection of folklore within the bounds of their own nations
and within the international copyright community itself. The
developed nations are not going to be concerned over the
question of the protection of folklore. There are those who
suggest that developed nations have already exploited their
folklore to such an extent that they do not now seek to pro-
tect it. The onus is therefore on the developing states like
Jamaica who have very vibrant folklores, very vibrant heri-
tages, to seek the methods and the means of protecting this
folklore. Within the membership of our committee, we natur-
ally have folklore specialists who have put several points to
the committee for the protection of folklore. The committee
looked very closely at the problems of the protection of folk-
lore; and I should indicate to you that while folklore is pro-
tected under the Tunis Model Law compiled for developing
countries, it has not really been implemented, it has not
come into effect because of the problems involved. The most
recent legislation of Barbados, I think that is the 1982 legis-
lation, quite surprisingly to me had adopted the protection
of folklore within that legislation. I think that they are going
to have a lot of problems with it and I would imagine that it
will be one of the areas of their legislation which will not be
thoroughly implemented.
What are the problems?
The problems of folklore start from the point at which you
begin to look at the topic. First of all, there is the problem
of identifying what is folklore. Even our experts find great
difficulty in coming up with a definition that is inclusive
of the aspect of the heritage which we are trying to protect,
and at the same time, does not restrict the development and
growth of this heritage.
The necessity for properly identifying folklore becomes
apparent when you realise that the alternative to protect-
ing folklore is to have it within the public domain. That is to
say, having it available for free use by members of the
society. So that once you get over the problem of identi-
fying exactly what is folklore and what should be protected
under the copyright legislation, you are going to run into a
whole series of other problems. Principal among these is the
question of the certification of the work, the question of the
cost involved in the storage, cataloguing and retrieval of the
work once they are certified as being folklore and also
a mechanism for dealing with objections. There are bound to
be people who will come along and say "No, this is not
folklore for which I am to be required to pay 10 cents per
copy. It is in the public domain and therefore I am entitled
to the free use of it". You have to have a mechanism for the
solution of these problems. Even if you get over all the
problems involved in protecting folklore within the bound-
aries of your own state, you have the problem of receiving
international protection for your folklore. There is at the
moment no mechanism within any of the international con-
ventions for the protection of folklore.
So that although Jamaica can protect folklore within its
own boundaries, we are involved in a self-defeating pro-
cess because we cannot protect it outside the shores of our
country. So you might have a situation where you retard
the growth of your folklore within the bounds of your
nation, while your folklore continues to be exploited on the
international market. So there is no actual process for the

protection of folklore internationally. This brings me now
to a series of meetings recently held on the question of folk-
lore, the most recent of which was held in June-July 1982 in
Geneva and at which Jamaica was ably represented by
Shirley Miller, Director of Legal Reform and our resident
folklorist in the Office of the Prime Minister, Olive Lewin. It
was sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organ-
ization and UNESCO. It had as its principal object discussions
amongst people interested in protecting folklore which, by
definition, means people of the Third World or developing
countries, concerning the solutions for the protection of
folklore nationally, and also for the protection of folklore
internationally, under the conventions.
I believe that Jamaica should wait and watch, take part in the
international discussions on folklore, not rush ahead as
Barbados has done, but to remain patient and to involve our-
selves in the discussions, make our input into these discussions,
and examine closely the end result.

What is the philosophy of copyright?
The whole question of copyright legislation, the creation of
good copyright legislation is a balancing act. Between the
interests of the creators of the artistic works and the society
as a whole it is a balancing act. What one has to seek to do is
to create incentives for the producers of intellectual property
so that they produce more, building up the heritage, building
up the reservoir of heritage in the society, building up the
reservoir of intellectual property in terms of music, art and
literature, etc., making it profitable for them to spend their
time doing this, creating a situation where they can live off
this work which we recognize as being legitimate work, and
the need for society to have access to this material in order
to progress. So that the balancing act is there. A balance
must be found whereby society can get this material for
educational purposes for the development of its heritage,
its culture, and must have as free access to this material as
possible, while on the other hand, the creator must be able
to live from his work.
Do you want to say a few words about the international

Copyright protection flows from national legislation; essen-
tially, this legislation protects the works of nationals within
the boundaries of their own particular country. If one seeks
protection in other parts of the world, then it becomes
necessary to seek protection under international conventions,
bilateral conventions, bilateral agreements, or multilateral
conventions. Initially the approach taken was that states
entered into bilateral agreements. Originally the develop-
ment of this international protection took place in the form
of bilateral arrangement between individual states, extended
later to regional agreements. There are principally two the
Berne Convention established in 1886 and the Universal
Copyright Convention established in 1952. The majority of
the countries of the world belong to one or the other, some
belong to both. As a result, their works are protected inter-
nationally. Jamaica belongs to neither. So that Jamaican
works receive limited protection now in Jamaica, under the
1911 Act and receive no international protection whatso-
ever. I think that there is nothing inherently wrong with
Jamaica joining both the conventions. There is nothing start-
ling or frightening about that and I think that Jamaica should
endeavour to do so, providing, of course, that the conventions
are acceptable to us and our provisions acceptable to them.


Next Issue
May 1983

Interview with
Frederic G. Cassidy
Co-author of the Dictionary of Jamaican English
and author of Jamaica Talk


Laura Tanna
Anansi Jamaica's Trickster Hero

A *9

Anansi Stories
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Portlandia coccinea (from C.D. Adams: The Blue Mahoe and
other Bush Sangsters-McGraw Hill, 1971).




The Five

Endemic Genera

By Peter Bretting

hose plants and animals found only in Jamaica (in bio-
logical terminology, those endemic to the island) are an
often overlooked part of Jamaica's heritage. As an evolu-
tionary biologist specializing in plants, I find Jamaica's en-
demic flowering plants (angiosperms in botanical parlance)
particularly fascinating. I recently surveyed what is known of
them and found that of about 3000 angiosperm species in
Jamaica ca. 790 or ca. 27 per cent, are endemic. Five of the
ca. 1000 genera (0.5 per cent), but none of the ca. 184
families found in Jamaica, are endemic [Adams 1972].
It is important here to discuss the categories 'species'
(singular and plural), 'genus' (plural 'genera') and 'family'.
They form a ranked hierarchy: a family is composed of
genera, which in turn are composed of species, the latter of
which comprise closely related plant populations. The
scientific name for a species is always a binomial, with the
first part of the name generic. The proper specific epithet
always includes both the generic name and that which
follows. Generic and specific names are easily recognizable
because they are always underlined or in italics; names of
families may be recognized by the standard suffix "-aceae".
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) and jackfruit (Artocarpus
heterophyllus) provide a concrete example of this arrange-
ment. They are clearly variants (scientifically speaking,
species) of a type of tree with a particular well-defined struc-
tural plan that botanists designate as the genus Artocarpus.
Nearly everyone can easily distinguish these two Artocarpus

species from other genera (e.g., Cecropia trumpet tree,
Ficus figs) in the family Moraceae.
In the following pages, I will focus upon Jamaica's
five endemic angiosperm genera. They were chosen for a
subject because i) Jamaica lacks endemic angiosperm families,
so that 'genus' is the 'highest' classificatory category with
endemic members ii) Portlandia (named after Margaret,
Duchess of Portland (1715 1785) an early supporter of bo-
tany) only recently (1979) has been recognized as endemic,
so an appraisal of the five genera seemed timely iii) the ple-
thora of endemic Jamaican species prohibits their being the
subject of a short article such as this! I have relied heavily
upon the works of well-known students of Jamaican and
Caribbean botany such as C.D. Adams, R.A. Howard, and
G.R. Proctor, but the interpretations and conclusions present-
ed here are mine.
Endemic Jamaican Genera
The five genera of flowering plants endemic to Jamaica
comprise a most interesting assemblage. Tetrasiphon jamai-
censis (Celastraceae) has no common name, probably because
of its rarity. The closely related genus Gyminda (with 2 3
species from the West Indies and Central America) is called
'false boxwood' [Tomlinson 1980] so perhaps we can refer
to Tetrasiphon as 'Jamaican false boxwood'. This tree grows
upon limestone in low-lying (100-300 feet above sea level)
thickets in arid parts of St. Andrew and St. Thomas. Mature
individuals may reach 30 feet, and can be identified by their

vertically striped bark, square twigs, and elliptical leaves
densely covered on the upper surface by brownish hairs.
Small (1/4 inch wide) yellowgreen flowers appear in January
and February, and again in early summer (June). Dark
purple, one-seeded, fleshy fruits (botanically, drupess') ripen
during the same months. Interestingly, this tree is dioecious
[Adams 1972] that is, a tree bears only 'male' flowers (with
functional pollen) or only 'female' flowers (with functional
ovaries and eggs).
Acanthodesmos distichus (Asteraceae), another Jamaican
endemic genus, grows in poorly drained clay soil at the edge
of coastal salt pans in Clarendon. The generic name Acantho-
desmos is derived from the Greek root (acanthos) for 'spine',
referring to the bristly appearance of this profusely branch-
ed, perennial shrub. Its lanceolate ('lance-shaped') leaves are
dark green with a dense white wooly coat underneath. They
are borne on the stem opposite to groups of pale lavender-
white flowers surrounded by bristly spines. Flowering and
fruiting occur from mid-autumn to late spring. This rare
shrub is perhaps related to Spiracantha (with species from
Central and South America) or Rolandra (with species from
Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles, and continental America).
However, the precise affinities of Acanthodesmos are far
from clear at present [Adams and du Quesnay 1971].
Jacaima costata (Asclepiadaceae) had the dubious dis-
tinction of being 'lost' for almost 50 years! Originally dis-
covered in the early 1900s on Long Mountain (St. Andrew),
it was not re-collected until 1958 when it was again found
on Long Mountain [Adams 1971]. Later biological surveys
of the Hellshire Hills (St. Catherine) revealed several addi-
tional populations. So now it is thought that small colonies
of this twining vine are scattered in many arid coastal thickets
upon limestone. The name Jacaima is an anagram of 'Jamaica'.
According to the rules of botanical nomenclature, plants can-
not be given the exact name of any political or geographical
unit, so Albert Rendle slightly altered 'Jamaica' to honour it
As with other plants of the Ascelpiadaceae (e.g., french
cotton, butterfly weed) the woody pale tan stems and pale
green foliage of Jacaima hold copious quantities of white
latex. Its thin oblong-lanceolate leaves form two rows on
opposite sides of the stem. Clusters of small (ca. %" across)
pale yellowish green flowers appear in August, and Novem-
ber through February. Plants in fruit have been collected
in January and June-August. The fruit of Jacaima is quite
distinctive: blue-green and fleshy when young, but at matur-
ity ribbed, brown, teardrop-shaped, and full of seeds with
hairy coats. Jacaima is probably akin to the Hispaniolan
genus Ptychanthera (1 species), the Cuban genus Poicilla
(1-4'species), and the Cuban and Hispaniolan genus Poicillop-
sis (5-6 species) but details of their interrelationship remain
Salpixantha coccinea (Acanthaceae) has a much broad-
er range than the genera we have mentioned already, but it
too is uncommon. Like other endemic genera, Salpixantha
prefers well-drained limestone, but it is primarily an upland
(1500-3000 feet) plant from western and central parishes
(Clarendon, Manchester, St. Ann, and Hanover). Generally it
grows as a robust shrub 3 to 10 feet tall, but some plants are
tree-like. Shiny, pale green, lanceolate leaves are borne oppo-
site one another along the smooth, pale tan twigs. From
September until April, spikes of brilliant scarlet, tubular
flowers sprout from the end of twigs and droop downward.
Its capsular fruits, which mature from December to July, are
typical for the family Acanthaceae. As they dry, the cap-

sules spread open and pitch out four seeds with the aid of
specialized stalks attached to the seeds. Geissomeria (with 15
species) of South and Central America is perhaps the genus
closest related to Salpixantha.
Portlandia (Ruhiaceae common name: bellflower) diff-
ers from the other four endemic Jamaican genera in that it
contains five species, one having two varieties [Aiello 1979].
All the various types of bellflower seem to prefer limestone
or limestone-derived soil at elevations of sea level to 2500
feet. One species or another can be found in every Jamaican
parish. The upland montane forests of the shale-derived soils
in the Blue Mountains are apparently the only natural wood-
lands lacking this genus.
All bellflowers are shrubs or small trees with smooth-
margined, leathery, shiny, ovate, elliptic or circular leaves
borne in two opposite rows along the twigs. Their capsular
fruits dry and split when ripe, exposing 150-300 small,
angled seeds. Judging from its fruit and seed, Portlandia is
considered very closely related to Isidorea (with 11 species
from Hispaniola and eastern Cuba) [Aiello 1979].
Both Portlandia microsepala and Portlandia coccinea
flower January through April, fruit sporadically through-
out the rest of the year, and bear unscented, tubular, red-
scarlet flowers. P. microsepala has been collected in upland
St. Ann (ca. 2000' elevation), whereas P. coccinea inhabits
rocky cliffs at 500 -2000 feet in St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth,
Trelawny, Westmoreland, Manchester, and St. James. In
September, Portlandia harrisii bears fragrant pink flowers
with a tubular blossom that flares slightly. It is a rare species,
found above 2000 feet in Clarendon and St. Ann. The re-
maining two species, Portlandia platantha and Portlandia
grandiflora, both bear white flowers with a strong fragrance
likened to Gardenia [Aiello 1979]. Their tubular blossoms
flare considerably; flowering and fruiting occurs nearly year-
round. Both species can be considered fairly common in
thickets at elevations of sea-level to 2000 feet. P. platantha is
most frequently found at low elevations along the coasts of St.
Ann, St. Mary, Kingston, St. Andrew, Portland, and St.
Thomas, whereas P. grandiflora grows along the coasts and
inland in every parish but Kingston, St. James, Portland, and
St. Thomas.
Origins of Endemic Genera and Their Future
Jamaica's endemic angiosperm genera provide some in-
sight into the origin of the Jamaican flora, and its future
prospects. First, and most important, their natural history
bears witness to the profound evolutionary consequences of
Jamaica's insularity. Jamaica is an oceanic island, having
arisen from the ocean depths as the result of volcanic action
and subsequent reef-building. Cuba and Hispaniola are near-
by, but Jamaica has always been separated from them by
salt water, perhaps the most effective barrier to plant mi-
gration [Carlquist 1965]. Jacaima, Tetrasiphon, and Port-
landia all are considered most closely related to plants from
Cuba or Hispaniola, Jamaica's nearest neighbours.
In the past, much of Central America's undersea contin-
ental shelf and many of the presently submerged banks (e.g.,
Pedro, Rosalind, Gorda) southwest of Jamaica were dry land
[Lack 1976], meaning that Jamaica was effectively 'nearer'
to Central America than at present. With this geological his-
tory, it is perhaps not surprising that all of Jamaica's endemic
angiosperm genera show relationships to generafrom Central
America, the mainland closest (and once closer) to Jamaica.

Fig. IS.-Tetraiphon jamanisoiWs Urrb.
A, End of ranch witl leaves and D, Female flower X 10.
nouwcr x j. E, Ditto cut lengthwise x 10.
B, Portloo of illlloreceuuco 5. F, Drupe cut lengthilse X 2.
C, Male flower X 10. G, Embryo x 3.
Tetrasiphon jamaicensis (from Fawcett and Rendle Flora of
Jamaica, volume 5, 1926, p.31.)



Salpixantha coccinea (from Curtis Botanical Magazine 71:
t4 158 (1845)

Portlandia grandiflora (from C.D. Adams: The Blue Mahoe and
Other Bush Sangsters -McGraw Hill, 1971).



NOTE: "More additions to the flora of Jamaica" by Dr.
G.R. Proctor (J. Arnold Arboretum 63 (3): 199-315, 1982)
appeared while this article was in proof. Dr. Proctor adds a
new species to the endemic Jacaima and reports that B.
Nordenstam (Opera Botanica 44: 1-83, 1978) has recog-
nized two new endemic angiosperm genera for Jamaica.
More in the next issue of Jamaica Journal.



Ferns [Tryon 1979], birds [Lack 1976], and angio-
sperm species [Stearn 1957; Howard 1973] show the same
pattern of very strong affinities with Antillean species or
genera, and weaker but detectable relationships with Central
American plants or animals. This supports the contention
that the flora and fauna of the Antilles make up a unified
biological province quite distinct from Central, North, and
South American provinces, but most closely related to
the Central American province [Lack 1976;Stearn 1957].
Given that close relatives to Jamaica's endemic genera
are located on the islands nearby, it would seem that the
probability of successful dispersal and establishment has
strongly determined the character of Jamaica's flora. Unlike
coconuts (Cocos nucifera) or seaside mahoes (Thespesia or
Hibiscus) none of Jamaica's endemic angiosperm genera
has fruit or seed adapted for regular dispersal by the sea.
Tetrasiphon has fleshy fruit.seemingly attractive to birds, so
perhaps its seeds or those of its ancestors rode to Jamaica by
chance in a bird's gizzard. The tiny seeds of Portlandia, Sal-
pixantha, and the fuzzy seeds of Jacaima may have been
blown to Jamaica by the wind. Acanthodesmos has apparent-
ly adapted to the harsh conditions of coastal salt ponds.
These are frequented by migratory waterfowl, so that the
small fruit of Acanthodesmos or its ancestors may have ad-
hered to plumage or feet and reached Jamaica by air.
Successful dispersal of plants lacking special adaptations
must have been a rare event. Like most angiosperm genera
endemic to the Antilles [Howard 1973] those endemic to
Jamaica contain few species and belong to profoundly differ-
ent and distantly related angiosperm families. Jamaica's en-
demic genera hence resemble a random sample of the total
flora, reinforcing the idea that the probability of dispersal
was so low that it approached statistical randomness.
It is notable that most of Jamaica's endemic angiosperm
genera grow in woodlands upon limestone or limestone-
derived soil. Apparently, most of Jamaica's endemic species
also prefer this habitat [Adams 1971], suggesting that it is so
different from the ecological niches on neighboring Antillean
islands that unique adaptations were necessary for survival,
and endemic species or genera resulted. The fate of all
Jamaica's endemic angiosperm genera (except perhaps
Acanthodesmos) is thus intimately associated with the fate
of native limestone woodlands.
Portlandia, with two fairly common species (P. grandiflora
and P. platantha), is presently in little danger of extinction.
But two species. P. harrisii and P. microsepala, are each
known from only four localities [Aiello 1979] in the wood-
lands of upper St. Ann and Clarendon. Those sites should be
monitored closely for the Portlandia species and for Salpix-
antha coccinea, which is rare there and further westward.
Salpixantha, Portlandia microsepala, and Portlandia cocci-
nea bear conspicuous tubular, scarlet flowers that are odorless.
Although no reliable observations are on record, it seems evi-
dent from studies of other plants with similar morphology
that these Jamaican species are pollinated by hummingbirds
[Faegri and van der Pijl 1979; Aiello 1979]. Destruction of
the hummingbird's habitat could lead to drastic reduction in
plant species, such as those above, which may need the birds
for reproduction. Fortunately, Jamaican hummingbirds are
still quite common, and Jamaica's avifauna has remained
stable for the last 150 years [Lack 1976].
Judging from their floral structure, Testrasiphon, Jacaima
and Acanthodesmos are probably pollinated by a wide variety

of insects (e.g. bees, solitary bees, butterflies, thrips) which
are common in the lowland scrub of Jamaica's southern coast
[Faegri and van der Pijl 1979; Percival 1974]. Hence these
plants' survival would not appear to be threatened by lack of
pollinators. But, these three genera are much rarer than
Portlandia and Salpixantha, and may warrant special pro-
tection. Tetrasiphon and Jacaima grow in arid coastal thick-
ets where, because of recent drought, fires often burn un-
checked. Trees, such as Tetrasiphon, are being cut by char-
coal burners at an alarming rate. Reduction in the number of
dioecious Tetrasiphon trees is especially alarming, because at
least two are needed to maintain any population. As a twin-
ing vine Jacaima depends upon other plants for structural
support so that destruction of trees may also endanger its
An eminent student of island life, Sherwin Carlquist, has
remarked: "I have continually noticed how very little, really,
is known about most island plants and animals" [1965 p.vii].
Compared to other islands, Jamaica's flora has been relatively
well-studied [Adams 1972] but less than 10 years ago fewer
than 10 per cent of the genera found in the Antilles and
northern South America had been investigated from a
modern evolutionary viewpoint [Howard 1973] Even less is
known of pollinator-plant relationships, population dyna-
mics, breeding systems, and ecological requirements of
endemic Jamaican plants. Hence the careful reader has noted
the many qualified statements in this article. Concrete state-
ments can only be made after extensive study: research that
will provide information needed to appreciate and protect
Jamaica's natural history heritage.


ADAMS, C.D., The Blue Mahoe and Other Bush, Kingston: Sangster's -
McGraw Hill, 1971.
Flowering Plants of Jamaica, Mona, Jamaica. University of the
West Indies, 1972.
and M.C. DUQUESNAY. Acanthodesmos (Compositae),Phyto-
logia 21 (6): 405.
AIELLO, A., "A re-examination of Portlandia (Rubiaceae) and asso-
ciated taxa", J. Am. Arb. 60: 38-126, 1979.
CARLQUIST, S.J., Island Life, N.Y.: Natural History Press, 1965.
FAEGRI, K. and L. VAN DER PIJL, The Principle of Pollination Eco-
logy, (3rd rev. ed.) N.Y.: Pergamon Press, 1979.
HOWARD, R.A., "Vegetation of the Antilles" pp.1-30 in Graham, A.,
Vegetation and Vegetational History of Northern Latin America,
N.Y.: Elsevier, 1973.
LACK, D., Island Biology, Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications,
PERCIVAL, M.,"Floral ecology of coastal scrub in southeast Jamaica",
Biotropica 6(2): 104-129,1974.
STEARN, W.T., "A botanist's random impressions of Jamaica" Proc.
Linn. Soc. Lond. 130: 134-147., 1957.
TOMLINSON, P.B., The Biology of Trees Native to Tropical Florida,
pub. by author 1980.
TRYON, R., "Biogeography of the Antillean fern flora" pp.55-68 in
Bramwell, D. (ed.), Plants and Islands, N.Y.: Academic Press,

We would be grateful to hear from any reader who can help us to
locate illustrations of any of these indigenous genera.

Leonard P Howell

In the first half of 1981, two events
occurred that symbolized the his-
torical passage of Rastafari religion
from its original lowly status as a
persecuted peasant sect in Jamaica in
the 1930s into today's resonant world-
wide movement. Although the first
event went by for the most part un-
heralded, it serves symbolically to frame
the Rastafari experience at its point of
origin. This was the death in February
of Leonard Percival Howell (b. 1898),
whose influence predominated in the
emergence of Rastafarian ideology be-
tween 1933 and 1940. Howell's passing
was followed within a few months by
another event which was massively
observed, namely, the death of Bob
Marley (b. 1945), the most famous
Rastafarian ever. In his poetic 'Re-
demption Song', recorded on his final
album Uprising, Bob Marley exult-
ed in the triumph of the dread vision of
Rastafari prophecy:
. my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty
We forward in this generation
Bob Marley's reggae lyrics thus express
the Rastafari experience at its apogee.
Punctuated throughout its complex
history by many dramatic changes which
have affected both the social make-up
of the movement as well as its doctrinal
expression, the Rastafari movement
represents, according to one recent
commentator, 'a puzzling phenomenon'.
"That there has been evolution (of doc-
trine) seems quite evident", notes

This article first appeared in EPOCHE -
Journal of the History of Religions at UCLA,
Vol. 9, 1981, and is used with permission of
the author. Because of space limitations,
footnotes have been omitted. The complete
article can be consulted in the National
Library of Jamaica.

another commentator, "but to trace the
exact stages of that evolution would be
as difficult as it would be valuable."
It is the aim of this paper to attempt
a brief recapitulation of the emergence
of the millenarian visions in early Rasta-
fari religion, in the hope that a clarifi-
cation of their genesis might provide not
only illumination of the character of the
original phenomena in relation to their
specific Jamaican context, but also under-
score the gradual shift in the character
of the movement that developed after-
wards. By paying close attention to the
historical details of the movement's
original outbreak in the eastern Jamaican
parish of St. Thomas, I hope to offer an

analysis of the role of Leonard Percival
Howell in the context of the Jamaican
peasant origins of the millenarian impe-
tus of the Rastafari phenomenon.
However, it is necessary at the outset
to call into question the semi-canonical
status which scholars have conferred on
the section of the report by M.G. Smith,
Roy Augier and Rex Nettleford, The
Ras Tafari Movement in Kingston,
Jamaica, entitled "History of the Move-
ment". An example of the nearly univer-
sal acceptance accorded this work is the
statement by Barry Chevannes that "the
role played by the first Rastafarians is
treated adequately in Smith et al'" In
spite of the reservation called to the at-
tention of scholars by Ken Post, whose
own limited research led him to the con-
clusion that the report's "historical
material must be treated with some
care", the view expressed by Chevannes
has been the one that is now the standard
The truth is that the report by Smith
et al. did not have as its main purpose
the history of the Rastafari movement
but rather the presentation of specific
policy recommendations to the Jamaican
government of the day. The hope was
that it would guide public policy in the
context of the crisis to which the state
of emergency declared in April 1960 to
deal with the attempted insurgency of
the Rev. Claudius Henry ('The Repairer
of the Breach') and that of his son, Rey-
nold Henry had given rise. This was
clearly spelled out in the report itself;
according to the authors, they under-
took "to work among (the Rastafari
brethren) for a fortnight in order to
determine the predominant needs of the
brethren and to formulate a programme
of action". To the extent that the report
was concerned with the development of
the movement, its main concern was to
examine the specific changes that had
occurred in the nature of the cult since it

and Millenarian Visions in Early Rastafari

By Robert Hill

was first studied in 1953 by the Ameri-
can anthropologist, George Eaton Simp-
son. Indeed, the authors were forced to
note that Professor Simpson's studies
paid "little attention to the history,
organization or background of the move-
ment". The result has been described as
"a rapid survey among the Ras Tafari
brethren of Kingston during the fort-
night beginning on July 4th, 1960". It
was certainly a remarkable feat for any
team of three authors to have research-
ed and written such a 'survey' within
the space of a fortnight. But when their
findings were presented on 20 July to
the Premier of Jamaica, N.W. Manley,
by the Principal of what was then the
University College of the West Indies,
W. Arthur Lewis, it was accompanied
with a forwarding letter stating that
"the team has made a number of recom-
mendations which require urgent con-
sideration", and also drawing attention
to the fact that "the movement is large,
and in a state of great unrest".
Both the overriding political purpose
of the report's policy recommendations
as well as the manner of its hurried pre-
paration the document was actually
written in a night and a day -would sug-
gest, at a minimum, that its historical
data must be treated with great caution.
Nonetheless, scholars have allowed them-
selves to be lulled by the apparent rigor
of the report's findings into chronic
historical myopia, and from this failure
of historical perspective the origins of
Rastafari religion have become trapped
in anachronism and reductionism of the
worst kind. Thus, without necessarily
intending it, the report by Smith et al.
has had the unfortunate consequence of
foreclosing rather than stimulating an
attitude of enquiry into the specifics of
Rastafari origins.
For an appreciation of this limiting
quality of the historical description con-
tained in The Ras Tafari Movement, it is

enough to call attention to the report's
statement: "For the Ras Tafari brethren
today, Garvey is a major prophet, but
his relationship with the founders of
the Ras Tafari movement between 1930
and 1935 remains obscure". The his-
torical connection between Garvey and
early Rastafari religion, however, is
made even more problematic by the
confusion created by the report in its
use of oral testimony gathered from
interviews with 'some Jamaicans of a
Garveyite persuasion' whose accounts
the report made no attempt to corro-
borate by checking the documentary
sources. At best, this method only re-
sults in the substitution of largely apo-
cryphal statements in place of verifi-
abte historical data. And yet the slip-
page of the myth into the historical
record is something of which most
scholars still seem unaware.
The assumption of The Ras Tafari

Movement that it was Garvey who pro-
vided the originating impulse of the
Rastafari millenarian vision rested on
the statements that "Garvey is said to
have told his people to 'Look to Africa,
when a black king shall be crowned, for
the day of deliverance is near' ". The re-
port further claims that following the
prince regent of Ethiopia, Ras Tafari
Makonnen being crowned Emperor
Haile Sellassie I in October 1930, "some
Jamaicans of a Garveyite persuasion
say that they began to consult their
Bibles". This they did presumably with
Garvey's prophecy still fresh in their
minds, so that they asked themselves:
"Could this be he of whom Garvey
No evidence has so far been found or
cited to show that Garvey ever made the
assertion attributed to him. What has
been found, however, is something
similar recorded in an address which was
delivered by a black clergyman, Rev.
James Morris Webb, in September 1924.
The gist of the Rev. Webb's message was
actually contained in the second of his
two works on the subject of blacks in
sacred history, which was entitled A
Black Man Will Be The Coming Univer-
sal King, Proven by Biblical History. In
his Liberty Hall speech, the Rev. Webb
repeated this prophecy:
The head of Great Britain will do as
the Kaiser did and attempt to rule as
universal king. Then the nations which
were Great Britain's allies in the World
War Belgium, France and America -
will join to crush Great Britain. The
universal black king will then appear
and dominate all. He will tear down all
their claims .. The world cannot real-
ize this now. It will take time. When
the prophetic part of the Bible is
preached the world will realize that the
universal black king is coming...
At the same time, this prophecy by
the Rev. Webb of a coming 'universal
black king' does not appear to have
reached Jamaica or to have achieved

currency in terms of any residual influ-
ence in the popular interpretation of the
coronation event of Emperor Haile
Sellassie in 1930. It is possible, however,
to trace the source of the apocryphal
story of Garvey's so-called prophecy to
the account given to the authors of The
Ras TafariMovement by Paul Earlington,
whom the report described as having
belonged to what it called the'somewhat
more secular stream' of Rastafarians in-
habiting the 'Dungle' in Kingston. When
he was interviewed by the present writer
in July 1978, Earlington continued to
maintain that "the Honourable Marcus
Garvey always told us that there was a
man coming forward behind him whose
shoe-heel he, the Honourable Marcus
Garvey, would not be able to unleash".
Ironically, however, he maintains that in
spite of this he never considered himself
a Rastafarian, yet this was in fact how
the report by Smith etal described him.
His main activity was providing the sti-
mulus behind the organization of the
first local of the Ethiopian World
Federation in Jamaica (Local 17).


Far more significant than the search
for any specific prophecy or prophecies
as the determinant of Rastafari origins is
the underlying identification which
blacks have consistently made with
Ethiopia by virtue of its Biblical symbol-
ism. This tradition is best summed up in
the oft-repeated thirty-first verse of the
sixty-eighth Psalm, "Princes shall come
out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon
stretch out her hands unto God".
Practically all forms of black redemptive
ideology have been suffused with this
Ethiopianism, so that its compass was
historically much broader than Garvey-
ism. What the Ethiopian emperor's
coronation in 1930 did was to stir into
being a new phase of Ethiopianism
among blacks. It consequently revived a
number of varied Ethiopianist ideas that
had Lbecome dormant by the end of the
1920s. By providing a new justification
for political and spiritual faith in

9^ sed ^-


macy' in the picture postcard of Emperor Haile
Sellassie I overleaff) circulated by B.L. Wilson,
an early associate of Leonard P. Howell. The
full phrase was "Black Supremacy Emerges,
Ras-ta-fari the Lion of Judah Reigneth".

Ethiopia, the coronation of Emperor
Haile Sellassie thus allowed Garvey's doc-
trine of racial redemption to fuse inside
this broad renewal of faith.
It was in this context that the far-
reaching influence of Garvey's message
can be said to have paved the way for
the emergence of a new wave of millen-
arian beliefs in Ethiopia's link with divi-
nity. The synthesis that ensued between
Garvey's vision of 'African Redemption'
and a revived Ethiopianism after 1930
was first signalled on Sunday 4 Janu-
ary 1931, with the appearance in Har-
lem of a joint street parade in which
Garvey's UNIA followers marched along-
side a phalanx of Black Jews. After hold-
ing religious services to pay tribute to
their heroes, the march paraded through
Harlem with framed life-size photographs

of both Garvey and Sellassie carried at
the front, side by side. Just prior to that,
a British official on his return to England
from the United States observed in Octo-
ber 1931 in a letter to the Foreign Office
that "there is a tendency amongst the
American negroes to look up to Haili
Silassie [sic] as the outstanding figure-
head of their race". The official described
what he had observed as "a mutual
bond of interest and racial sympathy
between the Emperor and a section of
the American negro population".
On the day that the news was pub-
lished in Jamaica "that the Prince of
Abyssinia has now been crowned as
Emperor of that country, and that
among his many titles is 'Conquering
Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of
God, and the Light of the World' ",
there appeared also a lengthy editorial
commentary in the Daily Gleaner which,
despite the sarcasm, did contain a re-
vealing disclosure. "The new Abyssin-
ian Emperor may be King of Ethiopia,
as he claims", the editorial noted, "but
in that case what becomes of the claim
of a fellow Jamaican, still living, to be
the President of Ethiopia?" And the
editorial asked, "Will our friend Rev.
Nathaniel Jacobs allow the title of
Lion of the Tribe of Judah to this
Abyssinian monarch?"
There had been in existence in Jam-
aica, prior to the coronation event in
Ethiopia in 1930, a considerable tradi-
tion of 'Ethiopianism' that was trace-
able back over a lengthy period. It could
be found in such preferred claims to
royal Ethiopian lineage as those put for-
ward by 'Royal Prince Thomas Isaac
Makarooroo' (Isaac Uriah Brown) and
'Prince Shervington' (Cyril Linton Mit-
chell), each of whom demanded official
recognition of their claims. These two
'black princes' were, in fact, Jamaicans
who came to public attention in 1904-06
and 1924 respectively. Ethiopianism
was also manifested in the series of eight
essays written by James M. Lowe of
Jamaica and published in the Crusader
in New York City in 1919-1920 under
the title, "A Revealed Secret of the

Hamitic Race". It was also manifested
in the formation in July 1920 of the
'Ethiopian Progressive and Co-operative
Association' under the leadership of
Alfred Mends and J. Mannasseh Price.
The doctrine that would provide the
actual interpretative basis of Rastafari
ideology, however, was contained in
two books introduced into Jamaica in
the period 1925-27, which the Daily
Gleaner characterized as 'publications
of the new Ethiopian religion'. The first
of the two books was The Holy Piby,
otherwise known as 'the Black Man's
Bible', which was written and published
by Robert Athlyi Rogers in 1924 in
Newark, New Jersey. It formed the
doctrinal basis of Rogers's 'Afro-Athli-
can Constructive Gaathly', with head-
quarters in Kimberley, South Africa.
The Jamaican branch of the AACG
went under the name 'Hamatic Church',
and was established jointly in 1925 by
Grace Jenkins Garrison and Rev. Charles
F. Goodridge, who had encountered The
Holy Piby originally in Colon, Panama.
According to the description in the
Daily Gleaner, The Holy Piby was "a
book which.sets up new doctrines, and
enumerates the creed of a new religion
of which Marcus Garvey is pronounced
the 'Apostle' ". The second book was
The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black
Supremacy published in Jamaica in
1926 by the Rev. Fitz Balintine Petters-
burgh. He described the work variously
as 'Ethiopia's Bible-Text' and as 'my
supreme Book of Royal Rules for the
Ethiopian Western Repository', and the
Daily Gleaner described it as 'comple-
mentary to The Holy Piby', In fact, it
was to be plagiarized extensively by
Leonard Howell throughout the
greater portion of the work he en-
titled The Promised Key, in 1935. Thus,
there was justification when the Daily
Gleaner spoke of the exponents of this
'new Ethiopian religion' as persons
endeavouringg to spread it here and also
to indoctrinate the people of Jamaica
with some seditious ideas on 'Black
Supremacy' ". This was later to be the
source of the phrase 'Black Supremacy'

which would reappear in the eschato-
logy of Rastafari doctrine, as could be
seen, for example, in B.L. Wilson's
statement 'Black Supremacy Emerges'
in 1945 (See Figure 1).
One of the Athlican sect missionaries
in Jamaica, Malcolm McCormack, also
remembers that it was the Rev. Petters-
burgh who "used to talk about Black
Supremacy, about Africa and the supre-
macy of the blacks", and he adds, "some
of these Rastas that you hear talk about
'black supremacy' it was from him".
This is also confirmed by statements
found in the special appendix of The
Ras Tafari Movement in Kingston,
Jamaica (Appendix IV), which presents
"a brief synopsis of the [extreme form
of the] Ras Tafari doctrine". In this
credal statement, phrases that are taken
directly from the Rev. Pettersburgh's
Royal Parchment Scoll of Black Supre-
macy recur, as, for example, the phrases
'Adam-Abraham the leper' and Jamaica
as 'Mount Africa, the slave mart'. The
authors of the report also refer to the
belief held by members of the movement
that 'the black [in Ghana's national flag]
stands for black supremacy'.
The 1930s in Jamaica witnessed-the
full flowering of Ethiopianism as a
broad-based popular movement. Several
instances of the phenomenon can be
cited. In 1933, the 'Ethiopian Guild and
Brotherhood Mission' and 'Universal
Black Confraternity Association' were
founded, the latter under the auspices
of Menelik K.O. Kandekore, Sr., who
stated that membership was 'opened ex-
clusively to Black Peoples of every
Nationality'. The movement came to a
head with the emergence of the Rastafari
movement in 1933-34, and the mass
mobilization around the crisis of the
Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935-36. Popular
interest in Ethiopia was also stimulated
by the extensive series of articles written
by L.F.C. Mantle and published in Plain
Talk (described as 'the People's defend-
er') from July to November 1935, all
under the title "In Defense of Abyssinia
and its History". The depth of the popu-
lar reaction at the time to the Ethiopian

crisis was such that Mantle felt obliged
to submit the events to the test of pro-
phecy with the result that he, too, em-
braced the divinity of the Ethiopian
emperor. In his essay published on 2
November 1935, Mantle thus wrote:
I beg to inform you hypocrites [refer-
ring to the clergy] that what you have
taught us about Jesus, is fulfilling in
the land of Ethiopia right now: with
the said same Romans or so called Ital-
ian or Fascist. These are the said people
who crucified Jesus 2,000 years ago,
and as we read that after 2,000 years,
Satan's kingdom or organization shall
fall; and righteousness shall prevail in
all the earth, as the waters cover the
sea ... we are now in the time that the
2,000 years have expired.

Mantle then quoted in a sequential
fashion various prophecies that he said
'explained' Haile Sellassie's divinity:
Rev. 5:5, Gen \49:10, and Rev. 17:14,
19:16, 17:21. He also claimed that "the
book which contained the seven seal[s]

Fig 2: The postcard reads: "Ras Tafari King
of Ethiopia Descendant of King Solomon
and the Queen of Sheba Presented by
Leonard Howell Traved. the World Through."


were loosed on Nov. 2nd 1930 at his
coronation ceremony", and to this he
added the injunction: "Be it under-
stood that he had received the golden
Sceptre in 1930". The purpose to be
served by these prophetic pronounce-
ments, however, was clearly to shore
up belief in the invincibility of Ethiopia's
cause, and so he declared, "Victory!
More Victory is in our hands". The pro-
Ethiopian mobilization that swept
Jamaica starting in 1935 was to engage
the energies of numerous organizations,
including the established UNIA and a
variety of free-floating street fraternities,
such as the 'Ethiopian Alliance of the
World' of St. William Grant (self-des-
cribed as 'Knight Commander of the
Order of the Nile') and Altamont Reid's
'Ethiopian Allied Defense'. Towards the
end of the decade, moreover, the first
Jamaica local (Local No. 17) of the
Ethiopian World Federation was estab-
lished in 1939, and in November of that
same year a body known as the 'Ethio-
pian National United Defense Asso-
ciation, No. 1' also made its appearance.

The Start of Howell's Mission

It was into this developing appeal of
Ethiopian consciousness that Leonard
Percival Howell, who had lived in the
United States for several years, stepped
upon his return to Jamaica at the end
of November 1932. Essentially, Howell
was to perform the role of catalytic
agent in igniting the radical millenarian
consciousness that based itself on the
doctrine of the divine kingship of
Ethiopia's Ras Tafari. According to
Paul Earlington, in an interview with the
author, Howell "was the first man who
came to Jamaica and introduced his
Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Sellassie
as Rastafari the creator of heaven and
earth". Earlington notes that Howell
"spread his propaganda on those pre-
cepts from St. Thomas back to Kingston
and then he followed through to Pinnacle
and it follows through to the point
where there arose from Leonard Howell,
[Robert] Hinds, [Joseph Nathaniel]


Hibbert, [Henry Archibald] Dunkley,
and [Altamont] Reid."
Howell was born 16 June 1898, at
May Crawle near Crooked River in the
Bull Head Mountain district of upper
Clarendon. He was the oldest in a
family of 10 children. His father, Charles
Theophilus Howell, was an independent
peasant cultivator and a tailor as well;
his mother, Clementina Bennett, was an
agricultural labourer. Some of the details
of Howell's early life, however, are diffi-
cult to pin down. He claimed to have
joined the Jamaican war contingent in

Fig. 3: Statement by Annie M.

Colon, Panama, and to have been sent
to the army camp in Jamaica at Swallow-
field in Kingston. He also claimed to
have served at Port Royal and as a guard
at the Bumperhall Hospital near King-
ston, but "was sent back in [May or
June] 1918 to Colon, Panama, by the
Jamaican Government on a boat of the
United Fruit Co. in order to proceed to
Canada". After being in Colon only a
short while, he joined the U.S. Army
Transport Service as a cook and arrived
in New York 28 October 1918. He was
stationed for a time in San Francisco

Harvey, head of the Israelites in


The Lord killeth and maketh alive again,
He bringeth down to the grave and taketh up
The Lord maketh poor aud maketh rich
He bringeth low and lifteth.

He raiseth up the poor out ol the dust and lifteth up the bigger from the
dunghill; to set them among princes and to make them inherit the
throne of Glory.
The pillars of the earth are the Lord's and He bath et the world upon them.
Stain your doorposts sons and daughters of Ethiopia.
Prepare your kide with unleasmh bread and wait for the command.

The sound of chariot is near
The chariots from the East are now awaiting the sound o( buglee from
the West. Horses are harnessed, front legs lifted high; ears are
pricked. Only a shake of the bridle and the world war shall begin.
Ethiopian children lift up your heads.

Oh, the music rolling onward,
Thro' the boundless regious bright.
Where the King in all His beauty
I. the glory and the light:
Where the sunshine of His presence
Every wave of sorrow stills,
And the bells are ringing
On the everlasting hills.



":~~ ,: r.': ;,, ~
! 1Vs


"Make the Black Race an economical power to save it from
suffering, best service to God," saith the Gaathly Religion.
Every man and woman should hear SHEPHERD ATHLYI ROGERS, Inter-
national leader of the powerful Gaathly Religion, speaking at


MONDAY EVE., SEPT. 28, 1925, 8 O'clock Sharp

All preachers and congregations are invited.
Admission free.
Gaathly Headquarters, The House of Athlyi, 252 Nyembane St.,
Kimberly, South Africa.
THE CLINTON PRESS, 8 Avon Avenue, Newark, N. J., Phone Terrace 1875

and in time he claimed to have worked
aboard a total of five U.S. Army vessels
before his discharge from service in
Howell took out his first papers for
citizenship in the United States in May
1924, at which time he was employed
as a porter. He was later employed as a
construction worker at various sites on
Long Island, New York, for close to
five years, after which he claims that he
went into business for himself at 113 W.
136th Street in Harlem, where he opera-
ted a tea room. However, persons who
were in Harlem and who knew Howell
during this period also recall that he was
engaged in a number of nefarious prac-
tices. In particular, a number of old
Garveyites stated that 'the UNIA de-
clared against Howell in New York'.
They described him as being not only a
con-man' but also 'a samfie [obeah]
man'. Z. Munroe Scarlett, an acquaint-
ance of Howell and an official of the
Jamaican UNIA, describes Howell as 'a
mystic man', while Howell's brother,
Hope L. Howell, informed the author
that his brother "had excellent hands
with sickness and helped many people,
even well-to-do people, too".
Meanwhile, there was a strong likeli-
hood that in New York Howell might
have come under the influence of George
Padmore, the Trinidadian who was after
1927 the rising black star of the Ameri-
can Communist Party. As a former
seaman, Howell would have been an ob-
vious target of the intensified communist
policy at this time aimed at the recruit-
ment of merchant seamen; and as a
black man, he would also have been ex-
posed to the various organizing drives in
Harlem initiated by the Communist
Party through such groups as the Har-
lem Workers' Center, American Negro
Labor Congress, International Labor
Defence (the spearhead of the Scotts-
boro Boys' campaign), and the League
of Struggle for Negro Rights, along with
publications such as the Negro Champion
and the Liberator. Howell was later to
correspond with Padmore from Jamaica
in 1938-39, and he addressed Padmore


S E- -

K. 0

a P. M4
L.' W* f11 f-. -C 11

++ ^ . + *

Fig. 4: The reverse side of the postcard of
Ras Tafari with the official stamp of Howell's
"King of King's Mission."
in terms of 'knowing you as I do'. It is
significant that when Howell was inter-
viewed in November 1940, shortly after
his establishment of the Rastafarian
commune at 'Pinnacle' outside of King-
ston, he claimed to be leading what he
termed 'a socialisic life'.
Howell's return to Jamaica actually
coincided with the period of marked
upsurge in religious revivalism that
began during 1930-31. In January 1931,
the attorney general of Jamaica sub-
mitted to the island Privy Council the
draft of a 'Revivalism' or 'Shakerism'
Prohibition Law, noting that "the prac-
tices are growing in all the parishes of
the Island". Although the Privy Council
advised against the introduction of the
bill, for the reason that it would be im-
possible to arrive at an adequate legal
definition of 'Revivalism'or 'Shakerism',
the idea of introducing legislation "to
prohibit the practices of these curious
religious cults", in the words of the
colonial secretary, would again engage
the attention of the Jamaican govern-

ment in 1935 and 1937, when proposals
were once more considered for the legal
suppression of Pocomania and Rastafari
Numerous commentaries were pub-
lished in local newspapers regarding
the proliferation of religious revivalism
in this period. In January 1930, for ex-
ample, in an article in the West Indian
Critic and Review discussing 'the Labour
Problem', E.A. Glen Campbell declared
that "it is regrettable that our labouring
population especially in towns and
villages are drifting away from the civil-
izing influence of the Christian Church;
.and following no end of strange religion
that can do them no good". The same
phenomenon was a constant source of
complaint by Marcus Garvey, who used
the editorial columns of his New Jamai-
can newspaper to attack it. On 11 Au-
gust 1932, in an editorial commenting
on the 'Religious Fanatic', Garvey ob-
served that "a large number of people
are leaving the established churches to
join these religions religionsthat howl,
religions that create saints, religions that
dance to frantic emotion". A few
months later, on 19 October, Garvey
also declared that "the various revival
cults are driving a large number of [our
people] crazy". Shortly after, on 25
January 1933, Garvey again declared:

Bedward attempted to fly some years
ago and the people were so ignorant
as to have sold nearly everything they
had to go with him to Heaven on the
flight. The same kind of ignorance and
superstition has its grip on the people

The spread of religious chiliasm
among the Jamaican lower classes in this
period gave cause for comment by one
of the visiting delegates who was attend-
ing the UNIA's convention in August
1934. Charles L. James, president of
the Gary, Indiana, division of the UNIA,
told a Daily Gleaner interviewer: "One
alarming condition that seems ridiculous
to me is that 100 years after Emanci-
pation in this country, cults and reli-
gious fanaticism are still having a grip

the iolg pbt
(Copriw ed 1924)

DItributed by
W.edbrde, N. J., U. S. A.

Published by the
Jhism, 1014.


Except where otherwise noted, all
illustrations supplied by the author.








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"At The Pilgrim
43 Bond Stret,
Sunday Masses
10:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
A.Y.P.UJra.. l are wdeo

Members of the Ethiopian World Federation marking Haile Sellassie's birthday, standing outside the Ward Theatre on the morning of
Wednesday, 23 July 1941. The organizer was Paul Earlington, standing centre, next to "Prof." Bynoe, in robe and mortar board. The men
were bedecked in white uniforms and the women were also dressed in spotless white.

on the island, and which forces one to
pause to know that such ideas could
prevail in a civilized community." He
deplored the fact that "there is not
enough effort on the part of the intelli-
gentcias [sic] to stamp out such evil."
This sharply critical attitude toward
religious revivalism would explain Gar-
vey's adamant refusal in early 1933, ac-
cording to Z. Munroe Scarlett, to allow
Leonard Howell "to sell the Emperor's
pictures in Edelweiss Park (the head-
quarters of the UNIA)". Scarlett, who
was the founder of the Whitfield Town
Division of the UNIA in the late 1920s,
states that "Howell had known Garvey
in New York and had been a member of
the UNIA, so when he returned to Jam-
aica in 1932 he came up to Edelweiss
Park". He informed the present writer
that Howell had "a couple of inter-
views with Marcus but Howell made an
attempt to introduce the Emperor's
picture and he was told it would not be
done there, he could do it on his own
Shortly after this episode, it is said
that Howell betook himself to Coke
Chapel steps, Kingston's main poli-
tical battleground, which was where he
began to sell the pictures of the Ethiopi-
an Emperor (See Figure 2). An observer
at the time, P.A. Thompson, recalls that
"his talk was somewhat of an attempt to
rival Garvey". This might well help to
explain why, in his opening speech at
one of the sessions of the UNIA con-
vention, as described by the Jamaica
Times on 25 August 1934, it was said
that "Mr. Garvey also referred to the
Ras Tafari cult, speaking of them with
There has never been any satisfactory
account of how Howell actually obtain-
ed the photograph of the Ethiopian Em-
peror. However, Henry Dunkley, who
commenced his own missionary labours
on behalf of the doctrine of Rastafari
early in 1934, alleged, in conversation
with the author, that it was from the
sect known as 'the Israelites' that Ho-
well obtained a copy of what he describes


as the 'Prince of Peace' photograph.
Dunkley declared: "Howell went round
to their headquarters at Paradise Street
after he came back from New York and
catch hold of one of the photograph
and developed on it and brought it for-
ward to the public, and let the public
know that is the Eternal Messiah come
back." Dunkley is thus quite definite in
his view that Howell "copied all of what
they [the Israelites] were doing and
launched out himself and formed a
body of people, Back-to-Africa move-
'The Israelites' was the name adopt-
ed by the religious sect founded by
David and Annie M. Harvey after their
return to Jamaica from Ethiopia in
1930-31. Both individuals had origin-
ally met in Port Limon, Costa Rica,
where they were married. They left
Costa Rica sometime after 1920 and
travelled to Panama, Cuba, and the
United States. They returned to Jamaica
in 1924 but stayed for only about two
months. Annie Harvey claimed that
"she was called by a vision to go to
Abyssinia to do missionary work [and]
her husband and she therefore, left for
Abyssinia where they remained for five
and a half years before they returned to
Jamaica where she continued her
missionary work." (See Figure 3). It is
Dunkley's belief that "if they [the Har-
veys] did not believe in Ras Tafari, I
do not think they would bring that
photograph of him and teach the people
them of Africa".

Howell's Doctrine

It was in Kingston that Howell began
to hold his first public meetings on the
subject of 'Ras Tafari, King of Abyssinia'
in January 1933, but without much suc-
cess. The following month he transferred
his energies away from the capital, and
by April 1933 he had begun to concen-
trate his proselytizing efforts in the
eastern parish of St. Thomas. At Trinity-
ville, which is in the eastern part of the
parish, Howell was said to have delivered
on 18 April 'words of a seditious nature'

before a meeting of some 200 people.
His statements were taken down by the
police and submitted to the clerk of the
courts with a view to issuing sedition
proceedings against him. However, when
they were consulted, both the crown
solicitor and the attorney general advised
against pressing charges, since it was felt
that Howell was 'a ranter who would
revel in the advertisement of a prose-
cution'. The inspector general of police
nonetheless alerted the island's constabu-
lary by circular memo 'to keep a strict
eye on him'.
Howell's ratingsg' at Trinityville, as
reported in the statements taken by the
police, represent the first systematic
account of how Howell was presenting
the- doctrine of Rastafari before the
people. One of the police corporals pre-
sent gave this account:
I heard Leonard Howell, the speaker,
said to the hearers: "The Lion of
Judah has broken the chain, and we of
the black race are now free. George the

Fig 5: Ideographic diagram by J.N. Hibbert
fund in the front inside cover of a minute
book kept by him of his early meetings.

Fifth is no more our King. George the
Fifth has sent his third son down to
Africa in 1928 [sic] to bow down to
our new king Ras Tafair. Ras Tafair is
King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The
Black people must not look to George
the Fifth as their King any more -
Ras Tafair is their king". . He said
"The negro is now free and the white
people will' have to bow to the Negro
Race". At the end of the meeting, he
said "You must sing the National
Anthem, but before you start, you
must remember that you are not sing-
ing it for King George the Fifth, but
for Ras Tafair our new king".
Howell was reported to have showed his
hearers a photograph of 'a white man
and a black man', the former being
'George the Fifth's third son', while the
latter was 'Ras Tafair, the new King'. A
district constable who was also in at-
tendance at the meeting reported that in
passing the photographs around Howell
declared, "if any body have any griev-
ance, they must write to Ras Tafair
the King of Kings and Lord of Lords";
he also reported that Howell said fur-
ther that "the Black race is now free
and must look to Ras Tafair as their
King". A dressmaker living in the dis-
trict of Trinityville also gave a sworn
deposition to the police in which she
declared: "I also saw him [Howell] with
cards selling for 1. each. He said that
the cards are to be filled up and sent to
Ras Tafair our new King. He further
said 'If you do not believe what I am
saying, you must write to the Governor
or the Inspector of Police.' Another
dressmaker, who was visiting Trinity-
ville from Kingston, deposed to the
police that Howell stated that Ras
Tafari marked 'a fulfilment of pro-
phecy', and that he was 'the Lion
of Judah which shall break every chain
for the Negroes are now under a greater
oppression than during the years of
The theme of inversion, a character-
istic idiom of millenarianism, was plain-
ly set forth in the context of Howell's
emphasis on the presence and behaviour
of the Duke of Gloucester, the special
representative of his father, King George

V, at the coronation in Addis Ababa in
October 1930 of Emperor Haile Sellassie.
In the first chapter of The Promised
Key, entitled 'The Mystery Country',
Howell highlighted the significance of
their encounter:
The Duke fell down bending knees
before His Majesty Ras Tafari the
King of Kings and Lord of Lords and
spoke in a loud tone of voice and said,
"Master, Master my father has sent me
to represent him sir. He is unable to
come and he said that he will serve you
to the end Master".

Howell invested the special coro-
nation gift that the Duke of Gloucester
presented to the Ethiopian Emperor
right before his kneeling with great signi-
ficance, with attention paid to the fact
that it was "a Sceptre of solid gold
twenty seven inches long which had
been taken from the hands of Ethiopia
some thousand years ago". This 'magni-
ficent piece of workmanship', which
had inscribed on one side 'Ethiopia shall
make her hands reach unto God' and
on the other side 'King of Kings of
Ethiopia', when followed by the obei-
sance of the English royal envoy, was
taken by Howell to be the fulfilment of
prophecy. In particular, Howell pro-
pounded that these events were the ful-
filment of Psalms 72:9-11, viz.:

They that dwell in the wilderness shall
bow before him, and his enemies
shall lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles
shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba
and Seba shall offer gifts.
Yea, all kings shall fall down before
him; all nations shall serve him.

and Genesis 49: 10, viz.:

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
until Shiloh come; and until him shall
the gathering of the people be.

Further, Howell declared that the hom-
age 'done to him (King Alpha sitting
on his Throne) by the Bishops and
Priests' was also the fulfilment of the
twenty-first Psalm, 'God's blessing of

the King'.
The principle of millenarian inversion
was underscored by the actual conver-
sion process, as described to the author
by one of the original members of
Howell's sect in St. Thomas, Jephet Wil-
son. He recalled the experience in the
following terms:
When he [Howell] came, he told us
that Christ was ba6k on the earth. But
I couldn't understand it, but after him
put it to me several times and I read
the Scriptures, I saw that he was
coming off the Bible. He told us that
Christ was coming back with a new
name, Ras Tafari. Gradually I watch
his movement and I take it home. I go
back, and when he started to teach with
the Bible and this same Black Supre-
macy book, I take it home. I had visions
in my sleep at night and I said, ohl,
you come back with a scornful name
that scorn the nation, and the name of
Ras Tafari is it. The name going to
scorn the nation and don't ask if the
name isn't doing that.

This notion of 'scorn' as providential
punishment of the unjust, which was
reminiscent of the language of the
Psalms (44:13; 79-4), perfectly illus-
trates the classic cosmic inversion pro-
cess of millenarian sectarianism. The

Fig. 6: The ideographic diagram found in the
back inside cover of J.N. Hibbert's book of
minutes, in which the writing in the lower tri-
angle conforms closely to the cabbalistic talis-
mans found in L.W. de Laurence's The Sixth
and Seventh Book of Moses.

Rastafari doctrine of spiritual inversion,
however, also represented a powerful
critique of the colonial regime's legiti-
macy, since the 'scorn' that had custom-
arily been the lot of the oppressed was
now displaced on to the oppressor
'nation'. This was more than the fulfil-
ment of prophecy: it also posed the
question of the withdrawal of political
loyalty from the colonial state and
posited in the people a counter political
legitimacy through which they were
able to challenge the ideological hege-
mony of the regime.

The Political Threat
It was little wonder that by 1936,
two years before the Jamaica labour
rebellion of 1938, a retired resident
magistrate, C.A. Bicknell, could report
to the governor, in a letter warning
about the growth of Rastafari propa-
ganda in Kingston, that "the 'Ras Tafari'
set were threatening that soon [they]
would have their own black war in Jam-
aica". In a second letter, written 7
April 1936, to the permanent under-
secretary of state in the Colonial Office,
Bicknell advised that'Ras-ta-Faris'claim-
ed that 'they are not subjects to Great
Britain'; instead, he said, they claimed
that 'Ras-ta-Fari is their king and Mess-
iahl' And after calling attention to a
recent public demonstration by mem-
bers of the sect armed 'with drum and
fife and emblems', he disclosed:
In the public streets they preach sedi-
tion and assert "that ere long Jamaica
will have its own war and every negro
must come to their colours and fight
for their rights! A black Governorl A
black Colonial Secretaryl A black
Judge A black Inspector General
etc.l If Britain has taken Africa from
them then they must have Jamaica.
And the white men must be under
them etc."
What Bicknell's statement exposed was
the gradual penetration of popular un-
rest in Jamaica in the two years imme-
diately preceding 1938 by the force of
the Rastafari millenarian ideology of
racial dominion. Another member of
the colonial ruling class, Major B.F.

Cawes, the proprietor of 'Garbrand Hall'
estate in Trinityville, St. Thomas, and
an old English ex-army officer, would
arrive at the same conclusion. After
coming upon a copy of Howell's The
Promised Key in May 1938, the same
month that the labour rebellion com-
menced in Jamaica, he gave it as his
view (in his column 'Pepper Pot' in the
Jamaica Times written under the pseu-
donym 'Ginger') that "having read it
[the book] twice very carefully, I can
well understand the race prejudice and
bitter hatred which is now so clearly
manifested in certain of the lower
strata of our society here".
In essence, what these reports point
to is the very real likelihood that Rasta-
farian millenarian ideology functioned
as an active catalyst in the developing
popular consciousness that led to the
labour uprisings of 1938 by virtue of its
radical vision of black dominion. For
these reasons, therefore, it is not poss-
ible to accept Ken Post's judgement
that "the [Rastafari] cult as an organi-
zation played no very obvious part in
the labour rebellion" [of 1938].
.The political threat posed by Rasta-
fari agitation was fully recognized by
the colonial regime as early as 1933-34.
This was confirmed by its attempt to
repress the movement's leadership by
arresting Leonard Howell and his lieu-
tenant, Robert Hinds. As a result of
speeches made by both men respectively
on 10 and 21 December 1933, at Sea-
forth district and Chapel Hill in Port
Morant, Howell and Hinds were arrest-
ed on 1 January 1934, and charged with
two counts of sedition each. Both men
were tried and found guilty, Howell
receiving the heavier term of two years
imprisonment and Hinds the lighter
sentence of one year.
In his testimony before the court,
however, Howell claimed that he had
informed his followers '1934 was the
starting of a better turn of success' for
the movement. This expectation has
some bearing on the editorial that ap-
peared in the Daily Gleaner on 20

August 1934, reporting on the fact that
Rastafarians in St. Thomas were planning
'a march' across the waters to Abyssinia.
The editorial further stated that "follow-
ers of the Ras-Tafari cult were told by
persons who prey upon their gullibility
that their deliverance would begin on
August 1, on which day they were due
to commence a march to Abyssinia to
trample upon the stomachs of white
men between the starting point and
Kingston, where they would enter the
sea, cleave the waters with their beards
which they were made to grow, and
walk to their future home". Here again
we witness the recurrence of the process
of millenarian inversion that remained
a major characteristic of Rastafari es-

The Peasant Base
Who were these 'creatures' that the
newspaper reported 'believe those who
gull them?' In fact, the truth of the
social composition of the movement
and the nature of its social aims were
accurately spelled out in the editorial's
discussion of the 'march to Abyssinia',
about which it had this to say:
Those silly persons of the small pro-
ducer and labouring class in eastern
St. Thomas who have allowed them-
selves to be saturated with a dangerous
cult that has been labelled 'Ras-Tafari',
whereas there is not the slightest con-
nection between the local doctrine and
the religion of Abyssinia, have become
passive resisters. They have been in-
formed by some one, a trickster no
doubt, that instructions sent to them
by Emperor Ras-Tafari from the Abys-
sinian capital prescribe that those who
own holdings in that parish must not
pay taxes to the Government, neither
must others who rent lands from the
Government and property owners pay
rent for plots on which they squat and
cultivate. Their belief is that the land
belongs to the black people: no longer
are they accountable to Government or
property owner.
The Daily Gleaner was emphatic in its
view that 'this looks like playing with
fire', and it called specifically "for high
officers of the Government to draw
their own deduction on this phase of


the question". The issues of land, rent,
and taxation were in actuality the ex-
pression of the peasant base that pro-
vided the dynamic of struggle which
gave rise to the millenarian visions of
the Rastafari movement. The editorial
writer in the Daily Gleaner did not en-
tertain any illusions about either the
social make-up of the movement or its
dangerous portent for the maintenance
of the colonial racial economy. "It de-
mands early attention and action in at
least one direction", the writer declared,
"to destroy a dangerous cult which has
taken root in several districts in St.
Thomas". It is not atall surprising, there-
fore, to find that Howell should have
tried to maintain the support of his
followers in St. Thomas with the pro-
mise, in January 1940, that "100 acres
of land are available for the habitation
of all black people in Jamaica also 4000
for construction of their houses and
planting vineyards".
From 1935 onward, however, the
movement was subject to increasingly
intense police repression in St. Thomas
and the eastern countryside. Thus, for
example, it was reported in the Daily
Gleaner on 19 August 1935, that "due
to the activity of the St. Thomas police,
Ras-Tafarians have been brought to a
standstill in that parish". The report dis-
closed that "they are not permitted to
hold meetings and speak in support of
the doctrine they espouse", and it con-
cluded that "for the present the move-
ment which was started in St. Thomas a
couple of years ago has ceased to exist".
As the movement declined in St. Thomas,
however, evidence pointed to the fact
that it was finding a favourable response
in the adjoining parish of Portland. But
here once again the local police moved
swiftly to crush it. It was reported from
Port Antonio, in a report entitled 'Ras
Tafari Cults Excite Portlanders', in the
Daily Gleaner of 30 July 1935, that the
parish had been invaded by Rastafari
doctrines, and, moreover, that "if some-
thing is not done to lessen the tension,
and if possible break down the rising

courage of the misinformed and less
intelligent, there is bound to be extreme
unpleasantness for many of the people
of this town".
The Prophetic Role

The importance of Howell's special
relationship to the early Rastafari move-
ment is one that does deserve specific
comment, since the dual nature of his
leadership qualitatively differed from
other contemporary figures. On the
secular level, Howell officially bore the
designation 'President General' of the
body known as 'The King of Kings'
Mission (See Fig. 4) and in this capacity
he presented himself as the 'ambassador'
in Jamaica of Ras Tafari. Howell's status
as a messianic prophet was described
to the author rather well by Jephet
Wilson, who recalled:
Howell came here in Jamaica and
the government didn't know how he
came in Jamaica, and they can't know,
but he come to gather his people and
he come as Leonard Percival Howell
with his doctrine and taught us. He
showed us the light. Thousands came
up to him.

And, as befitting a prophet, Howell was
attributed with the possession of secret
power. One portent of this power was
recalled by Jephet Wilson:
When they were trying him [Howell]
at Morant Bay, he called all the police
them round, and a big red cock, no-
body know where the cock come
from, come up on the step and started
crowing. The police run him away, but
three times the cock crowed, and he
told the judge that if he found him
guilty to give him the maximum of
the law because when the day come
when I shall sit around my radiant
throne and judge you, I am going to
judge you, so give me the full maxi-

An additional symptom of this status as
a prophet was the ritual devotion that
Howell was accorded in various hymns
his followers sang. They were heard to
sing, for instance, the following 'chorus'
on the night that Howell made the
speech for which he was ultimately

charged with sedition:
Leonard Howell seeks me and he finds
Fills my heart my glee;
That's why I am happy all the day,
For I know what Leonard Howell is
doing for my soul,
That's why I am happy all the day.

In like manner, when the police carried
out a surprise raid in March 1938 against
what remained of the movement's head-
quarters near Golden Grove, St. Thomas,
it was reported that "the members were
singing their song, 'Howell's Heart Is So
Full' ".
In hisroleas prophet, Howell assumed
a ritual personality separate from his
secular identity. This second ritual iden-
tity was expressed through the use of
the separate name, 'G.G. Maragh', which
was the name Howell employed in his
putative role as author of The Promised
Key. In the closing section of the book,
he enjoined his readers: 'As I G.G.
Maragh speak unto you .. 'According
to Jephet Wilson, an early follower,
'everybody know him and call him
Gangunguru Maragh'. He remembers
clearly that "when we say Mr. Howell,
he say no, Gangunguru Maragh, and
everybody would say, 'Yes, Gong' ",
which was the abbreviated form that
was most popularly used. Hence it is
very probable that the initials 'G.G.'
may simply have been abbreviations
which Howell used to give more formal
appearance to his cult name. It appears
that the name itself was actually a com-
bination of three Hindi words, 'gyan'
(meaning wisdom), 'gun' (meaning vir-
tue or talent), and 'guru' (meaning
teacher). The English translation of the
three conjoined words is 'teacher of
famed wisdom', corresponding to the
names that Hindu leaders customarily
adopt to suggest wisdom or enlighten-
ment. Howell's use of the surname
'Maragh', which in Hindi means 'great
king' or 'king of kings', was also con-
sistent with the significance of the first
set of names; in fact, Brahmin holy men
and priests are addressed frequently by
the name 'Maharaj'. In sum, the cult

name 'Gangunguru Maragh' suggests a
quest by Howell after mystical status,
which probably confirmed the mental
picture that he had of himself as well
as the attitude that his followers held of
him as a religious prophet.
But in due course, however, Howell
expanded his ritual identity beyond that
of prophet. According to the recollection
of Henry Dunkley, it was "after Howell
went to Pinnacle (in 1940) that he let
the people know that he is the returned
messiah". Paul Earlington also described
to the author that Howell made his fol-
lowers believe that 'when you go to him,
[it] is God you are talking to'. This was
confirmed by 'Ginger', in his 'Pepper
Pot' column in the Jamaica Times, on
11 January 1941, when he commented
that "the height of delusion has been
reached when men sell their possessions,
leave home and friends and travel miles
to join about 700 others under this
'leader', whom they worship as a god".
'Ginger' also told of "a man who aban-
doned his wife and home to go to this
settlement 'Pinnacle' saying that he had
only heard of his god up to now but was
going to see him!" Furthermore, when
Jephet Wilson was asked by the writer
to explain the meaning of 'Gangunguru
Maragh', he responded: "We hold him
to be the Christ", and as proof, he
pointed to the existence of what he ref-
erred to as 'the nail print' present on
Howell's feet, an observation which he
said confirmed that "God is on the face
of the earth right here in Jamaica now".
He qualifies this, however, by saying
that "Howell don't tell us that he is the
Christ, but is our knowledge reason up,
and to what we have seen what miracle
he has performed".

The word 'Gangunguru' also showed
up in a number of places in the text of
the Rastafari 'cult prayer' that was pub-
lished by the Daily Gleaner on 18 Janu-
ary 1937. Something close to it appears
in the second line of the prayer ('gan-
zasngoo roo'), while the exact phrase
was repeated in the twentieth line
('ganyoongaororoo'), and again in lines


33 and 34 ('gangoon goo roo'). In fact,
the text of the prayer contains a curious
blend of several words that appear to
be derivations from original Hindi, Urdu,
and Bengali words.
However, the prayer's opening phrase,
'To Allah alpha', appears paradoxical
in light of the cultic allegiance to Hindu
religion denoted by Howell's ritual
names. The source of this ambivalence
might well have been the sensationalized
propaganda disseminated by Frederico
Philos in his article on "The Black Peril".
It had recently been republished in the
Jamaica Times from a Canadian journal,
Magazine Digest which contained a con-
densation of the original articles that
had appeared originally in Vienna, in
Neues Wiener Tagblatt on 17 and 24
August 1935. In the article, Philos in-
voked the spectre of blacks "welded
into an ominous secret league", which
he claimed was "united under the leader-
ship of Islam focused in the semi-
independent negro states of Abyssinia,
Egypt and Liberia". In this connection,
it is significant that upon his release
from the mental asylum in late 1938,
Howell was reported to have returned
using the name 'Menena [sic] Pasha',
at which time his headquarters at Hey-
wood Street in Kingston became re-
named 'The Temple'..

When he was confronted by the
Daily Gleaner's reporter with the origin-
al text of the 'cult prayer', Howell was
said to have grown apprehensive and
was said to have "emphatically refused
to translate" the document. The report-
er could only describe it as written in
"the 'unknown' tongue" of the Rasta-
fari cult. The newspaper account went
further: "Our Reporter, who has listen-
ed to this mysterious prayer on various
occasions was unable to give its interpre-
tation, but was able to say that it forms
a pivotal part of all Ras Tafarian cere-
monies, and after each incantation, the
cultists are thrown into a fanatical fren-
zy not far removed from the throes of
pocomania." The present writer was
also informed by Jephet Wilson that the

sect's membership were obliged to recite
the prayer at night before sleeping. "We
are praying to Howell", Wilson states,
"who teach it but we don't understand
it". In fact, Wilson refers to it as "the
African prayer". When, according to
him, Howell "start to tear the language,
we couldn't catch it, as he talk it so
On the face of it, the prayer seems
analogous to the exercise of the 'gifts
of the Spirit' in the Pentecostal sense.
Indeed, 'speaking in tongues' had as-
sumed such wide proportion in Jamaica
by the middle of the 1930s that the
phenomenon itself was actually referred
to by one commentator as "the 'ton-
gue movement' in Jamaica". Another
author, in reporting on the activities
of 'the Pocomaniacs', described a similar
activity in their ritual observances
whereby "prayer is offered up in the
Unknown Tongue (by the Holy Mother)
and is repeated in jargonic style by her
followers". What was different about
the Rastafari cult prayer, however, was
the fact that it was actually committed
to written form. "The original script is
written in pencil", reported the news-
paper account at the time of the
prayer's publication, "each word being
painstakingly underlined". Another
difference was the fact that Howell
employed the prayer's language outside
of ceremonial ritual. Thus, for example,
in April 1937, when Howell and 14 of
his followers were tried following a
violent tussle with opponents at their
Princess Street headquarters in King-
ston, it was reported that "Leonard
Howell wept in court and cried out in
an unknown tongue for the King of
Kings to avenge his cause".
There is no dispute that Howell was
'the man who introduced the chant
[the prayer] to the Rastafari mission
movement', according to William
Powell. "During the time of Mr. Howell",
he adds, "when he was in the meetings
we always hear that chant". It would
appear, however, that many of the
words of the prayer were supplied by
Howell's East Indian recruit in St.

Thomas, remembered today simply as
'Laloo', and described as 'one of Howell
direct bodyguard'. The truth is that the
prayer might not have been the only
thing that 'Laloo' was responsible for
introducing into the ritual of the Rasta-
fari movement via Howell. William
Powell recalled for the author this in-
dividual's important other contribution
to the belief system of Rastafari:

The first understanding that we had of
the "Black Supremacy" was from the
coolie man [Laloo] from St. Thomas,
who was very close to Mr. Howell in
St. Thomas; then he came over to
Kingston and then we started the work
at Princess Street. It was then we got
introduced to the doctrine and then we
saw the "Black Supremacy".

This might well account for the large
number of Hindi, Urdu, and Bengali
words found in the text of the prayer.
In the circumstances, it would appear
that what we are confronted with in
Howell's 'chant' is not so much an in-
stance of glossolalia, meaning lexically
non-communicative utterances, but
something close to xenaglossia, since the
prayer actually comprises a number of
utterances in a foreign language.

The Revivalist Context

While at first glance it might appear
strange that the prophet of Rastafari
religion in Jamaica should have chosen
to adopt an East Indian ritual identity,
the ambiguity disappears when it is cast
within the context of the spirit-mystic
world of Jamaican revivalism. In his
study of the revival cults in Jamaica, Ed-
ward Seaga notes that in the rituals of
Pukkumina (pocomania) the use of
drumming occurs only "where East
Indian spirits are involved". He places
them in the category called 'ground'
spirits, the other two constelicions
being known as 'heavenly' spirits and
'earthbound' spirits. But Seaga also in-
forms us that among revivalists the
source of their magical beliefs (termed
Science) is to be found in "the num-
erous books published by the de Laur-
ence Company of Chicago, U.S.A."

Fig. 7: "A Cultist's inter-
pretation of a dream of
what houses in future Aby-
ssinia will look like" (Daily
Gleaner, 18 January 1937,
p. 28). Note the hand-
written material at the foot
of the lower diagram on
which the jargon of the
Rastafari cult prayer also
appears. Cf. Vittorio Lan-
ternari, "Dreams as Charis-
matic Significants: Their
Bearing on the Rise of New
Religious Movements, "
pp. 221-35, in Thomas R.
Williams, ed., Psychological
Anthropology (The Hague:
Mouton, 1975).


and he tells us that the most popular of
such works is the Great Book of Magical
Arts, Hindu Magic and Indian Occultism.
In the polytheistic universe of Jamaican
folk religion, therefore, East Indian
spirits mix with Hindu occultism to
produce a genuinely mystical appeal, a
finding that is confirmed by Leonard
Barrett in his study of "witchcraft and
psychic phenomena in Jamaica". In a
recorded interview with one whom he
describes as 'a genuine obeahman',
Barrett was told about his communi-
cation with 'the Great Indian mystic
Tagore', who was also described by the
informant as being 'good, good as gold'.
On the basis of such an appeal, there-
fore, it comes as no surprise that Howell
should choose to invest his spiritual
personality within the cosmology of
Hindu mysticism.
To some extent, it was belief in the
power of magic that sustained the faith
of the Rastafari followers of Howell
against the reality of Ethiopia's defeat
in 1936. This was well illustrated in
the details that Randolph Williams gave
in a published report in January 1939
on the return of Howell. He discovered
that both Howell and his followers re-
jected the notion that "Abyssinia is no
longer an independent state, but a part
of the Italian Empire, [and] Rastafari is
for all practical purposes no longer
Emperor of Ethiopia but an ex-monarch
in exile". Instead, Williams found that
exactly the opposite view obtained:

Ras Tafarites of Jamaica, however, say
no to these facts. They say that in
truth the King of -Kings has a great
Navy hidden in the interior of Abyssinia
on a lake, a Navy that anytime it sails
out will make the navies of England,
Italy, Germany, America and Japan
look like poor little undersized boats;
that there are armanent factories in the
uplands of Abyssinia in huge caves
turning out tons of ammunitions daily;
that there are airplanes and submarines
galore at the disposal of the Rases of
Ethiopia. They also declare that such
forces, when the time is ripe, will be
augmented by sinister influences; that
the Ethiopians slain in battle will rise
up and become an invisible army that

will march upon the foe when com-
manded by Ras Tafari. They' say that
the King of Kings has a stronger army,
consisting of fierce man-eating beasts -
tigers, leopards, lions, waiting to
bound out of hiding at dead of night,
raid Italian camps and feed on the in-
vaders as soon as the word comes from
the Emperor; snakes, caterpillars, scor-
pions and all sorts of poisonous reptiles
and insects are said to have been con-
scripted and regimented for war service
so that they may be ready when Ethio-
pia calls.

It thus remains important to recognize
the depth to which popular belief in the
power of the occult played a formative
role in the early stages of Rastafari con-
sciousness. But this ought not to be sur-
prising, since in its early stage it possess-
ed close and organic links with the belief
and ritual systems of Jamaican folk reli-
In fact, even the nomenclature of re-
vivalism was present in the adoption by
Howell of the name 'King of Kings
Mission'. The term 'mission' was al-
ways used interchangeably with 'bands'
as the designation for revivalist-poco-
mania-Pentecostal sects in Jamaica. Nor
was the potential for articulation be-
tween Rastafari eschatology and poco-
mania-revivalism lost on observers at the
time. For example, in a letter published
in the Daily Gleaner, on 8 October
1934, E.B. Grant disclaimed against the
"social evils" that he argued were asso-
ciated with "those forms of religion in
Jamaica known as Pocorhania, Myalism
and the religion of the 'Ras Tafarians' -
the last named being a newcomer to the
field". In a similar vein, a British official
in the Colonial Office in London wrote
a minute in the file dealing with Howell's
Ethiopian Salvation Society to the effect
that "the society has probably deve-
loped doctrines combining sedition with
pocomania". This was the same view
expressed by E.B. Grant in his letter,
which referred to "the new-fangled
religion of the 'Ras Tafarians' ", as
being "a religion reeking with blas-
phemy and sedition".

The same process of articulation
between Rastafari and other forms of
folk religious expression was observable
in the case of Robert Hinds, Howell's
lieutenant in St. Thomas, who, prior
to his espousal of Rastafari doctrine,
had been a disciple of Alexander Bed-
ward, the legendary revivalist-healer-pro-
phet of August Town between 1895
and 1921. Hinds was present during
Bedward's final march from August
Town in the spring of 1921, when the
police halted the marchers on the Hope
Road and arrested them thus preventing
Bedward from reaching the harbour
where he planned a final 'manifest-
ation'. P.A. Thompson, who attended
what he says was Howell's first meeting
at 'Redemption Ground' in Kingston,
recalls that Howell "made contact with
many of the old time Bedwardites,
because many of them were on his
platform that evening". He also observes
that "some of his first time followers
were just old time Bedwardites".
Finally, the possibility of religious
convergence existed in the districts of
eastern St. Thomas where Rastafari
religion found ready converts, since
these were the same areas where the
Kumina cult existed among "the des-
cendants of nineteenth-century Central
African immigrants", and who also
spoke and sang in an 'African' language
during the course of their religious
rituals. It was thus entirely likely that
some degree of overlap existed between
the adherents of the various Kumina
bands in these areas and the early
converts of Rastafari millenarianism; at
the very least, there would have been
mutual awareness of co-existence.
In conclusion, what I believe that
data presented here in this paper point
very clearly to is the need to approach
the study of the phenomenon of Rasta-
fari awakening as an integral aspect of
the larger, matrix of black religious
nationalism, folk religious revivalism,
and Jamaican peasant resistance to the
plantation economy and state. The evi-
dence should also indicate that there is
an urgent need to reintegrate the study

of Rastafarianism into the dynamic
flow of popular social movements in a
manner that is sensitive to both the
complex aspects of continuity and dis-
continuity in the overall historical pro-
cess. This will only be possible, however,
on the condition that we remain con-
scious of the underlying formation of
popular consciousness under conditions
of oppression, rather than with the tra-
ditional preoccupation with the process
of 'acculturation', which is, in reality, an
external concern and one that seriously
inhibits understanding. When its origins
are thus seen from within their evolu-
tionary process, both the content and
context of the early Rastafari pheno-
menon take on a rather different per-
spective from the reductionist inter-
pretation, since, first and last, they
produce their own criteria of investi-
As for this generation of the 20th
Century, you have no knowledge
how worlds are built.

And upon what trigger Kingdoms
are set.

Fitz Balintine Pettersburgh,
Royal Parchment Scroll of Black
Supremacy, p.l.

"The Cult Prayer"
To Allah alpha to matta edoo koo
to ganzasngoo roo
Manage anne jabo novy moosoo
hel at ataga gerier
Anne nunia amil nunia gandec annxe
etoza gandec annxe nokeye
Anne etobeph anne enophele anne
yaran anne mantour
Ceraz anne veke sum you go amme
pata pata amme pata pata
Loohoo neeyou an cierez aquk chow
are bhoo hec hew
Mee jng anne pata pate muchra
hoo roo wee hezoo jungle helot pata

Pata nee jng nee coo doo be hoo
moowo nee coodoabo
Hezoo mee macheo k juge helah
nee pata pata a cobanabium
Anne pata pata helat anoombe mee
aquychow ganyoongaororoo

Dilitil novgm aosoo novyke yasancheoog
mantaan coervz
Nunis estoge anne dro u b madam
annequdu gatoopee back
Liked go cosomina ki acencen cuso
lozoo k fnoo k coloramez
Loohoo gabe neeallah jay coso last
lanto k cooclooba e wah
Yavan ciewoog loo oke k janier so
shelper fuoon iedg nee k lookoo
Yas an ccerez can cant life without
k herbo lookoo gala for medicine
Ya alia for wee pata pata mee gangoon
goo roo wice aquzchow
Etza k coochoobo k cosmina anne
nokas moosoo noveve akaka
E wal aquzchow yes an cieval goloo
k jenie but nee gaz
Nee matt edookoo k muchew anne
heke he lah k lo
And co k segui choro hench yar
an cook lahenie geanene
Halin cebon minz coorooding yan
go annedocoos
Am sawsback anne watie anne
jurah anne apaz
To Allah.
(From the "Cult Leader's Story", Daily
Gleaner, Monday 18 January 1937, p. 28.)
"A Strange Correspondence"
N.B.: This was the title given by Marcus
Garvey to the publication in the Black Man
Vol. 2, No. 7, August 1937, p.20 of an ex-
change of letters with Evangelist Edith John-
son in Costa Rica. In rejecting her com-
mission, Garvey informed her "I am not able
to see visions other than those based upon
the practical side of life". Her letter to Garvey
shows evidence of the dispersal beyond
Jamaica of the millenarian resort to prophecy
to establish the biblical basis of the enthron-
ing of Emperor Haile Sellassie of Ethiopia.
Her use of the symbology of the 'Bride' can
be traced to Revelation 21:2 and 22:7, in
which the bride features as both the New
Jerusalem and the daughter of Zion, imply-
ing that God the Redeemer finally resides in
concrete form among men. The use of the
title 'Queen Esther' also denotes the biblical
Queen Esther pleading for her people [Esther

More recently the phrase 'black supremacy'
supplies the title for Prince Emmanuel's doc-
trinal statement regarding his belief in the
"Black Christ Salvation".

Box 36,
Port Limon,
Costa Rica, C.A.
Dear Mr. Garvey,
You are appointed by the King of
Kings to accomplish the work which you have
begun, under the rules of the King of Heaven,
and whatever, you are commanded to do,
please do it, without fail. This is God's time,
and we must obey his word, called and chosen
the Bride of Christ, of which you will know
later. Please publish this message enclosed in
whatever language you can, and do not forget
to send a copy to the newspapers at Jerusalem.
If you fail, another will take your place.
I shall be glad to have an answer from you.

Yours truly,
Sgd. Evangelist Edith Johnson.
(Title from Christ Queen Esther).
(15 July, 1937)

In the name of the King of Kings, and
Lord of Lords, I am commanded to notify
all the people of earth that the Lord Jesus
Christ has now ascended to the throne of
glory, and to him is given dominion, and glory,
and a Kingdom that all people, nations and
languages should serve him. His dominion is
an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass
away, and his Kingdom shall not be destroy-
ed. (Prophecy by Dan. 7.14.). All represent-
atives of the gospel of Christ are now called
to the Battle of Armageddon to show if your
works are in accordance with the word of
God. The reign of Christ has begun, and
every nation must be under their vine and fig
tree. There are two nations that are now scat-
tered over the earth, and they must return
back to their own land. Africa for the Africans,
Palestine for the Jews. This is the word of
God. Let brotherly love continue. I am the
Bride of Christ, and I am now sitting with
him on his throne. (Rev. 3.21, Rev. 26-27),
and I have the Everlasting Gospel to preach to
you nations. Now please consider your ways,
and submit yourselves to the mighty God of
Israel. This message will be sent to every
nation under heaven. In the name of His
Majesty the Lord Jesus Christ, by the hand of
his Bride, Queen of the realm. A daughter of
Israel and Ethiopia. (Prophecy). And thou, O
tower of the flock, the stronghold of the
daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come,
even the first dominion the Kingdom shall
come to the daughter of Jerusalem. (Micah
Chapter 4, Verse 8):
The Everlasting Gospel, from the Queen
Esther (Title).

Osmond Watson's Masquerades

By Gloria Escoffery


Few persons in Jamaica, I think, look with a really search-
ing eye at the works that artists are at so much pains to
produce, or realise that in the case of the really serious
artist there is a single thread of personality development or
search for meaning behind what sometimes seems like a
variety of adventures without any coherence. I deem it a real
privilege to have experienced a segment of Osmond Watson's
oeuvre in a single exhibition (the masquerade series shown at
the National Gallery) so that now when I see his Secret of
the Arawaks for instance (National Festival 1981), it takes
on greater meaning for me in terms of the earlier series. May
these tentative and inadequate notes tempt the indolent
viewer to look with deep concentration and find his own
key to the works not only of Watson but of whichever
artists most strike a chord of interest and sympathy in his
own peregrination round the galleries.
It may be a painless way of killing time to drift through
an exhibition with one's eye half on one's watch provided
the artist is one of these dilettantes who cons the public with
his inflated effusions denoting anguish or ecstacy; with
someone of the calibre of Osmond Watson the progress from

one work to another, and back again many times, takes real
stamina, but proves to be bracing rather than enervating. We
come away reassured that, even in this scientific age, tech-
nology has given us no benefits that can substitute for, or
outrank, the humanistic achievements of art.
Osmond Watson's statement in the Masquerade series is
enigmatic, challenging, anything but pusillanimous. Any
serious viewer will be struck by the coherence of vision, in
spite of the byplay of excursions into cubism, vorticism, con-
structivism, etc. Having once taken up the theme and discover-
ed its potentiality for him, he appears to wrestle with it like
Jacob wrestling with his angel, never giving it up till he arrives
at some sort of resolution which may yet be temporary, who
knows! The gulf between the almost naturalistic Bachanal of
1968 with its complicated response to social ritual and the
extremely simple statements evident in the small, personal
canvases of 1980, is indeed a great one. The question I set
out to answer for my own satisfaction was why, after so
many exploratory excursions in which technique and meaning
are surely closely fused, by 1980 he himself brought the
series to a halt in the particular way he did, evidently satis-

iBachanal 1968. Oil on Canvas. 29" x 35". Collection: Myers Fletcher and Gordon,
Manton and Hart.

Masquerade iubU TJonncanoei. Ui on Lanvas. 4Y4-4
x 32%". Collection: National Gallery.

The Masqueraders 1i/b. U11 on Lanvas. DbU x bYU2 Lollectlon: ur. and Mrs.
Howard Johnson.

Secret of the Arawaks
1977. Oil on Canvas.
40" x 40". Collection:
National Gallery.

Spirit of Christmas
1976. Oil on Canvas.
44% x 17%". Coll-
ection: Mrs. Velma

fied that it was in some way psychologically complete.
To me the small Mask and Artist, (1980) is indeed the cul-
mination of a definite line of development. Why the self
portrait? As an artist, Osmond Watson is beyond the petty
egoism of 'self expression' and though he has often under-
taken the discipline of self portraits, both large and small, we
must ask ourselves by what process this other line of develop-
ment came to be grafted on to the social theme of Masquerade.
It seems to me that we must seek the answer in terms of a
philosophical enquiry into the role of the artist, and parti-
cularly the artist ego, in relation to society. Each canvas in
some way explores the masks and disguises assumed by the
artist, master maker of masks and disguises. With this last
painting he says to us, "Here I am, without disguise, plain
Osmond Watson; take me or leave me. The inscrutable mask
of my personal countenance is of course as much a mask as
the horsehead alter ego, but at least there is a self behind it
that is my own, and known to me better than it will ever be
known by you." Thus the private being in a world of masks
in which, as T.S. Eliot put it,
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that we meet.

Some readers of this article will instantly be put off by
my citing the words of that disgracefully (?) 'Eurocentric'
American poet, T.S. Eliot, who, as long ago as 1917 startled
the English-speaking world with his diagnosis of the decadence
of Western civilisation. Yet irony, by 1981 the pervasive
mode of consciousness in all but the most primitive communi-
ties (witness the work of our own West Indian poet Derek
Walcott) is no stranger to us. This multiple vision which
operates like a fifth column within divergent cultures and
cuts down whatever system of values the ingenious mind
of man proposes, still permits the individual to persist in build-
ing his little defences against exposure. We go through life
little suspecting how much we expose of our most private
being each time we move or speak or even exchange glances
with our fellow men. Furthermore, we employ our artists to
build for us a system of social defences using whatever twigs
of 'heritage' we can muster in order to convince ourselves of
ethnic homogeneity. Thus the carnival of life in which
Walcott's Hector in the poem "Mass Man" has 'entered a lion'.

Osmond Watson, painter, shows usthe carnival of Johncanu,
in which every man, Jamaican style, has entered a horsehead.
This may solace the simple Hectors of our culture, but it
seems to me that the very process of going behind the ration-
ale of the ritual inevitably produces in the artist an aware-
ness that no such facile escape from the truth of one's being
is possible. Out of irony comes a growth in self-knowledge
till there is nothing left but the last defences of the integral
self, engaged in dialogue with a society made up of so many
not entirely dissimilar, more or less integrated selves.
It would be a mistake to view Osmond Watson's works
with the eye of a chauvinist and castigate him when he ap-
pears to be working his way thorough the styles which -
some critics may say Europe long ago tried on for size. Nor
can we pin him down to images with the facile connotation
of Jamaican 'roots culture'. Anything but provincial in the
range of his artistic inspiration, Watson is a mainstream crea-
tive synthesizer and must be viewed as such; it is by no
means irrelevant to take stock of possible sources of reference
from the four corners of the known cultural globe. The
world, in this age in which moon walking has become common-

Mask and Dancer 1978. Oil on Canvas. 40" x 36". PrivateCollection.

place, is indeed a small place, and it is time thatwe Jamaicans
stopped being so parochial and equip ourselves to make the
best possible use of this ragbag of cultures which we inherit
by reason of our membership in the common family of man.
In Watson's works I catch glimpses of diverse possible sources
of inspiration, probably unconscious, which range from Goya's
Burial of the Sardine, through Picasso's Guernica, to our
familiar masked Johncanu (who may himself have remote
ancestors in satyr figures of primeval wild men, come down
to us by way of 'Jack in the Green', or for that matter, have
roots in the masked figures of African religions).
The usual tendency of artists is to start from a basis of
acquisitive naturalism, in which everything seen, touched or
otherwise experienced provides the matrix for later develop-
ment. If we start from Watson's 1968 Bachanal in which the
theme of a saturnalia provides the key, we can, I believe, dis-
cover some lurching progress towards the ultimate simpli-
fications of 1980. The stylistic experiments of the inter-
vening years indicate both a process of involvement with
technique and a progressive trial and rejection of modes of
thought each of course relevant as a stage of psychic deve-
lopment. How far in spirit the geometric improvisations of
the Masqueraders of 1976seem from the two semi-naturalistic
Mask and Dancer compositions of 1978 and the Masquerade
of the same year. It seems that the artist arrived at some sort
of watershed in which he discarded the old stylistic solutions
and ventured out to forge an original iconography which in
turn led to a new phase of interest in hieroglyphics. And so
on to the utter simplicity of the final small canvases.
Perhaps after all it would be best to start at the end and
work back. Mask and Artist, which I have described as rep-
resenting a sort of "I have come through" declaration of self-
discovery, is a deceptively simple work. Here, against a flat
background, Watson has achieved a satisfying balance, crea-

Spirit of Festival
1980. Oil on Canvas.
11%" x 5'". Private

Mask and Artist 1980. Oil on Canvas. 23%"
x 14%". Private Collection.

ting an electrifying tension between the two rival personae,
one flat, the other ovid. The horsehead mask, a rectangle
only slightly concave along its centre line, animates the upper
and middle field of the picture plane. Oddly enough, the tilt
of this form does not destabilize but rather confirms the
steady verticality of the human head which, with its stringy
neck and hint of modestly sloping shoulder line, almost slides
off the right hand bottom quarter of the canvas and never-
theless maintains what can only be defined in moral terms as
an emotional front line assurance. Although the full face
artist stares out as if deliberately ignoring the alter ego of his
glaring at us from behind, we feel that he knows him to be
there, but held in check as his servant and artifact. In a
sense they inhabit the same realm of reality/unreality. The
artist has a look of bland self-awareness, as if warning us that
we ignore those fire fringed eyes and real teeth at our peril.
The frivolous tassel, parody of both the horse's fiery mane
and the man's well groomed beard, informs us that the horse
is a mere piece of theatre, one capable however, of giving us
information that is fundamentally significant.
I am on what I feel to be less sure ground when I speculate
about the meaning of the large Masquerade of 1978. What I
suspect here is the record of some ritual purging of the domi-
nant horse image. Huge and central but deprived of flesh and
bone vitality, it seems to be flayed, abstracted into an object
of derision or sacrifice. Certainly there is far more life in the
triumphant tatterdemalion figure of the horsehead dancer on
the left, who, real arms uplifted, proclaims the real man
beneath the costume. The large Mephistophelian figure on
the right, whip in hand and raised pitchfork in the other,
definitely belongs within Watson's family of costumed
dancers; here he wears red tights to indicate his connection
with the underworld, but a horned head dress and elegant
tail do not a genuine Satan make.

The strong, earthbound feet of Watson's 'real' figures
draw attention to themselves. This is true of the red-garbed
woman (female persona of the Devil?) who appears in the
small canvas, Spirit of Festival. Here the identity of the
woman or succubus is so strong that her male partner
is whirled off his feet though his strong hand realistically
clutches her back. Her strong bare feet contrast with his
which, in this dervish dance, are reduced to the unreality of
so many tin triangles. This reminds me of the treatment of
feet in the monumental Masqueraders in which Africa seems
completely to have usurped the place of Europe in the artist's
imagination. Here he gives us a world of primitive possession
and power. Instead of gaiety and movement we are faced
with three hieratic frontally depicted shaman figures. The
two outer figures wear formidable visors of mesh wire sug-
gested perhaps by the gauze masks traditionally worn by our
Johncanu descendants of the Set Girls. Even more terrifying
than these (and I am sure that many Jamaicans beside myself
have as children run screaming from the scene because of
these imperturbable white masks so much more terrifying
than horsehead) is the central figure with his/her faceless
face; the effect is heightened by the dainty diamond of a
handkerchief which succeeds in not quite hiding the skull
After this the sequence of balletic performances in which
the masked figures are obviously entertainers is decidedly a
relief. Many Rivers to Cross and Aspirations are no more
than a record of theatrical events, objectively represented. In
spite of the beauty of the dancers the effect of distancing re-
duces the impact and one feels that the elements of naturalism
and symbolism are imperfectly fused. The balletic figures
appear to be seeking escape into a more comfortable 'artificial'
world of choreographed movement in which such horrible
psychic realities are secondary to techniques and craft.
My earlier point about the varied sources of Osmond
Watson's works may be illustrated by the Spirit of Christmas
(1976), in which the Magi figure in the top part of the com-
position surely recalls Yeat's Magi with their 'stiff, painted
clothes'. Here we have a similar combination of the grave
and gay a suggestion of the ambivalence with which Yeats,
in" The Second Coming", mused on the birth of Christ:
but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.
Europe has no monopoly on the huge metaphysical ques-
tions that men throughout the ages have formulated, in-
voking ritual in order to make some sort of sense of human
life. Without going into the echoes of African cosmogony or
cosmology, with which I am unfamiliar, I can recognize that
Watson's handling of this theme of masquerade will have a
deep significance to some viewers in terms of a search for
roots in African culture. Those skulls, though, who incident-
ally people the Festival Secret of the Arawaks. How can one
take them in without some recognition of a pre-Columbian
America the same tradition which produced the culture of
And so the effort to understand Osmond Watson's works
has a beginning but no end. I am sure it is true to conclude
that the artist himself works from the prompting of Jungian
images which relate to no single culture but have their roots
in the deepest psychic experiences of the human race.

Laura -acey, And Deep

lue. 1981. Grass stalks, satin wood and suede. 23%" x 31" x 4". Collection: The


National Gallery of Jamaica

Colour Transparencies Andreas Oberli

Tina Matkovic. Torch Lily (Diptych). 1982. Oil on linen. L.P. Torch Lily Father. 50" x 30". Collection: The Artist.
R.P. Torch Lily. 41" x 51". Collection: Mrs. Gloria Palomino.



't- .t

MiltOn ueorge,
Guy Mclntosh.

r A
< ,. .-..A .,L

I r '-

1 i *


David Boxer, Nervfeld 2 The Departure. 1982. Mixed media on canvas. 40" x 60". Collection: Royal Bank Jamaica

Dennis Scott
New Poems


Sing a sang a dunny:
belly full a win,
scrubbin all de mawnin,
ole, an thin.
"Now de day is ova..."
trying nat to cry -
blackbird in de gyaden singin,
hangin out to dry.

Mister in de counting house
counting up de money,
Missis in de dinin room
eatin off de honey.
Gatta in de gyaden
prayin nat to dead,
waiting fe de blackbird
walking through she head...

Frostsong: for joy

That heat you make is a hammer on my days.
They receive you as seeds do, planted
to explode. Their fuses release
everything, suddenly
a field of birds' wings, open:
the green ash of that fling into air
simples the quiet stone.
But some places the sun never hits.
My eye drains there.
That soft water becomes ice.
The stabbed rock wrinkles open.
On dry days its crack sounds like leaves
where a thief passed.
I will never know what he has taken.
On those slabbed faces
nothing roots
no one climbs
no hand stays.
Sometimes I hide there. Mouth wide. Cold. Wanting

A country Theseus

It lumbers from a hill, whistling
across the sour afternoon. She wanders
through the threaded station, holding in her eye
that train, and his travel bag.
She has brought him oranges to take from the country,
wild as the colour of her skirt, washed.
It's time.
Wave to him quick, one hand. Before away from
that clew of sunlight caught at the golden fruit
he turns his clear face
to the city.

Ah, the quiet fields. The cows of his sleep.

His eye narrows around the station now
she's waving
and small
the way back wound in
to the bull's tight wheel. He smiles

: the old poets were liars.
It is the labyrinth that he desires.

Letters to my son: no. 8

/ am trying to live with the ease of those men,
foot-firm on the shelved sand.
They knit thick hands in the net. They fish silently.
The sea falls back through its weave
heavy as sleep,
or they couldn't work that weight, that green
muscle, could not bend
the clear-eyed fish from its furl, into air.

So I leave spaces in my life
like the hungry silences of fishermen.
I tie words into rough threads
and drag with them
not what falls through, what leaves salt on the face,
but those quick images
caught at my mind, leaping

among the day's drift
the heart's hurl
the blood's breaking
the web-twist of
this world's wet dazzle

A biography

Exercising the horses

When overhead the slate sky burns
white, breaks
like a dreamer's face under
the sun's hammer;
when tree-stems are stone and opal, when
the moon dims, rough and rust,

I wake to feed them.
Make them shoes of bone.
They eat salt from my skin.
I make them reins, braided
from sinew.

When I sleep
they rest, watching like fires
till the sky cracks open.

Then I wake
into their eyes, beginning. Then it's time
to follow them across the fields of sunlight,
hurling behind those high, arched, silent
journeys into dark.

The first journey was to find her. Freed her -
she had twisted the sunlight round feather and face,
mewled anger at the Tree,
astonished him with teeth.
He bled a long time after.

The second recovered every petal
storm had struck off into city, sky, season.
Found one in thehand of a man dying,
could hardly take it; another pressed thin
by the sea's weight brought that up with coral
stamped on its silk. One
had never touched earth, perhaps, turning
like a candle in each wind, till he ate it.

Third time, spat. Rooted himself in the wet place
under its growing shadow
closed eye, mouth, shut up his hearing
drew the skin tight on his bones
stopped his breath
and became still.

Hummed over his head
sipping from that flower
the bright bird.
His, finally.


a bird climbs
through the arc of your calm voice
it is my hunger
see me
its salt cry
sings like wind on a hammered wing
catch me
beats the air thinner than shadow
across the door
I'm here
down your eye
enters the silken marrow of your bone
touch me
turns in the blood over
and over
is here
feed me
doesn't sleep
is here
the pale hum of your hands
barely touching

Collector's item

This document is out of place
on the calm shelf of my middle-aging life.
I thought I had withdrawn your face
from circulation.
Yet, the title's catalogued:
sometimes a circuit closes.
That mouse, memory, tooths on a nerve,
hooks to my spine, scans,
and its feet scratch out again
your soiling Images, my recollected rage.
Line after line the curator prints out my pain.
Page after page.
There is no use reflecting on your shame.
As a child cries out, shocked,
I shake it from my back,
disconnecting. Till the next time
that I hear your name.


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No. 42 ......... Volume 12 (1978-79)
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v,_A Institute of Jamaica
Jamaica's 21st Anniversary of Independence

A team of Jamaica's most distin-
guished scholars will trace our
history and culture from the pre-
Columbian period.
Volume I to appear in 1983.
Fully Illustrated.

A Biography by Anthony Johnson
The fascinating storyof the brilliant
lawyer, politician and patriot set
against the background ofa society
in the closing years of the colonial
era. (Illustrated).

Edited By D.B. Stewart

Philip Henry Gosse, the celebrated
English naturalist, spent 18 months
in Jamaica (1844-5) and left us a
legacy of acute observations on
our natural heritage, in his A
Naturalists Sojurn in Jamaica
(1851), The Birds of Jamaica
(1847) and Illustrations to The
Birds of Jamaica (1849).
All these are now extremely rare
editions. .n our new edition, Dr.
Stewart combines the best and
most relevant of Gosse's work on
Jamaica with emphasis on Orni-
thology. Includes full colour illus-
trations from The Birds of Jamaica
POSTCARDS with some of the
Gosse bird illustrations also avail-


Colourful illustrations of Jamaica's
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you've always wanted to cook but
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The Emergence of tl

Christian Black

The Making of

a Stereotype

By Horace Russell

slavery in the British Caribbean has a characteristic all
its own. Nowhere, perhaps, is this portrayed more
vividly than in the response of the Dissenters to the
institution of slavery.
During the first half of the 19th century, missions in the
region took on a new aspect. In Jamaica between 1814 and
1828 a new mood prevailed. First, the pressures exerted from
the London government and the missionary headquarters
demanded of the missionaries in the field certain new relation-
ships at the local level. As a consequence, new alignments be-
gan to emerge which later were to form the basis of an inter-
national relevance for the work and a universal ideology.
Second, the slaves themselves were not immune to these
happenings and responded in their own way along the restrict-
ed channels available, contributing to relevance, alignment
and universal ideology.
It was thus that both missionary and slave were to create
between them an image or stereotype for the British public
who had to be convinced that emancipation was necessary.
The Christian Black, as this stereotype might be called, was
in the beginning nothing more than a substitute for Quashie,
the planters' stereotype. But in due course the Christian
Black became more than a substitute. He became, for the
European, a symbol of the true West Indian, and in time a
model for the future understanding of and development of
Africa and the Africans.
Between 1823 and 1832 the West Indian colonies were
concerned with two things. In the first place, they were
anxious to retain their preference in the British sugar market.
Secondly, they wanted to preserve the status quo in order to
exploit that market, in what some perceived to be the last
of the halcyon days.
Dr. Eric Williams in Capitalism andSlavery [1944] sum-
marized the issues well. He observed that the year 1823 it-
self, was pivotal in any understanding of the fortunes of the
West Indies at that time.
It was the year in which the British government had
made it clear to colonial interests that they had now been
given time to set their house in order. Itwas the year in which

Sligoville, first free village of the West Indies, with Mission premises
(from J.M. Phillippo,Jamaica Its Past and Present State, 1843).

certain embarrassing questions had been asked in the House
of Commons, the British parliament, with regard to the un-
timely death of the Rev. John Smith, a Congregational pastor
in Guyana. The reports were that he had been maltreated in
the Demerara jail because he had dared to oppose slavery and
speak up for his black deacon, who had been arrested. The
embarrassment lay not so much in parliament as in the con-
stituencies, since the abolitionists were making great use
of the incident at the street corners of London and in the pul-
pits of the nation.
It was also the year in which for the first time a serious
bid was made to equalize the duties between West India and
East India sugar in order to make them competitive.
Within the Caribbean itself the years 1823 4 were also
of great moment for the churches. In Barbados the governor
opposed the building of churches on the grounds that to
build them was to encourage the assembly of blacks and turn
their minds to plots and insurrection [C.O. 28/92 4 March
1823]. A similar view was expressed by the press in Spanish
Town, Jamaica, where in reporting on the behaviour of a
newly arrived Baptist missionary, James Mursell Phillippo, an
overt link was made between his arrival and the behaviour
and activities of the abolitionists in Britain. Indeed, he was
thought to be a spy on their behalf seeking news about 'the
Smith incident' in Demerara.
It was not long, therefore, before the local administra-
tions in the West Indies enacted severe laws aimed at church-
es which favoured the cause of the slaves. These were laws
which for the most part tended to create some alarm in
London, prompting the Jamaican agent at one stage to assure
Lord Bathurst that these "acts of the authorities were com-
mitted under peculiar circumstances of aggravated feelings,
directed against an influence which was considered as highly
prejudicial and dangerous to the interests of the island" [C.
0. 137/165 3 May 1824].
This nervous reaction on the part of the plantocracy was
due in part to a recognition that 'massa day was done' or at
least on the wane. While in 1771, in a play called The West
Indian, the planter had been portrayed as a man of immense

~-1 -,



~B~g~ ~Wf~PP~
$ P-
~iif 71: f / ~I;
;;T C
'' n
- ;"

The Voyage of the Sable Venus, from Angola to the West Indies. (Bryan Edwards, History of the West Indies, 4th. ed., II, 32).

,.. ,.


wealth, he was now no longer so. In that play one of the
characters remarked (of the West Indian) "He's very rich and
that is sufficient. They say he has rum and sugar enough be-
longing to him, to make all the water in the Thames into
punch" [Augieretal. 1960]. Now in 1820 real life, the Society
of Merchants had decreed that West Indian plantations were
no longer good collateral [Addresses and Memorials 1828].

If the financial situation tended to insecurity, public
opinion itself was beginning to be openly hostile to the West
Indian planter.

Anti-Slavery Activities

In Parliament on 4 March 1823, William Wilberforce, the
celebrated parliamentarian, introduced a petition from the
Quakers requesting the complete abolition of slavery on
humanitarian grounds. The petition was lost [Parliamentary
Papers Vol. VIII (New Series)]. Later that month, however,
a similar petition was presented from Southwark which, al-
though vigorously contested by Bright, the brilliant orator,
the House did not completely reject. It was now left for
Thomas Fowell Buxton, the parliamentary heir of Wilber-
force to introduce a Bill in May of the same year, which at-
tacked the philosophical and constitutional bases of slavery.
It secured the amazing reaction from the West Indian lobby,
which was that Parliament should leave slavery alone, and
press on with amelioration a sort of gradualism to which
they had no objections.
It was at this time that a third force appeared; the East
India sugar interests with whom, it appears, the abolitionists
made common cause. In 1823, a lively pamphlet war occurred
between Joseph Marryat, a supporter of the West Indian in-
terest and William Whitmore, who wished equalization of
duties [See Marryat 1823; Whitmore 1824] As was to be ex-
pected, the question of slavery and its economic worth was
dragged into the argument. This discussion made it quite
clear that the West Indian planter was fighting on at least
three fronts.
The planter protected himself in two ways: (a) he cre-
ated a series of advantageous connections in Parliament and
(b) he deliberately engaged in a series of excellent propagan-
da moves. The first protective device need not detain us here,
it is the second with which we are more concerned.
On 1 June 1823, Lord Brougham initiated a full debate
on the 'John Smith Affair' in Demerara and insisted on going
into its gory details. This performance in Parliament, with
the help of the Missionary Press, caught the public imagination.
Soon the planters found themselves on the defensive and
they fell back upon propaganda. They played upon the
national fear of revolution and spread abroad the inherited
stereotype of the African.
Despite the cries for emancipation, planter, parliament-
arian and churchman were united in one fear: the fear of in-
surrection. For the planters, the truth of Corbett's words
stand that "Many see symptoms of a country approaching to
its ruin, but they fancy it may last their Time, and they may
sell out and get home first and what comes afterward they
care not" [Essays Concerning Slavery]. But they, at least for
the moment, cared deeply about economic ruin and their
own lives. The Abolitionists for their part feared upheavals in
the society since these could provoke repressive measures by
colonial governments. Also, the slave reaction could prove
them wrong about the 'nature and quality' of African person-
ality, the stereotype they had to use to convince the British

electorate. The churchmen for their part were apprehensive
lest popular support should be alienated and their program-
me of missions endangered.
It must always be remembered that despite all the writ-
ing and talk about revolution, no one wanted a revolution
from below. The harsh fact was that the imminence of insur-
rection or revolution dictated the pace of emancipation. And
side by side with this for abolitionist and for churchman, the
question presented itself in their more altruistic and serious
moments: whether the romantic symbol of the African
which they had come to accept and baptise with Christian
meaning could in fact be realized and displace the commonly
publicized stereotype of the planter.
This was a severe test for both groups because they de-
sired more than a revolution. They desired a radical reform-
ation and a new society to replace slavery. Slavery was for
them not merely a system of cultivating the soil and man-
aging plantations but a social system and a way of life, which
they wished to replace. It was an attempt to create a new

The Stereotype (Planters)
Horace Orlando Patterson in his exhaustive study The
Sociology of Slavery [1969] has left us in his debt by de-
scribing for us a stereotype of the black man commonly
accepted by the plantocracy in the Caribbean. Patterson
in a well-documented passage isolates the following: (a)
evasiveness, i.e. taken in its widest context to include double
talk, lying, deceit and deliberate annoyance (b) laziness,
taken to mean deliberate sloth and malingering (c) caprice
(d) childishness or childlikeness and (e) lack of judgement.
Patterson observed that 'Quashie', as this stereotype was
called, did in fact exist, "as a stereotyped conception held by
the whites of their slaves; secondly, as a response on the part
of the slave to this stereotype; and thirdly, as a psychological
function of the real life situation of the slave". This is neither
the" time nor the place to examine the Patterson thesis with
respect to the origins of Quashie, except to observe that the
Patterson stereotype possesses an obvious masculine quality.
What the missionaries and their allies did, it would appear,
was use the African woman much more in the development
of their new stereotype, and it was this that captured the
imagination of the British public.

The Feminine Input

Dr. Patterson is quite right, and indeed Walvin's Black
Presence [1971] only serves to underline this, that because
of the outright brutality and unrestrained exploitation, even
the most hardened planter needed some system of rationali-
zation. That was the reason why the most easily patronized
and worst characteristics of the slave were seized upon, ela-
borated and universalized. But this was not so with regard to
the female, at all times.
Women play a major role in the society of the 19th
century, the black woman not the least. Despite her ill-
treatment and her degradation she retained what the man
could not retain: 'some of her social status'. The black wo-
man was a 'womb' and as such was mother and the harbin-
ger of the future. With this the black man could not com-
pete. He had to seek his status elsewhere either by cunning or
brute strength, both in themselves part of an acquisitive

In any case, Jamaican society had a paucity of women.
The contemporary evidence suggests that not only were there
few white women but that the 'black' women formed one-
sixth of the ratio of imports on the estates. Of course,
these estimates are rough but by and large they lead to the
single conclusion that women were scarce. Thus the female
slave was exploited both by the headmen and the white
men. And in that she was the ground of reconciliation.

This led naturally to the black woman and the colour-
ed woman being treated as sexual objects and the develop-
ment of a man-woman relationship more in terms of a master-
slave relationship. She was the master's object of pleasure,
seldom hi companion. On the other hand, she was described
in literature of the period as having magical powers which
made her irresistible to men, powers which she obtained
from the obeah man.
It is, however, important to notice that in all this it was
the coloured woman who earned the wrath of both white
and black, on the grounds that she was contemptuous of her
own, preferring to be the white man's mistress than the black
or coloured man's wife. As far as the white woman was con-
cerned, the contemporary picture is that she was illiterate for
the most part, cruel and spiteful to her slaves, a lover of
dances and somewhat like 'Quashie'. She was, however, the
mother of legitimate children and a shadowy, long-suffering,
dull person in the background.
There is another aspect that is sometimes overlooked
and that is the threat posed by the coloured woman to both
master and slave, because she was a symbol to them both.
Perhaps it was to overcome this that she was unconsciously
made into a stereotype and condemned. Maybe Annee Palmer
the White Witch of Rose Hall could be explained in these
terms. It was a love-hate relationship. She was feared because
given the norms of the plantocracy, i.e. by birth, she belonged
to it, but her colour identified her with the slave population,
a fact reinforced by law and prejudice. As far as the relation-
ship between the coloured woman and the black woman was
concerned, she was a symbol both of freedom and betrayal.
To the white woman she was a symbol of weakness: her own
weakness and the coloured woman's power. It was almost
inevitable therefore that the coloured woman came to be
looked upon or actually did become a prostitute, that well-
known symbol of self-hate and destruction.
With this unsettled state of affairs it was inevitable that
in 1831, when a revolt broke out in Jamaica [See Reckord
1968] it created a stir in London, both in Parliament and at
the missionary headquarters. The parliamentary parties re-
doubled their efforts to discover a common ground for eman-
cipation in order to get it done quickly, while the mission-
aries tried hard to prop up the establishment and deny all
complicity in the sorry affair. It was this event that gave
added impetus to the discovery of the 'Christian Black'.

The Noble Savage
David Davis, in his well known work, The Problem of
Slavery in Western Culture [1970], maintains that up to the
end of the 15th century, the Church had not condemned
slavery but instead had worked out a series of compromises.
He further suggests that "the Christian view of slavery ac-
commodated a series of balanced dualisms. Slavery was con-
trary to the realms of Nature, but was a necessary part of the



'Christian Blacks' and Chapel (from P.T. Rees, Gwylad n Negro,

world of sin; the bondman was inwardly free and spiritually
equal to his master; in things external he was a mere chattel;
Christians were brothers whether slave or free but pagans
deserved in some sense to be slaves".
This dilemma left its imprint upon the abolitionists who
together with all churchmen had not yet thought through
the questions of (a) work and (b) the relation between slavery
and sin. It was indeed significant that in 1823, Dr. Francis
Cox of the Baptist Missionary Society was invited to present
a paper on whether it was sinful to be a slaveholder, and as
late as 1840, Cox was addressing the Anti-Slavery Convention
in London on the question as to whether a slave holder should
be allowed to sit at the Lord's Table [Minutes 1840].
It was at this crucial stage that three ideas came to the
fore more noticeably than the others. They were: (a) the idea
of the Noble Savage, derived most probably from the notion
of the Sublime, set in a Kantian mould (b) the rejection of
the notion of the irrationality of the black and the declaration
of his humanity, in the face of the new Science and (c) the
twin desires to establish the 'freed black', as a Christian pea-
sant farmer, either in Africa or the colonies.
The idea of the Noble Savage has been overworked by
scholars, but it needs always to be considered in this context.
The idea probably derived from Plato and his idea of the
numinous. And it is in a sense the rejection of Aristotle
and all that he stood for, including his views on slavery. It
has often been remarked, and Coleridge himself once said it,
that there is a quantum of truth in the assertion that we are
all born Aristotelians or Platonists. The idea of the Sublime
catches the fancy and the imagination of all rien, and the
16th century adventurers were no exception. They linked the
possibility of a New World with the idea of uncorrupted
Nature and an ideal by which European customs could be
judged. It symbolized a world in which there existed simple
primaeval man free from distractions of private possessions
or greed. But it was not long before admiration became pro-
tection. The 'simple native' had to be protected from him-
self in order to discipline him so that he might live or at least
be able to fend for himself in the real world. Thus a dicho-
tomy arose the conqueror wished to preserve the Noble
Savage on the one hand, but on the other, despised him.

Female Negro Peasant in her Sunday and Working Dress (from J.M.
Phillippo, Jamaica its Past and Present State, 1843).

The question now arises: was the African considered in
these terms. The answer to that is, at the beginning: no, The
evidence suggests that the African had no such fascination
for the European either on philosophical or religious grounds.
Darkness had for a long time been a peculiar philosophical
problem for the European. And the skin of the African so
approximated to Darkness that it was inevitable that he
should become a part of that problem. (This discussion on
the philosophical problem of Darkness or Blackness is a
necessary one but this is not the place to expand it). It is
enough to be reminded that at the very outset the African,
unlike the Indian, was a philosophical problem. He was also
a religious problem because the Moors had ruled Spain and
Portugal. To the Christian Spanish, therefore, the African
was tainted with Islam, and so he was of the old world, the
decadent world of antiquity. The African also appeared in
the Bible and as such ought to have been Christian. Thus
the argument arose that the African deserved his slavery be-
cause he had rejected Christian teaching. Indeed, a mission-
ary to the French West Indies observed that the 'black' con-
formed to Aristotle's view of a slave, as an instrument of
his master's will [Du Tertre Vol II, pp 364 -419; 490].
Thus the blackness of the skin was seen as a mark of misfor-
tune, and physical labour the penalty for rebellion against
God. In short, on the best interpretation, the black was a
Noble Savage fallen from grace.
It took most of the 18th and 19th centuries to begin
to observe the political effect of these ideas. For instance,
Rousseau's Noble Savage is that same noble creature which
we discussed, and so too was Mills's 'man of the woods'. In-
deed the whole romantic movement was built upon this view
of pristine innocence, which had in time to display its political
and social effect.
Romanticism had two effects. First, it led to the roman-
ticizing of the 'middle passage' and, by extension, the plant-
ation (a romantic view which both Stephen Foster and Black
Spirituals tend to support). Thus the writings of the planters
and even missionaries paint a picture of 'turbaned negroes
and negresses (who) sang as they worked the cane and cotton
fields by day, and spent the night drinking, dancing and
making love, reared happy families of sportive picanninies

and liked and respected their white masters, their indolent
whey-faced wives and their spoilt children" [Pope-Hennessey
1970 p.124]. This picture was not seriously challenged until
recent exhaustive studies of the plantation, among them Per-
sistent Poverty by George Beckford, of the University of the
West Indies.
Romanticism also led to the attempt to redeem the
'fallen savage'. Ar example of this redemption motif might
be seen in the 'Sable Venus' legend. This was a representation
of a well-formed and voluptuous black woman attended by
her ethereal servants (all white) floating above the blue sea.
Some authorities link the legend with Angola, others with
Jamaica. This does not matter. What matters is that there is
little doubt that the Sable Venus was a Madonna a Black
Madonna, who scattered blessings upon the grateful land. It
is fair to say then that there was a definite attempt in certain
quarters to contrast pristine 'freedom' with the implication
of innocence and the actual state of slavery with its impli-
cation of guilt. Any hope for the African must, therefore, be
in redemption ibidd. p.124].

Redemptive Hope
A good example of this redemptive hope can be discerned
in James Montgomery's poem "West Indies", which was an
important bit of anti-slavery propaganda published in 1808.
The African is portrayed in:
A world of wonders where
creation seems
No more the work of Nature but
her dreams.
In romantic regions man grows
Here dwells the Negro Nature's
outcast child.
Thus then lives the African in an idyllic setting of
mystic nature as the 'Black Savage' outcast. He is guilty and
innocent, fulfilling in one sentence the ambivalence of
contemporary Christian thinking.
However, this primitive might yet hope because these
very attitudes can be disciplined:

But his mother's eye
That gazes on him from her
warmest sky
Sees in his flexile limb untutored
Power on his forehead, beauty in
his face
Sees in his breast where lawless
passions rove
The heart of friendship and the
home of love.

The black man can yet be saved! Indeed, Montgomery
takes the concept a step further. He universalizes the idea of
the Fall and Innocence and puts it into a historical context.
For instance, in his introduction to part III of the poem, he
observed that for the African, as for all men, it was true that
"The love of country and of Home, the same all Ages and
among all Nations". Surprisingly, he still clung to the older

Interior of Baptist Chapel, Spanish Town (J.M. Phillipp
notion that the Fall of the New World ought to be linked to
the invasions of the whites, but in contrast he does give to
that notion some basis in history. In a sense we now have the
Christian Black whom he described as
a humble pilgrim who wakes to
life and springs to liberty

so that

with humble steps the paths of
peace he trod
A happy pilgrim for he walks with

The African As Human

It was one thing to invent the Christian Black as an
ideal person, but it was another thing to create his accept-
ance as a 'human being'. This was a more difficult task. As
late as 1848, the battle was still raging in the anti-slavery
meetings. It will be remembered that it was in that year that
William Armistead published A Tribute to the Negro, being a
vindication of the moral, intellectual and religious capabilities
of the Coloured portion of Mankind, with particular reference
to the African race, etc. In it he defines his purpose as to
The supporters and advocates of Negro Slavery [who] however
in order to justify their oppressive conduct, profess either in
ignorance or affected philosophy to doubt the African's claim
to Humanity, alleging their incapacity from inherent defects of
mental constitution, to enjoy the blessings of freedom or to
exercise their rights which were equally bestowed by a bene-
ficient Creator upon all his rational creatures.

This rationalization of the African's servitude was for the
most part due to ignorance, but it was also due to the first
attempts at European anthropology, as a science.
In this regard, mention must be made of the comments
of Edward Long, in his History of Jamaica [1774 Book 3 pp.
256 ff.], who maintained that "the nature of these men
[blacks] and their dissimilarity to the rest of mankind ..
[leads us to] conclude that they are a different species of

o, Jamaica Its Past and Present State, 1843).
the same genius". Even William Beckford, an otherwise level-
headed commentator, expressed uncertainty on the point but
hoped that "if their faculties be more weak, they may be
strengthened by science; if their disposition more savage,
they may be softened by examples of humanity, if ignorant
of the social and moral obligations of life, they may be taught
the first by indulgence and by religion the last" [1788 p.61].
The missionaries and humanists for their part rebutted
on three grounds: (a) by teaching and preaching the-ortho-
dox doctrine of Creation, that of the unitary nature of
Creation (b) by pointing to Africans who had shown edu-
cational achievement and prowess in Europe (c) by stressing
the argument that climatic conditions was the reason for
the dissimilarity.
As early as 1789, in a letter preserved in an American
museum written by a free black, the theory of genetic and
moral inferiority was challenged. He asserted that "the
natural depravity of our character be proved . though
avarice may slander and insult our misery, the fact is that
treated like other men, and admitted to participation of their
rights we should differ from them in nothing, perhaps but in
our possessing stronger passions, nicer sensibility and more
enthusiastic virtue" [Journal of Negro History, Vol. 1 No. 1
pp; 62-3].

Indeed, about this same time, the Duke of Montague
who was curious about these matters, sent one of his slaves,
Francis Williams of Jamaica, to Cambridge University. There
he distinguished himself and on his graduation returned to
set up a school.
The missionaries, particularly the Baptists, had for a long
time attempted to treat slaves as equals, calling them and
being called 'Brothers and Sisters', phrases to which the
planters objected. They stressed 'conversion' and 'church dis-
cipline'. There was almost an obsession with church discip-
line on the part of the missionaries and many of the church
controversies of the period centre upon this subject. It would
appear that failure to produce a 'black moral person' was tan-
tamount to failure to reinstate the African into the human

race. It seems quite likely that it was at this time that the
black man assumed the awesome responsibility of being the
moral conscience of the world.
There is another aspect of this question and it is that of
education. If missionaries pointed to the moral achievements
of their black congregations, they also pointed to their edu-
cational attainments. Phillippo, one of the longest serving
missionaries, certainly pointed to both, and the Quakers put
a lot of money into education. Indeed education became the
panacea for all the ills of the sugar-colonies after 1833, in
line with the pragmatic proof offered by missionaries in the
preceding decades. The education which was offered was to
be based "upon liberal and comprehensive principles for the
religious and moral education of the Negro to be emanci-
pated" [Phillippo 1843 p.301; cf. Shirley Gordon 1963 pp.
19-21]. When the Baptists, however, decided that this meant
a university on the pattern of London University, it did not
get support.The African was rational and so, human; but this
was going too fast.
With regard to science the arguments could support
either side. And since the "age of reason by a strange para-
dox was also the age of superstition" it was necessary to dis-
cover some rational argument which together with the
authority of the Church, now seriously questioned, could
stand the test. Up to this point the humanity of the African
rested solely upon Church doctrine and the Church therefore
allied itself with scientists who maintained the 'climatic'
theory. This theory that climate was responsible for the
colour of the African skin was reinforced with a stark Bibli-
cism, a fact which can be observed in the letters and docu-
ments of the time. Despite this, science did a great service at
this point, it universalized the Fall and also Salvation so that
the latter was now the African's by right, in Christ. There
were, of course, varying interpretations of this right. Some
maintained that the suffering of the African was vicarious for
the whole world, while others repeatedly identifying the
theory of racial inferiority with Hume, Voltaire and material-
istic philosophy in general, made the idea less palatable.

The Christian Servant

It has been sometimes observed that the abolitionists
made the black into a streotype and after emancipation
found it difficult to cope with the reality. While it must be
admitted that there were some negative aspects to the new
stereotype, positively their aim was to develop a Christian
servant within a peasant environment.
The question now arises: where did the abolitionists ob-
tain their model?
Christopher Hill, in his book British Economic and
Social History 1700 1964 [1970], in describing agricul-
ture lays emphasis upon the great change which occurred in
the 19th century. Although he cannot maintain that the term
'Agrarian Revolution' is a good description of what happened
in England between 1700 1850, he nevertheless suggests
that the changes were immense, and that the conditions of
those who lived in the countryside were radically altered. He
maintains that the revolution involved two closely related
sorts of change. The first was a series of technical improve-
ments in farming new crops and new implements, new
rotation of crops and new achievement in stock breeding.
The second was the gradual replacement of open fields by
enclosures [pp.10-16].
It would appear that it was upon these 'two closely re-

lated sorts of change' that both the abolitionists and the
missionaries developed their idea of the Christian Black.
During the period culminating in 1833, the legal found-
ation for emancipation had been slowly laid by the abolition-
ists in Parliament. In 1824, for example, Dr. Lushington had
championed in Parliament the cause of Lescene and Escoff-
ery, two coloureds who had lost their rights as citizens of
Jamaica. With the restoration of their rights, the signal for
the complete recognition of the rights of all coloureds had
been given. Indeed so quickly did it move that Henry Duncan,
in a letter to Sir George Murray could observe in 1830 that
"In Jamaica alone they [coloureds] are in possession of
wealth which on a moderate computation has been estimated
at not less than three million sterling" [p.93]. By 1839,
Governor Metcalfe could maintain that the coloureds held
the balance of power.
Increasingly then, the missionaries made overtures to
the coloureds in order to have their political support for
needed reforms. Had the elections of 1839 been held, the
House of Assembly would most securely have returned a
large majority of coloured, but the governor saw to it that
these elections did not take place. But with or without the
vote, the missionaries had a model of the freed peasant in
mind and this they now turned to develop through the Free
The Free Villages

These 'Free Villages' [see Paget 1964] were a social and
political counter-balance to the plantation. In a sense the
plantation had reproduced the open land system. There was
the Great House (the counterpart of the Manor House).; the
sugar cane plantations (the open fields); the slave villages (the
peasant cottages); and the Common, an open plot used in
both systems for communal festivities. In short, the changes
which emancipation brought to the Caribbean were parallel
to those taking place in Britain, and people were quick to see
it. But there was a big difference; for although the agricultural
labourer in Britain was poor and ill-treated he was still
British, in contrast to the African who was still an alien. It
was this emotional reason that some abolitionists understood
that desire to be independent and free.
William Knibb, the Baptist minister at Refuge in Jamaica
and who made his name as a leader in the emancipation dis-
cussions, advised his members in these words:

A fair scale of wages must be established, and you must be
entirely independent. If you continue to receive allowances
which have been given you during slavery and apprenticeship,
it will go abroad that you are not able to take care of your-
selves and that your employers are obliged to provide you with
allowances to keep you from starvation.
In such a case you will be nothing more than slaves. To be free
you must be independent. Receive your money for your work;
come to market with money; purchase from whom you please;
and be accountable to no one but the Being above, whom I
trust will watch over you and protect you [Hinton 1845
This is why the Baptists did not advocate allotments per
se but a plot of land which the free slave owned. As Amy
Lopez observed [1948 p.291], "the mark of freedom is to
be able to have his own 'ground' which he works himself
and from which he makes enough to support his family".
It must not be assumed that there were not other points
of view. There were some landowners like Henry Ross of
Grenada, a barrister, who published a pamphlet to disseminate

his views. He argued that a system of allotments would have
been inevitable in the Caribbean had it not been for the en-
slavement of the African. But now that the African was free
it was an opportune time to introduce it. This view did not
win the day and so did not impede the growth of the Free
Villages, which became a symbol of the 'free land-owning
peasantry' and as such an alternative political force in the

These happenings in the West Indies did not go unnoticed
in Great Britain. They in fact contributed to the split in the
anti-slavery movement. There was on the one hand, the Wil-
berforce-Buxton wing which had resisted all land reforms in
Britain and carried it one step further into the colonies. On
the other hand, there was the Clarkson-Sturge wing which in-
volved itself increasingly in procuring land and settling dis-
placed slaves. In 1840, for instance, Sturge formed a 'Land
Company', to finance the buying up of disused estates in
order to divide them into villages for the people, for which
they paid on a long term basis at no increased cost. It is
enough to observe that the Company did not last long,
having been sabotaged by other interests. What is also import-
ant is that the plots in these villages were of that regulation
size that gave the legal owner a vote. It was this that created
the fear. For in one action, Sturge had created a black citi-
zen and also the possibility of a political alternative.


The events of 1823 1840 are as remarkable as they are
sad. And yet it is to be hoped that they contain also some
seeds of hope for mankind.
The events are remarkable because what occurred was
not just the settlement of a people or the acculturation of
the African but the creation of a new man. Here was a new
creature with firm roots in a new habitat a man who was
old and yet new.
These happenings were sad because for a long time this
new man took his standards from a Europe which had
created him. It was a Europe which in the words of Frantz
Fanon, 'undertook the leadership of the world with ardour,
cynicism and violence . but set her face against all solici-
tude and tenderness' [1965 p.252]. But this new man was not
a European. He did not have to 'search for Man in the techni-
que and the style of Europe'. Rather, as Fanon continues
(and he as a Martinican was a Christian black);
Humanity is waiting for something other from us than such
an imitation, which would almost be an obscene caricature. If
we want to turn Africa into a new Europe; or America into a
new Europe; then let us leave the destiny of our countries to
Europeans. They will know how to do it better than the most
gifted of us.
But if we want humanity to advance further, if we want to
bring it up to a different level than that which Europe has
shown it, then we must invent and we must make discoveries ...
For Europe, for ourselves and for humanity. We must turn over
a new leaf, we must work out new concepts, and try to set
afoot a new man [p.255].


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Assembly at Jamaica 1821-26, Kingston and London: 1828.
ARMISTEAD, W. (ed.), A tribute to the Negro, Manchester: 1848.
AUGIER, F.R., et al., The Making of the West Indies, Longman
Caribbean, 1960.

and GORDON, S.C.,Sources of West Indian History, Longman
Caribbean, 1962.
BECKFORD, George, Persistent Poverty, Oxford University Press
BECKFORD, W., Remarks upon the situation of Negroes in Jamaica,
London: 1788.
BRATHWAITE, E. The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica
1770-1820, Oxford University Press, 1970.
DAVIS, David Brion, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture,
Pelican Books, 1970.
DUNCAN, H., Presbyters letters on the West Indian question addressed
to Sir George Murray, etc., London: 1830.

Du TERTRE, Jean Baptiste, Histoire general des Antilles habitees par
les Francais, Paris: 1667-71.
ELLIOTT-BINNS, L. Religion in the Victorian Era, London: 1936.
FAIRCHILD, M. The NobleSavage study in Romantic Naturalism,
New York: 1928.

FANON, Frantz, The Wretched of the Earth, London: MacGibbon
and Kee, 1965.
GORDON, Shirley, A Century of West Indian Education, London:
Longmans Green and Co., 1963.
GREEN, T.H. and GROSSE, T.H. (ed.), Essay, Moral, Political and
Literary of Hume, London: 1889.
HAMMOND, J. The Village Labourer 1760-1832, London: 1911.
HANSARD, Parliamentary Debates: Vol. XI (New Series), pp.400,
HILL, C.P. British Economic and Social History 1700-1964 (3rd. ed.),
London: 1970.
HINTON, J.H., Memoir of William Knibb, London: 1845.
JORDAN, Winthrop D., White Over Black American attitudes
towards the Negro 1550-1812, Pelican Books, 1969.

KNUTSFORD, Vicountess, Life and Letters of Zachary Macaulay,
London: 1900.
LONG, E., A History of Jamaica (3 vols.) London: 1774, Reprint
LOPEZ, Amy, "Land and Labour to 1900", The Jamaican Historical
Review, Vol. 1, No. 3, December 1948.
MARRYAT, Joseph, On Protection to West Indian Sugar, London:
MINUTES of the Anti-Slavery Convention, 1840.
MONTGOMERY, James, The Poetical Works of James Montgomery,
London: 1851.
PAGET, Hugh, "The Free Village System in Jamaica", Caribbean
Quarterly, Vol. 10 No. 1, March 1964.
PATTERSON, H. Orlando, The Sociology of Slavery, Associated Press,
' PHILLIPPO, James M., Jamaica its past and present state, London:
POPE-HENNESSY, James, Sins of the Fathers the Atlantic Slave-
traders 1441-1807, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1967; Sphere
RECKORD, Mary, "The Jamaica Slave Rebellion of 1831", Past and
Present, No. 40, July 1968 (reprinted Jamaica Journal, Vol.3
WALVIN, J. The Black Presence: A documentary history of the
Negro in England 1550-1860, London: Orbach and Chambers,
WHITMORE, William, East and West Indian Sugar etc., London:
WILLIAMS, Eric, Capitalism and Slavery, Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press, 1944.



By Wycliffe Bennett

Every July/August since 1962, the

National Dance Theatre Company
of Jamaica has presented a season
of dance at thp Little Theatre. Under the
guidance of artistic director/co-founder,
Rex Nettleford, the 1982 season cli-
maxed the celebrations to commemo-
rate the Company's 20th anniversary. In
the two decades, the NDTC has become
synonymous with talent, discipline and
achievement in Jamaica and has brought
praise and prestige to Jamaica abroad.
In addition to presenting in Jamaica a
season and a mini-season annually, the
60 member troupe has performed in
many other parts of the world, including
the United Kingdom, the U.S.A., Canada,
Australia, the Soviet Union, West Ger-
many, Mexico, and other Caribbean
The celebrations have confirmed this
writer's view that in Jamaica the dance
has become a valid expression of a speci-
fic country and time that it is an emer-
ging Jamaican art. That this is so is
due largely to the efforts of the NDTC
over the last two decades.
For the NDTC, 1982 has been a great
year. But things were not all that rosy
20 years ago. The Company had to over-
come many obstacles prejudice and
downright hostility at home, and mis-
understanding and at times arrogance
Even as we ushered in Independence
in 1962, many Jamaicans who pretended
to any kind of status disapproved of
'barefoot dancing' and the presentation
of anything that savoured of Africa:
I heard upright men and women
dismiss African Scenario as 'a piece of
obscenity and a disgrace' when it was
premiered in Roots and Rhythms in
Some early critics overseas had diffi-

culty finding a ready-made category to
which they could comfortably assign
the Company and were tempted to dis-
miss the troupe as another of those
artistic aberrations that wandered into
their domain from time to time.
The truth of the matter is that, if
at this moment in time some earlier
works can be classified as derivative, it
should by now be recognized that, from
the very outset, the foundations were
being laid for what has become stylistic-
ally one of the more eclectic of major
companies operating today: the ballet
from Europe; ritual from Africa; jazz
and modern from America; and tradi-
tional, folk, national and contemporary
from the three continents. Of course,
all of these ingredients have become
creolized and the Company is more
rooted in the Jamaican and wider Carib-
bean experience than in anything else.
In 20 years the Company has forged
a language, building a vocabulary and a
syntax where need and opportunity
allow; and has achieved a consistency
in forms, rhythms and dynamics, which
is one of the touchstones of style.
But the prime concern is with the
human condition; and this is often pre-
sented within the matrix of great
themes mythical, legendary orbiblical
- and ranges from subjects of epic
dimensions to the more immediate
Beginning with the show, Roots and
Rhythms, staged during Jamaica's In-
dependence celebrations in 1962, the
Company has developed a repertoire of
over 100 works. Nettleford remains the
major choreographer with 43 works.
Others include Eddy Thomas, who crea-
ted 9 before he left the group in 1966;
Neville Black who had done 11 up to
1969; and Sheila Barnett and Bert Rose
with 15 and 9 respectively. From time
to time other members of the group will
produce an isolated piece, or the Com-
pany will have a guest choreographer for
a season.
The 1982 season added five new
works: Litany and The Visitor (an alle-
gorical tale) by Rex Nettleford; Fantasy

(a young man's dream of the ideal
woman) by Barbara Requa;Just Time (a
solo dedicated to Barry Moncrieffe) and
Phases Part A (a dance in four move-
ments dedicated to Sheila Barnett),
both by Tony Wilson.
Some 20 works were staged during
the celebrations, including the five new
ones. Devotees will have noted the ab-
sence, among others, of such pieces as
Eddy Thomas's And it came to pass
(1964); Sheila Barnett's Mountain Wo-
men (1972) and / not / (1977), a
picaresque piece on Pitchy Patchy; Bert
Rose's Switch (1977), based upon the
Legend of the White Witch of Rosehall;
and Rex Nettleford's own Myal (1974)
and Court of Jah (1975). These would
have added depth to the perspective on
the Company. There was, nevertheless, a
rich feast, and the offering was wide in
range, and provided some of the finest
nights of theatre it has been my privilege
to attend either at home or abroad.
Critics have to remind themselves
that the Company is continually refining
and polishing its repertoire, that even
within a single season, an old or new
work will improve almost beyond recog-
nition. This is especially so, it seems,
where there are alternating casts which,
in a competitive spirit of the best type,
pace each other on the road to excell-
This happened to a marked degree
this year with the revival of Nettleford's
Dialogue for Three (1963) and one of
his new works, The Visitor, as well as
with Barbara Requa's maiden offering,
Fantasy. The same cannot be said for
Tony Wilson's solo piece, Just Time, in
which the choice of inconsequential
music led to inconsequential choreo-
But even Dialogue for Three would
have been a stronger composition had
the music been more in consonance
with the twists and tensions of the
eternal triangle. Joaquin Rodrigo's Con-
cierto de Aranjuez did not always have
the densities when the choreography
needed it. Often there were exciting
moments when music and dance were in


conjunction; and we saw some inspired
performances with Barry Moncrieffe as
the Man, Judith Pennant or Jacquie
Smith as the Wife and Melanie Cooke-
Graham or Sandra Minott as the Other
Woman. I did not see Jacquie Smith,
but I saw Judith Pennant, who brought
a warmth and a simplicity to the role of
Mother. I thought her cradling of the
baby could have been just a bit more
positive, within the rhythm set up by
the music, as Sheila Barnett's was in the
extant film of that performance years
ago. Sandra Minott demonstrated star
quality as the Other Woman, fiery and
sensuous; and when I was about to
dismiss from my mind Cooke-Graham as
being rather too cold to be taken
seriously as a contender for that role,
she pulled out all the stops on the
closing Sunday afternoon. During the
final moments of the piece, when
Cooke-Graham in dramatic reversal
turned her back upon the scene and
brought down her hands in final rejec-
tion of the Man that statement will
certainly remain one of the more memo-
rable moments of the season.
Nettleford's allegorical tale, The
Visitor is set in New Orleans. Susan
Alexander's decor with white wrought
iron furniture and crimson tapestry-
creates the setting for this house of
assignation. The Madame and her two
assistants have decked themselves out
in garish finery for such guests as for-
tune might bring. Enter The Visitor, ele-
gant, commanding, a fine catch for any
of the three ladies of the night. He goes
into the bedroom and soon pieces of
clothing are flung back into the salon.
The Visitor returns a cadaverous figure
of a man. A more macabre atmosphere
would have been realized had the design-
er introduced a strong tinge of green
into the lighting at this stage. Aaron
Copland's Danzon Cubano provided
scope for those voluptuous movements
and gestures that characterise the deni-
zens of such a milieu. More important-
ly, the music also has a trajectory that
parallels the development of the choreo-
graphy, which would have been helped

by a stronger suggestion of rigor mortis
before Death with great flourish orches-
trated that final note. Duran Hylton and
Tony Wilson alternately bring their
special qualities to the title role -
Duran Hylton essentially dramatic,
Wilson the more lyrical. I never cease to
be amazed at Hylton's elevation and
simulation of height. Cooke-Graham as
the Madame has the technical profici-
ency. If she would give herself more to
the inner demands of her roles, she
would be an even greater asset to the
Company. The Visitor is a new piece
that will mellow like wine.
Barbara Requa has of course choreo-
graphed for the Juniors at the Jamaica
School of Dance, but Fantasy marks her
debut as a choreographer for the Com-
pany. It was indeed an impressive begin-
ning, demonstrating a fluency of style, a
knowledge of characterization and a use
of the stage, that should prove to be
great assets to her in the future. It was a
source of delight to watch alternating
teams perform this work, and how they
apparently benefitted from observing
each other. She used Chick Corea's
music well. In Fantasy a young man
dreams of the ideal woman. Three differ-
erent types appear in his dream, each
having some attractive points; but the
more he probes what he sees the more
elusive becomes all that he most desires.
The deft use of scarves by the women
underscores the fragile nature of each
encounter, and the choreographer leaves
with us the gossamer texture of a dream.
The remaining two new works were
Wilson's Phases Part A and Nettle-
ford's Litany, both of which employ the
full or almost the full corps of dancers.
There can be no doubt that Wilson's
dance in four movements pushes the
NDTC beyond its ordinary range of
sensibility, and brings fresh nuances and
body accents to the Company's experi-
ence of the dance. A product of the
NDTC himself, Wilson shows the bene-
fit of his North American sojourn, his
exposure to another milieu, the black
and white jazz tradition, the sharp

movements of the windy city, the
concrete and steel of Chicago. He
chooses music from Leonard Bernstein,
Duke Ellington and Herbie Hancock, all
within the genre of his composition.
The impact of the dance would have
been considerably increased by cutting
at least 8 minutes off the 23 minutes
playing time. There were however, more
serious problems: the often too facile
use of the melodic line or rhythm,
without a feeling for the whole density
of the music; and the failure to exploit
his own rhythm, without losing con-
tact with the peaks and valleys of the
Within the Company itself there are
superb models to follow. Note, for ex-
ample in Misa Criolla how Nettleford's
shimmering line expands the aesthetic
range of Ariel Ramirez's music or the
fabulous fusion of the two muses when
he calls upon Quincy Jones's score for
The Crossing (1978).
The aficionado will have followed
the building of vocabulary and syntax
by Nettleford over the years, exempli-
fied in Folk Forms (1968) Celebrations
(1972), Homage (1973), Elements
(1978), Drumscore (1979) and now in
Litany (1982).
I believe that, in some respects Litany
is intended to be a biographical piece on
the Company. The programme note

"For those who sow and will
not nurture, Good Lord deliver
us! (A dedication to those who
sow as well as reap)."

I believe too that as a celebration of
growth, Litany has the potential to be-
come a great work. At present some of
the metaphors are not clear, and at
times surprisingly we get what seems an
unintentionally messy floor pattern. I
was not sure whether the four dancers
who formed a circle at the beginning
were nuns or mother figures; and ex-
cept in the ring game section which
was joyously portrayed, the directorial

image which would have been necessary
to indicate each phase of growth, did
not have the customary Nettlefordian
authority. The music seemed somewhat
hollow. This is not intended as a strict-
ure on the musical director who is ex-
pected to, and often does, perform
musical miracles with limited resources
each night. But if good old-fashioned
hymn-singing was required, this too
should have been theatricalized into
something transcendental, and imbued
with modern resonances. Above all the
final epiphany should have enthralled
me as Kumina did, when it first went
into orbit in 1971. And' here I think
lighting and decor would have helped.
I wanted much more: I wanted, perhaps,
the cyclorama radiant with heavenly
hosts, joining with the celebrants on
stage in jubilant thanksgiving.

Mr. Bennett is writing a history of the
Jamaican theatre.


By Edward Baugh

John Hearne, The Sure Salvation, London and
Boston: Faber and Faber, 1981, 224 pp.,

It is the year 1860. Charles Dar-
win's world-changing book The
Origin of Species has been out
a year now. The railway is still a marvel.
'Sail and wood' have begun to give way
to 'steel and steam', to the greater glory
of British mercantile and imperial ex-
pansion. The American Civil War is not
a long way off, and 'those damned
foreign pamphlets on socialism' have
begun to cause a stir. The world is turn-
ing. But in the South Atlantic, some-
where between Angola and Brazil, the
Sure Salvation, under the command of
Captain William Hogarth, lies becalmed,

'ringed by the unbroken crust of its own
From the very first sentence, Hearne
stamps on the reader's senses the feeling
of seething, unhealthy tension, of fester-
ing paralysis and doom in which the
ship is held. The widening ring of filth,
which exudes its own morbid fascin-
ation, is the symbol of the moral and
spiritual corruption of the ship's 'dirty,
dishonourable business', which in turn
represents the rot at the heart of a civil-
ization, the perversion of its virtues in
the pursuit of wealth. For the Sure Sal-
vation is the 'last of the slavers'. Al-
though slavery had been legally abolish-
ed for some little time, the 'dirty trade'
still lingered, because there were a few
men daring and unscrupulous enough to
take the risk for the rich rewards that
were to be had on this 'black market'.
Captain Hogarth an English gentleman
much seized of ideas of honour and con-
science, but of little wealth, was hardly
one of those, and the very fact that he
has been brought to this sordid pass is
indicative of the power of the general
corruption. The curve of his life's graph
images the history of that corruption.
The calm does not break until near
the end of the novel, which then moves
to a climax as swift as the waiting was
long; and the swiftness of the climax,
in relation to the seeming timelessness
and inconclusiveness of the waiting, in-
tensifies the idea of the inevitability of
the doom which awaited the ship, a
doom whose specific form Hogarth
could not have begun to imagine when
the premonition of failure came to him
early in the calm: "Failure had been
waiting for him like an uncharted sar-
gasso here in the open ocean, and he
had sailed his life into the clutch of its
invisible tendrils."
Hogarth is the protagonist. It is with
his life and tragedy that Hearne is most
involved, as we watch him torturing him-
self in slow penance in the cell of his
'honour'. We see in him the anguish of
idealism, principle and honour tarnished
and soured, making one last desperate

and futile grasp at 'success'. But Ho-
garth is surrounded by a gallery of
memorable characters, each turning on
its particular, obsessive, flawed centre of
self. For example, there is Dunn,
burning with an implacable proletarian
hatred of all authority and privilege, a
hatred fuelled by humiliating memories
of deprivation. He restrains his rage only
in the certain faith that one day the
edifice of class and hierarchy will be
razed by the joyful fires of apocalypse.
Dunn is in sharp contrast to the
bloodless Bullen, one of his superiors, a
Uriah Heep of a creature:
A thin, pale wedge of flesh appeared
round the forward starboard corner of
the midshiphouse; a face topped by a
limp and faded officer's cap pushed
back on dark brown hair, fine as
thistledown, straight as thread. The
body that followed the face onto the
open deck was like some immensely
elongated, knobbly and tasteless veget-
able grown in the dark, pathetically
and pallidly striving towards the
Most fascinating of all is Alex Del-
fosse, the black adventurer from Louis-
iana, who goes nowhere without his
'free papers' and his baptismal certi-
ficate, a character perhaps less 'real'
than Hogarth and the rest, a figure out
of legend rather than life. He is the ship's
cook, but he enjoys a presence and com-
mands a respect far above what one
would expect of his station. As it turns
out, that station is only an expedient
cover for his true power. He is cast in
heroic mould, with his own tragic flaw.
He is at one and the same time a version
of the 'bad-ass nigger' of modern Black
American mythology and the type of the-
revolutionary-who-would-be-king. He is
refreshing as a black hero who, while
being, no less than the rest of us, His-
tory's victim, does not spend his time,
like so many protagonists of West Indian
fiction, lamenting history and wearing
his angst on his sleeve.
During the 14 chapters of waiting
for the breeze, not much happens 'on
the surface' by way of event, but Hearne
keeps the tension hawser-taut, knowing

just when and how to introduce some
sudden spurt of violence, or some new
piece of information to whet the read-
er's appetite. It is not until near the end
of chapter two that we get the first hint
of the ship's cargo of abused humanity,
in the 'acrid, heavy smell' that rises
momentarily from the hatch, and "the
chorus of moans that [rise] and burst
wetly on the deck like the fat sticky
bubbles on the skin of a sulphur pit".
It is not until chapter four that we actu-
ally see the monstrous secret which the
ship holds, as the slaves are brought up
on deck for air, exercise and hosing-
down. The precise and carefully defen-
sive precautions with which the crew
handle this manoeuvre convey their un-
spoken fear and the explosive potential
which must attend any such violent and
unnatural coming-together of peoples.
The ship's cargo, hidden, battened
down, forcibly repressed, becomes an
infinitely accommodating symbol for all
the unspeakable, threatening secrets
clamped below the hatches of the world's
mind. More specifically, it becomes an
analogue of the dark secrets hidden in
the minds of so many of the crew, sec-
rets which feed and explain their fear or
hate or ambition or greed or lust or
desire for revenge as the case may be -
secrets such as those embodied in the
austere, mysterious presence of Ho-
garth's wife on the ship.
In those first 14 chapters, which really
contain all that the book is about (the
rest, necessary as it is, is just denoue-
ment) in those 14 chapters the hap-
penings and the waiting aboard the ship
are interwoven with flashbacks which
take us into the lives of each character,
in such a way as to increase gradually
our sense of some inevitable eruption.
The tension is not just the simple basic
one created by the juxtaposition of the
crew and their human cargo. There is a
web of tensions among the crew them-
selves, which feeds on the tensions with-
in each individual, those tensions being
centrally dramatized in the strange re-
lationship between the Captain and his
wife, Elizabeth.

Each segment in the mosaic of past
and present and of the diverse points-of-
view of the characters is laid with care-
ful assurance and to striking effect. We
note, for example, how the flashback to
Hogarth's first meeting with Alex (chap-
ter 14) is placed right after the reader is
made aware (chapter 13) of Alex's
scheme for mutiny; or how Tadene, the
old African woman's point of view, in
the same segment of the novel, is juxta-
posed with Alex's; or how, climatically,
the anxious calm, literal and metaphor-
ical, which had held the ship, breaks
immediately after the disclosure, through
flashback, of the secret of the terrible
bond between Captain Hogarth and

This careful, assured structure, like
the studied, chill intensity of the style,
fits nicely with the whole mood and
meaning of the work, with, for example,
the idea of inexorable destiny, not
necessarily in the sense of some abstract
force manipulating human life, but also
in the sense that there is within each in-
dividual a sort of mind-set which, when
brought into contact with other mind-
sets, will lead to seemingly predeter-
mined entanglements and conclusions.

As Alex puts it, to Hogarth: "You and
me could no more help meeting' up the
way we done than we could help bein'
born the way each of us was."
With regard to style: although we dis-
tinguish a general colouring, this is made
up of a variety of hues, shifting to re-
flect the sensibility of each character
through whose eyes we are made to see
the action. For example, the severe,
intense, brooding voice of Hogarth is
felicitously different from the racy,
rough-shod, 'tough-guy' voice of Alex,
and both from the fresh, innocent,
wondering voice of the slave-girl Mtishta.
We appreciate, too, that, whereas Ho-
garth's language is typified by imagery
of the sea and navigation, Alex's is
coloured by imagery of cattle-herders
and card-sharps, drawn from his early
formative experience ("She'll ride herd
on the niggers when I let 'em loose.")
The impression of the complex re-
lationship between individual experi-
ence, ambition, strength and weakness
on the one hand, and abstract, general
principles and public conditions on the
other, contributes to Hearne's overall
achievement in portraying men as men,
acting as men, rather than as pawns in
some over-simplified theory of how men
ought to be. For example, although we
are taken more into the minds of the
masters above deck than into those of
the slaves below, the views we do get
of the latter, combined with the variety
of attitudes that the former show to-
wards them, constitute a remarkable
achievement in the imaginative liter-
ature of slavery. It is an achievement
without sentimentality.
Through the brief entry which Hearne
allows us into the minds of the African
women Tadene and Mtishta, what strikes
us most is that they are minds, intelli-
gences, not just self-pitying, self-drama-
tizing wails of suffering. They see their
white gaolers and tormentors not as
monsters but as strange men whose cus-
toms and minds they are trying to under-
stand. And among the Africans as a
group there is no monolithic, romanti-

cized feeling of brotherhood and com-
mon purpose. To Tadene, the blacks of
other tribes lying around her in captivity
can seem (almost) as alien as the white
men; so that, although, remarkably,
their skin is 'the colour natural to all
real people', they are still "strange
people among whom she has been forced
to lie naked, in whose presence she must
perform the most intimate functions,
with whom she must share food if she
hopes to live." Nor does Alex's mutiny
arise from selfless notions of 'black con-
sciousness' and black brotherhood. To
him Tadene is simply "[t] hat dried-up
old bitch [who] is the luck I was wait-
ing for."
However, Hearne's perception of such
matters does not diminish the cruelty
and pain of the situation. On the con-
trary; it renders them all the more
believable and 'real'. Besides, his under-
standing of the situation between black
and white goes behind and beyond the
cruder, obvious manifestations of pre-
judice to catching how, even the most
liberal, reasonable white man will be-
tray, and be himself surprised by, the
deep and subtle infection of his pre-
judice, by an awkward hesitation in
mid-sentence, or some other fleeting
gesture. In this regard we may note the
perceptivity with which Hearne imagines
the movement of Hogarth's mind in his
reaction to Alex on their first meeting.
One is reminded here, as throughout
the novel, of the position with which
Derek Walcott ends his essay "The Muse
of History", when, reflecting on his'two
grandfathers', he says:

You were when you acted your
roles, your given, historical roles
of slave seller and slave buyer,
men acting as men, and also you,
father in the filth-ridden gut of
the slave ship, to you they were
also men, acting as men, with the
cruelty of men, your fellowman
and tribesman not moved or hover-
ing with hesitation about your
common race any longer than
my other bastard ancestor hover-

ed with his whip . [Orde
Coombs (ed.) Is Massa Day Dead,
N.Y. 1974].

The 20 years which Hearne kept his
readers waiting since his last previous
novel were, like the long wait of the
Sure Salvation, and despite the fate of
the ship, not in vain.

Department of English
University of the West Indies, Mona.

By Mavis Campbell

Monica Schuler, "Alas, Alas, Kongo": A
Social History of Indentured African Immi-
gration into Jamaica, 1841-1865, Baltimore
and London: The Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1980. 109pp., $16.50.

ndenture, as a form of labour to
satisfy the labour needs of the
Caribbean slave societies is fairly
well known even popularly and the
subject cannot be said to be neglected by
historians. But the reflex action to this
word, within the Caribbean context, is
invariably white or Asian indenture: the
one at the inception of the plantation
economy, the other, upon the formal
cessation of the institution of slavery in
the area. But Monica Schuler has now
forced us to take a look at another
group of the immigrant labour force -
neglected by historians those inden-
tured Africans who first disembarked
at Sierra Leone or on the island of St.
Helena before taking the westward
route on the Atlantic to the New World,
between 1841 and 1865.
These were a part of the result of
the British act of 1807, effective 1808,
making the slave trade from Africa ille-
gal within her colonies, certainly, and
by diplomatic pressures, treaties and
naval blockades, within the hemisphere,
if possible. The structural arrangement
to implement the act saw Courts of

Mixed Commission established in Free-
town (Sierra Leone) by 1819 to deal
with captains of ships who were still
engaged in the 'illegal' trade. After
adjudication, the Africans from the
guilty vessels were landed at Freetown
as recaptives often in appalling con-
dition some to settle there and be-
come liberated Africans (for Ms. Schuler
has made a distinction between these
two words, which were usually used
synonymously, p.5n), others to await-
transshipment elsewhere. Upon eman-
cipation of slavery in the British colonies
in 1834, Sierra Leone thus had some 27
years' experience both as a depot and
settlement colony for contraband Afri-
Emancipation brought loud and vex-
ed cries of shortage of labour from the
plantocracy and they looked assisted
financially by the British government, in
some cases to different parts of the
world to satisfy their need for this re-
source. From Europe they obtained
some, mainly Scots, Irish and a few Ger-
mans; from the Atlantic island of
Madeira they obtained some Portuguese,
"most of whom went to British Guiana
(Guyana); but it was from Asia, parti-
cularly India, that they acquired their
main supply of indentured workers,
thus adding to the racial heterogeneity
of the area.
But there were some African inden-
ture too, coming, as we saw, from Sierra
Leone and St. Helena. The first group,
consisting of Liberated Africans, landed
in Jamaica in 1841 under the aegis of
the enterprising Alexander Barclay,
Commissioner of Immigration for Jam-
aica, and these can certainly be said to
have arrived voluntarily and under
more or less fair conditions. Theor-
etically, they were promised free pass-
age, "and on landing to be at perfect
liberty to engage themselves in the
plantation villages to whomever they
like, offering them the best wages"
(p.13). The contract was for one year,
with "perfect freedom to remain in
the island or leave it if they wished",
and they were to be paid the going wage


rates of the colony, from ls.6d a day,
or from 2s to 4s to be made working by
the 'piece of job'. The success of the
first shipment was not to continue and
the energetic campaign of the Com-
missioner to move the Sierra Leonians
away from their homeland to Jamaica
was not a success. Jamaica was not the
paradise the propaganda of the immi-
gration officer was promulgating. "Erect-
ed on bad faith, misunderstanding, and
unsound economics, the high hopes sur-
rounding the first voyage were bound to
be dashed. Perhaps the only surprising
thing is the rapidity with which this
occurred" (p.18).
But this little difficulty was not to
obstruct the labour needs of the planter
class and Lord Russell's 'principle' could
now be effectuated. Russell had declared
that the Africans who landed at Sierra
Leone should not all be expected to re-
main there but at the expiration of three
months, they should be given three
choices: they should show that they
were in a state to maintain themselves
'on the spot', or signify their consent
to emigrate to the West Indies or leave
the colony destination not stated.
This was cruel enough for adults and yet
it soon became applicable for children,
making the 'choices' enlistment into the
army, emigration or self-support on the
spot. Many orphans had landed from
slave ships and these children under the
age of 13, and under 12 after 1844,
were entitled to be educated in the
colony while those from 9 to 13 were
apprenticed to 'respectable' families in
Sierra Leone. And it was in 1844 that
the British government gave these or-
phans over 12 years old the specious
'choices'. Emigration officers now be-
came predators on these schools and
one of them saw these institutions as
'school farms', or 'wholesome nurseries
of labourers', from which could be ac-
quired 'a never-ceasing flow of young
emigrants'. If we were shocked by this,
Ms. Schuler reminds us that this was not
unique, for the British government had,
in this same century, permitted the
transportation of British orphans to

Cape Colony and Canada.
When we recall that the slave trade
did not end despite British efforts,
criticized invariably as feeble and in-
effectual until during the 1860s,
then we may get a better picture of the
duration of involuntary labour, a large
proportion of which consisted of child-
ren from 1843. Both children and adults
resisted, as much as they could, leaving
the country, some
were prone to flee to the bush when
emigration recruiters approached their
villages. Recruiting among the new-
comers in the Queen's Yard, [called
King's Yard when a male was on the
British throne] therefore, was not
simply a matter of inviting people to
travel to the West Indies; it called
instead for subterfuge, duplicity, and,
if necessary force. It became standard
practice to isolate new arrivals from all
except West India Regiment and plant-
ation recruiters, and recaptives could
be detained in the Queen's Yard for
one to three months awaiting the arri-
val of an emigrant ship (pp. 25-6).
The unusual title of this little book,
reminiscent more of an imaginative
work a novel or a poem than a
scholarly one, did not reveal its mean-
ing until more than half way through, at
page 74. "Alas, Alas, Kongo" is the plain-
tive cry of a people, through song -
not unlike the Negro Spirituals who,
alas, for the most part, did not travel to
Jamaica voluntarily, and would wish to
return to their homeland. This is nothing
new to the island. More than 90 per
cent of its people went there involun-
tarily, but the difference in this case, is
that this category under study was sup-
posed to have been contracted to work
for a stipulated period of time and they
thought that their contracts offered
them free return passage to Africa -
as was offered the Asian. But for the
Africans, Sisyphean progeny, there was
no such luck.
The nature of the society these Afri-
cans were to enter is of immense import-
ance to an understanding of their future
adjustment. A pyramidical social struc-
ture consisting of a few ex-slave masters
at the top, with their ideology of white

supremacy and close behind the half-
breeds, their illegitimate children, whose
ideology of race was not one whitdiffer-
ent. In fact they exploited the African
workers as much as any white and
this does not exclude even the 'radical'
George William Gordon. I am grateful
to Ms. Schuler for pointing out (n. 1,
p.135) that I may have been too sympa-
thetic to Gordon in my Dynamics of
Change .., acceptingn] the general
view of Gordon as 'a disinterested
champion of the oppressed workers of
Jamaica' ". She showed that, in fact,
Gordon was "just as eager as any Euro-
pean planter to profit from cheap Afri-
can labor . [treating them] every bit
as shabbily as European planters did
[and] in 1849 and 1850 neglecting
to pay them wages". It is not that I
accepted a general view, for the work is
a critical one; it is rather that I gave
much too favourable an interpretation
to a politician's articulation, leaning too
heavily on the Jamaican Parliamentary
Debates, where Gordon was playing to
the gallery.
At the bottom of the pyramid was
the large emancipated group, now social-
ized to an extent, within the normative
values of the ruling class, and strongly
inclined to put on airs on the newly
arrived Africans as happened under
slavery. Thus, adjustment in such a
society might have been difficult to the
indentured Africans. But, using religion
- African with additives from Christian-
ity as a unifying force among them-
selves, they established their own com-
munities from which they could draw
spiritual and psychological sustenance
to deal with a harsh and unsympathetic
social environment. True, in the course
of time they became enmeshed with
the black community in Jamaica through
marriage and common interests.
The only other work, as far as I
know, that deals with the subject of in-
dentured Africans in Jamaica after
Emancipation is Jamaica and Volun-
tary Laborers from Africa, 1840-1866
by Mary Elizabeth Thomas (Gainsville:

The University Presses of Florida, 1974).
Yet, although the two authors deal with
the same period (only a difference of
one year) they are two different books.
Ms. Thomas's could well be more ap-
propriately titled, "British or Colonial
Policy to Jamaica's Immigration Prob-
lems . and one is bound to wonder
how she could use the word 'voluntary'
in her title in the light of Ms. Schuler's
findings. In reading Ms. Schuler's work,
and in contemplating the resilience of
African culture, one is immediately re-
minded of John Peterson's Province of
Freedom, another work which demon-
strated African creativity and adapt-
ability to difficult conditions, in this
case, within Sierra Leone.
One would have wished Ms. Schuler
to have mentioned whether or not there
was any interaction between the African
and the Asian indentured immigrants,
and whether the planters had tried to
play one group against the other to de-
press wages as they did in Guyana.

"Alas, Alas, Kongo", is a very import-
ant contribution to the social history of
Jamaica, as well as to the genre of Afro-
Caribbean linkage, showing that in deal-
ing with African 'retentions' in the area
we should also look beyond slavery,
raising questions such as why the heavy
concentration of 'Africanism' in certain
areas, and not to the same extent in
others. It is to be hoped that others of
the same nature will soon follow, not
only from the British territories such as
Trinidad and Guyana, Grenada, etc.,
which also received indentured Afri-
cans, but also on those who went to
Cuba emancipados as slaves, dur-
ing the same period.

Amherst College, Mass., U.S.A.

Collector's Item

No. 46

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Jamaica's national cultural institution was
founded in 1879. Its main functions are to
foster and encourage the development of cul-
ture, science and history in the national in-
terest. It operates as a statutory body under
the Institute of Jamaica Act, 1978 and falls
under the portfolio of the Prime Minister.
The Institute's central decision-making body
is the Council which is appointed by the Mini-
ster. The Council consists of individuals in-
volved in various aspects of Jamaica's cultural
life appointed in their own right, and rep-
resentatives of major cultural organizations
and institutions.
The Institute of Jamaica consists of a central
administration with a number of divisions
operating with varying degrees of autonomy.

The Council of the Institute of Jamaica

Mr. John Hearne
Executive Director:
Rev. Philip Hart
Deputy Director
Gerald Groves

Dr. Roy Augier
Dr. Edward Baugh
Miss Ivy Baxter
Dr. David Boxer
Dr. Lloyd Coke
Mr. Lloyd Collins
Miss Stephney Ferguson
Miss Olivia Grange
Mrs. Avis Henriques
Miss Sonia Jones
Mr. Cecil Langford
Miss Olive Lewin
Dr. Henry Lowe
Mr. Hugh Nash
Fr. Frances Osborne
The Hon. Wesley Powell
Mrs. Joyce Robinson
Mrs. Brenda Skeffery
Mr. Desmond Thomas
Mrs. Clover Thompson
Dr. Barry Wade
The Hon. Hector Wynter



Black American Quilts
An Artistic Craft
By Mary Twining

NNW IIil rolw t


r., ,:=.. ;. : .
,,;"-- !).. ":", l_ -: i" ,,*".. ; r:'-
...- ,. i. ,

Bedspread in strip quilt style by Mrs. Janie Hunter, Johns Island, South Carolina, USA.
(note repeated Shango axe design)

Mary Twining's research for this article was
undertaken in theSea Islands which are located
along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia,
U.S.A. Some of the islands are now connected
to the mainland by bridges and causeways,
but their isolation up to recently has helped
to preserve a unique culture. Although Sea
Islanders are native to the United States, they
"actually manifest in their speech, customs
and general manner of life, features which
show greater affinities to the Afro-Caribbean
populations and to indigenous African peoples
than do other Americans of African origin".
The original population of African-descent
arrived with plantation owners from Barbados
and other Caribbean islands in the 17th
century. Their descendants are inheritors of a
culture of distinctive character, including
their local creole language, Gullah.

Quilting is regarded as a peculiarly
American accomplishment in dom-
estic arts and crafts. It did, how-
ever, come originally from England and
Holland in some form familiar to early
colonists. Economic necessity was one
factor that caused the housewives
of earlier times to use every piece of
valuable material no matter how small,
as even the tiniest of sewing scraps can
be used in a carefully pieced quilt.
Another factor frequently touched
upon is the necessity for some aesthe-
tic expression in the satisfaction of view-
ing the finished product and in the
actual process of 'setting together'. A
catalogue of patterns was used and
designed in addition to the more spon-
taneous crazy quilt designs. The more
material at hand, the more selective the
quilt maker could be.
An individual often made her quilt
top while at home; then the ladies and
other members of the community would
gather for the 'bee'. Sewing on quilting
frames for the expert seamstresses, cook-
ing for the ladies with other talents,
socializing and courting seemed to be
the ingredients for the 'quilting bee'. All
of these factors: social, economic and
aesthetic, are essential aspects of the
complex of behaviour surrounding the
making of bed covers.
The literature on quilting seems to
fall into at least two categories, first
and foremost the how-to-do-it variety
which gives practical hints on how to
complete a quilt and an accompanying
catalogue of various patterns so anyone
may begin to use the patterns which
have been in oral circulation for cen-
turies. These catalogues are useful for

the field worker in material culture.
They can be helpful in understanding
persons-in-the-culture when they are dis-
cussing the range of quilt patterns that
may have been made throughout their
lifetime, as well as in decoding conver-
sation about particular quilts which a
group may have remembered making.
The second category in the literature
is the cataloguing by descriptions and
pictures of existing quilts in historically
oriented collections. Many quilts were
presumed to be of Euro-American manu-
facture though some were actually exe-
cuted by Afro-Americans though of
Euro-American design. Robert Farris
Thompson's forthcoming book on the
general subject of the arts among New
World African-Americans (Random
House) includes some material on Afro-
American quilts. Judith Wragg Chase's
Afro-American Art and Crafts [1971]
was the first to cover such a range and
filled a gap long empty. Both of these
books feature the transatlantic contin-
uum from African to Afro-American
folklife in transmission of culture traits
and artistic styles. Also, R.F.Thompson's
earlier article "African Influence on the
Art of the United States" [1969], begins
to talk about Afro-American crafts, i.e.
to take them seriously and investigate the
possibilities that the direction of culture
transmission was from Africa to Afro-
American and, possibly, black to white.
Some recent books on Afro-American
folk art and craft comprise a third cate-
gory, that of culturally centred collect-
ions of folk art. These include the Metro-
politan Museum publication [Perry
1976]; Vlach [1978]; Missing Pieces
[1976] which records the existence of
Afro-American folklore art objects in
glowing detail; and a book (in prepar-
ation) by Gladys-Marie Fry on Afro-
American quilts (to be published by
Indiana University Press).

The term Afro-American delineates
the ethnicity of the group whereas the
word 'slave' tends to impute culture to a
group united only by the oppression of
others. Hence, the reference to the Afri-
can cultural background inherent in the
term Afro-American is useful and more
exacting in its definition. When referring
to the ante-bellum African and Afrjcan-
descent population, the phrase 'enslaved
Africans' might be employed. The main
thrust of our discussion is cultural pro-
venance from various parts of Africa to
the Americas and it cannot be discussed

in political or socially inappropriate ter-
minology. Thompson uses a narrowly
limiting stylistic typology, such as Afro-
Carolinian, Southern Afro-American
and others that differentiate geographic-
ally rather than politically. We are con-
cerned with Afro-Carolinian and Afro-
Georgian crafts; beyond that we limit
ourselves to the so-called low country
area of South Carolina and Georgia
where these particular items were made.
The strip quilts are found in other Afro-
American groups; what makes them
Afro-American culturally is that they
are designed and manufactured by
groups of African-descent within a
macro Afro-American culture.

Sea Island Quilt Patterns
The ladies who make the Sea Island
quilts live in South Carolina and Georgia.
The group in which I was able to do
most intensive research lives on Johns
Island on River and Bohicket Roads.
They are so economically poor as to be
below the socio-economic scale levels.
Social, geographic, racial and linguistic
factors of isolation have separated them
more from the mainstream culture in
the past. On the whole, the area of the
Sea Islands still forms a stronghold of
traditional lifeways among the Black
Americans living there.
Their quilt patterns have a varied
range, including some basically Euro-
pean styles such as 'log cabin', 'handker-
chief corner', 'step pattern'. These are
rectangular, that is, linear, squared-off
designs, which are centrally organized.
They also have what they call 'patchy'
or 'patch' quilts. These are made up of
many pieces of cloth cut into rectangular
shapes which are sewn together by hand
or machine into long wavy strips some-
times running the whole length of the
quilt except the border. Roger Abra-
hams has termed these 'strip quilts' be-
cause of the little strips which go to-
gether to form the long strips.1 There are
African analogues for these quilt patterns
in Ashanti and Ewe Kente cloth [Kent
1971]. Kente cloth is woven on belt
looms in strips and these strips, which
consist of rectangular design units, are
then edge-sewn together. Finding this
relationship only begins the task of
understanding the African and European
contributions to these quilts as a whole:
It seems fairly obvious that the quilt
form itself is a European culture trait.
Clearly, the design of the quilt tops is
our basis of comparison. The colours in
some of the Island quilts compare to


those used in the Ashanti cloth. There
are quilts, however, which have much
darker tonalities and they have analogues
in the woven cloth made by the Ewe
people which combine darker hues in
the same styles as the Ashanti Kente
cloth to make their patterns.2 The
colours in the quilts are warm and cold,
frequently emphasizing reds and blues
or whites; the receding and advancing
colour phenomenon operates here. The
artist has taken the best advantage of
these qualities inherent in the colours
and put them to work in the quilts. The
colours red, blue, and white are very
important in this culture. The red signi-
fies danger, fire, conflict and passion.
Blue is a 'good' colour which is used on
doors to keep away bad spirits. White is
a colour which makes you good;a colour
used in conjunction with solemn occa-
sions such as weddings, funerals and
turnouts (which are associated with
burial societies and lodges). Not only do
you have the affective use of the colours,
but they connect to a deeper set of
values and beliefs in the culture which
have meaning and significance beyond
the exciting combination of colours
which work well together.
An interesting discovery which has
come to light in the quilt researches is
the cross quilt phenomenon. For in-
stance, in a quilt by Ms. Roberta Johnson
of Johns Island, there is a huge cross
consisting of large pink arms and a dark
blue middle section somewhat off centre
in the whole quilt. This short-armed
cross symbol is one that appears often
in the New World. Robert Farris Thomp-
son has found short-armed crosses (cir-
cum Caribbean area) in South America
where reaffirmations of West African
culture are stronger and more obvious.
In the carvings there, it seemed to play a
warning role. (The short-armed cross
symbol is also found in the Harriet
Powers quilt in the collection of the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
It is a quilt with Bible scenes made in
the 1800s in Athens, Georgia, and
shows evident analogies to the Fon appli-
que cloths of Dahomey which are used
as hangings. The Dahomean cloths have
animals which are very close in execution
to the animals in the Powers Bible quilt.
She was obviously familiar with the
techniques of applique which bespeak
Dahomean cultural influence). The
short-armed crosses signify a curse or
bad vibrations according to Thompson,
who found one in the work of a South
American carver. The carver's message
was if you don't like my work, stay

away or curses on you! The crosses de-
note that we are in the presence of
evil. The cross is not a Christian cross
according to the residents of the island
where Ms. Johnson's quilt was made. It
represents danger, evil and other bad
feelings antithetical to a calm and peace-
ful life and/or a Christian life. The
crosses are often made in dramatic
colours such as red/blue or red/white
combinations. This shows an interest-
ing combination of hot/cool, good/bad,
safe/dangerous; these are the dichoto-
mous predicates or binary opposition
that make up the dynamics of human
There is, however, a cultural factor
to be taken into consideration. Roger
Abrahams has a theory that Euro-
Americans tend to think and react in
squares and rectilinear forms in general,
viz. the box step in social dancing. On
the other hand, the African-American
culture tends to be more curvilinear in
its world view, viz. the undulating dance
steps.3 As it happens, the quilts illus-
trate this theory very well in the con-
trast between the centrality and sym-
metry of the squared-off designs made
by Euro-American quilt makers and the
curvilinear, uneven, undulating overall
patterns of the Afro-American quilt
makers. As a total theory of culture
differences it might not carry through
effectively; it does, however, provide
a useful line of inquiry. It is easy to find
exceptions to any rule, but here I think
we recognize that we are talking more in
terms of tendencies of percentage ratios
than across-the-board adherence to rigid-
ly applied rules of cultural behaviour.

Aside from the matters of economic
determinism, curvilinear versus rectili-
near, small or large stitches executed
with more or less precision, we have the
notion of presentistic and futuristic
thinking. Tight careful quilts presage
many years of use and inheritance by
future generations, the heirloom syn-
drome, so to speak. The quilts on the
Sea Islands seem much more temporary
in their construction; many are tacked
coverlets rather than actual quilts. The
winter is shorter which means they are
used less and there is less enforced in-
door time conducive to quilt-making
that more northerly groups have to
endure. Reverence for material perman-
ence is not given undue emphasis in the
value system of the Sea Islands. Their
scale of values has non-material culture
traits at the top, such as music, religion,
dance, verbal arts and social skills. Their
crafts include brooms, baskets (Mt.

Pleasant), quilts, traditional cookery,
fish net knitting, hammocks (Pawley's
Island), joint grass dolls (for children),
wood carving and iron working. Some
of these crafts have begun to die out
now that few young people are interested
in learning them. The African style iron-
work went into eclipse under the impact
of legislation in favour of the newly
arrived German immigrant workers who
worked in cast iron instead of forged
iron. Economic, cultural, and social
pressures caused some of the crafts to
fall into disuse and the only practition-
ers left are older people in many cases.
Life for many Afro-Americans has been
uncertain enough so that treasuring ma-
terial goods has seemed pointless.

Techniques of Manufacture
The ladies in South Carolina use in
their quilts any cloth they can obtain -
old clothes, sewing scraps or material
bought by the yard. They mix velvet,
broadcloth, upholstery material, nylon,
batiste, twills, wools, rayon all in the
same quilt without regard to what will
wear well or endure washing. The sur-
face texture is quite varied on the quilts
where a variety of cloths are used.
Others, however, are very smooth as
the material used is uniform in surface
Generally speaking, the technique of
manufacture varies with each artist on
the South Carolinian quilts. Some ladies
take large to enormous stitches running
in lines across the whole quilt, some of
them 'set together' very carefully, but
the results are not square in all cases.
The border strips are sometimes wavy
and curvilinear on the edges around the
outside of the quilt. The edges of the
strips.making up the whole quilt top are
also wavy, though the smaller strips
themselves are basically rectilinear. Eco-
nomic determinism may be responsible
for noticeable differences in techniques
of quilt making: it is the question of
getting the quilt on to the bed in the
most expeditious manner which has
governed their manufacture among eco-
nomically disadvantaged groups.
The Islanders quilt for necessity's
sake. They gather in groups now, as
they used to do, to make a cooperative
venture and sell their quilts. Certainly
one of the chief motivations of these
groups is economic: the pattern might
be affected if the quilts are assembled
simply for economic reasons. However,
in noting the construction in some of
the 'strip' quilts, we see the same piece
of material cut in many strips in many




South Carolina, U.S.A. (detail).



South Caoia ..(eal..

*"W3E6MUC.. uueaeaeasuqgagua..,u.;.
ZII~U~~i~iiji gIg1?Iqgj115111115531g1

Quilt with large design units
(top) by A. Forman of Mt. Plea-
sant, South Carolina (from the
collection of Dr. Phyllis Martin,
Bloomington, Indiana), shows
similarities with Ewe Kente
cloth (left).

Applique quilt by Harriet Powers of Athens, Georgia, U.S.A., 1895 (in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution) is clearly related to the Fon
applique cloths of Benin, West Africa. (See illustration, opposite).

parts of the design to make the pattern
come out right. This is actualizing a
mental template, rather than simply
utilizing what comes to hand. I think we
can differentiate between the patch-
work quilt and the strip quilt; the first
being the economically determined quilt
and the second being a pattern in the
mental catalogue of patterns used by
these women.
The mini-unit of strip quilting is the
smallest strip which with many similar
strips makes the next largest construction
unit in the making of the pattern. This
next larger unit is also a 'strip'composed
of the mini units. These larger strips are
then assembled to complete the top.
Often a border is then added to increase
the area or to unify the whole quilt.
Sometimes part of the pattern will be a
unit from another design sequence usu-
ally used in the Anglo-American quilts,
part of a 'log cabin', or 'courthouse
steps'. This may be surrounded by pat-
tern units more typical of the Afro-
American groups and bordered in their
The Afro-Carolinian quilts have de-
sign units placed according to other
schemes of organization which show
that the centrality and balance in a four
square framework are not of maximum
importance to them. It seems possible
to project the idea that the design units

move on the quilt surface in a manner
which corresponds to the non-material
cultural emphasis mentioned above.
There are correspondences to the move-
ment in the design in Black American
folk music, e.g. the blues, jazz, rhythms,
gospel and so on. The evanescent forms
of their dance, song, verbal skills, etc.,
are here caught in material form. In
other words what we have here are
material culture traits produced by a
subculture whose emphasis is basically
non-material but nonetheless artistic.
Briefly, I would point out the corres-
pondence in the Anglo-American quilts
between the measured even designs and
the materialistic emphasis in the culture.
Also the analogy would extend to the
music of Euro-American groups and the
visual combinations of design elements
such as we see in the quilts. From a
Euro-American ethnocentric standpoint,
the Afro-American design is not design
or non-design. It is, however, organized
from completely different aesthetic con-
siderations and templates, it does not
conform to any sense of order but its
own, which clearly relates to the African
background. The undulating lines may
well be thought to correlate with the
indirection in personal contact as well
as the indirect modes of speech well
known in the Afro-American commu-

Cultural Influences
Some quilts made by Afro-Americans
are made in the Anglo-American style
just as some of the fine arts by Afro-
Americans are done in the Euro-Amer-
ican tradition. We are here discussing
Afro-American style quilts manufactured
by Afro-Americans working within their
own tradition. As with other aspects of
Afro-American culture we are concern-
ed with a phenomenon known nowhere
else the New World experience. The
quilts as a culture trait are European, no
doubt, but the pattern of the tops is
within the transatlantic continuum from
Africa to the Southeastern United
States. It is the combination that gives
us the uniqueness of Afro-American
New World autonomous cultural inte-
Moving beyond the dichotomies
offered by European and African culture
traits, we have considered the Afro-
American combination of these. We
have an example of recent culture con-
tact in some of the quilts from Johns
Island, South Carolina. Mennonites have
come to live on the island as part of a
missionary programme growing out of
the Mennonites' convictions against war
andtheir legitimate draft avoidance.Their
culture patterns in quilts conform to
Euro-American standards that were
mentioned earlier. Seeing the quilts of


-4 S

Applique hanging from Abomey, Benin.
Each figure symbolises another meaning that
has its roots in folklore and history. Compare
the figures with those in the Powers Quilt,

the islanders and not understanding
them, they gave the Island ladies in-
structions to help them learn to make
'proper' quilts, in their reckoning.
They gave the ladies cardboard pat-
terns so that centrally-oriented quatri-
foil flowers could be neatly appliqued
onto squares which were to be set to-
gether in four even rows to complete
the top pattern. Bits of cloth represent-
ing the centres of the flowers were to be
superimposed on the applique and yet
another smaller piece of cloth for the
stamens placed on top of that. The re-
sult is frozen culture shock. In one ex-
ample, three of the four rows are fair-
ly well lined up but in the next one, the
whole plan of the Mennonite girls has
gone astray and the culture of Johns
Island has reasserted itself.
These editing of the superimposed
designs from another culture are graphic
material examples of culture contact
which can be documented in the cir-
cumstances which brought them about.
Sometimes it is possible to define some
culture traits by what they are not, as
well as by what they are. Here we have
a unique opportunity to see both ex-
tremes and the combination and recom-
bination of these traits which express

the value systems of the people who
make them and their reaffirmation of
their African cultural heritage.
In the past the women of the island
used quilting frames as the Euro-
Americans to the Afro-Americans still
do.4 Now, however, they put the quilts
on the table; they also use the backs of
two chairs and, occasionally, a bed. The
women often work in isolation. A co-
operative has recently been started on
Johns Island under the influence of the
Mennonites and the sponsorship of the
Methodist church and they quilt to-
gether sometimes, but the ladies also con-
tinue to work on their own. They keep
the quilt tops in a stockpile sometimes
for years before they get a chance to
make them into whole quilts. They
leave the quilts to their daughters, but
if they get hard use they do not last in
the typically large families on the is-
Backing varies on the quilts; some of
them are quilt tops on both sides, which
may put them into the economically
determined category. Some are backed
with a muslin material called 'Sea Island'
from the cotton boom days. Rice bags


According to French Anthropologist
Paul Mercier:

The most refined products of the applique
technique come from Dahomey. Cutout pat-
terns, made of materials in contrasting colours,
are sewn on a solid-coloured fabric base. It
was a royal art, practiced in the capital of
Dahomey by only a few families who special-
ised in it. The finished products were reserved
for the King and for those dignitaries who
were allowed to use them. The art is now
commercialized and accessible to everyone.
The most remarkable works are the hangings
that used to decorate royal palaces. The back-
ground is black, white or gold, decorated with
motifs in vivid colours, with red, blue and
yellow predominating. They depict royal
names, sentences pronounced by the King
at his accession and on great occasions during
his reign, particularly military occasions ...
An entire pictorial language developed in this
fashion. These hangings provide a more com-
plete account of royal exploits than the briefer
records presented by the bas-relief in painted
clay. Every year, new tapestries were made
for royal ceremonial occasions. Applique
work was also used for other things as well:
parasols for the King and his dignitaries, regi-
mental banners, uniform hats, the hammocks
in which the King was carried and his sandals
were all decorated in this fashion. It is said
that maps of the districts where a campaign
was being planned were put together in the
same way, based on intelligence reports by
the King's spies. Unfortunately none of the
maps has been preserved.

were used in the past; that material is
not much rougher than the 'Sea Island'
and lasts very well. Yard goods purchased
from the stores in the cities or from
modern day pedlars who come around
to the remote island areas are also used.
The Sea Island strip quilt top patterns
seem to point to the area of Akan speak-
ers in Ghana in West Africa whereas
the Powers quilt applique work definite-
ly points to the Fon of Dahomey. I
believe this kind of folklife research has
implications for the eventual location of
origins of African descended peoples.
Just as linguists use linguistic cues to
guide them, so folklorists can also use
culture traits to guide them [Haley
1972]. Right now, we are building the
evidence to come to grips with such
enormous research problems. It is an
interesting and exciting speculation,
however, to think that our researches in
material and non-material culture traits
will eventually lead us in this direction.

Editor's note: In article and captions, Dahomey
and Benin are used interchangeably, the latter
being (since 1975) the name of the former.


1. Roger Abrahams, Paper delivered at African
Folklore Conference, Bloomington,
Indiana, 1970.
2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. See Peterkin [1927] Ch. VIII, "The
Quilting"; also, W. Saunders (personal


GEORGIA Council for the Arts and Humani-
ties, Missing Pieces: Georgia Folk Art
1770- 1976,1976.
HALEY, Alex,"My Furthest-Back-Person-the-
African", New York Times Magazine,
17 July 1972.
KENT, Kate P., Introducing West African
Cloth, DenverMuseumof Natural History,
Denver, Colorado, 1972.
PERRY, Reginia A., Selection of Nineteenth
Century Afro-American Art, The Metro-
politan Museum of Art, 1976.
PETERKIN, J., Black April, N.Y. 1927., XIII
"The Quilting".
THOMPSON, R.F., "African Influence on the
Art of the United States" in Robinson,
Foster, Ogilvie, Black Studies in the Uni-
versity, New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1969.
VLACH, John F., The Afro-American Tradi-
tion in Decorative Arts, The Cleveland
Museum of Art, 1978.
WRAGG-CHASE, Judith, Afro-American Art
and Craft, New York:Reinhold Van Nos-
trand, 1971.

Fresh Light


Spanish Jamaica

By David Buisseret

he study of Spanish Jamaica has not made much progress
in recent years, although two projects begun in 1981 -
the Government of Jamaica/Institute of Nautical Archae-
ology project at New Seville and the Government of Jamaica/
Spanish Archaeological Mission caraval project-will eventu-
ally yield a tremendous amount of knowledge in this area. So
far, however, the only substantial additions to our knowledge
of this period since the publication in 1952 of Morales
Padron's Jamaica Espanola, have been the article by H.P.
Jacobs called 'The Spanish period of Jamaican history'
[1959] and the relevant sections in S.A.G. Taylor's book on
The Western Design [1965]. Here and there, though, small
patches of evidence have been emerging, often informally,
and it is the object of the present article first to draw such

information together, and then to analyse a map preserved at
the Institute of Jamaica, which throws new light on some of
the problems surrounding the study of the Spanish settle-
ment at Sevilla Nueva St. Ann's Bay.
The new non-cartographic evidence falls into three groups:
buildings, jars and coins. Apart from the buildings found at
St. Ann's Bay in 1937 [See Cotter 1948, 1970], there have
been at least two discoveries at Spanish Town. The first was
in the cellars of King's House, where the limestone foundation-
walls date to the Audencia of the Spanish period. This investi-
gation was described by Duncan Mathewson [1972]; Philip
Mayes, in about 1970 showed me the hitherto unrecorded
site of a Spanish brick-kiln, on the western bank of the Rio
Cobre a little way north of the Public Works Department

yard. The bricks associated with it were clearly of the Spanish
type, but it lay right on the edge of the cliff above the river,
and since that time has fallen into the river-bed and so been
irretrievably lost.
Spanish Majolica-ware has been recovered not only from
the King's House site at Spanish Town, but also from the
Archives site there, as well as from White Marl and Windsor
Hole [Mathewson 1972 p.5]. Whole jars have been unearthed
in at least two places. In 1975, a cache of 14 'Spanish olive
jars', of the Spanish period, was found while a toilet pit was
being dug near the private Bailey's Beach at Yallahs; these
are now preserved at the National Museum of Historical
Archaeology at Port Royal. Also in that Museum is a fine
Bellarmine jug, possibly dating to the Spanish period, found
in 1969 between Fort Augusta and Port Henderson.
Whereas buildings and ceramics are often difficult to date,1
coins are usually relatively easy. It has long been known that
after heavy rains, coins from various periods had been re-
covered from the river-bed near the Iron Bridge in Spanish
Town. For obvious reasons, though, it was hard to know
exactly how many and what kinds of coins had been recover-
ed in this place; many are said to have dated from the Spanish
period. Better authenticated are two hoards found late in
1976 on Whim's Estate, St. Catherine, and on Sevens Estate,
Clarendon [Barker 1978, 1979]; these collections of copper
coins were no doubt buried by the Spaniards.
None of these minor finds of buildings, ceramics or coins
is out of line with what we know of the Spanish occupation
of Jamaica. The southern plains sustained a number of
ranches (Sevens, Whim's, White Marl and Yallahs), and it is
not surprising that we find artifacts either on them or near
Spanish Town and St. Ann's Bay (Windsor Hole). Much,
though, remains to be known about all these sites, and indeed
about the Spanish occupation in general. It is hoped that the
present archaeological programmes at New Seville and the
archival research in Spain will add greatly to the knowledge
One neglected source of information is the so-called 'survey
maps' at the Institute of Jamaica. They are arranged by
parish, and the 18th-century maps of St. Thomas, for instance,
frequently note a Spanish tavern at Yallahs (opposite the
present Anglican church), and a Spanish bridge on the
plain near Cow Bay. There is no doubt that a systematic
examination of these early maps coupled with archaeo-
logical investigation on the ground would increase our
knowledge about Spanish structures, which until now has
been limited to Spanish Town, St. Ann's Bay and parts of
the north coast.
One of these maps is particularly interesting for the in-
formation which it yields about the Spanish settlement at
Sevilla Nueva, the early 16th-century Spanish site popularly
known as 'Seville', near St. Ann's Bay. This map was drawn
in September 1792 for George Gairden, and shows 'Seville
plantation', which then belonged to the heirs of Samuel
Heming. The Heming family had long occupied the site,
as may be seen from the map of about 1700 reproduced
at the end of C.S. Cotter's article on 'Sevilla Nueva' [1970].
But whereas this early map is partially an oblique view,
without any pretension to close accuracy, the map of 1792
shows every sign of having been drawn with great care; there
are for instance dots at points along certain boundaries to
show where the surveyor's chain was run out. Unfortunately
it is very battered, and so hard to reproduce.2 Plate 1 was



By Edward Seaga
The origins, organization
and practices of Pocomania
and Revival Zion cultists.
Based on sociological field
research undertaken by
Mr. Seaga in the 1950s, the
S,, findings are still valid and
make fascinating reading.
his attractive volume with
full colour cover contains
Mr. Seaga 's article
"Revival Cults in Jamaica:
Notes Towards a Sociology
of Religion" and his prize-
winning poem "Rivermaid",
as well as Olive Lewin 's
notes on "Cult Music "
Osmond Watson's original
drawings of Revival
S worshippers and practice
Help to make this publication
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therefore prepared to show the map's principal features; this
plate is an accurate tracing of its main outlines, and includes
as well its building-sites and place-names. It has been oriented
to the north; the original has the south (roughly) at the top.
The general outline of the area is easy to discern, parti-
cularly if we read this map in conjunction with the view of
1700. To the north is of course the sea; the 1700 map shows
the enclosing reef, but our 1792 version, which is primarily
an estate-map, omits that. A little way inland is the main
east-west road, running from the barracks in the east to the
parson's house in the west, a distance of about a mile and a
quarter. Three rivers snake down from the hills, and two of
them are named. Almost in the centre of the map is the
cross-roads where the road from Seville wharf crosses the
main east-west road, and then runs southwards towards the
water-mill. East of the mill are the 'ruins of a Spanish church',
and south of it are the 'negroe houses' and the Seville great
house. Then away towards the north-west are the 'parson's
house', the church, and 'Banks' works'.
In order to analyse this map, we have to compare it close-
ly with a modern map of the same area, in this case the one
drawn by the Survey Department about 1970 at 1:12,500.
As it happened, my photographic print of the 1792 map was
scaled at 1:12,940, so that only a relatively small adjustment
was necessary on the Plan-Variograph to bring the two maps
into the same scale. Plate 2 reflects this adjustment, which
was carried out using Seville great house, the cross-roads, and
the north-western church as the reference-points.
It will be noticed that in many respects the maps fit
together very closely; in particular, the line of the roads
meeting at the cross-roads is virtually identical, and the lines

of the river-beds correspond closely. The name of the 'Negro
River' has remained unchanged, and it is easy to see from
the 1792 map why 'Church River' and 'Parson's Gully' have
been so named. The court-house now occupies the approxi-
mate site of the barracks, and the southern tavern could
probably still be traced by the road. The site of the northerly
tavern, which stood by the waterfront, was no doubt ob-
scured when the seaside bypass was built (after our map of
1970), but the fort still.survives; after being used as a jail and
then as a slaughter-house, it is now in private hands.
In the central area, the great house and water-mill are still
easily identifiable, and these enable us to plot with precision
the 'ruins of a Spanish church', which indeed are at the end
of the meadow running westwards from the new Catholic
church (marked 'modern church'). In his article on the
church, Father Osborne [1974] suggested that it was an ob-
long structure running east and west. On the 1792 map, it
is carefully drawn as an octagon, though it may be that by
then there was not enough of it left for the surveyor to assess
its true shape. The map of 1700 seems to show it as a little
square building, but this is probably a conventional repre-
sentation, without much reference to what was actually
To the north of the cross-roads now lies the archaeo-
logical site; the buildings here are not of course shown on the
1792 map, as they were then still buried. North again of this
site is a featureof the greatest interest, which is that the shore-
line has apparently advanced by some 130 yards over that
band of the coast. No doubt this is because many little
streams constantly bring silt down from the higher ground,
and from time to time the Church River floods the entire

site, again leaving a layer of silt. If this rate of advance has
been roughly constant in historic times, it would mean that
about 1500 the shore-line was about 350 yards south of
where it now is.3 It would also mean that the castle was
quite close to the shore, and that if the ships of Columbus,
beached in 1503, are to be found here, it will be necessary
to look for them not by sea,4 but some way inland and
some way under ground.
In the north-west corner of the map, the most interesting
feature is the Priory church, for the parson's house and
Banks' works have apparently disappeared. The church is a
ruinous brick structure of great interest, with substantial
stones embedded in it. No doubt some of these stones came
from the Spanish site. In his article on the 'Spanish church',
Father Osborne has already related how part of the 16-century
inscription was found embedded in the walls of the old fort,
down by the sea. There surely is a good chance that the rest
of the inscription, as well as other interesting stones5, may
be found either in the walls of the fort, or in those of the
Priory church.


1. This difficulty is well illustrated by Goodwin's book [1946].
2. It was stored in the drawer "Hanover 10", where Dr-Higman
brought it to my attention.

3. This calculation, rough as it is, gives the same result as a pre-
liminary comparison between survey-maps of different periods
preserved in the 'St. Ann' drawer of the institute's collection.

4. This was where Robert Marx believed that he had located them;
see his 'Discovery of two ships of Columbus' [1968].

5. Father Osborne and the present author have written a short
survey of the'Stones of Seville' [1977].

COTTER, C.S., "The Discovery of the Spanish Carvings at Seville",
The Jamaican Historical Review, Vol. 1 No. 3, Dec. 1948.
"Seville Nueva: The Story of an excavation", Jamaica Journal,
Vol. 4 No. 2, June 1970.

BARKER, Robert, "'New' Jamaican Counterstamps",Spink's Numis-
matic Circular, June 1978.
"The Counterstamped four Jamaican Spanish maravedis",
Jamaica Journal, No. 43, 1979.

GOODWIN, William B., Spanish and English ruins in Jamaica, Boston:
Meador Publishing Co., 1946.
JACOBS, H.P., "The Spanish Period of Jamaican History", The
Jamaican Historical Review, Vol. 1 No. 3 March 1959.
MARX, Robert, "Discovery of Two ships of Columbus", Jamaica
Journal, Vol. 2 No. 4, Dec. 1968.
MATHEWSON, Duncan, "History from the Earth: archaeological ex-
cavations at Old Kings House", Jamaica Journal, Vol. 6 No. 1,
March 1972.
OSBORNE, Fr. Francis J., "Spanish Church at St. Ann's Bay",
Jamaica Journal, Vol. 8 No. 2 and 3, 1974.
- and BUISSERET, David, "The Stones of New Seville" (St.
Ann's Bay), Jamaican Historical Society Bulletin, Vol. 7 nos
3 and 4, Sept-Dec. 1977.
PADRON, Morales, Jamaica Espanola, Seville: Escuela de studios
Hispano-americanos de Sevilla, 1952.
TAYLOR, S.A.G., The Western Design, Kingston: Institute of Jamaica
and Jamaican Historical Society, 1965.

Historical Sketch of Hellshire Hills
AD 1200-1600

The genesis of this paper arose from a document produced in 1978
which attempted to awaken in the Urban Development Corporation
(UDC) and its subsidiary the Hellshire Bay Development Company
(HBDCo) a cultural-historical awareness of the area slated for develop-
ment so as not to repeat the destruction of the 'soul' of this area as
has happened in Downtown Kingston and Montego Bay. At about the
same time, a group of concerned natural scientists were producing an
ecological study of the area. Fortunately for all concerned, a positive
response was immediately forthcoming from both development

In 1979 an archaeological research programme executed by the
Director of the Port Royal Project (of the Jamaica National Trust
Commission/Institute of Jamaica) was sponsored by the HBDCo at
Fort Johnston and Johnston's House site. (The reports of these two
excavations by the present author, are in their final stages of public-
ation). In the same year, the development of the Two Sisters Arawak
cave commenced. The next phase, the model Arawak Village, will
follow in the near future. In the near future also,a Museum of Defence
at Fort Johnston will be developed.

The following presents basic data on all known prehistoric and
historic sites on land and underwater and a brief reconstruction of the
history of the area, based mainly on these data.

he area was first settled in about AD 1200 by Arawak
groups probably migrating from White Marl via Ferry
site, but was never heavily populated within the period.
A close analysis of the Arawak cultural assemblages of the
White Marl, Ferry and Hellshire Hills sites shows an internal
cultural continuity through the various identifiable phases
with reference to the White Marl phases c. 3000 BC-AD 1600
and which are very different from the more northerly St.
Catherine assemblages at Dover, Mt. Rosser, Mahoe Ridge,
Marlie Mount, Colbeck, Mountain River, Byndloss Mountain
and Worthy Park. Within the century AD 1200-1300 at least
three village sites Naggo Head, Great Salt Pond and Great
Goat Island have been identified, as well as the Two Sisters
petroglyph cave. The total population for all those settle-
ments was probably 200-300 people, subsisting on seafood
and small plot agriculture. The penetration to Great Goat
Island suggests that while these settlements might have begun
as seasonal camps for White Marl settlers, by the end of this
first century they were also permanent habitats. This is
further indicated by the petroglyph cave; the necessity for a

By G.A. Aarons


dernon HARB01


,A VT *

*AV ?


spiritual repository could only have resulted from such
This population figure probably held firm until the early
post-Columbian period as the cruder assemblages found at
the Port Henderson Hill, Rodney House and Wreck Point
sites testify. The Spanish occupation of the Passage Fort and
Port Esquivel areas in the early 16th century as well as their
later involvement at St. Jago de la Vega, is evidenced by
significant changes, particularly in the clay assemblages at
White Marl, i.e. water jar necks, handles on vessels, mugs and
cups instead of goblets and more and more stylized and
cruder ceramic typological and taxonomic samples. This too
is reflected from the assemblages from the Rodney House
and Wreck Point sites. The area was probably significantly
depopulated by AD 1550 and the next reference is not until
the mid-17th century.
AD 1600-1700
Because of its relative inhospitability, the area was prob-
ably little used during this century, except perhaps by travel-
lers going to or from Port Esquivel and Spanish Town via
Passage Fort. Shortly after Penn and Venables' adventure in
Jamaica, Ysassi, the last Spanish governor and the Spaniards

who elected to remain with him, joined ranks with Juan de
Bolas (Lubolo), the famous Maroon chieftain, to harrass the
early English attempts at colonization between AD 1655-65
and were particularly active in the Spanish Town area. It is
also recorded that Ysassi used to spy on the operations at
Port Royal from a vantage point in the Hellshire Hills in
order to send intelligence information to the Viceroy in
Santo Domingo. It is probable, therefore, that a Spanish
camp was established in the area to act as a way-station
between the main camps in north-east Clarendon and the
ports in south-western and south-eastern St. Catherine as
well as the developing Spanish Town settlement [Taylor

AD 1700-1800
The repopulation of the Hellshire Hills area did not come
about until after the 1721/22 hurricane which finally sealed
Port Royal's fate as the major Jamaican city [Pawson and
Buisseret 1975] and when Spanish Town and its environs
began to be developed. Indeed, the first settlements of any
note do not date before 1740. But by 1752, Fort Augusta,
the Apostles' Battery, Ramage's Old House, Brodbelt's and
Ridley's had probably all been constructed to further protect

the harbour and house families willing to establish themselves
with cattle farms and indigo works on the hardy terrain.
By 1790, Rodney's Lookout and House, Port Henderson
village and naval station, Green Castle, Fort Clarence,
Drudge's Folly, Fort Johnston, Johnston's House, Fort Small,
Morris's, Walker's, the Hunt's Bay settlement, Lime Kilns,
Deans Settlement, Harvey's wharf and house, Hay's and the
Little Goat Island settlement had all been established.
By this time, the area would have assumed a fresh import-
ance with the Port Henderson port replacing Passage Fort
[Black 1970] as the harbour for Spanish Town. In addition,
the protective grid-iron of six forts suggests that the interests
invested in cattle farming, indigo works, salt works and agri-
culture, as well as other industries were significant. The 18th
century was the period of Jamaica's great importance and
pre-eminence in sugar production, and by this time the slave
trade and slavery in Jamaica was at its zenith. The population
of the area probably numbered some 400 full-time military
personnel [Campbell, Map], some 2,000 Europeans, and pro-
bably at least as many Africans in bondage. However, by
1774 there were also free stave settlements as attacks against
them by the British militia with Maroon help were recorded.

AD 1800-1900
The declining importance of Spanish Town and the in-
creasing importance of the growing Kingston settlement and
port together with the emancipation exercise of 1834 pro-
bably.sounded the death knell for Hellshire Hills as an import-
ant settlement area and of Port Henderson as a port. Indeed,
in the 19th century the only known construction of signi-
ficance in the area was the building of Fort Deanery in c.1800
and the salt works at Wreck Point. The earthquake in 1907
and hurricanes in 1812, 1818, 1822, 1843, 1851, 1873,
1880 and 1887 all did fair to extensive damage in the area
and probably prevented restoration of the region to anything
approaching its 18th century vitality.
Location of Study Area
The area covered in this paper spans roughly 100 square
miles of marine and terrestrial deposits. It is therefore almost
twice as large as the area known as Hellshire Hills which
comes under the aegis of the Hellshire Bay Development
Company Ltd. It may, for the purposes of this paper, be
divided into three geographical zones:

Zone One Port Henderson Zone: A rough triangle c.20
square miles bordered by Dawkins Pond at one
apex, to the east, Green Bay to the south and the
northernmost meander of Salt Island Creek to the

Zone Two Hellshire Hills Zone: All the area south of Salt
Island Creek, including the two Goat Islands, i.e. from
Green Bay in the east to the junction of Salt Island
Creek and Black River to the west, and Green Bay to
Galleon Harbour to the west;approximately 55square

Zone Three Marine Zone: A marine area c. 25 square miles
bounded by Green Bay to the north, Needles Cay
at south centre and Careening Cay to the east.
The list of sites which follows will be divided according to
these zones where possible; any whose location is still obscure

will be so described and will be provisionally placed in what
appears to be the most appropriate zone, based on the
known data.

List of Sites
Prehistoric: Arawak
Zone One

/ Port Henderson Hill Sites
Several middens were discovered by R.R. Howard in 1948
[Howard 1950] behind the ruins of the 18th century Port
Henderson. On this low lying ridge with heavy scrub vege-
tation and large limestone formations, were found middens
about a mile from the coastline and approximately a mile to
the northwest of the historic town. The ridge top allows a
fine view of Kingston harbour. The deposits were mainly
thickly scattered with one complex cluster in a latter day
artificial depression which was, in places, 18" thick.
The artifactual materials included:

(a) Strombus shells with holes in their lips
(b) Sharp pointed awls/picks made from conch shells
(c) Low percentage of ceramics which were generally
crude with a high marl content. The types found in-
1. Plain wares with flowering tipped handles
2. Rim sherds with dot incision
3. Large griddle fragments

(d) Large quantity of madrepore coral fragments with little
sign of utilization
(e) Two rough greenstone celts
(f) A few flint chips

Store: IJ/White Marl
Date: Early 16th Century A D
Interpretation: Small village site occupied relatively briefly. The
general crudeness of the assemblage suggests the typical cultural
disruption caused by Spanish incursion, but a pre-A D 1530 date is
implied as the absence of round handles etc., suggest that this site is
probably pre-urban Villa de la Vega (Spanish Town) or the developed
Port Esquivel settlement (c.1519). This is therefore part of the early
post-Columbian Arawak phase.

II Rodney House Site

Lt.-Com. J. Tyndale-Biscoe in the early 1950s reported a
midden-site here, within the near vicinity of Rodney's Look-
out, which would make it c.1 /2 miles northwest of Port Hen-
derson Village and c.2 miles from the sea. The deposits re-
present a thin scatter amidst heavy scrub vegetation and lime-
stone outcroppings. The assemblage is crude and sparse with
similar characteristics to the above. Excavations were done
by John Wilman of the Jamaica Archaeological Society in
1978-9 [Wilman 1978] who on the basis of the absence of
filletted rims (White Marl Type) proposed that the site was
earlier than the basal levels of White Marl. This conclusion
is not supported by the present author.

Store: IJ/White Marl
Date: Early 16th Century AD (early post-Columbian Arawak Phase)
Interpretation: Settlement of a few houses with only a brief occu-

Fort Johnston. Inner wall prior to March 1979 excavation exercise.

/// Naggo Head Sites
Various midden sites and a child's burial were located here in
1972-3 by members of the Jamaica Archaeological Society
[Lee et al. 1972]. These sites are located some three miles
south-west of Port Henderson and about a mile north-west
of Green Bay, therefore approximately two miles from the
sea. The deposits here are less superficial than the sites already
described, and although the assemblage could be described as
Developed Arawak, the overall character is refined. Among
the artifacts were beads (chalcedony, volcanic glass, marble)
and one was made from limestone and is similar to that
found at the Marlie Mount site. The'child's burial was a typi-
cal midden or paene-midden burial: shallow, flexed, flatten-
ed skull oriented towards the east etc., with no burial goods.
This was found in 1973.

Store: IJ/White Marl
Date: c.AD 1200-1300
Interpretation: Medium sized village site, which may represent a
seasonal sea-fishing adjunct for the Developed Arawak cultures at
White Marl as there is much similarity to contemporaneous White
Marl artifacts types. The fact of the child's burial, the size of the
settlement and the nature of the material all reflect a fairly long

IV Great Salt Pond Site

This Arawak midden site located around the north-eastern

end of the Great Salt Pond about one-half mile from Fort
Clarence was found by Dr. J. Lee of the Jamaica Archaeo-
logical Society in 1970 [Lee 1970]. The site's main char-
acter was the preponderance of large marine gastropods
which included three species of strombus all of which were
perforated for use. The cultural assemblage could be described
as Developed Arawak, but the overall volume is low. This site
produced an assemblage very similar in character to that of
the Naggo Head Site but probably represents a much smaller
marine fishing settlement.
Store: IJ/White Marl
Date: AD 1250-1300
Interpretation: Settlement of a few houses but with a fairly well
established occupation which may be a little later than" the Naggo
Head Settlement.

Zone Two
Hellshire Hills Zone

/ Two Sisters Cave Site
About one-half mile west of Louzy Bay (Engine Head Bay)
is this large limestone sink hole with two cave entrances lead-
ing to fresh water. Reported in 1968 by Alan Teulon [Teulon
1968] the fresh water pools are fished with fairly large
species of river bass. Within the cave and within easy reach of
the southerly or rear entrance is the only petroglyph site yet




Pa.g. F-,; ;Hunts
S P..g. Fort Ht W76050

larendon Gully Coleburns Gully
ar Port
SOLD --.Compeachy Gully Port
Salt Is Creek .
SOld Harbour Bay 6port Clarence
G3 I 19 rhsh4. 9iraHat B
G ly 20 alt Island H c 1 Heathshire Bay
Little 19Lagn Hamoon Bay
o &~p\cSw V LOuzy Bay
Grea M %Asv.od
Goat 1. 23
S1 24 1 Healthshire Pt.
S715 14 13 Wreck Bay
Long I. Carbaritta Point Wreck Pt.
S V PPolink Pt.
Need s Old House Pt.
Manatee Bay
Conquar Bay

Pigeon Coleman's Bay
?Plgeon I.
Walkers Bay
Long Bay

(Sites listed in order of discussion in text)
3. Rodney's Look-out 17. Lime Kilns
4. Port Henderson 18. Ridley's Settlement
Port Henderson Hill Sites 5. Green Castle Ruins 19. Fort Deanery
Rodney House Site 6. Fort Clarence 20. Dean's House and Settlement
Naggo Head Sites 7. Drudge's Folly 21. Harvey's Wharf & House
Great Salt Pond Site 8. Fort Johnston 22. Hay's House
Two Sisters Cave Site 9. Ramage's Old House & Ancillary Buildings 23. Little Goat Island House
Wreck Point Sites 10. Johnston's House 24. Maroon & Slave Camps
Great Goat Island Sites 11. Fort Small
12. Salt Works Marine
Historical (Structural) 13. Brodbelt's
14. Morris's House A. Half Moon Bay Sites
1. Fort Augusta 15- Walkers Old House B. Hellshire Bay Sites
2. Apostle's Battery 16. Hunt's Bay Settlement C. Needles Point Site
N 17*40' N I1740'
W 76050 W 770'

(Illustration by Susan Judah from David Buisseret, The Fortifications of Kingston, 1655-1914, Jamaica: Bolivar Press, 1971).

recorded in the Hellshire area (under study) and one of the
four thus far found in St. Catherine parish, the others being
at White Marl, Mountain River and Byndloss Mountain. Like
all the other petroglyph and/or pictograph caves (except
White Marl) this cave contains no cultural material whatsoever.
The petroglyph is a deeply incised Arawak adult face, sex in-
Store: On Site
Date: AD 1200
Interpretation: Neither the pre-Columbian Arawak phase (c.AD
1300-1500) nor the post-Columbian Arawak phase AD 1500-1600
has ever been found with occurrences of petroglyphs. In the absence
of any related cultural material, this site may be dated to the begin-
ning of the Developed Arawak phase, i.e. AD 1200. The face, how-
ever, is a lot more figurative than the presumed earlier carvings
found elsewhere in the parish.

II Wreck Point Site
About one mile north west of Wreck Point some 130' above
sea level Alan Teulon in 1968 [Teulon 1968] found a midden
site. This was located in an area of light grass cover on lime-
stone and was spread over several acres of almost superficial
strata. The ceramic part of the assemblage was crude and was
composed of poor clay with a high proportion of marl. A
few boat-shaped vessel fragments and griddle sherds were
found. There was an abundance of a variety of shells, inclu-
ding conch and strombus.

Store: IJ/White Marl
Date: Early A D 16th C.
Interpretation: Medium sized temporary settlement which is prob-
ably contemporaneous with Port Henderson Hill and Naggo Head
sites noted above. Early post-Columbian Arawak phase.

/// Great Goat Island Sites
At least three sites have been noted on this island: two
midden sites which may actually be the same occurrence and
a cave site. Midden site No. 1 is reported in Duerden [1897] ;
this is shown on a map of the island. No other information
is given. Midden site No. 2 was reported by C.B. Lewis in the
late 1940s on the south west side of this coral island some
150' up the slope. The artifactual assemblage included many
pot sherds and a large number of griddle fragments. The
Duerden find was erroneously placed on Little Goat Island
by Philip Sherlock [1939].
A deep cave was discovered in the 1890s by Leo Verley and
is reported by Duerden [1897]. The contents included a
large oval-shaped vessel with anthropomorphic decorated
lugs which contained a flattened skull of an adolescent and
two fragments of long bones. Although there are other caves
on the island, a careful investigation by C.B. Lewis in the
1940s revealed no other utilized by the Arawaks.

Store: IJ/White Marl
Date: AD 1200-1300
Interpretation: Small to medium sized settlement which was probably
fairly permanent. The Developed Arawak phase is suggested by the
general character of the ceramic assemblages.

Historical Sites (Structural)
Zone One
1 Fort Augusta
The rapid growth of Kingston in the 18th century indicated
that a fortification was necessary for this section of its north
western approach. Thus in 1740 construction was begun at
Mosquito Point of a fort but this was blown down in 1744
during a storm. Work on the present fort was commenced in

I shows the ruins in the early 1960s.
Green~i CateHuePr edro tp-ery2t etr ht)fre
resienc of Colne Joh Hedro wh aeth otI aePot tlf
shows~--' theruis n te erl 1 0s

1753. On this marshy mangrove-covered-spit of land it was
necessary to put long palmetto logs far down into the sub-
soil to support the substantial structure proposed. By 1755,
this structure was almost completed and was able to mount
80 large guns. Maj.-Gen. Campbell's plan of 1782 shows also
a navy magazine and a large rampart to the west which cuts
right across the spit. Inside the fort itself were 10 structures
which housed the fort's defenders and munitions. In 1757,
Long reported [Long 1774] that the fort housed 86 guns, a
large magazine, a house for the commandant, barracks for
300 soldiers, with additional offices and casements. The
final plan was for the fort to house 116 guns. The fort also
contained a hospital. On 13 September 1782, the magazine
with 300 barrels of powder blew up, causing much damage.
Although many of the ancillary buildings within Fort
Augusta burnt down [Cundall 1915], their foundations are
still visible. The fort has been used since the 1920s as a
prison and was taken over by the Jamaica Prisons Department
in 1954 [Buisseret and Tyndale-Biscoe 1960]. The fort is
listed on the Jamaica National Trust Commission (JNTC)
monuments list.

State of preservation: Fair but there are some large cracks on the
southern ramparts.

II Apostles' Battery
War between the European powers in 1740 (War of the
Austrian Succession) forced the necessity for additional forti-
fications on the west side of Kingston harbour. One suitable
site was a small but steep promontory between Port Henderson
and Green Bay, and some time in the mid 1740s a line of 12
guns nine 42-pounders and three 32-pounders was erect-
ed. The battery is not documented historically until 1753 (in

the House of Assembly Journal) but it was probably erected
in 1746 when the Assembly is recorded as spending nearly
9,000 on fortification of the island. Later, in 1757, a stone
parapet was constructed and behind it, a paved platform.
Finally, a cistern with capacity for 3,000 gallons of water
was constructed. The cost of construction was in the vicinity
of 1,500. The structures were built by Africans under the
instructions of the King's Engineer. The Africans in bond-
age were hired from planters or were borrowed for the job
from detention centres or houses of correction in Kingston
and Spanish Town. The stone used in the construction came
from nearby quarries on Port Henderson Hill. Also called the
Twelve Apostles, this battery was manned until 1815. Many
of the ancillary buildings were destroyed when a gun emplace-
ment was put on the same site after 1900. The only surviving
remains are the outlines of the original paved platform and
the small magazines on the hill behind the battery. Various
French brass pieces dated c.1740 were removed from the
battery by Mr. T.A.L. Concannon in 1972: one is now
mounted at Port Royal and two others at Devon House.
These are thought to have been placed at the battery by
Rodney after the 1782 Battle of the Saints [Wilmot 1975;
Buisseret 1967; Martin 1893]. This is listed on the JNTC
monuments list.
State of preservation: More or less ruinate but sections are still iden-
/// Rodney's Look-out, Grass-piece Look-out/Rodney's
Admiral George Rodney was in charge of the British fleet
and naval station between 1771-4. While in Jamaica, he
caused two structures to be built on the Port Henderson
Hill: The first was a residential house, some 600' up slope

;.t '~r


~-sr c
ru~` ~~~Cr'
'r 6

and to the west of Port Henderson village. Attainable by a
bridle path, this was a typical Jamaican Georgian vernacular
structure with a surrounding verandah around a large central
room, with columns made from brick and mortar and
bounded by a large wall. The second structure was located
some 1400' away, further upslope (c.500' above sea level) to
the west. This is Rodney's Grass Piece Look-out, constructed
from cut stone and mortar. It was a semi-circular tower with
a flight of steps leading to the viewing platform. Both house
and look-out were badly damaged in the 1907 earthquake
[Cundall 1915; JNTC 1975].

Listed on the JNTC monuments list.
State of Preservation: Ruinate but highly identifiable.

IV Port Henderson Buildings: Rodney's Arms, Chapel, the
Long house, Studio Cottage No. 1 and Studio Cottage No. 2
(Two Sisters), and the 'Weekend Gallery' building.
Port Henderson which now consists of six restored buildings,
was named after John Henderson, a militia colonel, who was
active in Jamaica in 1784. The port was established in the
late 18th century as an accommodation for the large ships at
the time as the facilities then available at Port Royal and
Passage Fort were inadequate. Also called for a short time
'New Brighton', this pleasant port, 13 miles south-west of
Kingston and some six miles east of Spanish Town, capital of
Jamaica till 1872, was soon developed into a small township
consisting of many cutstone and shingle-roofed Georgian
vernacular structures (Kidd's sketch in 1848 shows some 18
buildings) scattered on the flat and on the lower ridges of the
Port Henderson Hill. These buildings included a tavern (now
used as a chapel), a warehouse (now called the Longhouse),
an old water police station (now 'Rodney's Arms') and the
'Two Sisters Cottages', summer houses until 1914. These
buildings, plus another erected upon sturdy foundations
were restored and reconstructed by the JNTC in 1971-5
[JNTC 15].
In 1801, the then Governor, General George Nugent and
his wife, of the famous Journal, often visited the area which
by then had many warehouses, shops and storerooms for the
sugar trade [Wright 1966]. Some time later, a mineral spring
was discovered nearby and the port also became a health
resort and was so used up to 1951 when the cavern contain-
ing the mineral pool was damaged by Hurricane Charlie.
Stock was also pastured on the nearby hill, and ground
provisions grown. At the end of the 19th century, the stand-
ing buildings were used as a temporary laboratory for marine
zoology by American students from Johns Hopkins Univer-
sity. The 1907 earthquake and the 1951 hurricane both did
considerable damage to the area.
The restored buildings have been used by the former
Jamaica National Trust Commission as a mini-resort area and
a gallery of artwork by budding Jamaican artists [JNTC 1975] .
They are listed on the JNTC monuments list.
State of Preservation: Excellent.

V Green Castle (Ruin)
This is located 200' upslope on a ridge of Port Henderson
Hill almost directly north of 'Rodney's Arms'. This is a small
late-18th century fortified house which is now a ruin as it
was badly damaged by the 1907 earthquake. Little is known
about its history but it is presumed to date from much the
same time as Fort Johnston as the construction and type of

stone are very similar, i.e. c.1787. It is listed on the JNTC
monuments list.
State of preservation: Ruinate
VI Fort Clarence
On the eastern end of Green Bay and close to the estuary of
Great Salt Pond with Kingston Harbour, this late 18th century
fortification was little more than a rectangular block-house
which probably mounted less than a dozen guns. This prob-
ably also dated to c.1787. Much damage was done to it in
the 1907 earthquake but a fair amount of it was still standing
in 1915 [Cundall 1915, Aarons 1978]. It is listed on the
JNTC monuments list.
State of preservation: Ruinate
VII Drudge's Folly
This is located on the north-west side of Port Henderson
Hill. The Journals of the House of Assembly for 17 April
1744 note that this property was owned by a Mr. John
Drudge. It is presumed that a house must once have been lo-
cated on this property, but this structure or its remains have
not been recorded on the ground by the author. The location
is presumed to be one-half mile north-west of Rodney's
VIII Fort Johnston
This fort is located on a sharp rise, about 11/ miles south
west of Fort Clarence and on the eastern edge of the Great
Salt Pond. It was erected on land purchased for the purpose
from one Johnston of the area. A fair-sized rectangular
structure, the fort mounted some two dozen guns and was
probably in a fair state of preservation until the 1907 earth-
quake. In 1974, in an attempt to remove some of the
cannons to Up Park Camp for the Military Museum there, the
JDF damaged the fort's walls. Despite Teulon's (following
Buisseret [1967] ) dating of the fort to 1787 [Teulon 1968],
the 1979 research here coupled with further historical
review, would suggest a date of c.1750. This is listed on the
JNTC monuments list.

State of Preservation: Standing foundation up to original height but
much damaged.

IX cf. Ramage's Old House and Ancillary Buildings

Located on a small peninsula between Hellshire and Half
Moon bays, this is a ruin of a two-storey dwelling 30' x 20'.
In addition, there is a small outbuilding with walls 15-20 ft.
high which is connected to the main building on the east
wing by a raised walkway and which also has a flight of
steps which leads towards a second outbuilding with an oven.
This might have been a laundry and a kitchen house. On
Smellie's boundary plan of 1783 a building on the same site
is recorded as above. Harrison's plan of 1869 describes a
'Healthshire house' and Pomeroy's 1915 Kingston plans refer
to a 'Leper's Asylum'.
An earlier reference to a Ramage in 1744 [Journal of the
Assembly of Jamaica, 17 April 1744] as being involved in an
enquiry regarding the property of John Drudge around Port
Henderson Hill suggests that this house was established even
then. Since the 1783 description of the building includes the
appendage 'Old House', some antiquity is suggested. The date
of construction may well be c.1740 and is certainly pre-
1783. The fact that this house is described as 'Healthshire
House' in 1869 and that 'Healthshire' is one of the names

-1 Johnston's house site (left) and a
- view from the west (above) before
it was damaged by contractors in
S June 1979.

R L.' '-.

given to the whole area, again suggests that it was well
enough known and old enough to be given the same name
as the whole area. As Teulon points out [1968], the 1915
reference to a 'Leper Asylum' is puzzling but may well refer
to another building nearby.
State of preservation: Substantial ruin.

X cf. Johnston's House

Located about one-half mile north-west of Half Moon Bay,
this is a ruin of a small building measuring 23' x 13' with 1'
thick walls which extend to 10' high. A little way from the
ruin are two stone pillars about 10' high which are 10' apart.
This is shown on Gould's map [1772] and on Harrison's
[1869] plan. This is indeed a very small structure which may
not have been a dwelling house but a tavern or a cattle-farmer's
outpost. The two pillars may well be all that remains of a
boundary fence, gate, or a cow or horse shed. The ex-
cavations in mid- and late- 1979 suggest that this was a small
plantation, occupied in the second quarter of the 18th

century with a sizeable slave settlement [Aarons, Johnston's
House 1980].
State of preservation: Substantial ruin.
XI cf. Fort Small? : House site
On a peninsula between Half Moon Bay and Louzy Bay
(Engine Head Bay) this may or may not be the Fort Small
listed by the JNTC. It is shown as a fort on Harrison's 1869
map. Teulon was unable to find it during his 1967 survey
[1968] but located nearby a crumbled wall structure of
some 30' x 30' which roughly corresponds to a reference on
Smellie's 1783 plan described as 'site of intended house'.
These two structures may therefore be equivalent if the fort
was just a blockhouse or a covered battery.

State of preservation: extensive ruin.
XII cf. Salt works

Located one-half mile east of Wreck Point along the coast, is a
stone-wall, around a flat area of approximately one acre in
each direction except to the south; the wall is 2' high on the

landward side and varies to 6' high near the water's edge. On
the sea is an old deserted jetty covered over by mangrove
growth. Outside the east wall are the remains of a concrete
barbeque-like structure. Wyld's 1843 map of Jamaica shows a
'salt works' and the standing ruins roughly correspond to
this. The best date therefore is pre-1843 but the use of
concrete paving makes an early 19th century date almost
State of preservation: substantial ruin to ruinate
XIII cf. Brodbelt's or Cushoe Grove
About one mile north of Wreck Point is the substantial ruin
of a dwelling house with ancillary buildings and a nearby
grove of cashew trees. Gould's map [1772] describes a
reference 'Brodbelt's' and nearby 'Cushoe Grove'. Robert-
son's County of Middlesex map [1804] noted an 'Ogborn's.
A Royal Gazette of 24 June 1780 advertises "Land known as
Wreck Bay .. conveniently situated for the making of white
lime, catching of fish and supplying of Kingston and Port
Royal with wood. There is on the premises a large dwelling
house with a most complete set of out offices, all built of
stone . ." on behalf of the owner Daniel Brodbelt, son of
Francis Rigby Brodbelt (1771-1827) medical practitioner of
Spanish Town and Member of Council. Although other in-
formation is available on the Brodbelt family in Mozley's
"Letter to Jane from Jamaica" [Mozley 1939] the house is
not referred to. Since the structure is referred to as Brodbelt's
one year after F.R Brodbelt is born, it is safe to assume that
the house was occupied and/or constructed by his ante-
cedents. A likely date of construction may well be 1740.
Since it is unlikely that the area was much occupied between
1655 and 1721-2, the date of the terrible Port Royal hurri-
cane of the time, it is likely that Brodbelt's and Ramage's
(mentioned earlier) were among the earliest dwellings estab-
lished there.
State of preservation: substantial and extensive ruin.
XIVcf. Morris's House
Located on the east coast of Manatee Bay about one-half
mile north of Old House Point, this consists of two buildings,
one of which may have been a dwelling house, and the other,
a vat or a kiln. The Salt Island estate plan of 1779 has this
reference and shows a track leading to a house from Salt
Island Lagoon. Smellie and Innes's 1784 plan of Deanery
plantation shows 300 acres of land at the east end of Salt
Island Lagoon as belonging to John and Sarah Morris. Ad-
jacent land is shown as belonging to the heirs of William
Morris on an undated portion of a boundary plan. The best
date which can be placed on these structures therefore is
State of preservation: Substantial ruins.
XV cf. Walker's Old House or houses
Found on the east coast of Walker's Bay about one-half mile
north west of Needles. Teulon was unable to find this ruin
[1968 p.2 No. 11]. An undated boundary plan of Long Bay
Lands and the abovementioned undated boundary plan both
show this; the former mentioned the reference as sited some
miles to the west and one-half mile from the coast. A ten-
tative late 18th century date, in line with the majority of the
other structures, is indicated in the absence of any concrete
State of preservation: ruin.

XVI cf. Hunt's Bay Settlement
Along the Long Bay coast, inside the mangrove swamps, are
several structural remains down to foundation level. Teulon
records a number of artifacts dating between 1770-1830
[1968] and that these are at a junction of hunters' tracks
marked by a large tamarind tree [1968 p. 2 No. 12]. A late
18th century date again is assumed.
State of preservation: Foundation ruins.

XVII cf. Lime Kilns

At the foot of the hills behind the mangrove swamps approx-
imately one-half mile north of Long Bay are ruins of these
structures, probably of a late 18th century date [Tyndale-
Biscoe 1965].
State of preservation: substantial ruins.

XVIII cf. Ridley's Settlement
Located one and a half miles north of Long Bay at the foot
of hills behind mangrove swamps, this large settlement
included an indigo works and dye factory. Mentioned in
Tyndale-Biscoe [1965], the boundary plan of Salt Island
estate refers to this as Ridley's. Nicholas Ridley is known to
have patented 300 acres of land here in 1756 and 300 acres
to the north in 1752. The lower part of the largest building
was probably used for indigo extraction and processing as
there are tanks/vats at different levels and millstones ideal for
the purpose. Independent information on this has come from
C. Bernard Lewis and Tyndale-Biscoe himself. The structures
may readily be dated to c.1756.
State of preservation: Substantial ruin.

XIX Fort Deanery
About one-half mile south-east of the mouth of Salt Island
Creek on top of a small limestone hillock surrounded by
mangrove swamps is a gun platform with four cannons, one
of which has been taken off the platform. A little to the
north of the platform is a magazine which is largely intact.
Harrison's cadastral map of 1882 shows a fort containing 7
guns; it is not mentioned on the substantive general plans of
the area: Gould 1772, Robertson 1804, Salt Island estate
plan 1779, Smellie and Innes 1784, Wylde 1843 nor Major
General Archibald Campbell's map of 1782, showing military
posts. The date is probably then c. 1800 as it may have been
one of the fortifications erected during the Napoleonic Wars
State of preservation: Good

XX cf. Deans's house and settlement
About 300' north of Fort Deanery above Long Bay is a
ruined house, the main structure of which measures 70' x 45'
with walls standing up to 15' high. This was a large settlement
and is indicated on Campbell's 1782 map and Robertson's
of 1804. Between the house and the coast lies a group of
guinep trees and in an area of c.1 acre are some 20 stone
mounds which may be graves. There is a fairly large scatter of
artifactual material dating between 1770-1830. Andrew
Deans, the owner, advertised the house and property in the
Royal Gazette on 29 January 1791. In the Jamaica Almanac
of 1790, Capt. Andrew Deans is listed as the officer-in-charge
of Town-Gully Battery in St. Catherine. A reference to Deans's

Lime Kiln is shown approximately north-east of the house
on Smellie and Innes's 1784 plan, and a second lime kiln is
shown by the coast on Harrison's 1882 production. As Deans's
is not mentioned in the 1779 plan of Salt Island estate, the
date of c.1780 is probably acceptable from the evidence thus
far unearthed.
XXI cf. Harvey's Wharf and House
Located on the west bank and about one and a half miles
north of the mouth of Salt Island Creek, this could not be
found by Teulon in 1967 [1968]. A reference is made to this
on the 1779 Salt Island estate plan and the Smellie and Innes
1784 plan refers to a property about two miles north west of
the wharf. The best date which can therefore be elucidated
for these properties is c.1779.
XXII cf. Hay's House
Located on Great Goat Island, about one-quarter mile from
the north coast in the centre of the island, this property was
not located by Teulon irT 1967 but was reported by C. Bernard
Lewis in an earlier visit. Smellie and Innes's 1784 plan refers
to it, and this may be taken as a reasonable date for its
XXIII Little Goat Island House

On Little Goat Island, about one-quarter mile from the north
coast and slightly north of the highest point on the island,
there is a ruin of a large house and outbuilding with walls
standing as high as 15' above sea level. Some 50' to the east
of the main structure is a natural vault or cellar which had
been fitted with steps and a gate. In the absence of any fur-
ther data, a date of c.1790 is not unreasonable, as this is not
mentioned on any of the five 18th century source maps for
this area (latest 1784) but its general aspect is similar to
many of the other structures in the area which can be ade-
quately dated to the last quarter of the 18th century.

XXIV Maroon and Slave Camps 1774 and 1819
In 1774 it was noted that an extensive search was made by
Maroq~s and the militia for slaves known to be hiding in
the Hellshire Hills area. No specific reference is made to any
site but it can be assumed that these sites would fall within
the geographical scope of Zone 2. Gardner [1873], states
that in 1819 some 2,555 runaway slaves were at large in
eastern Jamaica and that a large number were known to have
been dwelling in the Hellshire Hills in 'little villages' from
where they would attack European settlements nearby. In
August 1819 Major General Marshall in charge of the militia
in the area, went with a party of Maroons to hunt them
down, with fair success. Both these records suggest that free
African villages or camps in the area go back to 1774 and
probably earlier and may well have continued through the
emancipation period in 1834. These villages or camps were
probably located in the elevated hill area which rises to al-
most 1000' above sea level between Salt Island Lagoon to
the west, Salt Island Creek to the north and the Great
Salt Pond to the east.

Zone Three1
Marine Sites

1 Half Moon Bay
Three large cannons are buried in 8' of water some 30'
from shore. These are iron and, based on descriptions,

seem to be English and of a late 18th century date. No
other associated material has ever been reported but it is
possible for the containing vessel to be buried below or in
the vicinity of a reef etc.

II Half Moon Bay
In March 1977, a spear fisherman of Greenwich Farm report-
ed that while swimming in the area in-water 12' deep some
200' from the shore, he saw a Spanish jar and human re-
mains shackled to the remains of a ship. A rigorous examin-
ation at the time was impossible, but it is almost certain that
this is a reference to the wreck of a slaver.

/// Hellshire Bay
Robert Marx in 1967 purports to have filed a report on the
siting of a late 16th century Spanish wreck somewhere off
Hellshire Bay.2 It is possible that he may be referring to the
HMS Meleager wrecked off Bare Bush Cay in 1808, although
this is some distance away. Passage Fort was used by the
Spaniards for mooring their vessels en route to St. Jago de la
Vega after 1530 and the area now known as Port Esquivel
was used from c.1519 onwards as a shipyard, so the likeli-
hood exists of Spanish wrecks in the area between Port-
land Point and Kingston Harbour. At the moment, however,
there is insufficient evidence to categorically state that there
is a wreck, of any date, in Hellshire Bay.
IV Needles Point
In September 1976 a fisherman brought to me a heavily
encrusted jar which had a semiglobular shape with a round
bottom, rouletting somewhere below the rim and two excised
legs with a possible owl's face motif. This he had dragged up
with his hook and the exact spot was on the landward side
of Needles. The vessel has an Amerindian motif but its shape
is more Akan than Arawak or Carib. Rouse's Meso-Indians
were a ceramic culture, but neither have they been found
anywhere else but Hispaniola, Cuba, Puerto Rico or the
Bahamas, nor did they have a ceramic technology. In fact,
the motif is most similar to those used by the Chiriqui Indians
of the Panama area of all circum-Caribbean Amerindian
tribes. It is unfortunate that its context is so obscure, but the
degree of encrustation certainly indicates burial for over
100 years.

Zone One
Historic Sites Graves

In addition to all the sites noted above, the following grave
sites noted in Wright [1966] are of interest:
/ Fort Augusta Prison Chapel
There are 15 mural tablets and wall slabs here, the earliest
being 1791 and the latest 1841. The majority of the graves
are of military or naval servicemen who died in the line of
duty. When the Jamaica Prisons Department took over the
fort in 1954, the surviving tombstones in the military burial
graves to the west of Fort Augusta were salvaged and re-
placed on the walls and floors of the chapel with the
sanction of the War Graves Commission.
// Green Bay Cemetery
There are two graves left here and these refer to a Capt.
Edward James (died 1720) and a Mr. Robert Buckingham
(1655-1744). In addition, the graves of Messrs. Lewis Galdy
(1659-1739) Capt. William Wakelin (1659-1705) and Capt.

Robert Shorting (died 17- ) were removed from the cemetery
here to St. Peter's churchyard at Port Royal in 1953 in anti-
cipation of a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.


1. Except where otherwise stated, the references in this section are
from personal communications to the author by various individuals
and from files in the possession of the former Jamaica National Trust
Commission prior to and as a result of its invitation in the late 1960s
to the general public for proposals to 'Salvage Ancient Wrecks'. This,
in retrospect, set a dangerous precedent and only resulted in two
operations, one at Harbour Head and one at Morant Cays.
2. Communicated to Mr. J. Barto Arnold III of the Texas Anti-
quarian Committee who wrote the present author for confirmation.
Marx was an American diver employed by the Government of Jamaica
between 1965-8 to conduct salvage operations at Port Royal and St.
Ann's Bay. Among other ships Marx has claimed to have found, are a
Phoenician galley in Brazil (1951) and the Columbus caravels in St.
Ann's Bay (1968). His work at Port Royal in 1965-8 has recently been
put into perspective by the joint Government of Jamaica/Institute of
Maritime Archaeology (Texas A&M University) 1981-82 underwater
excavations. His book [1971] makes no reference to the Spanish
shipwreck allegedly found by him in 1966 or 1967.


Books and Articles
AARONS, G.A., "Hellshire-Port Henderson Study March 1979",
Kingston: unpublished ms. 1980.
"Johnston's House Site, Hellshire Hills, 1979 Excavations",
Kingston: unpublished ms., 1980.
BLACK, Clinton, Port Royal: A History and Guide, Kingston, Jamaica:
Bolivar Press, 1970.
BUISSERET, David, J., "The Fortifications of Kingston and Port
Royal, 1655-1815", Jamaica Historical Society Bulletin,
Volume 4, No. 10, October 1967.
"Port Henderson Revisited", Skywritings, 1979.
and J. TYNDALE-BISCOE, Historic Jamaica from the Air,
Cambridge University Press, 1969.
CUNDALL, Frank, Historic Jamaica, Kingston, Institute of Jamaica,
1915 (reprinted 1971).

DUERDEN, J.F., "Aborigine Indian Remains in Jamaica", Journal of
the Institute of Jamaica, Volume 2, No. 4, Kingston, 1897.
GARDNER, William J., History of Jamaica, London, 1873.
HOWARD, Robert R., "The Archaeology of Jamaica and its position
in relation to Circum-Caribbean Culture", Ph.D dissertation,
Yale University, 1950.

JAMAICA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, "Historical Notes", Bulletin,
Vol. 4, No. 2,1967.
Port Henderson Restored, Kingston, 1975, (pamphlet).

"Naggo Head (S-12)", Jamaica Archaeological Society Bulletin,
70-2 p.1., 1972.
LEE, James W., (ed.) "Great Salt Pond Site (S-11)", Jamaica Archaeo-
logical Society Bulletin, 70-2 p.1., 1970.
LONG, Edward, The History of Jamaica, 3 vols. London: 1774.

MARTIN, Major, et al., Port Royal and its Harbour, Kingston: 1893.
MARX, Robert, Shipwrecks of the Western Hemisphere: 1492-1825,
N.Y.: World Publishing Co., 1971.
MOZLEY, Geraldine, Letters to Jane from Jamaica, London: Pub-
lished for the Institute of Jamaica by the West India Committee,

PAWSON, Michael and BUISSERET, David J., Port Royal, Jamaica,
Oxford University Press, 1975.
SHERLOCK, Philip M.,TheAboriginesof Jamaica, Kingston: Institute
of Jamaica, 1939.
TAYLOR, S.A.G., The Western Design: an account of Cromwell's
Expedition to the Caribbean, Institute of Jamaica and Jamaica
Historical Society, 1965.
TEULON, Alan, "Historical Sites in the Hellshire Hills", unpublished
ms. National Library of Jamaica, 23 February 1968.

TYNDALE-BISCOE, J.S., "DeaneryRuins",Jamaica Historical Society
Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 2, June 1965.

WILMAN, John C., "Rodney's House, Hellshire (Site S-5) St. Cathe-
rine", Jamaica Archaeological Society Bulletin, 78-3, pp.1-10
and appendix A-G, 1978.
WILMOT, Theresa, "The Apostle's Battery", Jamaica National
Trust Commission, unpublished paper, 1975.

WRIGHT, Phillip, (ed.), Lady Nugent's Journal, Kingston: Institute
of Jamaica, 4th. rev. ed., 1966.

Monumental Inscriptions of Jamaica, London: 1966.

Other References
The following articles assisted the author in his understanding of the
geological, geographic and ecological parameters that have moulded
the past and modern history of the study area and will determine its
GOREAU, T and BURKE, K., "Pleistocene and Holocene Geology
of the island shelf near Kingston, Jamaica". Marine Geology,
Vol.4, 1966.
Master Builders Association of Jamaica, "Earthquake Risk in Jamaica",
Journal, Vol. 14 No. 4, 1975.
"Designing for Earthquakes in the Kingston Waterfront",
Journal, Vol. 15 No. 1, March 1968.
WADE, Barry, "Coastal Water Pollution in Jamaica", Jamaica Journal,
Vol. 6 No. 2, June 1972.
"Some Ecological Questions for Jamaica", Jamaica Journal,
Vol. 10, No. 4, December 1970.
SHEPHERD, J.B., "Earthquakes in Jamaica", Jamaica Journal, Vol.
10, Nos. 2-4, December 1976.
WORTHINGTON, E. Barton, "Conservation and Ecology", Jamaica
Journal, Vol. 4 No. 4, December 1970.

WRIGHT, Raymond, "Earthquake Risks and Hazards", Jamaica
Journal, Vol. 10 Nos. 2-4, December 1976.

Maps and Plats

CAMPBELL, Major-General Archibald, Map of Proposed Military
Posts, 1782.
GOULD, George, General Plan of Harbours of Port Royal and Kingston,
1772. National Library of Jamaica, 727.41 gmf.
HARRISON, Thomas 1869. Boundary Plan of Great Salt Pond and
Dowdale Pen, 1869, National Library of Jamaica, St. Catherine

POMEROY, Kingston Series, Sheet 3, 1915.
ROBERTSON, James, Map of County of Middlesex, 1804. National
Library of Jamaica.

SALT ISLAND ESTATE, Boundary Plan, 1779.
SMELLIE, Boundary Plan for Case: Fowler v Johnston, 1783. National
Library of Jamaica, St. Catherine 416.
and INNES, Boundary Plan of Deanery Plantation, 1784.
National Library of Jamaica, St. Catherine 754.
WYLD, James, Map of Jamaica, 1843. National Library of Jamaica.


Mervyn Morris is Senior Lecturer in the Department of
English, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He is
also a leading Caribbean poet, with several volumes to his
credit: The Pond (1973), On Holy Week (1971) and Shadow-
boxing (1979) and has contributed to many anthologies. He
is now editing a revival of Focus, the annual anthology laun-
ched by Edna Manley.
Heather Royes, Ph.D., a communications specialist, was for-
merly Head of Information, Division of Information in
Jamaica's Ministry of Tourism.

Peter K. Bretting, Ph.D. is Botanist and Head of the Natural
History Division, Institute of Jamaica. His recent publications
reflect his research in plant evolution, ethnobotany, and eco-
nomic botany: "Proboscidea parviflora: a potential oilseed
crop for arid lands", "La etnobotanica de Porophyllum en
Mexico" and "Morphological differentiation of Proboscidea
parviflora ssp. parviflora under domestication".

Robert A. Hill, Ph.D., a Jamaican, teaches in the history
department of the University of California, Los Angeles; he
is also editor of The Marcus Garvey Papers, a project spon-
sored by the African Studies Center at UCLA. He compiled
and edited Marcus Garvey's Black Man (Millwood, N.Y.:
Kraus-Thomson Reprint, 1976). His edited compilation of
The Complete Rastafari Bible will shortly be published in
England by Bogle-L'Ouverture Publishers.

Gloria Escoffery, O.D. is artist, teacher, and free lance jour-
nalist. She is currently Head of the English Department at
the Community College, Browns Town, Jamaica. She has had
one-person and group exhibitions in Jamaica, United King-
dom, the United States, Germany, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and

Dennis Scott is Director of the Jamaica School of Drama and
is well known as a poet, playwright and stage director. His

first collection, Uncle Time, was awarded the Commonwealth
Poetry Prize (1973). His next, Dreadwalk, will shortly be
published by New Beacon Press (London), and he has contri-
buted to a variety of anthologies the most recent a collect-
ion of world poetry translated into Russian.

Rev. Dr. Horace O. Russell, D. Phil., is Pastor of the East
Queen Street Baptist Church and a former President of the
United Theological College of the West Indies, U.W.I. He has
served on numerous national and international boards and
committees and has contributed extensively to the interpre-
tation of Caribbean church history.

Mary A. Twining, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Anthro-
pology Department, University of Buffalo, U.S.A. She has
written and lectured widely on African and Afro-American
folklore and culture, folklore of women, and cultural anthro-
David Buisseret, D. Phil., is Director of Smith Center for the
History of Cartography at the Newberry Library, Chicago.
He attended Cambridge University between 1955 and 1964,
and then served for 16 years in the Department of History at
the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

G.A. Aarons is Archaeologist-in-charge of the Port Royal Pro-
ject, Archaeological and Conservation Research Centre of the
Museums and Archaeological Division, Institute of Jamaica.

For the Record ...

We'd like to correct the following which appeared in our last
issue (No. 46): on p.85 Breta Powles was referred to in-
correctly as Greta Poulles; John Dunkley's Scene with Path
reproduced on p.43 is now in the David Boxer Collection;
Stafford Schliefer's Portrait of Alexander Bustamante (p.15)
is in the collection of the Jamaica National Trust Commission.

Historic Structures

Old Kings House
Spanish Town Square
Historian Edward Long in 1774
described it as "the noblest and
best edifice of the kind, either in
North America, or any of the
British Colonies". Photographer
A. Duperley captured its elegance
in a late 19th century photograph
(top left) and Philip Wickstead the
painter gives us a glimpse of the
stately ballroom as it appeared in
The late 18th century (centre left).
The photograph (lower left) shows
Old Kings House today, the brick
facade all that remains of the main
structure which was destroyed by
fire in 1925. Still standing also is
the stable block (built in 1780)
which houses the Jamaica Peoples
Museum of Craft and Technology
and the Old Kings House Archaeo-
logical Museum (Institute of

Old Kings House stands on one of
the longest occupied historic sites
in the island, dating back to 1534
when the Spaniards built the town
of St. Jago de la Vega as their
capital. The Spanish buildings were
razed by the English who took the
island in 1655, but the buildings
they subsequently erected followed
I the original layout around the
Spanish Plaza Mayor, now the
Spanish Town Square. Built as the
Governor's residence, Old Kings
House originally consisted of four
.. main blocks which took forty years
from 1762-1802 to complete
in toto. In 1872 the governor's
residence was transferred to
Kingston with the capital, and a
new King's House acquired in that


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