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Title: Antigua and the Antiguans, Volume I (of 2) - A full account of the colony and its inhabitants from the - time of the Caribs to the present day
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Antigua and the Antiguans, Volume I (of 2) - A full account of the colony and its inhabitants from the - time of the Caribs to the present day" ***

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                       AND THE ANTIGUANS:

                       A FULL ACCOUNT OF
                  FROM THE TIME OF THE CARIBS
                      TO THE PRESENT DAY,
            Interspersed with Anecdotes and Legends.


                      FREE LABOUR SYSTEMS;

          “Sworn to no party, of no sect am I.”—Pope.

                        IN TWO VOLUMES.
                            VOL. I.


                             TO THE


                    THE LINEAL DESCENDANT OF
                    OF EVERY HUE AND COLOUR,

                           This Work,

                  IS, BY HIS KIND PERMISSION,

                                                     THE AUTHOR.


Although in the present day the writing of a preface may be
considered almost a work of supererogation on the part of an
author, since it is that portion of a work seldom or ever looked
into, still, as custom demands the form, and there may be some
among my readers who may desire to learn what first led me to
undertake this work, I am induced to follow the fashion, more
especially as on one or two points I am desirous of offering a
few words of comment and explanation.

Not being a native of the West Indies, and visiting that part of
the world for the first time at an age when all looks bright
around us, the novelty of the scenes which passed before my eyes
struck me forcibly, and induced me to make notes of the
impressions I then received. Pursuing the same practice at
subsequent visits, and during prolonged residences, in process of
time my memoranda expanded to a considerable bulk. The increasing
interest I took in everything relating to Antigua, led me to
inquire into its early history, and to search out the origin of
the numerous ancient families whose descendants have resided in
the island from the period of its colonization.

Some of my friends in the island who had become acquainted with
my pursuits, were gratified by the specimens of my labours, which
were exhibited to them, and urged me to throw my scattered notes
into form. I yielded to their solicitations, and the result has
been the following pages, which, while they afford a condensed
history of the colony from its earliest days, present also a
record of the impressions produced on one, at first, fresh from
English society, but now, by long continued residence, become
almost an Antiguan; having, it is hoped, lost all relics of
English prejudice, but not become so biassed by her new
connexions, or blinded by the many charms of Antigua or Antiguan
society, as to hold the scales of justice unevenly.

Having been resident in Antigua both before and after the passing
of the Emancipation Act, and having had ample opportunity of
judging of the practical effects of that memorable event, the
observations I have made with relation to it may not be
considered altogether unimportant.

In perusing the early history of the colony, the English reader
may be surprised to find how many men of family became early
settlers in the West Indies; but when the eager spirit of
adventure which immediately followed the enterprises of the
Spaniards, and was so eminently conspicuous in the days of
Elizabeth, is called to mind—when the causes which drove the
“pilgrim fathers” forth are recollected, together with the
numerous emigrations which took place from England, when the
Royalists, in their turn forced to become fugitives, mostly
sought a refuge in the West Indies, at first a safe and
sanctioned asylum, till the very amount of the fresh influx of
Royalist opinions made the West Indies a thorn in Cromwell’s
side, and compelled him to have recourse to strong measures to
secure their obedience to his will,—when all these causes are
considered, it becomes no longer a matter of wonder that much of
the best blood of England runs in the veins of the people, not
only of Antigua, but of the West India islands generally.

In justice to the character of the country which I have learned
to love, I must, although unwillingly, notice another and a most
painful subject. I refer to the exceedingly harsh laws passed
respecting the slaves, and the shocking executions of those
concerned in the insurrection in 1736. In relation to the former
point, it is sufficient to observe that such laws are almost
inseparable from the institution of slavery itself, and that the
stigma affected the mother country equally with her colonies,
while it redounds to the honour of Antigua that she was the first
to announce unbounded freedom to her slave population. With
respect to the barbarous executions, they would not be tolerated
in Antigua at the present day, even had she continued to be a
slave-dealing colony; and they can only in justice be referred to
a state of society when the practice of torture had hardly fallen
into desuetude in the civil courts of Europe, when the
Inquisition was in full glory, when, only a few years before, the
politest capital in the world had looked unmoved on

    “Luke’s iron crown, and Damien’s bed of steel,”

and criminals continued to be strung up by dozens in England (and
for many long years after) for offences which, in the present
advanced state of society, no civilized state would visit with
the punishment of death. What wonder, then, that at such a
period, and under such alarming circumstances, the Antiguans
should have shewn themselves cruel and barbarous?

Before I conclude, I must not omit to tender my acknowledgments
to the numerous friends who have kindly afforded me assistance in
the course of my work, among whom let me make grateful mention of
Edward S. Byam, Esq., the Rev. and Hon. Burgh Byam, Col. Byam,
Dr. Furgusson, Nathaniel Humphreys, Esq., Deputy Colonial
Secretary in Antigua, (to which latter gentleman I was indebted
for access to the Records of the island,) to John Furlong, Esq.,
(who obliged me with the will of Governor Parke,) Registrar of
Antigua, to ——— Edmead, Esq., to Captain George B. Mathew, of the
Guards, the Rev. D. F. Warner, and others.

In conclusion, may the Great Giver of all good pour down His
choicest blessings upon this beautiful and favoured little
island; may her legislators be ably endowed in all true
principles of jurisprudence; may her planters be blest with
kindly showers, so that their golden canes may raise their “tall
plumes” in luxuriance; may her merchants, the prop of every
civilized state, be prosperous—her peasantry happy and good, as
they are _free_; and, finally, may her ministers (of every
denomination) be long spared to watch over and pray for her
teeming inhabitants, that one choral song of praise may resound
from every quarter and from every tongue.

                                                     The Author.

                       THE FIRST VOLUME.

                           CHAPTER I.

  General Description of the Island—Appearance—Soil—Productions—
  Climate—Early history—Discovery by Columbus—Attempted
  settlement by Spaniards—Grant to Earl of Carlisle—Settlement by
  d’Esnambuc—Williams—Governor Warner—Account of Sir Thomas
  Warner, founder of the family

                          CHAPTER II.

  History of the island continued—Sir Henry Hunks—Descent of the
  Caribs—Legend of Ding-a-ding Nook—Arrival of the Ship Nonsuch—
  Sir Thomas Modiford—Earl of Warwick, Captain-General—Captain
  Edward Warner—Colonel Rich—Colonel Lake—Mr. Everard—Sir George
  Ayscue—Colonel Christopher Reynall—Invasion by the Caribs—
  Dissensions among the inhabitants—Copy of Colonel Reynall’s
  letter to Cromwell—Attack upon St. Domingo and Jamaica—
  Major-General Poyntz—Grant of Antigua to Lord F. Willoughby

                          CHAPTER III.

  Rupture between France and England—War in the West Indies—Loss
  of Lord Francis Willoughby—Colonel Carden—Capture of Antigua by
  the French forces under M. de la Barre—Colonel Fitche—
  Restoration of Antigua by the Treaty of Breda—Death of Colonel
  Carden—Biographical notices

                          CHAPTER IV.

  Governors: Lord William Willoughby, Henry Willoughby—Arrival of
  Major, afterwards Lieutenant-General Byam, the progenitor of
  the family of that name—Biographical remarks—Partition of the
  Caribbee Islands—Sir William Stapleton—General Council and
  Assembly—Colonel Philip Warner—Expedition against the Caribs—
  Death of Indian Warner—Arrest and trial of Colonel P. Warner—
  Acquittal—Dampier’s account of this affair—Captain Southey’s
  History of the Indian Warner

                           CHAPTER V.

  Governor Col. R. Williams—Biographical remarks—Towns of trade
  appointed—Antigua divided into parishes—Sir Nathaniel Johnson
  appointed captain-general and governor-in-chief—Colonel
  Codrington—Remarks upon this family—Invasion of Antigua by a
  French privateer—Attack upon Guadeloupe by the English—
  Expedition to St. Christopher’s—Gallant conduct of Colonel
  Williams and Colonel Willoughby Byam—Sir Francis Wheeler’s
  expedition—Wilmot and Lillingston’s expedition—Death of the
  captain-general, General Codrington—Colonel John Yeamans,
  lieutenant-governor—Arrival of Admiral Benbow

                          CHAPTER VI.

  Governor Colonel Christopher Codrington—Establishment of the
  first market—Accession of Queen Anne—Arrival of Admiral Benbow—
  Attack upon the island of Guadaloupe, in conjunction with the
  Antiguan troops—Bravery of Colonel Edward Byam—Arrival of
  Captain Hovenden Walker—Second attack upon Guadaloupe—Colonel
  Codrington quits the government—His death—Sir William Mathew—
  Hon. John Johnson

                          CHAPTER VII.

  Governor Colonel Daniel Parke—His birth-place and parentage—His
  actions at the battle of Holchet and Blenheim—His arrival at
  Antigua—Dissensions with the Antiguans—Complaints against him
  sent to England—Results of the applications at the court of
  Queen Anne—Tyrannical behaviour of Colonel Parke—Events of the
  7th December, 1710—Death of Colonel Parke

                         CHAPTER VIII.

  Governor Walter Hamilton—Walter Douglas’s Disturbances—
  Complaints against him sent to England—Queen Anne recalls him,
  and reappoints Walter Hamilton—Lord Viscount Lowther—John Hart—
  Lord Londonderry—Lord Forbes—Colonel William Crosbie

                          CHAPTER IX.

  Governor William Mathew—Insurrection of the Negroes—A Legend of
  the Ravine—Punishment of the Conspirators

                           CHAPTER X.

  Governor William Mathew—Sir George Thomas, Bart.—James Verchild
  —Honourable William Woodley—Sir Ralph Payne—Hon. Craister
  Greathead—General Burt—The circumstances of his death—Sir
  Thomas Shirley, Bart.

                          CHAPTER XI.

  Governors: William Woodley—John Stanley—Major-General Charles
  Leigh—Archibald Esdail—John S. Thomas—Robert Thomson

                          CHAPTER XII.

  Governors: The Right Honourable Ralph Lord Lavington—William
  Woodley—James Tyson—John Julius—Hugh Elliot—Sir James Leith—
  Henry Rawlins—S. Rawlins—Major-General Ramsay

                         CHAPTER XIII.

  Governors: Sir Benjamin D’Urban—Sir Patrick Ross—Sir Evan
  Murray McGregor—Mr. Light—Sir W. G. MacBean Colebrooke—Major
  McPhail—Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy

                          CHAPTER XIV.

  My first voyage to Antigua—Visit upon deck—The booby’s welcome—
  Nearer approach—Harbour of St. John’s—The Black Pilot—North
  Sandy Island—Wreck of the mail-boat—Dangerous navigation—Long
  Island—South Sandy Island—Panoramic views from the vessel’s
  deck—Light winds—Disappointment made pleasing—Anchorage for the

                          CHAPTER XV.

  The extent of Antigua—Opinion of some planters—Want of
  agricultural labourers—Emigration not always profitable to the
  negroes—“Seizar’s” letter upon the subject—Return of emigrants—
  Soil of Antigua—Geological matters—Petrifactions—Climate of
  Antigua—“Yellow fever”—Beautiful evenings—the appearance of the
  heavens—Evening visitants

                          CHAPTER XVI.

  Scenery of Antigua—Pilgrimage to “Tom Moore’s Spring”—The
  Goddess Mnemosyne—Fig-Tree Hill—The “Bower of Bliss”—“Old Road”
  —The Strand—The cross sexton—The parochial school—Old Road
  Church—Tomb of Col. Williams—Moravian settlement—Salt ponds—
  Copses—“Crab Hill”—Sandy Valley—The Valley Church—The rising
  moon—Arrival in town—Night, and night dreams

                         CHAPTER XVII.

  The seasons at Antigua—Heavy rains—Long droughts—The
  water-merchant—A fortunate shower—Drought in 1837—Desolate
  appearance of the country—Famishing cattle—Definition of “_fine
  rains_”—Anecdote—Heavy shower—Joy—Earthquakes—1835—Meteors—
  Dressing for the ball—The alarm—The ball-room—Hurricanes—

                         CHAPTER XVIII.

  Description of the town of St. John’s, the capital of Antigua—
  Situation—Arrangement of the streets—Hucksters—Houses—Springs—
  Small shops—Stores of the retail dealers—Grog-shops—Merchants’
  stores and lumber yards—Definition of lumber—Auction sales—
  Scotch Row and Scotchmen—Incongruous display of goods—Fire in
  1797—Ruins—Fire in 1841—Its devastations

                          CHAPTER XIX.

  Description of the church of St John’s—Period of its erection—
  Present site—Panoramic views—Form of structure—Length and
  Churchyard—Tombs and sepulchral inscriptions—An acrostic—“Adam
  and Eve!”

                          CHAPTER XX.

  Barracks—House of correction—Gaol—Methodist chapel—Methodism,
  its rise and progress in Antigua—Moravian chapel—Rise and
  progress of the Society of United Brethren—Scotch kirk

                          CHAPTER XXI.

  Morning—Institutions—Daily Meal Society—Its rise and progress—
  Lazaretto—Destitute Females’ Friend Society—Its origin and
  purpose—Friendly Societies—Bible Society—Missionary
  associations—Temperance Society—Juvenile Association—Ladies’
  Clothing Society &c.—Banks—Library Society

                         CHAPTER XXII.

  Early rising and “Jamie Thomson”—Journey to English Harbour—
  Windmills and Don Quixote—Groups of negroes and their equipages
  —All Saints’ chapel of ease—The “Hamlet”—Village of Liberta—
  Grace Hill—Patterson’s and Prince William—English Harbour
  market—Streets and dwellings—Commissariat’s store and
  government tank—Dockyard—The superintendent—Stores and
  storehouses—Engineer’s workshop—Blacksmith’s shop and blowing
  machine—Limes and roses—Recollections of England—Lieutenant
  Peterson and Lord Camelford—His lordship’s pranks—The ordnance—
  Clarence House and Dows Hill—The Ridge and “Shirley heights”—
  Fort Charlotte and Fort Berkeley—Bats Cave—The Savannah and its
  tombs—Indian Creek—Return to town

                         CHAPTER XXIII.

  Zulmiera, the Half-Carib girl, a Legend of the Savannah

                         CHAPTER XXIV.

  Continuation of the Legend

                          CHAPTER XXV.

  Conclusion of the Legend

                         CHAPTER XXVI.

  Towns: Falmouth—Church and churchyard—Mangroves and acacias—
  Black’s Point—Bridgetown—Willoughby Bay—Its site and decoration
  —The superintendent of the Wesleyan schools—School-room—
  Methodist chapel—The Memoras—St Philip’s church—Beautiful views
  —Parham—Its derivation and site—St Peter’s church—Churchyard—
  The new church—Methodist chapel and school-room

                         CHAPTER XXVII.

  Forts and fortifications—Temporary ones—The present forts—Fort
  James—Its situation and approach—Rat Island Battery, its
  appellation, lunatic asylum, and flag-staff—Goat Hill—Steep
  ascent—Schools in St. John’s

                        CHAPTER XXVIII.

  Remarks upon the aboriginal Americans—Suppositions of various
  authors—Caribs—Arrowawks—Ferocity of the Carib—Complexion—Dress
  —Ornaments—Dreadful revenge—Wars-Chiefs—Severities practised—
  Feasts—Remarks upon paganism—Anthropophagi—A traveller’s tale—
  The Carib’s opinion of death—Religious tenets—Altars—The
  burning Carib


[Transcriber’s Note: these errata have been incorporated.]

Page 4, line 8 from top, _for_ “D’Escambue,” _read_ “D’Esnambuc.”

— 20, line 7 from bottom, _for_ “Parhan,” _read_ “Parham.”

— 89, line 3 from top, _for_ “Mathews,” _read_ “Mathew.”

— 249, line 13 from top, _for_ “Hernhult,” _read_ “Herrnhutt.”

— 266, line 3 from bottom, _for_ “Sheltic,” _read_ “Sheltie.”


  Sir Charles A. Fitz Roy, Governor-in-Chief of the
    Leeward Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
  Major McPhail, Lieutenant-Governor of Dominica  . . . . . .  4
  The Lord Bishop of Antigua  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2

                       Members of Council

  Hon. Mead H. Daniel, President  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. Rowland E. Williams  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
  Hon. William Byam, (Cedar Hill) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
  Hon. Bertie E. Jarvis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
  Hon. G. W. Ottley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. R. W. Nanton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. Owen Pell  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. George S. Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. Paul Horsford  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1

             Members of the House of Assembly, &c.

  Hon. Thomas Sanderson, Speaker  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. William Lee  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. Thomas F. Nibbs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. John Athill  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  James Scotland, Jun.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. John Gray  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Francis Byam Ottley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas Furgusson  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  William Thibou  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  R. B. Eldredge  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John Osborn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James W. Sheriff  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Samuel Auchinleck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Jos. L. Bindon  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  D. H. Allan, (Whitehaven) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  George Athill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Athill  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Gedney C. Bispham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  Godschall Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  William Gordon  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Horace Turner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William H. Thompson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John Boyd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. E. Sanderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Charles Murray  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John Hosier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  W. H. Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  N. J. Hill  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. H. More  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Robert Erskine  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William S. Odlum  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Robert Humphreys  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Edward Wesston  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Thibou  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  R. K. Nanton  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Madgwick  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Paul Horsford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas Prizgar  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Robert Armstrong  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. Burke Scotland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James E. Geddes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  George Ewart  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John McDonald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Gordon  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  George Cranstoun  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
  J. Barrett  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  W. T. Gore  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  H. Perrott, 59th Regiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Gilbert Auchinleck  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  A. Duncan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William L. Nibbs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  M. Capdestaing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James F. Salmon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Samuel L. Bridges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  T. H. Morrison  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John Haining  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Henry Simpson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas Barry Nibbs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  N. Humphreyes, Jun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Charles Robertson, Sen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William Kelly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John Benjamin Scotland  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Joseph Black  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  George Black  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William C. Brookes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  A. McDowal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  R. W. Baxter  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John F. Smyth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  Ed. F. Grant  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Rev. H. G. Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Scotland, Jun.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Patrick Cadell  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  John Gow  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Richard Higginbotham  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas C. Walter  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John W. Scotland  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Richard Wilson, (Mico School) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Dr. J. Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  Thomas Gordon, (English Harbour)  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Charles Boison  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Francis Critchton, (Rose’s Estate)  . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Charles McGuire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Jeremiah R. Nibbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John B. Lowry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Robert T. Pooler  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Mrs. Freeland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Captain Kennedy, Brig, “British Queen.” . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. C. Milward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Henry T. Pigot, (Villa Estate)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  C. W. More  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Jos. Lavicount  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William Simpson, Jun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Rev. J. B. Wilkinson  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William Walker, P. M. G.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Dr. Carmault  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  P. P. Walter  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  David Armour  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Charles Robertson, Jun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas H. Hyndman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Boyd  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John Ashford  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas W. Scholar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William Grant, (Freeman’s Estate) . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Bradfoot Taber  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas Doyle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Dr. Thomas Nicholson  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Edward Liscombe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James C. Wesston, M.D.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Robert Kennedy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Robert Lindsay, A. C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  D. Cranstoun  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  Oswald Wood, M.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  G. J. Watkins, (Lavington’s Estate) . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. P. Maynard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Captain W. C. Johnson, Brig “Ludlow”  . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  D. Malone, (English Harbour)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  D. Scarville  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. P. Guilmett  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  W. Isaacs, (English Harbour)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. Hart, Superintendent of Naval Yard . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  ——— Nugent, 59th Regiment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  ——— Peebles, ditto  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Rev. James Curtin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  George Scotland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Alonzo Hurst  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Henry Trew, Collector H. M. C.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  T. A. Benjamin, D. O. S. K. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  George S. Bladen  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John Ledger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  W. G. Dumeresque, H. M. C.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  F. H. Price, H. M. C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hinton Simpson  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. J. Ronan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Jos. Sherrington  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  John Winter, Chief of Police  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  G. B. Cadelle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  W. A. Ross Willock  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. R. Haynes, (Folly Estate)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Goodwin, (Mount Lucy Estate)  . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Thomas Bryan, (Elliot’s Estate) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Jno. M. Donovan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Frederick Kysh  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Richard Abbot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William Howell  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  R. S. White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  J. Fulton Author  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Dr. Henry French  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  Captain Fred. Simpson, “Miranda” (ship) . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Stewart, (Hermitage Estate) . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Samuel M. Richard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Lieutenant Bulman, H. M. S. “Fair Rosamond” . . . . . . . .  1
  C. F. Fox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Mrs. Storrock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Connor, (English Harbour) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Jno. Rodney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Robert Gregory  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Henry Elliot  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Brodie G. McNish  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Andrew Brown  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Mat. Cockburn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Mrs. T. C. Walter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Dr. Jno. Furlong  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  James W. Boyd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Wm. Fairclough  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1

                       St. Christopher’s.

  Horatio Adlum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Joseph McLachlane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Private Subscription Rooms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  C. Hay  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  William Padmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Messrs. Dinzey and Peterson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  C. McMahon  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Rev. William Frazer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Henry Woodcock  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  C. A. Tapshire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  N. J. Lynch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Robert Nimmo  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. R. Claxton, Attorney-General . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. R. B. Cleghorn, President of Nevis . . . . . . . . . .  1
  H. Harding, (Nevis) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  James Thensteat, (Dominica) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Fortunatus Larrica, (Madeira) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  T. L. Foster  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  F. Burk, (Monserrat)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1


  Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen Dowager . . . . . . .
  Sir T. Fowel Buxton, Bart., Northrepps, Norfolk . . . . . .  4
  Lord James O’Bryen, 15, North Crescent, Bath  . . . . . .
  Sir George Thomas, Weymouth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  Captain G. B. Mathew, Carlton Club  . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
  Lieutenant Parsons, R.N., Southampton . . . . . . . . . . .  2
  Rev. William Palmer, Rector, Eynesbury, Hunts . . . . . . .  1
  Joseph Liggins, Esq., Mincing-lane, London  . . . . . . . .  2
  Rev. Daniel F. Warner, Rector, Hoo, Rochester . . . . . . .  1
  Mrs. Byam, Byam House, Brighton . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Edward S. Byam, Esq., Cheltenham  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Hon. and Rev. Richard Burgh Byam, Vicar of
    Kew and Petersham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Mrs. Engleharte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Mrs. John Walter, Bridge-street, Blackfriars  . . . . . . .  1
  L. C. Lecesne, Esq., Fenchurch-buildings  . . . . . . . . .  1
  Lewis F. Bellot, Esq., Barge-yard Chambers, Bucklersbury  .  1
  James McKie, Esq., Bucklersbury . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Edward Byam Wyke, Esq., Ealing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1
  Rev. Sam. Ashton Warner, Rector of St. George’s, Antigua  .  1
  Shirley Warner, Esq., Stipendiary Magistrate, Montserrat  .  1
  John Dawson, Esq., Whitehaven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1

                   ANTIGUA AND THE ANTIGUANS,

                           CHAPTER I.

  General Description of the Island—Appearance—Soil—Productions—
  Climate—Early history—Discovery by Columbus—Attempted
  settlement by Spaniards—Grant to Earl of Carlisle—Settlement by
  d’Esnambuc—Williams—Governor Warner—Account of Sir Thomas
  Warner, founder of the family.

The Island of Antigua, one of the great Antilles, is situated in
the Caribbean Sea, about twenty-five miles to the north-east of
Montserrat, and forty miles north of Guadaloupe, in latitude
seventeen degrees north, and longitude sixty-two degrees, or
thereabouts, the measurement in these respects not being more
exact than those of its length and breadth, which are variously
stated at 21, 20, and 18 miles for its length, and 21, 20, and
17, for its breadth. The lower estimate is, however, most
probably correct. Its circumference, again, is variously stated
at from 50 to 80 miles, and its total area from 59,838 acres, to
108 square miles, or nearly 70,000 acres. The population in 1837,
consisted of 2000 whites and coloured people, and 33,000 blacks.
All the slaves in the island were enfranchised in 1834.

The island is of an oval shape. On the first approach the coast
appears rough and barren, but as the voyager draws nearer, hills
and valleys open on his view, and the shore puts on an appearance
of luxuriant vegetation. The country possesses little of a
mountainous character, the highest elevation reaching only to the
height of 1210 feet above the level of the sea. The soil varies
according to the situation; that of the valleys and low lands
consisting of a rich, black mould, on a substratum of clay; and
unless in seasons of excessive drought, to which this island is
peculiarly subject, remarkably productive. The soil of the high
lands, on the other hand, is a stiff, reddish clay, on a
substratum of marl, and is much less productive, abounding, as it
does, with a species of grass extremely difficult to extirpate;
and the increase of which has even caused some lands, formerly
cultivated, to be abandoned. With the exception of such tracts,
and of a small part totally unimprovable, the whole island may be
said to be under cultivation. The staple production is sugar; a
little cotton is cultivated; but all other articles of commerce,
with the exception of sugar, are neglected. The quantities of
ground provisions, as yams, eddoes, sweet potatoes, &c., grown in
favourable seasons, is very considerable.

The most remarkable circumstance connected with Antigua is the
want of fresh-water springs, there being but two or three of
them, wholly inadequate to the wants of the population. This want
is supplied by tanks, in which the rain water is preserved, and
found to be particularly wholesome and agreeable, being light and
pleasing to the palate.

The climate is remarkable for want of moisture, although the
average fall of rain is forty-five inches. It is considered one
of the most healthy in the West Indies.

The history of Antigua may be said to commence with its discovery
by Columbus, for although it was at that period, and
subsequently, frequented by the Caribs, they appear not to have
made it a place of permanent residence; the want of water, which
caused European settlers so long to neglect the island, deterring
them also from establishing themselves upon it. For an account of
the Caribs, and of their probable origin, the reader is referred
to the chapters devoted to that interesting subject; and we shall
now proceed to the history of the settlement of the island and of
its internal administration down to the present time, reserving
for future chapters those sketches of the island, and its
inhabitants, which are the result of personal experience.

It was not until his second voyage, in the year 1493, that
Columbus discovered Antigua. He landed with a party, but finding,
on examination, that it was peopled only by a few Caribs, who
possessed nothing that was serviceable to the Spaniards, and who
were, probably, only casual visitants, and that the island was
destitute of fresh water, he contented himself with giving it a
name, Antigua, from the church of St. Mary of Antigua, at
Seville, and abandoned it. There is a tradition that the name
given to the island by the natives was “Xaymaca,” signifying the
“land of springs;” but whether this “lucus a non lucendo” was a
specimen of Caribbean wit, or, more probably, arose from a
mistake on the part of the European visitants, is uncertain.

Antigua remained neglected by all the various European
adventurers, who hastened in crowds to other more favoured spots,
until the year 1520, when a small party of Spaniards, under the
Licentiate Don Antonio Serrano, who had received letters-patent
from the King of Spain to colonize Antigua, Montserrat, Barbadu,
Deseada, Dominica, and Martinique, landed, and driving off the
few Caribs they found there, attempted to establish themselves;
but after a short stay they abandoned it, and the island remained
without a European claimant until the year 1627, when the Earl of
Carlisle obtained a grant of Barbados, Antigua, and the rest of
the Leeward Islands, from Charles I. This grant was opposed by
the Earl of Marlborough, on the plea of a prior grant from James
I., which was, however, eventually compromised, and the Earl of
Carlisle was recognised as the sole proprietor. He, however,
contented himself with settling Barbados; and although Antigua
was colonized in his lifetime, yet neither he nor his son, who
died without issue in 1660, and in whom the family honours became
extinct, appear to have ever interested themselves in Antigua, or
to have exercised any rights of ownership or property. In fact,
the first permanent occupation of the island appears to have been
a mere private speculation, and to have excited little notice or
inquiry, since it is still a question who was the first actual

In the year 1629, Mons. d’Esnambuc, the captain of a French
privateer, made an attempt at a settlement, but the want of water
drove him away after a very short stay; so short, indeed, that
although a party of English settlers seem to have been upon the
island, he did not remain long enough to discover them. The
assertion, however, that English colonists were then on the
island, rests solely on a tradition that William Herbert, Earl of
Pembroke, who interested himself greatly in the colonization of
the West Indies, sent out his friend and countryman, Mr.
Williams, (the father of Colonel Rowland Williams, renowned in
Antiguan story, as having been the first white child born on the
island,) to attempt a settlement in Antigua. As Lord Pembroke
died in April 1630, it does not appear probable that Mr.
Williams’ settlement was later than 1629. If he were not the
first, there is no doubt he was one of the first settlers, and an
estate at Old Road, still in possession of his descendant, is
pointed out as the spot he made choice of for his residence,
which, as it is in the neighbourhood of the best spring in the
island, now known as “Tom Moore’s Spring,” is extremely likely to
have been the case. A fact that strengthens the probability of
Mr. Williams being the first settler is, that Mr. Warner, who
unquestionably conducted a party to Antigua from St. Kitts, in
1632, fixed his residence near the same spot, which it is natural
he should do, for the sake of companionship, but built a cistern,
whose ruins are still to be seen in the savannah, which he need
not have done, had not the scanty spring been already

In the year 1632, General Sir Thomas Warner, at that time, by the
sanction of the Earl of Carlisle, the legal proprietor, and,
under warrant from the king, Governor of St. Christopher, Nevis,
Barbados, and Montserrat, sent his son Edward, a captain in the
army, with a sufficient party, to colonize Antigua, which design
he carried into effect, and during the remainder of his life
continued to act as governor, although we have discovered no
evidence of his having ever possessed, either as principal or
deputy, any warrant for assuming the title, or executing the
functions of governor, except so far as his father, as agent for
the Earl of Carlisle, the lord proprietor of the island, might be
considered as vested with authority; for in his commission from
the crown, no mention is made of Antigua.

The name of Warner being thus distinguished in the annals of
Antigua, we may be excused for making a digression upon the
history of its founder, more especially as it affords a good
illustration of the process of colonization in our West Indian
and American possessions.

General Sir Thomas Warner was a scion of an ancient and
distinguished English family; but from being a younger son, he
was obliged to use personal efforts, in order to effect an
honourable passage through life. Having entered into the army at
an early age, and attained the rank of captain, he accompanied
Roger North, brother of Lord North, in his expedition to Guiana,
a country which was then looked upon as a perfect _Eldorado_.
Here he became acquainted with a Captain Painton, a great
navigator of those times, and one who had well studied the then
all-engrossing subject of colonization.

This gentleman suggested to Captain Warner how much more facility
would attend a settlement in one of the smaller islands, than in
a country so extensive as Guiana; and from his own personal
experience, he thought St. Christopher’s (at that time unoccupied
by any European power) would be an island particularly adapted
for the exercise of a daring spirit, in the way of planting a

These suggestions of his friend appear to have made due
impression upon the mind of Mr. Warner; for in 1620, after the
death of Captain Painton, he resolved to return to England, and
endeavour to procure the aid of some kindred spirit, in order to
put his designs into execution. Having so far succeeded in his
plans as to procure all necessary arrangements for establishing a
colony, Mr. Warner again left England, accompanied by his wife
and son, Edward, (who was a captain in the army at the early age
of thirteen, and who was afterwards appointed first governor of
Antigua,) and a small party of followers,[1] and embarked on
board a vessel bound for Virginia, whence himself and party
proceeded to St. Christopher’s, where they arrived 28th January,
1623. Mr. Warner, as head of the settlers, commenced immediately
the task of cultivation, in which he so far progressed as to
raise a crop of tobacco, which was unfortunately destroyed in the
severe hurricane of the 19th of the following September.

During this period, the movements of the English were diligently
observed by the Caribs, who, instigated by three Frenchmen,
(supposed to have been cast upon the island by a former storm,)
at length made an outbreak upon the English, and retarded in some
measure their work of cultivation.

By the end of the following February, Mr. Warner had another crop
of tobacco ready for exportation; and the ship Hopewell
(commanded by Captain Jefferson) arriving on the 4th March, 1624,
from London, bringing fresh supplies for the infant colony, a few
emigrants, and goods with which to trade with the Caribs, Mr.
Warner resolved to return in her to England, in order to obtain
more powerful assistance. He accordingly embarked himself and his
first-gathered crop on board the “Hopewell,” and once more sought
the shores of England, to receive the congratulations of his
friends, and search for a patron who would enable him to carry
out further his plans of colonization.

Between that period and 1625, Mr. Warner was employed in voyaging
backwards and forwards from St. Christopher’s and England,
leaving the cares of the government to his son, Edward Warner,
(of whom Du Tertre speaks very handsomely,) until, having gained
a friend and patron in the Earl of Carlisle, he was introduced at
the court of the then reigning sovereign, Charles I. This monarch
was so pleased with Mr. Warner’s indefatigable and patriotic
spirit, that he was graciously pleased to grant him a commission,
(signed 13th Sept. 1625,) constituting him governor over the
“foure islands of St. Christopher’s, Nevis, Barbados, and
Mountserrate,”[2] and on the 21st September, 1629, knighted him
at Hampton Court Palace.[3]

Some of Sir Thomas Warner’s descendants have filled the highest
situations in Antigua, administering the government at times. Nor
is the family extinct, for many there are who can trace their
descent in a direct line from this great founder of four
flourishing colonies. One of these was in 1838 “gathered to his
fathers;” he was esteemed as an able legislator, and fulfilled
his duties as president of the council, brigadier-general of the
militia, and occasionally lieutenant-governor, with integrity. As
this family ranks among the first aristocrats of the island, a
more particular account of their lineal descent may not be deemed
superfluous, and will be found in the Appendix, No. 2.


[1] The names of these adventurous few were as follows:—William
Tasted, John Rhodes, Robert Bims, Mr. Benifield, Sergeant Jones,
Mr. Ware, William Ryle, Rowland Grasscocke, Mr. Bond, Mr.
Langley, Mr. Weaver, Sergeant Aplon, one sailor, and a cook.

[2] Vide copy of the first commission granted, No. 1, Appendix.

[3] Sir Thomas Warner died at St Christopher’s in 1648. His tomb
is still to be met with in the parish church for the township of
Old Road, (a place which derives its name from the involuntary
exclamation of Columbus upon his second visit to St.
Christopher’s, “Ah! we are at the _old road_ again,”) the
inscription upon which is as follows:—

             An Epitaph vpon Th-------------------
                Noble & Mvch Lamented Genrl Sir
                   Tho. Warner, Kt Lievtenant
                     General of ye Carribee
                     Ielands & Goverr of ye
                    Ieland of St Christopher
                       Who Departed This
                        Life the 10th of
                          March 1648.

    First Read then weepe when thou art hereby taught,
    That Warner lyes interr’d here, one that bought,
    With losse of Noble bloud Illustrious Name,
    Of A Comander Greate in Acts of Fame.
    Trayn’d from his youth in Armes, his courage bold,
    Attempted braue Exploites, and vncontrold
    By fortunes fiercest Frownes, hee still gaue forth
    Large Narratiues of Military worth.
    ----ritten with his sword’s poynt, but what is man
    -------the midst of his glory, and who can
    ----------this Life A moment, since that hee
    -------------by Sea and Land, so longe kept free
    -----------al, Mortal Strokes at length did yeeld
    ------------ace) to conquering Death the field,
    fini Coronat.

The black lines shew where the marble is broken, or the letters
from some other cause are quite obliterated.

                          CHAPTER II.

  History of the island continued—Sir Henry Hunks—Descent of the
  Caribs—Legend of Ding-a-ding Nook—Arrival of the Ship Nonsuch—
  Sir Thomas Modiford—Earl of Warwick, Captain-General—Captain
  Edward Warner—Colonel Rich—Colonel Lake—Mr. Everard—Sir George
  Ayscue—Colonel Christopher Reynall—Invasion by the Caribs—
  Dissensions among the inhabitants—Copy of Colonel Reynall’s
  letter to Cromwell—Attack upon St. Domingo and Jamaica—
  Major-General Poyntz—Grant of Antigua to Lord F. Willoughby.

We will now return to the history of Antigua, which we shall
hereafter pursue, as closely as possible, in chronological order.

In 1639, Sir Henry Hunks paid Antigua a visit. This gentleman
(who was nephew to Lord Conway, Secretary of State) was the first
governor of Barbados with a regular commission; but upon his
arrival at that colony, Henry Hawley, the then acting
commander-in-chief, would not resign the government, and raised
so formidable a party, that Sir Henry Hunks quietly retired to
Antigua, where he remained from June to December; at which latter
period, he was installed in his government, according to the
instructions which he received from England.

In 1640, the English settlers were disturbed in their possessions
at Antigua by the Caribs, who made a descent upon the island,
pillaging it, and destroying everything that fell in their way.
After many lives being lost on both sides, the English were
enabled to repel their invaders; who, however, succeeded in
carrying away the governor’s wife and her two children. It is
maintained by some authors, that the after fate of this
unfortunate woman was not known; but that everything the worst
might be imagined from the character of the Caribs, goaded on as
they were by the loss of their country.

There is, however, a tradition still extant in Antigua, which
most probably relates to this catastrophe. In the first years of
this island becoming an English colony, it was, of course, but
thinly peopled by Europeans, and consequently there was but
little force to repel any invasion. Parties of Caribs from the
different islands, particularly Dominica, used frequently to land
upon it, and distress the inhabitants. In these invasions, no
mercy was shewn, no quarter given, to the unhappy people who fell
in their power, and after a combat, numerous were the bodies left
upon the field of battle. Armed with their massive clubs and
sharp spears, at the end of which was inserted a fish-bone,
dipped in the poisonous juice of the lianas or the manchineel,
the Caribs were no mean foes. No sooner had they set fire to a
cluster of houses, or destroyed a field of tobacco, the chief
production of the island in those days, than they immediately
flew to their canoes, which were so fast in sailing, that before
the alarm had subsided in one part, they were burning and
plundering in another.[4] At that period, the house where the
governor resided was situated near Falmouth Bay; and in the
village itself the principal of the English settlers lived.
Government House, from its situation, was particularly open to
the attacks of the Caribs; and here the first part of the scene
took place, which gave rise to

               The Legend of Ding-a-ding Nook.[5]

It was night. The wind, which had been blowing rather hard during
the day, as evening drew in, gradually sank, until about
midnight, the time when the legend opens, it was a dead calm.
Nothing was to be heard but the dull moaning of the waves, as
they broke heavily upon the beach, or, now and then, the distant
bark of a dog from the houses of the settlers, which, with the
natural fidelity of that animal, had followed his master to these
sunny islands, when he came in search of that fortune which his
native land denied him.

The family of the governor consisted of himself, his young and
beautiful wife, two lovely children, and his numerous domestics.
At an early period of this evening, his lady, with the warm
solicitude of a mother’s love, had seen her infants safely
deposited in their cot; and with a mother’s prayer for their
happiness upon her lips, watched beside them until the deepening
rose upon their cheeks, and their measured breathings, shewed
that they slept the quiet sleep of childhood.

Hours rolled on, and all beneath that roof sought their
resting-place—all but the governor’s wife were quickly in the
arms of sleep. As if some “spirit of the night” had whispered a
hint of the sufferings she was fated to endure, an irresistible
feeling of melancholy hung over her. Sleep she could not; and to
allay the fever of her brow, she arose from her couch, and
throwing her robe around her, she opened the lattice. The scene
she looked upon was wild but beautiful. Dark masses of clouds
still hung about the heavens, and strove to hide the beams of the
rising moon; but she, “fair Cynthia,” kept on her way in peerless
majesty, and shed on every object her mellowed light. The simple
houses of the English were visible amid the trees; above which
the stately cocoa-nut reared its head, its long pendant branches
perfectly motionless. On one side, the bay of Falmouth lay
stretched before the eye of the gazer, every snow-crested wave of
which could be counted; and on the other were the dark mountains,
except in the opening of the bay, where nothing was to be seen
but an extent of waters.

Long did that beautiful lady gaze upon this scene: many thoughts
did its loveliness conjure up—thoughts of her native land, its
verdant hills and spangled dells, and all its towering cities.
Present objects were fast fading away, when a splash of the
waters was heard, and as her eye sought the ocean, a
swift-gliding canoe came in sight. At this moment, the moon,
which had been lately obscured, shone out with redoubled
brightness, and she could plainly discover that the canoe
contained about twenty armed men, and was quickly followed by
another, with even more than that number. Who could these
strangers be? was the first thought; and what their business at
such an hour? Were they Caribs? And one more glance at their wild
forms, and the dreadful truth rushed across her mind, that they
were coming to storm the house. Soon she awoke her husband, and
told him her fears; the domestics were aroused and armed, and the
house put into a posture of defence.

The canoes were now no longer to be seen; and even the lady was
inclined to ask, Could it be one of those wild vagaries of the
imagination? when suddenly the war-cry was heard, and, with
dreadful imprecations, a party of Caribs bounded into sight.
Terrible was the fight that succeeded, and many a corse strewed
the ground. At length the Caribs were obliged to retreat; but,
alas! they carried with them all that was dear to the governor—
his wife and children. The Caribs, hotly pursued, made for the
place where they had directed their canoes to wait, under the
charge of some of their friends, dragging the unhappy lady and
her two babies with them. Frightened by the wild looks of the
Indians, and suddenly awakened from its slumbers, one of the
little innocents commenced crying bitterly, which its distressed
mother, at the command of her conquerors, vainly endeavoured to
still. After walking, or rather running, for some distance, they
had almost reached the sea-side, when one of the Caribs, more
ferocious than the rest, and thinking that the cries of the child
would perhaps lead their pursuers to the spot, caught the baby by
the feet, and swinging it around his head, at one blow dashed out
its brains upon a neighbouring rock.[6] This deed committed in
sight of its parent, the lady and her remaining child were rudely
hurried on, until, the beach gained, they were thrown into one of
the canoes; and the whole party embarking, they pushed out into
the ocean.

The governor, finding they had escaped, proceeded on board an
armed vessel, and immediately sailed in pursuit of the enemy. The
morning that succeeded that disastrous night was one of West
Indian beauty; not a vapour was abroad; the sky was one deep,
lovely blue, and the sea looked like fluid light. Seated upon the
high poop, anxiously did the governor scan the waters in hopes of
seeing the canoes; but nothing met his eye—not even a speck
appeared to raise his hopes. Hour after hour passed away, but no
sight of the fugitives; night drew on, and the breeze died away;
the sails flapping heavily against the mast bespoke another calm.
How tedious seemed those hours of darkness—how fervently was the
morning wished for; but just before dawn the wind sprung up, and
soon after the mountains of Dominica appeared in sight. Slowly
but surely the vessel glided on, every eye watching for some
trace of the lost ones, when, in the opening of a little bay, two
empty canoes were discovered. Could these be the same they were
in quest of? was the anxious query; and if so, where could their
owners be? Orders were given to let go the anchor, and prepare
the boats; and in a short time the governor and his party, all
well armed, were landed upon the beach.

A beaten path led up to the mountains, and it was determined to
pursue it in hopes of it leading to some dwelling, where they
might obtain information. As it proceeded, however, it became
more and more intricate, guava bushes, aloes, and the prickly
pear, grew thickly together, while different species of parasites
conspired to render the path more impervious. In some places it
was almost obstructed by these various bushes, interspersed with
larger trees, so that the companions of the governor were for
returning, supposing no one could have passed that way lately.
But he was determined to proceed a little further; and had just
stretched out his hand to sever with his sword the overhanging
boughs of an acacia, when suddenly he made a start, his heart
beat almost to bursting, and, unable to speak, he pointed to his
amazed followers a portion of white taffeta hanging to one of its
sharp thorns. This, he felt assured, must have been torn from the
robe of his wife; and, consequently, that was the road her
conquerors must have carried her. Upon further search among the
rank and tangled grass, in hopes of discovering prints of
footsteps, marks of blood were observed. These led to further
inquiries. Could they have murdered her there? But no; had such
been the case, greater quantities of blood would have marked the
deed. Perhaps she might have been wounded, and placed in some
concealment near. Again they proceeded, guided by the drops of
blood, until, coming to an abrupt turn of the path, about a dozen
Caribs’ huts lay stretched before them, and their fierce inmates
lolling around the open doors.

In less than a minute all was confusion. Confident that this was
the party who had stolen his wife, the governor rushed upon them
furious with passion. Nothing could resist his power; Carib after
Carib lay stretched by the prowess of his arm; and springing over
his prostrate foes, the anxious husband entered the principal
hut, which he had observed was carefully guarded throughout the
fray. A well-known voice called his name, an infant’s cry of joy
saluted his ear, and, bursting open an inner door, his weeping
wife was in his arms, and his darling child clinging around his
knees. It took but little time to quit that spot, and retrace the
mountain path. The drops of blood he had seen were occasioned by
his wife’s shoe coming off, and the rugged ascent cutting her
tender feet, upon her journey to the Caribs’ huts. The boat was
quickly gained, and in a few minutes they reached the ship, and,
unfurling the sails, they sought the shores of Antigua, where
they arrived in safety.

Hitherto all was well. Happy in again seeing her husband, and
knowing herself and child were safe, that lady still took
comfort, although mourning the untimely fate of her other
darling. But this did not last long. Other thoughts arose in her
husband’s breast—thoughts too horrible to mention.

    “Oh! what dreadful minutes tells he o’er,
    Who dotes, still doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves.”

In vain his poor unhappy wife protested she was pure.

    “Jealousy is a green-eyed monster,
    That doth mock the food it feeds upon;”

and by its whispers drove him, who was the affectionate friend
and protector, to be the harsh and implacable tyrant. No longer
enjoying the society of his wife, he determined to get rid of
her; and for this purpose built a keep in Ding-a-Ding Nook, and,
conveying his wife hither, left her to wear away her life in
hopeless misery.


This is the legend; and well might that Nook be selected for such
a place of seclusion, for it is a valley completely shut in by
the surrounding mountains, and open only to the sea. I have heard
another version of this story, which says, the governor and his
lady parted by mutual consent, and that it was her wish to have a
house built in that spot. Surely, if this was the case, she must
have had the taste of an anchorite.

Between the period of Mrs. Warner’s abduction and the year 1666,
the Caribs carried away the wives and children of many of the
respectable settlers. Among them, we find mentioned Mrs. Cardin
and children, Mrs. Taylor and children, Mrs. Chrew and children,
Mrs. Lynch and children, Mrs. Lee, wife of Captain Lee, and many
other females. Mrs. Lee was detained prisoner for three years,
after the Caribs had murdered her husband, and many other
Englishmen, the truth of which is attested by the following
extract from a letter written by J. Daniel, auditor-general to
the expedition under Pen and Venables, to Oliver Cromwell,
lord-protector of England, dated 3rd June, 1655:—“Mrs. Lee, wife
of Captain Lee, was carried away by the Caribs, and kept prisoner
three years at Dominica, her husband and many English
slaughtered.” This statement immediately dispels the hypothesis
(which some writers have entertained) of Captain Lee being the
erector of the keep at Ding-a-Ding Nook; and, consequently, fixes
more firmly the truth of Mrs. Warner being the heroine of the
preceding legend.

To return once more to our chronological record. In 1647, the
ship “Nonsuch,” Captain Middleton, owner, arrived at Antigua,
which gave the name to Nonsuch Harbour, having anchored in that
port. This was one of three vessels which had been fitted out
from England by Colonel, afterwards Sir Thomas, Modiford, in
order to form a plantation in this island. During the passage,
the “Achilles,” the larger vessel of the expedition, of 300 tons
burden, William Crowder, owner and master, parted company with
the “Nonsuch,” which proceeded to Antigua alone. The “Achilles,”
after being out at sea for many weeks, put into Barbados in
distress, being infected with a disease which caused great
mortality among the men. During Colonel Modiford’s stay at
Barbados, it was represented to him how far more advantageous it
would be to purchase an estate in that island, already planted,
and from which immediate emolument might be derived, than to
proceed to an infant colony, where he would have to undergo all
the fatigues and privations incident upon establishing a
plantation. Colonel Modiford, listening to this advice, purchased
the half of an estate for 7000l., an immense sum at that day, and
thus constituted himself a Barbados planter, instead of adhering
to his first resolution, of becoming a settler of Antigua. Sir
Thomas Modiford afterwards removed to the newly-gained English
colony of Jamaica, of which island he was appointed governor in
1663, and where he resigned his breath in 1679. The Earl of
Warwick had been appointed captain-general of _all the West
Indies_ in 1643, but he does not appear to have assumed the
command; for, in 1648, after the demise of Sir Thomas Warner, we
find Colonel Rich become governor of St. Christopher’s, Colonel
Lake[7] of Nevis, and Colonel Edward Warner of Antigua. How long
this latter gentleman retained his situation is uncertain; but,
about the year 1651-2, a Mr. Everard is mentioned as holding the
government of the leeward West India islands. An official
document, however, written in the year 1655, speaks of a
gentleman of that name as governor of St. Kitt’s only.

Antigua, among most of the other colonies in this quarter of the
globe, refusing to acknowledge the rights of the Protector, Sir
George Ayscue was sent with a squadron to reduce them. This
island soon yielded to the Commonwealth’s banner, and Colonel
Christopher Reynall was appointed governor, instead of the
individual who had so daringly withstood the parliamentary power.

In 1654, the Caribs again made a descent upon Antigua; but the
English were enabled to repel their invaders, and effect such
slaughter among them, that but few escaped to tell the tale. This
victory appears to have intimidated the Indians; and for the next
two or three years, the island had rest from their relentless
invasions. About this period, Antigua was a prey to great
dissensions between the governor and the governed. Complaints
were forwarded by the inhabitants to Barbados, praying the
governor of that island to use his influence in endeavouring to
put a stop to their internal distractions. On the other hand, the
Governor of Antigua, Colonel Christopher Reynall, wrote to the
Lord Protector, imploring his Highness to take the island under
his more particular command, and, by his authority, quell the
disaffections which had so unfortunately crept in among them. The
following letter from the Governor of Antigua, and the extract
from one written by Daniel Searle, Esq., Governor of Barbados,
are taken from “Thurloe’s State Papers”:—

  Copy of a letter from Christopher Reynall, Governor of Antigua,
     to the Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell.

“May it please your Highness,

“Upon the reducement of these parts in that expedition of Sir
George Ayscue’s employ, I was by him and the other commissioners,
then empowered and commissioned to be _governor_ and
_commander-in-chief_ of this island of Antigua, in relation and
obedience to the Commonwealth of England, which, to the best of
my endeavours, I hope in my instrument, I have faithfully
performed; in the progress of which my employ being, I have
received by several advice, that it was and is thought meet, and
so established by the Great Council and Estate of England, with
your Highnesses consent and acceptation, that the government of
our nation and dominions remain in yourself as Lord Protector; a
thing most acceptable to me, who do most faithfully wish your
Highness and the Commonwealth welfare and happiness; and, in
manifestation thereof, have cheerfully acknowledged and submitted
to all such mandates or expresses which hath hitherto come in the
name of the Lord Protector. But in our private consultations,
considering of _many spirits amongst us_, doubting their
satisfactions have not attained the title of our ...... or
......; according to our desires and intentions, lest an
ill-affected party should presume to take an advantage thereby in
pretending, as some have already given out, that there were no
power of government, but all as libertine, until a new commission
came from your Highness; which, by that means might endanger the
place to a confusion and ruin: so render us incapable of that
service we desire to perform to your Highness and the
Commonwealth. The place of itself (if encouragement and small
help were afforded) being of consequence, by reason of the
fertility of the soil, and exceeding all others settled in these
parts, in convenient and safe harbours—I, in relation to the
promises and my loyalty to your Highness and the Commonwealth, do
prostrate my humble desire at the feet of your Highness’s care
and justice, as so far to take up the people and place into your
consideration, as to give such orders and directions as may put
us not only in the condition of walking inoffensively, but also
as we may be serviceable to your Highness and the Commonwealth,
which is the hearty desire of

            “Your most obedient subject and servant,

                                  (Signed) “Christopher Reynall.

  “From the Island of Antigua, in the parts of America,

“Aug. 20th, 1654.”

The extract from Governor Searle’s letter, dated from Barbados,
Nov. 7th, 1655, and addressed to Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector,
&c., is as follows:—

“Some addresses have likewise been made unto me, by Mr. Jos. Lee,
Mr. Benjamin Langham, and Richard Farley, inhabitants of Antego,
in behalf of themselves and the people of that colony, concerning
some distractions among them, and the present unsettled and
desturbed condition of that colony. But finding I have no power
to take cognizance of anything of that nature, without the bounds
of this colony, without a special order from your Highness, I
have transmitted their complaints, and the state of the matter in
difference betwixt them and the governor going off, which your
Highness will here receive.”

In 1665, Antigua joined with Barbados, St. Christopher’s, and
Nevis, in levying troops to join the intended expedition of
Admiral Pen and General Venables, (of which accounts had been
received from England,) in their projected attack upon St.
Domingo—an island at that period under the power of Spain, but
which Cromwell was very desirous of obtaining. From the copy of a
State paper, it appears, however, that upon the arrival of the
Commonwealth fleet, the Governor of Antigua, Christopher Reynall,
represented to the commanders of the expedition, the disastrous
state of the island, from the frequent, and particularly the
_late_, molestations of the Caribs;—a fact so clearly presented
to Pen and Venables, that they would not lessen the force of the
place, by impressing any of its inhabitants for soldiers. They,
therefore, remained only two days at Antigua, during which period
they proclaimed the Protector with great pomp; and then proceeded
to St. Christopher’s, and the other leeward islands, where they
procured a sufficient complement of men. I am sorry, however,
that an historian of great fame states, “the troops raised in the
West Indies were the most profligate of mankind.”

As Antigua did not eventually join in this expedition, it will be
sufficient to remark, that the attack upon St. Domingo was very
disastrous; for, although upon the first approach of the English,
the Spaniards left their town and fled into the woods, the troops
did not follow up their advantage. Venables allowed the soldiers
to disembark, without a guide, ten miles from the capital; and,
wandering about without any fixed purpose for the space of four
days, they gave the Spaniards time to recover themselves from
their alarm, and, rushing from their place of concealment, they
fell upon the English, who were almost dead with fatigue and
hunger, killed six hundred of them, and drove the remainder on
board their vessels. In order to atone for their indiscretions,
the English commanders resolved to proceed against Jamaica, also
under the dominion of Spain, and which island immediately
surrendered to the English flag, without a blow being struck in
its defence. Colonel Doyly being appointed governor of the new
gained colony, with about 3000 land forces under his command, and
a fleet of men-of-war under Vice-Admiral Goodson, Pen and
Venables prepared to return home. Landing the West India troops
at their respective islands, the commanders sailed for England;
but, upon their arrival, they were both sent to the Tower, for
their failure upon St. Domingo, entirely owing to their want of
proper conduct as English officers.

Upon the Restoration, Antigua held out for the Commonwealth, as
strenuously as in 1651 it had opposed the pretensions of
Cromwell, and for this cause, Charles II. appointed Major-General
Poyntz, a former deserter from the Parliamentary power, to act as
governor, which situation he filled until 1663, when Lord Francis
Willoughby, of Parham, obtained a grant of the entire island from
Charles II. as a reward for his eminent services in the cause of
that monarch; and Major-General Poyntz retired to Virginia.
During the period this latter gentleman resided at Antigua as
governor, he owned and planted an estate called by him Cassada
Garden, a title which it still bears.


[4] The following extract alludes to the invasions of the Caribs
(Rochfort’s Histoire des Antilles, published at Rotterdam, 1665,
tome 4, page 310):—“Les Caraibs ont fait des descent dans les
isles de Montserrat, d’Antigoa, et en d’autres qui sont occupées
par les Anglais, et après avoir brulé quelques maisons, et pillé
quelques meubles; ils ont enlevé des hommes, des femmes et des
enfans, qu’ils ont conduit à la Dominique et à St. Vincents.”

[5] An estate in Antigua called by that name.

[6] This rock is still pointed out upon an estate, called
Patterson’s, belonging to the Hon. John Athill.

[7] The proper appellation of this gentleman (according to the
authority of E. S. B———, Esq.) is Colonel _Luke Stokes_; but,
from an orthographical error of the French historian, _Du
Tertre_, he has been handed down to posterity as Colonel _Lake_.
He afterwards removed to Jamaica at the head of a small party of
English settlers, where he died in 1659, universally esteemed for
his virtues and honourable actions.

                          CHAPTER III.

  Rupture between France and England—War in the West Indies—Loss
  of Lord Francis Willoughby—Colonel Carden—Capture of Antigua by
  the French forces under M. de la Barre—Colonel Fitche—
  Restoration of Antigua by the Treaty of Breda—Death of Colonel
  Carden—Biographical notices.

In 1665-6, England was engaged in a contest with Holland,
Denmark, and France; and during that period, her colonies in the
West Indies suffered greatly, particularly St. Christopher’s and

St. Christopher’s being reduced by the French, Lord Francis
Willoughby headed an expedition of 2000 troops, and sailed from
Barbados (where he was then residing in preference to Antigua)
with the hope of recapturing that island. On his passage to St.
Christopher’s, he visited Martinique, with the design of
surprising the place, and, after taking the French prisoners, to
transport them to Antigua, Montserrat, and Nevis. The French,
however, having received tidings of his movements, were
accordingly prepared; and Lord Willoughby, finding himself
baffled in his intentions, sailed for Guadaloupe, where he
arrived on the 2nd of August. Before any success was effected
against this island, a dreadful hurricane arose, which, raging
with extreme violence for the space of twenty-four hours,
entirely destroyed the fleet of Lord Willoughby, strewing the
coast with its fragments, and every soul perished, with the
exception of two seamen.[8]

Before embarking upon this expedition, this ill-fated nobleman
appointed his nephew, Mr. Henry Willoughby, lieutenant-general
and governor of these islands, who in his turn constituted
Colonel Carden governor of Antigua.

Before the declaration of war between France and England was
published, several Frenchmen had left the French colonies, from
different motives, and settled in Antigua, where they lived
sociably with the English, and prosecuted their respective
professions. After the rupture between those nations was known in
the West Indies, and the report of the intended attack upon St.
Christopher’s by the French, reached the ears of Lord F.
Willoughby, he dispatched his nephew, Mr. Henry Willoughby, to
the relief of that place. Arriving, however, too late for the
action, he was obliged to proceed with his ship to Antigua; and
being (according to Du Tertre, the French historian) in “_a
burning rage_” at the failure of his plans, he vented it upon the
French settlers whom he found there—confiscating their property,
forbidding them to quit their houses, or hold communications
between themselves, under pain of death, and obliging them to
swear allegiance to the English monarch.

“Many of them submitted, in a very cowardly manner,” remarks the
above-named quaint author; “but others, _whose heart was in a
better place, refused to do so_.”

Among these French settlers was a young surgeon, of the name of
Grand-Maison, who had been formerly _valet-de-chambre_ to M. de
la Barre, lieutenant-general by sea and land of the French
forces, and who was fully alive to the tyrannical manner in which
himself and his countrymen had been treated. Having a little more
liberty than the others, from the nature of his profession,
Grand-Maison had an opportunity of entering into conversation
with another young Frenchman, of the name of Baston, who, says Du
Tertre, “was skilful by sea and land, courageous and brave, and
an admirer of firmness and constancy.” Finding Grand-Maison
entertained the same sentiments as himself, he proposed that they
should steal a small shallop, which was attached by an iron chain
to a post firmly planted in the beach, and taking advantage of
the darkness of the night, effect their escape from the island.
As, however, the oars had been carried away by the owner of the
boat, they bribed a French carpenter, who was engaged working in
some of the back woods of Antigua, to join them in their
enterprise, and make them a pair in that retired place.

Grand-Maison, who served a very rich master,[9] took the charge
of bringing a sufficient quantity of provisions from his home;
and between them they procured five muskets, a few pairs of
pistols, some cutlasses, twenty or thirty pounds of powder, and
lead in proportion. But thinking themselves not strong enough to
man the shallop, Grand-Maison, who was very much beloved by the
negroes, engaged two of them, who were esteemed excellent rowers,
to accompany him.

All things being duly prepared, they stole away from their
masters by night, hurried to the beach, and the carpenter having
sawn in two the post to which the boat was fastened, they
departed, and made for Guadaloupe. After struggling manfully
against the current and contrary winds for some time, running
many risks of their lives, and putting back into Antigua once or
twice, they changed their resolution, and made for St.
Christopher’s—arriving in Cabsterre, a district of that island,
at the very time M. de Chambre was on the point of sailing for
Martinique, to rejoin M. de la Barre, with all the French ships
of war.

M. Sannois, captain of that district, welcomed the adventurers,
and treated them very kindly; and upon hearing their story, sent
them to M. de St. Laurent, who, after examining them, and finding
them well informed of the strength and natural barriers of
Antigua—and more particularly, as Baston gave him a plan of the
coast, shewing the best landing-places, and offered himself as a
guide to the troops, to lead them to the place “wherever
resistance might be expected,” and to be _everywhere_ “at their
head,”—he determined to send them with M. de Chambre to M. de la
Barre, at Martinique.

Upon their arrival at that island, at counsel was held, and
Grand-Maison and Baston introduced, when the latter repeated his
offers. The assembly was well pleased with his information and
solid reflections; but M. de Chambre represented, that the
officers of the French forces were so contented with the conquest
of St. Kitts, that he thought they would be unwilling to engage
in any new adventure, unless there was an augmentation of the
troops. To this objection M. Clodoré, the Governor of Martinique,
replied, in such a splendid speech, abounding with so much true
martial ardour, that every objection was borne down before him;
and M. de Chambre was led to observe, that if M. St. Laurent had
heard the powerful arguments brought forward by M. de Clodoré, he
would change his opinion, and join in attacking Antigua; and he
did not believe M. St. Leon, (the commanding officer,) with his
brother officers, would even stand firm in their resolution after
hearing him. M. de Chambre then asked M. Clodoré if he would
accompany him to St. Christopher’s, to consult with the other
officers. M. Clodoré immediately replied he should be most happy
to do so, if M. de la Barre would give him such instructions in
writing; which being directly complied with, they made sail 25th
October, 1666, with seven vessels of war, carrying 166 pieces of
cannon, and commanded by M. de la Barre, admiral of the whole
fleet; M. de Clodoré, Governor of Martinique; M. du Lion,
Governor of Guadaloupe; M. de Chambre, Intendant of the French
West Indian Company’s affairs; and attended by 130 men of the
regiment of Poictiers, commanded by Sieur d’Orvillier, and two
companies of infantry, besides the seamen.

Calling in at Guadaloupe, they held another council of war, in
which it was determined to sail for St. Kitt’s; but at the same
time to come so near to Antigua as to be able to reconnoitre the
island, and ascertain if it would be prudent to attack it before
they proceeded to St. Christopher’s.

Leaving Guadaloupe on the 2nd November, they made sail for
Antigua, bearing the English flag as a subterfuge, and thinking
by that means to deceive the English. Upon reaching Antigua, they
endeavoured to get into the harbour of St. John’s; but meeting
with contrary winds, they put back and made for Five Islands’
Bay, which at that period was defended by two forts—the smaller
one (which appears to have been only an artificial mound, without
any parapets or any kind of fortifications) mounted with six
guns; the larger one (with good stone buildings, and standing in
that part now occupied by the batteries of “Goat’s Hill”) mounted
with eight guns. The men stationed at the smaller fort had their
suspicions first awakened by observing how carefully the French
came in, sounding with the lead every moment; and consequently
they determined to fire upon them.

To this _warm_ welcome the French replied in such a manner,
bringing all their guns to bear upon the place, that the English
abandoned the fort, and fled. Arriving abreast of the larger
fort, the French anchored at pistol-shot; and the firing was
carried on with such vigour, that it was also abandoned, and that
with such precipitancy, that the royal flag was left behind.

The signal was now made for a party to land and take possession
of the forts, with directions to capture all they could, but not
to burn or destroy any part of the country, wisely remarking,
according to their own narrator, that “they could do that another
time.” These orders for forbearance, if they were ever given,
were not attended to; for everything that fell in their way was
devastated; and it has been remarked by an old author, that the
French robbed the very shoes from off the feet of the

But to return to the particulars of the attack. The next morning,
about four o’clock, M. de Clodoré, &c., attended by 200 men,
landed upon the beach, and, guided by Baston, proceeded to the
house where the governor, Colonel Carden, then resided, which was
situated about a mile and a half from the shore. The English
fought with their usual bravery, but were at length overpowered;
and Colonel Carden, Colonel Monk, and about thirty other
officers, were taken prisoners, and the house burnt to the

The governor, being thus captured, was conveyed on board the
admiral’s ship; and the French were so elated with their success,
that they determined to push on their good fortune, and endeavour
to subdue the whole island. The next day, they again landed at
daybreak, attended by 240 men, divided into two companies, and
guided by Baston. Reaching a large house situated upon a hill,
they dispatched a trumpeter to summon the inhabitants to
surrender, among whom was Mrs. Carden, the wife of the governor.
This trumpeter carried a letter, written by Colonel Carden,
describing how well he was treated(?), and advising them not to
wait to the last extremity to surrender, but to do so without
delay. To this letter they returned a verbal answer, thanking the
French for their polite treatment to their governor, but at the
same time intimating, that they were resolved to do their duty,
and resist to the last.

Upon receiving this reply, the French commanders prepared for
battle, and resolved to storm the house. At first they were
repulsed by the English; and the greater part of the regiment of
Poictiers, commanded by the Sieur d’Orvillier, being seized with
a panic, retreated and concealed themselves in a neighbouring
wood; but Mons. de Clodoré, seeing the state of affairs, hurried
to the spot, and, being joined by the officers of the regiment
and about thirty of the common soldiers, whom they had prevailed
upon to leave their concealment, made a second attack upon the
house, and succeeded in forcing an entrance.

A battalion of the English making their appearance upon the hill
behind the house, M. de Clodoré drew off his men to engage with
them, while D’Orvillier and the rest of the party were left in
charge of the edifice. Upon entering, they found Colonel Quest
(who had taken the command of the island after the seizure of
Colonel Carden) seated “in an arm-chair, with a pair of pistols
cocked in his hand,” and surrounded by a few brave English.
Colonel Quest demanded quarter, to which a Frenchman replied by
sending a ball through his body; and the rest of the English who
were with him, were slaughtered without mercy.

In justice to M. de Clodoré, it must be remarked, that as soon as
he knew of these proceedings, he endeavoured to put a stop to
them, and finally saved the lives of about fifty English, who had
concealed themselves in another part of the house.

After burning down the edifice, and many others in the vicinity—
which were described as being very handsome ones—killing fifty of
the English, and getting all the plunder they could, the French
proceeded to the beach, carrying their prisoners, about fifty in
number, along with them. Upon arriving there, it was agreed to
ship them immediately, and despatch them to St. Kitts, with the
wounded Frenchmen, among whom was Baston, the instigator of the
attack, and who afterwards died of his wound at that island.[11]
When Colonel Quest was to be carried down to the beach along with
the other prisoners, he was found to be so seriously wounded,
that he was unable to walk; and consequently, one of the French
officers proposed to despatch him, offering to do the deed
himself. At this barbarous scheme, M. de Clodoré was justly
incensed; and, ordering a few of his soldiers to form a kind of
bier, had him carefully conducted on board the ship that was to
carry him to St. Kitts, in which island he also died.

After getting rid of their prisoners, the French held another
council of war, when it was resolved to send a trumpeter,
summoning all the inhabitants to surrender, threatening to set
fire to all their property should they demur. A compliance with
this demand appears to have been wholly unexpected by the French,
and their threat of burning only a species of _bravado_; for at
this council it was resolved, that if the English held out, they
would immediately sail for St. Christopher’s with the whole
fleet. Fate, however, willed it otherwise, and the trumpeter
brought answer back, that the English were willing to accede to
their demand, and desired a place to be appointed in which to
treat about the terms of capitulation. Overjoyed at their
unexpected success, the French named the harbour of St. John’s as
the place of treaty; and accordingly despatched one of their
frigates—the “Armes d’Angleterre,” on board of which the
conference was to be held. On the tenth of November, 1666, M. de
Clodoré, M. de Chambre, &c. &c., accompanied by four shallops,
containing eighty armed men, proceeded on board that vessel, and
were quickly joined by Lieut.-Colonel Bastien Baijer, Colonel
Buckley, Joseph Lee, Captain Samuel Winthorp,[12] Captain Philip
Warner, and James Halliday, who were appointed by the English to
sign the capitulation.

All arms, ammunition, forts, batteries, &c., were to be given up
to the French; but the English were to be allowed to retain their
property, have free exercise of their religion; (except in that
immediate district which the French governor might choose as his
quarters;) and Colonel Carden, who had been detained prisoner of
war on board one of the enemy’s vessels, was to be restored to

After signing the capitulation, on the 12th of November, the
English deputies despatched Colonel Buckley on board the “Armes
d’Angleterre,” with the information that there were three hundred
soldiers arrived from Barbados, which would prevent them from
fulfilling their part of the treaty; _but that if the French
thought proper to hazard an attack, they (the deputies) would not

Upon receiving this message, the greater part of the French
officers were for detaining Colonel Buckley as an hostage, as
well as refusing to liberate Colonel Carden; but to this M. de
Clodoré would not assent, remarking that as he had given his word
to restore Colonel Carden to liberty, and Colonel Buckley had
come on board under protection of a flag of truce, they should
both be conveyed safely to land. This was accordingly done the
same day; but Monsieur Giraud, the head commander of St. Kitts,
seeing Colonel Buckley on shore, and not being aware of M. de la
Barre’s intentions towards him, had him seized and conveyed on
board the admiral’s ship; who, being of different opinion to M.
de Clodoré, detained him as a hostage; and the whole of the
French forces having embarked, the fleet sailed for St. Kitts,
where they arrived on the 15th of November.

After remaining there a few days, M. de Clodoré sailed for
Martinique to transact some necessary business, and then,
accompanied by a fleet of six frigates, returned to Antigua, to
oblige the inhabitants to fulfil the treaty they had signed. He
arrived on the 30th of November, but found the state of affairs
entirely changed, Mr. Willoughby having appointed Colonel Daniel
Fitche, (who upon the former visit of the French was staying at
Nevis,) governor of Antigua, in place of Colonel Carden, and the
island being reinforced by the arrival of some troops from

Surprised but not intimidated, M. de Clodoré, with the
concurrence of his principal officers, sent a trumpeter to
Colonel Carden, calling upon him to fulfil the treaty, and oblige
the inhabitants to surrender. This message was received by
Colonel Carden in the presence of some of the English officers;
but the same night, by the order of Colonel Fitche, (who was
displeased at his expressing his opinion, that it was but
equitable to stand by their written contract,) he was arrested
and sent to prison. Upon this occasion, Mrs. Carden despatched
the following letter to M. de Clodoré:—


“Mon mary cette nuit a esté enlevé d’auprés de moy par deux
officers et deux soldats, et ce qu’ils pretendent faire de moy et
des miens, jusqu’à present ie n’en sçay encore rien; mais en
crains qu’il ne nous en arrive mal. Je vous supplie
tres-humblement, Monsieur, voyant que moy, les mien, et ma
famille est delaissée et abandonée de nostre nation; qu’il vous
plaise nous prendre sous votre protection, nous qui n’avons levé
la main ni le cœur contre vous; et moy et les miens, et beaucoup
d’autres, prieront pour vostre prosperité et ie prend la
hardiesse de me qualifier,

                    “Monsieur, vostres, &c.

                                             “Marie Carden.”[13]

[N.B.—These letters are literally transcribed.]

Upon the same day, Colonel Carden despatched the following letter
to M. de Clodoré:—


“J’aurois eu l’honneur de vous aller trouver, mais i’ay este
intercepté par ordre de Mons. le Gouverneur Fitche, et il ne m’a
pas esté permis de sortir. J’espere, Monsieur, que ne croirez, ni
ne iugerez autre chose de celuy qui prend la liberté de se
souscrire,—Mons., votres, &c.

                                            “Robert Carden.”[14]

Soon after sending this letter, Colonel Carden was liberated, and
immediately proceeding on board the French ship, delivered
himself up to M. de Clodoré, and informed him that Colonel Fitche
and his troops were encamped at Pope’s Head. Upon hearing this,
M. de Clodoré immediately weighed anchor, and sailing round the
coast, arrived off Pope’s Head the same night. The next morning,
the following letters were despatched to him from the English


“Nous avons receu vos semonces de venir à bord delivrant en
vostre possession nos armes et munitions de guerre; laquelle
chose, le changement de nos affaires est tel depuis vostre
depart, qu’il ne vous la peut pas permettre. Monsieur le
Lieut.-General de nostre roy ayant envoyé icy le Col. Daniel
Fitche pour son gouverneur, luy a donné pouvoir sur toute la
milice de cette isle: si-bien, Mons., que nous sommes devenus
tout-à-fait incapables de vous donner aucune reponse
satisfactoire; et sur l’examination des affaires passées, a
trouvé qu’elles estoient beaucoup à notres preiudice; et en
particulier envoyant les Careibes deux fois sur nous contre
l’obligation de vos articles, et les loix des nations, des
personnes qui sont cruels, tout-à-fait barbares et ignorans de
Dieu et de toutes civilitez. Neanmoins, Monsieur, nous vous
supplions suivant ce que nous avons déiafait, d’en faire vos
demandes à nostre dit gouverneur, qui est uniquement experimenté
en matiere de guerre. En attendant nous demeurons,

             “Monsieur, vos tres-humble serviteurs,

                                   “Bastien Baijer, &c. &c.”[15]


“Nous avons receu la vostre, à laquelle nous ne pouvons à present
faire aucune reponse, si non qu’il n’est pas en nostre pouvoir de
convenir à vos semonces, ni à aucunes choses cy-devant faites;
parce que depuis vostre depart d’icy, est arrivé le Col. Daniel
Fitche, avec commission de Monsieur le Lieut.-Gen. pour
gouverneur, auquel vos semonces et demandes doivent estre faites,
comme estant seul commandant de la milice. Nous trouvons que nous
avons receu grand preiudice à la rupture des articles concernans
les Careibes, qui ont deux fois attenté sur nous à leur maniere
accoustumée, qui est cruelle et barbarienne. Nous serions reioüis
de vous voir si le souhaittez; car on attend icy quinze navires
de la Barbade, dont il y en a cinq de trente pieces de canon
chacun, et deux de soixante, et huit navires marchands de vingt à
trente pieces de canon, avec mil soldats du roy vestus de
casaques rouges, avec quantité d’armes: vous presentant vous
rendrez service. Nous demeurons,

          “Monsieur, vos asseurez amis et serviteurs,

                                   “Bastien Baijer, &c. &c.”[16]

Upon receiving these letters, M. de Clodoré held a council with
his officers, the results of which were as follow:—

“As the enemy have made no answer to our summons, sent three days
ago, to fulfil the conditions of the treaty made with them; but,
on the contrary, they have sent these letters this morning, in
which, after having sought vain pretences of rupture, they
declare they are not willing to fulfil it, and at the same time
they have disposed guard-houses along the coast, and caused
several armed persons to oppose our landing; it has been found
proper to accept the rupture they have made of the treaty, and
after having fired a cannon-ball at them, to land, in order to
make them return to their duty, without paying regard to the
letters they have sent. Besides the absence of Monsieur de la
Barre, and the necessity we are in to send back immediately the
island troops to Martinique and Guadaloupe, to oppose the enemy,
who, according to advices received, will soon arrive there, it is
impossible now to keep the island of Antigua for the king. It has
therefore been thought proper to land, attack the enemy, and, in
case of success, place the island in such a state, that the enemy
can draw no sort of profit from it.

“Done unanimously between us, the undersigned, in the harbour of
Antigua, the 3rd December, 1666.

                                                    “De Clodore,

During the period the council was being held, several armed
soldiers, (of the English troops,) impatient to know what answer
would be returned to their letters, appeared upon the beach; upon
which, according to the resolutions already passed, a cannon-ball
was fired at them, when they dispersed, and appeared no more,
without a white flag in their hand. Before the French council
broke up, an English officer came on board, bringing the
following letter for M. de Clodoré:—


“Nous vous avons envoyé ce matin telle reponse que nous pouvions,
estant sous le commandement et autorité de Mons. le Gouverneur,
au pouvoir duquel n’estions pas capables de resister; mais depuis
que nous luy avons fait voir amplement la raison de nostre
premier traité et nostre refus de rompre, avons tant fait qu’il
en est demeuré d’accord, moyennant qu’il y soit, compris comme le
reste des habitans; le dit traité et accord sera ponctuellement
ratifié et effectué en toutes ses particularitez.

                      “Monsieur, vos, &c.,

                                   “Bastien Baijer, &c. &c.”[17]

But paying no regard to this letter, M. de Clodoré wrote them as


“J’ay esté fort surpris, lorsque j’ay veû que vous n’avez pas
repondu à la sommation que ie vous ay fait faire, et encore
davantage lorsque i’ay leû la lettre que vous m’avez envoyée ce
matin, où vous nous accusez de vous avoir traité avec rigueur,
pour chercher pretexte de rompre comme vous avez fait, en
manquant à vostre foy et à vostre parolle. Je descends à terre et
vous vais trouver, pour vous mettre à vostre devoir par la voye
des armes: ceux qui les poseront, auront de moy bon quartier, et
les autres seront traitez selon la rigueur de la guerre.

                       “Vostre serviteur,

                                               “De Clodore.”[18]

Immediately after sending this letter, M. de Clodoré and
Hinscelin landed with the French forces; but, upon gaining the
beach, they were met by a party of the English, bearing a flag of
truce, and offering, in the name of the inhabitants, to give up
all pretensions to this island, provided they would include
Governor Fitche in the treaty.

To this proposition M. de Clodoré would not assent, but forming
his troops into battle array, marched to attack the English. The
result of this encounter appears to me so remarkable, that it
obliges me again and again to assure my readers I give the true
translation: “marching to attack the new Governor and his eight
or nine hundred men, only two shots were fired by the English,
one of which wounded _their own sentinel_, and this was the only
blood spilt in this engagement; and Governor Fitche hearing that
M. de Clodoré was coming up with all his troops, and four pieces
of artillery, ran away in a boat with Colonel Warner and some
others, saying to his soldiers only these words—“God be with me,
and with you.”

Thus have I narrated the reduction of Antigua by the French,
following the steps of their own historian, “Du Tertre,” who of
course speaks in favour of his own countrymen. Antigua remained a
French colony, although of no use to the nation, except from the
plunder obtained from it, until the following year, when by the
treaty of Breda, Louis XIV. restored it to the English crown.[19]
The French appear to have ever doubted their success; and their
attack upon Antigua, in the first instance, seemed only intended
as a feint; but by one of those extraordinary accidents, which we
often meet with in the annals of nations, the island was reduced,
and in the second attack, if we may believe Du Tertre, _only two
shots_ were fired in its defence.

At the period of this conquest of Antigua, there were about 800
negroes upon the island, but of these the French could only find
about 500, which they carried away with them, along with their
plunder. The after fate of Colonel Carden was truly shocking.
Soon after the French had abandoned Antigua, a party of Caribs
landed, and cruelly treated the defenceless inhabitants. At
length they proceeded to the house of the ex-governor, Colonel
Carden, who treated them very kindly, and administered to their
want. Upon their leaving, they requested their entertainer to
accompany them to the beach, who instantly complied; but the
Caribs, more treacherous than the wild beasts that haunt the
desert, had no sooner reached the place where their canoes were
stationed, than they fell upon their kind host, cruelly murdered
him, and broiled his head, which they afterwards carried with
them to Dominica. Nor were they satisfied with this horrible
piece of barbarity; for, to make the tragedy complete, they
returned to Colonel Carden’s house, seized his wife and children,
and after telling them of the fate of their kind relative,
hurried them away into a captivity worse than death.

The Bastian Baijer—whose name appears conspicuous in signing the
capitulation, and in the after letters which passed between the
English and the French—was of Dutch extraction, and one who
emigrated to this island at an early period of its colonization.
He died in London, in the year 1704, and in his will directed
that his remains should be interred in the vaults of the Dutch
church in Austin Friars, which was accordingly done. Many of the
descendants (or rather representatives, for Bastian Baijer died
without issue, and left his property to the person who assumed
his name) of Bastian Baijer have resided in the island until
within a year or two. The remains of one member of that family,
Otto Baijer, Esq., moulders beneath the beautiful tomb, a
description of which will be found in Chapter XV.; and the
remaining scion of the house, a female, was shortly since united
to the Hon. Owen Pell, of Antigua, and of Suwell, county of


[8] It is said, that some part of Lord Willoughby’s fleet escaped
the hurricane, and reached Jamaica in safety.

[9] It must be remembered, that at the time we are now speaking
of, surgeons did not hold that respectable rank in society as
they now—that is, most of them—deservedly fill. Not so very many
years ago, naval surgeons in particular were very little thought
of; and even in the British navy, they were required to perform
the office of barber, as well as attend to the bodily ailments of
the crew.

[10] To shew the state to which the French reduced the island,
the following extract from a letter written by Count D’Estrade,
ambassador from the French king to Charles II. of England, dated
26th May, 1667, and addressed to Louis XIV., is inserted:—“Il
nous dit de plus que le Sieur de la Barre avat ruiné celle
d’Antigoa, et en avait fait transporter tout ce qu’il avait pu
afin d’être mieux en etat de conserver de St. Christophe.”

_Translation_.—“He”—that is, the deputy from Zealand, with whom
Count D’Estrade had had a conference at Breda, on 21st May, 1667—
“informed us, in addition, that the said M. de la Barre had
ruined the colony of Antigua, and had taken and transported from
it all that he could, to the end that he might be in a better
condition to retain possession of St. Christopher’s.”

[11] His tombstone may be still seen in one of the churchyards of
St. Christopher’s.

[12] For account of this gentleman, see Appendix, No. 3.

[13] “Sir,—My husband has been arrested by two officers and two
soldiers this night, and what they intend doing with me and my
family, I know not even now; but I fear that some ill
consequences will attend it. I beseech you humbly, Sir, seeing
that myself and family are abandoned by our countrymen, that it
may please you to protect us who have never assailed you; and
myself, and family, and many others, shall pray for your
prosperity; and I take the boldness to qualify myself,

       “Sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,

                                                  “Mary Carden.”

[14] “Sir,—I should have had the honour of waiting upon you, but
I have been intercepted by the order of Governor Fitche, and I
have been in custody since. I hope, Sir, you will not believe or
think otherwise of him who takes the liberty of subscribing
himself, Sir, yours, &c.,

                                                “Robert Carden.”

[15] “Sir,—We have received your summons to come on board to
deliver our arms and ammunition; which thing, such is the change
in our affairs since your departure, as not to permit of our
doing. The lieut.-general of our king having sent Colonel Daniel
Fitche as his governor, has given him power over all the militia
of this island. Thus, Sir, we are become entirely unable to give
you any satisfactory answer; and, upon examination of the
transactions which have taken place, we have found that they were
so much to our prejudice, and in particular, sending the Caribs
twice upon us, against the obligation of your articles and the
laws of nations; persons who are cruel, entirely barbarous, and
ignorant of God and of all civilities. However, Sir, we pray you,
as we have already done, to address your demands to our governor,
who alone is experienced in matters of war. In the meantime, we
remain, yours, &c. &c.,
                      “Bastien Baijer.        Gilbert Gregory.
                       Philip Warner.         Henry Reynall.
                       Richard Boraston.      Jeremiah Watkins.
                       Samuel Winthorpe.”

[16] “Sir,—We have received your letter, to which we cannot at
present give any other answer, but that it is not in our power to
yield to your summons, nor to agree to anything done before;
because, since your departure from here, Colonel Daniel Fitche is
arrived, with commission from the lieutenant-general as governor,
in obedience to an order from the king, which has been published.
It is to the said governor that your summons and demands must be
addressed, for he is the sole commander of the militia. We think
that we have suffered great injury at the rupture of the articles
concerning the Caribs, who attacked us twice in their wonted
manner, which is cruel and barbarous. We would be glad to see
you, _if you wish_, for we expect here, fifteen ships from
Barbados, five of which are of fifteen guns each, and two of
sixty; and eight merchantmen, of twenty to thirty guns; with a
thousand of the king’s soldiers, _dressed in their red jackets_,
and a quantity of arms. By coming, you will render service. We
remain, &c.,

                                       “Bastien Baijer, &c. &c.”

[17] “Sir,—We have sent this morning the only answer we could
give, being under the command and authority of the governor, to
whose power we could not resist; but as we have shewn him the
reason of our first treaty, and our refusal to break it, we have
done so much that he has agreed with us, provided he be included
in it, with the rest of the inhabitants: the said treaty and
agreement will be punctually ratified and executed in all its

                                       “Bastien Baijer, &c. &c.”

[18] “Gentlemen,—I have been much surprised when I saw that you
made no answer to the summons given you, and much more yet when I
read the letters you sent me this morning, in which you charge us
with having treated you with rigour, which is seeking for a
pretence of rupture, as you have done by not keeping your faith
and word. I am landing and coming to you, to teach you your duty
by force of arms: those who will lay down their arms will have
good quarter from me, and the others shall be treated according
to the rigour of war. Your servant,

                                                   “De Clodore.”

[19] It was for some time pending in the mind of Louis XIV.
whether he should, or should not, restore Antigua to its rightful
sovereign; and several letters passed between the King of the
French and his ambassador, Count D’Estrade, (the deputy from
Zealand assuring the count that he would use his influence to
retain Antigua for his majesty, should such be his wish,) upon
the subject. At length, however, Louis XIV., after much
hesitation, authorized its rendition by a letter to Count
D’Estrade, dated 6th May, 1667, of which the following is a

“I have always forgotten to inform you, and even to put it in
your instructions, that it is my intention to surrender the
island of Antigua to the English, which belonged to them before
the war. Thus you will make no difficulty by promising, by the
treaty (of Breda), that all things shall be established in the
island of St. Christopher, and that of Antigua, as they were
previously to the rupture,” &c.

                          CHAPTER IV.

  Governors: Lord William Willoughby, Henry Willoughby—Arrival of
  Major, afterwards Lieutenant-General Byam, the progenitor of
  the family of that name—Biographical remarks—Partition of the
  Caribbee Islands—Sir William Stapleton—General Council and
  Assembly—Colonel Philip Warner—Expedition against the Caribs—
  Death of Indian Warner—Arrest and trial of Colonel P. Warner—
  Acquittal—Dampier’s account of this affair—Captain Southey’s
  History of the Indian Warner.

After peace had been once more proclaimed between France and
England, and Antigua restored to its rightful sovereign, the
English government, being fully assured of the death of Lord
Francis Willoughby, appointed Lord William Willoughby, of Parham,
(who when the royalists rose against the parliament, after the
deposition of Richard Cromwell, undertook to secure Lynn for his
exiled majesty,) Captain-General and chief Governor of Barbados,
Antigua, and the rest of the Leeward Caribbee Islands, as some
reward for his services.

Lord William Willoughby arrived at Antigua about 1668, and
appointed Samuel Winthorpe his deputy-governor. During the first
year of his lordship’s administration, a registrar’s office was
established, and fees appointed for the same. The registrar and
recorder was to be “a person of good discretion and honesty,” and
his salary paid in sugar and tobacco.[20] Acts were also passed
for the “settling the inhabitants in their lands” and “for the
encouragement and promoting the settling of the island”—very
necessary measures, as all was in confusion, from the late cruel
dealing of the French, in so dismantling their promising colony.
This year also (1668) commenced the four and a half per cent.
duty; which was an impost upon all native productions shipped
from the island, to be paid to the reigning monarch, his heirs,
and successors, in consideration of new grants of lands being
given to the inhabitants after the restoration of Antigua to the
English crown; all old titles to lands having become void by
reason of the late conquest, by the French.

Lord William Willoughby removing to Barbados about this time,
nominated his son, Henry Willoughby, as acting-governor, the same
gentleman who was left by Lord F. Willoughby deputy-governor of
Barbados during his absence upon the disastrous expedition
already spoken of. Nothing of much importance occurred during the
short period Mr. H. Willoughby held the government. War had not
broken out in the West Indies, although it threatened the mother
country, so that the Antiguans had a little quiet to settle their
domestic affairs. One of the first points to which they turned
their attention was to endeavour to suppress the strong habit of
profane cursing and swearing which had crept in among their
community, and also to put a stop to the prevalence of inebriety.
To bring this desirable reformation about, the legislature
enacted, that a fine of ten pounds of sugar, or tobacco, was to
be imposed upon every one who uttered an oath, or opened his lips
to curse; and if any one was discovered in a state of
intoxication, he could be made to pay fifty pounds of sugar, or
not being able to procure that quantity, and being possessed of
no other property which could be levied upon, he was condemned to
be placed in the public stocks for the space of four hours. It
would be well if something of the kind was in force now; our ears
would not then, perhaps, be so frequently shocked as they are
liable to be at every hour of the day by the passers-by.
Regulations were also made for establishing a public treasury in
the island, and regard paid to the martial bearing of the
inhabitants, by exercising them in the science of arms.

Among the settlers who came to Antigua with Francis Lord
Willoughby, of Parham, was William Byam, a distinguished
royalist, at that time major, but who afterwards acquired the
rank of lieutenant-general.

In 1644, Mayor Byam was among the officers in garrison at
Bridgewater, and being on guard when an attempt was made by the
parliamentary army to take the town by surprise, he defeated the
forces with great slaughter, thereby averting for some time the
fate of that important fortress. On the following year, Cromwell
and Fairfax coming against Bridgewater with an overwhelming
power, after a gallant and desperate resistance, the town was
taken, and quarter only given to the garrison. The officers were
immediately sent to London, and put at the disposal of the
Parliament, whence they were despatched to the Tower, and other
public prisons. After remaining in the Tower for some months,
Major Byam accepted a pass “to go beyond the seas,” (as the term
then was,) and, with some of his military friends, he accordingly
left the home of his fathers, and sought in Barbados—that last
asylum for royalists—a retreat from the Oliverian power. Soon
after his arrival, the important post of “treasurer of the
island,” as well as “master of the ordnance,” was conferred upon
him, together with large grants of land; but the number of
_refugees_ increasing in the colony to such a surprising height,
the Parliament became alarmed, and, in 1651, sent a fleet and
armament, under command of Sir George Ayscue, to reduce the
island. There being a defection in the garrison, owing to the
withdrawal of Colonel Thomas Modiford from the side of the king,
after a resistance of six months, the governor, Lord Francis
Willoughby, of Parham, was compelled to think of terms; and
accordingly he appointed, along with three other commissioners,
Major Byam to negotiate a surrender. This gentleman and his
coadjutors performed their parts so ably, that they obtained from
the admiral terms allowed by all historians as alike
“comprehensive and honourable.” Indeed, when they were reported
to England, though the Parliament did not refuse to ratify them,
yet, considering them much too favourable, they never afterwards
countenanced Sir George Ayscue. The very first act of the
Parliament possession, contrary to the tenor of some of the
articles, was to banish Mayor Byam and the other commissioners,
and about ten more of the royalists, including Lord Willoughby
himself. Major Byam retired to the then newly-founded settlement
of Surinam, which being composed chiefly of the refugee followers
of Charles, they, in those times of turmoil, elected him, by
united suffrages, governor of the colony in 1654. In this
situation he continued for six successive years, although
Cromwell had despatched an officer of his own to take the
command, being elected by universal voice, until the Restoration,
when, in virtue of the proclamation at that time issued, he
became governor for the crown. He was afterwards more formally
confirmed in this appointment, in which he remained until the
removal of the colony (or at least a large portion of it) to the
island of Antigua, in virtue of the treaty of Breda, in 1667. Of
this island he also became an early governor, as is still to be
seen by many documents in the registrar’s office, and resumed to
himself that property which he had before acquired when on a
visit to the island with Francis Lord Willoughby in 1650; and
now, by letters patent for the crown, under date April, 1668,
20th Charles II., among the estates of Lieutenant-General Byam
renewed to him at this period, were the present Cedar Hill and
his Willoughby Bay estate.[21]

In 1672, his majesty Charles II. deemed it proper to make some
alteration in the affairs of the West Indies. Hitherto all the
Caribbee Islands were united under one government, but after the
return of Lord William Willoughby to England, the king entered
into fresh arrangements with the colonies, appointed him
captain-general of Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent’s and
Dominica; and Sir William Stapleton captain-general and
commander-in-chief of Antigua and the other Leeward Islands. This
Windward Island’s separation continues at the present time, after
undergoing many changes, by having their own particular governor;
as far as regards Barbados, St Lucia, and St. Vincent’s. Dominica
has at length been united with Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, St.
Christopher’s, Anguilla, Tortola, and the Virgin Islands, which
now form the Leeward Caribbee government.

During the general government, a general council and assembly was
held at either of the islands whenever the legislature deemed any
important matter rendered it necessary to convene them; but the
respective islands in the government, however, retained each
their laws as regarded local circumstances. When the
commander-in-chief found it necessary for the public good to call
together this general council and assembly, the freeholders of
each island met together and made choice of five eligible
inhabitants to act as their representatives.

The convening of this general council and assembly accounts for
the affairs of these different islands being wound up together,
and laws which were passed at the one, answering, in many
instances, for the others.

Sir William Stapleton preferring Nevis, he made that island the
seat of government, and Colonel Philip Warner (Sir Thomas
Warner’s son by his second wife) was appointed governor of
Antigua. A very necessary precaution was adopted about this time—
namely, the preventing persons wandering about cane-pieces, with
lighted torches, hunting for land-crabs. If a free person was
found so offending, the culprit was to pay into the public
treasury one thousand pounds of sugar or tobacco; or if a slave,
he was to be publicly whipped. This very dangerous practice
continues to this day in seasons when the land-crabs are upon
their travels, and certainly ought to meet with some punishment.
So careless and thoughtless are the negroes, that large pieces of
fire are frequently dropped upon the road while thus employed,
which they never think of extinguishing; and as the scene of
their exploits is generally in the vicinity of cane-pieces, where
there is often a large quantity of dry cane-leaves, called in the
country idiom, trash, serious accidents might, and indeed have
been the result.

It was also deemed advisable to ordain that marriages solemnized
by the governor, council, or any justice of peace, should, in
absence of beneficed clergymen from the island, be adjudged
equally binding and lawful, as if the ceremony had been performed
by an orthodox minister. This was a regulation very necessary in
that early period, when there was as yet no established church
erected, or any clergymen officiating in the colony; and,
consequently, marriages were obliged to be celebrated by a civil
power. It was also enacted by the legislature this year (1672),
that slaves killed or maimed, while acting in defence of the
country, should have their value ascertained by arbitration, and
the amount paid over to their owners from the public treasury.

In 1674, the inhabitants of Antigua presented an address to the
captain-general, Sir William Stapleton, praying him to grant them
a commission “to kill and destroy the Indians inhabiting the
island of Dominica.”

From the period when Antigua was first settled by the English,
the Caribs, as we have already seen, had been in the constant
habit of landing upon it, and perpetrating the most fearful and
horrid acts of violence upon its inhabitants. So frequent and
barbarous were these attacks, that the colony at one time was in
danger of being abandoned; and nothing but firm and vigorous
measures on the part of the English could restrain the fury of
their Indian adversaries, and quell their turbulent assaults.

As soon, therefore, as his excellency, Sir William Stapleton,
acceded to the request of the Antiguans in granting a commission,
a large party of volunteers was formed, aided by some of the
settlers from the neighbouring islands, of which, at the earnest
entreaties of the council and assembly of Antigua, Governor
Philip Warner took the command. They immediately proceeded to
Dominica; and however different historians may relate the events
of this action, they all concur in stating, that the English
obtained a most signal victory over their Indian foes. In this
fray the illegitimate son of Sir Thomas Warner, by a Carib woman—
who was generally known by the name of Thomas Warner, or “Indian
Warner,” and who is said to have headed the Indians in many of
their attacks upon the English—fell, as it is supposed, by the
hands of his half-brother, Philip Warner, the governor of
Antigua. Whether this deed was done by open warfare, or by
treacherous means, is uncertain; but, upon the return of Colonel
Philip Warner, the governor, to Antigua, after the reduction of
the Caribs, the circumstances of the death of Indian Warner were
inquired into either by Sir William Stapleton or Lord Willoughby,
the results of which were, that Colonel Philip Warner was sent to
England to stand his trial for the murder of his half-brother.
After being kept in the Tower of London for some time, Colonel
Warner was placed on board the Phoenix frigate, and despatched to
Barbados, in order that he might be tried in the Court of Oyer
and Terminer in that island.

This resolution, on the part of the home government, was no
sooner known in Antigua, than a strong remonstrance was drawn up
in the name of the inhabitants, and after being signed by sixteen
of the most influential men among the legislature, was
transmitted to the justices for the trial of Colonel Warner at
Barbados, setting forth the facts, that it was only through the
most earnest prayer of the Antiguans, and not from any private
motives of his own, that he was induced to take the command upon
the attack of the Caribs, in which action the Indian Warner fell.
The facts of this case being fully investigated, Colonel Warner
was honourably acquitted, his lands,[22] which he had quietly
yielded up on being sent to England for trial, were restored, and
he was again permitted to exercise the functions of governor of

It certainly appears rather extraordinary that Colonel Warner
should have stood his trial for this massacre of the Indians,
when we find, that for more than fifty years after this
occurrence, the Caribs were still hunted and destroyed as so many
reptiles; but Indian Warner was one who ranked rather high in the
opinion of Lord William Willoughby, and probably that nobleman
felt incensed at his death. Many are the opinions of writers upon
this subject. While some look upon Colonel Warner as the
unjustified murderer of his half-brother; others are led to
palliate the circumstances on the plea of Indian Warner being the
chief actor in those cruel Carib attacks, which were generally
made upon unarmed Englishmen, or their defenceless wives and

Dampier, one of the greatest navigators among the Buccaneers,
(before that name had acquired a dread from the lawless and
bloody deeds its chieftains committed,) visited Antigua about the
period of Indian Warner’s death; and in his history of his
voyages he has the following passage:—“About this time (1674) the
Caribbees had done some spoil on our English plantations at
Antego, and therefore Governor Warner’s son by his wife took a
party of men, and went to suppress these Indians, and came to the
place where his brother _Indian_ Warner lived. Great seeming joy
there was at their meeting, but how far real the event shewed;
for the _English_ Warner, providing plenty of liquor, and
inviting his half-brother to be merry with him, in the midst of
his entertainment, ordered his men, upon a signal given, to
murder him and all his Indians, which was accordingly performed.
The reason of this inhuman action is diversely reported. Some say
that this Indian Warner committed all the spoil that was done to
the English, and for that reason his brother killed him and his
men. Others, that he was a great friend to the English, and would
not suffer his men to hurt them, but did all that lay in his
power to draw them to an amicable commerce; and that his brother
killed him because he was ashamed to be related to an Indian.
But, be it how it may, he was called in question for the murder,
and forced to come home, and take his trial in England. Such
perfidious doings as these, besides the baseness of them, are
great hindrances of our gaining interest among the Indians.”

Captain Southey, in his “Chronological History of the West
Indies,” writing of the events of 1674, says—“Sir Thomas Warner’s
son went with an expedition to suppress the Caribs, who were
headed by his half-brother, his father’s son by a Carib woman. He
was received in a friendly manner by his relative. In the middle
of the repast, upon a signal given, the Caribs were attacked and
all massacred. Different reasons are given for this act of
atrocity: one, that the Indian Warner committed all the ravages
upon the English; another, that the murderer was ashamed of his
Indian relations.” Evidently Captain Southey took Dampier for his
guide in relating this circumstance; and other authors, following
in the wake, have handed Colonel Warner down to posterity, in the
character of a fratricide. But before his actions are discussed,
it would be well to lay aside all previously formed opinions,
and, horrible as fratricide must appear to all, calmly take a
retrospect of the great cruelties practised by the Caribs on the
persons of the English, which led to the melancholy incident
already narrated.[23] Before concluding this subject, it will be
necessary to mention some further particulars of the Indian
Warner, the half-brother, of whose death Colonel Philip Warner
was made amenable.

At the latter end of 1629, after having the honour of knighthood
conferred upon him by Charles I., Sir Thomas Warner returned from
England to St. Christopher’s. Soon after his arrival, he entered
into a league with the French settlers and Mons. D’Esnambuc, the
captain of a French privateer; and, falling upon the Caribs by
night, murdered in cold blood one hundred and twenty of the
men.[24] The females they parted among themselves, and one of the
handsomest of them fell to the share of Sir Thomas Warner,[25] by
whom she had a son, a remarkably fine and intelligent lad. About
the year 1645, when he was fifteen years old,[26] an old Carib
man, who, by some chance, had remained upon the island after the
expulsion of his countrymen, informed the boy of the former
cruelties of the English to his mother’s relations—a tale which
so exasperated him, that he was determined to escape, the first
opportunity, and join his Carib friends. At length he effected
his purpose, and fled to Dominica,[27] where the Caribs had taken
up their abode after being driven from St. Christopher’s. So
pleased were the Indians with this display of spirit on the part
of their young relative, that they received him with open arms,
looked upon him as their chief, shared with him all their
predatory booty, and followed him in all his expeditions. In
1664, Lord Francis Willoughby appointed this half-Carib (who bore
the name of Thomas Warner) governor of Dominica, then inhabited
by Indians. In this situation he remained until 1666, when he was
captured by the French, and carried prisoner to St.
Christopher’s, (some authors say Guadaloupe,) where he met with
very harsh treatment, and was not liberated until after the
peace, and then only at the earnest interposition of Lord William
Willoughby. After his liberation, he appears to have carried on
his warfare with the English colonists, until, as already
mentioned, 1674, when he met his fate in about the forty-fourth
year of his age.

As perhaps it may be interesting to some of my readers to look
over the “_Remonstrance_,” alluded to as drawn up by the members
of the Antigua legislature in 1676, when Colonel Philip Warner
was tried for the murder of his half-brother—I have inserted it
in the Appendix, (No. 6.)


[20] The French having entirely ruined Antigua, it was necessary
to form all new regulations, as at the first settlement of the

[21] For a further account of this gentleman’s family, see
Appendix, No. 4.

[22] For copy of the Grant of Land to Colonel P. Warner, see
Appendix, No. 5.

[23] Oldmixon, in his “British America,” says:—“At this time
(1676) there was a wicked practice in the West Indies, of which
the English are accused; and that was, their stealing and
enslaving Indians, which they took on the continent or the
islands. And one Colonel Warner being charged with this unlawful
traffic—if it deserves that name—was made a prisoner in England,
and sent, aboard the Phoenix frigate, to Barbados, to take his
trial there; but he found so many friends, that he came off.”

[24] Oldmixon, in his History of St Christopher’s, speaking of
this circumstance, says—“They (the Caribs) were willing enough to
live peaceably with the Europeans who first landed there, and
were upon the place when D’Esnambuc came thither; but, upon his
landing, their boyez, or conjurers, telling them, in a general
assembly met on purpose, that the foreigners were come to take
away their country from them, and destroy them root and branch,
it was resolved to massacre the English.” He goes on to state,
that the English and French, having gained intelligence of the
Caribs’ design to _cut their throats_, “fell upon the most
factious of the natives by night, killed them, and drove the rest
out of the island.”

[25] Labat mentions seeing this woman at Dominica, and gives the
following account of her:—“This old savage woman is, I think, the
oldest creature in the world, being more than a hundred years
old. They say she had been very handsome, and on account of her
beauty the English governor at St. Kitts kept her for a
considerable time. She had a number of children, among which was
one called _Ouverard_. [_Warner, it ought to be; but Pierre du
Tertre is not very particular in his orthography of English
names._] Pierre du Tertre speaks of him in his history; but this
demi-savage was dead before I came to the West Indies. They
always continue to call her Madam _Ouverard_. After the English
sent her to Dominica upon the death of the governor, she was more
respected for her old age than from being his mistress. Her
property was rather extensive, and was entirely peopled by her
children’s children. This old woman was entirely naked, and had
not two dozen hairs upon her head; her skin resembled old
parchment completely dried up, as if baked. She was so crooked
that I could not see her features except when she went to drink
water. She had a good many teeth in her head, and her eyes were
perfectly clear.”

[26] Some writers make it sixteen.

[27] Dampier says St Lucia.

                           CHAPTER V.

  Governor Col. R. Williams—Biographical remarks—Towns of trade
  appointed—Antigua divided into parishes—Sir Nathaniel Johnson
  appointed captain-general and governor-in-chief—Colonel
  Codrington—Remarks upon this family—Invasion of Antigua by a
  French privateer—Attack upon Guadeloupe by the English—
  Expedition to St. Christopher’s—Gallant conduct of Colonel
  Williams and Colonel Willoughby Byam—Sir Francis Wheeler’s
  expedition—Wilmot and Lillingston’s expedition—Death of the
  captain-general, General Codrington—Colonel John Yeamans,
  lieutenant-governor—Arrival of Admiral Benbow.

In 1675, Colonel Rowland Williams was appointed
lieutenant-governor (or, as the phrase then was, deputy-governor)
of Antigua. This gentleman was possessed of eminent
qualifications, which honourably distinguished him among his
contemporaries. He was alike conspicuous as a wise councillor and
a skilful commander; whether in the senate or the field, he
equally merited applause. The father of Colonel Williams (as will
be seen in the genealogy of this family) was one of the earliest
settlers in Antigua, and even in those times was famed for noble
virtues—virtues which have descended from father to son, down to
the present day, and centered themselves in the person of the
Hon. Rowland E. Williams, the present possessor of “Claremont,”
the family mansion.[28]

During the administration of Colonel Rowland Williams as governor
of Antigua, six towns were appointed as places of trade, instead
of two, as was the former custom. These towns were Falmouth, St.
John’s, Bridge Town, Carlisle Road, Parham Landing Place, and
Bermudian Valley. In these different towns all business was to be
transacted as relates to shipping, &c.; and no vessel was allowed
to unload or sell their cargo at any other place, under
punishment of forfeiting their goods. This, however, did not
debar any freeholder from disposing of his own personal property
or merchandise at any place in the island he deemed proper.

It does not appear at what particular period a secretary and a
marshal were appointed; but in 1677 an act was passed relating
unto such officers.

In 1680, provisions were made for settling the militia, and for
ensuring a better martial discipline throughout the island.

Antigua was divided into parishes about 1681, which then
consisted of five—namely, Falmouth, Rendezvous Bay, and part of
Willoughby Bay, to be the parish of St. Paul’s; the remaining
part of Willoughby Bay, Nonsuch, and Belfast, to be the parish of
St. Philip’s; divisions of New and Old North Sound to be the
parish of St. Peter’s; the divisions of Pope’s Head, Dickerson’s
Bay, St. John’s, and Five Islands, to be the parish of St.
John’s; and the divisions of the Road and Bermudian Valley to be
the parish of St. Mary’s. Churches were also ordered to be
erected, and all parochial charges to be raised from the
inhabitants of each parish. The yearly salary of their ministers
was 16,000lbs. of sugar or tobacco, which was paid to them on the
24th day of June, being the feast of St. John the Baptist.

The following year (1682) an expedition was despatched to act
against the Indians of Dominica.

His Majesty Charles II. having departed this life, Sir William
Stapleton proclaimed his successor, James II. with great pomp, at
Nevis. An old writer gives a long account of the ceremonies
observed upon that day—of the gorgeous festival which succeeded,
and the splendid attire of the governor; but as this work is
strictly confined to Antigua, such detail will be superfluous.

In 1684, during the administration of Sir William Stapleton,
slaves were annexed to freeholds, and could be voted upon, the
same as a freehold, or levied upon for distress. In illustration
of this, a person possesses a family of slaves—say the mother and
five or six children, the youngest in arms and drawing its daily
nutriment from its parent; the owner of these slaves falls into
difficulties—he owes a certain sum, and his creditor takes out an
execution against him. The value of the negro woman covers,
perhaps, the amount of debt, and accordingly she is seized,
carried away, and sold, probably to a third or even a fourth
person, and her baby and other children are severed from her, and
she left alone. Oh! slavery, slavery, how dost thou debase the
sons of men!

Sir William Stapleton dying, King James appointed Sir Nathaniel
Johnson, governor-in-chief, who continued to act as such until
the first year of the reign of William and Mary, when he retired
to America, and was succeeded in the government by Colonel
Christopher Codrington in 1689.[29]

Colonel Codrington was so indefatigable in planting and
cultivating the sugar-cane in Antigua, that he has been termed
the patron of the island. This gentleman removed from Barbados to
Antigua in 1674; when he purchased a large quantity of land, and
formed the first sugar estate upon the island, and, sending for
his wife and children, constituted himself one of its earliest
planters. The Codrington family is of old extraction, and many a
brave warrior has sprang from that source, as British history
will shew.[30]

About the first year of Colonel Codrington’s government, in 1689,
the fortifications at Monk Hill were commenced; but they appear
not to have been carried on with any degree of spirit until 1705.
This year the crew of a French privateer landed at Five Islands’
Bay, and burnt and plundered the surrounding country; and carried
away with them several negroes, besides much spoil. The
Antiguans, highly incensed at this invasion, placed a small force
on board an armed vessel under command of Captain Walter
Hamilton, and pursued the enemy. This plan succeeded, and they
returned to Antigua with the privateer as a prize; on board of
which were some Irishmen, who were hung as a warning to others.

The English government was greatly annoyed at these repeated
attacks upon her West Indian colonies; and William III. made it
one of his complaints against the French king upon declaring war
with that monarch. Supposing that, after this war was declared,
the French would be more active in their incursions, the
inhabitants of Antigua determined to keep better watch. Sir
Timothy Thornhill arriving with troops, all military affairs were
delegated to him; and by his orders, guards were stationed at all
the bays, and a constant look-out kept. Still the Caribs and a
few Frenchmen managed to effect a landing, by sailing up some of
the creeks, and killed ten of the inhabitants, and plundered some
provision grounds. It was thought proper to appoint some reward
for soldiers acting valiantly in defence of the island; and to
make some provision for the wounded, and allowance for the widows
and children of the slain. If any white servant shewed deeds of
valour, and could obtain a certificate of such from the hands of
his officer, that servant was freed,[31] the country paying to
his master a sum proportionate to his services. If wounded they
were to receive medical attendance and maintenance free of
charge; if disabled, to receive yearly 3000lbs. of sugar for
life; and if killed, their widows were to have the same amount of
sugar, and the children to be taken care of, and supported by the
country. The owners of those slaves who fell in defence of the
country, were also recompensed, by having 5000lbs. of sugar paid
them from the public stock for every negro killed or mortally
wounded, instead of having such slaves valued by arbitration, as
was the plan from the year 1672. Regulations were also gone into
by the legislature, for the establishing of courts of law, and
settling due methods for the distribution of justice throughout
the colony.

About the middle of this year (1689) Colonel Hewetson, with a
party of men, embarked on board a man of war, and sailed to
attack Guadaloupe. They landed with but little opposition, and
having obtained some plunder, and given the French a kind of
_tit-for-tat_, returned in safety to Antigua. This was a very
busy year for the Antiguans; for no sooner had Colonel Hewetson
reached Antigua with his troops, from the late attack, than they
raised 300 men, and sailed to the island of Marie Galante. Here
they met with like success in the way of retaliation; beating the
inhabitants, burning their town, and obtaining more plunder. From
Marie Galante they proceeded to St. Martin’s, where Fortune, that
usually fickle goddess, did not forsake them; for they not only
plundered the place and increased their spoils, but drove the
French completely off the island. Upon their return, General
Codrington (for the governor had arrived to this rank) sent three
sloops, with eighty men, under the command of Captain Edward
Thorn, to the island of Anguila, to bring from thence all the
English who resided there; they having been very cruelly used by
some Irishmen, whom the French had landed there, for that
purpose, a year before.

1690 was again ushered in by that demon—War. Louis, that
ambitious, but admired monarch, encouraged his subjects to invade
the English colonies, in the West Indies and America, while he
assisted James, the abdicated sovereign, in his attempts upon
England and Ireland. General Codrington was warmly attached to
the reigning monarchs, William and Mary, and consequently
endeavoured on all occasions to further their interest in the
West Indies. No sooner had accounts arrived at Antigua of the
battle of the Boyne, and William’s victory over the French troops
upon that eventful day, than the governor determined to strike a
blow for the honour of England. Admiral Wright arriving with a
strong squadron of men of war, General Codrington prevailed upon
all the other Leeward Islands to raise forces to endeavour to
retake St. Kitt’s, which had fallen to the French king some time
before, by the fortunes of war. Antigua, never behind the other
islands in warlike deeds, raised a body of 400 (or, as some
authors make it, 800) men, which were placed under the command of
that gallant officer, Colonel Rowland Williams, and 200 gentlemen
volunteers, under command of Colonel Willoughby Byam, who served
as a body-guard to the governor-general, Christopher Codrington;
and, by dint of prowess, their object was gained, for not only
did they oblige the French to surrender the island, but,
according to some authors, actually transported about eighteen
hundred of them to St. Domingo and Martinique.[32] A general
council and assembly was held this year, and an agent and
commissioners appointed for the negotiation and management of the
affairs of the Leeward Islands, as well as the raising and
settling a proper fund for the defraying the expense of the same.
Rewards were also given to the soldiers who acted valiantly in
the late expedition.

The following year (1691) passed in quietness. The French were
too much taken up with their European engagements to have much
force in the West Indies; and Admiral Wright, cruizing about
these seas, intimidated the few privateers still lurking about.
It was deemed necessary by the legislature this year to enact a
law, obliging all the members of the assembly to serve in such
capacity when elected.

The year 1692 was chiefly passed in settling island business, and
making laws to redress several grievances which were severely
felt by the inhabitants. One of these was as follows: after the
reduction of this island, and its restoration to the English in
1667, a great many persons pretended to have a right to large
portions of land, by virtue of grants prior to the war, but which
they had failed to cultivate. The consequence of this was, that
the country was rapidly going to ruin; and the only way to avert
it was, by government granting these lands to more industrious
persons, as an encouragement to them to settle. When, after a
lapse of time, the former possessors found their barren and
uncultivated lands turned into profitable estates, they came
forward and claimed them as their own; and so annoying were these
threatenings to those who had worked the change, that although
they had spent both time and money, they preferred leaving the
island, and seeking some other home. To rectify this, it was
determined by the legislature this year, that all persons who
possessed lands by grants from government should be confirmed in
the same, providing they had held them for five years. Still,
that justice might be equally imparted to all, if the former
possessors put in their claim within two years, and it was
allowed by a jury that they had a right to the same, they could
demand the value of their lands as they were when they left them.
A vestry was this year elected, churchwardens appointed, and a
parish register ordered to be kept in each of the parishes in the
island. In this register, all christenings, marriages, and
burials were to be entered, under penalty of 5l. currency, the
fee for which was 9d. currency each. An act was also passed for
the settling of general councils and assemblies.

The next year (1693) was celebrated for the endeavours of the
Antiguans to destroy the remaining Caribs; and for this reason,
great encouragement was given to those persons who fitted out
privateers to destroy them and take their canoes. In the early
part of the year, Sir Francis Wheeler arrived at Barbados, with
an expected squadron of English men-of-war, intended for an
attack upon the island of Martinique, when intelligence was
immediately despatched to Antigua, in order that General
Codrington might join him with the Antigua and other Leeward
Island troops. In this expedition, Sir Francis Wheeler commanded
the men-of-war, (on board of which were Colonel Foulks and
Colonel Godwin’s regiments of foot, and 200 recruits, under
command of Colonel Lloyd,) and Colonel Foulks the land forces. On
the 30th of March, the fleet left Barbados, having on board two
Barbados’ regiments, which, including the gentlemen-volunteers,
consisted of about 1500 men, and arrived at Martinique on the 1st
of April.

The fleet anchored in the Cul de Sac Marine, on the south side of
the island; and Sir Francis Wheeler, attended by Colonel Foulks
and Colonel Lloyd, went in a boat to search for a good
landing-place for the troops. Their movements were, however,
watched by a party of French guards, one of whom fired a musket,
the shot of which striking Sir Francis upon the breast,
occasioned a severe contusion. The next morning, Colonel Foulks
landed 1500 men without opposition; and during the day, the whole
of the forces were gathered together on shore, where they
commenced the work of destruction by burning the houses and
sugar-works, the inhabitants fleeing for safety into the woods.

In the course of the few following days, General Codrington
joined the expedition with the Antigua and other Leeward Island
forces, and Colonel Lloyd’s regiment, when it was determined, in
a council of war, to sail and attack St. Pierre, the principal
town upon the island. Here, however, the English appear to have
acted a very indifferent part; for, after destroying a few
plantations, and standing some slight skirmishing with the
French, they abandoned their plans of endeavouring to take the
town; and, upon the plea of the troops being sickly, re-embarked
their men, and left the island. Colonel Foulks, Colonel Godwin,
Major Abrahall, with some of the other officers, died of their
wounds on board the vessels; and the Antigua and other island
troops returned to their respective colonies.

Thus ended an expedition, from which had been expected great
results. According to an early historian, if the regulars had
done their duty, as the Antiguan and the other island troops did,
the whole of the French sugar islands might have been
dispossessed, for the English forces amounted to between 3000 and
4000 men. The French were, however, very much alarmed, and many
of “the richest inhabitants shipped themselves and their valuable
effects for France, some of whom were intercepted by the
English.” Sir Francis Wheeler then steered for Boston, in
America, intending to have proceeded against Quebec; but finding
his arguments overruled by the Bostonians, he returned in disgust
to England, with his vessels in a very shattered condition, and
having lost half of his men.

This officer was noted for his misfortunes, which could neither
be attributed to want of courage nor want of judgment, but to
circumstances over which he had no control. We have seen how
unfortunate was his expedition to the West Indies; and although
not altogether connected with this work, we may just glance at
his after-fate. About 1694, he was appointed commander-in-chief
of the Mediterranean squadron, with orders to take under his
convoy the merchant ships trading to Turkey, Italy, and Spain;
there to join the Spanish fleet in cruising about until the
return of the Turkish ships, when he was to accompany them home.
After receiving these orders, he sailed from the roads of St.
Helens, off the Isle of Wight, and arrived in safety at Cadiz,
where, leaving Rear-Admiral Hopson, he proceeded for the
Mediterranean. In passing through the Bay of Gibraltar, he met
with very bad weather under a lee-shore. The ground was so foul
that there was no hold for an anchor; but as there was no other
plan they could follow, they were obliged to drop them. Several
of the ships were driven on shore, of which many were entirely
lost. The Admiral’s ship foundered at sea, and with the exception
of two Moors, all perished in those tideless waters.

In 1694, a general council and assembly was held at Antigua,
when, among other business, it was deemed necessary to place a
certain value upon all foreign coins in circulation throughout
the Leeward Caribbee Islands. To avoid disputes in electing
members to serve in these general councils and assemblies, it was
proposed that in future the secretary should take the votes of
the freeholders upon oath in their presence, and admit no vote
but from a known freeholder of the respective island in person.
But if, after these precautions, disputes should still occur, the
legislature was to determine the cause.

The year 1695 will be long remembered in English history as that
of the siege of Namur; which action, glorious as it was, would
not have been mentioned here, did not two gentlemen, well known
in Antigua, make themselves conspicuous by their courage and
noble bearing on that occasion. One of these distinguished
characters was Christopher Codrington, Esq., son of General
Codrington, the commander-in-chief, and afterwards governor
himself; a gentleman not only celebrated for his bravery, where
all were brave, but also as being the most accomplished person of
his day. The other individual was Sir William Mathew, afterwards
Captain-General of the Leeward Islands.

While these warlike deeds were going on in Europe, a squadron had
been sent to the West Indies to protect the trade and harass the
enemy. This squadron was placed under the joint command of
Captain Robert Wilmot and Colonel Lillingston, and consisted of
about 1200 land forces, augmented by troops from Antigua, and
some other of the West Indian islands. This expedition, like that
of Sir Francis Wheeler’s, proved unfortunate; the sea and land
officers disagreed, and instead of acting with each other, they
pursued opposite courses. Their first attempt was against St.
Domingo; but instead of proceeding to take the capital, Captain
Wilmot plundered the surrounding country for his own good; and
although Colonel Lillingston remonstrated with him, he would not
listen to reason. Finding the ill success of their endeavours,
the West Indian troops determined to return to their respective
homes: the Spaniards, who had joined them against their common
enemy, the French, became disgusted, and withdrew; and the
commanders themselves, disappointed of their expected captures,
set sail for England. They lost one of their ships in the Gulf of
Florida, and Captain Wilmot died on his passage. This year the
Antiguans lost some of their merchant-ships, as did many of the
other West India Islands, by their falling into the hands of the
French privateers, who swarmed about the entrance of the English

The following year passed in quietness in Antigua. The
secretary’s office was appointed as the place where all the
island laws were to be lodged. Before this period, it appears
that there was no particular place appointed to keep the public
records; and consequently many valuable papers became mislaid or
lost. This year, (1696,) the Hastings frigate was at Antigua, and
sailed for London as convoy to a fleet of eleven ships, which
were eleven weeks upon their voyage.

In 1697, public pounds were erected in the several towns of
Antigua, and imposts laid upon all liquors imported into the
island. This had been hitherto a custom, but had expired some
short time before.

The year 1698 was a year of mourning to the Antiguans; their
friend and patron, as well as governor, breathed his last sigh,
and exchanged an earthly for a heavenly home. General Codrington
was, as before remarked, the first person who planted the
sugar-cane in Antigua: its chief productions before were indigo,
ginger, and tobacco. He removed from Barbados (of which island he
was a native) in 1674; and some authors make that year his
appointment to the governor-generalship of the Leeward Islands,
and that of Colonel Rowland Williams, deputy-governor of Antigua.
This assertion is, however, evidently incorrect; for we have
already seen, that Sir William Stapleton was acting as such at
that period. The mistake must have arisen from General Codrington
having removed to Antigua in that year.

After the demise of General Codrington, the captain-general of
the Leeward Islands, Colonel John Yeamans, a resident proprietor
of Antigua, exercised the office of governor of the island.

The Antiguans came to the resolution this year (1698) of
appointing an agent for the island, who was to reside in London,
and solicit the confirmation of such laws as should from time to
time be made in Antigua, as well as to transact any other island
business. The salary then given was 100l. sterling per annum, to
commence from 1st January, 1689; but since the year 1800, it has
been augmented. About this period, the notorious Captain Kidd[33]
paid Antigua a visit; but finding the coast of North America
would afford him a better harvest, he did not remain long.

In 1699, the gallant Admiral Benbow arrived at Antigua with a
squadron of men-of-war, having on board Colonel Collingwood’s
regiment, (or, more probably, Col. Whetham’s regiment, known as
the “Enniskillen,” or 27th regiment of the line;) part of which
was intended to be stationed upon the island, and the remainder
to be sent to the other colonies within the government.


[28] For the Genealogy of the Williams family, see Appendix, No.

[29] Sir Nathaniel Johnson was appointed, in 1704, Governor of
Carolina.—Vide History of Carolina.

[30] For further particulars of this family, vide Appendix, No.

[31] The persons to whom these rewards were given, owed their
residence in Antigua to the following cause:—To increase the
white population, great encouragement was given to persons
importing white protestant men-servants into the island, paying
to the importer to much per head from the public treasury. These
white servants were sold for a certain number of years, and at
the end of that time they became free, and were incited to
settle, by having small grants of land given to them. Every
proprietor was obliged to have one of these white servants to so
many slaves; and they were to be furnished with clothes and arms,
and to serve in the militia. It was customary to sell them upon
hogsheads, which I shall have further occasion to mention when I
come to treat of the white inhabitants.

[32] Extract from the London Gazette, No. 2602, published by
authority, from Thursday, October 16th, to Monday, October 20th,
1690, giving an account of the capture of St Christopher’s, the
forces for which service arrived in Frigate Bay, in that island,
20th June; the French offered to surrender on the 12th July, and
articles agreed to on the 14th July:—

“Colonel Byam was dangerously wounded in the neck.”

Extract from “London Gazette,” 4th to 8th September, 1690. No.

                                           “Bermudas, July 24th.

“On the 20th June, the English arrived at St. Christopher’s,
consisting of eleven men of war, besides fire-ships and tenders,
and other vessels, under command of Captain Wright, who was
himself in the Mary of 64 guns, and 450 men. These ships had on
board 3000 land forces—viz., 700 English soldiers, commanded by
Colonel Holt; 800 Nevis and Barbados soldiers, commanded by Sir
Timothy Thornhill; 800 Antigua, commanded by Colonel Rowland
Williams; 400 Montserrat men, commanded by Colonel Blackstone,
and 200 gentlemen volunteers, commanded by Colonel Willoughby
Byam, which served as a life guard to Colonel Codrington,
governor of the Leeward Islands, and general on this expedition.
The conduct of which forces was much commended in the second
Gazette from 16th to 20th October.”

[33] The colonists of North America had, for the last few years,
been greatly addicted to piracy: a practice which it behoved the
English government to put an immediate stop to, if possible. A
person of the name of Kidd, the owner of a small sloop, and who
had been early inured to a maritime life, proposed, that if a
vessel of thirty guns, well manned, was placed under his command,
he would agree to suppress the pirates, and effectually clear
those seas from such dangerous frequenters. After some delay, a
vessel was equipped by private subscription, and Kidd appointed
to the command; but instead of proceeding upon his mission to the
American seas, he sailed for the East Indies, where he engaged in
the unlawful traffic himself, captured some traders, and, after
burning his own vessel, sailed in the largest of his prize ships
for the Leeward Islands. After remaining there for a short
period, he proceeded in his piratical career to the coast of
North America, where, in his search after wealth, he perpetrated
those revolting cruelties which have rendered his name infamous,
and long caused the inhabitants of those colonies to chat around
their winter’s hearth of the deeds and fate of the redoubted
Captain Kidd, the lawless rover of the seas.

                          CHAPTER VI.

  Governor Colonel Christopher Codrington—Establishment of the
  first market—Accession of Queen Anne—Arrival of Admiral Benbow—
  Attack upon the island of Guadaloupe, in conjunction with the
  Antiguan troops—Bravery of Colonel Edward Byam—Arrival of
  Captain Hovenden Walker—Second attack upon Guadaloupe—Colonel
  Codrington quits the government—His death—Sir William Mathew—
  Hon. John Johnson.

At the period of his father’s death, Christopher Codrington,
Esq., the eldest son of the preceding governor, was in Holland,
with his sovereign and his army; but upon the news arriving of
General Codrington’s demise, William III. immediately appointed
Christopher to succeed his late father as Captain-General and
Commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands, in which capacity he
arrived at Antigua, in the year 1700.

In the same year, regulations were framed by the legislature, to
further increase the number of white inhabitants, and encourage
the soldiers who had been lately disbanded, to settle in the
island, by giving them grants of ten acres of land, and
authorizing the treasurer to advance to each of them, as a loan,
the sum of 3l., a barrel of beef, and a cask of flour. Such
soldiers as were unprovided with grants were to be allowed 6d.
per day, until the time they were put into possession; and those
who chose to emigrate from the islands to leeward of Antigua,
were allowed 12s. for their passage-money. All tavern-keepers,
owners of sloops, &c., were also obliged to employ white men,
under a penalty of 30s. for each offence.

In 1702, the first market-place was established, cross streets
laid out, and the town of St. John’s otherwise improved. A clerk
of the market was appointed, who was also to be the public
whipper and crier; town-wardens were elected, whose duty was to
assess houses and lands; and a cage, pillory, stocks,
whipping-post, and ducking-stool,[34] put up at the public
expense. Night-watches were also appointed, to have the same
power as watchmen in London, and a watch-house built in a
convenient spot. Many of the wharfs were also constructed, and
other improvements made.

William III. having died the 8th of the preceding March, Queen
Anne, his successor, was proclaimed at Antigua, in June, 1702,
with some pomp; as also at Nevis, where the captain-general was
holding a general council and assembly. Punishments were also
enacted this year for the offences of slaves, and for the better
government of free negroes. If a slave struck a white person, and
in any way hurt or disfigured him, such slave was to have _his
nose slit_, or _any member cut off_, or to suffer death, at the
discretion of a justice of peace. Any slaves running away from
their owners for the space of three months, were also to suffer
death, have a limb cut off, or be publicly whipped—the treasurer
paying to the owner 18l. in case of death. If, in pursuit of a
runaway slave, the parties killed him, they were not liable to

With regard to free negroes, and _mulattoes_, by which was meant
all persons of colour, they were obliged to choose a master or a
mistress to live with, unless they possessed land of their own;
and if they dared to strike a white servant, they were to be
severely whipped. No free negro could possess more than eight
acres of land; nor could any minister marry such person to a
slave, under a penalty of fifty pounds.

The military affairs were also regulated. The island militia were
to consist of infantry and carbineers, under one of which all the
male white inhabitants, from the age of fourteen to sixty-five,
were to be included. One day in every month was to be set apart
for the troops to be exercised; and once in a year a grand
rendezvous was to take place at Boyer’s Pasture, in the division
of North Sound, when prizes were to be distributed to those who
made the best six shots at a target. The prizes consisted of six
silver-hilted swords, with belts, valued at 6l. currency. Martial
law was also ordained to be in full force at any period when
there were fears of insurrections or invasions. Fines were also
imposed for various offences, such as absence from parade, &c.
Privates who could not raise the money, were, in default of
paying such fines as they had incurred, to be picketed, or _tied
neck and heels for an hour_.

This year (1702) Admiral Benbow again visited Antigua, and war
having broken out with France, the captain-general, Colonel
Christopher Codrington, resolved, in conjunction with that brave
officer, to make an attack upon Guadaloupe. The merchants of
Antigua, who were then a numerous body, equipped several
privateers to serve under the admiral’s flag; and the
captain-general, Colonel Codrington, raised a regiment of
soldiers, which were placed under the command of Colonel Edward
Byam. On the 7th March, the land and sea forces were abreast the
island of Guadaloupe, from whence the French fired at them,
killing one man, and wounding a boy on board the commodore’s
ship. The fleet laid off and on until the 10th of the same,
waiting for the “Maidstone” man-of-war, with some other of his
Majesty’s vessels, from Maria Galante, when, upon their arrival,
Admiral Benbow came to an anchor on the north-west side of the
island. After burning some plantations along the coast, on the
12th, Colonel Byam, with his regiment, and a detachment of 200
men of Colonel Whetham’s regiment, landed at “Les Petits
Habitans,” where Colonel Byam distinguished himself by his great
bravery; and, with the united assistance of the regulars, obliged
the French to retire. The English next attacked a town called
“Bogliffe,” which, after some resistance, they took, as also the
Jacobin’s church, on which the French had planted ten pieces of
cannon. After many other successes, among which was taking the
breast-work along the Jacobin river, the strongest fortifications
the French possessed, the English proceeded to Basseterre, the
capital; and this town they, no doubt, would have also taken, had
it not been for the unhappy differences arising between the
commanders, and which, combined with the illness of the troops,
occasioned the English to withdraw from the island at a time when
victory was almost sure.

After quitting the island of Guadaloupe, the fleet proceeded for
Antigua; but Admiral Benbow, hearing of the arrival of the French
admiral with ten ships of the line in these latitudes, went in
search of them. As it does not appear any of the Antiguan forces
joined him, we will only briefly remark that, falling in with the
squadron, a fight commenced, which lasted three days. The last
twenty-four hours the admiral fought with his single ship, his
other vessels having deserted him; when, although his leg was
shattered by a chain-shot, and he had received several other
wounds, he would not be carried from the deck of his ship, but
continued fighting until the French were obliged to sheer off.

Benbow was so displeased with the conduct of the captains of his
different ships, that he determined to steer for Jamaica, and
upon his arrival to call a court-martial. The most culpable of
them suffered death, the others were punished in different ways,
and the admiral himself took their conduct so much to heart, that
vexation, co-operating with the pain of his wounds, caused his
death in November of the same year.

About this period (1703), the first sailing packet for the
conveyance of letters arrived at Antigua. Queen Anne had been
graciously pleased to establish this packet service for the
furtherance of trade, as well as to keep up a more regular
intercourse with the colonies, as may be seen from the annexed

                                 “London, 11th February, 1702-3.

“Whereas her Majesty, for the encouragement of trade and
commerce, hath thought fit to appoint boats to convey letters and
packets between Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, St.
Christopher’s, and Jamaica in America,—this is to give notice
that a mail will go from the general post-office, in London, on
Thursday of this instant (February) for the above-mentioned
islands, and henceforward on Thursday in every month; and her
Majesty, pursuant to the statute made in the twelfth year of the
reign K. Charles II., for establishing a post-office, hath
directed and empowered the postmaster-general of England to take
for the post of all such letters and packets that shall be
conveyed by the said boats between London and any of the
before-mentioned islands, the rates as follows:—
                                                     s.  d.

  For every letter not exceeding one sheet of paper, 0   9
         do.           do.       two sheets   do.    1   6
  For every packet weighing an ounce . .             2   8"

This year (1703), his Excellency, Christopher Codrington, again
entered the lists of battle. Sir George Rooke had despatched from
England at the end of the former year Captain Hovenden Walker
with six ships of the line and transports, having on board four
regiments of soldiers for the Leeward Islands, which were to be
landed at Antigua, and then distributed among the other colonies.
Upon their arrival at Antigua, Colonel Codrington gave Captain
Walker such information as determined him to alter his plans, and
make an attack upon Guadaloupe; so, taking on board the governor
and a “martial little band” under his command, they proceeded for
that island. After having razed the fort, burnt the town, and
ravaged the surrounding country, they re-embarked with
precipitation, in consequence of a report that a body of 900
French soldiers had arrived to the succour of the inhabitants.
Colonel Codrington and his party returned to Antigua; and Captain
Walker retired to Nevis with his squadron, where, it is said,
they must have perished by famine had not Admiral Graydon
fortunately put in there, on his way to Jamaica, and relieved

Colonel Codrington was recalled from his government in the early
part of 1704—for what reason I know not, unless it be his loyalty
and attachment to his deceased sovereign, William III. He resided
upon his “Betty’s Hope” estate, in Antigua, for some years
afterwards, as a private gentleman, but at length removed to
Barbados, where he died in 1710; and, in 1716, his remains were
exhumed, and conveyed to England, and buried in the chapel of All
Souls’, Oxford. Colonel Codrington added to his other
accomplishments that of a poet—four of his poems being published
in the _Musæ Anglicanæ_. He founded a college, by bequest, at
Barbados, which still bears the name of “Codrington College;” and
where, since the appointment of a bishop to this diocese, in
1825, the clergymen who officiate in the West Indian churches,
are, with the exception of two or three from the English
universities, ordained.[35]

In 1704, Queen Anne appointed Sir William Mathew, a native of St.
Kitt’s, (who had distinguished himself at the siege of Namur,)
captain-general, who arrived at Antigua 14th July, the same year.
His Excellency did not live much more than five months after his
appointment, dying 4th December; but during that short time, he
endeared himself to all classes by a kind and courteous
behaviour, and his strict integrity and honourable actions.[36]
Upon the decease of Sir William Mathew, the Hon. John Johnson was
made commander-in-chief for a short time.[37] During his
administration, measures were taken to provide for the safety of
the wives and children of those persons who at any time might be
engaged in fighting for this island, and also for the infirm and
superannuated, by building small houses within the fortifications
of Monk’s Hill, where they could retire in times of actual
warfare. This was a very necessary precaution, when the frequent
landing of the French, attended by the Caribs, and the dreadful
barbarities which they practised upon the unfortunate creatures
who fell into their hands, is called to mind. And it was very
naturally supposed that the men would fight better in the ranks,
when they knew those who were near and dear to them were in
comparative safety, than if obliged to leave them unprotected.
These fortifications had been begun, at considerable expense, in
the year 1687-8, and although a constant tax upon the country,
had never been finished; but it was resolved this year to make no
more delay, but carry on the works with vigour.

This year (1705) a general council and assembly was held at
Nevis, when an act was passed to regulate such meeting, and
retain for each island its several laws. In future, the general
assembly was to consist of five freeholders, elected from each
respective island within the government. No member was to be sued
or arrested for debt ten days before or after the sessions; and,
while serving in general council and assembly, each member was to
be paid 20s. per day, and their expenses allowed them for going
from island to island.


[34] “A stool, in which scolds are tied, and _ducked_ under
water.”—Dr. Johnson.

[35] For a genealogy of the Codrington family, see Appendix, No.

[36] Vide Mathew pedigree, Appendix, No. 10.

[37] This Hon. John Johnson appears to have crept into the
government with nothing more than a _verbal_ commission from some
great courtier; and it is said that, in order to gain the
Antiguans over to his cause, he allowed them to frame and pass
what acts they pleased. He was an officer in Colonel Thomas
Whetham’s regiment, (the Enniskillen, or 27th regiment of the
line,) where he held the rank of brevet-colonel. About the year
1706, after the government had devolved to the captain-general,
Colonel Parke, Colonel Johnson had a fracas with a Mr. Poxton, a
native of St Christopher’s, which ended fatally to the
ex-governor, and for which Mr. Poxton was tried for murder, but
acquitted by a jury of his countrymen.

                          CHAPTER VII.

  Governor Colonel Daniel Parke—His birth-place and parentage—His
  actions at the battle of Holchet and Blenheim—His arrival at
  Antigua—Dissensions with the Antiguans—Complaints against him
  sent to England—Results of the applications at the court of
  Queen Anne—Tyrannical behaviour of Colonel Parke—Events of the
  7th December, 1710—Death of Colonel Parke.

The year 1706 is celebrated in the annals of Antigua as that in
which that abominable and atrocious governor, Daniel Parke,
arrived to blast for a time with his unhallowed breath this
beautiful little island. Parke was an American of rather low
birth, a tobacco-planter in the state of Virginia, but who
succeeded in marrying a lady of good fortune, and of a
respectable family in that province. As money was the only thing
he cared for in this alliance, he contrived to secure that, and
then left his wife a prey to sorrow and regret, for having
sacrificed her peace for a handsome but unworthy man. After
acting in this inhuman manner to a woman whose only fault was her
love for him, Parke proceeded to one of the northern states,
where he committed a crime at a gaming-table, which obliged him
to fly to England to escape the punishment so justly due. Here he
purchased an estate, situated near Whitchurch, county of Hants,
of about 500l. a year, and got himself returned member for that
borough. He was, however, expelled the House for bribery, and
ordered to be prosecuted, but through the interference of the
Earl of Pembroke, he eluded his trial. His next action was to
form a _liaison_ with a lady, the wife of a captain in the
Guards; and, to escape the vengeance of the incensed husband, he
left England, and fled into Holland, where he entered into the
army as a volunteer, under the celebrated John Churchill, Duke of

The Duke of Marlborough appears to have been caught with Mr.
Parke’s insinuating manners and agreeable person, and made him
one of his aides-de-camp at the battle of Hochet; but having had
a quarrel with an officer in the Queen’s Guards, Parke quitted
the service a few days previous to the memorable battle of
Blenheim. He still, however, remained within the precincts of the
camp until the very day when that decisive action was fought; and
when victory was about to be declared for the allied army, he
presented himself before Marlborough, and requested that he might
be the bearer of a line or two to acquaint the Queen of the
glorious conquest likely to be achieved. The brave General reined
up his panting war-horse, and with a heart bounding with
exultation, and a face flushed with expected success, wrote, with
a lead pencil, the following brief and soldier-like billet to his

                                                August 13, 1704.

“I have not time to say more, than to beg of you to present my
duty to the Queen, and let her majesty know that her army has had
a glorious victory. Monsieur Tallard and two other generals are
in my court, and I am following the rest. The bearer, my
aide-de-camp, Colonel Parke, will give her majesty an account of
what has passed; I shall do it in a day or two, by another, more
at large.


At the English court, Colonel Parke gained the patronage of
Sarah, the haughty but fascinating Duchess of Marlborough;
through whose interest he became such a favourite with Queen
Anne, that she presented him with her picture, richly set in
diamonds, a purse of one thousand guineas, and afterwards made
him governor and captain-general of Antigua and the rest of the
Leeward Islands; where he arrived 6th July, 1706, in the squadron
commanded by Capt. Kerr, and where he gave full scope to his
licentious disposition.

Upon the first arrival of Colonel Parke, the assembly voted him
1000l. a year for house-rent, and great satisfaction was
expressed at his appointment. It was not long, however, before
this fair prospect of colonial happiness changed; and the
governor, by his arbitrary behaviour, forfeited all claims to the
good feeling and respect of the inhabitants. One of the earliest
offences Colonel Parke gave the Antiguans, was his making a low
man he brought to the island with him a member of the assembly.
Being a vulgar man, he delighted in vulgar associates; and
becoming acquainted with a private named Ayon, belonging to a
regiment of foot stationed in Antigua, he prevailed upon the
governor to appoint him provost- marshal. To the remonstrance of
the Antiguans against this proceeding, Parke replied, he should
make whom he chose provost-marshal; and that he would never
appoint any person to that office who did not agree to act
exactly as he wished, as well as empannel such juries as he
should direct.

The next act of the governor gave equal displeasure. This was
calling upon the Codrington family to shew their right to the
Island of Barbuda,[38] (which had been granted to General
Codrington by William III.;) and the Antiguans not only felt
interested in the affairs of him who had been their friend and
governor, but they supposed Parke would also be calling upon them
to shew their claim to their estates—an indignity which they felt
no inclination to put up with.

Another crime of huge magnitude was the seduction of Mrs.
Chester, the wife of Edward Chester, Esq., one of the most
opulent of the Antiguan merchants, and a member of the house of
assembly. Not content with injuring this gentleman in the deepest
manner by thus robbing him of the affections of his wife, Colonel
Parke, in his office of governor, proceeded to offer Mr. Chester
every insult which a little mind was capable of. Upon one
occasion, the governor had all his cocoa and other merchandise
seized, on an unfounded suspicion of its being illegally gained;
and then, supposing that all these several aggravations would
cause him to be justly disliked, he (Colonel Parke) accused Mr.
Chester of joining with other disaffected parties, in endeavours
against his government; and, upon the plea of doing it for the
establishment of the public peace, he broke into Mr. Chester’s
house one evening, when that gentleman was entertaining a few of
his friends, who were obnoxious to the governor—and, by the
assistance of some of his armed sycophants, among whom was the
provost-marshal, dragged Mr. Chester and his friends to prison.
In order to give some face to his proceedings, Colonel Parke
accused other gentlemen of joining in this pretended
insurrection, and, accordingly, he sent some of his brutal
partisans to an estate called “Denbows,” with orders to take into
custody Mr. Ffrye and Mr. Cockran, (members of the assembly,) and
bring them to town to stand their trial upon that charge. While
the magistrates were taking depositions in this case, Sergeant
Bowes, a creature of the governor, beat Captain Kallabane (one of
the witnesses for the defendant) in the open court. For this
offence the sergeant was broke by his colonel, and ordered to be
whipped; but when this circumstance came to the ears of the
governor, he immediately restored Bowes to his rank of sergeant,
and protected him from all further punishment.

Another source of dissatisfaction, upon the part of the assembly,
arose from the circumstance of the governor taking the soldiers
off duty to watch his private property. The following extract,
taken from a message addressed to his excellency from the members
of the house of assembly, relates to this subject:—“We always
conceived her Majesty’s troops were sent to do duty on our
_standing guards_, and not to be altogether employed in guarding
your excellency’s person, your several buildings, your lumber,
your heaps of bricks, mortar, and pantiles.”

It must not be supposed that these were the only complaints
alleged against Colonel Parke. His whole conduct, both in public
and private life, was arbitrary in the extreme; and so
supercilious was his treatment of the magnates of the island,
that before he had held the government for twelve months,
articles of impeachment were prepared to be forwarded to England.

In 1707, a petition was drawn up and signed by eighty of the
principal inhabitants, praying for his recall; a sum of money
raised in order to defray the expenses of sending Mr. Nevin to
England, to lay their grievances before her Majesty and council;
and letters were written to Richard Cary, Esq., the colonial
agent, calling upon that gentleman to assist them in their

While these measures were pursued by the disaffected party, the
governor, who was not ignorant of these cabals against him, lost
nothing of his arrogance of manner, which so incensed his
adversaries, that at length an attempt was made upon his life. As
he was riding along the high road, leading from St. John’s to
English Harbour, a negro, named “Sandy,” fired at him from a
piece of canes belonging to the plantation of the Honourable Otto
Baijer,[39] and dangerously wounded him, of which deed Colonel
Parke accused Mr. Jacob Morgan and some of the other members of
the assembly, with being the instigators.

About this time, Colonel Parke thought proper to accuse Barry
Tankard, Esq., (a proprietor of sugar estates in Antigua, and an
intimate friend of Colonel Codrington,) of caballing against his
government; and accordingly he despatched his emissaries to the
estate of that gentleman, with orders to seize his person, and
bring him into town. Upon their arrival at Mr. Tankard’s house,
they were informed of his absence from home; but doubting the
truth of this information, they broke open the door of Mrs.
Tankard’s chamber, (who was confined to her bed from severe
indisposition,) and so alarmed that lady, that for some time her
life was in danger. This arbitrary behaviour on the part of the
governor led Barry Tankard to resent it, by calling his
excellency out in a duel; but Colonel Parke, considering it
beneath the dignity of the queen’s representative to accept the
challenge of a private gentleman, the matter ended.

While these dissensions were going on in Antigua between the
governor on the one side, and the members of the assembly and the
principal inhabitants on the other, Mr. Nevin and Mr. Cary were
using their best endeavours to get a favourable answer to their
complaints from the home government. At length, after many
delays, Mr. Nevin returned to Antigua, bringing with him the
queen’s letter, directing that witnesses should be examined to
prove the several articles of impeachment sent home against the
governor, as well as his excellency’s answers to the same. “The
depositions and answers were sworn before Edward Byam, Esq., one
of the council, and Nathaniel Crump, Esq., speaker of the house
of assembly, and were ordered to be sealed with the broad seal of
the island, and forwarded immediately to England.” The governor,
however, refusing to seal the affidavits of the complainants,
upon the plea that his own answers were not ready, from the
delays of the justices before whom they were sworn, his opponents
were obliged to use another seal, and then despatch them, under
the care of Mr. Nevin, to England.

During the year 1709, Queen Anne recalled Colonel Parke from his
government, to the great joy of the Antiguans. To this command
the infatuated man, however, would pay no attention; and,
exasperated by the triumphant looks of his accusers, which they
could not, or would not, conceal, he proceeded to measures which
could be only deemed those of a maddened despot.

The year 1710 was ushered in with no better feeling between the
governor and the members of the legislature. One of their first
causes of complaint alleged against his excellency arose from the
following circumstance:—

It had ever been the privilege of the house of assembly to choose
their own “clerk;” but during this despotic administration, the
governor overlooked this, and wished to appoint to that office a
friend of his own—a Mr. Hinton.[40]

This encroachment upon the assembly’s privileges gave rise to a
great deal of ill feeling, and many acrimonious messages passed
between his excellency and the members of that body. The
following paragraph, copied from one of the governor’s speeches,
alludes to this subject:—

“If you still persist that it is your undoubted privilege to
choose your ‘clerk,’ and will do no business until that be
yielded to you, you certainly will have the ‘Lords’ Committee’
opinion. It is an undutiful attempt upon her majesty’s
prerogative; and I do assure you, gentlemen, if the queen does
not appoint any other before I go, I will leave you time enough
to raise money during this crop to pay off all the public

This unhandsome taunt of the governor’s was deeply felt, and
resented by the “house,” who, in reply to it, remarks—

“We cannot but observe how severe and bitter your excellency
reflects upon, and reproaches our country with, the not paying
its debt, but compounding the same. We well remember, when the
country paid your excellency 1000l. in sugar, at 12s. 6d., your
excellency sold that very sugar for 18s.; so that we hope your
excellency has but little reason to complain of the public
compounding their debt.”

And then, in reference to a recommendation of the governor’s to
enlarge the provision for the clergymen, they go on to mention—

“Your excellency next recommends to provide a better maintenance
for the clergy. They are already allowed 100l.; but as we are a
people so much in debt, as your excellency observes, it cannot be
expected, during these troublesome times, for us to advance their
salaries, especially such scandalous persons as too many of the
present clergy are.”

This was only the third meeting of the legislature since the
election, after a recess of three years; although, from the
unsettled condition of the West Indies, (arising from the state
of affairs in Europe, where Marlborough, at the head of the
British forces, was engaged in frequent skirmishes with the
French,) the Antiguans were in momentary expectation of an
invasion. After being prorogued from the 18th of November to the
27th, (1710,) the legislature again met, but without any better
feeling between the governor and the members of the assembly. A
fresh cause of dispute arose, from his excellency having caused a
Mr. Hill to be sworn in as clerk of the assembly, (in place of
his former favourite, Mr. Hinton,) but whom the members would not
recognise; and after a great deal of altercation upon the
subject, that body addressed the following to the governor:—

“If your excellency’s resentment so far prevails as to despise
these our propositions, and that the public affairs must with us
still suffer, as unworthy your regard and consideration, we do
then, as the only and last expedient, humbly propose your
excellency’s visiting some other island of the government;
thereby to afford us the opportunity and means, in conjunction
with the lieutenant-governor and council, to provide for the
public security, to heal our divisions, restore discipline, and
our broken constitution, after the best manner we can. And we are
unanimously of opinion, that in case your excellency rejects this
our humble motion, and will not surcease such administration, as
afore-mentioned, (which is so very opposite to the nature of our
constitution, to the opinion of the lieutenant-governor, the
council, as well as this house, and to the sense of the
inhabitants in general,) we shall be under the unhappy necessity
of withdrawing our obedience from you as chief governor, which,
by your dispensing with her majesty’s positive command for
leaving the government, we shall, in duty to her and justice to
ourselves, (which we ought long since to have done;) and that
this her colony, our persons and estates, may no longer be
exposed to such unhappy conduct and administration, which seems
entirely—we must say, foully—devoted to the ruin and destruction
of all.”[42]

After receiving this message, the unhappy, infatuated governor
sent the following to the house:—

“Gentlemen,—You are adjourned until Thursday, the 7th of
December, then to give myself and council a meeting at the town
of St. John’s, by eight of the clock in the morning.

                       “By command,” &c.

Alas, that very morning, the sun arose for the last time to him!
and by a fearful and unhallowed death, he was sent with all his
sins upon his head, to render in an account of his stewardship.

The cause which led to this melancholy event was this:—Worn out
with the proceedings of Colonel Parke, and looking upon him as an
usurper of the government, the Antiguans threw off all restraint;
and as the last remedy, determined to arm against, and force him
to quit the island.

Accordingly, upon the morning of the 7th December, 1710, a large
body of men, in number about 500, proceeded to Government House,
in two parties—the one headed by Mr. Piggot, then speaker of the
house of assembly; the other, by Captain Painter, another member
of that body. Colonel Parke, who was not ignorant of these
proceedings against him, had quartered in Government House, some
time before, the soldiers stationed in the capital; and who,
along with many of his private friends, (among whom was Mr.
French, his historian,) had made arrangements for resisting any
attack upon the governor.

Upon the approach of the armed party, Colonel Parke sent the
provost-marshal (the man whose appointment to that office had
given the Antiguans such offence) with a proclamation, ordering
them to disperse immediately. This they refused to do; but in
order, if possible, to save an effusion of blood, they despatched
Nathaniel Crump, Esq., (the former speaker of the assembly,) and
George Gamble, one of the council, to the governor, desiring him,
in the name of the inhabitants, to discharge his guards, and quit
the government, without any further contest. Colonel Parke
returned for answer, “that neither threats nor fear of death
should make him do so; for the queen had intrusted him with it.”
Through the delegates, Mr. Crump and Mr. Gamble, he bid the
assembly “sit at Parham, if they were afraid of the troops at St.
John’s,” but consented at the same time to dismiss the soldiers,
if six of the principal inhabitants would remain with him as
hostages. As the negotiators considered the proposal of the
governor’s to be far preferable to commencing hostilities, they
agreed to be two of the hostages, and endeavour by their
influence to obtain four more from among the assembled multitude.
Many of their party, upon hearing this proposition of the
governor’s, agreed with them in their opinions, and laid down
their arms; but the majority of the people, fearful of any
agreement made with the governor, and thinking that delays might
induce others of the group to withdraw also, determined to
commence the attack, and endeavour to secure the person of the
governor. The two companies, headed by Captain Piggot and Captain
Painter, immediately drew up before Government House, which they
saluted with a warm discharge of musketry. This was returned by
the governor’s party; volley succeeded volley from within and
without; the balls whistled hotly around; until at length the
assailants burst open the doors, and rushed into the dwelling.
Captain Piggot fell by the hand of Colonel Parke, at the
commencement of the affray, although it was the belief of many
that Ayon, the provost-marshal and _ci-devant_ foot-soldier, came
behind him and shot him in the back. After some deaths on both
sides, Colonel Parke, who had retired into his bedroom, received
a shot in his thigh, which, breaking the bone, disabled him from
further retreating, and the people rushing upon him, literally
tore him to pieces while alive. They afterwards burnt down
Government House, the ruins of which remain to this day a memento
of his dreadful crimes and fearful punishment. Colonel Parke was
dragged into the streets by some of his adversaries, where he
remained for some time, still sensible, but suffering agonies
impossible to describe, until at length his mutilated body was
carried to the house of a person named Wright, who lived near to
the spot, where he shortly expired. His body was deposited in the
vault of the old church; but so detested was his memory, that the
people broke down the pew which had been appropriated for him and
his predecessors.

Some writers maintain that only the _common people_ were
concerned in the last act of this tragedy; that those of the
higher rank proceeded to the house of John Yeamans, the
lieutenant-governor, and quietly laid down their arms. Mr.
French, the historian of Colonel Parke, writes, however, very
differently upon this part of the subject; but it ought to be
taken into consideration, that he was a particular friend of
Colonel Parke, and consequently might give a higher colouring to
the melancholy picture. He says, that when Colonel Parke lay in
the street suffering the pangs of a dismembered body, the members
of the house of assembly stood round reviling and insulting him
in his last agonies; that among the number were Andrew Murray,
Francis Carlisle, Mr. Tomlinson, and Captain Painter. I cannot
believe this assertion. Although Parke was their common foe,
still they must have been possessed of those feelings of honour,
if not humanity, which would forbid them to triumph over a dying
enemy. Mr. French goes on to state, that it was Colonel Byam who
was most active in convening the inhabitants, and appointing a
certain day for them to come into town well armed. This, too, has
been contradicted. There were not many clergymen then upon the
island; but among their number, Mr. James Field, rector of St.
John’s, took the part of the people; and Mr. Baxter, rector of
Parham, that of Colonel Parke.

All writers upon the West Indies mention the crimes and fate of
Parke; and consequently I am obliged to follow in the wake, or
else I should have buried his errors—or, more properly speaking,
his vices—in oblivion.[43]


[38] Barbuda is a small island, about twenty miles broad, and
lies twenty-six miles to the north of Antigua. It has belonged to
the Codrington family from about the year 1691, when William III.
granted it to General Codrington, then governor-general of the
Leeward Islands. It raises a great number of horned cattle,
ponies, donkeys, &c., and its shores are very prolific in turtle
and various kinds of fish; while its beach is strewed with many
beautiful shells. Deer, also, range amid its sylvan glades; and
their flesh occasionally affords another dish at a West Indian
dinner. The chief emoluments arising from this island, however,
are the number of wrecks; three or four sometimes occurring in a
year. The reason of these frequent maritime disasters is, that
the island lies so low, and is generally encompassed with fogs,
that vessels are upon the reefs (by which it is almost entirely
surrounded) before they are aware. It was upon one of this chain
of reefs, that H. M. S. Woolwich was wrecked.

Barbuda contains about 1500 inhabitants, of which the greater
part are employed as huntsmen and fishermen: the former make use
of the lazo to catch the wild horses, &c.


[39] This spot is now appropriated for the Wesleyan

[40] The following is an authentic copy of Mr. Hinton’s
commission and warrant, as drawn out in Colonel Parke’s own

  “By his Excellency Daniel Parke, Esq., Captain-General and
    Governor-in-Chief in and over all her Majesty’s Leeward
    Caribbee Islands in Antigua.

“I do hereby authorize and appoint you, Gabriel Hinton, of the
said island aforesaid, to be clerk to the assembly of this
island, and which is this day appointed to meet; and to receive
all fees, proffitts, and perquisites thereto belonging, for which
this shall be your sufficient warrant and commission.

“Given under my hand and seal this twenty-second day of May,

                                        (Signed) “Daniel Parke.”

[41] At this period, the island had fallen considerably in debt;
and the legislature not having met for some time, from the
unhappy differences between them and the governor, they had no
opportunity of relieving themselves from their burdens; which
difficulties were pleasing to Colonel Parke, in the hopes of
their being compelled to make a general compromise.

[42] It may be well to remark, that any peculiarities in the
diction of the foregoing extracts must be attributed to the time
in which they were written: they having been copied _verbatim_.

For a list of the members of the house of assembly at this time,
see Appendix, No. 11.

[43] The last will of Governor Parke will be found in Appendix,
No. 12.

                         CHAPTER VIII.

  Governor Walter Hamilton—Walter Douglas’s Disturbances—
  Complaints against him sent to England—Queen Anne recalls him,
  and reappoints Walter Hamilton—Lord Viscount Lowther—John Hart—
  Lord Londonderry—Lord Forbes—Colonel William Crosbie.

After the death of Colonel Parke, the government, of course,
devolved upon the lieutenant-governor of Antigua, John Yeamans,
until such time as despatches could be forwarded to Nevis, where
General Hamilton, who was next in command to the late
captain-general, (and who had married the widow of Sir William
Stapleton, a former governor,) was residing. Four of the members
of the legislature were, accordingly, sent to General Walter
Hamilton, advising him of the death of Colonel Parke, and
inviting him to come to Antigua in order to assume the chief
command. General Hamilton received the party with great urbanity
and kindness, and accompanied them back to Antigua, where he took
up his residence, for the time being, with Dr. Mackinnon, one of
the actors in the late affray.[44]

Upon the intelligence of Colonel Parke’s death reaching England,
Queen Anne was very much incensed against the inhabitants of
Antigua; but, after hearing the catalogue of Parke’s crimes, and
in order to prevent any further effusion of blood, her majesty
was graciously pleased to send a general pardon to all that were
concerned in that transaction.

But although the queen thought proper to extend her clemency to
the Antiguans, she made some alteration in the affairs of the
Leeward Island government. General Walter Hamilton was recalled,
and General Walter Douglas appointed in his room; and John
Yeamans was removed from the situation of lieutenant-governor of
Antigua, and that appointment conferred upon Colonel Edward Byam.

During the period General Douglas administered the government, he
received instructions from England to see an act put into
execution, which had been passed in the time of Christopher
Codrington the younger, respecting the ascertainment of the value
of current coin.

The 24th of June, 1712, Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker again visited
Antigua with a fleet of seven ships under his command. Soon after
his departure, M. Copard, the French admiral, with a fleet of
eight ships and seventeen sloops of war, manned with about 5000
men, made an attack upon the island; but we find, from despatches
sent to England by the governor, General Douglas, their attempts
at landing were frustrated.

General Douglas had scarcely been two years governor before
complaints against him were also despatched to England, as well
as a petition from the inhabitants, praying the queen to recall
him, in which petition their late governor-general, Walter
Hamilton, joined. General Douglas had made himself so obnoxious,
that another rebellion had almost occurred. One of his measures
was to retain certain duties, which ought to have been paid into
the treasury, (such as duties upon wines and liquors, &c.), for
his own particular use. He also persecuted General Hamilton, and
suspended him from all offices he held in the island; and upon
that gentleman repairing to England to transact some private
business, Colonel Douglas endeavoured to seize Dr. Mackinnon and
Chief-Justice Watkins for their proceedings in the affair of
Colonel Parke, as well as on the plea of another intended
rebellion. These gentlemen, however, contrived to escape to
England, where, from advices received from Governor Douglas, they
were afterwards seized and committed to prison; but, pleading the
general pardon which her majesty had issued, they were discharged
without trial, although Ensign Smith, one of the asserted
culprits, lay in Newgate for some months.

While these rancorous dissensions were going on between the
governor and the inhabitants, orders were received for him to
return to England; and, to the joy of the Antiguans, his majesty
George I. re-appointed General Walter Hamilton to the government
in 1715. The island was now pretty quiet; the French keeping to
their own colonies without troubling their neighbours. The
Antiguans, however, were still very cautious of them; and the few
persons of that nation who, after the termination of the war,
came to reside at Antigua, were very coldly received. This year
(1715) the court of chancery was amended. Hitherto it was held by
one person, which caused delays, besides other inconveniences: so
that it was resolved in future it should consist of the governor,
and not less than five members of the council.

Previous to this period, there was also much difficulty in
recovering minor debts, owing to the want of good laws, which
occasioned so much inconvenience to the merchants of Antigua that
they found it necessary this year (1715) to draw up a petition,
signed by twenty-six of the most influential members of their
body, praying for a better settling of the island courts. In
1711, the attorney-general, Thomas Bretton, Esq., had drawn up an
act “for establishing a court of queen’s bench and common pleas,
and for the better regulating and settling due methods for the
administration of justice,” with which the council and assembly
were so well pleased, that they presented him with one hundred
and forty pounds currency; but which act was so marred in the
passing of it, that they themselves found it necessary to incur
further expense by having another drawn up. As, however, this did
not appear to have the desired effect, in 1715, (after receiving
the petition from the merchants,) further and more effective
measures were taken for settling law courts, and limiting a time
for issuing executions out of the court of chancery.

In 1716, fresh regulations were made respecting the importation
of white servants. Every owner of slaves, to the number of
fifteen, was obliged to find a white man to serve in the militia;
and for every twenty slaves, above fifteen, they were obliged to
find another white servant. Importers of white Protestant
servants could demand of the treasurer of the island eighteen
pounds per head if not sold in twenty days, and further obliged
the treasurer to receive such servant until sold. The general
term of servitude was seven years, at the end of which period
their master was to give them fifty shillings, and 400 pounds of
sugar or tobacco, with a certificate of their being free. If one
of these white servants married a free person without the consent
of their master, that free person was to be fined 100l.; and if
one servant entertained another for more than twenty-four hours
at one time, the person so offending was to be publicly whipped,
or serve the injured party three months; or if the entertainer
was free, he was to forfeit 20l.

About this time, Governor Hamilton sent a party of settlers,
under command of a Mr. Howell, from Antigua and the different
Leeward Islands, to plant a colony upon Crab Island, a small
island lying between Santa Cruz and Porto Rico.

In the year 1699, the Scottish or Darien Company fitted out two
large ships with a cargo of articles for traffic, and arms and
ammunition, intending to form a settlement in America. While on
their passage, they resolved to call in at Crab Island, and leave
some of their party there; but upon their arrival, finding a
large tent erected on the beach, with Danish colours flying, and
not wishing to have any dispute, they left the island to the
Danes, and proceeded to the Isthmus of Darien. The Danes having
given up the colony, the English thought it a good time to put in
a claim, and accordingly, as before remarked, Governor Hamilton
sent a party to colonize it.

Improvements were made about this time in the erection of mills
for the purpose of grinding the sugar cane, and also in the art
of sugar-boiling, which the Antiguans at that day appear to have
been deficient in. Oldmixon, speaking of the sugar made in
Antigua, says,—“It is so black and coarse, that no art could fine
it; and, as if our sugar bakers in England scorned to put dirt in
their coppers, it was generally shipped off to Holland and
Hamburg, where it was sold for 16s., when any other brought from
18s. to 19s. per hundred.”

In 1620, Lord Viscount Lowther was appointed to the government of
the Leeward West India Islands, but his appointment was
afterwards cancelled; and, in 1721, George I. appointed John
Hart, Esq., former governor of Maryland, to be commander-in-chief
of the Leeward Islands, who arrived at Antigua about the middle
of the year. About this time gambling raged to a great extent in
Antigua, and it was thought necessary to adopt some measures to
suppress it. It was therefore ordained, in 1723, that, if any
person won more than seven pounds at one sitting, or within
twenty-four hours from the time they first commenced playing,
they were to forfeit treble the value, half of which was to be
paid into treasury for the purpose of building and repairing
forts, &c., and the other half to go to the loser. It is strange
that, much about the same time, this vice was very prevalent in
England. Indeed, profligacy of all kinds had increased in that
kingdom to an alarming extent. This was supposed to have arisen
from the infatuation of the South Sea scheme, which, intoxicating
the minds of the people with the prospect of imaginary wealth,
led them into every excess. If any of the Antiguans had joined in
this infatuation, I am unable to say. I was led into the mention
of it from the fact of both countries being, at the same period,
subject to the same kind of vice.

For the last few years the inhabitants of Antigua had been very
much harassed by a gang of runaway slaves, from various estates,
who had taken up their abode in some of the mountains and rocky
parts of the island, and who were in the practice of issuing out
at night, and committing many and great depredations. The leaders
of this gang of vagrants were three men, of the name of Africa,
Papa Will, and Sharper; and, to insure their capture, a reward of
twenty pounds was offered to any person who should place either
of them, dead or alive, in the hands of the provost-marshal. If
any one killed a slave who had been absent from their owner three
months, while in pursuit of them, he was entitled to the sum of
three pounds; and when such slave was taken alive, the reward was
doubled, the owner of any slave so killed being paid his or her
value from the treasury. If a slave concealed, afforded
nourishment to, or comforted a runaway, he was to be publicly
whipped on the bare back with any number of stripes the justice
of the peace thought proper to order; and if any free person so
offended, such freeman was to be fined not less than ten pounds
for the first offence. No person was allowed to purchase goods of
a slave, under a penalty of thirty pounds for the first offence,
except such things as pigs, goats, fowls, fish, or ground
provision, which slaves were allowed to sell; but ginger and
cotton ranked among the prohibitory articles. For the better
government of this sable race, it was thought proper by those in
power to restrict their diversions, and publish a decree, that
all owners of slaves should allow them three days at Christmas
for play-days, _and no more_, under a penalty of twenty pounds.
Many other regulations were made, which appear at this day very
harsh—such as not allowing slaves to plant cotton, forbidding
them to assemble in parties of more than ten, punished for
carrying any kind of weapon, unless in company of a white person,
&c.; but, at the same time, it was enacted that if any cruelly
disposed person hurt, or killed a slave, they were liable to the
same punishment as if the victim had been free; thus setting a
bright example to the other island, where killing a slave was
looked upon, in law, as a mere trifle.

In 1725, the parish of St. Peter’s was divided into two, making
Antigua to consist of six parishes, instead of five; the
separated half of St. Peter’s being called St. George. The reason
of this division was the great extent of the parish, which,
having only one church and one chapel of ease in it, and those at
a considerable distance, the parishioners had not an opportunity
of attending divine worship every week. Nothing of much
importance occurred during the next two years, except that the
assembly of Antigua returned thanks to Captain Arthur Delgarno,
commander of H.M.S. South Sea Castle, for his indefatigable
exertions in these seas, in keeping away the enemy’s ships, and
protecting the trade of the island: they also voted two hundred
guineas to purchase a sword to present to the gallant commander,
as a token of respect. It was by the suggestions of this Captain
Delgarno, and Captain Cooper, of H.M.S. Lyon, in 1725, that the
spacious dockyard at English Harbour was first erected.

George I. dying in the month of June, 1727, his son succeeded to
the vacant throne, under the title of George II. Upon the
intelligence reaching the ears of the Antiguans, he was
proclaimed at Antigua with great pomp. An ox was roasted whole,
and three hogsheads of beer distributed to the poor inhabitants;
while a splendid entertainment was provided for the governor and
the gentry of the island, at the public expense.

His majesty George II. having appointed Lord Londonderry[45] to
succeed John Hart, Esq., in the government of the Leeward
Islands, that nobleman arrived at Antigua in 1728; but was
detained off the port, or rather on board his vessel, which was
anchored in the roadstead for some time, on account of a
hurricane. About this period, the commander of H. M. S.
Winchelsea took a pirate vessel, while at anchor near one of the
small islands with which these seas abound; but the crew escaped,
with the exception of five persons, who were brought to Antigua,
and hung. These were Captain Fen, the owner and commander, his
gunner, and three common sailors.

The first year of Lord Londonderry’s administration, it was
privately recommended to him, by the English government, to lay
before the legislature of Antigua the necessity of building
barracks for the accommodation of the regiment of foot stationed
in the island, or else assign them quarters, by billeting them
upon the several estates, or in the towns. Hitherto, they were
scattered all over the country, obtaining shelter wherever they
could, and consequently, they became very disorganized. It was,
however, not until the year 1741, that these recommendations were
carried into effect, when barracks were erected upon Rat Island;
and, in 1753, additional barracks were built at the head of the
town. The Antiguans were this year alarmed by a conspiracy among
the negroes, which, however, appears to have been confined to
those belonging to a Mr. Crump. As upon trial they were not
thought worthy of death, it was resolved to banish eight of the
principal offenders, who were to be sent to Maryland or Virginia,
or else sold to such persons who would agree to transport them to
the Spanish coasts, with the proviso that if they returned to
Antigua, they were immediately to be executed.

A thousand pounds were granted to his excellency Thomas Pitt,
Earl of Londonderry, this year, in addition to the usual salary;
and the emoluments arising from a duty of 3s. 6d. per ton, upon
all vessels clearing from the island, having on board native
produce, was also settled upon him as long as he continued in the
government. As, however, the next year, (1729,) transient factors
were allowed exemptions from the charge of 3s. 6d. per ton, (on
the ground of their paying 2l. for every 100l. imported,) which
would tend to decrease the governor’s salary, a further sum of a
thousand pounds was granted to supply all deficiencies. As there
had been no government house erected since the affair of Colonel
Parke, the Antiguans renting a house for that purpose, which was
attended with some disadvantage, Lord Londonderry recommended to
the council and assembly the necessity of building a government
house, pointing out at the same time that the want of such an
accommodation for their governors might thereafter prove
disadvantageous to the Antiguans. This advice, however, appears
not to have been followed, for it was not until after 1800, that
the present government house was erected. The laws of Antigua
were also this year recommended to be sent to the agent in
England, to have them printed.

Many other regulations were gone into, tending to the welfare of
Antigua; and it was also resolved that if any members of the
council and assembly were absent, and could not give a
satisfactory cause, such absentees were to forfeit 5l., and were
sometimes even expelled. During the government of this nobleman,
a bill passed the two houses of parliament, which had been long
pending, granting encouragement to the sugar colonies, of which
Antigua had become one of the most flourishing. Lord Londonderry
did not live more than a year and a half after his appointment;
and, upon his demise, the Right Honourable Lord Forbes was
nominated to the vacant government. The country voted a sum of
money for his reception, and a house was engaged for him; but,
after waiting for about six months, and no governor making his
appearance, it was given up, and the government devolved to
William Mathew the lieut.-governor. The same year, however,
Brigadier-general William Crosbie was appointed captain-general;
but it appears he did not accept the office, or the appointment
was cancelled by the home government; for in the following year
he removed to New York, where he became governor.


[44] See further as to the Mackinnons, Appendix, No. 13.

[45] Son to Mr. Pitt; famous for the diamond he brought from the
East Indies, and which he afterwards sold to the King of France.

                          CHAPTER IX.

  Governor William Mathew—Insurrection of the Negroes—A Legend of
  the Ravine—Punishment of the Conspirators.

In 1730, William Mathew, Esq., the lieutenant-governor, succeeded
to this government, vacant by the non-acceptance of Lord Forbes
and General William Crosbie; and, in the first year of his
appointment, fresh regulations were made for the payment of such
slaves as suffered death for crimes, according to the ancient
custom of the island. The affairs of Fort James were also looked
into. In 1680, Colonel James Vaughan, of Antigua, had granted to
his majesty Charles II. and his successors, a certain promontory,
generally known as St. John’s Point, for the purpose of building
a fort, and for the support of the matrosses. This had been done
as far as the erection of Fort James; but the other part of the
land was not used; and consequently, this year, (1730,) it was
determined that it should be given to the matrosses; only
reserving a part which might be wanted for the purpose of
building hospitals or magazines. In 1731, Antigua suffered very
much from a long drought; when the want of water was so
excessive, that a pail of that fluid sold for 3s. The following
year (1732) amendments were made in the court of chancery. By the
regulations of 1715, this court was made to consist of the
captain-general or governor-in-chief, and five or more members of
council; but as his excellency was not always upon the island
when such courts were held, great delays were occasioned, and it
was determined that in future the president of Antigua should, in
the absence of the governor, or lieutenant-governor, preside.

After a temporary absence, the Lieutenant-governor William Mathew
returned to Antigua in the early part of the year 1733, assuming
the government as captain-general of the Leeward Islands, and
presented his additional instructions to the council and
assembly, directing that body to be no longer restricted, as
formerly, from making any additional allowance to the salary of
1200l. per annum, allowed by the home government, namely:—
“Whereas, it has been represented to us, that the salary of
1200l. sterling per annum, which we have hitherto thought fit to
allow out of the duty of four-and-a-half per cent., arising in
our Leeward Islands, for our governor-in-chief of these islands,
is not at present sufficient for his support and the dignity of
that our government, we have taken the same into our
consideration, and are graciously pleased to permit and allow
that the respective assemblies of our said islands may, by any
act or acts, settle upon you such sum or sums, in addition to
your salary of 1200l. per annum, as they shall think proper; and
you are hereby allowed to give your assent to any act or acts of
assembly to that purpose. Provided, such sum or sums be settled
on you and your successors in that government; at least on you
during the whole time of your government there, and that the same
be done by the first respective assemblies of our said island
after your arrival there.”

In accordance with this new arrangement, the council and assembly
readily granted an annual sum of 1000l. Antigua currency.

In 1734, copper coins were imported from England, and passed at
about the same rate they do at this day. Bayonets were also
introduced this year into Antigua, for the use of the militia,
they having been found to answer so well in the late wars in
Flanders. These weapons obtained their name from being first
manufactured at Bayonne, in France.

The events of the year 1736 were such as to strike horror into
the hearts of all the white inhabitants of Antigua. The negroes,
who, as we have before seen, attempted an insurrection in 1728,
attributed their want of success to the fact of their having no
regular plan; and accordingly they chose one of their tribe, a
very powerful black man, to be their king; and vowed to render to
him the strictest homage, and follow his every order. This man,
whose real name was “Klaas,” although his master called him
Count, was a person of undaunted courage and strong resolve; and,
was it not on account of the demise of Governor Mathew’s son,
which frustrated their original plan of blowing up government
house (or at least the house which was hired for the governor at
Clark’s Hill) with gunpowder, the night a grand ball was to be
given in honour of the anniversary of the king’s coronation, no
doubt Antigua would have been another “Hayti,” and “Klaas”
another “Christophe.”

There is still an old tradition, which relates to this melancholy
subject; and as it may not prove uninteresting to some of my
readers, I will give it in a newer dress.

                       The Fate of Klaas.

                    A LEGEND OF THE RAVINE.

At a late period in the evening of the 3rd of October, 1736, two
horsemen might be seen riding slowly along the high road which
leads from the capital to English Harbour. The eldest of these
travellers was probably past the meridian of life; but his round
florid face bore not a mark of care, nor could a single wrinkle
be detected upon his open forehead. Age, indeed, had tinged his
hair with grey, and, perhaps, slightly bent his form; but had
neither depressed his spirits nor robbed his laughing blue eye of
its lustre. In person he was tall and robust; and although
jollity was written upon every feature, he possessed at the same
time that air of determination which would make few wish to
thwart him in his views, or offer an insult that was sure to be
resented. The animal he bestrode was of a coal-black, and, like
his master, bore his years well. Logo, as he was called, had
often followed the hounds in “merrie England;” and, when his
master came to take possession of a property in Antigua, his
faithful steed, the sharer of many a long day’s sport, was not to
be left behind.

The companion of this first-mentioned traveller was, in every
respect, far different. Scarcely had seventeen summers passed
over his head; and his slight, but well-formed person, was in
direct contrast to the large and heavy make of his friend. His
rich brown locks clustered around his lofty brow unspoiled by
powder; but in his large dark eye, consumption had lit its fire,
and flushed, at times, his naturally pale cheek.

“Come, Edward,” said the elder traveller, addressing the youth;
“we must mend our pace, lad: here’s Logo champing his bit with
every mark of anger at being kept with tightened reign: the old
fellow has too much mettle still left to like this hippopotamus
trot, when he has an hungry stomach, and the prospect of a
well-stored stable before him.”

“Ay, uncle; and one there is at home, who must be as anxiously
looking for us, as Logo is for his stable.”

“What, Marien? Well, I dare say the girl feels the loss of her
cousin Edward from the side of her spinet, if she don’t her old
father from his settle in the gallery. Women love those little
attentions you know so well to offer; and Marien would miss you
from tuning her lute, or turning the pages of her music book, as
I should old Logo, were anything to happen to him. Dame Nature
has made you, boy, to shine in lady’s bower, more, I think, than
in tented field.”

The deepest hectic sprang to the face of the youth, as his uncle
uttered these words, and a half-smothered sigh broke from his
lips, which, catching the attention of his companion, caused him
to turn and look ardently at him.

“Nay, dearest Edward, I meant not to distress you; I hope your
trip to these sunny shores may restore you to stronger health;
and then you may follow the steps of your brave father, and fight
your country’s battles. But we must not loiter any longer upon
the road; for, in truth, I like not the appearance of the night,
and we have no shelter near. I care not for myself, for I have
weathered too many a storm to shrink from a sprinkling; but you
are still delicate; and your cousin Marien will scold me for
having already kept you out in the heavy night dew of this

So saying, they gave their steeds the rein, and dashed on,
throwing the loose pebbles with which the road was strewed, on
every side.

The night, indeed, was far from promising; the wind blew in
sudden gusts, and whirled the dead leaves on every side. A low
moaning sound came from the distant mountains, the sure
forerunner of a storm; while peals of thunder broke upon the ear.
The black clouds drifted rapidly along the sky, and several
meteors gilded the night with their evanescent glories. Suddenly
a deep silence prevailed, broken only by the sound of the horses’
feet upon the flinty road, as the benighted travellers struck
their rowels into the sides of the animals, to urge them to
greater speed. But this boding silence did not last long; the
wind again rose with redoubled violence—the thunder rolled in
awful peals—and a sheet of vivid lightning covered the whole face
of the heavens; clap followed clap in rapid succession, shaking
the very earth to its centre; the rain came down in torrents, yet
still the red-winged lightning struggled through it, and kept up
its terrific fire.

A moment’s pause in the storm gave the elder traveller time to
exclaim—“Well, Edward, my prognostications have proved true, have
they not? Poor Marien must indeed feel anxious;” when, just at
this instant, a dark object issued out of a kind of ravine which
appeared on one side of the road, and darted across the path
close to the horses’ heads. “What was that?” continued the
speaker. “Was it man or animal? My glance was so momentary, that
indeed I know not.” “A boy,” returned his companion, “an’ my eyes
deceived me, or it was Marien’s dumb page.” “What! Julio?
Impossible! What could the boy do abroad in such a night? unless”
—and the speaker paused; “unless, indeed, Marien sent him forth
to gain some tidings of us; for although the poor little fellow
was born deaf and dumb, he has the brightest intellect and
swiftest foot of any negro I ever knew. I have often promised to
tell you his story; and as the tempest seems to have worn away a
little, I may as well give it now, which will tend to make the
road seem the shorter.

“Julio’s mother was the foster-parent of my own Marien, although
at that period she did not belong to me. But she was a great
favourite of my wife’s, and for that reason we hired her to nurse
our child; and after my wife’s death, I purchased her from her
old master, who was a friend of mine. Nuno was a very superior
negress; and was it not on account of her husband, ‘Count,’ whom
I pointed out to you the other day as the reputed king of the
negroes, I do really think she might have been living now. She
never would say _what_ he did to her, or indeed make any
complaint against him; but I am certain there was something
mysterious about it; for when afterwards she was confined with
Julio, she made it her dying request to me that Count might never
know the child was his, or the boy be told who his father was.
This ‘Count,’ as he is called, although I believe he bears
another name, made a great deal of talk in the country some few
years ago. It appears, his master had him severely flogged for a
trifling offence, and Count ran away; but he afterwards came
back, and all was forgiven, although his master might have had
him hung for it, without any loss to himself. There is a law of
the island, which punishes with death any negro who runs away for
longer than three months, and the country pays their value to
their owners. I heard a flying report of an intended insurrection
of the negroes while we were in town to-day; but for my part, I
give no credit to it. They have not forgotten the rebellion of
Crump’s negroes yet, and the punishment awarded to the offenders,
which will keep them quiet, at least for a little time. I have
heard, that Count was concerned in that affair; but none of the
culprits mentioned his name; and although, from the character of
the man, I should not think it unlikely, for the sake of poor
Juno, I would not accuse him. But to return to Julio. His mother
died immediately after his birth, and no one but ourselves, and
his mother’s brother, a slave named Cuffee, know who is his
father. Upon finding the poor child was deaf and dumb, our hearts
have been drawn the closer to him; and as soon as my affairs are
arranged in this island, I shall return to England, and intend
carrying Julio with me.”

By this time, the travellers had gained an ascent, and before
them was spread a cluster of negro-huts, various out-buildings,
and works of a flourishing estate; while on the top of another
eminence stood the hospitable mansion of the owner. In a moment,
all was bustle. “Massa come home!” was shouted from one to
another, as a party of black boys and men started from their
slumbers upon the dry trash, and ran to take the horses. After
seeing Logo properly attended to, the travellers walked to the
house, where, at an open jalousie, a slight figure, whose
graceful outline bespoke it Marien’s, was seen watching their
progress. The family party having once more met, and a thousand
inquiries as to their ride &c. having been made, Marien touched a
silver bell, and a domestic entering, orders were given to send
in Julio. “By-the-bye,” exclaimed the elder gentleman, “didst
thou send forth Julio in search of your _absentees_ to-night,
Marien?”—“No, dearest father; Julio has not left the anteroom
since dinner, that I am aware of. Anxious as I was to gain
tidings of you, the night was too inclement to send the poor
child abroad. But why do you ask that question?”—“Oh! nothing;
only that our bright-eyed Edward thought he saw him cross the
road at the ravine down yonder; but I think it must have been a
dog, or something of the kind. However, to be certain, I
mentioned it to you.” At this moment the door opened, and Julio
entered. He had, perhaps, attained his eighth year; but from his
diminutive form, a stranger would have thought him even younger.
His dress was a kind of white tunic embroidered with crimson, and
a broad belt of gilded leather, with tassels of bullion, gathered
it in folds around his slender waist. Smart silk stockings
encased his legs, and white leather shoes, ornamented with gold,
graced his little feet. When abroad, a small crimson cap, in
which was placed a single ostrich feather, reposed upon his head:
its snowy plume strangely contrasting with his ebon complexion.
It was Marien’s whim to dress her page in this fantastic manner,
and her indulgent parent never thwarted her in any of her little

The deficiencies of poor Julio’s external faculties did not
extend to his intellects. The slightest action of Marien’s was
noticed by him, and her every wish gratified, if possible. Did a
shade pass over her brow, he flew for her lute, or arranged her
books at the spinet; did a smile illuminate her face, Julio
jumped for joy. It was his task to gather for her the sweetest
fruits, and range the tangled copse and dell to cull the fairest
flowers; and when she walked abroad, he attended the steps of his
young mistress, and swept from her path every noisome insect.
Bright were the eyes of Julio, and joyous was the look expressed
in his dark round face; but on this evening, when, at the summons
of his mistress, he stood before her, every one was struck with
the alteration in his appearance. His cheek was blanched to an
unearthly hue—his eyes, bloodshot and dim, sought the floor;
while a shudder seemed to run through his frame, as if he saw
some dreaded form. To the anxious inquiries of the party,
expressed by significant gestures, the boy only shook his head,
while a darker shade of sadness passed over his brow. Thinking
that a slight degree of illness was the cause, Marien kindly
dismissed him to his repose, in hopes the morrow’s dawn would
restore him to his usual gaiety, and rising from her seat, placed
in her father’s hand a small billet. “A grand ball at Government
House, eh! to be given in honour of our good king’s coronation.
What say you to that, young people? Wilt thou pay thy devotions
at the shrine of the laughter-loving muse? No doubt, all the
beauty and fashion of Antigua will be there. But come, the hour
is past midnight; and if I keep our Marien up so late, she will
lose the last of her roses she brought from Old England.” So
saying, the party separated for the night; and the scene changes
to another spot, at an earlier hour.

                           * * * * *

In one of the deepest parts of a ravine grew a variety of tangled
bushes, which clothed it to its very bottom with their verdant
foliage. Disrupted rocks were thickly scattered about, over which
glided the speckled snake, while cricket and frog kept up an
incessant chirping. About the commencement of the storm already
described, a dark figure was seen slowly, but firmly descending
the steep bank of the ravine, whose nearer approach bespoke him a
son of Ham, one who wore the chain of bondage. In height he
measured about six feet, while his broad chest and muscular arms
shewed his Herculean strength. His complexion was of the deepest
jet, and his large black eye shone with the fierceness of a
firebrand. A mantle of dark blue cloth was wrapt around his form,
leaving his arms and legs bare; and his head was bound round with
a scarlet handkerchief, the ends of which floated in the breeze
with graceful negligence. In one hand he bore a massive club,
which assisted his steps in his descent; while the other rested
upon a horse-pistol, which, heavily loaded, lay hid in the folds
of his garment. Upon gaining the bottom of the ravine, he looked
cautiously around; and then, as if satisfied all was right, he
raised a conch-shell to his lips, and blew a low but clear blast.
This repeated thrice, he seated himself upon one of the rocks;
and burying his face in his hands, mused in silence, unmindful of
the threatening appearance of the heavens. But a few minutes
passed, when he again started to his feet, and blew a louder
blast, which at a short interval was answered by a low whistle;
and the crackling of dry leaves (as if trodden under foot)
proclaimed the approach of other visitants. Drawing the pistol
from its confinement, the first occupant of the ravine stepped a
few paces forward, and, in a voice rendered thick by contending
passions, demanded the word. “Death to our foes!” was the answer;
and in another moment, about forty negroes stood around their
king. “Welcome, brave friends, to this lone spot; for here at
least we can feel we are free, and bid defiance to the hated
whites. But where is Morah? Surely she will not desert us,
Tomboy?” And he directed his looks to a short stout man, who
ranked as his general, and answered to that name, and who had
taken up his post at the right shoulder of his sable majesty.
“Oh, no; Morah knows too well to desert Klaas at his need.
Believe not that,” returned the man. “We should have been here
long before, but she was knocked up with her walk, and we were
obliged to wait her will. But see!”—and touching the arm of
Klaas, he pointed to two lusty youths who were coming down the
bank, bearing between them some object, which could scarcely be
pronounced human. Placing their burden safely at the feet of
Klaas, the young men drew back, while he, giving her his hand,
raised and placed her upon a rocky seat near himself. The woman,
(for so she proved,) although looking more like the habitant of
another world, must have numbered her hundredth year. Her face,
which had lost its naturally black hue from age and sickness, was
puckered up in a thousand wrinkles; while her toothless gums were
seen through her thick open lips. The few hairs which time had
left her were bleached to a snowy white; but her black eyes had
lost none of their brightness: they gleamed from beneath her
overhanging brow with a supernatural ray. Her form was bent
almost double, and the skin hung about her hands and arms like
black and shrivelled parchment. An old blanket partly covered her
attenuated person, which she firmly grasped with her long bony
fingers; but it afforded her no defence against the inclemency of
the evening; for she shivered and trembled at every blast. Such
was Morah, the old Obeah woman,[46] who was hated, yet dreaded,
by nearly all her tribe.

“Morah,” said the leader of the band, after she had rested for a
few minutes, “Morah, dost thou not know me? hast thou forgot the
purpose for which we have met? The time is short, remember.”

“Oh, no, no! me no forget,” said the old crone; “me know you very
well; you’re ‘Count,’ the negro king, as you call yourself, but
your massa call you ‘Count the Runaway,’” and she laughed

“Call me Klaas,” shrieked the negro; “oh! call me not Count—the
name of my servitude—the name those detested whites gave me when,
torn from all my heart holds dear, and forced into their ships,
they brought me to this country, and sold me, for a miserable
pittance, to the man I despise—the man who, for a small fault,
had me flogged until the blood gushed down my back. Yes! flogged
_me_, who was born heir to a kingdom, and who followed the chase
in my own bright land, free as the zephyr which kisses its sunny
mountains, until the fortunes of war made me the despised,
degraded slave I am. Call me not ‘Count,’ I say; for every misery
I have ever borne is recalled by that hated name. Why was it I
spurned poor Nuno from me, and embittered her after life?
Because, in a moment of repose—when the weary toil of the day was
over—seated before our hut in the bright moonbeam, I talked to
her of Africa, and of my hopes of soon escaping from my degraded
state, she raised the demon within me by calling me ‘Count,’ when
I had taught her to use no other name but ‘Klaas;’ and thus
bringing all my wrongs before me, I vowed to sacrifice our child
to the gods of my country should its eyes ever see the light. Oh,
then, call me not ‘Count’ in this wild ravine, where everything
breathes an air of freedom, although I am obliged to bear it (but
not for long, I hope) before the abhorred Christians. Oh! call me
not ‘Count.’ unless—” and he flung his arms on high, while his
eyeballs rolled in fire, and every nerve quivered with emotion—
“unless you wish to see me, like the hunted lanté turn on all
alike. But enough;”—and by strong effort he mastered his
turbulent passions, although the perspiration flowed from off his
forehead in large drops, and his breast heaved like the stormy
billow;—“I came not here to-night to recite my wrongs, or the
wrongs of these my comrades; but to plan our redemption from
them, and the destruction of our enemies. To business, then. But
first let me ask you, Morah, has Obeah given the sign?”

“An’ think you me come here to-night had he not?” returned the
old woman, doggedly; “ay, that he has, and a good sign it is; but
p’raps you no want white man dead, eh? And again the hag uttered
her horrible laugh, which seemed still more so in the midst of a
clap of thunder, while her miserable form looked more unearthly
in the lightning’s flash.

“Death to our foes!” broke from the lips of the leader, which was
repeated by all the band; and then breaking up the circle in
which they had been standing, they proceeded to prepare the
different articles used in their superstitious orgies, under the
inspection of old Morah, while Klaas and his general, Tomboy,
conferred apart.

A large hole being dug in the middle of the ravine, and all
things properly arranged, the king and his companion were called;
when, joining in a rank around the opening, the mysterious rites
began. Morah, squatting at one end of the aperture, called upon
Obeah, under the title of Nzambiampongee, to assist them in the
extirpation of their foes; and after many a mumbled incantation,
proceeded to bury in the hole small quantities of gunpowder,
rusty iron, a little money, and a portion of human hair; while
Klaas added to the heap by throwing in a few bujis.[47] After
another incantation was chanted by them all, the hole was
carefully covered over with black dog-bush,[48] and the earth
once more thrown in and pressed down. At this moment a
night-raven screeched, and Morah interpreted it as a kindly sign
from Obeah; whilst a beautiful speckled snake, gliding over the
spot, was greeted by Klaas as his country’s god. This ceremony
over, Morah departed, and other business was discussed. Seated
upon his rustic throne, Klaas issued his mandates to his
attentive subjects, who, stretched around, looked up to him as
their presiding divinity.

“In eight days’ time,” began their king, in a distinct and
audible tone, “there is to be a ball given by the governor, in
honour, they say, of their king, and as all our tyrants are
expected to be present, it has been determined to make that night
the scene of our grand endeavours, that, at one stroke, shall
destroy our enemies, and make us once more free. Under yonder
bushes, where the earth looks fresh, are buried the kegs of
gunpowder which we have, at various times, been enabled to
collect; and the night before the ball takes place do you,
Quashey Coonah, make it your business to remove them carefully up
to Clark’s hill, where Harry, who has been lately hired there,
will have them placed under the cellar. Frank, I look to you to
take care of what arms we have procured, and also to distribute
them. You will also have those bills sharpened—they may prove
very useful. I make it my duty to fire the train about the time
the moon rises above the top of yon mountain, while Tomboy will
lead the party who is to prevent any of the whites escaping.
Hercules will lay in wait with his band at the entrance of the
town; so that, when the flames rise high, and the inhabitants
hasten to give them assistance, he may fall upon them and prevent
them. I have sent him and Jemmy to meet a large party of negroes
up to windward to-night, who, no doubt, will aid us with their
force; and as many of them are in the habit of going out shooting
for their masters, they may be able to add a little to our stock
of powder. Ned, do you try and obtain what arms you can; in such
a cause, any means are fair.

“Ah! that I will, King Klaas; and look what I have brought you
to-night,” and turning round, he drew from its sheath a blade of
the finest steel; “what say you to Massa Colonel’s own good
sword. He told me to take care of it to-day, after he had done
looking at it, and to put it carefully up; and so I have, ah!
ah!” and Ned laughed until the water ran down his cheeks.

“That’s right, my fine fellow!” exclaimed Klaas; and taking it
from the hand of his comrade, he examined, with intense interest,
its shining surface. After some moments had passed in this
employment, he replaced it carefully in its sheath, and, with
something like a sigh, exclaimed,—“Well, I have been driven to
this. They might have made me their friend, but harshness,
contempt, and insult, has conspired to render me what I am; and
for this bright weapon, perhaps the gallant Colonel Morgan has
often drawn it in a far less worthy cause. But hist! I hear the
sound of horses’ feet, and it is time we part. At the close of
three more days, meet me here again to receive final orders; till
then, farewell; and remember our motto—‘Death to our foes!’” So
saying, Klaas rose from his seat, and grasping once more his
club, prepared to depart. At this moment, however, a slight
rustle was heard among the brushwood, as if some person was
retreating, and Klaas, drawing his pistol from his bosom, started
forward in that direction, followed by the others. “What could it
be?” was the anxious inquiry, when, after a strict search, no
object met their view. “What, indeed!” replied their chief; “if
it was any of our friends, why did they not come forward; but if
it was a foe—a spy—our plans of vengeance will be defeated, and
we ourselves dragged to a felon’s death;” and he ground his teeth
at the thought. As nothing else could be done, they once more
bade good night, and departed to their respective homes, leaving
Klaas and his general to make one more attempt to discover the
cause of the noise.

                           * * * * *

Six times had the chariot of the sun rolled along the heavens,
and bright-eyed Phœbus sought his golden couch, since the
conspirators gathered around their king in that wild and silent
glen. Among the inhabitants of Antigua nothing was talked of but
the governor’s ball, which was to be upon the grandest scale
imaginable. Many a young heart beat high at the prospect of its
gaieties, and many a bright eye grew brighter at the thoughts of
the conquests to be made on that eventful night. The few shops
which dealt in European fashions were crowded from morning to
night with fair visitants, or their _femmes de chambre_; and
laces and bugles, catgut and tiffany, were in constant demand.
The busy sempstresses plied their needles with double speed; and
various were the flounces and furbelows, pinkings and quiltings,
they invented. In the midst of this bustle and activity, this
anticipation of joyous festivities, a plaint of distress was
borne down upon the gale: the governor’s best-beloved son—the
hope and pride of his parents—tossed his fevered head upon the
couch of sickness; and in a few short hours, that beautiful and
blooming youth lay a stiffened corse.

                           * * * * *

In a large but well-arranged apartment, whose open _jalousies_
admitted the evening breeze, loaded with the fragrance of the
Arabian jasmine, were seated three persons. Two out of the group
ranked under the lofty title of “lords of the creation;” but the
third was a young and beautiful creature, whose elegant figure
and flowing ringlets bespoke her one of Nature’s fairest flowers.
Reclining upon a _fauteuil_, she drew from a lute sounds so soft
and sweet that every sense was held in thraldom; and anon, when
she joined her liquid voice, and sang of other days, few were
there who would wish to break the spell. But the spell was
ordained to be broken—broken in a sudden manner. The door opened
hastily, and a negro, darting into the middle of the room,
exclaimed, in a voice of terror—“Massa, me must speak with you!”—
“What’s the matter?” returned our elder acquaintance, rising up,
“what’s the matter, Cuffee? You frightened us by your sudden
entrance, and sent my Marien’s roses back to her heart.”—“Beg
your pardon, massa, and yours, young missis, but me have
something to tell you make your ears ring again: but, massa,
where’s Julio?—please let him come in.” And without waiting for
an answer, he left the room in search of the boy. “Marien,
dearest,” said her father, “take your cousin’s arm, and retire
for a little, until I have heard what the mad fellow has to say:
his foolish nonsense has frightened you more than I like to see.”
And fondly pressing his daughter’s hand, he led her to the door.

In a few minutes Cuffee returned with the boy Julio, who wore the
same downcast look as he did on the evening of the storm; and,
holding the boy by the hand, gave his master the following
narration. Julio, who, from being deaf and dumb, appeared to
possess the other senses in a higher degree, had one evening
observed a strange negro loitering about his master’s estate, and
hiding behind the bushes when any one passed. Thinking this
peculiar, the dumb boy determined to watch his proceedings, and
if he discovered anything wrong, to endeavour to acquaint his
master with it. After spending more than an hour in this
employment, the stranger departed, and Julio, unable to
comprehend his motives, and fearful of not being understood, kept
his discovery to himself. Some weeks had elapsed, and he had
almost forgotten the circumstance, when, on the evening before
the storm, he saw the same person lurking about the same spot;
and, watching him unobserved, perceived he was shortly joined by
a slave, of the name of Quelch, who, for repeated bad behaviour,
had been punished by his master a few weeks before. After they
had consulted for some time together, the stranger pointed in the
direction of the ravine; and putting his hand under his cloak,
drew forth a long sharp-pointed knife, which he shewed to his
companion, giving at the same time a peculiar look. The knife
being returned to its owner, the negroes parted, leaving Julio
with the determination of watching Quelch more strictly.

On the next evening, leaving his young mistress engaged with a
book, the boy left the house with the intention of going to look
for his master; and, upon gaining the high road, he saw Quelch
entering an opening on the other side. Following his steps, he
hid himself among the bushes, and thus became a witness of that
lawless meeting, where, although he could not hear the words
uttered, he saw enough to inform him some evil was intended.
Frightened, and uncertain how to tell his discovery, his first
care was to reach home; and, harassed in mind and body, the poor
child stood before his mistress in the manner described. The next
morning, he sought his uncle Cuffee, and, by significant gestures
and passionate mutterings, at length made him understand the
above relation. Cuffee’s first care was to inform a friend of his
of the name of Robin, and these two negroes watched the ravine
every night in hopes of discovering what poor Julio could not
inform them—the names of the conspirators. All, however, remained
silent: the ravine had no occupants: and Robin and Cuffee were
almost inclined to think they had misunderstood the boy, when,
one evening, just as they had gained their accustomed post, they
thought they heard the sound of voices; and, creeping upon their
hands and knees, espied the whole band, with Klaas, or, as they
called him, “Count,” at their head, plotting their dreadful
schemes. Knowing that this negro king was the father of Julio,
Cuffee liked not to inform against him; and the next morning
bringing intelligence of the death of the governor’s son, and
consequently the prorogation of the ball, he was in hopes the
negroes would get disheartened at the failure of their plans, and
forego their horrible intentions. Still he determined to keep an
eye upon their movements; and a few weeks after, through the
medium of another slave, named Manuel, he discovered that the
conspirators intended to put their designs into execution on the
15th of December; and that they were to have a final meeting in
the ravine, to receive orders from their king.

These were the tidings Cuffee conveyed to his master’s ear—
tidings which made his stout heart beat faster, and caused a
shade of care, for once, to cross his brow. The time was short:
the next night was the one on which the negroes were to meet, and
Mr. ———, after leaving a kind message to his daughter, to excuse
his absence, started immediately for the capital, accompanied by
Robin and Cuffee, to lay the information before the proper

                           * * * * *

The evening was calm. There was no moon, but the stars shone
bright, and, by their refulgence, parties of men were seen
walking cautiously along in the same direction. Every now and
then they stopped as if to listen, and then proceeded again, as
no sound met their ear. Leaving the high road, they struck across
a wild and sterile plain, until, arriving at the bank of a kind
of rocky defile, where the sable conspirators held their
nocturnal meetings, they separated; and taking up their position
on all sides, and holding their very breath, they presented more
the appearance of marble statues than living men. After remaining
in this situation for some time, a noise was heard as the tramp
of a body of horse passing over a flinty road—no uncommon
occurrence at that period. The sound came nearer and nearer, and
presently a large band of soldiers appeared in sight, led by a
middle-aged officer, and accompanied by several gentlemen. Riding
for a short distance past the ravine, the word was given, “Halt!”
and in a moment the horses stood motionless. “Dismount!” broke
from the lips of the commander, and the men, all heavily armed,
sprang to the ground. Walking quickly forward, they joined the
watchers around the ravine, while their leader, followed by many
others, bounded down the bank, and exclaimed, in a stentorian
tone, “Surrender! or you are dead men.” All was confusion among
the assembled conspirators. Hemmed in on all sides, and daunted
by the gleaming arms and pointed muskets of the soldiers, who
came so silently but surely upon them, the negro band were driven
to despair. Klaas alone maintained his firmness, and shouted in a
voice of thunder, “Fire the gunpowder, lads, fire the gunpowder,
and let us die as brave men, and not as cowards. Who will mourn
the fate which will be shared by our hated tyrants!” But this was
not to be. Overpowered by numbers, their arms tightly pinioned
behind them, their mouths gagged, and held between two soldiers,
negro after negro was marched off—the ravine was left to its
usual silence—and the reign of “Klaas,” the “Slave King,” was


So ends the legend. The conspirators being conveyed to the
capital, various were the punishments awarded them. Klaas, or, as
he was more generally called, “Count,” Tomboy, and Hercules were
broken alive upon the wheel. In their last moments their
fortitude did not forsake them; and their last words expressed
their hatred to the whites. Some were gibbeted alive in a place
called Green’s Bay. Frank, who belonged to E. Chester, Esq., and
several more, were burned in Otto’s pasture, at the outskirts of
the capital; and the rest, who were looked upon as the dupes of
their reputed king, were transported to the Spanish coasts.
Quelch was pardoned: he played the traitor’s part, and amused the
ear of Klaas and his comrades with some chimerical scheme while
the soldiers passed by who accomplished their destruction; and
old Morah, the Obeah woman who attended their meetings, escaped
punishment by falling a prey to death before her trial. So signal
was the victory obtained, and so severe the punishment of the
conspirators, that the remaining slaves became intimidated, and
quietly bore their yoke without seeking for deliverance. In 1739,
the country emancipated Cuffee and Robin for their discovery of
this insurrection, paying to their masters their respective
value, and presented Manuel with a reward for his services in
that affair.[49]


[46] A dealer in necromancy.

[47] A small white shell, about the size and shape of an olive,
used as the general currency in Guinea.

[48] A wild shrub, supposed to be of great use in witchcraft.

[49] For some further particulars, see Appendix, No. 14.

                           CHAPTER X.

  Governor William Mathew—Sir George Thomas, Bart.—James Verchild
  —Honourable William Woodley—Sir Ralph Payne—Hon. Craister
  Greathead—General Burt—The circumstances of his death—Sir
  Thomas Shirley, Bart.

After the suppression of the insurrection related in the last
chapter, it was resolved in future to keep a better watch over
the negroes, and be more strict in the government of them. Slaves
were not to be allowed to congregate about the streets of St.
John’s; and if they refused to disperse, when ordered to do so,
it was justifiable to fire upon them: the country paying for
those who were shot. If any of the negroes were suspected of
treasonable practices, conspiracies, or insurrections, they were
to suffer torture, not extending to death; but in case any of
them died under the pain of having a limb cut off, &c., the owner
of such slaves received the value of them from the public

The inhabitants appear to have been quite alarmed at the state of
affairs, particularly as there were but few white people still
upon the island compared with the negroes. In 1740-1, it was
again taken into consideration how to increase the number; and
after some deliberation, it was determined to give further
encouragement for the importation of white servants, by adding a
bounty of 40s. to that already given. It was also ordained, that
every owner or renter of slaves should, for every thirty negroes,
have a white man in his employ, under a penalty of 20l. for each,
according to the number of slaves. This gave rise to the custom
of building “free tenancies,” which were houses given to white
persons to reside in, without receiving rent for the same; and by
this means, the proprietor escaped the obligation which the law
enforced of employing so many white servants or overseers.

In 1741, Rat Island, as it is called, although in reality a
promontory, was purchased by the country, and barracks and
fortifications erected thereon. War having broken out between
England and France, the Antiguans suffered very much in their
commerce. Commodore Lee had been sent out to protect the trade,
but, it appears, he did not act like a British officer; for when
stationed off Antigua, he allowed a French fleet of merchantmen
and their convoy to pass his vessels without molestation, and
actually captured some of the Antigua coasters. In 1747,
complaints against him were sent home, and Commodore Legge was
despatched to Antigua, with full power to try the case. The
Antiguans were obliged this year to purchase and maintain a
vessel to protect their small crafts, so harassed were they by
the French privateers.

The lieutenant-governor of Antigua, Colonel George Lucas, died
this year, (1747,) at Brest, where he was detained prisoner,
having been taken by a French vessel of war, on his way to
England the year before. The following year, (1748,) a petition
was sent home, praying his majesty for satisfaction for the
injury suffered by the incursions of the French. About this
period, the court-house was commenced to be built, on the spot
where the market used to be held. Hitherto a house was rented for
that purpose, which was found to be very inconvenient, for many
reasons; and as there was no particular place appointed for the
offices of the secretary or provost-marshal, it was found
expedient to erect such building as soon as possible, and
appropriate a part of it for those offices.

In 1752, George Thomas, Esq., succeeded his excellency William
Mathew, Esq., in the government of Antigua, and the rest of the
Leeward Islands, as captain-general. The following year (1753) a
fund was raised to purchase land, for the purpose of building
additional barracks for the accommodation of the regiment of foot
stationed in Antigua, and also building a guard-house in the town
of St. John’s. In the same year, an additional support for his
excellency, George Thomas, was appointed to be paid to him during
his government. The erection of a new church at Parham was
commenced in 1755; a yearly tax having been imposed upon the
inhabitants, for the expense of the erection, and for keeping it
afterwards repaired. This year, too, it was found, that the white
inhabitants had so materially decreased in number,
notwithstanding strenuous measures had been taken since 1716 to
encourage the importation of them, that it was thought necessary
to offer further inducements to white persons to emigrate from
England to this colony. In order that this object should be more
fully carried out, heavier penalties were also this year enforced
upon proprietors and renters of negroes, if they neglected to
have in their employ a white Protestant person for every thirty
slaves; for many owners had evaded the law, by paying the
penalty, rather than be obliged to maintain a white servant. The
number of white inhabitants at this period was but little more
than 3000, while the negroes amounted to about 32,000. In 1757, a
portion of land was appropriated for building a house for the
accommodation of the train of artillery in the town of St.

In 1758, the French threatened an invasion of Antigua. War had
broken out between England, and France; and, as was always the
case in such times, the French began to plague their English
neighbours in the West Indies. The Antiguans, hearing of their
intentions, hastily equipped several privateers to cruise about
the island, which were fortunate enough to take some prizes, and
intimidate the French. It was found by experience, that these
privateers injured the French more in their commerce than even
the men-of-war; and for this reason, the country gave great
encouragement to the fitters-out of such vessels.

The following year, (1759,) Commodore Moore commanded the Leeward
Island station, and the brave Captain Tyrrel was ordered to
protect the island of Antigua. This gentleman, whose courage and
activity were equal to his conduct and circumspection, had, early
in the month of March previous, demolished a fort at Martinique,
and destroyed four privateers riding under its protection. On his
return to Antigua, he discovered a large fleet of the enemy’s;
and giving immediate chase, attended by the “Weazle” man-of-war,
he quickly came up with them, and after a desperate fight,
scattered and dispersed them. Capt. Tyrrel was wounded in the
face, and lost three of the fingers of his right hand. This year,
too, the island of Guadaloupe was taken by the English; and the
Antiguans (on the faith of a proclamation issued by the governor,
pledging the country to pay the value of such slaves as might be
killed or desert) sent a large complement of negroes to act as
pioneers, and assist in drawing the artillery. During the next
year, several prizes were taken by the Antigua privateers; and
Captain O’Brien, of H. M. S. “Griffen,” assisted by Captain
Taylor of the “Temple,” took three large vessels off Antigua, and
brought them into English Harbour.

The year 1760 is celebrated for the introduction of methodism
into Antigua, by a Mr. Gilbert, which, from a very small
beginning, has overspread the whole island, and proved of
infinite value to the inhabitants. In 1761, assurance was
prohibited on all French vessels and merchandise; and also all
vessels trading to France, or the French colonies, during the
war. During this year regulations were made respecting the
manumission of slaves. Antigua certainly set a bright example to
the other islands, in days of slavery, of never withholding from
its negroes _that_ privilege. The following year, 1762, the
necessity of having the laws of the island printed was again
brought before the council and assembly, which was unanimously
agreed to. The same year Antigua again supplied a complement of
strong negroes, to serve as pioneers, &c., under the command of
the Right Honourable the Earl of Albemarle, in an intended
expedition against Martinique. The year 1765 was the last that
Sir George Thomas continued in the government of the Leeward
Caribbee Islands.[50]

James Verchild, Esq., was appointed to succeed Sir George Thomas
in the government in 1766; and during that year harbour-masters
were appointed. Antigua still appearing deficient in white
inhabitants, in 1767 further regulations were made, which would,
it was hoped, tend to increase the number, and retain in the
island many families who were upon the point of leaving it. The
cause of these persons emigrating, it appears, was on account of
their not being allowed to reckon the female members of their
family, in the place of a white servant to so many slaves, as the
law required, as was the case in Jamaica and St. Vincent’s; it
was therefore deemed expedient this year to give way in this
respect, and permit two women to count as one man.

In 1768, William Woodley, Esq., was appointed commander-in-chief
of Antigua, and the other Leeward Caribbee Islands. During his
administration, a dreadful fire broke out in the town of St.
John’s, which did great damage, but of which a further account
will be given in another part of this work. Large sums of money
were granted, and a collection made for the sufferers at
Liverpool. Precautions were afterwards taken, by regulating
certain buildings about the capital; but unfortunately those wise
regulations have long since fallen into disuse. In 1769, the snow
“Rodney” put into Antigua, in distress. She had been despatched
from England with convicts, who were to be employed in the State
of Maryland, but meeting first with bad weather, and afterwards
long calms, all their provisions were consumed; and when they
fortunately made Antigua, eleven of the convicts had died from
starvation, and the survivors had eaten their very shoes.

In 1771, Sir Ralph Payne, K.G., succeeded to the government. His
excellency was a native of St. Kitts, and was esteemed for many
qualities. The Antiguans were quite pleased with his nomination,
supposing he would have the interests of these colonies greatly
at heart. The first year of his administration the common gaol
was rebuilt, which had been burnt down in the late fire; and a
portion of land, contiguous to it, purchased for the purpose of
enlarging that part appropriated for the use of the debtors. The
year 1771 is celebrated as that in which the “Sugar Ants” first
made their appearance in Antigua. They were supposed to have made
their way from Dominica to this island; and, minute as they are,
they proved a most formidable enemy, by destroying an immense
quantity of sugar-canes. This year also marks the appointment of
Sir George Pownall to the situation of provostmaster-general of
the Leeward Islands, under letters patent, dated 7th June, in the
eleventh year of the reign of his majesty George III. This grant
had been made to the father of Sir George, after the death of the
former patentee, Mr. Richard Phelps—“to be held with all fees,
rights, profits, privileges, and advantages,” for the lives of
Mr. Pownall, and his two sons, Sir George Pownall, and Mr. John
Lillington Pownall.

In 1772, Antigua suffered very much from the effects of a
hurricane; great damage was done to the shipping both in St.
John’s Harbour, and also in English Harbour. The “Chatham,”
commanded by Admiral Parry, the “Seahorse,” and some other
vessels of his majesty’s service, were driven on shore, and
several merchantmen were sunk. In 1774, Sir Ralph Payne was
ordered home, much against the wish of the Antiguans; and a
petition was forwarded to England praying his majesty to
re-appoint him.

Craister Greathead, Esq., another West Indian, succeeded Sir
Ralph Payne as commander-in-chief in 1775, but he appears to have
given St. Kitts the preference, principally residing in that
island. Nothing of importance occurred during his administration;
happily for the Antiguans, war was principally confined to
another quarter, which gave them a little time to look about
them, and redress their domestic grievances.

In 1777, General William Mathew Burt was appointed to the
government, and a suitable residence prepared for his reception.
The following year, war, blood-stained war, unfurled his red
banner in these “gems of the sea”—these beautiful West Indian
islands. On all sides of Antigua did the battle rage; island
after island surrendered either to French or English prowess; and
the fears of the Antiguans were raised for the safety of their
little domicile. Nor was war alone the only impending evil she
had to dread; the heavens withheld their bounty, and the country
fainted beneath a burning sun; famine, it was supposed, would be
the result, and had it not been for the interposition of his
gracious majesty George III., by advancing 20,000l. sterling to
procure subsistence for the negroes, their fears would have
proved too true. Yet although this kind loan to the country
averted much evil, the series of calamities they had already
suffered caused so much sickness, that in the course of the next
year, 1780, it was the opinion of Dr. Samuel Athill that upwards
of eight thousand negroes died.

In 1778, fresh regulations were made for the better government of
slaves, and for establishing certain days, viz.—the whole time
from sunset on Christmas-eve, to sunrise of the 28th of December,
as their holidays. No other days were to be allowed the slaves by
their owners in place of those specified; and no slave-holder
could refuse to allow them such holidays, under a penalty of
100l.: one-half of the fine to go to the informer, the other half
to the public treasury—during these holidays martial law was to
be in force.

About this period Lord Rodney took command of the fleet which was
stationed in these seas, and was fortunate enough to beat off the
French, and thus spare the Antiguans the horrors of an invasion,
which was but too successful at St. Kitts. The name of this
gallant officer is still remembered with gratitude and affection
by West Indians; and not many years ago, the stranger who visited
Barbados was highly entertained with an old black woman, who
passed by the title of “Lady Rodney,” and who wore upon her dark
fat arm a picture of the Admiral, which he gave her at parting.
But alas! like the noble lord, she has passed to another world,
and no longer do the young _midds_ of her majesty’s service, who
visit Barbados, recognise her shrill cry of “hab best guaba fine
pine, and hot ginger drink for noung buckru me lob.”

The fortifications of Goat Hill, and Great George Fort, at
Barnacle Point, were completed during the administration of
General Burt, as well as several other forts, which were very
necessary in this season of warfare. About this period slaves
were forbidden to vend sugar, rum, molasses, or sugar canes,
besides many other articles.

The circumstances attending the death of Governor Burt were very
extraordinary. Upon a certain day his excellency honoured a
gentleman of the island with his company to dinner, and during
the repast he was as gay as any at that festive board. Soon after
the cloth was withdrawn, when the laughing wine sparkled in the
crystal chalice, and, surrounded by all the good things of this
world, the convivial party threw off all cares, they were
surprised to hear the governor call to his servant to bring his
sword, which he always carried abroad with him. Wondering at this
command, yet too well bred to make inquiries, the company waited
in silence until the order was performed. The sword was brought
and handed to the governor; when, unsheathing it in an instant,
he exclaimed, in a loud voice—“Tell that fellow to quit the back
of my chair, or I will run him through!” The company were more
amazed than ever. What could the governor mean? no one was behind
his chair; no one was in the room but themselves and the
domestics. Uncertain what to do or say, they still remained
silent; when the governor repeated, in a still louder tone, “Send
away that man, or I will run him through!” It was represented to
his excellency that he laboured under a mistake, that no one was
behind his chair; but it was of no avail, all that could be got
from him was, “Send away that man, or I will run him through!” In
this state he was carried home, and every art tried to restore
him to his proper senses; but all was of no avail, he never
recovered the shock; and in a short time after he fell a prey to
that insatiable monster, Death, who so justly says—

    “I visit the halls of the great and gay,
    And snatch them from all their delight away;
    I rest at the villager’s humble door,
    For welcome alike are the rich and the poor.”

It has been said that the governor was poisoned, and that the
mixture, or whatever other form it was administered in, was so
prepared as to have the effects of unsettling his reason; but
possibly it was a case of _delirium tremens_, without the
assistance of any deleterious drug or herb.

This circumstance is related in a different manner; and as I am
not aware which is the most correct, will lay them both before my
readers, that they may judge for themselves. General Burt, it is
said, was dining at a party at “Pensive Hall,” (the name of the
great house upon Martin Byam’s estate, now belonging to Messrs.
Shands, of Liverpool, England,) when he saw an apparition, which
informed him, that ere twelve moons had waxed and waned, this
mandate should be issued to him—“Thou shalt die and not live!” He
related the circumstance to the party, and expressed his firm
belief in it. His friends removed him to the Great House upon
Weir’s estate, (the present seat of Francis Byam Ottly, Esq.,)
and by convivial parties, strove to overcome his melancholy
forebodings; but all was of no effect. He finally sailed for
England, and died upon his passage, the _very day twelve months_
he saw the apparition.

After the death of General Burt, in 1781, Major-General Sir
Thomas Shirley, Bart., was appointed to the office of
commander-in-chief. No events of importance marked the first year
of his government, except that the gallant Admiral Vernon
obtained a complete victory over the French fleet, between this
island and Guadaloupe, and followed up his success by many other
naval conquests. General Prescott, commander of the 69th
regiment, and the Antiguan troops, landed at St. Kitt’s, and
drove the enemy before them with great slaughter.

In 1782, St. John’s again suffered severely from a destructive
fire, which broke out in one of the most densely-populated parts
of the town. It was this disaster which gave rise to the
establishment of the “Friendly Fire Company,” every member of
which pledged himself to keep in good order a certain number of
buckets; as also to practise themselves in the use of their
engines. Soon after the formation of this society, the “Phœnix
Fire Office,” in Lombard-street, London, sent out proposals for
insurance—the first which were ever made in Antigua, and for many
years, that office was the only one which would grant security
upon West Indian property.

In 1784, it was resolved to make some alterations in the oaths
required of white servants. Prior to this year, they were obliged
to swear to their being Protestants, as well as take the oaths of
allegiance; from which cause many quiet and useful persons were
debarred from receiving the rewards held out to other white
emigrants, on account of their not being nurtured in the
Protestant religion. It was therefore enacted that no other oaths
should be required but those of allegiance to the reigning
monarch and his successors. A nightly watch was also established
in the town of St. John’s, and a tax levied upon the inhabitants
to defray the expenses of it. It was in this year, also, that it
was contemplated to allow slaves a trial by jury; but it does not
appear to have been carried into effect until 1798. The former
method of trying these sable defaulters was to bring them before
a justice of the peace, and if his worship considered the offence
worthy of the highest punishment, he called to his aid a
fellow-justice, and between them they condemned the culprit to
death, causing such sentence to be immediately executed.

Regulations were again very judiciously made for the better
erection of kitchens, blacksmiths’ shops, bakeries, &c., in order
to prevent, as far as possible, the repetition of those fatal
fires which had so lately devastated great part of the capital.
Such buildings erected within the precincts of St. John’s were,
in future, to be constructed of stone or brick, and the roofs to
be cased with tiles or slates. Like many other wise purposes,
these regulations have long ago fallen into disuse; and at the
present day, in an old wooden shed, in the midst of a populous
neighbourhood, a blacksmith drives his trade; and as you pass the
open door, his huge fire may be seen vomiting forth its tongues
of flame, while showers of bright sparks, struck from the glowing
iron, often find a resting-place amid the surrounding heaps of
combustibles. Surely such practices ought to be noticed by “the
powers that be,” particularly when we have lately had such
distressing proofs of the havoc made by that destructive element.
In 1784 the churchwardens were empowered to sell certain portions
of public lands, and to purchase other lots, for the more
convenient erection of a parish hospital. Amendments were also
made in the act passed in 1766, for the prevention of damage to
the harbour of St. John’s, and for appointing a harbour-master,
who was to be “a person bred to the sea, and otherwise
sufficiently skilled and qualified to take charge of the port and
harbour of St. John’s, including the cove.”

In 1786, a tax was raised upon the inhabitants of St. John’s, to
defray the expenses of cleaning and repairing the streets of the
capital. This must have been very requisite, if they were really
in the state described in the following passage, (extracted from
a letter written from Antigua August 1, 1786.) “The streets are
spacious, but unpaved, _nor is there the least care taken to keep
them clean_. The prickly pear bush, and other shrubs, are
suffered to grow therein, to the annoyance of the passengers, the
secreting of every species of nastiness, and to the great
increase of vermin, insects, and reptiles, with which this place
abounds.” Public billiard and other gaming-tables were
prohibited, under pain of forfeiture; much to the good order and
welfare of the island.

In 1787, our late beloved and lamented sovereign William IV.
(then Prince William Henry) honoured Antigua with a visit. During
the period of his stay there, he endeared himself to every heart,
by that kind condescension and sympathy of manner which marked
his every stage through life. As no doubt it will be interesting
to my readers to have some account of the manner in which his
highness passed his time, I will insert the following letter,
written by John Luffman, the author of the map of Antigua, and
published, among other of his epistolary productions, in 1789.

                            “St. John’s, Antigua, Jan. 16, 1787.

“Dear Sir,—Prince William Henry arrived here the latter end of
last month in the Pegasus frigate. His appearance has put this
little community into a ferment. Addresses were immediately
presented to him from the legislative body, and likewise from the
merchants, expressive of loyalty to his royal father, and of the
happiness and honour his highness had conferred on them by his
gracious visit. The address of the legislature was read and
presented by a Mr. John Burke, solicitor-general of the Leeward
Islands, and speaker of the assembly of this island; but,
notwithstanding this gentleman has been for years hackneyed at
the bar, and is a bold orator; yet, on this occasion, to the
astonishment of every bystander, he was nearly bereft of the
power of utterance. The merchants’ address was read and presented
by a Mr. John Scotland. His highness received these effusions of
loyalty to his illustrious parent, and of respect to himself,
with great satisfaction, and returned gracious answers. Each of
these bodies gave a public dinner and ball for his highness’s
entertainment. The prince opened both balls with Miss A———
(Athill), a beautiful young lady of respectable family; and his
affability, politeness, and condescension, to every person who
had the honour of his conversation, was as conspicuous as it was
pleasing. The ladies put their best smiles upon their faces, and
their best adornments upon their persons; indeed, every
individual seemed emulous of shewing respect to the royal
visitor. Many offers of particular attention and civility have
been made to his highness, which he in general declined, wishing
rather to appear in the humble character of a private gentleman,
than in the dignified situation of a prince. How long he means to
honour this isle with his presence, I cannot with certainty
learn,—it will probably be several months; the people here, I
believe, hope and _wish it may be for years_. The negroes look at
the _Grande Bocrah_ (so they call the prince) with astonishment,
and sometimes incommode him as he walks the streets; but his
highness possesses all _that admired frankness and noble
liberality_ so characteristic in a British seaman, and will
frequently condescend to talk with them. Capt. Nelson, of the
“Boreas,” Capt. Holloway, of the “Solebar,” and the other
principal naval officers on this station, are his highness’s
chief attendants on all occasions.

                      “I remain, &c. &c.”

In 1788, two Jews were tried at the court of grand sessions, for
a robbery committed upon one of their tribe. “Marcus” (the name
of the one most culpable) was condemned to suffer death by
hanging, but was afterwards pardoned; while “Vanban” (the name of
the other culprit) was sentenced to stand in the pillory for a
certain number of hours. This punishment, however, did not appear
to make due impression upon the guilty Israelite, for a spectator
of the exhibition (in a letter written to a friend) describes him
as standing there with the utmost assurance, “holding, with one
hand, his hat before his face, and with the other, supporting an
umbrella to prevent the sun warming his head.”

In the latter end of June, 1788, Sir Thomas Shirley quitted the
government, and sailed for England in the “Roehampton,” commanded
by Captain Ross. His excellency, it appears, felt aggrieved at
some treatment he received from the legislature, and accordingly,
upon his departure, he refused the vote of civility from that
body, and proceeded on board the vessel, attended only by his
private secretary. Mr. Nugent assumed the command as
lieutenant-governor, and soon after his arrival, a new road,
leading to Five Islands Division, was made, and great care taken
to drive piles in that part of the town known as the “Big
Market,” in order to prevent, if possible, any further
encroachment of sea, which had, within the last few months,
almost destroyed the old highway.

In 1790, Sir Thomas Shirley again resumed the government of the
Leeward Islands, and soon after his arrival, it was enacted by
the legislature, that it should be lawful for the vestry of St.
John’s to levy a tax (not exceeding 2l. per cent. on value of
goods sold) upon every transient or non-resident trader who shall
visit the island, which tax was to be applied to the maintenance
of ministers, the poor of the parish, or any similar purposes.
The following year the fortifications at Dow’s Hill were
commenced, the appearance of which, at this day, proves the
erector’s knowledge of rampart and bastion. Amendments were also
made (1791) as regarded the keeping of rum-shops, or selling any
spirituous liquors. Prior to this period, no free negro or
mulatto could keep such an establishment, or sell any strong
drink or wine under a heavy penalty; or if even they were
concerned in such a business with a white person, it was
punishable in both; but under this government the case was
altered, for upon applying to the court of king’s bench, persons
of their caste and colour could obtain a licence by giving
security. An act was passed (containing 227 clauses) for the
better regulating the island courts, and due methods effected for
an improved administration of justice. It had been formerly the
practice in Antigua to burn such felons as were within the
benefit of clergy, in the hand, but this year the punishment was
commuted to public or private whippings, inflicted once or
oftener, but not more than at three different periods. This was
the last decree signed by his excellency: he appears to have been
an able and just governor, and well calculated for a
representative of royalty. After the departure of his excellency,
John Nugent, Esq., resumed the command as lieutenant-governor
until the following year, when the Honourable William Woodley was


[50] For genealogy of this gentleman, and when created a Baronet,
see Appendix, No. 15.

                          CHAPTER XI.

  Governors: William Woodley—John Stanley—Major-General Charles
  Leigh—Archibald Esdail—John S. Thomas—Robert Thomson.

In 1792, William Woodley, Esq., was again appointed
commander-in-chief; and, soon after his arrival, the increase of
the importation of white servants was again taken into

Antigua had never reckoned a large population of whites; indeed,
from various causes, they were continually decreasing. This could
not be attributed to the want of encouragement given to settlers,
but from the situation of the island itself. Although Antigua is
naturally fortified by rocks and breakers, which defends it from
the attacks of large vessels; yet there are so many creeks and
harbours (which, with a small population, it was almost
impossible to protect) that the French and Caribs found it an
easy matter to land in their canoes, and destroy and plunder the
country, and ill-treat the inhabitants. From these circumstances,
emigrants were unwilling to settle here, but preferred going to
some of the other islands, which were less liable to these
incursions. To counteract these evils, and increase the number of
white inhabitants, various plans, as already shewn, had been
adopted by former governors,—fines were imposed upon proprietors
if they did not employ one able-bodied white man to every thirty
slaves, supposing that would tend to augment the population. But
as it was found that the law was still eluded, by owners paying
the penalty rather than maintain so many white servants, it was
agreed, this year, by the governor, council, and assembly to
increase the fine to 53l. 6s. 8d. for every deficient white
servant to forty slaves annually. Possibly this might have had,
in some degree, the desired effect; for, in 1800, we find there
were about 3000 white inhabitants to 36,000 negroes, which had
not been the case for the last forty years.

In 1793, the militia was regulated, and formed into “one squadron
of light dragoons, who were to serve on foot and horseback; two
regiments and one independent company of foot; and one battalion
of artillery.” The dragoons were to be named by the governor and
council; and although not to be appointed without their own
consent, when once entered, they were not at liberty to remove to
another corps, unless promoted by the governor to a commission.
Only one person from an estate could serve in the dragoons, which
squadron was to consist of never more than one hundred and eight
men—non-commissioned officers and privates included—or less than
sixty. This was the first year any free negro or coloured person
was allowed to serve in the militia, when they were appointed to
the under services of artillery, and to act as pioneers, and made
subject to the same fines as privates of foot. It appears this
was also the year uniforms were appointed for the militia, which
being well arranged, made a good show upon their monthly
field-days. Antigua was visited this year by a malignant fever,
which caused a great many deaths. It was supposed to have been
brought from Grenada in H. M. S. Experiment, and conveyed ashore
in some of the sailors’ bedding.

John Stanley, Esq., succeeded Mr. Woodley in the government, and
arrived the latter end of the same year, (1793,) but he did not
reside often in Antigua, giving St. Kitts the preference. In
1794, Antigua sent a complement of men, and some negro slaves, to
assist in the reduction of Martinique and Guadaloupe; and upon
the taking of those islands, the governor, council, and assembly,
issued a proclamation, forbidding any free persons of colour, or
negro slaves belonging to those places, from coming to, or
remaining in, this island. During the next year an annuity was
granted to the Honourable Edward Byam, the president of Antigua,
for his many services to the island, which has been alluded to in
a former chapter. A sum of money was also raised for defraying
the expenses of the war, which had been very heavy for the last
three years.

Major-General Charles Leigh was appointed commander-in-chief in
1795, but did not continue in the government more than twelve
months. During this period, it was agreed to allow such of the
poorer classes of white persons who might be wounded (while
serving in the militia) so severely as to affect their
after-life, 70l. annually; if killed, their widows to receive
40l. annually, during their widowhood; and their children, 20l.
annually, until they attained the age of fourteen. Additional pay
was also provided for the gunner and matrosses employed in the
several forts, and new regulations for the better ordering of the
militia, which in these seasons of danger was very necessary, for
the West Indies were still in an unsettled state, and their old
enemies the French were always on the look-out for opportunities
of increasing their possessions in these seas. Major-General
Leigh becoming disgusted with the West Indies, he determined to
return to England, and accordingly embarked on board a vessel
bound for that place, on the 3rd July, 1796, without permission
from his majesty.

At the departure of Major-General Leigh, there happened to be
none of the lieutenant-governors of the Leeward Caribbee Islands
in the West Indies; and accordingly, Archibald Esdail, Esq., a
counsellor of St. Christopher’s[51] claimed the administration of
the government, and acted as such until his death, which happened
about three months after; but he did not visit Antigua to take
upon him the administration of the government, as he ought to
have done by direction of the reigning monarch. Upon his decease,
the lieutenant-governors being still absent, John S. Thomas,
Esq., another resident of St. Christopher’s, represented himself
as first counsellor, and exercised the office of governor until
April, the following year, (1797.) Nothing of any consequence
occurred during his short administration, and very little can be
said about him in this place, for, like his predecessor, he never
honoured Antigua with his presence. The Kittefonians appeared to
have had it all their own way at that period, for no sooner had
Mr. Thomas breathed his last sigh, than another member of that
community, Robert Thomson, Esq., followed the example set before
him, represented himself as the oldest counsellor, and,
consequently, entitled to the vacant government; in which office
he continued until the arrival of the Right Honourable Lord
Lavington, (who was formerly governor under the title of Sir
Ralph Payne,) in 1801. During the three years Mr. Thomson was
governor, he visited Antigua for about three days, in March,
1800, so that the Antiguans had not much of their
commander-in-chief’s society; but the council and assembly appear
to have gone on very well without him, and framed some very good

The first year of Mr. Thomson’s government, Antigua had a visitor
in the person of that indefatigable, but unfortunate traveller,
Mungo Park. Mr. Park had embarked on board the “Charlestown,” an
American slaver, commanded by a Captain Harris, who was bound to
Antigua with his live cargo. Upon nearing the island, the vessel
struck upon a rock and narrowly escaped shipwreck; it was,
however, at length got off, and brought into St. John’s harbour,
where part of the cargo was sold. Mr. Park remained in Antigua
until the arrival of the “Chesterfield” packet, in which he took
passage to England. He speaks of Antigua as the loveliest of all
lovely isles.

Whilst Mr. Thomson was residing at St. Kitts as
commander-in-chief, the Antiguans were busy in again raising
funds to defray the expenses of the war, which had been, and
still were, very great. It was also enacted, that if any free
coloured, or white person, killed or wounded a slave belonging to
themselves or any one else, such offenders were to be considered
as murderers, and, consequently, as worthy of punishment as if
their victim possessed the fairest skin. That the life of a negro
was no longer to be considered “in law” as the “life of a dog,”
but that he was at length to be looked upon as human.

Antigua has always been liable to droughts, and, in such season,
serious losses have occurred from the slaves dying for want of
good water; to remedy this evil, as far as laid in their power, a
tax was imposed upon all sugar plantations and houses in the
island, which did not possess one or more cisterns.

This year (1798) appears to have been the first time that slaves
were really tried by jury, which was then made to consist of six
reputable white inhabitants. If upon trial they were found worthy
of death, the justices of the peace were to acquaint the
governor, or whoever might at such time be in command of the
island, with the sentence, in thirty-six hours after it was
pronounced, under a penalty of 20l. The provost-marshal was also
obliged to attend such trial, under a fine of 20l.; and for his
trouble he was to receive 3s. for summoning each juror, and 33s.
for his attendance.

In the middle of this year, a general council and assembly was
held at St. Kitts; and amongst other affairs discussed, it was
determined to pass certain regulations which would tend to
ameliorate the condition of slaves.[52] All owners of slaves were
to furnish a certain quantity of provisions for each slave, under
a penalty of 10s. per head weekly, which was to be distributed
among the negroes at the discretion of the master, and old and
infirm slaves were to receive their full allowance. Perhaps it
may not be uninteresting to some of my readers to know what was
the weekly allowance the law allowed for slaves, and
consequently, will insert it:—“Nine pints of corn or beans, or
eight pints of peas, or wheat or rye flour, or Indian corn flour,
or nine pints of oatmeal, or eight pints of Cassava flour or
Farine, or eight pounds of biscuit, or twenty pounds of yams or
potatoes, or sixteen pounds of eddoes or tanias, or thirty pounds
of plaintains or bananas; and also one pound and a quarter of
herrings, shads, mackarel, or other salted provision, or double
the quantity of fresh fish or other fresh provisions,” all of
which were to be of good quality. Owners of slaves were not
allowed to pay them in money, unless there was absolute necessity
for so doing, under a fine of 20l.; but when circumstances
obliged them to recompense their slaves by cash, each negro was
to receive the sum of 4s.[53] weekly, and have two half days
allowed them to come to market for the purpose of laying it out.
The clothes allowed slaves for a year were, two jackets of
woollen cloth, and two pair of trousers, made of Osnaburghs, for
the men; and two woollen wrappers, and two Osnaburgh petticoats,
for the women. If preferred by the slave, and agreed to by the
master, a blanket and a cap were given in place of one suit of
these clothes. When employed in agricultural work, half an hour
was allowed for breakfast, and two hours for dinner, and they
were not to be called to work before five in the morning, nor
after seven in the evening, unless in crop time, or from evident
necessity! If any owner of slaves cruelly whipped or imprisoned a
slave without sufficient support, they were liable to
imprisonment, or to be fined at the discretion of the justices
before whom the case was tried; and if they deemed it necessary
for the further protection of the slave, they could cause such
slave to be sold at public auction. If any owner of slaves used
unnecessary severities towards them, or put upon them iron
collars, chains, or weights, such owner was liable to a fine not
exceeding 100l. When any slave was attacked by illness, medical
assistance was to be procured without loss of time; and whatever
nourishment the doctor ordered, such as wine, &c., was to be
given, under penalty of 50l. In cases of sudden death among the
slaves, (when they had not been visited by a medical man
forty-eight hours before,) notice was to be sent to the coroner
or justice, when an inquest, of not less than three persons, was
to be held on the body; should the owner neglect to do this,
another fine of 100l. was imposed. With regard to the “marriage
rites” of slaves, if their union can be called so, which was only
nominal, owners were to encourage them to have only one husband
or wife; and if faithful to each other, the woman was to receive
four dollars for her first child, (provided it was alive six
weeks after its birth,) and five dollars for each succeeding
child under the same circumstances, and the slave and his wife to
receive one dollar each at the end of the year. Should their
master fail to do this, it was punished by a fine of 50l.; while
the female who, in this state of conjugal fidelity, had borne six
children, was exempt from any but light work upon her youngest
child having obtained its seventh year.

Religion appears also to have been encouraged among them; for no
owner or manager of negroes was to restrain them from attending a
place of worship on a Sunday, under a penalty of 5l.; and if any
clergyman refused to baptize a slave which was supposed to be
sufficiently informed, such clergyman was to forfeit 30s. To
insure further their comforts, it was ordered that no estate was
to be without a commodious sick-house, furnished with proper
conveniences for the use of the sick, and a sufficient number of
attendants, under direction of a white person, to minister to
their wants. In omitting to do this, the owner of such estate was
liable to a penalty of 100l. for the first offence; and 20s. for
the latter. They were also obliged to return an annual account of
the births and deaths of their slaves, and how the sick were
treated, under fine of 100l.

When a female slave proved _enceinte_ of her first child, her
master was to provide her a house containing two rooms, and not
compel her to go to the sick-house, under penalty of 20l. During
pregnancy, they were not to be employed in the general work of
the estate, but lighter occupation was to be found them; and no
punishment was to be inflicted but imprisonment. So anxious did
they appear for the comfort and well-being of their slaves, that
it was further enacted, that sufficient clothing and provisions
should be provided for them, even if the estate was in debt; and
the costs for such articles was to be liquidated before any other

A melancholy catastrophe occurred during this year, at Antigua.
Lord Camelford, then acting as commander of his majesty’s sloop
“Favourite,” had a private quarrel with Lieutenant Peterson, of
H. M. S. “Perdrix;” and some very unpleasant recriminations
passed between the parties. Soon after this, Lord Camelford gave
Lieutenant Peterson an order, which he unfortunately refused to
obey, at the same time making use of some disaffected
expressions; and the consequences were, that Lord Camelford shot
him. His lordship was tried by a court-martial, and honourably
acquitted; but he must have carried a blighted conscience with
him, for—

    “Alas! they had been friends in youth;
    But whispering tongues can poison truth;
    And constancy lives in realms above;
    And life is thorny; and youth is vain:
    And to be wroth with one we love,
    Doth work, like madness, in the brain.”

It was this Lord Camelford, who, when travelling through Italy
some years after, pointed out a spot in one of the fair valleys
of Savoy, as the place where he wished to be buried; and
accordingly, his remains were deposited there, amid Nature’s
loveliest works. The end of Lord Camelford was untimely; he fell
in a duel, by the hands of Captain Best, a native of Barbados,
whose ideas of honour obliged him to challenge a professed
duellist, although he was himself a complete novice in such
affairs. Captain Best’s first fire, however, took effect, and
Lord Camelford fell, mortally wounded. The quarrel originated
with an unfortunate woman, a second Millwood in character; and
Lord Camelford, who was the aggressor, confessed to his second,
before the duel took place, _that he knew he was in the wrong,
but he would not retract words he had once uttered_. It is said
that Captain Best, the successful duellist, was never a happy man
afterwards. He met with heavy domestic afflictions; but in his
last moments he said to a friend, that all his sorrows would have
appeared trivial, could he have wiped from his recollection all
traces of that unfortunate duel.

In 1798 sheep-stealing was made a capital crime in Antigua. It
had been considered so in England since 1740; and the Antiguans
found it necessary to punish such offence as that statute
directed. In 1799, an assize of bread was constituted, which was
intended to prevent bakers from taking undue advantage of the
public. Many other regulations were agreed to, upon this head,
such as not allowing any one to sell bread without licence;
obliging bakers to put a mark upon their bread, and if changing
such mark without further licence, to forfeit 50l. If such bread
was imperfectly baked, to be fined as if deficient in weight; if
damaged flour was used, the bread to be destroyed by a
magistrate, and a fine imposed upon the baker of 20l.; and if a
diseased person was employed in the bakehouse, another 20l.
penalty was enjoined.

In 1800, a law was passed to ascertain the number of negro slaves
in Antigua; and the total number of births and deaths upon an
average, for the last three years; when, upon taking the census,
the number of negroes was found to be 37,000. About this year the
legislature thought proper to increase the salary of the colonial
agent to 200l. sterling, considering that the sum appointed for
his recompence in 1698, namely 100l. sterling, was an
insufficient compensation for the trouble. The agent at this
period was the late Anthony Brown, Esq. Several serious accidents
having occurred during the last few years from the custom of
throwing about squibs, or other fireworks, it was determined that
should any one in future, let their sex or quality be what it
might, offend in this respect, such offender should be fined 40s.
If any slave made or sold fireworks, they were to suffer such
correction as the magistrate before whom the complaint was
brought should deem proper.

Thus ended Mr. Thomson’s public career, after having held the
government for nearly four years. As before remarked of Mr.
Thomas, very little can be said about him; for he made St. Kitts
head-quarters, in opposition to the orders which had been sent
out by his majesty, to constitute Antigua the residence of the
commander-in-chief; and did not repair to this island to take
upon him the administration of the government.


[51] Perhaps it may be scarcely necessary to mention that St
Christopher’s is as frequently called St Kitt’s as its real name.

[52] This has been known throughout the West Indies as the famous
“Melioration Act.” This appears to have been the last time the
general council and assembly for the Leeward Islands met.

[53] A shilling currency is equal to sixpence sterling. It must
be borne in mind, that all these specified sums are Antigua

                          CHAPTER XII.

  Governors: The Right Honourable Ralph Lord Lavington—William
  Woodley—James Tyson—John Julius—Hugh Elliot—Sir James Leith—
  Henry Rawlins—S. Rawlins—Major-General Ramsay.

In 1801, the Right Honourable Ralph Lord Lavington was
re-appointed to the office of commander-in-chief, to the
gratification of the Antiguans, who, as before remarked, were so
pleased with his government in 1771, when he was Sir Ralph Payne.
Lord Lavington came to Antigua about the latter end of January;
and soon after his arrival, it was agreed for the country to
allow him an annuity of 1000l. to be paid quarterly out of the
public treasury of the island; and a further sum of 300l. to be
paid in like manner until a government house was built for his
reception. And that his excellency might better support his
dignity, another annuity of 700l. was granted him, as long as he
remained within his government. About this time the practice of
slaves stealing sugar and retailing it in the markets, or selling
it to shopkeepers privately, was so general, that it was found
necessary to lay a duty upon that article when retailed. If any
person sold less than 100lbs. of sugar without having a licence
for six months, and the further entering into a bond with one
security for the sum of 50l., such person was liable to a penalty
of 50l. for the first offence.

It was this year that slaves were condemned to work in the
streets, for the first time, as a punishment for offences. If any
slave was committed to jail for refusing to give their owner’s
name, they were put to such work until claimed; when convicted of
a crime less than felony, they were to be kept to hard labour in
the streets for the space of three months; and if they had been
sentenced to death, and afterwards pardoned by the governor, his
excellency could annex to such pardon an order for the guilty
slaves to work in the streets for any time he thought proper.
These culprits were made to work in a gang, chained two and two
together, and, at the close of the day, when their toil was over,
they were conveyed to the common jail, and closely confined until
the next morning, when their labours were resumed. When a slave
was pardoned on condition of working in the street-gang for a
certain time, their owners were paid a shilling a-day until the
release of their slave.

Doubts having arisen with regard to the validity of certain laws
passed during the administration of A. Esdail, J. S. Thomas, and
R. Thomson, on account of their not repairing to Antigua to take
upon them the administration of the government, it was found
necessary to obviate all doubts by framing another law, to
confirm them, as also all civil and military commissions which
had been granted during their government.

The treaty of peace which had been signed between France and
England in 1801 was not of long continuance. During the latter
end of 1802, the French government began to act in a very
menacing manner towards England; and from the military and naval
preparations which were being carried on by Bonaparte, it was
evident that war was intended. On the 13th of May, 1803, affairs
were brought to a crisis, by Lord Whitworth, the ambassador at
the French court, quitting Paris, by order of his sovereign; and
immediately after, the French ambassador left England, and war
was declared between the two powers. Notice to this effect was
directly forwarded to Lord Lavington, by Lord Hobart, (late
governor of Madras,) who at that period was one of the principal
secretaries of state; and upon the arrival of the despatches,
Antigua was put into a state of defence. Not wishing to declare
martial law in force through the whole island, yet at the same
time seeing the necessity of part of the militia being on
service, it was thought proper to ordain, that in future it would
be lawful for the governor, with the concurrence of the council
and assembly, to call out a portion of it for the purpose of
keeping guard, &c., and, by proclamation, requiring the whole
body to hold themselves in readiness. It was also deemed
necessary to revive an act, (which had expired upon the treaty of
peace being signed at Amiens, March 25th, 1802, between England,
France, Spain, and Holland,) laying a powder-tax upon all vessels
trading to and from Antigua. Accordingly, all commanders of ships
were obliged to pay into the hands of the receiver appointed one
full pound of powder per ton, to the size of the vessel; half in
cannon, and the other half in pistol powder.

In 1804, Mr. Wilberforce’s annual motion for the abolition of the
slave trade, which was supported by Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox, was
carried by 124 to 46 voices; and a bill presented, limiting the
period when ships would be allowed to clear out from any English
port for this inhuman traffic, to October 1st of the same year.
This bill passed the third reading in the house of commons, but
was rejected in the house of lords on account of the lateness of
the session. In Antigua the negro population had decreased 1000
since the last year.

In the early part of the following year, a French squadron,
consisting of six sail of the line, and two frigates, contrived
to elude the vigilance of Lord Nelson’s blockading squadron; and
leaving Rochefort (France), where they had been hemmed in for the
last two years, proceeded to the West Indies. After having made a
descent upon Dominica, and levied a heavy contribution upon the
inhabitants, obliging the town of Roseau to surrender upon
certain terms, the squadron proceeded for Antigua. Great were the
fears of the inhabitants when this intelligence reached them; the
court of king’s bench and grand sessions were prevented from
sitting their usual days on account of the alarm; the militia
were called out, and the whole island put into a posture of
defence. The French squadron, however, passed Antigua, and landed
upon Nevis, and after laying the inhabitants under contribution,
proceeded to St. Kitts, and lightened a little the pockets of the
Kittifonians. The alarm had scarcely subsided, when news of the
arrival of the Toulon fleet, under Admiral Villeneuve, in these
seas, was received. Again Antigua prepared for war; but the
ferment did not last long; Lord Nelson quickly followed the
enemy; and upon his arrival at Barbados on the 4th of June, heard
that Admiral Villeneuve had only reached Martinique. The name of
this gallant officer so intimidated the French admiral, that he
immediately quitted the West Indies, and was followed by Lord
Nelson, who was in hopes of overtaking him, and chastising the
French for their audacity.

The departure of these squadrons gave the Antiguans a little
rest, and enabled them to settle their island business. As peace
was not likely to ensue at present, and knowing how liable they
were to alarms like the foregoing, the governor, council, and
assembly ordained, that in future whenever the court of king’s
bench and grand sessions were prevented from sitting on account
of the fear of an invasion, it would be lawful for any three or
more justices, provided three out of the number should be of the
quorum, to meet at the court-house, and by proclamation, adjourn
the sessions to a period not less than ten, or longer than
fourteen days. An act also passed about this time, containing
sixty-eight clauses, respecting the better regulating the militia
in these times of danger.

By order of his gracious majesty George III., Lord Lavington
invested Sir Samuel Hood with the order of the Bath, as some
reward for his gallant achievements in these seas. Upon this
occasion his excellency Lord Lavington made a very powerful
speech, which has been justly praised, but which is too long for
insertion here. Antigua was visited (1805) by the very clever
author of “The Chronological History of the West Indies,” Capt.
Southey. This gentleman mentions seeing a female slave, with an
iron rivetted round her ankle, which had two bars, sharp at each
point, crossing each other, and projecting about a foot in four
directions. Her owner informed Capt. Southey it was to keep her
at home, which was impossible to do without it. This historian
alludes to the melioration act, which passed in 1798, prohibiting
such punishments except, (and, as Mr. Southey justly remarks, the
exception neutralizes the prohibition) _such as are absolutely

On the 13th of November, died Mr. John Baxter, the head of the
methodists in Antigua. Mr. Baxter, who was by trade a shipwright,
had been sent out from Chatham dock-yard to English Harbour in
1778, and upon his arrival exerted himself in gathering together
the little society of methodists which Mr. Gilbert had
established, but which since his death had been scattered about
for want of a pastor. A further notice of Mr. Baxter and his
praiseworthy exertions will be found in another part of the work.

In 1806, the abolition of the slave trade was again brought
before the English parliament, and considerable progress was made
towards its accomplishment. A bill was also passed prohibiting
the exportation of slaves from the British colonies after the
first of January in the succeeding year. On the 22nd of January,
1807, the total abolition of the slave trade was accomplished,
and the bill ordained that no slaves should be landed in any of
the British colonies after the 1st of March, 1808.

Thus this great work was ended, which had been annually discussed
since 1787; and Mr. Wilberforce reaped the reward of his labours.
For two hundred and forty-four years had England allowed this
blood-stained traffic, and shut her ears to the cries of the
distressed Africans; but a more glorious era had dawned—liberty
was exerting her power, and paving the way to the future freedom
of that despised race.

About the middle of the year died the Right Honourable Ralph Lord
Lavington, Baron of Lavington, one of his majesty’s most
honourable privy council, knight companion of the most honourable
order of the Bath, captain-general and commander-in-chief of his
majesty’s Leeward Caribbee Islands. His lordship, it is said, was
a very hospitable man, and very fond of splendour; his Christmas
balls and routs were upon the highest scale of magnificence; but
he was a great stickler for etiquette, and a firm upholder of
difference of rank and _colour_. It is asserted, that he would
not upon any occasion, receive a letter or parcel from the
fingers of a black or coloured man, and in order to guard against
such _horrible defilement_, he had a golden instrument wrought
something like a pair of sugar tongs, with which he was
accustomed to hold the presented article. In his household he was
also very particular. He had, of course, an immense number of
attendants, but he would not allow any of the black servants to
wear shoes or stockings, and consequently his ebon footmen used
to stand behind his carriage as it rolled along, with their naked
legs shining like pillars of jet, from the butter with which, in
accordance to his excellency’s orders, they daily rubbed them.
Lord Lavington entered upon his government the latter end of
January, 1801, and resided at Antigua, with the exception of a
short visit to Monserrat, until the day of his death. He died
regretted by the “magnates of the land:” his tomb may still be
seen at an estate called Carlisle’s,[54] but the garden in which
it stands is overgrown with weeds, and the surrounding walls are
falling to ruins. Were I the possessor of Carlisle’s, this should
not be the case. If only in respect to the old and noble family
of the Paynes, Lord Ralph’s last resting-place should not be thus
dishonoured; a few flowers should shed their sweets around; a few
trees should shade that old grey tomb. There is a very handsome
monument erected to his memory in the church of St. John’s, which
will be further mentioned in the description of that edifice.
Lord Lavington’s family, on his father’s side, had long been
resident in St. Christopher’s, where they were of great eminence
and distinction, having filled some of the highest offices in
that island. They originally came from Lavington, in the county
of Wilts, from whence the title, and are said to have been of
great antiquity, tracing their descent from Ralph de Payne, a
follower of William the Conqueror, who took his name it is said
from Payne in Normandy. His lordship’s intimate connexion with
Antigua is derived from his mother, Alice Carlisle, of a family
originally from the neighbourhood of Bridgewater, in
Somersetshire, and whose lineage will be found in the Appendix,
where it is given from the same source I have derived other
genealogical information.

After the decease of Lord Lavington, William Woodley, Esq., again
resumed the reins of government; but he did not repair to
Antigua, being in a delicate state of health. Sir Alexander
Cochrane, with a squadron under his command, visited the island
during this year on his return from taking the Danish West India
colonies of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix.

In the month of March, 1809, Wm. Woodley, Esq., the then acting
commander-in-chief, departed this life; and James Tyson, Esq.,
represented himself as the first counsellor, and accordingly took
upon himself the administration of the government, without
repairing first to Antigua, as he ought to have done.

In 1809, it was found necessary to award certain punishments to
dealers in witchcraft. Obeah,[55] as it was termed, raged to a
great extent among the negro population in these islands, and led
many of them into the deepest crimes. To strike a blow at this
infatuation, it was ordained, that if any negro pretended they
had communication with any evil spirit by whose aid they could
cause death, &c., such slave upon conviction was to suffer
capital punishment; and if any slave prepared a mixture which was
intended to cause death, although the poison did not take effect,
such slave and their accessories were also liable to the same

In the latter part of 1809, John Julius, Esq., another resident
of St. Kitts, elected himself to the office of
commander-in-chief, but neither did he repair to Antigua to take
upon him the administration.

About this period, the Antiguans, out of respect to their late
respected governor Lord Lavington, agreed to allow his widow,
Lady Frances Lavington, an annuity of 300l. sterling during her
life, which was to be paid out of the treasury.

The following year, 1810, Hugh Elliot, Esq., was appointed to the
government of Antigua and the rest of the Leeward Islands. During
his administration, it was again ordained, that no medical man
should practice in this island without a licence; and no licence
should be granted unless such persons as applied produced a
certificate from the Surgeons’ Hall, or from one of the
universities in Great Britain, shewing his admittance in them.
One reason for this regulation was, on account of the numerous
cases of poisoning among the negroes; and it was conjectured that
they procured deleterious drugs from some of the low venders of
medicines, who, like Shakspeare’s half-starved apothecary—

    “If a man did need a poison
    ——— would sell it him.”[56]

This wise regulation appears to have emanated from the governor,
who saw the absurdity, if not _guilt_, of allowing the public to
place their lives in the hands of the low “self-educated
physicians,” of whom, in those days, the medical body was pretty
generally composed.

Nor was this the only salutary step proposed by his excellency
during his administration. Although, as before mentioned, the
general assembly of the Leeward Islands had, during a meeting at
St. Kitts, in 1798, passed the “Melioration Act,” with the hopes
of restricting the owners of slaves from excessive cruelty in
their dealings with their negroes. No limits had been put to the
_number of lashes_ to be given at _one time_, and for _one
offence_, and accordingly some maliciously disposed persons had
evaded the law, and treated their slaves in a most barbarous
manner. The governor had full proof of this soon after his
arrival, in the case of a member of the council, at Nevis, who,
setting aside the laws of humanity, had caused “300 lashes of
cart-whip, or nearly that number, to be inflicted in the public
market-place (without the sentence of a magistrate) upon a
considerable proportion of a gang of thirty-two negroes, who were
all, more or less, severely punished, without having been
convicted of any act, which, by the most forced construction,
could be deemed mutinous, or dangerous to the community at

In the governor’s communications with the Earl of Liverpool, in
1810, upon this subject, he alludes to the “Melioration Act,” and
deplores that the punishment of whipping was not restricted to 39
lashes, as in the 14th clause of the “Consolidated Act,” passed
in Jamaica, in 1792; and further proposes, that the clause in
question should be _immediately annexed_ to the “Leeward Island
Melioration Act.”

That such was not done upon the passing of the act, cannot be
laid to the charge of the representatives of Antigua, who fully
coincided with Mr. Burke, the attorney-general of the Leeward
Islands, in his proposal that such measure should be adopted, but
which proposition was not carried into effect by the general
council and assembly.

In 1812, this suggestion of his excellency’s, limiting the number
of lashes to be given in the chastisement of a slave, was fully
carried into effect. The Antiguans had had another example
brought before them, where a Tortolian slave-master had murdered
several of his negroes, in a most shocking manner, and cruelly
ill-treated others; and the Antiguans appear to have been wishful
of exterminating that plague-spot cruelty from their little
island! For this reason, they forbad owners, jailors, or any
other person who had the superintendence of such inflictions, to
give their slaves _more than 39 lashes_ at one time, and for one
offence; nor were they to repeat the punishment within 14 days,
under a penalty of 100l. No slave was to receive more than six
lashes at one time, for one offence, unless the owner’s attorney,
manager, or overseer, should be present It is strange, very
strange, that so many dreadful deeds should have been practised
in Antigua, and still so many laws been framed for the protection
of the slaves, even long before the period I am now writing
about. What answer are we to give to this enigma? Alas! alas! in
many instances, we must again exclaim with Captain Southey, “_The
exceptions neutralize the prohibitions_.”

In 1813, his excellency Hugh Elliot left the government, and John
Julius again entered upon the administration, but he did not
reside at or visit Antigua. This was the first year a police
force was established; it consisted of five reputable white men,
who had been recommended to the commander-in-chief, (or in his
absence, the president of the island,) assisted by about as many
discreet black or coloured persons. One of these white men was to
be called “Clerk of the Police,” and it was his duty to attend
the sittings of magistrates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,
and summon accused parties and witnesses. These police-officers
had several duties to perform—such as taking up slaves who were
found selling any article in the streets, on the working days,
unless they could produce a pass from their owners; to forbid
them selling fresh butter or milk, unless in possession of like
certificate; and to turn out of the town, upon the ringing of the
church bell at half-past nine at night, all country negroes, and
oblige such as resided in the capital to retire to their houses.

In the middle of June, 1814, Sir James Leith arrived in Antigua,
to fulfil the office of captain-general and governor-in-chief
over the Leeward Caribbee Islands, but he did not remain here
much longer than a year, for, having suffered from indisposition,
he obtained leave of absence, and embarked for England, where he
shortly afterwards died. Nothing of much importance occurred
during the period Sir James resided in the government. Admiral
Cochrane was still stationed in these seas, and kept so strict a
watch upon the enemy, that they were unable to distress this or
the other islands.

After the departure of Sir James Leith, another resident of St.
Kitts, Henry Rawlins, Esq., acted as commander-in-chief. During
his administration, an act was passed, founded upon that
celebrated one of Lord Ellenborough’s against cutting and
maiming, punishing with death those who discharged fire-arms with
intent to injure any one, setting fire to cane pieces or
buildings, or perpetrating any other malicious deed.

In the year 1814 was signed the treaty of peace between France
and England, and once more Antigua was freed from her alarms and
watchings. Henry Rawlins dying, Stedmans Rawlins exercised the
government in 1816. Neither of these gentlemen, however, resided
in this island. The yellow fever again made its appearance, and
carried off a great many persons, particularly among the

In 1816, the general government of the Leeward Caribbee Islands
was discontinued, and the Prince Regent, during the unfortunate
indisposition of his father, appointed Major-General George W.
Ramsay, governor-in-chief of Antigua, Monserrat, and Barbuda, who
arrived in Antigua in the middle of the year. Soon after General
Ramsay’s arrival, it was agreed by the council and assembly to
allow his excellency 5000l. currency per annum, which was to be
paid quarterly, from taxes and fines for the deficiency of white
servants, or duties on retailers of rum; and should these be
insufficient, from other moneys in the public treasury. It was
also enacted, that in the event of the death or absence of the
commander-in-chief, the treasurer should pay to such person, to
whom the government devolved, the sum of 3000l. currency per
annum, as long as he remained in command, the better for him to
support his dignity.

About this period, it was currently reported in the mother
country, that the West Indian proprietors were in the habit of
holding _free_ black and coloured persons in slavery; and that,
from the facilities afforded them by a state of peace, they also
evaded the slave trade abolition laws, by smuggling negroes into
these islands. To confute these reports, the Antiguans thought it
best to introduce a registry of slaves, to be filled up at
certain periods, with the name, sex, colour, and age of every
slave, and how they were become possessed of. This registry was
to be sworn to before a justice of the peace, by the proprietor
or his representative; and if any person omitted making such
return of their slaves, they were liable to a penalty of 200l.
for every slave.

During the temporary absence of his excellency Major-General
Ramsay, T. Norbury Kerby, Esq., the treasurer of the island, held
the government. It was thought proper, about this period, (1817,)
to restrict the existing privilege of exporting slaves, and make
it punishable to sell or send a slave off the island. If any
slaves were thus exported, they became forfeited to the king, as
well as the vessel which was to convey them away, and any
officers of H.M. Customs could seize such ship and slaves. This
did not, however, prevent any owner from carrying their domestic
slaves off the island with them, or from hiring or employing
their slaves as mariners; but they were to have their name and
description indorsed on the clearance of the vessel which carried
them away, under penalty of 100l., to both owner of slave and the
master of the vessel.

In concluding this chapter, I must be allowed to remark, that,
let Antigua be what she may, since she has seen her error, she
has never withheld manumission from her slaves; and, as we have
just noticed, was the first among the West Indian Islands which
endeavoured to spare that class the further pang of


[54] This estate belonged to his excellency Lord Lavington, and
until within this last few years went by his name.

[55] For further particulars respecting Obeah, see Chapter XXXII.

[56] In 1676, a similar law had been brought into force, but from
some cause had fallen into disuse. The penalty for practising
without a licence was, at that period, confined to a forfeit of
5000lbs. of sugar.

                         CHAPTER XIII.

  Governors: Sir Benjamin D’Urban—Sir Patrick Ross—Sir Evan
  Murray McGregor—Mr. Light—Sir W. G. MacBean Colebrooke—Major
  McPhail—Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy.

After the death of Major General Ramsay in 1819, his gracious
majesty George III. appointed Sir Benjamin D’Urban to the vacant
government, who arrived at Antigua in the following year, 1820.

During the administration of Sir Benjamin D’Urban, the census was
taken, when the population was found to consist of 37,031 souls—
viz., 4066 coloured, 1980 whites, and 30,985 negroes.

A very efficient militia was also raised, consisting of 15
staff-officers, 87 commissioned-officers, and 843
noncommissioned-officers and privates; making in all, 945.

The year 1825 is celebrated for the arrival of the first English
bishop in the West Indies. During the preceding year, George the
Fourth appointed, by letters patent, (bearing date 24th July,
1824,) two bishops for the cure of souls in the British West
Indies; the one to be styled the Bishop of Jamaica, &c., the
other, the Bishop of Barbados and the Leeward Islands, having in
his diocese the islands of Barbados, St. Vincent’s, St. Lucia,
Grenada, Dominica, Antigua, Monserrat, Nevis, St. Christopher’s,
and the Virgin Isles—Trinidad and Tobago, with their respective

Upon the arrival of Bishop Coleridge in the West Indies, he
remained for a short time at Barbados (as head-quarters), and
then proceeded upon a tour to the respective islands which
constituted his see. Prior to the appointment of a bishop in
these colonies, the clergy officiating there were considered
under the superintendence of the bishop of London; and that
prelate, as well as the archbishops of Canterbury and York, could
ordain “any person who should, on examination, be deemed
qualified for the cure of souls, or officiating in any spiritual
capacity in his majesty’s colonies, or foreign possessions,
although such persons might not have possessed the title required
by the canons of the church of England, of such as are to be made

Alas! how many were ordained, and deemed qualified for the “cure
of souls,” in the West Indies, who, by precept and practice, led
their unhappy parishioners further into the power of the _enemy
of souls_! who, whatever they might preach, _lived_ in open
violation of the laws of God and man; and who, after indulging in
the grossest sensuality throughout the six days of the week,
presumed to enter into the pulpit on a Sunday, and, _pro
tempore_, descant most learnedly and profoundly upon the
_beauties of morality_! But enough of such disgracers of the
sacred office—they have passed away to render an account of their
stewardship before a holy and a righteous bar; nor should I have
alluded to them, did I not wish to impress upon the minds of the
Antiguans the blessing they enjoy in possessing a more
enlightened and evangelical race of clergymen.

To return to the bishop: a sum of 4200l. sterling per annum is
placed at his disposal, to be distributed among the several
ministers, catechists, and schoolmasters, as salaries, &c., with
the proviso, that no minister shall receive more than 300l.
sterling per annum, from such fund.

By his patent the bishop ordains, confirms, and performs all
those several functions peculiar to his office, as one of the
successors of the apostles. The bishop is made a body corporate;
has a common seal granted him, and is considered subordinate to
the archbishop of Canterbury. An ecclesiastical jurisdiction over
the clergy is also conferred upon him, and on the commissaries by
him appointed; but such jurisdiction does not interfere with the
provision of any local law which has received the royal
confirmation. “In case of the absence of the bishop and his
commissaries, the governor of Barbados is authorized to appoint
any two clergymen to institute benefices, and to license

Sir Benj. D’Urban being recalled, Sir Patrick Ross was appointed
governor and commander-in-chief. His excellency arrived at
Antigua in the year 1826, and during his stay there, ingratiated
himself with the _heads of the island_, by his courteous manners,
and his humane desire to spare their feelings upon the
all-engrossing topic of approaching emancipation.

The year 1828 will be remembered by many Antiguans, as that in
which the “Dandy Fever” prevailed. This most distressing and
painful illness took its name from the strange gestures into
which its excruciating agonies threw the unfortunate sufferers,
and who, in their awkward attempts at walking, were likened by
some facetious spirit to that nondescript race of men—the

The year 1831 was the scene of an insurrection among the negroes.
The cause of this disaffection among the black population was,
the suppression of the Sunday markets, and the omission, on the
part of the authorities of the island, to provide a day instead
of the Sabbath, in which the negroes might bring the produce of
their gardens and poultry yards into the capital to sell.

The Sunday markets were indeed a nuisance most properly got rid
of, for they engendered all kinds of dissipation among the lower
classes on the Lord’s day; yet is it to be wondered at that the
negroes felt aggrieved in having the only day they could call
their own taken from them, as it were, and no other portion of
the week allotted to them?

From muttered threats, and sullen looks of discontent, the
negroes proceeded to acts of open violence. Incendiarism raged to
a great extent; no sooner was one fire extinguished, than another
was discovered in an opposite quarter. Martial law was in force;
and the officers of the militia had then ample opportunities of
shewing forth their valour, and winning laurels in the field of

Great were the marchings and counter-marchings upon this
occasion; mysterious the signs and counter-signs! Then there was
such buckling on of spurs, and bracing on of swords—such displays
of epaulets and aiguillettes, as would have surprised any one not
accustomed to West Indian militia “turn outs.” Generals galloped
here, and colonels there; at one moment a party of gallant
dragoons, armed to the teeth, and mounted—some on gaunt steeds of
sixteen hands high, and others on diminutive ponies, dashed along
the streets; at another, the governor and his brilliant staff
might be seen hurrying forward as fresh intelligence arrived of
other fires breaking out.

At length something like order was restored. Many of the negroes
were apprehended; and the supposed ringleader, after being
brought to trial, was condemned and executed. He met his fate
with resignation, but protested to the very last that he died
innocent of the offence (arson) imputed to him; the other
culprits were punished by public floggings and imprisonments.
Thus was the insurrection of 1831 quelled, and peace once more
established. Saturday was appointed for the principal market day;
and the planters agreed to allow their people to visit the
capital every, or every other week, to vend their little wares.

In 1832, Sir Evan Murray McGregor was appointed to the government
of the Leeward Islands, including Dominica. Sir Evan was a member
of the McGregor family, so celebrated in Scottish history, and of
which the redoubted Rob Roy was a chieftain. His excellency was a
man of the strictest political principles, and of a most
enlightened mind. He saw and felt the degradations laid upon the
coloured people; and as far as lay in his power he mitigated
their sufferings. It was not until his administration that
coloured persons served as jurors.

His kind feelings towards this portion of his majesty’s subjects
were not altogether agreeable to many of the self-constituted
“exclusives;” and various were the schemes and projects to turn
him from his purpose of rewarding the merits of the coloured
class. But Sir Evan possessed an inflexible spirit, and neither
frowns nor caresses could prevent him from dispensing justice to
all, be their colour what it might.

Acting upon these principles, his excellency, in 1834, appointed
Mr. Loving, a gentleman of colour, chief of police, with a salary
of 600l. per annum. This dreadful innovation of the governor’s
met with the strongest resistance from those persons who were led
to look upon a man’s merit as inseparably connected with his
white descent; and no efforts were spared upon their part to
endeavour to persuade Sir Evan to rescind the appointment. This,
however, was not to be effected, and many a breast burned with
secret indignation against the man who had dared to throw down
the partition wall between the _immaculate_ whites, and a
descendant of Afric’s despised children!

But it was not colour alone that formed the grand objection to
this gentleman’s appointment. Mr. Loving had been for some time
the editor of a paper, and in such capacity had raised his voice
against the system of slavery, and advocated in a firm, but mild
spirit, the cause of emancipation, in a country where nearly all
its principal inhabitants were slave-holders. Upon the strength
of the old adage, “What can’t be _cured_ must be _endured_,” Mr.
Loving was allowed to remain quietly in his situation, until time
brought about mighty changes, and made the Antiguan
slave-holders, like himself, friends to freedom.

The following year, 1833, was noted for the severe shocks of
earthquake felt at Antigua, as well as at most of the other
islands throughout the chain. These earthquakes were followed by
a season of dry weather, which crushed the hopes of the planters,
and rendered in great measure the fertile little island a barren

1834 is celebrated throughout the British West Indies as the year
of the abolition of slavery, and more particularly by the
Antiguans, who, laying aside all claims to apprenticeship, gave
their negroes _immediate freedom_. For this consummation had many
worthy men toiled and sighed—for this had Sharpe, Clayton,
Wilberforce, Buxton, Lushington, and many others, written and
spoken, until wearied nature had often sunk, almost exhausted—and
now the bright day of liberty had arrived, and the great and
glorious triumph, which for so many years had been as a beacon
before the minds of philanthropic men, had been achieved; but
alas! of those who would have sung jubilee on the fulfilment of
their wishes, many had yielded up their noble spirits, and passed
to the silent tomb.

The year following emancipation (1835) was the scene of a violent
hurricane, which raging with extreme fury throughout the greater
part of the night, caused great loss to many of the inhabitants.
Soon after the hurricane, the yellow fever broke out with great
malignancy, and hurried many a young and gifted one from the
family circle.

During the period Sir Evan McGregor administered the government,
he endeavoured to restore the custom of holding a general council
and assembly, to convene at certain times, at one of the several
islands within his jurisdiction; and also to make the island of
Dominica head-quarters. His excellency’s view and wishes upon
this subject were, however, overruled by the home government;
although it was permitted him to make Dominica his place of
residence should such be his desire. Soon after his removal to
the latter colony, he received the higher appointment of Governor
of Barbados, to which seat of government he repaired, leaving
Antigua to a kind of interregnum, which was filled up by the
president of the island.

During his excellency’s administration, he also recommended the
legislature to enact a law to govern elections—a deficiency in
the laws of Antigua complained of by a large portion of the
inhabitants; the qualifications of voters being entirely governed
by resolutions of the house, as best suited the purposes of its
members. In contested elections, freeholders, it is said, were
frequently left to unconstitutional resolutions of the assembly,
who, paying no attention to former precedents, adopted such
measures as would best secure the interests of their own
party.[57] There are, however, laws for the protective privileges
of freeholders for other distinctive purposes, such as exemptions
from arrest, &c.

In 1836, Henry Light, Esq., arrived at Antigua to play his part
upon the stage of colonial life as lieutenant-governor. His lofty
pretensions to liberal principles, and his condescending
greatness to the _mixed blood_ in admitting a few members of that
class to “his table,” evinces much insincerity, for in his
private despatches to Lord Glenelg, he reprobates, with but one
or two exceptions, that body of persons, in terms as ill-founded
as they are illiberal. Nothing of importance occurred during Mr.
Light’s sojourn at Antigua; he has subsequently been appointed to
the government of British Guiana, where he has had an opportunity
of shewing forth his philanthropy, as well as of acquiring fame.

The year 1837 marked the appointment of Sir William MacBean
George Colebrooke to the office of governor-in-chief of the
Leeward Islands. Of the same liberal principles as Sir Evan
McGregor—firm, dignified, and polished—of courteous demeanour and
pleasing address, Sir William was formed to command respect, and
conciliate the affections of all classes. In his official
proceedings, he was ever actuated by prudence; and with the
welfare of the colonies, over which he presided, at heart, he
pursued his way in that open, straightforward manner, which, to
an honourable mind, is of such inestimable value.

In the first year of Sir William Colebrooke’s administration, a
bank was established in Antigua by royal charter; thus rendering
obsolete an act which had been passed in the early part of the
reign of George III., for preventing the circulation of paper
bills of credit in the colonies. Prior to this period, no
governor could assent to such circulation, under forfeiture of
1000l., the being dismissed his government, and declared
incapable of holding any other public office or place of trust.

In the following year, his excellency deemed it proper to abolish
the militia; a measure which saved the treasury of the island a
considerable sum annually; and accordingly, on the 1st of July,
1838, that body ceased to exist, and an end was put to all
martial glory and deeds of arms among the store-keeper captains
and planter colonels of Antigua. It was not until some time after
the revocation of the militia, that the legislature remembered to
call in the arms from the privates; and accordingly, when such
orders were issued, great defalcation was discovered; the few,
however, collected, were consigned to a far different purpose
from what they were originally intended—being formed into a fence
before the arsenal, where they remain, with their bayonets
pointing to the skies, as mementos of the warlike acts of the

Sir William Colebrooke entertained similar opinions as Sir Evan
McGregor, upon the expediency of there being one general council
and assembly among the islands under his jurisdiction; and
consequently, strenuous exertions were made by him, to carry his
plans into effect. The acquiescence of the home government to
this measure was so relied upon by his excellency, that before
accounts could be received from England, despatches were
forwarded to the other Leeward Islands, calling upon the members
of their respective legislatures to visit Antigua, in order to
hold the first general council and assembly. The legislators of
St. Christopher’s were the first to obey the summons, and some of
that body were actually in the boat about to convey them on board
the vessel in which they had taken passage for Antigua, when the
packet with the European mails was observed in the offing.
Anxious to receive their letters before their departure for
another colony, they determined to wait until the post-master
distributed them—a resolution which saved them a fruitless
voyage; for, from despatches from Sir William Colebrooke, they
learned that the English parliament had refused to acknowledge
any general assembly.

In 1840, Sir W. Colebrooke returned to England; and Major
McPhail, the lieutenant-governor of Dominica, was called to
administer the government for the time being. His excellency was
also a man of liberal principles—one who was inflexible in
performing his official duties without partiality, and earnestly
desirous of promoting the public good, and effecting a kind
feeling among all classes. As a private character, his courteous
and pleasing demeanour endeared him to all who held communion
with him; and when he quitted the government, he carried with him
the best regards and earnest wishes of every member of the
Antiguan community. Nothing of particular moment occurred during
his administration, with the exception of the dreadful fire in
1841, (further noticed in these pages,) and the strictness with
which the police laws (respecting the capture of animals found
strolling in the public streets) has been carried into force.
Great has been “the hue and cry” among the swinish multitude; and
day after day has the intelligence arrived that another
unfortunate pig has been imprisoned within the walls of the
pound, without any regard to the feelings of the said quadruped,
or its family. Even Sunday—that day of rest—was no rest to them,
or the parties whose duty it was to capture them; and so far was
the disturbance carried, which such exploits caused, that some
good people took the trouble to write and disseminate papers,
calling upon policemen, magistrates, &c., to observe to keep holy
the Sabbath, and not allow pigs to be hunted before the very
doors of the churches and chapels, even when service was being

Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, who has succeeded as
governor-general of the Leeward Islands, is a branch of a high
and noble English family. The accounts which have preceded him of
his many virtues, bids fair for Antigua enjoying, in the person
of her majesty’s representative, a good and liberal governor—one
who will dispense justice without regard to caste or complexional
prejudice—rewarding merit wherever it may be found—measures
which, it is said, have been overlooked by many of his
predecessors until within these last few years.

Sir C. A. Fitzroy is lineally descended, in the female line, from
Brigadier-General Crosby, (who had been appointed to the command
of the Leeward Island government, in 1730,) as will be seen on a
reference to his genealogy, in the Appendix.


[57] It must be remarked, that the house passed these resolutions
after a member had been duly returned upon former precedents, so
that if the returned member was obnoxious from his liberal
principles, fresh regulations were determined upon in order to
dispossess him of his seat. These are the evils incident upon
having no laws to govern elections.

                          CHAPTER XIV.

  My first voyage to Antigua—Visit upon deck—The booby’s welcome—
  Nearer approach—Harbour of St. John’s—The Black Pilot—North
  Sandy Island—Wreck of the mail-boat—Dangerous navigation—Long
  Island—South Sandy Island—Panoramic views from the vessel’s
  deck—Light winds—Disappointment made pleasing—Anchorage for the

Having noticed the most important of its historical events, I
must now be allowed to give some description of the appearance of
Antigua, and of my first visit to its shores. After a voyage of
many weeks, early one morning we were agreeably saluted with the
cry of “land!” Sleep was immediately banished from my eyes, and
with a beating heart I waited until the day should “pour in
apace,” and allow me the pleasure of viewing for the first time
one of those tropical islands I had often thought of with
delight. A fair wind filled our sails, and we rapidly gained upon
the distant object, which (when I first peeped up the companion
ladder) looked like one of those shadowy clouds I had so
frequently seen resting, as it were, upon the bosom of the ocean,
at the utmost verge of the horizon.

By this time the sun was fast mounting up the sky, and shone with
all its fervour upon the glassy waves below; and as we
noiselessly glided on, the mountains began to assume a distincter
form, and proved beyond doubt that we were near the end of our

A bustle upon the deck, the trampling of many feet, the rattling
of ropes, and the sound of strange voices, and a stranger
dialect, announced the arrival of the pilot; and unable any
longer to suppress the longing desire I had to behold Antigua
from a more eligible situation than my peep-hole, I hastily tied
on my bonnet, and spite of the increasing heat, sought my
companion upon the deck. Seated upon a hen-coop, which had been
arrayed in all the glories of bright green paint, I prepared to
look about me; when suddenly I felt a peculiar sensation, which
told me, that, like “Achilles,” I was anything but invulnerable
in my heel. A “booby,” or gannet, an aquatic bird, which had been
captured the night before, and placed in “durance vile” within
the self-same coop, was bidding me welcome to her native clime,
by unceremoniously inserting her bill into that very susceptible
part; and as I was not stoic enough to receive such favours
unmoved, she expressed her displeasure by a doleful unharmonious
scream. “Well,” thought I, “this is not the pleasantest welcome
possible,” and turning my eyes towards the land, “nor this the
most interesting looking island in the world.” In fact, it looked
dull and dreary; its mountains appeared barren and sunburnt; and
the distance prevented me from seeing the valleys and dingles
which in some degree redeem it from insipidity.

Our gallant vessel, however, still kept on her way, and—

    “Walk’d the waters like a thing of life;”

and as we approached the land, the scene changed for the better.
Bright green patches of the sugar-cane appeared amid the brown of
the foremost mountains; while the more distant of the chain
presented that harmonious blending of a thousand dyes, which
poets love to sing, and painters love to study. As it happened to
be that season of the year when the sugar harvest was in
progress, the white sails of the various mills glittered in the
sunbeams, and upon the eminences the manager’s house (or in the
language of the country, the “great house”) looked down upon its
little hamlet of negro huts, picturesquely embosomed in trees.

On, on we glided; the merry breeze piping in our ears, and the
snow-white foam curling and writhing around our prow, until at
length we came so near that we could see and almost count the
waves as they dashed upon the silver sands of the surrounding
bays. In one part a number of tall cocoa-nut trees stretched
their long arms to the blast, whilst upon every side of us the
light skiffs of the fishermen danced like cockle-shells upon the
buoyant waters, and their dusky masters intently pursued their
trade of entrapping the finny race.

Our good breeze did not desert us; and rapidly and surely we made
way, until we passed over the bar, and entered the harbour of St.
John’s. What a busy scene now presented itself to my view; the
various ships from England, Scotland, Ireland,[58] and America,
distinguished by their several flags; the boats and droughers[59]
hurrying backwards and forwards with their loads; whilst the
hallooing of the sailors, and the screaming of the negro
watermen, conspired to render it the very imagery of discord.

The town of St. John’s, with its white houses and green
jalousies, lay stretched before us, surmounted by its neat and
pretty church; and upon our left the Fort of St. James and Rat
Island. While looking at the latter, up went a flag, which,
fluttering in the breeze, announced to the good people of St.
John’s the arrival of a ship from “_home_” as the Antiguans
always call England. Several boats now joined us from the shore,
conveying friends to welcome us to Antigua; a harbour-master, (a
very agreeable and worthy personage by-the-bye,) to make certain
inquiries; custom-house officers, (of a superior class of men to
those who board vessels in the Thames, and are so disagreeably
distinguished by their undeviating devotion to that herb, which
Sir Walter Raleigh, in his excessive overflow of human kindness,
is said to have introduced into England,) to see that if you
smuggled yourselves on shore, you did not smuggle your goods; and
plenty of black boys, to grin and chatter, and get all the
biscuit and beef they could.

But I must not omit to give a more particular account of the
black pilot. A very pompous personage he was, and one who no
doubt stood vastly high in his own estimation, as he lent upon
the rail of the vessel, with his large straw hat, and gigantic
snuff-box, giving orders to the sailors, and in the interim
discussing the news of the island. “Hab fine rain last night; you
bring good _wedder_—(war for you ’tand staring dere for, you
black nigger ?)—yes, feber berry bad last month, many buckra die—
(war you go do, run de ship on de shore?)—Crop bery good dis
year; ship load fast ’nough—(why you no haul dat rope good?)—Yes,
gubbernor bin bery bad; better now tho’.” And thus he ran on,
until, the proper place gained, down dropped the ponderous
anchor, a boat received us, and in a short time landed us “all
well” upon one of the wharfs of Antigua, amid blacks and whites,
porters and boatmen, and boys and girls clad “à la Venus.”

The harbour of St. John’s is reckoned one of the finest and most
commodious in the West Indies. The entrance is defended by Goat
Hill Fort on the south, and St. James Fort on the north; across
the mouth of it runs a shoal, known as the bar, which extends
from a bay called Hog John, to Fort James. The depth of water
upon this bar is only from seven to fourteen feet; and
consequently, ships, when they are partly laden, pass over this
shoal, and take in the remainder of their cargo off Dickenson’s
Bay. The principal trade of the island is carried on at this
port, the harbour is generally full of shipping; and during the
hurricane months, many vessels from the neighbouring islands come
here for safety. The approach to it is, however, intersected with
numerous rocks, and about three miles from its mouth lies a small
island, surrounded by reefs and breakers, to which the name of
“Sandy Island” has been attached. It was upon these reefs that,
in 1826, the “Maria” mail boat was wrecked, and, with her hapless
crew, went to the bottom. She had been down to St. Thomas and the
other Islands with the mails for England;[60] and upon her
return, putting into Monserrat, took on board the Wesleyan
missionaries, and their wives and children, who had been to St.
Kitts to attend their yearly district meeting, and who were
desirous of returning to Antigua, the scene of their labours.
They had left St. Kitts a few days before, in a small vessel
hired for the purpose; but finding it rather “crank,” they were
unwilling to proceed, and determined to wait at Monserrat for the
arrival of the “Maria.”

But who can look into futurity? who can tell what may be in store
for him? The _crank_ vessel reached Antigua in safety; the mail
boat and all on board, with the exception of one solitary female,
perished in the treacherous waters, almost within sight of their
own homes—within hearing of the church bell. I never pass the
spot without shuddering, and fancying what must have been the
feelings of that _one_ who was spared to tell the dreadful tale.
A woman of lively imagination and affectionate disposition, she
saw friend after friend washed away by the remorseless waves. The
pride of manhood!—the shrinking delicacy of woman!—the
helplessness of infancy!—all of no avail!—a splash—a bubble—and
all was over, and their bodies filled the maw of some rapacious
monster, or rested in some coral cave beneath the waters, there
to remain until that great day, when sea and earth must give up
their dead. Of the ill-fated voyagers, all who remained were, she
who was destined to be the sole survivor, her husband, and the
master of the vessel. Worn out by mental agony, and unavailing
exertions to attract the notice of the many fishing-boats and
other vessels which were constantly passing within their sight,
but which either did not perceive or would not assist them, the
master of the vessel gave himself up to the dominion of the
“giant despair,” and losing his hold of the wreck, was quickly
carried away by the waves. One more victim was required—and that
was the dearest, the best beloved—her husband died in her arms,
and after holding him for many a painful minute, and struggling
for mastery with the billows to retain the much-loved corpse,
nature became exhausted, and she sank into a state of
insensibility. In this state she remained until the crew of some
passing vessel raised an alarm upon their gaining shore. A party
of gentlemen went in search of the supposed wreck, and finding
the inanimate female, quickly conveyed her to the main land,
where every care was lavished upon her, and happily not without

No one can read the affecting details of the sufferings of this
unhappy crew (an account of which Mrs. Jones, the name of the
lady, afterwards published) without feeling deep sorrow at the
event. At the same time, no one dares to ask “why was it so?” All
we can allege is,

    “God moves in a mysterious way.”

This melancholy catastrophe was known at St. Kitts as soon as (if
not before) it was at Antigua: the dead body of a child (one of
the unfortunate passengers) conveyed the first direful tidings.

Sandy Island is by no means the only sentinel which Nature has
placed to guard her favourite land from the sudden inroads of the
enemy, the whole of the north side of Antigua being surrounded by
rocks and breakers, which make it dangerous navigation. On this
account ships generally come down the south side of the island,
although some masters of vessels, from the impulse of a daring
spirit, or from a want of knowledge, pursue the other course, and
often have to lament the issue.

On the northern and eastern sides of Antigua a great number of
small islands are scattered, and it is from some of these that
the smooth yellowish free-stone, of which the Court-house is
built, is obtained; this free-stone is proved to be composed of
carbonate of lime and oxyde of iron. The principal of these
islands are, Pole-cat Isle, Goat’s Isle, Guana[61] Isle, Maiden’s
Isle, Cochran’s Isle, and Long Island.

In 1700, Long Island, then the property of the Honourable Edward
Byam, was sold by him, and it is now in the hands of the
Honourable Bertie E. Jarvis. Since the Emancipation Act came into
operation, a great part of it has been let out at an annual rent
to the negroes, who plant it with provisions. It is noted for a
peculiar breed of sheep, its rabbit-warrens, and the number of
sea-side grape trees (_Coccolobo uvifera_) which grow in all
directions. In former times, there was a mill and sugar works
upon it, (the ruins of which are still to be seen,) and more than
a thousand hogsheads of sugar have been known to be shipped from
thence in one year. This apparent improbability has been thus
accounted for: large quantities of sugars used to be smuggled
from Martinique and Guadaloupe, and landed safely and silently
upon Long Island, which is particularly favourable for such
adventures. These sugars were afterwards shipped to England as
the _produce of the island_, by the following evasion of the law.
It was customary at that period, to swear before one of the
magistrates, as to the quantity of sugar made and intended to be
shipped; and the certificate was then taken to the collector of
her majesty’s customs, who, seeing the signature of the
magistrate, allowed all was correct. The parties who were
possessed of this smuggled sugar, and who were wishful of
transporting it to its destined market, would come before a
justice and assert that the seven or nine hogsheads which they
intended shipping on board such vessel were the real growth of
Long Island; the customary oaths were therefore administered, the
magistrate signed his name, and the cocket was presented to the
shippers to hand over to the collector. On the road to the
custom-house, however, with ready pen they added a _ty_ to the
seven or nine (or whatever it might be) in the space which was
cunningly left for that purpose, making it of course _seventy_ or
_ninety_; and as no questions were asked by the collector, they
were in this manner enabled, from 100 hogsheads of the actual
growth of the island, to ship from time to time more than the
above number of 1000 hogsheads. This practice of evading the law
(while they soothed their own consciences) gave rise to these
shipments being called the “T. Y. sugar,” as will be remembered
by many to this day.

Guiana and Cochran Island also produced sugar at one time; and in
1725, it was enacted by the legislature, that if the proprietors
of those islands, as well as Long Island, suffered any loss from
the inroads of the enemy, they should be reimbursed from the
public treasury as well as any other inhabitant of Antigua.

Following the line of coast from the north, before we once more
make the harbour of St. John’s, we meet with, another “guard,” in
the shape of a small island, bearing direct west from English
Harbour, with a reef running three miles into the sea, and which
is known as _South_ Sandy Island. This is also very dangerous to
unwary mariners, particularly when the storm king rides the
blast, and “warns the devoted wretch of woe and death.”

But, with all its rocks and breakers, beautiful, very beautiful
are the scenes which present themselves to your notice, as,
seated upon the deck of some vessel, whose graceful sails are
filled with a fresh and favourable breeze, you skirt along the
sunny shores of lovely little Antigua. It has happened, in some
of my frequent trips around the island, that, although the breeze
has been fair, it was so light as scarcely to lift the canvas
from the mast. But yet, the disappointment of not gaining land so
soon as we expected has been amply compensated for by the
beauties we have had more time to discover. Overhead is the
sweet, clear blue of the sky, here and there dotted with a cloud
so fair, that it might serve to pillow a sleeping Juno; and
beneath, the crystal waters sparkling like gold in the beams of
the blazing sun. In some parts, the green mountains descend to
the very shore; while in others a calm and silent glen opens upon
your sight, and the zephyr comes laden to you with the scent of
its various flowers. Numerous creeks run far inland, and appear
amid the surrounding verdure like chains of silver; and here and
there a few negro huts lie nestling among a clump of splendid
trees, with their neat-looking provision-grounds spread before
them. As you pass Grace Bay, the land looks sprinkled over with
gold, from the flowers of the aloe, (_aloe vulgaris_,) which
grows there in vast profusion; and the shore is bordered with
sand, on which Amphitrite and her train might love to dance, and
wreathe their flowery locks with the dropping seaweeds. And thus
we while away the day, enjoying an ever-changing panorama, until
the glorious sun reaches the west, and throws his rich beams on
every cloud which “throngs to pavilion him.” Suddenly he appears
to touch the bosom of the flaming waves; and then sending forth
one long vivid line of glory, sinks to rest on his golden couch.

Now comes “still evening” on, and Hesperus and all “the starry
host” people the heavens, until at length the moon

    “Shews her broad visage in the crimson’d east,”

and robs them of their brightness. And there she paces through
those azure fields, not with the cold, pale aspect she wears in
my own severer clime, but with the glow, the fervour, with which,
in other days, she was wont, as “fabling poets” sing, to visit
Endymion on the flowery heights of Latmus. Lovely is it, at such
a time, to lean over the vessel’s side, and watch the limpid
waves, as they throw up their sparkling foam. All turbulent
passions die away—a pleasing calm ensues—and then, casting aside
all heathen folly, and allowing the mind to revel at its will,
come thoughts, indistinct, but beautiful, and dreamy imaginings
of that happy land, where

    “The crystaline stream, bursting forth from the throne,
    Flows on, and for ever will flow;
    Its waves, as they roll, are with melody rife,
    And its waters are sparkling with beauty and life,
    In the land which no mortal may know.”

But earth’s chains are still about us, and the fairest scenes may
prove the most deadly. A kind voice warns me of the increasing
cold of the night-breeze; and as the last inch of the cable
slides through the hawse-hole, and the tremor of the vessel, as
it is suddenly stopped in its course, shews we have anchored for
the night, I leave the cool air upon deck for the confinement of
the cabin, with a prayer of thankfulness upon my lips for my
frequent safe trips across the “blue waters,” and a hope that
to-morrow’s dawn will bring us safely to shore.


[58] The Scotch and Irish, in addition to the Union Jack, hoist a
distinctive national signal.

[59] Droughers are small vessels used for conveying the produce
of the island from the neighbouring bays to the shipping.

[60] At that period, the mails from the different islands were
conveyed to St. Thomas’s, in small vessels employed for that
purpose, from whence they were despatched to England in one of
her Majesty’s packets.

[61] Formerly called Guiana Island, from the English settlers who
emigrated thither from Guiana, when that country was surrendered
to the Dutch by the treaty of Breda. The name is now corrupted to

                          CHAPTER XV.

  The extent of Antigua—Opinion of some planters—Want of
  agricultural labourers—Emigration not always profitable to the
  negroes—“Seizar’s” letter upon the subject—Return of emigrants—
  Soil of Antigua—Geological matters—Petrifactions—Climate of
  Antigua—“Yellow fever”—Beautiful evenings—the appearance of the
  heavens—Evening visitants.

Antigua, as already shewn in another part of this work, contains
about 60,000 acres: of which, probably, four-fifths are in a
state of cultivation. It was the opinion of many planters, soon
after emancipation, that the mountainous estates must, in great
measure, be neglected, as the steadiness of the negroes is not
always to be relied upon; and from the difficulties of the land,
the plough would be almost useless. These prognostications have
not been fulfilled—at least, no such instance has ever come under
my notice; on the contrary, in my rides through the country I
have seen many spots of land, which once bore only grass or wild
shrubs, planted with canes, and bearing the title of “a sugar
estate,” which, I feel assured, had slavery continued, would
never have been cultivated.

Still agricultural labourers are wanted; many of the negroes that
were thus employed, while in a state of bondage, think it a
disgrace to follow such patriarchal occupations now they are
free. They therefore quit the country, take up the business of a
mason or a carpenter, or something of the sort; and the result
is, that not being competent, they are unable to procure work,
and are idling about the street all day, until some vessel from
the southern colonies, looking out for emigrants, holds out the
temptation of _high wages_, which is ignorantly caught at by the
negro; and he leaves his native island, his wife and children,
without remorse, until sickness seizes him, and he is returned
upon the country an emaciated being, unable to work at all.

Emigration is not always profitable to the negro, even if he
retains his health. Many, many of them, would gladly return, were
they not bound for a certain number of years by the captains of
the emigration vessels, (who make a complete trade of it by
selling their indentures,) or else taken so far up the country as
too often prohibit such resolve. A clever letter appeared in one
of the West Indian newspapers some time ago, supposed to have
been written from a negro at St. Kitts to his friend of the same
dye, who had emigrated to Demerara, which I will insert for the
amusement of the reader:—

                                           “Sink Hitts, July ——.

“Deer Pomp Eye,

“You no I tould you how it wood be, but you all ways were a wild
nagur, and wood neber hear reeson, and lubbed to follow your
hedstrong ways. But now you are suffering for it, an I hope
you’ll repent, as good Massa Parson says. You no you had no right
to run away and leabe you yong pic’nees here to starbe. It was a
most wicked act, but I ’spose the Capen who took you away will be
made to support ’em as he ought. You are all no better dan
Caraline who sent our fren Mushel’s pic’nee widout him knowing at
all ’bout it, to Jimmy Radder (Demerara), having sold him me
magin to de Capen. What you say ’bout de Spaniards is all bery
true, an likely to happen, an me tink wid you our Capens are not
to be trusted, for you no what our fren Fletcher did for which he
get hang—how he carry off Nagers from Nevis, and trowed dem in de
sea and drowned dem. Now me no tink dese Capens will trow de
Nagurs in de sea, but me tink it bery like dat dey will hab
private signell wid de Spaniards, who will way lay an take de
nagurs away at sea—for de Spaniards will gib de Capens two times
as much for de free Nagurs to make slabes of dem, as de Capens
can get in Jimmy Radder. I hab seen de skul of Fletcher, for me
be sumthing of a _free-no-low-gist_ (phrenologist), and I assure
you de skul of dese Capens hab gist de same _bumps_. And not only
dis, Massa Pomp Eye, but dere is de law of Englan dat a vessel
shall carry passengers cording to he size, dat is, so many Nagurs
to so many tun, now dese Capens do break dis law an dese vessels
is lible to be seezed and comphiz catted. Dis law was made as me
told, to make all de peeple cumfurble dat all may hab room to
walk ’bout an lie down, an sleep, an eat, an go safe, an to
perwent de Capens from sack wry facing dem passengers, and no
noting ’bout dere bizness, for see how dey cram de Nagurs in like
toze in de shu, an only de oder day a vessel ful of Nagurs sprung
a plank off Mons’ rat an was sinking fast an de Capen noed noting
at all ’bout it until a noder ship met him an told him he was
going down and dat all he poor Nagurs wood be drown. Oh! Pomp
Eye, de Nagurs here be great fool for leabing dis bootiful
country for sich muddy place as Jimmy Radder. Here dey hab plenty
of fish from de sea, an dem dere be sich bootiful riber from de
monting, an sich nice water to drink,—and dere is plenty of wood
to cut, and dere is salt-fish, an pork, an beef, an all so cheap—
an here nagurs be sirvalized, an de men an wimmin were cloze
which dey do not do in Jimmy Radder, an on Sunday dey all go
church an hab fine tings on. I’m told dat in Jimmy Radder dey
can’t boil or roast dere plantins widout de wurrums (worms)
crying and crawling out, an dat derefore dey mash ’em up all
togedder in de pot an so eat dem. Brutes! Is de nagur of Jimmy
Radder like our Nagurs? Hab dey any beerds? I heer dey hab scales
like de fishes from lying in de mud an water, an dat dere
shoulder bones stick out like de fins of one fish. An dis is de
reeson our wimmin nagurs go to Jimmy Radder, _for de wimmin
always lobe de monsters_. Don’t fret you self Massa Pomp Eye
’bout de dollars for I neber expect ’em. Me no ’tis all de same
in de end, if you be paid one quarter dollar here for working, an
on half dollar dere, for de tings for eat an drink are twice as
deer dere as dey be here, widout being half so good eder. No, no—
me be content—me no like snakes an wurrum an dose tings you hab
in Jemmy Radder—me lobe me fader land, an no like _mud_. Here we
all be Cristan an can reed and rite, an no be naked savages like
aw you. Your poor yong ones send dere lobe to you—but dey shant
want bread to eat, as long as your fren Seizer libes.—So good bi,
an rub you body wid rum to get rid of de hagur, (ague.)

                          “Your fren,


So much for “Massa Seizar’s” letter. I am not aware who is the
actual writer of it; but the reasoning he puts into “Seizar’s”
mouth is sound, and by the form in which it is presented may not
improbably produce more effect than a graver production.

The soil of Antigua is composed of two distinct sorts; the one, a
rich black mould on a substratum of clay; the other, a stiff
reddish clay, mixed with sand, upon a substratum of marl. The
former of these is very productive when not suffering from those
excessive droughts to which this island is particularly subject;
but the latter is generally overrun with that species of herbage,
known as “Devil Grass,” (_Cynodon dactylon_,) which it is almost
impossible to exterminate. Still, Antigua is one of the most
fertile of the West India islands, and produces, in proportion, a
larger crop than most of her sister colonies. The land requires,
it is true, a quantity of manure, which is one reason for estates
keeping such large herds of cattle as they do; but with the
assistance of that, and the blessing of the “o’ercharged clouds,”
she seldom disappoints the hopes of her planters; while her sugar
stands as high as any in the English markets, and her _rum_ has
long been known for its pre-eminent qualities.

The mountains contain beautiful varieties of fossils, and other
geological curiosities. Among these may be found in the
south-west chain, masses of trap, breccia, wacke, porphyry, &c.;
and in the inland parallel chain, splendid specimens of coralline
schist, agate, jasper, chalcedony, amydoloid, cornelian, and
silicified wood are to be met with, of which I need only raise my
eyes to those collected before me to say how beautiful they are.
These are generally found embedded in a matrix of a deep green
colour, which of itself is very pretty, and when well arranged in
buildings with the native free-stone, have a very good effect.

In the northern districts are found fragments of limestone,
containing fossil shells, spars, and crystals of quartz. This
chain, running north and south, is supposed to pass under the
sea, forming a reef, and reappearing at Monserrat: it is said
that the fish found upon this reef are particularly poisonous.

“Church Hill,” as it is termed, from the fact of the church being
erected upon it, has been found to be composed of schist,
enveloped in marl, and is particularly rich in its fossil shells.
Thanks to the new flight of steps which have been lately erected,
and the modifications made around that sacred building, (which
has obliged the workmen to blast the rock,) I have been enabled
to collect some fine varieties. Among these are conchs, cockles,
&c., in which the striæ are perfect, and some of them are
beautifully crystalized.

In almost all parts of the island petrifactions are to be met
with. Among the most beautiful of those I have seen, may be
enumerated red cedar, with agate intermixed; roots and branches
of cocoa-nut trees; plantain stalks, with beautiful lines of
agate running through them; a species of palm; a root of the
dagger, (_aloe vulgaris_;) the black mangrove, a branch of a
tree, supposed to be the ceibar, or silk-cotton, with cornelian;
besides many other varieties. Ochres of various colours are also
to be dug in some districts; and in most parts of the island are
quarries of stone; but they are not generally made an article of

In some parts of the island are salt ponds, which might be worked
to advantage here as well as at St. Kitts and Turk’s Island; but
the Antiguans are not of an enterprising spirit; at least, all
their attention is bestowed upon the cultivation of the
sugar-cane, and if that succeeds, they are perfectly satisfied.
Were it otherwise, there are many productions which might prove
important and beneficial articles of commerce. Tobacco grows
spontaneously about the country; coffee has become naturalized,
and grows wild; it is said to be inferior in quality to that
which grows in the other islands; but would not culture do much
for it? Cotton, ginger, palma Christi,—all are disregarded; even
the pimento is left to decay in its loveliness, and its fragrant
fruit serves but to feed the feathered tribe; except when, at
Christmas, its odorous boughs are gathered to flavour the
plum-puddings of the negroes, or decorate the churches and
houses, as the holly does in England.

Although the islands of the West Indies, being all situated
between the Tropics, are, as regards climate, very similar, yet
Antigua is generally reckoned more salubrious than any of the
others. Possibly, the reason of this may be attributed to the
dryness of the soil, for we have no rivers, and very few marshes,
as in many of the other islands, to exhale any degree of
humidity. The towns are now also kept very clean and wholesome,
particularly the capital, so that island seldom suffers from any
pestilential diseases. The “Yellow Fever,” that dreaded scourge
of the West Indies, has, however, frequently raged here to great
extent, particularly in former years. In 1793 it was very violent
in its effects—nearly the whole of the inhabitants of St. John’s
fell ill with it, and many deaths occurred. It broke out in the
shipping in the harbour, and was supposed to have been brought
ashore in a blanket, which had been wrapt round a person who had
fallen a victim to it. In 1816 it again appeared, but not to such
extent; but after the hurricane, in 1835, it raged with much
virulence,—snatched many a young and beloved one from the family
circle—separated parent and child—severed the holy bands of
matrimony, and laid its victims in the cold and silent grave.

It was supposed to be occasioned by the different effluvia which
tainted the air after the gale; particularly that from the filth,
which had for so many years been accumulating at the bottom of
the harbour, and which, from the violence of the wind, had been
completely stirred up.

The warmest months of the year are June, July, and August. The
sun, when not obscured by the density of the clouds, shines with
a burning lustre; and did he not

    “——— kind before him send
    The genial breeze, to mitigate his fire,
    And breathe refreshment on a fainting world,”

the heat would be insupportable.

The meridian height of the thermometer, during this season, is,
in the shade, about 80°, and the other parts of the year 70°; but
I have observed the mercury to be, from the end of June to the
end of August, from 86° to 90°, and often even higher. The sun is
vertical at Antigua on the 7th of May and the 5th of August; and
consequently on those days the inhabitants are ascii at noon.

September, and the two succeeding months, are generally reckoned
the most unhealthy periods of the year. At one moment, the sun
darts its rays with an intensity almost insupportable, while the
sea-breeze (that friend to sufferers from “all-conquering heat”)
dies away, and a slothful calm prevails; at other times, the sun
is hidden by black portentous clouds; the air is chilly and
unwholesome, and rank and noxious vapours are abroad.

The longest day consists of about 13 hours; the shortest about
ten. In these latitudes, there is scarcely any aurora, or
twilight, so that it is scarcely light until the sun is up, and
soon after he sets, it becomes dark.

Suffering as the inhabitants do, from the great heat of the days,
the delightful evenings are particularly enjoyed. No sooner has
the sun hidden his rays in the bosom of the ocean, than the
land-breeze arises; this, blowing as it were from the centre of
the island, towards the sea, appears to come from all points of
the compass at once. Evening is the time for walking; and often
have I seen beautiful faces, and bright eyes, gleaming in the

Every author who has written about these “sunburnt isles,” has, I
think, mentioned the beauties of a West Indian night, and well
worthy is it to be praised. The sky is of a deeper and more
lovely blue, almost approximating to violet; and the atmosphere
is so much clearer than in England, that many stars are visible
to the naked eye which there require the aid of a telescope. The
larger planets glitter with a refulgence unknown to more
temperate latitudes—

    “With purest ray,
    Sweet Venus shines,”

and appears almost like another moon. Mars rolls on in eternal
solitude, shewing his broad red face to our wondering gaze.
Bright-eyed Jove, with his “atmospheric belt,” almost blinds us
with his lustre; while the galaxy (or milky way) looks like—

    “A circling zone, powder’d with stars;”

thus they glide on in their beauty—

    “Bright wanderers o’er the blue sky free;”

but oh! when our own attendant planet, the “Silver Queen of
night,” rises in peerless majesty, shedding a flood of glory over
all the surrounding landscape, the scene is inexpressibly lovely.
How often, when enjoying her beams, and gazing on her “spotted
disk,” have I thought of those lines of Mrs. Charlotte Smith—

    “And while I gaze, thy mild and placid light
    Sheds a soft calm upon my troubled breast;
    And oft I think, fair planet of the night,
    That in thy orb the wretched might find rest.”

The stillness and calmness of an English summer’s evening have
been often and often described by our poets; here, however, no
quietness is to be met with, but on the contrary all is bustle
and noise. Sounds of every description fill the air, as soon as
“evening grey” sets in. Parties of negroes, men, women, and
children, gather together in groups, worthy the illustrative
pencil of Cruikshank, to gabble away their _nancy stories_,
relate their quarrels, or discuss the other business of the day.
Bats of every size and shape fly backwards and forwards in search
of their prey, or pay you an unceremonious visit through the open
_jalousies_ of your houses. Crickets and frogs raise their shrill
pipes, which grate most unmusically upon the ear; cock-roaches
(those disgusting pests of the West Indies) crawl over the
floors, or ceilings of the apartments, or at times take the
liberty of brushing in your face, or nestling in your hair;
mosquitoes hum their monotonous song, or insert their proboscis
into every accessible part of your flesh; while the land crabs
clatter about, just like an old woman in pattens. The houses are
lighted up as if for an illumination, the windows are thrown open
to admit the evening air, and the fair inhabitants amuse
themselves by playing upon harpsichords, or similar musical
instruments, “Blue Bells of Scotland,” “Home, Sweet Home,” and
other popular melodies.

                          CHAPTER XVI.

  Scenery of Antigua—Pilgrimage to “Tom Moore’s Spring”—The
  Goddess Mnemosyne—Fig-Tree Hill—The “Bower of Bliss”—“Old Road”
  —The Strand—The cross sexton—The parochial school—Old Road
  Church—Tomb of Col. Williams—Moravian settlement—Salt ponds—
  Copses—“Crab Hill”—Sandy Valley—The Valley Church—The rising
  moon—Arrival in town—Night, and night dreams.

With respect to the scenery of Antigua, it is said to be neither
“grand nor magnificent,” that “its mountains are too much like
mole-hills,”[62] and in many other ways has it been depreciated;
yet there are some spots of real beauty, which would strike the
eye of even a painter or a poet. To see some of these to the
greatest advantage, I would advise all such readers as have it in
their power to take a drive or a ride (whichever they prefer)
some fine morning to “Fig Tree Hill,” and return by “Crab Hill.”
They will then meet with spots of such transcendent loveliness,
as will cause the most unpoetic to exclaim, “Beautiful!
beautiful!” But as some of my readers, perhaps, may never have
the chance of taking such a tour, in pity to them, I will attempt
to describe what I saw in my pilgrimage to “Tom Moore’s Spring.”

It was a lovely morning (as most West India mornings are) when we
started upon our journey. The sun shone bright and clear; indeed,
far too clear for actual comfort, had we gone as “pilgrims grey,”
with “scalloped hat,” and “sandled shoon,” and resting on our
“staves;” but we preferred the less romantic, but more pleasant
way of taking it quietly in our carriage. Quickly we passed
through the town of St. John’s, leaving its busy inmates, its
shops and stores, its “Scotch row” and Scotchmen, and all its
noise and bustle, for the quietness and freshness of the country.
Upon gaining “Otto’s Hill,” at the outskirts of the town, I
looked back upon the beautiful harbour of St. John’s, its blue
waves just rippling the surface, its barques and brigs, schooners
and sloops, bowing their heads as if in graceful homage to some
sea-god from old King Neptune’s court; and its sloping shores
displaying a carpet of luxuriant green, for a little rain which
had fallen not long before had clothed the fields in a garb of
lovely verdure. While thinking upon all these beauties, and the
images they called up, my poetic fancies were crushed by the
horrible noise of a long string of “cattle carts” and their sable
drivers, coming into town with a load of molasses for “Brother
Jonathan,” or some other worthy. This brought me down from the
seventh heaven, and made me just then find out that it was very
_hot_, and the road disagreeably dusty. However, in our
pilgrimage through life, we meet with many crosses, and many
_dusty spots_; and therefore, in our pilgrimage to “Tom Moore’s
Spring,” we could but expect the same.

The country certainly looked very pretty upon this eventful day,
for every spot was green, and as we passed the numerous estates,
an air of gladness seemed to be abroad. The breeze blew soft from
off the mountains we were approaching, and greeted our olfactory
nerves with the odour of the yellow acacia, which grew along the
side of the road in vast profusion. In a short time, we reached
the banks of a small rivulet, the only real stream Antigua can
boast of, for the few others we passed owed their source more to
the late rains than anything else. This rivulet was bordered by
bamboos, and other species of wild cane, while larger trees, in
many parts, shewed their gnarled roots, and bent their long
boughs to kiss the swift gliding waters. Various aquatic plants
grew along its margin, while in the stream itself sported my own
country’s water-lily, bright nymphæa. Near to the spot stands a
rural little temple of worship, with its plain white walls, and a
little cross upon its roof, and across the rivulet is thrown a
rustic bridge. This is a favourite resort for country
washerwomen, and as we passed, many of them were busily engaged
in their very necessary avocations; but as none of them presented
the appearance of a nymph or a naïad, I will not introduce them
to my readers.

We had heard of the bad state of the roads before we left our
home, of the hills we had to mount, and the dingles we had to go
down; of the terrible ravines on one side, and the bare rocks on
the other, and of places where the least swerve of the carriage
would send us over, and then, according to our informant, “it
would be no use to go look for you.” At every turn of the road,
then, we looked for some trial, and “screwed up our courage to
the sticking-point,” that we might be enabled to overcome them;
but after travelling for some time, and meeting with nothing very
terrific, we began to console ourselves, and remark, that the
difficulties appeared to lie in the imagination. At length, we
came to a pretty steep hill, which we surmounted in due time, and
again sped on our way joyfully, thinking that all was very fair,
when lo! up rose before us, if not a _mountain_, at least, a
_giant hill_. Here would be the “tug of war,” so we called a
council. “What is to be done?” was the first query. “Why, either
_go on_ or _go back_” was the answer. The old adage of “out of
two evils, choose the least,” came into our thoughts. There was
the hill behind, and the hill before, so we agreed to lay the
various “for’s” and “against’s” before us in a very orthodox

To commence then: if we go on, we must mount this hill, but when
we have accomplished that, we shall have no other of great
consequence; we were near half way, so we should have almost as
far to go back as to go on; on the other side, if we returned, we
should still have a hill before us, and not have the consolation
of visiting the celebrated “fig-tree.” Having come to the
conclusion of our arguments, the word was given “forward,” and
forward we attempted to go; but there were some of our party
whose opinions had not been asked, but who, no doubt, felt as
great concern in the decision as any one else; I mean those very
noble animals ycleped “horses,” and for reasons my readers may
easily conceive they appeared resolved not to proceed. After a
few words of encouragement, however, and a few caresses, they
agreed to lend us their aid, and once more we started.

During the period that all this momentous business was going on,
we had totally neglected the appearance of the weather, and had
not a drop or two of rain fallen, and the sound of a distant clap
of thunder echoed round us, I dare say we should not have thought
upon such a subject. Here, then, was romance; a thunder-storm,
and “Sawcolt Hill”—it only wanted an old castle and a horde of
banditti to make it a scene worthy the pen of a “Radcliffe.” The
lambent lightning played for awhile, and the thunder bellowed
through the boundless sky, and then passed slowly away to the
west, very much to my satisfaction. “Sawcolt Hill” was ascended,
and descended, and the road became more beautiful at every turn,
until at length we stood by the side of the noted freshwater
spring. And what then were my reflections? I thought it was
lovely in everything but its name—“Tom Moore’s Spring!” Who, in
the name of all that’s romantic, could call such a spring by such
a name? Had it been the “fairy’s spring,” or the “spring of the
mountain sylph,” or something of the kind, it would have sounded
as it ought, and some charming legend might have been attached.
But who could ever inquire after “Tom Moore?” Why, the name of
such a being puts all fancies to the flight!

Thus far had my thoughts wandered, when suddenly, an ideal form
passed before me; her sweet and classic countenance—her eyes
which mocked the heavens in their dye—her long and silken lashes
which drank the dew of her vermilion cheeks, all conspired to
render me entranced. A blue mantle floated from her shoulders,
and a thousand graces hovered round her steps. As she glided
away, she placed one of her taper fingers upon her ruby lips,
and, in a voice of liquid sweetness, uttered the word,
“Remember!” I knew her for the goddess “Mnemosyne,” and I tried
to follow her behest. My beautiful goddess assisted me, and
brought to my recollection that “Bulbul of a thousand songs,”
that sweet rhymer who charms us with his “bower of roses by
Bendameer’s stream,” as with his melodies of the “Emerald Isle,”
he who bears the well-known appellation of “Tom Moore.” I
remembered all this to my shame, and determined in future never
to utter one word against it, did all the springs in Antigua bear
that name. After making this resolution, I turned once more to
inspect “Tom Moore’s Spring.” The water is as clear as crystal,
and of a refreshing coolness; and as it trickles from beneath the
roots of a large bamboo growing by, each drop looks like liquid
pearl. It has never been known to be dry, let the season be what
it will, and consequently must be of inexpressible value to the
adjoining estates. It was formerly built round with a stone wall,
but that has long ago fallen to ruin, and no one has troubled
himself to erect it again. I blame none, however, upon this
score, for, in my opinion, it looks more romantic as it is;
nature has done much for it, and art would only spoil her work.

After leaving the spring, another height presented itself,
clothed with luxuriant woods. This was “Fig-tree Hill,” and no
description I have ever heard of it has sufficiently set forth
its beauty. Upon one side of the road is a deep ravine, whose
irregular descent is hidden by trees of every description, which
cover it to the bottom, and again ascend upon the opposite bank,
until they reach the top of the neighbouring mountain; on the
other side are sloping hills, carpeted with the gayest emerald.
This beautiful hill takes its name from several large fig-trees
which grow around; and from its highest point can be distinctly
seen, upon a clear day, the four islands of Guadaloupe,
Monserrat, Nevis, and St. Kitts.

After remaining upon the height for some time, and enjoying the
extensive prospect, we prepared to descend; but how to describe
the loveliness of the path, I know not. We alighted and walked
down, that nothing might escape our observation. Trees of all
species abound, and—

    “With confessed magnificence deride
    Our vile attire, and impotence of pride.”

The lofty “red cedar,” the beautiful “white-wood,” the
glossy-green “loblolly,” the treacherous “manchineel,” which
invites your approach by its beautiful fruit, while it infects
you with its poisonous odours; the enormous “ceibar,” (or silk
cotton,) the native “walnut,” (which in every tree presents such
varying shades of green,) and the splendid “tamarind,” shade each
side of the road, and cover the surrounding hills.

In many places, huge masses of fantastic rocks rear their bare
fronts to the heavens; some taking the form of old castles, with
their frowning battlements and strong ramparts; and others
looking as if about to fall into the valleys beneath.

Just at the termination of the first descent is one of the
sweetest spots in Antigua. It is one of tranquillity and repose.
The fierce beams of the sun are excluded by the umbrageous
foliage of the trees, around whose trunks various creepers
entwine themselves, and throw their slender limbs from one to the
other of these

    “Green-robed senators of mighty woods,”

forming many beauteous alcoves, carpeted with the lowlier
flowers; whilst the “purple wreath” hangs its tasseled blossoms
on all sides, and gives an air of lightness to the whole. A
little silver stream (one of those the offspring of the balmy
showers before mentioned) crossed the road in this part; and
after leaping over roots of trees, or any other slight impediment
which fell in its way, and thereby causing a thousand translucent
waterfalls, at length lost itself in the impending woods. Oh! it
was a lovely scene, and put me very much in mind of Spenser’s
“Bower of Bliss;” particularly when

    “Was heard a most melodious sound
    Of all that could delight a curious ear;
    Such as might not upon terrestrial ground,
    Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere.
    Full hard it was for him, who did it hear,
    To guess what sort of music this might be;
    For all that pleasing is to living ear
    Were there soft mingled in one harmony:
    Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree.”

This was a true delineation; for although most tropical birds are
devoid of song, the “painted warblers” might here be said to hop
“from spray to spray.” The pretty little humming-bird fluttered
among the flowers, extracting from them, with its long and
slender beak, the liquid honey; and the doves courted each other
with soft, but melancholy cooing, from many a leafy brake. Upon
my remarking I never before heard birds _sing_ in the West
Indies, our negro-servant joined the conversation with—“Oh,
missis! if you was to come here early in the moring, before the
sun high, you would hear the birds singing in such a manner, that
it would make you feel quite dismal all de day.” The first time I
ever heard of the song of a bird producing such an effect.

But to return to my description of this sweetest of all sweet
spots. Did we live in “days of yore,” when fairies were wont to
visit our world, and astonish the benighted swains with their
glittering processions, we could fancy this one of their
favourite retreats; but, alas! those harmless goblins have long
disappeared, and with them all moonlight revels. The negroes,
however, are determined it shall not be without some aerial
visitants, so have peopled it with a tribe of _jumbies_, who,
according to their account, are very different in behaviour and
appearance to the pretty little elves.

After carving our names upon the trunk of a noble tree, which
appears to grow out of a rock, we proceeded on our journey
through the same lovely scenes, which now became interspersed
with palm-trees, until we entered upon a plain, on one side
studded over with ruined Carib houses, and on the other, laid out
in luxuriant cane-pieces, belonging to the Hon. Rowland E.
Williams, the descendant of a long line of noble ancestors, and
whose paternal domain extends throughout the lovely scenes I have
been endeavouring to describe. A few minutes’ drive brought us to
“Old Road,” so called because it was the first high-road made in

This town, if town it can be called, is, as regards architective
arrangement, a perfect nondescript; for streets there are none,
but here and there a straggling house. There is the _beach_,
indeed, which may justly be termed “_the strand_;” but, unlike
that far-famed street in London, boasts no splendid shops—no
arcades or bazaars, with their “euterpeons”—no brilliant lines of
lamps, or crowds of well-dressed and busy passengers. A plentiful
supply of bushes and “rock-stones” (as the Creoles call all
descriptions of stones) make up for those deficiencies; and the
murmur of old Father Ocean is the only music heard. Of the houses
which are to be found, a few of them are in repair; but the
greater part are falling to ruin, and have become a receptacle
for hordes of green lizards. One of these buildings struck me as
rather peculiar in appearance. Nothing remained of it, it is
true, but the walls of rough masonry, with huge gable-ends
pointing to the skies; but still it seemed as the work of another
race of beings. Upon making inquiries about it, an inhabitant
informed us her grandmother (who had died several years before,
at the advanced age of 116) remembered it in the same ruinous
state from her earliest years; but we could learn no further

Our principal object for visiting “Old Road,” was to see a
tombstone in the church, laid down to the memory of Col. Rowland
Williams; and consequently, as soon as we arrived, our first
inquiry was for the person who kept the keys of the church, and
who acts in the capacity of sexton. While waiting for this
official, we walked down to the beach. The harbour is a very fine
one, and forms a complete rotund, except in the opening, where
the sea stretches out beyond ken. A line of smooth silver sand
borders the sea, diversified with clumps of mangrove, manchineel,
and sea-side grapes; while here and there a cocoa-nut tree rears
aloft its proud head, as if scorning to herd with the lowlier of
its kind. For some time we amused ourselves with picking up
various small shells, matted sea-weed, and corallines, which were
scattered about the beach in profusion; but the heat,
notwithstanding the fresh sea-breeze, was beginning to be felt
oppressive; when turning the angle of one of the old buildings, a
man with a bunch of keys in his hand appeared in sight.

Although not always the case, still very generally, the face is
the index to the mind; and when I first saw that man, I felt
prejudiced against him. He came forward with a slovenly gait, and
downcast looks, and to our inquiries for the keys of the church,
he returned for answer, “Yes, but I can’t let you in.” On asking
the reason, the rejoinder was, “Because the parson told me not to
let any one go into the church.” This was by no means cheering
news for us; it was far from satisfactory after riding fifteen
miles, to be turned away without seeing the very object we came
to look at. Every kind of persuasion was used to induce him to
comply. I joined in urging him to “ope’ the door, and bid us
enter,” but alas! I found him as insensible to the voice of
woman, as to everything else. “Can we go into the churchyard?”
was then inquired. “Yes,” was the surly answer; and following his
steps, we soon reached that quiet spot.

Even here he apparently viewed us with suspicion, thinking,
perhaps, we not only looked capable of _sacrilege_, but of
carrying away the church also; for although he still had the keys
in his hand, and the rain began to fall, he not only remained
inexorable, but looked as if he should be quite as well pleased
if we quitted the place altogether. “The rain was falling fast,”
and obliged us to retire to the shelter of a large white-wood
tree, which no doubt was coeval with the first settlers, and
beneath its spreading branches we remained for some time, until
one of our party determined to try some other expedient, to gain
the wished-for admittance, and for that purpose left myself and
attendant in our shady retreat.

After the lapse of about a quarter of an hour, a well-known voice
was heard; and at an opening in the leafy covert, the person it
proceeded from appeared, accompanied by a female. This was the
parochial school-mistress; and a kind-hearted creature she
appeared to be. She immediately sent in search of the cross
sexton, and promised to take upon herself the responsibility of
letting our party into the church; but the man was not to be
found—he had left the town, and carried the keys with him. With
native politeness, Miss Austin (as the worthy school-mistress was
called) invited us to rest in her house until she could make
further inquiries after the “keys;” and following our
conductress, we shortly arrived at her residence, where (with a
very warrantable kind of pride) she informed us, her mother was
born, and married, and had reared eight children. Long before we
gained the house, the hum of little voices was heard; and upon
approaching the open door, about forty children, who formed the
school, rose up, and commenced singing, “We make our obeisance to
you, ma’am,” to the tune of “L—a—w, Law;” while a parrot,
suspended from a beam, if she did not _sing_, at least
_screeched_ in chorus. After looking at these little negroes for
some time, and inspecting the simple decorations of their
school-room, we were ushered up stairs, and introduced to Miss
Austin’s two sisters.

I cannot help speaking more fully of the polite behaviour of this
trio. I came among them a perfect stranger, my name even being
unknown, and in all probability never again to meet in this
world; but every little attention possible was lavished upon me,
the choicest produce of their garden tendered, and without the
least parade. I have mixed with society in a far higher grade,
where courtly manners prevail, and every art is tried to invest
each action with a polished grace; but often, very often, has
less native good-breeding, fewer sterling qualities of the mind
been displayed than I found in the sisters of “Old Road.” They
are not like the generality of persons in their line of life;
hospitality indeed is, I believe, a virtue which most of them
possess; but there was no aping of their betters, as is too
frequently the case with this class of people; no flying away,
when we came so suddenly upon them, to put on a brass chain, or a
string of glass beads; or to take off an untidy wrapper, to
enrobe themselves in a smart gown; their neat dresses and
snow-white collars, like beauty, needed not “the foreign aid of

Many a beautiful tree grew around their humble dwelling, and many
a sweet-scented flower almost entered the open windows. When we
had rested for a short time, we proceeded to the garden, to see a
lime-tree. Knowing as I did the blighted state of these trees in
Antigua, I expected to see a diminutive shrub; what, then, was my
surprise, upon entering the little paddock, (for it had more the
appearance of that than a garden,) to see a noble tree, covering
the space of about fifty square feet, loaded with its fragrant
fruit to the very ground. Well worthy was it to be looked at!
well worthy to be praised by an abler pen than mine!—no
indefinite article could be used to this shrub; it must be called
_the_ lime tree, and nothing else. While looking, again and
again, at this beautiful tree—pressing its odorous leaves, and
inhaling the scent of its golden fruit, the youngest sister
remarked, “The archdeacon was here the other day, to catechise
the children, and upon seeing this tree, said it looked as if the
blessing of God was upon it.” And in truth it does appear so, for
it flourishes on in its beauty in the midst of a burning sand,
whilst most of its species are blighted and seared.

After leaving the lime-tree, we returned to the house and heard
the children read a chapter in the Bible, and repeat the gospel,
which they did very correctly, although some of them had not
numbered their fifth year, thus proving the pains their tutoress
takes with them; and then, putting up with our disappointment,
left for home. As we were passing the church, Mr. Sexton appeared
to have altered his mind in some degree, for (but with a very
indifferent grace, it must be owned) he condescended to open the
church door, and allow us entrance. The church, which is composed
of hewn stone, is built in the form of a cross, and is noted for
being the first place of public worship erected in Antigua. There
is nothing very remarkable in the interior; the walls are plain
white, and the floor paved with brick; but it is a quiet little
church, where the good people of that neighbourhood may worship
their God in peace. Over the altar is an old painting of Moses
and Aaron in their robes; and under the communion table reposes
the ashes of him who may be called the founder of the church; for
he gave the land, and liberally contributed towards its erection.
This was Col. Rowland Williams, who, as before-mentioned, was
celebrated for his various good qualities, as well as humanity,
in a period when the West Indies were generally enveloped in
moral darkness. The epitaph upon his tomb-stone is inscribed in
Latin; but as many of my readers no doubt prefer the English
translation, I will insert it, which I am enabled to do through
the kindness of the Rev. H. G. Hall.

                Here safely lie in Mother Earth
            The mortal remains of Rowland Williams.
                   We are but dust and ashes!
      He was the first male infant of European extraction
                 Lawfully born in this island.
       When he attained to manhood, he conducted himself
                           As a man,
     Being equally in military, as in civil life, an honour
           As well to himself, as to his connexions.
             In the field, he was a bold commander;
            In the senate, he was a wise councillor:
              What avails strength without wisdom?
       He was a loyal subject of his king, a protector of
                          His country,
    A true father to his children, hospitable to his guests,
              A friend to his friends. In a word,
                 He was all things to all men.
            Throughout his whole life he displayed,
            With health of body, soundness of mind.
       Possessing the strictest honesty and much wealth.
                He fell a tardy victim to death,
              Having survived about eighty years.
          He was buried the twentieth day of ——— 1713.
             Since it is certain that we must die,
        We should without delay take warning against it.

Near the altar is an elegant and chastely ornamented white marble
tablet, erected to the memory of Mrs. Williams, daughter of Sir
Patrick Ross, K. C. B., and wife of the Hon. Rowland E. Williams,
the great-great-grandson of the above Col. Williams. This
exemplary lady died at the early age of 32; respected by all
classes, and deeply regretted by those who were honoured with her
friendship. The following lines are engraved on the tablet:—

    “Death, ere thou canst claim another,
    Fair, and good, and wise as she,
    Time shall hurl his dart at _thee_.”[63]

After copying these inscriptions, and casting one more glance
round this rustic church, we returned to our carriage, and
proceeded on our journey to “Crab Hill.” Before relating the rest
of our adventures, I must remark, that the line of conduct
pursued by the sexton of “Old Road” is not common in Antigua,
such officials being generally very obliging.

Near to “Old Road” is a pond, which is formed by the hand of
nature into a complete bason. It is surrounded with some fine and
noble trees, which form a screen, and is embellished with a
variety of odoriferous flowers, which bloom and die unknown and
uncared for, illustrating those beautiful lines of Gray’s—

    “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

Near to this spot is a natural excavation, called the “Devil’s
Punch Bowl,” which, although I had often heard it spoken of as
something very grand, did not cause me much pleasure or
astonishment, being, in fact, nothing more than a deep hole, with
a little turbid water at the bottom.

About a stone’s throw from “Old Road,” on the top of the hill,
stands a Moravian settlement, with its neat white house and
chapel; there is always an air of comfort around these
settlements, which speaks to an English heart; and the Moravians
themselves are a quiet, well-meaning people, diligent in the
discharge of their ministerial duties, and earnestly desiring
their people’s welfare. May they meet their reward!

After passing the fort of “Old Road,” the next place which
attracted our notice was the salt ponds, with their fringe of
mangrove trees and little islands. Innumerable soldier crabs were
hurrying to and fro,—some looking out for a new coat of mail, in
the form of a new shell, and others hunting for their prey, which
is very frequently the weak and small of their own class. The sea
now burst upon our sight, and added to the beauty of the scene;
its surface was as smooth and clear as a mirror, except where the
breakers played over a long reef, which runs far out from shore,
and threw up their lovely but dangerous spray in measured
showers,—no wonder the ancients fabled their goddess of beauty to
have sprung from this sparkling object.

After passing the rectory of St. Mary’s, our road lay through
copses, whose overhanging boughs formed a beautiful and verdant
arch. The sunbeams, penetrating through them, danced in sportive
glee upon the chequered ground, while between the boles we caught
picturesque glimpses of the ocean. I could not help noticing one
peculiarity in passing through these woods, that almost every
tree is decorated with that species of parasite called wild
pines;[64] the great varieties of cactus was also remarkable.

After journeying along the road for about a mile, we came in view
of “Crab Hill,” noted for the dangers it presents to travellers,
should their horses prove restive, or night overtake them. Here
again we alighted, determined that nothing should escape our
gaze. The road rises about 180 feet from the sea, in an abrupt
precipice clothed with the dwarf acacia and “milk-bush”—those
ever-to-be-found productions of Antigua. A low wall of stones,
loosely piled, borders the edge of the road, which would prove
but a sorry guard against any accident. In the steepest part of
the hill, we looked over, and watched in silence the beautiful
but treacherous waves, as they laved the rocky base of the
precipice. Here and there a blasted parasite clung to it, and
feebly strove to hide its ugliness; and one or two sea-birds sat
watching for their prey, and pluming their rumpled feathers. At
the sound of our voices they started, and after turning upon us
their bright quick eyes for a moment, as if to ask why we
obtruded upon their solitude, flapped their wings and soared
screaming away through the vaulted ether.

We enjoyed the scene for some time longer, and then remembering
we were still many miles from the capital, and the sun had almost
completed his daily journey, we resumed our seats and set our
faces towards home. A ride of a few more minutes brought us to a
place called “Sandy Valley,” which proved not to be, like some
places, a _misnomer_, for there is sand enough for any one’s
taste, and fine glittering sand it is too. The sea bounds one
side of the valley, and a stagnant marsh the other.

Leaving this, we passed by the valley church and school,
cultivated cane-pieces and neat-looking “great houses,” negro
huts and provision grounds, and an open country, for we were
rapidly leaving the mountains behind us. On our right, we passed
a methodist settlement, and another belonging to the Moravians,
and hard by a fresh-water spring; but I began to feel very tired,
and consequently did not find out beauties which otherwise might
have attracted my attention. A pretty sloping hill lay before us,
and as we passed, the “full-orb’d moon” rose above it, and

    “O’er the night her silver mantle threw.”

A sudden turn in the road placed her lovely face behind us, and
languidly reclining in a snug corner, I mused in silence upon the
beautiful scenes I had passed through in our pilgrimage, until
roused by a bustle in the road, just at the entrance of the
capital, where men and boys, long poles and ropes, and that very
respectable quadruped, dignified by Antiguans with cognomination
of “a cattle,” formed the _figurantes_. The poor creature had
been landed from an American vessel that morning, at a
neighbouring bay, and exhausted, I suppose, with the discomfits
of its voyage, had fallen down on its way to the butcher’s. I
don’t think its sufferings were of long continuance, for the next
morning I heard the black bellman announcing to the public, that
“A fine fat ’merican ox was slaughtered at the shambles of
‘Seizar’ James.”[65]

But to conclude our adventures; we rapidly passed through the
grass-market and the town, heard the jingle of many a piano and
the squeak of many a flute, (I mean no disparagement to the
performers,) almost ran over a pig or two, who, spite of a late
prohibition, were walking out to enjoy the cool of the evening;
and at length safely alighted at our residence in “Spring

In the course of an hour or two, I willingly resigned myself to
the dominion of sleep, and dreamt of mountains and
thunder-storms, springs and fairies, precipices and lime-trees.


[62] “The highest mountains are not more than 1500 feet above the
level of the sea.”

[63] The above lines are taken from an epitaph written upon the
Dowager Countess of Pembroke, sister to the celebrated Sir Philip
Sidney one of the favourite courtiers of Queen Elizabeth, and
author of a romance entitled “Arcadia,” which he dedicated to his
sister the Countess. On this account it is frequently called “the
Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia.” This lady was noted for her
great learning, in an age when classical knowledge was the common
accomplishments of the court ladies. Her principal work was a
translation of “Antonius,” a French tragedy.

    “Underneath this marble hearse,
    Lies the subject of all verse.
    Sidney’s sister, Pembroke’s mother.
    Death, ere thou hast kill’d another,
    Fair, and learn’d, and good as she,
    Time shall throw a dart at thee.”

[64] There is one great peculiarity in this plant which deserves
notice. The leaves are cellular, and so formed as to make sure
reservoirs for the drops of rain, which fall into them from the
top, through small openings. The seeds are furnished with a downy
substance, by which means they float through the air, and take
root upon any part of a tree or shrub upon which they chance to
fall. The leaves always grow erect, by which means they safely
hold the rain water. Dampier mentions piercing these plants with
his knife, and catching the water in his hat when suffering from

[65] It may be proper to note, that such events are not of
everyday occurrence in Antigua. Not more than two “cattle” are
slaughtered in the capital in a week, and when such deed is
committed the bellman announces it to the public.

                         CHAPTER XVII.

  The seasons at Antigua—Heavy rains—Long droughts—The
  water-merchant—A fortunate shower—Drought in 1837—Desolate
  appearance of the country—Famishing cattle—Definition of “_fine
  rains_”—Anecdote—Heavy shower—Joy—Earthquakes—1835—Meteors—
  Dressing for the ball—The alarm—The ball-room—Hurricanes—

The seasons at Antigua may be divided into the _wet_ and _dry_.
The wet season generally commences in July, and continues, with
intermissions, until October; and in February we look for it
again. The rains in England are but summer dews, comparatively
speaking, to the torrents which the overcharged clouds pour down
upon these “Isles of the West.” No one but an actual observer can
form any idea of the violence of these storms. In a moment the
streets are inundated, and the falling of the large drops upon
the shingled roofs of the houses is quite deafening.

But at the same time these rains constitute the Antiguan’s
greatest blessing, for not only do they revive the parched and
thirsty earth, cool the atmosphere, promote the growth of the
sugar cane, and dress nature in her loveliest garb; but from
having (as before mentioned) only two or three fresh-water
springs in the island, and those far inland, their chief supplies
of that necessary fluid are derived from these showers. Large
cisterns are dug and carefully lined with some kind of plaster,
either terrace, brought from Monserrat or St. Christopher’s, or
Roman cement, to contain it; and as rain water has the property
of purifying itself, it is generally translucent and wholesome.

Antigua has, however, at various times, suffered long and
dreadfully from drought. In 1779, the long want of rain was
painfully felt; and in 1789 it occurred again, but with redoubled
severity. Famine, it was supposed, would be the result. As many
as five thousand head of horned cattle are said to have died; and
men and women fell down in the streets from exhaustion. I have
felt what it is to suffer from this cause in a small degree; the
water we have been obliged to drink when the cisterns were dried
up was nauseous in the extreme—only stern necessity would have
induced persons to partake of it.

Sometimes, when nearly all the ponds in the island are dry, (as
was the case in 1833,) it becomes necessary to despatch vessels
to the nearest islands for a supply of water. This season of
general distress proves, at times, a rich harvest to those
adventurers who possess, or can hire, a small vessel, and load it
with water, for which they charge very high.

A circumstance occurred in the above-mentioned year, in relation
to this practice, which it may be worth while to relate. During a
long succession of dry weather, and when there was but very
little water to be found in Antigua, one of these
_water-merchants_, if I may be allowed to use that expression,
went to Monserrat (a small island a few hours’ sail from Antigua)
for a cargo of this useful beverage. Upon his return he asked an
extravagant price for it; the poor people murmured; but what was
to be done? Water must be had; and in the end the hard-earned
wages of many a one found their way into the pockets of this

Finding his profits so great this time, and the dry weather
continuing, he determined to make another trip, and if possible,
add a little more of the “Honey of Hybla” to his stock. He
arrived at Antigua with his elementary cargo in the evening, and
immediately commenced his traffic. But in this instance he
outwitted himself; for raising his demands as the necessity of
water appeared the greater, the people were unable to comply, and
determined to wait until morning, in hopes of procuring some at a
cheaper rate.

In the meantime the clouds began to darken, and appeared to rest
upon the top of the mountains. The wind whistled mournfully among
the trees—the air became chill—the mercury fell, and in a few
moments the windows of heaven were opened, and the long-looked
and wished-for rain descended, not in measured drops, “soft and
slow,” but in torrents. Now was the season of exultation; every
vessel capable of containing fluids was put in requisition, and
the mortified _water-merchant_ was obliged to get rid of his
cargo the best way he could. Near to our residence is a kennel,
which in dry weather is totally devoid of moisture, but during
these heavy rains it becomes a small rivulet. To this stream then
rushed a motley group; men, women, and children, dogs and poultry
—all participating in the general joy; even the swinish multitude
grunted forth their approbation, and ran to lave their snouts in
its cool waters.

It was laughable to see the little black children as they
scampered about, shaking their hands, and screaming with delight
as they enjoyed their natural “shower bath,” which proved a more
effective one than even Mrs. O’Flinn’s. Talking of “shower baths”
brings to my recollection an anecdote related of a late merchant
of St. John’s.

Mr. B———, the merchant in question, had been for some time
suffering from indisposition, and his medical attendant advised
him to try the renovating influence of a shower-bath.
Accordingly, such a machine was duly procured, and the next
morning put into requisition. In the course of the day the
physician called to ascertain the state of his patient after his
ablution, and with winning voice, inquired how he liked his
“shower-bath.” “Oh, doctor!” replied the sick man, with rueful
look and lengthened visage, “I verily thought I should have
fainted, the shock was so great.” “Indeed,” said Dr. M———, in his
usual bland manner, “I am sorry it had such an effect; why did
you not follow the Irishman’s plan, and take your umbrella?” The
next forenoon brought with it the customary medical visitor, who
again inquired into the merits of the bath. “Why,” quoth the
invalid, “I cannot say the shock was so great, but I do not think
I shall derive any benefit from it; in fact, only my feet
received a wetting this time, for I followed your advice _and
carried my umbrella!_”

But to return to the subject of droughts. Severe as the drought
was in 1833, it was nothing compared to what we suffered in 1837,
from the same cause; and, indeed, for the greater part of the
preceding year. The old people remarked that they never
remembered its being so dry since 1789, (which was particularly
distinguished as “the year of the drought.”) What miseries the
Antiguans then suffered, I am of course from experience unable to
say; but if they exceeded those endured in that eventful year,
1837, they must have been terrible indeed.

Almost every pond and cistern in the island was dried up,
scarcely a blade of grass was to be seen; and when walking over
pasture land, it crackled beneath the feet as if it had been
baked. The poor cattle presented a most deplorable appearance,
wandering about as they did in search of food and water, and
expressing their urgent wants, by faint, melancholy lowings.

The poorer class of inhabitants, also, felt it very much, obliged
as they were to drink the spring water, which is but very little
better than salt. The little fresh water they were able to
procure occasioned them great labour, for after toiling hard all
the day, they were obliged to devote the greater part of the
night to fetching it from distant parts of the islands, carrying
it in tubs upon their heads.

It was a pitiful sight to see the country, it presented such a
scene of barrenness. The cane-pieces looked burnt up; nothing was
to be seen but dry and withered leaves, in place of their
accustomed rich green; the provision grounds became mere wastes,
and all agricultural employments were at a stand.

Days and weeks thus rolled on, and still the same blue cloudless
sky—the same burning sun. Or if a cloud did arise, and skim the
vast concave, and the hopes of men grew strong, it passed away
without giving the long-looked-for blessing. Again, and the scene
changed. Huge dense clouds might be seen, piled one upon another,
and slowly extending themselves over the sky until they reached
the zenith; the upper ones looking as if crowned with snowflakes,
while those nearer the earth were black and heavy like a
“funereal pall,” and appeared as if about to discharge their
burdens. “Now we shall have it!” was the cry; “at last, we shall
have rain!” Delusive hopes! doomed to be overthrown; these again
passed away, and left no boon.

Every day presented appearances more and more alarming, the
little supply of water was rapidly diminishing, and men and
brutes were becoming exhausted by thirst. Days were set apart by
the legislature for public prayers and fasts, and a sum of money
granted for the purpose of hiring vessels to go to Monserrat for
water. This water was sold by the pail, but from being brought
over in molasses’ casks, it tasted extremely disagreeable.

The late Sir Evan Murray McGregor, then governor of Barbados,
hearing of the necessities of the Antiguans, (over whom he had
formerly held sway in the character of commander-in-chief of the
Leeward Islands,) sent a man-of-war with a cargo of this precious
element from that island; but under some pretence or the other,
it was refused by the legislature. The cause of this
extraordinary line of conduct was said to be this. Sir Evan was
not generally a favourite governor with the aristocratic party:
he was a man of strict principles, and one who poised the scales
of justice with an impartial hand between rich and poor, white
and coloured. He would not herd with the _great people_—go to
their houses, eat their corn-fed mutton and turtle, drink their
_Château Margeau_ and Champagne, and then wink at their
proceedings, and gloss over their errors, like some of his
predecessors. Upon this account he was not liked, and when in the
kindness of his heart he sent the present of water, it was
refused in a very cold manner. Some of the members of the
assembly were against this arrangement, and said, for the honour
of Antigua, that they would rather have lost double the amount
than it should have been returned.

But to return more particularly to the drought. Not only did the
inhabitants suffer from want of water to drink, and for general
use, but the country provisions, such as yams, potatoes, &c.,
upon which the negroes principally depend, unavoidably failed;
and as all importations were raised so much in price, the lower
classes were almost starved.

The planters endured great inconvenience, not only from the
dryness of the soil, which ruined the sugar-canes, but also from
having to pay the same number of labourers their regular wages,
without having anything for them to do, yet at the same time
being obliged to retain them, lest when the wet season did come,
and their assistance was really required, they might not be

I heard a circumstance related which occasioned a smile, even in
this time of distress. A certain good lady of St. John’s sent one
of her domestics to the sea side for a pail of salt water. It
happened to be ebb-tide,[66] and upon the servant returning, she
exclaimed to her mistress, the greatest astonishment being
depicted upon her countenance, “Why missis, war you tink? It dry
so till sea himself dry now. War eber we go do, me no no.”

Oh! how anxiously did we watch the barometer day after day, in
hopes of its indicating rain. The inhabitants of the different
parts of the island meeting one another, the first question asked
was, “What weather have you had? do you think we are likely to
get any rain?”

A proprietor of a large estate in a distant part of the island,
but who resided in the capital, met one morning a labourer of his
coming from the country, and of course asked what news there was,
and how they were coming on. “So, so, massa,” returned the negro—
“we hab fine rain last night.” “Say you so, my fine fellow?”
quoth his master, his heart enlarged at the prospect of his canes
flourishing, “well, here’s a quarter-dollar for you, as a reward
for your good news.”

In the course of the same day, the manager of the estate arrived
in town, and upon seeing the proprietor, was congratulated by him
upon the “fine rains” he had so fortunately experienced in the
country. “_Fine rains!_” said the manager, in surprise, “do I
hear you aright, or are you joking? (although I think you’ll find
it no joke in the end;) we have had no rain at all, and I came
into town this morning to consult with you upon the subject; for
from the excessive drought, the canes are all burnt up, the
cattle dying in all directions, and the labourers themselves are
dropping down exhausted from want of water.”

The proprietor stormed and raved—that fellow Cato told me you had
had fine rains last night; and I was so pleased to hear it, that—
that—I actually gave the black rascal a quarter-dollar for his
information. “Here, John! go and call that fellow back,” turning
to a domestic, “and tell him to make haste—do you hear?” In the
course of a short time Cato returned, rolling up his eyes until
only the whites (or rather yellows) were visible, holding his
little flannel cap in one hand, and in the other, what was once
designated as a _pipe_, and uttering a mysterious noise, which
was intended as half interrogative, half conciliatory, waited
until his master, who was puffing and blowing, and looking
“unutterable things,” should speak.

At length the storm burst—the torrent descended. “How dare you
tell me such a story this morning, sirrah? How dare you, sir?
answer me!” “War ’tory, massa,” inquired the self-convicted, but
waggish negro, the left foot at the same time performing
countless evolutions, and the flannel cap twirled round the thumb
with increased velocity. “What story? you arrant rogue! why, the
story you told me this morning about having fine rains in the
country.” “Me no tell no ’tory, massa,” retorted the negro,
determined to stand his master’s ire undaunted, and, like many
other guilty ones, striving to have the last word. “Me no tell no
’tory; war for me go tell ’tory? me no ’peak de trute.” “You
speak the truth, indeed! Here’s the manager, who tells me there
has been no rain at all, but, on the contrary, that my stock are
all dying from want of water; and yet you dared to tell me you
had fine rains last night.” “Yes, massa, and so we _hab fine
rain_; me tell de trute. An more den dat, de rain _fine so_ till—
t-i-ll (prolonging the word) me hardly able to see him, he so
fine!” Both owner and manager found it difficult to maintain
their gravity at this definition of _fine rains_; while Cato,
with a grin of self-congratulation at having so adroitly got
himself out of a bad scrape; and grasping more firmly his
quarter-dollar, which he imagined to be in some danger, set off
for his own residence.

“Hope deferred, maketh the heart sick;” and so indeed it was with
us, when day after day passed, and still no appearance of rain.
But One, who does not “willingly grieve the children of men,”
remembered us in our great affliction, and when we least thought
of it, sent us the needful blessing. I never saw such a fall of
rain before; and many of the oldest inhabitants said the same
thing. In about an hour from the time it first commenced, the
streets were streaming with water; indeed, the one in which we
reside looked more like a small river than anything else, for not
a vestige of dry ground appeared.

Report said two or three children were carried into the sea by
the violence of the stream which rushed through the streets; but
upon further inquiry, I found, as is generally the case, report
did not speak truth. It originated from an old woman, seeing some
chickens (which had been brought to market for sail, with their
legs tied together) floating down the stream, when she exclaimed,
“Eh! eh! look de fowl pic’nee;[67] he sure he go get drowned!”
This travelled, and lost nothing by its peregrinations, until at
length it became magnified into the loss of several children.

In a very short time, all the ponds and cisterns in the island,
which for so long a time had been perfectly dry, were filled to
overflowing, and care and distress gave way to joy and

About June, July, and August, Antigua is liable to be visited by
storms of thunder, and lightning, and earthquakes. The lightning
in this part of the globe is very vivid; and the thunder bellows
through the air in terrific peals, every hill and mountain
reverberating the sound. Often have I seen the lightning playing
down the spiral branches of the cocoa-nut trees, presenting a
sublime but awful appearance.

But although these storms are so violent, and consequently so
harrowing to the feelings, they are nothing in comparison to the
earthquakes with which we are sometimes visited. Every nerve is
shaken by these terrible convulsions of nature; the very brute
creation seem to feel their influence.

In April, 1690, Antigua suffered very severely from this cause.
Nearly the whole town of St. John’s was destroyed; and the
sugar-works upon the various plantations in the country almost
all overthrown. In many parts of the island, the solid earth was
rent open; rocks were hurled from their places, and the very
mountains defaced. The line of hills which skirts the harbour
suffered from the concussion in a remarkable manner: one of them
was rent completely in twain; and now, after the lapse of so many
years, presents the appearance of two heights, with a deep dingle
running between them. Soon after this awful occurrence, two
comets made their appearance.

The first time I felt an earthquake, I took it to be the approach
of a heavy carriage; but by the increased, rumbling and tremour
of the earth, was quickly undeceived. It was but a slight shock,
however, and I began to think an earthquake was not so dreadful
as my fancy had depicted it to be.

It was reserved for the year 1833 to prove to me what an
earthquake really was, and make me fully aware of its terrifying
powers; and although nearly nine years have rolled by since that
period, and consequently the remembrance of it has lost some part
of its vividness, yet the occurrences of that night has left so
deep an impression upon my mind, that it will never be wholly

Between eight and nine in the evening, a shock of an earthquake
was felt; but as it did not continue long, no particular
attention was paid to it. We had retired to-bed, and were in our
first sleep, when we were suddenly awakened by that peculiar
hollow noise which is always the forerunner of one of these
convulsions. The noise became louder and louder; the earth heaved
to and fro; the house shook from its very foundation; and books,
glasses, and other light articles fell from their resting-places.
This lasted with undiminished force: but a few minutes elapsed
before another violent shock was felt. In the midst of this, the
church-bell commenced ringing, and drums beating an alarm, while
the whole face of the heavens, glowing with a fiery red, soon
informed us that a conflagration augmented the horrors of the

There were twenty-one distinct shocks felt between twelve at
night and five in the morning, but the earth continued in a
tremour for twenty-four hours afterwards. Thus it was we passed
through that wearisome night; but when morning broke in the east,
and the bright sun arose, and chased away the clouds of darkness,
how many hearts swelled with gratitude towards Him who had so
mercifully protected us through its dangers.

The fire broke out at an estate called Otto’s, situated in the
suburbs of St. John’s. It was supposed by many to have been
occasioned by a meteor striking a wooden building, which
supposition acquires more credence from the following fact. An
elderly female, of the name of Moore, who had acquired some
notoriety from her preaching, both in England (particularly in
Cateaton street, London) and the West Indies, was sitting up
late, on the night in question, employed in writing her
“Memoirs.” She mentions having seen a particular appearance in
the heavens, which she described as looking like a bright scarf
of fire gradually gliding down the sky in the direction of the
estate, until, upon apparently gaining the earth, it vanished.

The attorney of the above-mentioned estate also witnessed a
similar phenomenon a few weeks afterwards. In this instance, the
meteor descended upon the branch of a cocoa-nut tree, which grew
near his house, and set it on fire; and had it not been for the
courage and activity of a negro who was present, and who
succeeded in felling the tree, great danger might have resulted
from it.

Most of the Leeward Islands suffered from earthquakes the same
night; but at St. Kitts, (about sixty miles to the west of
Antigua,) they appear to have felt them more severely than in the
other islands. A ball was held that evening at the Court House,
and the company were dressing for the occasion when the first
shock was felt.

Two young ladies, the daughters of a respectable merchant of
Bassterre, (the capital of St. Kitts,) met with so great a
fright, that they were obliged to forego paying their court to
the “dancing muse.” The duties of the toilet were scarcely
finished, when, as before observed, the earthquake commenced. In
a moment the ceiling of the apartment was rent, and, as they
supposed, a heavy fall of rain penetrated through the aperture,
and extinguished the lights.

The youngest of the ladies, terrified at the concussion, and not
knowing the extent of their danger, threw herself upon the
ground, calling loudly for help. The trembling domestics quickly
came with a lamp, when, horror of horrors! they found the
delicate white satin in which their young mistress was enrobed,
completely saturated with _blood_! The other members of the
family, alarmed by the screams of the servants, assembled in the
room, and with eagerness inquired where the wound was. This was
not to be discovered; and, accordingly, another elucidation of
the mystery was sought for, and no long period elapsed before it
was found. Their father, as before observed, was a merchant, and
the attic over the room the young ladies occupied had been
converted into a temporary wine-store. From the severe shock of
the earthquake, a cask of port wine got staved; and what had the
appearance of _blood_, was nothing less than its contents which
so liberally bedewed the ball-dress of the fair sufferer.

But the first shock did not intimidate many, however, and
consequently the ball-room was crowded with visitants. “Nods and
becks, and wreathed smiles,” flew around; innumerable lamps
illumined the room, but their blaze was eclipsed by the radiance
emitted from the dark brilliant eyes of the Houris, who, on the
“light fantastic toe,” glided through the mazes of a quadrille.
All was joy fulness, and every heart responded to the genial
influence of the scene, when another shock more violent, and of
longer continuance, converted this feeling of pleasure into the
opposite one of woe. Instead of the lively scene described, all
was now tumult and distress. Some of the ladies fainted, others
threw themselves upon their knees, while the greater number
rushed out of the apartment, which now looked hateful to them,
and hastened to the beach.

Shock followed shock in rapid succession, and the poor
“Kittefonians” thought their little island was doomed to
destruction. Nor was it from the quaking of the earth that all
their terror proceeded; the sea rose so high, and the waves
rolled in such a tumultuous manner, that an inundation was
feared. In such a situation the inhabitants were almost paralyzed
with fear; some went on board the different ships in the harbour,
while others remained all night upon the beach, exposed to the
“pitiless pelting” of the storm.

I chanced to visit St. Kitts a short time after this awful
occurrence. The inhabitants were still trembling from
apprehension; and upon the slightest motion of the floor, the
colour fled from the lips of many of the fair sex, and left them
of a pallid white. I was present, upon one occasion, when a
gentleman requested a young lady to favour him with a song. “Oh,
no, sir! you must excuse me,” said she, lengthening her very
pretty face, and throwing an air of gravity into her countenance;
“we never sing since the earthquake.” If no other good was
effected, it had the power of alienating her mind (for a season
at least) from some of the vanities of the world, if a simple
song can be called one.

Another dreadful visitation of elementary strife, to which
Antigua, as well as the other West Indian islands, is liable in
the months of August, September, and October, are the hurricanes,
or _tornadoes_. When they come, they are armed with every terror—
rain, thunder, lightning, and sometimes earthquakes, attend their
progress. The sea feels their influence, and, by its swelling and
roaring, expresses it—

    “The waves behind impel the waves before,
    Wide-rolling, foaming high, they tumble to the shore.”

The years 1670, 1681, 1707, 1740, 1772, 1780, and 1792, are those
in which the severest hurricanes have occurred at Antigua. The
hurricane of 1670 was most memorable. It raged with intense
severity for four hours, and in that short space of time
destroyed the new town of St. John’s, which had been rebuilt
since the French invasion, and levelled almost every house with
the ground. The ships lost in the harbour were the “Robert,” of
Ireland, William Cocks, master; the “Merchants’ Adventure,” of
the same place; the “Margaret Pink,” from Tangiers, and another
large ship called the “Five Islands,” besides several smaller
vessels which had come there for shelter. A wreck was also driven
ashore, in which was found the corpse of a boy, some palm oil,
and elephants’ teeth, supposed to be from Guinea. That of 1707
was also very severe, being considered one of the most violent
ever experienced in the Leeward West India Islands, although
Antigua suffered more than any of the neighbouring colonies. It
blew down houses and entire sugar-works, tore up the largest
trees by the roots, and devastated whole fields of sugar-canes;
indeed, so tremendous was the hurricane, that it caused an almost
general destruction. The oldest inhabitants of the present day
unite, however, in saying that they never experienced one so
awful as that of 1835.

About four in the afternoon it commenced to look very wild,
although the wind was moderate; the sky was of a deep saffron
colour, and the sun shone with a fiery red. Between five and six
in the evening the wind rose, and continued increasing until
about seven, when the havoc began.

Houses were levelled in an instant with the ground; many of the
small dwellings were completely lifted from off their slight
foundations, and carried by the wind to some distance. One old
woman in particular had a narrow escape of her life. The house in
which she resided was raised about five feet from the ground by
the violence of the wind, hurried along with the greatest
velocity for about the space of twenty feet across the road, and
then placed in what was once a pond. Luckily, however, for the
good old dame, the pond had been filled up, or, in all
probability, her aerial flight would have finished her course of
existence in this transitory sphere.

The hurricane raged with unabated force until a little before
nine, tearing up large trees by the roots, and snapping asunder
others as if they had been twigs; when, suddenly, in a moment,
the wind dropped. Not a sound was to be heard—not a single breeze
was abroad: A deep, solemn silence reigned around—a silence which
harrowed up every feeling of the soul, for it spoke of dire

This continued for some time, when again the wind returned with
redoubled fury, as if its strength was recruited by the short
respite it had gained, and shook the very earth. The hurricane
raged until the sun got up, and then slowly and sullenly it sank
to rest; until towards evening, nothing was to be heard but its
sobs and sighs.

A great many small vessels belonging to Antigua were sunk during
the gale, and many poor mortals that night found—

    “Their death in the rushing blast,
    Their grave in the yawning sea.”


[66] Although in Antigua the tide does not ebb and flow more than
from six to twelve inches in ordinary instances.

[67] “Pic’nee” is the negro term for children.

                         CHAPTER XVIII.

  Description of the town of St. John’s, the capital of Antigua—
  Situation—Arrangement of the streets—Hucksters—Houses—Springs—
  Small shops—Stores of the retail dealers—Grog-shops—Merchants’
  stores and lumber yards—Definition of lumber—Auction sales—
  Scotch Row and Scotchmen—Incongruous display of goods—Fire in
  1797—Ruins—Fire in 1841—Its devastations.

St. John’s, the capital of Antigua, is situated on the west side
of the island, and contains about 979 houses. It is built upon a
slight declivity, and commands a beautiful view of the harbour,
which is one of the prettiest in the West Indies.

The town, which is well arranged, covers a space of about 150
acres of land; most of the streets are wide and well-kept, and
intersect each other at right angles—the principal ones running
in a straight line down to the sea. There is one peculiarity
attending the construction of these streets, which is, that there
are no causeways; and consequently, the pedestrian traveller has
to elbow his way amid trucks and handbarrows, gigs, carriages,
and horsemen, droves of cattle, or cargoes of mules, just landed
from other countries, cattle-carts, or moving houses.

At the corners of the different streets are seated hucksters,
(black or coloured women;)[68] some with their shallow trays,
containing cakes of all descriptions, parched ground nuts, (the
_arachis hypogœa_,) sugar-cakes, and other confections, and
varieties of fruits and vegetables; others have piles of cottons,
coloured calicoes, bright-tinted handkerchiefs, &c., placed by
them, or carefully spread along the sides of the most frequented
streets, to attract the eye of the passer-by. As most of the
Antiguan houses are raised a few feet from the ground, which
necessarily requires the use of a step or two, the hucksters are
very fond of monopolizing such appurtenances; and it is no
uncommon thing to be obliged to wait until they remove their
different wares, before you can enter the house, or else take the
chance of breaking your neck over heaps of potatoes, or come in
closer contact than is advisable with bottles of ginger-drink, or
pots and pans of gorgeous colours, from the well-known English

The houses are generally built of wood, painted of a white or
light stone colour, with bright green _jalousies_, or glass
windows and green Venetian blinds. The greater number have
covered galleries running along the sides or fronts of them, in
which the good people love to assemble in the cool of evening,
and while away the hours in converse sweet, or scan over the
island newspapers—two of which issue weekly from respective
presses, to enlighten the worthy inhabitants as to what is
passing in their little colony.

Some of these dwellings are very commodious, and make a good
appearance, particularly when shaded by a few beautiful trees, or
standing, as many of them do, in a small garden, embellished with
Flora’s splendid children. But as for following any of the _five
orders_ in their architectural adornments, that is quite out of
the question; or at least, it is an order of their own invention
they prefer, and which may be called the Antiguan.

Within these last few years, a few houses have been erected, with
low roofs and parapet walls; the usual plan is to have that
necessary part of the dwelling raised in the fashion of an
English barn, or an Egyptian pyramid. One peculiarity which
strikes the eye of a stranger in these dwellings, is the absence
of chimneys—the kitchens being, in most instances, detached from
the house; and the heat of the climate, as a matter of course,
renders all grates or stoves, and their accompanying flues,

Since the serious droughts in 1833, springs or wells have been
dug in various parts of the town, which, although the water is
brackish, are of great use for many domestic purposes,
particularly to the lower classes, who do not possess a cistern.
These springs have been lately modified by having water-engines
attached to them, and enclosed by a low wall and wooden
palisadings, painted of a bright sky-colour. Methinks, however,
that Master Sol will soon spoil their flaunting beauty. It is a
pity the directors of these improvements did not choose green
instead of the other colour; for, from the whiteness of the
streets, and the extreme glare of the sunbeams, we require
something to relieve and cool the eye; and much as we admire the
lovely tint of the heavens, light blue palings do not equally
fascinate our gaze.

In different parts of the town are numbers of small shops, of
about six or eight feet square, in which varieties of trades are
carried on. In one may be seen a cobbler—no! I beg their pardon—a
_cordwainer_; himself shoeless, busily employed in forming, from
his not very fragrant materials, a pair of creaking high-heeled
boots, for the use of some black exquisite. A bunch of human hair
attached to the end of a long stick, and moving with every
breeze, bespeaks the abode of a barber and hair-dresser; while a
multiplicity of shreds of cloth, half-finished vests, a goose,
and other _et ceteras_, with a group of mortals seated _à la
Turque_, proves beyond doubt that the inmates are of that
particular class of beings, nine individuals of which are
required to form one ordinary man. Others, again, of the
receptacles of trade, are stocked with provisions, such as small
quantities of salt pork, corn, flour, candles, butter, (of the
consistence of honey,) a few dried peas, or horse-beans, and any
other little matters; while some contain _dry goods_, as it is
customary, in this island, to term all articles of drapery. Small
as these tenements are, many of them are divided by a lathed
partition, forming on one side a butcher’s shamble, where an
array of sheep’s heads, miserable specimens of legs of mutton,
and saffron-coloured pork, may be met with, which, carnivorous as
it must be allowed we all are, few like their eyes to dwell upon;
while, on the other side, gown-pieces, and “blue checks,” with
other “odds and ends,” claim the frequenters’ attention.

Next to these small shops, come the stores of the retail
provision dealers, which are upon a larger scale, and of course
better supplied with goods. Then there are the _grog shops_, as
they are termed, where to the heterogeneous mass of eatables,
crockery, and tin-ware, is added the more exciting articles of
brandy, rum, gin, porter, wine, &c.; and where of an evening,
amid fumes of every description, (from Yanky cheese to Virginia
tobacco,) and dim smoky oil lamps, parties of soldiers, sailors,
dingy-looking blacks, and unfortunate females—ay! and men of
better rank of life, who ought to blush to be found in such
places—love to congregate, and barter health and money, for dirty
goblets of those fiery liquids.

When passing, in an evening, these _store-houses for crime_, they
forcibly bring to my mind thoughts of Pandemonium. The dusky
lamps, at one moment sending forth their long flaming tongues,
the next, only serving to make darkness visible; the crowds of
negroes, with their gleaming eyes and glittering teeth,
presenting the appearance of so many attending demons; the groups
of white soldiers or sailors, looking more pallid in the
flickering lamp-light, and greedily quaffing the deleterious
fluid, which, sooner or later, preys upon their very vitals—and
then the various sounds of cursing and quarrelling, idiotic
laughter, discordant singing, and incoherent talking, as the
miserable frequenters arrive at the different stages of
intoxication,—conspire to render it more like a council-chamber
of tormented spirits, than the self-chosen place of amusement of
rational creatures.

The next grade of these places of merchandise are, the merchants’
stores or warehouses, with their attached lumber-yards. These
are, in most instances, large, dismal-looking buildings, whose
unwashed rafters afford safe protection to innumerable spiders of
every size, or present a desirable spot for the freemasons (the
ichneumon bee) to erect their clayey dwellings upon. One corner
of these vast emporiums is latticed off, forming a
counting-house, decorated with a coat of white, green, or yellow
paint, and shewing its chequers of red tape, for the purpose of
sticking orders, letters, or bank-notices for payments, due at
the Colonial or West India Bank. Here, on a high-legged stool, of
dingy look, sits the merchant, dressed in his round, white
jacket, snowy pantaloons, Panama or Paget hat; and, with pen in
hand, and a pinch of _Lundy-foot_ between his fingers, (to assist
his ideas, I suppose,) calculates the probabilities of his
_’specs_, which in other days afforded such golden harvests as to
give rise to the belief, that the streets in the West Indies were
paved with doubloons and dollars.

But let it not be imagined that this worthy and numerous class
employ all their business-hours in calculating their gains and
losses, poring over the leaves of a dusty ledger, or puzzling
their brains over their “bank accounts.” Oh! no, no—the Antiguan
merchants are far too wise for that—many a bowl of “pepper-punch”
is brewed; many a long cork of approved brand is drawn, and the
“rosy red” _Vin de Bordeaux_ is poured into the tendered crystal;
and many a bottle of champagne, or “Tennent’s pale ale,” is
unwired, uncorked, and its creamy excellence effused for them.
Nor is the tongue idle; well-seasoned jests and brilliant
repartees abound; news is discussed, wit flies like arrows, and
many a rosy face grows more roseate, and many a laughing eye
becomes dewy before they part.

But I must say something more about the stores—what a scene of
confusion they present to the unaccustomed eye!—what varied and
multiplied articles do they display! In one part are hogsheads of
salt cod, herrings, and other salted fish; bins of Indian corn,
rice, peas, and salt; flour, tobacco, barrels of blacking, and
kegs of lard. In another part may be found barrels of beef and
mess-pork; hogsheads of prime Cumberland hams, kits of ox
tongues, and barrels of biscuits; sparkling Moselle, hock,
seltzer-water, and lamp-oil; preserved meats and soups, and kegs
of crackers; pitch, tar, rosin, and oats; block-tin tureens,
spirits of turpentine, and Cognac brandy; crates of earthenware,
rose nails, and hogsheads of tin-ware; with London pickles,
agricultural implements, and hair-brooms. On another side of the
store lie huddled together hogsheads of Barclay’s brown stout,
boxes of soap, bundles of wood-hoops, and cases of gilded
cornices; boxes of raisins and currants, paving flags, and masts
and oars; firkins of Cork butter, hogsheads of lime, and patent
corkscrews; Hyson teas, Durham mustard, loaf-sugar, and Havannah
cigars; potatoes, onions, Bologna sausage, and blacksmiths’
coals; artificers’ tools, anti-corrosion paint, currycombs, and
_gold watches_; the whole wound up with Rowland’s Macassar oil,
floating soap, and quack medicines, consisting of Morrison’s
pills, and Swain’s Panacea, which, if we believe the labels, are
to cure every ill “that flesh is heir to;” while from the ceiling
dangle in graceful negligence, coils of rope, and horses’

To prove to any of my readers who may be sceptical of the truth
of such a _various_ assemblage of goods, as I have stated the
merchant’s stores contain, I will give a _correct copy_ of a
cargo handed about to the different merchants, as brought by an
American vessel arrived to-day:—


   12 barrels pitch             1 box fine beaver hats
  118 covered hams            100 boxes cheese
    2 casks of shoulders        3 doz. Windsor chairs
   30 barrels pilot bread      16 nurses’ rocking chairs
   10 do. navy do.              8 ladies’ cane do.
  30-3 do. sugar biscuits       1 doz. children’s do.
  20-3 do. soda                49 barrels potatoes
  20-3 crackers               18¼ gross lucifer matches
   50 kegs lard                 1 mahogany spring-seat sofa
   30 blls. mess pork           1 do. wash-stand, marble top
  100 kegs butter               3 boxes stationery
   13 boxes lump tobacco        4 backgammon boards
   20 do. champagne cider      12 bridles
   20 doz. buckets            22½ doz. black ink in boxes
   50 boxes soap, 24 lbs.       1 mahogany spring-seat, rocking chair
  700  do.    16 lbs.           2 wooden arm chairs
   50 do. mould candles
   17 do.  do.

        Offers in cash, or negotiable notes, 1 o’clock.

From the store we will take a walk into the lumber yard. But
before I proceed to describe it, it will be necessary for me to
make another digression, and let those of my readers who may be
yet ignorant of the real meaning of the term know what “lumber”
is. Upon my first acquaintance with West Indians, I was
particularly surprised to hear them talk so much about _lumber_,
and of Mr. This and Mr. That dealing in such commodity. As my
mind has ever been apt to roam far and wide, I no sooner heard
the merits of this peculiar article (if I may so call it)
discussed, than my schooldays’ tasks presented themselves to my
recollection, and I mentally murmured with Dr. Johnson, “lum-ber,
lumber, old useless furniture.”

Having arrived at this definition, again I fancied myself amid
broken chairs and tables, sofas minus a leg, shattered
looking-glasses, musty, dusty, rusty, grates, antique bottles,
and similar chattels, where in one of my hoyden days I had
scrambled to look for a bird-cage in which to imprison a poor
half-fledged skylark, captured for me by a little ragged
_protégé_ of mine, known by the true English name of “Bill.”

Yet still I was not satisfied; for what, thought I, can West
Indian merchants find so particularly valuable in all these
divers specimens of mutilation, as to induce them to deal so
largely in them? I could only answer mine own query by exclaiming
“’tis strange! ’tis passing strange!” Time wore on, however, and
I arrived at Antigua; then my wonder soon ceased, and I found out
that in fact a _lumber merchant_ signifies nothing less than a
dealer in _timber_.

Having endeavoured to give the Antiguan definition of lumber, I
will now proceed to describe “the yard.” It is generally entered
by passing through the store, at the hazard of putting your foot
into pools of rosin or varnish, slipping over stray peas, or
half-breaking your neck over heaps of brickbats. At length the
yard is gained, and drawing a long breath, as much from heat as
exercise, I look around. On each side of the door are huge stacks
of staves, piled up in a very uniform manner, used for making
hogsheads or tierces for packing sugar, or puncheons for the
conveyance of rum. In other parts of the yard are bundles of
cypress or cedar shingles,[69] white and pitch pine boards,
planks and scantlings, all packed in appropriate order; that is,
when they are not landing cargoes, and the master has an eye to
tidy appearances; but if this is not the case, the different
species of lumber are tumbling about in all directions.

Then there are large sheds erected in various parts of the yard,
for the purpose of securing “hard-wood” (as mahogany,
mill-timber, &c.) from the effects of the weather. There is also
very generally a pigeon-house or two to be met with, and their
pretty inmates may be seen gliding about, picking up the
scattered grain, or, perched upon one of the lumber stacks, watch
your every movement with their bright round eyes, while their
variegated breasts glitter in the sun-beams like so many gems. At
the bottom of the yard large gates open to the sea, furnished
with a huge crane; and here it is that all those incongruous
articles which fill their stores, and bring wealth to their
coffers, are landed.

When the merchants are visited by certain fears and twitchings,
relative to the fact of their not being able to dispose of their
diversified merchandise, they “call an auction;” and under the
auspices of the red flag,[70] and with the assistance of the
auctioneer’s lungs and hammer, instead of harlequin’s magic wand,
turn all these “creature’s comforts” into pounds, shillings, and

In some parts of the town are auction rooms, where, with the same
laudable zeal for “charming variety,” things as distinct from
each other as the nadir is from the zenith, are put up, the
mysterious words “going, going, _gone_” uttered, and finally
knocked down to the attendants—whites, blacks, and coloured.

Having mentioned the stores of those philanthropists, who, for
the mere consideration of a little dirty _pelf_, undertake to
provide so liberally for the inner man, it will be necessary to
take a look at those temples of fashion, fancy, and fascination,
commonly known in this island as “Scotch shops,” or in other
words, Antiguan haberdashery stores.

In a particular part of St. John’s, running north and south, lies
a well-made broad street, which, from being inhabited principally
by Scotchmen, is known by the appropriated name of “Scotch Row.”
Capital stores (when I _am_ at Rome, I like to do as Rome does,
and give everything its approved title) flank each side of the
street, and display their glittering wares to the admiration of
passers-by; and from whence (with but few exceptions) emanate
those dresses and ribbons of a thousand dyes, with which the
_fair sex_ of _every colour_ delight to enrobe their lovely

Here, as in the merchants’ stores, may be found articles of the
most opposite natures. In one part lies a delicate white satin
bonnet, with its bunches of “orange flowers,” to grace the head
of some blushing bride, or decorated with the snowy plumes torn
by the swarthy African from some swift-footed ostrich; while by
its side reposes a broken ewer, or an iron pot.

You may, in truth, buy anything and everything in these “Scotch
shops,” from three farthings’ worth of tape to the most costly
articles. Dresses of all kinds; ribbons, laces, flowers, and
bonnets; coats, vests, pantaloons, umbrellas, and shoes; blondes,
scarfs, mantelets, perfumery, and _tenpenny nails_; paint,
frying-pans, and carpets; jewellery of every description,
dripping-pans, and Seidlitz powders; Epsom salts, ginger-beer,
and white lead; horses’ halters, cherry-tree chairs, and
preserved fruits; children’s dresses, lanterns, horse-whips, and
coffee; sugar-loaves, saddles, bonnet-shapes, and white-handled
knives; ladies’ corsets, Valenciennes edging, and Westphalia
hams; pigs’ tongues, truckle cheese, and bird-seed; dish-covers,
bottle-baskets, hooks-and-eyes, and brimstone; harness, cattle
medicines, and lozenges; “Mechian” razor strops, and Metcalf’s
toothbrushes; with brandy, champagne, Madeira, sherry, port,
sauterne, Rhenish wines, bottled stout, pale ale, glasses to
drink all these good articles out of, and I know not what
besides. Loaves of sugar dangling by the side of zephyr scarfs,
or candle-boxes _vis-à-vis_ with ostrich feathers.

Oh! ye tradesmen of Regent-street, so polite and perfumed, and
such _calibre_, who stand behind your glossy counters with the
air of “my lord duke,” or glide with noiseless steps and mincing
airs over your Persian carpeted floor,—what, _what_ would you
think of our Antiguan shops? Or how would those over-fashionable
gentlemen at Storr and Mortimer’s be astounded, when tendering
for approval to “beauty bright” those costly gems which carry us
back to the days of the Arabian nights, if they came in contact
with a brass kettle or an iron pot!

I often wonder how the pale-faced, straight-haired clerks (for
they are not termed _shopmen_ in this part of the world) manage
to get on among such a multiplicity of dissimilar articles; or
that from being asked for so many contrary goods during the day,
they do not make many and greater mistakes. A lady drives up in
her carriage to the door of one of these labyrinthan _depôts_ of
vanity, and in that “low soft voice so sweet in woman,” asks to
be shewn some orange flower chaplets, and essence of
_Frangipanier_. The poor clerk, his brains turning round like a
revolving light, flies to obey her commands; but lo! in his hurry
and confusion, he catches up a _frying-pan_, and with streaming
brow, presents the inelegant article to the lady’s astounded and
horrified gaze, instead of the delicate perfume.

The master of these gay and changeful stores, is as diversiformed
as his goods are various. In the morning he stands behind his
counter, and “bows to” and “ma’am’s” any black member of the
_canaille_ that condescends to purchase a few yards of
“half-a-bit” (2d. sterling) ribbon to sandal her mill-post ankle;
while in the evening, in all the glories of white pantaloons, new
coat, smart buttons and embroidered stock, he figures away at an
aristocratic dinner party.

Times are indeed altered with these Scotchmen. In former years,
when Sawney left his mountain home, his trouty lochs, and oaten
bannocks, for the hot suns and debilitating climate of these
“Isles of the West;” he did it for the sake alone of _siller_. As
to ambition—faugh! he hated the very name, or else, like the cock
in Esop’s fable, he spurned the glittering bauble, of which he
knew not the worth. They plodded on from year to year, increased
their stock of goods, and added many a round dollar to their
worldly wealth, and then sat down contentedly to enjoy the smoky
flavour of their usquebaugh, forming no greater acquaintance with
the governor, than as they saw him proceed to the court-house in
discharge of his high office, or knowing no more of
government-house than the outer appearance.

But the Scotchmen of the present day scorn the lowly ideas of
their predecessors. They ape the man of fashion, call their
haberdashery store a merchant’s warehouse, and foregoing the
vulgar title of draper, take to themselves the loftier name of
_merchant_. Nor is this all. They attend the governor’s _levees_,
play the amiable at a quadrille party, frequent the billiard
table, or perchance take wine with his excellency, and grin and
bow with approved precision. Their shops prove an agreeable
morning lounge for the superiors of the island, and in a glass of
_sangaree_, or a flowing bowl of _pepper-punch_, the difference
of grade between the entertainer and the entertained is

That “there is no rule without an exception,” is a true
apophthegm; and among the many emigrants from the “land o’
cakes,” some very respectable individuals are to be met with.

I believe it a correct statement to assert, that “Scotch Row”
begins with one of this superior class, and ends with him who has
been called “The father of the Scotchmen,” not from his age, but
from his high conduct.

Mr. H——— is a man in whom great urbanity is blended with strong
determination of character. He possesses varied talents, and is
no mean disciple of St. Cecilia’s; and although, perhaps, not
altogether ranking among the _literati_ in the fuller sense of
that term, yet he

    “——laughing can instruct Much has he read,
    Much more has seen: he studied from the life,
    And in the original perused mankind.”

Philosophy to him, however, is no gloomy subject; no solemn
stalking about wrapt up in his own stately ideas, and scorning,
with cynic’s eye, any harmless mirth. In the words of one of
Britain’s poets, I may say of him—

    “——nor purpose gay,
    Amusement, dance or song, he sternly scorns.”

Nature seems to have intended him for a higher occupation, than
to stand behind a counter and sell a few yards of tape, or a
paper of pins.

The streets of the capital have all their proper appellations,
although no painted board announces such a fact to the traveller.
The east and west streets, beginning southerly, are—South-street,
Tanner, Nevis, Ratcliff, St. Mary’s, High, Long, Church, Newgate,
Wapping, North, Bishopsgate, St. John’s, St. George’s; north and
south streets, beginning easterly, are—East-street, Cross,
Church-lane, Temple, Steeple-street, Corn, Market,
Friendly-alley, Gutter-lane, Newgate-lane, Popeshead, Thames,
Coney-Warren-lane, Subscription-alley, Craw-lane,
Wilkinson’s-street, and Mariner’s-lane. Some of these lanes and
alleys are famous for their _grog-shops_, particularly that
establishment known by the appropriate name of “The
Hole-in-the-Wall,” for the only entrance is a low arched door-way
scooped out of its massy walls.

One part of the town bears the somewhat lofty title of “The
Parade.” In former years it answered as a kind of exchange, where
the merchants congregated together during “’Change hours,” and
discussed the business of the commercial world. Cargoes of all
descriptions were here disposed of; dollars and doubloons in one
moment changed owners, and human flesh and blood was openly
bartered. For a long period, however, the Parade visibly declined
in importance, and became but the shadow of itself; but within
these last few years, it has, phœnix like, sprung up with renewed
vigour, and presents to the passenger’s eye many good and
bustling stores.

St. John’s has, at various times, suffered severely from
conflagrations—a circumstance not to be wondered at, when we
consider the great number of wooden buildings, and the
carelessness of persons in throwing about particles of fire. In
1769, an accident of this nature occurred, which was most direful
in its consequence. It arose from the negligence of a woman who
was employed in ironing, and who omitted to extinguish the fire
in a coal-pot, after finishing her labours.

It may be necessary, perhaps, for the comprehension of some of my
readers who may not be conversant with West Indian domestic
subjects, to mention more fully the construction of a coal-pot.
In some of the islands these utensils are composed of clay,
moulded into the form of buckets, and baked in a moderate fire;
but the Antiguan coal-pot is nothing more nor less than a deal
box, clamped with iron or tin, and lined with bricks plastered
over. A few pieces of old iron hoop are placed horizontally
across the box at stated intervals about halfway from the bottom,
and upon these is placed a layer of charcoal. The irons are
arranged upon the top, and the coals ignited; no bellows are
used, except what Nature has afforded in the owners’ own lungs;
or when their breath fails, and the fuel still proves refractory,
their large straw hat is displaced from their heads, and
brandished before the mouths of their little stoves, with sundry
ejaculations of “Eh! eh! war do de co-als to-day, me b’lieve dem
no want to burney.”

But to return to the fire in 1769; it burnt with fearful
rapidity. The gaol, custom-house, indeed nearly the whole town,
fell a prey to the destructive element, 260 houses being levelled
with the ground, and some of the finest stores and richest
merchandise destroyed. Government granted 1000l. for the relief
of the sufferers; and their kind friends in Liverpool collected,
during the following year, the sum of 346l. 2s. 6d., which was
thankfully and gratefully received.

Many other fires have occurred since then, the vestiges of which
remain to this day; one in particular, known by the appropriate
name of the burnt wall, is still pointed out to the notice of the
stranger. Part of this land has been lately purchased by the
Wesleyans, who have erected a small chapel upon it, which answers
also for a school-room, and where preaching is held on Friday

But the conflagration which happened on the 2nd April, 1841, has
effaced the memory of all other events of the same nature. It
broke out in the house of a person carrying on the business of a
straw bonnet-maker, after the family had retired to rest, and it
was only discovered in time for the inmates to make their escape
by jumping from the upper windows.

A few moments after it was first perceived, the walls fell, and
the flames burst forth with a fearful rapidity, curling and
twisting themselves in all directions; seizing upon every thing
within their reach, and illuminating the heavens with their
awfully grand lustre. The church bell tolled forth its solemn
warning; drums beat an alarm; and, in the words of an old writer,
when describing the fire in London in 1666, “dreadful screams
disturbed the midnight quiet, and raised the affrighted people
from their beds, who, scarce awake, all seemed to be a dream.
Each one appeared but as a moving statue, as once Lot’s wife,
viewing her flaming Sodom, was transformed into a pillar.”

So saith “Samuel Wiseman,” and his graphic description answers
equally for the fire of Antigua, as it did in yore, for that of

House after house, store after store, fell beneath the raging
element; or, when built of stone, only their bare and blackened
walls were left standing. No sooner was one house on fire, than
the flames were pouring into the windows of the next; scathing
the trees as they passed, dismantling them of their verdure, and
leaving them only a seared and withered trunk. Again the Custom
House fell a victim, and to this cause many deficiencies in the
statistical part of this work may be attributed; for, from the
suddenness and violence of the fire, many valuable records were

Still the fiery deluge rolled on,—at one moment the sky was
almost hidden by the dense masses of smoke; at another, bright
spiral lines of flame shot up into the air, and cast a lurid
light on all around. I am sorry to record it, but the negro-men
behaved very ill, refusing to lend assistance, (in most
instances,) but employing their time in plundering from the
sufferers. To the glory of the women, be it spoken, _they_ did
not follow the example of their kinsmen, but cheerfully and
firmly laboured through that awful night. The crew of two French
ships of war, which chanced to be lying in the harbour, also
assisted, aided by the sailors from the English and island
vessels; and the gentlemen of the town, headed by the
lieutenant-governor, Major McPhail, (who flew to the scene of
danger stockingless and almost slipperless,) worked with
undaunted courage and good-will; and by dint of energy, and
pulling down several small houses, so as to make room for the
flames in their gyral evolutions, at length succeeded in gaining
the mastery over their formidable enemy.

But, alas! when morning came, and threw a steady light upon the
picture, what a melancholy sight was presented to the view. A
long line of building, including the best and finest houses,
entirely destroyed; lumber-yards and warehouses despoiled of
their goods, and the very streets strewed ankle-deep with burnt
salt-fish, peas, rice, flour, and similar articles! In some parts
might be seen groups of negroes carousing around some gutted
dwelling, tearing out the burning provisions, and, amid all this
desolation and the mournful feelings of men, who, in one short
night, had lost that for which they had toiled for years,
shouting forth from their stentorian lungs snatches of some
bacchanalian song, or allowing their vacant heartless laugh to
vibrate painfully upon the silent morning air.

Ever and anon, the smouldering fire sent up some fitful glare; or
a brilliant coruscation of sparks, shot forth from some still
burning log of pitch-pine, gilded the surrounding scene with
their beautiful but dangerous showers. The fire burnt down to the
sea-side; seizing upon the very timber of the wharfs and cranes,
and destroying them to the water’s edge. The amount of damage has
been estimated at 250,000l. sterling; but the loss is more than
can be calculated, for it has despoiled and depopulated one of
the finest and busiest streets in the town, and which, from the
depressed state of trade, will be long, very long, before it is
again rebuilt.

More than eight months have silently rolled by since that awful
cry of “Fire” awoke the Antiguans from their tranquil slumbers,
and sent a thrill of dismay through the hearts of all. And there
stand the ruins, blackened and cracked by the intense heat which
caused the very glass to pour down in streams, which, when
congealed, appeared like icicles; or else, only shewing by the
open space, where the ill-fated dwellings stood—where the voice
of happy infancy once uttered many a jocund shout—or where the
soft full tone of riper years carolled many a light and gladsome
lay. Long grass and luxuriant weeds have already grown up in the
spot once dedicated to business or pleasure, and the bat and the
lizard have made it their own.


[68] The whites, or Buckra’s, as they are called in the West
Indies, however indigent in circumstances, pride prohibits them
from engaging in such industrious pursuits.

[69] Used for covering the tops of houses, as tiles or slates are
in England.

[70] A flag is always hoisted upon places where a sale is held.

                          CHAPTER XIX.

  Description of the church of St John’s—Period of its erection—
  Present site—Panoramic views—Form of structure—Length and
  Churchyard—Tombs and sepulchral inscriptions—An acrostic—“Adam
  and Eve!”

The first place of public worship erected in St. John’s was the
parochial church, commenced in 1683-4. It was a small wooden
building, standing about sixty yards further to the south than
the present church; and, if we are to believe an old writer,
totally destitute of beauty or comfort. During the administration
of Gen. Walter Hamilton, it was found to be in such a dilapidated
state, that in 1716 the necessity of erecting a new church was
submitted to the legislature; and with the concurrence of the
members of that body, an act was passed the same year, granting a
provision for building a new place of worship, (to be dedicated
to St. John,) and imposing a yearly tax for the purpose of
keeping the said church in repair. It was not, however, until
between the years 1721 and 1723, during the period that John Hart
was administrating the government of these islands, that the
erection of the church was commenced. Mr. Robert Cullen was the
architect, and by his suggestions, its site was laid to the north
of the old building; thus occupying the very spot where the
militia were stationed in 1710, when ordered to fire upon
Governor Park, in that unhappy difference between him and the
country, and which ended so fatally to himself.

The present parochial church is pleasantly situated upon an
ascent, at the head of the town, and commands from every side a
wide and beautiful view of the surrounding country. From the west
door, the eye ranges over the bustling town, with its motley
groups of passengers—dwells for a time upon the long line of
ruined buildings destroyed by the fire already described—scans
the lovely harbour, with its graceful shipping, the interesting
bay of the Five Islands on the one side, and, on the other, a
long line of cocoa-nut trees and brilliant sand, bespeaking the
situation of Dickenson’s Bay—and then roves on to the offing,
where a large extent of ocean of the sweetest blue stretches out;
and where, perhaps, a far-off sail may be seen, which looks in
the distance like the white wing of some passing gull.

From the south door, another beautiful and panoramic view may be
obtained, particularly towards the close of the day, when the sun
has almost completed his daily journey, and, shorn of his fervent
beams, throws on every cloud his myriad dyes. The part of the
town then presented to the gaze of the beholder slopes by a
gradual descent towards the suburbs, bounded by Otto’s Hill (an
estate belonging to the representatives of Bastien Baijer) and
the surrounding country. At the extent of the horizon runs a long
range of mountains—the more distant ones presenting a greyish,
gloomy colour, while others have their tops irradiated with a
brilliant fringe of gold or purple, as the different clouds
appear to rest upon them. Of this chain, the declivities of which
afford every species of beauty, and every gradation of varying
green, the lower ones are generally in a state of cultivation;
and their undulating surface presents in some places groups of
lovely trees, or breaks into patches of sugar-canes, clusters of
negro-huts, and sugar-mills.

The church itself, which is built of brick, washed of a light
yellow, is cruciform; the north and south vestibules forming the
arms of the cross. The extreme length, from the inner west door
to the altar-piece, is 130 feet; and the breadth, exclusive of
the vestibules, (or porches,) is 50 feet. In the interior,
eighteen plain wooden pillars divide the nave from the north and
south aisles; the sixteen lower ones forming the support to the
north and south galleries. The roof of the nave is a semicircular
vault, painted to represent the heavens, with all their drapery
of light and fleecy clouds; and when viewed from the west door,
has a very pretty effect.

The chancel roof is of the same pitch, but of a pyramidal form;
it is painted in the same manner as the nave, and is supported by
four square fluted columns.

The altar is very beautifully devised. In the centre are the
tables of the ten commandments, gold-lettered upon a black
ground. On each side are full-length paintings of Moses, and of
Aaron, in his “holy garments.” That of Aaron is very finely
executed; the face is such as we can imagine that of the great
“high-priest” to have been, majestic, but beautiful; and the
“robes,” the “breast-plate,” the “ephod,” the “curious girdle,”
and the “golden censer,” are very correctly painted. The outer
tables of “The Belief” and “Lord’s Prayer” are handsomely gilded—
the inscription being executed in letters of black; and over the
commandments, in the centre of the altar, is a medallion painting
of cherubs. The several compartments are divided by gilded
pilasters; the cornices, architraves, and friezes, are very
pretty and tasteful; and in the inter-columniations are one or
two triglyphs.

The communion-table is covered with dark purple velvet, fringed
deeply with gold; and on either end lie cushions to match. The
communion-service plate is very handsome; the large salver,
measuring eighteen inches in diameter, was presented to the
church by John Otto Baijer, Esq., about the year 1724. It
displays a representation of the “Lord’s Supper,” the figures in
beautiful _basso-relievo_, and bears the following inscription:—

               Donum Domini Johannis Otto Baijer
               Ad Templum Divi Johannis Antigua.

The two smaller salvers and the cup are inscribed as follows:—

            In usum Templi Divi Johannis in Antigua
         Gulielmus Jones Parochialis hujus olim Rector
                          Donum Dedit.

Besides the communion-plate, the table supports a pair of tall
silver lamps, with ground-glass burners, bearing the inscription—

             Donum Domini Petre Lee ad Templum Divi
                      Johannis in Antigua.

And on each side of the table stand quaint-looking chairs, for
the accommodation of the bishop and archdeacon, which have been
used for that purpose since the dismantling of the “Bishop’s

The pulpit and desk are of dark oak, as also the railings to the
stairs; and, like the communion-table, have each their drapery
and cushions of dark purple, with deep gold fringe and tassels,
and the “I. H. S.” encircled with its golden rays. Formerly the
pulpit, surmounted by a sounding-board, stood further down the
nave; but after being removed once or twice, the desk has been
separated from the pulpit, and they are placed at the entrance of
the chancel, on each side the aisle.

About the centre of the church is suspended a brass chandelier,
consisting of ten branches, which have been lately fitted up with
ground-glass burners; it was a gift (by will, 2nd May, 1740) to
the church, from Phillip Darby, an old inhabitant of Antigua, and
rector of St. John’s.

At the entrance of the church from the north vestibule stands a
small marble font, of a semi-spherical form, ornamented with four
heads of cherubs, and supported by a corniform pedestal. It is
intended to be placed at the extreme end of the middle aisle,
immediately before the west entrance, and opposite the altar—a
site far more applicable for it than where it now stands.

The church is lighted by fourteen windows: six in the north
aisle, six in the south aisle, and two in the east end of the
building. Formerly they were all fitted up with _jalousies_; but
within these last few years, the eight nearest the altar have
been reglazed with ground glass, arranged in a Gothic pattern.
These windows are divided into six compartments; and are so
contrived, that, by aid of a turnscrew, they can be opened to a
certain height. They certainly add to the _beauty_ of the
edifice, but deteriorate from its _comfort_ by rendering it
warmer than it otherwise would be: a circumstance not desirable
in this fervid climate.

Several fine monuments grace the walls of this sacred building;
but the oldest sepulchral inscription is upon a stone slab, in
the chancel, to the memory of Mrs. Gilbert, wife of Mr. Gilbert,
who introduced methodism[71] in Antigua, and who died in 1747.

In the south aisle are the following monuments:—

An elegant mural monument of white marble upon a black ground,
erected to the memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Ottley, wife of Richard
Ottley, Esq., and daughter of Ashton Warner, speaker of the house
of assembly in 1716. The ornamental part of this monument
consists of the figure of a seraph with outspread wings, leaning
upon a sepulchral urn, bearing a coronal of undying laurel leaves
in its right hand; and in its left an inverted torch, partly
extinguished, emblematical of the uncertainty of human life. The
inscription is as follows:—

“Near to this place is laid, with the remains of her honoured
parents, the body of Elizabeth, the pious, amiable, and
much-beloved wife of Richard Ottley; who departed this life, in
the Island of St Vincent, on Thursday, 28th August, in the year
of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-six, in the
thirty-second year of her age.

“She was the daughter of Ashton Warner, Esq.,[72]
Attorney-General of Antigua, by Elizabeth, his wife, and was born
the 7th June, 1735, O.S.; married 25th October, in the year 1753,
and left issue surviving her, one son and three daughters—viz.,
Drewry, Elizabeth, Mary Trant, and Alice.

“She possessed a graceful person, an excellent understanding, and
a sweetness of disposition that engaged the esteem of all that
knew her, and performed with so much complacency the several
duties in her family, and those of a good friend and neighbour,
that it may be truly said she died universally lamented, and a
real loss to that infant colony. Her inconsolable husband (in
whose arms she expired, after bearing with admirable fortitude
and resignation the excruciating pains of a long and difficult
labour) caused this monument to be erected to her memory.

“The son with whom she died reclines upon that breast which would
have nourished him had the Almighty so permitted.”

A very chaste and elegant white marble tablet, forming a Gothic
arch, erected to the memory of the Honourable Sam. Otto Baijer, a
descendant of Bastien Baijer, who signed the capitulation in
1666, bearing the following inscription:—

             As a last mournful token of affection,
                   This Tablet is erected by
                  Elizabeth Mary Otto Baijer,
              To the memory of her beloved Father,
               The Honourable Samuel Otto Baijer,
                Of Pares Estate, in this Island;
                    Who died at Philadelphia
                 On the 20th of December, 1835,
                         Aged 54 years.

               Also to the memory of her Mother,
                  Elizabeth Mary Otto Baijer,
                Who died in 1813, at Dove Hall,
                   In the Island of Jamaica,
                  In the 27th year of her age.

               Also to the memory of her Brother,
                 Rowland Archibald Otto Baijer,
                     Son of the above-named
        Samuel Otto Baijer and Mary Elizabeth his Wife,
           Who died at Pares Estate, in this Island,
                 On the 24th of November, 1837,
                  Aged 25 years and 8 months,
            And whose remains repose near this spot.

A small, unpretending marble tablet:—

                        To the Memory of
                     Elizabeth Jane Harman,
             Who died on the 16th April, A.D. 1828,
                         Aged 21 years.
          “We have this treasure in earthen vessels.”

A pyramidal monument, supported by fluted pillars, and bearing a
small sarcophagus, surmounted by two figures of children or
cherubs, holding in their hands a scroll, on which is written
texts from Scripture. The inscription is as follows:—

“Supported only by a meek obedience to the decrees of Eternal
Wisdom, and a firm trust in the Atonement of a gracious Redeemer,
William and Ruth Atkinson, once inhabitants of Antigua, and now
of Dominica, as an inadequate evidence of their intense and
aggravated anguish for the poignant and crushing trial they have
undergone in the loss of both their children, pay this melancholy
tribute, when advancing into manly, lively virtue, such as fills
the parents’ soul with solid comfort.

“George Atkinson, their first and last spared hope, had nearly
reached his twelfth year. This blooming prop of their declining
age—when, by a mild and artless truth, joined to innate goodness
and suavity of temper, he had irresistibly won the esteem and
love of all—quitted this life without a struggle on Sunday, 5th
Dec. 1779.

“William Atkinson, their youngest, died in infancy.

    What poets paint, what marbles feebly tell,
    Defective far are all;
    Such woes are only to be known
    To real feeling souls.
    Where equal growing filial worth’s bewail’d,
    The name of Son thus lost, all consolation fail’d.

A small tablet, representing a white scroll upon a black ground,
surmounted by a laurel chaplet, bearing inscription:

                          In memory of
                         Auther Teagle,
                     Who departed this life
                  On the 20th November, 1839,
                         Aged 43 years.
                      “Thy will be done.”

In the north aisle are four monuments; the first, beginning from
the east, erected to a late curate of St. John’s. It consists of
a white marble tablet, and above, the figure of an angel soaring
upwards, and encompassed with clouds. The tablet bears the
following inscription:—

                        To the memory of
             The Rev. William Thomas Bernard, A.B.,
                  Of Trinity College, Dublin,
                  Late curate of this parish,
         Where, after a short residence of four months,
         In the faithful exercise of his ministry, and
            The manifestation of much private worth,
               He died of fever, Nov. 2nd, 1835,
                  In the 26th year of his age,
              Most deeply and generally regretted,
              This tribute of esteem and affection
                          Is erected,
              Partly by his much afflicted Sister,
                        Ellen M. Baily,
   And partly by the Right Rev. William Hart Coleridge, D.D.,
                  Lord Bishop of this diocese,
        The clergy of Antigua, and other friends in the
               Island, who mourn his early loss.

Beneath the tablet are his coat of arms, with the motto—

                      “Bear and Forbear.”

A white marble monument, with a deep border of variegated brown
marble, to the memory of a descendant of Sir Thomas Warner. The
ornamental part consists of a female figure enveloped in
widow-like drapery, and leaning upon an urn. The inscription is
as follows:—

                         This monument
                  Is erected to the memory of
              The Honourable William Warner, Esq.,
           Who was a member of His Majesty’s Council,
                 And Treasurer of this Island.
            Honourable by his office of Counsellor,
                   More honourable as a man:
                             For if
                 Virtue alone is true nobility,
       And if justice, moderation, temperance, meekness,
          Consummate honesty, charity, generosity, and
Conjugal affection, are virtues that are held in any estimation
                           Among men,
                           This man,
             Who lived in the exercise of them all
                     Was truly honourable.
He died on Friday, 11 October, 1771, in the forty-third year of
his age,
Universally regretted, and lamented by all orders and degrees
    To commemorate her anguish for his loss, and as a public
  Testimony of her love and duty, his disconsolate widow hath
               Caused this memorial to be raised.
                    Gloria in excelsis Deo!

A very elegantly designed white pyramidal monument erected to the
memory of an only child. A chastely sculptured female figure
leans upon a “storied urn,” with a beautifully chiselled wreath
of flowers thrown around her. This monument has been
unfortunately injured, one of the hands and part of the arm of
the figure being broken off.

          In memory of her only and beloved daughter,
                         Sarah Kelsick,
         Wife of Mr. John Kelsick, merchant in Antigua,
              Who died on 20th day of March, 1785,
                  In the 19th year of her age.
     This monument was erected by her disconsolate mother,
                        Sarah Eccleston,
                 Wife of Isaac Eccleston, Esq.,
           From the parent, the husband, the friend,
                 Her social and amiable virtues
                Claim the tribute of affliction,
                   And though early cut off,
           She must ever live in the memory of those
           Who had the happiness of her acquaintance.
                   Vivit post funera virtus.

The next is an elaborate and splendid monument, erected by the
country to the memory of Ralph Lord Lavington; and however
peculiar the taste which dictated the design, the execution, at
least, possesses merit. The top figure represents his lordship in
a sitting posture, habited in the old court dress, and his plumed
hat lying at his feet. The inscription is traced upon a light
grey marble, hollowed out so as to allow of the insertion of a
small sarcophagus, bearing his coat of arms, with a
beautifully-executed branch of oak-leaves thrown across it.

Two female figures recline on each side; the one on the left
hand, representing Astrea with her scales by her side, and the
hilt of the sword of justice, very minutely and beautifully
sculptured, protruding from behind the sarcophagus; her
finely-formed and classic face is up-turned towards the old lord.
In the other figure we behold the genius of the island, mourning
for the loss of a favourite governor. She holds in her right hand
a scroll, upon which is inscribed—“Resolved, that a monument be
erected to his memory,” while with her left hand she shades her
features as if in deep grief. At the feet of these figures rolls
the sea, the waves, surmounted with their foam, very well
executed. This costly monument bears the following inscription:—

                        To the memory of
                  Ralph Payne Lord Lavington,
                   Of the kingdom of Ireland,
      One of His Majesty’s most honourable Privy Council,
        Knight of the most honourable Order of the Bath,
         and Captain-general, and Commander-in-chief of
                      The Leeward Islands.

Upon the base of the monument is the following brief biographical

“He was born in the Island of St. Christopher’s, of an English
family, distinguished for its loyalty and public spirit. His
education he received in England, and it prepared him for the
distinctions which awaited his return to his native isle, when he
was elected a member of the House of Assembly, and on its first
meeting unanimously called to the chair of the House, in which
high situation he gave an early display of those superior talents
and eminent qualifications which afterwards secured him the
confidence of his king, and the esteem of his country. On his
return to England in 1762, he was elected a member of the House
of Commons for the borough of Plympton, Devonshire; and from his
perfect knowledge of colonial affairs, he was appointed in 1771—a
period of national interest—to be captain-general and
commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands, at which time he was
also invested with the most honourable Order of the Bath. He
remained in the exercise of his government until 1774, when he
returned to England, and was appointed a member of the Board of
Green Cloth. During the period of his residence in England, he
sat in five parliaments, and in 1795, his Majesty was graciously
pleased to raise him to the dignity of a peer in Ireland, by the
style and title of Baron Lavington of Lavington. In 1799, he was
sworn one of his Majesty’s most honourable Privy Council, and
again appointed to the chief command of the Leeward Islands, in
the wise and able administration of which important trust he
passed his latter years

                 And closed his venerable life.
                         This nobleman
             Was revered for his public qualities,
           As he was beloved for his private virtues.
He blended the dignity of his high office with the affability of
his     disposition and the gracefulness of his manners,
And at once commanded the respect, and conciliated the affections
of all              ranks of people
              Within the circle of his government
As a sincere and lasting testimony of their veneration and
                   The Legislature of Antigua
                   Have erected this monument
He died at the Government House of this Island, on the 3rd day of
Aug. 1807, aged 68; and was interred at his own estate, called

The whole of this very handsome monument is enclosed in an arch
of plain black marble. I should have mentioned that the
ornamental parts of this tomb are all in pure _white_ marble.

The remaining monument is erected to the memory of Mrs. Musgrave,
who was unfortunately thrown out of her carriage (the horse
becoming restive and breaking the shafts) and killed upon the
spot. This unhappy catastrophe occurred in one of the streets of
St. John’s, and a representation of the event, absurd as it may
seem, is sculptured upon the monument (which is of white marble)
in basso-relievo. In the background is the animal, apparently of
the cart-horse breed, scampering away with the broken shafts and
traces hanging around him; in the foreground, is the figure of a
man, kneeling and supporting in his arms a female, whose listless
posture portrays the dire event. The face of the female is well
executed, the features expressing acute suffering, while they
tell the hand of death is upon them; but the figure is execrable
in its proportions, the hand and arm being quite as large as the
leg and foot of the man, if not larger. The inscription is as

             “No warning given! unceremonious fate!
            A sudden rush from life’s meridian joys!
               A wrench from all she loved.”[74]
                      Sacred to the memory
                        Eliza Musgrave,
                Wife of William Musgrave, Esq.,
             Of the Inner Temple, barrister-at-law.
                     She departed this life
             On the morning of the 12th Feb., 1815,
                         Aged 24 years,
           Beloved and lamented by all who knew her.
                    Her God she reverenced;
      Towards her neighbours she never wilfully offended;
               To her husband she was everything
          His fondest wishes could picture or embrace.
                He idolized her while she lived,
             And his respect for her exalted worth
                   Survives beyond the grave.
              The remembrance of her many virtues
                  Remains indelibly inscribed
                     In his dejected bosom.

    “Friends, our chief treasure, how they drop!
    How the world falls to pieces round about us!
    And leaves us in the ruin of our joy!
    What says this transportation of my friends?
    It bids me love the place where now they dwell,
    And scorn this wretched spot it leaves so poor.”[75]

The aisles of the church are paved with a coarse species of
marble, laid down in alternate diamonds of black and white. The
chancel is raised by two steps, and has a stone pavement. The
body of the church contains 152 pews, but with the assistance of
the galleries, of which there are three, affords about 1800
sittings. The governor’s pew is very neatly fitted up with
crimson damask, and contains some gaily coloured ottomans; over
the pew are the royal arms of England. Service is performed in
the church on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and our exemplary
rector, with true Christian indefatigability, administers the
sacrament monthly, at eight in the morning, and after the usual
morning service.

The organ with which the church is furnished, was erected (partly
by subscription) in 1760, at the cost of 450l. sterling, the
vestry making up what was wanting. It is still a very fine
instrument, and our talented and respected organist, G. Hart,
Esq., fully recompenses us for any defects it may labour under by
his inimitable execution.[76]

At the west end of the nave rises a plain quadrangular tower,
surmounted by an octagonal cupola. The elevation to the apex of
the cupola is sixty-five feet; the altitude of the tower itself
is fifty feet. This tower was not erected until 1789, some years
after the parent church, but from being constructed of the same
materials, presents a uniform appearance; the cupola is built of
wood, the perpendicular compartments being _jalousied_. John
Delap Halliday, Esq. gave 500l. towards its erection.[77]

Within these last few months, two windows have been pierced at
the east side of the tower, in the small chamber where the works
of the clock are placed. These were made at the suggestion of Mr.
Jones, the keeper of the clock, and which prove very beneficial
to him when inspecting and cleaning that necessary appurtenance.
Before that period this chamber was perfectly dark, which not
only rendered the air within it extremely damp, but presented an
obstacle to the due regulation of the instrument contained in it;
for candles are but a sorry substitute for the clear light of day
when employed in such delicate business as rectifying the
machinery of a horologe. Under the care of Mr. Jones the works
are kept beautifully clean, which of course will produce a good
effect. This instrument was the gift of John Delap Halliday, (as
may be seen by the inscription upon the works,) of Antigua, and
the maker of it Charles Penton, London, 1788. The windows are
glazed, and present exactly the same appearance as those to be
found in the suburban dwelling-houses around that mighty
metropolis, London.

The tower contains two bells; the tenor one inscribed—“Edmund
Powell, Golden Grove, 1684,” and was kept for the use of the
coloured classes in other days. The large bell was presented to
the church by John Delap, (before he assumed the name of
Halliday,) Esq., 1788. It bore the following inscription:—“The
gift of John Delap, Esq. The Rev. James Lindsey, rector; Thomas
Hanson Halloran, and Daniel Hill, churchwardens. Charles Penton,
London, fecit. John Warner, founder, of London, 1788.” It was
taken down the 11th of February, 1840, on account of a serious
injury beyond repair, shipped for London on board the “Antigua
Packet,” and exchanged for a new one of the same size, which now
serves to call the people to church, and to speak the demise of
the inhabitants; but it is silent at a wedding, for in this
country no merry peal of bells announces that event which
elsewhere is ever the signal for joy and festivity.

Having attempted the description of the church, I will now
proceed to mention the churchyard, which lies upon a gentle
slope, and contains numerous tombs, with their iron or wooden
railings. The most beautiful tomb in the ground was erected to
the memory of the Honourable Otto Baijer, by his widow, who
afterwards died on her passage to England in 1726. Her remains
were brought back to Antigua, and now repose by the side of her
loved husband. It is of pure white marble, although stained by
exposure to the weather, and is elegantly ornamented with various
fruits and flowers in basso-relievo.

The oldest sepulchral monuments, of which I could make out the
inscriptions, are to the memory of Troughton, 1704; Col. Philip
Lee. 1704;[78] Capt. Bastien Baijer, 1715; Thos. Oasterman, Esq.,
1724; Frederic Cope, 1739; and Mrs. Warner, the wife of Ashton
Warner, Esq., 1748.

The inscription upon the tomb of Frederic Cope demands, however,
further mention. It is an acrostic; the _poetry_ I leave to the
judgment of my readers.

                        THE INSCRIPTION.

    “F ar removed from every human eye he is,
    R egardless now of earth, partakes of heaven’s bliss;
    E xalted was his lively soul whilst here below,
    D elighted ever tender friendships for to show;
    E asy and cheerful through every scene of Life;
    R eady to forgive all; but unto me, his wife,
    I ndulgent to the last degree, for ever kind—
    C alm was his spirit, virtuous was his mind.

    C areful he ever was to take no bribe in Law;
    O h! full, full well the abject hate of mortals saw.
    P artial he never was, just to each man’s fame,
    E ach initial letter will now declare his name.”

He was born in London, of honest parents, on the 21st day of May,
1711, and died, in Antigua, on the 8th ———, 1739.

A fine large marble tomb, to the memory of the Honourable Ashton
Warner, who died 11th of February, 1762, stands near to this very
original sepulchral acrostic; and at no great distance a single
stone to the memory of some admiral (the inscription obliterated)
with its anchors and flags, and escutcheons.

On the east side of the north vestibule stands the tomb of
Major-general George W. Ramsey, governor-in-chief of Antigua,
Monserrat, and Barbados, in 1816, who departed this life,
November 1st, 1819, in the 58th year of his age. The iron railing
has become rusted and bent,[79] and the tomb bears many a
blackened mark.

Near to the last resting-place of governor Ramsey, stands another
very handsome tomb of white marble, erected to that well-known
and eccentric character, Patrick Kirwan. He was a native of
Galway, and as true an Irishman as ever handled a shillelah, or
vowed devotion to “the shamrock so green.” Mr. Kirwan resided in
Antigua for many years, as a planter and proprietor of estates,
where his “bulls and blunders” are still remembered and repeated
with delight. Upon one occasion he sent for a sun-dial from
England, which he intended to have erected near his dwelling; but
upon its arrival, it looked so smart with its golden rays and
gnomen, that “Pat” pronounced it the very height of profanation
to have such a pretty “cratur” exposed to the relentless shafts
of master Sol; and so to preserve its beauty, and keep all
secure, he had a tight snug shed built over it, which eventually
forbid the entrance of any straggling sunbeam which might feel
inclined to call upon it, to learn the hour. Poor Mr. Kirwan! his
Irish blood was always leading him to commit blunders, which were
sure to raise a laugh at his expense. During a partial rebellion
of the negroes, at a period when he was manager of an estate, a
few miles from the capital, he one morning presented himself
before the proprietor with a very flushed face, and excited mien—
“Good morning, Mr. Kirwan,” said his employer. “What brings you
to town so suddenly—you look alarmed, I hope nothing is the
matter?” “Faith, an there is though!” retorted the Irishman, “and
if the blessed St. Patrick himself had been here, he would have
looked alarmed too. Why, there’s a perfect _resurrection_ of the
negroes upon your estate!” “A what?” inquired the surprised
proprietor. “A perfect _resurrection_,” repeated Pat, “and I have
come to ask you what I must do?” His employer could scarcely
repress a smile at this strange intelligence. At length, however,
he summoned gravity enough to reply, “If that’s the case, Mr.
Kirwan, the best advice I can give you is, to put a _hoe_ into
their hands as fast as they rise, and set them to work

But with all his “_bulls and blunders_,” Mr. Kirwan was
deservedly respected, and his death universally regretted. He
died in 1819, in the 66th year of his age. The inscription upon
his monument informs us “By his direction this tomb was erected.”

At the entrance of the east gate is a mural stone monument,
erected to the memory of James Cullen, by his brother Robert
Cullen. This monument is pointed out to strangers on account of
the peculiarity of its form, with the assertion that the person
who built the church is buried there, and that the coffin is
obliged to stand in a perpendicular position. This, however, is
not correct; the monument certainly stands there, but the place
where the body is entombed is 23 feet further to the west; and
instead of being raised to the memory of the architect of the
church, that individual erected it to perpetuate the memory of
his brother. This fact is engraven upon the monument; but so
unexploring are the Antiguans in general, that I think but few of
the inhabitants are aware of the real truth, but still think the
coffin stands upright.

This strange practice of putting up the grave-stone at a distance
from the grave is not the only instance of the kind to be met in
the churchyard of St. John’s. At one of the west gates lies a
stone slab, to the memory of the late organist; and upon reading
the inscription, I supposed that the body reposed beneath. But
not so: that lies far away, with “not a stone to mark the place.”
Upon asking a pew-opener the reason for placing the slab in that
situation, his reply was, “It does so nicely, you know, for the
people to walk on, and looks well.”

The churchyard is entered by five iron gates, of handsome
patterns. At the north, a flight of stone steps leads up to the
church, while from the south gate, the building is approached by
an easy and gradual ascent, paved with brick. The pillars of the
south gate are surmounted by stone figures, representing St. John
the Baptist, and St. John the Evangelist. These figures were
intended to receive the vows of the good catholics at Dominica;
but as it happened to be war time, when they took their departure
from “_la belle France_,” on their passage they fell in with an
English man-of-war, who most unceremoniously took them into
keeping, and brought them to Antigua; where, by universal
consent, they were placed as sentinels in their present position,
instead of being decked out in gold and silver leaf, and mock
jewels. The negroes, however, refuse to recognise them by their
own titles, but have unanimously dubbed them “Adam and Eve”—the
Baptist, I suppose, playing the part of the lady, as his garments
are longer and more voluminous than those of his companion.


[71] See Chapter XX.

[72] A descendant of Sir Thomas Warner, who planted the first
English colony in Antigua.

[73] This strangely-worded inscription is copied verbatim.

[74] Slightly altered from Young’s “Night Thoughts.”

[75] Young’s “Night Thoughts,” Night 7th.

[76] To the organ is attached a choir, composed of the boys and
girls from the parochial school.

[77] From this John Delap Halliday descends the present Admiral

Lionel Tollemache, 3rd Earl of Dysert, born June, 1708; married
Grace, eldest daughter of John Earl of Granville, by whom he had
(among other issue) a daughter, Jane, married, 1770, John Delap
Halliday, of the Leasowes, county of Salop, and of Antigua, Esq.,
by whom she had issue, I. John Halliday, Admiral R.N., and who
has assumed the name of Tollemache, and who married Elizabeth,
second daughter of John, 3rd Earl of Aldborough, by whom he has,
among other children, Elizabeth, the present Countess of
Cardigan; and II. Charlotte, married Henry, fourth son of 6th Sir
William Wolseley, of Wolseley, county Stafford.

[78] The gentleman who presented the pair of silver candlesticks
for the communion table. He was an Irishman by birth and
education; but after having served in the wars in Flanders, he
emigrated to Antigua, and became Speaker of the House of Assembly
in that island in 1702.

[79] It is said to have been done by lightning.

                          CHAPTER XX.

  Barracks—House of correction—Gaol—Methodist chapel—Methodism,
  its rise and progress in Antigua—Moravian chapel—Rise and
  progress of the Society of United Brethren—Scotch kirk.

After the church and churchyard of St. John’s, the next public
building which calls for attention is the court house. This, as
before stated, was erected in 1747, William Lowry being the
mason, and Duncan Grant the carpenter. Who these worthies were I
know not; but a glance at the court house proves they were
efficient workmen. In order to raise funds to defray the expenses
of its erection, the legislature obtained a loan of 746l. 12s.
4½d. currency, from the executors of Samuel and Thomas Watkins;
and Jonas Langford (a proprietor of Antigua, and whose estates
still go by his name) lent 1253l. 7s. 7¾d. currency, which debts
were to be paid off by levying a tax of 2s. 6d. per head upon all
slaves in the island for six years.

The place where it stands was originally the market; but that
site being the one most approved of for the erection of a public
building, the market was removed to a street nearly facing it,
where it has since been held.

The court house is a very noble-looking pile for a West India
colony, and indeed would not disgrace the boasted streets of
London. The plan of the structure is very uniform and neat. It is
built of a fine-grained freestone, the produce of some of the
small islands already described, which was furnished by contract
for the purpose by Mr. Robert Bannister, a former planter of

The principal entrance (to the south) is approached by iron
gates; and after crossing a small court-yard paved with large
flag-stones, you enter a small corridor, supported by circular
stone columns, with plain capitals. At each end of this corridor,
a flight of stairs leads to the upper apartments in the east and
west wings, the one appropriated to the use of his excellency the
governor, when he retires for the purpose of preparing his
speech; the other to the clerk of the assembly; below are the
marshal’s office, and the office of the colonial secretary.

The ground-floor of the main building comprises one large room,
extending the whole length and breadth of the edifice. The east
end being fitted up for the sittings of all courts of justice,
has its bench for the judges, covered with crimson, and a chair
for the governor (when present), over which are the national
arms, where the “lion” grins with approved ferocity, and the
“unicorn” shews its golden hoofs. Around a huge circular table,
which might have feasted “king Arthur” and his gallant “knights,”
even better than the stone one which is shewn as having answered
for that purpose, are placed the sittings for the barristers,
attorney-general, solicitor-general, and benches for the grand
and petty juries. Exactly opposite the seat of the
solicitor-general, a ready pen has scrawled upon the table a
striking likeness of “his satanic majesty.” I hope his aid was
not necessary in that part of Astrea’s court, at the time his
lineaments were portrayed! This part of the interior is enclosed
within a semi-circular mahogany railing. At the lower or west end
of the apartment are congregated all the _canaille_—the very
riff-raff of the town—who flock to hear speeches they understand
as much as a Greek syllogism; the respectable spectators are
admitted within the enclosure. The barristers plead in gowns, but
not in wigs, very much to their comfort I should apprehend, in
this warm climate.

The upper floor of the court house is divided into two apartments
by wooden partitions, leaving a lobby between; but these can be
removed at pleasure, making the whole one room, as on the
ground-floor. The east apartment is appropriated to the governor
and council, when sitting; at other times for the use of the
grand jury, or petty juries in criminal causes. A long table
covered with “green cloth” runs across the room, and around which
are placed very handsome chairs, of unique patterns, (oak, with
cane backs, and green morocco seats and elbows,) the one destined
for the use of the governor being of larger dimensions, and
having the arms of England painted upon it.

The west room is used for the meeting of the house of assembly,
and is furnished in the same manner as the other apartment, only
that under the royal arms (which are attached to the north side
of the room) is a kind of rostrum, furnished with its proper
seat, and intended for the accommodation of the speaker of the
house of assembly.

On returning by the west flight of stairs, my eyes were directed
to a padlock in the wall, which formerly secured the ladder made
use of at executions; but happy am I to say, such scenes are now
of very rare occurrence in this island.

I should have observed, that balls and dinners are sometimes held
at the court house; as well as Bible and missionary meetings; and
also fancy sales for charitable purposes. The last fancy fair, or
rather bazaar, held there by the Church-of-England Association,
was a very crowded affair. It took place on the day after
Christmas-day, a day of all others devoted by the Antiguans to a
display of dress. Not only all kinds of fancy and ornamental
articles, fabricated by the fair hands of the Antiguan ladies
were to be found there, but what pleased some part of the company
much better, a well-filled lunch-table was spread, when pullets
and guinea-birds, turkeys and ham, were joined to a whole army of
tarts and puffs, fruits and confections. It was a motley group
that frequented the court house that day: Iris would have found
herself outvied in colours, and Fancy might have taken a new
lesson. In one part of the room might be seen a member of the
council, with his lady hanging upon his arm, and next to him a
black labourer _with his lady_, in the same position; the latter
couple making, in many instances, a far greater show than their
aristocratic neighbours.[80] The military band was stationed in
the lower apartment, and played during the day the most
fashionable and favourite airs. The profits arising from this
sale were appropriated to the purposes of assisting to defray the
expenses of the new public cistern lately erected.

Opposite the north side of the court house is the arsenal,
erected in 1757 or 1758. It is, as might be supposed, a strong
building, and stands in a court yard, enclosed with iron
railings. To the east of the arsenal is the old guard-house,
erected in 1754, during the administration of Sir George Thomas.
It is a plain building, with two projecting wings; but it is now
very much out of repair, not being used for any purpose.
Adjoining the guard-house is a long stone building, with its
grated windows, formerly used as the gaol of the island, but
within these last few years turned into the police office,—the
goal being removed to the suburbs of St. John’s. This is a very
great improvement; for this building, standing in one of the
greatest thoroughfares of this populous town, and directly facing
the market, the culprits who were immured for petty crimes, and
kept in that part of the gaol, could look through their grated
windows, hold converse with the passers-by, and thus disseminate
their evil counsels among the idle and profligate of both sexes,
who were always lounging about that spot. The dungeons where the
felons used to be confined were gloomy dens indeed, and ran along
the outer walls of the prison. One of these dungeons has been
lately made into an engine-house, a door being broken through its
massy walls facing the street. Upon passing this vault during its
transformation, a sigh broke from my lips as memory carried me
back to those fearful days when so many miserable creatures, who
bore the name without the freedom of man, used to inhabit them,
and often, it is said, from very trivial causes. Like Sterne, I
fancied I could behold them in all their misery,—their bodies,
perhaps, wasted with disease,—their eyes blood-shot and wild with
despair,—their features sharpened by anguish of mind:—no one to
soothe their grief,—no one to hear their complaint,—and without
the _hope_, but not perhaps without the _fear_, of an hereafter,
they left those cheerless vaults to be launched into eternity by
the hangman’s hands! The picture was too dreadful; but sounds of
laughter and gladness were abroad, our carriage rolled on amid
crowds of blacks of every sex and age; and although at times I
suffer, as many others do, from their impudence of manners and
behaviour, yet I felt in my heart a pleasure at their being
_free_. The present building was erected in 1772, the former gaol
having been burnt to the ground in the great fire of 1769.

The next edifice worthy of notice is government house. It is
situated in a pleasant and open space in the suburbs, and
embraces a wide extent of prospect, while from its open windows
as pure a breeze may be inhaled as attainable from any dwelling
in the capital. Although possessing nothing very grand in its
exterior, or internal arrangements, no marble pillars or lofty
arches, yet it is a pleasant, genteel West Indian residence,
possessing some good apartments, and having its stabling and
other out-buildings upon a respectable scale. During the period
his excellency is residing in the capital, the “Union Jack”
floats from the top of the flag-staff, opposite government house;
and then all loyal subjects pay their respects to their young and
beautiful queen’s representative.

The custom house, as has already been mentioned, was destroyed in
the fire of 1841. It was a very respectable edifice, and well
suited to the purpose. The building now used in its stead is
hired at the annual rent of 100l. sterling. The treasurer’s and
registrar’s offices are also private property, for which a
moderate rent is given.[81]

From the custom house, I proceed to mention the barracks, very
delightfully situated in a kind of open heath, to the east of the
town. These consisted of two distinct buildings a few paces from
each other; but the north wing of the lower one becoming
dismantled and ruinous, it was resolved in 1831 to repair it, and
appropriate it to the use of a gaol, instead of the building
already described in the vicinity of the court house.

In this gaol, far greater attention is paid to the unfortunate
inmates than was formerly the case. The prisoners are furnished
with two wholesome and sufficient meals a day, but no clothing or
bedding is allowed, unless by order of the medical man attending
them. The females are separated from the men, and the debtors
from the felons; although in former years they all used to herd

Since the year 1829, the Rev. Robert Holberton, the excellent
rector of St. John’s, has voluntarily visited the prison every
Sunday between the hours of seven and eight a.m., to read
prayers, and deliver a religious discourse to the inmates; and in
all cases where an unhappy being has so outraged the laws of
humanity and justice as to forfeit his life to pay the penalty of
his crimes, that divine has ever stepped in with his message of
mercy, prayed with them, and sought to soften their stony hearts;
to lead them to that only fountain capable of washing away their
deadly sins, and finally accompanied them to the last sad scene
of their mortal career.

One part of the gaol is converted into a house of correction, and
the prisoners confined there are employed in breaking stones, or,
under the surveillance of an officer, in working in the roads, or
assisting in any other public works. A treadmill was sent for
from England some time ago, but after costing the country a large
sum, strange to say, no use is made of it. A shed is built over
it, and there it remains quietly in the gaol-yard, and is likely
to do so to the end of its existence. The reason for not using
this machine, however, is said to be on account of the power
required to work it, which necessarily calls for the exertions of
a large gang; and although the house of correction is generally
crowded with occupants, yet there has seldom been a sufficient
number of culprits at one time condemned to that peculiar
punishment, to set the treadmill going.

The north end of the building is appropriated to the use of the
officers of her majesty’s troops, stationed for the time in the
island; and notwithstanding its near proximity to a prison, must,
I should think, be a very pleasant domicile. The privates are
quartered at the other barracks, further to the east; and beneath
the shade of a large tree growing near, their red-faced wives may
be seen busily employed in washing their habiliments, while their
sun-burnt children scramble about and chase the butterflies, who,
gorgeous in colours, sport about the margin of a neighbouring

The next building to be mentioned is, the new Ebenezer Chapel,
belonging to the Methodist society. The corner-stone of this
edifice was laid by the Honourable Nicholas Nugent (then speaker
of the house of assembly, but who now resides in England as the
colonial agent) in 1837. A religious service was first held in
the old chapel, and then, forming into a procession, consisting
of ministers of the different sects in Antigua, some of the
aristocrats of the island, the leading members of the Methodists,
and the scholars of their Sunday-schools, they marched to the
spot appointed for the erection of their new place of worship. A
bottle containing the customary inscription was placed in the
cavity the stone lowered to its proper situation, the three blows
of the mallet struck, addresses delivered, and the ceremony was

It is a spacious building, the front being constructed of
free-stone, the gift of the Honourable and Rev. Nathaniel
Gilbert. It is pierced with two tiers of windows; the upper ones
arched and of larger size than the lower tier, which are very
disproportioned to the extent of the edifice—a circumstance which
tends to render it warmer than it otherwise would be. The
ground-floor is appropriated to the use of the infant and Sunday
schools, as also their “tea-parties,” held for charitable
purposes; above is the chapel, which is approached by an outward
flight of stone steps. The interior is fitted up in the usual
plain style; but boasts a smart display of blue and white paint.

The pulpit, painted to represent oak, is an irregular octagon,
supported by four fluted columns, and covered with purple
drapery, bordered with yellow fringe, instead of gold; below is
the reading desk. The pulpit is so lofty, which renders it
inconvenient for such of the congregation as occupy the body of
the chapel to follow the movements of the officiating minister.
The galleries run round all sides, and are supported by plain
cast-iron pillars, bearing each its neat-looking lamp. The last
gallery is exclusively appropriated to the use of the children of
the Females’ Friend Society and the Sunday-school scholars; and
here, also, is placed the seraphine belonging to the chapel,
which serves to lead the vocal part of the service. Altogether,
the chapel is an excellent building, superior to anything of the
kind I have seen in the West Indies, and makes a good and
commanding outward appearance, particularly when lighted up of an
evening; but to my eye it looks more like reading rooms, or a
philosophical institution, than a place of worship.

Methodism was first established in Antigua in 1760, by the
Honourable Nathaniel Gilbert, speaker of the house of assembly.
In 1758, Mr. Gilbert visited England, carrying with him some of
his negro servants; and during his stay there, he formed an
acquaintance with the Rev. John Wesley, the venerable founder of
Methodism, who baptized two of the negroes. Upon Mr. Gilbert’s
return to Antigua, he signified to those individuals who resided
near him, that he should feel happy in meeting them at his house
on certain evenings, when he would expound the word of God to
them, and endeavour to enlighten their minds upon religious
subjects. This invitation was eagerly accepted by many of the
negroes and coloured people, and Mr. Gilbert was led to increase
his views, and form a regular organized society, which in a short
time amounted to two hundred members.

This proceeding of Mr. Gilbert produced the greatest astonishment
among the inhabitants of Antigua. A man in his rank of life to
herd with negro slaves, and their coloured offspring, who,
although perhaps they might be free, bore about with them the
marks of their despised race!—oh! wondrous! incomprehensible!—the
man must be mad, thought they. But when he, unmindful of their
censure, proceeded in his acts of love towards these poor
outcasts from the pale of society, their wonder knew no bounds;
their feelings took another turn, and what at first was surprise,
gave way to reproach and contempt. Mr. Gilbert, however, was not
to be moved by what mankind said of him; he knew the consequence
before he commenced his labours; and reckless of scorn or
reprehension, he steadily pursued the path he had chalked out,
knowing full well in whom he trusted. Thus he proceeded, until
death called him from this world, and summoned him to reap his
reward in heaven; when, strong in faith, he left his infant
society without a shepherd to watch over its welfare.

Mr. Gilbert derived his origin from a family of considerable
distinction in the west of England, where one of its members—Sir
Humphrey Gilbert—associating himself with his kinsman, the
celebrated Sir Walter Raleigh, became one of the most eminent
circumnavigators of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Dying, he left
a son, Raleigh Gilbert, Esq., who, among other individuals,
obtained from King James I. a large grant, in what was then
termed Plymouth—the foundation of the afterwards glorious colony
of Virginia, in North America—and where, in 1606, he emigrated,
along with the Lord Chief Justice Popham; George Popham, Esq.
(his son); William Parker, Esq.; and Thomas Stanham, Esq. Soon
after this period, we find Raleigh Gilbert, under the title of
Captain Gilbert, in command of a vessel manned with 100 men, and
provided with ordnance, stores, and provisions, sufficient for
the establishment of a plantation, which he (in conjunction with
Captain Popham, a joint patentee, and in command of another
vessel, similarly provided) began on the banks of the river
“Sagadock,” in the year 1608, and where they erected a fort,
called Sir George’s. Captain Popham, his zealous coadjutor,
having died in this place, Captain Gilbert returned to England,
where he took possession of an estate, fallen to him by the death
of his elder brother, Sir John Gilbert, President of the
Virginian Company. Another member of this family, we find, about
the same time, leader of an abortive expedition to form a
settlement upon the shores of the Bay of Chesapeake, in Virginia,
and who, it appears, was well acquainted with those several
islands which now form the Leeward Caribbee government. The
following extract is taken from a work published in 1741 (second

“In the same year, Captain Gilbert, in the ‘Elizabeth,’ of
London, made a voyage to Virginia, but not with the like success.
He traded with the savages in the Charibbe Islands—viz., St
Lucia, Dominica, Nevis, St Christopher’s, &c., and thence
proceeded to the Bay of Chesapeake, in Virginia, being the first
that sailed up it, and landed there. The Indians set upon him and
his company in the woods, and Captain Gilbert and four or five of
his men were killed by their arrows, upon which his crew returned

We cannot undertake to say from which particular member of this
distinguished family the Gilberts of Antigua sprang, but they
were among its earliest settlers, and constituted some of the
greatest ornaments of the colony, in which for so many years they
have been proprietors. The present  most noble Marquis of
Northampton, President of the Royal Society, descends, in a
female line, from this family. His mother, the late marchioness,
(married, August 18, 1787, to Charles, late Earl and Marquis of
Northampton, and died, March, 1843,) being the daughter of a Miss
Gilbert, (daughter of Nathaniel Gilbert, of Gilberts, Antigua,
Esq., grandfather of the present Honourable and Reverend N.
Gilbert,) by her husband, Joshua Smith, of East Stoke Park, co.
of Wilts, Esq.

But to return to Methodism. Unpromising as the state of this
little society might seem, the good seed already sown was not
destined to perish. The Great Shepherd cared for it; and when
least expected, raised another pastor in the person of a Mr. John
Baxter, a native of England. Mr. Baxter was a man who moved in
humble life, and who worked in the capacity of shipwright, in
Chatham Dockyard; but he was justly esteemed by all who knew him,
a pattern to the society to which he belonged, and a
highly-respected leader among Mr. Wesley’s sect. In 1777, a
proposal was made him by some of the directors of the Chatham
Dockyard, to sail for Antigua, and work as foreman of the calkers
in the naval establishment of that island. To this Mr. Baxter
assented; but not so his friends: they made use of every argument
in their power to make him forego his purpose—representing, in
the most glowing colours, the distance he would be from all he
loved; the dangers of the ocean, over which he must pass; and the
difference, perhaps insalubrity, of climate he would have to
contend with. But all without avail; he felt an unconquerable
desire to visit that portion of the globe, and accordingly,
bidding his friends farewell, he left England, and arrived in
Antigua on the 2nd of April, 1778.

As might be expected, he found the infant Methodist Society in a
very languishing state. Upon hearing of his arrival, and of his
being a member of the same sect as their beloved benefactor, the
little band waited upon him, and after welcoming him to their
shores, begged him to tell Mr. Wesley he had many children in
Antigua whom he had never seen, but who were earnestly desirous
of his aid. On the following Sabbath, Mr. Baxter met them in the
services of religion, and from that day constituted himself their
pastor; which office he performed until his death, assembling
them together on Sundays, and performing the full service, as in
England, and on the other week-days, after his labours in the
dockyard were over, visiting the different estates, and teaching
the poor slaves the road to salvation.

His exertions were greatly blessed; and by the following year,
1779, six hundred negroes were joined to the congregation. He now
contemplated the erection of a chapel, and for that purpose
instituted collections among his people, and adopted every other
consistent method to acquire funds to carry out his plans.

Mr. Baxter’s situation was productive of great discomfort to
himself; his duties to be performed in the naval-yard were very
laborious; and after a long day’s work, his evenings were spent
in travelling from plantation to plantation, the harbinger of
Gospel news. He had no one to assist him in his self-appointed
task, but for some years laboured on alone. In 1782, he mentions
in a letter to a friend, “There is no white person in the
congregation but myself. At St. John’s, thirty coloured persons
receive the Lord’s Supper.”

Assistance, however, was not so far off as he supposed. About
this time an Irish family (who were all members of Mr. Wesley’s
sect) were persuaded by an unprincipled captain of a trading
vessel, to sell all their little property, and emigrate with him
to America. Deceived by his plausible manners and fair speeches,
they acquiesced in his proposals; and turning all their goods
into money, the whole family, consisting of an elderly father and
mother, a son, and some daughters, embarked on board his vessel,
and sought with him their better fortune in a far-off land. But
their false friend having inveigled them into his power, under
various pretences, robbed them of their little all, and then
deserted them, in a strange country. After suffering many and
bitter privations, they found their way to Antigua, where they
eventually became valuable assistants to Mr. Baxter.

In the meantime, Mr. Baxter’s great object, the erection of a
Methodist chapel in St. John’s, was rapidly being accomplished;
and on the 8th of November, 1783, that worthy man, with an
overflowing heart, had the happiness of preaching his first
sermon in it, to a full and serious audience. In the space of the
three following years, the society increased to 2000 persons.

In 1786, Dr. Coke, the Wesleyan missionary and historian, left
England, for the purpose of spreading gospel tidings in America.
Meeting, however, with violent gales, the ship in which he took
passage was unable to make her destined port; and after
encountering a series of disasters, as a last and only resort,
was obliged to put into Antigua, in distress. Dr. Coke was
delighted to find the Wesleyan society in that island in so
satisfactory a state—a circumstance he was unprepared for; and in
his letters to England, expresses in warm terms his pleasure upon
the subject.

The first conference was held at Antigua, in the year 1787; but
the annual conferences, or district meetings, were not
established until 1793, when, on the returns being made, the
society was found to consist of 6570 members; out of which there
were 36 white, and 105 coloured persons. Although the Methodist
society had progressed so far, and embraced so many members, yet
its proceedings were reviled and insulted by the greater part of
the white inhabitants. All kinds of petty insults were heaped
upon its pastors; while their place of worship was made the scene
of vulgar waggeries and ribald jests. One favourite amusement
with many of the young men of that period was, to procure a live
goat, and after hampering its legs, fling it into the midst of
the assembly, while engaged at their devotion at the Methodist
chapel. At other times, in order to vary the sport, the goat was
secured against the chapel door; and as the minister pronounced
the amen, or the members raised their hymns of praise to God, the
poor animal was beat and kicked until it joined in chorus with
its deep and unharmonious cries, which were received with bursts
of applauding laughter by its foolish captors.

Mr. Baxter, although a very _good_ man, was not, I have
understood, possessed of very superior talents; and accordingly,
many of his discourses produced much merriment among that class
of persons who frequented his chapel for the sake of passing
criticisms, as well as killing time. He had a favourite servant
living with him, whose name was John Bott, and who attended to
the lighting up of the chapel, as well as performing his home
duties. Upon one occasion, John neglected to snuff the candles;
an omission which caused his master so much uneasiness, that,
after endeavouring in vain to read the portion of Scripture
selected, he was fain to interrupt himself in the midst of a
passage—“And Nathan said unto David—John Bott, snuff the
candles!” This intervention, as may be supposed, caused a tumult
of laughter; nor (said an ear-witness) could his own people
restrain their risible faculties. But to return. About 1793, Dr.
Coke paid Antigua another visit, and preached upon many
plantations; one of which was Sir George Thomas’s, at North
Sound. The old chapel at Parham was erected in 1802; the returns
of the society made that year were, 4000 persons.

The year 1805 was marked by the Methodists as that in which their
friend and pastor, Mr. John Baxter, closed his mortal career,
after a well-spent life—twenty-seven years of which he passed in
Antigua.[82] He died November the 13th, 1805, and was interred in
the churchyard of St. John’s; but if any stone marked the place
of burial, time has obliterated the inscription, or else
shattered the tomb. The visitor may look in vain for such a
memento. It appears strange to me, that the Wesleyans of Antigua
have never erected monuments to the memories of Mr. Gilbert and
Mr. Baxter. I am sure there are members enough to do this; and it
would be but paying a proper tribute of respect to the memories
of those excellent men, and founders of that sect in this island.
Perhaps, they may take the hint, and allow the walls of their
handsome chapel to be graced with two neat marble tablets devoted
to that purpose.

But to proceed. Since Mr. Baxter’s death, the Wesleyan society
has been rapidly progressing, not only in Antigua, but in all the
other West India Islands, although Antigua is still looked upon
as the parent church; and in 1842, the society in that island
consisted of about 2700 members. Beside the chapel in St. John’s,
they have places of worship at Parham, English Harbour,
Willoughby Bay, and elsewhere.

Thus, from a small beginning—from a few black slaves gathered
together by night beneath the roof of a white man—this society
has spread far and wide, like some huge wave, until now it boasts
a vast increase of number, of every variety of shade, from the
ruddy son of Britain, down to the jetty offspring of Afric’s
soil. Great success has attended the preaching of this sect; and
although an episcopalian myself, and consequently more attached
to that form of worship, I cannot let the opportunity pass me
without offering my mite of praise to the character of their
undaunted and fervent ministers, tendering my hearty wishes for
their further progress, and, at the same time, expressing my firm
belief that they have, through God, been the means of preventing
much crime, and saving many, very many, from the fearful
retribution, the inevitable attendant on a misspent life.

From this view of the Methodist Chapel and Methodism, I proceed
to mention the Moravian settlement. The Moravians, or rather,
“United Brethren,” as many of my readers may be aware, revived
under the celebrated Count Zinzendorf, a native of Germany, who,
with some of his followers, visited England in the reign of
George II., and formed several settlements of their sect in
different parts of that kingdom. They also established colonies
in Greenland, Labrador, and other parts of North America, and in
South America.

In 1731, Count Zinzendorf visited Denmark, for the purpose of
attending the coronation of Christian VI., who, by the death of
his father, was called to the throne of that kingdom. During his
residence at that court, some of his domestics became acquainted
with a negro, named Anthony, from one of the Danish islands. This
man related many instances of the moral darkness in which the
West Indies were enveloped, and of the distressed state of the
negroes; which being repeated to the count, he felt an invincible
desire to send missionaries to that part of the world, to
proclaim the “tidings of great joy” to those poor benighted

In 1732, this desire was carried into effect; and two
missionaries were despatched from “Herrnhutt,” (the principal
Moravian station, in Lusatia, Germany,) to St. Thomas. Other
missionaries followed them; and in 1733, they planted their
standard in St. Croix. In 1754, the society in London sent
missionaries to Jamaica, who were followed by some of the
brethren from America; and in 1756, Samuel Isles, a true and
exemplary Christian, came from St. Thomas, where he had been
residing as missionary for eight years, and established the first
Moravian settlement in Antigua.

Their labour of love was at first very slow in its progress; but
they succeeded, in 1761, in raising a chapel, for the
accommodation of the negroes, on a spot of land, purchased for
the purpose, in St. John’s. Still their society rather decreased
than flourished, until, about 1768, there were only fourteen
members in the church at St. John’s. Disheartening as these
circumstances were, like true soldiers of the Cross, they would
not lay down their arms; and at length, their faith and patience
met with their reward. A wonderful revival took place, and in
1775 “the number of their stated hearers amounted to 2000; and
never a month elapsed without an addition to the church of ten or
twenty by baptism.”

By the year 1787, 5465 negroes were admitted into the church.
Their first settlement was situated at St. John’s; but in 1782,
they had formed another at Grace Hill, or, as it was first
termed, Bailey Hill; a delightful spot, about ten miles from the
capital. The number baptized at St. John’s, in 1789, was 507;
while at Grace Hill, 217 were admitted into the church by that
ceremony. By this time, five preachers were settled in Antigua;
and in the course of the two following years, the society
enrolled 7400 members. At the present period, 1842, the number
may be estimated at 11,000.

Their settlement at St. John’s is situated in Spring Gardens, at
the extreme north end of the town, and looks the very picture of
neatness and domestic comfort. The present chapel, erected in
1773, is a plain building—devoid of any great architectural
beauty, it is true, but interesting from its very simplicity, and
from being built by the negroes in times of slavery. The rapid
increase of their numbers, already mentioned, rendered it
necessary to provide a larger place of worship; which fact being
mentioned to their negro converts, they immediately commenced
procuring some of the materials, by each bringing a few stones
with them, when they came to their evening meetings in the week.
Those of them who were masons and carpenters worked with the
greatest energy “in their free hours, after their daily tasks
were done; and those who could not assist in the labour provided
victuals for the workmen.” Since that period, the chapel has had
many enlargements and alterations made to it. The dwellings of
the preachers are gathered around it; and their neat,
cheerful-looking burying-ground, in which grows many a beautiful
tree, bounds the settlement to the east. Everything about them
looks green, and fresh, and lovely; and their wives, in their
neat caps, and Quaker-like style of dress, and the often very
pretty, but quiet contour of their features, appear in perfect
harmony with the other parts of the picture. I must say, I like
the Moravians: they seem to have so much open-heartedness about
them—such patriarchal simplicity of manners. Among themselves
they are ever kind and courteous, forming, as it were, one large
family of affectionate brothers and sisters. They have done much
good among the black race, for whose welfare the mission was
particularly intended; and many happy deaths among them attest
the truth. Besides their settlement in St. John’s, they have
several in other parts of the island; namely, at Grace Hill,
Grace Bay, Newfield, Cedar Hall, Lebanon, Gracefield, and Five

Among their ministers, men of learning and talent may be found.
Their superintendent, the Rev. Mr. H———, is a great biblical
scholar, possessed of superior faculties, and a good nervous
preacher; but some of their missionaries, although far from
deficient in erudition, from being natives of Germany, and not
thoroughly acquainted with the English language, are almost
unintelligible to English ears. I cannot say I admire the singing
part of their service; at a given signal they all seem to dart
off at the highest pitch of their voices, and keep on without
regard to time or melody. However, I understand they have also a
seraphine for the use of their chapel, which may tend to modulate
the discordant voices of their congregation.[83] I hope these
last few remarks may not be understood as unkind or sarcastic.
Far be it from me to scoff at _any sect_. True it is I note their
peculiarities; but if founded on the conscientious belief of the
propriety of their own form of worship, I would not raise a laugh
at the fantastic movements of even the “Jumpers” or the “Shakers”
by any animadversions of mine.

The last and remaining edifice I have to mention, is the
half-finished kirk of the Scotchmen. The foundation-stone of this
place of worship was laid with the usual ceremonies by Sir Wm.
Colebrooke, the late governor, on the 9th of April, 1839. It is
situated upon an ascent on the eastern outskirts of the town, and
from it may be seen many a lovely landscape, which Claude
Lorraine would not have scorned to imitate. It progresses but
slowly; but still it has been known for the tortoise to outrun
the hare, and win the race, and therefore the Scotch kirk may yet
exceed some of its contemporaries. In its present form I can say
but little about it, except that the same fault cannot be found
with it as there has been with the Methodist chapel—the small
size of the windows—for the Scotch kirk appears to be all windows
and doors. If, however, the Scotchman will make haste and finish
the building, I will promise to write all about it; in the
meantime, as I have already made this chapter of leviathan
dimensions, I will make my courtesy, and—exit for the night.


[80] This social assemblage of “white” and “black” is one of the
good effects of emancipation. Some years ago this dark-skinned
race would have been kept from within the precincts of the walls
by the point of a bayonet, as it was the custom on similar
occasions to have a guard.

[81] The dates of papers in most of these offices commence from
1668, after Antigua was restored by the French, and Lord W.
Willoughby settled in the government by his majesty Charles the

[82] Mr. Baxter gave up his situation in the dock-yard after the
erection of the chapel in St. John’s, and removed to a small
house erected in the chapel-yard, and continued to fill the
office of the established minister until his death.

[83] This is a misinformation. There is no seraphine in the
chapel, but a small but very sweet-toned organ in the
school-room. Upon a late visit to the chapel, however, I find
that the congregation is very much improved in their style of

                          CHAPTER XXI.

  Morning—Institutions—Daily Meal Society—Its rise and progress—
  Lazaretto—Destitute Females’ Friend Society—Its origin and
  purpose—Friendly societies—Bible Society—Missionary
  associations—Temperance Society—Juvenile Association—Ladies’
  Clothing Society &c.—Banks—Library Society.

Another morning is come—a bright glorious morning: the sky is as
deeply blue as the breast of the kingfisher, except where here
and there a snowy pyramid of clouds mounts slowly up the heavens.
Through the open windows of my apartments, a rich flood of
sunshine pours in, and plays upon the floor in many a fanciful
chequer. The bright red flowers of the “Scarlet Cordia” hang in
tasteful branches from among their broad green leaves, and
attract the attention of the little humming-bird, who, in their
changeful plumage, flit around, and rob the flowers of their
liquid sweets. The breeze is as gentle as an infant’s sigh, a
dreamy stillness is abroad, and—but what was that?—rain, I
declare! A gloom has silently and suddenly overspread the sky;
the late white-robed clouds have become covered with a darkened
hue; the wind has raised its pipe; the rain comes pouring down,
and chases away my feathered favourites. I can write no more of
bright skies and glowing sunbeams, and therefore I must proceed
in my task, which the beauty of the morning drove from my
thoughts; and having already attempted a description of the
buildings of St. John’s, I shall now endeavour to give some
account of its institutions.

The first to be placed upon the list, not from the number of
years it has been established, but from its extent, is the Daily
Meal Society, for information respecting which I am indebted to
the Rev. Robert Holberton. This society, intended for the purpose
of “supplying the sick and needy, of St. John’s and its
neighbourhood with a daily meal,“ was established in the year
1828, the management of its affairs being “undertaken by a
committee of seven gentlemen in the town, (the present Speaker of
the House of Assembly being the treasurer;) three of the clergy,
(the Rev. Robt. Holberton being the secretary;) and five of the
medical gentlemen.” They hold their meetings in the
churchwarden’s office, and on the 18th of June, 1828, a female
superintendent was appointed at a salary of 50l. currency per
annum. A “soup-house” was erected in the yard attached to the
superintendent’s dwelling to the east of the church, the land
being allowed to the society, free of rent, for the space of
seven years by the heirs of “Donovan’s Estate.” A ship’s boiler
having been presented to the society, it was immediately put into
requisition, and the first meal distributed the 2nd of August,
1828, to thirty-six persons.

Up to that time there was no parochial relief for any black or
coloured person; and consequently, when the establishment of such
a society became known, the sick and aged among those classes
eagerly sought for shelter, and an alleviation of their
distresses. The medical gentlemen of St. John’s having offered to
attend gratuitously, in monthly rotation, the cry of these
unfortunate people was responded to; and five small houses,
adjoining the “soup-house,” having been first rented, and
afterwards purchased by the society, fourteen of these afflicted
ones were received and succoured. Many a poor outcast found his
throbbing heart at rest when possessed of these humble
accommodations; many a sufferer had his pains alleviated, and the
oil of mercy poured into his wounds. Five or six successful
amputations were also performed there during that early period.

The rise and progress of this institution is so interesting, that
I think I cannot do better than follow up the account of it, in
the words of the Rev. Mr. Holberton, published in a “Brief
Review:” “After the destructive hurricane of 1835, (when this
society was found signally useful in furnishing a comfortable
meal daily to the houseless poor,) the unappropriated residue of
a grant from the legislature, for restoring some of the damaged
houses of the poor of St. John’s, was handed over to the
committee of the Daily Meal Society, with the understanding that
shelter should be given to those whose houses were considered
past repairing. This testimony of public confidence, together
with a handsome private donation of 90l. sterling, occurring at
the very time when the land on which the institution had stood
for seven years was required by the owner, stimulated the
committee to attempt to re-establish it on a more extensive

Mr. Holberton proceeds to pass some high encomiums upon the Very
Rev. the Archdeacon Parry (late of Antigua) for the great
interest felt by him in the success of the society—encomiums, no
doubt, richly his due; but the rector was necessitated to forego
mentioning what it is in my power to do, that it was principally
through his own kind heart, and from his deep Christian
principles, which led him to exert every energy in its behalf,
that the Daily Meal Society had its origin, and is in its present
flourishing condition.

Mr. H. proceeds: “Chiefly at his” (the archdeacon’s) “instance, a
successful application was made to the legislature for a piece of
land near the rectory, 300 feet long by 100 feet wide. This was
enclosed with strong palisades, and within were erected a
kitchen, or ‘soup-house,’ of stone, 30 feet long and 15 wide, a
wooden house, 60 feet by 20 feet, divided into six apartments,
capable of accommodating four persons in each. A well was also
dug 24 feet deep, and four of the wooden houses which stood on
the old site were transported to the new one. The expense of
effecting these objects amounted to 1300l. currency, of which
about 1000l. currency was raised by subscriptions. This
establishment was opened on 8th March, 1837, under the name of
the _Asylum_, and has been providentially raised up to meet, in
the most satisfactory manner, the various cases of distress that
have occurred since the general emancipation in 1834, and has
effectually done away with begging in the streets of St. John’s.”

As leprosy is a frequent disease among the negroes, and, from its
contagious character, doubts had arisen upon the propriety of
admitting persons suffering from that dreadful complaint into the
asylum, it was determined in 1836 to open a subscription list for
the purpose of erecting another building for their reception.
That they might have the benefit of sea-air and sea-bathing, the
site chosen for it was by the sea-side. This building was
commenced in 1837, and “although, from want of funds, scarcely
one of the two wings could be completed, admission was given to
five leprous persons on the 25th of April in that year.” The
society, however, “was compelled to declare that, without
parochial allowances, the institution must fall to the ground.
The claim to such help was at once seen to be most reasonable and
highly needful, and the desired combination of _parochial_ with
_voluntary_ relief was speedily effected. The legislature
granting 600l. currency the following year, the debts were paid
off, and the building finished and publicly opened under the
title of the Lazaretto, on the 20th June, 1838.”

The Lazaretto consists of “six rooms for females and six for
males, capable of accommodating three in each, besides one small
room for one person only. The enclosed yard has been, for the
most part, converted into plots for provisions, and for keeping
poultry in. Some bamboos have been planted, which will in time
afford materials for making baskets, about which one of the men
is industriously employed, and by the sale of his work contrives
to purchase clothes for himself, at half-price, from the Ladies
Clothing Society. All the inmates appear thankful and contented,
and some have shewn a readiness to receive scriptural instruction
that is very pleasing.” Poor creatures! some of them are, indeed,
objects for the deepest commiseration, but their sufferings are
alleviated as far as possible. Their residence is a delightful
situation; the sea-breeze comes so pure from off the bosom of the
ocean, that one would suppose disease must fly before it. From
the farthest point of the land runs a causeway over to Rat
Island, (the promontory already mentioned as being the site of
one of the forts,) made about the year 1748, and which is
passable at ebb-tide. Upon this promontory, which rises in the
form of a steep mount, a lunatic asylum has been built during the
past year, (1841,) the legislature having voted a sum for that
purpose, for the use of such inmates of the institution as have
shewn symptoms of aberration of mind.

In 1838, the legislature gave a further grant of 500l. currency
to the society, for the purpose of erecting “a separate ward for
the male patients, with ten apartments capable of accommodating
four persons in each,” in that part of the establishment situated
near the rectory, which was finished and opened on the 15th July,
1839. An iron tank, capable of holding 7000 gallons of water, has
been imported from England, and placed in the yard of the same
portion of the institution. In 1840, the title of the society was
changed from that of “The Asylum” to “The Daily Meal Society’s
Infirmary and Lazaretto,” by which latter designation it is now

This establishment is, indeed, the only infirmary and hospital in
the island, (with the exception of the cast-iron hospital at the
Ridge, near English Harbour, for the use of the troops;) and not
only the destitute poor of St. John’s, but the poor from all the
other parishes are admitted into it, as well as distressed and
destitute sailors. The best medical attendance is procured for
them; wine and other strengthening nourishment administered to
the sick; and three wholesome meals allowed to each individual
per day. Bedsteads and bedding are also supplied, there being “in
the female ward six, and in the male ward ten furnished
apartments, ready for the reception of patients at the shortest

Nor are these the _only_ accommodations this inestimable charity
affords to the poor and distressed of our species, there being
seven detached houses on the opposite side of the inclosure,
capable of containing two, three, or four persons in each. “In
these separate dwellings infirm persons are distributed, whose
complaints, habits, or tempers, render it expedient that they
should be kept by themselves. One house, fronting the
burial-ground, is reserved for the reception of the dead previous
to interment, and is used for a dissecting room when required.
Eighty inmates can be comfortably accommodated at the infirmary.”
The income for the last year, (1841,) including subscriptions,
donations, legacies, and parochial relief, was 1361l. 0s. 4½d.
currency, the expenditure, 1225l. 4s. 4d.; the latter sum would
have been of greater extent was it not from the kindness of many
of the Antiguan proprietors, in presenting each a barrel or two
of sugar.

Thus have I gone with Mr. Holberton through the “rise and
progress of the Daily Meal Society.” Perhaps some of the truly
charitable inhabitants of dear old England may be induced to send
their mite across the waters in aid of this society, of whose
existence they may probably not have been hitherto aware; and as
I knew it was out of my power to use more cogent language—
language which speaks to the heart—nor advocate the cause so well
as our excellent rector, I have therefore quoted so largely from
his “brief review,” feeling assured he will pardon me, and hoping
my readers will bear with me. In conclusion, I will once more use
his words and say—“It is undeniable that the hand of God has been
over it to sustain it in its small beginning, to uphold it in
every difficulty, and to raise it to its present prosperity. To
God, then, be all the praise; and may the success with which He
has been pleased to crown the exertions of the society provoke
every member and friend of it to increasing diligence in these
works of charity, for which there will still be a continual

The next charitable institution to be mentioned is “the Destitute
Females’ Friend Society,” or, as it is now termed, “the Female
Orphan Society.” This latter title is, however, a misnomer, for
but few of the inmates are orphans in the true sense of the word,
they being, but with few exceptions, the illegitimate children of
black or coloured women, (by white or coloured persons,) whose
parents, still alive, are, from penury, incompetent to maintain
them, or are living in a state of concubinage, and consequently
not proper guides to youth.

This society, which is invaluable, and is well known in England
by its first name, although, perhaps, lost sight of in its
modernized title, was established about the year 1816. The origin
of it was as follows:—

“The attention of a few pious and benevolent individuals of the
female sex was called to the situation of an indigent class of
coloured children of their own sex, (for whom there was then no
parochial relief;) and witnessing with feelings of poignant
regret their moral and religious degradation still more than
their bodily necessities, they were impelled to exert, in
connexion with a few other friends, all their united energies for
the amelioration of the condition of these unhappy children, and
thereby lessen the evils resulting to the community in general
from a generation growing up without religious or moral
cultivation. To effect these desirable objects, it was resolved
to make an immediate and bold attempt.

“The attempt was bold, because it could not be carried into
execution by persons circumscribed in their means of doing it
without the concurrence and aid of others like-minded, and of
whose co-operation they were not assured. Encouraged, however, by
one whose heart devised liberal things, though possessing himself
little power to accomplish them from his own resources, but
favoured with influence over some who considered themselves as
stewards appointed by God to benefit their fellow creatures, and
assured by him of competent aid from England, if it could not be
obtained in Antigua, a commencement was made by a few
subscribers, chiefly respectable coloured persons; and several
children were immediately taken to be clothed, fed, and
instructed; and when the plan was made known to the community at
large, and to other benevolent individuals in England and
Scotland, the society, by their generous assistance, grew into
its present state of maturity. Such was its origin, and we cannot
but observe in it the benefit resulting from a social compact to
do good to our fellow creatures—the design to rescue from the
paths of the destroyer, and to train in those of piety, industry,
and useful occupation, the objects of their care. The success,
though not in every instance unfailing, has been considerable. A
few, there is reason to hope, are where sin and sorrow cannot
enter. Others, as useful domestics, or conductors of their own
households, testify to the truth of the fact.

“Three of the elder girls have been sent into creditable
situations, with a prospect of comfort to themselves and
usefulness to their employers. Four more have been admitted to
fill their places. Seventeen are now in the house. The committee
would not arrogate to themselves any undue merit; but they
gratefully receive the meed of approbation awarded to them by the
frequent application they have for the admittance of children,
and for girls to fill the place of servants.”

I have quoted so largely from the reports of the society (1841)
for two reasons—first, because the committee are, and of course
ought to be, better acquainted with its proceedings than myself;
and secondly, because its details are related with a striking
simplicity of style, which must speak to every breast not devoid
of the “milk of human kindness,” and I am sure no words of mine
would be able to influence further the minds of those benevolent
persons who, through the medium of these pages, may become
acquainted with its existence, and feel wishful of adding a
trifle to the funds of this invaluable society.

That it is an invaluable charity none can deny, for it strikes to
the root of all West Indian misery—_illicit love_; and what can
be more acceptable to “the community at large” than the
endeavouring to inculcate into the minds of its youthful members
the doctrines of chastity and diligence in well-doing? The
twenty-sixth anniversary of this society was held on the 31st
December, 1841. The children, inmates of the house, are taught
reading, writing, and arithmetic, and are instructed in all the
arts of female plain-work,—straw-bonnet sewing and cleaning
forming one branch of their employment. Their earnings for the
last year were 107l. 0s. 7½d. currency, out of which, 5l. 13s.
10½d. had to be deducted for materials to carry on their
different works. The matron receives a salary of 60l. currency
per annum, and the children are clothed and boarded, and have
medical attendance found them; and when death sends forth its
summons, and any of the inmates fall a prey to its inevitable
shafts, their last resting-place is provided, and the funeral
expenses paid.

The next institutions worthy of mention are the town and country
“Friendly Societies.” They are formed upon a similar plan to some
of the “poor men’s clubs” in England, and prove of great
assistance to the members in times of sickness and trial. The St.
John’s Friendly Society was established in 1829, under the
auspices of that zealous minister, the Rev. R. Holberton, and was
intended to promote good feelings among the lower classes, to
assist them in procuring articles of mourning, aid them in times
of deep distress, help those incapable of helping themselves, and
encourage sobriety and industry among them.

After the abolition of slavery, in 1834, many of the negroes
removing from the estates to which they formerly belonged, and
other estates not finding medical advice for their labourers, as
in times of slavery, it was found necessary to enlarge the rules
of the society; and by increasing the amount subscribed by every
member, provide them with a doctor when ill, a certain sum per
week during indisposition, and upon demise twelve dollars for the
funeral expenses.

The first country Friendly Society was established in 1832; but
since that period they have rapidly increased. “In 1834,” remarks
Mr. Holberton, “there were eleven societies, with 1602 members;
in 1835, 4197 members; in 1836, 4560 members.” The Moravians and
Wesleyans have each their Friendly Societies, formed and
conducted upon a similar plan.

On the first of January, 1842, I visited St. John’s church, to
hear the anniversary sermon preached to the society. The members
met at the parochial school-room, where they formed into a
procession, the women first, and the men following behind, and
marched to the church, headed by the Very Rev. the Archdeacon,
the Rev. Mr. Holberton, the rector, the Rev. Mr. Piggott, and the
Rev. Mr. Saulez. The morning service having been performed, and a
very suitable and excellent sermon preached by the Rev. Mr.
Piggott, the members again formed into ranks, and marched back to
the school-room, where the report of the society was read, short
addresses made, and refreshments handed round, when the whole
party dispersed. I could not help remarking the smart appearance
of the members—such rainbow ribbons, and stylish bonnets—such
parasols and sandals—such blue coats and white trowsers!—as made
their appearance on that day would surprise any one.

The next society, which by-the-bye ought to have been mentioned
first, as being the oldest in the island, is the Bible Society,
organized in 1815. It is comprised of every sect and shade in the
island, and its interests are managed by an efficient committee.
After the abolition of slavery in 1834, the parent society sent a
“munificent grant, by which a choice portion of the Holy
Scriptures was gratuitously circulated to about one-third of the
inhabitants of this colony. Nine thousand seven hundred copies of
the New Testament, bound together with the Book of Psalms, were
thus placed at the disposal of the committee.”

The remaining societies are the “Missionary Associations”
connected with the Wesleyan mission, established in 1820, and
intended for the purpose of raising funds for the parent society
in England. The “Temperance Society,” introduced into Antigua in
the year 1836; the “Juvenile Association,” established 1815; the
“Ladies Clothing Society,” (or Dorcas Society,) and two other
associations belonging to the established church, and known as
the “Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge,” and the
“Branch Association of the Society for the advancing the
Christian Faith in the British West Indies, &c.” The Moravians
have also a Missionary society, established in 1839.

Having now gone through the charitable institutions, I must
proceed to mention the “Banks,” of which there are two in the
island—the “Colonial Bank,” incorporated by royal charter, 1836;
and the “West Indian Bank,” in 1840. The first of these banks
issues a very neat note, (from five dollars [1l. sterling] and
upwards,) bearing a lithographed representation of the royal
arms, and encircled with a very prettily designed border; but the
“West Indian” disseminates the most frightful “paper money” I
ever witnessed. Some of their notes are _red_, and others _blue_;
who was the designer of the “arms” which grace the head of them I
know not, but they appear to be in direct opposition to all laws
of heraldry. The shield (of an oblong figure) is divided into
_three_ quarterings: 1st, or, an eagle (apparently) sable,
beaked, rising from the sea; 2nd, gules, a ship full-rigged,
argent; 3rd, azure, a castle, argent, battled. The supporters are
two dwarfish cocoa-nut trees, (palm?) apparently springing from
the same root as their companions, two gigantic pine-apples; the
whole surmounted by the crown of England. With regard to the
benefit which the establishment of these banks has rendered the
country, various opinions have been formed.

After the “Banks,” the only remaining institution to be mentioned
is the “Antigua Library Society,” which according to its “rules
and regulations,” is devoted to “the gradual formation of a
permanent library of general literature, and the establishment,
in connexion with the library, of a reading-room, to be furnished
with newspapers, journals, pamphlets, periodicals, and other new

Now it is well known that we live in an age of puffing, as well
as steaming, and it may be imagined by some, that these caterers
for intellectual sweets have fallen short of their promises. Not
so, kind readers; take my word for it there are few better
organized societies of the kind to be met with, or whose
well-filled shelves bear a richer burden. Books to suit every
taste (and every _age_ I might say—for our friend “Peter Parley”
displays there the hidden treasures of the “earth, the sea, and
skies,” to the delight of the youthful reader,) may be found in
this Library Society. Theological, metaphysical, biographical,
historical, and lighter works, abound. Poetry is not excluded;
our own sweet bards, from good old Chaucer, that “father of
English poetry,” down to the soft strains of Mrs. Hemans, or L.
E. L., rank among its selections.

Of modern works there are no end. There, the irresistible charms
of that “Wizard of the North,” the late Sir Walter Scott, with
his “Jenny Deans;” his high-minded “Flora McIvor;” his
unfortunate “Bride of Lammermoor,” and all his other “gentle
dames” and “lordly knights,” are displayed before the enraptured
reader. There Marryat amuses with his _naïveté_, and those
stirring incidents of a sailor’s life, he knows so well to
picture. There, “Boz” carries you perforce from the hut to the
castle, and makes you weep or laugh in each. There are Bulwer and
Ainsworth, who draw their gentlemen-ruffians in such a guise as
to lead one to admire even a housebreaker or highwayman; Cooper,
who makes us long to lead the life of a backwood’s-man; James,
with his darling peeps at “by-gone days;” the dear Miss Mitford
and Mary Howitt, whose simple annals and sylvan scenes almost
bring before us the lovely fields and sweet flowers of England;
Mrs. Gore, with all her pageantries; Mrs. Trollope, with her
playful but keen sarcasms; the Countess of Blessington, with her
elegant diction and pure imagery, as lovely as her own sweet
form; with many other authors of note, are equally at the command
of the subscribers to this Antiguan bibliotheca.

This society has been established for many years, but it was not
incorporated by an act of the legislature until 1839, during the
government of Sir Wm. Colebrooke. The members are elected by
ballot, and after subscribing for ten years, they become free of
the library, retaining all the privileges without being called
upon for payment.

The library is kept in the upper part of a large house, well
adapted for the purpose, consisting as it does of two good sized
apartments, with library tables, covered with respectable green
cloth, and pamphlets of all sorts and sizes; the sides of the
room are lined with bookcases. Altogether it is an admirable
society, and I strenuously advise all inhabitants of Antigua,
whose ideas are not absolutely tied down to “profit and loss,” to
become members; they cannot spend their spare money more
agreeably, nor while away their leisure to better purpose.

                         CHAPTER XXII.

  Early rising and “Jamie Thomson”—Journey to English Harbour—
  Windmills and Don Quixote—Groups of negroes and their equipages
  —All Saints’ chapel of ease—The “Hamlet”—Village of Liberta—
  Grace Hill—Patterson’s and Prince William—English Harbour
  market—Streets and dwellings—Commissariat’s store and
  government tank—Dockyard—The superintendent—Stores and
  storehouses—Engineer’s workshop—Blacksmith’s shop and blowing
  machine—Limes and roses—Recollections of England—Lieutenant
  Peterson and Lord Camelford—His lordship’s pranks—The ordnance—
  Clarence House and Dows Hill—The Ridge and “Shirley heights”—
  Fort Charlotte and Fort Berkeley—Bats Cave—The Savannah and its
  tombs—Indian Creek—Return to town.

The church clock proclaimed the hour of five, as a gentle rap
came at my chamber door. Awakened from a pleasant dream, I
started from my couch, and heard with something like vexation,
that it was time to dress, in order to prosecute our intended
journey to English Harbour.

Beautiful as is the breath of “early morn,” still there is
something very disagreeable in leaving your comfortable bed, and
it may be, your gorgeous dreams, for the dull realities of life,
and the necessary, but irksome duties of the toilet. I know I
shall be cried down by all lovers of Nature for my unsentimental
remarks. Thomson, enraptured with his subject “of early rising,”
exclaims with all a poet’s fervour—

    Falsely luxurious, will not man awake,
    And, springing from the bed of sloth, enjoy
    The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,
    To meditation due and sacred song?
    For is there aught in sleep can charm the wise?
    To lie in dead oblivion, losing half
    The fleeting moments of too short a life—
    Total extinction of th’ enlighten’d soul!
    Or else to feverish vanity alive,
    Wilder’d, and tossing through distemper’d dreams,
    Who would in such a gloomy state remain
    Longer than nature craves—when every muse
    And every blooming pleasure wait without,
    To bless the wildly devious morning walk.”

Now, all this sounds very pretty—very romantic indeed; and we
begin to fancy the poet amid some “bosky dell,” or upland lawn,
his shoes liberally bedewed with those glittering gems, which
“hang in every cowslip’s bell,” and his unpowdered locks
streaming behind him in the morning gale. But stay, gentle
reader! hast thou not heard that Thomson was himself a very
sluggard, and loved his warm bed far better than any sylvan scene
he could so well describe? And in truth, many and many a poet,
even to “Joanna Bailey,” the morning rhymester, has been of the
same mind. Then, why should I not tell the truth, and own my
sloth—although at the same time, when once abroad, no one feels
the nameless “melodies of morn” more than I do.

But to resume my subject: the incidents of a day’s journey to
English Harbour. After partaking of a light breakfast, and
quaffing of that cup “which cheers, but not inebriates,” we
stepped into the phaeton, and drove through the town, leaving our
friends in “Scotch-row” busily employed in arranging their
incongruous goods to the best advantage.

The day was very favourable to our undertaking, for it was fine,
but overcast. The sun was robbed of his extreme lustre by the
intervention of various clouds, which passed along the sky in
many beautiful forms. Some dark as ebon night; others of a
silverish grey; the eastern ones tinged with gold and purple;
while some again looked so white and fleecy, that you could fancy
them so many snow-wreaths spread out upon an ocean of blue. The
lights and shadows, too, of the far mountains, with all their
blended tints, were beautiful objects in the landscape; and the
occasional sight of a herd or two of cattle, standing in their
usual dreamy posture, completed the picture. We passed several
windmills (used in grinding the sugar-cane) with their sails
unfurled, and going round merrily in the breeze; but unlike Don
Quixote, I took them not for so many giants, nor wished myself a
knight-errant, that I might rescue the “beautiful and high-born
damsels” from their clutches.

The road to English Harbour is, however, for the most part dull
and uninteresting; only here and there a pretty prospect attracts
the eye. But on this day (Monday[84]) it was rendered more
cheerful by the groups of negroes, who, of every age and sex,
were coming into town to purchase their weekly stores. Baskets,
trays, and boxes—all kinds of vessels, indeed—were placed in
critical positions upon their heads; but this appeared to cause
no impediment to their ambling gait, while the chatter and song
among themselves, and the smile and courtesy as they passed us,
with the accustomed “How d’ye, massa?” “How d’ye, missis?” shewed
that they considered their errand as one of pleasure rather than
of toil. Carts were also put into requisition by the more
extensive purchasers; some drawn by a ragged Canadian pony,
similar to the little Sheltie breed; others by a tall
grim-looking American horse, with its bones sticking out as bare
as “Rozinante’s;” and others again dragged along by a slight-made
Creole, its mane and tail the colour of flax. Cattle carts were
also bringing in loads of sugar, drawn by six miserable-looking
oxen two abreast, their poor necks weighed down by the heavy
wooden yokes.

In one part of the road we passed All Saints’ chapel of ease,
belonging to the parish of St. John’s. It is a very plain
building, surmounted by a gothic pinnacle, answering the purpose
of a steeple, with an aperture in the middle, intended, I
suppose, for the admission of a bell.

After passing a ruined estate, where the long grass grew upon the
walls of a roofless building, once used as a boiling house, and
accomplishing a steep descent, and one or two abrupt turnings in
the road, we came to a cluster of houses, known by the title of
“the hamlet.” Many of these rural dwellings are very neatly built
of native stone; and their little gardens appear to be well
stocked with the country produce, such as potatoes, peas, eddoes,
arrowroot, &c. A short distance from the hamlet is another
similar collection of dwellings, bearing the name of “the village
of Liberta,” (as a painted board informed us,) and equally
abundant in its bright green patches of edibles. The emancipation
of the negroes, and their desire to possess a portion of the soil
in perpetuity, gave rise to these villages, of which there are
many in different parts of the island. Here they erect small
houses, and plant ground provisions. Some of these little
dwellings are very neatly constructed, being raised a little
distance from the ground, and the front door graced with a flight
of steps and a small portico, while the open windows are
furnished with white curtains.

Adjoining the “village of Liberta,” lies the Moravian settlement
of Grace Hill, snugly ensconced in its leafy fence, and, like
other settlements of the kind in this island, breathing an air of
happy tranquillity.

Leaving Grace Hill, and travelling on some distance, we arrived
at an estate called Patterson’s, belonging to the Hon. John
Athill, and celebrated in Antiguan history, as being the spot
where the murder of the governor’s child was perpetrated,
(already narrated in the legend of Ding a Ding Nook,) on the
occasion of the abduction of his lady in 1640. The “great house”
upon this estate was honoured by a visit from our late lamented
monarch, William IV., who in 1798 passed a night there.

We here once again came within sight of the sea, which greatly
added to the attractions of the scene, while on our left hand
rose Monk’s Hill, surmounted by its fortifications, and strewed
in some parts with ruined Carib’s houses. Passing through the
town of Falmouth, we gained a kind of marsh, dotted over with
clumps of aquatic shrubs, and here and there opening to the sea,
and in a few moments entered the village of “English Harbour.”
The market is just at its entrance, and consisted, upon the day
we visited it, of about ten or twelve persons, squatting on the
ground, and having before them shallow wooden trays, containing a
few country vegetables, a miserable-looking chicken or two, a few
strings of strong-scented fish, a store of sun-burnt bread, and
other similar luxuries!

The houses are in general of very mean construction, and
destitute of paint. There are, however, some very pleasant
residences belonging to the crown, from which beautiful sea-views
may be obtained; for the village is built along the margin of the
sea, and in some parts the waves come rippling up to the very
street, and wet the feet of the passengers. Dogs and ducks were
enjoying themselves in the water,—the former dashing in and out,
and rolling in the sand, while the latter, with their eyes almost
closed, were resting upon their glassy couch, in all the luxury
of idleness.

Before entering the dockyard, we passed the commissariat stores;
and on the opposite side of the road, a large tank, capable of
containing 240 tons of water, built by the legislature for the
use of the shipping, but from which the inhabitants of the
village are allowed to draw water, the dockyard being so well
supplied with those necessary reservoirs. This tank bears many a
sculptured name; among the rest, that of “Nelson,” that
laurel-crowned hero, who visited Antigua in 1784.[85]

A pair of strong, well-secured gates guard the entrance to the
dockyard; which being thrown open, we drove in, and alighted at
the office of the superintendant of the establishment,
preparatory to inspecting the accommodations of the place.

The dockyard consists of two separate departments. The first,
since entitled St. Helena, was commenced in 1726, during the
administration of John Hart, Esq., and at the suggestion of Capt.
Francis Cooper, commander of H. M. S. “Lynn,” and Capt. Arthur
Del Garno, commander of H. M. S. “South Sea Castle.” These
experienced and clever naval officers saw the advantage of having
proper wharfs, &c. for careening ships in Antigua, instead of
being obliged to despatch the vessels appointed to this station,
to the northern colonies, when any repairs were necessary, as
they had before been in the practice of doing. The land chosen,
as being most applicable to the purpose, consisted of two
portions, of ten acres each, which in 1718 had been granted to
Joseph Green, and William Greatrix, privates in H.M. troops,
disbanded in consequence of the cessation of war. These lands
were, however, forfeited to the crown by the non-settlement of
them, by the grantees; and they were consequently appropriated to
the purpose of establishing a dockyard, which is now not to be
equalled in this part of the globe.

This establishment having proved of such advantage to Antigua,
and the rest of the Leeward Islands, his majesty, George II.,
ordered that another wharf, with magazines, stores, and other
appendages, should be constructed. Accordingly, in 1743, a tract
of land was purchased from Thomas Bodkin; five acres of which was
to be appropriated for the site of the new naval buildings; and
the remainder to be allotted to poor white settlers, at the
discretion of the commander-in-chief, the council, and assembly
of Antigua. Such was the origin of the village of English
Harbour, which, on account of being principally crown property,
is disfranchised.

The dockyard presents a fine and noble appearance; and under the
able superintendence of Joseph Hart, Esq., everything seems to be
conducted in the best possible manner; while the yard itself is
kept so beautifully clean, that a walk through it affords real
pleasure. The exertions of Mr. Hart may perhaps be better
appreciated when it is considered that only six labourers are
allowed him to perform all necessary duties; and that these men
are also liable to be called upon by the pilot, at a moment’s
notice, whenever that officer is employed in piloting vessels of
war in or out of the harbour.

The storehouses upon St. Helena are principally used for storing
coals, and in consequence, her majesty’s steam-vessels frequent
more that side of the dock. The largest ships of war (that visit
these seas) can go alongside this wharf when necessary.

On the south of St. Helena lies “Freeman’s Bay,” where such of H.
M. vessels as are intended to remain but a short time generally
anchor; the offing being more readily gained from thence than
when further in.

The last-erected part of this naval establishment, or “the
dockyard,” as it is more generally called, is separated from St.
Helena by the blue waters of the dock, and contains various
buildings, of which I shall first mention the commissioner’s
room, and pay offices, (under one roof,) as that was the first
place I visited. The commissioner’s room is a very pleasant
apartment, with windows to the east and west, and folding-doors
to the south opening upon a small stone terrace, with a flight of
steps leading to the wharf beneath. From this terrace a
delightful view may be obtained. St. Helena lies exactly
opposite, its warehouses reflected in the clear, blue sea, which
flows at your feet; on your left, Clarence House, and the
adjacent country; while, on your right, the mouth of the harbour,
guarded with its forts, and the blue ocean, with its snowy
crested waves, blends with the sky in the distance. In the
apartment itself are considerable quantities of Psalters and New
Testaments, designed, I suppose, for the use of the naval seamen;
but those annoying pests, the cock-roaches, have made sad work
with the bindings. Leaving this room, we walked into the pay
offices, divided by blue railings, into the commissioner’s
office, master shipwright’s office, master attendant’s office,
and storekeeper’s office; as the several white-lettered
inscriptions informed me. These paying offices are all contained
in one apartment, measuring about 8 feet by 4 feet. They must not
be corpulent persons who occupy them, or they will be less at
their ease than poor “Hudibras” was in the “Wooden Bastile.”

Descending another flight of stone steps, we crossed part of the
yard, and arrived at the naval officers’ quarters, a very
pleasant and handsome building, along which runs a pretty
verandah, commanding a similar view to that obtained from the
terrace of the commissioner’s room. Underneath these quarters, is
the principal tank, divided into twelve compartments, and capable
of containing 1000 tuns of water. From this tank pipes pass
under-ground, to the edge of the wharf, (a distance of a hundred
feet,) which being furnished with a cock, the water can be turned
into the casks at pleasure; or, when in great haste, another pipe
is fixed from thence into the hold of the ship, which in this
manner receives its proper allowance of water, at a distance of
100 feet from shore.

A few paces from the officers’ quarters, stands a large building,
100 feet by 90 feet, used as a copper, steamer’s, and lumber
store; attached to which are four semi-circular tanks, capable of
holding ten tuns of water each. Passing from this, we came to the
cordage, sail, canvass, and clothing store, of a similar size;
and opposite to which, at the distance of about ten feet, is the
working mast-house, (100 feet square,) and joiners’ loft above.
In this building a party of men were busily employed in making a
new mast for H. M. schooner, “Fair Rosamond,” which, having met
with an accident, a few days before, had put into Antigua to
repair. Parallel with this building is another working
mast-house, and joiners’ loft above, of similar dimensions to the
former, used also for the accommodation of the yard engines.

Peeping into a snug little box, called the porter’s lodge, and
passing the guard house, store for condemned articles, and paint
store, we entered the boat-house. By this time the sun had gained
its meridian height, and poured a blaze of light over the whole
yard, which, reflected from the white, sandy ground, dazzled my
eyes with its powerful radiance, and oppressed me with its
excessive heat. As I entered then this building, how delightful
did its cooling air strike upon me!—how sweet was the breeze
which passed over my brow, and allayed its throbbing! while the
gentle plash of the water sounded most musically to the ear. One
part of the boat-house is floored; the other has a channel cut in
it to the depth of 18 feet, for the admission of the water. The
roof is supported by 16 round stone pillars, of 12 feet in
circumference; and above is a loft, where ships’-sails are kept.
Leaving the boat-house, we entered the tar and block stores,
where we found a part of the crew of the “Fair Rosamond” employed
in making _spun-yarn_, used for the purpose of lashing, &c.

About 20 feet distant, is a building containing painter’s cabin
for grinding paint, and the engineer’s office, beneath is a lead
cellar. We next visited the engineer’s workshop, where we were
agreeably entertained with seeing the cutting and punching
machine put into motion. I am not engineer enough to describe
this machine in a technical manner, and must therefore only
remark that, by means of an oblong wheel, if I may be allowed the
expression, worked by two men, it is capable of cutting through
the thickest piece of cold iron, with the same ease and quickness
a person would cut a scrap of paper, and at the same time,
punching holes of about the diameter of a shilling through
another piece of the same metal. We also saw a turning-lathe
capable of turning any description of iron from three inches to
28 in diameter. There were also innumerable machines, of other
forms, and for various purposes, which were put into motion for
our amusement; and a piece of the iron, which had been cut and
punched in divers figures, was tendered to me—a memento of an
engineer’s workshop in a West Indian dockyard.

The next place we entered was one more suited to a hyperborean
climate than an Antiguan noonday—a blacksmith’s shop. Here, six
forges can be worked; and several Cyclops ply their skill amid
their dingy implements. To these forges, immense bellows “turned
their iron mouths,” and, impelled by swarthy hands, sent forth a
shower of glittering sparks. We also saw, two patent blowing
machines, manufactured by “Thomas, late Halley and Co.,” which,
by a peculiar arrangement, propels the blast upwards and
downwards at the same time. The master blacksmith worked them for
a few moments, but informed us they had not so much power as the
first pair of bellows we observed upon our entrance, which, from
its magnitude, ought to be called the “King of the Bellows.” He
bid us place ourselves before the mouth of this last-mentioned
pair, and we should be convinced of the truth of his assertions;
but as I felt no wish to be blown away in a gale of ashes, I
declined the invitation, humbly subscribing to his superior
knowledge in such matters. I could not help thinking, that had
Eolus known the use of these “blowing-machines,” what a far more
powerful wind he might have raised, than (as it is pictured he
did) by employing the sons of Astræus to blow so painfully with
their distended cheeks amid his mighty caverns.

Leaving the blacksmith’s shop, we passed the sawpit shed and
smaller tank, and the shipwright’s house, and then turning an
acute angle, came to a very pleasant residence, occupied by the
superintendent of the yard, Mr. Hart. Here I met with some of my
favourite lime-trees, their pearly flowers redolent with perfume.
Mr. Hart kindly plucked for us some of the golden fruit; and
afterwards presented, what was dearer to me, from the
recollections they call up, three beautiful roses.[86] I may be
laughed at for being so fanciful, but I never see a rose, I never
inhale its rich fragrance, without wandering in imagination
through the flowery gardens of my own land. “Oh! England, my own
dear country! never did one of thy children love thee better than
I do! In the midst of sickness, in the midst of suffering—when
the fervour of a tropical sun burns through my very frame, and
the climate throws its languor around me—my mind still reverts to
thy verdant fields, I see again thy hawthorn-hedges with all
their snowy blossoms, thy carpeting of lovely lowly flowers,—I
breathe thy countless odours,—I hear thy sweet-toned birds, or
the soft chime of thy village bells, and feel upon ‘my very cheek
thy bland and healthy breeze.’”

But to return to Mr. Hart and his roses. I kept them through the
hot day, bore them in safety to my home, and they now stand
before me. But, alas! their beauty is all gone,—their discoloured
leaves seem to mourn their own dishonour; and only that “the
scent of the roses hangs round it still,” I should scarcely know
what the vase contains.

After resting in a cool apartment for some time, and taking a
glass of lemonade which Pomona herself would not have refused,
the carriage was ordered to the door, and we were in the act of
stepping in, when it occurred to us that this was a good
opportunity to visit the spot where Lieut. Peterson received his
death wound.

I have already mentioned, in the historical part of this work,
this unfortunate incident, but, with the permission of my
readers, I must again allude to it. At the time of the
occurrence, Lord Camelford commanded the “Favourite,” sloop of
war, and Commodore Fahie the ship “Perdrix,” Mr. Peterson holding
the rank of first lieutenant on board the last-named vessel.
Commodore Fahie had left Antigua a short time before, to take
temporary command of the fleet, then anchored before St.
Kitts,[87] and during his absence, Lieutenant Peterson was, of
course, left in command of the “Perdrix.”

It was the custom, in those troubled days of warfare, for boats
to row backwards and forwards across the harbour during the hours
of night, the sailors of the different ships in the dock, headed
by one of their officers, taking it by turns to keep this watch;
and the sleeper might often be roused from his dreams as the
deep-toned _all’s well_ resounded through the still night air.

Lord Camelford and Lieutenant Peterson were unhappily at
variance; and, perhaps to mortify his rival, Lord Camelford
ordered Mr. Peterson to take the watch upon the very evening that
a gay ball was to be given at Blacks Point to the naval officers.
Unfortunately Lieutenant Peterson entertained the idea that as he
was in command of the _ship_ “Perdrix,” in the absence of
Commodore Fahie, he was superior officer to Lord Camelford, who
only commanded a sloop; and, in consequence of this false
impression, he positively refused to obey his lordship’s orders.

The disastrous evening approached, and the lieutenant retired to
his quarters above the capstan-house, in order to dress for the
festive party. Arming himself with a pair of loaded pistols, and
telling his boat’s crew to attend him, Lord Camelford quitted his
retirement, and stationed himself directly between the capstan
house and the guard house, (now called the commissioner’s house,)
and there waited the approach of Mr. Peterson, whom he had
already summoned to attend him.

Upon the unfortunate young officer making his appearance,
accompanied by some of his friends, his lordship again commanded
him to take charge of the watch for the evening—the command was
again refused—when, taking one of the pistols from his bosom,
Lord Camelford immediately fired, and the ball passing through
the breast of the brave, but inconsiderate lieutenant, he fell a
corpse upon the ground, the deadly stream welling from the wound,
and staining, as it flowed, the gay ball-dress which he wore.

No sooner did the well-aimed weapon do its work, than, drawing
the other from its resting-place, his lordship turned to the
second lieutenant of the “Perdrix,” and pointing it at him, asked
if he would obey his orders, or meet the same punishment as Mr.
Peterson? Life is sweet! The second in command saw his friend
stretched at his feet with the red blood gurgling around him, and
fearing the same fate, he obeyed Lord Camelford, and took the

Oh, duty! what a stern goddess thou art! or else how much art
thou belied, for the deed was laid to thy charge. He disobeyed
his superior officer, and in the midst of health, of buoyant
feelings, and without, perhaps, time to think of a _hereafter_,
he was to _die_. I can never more pass those sunken anchors which
mark the tragic spot, without thinking of the mournful fate of
this self-deceived mutineer, poor Lieutenant Peterson, or
fancying I can see him in his death throes, stretched upon that
sandy ground by the hand of him who had been once his friend.

This circumstance was not the only one that caused Lord
Camelford’s name to be well known in Antigua. Upon another
occasion he went to Mr. Kitto, then superintendent of the
naval-yard, and informed him he wanted certain alterations made
on board the vessel of war he commanded. Mr. Kitto, in the
mildest terms, acquainted his lordship that he could not oblige
him, as it would be going beyond his warrant. To this refusal the
angry officer made no reply, but immediately going on board his
ship, he summoned his boatswain to his presence, and ordered him
to provide himself with a cat-of-nine-tails, and hold himself in
readiness to accompany him ashore.

In the course of a short time, Lord Camelford, the boatswain, and
his mate, and a few of the crew of the “Favourite,” proceeded to
the dockyard, and a message was despatched to Mr. Kitto, desiring
his attendance.

Upon the arrival of the superintendent, Lord Camelford again
demanded to know if he would accede to his wishes, at the same
time giving a pretty broad hint that, in case of refusal, his
back should be visited by the “Cat.” Mr. Kitto once more
observed, “It would be going beyond my warrant,” when, as he
uttered these words, at a signal from his lordship, the
unfortunate superintendent was seized, and twelve dozen lashes
inflicted with no unsparing hand by the boatswain of the

This illegal and brutal conduct was not, however, passed over; a
complaint was laid against Lord Camelford, and the case was
investigated at the court house. Upon the day of trial, as may be
supposed, the court was thronged with spectators; the assault was
proved, and bail was about to be demanded, when his lordship
begged permission to retire for a short time. His request was
complied with; but no sooner had he gained the outer gate of the
court house, than, seizing a horse which some gentleman visitant
had fastened to the iron palisading, he mounted, and rode away in
direction of English Harbour as fast as the animal could be

In a moment all was confusion. “The prisoner’s escaped!” was the
universal cry; and as the truth became known within the court
house, various were the individuals who hurried forth, mounted
their horses, and joined in the pursuit. The Honourable Edward
Byam was then president of the island, and with the same high
spirit of equity which has ever marked that family, and unbiassed
by the rank of the offender, he immediately threw up one of the
windows of the court-house, and shouted—“A hundred pounds for his
recapture—a hundred pounds for his head!”

On kept Lord Camelford, (almost overtaken by one of the
constables, a very athletic man, of the name of White,) until at
length the horse he was riding fell down from exhaustion, and
obliged his lordship to take refuge in an adjoining cane-field.
Upon the party who were in pursuit gaining the place of his
retreat, a sudden stand was made. The rabble who had joined the
party, and some of the horsemen, were stationed around the
cane-field; while the constables, with a few attendants, and
several dogs, entered the precincts of the field, and literally
hunted the offending lord through its tangled mazes, until,
overcome with fatigue, and unarmed, he was taken by his pursuers.

In the escape, Lord Camelford’s hat had fallen off, and he was
therefore placed upon a horse bareheaded; and in this manner,
surrounded by the officials, and followed by all the riff-raff of
“St. John’s and its environs,” he was brought back, and once more
placed before the court. Lord Camelford was ordered to find bail
for his appearance at the sessions. The amount of his
recognisances was 5000l.; Walter Colquhoun and Walter Riddle,
Esqs., standing sureties for his forthcoming. Upon his lordship’s
return to English Harbour, he drew bills for the amount, (for
which his sureties would have been liable by his departure, had
he not taken this precaution,) and then proceeded on board his
ship “Favourite,” made sail, and quitted the shores of Antigua,
with no very enviable feelings, it is to be supposed.

The forfeited money was devoted to the purpose of sinking wells,
(or springs, as they are termed in the West Indian idiom,) for
the accommodation of the inhabitants of St. John’s; and
accordingly, a party of negroes were employed to prosecute the

They commenced their labours at the head of the town, opposite to
where the Scotch kirk is now building; but after digging to a
great depth, and still finding no appearance of water, they
became seriously alarmed, and unanimously refused to proceed,
giving as their excuse, “that dey heard all de cocks crowing in
de oder world!”

To return to the incidents of our day’s journey to English
Harbour. After leaving the scene of Lieutenant Peterson’s death,
we once more walked round by the superintendant’s residence,
admiring as we went the neat manner in which the ponderous
anchors and various-sized buoys were arranged; and then bidding
the dockyard farewell, proceeded on our way to the Ridge, which,
as its name implies, is the upper ground of a gentle ascent,
appropriated to the erection of barracks, and other military
establishments, for the accommodation of her majesty’s troops.
Before I proceed to describe the rest of the Antigua “_lions_,” I
must be allowed to remark, that, although in my life I have
visited many public buildings in England, as well as in other
parts of the globe, I never met with more politeness, from the
lowest to the highest of the officials, than I experienced at
this English Harbour naval establishment.

A few paces from the dockyard, on the road to the Ridge, we
passed the ordnance, consisting of two separate departments,
divided from each other by an arm of the sea—one used as a
store-place for guns and balls, the other for the reception of
powder. These deadly weapons were so neatly arranged, the
different sizes forming different tiers, and the balls were so
prettily packed in the form of pyramids—the day was so fine, the
sea so blue, and the buildings themselves so spruce, in their
uniform of light yellow picked out with black, that I was quite
enraptured with the picture—forgot the _use_ they were intended
for, nor thought how many heart-broken wives and desolate orphans
had wept, with tears like blood, the carnage such instruments had

The road wound up the ascent, which is continued until the Ridge
is gained. On one side stands a very pretty residence, known as
“Clarence House,” belonging to the queen, and one of the
dwellings the superintendent of the naval yard has under his
control; and on the other side of the road rises “Dow’s Hill,”
surmounted by the country-seat of the governor. In this part of
the road, a stone, marked with an anchor, points out the boundary
of the naval ground; and on the other side of the stone, the land
appropriated to the military commences.

Still following the ascent, in process of time we gained the
engineers’ quarters, the first building which marks the Ridge;
and opposite to it is the victualling office. Passing by the
officers’ quarters, the barracks for the privates, the several
storehouses, and the iron hospital, for the reception of invalid
soldiers, we stood upon the utmost verge of the place bearing the
title of _Shirley_ Heights, so named after one of the former
governors, Sir Thomas Shirley, Bart. A very beautiful view may be
obtained from this spot, well worthy of a painter’s study. Hills
and dales clothed in tropical luxuriance; rocky precipices and
lonely glens, where nature sits enthroned; steep mountains and
ample solitudes, that look as if the foot of man never disturbed
their primeval silence; and gentle slopes, dotted here and there
with neat-looking dwellings. Below, on your right, lies the
dockyard, with its uniform buildings, and the lovely harbour,
forming a complete basin, encircled with its white sands; while
beyond, the ocean presents one level sheet of burnished gold,
over which the fishing-boats were gaily bounding, and throwing
the shadow of their simple sails and slender masts far before
them. The mouth of English Harbour, which is 113 fathoms across,
was formerly defended in times of warfare by an immense iron
chain. That, however, is now no more; but the staples by which it
was secured still remain in the massive rocks, to prove the truth
of this assertion. It is now protected by two forts placed on
each side of the opening: Fort Charlotte, mounted with four guns,
18 and 24 pounders; Fort Berkley, mounting twenty-four guns. At
the latter fort is a magazine.

After leaving the Ridge, we turned down a slight declivity, by
the victualling offices, on our way to Bat’s Cave, and the
Savannah. Our road lay through groves of loblolly, manchineel,
and acacia, which, twining their long arms together, formed
various natural colonnades; while the ground was strewed with
their matted leaves, in all stages of decay. Having alighted, we
walked through the interwoven path, carefully avoiding as we went
the different varieties of cactus, which spring up on all sides,
and guarding our faces from the long sharp thorns of the acacia,
and the boughs of the poisonous manchineel. The ground, rugged
and broken, was plentifully sprinkled with disrupted portions of
spar, which glittered in the sunbeams like so many gems, and put
me in mind of Sinbad’s walk in the “Valley of Diamonds.” Immense
ground-lizards were trailing their long bodies about, in search
of their daily food, so amply provided for them by the great
Benefactor of all; while others were basking upon these dazzling
fossils, to imbibe the heat of the meridian sun.

After taking many devious routes among the impending bushes, in
order to discover the wished-for cavern, I was well pleased to
hear the cheerful voice of our pioneer shouting forth “Come this
way; I’ve found the right path.” Scrambling, as best we could,
over a huge bed of prickly pear, (one of the cactus family,) we
gained an opening in the copse, and stood before the mouth of the
cave. Two large trees, which grew on each side, extended their
gnarled roots (from which the earth had been washed) across the
opening, forming natural steps, by which we descended, and stood
within the cave.

Huge masses of the rock which forms the cavern have fallen in,
and in great measure blocked it up, so that it now only presents
an arena of about 50 feet in circumference, although in time past
it was of considerable extent. From the main cavern, two passages
branch off in opposite directions. They are perfectly dark, the
only means of exploring them being by the use of flambeaux; but
to what length they extend has never been discovered. Mr. McLane,
a late resident of English Harbour, (now of Canada,) has made
several attempts to that purpose, all of which proved fruitless;
the greatest distance he ever proceeded was to the extent of two
sea-lines, about 120 yards. The only known occupants are bats,
which breed there in immense numbers, and often attain the size
of a common pigeon. A dank unhealthy vapour is emitted from these
openings, proceeding, no doubt, from the carbonic acid gas they
contain. This vapour soon extinguishes the light of a torch,
which is one reason this cavern has never been further
explored.[88] A streak of dark green runs down one side of the
cave, which was pointed out to me as indicating the existence of
copper; but upon examining a portion of the rock I brought away
with me, I found that the colour was occasioned only by a
vegetable substance adhering to the stones.

In former times, Bat’s Cave was a great place of concealment for
the tribes of erratic Caribs, when visiting Antigua on their
predatory excursions; and tradition still points it out as the
scene of a barbarous carousal among that wild and savage race, in
one of their attacks upon this island. As, however, I am now
giving the narration of a day’s journey, I will proceed to
mention the other spots we visited, and leave the Legend, which
is rather lengthy, for the next chapter.

Emerging from “Bat’s Cave,” and wending our way amid the same
rugged impediments, in process of time we reached our vehicle,
and stepping into it, proceeded to visit the ruins of the old
government house in the Savannah, the scene of the attack
narrated in the “Legend of Ding a Ding Nook,” and of a similar
attempt in 1654. After driving for a short distance over pasture
land, exhibiting a dreary view of brown and withered herbage, the
effects of the late dry weather, (rendered more striking by the
contrast of the deep green of the different trees,) which
crackled under the horses’ feet, we arrived at another tangled
maze of shrub and brushwood, where it was again necessary to
proceed on foot, in order to prosecute our intended search.
Forcing our way through this almost impenetrable thicket,
rendered in some places more impervious by the twinings and
intertwinings of the withe, (a native parasite,) stooping to
avoid some straggling branch, or springing over a thorny bank, we
gained an open glade; and walking up the gentle acclivity, stood
by the side of the ruins.

They consist of what appears to have been a cistern, probably the
first built in the island, and a low wall of stone, marking the
foundation of the government house. Within this last-mentioned
ruin stand two tombs, the inscriptions upon which are as

         Here lieth the body of Mrs. Elizabeth Warner,
                  Late wife of Edward Warner,
                      Of this island, Esq.
              She was a woman of exemplary piety;
                   She was the best of wives,
                   The tenderest of mothers,
                  The faithfulest of friends,
      And of a most charitable, compassionate disposition,
       Whose death was generally and deservedly lamented
               By the good people that knew her.
        She departed this life the thirteenth of August,
                  In the 37th year of her age.

                     Here lies the body of
                       Mr. Henry Warner,
            Who died on the 17th day of Sept, 1731,
                  In the 39th year of his age,
                   Much beloved and lamented
                     By all that knew him.
                     In memory of whom, his
               Affectionate brothers, Edward and
                         Ashton Warner,
                     Erected this Monument.

About these tombs grew many a sweet and fragile flower, and many
a gaily painted butterfly hovered around, and sported in the
blaze of the “great luminary;” while the “Turk’s caps” (another
species of cactus) shewed their crimson crests in all directions.
A broken bottle, the relic of some former maroon (_fête
champetre_) lay upon one of the tombs—not more fragile or fickle
in its nature than the mouldering dust which slept beneath, or
those who in the heyday of life stood looking on.

Leaving the tombs and ruins to their usual solitude, we retraced
our steps; but in doing so, I could not help thinking that the
name “_Savannah_” was misapplied, or Dr. Johnson was wrong in his
etymology, for I am sure there is wood in abundance of one kind
or the other. A great number of wild cattle inhabit this part of
the country, deriving, it is said, a plentiful supply of
nutriment from the herbage found there.

On our return to English Harbour, along the same road, we had a
glimpse of “Indian Creek,” so famous in “story,” which meanders
through verdantly-decked shores in a picturesque manner. It
derives its name from an engagement which took place upon its
banks, between a party of Caribs, (or Indians,) narrated in the
following “Legend.”

Once more entering the village of English Harbour, we proceeded
to the house of W. C. Brooks, Esq., where we rested for some
time, experiencing those nameless acts of hospitality for which
the Antiguans are noted; and where I willingly laved my burning
temples with the fragrant “Eau de Cologne.” Really, this marching
and counter-marching, beneath a tropical sun, is no slight
matter, let my readers think as they may. “Sol” visits the face
with many a fiery mark, and if he _kisses_, he leaves his _sting_
behind. I felt glad when we once more took our way to town; and
although no lovely moon was abroad,

    “——the floor of Heaven
    Was thick inlaid with patines of bright gold,”

which sufficed to light us gloriously on our way, and bring us in
safety to Spring Gardens.


[84] It may be necessary to remark, for the benefit of my English
readers, that although Saturday is the principal _market-day_,
Monday is more generally used by the labouring class for coming
into the capital to provide their weekly supplies. So much is
this the case, that where you may see fifty labourers employed
upon a plantation upon the other days of the week, on Monday you
will scarcely find twenty.

[85] As it may amuse the reader, we here transcribe an original
letter, written by our great naval hero at this period, which is
carefully preserved by its proprietor as an invaluable relic:—

                               “English Harbour, Aug. 3rd, 1784.

“As the captains of the navy at this port mean to establish a
mess for the hurricane months, by their desire I write to beg
that you will send us round, by the first opportunity, the
undermentioned articles—viz., one hogshead of port, one of the
best white wine that you have, twelve dozen of porter in bottles,
fifty pounds loaf sugar, one firkin of good butter, two baskets
of salt, two pounds black pepper.

         “I have the honour to be, your humble servant,

                                                “Horatio Nelson.

“P.S. As we only wait for these things to begin our mess, the
sooner they arrive the better. Mr. Druce, the agent victualler is
a going to send provisions round for the Fury which will be a
good opportunity.

“Addressed to ——— Kerr, Esq.”

[86] It may be necessary to remark, that roses are very choice
flowers in Antigua, the climate not appearing to agree with them.
This is strange, as in the East Indies, where the heat is even
greater, whole fields are planted with this beautiful shrub, in
order to get their leaves to distil the far-fame “Attar.”

[87] Of which island he was a native.

[88] It is supposed that these passages extend to the sea-shore,
a distance of about a quarter of a mile.

                         CHAPTER XXIII.


                   A Legend of the Savannah.

The sun was rapidly sinking in the west, but its declining beams
only threw upon every object a richer tone of colour, as a party,
consisting of three persons, emerged from a small shrubbery, and
halted upon the brow of a shelving hill.

The foremost of the party was a man who probably verged upon the
mellow age of fifty; but his eagle-eye, and stalwart frame, told
that his years sat light upon him. He was what would have been
termed a handsome man; but a supercilious curl of his upper lip,
and an expression of scornful indifference, which, though
apparently suppressed, lingered in his dark hazel eye, added to a
brow furrowed by deep lines, and compressed by slumbering
passions, which only waited the spur of the moment to be called
into action, detracted from the otherwise agreeable character of
his features, and effectually forbid any approach to familiarity.
A deep and unsightly scar, the effects of a sabre-cut, which,
commencing from the right ear, traversed the jaw, injured yet
further his good looks. He was habited in a complete suit of
black velvet, of the richest texture; the sombreness of which was
in some measure relieved by diamond clasps, and small
knee-buckles of the same costly stones. A small collar of the
finest lawn made its appearance above the doublet; and a
black-sheathed “Andrèa Ferrara,” with basket hilt, dangling from
his side, and calf-skin boots, completed his costume. This dress,
fitting tight to his shape, shewed to advantage the large but
perfect symmetry of his person; while the dark brown hair,
sprinkled here and there with the grey badge of declining years,
cropt close around his temples; and the steeple-crowned hat
peculiar to his sect and times, bespoke him, what he was, the
friend of Cromwell—the roundhead governor of Antigua.

The next person that gained the open ground was Bridget, the
beautiful daughter of the governor. If ever there was a
personification of extreme loveliness, it was known in Bridget.
Scarcely seventeen, her slight but rounded figure, and her sweet,
mild face, while it struck the beholder with admiration, and
riveted his attention, gave the idea of some embodied sylph. Her
complexion was of that ethereal tint of which the poet says—

    “Oh, call it fair, not pale.”

The lily could scarcely outvie it in purity of colour, although
every emanation of her guileless heart called up the latent
rose-tint into her delicate cheek; while the small, pouting lip,
with all the rich glow of the coral, forbid effectually the
supposition of ill health. A slightly aquiline nose, a
classically-formed and dimpled chin, with a fair and open
forehead, in which every azure vein could be traced, were the
prominent features; blended with that mingled sweetness, that
feminine grace, and that inexpressible _something_, which really
and actually constitutes beauty. But her eyes—those soft, lovely
eyes—look at them, as she raises the long lashes, and you can
fancy, that were her features devoid of any pretensions to
comeliness, those liquid orbs would richly compensate for all. Of
the clearest hazel, every glance that fell from them spoke the
inmost feelings of her soul; and whether they beamed forth in
pity, or flashed with animation, they equally bespoke the
benevolence of her nature.

Puritan as her father was, he did not deny his daughter, any more
than himself, the use of a few ornaments; and a bandeau of pearls
fastened around her graceful head vainly endeavoured to restrain
the abundant tresses of her soft, glossy, brown hair, which,
breaking loose, floated upon her shoulders in natural ringlets.
Her dress of dove-coloured satin flowed in rich and ample folds
to her feet, from whence the little slipper peeped forth; and,
gathered around her slender waist by a girdle of pearls, shewed
the admirable proportions of her figure. The stiff puritan ruff
of lawn, in which every plait could be counted, screened her
neck; but around her small white throat was fastened a carcanet
of her favourite gems, not purer in tint than her own fair skin.
A wimple of the same colour as her dress, and lined with pale
rose tiffany, was tied under her little rounded chin, but which,
in the joyousness of her nature, she had unfastened, that she
might more fully enjoy the beauties of the evening.

The remaining individual that formed the trio was in every
respect far different from those already described; yet, as she
stood a few paces behind Bridget—to mark the difference in their
rank, although near enough to join in the conversation—her lofty
and commanding figure called equally for attention and
admiration. The clear olive tinge of her complexion, the large
black eye, which sparkled with dazzling light, and the long
coal-black hair, braided and twined round and round her head,
told that she was not of the same country, or the same people as
her mistress. Servant—slave as she was—she looked born to
command; and daring must that person be who would encounter for
the second time the flash of her offended eye. Formed in a larger
mould than Bridget, her figure still bore the utmost symmetrical
proportions; and the rounded arm and taper fingers might have
served as a model for the Goddess of Beauty: this female was
Zulmiera—the half-Carib girl.

The mother of Zulmiera was a very beautiful Carib woman, who, in
that disgraceful partition of them among the English, (after the
massacre of their male friends at St. Kitts during Sir Thomas
Warner’s government of that island,) fell to the share of a young
Englishman, a follower of Sir Thomas Warner’s son, in his after
colonization of Antigua. Xamba accompanied her master to his new
residence, and there bore him a daughter; but dying soon after,
the infant was brought up in the governor’s family. After the
reduction of Antigua by Sir George Ayscue, and the establishment
of a republican governor, in place of the opposer of Cromwell’s
power, Zulmiera, who was rapidly attaining the full burst of
womanhood, was, at the earnest entreaties of Bridget Everard, who
was charmed with the untutored graces of the beautiful Indian
maiden, promoted to the office of her companion. It must be
allowed, that this appointment met not with the full approval of
the governor. Violently attached to Cromwell, and bearing bitter
hatred to the royalist party, and all malignants, he thought the
girl had been too long nurtured in their principles to make a
faithful attendant to the daughter of a republican. But Bridget
was his only child,—a motherless girl; and stern and unbending as
he was to others, his iron mood gave way before her playful

Still there was another and deep cause of dislike he had against
Zulmiera. Upon further acquaintance with this Indian girl, he
found her too haughty for his own arrogant spirit to deal with.
Too high-minded and forgetful of her real rank as a servant, and
apparently under the impression that, while attending upon her
mistress, she was in fact her equal, if not her superior.

Zulmiera was, in truth, fully alive to this sentiment. She looked
upon herself as the descendant (on her mother’s side) of a long
line of chiefs—of those who had once been rulers in the land, and
who had received from their swarthy subjects the homage that
monarchs of a more civilized nation were wont to receive.

Thinking thus of Zulmiera, no wonder that the governor distrusted
her. Nor was the girl ignorant of his opinion of her; and
consequently their feelings of dislike were mutual. She knew he
hated her; and he felt that in her heart she despised him. Still,
she loved Bridget—for who could not love that mild, fair girl?—
loved her with an intensity of fervour, unknown to the
inhabitants of colder climes—and would have shed for her her
heart’s best blood; for love and hatred were to Zulmiera
all-absorbing passions. Yet there was another who held the
_first_ place in Zulmiera’s heart,—one that was to the
half-instructed, half-Indian girl—her “idol god.”

But to return to the movements of the trio. Having left the
concealment of the shrubbery, the whole party paused, and with
different feelings gazed upon the landscape stretched before
them. The slight declivity upon the brow of which they were
standing, had been cleared, and was now planted with tobacco,
whose broad green leaves, and delicate trumpet flowers, attracted
the attention of numerous gorgeous insects. This plantation
stretched to the end of a wild copse, where every native shrub
and brushwood grew together with the loftier trees, and formed an
almost impervious thicket. Beyond this copse, the waters of a
beautiful creek, which ran a short way inland, glittered like
gold in the beams of the setting sun; while on every side rose
undulating hills, begirt with many an infant plantation,
belonging to some of the earlier settlers. Further off, the broad
ocean stretched its interminable waves, its billows sleeping in
calmness; except in one part, where a long ridge of shelving
rocks fretted them into motion, and caused them to send forth
their angry roar.[89]

At the bottom of the hill upon which they were standing ran a
bridle-path, which, winding in and out, branched off in two
directions; one passing through the populous town of Falmouth,
the other extending to the shores of a beautiful harbour,[90]
where some industrious settlers were cultivating the adjoining
country. Along this path a single horseman was seen slowly
advancing, in the direction of the harbour. As he gained the
skirts of the hill, he reined up for a moment his prancing steed,
and, looking towards the party, raised his plumed hat and bent
forward in graceful obeisance. The dark eyes of Zulmiera sparkled
with delight, and standing, as she did, behind the governor and
his daughter, unseen by them, she raised her hand and waved a
return, while, at the same instant, the rosiest blush sprang to
the cheeks of Bridget, and crimsoned her very throat. The
horseman again bent his head, and then, replacing his hat, shook
the broidered reins and galloped off in the direction he had
chosen for his equestrian amusement.

Following with his eye the plumed stranger until he was lost in
the intervening copse, the governor turned to his daughter, and
fixing a steady, penetrating glance upon her, exclaimed, “Ha!
then the young malignant’s designs appear to be more open than
they were. But, mark me, daughter Bridget,” and his eye became
sterner and darker as the pupil dilated with his awakening
passion, and his haughty lip curled with increased scorn—“mark
me, Bridget, sooner than I’d see thee mated with one of his
malignant race, mine own hand should stretch thee at my feet a
breathless corpse!—yea, as Jephtha slew his daughter, so would I
slay thee!” The agitated and frightened girl threw herself upon
her father’s breast, and, amid tears and sobs, stammered out—
“Father—dearest father! think not so. Raphe de Merefield is
naught to me; he never spoke to me but with the most studied
politeness, and, indeed, he shuns rather than seeks my presence.”
—“’Tis well, then, maiden—my suspicions are unfounded; the wolf
has not entered the sheepfold to steal the tender lamb; but I
have observed him lately wandering about these grounds, and I
feared my daughter was the object. But listen!” and again his eye
flashed, his lip trembled—“verily, I know that young man well—ay,
better than he knows me—for his father was my neighbour and my
deadliest foe!—and what was more, the foe of Cromwell! He it was
that assisted that tyrannical man, Charles Stuart, in his escape
from Hampton Court, and after aided him in his long struggles to
maintain possession of a crown which had long been doomed to
destruction. He it was that beggared his brother to obtain money
to carry out that well-slain tyrant’s nefarious designs! And he
it was that, at the battle of Naseby, gave me this ugly sign of
recognition,” pointing to the scar which disfigured his cheek.
“But was he not discomfited? Yea, as the dry leaf he fell. Lo! as
David girded up his strength in the day of battle, so girded I up
mine; and as he smote his enemies with the edge of the sword, so
my trusty weapon stretched the haughty Philistine upon the
ground, never to rise again! Guess, then, if thou canst, how much
I love yon cavalier, who hath sucked in with his very milk the
taint of papistry—for did not that Babylonish woman whom men call
the Queen of England rear him up from his cradle? yea, and taught
him all her sorceries. Had my honoured friend and master, the
protector, followed my advice, this young traitor to the
commonwealth would never have escaped from England to disseminate
his malignant poison abroad. Cromwell should have crushed the egg
before it was hatched. But verily I wax hot and am impatient, not
considering the time approacheth when rebels and arch-rebels
shall melt away as the hoar frost melteth before the sun.
Despatches have reached me that it is Cromwell’s intention to
send, in the course of a few months, a squadron against St.
Domingo, and my instructions are to see that a proper troop be
raised in this island to join the expedition. I am resolved that
Master Raphe de Merefield be one of the gallants who shall serve
in that affair; a goodly bullet-shot or, albeit, a well-applied
stroke from the rapier of a Spaniard, may relieve me from his
machinations; or should he refuse to fight under the banner of
the commonwealth, verily, I know the malignancy of his father
cleaves so closely to him, that it will only be maintaining
Cromwell’s interest to have him properly secured, or we may see
another revolt when we least expect it.” Thus saying, the
governor walked forward a few paces, and shading his eyes from
the lingering sunbeams, scanned for a few moments the scene
before him.

What passed in the mind of Bridget during the foregoing
conversation it is unnecessary to relate, but the emotions called
up in the heart of the Carib girl while hearing her lover thus
traduced were violent and various. Hate, scorn, and revenge,
fired her eye, and sent a torrent of hot blood through her veins,
which, rushing to her face, turned the clear olive to a fiery
crimson. Yet so well was she accustomed to master her feelings,
that before her young mistress was sufficiently recovered to
commence another dialogue, she stood the same apparently calm
being, her hands folded across her breast; and only that her eye
was more dilated, and her cheek still slightly tinged, none could
tell that aught had moved her.

An exclamation from the governor, who had, for the last few
minutes, been intently gazing in one direction, arrested his
daughter’s attention, and, gliding to his elbow, she inquired if
he addressed her. “Look, Bridget,” replied her father, in a still
stern, but not unmusical voice—“look o’er yonder grove—dost thou
see aught moving?”—“Nothing, dearest father,” answered the
maiden, in her own sweet tones—“nothing but the bland zephyr
sporting amid the young green leaves, and playing its fairy music
upon them.” “Foolish enthusiast! But haste, girl!—fetch me the
wondrous instrument the lord-general gave me, and let me give yon
grove a sharper look—methinks it contains more inmates than we
wot of. I have heard of wild Indians and their deeds.”

Roused by his remarks, Zulmiera started forward, and in an
agitated voice which she in vain tried to stifle, exclaimed, “Oh,
no, your excellency, naught is there, save, as the Lady Bridget
saith, the whispering wind or the fly-birds as they seek their
leafy bower.” “Back, girl!” fiercely retorted the governor—“back
to thy place; who taught thee to hazard thy remarks? Methinks thy
cavalier masters might have made thee know thy station better.”

Again the blood rushed to the cheek and temples of Zulmiera—again
the eye flashed fire—but again she mastered her emotions;
exclaiming, however, as she did so, but in a voice too subdued to
reach her companion’s ear, “Rest till to-morrow’s night, proud
man, then wilt thou learn who governs here!”

At this moment, Bridget placed in her father’s hand the lately
invented telescope,[91] when, raising it to his eye, he narrowly
observed the whole breadth of the copse; the distant creek and
the farther ocean; but nothing met his eye—nothing, save the wavy
green, or the wing of a weary sea-fowl as it sought its nest.
Slowly dropping the instrument, the governor once more gazed with
his naked eye in that direction. The sun had set some minutes
before, and as the last of his golden beams faded in the west, he
turned upon his heel, and, followed by the females, was once more
lost in the verdant shrubbery.


[89] Now called the Memora’s.

[90] Now called English Harbour.

[91] Telescopes were said to have been invented during the reign
of James I., although some attribute the invention to Roger
Bacon, 1292.

                         CHAPTER XXIV.


It was a calm, delicious, West Indian night. The moon shone in
all her glory, bathing lawn and lea, upland and woodland, in her
silvery light. The waters of the creek we have already noticed
were rife with beauty; and the waves of the far-off ocean, as
they dashed in measured cadence on the beach, broke musically
upon the listener’s ear.

A stately figure, enveloped in a dark mantle, glided from behind
a screen of lime and coffee trees; and gaining the open ground,
looked cautiously around. As if assured its movements were
unobserved, the figure darted off at a rapid pace in the
direction of a magnificent grove; but with steps so light, that
it would scarcely have crushed the lowliest flower. Upon reaching
the verge of the grove, it stopped; and placing a finger upon a
small gittern,[92] carried beneath the ample cloak, struck a
single note. The crushing of the younger twigs and leaves told
that the signal was heard; and springing from the covert, a young
man bounded forward, exclaiming—“Zulmiera! dearest Zulmiera! how
long thou hast stayed to-night!”

The moon still shone with a clear and fervent light, displaying
every object in a distinct manner, and shewing the picturesque
dress of the impassioned stranger to the best advantage. His
figure was slight but perfectly formed, while his fair skin and
glowing cheeks bespoke his Saxon origin. His eyes were of the
clearest blue, and his long auburn locks, parted in the middle of
his forehead, flowed over his shoulders, in length and profusion
equalling a woman’s. A slight moustache shaded his upper lip,
which, slightly curved, displayed a set of teeth faultless in
size and colour. His dress, fashioned in that superb style which
the followers of Charles loved to indulge in, consisted of a
doublet of three-piled murrey-colour velvet, pinked and slashed
with white satin, and ornamented with elaborate embroidery, his
falling band, or collar, of the richest point lace, and his
nether garments to match with the doublet, were finished at the
knees with white satin roses and diamond studs. A small but
admirably tempered Toledo, the hilt of solid gold, and sparkling
with diamonds, was strapped to his side by an embroidered belt;
while a Flemish beaver hat, looped with a diamond button, and
surrounded by a snowy plume, shaded his somewhat boyish features.
A dark short cloak, lined with white tafiety, which he had flung
aside when springing to meet Zulmiera, floated from behind his
right shoulder, and served to give him still more an air of
graceful elegance.

“Dearest Zulmiera,” said the young stranger, when seated upon the
trunk of a large tree, which, uprooted by a former hurricane, and
slightly covered by a little alluvial earth, had shot forth a few
sickly branches—“dearest Zulmiera, how long I have waited for you
—how much I have to tell you! I have watched each star as it
peeped forth from the heavens—heard the shrill pipe of the curlew
as it flew to its nest—but listened in vain for your light
footstep; say, dearest, what kept you from the trysting-tree?” “I
was in attendance upon my mistress until this late hour,” replied
Zulmiera, speaking in an ironical tone, and laying a strong
emphasis upon the word _mistress_, while a slight look of scorn
passed over her animated features; “or else doubt not I would
have met you long before; for where, Raphe, would the bird with
weary wing seek for rest but by the side of its own fond mate? or
why should yon white flower,” pointing to a night-jasmine which
was growing in all its wild luxuriance near the spot, and loading
the air with sweet and powerful perfume—“why should yon white
flower haste to open its pretty leaves, as soon as the day melts
away, were it not to seek the fond love of those beautiful stars
which are twinkling above us? Raphe, you are my mate, and your
eyes are my stars, in which I read my destiny.”

To this fond but fanciful rhapsody, Raphe de Merefield made no
answer, except by pressing the beautiful hand which rested in
his; and the half-Carib continued: “But it was not to tell you
this, Raphe, that brought me here so late to-night. Come with
me.” And suffering himself to be led by her, they quitted the
deep recess in which they had been seated, and walked into the
open ground already mentioned.

Looking up the ascent above the tops of the trees, which grew in
vast profusion, forming a complete barrier around, the moon-beams
fell upon the roof of an irregular but commodious building. This
was government house, and through an opening in the leafy
enclosure, the light of a taper was seen brightly shining from a
small diamond-pane casement, in one of the gable ends of the
edifice. “In that room,” said the romantic girl, directing
Raphe’s attention to it, “sleeps one, who, next to yourself, I
love most on earth; and scornfully, harshly as her father has
treated me, she must and shall be saved! Mark me, Raphe, an’ thou
lovest me, guard the Lady Bridget as thou wouldst a sister. Wild
spirits will be abroad ere the glad sun shall set and rise again,
or yon pretty stars be peeping at us; and though I think they
will care for mine as they would me, still, Raphe, I would have
thee prepared. When all is over—when you and I—but I need say no
more, except that Bridget shall not then be ashamed to love the
despised, the scorned Zulmiera,” and as she spoke, she threw back
her graceful head with the air of a Cleopatra, while the bright
crimson mantled in her cheeks, and increased the lustre of her

“What mean you, Zulmiera?” inquired the young cavalier, as soon
as he could make himself heard; for her utterance during the
preceding speech had been so rapid, and her manner so excited,
that all his former attempts to interrupt her had been useless.
“What mean you, dearest Zulmiera? Why this flashing eye—this
agitated mien? Is it because yon king-killing, canting Puritan,
called you _servant_, that these wild dreams (for I know not what
else to term them) are floating through your brain? Never heed
him, dearest; you will soon be my bride, my acknowledged wife;
and then let me see who dare call you servant, or taunt you with
your birth! Know that I love one tress of this black hair”—and he
drew her fondly towards him—“better than all the fair ringlets
and fairer skins of England’s boasted daughters. But draw your
mantle closer round you, and let us to our former seat, where I
will relate to you all my plans.—You know,” resumed Raphe, as
they gained their resting-place upon the old tree, “that after
the unfortunate battle of Naseby, upon which bloody field my
brave father fell, fighting for his lawful sovereign against
those long-eared Roundheads, (to which sect our notable governor
belongs!) my widowed mother, seized with an irrepressible panic,
fled from England, carrying me, then a stripling of about
fourteen, along with her. Our first place of refuge was Holland,
where the queen, whose godson I have the honour to be, had sought
safety some time before. But my mother, disliking the country,
and having received letters from her husband’s brother, my
revered uncle, whose namesake I am, offering her an asylum in
Antigua, she determined to avail herself of his kindness. Thus it
was I became a resident in this island; and during my frequent
visits at government house, when loyalty ruled there, I met my
dearest Zulmiera. You are aware, I believe, that my uncle, who
was formerly a merchant of the city of London, was joined with
Sir Thomas Warner in a grant of land situated in this island, the
grantor of which was the martyr Charles. Upon part of that land
the brother of young Phillip Warner is erecting a new dwelling,
and cultivating the surrounding country. It will be a fine place
when it is finished; and Warner deserves it should be, for he
made a gallant defence in 1651, when old Noll sent Sir George
Ayscue to reduce this island, because, forsooth, it stood out for
its lawful sovereign. But to resume my story, which the brave
actions of Mr. Warner drove from my head. To-day, I confided to
my mother our mutual engagement ; she has listened to the voice
of her only, her beloved son, and is prepared to receive you as a
daughter. To-morrow, I will call upon the governor—although I
hate the sight of him, from his high-crowned hat down to his ugly
looking calf-skins—and make my proposals in form. If he consents
with a good grace, well; if not, I feel assured my dear Zulmiera
will not fear to leave his house and protection for the home and
hearth of one who loves her as I do. I still hope that our own
King Charles (God bless him!) may overcome his enemies, and be
seated upon the throne of his fathers; then will we visit old
England, and in my own paternal mansion, I’ve no doubt I shall
get my handsome Zulmiera to forget her native island and all her
wild dreams.” So saying, with a look of strong affection and with
gallant bearing, he raised her hand to his lips.

“Oh, Raphe!” said the agitated girl, as her lover concluded his
relation, to which she had listened with breathless attention;
“oh, Raphe! had I known this but even ten days agone, how much
might I, how much might we all have been spared. But I thought
your mother would never have consented that the governor’s
servant should mate with her noble son—and my own high spirit,
goaded on as it has been by the scornful usage I have met, has
led me to do a deed which may, perhaps, dash the cup of happiness
from my lips. But, then,” she murmured, as if more in communion
with herself than in reply to her companion, “but then to be a
queen, and Raphe (they promised that, or I would never have
consented) to be a king. No, it must be: I have gone too far to
turn back;” and she raised her head, and looke steadfastly, but
apparently half-unconsciously at the young man, who, surprised at
her behaviour and language, was gazing intently upon her. At
length, slightly shaking her hand to arrest her attention, he
inquired again the cause of her extreme emotion. Receiving no
reply from Zulmiera, whose large dark eyes were still fixed upon
his face, he became seriously alarmed, and, in an anxious tone,
entreated her to quit directly the night air, and seek that
repose she appeared to need so much, within the precincts of
government house. Allowing herself to be led in that direction,
they in silence gained the shrubbery; when, after asking in vain
for an explanation, and hearing her again and again express her
assurance that she was not seriously indisposed, Raphe de
Merefield bade her good even. As he turned to leave the spot,
Zulmiera appeared to recover herself, and drawing a long breath,
exclaimed “To-morrow, dear Raphe, to-morrow thou shalt know all—
till then, farewell!”

For some moments after the departure of the young cavalier,
Zulmiera remained standing in the same posture; and then,
suddenly rousing herself, she gazed once more earnestly around,
and finding all still, stepped without the bounds of the
shrubbery, and retracing her steps, once more gained the border
of the copse. She was about to make use of an arranged signal,
when a dark figure came bounding over a natural mound, formed by
wild plants and brushwood, and in another instant stood before

Near seven feet in height, and of corresponding breadth of
shoulder, the stranger looked able to compete with a dozen men of
ordinary growth, while his whole appearance was such as to strike
terror into the heart of the beholder. Attired in a garment of
dark red cloth, which only covered his person from his waist to
his knees, the remainder of his body was painted in a most
hideous manner. A black leathern belt, passing over his brawny
shoulders, supported a huge naked broad-sword, doubtless obtained
in some predatory exploit, whose edge was blunted and hacked by
many a rough encounter, dangled by his side, or struck harmlessly
against his naked legs. His face, the features of which were
naturally good, was disfigured by grotesque colourings, and
horrible scars; while his long black hair, to which was fastened
small pieces of copper, brass buttons, and tufts of parrot
feathers, floated behind him in matted locks, and gave him the
appearance of a wandering gnome. An old regimental coat, from
which part of the lace had been cut, and which was another of his
war spoils, was tied around his neck by the two sleeves, serving
the purpose of a cloak; and upon his breast reposed—a silent but
melancholy memento of his habits—a string of human teeth, their
dead white contrasting vividly with his dark skin. This stranger
was Cuanaboa, the dreaded Carib chief.

Rendering to Zulmiera his simple obeisance, he commenced the
conversation by remarking in a barbarous kind of dialect, “the
Boyez[93] gave the time to meet when the big star,” pointing to
the moon, “rose above the hill, and the lady promised to obey;
but now it’s shining o’er our heads, and the charm may be broken—
the bow may indeed be bent, and the arrow speed on its way, and
yet fall to the ground wide of the mark. We meet to-night, ’tis
true; but the time the Boyez appointed is long past, and now
perhaps our purpose may fail, and our enemies escape.” “Oh, no!
Cuanaboa, believe not so,” replied Zulmiera; “listen not to the
wild words of the old Boyez; thinkest thou _I_ care for what he
saith?” “Ay, lady, but thou art fallen from the faith of thy
fathers—thou hast lived too long with the Christians; but it
matters not now, let us talk of our plans. Myself and comrades
have agreed to lead the attack upon yonder house about this time
to-morrow night, and we look to you to draw from their weapons
those little round stones which kill so many of us, we know not
how. Guacanagari has joined me with twice so many men, (holding
up his hand, and spreading out his fingers,) and as fine a canoe
as ever was paddled along these seas. He landed with his party
just as the sun touched the waters; an hour badly chosen by him,
for too many eyes are then abroad. I hope, though, none saw them
but their red brothers, for they skulked along by the thickest
part of the woods; and now their canoe lies high and dry, beneath
the shelter of yon high banks, while they repose in safety in the
cave,[94] attended by old Quiba. Now, lady, as, when the white
men are subdued, and, falling beneath our clubs, or transfixed by
our arrows, serve us as sacrifices to Mayboya,[95] we are to look
upon you as our Queen——”

“And Raphe as your _king_” interrupted Zulmiera, in hurried
accents. “You promised that, or I would never have agreed to what
I have; and had I known Cuanaboa as much as I do to-night, even
that scheme of grandeur would not have tempted me to turn
traitor, to promise, as I have, to open the doors, where I have
lived so long, to give entrance to the enemy, and to lull their
fears, while the worse than blood-hounds were upon their steps.
Oh, Cuanaboa! I might have been so very happy, had I only waited
in patience for a little time—happier as plain Mistress de
Merefield, than I shall be, perhaps, as queen of the Caribbees;
but it is no use repining now; I have given my word, and, right
or wrong, Zulmiera will stand by it.”

The long eyelashes fell over her burning eyes, and the beating of
her heart sounded audibly, and shook her very frame; but
recovering herself, she continued—“There is another subject to be
discussed, Cuanaboa; the daughter of the governor is my dearest
friend, and therefore she must be preserved unharmed throughout
the fray, guarded with the most scrupulous care, and I look to
you to place her in safety. Dost thou comprehend what I say?”

“Yes, lady; and I was going to remark, when you interrupted me,
that as you wish certain of the enemy saved alive, particularly
the fair youth you mentioned just now, it would be well for you
to give your orders to Guacanagari; and for that purpose I would
advise you to visit the cave to-morrow evening, when we intend
holding a serious assembly and dance, previous to commencing the
attack. Guacanagari will be rejoiced to meet you, and he will be
as fond of the maiden and the youth as I am;” and a very sinister
expression, but unobserved by Zulmiera, passed over the face of
the Carib chief. “Besides, lady, it is but right that Guacanagari
should know his queen—never Carib had one before.”

“I will attend,” replied Zulmiera. “And now, as it is past
midnight, ’tis time we parted;” so saying, she bowed to the
Carib, and drawing her mantle around her, walked away with all
the dignity of a sovereign.

Keeping his dark eye fixed upon her as long as she continued in
sight, no sooner had the intervening shrubs screened her from his
view, than, throwing himself upon the ground, the Carib broke
into a shrill laugh. “And so the haughty beauty thinks that a
people who have scarcely known control, will bend their shoulders
to the dominion of a girl and a white-faced boy!—ha! ha! If the
wild kites chose a king, would it be a colibri?[96] No! Should
the Caribs follow the custom of the strangers who have come among
us, and torn away our most fruitful countries, and own a king,
who should it be but Cuanaboa? for who has slain so many enemies
and drunk their blood as I have? or who can shew a longer string
of teeth than I have here?” and he played with the one which
ornamented his neck. “If Zulmiera will be queen, it must be as my
wife; and truly she would serve to swell a richer triumph than I
even expect to have. But as for the youth, his race is almost
run; before this time to-morrow, I think he will give me but
little further trouble. ’Tis well I came so soon to-night, and
thus was witness of the meeting. I wish I could have understood
what he said; but these pale-faced people speak so vilely, that
it is hard to know what they mean. However, it matters not, I saw
enough; and as I intend Zulmiera to be my prize, I will very
shortly get rid of the youngster; he’ll make a capital sacrifice
to Old Mayboya. White men eat better than red people, it can’t be
denied;” and as he finished his soliloquy, he arose from the
ground, and springing over the brush-wood, was lost to sight in
the impending copse.


[92] A kind of small guitar, in use about the 16th and 17th

[93] A priest, or magician, among the Caribs.

[94] Now called Bat’s Cave.

[95] Supreme deity among the Caribs.

[96] The Indian name for the humming bird.

                          CHAPTER XXV.

                   CONCLUSION OF THE LEGEND.

The morning after this eventful meeting rose fair and bright.
Bridget and Zulmiera, seated at an open window, inhaled the sweet
breeze, while they bent over their embroidery frames; and the
fair Englishwoman was giving a description of her own far-off
land, when, gazing in the direction of the before-named copse,
Zulmiera espied a white feather glancing for a moment above the
tops of the trees, a well-known signal indicating the presence of
Raphe de Merefield.

Framing an excuse, she shortly left the apartment; and taking a
circuitous route to escape observation, in a few moments gained
the old tree, where, as expected, she found her lover.

“Zulmiera,” said the young man, after the first greetings were
passed, “I have suffered deeply in mind since we parted, on
account of the strange words you let fall last evening; and I now
seek your presence to demand, as your affianced husband, their
signification. Tell me, Zulmiera, thine whole heart, or as Willy
Shakspeare saith—

    “——If thou dost love me,
    Shew me thy thought?”

Accosted in this sudden manner, and surprised by his serious
demeanour, Zulmiera’s caution forsook her, and bursting into
tears, confessed to her lover, as best she could, the following
facts. Having been treated with great scorn and harshness by the
governor, and looking upon herself as the descendant of a line of
chieftains, and consequently entitled to respect, a deep and
irresistible feeling of revenge sprang up in her breast, and
absorbed her every thought. Roaming, as she had ever been wont,
amid the romantic dells and leafy labyrinths of her native
islands, she came one evening upon a curious cavern; her love of
novelty led her to inspect it, but in the act of doing so, she
was driven back in alarm by the sight of a flashing pair of eyes.

Unable to suppress her fears, yet too much overcome by the
encounter to fly, she leant against the rocky opening of the
cave; when, rushing from his concealment, a powerful man, whom
she immediately recognised as a Carib, darted upon her, and
placing his hand upon her mouth to prevent her screams from being
heard, was about to bear her away as his captive.

Terrified as she was, she still had the presence of mind to
declare her origin, and claim his forbearance, on the score of
their allied blood. To such a plea, a Carib’s heart is never
deaf; the grasp upon the shoulder was relaxed; the armed warrior
stood quietly by her side; and a conversation in the Carib tongue
(which Zulmiera had acquired from her mother) was carried on
between them.

The stranger declared himself to be a Carib chief, named
Cuanaboa, and with the openness for which that people were noted
among their friends, acquainted Zulmiera with the cause of his
appearance in that lone cave. Following the example of his
fathers, Cuanaboa said he had resolved to make an attack upon
Antigua, accompanied by a neighbouring chief and their several
tribes; but in a war-council held by them, it had been arranged
for him to pay a secret visit to the island, in order to inspect
it, and endeavour to find out its weakest parts. Accordingly,
leaving his mountain home in Dominica, he had paddled himself
over in a slight canoe, and easily discovering the cave, which
had been well-known to the tribe in their former predatory
visits, he took up his abode there.

Zulmiera listened eagerly to this communication; and excited as
she was, thought it a good opportunity for effectually procuring
her revenge. After arranging for the safety of Raphe de
Merefield, to whom she had been long engaged, she finally
promised, that upon an appointed night, she would open the doors
of government house, and admit the band of Caribs. Ignorant of
the real force of Antigua, and led away by her own turbulent and
romantic passions, the Indian girl wrongly supposed that a few
half-armed Caribs would be able to strike terror into the breasts
and compete with the well-arranged ranks of the English. In
consequence of this wild fancy, Zulmiera further proposed, as her
reward, that when the battle was gained, and the English
defeated, she should be immediately elected queen, and Raphe king
of the Caribbees. Many other meetings had taken place between
herself and the Carib chief; and she concluded her relation, by
informing Raphe of the arrival of the whole band of Caribs, and
that the hour of midnight was the time proposed for the intended
assault upon government house.

The surprise, the consternation of the young man, as she unfolded
this tale to him, was overpowering, and for some moments he
remained as if rooted to the ground. At length, striking his hand
upon his forehead, he exclaimed, in a tone of extreme bitterness—
“Oh! Zulmiera—Zulmiera! what hast thou done! Surely it is some
horrible dream; and yet it is too true; thou couldst not have
distressed me so, an’ it had not been. To-night, sayest thou?
Unhappy girl, thou hast indeed dashed the cup of happiness from
thy lips! Now I understand thy visible emotion—thy half-smothered
expressions! But I must away—the lives of hundreds, perhaps, hang
upon my steps;” and darting from her, he left her to the deepest
feelings of despair.

Leaning against the tree for the support her own limbs denied
her, the unfortunate Zulmiera remained with her face buried in
her hands, until aroused by the sound of footsteps. Hastily
looking up, Raphe again stood before her. “Dearest Zulmiera,”
said the pitying young man—“rouse thyself; I cannot leave thee
thus; all may yet be well. I will immediately to the governor,
and without implicating you as my author, inform him of the
inpending attack. Much as I dislike the man, it is my proper plan
—so now dry your eyes,” for the warm tears were again gushing
down the cheeks of the repentant girl; “return to the house, keep
yourself quiet, and trust the matter to me.” So saying, he
imprinted a fond kiss upon her brow, and turning away, hastened
with a quick step in the opposite direction.

Mastering her emotions, Zulmiera returned to her home,
determined, when the evening fell, to seek the cave, and if
possible, persuade Cuanaboa of the impracticability of his
schemes, and by that means, prevent the effusion of blood, which
a meeting of the Caribs and English was sure to produce.

In the meantime, Raphe sought the presence of the governor, and
without bringing forward Zulmiera’s name, contrived to give him
the necessary information, and then departed, taking upon himself
the office of scout. Preparations were immediately made for the
intended attack—ambuscades arranged, and fire-arms cleaned; and
with anxiety the party awaited the rising of the moon.

As the day grew to a close, Zulmiera became more and more
restless, until at length, unable to bear the conflict of her
feelings, she left the house, and, unperceived by the family,
sought the promised meeting in the cave. The sun had sunk behind
the waves, and the stars began to peep forth, as the half-Carib
gained the entrance of the wood. Carefully threading her way
through its tangled bushes, and avoiding as she went the numerous
impediments, she gradually progressed deeper and deeper in its
thickening gloom. The air was calm, and nothing disturbed the
almost pristine stillness but the whisperings of the soft breeze,
or the shrill cry of some of the aquatic fowls who made that
lonely grove their home. In some parts the foliage was less
thick, and the beams of the now rising moon forced their way
through and snorted upon the ground, forming many a fantastic
shadow. Uprooted and sapless trees lay in various directions,
around which parasites wound in luxuriant beauty, and hid the
whitened wood in wreaths of green. In other parts, the larger
trees and shrubs made way for dense thickets of thorny underwood,
over which the active girl was obliged to leap.

Onward she sped, stopping only now and then to recover her
breath, and then darting forward at increased speed, until,
gaining a little knoll, where pointed crystals strewed the
ground, and the manchineel showered its poisonous apples,
beautiful and treacherous as “Dead Sea fruits,” a mark in one of
the trees told her she was near the place of her destination; and
winding round another thicket, Zulmiera stood before the mouth of
the cave.

The interior was lighted by a few torches of some resinous wood,
stuck in the fissures of the rock; and their flickering light
shone upon the dark countenances and wild costume of the inmates.
Branches of trees roughly plaited together were placed partly
before the opening, and served to screen the light of the torches
from the view of any wandering stranger; while the ground before
the entrance to the cave had been cleared away, forming a kind of
rustic amphitheatre.

As soon as the maiden was perceived, Cuanaboa came forward, and
introduced her to Guacanagari, and a few of their principal
followers, who only appeared to be waiting for her presence, to
commence their solemn dance, as was ever the custom of the
Caribs, before undertaking any warfare.

Darting from the cavern, about twenty of these wild warriors
arranged themselves in a circle around an old woman, known among
them by the name of Quiba, who, squatting upon the ground,
chanted, in a monotonous voice, the burden of a war-song: the men
moving slowly, and joining in the chorus—“_Avenge the bones of
your fathers, which lie whitening upon the plain!_” Continuing
this revolving motion for some time, but gradually increasing in
celerity, they at length appeared as if worked up to the highest
pitch of their passions; and releasing each other’s hands, and
twirling round and round with the greatest rapidity, tearing
their hair, and gnashing their teeth, at length threw themselves
upon the ground, foaming with rage.

Zulmiera, terrified at their frantic movements and horrid
contortions, tremblingly leant against the trunk of a tree,
until, aroused by an exclamation from the old woman, she
perceived another party of savages, apparently of meaner grade,
bringing in large calabashes and baskets, huge pieces pf baked
meats, and bowls of some kind of liquids. Placing them upon the
ground, they retreated; and old Quiba, quitting her recumbent
posture, seized upon one of the pieces of meat, and throwing it
among the prostrate warriors, exclaimed, in a cracked voice—“_Eat
of the flesh of your enemies, and avenge your fathers’ bones!_”

As she uttered these words, the men sprang from the ground, and
rushing upon the viands, devoured them with savage greediness;
while Cuanaboa, lifting up one of the smaller pieces of meat,
approached Zulmiera, and, with harshness, requested her to eat
it. Alarmed at his ferocious manner, but not daring to shew it,
the trembling girl essayed to obey; and putting a portion of it
into her mouth, by a strong effort swallowed it. No sooner was
this effected, than, breaking into a horrid laugh, and with his
eyes gleaming like the hyæna’s, Cuanaboa shouted to the old
woman, who had just before entered the cave—“Bring forth our
present for our queen; surely, she deserves it, now she is one of

Startled by his evident irony, Zulmiera turned round, at the
moment that Quiba emerged from a natural passage in the interior
of the cave, bearing in her hand a small bundle, which, with a
sardonic grin, she laid at the feet of the observant girl.
“There, lady; that is our first present,” croaked forth the old
hag. “Ay, lift it up, and search it well; Mayboya will stand your
friend, and send you many more, I hope.” So saying, she hobbled
up to one of the torches, and taking it from its resting-place,
held it before the face of Zulmiera.

Impelled by an irresistible desire to know the worst, Zulmiera
stooped and undid the folds of red cloth wound around their
proffered gift. After untwining it for some time, the wrapping
felt damp to the touch; and dreading she knew not what, she
loosed the last fold, _and a human head rolled upon the ground_.

Uttering a cry of horror, but forced on by her unconquerable
emotions, she turned the gory object round; and as the torches
flashed with further glare, her eye fell upon the pallid
features. The blue eye, glassed by the hand of death, and over
which the starting eyelids refused to droop—the parted lips,
parted with the last throe of agony, and shewing the pearly teeth
—the finely-moulded cheeks, but disfigured by a deep gash—and the
long auburn hair, dabbled with the blood that still oozed from
the severed veins, bespoke it Raphe de Merefield’s! Her own blood
congealed around her heart like ice—her pulse quivered and
stopped—and with one unearthly, prolonged shriek, the unfortunate
Zulmiera sank senseless upon the ground.

Recovered by the means of some pungent herb applied to her
nostrils, by the hands of Quiba, she awoke to all her misery. Her
eyes fell again upon the mutilated head of her lover; while the
demoniac voice of Cuanaboa whispered in her ear—“The food you
partook of just now _was part of the body of your minion!_ I met
him wandering in the copse a time agone; and I thought he would
make a fine sacrifice to Mayboya.” This last horrible information
completely altered her nature, and changed the fond loving girl
to the disposition of a fiend. Lifting up the head, and
imprinting upon the blood-stained lips one long fervent kiss, she
enveloped it again in the wrappings of red cloth, and carefully
binding it around her waist, was in the act of quitting the cave,
when arrested by the powerful grasp of Cuanaboa.

“Not so fast, lady!” exclaimed the Carib chief; “remember your
oath to Mayboya! We still stand in need of your assistance to
guide us to the house of yon white chief. Remember that was part
of your bargain: let us in; and when we have vanquished the
enemy, we shall still be willing to receive you as our queen;
that is, if you will agree to take _me_ for your king instead of
the pale-faced boy, whose body has served to regale us and our
people.” With eyes that flashed fire, Zulmiera was about to
reply, when suddenly constraining herself, she simply muttered—
“My oath to Mayboya!—follow me, then!” and with determined
purpose, left the cavern.

The whole party of Caribs, consisting of about eighty, were by
this time gathered around the spot, armed with bows and arrows,
clubs, darts, spears, and all the other rude implements of
warfare. As the two chiefs made their appearance, they pointed to
the moon—then rapidly ascending the heavens—and uttering a
suppressed war-whoop, they commenced their march in the direction
of government house, preceded by the half-Carib.

Unconscious of pain, Zulmiera darted through the thorniest
thickets, turned not aside for any impediment; but borne up by
the hopes of revenge, she outstripped the most active of the
party. Knowing, as she did, that the inmates of government house
were prepared for the attack, she felt assured that few, if any,
of the Caribs would escape; but completely altered in
disposition, from the effects of the horrible scenes she had gone
through, she experienced no compunctious feelings for the event.
Her only wish, her fixed purpose, was to possess herself of a
dagger—stab Cuanaboa to the heart—_drink his warm blood as it
gushed forth_—and after bathing the head of her lover with it,
kill herself upon the spot. To deceive Cuanaboa, she pretended
that her fear of Mayboya led her to conduct the party, an
assurance which his own blind zeal for that dreaded deity caused
him to believe.

In furtherance of her dreadful scheme, she carefully avoided
those spots where she supposed an ambuscade of English might be
stationed; fearing lest some other hand should take the life of
the chief. In this manner she was gradually progressing towards
the house, thinking it more probable a weapon could be there
procured, when in passing a clump of trees, one of the governor’s
scouts, who was stationed behind it, and who was unable to bear
the sight of the Carib chief so near him without endeavouring to
take his life, sprang from his concealment, and rushing upon
Cuanaboa, was in the act of stabbing him with a dirk, when, with
the cry of some infuriated wild animal robbed of its prey,
Zulmiera was upon him. Wresting the weapon from the astonished
Englishman, the maddened girl fled after the Caribs, who, abashed
by this encounter, and the sudden appearance of a troop of
soldiers, were flying in the greatest confusion, and at their
utmost speed, in direction of the before-named creek, where they
had left their canoes.

Many of the Caribs fell wounded by the way, from the fire of
their pursuers’ muskets; but Cuanaboa, closely attended by
Zulmiera, still kept on, until after passing over the same
undulating ground, forcing their way through thickets, leaping
over natural barriers, and creeping through leafy arcades, they
gained upon the creek. But woe to the Caribs! a party of English,
in hot pursuit, were, in fact, driving them into a trap, at the
point of their weapons. Throughout this irregular and hurried
retreat, Zulmiera had never dropped her dirk, or her gory burden;
neither had she lost sight of Cuanaboa; while the chief, seeing
her dash the weapon from his uncovered breast, when one stroke of
the Englishman’s hand would have caused his death, thought she
had forgiven his horrid barbarity, and was well pleased to see
her nigh him.

As they emerged from the deeper glades of the wood, a volume of
smoke rose above the trees; and upon gaining the open ground, the
whole extent of their danger was revealed to the Caribs. There
lay their canoes, a burning mass; while the foreground was
occupied by another band of Englishmen, ready prepared for
battle. Hemmed in on all sides, the Caribs fought with the fury
of uncaged beasts, and sold their lives dearly. Many of the
English were stretched upon the ground, a flattened mass, from
the blows of their heavy clubs; while others, wounded by their
poisoned arrows, only lived to endure further torments. Still
Cuanaboa remained unhurt; and standing upon a gentle knoll,
brandished his club, and dealt destruction upon the foremost of
his enemies. His friends were rapidly falling around him; and as
he turned to seek for refuge, Zulmiera approached him
unperceived, and with one blow, drove the dirk into his very

Without a groan, the Carib chief sank dead upon the earth; and
Zulmiera, kneeling by him, plucked the weapon from the wound, and
applying her lips, _drank the warm blood as it gurgled forth!_
Unbinding the head of the unfortunate Raphe de Merefield from her
waist, where she had carried it throughout the fray, she gazed
ardently at it; tenderly parted the still bright hair, imprinted
a last kiss upon the cold lips, and then taking up in her hand
some of the vital stream, which was still flowing from the wound
of Cuanaboa, and forming a pool around him, she bathed the head
with it, exclaiming as she did so, “Raphe, thou art avenged!
thine enemy lies dead before thee, slain by my hand; and thy
bride, faithful in life and death, comes to share thy gory bed.”

These actions completed, she looked up. The dying and the dead
lay stretched around her,—the conquering English were looking to
their captives,—the last gleam of the fire was shooting upwards
to the sky,—the moon had gained her zenith,—while, as if in
contrast to that bloody field, the waters of the creek rolled on
like molten silver, beneath her lovely beams. For one moment the
wild but beautiful girl gazed upon the scene; old remembrances
sprang up in her mind, and brought the tear into her eye. But
dashing them away, she regained her former implacable mood; and
as a party of the governor’s servants came forward to arrest her,
placing one hand upon her lover’s head, she raised with the other
the dirk—its bright steel glittered for a moment in the moonbeam—
in the next it was ensheathed in her heart; and she fell a corpse
upon that dire chief, to whom she owed all her misery.

The scene of this Antiguan tragedy may still be viewed; the creek
bears the name of “Indian Creek,” while the cavern in which they
held their barbaric meeting is called “Bat’s cave.” The governor
retained his office until 1660, when Charles II. was restored to
the vacant crown; but refusing to acknowledge his sovereign, he
was superseded, and the vacant post was filled by Major-General
Poyntz, a royalist, who continued to act as governor until 1663,
when Lord Francis Willoughby obtained a grant of the island.

The name of Raphe de Merefield (the uncle of the young cavalier)
appears with that of Sir Thomas Warner in the original grant
signed by Charles I. It is still to be seen at “Stoney Hill,”—an
estate belonging to the late Samuel Warner, president of Antigua,
and a descendent of the old family. This property was willed by
him to his god-son, ——— Shand, Esq., of the house of Messrs.
Shand, Liverpool.

                         CHAPTER XXVI.

  Towns: Falmouth—Church and churchyard—Mangroves and acacias—
  Black’s Point—Bridgetown—Willoughby Bay—Its site and decoration
  —The superintendent of the Wesleyan schools—School-room—
  Methodist chapel—The Memoras—St Philip’s church—Beautiful views
  —Parham—Its derivation and site—St Peter’s church—Churchyard—
  The new church—Methodist chapel and school-room.

In the year 1675, six towns were appointed in Antigua as places
of trade—viz., St. John’s, Falmouth, Old Road, (or Carlisle
Road,) Bridgetown, Willoughby Bay, Bermudian Valley, and Parham.

St. John’s, as the _capital_ of the island, has already been
noticed in a chapter by itself, and it now devolves upon me to
endeavour to describe, what is almost indescribable, the
arrangement of the other towns, which, with the exception of
Bermudian Valley, are still in a state of existence.

To commence with Falmouth. As it lies just before the traveller
gains English Harbour, the road to it is the same already
mentioned in our journey to that place; and consequently another
description would be tiresome and superfluous. I must, however,
remark that near the entrance of the town a pretty turn in the
road leaves the blank-looking country, which so generally
predominates between Falmouth and the capital, and leads you into
a kind of defile; on one side, bordered by rugged banks thickly
covered with the yellow acacia, and its sweet-scented blossoms;
and on the other, by the picturesque ascent of Monk’s Hill,
surmounted by all its frowning battlements.[97]

The town of Falmouth is noted for being the first part of the
island settled upon by the English, who, under the command of Mr.
Warner, son of Sir Thomas Warner, emigrated from St.
Christopher’s in 1632, and laid out the surrounding country in
fields of tobacco, cotton, and ginger, which were for some years
after the staple commodities of Antigua.

Humble as might have been the architectural ornaments of this
town in those early days, it seems almost an impossibility to
suppose them less then than they are at present; for if strangers
(from some of our bustling maritime cities in Europe, for
instance) were suddenly and unconsciously landed in the streets
of Falmouth, they would to all certainty believe them to be so
many pathways to the “castle of indolence;” and the irregular and
dismal-looking buildings to be the habitations of some lawless,
vagrant tribe. A few four-cornered houses, in shape like a
pigeon-coop, and of dimensions to suit a dweller of _Lilliput_,
are elevated a short distance from the ground by being placed
upon empty boxes or barrels, or four pillars of rudely-piled
stones, which arrangement forms a snug retreat for the pigs or
poultry of the inmate, or serves as a reservoir for sundry
discarded pots and pans, or other “household gods.” These
habitations are as variously placed as the taste of their owners
may chance to dictate. Some present an acute angle, others a
_broadside_ to the eye of passengers. Some stand in what I
suppose is intended to represent a garden, whose rank weeds and
straggling vegetables are guarded from the steps of the unwelcome
marauder only by a _gate_, made from empty candle-boxes or
barrel-heads, flanked by a thinly sprinkled row of some dwarf
shrub, over which the gallant “Xit” (whom Mr. Ainsworth has so
cleverly called into existence in his admirable “Tower of
London”) could have stepped with the greatest ease; letting alone
the frequent lapses in the enclosure, through which a bulky man
might readily pass. To make all secure, however, these rustic
gates are generally garnished with a huge padlock, which is of
course _carefully_ locked whenever the owner is absent; while the
key, with admirable precaution, is tucked into some little
peep-hole near, that it may be ready for the use of any stray

A few of these dwellings are, however, of superior form and
fabric; and one stands forth in all the glories of palisading,
and if I mistake not, bright green verandahs. It looks, by the
side of its pigmy neighbours, like the Colossus of Rhodes, to the
mandarin figures in our English grocers’ shops.

The present church, dedicated to St. Paul, is a plain,
uninteresting-looking building, standing at the outskirts of the
town, and capable of affording about 400 sittings.

The churchyard might be made as picturesque, and looks as quiet,
as some of those pretty rural burial-places we oftentimes alight
upon in dear old England’s sequestered nooks. Some fine trees,
and a few handsome monuments, are to be met with; and if the rank
grass was cleared away a little, and some of the various
beautiful flowers, which are to be found in all parts of the
island, planted there, it would present a spot equalling in
appearance many of our modern cemeteries.

It may by some be thought folly thus to beautify the place of
death—to garnish that spot where the worm revels upon the once
animated clay!—to plant the gladsome, gaily-tinted flowers where
all is mouldering beneath! Be it so—yet would I see the flowers
blooming over the grave of those I have loved, and while seated
near, feel that the bitterness of death is past, and that their
happy disembodied spirits range, free from all sorrows, amid the
amaranthine bowers of heaven! Like the late talented and
oft-lamented “L. E. L.,” I love to frequent the scene of our last
resting-place—like her, to—

    “Stand beneath the haunted yew,
    And watch each quiet tomb;
    And in the ancient churchyard feel
    Solemnity, not gloom.

    The place is purified with hope—
    The hope that is of prayer;
    And human love, and heavenward thought,
    And pious faith are there.

    The golden cord which binds us all
    Is loosed, not rent in twain;
    And love, and hope, and fear unite,
    To bring the past again.”

The parochial school is held in a small house near the church. It
is conducted upon the same plan as the other schools of the kind
in Antigua; the instruction consisting of lessons in reading,
writing, arithmetic, repetition of catechism and hymns, and
plain-work for the girls.

St. Paul’s has a chapel-of-ease in English Harbour; which was, in
truth, a private dwelling-house, but now, disencumbered of its
partitions, serves as a chapel, and is capable, it is said, of
affording accommodation for 350 persons; during the week, it is
appropriated to the use of an infant school.

The whole of Falmouth is thickly studded with clumps of acacia,
privet, and prickly pear; all of which are of the _thorny
family_, and if report be true, serve the inhabitants instead of
pins. Between Falmouth and English Harbour lies a marshy thickly
covered with sand, and dotted about with groups of
mangrove-trees, in all their glittering, green foliage, forming
so many _oases_ in the midst of a burning desert. The sea
overflows this spot at times, and leaves its tribute in the shape
of small shells and bunches of sea-weed.

Opposite to Falmouth, looking across the waters of the harbour, a
bold promontory stretches out into the ocean, to which has been
given the name of “Black’s Point.” As it belongs to a gentleman
of that name, it is generally supposed in Antigua, to derive its
cognomen from that cause. Such supposition is, however,
incorrect, for it is laid down in an old chart of the island as
“Black’s Point” long before its present possessor came into
existence. The real origin of its bearing that appellation is
from the fact of its having been the place where it was customary
to land the cargoes of newly-imported negroes, prior to the
abolition of the slave trade; and from this circumstance the name
it now bears was given to it.

Falmouth Harbour is considered one of the best in Antigua, and is
capable of affording safe anchorage for ships in those times of
danger to which the West Indies are exposed. The shores of the
bay boast their silver fringe of sand, which is often selected by
the parent turtle, as a place of safety, in which to deposit her
two or three hundred eggs; and when the sun has performed the
duties of incubation, which the lethargic mother refuses to
perform, numbers of these little creatures may be seen, crawling
towards their favourite element, where they feast and fatten,
until, perhaps, in after-years, they are doomed to increase the
table store of some Antiguan _gourmand_, or, perchance, find
their way to England, and tickle the palate of “the lord mayor,
and the other city authorities” within the sound of Bow bells.

Old Road (or Carlisle Road, as it was once called) and St. Mary’s
church having been already described, in our “pilgrimage to Tom
Moore’s Spring,” it remains for me, in the next place, to mention
Bridgetown, or Willoughby Bay, as it is more frequently termed.
Here, again, I have the task of describing, what is almost _a
nondescript_, for no stranger would ever discover that it was a
town unless the fact were pointed out to him. If the man who
painted a lion was obliged to write under it, “This is a lion,” I
am sure the person who huddled the three or four houses together,
which constitutes Bridgetown, had need to have put upon a
giant-like placard, “This is a town!” unless, indeed, a rather
good-looking Methodist chapel, a small mission-house, a stone
dwelling-house, with school-room attached, and a few of my
_four-cornered_ friends, stuck in here and there, like the dots
in a landscape of some country painter, to represent _crows_, be
sufficient to merit for it that lofty title, which Dr. Johnson,
or some other lexicographer of equal renown, leads us to suppose
signifies “a large collection of houses.”

As regards the population of this _town_, (I like to give places
their proper names,) I can give but little information. With the
exception of the very kind-hearted superintendant of the Wesleyan
schools, Mr. Charles Thwaites, and his equally amiable wife,
their very pretty little boy, one or two domestics, and their
scholars of every shade, the only inhabitants I saw were flocks
of black-headed gulls, busily employed in following their
piscatory avocations; a few half-starved looking sheep, vainly
endeavouring to screen themselves from the fiery beams of the sun
beneath the leafless branches of some blighted shrubs; and three
or four long-necked, screaming birds, known in this part of the
world as gorlings, and which derive their subsistence from the
same source as their neighbours, the gulls.

After resting for a short time at the superintendant’s dwelling,
we proceeded to the school-room, a most commodious apartment,
measuring 50ft. by 48ft., and capable of containing 500 persons.
The whole of this establishment, including the superintendant’s
house, which is detached, was erected by the Church Missionary
Society; but after being used by them for a short time, it was
turned over to the “Ladies’ Society,” to whom it still belongs,
although the Wesleyan Mission holds its school there.

The school-room was but thinly attended upon the day of our
visit, there not being more than 40 children—the usual number is
about 100. Upon our entrance, they all rose up with “We’ll make
our obeisance together, as children ought to do,” and then,
quitting their raised seats, formed into double lines, their
teacher at their head, and marched round the apartment to the
tune of one of their infant rhymes. After performing many
martial-like evolutions, they finally arranged themselves into a
deep phalanx, and thus sang another of their little songs. Many
of them are proficients in reading the scriptures, and are well
versed in the historical parts of them. I hope and trust the
education so liberally bestowed upon them, and above all, the
religious instruction which they receive, may benefit their
after-conduct, and lead them to do their duty in that sphere of
life in which it has pleased their Creator to place them. I was
much pleased to learn from Mr. Thwaites that, in almost every
instance, the pupils who have left the schools under his charge
have followed agricultural employments. To a country whose grand
resource, and, indeed, entire dependence, is placed upon the
cultivation of the sugar-cane, this conduct upon the part of its
rising generation must be very important; and if the lower
classes continue to do so, and not, because they are free,
despise the hoe, Antigua may stand forth as pre-eminently
flourishing among the other West Indian colonies.

Mr. Thwaites is the paid superintendant of all the Wesleyan
country schools. His salary is 150l. sterling per annum, a small
recompence (although quite as liberal as the mission can afford)
for the constant care his responsible situation calls for, and
which he performs with untiring zeal. For about twenty-nine years
has this good man been employed in providing for the mental wants
of the black population, and in endeavouring to lead their young
minds to the only fount of real knowledge. Unmindful of passing
events he has kept on his irksome task, (for irksome it must be
to drive knowledge into the brains of some of these little
negroes,) buoyed up by his feelings of deep philanthropy.

The first few years of his employment were passed without
receiving any reward, but the approval of his own conscience. As,
however, his laudable exertions became known, he was engaged by
the “Church Missionary Society,” whose interests he faithfully
served for near ten years. Since that period he has been in the
employ of the Wesleyan mission. Although from being such a
valuable auxiliary in rearing “the infant mind,” and teaching
“the young idea how to shoot,” the bishop would gladly have
retained his services, provided he gave up all connexion with the

Mr. Thwaites has under his charge eleven day-schools, with about
800 scholars; and three Sunday-schools, with about 900 scholars.
Besides attending these several schools, Mr. Thwaites visits the
neighbouring estates in the evenings, for the purpose of giving
the labourers religious instruction, and guarding his elder
pupils, or those who have left his schools, for the purpose of
engaging in the avocations customary to their province in life,
against those temptations to which their age and sex are most

It has been remarked in a late publication, (in commenting upon
events in Antigua) that “after ransacking the whole freed
population for a dozen suitable teachers of children, Mr.
Thwaites could not find even that number who could read well.”
Now, this is a great error, _and altogether contradicted by Mr.
Thwaites himself_. The blacks certainly had not the means of
improving themselves in former years, as the more fortunate
generation have had since emancipation; but that the _whole_
class were so totally ignorant as not to be able to _read_, is
entirely incorrect. In proof of this, the superintendant pointed
out to our notice several teachers who were well adapted for
their employment; one in particular, who, Mr. T. remarked,
conducted a school consisting of 120 scholars, which he
instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, in which last
branch of education many of his pupils had attained to “Practice”
and “Vulgar Fractions.”

The salaries of these paid teachers (of which there are
seventeen, the remainder giving their services without any
recompence) are very small—not more than from three to four
dollars (12s. and 16s. sterling) per month. They are paid by the
“Ladies’ Negro Education Society,” and other benevolent societies
in England, who also defray the other expenses of the schools,
with the exception of the superintendent’s salary, which is
provided by the Wesleyan mission. The children, who receive
instruction in writing, cyphering, and needlework, pay a small
pittance, which is placed in the school fund.

There is a very neat and excellent little library attached to the
Willoughby-Bay school, where the works of “Abbott,” “Sherwood,”
“Pike,” and various other pious authors, are open to the use of
all, besides treatises upon geography, history, and experimental
philosophy. The lighter works, such as Mrs. Sherwood’s pretty,
and often affecting, little narratives, are read, Mrs. Thwaites
informed me, with avidity by the negroes, to which intelligence
their well-thumbed covers gave a tacit assent. Around the
schoolroom were hung various cards, with texts of scripture
printed upon them in large characters, that “such who run may
read”—a practice I greatly admire, for turn whichever way you
will, some goodly sentence meets your eye.

In the neat little yard attached to Mr. Thwaites’ dwelling, we
met with some old friends of mine—a small wooden hive of “busy
bees.” A pane of glass inserted into the box gave us a view of
the industrious little creatures building their waxen cells, in
which to store their fragrant food; but the weather was against
them—the long drought had withered the flowers, and thus
curtailed their stock of honey. There are very few bee-hives to
be met with in Antigua. This is rather strange, as all Creoles
are noted for having a “sweet tooth,” and consequently honey is
reckoned a luxury. It cannot be from want of proper food, that
the labours of these little insects are discountenanced, for
Nature has been most prodigal of her stores to Antigua, and
clothed her every hill and dale with melliferous blossoms.

I have heard of one gentleman, however, who was very anxious to
establish an apiary upon his property in Antigua, and accordingly
he obtained some choice hives, which in due time were safely
deposited in his well-stocked garden. Soon after their arrival,
however, business called him from the island, and he committed
his valued bees to the care of his overseer, a true son of
Hibernia, with an expressed hope, “that they would not wander
from home.” The day after his departure, the overseer, wishful of
obliging his employer, stole from his multitudinous duties a
sufficient time to watch the movements of his buzzing charge. The
bright sun drew them from their hives, and jocund in their little
hearts, away they bounded on the balmy zephyr. Innumerable
flowers dazzled their eyes, and courted their attention. Here the
gorgeous _hybiscus_ spread out its glowing bosom—there the
blushing _frangipanne_ loaded the air with its rich fragrance. At
one moment they inserted their trunks into the sweet-scented cup
of the jasmine; at the next, and they brushed the pearly dew from
the brilliant radii of the passion-flower. Onward they flew,
allured by flowerets of every colour, each one as

    “Fair as the fabulous Asphodels;”

until at length, to the dismay of the overseer, they were lost to
sight! He was no naturalist: he had never studied “Réaumur” upon
the “habits of bees,” and as the last straggler disappeared, he
thought “Well! Mr. ——— hoped they would not wander from home, but
by St. Patrick they’re all gone, and if they ever come back is a
query.” However, as nothing could be done, he was obliged to
leave them to their fate; and in a rather disconsolate mood, “he
turned and left the spot.”

Hours wore away,

    “The evening came, the sun descended,”

and the truant insects returned to their hive, to the great joy
of the observant overseer. “Ah! ah!” said he, as they alighted,
heavily laden with their luscious store, “a pretty trick you have
played me to-day; but by my patron saint, I will take care of you
to-morrow.” He watched until they were all safe housed; and then
with hurried steps, and self-congratulatory hitches of the
shoulders, he sought the spot where masons had been lately
working. Providing himself with some of the soft mortar, he again
visited the apiary; and with ready will, and determined purpose,
applied to the opening of each hive a sufficient quantum of the
cement, so as to effectually forbid the egress of any bee. It is
almost needless to mention, that upon the return of the
gentleman, whose absence had been protracted, he found his
favourite insects defunct; nor need I animadvert upon the
vexation his overseer’s management of an apiary caused him.

To resume my subject—which the bees, and their untimely fate,
drove from my head: after inspecting the school, and expressing
our gratification, we proceeded to visit the Methodist chapel, a
stone’s throw from the school-room. It is a plain wooden
building, measuring 45 feet by 60 feet, and capable of containing
900 sittings. The burying-ground is attached, and serves as the
place of interment for the whole town, and some part of the
adjoining country. Adjacent to the chapel is the mission-house, a
neat little domicile for such an extraordinary-looking place as

There is nothing interesting about Willoughby Bay. No glittering
white sand, or clear blue water with its dazzling surf to be
seen. A line of blighted, sickly-looking bushes shuts out the
sight of the beach; and the part of the bay which greets our eyes
looks gloomy and discoloured, as if from lurking reefs and
shoals. Upon the opposite side of the bay, looking across the
water, lies the Memoras, a long ridge of rocks, over which the
sea rushes with tremendous force, and with a deafening noise,
which may be heard at a considerable distance. Upon a still day,
the angry moan of the waves can be clearly distinguished at
Bridgetown. Willoughby Bay derives its name from Francis Lord
Willoughby, who in 1663 was made Lord Proprietor of the whole
island, by a grant from Charles II.[98]

St. Philip’s, the parish church, is situated upon an ascent, at
some distance from Bridgetown, and commands one of the finest
views to be met with in any part of the country. The eye ranges
with delight over sloping hills and open glades; wood-crowned
mountains, and silent valleys. Sugar plantations, in all the
beauty of high cultivation, spread out their fields of rich and
wavy green beneath our feet, interspersed with groups of simple
negro huts, almost hid in their leafy enclosures; while on all
sides, the ocean stretched out its interminable blue waters. It
was a lovely day when we visited the spot,—

    “The whispering winds were half asleep,
    The clouds were gone to play,
    And on the woods, and on the deep,
    The smiles of heaven lay.

    It seem’d as if the day was one
    Sent from beyond the skies,
    Which shed to earth above the sun,
    A light of paradise.”

Of the first church dedicated to St. Philip no account can be
given; but most probably it was built about the year 1690. The
second church to that saint was erected about 1717. It was a
wooden building, and no doubt possessed but little claim to
architectural beauty. The present church is one of the prettiest
I have seen in the West Indies. It is built of the smooth
freestone, so generally found in Antiguan quarries; the only
fault is, that they are cut too small, which, at a distance,
gives them more the appearance of white bricks.

The plan, like many of the other Antiguan churches, is cruciform;
but there is so much chasteness displayed in the simple
arrangement of the interior, that it must please every eye. The
large oriel window is furnished with ground-glass, of the most
elegant, yet simple devices; and the neat pulpit and desk,—the
altar, gallery, and pulpit rails,—the wooden columns which
support the roof,—the pews and doors, painted in excellent
representation of rich-grained oak, please by their uniformity.
They are in the gothic style. The decorations of the altar are
very plain, merely consisting of the tables of the Commandments,
the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed.

Leaving the town of Bermudian Valley (of which I think there is
scarcely a relic) “alone in its glory,” we come to Parham, the
remaining place of trade appointed during the time Col. Rowland
Williams held the deputy-governorship of Antigua. Parham takes
its name from the title of Lord William Willoughby of Parham. In
1697, after the decease of Christopher Codrington, Esq., (the
elder,) Parham appears to have been the residence of the
lieutenant-governor, in preference to St. John’s; and this
circumstance gives rise to the statement of some authors, that
Parham was once the capital of the island. It is another of those
strangely straggling places whose streets are in many parts
bordered with dagger (_aloe vulgaris_) instead of houses; but
still it is far superior to Bridgetown, for some of its edifices
boast of covered galleries, or balconies, flights of stone steps,
and many other decorations.

The parish church of St. Peter’s, the second of the name, is an
old dismal looking building, whose outward appearance is enough
to give the observer a fit of that fashionable complaint,
dyspepsia. It was erected in 1754, and affords 300 sittings. St.
Peter’s has a chapel-of-ease, the private property of the Rev.
Nat. Gilbert, a descendant of the “founder of Methodism” in
Antigua, who was speaker of the house of assembly in 1764.

From some strange freak, or else from dire necessity, Parham
churchyard is situated at about two miles distance from the
church and town. It was formerly surrounded by a brick wall, but
that is all falling to ruin. A more desolate-looking
burying-ground I never saw—not a tree or flower near it; the very
birds in their aerial wanderings seem to shun the spot.

At a short distance from St. Peter’s is fast rising into
existence what will prove, when finished, a very neat and pretty
church. It is an irregular octagonal—that is, the sides are not
of equal dimensions. It is built of the same kind of stone as St.
Philip’s; but has a better effect, from the blocks being cut of
larger size. The base of the tower is constructed from the
interior; but in its present unfinished state, (1842) with all
its multiplicity of scaffolding and frame work, it is impossible
to say what will be the effect; except, as I have before
remarked, it will no doubt make a pretty appearance when
completed. The architect is an Englishman, and the head mason (a
black man) appears to be well-versed in the mysteries of his
trade, to judge from the excellent smoothness in the joints of
the walls, and from a very neat key-stone which he has
sculptured. This church is intended to take the name and service
from the old one, which will then be dismantled.

Besides the episcopal church, Parham boasts a very neat little
chapel belonging to the Wesleyans, with a good stone
mission-house and school-room adjoining. The general number of
scholars at this school is seventy, including girls and boys;
although upon our visit to it, there were not more than
thirty-five. The school-room is a very airy and commodious
building, capable of containing 600 or 700 persons. The children
which compose the school are of every age, from three to
fourteen. The instruction given them is plain, but good—
scriptural knowledge, reading, spelling, writing, and arithmetic,
with needlework for the girls. There are no pictorial
embellishments in this school-room, merely a few selections from
the Scriptures, cards of multiplication, and some black-painted
boards upon which the children practise their little sums with a
piece of chalk.

The Wesleyan missionary stationed at Parham, the Rev. Mr.
Keatley, (who appears to be a very amiable man,) mentioned as a
well-known fact, that the schools in the country were always
better attended the three first days in the week, and that after
that period very few children made their appearance. Probably
this is owing to their parents employing them in some domestic
business which is more necessary at the close than at the
beginning of the week.

Parham harbour, although it affords safe anchorage when gained,
is dangerous to the inexperienced navigator from the number of
shoals and reefs which encumber its approach. It also contains
some few islands, of which Bethel’s Island is the largest. This
harbour is protected from the inroads of the enemy by Port Byam,
erected upon Barnacle Point, and which derives its name from
Colonel Edward Byam, some-time governor of Antigua. It is said
that within the precincts of this fort, Colonel Byam had a small
room erected, where he was in the habit of receiving and
entertaining a party of Caribs, who came yearly from some of the
neighbouring islands, in order to smoke their calumets of peace
with that gentleman.

To the southward of Parham rises a curious hill, which is
supposed to be the work of art, and to have answered for the
burying-place of the ancient inhabitants, the Caribs. An old
writer speaking of this tumulus, describes it as “in form a long
square, very regular in all its parts, lessening gradually from
its base to the top, which is flat, and may be from five to six
hundred feet long, and from forty to fifty feet high.”


[97] From the summit of Monk’s Hill, the eye can range over the
whole island of Antigua, with the exception of one part, where
the mountains intervene. The principal work, named Fort George,
is mounted with pieces of cannon, said to have been taken in the
“Foudroyant” man-of-war, in one of the many conflicts between the
French and English.

[98] For the genealogy, and a general account of this family, see

                         CHAPTER XXVII.

  Forts and fortifications—Temporary ones—The present forts—Fort
  James—Its situation and approach—Rat Island Battery, its
  appellation, lunatic asylum, and flag-staff—Goat Hill—Steep
  ascent—Schools in St. John’s.

It might be imagined that where nature has done so much for her
favourite isle in the way of barricading it, by giving to Antigua
a bold rocky coast, _art_, in the shape of forts and batteries,
would be less called for. This, however, is not the case; the
island coaster meets with many an embattled point, and many a
sea-girt cliff supports the frowning walls of a battery.

The forts in Antigua are Fort James, Rat Island Battery, Goat
Hill or Fort Barrington, Old Fort, Johnston’s Point Fort, Old
Road Fort, Falmouth Fort, Fort Black’s Point, Fort Charlotte and
Fort Berkley at the entrance of English Harbour, Fort Christian,
Fort Isaac, Fort William, Fort Harman, Flat Point Fort, Old Fort,
and Fort Byam; Parham Harbour, Dickenson’s Point Battery,
Corbison’s Fort, and Fort Hamilton. Of these, the greater part
were merely temporary fortifications erected in those days of
warfare when the French and Caribs, in their shallops and
perrigoas, used to make such frequent attacks upon the island.
Still, dismantled as many of these forts became in after-years,
when peace spread her soft pinions over the lovely group of the
Antilles, they retained their _names_, and served as sinecures to
those persons who, from favouritism or superannuation, were
exempted from militia duty, prior to the abolition of that body
during the administration of Sir W. Colebrooke.[99]

The fortifications at present in use are, Fort James, Rat Island
Battery, Goat Hill, Fort George, Fort Johnston’s Point, Old Road
Fort, Monk’s Hill, and the forts at English Harbour.

Fort James was erected about the year 1704-5, on a spot of ground
known as St. John’s Point, which was given to his majesty Charles
II., by Col. James Vaughan, in 1680. It is situated at the
entrance of St. John’s Harbour, and commands at once a beautiful
and extensive view, while, from its frowning battlements, a
deadly and raking fire could be poured upon the adventurous enemy
who dared its anger. The rock upon which it is built appears to
overhang the sea; and the waves, from constantly fretting and
foaming around its base, have completely undermined it. If all
proper precautions be not taken, the fort and its accompaniments
will, some day, probably make a rapid descent into the yawning
gulf beneath, and its avenging weapons no longer vomit forth
their flaming breath upon the dauntless vessel who dares to pass
it, without tendering to its captain his expected dole.[100]

Fort James mounts but few guns, the rest are making themselves
beds deep in the earth. This is one of the happy results of
peace. Those murderous weapons repose in quietness, and that they
may ever do so is my fervent prayer. A gun, however, is fired at
sunrise and sunset; and her majesty’s ships, as well as vessels
of war belonging to other nations, are complimented with a grand
discharge. The arrival and departure of the governor, members of
council, &c., also call for a similar mark of honour. Serious
accidents sometimes occur at such periods. A few months ago one
of the matrosses had his arm so severely shattered by overloading
the instrument when saluting a French man-of-war, that it became
necessary to amputate the limb immediately. He has now happily
regained his former health, and is employed upon the fort as a

The captain of Fort James receives 150l. sterling per annum, and
the residence is one that many would gladly inhabit. Under him
are stationed twelve matrosses, who receive very good pay. For
the use of these last-mentioned persons, a temporary chapel has
been established within these last few years, through the
instrumentality of the Rev. John Horsford, Wesleyan missionary,
son to the former governor of the fort, by which happy means they
are enabled to attend Divine service once on the Lord’s day.

The road from the capital to Fort James, a distance of about four
miles, is not very noted for the interest it displays. As the
traveller nears the fort, an arm of the sea runs far inland,
twisting and twining its rippling waters amid the clumps of
aquatic shrubs in a most snake-like manner. Through this,
equestrians and pedestrians, the emblazoned carriage, and the
more humble gig, alike have to pass, while shoals of fairy-like
fish dart from their parent waters in all directions; and as the
sunbeams catch their silvery scales, almost blind the looker-on
with their dazzling coruscations.

Rat Island Battery is of itself a most picturesque object, as the
stranger approaches Antigua. It lies within the harbour of St.
John’s, and takes its name from some fancied resemblance to that
most destructive little quadruped, a rat. I cannot say this
isapparent to my eyes, but the believers in such a similitude say
that the rock personates the body of the animal, while the
causeway which connects it to the main land plays the part of a
tail. I have already mentioned the lunatic asylum lately erected
upon this rock, whose whitened walls look cheerfully down upon
the waters beneath, and little tells the observer how many
darkened minds wander within them. The flag-staff upon Rat Island
is often gaily decorated with various flags, and with a beating
heart my eyes have often sought it, for there I learn the tidings
that another packet has arrived from my native land, and, as I
hope, brought me one of those little packages traced with “a grey
goose-quill,” and telling that those who are so dear to me are
enjoying health and happiness in Old England.

Goat Hill crowns the summit of a lofty hill upon the opposite
side of the harbour to Fort James. When passing it by sea, our
surprise is excited when we consider how it is possible to
transport the heavy artillery and stores up the steep ascent; but
the road is winding, and the difficulty is much sooner overcome
than would be supposed. It was on the site of this fort that the
French landed, in that memorable attack upon, and reduction of,
the island in 1666. Near the base of Goat Hill, two peculiar
shaped and blackened rocks rear their bare heads above the sea,
around which the waves dash their lustrous foam with loud and
angry moanings. The remaining forts, with the salaries of their
several captains, and the means by which they are paid, will be
found in the statistical portion of this work.

From the forts, I proceed to mention the “Mico Charity” School at
St. John’s, where instruction is given in various branches of
knowledge. Upon my visit to this school, I must say I was
surprised to find among the dirty ragged little negroes, which
comprised it generally, a herd of geographers, historians, and
grammarians. The head-master happened to be absent, but a
messenger was immediately despatched to call him; and, upon his
arrival, the examination commenced, which I left entirely to
themselves, wishing to see their own mode of tuition.

The room, or rather rooms, were hung round with various pictorial
embellishments, consisting of some very beautiful lithographed
designs, representing the most interesting and affecting scenes
in the Old and New Testament—birds and animals, fruits and
flowers, steam apparatuses, machinery of all descriptions, modes
of every branch of agriculture, and some excellent maps.

A stand was placed in the middle of the apartment, and a boy of
about twelve or thirteen took his station by the side of it, with
the “wand of office” in his hand. It was now announced by the
master—“Those boys who wish to ask questions, please hold up
their hands,” when immediately about eight or ten, of the same
age as the one stationed in the middle of the room, replied by
the motion required, while an air of animation sprang to their
eyes, and lightened the dusky hue of their complexions. The first
question was proposed by a boy, black as the late member of
parliament’s celebrated blacking, but whose scanty habiliments
bore many a mark from the finger of time, and many a stain upon
their once fair colour. “Who was Hannibal?” Answer, from the boy
near the stand—“A Carthaginian general, who defeated the Romans
in two engagements.”

It was now his turn to propound—“How is the true situation of any
place upon the globe shewn?” Answer, from an intelligent-looking
little mongrel boy, who was in such haste to reply, that it
called for the aid of the master to render his rapid utterance
understood—“By the intersection of that imaginary circle, which
we call a parallel of latitude, with the meridian of the place in
question.” Having replied to this query, he asked the boy at the
stand—“Who was the first Roman emperor that visited England, then
called Britain, and in what year?”

This was a puzzler. He could not answer to it; so he lost his
conspicuous station, which was occupied by the more fortunate

Various other questions were then proposed in history and
chronology; after which, an examination in the Old and New
Testaments commenced—the interrogatories being still propounded
by the boy: “Who was the man that climbed up into the tree, to
see Jesus pass?” “Zaccheus.”—“Where did Moses die?” inquired a
pretty little girl. “On Mount Pisgah,” was the answer. A tall,
rather grim-looking boy, started up, and, in a sepulchral-toned
voice, asked—“What is the difference between Pisgah and Nebo?”—
“Nebo appears to have been a point, or pinnacle, of Mount
Pisgah,” replied a shrimpish boy by his side.

An excellent map of the world was then brought, and attached to
the stand in the middle of the apartment, so that the eyes of the
whole school could rest upon it. The greater and lesser circles
were then pointed out, the meaning of longitude and latitude
defined, the form and divisions of the earth mentioned and
descanted upon, and the sun’s path through the ecliptic

The question was then proposed to the school—“Would you like to
sing?”—“Yes,” from every lip. “You must promise to sing very soft
and sweet,” quoth the master. “Soft and sweet,” reverberated from
the whole of the scholars, like the tongue of an echo. Then came
the “soft and sweet,” as they termed it; and if the _burden_ of a
song could give _melody_ to the lips, it would have been more
sweet than “the breath of the south wind upon a bed of violets,”
as Avon’s favoured bard once sang; for it was all about our dear
little Queen Victoria. To the tune of this loyal ditty they
marched round the room, each class divided by their several
teachers, carrying a pile of books, and then formed into
semicircles, to be exercised in reading, writing, arithmetic,
spelling, and grammar. Their spelling was very fair; many of them
wrote a good hand; they all appeared conversant with the four
first rules of arithmetic; and as for grammar, they talked about
present tenses, and perfect participles, nouns, adverbs, and
conjunctions, definites and indefinites, until I began to think
they must have been born with a “Lindley Murray” in their mouths.
I wish I could speak as well of their reading; but I suppose boys
who talk about Hannibal and Artaxerxes, ecliptics and globular
projections, and descant upon the merit of tenses, esteem it too
common-place to read correctly words of two or three syllables.

The average number of boys and girls attending this school is
from 140 to 160; although, from the prevalence of the measles
upon my visit, there were not more than half that number there.
Young men are also received in this establishment as candidates
for teachers; 100 of whom have, within these last four years,
been disseminated throughout the schools in Antigua, and some of
the other West India Islands, as fully qualified for instructing
the rising generation in all the necessary branches of education.

After experiencing the erudition of these advanced scholars, we
passed into another part of the establishment appropriated to the
use of the infant school. Here we found about sixty little
creatures, two or three, to eight or ten years of age, seated
upon their benches, raised one above the other—the elder ones
occupying the upper tier.

This apartment was also garnished with its pretty prints and
Brobdignagian alphabets, and possessed its coloured maps and
stands. The exercises were conducted in a similar manner as those
in the other part of the seminary: an intelligent-looking little
black boy taking his place by the centre stand, beside the map of
Palestine, and answering very fluently the various questions
proposed to him by the other children, at the same time pointing
out the places. “Where did Jesus turn water into wine?” asked one
of the little girls. “Cana, in Galilee.”—“Who got his cedars from
Lebanon?”—“Solomon,” &c. They then sang one of their pretty
little songs, to the tune of which they marched round the room,
and, formed into classes, read, from a selection of pieces, “Dr.
Franklin’s Whistle.” It was too difficult for them, and they
bungled sadly through it; for although, like the elder pupils,
they were geographers and historians, they had not made much
progress in the art of reading. Their lessons over, they sang an
anthem; and then, after a short prayer offered up by the master,
the school broke up, and away they started with whoop and song,
leaving me to ponder in my brain how far their manifold knowledge
would benefit their after progress through life.

Besides the Wesleyan and Mico schools, Antigua is further
supplied with “repositories of learning,” belonging to the
established church and the Moravians. Our worthy rector, zealous
in every good work, has a pleasing little infant-school near the
rectory, besides schools in various other parts of the town and
country. The Moravians have large schools at their different
settlements; and a boys’ and girls’ school, with infant-school
attached, adjoining their chapel in St. John’s. I visited this
last-mentioned school twice; but I am unable to speak of the
acquirements of the scholars—they having been dismissed soon
after my entrance, upon both occasions. They appear to cultivate
the art of singing; for I heard them join in Mrs. Hemans’ “Better
Land,” to the accompaniment of a small, but very sweet-toned
organ, played by their superintendent. If I may be allowed to
judge of the manners of the children, (which, I own, would not be
quite right,) by those of the female teacher, I should be
inclined to say, they were far behind any of the other schools I
have visited in the island; for she appeared totally deficient in
politeness or agreeable behaviour.

I have thus endeavoured to shew that Antigua abounds in schools—
the exact number of which will be found in the chapter on
statistics. I sincerely hope that the benefits arising from them
may be permanently felt by the lower classes, and that the
patrons of these schools may reap the reward of their
philanthropy. There are some sad examples: (sorry am I to be
compelled to say so!) where, instead of improving, education has
but tended to lead further into the paths of error; for the very
passages of Scripture that have been taught them—the doctrines of
salvation which have been inculcated, these unhappy creatures
pervert to raise their ungodly mirth. Oh, how do our ears become
shocked at every turn of the street, at every hour of the day, by
the language of this class of persons! while that great and holy
name, “at which every knee shall bow,” is bandied about as a
common interjection.

There are some to be met with among the negroes whose display of
learning is very ludicrous. We have a servant now living with us
who often calls up from me an involuntary smile. I heard her
speaking the other evening to a fellow-servant, whose name is
Diana. “Diana, my goddess! come here. Let me see, Diana was the
goddess of _truth_, and Junus the goddess of _sleep_, and so you
must not tell me a story, or go to sleep!” Diana did not appear
to comprehend this burst of eloquence, and so her friend went on
to explain to her, that as “_Airy_ was the ram, and _Callus_ the
bull, Virgo was a lion, and Quaris was a water-pot;” she must bow
to her superior knowledge in everything. To this, Diana humbly
assented with “Ees, Miss Charlotte!” accompanied by a stare of
amazement. I don’t wonder, however, at poor Diana’s surprise at
her friend’s knowledge; I am sure she often startles me. Another
evening, I saw her standing in the yard, with outstretched arms,
and upturned eyes, gazing upon a bright star, which twinkled
above, while in a very lackadaisical tone, she exclaimed, “Oh,
Mars! _invoke_ me by thy rays!”

I hope, however, what I have said in this last page will not
discountenance those worthy characters who are employed in
opening the book of knowledge to the eyes of the ignorant. In the
words of a much-admired writer, “the delightful hope may be
cherished by him who shall bring his mite for the promotion of
the Lancastrian system of instruction for giving knowledge to the
ignorant—the hope that he is providing for the display of a
genius in works of the highest utility, which might otherwise
have expended itself in a career of infamous contrivance, long
operating as a pest to society, terminating in the ignominious
destruction of the victim of the want of education. And when the
intimate connexion between _ignorance_ and vice is considered,
surely all who wish to lessen the sum of the latter will assist
the endeavours that are now making to plant the tree of knowledge
amid the desert and deformed waste;—to convert that which is now
cheerless and blank into a field of profuse beauty teeming with
the real wealth and strength of nations.”


[99] Several of these forts were sold by the legislature, after
the conclusion of the war with America.

[100] It has been the custom, although the _law_ does not command
it, to pay to the captain of this fort 18s. currency, for every
vessel, no matter what her tonnage, passing from the harbour. As
there are many owners of small crafts in Antigua, whose pockets
are not so well provided with this world’s wealth, as to enable
them to fling it abroad upon every occasion, they are glad to
take advantage of the absence of necessity, and retain for their
own use the two dollars, which custom or caprice has reserved for
the commandant, and pass the fort without paying the tribute.
This conduct is generally resented by despatching after the
offending vessel an angry message, in the shape of a cannon-shot.
It appears extraordinary, that such a monstrous and illegal
proceeding as firing upon the vessels should be permitted, or at
least tacitly sanctioned by the government.

                        CHAPTER XXVIII.

  Remarks upon the aboriginal Americans—Suppositions of various
  authors—Caribs—Arrowawks—Ferocity of the Carib—Complexion—Dress
  —Ornaments—Dreadful revenge—Wars-Chiefs—Severities practised—
  Feasts—Remarks upon paganism—Anthropophagi—A traveller’s tale—
  The Carib’s opinion of death—Religious tenets—Altars—The
  burning Carib.

It may perhaps be proper to remark, that although this work has
been entitled, “Antigua and Antiguans,” still, as I have
commenced its history from the period of its first discovery, it
will be necessary to say something about its ancient inhabitants,
the Caribs. As it is impossible at this lapse of time, to give
the history of the individual tribe who peopled this island, I
have been obliged to gather my information from what the early
writers have transmitted to posterity, of the habit and customs
of the entire nation. Consequently, while I am writing of the
Carib of Antigua, or, as the island was called at that period,
“Xamayca,” I must at the same time allude to those of the other
islands; only remarking, that ferocious as they all were, the
Carib of this country seems to have borne the pre-eminence in
hardy daring and relentless animosity toward their conquerors. In
the same manner, I have thought proper to give a short account of
the discovery of America, as antecedent to that of this island;
and as, in furtherance of my plan, I have introduced Columbus to
my readers, from his boyhood, it is but right I should trace the
Caribbean nation from their source. With this apology for trying
the patience of my readers, while I write of a people whose
existence is no more, I will proceed with my subject, which I
hope may neither prove foreign nor unpleasant.

To enter into minute inquiries how America and its contiguous
islands were _first peopled_, would fill many volumes, the
opinions of the learned upon this subject being so various. Some
authors suppose the Americans do not derive their existence from
the same common parent as the rest of mankind. Others, that they
are descended from a remnant of the antediluvian world which
survived the deluge; but this must be erroneous, or how are we to
understand the sacred historian, when, speaking of that momentous
circumstance, he says—“And all flesh died that moved upon the
earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the face of the earth, and
every man. _All_ in whose nostrils was the breath of life, _of
all that was in the dry land, died!_”—Gen. vii. 21, 22. Again,
many authors assert that their ancestors came from the north-east
of Asia, after the dispersion of the people for their impious
attempt to build the Tower of Babel; and to establish this
doctrine upon a firmer basis, endeavour to point out the great
similitude between the Asiatics and the Southern Americans, in
their manners, customs, and general appearance. Another, and
perhaps the most probable idea, is, that the _southern_ parts of
North America, and the islands which lie in the Gulf of Mexico,
and the Caribbean Sea, were originally peopled by Africans. This
idea is maintained by various speculations:—as the trade-winds
blow direct from east to west, a canoe of these savages might
have been driven by bad weather across the Atlantic; and this
position may be further proved by the statement of the Indians of
Florida, who, when asked about their origin, reply, “that their
ancestors came from the east, and that at the time they
discovered America, they were nearly dead from want of
provisions.” These Africans, uniting with the different tribes
with which the other parts of America were peopled, must have
produced the various degrees of colour and character which
astonished so much the first discoverers of this extensive
quarter of the world.

The Caribs, from whom Antigua and the adjoining islands took
their names, were a very different race of beings from the gentle
and hospitable inhabitants of Cuba, Jamaica, Hayti, &c., who were
called Arrowawks, and with whom the Caribs were ever at war. From
the martial and ferocious spirit of the Caribs, and from their
repasts upon human flesh, historians agree in supposing they were
descended from the Africans; while, on the contrary, the
peacefulness and indolence of the Arrowawks evidently bespeak
them of an Asiatic origin.

When Columbus visited these islands for the first time, he found
the inhabitants so very savage, that he was for a while fearful
of landing; but upon despatching small presents to them, they
afterwards appeared more friendly, and desirous of an
acquaintance. In nearly all of their huts were found relics of
their horrid feasts upon the bodies of their slaughtered enemies;
and in one of them, a man’s arm was roasting for the intended
meal of the inmates.

The character of the Caribs presents little of what is
interesting to the imagination; ferocious, superstitious, and
revengeful, they looked upon all strangers as enemies; and, in
return, were dreaded as such by the inhabitants of the other
islands; still they are represented as being, generally,
peaceable and friendly to one another. They ever retained a high
sense of equality and independence. Accustomed to be absolute
masters of their own conduct, they scorned to follow the orders
of others; and having never known control, they would not submit
to correction. Many, when they found they were treated as slaves
by the Spaniards, and that resistance or escape was impossible,
sought refuge from calamity in the arms of death. While the Carib
roamed in his native wilds, his reason was but little exercised,
and consequently, his intellectual powers were very limited. His
ideas never extended beyond the narrow sphere in which he moved,
and everything but his present preservation and enjoyment was
perfectly indifferent to him. When disposed to sleep, no
consideration on earth would tempt him to sell his bed; but in
the morning, when satisfied with slumber, and prepared to set out
on the usual business or recreation of the day, the Carib has
been known to dispose of it for the smallest trifle which caught
his fancy. The only thing they deemed of _real_ value, was their
weapons—consequently, when they found, by sad experience, the
superiority of fire-arms over the bow and arrows of their own
country, they viewed them with unbounded admiration; but the
inventions and improvements of civilized life, with all the arts
and manufactures of the Spaniards, they regarded with apathy, or
paid them the same attention as we do the toys of childhood.

Columbus noticed two distinct races of Caribs. One was quite
black, with hair approaching to woolly; the other, of a deep
copper colour complexion, with long, straight hair; the latter
inhabited Antigua and the adjoining islands, while the blacks
predominated more in the islands further south. In appearance,
the Caribs were robust and muscular; their limbs flexible and
active. They ornamented their hair with shells and grease; and
some of them had it turned up like women, and decorated with thin
plates of gold, which they procured from the Arrowawks. Their
garments were composed of cotton cloth, fabricated by their
females, and which they had the art of staining red, their
favourite colour; but many of them were in a state of nudity. The
cartilage of the nostril was perforated, and in it they stuck a
piece of tortoise-shell, the bone of a fish highly polished, or a
parrot’s feather. They adorned their arms, neck, and ankles, with
the teeth of their enemies which they had slain in battle, or
devoured at home. Their bodies were painted in the most hideous
manner, which appears to have been intended to make them look
more formidable in the eyes of their enemies than pleasing in the
sight of their friends. The favourite style of doing this, was
first to smear a quantity of red paint all over them; they then
encircled one eye with a streak of white, and the other with one
of black; they also disfigured their cheeks with deep incisions
and horrible scars, which they stained with various colours; and
the greater number and depth of these disfigurations constituted
their idea of manly beauty, and martial appearance.

Their revenge was deep and implacable—it resembled rather the
wild fury of a lion than the passion of a man. When anger took
possession of a Carib’s heart, he vented it against everything,
whether animate or inanimate, which chanced to fall in his way.
Although in general calm and apparently insensible to pain, if
struck by an arrow in these moments of rage, like the North
American Indian, he would tear it from the wound, bite it, spit
upon it, and, dashing it to the ground, trample it to atoms
beneath his feet. He never pitied—never forgave—never spared! To
fall upon an enemy unarmed, knock him down, capture him, and
finally eat him, was the boast of a Carib warrior! For this they
were bred up from their youth. To bear with an unflinching spirit
the most excruciating torments, inflicted by the hands of his own
father and nearest kin—to suffer all the severities and unnatural
cruelties which the savage breast was capable of imagining
without betraying one symptom of weakness—to rise superior to
pain, and baffle the rage of his persecutors by calmness and
tranquillity, was the test by which the courage of the young
Carib was tried. If he succeeded in this, he was looked upon as
one of the warriors of his country, and pronounced “a man like
themselves;” while, on the contrary, should one cry escape his
lips, one supplication for mercy break from him, he was despised
as a coward, and driven from society.

When an expedition against the Arrowawks was intended, a chief
was elected, with solemn ceremonies. During the time of peace,
however, the Caribs appear to have owned no head; they paid,
indeed, some little veneration to the old men, but this appears
to have been merely from respect to their age,—at any rate, they
were not able, by their influence, to protect the weak or the
stranger. The man who aspired to lead his countrymen to war was
obliged to undergo the most severe sufferings before he was
accounted worthy of that honour. If he was successful, upon his
return he was treated with a grand feast, and was allowed to take
as many captives for his own share as he liked, and alter his
name a second time to that of the most formidable Arrowawk who
had fallen by his hand, while his own people presented for his
choice the most beautiful of their daughters. Their mode of
warfare was very different to that of the present day,—they
thought it no honour to fall fighting for their country. Their
plan was, not to wait for a drawing up of their forces, but to
capture all their foes they found unprepared, whom, at the end of
the war, they carried home, and either slaughtered them for the
grand feast, or kept them until they became sufficiently plump
for eating. They preserved the fat of these poor creatures to
anoint the bodies of their children, in hopes of making them as
martial as themselves.

Happy for us is it that we live in an age when Paganism, with all
its accompanying horrors, has given place to the mild doctrines
of Christianity—when this land, so beautified by the hand of
Nature, is freed from those barbarous wars, those soul-sickening
feasts of human flesh, which once polluted it! That man can
actually devour his fellow-creatures is almost incredible—indeed,
some persons of philosophical minds have doubted the truth of
anthropophagy; yet, shocking as it is to the imagination, it has
been too fully proved to be denied; indeed, some of the Caribs,
when, in later years, they have been asked about this revolting
practice, have unhesitatingly answered in the affirmative, and
even gone so far as to say that Frenchmen eat better than
Englishmen, and Englishmen better than natives.[101] Although,
within these last years, so much has been effected by the
laudable zeal of Christian missionaries, yet, even now, there are
“dark corners of the earth” where human flesh is not only eaten
from feelings of revenge, but partook of as a luxury.[102]

I read in a periodical, some time ago, a circumstance which may
be termed a romance of real life. I pretend not to give it in its
original words, but the tenour of the case is as follows: A
gentleman was once travelling through the interior of Grenada, or
Trinidad, I am not certain which, and after riding for some time
through rocky defiles and umbrageous woods, he at length came to
an open plain, on which was erected about half a dozen Carib
huts. Riding up to the door of the principal one, an old man was
seen reclining upon a rustic seat, who at the approach of the
stranger arose, and, with much native politeness, invited him to
alight, and spend the day at his hut. The gentleman, being one
who was travelling in pursuit of knowledge as well as amusement,
was well pleased to have the opportunity of becoming a little
acquainted with the domestic manners of this ancient people.
After walking about for some time, and making sketches of the
various beautiful scenes which surrounded the hut, his attention
was arrested by the plaintive cry of a female. Having a good
supply of the “milk of human kindness” within his breast, and a
heart open to the distresses of his species, the traveller
determined to go in quest of the afflicted fair. Directing his
steps by the sound of the voice, which appeared to issue from a
magnificent grove of trees near the spot, he soon came in sight
of the object of his commiseration, whom he found to be, not a
fair, but a dark beauty, of sixteen or seventeen years of age.
Her long black hair floated down her naked shoulders; the tears
were rolling over her smooth brown cheeks; while her languishing
dark eyes were turned with mournful looks upon the face of a man,
who, with knitted brow, was employed in fastening her slender
wrists to one of the trees. Supposing she had committed some
fault for which she was about to receive corporal punishment, the
gentleman begged very earnestly for her pardon; and from the
smile which passed over the harsh features of the man, he thought
his request was complied with.

The day passed very rapidly, and our traveller was delighted with
all he saw. His host was all attention, pointing out to his
notice whatever he thought would amuse; and when dinner was
announced, ushered him into his hut with the air of a French
_petit-maitre_. The dinner table was laid out in the English
style, in compliment to his guest; and the calabashes which
contained the water &c. were beautifully carved and stained. The
first refreshment introduced was soup, which was contained in an
English tin tureen, that shone like silver; and from the keen air
of the mountain, and the exercise he had taken, our traveller
made a very hearty repast upon it. After its removal, and while
waiting for the other viands, the host asked—“How he liked Carib
soup?” “Excellent!” said the gentleman—“very delicious—I must beg
a few receipts from your _cookery book_.” “O, it’s very simple,”
replied the old Carib, “if you have the proper articles to make
it of: what you have been eating was made from the hands and feet
of the girl you were begging for this morning!” What were the
feelings of the traveller at this horrible information can be
better imagined than described. The repast he had _shared in_,
the fate of the poor girl, and his own situation amid a race of
cannibals, filled him with horror, and almost drove reason from
her throne. It is almost unnecessary to state that he left the
scene of bloodshed as soon as possible; and never, never more did
he think of visiting a Carib, or partaking of _Carib soup_. I
have given the story as I received it; as to its _authenticity_,
I will not take upon myself to vouch for it.

With regard to the religious rites and tenets of the Caribs but
little can be said, for but little is known with any degree of
truth. They appear to have an idea that death was not a final
extinction of being; but that the soul (or rather souls, for it
was the general opinion among them that every pulse that beat in
their bodies was a _separate_ soul) went to another world, where
they enjoyed themselves very much after the manner they did in
this, and that their bows and arrows were as necessary there as
here. For this reason they buried the weapons in the graves of
their friends, and inhumed several captives with them, that they
might have attendants in “the land of spirits.” Some authors
assert that they acknowledged one great universal Cause, to whom
they gave the name of “Mayboya,” who was invisible to them, but
who watched their actions, and heard their words; that this being
possessed an irresistible power; and that subordinate to him were
many other gods. Other writers, however, maintain that the Caribs
had not even a name for a deity; and that after death they
believed they decayed away like the animals they were acquainted
with. Which was the fact is a matter of surmise; but Columbus
mentions that in several of their huts were seen little altars
composed of banana leaves and rushes, and that upon these were
laid offerings of fruit, fish, flowers, &c. It seems probable
that their religious principles were like those of other savages,
suggested rather by the dread of impending evils, than gratitude
for favours received. “We can all forget benefits, although we
implore mercy,” was their motto.

Some of the Caribs pretended to be magicians, and worshipped
demons with rites and ceremonies of the darkest superstition:
these people were termed Boyez, and in them was placed implicit
faith. Upon the discovery of these islands, the Spaniards
endeavoured to convert the natives to Christianity; but the means
used to accomplish this were diametrically opposite to what they
ought to have been. Instead of setting it forth as a doctrine of
love and mercy, and inculcating its precepts with mildness and
humanity, they shewed at once the bloody tenets of the church of
Rome, and condemned those to the stake who did not immediately
subscribe to their opinions.

This manner of proceeding, instead of converting the Caribs, only
fixed firmer in their minds their dislike to the intruders; they
witnessed their quarrels among themselves, their ferocious and
implacable resentments, their insatiable thirst after gold, and
the cruelties they perpetrated in searching after that metal. Can
it be wondered at, then, that they did not believe the
superiority of the Christian religion, as taught by the
Spaniards, over their own? or that the rites of baptism, which
they could not understand or appreciate, were despised by them?

One of these unhappy people being condemned to be burnt for his
attempts to save his country from the encroachments of its
conquerors, was promised, by a Roman-catholic priest, admittance
into heaven if he would only embrace the Christian faith before
he died. “Are there any Spaniards in that region of bliss you
tell me of?” inquired the unhappy victim. “Yes,” replied the
priest; “but only such as are good.”—“Then I will never go there,
where I may meet with one of that accursed race; for the _best_
of _them_ have neither worth nor goodness.” And from the cruel
treatment these islanders met with, there was but too much reason
in this exclamation.


[101] Some authors assert that this is only vanity in the French;
that they think so highly of themselves, that even in the
_interesting_ point of being eaten, they will not allow the
pre-eminence to other nations.

[102] “The New Zealanders are perpetually carrying on war with
each other, to which they are stimulated, not by thirst of
conquest, but by the desire of eating the flesh of their
antagonists!”—See Prichard’s “Researches.”

                         END OF VOL. I.

         T. C. Savill, Printer, 107, St. Martin’s Lane.

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