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From the N. Y. Evening Post. been behind a counter; but he made no allusion to LETTERS FROM JAMAICA.
the other report. Kingston, Feb. Ist, 1850. Ill-health unfortunately prevented my attending It will be sixteen years next August since this ball, and no other equally favorable opportuslavery was abolished on this island, and the ap- nity was presented during my stay upon the island prenticeship system, which took its place, was to observe the extent to which, in their social abolished four years later. Since that period, the relations, the prejudices of color have been obliterlaws have recognized no distinctions of color among ated. the inhabitants. The black people have enjoyed One unacquainted with the extent to which the the same political privileges as the whites, and amalgamation of races has gone here, is constantly with them have shared the honors and the patron- liable to drop remarks in the presence of white perage of the mother and the local governments. sons, which, in consequence of the mixture of blood
The effect of this policy upon the people of color that may have taken place in some branch of their may be partially anticipated; but one accustomed families, are likely to be very offensive. I was to the proscribed condition of the free blacks in the only protected from frequent contre temps of this · United States, will constantly be startled at the kind, by the timely caution of a lady, who, in exdiminished importance attached here to the matter plaining its propriety, said that unless one knows of complexion. Intermarriages are constantly oc- the whole collateral kindred of a family in Jamaica curring between the white and colored people, and he is not safe in assuining that they have not some their families associate together within the ranks colored connections. to which by wealth and culture they respectively One of the most distinguished barristers on the belong, and public opinion does not recognize any island is a colored man, who was educated at an social distinctions based exclusively upon color. English university, and ate his terms at Lincoln's Of course, cultivated or fashionable people will not Inn, as must $1 barristers who wish to practise receive colored persons of inferior culture and here ; the judicial authorities of the island having worldly resources, but the rule of discrimination is no power io admit any one to practise the law in scarcely more rigorous against these than against any of its departments. This is a circumstance, by whites. They are received at the “King's House" the way, which has given to Jamaica a bar of rare -it is thus the governor's residence is styled—and culture and talent. they are invited to his table with fastidious courtesy. It so happened that the Surry Assize was sitting The wife of the present mayor of Kingston is a in Kingston when I arrived, Sir Joshua Rowe pre“brown” woman---that is the name given to all siding. I availed myself of the courtesy of a prothe intermediate shades between a decided white fessional friend, and accompanied him one day to and decided black complexion—so also is the wife the court, while in session. Though the room of the receiver-general himself, one of the most contained a crowd of people, there did not appear exalted public functionaries upon the island. to be twenty white persons among them, the court
A circumstance occurred shortly after I arrived, and bar inclusive. Two colored lawyers were which may be interesting to some in this connec-sitting at the barristers' table, and the jury-box tion. It was proposed by some of the officers was occupied by twelve men, all but three of whom stationed near Kingston, and gentlemen resident in were colored, and all but two, who were negroes, and about the city, to give a public ball. They were Jews. Two witnesses were examined before proceeded to engage the theatre for the occasion. I left the room, both of whom were colored and Some Jews, who as a class incline to indemnify both police officers. All the officers of the court, themselves for their exclusion from the society of except the clerk, were also colored. I was assured the whites by striking an alliance with the people that more than seven tenths of the whole police of color, circulated among the latter a report that force of the island, amounting to about eight hundred the committee on invitations to the ball had resolved men, are colored. Judging from the proportion that “no colored person, Jew, or dog," should be that fell under my observation, this estimate cannot invited. Of course the story produced considerable be far from correct. But what will the southern excitement among those most concerned.
readers of the Evening Post say, when I add, that The theatre belongs to the city. The committee in the legislative assembly of Jamaica, composed “on the theatre” in the Common Council, com- of fifty-six or fifty-seven British subjects, some ten posed of a majority of brown men, quietly turned or a dozen are colored men? Nay more, the public the key of the theatre, and excluded the artisans printers of the legislature, Messrs. Jordan & Ossent to arrange it for the festival. The ball had to born, are both colored men, and are likewise editors be postponed in consequence, and finally took place of the leading government paper, the Kingston at the Camp, a much more desirable place in every Journal. particular. I was assured, by members of the ball
It was my privilege the other day to make the committee, that the Jews' report was false altogether acquaintance of one of the most highly cultivated --that they had resolved upon no such exclusions. men I ever met, upon whose complexion the acciThey did not propose to invite Jews, because there dents of birth had left a tinge which betrayed the had heretofore been no social intercourse between African bar on his escutcheon. Ile is a brown them and their respective families, nor did it appear man, about forty-five years of age, I judged, and
I that either party desired any ; but they said that was educated in one of the English universities, invitations had been sent to the daughters of the where he enjoyed every advantage which wealth receiver-general, and of the mayor ;-all, as I could procure for his improvement. llis appearhave before mentioned, browns. Before the ball ance and address both indicate superior refinement. took place, I believe the colored people became He enjoys an enviable reputation as a naturalist, satisfied that they had been deceived, for a brown and has published a volume on the birds of Jamaica, gentlonnan spoke to me with swine bitterness of a illustrated by his own pencil, which displays both deterinination forined by the committee on invita- literary and scientific merit of a high order. He is tions, as he professed to know of his own knowl- one of the stipendiary magistrates of the island, edge, to inviie to the ball no persons who had ever / upon a salary of £500 sterling per annum.
VOL. XXIV. 38
Mr. Hill-for there can be no impropriety in my mentioning a name which its owner has made so honorable-stated to me an extraordinary fact in the cultivation of the pimento, which is worth repeating, and lest no more favorable opportunity may occur, I will mention it here.
empire. They were obliged to abscond, precip itately, to save their lives. Many of them took ref uge in Jamaica.
I visited one who cultivates a small plantation of about twenty acres, near Kingston. Nothing about him but his complexion and his hair indicated African blood. He had a fine, intelligent counte
admirable culture, and displayed skill, industry and thrift. His tobacco beds were his pride, but around them the rarest tropical fruits and vegetables to be found upon the island were growing in luxuriant perfection. He had been stripped of most of his property by the emperor, but he was living here in apparent comfort and respectability. Upon the walls of the room in which my companion and
The island of Jamaica furnishes nine tenths of all the pimento that is the subject of commerce through-nance, and good address. His grounds were under out the world. And yet, Mr. Hill says, that there is not a pimento walk on the island which has been cultivated from seed planted by human hands. On the contrary, all the seed is scattered about with the rejectamenta of the birds, and when it comes up, the bushes and shrubbery by which it happens to be surrounded, are cut away from about it, and thus the pimento walk is laid out. The same thing, he said, was true of the guava. He inti-myself were shown, were suspended two portraits, mated an impression that a proper analysis of the soil in which the seed germinated would probably reveal the secret, hitherto inviolate, by the aid of which the pimento could be cultivated like other fruit from its seed.
This statement becomes the more astonishing when the fact is considered that Jamaica has exported over three millions of pounds of this spice in a single year.
one of his wife and the other of his daughter, who, he informed me, is now in Paris, at school. If the likeness be correct, the original must be exceedingly beautiful. The paintings were both of supe
rior merit as works of art.
His wife had not been permitted by the emperor to join him, nor did he enjoy very frequent opportunities of hearing from her. He alluded to his domestic sorrows with great feeling, but, with a Frenchman's hopefulness, he looked for a time when justice should be done to him, and to the tyrant through whom he suffered.
Spanishtown, Jan. 30, 1850.
It is the policy of the present administration, both in Downing street and Spanishtown, to promote intercourse in every possible way between the different races in Jamaica, and throughout the British West India Islands; and to this end the colored people are familiarized as rapidly as possi- St. Jago de la Vega, now and for more than a ble with the political duties of the citizen-as John hundred years past called Spanishtown by the Bull understands them. They have certainly a people, is the political centre of the island. It lies fair share of the public patronage; indeed, they are about east of Kingston, and is reached by travers esteemed the favorites of the government; there ing twelve out of the only fourteen miles of railare one or two black regiments here constantly road in Jamaica. The inhabitants do nothing hero under pay they furnish nine tenths of the officers in a hurry, and it is not surprising, therefore, that of the penitentiary, and, as I have before said, the average time made by the trains between the almost the entire police force of the island, and two cities is not less than forty-five minutes, or ultimately, I have reason to believe, it is the ex-fifteen miles the hour, for which passengers are expectation of the home government that these islands, without changing their colonial relations, will be substantially abandoned by the white population, and their local interests left to the exclusive management of the people of color. But more of this
pected to pay the sum of seventy-five cents.
Spanishtown is one of the oldest places on this continent. It is supposed to have been founded by Diego Columbus, the brother of the discoverer, in 1523. No one who visits the place now, will dispute its antiquity, nor experience much difficulty in believing that all the houses at present standing, were built before Diego left the island, so old and ruinous is their general appearance.
While the entente cordiale between the whites and the colored people is apparently strengthening daily, a very different state of feeling exists between the negroes or Africans, and the browns. The The governor's residence is here; here the Par latter shun all connection by marriage with the liament holds its session uniformly, and the supeformer, and can experience no more unpardonable rior courts occasionally; and here are the govern insult than to be classified with them in any way.ment offices and public records. The occupants They generally prefer that their daughters should live with a white person upon any terins, than be married to a negro. It is their ambition that their offspring should be light-complexioned, and there are few sacrifices they will not make to accomplish that result, whether married or not. Color, with them, in a measure, marks rank, and they have the same fear of being confounded with what they deem an inferior caste, that is so often exhibited by vulgar people, who have no ascertained or fixed social position.
of these public buildings, and the persons employed about them, represent the wealth, intelligence, and industry of the city. I did not see a store in the place, though there may have been one or two, perhaps; it has not a single respectable hotel, nor did I see a dray-cart, or any similar evidence of activity and thrift, although a population of 5,000 people is said to be lodged within its precincts. The city is supported mainly out of the public treasury. Those that have anything are generally connected in some way, directly or indirectly, with the publi● service, and those that have not anything wais
It was in consequence of this state of feeling, which I have described, that Soulouque, the Em-upon those who have. peror of Hayti, who is utterly black, recently commenced his terrible system of persecution against the browns. Upon the pretence that they were conspiring against his government, or contemplated other capital offences, he issued warrants for the arrest of all the prominent brown men within his
The public buildings form a quadrangle, one side of which is the King's House"-the resi dence of the governor-opposite to it is the Parlia ment House, and the other two sides are devoted to the public offices and courts. This is all of Spanishtown worthy of notice.
The present governor of the island is Sir Charles other brown man, his associate in the editorship of E. Grey, a cousin of Earl Grey, her majesty's the Journal, was speaking. About twenty-five secretary for the colonies. He is about sixty members were present. The room was a plain, years of age, I should judge, and rather stout, but indeed homely, sort of an apartment, competent to vigorous and active. He is far from being hand-hold three or four hundred people, and divided in some, but nature has endowed him with a benevo- two by a bar, within which sat the members. The lent disposition, a rare and genial humor, and more room was entirely without ornament of any kind, than ordinary executive talents, which, with the and resembled a country court-room in the United aid of high culture and rare experience, have made States. Mr. Jordan, who occupied the chair, is a him a decidedly noticeable man. He was educated clear-headed, deliberate, and sagacious man, and is, to the bar, and practised in the courts of West- perhaps as much as any one, the leader of what is minster Hall for some years, not without distinc- called the King's House, or administration party. tion. During my visit in Spanishtown, the British Osborne, who was speaking when I entered, was steamer Teviot arrived, bringing the young Earl of originally a slave. I afterwards had occasion to ob Durham, yet quite a lad, who, for the sake of his serve that he talked more than any other man in health, had chosen this, instead of the more direct the house, though I did not perceive that he hadroute, to visit his sister, Lady Elgin, in Canada. any particular vocation as an orator. He is not His arrival furnished the governor an occasion for educated; he is, however, rather illiterate than mentioning that the first fee he ever received as a ignorant, and his mind lacks discipline and order, barrister, was two hundred and fifty guineas from but he has an influence with his colleagues which this lad's father, in the case of his contested elec- is not to be despised. He is sanguine and pertination to a seat in Parliament, many years ago. The cious to a degree, and by taking advantage of the result of the contest vindicated Lord Durham's heedlessness or indolence of his colleagues, accomsagacity, and at once gave the young barrister pro-plishes more than many members of superior capacfessional position. His family connection and ser-ity. He and Jordan are the public printers, from viceable talents transferred him, at a comparatively which appointment they derive a profit which is early age, from the bar to the highly important supposed here to exceed thirty thousand dollars a post of judge in India, where he presided with dis- year. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the tinction for many years. He was subsequently Assembly and in their journal they support the presappointed governor of the island of Barbadoes, ent administration fervently. from whence he was promoted to his present position, which is esteemed the second governorship, in point of dignity, in the gift of the crown-Canada being the first. One of the governor's friends here told me, that if Lord Elgin should retire from Canada, Sir Charles Grey would unquestionably be appointed to his place. A doubt flitted across my mind, which I did not see fit to express then, and which it is unnecessary to suggest now. I may say, however, that if the queen should ever appoint a successor to Lord Elgin, in Canada, Sir Charles The speaker is chosen by the Assembly, subject Grey would compare not unfavorably with any of to the matter-of-course approval of the governor. the distinguished statesmen who have preceded him He is the only member who receives any compenin that colony. Lady Grey resides in England,sation. As speaker, he is allowed £960 per annum, with her daughters. Lieutenant Charles William, nearly $5000; at least that was the sum allowed their son, is with the governor here, as assistant to Mr. Dallas, by a law passed in 1815, and I think secretary and aid. no change has been made in that salary since. I The causes of this division of his family there is am the more confident of this, from a circumstance no occasion to refer to. It is enough to say that in which occurred in the house only two or three days his day the governor has been a fast man," and ago. Some of the friends of Morales brought for is still esteemed a " brick." wards a proposition to advance the speaker's salary,
The speaker, Charles M'Larty Morales, is of Jewish descent, and by profession a physician. He contested his present seat successfully with Samuel Jackson Dallas, the previous incumbent, who, I learned to my surprise, is a cousin to our late vicepresident. Mr. Dallas represents Port Royal; he is very tall, quite thin, and gray, and looks like a gentleman, but shares few of the advantages of personal appearance which distinguish his American cousin.
duced the journal of the house of some previous year, in which Morales' vote was recorded against the law which advanced the speaker's salary to its present figure, upon the ground that the old salary was high enough. Of course, the proposition met with no favor.
The governor is ex officio chancellor, the pre-when a member rose and with crushing effect prosiding officer of the "Court of Ordinary," and presiding officer of the "Court of Appeals under Errors." He is also vested with the powers of a High Court of Admiralty. As governor, he receives a salary of $30,000 a year, which is increased by the fees accruing from his various judicial offices some eight or ten thousand more. His official income is not over estimated at forty thousand dollars annually: a very pretty sum for a plain man, but not much for a nobleman, they say.
Opposite to the governor's residence is the House of Assembly, or Parliament House, where I was impatient to meet the assembled legislative wisdom of the island, and whither I bent my steps as soon after my arrival in town as circumstances would permit.
Had I realized what a set of shadows composed this body, and how utterly destitute they were of the independence and the power which give to political representation all its value, I should have felt less impatience to visit it. I had expected to find there, as in the United States, and as in England, all the troubles of the island finding expres sion. I supposed the reports, debates and legisla tive formulas would have revealed the activity, the tendencies, the grievances, and in general the public sentiment of Jamacia; instead of which I found body of men in no respect representatives of the people, holding legislative office without the vital
When I entered, the house was "in committee
I will reserve the evidences of this statement, and what else I have to say about the politics of Jamaica, for another communication.
Spanishtown, Jan. 30, 1850.
In my last communication I stated that the local legislature of this island had neither the independence nor the power necessary to make it, to any extent, representative of the people. A few facts will show the truth of what I say.
The island is divided up into twenty-two parishes, as they are called, each of which sends two, and Kingston, Spanishtown, and Port Royal, one additional delegate to the Assembly, making the aggregate forty-seven, when the house is full. Every member, before taking his seat, is required to swear that he and his wife together, if he have a wife, are worth a clear income of $900 a year, from real estate, or that they own real estate worth $9,000, or real and personal estate together worth about $15,000; and when he gets his seat he is obliged to discharge its duties without any compensation. This, of course, throws the legislation, not only into the hands of the comparatively rich, but into the hands of the landholders, and excludes the poor.
Such discriminations, of course, are as pernicious as they are absurd, and have resulted, as any man of sense could have anticipated, and as was probably designed, in subordinating the interest of the commercial, mechanical and industrial classes to that of the large landholders. All the energies of legislation are exerted to promote the growth and sale of sugar and rum; but there is no party in the Assembly inquiring about the inexhaustible commercial and manufacturing resources of the island. In spite of these conditions, imposed by law upon candidates applying for seats in the legislature, they might still possess some of the more important functions of a representative, if their constituency were free, and if the right of suffrage was liberally extended. But here again we find a characteristic distrust of poor men, and a truly English anxiety to guard the landholders. Every voter must own a freehold estate worth $30, or pay a yearly rent on real estate of not less than $140, or pay yearly taxes to the amount of $15. The first consequence of these restrictions is, that the people of the island are not only ineligible to the legislature, but they have nothing to do with making a selection from those who are. I say people, for of course the great bulk of the adult population are poor; they are colored people who, only sixteen years ago, were with no considerable exception slaves. Of the 400,000 people who, according to the received estimate, constitute the present population of Jamaica, but 16,000 are white. The remaining 384,000 are colored and black people. A census, taken in 1844, fixed the proportions of these as follows: colored, 68,529; blacks, 293,128. The average vote of this entire population, white and black, I understand, has never exceeded 3,000or, three-quarters per cent. The city of New York, with about the same population, usually polls over 50,000 votes, which is a smaller proportion probably than is polled in any other county in any free state of the Union.
for local purposes; it must raise money to pay the officers sent out to rule over it; it can keep the highways in condition; it must support the established church; it may provide public instruction; it may establish a police; but even these powers it exercises subject to the approval of the queen or of Parliament. The organization of their local gov ernment, the appointments to fill the various executive offices, and the taxes payable upon imports and exports, are all matters with which the island legislature have nothing to do. But even in its local legislation I have not exhibited all its impotence.
The governor is vested with power to adjourn, prorogue, or dissolve" the Assembly at his pleasure, and is invested with almost the entire patronage of the island, which is altogether controlling. Some notion of its extent may be formed from the following items, which have fallen under my observation. He appoints the vice-chancellor, with a salary of about $12,500 a year; two assistant judges, with salaries of $10,000 a year each; six chairmen of quarter sessions, at $6,000 a year each; three revising barristers to canvass the votes of the island annually, at $1,000 a year each; a commissioner of stamps, at 2,500 a year: three official assignees of insolvents, at $2,500 a year each; nine water bailiffs to regulate the landing and discharge of vessels, with salaries at his discretion; seventeen health officers and an indefinite number of assistants, at undefined salaries; an agent-general of immigration, at a salary of $1,500 a year; an inspector-general of police, at a discretionary compensation; an inspector-general of prisons, at a salary of $3,000 a year; a superintendent at $1,500; an auditor of accounts at $2,000, and some fifty subordinate officers; and, finally, he has the extraordinary power of suspending any member of the council, and of appointing a new member in his place. This reminds me that I have not yet said anything of the third branch of the government.
The Council is the upper house of legislation in Jamaica, and is composed of twelve men appointed by the crown, of whom the lieutenant-governor, the chief-justice, the attorney-general and the bishop are cx officio members. All bills originate with the lower house, but they must pass the council before they go to the executive, or can become laws. Of course, nothing can pass this body, thus constituted and appointed, which is not perfectly satisfactory to the colonial minister; nor does anything ever pass it against the wishes of the governor. It is nominally a branch of the legislature, but in fact is nothing but a cabinet, or sort of privy council, with which the governor consults, and which he uses as a sort of breakwater between himself and the lower house. They are an independent legislative body upon questions in which the governor has no interest, but they are as impalpable, for all purposes of resistance to him, as his shadow.
From the illustrations here presented, it is apparent that the executive patronage reaches every point of influence and every interest worth conciliating or promoting on the island, and enables the governor practically to dictate its legislation.
I need hardly say that the deliberations of a But this is not all. When the legislature is body thus constituted and crippled, possess but little chosen, it has no control over the questions of fun- interest to strangers, and furnish a very narrow damental interest. The heart of its legislation theatre for the display of oratory or statesmanship beats in London, over which it has no more control The questions never involve any principle, and the than the finger nails have over the circulation of discussions are never elaborate. Though the Asthe blood. The island legislature can levy taxessembly contains many gentlemen of talent and high
rank in their respective professions, they never find | ures, was all the satisfaction which the memorial-
that it may be changed in such a way as to prevent
English proprietors are the natural enemies of the The party lines are most distinctly drawn here operatives all the world over; in the next place, the between what are known, the one as the “ King's government have felt the necessity of conciliating House," and the other, the Country Party—the the colored men in Jamaica in every possible way, former being the administration, and the latter the and hence it is that this part of the population fili opposition parties. The prominent measure pend- at least nine tenths of all ihe offices. "I think there ing before ihem of a stricily party character is the has been a sincere desire felt by the heads of the . retrenchment of salaries. The country party is government in England to have ihe blacks prosper composed mostly of the planters and large proprie- and vindicate the philanthropic purpose which setors of land, who insist that in the present depressed cured their liberty. This desire has largely inand impoverished condition of the island it is im- creased the proportion of political appointments to possible to pay the enorinous salaries which were be made from that class. But the political and granted in the days of their prosperity. They say, physical strength of the blacks has become formidaand with reason, that forty thousand dollars a year ble, and if those people were to become thoroughly is too much for a governor of four hundred thou- alienated from their allegiance, the island would sand people, when the President of the United very soon become uninhabitable to English people, States, with twenty millions of subjects, receives and its commerce would be ruined. only twenty-five thousand a year; that fifteen thousand dollars for a chief-justice of Jamaica, and ten
From Morris and Willis' Home Journal. thousand for each of his associates, is extravagant,
THE FLAG OF OUR UNION.
" A song for our banner?”—The watch word recall portionately enormous and equally unnecessary.
Which gave the republic her station ;
“ United we stand-divided we fall!"-
It made and preserves us a nation !
The union of states none can sever-
And the Flag of the Union forever
BY GEORGE P. MORRIS.