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and tall chimneys of the manufactories, , verbial, and nowhere shows itself more and the inevitable windmills; while here strikingly and consistently than in the and there, but far too rarely, stand a few public streets. As surely as a white man's palm-trees, their plumes bent over by the carriage appears, so surely will the negro, trade wind, and a dead branch or two whether driving or afoot, do all that he hanging sorrowfully down the truok like can to obstruct the white man's passage. the helpless wing of a stricken pheasant. It is no use to speak to him, for the only Everywhere sugar, sugar, sugar — before result is an insolent rejoinder, and it is which all must fall. The trees were ruth better not to drive over him or take his lessly sacrificed to the saccharine Moloch wheel off. Patience (for black policemen till a diminished rainfall warned the plant- are like ours in England, rarely to band ers that treelessness means rainlessness, when wanted, and, unlike ours, when at and led them to place under the protection hand inefficient) is the only resource; and of the law such trees as were left.
when at last the shandrydan, or donkey Thus it comes to pass that a drive over cart, is drawn out of the way, the negro the country is most disagreeable, owing will most likely start off just as you are to the absence of shade. There is no alongside with a yell, and at the nearest escape from the fierce sun overhead, or approach to a gallop which his quadruped the frightful glare of the road beneath; can raise, in order to frighten your horses the latter certainly the worse of the two if possible. The donkey cart is a favorite evils, and often serious in its effects on conveyance with the negro, and the numthe eyes both of blacks and whites. The ber of them is so great as to constitute a only relief is a shower of rain, which is serious nuisance. To animals the negro hardly a change for the better, as tropical is, as a rule, most brutal, but yet, curiously rain is hard to keep out, and if the suo enough, he is very shy of killing a dog. came after it the consequent damp heat
The behavior of the ordinary negro is almost worse than anything.
towards his children is also marked by It is, of course, obvious that this high great brutality. They will send them out state of cultivation could not be main- to steal sugarcane, and thrash them bartained unless labor were cheap and plenti barously if they return empty-handed or ful; and this naturally leads up to the are detected; nor are they more gentle to source whence the labor is drawn.
their wives, or reputed wives; and there Barbados, within an area of one hud- bave been instances where an incensed dred and sixty-six square miles, contains husband has found the stick insufficiently a population of between one hundred and severe for purposes of conjugal correction, seventy and one hundred and eighty thou- and has resorted to a saw as better fitted sand people. Of these, rather less than for the purpose. nine and one-half per cent. are pure whites, In a'"row" the negro's weapon is a the remainder being colored and black, razor, the blade turned back on to the the latter greatly predominating. It is to handle and fastened to the end of a stick; this enormous population that Barbados a very efficient weapon in a crowd, inflict. owes its long.continued prosperity; it ing a nasty wound without any immediate was this which enabled it to stand up fear of actual killing. Cutting and woundshaken when the abolition of slavery, and ing is consequently an offence dealt with the withdrawal of the protective duties on more severely than others in Barbados, sugar, wrought ruin in the rest of the and the fondness of the negro for his razor British West Indies.
is so thoroughly recognized that not only Nevertheless I must confess that I en-are none given to the West Indian regitertain a very strong antipathy towards ments, but the men are forbidden to have the African negro as developed in Barba- them, and to be shaved is, I believe, a dos. There are to be found, it is true, distinct offence. brilliant exceptions to the general rule, As thieves the negroes are most ex. especially among old family servants; and pert, and burglaries are frequent, espe. of course any remarks made here do not cially in the sinaller houses. A henroost apply to those of black complexion who, it is almost impossible to preserve from being well-educated and enlightened men, them, and if they get into one they will have done, and still are doing, good ser- sweep it clean. Their mode of proceedvice in the island. But, taken generally, ing on such occasions is, I am told, as the Barbadian negro in his own country follows: having obtained an entry, they is a treacherous, idle, lying, thieving, sen- seize each bird from the perch, put its sual creature, with little to endear him to head under its wing, and whirl the unfor. his white brethren. His insolence is pro.tunate fowl round and round in the air five or six times. The result of this (as I questions in respect of small patches of can testify) is that the bird.remains torpid, land which have descended to negroes and apparently lifeless, and is thus easily from grants made to their slave ancestors stowed away in a bag without danger of by their owners in former days, keep the inconvenient cackling. Nor is it against minor courts busily employed; and as an their betters only that such attacks are appeal lies to a minor appeal court from directed; for they prey equally upon each every magistrate's decision, the negro can other. Every night in Barbados is made have his fill of litigation in the most inhideous by the discharge of curious old significant matters. Litigation, in fact, is firearms out of the windows of the shan- supposed to be a safety valve which en. ties as a warning that the inmates are on sures the quietness of the negroes, and their guard.
no doubt there is some truth in this. If It need hardly be said that they are a negro loses his suit both before the mag. vindictive, and that their vengeance is istrates and the assistant court of appeal, characterized by meanness and cowardice. be will have no hesitation in reviving the It is nothing uncommon for one with a question in the form of a petition to the grudge against another to wait till his governor. The blacks have a great noenemy's shanty is closed and snug for the tion that the governor can rise superior to night and then, having barred the door, the law, and the number of petitions sent to burn it over his head by a judicious use in, and of personal interviews requested, is of kerosene oil, in such sort that those something extraordinary. In the slightwithin shall hardly have time to escape. est difficulty they will come to the gove
In the case of the planters, they will ernor, and much of the private secretary's choose a windy night after a dry day just time is taken up in interviews with such before harvest, when the dead leaves or applicants. They will ask for anything trash are thick round the canes. Then a from a piece of bread to a divorce, from a rag soaked in kerosene is lighted and sixpence to a free pardon. These visitors thrown into the canes on the windward are more frequently female than male, and side, with the probable result that many these ladies will often put on their best acres are swept by the fire, and the crop clothes, and look their sweetest, so as to seriously if not hopelessly damaged. I lose no chance of creating a favorable im. have seen five such fires burning at once pression. in one night, and I have known as many The idleness of the negro is not so unas eight, spreading over areas varying natural, considering the circumstances in from five to eighty acres. Children are which he lives in his native island. Food frequeotly employed by the negroes on is extraordinarily cheap, and a shilling these occasions to avoid suspicious ap- will keep a man for a week. Further, pearances, and it is very rarely that an alongside every road – unfenced and un: incendiary is detected.
guarded -the sugarcane, of which he is It must not at the same time be sup- particularly fond, lies open to his hand; posed that, notwithstanding the treachery and though he is liable to prosecution for of the negroes, it is easy to obtain evi-theft if detected, and all devisable means dence from them against their fellows in are employed to check this species of a criminal matter. They will hang closely theft (predial larceny as it is called), there together on such occasions, unless the can be no doubt that incalculable damage accused has an enemy or enemies with an is done to the crop in this way. To the unwreaked grudge against him, when wit. small proprietor especially this is a very nesses will be forthcoming without diffi. serious evil, as he cannot afford the deci. culty. This may appear at first sight mation of his canes, and it also tells heavily incompatible with what was previously on the larger landowners. The mischief said of the distrust which the negroes prevails throughout the West Indies, and entertain towards each other, but it is not though somewhat discouraged by sum
The clannish feeling among the ne- mary imprisonment, will never, I take it, be groes is, within certain limits, strong; even approximately stamped out. Thus, but if it could be certainly depended on as the ordinary laborer's wages are is. negroes would have little to fear from a per day, and two days' work, or one day's jury of themselves.
if he steal successfully, will buy him corn, On minor points, that is, such as can meat, salt fish, and rum enough for a be determined by the district magistrates, week's living, it is no wonder that he will there is nothing that the negro loves better not work for six days. than litigation. Petty assaults, trumped- In justice to the Barbadian negroes, up charges, and (most troublesome of all) | however, it must be said that when they
do work they work hard in the cane-fields; I two stories, but this is very rare. Glass and it is, I think, acknowledged that they is almost unknown, a jalousie shutter are the best laborers possible for the cul. propped up by a stick being, as a rule, the tivation of sugar. In crop time they will sole covering for the windows.
At night go out and work from early morning to the house is closed up tight, and between very late in the evening, and they seem to the real pigs outside and the human pigs take a pride in the produce of their island. within, the effect is not savory. The In the other islands Barbadian laborers stilling air within also renders them pecul. are much prized, and many efforts, at-iarly liable to consumption and diseases tended with but small success, have been of the chest, against which a negro once made to promote emigration among them. seized seems unable to make any fight. But tbey are not fond of emigrating, and
There is no doubt that a negro might, if they do emigrate they will in most
cases without any great difficulty, earn enough return. Demerara appears to be their to keep him in a better house, but they do favorite field next to their own country, not care to spend their money on such an and, being much valued there, every in. object. It is said that on four things only ducement is held out to them to come and will a negro spend money — a wedding, a stay. I heard of one who, arriving as a funeral, a lawsuit, and dress. The mar. simple laborer, had risen to be general riage ceremony is generally the last attri. manager of a large estate at a salary of bute of matrimony with which he concerns 1000l. a year; and I was told by his mas. himself, but after some years' anticipation ter that his services were cheaply obtained of the honeymoon he will, perhaps, have even at that rate. In fact the Barbadian, scraped together sufficient dollars for a contrary to the proverb, seems to change great wedding, with four or five carriages. his character, and that for the better, with | A funeral, also, they delight in, and their change of locality. In Grenada there is a love of litigation has already been noticed. very thriving little colony of them, peas. The love of finery may be noted on any ant proprietors, occupying one of the most Sunday or high-day; yellow, blue, and beautiful portions of that beautiful island, green are favorite colors with the females, and there are many more scattered among while the males prefer a frock coat with a the other islands. In St. Lucia especially velvet collar, white waistcoat, drab trou. an earnest attempt is being made to im- sers, silk hat, and boots. In fact it is export Barbadian labor; but there is one traordinary to see the gorgeous costumes great difficulty in the way, namely, that that issue on Sundays out of the filthiest the proprietors require such laborers to shanties, more especially when the cosbe bound to them, at all events for a time, tume of the previous day is recollected to that a certain return for the expense of have been two rather sparse and very the laborer's passage, etc., may be insured dirty garments of once white canvas, and to him, and also for other reasons. But a certainly no boots. To attire the whole Barbadian objects to be bound, and even population so gorgeously of course many the prospect of becoming a peasant pro- skilled tailors are required, and in the prietor does not reconcile him to it. It is census of 1881 no fewer than ten thouunfortunate, because, if prevented from sand females returned themselves “squatting,” they do well in such a posi- seamstresses. These ladies, however, tion, and a peasant proprietary is undoubt. have other sources of income besides edly advantageous to any island where it their needles. exists.
With such splendid habiliments to show As to the morality of the West In- on Suoday the negro, of course, is condian negro it is well not to inquire too stant in attendance at church. On enterdeeply. The proportion of illegitimate to ing the sacred building the men's first legitimate children among them is pretty care is to remove their boots, not from evenly sustained throughout the West any leanings towards Mohammedanism, Indies as five to three. But this is hardly but because they are painful. In connecto be wondered at when their dwellings tion with this I may mention a ludicrous are taken into consideration. Wretched occurrence which caused some little wooden shanties of one story, often ment among the English resident in Bar. containing within a space the size of a bados. A black man holding a situation billiard-table, six, eight, or even twelve of trust in the garrison (I forget whether human beings – such is the worst class of he was a soldier or not), was engaged to house, but the generality are little better. a black lady, and the general promised to In many cases there are partitions, more be present at the wedding. On the ap. or less complete; in a few better instances pointed day the bridal party duly arrived,
the bride clad in white satin with the position, they have no scruple about askorthodox orange flowers, veil, etc., and ing for anything - from a place under white satin shoes. Everything was ready, government to a new hat. They are but the general had not arrived. The viewed with contempt by all others, white bride became more and more uneasy, and or black, in the island, and mercifully are still the general came not; the sweat fast dying out. poured down her black face, and still she The rest of the wbite Barbadians may held out; but at last human nature could also be divided into two classes. First, stand it no longer, and the faithful bride- the ultra-conservative and most bigoted groom knelt down aod removed the white opponent of progress; the true old type of satin slippers which had caused so much | Barbadian. Secondly, the moderate conagony. Soon after the emancipation of servatives or tolerators of progress; a far the poor black feet the general arrived, preferable class to the other. Radicals and all went well, but still the ceremony there are none in the island, and from past was held to have been in some degree and present experience there never will marred.
be, certainly among the whites, and not Once in church the negro sings very for the present, at least, if ever among the loud, and appears very religious, but few blacks. have much faith in this, and indeed their It has been the fashion generally for hypocrisy is so well understood that chiefs visitors to the island to say nothing but of police and other departments have been hard words of the planters (under which compelled to make it a rule to reject all name the white Barbadians may generally candidates who bring certificates from be summed up) and to magnify the blacks their parish priests that they are regular at their expense. That such people communicants. For the rest, the negroes, should have received an unfavorable imupon whom I have dwelt at some length pression of the whites I can well underas the most important body in the island, stand, but as to the blacks I am unable to are a cheerful, careless, thriftless lot, who account for their taste. The Barbadian between vice and stealing manage to lead planter is by no one more unsparingly a pretty merry life, and are probably as abused than by the other West Indian happy in their own way as the majority of colonists. They make them a continual people in this world.
butt for their rather feeble ridicule, and It can hardly be said that there exists not altogether justifiable vituperation. a middle class in Barbados, at least not They laugh at an island where there is no what we understand by a middle class in public park or recreation ground to speak England. Whether this be due to the of; where there is no river and no woodstrong "color” feeling which exists in land; no tropical jungle, no glorious scen. Barbados, and places a barrier between ery; no spot, in a word, where a man may those tainted, however remotely, with ne. escape from the eternal sugarcane. They gro blood, and the pure whites, or to the sneer at the form of Barbadian governrelative unimportance in numbers and in- ment; they scoff at the self-satisfaction of fluence of those who in England would be the planters themselves, and finally sum described as the middle class, it is not them up as a conceited, in hospitable lot, easy to say nor worth while to examine. caring for nothing beyond their island I therefore pass at once to the two divis- save gambling. ions of whites in the island, viz., the Now all this is very well, and, no doubt, fallen or
whites, and the flourish. there is some reason in it; but it does ing and regnant whites, i.e., the planters not come with a good grace from the maand leading merchants.
jority of West Indian colonists, inasmuch Of the first class, or
whites, it as it is chiefly dictated by envy. The is unnecessary to say much. They are island is doubtless at a great disadvacdescendants of the original white colonists tage in point of comfort, pleasure, and who have fallen from their high estate and beauty, owing to the universal sway of
With some of the best En- sugarcane cultivation; but those who glish blood in their veins they represent quarrel with this would give much to see about as low a type of white humanity as their own island such a garden, and to exists. In color the hue of a yellow brick, have such a supply of laborers to make it long, lapky, ungainly, and bideous, they and keep it so. So also with the governcan neither work nor flourish in the trop- ment; there is not one crown colony that ical climate ; but though unable to dig, to does not rail against that form of adminbeg they are not ashamed. Too proud, istration, and clamor, as I think unwisely, and, probably, too weak to accept a menial for the constitution enjoyed by Barbados.
LIVING AGE. VOL. XLVIII. 2488
I say unwisely, because in most cases the please;" he insists that you shall name servile imitation of the English constitu- a day, any day that suits you, and on tion has not been and cannot be a success that day his carriage will come for you, in such small places, while the Dutch con generally with himself to escort you, or, stitution as existing in British Guiana should his absence be unavoidable, with supplies all defects.
a polite apology, frequently accompanied As to the Barbadian planters them. by a huge case of cigars 10 smoke on selves, I take it that they are, altogether, the way. When you arrive he knows exthe most conceited and self-satisfied peo. actly what you want a wash and someple in the world. Their love and admira. thing to drink. If he has a swimming, tion for their island is carried to an ex. bath it will be full and ready for you, and travagant degree, though not, so far as I you can have what you like to drink; nor can gather, quite so far as was the case will he quarrel with you if you prefer nonten or twelve years ago. There are still, intoxicating liquor. however, a very great many of the older The planters' houses are generally very generation, and some of the present, who cool and comfortable. They are, as a look upon everything of theirs as the best rule, built low to lessen the danger in in this world, and do not care to inquire case of a hurricane; more than two stowhich is the next best.
ries are rare. The largest front possible When this feeling was universal it may is presented to the trade wind, and in be imagined how intolerably“ bumptious inost cases there is a broad verandah all they must have appeared to a stranger, round. Within, the ornaments and furniand how contemptible to an Englisliman. ture are not in the best taste; the walls It still prevails to far too great an extent, are sparsely covered with indifferent though the facilities of access to Europe prints, most frequently from Landseer's have done something towards rubbing it pictures, of a cheap and paltry nature. In away. I have heard more than one boast fact, the decorations seldoin rise above that he has never left the island; while the level of those commonly found in the many return from a visit to England more rooms of a public school boy. Neverthefirmly persuaded than ever of its inferior. less, cool air and warm hospitality will do ity in every respect, except perhaps size, much to remove the disagreeable impresto Barbados. Fortunately, however, this sions produced by the inanimate surroundis not always the case, and some of the ings. more enlightened go so far as to admit It is the exception for a planter to keep that even British Guiana is ahead of the approach to his house pretty or even them.
tidy, a neglect which jars on the EnglishAnother great characteristic of the Bar. man. For this, the native antipathy to badian planter is his hatred of innovation trees and the high value of land may in and suspicion of strangers. How the some measure account; but the general former of these are shaken, though not excuse is want of time to attend to such overcome, will presently be shown ; the small matters, and want of dollars may latter remains as strong as ever. An En. often have something to say to it. Neverglishman if appointed to a post under theless, there are houses - though they government which in his opinion should are the exception — where the garden and have been given to a Barbadian is looked grounds receive as much care as the canes. upon as a natural enemy, and no oppor. In such places the verandah is festooned tunity is lost of making this patent to the with creepers, and there are few things innocent offender.
more pleasant after a hard day's work than It is not, however, fair to say that the to lie in a hammock in such a verandah planters are in hospitable. Of course, with the cool trade wind blowing through like all other people, if you are uncivil to the tangles of the stephanotis, while the them they will not be over civil to you; eye can travel over grey plumbago and but it is not hard for a stranger to get scarlet poinsettia and frangipanni of every into their good graces, and a friend of one tint froin white to crimson, over waving is a friend of all with them. As your canes and tall nodding palms to the intense host, the planter insists upon one thing blue of the Atlantic. only, that you shall do exactly what you Sugar occupies not unnaturally most of like, treat all that is his as yours, and be the planter's thoughts, takes up the
no trouble or expense. If he greater part of his time, and forms the wishes to see you at his house he does subject of most of his conversation. Be. not give the vague invitation that is really yond it the planter takes interest in little, no invitation to “come up any day you and there is little else in the island in