Jamaica viewed with all the ports, harbours, and their several soundings, towns, and settlements thereunto belonging together, with the nature of it's climate, fruitfulnesse of the soile, and its suitableness to English complexions. With several other collateral observations and reflexions upon the island.
Hickeringill, Edmund, 1631-1708.

Description, Of the nature of the Clime, and Soile.

1. FIrst therefore, it's Climate is placed betwixt the Tropicks, in 17 and 18. degrees of Northern Latitude; and therefore twice every Page  3year subjected to the Perpendicular Beams of the Sun, whence it borrow∣ed the style of Torrid Zone; a name which did so bugbear and affright the credulity of our Ancestors, that they unjustly exil'd and raz'd it out from the habitable part of the world, (then monopoliz'd in the temperate Zones) till the more daring spirits of Colum∣bus, and others, convoy'd us to an ex∣perimental confidence in the contra∣ry; the Chariby Islands, Barbadoes, St. Kits, Mevis, Antego, &c. having prov'd as happy to the com∣plexions and constitutions of English men; as Virginia, New England; nay as Portugal, Spain, Italy, or any other confines upon the Mediterranean Sea, all which notwithstanding, are scituate in the Temperate Zone; a term of Art that now Ironically scandalizes that vulgar division of the World into Zones habitable, (the Temperate Zones;) and inhabitable, the (Frigid, and Torrid Zone.) For I must avouch Page  4that I have found the Air as sulphur∣ous and hot in England, in the moneths of Iune, Iuly, and August, especially whilest the Sun was near the Meridian, as in the hottest seasons at Iamaica, whilest the Sun makes a dou∣ble in Cancer) or in Guiana, in the moneths of March, and September; whilest the Sun gallops or'e their Ze∣nith in the Aequinox.

And this will appear to be no such prodigious a Paradox, if we be unde∣ceived of that vulgar errour, that the neighbourhood of the Sun is the only cause of extream heat, and it's elonga∣tion the reason of extremity of cold: for if so, our Summers would be equally hot one year, as another, and each day (after the Sun's departure from the winter Solstice) hotter then ano∣ther, 'till he had posted over his half∣direct stages to face about in retro∣grade Cancer) both which experience doth disprove; for though his appro∣priation and elongation be the same Page  5every year, yet our Summers and Winters are not equally hot and cold, and therefore we must seek out for more intrinsecal and occult causes; which now (are not the Asylum of ignorance) since we can certainly a∣scribe them to the Sun's Conjunction (improperly termed an Aspect) and his Aspects with other Planets, toge∣ther with his configurations, with the Fixed starres: for the weather is usu∣ally the hottest with us in England, af∣ter the Sun hath taken his leave of us from his nearest visit, and most fervent Complement, in the foot of Gemini, with his old fashion'd Congee in the Right knee and shoulder of Orion, and Auriga: and our hottest seasons are the Dogge dayes; yet doth not the Sun accompany the lesser heavenly Dogge, till he come to his feminine nocturnal and unfortunate Lodging, which is in the eighteenth Degree of Cancer; of wch more at large you may consult Astronomy; my business here Page  6being only to present you with an Hi∣storical Truth.

And as the coldnesse of our Night∣air in England tempers our hottest and most canine seasons; so the fresh Breezes that rise alwayes with the Sun, doe fanne the sweltering and sultry Climes within the Tropicks: so that the dayes are usually as cold as the nights, except towards the morning, and then a culinary fire is had in re∣quest, though the Inhabitants are thought to be dandled in Apollo's Lap, or (as the Poets feign) to have been scorch'd, when rash Phaeton mistook his way, in his unskill'd and unhappy Journey,

magnae pereunt cum moenibus urbes:
Cumque suis totas populis incendiae Gentes
In cinerem vertunt, sylvae cum mon∣tibus ardent,
Ardet Aethos
Page  7
Quodque suo Tagus omne vehit fluit igntbus aurum.

Ovid. Met. l. 2.
This scorch'd soil Phaethon to Cin∣ders burn'd,
When he his Father's Chariot over∣turn'd;
With hotter flames (if fame we cre∣dit may)
Then those he smutch't in Aethio∣pia.

But the Native Indians are sensible of no such extraordinary warmth; al∣wayes making a fire under their Ham∣mocks, that the piercing air disturb not their sleep.

And the English themselves that in∣habit almost under the Line in Suri∣nam, contemn not their Coverlets in the night; though indeed very few of them rest in beds, but Hammocks, which do somewhat the more expose the body to the inquisition of the searching vapours.

Yet as the extremities of cold in Page  8these Regions betwixt the Tropicks are indisputably more remisse then in Eng∣land, and the rest of Europe; so the heat qualified with the benefit of the Breezes, more justly styles them Tem∣perate, then those Climates that have already falsly, (though with vulgar consent) usurp'd the Title.

And I must not credit my senses, if I should not affirm, that upon an im∣partial compare, I never came in more temperate Climes then those of Iamai∣ca, Hispaniola, St. Kits, Barbadoes, &c. so slanderously calumniated; the heat in the day time being alwayes alloy'd with the Sea Breezes; and the nights, naturally cool, are by an interchange∣able and never-failing intercourse, re∣freshed with Land Breezes; and there∣fore authentically renowned (by the Lord Verulam, and others,) above Bar∣bary, Spain, and Italy (though fam'd to be the world's Garden) as being neither so intemperately hot nor cold.

Page  9

Though the Lord Bacon's Argu∣ments are only drawn from the Di∣ctates of his reason, neither back't nor reinforced with experience; now suf∣ficiently confirm'd by every Mariner, to take off the greatest sit-fast of incre∣dulity. And this shall suffice for our information touching the Clime.