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.

First then. Of the purely natural, or wild Pro∣ductions of this Island.

1. With which, the Soil is so pre∣gnant and fertile, that Nature hath stor'd it in no niggardly nor novercal benevolence, with Oranges, Lymes, (or bastard Lemmons,) Guavars, Pomegranates, a kind of Pepper, that tastes like Cloves, and very Aromatick (known by the name of Iamaica-Pep∣per) with innumerable kinds of seve∣ral Fruits that have scarcely found a name in English with which the Woods are so universally crouded, that they are likewise incomparably stockt with abundance of Wild Hoggs, fat and large, that cannot but thrive well upon so bountiful Commons, as falls from the trees in a very liberal contribution; yet their Ordinary is not so free, but that it sometimes costs Page  11them their lives; Their fat backs be∣traying their throats, to the no small advantage of the Hunters, and the whole Island.

Nor are the Woods a more plenti∣ful Nursery for the Hoggs then the Sa∣vana's are for the Beeves and wild Cat∣tel; in some of which one thousand would graze in a drove, till the too greedy and repented eagernesse of fel∣ling them by Gun shot, frighted them to the shelter of the Woods and Mountains; from whence now they dare scarcely peep, except secur'd with the covert of the night, (their now usual feeding-time in the Savana's,) and now but in smaller numbers.

An inconvenience wisely prevented by the Spaniard (that lately inhabited, and first stockt the Island) who alwaies on horse-back singled out the Beast he intended to kill, (if so wild as not to come to his Pen, amongst his tamer fellows) and with a sharp Iron in form of an half-moon, fastened to a staffe, Page  12hough'd him on both his hin-leggs; afterwards dispatching him at his lei∣sure.

With which two singular advanta∣ges, for the raising and encrease of stock, (either of Swine in the Woods, or Beeves in the Savana's or Plains,) is happy in Iamaica above any other Island or Settlement; (whether upon the Continent or Islands of America) at this day peopled by any English Co∣lony and Plantation; and will soon flourish above any other, if it want no due encouragement for the preser∣vation and defence of the Planters.

Every ship that comes from the Wind ward Islands of Barbadoes, Mevis, St. Christophers, &c. being crouded a∣bove convenience with all sorts of people.

For besides that the Soil yields not to any of the Chariby Islands in the plentifull produce of Sugar-Canes, Tabacco, Cotton, Maiz or Indian Corn, Potatoes, Yawmes, and the Page  13like American Provisions: it hath three, or four singular and extraordi∣nary Advantages to enrich the Planter.

First:

1. By the speedy raising a stock of Cattel, though from a very mean prin∣ciple, and beginnings: a notable Po∣licy in the thriving Spaniard upon Hispaniola, and especially, on Cuba, which is better peopled;) and 'tis this: Near some convenient place, in the Wood, that is best stored with all sorts of fruit-bearing Trees, as Orange-trees, a sort of Cabbage-trees, rag'd with berries, &c. they build two or three little Houses, or more; by them called a Crawle, and in these, they first inclose these tame Hogs, with which they begin their stock, and there feed them; that after (being let out) they will come to the haunt, at the sound of a Horn; But if they be out of hear∣ing, Page  14(they many times suspending all care of them for a week together) they goe out with three or four Dogs, that hunt them in; the whole Herd make∣ing homewards so soon as ever the Dogs do Bay them; unto which disci∣pline, if any of the Hogs be not con∣formable, his refractoriness cost's him his life; his keeper (for example sake) scarcely indemnifying him for the first fault.

Thus two or three Spanish slaves, (for a native Spaniard scorns the Em∣ploy) will look to six or seven hun∣dred Hogs, and provide them meat, not putting their Masters to a penny charge.

Which course may as effectually be managed upon Iamaica, in any part of the Island; unparallel'd by any other English settlement in the more VVind∣ward Islands.

For a stock of Sheep, Cows, Horses, Goats, and the like, there is excellent Pasture in the Savana's; some of them, Page  15fourty, some fifty miles in circumfe∣rence, wherein the grasse springs fresh and green all the year long.

The Earth never recalling her lent sap (as she does mock the Europeans) by giving and taking again, every Moneth being an April; The Trees and Plants being never disrobed of their Phary-liveries, but wear their best clothes every day; in which prodiga∣lity they are licenc'd and born out, by their indulgent Parents, the Sun and the Earth; These Regions being their Darlings, and (to use Sir Walter Raw∣leigh's stile (The Paradise of the world.

In so much as here is plenty of food to relieve the Planters Cattel through∣out the year, needing no winter-hoard; The providence of the Ant being uselesse here.

2. Another singular benefit to the Planter, is the large numbers of wild Horses, well shap'd and very servicea∣ble, being all bred of the Spanish Gen∣nets, one of these tam'd and well ma∣nag'd Page  16may be bought for three pounds sterl which would yield six thousand pounds of Sugar at the Barbadoes: of which special advantage, in easing the charge of making Sugars, needs no di∣spute.

3. Thirdly, the said Savana's are common to every man that will make use of them; For as they are good for little else: The woody ground produ∣cing the best Provisions for a family, as Corn, Potatoes, Plantanes, Cassauder, Sugar Canes, &c. so seating your self upon the skirt of a Savana, bordering upon a Wood, you may with conve∣nience enjoy the benefit of both.

Again, as you may stock these Plains without limit; so you may have fifty Acres, per head, for your self and ser∣vants, freely assign'd and made over to you, in any place you best like to make your choice; so that the seat, you pitch upon, be not first taken up by a∣nother; whereas in St. Kits, Barbadoes, &c. you cannot turn a Horse out but Page  17he presently trespasseth upon his Neighbour, if not upon your own Canes: the most barren Rocks (even in the Scotland of Barbadoes) owning a Proprietor, and the whole Island pe∣stered with a super-numerary glut of Inhabitants; too small a Hive for such a swarm of people.

Lastly, I shall conclude the transcen∣dency of this Isle, by the abundant plenty of choice Timber trees and Wood for the Dyer's use, as Fustick, Brasiletta, Ebonies, and a kind of Log∣wood; (but not so effectual as that which grows in the Bay of Campeachee) together with choice of medicinal Drugs, as China Roots, Gum Guaic. Lignum vit-Trees, Cassia, &c. And thus much of the wild and purely na∣tural productions of this happy Soil.

Reddit ubi venerem tellus inarata quotannis:
The Virgin-earth's not barren here,
But will unoccupy'd, Fruit, bear.