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.

Reflex. II.

2. THat sudden surprizes from an Ambuscade, usually prevailes more then open force. The whole strength of Hispaniola, though embo∣died and in view, not being able to strike that terrour, and make such ha∣vock of our amazed Soldiers, as four∣ty or fifty Negroes and Molettoes effe∣cted by an unlook'd for on-set.

Gaining more by this jugling delu∣sion then their whole Army could by Play above-board. The Spaniards (like Hannibal) obtaining conquest with their heads rather then their hands. Page  55Nor are they so usually foiled, as when encountred with their own weapons: a wary plodding Fabius signifying more then a hot Spur Marcellus.

To which squint-ey'd Mode in war Scanderbeg stands indebted for most of his Victories against the Ottomanes; as also Ioshua, though back'd with a Divine reserve, for the defeat of Aj.

Thus also do the Native Indians en∣counter their adverse Nations, rather stealing upon them, then assailing them; especially, practis'd by the Me∣ridional, and more oriental Ameri∣cans; whose diminitive statures call for the assistance of wily stratagems; neglected by the more Northerly and armstrong Regions, whose Chara∣cter, (according to mine own know∣ledge and experience) especially of those Guiana and Charby Indians, that cohabit with the English in Surinam, I deem not much extravagant here to insert.

Page  56
Under the Line that equal's night and day
Guiana stands, part of America:
On whose head Phoebus shoots his fiery steams,
Twice every year, with down right darted beams.
In his Twelve Houses, as he travels forth
Alongst the Zodiack, 'twixt the South and North.
Whose Native Indian hath not, nor needs Art
To clothe himself, Nature supplies that Part.
They're true Philosophers, not much they have,
Nor do they want much, nor much do they crave.
They care not for to morrow; no supply,
But just from hand to mouth, no Gra∣nary:
If they want Flesh, they take their bow in hand.
Page  57
And then for Hare or Deer, hunt o're the Land.
For all Game here most eas'ly taken be,
Since they take Covert in some hol∣low tree.
Or some such crazie Refuge, whence they are
Dig'd forth at leisure for the Hunter's fare.
Or if the stomack do in Fish delight,
With wily feats he gluts his appe∣tite.
His bread & drink both made of one root are,
Cassawder call'd, cook'd by the Wo∣men's care;
Who shew their best of dutie to their Home,
When their Mates wearied with their Booties come.
For every man in's house is Lord and King,
Hath pow'r of Life and Death, and every thing:
Page  58
His will's his law, from him there's no appeal,
No other Monarchy or Common∣weale.
If Wives and children offenders are,
His will's the Judge; hand, Executio∣ner:
To none but to their Chief, they Ho∣mage owe,
That's th' Eldest Son, when marry'd, t' him they bowe,
His Father, Mother, Brethren, Ne∣phews, all;
Must low'r to him, and on the knee must fall:
Till his first Son be married, then he
(Depos'd) must to his own Son bend the knee.
Thus do they live by families, thus then
They're alwayes govern'd by middle∣ag'd men.
When any dyes, into his Urne is hurl'd
All that he hath; (to use; i'th' other world:)
Page  59
His Axe, Bill, Knife, his Bow and Hammock too,
And this the best of service they can doe
For their dead Friend. If he a Ca∣ptain be,
Then if he have a Slave, he then must die;
And the same Roge burn both; thus is supply'd
Each one i'th' other world, as 'fore he dy'd.
But usually their Slaves, when captive ta'ne,
Are to the English sold; and some are slain,
And their Flesh forthwith Barbacu'd and eat
By them, their Wives and Children as choice meat.
Thence are they call'd Caribs, or Can∣nibals;
The very same that we Man-eaters call.
And yet herein lyes not their chief con∣tent
Page  60
To eat for food, but as a Sacrament;
To bind them and their Children to be fierce,
And into th' entrails of their foes to pierce.
Though in the world no greater Cowards be,
Managing all their Fights with trea∣chery,
Most of their feats by stealth and night are done,
If once it come to handy-gripes they runne.
Thus much I'le say; I would not wish to have
A better friend, or foe, or better slave
Then is an Indian; where he once af∣fects,
In love and service shall be no neg∣lects.
Command him as your slave, his life, his All,
If he do once you but Bone-aree call;
And who would wish an easier foe then he,
Page  61
That (like a Buck) at noise of Guns will flie,
But then your slave if that an Indian be,
No other Caterer you need but he.
He plenty shall provide for yours and you,
With his Dogs only, and his Bill and Bow
And thus much for their Men. Their Women are
Lovely, though brown; modest, hi∣ding their Ware,
With several colour'd Beads together knit,
With Art methodical together set;
And this they use whilest they are young and fair,
But when they're old, their heedlesse, all is bare.
If of your Wine and Brandee, youl'e be free,
They'le not leave till they drunk as beggars be.
They call the Devil Yerkin, him alone
Page  62
They worship, saying, God wills harm to none,
But is intirely good; and therefore they,
The mercy of their Yerkin only pray.
When they are sick, Yerkin doth bear the blame,
Of him they beg deliverance from the same,
The Muses and their Flamens they cashiere,
Only Diana's Troops are 'stablish'd here,
Except some Priests, which they do call Peei,
With mumbling charms Yerkin to pacifie.
(In summe to say) they're all simpli∣city,
Almost like Adam, in's innocency.
Whatever Nature or their Appetite
Does dictate, they do follow with de∣light;
Not once with conscience check em∣bittered,
Page  63
Being by the law of Nature only led.
Not coveting large Barns, with hoards to stuffe,
When once their belly's full, they have enough;
For Avarice, here never makes them jarre,
Nor warrants, by religion's varnish, warre.
His pride so natural, (if't be a vice,)
Yet costs him nothing, or but little Price;
It never makes him sell his land, nor shut
Shop-windows up, nor a spare Jewel put
To trouble, in a Pawne for Cloak or Gown.
His onely pride's a Feather on his Crown:
The cast-clothes of some gaudy Bird fits him.
For which he needs not venture life nor limb,
Nor Hector it, nor list under Sir Hugh,
Page  64
(When known by the old suit, to fish for new;)
Nor cringe to Velvet Titles, with a gape,
Like fawning Cur, or mopping Jack∣an-Ape:
Nor need to be light finger'd in a crowd;
Nor light heel'd to procure a Scarfe or Hood,
Nor with stretch'd Fancies beg a La∣dies smile,
Which she (poor soul) scarce under∣stands the while,
They make no mintage here of Brains, nor be
The sterling Pence coyn'd with a Comoedie.
For pomp and fine clothes only are the cause
Of all our shirking Trades, and end∣lesse lawes.
Since Nature ne're brought forth a Creature yet,
Unfurnish'd, with what Coverlets were fit.
Page  65
The Back (if not misus'd) in coldest Land,
Craving no waste clothes, more then face or hands.

But this Diversion is somewhat out of our way to Iamaica.