THat the Island of Iamaica was rather the Grave then Gra∣nary to the first English Co∣lony (seated there, after their inauspicious Enterprize, upon Hispaniola) cannot modestly be de∣nied;
Whether occasioned by the griping Monopolie of some hoarding Officers; or through want of timely Recruits, alwayes found necessary for such In∣fant-settlements: or, through some fatal Conjunction of the superiour Lu∣minaties, (that frown by course with a squint and malignant Aspects on one Page 2Nation or other,) I will not now dispute.
But that such a Mortality should proceed, either from the Clime, be∣ing scituate in the Torrid Zone, (a He∣resie unpardonable in the ancients;) or from any accidental Malignitie in any of the Elements, peculiarly en∣tail'd upon it, whereby it should be lesse habitable then any other most au∣spicious settlement remains here to be controverted.
The Decision whereof can be no better evidenced, then by a faith∣full
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,
Ovid. Met. l. 2.
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.
Secondly. The nature of the Soil.
2. THe fertility of the Soil of this Island may best be examined and appear by it's Productions,
- Wild and purely natu∣ral; or,
- Improved and artifi∣cial.
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.
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.
2. General. Second, Of the improv'd Productions of the Isle.
IN the next place, the fruits of Iamai∣ca that are produc'd by the im∣provement of Art, will most metho∣dically present themselves to be con∣sidered; wherein I shall purposely o∣mit to give the Reader any account of those usual Houshold Provisions, of Cassawder, Corn, Potatoes, &c. nor of those Merchantable Commo∣dities of Cotton, Indico, Tobacco, Sugar, &c. common to it with the rest of the English Plantations; But presuming the Reader's acquaintance with those Fruits and Merchandize so vulgarly known; I shall only treat of those that are more rare and not to Page 19be found in any other of the English Colonies in America.
1. The first that I shall mention is the Cacoa. Walks, which are not few in this Island, some of them contain∣ing ten or twelve Acres of Ground, some more, some lesse: The Trees are about the bignesse of our largest Plum-trees in England, orderly set, like our Orchards, at the distance of 6, or 7. foot from each other; which Interstitiums are carefully weeded, and cleared from the Grasse, that the Ca∣coa Trees may without a Rival en∣gross the Sap and substance of the Soil, which is chosen the most fertile that can be got, and naturally skreen'd and shaded from the piercing rayes of the Sun; Nor indeed can any ground be better employ'd; the Spaniard, (who best understands the value of them) reckoning every one of his Cacoa trees to be worth him a piece of Eight per an. after it begins to bear, which is usually about seven yeares Page 20after it's first planting; in which time they are once or twice transplanted for the first two yeares, & especially in their Infancy must be protected from the scorching Sun by the favourable interposition of some shady Trees; and therefore the Plantane-Walks are usu∣ally made choice of, for such Nurse∣ries.
Of the Fruit or Nuts of these Trees is made the so fam'd Chocoletta, whose virtues are hyperboliz'd upon every post in London: though we must con∣fesse it of excellent nourishment.
The Spaniard victualling for a long and wildernesse Journey, with no o∣ther Refreshment, then Cakes made of the Kernels of those Cacoa Nuts; which he dissolves in water for his meat and drink.
The Composition of these Cacoa Cakes or Chocoletta is now so vulgar, that I will not disparage my Reader by doubting his acquaintance in so known a Recipe, a very Crambe in other Authors.Page 21
Yet will it not be impertinent to render a most exact description of the Nuts, then is hitherto extant, either in the English or Spanish writings, that have as yet come to my hands. Herrera and Acosta report this fruit to be less then an Almond; whereas Doctour Hernandez, or rather, Anthonius Rec∣chius in Hist. Plant. in Amer. excuss. Romae, 1651. describes it to be bigger then a Musk-million. Hernandez was imployed by the King of Spain, to give an account of the Physical rari∣ties and Plants of America, and to that purpose dispatched thither by the said Catholick King, and is therefore more creditable and authentick then Herre∣ra or Acosta: though indeed he does somewhat hyperbolize when he e∣quals this Fruit with the largenesse of a Musk-million; for the husk or cod is no bigger then the largest Pears in England; growing immediately out of the bole or body of the Tree, and stock of the branches, admitting not Page 22so much as the intermedium or usher∣age of a twig, sprouting from the bot∣tome to the top, twice especially eve∣ry year, viz. in the moneths of Ianua∣ry and May, the chief moneths for the Harvest of them.
The outward crust, or put aminous husk, being broken, appears full of little kernels, or nuts, each of them inveloped in a slimy substance and film, of a phlegmatick complexion, but of a most relishing taste: under which is another shell, which when bak'd in the Sun, resembles the colour and sub∣stance of a Chesnut; but the kernel is of a Chesnut-hue both within and without, and of this is made the Cho∣coletta Cakes; full of an oily substance, not unlike that of the oil of Almonds per expressionem: and of this meanest Labourer in Iamaica compounds his Morning draughts, wherein though he fares like a Gallant, yet his follow∣ing Musick upon the Hoe-boy (where∣in he practiseth to keep his hand in Page 23use, and sometimes till his heart akes) doth more melodiously affect his masters eares then his own, and seems more harmoniously consonant to his Canvas-Drawers, which are also the sometimes ornament of the Petti∣coat-Sex (through the rigour of their Masters unmanumitted;) so that here likewise the women, (though not with that complacency) sometimes wear the Breeches.
In the Bay of Honduras, the Coast of Carthagena, and also in most places of Nova Hispaniola: two of these lit∣tle Cacoa Nuts (or Kernels) pass cur∣rant for one farthing, with which (as good sterling) they truck in the Markets.
2. The Coco Nuts, which grow on a smooth and slender Tree, whose wast (in circumference) equals that of a man's; but it's stature doubles his height.
Upon the top of whose Bulk, the Nuts in small clusters doe germinatePage 24immediately from the Tree, at the footing of the branches.
The Nuts (with the Husk on) is of a Pyramtdal form and may vte dimen∣sions with the greatest Logger-head.
The outward rind or husk is of a fibrous, spongy substance, about an inch thick, warily guarding, with su∣perfluous charinesse, the inclosed shell, whose Negro-skull is not easily broke.
In some Countries (as in Guinee) the Natives, card out this Rind into a kind of course Tow, which serves them for Cordage, Cables, Okam, and Ropes to rigge their Ships; whose Hulls and Masts (as is reported) are shap'd out of the body of the Tree; and victualled, only with the Nuts, in whose content, is barrell'd up both Drink and Bread; a milky liquour running out, so soon as you give it vent: for which purpose nature hath trim'd it with three bung-holes at the top.
Thus one Tree sets up a Marriner,Page 25and an Orchard sets out a Fleet: and at the return of the Voyage, the Sea-men are contentedly paid off with this Fruit alone; which serves for money, meat and drink.
And indeed the milky juice is a most ambrosian Dainty, very Diuretick, and proper Pharmacy for Nephritick di∣stempers.
Of the shells (polished) are made ve∣ry handsome Drinking-cups, in which Office, they serve us for rarity here in Europe. But they make no such use of the Rind at Iamaica; the inner Bark of a kind of Fig-tree furnishing them (by the Negroes Art) with all sorts of Cor∣dage, usefull in a Plantation.
This tree parturiates every Moneth, and will have fifty or sixty Nuts at a burthen.
If you cut the Bark of the Tree or Fruit (whilest green) there issues forth a Nectar, like that of the wounded Vine; or the English Birtch-tree perforated in the spring, but of a far more aroma∣tick taste.Page 26
I purposely omit to speak of other pleasant Fruits in the Countrey, that are either common with other Islands, or not transported into Europe: be∣cause I would not puzzle the Reader with hard names, nor Tantalize him with a Discourse of Dainties, that he is never like to tast in Europe; and those that goe thither, need no Tutor.
But the Cacoa and Coco Nuts are Merchantable Commodities, enhan∣ced for their singular use and de∣light.
I shall conclude with one rarity more, of which in Iamaica is too great a plenty; and that is the Alligator, or Indian Crocodile, an amphibious Creature, that (like an Otter) haunts both the land and water.
I have seen many of them upon Hispaniola, but never any in the Cha∣riby Islands, nor in the Wind-ward Settlements upon the Main.
It would be too long to tell what Page 27large feats are storied of this Beast; as that he will pull the Bulls into the wa∣ter, (catching them like a keen Ma∣stiffe by the cheek) when they come to drink, &c.
This is true, that they have an incomparable strength in the water, in which as their most friendly Ele∣ment, they do usually encounter the prey, especially, if the mastery, will re∣quire their utmost strength in the grap∣ple.
But though he winnes the field in the water, (with a Bull) yet he must share the Spoil on the shore; for he cannot (without the danger of drown∣ing) swallow his Booty, through an impediment in his throat. Some of them (I have seen) six or seven yards long, but their usual stretch, may bate the half; And indeed, though they are fierce and ravenous, yet at the approach of a man, whilest they lie basking upon the Sands, they betake themselves, (though with no great Page 28haste) into the water; yet is it not ve∣ry safe sleeping near the shoar where they haunt, lest they take you napping. Yet can they not prejudice a child that is but aware of them: For their mo∣tion is very slow; neither can they turn the head, but the whole bodie must wheel for company.
There is as good Civet in the Cods of an old rammish Alligator, as in the Ginney Civet Cats.
I shall not mention here the plenty of all sorts of Fish, and wild Fowl, as Ginney Hens, Ducks, wild Pigeons, &c. because these Collections shall take notice onely of what is singular in this Island, without a Co partner, or any Parallel in any other Settle∣ments of our Countrey men.
But possibly amongst these Rarities some will expect I should (as the most welcome Newes) discover some Mines of Silver or Gold; as the most undoubted transcendency of a rich Land Page 29
Which himself very well knows, and is therefore very unwilling to di∣spute his Title, but where he can em∣pannell an Army, instead of a Iury to make good the Claime; the which he can hardly levie upon Hispaniola; it being so thinly peopled, that he can scarcely muster five hundred fighting men, (in the whole Island) though he should put forth a general Presse (en∣forc'd with the strictest Commission of Aray;) except only in the Town of St. Domingo; which is distant above one hundred and fifty miles from the forementioned Mine; and are not a∣ble with all their skill and strength to root out a few Buckaneers or Hunting French-men, that follow their Game, in despight of them, though they can∣not Page 34number three hundred at a gene∣ral Rendezvouse: and those dispersed at three hundred miles distance from one another, on the North and West sides of the Island; of whom peradven∣ture I may have hereafter more occa∣sion to discourse.
Therefore it is not much material, whether or no, Iamaica own any Sil∣ver Mines, though it be more then probable that time will discover some:
For if there were but strength of hands in Iamaica, they might procure money with lesse labour then digging: except the Spaniard will quietly suffer them to reap the Fruits of the Com∣mon Earth. For the propriety whereof he can shew no Bill of Sale but his Sword.
Thus much in General.
I shall novv give you a more parti∣cular Description of this Isle, with it's Harbours, Tovvns, Ports, Soundings, exactly re∣presented in this Map, to your vievv.
WHerein the chiese Harbour at Point Cagway merits Prece∣dency, lying North-West from the said Point in an Arme of the Sea, that shoots in three or four Leagues with∣in the Land.
Where 1000. tall ships may safely ride at one time, and all sufficiently shelter'd from winds and waves; and if they please, close aboard the shore, for an English mile in length, incom∣parably convenient for careening ships of all Burthens.
Upon this Point or sandy Bay is now built above five hundred houses, Page 36by the English, chiefly for the accom∣modation of Sea-men, especially the Privateers, who are their best Customers; and sometimes, as now it is, the Residence of the General, and some Merchants and Manufactures; whose shares to build upon is mea∣sured out to them by the Foot, and that immediately forfeited, if not forthwith improv'd by Buildings, which now almost cover the face of the Bay for a mile in length; the breadth thereof being variable, some∣times borrowing of the two Seas, in whose Armes it lies, and then repaying with unequal Interest; so that about a mile from the Harbour's mouth, it is almost Bankerupt.
The Bank in that place not extend∣ing to above half a Cables length in bredth: where, if cut through from Sea to Sea, (which very little labour would effect.) This Isthmus would lose it's name in an Island; And the Conversion conduce much to it's secu∣rity.Page 37
For there is no landing upon the South-side of the Bay (which is wash'd and Buts upon the main Seas) by rea∣son of the fury of the waves (not pa∣cified by any Breakers,) even in the becalmest seasons.
And the entrance into the Harbour is commanded with a Fort, built by the English: wherein there are at this day, some as good Canon planted, as the Tower of London would afford, yet the Bay, (or said Town) consisting on nothing but loose sand (in most places whereof you have water, in sinking but three or four foot) admits no sufficient defence in Teneable Bul∣works, without the Tribute of for∣reign Materials; which are not far to seek.
The worst is, their water, which is infected (by the intrusion of the Neigh∣bour-seas) with a brackish taste; and therefore they make use of none but what is fetch'd three or four leagues in Boats and Canoues.Page 38
Which incovenience disswaded the Spaniards from gracing it with so much as one house, seating themselves near a pleasant River, and by the side of a most lovely Savana, in the famous Town of
St. Jago de la Vega.
WHich was as well built, and as large as any Town in England; but now hast lost much of it's pristine lustre, since the Landlords became English; for it did contain two thou∣fand Houses, and upwards, with six∣teen Churches and Chappells, when it was first seized upon by the Army con∣ducted by Gen. Venables; now there remains only the Skeletons of two Churches and an Abbey, with about five or six hundred Houses; some of which are yet very pleasant and habi∣table.
This Town was first founded by Columbus, to whose happy search, the Page 39West-Indies first discovered it self; (all former Commerce and Traffick thi∣ther being till then adjourn'd beyond the Records of Time and Memory) bur now by him reviv'd to Correspon∣dency. He was the first Father and God-father to this Town, giving it the name of St. Iago de la Vega; which it reciprocally retorted to him in his, and his yet remaining Families Title of Honour) by the good pleasure of the King of Castile, created Duke de la Vega; famous in Spain, even to this day.
Here is plenty of Cassta Ligrea, and Oranges of excellent relish in abun∣dance, with some other choice Fruits, the Fruits of the Spanish Industry.
The mentioned Savana that faces this Town is now pretty well stockt with Sheep, Goats, Cowes, and espe∣cially tame Horses. But it did contain many thousands of each whilest the Spaniard own'd it.
The back-side of the Town is Page 40wash'd with a fair, but unavigable Ri∣ver which buries it self in the Sea Pas∣sage-Fort.
About twenty or thirty years agoe, this Town was wonne by a little Fleet of English men, fitted out from the Chariby Islands, chiefly from Sr. Kits, under the Command of Gen. Iackson, who landed about five hun∣dred men at Passage-Fort, and fought his way up to the Town, against two thousand Spaniards, who still fled be∣fore him; but some what retarded his Carcer, by six or seven several Breast∣works, cast up athwart the Road, on purpose to Bulwark this Town, (the Jewell of this Isle) from such Inroades and sudden surprizals: For the pre∣vention whereof they kept continual watch upon a great Hill that overlooks the Sea, the Harbour, and the Town, from whence the Centinells, in the twinkling of an eye by tokens agreed upon, signified the imminency of ap∣proaching dangers; As at this time Page 41when Gen. Iackson made the On-set; the strength of the Isle being drawn up on the shore, before he could land his men; whom, though the Spaniards some what resisted, and at their several Brest-works caus'd them to make an unwilling Halt; yet the fury of Iack∣son's men, greedy of spoil, overcame all difficulties, neglecting dangers in comparison thereof: Thus with the losse of fourty men, forcing to the Town, plunder'd it, to their no small enrichment. The booty likewise be∣ing advanced by a large Fine paid him by the Spaniard, on condition the Town might be preserved from burn∣ing; which was accordingly sav'd, and their retreat to the Fleet undisturb'd.
But when the swelling Armado with Gen. Venables, attempted this Town, (after their worse successe against St. Domingo) they beat the bush so long, till the Bird was flown. For the subtle Spaniard, belaying our men with par∣leys, and fair words, in the interim di∣spatches Page 42away Bag and Baggage; sometimes sending Beeves to stay the stomacks of the hungry Soldiery; and bearing Gen. Venables, in hand with choice Viands; and Spanish Dainties presented to his Lady, who had more mind to eat then fight.
Thus staving them off, till their Train and best Movables had got so much Law, that afterwards the swiftest pursuit could not give them a Turn, before they had got Covert in their Fastnesse, the Woods.
And certainly, the treasure they car∣ried with them could not but be very considerable if we may guess at the worth of the Jewell by the splendor of the Cabinet, that kept it: or estimate the largeness of the Bird by the Nest: the Town being then even to magnifi∣cence, adorn'd with spatious Hou∣ses.
For the safe-guard whereof the Spaniards never durst cope with our men in the plain field; yet would Page 43sometimes gawl them, when befriend∣ed with the treachery, that night and the Woods do afford; in which clandestine encounters, though at first the Spanish successe was too fortunate; yet dear bought experience did in a little time train up our men in the same Mysteries: in which now they are grown so perfect, that they never ceast beating both Spaniard and Ne∣gro at their own Play, and with their own weapons, till they had cleared the Island of them; In despair now of Recovery (being so often refrustrated in their reattempts,) except by some invincible Armado, which yet will find work enough, e're they make the Island too hot for the English, now naturaliz'd to the Countrey, and can never want shelter nor victuals whilst they have the Woods to befriend; with which now they are so well ac∣quainted, that the Molottoes and Ne∣groes, (which the Spaniards left be∣hind them to keep possession of the Page 44Island, therein reckoning without their Host, presuming them unconquera∣ble, and past finding out) are now so overmatch'd in their own Arts, that their Captain and the major part of them have submitted; thereby les∣sening their master's Title by eleven Points of the Law; and craving Eng∣lish protection; into which, they are upon submission received, by the tru∣ly Honourable General Dawley, and now authoriz'd to prey upon, and hunt their fellows, that in scattered Parties yet stand it out, having already sealed their Allegiance with the bloud of their old Associates, not without the dextrous contrivement of that Noble General, whose happy policy in the wary preservation of this For∣lorn in Iamaica, hath already without the suspicion of flattery, authoriz'd the style. To whom our Nation, in some measures stands indebted for the Reprizal of that honour at Rio-Novo, which was so shamely lost un∣der Page 45the debauch'd conduct of Gen. Venables in Hispaniola: the Spaniards till then having so mean and despica∣ble thoughts of English courage, that upon the On-set at Rio-Novo they up∣braided our men with the opprobri∣ous mention of Sancta Domingo, till the repented assay of their valour, di∣sciplin'd them into better manners.
For though the numbers of the Spanish Forces at Rio-Novo doubled the English (being sent from Cuba to reinforce and resettle the Island) and those strongly entrenched; yet such was the enraged earnestnesse of the Souldiery to redeem their wounded Honours, that (regardlesse of all odds and disadvantages) they storm'd them in their trenches with a resolution as undaunted as the successe was prospe∣rous. Hereby not only retriving the Pristine same of their Countrey-men; but also hitherto frustrating all hopes in the Spaniards of further attempts to regain the Island.Page 46
Another Party of Spaniards reseat∣ing themselves at Point-Pedro, being attended with a no lesse inauspicious fate.
And the truth is, the Island, though it were lesse fruitfull, is worth the fight∣ing for, thou it should cost the Spani∣ard some of his best bloud; for it lies within his Bowels, and in the heart of his Trade.
For all the treasure that his Plate-Fleet brings home from Carthagina steer directly for St. Domingo in Hispa∣niola, and from thence must pass by one of the ends of this Island to reco∣ver the Havana, The common ren∣dezvouse of this whole Armado, be∣fore it returns home through the Gulf of Florida. Nor is there any other way (whereby to miss the Island of Iamaica) because he cannot in any rea∣sonable time turn it up to the Wind∣ward of Hispaniola; the which though he might with difficulty perform, yet he would thereby loose the security of Page 47his united forces, which at the Hava∣na (from all the Parts of the Bay of Mexico, New-Spain, and the rich Merchandize that comes by Nombre de Dios, from the South Seas,) accom∣pany each other home from the said general Rendezvouse.
So that the Privateers from Iamai∣ca are often fingering the Plate, and other precious commodities, that was never consign'd to them; by pick∣ing up their single and stragling Ves∣sels before they are ensur'd by their embodied Fleet.
In which respects (as in many o∣thers) Necessity hath made a better choice of a seat for the English Do∣minions, then their intended surprizal of Hispaniola, though it had been at∣chieved: And their winnings, (if the Game be followed) will unexpectedly outvie the stakes.
And here I cannot but take notice of the many convenient Harbours, ad∣judg'd by the most experienced Ma∣rinersPage 48to equal the best that they ever came to Anchor in. For besides that already mentioned at Point Cagg way. There is another (nothing inferiour) below it to Lee-ward at about four or five Leagues distance; and may as conveniently serve the Town of St. Iago, as that other at Cagg-way; they being triangularly scituated: It is usu∣ally known by the name of Old Har∣bour, where four hundred tall ships may ride together without danger of falling foul upon one another.
And about fourteen Leagues to Wind-ward, is another safe Port called by the Spaniards Porto Morant, which yet retains the name. In the Confines whereof a Regiment is seated; who with many other Planters, have now made themselves considerable in the Produce of Sugar, Tobacco, Cotton, &c.
But it is besides my scope to men∣tion every Harbour on this and the North side of the Isle, lest this Volume Page 49extend beyond the compendious Di∣mensions of Journal Notes; calcula∣ted only for those that are most re∣markable, especially since the fore-in∣serted Plat may satisfie a more critical enquiry; and be sufficiently Authen∣rick to confute those traditional Hete∣rodoxes, that some * mens rashnesse hath published to the contrary upon bare report.
But I shall adjourn a more plenary discovery to these ensuing Animad∣versions.
REFLEXIONS Upon the present Affairs of JAMAICA; And the Expedition against HISPANIOLA: Under the Conduct of GENERAL VENNABLES.
1. THat Bulky Armadoes are many times sunk with their own weight; which, if parcell'd out into sea∣sonable Recruits, had signified more Page 51by each Retail, then the prodigal waste of such whole-sale Adventures.
The Dimensions of this great Pre∣paration vastly exceeding the difficul∣ties that could encounter them, from all the united Forces in Hispaniola: and fitted out with strengths sufficient to make Prize of the whole Spanish Plate-Fleet, rather then the sacking of a small Town, or an unpeopled Land, such as is St. Domingo, and Hi∣spantola; who at the first brunt left this town to the Ransack of Gen. Iack∣son's men; though timely Alarum'd by Iackson's Demurre, at the Harbours mouth, for four dayes space; and then not able to land above five hundred men.
A thousand English Souldiers be∣ing now an over-match to all the pow∣er, that the Spaniards in Hispaniola, can bring into the field; unable at this day to serrit out a new French Bucka∣neers, or Hunting Marownaes, for∣merly mentioned; who live by kil∣lingPage 52the wild Beeves for their Hides; and might grow rich by the Trade, did not their lavish Riotings in ex∣pence (at the neighbour-Tortudoes) exceed the hardship of their Incomes. Their comfort is, they can never be broke whilest they have a Dog and a Gun; both which, are more industri∣ously tended then themselves.
These Acteon-straglers (that sel∣dome number above five or six in a company) are often affronted with the Spanish Rounds (consisting of a∣bout one hundred Fire-locks) that once a year compass the Island, yet dare they never cope with these reso∣lute Champions, & wandring Knights; who, setting back to back, would make sure to sell their lives at a dou∣ble rate, and in that posture bid de∣fiance to the Enemy.
The Grave Seignior scorning to barter a drop of Poenish bloud in ex∣change for an Ocean of such Rascal-Gaule.Page 53
And I am very confident that the small Remnant left in Iamaica (know∣ing how to victual their Camps with what the Woods afford) will be able to disaray the Spaniards in Hispaniola or Cuba, (even to admiration,) and a∣bove what the most favouring presage can expect or Autume.
And certainly this Foot-hold (yet se∣cur'd, maugre the Spanish craft and power,) foiled twice by them in their reattempts doth open so fair a passage into the Indies; that if His sacred Ma∣jesty, our most excellent Prince do not in mercy balk the Spaniard; a few years will immortalize Him one of the greatest Emperours of the World: being happy, and not onely in an in∣vincible Navy, but in the Dominion of Northern Kingdomes, that are therefore so fruitfull, that they store him with more men then Room: who are soonest likely to leave justling when they are parted with more elbow-room: The very Division of that Page 54united Abraham and Lot, who by too near correspondence fell together by the ears. Thus too nigh neighbour∣hood begets contentions, whilest di∣stance and absence usually enhanceth the affections of near friends.
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 Char•by Indians, that cohabit with the English in Surinam, I deem not much extravagant here to insert.Page 56
But this Diversion is somewhat out of our way to Iamaica.
3. THough in multitude of Coun∣cellours there is safety, yet multitude of Commanders equally sharing in power, are usually attended with confusion. And therefore though the wary Romanes invested their Con∣fuls with equal Authority, (lest the unmated Interest of a single General should by happy Victories winne so much upon the affections of his con∣cern'd Followers, as to enfringe the Liberties, with which they hugg'd themselves in their Aristocracy;) yet Page 66the Consuls commanded by turns, by intermitting dayes; and very seldome in one and the same Province;
Counter to the Instructions in this Expedition, which oblig'd the Gene∣ral to act nothing without the joint consent of Gown-Commissioners, for that purpose constituted. Which, though it pleads somewhat in Apolo∣gie for General Vennables, yet never∣thelesse it raseth out this Model from the more Genuine Maxims of Policy; as invented only by the jealousies of Tyrants and Usurpers; but found use∣lesse and prejudicial to more justly in∣stalled Princes; whose undisputed Ti∣tles need not the broke-age of such shifting and by-way stratagems to en∣sure their Negotiations.
4. THat Souldiers wives are more properly seated in their hus∣band's Kitchin, then his Tent. General Vennable's Lady being not unjustly bla∣med, both for his sluggish and listlesse Proceedings, as also, for his unlicens'd and immature Return, further'd, if not procur'd by her too opportune Inculcations. A Dalliance of so sad a consequence to the English Nation, that zeal to my native Countrey whets my passions to so Satyrical an edge, that I can scarce forbear, here to lash out, against her whole Sex, did not the Virtues of some others interceed. However I must have a touch at the Martyred State, that warrants such unseasonable Companions for the Warres; wisely prevented by the Turks in their Eunuch-Generals.
The best on't is I am not awedPage 68(thanks to my fates) with the dread∣full Catechisme of a Curtain Lecture.
But such poor men, as this General Vennables, (that are thus o're-mated) works my pity rather then scorn, mo∣ving my bowels more then my spleen; for though the Kingdome was the loser, he is none of the gainers, and the thraldome of his sheets out-vies the Halter; furnishing us with this con∣clusion, That he's unfit to be Pater Patriae that is not Domt Dominus; nor to head an Army, that must kneel at his own Fire side; nor to ride Ad∣miral of a Fleet, that cannot carry the Flag at home, but is forced to lowre his Top sail, to a Petty coat. In defi∣ance whereof, I have here, with their own worded weapon, taken up the Gantlet, to my no little hazard of a scolding: though if they knew the respect and honour I have for the wor∣thy Page 73thy Ladies; (as those that knows me, know I am no woman hater,) nor in this relation any thing of kin to the Noble Blake, the nicest coynes would easily vouchsafe me an Act of Grace. All my quarrell with their Sex consi∣sting only in the defence of those poor men that stand in need of Abasuerus his Decree.
5. THat the most promising de∣signs, though launch'd out and promoted with all the appertinent u∣tensills, that policy can contrive; are many times easily defeated by uncal∣culated Accidents: sometimes a mi∣staken letter, in the sound of a word, hath rooted great Armadoes: and the whistling of the wind in the Sicamour trees destroyed an Host. Thus GideonPage 74founded the Midianites with the sud∣den surprizal of Trumpets, Lamps, and broken Pitchers. * The very looks of the Germanes affrighted the Gaules; And the very flashes in the besmeared faces of the Picts, did gawle the Saxons. Thus did the hellish visage of the grim Negroes and Molettoes beyond all ima∣gination at the first assault nonplus our men at Hispaniola; which yet had not signified so much, if it had not been seconded with the unhappy Conduct of Gen. Venables; whose crazy ma∣nagement of affairs shared so sinister an influence to his better deserving Followers.
The Indulgent Heavens till now, su∣spending the Award of any Damages to the English Nation, in repair of the losse of that invincible Armado in Eighty Eight.
6. THat Necessity often trains up a Militia better then Plenty. For had not the Belly been Magister artis, putting the Soldiers to their shifts, to silence it's importunities, they had never prov'd so good Marks-men, nor had come so familiarly acquainted with the Woods: whose skill therein hath now stood them in so good stead, for the stubbing up those Spa∣nish Negroes, that till then lay as thorns in their sides, that they could scarce stir abroad without being prick'd.
Thus the Alpes prov'd less fatal to Hannibal's Army, then Capua; and hunger & cold spur'd and egg'd on the weather-beaten Goths and Vandalls to better their Sun, till they did Lord it in France and Italy.
This only inconvenience attended the Soldiery of Iamaica, that finding Page 76their leggs, and able to stand by them∣selves without the assistance of a Pro∣vidore, they became more refractory, and head-strong, and of a lesse bound∣ed discipline: acknowledging but small Homage where they received so small Pay; which did the rather sub∣ject them to mutiny, and easie to be wrought upon by more working Pates.
Nor did this licentiousness long want the misimproved subtilty of a Gentleman, one Lieut. Col. Raymond, a discontented Souldier, that wanted nothing but a better Employ, to set out his vast Parts: and had he not encoun∣tred with a General, that is cunning enough, and prov'd himself at all Ma∣chievilltan assayes, his Match; he had certainly reduc'd the Forces in Iamaica, into a self-destroying Flame; especially now their discontents had heated them to so (tinder-like) a touch∣inesse, that they were ready to take fire on all occasions. Nor were these Page 77Incendiaries to seek of all plausible Pretexts that witty usurpation doth use to colour and gild blacker De∣signes. But what the aimes of Lieut. Col. Raymond were are not easily to be discovered; but it is more then pre∣sum'd, that his want of employment: (having never had any Charge in Ia∣maica) though not uncapable of the greatest, that this Isle could afford) made him (unable to bear Neglects) thus over busie; and too too active in moulding poor Lieut. Col. Tison to what shape he pleas'd; his Heart being better then his Head, and his Ar∣moury better blazoned with the Dove then the Serpent; and I am very con∣fident did not foresee the evil and danger that those lawless Bandyings do incurre, which Relation may ad∣mit the more credit in that I am al∣together unconcerned in either Party, and neither prejudic'd nor byassed with Partiality.
Nor were those fickle-headed Soul∣diers Page 78so soon invited to rise in Arms with them, but they sooner deserted them: leaving them to the Mercy of their Opponents Court-Mashalls, who presently doom'd them, to be shot to death. Lieut. Col. Tison died with some reluctancy and regret; but Lieut. Col. Raymond, like himself; with an undismay'd Resolution answerable to his wonted Magnanimity on whose Interment a busie Wit threw this E∣pitaph.
7. THat though Infant-Settlements, like Infant-years, are usually most fatal; yet their Blossomes once Set, are not so easily Blasted. Happily experimented in Iamaica, whose Blooming hopes now thrive so well, and their Stocks so well Rooted, that they are not easily Routed. The Major part of the Inhabitants being old West-Indians, who now Naturalized to the Countrey, grow the better by their Transplantation, and flourish in health equivalently comparable to that of their Mother-Sotl. For which I need not beg credit, since there is no Coun∣trey Disease (as at Virginia and Suri∣nam) endemically raging throughout the Isle; nor any new and unheard of distempers that want a name.
So that a wise man needs no other Physick there but his Temperance, Page 81scarcely craving Hospital assistance so much as we in England, nor have any more reason to deify an Aesculapius.
And therefore we consult our fears, rather then the dangers, when the ve∣ry name of Travell into Foreign Parts, doth so much affright us, espe∣cially into so serene an Aire as breathes in Iamaica, that owns nothing but it's distance to dismay us from it's visit; The Indies being no such Bugbear as they are (usually pourtray'd. In vindi∣cation therefore,
8. THat an Army once cow'd, espe∣cially in their first foreign at∣tempt, seldome bound their fear till it become altogether Panick: like that Punick amaze that epidemically inva∣ded Carthage, after the first defeat of Hannibal by the more thriving Genius of Scipio Africanus.
This is certain, that after the first check given to our Forces by the Ne∣groes and Molettoes in Hispaniola; The very mention of their coming, (though bruted but for experiment) caus'd some to hasten their march, beyond the pace of gravity and va∣lour.
Though after Tryals approv'd them to be English men, rather then Nor∣mans, daring, to Rally defeated Cou∣rage. The truth whereof many an Aethiope hath now unwillingly assert∣ed Page 87by the lavish expence of his sooty bloud. And here I intended to pub∣lish some Essayes touching the future Settlement of Iamaica, which now are upon second thoughts condemn'd to privacy.