Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Editor's note
 History and the institute
 Science for the layman
 Art, literature, music
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00001
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: March 1968
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Editor's note
        Page 2
    History and the institute
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Science for the layman
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    Art, literature, music
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Back Cover
        Page 81
        Page 82
Full Text

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a Journ

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Front Cover Ilusration:

These anchors were used to hold the
moorings for the 'inen-,,: war lying Ct
Port RoyaL The' are sr ular to the
anchors carried by ships of the line
in the time of Lord Nelson and
probably were '.nginallh ships anchor

colour Phot. by Raphael Shearer

aica Journal is published Quarterly
the Institute of Jamaica, 12-15 East
eet, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.
Frank Hill, Chairman.
C. Bernard Lewis, Director.


Design and Production

Lithographed in Jamaica

PricthI U.K. 7/6
U.S. and Canada $1.00
West Indies B.W.I. $1.50


1 per annum, post paid, for four
ssues,- 3 years 2.15.0., 5 years
4.10.0. Individual copies will be on
ale at all Jamaican Book Sellers and
magazine Vendors at 5/- per copy.
Iulk purchases will be at special
discount rates of 10% for 10 copies,
5% for 100 copies.

J.K. rate 1. 8.0 per annum
J.S and Canada $3.50 per annum
ind plus postage
Vest Indies $5.00

MARCH '68 VOL. 2 NO. 1

Editor's Note.............................. Alex Gradussov 2

HISTORY and the Institute ........................... 3
The Jamaica Archives ..................... Clinton V Black 4
Jewish Tombstones. ....................... G. R. Coulthard 8
A Chinese In Jamaica ...................... Helen Chinsee 10
'Work' (Painting) .......................... Vernal Reuben 14
Divers of Port Royal....................... Robert F. Marx 15
The Achievement of Frank Cundall .............. H. P. Jacobs 24
Rio Bueno (colour) ........................... J. B. Kidd 29
The Admiral Entertains (Poem)............. Basil McFarlane 30

SCIENCE for the Layman ........................... 31
The Marine Laboratory at Port Royal .......... Ivan Goodbody 31
Earthquakes in Jamaica .................. John B. Shepherd 36
Fire Flies ................................. John B. Buck 41
Revel (painting) ........................... Leonard Morris 45
A Perspective on Violence ................... Jim Whetton 46
'Irish Moss' ............................... Lena Green 51

ART LITERATURE MUSIC .................. 52
A History of Jamaican Theatre ................ .Henry Fowler 53
A View of Jamaica (Photographs) ............. Amador Packer 60
Into the Dark .......................... Orlando Patterson 62
Mountain Woman (Sculpture) ................. Edna Manley 69
Sculpture ............................................ 70
Young Girl ....................... Alvin Marriott
Sir Alexander Bustamante ........... Judy McMillan
Meditation .................. Christopher Gonzales
Language and Dialect in Jamaica ............... Jean D'Costa 71
Morgans Harbour (colour)....... .............. AlbertHuie 75
Poem s ............................................... 76
"Her Dream" .................... Mervyn Morris
"Monologue" ................... Mervyn Morris
"Cats". ......................... Dennis Scott
Bungo Mulatto (Folk Song) ............. collected Olive Lewin 77
"The Woman who married a Bull Cow"... collected Jeanette Grant 78
Paintings in Black and White .............................. 80
Leisure .......................... Henry Budhai
Flute Player ..................... Gloria Escoffery
This Dark and Miserable World ......... Keith Curwin
Shanty Town ..................... Vernal Reuben

NEXT ISSUE will include:
1. 'Rhodesian Diary' John Figueroa.
2. 'Four Illustrators of the Jamaican Scene' F. J. duQuesnay.
3. 'Mr. Salkey's Truth and Illusion' Cecil Gray.
4. 'Marcus Garvey, Africa and the New World R. G. Thwaites Jr. 1



The kind reception given to our first effort is most encouraging. However,
we are well aware of our mistakes and wish to thank our many friends who
have offered constructive criticism. A problem of binding developed in the
first few hundred magazines produced. Fortunately we were able to over-
come the difficulty and, as announced, willingly replaced them with new
copies on request.

The Editor wishes to acknowledge the help of Mrs. Audrey Wiles who drew
the insect pictures of the first issue and the work of the Institute Photograph-
er, Mr. Derrick Jones, who did all the photographic work except where other
credits were mentioned, and will continue to do so.

We hope as time progresses that some readers' comments will be printed
in a correspondence column. This column can either be a forum for artistic,
historical and scientific controversy, or plainly comment and expansion on
any printed article.

The Editor wants to invite artists particularly, but any one who wishes to
do so, to submit work to the journal. The response in the field of written
contributions has been gratifying. Our visual aspect however, is a new depar-
ture, and we have not received the varied material from artists which we were
hoping for. The contents of the Jamaica Journal, we want to state again, is
planned to be as inclusive to all thought in Jamaica as is compatible with
excellence, good taste and usefulness.

/_- }~3-Cy P


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Queen Elizabeth II :
Proclamation to open first
+---P. : Independence Parliament.

All Photos
Jamaica Archives.



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The Jamaica Archives
by Clinton V. Black

JAMAICA is fortunate in the volume, variety and
good administration of its archives. In spite of losses
from the effects of the climate, from earthquakes,
hurricanes and other disasters, a rich heritage of docu-
mentary material survives and to-day is housed in a
modern, fully-equipped national repository in Spanish
This is not to say that the course of archives has
always run smoothly or that archive administration
as we know it to-day took root from the start, but
there was a long tradition on which to build and sound
legislation, at least from 1879, and the fact that the
developments we can now be proud of kept pace with
the country's progress towards self-determination is
significant. Perhaps it was by no accident that the new

Jamaica Archives repository was opened in the year of
But this if by no means the end of the story (since
of the making of many records, as of the making of
many books, there is no end) is the current chapter in
it, and I run ahead of my narrative the purpose of
which is to relate in brief the chief features at least
of these developments.
It is not generally known that no archives from the
period of the Spanish occupation survive in the island.
Their fate is a matter for speculation. Archives of one
sort or another began to be produced almost from the
moment the British expeditionary force arrived in
1655. In due course the capture was consolidated, a
form of government set up, courts organised, the

EI ,~ '- -

church established, public services instituted, private
business developed, and the country's archives under
the new regime began to assume a more definite and
complex form. As time went on and the whole
business of life and administration altered and develop-
ed, the process increased accordingly. These changes
and developments and the course of the process itself
find reflection in the great body of archives which has
accumulated since those distant days.
It is interesting to note that we had a species of
archives department even before the final expulsion
of the Spaniards. In 1659 the Island Secretary's Office
was set up and the first Island Secretary received his
commission from King Charles II almost a year before
the first civil governor was granted his. By the Re-
cords Law of 1879 this department was abolished and
its records and most of its functions transferred to the
newly-created Island Record Office, and so the record-
keeping complex in Spanish Town, of which the Ja-
maica Archives is a part, can trace its ancestry back
more than three centuries.
No account of the archives, however short, would
be complete without mention of the two famous
journies they were obliged to make. The first, around
the middle of the eighteenth century, resulted from
the abortive transfer of the capital from its ancient
and traditional Spanish Town site to Kingston. Posses-
sion of the archives had by then become an essential
ingredient of the capital state, so when in 1755 the
law for the removal was finally passed, one of the first
steps taken to give it effect was the removal of the
archives to Kingston. Similarly, their return to Spanish
Town three years later on the disallowance of the
obnoxious law was made the symbol of the return of
metropolitan status. The archives, thirty wagon-loads
of them, escorted by a large military guard, were met
at the Ferry by a detachment from the Spanish Town
garrison "and restored in triumph to their ancient
Twenty-five years later with the threat of a French
invasion hanging over the island careful plans were
laid for the removal of the archives "to a small for-
tress, commanding the bridge in the rocky passage of
the river road," but this never proved necessary as
Admiral Rodney's victory over the French fleet at the
Battle of the Saints removed the threat.
In 1805, in the face of another threatened French
invasion, the archives were hastily packed and crated
and hurried out of the capital through the Sixteen-
mile Walk to the Church of St. Thomas-in-the-Vale for
safe keeping under militia guard. Fortunately this in-
vasion did not materialise either. Admiral Nelson
eventually chased the enemy fleet from these waters
and the archives returned to their old home.
Apart from these measures, a good deal of effort
on the whole was made to safeguard the archives. The
House of Assembly busied itself with acts "for pre-
serving the public papers and records," "transcribing
decayed records, and making them legal evidence,"
and the like. Committees were appointed by the
House, such as that of 1712, "to inspect the condition
of the public records" and report.

In 1744 an act was passed "for erecting a house or
edifice . for the use of the Council and Assembly,
and for the conservation of the public records of this
island, which have heretofore suffered by storms and
hurricanes, and by being frequently removed from
house to house, at the will of the respective officers
keeping the same." The building was to be erected in
the Spanish Town Square.
A century later we find the then Chief Justice
urging upon the Privy Council the need for collecting
the records-of the Vice-Admiralty Court and housing
them in a safe and suitable place in order to prevent
further injury, destruction and loss of these important
documents. His representations were successful and
funds provided for the purpose. Something more than
a century after this another Chief Justice was to play
a similar role in pleading the need for the present
national repository.
As time went on the need for a unified system and
central authority for the conservation of official re-
cords as a whole became evident. So it was that in
1879 the Records Law, already referred to, was passed.
This law, modelled closely on the English Public Re-
cord Office Act of 1838, provided adequately for the
proper conservation of all official records. The new
Record Office, however, did not immediately assume
its full archival responsibilities as envisaged by the law,
particularly with respect to departmental and court
records, with the result that these collections continu-
ed to accumulate in their respective offices a prey to
all the destructive agencies to which archives are heir.
As the nineteenth century wore on this unsatisfac-
tory state of so much of the country's archives began
to be commented on by investigators from outside,
beginning with Professor Charles Hull whose report,
written in 1905, was published by the Royal Commis-
sion (1910) on Public Records. The old legal records,
notably those of the Vice-Admiralty, Chancery and
Grand Courts, were in a particularly parlous state
owing chiefly to the effects of the 1907 earthquake
and two subsequent removals. In 1936 the authori-
ties were induced to transfer these collections from
the Supreme Court registry to the Island Record Of-
fice. With this transfer, however, the system of regular
transmissions of non-current records to the Record
Office, brought briefly to life, ceased. The Office was
not yet geared or staffed to assume its full archival
responsibilities under the law and, as it happened,
this transfer was never fully assimilated. In 1940 these
same collections were passed to the custody of the
Institute of Jamaica, being restored to official custody
when the new archive repository was built, the records
themselves never having left Spanish Town.*

A new day for the archives dawned with the accep-
tance by the Government of the Report on the Ar-
chives of Jamaica, prepared in 1950 by Sir Hilary
Jenkinson, at that time head of the Public Record
Office, London. His visit to the island, made possible
* See Jamaica Journal, Dec. 1967, p.6

by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York
to the Institute of Jamaica, was to prove one of the
most important steps ever taken towards the proper
administration of the country's archives as a whole.
He found that there was adequate legislation on the
subject and the main recommendation in his Report,
in fact, was the appointment of an Archives Commit-
tee under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice who
is Keeper of the Records, to plan and secure the full
implementation of the 1879 Records Law and the
extensions of the functions and status of the Island
Record Office which this would entail. He was also
impressed by the need for a homogeneous system of
conservation of archives of other categories besides
those of a public nature of semi-public activity for
example, of the churches and of private enterprise -
and made recommendations accordingly.
The development which took the longest time to
materialise, perhaps, was the provision of a new nation-
al repository, but the scale on which this provision
was made would have surprised, although it would
have delighted Jenkinson, had he lived to know of it.
Here now, in conjunction wit' the neighboring
Record Office and Registrar General's Department, is
housed the country's archives, the great, long series
of leather-bound volumes reaching back to the 1660s,
together with the mass of more modern material which
has come to rest beside their predecessors, the whole
representing a national resource of the first import-
The bulk of this material is official in nature, con-
sisting of the records of the central and local govern-
ments at all levels which by law must be transmitted
here when their current usefulness to the agency con-
cerned has ended; but here also will be found valuable
collections of archives of other categories, deposited
for safe keeping and use: those of semi-public organi-
sations such as charitable, educational and other trust
bodies, of private individuals and of certain church
The Jamaica Archives is a common-service depart-
ment to which all government agencies turn for full
archival services in respect of their record accumula-
tions. Its primary function, a very practical one, is,
briefly, to help the government to operate efficiently
by preserving for its use the documentary evidence of
its own activities. Its second important function, a
cultural one, is to make these documentary resources
available for research, under proper safeguards, assist-
ed by all possible means of reference such as lists,
indexes, catalogues, calendars, as well as photo-repro-
ductions. These services and facilities have established
the Jamaica Archives as one of the most important
historical research centres in the area and attract an
increasing number of researchers, scholarly and other-
wise, local and overseas, to the department to exploit
the resources offered.
But this is the end-product. Before documents may
be used a good deal of work generally has to be done

A Corner of the First-floor Repository

on them. In the department's Intermediate Reposi-
tory all new accessions must first go there to be
examined, cleaned, treated for mildew or insect infes-
tation, checked, listed, wrapped, boxed, labelled, tagg-
ed as required, before being admitted to the repository
sections or strong-rooms.
Adjoining the Intermediate Repository, for good
reason, is the Repair and Binding Section, to which
damaged or fragile items may readily be passed for
attention. Here records of all types, damaged by use
or neglect, by the effects of the climate or age, are
restored, rebound and given a new lease of life. Here
the techniques employed and the skills which have
been developed make it possible to claim that no docu-
ment worth preserving need now be discarded because
The Art of Restoration. In the Repair and Binding
section skilled hands give new life to frail and damaged

7 7-

3 s

of its poor physical condition.
The air-conditioning of the building is another
very important aid in the conservation of records,
since the ability to control temperature and humidity
makes possible the creation of climatic conditions
regarded as ideal for paper and parchment preserva-
tion. Nor have other essential conservation require-
ments been overlooked: the building is fire-, burglar-,
and insect-proof, as far as these ideals are possible of
achievement, and capable of expansion when the need
for this arises as it will inevitably.
Although the main use of photography in the
department is for the distribution, rather than trans-
cription, of documentary material, it is employed
also for preservation purposes. Photocopying is a
valuable substitute for repair in certain circumstances,
and in providing a reference copy to save wear and
tear of frequently consulted or particularly precious
original records.
Which brings us again to the end-product of all
this effort the availability of the country's archives


-~~ ) 4%/IA .M

for public consultation and use, or it may even be
simply for public viewing. To satisfy this last there
are the display sections, one in the Repair Department
illustrating restoration techniques and materials, the
other adjoining the search room where documents of
outstanding interest are permanently on show. Here
also special exhibitions are mounted from time to
time, such as that in 1962 in honour of Independence,
and the exhibition of documents relating to the 1865
Rebellion arranged as part of the centenary celebra-
tions of the event. Currently on show is a small ex-
hibition on the theme of human rights which features
the island's Independence Proclamation.
These displays are an important function of the
department. They help to stimulate an interest in
archives, especially among our young people,thou-
sands of whom view these displays every year. They
also provide the visitor, whether local or from abroad,
with material to look at and remember and with a
savour at least of the variety and richness of our

~_I~yr~uc~z,~:~rg i~-~` Th

i r IA. l/,

*^ /s~~/o .e H% ^% < (s . ...
AK> did,.M ,^e^t d ^ ea^At.ilk ^s6 io^a- /%A/ /' y X,- A

e.Xqb.l, l 1
,a ',..qq ,^ ^,, o-.^..J,^t,. ,.^ o ^. ^,, ^,


4 f b ,, --

,4 .by C~ to Rcv /e in 175.

Order by Chief Justice Rallary to Receiver General in 1735.

A..n h i 4&4 t~~




In JAMAICA by G. R. Coulthard

Although by no means all the inscribed grave-stones made without foreseeing that in time the same wil
in Jamaica have survived, from those that still survive, ample Consider that death is cruel and tyrannical
evidence as to the importance of this early Jamaican community And if it has not come yet, it will come tomorr
can be gathered. The origin of the Jews in America is, of
course, their repulsion by royal decree on the 31st March,
1492, from Spain, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs,
Ferdinand and Isabel. They were given the choice of being -'
baptized Christians or leaving Spain and all Spanish dominions '
within four months. The figures of those who left vary widely
between around 170,000 and 400,000. Some embraced Christ-
ianity and remained in Spain but these were suspect and fre-
quently denounced to the Inquisition. Many, first made their "''
way to Portugal and from there to North Africa and the Tur- .
kish empire, but from 1512 onwards the Netherlands became '
an ever increasingly popular place of settlement. Jews who had .
settled in the Portuguese colony of Brazil abandoned it, when '
Portugal passed into Spanish hands in 1580 (until 1640), and '
sought refuge in the Dutch settlements of Surinam and Curacao. ''.,! -I
There seem to have been a small number of Spanish Jews in Ja-" '-' i' l t) n1
maica, even when it was Spanish, as the property rights of the 1'10 .
island were in the hands of the Columbus family, and the In-
quisition was not allowed to function here. It is thought that .-'
the principal pilot on whom Penn and Venables relied, Captain '
Sampoe Sabbatha was a Jew and also Cromwell's principal A m Je ru. TLrnn il cW'
intelligence agent, Simbn de C'aceres. -,-ra
The extant grave-stone inscriptions show quite clearly that -' c -r. r O'% Tc I Vl ld', C i
a number of Jews were living in Jamaica, or at least from the '' L "" "'" -
1680's onwards; they also show that these families must have "
used both Spanish and Portuguese at home for more domestic t
purposes; and that Spanish and Portuguese were used as late
as the 1790's. This is not surprising as even today a form of Spa-
nish called "ladino" is used by Sephardim (Jews of Spanish ori-
gin) in parts of North Africa, Greece and Turkey. What is a
fact is that "ladino" is no longer used at all in Jamaica, and it is
impossible in the absence of documentary evidence to know
when it died out and ceased to be used entirely in this country.
There are numerous mistakes in the Spanish and Portuguese
which, however, may have been due to the ignorance of the
stone-cutters who engraved the inscriptions, there is also a cul-
tured, literary character to a number of these inscriptions as in
the two following ones, both in the Hunts Bay Cemetary and
written in Spanish: (Hunts Bay -71)
Because you just turn away from my tomb
and because it was I who died, you do not let
your thoughts dwell on the brevity of my days
and to think of this life in its lifetime - This is the epitaph of Joseph Nunes Mirande wi
As the portrait is not of you you persist, 1716, being born in 1681.

11 befall you

ho died in

Epitaph of Ester Baruh Alvares
from the Hunts Bay Cemetary

Another example of a very literary epitaph is that of Srs.
Dofia Ester Baruh Alvares, who died in 1689: (Hunts Bay 74)
Weep that that ill-fated Youth
so sadly and swiftly departed
For if in many life is prolonged
on account of their virtues, she also deserved long life.
She was a lovely, full-grown plant
closely entwined in conjugal love
When fate cut her down in the 18th year of her life.
She was dressed by the moral Virtues,
and in compassion they all built
an ever-lasting mausoleum to her memory,
and obtained from the Being of Beings what they piously sought,
that a Good name should be followed by eternal glory.

A further well composed, literary inscription is to be found
on the tomb of Dr. Isaac DaCosta,.who died in 1754 at the age
of 68: (the following is in Portuguese:)
Here, passer-by is one whom Fate
has hidden and has in keeping,
For the constant love of God
must be raised up to Glory.
If his love was of peace and honour - -
And he was esteemed for his Virtues,
Learn and do not forget him,
Esteem him although you see him under this stone.

from the Old Orange Street Cemetary
Mosseh Brandon, who died in 1867 (this again is in Portuguese):

it was one who always tried
that it was her pleasure to hav e could give,

and if you read this name it means

These two tombs are from the old Orange Street cemetery.

2. J. Caro Baroja Losjudios en la Espaia Moderna y contempornea,
Madrid, 1962, 3 vols.

3. Photographs and inscriptions in the Institute of Jamaica.
t p and-hariabl

from the Old Orange Street Cemetary

Mosseh Brandon, who died in 1867 (this again is in Portuguese):

3. Photo serveaphs and pleainscriptions in the Institute of Jamaica.God

3. Photographs and inscriptions in the Institute of Jamaica.


Artists impression of Chinese arriving in Jamaica in 1884.


by Helen Chinsee

One day, talking to a Jamaican of mixed Chinese
and Negro origin an interesting question came up.
Why are people of Chinese origin found in every nook
and corner, when, in the United States for example
the Chinese concentrate only in a few cities. The
answer to this is tied up with the early history of the
Chinese in Jamaica.
When the slaves were emancipated in Jamaica, the
owners of sugar plantations found themselves with
the problem of an insufficient labour supply, not hav-
ing any one to work in the cane fields and sugar
factories. One solution, they were told, was to import
deligent, hardworking men from China. True, you
could not buy them as slaves. But getting indentured
labourers was not very disadvantageous compared with
the buying of slaves. So the various plantation owners
requested the Colonial Secretary in Hong Kong to
recruit Chinese labourers. According to the Jamaica
Gazette, the first Chinese labourers in substantial num-
bers (608 to be exact) arrived in Kingston on July
12th, 1884, after a harassing 67-day voyage across the
Indian Ocean and through the Suez Canal.
Upon their arrival, they were all taken to Spanish
Town prison, there to await being claimed by the
various plantation owners, who sent mule carts to coll-
ect them. Since sugar plantations were scattered all
over the island, as they still are now, this accounts for
the fact that the Chinese became evenly distributed.

Today at nearly every corner of the Island, you can
find a Chinese shop or two; or failing that, see people
walking about who possess obvious Chinese features.
Those early Chinese settlers are long dead, but their
blood flows on in today's Jamaica.

A history of bare facts can sometimes cloak the
drama played by these early settlers. To make the
story come alive, I am going to tell of "Pa" William
Chinsee, founder of the firm of Chin See Bros. of Fal-
mouth. This is a true story, for I married Pa Chinsee's
youngest son, (Rupert B. Chinsee). Among my an-
cestors were mandarins, scholars of renown, wealthy
landlords. Compared to them, Pa Chinsee, who began
life as a poor peasant, grew up to become an inden-
ured labourer, who worked many years as a "coolie",
could not rank among these men. Yet, I am just as
proud of him, if not more so. For, from what I learn-
ed about him, he was a man of considerable courage,
of iron self-discipline in short, a man of guts.

Pa Chinsee was born approximately 100 years ago,
the fourth and youngest son of a peasant family in a
remote village in Southern China. That part of China
is rocky and hilly, a harsh land to make a living from,
and it is teeming with mouths that the land is unable
to feed. When the family holding was divided up
among the four sons, Pa Chinsee's share was a plot of
land, less than an acre, and one shack. Year after year
he tilled the land, but he and his young wife were only
getting poorer and poorer. One day Pa Chinsee heard
about labourers being recruited for Brazil. He had no
idea where Brazil was and what the country was like.
But it was a chance, and at home things were hope-
less. So he decided then and there to try his luck in
Brazil. He left his young wife and baby daughter to
fend for themselves as best they could, and sailed for

Luck was against Pa Chinsee. He worked hard in a
Brazillian rubber plantation, but he was not getting
anywhere. After 7 years, he returned to China, as poor
as ever. He also became the laughing stock of the
village into the bargain; for what was the use of fight-
ing against the stars if one was destined to be poor. It
is more sensible to be reconciled to one's fate.

But Pa Chinsee was not a man to accept his fate if
his fate was a hard one. He heard of another chance of
going abroad as a labourer. The terms were 7 years
of work in payment for the passage. So he again brav-
ed the uncertain seas and the even more uncertain fate
to be dealt out by a strange may be hostile land.
This time he left his young wife with two daughters at

Thus Pa Chinsee came to Jamaica. He settled in Fal-
mouth. I have no records to tell me how he came to
Falmouth it could be that he was an indentured
labourer at either Hampden or Green Park Estate. Pa
Chinsee, however, did tell his family this much that
little rum bars and gambling places clustered around
the estates, where the indentured labourers, after a

"Pa" William Chinsee ofFalmouth.

long and hard day's work, weary and lonesome, away
from home and family, went to gather a little human
warmth. These were traps. For the men quickly squa-
ndered away their small wages, and what is more,
pawned their next week's wages, and the next and the
next. Thus when the labourers finished their years
of contract with the plantation owners, they failed to
find the freedom they were entitled to and had hoped
for; they were compelled to keep on working on the
estates in order to earn a steady income to meet their
gambling debts. They were sold anew this time for

It was only the very determined ones among the
indentured labourers who had enough will power to
keep away from those shabby rum shops. Those,
after the years of contract were up, did earn their
freedom. With the savings from the pittance they
earned, they then went to work for themselves.

Pa Chinsee went into the only trade he knew; that
of farming. He tried to grow rice in the swamps near
the White Bridge in Falmouth. Indeed the stars were
against Pa Chinsee. Although Pa Chinsee understood
rice growing, he had not reckoned on Falmouth's crabs
and birds. The crabs and birds came out and ate up Pa
Chinsee's rice crops.

View of the swamps near Falmouth, where in all pro-
bability, Pa Chinsee had his rice fields. They have not
changed much over the years.

Back in China, for all practical purposes Ma Chinsee
was no better than any widow. True, at great intervals
an occasional letter filtered back from Pa Chinsee. But
most of them only carried the news that he was still
alive. Hardly any letter was accompanied by even a
small remittance of money. It therefore fell upon Ma
Chinsee's shoulders to till the under-an-acre lot that
had been Pa Chinsee's inheritance. The second daught-
er, Lien would be strapped to Ma Chinsee's back while
she worked the land; and the eldest daughter Tai, who
was 9 years old, would be made to perform whatever
little tasks she was capable of doing. Tai, who visited
Jamaica a few years, before her death, told me that it
had been her job to cook lunch and carry it to the
field to Ma Chinsee. One day she was carrying an

earthen-ware pot full of cooked rice to the field and as
she walked alongside a paddy field, her foot slipped
and she fell, spilling all the rice into the mud and sand.
There was no more rice at home to cook a fresh pot,
so 9-year old Tai scooped up the rice and mud as best
she could, carried it to the river to wash off as much
mud as possible, and then carried this rice to give Ma
Chinsee. When Tai told me the story, she was
approaching 70, and she was then the mother-in-law of
Wilson K. Chin, a successful grocer in Falmouth. As
she recounted the story, tears fell from her eyes. She
said that there was not a thing to go along with this
rice not even a piece of salted turnip nothing
except the grains of sand mixed with the rice. Sitting
side by side on a tree stump, mother and daughter
swallowed the rice, salted with their own tears. So
painful was the memory that even 60 years could not
erase it from Tai's mind.

Any lesser man would have become broken in spirit,
and would have sought the solace of alcohol to drown
his disappointments and to blot out the faces of his
wife and daughters. Not Pa Chinsee. Somehow he
scraped together some money and started a small shop.
His English was still very limited. But his resourceful-
ness was not. To get ideas across, he provided a long
stick. The customer could use the stick to point at the
desired item on the shelf. Pa Chinsee could follow the
stick, take down the item and push it across to the

Slowly, but very slowly indeed, Pa Chinsee prosper-
ed. All was not smooth. Once he was almost bank-
rupt. For Pa Chinsee did business the Chinese way,
trusting implicitly that every merchant would be
honour-bound to give his customers a fair deal. Thus
he had not realized that it was necessary to check
every purchase he made for his store, to make certain
that what he paid for them would enable him to make
a profit, however small. But gradually he learned.
Once when he went to Montego Bay on business in
those days a two day affair on mule back he was
thrown off his mule. When his mule returned to Fal-
mouth riderless, the friends he had acquired bewailed
the death of Pa Chinsee.

By hard work, and by even harder saving, Pa Chinsee
gradually climbed up the ladder. His business even-
tually evolved into what is today Chin See Bros. Whole-
sale, Grocery, Bakery and Hardware shop. By the
time that Pa Chinsee became established, he was no
longer young in fact he was 37. He then talked about
sending for Ma Chinsee. Many of his relatives and
friends urged him not to send for Ma Chinsee, but to
divorce her and send for a younger woman instead.
The reason for the advice was that Pa Chinsee had not
sired a son yet, and according to Chinese tradition, a
man may be permitted three unfilial acts, but the
failure to produce a male heir is a major offence. Ma
Chinsee was the same age as Pa Chinsee an age
when most Chinese women of those days were begin-
ing to become grandmothers. Certainly Ma Chinsee
would understand why Pa Chinsee would take a young-

er woman now that he could afford to send for a wife.
Yet, in spite of all these well-intentioned persuasions,
Pa Chinsee was faithful to the wife who had shared his
poverty. It was Ma Chinsee whom he sent for. Ma
Chinsee lived in Falmouth for approximately five
years. During three of those years, she presented her
husband with three children: Percival Llewelyn, Ida

Louisa and Rupert Bancroft. Now life became com-
plete for Pa Chinsee.

Yet, the early days of poverty and strict self-dis-
cipline left indelible marks on Pa Chinsee. Years after
his death, his name was respected in Falmouth and the
Chinese community. Many of the successful Chinese

merchants of a generation ago had their early training
with Pa Chinsee. It was said that at the crack of
dawn Pa Chinsee would get out of his bed; put on his
slippers and walk about in the parlour coughing loud-
ly. This was Pa Chinsee's alarm clock, telling the young
men that it was time for them to rise and shine and to
begin the day's work. He was the head of the family
as well as the head of the business. So it was not pro-
per for him to open the doors of the shop. This task
should be performed by younger and more junior mem-
bers of the establishment, as a sign of respect and
good manners towards their elders.

So, having warned the young men that they should
get up and open the shop, he filled his pockets with
half pennies and pennies and went out to take a walk
by the sea. On such strolls he would encounter half of
the town's early rising population, and to those who
needed it, there would be a gift of a half-penny or a

After that, he would fill his day seeing that the
young men serving their apprenticeship in his shop did
everything correctly. That he was strict to the point
of making himself held in awe by the great majority of
them, I have no doubt. Henry Levy Chin, J.P. and
owner of the Sweetie's Thrift Store and Supermarket
in Falmouth a nephew of Pa Chinsee, is still carrying
the training that Pa Chinsee gave him in his early youth.
You don't believe me? Come to Falmouth and see if
the Sweetie's Thrift Store is not the first to open
nearly every morning, with none other than Henry
Levy Chin hustling and bustling behind the counter,

while men half his age are still sound asleep.
As for his own enjoyment of life's good things,.I
was told that Pa Chinsee's everyday suits were always
made of flour bags, washed and bleached bone white.
I am told that in those days, flour came in 200 lb.
bags, and the cloth that made the bags was really
strong. Pa Chinsee never could bring himself to living
like a rich man though he was a man of substance long
before he died. By working like a slave and by denying
himself even the small comforts that every man or
woman believes are their due, he hoisted himself up
by his boot straps. He founded the Chinsee family.
Today his descendants are university graduates: doc-
tors, engineers, business-men who rub shoulders with
the descendants of the very planters for whom Pa Chin-
see worked as an indentured labourer. Without Pa
Chinsee's efforts, the Chinsees of today could not
enjoy the privileges that they now take for granted.

I am recounting Pa Chinsee's story with two pur-
poses in mind. For the Jamaican-Chinese of today,
there ought to be a sense of gratitude to their fore-
bears. The Jamaican-Chinese are only where they are
standing today because so to speak they are stand-
ing on the shoulders of their fathers or grand-fathers.
My message to those of us Jamaicans who are today
as hard pressed as Pa Chinsee was: take courage from
What Pa Chinsee did, you too can accomplish. The
world is still a place where determination, work and
thrift can combine to push a man ahead, where a man
can be the master and not the slave of his fate.

Work Vernal Reuben

:$ -' r

Usually the water at Port Royal is
so dirty that the divers can't see
more than a foot or two at the most.
Only on a few days throughout the
two years that the work has been
in project has the water been clear
enough to permit underwater
photography. In this pix the diver
is shown searching in the mud between
the ribs of a ship that sunk during the
1692 earthquake.

Today Port Royal is of interest mainly to treasure
hunters and tourists lured there by tales of a city
intact under the sea, its streets strewn with gold, sil-
ver, -and precious stones waiting to be retrieved by
some adventurous spirit who will descend to the sea
floor. Countless books and magazine articles alleging
recoveries of treasure at Port Royal by divers had
given the tale credence, and certainly they paint a
romantic but regrettably false picture.
One of the most famous of the many fictional
stories written about Port Royal was first written
about thirty years ago by an American helmet diver
and published around the world and no doubt believed
by most of the persons that read it. Although the
deepest part of Kingston Harbour is only sixty feet,
the author claimed that the sunken city was 180 feet
deep and that at that depth he walked the streets of
the old city, passed the still standing buildings. In one
which he entered, he claimed it was a tavern and sit-
ting on stools around various tables were skeletons
still holding pewter tankards. He also told about

Method used by divers of Port Royal
and elsewhere in the West Indies for
raising small vessels. Free divers
(meaning divers who use no breathing
apparatus) would attach large grappling
hooks attached to chains and a vessel
overhead with a lifting machine would
raise the vessel to the surface.

entering a cathedral over one hundred feet high, in
which there was a fortune in treasure on the altar.
However, just as he was able to grab the treasure, he
was attacked by a ten foot giant crab.

Excluding what treasure has been recovered during
the course of our operations during the past two years,
the only other recovery of treasure occurring shortly
after the 1692 disaster, which is part of historical
record rather than myth, occurred in 178.8 and this
probably was not even from the sunken city. Some
fishermen at Port Royal caught a fifteen-foot tiger
shark and inside its belly they discovered three leo-
pards' teeth covered with gold, a number of coloured
glass beads, and a few half-digested human bones,
which probably all belonged to someone that the shark
had made a meal of.

The reason more treasure has not been found is
that in all likelihood there remains little to find, for
most of it would have been recovered by salvors soon
after the earthquake. Diving and treasure hunting
were already well established professions at the time
of the disaster, and Port Royal was the main centre
for these professions at that time.

4 -

L. _: --U

Even before Columbus'discovery of the New World
in 1492, diving was being practised by many of the
aborigines. Like the divers of the Old World, they
found the sea floor an important source of food. Not
only were various varieties of shell fish and crustacean
picked off the bottom, but the aborigines also were
expert underwater spearfishermen. The Mayan Indians
of Mexico, like the ancient Greeks, venerated a diving
god, and a fresco of this deity may be seen today in a
temple known as the Temple of the Diving God at the
archaeological siteofTulum onthe eastern coast of the

Pearl diving in the Caribbean did not become a
major occupation of the aborigines until the coming
of the white man, but it was done on a small scale pre-
viously by the Lucayan, Carib, and Arawak tribes. In
1494, during Columbus' third voyage of exploration,
his fleet anchored one day at the island of Cubagua,
near the coast of Venezuela, to obtain a supply of fresh
water and fruits. While some of his men were ashore,
they noticed a Carib Indian woman wearing a pearl
necklace. They made inquiries and were told that
there were great quantities of pearl oysters in the
surrounding waters. Columbus sent some of the Indian

divers in search of these oysters, and the result con-
firmed the story. Immediately after his return to
Spain, Columbus reported his find to the King, who
ordered that a pearl fishery be established on Cubagua
at once. Other large oyster beds were found during
the next few years in areas near Cubagua, including
Margarita Island, which eventually became the centre
of the pearl industry, a position it still maintains

Soon after the opening of the pearl fisheries, the
local supply of divers was expended: many died from
diseases brought from Europe by the Spaniards; others
died from overwork at the hands of the greedy employ-
ers, who often forced them to dive as many as sixteen
hours a day. By the middle of the sixteenth century
large numbers of Negro slaves were imported from
Africa and forced to dive for the pearl oysters, most
of whom had never dived and in many cases had never
seen the sea until their enforced voyage. Amazingly,
they adapted at once and became as good divers as
their predecessors had been. Women slaves were pre-
ferred to men, probably because the extra layers of
body fat in their tissue prevented them from getting
chilled as quickly as the male divers.

The most interesting fact about these Negro divers
was their ability to remain submerged for a long period
of time. The sixteenth century Spanish historian,
Oviedo, tells that these divers could stay submerged
for as long as fifteen minutes, and although this seem-
ed like an exaggeration, there are at least six later
accounts of travellers who visited the pearl fisheries
and saw these divers in action during the sixteenth,
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and all of them
substantiate what Oviedo claimed. What secret -did
these divers have? Even today it is somewhat of a feat
for a diver to hold his breath for five minutes.

The divers themselves believed that they owed
their remarkable endurance to (of all things) tobacco.
Both the Indian and Negro pearl divers were very
heavy smokers, and a letter written by the governor of
Margarita in 1617 informed the King of Spain that
when the island ran out of tobacco, the divers went
on strike. The governor first tried resorting to punish-
ment to induce them to go back to work, but finally
gave up and sent a ship to Cuba for a new supply.

Thus for three hundred years, from about 1550 to
1850, thousands of Negroes were used in the pearl
fisheries off the coast of Venezuela'. The Spaniards,
who knew when they were on to a good thing, soon
found other uses for their talents even more important
than pearl diving-salvage work. From 1503 on, many
ships carrying supplies to sustain the settlements in the
New World were sent annually from Spain. Onthe
return voyages these ships carried treasure and pro-
ducts of the New World back to Spain and, owing to
careless navigation or frequent storms, a great many
ships were lost at sea. In major colonial ports like
Havana, Vera Cruz, Cartagena, and Panama, teams of
these Negro divers were kept aboard salvage vessels
which were ready to depart on short notice to recover

sunken, treasure. During the sixteenth, seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries more than 100,000,000 duc-
ats were recovered from Spanish wrecks by these
divers, who on more than one occasion saved the mon-
archs of Spain from bankruptcy. Ironically, when
other European nations began colonizing the West
Indies, these same divers were instrumental in deplet-
ing the Spanish exchequer: their new employers made
use of them in salvaging Spanish wrecks, but this time
the profits went into English, French, and Dutch

Closeup of some silver Spanish piece of eight coin.
The round shaped ones came from mints in Lima,
Peru, and Potosi, Bolivia. The oblong ones from mints
in Mexico. Their value today is between S100.00 and
$200.00 each.

The English who first settled on Bermuda in 1609
were quick to realize the importance of the Negro
pearl divers and very shortly after Bermuda was first
settled, Bermudian privateers made raids on the pearl
fisheries and captured a large number of divers and set
them to work salvaging Spanish treasure shipwrecks.
The divers fared much better under the English and
many were given their freedom in return for salvaging
large amounts of sunken treasure. Until the middle of
the seventeenth century when Port Royal was first
founded, treasure hunting, or "wracking", as the Eng-
lish called the profession, was the major industry of
the Bermudian settlers, who had dozens of sloops and
schooners working wrecks all over the Caribbean.

However with the founding of Port Royal, it quick-
ly became the centre for the "wrackers", as it was
more advantageously situated, more or less in the
middle of the Caribbean. By 1673 a Spanish spy who


visited Port Royal reported that as many as fifty
sloops and schooners operated out of Port Royal in
search of treasure from Spanish shipwrecks. To this
day the old divers of Port Royal still are honoured
with the distinction of having recovered the greatest
amount of treasure from a single shipwreck.

In 1641 a Spanish treasure fleet was struck by a
hurricane in the Straits of Florida a few days after
leaving Havana and all but one went to the ocean
bottom. The only ship still afloat after the worst of
the storm had passed was the Almiranta, or vice ad-
mirals' ship. After a week of being carried along at
the mercy of the wind and current, since this galleon
had lost all of its masts in the storm, it finally was
wrecked on a reef located about fifty miles off the
north coast of Hispaniola. Of the 600 persons on
board the galleon, most of them managed to swim to
a nearby sandpit and some of them made rafts from
the wreckage and tried to reach Hispaniola. However
only a handful ever reached the island and all those
left on the'sandpit died from lack of water and food
before aid could reach them.

As soon as the fate of the Almiranta reached the
ears of the Governor of Santo Domingo, he quickly
sent to Margarita for fifty of the Negro pearl divers,
however, bad weather delayed their arrival at the site
of the shipwreck for months. When they finally did
reach the general area, the shipwreck could not be
located as storms had covered the wreck over with
sand. During the next twenty years more than sixty
expeditions were sent out by the Spanish King to lo-
cate and salvage this very rich galleon, but they all
met with failure.
The story would have ended here, if it.was not for
several divers from Port Royal accidently discovering
the wreck. News of their discovery soon reached the
ears of an American named William Phips, who had
shortly before recovered a small part of the treasure
from a wreck in the Bahamas, and was ready to try
his luck again. Phips first left his home in Boston and
sailed to London to raise the necessary capital to fin-
ance the venture. There he enlisted the aid of the
Duke of Albermarle and Sir John Marlborough, both
of whom in turn convinced King James to participate
in the venture, too. The King not only gave Phips a
ship to use, but also granted him an exclusive con-
cession for treasure hunting in the Caribbean.

Phips sailed directly from London to Port Royal,
where he hired about two dozen Negro pearl divers,
refugees from the pearl fisheries of Margarita. For
several months he drove himself and his men almost
to breaking point, particularly the divers, who were
working from dawn to dusk. Perseverance was at last
rewarded when the wreck was relocated. As one of
the divers rose to the surface with his hands full of
silver coins, Phips burst into tears of joy. The next
month was a constant struggle to bring up treasure
while fighting off pirates who had received news of the
windfall. More than thirty-two tons of silver, a vast
amount of gold, chests of pearls, and leather bags con-

training precious gems were recovered before bad wea-
ther and exhaustion of provisions put an end to the
salvage operations. The total value of the treasure
was equal to $ 3,000,000, in today's currency, and
Phips received a sixth of it, enough to make him one
of the richest men in America. Each of the Port
Royal divers also received a large bonus and those who
were not freemen, were able to buy their freedom.

IA \ 1
Drawing of one of the buildings that existed at Port
Royal at the time of the 1692 earthquake. This was a
private dwelling belonging to Mr. Thomas Longman.

At the very time of the Port Royal disaster in 1692,
a large number of Port Royal divers were actually
working in the pay of the Spaniards. The year before,
four Spanish galleons under the command of the
Marquis de Bao, sailing between Cartagena and Havana,
were wrecked on the Pedro Shoals, located 130 miles
south of Kingston, due to faulty navigation. Several
Port Royal boats in that area at the time were instru-
mental in rescuing 776 persons off the wrecks and also
part of their treasure and other cargo. No sooner did
the survivors reach Port Royal, than dozens of vessels
set sail in great haste for the wreck sites. However,
on this occasion, although the Port Royal divers were
also to recover a great deal from these wrecks, they
did not benefit much from the venture. Spain and
England were then at peace and the high ranking
Spanish officials amongst the survivors managed to
convince the Governor of Jamaica that it would cause
bad feelings between both nations if the Port Royal
divers were permitted to keep the treasure they were
then salvaging. As a result, as vessel after vessel reach-

.j a-1^3

ed Port Royal loaded with the salvaged Spanish trea-
sure, the Admiralty Officials seized all that was found
aboard the vessels and the salvors were eventually only
rewarded with one-tenth of what they had salvaged.
Within a month after the disaster, the Spaniards had
several warships stationed near the wreck site, to pre-
vent any further illegal diving on them. In the end,
the Spaniards hired a large number of Port Royal divers
and besides paying them a reasonable salary, they were
also given a bonus of one-fifth of what they recovered.

However from contemporary documents we know
that not all the Port Royal divers were down on the
Pedro Shoals diving for the Spaniards at the time of
the disaster, as various accounts state that on the very
day of the earthquake, divers were already diving into
the submerged buildings and recovering items of value.
Some of them using diving bells, which allowed them
to remain submerged for an hour or more. The rest,
who used no diving equipment at all, were known
as free divers. They were a fearless breed of men it
was reported that they often fought with sharks around
Port Royal just for the sport and they undoubtedly
recovered many of the valuables from the still stand-
ing buildings under the sea.

Diving bells such as this one was used by early divers
at Port Royal in the seventeenth and eighteenth cen-
turies. The bells were made of lead and the chains of
brass. In size this bell would have been about six feet
in height and would have held enough air for one
diver to spend one hour working in depths not ex-
ceeding sixty feet.

Although the section of the city located between
Fort James and Fort Carlisle sank to depths of thirty
to fifty feet two minutes after the third earth tremor,
the part of the city located between Fort James and
Fort Carlisle sank gradually and the upper parts of the
buildings remained above the water for years. In July
of 1693 a visitor wrote:

The Principal parts of Port Royal now lie four,
six, or eight fathoms underwater ... Indeed, tis
enough to raise melancholy thoughts in a man to
see chimneys and the tops of some houses, and
masts of ships and sloops, which partaked of the
same fate, appear above the water, now habita-
tions for fish.
Since Port Royal's roofs were often constructed
of wood and shingles, which could have been torn off,
access to the buildings must have been very easy not
only for divers but for salvors who did not descend
into the water. They used two methods dredging
and fishing. To dredge, they lowered heavily weighted
fishing nets and dragged them over the bottom, snagg-
ing loose items. To fish they first spread oil on the
surface of the water to calm it so they could see clear-
ly to the bottom, then used either long poles with

One of the methods used by "fishers" to recover items
from the sea floor. This method of using grab buc-
kets was certainly used at Port Royal after the 1692
earthquake. Other methods used by the "fishers"
was with hooks on the ends of long poles and grappling
hooks attached to ropes.


Method of "dredging used at Port Royal after the 1692 disaster. When the net snagged on
any obstruction like a wall of a building, a diver was sent down to unsnag it.

Silver pocket watch found during the present
excavation project at Port Royal. The watch
was made in London by Aron (sic) Gibbs,
sometime before 1666.

Artifacts recovered about ten
years ago by a modern day treasure
hunter from the shipwreck of
the Spanish ship "Genoesa",
which is sunk on Pedro
Shoals. Artifacts are. Pewter
bowl, coral-encrusted cannon ball,
pewter plate, several brass
medallions, two brass crucifixes,
pair of brass navigational dividers
and a clay smoking pipe.


# t

hooks or spears on the ends, or ropes with grappling
hooks attached, to catch hold of what they wanted.

Little of Port Royal's treasure would have been
overlooked by the divers, dredgers, and fishers immed-
iately on the scene, and we know that salvaging con-
tinued on a large scale for several decades after the
earthquake. How much treasure was lost and how
much was subsequently salvaged we can only guess at,
as no historical records on this subject has come to
light up until now. However, from our own present
excavation on the site, which has now been in pro-
gress for two full years, we have learned several import-
ant facts about those early salvors. Firstly they were
quite thorough and good at their work; missing very
little of value. Inside three different houses which we
have excavated to date, there was absolutely nothing
to be found, except a grappling hook in one of the
houses and a two pronged harpoon in another, both
of which items were probably lost by the early salvors.
In areas between standing or falling walls, rarely do
we find anything of value, except things like bottles,
ceramic sherds, clay smoking pipes, etc. which
would not have been considered of any value to the
early salvors. Luckly for us, those early salvors either
did not have the proper equipment, or considered the
effort too much, to lift or tear apart the hundreds of
fallen walls from the old buildings, otherwise there
would be very little left to recover today. Throughout
the course of our present excavation, almost every
single item of value such as pewter, silver, gold,
brass, etc. has been recovered from under a fallen
wall. There has been only one major exception to this
rule: the first hoard of Spanish silver coins, which
were in a wooden chest and contained a brass key
hole plate with the coat-of-arms of the King of Spain.
The only explanation why this chest of coins was over-
looked by the early salvors was the possibility that its
weight caused it to sink immediately deep into the
mud on the sea floor and could not be seen by the

Just about the time that Port Royal divers had
gotten all that they could from the sunken city,
another golden opportunity arose. In 1715 a Spanish
treasure fleet of ten ships was wrecked on the coast
of Florida, between Cape Canaveral and Fort Pierce,
and over one thousand persons and 14,000,000 pesos
in treasure were lost. As soon as word of-the disaster
reached Havana, salvage teams were rushed to the sites
of the wrecks. Likewise as soon as the same news
reached Port Royal, dozens of small vessels sailed for
Florida and began diving illegally on many of the
wrecks, in sight of the Spanish salvage teams which
were diving on other nearby wrecks. Contemporary
accounts on this matter are quite confusing and con-
tradictory, but it is estimated that the Port Royal
divers managed to recover over a half million pesos
before the Spaniards were able to send a small squad-
ron of warships to prevent any further illegal diving
on their wrecks.

There were others in Port Royal who concluded
that what was lost in the sea belonged to anyone who

found it and they decided that if the Spaniards refused
to let them dive for the treasure, then even though
Spain and England were at peace at this time, they
would rob what the Spaniards were recovering.
Throughout the four years that the Spanish salvage
teams were at work on the wrecks, dozens of minor
attacks were made by pirates operating out of Port
Royal and Nassau, both upon the salvage boats and
even ashore at the camp sites being used by the

One'of the most brazen acts of piracy undertaken
by Port Royal pirates occurred in July 1716, when
five vessels with 300 well-armed men, under the com-
mand of Captain Henry Jennings, landed and attacked
the main camp site of the salvors on the Florida
coast. Ironically at this time, Jennings actually was
commissioned by Lord Hamilton, the Governor of Ja-
maica, for suppression of piracy, but he and his men
decided to be pirates instead. This treacherous act
would have even been ten times worse if the pirates
had landed a few days earlier, as there was over
4,000,000 pesos in salvaged treasure ashore, but it was
shipped to Havana two days before the pirates attack-

Finally in 1719, the Spaniards halted any further
salvage work, even though they had only recovered
about half of what had been lost on the ships. The
remainder, they wrote, had all probably been -covered
over by shifting sands and it was impossible to locate.
The Port Royal salvors were once again to appear on
the sea and we know that between 1720 and 1728,
every single year, many Port Royal vessels were search-
ing for treasure on those same wrecks. Again lack of
historical documents prevents us from learning how
much was eventually salvaged by Port Royal divers.

In 1730 there was more work for the Port Royal
divers right in their own home waters. A Spanish
galleon named the "Genoesa" of 54 cannons, com-
manded by Captain Francisco Guiral, proceeding from
Cartagena to Havana, was wrecked on the Pedro Shoals.
The most important passenger on the ship, the Presi-
dent of the audiencia of Panama, with fourteen others,
left the wreck aboard a makeshift raft and they were
never heard of again. Another small group led by the
first mate of the wreck set sail for assistance in a long-
boat and safely reached Black River on the south
coast of Jamaica, where the local authorities quickly
provided them a vessel to return for the survivors on
the wreck. However, upon their return they discover-
ed that two vessels from Port Royal had already taken
off the survivors and a substantial part of the treasure.
Other salvage sloops from Port Royal also appeared
and began illegally diving for the treasure. Finally the
Governor acted and sent a warship to prevent any
further illegal diving on the wreck. Although this war-
ship was able to chase the illegal salvors away upon
its arrival, each time that it had to sail because of bad
weather or return to Port Royal for supplies, several
of Port Royal vessels would appear on the scene and
salvage treasure from this wreck. Some of the salvag-
ed treasure was eventually seized by the Admiralty

Officials and turned over to the Spaniards, but the
greater part escaped detection in the end.

Another Port Royal legend as romantic as the one
of untold riches to be found on the sea floor concerns
St. Paul's Church, which is supposed to lie about 300
yards from the present shoreline: a permanent navi-

Church Bell in
possession of Institute
of Jamaica (

national marker, known as the Church Beacon, stands
over the site. The legend began midway through the
nineteenth century, when a large Spanish church bell
made of bronze was dredged up there. Since the
standing walls of a large building could be glimpsed
below, people assumed that they belonged to the
town's largest church. There was no basis for any
such assumption, for there is no proof that the bell
came from St. Paul's. It could have been part of the
Catholic chapel known to exist at the time of the dis-
aster, or one of the bells used in the town's three
markets, or even cargo from a ship lost during the
1692 earthquake or during one of Port Royal's other
subsequent disasters. On the other hand, there is no
proof that it did not come from St. Paul's: it being of
Spanish origin does not rule out the possibility, since
we know from a document dating a few years before
the disaster that the inhabitants thought the church
needed a new bell, and they might well have obtained
one the way they obtained so many other things -
through plunder of their thriving contraband trade
with the Spaniards. It is also a fact that although the

site of St. Paul's was almost a quarter of a mile from
where the bell was recovered, that one of the first
things to topple during the quake was the steeple of
this church and it is conceivable that the tidal wave
could have carried it just about anywhere.

We do not know the identity of the bell, but we do

know the identity of the building below the Church
Beacon, and it is not St. Paul's. The discovery was
made in 1859 by Jeremiah D. Murphy, one of helmet
divers stationed at the English naval base at Port Royal
to repair ships. Here are his own words of what he
"After repairing H.M. Ship Valorous, I went down
on the 9th of September at what is called at Port Royal
the 'Church Buoy', but what ought to be called the
'Fort Buoy', it being placed on the remains of old
Fort James. But the day was unfavourable, the water
being muddy, so that I could not see much; and being
impressed with the idea that it must have been the
remains of the church on which I was, my explorations
that day were not satisfactory. About twelve
o'clock (being then down for four hours) the water
cleared a little, and getting a better view I concluded
that the ruin which I was on must have been those of
a fort. But soon after I found a large granite stone
somewhat the shape and size of a tombstone, which
was covered with a coral formation, so that I could
not tell whether it had an inscription or not. Fancy-

ing this stone to be a tombstone, thereby indicating
the vicinity of a church yard, I was not satisfied what
the character of the building could have been. I came
to the surface about one o'clock determined to wait
a more favourable day. In the meantime Mr. dePass
was so good as to obtain for me, from the collection
of Henry Hutchins, Esq., a map of the old town as it
stood before the earthquake, by which I learned that
the ruins, of the nature of which I had all along my
doubts, were in fact the ruins of Fort James, and that
the church stood about the east end of the present

Monday, the 19th instant, being a very clear day,

mud, I found it attached to a granite stone similar to
the one I had seen before. I have no doubt these
stones were part of the embrasures and that the copp-
er chains were used for slinging the guns".
Murphy's description of what he had seen, pub-
lished in a Jamaican newspaper, the Falmouth Post,
should have squelched the legend at birth, but it per-
sisted. This legend was given a new lease on life when
the beforementioned article by an American helmet
diver was published about thirty years ago, and con-
tained his fictitious description of a sunken cathedral.
Even today many of the old fishermen at Port Royal
claim that on rough days, when passing the "Church
Beacon" they can hear church bells ringing.

Three divers on the present team excavating the sunken city of Port Royal under the direction of marine archae-
ologist Robert Marx. There are from left to right: Coral Morgan, Alphanso Hall and Kenute Kelly. They are
holding a brass cooking kettle which has some building bricks attached toit by coral growth.

I went down about two o'clock, and had a very good
view of the fort. At times I could see objects one
hundred feet away from me. The fort forms an obtuse
angle to the west. The walls are built of brick, and
are as solid as so much rock. After being down about
two hours, I found an iron gun in one of the embra-
sures almost covered in the ruins, with a heavy copper
chain to the breech. After sending up the gun the next
day, I found the end of another chain not far from
where the gun lay. On heaving it out of the sand and

Although my team of divers and I will never have
the pleasure of discovering a sunken cathedral in the
sunken city, since the site where St. Paul's once stood
is now covered by land; and, we may never find the
'million in treasure' believed by many to exist in the
sunken city, we at least have the joy of being able to
recover thousands of artifacts of great historical and
archaeological value.

The Achievement of


The name of Frank Cundall was for an earlier gen-
eration synonymous with that of the Institute of Ja-
maica: Mr. Cundall was the Institute. But he was not
its first moulder: he did not arrive in Jamaica till the
Institute was more than ten years old. He did not start
the Library: as early as 1887 the Library had reached
its characteristic position of being too large for the
space available. The Museum took shape before Cun-
dall's arrival under the hand of Mr. J.J. Bowrey, the
Island Chemist. The one original contribution of Cun-
dall, at first sight, seems to be the art collection. None
the less, when Cundall died after forty-six years' ser-
vice to the Institute of Jamaica, he had left his mark
on it and on the intellectual life of the country. In-
deed, almost everyone would admit that the creation
of the West India Reference Library was a new depar-
ture, quite different from the casual accumulation of
a few books on Jamaican history and on scientific
work in Jamaica, such as had gone on before. Most
people would admit that the state of the West India
Reference Library when Cundall died in 1937 pointed
to the steadfast performance of a long and arduous
task. But very few people really grasp its magnitude.
Still less do they realise that during the time that
Mr. Cundall was Secretary (1891-1937), the Institute
was deflected from its original purpose. Was this due
to his deliberate choice, or to circumstances? In the
late 'thirties' there were people who realized that the
Institute no longer had the broad (perhaps over-
ambitious) aims of its founders. Their criticisms were
taken by Mr. Cundall in a personal sense, and it was
inevitable that the critics would use phrases which
must wound Mr. Cundall. Yet, primarily, these attacks
were inspired by the feeling that what had been in-
tended as a great and inspiring educational institution
had gradually become a library of popular literature,
with the West India Reterence Library as a preserve
for a few people such as the Chairman of the Board
of Governors, Mr. H.G. DeLisser, Editor of the
Gleaner and General Secretary of the Jamaica Imperial
Attempts to organise scientific and literary societies


by H.P. Jacobs

on a voluntary basis, with libraries and public lectures,
went well back into the 19th century: some of them
even had museums. Such people as Dr. James Mac-
Fadyen, the eminent botanist, Baron von Ketelhodt,
and Edward Jordon belonged to these bodies.
Soon after Crown colony government began, there
were people who thought it would be a good idea for
the central government to help: but it was not till
1879 that the Institute of Jamaica was founded.
It is obvious that some good work was done by
Bowrey, as Curator, and by a number of other's con-
nected with the Institute, in the next few years. But
it is not clear that the Secretary and Librarian, Mr.
Henry Priest, contributed much in a positive way to

Frank Cundall 1889 by Thomas Riley.

the evolution of the new organisation. It was even-
tually decided to bring a Secretary/Librarian from
abroad, and Mr. Cundall took up the post in February,

He was then thirty-three years of age, already an
author and with a marked interest in art from 1876,
when he began work with his father Joseph Cundall
as joint editor of the 38-vol. Illustrated Biographies
of Great Artists. Before he came to Jamaica, he was
author of The Landscape and Pastoral Painters of Hol-
land, as well as of Reminiscences of the Colonial and
Indian Exhibition.
It was perhaps his connection with Exhibitions,
particularly those of an international character, which
attracted to him the attention of the Government of
Jamaica. From 1883 to 1890, he was involved in the
organisation of six Exhibitions, including the British
Section of the 1889 Paris Exhibition. The Institute
had been specially concerned with the representation
of Jamaica at such Exhibitions.
In view of his interest in art, it is not surprising
that he quickly organised an Art Gallery at the Insti-
tute, while the historical slant of his work on art makes
it natural that the Gallery should have had an historical
slant. It is less easy to see how Cundall's interests, as


Frank Cundall's letter
to Miss Lilly Perkins

time went on, came to be so predominantly historical.
So far as the aboriginal period is concerned, he may
have been influenced by J.E. Duerden, who was ap-
pointed Curator a few years after Cundall's arrival and
did work on Arawak remains, publishing a book in
1897. Through Duerden Cundall was no doubt in
contact with such people as Prof. A.C. Haddon, the
Cambridge anthropologist, to whom some of the ab-
original relics found at Halberstadt were sent.

But while we may thus understand how Cundall
came to be attracted to a particular period of Jamai-
can history, the astonishing thing about his historical
work is its broad sweep, the all-embracing character
of his interests, and the rigid consistency with which
he collected every kind of material for a wide range
of purposes. By the end of the century, he had made
a beginning of collecting books on Africa, and he
seems at a very early date to have realized that his
work must be in part West Indian in scope. He col-
lected everything printed books, newspapers, man-
uscripts, copies of manuscripts, pictures, photographs,
maps, account books. He accumulated data from let-
ters of enquiry. He studied the mysteries of heraldry.
He obtained from Spain typescripts of the old official
documents about Spanish Jamaica, and a century and
a half of history took on a new aspect.


S/ / '7 '>

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LJcC__I :~ f'k rrlr 1ZdL~~(iC\I Ce~-~W_

This tremendous task was accomplished, for all
practical purposes, without money. After the earth-
quake, the Institute had been provided with a reason-
ably good building to replace the old mansion (later a
lodging-house) in which it had been inconveniently
housed; and as a Government institution it enjoyed
certain privileges, such as free postage, which reduced
its expenses. But the fact remains that with practically
no funds Cundall obtained an accumulation of material
now worth millions. As late as the mid-'twenties,' the
Government grant to the Institute was about 3,000

Of course in those days material did not command
high prices in London or New York. West Indian
history had really not been discovered, and Cundall,
like Columbus, with the Arawaks, must have struck
many a good bargain with the second hand book trade
But it is difficult to take advantage of the most attrac-
tive bargain if you have no money at all, and that
must often have been Cundall's position, unless some
private benefactor came to his assistance.

In fact, Cundall obtained a good deal of his mater-
ial free. He would persuade his friends to present
spare copies, or even the only copies they had, to the
Institute. After the death of anyone with a library, he
might rather have been called Condor than Cundall,
for he would swoop down on the relatives and suggest
a.transfer to the Institute of the West Indian volumes
which the deceased, and no one else in the family, had

Yet this incredible activity was accompanied by
ceaseless writing of articles, writing and editing of
books. It cannot be said that Cundall's publications
involved the Government of Jamaica in any great ex-

It was the West India Committee in London which
financed the publication of Cundall's two great series
of lives of the Governors works which, while marked
by grave defects, such as lack of references and the
absence of any real thread of narrative, were important
contributions to a more exact knowledge of the first
hundred years of Jamaica's history as a British colony.

The West India Committee also financed the publi-
cation of Historic Jamaica, a work of very unequal
merit, the west of the island being in particular very
scrappily treated. It has been neither reprinted nor
replaced, to the great loss of the country.

The West India Committee also financed the
publication of Lady Nugent's Journal, the most suc-
cessful of Cundall's works. Mr. Philip Wright, who is
responsible for the wholly new Institute edition of the
Journal, has in his preface paid proper tribute to Cun-
dall's work on this diary.

The SPCK printed his life of Archbishop Nuttall.
Cundall was an active Anglican, who served both on
the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Financial
Board: he must have possessed a wealth of information

about the Church and the Archbishop. In some ways,
therefore, the biography of Nuttall is the most dis-
appointing of Cundall's works, for so much remains
obscure the book raises questions in the reader's
mind which it does not answer.

Of his more important works, only Jamaica Under
The Spaniards, written in collaboration with J.L.
Pietersz, was actually financed by the Institute but
apparently out of private contributions.

A man who hammered away for half a century in
a colonial backwater at a job of this sort, and left be-
hand him so much for others to use, would be regard-
ed today as a sort of academic blackleg. But at least
no one would regard him as responsible for the failure
of the Institute to be a centre of light and culture to
the community at large. We should be disposed to say,
'How much more was the man expected to do?'

As I have said, the critics of the Institute in the
late 'thirties' did not attack Cundall as the man res-
ponsible for the submergence of its other aims beneath
a sea of historical data. They felt that the Board of
Governors, and in particular Mr. DeLisser, had left Cun-
dall to do as he pleased because they were not ready
to try to extract money from Government for other

Yet it remains a real question, whether Cundall de-
flected the Institute from its full purpose because there
was nothing else to do, or because he preferred to con-
centrate on history. Given his experience before he
came to Jamaica, and his interest in art it seems un-
likely that he willingly narrowed the scope of the
Institute. It is noteworthy that as late as 1927 he pub-
lished a second edition of Jamaica Negro Proverbs and
Sayings, which he had produced along with Dr. Izett
Anderson: while this has historical importance, it is
clearly intended as a presentation of local culture. I
think we may say that Cundall's narrow concentration
increased not only with his age, but with the decline
in the country's willingness to take seriously the broad
cultural objects of the Institute a decline which was
closely linked with the growing weakness of the Crown
colony system.*

When the present writer came to Jamaica in 1926,
Cundall was three-quarters of the way through his
career at the Institute, and all the major works men-
tioned above had been published apart from the Lives
of the Governors. It was clear that the impact of the
Institute on the general life of the country was nil ex-
cept in so far as it provided an all-island general library
service. Cundall was regarded as a man who knew
everything about the past, but no one was very inter-
ested in his West India Reference Library. This,
people said, was entirely the preserve of Cundall and a

It is beside the point for the purpose of this argument to ask whether
Cundall's great work could have been done if the Institute had attempt-
ed to carry out its full cultural objectives. If Cundall could have ob-
tained money and staff, the scope of the work could have remained wide
without interfering with his special activities. For years the post of Cu-
rator remained unfilled, and Cundall was himself titular Curator, working
with the help of volunteers, Dr. Grabham, E.S. Panton, and C. Taylor.


I l76. Commenced Literary Work (Art History).

S!-' In L,iterary I)Dpartinent, International Fisheries Exhibition.

1S"4. Asistant ,Secretary, International He I ith Exhibition.

185. Assistant Secretary, International Inventions Exhibition.

ri86. Chief Assistant to Secretary to Royal Commission of Colonial and Indian

ioq. Assistant Secretary to British Section of Paris Exhibition.

1i,)o. Prepared, Ca:.lt'-uu an I Guide of Ro ;al Military Exhibition.

IS i)1. Se Iretarl andl Libiarian ii f Insiitrate of J. naica.

Literary W ork n i: ie joint '.it."l' p. with his late tather. of Illustrated
l 0iraphi.' *f ireat Arti-t-" v 1 id rithl.r hip of "' le L.andscape and Pastoral
P'a;uwrs- II o '," and Ihe Reminis nces 0of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition,"
lie editing )f :nUtmrou' Exhib tion Catilogiie. IInIdbooks. Conference Papers, &c.. and
1t(e "- Journal of the Institute of Jamaica."

A ;-o I ,i: hlu ca f I tiil i- a

A d Tel "' T he ,,r\ ',i lhh l. le ., ..-1 : i, 1:1 thf. ID -co, ci \',of Ja'naica."

favoured few. They stressed Cundall's hoggishnesss',
by which they meant that he kept the WIRL to him-
self, was jealous of anybody else who wanted to study
the past, and displayed general bad manners.

My own limited observation does not confirm
these charges in any respect. He appeared to me very
conscious that he might have made mistakes, and was

glad to be given references to sources he had over-
sighted on particular points. Once, without my asking
him, he broke one of his rules and sent me a WIRL
book to my address in the country when he found I
had been trying to get it from the open shelves, in the
General Library, from which it had been removed. I
found that the Kingston Athenaeum, a large private
subscription Library which had Under the law the pri-

Cundall in -1935

vilege of affiliating its members to the Institute, re-
garded Cundall as unreasonable in his attitude towards
this: but I found that the crux of the matter was that
if one of the members of the Athenaeum ceased to be
a member, he might have borrowed a book from the
Institute which he failed to return. I found that as
long as we took this seriously, Cundall did not com-

This last case is important because it shows that
people were simply disposed to say that Cundall was
wrong when he was right. And I think that this was
connected with the general decline in intellectual
interests. Cundall had laid up the treasures of know-
ledge in the West India Reference Library, but people
did not want the trouble to study. Yet they knew
they ought to be using the Library. Accordingly, they
affected to believe that Cundall had hidden the key
of knowledge.

I do not doubt that Mr. Cundall was sometimes
grumpy and disagreeable in those last years. He was
old, and had lost many of his friends. He had no dis-
ciples he had two competent and devoted assistants
in the West India. Reference Library, Miss Helena
Morris and Miss Violet Nash, but there seemed to be
no group of young people likely to make effective
use of the Library. Interest in the past seemed to fade
in proportion to the accumulation of material about

it. There was less and less interest amongst the general
public as all energies were increasingly concentrated
on money-making. There was no sense of urgency, no
sympathetic interest, on the part of Governors as there
had been in the days of Swettenham. A man like Ast-
ley Clerk, who had even less to be pleased about,
might contrive to be tolerably cheerful in the 'thirties,'
but he had rather an exceptional temperament.

67- - p:P.! u'r-

.4.~- C -. '-

' a-

Rio Bueno by J.B. Kidd.


Extract from

The Admiral Entertains

by Basil McFarlane
Christopher Columbus

"At Santa Gloria". Columbus speaks:
0, but they were dull men, those merchants
of Venice, Nicolo and Maffeo and Marco
of the Millions, gospellers of the Khan, who told
not half they saw; dull men, earthbound
masters of an earthbound sea; yet none dull as I, knowing
nothing of politics or birdlore
or botany, nor wearing sapphires
in seams of sordid britches, nor ever listening where
the great drums of Kublai Khan begin to sound;

Dear dream of life, by that violet sea
that bore us all, I held you, have wandered
far, wayfallen, sorry bird; to this
pitch of dubious fate have brought, but hold you
still! Must I apoligise? Of course, one
must; but to whom, and for what? Why, yes: for
the waste of years, the gorgeous
bonfire of time that consumed us
while we danced: apologise for the splendour
of the dream. Apologise. And yet
it seems impossible to suggest any improvement to the system.

Apologise for that, too; dreaming a humbler
dream, dreaming our fitful
plausibilities cover a hidden
truth. Apologise. But to whom? To
the Queen, Isabel, unrequited
mother of enterprise; to
Beatrice, mother
of my bookish son, companion
of duress, most excellent dancer; to all
women, watchful, alone, ill-paid under the burden of the sumptuous
dream palace we drag our rags in; to all
men, all dying races; to Europeans, Indians on the wheel
of the world; to Bernal, caught
in the machine?Death, if it come to any man, tonight, the
dream struck from his back by a thoughtless
assassin, then farewell and welcome, orient gates
of Cathay, immortal and blameless, and an end
to apologies.

.. by Ivan Goodbody.

During the past twenty years scientists have be-
"... -come increasingly conscious of the need to study the
sea and the living organisms which inhabit it. These
studies have been spurred on by the increasing demand
for new sources of food and minerals as the world's
population expands, but long before these urgent de-
mands presented themselves biologists had been in-
terested in the sea as a place for studying particular
types of living communities. Tropical seas in particu-
;z, .lar have an abundant fauna and flora which have
attracted considerable attention. Jamaica became a
S- focus of attention for marine biologists as long ago as
1891 when the Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore,
U.S.A. established a summer base for their biologists

in a house called Green Castle at Port Henderson, St.
Catherine. Old photographs show the building as a
high two storey structure on the hill behind what is
now the Rodney Arms, but today only the founda-
tions remain. During many summers thereafter bi-
ologists from Johns Hopkins made intensive studies
of the fauna and flora of the Kingston Harbour and
Port Royal area and some of their studies now are
regarded as classics and form the base line for much of
the work proceeding today. In later years they moved
their interests to Port Antonio, Montego Bay and
then on to strides of the terrestial fauna and flora of
the Island.

During the following fifty years a considerable amount
of systematic and natural history work on marine
organisms was carried out by members of The Institute
of Jamaica staff and scientists visiting the Institute.
Many important publications on the marine fauna and
flora have resulted from these studies. With the open-
ing of the University College of the West Indies in
1949 renewed vigour was introduced into the study
of marine biology in Jamaica. Professor Norman Mill-
ott, the first head of the department of Zoology,
carried out important physiological and biochemical
work on the sea egg (Diadema). Dr. Rankin carried
out work on the morphology of whales and on certain
small invertebrate animals, while Dr. Goreau commenc-
ed his now world renowned work on coral reefs.
These were the beginnings of what has developed into
a major undertaking in marine science.

In 1955 Professor David Steven succeeded Professor
Millott as Head of the Department of Zoology at the
University College and one of the tasks he set himself
was to create a marine biological laboratory where
scientific studies on marine organisms could be carried
out close to the waters edge without the necessity of
transporting animals (and sea water) back to the cam-
pus at Mona. It was at this time that I also joined the
staff of the department and one of our first problems
was to decide on a location for the laboratory; two
possible areas were suggested, Port Henderson (because
of its previous associations with marine biology) and
Port Royal. Port Henderson was rejected because of
its inaccessibility and lack of dock facility or even
shelter for boats, so the choice fell upon Port Royal
where there is good shelter for boats although at that
time it was not as accessible as it is today. The road
beyond the airport was a dirt road much of it covered
by the sea at high water spring tides and after heavy
rain it became a sea of mud which subsequently dried
out in long hard ruts. Inside the old Naval Dockyard
at Morgan's Harbour we rented a single room as our
first and temporary marine laboratory. We hoped to
be there for six months while we found more suitable
premises, in fact it was to be five years before we
moved to our new site on the other side of the town.
This room proved an ideal choice as it had very thick
walls, a high roof and small windows, with a large ver-
andah in front, thus it remained cool all through the
day. Believing that we would be in these premises for
only a very short time we installed only temporary

furniture and a crude and temporary supply of run-
ning sea water to feed water to a small aquarium for
maintaining living animals. This water supply, which
owed much to the energy and enthusiasm of Tom
Goreau aided by Mr. Duffey of the Water Commission,
must rank as one of the strangest sea water systems
ever installed in a marine laboratory. The pipes were
of galvanised iron and the pump was of bronze, two
metals known to be fatally toxic to the larval forms of
marine animals, but as a temporary measure it did not
seem to matter and it served us well through its five
years of existence. The pump delivered water to a
reservoir constructed from an old rum vat from which
water was fed by gravity to the tanks in the aquarium.

-BI Ui
Bill Sutcliffe, Director Bermuda Biological Station.
David Steven, 2nd Professor of Zoology, U. W.I.

A single fresh water tap and sink, and two electric
power outlets completed the fittings of the laboratory.
In spite of its temporary nature and rather primitive
organisation this laboratory rapidly began to play an
important part in the activities of the Zoology Depart-
ment at the University College. Staff and students
alike used its facilities and we ran several successful
field courses for students using this as a base; visitors
from overseas also used the facility for their work and
a considerable volume of published material resulted
from all these activities.

The success of this small venture soon convinced senior
administrators that this was a serious project and Pro-
fessor Steven was able to secure the funds for both a
new and permanent laboratory and a motor launch.
Several sites in Port Royal were considered in planning
the new laboratory and finally the Government granted
to The University College a long lease on the lands at
Crab Hall between the Old Naval Hospital and what
was then the British Army Barracks and is now the
Police Training School. Although the property is small
and thus has little room for long term expansion the
site is an excellent one with deep water immediately
off the dock, a sheltered anchorage and a splendid
view across the mouth of the harbour to Port Hender-

The new laboratory designed by Norman & Dawbarn

and constructed by Pierce Associates of Kingston, was
completed in 1960, the cost being borne by a grant
from Colonial Development and Welfare Funds. An
additional grant from the Foyle Trust of Birmingham
made it possible to build a small pier and dock, and a
grant from The Rockefeller Foundation provided much
of the necessary scientific equipment. When complet-
ed this laboratory has an aquarium room (almost as
big as the original temporary laboratory), two research
rooms of about 150 sq. ft. each, a dehumidified store,
workshop, pump room, shower room and a wide ver-
andah. Since that time two additional laboratories
have been added each of about 250 sq. ft. floor space
and an additional store and extension to the verandah
have also been constructed. In 1968 it is hoped to
add another 500 sq. ft. of laboratory accommodation.

Views of Marine Laboratory at
Port Royal.

This laboratory has most of the facilities required for
the study of marine biology and also for physiological
studies on marine organisms. The sea water system
was planned with meticulous care. Water is taken
from underneath the dock and pumped through plastic
piping to a reservoir in the roof of the building. Pumps
with stainless steel impellers ensure that no toxic me-
tals are leached into the water supply and the reservoir
is lined by non toxic Bitumastic. This part of the sea
water system is in duplicate, so that if a pump breaks
down or a pipe gets blocked,the sea water supply re-
mains uninterrupted and can be drawn through the
alternative supply. Originally the aquarium was suppli-
ed by a gravity feed from the reservoir, but this has
now proved inadequate and small booster pumps force
feed the water to the aquarium. In the aquarium

Tank inside the Marine Laboratory.
room sea water is supplied to small tanks with glass
fronts or to wooden troughs where animals can be
kept for scientific purposes. This is a research facility
and there is no public display. In addition there are
small porcelain sinks on the verandah also supplied
with running sea water and a long water table in which
collections of animals may be sorted or bulk supplies
of animals maintained for later use. All the research
rooms are fitted with air-conditioning to ensure that
delicate research equipment and particularly electro-
nic equipment will not deteriorate in the seaside atmos-
phere. These laboratories- are equipped with the
normal requirements of a scientific laboratory, but
special equipment and special facilities needed only
occasionally are maintained in the Zoology Depart-
ment on the main University campus.

No description of these facilities would be complete
without some mention of boats and their ancillary
equipment. In 1957 funds from C.D.& W. made
possible the purchase of a 26 ft. long fibreglass launch
subsequently named 'Pelagia'. This was constructed
in England using a standard British Admiralty Harbour
Launch hull made by Halmatic of Portsmouth. The
fittings and superstructure were designed by Dr. Mar-
tin Wells of Cambridge who at that time had just
designed a boat for the Biological Station in Naples.
The boat is powered by a BMC 1500 cc. petrol driven
engine and is fitted with echo-sounding gear, a trawl-
ing winch, a hydrographic winch, seawater supply to a
small holding tank for keeping specimens and other
necessary equipment. One of my friends has often
told me that if he ever became director of the marine
laboratory at Port Royal, his first act would be to take
'Pelagia' out over deep water and sink her. This would
be 'sledge-hammer' treatment for a small and delicate
problem of balance, but it underlines our only criti-
cism of this otherwise excellent boat. One of the first
requirements in a boat for marine research is that it
should provide a stable platform for working. 'Pelagia'
is not a stable platform and in rough water rolls badly.
In spite of this criticism 'Pelagia' has now provided
almost trouble free service for ten years and this is in
no small measure due to the meticulous care and atten-
tion given to its maintenance by Herman Murphy,
boatman and technician in charge of the laboratory.
In addition to 'Pelagia' the laboratory also owns a

15 ft. open motor boat powered by twin 18 h.p. out-
board engines and several smaller boats for near-shore
work. In association with these boats the laboratory
possesses a wide variety of instrumentation and collect-
ing devices for studying not only the biological featur-
es of the sea but also for measuring such things as
temperature, salinity and oxygen content of the water.

^ t ,1 .I'

The 'famous' PELA GIA.

What I have described is a fairly expensive and
sophisticated modern facility stuck out in Port Royal,
eighteen miles from the University campus, but what
is the purpose of such a facility and what contribution
has it made or will it make to our society? The original
facility was designed primarily as a research adjunct to
the department of zoology and it was intended as a
place where members of the staff and graduate students
might pursue their own interests in pure research. This
is an important and essential part of the activity of
any University and more than forty scientific papers
have now been published as a result of work done at
the marine laboratory. This has enabled us to build up
an international reputation resulting in many visitors
from overseas coming to use the laboratory for their
research. This also is important as it brings a new
intellectual stimulus much needed in the relative isola-
tion of an island laboratory. One of the attractions
about Port Royal as an area for scientific research and
one which has helped to attract these visitors to us, is
its proximity to a wide variety of tropical habitats.
On the one side is the highly productive area of Kings-
ton Harbour and only a few minutes away is the Port
Royal mangrove swamp, one of the finest of its kind
in the West Indies. On the other side are the coral
reefs of the Port Royal Cays and only a little over an
hour away by boat one leaves the continental shelf
and comes over really deep sea environments which
are attracting more and more attention from marine
Kingston Harbour is one of the largest natural har-
bours in the world and is a priceless national asset
which needs to be carefully preserved from the by-
products of modern development. Although separated
from the open ocean by only a narrow strip of land
(The Palisadoes) the characteristics of the harbour are
entirely different from those of the open ocean water.
The upper basin of the harbour, an area of nearly

10 sq. miles and of almost uniform depth of 60 feet,
has been studied by Professor Steven and Dr. Euna
Moore (a graduate of U.W.I.). Professor Steven used
a radio-active tracer technique to investigate the up-
take of carbon dioxide by microscopic plants in the
water and thereby to determine the. rate at which new
living material was being formed. These studies show-
ed that this material was being produced in the upper
harbour forty times faster than it is in the open ocean
a few miles to the south of Harbour Head. Following
up this work, Dr.Moore has demonstrated that the
quantity or biomass of zooplankton (small animals
drifting in the water) is also forty times as great in the
harbour as it is in the open ocean. The studies indicate
to us that Kingston Harbour is an area of very high
productivity and that possibly it might be used in
some way to increase fish production for the local
market. However other studies also carried out by
Professor Steven warn us of how easily the natural
balance in this harbour might be upset and how urgent
is the need for detailed biological studies in the area.
At intervals there develops in Kingston Harbour a
phenomenon known as 'red tide'. 'Red tides' are well
known in various parts of the world and are due to
microscopic plant organisms in the water which under
certain conditions multiply at an exceedingly rapid
rate. Some 'red tides' are harmless, but others are
responsible for killing off huge numbers of fish and
such a fish kill occurred in Kingston Harbour as recent-
ly as November, 1966. One of these 'red tides' de-
veloped during Professor Steven's studies in Kingston
Harbour and he was able to study certain of the en-
vironmental features associated with it. In brief he
showed that the 'red tide' developed after there had
been a very marked increase in the nitrate content of
the water (an essential plant nutrient) but also associat-
ed with a dilution of the water following rain. We do
not know the source of the additional nutrient but it
might not be too far fetched to suggest that it may
have been leached through underground channels,
assisted by heavy rain, from the 2000 cess pits in the
Harbour View Estate. Wherever they came from they
warn us of the extreme dangers of allowing domestic
or industrial pollutants to be deliberately or accident-
ally discharged into the harbour.
The mangrove swamps surrounding the harbour are
regarded by some people as a smelly nuisance which
should be removed as quickly as possible. However
they are of immense biological interest and this applies
particularly to the one at Port Royal where University
scientists have carried out a number of studies. Most
mangrove swamps develop in areas of brackish water
near the mouths of rivers but the Port Royal swamp,
although occasionally subjected to brackish water con-
ditions is essentially a salt water swamp and has a
magnificiently rich marine fauna associated with it.
Because many of the animals associated with the
swamp collect their food by filtering the water, we
suspect that the whole of this swamp may play an
important role in the balance of Kingston Harbour
by acting as a sort of biological filter; but not only is
this an area of biological interest but the lagoons have
traditionally served as a refuge for boats in hurricanes

Typical Mangrove
Swamp, Kingston

and parts of the swamp and lagoons are very beautiful
and could well be used for recreational purposes. It is
regrettable therefore that a large area of this swamp
was deliberately cut down and destroyed in a commer-
cial venture which was never completed. This area of
the swamp is now an eyesore and may take 50 years
to return to anything like its former condition. Be-
cause of its intrinsic biological interest and its poten-
tial recreational value it would be desirable for the
whole of this swamp and the Port Royal Cays beyond
to be turned into a single National Park in which all
future development would be restricted.

I have dwelt at some length on the problems of Kings-
ton Harbour because these are problems to which
some of us are now turning our attention. We hope
soon that our laboratory will be able to commence a
major biological study of the harbour in an attempt to
discover the mechanisms which maintain it in biologi-
cal balance. From this we would hope to be able to
predict how any future development projects may
affect the system either for good or for bad. We are
also optimistic enough to hope that by understanding
how the whole system works we might be able to make
recommendations for deliberate change which would
result in the production of more fish or other edible
Another field in which we hope to expand our activi-
ties is fisheries biology. We are sometimes asked
whether there is any need to develop a research unit
in fisheries biology when Government already has a
Division of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture.
The two are complementary, the role of the Fisheries
Division is primarily development, the role of the
University is in fundamental research and if the fish-
ing industry is to expand, it is essential that good fun-
damental research is initiated as quickly as possible.
Fisheries biology involves more than the mere collec-
tion of fishing statistics or the measuring and weighing

of catches. In order to understand a fishery and to
exploit the fish populations to their maximum extent
it is necessary to have information on breeding, growth,
the age structure of populations, natural mortality
rates and migratory movements. It is only from a pro-
per knowledge of these phenomena that we can ad-
judge how intensively any fish population may be
exploited and at what point conservation measures
must be introduced. A fisheries biology unit in the
University should also be the centre for training the
future fisheries officers of the area, not only for
Jamaica but for all of the Caribbean. So far we have
made modest beginnings in this field under the able
leadership of Dr. John Munro. Our own boat facili-
ties do not permit any activity beyond the reef area
outside Port Royal, but we have been fortunate in get-
ting facilities on board both Government boats ('Blue
Fin' and 'Albacore') and on the United Nations Vessel
'Alcyon'. If real progress is to be made it will even-
tually be necessary for the University to acquire a
larger boat of its own in which we can plan our own
programmes and areas of fishing activity.
Research is no longer the only major function of the
laboratory and undergraduate teaching and graduate
student training are rapidly becoming an important
part of our activity. This is hampered however by the
lack of a proper student laboratory in Port Royal.
Since 1957 we have conducted a marine biology field
course for undergraduates every year which involves
studying particular habitats and collecting and examin-
ing animals from each. In spite of inadequate facili-
ties these have always proved a great success and are an
important adjunct to normal laboratory classes in zo-
ology. More recently several graduate students have
carried out their research and training from this lab-
oratory and it is anticipated that this aspect of our
training programme will expand greatly, when we are
in a position to commence our studies of Kingston
All photographs Zoology Dept. U. W.I.


by John B. Shepherd.

Jamaica has something of a reputation as an island which is subject to
earthquakes. The reputation is really rather undeserved since, although Ja-
maica is in a seismically active region, earthquakes are comparatively rare and
are usually of low intensity. The reputation results from two particularly
destructive earthquakes, those of June 7, 1692 and January 14, 1907.
The earthquake of June 7, 1692 was one of the most spectacular in its
effects of any recorded in history. Other earthquakes may have been of high-
er intensity and many have taken more lives but few can have been accom-
panied by more terrifying phenomena. Within the space of less than thirty
seconds two thirds of the city of Port Royal, then the most prosperous and
important English city of the New World, was submerged beneath the sea and
Artist impression much of what remained was smashed. Many eye-witness reports of the disaster
of Port Royal on have been preserved and, although they contain some obvious exaggerations,
June 7, 1692, during it is possible to build a fairly clear picture of the events in Port Royal. The
the Earthquake. account given by the Minister of Port Royal who, not unnaturally, assumed
I - - ~ _i_--

Belt of fissuring at
the base of Palisadoes
after the Earthquake of
January 14, 1907.

that the earthquake was a form of divine retribution for the wickedness of
the city, is particularly horrifying. He tells of the ground opening up to
swallow people alive and of long-dead bodies being cast out from the ce-
metery so that it was difficult to distinguish between those who had been
killed in the earthquake and those who had been resurrected by it. One man
was said to have been swallowed up by the ground and thrown out alive a
considerable distance away. Many people were drowned as their houses were
removed intact from dry land to the bottom of thirty or forty feet of water
and many more were drowned when a monstrous sea wave rolled over the
surviving part of the city some time after the earthquake. Reports from other
parts of the island are less numerous than those from Port Royal and are,
perhaps, even more subject to exaggeration. Thus it is said that at Yellows
(Yallahs? ) the sea retreated more than a mile and then returned overflowing
a great part of the shore. A gentleman named Hopkins "had his plantation
removed half a mile from where it formerly stood"
What, then, really happened?

Tuesday the 7th of June 1692 was a very hot, dry day and there was no
wind. At 40 minutes after eleven in the morning a slight shock was felt,
followed immediately by a stronger shock which was accompanied by a
hollow rumbling noise. A third shock came before the second one had died
away and immediately two thirds of Port Royal disappeared into the sea. Of
the houses which remained on dry land many were thrown down by the vi-
olent shaking of the ground. Hundreds of people were drowned or killed by
falling masonry but many more were buried alive and crushed to death.
Sometime after the earthquake a seismic sea wave or tsunami struck the city
causing further destruction and loss of life. In all, almost two thousand
people are believed to have been killed and there was great loss of life in
other parts of the island also. Many of the buildings were submerged intact
and it is said that Admiral Sir Charles Hamilton frequently saw the sub-
merged houses of Port Royal as late as 1780 in "that part of the harbour
which lies between the town and the usual anchorage of men-of-war". Port
Royal, which had been an island until the middle of the seventeenth century,
became an island once again and connexion with the mainland was not re-
established until the beginning of the nineteenth century. The city never
recovered its previous prosperity.

The catastrophe at Port Royal and particularly the fact that some build-
ings were submerged intact has created the impression that the earthquake

Map of Port
Royal before and
after theEarthquake.
in 1692.

resulted from a sudden depression of the level of the land and that Port Royal
was at, or near, the origin of the disturbance. A closer examination of the evi-
dence suggests that something rather different happened. Port Royal was
built partly on a limestone island and partly on the spit of sand which, for a
short time in the late 17th century connected the island to the mainland. The
sand spit stood only a few feet above sea level and was saturated with water
almost to the surface. All the buildings which were submerged were built on
sand on the "back-sea side" of the city which is the side that faces present-day
Kingston. The wharfs were on this side of the city and the water was quite
deep close to the shore. The large number of heavy brick houses built on
water-logged sand which itself adhered only weakly to a rock constituted an
unstable mass and the concussion of the earthquake was sufficient to cause
the whole mass to slide into the sea. This explanation of the events at Port
Royal accounts for many of the eye witness reports. Because the mass of sand
moved sidewards as well as downwards, houses changed their positions, streets
in the surviving part of the town became wider and many people were buried
in the sliding mass of sand. Since the cemetery was also in sand, graves may
indeed have opened and thrown out their contents and it is certainly plaus-


Destruction of ible at least that a man buried alive at one point may have been lucky enough
Kingston, Ja. by to uncovered alive at another point.
Earthquake & Fire
Jan. 14th 1907. The accounts from other parts of Jamaica suggest that the origin of the
Ruins of Roman earthquakes, far from being at Port Royal, was in fact under the sea off the
Catholic Church. North Coast. Severe though the shaking was at Port Royal it was even more
WIRL severe in other parts of the island. It is said that two hundred houses remain-
ed standing in Port Royal and less than this number in the whole of the rest
of the island. On the North Coast the shaking was so severe that men could
not keep their feet but had to lie spread-eagled on the ground to stop them-
selves being thrown around. Destruction was almost total at Spanish Town
and it is said that hardly a plantation house or sugar works was left standing
anywhere in the island. Trees were overturned near St. Ann's Bay and a
party of French buccaneers who were raiding near St. Ann's Bay at the time
lost 35 out of 115 men in the earthquake and sea wave although it was
broad daylight and they were out in the open away from the danger of
falling buildings. The sea wave was much more severe along the North Coast
than on the South Coast and was almost simultaneous with the earthquake.
To make matters worse, the wave was reflected between the coasts of Jamaica
and Cuba and returned to Jamaica at least eight times in the five hours
after the earthquake.

Much of the damage to property in the 1692 earthquake resulted from the
faulty building techniques employed by the English colonists who took Ja-
maica from the Spaniards in 1655. Earthquakes were not unknown in Ja-
maica before 1692, in fact a fairly severe one was felt in 1687. The Spaniards
seemed to have learned the lesson that precautionary building techniques
were necessary and they built single-story buildings with walls consisting of
wooden posts sunk deep into the ground. Most of the houses which survived
the earthquake in 1692 were of this type. On the other hand, the English
built brick houses with very little reinforcement and, in Port Royal at least,
indifferent foundations. Indeed, the building of heavy brick houses on un-
stable, waterlogged sand close to the sea would probably today be regarded
as criminal negligence. It is, perhaps, rather ironic that the fine brick houses
of the English gentlemen collapsed in the earthquake and they and their
families were forced to take refuge in the huts of the slaves which usually

The earthquake of 1907 was sufficiently recent for many accounts of it to
have survived and of course there are still many people living in Jamaica who
lived through it. In its general effects it was similar to the 1692 earthquake
but its intensity seems to have been slightly lower. Again the evidence points
to a point of origin somewhere on the North Coast in the general region An-
notto Bay-Buff Bay-Hope Bay The destruction in Kingston was much great-
er than anywhere else in the island but there are several good reasons for this.
Firstly, Kingston is built on unconsolidated alluvium and the effects of earth-
quakes are always greater on this type of ground than they are on the more
solid rocks on which the North Coast towns are built. Secondly, Kingston
was then as it is now by far the largest town in Jamaica and it is only to be
expected that damage would be more extensive in a large town. Thirdly a
great deal of damage was done by the fire which followed the earthquake.
Slumping of sand occurred again along the Palisadoes as can be seen still from
at least one surviving building in Port Royal, but the slumpingiwas nothing
like the same scale as in 1692. A seismic sea wave again was generated and
was large enough to cause damage at Annotto Bay, Buff Bay and Port Antonio.
On the South Coast the sea wave was so small that it was barely noticed and
again it followed some time after the main shock. On the North Coast the
Wave was almost simultaneous with the shock and the shaking in Buff Bay,
Annotto Bay and Ocho Rios was at least as severe as it was in Kingston.

The possibility of another disaster on the scale of 1692 is fortunately
remote. Jamaica will continue to have earthquakes and people in Kingston
and Port Royal can expect to feel some sort of earth tremor about twice
each year. Destructive earthquakes will happen much less frequently and
Kingstonians may be reassured to consider that in some parts of Japan earth-
quakes are felt daily. Closer to home, several hundred earthquakes were
felt in the island of Nevis in 1961-62. The 1692 earthquake was sufficiently
large to rank as one of the great earthquakes in history and even then much
of the damage could have been avoided if some fairly elementary building pre-
cautions had been taken. It has been suggested also that much of the damage
in 1907 resulted from the use of poor quality lime mortar in many of the
brick buildings in Kingston. Well-build brick houses and frame houses suffer-
ed less damage.

Some concern has been felt in Jamaica that the introduction of tall, multi-
storey buildings in Kingston since the last major earthquake presents an addi-
tional earthquake hazard. In answer it should be pointed out that properly
designed and well-built tall structures have repeatedly been proved to be
earthquake resistant and that most of the loss of life, and a great deal of the
property damage in large earthquakes result from failure of works of con-
struction so weak that they should never have been erected in the first place.
In' Jamaica at present the regulations governing the earthquake protection of
new buildings are based on the California earthquake building code. In view
of the fact that earthquake risk in Jamaica is about the same as it is in Cali-
fornia, proper application of the code should result in buildings which are
resistant to any earthquake which can reasonably be expected.

By the early 1930's when I began
in biology at The Johns Hopkins
University, there was already a long
tradition of association with Jamaica
The inquiring 'undergraduate who
venturedinto the catacombs beneath
Gilman Hall where graduate biology
was then housed, encountered fasci-
nating and enigmatic links with that
tropic isle. In the "museum," a
dark and creaky chamber occupy-
ing the lowest level under the libra-
ry rotunda, were jar upon jar of
grotesque invertebrates labelled Ja-
maica, and in the dusky corridors,
alongside portraits of scores of de-
partmental graduates long gone on
to professorships elsewhere, hung
framed snapshots of various beard-
ed ruffians splashing about on coral
reefs or riding donkeys along nar-
row trails through jungles of banana
or tree fern. It was only gradually
that I came to realize that these
1888, 1891, and 1910 tableaux
portrayed the salad days of an ap-
preciable fraction of the country's
leading zoologists T.H. Morgan,
E.B. Wilson, E.G. Conklin, Ross
Harrison and others whose names
were legend even in my student days.

Later, as a graduate student, I
began to see Jamaica as a factor in
research. I met members of the
1928 and 1932 expeditions and
heard them report their findings to
the weekly Journal Club. W.G. Lynn,

for example, was then beginning
his studies of some remarkable little
tree frogs that have no tadpole
stage, and Professor E.A. Andrews
was engaged in some mysterious
project with giant land snails. This
involved cultures housed in the old
fan room (which I suppose has long
since been converted to some more
prosaic and less malodorous pur-
pose), and it was a memorable ex-
perience to see the fountain of cock-
roaches that erupted from the snail
boxes when Professor Andrews
threw in the daily ration of lettuce.

In those days, botany also was
geared to the tropics. The Univer-
sity botanical garden displayed a
carefully planned teaching collec-
tion of exotic plants, and the green-
house was crammed with ferns,
bromeliads, and orchids brought
from the Jamaican rain-forest by
Professor Duncan Johnson and his
students. In fact Botany I in the De-
pression years was a passable sub-
stitute for a Caribbean cruise, with
Professor Johnson showing lantern
slides and weaving tropical and tem-
perate floras into a coherent fabric;
it was a virtuoso performance that
few botanists of that day or this
could approach.

In due course I received my dip-
loma, but at the time the diplomas
were actually being handed out I

was on a banana boat as a callow
member of the 1936 Hopkins expe-
dition led by Professor Johnson. In
the early days marine zoology had
dominated the Jamaican research
and the expeditions were housed on
the coast at Port Henderson, but by
the time I came along the emphasis
had shifted inland and on both the
1936 expedition and the one led by
Gardner Lynn in 1941 we were
based at coffee plantations high in
the Blue Mountains.

In this sophisticated and well-
travelled age it is difficult to convey
what a marvelous experience it was
to wind slowly up the narrow dirt
road from the palm and cactus-
strewn plain outside Kingston to
the silent and misty rain forest at
Hardwar Gap, nearly a mile above
sea level. Precipitous slopes dropped
away from the unprotected verge,
and fascinating human and burro
traffic waited around the 413 hair-
pin switchbacks, but "Uncle Dunc"
turned it into a synopsis of Carib-
bean botany as he craned out first
from one side of the car, then the
other, classifying and apostrophiz-
ing the profusion of new flowers,
fruits, trees, shrubs and vines that
lay on every hand. As the expedi-
tion's driver I made that trip many
times, yet it never lost its witchery.
Insofar as fireflies are concerned,
the special attraction of Jamaica
The author is interested in contacting anyone
who has interesting information about fireflies.



The burro traffic waited around the 413 hairpin switchbacks on the narrow road.

lies in its great variety of biological
habitats, which reflect its wide range
of temperature, altitude, rainfall
and soil type, and which often har-
bor different species. (Over fifty of
them have been described.) E.J.
Lund, a member of the 1910 expe-
dition, had studied the structure
of the light organs of a few forms,
and my work in 1936 and 1941 was
not much more sophisticated. I did
indeed make crude spectographs of
the light emitted by several species,
but most of my effort went into pre-
serving tissues for later study by
classical methods and into wander-
ing along pitch-black jungle trails,
capturing fireflies with an insect net
and putting them into vials with
scribbled descriptions of their
flashes. Gradually it became clear
that the different varieties of firefly
differ not only in external appear-
ance but in pattern of flashing. In
a rough way the sequence, duration,
and timing of the flashes are as fix-
ed and characteristic as the songs of

different birds, or-as Gardner Lynn
was discovering simultaneously -
the croaking patterns of different
kinds of tree frog.

So matters rested for nearly
twenty-five years. Then, last Feb-
ruary, William D. McElroy, the
present head of the Biology De--
partment, invited me to join the
four-man 1963 edition of Hopkins-
in-Jamaica. I have known McElroy
for years, of course, and have follow-
ed from a respectful distance his
beautiful investigations into the bio-
chemistry and biophysics of light-
production; but just because of this
I had no really clear idea of how an
old-fashioned zoologist could be
useful to the party. However, the
lure of my favorite island was strong
and I felt I had little to lose. Be-
sides, I was curious about space-age

The contrasts were breathtaking
from the start. In 1936 and 1941

we had ploughed for five relaxed
summer days through the blue wa-
ters of the Gulf Stream and spent
several days in a Kingston guest
house organizing our transport; now,
in 1963, we looked down briefly on
a Chesapeake Bay choked with ice
floes, landed a few hours later at
floodlit Kingston airport, and by
suppertime the next day were a
going laboratory at Long Bay, fifty
miles to the east. Considering the
1500 pounds of electronic gear air-
lifted down from Baltimore earlier
in the week, the four of us probably
had more baggage than the larger
1936 and 1941 expeditions com-
bined, and could hardly have done
without our door-to-door truck de-
livery. Nevertheless I had a whiff
of nostalgia for the long, pictur-
esque, safari-like file of porters who
had head-loaded the pre-warbaggage
over two miles of trail from the end
of the road to the plantation house.*

The 1963 living and the labora-
tory were also from a different
world. In the mountains our drink-
ing water had come from the spring
on a conduit of split bamboo, we
had bathed in the brook, read by
kerosene lamps and fed on native
food prepared over a wood fire in
the cookhouse and served by our
numerous servants. There was said
to be a telegraph office six miles
across the mountains at Newcastle
but we were essentially incommu-
nicado, and once when a landslide
closed our access road for ten days
we got along perfectly well by our-
selves. At Long Bay, in contrast, we
dwelt in a cement-block tourist cot-
tage in a grove of coconut palms
fifty feet from the surf and dined
at the nearby hotel. Close behind
the lab ran the main circuminsular
highway, and although this still
carried a modicum of the tradi-
tional foot and donkey traffic, it also
served the Kingston-Port Antonio
bus line and other noisy evidences
of the march of progress. The near-
by local post office boasted a tele-
phone and we even heard that tele-
vision, already in Kingston, was
spreading in our direction.
It is true that our electric supply
In case it might be of interest to your readers
the 1936 expedition based at Chestervale (up-
stream from Silver Hill) and the 1941 one at
Clydesdale. A previous one had been at Abbey

was a little capricious, varying be-
tween 90 and 110 volts and some-
times dying entirely when the boy
at the hotel forgot to put the diesel
fuel in the generator. It is true also
that our hot water didn't get con-
nected to the bathtub until we were
due to leave, but we were con-
ducting daily experiments on the
buoyance of the well-fed body in
Caribbean water and so did not
miss it. Besides, the tub served ad-
mirably as a place for Bill Fastie,
a research physicist at Johns Hop-
kins, to test his underwater photo-
meter for leaks. The photometer,
incidentally, was for studying lumi-
nescence in the sea, a subject the
Navy is interested in because of the
embarrassing nocturnal wake some-
times left by submarines in tropical
If a member of an older Hop-
kins expedition had been transport-
ed suddenly to Long Bay by time
machine he would have found much
of what went on in the laboratory
incomprehensible. To be sure my
corner, with microscope, dissecting
instruments and collecting vials set
out on a packing crate, would have
been reassuringly familiar; but in
an adjoining corner McElroy had
laid out his uv lamp and accessories
for paper chromatography (a tech-
nique unknown as late as 1941),
and in a third corner of the room
stood Fastie's photometer, usually
with its electronic viscera immod-
estly exposed.
In the main laboratory that is
to say, the living room -Howard
Seliger, associate professor of biol-
ogy, presided over a witches' garden
of amplifiers, meters, recorders, bat-
teries, converters and other devices
designed to do automatically what
the honest craftsman of the past
either did by hand or could not do
at all. For example, whereas I had
tried to guess the limits of my spec-
trographs by comparing them with
the light emitted by asbestos tape
soaked in sodium or lithium salts
and wrapped around an alcohol
lamp, Seliger merely pushed a but-
ton and his gadget scanned the fire-
fly spectrum in a few seconds and
plotted the wavelength distributions
and intensities at two amplifications
on a chart precalibrated on both
axes. It is possible that he may have
had a little homework to do before

the paper was published, but How-
ard's main activity seemed to be
folding up the charts and stashing
them away in his notebook.

Only in the field did our proce-
dures vaguely resemble traditional
firefly hunting, and even here an
unbriefed observer would have been
hard put to recognize the archaic
ritual beneath its electronic overlay.
However, it produced some of our
finest and most hysterical moments
of team research (another modern
concept) and so is worth describing
in some detail. The primary idea
simple enough namely, to record
the actual flashes of free-flying fire-
flies to see how they varied in dura-
tion, kinetics, timing, and so on.
This is what I had tried to do a gen-
eration earlier with my pitiful stop-
watch and pencilled notes, and my
only solace at seeing my pioneer
labors superseded was the realiza-
tion of why the Whiz Kids needed
me in 1963. Never having seen a
firefly outside the test tube, they
needed someone to tell them what
the species' names were.

Picture, then, our caravan leav-
ing the laboratory in late afternoon
and bumping upward on the back
road through foothill coconut and
banana plantings. In the lead careens
our trusty Land Rover, McElroy at

the helm, Seliger beside him to look
out for rock falls and to lift stray
goats from the path. In back are
jumbled storage battery, converter,
transistorized two-channel record-
ing meter, and the all-important
"gun," a photometer cunningly
designed by Seliger to give equal
amplification over a wide angle of
view and sensitive enough to detect
starlight. In the second car follow
the "beaters," Fastie and Buck,
often reinforced by local friends or
visiting colleagues. We carry insect
nets, collecting vials, and as often
as we can get them away from Mc-
Elroy the beer and sandwiches.

At dusk the convoy halts on a
secluded stretch of road. The ma-
chinery is connected up and tested,
also the food. McElroy takes his
stand at the head of the party, fac-
ing the shadiest region, from which
the first firefly's light may be ex-
pected. He is bound to the ampli-
fier in the Land Rover by a fifteen-
foot umbilicus which he must be
careful not to overrun in his eager-
ness. To either side range the beat-
ers, nets in hand. In the Land Rover
Seliger crouches over his dials, pipe
in mouth.

After a few premature alarms
over too-distant specimens we see
a firefly turn in our direction. Ten-


There are flailing nets, screams, entreaties and curses, and when quiet returns ...

sion mounts and McElroy entreats
Seliger to be ready. Seliger imper-
turbably assures McElroy that all
is in order. The beaters call out to
McElroy the location and probable
courses not only of the firefly he
can see but sometimes, regrettably,
of fireflies behind him. Eventually
comes the clarion call of "Hit it!"
The meter starts to spew forth chart
paper embellished with sinuous
lines. McElroy prances after the
firefly, the gun aimed intuitively
at the spot where he hopes the next
flash will occur. The beaters con-
verge on the same point, nets poised.
Everyone shouts. Finally the firefly
gets out of range, or heads up or
down the mountainside and the cry
"Get it" arises. There is a confused
swishing of insect nets, some prob-
ing flashlight beams, and eventually
comes the verdict of whether the
specimen has been caught, number-
ed and vialed, or has escaped into
the outer darkness, thus making the
record useless.

Such routine collecting is ex-
hausting enough, but it is nothing
to what occurs should Pyrophorus
appear. The common Jamaican
fireflies all belong to the beetle
family Lampyridae, gentle creatures,
small, soft-bodied, slow-flying, and
complying fairly well with the New-
tonian law that "Bodies continue in
a condition of rest or of uniform
motion until acted upon by an ex-
ternal force." Jamaica, however,
also harbors a large, hard, fast-flying
and unpredictable luminous beetle
who is particularly interesting be-
cause he has two sets of light organs:
a pair of green headlights that are
turned on when walking and off in
flight, and a single orange tail light
used in flight only. Moreover, Pyro-
phorus, or "kittyboo" as the natives
call him, is attracted by red light
and McElroy is a chain smoker.

In consequence, once a kittyboo
is sighted in the distance and the
alarm is given, lesser fireflies are

Urchins, youths, all bearing tin cans and gin bottles brimming with Pyrophorus...

forgotten and all eyes pierce the
gloom, straining to follow the rapid
zig-zagging of the insect's flight
through the forest. In his agitation
McElroy drags deep on his cigarette.
Sometimes the quarry scents danger
and streaks away, or sometimes
dashes himself against the window
of the Land Rover with a horrid
clang, attracted by the ruby pilot
light on Seliger's amplifier. Usually,
however, he draws a bead on Mc-
Elroy. As he closes like a flaming
Kamikaze the clamor rises to a fear-
some climax, McElroy's bellow
(whether of terror or the spirit of
the chase it is difficult to say) dom-
inating all. There is a hurly-burly
of flailing nets, screams, entreaties
and curses, and when quiet returns
there is usually a body or two pros-
trate on the chart-strewn ground -
either McElroy himself, victim of a
misdirected net-stroke, or one of his
convulsed colleagues.

The effect of such a perform-
ance on the defenseless local far-
mers, huddled in their houses on
neighboring ridges, can only be
imagined, but it seems not unlikely
that some future anthropologist will
uncover a new chapter in Jamaican
demonology, documented by frag-
ments of paper scroll bearing
cabalistic devices.

In point of fact, toward the end
of our stay McElroy and Pyrophorus
combined in another type of dis-
turbance that rocked the eastern
end of the island. It all came about
from the innocent idea that if one
mixed the enzyme from the green
light organ of Pyrophorus with the
substrate from the orange organ
(and reciprocally), one could tell
whether the colour of the resulting
light is due to the enzyme or to the
substrate molecule. But, biochem-
ists being as inefficient as they are,
this requires a lot of Pyrophorus -
several hundred at least and we
had been able to capture only a
few. We therefore caused it to be
noised abroad that the crazy Amer-
ican scientists would pay sixpence
apiece for kittyboos.

Trade was slow at first, until it
was ascertained that the madmen
were really serious; then the flood-
gates opened. Schools were desert-
ed, bananas stood untilled, mothers

left their babes and nightly the
the laboratory was beseiged by ur-
chins, youths, gaffers and shy, pig-
tailed little girls, all bearing tin cans
or gin bottles brimming with gleam-
ing Pyrophorus. When we came
down from our nightly recording
sessions in the hills the roadsides
were. thronged with waiting mer-
chants laden with their emerald-
lighted prizes. The laboratory re-
frigerator filled with cardboard box-
es snapping like popcorn (Pyro-
phorus is a click beetle). McElroy
was delighted, concerned, finally
desperate. IOU's that he passed out
came back kited by orders of magni-
tude. He took to muttering to him-
self and visiting the Port Antonio
bank twice a day. To make matters
worse a rumor swept the country-
side that anything luminous was
being purchased, engendered prob-

ably by our efforts to make spectro-
graphs of the light of bacteria and
protozoa from the sea, and people
began to come in laden with phos-
phorescent logs and toadstools.

Mercifully our stay came to its
prearranged end before the entire
economy of the island and of
Johns Hopkins collapsed, but I
suspect that the repercussions linger
yet, and that the light of Pyrophor-
us flickering through the gloom
brings back memories to many a
wistful bosom.

The author received his A.B.
from Johns Hopkins in 1933 and
his Ph.D., in zoology, in 1936. He
is chief of the laboratory of physi-
cal biology of the National Institute
of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases,

'Revel' by Leonard Morris

0 :




thtth xraoriar reaeneo

h^^^^^^^*imfriiCbly on akingBBchargel of St.^
and go n a kaganquiries wit a viewato

wie gfe arie a t5 a aoprmie
ataus 6etln th mate aitou aha
inevato af th5a "
aAna aggor ag ah Poic Deatet 187a0

Violence has been a significant aspect of Jamaican
life for a very long time. 1760, 1831, 1865, 1938
were times of mass, national disturbances but, as a
reading of the detailed police reports over the last 100
years shows, lesser incidents have figured prominently
in everyday life. It is unrealistic to suggest, as some
commentators appear to do, that Jamaica has been a
peaceful place until recently.

Any analysis of statistics of violence, (or of
illegal acts generally), is bedevilled by the fact that the
great majority of less serious offences are not reported
to the police. Nevertheless, we may safely say that
the rate of murders and attacks endangering life has
not changed significantly over the last 100 years. In
total, they remain at less than four offences per year
for every 10,000 adults in the population. The figures
for lesser wounding have increased markedly, but it
is most likely that these increases have resulted large-
ly as noted in a number of other countries from a
greater tendency to report such offences. The com-
munity has become more "law-abiding" in the sense
that its members turn more and more to the law for
settlement of disputes.

The remarks of Inspector Thomas are typical of
comments made year after year in old police reports,
and illustrate two points; that "cutting and wound-
ing" is by no means a new phenomenon and that
inter-personal violence usually occurred then, as today,
in domestic disputes between people who were pre-
viously known to each other. It is a misconception to
think of "violence" as the behaviour of a number of
thoroughly antisocial, abnormal individuals, who are
opposed to and opposed by the mainstream of society.
Most violent acts are committed by persons without
criminal records, against other members of their own
social group. The "victim" may well strike the first
blow or cast the first insult, and the "offender" may
well receive a great deal of sympathy within his local
community, who feel that he was greatly provoked
and in the same circumstances many of them might
have done likewise.

In order to place inter-personal violence in per-
spective it is necessary to examine the relationships
between acts such as cutting, stabbing, stone-throwing
and shooting and other ways of expressing aggression.
Abuse, cussing, gossip, driving a car aggressively, kick-
ing a stone, breaking a window, tearing a toy to pieces,
even blaming or punishing oneself, are similar in that
they all represent reactions to threatening or frustrat-
ing circumstances of some kind. Lashing out in some
form even at oneself is a primary and possibly
essential form of human and animal reaction. Society
provides us with numerous ways of channelling ag-
gression, approving highly of some of them, frowning
on others. Society is by no means unified, however,
in its allocation of approval and disapproval. One of
the major implications of the present article is that
we must begin to understand the detailed ways in
which violence is condoned in different sectors of
society, before we can begin to find improved ways of

channelling aggressive impulses.

To illustrate the extent to which physical violence
may be minimised and other forms of aggressiveness
substituted, the unusual absence of overt aggression
among the Saulteaux Indians may be cited. The an-
thropologist A Irving Hallowell reports that:

...even pointing one's finger at a person, accom-
panied by an angry facial expression or insulting
words, may be interpreted as a serious threat
against one's life."
Yet the Saulteaux are no less prone to aggressive
impulses than other people, and find non-violent ways
of expressing these impulses. Hallowell continues:

"...Gossip is as rife among the Saulteaux as
among other people, and many unpleasant and
even scandalous things are said behind a person's
back that no-one would utter in a face-to-face
situation. ... With sorcery and magic at my dis-
posal, in fact, I can vent my anger with greater
effectiveness than would be possible by verbal
insult or even a physical assault, short of murder.
I can make a person suffer a lingering illness, in-
terfere with his economically productive activi-
ties, and thus menace his living; I can also make
his children ill or lure his wife away by love ma-
gic; I can even kill him if I wish. But when I
meet him face-to-face, I will give no evidence of
my hostility by gesture, word or deed. "

This example illustrates an important point about
substitute methods of expressing aggression, that they
themselves may be extremely destructive. In the case
of the Saulteaux we find a society which is riddled
with suspicions, in which every form of inter-personal
contact is suspect, which is greatly handicapped in de-
veloping its economic activities as long as obsessional
involvement in the supernatural prevents men from
progressing by their own efforts and understanding
our usual notions of cause and effect.

Similarly, we may suggest that the "Quashee" re-
action to frustrating circumstances during slavery was
dysfunctional. "Quashee", in the face of intensely de-
grading circumstances, clung to self-respect by tech-
niques such as lying, deceit, feigned stupidity, refus-
ing to give in absolutely to the dictates of the slave-
owner. This shred of self-respect was maintained at a
price, however, in that "Quashee" reinforced the slave-
owner's image of him as slow, unreliable and inferior
and, of more long-term importance, tended to accept
this image of himself. A similar mechanism may be
seen today, in that Anancy reactions,a pride in trick-
ery of many kinds, a mock servility in situations such
as tourism, may well have the unfortunate consequence
of preserving the status quo, in which a superior-
inferior relationship is perceived by both sides, the
tricker and the tricked.

Violence is abhorrent I do not want to be chop-
ped yet its functional aspects need to be recognis-
ed. The American sociologist, Coser, has noted that

violence is often the only available means of achiev-
ing status and self-respect whether for the gang mem-
ber in an underprivileged area or the member of aper-
secuted minority group. Violence as a means of per-
sonal achievement will be discussed at length below,
but at this point we may suggest another function of
violence as described by Coser, that it provides a dan-
ger signal that something is wrong in society. This
point is important in Jamaica, where "West Kingstons"
(which may be found in many parts of the Corporate
Area and in many other corners of the country), tend
to be places which many people prefer to forget, until
events such as recent gang violence bring them sharply
to our attention and bring a greater chance that such
areas will be taken seriously.

To regulate violence we must first develop a de-
tailed understanding of it sources. To understand is
not to accept or condone. But to attempt control
without understanding may be likened to attempting
to prevent a pot from boiling over by pushing the lid
on firmly. Temporary stoppage of one outlet leads to
a greater explosion. We have two sets of information
to draw on in the developing understanding, the com-
plementary focuses of studies of individual psychology
and studies of society. In general, we may say that
definable conditions in society tend to produce vio-
lence for any individual in those conditions, but that
individuals vary in their tendencies to respond vio-
lently to identical conditions. Of these focuses, we
will first examine the kind of evidence provided by
psychologists to explain aggressive behaviour.

The Psychiatrist Edmund Glover has said that
"Judged by adult social standards the normal baby is
for all practical purposes a born criminal." The new-
ly born child is essentially selfish, demanding and ag-
gressive. The early learning process consists of teach-
ing him that all demands are not met immediately, he
has to modify his behaviour to fit in with the wishes
and demands of other people. This socialisation pro-
cess is most satisfactory if the child develops in a warm,
affectionate setting, in which he learns not simply
because he wants to avoid suffering but also because
he wants to retain the affection of those around him.

The extreme case of failing to socialise is the
affectionlesss" or "psychopathic" personality, who
goes through life in a grasping way, completely insen-
sitive to the wishes or feelings of other people. When
his immediate desires are frustrated, he will lash out
angrily and blindly. He may be afraid of the immedi-
ate threat of retaliation, but does not consider delayed
consequences. This is, fortunately, a rare and excep-
tional extreme, but aspects of the affectionless per-
sonality are found to some extent in many people.

In particular, lack of awareness of the feelings of
other people is commonplace. In extreme circum-
stances it may even be essential, as in the soldier who
cannot afford to think about the man who is to receive
his bullet. Jealous academics, or ruthless businessmen,
or ambitious politicians may well be more successful

if they have a capacity to ignore the consequences
which their behaviour has for others. The parent who
"gave him everything" in a material sense, without
giving love and affection, is able to delude himself that
the child was born wicked, he the parent is not at

To a greater or lesser extent such individuals have
failed to socialise, have failed to learn how to channel
aggressive impulses, to postpone gratification or accept
substitutes, so that other people are unharmed. This
learning process, however, is not simply a matter of
learning that specific, aggressive acts will be followed
by unpleasant consequences. It is disturbed, first, by
the fact that a great deal of learning takes place by
imitation. If a boy grows up in a situation in which he
is punished for aggression, yet sees a great deal of vio-
lence around him he is punished violently, hears a
great deal of verbal aggression, lives in a generally vio-
lent culture then he will learn that violence is gener-
ally approved despite having some evidence to the con-
trary. Second, the process is made complex by a
phenomenon known as "response generalisation", in
which learning one form of behaviour will tend to en-
courage similar forms of behaviour. For example, the
boy who is taught to be "forceful" is also more likely
to be aggressive. The process of socialisation is influ-
enced by very subtle factors and crude exhortations
to stamp on aggressiveness are unlikely to have their
desired effect.

In what ways does society in general encourage
violence? Even in middle-class society, in which physi-
cal violence tends to be seen generally as a sign of
weakness, there is a high level of tolerance of specific
acts- According to a strict interpretation of the rule of
law, a man is allowed to use just sufficient force as is
necessary to protect his life or property. He is official-
ly limited in the use of force for punitive or vengeful
purposes. Yet, if a society upholds this rule strictly
and impartially for all members of society, it will
place much stricter control on use of guns by private
citizens than is common in Jamaica at present. It is
comparatively easy for a well-to-do householder or
businessman to obtain a gun licence; he does not
have to demonstrate his capacity to use the weapon
properly, nor does his need for it have to be very excep-
tional. In practice, "just sufficient force" is interpret-
ed by allowing some members of society a far greater
potential for force than others, and a man who shoots
and kills a burglar, even if the latter is unarmed, is very
unlikely to be strongly condemned by his fellows.

Similarly, the "culture of car-drivers" tends to con-
done aggressive driving, even though this is responsible
for over four times as many violent deaths per year as

It is suggested that failure to disapprove these forms
of violence is essentially similar to the affectionlesss"
personality's failure to recognize the feelings of others,
in that the gunman-householder and the motorist tend
to see the burglar and the pedestrian respectively more
as objects than persons, and are supported by their

fellows in this lack of awareness.

Such examples apart, however, the middle class
citizen has developed a wide variety of ways of chan-
nelling aggression and is able to condemn violence.
Paradoxically, this very condemnation of the (perceiv-
ed) sub-human people who "commit violence, rob, lie,
are lazy, have too many children, rape", itself provides
a ready means of channelling aggression towards a
highly stereo-typed target.

It is in working class life that physical violence in
a wide variety of forms is condoned and even praised
by the general culture. Observers in many countries
have commented on the fact that attributes such as
toughness, daring, seeking excitement, and sexual pro-
wess are predominant values in working class culture.
A young man is highly esteemed by his friends if he is
rough and tough, more daring in taking physical risks,
more attractive to women, bolder in attacking perceiv-
ed opponents of his group. The truck driver who hur-
tles round corners may be egged on by his passengers,
the passengers themselves will sway precariously on the
rear instead of sitting back safely. The cyclist will dart
in and out of heavy traffic, the coconut vendor swing
his cutlass skillfully within a hair's breadth of his fin-
ger. In sexual relationships, aggression is highly valued,
both in flirtation and in lovemaking.

Why is such a high value placed on these charac-
teristics? A part-explanation is suggested by asking
"what alternatives are there?" Man as a social animal
is primarily concerned with reinforcing his own self-
respect and ensuring that his fellows have a high opin-
ion of him. Yet in the limiting conditions of working
class culture in many other countries as well as in
Jamaica most individuals can only look forward to
second best. James Baldwin, in his "Letter from a
region of my mind", said about his early life in Har-

"One would never defeat one's circumstances by
working and saving one's pennies; one would
never, by working, acquire that many pennies."

The working class Jamaican faces conditions simi-
lar to those of the Negro in Harlem, in that conven-
tional means of attaining his goals, as the means are
recommended by the society and the goals are defined
by his own awareness of what he lacks, are obscure
and unconvincing.

A further part-explanation for the specific selec-
tion of values in working class culture, as suggested by
some commentators, is that they are chosen because
they are opposed to official conventions. "They"
deplore violence, "we" then praise it; "they" insist on
hard work, "we" then scorn it. This inversion of va-
lues is made possible where society provides a ready
rationalisation: "they" attack violence because they
are afraid of us, or weaker; "they" want you to work
hard for them, while paying you a 'starvation wage.'
(The deep-rooted suspicion of being exploited by an

employer is evidenced by the high desirability of work-
ing for oneself well over one-third of the labour
force is still self-employed). There are many other ex-
amples of inverted values. The youth boasts about the
"mother of my child", when he is told about irres-
ponsible fatherhood. Another buys very expensive
"sharp" clothes, when he is urged to save and spend
wisely. Another is proud of "holding his drink",when
drinking is preached against; cussing vigorously,
when "bad language" is strongly condemned.

This last attribute may be referred to especially to
illustrate the functional nature of these aspects of
working class life. The quick tongues, the ability to
cuss with great richness of language, especially in at-
tacking the physical unattractiveness or sexual inade-
quacy of an adversary, is a prominent means of gain-
ing esteem, The foreigner who hears a cussing match
may wonder why blows were not struck long ago,
especially when highly valued characteristics are attack-
ed. It is suggested, however, that the great import-
ance of cussing is that it is usually a self-sufficient
means of giving vent to aggression, and that there
would probably be far more violent acts without it.
In view of overcrowded yards, unavailability of work,
the frequency of irritating inter-personal situations,
the very restricted conditions of working class life
generally, it is worth asking why actual violence does
not result more often.

It is suggested that the culture is very finely balanc-
ed to avoid violence as far as possible. The values pre-
viously described,all provide means of approaching or
threatening violence, without actually reaching it. To
the young child, working class life provides an early
teaching process. The child may be threatened with
death every day, yet he quickly learns to interpret
violent language and recognize its exaggeration. The
delicate balance is also illustrated in the earlier example
of using a cutlass; great skill is developed by the coco-
nut vendor, or by the man who administers a beating
with the side of a cutlass, without cutting.

Why, then, does the balance become disturbed from
time to time and actual violence result? Clearly, where
potentially violent situations are often imminent, only
very minor changes or miscalculations will be necessary
to bring a wounding, or even rape or murder. If one
participant is especially prone to violence, or is attack-
ed on something about which he is peculiarly sensitive,
or is unskilled in cussing, then the delicate balance
will be upset. Special mention should also be made of
the availability of weapons, as most wounding involve
use of a weapon which is ready to hand, a stone, a cut-
lass, a pair of scissors, a stick. The difference between
murder and absence of violence may well hinge on
Of major importance in determining the progress
of a quarrel and this feature cannot be over-
emphasized,is the availability of an audience, either to
mock and humiliate or to be further impressed. It has
already been stressed that, when conventional goals
such as economic advance, supporting a family, are

very limited, the goal of acquiring prestige in the eyes
of one's fellows assumes enormous importance. Fur-
ther, to be bold and aggressive rather than weak and
timid is essential for this. The influence of the group
or audience may operate directly, by prompting, but
its influence is also more subtle. In a group, the in-
dividual tends to have a lessened feeling of personal
responsibility, therefore he is able to engage in more
extreme forms of behaviour than he would normally
do. Furthermore, group members may compete with
each other in gaining attention. In these circumstanc-
es, there may be a rapid escalation of violence, deter-
mined by the boldest, most aggressive members.

So far we have been discussing violence and poten-
tial for violence which has existed for a very long
time in Jamaica. Undoubtedly, however, there have
been small but steady increases in violence over the
past five years. Since 1960, the rate of all violent
offences has risen from 67 reports to 81 reports per
10,000 of the adult population. (It is for the reader
to judge whether this absolute level as opposed to
the rate of increase is "high"). The general reasons
for increases have been widely debated, but little firm
evidence has been produced. On-going research in the
University may provide an improved basis for argue-
ment but, even before final results of this are avail-
able, some points may be made which have not arisen
in public debates.

We suggest that public concern has "exploded"
much faster than the statistical incidence of violence
would warrant. This was so even before the new and
frequent use of guns shortly before the general elec-
tion. This use of guns is, of course, partly responsible
five shootings are liable to create far more concern
that 50 stone-throwings. In addition the recent de-
velopment of urban gangs, which will be discussed
below, has accelerated concern. We suggest that con-
cern has increased because many more people have
personal experience of verbal aggression, of the cussing
which tends more to cross cultural and racial
boundaries. In these circumstances, violence appears
imminent when it is not. Violence is still restricted
almost exclusively within working class groups, the
victim is another member of the group rather than an

The development of gangs is highly significant in
its own right. Gangs have been widely studied in the
United States and, in general, explanations for their
development depend on the idea that increased aspira-
tions, without corresponding increases in opportuni-
ties to achieve, lead to a situation in which individuals
see themselves as in hopelessly unfair conditions and
gang together for mutual support. In Jamaica, we have
had considerable public emphasis on new and equal
opportunities since Independence. There have been
extensive and noticeable building programmes, to-
gether with frequent promises and greatly heightened
expectations. The individual who sees his own situa-
tion as unchanging in the midst of this, rapidly be-

comes disgruntled.

From this beginning we may outline three stages
in gang development. Initially, resentment is express-
ed in comparatively safe ways, with unorganised, spon-
taneous group destructiveness and group attacks on
readily available targets. Disturbances tend to be con-
fined to crowd situations, cinemas, the stadium, crow-
ed bus stops, when the group lends support and the
individual's responsibility is limited.

The second stage, which began well before the
General Election, comes after public anger has been
expressed and the more persistently belligerent young
men become condemned by working class groups gen-
erally. By what has been called a "deviation amplify-
ing system," the gang becomes cut off from its own
social group, becomes more highly structured and anti-
social as its members are forced to depend only on
each other for support and prestige. It seems reason-
able to say that use of gangs prior to the election did
not create the gang situation, though it probably ac-
celerated and intensified its development. Gang mem-
bers obtained guns, their violence was given some legiti-
macy, then a rebound of public anger cut them off
more rapidly from society generally.

As a third stage, it is likely that violence itself will
be seen as crude and undesirable by gang members,
after reigning for a time as a major way of obtaining
status. We now have signs of more organised crime,
in which robberies are larger and only rarely accom-
panied by actual violence. This development is a nat-
ural consequence of the delicately balanced, near vio-
lence noted earlier, in which violent postures are main-
trained but the real skill is to avoid spilling over into
actual violence.

It has been pointed out previously that this paper
is concerned ultimately with regulation of violence.
We may suggest the functions of violence, or try to
develop understanding of it, but tackling these prob-
lems is not to accept it. Yet we have not progressed
far in suggesting means of regulation. It is submitted,
however, that the first stage in regulation is to begin to
identify the nature of the problem. This has beenat-
tempted, in that it has been suggested that violence is.
intimately bound up with other aspects of the social
structure and its regulation must be a long-term task
of changing these features of society. Most important,
if violence results to a great extent from perceived con-
flicts between different sectors of society and it is
suggested that it does then reduction of these con-
flicts is of major importance. The more the "little
man" is able to convince himself that "they" block
him in achieving his goals, the greater will be his re-
sentment. This resentment may be directed against
his family, his friends and neighbours. But it will only
be confirmation of deep social divisions if we then say,
violence directed against working class members does
not matter.

Uses of



"Irish Moss"
by Lena Green

During the months of December to January several
reports have been made to the Institute of Jamaica
about the occurrence of large quantities of a certain
seaweed at Port Henderson. This seaweed is the red
alga Gracilaria verrucosa (G. confervoides) and is the
most important economically of the common sea-
weeds growing in Jamaican waters. Locally it is the
chief constituent together with other species of Gra-
cilaria, of the "Irish Moss". True Irish Moss Chon-
drus crispus does not grow in the Wes: Indies but is
imported and sold in the drug stores.
The reports state that bathers at Port Henderson
were coming out of the water with large quantities
of this seaweed which they apparently recognized as
the seaweed used in the preparation of "Irish Moss".
The preparation of Irish Moss is discussed at the end
of this article.
Over the years there have been several enquiries
from other countries about the availability of sea-
weeds in large quantities for exportation, but unfor-
tunately we have not been able to locate such large
quantities. It appears that it is only in cold climates
that massive growths of seaweeds occur.
Gracilaria verrucosa is one of the commercial sour-
ces of the manufacture of agar-agar, one of the more
important seaweed products in the world. It has very
many uses. Probably the most important use of agar
is in bacteriological and fungal culture, because of its
ability to gel, its resistance to liquefaction, and the
fact that it remains liquid at 42 C.
Agar is used in a number of countries for the trans-
port of preserved, cooked fish, which is protected
from breaking by being embedded in the firm jelly. In
Australia it is used to prevent the constituents of
certain canned fishes like herrings from blackening the
contents of the can. New Zealand uses it for canning
sheep's tongue. It can be employed as a temporary
preservative for easily spoiled foodstuffs.

Another industrial use of agar is in the sizing of
fabrics. The finest grades of agar are used for the
valuable silks, and the poorer grades are used for mus-
lin, voiles and tulles. Poorer qualities of agar are used,
as a coating in paper manufacture, in making water-
proof paper, and as glue.
Agar-Agar is widely used as a stabilizer in bakery
and dairy products, as roughage, and for making jelly
desserts, icings, confectioneries and salad dressings. It
is also employed in cosmetic creams and jellies, in
paints and varnishes, as a dental impression mould
base and in pharmaceutical preparations as cons-
tituents of medicinal tablets, pills, capsules and laxa-
tive preparations.
Latest reports state that Gracilaria verrucosa and
other red algae are used as an additive in the manu-
facture of certain types of plastics.
Preparation of Irish Moss
The Gracilaria is thoroughly washed to remove the
salt and then placed in the sun to dry and bleach.
This explains the white colour of "Irish Moss" bought
from vendors.
The "Irish Moss" is boiled in a large quantity of
water long enough for it to become soft and some-
times disintegrate. The liquid is then strained off
and sweetened with condensed milk; spice and colour-
ing are added to taste. The mixture is then left to
cool and gel.

Marat/Sade staged at
Centre U.W.I.
Photo by LaYacona

Current Pantomime
'Anancy & Pandora'
Photo by 'Gleaner'

Creative Art

The work of
the Jamaica National
Dance Theatre -
Photo by Lothar Boehme

~- -,

L (1,4


Sli ,A

ai r

Old Theatre Kidd

A History of

Theatre in Jamaica

by Henry Fowler

Theatre buildings provide an un-
mistakable index and clearly visible
statistic of dramatic development in
a community; their quantity, their
size, their location and their design
bear silent and unimpeachable wit-
ness. Part therefore of our enquiry
into the history of theatre in Ja-
maica will devote itself to a study
of theatre buildings. But that is just
the beginning. We shall find that
these buildings not only state indis-
putably certain facts, but they also
ask insistently certain questions.
And it is the questions that they ask
that are important. Some of these
questions will be outside the scope
of this article, but it is well that
they should at least be stated expli-
citly for on them depends the future
history of the theatre.
To what extent does the Theatre
at any particular time provide that
essential "moment of truth", to
what extent does it provide the deep
emotional satisfaction which is the
basis of all art? These are questions
of spirit, and the material fabric of

theatre building is only important
in so far as it contributes to this
spiritual fulfilment. For theatre, in
this sense, is the oldest and most
potent of arts, and dwells not in
temples made with hands: it belongs
in the heart of the most primitive
man in his dance as well as his drama,
in his masks and his magic, in his
ancestor worship and ritual with
roots deep in pre-history; and it
belongs too in the very centre of
man's most sophisticated civilisa-
tion, illuminating the essential trage-
dy and comedy of human existence.

The early Arawak inhabitants,
of course, left us no theatrical build-
ings, but Peter Martyr writing thirty
years after Columbus presents an
interesting account of the primitive
dramatic Arawak festivals involving
song and dance to the music of
drums, and timbrels made with
shells. Gardener (writing four cen-
turies later but still relying on Peter
Martyr for his information) tells:
"In some of these festivals the

worthy deeds of departed caciques
were related in a sort of metrical
history, very much the same as Ho-
mer sang the praises of Trojan

During the century and a half
of Spanish rule, little theatrical his-
tory is recorded, but it is possible
that further excavations in the Se-
villa Nueva area in St. Ann may yet
uncover the ruins of the Spanish
theatre which Cundall mentions as
having been built there.

It is with the English Conquest
and particularly with the Restora-
tion that we are able to begin to
trace the continuous theatrical his-
tory of Jamaica. The Common-
wealth Puritans who conquered the
island, had, it is true, little use for
the theatre, but Charles II on his
Restoration took a personal interest
in "his darling Plantation" and as
early as 1682 Francis Hanson, writ-
ing of the new settlers,was able to
record "the Plays at a Publick Thea-
tre" (probably at Spanish Town)
"demonstrate the flourishing con-
dition of the island".

A second theatre was built in
Spanish Town some sixty years la-
ter, for in 1742 Vice Admiral Ed-
ward Vernon reports that Spanish
Town has "lately got a playhouse,
were they retain "a Set of Extra-
ordinary Good Actors' "; in 1750
John Moody, an English, or rather
an Irish, actor, proposed to erect a
regular theatre in Kingston and by
1754 a theatre in rented premises
on Harbour Street is to found on the
tax roll and "the Comedians", an
American Company, were perform-
ing Restoration plays there. This
was almost certainly a converted
warehouse in Harbour Street known
as "King's Store" and was presided
over by the fabulously beautiful but
notorious and ill-starred Mrs. Ther-
esa Constantina Phillips, Jamaica's
first Mistress of the Revels.

So great was the response to
Moody and his colleagues in the
"American Company of the Com-
edians" (Kean and later David Dou-
glass and the famous American thea-
trical family, the Hallams) that by
1774 "The Kingston Theatre", the
first Jamaican theatre of which we

The Kingston Theatre WIRL

have precise structural details and
location, was built, and David Dou-
glass (who incidentally was respon-
sible for building a total of seven
theatres in America and Jamaica)
was installed as Master of the Revels
in 1777. This theatre, standing on
the north of the Parade, which was
to become the site of all Kingston's
major theatres for nearly two cen-
turies, was shown in a Duperley
sketch in the Almanac for 1831 and
can be seen in the view of the Parade
in Kidd's "Views of Jamaica", and
was a well constructed wooden
structure which lasted until 1838.

The date of 1774 for the build-
ing of the Kingston Theatre is signi-
ficant, for as the American Revolu-
tion approached, the theatres in
America faced crippling opposition
from Puritan influences, and theat-
rical managers sought more con-
genial and favourable environment.
The campaign against the theatre in
America culminated in the resolu-
tion passed by the Continental
Congress in 1778 that "presenting
playhouses and theatrical entertain-
ments has a fatal tendency to divert
the minds of the people from due
attention to the means necessary for
the defence of their country"; and
Congress further decreed "that any
person holding an office under the
United States who shall act, pro-
mote, encourage or attend such*
plays shall be deemed unworthy to
hold such office and shall be accord-
ingly dismissed." The result was
that the American Company of
Comedians, driven out of America,
presented in Jamaica during the
period 1774 1784 annual seasons
of unprecedented theatrical activity.

In the year 1782, for instance, by
no means an exceptional year,
thirty-eight plays, including Shakes-
peare, Sheridan, Farquhar, Garrick
and Dryden were presented at the
Kingston Theatre.

But Kingston was not alone in
this theatrical activity. According
to the Journal of the Assembly, a
theatre was built in Spanish Town
in 1776 at a cost of 2,471.16. 14d

(sic!) (obviously no mean theatre
when we consider that the largest
New York theatre built in 1758 had
cost Douglass a mere $1,625). Mon-
tego Bay also announced the first
performance at The New Theatre
on March 17, 1777. A few days
later, on March 22, the "Chronicle"
comments: "The commodious and
neat construction of the house sur-
prised -and manifested the Com-
pany's (American Company of Com-
edians) endeavours. On Wednesday
and Thursday the plays of "She
Stoops to Conquer" and "Hamlet"
with the farces "Padlock" and
"Cross Purposes" were performed."
We may consider "Hamlet" plus
a farce as an overlong and incongr-
ous evening's entertainment, but
gentlemen of fashion in the eight-
eenth century had Gargantuan ap-
petites and took their pleasures in
deep and gluttonous draughts, and
with tickets at ten shillings a piece
producers doubtless felt it necessary
to give their patrons good measure,
pressed down and flowing over.

Nor were the twenty presenta-
tions in the Montego Bay Theatre
(including the "Beggars Opera") in
this year a mere flash in the pan. In

the year 1784, for instance, we have
thirty-seven performances recorded
in Montego Bay (in yet another new
playhouse, which according to
Richardson Wright was probably
Montego Bay's third theatre).

Small wonder that with these
three busy centres of theatrical
activity in Kingston, Spanish Town
and Montego Bay, the reputation of
Jamaican theatre stood high. When
George Washington, himself a most
avid theatre goer, encouraged the
re-opening of theatres in the United
States after the War of Indepen -
dence, the highest recommendation
for any play or company opening in
New York was the proud billing:
"Straight from success in Jamaica".

After the departure of the Ameri-
can Company, there was a lull, and
then for a time during the Haitian
Revolution in the Napoleonic era
the Kingston stage was gradually
dominated by French refugees from
Haiti; in 1808 J. Stewart, writing
on the state of Jamaica,bewails the
lack of theatrical activities, and we
know from other sources that many
misfortunes befell the Kingston
Theatre at the turn of the century.
By 1812, however, the Kingston
Theatre opened under energetic new
management while the following
year the Spanish Town Theatre
reopened, supported by the Thea-
trical Amateur Society whose pur-
pose was to raise funds to establish
a regular theatre in the then capital.

By 1838 it became necessary to
rebuild Kingston Theatre as the
wooden structure had been destroy-
ed by fire after having served the
city for over sixty years, and the
first "Theatre Royal" (named after
the famous Drury Lane Theatre in
London) was erected by public sub-
scription and a grant from the As-
sembly. This handsome brick build-
ing in the old colonial style of
architecture fronted with a hand-
some flight of steps is shown in the
Duperley daguerrotype.
We are sadly ignorant of the
activities in this theatre, and a great
opportunity awaits the historian
who will undertake for the second
half of the nineteenth century the
task of theatrical research so ad-
mirably accomplished by Richard-

son Wright in bringing to life the
period 1682 1838 in "Revels in
Jamaica" a delightful book which
still remains the chief and indeed
only source book of Jamaican thea-
trical history.

Gall, writing in 1880, reports
that plays were being frequently
performed by visiting companies
and by Jamaican players, but that
The Theatre Royal had become
rather shabby because Government
had not been allotting the Munici-
pal Board enough money to keep it

By 1900 the need for repair of
the Theatre Royal was fully recog-
nised and in that period of high
cultural awareness and endeavour
which marked the closing years of
the nineteenth century in Jamaica,
a second "Theatre Royal" was built
by the government on the site of the
first. This was an excellently design-
ed theatre and Jamaica seemed well
set for a new era of theatrical
activity. Alas, this fine building
lasted only seven years and was so
badly shaken and damaged by the
earthquake of 1907 that it had to
be demolished.

t' '

Theatre Royal WIRL

Ward Theatre Amador Packer

-: 1

Faced with the enormous cost
of the totally unforeseen post-earth-
quake reconstruction, the Govern-
ment appeared reluctant to provide
funds for rebuilding the theatre and
for five years Kingston was without
a theatre. (Italian opera companies
in 1910 and 1912 had to perform
in the Conversorium in Temple
Lane). So great was the agitation,
controversy and demand that Co-
lonel Charles James Ward, Custos of
Kingston, the "nephew" named in

the title of the famous firm of Wray
& Nephew, came forward with a
generous offer. At the cost of
12,000 he had the theatre which
now bears his name designed by
R.D. Henriques, built by Henriques
Bros. and presented to the Mayor
and Council on December 16fh,

Writing in 1913 H.G. DeLisser
describes the Ward Theatre as "un-
questionably the best theatre any-

where in the West Indies including

The personal theatrical diary
kept by the first Manager of the
Ward Theatre (the late Mr. Gussy
Best) provides a wealth of detail on
the theatre from 1912 to 1931.
The interest in this crucial period
and the fact that none of this ma-
terial has hitherto been published
will excuse spending disproportion-
ate space on these records.

For instance, the outstanding entries of the first year included:

Diary Entry Number

1. Ward's Theatre handed over to the Mayor
and Council on 16th December, 1912,at
4.30 p.m. by the Hon. Col. Ward etc. etc.

2. December 18th, 1912 The Amateur
Dramatic Club presents Gilbert & Sulli-
van's "Pirates of Penzance" (repeated
December 19th & 20th).

11. March 20th April 3rd, 1913. Harkins
Dramatic Company Season (proved very

12. May 15th Klark Urban Dramatic Co-
pany opened up a season of 12 nights.

14. June 12th Elocution and Literary Con-
cert by Mr. Marcus Garvey.

16. July 9th "Frank A. Fisher Amusement
Company and continuing for an unlimit-
ed season."

21. September 11th Morton Opera Company
opened a season of 12 nights. The follow-
ing plays: Madam Sherry, The Three
Twins, The Girl from Nowhere, Tele-
phone Girl, Bohemian Girl, The Belle of
New York, Matinee Idol, Girls Will be
Girls, His Worship the Mayor, Pinfoil.
(The Company consisted of 17 men and
18 ladies).

24. September 19th Fisher's Amusement
Company every Wednesday and Saturday.

35. December 9th (?) Amateur Dramatic Club
in drama entitled "The Importance of
Being Ernest" by Oscar Wilde (Mr. Durie,
Times Store, local agent.)

The Florence Glossop-Harris Company visited for the first time in Jan-
uary, 1914 (following the Benson Shakespeare Company which had played
at the Theatre Royal). The amazing size of the repertoire of this company
(which was to become a regular visitor to Jamaica until 1931) is well illu-
strated by Mr. Best's Diary entries 40 53.

Diary Entry Number

40. Friday January 9th, 1914 The Merchant
of Venice.

41. Saturday January 10th Hamlet.

42. Monday January 11th (sic) Twelfth Night

43. Tuesday January 12th Romeo and Juliet

44. Wednesday January 13th (Matinee) A
Midsummer Night's Dream.

45. Wednesday January 13th (Night) As You
Like It

46. Thursday, January 14th (Matinee) Romeo
and Juliet.

47. Thursday, January 14th (Night) Richard

48. Friday, January 15th Much Ado About

49. Saturday, January 16th The Taming of
the Shrew

50. Monday, January 18th Macbeth

51. Tuesday, January 19th Othello

52. Wednesday, January 20th The Merry
Wives of Windsor

53. Thursday, January 21st A Midsummer
Night's Dream

They returned in 1920 with fif-
teen plays; in 1922 Frank Cellier
(Florence Glossop-Harris' husband)
managed the company which brought
a repertoire of fifteen plays (less
than a half of them Shakespearian);
the 1923 season consisted of twen-
ty plays, none of which were Shakes-
peare; in 1924 they brought a Musi-
cal Comedy Company which did
twenty-one performances of ten
different musical comedies; in Dec-
ember, 1925, seventeen plays, in
1928 eighteen plays, and again in
1931 fifteen plays.* When Florence
Glossop-Harris retired, members of
her troupe formed in 1933 a new
touring Company, the Empire Play-
ers, which though they did not reach
the standards inspired by Florence
Glossop-Harris herself, continued the

* Glossop Harris played a regular season
in Montego Bay.

practice of annual visits to Jamaica
and the West Indies until the out-
break of war in 1939.

But Glossop-Harris was not the
only regular visiting company, the
Klark Urban Company (already men-
tioned) were back for a season in
1920, and the Harkins Dramatic
Company came back for seasons in
1914, 1924 and 1925 and several
other companies with large repert-
oires made occasional visits. Grand
Opera was popular and almost every
year there was a season of grand
opera or light opera.

Lindsay Downer (who directed
several versions of "Fireflies") was
the most consistent of local pro-
ducers, but Mrs. Melton Adams

(Mrs. Marguerite Squire), Mme de
Montagnac, S.M.A. de Souza, and
William Spooner also presented lo-
cal amateur theatrical and musical
performances in the twenties. Local
vaudeville andvariety shows develop-
ed steadily with "Harold and Trim"
up to 1928. "Cupes and Abes "
(Cupidon and Ableton) from 1928,
"Racca and Sandy" and later "Amos
and Andy" (Lee Gordon and Ranny
Williams). But the steps by which
the Jamaican theatrical public came
to accept local talent were hesitant,
and Mr. Best's note quoted below
indicated both the outlook of pro-
moters and the attitude of audiences.
"Diary Entry 331. Variety Concert
by Jim Luke on the 31st August,
1921. This was indeed a boom show,
this man Luke disappointed the

audience by presenting native talents
after having stated it would be
people who never appeared outside
of the United States before. Great
excitement in the gallery people
demanding their money back. Had
it not been for Kid Harry, Aple
White and Kid Asheby, it might have
had a disastrous Ending, those boys
I have previously mentioned appear-
ed on the stage and sang the pop-
ular "Mongoose" hit which quelled
the row".

By 1930, however, there were
distinct signs of the development
of a tradition of locally written Ja-
maican plays starting with E.M.
Cupidon's dramatisation of H.G. De
Lisser's "Susan Proudleigh" in 1903,
and "Jane's Career", followed by
Ester Chapman's "West Indian" and
Una Marson's "Pocomania" and
"London Calling" and Frank Hill's
"Upheaval" in 1939.

In the nineteen twenties and
thirties, Theatre in Jamaica, as all
over the world, was finding its
greatest challenge from the Cinema;
whereas there was, at this time, only
one theatre in Jamaica, dozens of
"moving-picture houses" sprang up;
by 1929 "talkies" were introduced
and the Ward Theatre, then the only
legitimate theatre in the island, was
leased out by the Kingston and St.
Andrew Corporation to Cinema in-
terests at a very small fraction of
the rental charged to dramatic users.
Incalculable and irreparable harm
was done to the cultural develop-
ment of the island by this disgrace-
ful betrayal of Colonel Ward's trust.

The lease of the Ward Theatre
to the Cinema not only imposed
severe limitations on the produc-
tion of local companies at a time
when interest in local drama was
growing rapidly, but it effectively
cut off Jamaican theatre from con-
tact with world theatrical compan-
ies at its most formative period when
those contacts were most needed.
In addition the division of respon-
sibility for the maintenance of the
Theatre between the trustees, the
K.S.A.C. and the Cinema lessees,
resulted in the appalling deteriora-
tion of this Theatre which had once
been the pride of Kingston.

The post-war years were there-

fore ones of lonely and unaided
struggle for theatrical interests in
Jamaica. For a whole generation no
theatrical company from abroad
visited Jamaica though a large num-
ber of local dramatic societies sprang
up and in too many cases flickered
out after a promising start.

This period is another which calls
for full-length -and critical analysis
and study which it is one of the pur-
poses of this article to stimulate and
encourage. It is merely possible
here to indicate the main trends to
be investigated.

Attempting to fill the gap left by
the lack of visiting companies have
been, at various times, groups such
as the Theatre Arts Club, Stephen
Hill's Productions, The New Thea-
tre Company, Jamaica Playhouse
and the Group of Revue artists re-
presented in what has come to be
known as "8 o'clock Jamaica Time".

Consciously striving for the de-
velopment of a Jamaican drama and
an indigenous theatre have been
"The Caribbean Thespians", Errol
Hill's "West Indian Players", Orford
St. John's "Repertory Players", El-
sie Benjamin Barsoe's"Peoples Thea-
tre", Trevor Rhone and Yvonne
Jones' "Theatre 77" (creating their
own promising "Barn Theatre").

Developing the art of vaudeville
and popular variety have been Vere
John's Opportunity Hour, the pro-
moters of Xmas Morning Concerts
and "Bim and Bam".

Stressing the educational aspects
of theatre work have been Noel
Vaz's work at the Extra Mural De-
partment, the Secondary Schools
Drama Festival, and the Knox Col-
lege Summer Schools.

The Jamaica Drama League, in-
spired by Wycliffe Bennett, set it-
self the task of developing All-Island
dramatic work and embraced the
work in Mandeville, Montego Bay
and many other country areas. The
development of the Adult All-Island
Drama Festival and indeed the whole
Independence Festival Movement
has largely been the outcome ot
their drive. Significant contribu--
tions too have been made by the

Catholic Youth and other Church
The Jamaica Operatic Society
has to a large extent taken the place
of the visiting opera companies.

Perhaps the most radical change
has been the development of the
Dance the work of Hazel Johnston
has led to the formation of many
dance groups, and Ivy Baxter, Eddie
Thomas and Rex Nettleford have
brought a new social and theatrical
significance with Creative Dance,
and the work of The National Dance
Theatre Company seems to have
enormous potential.

The emergence of Louise Ben-
nett has undoubtedly been one of
the dominant features of theatrical
history since 1930. Like the dancers,
she brings a new dimension to the
theatre embodying folklore and folk
music, and a personality that typi-
fies the spirit of Jamaica to which
audiences spontaneously respond.

Important too has been the fact
that for the first time there have
been dramatists writing for the Ja-
maican theatre Roger Mais, Cicely
Waite-Smith, Sam Hillary, Barry Rec-
kord, W.G. Ogilvie, Carey Robinson,
Sylvia Wynter and Dennis Scott.

Perhaps the phenomenon that
needs the most careful analysis is
the growth of the Little Theatre
Movement over the last twenty-
seven years. It may well be that in
their annual "Pantomimes" which
have developed from adapted Eng-
lish Pantomimes, to completely Ja-
maican musicals based on Jamaican
song, dance, and humour, they are
developing one of the valid answers
to the emotional needs of the new
Jamaican theatrical public, and a
vastly increased public it has become.
Over the last ten years approximate-
ly (and in some years many more)
have attended these shows at the
Ward Theatre.

The opening in 1961 of the Lit-
tle Theatre itself marked an import-
ant stage in the development of thea-
tre art in Jamaica because, together
with its ancillary Rehearsal Room,
it supplied a long felt need in thea-
trical circles and quickly became the
nucleus and centre for theatrical

Little Theatre

activity, the meeting place for all
local and visiting theatrical and
dance groups, and the focal point
of "drama the act where all acts
meet". The centre cost over 40,000
and was financed very largely from
the proceeds (Jamaican "Pantomim-
es", Shakespeare, Jamaican, English
and American drama of some fifty
productions over twenty years by
Little Theatre Movement, which had
been founded in 1941 by Greta
Fowler and a committee of other
prominent theatrical personnel "to
provide a Little Theatre for Jamaica
and generally to foster the develop-
ment of drama in the island".) To-
wards the creation of this centre.
the Government provided 5000
earmarked for the Rehearsal Room,
and the public responded generous-
ly to an appeal.
In each of the years since 1961,
the Centre has been used on average
by 100 schools, societies, and groups
from Kingston and the parishes as
well as foreign companies, and each
year approximately 500 rehearsals
and dancing classes are held and
more than 50 plays by visiting, local
or festival groups have been publicly
performed in this theatre.
The function of the Little Thea-
tre is well expressed in its motto

which, applied generally to all thea-
tre, may well be the note on which
to end this brief survey of Jamaican

May its doors ever be open to all
Its Presence a Centre of Inspira-
tion for all artists
And Its Productions a Constant
Source of Enjoyment and Hope
for All People."

Already the existence and value
of the Little Theatre has stimulated
plans of the development of other
theatres in Jamaica and there is
every hopeful sign that the theatrical
historian of the future may be able
to chronicle the period 1960-1980
as showing a new burst of theatrical
activity, in which it is hoped that
the new Creative Arts Centre at the
University will play its part.

We stated at the outset that the
questions raised by this historical
fact-finding survey would be more
important than the facts themselves.
Can we discern the trend and direc-
tion in which Jamaican theatre is
moving? Will our theatre explore
and give expression to the unique
qualities of Jamaican personality,
or will it be dominated by thought

patterns absorbed from foreign film
and television? Statistics seem to
indicate that there is a large Jamai-
can public (appreciably larger than
the conventional, fashionable "thea-
tre-going" public) who are ready and
eager to respond to a drama of
comedy or tragedy which touches
the basic and often partly submerged
emotions implicit in our cultural

M. LaYacona

1. Village of Stewart Town
in Trelawney Jamaica.

2. "Tree"

3. A Co-op Village at Goshen,
St. Mary, Jamaica

Once a Great House built in
the mid 17th century and
owned by one of Jamaica's
richest slave owners, John
Tharpe, the Potosi House
stands in neglected ruins on
the plantation lands near
Falmouth. Lush vegetation
covers the standing remains
and corridors still reminisce
the past.


Photos 1, 2, 3, and 5,
by Amador Packer.
Photo 4, courtesy of
The Jamaica Tourist Board.


A -# *
~ .- 'J *



d a rk by Orlando Patterson

="=- ~.~--1~
--Y C



"Louisa me chile, de Lawd smile 'pon
you today'.
She glanced suspiciously at her mother
and Mr. Walker. Said nothing. "Mr. Wal-
ker goin' to tek yu over; 'im say a fine
girl like you need groomin' an' looking'
after. Yu poor moder try 'er best yu
can't say dat an didn' try. But me is a
poor woman ah' don' 'ave wat it tek fe
mek yu into a nice young lady. Yu nice-
nice god-father, by de grace of God, goin'

This is an extract from the Author's nearly
completed third novel; it is the third part of a
trilogy dealing with the problem of Loss and
Dispossession at various levels.
Patterson's first novel "The Children of Sysi-

phus" dealt with Social and Economic loss; the
second "An Absence of Ruins" had as its topic
Personal and Cultural loss; the third will be
dealing with Spiritual Loss, In fact with the
absence of faith; the nature of good and evil,

and the search for re-union.
This Extract is self-contained; however, as it
is part of a novel, the final judgment can only
be passed when the whole will be known.
Editor's comment.

That night Mr. Walker arrived while she
was washing herself in the irrigation canal
of the neighboring estate. She could tell
from the way they both looked at her
when she returned to the room that they
had been talking about her. Mr. Walker,
a high-brown man of about forty was an
overseer on the estate. He owned the
land on which they had their shack and
from which they wrung enough for bread
when her mother was not working on the
estate. He was her god-father and, of late,
had begun to take a keen interest in her,
But she had no great liking for him.
"Mek me talk to 'er", her mother said
as Louisa paid her respects to Mr. Walker.
He nodded, lit a cigar (why did he take
such a long time doing it?) and crossed
his legs. His limbs moved like his eyes,
with a guarded, slightly menacing kind of

Illustrations by Albert Huie

to tek yu in. 'Im come fe mek yu into
something. Lawd me cant believe it". She
made one of her characteristic gestures,
touching her lips with her fingertips then
holding the kissed hand and her head
upwards, in an exaggerated gesture of
thanks to Heaven.
She stared coldly at her mother, neglect-
ing her antics, as she wondered what Mr.
Walker had offered in return for her.
Noticing her silence, her mother widened
her eyes in an affectation of disbelief and
said: "Wait, wait, wait. Gal yu deaf or
wa?Yu no 'ear wa me just say? "
She knew that the time for parting had
come and she somehow sensed what was
in store for her. Her mother, of her own
choosing, had suddenly made herself irrel-
evant. Not that she minded that very
much. But as she reflected on the self-
pitying melo-drama of her mother's earl-
ier words a somewhat damp feeling of
defiance overcame her. She had been
handed over to Mr. Walker. Worst things,
she guessed, could have happened. She
was determined however, that her mother
would not have the satisfaction of having
martyred her motherly love for her ulti-
mate good, however hypocritical the whole
exercise was.
"Me 'ear yu", she said.
"Den say something! her mother
bellowed, "'yu ungrateful little ......"
She suddenly remembered Mr. Walker and
held her tongue.
"If she don't want to come, don't force
her", he said softly.
Louisa glanced around at him, noticing
the cunning glint in his eyes.
"Yu don't pay 'er any mind, yu 'ear Mr.
Walker. Me give yu me word. Me is de
moder". She paused and glanced uncer-
tainly at Louisa, then she screwed up her
face in a censorious grimace as she repeat-
ed, "Me is de moder".
"Is not a easy t'ing", she continued,
"for a moder to part from 'er own flesh.
But is for 'er own good ah doin' it. Ah
know you will tek good care o' 'er".
She looked in her daughter's direction,
but before she could say anything more
Louisa said: "Me will go an' pack me
Her mother seemed a little taken aback
at the ease and nonchalance with which
she agreed. She looked around hesitantly
at Mr. Walker whose expression remained
non-committal, then back at her. Louisa
smiled sardonically as she walked up to
the cupboard, took out her other dress
and panty and her comb and wrapped
them in a piece of newspaper. She brush-
ed the dust from her feet and put on her
"Me ready sah", she said, almost im-
patiently, to Mr. Walker. She glanced at
her mother who, by now, had lost all her
righteous zest and was staring, crest-fallen,
down at her fingers as they picked each

For a brief moment Louisa felt a tinge
of pity for her. She knew quite well that
a good part of her mother's present show
of melancholy was sheer dissemblance.
But she was now old enough to under-
stand that with her mother, as with every-
one else she knew, the borderline between
dissemblance and sincerity was very thin.
That there was hardly any difference be-
tween that part of her which was an act
and the perpetual act which was an essen-
tial part of her beings. If her mother now
choose to dissemble sadness, then she had
to accept the fact that in some perverse
way there.was some meaning in this sad-
But if she recognized the need to pity
her, it could only be for a moment. For
the very terms which so grudgingly ad-
mitted such pity also demanded a recog-
nition of its limitations, its inherent
absurdity. She went up to her mother
and kissed her half-mockingly on her
cheek. Her mother forced a tear and
sniffed. She told her she was silly as she
beckoned to Mr. Walker.
Outside, Mr. Walker held her parternal-
ly by the arm and led her to his station
waggon. It was the second time she was
entering a car. She didn't like cars. First
time she was offered a lift in one of them
she only just managed to escape intact
after leaving half her drawers behind.
When she had sat down and closed the
door Mr. Walker looked at her and forced
a smile in a poor attempt at appearing
avuncular. His nearness made her very
uncomfortable. She began to wonder
what he wanted with her. He made
another attempt at smiling. It was an odd
smile. His lips moved, his face cracked a
little but his eyes remained cold.
"Don't worry", he said, "we'll take
good care of you".
"Yes sah", she replied timidly.
Her hostility and suspicion began to
give way to her fear and respect for him.
She could not imagine why he wanted to
be kind to her. When johncrow perch pon
low limb 'im say is breeze blow 'im deh.
But Mr. Walker was no john-crow. He was
a rich bushah. She could not fathom his
motives and right now she was too humbl-
ed by his presence even to try.
As they drove past one of the barren,
board and zinc hamlets of the estate a ray
of light lit up his forearm nearest her. It
was unusually hairy, Strange. But she
crumbled at the sight of it.

Some woman was wailing a sankey in
the distance. A man swore. A dog howl-
ed. All was submerged in the haunted
shimmer of the wide, hushed cane.
Mr. Walker lived in a sprawling wodden
house on the other side of the estate. His
wife was an obese, bed-ridden diabetic
with a ghastly, jaundiced complexion like
curds of sour milk. When she was first
taken into her bed-room nauseous with

the astringent smell of sickness, disinfect-
ant, drugs and stale urine Mrs. Walker
took a long, hard look at her, then stared
with an expression of weary contempt at
her husband. She inhaled deeply, winced
as she gripped her stomach and without
looking at Louisa said:
"Go to your room and unpack what
things you have child. I want to talk to
Mr. Walker". Mr. Walker remained mo-
tionless, staring at his wife, as Louisa left
for the room which Mr. Walker had point-
out to her earlier. The room was tucked
away at the back of the house, adjoin-
ing the kitchen. It was small and clean,
with a little bed, a cupboard, a chair, and
in one corner an old cedar washstand on
top of which was a chipped enamel basin
and goblet. She thought it odd that she
alone should have a whole room to herself
and for the first night or so felt terribly
lonely in it.
During the first few days she was over-
whelmed by the strangeness of everything:
the food, its variety and the vast quantity
of meat so casually consumed; the spa-
ciousness of the many rooms which seem-
ed designed to keep people apart rather
than throw them together; the maids and
the yard-boy, servile, aggressive, sarcastic,
who seemed to run the place; and most
mysterious of all, Mr. Walker, a man, well
off, and obviously in his right senses, yet
coming home every night and spending
money to keep in bed a woman who was
of no earthly use to him.
She kept as much as possible out of
everybody's way, doing what she was told,
then retiring to the nearest corner. Her
chores, it turned out, were to attend Mrs.
Walker. For the first couple of days,
however, Mrs. Walker seemed determined
to have nothing to do with her and she
would sit in her corner, quietly mystified,
as she watched one of the maids perform-
ing some simple task which she could
easily have done. Still, she remained inno-
cent thinking that Mrs. Walker must have
had her reasons. She often wondered why
it was, though, that whenever she dared to
look in her direction she caught Mrs.
Walker staring at her. It was a disconcert-
ing look. Her eyes appeared large and
long, like a vertical egg, because of her
thick, raw, drooping eyelids, so that when
she stared, they seemed like two little
round demons ready to pounce out of
their sockets.
On the morning of the third day, how-
ever, just as she had summoned enough
courage to enter Mrs. Walker's room, she
heard an angry exchange of voices inside,
though she could make out little of what
was being said. Suddenly, heavy, brisk
footsteps approached the door. Her im-
mediate impulse was to hide, but before
she could make up her mind where to run
the door was pushed open and Mr. Walker,
scowling rather than angry, came out of
the room.

Seeing, her, he stopped and gazed at
her in that slightly dreamy air of abstraca-
tion which was at once whimsical and
sinister. As usual, she found him quite
incomprehensible and withered away as
she stared limply back, transfixed in his
scrutiny, lacking the courage to look away.
"How you getting on? he enquired,
the corner of his mouth twitching a little.
There was something wax-like about him:
his suddenly shifting moods. Their depth-
lessness. Their unreality.
"Well sah". At last bringing herself to
look away.
"Why you don't wear another dress?"
She could hardly suppress her surprise at
his caring and stammered:
"Is only one oder one me 'ave sah".
"Mhh". He rubbed his chin with the
back of his hand and looked her up and
"Go on inside. Mrs. Walker has quite
a lot for you to do".
He left abruptly.
Mrs. Walker glared viciously at her when
she entered and finally barked: "Girl,
take that chimmey and wash it and get
back here at once". She was so startled
at being asked to do something and by
Mrs. Walker's authoritarian manner, that
for a moment she remained motionless,
staring at the sick woman.
"Girl you hear me!"
"Yes mam"
She walked in brisk, tip-toeing rever-
ence up to the side of the bed, bent down,
and took up the chimmey. Her eyes
caught the contents and she was about to
look away in revulsion when she realized
that Mrs. Walker was staring at her. She
felt compelled to keep her eyes on the
chimmey. It contained a pungent, emetic
mixture of urine, stool and vomit. She
hurried out to the lavatory, poured the
contents in the bowl and retched as she
pulled the chain. She wiped her eyes with
the back of her left palm as she rinsed out
the chimmey, taking care not to get her
fingers touched by the dirty water. A
feeling of indignation began to swell up
inside her as she looked around for some-
thing to wipe the chimmey with. Her eyes
caught sight of one of the clean face
towels. Defiantly, she wiped the chimmey
out with it, hanging it back carefully
where she had found it. She went back
to the room and placed the chimmey
beneath the bed.
"Me done do it mam".
"Me done do it! Me done do it!" Mrs.
Walker intoned sarcastically, "For God
sake girl, cant you speak the Queen's Eng-
lish. Did you go to school?"
"Yes mam".
"What standard you got to?'
"Fifth standard, mam".
"Fifth standard and you cant speak
English". Mrs. Walker was by now putting
on her best Jamaican Queen's English.

She screwed up her mouth with grotes-
que, victorian prissiness, drew out all her
vowels and tried to flatten out the mean,
petulant intonation of her normal speech.
Louisa stared at her, wondering whether
one of her pills had stuck in her fat throat.
"Well?" Mrs. Walker said.
"What mam?"
"I asked you whether you speak the
language or not".
"What language mam?"
"The Queen's English. The English
language. You little black fool! Louisa
shrunk under the impact of Mrs. Walker's
words. She had bitten the ear of the last
person one of her schoolmates who
had called her black. Now she could only
stare down at her bare, black insteps, look
away, eyes moving compulsively to the
weighty jaundiceness of Mrs. Walker's
arm, then back at her own feet, wither-
ing silently with all the mortified impot-
ence of a crushed mimosa.
Mrs. Walker kissed her teeth, then
suddenly asked to be shown the chimmey.
Louisa picked it up and held it up for
her inspection, her head still bowed.
She did not reply.
"Girl, I'm talking to you. Look at me
when I address you".
"You call that clean?"
Louisa continued to stare at her feet. Mrs.
Walker flung the sheet down to her waist
exposing two sagging gigantic breasts
which hung from her like a pair of over-
ripe fruits dangling from the trunk of a
jack-fruit tree. She held out her enormous
arm and with her outstretched forefinger,
tilted Louisa's head up to face her. She
opened her mouth to bark something at
Louisa when she suddenly halted. She
stared at the large, slanted, dark-brown
eyes of the young girl as they glowed with
tears. As yet, they had not fallen but had
covered her eyes like two small, glacial
shields of grief. The blood of her anguish
had swollen her dark cheeks so that they
shone with the static lustre of smouldering
charcoal. From where she touched her
Mrs. Walker could feel her whole body
trembling with an intense rage.
With dramatic suddenness, Mrs. Wal-
ker's countenance changed. Her finger
continued to rest, now almost timidly, on
Louisa's cheek, as if it had been glued
there. A tear fell from Louisa's cheek
and broke on Mrs. Walker's arm. She
pulled her arm away, staring, with almost
a look of terror at the shattered tear-drop.
She looked back at Louisa who was still
looking down at her feet. Mrs. Walker's
face shifted jerkily, like a distressed liz-
ard, before Louisa. She seemed guilty,
enraged, confused.
"I'm . I'm sorry", she said weakly.
She buried her head in the pillow and
burst into tears.
"I'm sorry; I'm sorry", she repeated,
"it's not your fault. Oh if you only know

how much I suffer. How much I have to
bear. He's like a child that never grew up.
My burden. My worries. Oh God".
Louisa stared at her, perplexed. It was
astonishing enough to hear her saying she
was sorry. But for her to burst into tears.
Mrs. Walker! No. Something queer was
going on. She backed away quietly and
had just reached the door when Mrs. Wal-
ker looked up.
"No don't go away, come back here my
child". She blew her nose loudly and wip-
ed her eyes. Louisa walked cautiously to
the side of the bed farthest from her.
"Come this side", Mrs. Walker said. Louisa
walked around to her. Mrs. Walker sat up
and held her with almost motherly affec-
tion, staring her over.
"You are a fine looking girl", she said,
then added with a tone of expiation,
"you may be black, but you are still a
fine looking girl". She embraced Louisa
and began to sob again, this time more
quietly. Louisa held her breath against
the effluvia of bed-worn flesh and stale
"You will learn", she said between her
grotesque sobs, "you will learn. You not
the first and you wont be the last. Believe
me, I don't know what to do with him. I
cant leave him. It would be too cruel to
leave him. But believe me girl, I suffer. I
She released Louisa. The sobbing had
stopped and her tears, like a burst of Au-
gust rain had dried up as abruptly as they
had fallen. She continued to stare at
Louisa. Then she leaned forward with a
confidential, almost conspiratorial air,
glancing around at the door.
"Let me tell you something me child",
she whispered, and, as if to reinforce the
sense of solidarity, broke into dialect,
"men. Men. Them no good. Them is just
women with tail dangling in front o'
them". She slumped back on her pillow.
"Poor girl", she said, turning her head
in the opposite direction. And in a mo-
ment was fast asleep.
She crept quietly out to the passage
and fled to her room. She slumped on the
bed, utterly confused, incapable of mak-
ing sense of what had just happened, for
that matter, of anything that happened in
the house.
An hour or so later she heard Mrs.
Walker calling her. When she entered the
room Mrs. Walker stared at her blankly,
then asked her to dilute some essense of
"Gas", she explained, rubbing her chest
and belching loudly, "sometimes I think
it's going to get me before the diabetis".
She prepared the mixture and went back
to her seat in the corner as Mrs. Walker
drank it down. A thunderous uproar bel-
lowed from her mouth as soon as she put
the glass down. During the next hour
Louisa sat and suffered silently, for Mrs.

Walker was indeed full of gas, and it was
not long before it had dramatically chang-
ed its course.
After that day, Mrs. Walker treated her
with the same casual indifference which
she did the other servants in the house-
hold. She never scold or barked at her
and hardly ever spoke a word except in
relation to her illness. It was as if the
incident earlier that day had never taken
That same night she was just about to
fall off to sleep when the door was pushed
open and Mr. Walker entered with a parcel
under his arm. She jumped up, frighten-
ed, pulling the sheet over her body, cloth-
ed only in her underwear. She pulled the
cord that hung from the light-switch above
her. His eyes were bloodshot and she
could smell him sweet with rum.
"Got these for you", he said, throw-
ing the parcel on the bed.
"Me sah?"
"Yes, for you mam", he teased, but
without smiling. She pulled the sheet up
beneath her chin as she bent over and
opened the parcel. He stared with glazed
unfocussed intensity in the direction of

her exposed back.
When she ripped away the paper she
found four dresses, several pairs of under-
wear, a nightie, a bathrobe and two pairs
of shoes.
"Missah Walker", she exclaimed with
delight and in turning towards him the
sheet slipped from above her knees, expos-
ing her firm, smooth, pear-shaped breasts.
Quickly, with a gasp, she pulled the sheet

back around her.
"Me sorry sah ... me...
He smiled wryly, but with a certain un-
easiness as he walked over to her.
"Sorry for what? he asked, sitting
down beside her on the bed, "It was a
beautiful sight. Why you sorry for such
a beautiful thing?" She began to wish now
she was able to understand him. He patt-
ed her on the arm.
"Sometime", he said, "Sometime". He
got up, took a cigar from his shirt-pocket
and fondled it, observing her closely.
Suddenly he turned around and walked
towards the door.
"Missah Walker.. ." He looked around
at her.
"Thank you sah".
"That's alright. If you behave you get
lots more". He smiled remotely and left.
As soon as he had closed the door behind
him she sprang out of bed and tried on
her new clothes. They had obviously been
selected carefully for they fitted fairly
well, only the odd dart needing altering.
She tried them on several times, carressed
them, folded them up tenderly, then tried
them all over again. The shoes she could

hardly bring herself to take off and even-
tually stuck a pair under her nose by the
pillow so that she could slumber in the
plush fragrance of the new leather. The
nightie she put on, and the rest she packed
carefully away in the cupboard.
She thought lovingly of Mr. Walker
before she fell off to sleep. His had been
the first genuine act of kindness she had
ever experienced. Sacrifices there had

been. But her mother's sacrifices were
the offerings of necessity. In them there
could be no room for kindness. Certainly
not kindness of the sort she had just
experienced: something received which
was not absolutely necessary; given with-
out any crude statement of its costs, with-
out the emotional blackmail of obligation,
without any reminder of the wages of
For the first time she had been given
something gratuitously, out of what could
only be simple care and affection. What
could Mr. Walker ever hope to gain from
her? How wicked she had been to dis-
trust him earlier. She wished she knew of
some way in which she could express her
feelings to him. But he was so strange.
So silent and unapproachable. So wonder-
fully distant. Perhaps he suffered deeply.
That wife. That monstrous wife! What
kind of spell had she cast on poor Mr.
In the weeks that followed she rarely
spoke to him for periods longer than a
few moments. He left for work early in
the mornings and when he came in at
nights to say hello to his wife he hardly

noticed her. Sometimes in the mornings
if he met her in the passage he would stop,
look her over, and smile vaguely as if

pleased with something which only he
knew about. Without a word he would
depart, leaving her limp with confusion
and anguish.
Yet, almost every night when she went
to her room she would find a new present
mysteriously waiting for her. Her cup-

Mu\~. -~-----

board was soon full of his gifts: dresses
and shoes, perfumes and jewellery. Things
she never dreamt existed. She spent half
her nights putting them on, making her-
self up, and much of the other half dream-
ing of possible ways in which she could
somehow please him. Increasingly, she
became obsessed with him. His remote-
ness, the tantalizing glimpses she had of
him, the mysterious way his presents were
given, like manna from heaven, all added
fire to her fanciful vision of him as an en-
chanted god-prince, imprisoned in his own
castle by a revolting old witch.
One morning he left behind a half-
smoked cigar. She went up to it, intend-
ing to put it out and throw it in the dust-
bin. As her fingers touched it, however
she suddenly changed her mind. Some-
thing about it had gripped her. Frighten-
ed her almost. Partly the fact that it was
still burning. Burning with the life he had
sparked into it. Somehow it seemed not a
discarded, half-smoked cigar, but one plac-
ed there to be taken up again. The feel-
ing of expectancy was heightened by the
sight of the end which had been in his
mouth. Jagged, wet, spittled. And there
was the fragrance, his fragrance, for she
rarely saw him without smelling the to-
bacco. But it was the fumes which Had
ensnared her most. The way they curled
and twisted, coming up from the edges,
at first in a single, bent line, like a loose
strand of cobweb in a gentle breeze, then
just below her nose, spreading out. Tak-
ing strange forms. Strange forms. Fa-
miliarly strange shapes. Suddenly she felt
his presence! Real and tangible. He was
closer to her now than he had ever been.
She grew frightened. She let go of the
cigar and brought her hand to her right
breast which had began to itch. She
scratched it, and the prosaic nature of the
act somehow brought her to her senses.
She did not throw away the cigar, how-
ever, but left it there in the ashtray. La-
ter that day she furtively collected the
cold stub and took it to her room where
she hid it away in one section of the cup-
board. And. it was not long before she
had quite a collection of things which at
some time bore some intimate relation to
him: an odd foot of sock, old razor
blades, an old tooth brush, parings from
his fingernails . . relics of a sacred con-
tact. Fetishes that had become the only
comprehensible link with him. As the
weeks passed and as her collection grew
she came more and more to identify his
relics with him. What was too- remote
and incomprehensible was made imme-
diate and understandable by the reality
of these, his symbols. She touched them
and the distance withered. She confront-
ed him, communicated with him, re-
moulded him in her own image through
the media of these tanglible objects of

Eventually, so much did the image of
him become a product of her own vision
that her confrontation with the real man,
what the conventional way of seeing
insisted was the real man, always amoun-
ed to something like a traumatic experi-
ence. At times a quite unbearable experi-
ence. A wonder. So that in the end her
own sanity demanded a compromise, a
dilution of response. Each moment of his
presence became a moment of dissolu-
tion in which reality dissolved into a series
of fleeting visions. The foreign half of a
body beneath a newspaper mask. The
whif, the fragrance of tobacco where a
moment ago he had been. Now he sat
staring at the figures of an account-book
She looked away. She forced herself to
steal a second glance. He was gone. Leav-
ing behind him an open book.The echo of
footsteps, a gently closing door. Dream-
coils of a dying fume.
She gave up trying to understand his
relationship with his wife, as she had given
up trying to understand so many other
things about him. The way he stood
there, breathing heavily, unblinking, listen-
ing to her as she admonished him and the
world for not wanting or loving her, as she
repeated, in considerable detail, every one
of her numerous physical and mental ail-
ments, protesting always that it was not
fair for one being to suffer so. It was a
ritual of despair which he performed daily,
head bowed, contrite, a guilty, repentant
slave. And mute.
One thing she did come to understand
however, that Mrs. Walker was somehow
necessary. Evil, demanding, burdensome,
but, in the mysterious universe of the
household, absolutely necessary. Why this
should be so, she could not figure. But
she was sufficiently aware to sense it.
Late one night she awoke to find a
strange form lurking in the shadows at the
opposite end of the room. She sprang
up gasping.
"What's the matter", he asked, "Why
so restless my little thing ?" She swallow-
ed with relief, then began to wonder what
he was doing there. She pulled the switch.
Mr. Walker, wearing his black dressing-
gown, sat in the chair, arms folded, eyes
wide open. A long silent interval. The
quicksand of his steadfast gaze. Finally,
she dared, not looking at him:
"Yu .... yu want me to do some-
thing sah?"
"At this hour of the night?"
Another long pause.
"Why don't you go back to sleep", he
suggested. She neither moved nor said
Don't you want to .sleep my little
one? "
"Yes sah". She turned off the light,
wanted to say good-night, but could not
bring herself to. She lay on her back, her
eyes wide open, senses alert to him. His

presence filled the room. She could feel
the dark, intoxicating enigma of his per-
son, looming in the shadows of the room
and drifting towards her, curling around
her, pressing down on her, like dawn mist
on a valley spring.
"I know you'er not sleeping", he said
in a flat, droll tone.
Partly as a result of the power of his
suggestion, partly out of the need not to
dissolve utterly, she began to fall asleep.
But immediately she had a dream in which
she was sleeping in her room when some-
thing woke her up and she found him sit-
ting in the chair opposite her. And she
thought in her dream that it had happen-
ed before. So she thought that she must
be dreaming. So she pinched herself and
dreamed that she was awake and that she
found him still sitting there.
She awoke, gasping for breath. He was
still sitting there. He was smoking. Each
time he inhaled, the glow of his cigar lit
up his face so that it shun intermittently
from out of the dark like a floating, sever-
ed head of gold.

Frightened, she closed her eyes and
buried her head in the pillow. How could
she be sure of his existence? It struck her
as cruelly ironical that the only time she
wanted to be absolutely certain about the
existence of something it should be cast
in doubt. She would never know him.
Everything in her cried out to know him.
Yet she knew that she could never know
him. And the more she tried to know,
the more she was doomed to failure. The
more she was left with the knowledge of
her incapacity ever to know him. All she
could ever hope to do was wait like a
framed film in the dark wait and wait for
the unexpected exposure to the sudden
flash of his being, so insignificant to him,
for her, so agonizingly transforming.

She fell asleep again and dreamt that
he had left.
The weeks, the months passed by with
the ethereal timelessness of a single cloud
drifting across a spotless sky-scape. She
hardly ever left the house, even to visit
her mother, prefering, like the rest, to re-
remain there, a voluntary prisoner in this
wooden island, looking out mutely at the
whispering grief of the endless cane.
Almost six months after she had arriv-
ed Mr. Walker began to change. His quiet,
haunted manner gave way to a growing
restlessness. She began to notice, with
some ambivalence, that he seemed less
and less patient with his wife on his daily
visits, at times even gesturing with exas-
peration. She found him often in her

room, fondling her clothes, especially her
underwear. He grew fussier about her
appearance and insisted that she bathed
at least twice daily. Sometimes he would
spend whole nights in the chair opposite
her bed.
Mrs. Walker responded to her husband's
increasing impatience by growing worse
in health. Her complaints had no end.
There were four consulting doctors, none
of whom could find anything wrong with
her which a little determination and ex-
ercise could not either cure or improve.
One morning Mr. Walker lost his temper
with her.
"I've had enough", he shouted, his face
swelling, his eyes red, "you don't want
to get better; I'm tired of your damn
little game. You're just a fat, useless slob
plaguing me. Get off me. Leave me
alone!" He dashed angrily out of the
room with his hand on his head.
Louisa sat in her corner staring ahead
of her as if what she had just heard had
made no impression on her. Eventually,
she was unable to resist the urge to look
round at Mrs. Walker. To her astonish-
ment, Mrs. Walker seemed more at ease
than she had ever seen her before. She
got up and walked over to the medicine
table, pretending to set the bottles in
order, then stole a better look at Mrs.
Walker. She had a mild shock when she
found Mrs. Walker's eyes fixed on her.
They beamed with a vicious glint of
cruelty. She seemed worked up, sadisti-
cally delighted about something. Her
lips were moist and spittled and her saliva
dribbled down one corner of her mouth.
"Get out!" she said, chuckling unsmil-
"What mainn"
"I said get out of my room and don't
you dare put your little black ass in here
again". This time, however, she felt con-
fident enough to fight back.
"Go to 'ell you ugly, fat yellow bitch.
Yu going to get wat coming to you". She
stormed towards the door. Behind her
she heard, for the first time, Mrs. Walker
The rest of the day she spent locked
in her room trying on her dresses and re-
arranging her fetishes. She could not,
however, suppress the sense of uneasiness
which nudged her ever since she had left
Mrs. Walker's room. Something was up.
There had been a change somewhere,
somehow. And she felt that whatever it
was she was involved in it.
That night she was just about to fall
asleep when the door opened and Mr.
Walker entered. She turned on the light,
her heart beating heavily. He seemed un-
certain of himself, almost distraught, as he
closed the door behind him. He sat down,
wiped the perspiration from his face with
the back of his hand and closed his eyes,

holding back his head. The hair on his
chest was damp between the lapels of his
dressing-gown. He inhaled deeply several
times. When he brought his head down
and opened his eyes he seemed to have
regained some of his composure.
He looked at her and smiled. It was a
strangely warm smile, timid, almost ap-
"Louisa .. ", he began softly and
halted. It was a pleasant surprise to hear
him address her for the first time by her
"What Mr. Walker?"
"Louisa, do you know what it is like to
be a woman?"
"I don't ... don't know what you
mean sah ... Mr. Walker".
"I mean .... I mean, you are a lovely
girl. Has any man ever touched you .
your mother swore".
"No sah! No. Mr. Walker. Mamma say
I would get in trouble if I do anything.
Me never made anybody come near me".
"Yes, sure. But you know that some-
day you had to .... if you are ever to be
a woman". His voice was gentle, wavering
slightly, enquiring.
"I .... guess so sah..... with the right
"With the right person", he repeated
nodding. He got up and walked over to
the bed. She sensed instinctively why he
had come. The enigma, the remoteness
suddenly vanished. The dream that he
was had melted. He stood before her:
real, and animal released. He trembled
with the fever of his passion. She under-
stood his lust.
He held her by the armpits and pulled
her to her feet. He kissed her. Hard,
voraciously, whining. His hands embraced
her and crushed her soft, supple frame
against his own. Suddenly he pulled him-
self away. He stared at her panting, gal-
vanized with the blood of his lust. He
snatched her nightie with both hands
above the sleeves and with one violent
swipe ripped it from her. A wine-dark
lissomness, slim-limbed, firm, with the
bland, unfinished freshness of a young
black kid: her body. His violence fright-
ened her. She grew warm, razor-warm,
in the threat of his frenzy. Her nipples
stiffened. A tickling ice-hot sensation
crawled down the sides of her belly, fi-
nally breaking into a numb estuary of
burning, quivering viscousness. His mouth
covered her nipple and she felt the skin of
her breast stretching. He kneeled before
her and kissed her belly beneath the navel,
his fingers sinking into her bottom. His
head moved down and she gasped as a
sudden delirious vibrancy radiated out
into every crevice of her being.
He lifted her up and placed her on the
bed. He took off his dressing-gown. Her
whole body throbbed at the sight of his
nakedness. She fondled him gently when

he had climbed on the bed beside her. He
remained moist and limp for some time
but eventually began to grow in her palm.
She looked back up at his face and could
not, for a moment, understand his look
of acute anxiety almost of fear.
With her free hand she pulled his head
down to her and kissed him. But he
seemed to resent this and quickly pulled
his head away, hiding it between her
breasts. He suddenly swelled up. Hurrid-
ly, he forced himself into her and she
tossed with pain as she felt her tissues
ripped away under his blunt hard impact.
She cried out and held on tightly to him.
"sweet angel!", he stuttered", sweet
little bitch".
Then something in him cracked. He
grasped her even harder. She choked for
breath. "Bitch! Bitch! Bitch!" And
suddenly he collapsed on her.

It had only been a moment. A pain-
ful, destructive, confusing moment made
bearable only by the intimation of some-
thing to come. Something sensed and
needed but as yet unknown, which the
pain, the tearing away of these early mo-
ments was simply preparing the way for.
But Mr. Walker lay limp above her. A
waking dream cut short, a cutting pain,
the dead weight of a silent man, were all
that she was left with.
"Mr. Walker . ." she called hesitant-
ly. He remained silent for another long
moment, his head still buried in the pil-
low. Then slowly, he raised his head.
He looked down on her, his face twisted
with shame and anger. Eyes that were
moist, blood-shot and cruel.
"You dirty little bitch'; he barked, and
spat in her face. She wiped the spit from
her eyes and burst into tears as he re-
coiled from her, shivering with revulsion.
"What me do wrong? ", she plead-
ed, getting up and stretching out her hand
to touch him. He shrunk away.
"Don't you dare touch me!" he scream-
ed. She was as terrified as she was confus-
ed. Never before had she seen anyone so
contorted with rage. He stood before her,
bent, twisted, cowering, his hand cover-
ing his shame, like a wild animal with a
raw wound. But the utter confusion of
her mind compelled her to seek some
clarity; her dread of loosing him com-
pletely demanded that she grasped what
little she could that was left of him. She
crept off the bed and approached him.
"Keep away!" he screamed hysterical-
ly, his voice high-pitched, the fingers of
his left hand splashed across his face with
his eyes popping out between them, his
right hand stretched out with cowering
"Keep away! Keep -" He chocked and
She threw herself at his feet and in

desperation tried to hold on to him. With
a loud, guttural sound of loathing he
plunged his knee under her chin. Her
teeth dug into her tongue like a vice and
blood gushed from her mouth. He pulled
her up by her hair, screaming, kicked her
between her legs and as she fell slammed
the back of his fist on her ear. She
screamed for help as she twisted and
writhed upon the floor. He flung himself
on her, whining, breathing quickly, gasp-
ing for breath, as his hands tightened a-
round her neck. He squeezed harder and
harder. Her eyes strained from their socket
and her head felt as if it was swelling larg-
er and larger. Her tongue stretched long
and heavy. "George!", a voice suddenly
called out "George! You hear me. You
damn fool, you want to go to the gallows
for that little bitch. Stop it this minute!"
Mr. Walker stopped. He looked around,
weak, mute. Mrs. Walker stood at the
door-way. A sagging, pallid heap of flesh.
It was a ghoulishly imposing presence,
like a corpse that had suddenly stood up
in its coffin.
He looked back down at Louisa who
had just began to regain her senses, her
head swirling, her whole body throbbing
with pain.
"Get out of my house. Get out this
minute!" he barked at her.
"What . what you doing out of bed?"
he asked her timidly.
"I've had enough George. I'm leaving.
I want to go. I've suffered enough". Her
legs began to give way and she clutched
one side of the doorway for support.
"What you mean? What you talking
about? ". he asked, moving towards her
very gingerly, then extending a hand to
assist her.
"Take Your filthy hands off me. You
stink of that little whore. I tell you I've

had enough. I can't bear it anymore".
"No, please", he pleaded, 'no Maude,
you know you don't mean that. You
know you can't leave me, you know -"
He broke down and fell at her feet, sob-
bing like a baby.
"Get up", she ordered. He got up and
sunk his head on her shoulder, still cry-
"I'm tired", she said, "I've got to get
back to bed".
"I'll . I'll sleep with you . please,
let me sleep with you tonight".
"Do what you please, just give me a
hand. Oh God, I can't carry on like this
much longer. I'm going to die soon. Then
perhaps I'll get some peace".
'No, no. You mustn't talk like that.
Don't talk like that".
Louisa watched them the towering,
complaining woman, the weeping, shame-
less naked man she watched them as
they struggled down the corridor. And
she felt then what it was to hate. Her
whole being was alight with rage, with her
desire to destroy them them and every-
thing else. And knowing there was no-
thing she could do, overwhelmed with a
crippling sense of impotence, of insigni-
ficance, she could only hate herself. She
stretched out on her belly and wept,
thumping the floor with both hands,
breaking her nails, her senses deadened to
all pain, frozen into a numb stupour.
She got up and wiped the blood that
was trickling down her thighs. She put on
one of the two dresses she had left her
mother with, a panty, and a pair of shoes.
Slowly, she walked towards the door, wip-
ing the blood from her mouth with the
back of her hand. She went outside.
Then as the night dew hit her she
suddenly came alive again. In a terrible
flash everything that had happened over
the past months came back. Fit into place

At last there was the agony of clarity. A
sudden waking. Months and months, a
moment long.
Her only impulse now was to run.
Flight. Absorbing animal flight consumed
her. There was a sudden suspension of
the will. A conspiracy of the flesh which
was the instinctive response to some silent
cry for movement. She ran. Into the
night. Down the marl road between the
cane, the sighing cane. A moving shadow
on the lonely path. She ran. She ran. At
the main road she turned in the direction
of the town. And she kept running until,
in sheer exhaustion, she slumped down on
the grass beside the road. She lay there
panting until she regained her breath. The
pain crept back with her breath. The
memory returned. She got up, moaning,
and carried the thing she was over to the
low wall running alongside the road above
a culvert. She sat down on the wall and
stared at the ground.
She lingered there for almost an hour
and had just began to wonder what to
make of herself when a taxi which had
passed her stopped and reversed, halting a
few yards from her so that the headlamp
glared on her. Then the car drove for-
ward and parked beside her.
A man got out.
"Say, what's this we got here. Hey
baby, how come a cute chic like you all
by yourself out here? Want a lift? He
spoke in a thick, Jamaican-spun American
accent. There was nothing else to do but
accept his offer.
"Well come on baby", he half-crooned,
skipping with delight, extending his right
hand towards the door with a bow of
mock gallantry. She got up and walked
slowly towards it, suppressing any expres-
sion of pain. He hurried forward and
opened the door for her. She got in and

_._1, -------

-- ,_- Sp- -- ~ -- --S ;-- ----'-

he came in after her. In the back seat
two women were locked in the arms of a
couple of American sailors.
"Say, what you got there?" one of the
sailors said, lounging forward.
"The prettiest little gal that you ever
did see, man. Hands off, I'm taking care
of her". He beckoned to the driver to
move on.
"Say, what did you say your name was
"Louisa", she replied, after a pause,
hardly moving her lips.
"Ahh, now aint that the prettiest little
name that you ever did hear".
"Louisa", he said, gesturing toward the
back seat, "this here is Mac the first, and
this here is Mac the second. Right baby?
And as for them two gals back there the
less you know about them the better".
He gave off a loud, artificial howl, the
others joining him in the back. Louisa
said nothing.
"Now what about me", he continued,
"aint you just an itsy bitsy curious 'bout
what's my name honeychile? He poked
his head in her direction. He had a small
devellishly clownish face. Small rat-like
features. Bright, narrow black eyes. The
embodiment of rudeness.
"Ahh, she's so shy. Come on. Aint
you gonna make my day an' ask me my
"What yu name? she asked abruptly,
thinking he might shut up.
"Sammy baby", he said, extending his
right arm with a flourish, "them that
don't likes me call me a pimp, them that
likes me call me the chimp. But to you.
Ha. Aha ." He paused for the howls of
laughter to die down in the back, then
continued in lowered tones: "To you
baby, I'm just gonna be plain Sammy.
Driver, gimme some gas man". He put
his arm on the top of the seat behind her
and inched his way closer up to her.
"You know something baby. We could
make a great team".

1. Young Girl
by Alvin Marriott

2. Sir Alexander Bustamante
by Judy McMillan

3. Meditation
by Christopher Gonzales






by Jean D 'Costa

Bailey, Beryl Loftman
Jamaican creole syntax: a transformational
approach. Cambridge, Cambridge University
Press, 1966.
Cassidy, F.G.
Jamaica talk. London, Macmillan for the
Institute of Jamaica, 1961.
Cassidy, F.G., and Le Page, R.B.
Dictionary of Jamaican English.
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1967.
Le Page, Robert Brock, and De Camp, David
Jamaican creole, and historical introduction.
and Four Jamaican Creole texts... London,
Macmillan, 1960.

Language is an acquired skill: we learn the code
quickly in our early years. We continue to re-learn
and re-shape that code throughout our lives, and few
of us realize how we are at once assisted and inhibited
in much of our thinking and doing by our special lan-
guage skills. The innate human ability to invent and
transmit language sets man apart from other animals,
and the real nature of this mental step beyond simple
animal communication is still a mystery to science.
There is for example no such thing as a primitive lan-
guage: all forms of the phenomenon of linguistic com-
munication are equally sophisticated, and no "missing
link" has ever been found, or will ever be. Language
is certainly as old as homo sapiens: younger than the
family, but older than the tribe, and probably the
crucial factor in the formation of societal groupings.
The problem of the nature of language has also been
tackled by psychology, with slightly better results.
Medical science has found out that the language abili-
ty is definitely related to certain areas of the brain,
and is an innate, physically-triggered phenomenon.
But what the mechanism is that creates even a single
language, that causes it to emerge as a feature of man's
behaviour, and endows it with the peculiar complexity
that all languages possess: to these and other questions
no answer has yet been given.

One of the unanswered questions is of special in-
terest to people who, like us in Jamaica, live in societ-
ies where more than one language or dialect is used in
daily life. This question deals simply with the mental
or cerebral conditions that permit a man to shift with
complete ease from one language form to another.
Such people are termed bilingual, bidialectal, or poly-
dialectal, depending on their particular language skills.
I will not go deeply into this, though the phenomenon
of bilingualism and polydialectalism is very widespread
indeed, and few societies are unaffected. The classic
example of bilingualism in Switzerland, where most
citizens are equally at home in any two of the three
major languages spoken, and some in addition speak
local dialects distantly related to Standard German
and Latin. In Africa and the Indian sub-continent the
occurrence of bilingualism and sometimes polylingua-
lism is even more widespread and accepted. I am
acquainted with a Nigerian girl in her middle twenties
who is illiterate and without formal education as we
know it, yet she is fluent in Yoruba (her home lan-
guage), Twi, Fulani, and has a reasonable command of
English and a number of dialects related to Twi. None
of the four major languages which she speaks are re-
lated: they have absolutely nothing in common. Yet
this woman can discuss with equal ease in any of the
four, the things that concern her most: the jewellery
trade, dressmaking, village gossip, and marriage. When
we switch from a Standard English radio programme
to a political discussion in Standard Jamaican English,
and from that to backyard gossip in Jamaican creole,
we are performing that very same act of inexplicable
mental skill which my Nigerian acquaintance demon-
strates to such a high degree. Much has been said by
educators and psychologists as to whether or not mul-

tiple language usage is in itself a damaging factor, and
the general opinion is that such skills are never in them-
selves harmful: it is the society's attitude to the use
of the different language forms which may prove very
harmful to the individual speaker. I will return to this
point, for it is at the heart of our language difficulties
in Jamaica.

Before going further, however, I must introduce a
number of definitions of terms which will make easier
a discussion of the language situation here. The term
language is usually applied to a speech-form or group
of speech-forms which share a common lexicon or
word-stock and a common grammar. Within the lan-
guage group may be found subgroups which possess
much the same lexicon and the same grammar, but
which differ from each other in details of pronuncia-
tion. These phonetic features must be slight, and must
not disrupt systematically and profoundly either
the lexicon or the grammar. For example, the Cock-
ney pronunciation of the word "tea", though very
different from other English dialect versions, is not in
the context of the Cockney dialect unintelligible to
other speakers of English. Some adjustment is neces-
sary when speakers of different dialects meet, and this
isusually accomplished very easily and rapidly, especial-
ly by children below the age of sixteen. Dialects so
related are termed "mutually intelligible", and to this
group belong the varying forms of English used in Li-
verpool, Sydney, Chicago and Port of Spain. A dia-
lect, therefore, is a variety of a language which, though
superficially different from other forms of that lan-
guage, is intelligible to speakers of the related varieties.

The criteria which we have applied to language us-
age are however somewhat shaky, and are at best crude
measures for extremely subtle situations. For example,
where does one draw the line of "mutual intelligi-
bility"? People can often understand a language which
they cannot speak. Sometimes knowledge of a lan-
guage is so restricted to a particular social usage (as in
the case of Church Latin) that one is hard put to deter-
mine whether the language form should be regarded
as a significant language experience at all. Again social,
political, and race prejudices may create language
barriers which stem from emotional resistance
and not from real language differences. In the matter
of phonetic variation or differences of pronunciation,
it is often very hard to decide just when the differ-
ences are profound and extensive enough to merit
the title of systematic difference. Variations of pro-
nunciation inevitably affect the lexicon of a language,
but if their effect on grammar is slight, the variations
are still dialectal only. To illustrate the interrelation-
ship of pronunciation, lexicon, and grammar we have
only to look at these three variant sentences, all accept-
able Jamaican speech-forms:

A. [imkya: tan^p]

B. [im kya: stan Ap]

C. [i ka:n stand Ap]

= im kyaa tan up (Jamaican
= im kyaa stan up (Jamaican
= he can't stand up (Standard
Jamaican English, informal

* The form tan is historically a slave associated form, deriving from
the influence of West African sound laws. Most West African languages
reject consonant clusters like st and nd, so common in English. On the

Leaving aside the matter of im for he, we may note
that the different forms of stand vary most consider-
ably. Should we on these grounds separate Type A
from Types B and C, making A a language on its own,
with B and C as related dialects of some other lan-
guage? Why is it that we are less bothered subcon-
sciously by the forms of can't than by those of stand?
They are equally gross to the linguist.* The truth is
that in a language situation as mixed as ours, some
forms are more prestigious, less stigmatized, more
widely accepted than others. The differences in pro-
nunciation mean nothing: but a man who says tan is
immediately socially marked in particular ways, while
another using kya: will pass unnoticed. Thus what
we are dealing with here, are not pure linguistic prob-
lems at all, but the social conditions of which the lan-
guage behaviour is a mere surface symptom.

In Jamaica our peculiar linguistic heritage has forc-
ed us into a kind of no man's land. To some Jamai-
cans, our archaic, largely rural Creole (Type A above)
appears to be a language totally different from English.
Some have made the common human error of think-
ing of it as a "non-language", without grammar of any
kind, existing'parrot-like on borrowed vocabulary.
This of course is nonsense: no human language may
exist without grammar, and, as I pointed out earlier,
no grammar is 'simple' and 'primitive' and even when
the culture that uses the language may seem to indus-
trialised, twentieth century man to be as rude and
'backward' as the stone axe. Others argue rightly-
that the grammar and lexicon of Jamaican creole are
systematically unlike that of any English dialect in
many features. On the other hand, Jamaican Creole
is not unintelligible to speakers of Standard English.
The period of linguistic adjustment required is relative-
ly long, but the real problem is not that of assimilating
a grammar and lexicon alien to Standard English, but
of learning a new type of intonation and a number
of other purely phonetic features. Both speakers of
Jamaican Creole and Standard English can make them-
selves perfectly understood to each other. What bar-
riers there are, are cultural, and become linguistic only
by cultural association with particular linguistic fea-
tures. It is remarkable that communication between
speakers of Standard English and Jamaican Creole is
achieved with each speaker using his own idiom, and
making very few allowances for the other speaker's
lack of competence. The phenomenon of the snob-
bish housewife who claims not to understand a word
of that vulgar, 'cartman's language', and who can yet
converse quite normally with her maid on domestic
matters, is one that is well known in Jamaica. It may
well be that the mental block erected against Creole
works in certain contexts. For example, the house-
wife, removed from the context of home and shops,
and translated to canefield or a quarry, may genuine-
ly be at a loss to follow the speech of the workers. But
this requires only a short time of readjustment, an
extension of the cultural area into which she permits
Creole as an accepted and recognized form, and she is
able to expand her receptive and productive abilities
in Creole.
other hand, ky -derives from eighteenth century provilicial English, and
the snobberies connected with these two forms have lasted to our

I must now come to the last of my definitions.
Creole, as a scientifically definable linguistic type, is
somewhat outside of the normal areas of dialect de-
velopment and language change. Languages inevitably
breed their own dialects. Though social and econo-
mic changes often influence and accelerate language
change, these are external to the real forces that alter
language over the years. We do not speak as our
grandparents did, simply because each individual part-
ly re-shapes and re-makes the language he learnt as a
child. Often we simply forget forms used by the
generation that taught us speech, forms that are per-
fectly necessary and useful, yet cast aside and not
always replaced. The emergence of a Creole, however,
has nothing to do with the normal, slow processes of
language change, and everything to do with social and
economic factors. Indeed, to write the history of lan-
guage in Jamaica is very much to write the history of
the people of this island. Creole languages are quite
common: the circumstances that promotethe develop-
ment of such language forms are as old as the stone
axe, and will no doubt outlast many of the highly
sophisticated weapons which have replaced the axe.
A Creole arises usually from the limited and enforced
contact of two communities speaking different lan-
guages. In order to establish some form of communi-
cation, the socially and economically dominant group
usually imposes a very limited and altered form of its
mother-tongue on the dominated group. This form of
language is called pidgin, and has a vocabulary of ex-
treme narrowness, sufficient to cover the basic needs
of the situation. In the United States of America at
the turn of this century, such a pidgin was developed
by the Chinese labourers who came to work as cooks,
launderers, house-servants and field labourers. Their
pidgin English was completely conditioned by the
socio-economic situation, and covered only the needs
of daily life in that very limited setting. If, however,
the pidgin is spoken by a majority, and becomes a
speech for home and privacy as well as for work and
public contact, then it inevitably broadens and deep-
ens, and the emergent language type is a creole. In
both the pidgin and the creole are preserved features
of both contributing languages, but unsystematically
and idiosyncratically. The safest general comment is
to remark that creoles and pidgins tend to borrow an
extensive new'vocabulary from the culturally domin-
ant language, with much of its grammar, but they re-
shape this in terms of the pronunciation habits and
grammatical preferences of the submerged language.
If and when the peculiar conditions which created the
creole are removed as they largely were in Haiti after
the Toussaint L'Ouverture rebellion the creole lives
on happily like any other language, changing slow-
ly from generation to generation. If the prestigious
influence of thedominant language remains as a cul-
tural factor, however, the creole will gradually move
towards that language, losing more and more of the
features of the submerged language, and becoming
eventually a dialect of the dominant language quite
indistifiguishable from its other dialects with less dra-
matic histories. This is in fact what has happened and
is happening in Jamaica.

Many languages have undergone creolization at
some time or other, to a greater or lesser degree. The
Romance languages are all derived from creolized La-
tin. Fortunately for these creoles, or vulgar tongues as
they were called, the death of the Roman Empire re-
moved the real pressure of Latin as a unique presti-
gious model and not all the labours of the Church suf-
ficed to prevent the natural development of the Gallic
and Iberian forms into the modern Romance langua-
ges. Time and cultural independence have obscured
the forms both of the Latin and of the barbaric Ger-
manic parents of French and Spanish. The resultant
languages preserve the unique and independent struc-
ture which they evolved in the days of their own
creolization. The British Empire did as much to create
and preserve a standard form of English as did Caxton's
introduction of that notorious printing press.
Looking again at our own linguistic heritage, we
can see in the workings of history how various politi-
cal, economic, and social forces first combined to
create Jamaican Creole. We know that it was isolated
from its West African parents (the submerged language
or languages), and kept in constant contact with a
number of provincial English dialects during the last
two hundred years. Today our Creole is still under-
going change, and is gradually becoming a dialectal
variety of English.
So far I have spoken mainly of Jamaican Creole,
as though it were the language staple of this communi-
ty. My examples of Jamaican speech above indicate
clearly that several varieties of speech are used in this
society. 1 have mentioned in passing a number of ways
in which these different varieties function in our so-
ciety, and I must now show how the language usage
of a Jamaican may be made up. While there are broad
differences of usage conditioned by education and
occupation, it is still permissible to state that most
Jamaicans are polydialectal, using two or more of the
language types which I named Creole, dialect, and
Standard Jamaican English. I will ignore here regional
variations of accent and vocabulary, for social criteria
override all other factors here. The individual Jamai-
can uses Creole, dialectal, and Standard variants large-
ly as stylistic types. In other words, he chooses one of
these language forms for particular purposes and sit-
uations, matching the style of his speech to the de-
mands of some social context. Thus he may discuss
the same matters in three different language forms if
the conditions of his life make this necessary. The
trade unionist addressing irate portworkers will phrase
his speech in a language form unlike that which he
uses at the bargaining table, and unlike also that which
he uses among his friends at an informal gathering.
Most of us therefore have two or three language codes
all perfectly developed communication systems,
existing simultaneously in our minds.

This code-switching, as itis called by socio-linguists
is not just a simple matter of shifting from a formal to
an informal style, or using slang terms. Our code shift
involves a language shift, in which we move from one
pattern of intonation and phonology to another very

different in structure. It would be as though a native of
Marseilles used Standard French for his business con-
tacts, the Marseillaise dialect for family affairs, and
spoke to his servants in Italian. The difference be-
tween these Romance languages is not as remote as one
might think. Like us, the man from Marseilles would
use three grammars related in many respects, but sur-
prisingly different in a few important features. Pro-
nunciation would of course vary from form to form,
but again anyone who has travelled in the South of
France can attest to the mutual intelligibility of the
French and Italian dialects of the Riviera.

This brings me to the important matter of over-
lapping. As we use two or more related dialects,
which are yet separated dramatically by details of
grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, it is inevi-
able that in many respects the forms we use cannot be
kept apart from each other. Thus we have the double
interference of Standard with Creole, and Creole with
Standard. The dialect is the emerging offspring of this
double interference. There is indeed so much over-
lapping in the usage of the average Jamaican, that the
professional linguist is hard put to decide how to set
up meaningful boundaries between the varieties of
English used. The matter is infinitely complicated by
the fact that the real boundaries are social and rhetori-
cal, and exist within the usage of the individual speak-
er. If we truly wish to dissect and define language in
Jamaica, then we must dissect and define ourselves.

I must digress here to state what has been the at-
titude of linguists at the University of the West Indies
to the language situation in Jamaica. None of us has
ever wished to see Jamaican Creole replace Standard
Jamaican English as the language of the classroom. We
have, however, wished to improve the teaching of Eng-
lish by encouraging a greater awareness of the import-
ant differences between the forms of Jamaican Creole
and Standard English. We wished that, by a know-
ledge of Jamaican Creole syntax, morphology and
phonology,** teachers might make Standard English
clearer. By developing a conscious awareness of the
contrasts between Creole and Standard, all speakers
could develop greater control of both forms.

But our language problem goes much deeper than
an apparent dispute among educators. We do our-
selves much harm by denying the very polydialectal
skills of which we are often so proud. Though all Ja-
maicans have immense social skill in the use of lan-
guage, and may work creatively upon the many dia-
lectal types that link Creole and Standard, very few
of us honestly come to terms with what constitutes the
very texture of our lives and all our acts as social
beings. We use language unconsciously as an integrat-
ed whole, which is proper; but we consciously refuse
to admit the oneness of Creole, dialect, and Standard
in the usage of our daily lives. We dismiss informal,
dialect verandah chat as "sloppy", "careless", and we
never use it in the presence of foreign guests. As for
the "broad" talk in which the bank clerk and higgler
debate the price of pear, that we stigmatize as "bad",
"flat", "uneducated", "ungrammatical" and so on.
** Morphology refers to the shape of words, hence to whatever af-
fixation or compounding is used in a particular language. Phonology

We might translate this for our foreigner, with either
self-conscious pride or mild embarrassment. But no
one, not even the self-conscious onlooker, would
dream of substituting Standard, newsreel English in
these situations.

Let us try to see Jamaican English, then, not as a
series of linguistically separable forms, but as a group
of socially and psychologically integrated types, which
have assumed special stylistic and emotive roles in our
lives as a result of the interaction of a number of his-
torical forces. Our attitude to language is social and
not linguistic. From our peculiar social and emotional
conditioning we both delight in and reject Creole usage.
We respond emotionally to what appears to be the
greater verve and originality of Creole, and then turn
from it as a broken, inferior relative of British and
American English in which we find an easy vehicle for
the ideology and technology of the century. Some of
us who do recognize this multiplicity of language
usage look upon it as dangerously schizoid, and argue
that a divided and weakened mind must result from
this use of different codes and styles. In some cases it
is certain that inadequate education leaves areas un-
covered by a knowledge of Standard areas of ex-
perience which cannot be dealt with fully in Creole.
The reverse is also true. Certain emotional experiences
are often linked firmly to expression in Creole, and
cannot be handled adequately in Standard. These pro-
blems, however, are more apparent than real. Any
language form is capable of handling any human sit-
uation, provided that those who use the language will
that this be so. It is cultural repression, social fear,
and unconsciousness of our tremendous capacities for
language usage that have pushed us into this seeming
corral. The gate is open: we are free to use whatever
style and form we choose, and to use it fully and well,
if we only set aside both pride and embarrassment and
see our language for what it is. Our great-grandchildren
will have us to thank, or otherwise, if we accept the in-
tegrated wholeness of Creole, dialect, and Standard in
our lives. It is becoming increasingly rare to find per-
sons who are profoundly unaffected by the three
forms. We cannot both accept and reject the modes of
language in which we express ourselves as individual
personalities. Our aim should be to be fully skilled in
all the forms of our language, and able to perceive the
immense value to intellect and imagination in possess-
ing such a skill.

We need to transfer much of the passion, tension,
and incisiveness associated with Creole to Standard
usage, and in turn to experience in Creole the analytic,
argumentative and logical force that we equally wrong-
ly associated with Standard. Neither imagination nor
logic are properties of any language type; they are
features of the human mind. Our aim should be to
save and increase all that we have learnt of linguistic
expressiveness through our experience of contrasting
language types, intimately bound up as these are with
all our history and our awareness of ourselves as the
heirs of a rich domain of human versatility.

covers the laws of sound relating to all features of pronunciation in a

; -


Morgan's Harbour
Albert Huie

Because of the Cats

by Dennis Scott

Because of the cats, no dreams,
because I know how the moon
strikes fire on their flint eyes,
how their rank smells excite them;
because I remember challenge and the low crawl
the coil and creep of thin sinew
over brick, this room
is a stone tomb, I wish
to be king too, fluid as these sovereigns
melting past my window, spilling
like shadows past the garbage pans
and the almond tree
crying my lust from yard to yellow moon;
I am torn from sleep,
tongue shivers and arches to call
"I am coming" my skin moves
my fur folded against the sheets
"I am coming brothers!"
A white howl slashes the night

Her Dream
by Mervyn Morris

"... for I have suffered many things this day
in a dream because of him." (St. Matthew 27-19)

I dreamt us strolling, arm in loving arm,
Along the avenue that skirts the border;
Our tender courting days wheeled back. Just then
We heard a yapping, loud, a pack
In full pursuit! Into our lives so sudden crashed
A lamb, bleeding and bruised, and weary
With the chase. I picked him up and cuddled him
In my warm arms, my newest baby boy.
The yelping hounds swore louder, nuzzling the hedge.
And then I don't know why you did it -
You snatched the poor thing from my arms
And with "We must not interfere, my love;
The dogs demand their prey ", before I could
Cry out, you tossed their quarry
Over the prickly hedge. The ravenous pack
Was through him in an instant, ravaging the body.

That moment, so it happened in my dream,
Our sweet love died; that afternoon I sat alone
Playing with thorns. At length I turned to you
To plead forgiveness. You offered that, and love;
But, broken in simple grief
I could not take your proffered
Bread and wine.

like a painted hunger.
There are bars on my window.

Listen! No dreams tonight,
they are calling past the restless dogs,
past the brown streets and the zinc fences -
something wild in me wakes,
wants to be free, my nails scratching
the cold bed's iron, something old
shakes the door on its hinges
like a breath of wind,
that some soft, arrogant beast turns
in my bed, snarls in my egg-skull,
cracks my eye staring to the pale window
where my brothers spit
and the cool sharp moon slices
my padded feet like broken screams
because of the cats

by Mervyn Morris

I saw you with your man last night,
Poised as could be;
Your hair was perfect, your dress was right,
Your smile fidelity.

Enjoy your prudent service now, my love,
But bank your tears.
That body's worth a charge account;
But count the years.

I shan't forget the night you said
You'd had enough,
Stared at the glass above my head
And judged me rough -

Not cruel, just inelegant, you said,
You had your pride;
You'd leave tomorrow, so you said.
Thanks for the ride.


The bruised heart grows in time a scab
To hide the sore;
Prick it and the pus runs nastier,
Stinks now more.

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Bunoo Mulatta

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I" i re .z



The story given by Marie Shaw of Coconut Grove. Illustrated by Lennox Gayle.
Recorded and Edited by Jeanette Grant. Song put to music by Olive Lewin.


Mary Pick an' Choose 'til she Married to Bull Cow

I used to work wid a woman. She had two children, a
bway an' a girl. De bway was de first one, an' de girl de second .
But de bway dat was a definite ole witch, because when him
was forty years old, him neva bigga dan 'bout dis (approximate-
ly 18"), while de sister was around' thirty-nine, an' she was a
huge woman.
An' all over de lan', young man going in fah her, she doan'
like dem! Everyone goh, she doan' like dem! Some she doan'
wan'! Bull Cow hear 'bout it. Him sey, "Well!" Him gwine
teck him chance.
As everybody know, Bull no got nothing, beside him live
inna cow common an' grass piece. Well, him goh a pawn-broka
an' him get a suit. De prettiest t'ing yoh could ever look pon!
An' him get a top hat, because him did have dem two things we
call hams. An' him get a top hat to put over de harns.
An' him goh right in an' introduce himself to the girl an' de
girl mada (mother). Oh Lawd! Dat was de young gentleman
she was looking for! ..........
Bradda Bull go dere for a very long time ........ whatever
time dat him go dere, him neva see de little bway/you know,
de bway did trouble wid sore. Him ha' sorey-sorey all over
him. An' mealswaystell de mada to bathe him wid bitter bush
an jeyes/ an' whenever time dis Bradda Bull or 'MR.BULL'
goes dere, she hide de bway under bed. Yoh know, she never
care anything 'bout him. Just because him was funny.
It went on an' on..... Sometimes she wan' fe give Bra. Bull
refreshments an'him sey (hurriedly), "NO! NO! NO!!" ...Yoh
know him neva feel to have anything. Soon as dem married,
everything would be O.K.
Well, Bredda Bull fix a weddin' date. When de bway hear
'bout de weddin', de little bway, him said to the sister one
night; after Mr. Bull gawn, "Sis", an him started to cry,
"Yoh know, dat gentleman coming here is a cow!" An' de
sister open her han', right inna my eye see'n an' bax him. An'
me an' she ketch one fuss. She tell him mus' go whey an' get
under de bed, for what him know 'bout cow or what him know
'bout hams.
Bway sey, "Awright."
It went off a couple weeks. It was de weddin' time for de
Bull. (Then now, why de bway was so much sure sey him was
a cow; him follow him 'bout two different nights an' when
him goh a grass piece, right a de gate leading to the grass piece,
him have a song fe sing. An' den now, when him sing dat song
everything come offa him. From him hat to him suit, an him
boots come offa him an' him hide it whey.)
An' him goh to de place an' when him reach, him sing,
Everything drap off. An' him put dem whey an' go inna com-
mon. Right......
Happens now, dat it come de day of de weddin'. Poor lit-
tle bway! It was only me dat was helping in de house know sey
de poor little fellow did under de.bed. Dem have him under de
bed like puss kitten.

An' when de weddin' was over, dem have de big reception.
Yoh would'n like fe see de reception ..... How it so big, an'
everybody goin' to an' from, up an' dung. De poor-little-one
under de bed hungry. When dem cut cake for Bredda Bull, an'
serve de wine, him sey, "OH! NO! NO! My heart is so full of
joy that I can not have anything right now!"
Hmmmmm ..... me noh sey one t'ing ..... everybody have
dem meal. Me shout dem! Me sey, "What 'bout de little bway
under de bed?" Hear de sister she, (just married), "Oh! He's
wright. Let him stay dere 'till when everything over."
Ah said, "But no! He's just another person." An' a cut a piece
a de cake! Cut it up in a big plate an' a gi-him. A whole heap
a cake an' a big glass a wine. An' de poor little t'ing, when him
come out an' him teck it from me, him sey, "A really kyan'
give a toas' but a wi sing a likle song."
Sister sey, "NO! NO! Take it an' go! Take it an' go!"
An' all de guesses (guests) dem sey, "NO! NO! Yoh should be
glad dat your little brother can sing a song for yoh, doan (al-
though) him kyan' give a toas'." Everybody sey, "Let hiri
carry on!"
Him gwine sing de song fe strip de bull naked inna de
crowd. Him start fe sing:-
Bull button dem begin fe fly BUNG! open! (Bull get
nervous, him voice start fe tremble) Hear Bull, "NO! LOOK
An' de like bway sing de song an' de jacket fly open. An'
meanwhile de like bway middle de song, de pants drap off a
him ..... de hat an' everything. An'when him sey to "BLOW,
BLOW' STANDALLY BLOW!", him was a naked cow. Hear
An' everybody wid a piece a 'tick (stick), some wid rack-stone
..... an' dem start fe pelt him. Whey yoh t'ink him run goh
now? 'Grass Piece'! An' dem pelt him! Dem beat bull so 'tell
yoh would a hardly like fe see him a meek him way a grass
From dat day tell now, yoh see dem a beat bull cow.

1. Leisure by Henry Budhai

2. Flute Player by Gloria Escoffrey

3. This Dark and Miserable World by Keith Curwin

4. Shanty Town by V. Reuben

Back Cover Illustration:

Letter 1 Top
"timely care..." The 1712 Act for
the better preservation of the
Public Records. (Enrolled
Laws Vol. If 178).

Letter 2 Centre
Signature of Toussaint L'Ouverture.
From the papers of the General
Toussaint'captured by HMS Lark
(Vice-Admiralty Court Records).

Letter 3 Bottom
Signature of King Louis XVI on the
passport of the ship Benjamin.
(Vice-Admiralty CourtRecords).

Spanish Town.

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