Charlotte Taylor     Her Life and Times

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West Indies

From The Sugar Islands by Alec Waugh

Excerpt from Pages 34 to 36

" … At the end of the fifteenth century Christopher Columbus, believing that the earth was round and in an attempt to find a western route to India, discovered a group of islands that, in the light of this belief, he christened the West Indies.  In their attempt to exploit his discovery, subsequent European pioneers came into such conflict with the original inhabitants of the islands that within a few years the Indians who had inhabited the eastern islands had been 'liquidated'.  In the meantime, sugar cane had been introduced and, in order to supply cheap labour for the plantations, a slave trade with the Guinea coast was organized … The third period, of the eighteenth century, saw the high peak of West Indian prosperity. In its latter half there was much bitter fighting between the French and English.  One of the greatest naval battles of all time was to be fought there.  Most of the islands were to change hands several times, cities were to be sacked and plantations burned. … it is indeed probable that during the Napoleonic Wars more British lives were lost in the West Indies than in Europe."

Excerpt from Pages 78 to 81

"… most islands have their own special ' sight ' where history has tarried. St. Kitts has Brimstone Hill, Antigua has English Harbour where Nelson was stationed for so many dreary months.  No island is without its forts and battlements … valleys bright with sugar cane … women with baskets upon their heads … blouses of red and yellow … deep green of hills. … women employed on weeding in specially measured plots … old women scouring for the 'black cocoa', the dried and rotten pods that can be used for fuel. … in the old days the sugar plantations were adorned with windmills. … the thick molasses in the curing house used to drip slowly through the spongy plantain stalk into the tank below, into the thick and golden juice that time would forment and mellow into the rich dark wine of the Antilles."

From The British West Indies by Algernon Aspinall

Excerpt from Pages 25 and 26

"… The circumstances that led to our taking Trinidad began in 1796.  On a certain day in May that year, Captain Vaughn of the Alarm, hearing that some French privateers were annoying British merchantmen in the Gulf of Paria, proceeded to the Bocas and sent the Zebra sloop of war forward to Port of Spain to ask permission to attack and destroy them in the neutral waters … Captain Skinner, of the Zebra, arrived at Port of Spain at night, anchored off the town, and interviewed the Governor Chacon, who expressed hope that the rights of neutrality might be respected.  He weighed anchor next morning, and as she neared the Bocas the Zebra was mistaken by the privateers for an English merchantmen, the Mary, and a violent engagement ensued during which the whole fleet of privateers was destroyed, though many of the crews got ashore and made their way to Port of Spain vowing vengeance against the English. "

Excerpt from Page 54

"… The West Indies have many natural harbours, of one at least of which - the Gulf of Paria - it might be fairly said that it would be capable of sheltering the navies of the world.  The harbours at Kingston (Jamaica), Castries (St. Lucia), St. John's, English and Falmouth (Antigua) and the Carenage (Grenada) are also notable. "

Excerpt from Pages 89 and 90

"… The scenery of the West Indies is exquisitely beautiful. … nearly all the islands are, … of volcanic formation, and they are consequently very rugged and mountainous.  Notable exceptions are: Barbados and part of Antigua. … Palm trees are, … a prominent feature in West Indian scenery, particularly the tall cabbage or Royal Palms. "

Excerpt from Page 110

"… It is a curious fact that most of the staple products of the West Indies are derived from exotic plants, and that comparatively few are indigenous.  For instance, the sugar cane, cacao, coffee, bamboo, akee, cinnamon, logwood, nutmeg, banana, orange and ginger, to mention a few only of the economic plants and trees commonly met with in the West Indies, have been introduced from other parts of the world … remarkable fertility of the soil of the West Indies. "

Excerpt from Page 142

"… Generally speaking, the climate of the West Indies is equable and decidedly healthy … extreme heat is tempered during the day by delightful sea breezes … The trade winds begin to blow in about December and continue steadily until March and April and it is consequently during the winter months that the climate of the West Indies is at its best. The rainy season generally sets in in June, and continues until the end of the year, with a break in August or September. "

Excerpt from Page 275

".. For many years the immigrants were conveyed to the West Indies in sailing ships, the voyage occupying from seventy to a hundred and twenty-five days. "

Excerpt from Pages 377 to 379

"… Of all the associations in the U.K. concerned with the welfare of the colonies the West India Committee is the oldest. The actual year it was formed is not known - but the earliest minute book of the West India Merchants is dated 1769, and it is generally believed that the Committee was established early in the eighteenth century. The full title of the organization in those days was ' The Standing Committee of West India Planters and Merchants '. In those days the West India body was wealthy and contributed largely to charity. Matters concerning duties and drawbacks were constantly engaging attention, and in the early days it was the sugar industry, for the welfare of which the Committee was most solicitous … it exerted its influence in benefiting the sugar and rum industries, which were at the time its principal care. But the Committee was not only concerned with the sugar industry. At a meeting on February 7, 1775, a letter was read from George Walker, Esq., to the Chairman, relative to the introduction into England of the ' Bread-fruit and Mangostan from the East Indies, in order for their being sent over and propagated in the West Indies ', and it was agreed that the West India merchants were ' willing to be at any reasonable expense in endeavouring to introduce the above trees into the West India colonies '. "

From A Family of Islands by Alec Waugh

Excerpt from Forward

"… For two and one half centuries the Caribbean was the cockpit of Europe's navies: Britain, France and Spain contended there for mastery, with intermittent interventions from the Dutch. Most of the islands changed hands once at least. Europe had just discovered the delights of coffee, tea and cocoa. Sugar boomed. Fortunes were made and lost … The phrase ' rich as a Creole " was in daily use. Then after the Naoleonic wars, the tide of prosperity receded. "

Excerpt from Page 7

"… The Carribee Islands, as originally called, lie for the most part in the semi tropical zone; they are cooled by trade winds that blow from northeast. The early Spanish colonists divided them into two groups. They called the northern islands the Windward Islands, and the eastern the Leeward Islands. They were also known as the Antilles, after Antilla, the mythical continent that was supposed to exist east of the Azores, the northern islands being called the Greater and the southern group the Lesser. "

Excerpt from Pages 164 to 166

"… Home governments were not anxious to maintain permanent garrisons in the West Indies. They were expensive and the climate was bad. Indeed, when wars broke out, commanders were instructed to capture islands quickly, before their troops were incapacitated by fever and rum. West India stations were not popular with the military. The navy was in a difficult position. In peace-time as well as war it was necessary for the French and British as it was for the Spaniards to protect their own shipping and interrupt illegal dealings with their colonies. … The Danes and the Dutch tried to stay apart form the main drama of the Caribbean … For the belligerent nations, he problem of survival was both simplified and complicated by the fact that, owing to the prevalence of the trade winds and of the Gulf Stream, there were only three exits from the Caribbean; the Florida Channel, and the Windward and Mona Passages. British ships to and from Jamaica had the most difficult passage. Before they reached the West Indies they would strike their latitude and then sail downwind; this course carried them along the south coasts of Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, where Spanish guard Costs might intercept them. They had two alternatives for return, and both were difficult. The Windward Passage between Cuba and St. Doming was the nearest, but it was not easy to round the eastern tip of Jamaica against the wind. The journey could take a week. The passage was narrow, and to avoid being drawn into the Bight of Logan, between the two prongs of St. Doming, they had to keep close to the Cuban coast, where the land winds were helpful. But they were perilously near Santiago, that smugglers' haven. If,on the other hand, they chose the Gulf Channel, they had o follow the coast of Cuba, keeping close to it at the western extremity by Cape Antonio to avoid a contrary current that very often ran from the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean. There were often calms off Havana, and a ship hovering there was an easy prey. The ships of the Lesser Antilles were in an easier position. Their only danger on he way out was a cruising privateer, and on the journey home, through the wide passage, the ship's only danger was from a privateer from Puerto Rico. The American ships had the most difficult voyages because they had to reach Jamaica by the Windward Passage. They were exposed both ways to the maximum of danger. The French had the easiest voyages. They could sail straight across the Atlantic to Martinique; they were never at war with Spain, and their return journey through the Mona Passage was unlikely to be hindered. … In those days seamen had not learned how to measure longitude. It was easy for them to miss an island; they therefore set themselves on the latitude of the island that they wished to reach. The French ships made the latitude of Martinique and the English the latitude of Barbados or Antigua … This method of navigation simplified the task both of the protecting warships and the privateers. "

From West Indies by Philip Sherlock

Excerpt from Pages 42 to 44

"… The portion of Africa that was involved extended from the Senegal River to the mouth of the Congo and beyond to Angola and Benguela … Two million Africans were imported from this region into the English colonies in the Caribbean between 1680 and 1786, a significant part of the fifteen million taken to the Americas between 1518 and the year in which the trade was suppressed, 1865. The importation of Africans increased from year to year, Jamaica alone taking 610,000 between 1700 and 1786, and each cargo load of bewildered slaves delivered in the West Indies gave a new shape to West Indian society and new direction to the history of the island communities. The cargoes of black men and women, oiled and made ready for sale on slave ships at anchor at Bridgetown, Basseterre, St. Johns or Kingston and the slaves put up for auction in slave markets in the capital town of each island, were a very small fraction of the millions of black and white people who through 400 years were caught up in this trade that changed the history of three continents and caused the destruction of many millions of human beings. The trade linked the African slaves on West Indian plantations with ' hands ' in new factories in Manchester and Birmingham that turned out goods for the West African trade, with merchants and seamen in Liverpool, Bristol, Southampton, London, Amsterdam, La Rochelle, Nantes, Lisbon, Boston, Charleston who financed and manned the fleets that transported Africans across the Atlantic, and with African chiefs and Arab raiders who worked with the European in a partnership that originated with European demands. "

Excerpt from Pages 45 to 49

"… In the 113 years between 1702 to 1815, five major wars were fought, covering a period of 56 years, and in all these the islands were closely involved. The War of 1776 was quite different from the earlier ones. It was the first war of independence to be waged in the New World in the period of European expansion. It was also the first successful rising of a colonial people in modern times. The West Indian planters and colonists too found control from London irksome and many of the restrictions put on them intolerably irritating. But they decided in the end to stand with Britain. In 1774 the Continental Congress closed its ports to goods from the West Indies and in 1775 it stopped exportation to the islands. The planters had foreseen famine and by 1776 there were severe shortages of foodstuffs in the Barbados and the Leeward Islands. The danger of invasion was added to that of famine when France entered the war against England in 1778. Dominica fell to the French, but England took St. Lucia. The French retook St. Lucia and captured St. Vincent, Grenada, Tobago and St. Kitts. An attack on Jamaica was only prevented by Rodney's defeat of the French fleet at The Saints of Guadeloupe. By the peace of 1784 England regained Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Nevis and Dominica, but St. Lucia and Tobago remained with France. "

Excerpt from Pages 117 to 119

"… Descriptions of the West Indies in the 18th century show an almost complete abandonment by the white colonists of marriage and monogamy. Concubinage was ' the custom of the country '. … The married white man usually kept one or two mistresses and raised families ' on the side '. "

Excerpt from Page 136

"… In addition to standard English, each of the islands has its own creole language, the word ' creole ' being used to mean 'island born'. "

From A Short History of the West Indies by J.H. Parry and P.M. Sherlock

Excerpt from Page 108

"… Slavers made long passages. The triangular voyage was usually at least twelve months. A ship would sail from its home port in England or France with a cargo of ' trade goods ' - woolen or cotton cloth in bright colours, firearms and other weapons, tools, pots and pans, and trinkets. The run down to the Coast might take two, three, or even four months. Trading might take many weeks. ... As soon as a cargo was assembled the slaves were hurried on board, and the ship set sail without delay, "

From The Cradle of the Deep by Sir Frederick Treves

Excerpt from page 24

"… George Washington visited Barbados in 1751 … He stayed at a house overlooking Carlisle Bay, about a mile from Bridgetown, … He had not been in the island more than fourteen days when he was laid low with smallpox. The attack was not severe, but he bore the marks of the disease upon his face to the end of his days. "

Excerpt from Page 56

"… Trinidad is the most southerly of the West Indies, the island nearest of all to the Equator. It lies close to the mainland, being indeed but a detached fragment of Venezuela … Trinidad is not only a very beautiful island, but it is typical of the tropics and of the West Indies generally. There is just one drawback - the climate. It is hot, damp … while the insects are rather overwhelming."

Excerpt from Page 113

"… St. Lucia as approached from the sea is as dainty and beautiful an island as the heart could wish. Softly wooded to its highest peaks, there is nothing to suggest that it has been the firebrand of the West Indies, the island of strife, whose glades have been reddened with blood and whose slopes are riddled with the graves of valiant man. At the end of the verdant fiord … is Castries. To the right of the entrance into the harbour of Castries is Cul de Sac Bay where the British fleet hid, in the famous attack of 1778, to the undoing of the French. "

From Jamaica - The Old and the New by Mary Manning Carley

Excerpt from Pages 12 and 13

"… sea, blue and serene in the winter solstice, torn by fierce storms in the summer season. … In the West Indies all the chief towns are built on the seacoast, having been centres of sea commerce. In the Lesser Antilles the ports (which are also the chief towns) are situated on the west or lee side, seeking shelter from the full force of the prevailing winds, also, perhaps, from the destructive hurricanes which come from the east or south east. The trade winds were so called from the great advantage they brought to the trading vessels of all nations, especially sailing ships. All masters learnt early to fall in with these winds on their way to the Caribbean or Panama, just as they learnt to pick up the prevailing westerlies in the higher latitudes on the return journey. … storms occur in the later summer months when the area has become heated up, generally between July and October. "

Excerpt from Pages 32 to 35

"… Port Royal, at the extreme end of the Palisadoes peninsula - that long, narrow strip of land which encircles Kingston Harbour - is the oldest settlement of the English. … In the heyday of the buccaneers Port Royal achieved a terrible and world-wide notoriety for wealth and wickedness. … When Port Royal turned from piracy to the even more cruel trade in ' black ivory ' - African slaves, its notoriety was not even tempered with romance. … On June 7th, 1692, when the Council was sitting there, a terrible fate overtook the town of Port Royal, making it to the pious, the Sodom and Gomorrah of its time. Shaken by earthquakes and swept by the invading sea, the greatest part of the town slid beneath the waves. After the disaster at Port Royal, plans were drawn up for the laying out of a township on the mainland to be called Kingston. "

Excerpt from Pages 47 and 48

"… By 1774 the number of slaves in Jamaica had reached such heavy proportions that the Jamaican House of Assembly passed two laws which sought to put a stop to, or severely restrict, the importation of any more slaves. … time was on the side of the abolitionists … in 1807 the English Government introduced the measure which was to put an end to the slave trade. Emancipation did not come until 1834, to be followed by a period of apprenticeship, with complete freedom in 1838. "

From The Land of Look Behind - A Study of Jamaica by Mona MacMillan

Excerpt from Pages 79 and 80

"… The bulk of the people (white) consists of men without families. Europeans who come to the island have seldom an idea of settling here for life. …the males had each his coloured mistress… unions were generally lasting and regular… The resulting progeny was generally bought free by the father or at least given an education and taken into ranks of clerks, bookkeepers, overseers, and artisans. Thus there grew up a numerous and influential coloured middle class, many of them men with considerable property. … Kingston had the finest harbour (land-locked) in the West for sailing ships. Jamaica was the seat of the Vice-Admiralty Court which disposed of prizes and seized contraband, and after 1773 Kingston became a free port. Trade, licit or illicit, flourished all the time with the Spanish colonies and America; and Jamaica was the channel through which British manufactured goods reached the Spanish islands and a large part of the mainland. "

From Jamaica's Great Houses - Testaments to Grandeur, Cruelty of Plantation Life by David Moorcroft

"… Perched on hills overlooking the pristine coastline near Montego Bay sit part of Jamaica's colonial past - its Great Houses. Built some two centuries ago, these lavish mansions once served as monuments to the powerful families that lived within their walls. Surrounded by lush gardens and sprawling sugar cane fields, the Great Houses were living testaments to the grandeur and cruelty of plantation life. At their peak, the plantations stretched for twenty or more miles apiece and produced enormous profits for their white owners, most of whom had emigrated from the United Kingdom. The plantations also employed vast armies of black slaves, all of whom lived and worked in difficult and sometimes cruel conditions. … Greenwood Great House was once owned by the Barrett family, cousins to Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, the famous English poet. … Built in the 1790s and designed in the style of the old plantation estate, the two story building has an upstairs' balcony with a stunning view of the coastline. On a clear day … the view of the Caribbean sea is so far reaching that even the earth's curvature is apparent. "

From Emigrants From England 1773 - 1776 Transcribed by Gerald Fothergill

Port of Portsmouth, 20 - 27 February, 1774

Name

Age

Status

From

Ship

To

Reason

Honorable Edward Gordon

46

Gentleman

London

Brittania

Barbados

Councels at Barbados

Miss Mandeville

25

Lady to Accompany Him

 

 

 

 

Port of London, 3 - 10 October, 1774

Name

Age

Status

From

Ship

To

Reason

William Brown

21

Blacksmith

Scotland

Standlinch

Jamaica

Indentured

Mary Dyal

23

Servant

London

St. James

Jamaica

To Settle

Mary Rolfe

23

Servant

London

St. James

Jamaica

To Settle

Thomas Moral

26

Servant

Norwich

St. James

Jamaica

To Settle

Catharine Welmore

29

Servant

London

St. James

Jamaica

To Settle

William Brace

20

Musician

Dumfries

Tyger

Jamaica

His Trade

Port of Portsmouth, 20 - 27 March, 1775

Name

Age

Status

From

Ship

To

Reason

Mr. Holdman

 

Gentleman

 

Ipswich

Jamaica

Storekeeper HM Yard

Mr. Taylor

22

Gentleman

 

Ipswich

Jamaica

?

Mr. Johnson

22

Gentleman

 

Ipswich

Jamaica

?

Port of Portsmouth, 4 - 11 September, 1775

Name

Age

Status

From

Ship

To

Reason

William Stewart

 

Gentleman

 

Richmond

Jamaica

To Settle

Ralph Skelton

 

Gentleman

 

Richmond

Jamaica

To Settle

Duncan Monroe

 

Gentleman

 

Richmond

Jamaica

To Settle

Alex. Peterkin

 

Gentleman

 

Richmond

Jamaica

To Settle

Timothy Walker

 

Gentleman

 

Richmond

Jamaica

To Settle

John Palmer

 

Gentleman

 

Richmond

Jamaica

To Settle

Mr. How

 

Gentleman

 

Richmond

Jamaica

To Settle

Three Miss Myries

 

Ladies

 

Richmond

Jamaica

To Settle

Port of Portsmouth, 11 - 18 December, 1775

Name

Age

Status

From

Ship

To

Reason

William Young

27

Gentleman Planter

London

Dawes

Jamaica

Superintend an Estate

David Kerr

30

Surgeon

London

Dawes

Jamaica

Practice Surgery

Walter Murry

36

Gentleman

Jamaica

Dawes

Jamaica

Returning Home

Mrs. Scott

36

Lady

Jamaica

Dawes

Jamaica

Returning Home

Port of Portsmouth, 31 December - 7 January, 1776

Name

Age

Status

From

Ship

To

Reason

Mr. Martin Williams

 

Planter

Jamaica

St. James Planter

Jamaica

Superintend His Plantations

Port of Portsmouth, 28 January - 4 February, 1776

Name

Age

Status

From

Ship

To

Reason

Robert Sewell, Esq.

25

Gentleman

London

Judith and Hilaria

Jamaica

To Practice as Barrister

Mrs. Sewell

20

His Wife

London

Judith and Hilaria

Jamaica

 

Mary Lewis

18

Young lady

London

Judith and Hilaria

Jamaica

Returning to Jamaica post

Education in England

Maria Lewis

15

Young lady

London

Judith and Hilaria

Jamaica

Returning to Jamaica post Education in England

Catherine Lewis

13

Young Lady

London

Judith and Hilaria

Jamaica

Returning to Jamaica post Education in England

Mrs. Ellison

50

Lady

London

Judith and Hilaria

Jamaica

Going with Above

 

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