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Penn's conquest ; for which changes a longer period than forty or fifty years cannot be assigned, for the city had then been abandoned a great number of years, and could not have subsisted above ninety years. Nothing certain is known of the reasons the Spaniards had for abandoning it.
The following are the names and sites of the Spanish settlements and harbours often mentioned by the Spanish historians :
Sevilla Nueva, S.E. of Mammee Bay.
Bluefield's Bay. St. Jago de la Vega, Spanish Town. Caguaya,
Port Royal. St. Gloria,
St. Anne's Bay. Port Esquevel,
Old Harbour. I fear I have been giving you information of little importance; but the little that we do know of the early history of this island cannot altogether be devoid of interest.
I am, my dear Madam,
R. R. M.
A B S E N T E E S.
To W. FORBES STUART, Esq.
Kingston, Aug. 10, 1834. My dear Sir, The late change which has taken place in the condition of the negro population of these islands, must necessarily lead to great alterations in the mode of managing plantations. It requires as little knowledge of human nature, as of political economy, to be assured that no man will labour without reward who can avoid it. Hitherto coercion was necessarily employed to obtain labour ; but the new law, in making coercion the legal penalty of its infraction, instead of an arbitrary punishment summarily inflicted, has deprived it of the character which chiefly constituted its terrors ; for
; nothing, I apprehend, can be more productive of terror than the power of inflicting punishment in the heat of passion. That stimulus to labour is therefore in the hands of the special justice, not what it was in those of the overseer. In some cases in four years, in others in six years, it will not exist at all. In the intermediate time conciliation to a great extent must be looked to, to effect what coercion formerly did. Is it to the persons who are only acquainted with the influence of the latter ? is it to those whose feelings have been galled by the deprivation of that instrument of authority ? is it to those who have not been entrusted with the temporary power of inflicting even the lessened punishment the law allows, and consequently whose objections to the remedial spirit of that law are not likely to be diminished, --that the absent proprietors are to look for the introduction of conciliatory measures in the management of their estates, which will be a substitute for those whose influence is no longer to be exerted on the negro's fears ? Previous to the introduction of the new system, I fully expected to see many of the absentees arrive, to enter on the new management of their estates ; for previous to August I was fully persuaded, as I now am, that a change of management is absolutely requisite to insure a continuance of labour. There were many arrangements to be entered into by the masters with the negroes on their properties; and the 1st of August was an auspicious time for such accommodation of matters between master and labourer, as might be productive of present satisfaction and future advantage.
But very few proprietors have come out; amongst those, however, who have lately arrived, is the nephew of M. G. Lewis, whose family holds two valuable properties here.
The late well-known M. G. Lewis occasionally sojourned here, but he resided chiefly on his estate, named Cornwall, in Westmoreland, and sometimes at another property, Hordley, in St. Thomas in the East. He visited Jamaica in 1815, and again in 1817. On his first arrival, he found his negroes discontented and almost rebellious, at Cornwall. On his second visit, he found his other negroes at Hordley in a still worse condition.
By his two visits he saved his properties! Both of them are in the hands of his heirs, and not under the superintendence of the Court of Chancery. One of the proprietors, the son of Sir Henry Lushington, is now on the island, following the example of Lewis ; seeing with his own eyes how the management of his properties are going on, and feeling the responsibility which rests upon him of ascertaining, by actual observation, and not by communications from his planting attorney, how 580 human beings, that are dependent on his humanity for their welfare (and who, not a great many years ago, were dependent on his predecessor's moderation for their limbs and lives) are treated on his properties.
I am well aware I am addressing you on an unpromising subject, but I am also aware I am addressing myself to one to whom the incidents of a work of fiction are not of more importance than actual occurrences, which are connected with the interests of hundreds of families in England, and with those of 300,000 beings of the human species here.
Lewis is not spoken of with much favour in Jamaica ;-I mean by the whites, for it is not the fashion in the West Indies to take the sentiments of the negroes into any account. But I may just intimate, that whoever is popular with the negroes must, of necessity, be in a degree of disfavour more than unpopular with the white people. Lewis very soon discovered the errors of the old system of management after his arrival. He abolished the barbarous practice of flogging females ;-he abolished the use of the cart-whip in the field, and allowed no punishment to be inflicted till twenty-four hours after the commission of the offence;-he gave every Saturday to the negroes ;-he gave them an additional yearly holiday, which he called the royal holiday. In fact, nearly eighteen years ago,
Lewis anticipated the intentions of the framers of the recent measure for the amelioration of the condition of the slave. Honour be to his memory, for the humanity of his conduct! and well may his heirs be grateful to that memory, as often as they recollect that the preservation of the properties