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Antigua and St. Christopher.
St John’s Decr 12th 1774.
My brother came on board this morning with some Gentlemen, and carried us ashore. Every thing was as new to me, as if I had been but a day old. We landed on a very fine Wharf belonging to a Scotch Gentleman, who was with us. We proceeded to our lodgings thro’ a narrow lane; as the Gentleman told us no Ladies ever walk in this Country. Just as we got into the lane, a number of pigs run out at a door, and after them a parcel of monkeys. This not a little surprized me, but I found what I took for monkeys were negro children, naked as they were born. We now arrived at our lodgings, and were received by a well behaved gentlewoman, who welcomed us, not as the Mrs of a Hotel, but as the hospital woman of fashion would the guests she was happy to see. Her hall or parlour was directly off the Street. Tho’ not fine, it was neat and cool, and the windows all thrown open. A Negro girl presented us with a glass of what they call Sangarie,1 which is composed of Madeira, water,  sugar and lime juice, a most refreshing drink. She had with her two Ladies, the one a good plain looking girl, who I soon discovered was her Niece; but it was sometime before I could make out the other. The old Lady2 told us, she had been married to a Scotsman, whose memory was so dear to her, that she loved his whole country. She paid us some very genteel compliments, and with great seeming sincerity, expressed the joy it gave her to have us in her house. She was much prepossessed in my brother’s favour, who was now gone out with many of the people in office.I know, said she, every body will love you, and that I will be able to keep you but a very little while, but I beg that you will let this be your head quarters, while on the Island. The good Lady said a great deal, but so much benevolence appeared in every look, that I am induced to believe her sincere. I shall be sorry if she is not, for I am already greatly pleased with her.
It was sometime before I was able to make out who the other Lady was, whom we found with Mrs Dunbar, for so she is called. The loveliness of her person, her youth and the modesty of her manners, together with the respect she paid the Old Lady, made me at first take her for her daughter, but I soon discovered that her husband was a member of the Council, and that she waited his return from the Council-board, to carry her to her house, a few miles up the country. There was something in this young Lady so engaging, that it  is impossible not to wish to know her better. Fanny and she appeared mutually pleased with each other. At last I fortunately discovered her to be the wife of my old friend Dr Dunbar, with whom I had been well acquainted in Scotland, and who had resided many months at my father’s house. We were now much pleased with our Company. Our Landlady gave us an excellent dinner, at which we had one guest more, a Capt Blair,3 a very agreeable genteel young man. My brother did not return, but our young men made up for the long Lent they had kept,4 and Mrs Dunbar is charmed with them. I believe they have got into good quarters.
Our dinner consisted of many dishes, made up of kid, lamb, poultry, pork and a variety of fishes, all of one shape, that is flat, of the flounder or turbot kind, but differing from each other in taste. The meat was well dressed, and tho’ they have no butter but what comes from Ireland or Britain, it was sweet and even fresh by their cookery. There was no turtle, which she regretted, but said I would get so much, that I would be surfeited with it. Our desert was superior to our dinner, the finest fruits in the World being there, which we had in profusion. During dinner, our hostess who presided at the head of her table, (very unlike a British Landlady) gave her hob and nob5 with a good grace. I observed the young Ladies drank nothing but Lime-juice and water. They told me it was all the women drank in general. Our good landlady strongly advised us not to follow so bad an example—that Madeira and water would do no body harm, and that it was owing to their method of living, that  they were such spiritless and indolent creatures. The ladies smiling replied that the men indeed said so, but it was custom and every body did it in spite of the advices they were daily getting. What a tyrant is custom in every part of the world. The poor women, whose spirits must be worn out by heat and constant perspiration, require no doubt some restorative, yet as it is not the custom, they will faint under it rather than trangress this ideal law. I will however follow our good Landlady’s advice, and as I was resolved to shew I was to be a rebel to a custom that did not appear founded on reason, I pledged her in a bumper of the best Madeira I ever tasted. Miss Rutherfurd followed my example; the old Lady was transported with us, and young Mrs Dunbar politely said, that if it was in the power of wine to give her such spirits, and render her half so agreeable, she was sorry she had not taken it long ago; but would lose no more time, and taking up a glass mixed indeed with water, drank to us.
Just as we were preparing for Tea, my brother, Dr Dunbar, Mr Halliday,6 the Collector, and Mr Baird, the comptroller, and a very pretty young man called Martin came to us. Here was a whole company of Scotch people, our language, our manners, our circle of friends and connections, all the same. They had a hundred questions to ask in a breath, and my general acquaintance enabled me to answer them.  We were intimates in a moment. The old Doctor was transported at seeing us, and presently joined his Lady in a most friendly invitation to stay at his house, which we have promised to do, as soon as we get our things ashore. The Collector has made the same request, and we are to be at his country-seat in a day or two. Mr Halliday is from Galloway, is a man above fifty, but extremely genteel in his person and most agreeable in his manners; he has a very great fortune and lives with elegance and taste. His family resides in England and he lives the life of a Batchelor. Mr Baird is a near relation of the Newbeath family, is above sixty, far from handsome, but appears to be a most excellent creature. I should suppose his connection had rather been with Mrs Baird, he has so much of her manner, her very way of speaking. ‘Tis my opinion a mutual passion is begun between him and me, which, as it is not raised on beauty, it is to be hoped will be lasting. Young Martin, our hostess, who is very frank, tells us, is a favourite of the Collector’s; that he stays always with him, and that it is supposed he intends to resign in his favour. She moreover informed us, that Mr Martin was much admired by the Ladies, but was very hardhearted.7
 Tea being finished, the Dr and his Lady left us, and we surprised the Gentlemen, by proposing a walk out of town.
This was at first opposed, but on our persisting, Mr Baird swore we were the finest creatures he had met these twenty years. Zounds, said he, taking my arm under his, I shall fancy myself in Scotland. Our walk turned out charmingly, the evening had now been cooled by the sea breeze, and we were not the least incommoded. We walked thro’ a market place, the principal streets, and passed by a large church, and thro’ a noble burying place. Here we read many Scotch names, among others, that of poor Jock Trumble8 of Curry, who died while here with his regiment. A little above the town is the new Barracks, a long large building, in the middle of a field. I do not think its situation, however, so pretty as that of the old Barracks. A little beyond that we met a plantation belonging to a Lady, who is just now in England; from her character I much regret her absence, for by all accounts, she is the very soul of whim, a much improved copy of Maria Buchanan, Mrs O, whose stile, you know, I doated on; her house, for she is a widow, is superb, laid out with groves, gardens and delightful walks of Tamarind trees, which give the finest shade you can imagine.9
Here I had an opportunity of seeing and admiring the Palmetto tree, with which this Lady’s house is surrounded, and entirely guarded by them from the intense heat. They are in general from forty to sixty feet high before they put out a branch, and as straight as a line. If I may compare great  things with small, the branches resemble a fern leaf, but are at least twelve or fifteen feet long. They go round the boll of the tree and hang down in the form of an Umbrela; the great stem is white, and the skin like Satin. Above the branches rises another stem, of about twelve or fourteen feet in height, coming to a point at the top, from which the cabbage springs, tho’ the pith or heart of the whole is soft and eats well. This stem is the most beautiful green that you can conceive, and is a fine contrast to the white Boll below. The beauty and figure of this tree, however, rather surprised than pleased me. It had a stiffness in its appearance far from being so agreeable as the waving branches of our native trees, and I could not help declaiming that they did not look as if they were of God’s making.
We walked thro’ many cane pieces, as they term the fields of Sugar-canes, and saw different ages of it. This has been a remarkable fine season, and every body is in fine spirits with the prospect of the Crop of Sugar. You have no doubt heard that Antigua has no water,10 but what falls in rain; A dry  season therefore proves destructive to the crops, as the canes require much moisture.
We returned from our walk, not the least fatigued, but the Musquetoes11 had smelt the blood of a British man, and my brother has his legs bit sadly. Our petticoats, I suppose, guarded us, for we have not as yet suffered from these gentry. We supped quite agreeably, but it was quite in public. No body here is ashamed of what they are doing, for all the parlours are directly off the street, and doors and windows constantly open. I own it appears droll to have people come and chat in at the windows, while we are at supper, and not only so, but if they like the party, they just walk in, take a chair, and sit down. I considered this as an inconveniency from being in a hotel, but understand, that every house is on the same easy footing. Every body in town is on a level as to station, and they are all intimately acquainted, which may easily account for this general hospitality. The manner of living too is another reason. They never fail to have a  plentiful table to sit down to. My friend Baird does not love this freedom at all, neither does he admit it at his house. Indeed the custom house people are not considered as on the same footing, and are treated with more respect. I have now given you my first day in the West Indies, part of which is from observation, and part from information. I will go over all the town to morrow, but must now retire and try if I can sleep at land, tho’ I really dread the musquetoes. My brother is gone with the Collector to sleep.
We have had a sound sleep in an excellent bed chamber, in which were two beds covered with thin lawn curtains, which are here called musquetoe Nets, but we found it so cool, that we occupied but one bed. A single very fine Holland sheet was all our covering, but we found laid by the side of the beds, quilts, in case we chused them, which by four in the morning we found to be absolutely necessary. A black girl appeared about seven with a bason of green tea for each of us, which we drank, and got up to dress, attended by our swarthy waiting maid, whom we found extremely well qualified for the office. We now descended into the hall where breakfast was set forth with every necessary, but were not a little surprised to see a goat attending to supply us with milk, which she did in great abundance; and most excellent milk it was. Cream, it is impossible to have, as no contrivance has yet been fallen on to keep it sweet above an hour. There are plenty of cows in the Island, but their milk is used only for the sick, while the goats supply milk for every common purpose, and about every house are two or three who regularly attend the Tea-kettle of their own accord.12
Our things are now brought ashore by Robt, but Mrs Miller absolutely refuses to come to us, which I am not sorry for, as so much ill temper in a servant would make one look silly among strangers, and to dispute the point would render us ridiculous. We have therefore accepted the proffered service  of Memboe, the black girl, before mentioned, for whose honesty, her Mrs has become responsible, so into her hands we have committed our Wardrobe.
Breakfast was hardly over, when several carriages were at the door, begging our acceptance, to carry us about the town, or where else we chused to go. We accepted one belonging to Mr Halliday; when Mr Martin placed himself between us, and acted the character of Gallant with great address. No Lady ever goes without a gentleman to attend her; their carriages are light and airy; this of Mr Halliday’s was drawn by English horses, which is a very needless piece of expence; as they have strong horses from New England, and most beautiful creatures from the Spanish Main. Their Waggons which are large and heavy, are drawn by Mules, many of which passed Mrs Dunbar’s window, with very thin clothed drivers, nothing on their bodies, and little any where, which deserves the name of clothing. The women too, I mean the black women, wear little or no clothing, nothing on their bodies, and they are hardly prevailed on to wear a petticoat.
In my excursion this day, I met with some intelligent people, by which means I am become acquainted with a great many particulars, which my stay would hardly be long enough to have learned by my own observation. I have had a full view of the town, which is very neat and very pretty, tho’ it still bears the marks of two terrible Misfortunes: the dreadful fire, and still more dreadful hurricane.13Many of  the streets are not yet repaired, but like London, I hope it will rise more glorious from its ruins. The publick buildings are of stone, and very handsome, they have all been built at a great expence, since the hurricane, which happened later, and was attended with more general devastation than the fire. The houses built immediately after this calamity bear all the marks of that fear, which possessed the minds of the Inhabitants at the time. They are low and seem to crutch [crouch], as if afraid of a second misfortune. But by degrees they have come to the same standard as formerly. The town consists of sixteen streets, which all ly to the trade wind in full view of the bay.
The Negroes are the only market people. No body else dreams of selling provisions. Thursday is a market day, but Sunday is the grand day, as then they are all at liberty to work for themselves, and people hire workmen at a much easier rate, than on week days from their Masters. The Negroes also keep the poultry, and it is them that raise the fruits and vegetables. But as I am not yet in the country, I cannot give you so good an account, as I shall do when I have seen a Negro town. We dine this day in town, and tomorrow go to Dr Dunbar’s. We are much disappointed to find that Sir Ralph Payn14 and his Lady are not on the  Island, but they are expected to be here by Christmas, as Lady Payn never misses her duty. She has a most amiable character, and is the idol of the whole people. I regret much not having the happiness to see her, as we are particularly recommended to the governor-general and her Ladyship by Lord Mansfield.15
We have just had a visit from two Ladies, Mrs Mackinon and her daughter.16 They are two of the most agreeable people I ever saw. We had letters for them, which they no sooner received, than they came to invite us to their house. Mrs Mackinon is an English Lady and but very lately come out; she was much pleased at meeting with some British people. We are engaged to pass some of our time with them:  We go to church on Sunday, which they tell us is a very fine one, and dine afterwards with Collector Halliday. I must bid you Adieu for the present; my next Letter will be from the Country.
I have heard or read of a painter or poet, I forget which, that when he intended to excell in a Work of Genius, made throw around him every thing most pleasing to the eye, or delightful to the Senses. Should this always hold good, at present you might expect the most delightful epistle you ever read in your life, as whatever can charm the senses or delight the Imagination is now in my view.
My bed-chamber, to render it more airy, has a door which opens into a parterre of flowers, that glow with colours, which only the western sun is able to raise into such richness, while every breeze is fragrant with perfumes that mock the poor imitations to be produced by art. This parterre is surrounded by a hedge of Pomegranate, which is now loaded both with fruit and blossom; for here the spring does not give place to Summer, nor Summer to Autumn; these three Seasons are eternally to be found united, while we give up every claim to winter, and leave it entirely to you.
This place which belongs to my friend Doctor Dunbar, is not above two or three miles from town, and as it is an easy ascent all the way, stands high enough to give a full prospect of the bay, the shipping, the town and many rich plantations, as also the old Barracks, the fort and the Island I before mentioned. Indeed it is almost impossible to conceive so much beauty and riches under the eye in one moment. The fields all the way down to the town, are divided into cane pieces by hedges of different kinds. The favourite seems the  log-wood, which, tho’ extremely beautiful, is not near so fit for the purpose, as what is called the prickly pear, which grows into a fence as prickly and close as our hawthorn; but so violent is the taste for beauty and scent, that this useful plant is never used, but in distant plantations. I am however resolved to enter into no particulars of this kind, till I recover my senses sufficiently to do it coolly; for at present, the beauty, the Novelty, the ten thousand charms that this Scene presents to me, confuse my ideas. It appears a delightful Vision, a fairy Scene or a peep into Elysium; and surely the first poets that painted those retreats of the blessed and good, must have made some West India Island sit for the picture.
Tho’ the Eleanora is still most beautiful, yet it bears evident marks of the hurricane. A very fine house was thrown to the ground, the Palmettoes stand shattered monuments of that fatal calamity; with these the house was surrounded in the same manner, as I described the plantation near town. Every body has some tragical history to give of that night of horror, but none more than the poor Doctor. His house was laid in ruins, his canes burnt up by the lightening, his orange orchyards, Tammerand Walks and Cocoa trees torn from the roots, his sugar works, mills and cattle all destroyed; yet a circumstance was joined, that rendered every thing else a thousand times more dreadful. It happened in a moment a much loved wife was expiring in his arms, and she did breath her last amidst this War of Elements, this wreck of nature; while he in vain carried her from place to place for Shelter. This was the Lady I had known in Scotland. The hills behind the house are high and often craggy, on which sheep and goats feed, a Scene that gives us no small pleasure, and even relieves the eye when fatigued with looking on the dazzling lustre the other prospect presents you.
I have so many places to go to, that I fear I will not have time to write again, while on this Island. My brother proposes  to make a tour round all the Islands, in which we will bear him company.
My brother has gone to make the tour of the Islands without us. Every body was so desirous of our staying here, and we were so happy, that we easily agreed to their obliging request, nor have we reason to repent our compliance, as every hour is rendered agreeable by new marks of civility, kindness and hospitality. Miss Rutherfurd has found several of her boarding school-friends here;18 they have many friends to talk of, many scenes to recollect. This shows me how improper it is in the parents to send them early from themselves and their country. They form their Sentiments in Britain, their early connections commence there, and they leave it just when they are at the age to enjoy it most, and return to their friends and country, as banished exiles; nor can any future connection cure them of the longing they have to return to Britain. Of this I see instances every day, and must attribute to that cause the numbers that leave this little paradise, and throw away vast sums of money in London, where they are, either entirely overlooked or ridiculed for an extravagance, which after all does not even raise them to a level with hundreds around them; while they neglect the cultivation of their plantations, and leave their delightful dwellings to Overseers, who enrich themselves, and live like princes at the expence of their thoughtless masters, feasting every day on delicacies, which the utmost extent of expence is unable to procure in Britain. Antigua has more proprietors on it however than any of the other Islands, which gives it a great Superiority. St Christopher’s, they tell me, is almost abandoned to Overseers and managers, owing to the amazing fortunes that belong to Individuals, who almost all reside  in England. Mr Mackinnon had never been out here, had not his overseer forgot he had any superior, and having occasion for the whole income, had sent his Master no remittances for above two years. He found things however in very good order, as this gentleman for his own sake, had taken care of that. But as his constitution is now entirely British, he feels the effects of the Climate, and is forced to think of wintering at New York for his health. We have seen every body of fashion in the Island, and our toilet is loaded with cards of Invitation, which I hope we will have time to accept, and I will then be able to say more as to the manners of a people with whom I am hitherto delighted. Forgive me, dearest of friends, for being happy when so far from you, but the hopes of meeting, to be happy hereafter supports my spirits.
I was yesterday at church,19 and found they had not said more of it than it deserved; for tho’ the outside is a plain building, its inside is magnificent. It has a very fine organ, a spacious altar, and every thing necessary to a church which performs the English Service. You know I am no bigoted Presbyterian, and as the tenets are the same, I was resolved to conform to the ceremonies, but am sorry to find in myself the force of habit too strong, I fear, to be removed. The church was very full, the Audience most devout. I looked at them with pleasure, but found I was a mere Spectator, and that what I now felt had no more to do with me, than when  I admired Digges20 worshipping in the Temple of the Sun. This is a discovery I am sorry to make, but if one considers that the last Clergyman I heard in Scotland was Mr Webster,21 and that the last service I heard him perform was that of a prayer for myself and friends, who were bidding adieu to their native land, in which were exerted all those powers, which he possesses in so eminent a degree, his own heart affected by the subject, and mine deeply, deeply interested. It was no wonder that those now read from a book by a Clerk, who only did it, because he was paid for doing it, appeared cold and unapropos. The musick tho’ fine added as little to my devotion as the sniveling of a sincere-hearted country precentor, perhaps less; but the beauty, the neatness and elegance of the Church pleased me much, and in this I own, we are very defective in Scotland. The seat for the Governor General is noble and magnificent, covered with Crimson velvet; the drapery round it edged with deep gold fringe; the Crown Cyphers and emblems of his office embossed and very rich. Below this is the seat for the Counsellors equally fine and ornamented, but what pleased me more than all I saw, was a great number of Negroes who occupied the Area, and went thro’ the Service with seriousness and devotion. I must not forget one thing that really diverted me; the parson who has a fine income is as complete a Coxcomb as I ever met with in a pulpit. He no sooner cast his eyes to where we were than he seemed to forget the rest of the Audience, and on running over his sermon, which he held in his hand, he appeared dissatisfied, and without more ado dismounted from the pulpit, leaving the Service unfinished,  and went home for another; which to do it justice was a very good one.
We found Mr Martin at the Church door with our carriages, into which we mounted, and were soon at Mr Halliday’s Plantation, where he this day dined; for he has no less than five, all of which have houses on them. This house is extremely pleasant, and so cool that one might forget they were under the Tropick. We had a family dinner, which in England might figure away in a newspaper, had it been given by a Lord Mayor, or the first Duke in the kingdom. Why should we blame these people for their luxury? since nature holds out her lap, filled with every thing that is in her power to bestow, it were sinful in them not to be luxurious. I have now seen Turtle almost every day, and tho’ I never could eat it at home, am vastly fond of it here, where it is indeed a very different thing. You get nothing but old ones there, the chickens being unable to stand the voyage; even these are starved, or at best fed on coarse and improper food. Here they are young, tender, fresh from the water, where they feed as delicately, and are as great Epicures, as those who feed on them. They laugh at us for the racket we make to have it divided into different dishes. They never make but two, the soup and the shell. The first is commonly made of old Turtle, which is cut up and sold at Market, as we do butcher meat. It was remarkably well dressed to day. The shell indeed is a noble dish, as it contains all the fine parts of the Turtle baked within its own body; here is the green fat, not the slabbery thing my stomach used to stand at, but firm and more delicate than it is possible to describe. Could an Alderman of true taste conceive the difference between it here and in the city, he would make the Voyage on purpose, and I fancy he would make a voyage into the other world before he left the table.
The method of placing the meat is in three rows the length of the table; six dishes in a row, I observe, is the common  number. On the head of the centre row, stands the turtle soup, and at the bottom of the same line the shell. The rest of the middle row is generally made of fishes of various kinds, all exquisite. The King fish is that most prized; it resembles our Salmon, only the flesh is white. The Crouper is a fish they much esteem, its look is that of a pike, but in taste far superior. The Mullets are vastly good. These three I think are what they principally admire, but there are others that also make up the table. The Snapper eats like a kind of Turbot, not less delicate than what you have. They named thirteen different fishes all good, many of which I have eat and found so. They are generally dressed with rich sauces; the red pepper is much used, and a little pod laid by every plate, as also a lime which is very necessary to the digesting the rich meats. The lime, I think, is an addition to every dish.
The two side rows are made up of vast varieties: Guinea fowl, Turkey, Pigeons, Mutton, fricassees of different kinds intermixed with the finest Vegetables in the world, as also pickles of every thing the Island produces. By the by, the creole mutton is as fine as any I ever eat. It is small, the grain remarkably fine, sweet and juicy, and what you will think wonderful is, that it is thus good, tho’ it is eat an hour after it is killed. The beef I do not think equal to the Mutton; it comes generally from New England, and I fancy is hurt by the Voyage. They have just now a scheme of raising it on the high plantations, several of which have begun to wear out, from the constant crops of sugar that have been taken from them. The second course contains as many dishes as the first, but are made up of pastry, puddings, jellys, preserved fruits, etc. I observe they bring the Palmetto cabbage to both courses, in different forms. Of this they are vastly fond, and give it as one of their greatest delicacies. Indeed I think it one of the most expensive, since to procure it, they must ruin the tree that bears it, and by that means deprive themselves  of at least some part of that shade, for which they have so much occasion.
I will finish the table in this letter, for tho’ I like to see it, yet I hope to find twenty things more agreeable for the Subject of my future letters; yet this will amuse some of our eating friends. The pastry is remarkably fine, their tarts are of various fruits, but the best I ever tasted is a sorrel, which when baked becomes the most beautiful Scarlet, and the sirup round it quite transparent. The cheese-cakes are made from the nut of the Cocoa. The puddings are so various, that it is impossible to name them: they are all rich, but what a little surprised me was to be told, that the ground of them all is composed of Oat meal, of which they gave me the receipt. They have many dishes that with us are made of milk, but as they have not that article in plenty, they must have something with which they supply its place, for they have sillabubs, floating Islands, etc. as frequently as with you. They wash and change napkins between the Courses. The desert now comes under our observation, which is indeed something beyond you. At Mr Halliday’s we had thirty two different fruits, which tho’ we had many other things, certainly was the grand part, yet in the midst of this variety the Pine apple and Orange still keep their ground and are preferred. The pine is large, its colour deep, and its flavour incomparably fine, yet after all I do not think it is superior to what we raise in our hot houses, which tho’ smaller are not much behind in taste even with the best I have seen here, tho’ in size and beauty there is no comparison. As to the Orange it is quite another fruit than ever I tasted before, the perfume is exquisite, the taste delicious, it has a juice which would produce Sugar. The Shaddock is a beautiful fruit, it is generally about four or five pounds weight, its Rind resembles an Orange, yet I hardly take it to be of the same tribe, as neither the Pulp nor seed lies in the same manner. There are two kinds, the white and the purple pulp, the  last is best. There is another fruit as large as a Shaddock, but which is really an Orange; this is called the forbidden fruit, and looks very beautiful, tho’ I do not think it tastes so high as the Orange. The next to these is the Allegator pear, a most delicious fruit; then come in twenty others of less note, tho’ all good and most refreshing in this climate. The Granadila is in size about the bigness of an egg, its colour is bright yellow, but in seeds, juice and taste, it exactly resembles our large red gooseberry; it is eat with a tea spoon; they say it is the coolest and best thing they can give in fevers.22 The grapes are very good, the melons of various kinds as with you, but it were endless to name them; every thing bears fruit or flowers or both.
They have a most agreeable forenoon drink, they call Beveridge, which is made from the water of the Cocoa nut, fresh lime juice and sirup from the boiler, which tho’ sweet has still the flavour of the cane. This the men mix with a small proportion of rum; the Ladies never do. This is presented in a crystal cup, with a cover which some have of Silver. Along with this is brought baskets of fruit, and you may eat as much as you please of it, because (according to their maxim) fruit can never hurt. I am sure it never hurts me. When I first came here, I could not bear to see so much of a pine apple thrown away. They cut off a deep pairing, then [cut] out the firm part of the heart, which takes away not much less than the half of the apple. But only observe how easy it is to become extravagant. I can now feel if the least bit of rind remains; and as to the heart, heavens! who could eat the nasty heart of a pine apple. I shall only mention the Guava, which is a fruit I am not fond of as such, but makes the finest Jelly I ever saw. This with Marmalade  of pine apple is part of Breakfast, which here as well as in Scotland is really a meal.
They have various breads, ham, eggs, and indeed what you please, but the best breakfast bread is the Casada cakes,23 which they send up buttered. These are made from a root which is said to be poison. Before it goes thro’ the various operations of drying, pounding and baking, you would think one would not be very clear as to a food that had so lately been of so pernicious a nature, yet such are the effects of Example, that I eat it, not only without fear, but with pleasure. They drink only green Tea and that remarkably fine; their Coffee and chocolate too are uncommonly good; their sugar is monstrously dear, never under three shillings per pound. At this you will not wonder when you are told, they use none but what returns from England double refined, and has gone thro’ all the duties. I believe this they are forced to by act of parliament, but am not certain.24 This however is a piece of great extravagance, because the sugar here can be refined into the most transparent sirup and tastes fully as well as the double refined Sugar, and is certainly  much more wholesome. Many of the Ladies use it for the Coffee and all for the punch. The drink which I have seen every where is Punch, Madeira, Port and Claret; in some places, particularly at Mr Halliday’s, they have also Burgundy. Bristol beer and porter you constantly find, but they have not yet been able to have Champaign, as the heat makes it fly too much. They have cyder from America very good. I forgot to tell you that along with the desert come perfumed waters in little bottles, also a number of flowers stuck into gourds. One would think that this letter was wrote by a perfect Epicure, yet that you know is not the case, but this is the last time I shall mention the table, except in general, unless I find some very  remarkable difference between this and the other Islands I may be in.
I have been on a tour almost from one end of the Island to the other, and am more and more pleased with its beauties, as every excursion affords new objects worthy of notice. We have been on several visits, particularly to Coll. Martin, but I will say nothing of him till I bring you to his house. He is an acquaintance well worth your making, and I will introduce him to you then in form. As we were to make a journey, we set early off, and for some hours before the heat, had a charming ride thro’ many rich and noble plantations, several of which belonged to Scotch proprietors, particularly that of the Dillidaffs (Lady Oglivy and Mrs Leslie)25 We soon arrived at that of Mr Freeman.26 This Gentleman who is remarkable for his learning, is no stranger to the polite Arts, and tho’ not a martyr, is a votary to the Graces, as appears by every thing round him. His plantation, which is laid out with the greatest taste, has a mixture of the Indian and European. If your eye is hurt by the stiff uniformity of the tall Palmetto, it is instantly relieved by the waving branches of the spreading Tammerand, or the Sand-box tree. The flowering Cedar is a beautiful tree, covered with flowers, and along Mr Freeman’s avenue these were alternately intermixed with Orange trees, limes, Cocoa Nuts, Palmettoes, Myrtles and citrons, with many more which afforded a most delightful shade, which continued till we arrived at the bottom of a green hill, on which the house stands.
This hill was also shaded with trees, beneath which grow flowers of every hue, that the western sun is able to paint.  Amongst these I saw many that with much pains are raised in our hot houses; but how inferior to what they are here, in their native soil, without any trouble, but that of preventing their overgrowing each other. For as they are the weeds of this country, like other weeds they wax fast. The Carnation tree, or as they call it the doble day is a most glorious plant; it does not grow above ten feet high, so can only be numbered amongst Shrubs, but is indeed a superior one even here. The leaf is dark green, the flowers bear an exact resemblance to our largest Dutch Carnation, which hang in large bunches from the branches. The colours are sometimes dark rich Crimson spotted or specked with white, sometimes purple in the same manner. Ruby colour is the lightest I observed. They are often one colour, and when that is the case, they are hardly to be looked at while the sun shines on them. These you meet every where. Another is the passion flower, which grows in every hedge and twines round every tree; it here bears a very fine fruit, and as I formerly observed, the three seasons of Spring, Summer and Autumn go hand in hand. The fruit and flower ornament the bush jointly. There is another beautiful shrub, which they call the four o’clock, because it opens at four every afternoon; this is absolutely a convulvalous, and they have both the major and minor. The blue is the finest Velvet and the Crimson the brightest satin; but allowing for the superiority of colour produced by the warmth of a Tropick sun, I saw no other difference, and on this discovery I found out that many more of the plants were of the same tribes at least with what we have, but so greatly improved, that they were hardly to be known. How different is that from the plants of this country, when they come to our Northern Climate.
My seeing all these in high perfection at Mr Freeman’s plantation led me to describe them here, tho’ every place is full of them; and they are a great hurt to the Canes, tho’ when taken in as he has them, they are most beautiful. His  house, which stands on the Summit of this little hill, is extremely handsome, built of stone. I forgot to tell you that every house has a handsome piazza; that to his is large and spacious. You reach the house by a Serpentine walk, on each side grows a hedge of Cape Jasmine. The verdure which appeared here is surprising, and shews that it only requires a little care to exclude that heat which ruins every thing. The sun was now high, yet it was so cool, that we were able to walk a great way under these trees. I am sorry to add, that I fear the esteemable master is not long to enjoy this earthly paradise. He has been close confined for many months with an illness in his head; one of his eyes is already lost, and it is dreaded, that tho’ he were to recover his health, he would be deprived of the pleasure of viewing these beauties I have so much admired. My Brother was often with him and vastly fond of him.
We were next at the plantation of a Mr Malcolm,27 a near relation of Mr Rutherfurd’s. This Gentleman was bred a physician, but has left off practice, and enjoys a comfortable estate in peace and quiet, without wife or children. But it is inconceivable how fond he was of these relations, whom he caressed as his children, loading them with every thing he had that was good. I shall say nothing of many other places, as I long to bring you acquainted with the most delightful character I have ever yet met with, that of Coll. Martin,28 the loved and revered father of Antigua, to whom it owes a thousand advantages, and whose age is yet daily employed  to render it more improved and happy. This is one of the oldest families on the Island, has for many generations enjoyed great power and riches, of which they have made the best use, living on their Estates, which are cultivated to the height by a large troop of healthy Negroes, who cheerfully perform the labour imposed on them by a kind and beneficent Master, not a harsh and unreasonable Tyrant. Well fed, well supported, they appear the subjects of a good prince, not the slaves of a planter. The effect of this kindness is a daily increase of riches by the slaves born to him on his own plantation. He told me he had not bought in a slave for upwards of twenty years, and that he had the morning of our arrival got the return of the state of his plantations, on which there then were no less than fifty two wenches who were pregnant. These slaves, born on the spot and used to the Climate, are by far the most valuable, and seldom take these disorders, by which such numbers are lost that many hundreds are forced yearly to be brought into the Island.29
On our arrival we found the venerable man seated in his piazza to receive us; he held out his hands to us, having lost the power of his legs, and embracing us with the embraces of a fond father, You are welcome, said he, to little Antigua, and most heartily welcome to me. My habitation has not looked so gay this long time. Then turning to Mr Halliday who had brought us his invitation, How shall I thank you, my good friend, said he, for procuring me this happiness, in persuading these ladies to come to an old man. Old, did I say? I retract the word: Eighty five that can be sensible of beauty, is as young as twenty five that can be no more. There was gallantry for you. We now had fruit, sangarie and beverage brought us, not by slaves; it is a maxim of his that no slave can render that acceptable Service he wishes
He told us that in compliance with the wishes of his children, he had resided in England for several years, but tho’ they kept me in a greenhouse, said he, and took every method to defend me from the cold, I was so absolute an exotick, that all could not do, and I found myself daily giving way, amidst all their tenderness and care; and had I stayed much longer, continued he, smiling, I had actually by this time become an old man. I have had, Madam, said he turning to me, twenty three children, and tho’ but a small number remain, they are such as may raise the pride of any father. One of my sons you will know if you go to Carolina, he is governor there; another, my eldest, you know by character at least.30 This I did and much admired that character. He wishes to have his dear little Antigua independent; he regrets the many Articles she is forced to trust to foreign aid, and the patriot is even now setting an example, and by turning many of the plantations into grass, he allows them to rest and recover the strength they have lost, by too many crops of sugar, and by this means is able to rear  cattle which he has done with great success.31 I never saw finer cows, nor more thriving calves, than I saw feeding in his lawns, and his waggons are already drawn by oxen of his own rearing.
We were happy and delighted with every thing while there, but as we prepared to leave him, found we had a task we were not aware of; for during the time we stayed, he had formed a design not to part with us. This he had communicated to Mr Halliday and young Martin, who were much pleased with it, as they were so good as to wish to retain us, if possible, on the Island. I shall never forget with what engaging sweetness the dear old man made the proposal, why did he not make another, that would have rendered him master of our fate, of which we ourselves had not the disposal. You must not leave me, said he, taking both our hands in his, every thing in my house shall be subservient to your happiness; my age leaves no fear of reputation. You, said he to me, shall be my friend, my companion, you shall grace my table and be its mistress; and you, continued he turning to Miss Rutherfurd, You, my lovely Fanny, shall be my child, my little darling. I once, said he, with a sigh, had an Angel Fanny of my own, she is no more, supply her place. Mrs Dunbar joined and begged as if her life had depended on our compliance. Stay, said the Coll:, at least till Mr S. be settled,32 he will then come for you. It was in vain, go we must, and go we did, tho’ my heart felt a pang like that which it sustained when I lost the best of fathers.33
 Last Saturday was Christmass which we had engaged to pass with Mr Halliday, but our good old hostess Mrs Dunbar had begged so hard that we would pay her a visit, that we took the opportunity of every body being at their devotions to go to her, as her house did not admit of retirement. The old Lady was charmed to see us and we had reason to thank her for Memboe, who had been most exact in her duty. Mr Mackinnon had taken Jack up to his plantation, and was grown so fond of him, that he did not know how to part with him. Billie lives much at his ease between the ship and Mrs Dunbar’s. We found Mary had been often ashore, but gave herself no trouble about us. Indeed we had no occasion for her attendance, as Memboe, the black wench, performed her duty in every respect to our satisfaction. Every body who did not attend the service at Church were gone out of town. My brother was not yet returned from his Tour, so we had that night entirely to ourselves. Next morning atoned for this, as every body was with us, and we were carried by Mr Halliday and Mr Martin up to a fine plantation, which belongs to the former. We went out of town pretty early, as Mrs Dunbar with several other Ladies were to meet us.
We met the Negroes in joyful troops on the way to town with their Merchandize. It was one of the most beautiful sights I ever saw. They were universally clad in white Muslin:  the men in loose drawers and waistcoats, the women in jackets and petticoats; the men wore black caps, the women had handkerchiefs of gauze or silk, which they wore in the fashion of turbans.34 Both men and women carried neat white wicker-baskets on their heads, which they ballanced as our Milk maids do their pails. These contained the various articles for Market, in one a little kid raised its head from amongst flowers of every hue, which were thrown over to guard it from the heat; here a lamb, there a Turkey or a pig, all covered up in the same elegant manner, While others had their baskets filled with fruit, pine-apples reared over each other; Grapes dangling over the loaded basket; oranges, Shaddacks, water lemons, pomegranates, granadillas, with twenty others, whose names I forget. They marched in a sort of regular order, and gave the agreeable idea of a set of devotees going to sacrifice to their Indian Gods, while the sacrifice offered just now to the Christian God is, at this Season of all others the most proper, and I may say boldly, the most agreeable, for it is a mercy to the creatures of the God of mercy. At this Season the crack of the inhuman whip must not be heard, and for some days, it is an universal Jubilee; nothing but joy and pleasantry to be seen or heard, while every Negro infant can tell you, that he owes this happiness to the good Buccara God,35 that he be no hard  Master, but loves a good black man as well as a Buccara man, and that Master will die bad death, if he hurt poor Negro in his good day. It is necessary however to keep a look out during this season of unbounded freedom; and every man on the Island is in arms and patrols go all round the different plantations as well as keep guard in the town. They are an excellent disciplined Militia and make a very military appearance.36 My dear old Coll. was their commander upwards of forty years, and resigned his command only two years ago, yet says with his usual spirits, if his country need his service, he is ready again to resume his arms.
Every body here is fond of dancing, and [they] have frequent balls. We have been at several, very elegant and heartsome, particularly one at a Doctor Muir’s,37 whose daughters were Fanny’s boarding school acquaintance, fine girls, with a most excellent mother, who tho’ even beyond Embonpoint began the ball and danced the whole evening, with her family and friends, as did several other Ladies, whose appearance did not promise much strength or agility. Sir Ralph and Lady Payn are now come back, but Lady Payn so ill that she has never been out of bed since her arrival. Every body is melancholy on account of her illness, for by all accounts this amiable creature must soon fall a sacrifice to this climate, if she is not soon removed from it.38
 My brother has been returned these two days, and is so charmed with the other Islands,39 that he would persuade us, all I have seen is nothing to them. It will not be easy however to make me believe it possible to excel Antigua. I will not deny I am partial to this delightful spot, and go where I will, my heart will retain a grateful sense of the hospitable reception we have met with, and the numberless civilities we have received from every Individual. He talks much of the advantage they have as to water, a circumstance, in which no doubt this Island is defective, yet their industry has rendered it of less inconveniency, than you who enjoy the roaring streams of Athole could believe. They have not only plenty for domestick use by their attention, and even streams through the cane-pieces, but in our route up the Island, we often met rivers that came up to the horses’ belly, and had I not been in the secret, would never have dreamt that they were the work of Art. The cisterns40 in which the water for family-use is kept are extremely well calculated to preserve it cool and fresh a great while, and what they use for drinking  and table passes thro’ a filtering stone into a lead or Marble reservoir, by which means it becomes more lucid and pure than any water I ever saw. This is placed in some shaded corner, and is generally so cold, that it makes one’s teeth chatter. It is presented to you in a Cocoa nut shell ornamented with Silver, at the end of a hickory handle at least a yard long. This is lest the breath of the Servant who presents it should contaminate its purity.
At the end of the town of St John’s, there is a noble bathing house close on the Sea, where the water is strained thro’ many calenders or Sieves to prevent the smallest particle of Sand from entering the baths, the bottoms of which are polished Marble, and every thing done that can render it most deliciously cool. It consists of many large apartments, where you can bathe in what manner you please. These have each a dressing room with every conveniency, and seem the contrivance of luxury itself. It is shaded from the land side with palmetto and cocoa nut trees, under whose umbrage grow a number of European plants, but tho’ you would think, this must be one of the most agreeable things in the world, and is indeed of the utmost consequence to health, yet it is very little frequented, and will soon, they say, be given up entirely.
As I am now about to leave them, you, no doubt, will expect me, to give my opinion as fully on the Inhabitants, as I have done on their Island and manners, but I am afraid you will suspect me of partiality, and were I to speak of Individuals, perhaps you might have reason, but as to the characters in general I can promise to write without prejudice, and if I only tell truth, they have nothing to fear from my pen. I think the men the most agreeable creatures I ever met with, frank, open, generous, and I dare say brave; even in advanced life they retain the Vivacity and Spirit of Youth; they are in general handsome, and all of them have that sort of air, that will ever attend a man of fashion. Their address  is at once soft and manly; they have a kind of gallantry in their manner, which exceeds mere politeness, and in some countries, we know, would be easily mistaken for something more interesting than civility, yet you must not suppose this the politeness of French manners, merely words of course. No, what they say, they really mean; their whole intention is to make you happy, and this they endeavour to do without any other view or motive than what they are prompted to by the natural goodness of their own natures. In short, my friend, the woman that brings a heart here will have little sensibility if she carry it away.
I hear you ask me, if there is no alloy to this fine character, no reverse to this beautiful picture. Alas! my friend, tho’ children of the Sun, they are mortals, and as such must have their share of failings, the most conspicuous of which is, the indulgence they give themselves in their licentious and even unnatural amours, which appears too plainly from the crouds of Mullatoes, which you meet in the streets, houses and indeed every where; a crime that seems to have gained sanction from custom, tho’ attended with the greatest inconveniences not only to Individuals, but to the publick in general.41 The young black wenches lay themselves out for white lovers, in which they are but too successful. This prevents their marrying with their natural mates, and hence a spurious and degenerate breed, neither so fit for the field, nor indeed any work, as the true bred Negro. Besides these wenches become licentious and insolent past all bearing, and as even a mulattoe child interrupts their pleasures and is troublesome, they have certain herbs and medicines, that  free them from such an incumbrance, but which seldom fails to cut short their own lives, as well as that of their offspring. By this many of them perish every year. I would have gladly drawn a veil over this part of a character, which in every thing else is most estimable.
As to the women, they are in general the most amiable creatures in the world, and either I have been remarkably fortunate in my acquaintance, or they are more than commonly sensible, even those who have never been off the Island are amazingly intelligent and able to converse with you on any subject. They make excellent wives, fond attentive mothers and the best house wives I have ever met with. Those of the first fortune and fashion keep their own keys and look after every thing within doors; the domestick Economy is entirely left to them; as the husband finds enough to do abroad. A fine house, an elegant table, handsome carriage, and a croud of mullatoe servants are what they all seem very fond of. The sun appears to affect the sexes very differently. While the men are gay, luxurious and amorous, the women are modest, genteel, reserved and temperate. This last virtue they have indeed in the extreme; they drink nothing stronger in general than Sherbet, and never eat above one or two things at table, and these the lightest and plainest. The truth is, I can observe no indulgence they allow themselves in, not so much as in scandal, and if I stay long in this country, I will lose the very idea of that innocent amusement; for since I resided amongst them, I have never heard one woman say a wrong thing of another. This is so unnatural, that I suppose you will (good naturedly) call it cunning; but if it is so, it is the most commendable cunning I ever met with, as nothing can give them a better appearance in the eyes of a stranger.
As we became better acquainted, their reserve wore off, and I now find them most agreeable companions. Jealousy is a passion with which they are entirely unacquainted, and  a jealous wife would be here a most ridiculous character indeed. Let me conclude this by assuring you, that I never admired my own sex more than in these amiable creoles.42 Their Sentiments are just and virtuous; in religion they are serious without ostentation, and perform every duty with pleasure from no other motive but the consciousness of doing right. In their persons they are very genteel, rather too thin till past thirty, after that they grow plump and look much the better for it. Their features are in general high and very regular, they have charming eyes, fine teeth, and the greatest quantity of hair I ever saw, which they dress with taste, and wear a great deal of powder. In short, they want only colour to be termed beautiful, but the sun who bestows such rich taints on every other flower, gives none to his lovely daughters; the tincture of whose skin is as pure as the lily, and as pale. Yet this I am convinced is owing to the way in which they live, entirely excluded from proper air and exercise. From childhood they never suffer the sun to have a peep at them, and to prevent him are covered with masks and bonnets,43 that absolutely make them look as if they were stewed. Fanny who just now is blooming as a new blown rose, was prevailed on to wear a mask, while we were on our Tour,  which in a week changed her colour, and if she had persevered I am sure a few months would have made her as pale as any of them. As to your humble Servant, I have always set my face to the weather; wherever I have been. I hope you have no quarrel at brown beauty.
The people of Fashion dress as light as possible; worked and plain muslins, painted gauzes or light Lutstrings and Tiffities44 are the universal wear. They have the fashions every six weeks from London, and London itself cannot boast of more elegant shops than you meet with at St John’s, particularly Mrs Tudhope, a Scotch Lady, sister-in-law to Mr Ross, the writer at Edinburgh, at whose shop I saw as neat done up things as ever I met with in my life. She is a widow of a most amiable character and generally esteemed.
My brother is with the Govr general, but Lady Payn is still confined to bed, so we will not be so happy as to see her, but she has sent us a most polite Message. The time fixed for our departure draws near, and believe me, I feel a most sincere regret at leaving a country and people, where I have been treated with more than hospitality, and for whom I have conceived a real affection. We have promised to return next year, but God knows if ever that may be in my power. No body expresses more regret to part with us than my good friend Mr Baird, who has been constantly with us on all our excursions, and for whom we have a sincere esteem. He has given me a little merry dog, which for its master’s sake will be well cared for.
We are now come to town, and to morrow are to leave this charming spot, whose engaging inhabitants are so sorry to part with us, and express their regret in such terms, as is like  to break my heart. Mr Mackinnon and good Dr Dunbar have begged us to leave the boys with them, till the ship is cleared to follow us to St Kitt’s. Our Emigrants are all disposed of to their hearts contentment, except two families, who, steady to their first idea, persist on going forward to America; one of these is Lawson. I hope we will prevail on our friends to provide for them there. As to those who have stopped here, they are already so entirely changed as not to be known. Our little Tailor, whose whole fortune was his thimble and smoothing iron, is now as pretty, a pert little fellow as one would wish to see; has got four and six pence a day, a good table and as much rum as he can drink. This last article never fails to make room for new adventures. Mr Halliday has taken our Smith,45 whose Lady now looks with disdain on her green damask and is providing a garden silk and satin Capuchin.46 Those who live will not fail to make fortunes, but the change of living more than Climate kills four out of five the first year. Many of our friends are to be with us this evening, and our little bark is loaded with provisions for many weeks, tho’ our Voyage will be over in a few hours, and that on a Sea smooth as a looking glass; but the attention of the hospitable Antiguans knows no bounds. Farewell till I write from St Kitts. The pain I feel at leaving my new friends would be intolerable, were it not alleviated by the hope of meeting others, from whom I have long been parted, the first of whom is Lady Isabella Hamilton, to whom I know my arrival will give sincere pleasure. I wrote her on my landing here; I am sure she has counted every moment since. I shall also meet Miss Milliken, a most amiable girl for whom I had the most sincere affection. And now once more farewell, and ah me! farewell, Antigua.
 Basterre St Kitts.47
About three yesterday morning, we got aboard our little vessel, but as we had not a breath of wind, had reason to expect a tedious passage. However we were much pleased with our Transport, which tho’ no larger than a Kinghorn boat,48 was neat clean and commodious. Our little Cabin was furnished with two neat Settees, a cupboard with Tea-equipage, glasses and punch cups, and indeed with whatever could render it agreeable and convenient. As none of us had got to bed before we left Antigua, we were much fatigued, and willing to forget that we were quitting that charming Island, with its hospitable inhabitants. Fanny and I lay down on the Settees and slept, till we were waked to breakfast, where we found excellent Tea, coffee and chocolate, which were most comfortable in our present Situation. Breakfast over, my brother carried us on deck screened with our Umbrelas, which black Robt held over us, while he, in company with  our Capt went a fishing to procure us something from that Element to furnish out our table, while Fanny and myself hung over the side of the Vessel, hardly able to support our languid existence, and you may judge what we must have been suffering under this Tropical heat, where there was not a breeze to ruffle the face of the Sea, in which we could distinctly view our own shadows.
A kingfish was soon caught which was cut into jumps and laid in the Sun, watered with Sea water, which presently became salt on it from the excessive heat, and after having gone thro’ the necessary operation of the grid-iron was served to dinner. There is nothing that diverts lassitude equal to eating or even looking at meat, and I have often observed that those people who can neither work nor think are perpetually longing for the next meal, and constantly abusing fashion that has now placed them at such a distance from each other; but as we had no forms to observe, we gave way to our desire of taking the only exercise in our power, that of moving our jaws, as every thing else was listless and inactive. Accordingly we had an early dinner, where our table was once more set forth by the benevolence of our Antiguan friends, which, joined to the produce of our own industry in providing fish, made a most excellent dinner, tho’ to say truth, the fruit was the only thing eat with satisfaction, for the heat was become past all bearing. After drinking tea and coffee, Miss Rutherfurd and I threw ourselves again on the Settees, while black Robt with a large fan sat fanning us alternately, till we fell both fast asleep.
How long we slept I know not, but when I waked it was quite dark, and I found myself very dreary, as not an object was to be discerned, nor a sound heard. At least I heard something breathing on the floor of the Cabin, and I ventured to put down my hand to feel what it was, but how much was I shocked to find it no other than my poor brother fast asleep on the bare boards, sweating fill every stitch of  his cloths were wet thro’ with it. Dangerous as his situation was, I could not find in my heart to wake him. Miss Rutherfurd too was as sound as he, tho’ fortunately on a better bed; so thinking the only service in my power was to relieve the cabin of the heat of one breath, I crept up as softly as I was able thro’ the little hatch, and reached the deck. All was silent as death, not a sound to be heard, except that of four Oars which moved softly on the surface, and scarcely produced a dashing on that vast Sea; it was entirely dark; however I reached about to find a wicker-chair, which I remembered was fixed to the mast. It required some precaution to get safely to it, in which however I succeeded, and tho’ not without difficulty seated myself in it. The absence of the sun had diminished the intense heat, and tho’ the air still retained a great degree of warmness, it was very sufferable. As I had no external object to entertain me, my eyes naturally turned within, and I soon found amusement from joys that were past, pleasingly mournful to my soul. What would become of me, if I was unacquainted with your three favourite authors David, Job and Ossian? How often do they afford me words when I should find none so apt from myself. If you call this pleasure I will not deny it, but wish rather they could afford me language to serve my present purpose and enable me to describe to you a western sun rising in all his glory, surrounded with splendours that the human eye is hardly able to sustain. No Aurora precedes him, no rosy finger’d Nymphs unbar the doors of the morning and announce his approach, but he bursts from his cloud at once and flashes on you with such a blaze of glory, as recals to the mind Milton’s description of the creating power going forth to command worlds into being; and such indeed was the present effect of his appearance, as I instantly found myself not only surrounded by common objects, but by new worlds which seemed at his sight to lift their heads from this unbounded Ocean.
 You will easily guess we were now among the Leeward Islands, several of which were in sight at once, and made a most delightful and pleasing appearance. We distinctly saw both Nevise and Montsarat; very fine Islands, but far inferior to St Kitt’s, which now appeared crowned with wood-covered Mountains. Noble however as this morning scene might be made in description, it affords not the soft satisfaction that the mind feels from the rising sun on a summer morning in your cool Hemisphere, and tho’, to my shame be it spoken, that was one of the Arcanas of Nature, into which my curiosity seldom pryed, yet I now recollected with a pleasing regret the soft dawn, the dew-bespangled lawn, with all that delightful coolness, which I am not to expect under a Tropical Sun.
We soon came to an anchor in the road of Basterre, in which were riding many fine Vessels. From our situation we had an extensive prospect of that side of the Island, which lay next us, which tho’ very beautiful is different from the first view we had of Antigua, which rises on you by degrees. As you go up the bay, the plantations on the rising grounds are noble, and the cane pieces wear a superior green to those at Antigua. I was particularly showed the habitation of my friend Lady Bell Hamilton.49 It appears magnificent at a distance, and I am assured is not less so when you get to it.
We landed by a boat50 from one of the ships nearest the town, but had a third Voyage to make, which was on the back of Negroes, and tho’ there was not a breath of wind, we were much wet and incommoded by the Surge. We soon however reached an excellent Inn, and were welcomed to the Island by a jolly English Landlady, who got us a dish of excellent Tea; my friend the goat attending, and as far as I can see, every thing just the same as at Antigua.
Here we found a gentleman, who by Lady Bell’s desire had been several days in waiting: as I had wrote her from Antigua, and made her expect us much sooner than we arrived. He presented me a letter from her Ladyship, which he politely said was his credentials, and entitled him to the honour of attending us to the Olovaze,51 where our friends impatiently waited us. Lady Bell’s letter was in the style I had reason to expect from so dear a friend. She told me Mr Hamilton had been ill, which prevented her coming down to meet us, but intreated I would let Mr Moor, a near relation and particular friend of Mr Hamilton’s, conduct me immediately to her with my other friends. With this request I would have instantly complied, did not some particular business  oblige my Brother to stay in town some hours, part of which time I have strolled about the town with Mr Moor and some other Gentlemen, and am much pleased with it on a nearer inspection. The best houses lie up the town and have an extensive prospect and airy situation; tho’ all of wood, they are very neat, and some of them ornamented with carvings on the outside. They in general lie more off the street than those at St John’s, and have very pretty parterres52 before them and are shaded with cocoa or palmetto trees. I was showed that intended for my brother, which is very handsome, and has not only a parterre in front, but a large orange grove behind it. We were presented with play bills, but I wish I may be able to bear the heat even in the open air. They are strollers of some spirit who have strolled across the Atlantick.
Poor Fanny is so overcome with heat and fatigue, that she has been asleep these two hours. My brother is not yet returned, and I have spent my time in my most agreeable amusement, recounting to you what your partiality to the writer will make interesting. My next will be from the Olovaze, and I hope more entertaining. The Comptroller, Mr Gratehead,53 has promised to get this away to morrow.
This is the first time you have had reason to accuse me of neglect, for tho’ I have been at the Olovaze above a week, this is really the first time I have taken up my pen. All I can say is that had you been in my place, you would not yet have done it.
With what inexpressible pleasure do I again view the unaltered features of my lovely friend. Tho’ the lily has far got the better of the rose, she is as beautiful as ever, nor can  her mind be changed from time. I found in her the same warm affection and as amiable a friend as when we parted. A four years’ separation had given us sufficient to say to each other; and would we have indulged our inclinations, we would not have permitted any interruption. But I found a new friend who claimed my attention in every respect-Mr Hamilton the husband of Lady Isabella and one of the most estimable of his sex. A woman never forgets the person of a man, and I assure you Mr Hamilton is well worth the painting. Let it however suffice to tell you that they are the best matched pair I ever saw: his masculine beauty not being inferior to her feminine. He is about twenty six or twenty seven, tall and elegantly made; his shape uncommonly easy, his complexion dark brown-nut, his eyes dark and penetrating, yet soft, his manners at once genteel and manly; far from giving way to pleasure and indolence, he applies with avidity to business. He has raised himself to the first employments and the first business on all the Islands as a Lawyer.
The elegance in which they live is not to be described, and whatever I have said of the table of Antigua is to be found here, even in a superior taste. Never was so agreeable a Landlady; she presides at her table with a degree of ease that gives every thing a double relish, nor does she leave you a wish unfulfilled. Tho’ Mr Hamilton’s temper has not in it the least levity, yet his conversation is extremely lively, and the brilliancy of Lady Bell’s wit seems much improven, as she has it under a perfect command, and never says a thing to give offence. This was not the case when she first came amongst the folk here. She was more lively than what they were accustomed to, and they often mistook her Vivacity, which for sometime made her not so popular as she now is. When I first entered the great hall at the Olovaze, I was charmed with her appearance, but she gave me little time to contemplate that, till she flew into my Arms. Our joy was mutual, as is our affection. She had standing by her a little  Mulatto girl not above five years old, whom she retains as a pet. This brown beauty was dressed out like an infant Sultana, and is a fine contrast to the delicate complexion of her Lady. This hall and every thing in it is superbly fine; the roof lofty, and ornamented in a high degree. It is between fifty and sixty feet long, has eight windows and three doors all glazed; it is finished in Mahogany very well wrought, and the panels finished in with mirrors. This you would believe would render the heat unsupportable, which its situation however prevents, as it stands pretty high up Mount Misery, which yields a cool and delightful shade to the back part of the house, while the front has the sea, shipping, town and a great part of the Island in prospect, and the constant sea-breeze renders it most agreeable. The drawing room and bed-chambers are entirely fitted up and furnished in the English taste, but tho’ this is esteemed the finest house on any of the Islands, yet it has a most inconvenient situation for Mr Hamilton, as he is obliged to be in the court every morning by seven o’clock, and toil all the day in his chambers, which are neither large nor airy. Besides as the way from town up to Olovaze is steep and close, it destroys his horses and fatigues himself in the heat, which he cannot possibly avoid.
I found Miss Milliken waiting to meet me, and Lady Isabella has engaged her to stay with us, while I am here. I was very happy to see this sweet girl, but sorry to find her health and spirits not what they were, when we were so much together in Scotland. She introduced me to her friend Miss Acres, a fine girl, who is soon to be married to a Scotchman54 she has long loved and been beloved by; but I fear their felicity has been too long delayed to be now of long continuance, She is certainly far gone in a consumption. Lady Bell left Miss Rutherfurd when she was only a child, and as we  never measure time, she was charmed and surprized to find her the woman she now is, both she and Mr Hamilton are vastly fond of her, nor is she less pleased with them.
Crouds of company are here every day, whose visits we shall return. My brother and Mr Hamilton are mutually pleased with each other, and are never asunder; he goes down with him every morning to town and is as much at home as you can imagine, and intimate with every body. The great sugar-works of the plantations are just by, and I have viewed them with much attention. Mr Hughes, the Overseer, who is a worthy obliging young man a great friend of Mr Hamilton’s, has been so good as shew me the whole grand operation, which fabricates one of the prettiest branches of the British trade. But I shall first finish the Olovaze and then take a tour with you thro’ the Island, and give you every thing that pleases myself. But writing here, my friend, I assure you is no easy task; for besides the heat which is great, I grudge every moment that takes me from the company of my friends. We live in constant fear of the arrival of our ship, which will hurry us away, and we have not less than twenty invitations, and we dance every night for several hours, from which no person is exempted. All dance from fifteen to four score, and we are to have a fine ball here a few days hence, where the whole Island are to be.
I had a walk this morning, that you would hardly believe me able to have taken, as it was no less than two miles, and up hill. This was truly a British frolick, and what no creole would ever dream of. The ascent however is not steep, and we set off several hours before the sun rose to a high plantation where breakfast was provided for us. The first part of the way was thro’ cane pieces, which are just now in their greatest glory; but tho’ they excluded the sun, they also prevented the breeze from giving us air, and we were a good deal incommoded, till we reached what is first called the mountain, which is one of the greatest beauties in nature,  and I will take this opportunity to describe it. Properly speaking the whole Island forms its base, as the ascent begins from the sea and rises from all sides to the top. It is covered with canes for about the third of the way up, then with myrtles, tamarinds, oranges and fruits of various kinds. Above that is a great variety of trees, whose verdure is not inferior to those in Britain, and I am told the climate there approaches to cold; and that further up, the air is so cold, that those who have tried it, were instantly seized with plurisies, and this I can easily believe, for as we were a good deal warmed with walking, the sudden change was very perceptible, and I was shivering with cold all the time we were at breakfast.
I could not however forbear lengthening my walk, by taking a more particular survey of the mountain. My brother and I accordingly walked a good way up alongst one of the streams of water which comes down from it.55 It was at present only a scanty rill, but by the appearance of its bed, is at times a large fall. It divides the mountain for a good way up, and resembles one of our highland burns; its source as well as the burns being on the top. But how different is the appearance of its banks, where every thing most beautiful in nature is mixed in delightful confusion. Oranges, limes, shadocks, cherries, citron, papa trees56 are all at once covered with flowers and fruit; besides a profusion of vines and flowers out of Number we also saw cotton in plenty, which here is a shrub, as is Coffee. But they are generally raised in  cultivated plantations, for tho’ they are all indigenous, they are much the better of culture. I formerly said that the seasons were united, which is the case all over the Islands, and just now they are planting, reaping and bruising, in which I include distilling. But tho’ perhaps there is no such rich land in the world as in this Island, they use manure in great abundance, and would be as glad of the rakes of Edinburgh streets as the Lothian farmers. No planter is above attending to this grand article, which is hoarded up with the utmost care, and I every where saw large dunghills of compound manure, composed of the ashes from the boiling kettle, the bruised canes, the spilt leaves of the cane, the cleaning of the houses and dung of the stables. These are turned up and kept till proper for use, and no infant cane is placed in its pit without a very sufficient quantity of this to bed and nurse it up.
The Negroes who are all in troops are sorted so as to match each other in size and strength. Every ten Negroes have a driver, who walks behind them, holding in his hand a short whip and a long one. You will too easily guess the use of these weapons; a circumstance of all others the most horrid. They are naked, male and female, down to the girdle, and you constantly observe where the application has been made. But however dreadful this must appear to a humane European, I will do the creoles the justice to say, they would be as averse to it as we are, could it be avoided, which has often been tried to no purpose. When one comes to be better acquainted with the nature of the Negroes, the horrour of it must wear off. It is the suffering of the human mind that constitutes the greatest misery of punishment, but with them it is merely corporeal. As to the brutes it inflicts no wound on their mind, whose Natures seem made to bear it, and whose sufferings are not attended with shame or pain beyond the present moment. When they are regularly Ranged, each has a little basket, which he carries up the hill filled with the  manure and returns with a load of canes to the Mill. They go up at a trot, and return at a gallop, and did you not know the cruel necessity of this alertness, you would believe them the merriest people in the world.
Since I am on the chapter of Negroes feelings, I must tell you that I was some days ago in town, when a number for market came from on board a ship. They stood up to be looked at with perfect unconcern. The husband was to be divided from the wife, the infant from the mother; but the most perfect indifference ran thro’ the whole. They were laughing and jumping, making faces at each other, and not caring a single farthing for their fate. This is not however without exception; and it behoves the planter to consider the country from whence he purchases his slaves; as those from one coast are mere brutes and fit only for the labour of the field, while those from another are bad field Negroes, but faithful handy house-servants. There are others who seem entirely formed for the mechanick arts, and these of all others are the most valuable; but want of attention to this has been the ruin of many plantations. Strange as it may seem, they are very nervous and subject to fits of madness. This is looked on as witchcraft by themselves, and there is a seer on every plantation to whom they have recourse when taken ill. They are also very subject to dropsies, by which they [the planters] lose many of their boilers, who are always the best slaves on the plantation.
To remedy this evil, as much as possible, the boiling houses are very high and lofty, covered with shelving boards that admit the air freely as well as give vent to the steam.57  When one considers the heat that must be produced by four or five kettles which contain not less than a Hogshead apiece, and which requires a strong clear fire to boil the sugar to its proper consistence, it is very wonderful how they contrive to render them so sufferable as they are. Lady Isabella, Miss Rutherfurd and myself were in one of them last night above an hour, when they were boiling to their height, and were very little incommoded by the heat, and much entertained by being shown the process of this great work from the first throwing the canes into the mill to the casking the sugar and rum. But as Mr Hughes is so good as to promise to make it out for me in writing,58 I will not attempt to give a description from myself from a few slight observations of a business that requires years of study to be come perfect in. My Lady had another design, besides satisfying my curiosity in this visit to the boiling house. There were several of the boilers condemned to the lash, and seeing her face is pardon. Their gratitude on this occasion was the only instance of sensibility that I have observed in them. Their crime was the neglect of their own health which is indeed the greatest fault they can commit.
I have paid several visits both in town and country, and have been at church in the town, which tho’ not so large nor indeed so magnificently fitted up as that at St John’s, has an excellent organ and every thing necessary for the most solemn parts of the church of England-service. We had prayers decently and properly read and an excellent sermon from a Scotch Clergyman. Miss Milliken and her lovely friend were particularly devout, to which the state of health they are both in no doubt contributed, nor did they fail to have an effect on those within whose observation they were placed, even I myself found I could join with this church as a member, and was not to be present as a mere Spectator  when my heart was warmed. And I will venture to tell you, tho’ you may laugh at me, that I was much pleased with the discovery I made of myself. For tho’ the whole Island is divided into regular parishes, and each has a handsome church, yet there is not the semblance of presbytery, and much as I approve of it myself, ‘tis not my talent to make proselytes.
The people in town live very well and are extremely polite and hospitable, as they are every where. The Stores are full of European commodities, and many of the merchts very rich. They are a people I like vastly, and were there nothing to make me wish otherwise, I would desire to live for ever with them. But, oh, my friend! I again repeat that in the midst of these inchanting scenes and amongst a most agreeable people, I would prefer a habitation under a snowcover’d mountain, were that habitation even a cottage. Do not suppose however that I repent, or in the least regret what I have done—that is far from the case. My heart approves my conduct and that merciful power who has guarded and supported me thro’ numberless trials will at last reward that patience and fortitude he has himself inspired. At whatever time we meet, I am certain we will meet with unabated regard, and sufferings past are pleasant on recollection when properly supported. Should we meet no more in this world, what a transporting one will that in the next be, where what is now our misery will become our glory, and where care, anxiety and disappointment are no more. In the mean time I enjoy all the felicity that the friendship and affection of the kindest and best of brothers can give me, and again repeat that I am perfectly satisfied.
Miss Milliken and I took a long drive by ourselves yesterday, and after all I have seen I was surprised at the complete cultivation I met every where. The whole Island is a garden divided into different parterres. There is however a great want of shade, as every acre is under sugar. I mean as  to the low plantations, for as to those up the hill, they have sufficient shade from the mountain. She shewed me several fine plantations belonging to Scotch people, who do not reside on them. Amongst these is one belonging to the Millikens. It is situated rather high, and goes by the name of Monkey Hill, from which I suppose it more particularly infested by those gentry, from which indeed no part of the Island is entirely free. As I am no enemy to the Pythagorean system,59 I do suppose these lively and troublesome companions, [are the successors of] the former Inhabitants of this Island,60 who you know were French, and truly the difference is so little between one Monkey and another, that the transmigration must have been very easy, and as to the soul, it has undergone no change, but is French in all respects. They grin, they laugh, they chatter and make grimaces. Their frolicks are mischievous, their thefts dextrous. They are subtle enemies and false friends. When pursued, they fly to the mountain and laugh at their pursuers, as they are as little ashamed of a defeat as a French admiral or  general. In short they are the torment of the planters; they destroy whole cane-pieces in a few hours, and come in troops from the mountain, whose trees afford them shelter. No method to get the better of them has yet been found out. I should think strong English dogs the best; as the English is your only animal to humble your French monkey and settle his frolicks.
Our Vessel is arrived, my sweet friend in tears, and every body expressing such concern, that tho’ they please my vanity, they break my heart; but why are we thus disconsolate? My dear friends, we will meet in a few weeks.61 My dear Miss Milliken says no; she is sure she will no more see me, till we meet in a better world. Our meeting here was most unexpected, and she says has beguiled the time like a pleasing dream; but that now she wakes again to pain and disappointment. She has taken care of all our paintings, and my brother has ordered her the use of all his books. I begged of her to copy those pieces of which she was always particularly fond, and also to let me find at my return some of those views, which we have so much admired on this Island to send home to you, to whom she is no stranger. She said she would try, tho’ she feigned she would not succeed, as she believed her Genius was left in Britain; that even her musick was not now what it had been, and her pencil had lost the power of pleasing. Never indeed did I know any thing superior to her in both those Arts, but her taste is too delicate for those who do not understand them. She has had several good offers in the way of Marriage, which, however, she has declined. Born to a considerable fortune, and deprived of it by the folly of a mother, after receiving an education suited to it, she cannot stoop to be the wife of any one below her early hope, but if God preserve her, I hope to see her yet happy.62
 Loads of provisions are coming from all quarters for our use: a hundred dozen of limes and oranges, Pine-apples, cocoa-nuts, etc., and my good friend Mrs Acres, an excellent old Lady, with whom I am quite enamoured, has sent in geese, ducks, Turkeys, etc., but this was needless, as the Olovaze had furnished stock for a much longer Voyage. Here is a cart load of Cocoa-nuts for Miss Durham; they are to be sent aboard with Capt Graham for Greenock.63 Be so good as to order them with the sweet meats for your Sisters to be taken care of. We are now in Town, and are to embark this afternoon, and every thing but our own persons are on board. Capt Graham waits to take charge of the Packet. Oh thou envied paper! would I could inclose myself within you; my body I cannot, but there goes my soul in that, and that and that kiss.
Aboard the Rebecca of St Kitt’s.
My last informed you of the arrival of our Ship and family from Antigua, and that we were to leave our friends  at St Kitts and proceed to our American Vessel. As [it happened] next day we enjoyed our friends however a little longer from the most strange and unaccountable conduct in our former Captain, and for which we are yet unable to discover a cause; for no sooner were our provisions, Our Abigail and lap-dog got on board, than he weighed Anchor, set all his sail and went off before the wind, even while my brother aboard a boat was so near as to hail him. Whether Mrs Miller was betrayed herself into this affair, or chused to be the single Lady during this voyage will appear hereafter. In the mean time various circumstances give but an unfavourable idea of her conduct. We have however as yet no cause to regret their flight, as we were soon furnished by our friends with a Vessel from St Kitts, every way indeed the reverse of the Jamaica Packet, for besides that she is neat, clean and commodious, she is as slight as the other was strong, which in our present sailing signifies little; but should we meet a north wester on the coast of America; we will have no great reason to be proud of our light Vessel. At present we appear as on a party of pleasure; far as the eye can reach is one expanse of bright mirror, which reflects not only the sky over us, but even the shadow of our own Ship, which makes a most beautiful picture in the water. This, to be sure, is very fine for the present, but should the scene be deformed with billows, such as I have seen, Heaven, I hope, will take charge of us, as we will not owe our safety to men, the oldest of our sailors, whom we dignify with the title of the man, not being above seventeen and the rest of the crew made up of lovely boys much younger and fit only for such a sea as this. But should storms deform the face of this fair mirror, I fear the winds would pay little regard to youth and beauty, where strength and activity were missing. But we must hope [for] the best and in the meantime, the regularity of the whole renders our situation very agreeable.
The Capt gave us up the cabin and state room, which are  both very neat, and furnished with every necessary. In the State room we found a number of books. They consisted chiefly of Novels and poetry. By this you will guess the commander is not much in years more than his ship’s crew, two or three and twenty I suppose, and the mate still younger. The Capt is handsome and genteel beyond what is generally found in those of his profession. He has an air of melancholy that interests one for him; he is often absent and sighs incessantly. The mate told us in confidence that the Captain had got himself so much in love that he was become good for nothing. The Lady is a fair American, and he is now on his way to see and he hopes marry her. For my own part, continued the mate, shruging significantly—but every man to his mind, all’s one to me; to be sure I wish him well; but a man’s girl, do ye see, is not to be spoke of. No, no, none of your bundlers a’ faith for me, a good Scotch lassie for my money. From these hints I fear poor [Captain] Seator has not made a very discreet choice, but as the mate says, every man to his mind.
As we have no Abigail, a fine boy about twelve years old is appointed to the office of our chamber-maid. He is neat, handy and obliging. We make much of the little fellow, and he is quite happy. He has a fine voice and often entertains us with it. In a few hours after we left St Kitts, we landed on St Eustatius,64 a free port, which belongs to the Dutch; a place of vast traffick from every quarter of the globe.65 The ships of various nations which rode before it were very fine, but  the Island itself the only ugly one I have seen. Nor do I think that I would stay on it for any bribe. It is however an instance of Dutch industry little inferior to their dykes; as the one half of the town is gained off the Sea, which is fenced out by Barracadoes, and the other dug out of an immense mountain of sand and rock; which rises to a great height behind the houses, and will one day bury them under it. On the top of this hill I saw some decent-looking houses, but was not able to mount it, to look at them nearer. I understand however that the whole riches of the Island consist in its merchandize, and that they are obliged to the neighbouring Islands for subsistence; while they in return furnish them with contraband commodities of all kinds. The town consists of one Street a mile long, but very narrow and most disagreeable, as every one smokes tobacco, and the whiffs are constantly blown in your face.
But never did I meet with such variety; here was a mercht vending his goods in Dutch, another in French, a third in Spanish, etc. etc. They all wear the habit of their country, and the diversity is really amusing. The first that welcomed us ashore were a set of Jews. As I had never seen a Jew in his habit, except Mr Diggs in the character of Shylock,66 I could not look on the wretches without shuddering. But I was shown two objects that set Christian cruelty in a worse light, than I could have believed it possible. The one, a wretch discovered to be innocent of a crime laid to his charge. While he was stretched on the wheel and under the hands of the executioner, he was taken down with hardly a joint in  its place, yet the miserable life still remained. He was banished France, as the sight of him was a reproach. He has both his hands and one of his feet fallen off since he came to St Eustatia, where he is treated with much humanity and pity. The other is a man who was eighteen months in the Spanish inquisition, and was tortured till he has hardly the semblance of a human creature remaining. The infernal accuser at last appeared and declared he had mistaken him, for he was not the person they meant, and brought the other to them. As he seemed quite out of his senses, they did not chuse to murder him, but turned him out in the dead of night to the street, where he was found by some Dutch sailors, who being convinced of the truth of his story, and certain that he would either be remanded back to his dreadful prison or immediately murdered, had the humanity to carry him aboard their ship, where their care restored his senses and memory, and they brought him here, where he remains. I was assured of the truth of both these stories by many of the most respectable people of the town, by whose charity they are supported.
From one end of the town of Eustatia to the other is a continued mart, where goods of the most different uses and qualities are displayed before the shop-doors. Here hang rich embroideries, painted silks, flowered Muslins, with all the Manufactures of the Indies. Just by hang Sailor’s Jackets, trousers, shoes, hats etc. Next stall contains most exquisite silver plate, the most beautiful indeed I ever saw, and close by these iron-pots, kettles and shovels. Perhaps the next presents you with French and English Millinarywares. But it were endless to enumerate the variety of merchandize in such a place, for in every store you find every thing, be their qualities ever so opposite. I bought a quantity of excellent French gloves for fourteen pence a pair, also English thread-stockings cheaper than I could buy them at home. I was indeed surprised to find that the case with most  of the British manufactures, but am told the merchts who export them have a large drawback.
We were treated with great hospitality at this place, but they have nothing of the gentility of the neighbouring Islands. I slept or rather lay two nights under the hill, which seemed to threaten me every moment from its Neighbourhood, and the Musquatoes [mosquitos] too are very hearty and strong, so that we had enough of amusement to keep us from sleep, and were not a little pleased to get aboard the Rebecca again. We purchased excellent claret for less than two shillings a bottle, and Portuguese wines of different kinds very cheap. Robt too, who never forgets the table, made several purchases of pickles and sweet meats extremely fine and very cheap. I assure you that by his care and the alertness of a cook that has not yet reached fourteen years old, we live very much at our ease upon four or five good things and well dressed every day, besides a desert of fruits. The Captain does every thing to oblige us and render his vessel agreeable to his passengers, and tho’ the sea is quite calm, he makes the ship lie to while we are at meals, so that we eat without the least inconvenience from the motion of the ship; a very agreeable circumstance I do assure you. But these are considerations, that you people who live at home in ease never can properly understand.
As we had not been suffered to provide or put on board any thing for ourselves, I was curious to know what our Sea Store consisted of, and begged the Capt to let me look thro’ the Ship, as I had no opportunity of doing so on my former Voyage. This was immediately agreed to, and both Miss Rutherfurd and I were surprised at the neatness of every thing we saw. But what pleased us above all the others was the care that was taken to secure the live-stock in such a way as to keep them safe even in the worst weather, the want of which we had severely suffered for in the Jamaica Packet. This is a place paled in between decks in which were geese,  pigs, Turkeys, and sheep. The water too was placed as cool as possible, and that to be used in the cabin was prepared by a filtering stone, such as I formerly described in the Islands. You will think me very attentive to such circumstances; but nothing is of more consequence at Sea both to pleasure and to health.
We had a sheep killed yesterday, and have had a Scotch dinner under the Tropick in the middle of the Atlantick. We eat haggis, sheep-head, barley-broth and blood puddings. As both our Capt and Mate are Scots, tho’ long from home, they swore they had not seen such an excellent dinner since they left their native land. We have never yet had a breeze sufficient to curl the Sea, and I really wonder how we move along. Our sails hang like a Lady’s loose gown in the most languishing manner, and our poor Capt sighs ready to break his heart at the slow advance he makes to the port that contains his wishes. However he tried to amuse himself. He and my brother are just now gone in the boat a shooting. I see them from where I am writing, it is really pretty to see the little vessel moving on the smooth surface of that vast ocean, a perfect world of water. They are just returned and have been very successful; but the greatest entertainment they have had, was painting the Ship on the outside. Our mate who is really a man of taste, hath ornamented her with many festoons of flowers and various figures very neatly. But only think of the softness of our sailing, when he can row round her for hours and hold the pots of paint in one hand, while he uses the brush with the other.
Our life is so uniformly calm, and placid, that we are glad to meet any thing, that has the air of an Adventure to vary the Scene, and which yesterday afforded Jack Rutherfurd, (who is continually on the look out, and to say the truth, has more observations than we have all,) the sight of somewhat floating on the water, but at such a distance that he could only see it was very long, and from that concluded it might  be a boat belonging to some Vessel. All the glasses were presently out, and as every body observed it, various conjectures were formed. In a moment it was a wreck, it was a whale, it was an island. For my part I liked the wreck best, as it was likely to afford most entertainment. The Captain however ended all disputes by sending off the boat, which soon returned loaded with fishes, and brought us certain advice that it was a tree of immense size, blown off the American coast, and which had lain on the water, till covered over with barnacles, and round which fishes of all kinds crouded, so that they had only to put over their hands and bring them into the boat. All hands were now pressing to go. The Capt, my brother and the Rutherfurds got presently into the boat, and the Captain ordered the ship to bear down to it, that we might share in the sport. The expedition had almost proved a fatal one however, for two of our youthful sailors landing on Log-island, as they named it, tumbled over, and were very near becoming the prey of a Shark, which lurked hard by it. They were fortunately saved, and no more attempts were made to land. They brought on board a surprising quantity of fish, but all flat, of the turbot and flounder kind, and some, I am sure, are the same with our Soles. We have many alive in tubs filled with Sea water; a great number are salted and hung amongst the shrouds by the lads for their own use. We had at first some little objection to eating them, as the fishes of these seas are at a certain season unwholesome, and some are even poison; but this is owing to their being near Copper Islands, which is not the present case. A dollar was put in the kettle with them; it came out pure, and all was safe, and our young cook and Robt dress them nicely, and they are truly good.
Last night the air changed, and tho’ the wind did not in the least increase, yet it became very chilly on deck, and this morning is so cold, that we are not able to leave the Cabin. I plainly find we are out of the warm climates, and fast  approaching the coast of America. I am sick at heart, my spirits fail me, but I will not give way to resentment.  We are now actually on the American coast, and it is so cold that I am not able to go on deck, tho’ the Capt invites me to view the woods, as he assures me, they are in sight. I can hardly hold the pen, I left June and found December.
At last America is in my view; a dreary Waste of white barren sand, and melancholy, nodding pines. In the course of many miles, no cheerful cottage has blest my eyes. All seems dreary, savage and desert; and was it for this that such sums of money, such streams of British blood have been lavished away? Oh, thou dear land, how dearly hast thou purchased this habitation for bears and wolves. Dearly has it been purchased, and at a price far dearer still will it be kept. My heart dies within me, while I view it, and I am glad of an interruption by the arrival of a pilot-boat, the master of which appears a worthy inhabitant of the woods before us. Pray, Sir, said I to him, does any body live hereabouts? Hereabouts, returned he in a surly tone, don’t you see how thick it is settled. He then pointed with his finger to a vast distance, and after some time, I really did observe a spot that seemed to be cut amongst the woods, and fancied that I saw something that resembled smoke. On this acknowledgment, he answered with a sort of triumph, Ay, ay, I told you so, that there is Snow’s plantation, and look ye there; don’t you see another? Why sure you are blind, it is not above five miles off. I confessed I was short-sighted at least, for I really did not see it, and as he was now attending the casting the lead and reckoning our soundings, I troubled him with no more questions, but retired to the Cabin, not much elated with what I had seen.67
We are now opposite to the fort68 which guards this coast, and the Capt has gone to it to show his credentials and pay certain fees which constitute the salary of an officer, who is called Governor.69 In figure and size this fort resembles a Leith timber-bush, but does not appear quite so tremendous, tho’ I see guns peeping thro’ the sticks. If these are our fortresses and castles, no wonder the Natives rebel; for I will be bound to take this fort with a regimt of black-guard Edinburgh boys without any artillery, but their own pop-guns. I now write on shore, but will finish my journal of the Rebecca, before I say any thing of my present situation here.
I told you the Capt had gone to the fort, but forgot to tell you there is an old sloop of war that lies here,70 which, like
1Sangaree was a tropical drink, known also to the people of the Carolinas. There were other combinations than that mentioned by Miss Schaw, but the ingredients were always liquor, water, and spices. Brandy was sometimes substituted for wine.
2The old lady was Mrs. Dunbar, as was also the doctor’s wife. There was no relationship between them. Dr. John Dunbar (born 1721), member of the assembly until 1775, graduated at Leyden University in 1742, and married, in Antigua, Eleanor, daughter of Thomas Watkins, who died during the hurricane of August 31, 1772. He married again, July 28, 1773, at St. John’s, Sarah Warner, daughter of Samuel H. Warner, deputy provost marshal of the island, a woman much younger than himself, who, however, died before he did, in 1787. The Dunbar plantation of 165 acres was in the Dickinson Bay division, from which the doctor was returned to the assembly.
6The Hailiday family is of old covenanting stock and has figured in the history of Scotland, county Galloway, since the sixteenth century. John Halliday, the collector, was born in Antigua, a nephew of William Dunbar and a son-in-law of Francis Delap, both prominent residents of the island. He himself had no less than seven plantations in the different divisions, the two most important of which were Boons in St. John’s parish and Weatherills near by. He entered the assembly in 1755, resigned in 1757, and was again returned in 1761. He occupied the position of customs collector and receiver of the four and a half per cent export duty from 1759 to 1777, an office of importance, as the port of St. John’s was much superior to its only rival in the island, Parham.
Of Charles Baird, the comptroller, we can give no information beyond that which Miss Schaw furnishes, though his name is to be found in the official list of customs officials and in Governor Payne’s Answers to Queries.
7Samuel Martin, the young Martin here mentioned, was not a son of Colonel Samuel, though he may have been in some way related to him. That there was some family connection seems evident from an agreement entered into in 1775, whereby young Samuel bound himself to pay annuities to certain members of the Martin family (Oliver, History of Antigua, II, 245). At this time he may have been twenty or more years of age, and, as Miss Schaw thought would be the case, he succeeded Halliday as collector two years later, serving until 1795, when he was retired. He was followed by Josiah, Colonel Samuel’s grandson, who held the office for half a century.
For a woman hater, young Samuel had an interesting matrimonial career. In 1777, the year he was appointed collector, he married Grace Savage, daughter of George Savage of Savage Gardens just outside St. John’s, and by her had six children. She died, aged 50, in 1810, and in 1812 he married again, a widow, name unknown, by whom he had five children more. Thus he had two wives and eleven children, which is a little unexpected, in view of Miss Schaw’s remarks. He died soon after 1825, in England, whither he had gone after leaving the collectorship.
Young Martin’s plantation in Antigua was called High Point and lay in the northern part of the island, between Winthrop’s Bay and Dutchman’s Bay near the entrance to Parham Harbor. He left this plantation to William, born in 1816, his second son by his second wife.
8The Jock Trumble here mentioned was probably Lieutenant John Turnbull of the 68th Regiment of Foot, who died in Antigua, October 5, 1767, and was buried on the island. The name Trumbull is but a corrupted form of the Scottish Turnbull, and Scotsmen tell us that the name today is frequently spelled Turnbull and pronounced Trumbull.
10Antigua has but one running stream and that is incapable of the least navigation (Payne in Answers to Queries). Of the water supply the writer of the Brief Account says, This island is almost destitute of fresh springs, therefore the water principally used is rain, which the inhabitants collect in stone cisterns; this water, after being drawn from the reservoir, is filtered through a Barbadoes stone, which renders it free from animalcula, or any disagreeable quality it might have contracted by being kept in the tank. It is exceedingly soft and well flavored . . . as good as any I ever tasted in Europe (pp. 60-61).
Governor Payne, writing to Lord Dartmouth the October before, gives a description of the island that is equally flattering with that of Miss Schaw. I have no disagreeable account of any kind wherewith I am to trouble your Lordship, from any part of my government. The crops of the present year which are just finished have in general been very good; and in some of the islands surpass’d the expectations of the planters; and the present propitious weather inspires the inhabitants with sanguine hopes of reaping a plentiful harvest in the ensuing year. There is not in any of the islands under my command any interruption to the general harmony and tranquillity which I have the satisfaction of observing to prevail throughout every part of my government, from my first entrance on my administration; and in January, 1775, he added, No mischievous sparks of the continental flame have reached any district of the government. The trade of every island of it is most uncommonly flourishing. Provisions of all kinds from the continent of America are cheaper and more plentiful than they have been in the memory of man (Public Record Office, C.O. 152:55).
11The mosquitoes on the American Continent as well as in the West Indies were a very troublesome novelty to Europeans. The author of the Brief Account says of Antigua. The mosketos are troublesome, but I defend my legs (which is the part these insects principally attack) with boots (p. 7).
As to the continental colonies, Boucher complained of mosquitoes in Maryland (Maryland Magazine, March, 1913, pp. 39-40), Michel in Virginia (Virginia Magazine, January, 1916, p. 40), and Beverley of the latter colony once sent for Russian lawn or gauze for four large field beds, being to let in the air and keep out mosquitoes and flies (Beverley Letter Book). Peckover, the travelling Quaker preacher, says that he was taken with an inflamation in my leg in New Jersey, occasioned I think by the Muskittos biting me. This is a very flat country and very subject to these insects (Travels). In North Carolina, mosquito nets were included in inventories and invoices, and in South Carolina in 1744, it was proposed that the merchants in England send over a large quantity of Scotch kenting for pavilions, as it would come to a good market, there being at present a great demand for that commodity, the inhabitants being almost devoured by the mosquitos for want thereof: (South Carolina Gazette, June 6, 1744). Even the Pilgrims were much anoyed with muskeetoes, and some of those who returned before 1624 made them a subject of complaint against the colony. Bradford’s History (Ford ed.), I, 366, and note.
The hurricane occurred on August 31, 1772. Of this terrible disaster Governor Payne wrote: On Thursday night, the 27th of August, we had an exceedingly hard gale of wind, which continued for the space of 7 or 8 hours, and then subsided without doing any material damage. On the night of Sunday, the 30th of August, the wind blew fresh . . . and continued increasing till five in the morning when it blew a hurricane from the N. E. . . . a melancholy darkness prevail’d for more than an hour after sun rise. At eight o’clock the fury of the tempest in some measure abated, but it was only to collect new redoubl’d violence, and to display itself, with tenfold terror, for the space of 4 hours . . . Some persons were buried in the ruins of their houses. Many houses were razed. The doors, windows, and partitions of the Court House were blown in, the interior completely wrecked and most valuable papers destroyed. The barracks are in a deplorable condition. At English Harbour, deemed storm-proof, there was a squadron under Adml Parry, whose flagship with others drove ashore and the hospital there was levelled to the ground, crushing in its fall the unfortunate patients and attendants. My new study, with most of my papers, was blown away. Quoted in Oliver, History of Antigua, I, cxxi.
There is an old negro adage regarding the coming of hurricanes: June, too soon; July, stand by; August, come it must; September, remember; October, all over.
14Sir Ralph Payne, governor of the Leeward Islands, with residence in Antigua, was born in St. Christopher, in 1739. He was commissioned governor May 10, 1771, resigned February 17, 1775, and returned soon after to England. Hardly any West Indian governor, says the author of the Brief Account, ever acquired credit there except Sir George Thomas and Sir Ralph Payne. These men were both native West Indians, who knew the disposition of the people they had to govern, and by prudently keeping the arrogant at as great a distance, as the more modest would naturally keep themselves, they had the good fortune to be approved (p. 166). Lord Dartmouth said that Sir Ralph had ever shown a zeal and activity that is highly pleasing to the king; and in August, 1775, after he had left the island and another appointee was under consideration, the general assembly of Antigua presented an address to the king, expressing their gratitude for his having sent them a man of Sir Ralph’s character and worth and begging that he would send him back to them again.
Governor Payne had a career in England also. He was an M.P. for Plymouth in 1762, Shaftesbury, 1769, and Camelford, 1774. He was made a K.B. in 1771, and on October 1, 1795, was created an Irish peer, Baron Lavington of Lavington, entering the Privy Council in 1799. He was reappointed governor of Antigua, January 20, 1799, and died in the island, August 3, 1807, aged 68.
15 The Right Honorable William Lord Mansfield was the fourth son of David Murray, Viscount Stormont, and brother of the Mrs. Murray of Stormont mentioned later in the narrative (p. 247). He was born at Scone, educated at Perth, and formed part of that Scottish circle of intimates in which Miss Schaw moved. He is frequently referred to, here and elsewhere, as giving assistance of one kind or another to his Scottish friends. His judicial and parliamentary career is too well known to need comment.
16Mrs. Mackinnen was Louise Vernon of Hilton Park, Stafford, who had married William Mackinnen of Antigua in 1757. Mackinnen was an absentee planter for many years, but returned to the island in 1773, and became a member of the council. He went back to England some time before 1798, lived at Exeter, and died in 1809. He was buried at Binfield, Berks, where he had a residence. In Antigua, he had two plantations, Golden Grove and Mackinnen’s, the latter, an estate of 830 acres in St. John’s parish, is probably the one visited by Miss Schaw. There were four daughters.
18It is of course impossible to identify Fanny’s boarding school, but the following entry in the Scots Magazine (36, p. 392) may well refer to it. Miss Sarah Young, daughter of Patrick Young of Killicanty, [who] kept a boarding school in Edinburgh for young ladies upwards of thirty years, died on July 30, 1774.
19St. John’s Church was built in the years 1740-1745, the tower, which had not been erected when Miss Schaw visited the island, being added in 1786-1789. The building occupied a conspicuous position on an eminence in the northeast quarter of the town and was visible from all the country round. It was built of brick and stone, its yard being enclosed by a brick wall, the bricks having been obtained in England and America. On pillars at the south entrance were two well executed figures in Portland stone of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, to whom the church was dedicated, and in the tower were a clock and a bell given in 1789 by John Delap Halliday, son of the collector. The organ had been purchased in 1760 and in 1772 an organist, George Harland Hartley, was installed. The rector, whom Miss Schaw so much disliked, was the Rev. John Bowen, 1767-1783 (Oliver, III, 357-359; Brief Account, p. 21).
21Rev. Dr. Alexander Webster (1707-1784) was chaplain in ordinary for Scotland in 1771 and a dean of the royal chapel. His son, Lieutenant Colonel William Webster, served in the British army in America and was wounded at Guilford Court House. Later he died of his wounds and was buried at Elizabeth, Bladen county, North Carolina.
22Forbidden fruit is a small variety of shaddock, so called because it is supposed to resemble the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden. The granadilla is the fruit of a species of passion flower (Passiflora quadrangularis), often six to eight inches in diameter. Miss Schaw anticipates the modern liking for the alligator pear.
23The cassada or cassava is a fleshy root, the sweet variety of which is still used for food. The writer of the Brief Account gives nearly the same list of fruits as does Miss Schaw, and of the cassava says, Cassava (commonly called Cassada) is a species of bread made from the root of a plant of the same name, by expression. The water, or juice, is poisonous, but the remaining part after being dried, or baked on thick iron plates, is both wholesome and palatable, it is eaten dry or toasted, and it also makes excellent puddings (p. 63; cf. 64-67, 68-72). The Antigua plantation of Abraham Redwood, of Rhode Island, who founded the Redwood Library at Newport, was called Cassada Garden. It was in St. George’s parish.
24There was no act of parliament forbidding sugar-refining in the West Indies, but the British refiners objected strongly to the West Indian planters’ entering into competition with themselves (since under the mercantilist scheme they should send to England only raw materials) and endeavored to discourage it in every way possible. Sugar-refining was deemed a form of manufacturing, in which the colonists were not expected to engage. Generally speaking, treatment in the West Indies of the raw juice of the sugar cane went no farther than the Muscovado process, which produced the various grades of brown sugar, with the by-product, molasses. For a description of this process, see Aspinall, British West Indies, pp. 171-172; Jones and Scard, The Manufacture of Cane Sugar; and for a contemporary illustration of a sugar mill, Universal Magazine, II, 103. This process is still continued on many West Indian estates, as it is much cheaper than the vacuum process and furnishes the market not only with molasses, but also with the old brown sugar, sweetest of all and the delight of children for their bread and butter.
25 Dillidaff is probably phonetic for Tullideph, a well-known Scottish name. Dr. Walter Tullideph of Antigua had two daughters, Charlotte, who married Sir John Ogilvy, and Mary, who married Hon. Col. Alexander Leslie. After leaving St. John’s the party rode southward along the coast, turning eastward a mile or so to visit Green Castle, Colonel Martin’s estate in Bermudian Valley under Windmill Hill.
26 Arthur Freeman was the eldest son and the heir-at-law of Thomas Freeman (died, 1736). He was born in 1724 and died January 30. 1780, aged 56. In 1765 when forty-one years old, he eloped with the youngest daughter of the governor, George Thomas, and went to England. Governor Thomas, a native of Antigua and deputy governor of Pennsylvania for nine years, had been appointed governor of the Leeward Islands in 1753. He retired in 1766, was made a baronet in the same year, and died in London, December 31, 1773, aged 79. He was so angry with Freeman for running off with his daughter, at that time but nineteen years old, that he suspended him from the council, giving the following elaborate statement of reasons.
In defiance of the laws of Great Britain and of this Island, in contempt of the respect due to him as his Majesty’s Governor in Chief of the Leeward Islands, and in violation of the laws of hospitality [Freeman] basely and treacherously seduced his daughter, of considerable pretensions, from the duty and obedience due to him as a most affectionate tender father, by prevailing on her to make a private elopement from his house, with assurances, from his uncommon indulgence, of an easy forgiveness and by bribing an indigent Scotch parson, who had been indebted to the general [Thomas] for his daily bread, to join them in marriage without licence or any other
lawful authority, in hopes of repairing the said Freeman’s fortune, become desperate by a series of folly and extravagance (Oliver, I, 266).
The Privy Council in England, deeming the matter a private one, refused to support the action of the choleric old governor and restored Freeman to the council. He returned and took his seat in 1770. Apparently he left his wife in England, where she died in 1797, aged 52, for Miss Schaw’s account contains no hint of a wife. He must have gone back later, for he was buried in Willingdon Church, Sussex. For an intimate picture of Governor Thomas in Pennsylvania in 1744, see Hamilton’s Itinerarium (privately printed, 1907), pp. 25, 33, 35.
27Patrick Malcolm was a surgeon of Antigua, who died in 1785. He had a diploma from Surgeons Hall, London, as had Dr. Dunbar, and was licensed to practice in the island in 1749. That he was on terms of close intimacy with the Martins appears from the mention of his name several times in their wills. His relationship to the Rutherfurds we have not been able to discover. He may have been a brother of George Malcolm of Burnfoot in Dumfriesshire, who married Margaret, daughter of James Paisley of Craig and Burn near Langholm, and so have been connected with the Paisleys of Lisbon (below, pp. 214, 239, 244, 340).
30 The son in Carolina was Governor Josiah Martin; the one in England, whose character Miss Schaw knew, was Samuel Martin, Josiah’s half-brother, who attained wide notoriety from his duel with John Wilkes.
31Colonel Martin was one of those who foresaw the eventual decay of the industry of the island, because of its cultivation, to the exclusion of everything else, of the single staple, sugar. He wished to see some of the cane land converted into pasture for the rearing of sheep and cattle.
33Gideon Schaw of Lauriston, the father of Janet and Alexander, died January 19, 1772 (Scots Magazine, 34. p. 51). He was born about 1700, married in 1723, and his daughter Anne was born in 1726. Patrick Walker, in his Biographia Presbyteriana (II, 283-284), tells a grewsome tale of the execution and burial near Lauriston at that time of certain condemned persons, in connection with which he mentions both Gideon Schaw and his wife. In 1732 Gideon (or Gidjun) was appointed supervisor of the salt-duty at Alloa, the leading customs port at the head of the Firth of Forth, and there remained until 1734, when he removed to a similar post at Prestonpans, a smaller town below Leith. There he continued to live until 1738, when he was appointed collector of customs at Perth, at the head of the Firth of Tay, serving in that capacity until 1751, when he became assistant to Harnage, the register-general of tobacco in Scotland, with the title of assistant in Scotland to the register-general in England. His appointment was renewed in 1761 (on the accession of George III) and he continued to serve until his death in 1772, residing in Lauriston. His salary, beginning at £30 a year, rose to £150 the end, an amount not large even for those days. Miss Schaw in her journal frequently refers to Perth, the Tay, and the country about.
34The tenah was the negro woman’s headdress, composed of one or more handkerchiefs put on in the manner of a turban. An excellent description of the market is given by the author of the Brief Account. This market is held at the southern extremity of the town . . . here an assemblage of many hundred negroes and mulattoes expose for sale poultry, pigs, kids, vegetables, fruit and other things; they begin to assemble by day-break and the market is generally crowded by ten o’clock. This is the proper time to purchase for the week such things as are not perishable. The noise occasioned by the jabber of the negroes and the squalling and cries of the children basking in the sun exceeds anything I ever heard in a London market. About three o’clock the business is nearly over. The writer goes on to discuss the obnoxious odors, the drinking of grog, the gambling and fighting, etc., which accompanied the holding of the market (pp. 139-141).
36 The militia of Antigua consisted of a troop of horse,—carabineers or light dragoons,—three regiments of foot, known as the red, blue, and green, one independent company of foot, and one company of artillery. Service in the militia was obligatory from 14 to 45. Colonel Martin was at the head of these forces for upwards of forty years. In 1773 Sir Ralph Payne became colonel of the carabineers.
38Governor Payne’s correspondence confirms Miss Schaw’s statements in all particulars. The governor left Antigua with Lady Payne, in the summer of 1774, for a tour of the islands under his jurisdiction, and was away when Miss Schaw arrived. He was at St. Christopher in October and soon afterwards at Montserrat, returning to Antigua after Christmas but before the end of the year. As his wife was in poor health, he had already applied to Lord Dartmouth for permission to go to England and found the secretary’s letter of consent awaiting him on his return. In a letter of February 7, 1775, he wrote Dartmouth: Lord Mansfield’s intercession with your Lordship for his Majesty’s permission for me to conduct Lady Payne to England, for the reestablishment of her health, does me the greatest honour. I have indeed for a twelvemonth past entertained the most anxious desire of paying a short visit to England, but did [not make application] until the month of last October, when Lady Payne’s health appeared to me to have arrived at so dangerous a crisis (and my own was so materially impair’d as to create a despair in me of its reestablishment without the aid of a northern climate) that I determined to submit my domestic situation to your Lordship’s humanity (Public Record Office, C.O. 152:55). He said further that Lady Payne had not quitted her bedchamber twice in the last six weeks. Dating back from February 7, this would bring the return to Antigua to December 27, two days after Christmas, which accords well with Miss Schaw’s remarks.
40 The cisterns are thus described by a traveler. The only water in this country fit for the use of men and animals is that which is collected in tanks or cisterns of mason-work, sunk underground, over which a concave stone or brick cover is usually placed, to collect the rain when it falls, with a hole in the centre for it to run through. They have also on every plantation large ponds lined with clay. (Oliver. I, cxxx.)
41 Many of these gentlemen-managers, as well as the overseers under them, contribute, in a great degree, to stock the plantation with mulatto and mestee slaves. It is impossible to say in what number they have such children, but the following fact is too often verified, ‘that, as soon as born, they are despised, not only by the very authors, under God, of their being, but by every white, destitute of humane and liberal principles,’ such is the regard paid to the hue of complexion in preference to the more permanent beauties of the mind (Brief Account, pp. 45-46).
42 Creole is here used in its original meaning of any one born in the West Indies, irrespective of color. Aspinall says that a child born of white parents in Barbadoes, for example, was a ‘creole’ of that island and that the word is applied to animals and even to produce, it being not unusual to speak of a ‘creole’ pig or ‘creole’ corn (British West Indies, p. 149). We read also of ‘creole’ regiments (Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1702-1703, pp. 440, 441).
43 The ladies, inhabitants of this place, seldom walk the streets or ride in their wiskys, without masks or veils, not I presume, altogether as a preservative to their complexion, being frequently seen at a distance unmasked, but as soon as they are approached near, on goes the vizor, thro’ which, by a couple of peep-holes, about the size of an English shilling, they have an opportunity of staring in the faces of all they meet. With you, this would be termed the grossest ill-manners, but here custom has established it, if not necessary as fashionable. Their dress is generally light, and inclined to tawdry, and their conversation languid, except when a little of that species of harmless chat, which ill-nature has called scandal, is busy in circulation, it is then they are volubile, it is then they are eloquent, it is then they are equal to any women in the world (Brief Account, pp. 35-36). Further comments on marriage, domestic life, abstemiousness, and virtue bear out Miss Schaw’s observations.
47 Saint Christopher, says Governor Payne, in his Answers to Queries, (the southeast part of which is divided from the northwest part of Nevis by a narrow channel of scarcely a league in breadth), lies in latitude 17 18’ north and longitude 62 40’ west from the meridian of London, and contains 68 square miles and 43,726 acres of land. Half of the island or thereabouts is an exceedingly fertile, gravelly and sandy soil; mix’d in some places with a very small proportion of clay, but without marle; and the soil of this nature produces sugar canes. The other half is no where so fertile nor is it at all fit for the cultivation of sugar canes: but in some parts of it are produc’d edible roots, and pulse of various kinds, together with some cotton and a small quantity of coffee and cocoa; and in other places, it is almost inaccessible from its situation on the sides and tops of steep mountains and craggy hills, which produce shrubs and different sorts of woods of little or no value. If any one of the islands deserves a pre-eminent character over the others for the salubrity of its air and the general health of its inhabitants, it is certainly Saint Christopher.
Neither in Saint Christopher, Nevis, or Montserrat are there any harbours at all and the shipping of all sizes and denominations anchor in open roads and bays. There are at Saint Christopher 1900 white inhabitants. 417 free negroes and mulattoes, and 23,462 slaves.
The principal port, Basseterre, on the southern side of the island, is divided into two parishes, Saint Peter Basseterre and Saint George Basseterre; the first is on low ground, the second slightly higher, both have less rain and suffer more by the want of it than the other [seven] parishes.
49 Lady Isabella, or Lady Belle as she was commonly called, was Isabella Erskine, daughter of the 10th Earl of Buchan and sister of David Stuart, Lord Erskine, later the 11th earl, the fussy and intermeddling patron of art, letters, and antiquities. Her other brothers were Henry, the lord advocate, and Thomas, the lord chancellor. She was married at Tunbridge Wells, England, January 21, 1770, to William Leslie Hamilton, a prominent planter and attorney of St. Christopher, speaker of the house, member of the council, and attorney-general, 1779. In July of the latter year, on account of dangers attending the American War, Lady Belle returned to England in the Mary, Captain Beatty, and her husband followed her the next year. He landed at Portsmouth, October 5, 1780, but died suddenly at London, four days after his arrival, before his wife could reach his bedside (Gentleman’s Magazine, 1780, p. 495). Her brother, David, was the only member of the family present at the time of his death. On April 3, 1785, Lady Belle married again, the Right Honorable and Reverend John, last Earl of Glencairn, who died September 24, 1796. She herself died at Boulogne, May 17, 1824, without issue by either husband (id., 1824, p. 177). For Olivees and Hamilton’s troubles during the war, see Appendix III.
51The name of the Hamilton plantation was Olivees, the form of the word contained in Lady Isabella’s memorial. In the British Museum manuscript it is written Olovaze and in that of Colonel Vetch, Olivese. The word is evidently French in origin and was probably derived from the name of a previous owner. In 1704, Governor Codrington granted to Lieutenant David Dunbar, for his service in the reduceing the French part of this Island, the plantation of a M. Olivie of 150 acres, lying to the westward of Monkey Hill in Basseterre quarter (C.O. 152: 42, no. 1). There can be little doubt that the plantation thus granted was the one which Miss Schaw visited and that the name Olivees means simply Olivie’s plantation.
55There are three rivulets of excellent water which flow into the sea on the south west part of Saint Christopher (Payne’s Answers to Queries). Taking the island as a whole, however, there are many streams of varying size, the larger of which are called rivers, the smaller gutts (Jeffrey’s West India Atlas).
56 Papa trees, that is, the pawpaw or papaya tree, a palm-like tree bearing an oblong yellow fruit. It has a slender and bare stem surmounted by a crown of large leaves, whose milky juice has marked digestive properties. The ripe fruit is a good substitute for the melon (Aspinall, p. 115). Pawpaw trees are common in the United States, in the middle West.
57 The buildings, on a sugar plantation, consist of a wind or cattle mill (sometimes both), a boiling house, a curing house, a house for fermenting the liquor or wash, from which rum is distilled. The great house where the proprietor generally resides, the manager’s house, houses for the overseers, store houses for grain, stock houses, and negroe huts. The negroe houses or huts are mostly built of stone, well thatched, and as dry and comfortable as any of that description in England (Brief Account, pp. 85, 88). There is an excellent plan of a sugar plantation in Oliver, II, 308-309.
59 Miss Schaw evidently had in mind that part of the Pythagorean system which concerns metempsychosis or the passing of the soul at death into another body, either human or animal. Something is wanting in the text here.
60 The English colonized St. Christopher in 1623, the French in 1625. By mutual agreement they divided the island into four quarters, the French taking those at the ends, the English occupying those in the centre, with their headquarters at Old Road, Brimstone Hill, Sandy Point, and Palmetto Point. On the east, the French controlled Basseterre (later called by the British Bastar) and the peninsula towards Nevis, where lay the salt ponds. These they shared with the English, the latter having a path to them through the French grounds. The two peoples lived amicably side by side until 1666, when the French seized the English quarters and only restored them when compelled to do so by the Treaty of Breda. In 1689 they again occupied the English sections, but were driven out in 1690 by Governor Codrington, the elder. The status quo was restored by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697. At the beginning of the war of the Spanish Succession the younger Codrington drove the French completely out of the island, but in 1705-1706, the French fleet reversed the situation and inflicted so much damage upon the planters of St. Christopher and Nevis that parliament appropriated more than £100,000 to cover their losses. The islands were given to England at the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, and the French resigned permanently all their claims (For the earlier period see Higham, Leeward Islands, 1660-1688).
61 Evidently Miss Schaw intended to return with her brother to St. Christopher after leaving the children with their father in North Carolina, though it is not likely that she intended to remain there for any great length of time.
Miss Milliken may have formed a part of the social group in Edinburgh to which both Lady Belle and Miss Schaw belonged and may have shared with them in devotion to literature, painting, and music, accomplishments common to all ladies of quality at this period of Scottish history, when culture in the Athens of the North reached the fulness of its blossoming and exercised its maximum influence. Miss Milliken was probably connected with the Millikens of St. Christopher, possibly with Major James Milliken of Monkey Hill plantation (see map facing p. 120), an estate which is still known by that name. She cannot have been related to the Young Millikin mentioned on page 302, for the change of spelling indicates a different family. The reference to a considerable fortune of which she was deprived by the folly of a mother might furnish a clue to her indentification, were it worth while to follow it up.
63Captain Daniel Graham was a merchant and sea captain, whose vessel, the Spooner, a ship of 200 tons, 16 men, built in Boston, 1765, and registered in Glasgow, 1767, made semiannual trips between Basseterre and Glasgow, carrying sugar and cotton and bringing back general merchandise. The vessel was owned by Alexander Houston & Co. of Glasgow. Captain Graham had a store at the head of Liverpool Row, Basseterre, where he sold dry goods, oatmeal, jereboams and magnums of claret, iron hoops and rivets, sad irons, etc. (St. Christopher Gazette, March 2, 1776).
65St. Eustatius is a small rocky island, which Henry Laurens once called that small speck in the ocean; lying but eight miles northwest of St. Christopher, in area somewhat less than seven square miles. It was at this time an open port, free to the commerce of all nations, and hence a flourishing centre of trade, legitimate and illegitimate. The governor who passed away on the day the party arrived was Jan de Windt, 1753-1775, who died on January 19 (Nouvelles Extraordinares de Divers Endroits, commonly called Gazette de Leyde, 1775, no. 126, March 31, 1775, p. 4). On a appris aussi par les Lettres de St. Eustache en date du 20 Janvier, que Mr. Jan de Windt, Commandant de cette Isle et des Isles adjacentes de Saba et St. Martin, y étoit mort la veille. We are indebted to Dr. J. Franklin Jameson for this extract.
66 West Digges, the actor, 1720-1786, paid frequent visits to Edinburgh, acting there as early as 1756, and Miss Schaw might well have seen him at any time after that date. She is probably referring to the same person on page 94, where she speaks of Digges worshipping in the Temple of the Sun. There is a brief account of his career in the Dictionary of National Biography.
67 Miss Schaw and her party had now entered the Cape Fear River and were approaching the town of Brunswick, after a voyage of twenty-four day. When the captain pointed out Snow’s plantation, they must have been in the river channel, nearly opposite Fort Johnston, for the plantation lay about half way between Brunswick and the fort, on the northern side of Snow’s Creek, Sturgeon’s Point, the terminus of the road running north on that side of the river. It is shown on Jeffrey’s map in The American Atlas and on Collet’s map printed in 1770. Its owner is referred to in the following entry from the Brunswick records of date 1766. As Robert Snow and his now wife find it impossible to live together with that harmony which the married state requires and have therefore for their mutual ease agreed to relax as far as they can that obligation which they cannot totally dissolve: they enter into a formal indenture as to the division of the property (Brunswick County Records, Book A, Wills, Conveyances, and Inventories, pp. 67, 69). Snow was a church warden of St. Philip’s; hence a separation rather than a divorce.
68 The fort, of which Miss Schaw speaks with so little respect, was Fort Johnston, eleven miles from the mouth of the river. It was built of tapia, consisting of equal parts of lime, raw oyster shells, sand, and water, forming a paste or batter, as the negroes called it, which was poured into boxes, much as liquid concrete or cement is poured today. The fort was constructed in 1740 and rebuilt in 1764, with a wall of tapia and a lower battery and fosse (North Carolina Records, VI, 1028, 1099, 1183). Governor Tryon, in commenting on its condition in 1766, said: The proportions observed in the construction are as miserable as are the materials with which it is built. There is so great a proportion of sand that every gun fired brings down some of the parapet. I think the fort a disgrace to the ordnance his Majesty has placed in it (ib., VII, 246). Compare Dobbs’s statements, 1754 (ib., V, 158), 1756 (ib., V, 595), 1761 (Answers to Queries, ib., VI, 614-615).
69 The reference here is not to the governor of the province but to the governor of the fort, at this time Captain John Collet. Captain Seater on passing the fort would have to pay five shillings, a perquisite that went to the officer in command, for giving the masters of vessels their product bill (North Carolina Records, VII, 249).
73 This is the last mention of Alexander’s Indian servant, Robert. Where he was from this time until Alexander sailed for England in July we do not know. Probably he returned to England with his master.
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