Slike strani

The profpect of this ifland from the fea, by reafon of its constant verdure, and many fair and fafe bays, is wonderfully pleasant. The coaft, and for fome miles within the land, is low; but removing farther, it rises, and becomes hilly. The whole island is divided by a ridge of mountains running east and weft, some rifing to a great height; and these are composed of rock, and a very hard clay, through which, however, the rains that fall inceffantly upon them have worn long and deep cavities, which they call gullies. These mountains, however, are far from being unpleasant, as they are crowned even to their fummits by a variety of fine trees. There are alfo about a hundred rivers that iffue from them on both fides; and though none of them are navigable for any thing but canoes, are both pleafing and profitable in many other refpects. The climate, like that of all countries between the tropics, is very warm towards the fea, and in marfhy places unhealthy; but in more elevated fituations cooler, and where people live temperately, to the full as wholesome as any part of the Weft-Indies. The rains fall heavy for about a fortnight in the months of May and October; and as they are the cause of fertility, are stiled feasons. Thunder is pretty frequent, and sometimes showers of hail; but ice or fnow, except on the tops of the mountains, are never feen, but on them, and at no very great height, the air is exceedingly cold.

The most eastern parts of this ridge are famous under the name of the Blue mountains. This great chain of rugged rocks defends the fouth fide of the island from those boisterous north-west winds, which might be fatal to their produce. Their ftreams, though small, fupply the inhabitants with good water, which is a great bleffing, as their wells are generally brackish. The Spaniards were persuaded that thefe hills abounded with metals; but we do not find that they wrought any mines, or if they did, it was only copper, of which they said the bells in the church of St. Jago were made. They have feveral hot fprings, which have done great cures. The climate was certainly more temperate before the great earthquake, and the island was supposed to be out of the reach of hurricanes, which fince then it hath severely felt. The heat, however, is very much tempered by land and fea breezes, and it is afferted, that the hottest time of the day is about eight in the morning. In the night, the wind blows from the land on all fides, fo that no fhips can then enter their ports.

In an island fo large as this, which contains above five millions of acres, it may be very reasonably conceived that there are great variety of foils. Some of thefe are deep, black, and rich, and mixed

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with a kind of potter's earth, others fhallow'and fandy, and fome of
a middle nature. There are many favannahs, or wide plains, with-
out ftones, in which the native Indians had luxuriant crops of maize,
which the Spaniards turned into meadows, and kept in them prodi-
gious herds of cattle. Some of these favannahs are to be met with
even amongst the mountains. All these differents foils may be justly
pronounced fertile, as they would certainly be found, if tolerably
cultivated, and applied to proper purposes. A fufficient proof of this
will arife from a very curfory review of the natural and artificial pro-
duce of this fpacious country.

It abounds in maize, pulfe, vegetables of all kinds, meadows of
fine grafs, a variety of beautiful flowers, and as great a variety of
oranges, lemons, citrons, and other rich fruits. Ufeful animals
there are of all forts, horfes, affes, mules, black cattle of a large fize,
and fheep, the flesh of which is well tafted, though their wool is
hairy and bad. Here are alfo goats and hogs in great plenty, sea and
river fish, wild, tame, and water fowl. Amongst other commodi-
ties of great value, they have the fugar cane, cacoa, indigo, pimento,
cotton, ginger, and coffee; trees for timber and other uses, such as
mahogany, manchineel, white wood, which no worm will touch,
cedar, olives, and many more. Befides thefe, they have fuftic, red
wood, and various other materials for dying. To these we may add
a multitude of valuable drugs, fuch as as guaiacum, china farsapa-
rilla, caffia, tamarinds, vanellas, and the prickle pear or opuntia,
which produces the cochineal, with no inconfiderable number of odo
riferous gums. Near the coaft they have falt ponds, with which
they supply their own confumption, and might make any quantity"
they pleased.


As this ifland abounds with rich commodities, it is happy likewise in having a number of fine and safe ports. Point Morant, the eastern extremity of the island, hath a fair and commodious bay. Paffing on to the fouth there is Port-Royal; on a neck of land which forms one. fide of it, there stood once the fairest town in this ifland; and the harbour is as fine a one as can be wifhed, capable of holding a thoufand large veffels, and still the station of the English squadron. Old harbour is also a convenient port, fo is Maccary bay; and there are at least twelve more between this and the western extremity, which is point Negrillo, where ships of war lie when there is a war with Spain. On the north fide there is Orange bay, Cold harbour, Rio Novo, Montego bay, Port Antonio, one of fineft in the island, and feveral others.



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The north-west winds, which fometimes blow furiously on this coaft, render the country on that fide lefs fit for canes, but pimento thrives wonderfully; and certainly many other staples might be raised in fmall plantations, which are frequent in Barbadoes, and might be very advantageous here in many respects.

The town of Port-Royal stood on a point of land running far out into the fea, narrow, fandy, and incapable of producing any thing; yet the excellence of the port, the convenience of having flips of seven hundred tons coming close up to their wharfs, and other advantages, gradually attracted inhabitants in fuch a manner, that though many of their habitations were built on piles, there were near two thousand houfes in the town in its most flourishing state, and which let at high rents. The earthquake by which it was overthrown happened on the 7th of June, 1692, and numbers of people perifhed in it. This earthquake was followed by an epidemic disease, of which upwards of three thoufand died; yet the place was rebuilt, but the greatest part was reduced to ashes by a fire that happened on the 9th of January, 1703, and then the inhabitants removed mostly to Kingston. It was, however, rebuilt for the third time, and was raising towards its former grandeur, when it was overwhelmed by the fea, August 28, 1722; there is, notwithstanding, a small town there at this day, Hurricanes fince that time have often happened, and occafioned terrible devaftation; one in particular, in 1780, which almoft overwhelmed the little fea port town of Savannah la Mar.

The island is divided into three counties, Middlefex, Surry, and Cornwall, containing twenty parishes, over each of which prefides a magistrate, styled a cuftos; but these parishes in point of size are a kind of hundreds. The whole contains thirty-fix towns and villages, eighteen churches and chapels, and about twenty-three thousand white inhabitants.

The administration of public affairs is by a governor and council of royal appointment, and the reprefentatives of the people in the lower House of Affembly. They meet at Spanish-town, and things are conducted with great order and dignity. The lieutenant-governor and commander in chief has five thousand pounds currency, or three thousand five hundred and feventy-one pounds eight fhillings and fix-pence three farthings fterling, befides which, he has a houfe in Spanish-town, a pen or a farm adjoining, and a polink or mountain for provifions, a fecretary, an under fecretary, and a domeftic chap lain, and other fees, which make his income at least eight thousand

five hundred and fifty pounds currency, or fix thousand one hundred pounds fterling.

The honourable the council confifts of a prefident and ten members, with a clerk, at two hundred and feventy pounds, chaplain one hundred pounds, ufher of the black rod and meffenger, two hundred and fifty pounds.

The honourable the affembly confifts of forty-three members, one of whom is chosen speaker. To this affembly belongs a clerk, with one thousand pounds falary; a chaplain, one hundred and fifty pounds; messenger, seven hundred pounds; deputy, one hundred and forty pounds; and printer, two hundred pounds.

The number of members returned by each parish and county are, for Middlesex feventeen, viz. St. Catharine three, St. Dorothy two, St. John two, St. Thomas in the Vale two, Clarendon two, Vero two, St. Mary two, St. Ann two: for Surry fixteen, viz. Kingston three, Port-Royal three, St. Andrew two, St. David two, St. Thomas in the East two, Portland two, St. George two: for Cornwall ten, viz. St. Elizabeth two, Weftmorland two, Hanover two, St. James two, Trelawney two.

The high court of chancery confifts of the chancellor (governor for the time being) twenty-five masters in ordinary, and twenty mafters extraordinary, a register, and clerk of the patents, ferjeant at arms, and mace-bearer. The court of vice admiralty has a fole judge, judge furrogate, and commissary, king's advocate, principal register, marshal, and a deputy-marshal. The court of ordinary consists of the ordinary (governor for the time being) and a clerk. The fupreme court of judicature has a chief justice and fixteen affiftant judges, attorney-general, clerk of the courts, clerk of the crown, folicitor of the crown, thirty-three commiffioners for taking affidavits, a provost-marshal-general, and eight deputies, eighteen barristers, befides the attorney-general and advocate-general, and upwards of one hundred and twenty practising attornies at law,

The trade of this ifland will beft appear by the quantity of fhipping, and the number of feamen to which it gives employment, and the nature and quantity of its exports. The following is an account from the books of the inspector-general of Great-Britain, of the number of veffels of all kinds there registered, tonnage, and number of men, which cleared from the feveral ports of entry in Jamaica, in the year 1787, exclufive of coafting floops, wherries, &c.



of Veffels. Tonnage. Men.








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American States


British American Colonies 66
Foreign Weft-Indies
Africa .




It muft, however, be observed, that as many of the vessels clearing for America and the foreign West-Indies make two or more voyages in the year, it is ufual, in computing the real number of those veffels, their tonnage and men, to deduct one third from the official numbers. With this correction the total to all parts is four hundred veffels, containing seventy-eight thousand eight hundred and fixtytwo. tons, navigated by eight thousand eight hundred and forty-five









The exports for the fame year are given on the fame authority, as follows:


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