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hardware. The number of their veffels does not exceed thirty soops without decks.
The tame animals of these two islands have filled the woods with a breed of horned cattle, which are become wild: the inhabitants shoot them, and cut their fesh into flips of three inches in breadth and one in thickness, which they dry, after having melted the fat out of them, so that they will keep three or four months. This provision, which is called tassajo, is sold in the French settlements for twenty livres a hundred weight.
All the money which the government sends to these two islands, falls into the hands of the commandants, the officers civil and military, and the monks. The remainder of the people, who do not amount to more than fixteen hundred, live in a state of the most deplorable poverty. In time of war they furnill about two hundred men, who, for the sake of plunder, offer themselves, without distinction, to any of the colonies that happen to be fitting out cruizers for sea. Besides these, there are some other small islands claimed by the Spaniards, but to which they have paid little or no attention.
MARTINICO is the chief of the French Caribbee islands, the
middle of which is situated in west longitude 61° 0', north latitude 14° 30'.
This island was first settled by M. Desnambuc a Frenchman, in the year 1635, with only one hundred men from St. Christopher's. He chose rather to have it peopled from thence than froin Europe, as he foresaw that men tired with the fatigue of such a long voyage, would mostly perish faon after their arrival, either from the climate, or from the hardships incident to most emigrations. They completed their first settlement without any difficulty; the natives, iutimidated by their fire arms, or seduced by promises, gave up the western and southern parts of the island to the new comers. In a short time, however, perceiving the number of these enterprising strangers daily increasing, they resolved to extirpate them, and therefore called in the savages of the neighbouring islands to aslift them; they fell jointly upon a little fort that had been hastily erected, but were repulsed with the loss of seven or eight hundred of their best warriors, who were left dead upon the spot.
After this check, the fuvages for a long time difappeared entirely, but at last they returned, bringing with them presents to the French, and making excuses for what had happened; they were received in a friendly manner, and the reconciliation sealed with pots of brandy, This peaceable state of affairs, however, was of no long continuance, the French took such undue advantages of their superiority over the savages, that they soon rekindled in the others that hatred which had never been entirely subdued. The savages separated into small bands,
and waylaid the French as they came fingly out into the woods to hunt, and waiting till the sportsman had discharged his piece, rushed upon and killed him before he could charge it again. Twenty men had been thus afafinated before any reason could be given for their fudden disappearance; but as soon as the matter was known the French took a severe and fatal revenge; the favages were pursued and mafsacred, with their wives and children, and the few that escaped were driven out of Martinico, to which they never returned.
The French being thus left sole masters of the island, lived quietly on those spots which best suited their inclinations. At this time they were divided into two classes; the first consisted of those who had paid their passage to the island, and these were called inhabitants, and to these the government diitributed lands, which became their own, upon paying a yearly tribute. These inhabitants had under their command a multitude of disorderly people brought over from Europe at their expense, whom they called engagés, or bondsmen. This engagement was a kind of slavery for the term of three years, on the expiration of which they were at liberty, and became the equals of those whom they had served. They all confined themselves at first to the culture of tobacco and ctima, to which was soon added that of arnotto and indigo. Ths dulure of sugar also was begun about the year 1650. Ten years after, one Benjamin D'Acosta, a Jew, planted some cacao trees, but his example was not followed till 1684, when chocolate was more commonly used in France. Cacao then became the principal support of the colonists, who had not a sufficient fund to undertake fugar plantations; but by the inclemency of the season in 1718, all the cacao trees were destroyed at once. Coffee was then proposed as a proper object of culture: the French ministry had received as a present from the Dutch, two of these trees, which were carefully preserved in the king's botanical garden. Two young shoots were taken from these, put on board a ship for Martinico, and entrusted to the care of one M. Desclieux ; this ship happened to be straitened for want of fresh water, and the trees would have pe rished, had not the gentleman hared with them that quantity of water which was allowed for his own drinking. The culture of coffee was then begun, and attended with the greatest and most rapid success; about the end of the last century, however, the colony had made but small advances. In 1700 it had only fix thousand five hundred and ninety-seven white inhabitants ; the favages, mulattoes, and free negroes, men, women, and children, amounted to no more than
five hundred and seven ; the number of llaves was but fourteen thousand five hundred and fixty-fix; all these together made a pcpulation of twenty-one thousand fix hundred and forty-five persons.
After the peace of Utrecht, Martinico began to emerge from that feeble state in which it had so long continued. The island then bes came the mart for all the windward French settlements ; in its ports the neighbouring islands fold their produce, and bought the commodities of the mother country; and, in short, Martinico became famous all over Europe: their labour improved the plantations as far as was consistent with the consumption then made in Europe of American productions, and the annual exports from the island amounted to about seven hundred thousand pounds.
The connections of Martinico with the other islands entitled her to the profits of commission, and the charges of transport, as nie alone was in the possession of carriages. This profit might be rated at the tenth of the produce; and the sum total must have amounted to near seven hundred and fixty-five thousand pounds : this standing debt was seldom called in, and left for the improvement of their plantations ; it was increased by advances in money, llaves, and other necessary articles, so that Martinico became daily more and more a creditor to the other islands, and thus kept them in constant dependence.
The connections of this island with cape Breton, Canada, and Louisiana, procured a market for the ordinary sugars, the inferior coffee, the molasses, and ruin, which would not sell in France. In exchange the inhabitants received salt fish, dried vegetables, deals, and some four. In the clandestine trade on the coasts of Spanish America, consisting wholly of goods manufactured by the French nation, the commonly made a profit of ninety per cent. on the value of about one hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds, fent yearly to the Caraccas, or neighbouring colonies.
Upwards of feven hundred and eighty-seven thousand pounds were constantly circulated in this island with great rapidity; and this is perhaps the only country in the world where the fpecie has been so considerable as to make it a matter of indifference to them whether they dealt in gold, filver, or commodities. This extenfive trade trought into the po. ts of Martinico annually two hundred Tips from France; fourteen or fifteen fitted out by the mother country for the coast of Guinea, fixty from Canada, ten or twelve from the islands of Margaretta and Trinidad, besides the Englid and Dutch fhips that came to carry on a smuggling trade. The private navigation from the island to the northern colonies, to the Spanish continent, and to the windward islands; employed one hundred and twenty vessels, from twenty to thirty tons burden.
The war of 1744 put a stop to this prosperity: not that the fault was in Martinico itself; its navy, constantly exercised; and accuftomed to frequent engagements, which the carrying on a contraband trade required, was prepared for action. In less than six months; forty privateers, fitted out at St. Peter's, spread themselves about the latitude of the Caribbee islands ; yet an entire stop was put to the navigation of the colony, both to the Spanish coast and to Canada; and they were constantly disturbed even on their own coasts. The few ships that came from France in order to compensate the hazards they were exposed to by the loss of their commodities, fold them at a very advanced price, and bought them at a very low one.
When every thing thus seemed tending to decay, the peace at last restored the freedom of trade, and with it the hopes of recovering the ancient prosperity of the island; the event, however, did not answer the pains that were taken to attain it. Two years had not elapsed after thé cessation of hostilities, when the colony lost the con: traband trade she carried on with the American Spaniards. This lofs was not so sensibly felt by the colony as the hardships brought upon them by the mother country ; an unskilful adminiftration clogged the reciprocal and neceffary connection between the islands and NorthAmerica with so many formalities, that in 1755 Martinico fent but four vessels to Canada. The direction of its colonies, now commit-ted to the care of ignorant and avaricious clerks, it soon lost its importance, funk into contempt, and was prostituted to venality. The war broke out afresh, and after a series of misfortunes and defeats, the island fell into the hands of the British ; it was restored in July 1763, fixteen months after it had been conquered, but deprived of all the necessary means of prosperity that had made it of so much importance. The contraband trade carried on to the Spanish coasts was almost entirely loft, the ceffion of Canada to Great-Britain precluded all hopes of opening again a communication, which had only been interrupted by temporary mistakes. The productions of the Grenades, St. Vincent, and Dominica, which were now become British dominions, could no longer be brought into their harbours, and a new regulation of the mother country, which forbad breť