Page:A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica.djvu/12
of negroes at Kingston, where a gentleman, accompanied by a friend, came up to a negro about to be submitted to the hammer, and (in the author’s hearing) after a few preliminary questions, asked him if he would be disposed to live with him, described the nature of his work, the situation of his coffee plantation in Liguanea, and every inducement that occurred to him. His friend calling to the negro’s recollection an old acquaintance, suggested that he must remember him lean and sickly; he was now on the same plantation healthy and fat. The negro consented to live on the plantation, and the gentleman purchased him.
With regard to their comforts it is to be remarked, that nearly the whole of the markets of Jamaica are supplied with every species of vegetable and fruit by the overplus of the negro’s produce, by which traffic they acquire considerable riches. On Holland estate, in St. Thomas in the East, the negroes keep a boat, which trades regularly between that place and Kingston, and these grumble as much at the low price of yams and plantains as an English farmer at the fall of corn.
Riding in that neighbourhood at Christmas, the author met a negro driving a mule heavily laden; the man was head cattle-man on Batchelor’s Hall Penn, belonging to A. Arcedekne, Esq., an appendage to his fine estate of Golden Grove. He had been at Morant Bay for his Christmas stock, and had purchased a cask of wine, a ham, and many other luxuries, which with his poultry of every description, of which he had abundance, and the estate allowance of fresh beef, would enable him to keep open house for three days for all his acquaintance. This man being an expert cattle doctor, had frequently leave of absence; and at his return, after the lapse of a fortnight, would bring home a very considerable sum of money. This is an indulgence granted very generally to expert and well disposed negroes on the principal grazing farms; but even those apparently the least capable may accumulate large sums. While on a visit in the neighbourhood of Arcadia estate, in Trelawny, the author was told that an old woman had brought the attorney a large sum of money, to be sent to the proprietor in England as her free gift. Though he neither doubted the possibility nor the credit of the story, he was, nevertheless, willing to have it from the best authority; and when at Bellfield, the residence of William Miller, Esq. attorney to Arcadia estate, he made inquiries of him. Mr. Miller directed the book of Arcadia estate to be brought, and pointed to the following entry: