Page:A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica.djvu/18
From Old Harbour to Punto Negrillo, the western point of the island, the sea-coast was chiefly in savanna, abounding in horned cattle; but there does not appear to have been any settlement in all that great extent of country, except a small hamlet, called Oristan, of which, however, the accounts are obscure and contradictory. Returning eastward, to the north of Port Caguaya, was the Hato of Liguany: presenting to the harbour an extensive plain or savanna, covered with cedar and other excellent timber. This part of the country was also abundantly stored with horned cattle and horses, which run wild in great numbers; and the first employment of the English troops was hunting, and slaughtering the cattle for the sake of the hides and tallow, which soon became an article of export. It was supposed by Sedgewicke, that the soldiers had killed 20,000 in the course of the first four months after their arrival: and as to horses, “they were in such plenty (says Goodson), that we accounted them the vermin of the country.” Eastward of Liguany was the Hato, by some called Ayala, by others Yalos, and now wrote Yallahs; a place, says Venables, “which hath much commodity of planting or erecting of sugar engines of water, by reason of two convenient rivers running through it for that purpose.” Next to Ayala was the Hato called Morante. “This Morante,” continues Venables, “is a large and plentiful hato, being four leagues in length, consisting of many small savannas, and has wild cattle and hogs in very great plenty, and ends at the mine, which is at the cape or point of Morante itself, by which, towards the north, is the Port Antonio.” No mention is made of the north side of the island, which gives room to conclude, as was undoubtedly the fact, that it was one entire desert from east to west, totally uncultivated and uninhabited. Of the inland parts, it appears from Sloane, that Guanaboa was famous for its cacao-trees, and the low lands of Clarendon for plantations of tobacco. The Court of Spain could not see so valuable a gem torn from its diadem without a wish
ratified on the part of the English, by Major-General Fortescue, Vice Admiral Goodson, and Colonels Holdip and D’Oyley. By the letter of Venables to the secretary Thurloe, dated June 13, 1655, we learn that St. Jago de la Vega (Spanish Town) was at that time the capital. Of the other principal settlements, the chief appears to have been Puerto de Caguaya, since named, by the English, Port Royal; to the westward of Caguaya was the Puerto de Esquivella, which was still resorted to by the galleons, and, from its ancient reputation, the English named it the Old Harbour.