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slight value, not only as an exertion of the mental but also of the moral powers, to make, as occasion comes, such attempts as the present, to replace (for the veriest accidents often cast such statues from their pedestals) the shattered fragments of effigies of deserving, though unpopular, monarchs and politicians back in their historic positions and in the lights and aspects in which the originals might have known themselves, and would have been content to rest. Moreover, in the case of James I., although he had fair justice allotted to him by his contemporaries, we may be, better than they, qualified to fix his proper and final attitude and elevation. In some measure, when compared with the earlier and later Stewarts, he conforms to their general type. He has his share of their 'nonchalance,' their uncertain temper, their irregular energy. There is this, besides, that, as he was the first to call himself King of Great Britain, so he was the first to create what is in the main still, both in the eyes of Englishmen and in the eyes of other nationalities, the policy of Great Britain.
ART. II.-1. History of Jamaica. By W. J. Gardner. London,, 1873.
2. Report on the Jamaica Blue Book for 1872. By GovernorSir J. P. Grant, K.C.B. (Colonial Blue Book, Part I., 1874).
O vast is our Empire, so widely scattered the lands overshadowed by its flag, that to a large proportion even of the best educated among ourselves, let alone the comparatively uneducated, many of our noblest colonial possessions, the scenes in their day of the manliest British perseverance, the most daring enterprise, the most signal success, are nothing but mere geographical names, which convey to the mind of the hearer no idea beyond the necessity of hunting them out, should occasion require it, in such or such a plate of the general atlas. Who is there of us but has laughed with Walpole and Smollett, when the Newcastle of their pages naively inquires the situation of Annapolis, and expresses his wonder that Cape Breton should be an island? And yet many a duke, perhaps even a minister of more modern date, might be hard put to it if too suddenly ques-tioned regarding the whereabouts of Montego Bay, or the extent of Dominica. "It is but a poor household," says Horace," that does not contain many valuables unnoted by the master of the house ;" and the mere inventory of the precious things included in that world-wide domain of which our Queen is Lady and
Mistress, may well prove too long for an ordinary memory; while a detailed acquaintance with every item recorded on the list would certainly exceed the patience of the most laborious, and the grasp of the most comprehensive intellect.
With some of our colonies, however, the public mind is, in a general way, tolerably familiar; and the mention of them not only brings immediately with it a distinct idea of their geographical character and position, but moreover calls up before the fancy an entire picture, bearing a resemblance more or less accurate to the locality in question. Hindoostan, or at any rate that portion of it which has been for some generations past under British rule, is an instance in point. The muddy waters of the Hoogly, the cocoa-nut groves of Bombay, the surf of Madras, the architectural glories of Agra, the hump-backed bulls of Benares, the caverned wonders of Elephanta, rice-fields and bamboo clusters, tigers and mango-topes, slender Hindoos, bangle-ornamented women, and solar-hatted officials, all these and more shape themselves without effort in the imaginary landscape, and contribute, when India and Indian affairs are under discussion, to the definiteness of our ideas, and the intensity of our feelings. Perhaps the images are not always perfectly accurate, nor the feelings judicious; still they exist; and should they be at first measure erroneous, they subsequently have their use by supplying a groundwork for truer appreciations. It is absolute ignorance alone from which no result can follow, no interest can have rise.
What we have just said about India, holds good in a modified form for Jamaica. But at the name of the West Indian island, it is a vision of sugar-canes and rum-barrels, of creoles and negroes, of burning suns and diluvial rains, the whole projected in some imaginations on a pleasant background of cottages, chapels, and emancipation, in others on a less cheerful one of abandoned estates, ruined factories and Morant Bay, that rises to the view. Indeed a series of analogous landscapes, little differing from the Jamaican, represents to most of us the British West Indian islands, one and all; nor is the panorama, however incomplete, absolutely unfaithful to nature.
Indeed where Jamaica is concerned, it might be well if the imaginary portrayal went no further. But such is not ordinarily the case. The slight outlines of reality have been again and again scrawled over and coloured in with the glaring tints and distorted forms of fiction; romance-writers and emancipationists, Blackwood and Exeter Hall, have, each in turn, contributed their share to the work, till the popular Jamaican ideal bears for the most no truer resemblance to the Jamaica of fact,
than a landscape viewed alternately through a prism and a smoked glass, would to the same surveyed by the naked eye.
For much of this prejudice is responsible; much also may be ascribed to ignorance, and to the low estimate formerly set by the British mind on almost everything beyond our own 'silver-streak' of sea, till the combined effects of long peace and of steam had transformed us from insulars to cosmopolitans. When old Sam Johnson, on hearing of the death of a wealthy Jamaica planter, a friend of his own too, if we remember rightly, growled out that 'the deceased would not, on exchanging this world for another, have found much of a difference either in the climate or the company,' he did but condense into a rough epigram what was indeed the current popular verdict of his generation, upon the fairest of West Indian islands, and the inhabitants thereof. A pestilential atmosphere, where stagnation alternated with hurricanes, and the deadly heat of the day gave place only to the deadlier dews of night; a land where yellow fever was the normal sanitary condition, and immorality the social where the existence of the white colonist was summed up in indolence, sangaree, and flogging, and that of the black in field gangs, Obeah, and being flogged; add mosquitoes, chiggers, snakes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and all things evil, set in a sea-margin of sharks, reefs, and pirates; such, or nearly, was the Jamaica of the Lichfield Doctor and his compeers. Part, and not an inconsiderable one, of the above description, may be still read in Michael Scott's pages; part has almost passed away from memory with the windy declamations of Exeter Hall.
A much juster, though not a wholly unbiassed, estimate of Jamaica and its belongings, was given to the outer world by poor Monk Lewis in his sprightly West Indian Journal; and all the mighty changes, transformations we might almost call them, that have since that writer's day, come over the island of his sojourn, do not prevent its visitors from finding even now much to remind them of Byron's amiable friend. His judgment may have been sometimes at fault, his heart never; and the eyes of the heart, says the true Arab proverb, see often as far as those of the head; occasionally farther.
Passing over a few names of limited, because almost exclusively local, celebrity, our next authority on Jamaica is Mr. Bigelow, a New-Englander, and endowed with more than the customary amount of New-England prejudice and self-sufficiency. This gentleman visited the island in 1850, not long after the Hon. Mr. Stanley, now Lord Derby, had travelled through it; and in the following year he published a work which he was pleased to entitle 'Jamaica as it is;' but which he might have
more correctly headed, a comparison of the wretchedness of Jamaica under British rule, with the advantages she might reap from American annexation.' Mr. Stanley's well-known letter of that period to Mr. Gladstone, undergoes the severest strictures of the New York critic; as do also, though with more justice, the inflated and injudicious lucubrations of Mr. Carlyle. approval Mr. Bigelow and his theorizings found in the States we know not; but they certainly met with very little either in the British West Indies themselves, or, a contemporary notice in the Edinburgh Review' excepted, in the mother country. On the other hand, it may not be considered unworthy of remark that the Hon. Mr. Stanley's tour, and his opinions as expressed at the time in conversation, and subsequently embodied in writing, are still held in grateful remembrance and deserved esteem by the landowners of Jamaica.
The work now before us, though by no means free from great, not to say gross defects, is yet, as a whole, of a very different and much superior class of merit to that of Mr. Bigelow. Mr. W. T. Gardner writes, not as an outsider, but as a resident; and one who has with praiseworthy diligence closely studied not only the printed and published documents, but also the MSS. memoirs and archives of the colony. Manners and customs are sketched with the fresh minuteness of actual experience; the natural characteristics of the island, its incomparable beauty of scenery, its climate, its principal productions, its capabilities, its resources, are distinctly, if somewhat meagrely, described; and its entire history, from its first discovery by Columbus, down to the sixth year of Sir John Peter Grant's administration, is clearly and even agreeably detailed.
It is to be regretted that these considerable merits are balanced by faults hardly less considerable. Mr. Gardner, who is himself, as we are informed, a member of the London Missionary Society, has not only devoted to the so-called religious life and development, to the petty strifes and squabbles, the rivalries and jarrings of the too numerous sects that divide the Jamaican population, a part of his book out of all proportion with the proprieties of general literature, but has too often done so with the tone and in the spirit not of a historian but of a partisan. Worse still, when on this field he occasionally so far forgets courtesy and good taste as to permit himself personal allusions strongly savouring of sacerdotal spite; and more than once merits the rebuke given centuries ago by the Highest Authority to those who distribute Divine judgments according to their own passions or fancies. The Church of England and her ministers fare, as might have been anticipated, particularly badly at Mr. Gardner's hands;
while Dissenters and their propagandists of every denomination, but more especially the Baptist missionaries and their flocks, find in him a constant apologist, and even panegyrist at times. On the contrary, in his severe, though by no means unmerited censures of the too well known "native Baptists," we trace the orthodox antipathy of the licensed for the unlicensed practitioner; an antipathy so far fortunate in this instance, that it renders him an almost impartial narrator where Morant Bay and the illstarred Mr. Gordon are concerned.
Nor is religion, or rather sectarianism, the only topic on which the reverend author over-readily exchanges the characteristics of an annalist for those of a pamphleteer. Himself an emancipationist of the somewhat sensational type, he is apt to dwell with undue prolixity on the acts of injustice and cruelty that, as is well known, not rarely disgraced the slave-holding community; and while he takes pleasure in deepening the shades of a picture already dark enough of itself, he projects, by way of contrast, lights too brilliant, alas! for truth on his portrait of the liberated African. Here, again, Monk Lewis was a juster limner; and his shrewd, though kindly likeness of the negro in his day of bondage, and by anticipation of what the same would be when 'lord of himself, that heritage of woe,' receive more confirmation from actual experience than the rose-coloured representations of Mr. Gardner and his school.
Slavery, as an institution, has long ago received its condemnation; and no inferiority of the emancipated race, however persistent, no consequence, however unfavourable, no loss, however great, can reverse or even modify that verdict. It is founded on primary justice, on absolute right, on the laws of human nature itself. Nor-we hasten to anticipate a misconception of our meaning that might possibly occur-do we hold that after events, rightly taken, have pronounced unfavourably on the result of the great experiment of 1833. That the negroes have not only by their general conduct falsified the lugubrious vaticinations of those who foresaw in emancipation merely a prelude to the excesses of Haiti, but have, on the contrary, given unmistakeable evidence of a notable and constantly increasing amelioration in every respect, moral and intellectual no less than physical, are facts that prejudice itself can no longer controvert or assail. And if the man and brother has not yet realized, nor even seems likely over-soon to realize the utopian visions of his enthusiastic patrons, he has shown himself many degrees further removed from the good-for-nothing, pumpkin-eating ideal of Mr. Carlyle. But the greatest gainers have been in truth the whites themselves.