« ZurückWeiter »
12. The cultivation of the soil is carried on in very small farms or gardens, and entirely by means of the hoe and cutlass; neither carts or ploughs, nor other machines or implements worked by animal labour, being employed. Besides the ordinary fruit and vegetables of the climate they raise a little corn (maize) and guinea corn or millet.
13. The number of cattle in the Grand Cayman is believed to be about one thonsand (1,000), and of horses from three to four hundred (300 to 400); but the information given to me upon this point did not profess to be very accurate. There are also a few sheep, apparently of an inferior kind; these are sometimes sold to the shipping. Their price at the time of my visit was about twenty-five shillings (17. 5s.) apiece. Domestic fowls were about one shilling apiece; and their horses, of a handy description (mere ponies in stature), were valued at from five to seven pounds each.
14. I was informed that during recent years some thirty or forty of these animals had been annually conveyed to and sold in Jamaica, but it was regretted that this branch of trade was falling off.
15. There is one so called road round the island, and three which traverse it. These lines of communication are however mere bridle tracks, and are kept in a passable state at an expenditure of less than fifty pounds (507.) a year, which amount the vestry raise under local regulations.
16. There is no medical man in the island. The inhabitants affirm the climate to be very healthy; but upon this and other points relating to the physical description of the island, I would beg to refer to a document transmitted by my predecessor with his Despatch, No. 18., of 9th February 1854, which emanated from the present senior magistrate, Mr. Eden, and another intelligent resident at Grand Cayman. During the short period which has elapsed since that document was drawn up the physical characteristics of the islands have not of course altered.
17. There is no attorney, solicitor, or other professional lawyer residing in the islands.
Minerals and Manufactures.
18. There are no indications of minerals, nor is any manufacture (except ship building) carried on.
Moral Condition of the Inhabitants.
19. With respect to the moral condition of the inhabitants, I was assured, by more than one of the magistrates, that, owing to the great change which had resulted from the zealous exertions of the Ministers of the Gospel who have of late years laboured amongst them, concubinage is rare, serious crime almost unknown, and that minor offences are very few, while the places of public worship are well attended.
Political and Administrative Condition.
20. The political and administrative condition of the islands is unsatisfactory and anomalous. Although understood to be attached to one of the western parishes of Jamaica, and believed as I found to belong to each of three parishes, neither the laws nor the institutions of the colony practically extend to them. I believe the only instance in which the laws of Jamaica distinctly recognize the Caymans is in directing the remission of duties upon goods exported to them from Jamaica.
21. Magistrates, with jurisdiction restricted to the islands, are appointed by the Governor of Jamaica, and during many years a custos was also nominated, in imitation or pursuance of the system which prevails in Jamaica. Upon the occasion of the last vacancy, however, no resident, considered at all qualified for the office, could be found willing to undertake it.
Enclosure. 19th June 1858.
22. It appears that on the 5th December 1831, the inhabitants assembled and took steps for forming a constitution of their own, which is thus described in the prefatory pages of an imperfect manuscript copy of the "Local Laws of Grand Cayman," now before me, viz., Grand Cayman.
"At a meeting held at St. James's on the 5th December 1831, it was resolved that "representatives should be elected for the different districts throughout the island, for "the purpose of framing local laws for its better government. The representatives for "the different districts were accordingly elected on the 10th of same month, and met at
George Town said island pursuant to advertisement, on the 31st December 1881, and "on the 2d January 1832. The magistrates also assembled, but did not sit in the same "room with the representatives, forming as it were two houses, in imitation of the "Council and Assembly of Jamaica; and no law formed or passed by the representatives "to be deemed valid until it has received the assent of the magistrates. The names of "the magistrates and representatives are as follow:-John Drayton, Esq., senior magis"trate, Robert Stephen Watler, Warde W. Bodden, John S. Jackson, James Coe,
junior, Abraham A. Feurtado, Ebin T. Parsons, and Nath. Glover, Esquires, magis"trates, and George W. Wood, James H. Wood, James Coe, senior, W. Eden, junior, "John Goodhem, James Parsons, senior, William James Bodden, Thomas Lindsay "Thomson, Samuel Parsons, and William Bodden, véstrymen."
23. The earlier proceedings of this self-constituted legislature are frequently adverted to in the despatches of one of my predecessors, the Marquis of Sligo, and the tendency of some of the local regulations which were adopted is decribed by his lordship.
24. At a later date, namely, in November 1837, the magistrates and representatives passed a resolution declaring that henceforth their meetings should be designated meetings of the "justices and vestry," but the resolutions of this new body have, I observe, assumed the form of enactments; and many of the subjects to which they refer are such as generally constitute the subjects of state legislation.
25. Under those regulations, however, and a species of customary law which has been in operation for more than one generation, questions respecting property are adjudicated and offenders tried and sentenced for capital offences. At this moment an appeal relating to the inheritance of land is before me, and was made in accordance with precedent, although the Governor of Jamaica has, I conceive, no legal power to interfere in such questions; and three years have scarcely elapsed since an offender was tried by the magistrates of Grand Cayman for murder, and sentenced to imprisonment
26. The prisoner was forwarded to the Kingston Penitentiary, where he remained until I recently remitted the unexpired period of his sentence, in consequence partly of the legal irregularity of the proceedings against him and partly of his extremely good conduct in the penitentiary.
27. However objectionable it may be that a body of Her Majesty's subjects should at the present day constitute a society so little under the influence of law and government, yet I believe that the inhabitants generally are not dissatisfied with its present state in this respect. The sentiments of the magistrates and principal residents are conveyed in an address which they were good enough to present to me, and a copy of which I have
the honour to enclose.
28. In reply I thanked them orally for the welcome they had afforded me, and invited them to a free discussion upon their public affairs.
29. I found the subject-matter of many of their representations to be beyond the effective reach of Government, such as slackness in the little trade they ever had enjoyed (arising no doubt from the paucity of exchangeable commodities of native production), and a diminution in the number of wrecks; the latter subject was referred to, apparently in perfect simplicity, as if it were one of just lamentation and regret.
30. They complained, however, that their fishing off the cays on the coast of Cuba was now interfered with by the government of that island, in localities where they had formerly been permitted to enjoy it; but, upon pressing my inquiries, I found that, this complaint rested much upon the question, what is, according to international law, to be considered an uninhabited island; and that the cays from whose shores they had been warned off, though uninhabited during the greater part of the year, were occupied during the remainder by one or two families, or perhaps only as many individuals, being Spanish subjects.
31. I gathered from the persons with whom I conversed that the Caymanese have abandoned the pretensions advanced in the memorial transmitted in Sir Henry Barkly's Despatch, No. 18, of 9th February 1854, and their desires now seemed limited to the provisions of a small salary for the maintenance of a stipendiary magistrate.
32. I propose to apply to the Legislature of Jamaica to make a grant for this purpose upon a very moderate scale; and to base the application in some degree upon the fact that the Caymanese vessels have been hitherto dealt with in respect to tonnage duties as foreign vessels. I shall also suggest to the legislature, in the event of the proposal being favourably received, to discontinue the system of granting the drawback upon imported goods exported from Jamaica to the Cayman Islands (which, however, only amounted in 1857 to fifty-nine pounds seven shillings and threepence (591. 7s. 3d.)
33. If the magistrate should also hold the commission of sub-collector of customs, he might receive, in addition to his salary, a commission upon the value of the few goods which are imported into Grand Cayman direct from the United States, which, however, is at present very inconsiderable.
34. I have also taken steps to obtain a complete copy of the rules and resolutions which pass under the name of the "Local Laws of Grand Cayman ;" and I shall consult with the attorney general as to the best mode of revising and digesting these, with a view to giving legal effect through the medium of an Act of the legislature of Jamaica, to such of them as appear unobjectionable.
35. As to placing the Cayman Islands under a distinct but subordinate administration, I am satisfied they do not possess the proper material for such an organization, even upon the simple system which prevails in the Bay Islands.
36. I have no doubt that the wish of the inhabitants, or rather of those principal inhabitants with whom I communicated, is, that one of themselves should be appointed to the magistracy if established; but I cannot recommend that arrangement; and if I succeed in obtaining from the Jamaica legislature the necessary authority and means to carry the proposed measure into effect, I shall of course await the intimation of your commands before I take any step whatever for that purpose.
37. In closing this despatch I would beg to observe that the records of the colonial office during the administration of the Marquis of Sligo will, I conclude, afford the fullest information as to the circumstances under which the former slave owners of the Cayman Islands lost the benefit of the four years apprenticeship of their former slaves.
38. I have understood that a balance of the parliamentary grant of twenty millions for slave compensation is still undisposed of. If this be the case, Her Majesty's Government might perhaps be induced to consider whether any portion of it could be applied under parliamentary enactment for the purpose, to the benefit of the Caymanese community, in consideration of the diminution of its material wealth which the loss of the apprenticeship may have occasioned.
The Right Hon. Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart.,
I have, &c.
The humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Grand Cayman.
To his Excellency C. H. Darling, Esq., Governor of Jamaica, &c. &c.
May it please your Excellency,
THE suddenness of the occasion allows us but a brief opportunity to express the gratification afforded us by your Excellency's visit to our shores, while we deplore our inability to give a public demonstration of our joy in a proper reception of your Excellency as the representative of our august sovereign Queen Victoria.
The state of our island, morally, is greatly improved; temporally, it is retrogressive; politically, it is loyal; but, judicially, we must confess, laxity. Repeated failures to obtain, in our isolated position, timely assistance, protection, or notice either from the Home or Colonial Government, have induced an apathy to public affairs injurious to the well-being of the community; besides which, the position of those in authority is such, that one is wholly engrossed with his private affairs, another is unable to devote his time gratuitously for the public good, and another wearied with unavailing efforts for the amelioration of the public condition ceases to strive; and to day our reminiscences of the past compared with the present is a source of grief to us.
Encl. in No. 7.
No. 42. of
Encl. in No. 8.
11 Feb. 1857.
In your Excellency's visit we hail the dawn of better things, and humbly desire to be instructed and assisted according to your Excellency's superior judgment.
16 Feb. 1857. 16 Feb. 1857
With earnest desires towards the welfare of your Excellency, and the continued prosperity of your Government, we beg to subscribe ourselves,
No. 14. 20 Feb. 1858.
19th June 1858.
(No. 29.) MY LORD,
Most obedient humble servants,
EDWARD PARSONS, J. P.
THOS. S. WATTIS, sen., Capt. M.
W. N. THOMPSON.
J. J. WOOD.
WILLIAM B. WEBSTER.
In behalf of the inhabitants of Grand Cayman.
The Right Hon. Lord Stanley,
COPY of DESPATCH from Governor DARLING to the Right Hon. Lord STANLEY.
King's House, Jamaica, June 8, 1858. (Received July 3, 1858.)
HUGH W. AUStin,
I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith a Despatch from the Superintendent of Honduras, transmitting the Blue Book of that settlement for the year 1857.
I have, &c. (Signed)
Belize, May 16, 1858.
No. 5. 11 Feb. 1857. No. 6.
I HAVE the honour to forward the Blue Book of this settlement for the year 1857. In doing so I may say at the outset that I feel myself relieved from the duty of minutely 11 Feb. 1857. inquiring into the transactions of the year, by the reports, numbered and dated as in the margin, which my predecessor transmitted previous to his relinquishment of the conduct of affairs..
11 Feb. 1857.
C. H. DARLING.
Enclosure in No.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Mr. Superintendent SEYMOUR to Governor DARling. (No. 42.)
No. 9. 16 Feb. 1857. No. 10.
2. In the revenue there is an increase of 2,505l. 18s. 9d., caused, to a great extent, by the circumstance that the Act imposing a tax on sugar and rum manufactured in the settlement was in operation during the whole of the year just elapsed, whereas in 1856
16 Feb. 1857. it only extended over the last four months. But this will only account for a part of the
16 Feb. 1857. increase of receipts; and it is with pleasure that I call your attention to a general improvement in productiveness. Under one head only is there a decrease. The falling off in the tonnage duties is owing to the accidental circumstance of an unusually wet season, having prevented the removal of much of the mahogany cut during the year being conveyed from the forests where it grew within the influence of water carriage.
3. Across the columns headed " Public Debt" the Colonial Secretary has written the statement "balance in favour of the public on the 31st December 1857, 4,013/. 2s. 3d."
4. Considerable progress has been made in the public works. The new gaol has approached sufficiently near completion to render it available for the reception of
prisoners. New schoolrooms are on the point of completion, which, it is estimated, will HONDURAS, cost the settlement about 5,0001.
5. The legislative measures of the year were fully reported on by Mr. Superintendent Stevenson in the despatches already referred to.
6. The civil establishment presents no change, save in the persons of several public officers.
7. Under the head "pensions" will be found a description of our injudicious mode of providing for the destitute members of the community. The attention of the public has now, I think, been awakened to a sense of the inconvenience of the present system of affording relief, and I propose inviting the Legislative Assembly, at its next session, to remodel the poor laws.
8. I call attention to the list of foreign consuls, as doubts have been professed to be entertained by some persons as to the character of our territorial rights in British Honduras. It will be observed that Mexico is represented by a consul in Belize; Spain and Guatemala by vice-consuls. France likewise has a vice-consul at this port.
9. The population of the settlement is estimated by the Colonial Secretary at 19,000.
Moll Punch's Hole
Santa Cruz (Rio Hond.)
380 Spanish Yucatecan refugees.
250 Yucatecos, Indians, and Creoles.
Yucatecos and Indians.
Creoles and Yucatecos.
Creoles and Indians.
Refugees from the State of Honduras. 30 Charibs.
Charibs and Creoles.