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The landed proprietors might be alarmed at the prospect of an increase of direct taxation; but it must be immaterial to the land owner whether he is taxed for the land he cultivates or for the articles he consumes in living or in the cultivation of the soil, provided he does not pay more in the whole. The labouring classes might also be alarmed at a prospect of an increase of direct or personal taxation; but, besides the diminished cost of imported commodities, they would be bound to consider, and it ought to be shown to them, how large a proportion of the whole revenue of the colony is now spent for their immediate benefit. The total expenditure of the government has been increased during the period I have referred to from somewhat under 16,000l. in 1850 to above 18,000l. in 1854, and I believe it has been still more largely increased since that date; and every item of increased expenditure is one in which the working classes have the most direct interest. The present income is inadequate for the real wants of those who have a right to look to the government to endeavour to improve, as far as practicable, their interests; I mean, to benefit the labouring classes. . If this were properly explained to them, I cannot think that they would grudge a small increase of taxation, which, with the present means of earning a livelihood, they could well afford; and if they felt it onerous they could remove the burthen by a very small addition of that labour which they are so well able to afford, and which every planter would be only too happy to purchase.
The middle classes have the game in their own hands, if they will call upon those members whom they may send to represent their interests in the legislature to take the subject into their earliest and gravest consideration, and require them to devise such a scheme of taxation as may best be raised by internal assessments from every person who has the means at his command to enable him to contribute to the general welfare of the whole community. I have very little doubt but they would raise such an amount of revenue from direct sources as would enable them to abolish all customs duties, encourage trade free from taxation from all parts of the world, and greatly benefit every interest throughout the colony.
I have trespassed longer than I had intended. I will not, therefore, enter into any detail as to the precise mode of taxation which I would suggest; it must be, however, of a nature which would oblige all classes to contribute, and this, I think, would be done without imposing burthens on any man which he was not at the present moment well able to bear; and the tax-payer would not be inclined, I think, to find fault, after a very little experience, with a new system which would enable the government to raise a revenue, not only sufficient for its immediate wants, but calculated to stimulate habits of industry, and to encourage the education of the rising generation, without which I see little chance for any future amelioration of the working classes in Grenada.
London, February 16, 1858.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
Enclosure 3 in No. 14.
Immigration Office, Grenada,
2. The first and only shipment as yet made to this island was received by the ship "Maidstone," Escott Commander, from Calcutta, on the 1st of May last, and consisted of 203 male and 52 female adults, 15 boys and 6 girls (children), and 2 male and 5 female infants, in all 283 souls, of which 34 males and 12 females, one boy and two girls and 1 female infant, making a total of 50, have died, leaving 169 male and 40 female adults, 14 boys, 4 girls, 2 male and 4 female infants, in all 233 souls, still in the island.
3. The particulars are specified in three tabulated returns hereunto annexed, No. I giving the names of the deceased, their ages, and the dates and causes of death; No. 2 showing the estates on which the deceased were located, the number originally placed there, and the number now remaining; and No. 3 detailing the number first applied for, the number arrived and distributed, and the balance due, the additional number applied for since the last distribution, and the total now required, all up to the 31st December last, since which a few new applications have come in, not taken notice of in these
4. With respect to No. 1, your Excellency will notice that the cases were principally dysentery, diarrhoea, fever, and debility. The mortality was confined chiefly to those who were landed in a weak and emaciated state, many of whom never recovered to reimburse the estates any portion of the advances made on their behalf. Some died at the depôt before distribution, some at the colony hospital after distribution, and some immediately on arrival at their destination. Other complaints have occurred, from which the individuals soon recovered; but no epidemic has broken out amongst them; and the majority have enjoyed good health, the prevailing sickness having arisen from seasoning fevers, chigoes, ulcers, &c., which now form the few remaining cases in hospital.
Enclosure 3 in No. 14.
No. 1. not printed.
5. On reference to No. 2, it will appear that the casualties which have occurred on the several estatcs are as foliow:
6. The proportion of deaths to the total number imported (50 out of 283) is equal to 17.66 per that of the sexes is, amongst the male, of adults 1674 per cent., and female 23 per cent.; but a fair comparison can scarcely be made, inasmuch as there were so few women sent out, and those not of the best character.
7. They all died without leaving any property, save Bho-hey-derr, who died in the colony hospital leaving a gold finger ring, which he requested should be delivered to Bhurdoole, his son-in-law, on Samaritan estate, and which has accordingly been done, and Mr. Botheiho, one of the interpreters, who died on the 30th December last, leaving some wearing apparel valued at four pounds, and a quarter's salary due to him, whose affairs have been already particularly reported upon.
8. I am happy to state that their employers have paid every care and attention to their immigrants, supplied them on their arrival with clothing, and food for a month gratis, until they could earn wages, when they were at once put on the same footing as the native labourer with regard to the pay of the class in which they were able to work. The orphans, who were distributed amongst the rest, were tenderly looked after by the manager's family, and treated as one of the household. In sickness they were attended by the doctor and the hospital nurse, and medicine and nourishment supplied, and in difficult cases, when, from the paucity of medical practitioners, professional advice could not be readily obtained, the parties were sent to the colony hospital in St. George's, and the expenses defrayed by
9. Of the survivors it is also gratifying to report that they are doing well. Their employers are quite satisfied with them, and they with their employers. They all do field labour, and are considered good hands at weeding and cutting; and, although they cannot do as much as the native labourer, they perform their work much neater, and make up in quality what they lack in quantity. Very few have been able to turn out with the first class in "holing;" those who do obtain their full wages (10d. per day); the others are paid 8d. and 6d., according to the class to which they belong; and all get 3d. for extra hours during crop, so that they can save money, and several allow a portion of their wages to remain in the hands of the managers. None of them have taken lands to cultivate as gardens on their own account, but they continue to be supplied on the estates with rice, fish, &c. at cost price, going to market occasionally to procure other things that they may require. Now that crop has commenced, they are found very useful in and about the works, feeding the mill, and carrying megass, &c., and they are delighted with the allowance of sweets, and the activity and stirring operations of the season, all appearing cheerful and happy.
10. There have been a few complaints for petty thefts and disorderly conduct; but only three cases were of magnitude enough to be adjudicated upon, namely, one on Snell Hall Estate against Lall Mahomed, for disobedience of orders and assault on his countrymen, and two on Grand Bacolet Estate, against Hausen Baccas and Jusbeer, for drunkenness and stealing poultry, in all which the parties were found guilty, and sentenced to one month's imprisonment with hard labor.
12. Upon the whole then it appears that the Coolie is likely to become a valuable addition to our peasantry, and a useful class of labourers to maintain the cultivation of the staple products, and thus eventually be made a benefit to the community at large; and while immigration may serve to stimulate
the native labourer to the exercise of greater industry, by the healthy competition it will excite, it will GRENADA. also appropriately fill the void that will be created when the native population will inevitably rise to a higher grade in society.
13. It will have struck your Excellency's notice, and it is apparent to every observant mind, that the emancipated class are reluctant to continue the avocations with which so many bitter associations are connected, and are fast seceding from labour on the sugar estates. They all, more or less, aspire to become "independent proprietors," and embrace every opportunity to purchase bits of freehold, in order to sever themselves from their connection with former masters. To these little homesteads they are panting to retire, to cultivate their own lands, and come out only occasionally to toil on the estates as necessity may compel or caprice dictate. They look with no jealous eye upon the Coolies; on the contrary, they hail his arrival with joy, and seem to regard him as the instrument destined eventually to release them from the necessity of daily manual labour.
14. The native labourer, whose growing independence, manifested in the "small patches of canes and little wooden mills here and there dotting the chequered plain around," the significance of which was so pointedly alluded to in the last Despatch of your Excellency's predecessor, has risen a step higher, and we now see him becoming the lessee of large sugar plantations regularly established, with all the usual appliances. As witness, for example, the lessee of Hope Vale Estate, containing 492 acres, with water mill and works complete; the lessee of Perseverance Estate, containing 522 acres, with steam engine and other apparatus complete; and the lessee of Mount Hardman, formerly a sugar estate, and lately a cattle farm, with 400 acres of pasture and wood, soon to be revived into its former state of flourishing luxuriance. True, these were abandoned properties belonging to absent and needy proprietors, who had not the means of keeping up the cultivation, and were glad to concede them on mere nominal terms; but in the course of time the properties will improve without any cost to the owners, while they furnish the means of profitable employment to and engage the enterprise of an aspiring class. It is cases like these that the more intelligent labourer is laying himself out for; and as he can manage more economically than his educated landlord, he spends less, and saves more; and when he cannot find a friend to assist him with pecuniary advances, he procures the physical help of his fellow labourers, and at harvest either shares the produce or remunerates them from the proceeds of the sale. Even the "old established hands" who find it difficult to struggle against the tide, are now emulating the despised "wooden mills," and gladly take the canes of their own labourers and neighbouring petty settlers, and manufacture them on the share system, in order to make up something like a return of produce on their ancient patrimony.
15. Such then, it appears, is the present state of circumstances affecting the staple product of the island, and bearing on the question of immigration to these shores. What may be the ulterior consequences, in the event of the landed interest becoming diffused and scattered into a thousand petty tenures, held by an uneducated or half-educated proprietary body, (and in a country where landed property is at a discount, and prædial labour at a premium, such a result is not difficult to imagine,) or how those consequences might be modified by a timely ingress of labouring hands in sufficient numbers to be felt is not for me here to predica, but I feel it my duty to submit to your Excellency the all but universal opinion that, next to the frican labourer, the Coolie immigrant is the best adapted to the climate and the wants of the country, and that unless immediate accession in sufficient numbers be made to our labouring population, in order to supply the fast failing resources of the agricultural interest, the progress of the country will, at no distant period, be sensibly impeded, and her happiness and prosperity seriously affected.
C. H. Kortright, Esq.,
I have, &c.
Enclosure 4 in No. 14.
NUMERICAL RETURN of PRISONERS for the Year 1857 in the ISLAND of GRENADA, showing the Nature of Offences, &c.
Offences against Property.
RETURN of PRISONERS for the Year 1857 in the ISLAND of GRENADA, showing the Amount of Imprisonment awarded or commuted, and whether with or
without Hard Labour.
N.B.-Insert in the Columns below the Terms of Imprisonment. 6 Months.
Under £10. By Courts.
ABSTRACT of PRISONERS under Sentence of Imprisonment in the ISLAND of GRENADA for the Year 1857.
Total Number of Cases decided.
Of these 39 were in Gaol on the 1st January 1857, continuing their Imprisonment from the year preceding.
HENRY SHARPE, Provost Marshal.
RETURN of the NUMBER of CIVIL CASES decided by the several Courts and by Magistrates in the ISLAND of GRENADA for the Year 1857.
Appeals from Magisterial Adjudication.
No. of Judgments No. of Judgments affirmed. reversed.
Under 3 Months.
of Cases decided.
WM. MITCHEL, Colonial Secretary.