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9. There appears to have been but little difference in the estimated value of imports TOBAGO. and exports for 1857, as compared with the preceding year; but neither of those returns show the real value of the produce shipped, the declaration of the shippers being in every case considerably lower than the rate current in the local market.

10. The quantity of sugar exported in 1857 was less than the shipments of 1856 by 19,051 cwts., owing to the loss of canes caused by the long duration of a very dry season in that year; but, notwithstanding that drawback, the crop was an average one compared with the preceding ten years. The crop now being taken off is expected at least to equal that of 1856.

Taxation.

11. For many years prior to my arrival in this island, it had been the invariable practice, often remonstrated against, but ever persisted in, to defer the consideration of the annual tax bill until towards the close of the year for the service of which the revenue to be raised was required.

12. The consequence, as might be expected, was a confusion of accounts, and often great difficulty and delay in satisfying the just claims of the public creditor.

13. On assuming the government I found that the session of the legislature had once more been allowed to expire without passing an Act granting to Her Majesty the necessary rates and taxes in aid of the ordinary revenue for the year; and so impressed was I with the necessity and expediency of at once remedying the evils caused by this delay, that I determined on convoking a special session for the purpose.

14. In my address to the Legislative Council and Elective Legislative Assembly I represented the inconvenience occasioned by the unnecessary delay in passing the annual tax bill. I urged upon their consideration that it was far from prudent that the public should incur debt before providing means for its liquidation; and that the passing of any Act intended to have a retroactive effect was highly objectionable in principle, and most impolitic in regard to financial measures, or any Act by which provision was to be made for the public expenditure.

15. To this appeal both houses cordially responded, acknowledging the propriety of having convened a special session, and concurring in the opinion that the necessary financial measures should be passed in time to permit their coming into operation at an early period of the year for the service of which the revenue was intended.

16. The Acts for raising a supply in aid of the revenue of 1857, and for appropriating the same, were duly passed; and before the close of the year I had the satisfaction of accomplishing my chief object, of providing in advance for the revenue and expenditure of the following year, 1858.

17. By those Acts a material change has been effected both in the amount of taxation and in the mode of raising and collecting the revenue.

18. In lieu of the tax of four shillings an acre upon cultivated land, and. of sixpence upon uncultivated land, and the house tax, an assessment is now levied upon property based on the valuation roll prepared by commissioners duly appointed under the Act Vict. 19. cap. 14., entitled "An Act for the valuation of lands, tenements, and hereditaments in Tobago."

19. This Act has been passed for a period of five years, and is intended to serve as a basis for taxation and for the purposes of franchise.

20. The property tax or rate of assessment was in the Act for 1857 at 15 per cent. on the annual value of sugar estates and 7 per cent. on all other properties in the roll.

21. It was subsequently considered that one uniform rate of assessment would be more in conformity to the spirit and intent of the property tax; and in the Act for 1858 it has been made seven and a half per cent. upon all descriptions of property. It is more easily collected than the land tax, and is not open to the many objections made against the latter.

22. Annexed to this report is an abstract of the valuation roll, showing the number of Sub-Encl. 7. properties, their estimated annual value, and their relative taxation. The sugar producing estates have unquestionably been undervalued, and until this can be remedied by a revision of the valuation roll, and so long as one uniform rate of assessment is levied upon all, this description of property cannot be made to bear its proper proportion of "the property tax, under which it now contributes one third to one half less than under the former land tax.

23. By those Acts considerable relief has been also afforded by the abolition of many obnoxious personal taxes on trades and professions, such as merchants and shopkeepers, barristers, notaries, medical practitioners, attornies, managers, and engineers. The taxes

TOBAGO.

Sub-Encl. 8.

upon carriages, carts, and droghers have been also omitted; and greater facilities have been afforded to the tax-payers by the appointment of sub-collectors of taxes in the outdistricts of the island, the efficiency of which system is established by the fact that on the 31st day of December 1856 there remained 2,7581. 4s. 5d. arrears of uncollected revenue, whilst at the same date in 1857 there was only an estimated balance of about 2761. of arrears then uncollected.

Public Works.

24. The following is a statement of the expenditure incurred in 1857 on account of the repair and maintenance of public buildings, the sum voted by the legislature for these purposes being 500l. sterling.

Repairs of government house

Do.

at treasury

Do.

at convict prison

Do. at Scarborough gaol

£ S. d. 280 1 2

4 14 10 12 10 6 7 7 1

304 13 7

25. Contracts have been entered into for the thorough repair of the building styled the court-house in the town of Scarborough, at a cost of 1,150l. sterling, and measures have been taken to convert the military hospital at Fort King George into a common gaol, which will be a great improvement, the gaol at Scarborough having been long condemned as unfit and insufficient as a prison.

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Roads.

26. The island is divided into seven road districts, to each of which "waywardens" are appointed annually by the justices of the court of Queen's Bench. The " waywardens" so appointed are subject to a penalty of ten pounds in case of refusal or neglect of duty, recoverable by information in a court of record.

27. All male inhabitants between the ages of 16 and 50 are bound to serve and perform "work and labour on the public roads and streets, either in his own proper

person or by substitute," for which he is paid sixpence for every day's labour so given, under a penalty of 4s. for every day's neglect or refusal to perform such labour during the time it shall be so required of him.

28. The system has been in operation for eight years, but is generally acknowledged to be deficient in many respects, the compulsory labour so given being as in all such cases irregular and inefficient. The number of persons so employed in the repair of the public roads seldom exceeds 3,000, out of a population estimated at 15,679, of which about 4,000 may be reckoned as able-bodied males, liable under the road act, and the average number of actual day's labour, if it can possibly be so called, bestowed on the roads, may be computed at 13,500 in the course of twelve months, or 4 days per

man.

29. The public roads are, however, notwithstanding these drawbacks, tolerably well kept. In the dry season they may be called good, but during the heavy rains many of them are almost impracticable. They are in general well traced, but are by far too numerous for the labour available for their repair and maintenance. One real advantage of the existing system of compulsory statute labour must not be overlooked, and it is that it affords a means of obtaining the labour necessary for the repair of the roads either by personal service or by substitute for a comparatively small money payment; whereas under a system of hired labour for a higher remuneration it is doubtful if labour could at all be procured.

Annexed is a return of the annual cost of the repair of the public roads, which does not exceed 600l. sterling.

Legislation.

30. The attention of the legislature during the last year was principally directed to measures of finance, in regard to which a material improvement has been effected in respect to the mode of raising the revenue, and by providing in advance for the expenditure to be incurred during the next ensuing year. The importance of this reform cannot be over estimated.

31. The accounts of the colony had for many years previously been in a state of confusion, and the public finances in a state of embarassment, from which they are now happily relieved.

Agriculture.

32. Many causes combine to render it difficult to obtain reliable information in regard to the cost of cane culture and the manufacture of sugar.

33. Differences of soil, the want of continuous labour, the varied nature of the motive power employed in the manufactory, and the use of agricultural implements, such as the plough, all tend by their operation to make general statements under this head to a certain extent fallacious. So great indeed is the diversity arising from one or more of these causes combined, that in a communication on this subject addressed to me by one of the most experienced planters in the island, he remarks, "I have made a crop of "100 hds. as cheap as one of 50 hds., viz. as regards cutting, grinding, and manu"facturing."

34. With a full knowledge of all these difficulties, I have endeavoured to collect the best information on matters of such interest; and I have inserted in the appendix to this report copies of three statistical returns furnished on my solicitation by gentlemen owners of considerable property, and known as most experienced practical planters.

35. An analysis of return A. shows the estimated cost of growing and manufacturing the produce of an acre of canes, including cartage, packages, &c., &c., to be sl. 78. sterling, giving a return of one and a half hogsheads, or an average of 2,250 cwts. of sugar, at a cost of 7s. 54d. per cwt., or only 6s. 73d. where the plough is used in cane cultivation.

36. Assuming the cost of manufacture to be the same in respect to return B., the result will be the same within a trifle. The cost of cultivation, according to return C., being estimated at one half, and assuming the cost of manufacture and the yield to be the same, the first cost of one cwt. of sugar would be reduced to 4s. 10d.

37. It will be observed that these calculations are based on the assumption that an acre of land produces only one hogshead and a half of sugar, and that each hogshead is taken to be 1,500 cwt. It is well known, however, that in many instances the proportion of sugar obtained from an acre of well-cultivated canes is much greater and the net weight of a hogshead of sugar considerably more than the estimate here given, and that consequently the original cost of production in such cases is proportionally less. There may certainly be other charges, such as interest on capital, replacement of stock, and maintenance of works, &c. &c., which ought to be taken into consideration; but no note has been taken of the value of the molasses and rum, which form no inconsiderable parts of an estate's crop, sufficient indeed sometimes to defray the entire current expenditure of the property for the cultivation and manufacture of the whole crop.

38. The Blue Book for 1855 I perceive was accompanied by returns of the estimated cost of sugar making, and 12s. 1d. per cwt. is there stated as the actual cost of production; but this includes salaries of attornies, managers, overseers, &c. &c., and charges of every description, such as taxes, stock, &c.

39. The estimate I have here given has been made by practical planters residing on and managing their own estates, and is therefore free from the burden of paying attornies and other superfluous charges; but perhaps, making every allowance, and taking a just medium, I think that 8s. to 10s. per cwt. may be taken as the fair average cost under all circumstances, to which 20s. may be added for duty, freight, and other charges attending the sale of the produce in the British market, making the total cost of one cwt. of sugar at time of sale 28s. to 30s. sterling.

40. The plough has been long in use in this island, with great advantage in the preparation of cane land, but the hoe is more generally employed, owing to the hilly nature of the country. The cost of preparing an acre of land with the plough is estimated at about 20s. less than when the hoe is used.

41. The metairie system, or the culture and manufacture of canes for a share of the produce, prevails to a great extent in this island.

42. It was first resorted to some three or four years ago, as a means of arresting the total ruin of many estates whose proprietors were discouraged by the unremunerative prices in the home market, and who had resolved on the abandonment of their properties rather than incur further losses. By its adoption the partial cultivation of the estates was maintained, and the system has now become too deeply identified with the interests of the labourers to be set aside by those who readily availed themselves of its aid in the time of their embarrassment, but who would now desire to monopolize all the advantages resulting from the improved state of the country and the encouraging aspect of the market for colonial produce.

43. Adopted as it was, at a critical period, as a last resort, by parties neither of whom understood its real principle, metairie cultivation has never yet assumed a fixed and

TOBAGO.

Sub-Encls. 9, 10, and 11.

determined character as a system. In no case is it limited so as to separate the agricultural operation from the process of manufacture; they are invariably combined, and the advantage which would naturally result from a proper division of labour is invariably set at nought. In like manner there is no settled uniform plan of operations; the terms and conditions of contracts or agreements made with managers differ in details upon many estates, and it consequently has as yet been found difficult to govern their obligations by any recognized rule or practice. It has been suggested that metayer cultivation should be so far regulated by legislation that in the absence of any specific contract a line should be drawn between the proprietor, cultivator, and manufacturer, and that in the division of produce a distinct portion should be set apart for the manufacturer.

44. In two recent instances, on actions for breach of metairie contracts, his honour the chief justice decided that the relations between the owner of the estate and the metayer were that of landlord and tenant. I annex a short summary of the two cases, Sub-Encl. 12. which will also serve to show the general tenour and nature of metairie contracts, and

their mode of operation.

TOBAGO.

45. It is very common to hear cultivation by metairie decried and condemned as being calculated to arrest all attempts at improvement in tropical agriculture, and no doubt this is true to a very considerable extent. It cannot be denied that through the want of system and control there is a great waste of labour which had it been bestowed under proper direction of an intelligent and experienced planter might have been rendered far more productive, and that the same amount of organized hired labour would have added more to the produce of the country.

46. On the other hand, metairie cultivation has to a certain extent been profitable to Tobago. Many estates were saved by its adoption from utter abandonment, and many others, which without it would even now be unproductive, are profitably worked entirely on this system.

47. It affords a revenue to noncapitalist proprietors; it tends to establish a useful middle class of yeomanry; and it retains for the use of the peasantry a larger share of the soil; and labour produce than the mere pittance of plantation wages. To these may be added also, the not-unimportant consideration that the possession of such a direct interest in the soil, being in fact small farmers with growing crops on the ground, and holding, as most of them do, small freeholds of their own, the metayers must naturally desire to maintain the laws made for the protection of their property, and of the general peace and tranquillity of the country, with the prosperity of which their individual interest have become so identified.

48. In a colony such as this, where the labouring class, consisting entirely of emancipated negroes, so far outnumbers other classes of the community, and where, the military having been withdrawn, there exists no means of suppressing riot or disorder, save a few police constables, I am disposed to attach an importance to the prevalence of the metairie system, as conducive to internal security, which appears to have been altogether overlooked or disregarded hitherto.

49. The stake thus possessed by the more industrious of the labouring class is not confined to one locality or to a few estates. In 1855 only thirteen estates were known to be partially cultivated on the metairie system. In 1857 there was scarce an estate on which the share system had not been introduced to a greater or less extent, many of them, even some of the larger, being entirely worked by metayers.

50. One estate, consisting of 600 acres of land, is cultivated solely by metayers, making a crop last year of 130 hogsheads, and now taking off a crop expected to reach 180 hogsheads, of which the metayers received one-half, with a small proportion of the rum made during the crop. One man has already made his 17 hogsheads of sugar, and others have made ten, five, and under.

51. So generally, indeed, has this system become established, that, although I have not been able to procure exact information as to all the estates, I feel assured that at least one third of the whole island crop is the product of metairie industry.

52. There were 60 sugar estates in active operation in 1857. Of these, 36 were owned by resident and 24 by absentee proprietors. With two exceptions, of estates which are leased, all the properties of the resident proprietors are conducted under their own immediate direction or by managers under them. Seven of the estates belonging to absentees are cultivated under lease, the remaining 17 being worked under the charge of attornies for the benefit of the absent owners.

53. In 1855, of 57 estates making sugar, 45 belonged to absentees, showing that in the space of two years no less than 21 properties have been transferred from absentee to resident owners, and that three additional estates have been since brought into cane cultivation.

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54. Of the 60 sugar estates the motive power used in the manufacture may be classed TOBAGO. as follows:

Wind mills
Water mills

Steam do.

Steam and wind
Steam and water
Cattle mills

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55. The rate of wages paid to day labourers is not sufficient to encourage them to bestow their continuous labour in estate work; the inducements held out by metairie cultivation are much greater, and consequently hired labour is obtainable with difficulty, and is only given in a desultory and capricious manner. Yet the labouring class of this island cannot be characterised an idle set of people; on the contrary, I look upon them as being far more industrious than others of their class in some of the other islands.

56. As I have before remarked, many of them are metayers, a great number are possessed of freeholds, and all of them have good provision grounds. If they do not give all their time to estate work, it is no doubt because they find it more advantageous to bestow their labour elsewhere, or otherwise, but it cannot be said to be for the mere love of idleness.

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57. There can be no doubt that more labour is wanted for the effective working of a large sugar plantation, and that immigration, even were the means of securing more continuous and regular labour on estates, would be highly advantageous.

Education.

58. The importance of encouraging the education of the children of the native population has long been recognized in this island, and the legislature has at all times freely contributed towards the support of churches and the maintenance of schools, more than the one-sixth of the total revenue of the island being appropriated to these purposes.

59. In the cause of education, the members of the United Brethren take the most prominent lead, and their constantly augmenting efforts are attended by corrresponding results, as shown by the progressive increase in the number of pupils of both sexes attending the schools at their establishments.

60. The Wesleyan schools rank next in regard to the number of scholars; and the Church of England, although more numerous than those of the Moravians, and about equal in number to those of the Wesleyans, exhibit much less favourable returns in respect to attendance or efficiency.

61. In all the schools moderate fees are paid by the children attending. In the case of the Moravian schools, those fees are paid always in advance, and average from 1s. to 2s. per quarter, and the establishments are almost self-supporting. In general the teachers are very inadequately remunerated, and, with few exceptions, are little qualified for their

avocations.

62. A good school for the education of the middle class is much wanted; but I am sorry to say that an attempt to establish such an institution completely failed, and the teacher, an educated trained schoolmaster from the National Irish School Establishment, died a few months ago.

63. Annexed are returns of the attendance at churches and schools, showing the centesimal proportion to the estimated island population to be respectively 41.3 and 11.85, a much larger proportion in both cases than appears from the statistical returns of either Grenada, St. Vincent, or St Lucia.

64. The island is divided into three benefices or cures, and there are three rectors and one curate of the Church of England, three Moravian missionaries and two Wesleyan clergymen, besides several local preachers of the same society. They are zealous in the performance of their respective duties, and are much respected by all.

Sub-Encls.

13 and 14.

Prisons and Prisoners.

65. The annual report of the inspector of prisons, and the annexed return of crimes Sub-Encl. 15. and offences prepared by the acting provost marshal, exhibit a remarkable diminution in the number of convict prisoners, the total number of prisoners at the end of the year being only twelve, including two debtors, two prisoners for trial, and one for want of sureties to keep the peace.

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