St Vincent

Wednesday 17th – this morning when I came upon deck, we were close to S.t Vincent’s, and I had this time an opportunity of seeing it throughout its whole length. It is indeed a lovely island. At the extremity we are passing, the ground is comparatively low, and thickly covered with wood, then after a few miles it rises to a pretty considerable elevation – and you still see nothing but woods, woods. Now we are sailing at a rapid rate along the coast, and in a quarter of an hour we come to the first slight spot of cultivated land, which forms a large space on the declivity of a hill, & is marked off into regular fields – some of which were newly turned up, while others bore their fruits in various stages of perfection – and the whole presented a delightful picture of fertility & beauty. No sooner do you pass this oasis green in the vast extent of wood, than the faces of the country changes at every bound forwards which the vessel makes – and every time for the better. Ravines – acclurches – hillock – hills & tongues of land succeed in astonishing rapidity and variety. You have hardly time to gaze on one enchanting scene of a vale lying between two hills, which by their height confine your view within their inclosure, before, passing it like an arrow, another similar vista, if possible more beautiful is opened up. Adieu now to interminable woods. The industry of man stimulated by his avarice, had cleared these away to make room for productions more essential and important. Enough however, is still left to afford shade to man & beast, & ornament to scenery – a point of taste, in which the planters appear by no means deficient. But who can tell the favours and charms of each particular spot. Impossible. At very short intervals indeed in every valley, you can discover one or two windmills, revolving briskly & cheerily under the influence of a strong wind, & no doubt doing wonders in crushing the cane. Hard by the windmill, were the sugar houses, each with a lofty chimney, from which a steady & dense volume of smoke ascended in circling eddies to the air – & all presenting a very respectable appearance in the exterior. Again not above a stone’s throws from these were grouped in a very picturesque style, the lowly huts of the slaves, formed of rude materials & thatched with broad leaves – & in the intervals between each of these trees of the liveliest green reared their umbrageous heads, & contrasting with the dark huts formed a picture of rural beauty worthy of the pencil.

Around all these objects lay the various fields – some green with the young canes or grass – some yellow with those ready to be cut & otherwise gleaming with a light straw colour, intermediate between the young plants & those in full maturity. In some of the fields a lively throng were engaged in cutting down and carrying away the canes to the crushing house. All seemed lively in their movements – & presented an apparent scene of happiness utterly inconsistent with your preconceived notions of the misery of the negroes lot. It is almost incredible to be told what numbers of mills & villages we passed – & the whole gave us an idea that S.t Vincent, is one of the best cultivated if not one of the most fertile of the Islands.

At 11 A.M. we came to anchor when the Mate went on shore with the Mail, but I did not take the opportunity of visiting the town myself.

The town is situated in a small but not deep bay, and presents but a so so appearance. The church I [found?] the most remarkable & most respectable building. The extent of the town is small, formed of huts & houses of two stories – some of the more respectable built on arches. At the right extremity of the Bay is a hill on which is a fort, whilst that to your left is unoccupied, & descends low to the water. The town may be said to be built at the foot of a ridge of hills which arise very irregularly in different parts. The centre terminates in a cone like form – & the whole is rugged, broken & covered in a great measure with trees. At 1 P.M. we left S.t Vincent with a fresh and favourable breeze, which carried us quickly past the Grenadines, on our way to our next port Grenada. Fine weather all day – cloudy with occasional showers at night.

Thursday 18th April – at 9 I accompanied the Mate & our passengers on shore with the Mail. All things were is status quo among the good folks here. There is nearly finished an excellent Presbyterian Kirk – with a handsome tower. At 12 we left in the midst of a shower of rain, with a fair wind for Jamaica.

Friday 19th – fresh and favourable breeze, fine weather. One slight shower.

Saturday 20th – fine weather – fresh and favourable breeze.

Sunday 21st – fine weather – fresh and favourable breeze.

Monday 22d – in sight of S.t Domingo this morning. At 12 abreast of Alta Vela – fresh and favourable breeze – fine weather.

Tuesday 23d – cloudy weather. Moderate and favourable breeze. The land of S.t Domingo still in sight, terminating in Cape Tiberoon.

Wednesday 24th – light and favourable breezes all night & to day. At 10 A.M. descried the island of Jamaica. In the evening sailing along the coast – fine weather.

Read on …