St Vincent & Grenada

St Vincent & Grenada

James’ illustration of a sugar apple

Island of St. Vincent

Thursday 10th September – at ½ past 7 A.M. we were along side of S.t Vincents. Unfortunately I was not up sufficiently early to obtain a sight of that side of the island, which we first approached, and which was described to me as being the finest of all, And from it you can see a Volcanic mountain, which is almost always smoking. But what I did see delighted me extremely. I have seldom seen so lovely a scene. There were presented to you hills and slopes covered with the most beautiful clothing of nature you can conceive. Here were deep ravines – there gently declining plains – and the tout ensemble was such that I was perfectly enraptured. In our Brazil voyage I gave it as my opinion that Madeira & Teneriffe were beautiful from their irregularity – but I would by no means compare them with S.t Vincent than I would objects the most dissimilar.

S.t Vincent’s is of small extent, but is indeed a gem which tho’ insignificant in size shines with a brilliancy which raises its beauty and its value far beyond others of greater pretensions, in point of size. Embosomed in hills and which from distant view is the small town of Kingston, the principal one in the island, and before is a bay of little extent formed by the jutting out of two portions of hill, on one of which is a romantically situated fort, which commands completely the access to the Town.

I should above all things have enjoyed the opportunity of landing in this paradise of nature, both from the desire of seeing it more closely and also of inquiring after M.r Donald McLaurin whom you told me came out with Stewart of Garth as an Engineer. But this my wish several circumstances contrived to oppose – for the stay made does not exceed an hour or two, which short period would have left me unable to proceed to visit M.r M. L., and again the weather, being squally, with a heavy swell from the Harbour, it would have been improper in me to have added my additional weight to the gig, which was already sufficiently loaded.

With great difficulty and with much hard pulling amidst torrents of rain and violent gusts of wind, the Capt.n returned at 10 A.M. when we made sail for Grenada. During the whole of this we had worse weather than we have had since we left Falmouth. Rain, thunder and lightning with sudden squalls, all combined to throw a gloom over our spirits, which rendered us very uncomfortable.

Arrive at Grenada

Friday 11th September – The early dawn of this day saw us nearly becalmed off Grenada. This island which is of considerable magnitude was on one side, while a number of islets, thickly interspersed between S.t Vincents and termed the Grenadines, were seen around us. We were at some distance from S.t Georges, the Capital to which the Captain at first intended to proceed in his gig – but afterwards altered his purpose and when the breeze freshened a little so that we approached nearer the Town, he dispatched M.r Geach, with the mail, whom I obtained permission to accompany. In a short time we had landed on the beach, with the Reverend M.r Barker, who is the clergyman of the English Church here.

Town of S.t George’s Grenada

I was not at all prepossessed by the appearance of the town at hand. The beach was a most abominable one, and the quantity of filth which exhaled from the heat a fetid odour, produced an insuppressible sensation of nausea & oppression. The streets & houses were good, but not handsome or elegant – many of the former were very steep, but within well paved. The Church to which we accompanied M.r Barker is of very considerable size & capable of containing 1000 people. From its elevated situation it forms a prominent object to the eye of a person lying off the shore. The interior of it is exceedingly commodious, clean and ever handsome with an excellent organ, and pleased me very much. Adjoining to the church is the vicarage, a good substantial building, with fine trees in front which shelter the inmates from the bruising rays of the Sun. From it you have several beautiful views, on the one side of the open sea, and on the other, of the hills in the neighbourhood. M.r Barker welcomed us most kindly to his House, where we partook of some refreshments.

The Rev.d M.r Barker, Clergyman at Grenada

During the very short time that we had the pleasure of this Gentleman’s company he shewed himself of considerable learning, knowledge of the world, and powers of observation that told me that he had never had a dispute or quarrel with any of his parishioners – but that he had lived for five years in love and concord with all of them – from which I drew the natural conclusion that his manners must be conciliatory and that he must be imbued with the Christian spirit of his office & religion, which calls upon him to love and do good to all men. As we walked along with him we had an opportunity of observing his behaviour to others & his reception from them. To many gentlemen he bowed and paid the usual compliments of meeting, while to many blacks he addressed himself with a kindness, and paternity which seemed to be felt by them, and returned with gratitude.

I was told, also by him, that most of the inhabitants of Grenada were Scotchmen, from whom he received many seasonal acts of kindness, and with whom he lived in terms of intimacy and friendship, and indeed I met three waiting in the manse to welcome him home.

Scenery and Market at Grenada

After remaining a short time, M.r Geach and myself went out, accompanied by a gentleman a friend of M.r Barker’s who kindly offered to be our Cicerone. He guided us to a place where we had a prospect admirably adapted for the painter, who might take his station where we stood. Opposite to us were lofty hills, covered with woods, luxuriant with vegetation woods and begannical [?] with cottages & large houses, and at our foot between these hills and our elevated position, was a small narrow arm of the sea, on the borders of which was a little village, and on its bosom several vessels riding at anchor.

The island of Grenada is chiefly hilly, but in my opinion is far from being equal to the scenery of Barbadoes S.t Vincent’s, altho’ it is still superior to Barbadoes.

I saw here more white[s] that at Barbadoes – et quod magis adminandum, multos pueros atque puellas, itenera in omnium conipechi permeaules P__oli purdon puris naturalibus Prok tempora et mores.

I visited the market, which is kept in a small square. There I saw the same fruits as at Barbadoes, with the exception of one, which they called, the sugar apple. It is of this form and appearance.

When ripe it is very soft – and it taste is luscious usque ad nauseam. All the fruits here are very cheap, indeed they are literally dog cheap, i.e. cheap for a dog. That you may understand my meaning – I must tell you that there is a small coin current here of a very low denomination of value, and which ‘tis called a dog, from what cause I know [not]. For one dog you may have oranges & sufficient, to satisfy you at one time, which you must allow is dog cheap. This name for a coin in Grenada reminds me of another equally Curious at Barbadoes. It is called a “kids eye” and is a small piece of silver, of British coinage, and of value 5 pence.

At 12 oClock M.r Geach, having received the Mail, went on board the Duke, which in consequence of the unsettled state of the w.r had been brought to an anchor pretty close to the shore. The anchor was soon weighed, and we made sail for Jamaica with variable breezes, and unsettled weather.

Leave Grenada

Saturday 12th Sept:r – weather unsettled, but generally fine – wind moderate and favourable

Sunday 13th Sept.r – fine Weather, with fresh and favourable breezes.

Monday 14th – fine weather – wind favourable but light.

Tuesday 15th – d.o d.o

Wednesday 16th – fine weather & favourable winds. Saw the small island of Alto Vela and, but dimly, the high land of the island of S.t Domingo, or Haiti. During the afternoon a large shoal was discovered on our larboard side, which was not put down in the Chart.

Thursday 17th – dirty W.r in the morning but fine during the rest of the day. The high land of S.t Domingo still in view.

Read on … Jamaica