work, except in crop time; the women do none at all, not even to keep their houses neat. There is scarcely a cottage in the parish that has a bread-fruit or a cocoanut tree on its ground. Everything is dirty and forlorn. On the other hand, in Metcalfe and the adjoining parts of St. Andrew, and St. Thomas in the Vale, although the mass of the working people have certainly not learned much about comfort yet, still the number of neat, floored, and glazed houses, the fruit trees on almost every negro plot, the neat hibiscus hedges, with their gay red flowers, surrounding even the poorer huts, the small cane fields and coffee pieces noticeable at every turn, and the absence of loungers about the cottages, go to make up a very different picture from what has been drawn of Vere. It is plain, then, that the impressions which travellers bring away with them from Jamaica will vary almost to entire opposition, according to the quarters they have visited. Now what is the cause of these glaring contrasts? The negro character is remarkably uniform. If there are great differences among them, every one that knows them will ascribe it to a difference in circumstances. What is the difference then between Metcalfe and Vere? Simply this: Metcalfe is the home of small freeholders; Vere is a sugar parish, where the estates are in prosperous activity. It has been less affected by emancipation than any other parish. In Metcalfe the negroes are independent; in Vere they are completely subject to the planters. It is said that not even an ounce of sugar is permitted to be sold in the parish. All is for exportation. If the writer then attempts to vindicate the character of the blacks from the reproaches of incurable laziness and unthriftiness that have been cast upon it, he wishes it to be understood that he speaks only for the freeholders, who have homes of their own, which they have an inducement to improve and beautify, and who have land of their own which no dishonest motive prompts them to neglect, and for the estate laborers whose condition most nearly resembles theirs. If the blacks on many plantations are little disposed to adorn homes from which they may be ejected at any time; if they are discouraged from the minor industries essential to comfort, lest these should interfere with the grosser labor required of them; if they are kept idle out of crop time for fear they should not be available in crop time; if their mental improvement is discouraged by the planter instinct, unchanged in nature though circumscribed in scope; if on many estates they are herded in barracks whose promiscuous life debases still lower their already low morality; if their labors are directed for absentee masters by hired overseers, whose interest is not to create a wholesome confidence between laborers and proprietors, but to get the most they can out of them during their own term of employment; if they are treated with the old slaveholding arrogance, embittered by the consciousness of a check; and if thereby the more self-respecting are driven off, and the more abject-spirited who remain are rendered still more abject: I submit it is not fair to argue from this class of semi-slaves to the character of those who are really free, who call no man master, who have a chance to be men if they will, unhampered except by the general depressing influences that will always work in a country where slavery has lately existed, and where the slaveholding class have still a predominant social and political influence. And it is to be noted that Carlyle's picture is drawn from the neighborhood of a plantation, and so are Trollope's. Mr. Trollope, it is true, takes all imaginable pains to write himself down an ass. By his own ostentatious confessions, the only intellectual comprehensiveness to which he can lay claim is an astonishingly comprehensive ignorance. In view of this, his sage discoursings upon grave questions of political and social economy have about as comical an effect as the moralizings of a harlequin. But he is a lively describer of what passes under his eyes, and his sketches of what he heard and saw among the planters and on the plantations are doubtless authentic. However, he did not visit the small settlers; and to take pains to inform himself of the condition of a class of the population which he was not among, except by catching up the dinner-table maledictions of his planting friends against the class which they hate most, as being least dependent on them, would be of course entirely contrary to his professed superficiality.
There are but two recent works of much value on emancipation in Jamaica—Underhill's and Sewell's. The work of Mr. Underhill, although, as a delegate of a missionary society which had much to do in bringing about emancipation, he might be supposed to have a strong party interest, is marked by an impartial caution which entitles it to great respect and confidence.
As to Mr. Sewell's book, it is marvellous how he could obtain so clear an insight in so short a time into the true condition of things. The paucity of statistical facts, however, plagued him, as it does every writer on Jamaica; and while the delinquencies of the planters are patent and palpable, he could not appreciate so well as a resident the difficulties arising from the provoking treacherousness of the negro character.
It is known by most, who do not choose to remain conveniently ignorant, that though the ruin of Jamaican planting prosperity has been accelerated by emancipation, it had been steadily going on for more than a generation previous. In 1792 the Jamaica Assembly represented to Parliament that in the twenty years previous one hundred and seventy-seven estates had been sold for debt. In 1800, it is stated in the Hon. Richard Hill's interesting little book, 'Lights and Shadows of Jamaica History,' judgments had been recorded against estates in the island to the enormous amount of £33,000,000. In the five years before the slave trade was abolished in 1807, sixty-five estates had been given up. Against the abolition of the slave trade the Assembly made the most urgent remonstrances, representing that it would be impossible to keep up the supply of labor without it. In other words, the slaves were worked to death so rapidly that natural increase alone would not maintain their number. The result justified their prediction. In 1804, it appears that there were eight hundred and fifty-nine sugar estates in operation in the island. In 1834 there were six hundred and forty-six. In 1854 there were three hundred and thirty. Thus it appears that in the thirty years previous to the abolition of slavery, one quarter of the estates in operation at the beginning of that term had been abandoned, and in the twenty years succeeding abolition one half of those remaining had been given up. It is certainly no wonder that so great a social shock as emancipation, coming upon a tottering fabric, hastened its fall. But the foregoing facts show that, in the language of Mr. Underhill, 'ruin has been the chronic condition of Jamaica ever since the beginning of the century.'
The distinguished historian of the island, Bryan Edwards, himself a planter, and opposed to the abolition of the slave trade, describes the sugar cultivation, even before the supply of labor from Africa was cut off, as precarious in the highest degree, a mere lottery, and often, he says, 'a millstone around the neck of the unfortunate