knowing that the sale of the land or its conversion to pasturage would reimburse him.
The various means by which the planters endeavored to keep the negroes on the estates are too well known to require detail. Summary ejectments of the refractory from their dwellings, destruction of their provision grounds, refusal to sell them land except at exorbitant prices, were all tried. But there is too much land in Jamaica, and too few people, to make this game successful. There were abundance of thrown-up estates, and especially of coffee properties in the mountains, whose owners were only too glad to sell land at reasonable rates, and so this policy of coercion simply wrought out an incurable alienation between a large part of the proprietors and a large part of the peasantry. It must not be supposed, however, that the tyranny was all on one side. If at emancipation there was an unprincipled strife on the part of the planters to get the better of the negroes, there was an equally unprincipled and far more adroitly managed strife on the part of the negroes to get the better of the planters. Long and close observation of the emancipated black has satisfied the writer beyond all doubt that laziness is not one of his prominent faults. Negligent, unthrifty, careless of time, and sufficiently disposed to take his ease, he undoubtedly is. But every year of freedom has shown an advance, and the five years and a half of the writer's residence showed so unmistakable an advance in regular industry, carefulness of time, skill in laying out labor, and in the increase of the wants that stimulate industry, that his early misgivings as to the capacity and disposition of the freed negro to take care of himself were finally put to rest. But a disposition to take care of himself and a disposition to be faithful to the interests of others are two very different things. At emancipation, the negroes' stimulants to making money were very strong. In the first impulse of their zeal they were everywhere erecting chapels and schools, raising large sums for the support of their ministers and schoolmasters; they were everywhere building houses, buying land, and laying the foundation of that settled well-being which time has continually made firmer. Then, too, money was plentiful, sugar bore a high price, and, notwithstanding the churlishness of many planters, more, perhaps, were eager to retain their hands by offering the highest possible wages, and even higher in many cases than the estates would bear. Nor were the blacks at all averse to making money. But though the Jamaica negro does not object to work, he dearly loves to cheat. The keenest Yankee that ever skinned a flint, cannot approach him in trickiness. This native trait has been sharpened to the utmost by the experience of slavery, which left him with the profound conviction that 'Buckra' was fair plunder. The poor fellow could not be very severely blamed for thinking thus, for certainly he had been fair plunder for Buckra from time immemorial. Accordingly, the first few years after emancipation appear on many estates to have been passed in a continual struggle on the part of the negroes to see how much they could get out of the planters and how little they could give in return. They knew they had the whip hand of massa, and they were not slow to profit by the knowledge. They would saunter to their work at eight or nine o'clock in the morning, dawdle through it with intensely provoking unfaithfulness till three or four in the afternoon, and then would raise a prodigious uproar if they were not paid as liberally as if they had done an honest day's work. The poor planter meanwhile was at his wits' end. It was of no use to turn them off and hire another set, for, like the fox in the fable, he knew he should only fare the worse. If the estate was large enough to stand the strain for two or three years, and the manager was a man of self-control enough to keep his temper, and firmness enough to persevere in a winnowing of the whole region round about, treating them meanwhile with decency, and paying them honestly and promptly, he would at last be able to get a set of trusty hands, and give all the negroes of the neighborhood such an understanding of him that they would be ready, if they went to work for him, to leave off cheating, and honestly earn their wages. A friend of mine took an abandoned estate in 1854, and though for two or three years he was tortured like a bear at a stake, he succeeded at last, by the most scrupulous fairness on his own part, and by not tolerating the least dishonesty in a hand, in creating such a public sentiment among his laborers, that for their own credit they would themselves expose the dishonesty of a comrade. Now, he has as many laborers, and profitable ones, as he needs. But how many planters could be expected to have the principle or patience to carry out such a course of discipline? The ruin of the estates, or rather the acceleration of their inevitable ruin, is justly attributed, in large measure, to the planters, to their imperious bearing toward the enfranchised blacks, to their harsh expedients for keeping in dependence the large and much the best class of blacks, who wanted to become freeholders, to the slackness and unfaithfulness with which the wages of the people were often paid, to the debasing influences of the plantation, which drove off the more self-respecting, and to the waste, dishonesty, and shortsightedness inevitable in the management of several hundred estates mainly by middlemen. But on the other hand, it is not to be forgotten that the African barbarian, brought a heathen from home, and plunged into the deeper darkness of a compulsory heathenism, rigorously secluded by jealous cupidity from every ray of intellectual, and, so far as possible, of spiritual light, liable to cruel punishment if he snatched a few hours from his rest or his leisure to listen to the missionary, from whom alone he heard words of heavenly comfort or of human sympathy, condemned to a lifetime of unrequited labor—it must not be forgotten that he could not fail to come out from this school of supreme dishonesty with its lessons so deeply imprinted on his mind that not one generation or two would eradicate them, and that of all others he would be most inclined to practise them upon the white man, whom, having always known as a plunderer, he was only too glad to have an opportunity to plunder in return. Had Jamaica been occupied by a resident proprietary, attached by hereditary affection and pride to the soil, elevated by family sanctities, connected by something like kindly ties with their bondmen, and regarded by these in turn with something of affectionate fealty, in that case, although it is not likely that the ruin of the plantations could have been averted, it might have been delayed and mitigated. Mr. Underhill indeed goes further, and quotes the testimony of an overseer in the west of the island, that he knew of no estate managed, since emancipation, by a resident owner, which had not continued profitable. But a class of hirelings, debased in morals by the cruel selfishness of their employers, tempted almost irresistibly to unfaithfulness by the five thousand miles of ocean between them and their principals, and to recklessness and tyranny by the uncertain tenure of their places, and connected with the slaves by none but the grossest and most sordid ties—such management, in such a crisis, when the ties of old subjection were suddenly dissolved, and the negro stood independent, and knowing his independence, before his masters, would have ruined any country under the sun.
As to the present condition of the emancipated blacks, it is certain that the 7,340 freeholds which had been acquired in 1840, two years after emancipation, have considerably increased in number. I