never heard of a negro freehold being given up, while I did know of continual purchases of land by the blacks, either to make new holdings or to extend old ones.
The parish of Hanover is one in which happily the various classes are in a good degree united in feeling. The Hanover Society of Industry prepared a report about three years ago, quoted by Mr. Underhill, which shows that in that parish about seven eighths of the people are on holdings of their own, of which 891 consist of 1 acre, 431 of 2 acres, and 802 average 5-¼ acres each. Each family on an average consists of 4½ persons, and cultivates something over an acre, securing an income of about £28. Those who own land are five times as numerous as those who only hire it. The annual value of produce from the small holdings, estimated at £28 for each (£2 less than the society's estimate), is about £60,000. There are, besides, 29 estates having 3,675 acres under cultivation, and employing 2,760 laborers, of whom two thirds are females. About one eighth of the population is at work upon them. These estates average 2,608 hogsheads of sugar, and 1,435 puncheons of rum. Of the whole area of the estates, 3,555 acres are in pasturage, and 28,552 acres inaccessible or ruinate. There are, besides, 151 small properties of 20 acres and upward. In six districts, comprising about one fourth of the parish, there were found 143 small cane mills, valued at £10 apiece, which turned out, in 1859, 455 barrels of sugar, worth about £900, to say nothing of the pork fattened on the refuse molasses. One district of the six, constituting the quarter of the parish examined, produced, in 1857, 146 barrels; in 1858, 227 barrels; in 1859, 261 barrels.
This is a pretty fair picture of what may be expected in parishes where the whites show some regard for the blacks; not very magnificent results, it is true, but showing the disposition of the people to procure land of their own, and their increasing disposition to add to the raising of provisions the cultivation of the great staple of the soil. The report of the Society of Industry bears the following testimony to their character: 'The peasantry are, generally speaking, industrious and well behaved, and are gradually becoming more comfortable in their worldly circumstances. In the town of Lucea there has been a decided increase in the amount of business within the last three years as compared with a number of years previously.' In Hanover, in 1845, there were 70 estates in operation. In 1860 there were only 29. The planters of this parish, however, do not lay the blame on the negroes, but attribute the decline to the mountainous character of the parish, which made it unprofitable to continue the estates after the great fall in the price of sugar.
Now the blacks of Hanover are just the same race as the rest of the negro population of the island. The only difference is that the whites of that parish, instead of treating them with contempt and neglect, have shown something of courtesy and care toward them. The numerous conversations which Mr. Underhill reports with the owners and managers of successful estates show how simple are the rules by which they secure success. To manifest a decent respect for the blacks, to be firm, but temperate and fair in dealing with them, to use the best improvements in machinery, and to exercise a strict economy of management—this appears to be the sum of the difference between prosperous and unprosperous plantations, provided of course that both are equally well situated for success.
Metcalfe, the writer's residence during most of his stay in Jamaica, is, like Hanover, a parish of small freeholders, but unlike Hanover, the blacks and the few whites are not on good terms. Excepting what has been done by missionaries, which is not a little, they are little indebted to any but themselves for their prosperity. And as one charged with their religious instruction, the writer can bear witness that for several years they have needed to be restrained from avarice more than to be stimulated to industry. A clergyman, a friend of mine, humorously complained that he had lost by stirring up his people to work, for that now they were so diligently employed upon their own places, that he could get scarcely anybody to work for him. The average number of acres owned by forty families, of which I made lists, is seven—a pretty fair estimate, I should judge, of the whole; and seven acres in Jamaica is equivalent in productiveness to a much larger amount here. One fourth had floored houses, and as large a proportion had sugar mills. Many of the families have one or two horses, worth commonly from £5 to £12 apiece. Not a few have mules, which are much more valuable; and nearly all the rest have donkeys. The proportion of floored and glazed houses, some of them shingled, is steadily though not very rapidly increasing; and I need not say that in that climate, and with their yet rudimentary ideas of comfort, a floor of earth is no indication of indigence.
The holdings vary from one to forty acres, but are more commonly from three to six. Almost every freeholder hires land besides, and a great deal of time is lost in going to distant pieces of ground. The wants of the people have increased faster than they reckoned on, and the land was bought up so rapidly around them that now they are subject to this disadvantage in making new purchases. In St. Ann, the Baptist congregations alone spent £10,000 in a few years in buying land.
The furniture of the poorer houses is miserably scanty; £3 would more than cover it. But the better houses, now multiplying year by year, boast their four-post bedsteads, often of the native mahogany, sometimes mahogany chairs, and corresponding articles. If a white family, on removing, expose their furniture to sale, it is caught up by the people with eagerness at almost any price asked. The very improvidence of the negroes stimulates their industry. They are exceedingly litigious, and exceedingly ostentatious on the few grand occasions they enjoy. These luxuries, especially the former, cost them dear, but their very expense makes it the more necessary to work to find the means of indulging in them. Remunerative labor is eagerly sought after. The magnificent road now building through the island and traversing the parish of Metcalfe, has a superfluity of workmen, notwithstanding the shameful unfairness with which they have often been treated by the superintendents. I have known the people go in numbers to an estate ten miles distant, and remain there for weeks, except on the Saturdays and Sundays, away from their homes, working hard at digging and embanking, because they could secure one and sixpence sterling a day. I have often had occasion to employ men on short jobs, and though not unfrequently obliged to wait some time before securing a workman, I never suffered delay because they were too idle, but because they were too busy to attend to me. During my residence among them their progress in industry became too marked to be overlooked. However negligent our observations, we could not fail to notice the increasing patches of cane in some quarters, the extending provision grounds in others, the multiplying houses of the better sort, the earlier hours of going to the field, and the later hours coming from it at night. A firm in Kingston, accustomed to sell the implements of