15 SEPTEMBER 1855, Page 15



Haverstoelc Sill, 241 September 185,5. About half Jamaica consists of mountains, the elimate of which is more salubrious and healthy than that of Great Britain : indeed, the late Lord Metcalfe expressed to the writer of these papers his conviction that no place in which he had ever been was so favourable to health and enjoyment as Highgate, on which mountain he resided when not necessarily engaged in Spanish Town. The experience of the writer also may be referred to in corroboration of this conviction, for he lived on two of these mountains for more than six years, with a large family; during which he rode ten thou- sand miles on horseback, and held at least fifteen hundred courts. Yet no medical man was ever required for this flimily so long as it continued on the mountains. Coffee, cotton, provisions, and plantains, grow most luxuriantly, and three crops of maize have been grown in succession in one year on the same land—at the cottage near Strawberry Hill—without manure : an acre of land in plantains will, after the first year, yield, besides the fruit, at least four times the quantity of useful fibre that IS usually grown on an acre of land sown to hemp or flax in this country. The crop may be taken for twenty years without replant- ing ; and with the first year's, yams, corn, and potatoes are planted in the intervals, so that they make up for the deficiency of plantains. The next and succeeding years, the latter will completely cover and shade the ground, and give at least three crops in a year. Lord Howard de Walden, who has very extensive and fine estates in Jamaica, resided upon one of them with Lady Howard and family for some time; and he states that "the land on the mountains is rendered worth 50/. an acre per annum to a Negro who works it steadily. Single families of the Germans settled* at Sea- ford Town, with three acres each, and without capital, have saved from 500 to 2000 dollars within six or seven years: they are very healthy ; cultivate arrowroot, ginger, and sugar, for sale, besides yams, cocoas, plantains; Indian corn, coffee, tobacco, peas, beans, cabbage, cassava, for their own i

consumption. Yams planted in February or March are dug up at the end

of i July said August, and keep the whole year.. The produce of yams ave- rages, in the fine mountain districts, where thousands of acres of land are untouched, seven tons per acre; and the land bears a perennial crop of plan- tains, or a second crop of Indian corn besides. The market-price of yams varies from 6s. te 188. per hundredweight, aoeording to locality and the time of year. Fruit-trees once planted require no further care; and oranges, mangoes, bread-fruit, and many others, grow wild all over the country." But whilst the mountains are thus healthy. and productive, the low lands are proverbially unhealthy ; and the reason is obvious. Immense tracts on the sea-coasts are undrained, and the water which falls in rain on themoune tains lies stagnant on the uncultivated plains; the heat of the sun on such lands causes the most rapid vegetation ; miasma arises, and produces the low fevers, which, when neglected, terminate in yellow and putrid fevers. If instead of settling on the sea-coasts the people on their first arrival were to sleep on the mountains, and the landowners were to employ steam draining- ploughs, and cattle to drain and clear the coaat-lands, they would produce an almost unlimited quantity of sea-island cotton, and sugar, and that at far lees expense than can now be done by manual labour. Dr. Blair, an emi- nent physician in Demerara, in a letter to the writer of this paper, states with regard to British Guiana that which is equally applicable to the sea- coast lands of Jamaica—" I have been all along of opinion that the key to our future prosperity is the substitution of beast and implemental labour for the manual operations that now obtain in the cultivation of the cane. When I was in Europe in 1845, I was so impressed with the importance of this change, that I wrote to Mr. Young on that subject, recommending that the half of the loan then to be raised by the colony should be appropriated to thorough drais- ftge, as the means not only of improved tillage, but as the sine qua non for the introduction of the plough and horse-hoe into our cane-fields. If we had in the colony the established methods of home agriculture, we have, no doubt, sufficiency of population for the present number of plantations • but as long AS the hand-hoe and shovel only are used in the field, we may spend millions in immigration, and after all, like the horse-leech's daughter, never have enough. "There is probably nothing wanting to raise Demerara from its present de. pression to the highest possible prosperity but a system of cheap and efficient covered drainage, by which oxen, mules, and horses will do the work which is now done by human muscle only." "The advantages, however, of a ge- neral system of covered drainage to ue would not be confined to mere money profits. With the peculiarly fortunate angle at which the facade of the co- lony lies to the trade-winds, (and which under present circumstances renders the colony habitable,) British Guiana, thorough-drained, would take its place among the healthiest climates on the face of the earth."

The members of the Legislature and principal landowners of British Guiana have stated in a petition to the House of Commons that if the Maud 10th Victoria, c. 101, (relative to drainage,) were rendered applicable to the West Indies, by thorough-draining their lands they would be enabled to use ploughs and oxen, so as that twelve men would perform the work now re- quiring fifty. It is not, then, by difficult and costly immigration from the Eaat Indies or China, but by the use of the draining-plough, cattle, and agricultural implements, under the direction of skilled labourers—by improved methods of manufacturing sugarso as to prevent waste on the passage home—by the growth of sea-island cotton—by the employment of women and chil- dren in preparing fibres and paper stuff from the now wasting plantains, Spanish dagger, and pinguin plants—and by Fettling the healthy mountains with industrious and skilful European families—that the true and per- manent interests of Jamaica may be secured. Had only one-fourth of the compensation-money been thus applied, and all those who are favourable to the freedom of the African race heartily cooperated with the Government and the rightminded of the proprietors to render Emancipation as success- ful as it might have been made, the example of Jamaica would long ago have necessitated the liberation of the slaves of America, Cuba, Porto Rico, Surinam, and the Brazils, whilst our markets would have been abundantly supplied with all those materials which we now derive from the labour of

slams and serfs. A FRIM:D TO rue WI= INDIA COLONISTS.