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Maroon war, the bulk of the regiments stationed in St. James's has been quartered at barracks built on the scite of the old Maroon town, (about twenty miles up in the interior), since which time the part of the regiments posted there has been uniformly as healthy as if quartered in the heart of England. Seven hundred of the 55th regiment, some time back stationed there, had at one time not one sick man in the hospital, and only one had died in a space of six months. This spot is, therefore, very properly converted into headquarters for the regiments. There are, indeed, two circumstances to be observed with respect to the mortality in the 16th regiment; it was injudiciously drawn from a very cold country to a hot tropical climate, and the soldiers had unfortunately a too free access to spirituous liquors, the very bane of the best constitutions in a climate like this. Indeed it is to be presumed, that intemperance and irregularity destroy many more constitutions than any thing inimical in the climate ; they are the fruitful sources of much of the sickness here, and consign many an infatuated wretch to an untimely grave.
For many years back this island has been happily exempt from those terrible visitations, hurricanes and earthquakes. The only earthquake which was peculiarly awful and destructive in its effects here was that which, in 1692, swallowed up the town of Port Royal, and its
wretched inhabitants, leaving not a vestige or wreck behind. The earth on which it stood sud. denly sunk, the sea, terribly agitated, rushed in over it, and the vessels which rode in the harbour were torn from their moorings, and rapidly wasted over the spot where, but a few minutes before, stood the houses of this devoted town. Since this signal and destructive visitation, few of the earthquakes that have happened here have been of any great moment. They have done little more mischief than cracking a few walls, shivering a few panes of glass, or breaking a little china ware. Perhaps, too, they may have tended to awaken a few trembling apprehensions, religious scruples, and conscientious qualms in the breasts of some; and, if happening during the solemu stillness of night, to rouse and terrify a number of worthy people of both sexes from their beds, as in the last shock (in 1802), at eleven o'clock at night, when, in an instant, the streets of the towns that felt it most sensibly were filled with people of all descriptions, who issued out with wildness and surprise in their looks, and without waiting the formality of slipping on their clothes,
As for hurricanes, these visitations have been not only much more frequent, but, in many instances, equally terrible and destructive with the devouring earthquake in its most awful shape. For twenty years past Jamaica has not expe
rienced what may properly, be called a hurricane. There have been storms, or severe gusts of wind, but no hurricane since the year. 1786; for between a hurricane and one of these gusts there is as much difference as between a smart breeze and the gentlest zephyr:
A hurricane in the West Indies is usually preceded by awful and certain prognostics. An ominous stihness seems to reign in the sky, the air is unusually sultry; the clouds unsettled ; at length a deep gloom gradually settles and overspreads the hemisphere; the sun is by degrees enveloped in darkness; a deep, hollow, and murmuring sound is indistinctly heard, like the roaring of a distant torrent, or the howling of tlie winds through remote woods; rapid and transient gusts of wind and rain suddenly succeed; the birds are seen flying hastily across the sky, or agitated in mid-air by the violence of the sudden blasts; even the beasts of the fields seem conscious of the coming danger, and flee to their accustomed sheds. The blasts soon become more violent and durable; they seem to sweep along in streams or volumes that are irresistible. moment they rage with inconceivable fury, and on the ensuing instant seem as it were to expire suddenly away. In a few hours the hurricane reaches its acmè of violence, when all the winds of heaven, and from every point of the compass, winged with destruction, seem let loose from their
caveriis. The largest trees of the forest cannot resist their force, the plantain-walks are levelled to the ground, the fields of sugar canes are torn from the roots, and wafted about like chaff; and all the level country is inundated by floods of rain. If unhappily the winds should find entrance into some unfortunate dwelling, at this perilous moment, it would soon be unroofed, and the trembling inhabitants, if not buried in its ruins, compelled to seek for other shelter ; but that has often proved impracticable, and many are the unfortunate victims who have thus perished amid the fury of those tropical tempests--helpless, unheard, and unseen. Nothing can be more terrible and heart-appalling (the author writes from experience) than the wild howling and threatening violence of a hurricane during the dead of the night, when the silent and sudden gleams of light darting across the heavens (for no thunder is heard) serve only to make “ darkness visible,” and heighten the horrors of the scene. Well might we then exclaim with King Lear,
" Tremble thou wretch,
But what must be the horrors which then surround the unhappy inariner : His ship buffeted about by the wild and mountainous waves, which threaten every moment to swallow him up in an
unfathomable grave. Even the sight of land at this terrific crisis fills him with new horrors : the treacherous reef, the sunken rock, the wild breakers, and tremendous surf, are far more dreadful to him than even the open ocean.
When a hurricane subsides, every object around wears an unspeakably dismal appearance. Every tree is stript of its verdure, or lies shattered on the earth; the fields of canes are levelled with the ground, or twisted and torn from their roots; the plantain trees (from which the inhabitants of this quarter of the globe draw a great part of their subsistence) are every where destroyed; and even the ground provisions, (or various roots), do not entirely escape. The planter, in short, has his crop destroyed; and, what is much worse, is in danger, perhaps, of seeing his slaves perish around him for want of subsistence, or die by diseases brought upon them by improper nourishment. V hat adds to the horrors of such a situation, is the long droughts that are too often known to succeed these visitations, by which the products of the earth, which the tempest had spared, are arrested in their growth, and its vegetation dried up and suspended by the parching heat and want of moisture. This situation is truly dreadful. But it was never so severely felt as after the great hurricane of 1780, at which time, the author has