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hand, a people regardless of religious and moral duty ought to have pious and exemplary pastors, in order to check and reform them, certainly no country more imperiously demands such characters than Jamaica.
Ecclesiastical affairs are here managed by a commissary court, consisting of a certain number of the clergy deputed by the king. The rectors have å seat and voice in the parochial vestries, in whatever relates to the church.
Each parish is under the direction of a vestry, which consists of the oldest magistrate (who is designated honourable, and is called custos rotulorum, from his having the custody of the parochial records), and ten freeholders elected by the rest. All affairs relative to the parish are regulated and settled by this body of men, and all questions are carried by a majority of voices. Besides the regulation of roads and other public works, they have the appointment to different parochial offices. In each parish there is an officer called “clerk of the peace,” who is the public prosecutor in all breaches of the peace, misdemeanors, &c. He is by profession an attorney at law, and his office, in the courts of session, may be said to be like that of the attorney-general, in miniature. There is also a co
The constables are appointed by the custos and other magistrates.
Commerce.-Cruisers for the protection of the
trade.—Thoughts on the intercourse between the West Indies and America ; and on West India politics in general.—Coins.--- Inconveniences of a scarcity of specie ; and causes of this want.--Taxes, public and parochial. Lotteries.-Price of labour.
THE commerce of Jamaica may be classed under the following heads. That between it and the mother country, which is far more considerable than all the other branches together; the trade with the United States of America ; with British North America, and with the Spanish Main, Cuba, &c. That some idea may be formed of the magnitude of the exports from this island, a summary of these for one year (from September 1801 to September 1802) is here subjoined : 129,544 hogsheads, 45,405 tierces, and 2,403
barrels of sugar; 45,632 puncheons, 2,073 hogsheads, 473 bar
rels, and 205 kegs of rum; 366 casks of molasses ; 2,079 bags and 23
casks of ginger; 7,793 bags and 591 casks of pimento; and 17,961,923 pounds of coffee.
The greater part of this was shipped Great Britain. The increase this year on the preceding one, was 4,000 hogsheads of sugar, and 4,560,455 pounds of coffee ; and the decrease about 3,000 puncheons of rum, and 6,29 i bags and 57 casks of pimento,
The two articles of decrease are ever fluctuating in quantity : the former depends greatly on the nature of the seasons before and during crop time ; and the latter is alternately produced in large and small crops.
The increase of the two principal articles, sugar and coffee, was considerable for one year; and both these commodities have been greatly on the increase since that period, particularly coffee. The revenue arising to the mother country from such a vast annual import must be very great. In return for these commodities, Jamaica receives from Great Britain almost every article and necessary of life. There is much less cotton now exported from here than formerly, and little or no cocoa or chocolate, nor much indigo. The planters do not find their account in cultivating these commodities to any great extent; they find themselves undersold in the market by the importers of other countries. Convoys are regularly appointed to escort the British vessels to and from Jamaica. As to the American and Spanish trades, they are chiefly carried on in their own bottoms. The Americans supply the island with lumber, and provisions of various kinds ; for which they take rum chiefly, molasses, &c. the balance of exchange is usually in their favour. From British America the island is supplied with cod-fish, salmon, oil, tar, salt, &c. &c. for which it takes produce ; and by the Spaniards, in time of peace, with horses, mules, cattle, hogs, hides, tortoiseshell, mahogany, dried fish, and other articles. In war time, they seldom, or never, bring over horses, mules, or cattle; indeed, the trade at that time dwindles away to a mere trifle: perhaps it
may appear extraordinary that any trade at all should exist between two nations at war with each other; it is contrary to the wish of the Spanish government, but the British encourage it; and the Spanish traders receive passports from the governor of Jamaica, which protects them from British cruisers. But it is questionable, whether the little advantage the island may enjoy from this licensed trade compensates for the evil it may be likely to produce. It has been ascertained, that some of these petty Spanish traders resort to the island, less with a view of bartering their commodities, than to gain information of the sailing of our fleets, their routs, &c. for the purpose of communicating it to their privateering countrymen, who avail themselves of the information accordingly. The Spaniards generally take British merchandize in return for their commodities. Formerly this trade was peculiarly be
neficial to the island, from the quantity of specie which was brought over from Cuba, &c. to pur. chase goods; but there is seldom much of that now brought to Jamaica. The Spaniards, at present, rather demand than give money in their dealings with the English.
The trade of this island is prodigiously annoyed by swarms of privateers, or .piccaroons, as they are here called, who often capture the British merchantmen, even under convoy. They will steal into the midst of a fleet in the night, and, getting alongside of a ship, will capture her, and bring her out unobserved. These privateers are usually light, low-lying vessels, with latteen sails, adapted either to sail fast with the wind, or, in calms, row with fifteen or. twenty bars.on a side. They are manned with a motley crew of low vagabonds and desperadoes, who scruple not, at times, to commit many shocking acts of piracy and barbarity. They have sometimes the audacity to commit depredations on the coast, even in sight of our cruisers, whose vigilance and pursuit they are too often successful in eluding. It would doubtless be a most desirable thing to have a number of light cruizers on the station, to carry six or eight guns, and to be calculated for rowing, the suine as the piccaroons ; in which case the latter would not so often escape in calms, or light and baffling winds. There are not above two or three privateers fitted out from Jamaica ;