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commander in-chief, in virtue of this official document of his deserts, signed the commission. By certain clauses in a late act of the colonial legislature, “ for the better regulation of the militia of Jamaica,” this abuse is attempted to be in some measure remedied. But even subsequent to the enacting of this law, instances have occurred of its having been disregarded or eluded.
The Maroons that remain in the island (not exceeding four or five hundred effective men) may be considered also as a part of the military strength of the island; but their services and fidelity are, it is to be feared, little to be depended upon. During the war with the Trelawney town Maroons, the Maroons of Aecompong town served for a while along with the whites ; but, on a few of them being killed and wounded in a skirmish, they sullenly and silently retired, and did not afterwards appear in the conflict. They had, however, the negative merit of remaining peaceably at bome, and not offering to aid or assist the rebellious tribe who were in arms against the whites.
There are some very good fortifications in some parts of the island, as at Port Royal, &c. but at many or most of the out-ports, the batteries, and forts (if iņ fact they deserve the name) were, at the time of the late apprehended visit from the enemy, in a shameful state of dilapidation and neglect; and even some of the guns, for want of attention
(being seldom scaled and painted), were found
more formidable to their friends than to their enemies,” to borrow the words of a great and lamented general on another occasion. People do not always think of and provide against danger till it comes home to their doors. Since then, however, something more respectable has been undertaken; the island engineer has inspected these forts, and made his report of their condition; perhaps, in short, a recent danger will cause some degree of care and attention to these defences, till a long period of security again produces a second relapse into neglect.
During the existence of martial law, commissioners are appointed in all the parishes, for regulating and furnishing necessaries for the troops: these consist of the most opulent and respectable of the elderly inhabitants, who are furnished with authority to make a requisition ori the properties of mules, cattle, carts, &c. for the transporting of baggage, provisions, &c. for the army; to purchase such provisions; and to impress for its use, if it cannot be obtained otherwise, whatever else may be wanted.
At such a time, and in such a country, it is unwise in a commanding officer to harass and fatigue his men by unnecessary duties, and endanger their health by exposure to morning dews and vertical suns. The fatal effects of a long and fatiguing exposure to a burning sun are sufficiently obvious. Men have been known to drop down in the ranks, and soon after expire in consequence of it. One thing, on such occasions, would be highly proper, viz. carriages for the rapidly transporting of troops from one place to another, in emergent cases, where they were immediately wanted. These ought to be in constant readiness. In hot climates a long and fatiguing march would render troops incapable of any immediate active service after it. To prove the importance of such a provision, a case need only be supposed. Had an enemy effected a landing between Montego bay and Falınouth (a distance of twenty-two miles), orders would of course have been issued to the troops at these and other stations to have marched with all rapidity, and formed a junction at this place : if they made a forced march on foot, in the heat of the day, whať service would they be fit for by the time they effected it? If, on the contrary, such as could immediately obta¡n horses or carriages, were allowed to use them, yet still a very large proportion would not have any such thing at hand, and the moments were precious. To, speak then of pressing, would have only shewn the folly of deferring to the last moment what ought to have been previously arranged; and acting by hazard on the spur of the occasion. It is certain that, where such an arrangement had been already provided and understood, from
three to four hundred men could have been transported from Montego bay to the point of attack (say twenty miles) in three hours or less, without the least fatigue or inconvenience to the troops. Frequent gratuitous offers have been made to government, by the English nobility, gentry, and farmers, of the use of their horses, carriages, &c. for the quick conveyance of troops in case of actual invasion. The opulent and leading men of Jamaica, on a future case of threatened invasion of that island, would do well to copy this patriotic example.
One or two further observations on the militia of this country may not here be inapplicable. In a hot climate the arms, accoutrements, and dress ought to be as light as possible, and to sit loose and easy on the wearer: this maxim is perhaps not sufficiently attended to here. Corps of riflemen, or sharp-shooters (say forty or fifty attached to each regiment), would be of peculiar use * in a contest either with a domestic or external enemy. It is known of what terrible use the American riflemen were in their struggle with the mother country for independence ; and Ame. rica is not half so much intersected with woods, mountains, valleys, rocks, and defiles as Jamaica
• The author some years ago offered some hints on this subject, through the medium of a Jamaica newspaper. Since this time the assembly have voted for a thousand stand of ride arms being sent for.
is. Such, indeed, is the topographical nature of this country, 'that, though an enemy might be in possession of the towns, and even the fortifications, the interior could easily be defended against à very superior force. Nature affords innumerable situations here that may be deemed impregnable, without the assistance of art, or the efforts of labour.
Though regular troops must be much more effective than the militia here, in a contest with an external and regular foe, yet in a warfare (such as that with the Maroons) the latter are better adapted than any troops of the line. They are more accustomed to the country, and inured to the clime; they are more in the habit of traversing the woods, and more familiarized to those haunts and recesses which they afford. Regular troops are taught to face danger without flinching or seeking for refuge from it; but this very bravery, or rather steadiness, which is the soul of discipline against a civilized foe, often proved the destruction of parties of regular soldiers, who were sent to watch the motions of the Maroons, or drive them from their haunts; while in their extreme caution, and art of concealment, consisted the principal generalship of these savages.
The militia were more cautious; on marching through dangerous defiles, where they apprehended an ambuscade, they stole guardedly along, having recourse, like their barbarous ad,