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a species of the ortolan. These arrive in October, either from Cuba, or the continent of America, and remain four or five months, and afford excellent sport. There are two species of the wild duck, one of which, called the whistlingduck, removes only in the dusk of the evening, and has a plaintive kind of cry. Besides the migratory snipe, there is a smaller species peculiar to the island. The ortolan feeds on the guinea-grass seeds, which are ripe in October; it is thought little inferior to the bird of that name which bears so high a price in the London market. There are some species of birds here, besides the migratory tribes, that exactly resemble those in Europe, as the quail, one or two species of the wild pigeon, &c.
The sea around this island, and the rivers which water it, abound with various sorts of the finest fish. Of the former the mullet, the rockfish, the barracoota, the grooper, the jew-fish, &c. are reckoned as the best; and among the latter, the calapavor, the fresh-water mullet, and the mud-fish. Perhaps, for richness, flavour, and taste, the calapavor is equal to the salmon; and the mullet, which is something in shape and size like the trout, is greatly
greatly superior to that fish. The numerous other species it would be superfluous to mention. The sea also produces excellent lobsters, crabs, prawns, cockles, congers, and oysters. The latter is a curiosity, as they
literally grow upon trees ; that is, they adhere to the stems and thick fibres of the mangrove, which, growing in the water, continue to shoot downwards innumerable fibres that take root in succession, and form around the parent stem a sort of impenetrable palisade. Another curiosity is the land-crab, which can hardly be considered as belonging to the tribe of shell-fish; it is rather a sojourner on terra-firma, making, in a sort of caravans, periodical excursions into the interior and returning again, climbing the highest mountains, scaling the precipitous rocks, and mounting over all impediments and obstructions, however formidable, that may lie in its line of march: this animal, at a certain season, is considered as the first delicacy in the island. In the rivers are the finest craw-fish, wbich are also a great delicacy; they are more tender and better flavoured than the lobster, which they much resemble in shape.
All the European domestic and tame animals thrive in Jamaica. The horses bred in the island are middle-sized, hardy, active, and strong, as are those brought from Cuba, which are, how: ever, of a smaller size : the price of the former is from seventy or eighty to an hundred and fifty pounds currency, and of the latter, from forty to sixty or seventy. The English and North American horses, not being bred in the climate, are not accounted so hardy; although, when
taken proper care of, they thrive wonderfully well. These shed their hair once a year, getting what is called their winter coat in those months which constitute that season in the temperate
In all the parishes there are biennial horse races. The running horses are bred and trained for the purpose, and are so fleet and wellbottomed, that English racers brought hither have often been beaten by them. They are rode by negro jockeys, who have all the adroitness and knowingness to be met with in that description of men in other countries. It is, however, truly lamentable to see the poor animals rode three and four-mile heats at mid-day, under the hot blaze of a vertical sun, in a climate like this; when the cool of the morning might be so infinitely better substituted. If the horse masters are devoid of compassion for their generous and willing steeds, one would think that the risk of losing them, or at least rendering them useless, would have some weight with them. thor, not long ago, was witness to an instance of this; a fine horse was so overcome by the heat and exercise of the race he had performed, that he dropt down the instant he came in, and soon after expired.
But it is on the mules here the planters place their principal reliance, all the work and drudgery of the plantations being perforined by these hardy animals, who are capable of under
going double the fatigue which a horse could endure. Indeed, the latter are seldoin used as beasts of burthen; and as to the carts and wains, they are drawn by oxen. But with all this hardihood, the mule of the West Indies is the most perverse and stubborn animal that can be conceived; few are taught to be so docile as to be fit for the saddle, that is, made perfectly free of tricks; yet the most stubborn are made to go through their work by the negroes, who have a wonderful knack in managing them. Great numbers of mules are bred upon the pens in the island, and the Spaniards were wont to bring over an additional supply. The price of an unbroke mule is fifty pounds currency; for a saddle mule, if free of tricks, ninety or an hundred is often given.
The oxen here are of a middle size, and hardy; the Spanish ox brought hither is smaller than the Creole ox. The beef here, if of an animal not too old and over-wrought when killed, is sweet, palatable, and savoury. The price of a stout ox is forty or forty-five pounds, and of the beef fifteen pence per pound.
The sheep are very good, and the mutton little inferior to the English.
All these animals, as also goats (great numbers of which are bred in the country, where they thrive as well as they would do in the mountains of Wales), feed upon the guinea-grass and na
tural grass of the country, both of which are wholesome and fattening to the animals accustomed to them: horses kept in the stable are, however, assisted with Indian corn, or maize.
The hogs are small sized, and squat made; and the inhabitants justly boast that their pork, for sweetness and delicacy, is far superior to the European, and not to be exceeded by any in the world. Rabbits also thrive here.
The poultry (which is fed with guinea and Indian corn), is very good, and thrives and increases fast.
Muscovy ducks are peculiarly hardy and thriving; though English ducks are also raised, but not in such numbers. The customary price of a dung-hill fowl is five. shillings, of a turkey fifteen or twenty, of a duck six shillings and three pence, and of a tame pigeon one shilling and eight pence, currency. The last named animal is very prolific and hardy in this climate.
As in mentioning the inhabitants of the ocean and the rivers, no notice was taken of the alligator and the shark, a few observations relative to these aquatic monsters may not here be amiss.
Two or three of the rivers in this island contain alligators, some of which have been known * to measure twelve or fifteen feet in length. People who have only read exaggerated accounts of this animal, may conceive that it is terrible to the