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Europeans.--Those in the planting tine. Those in the towns.--Nabobs.--Anecdote of one, 8c.
THE Europeans who are settled in Jamaica, come to it with one invariable view—that of making or mending their fortunes. Some few, after obtaining this end, continue to remain in it, purchase property; marry, and have families; and, in short, are domesticated as fixed inhabitants of the country: These, attached by a new train of connections and endearments, seldom desire to return to their native country, to which, and to their relatives there, they become in time perfectly indifferent, and as great strangers as they at one time were to this their second home. Another class continue fixed in the country by less agreeable and reputable attachments, which has however the effect, in time, of weaning them from every other wish, hope, and prospect of binding themselves by ties of a more amiable and rational nature. But by far the greater number either ultimately return to their native country, or fall victims to disease before the arrival of that period. Some realize fortunes by the assistance of friends, and a series of good fortune ;. but many more fail in the attempt at this great object. On their first arrival in the island, they are placed, according to their views, talents, and inclinations, either in the planting line, as book. keepers; in the mercantile line, as clerks; or, if of any profession or trade, in a subordinate situation under others of such profession or trade; till, by proofs of their merit, their industry and abilities, they obtain more independent and responsible situations. As a great many low uneducated men come to Jamaica from Europe, it is observed, that such characters, when still further brutalized by the habits they soon fall into here, are more dissolute in their lives, shameful in their excesses, and more unfeeling in their ideas of the management of the slaves than the lowest and most ignorant of the natives. To the honour of the respectable class of employers, however, be it mentioned, that when they discover such a character in their employ, they immediately dismiss him ; so that he wanders about, generally shunned and despised, from situation to situation, till a premature death puts a period to his sufferings and his excesses.
In former times such characters as these were too common in the island, particularly in the planting profession; but times are now greatly altered here. New modes and improved ideas are fast gaining ground in the West Indies; and it is, at present, by no means unusual to see young men in the planting line, who have received the most respectable educations, and are of very genteel and reputable connections and parentage ; who, if they have a friend, or friends, to take them by the hand, may do pretty well even in this line of life. But it is lamentable to reflect, that inany a one, even with these advantages, is apt to contract low, vulgar, and profligate habits, through the general prevalence of example, and the abandonment of moral and religious duties and ideas in those with whom he is often obliged to converse and associate. He is by no means in a situa, tion calculated to foster and revive such ideas. He does not, nor cannot, attend any religious institution ; for his Sundays are otherwise o'ccupied by attending to see that the slaves work in their grounds; and he is, besides, generally at a distance from any place of worship. On his first entry into this
way of life, this unhacknied youth shrinks with horror at the contemplation of every thing around him; he sees, and trembles at the sight of various practices which he has been taught are incompatible with virtue, and a decorous and religious life: and he often hears language uttered, which is designed to ridicule his correcter and more scrupulous opinions, and undebauched principles. These examples, and this general ridicule of whatever is decent and exemplary in moral and religious conduct, has, in time, the desired effect. The young tyro in vice and profligacy yields at length to their bale
ful influence, after a short and ineffectual resistance. He now can drink, wench, and blaspheme, without a sigh or a blush! He sports his sable mistress, he shews his wit and his smartness by șidiculing the clergy and the scriptures, and he can drink strong rum punch (denominated corkers here) and smoke segars, or chew tobacco, with the oldest and most confirmed sinners of his acquaintance. In short, his mind soon becomes a chaos of licentiousness, indecency, and profanation; while his constitution and person proportionably suffer by the excesses to which they instigate him. Formerly drinking debauches were carried to a most shameful and incredible excess by the white people employed on the estates. On the meeting together of a company of people of this class, they were accustomed invariably to sit and continue swilling strong punch (sometimes half ruin, and that not always ameliorated by age, half limejuice, sugar and water); and smoking segars till they could neither see, nor stand; and he who could swallow the greatest quantity of this liquid fire, or infuse in it the greatest proportion of ardent spirits, was considered as the cleverest fellow—the Alexander of the feașt ! That these horrid and wanton excesses sent more wretched men to their graves, than either the insalubrity of the climate, or the unavoidable diseases of the country, can hardly for a moment be doubted; and it is only astonishing, that men endowed with
the gift of understanding and reason, should thus wantonly rush on certain self-destruction ! These riotous debauches are however growing fast into disrepute; and it is to be hoped, that they will in time be exploded and discountenanced. The inferior orders in the towns are by no means exempt from the reproach of intemperance; nor are the more opulent classes, generally speaking, behind hand in this respect. Sangaree (Madeira wine diluted with water, and sweetened) arrack punch, and other potations are pretty freely drank, early in the day, in the taverns.
Let us now take a view of the wealthy European (whether planter or merchant) whose abilities, diligence, and application, good fortune, or other nameless means, have raised him to a proud state of independence and authority over others. Perhaps this man may be of a mild, friendly, and conciliating disposition, beloved by his equals, amiable towards his inferiors and dependants, decent and exemplary (comparatively speaking) in his moral conduct, and faithful and diligent in the discharge of his public duties, if he has any to perform. In this case, he is a worthy and estimable character, and a valuable acquisition to the community of which he is a member. The country would be the better by having many such characters to boast of. But, if made giddy by this exaltation of fortune, he forgets his primitive situation in society, and affects the mighty