MONTHLY COMMENTS

Jamaica

 

by

 

Ansell Hart

 

Volume 5. (August 1962 – July 1964)

 

 

Ansell Hart at his desk at Manton & Hart  circa 1950

 

 

Prepared For Web. March  2001

by Dr. John B. deMercado

Copyright Reserved by Hart Family


 

Foreword To Volume  5

 

Mr. Richard Hart has kindly provided this Volume of his father’s Monthly Comments for publication on this website.

 

The Copyright for the material is reserved by the Hart family, who have agreed that the material may be distributed free of charge for personal use only. They have stipulated that it not be altered or sold in any format.

 

Mr. Ansell Hart published Volume 5 of his Monthly Comments in 24  issues over a two-year period. The first issue, namely Volume 5 number 1, was published in August 1962 and the final issue of Volume 5 namely Number 24 was published in July of 1964.

 

Volume 5 as published on this web-site contains all (except Issue no 8) twenty-four issues and is around one hundred and twenty pages.

 

You may go to any section listed in the Table of Contents by "clicking" on the description given in the table.

 

Enjoy! 

 

Dr. John B. deMercado

Ottawa, Ontario

March 2001


 

 

INTRODUCTION  (Richard Hart)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Ansell Hart 1

Foreword To Volume  5. 2

INTRODUCTION  (Richard Hart) 3

INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME 5. 7

Volume 5. No. 1.       August 1962. 8

THE PRE-ENGLISH ERA IN JAMAICA. 8

MYTOPIA RE-VISITED. 11

Volume 5.  No.2         September 1962. 13

THE STRANGE CASE OF PETER EVANS. 13

Volume 5.   No. 3     October 1962. 18

FOUL PROCEEDINGS. 18

OTHER FOUL PROCEEDINGS. 20

INTEGRITY AND SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY. 20

OF BOOKS. 21

Volume 5.   No. 4        November 1962. 23

THE BALANCE OF NATURE-THE LIFE OF THE SOIL. 23

INTERNAL MARKETING AND ALL THAT. 24

TELEVISION. 25

FLAG AND NATIONAL ANTHEM. 26

THE CHILD, THE PRIMITIVE, THE SCHIZOPHRENIC. 26

Volume 5.  No. 5       December 1962. 28

CAUSERIES. 28

SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT. 28

BREADNUT. 30

FROM MY SCRAP BOOK. 30

DEBIT AND CREDIT. 31

THE QUESTIONNAIRE - A poem by the famous Canadian Poet, Wilson MacDonald. 31

BOOK REVIEWS. "Compost":  R. H. Billington:   "From Vegetable Waste to Fertile Soil" : M. E. Bruce. 32

Volume 5.    No. 6       January 1963. 33

1938 AND ALL THAT. 33

LEGAL MISCELLANY. 34

R. H. TAWNEY. 35

BOOK REVIEW - THE PSYCHOLOGY OF INSANITY by Bernard Hart 36

Volume 5.   No. 7       February 1963. 38

CAUSERIES. 38

NEGRO UPLIFT IN JAMAICA. 38

CITRUS IN JAMAICA-POSTSCRIPT AND PARABLE. 39

MAN'S INHERITANCE. 40

MEN OF GOODWILL. 41

OOGABOO. 41

Volume 5.   No. 9................................................................... APRIL 1963. 43

CAUSERIES. 43

OOGABOO. 43

THE EVOLUTION OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY. 44

THE DELUGE ASSYRO-BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY. 46

THE GREEK VERSION OF THE DELUGE. 47

FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT. 48

THE SOIL. 48

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS. 49

TAGETES- MINUTA AND ALL THAT. 50

THE BISHOP. 51

Volume 5.    No. 11.        June 1963. 53

J -RUDOLPH STEINER. 53

ALBERT HOWARD. 53

OOGABOO. 54

IS LIFE A GAME? 55

Volume 5.   No. 12         July 1963. 58

Partial Review. 58

IMPEACHMENT. 61

THE ORIGIN OF SEX. 61

Volume 5.     No. 13            August 1963. 63

THE FORMULA. 63

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA. 64

DENIGRATION. 67

Volume 5.     No. 14          September 1963. 68

OOGABOO. 68

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA. 69

Volume 5.     No. 15         OCTOBER 1963. 74

BOOK REVIEW.-The Friendly Fungi-A New Approach to the Eelworm Problem - C. L. Duddington. 74

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA. 75

Volume 5.     No 16         November 1963. 79

BOOK REVIEW : "The Other Side of the River - Red China Today" - By Edgar Snow. 79

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA. 81

Volume 5.   No. 17............................................................ December 1963. 84

"HONEST TO  GOD" by JOHN A. T. ROBINSON,- BISHOP of WOOLWICH. 84

OOGABOO. 87

TROPIC SWEET CORN AND SESAME. 88

Volume 5.   No. 18          January 1964. 89

THE SOIL ASSOCIATION. 89

THE MIRACLE OF COMPOST. 90

SUGAR. 91

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA. 91

EPILOGUE. 93

Volume 5.  No. 19        February 1964. 94

"ARE YOU A COMMUNIST?" 94

OOGABOO. 94

THE PHILOSOPHER'S REPLY. 95

"THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN" by Morris West 95

GOVERNOR EYRE AND GEORGE WILLIAM GORDON. 97

MORANT BAY 1865 AND ALL THAT. 97

Volume 5.    No. 20         March 1964. 99

THE MORAVIAN MISSION IN OLD JAMAICA. 99

THE "GREAT REVIVAL" OF 1860. 100

GOVERNOR EYRE and GEORGE WILLIAM GORDON. 102

A NEW JAMAICA? 102

Volume 5.   No. 21.      April 1964. 104

A TRUE AND WONDERFUL STORY. 104

SUGAR, CANE EXPANSION AND NITROGEN. 105

THE EARLY BAPTISTS. 106

Volume 5.          No. 22            May 1964. 108

CAUSERIES. 108

JAMAICAN LAWYERS AS BROKERS. 108

THE ILLEGITIMATE. 109

MYALISM IN OLD JAMAICA. 110

TOM REDCAM. 111

THE PHILOSOPHER'S ROSARY. 112

Volume 5 Nos. 23 and 24.       JUNE and JULY 1964. 113

FINAL DOUBLE NUMBER. 113

JAMAICAN CONSPECTUS. 113

POLITICAL ECONOMY. 113

JAMAICAN XENOPHOBIA. 114

PESTIFEROUS. 115

BRIDGES ON HUTCHINSON. 115

REFLECTIONS ON SAMUEL BUTLER'S: "ERE WHON" 116

IDEOLOGY, DOCTRINE AND IDIOSYNCRACY. 117

SACREDNESS. 118

THIS MAKE-BELIEVE WORLD. 119

EPILOGUE. 120

THE WORKS PERMIT BILL. 120

 

 

 

 


INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME 5

 

Mr. Richard Hart has kindly provided this Volume of his father’s Monthly comments for publication on this website. The Copyright for the material is reserved by the Hart family, who have agreed that the material may be distributed free of charge for personal use only. They have stipulated that it not be altered or sold in any format.

 

Mr. Ansell Hart published Volume 5 of his Monthly Comments in 24 monthly issues over a two year period. The first issue, namely Volume 5 number 1, was published in August 1962 and the final issue of Volume 5 namely Number 24 was published in July of 1964.

 

The Herald Printers,  44 Church Street  in Kingston, Jamaica, originally printed them. The  subscription for all 24 issues was  ten shillings sterling or about US$ 1.0  in today's money.

 

Volume 5 as published on this site contains  twenty three (unfortunately issue 8 was not available) issues in one hundred and eighteeneen pages.

 

In compiling this document, the only license that I have taken, is to attach some headings to various sections, so that the Table of Contents may be more useful. You may go to any section listed in the Table of Contents by "clicking" on the description given there.

Enjoy! 

 

Dr. John B. deMercado.

Ottawa, Ontario

March 9th 2001

Volume 5. No. 1.       August 1962

 

THE PRE-ENGLISH ERA IN JAMAICA

 

It is probable that the Jamaican history books of a hundred years hence will contain a mythical account of the island's struggle for independence from Britain. The historical facts are of course that Jamaica was settled with a liberal Constitution with a large measure of self-government shortly after the capture of the island by the English; and. that, after enjoying this for some two hundred years, the local politicians begged the Queen of England to take over absolute control of government. Within twenty years later, the mistake was recognized by aspiring political leaders in Jamaica, and from time to time representations from local politicians for more and more self-government received prompt and effective response from Britain. There never was any struggle; and there never was any more post-emancipation oppression by Britain than the usual class oppression effected within one's own government by those for the time being in control of the reins of government.

 

Of course Britain and other European nations committed aggression in Africa; and those in authority in Jamaica carried out the worst form of oppression in the form of enslavement of the Negroes captured by the British with the help of African chiefs and delivered by them at a profit to the planters in Jamaica; 'but Britain actually enforced emancipation on an unwilling local plantocracy.

 

Where then should a historical record of Jamaica begin? It actually begins according to the taste and talent of the historian. Most historians commence with the discovery of the island by Christopher Columbus in 1494; others point to the claims of the Norwegians and others to have known of and forgotten the existence of the New World long before Columbus came this way. The historian Bridges commences the history of the island with Noah's Flood; and claims that Noah had knowledge of the New World.

 

The word "Jamaica" derives from two Indian words long extant in Florida; "chabauan", signifying "water" and "makia", signifying "wood"; compounded they would be "chabmakia", and harmonized to the Spanish ear, "Chamakia", or as the Spaniards would spell it, "Xaymaca".

 

Approaching Jamaica in a southwest direction from Cuba, the first headland which Columbus encountered in Jamaica was called by him "Santa Maria". A large body of armed Indians seemed at first to intimidate him. He then tried for a landing at a place he called "Ora Cabeca", where he discharged cannon, then effected reconciliation; presents were exchanged and the island was formally annexed to the Spanish Crown! Columbus remained in Jamaica for ten days, then left for Cuba. He returned to Jamaica on June 22. According to an old English historian (Oldmixon) Columbus then tried to affix the name St. Jago to Jamaica; but Spanish Acosta called it "Jamaycque" and Benzo, "Jamaica" nearly one hundred years before the English invaders came along. The name "St. Jago" (the patron saint of Spain) remained attached in the St. Jago de la Vega (St. James of the Plain) of the second Spanish capital in the island, now Spanish Town.

 

On this second visit to Jamaica, Columbus apparently surveyed the island by sea landing somewhere near Rio Bueno. It was not until July 1502 ion his fourth voyage to the-New World) that Columbus again attempted to reach Jamaica; but he was beaten back by adverse winds. Columbus's fourth visit or attempted visit to Jamaica was indeed a forced visit. He was forced on to the north coast by adverse winds, and in gratitude called the spot Santa Gloria, now St. Ann's Bay. The Spaniards were received with the utmost cordiality by the native Arawak Indians. With his ship wrecked Columbus made for the Spanish colony northward in canoes furnished by the friendly Indians. Columbus returned to the island, awaiting relief from and neglected by his countrymen, but cherished by the friendly Indians.

 

On January 2, 1504, Columbus's men revolted, some of them abandoned Columbus, coasted along the island in canoes, landed plundering the Indians, and urging them to rise against Columbus. Columbus, ill and starving, was sustained by the friendly Indians until the inroads on their resources and the depredations of the mutineers brought their patience to an end. It was in these circumstances that Columbus exploited an expected eclipse of the Moon, to prove that he was under God's protection, and thus restored the loyalty of the Indians. Another mutiny of his own men was put down by Columbus; and on June 28, 1504 Columbus left Jamaica for the last time. It had been a haven of refuge to him from the kindness of the Indians but a place of much travail to him from his own countrymen.

 

The Indians now had a brief respite; but in 1509, three years after the death of Columbus, the Court of Spain, dividing the Darien government between Ojeda and Nicuessa, authorised them to do what they pleased with the unoccupied  island of  Jamaica. The Indians of Jamaica were enslaved, their villages were laid waste, their chieftains murdered, their children were taken into captivity to work in the mines. Those who escaped fled to the mountains, caves and tropical jungles. Eventually they were completely exterminated. When Ojeda and Nicuessa disputed the ownership of Jamaica, Columbus's son; Diego, asserted his superior claim, and sent Juan d'Esquimel with seventy men to take possession of the island. About the end of November 1509 Esquimel took possession landing at Santa Gloria; and fixed the seat of Government by the side of the Indian village of Mayna, calling the seat of government Sevilla Nueva, changing it later to Seville d'Oro.

 

Failing gold, cotton soon attracted the interest of the entrepreneurs; then came cattle; sugar cane and the grape from which tolerable claret was made. Esquimel died after a short and (as some historians asserted) relatively benevolent rule, with the capital Sevilla, a place of opulence and distinction. Las Casas however castigated Esquimel for his treatment of the Indians. Francisco de Gary was the next Governor of Jamaica; and during his rule, the island was penetrated and distant settlements established, one called Oristan (now Bluefields) and another Melilla, near the Martha Brae. The Governor at the time of the capture of the island by the English was Don Arnoldi Sassi.

 

Diego Columbus died in 1526, and many of those who had received protection from him, left the island to escape the oppression of the Governor.

 

Between 1528 and. 1530 French pirates frequently attacked the north coast, Oristan and Melilla were abandoned and Seville became insecure. The Spanish settlers accordingly made trek across the mountains and founded the new capital of St. Jago de la Vega. The Square was laid out in 1538 and the capital transferred from Seville in 1543. English pirates followed the French and the old capital of Seville was finally destroyed.

 

St. Jago developed as a thriving capital; but in 1596 it was attacked by Sir Anthony Shirley with a powerful fleet. The booty was however so small that it was not again attacked for thirty-nine years, during which time the city rose to great splendor. Twenty years later in May 1655 Penn and Venables attacked and captured the island.

 

During the time of the Spaniards Esquimel (Old Harbour Bay) was an important ship-yard; and, with Caguaya (Port Royal), formed the two important ports of the island. The various savannas in the island were divided into hatos, everywhere well supplied with cattle and horses which escaped into the neighboring districts. There were hatos of Yama (Round Hill) and Guatibacoa (later Vere and Withy-wood). Over Manatee (Carpenter's) Mountain ran the only southern road with the west, a poor bridle track; there were the important hato and village of Pereda (Parattee). Black River was described as a mahogany district. Near by was the hato of El Ebano (Ebony or black savanna); and the hato of Cabonico near Oristan, and then Savanna la Mar. East of Punto de Cagugya was the hato of Lignany, abounding in timber and as Liguanea still sheltering groves of the Lignum Vitae, with Cedrella (Cedar) and Mahogany forming some of our few indigenous trees. Here the

 

English found another shipyard with several vessels on dock, and the whole district overrun with cattle and horses, of which it was reported that the English soldiery killed twenty thousand in the first four months. A rich Spanish widow had sugar works, and her house was taken over by Colonel Barry, the spot being known to us as Cavaliers, the site of; one, of the oldest.. residences in Jamaica. Within thirty miles or so to the East lay the hato of Morante which ran to Port Morant to the north of which: lay Port Antonio. During the; last fifty years of the Spanish occupation most of the north side of the island was in ruinate or thick wood. The hatos were owned by twelve Spanish or Portuguese hidalgos, each. having a spacious, mansion: The roads were mostly exiguous riding tracks. The most considerable, road led from St. Jago, over Mount Diablo and the Monesca (Moneague) savanna to the ruins of Seville.

 

The Spaniards, except for the activities next mentioned, did. little more than provide for their immediate needs;. but they killed hogs. and melted lard for export, (the chief shipping port Montego Bay deriving its name from Manteca (lard) ) . They also exported fustic, ebony,, lignum vitae and cacao. Ginger, sugar, tobacco and pimento, which grew in large quantity were used. locally, while there were a few indigenous, fruits. and the pine-apple and. avocado pear had. been introduced shortly before the English occupation.

 

As for population, Venables reported that there were about fifteen hundred Spaniards and Portuguese with about the same number of negro and mulatto slaves. It was Las Casas, it. is said, who in pity for the gentle Arawak Indians suggested. the importation of African slaves. Here I might pause for some reflections on the Slave Trade originated by Spain in these waters.

 

Negroes appear to have been first brought into the New World by the Spaniards in 1503; and in 1517 Charles V permitted four thousand Negro slaves to be brought into the Spanish colonies and the Flemish courtier who had obtained the concession sold it to the Genoese. With the expiration of the concession, the traffic ceased almost entirely; but was revived by the Portuguese, between whom and Spain the Church had divided the colonial world.

 

AGAIN THE TRADE LANGUISHED after the Portuguese had shaken off the Spanish yoke. When, the two nations cemented their differences however opportunities of a trade in slaves revived; and the Portuguese engaged in 1696 to furnish in five years time twenty five thousand Negro slaves to their former masters of Spain. The Portuguese monarch advanced two thirds of the expenses of the lucrative trade. In 1702 the French made some attempt to carry on the trade; but by the Asiento treaty of Utrecht in 1713 Spain gave to England for thirty years the monopoly of the lucrative slave trade with Spanish America. Under this treaty the British were authorized to introduce 144,000 slaves in the course of thirty years, at the rate of 4,800 per annum. The British Government passed the Asiento rights to the South Seas Company; and it formed the solid basis: of the fever for speculation called the South Sea. Bubble: Until 1739, the trade in Negro slaves, proceeded without interruption; but the abuse by the British of ancillary rights as, to other trade permitted by the treaty brought about the war with Spain. When peace was made in 1748 by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle Spain agreed to allow the Asiento to be renewed for the four years of the former treaty, which had not expired when war broke out in 1739. In 1750- the British gave up the Asiento Treaty on payment by Spain of £100,000. The British Slave Trade developed until it became an integral part of the British economy; and, notwithstanding the devoted attempts of humanitarians, persisted until the industrial revolution of Britain opened, up new profitable avenues of investment. Further reflections on the, course of the British Slave Trade will appear later. For the- present suffice it to say that the Slave Trade is an outstanding example of how human sympathies may be dulled by the prospect of profit or lulled into acquiescence by use and wont. It goes to show how important it is to the soul of a nation to encourage dissidence or the faculty of, non-acquiescence…. even although it runs counter to the patriotic cliché: "My country, right or wrong"

 

The Spaniards with Church doctrine, whip and sword, utterly destroyed the Arawak. Indians, a gentle race, inhabiting the island; pursuing their own ways peacefully and harming none others; and then collaborated with African chiefs to capture and enslave the peoples of, Africa. One of the writers who toward the end of the eighteenth century made a noble protest against the ways of the great nations of the West was the Abbe Raynal in his monumental "Philosophical and Political History of the Settlement and Trade of the Europeans. In the East and West Indies": It ran into more than one edition, the first being dated 1770. As far as the Indians of the West Indies were concerned, they found their protector in the famous Las Casas; but his efforts were of little avail or were too late so far as the Arawaks of Jamaica were concerned

 

But what sort of people were these our pre predecessors in title; the Arawak Indians?

 

There were in the Caribbean islands two Indian races: the warlike Caribs of the Windward Islands and the peaceful and gentle Arawaks of the islands now known as, the Panama Islands, Cuba, Haiti, and San Domingo, Porto Rico and Jamaica.

 

Their pigmentation or complexion, as we might expect, was what we associate with that of the American and indeed other Indians. Their comparative nudity was decorated with vari-coloured paints. Like certain African tribes they compressed the heads of their infants. Their houses were primitive, their bedding made of knotted twine, being hammocks. (Hamac, the original Indian name, gives us our word "hammock".) The twine was made from the cotton which grew abundantly; and was often tastefully dyed. Earthen pots and calabash gourds supplied their household utensils. Without iron tools, they did somewhat ingenious earning out of: wood, providing: furniture far the cacique or chieftain. Their, food was chiefly bitter cassava (made into cakes, sweet cassava roasted or boiled, other roots and.. maize, fruit and fish. including shell-fish binds, and iguana, (the: latter  being mostly reserved for the,. cacique). They Mew-and smoked tobacco in the form of twisted leaves. They called tobacco "cohiba"; the word "tabac" was applied. to tile tube: Their agricultural  methods: were necessarily primitive; the women, chiefly looking; after tea department, the men engaged, in the honorific, pursuits: of fishing and hunting As today, so then, canoes were made by, being. hollowed out of the Ceiba or giant Cotton Tree by the help of fire but then also with stone hatchets. Columbus reports a canoe ninety eight feet in length and eight feet wide. Weapons (in little use) were wooden swords; clubs and lances tipped with flint or a sharp fish-bone. Fishing hooks of bone with the fishing line made of bark. Lances were used as harpoons and fishing nets of cotton and bark or other fibre. They also used' the remora or sucking fish attached. to. a line,. which pursued its ­prey, at a great distance. Even turtle, it was said; was- caught by, the remora: For recreation they indulged. in dancing with songs and music,. and. a boil. game called bato. Probably their rubber was supplied be the vine; now called milk-withe, well known some sixty years, ago or later in the St. Anns’ Mountains, around York. Castle. Mimic fights and tournaments were, also, practiced. Among the house-hold pets of birds, like parrots, there was the dog called alco, which may have bitten but did not bark. They had their simple government and their religion, their idols, their ritual and their legends, partaking in many respects of beliefs with which we are otherwise familiar and Iike other people; they solaced themselves with belief in a future happy state after death and they created in their own image their own great God and lesser Gods. They were on the whole a happy people whose culture and way of life and very existence were shattered and eventually entirely exterminated. by the Spaniards, who were their inferiors in many important respects:

MYTOPIA RE-VISITED

 

It was twenty-one years after my previous visit that I revisited Mytopia for the Independence celebrations at August 1962.

 

On my previous: visit I had found the Governor, Ricardo, then a stout opponent of political aspirations for self-government, governing. the island by a, widespread system of indirection. Indirection is the opposite of serendipidity. For, while serendipity is the faculty or genius of finding out what one is not looking for, indirection is the faculty of looking in the opposite direction, seeking something in places where you know it is not located.

 

The Governor had a masterful Island Treasurer, who was allowed to make himself general Pooh-Bah. The Director of Agriculture was placed on so many Committees that he had no time for AGRICULTURE. The Director of Public Works was set to building termite-shelters, while the Government Entomologist was busy with plans to demolish them. The Mycologist was set to manage the Government Cold Storage, the Auditor General was made Commandant of a Refugee Camp, the Director of Medical Services was engaged in proving to the Rockefeller Foundation the futility of malaria control; and the Director of Education was put in charge of propaganda and the anti Communist campaign. The Governor himself indirected a fine hotel to ecclesiastical purposes to teach his Legislature a lesson.

 

I paid an early visit to my old friend the Philosopher. I could not get him to talk about Independence or the celebrations or the recent elections, which had unseated the political party, which had seemed set for a long reign. The Philosopher's reflections were an unexpected condemnation of the social and economic system of Mytopia, which, he said, had taken a completely wrong turn in permitting the importation of motor cars and motor trucks and in permitting an uncontrolled tourism.

 

He claimed that in a small island in which the peasantry were habituated to walking long distances and to the use of the mule and the donkey, the gentry to the buggy and horse, and agriculture to the liberal use of organic manure, the introduction of motor transportation was entirely out of order, and fraught with serious dangers, social and economic,

 

Among a people disciplined by custom to a low cost-of-living-index with low wages, the Philosopher claimed, the dangers of an uncontrolled tourist trade should also have been obvious.

 

I asked the Philosopher if he had read Butler's "Erewhon". "Naturally," he said, "I have also read Thorstein Veblem and R. H. Tawney. These three authors might have taught Mytopia much on the dangers of unbridled import, of too much emphasis on status and honorific exercises and of the dangers of conspicuous waste, not to mention the dangers of exploitation as a habit of act and thought, which an uncontrolled tourism brings."

 

The Philosopher explained more fully the social and economic dangers of the permitted importation of motor cars and motor trucks. "Motor mania", he called the phenomenon in its social impact, causing all and sundry to live above their means, with all its temptation to dishonesty and to disregard of elementary integrity. Economically, he claimed, it intensified the unsolvable twin problems of unemployment and balance of payment. We were, he said, and always would be primarily an agricultural country, with fortunately a limited need of mechanization, but with a continually spawned peasant proletariat, which had to lift themselves on their own boot-straps; for limited industrialization could never afford to carry a large agricultural proletariat on its back.

 

The old Mytopia, he claimed, was well fed both in quantity and quality of nutritional food. Sound nutritional habits had been lost. Cost of living and cost of all operations had spiraled. In our climate, he claimed, we wanted to retain and not abandon the simple life, which was both economical and healthy, Radios, cooling systems, electric light and current were cultured and good but not motor vehicles.

 

But what worried him most was that Mytopians did not realize that the two elements of a sound national income were the land (the static element) and labour (the human dynamic element). Set these to work, and a community can take in its own washing to a large extent, reserving mechanization almost exclusively as the proper subject of an export trade. One of the Philosopher's complaints against the motor vehicle was that it had increased instead of moderating the endemic native disease of dishonesty and lack of integrity. He believed that without the adventitious aids to high and unprincipled living, to which motor vehicles and uncontrolled tourism contributed, Mytopia might slowly and not too painfully have inculcated sound honest principles, which, he claims, are appreciably lacking in both high and lowly in Mytopia. On the plane of economics he believes that more than one problem would have become capable of solution.

 

I asked the Philosopher what he thought of party politics for Mytopia. He thought that the system anywhere brought out some very bad features of human nature and behaviour, but that it was workable, although somewhat wasteful and uneconomical in the expenditure of time, emotion and economic resources. He would prefer to see in Mytopia a parliamentary but non-party system, where men were elected on personal merit rather than on party adherence. He said that big business did not operate on a party system; and government was a big business that might well dispense with party lines, especially in a country where each political party necessarily courted labour.

 

What did he think of Independence and the celebrations? He really hadn't given any thought to these subjects. It was good to meet my old friend again, and hear him air his views. And now I hurry of to the celebrations with hopes for the best for an independent Mytopia.

 

.

 

 

 

.


 

 

Volume 5.  No.2         September 1962

 

THE STRANGE CASE OF PETER EVANS

 

Truth is stranger than fiction. The strange Case of Peter Evans is stranger than both. By reason of its local interest, its remarkable historical analogies and the noteworthy historical truths, which it illustrates, it seems worthy of record in a special number of these Comments. The Attorney General's Department appears to have taken very seriously from a criminal point of view what appears in sober perspective to have been, if the allegations made against Peter Evans were true, nothing more than gross professional misconduct, requiring nothing more than the attention of the Bar Council. In their allegedly criminal aspect, and quite apart from the inherent improbability of the allegations, the proceedings appear to have been ab initio a palpable absurdity.

 

In this account, in default of a full record of the notes of evidence at the trial, one has to rely on the depositions taken at the preliminary examination in the Resident Magistrate's Court for the purpose of ascertaining whether there was a prima facie case which justified the matter being sent up to the Circuit Court for trial. The Resident Magistrate appears to have been somewhat severe on the accused and on his secretary Cynthia Robinson. He also declined to consider legal submissions, which were made to the effect that the information did not disclose a criminal offence. The record states: "Court rules that this is not the proper time for such an application to be made and the Court will therefore not go into the merits of the submission and the application." Begun in a manner still somewhat obscure, at a meeting at eleven o'clock at night between the chief witness and the Police, this strange Case appears to have proceeded in a way reminiscent of "Alice in Wonderland" or "Through a Looking Glass".

 

Crown Counsel in effect asked the several Courts through which the proceedings passed to believe that one Peter Evans, a reputable and efficient Barrister, in the presence of five witnesses, four of them almost complete strangers to him, and three of them having declared at the outset that they would be hostile witnesses against him, persisted in making up out of whole cloth a fabricated alibi for a man who had already been tried and sentenced to death, in order to deceive the Governor into granting him reprieve. He furthermore asked these Courts to believe that, in furtherance of his plot or plan, the said Peter Evans deliberately selected the Registrar of the Supreme Court, out of all the justices of the peace available, to bring before him the unwilling deponents, who had already severally declared their hostility, so that the said Registrar might examine them, take their unwilling depositions and attest their unwilling signatures on affidavits which they had already severally repudiated.

 

One C. L. Dodgson, who called himself in his more frivolous undertakings Lewis Carroll, once told a similar story of a mythical White Knight, who thought "of a plan to dye one's whiskers green and always use so large a fan that they could not be seen". Lewis Carroll and the little girls to whom he told the story on a Summer's day, and perhaps the mythical White Knight himself, may have had some good, clean fun out of their business; but alas! Poor Peter Evans in his day and generation had none out of his business.

 

In the year 1960 a Chinese Grocer met his death by shooting and one Howard Rollins was charged with the murder; and retained Peter Evans to defend him. Peter Evans had achieved fame or notoriety in Kenya. He assisted Barrister D. N. Pritt in the defence of Jomo Kenyatta; and, while engaged in investigating the ways of the Police in Kenya, he was asked to leave the country. Evans has given a meticulously fair account of Kenyatta's trial in his excellent book, "Law and Disorder".

 

Evans came to Jamaica; was called to the Jamaican Bar, and entered into active practice. Some time later, while still carrying on his practice at the Bar, he became Gleaner Columnist under the penname of "Matthew Strong". Both as Barrister and Columnist, he was critical of what he considered juridical and police irregularities or anomalies. People of a critical or didactic turn of mind may be useful; they are often also irritating. Some people do not like Peter Evans. In ancient Athens, some people did not like Socrates.

 

In June 1961, almost on tine eve of his execution, Rollins's sister, Mrs. Shirley Wilkins (sometimes called "Miss Rollins") returned to Jamaica. She had visited Jamaica or, at least two previous occasions on behalf of her brother. As a result of this last visit, and moved by further information given by her, Evans made application to the Governor for the reprieve of Rollins. The application was supported by affidavits, which Evans had prepared, revealing newly ascertained facts. One affidavit was deposed by Shirley Wilkins, one by Ivy Douglas, one by Pauline Wong, one (largely explanatory) by Barrister Gladys Morrison and one by Evans himself. Evans had prepared an affidavit for signature by Gladys Smellie. It had been taken to her by Mrs. Wilkins; but instead of deposing to it and returning it to Evans, she had taken it to detective inspector Thomas, to whom, she said and he said, she made a report. Presumably the report accused Evans of wrong-doing, or the inspector was of that opinion, for information was laid and criminal proceedings taken against Evans on two Counts: (a) Conspiracy to effect a-public mischief (b) Inciting to conspire to effect a public mischief.

 

According to Evans's deposition, it appears that when Evans was preparing the defence of Rollins ' Rollins "gave information as to his movements as to dates around the period when the Chinese grocer met his death. He said that when in Kingston he had been around the lower types of clubs and in particular he mentioned a club called the Blue Bird. He was unable to give its location but he said it was in the Red Light District. He said he had spent nights, he was not precise as to how many, with a young woman whom he had picked up at the Blue Bird . . . He could not recall her name . . . that she was short and brown and young. At that time I did not find the information very useful".

 

Shortly before the date fixed for the execution of Rollins, Shirley Wilkins, not for the first time, visited Evans at his chambers along with Father Thomas Curran, the spiritual adviser of Rollins. In his deposition, Father Curran said: "Miss Rollins was crying and said to Mr. Evans, 'Why did you not make the girl testify”, or words to the like effect. Mr. Evans said: 'What girl!'. In general there was a discussion as to what Miss Rollins had said that the girl had told her".

 

Evans's deposition continued. That, after pressing him in vain to agree to take a further Appeal to England, "She then said, rising to her feet, 'Why didn't you call the girl at the trial? I was nonplussed . . . I said: 'I have never known the name of any girl'. I asked her what she knew about this girl. Mrs. Wilkins said: 'Miss Morrison knows about her". Evans deposed that he immediately tried to reach Miss Morrison by telephone; but failed to do so; but he said the statement set him thinking. "I connected this to be the short, brown girl to whom Rollins referred in his instructions to me". Evans had dismissed the vague statements of Rollins at the time they were made. Now the vague statements were to arise to plague the mind of a conscientious advocate and stimulate him to further enquiry. Mrs. Wilkins asked him if Miss Morrison had not told him about it; and added: "I have myself seen the girl", and mentioned the Blue Bird Club. "After great difficulty she produced the name Ivy, but no surname. She then mentioned Gladys, who she said was either barmaid or proprietress, I do not remember which. She could not recollect the name of the Street, but said she had an idea it began with the letter H. Mrs. Wilkins went on to say that the girl admitted to her, Mrs. Wilkins, that she had slept with Rollins on the night on which the Chinese Grocer had been killed. 'In 'Flew of this disclosure, I gave the matter more consideration than I had given it before . . . I told Mrs. Wilkins that there appeared to be evidence that should have been called at the trial and that I must investigate it. "That very evening I searched Highholborn Street and found two possible places, one called the Blue Lagoon and one called Birdland, and, seeing a girl behind the bar there, I asked her if her name was Gladys. She said No, but that the place belonged to Miss Gladys. That girl is in fact Ivy Douglas. I asked Ivy Douglas if she knew the boy Howard Rollins who was then under sentence. She at once said that she did. I asked her if she knew where Rollins was on the night the grocer was shot and she at once said "with me". I took down from her, her name and age and other particulars, but I did not take down a full detailed statement. I asked her if she would come to my chambers and give a full detailed statement. She said yes. I said I would send for her . . . At my chambers I questioned her closely on her story. The substance of her answers is set out in her Affidavit . . . Both Miss Rollins and Miss Robinson my secretary were present. I took down in my handwriting in unpolished affidavit form what she had said. I read it back to her and she agreed that what I read was what she had said. In the course of her answers to my questions she mentioned two names, Pauline Wong, which name, had not heard before, and Gladys Smellie, which name I had heard before . . . I told Ivy to tell them both that I wished to see them urgently. The following day Ivy, Pauline and Smellie and Miss Rollins came together to my chambers.

 

"I questioned Pauline. She made answers. I wrote down the answers as I had done in the case of Ivy . . . I tried to pin point . . . particular dates and events. I questioned Miss Smellie equally closely but with equal lack of success. I suggested to Smellie that her books might help . . . Along with Miss Smellie I searched her books and papers but to no purpose . . . In addition to searching the books I was asking questions . . . On the following Friday morning I went back to Birdland and thence conveyed Ivy and Pauline to my chambers. I there read to them the affidavits in final form. Miss Rollins was present . . . We then went to the office of Mr. Barrow, the Registrar . . . Mr. Barrow read the affidavits to them and explained the affidavits and swore four affidavits, the affidavits of Pauline and Ivy and also one by myself and one by Miss Rollins . . . Up to them I had not got Miss Smellie to sign any affidavit. I contacted her by phone and she agreed that she would attest the affidavit on the following Monday. I had drafted an affidavit for her to sign.

 

"On Monday, the day before the execution, I called on her at Birdland between 8 and 9 a.m. I was shown into her room. There was a man there, also herself. I asked her to come with me to a J.P. to swear to the affidavit. She said: “I don't want to business with it. You waste your time, Mr. Evans. Them going to hang the boy”. This was not the first intimation I had had of her refusal  to sign the affidavit. At no time had she made any statements disagreeing with the substance of the affidavit. In fact she had expressly agreed to its substance at least on one occasion and probably on two occasions . . . I tried to persuade Smellie, at first forcibly and then angrily, of her duties as a citizen . . . As I left, she shouted at me: “Them fool you, Mr. Evans. The girl love him."

 

Gladys Smellie, as previously indicated, had, as she testified, taken the affidavit to detective inspector Thomas. There is no suggestion that Evans ever sought to recover from Smellie, what in view of her alleged repudiation, might become a dangerous document, if he had manufactured it. There is no evidence whether Gladys Smellie and the inspector had been previously acquainted. He merely says: "On Friday 2nd June 1961 at 11 p.m. I saw Gladys Smellie" (He does not say where he saw her). "She then handed to me this affidavit exhibit 9. She then made a report to me." In cross-examination he said: "She later made a statement in my presence". At this stage Evans's Counsel endeavored to get the statement produced. It was withheld; and the Magistrate refused to allow any questions as to its contents. Apparently, in the upset at failure to get production of the statement, the cross-examination fizzled out. But the Court asked: "Was the statement given to you"; and the inspector answered "No. It was given to an officer who wrote it down." It is clear from the joint depositions of the inspector and Smellie that the inspector had telescoped two meetings: the one on the Friday night, which he mentioned and the one on Saturday at the C.I.D. Office, which was the only one which Smellie mentioned. For Smellie said: "On the next day" (after Mrs. Wilkins had brought her the affidavit) "that is Saturday, I went to C.I.D. Office Central Station Kingston with the document exhibit 9. I saw inspector Thomas there. I made a report to him."

 

There is sharp conflict on a material point between Smellie and Evans as to what happened between there in her bedroom. She claimed that she told Evans: "I could not go" (to sign the affidavit) "because whatever I would be signing to would be false . . . I told him I could not do it because I did not- know anything about it . . . " In cross-examination she said: "I know one Roddy Morrison. He was present in the bedroom on the occasion when the accused visited me there. Morrison could have heard all that was said . . . " . Crown Counsel did not call Roddy Morrison as a witness; and, according to the newspaper report of the hearing on Appeal gave no explanation to the Court as to why he was not called. He was a material witness.

 

In her deposition at the preliminary examination in cross-examination, Smellie also stated: I signed an affidavit before the police . . . I signed it at the Attorney General's office". At the preliminary examination ..A Counsel, on request, refused to produce this affidavit; and the Magistrate sustained the refusal and also sustained Crown Counsel's objective to questions relating to the contents of the affidavit. "Court rules: 'Mr. Smith's refusal to produce document is proper, hence refusal cannot be ground for the eliciting of its contents by secondary evidence'. Mr. Thompson requests Court to order that affidavit be produced by Mr. Smith. Court rules against application". There is no indication on the record whether the Magistrate himself saw, or cared to see the affidavit. Probably the matter was more fully investigated at the trial. I do not know. With the limited records at my disposal I am limited to the depositions taken at the preliminary examination.

 

It is significant, and appears to be relevant, that in no case was there any corroboration of any of the individual witnesses who testified against Evans, while Evans was supported by independent witnesses, including the Registrar of the Supreme Court and a taxi-driver, one David Taylor, both of whom contradict Ivy Douglas. Both Ivy Douglas and Pauline Wong repudiated their affidavits, stating that the contents were false.

 

The formal charge against Evans was designedly not a charge under the Perjury Law. Was this because the Perjury Law expressly requires corroboration? The Law provides that: "A person shall not be liable to conviction of any offence against this law or of any offence declared by any other enactment to be perjury or subornation of perjury . . . solely upon the evidence of one witness as to the falsity of any statement alleged to be false". But both "Conspiracy" and 'Public Mischief" appear to be the creatures of the Common Law rather than the creatures of "enactment" or statute law.

 

Perhaps, one might think, that "perjury" only applies to false testimony in judicial proceedings: But the Perjury Law provides: "Every person who being authorised by law to make any statement on oath and being lawfully sworn (otherwise than in a judicial proceeding) willfully makes a statement which is material for that purpose and which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true . . . shall be guilty of a misdemeanor . . . "; and "Every person who aids, abets, counsels, procures or suborns another to commit an offence against this law shall be liable . . . as if he was a principal offender" Were these affidavits "authorised by law". Perhaps the Attorney General thought they were not. But whatever the reason, the proceedings were not brought under the Perjury Law. The charge was: (a) Conspiracy to effect public mischief (b) Inciting to conspire to effect public mischief.

 

One may search in vain through the chapters on Criminal Law in the 1907 edition of Halsbury's Laws of England (an encyclopedic work on English Law) for a single mention of "public mischief". This form of criminal procedure appears to nave been dug up out of the ancient archives of the Common Law to meet the case of one Butlin who set the whole of England agog in the 1930s with his mythical escaped lion. After the Butlin Case, zealous prosecutors in England worked the public mischief gambit to death until the Courts called a halt, and pointed out that "conspiracy" would fill the bill. In the Evans Case, for good measure, we have both conspiracy and public mischief.

 

As to conspiracy, this also is a sort of synthetically manufactured or fictional crime. The process catches two  who may have agreed to do something that is wrongful but not necessarily criminal or to use unlawful means to carry out an object not otherwise unlawful. For example a man and woman might agree to procure abortion; but it turned out that they were mistaken in thinking the woman has pregnant. Nevertheless they are guilty of conspiracy; although they could not be guilty of attempting to procure abortion. The criminal net was being drawn pretty close for the "White Knight", who after all, if guilty, was, at the worst, guilty only of gross professional misconduct or un-knightly conduct, such as dying his whiskers green.

 

In the result, a distinguished barrister and newspaper columnist, who was, according to the Appeal Court, performing his duties to his client, suffered the degradation and distress of unjust trial, conviction and imprisonment, not to mention being put to expense, estimated by friends at E5000. If the story that Ivy Douglas told Evans was true, one might surmise that the consequential result to Rollins of Crown Counsel's intervention might have been his non-reprieve and execution.

 

At the Circuit Court trial before Judge and Jury Barrister Dudley Thompson instructed by Solicitor Dudley Evelyn was reinforced by a distinguished barrister from England, Mr. John Hobson, Q.C., now Sir John Hobson, Attorney General of England. He had been sent out by "Justice", the English section of the Commission of International Jurists.

 

The Jury brought in a verdict of not guilty on the Conspiracy Count but guilty on the Incitement to conspire count. Evans was sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labour. Again distinguished Counsel was sent from England to assist on the Appeal to the Caribbean Court of Appeal. In the meantime Evans had served three months of his sentence before he was granted bail. Evans was having a rough ride all along the road, along the Queen's highway.

 

 

Mr. McIntyre, the distinguished barrister above referred `to, according to the newspaper report, in his submission to the Court of Appeal asked: "Could it not be said at the very most that this matter is one for the members of the Bar Association, or is it not a matter which strikes at the very heart of what the duties of an advocate should be?". Later he asked to be allowed to add some grounds of appeal on the question of misdirection by the trial judge. Before he had finished his submissions on the misdirection question and before he had gone into the merits of the Case, he was stopped by the Court; and Crown Counsel was asked to answer Mr. McIntyre's submis­sions up to that point. (The traditional way of expressing tentative agreement with the submis­sions). After Crown Counsel (subjected to several questions from the Court) had concluded his argu­ments, as the newspaper reporter puts it: "Here, he said,” he could not take the argument any further"(the traditional way of tentatively admitting defeat).

 

The Court adjourned for a short while and on resumption the President informed Mr. McIntyre that he did not wish to hear him in reply" (another traditional euphemism). "The Appeal was then allowed, the conviction quashed and the sentence set aside". The Court was to give its reasons and full judgment later.

 

To this Writer, for purposes of public Information, it is a matter for regret that Mr. McIntyre was not afforded opportunity of going into the merits of the Case and showing up the palpable absurdity and injustice of the whole proceedings-where Smellie, Douglas and Wong were to blame, where, (if at all) the Police were at fault, where (if at all) the Attorney General was at fault, where (if at all) the Resident Magistrate was at fault.

 

In the U.S.A. some years ago there was another strange Case which offers striking similarities to the strange Case of Peter Evans. I refer to the Case of Alger Hiss.

 

Both Hiss and Evans were victims of misguided zeal. Each was "framed" by hostile witnesses, the reason for their hostility being obscure. In each case there was a demonstrably hostile witness. In each case the substantive charge was, by reason of legal exigency, somewhat camouflaged: in the Case of Hiss "espionage" appeared as "perjury"; in the case of Evans "subornation of perjury" appeared as "Conspiracy" and "Public Mischief". In each Case the essential element of "corroboration" was lacking. In each Case the victim was abandoned by natural colleagues, in the Hiss Case for political reasons, in the Evans Case probably merely from traditional Jamaican supineness. Finally, Hiss was a "natural" for opprobrium in the prevailing political climate; while Evans was a "natural" for opprobrium, being a sort of Socratic gadfly. There is however one difference between the two Cases. We know the malign influences that were at work against Alger Hiss; while this Writer, at least, knows of no malign influences at work against Peter Evans.

 

I have referred to traditional Jamaican supineness. That is one of the features that makes the Case of Peter Evans an intriguing one for this Writer. To him, the contrast between Jamaican insensitivity and English awareness, presents an Interesting study in relativity in history.

 

For example, it took Jamaica nearly one hundred years to sense the injustice to George William Gordon; and Jamaica has not yet sensed the horror of the pogrom initiated by Eyre after the Morant Bay riot of 1865. England, on the other hand, sensed all this immediately. It is not surprising that the Commission of International Jurists in England should have sensed the palpable injustice o: the criminal prosecution of Peter Evans, while Peter's colleagues in Jamaica, the lawyers and his employers the Gleaner Co., remained insensitive and unmoved.

 

Peter Evans is a much wronged man-officially wronged. What is Government going to do about it? Had he been knighted, his colleagues and employers would at least have given him a dinner.


 

 

Volume 5.   No. 3     October 1962

 

FOUL PROCEEDINGS.

 

R. H. Tawney of blessed memory in his "Acquisitive Society" emphasizes the historical rule of the distortion of function or the wrong turn which history habitually takes, turning good things into bad things. One outstanding twentieth century example of this is the turn taken by nuclear physics in the manufacture of atomic and hydrogen bombs for the destruction of mankind. In this number of the "Comments" attention will be directed to a parallel twentieth century movement in the field of chemistry. It appears that with the help of physics and chemistry twentieth century man is hell-bent on self-destruction.

 

Recent statistics reveal that disease and death rates are greater among agricultural than among industrial workers. The truly terrible but informative articles of Rachel Carsons in "New Yorker" (June 16th, 23rd and 30th 1962) entitled "Silent Spring" tell the story in ghastly detail. Pesticides and insecticides are rapidly poisoning the world, destroying life among birds and benevolent insects, disturbing the balance . of nature, spreading disease and death among animals and mankind, causing deformity among to-be-born infants and so affecting the chromosomes of the infant in the mothers' wombs that homosexualism and other human and animal abnormalities appear in the process of exaggerated mutation.

 

Rachel Carsons writes: "It is only within the moment of time represented by the twentieth century that one species-man-has acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world, and it is only within the past-twenty five years that this power has achieved such magnitude that it endangers the whole earth and its life. The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of the air, earth, rivers and seas with dangerous, and even lethal materials. This pollution has rapidly become almost universal . . . Man-made chemicals . . . lie long in the soil, enter into living organisms, passing from one to another . . . travel mysteriously by underground streams, emerging to combine, through the alchemy of air and sunlight into new forms, which kill vegetation, sicken cattle and work unknown harm . . . "

 

The list of chemicals put out in the form of sprays, dusts and aerosols is bewildering. Hitherto the "balance of nature" has worked its largely benevolent mysterious and magical way in helping mankind; for, In nature, "big fleas have little fleas upon their backs that bite 'em, and little fleas have lesser fleas and so ad infinitum". But man is in such a hurry to achieve success In his agricultural undertakings.

 

the housewife in home-hygiene and the big chemical companies in their search for big profits, that man gets in the way of nature and the normal biological control of nature goes down before the chemical onslaught of man.

 

The deadly DDT and other synthetic pesticides within the last twenty years have been scattered throughout the world. As Rachel Carsons reports, they are "found in soil to which they were applied a dozen years before . . . lodged in the bodies of fish, birds, reptiles and domestic wild animals . . . in earthworms, in the eggs of birds, and in man himself, . . . in mother's milk, and probably in the tissues of the unborn child".

 

There are two large groups of chemicals most popularly used. The DDT group are of the chlorinated hydro-carbons; and came into fame when used as a delousing agent after the war. DDT (and other chlorinated hydrocarbons) are soluble in fat; so they go straight for the fatty glands of the body, the adrenals, testes, thyroid, liver, kidneys and the tissues enfolding the intestines. It has been found that "only five parts of DDT per million brought about disintegration of the cells of the liver." "Fields of alfalfa are dusted with DDT; meal is prepared from the alfalfa and fed to hens; the hens lay eggs that contain DDT, or the hay may be fed to cows, the DDT will turn up in the milk and very strongly in the butter, the poison passing from mother to offspring". Chlordane and heptachlor are as bad as DDT; while Dieldrin, to which we are compulsorily subjugated by Government spraying of houses is about five times as toxic as DDT through the mouth and forty times as toxic through the skin.

 

Aldrin is another deadly variant. It is slightly more toxic than dieldrin. Used to spray carrots, it produces degenerative changes in liver and kidney. "A quantity the size of an aspirin tablet is enough to kill more than four hundred quail . . . Birds that consume it in quantities too small to kill them lay few eggs, and the chicks that hatch soon die". Endine, another napthalene, is very toxic. It kills an enormous number of fish, fatally poisons cattle in sprayed orchards. Used for cockroaches, it has had disastrous effects on child and dog.

 

Then there are the organic phosphates. These are used in the Florida citrus groves. I have before me the "Better Fruit Program" of the Florida Citrus Commission. I got it when I started growing ortaniques. It is so terrifying that, even before reading the Rachel Carsons' article, I resolved not to touch the damnable things. The "Better Fruit Program" advises: "Precautions when using parathion, demeton (systox) or tepp . . . wear respirator and protective clothing . . . change to clean clothing, contact with tree not to be carried out within 7 days of spraying, chlorinesterase tests necessary for spraying crews before use of sprays of parathion, even empty glass containers should be crushed and buried." Nevertheless, we are told that "thorough coverage of fruit and foliage is essential" for good husbandry.

 

The organic phosphates (used both in the citrus groves tend-for household pests) are among the most poisonous chemicals in the world. Scme were investigated for use for gas-warfare, others became Insecticides. Rachel Carsons gives many instances of spray gangs in Florida being poisoned by parathion. Edward Hyams in New Statesman notes that some of these sprays cause paranoia and other illnesses among the spraying gangs. The parathion effects lasted on trees in California in sufficient strength to poison fruit pickers two and a half weeks after spraying. What about those who ate the fruit? Even physicians handling the poisoned patient may be poisoned. Two hundred cases annually of parathion poisoning are reported from California. A Doctor from the Californian State Department of Public Health reports that the amount of parathion used on the Californian farms "provide a lethal dose for five to ten times the world population". Our own Scientific Department has demonstrated that a good dose of dieldrin can kill all the predators and parasites in the government insectary; from which they and the Citrus Growers Association conclude that dieldrin should be a good thing when applied to the soil. The microroganisms which make the life of the soil are apparently of no account, in the eyes of our agricultural masters.

 

"What makes an insecticide a systemic is its ability to penetrate all the tissues of a plant or animal and make them toxic". Schradan answered the requirement; and was used. The bees got it and passed on the poison to other plants and to their honey, and the chain process was set on foot. It is not difficult to see this chain process from the use of weed killers, which pass on toxic conditions to cow, to milk, to mother, to babe, to hen, to chicken, to egg. The weed-killers are known as the phenols; but an insecticide by any name, if toxic enough, can initiate the chain process.

 

Rachel Carsons claims that "the run-off from fields treated with a chlorinated hydrocarbon called toxaphene killed all the fish in fifteen streams tributary to the Tennessee River, two of which were sources of municipal water supplies". "We know", she remarks, that the minerals necessary for all forms of life are extracted from the water and passed from link to link of the food chains. Can we suppose that poisons we introduce into water will not follow the same course?"

 

Rachel Carsons proceeds to an interesting study of "the teeming populations that exist in the dark realms of the soil . . . Perhaps the most essential organisms in the soil are the smallest-the invisible hosts of bacteria and of thread-like fungi . . . The specialization of some of these minute creatures for their task is almost incredible". These and others are

 

the beneficent agricultural agencies that are decimated or destroyed by the use of insecticides-by what is called "chemical control". As Rachel Carsons remarks: "Is it reasonable to suppose that a so called broad spectrum insecticide can kill the burrowing larval stages of a crop-destroying insect without also killing the insects whose function may be the essential one of breaking down organic matter? . . . The chemical control of insects seems to have proceeded on the assumption that the soil could and would sustain any amount of insult without striking back". I understand that the Rachel Carsons articles have now been published in book-form. Will the Plant Protection Department of Government and the Citrus Growers' Association consider the advisability of incurring the expense of procuring copies of the book? When read, will it have any influence on them?

 

Probably not; for when I asked the Department to let me have a supply of eddy wasps, ladybirds and McDaniel Snails, I got a courteous reply: "We fear that we have no organisation fitted to the collection of the animals to which you refer . . . It is possible that you have farmer friends who have citrus fields with a high population of one or other of these animals who would be prepared to give you some" (! ! ! ) What has happened to the various predators for citrus, bananas and other pests accumulated by Entomologist Edwards?

 

What are entomologists abroad doing? The answer appears to be that the younger generation of entomologists have gone over in a body to the Shell and other similar laboratories; and heartily plug for dieldrin and all that. Read the Camp and Wallace report on Citrus in Jamaica, and see their encomiums on chemical control and their casual and almost insulting reference to biological control. What is the reason for all this neglect even by scientists of scientific reasoning and approach? The answer appears to lie that a disease which I thought was peculiarly endemic to Jamaica is worldwide, at least in the western world: It is THE SHORT-CUT, the short-cut to production, to labour, to profits.

 

OTHER FOUL PROCEEDINGS.

 

During the year 1865, there was considerable general unrest in Jamaica. Basically, the reason was economic: Two successive outbreaks of cholera had decimated the labouring population some years before emancipation had brought about the necessity for prudent and courageous social and economic readjustment, which the emancipated slaves proved themselves capable but many of the employing class found themselves incapable of making; judicial anomalies continued and were intensified; the American civil war brought great hardship on a peasantry, short of land, short of employment and subject to hardships by reason ofd the impact of import duties on the cost of living. BUT, and this "but" forms the burden of my present remarks, Government, although largely by its own fault, was brought into disrepute. It is a bad thing, and a dangerous thing, for one's Government to be brought into disrepute. That unfortunately has been the fate of Government in Jamaica for a very long period of its history. We have habitually fouled our own nest. Are we doing so now?

 

The worthlessness of the Jamaican Assembly had passed into a proverb in Jamaica, not because the opprobrium was deserved, but because irritated Governors Fad long sedulously inculcated and servile opinion adopted the opprobrium. Edward Long noted this in his History of 1774; Governor Eyre gave strong expression to the sentiment in his reports to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Even Rev. E. B. Underhill fell for the imputation in his famous letter to the Secretary. The truth is that the Jamaican Legislature was no more deserving of opprobrium than class governments generally are. But the opprobrium under which Government fell, combined with the other factors above mentioned, finally succeeded in promoting the Morant Bay riot of 1885.

 

Criticism of Government is legitimate; abuse of Government, booing of Ministers on public appearance without any ad hoc provocation by them, are gratuitous insults to one's own Government; and are not legitimate criticism. And that is precisely what has been happening, since the Independence Celebrations. It is a foul proceeding. In so far as it is organized, it is despicable. In so far as it is not organized, it is a reflection on Party discipline.

 

INTEGRITY AND SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY

 

While the lawyer may not do what is right, his training as a lawyer enables him unerringly to differentiate between right and wrong. He knows, for example, that, if he is making an investment for a client, he must rigorously exclude from consideration any idea of sympathy or indulgence for the needy borrower, and consider objectively the value of the security from every point of view; margin of value, marketability, moral hazard, business ability of borrower, &c, &c. It is my experience that men of general integrity, not legally trained, placed in administrative or executive positions, often fail to differentiate between a sympathetic and an objective approach in connection with the administration of the funds entrusted to them.

 

What are the duties of the members of a statutory Board in relation to the administration of the funds of the Board? These are usually broadly defined by the relevant law; but the delegated powers are often very wide, so as not to hamper the undertaking. There are however the guiding principles above referred to, which should never be ignored or forgotten. The Administration of the Coffee Board has become a case in point with the change of Government.

 

With the necessarily limited records at hand, I assume at the relevant law is The Coffee Industry Regulation Law-Law 43 of 1948. The powers of the Coffee Industry Board set up by the law are very wide. The Board may do anything that an individual

 

might do "having due regard to the financial resources at its disposal", so that however the Board "may consider" (the act) "most expedient for the encouragement and development of the coffee industry in Jamaica and for the promotion of the welfare of persons engaged in that industry". "The Board may in its absolute discretion . . . acquire by purchase . . . any personal property . . . as fully and effectually as if the Board were an individual of full age and not under disability".

 

The Board apparently obtains its funds from its power to "impose a cess upon the proceeds of the sale . . . of coffee".

 

The Board has to submit annual estimates of probable revenue and expenditure; and cannot legally incur any expenditure not included in the estimates and approved by Government.

 

It is alleged that the Coffee Board invested . a large sum in the purchase of shares of a commercial company not in any way concerned in the production of coffee. If such an expenditure was set out in the estimates and approved by Government, it was, strictly speaking, a legal expenditure. It was not however, by any stretch of meaning, an act which the Board of Government could reasonably consider to be "expedient for the encouragement and development of the coffee industry in Jamaica". The proposed expenditure could not have been justifiably included in the estimates submitted to Government. If submitted to Government, it was not an expenditure of which Government could have justifiably approved. If such a deal went through, there was mal-administration by the Board and culpable negligence on the part of Government.

 

OF BOOKS

 

I offered a friend, a classical scholar, my Butler's "Anatomy of Melancholy"; but he declined, on the ground that he had never read it; and he was spending all the reading-time of his declining years in rereading. That is certainly a point of view, that brings much happiness, as well as much disillusionment. Re-reading as well as re-visiting brings both joy and disappointment. Carefully selected however, re-reading may well be an almost adequate literary diet; but the new books often, apart from their new intrinsic merit, give us access to the ancient lore, now out of print, of which we were quite ignorant.

 

I know, for example, from Sir Patrick Browne that there was no such thing as a male pimento tree: but J. F. Ward's "Pimento" (1961) refreshed memory on ancient lore, dug up ancient lore with which I was unacquainted; and gave a lot of new and interesting and useful information. It is interesting to learn that freshly extracted seed, if subjected to any delay whatever, does not germinate; but, sent as ripe unpulped fruit and immediately pulped and sown, gives a 25% germination. With the current price inducement, it would pay to cultivate pimento: and it is interesting to note that pimento uses the potash nutrient. When the pimento rust hit us in the 1930s, a visiting scientist gave me a suitable spray: but. there are indications that pimento will yield to cultivation with organic manure without spraying. Incidentally, the scientist referred to found that the pimento rust was very similar to the rose apple rust, but that the spores would not mate. Furthermore he said that records at Harvard revealed that a visiting scientist had come across the rust in the Port Royal Mountains sixty years before the 1930s. Anyway that id the sort of pleasure one may get from a new book: information, as well as nostalgic reflections.

 

A friend asked me to recommend a Dickens Book. "David Copperfleld"  She had read it. Then remembering that she was a "who-donit" or "thriller" addict, I recommended "Barnaby Rudge", with which she is delighted.

 

On the other hand, if one is at all interested in how American Presidents are made, how may he achieve the knowledge without reading Theodore H. White's "The making of the President 1960"?

 

Then there are a host of European novels, with an entirely different slant from that of the English novels. There are frequent translations from the French and German; but, without reading modern books, one would miss the wonderful Roumanian study, "The Stranger" cast in a war-milieu when Roumania was forced into alliance with Germany and subsequently defected from the alliance. There are the heroic "Exodus" and the still more heroic "Mils 18".

 

If an agnostic wants to get some understanding of the "love of God" that is experienced by a devout Catholic, how better can he get the understanding than through Henry Norton Robinson's "The Cardinal".

 

One indeed misses a lot in default of the old books; but one also misses no less in default of the worth-while new books.

 

If one happens to have a 1944 Encyclopedia Britannica, and keeps abreast with the successive Year Books, what a joy it is to turn to any subject and mark from the Year Book the progress being made in any particular line. Give me the old, and plenty of it; and with it, the new and plenty of it.

 

Jamaica preserves little of the old. It may be climate; it may be our lack of reverence; or merely our untidiness. None of the scientific brochures of the '30s and '40s are procurable; and they were very valuable. Someone has just handed me pieces of a

 

Jamaica Agricultural Society Journal of July 1923. What a thrill to see in it the old names, Cradwick and Barclay, the correspondence columns and the helpful farming suggestions, the old things like the value of guinea corn being revived, to die away and be again forgotten. The exciting announcement: "We have a large number of Agricultural Journals over a series of years and from every part of the world, for which we have now no room. We can send a parcel of these to anyone interested on application, so as to utilise these." That was the spirit utilisation.

 

Learning by observation is indeed more valuable than learning from books. But the latter is often a necessary substitute for lack of opportunity; and always it is a valuable supplement to observation, as good as the use of a mathematical formula instead of the sometimes impossible task of working from first principles. Hew to arrange 100 things in all possible ways? A big undertaking-but with the permutation and combination formula to hand, how easy.

 

For nearly a century various dedicated avenues have sought to bring information by means of books to the relatively poor, some of them merely informative, others dissident from orthodox thinking. Among the latter I remember the Rationalistic publications, chiefly biological and in those orthodox days very unsettling, and mostly in paperbacks, like the works of Grant Allen and Clodd, and even a translation of Haeckel's Monistic Philosophy. At a later date came the one shilling "Thinker's Library" actually in hard backs, supplying Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason" and "Rights of Man", Winwood Readers "Martyrdom of Man" and Gibbon's famous Chapter on Christianity (omitted from Bowdler's edition as being both irrelevant and irreverent). We have with us today the excellent re-print books of the Everyman's and Modern Libraries; and of course the Penguins and Pelicans and all the paper "thrillers". In the thirties Gollancz formed the Left Book Club with the issue of five shillings hard backs, chiefly attacking the Fascist menace. In later day came the excellent and cheap Reprint Society Mks and now the truly excellent Promethus Paper Backs of Marzani and Munsell (American); while the famous Monthly Review, also of America, from time to time publishes books of great provocative value at advanced pre-publication price. Books are indeed very expensive; so that the Jamaican Library Service is giving worth-while service. This may be considerably helped by private book-lovers who are willing to pass on the contents of their libraries that may well be spared.

 

 

 


 

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Volume 5.   No. 4        November 1962  

 

THE BALANCE OF NATURE-THE LIFE OF THE SOIL

 

The balance of nature is no less important than our balance of payments. The one is our alimentary life-line, the other is our economic life-line. We can manipulate the latter by reducing imports; there is no means of sustaining the former if we destroy the life of the soil. In Jamaica we are alive to the perils of dislocating our balance of payments; we are entirely regardless of the balance of nature. Our economists take care of the former; our Agricultural Department are shockingly careless of the latter. I understand that a distinguished French agronomist has recently made a report to Government on Island agriculture. Government should have no hesitation in publishing the report. If it is unfavorable, it is best that we be fully informed so that we may mend our ways and help Government to mend its ways, and correct the errors of the past. For there has been shocking neglect on the part of Government in at least two essential branches of the agricultural department: entomology and microbiology. It is unbelievable that Government should have been so completely ignorant as to abolish both of these departments. Even the brochures put out by these departments in the 1930s and 1940s are no longer obtainable. They are not even mentioned in the list of printed material at the Government Printing Office in the Jamaican Handbook.

 

Both the microbiologist, with his knowledge of the soil-inhabiting micro-organisms, viruses and what not, which not only sustain the life of the soil constructively but also prey on insect pests; and the entomologist, with his knowledge of predators and parasites which prey directly on Insect pests, are essential to our community; for they help to preserve or moderate or prevent inroads into the balance of nature, which is essential to our food supply and well-being.

 

The tropical world is extraordinarily rich in the various insects which, reacting on one another, help to preserve the balance of nature and the food supply. It is the job of the microbiologist and the entomologist to be ever vigilant to sustain their efforts by local encouragement, by replenishment, by judicious importation, by exhortation to farmers, by constant watchfulness and endeavour.

 

There are plant diseases which appear to be outside the scope of the microbiologist and entomologist and some within the purview of the mycologist. I understand that we have dispensed also with the services of the mycologist. It is interesting to

 

observe that the great mycologist Sir Albert Howard found that the best way to prevent diseases which came within his jurisdiction was not to intensify the use of sprays but to intensify methods of sustaining the life of the soil. But it is particularly to relation to the work of the entomologist that this number of the Comments is devoted.

 

Let us take one of our troubles, the fiddler beetle menace. I am assured that there is every indication that the fiddler beetle has been in Jamaica from time immemorial; but, in the balance of nature, this pest was adequately taken care of by a predator or parasite, the tetraschus haitensis, which preyed on the larvae or eggs of the fiddler beetle. Ants also played their part, and so perhaps also, did the microorganisms of the soil. The establishment of citrus groves and the stepping-up of sweet potato and cassava patches (all hosts of the fiddler) would naturally increase the fiddler population; but the population of tetraschus would also adequately increase; but drenching the soil with forms of chemical control appears to have so affected the beneficial life of the soil and of tetraschus that the manifold enemies of the fiddler have suffered more than the fiddler. That, by the way, is the normal story of chemical control. With the tetraschus liquidated or immobilized, it seemed essential to reinforce the enemies of the fiddler by drawing on the immense store of predators and parasites abroad. There is apparently a parasite in Dominica which seems excellently adapted to attack the fiddler at its source, at the egg-state. The fiddler lays its eggs on the citrus leaf, folding another leaf over it by way of protection. The two leaves form its nest. The parasite lays its eggs side by side with those of the fiddler; and the selective diet of the parasite is the fiddler's eggs. And the parasite is one jump ahead of the fiddler; for, while the fiddler has to pass through the larval stage (at which it does its great destruction) the parasite skips the larval stage and emerges as a kind of tiny winged wasp. The careful farmer detects the nests, drops them in a wide-mouthed bottle, the larvae perish. the winged parasite emerges to destroy more and more of the fiddler eggs. I am credibly informed that the Dominican parasite has reached Jamaica, is to be found in Manchester; and that here there is no longer a fiddler beetle menace. But if the farmers of Manchester continue to drench their tree roots with dieldrin, they will assuredly do for the new parasite as they have done for tetraschus. So far as I know, Government and Citrus Growers Association are both blissfully unaware of the new parasite. They plug for dieldrin.

 

Slugs are another serious pest in the Manchester Hills, no doubt helped by the number of stone walls.

 

Mechanical and chemical means of countering the pest are difficult of application, and the chemical means sometimes damage the trees; and might poison the only predator we have, small pigs. Even the brochure on slugs put out by Entomologist Edwards in 1934 is out of print and generally unobtainable. Nor has it been brought up to date. But other islands like Mauritius and Madagascar have their effective slug predator or parasite. Why doesn't Government send a qualified man to these islands to get them? But, of course, they have no entomological department; and the Plant Protection Division confess that they are not equipped to furnish the most elementary or common form of entomological service, which should include supplying to farmers the predators and parasites brought to the island when Government did have an entomologist; the eddy wasp (for citrus black fly), the lady birds for aphides, the predator for the banana borer. the predator for thrips, the coccinellide which saved our coconut trees from the dread aspidlotus, and which 'was brought here by Entomologist Edwards from the Cayman Islands, and the local and Indigenous McDaniel snail for scale on citrus. None of these, says the Plant Protection Division, is it "fitted" to supply.

 

The macca worm (larva of the May Bug) is a serious pest In pastures. We have the predator or parasite to -take care of this in Jamaica; but it is being liquidated by improvident destruction of the plant host of the predator of the macaca in the course of thriftless pasture care, and because there Is no longer any Entomologist to advise the pen keeper; and other Government officers do not know or do not care. The macca is a general menace. If reinforcements are needed for its suppression they should be brought here.

 

Sometimes we have the remedial predator or parasite in our midst; sometimes a trained entemologist has to be sent abroad to obtain them, when, as so often happens, the relevant useful predator or parasite has been liquidated or is non-existent or rare In Jamaica. We should try to cope with native plant-destroying pests, which increase with intensive cultivation, by all entomological methods. This principle was common form in the great biological control era in Jamaica in the 1930s. This has continued in Mauritius, Madagascar and other islands; but has been abandoned in Jamaica.

 

An enterprising body of large farmers applied to the previous Government (before the era of Keble Munn) for permission to employ a very well-known and exceedingly able entomologist to bring in selected predators and parasites. Permission was refused; nor would Government Itself undertake the job. It was busy destroying its own Insectary. I believe that, pending the restoration of the entomological depart­ment, Government might itself be able to secure the ad hoc services of a good and dedicated entomologist. Will Government not undertake this simple service?

                  T

 

On the subject of the macca worm and pastures, it is reported that in New Zealand lush pastures were promoted by heavy phosphate applications; but

 

apparently this had adverse results on the predator which kept a pernicious pasture grub under control. In the result, a terrific grub infestation followed with the usual man created cycle sequel. D.D.T., Dieldrin, Aldrin &c were called in aid for the suppression of the grub. But the poisons were absorbed by the grass, passed on to the grazing animals and appeared in the meat. The man made cycle was completed for the time being by condemnation of the meat and the prohibition in New Zealand of the use of the insecticides.

 

INTERNAL MARKETING AND ALL THAT

 

A previous number dealt with the origins of internal marketing in Jamaica and its value to the community during a period when the population of the island was probably not more than one-sixth of the present population and the annual budget minuscule.

 

It was noted that the subsistence cultivation of the slaves ripened into a valuable surplus-for-sale economy to the great benefit of the slaves and of the consuming public.

 

The potentiality of the consumption of locally produced crops other than the major export crops has increased enormously during the past two decades and opens up encouraging vistas. Statistics of production of the crops used locally are by no means exact; but enough Is known to permit of useful generalization.

 

In 1952 a Mission of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, reporting on the "Economic Development of Jamaica" compiled available data for 19'49 and 1950. The annual production of crops for local consumption compared favorably with that of the major export crops of bananas and citrus, but were of course far surpassed by the maximum export crop of sugar. The annual production of yams, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cassava, breadfruit and plantains amounted-to over 147,000 tons while exported bananas and citrus amounted to little more. Since that time there has been a large Increase of the sweet potato output; while the potentiality of consumption has increased by reason of development in the tourist trade and in local wages. Migration has tended to militate against the increase of local consumption; but the existence of the migrants in England opens up prospects of a large export trade among them, extending later fugue-like to the whole English population. As far as production is concerned, there has been an alarming diminution in the number of small farms.

 

The over-all picture appears to be that, as in the old days the subsistence cultivation of the slaves ripened into a surplus for sale, so production for local consumption may well develop 'into immense production (raw and processed) for local use and for export to migrants and others. Many years ago there was a trade in dried okra seeds, and other products now neglected. There was also production for local use, like guinea corn, now largely neglected. It is probable that the export of beans (popularly called peas) might be enormously extended. The production might be very large, because, apart from peasant cultivation, peas and beans lend themselves to inter-cropping and rotation on sugar estates and in citrus groves. Sesame might well be cultivated on a large scale for human food and livestock feed. It would not ,pay unless the primary producer were given a share of the processed product, particularly the oil. Indeed a pilot plant (actually now available in the Island at a cost of £2000 to £2500) might well be purchased by Government and set up pour encourager les autres. When checked a year or two ago, the price of the refined oil was E150 per ton. I believe the Coconut Oil plant is able and willing to produce refined sesame oil.

 

Much criticism has been leveled against the Internal marketing system in Jamaica. It has however played a useful part in our island economy. If Government devised measures for reducing costs for the higgler (especially financing and trucking costs) these might reduce the cost of the market products and preserve a business which gives widespread employment and service.

 

One untoward feature of local marketing, and indeed of local production generally, may be noted; and that is poor handling. Bruising cuts down enormously the value of the product. The large quantity of immature fruit that comes to market is probably accounted for by the dangers of praedial larceny. Thieving is unfortunately a Jamaican (perhaps a world-wide), propensity. Perhaps education in this direction may be put over by analogy with traffic locomotion practice.

 

One generally advantageous factor of the Jamaican economy is its diversification: but. the advantage is minimized by the other factors above referred to.

 

When all is said and done, it is a sound commentary on world economy that national economy, like charity. "begins at home". It is our misfortune that it ever has to leave home for lack of local purchasing power.

 

TELEVISION

 

Television was used in the last American presidential campaign with telling effect. It has been authoritatively calculated that each of the four "free time" debates between Kennedy and Nixon organized by the great networks of the USA reached an audience of over 65,000,000 people in the U.S. The polls taken indicate that after the first debate Kennedy outscored Nixon by 39 to 23 per cent (balance undecided) ; that after the second debate the tide turned in favour of Nixon by 44 to 28; that after the third debate it stood: Kennedy 42 and Nixon 39; and that after the last debate it was: Kennedy 52, Nixon 27 per cent. This use of television illustrated its emotional impact; for it was nothing that the contestants said that was of importance. The emotional aspect of television is high-lighted by the fact

 

that the contestants were not given time for reflection or considered answers. Television abhors "dead time". Delay of thirty seconds, such a pause for consideration, would seem interminable. The answers must be snap answers without time for deliberation. Deliberation is not only necessary for a worth while answer; but would also give the impression of careful consideration and a sense of responsibility. But television forbids this. Intrinsically a television debate is worthless, informatively it is barren. As a vote-getter it appears to be supreme. It is calculated that these debates turned over 2,000,000 votes to Kennedy, although he won by a margin estimated as being between only 112,000 and 119,000 votes. Kennedy himself said that "it was TV more than anything that turned the tide".

 

But of course television may be entertaining and instructive and informative. It is a boon to the non-gregarious, who yet want to see the games and other forms of entertainment, relaxation or endeavour. It may well be of great educational value. It may even increase church attendance; because, with other avenues side-tracked, people might throng the churches in response to the sub-conscious urge to show themselves; for with television they may still satisfy the sub-conscious urge to see others. Indeed in America people flock to the streets in the hope of being caught by a television "shot"; for in a crowd one does not see; but as the camera turns to nodal spots, with luck, he may be seen on television, he may be seen by millions, not to mention friends and family. The urge works on analogous lines to the stanza: "Oh! 'tis fine to see one's name in print. A speech's a speech, although there is nothing in it”.

 

FLAG AND NATIONAL ANTHEM

 

The origin or motivation of origin of these symbols, like that of the idea of God, is shrouded in mystery; but it is probable that the former was a form of preparation for war. For it would be difficult to rally a nation without symbols; and the flag and national anthem have been found to be powerful symbols. Man instinctively brandishes and lifts up his voice especially in time of war.

 

In time of peace however, and when not being prepared for or incited to war, the reverence for flag and anthem, especially of a multi-racial people moves slowly.

 

The mass of the people of Jamaica tend to dramatize individually but not in the aggregate. Perhaps that is why the organisation of revolt during the period of slavery was a difficult job; and why, also, until incited by political leaders, the people of Jamaica are habitually peaceful. Like other people, although imitative, they tend to build up slowly their own conventions and forms of social behaviour.

 

Before "Independence", Jamaicans did not respond en masse to the British national anthem. Their lack of responsiveness did not stem from truculence but rather from indifference. Indifference and individualism are Jamaican characteristics not confined to the masses. Response to flag and anthem is a question of manners not of morals, except in so far as morals are mores. "Independence" has been a synthetic, not a spontaneous production. The national self-respect symbolised by flag and anthem is a good synthetic product, but being synthetic, must be given time to mature. There is time; for in Jamaica happily, there is not the pressure to force response to flag and anthem for purposes of war.

 

Given time, the symbols may be set on a higher level of self-respect than their origins imply; and may negative the efforts of our politicians to make the symbols boastful.

 

THE CHILD, THE PRIMITIVE, THE SCHIZOPHRENIC

 

Many years ago Dr. Alfred Storch and other Investigators at Tubingen noted how closely allied are the thought forms as well as the forms of conduct of primitive or archaic people, of very young children and of schizophrenics. Recently, noted American authors like Lederer and Burdick ("The Ugly American Lederer alone later producing "A Nation of Sheep") and H. A. Overstreet ("The Mature Mind") have remarked on the childlike behaviour of the people of a great civilized nation. The year 1933 was to witness the childlike surrender of Germany to Hitler. The. 1950s were to feature the surrender of the great American Nation to McCarthyism. Men are wont to meet a real or imaginary peril with immature minds and quack remedies, whether the peril be social, economic, political or agricultural. Involved in panic or obsession, the human mind often abdicates sober or mature judgment or becomes completely intolerant.

 

Edgar Snow gives a classical example in his "Journey to the Beginning" (Random House---Second Printing 1958) . In 1941 he was asked by the League of American Writers, as an expert on far Eastern affairs, to speak at a Writers' Congress. His script linked China's resistance with Britain's fight for life, and asked,. aid for both countries, the theme being "aid to any people fighting for freedom". He was told that his proposed speech would be "in contradiction to the fundamental conviction of the Congress". He asked, but futilely: "How could a Congress called to debate and discuss problems before Intellectuals in the national crisis have its fundamental convictions determined for it in advance". The Incident illustrated the child mind, that spoilt-child's mind, which did not want argument but merely to have its way.

 

Overstreet calls to mind that Diderot observed that children are­ essentially criminal. They are of course often irresponsible, wayward and illogical. He explains the irrationality of grown-ups as a carryover of a spoilt childhood. Chronological age often has nothing to do with psychological age. Adult childishness, amounting often to criminal Irresponsibility, is not confined to morons. It exists also "in countless numbers of men and women, who look adult, are taken to be adults and are granted the full prerogatives of adulthood"; while "society has not yet developed any constant habit of appraising adult behaviors as immature or mature".

 

One feature of the child mind Is the sheep-like aspect vividly illustrated in Lederer's book. History is full of examples of grown-up people behaving like children, like primitive people, like insane people. The grooming of a people is now one of the common form practices of Governments. It is questionable whether over-insistence on leadership is not an enemy of healthy dissidence. One may honestly pay tribute to the British people for their truly adult approach to public questions, their Integrity in thinking, their respect for principle, their repudiation of blinkers and their claim of right for dissidence. Perhaps that is why Canada still proudly carries the Union Jack in the left hand upper quarter of the Canadian flag.

 

One of the amazing illustrations of infantilism in modern politics is that the great and idealistic American nation nearly elected Richard Nixon as its president; and that Joseph McCarthy, before he over-played his hand, was believed to have one foot on the presidential ladder.

 

What are we to do about it? We can do little more than encourage dissidence, so that integrity may have a voice.

 

During the stirring days of the Eyre-Gordon controversy in England (there was none .in Jamaica) it was to the credit of England that two powerful voices were heard, (a) the reactionary voice hero-worshipping Eyre, (b) the libertarian voice condemning his excesses. There was of course much to be said on both sides. Within their limitations, Gordon and Eyre were two excellent men. According to his lights, and in many ways, so was Dr. Bowerbank.

 

 


 

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Volume 5.  No. 5       December 1962    

 

CAUSERIES

 

The loss of 100,000 young turkeys in Britain was followed by investigation which traced the trouble to peanut meal from Brazil. A well-known and completely harmless mould, incorporated into the life process of the peanut, had given rise to toxic conditions. The toxin, now isolated and called "aflatoxin", rots the livers of birds, pigs and calves and causes liver cancer in rats. Serious toxic effects on humans has not yet been reported.

 

U.S. Secretary Dean Rusk appeals for a nonpartisan approach to the Cuban question. If ever a question needed controversional investigation it is America's bungling of the Cuban question. A lesson might have been taken from Franklin D. Roosevelt's handling of Mexico's expropriation of American oil interests. The U.S. promptly admitted Mexico's right to expropriate. Obviously America might profitably have financed Castro's post-revolution administration, and lent him the money to pay for the expropriations. The handling of the Cuban situation parallels America's handling of Stalin's 1945 request for a big loan to rehabilitate war-torn Russia, neglect or refusal of which precipitated the Soviet rape of East Prussia and the Cold War, and the armaments race. All these things were obviously foreseeable.

 

U.S. war-preparation economy has now overreached itself. The shift from "hardware procurement" to electronics signifies that armaments no longer sustain employment. The former war-arsenals of Detroit and Michigan are taking on the appearance of depressed areas.

 

In Soviet Russia the literary standard is higher among readers than among writers. In America the converse is true. But America may well be grateful for its great and noble galaxy of dedicated writers, who courageously carry on their difficult and dangerous job of trying to educate public opinion. "Conform or perish" exclaim the morally and intellectually desiccated to the dedicated. The dedicated need support and reinforcement.

 

A new political party, courageously resolved to stand up against crazy shibboleths, is needed to revitalize  opinion in the U.S.A. The country needs less astigmatic myopia and more independent honesty of opinion, dissident opinion, counteracting servile conformity, especially in foreign affairs, where many blunders are made.

 

SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT

 

In all communities some system of government has to be devised, from the primitive tribal systems, to the final development of what is a communal or tribal system of government in Soviet Russia, from the Witenagemot in ancient England to the highly developed parliamentary system of modern England, in other countries ancient and modern, from oligarchy through dictatorship, monarchy and republicanism.

 

In Jamaica we are committed to the parliamentary system of political parties after the English system, which has been more or less the model of European and North American government and politics.

 

The present day political party system grew and developed gradually in England. A glance at eighteenth century England might help us to understand the growth of the system. For more than forty five years prior to the accession of George III the Whigs had acquired and held complete political and governmental ascendancy. From 1770 to 1832 the Tories acquired and maintained an ascendancy no less complete. The main object of the Whig party in the early part of the eighteenth century was to establish the supremacy of the will of the people as expressed by Parliament, with the power of the monarch made subject to the limitations imposed by Parliament, while the Tory party under Queen Anne and George I was almost exclusively bent on maintaining the supremacy of the monarch. Later the Tory party was essentially that of the landed gentry and the established Church; while the Whigs watched over the interests of the commercial classes and the Nonconformists. Like all concerns in all times, whether political, commercial or religious. former doctrinaire policies yield to changed times and incidences, to changed potentialities for profit or power. To brand a people or a party with a doctrine once expressed is to fail to understand the movement of history. It may be serviceable propaganda but it is untrue to both facts and history.

 

During the time of the Georges, the - most Important guarantee of 'tolerable government in England was the fear of the return of the Stuarts in the person of the Pretender. Indeed the Jacobite party did not cease to be a threat or a .political force until the time of Pitt. It was ;believed that the people were generally Jacobite in sympathy; and that fact went largely to explain the regard that Parliament paid to exhibitions of the will of the people in other directions.

 

It must be admitted that the general level of political life was deplorably low. There were Court intrigues and parliamentary corruption. Bribery for place or power was rampant; and Cabinet Ministers retained power by the manipulation of Crown patronage and secret service money. The interests of the country were habitually neglected and the resources of Government employed mainly with a view to strengthening political influence. Men of the Intellectual stature of Walpole and the highly-placed like Newcastle were notorious for their manipulation of these funds for political purposes. Pensions, sinecures and secret service money were diverted from the encouragement of literature, science and art; and these avenues of culture disappeared and culture languished.

 

The Government of England was corrupt, inefficient and un-heroic; but, with all its faults, unlike continental governments, it was a free government.

 

Gradually the two great political parties assumed a definite morphology. The Tories rested chiefly on the great truth that one of the first conditions of good government is essential stability; the Whigs rested upon the no less certain truth that government is an organic thing, capable of growth, expansion and adaptation; that the price of progress is eternal vigilance.

 

The system which was in force on the accession of George III made it possible for a thoroughly incapable man, so long as he had great possessions and family or parliamentary influence, to obtain and wield power. Newcastle, who succeeded Pelham, is an outstanding example of this. In his time, Government implied corruption; Newcastle was arch-corrupter. But while he practiced gross, systematic and shameless corruption, he took nothing for himself. Indeed while in office he reduced his personal income from £25,000 to £6000 per annum; and when he retired he refused to take a pension. .

 

Upon the scene of English politics entered two remarkable men, who sought and acquired influence, Henry Fox, afterwards Lord Holland, described as a bold, bad man, almost destitute of principle, patriotism and consistency, and William Pitt the elder Pitt), afterwards Lord Chatham, a man of great intellect and character.

 

Party government had become extinct, faction had replaced party, personal pretensions acquired great weight division of principles were unmarked. Pitt did a great deal by his example to purge English politics of corruption. He was however extremely desirous of office and conscious of his great ability to give political service; but he was the complete individualist and not a party man. He was indeed an intellectually arrogant place-seeker, and withal a great and personally honest man. While Edmund Burke insisted on the value and necessity of party politics, Pitt discounted and despised party politics.

 

From confusion and corruption emerged the relatively clean party politics of our times.

 

In Jamaica, adult suffrage was ushered in with a landslide for the Jamaica Labour Party under Alexander Bustamante. It was alleged that it was also ushered in with violence and intimidation during election tine and with post-election discrimination in the matter of employment. At that time, it seemed to tile People's National Party under Norman Manley that this Party did not receive adequate police protection for their meetings, and that plutocratic

 

mugwumps strongly favored Bustamante. Indeed after the landslide victory of the Jamaica, Labour Party, it was claimed that the People's National Party might have to operate as an underground party, that is to say that adherents would have to dissimulate allegiance to the Party in order to obtain jobs and escape persecution and violence. Thereupon, It Is alleged, the P.N.P. opted for the short-cut to security and power; that they trained their own strong-arm squads, and determined to meet violence with violence. In any event it became abundantly clear that the Jamaican masses were incited by their political leaders to regard politics as a summons to war. The short-cut to power, which political leaders adopted, has been a big, black mark against them. It is claimed that it is these leaders, with their trade union affiliates, who have corrupted a normally peaceful Jamaican public. The peaceful nature of the Jamaican people was abundantly proved by their behaviour on their emergence from slavery.

 

It is claimed that Bustamante might be forgiven, because he did not then know better, not having had that long experience of British law and order which his cousin Manley had. For Manley, few people were able to find an excuse.

 

Jamaica is however free of many of the complications which affect the emerging African states beset by somewhat primitive tribal customs. But it should be borne in mind that, while the short-cut may bring speedy power or profit, it does not make for integrity, which in the long run is what is of permanent value in the life of a people as in the life of an individual.

 

BREADNUT

 

Breadnut, like guinea-corn, has been almost forgotten in Jamaica. Sir Patrick Browne, eminent eighteenth century Jamaican botanist, reported that the breadnut tree made up a third part of the woods of St. James and St. Elizabeth; that the timber was not despicable, but that the leaves and younger branches are more useful and a hearty fattening fodder for all sorts of cattle. The-fruit (which was probably what was known as the-seeded breadfruit) boiled with salt-fish, pork, beef or pickle was frequently the support of negroes and poor white people, and proved a wholesome and not unpleasant food. Roasted, it tastes like chestnut. Cattle new to it are at first put off by its gum, but soon relish it; and It is a great stand-by in times of drought. Goats are particularly fond of the leaves.

 

Edward Long, later eighteenth century, reported that the plant is propagated by birds and rats from the seed; but were also planted by hand in the dryer pasture land of the south side, old fences being used as a sort of nursery for these and other valuable trees. The shade of the fence affords a sort of forest condition with its valuable mychrizal association: but mychorhizal association was unknown in Long's day. Indeed up to the 1930s Sir Albert Howard was writing that our local geneticist didn't appear to know anything about it. Long reported that what was known as breadnut in St. Ann is a tree of larger diameter and very proper for cabinet work, being excellent timber. It is entirely possible that in some parts of the island the plant is kept low and in other parts allowed or encouraged to grow big. A remarkable example of that is the recently introduced California Privet. Lunan (Hortus Jamaicensis-early nineteenth century) has some interesting notes on breadnut. He identifies two varieties, the spurium or milkwood and the alicastrum. of Sir Patrick Browne. He reports that the trees grow to a very considerable size, having been found five feet in . diameter and sixty feet in height before branching, the trunk straight and the foliage beautiful, the wood finely veined, very hard, close-grained and ponderous, the heart not unlike mahogany in colour and the sap like box. It blossoms in April and May. It had lately been found to make good puncheon staves, answering nearly as well as white oak. He earnestly advises the cultivation of the tree, by reason of the versatility of its uses. Dr. Robinson, our famous amateur botanist, who was responsible for making soap out of aloes, in his valuable manuscript (now lost) mentions the use made of breadnut for human food. "Two negroes and nine mules supplied two hundred and thirty negroes with them for food."

 

Lunan writes: "Possessing plants of such inestimable value, indigenous to our own soil" (I doubt whether "indigenous is correct. I read somewhere that the breadnut was introduced by some French settlers) , if proper care was taken to cultivate them generally, we should have no occasion to call in the aid of exotics from the South Sea or elsewhere" (no doubt a reference to the breadfruit then recently introduced) "to guard us against want. In Europe they plant oaks, but in Jamaica nothing is worthy of attention, it would seem, that does rot produce immediate profit. To induce a better system, it is a pity the legislature does not offer a premium for the encouragement of these who may propagate, to a sufficient extent, the useful plants of certain parts of the island, in such districts as are not naturally enriched by them."

 

FROM MY SCRAP BOOK.

 

It was inevitable that Slinky Joe, with a bulging back-pocket, scuffling in and around the Coronation market, should be an object of suspicion. Ganja, perhaps, or what else? The officer eyed Slinky; and Slinky eyed the officer. "Ali wat you got deh?". Slinky pretended ignorance, indifference and "hard a' hearing". But he obviously Blinked: he was slinking away, as inconspicuously as possible or feasible. The officer leaped forward and straight for the bulge. There was no "battle of the bulge". With expert hands, a wallet was extracted from Slinky's back-pocket and swiftly opened to reveal fourteen One Pound Notes. Closer inspection revealed to the officer that they were all obviously counterfeit. Slinky was arrested and charged: waving in his possession . . . "

 

When Slinky noted that he was charged with having in his possession ONE counterfeit note, a gleam of  satisfaction and cunning passed over his face. For the present silence would be golden. Slinky knew when to talk, and when not to talk; his sense of timing was well-nigh perfect, born of long and varied experience of the ways of men.

 

It is never difficult to meet the charge, of "having in possession" one counterfeit coin or note.. In a busy week, money comes and money goes; and with £14 in his purse, Stinky was obviously a busy man of many transactions. It was all too easy for him innocently to fail to observe some one pass on to him one counterfeit note. Had he been charged with having the fourteen counterfeit notes, that would have been a different and briny kettle of fish. Buts look at it from the officer's point of view: "Why charge him with more than one, when the other thirteen might come in handy for personal use"

 

So Slinky was acquitted; and told to be "more careful in future".

 

"But me Ranner!" "What is the matter with you? You are acquitted." "Me Ranner, don't ah get back me good, good money?". "What is he talking about, what money?". The Clerk explained: "He says, your Honour, that he had 14, one pound notes, in his wallet, one was found to be counterfeit; but he asks if he is not to get back the balance of £13 good money which the policeman seized".

 

The Judge pounced. "I give you fifteen minutes to get and return the money to this unfortunate man". Caught off balance, the officer explained that the money must be still in the wallet at the station; he would fetch it right away. So said, so done. He had of course to pretend that the £13 had always been good  money. "Yuh see", said Slinky sententiously. 'how an honest man could lose him . good, good money."

 

DEBIT AND CREDIT

 

Casting my mind back some seventy years, I seem to hear the voice of old York Castle's Governor, William Clark Murray, telling his book-keeping class: "Every debit must have its corresponding credit". As the relativity of physics finds its parallel in philosophy, so a book-keeping or accountancy maxim finds its parallel in the facts of life of individual and nation. If the merchant ignores pile side of his profit and loss account or of Ms balance sheet, he is on the road to economic .bankruptcy. If an individual concentrates on the bad and ignores the good in his fellow-man or sister nation, he is on the road to spiritual and intellectual bankruptcy. In each case the unobservant observer gets a distorted view; he. is unbalanced.

 

Recently I have been reading William Appleman Williams's "The Contours of American History". He may well be at heart a theoretical socialist, while functioning as a loyal citizen under free enterprise. Nevertheless he gives full credit to the monopoly capitalists of America for their great services, in spite of the fact that they are always "interest-conscious". In the realm of travel-writers, Edgar Snow is outstanding in the careful  presentation of debit and credit in the affairs of the East His part-autobiography "Journey to the Beginning", and his "Red Star over China", are good correctives of sloven thinking on affairs of the East. For it is in our judgment of affairs in the East that we do most of our emotional and cloven thinking.

 

As President Kennedy put it in his recent Commencement Address at Yale University, men demand for themselves "the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought". They emotionally condemn without giving credit to elements deserving praise. Our identification of a man or a nation with his or its worst characteristic is confused, emotional and unbalanced thinking. It Is like the paranoiac, who, seeing in his distorted mind some resemblance of himself to a china teapot, identifies himself completely with the brittle teapot and goes about in fear and trepidation lest he might collide with someone who might fracture his spout. Identification of the whole with the part is essentially a form of Insanity, or at least evidence of distorted thinking. We all indulge in a little mania-"poco, poco," perhaps, but still mania.

 

THE QUESTIONNAIRE - A poem by the famous Canadian Poet, Wilson MacDonald.

 

An officer of the law, with the slow understanding of an ox and the quick temper of a parrot, a red-faced, dull-witted officer of the law asked me, in a blustering, blundering way, if I were a Communist.

 

And I said, with an answer not for him, for he was too fat in his brain to understand, but with a reply for all peoples yet to be: "I accept all that is good in communism, and I reject all that is evil in that faith." And the red-faced, slow-witted officer of the law departed with that same look on his face which the eyes of the people had once worn when a Nazarene wrote upon the sand.

 

When men question me: "Are you Protestant or Catholic, or Hebrew, or Mohammedan, or Atheist, or Buddhist or Sun-Worshipper?"-my answer will ever be the same: "I accept all that is good in each and all of these, and I reject everything which they possess of evil.

 

I reject the discordant note of a prima donna, for the best of them sometimes slip into discord) and I accept the harmonious cry of a savage. I reject a lie on the lips of a priest, and I accept the truth from the mouth of a vagabond.

 

Thus no organization or sect or creed can hold me: I stand outside of them all. yet I plunder them all, and my storehouse is rich from the infinite thieving. I have pilfered the tablets of Moses and I have stolen the bugles of Amos: I have sipped the rare wines of the wisdom of Shelley and Shakespeare and Pushkin and Marx.

 

Therefore I enter all doors at a whim of my heart. I take knowledge in and I bring knowledge out. The pollen of truth I gather and spread; and wherever I go, by noon or by evening, I rob old gardens of ripe beauty and sow new gardens with white truth. , .

 

So, officer of the law, with the slow understanding of an ox, this is my answer, spoken to you, and yet not spoken to you, but to that deeper understanding which shall some day come unto the earth'. ,

 

BOOK REVIEWS. "Compost":  R. H. Billington:   "From Vegetable Waste to Fertile Soil" : M. E. Bruce

 

The former book is a brief compendium of the various methods of composting (a) the bio-dynamic method of Rudolf Steiner (b) the Indore method of Albert Howard (c) The Quick Return method of Miss Bruce and (d) the adco activator method, with discussion on green manuring, liquid manure use, the questionable use of night soil, .the use of lime and the beneficial role of weeds and also the role of the earthworm and the micro-organisms; and a valuable and extensive bibliography. The book is calculated . to make one compost-minded.

 

Miss Bruce's book was a product of war-time England, when organic manure was well-nigh unobtainable in England. The author gives much credit to Rudolph Steiner's bio-dynamic method and the Anthroposophical Agricultural Foundation, which arose out of his work. For .it was Rudolph Steiner who discovered that certain weeds, namely camamile, yarrow, dandelion, valerian, stinging nettle and oak bark, made into a solution and applied in homeopathic doses to the compost heap, activated it and hastened decomposition.

 

Miss Bruce found that ' vegetable matter duly activated made an effective compost without the need of manure or turning, as required by the Indore system. She advocates a wooden bin as container; and used herself to distribute the activator in liquid form. It was later made up in powder form.

 

Out of the Bruce system arose the "Soil Association" of Britain, a centre formed in England for pooling experience in vegetable composting, which has been the foundation of successful farming in China, Japan and Korea for forty centuries.

 

The Steiner and Bruce methods are two outstanding examples of non-commercialized services generally given without insistence on profit.

 

The increase of the poultry industry in Jamaica has released a large body of organic manure to replace the great dearth of cow manure; and there are also prospects of an organic manure factory on a big scale. Organic manure is effective and appears to be relatively economical. Miss Bruce's method of vegetable composting is worth trying where vegetable waste is abundant and manure scarce. The great advantage of composting is that it is a return to nature's way, and is economic use of waste material and helps rather than hurts the life of the soil.

 

 

 

 


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Volume 5.    No. 6       January 1963.    

 

1938 AND ALL THAT

 

Some twenty five or twenty six years ago one used to sec in the Gleaner brief letters by one W . A. Bustamante, recently returned to the island after long sojourn abroad. His original surname was Clark; but it was alleged that he had been adopted by a Bustamante and had taken his name. It was also alleged that he had been taken to Spain from his native parish Hanover by his patron, a Spanish Commander, that he had joined the Spanish army and gone to Cuba, where he served as Inspector of Police. It is also alleged that from Cuba he went to the U.S.A. and there made a good deal of money in speculating on the stock-market.

 

The letters to the Gleaner above referred to revealed an interest in public affairs.

 

In the year 1938 there was widespread unrest through the British West Indies and as far away as British possessions in the Indian Ocean. W. M. Macmillan had sounded a note of warning in his "Warnings from the West Indies".

 

Some twenty years earlier one James Charley had bought the valuable sugar estates at Fro me, then known as the Belle Isle Estates, arid had added them to his other Westmoreland holdings at Masemuir and elsewhere. He was unable to weather the ensuing slump and his estates went under the hammer and were acquired by the Lyle interests of Britain; and substantial improvements were taken in hand. Immediately the lie was given to a Jamaican tradition that labourers in Jamaica do not move readily from parish to parish. Word of prospects of employment reached labour in adjoining parishes and influx to the works at Frome took place in greater numbers than could be dealt with by improvised measures. The movement was understandable; for, not only was there much unemployment, but wages were also shockingly low. Unrest spread to Kingston. How or why Bustamante got to the ensuing riots at Frome I do not know; but on the day following Governor Denham's speech to the Legislature on the unrest in Jamaica, Bustamante, having returned to Kingston, and having emerged as a labour leader, addressed a crowd at the Parade in Kingston, estimated at 7000. "The Governor", he. said, has made it plain that he is prepared to declare war against agitators, but I want the Governor and all his Cossacks to know" (to the credit of Denham, let it be said that he resisted strong pressure on him to call out the military) "that Alexander Bustamante is prepared to fight, and that he has 100,000 people behind him . . . At Frome I saw poor defenseless men and women writhe in agony and pain and die. Why did not the police aim at the feet of the people if they wanted to restore law and order, as they say? No-they aimed deliberately at the heart of the people who were agitating for their bread. I saw one woman who would in the next four or five months become a mother, suffer and die from a bullet wound in the forehead. Trouble will spread from Negril Point to Morant Point if something is not done quickly to help the poor and distressed . . . Long live the King but Denham must go..,

 

Bustamante followed up speeches in Jamaica with representations to the Labour Opposition in the British Parliament pressing for the appointment of a Commission.

 

As the crowd milled around in Kingston, an overzealous inspector of police conceived what appeared to him a brilliant idea, and Bustamante was arrested, I think, on a charge of obstructing the police. Then or later a dock strike was in progress in Kingston. It was, I think on May 24, 1938, that Bustamante was arrested. Norman W. Manley successfully intervened with Governor Denham, persuading him that order would never be restored as long as the people labored under the belief that Bustamante was imprisoned because he had made himself their leader. Manley gave guarantees for Bustamante's good behaviour; and Bustamante was released.

 

Denham died on June 2, 1938, and acting Governor Woolley appointed a Conciliation Board to fix waves &c. Manley attended on the Conciliation Board (having endeavored to get the port workers back to work and to abate unrest). The Conciliation Board established minimum wages and phenomenal overtime pay for Port Workers. When Bustamante was released, Manley told him what had been achieved.

 

On the day in June when Bustamante was released from gaol, word went around that he was to address a gathering of Port Workers at No. 2 Pier. The following is an account from an eye-witness:

 

"Learning what was afoot, and being interested in mass-psychology I hot-footed it down to No. 2 Pier. I saw a truck on the premises. On it I observed Edna Manley O. T. Fairclough, lawyers Wynter and Foster-Davis. I mounted the truck. On it was, I think, one Barrington Williams (whom I shall call 'the Moderator') with a pint of beer in his hands, from which he intermittently took a pull. He was keeping in play the huge crowd of some thousands, who had filled the Wharf premises and overflowed into the adjoining street. The Moderator purported to keep the crowd informed as to the progress of Bustamante and his party. How he knew it no one knew, but between pulls at the beer bottle, he essayed to report where they were and that they would soon arrive. Then they came: as I remember them, Bustamante, Manley and Jag. Smith. Manley said a few quiet words. So did Jag. Smith. Never very coherent, Jag. Smith chiefly demonstrated by raising aloft a clenched fist, at which the crowd roared approval. Then Busta spoke in-chastened mood. He said he was not going to make any complaints. (Manley in his few words, had advised that Busta should form a port-workers trade union; they would never, he said get anywhere without a union). As he proceeded, Bustamante warmed up slightly. He said: 'I am now, when I leave you, going up to the Conciliation Board to see what I can do for you. If I find that I can get you only one shilling a day, and I tell you to work for that, you must work for that." The thousands roared their consent. 'Yes!' "If I come back and tell you that I have not been able now to do anything for you and you must work even if you get no pay, you must do as I tell you'. Again the thousand roared their vociferous: 'yes!'. Bustamante had shrewdly and dramatically asserted and consolidated his leadership, while planning to take credit to himself for what Manley had already got from the Conciliation Board. As I listened to the mass reaction, Edna Manley said to me: 'Aren't you thrilled?' I said, 'No; I feel ashamed'. As I walked away with Fairclough, he said prophetically: “That man is the uncrowned king of Jamaica for the next ten years”. The general election of 1944 and subsequent events proved Fairclough's prophecy true. The “Chief” was in the saddle."

 

LEGAL MISCELLANY

 

It seems like yesterday but it was actually some thirty years or more ago that there was litigation in Jamaica as to the ownership of property which Marcus Garvey claimed to hold on behalf of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. The somewhat eccentric Sir Fiennes Cecil Arthur Barrett Lennard was the Chief Justice of Jamaica; while a distinguished lawyer, Lewis Ashenheim, represented Marcus Garvey. The Handbook of Jamaica described the Association as follows: The Association, of which there are 3000 branches all over the world, was founded by Mr. Marcus Garvey. The aims and objects of the Association are to establish a Universal Confraternity among the race; to promote the spirit of pride and love . . . to work for better conditions in all Negro communities.

 

The word "uplift" occurred in every speech made in Jamaica by Marcus Garvey. He did, without doubt, succeed in inculcating a feeling of self-respect in the Negro in Jamaica, as had been done successively by George William Gordon, Sandy Cox, and Jag. Smith, preceding Busta and Manley.

 

The American branch of the Association disputed with the Jamaican Branch the ownership of property

 

1n Jamaica. In the legal proceedings, Lewis Ashenheim appeared before the Chief Justice to argue the case for Marcus Garvey. The Chief Justice was hostile and impatient of argument; Ashenheim was persistent, and, as a matter of law and logic, appeared to have the best of the argument; but the Chief Justice had the last word in his Court. He decided against the local Association and ordered sale of the property.

 

At the public auction both Marcus Garvey and his solicitor warned the public that the proposed sale was illegal, that an appeal was being taken, and that a purchaser would buy at his peril. Ashenheim wrote in similar terms to the Bailiff of the Court who was conducting the sale. He also wrote to the Administrator General urging him not to exercise functions which would operate against the interests which Ashenheim represented. Both the Bailiff and the Administrator General went to the Chief Justice for advice. He directed summary proceedings against Ashenheim for Contempt of Court. Three important legal luminaries, who might be expected to exert a moderating influence on the Chief Justice, were at the time absent from Jamaica: Judge Henry Brown, Barrister Norman Manley and Solicitor Manton. One local solicitor, who was somewhat strong on civil liberties, however sought to get across to his brother solicitors the thought that the interests of solicitors, in the performance of duty to client, were at stake; and some solicitors agreed to attend a meeting. It was alleged that Governor Stubbs, on representation from Sir William Morrison, stood by to reprieve, if the imprisonment of Ashenheim were ordered.

 

At the meeting the general body was not impressed as, to the danger or the necessity for representation. In the result, a resolution was passed by a small majority that two solicitors should prepare a watching brief and that Counsel be retained to represent the profession on the proceedings. A bare majority was of course futile; and Ashenheim, on being apprised of the result of the meeting, was advised to ask that he should be left free to conduct his own defence. It was well that he did s6; for that evening at a public function one of the dissident members of the profession lobbied those who had voted in the affirmative to make up the bare majority, and succeeded in persuading them to renege.

 

Ashenheirn did not think that he could or should represent himself; and appeared by Counsel. The Court consisted of the Chief Justice, Judge Adrian Clark and Judge. Law. Under English law, the Judge in contempt is the trial judge in his own case. At the same session, Marcus Garvey was had up also on Contempt proceedings. It was indicated to Marcus Garvey that due apology would probably exculpate him. He apologized and was sent to gaol. Ashenheim's Counsel contended that there was no Contempt of Court; and that in any event the issue was a triable one and not one for summary proceedings. Ashenheim was fined 1:750 with alternative of imprisonment. It was surprising that Adrian Clark, who always disagreed with the Chief Justice, should have agreed with him on this controversial issue; but it was learnt that Judge Law had turned the scales by persuading Clark that it was a case in which the "British Raj" formula was at stake. When it was learnt that the cost merely of printing the proceedings for the English Privy Council would cost £1000, Ashenheim decided that an appeal was not worth-while, even although it appeared to be certain of success.

 

The legal profession in Jamaica appeared to be insensitive to the principle of the thing as opposed to the sanctity of the judiciary, right or wrong.

 

R. H. TAWNEY.

 

It is perhaps not too much to claim that R. H. Tawney, late Professor of Economic History in the University of London, occupied in his lifetime the position in social economics which Einstein during his lifetime occupied in the field of what may be called social physics. "The Acquisitive Society'' emphasises the true role of production and distribution in social life. Tawney does not, as Thorstein Veblen does, call in the aid of satire to point the truths which he enunciates. He states his propositions simply, clearly and convincingly, convincingly at least to all except those who enjoy the distortion of the true function of production and distribution, the function of social service. "Industry, when all is said, is in its essence nothing more mysterious than a body of men associated, in various degrees of competition and co-operation, to win their livelihood by providing the community with some service which it requires . . . Its function is service, its method is association. Because its function is service, an industry as a whole has rights and duties toward the community, the abrogation of which involves privilege. Because its method is association, the different parties within it have rights and duties toward each other; and the neglect or perversion of these involves oppression."

 

Tawney ` is very clear on the meaning of "function", "as an activity which embodies and expresses the idea of social purpose" If industry is diverted from its proper function, "it may be harmless, amusing or even exhilarating to those who carry it on; but it possesses no more social significance than the orderly business of ants and bees, the strutting of peacocks or the struggles of carnivorous animals over carrion".

 

Tawney notes that in the eighteenth century both State and Church had abdicated their role in the maintenance of a common body of social ethics. And to this factor he attributes the gradual disappearance from social thought of the idea of purpose or social function in human affairs. Private rights and private interests took the place of public interests. No moral limitations were imposed on the pursuit of economic self-interest. John Locke became the famous exponent of the philosophy of the indefeasibility of private rights, scrapping the pre-ordained harmony between private rights and public welfare. John Locke became the apostle of both British and American materialism. Public welfare was supposed to flow automatically from the assertion of private rights, which soon ignored public or social obligation. In chronicling England's complete surrender to laissez faire, Tawney trenchantly observes: "They thought it a monstrous injustice that the citizen should pay one-tenth of his income to an idle Government, but quite reasonable that he should pay one-fifth of it in rent to an idle landlord". In eighteenth century France unfettered economic freedom was predicated as natural rights; in England they were assumed once and for all to be expedient. In both cases they were taken for granted as the fundamentals upon which social organization was to be based; and that was that. Absolute rights to property and to economic freedom were regarded as the unquestioned centre of social organization, which indeed was expected to follow automatically.

 

In justice to the apostles of the new freedom, it should be borne in mind that they were fighting against the abuses of their day, not against the abuses of our day, which ironically followed as a consequence of the remedies which they applied to the abuses of their day. Their formula for individual freedom has become fetters against individual and social freedom. It is the old story of the Danes, and tae new story of both Capitalism and Communism: the grant in aid becomes the means of oppression. It is the story of the various movements of succeeding economic systems; the man at arms at first protecting, then oppressing settled agriculture; mercantilism freeing then oppressing the field serfs; industrialism giving work to labour, while oppressing it; monopoly capitalism rationalising production and distribution, while liquidating the small entrepreneur and capturing the state. Through it all, it is assumed that the service of society must automatically result from individual selfishness, as the politician assumes that his lust for power spells the well-being of the nation.

 

It is not surprising that the creed of the absolute rights of property should be met by the creed of the absolute rights of labour, which might be carried to anti-social lengths. Both capital and labour need to recognise their functional obligations. Economic function is no less important than economic rights. "To suggest that an individual is not a Christian may be libellous. To preach in public that Christianity is absurd is legal blasphemy. To state that the social ethics of the New Testament are obligatory upon men in the business affairs which occupy nine-tenths of their thoughts . . . is to preach revolution. To suggest that they apply to the relations of States may be held to be sedition."

 

BOOK REVIEW - THE PSYCHOLOGY OF INSANITY by Bernard Hart

 

Every living entity is a product of evolutionary forces which have been at work for countless ages. The body and brain of the man of today have been built up slowly and cumulatively. It is understanding that both physical and mental vestigial relics of the past should remain to sustain or plague contemporary man.

 

The famous American neurologist and psychiatrist, S. E. Jelliffe has related the periods of growth from the embryonic period of the individual to the various periods of man's evolutionary history. The nine months period of gestation appears to parallel the archaic period of man's history during the early period of 100,000,000 years. The next 1,000,000 years in man's evolutionary history is paralleled by the first seven years of the child's life, known as the organ erotic or autoerotic period, during which period the child's main interests are concerned with sense gratification.. The period from seven to fourteen years represents the narcissistic period of the child and a period of self-love, egotistical, self-centered and a-social. This period in the individual parallels the next 100,000 years in his evolutionary history. From fourteen years onward in one's individual history lies the social period of individual life, which proceeding normally leads to the consolidation of the adult, socialized individual; and parallels the last ten thousand years or so of man's recent evolutionary history.

 

Arrested growth at any stage of individual life results in regression. Regression to the archaic level usually creates a hopeless situation and spells insanity.

 

It seems that in the course of man's evolution, repeated sketchily in the life history of the individual, physically and mentally, layer after layer is built up and built into the life and being of the individual.

 

,It seems inevitable that, as man faces the problems of individual and social life, conflicts must arise between what may be called archaic or "inherited principles" and utilitarian practice. Some of the principles might have been built in according to the needs of a milieu which has become anachronistic. In his own life, there might have been built into the individual principles which exercise strong emotional sway but are opposed to his individual utilitarian inclinations. Of such are not only the firmly entrenched evolutionary processes but also

 

home training, religious or political influences, environment &c. &c. The point is that a conflict may arise in the individual; and, for the real or imaginary peace of mind of the individual, the conflict must be resolved, or some attempt must be made to resolve it. This problem assails every individual who is regarded as normally sane. How does the human mind seek to resolve such a conflict? When logic conflicts with emotion, the human mind simply places the two conflicting elements in what may be called "logictight compartments", so that they never come face to face. This happens in everyday life when, for example, Christian principles conflict with social, business, political or national life. This is a form of "dissociation", which is common to both the sane and the insane.

 

Sometimes however this simple method of dissociation does not suffice; and generally speaking some form of "repression" has to be brought in aid. When it does suffice, each opposing "complex" is allowed a place in consciousness; when it does not suffice, and when repression is resorted to, the conflict is avoided by banishing one of the opponents from consciousness and no longer allowing it to achieve its normal expression, while the other opponent is left in possession of the field. Repression is a drastic method, and usually occurs in insanity.

 

Dissociation does however take various forms, which often appear to mark insanity: hallucination, delusion, obsession, phantasy &c.

 

But two points are emphasized, one point is the rationality of the insane on all or most matters except those relating to " the "complex," the other point is the marked similarity, indeed identity, between the laws relating to the workings of the mind of the sane and the mind of the insane. Both have an immense capacity for dissociation, for complex and obsession, for rationality outside of the complex and for "rationalisation." Indeed very astute minds have shown great capacity for rationalisation, that is for fooling one's self. The prevalence of rationalisation is responsible for the erroneous belief that reason, in the sense of logical deduction from given premises, plays the dominating role in the formation of human thought and conduct. In most cases, the thought or action first appears-molded by complexes derived from instincts, experience, environment, early influences or what-not. The "reason" is produced later to satisfy our craving for rationality. Both the politician and the formally religious man are arch-rationalisers. A powerful intellect is no bar to rationalisation; it merely makes rationalisation more extreme and self-satisfying.

.


 

 

Volume 5.   No. 7       February 1963

 

CAUSERIES

 

"Shadow Cabinet" is a term indicating that the Opposition has opposite numbers to the Government's team, who are available to "tackle" their opposite numbers in the Government, and to "take over" their duties if and when the Opposition becomes the elected Government. An Opposition which was recently the Government has automatically its Shadow Cabinet.

 

It has been suggested that as a class the purveyors of Jamaica (the merchants) have by their success in business proved their efficiency; and that in time of perplexity Government might profitably turn over the problem to the merchants. It is true that in three recent cases in Jamaica purveyors did seem to have the edge on buyers: in the case of the Caribbean Preserving Co., in the case of Caribbean Construction Co. and in the case of Jamaica Woolens.

 

"Jamaica-The Search for Identity" by Katrin Norris (Oxford University Press-1962) is a very perceptive study on Jamaica past and present. The book is exceedingly well written; and the author exposes some social and economic Jamaican myths; but sometimes over emphasizes the particular as the general.

 

NEGRO UPLIFT IN JAMAICA

 

Negroes were captured by their own people in Africa, sold to English traders, transported to Jamaica under brutal and humiliating conditions and sold to the highest bidder on arrival in the island. It is not surprising that the progress of the Negro in Jamaica under conditions of slavery and afterwards should have been slow and difficult. The Saxons in Norman England and other subjugated people have no doubt undergone humiliation, degradation and slow achievement of a better way of life.

 

To such people, condemned for a long time to lower status, kindness, toleration and some form of social recognition become of great value. It may be interesting therefore as a matter of history to pass in brief review some of the people of old who have held out a helping hand to the Negro masses in Jamaica under slavery and under conditions of free labour. It is an accident of circumstances which identified the Negro masses in Jamaica, rather than White men with conditions of labour.

 

The part played by the Missionaries during and immediately after slavery is well known. To the missionaries credit is largely due for the early cultural advances of the Negro masses in Jamaica. But certain unique conditions in Jamaica also contributed greatly to their cultural advance. By reason of the large amount of unused land, it became convenient for and advantageous to the masters to permit and encourage the slaves to produce their own root crops, and later establish their markets. These two factors, she Missionaries and the subsistence and profit economy of the slaves, contributed greatly to the uplift of the Negro masses in Jamaica.

 

During the last days of slavery, Richard Hill, Edward Jordon and Robert Osborn were foremost in their efforts to loosen the fetters of slavery. For the advocacy of emancipation in his newspaper "The Watchman," Jordon went in peril of his life, as did the Missionaries, when panic reigned and feelings 'an high at the time of the last slave revolt in December 1831 and January 1832.

 

After the 1840s and up to the 1860s, George William Gordon was the outstanding social and political leader who took up the cudgels of the Negro masses. This meant a lot to them in the days when labour gained little respect or consideration in Jamaica, and when standards of value were to a large extent based on grades of colour, and certainly on nature of employment.

 

Little was heard of the oppression of labour and the Negro masses after the execution of Gordon in 1865 until the time of Marcus Garvey and S. A. G.

 

Sandy) Cox at the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century. Cox entered the Civil Service in 1588. He was White or near-White. In 1904, we find him listed as the Assistant Clerk of- the Resident Magistrate's Court in Portland at a salary of £200 per annum. At that time J. A. G. (Jag) Smith was third assistant Clerk of the Resident Magistrate's Court in Clarendon at a salary of £120 per annum. He had entered the service in 1892; and was to become a defender of the Negro masses, as was Sandy Cox.

 

Both men took leave from their jobs to qualify as Barristers; both entered into private practice and politics. Smith survived Cox by many years. Smith was elected a member for Clarendon of the Legislative Council, the one Chamber House of the Legislature. The election was fought chiefly on the colour question, Smith being a Black Man and his popular opponent, Major Moxsy, a White Man. In 1920 Smith was again elected, this time unopposed; And remained a member of the legislature until his death in 1942. Like Gordon, Cox was a big man; like Gordon and Garvey he was eloquent. Smith was of slight build and a handsome man even according to Aryan standards, and gentle while Cox was forceful; both were very obstinate men. Unlike Gordon, Garvey and Cox, Smith was almost incoherent, and seldom finished a sentence. Smith owed his popularity to three factors: (a) that he took up the cudgels of the Negro masses (b) that he was a Negro who had arrived (c) his persistence. His very large practice at the Bar was surprising; his legal advice was not noted for soundness; he knew his law, but never advised against litigation even in the most hopeless case; but his quiet, dog ed persistence was remarkable; and he seemed often to be merely waiting for something to turn up; it was astonishing how often something did turn up; his quiet vanity was colossal; one had to dissemble, and make it appear that Smith had originated a point, in order to get him to accept it, even if one was his instructing solicitor.

 

Of them all, Gordon, Garvey, Cox and Smith, Marcus Garvey (with the possible exception of Gordon) was the most revered and probably the most deservedly revered among the Negro masses. He was single mindedly devoted to their "uplift", a word which he coined and used in every pronouncement. Biographies have been written of Gordon and Garvey, but none of Cox or Smith.

 

The hold which these men had on the affections of the Negro masses of Jamaica is probably due to a factor which has been little noticed: namely, that human beings, however humbly placed, lay great store by what may be called by a stretch of phrasing, social recognition. Or as Bobby Burns puts it: 'A man's a man for a' that". Moral estimation serves to gild even the pill of material inequality and social and economic injustice.

 

CITRUS IN JAMAICA-POSTSCRIPT AND PARABLE

 

It may be remembered that Caribbean Preserving Co. was purchased in 1958; and that the purchase (as well as the efficiency of the Association's other Subsidiary, Jamaica Citrus Growers) was subjected to severe criticism at the hands of an investigating Committee, whose activities had cost the Association £6000.

 

The sequel, which appears to vindicate in some respects the strictures of the investigating Committee, may be observed in the subsequent financial statements.

 

The moneys pumped by the Association into the two subsidiaries, including the debts of Caribbean taken over on the purchase of the shares, appear to amount to between £480,000 and £500,000. The Association itself at the end of the 1961 financial year owed Government £117,730, while the Price Assistance Fund had apparently been used up in financing Jamaica Citrus Growers.

 

In financial year ending June 1960 Jamaica Citrus Growers and its subsidiary Caribbean had sold £809,158 and the net income was £33,456; and at the end of the financial year 1961, £928,615 worth of sales produced a loss of £32,349. The selling costs and expenses of administration were immense: while the administration costs of the Association itself seemed to be running at over £60,000 per annum. Of the loss made by the Subsidiaries, Caribbean accounted for £22,680 with sales of £440,406 and Jamaica Citrus Growers accounted for the loss of £11,003 with sales of £488,208.

 

At the end of June 1961 Jamaica Citrus Growers owed the Association its share capital of £199,000 and £47,128 for further advances. It owed on mortgage debenture £41,000 and on other debts £49,081; including Bank overdraft of £24,872. At the same date Caribbean owed Jamaica Citrus Growers £55,981, and on mortgage debentures £31,587 and other liabilities were £83,535, and included Bank overdraft of £38,275; and there is a claim (un-admitted) of £20,286.

 

If we regard the Association as a sort of Mother Eve to her Subsidiaries, then it may be said that she was stripped of her only fig-leaf, the Price Assistance Fund, by her naughty son, Jamaica Citrus Growers. The indications however are that he may not go unpunished, as it is almost certain that he will be killed by his brother, Caribbean.

 

MAN'S INHERITANCE

 

W. Trotter's "The Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War", first published in book-form in 1919 and profoundly influenced by reflections on the war then recently brought to a close, derives some interesting sociological reflections from biological premises. The book is founded on three propositions: (a) that the first great break in the evolutionary process is the jump from unicellular to multi-cellular life, the second the jump from multi-cellular to social life, (b) that the social unit of man was not the family but the horde, (c) that the gregariousness of the horde or herd constitutes man's fourth fundamental urge or instinct, in company with what are generally regarded as the three primal urges or instincts; (ai the preservation of life, (b) nutrition and (c) sex or reproduction. It may be noted that the three primal urges pivot around the preservation of the individual or the species; so does gregariousness.

 

Evolution appears in its early stages in the form of unicellular life, the unit being the cell, the smallest known unit of living material capable of existing independently, of maintaining itself, and of reproducing itself. Division of the cell results in two organisms, and that is primal or elementary reproduction.

 

The uni-cellular bacteria were in the nineteen twenties among the smallest known living organisms; but smaller, ultra-microscopic micro-organisms were suspected to exist. The micro-organisms are very resistant to injurious influences and have great individual powers of adaptability and resistance, and great capacity for rapid multiplication A rod-shaped bacterium, for example, elongates slightly and divides in two, and each half becomes at once an independent organism. Within fifteen minutes each daughter bacterium is again capable of dividing. Within two days the descendants of one bacterium might number 281,500,000,000 and in three days the weight of the progeny might amount to 7000 tons. Is it any wonder that "higher" or multi-cellular forms of life had to develop gregariousness by way of protection against uni-cellular enemies?.

 

In the first jump to the multi-cellular, individual cells are no longer self-sufficing or self-perpetuating; nutrition is no longer possible by automatic absorption; response to stimuli is regulated. But by way of compensation or protection each cell has companionship. Gregariousness of cells has supervened; opportunities for survival, of the individual and the species, while displaced by reduced powers of reproduction and resistance, are widened by cell co-operation; and gregariousness is built into evolutionary life as a primal urge or instinct at least in multi-cellular life

 

Gregariousness enables Bees to compete in the complexity of power of adaptation with that of the higher vertebrates. In different degree, other social animals, like the dog, the horse, the elephant and the ape combine great intelligence with gregariousness, with the social instinct.

 

Changes in the evolution of man, so serious as (a) the upright posture (which freed the hands for manipulation as well as exploration, and is believed to have helped to give man stereoscopic vision and three dimensional consciousness), (b) the reduction of the size of the jaw and its musculature and (c) the abatement of keenness of smell and hearing accompanied by anatomical and physiological changes in relative organs must all have demanded protective compensation of sorts, . which may well have been supplied by gregariousness, to enable man to survive against stronger enemies. With gregariousness must have come other compensatory social achievement and habits, such as speech and aesthetic and spiritual appreciation. Gregariousness in man must have assumed fundamental importance, as it did for offence in the wolf, for defence in sheep and for work in bees and ants. Like most of the factors of history, gregariousness has in man taken, as it need not have taken, the wrong turn, establishing a corporate conscience even more elastic, selfish and ruthless than the individual conscience.

 

With gregariousness, suggestibility is greatly increased. It often however justifies wrong as right, and makes darkness, light. Trotter adds: "Nowhere has been and is the domination of the herd more absolute than in the field of speculation concerning man's general position and fate, and in consequence prodigies of genius have been expended in obscuring the simple truth that there is no responsibility for man's destiny anywhere at all outside his own responsibility, and that there is no remedy for his ills outside of his own efforts"; but he concludes that "the small segment of the social process of which we have direct knowledge has no very encouraging appearance".

 

 

 

 

 

MEN OF GOODWILL

 

In the 1930s the distinguished French writer, Jules Romains, commenced his monumental "Hommes de bonne volonte" ("Men of Goodwill") in the form of chronological novels. The first book spanned a period of only one day, October 6, 1908, the day on which the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph formally annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina from Serbia, and Jules Romains registered the impact of the event on the thoughts of Europe. The series of novels continued to and through World War I, one of the books being called "Verdun". It was difficult sometimes to distinguish the author's men of goodwill among the welter of sinister events; but it was symptomatic of the man that up to the eve of World War II he believed that goodwill could make an appropriate appeal to Hitler through chosen channels and thus avoid war. Perhaps he was right; the attempt was never made. Indeed a distinguished modern historian, A. J. P. Taylor, is firmly of opinion that Hitler did little but wait and wait while the diplomats of Europe dropped plum after plum in his lap.

 

There is little doubt of the pervasive influence of men of goodwill. In Jamaica party politics might well have taken a different and happier turn if men of influence, who should have known better, had sought influence of goodwill, instead of engendering ill-will.

 

Memory reverts to the various men and women of goodwill who have exerted a profound influence on morals and manners in Jamaica; and ranges over the names through the parishes and through the decades of one's experience. Listing of the many names is impracticable, for it would be invidious to name many that are worthy and for want of space or from oversight to omit others no less worthy. There were of course others who did not allow their goodwill to become apparent but instead sought to dominate, sometimes with quite unworthy opinions, and thereby engender ill-will. Sometimes, however, even these did not fail to mellow under the influence of those among their fellows of outstanding goodwill or by reason of old age or maturity.

 

It is the goodwill of Christianity that is called "the Christian Ethic", rather than Paul's "Christ and Him crucified". Indeed it is seriously maintained by many who are not unappreciative of Paul that he founded a mythological religion of his own somewhat contrary to the teachings of Christ. Goodwill, which is of the essence of Christianity, is part and parcel of the age-long "Perennial Philosophy" expressed in the words "God is Love". This philosophy is universal and immemorial, cropping up among various peoples in various eras.

 

One should therefore not confine one's researches to the Bible for material to illustrate the perennial philosophy. If one did, most of the very rich material from other sources would be missed. Material may be found in the alleged maxims of Buddha and among devout contemporaries of India, rich storehouses of exalted philosophy, from Lao Tzu of China, from Plato, from the Sufis of Islam, from the school of the Jewish Rabbi, Hillel, which breathed a complete reorientation from the violence of thought in the Old Testament, from the Catholic mystics of the Middle Ages, from the Protestant Spiritual Reformers and mystics, Win. Law, Meister Eckhart and others, from the Quakers and others. Goodwill appears to bring liberation along with enlightenment, radiating from one's self to others. Goodwill is of the essence of history, along with crime and folly.

 

Perhaps the world was insensibly weaned from the goodwill of the Pagans by the flagrant ill-will of early Christianity. Paul strongly inculcated the "fear" of God, while "God-fearing" is still accounted for as piety. This was of course a carry-over from early Jewish thought. Gibbon retails with horror the ravings of the early father, Tertullian, against Pagans: "How shall I admire, how laugh, how exult . . . " at the spectacle of their suffering in hell; and Gibbon adds: "The condemnation of the wisest and most virtuous of the Pagans on account of their ignorance or disbelief of the divine truth, seems to offend the reason and the humanity of the present age." It is perhaps the wisest plan to regard ill-will as a neurosis and contrary to the law of nature.

 

Generally speaking, people are essentially people of goodwill. When they appear not to be people of goodwill, it is often a sign of mental imbalance in them or in one's self, and more often than not in one's self. There are outstanding men of goodwill in both Jamaican political parties. May they prevail.

OOGABOO

 

The Philosopher was called in again to advise the Government on a matter of policy. It appeared that there was a rumour that the Directors of the statutory Peanut Production Board had, during the existence of the previous Government, misapplied a large sum of money belonging to the statutory cooperative corporation by lending it to a Newspaper Company, which was believed to be uncritical of the previous Government. Under the Law, the funds of the Cooperative were exclusively applicable to the interests of peanut growers; all expenditure had to be approved by Government; and full financial statements had to be laid on the table of the legislature. It was possible that the former Government might seek to rationalise the alleged transaction (if true) by the claim that the only other newspaper in the island was usually hostile and was certainly wicked: and that peanut growers might be protected by a good and favourable newspaper.

 

The question submitted to the Philosopher was whether, on over-all policy and principle, if the rumour proved to be true, and the law officers of Government so advised, proceedings criminal or civil should be directed by Government on all or any of the following lines:

 

1.    Charging all parties in any way concerned in the alleged transaction with conspiracy or incitement to conspiracy to effect a public mischief.

 

2.   Seeking to recover the moneys immediately from the relevant members of the statutory Board and/ or from the Newspaper Company which was alleged to be debtor to the Board.

 

The Philosopher first asked how it was that the present Government when in Opposition had failed to question the matter when the financial statements were laid before the Legislature. At this point, the Philosopher's handwriting was somewhat illegible; and the answer to his question is not therefore apparent to this writer.

 

The answer to his next question, whether any of the parties to the alleged transaction were worth powder and shot, was emphatically in the negative.

 

The Philosopher advised that civil proceedings would be futile and therefore inadvisable. He added that the debtor Company might continue to pay interest and amortization, and he understood that the security was not a wasting asset; if they failed to pay, the debenture might be realized for what it was worth.

 

As to criminal proceedings, the Philosopher advised that this was politically inexpedient, as it would be regarded as vindictive; and on principle, the supporters of the Opposition would be unconvinced, while the supporters of Government would not need convincing." Better get on with the job of good government," advised the Philosopher, and he added, "At all times, and under all provocation, preserve proper dignity and decorum, and leave irresponsibility in speech and conduct to the Opposition."

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Volume 5.   No. 9    APRIL 1963

 

CAUSERIES.

 

Some thirty years ago we received in Jamaica from the American Agricultural Station at Mayaguez, Porto Rico the U.S.D. 34 variety of tropical sweet corn that had been developed there after twenty dears of research and experiment. This variety does excellently in Jamaica; the North American variety does not. Neither our Scientific Department nor the Jamaica Agricultural Society have been sufficiently interested to maintain the supply.

 

Some fifteen or twenty years ago, again at outside instigation, the Scientific Department procured from Guatemala a few seeds of the Ilama or lowland Cherimoya. This valuable product has also been allowed to go into desuetude. The two trees, brought to maturity by private interests at Mavis Bank, were destroyed by floods in the nineteen fifties. The lowland Cherimoya is said by Popenoe to be quite as good as the highland Cherimoya. The lowland Cherimoya has prospects as a big money earner.

 

Tile Eddie Wasp eves introduced during the lime of Entomologist Edwards, as the predator for Citrus Black Fly. The predators for Banana Borer and Thrips were also introduced by him; where are they? If one tries to contact an Entomologist at Hope, a courteous reply conics from the Plant Protection Officer expressing great interest in one's activities and regretfully stating that the Department is not equipped to give help; but adding that fortunately this does not really matter, because "the animals" will all come over the fence from one's neighbour as soon as they are needed.

 

One needs the toad or bufo marinus. In the old days Entomologist  Edwards would promptly bring along the eggs and establish a hatchery; as later friend Dixon would arrive with a batch of required predators. But now biological control is forbidden by custom and almost by law.

 

OOGABOO.

 

As promised, the Philosopher sent me supplementary notes on his advice to the Government of Oogaboo on how to promote production, and benefit the farmer and through him the whole of Oogaboo.

 

The Philosopher approached the problem by a series of questions and answers.

 

1. What are the pressing needs of the farmer? The answer to this appears to be: assured markets.

 

Government mast therefore undertake to buy all marketable products at a reasonable price. Receiving stations should be located and administered throughout the country in every village within reach of producing centre. Reasonable credit facilities should be available, at least at the beginning; soon the farmer should require only the usual revolving credits.

 

2. What is Government to do with the produce? Disposal should be organized in detail; but nothing should be allowed to go to waste for want of purchasing power. Processing plants, school kitchens, philanthropic organization should all be harnessed to the scheme. Government processing factories should be established (preferably in rural areas) if private enterprise does not use up raw material.

 

3. Are the farmers efficient? Probably not, except in respect of things like root crops and corn They must be taught; not by casual visits of inefficient agricultural instructors; but by a system of co-working with efficient instructors, and frequent debate and pooling of information and experience.

 

4. Should the guaranteed market displace so called development aid? To a great extent; because development aid offers no guarantee that the establishment or pretended establishment of undertaking will result in production. Indeed the experience in Oogaboo has been that subsidized planting programmes have not been successful. It is therefore essential that aid should for the most part be directed to the harvested crop and not to the promise of it. At least, emphasis should be shifted from development aid to aid by guaranteed markets.

 

5. Can anything be done with direct education of the peasant as a class? Oogaboo being essentially an agricultural country, agricultural education and artisanship should be an essential part of the school curriculum,-so that every pupil , will learn agriculture and also to be a handyman, capable of doing his own carpentering and mason work and being his own fence man, and in the case of girls domestic science. For actual building, fencing, &c., credit ought to be made available. Everything should be done to dignify labour and domesticity by pointing to their profitable results. As animal husbandry is essential to good cultivation, credit should V,: available in this direction; and composting and the use of organic manure should be encouraged. School libraries should subscribe to the Soil Association of England so that belief in organic manureracy become common form.

 

Being very interested in the Philosopher's plan of guaranteed market for island produce, I wrote asking him what was to happen to the higglers, who had since emancipation, over one hundred years ago, done so much for internal marketing in Oogaboo. The Philosopher replied that he was !very glad that I had raised the question, for he had given a great deal of thought to it. He was of opinion that the higglers might be if great use as ancillary collectors of produce, and might be remunerated on a commission basis and be charged with the obligation of seeing that produce was clean and unbruised. Much use, he thought could also be made of them at the village depots in receiving produce and dispensing it for local needs in addition to being responsible to Government for the various depots, as receiving stations. In other words, he was of opinion that the established internal marketing system might be economically integrated into the guaranteed price or market system of Government. He was convinced that it was essential for the development of agricultural production in Oogaboo that the guaranteed market should entirely replace the system of subvention for promises. He was convinced also that agricultural development should be closely linked to and integrated with a commonsense system of primary and quasi-vocational form of education.

 

Asked if such a system would not spell political disaster for the Government that put it into effect., he replied that there was a danger of this; and that he thought  the system of party politics government should also be overhauled. In view of the fact that for the foreseeable future no Government but a labour government which took care of the interests of the masses, and  had only that policy, had any chance of being elected in Oogaboo; and in view of the fact that the recent upturn at the general elections in Oogaboo had revealed that the time for a change had really come, and probably would always come in view of the exacting obligations of Government, the Philosopher claimed that compulsory alternating of the two Parties in Government every ten-years would eliminate a good deal of electioneering. corruption, violence and expense. This should, in time, she thought lead to the abolition of the Party system, and the election of men on their merits. The alternating or innings system, he suggested, might be applied merely to the two leaders and ten: or twelve men or associates chosen by each of them, but subject to election. Difficulties and complications might arise under the new system, but they would have to be ironed out by trial and error. After all, the alternating of leaders, rather than of parties, merely pin-points the essential nature of internal power politics.

 

THE EVOLUTION OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

 

These historical notes are on lines. adopted by eminent divines in the Christian Churches; who are much more broad-minded than the congregations know, and infinitely more so than the bibliocists or fundamentalists. Even the published "Doctrine of the Church of England" is relatively liberal.

 

Nevertheless, theology, which may be called the business tools of a cult, has as little to do with the true nature of religion as astrology has to do with the true nature of the stars. Theology is the art (or science?) of divining the fate or future of man at the hands of God; astrology is the art (or science?) of divining the fate or future of man at the hands of the stars. Theology, like much of pseudo-science, is mumbo-jumbo, the mumbo-jumbo of religion. Astrology is the mumbo-jumbo of astronomy. Theology was in an advanced state of development in Assyro-Babylonian culture; and was to have a profound influence on the theology of the Semitic and Greco-Roman world. In Assyro-Babylonian culture both astrology and divination by inspection of the entrails of sacrificial animals were the two means of ascertaining the will of the gods, as well as their intentions; and these also passed into the Greco-Roman culture.

 

Christian theology is based on the theory of divine creation and government of the world. This was highly developed by the Assyro-Babylonian pagan priesthood; and was taken over and adapted to monotheism by the Semitic priesthood.

 

Theology, as distinguished from religion, has been discredited by the Higher Biblical criticism which followed the findings of zoology, geology and archaeology, which later have been accepted by eminent and devout Christian divines. Astrology was discredited as far back as 130 B.C. by the discovery of Hipparchus of the precession of the equinoxes, which completely falsifies all astrological calculations.

 

Christian theology is founded on the Bible, which has undergone more than one translation and a good deal of tendentious redaction. The Old Testament rock, on which the edifice of Christian theology was built, is Genesis. The edifice is comprised in the speculations of the early Fathers, the Gospel of St. John, the Epistles of Paul and the Synoptic Gospels. Theology has accommodated itself from time to time to the inroads of science and learning; but side by side with science and religion, theology still' exists.

 

Various peoples, primitive and civilized, have had their similar and dissimilar cosmogonies, many of them claiming divine revelation. India. and China of the mid-millenium B.C., were exceptions to this rule their precepts being philosophical rather than theo­logical creeds. Among cosmological beliefs, those that appeared in the theology of Chaldea reappeared in the Hebrew theology; and is reproduced in Genesis. The authorship of Moses, although strongly insisted upon by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, of the time of Christ, has now been completely ex­ploded, as admitted by Orthodox Christianity. George Buchanan Gray and Arthur Samuel Peake, in their joint article on the Bible in the Encyclopedia Bri­tannica, explain that: "Israel was a very young people; great civilizations and cultures had been de­veloped millenniums before its birth, especially in Babylonia and Egypt. To these Israel owed a great debt. The earliest legislation of the Hebrews drew on much more ancient law and custom. The stories of the Creation and the Deluge go back to myths and legends of a far older time. The eschatological scheme found in the prophets is asserted to be of foreign origin. The Hebrews themselves were In contact with various civilizations outside of Palestine, while in Palestine itself layer after layer of foreign culture had been deposited . . . It must of course be recognized that all pre-exilic prophecy has come down to us in the works of post-exilic editors, so that the problem is not what elements in the books are later than the prophets whose names they bear, but, from these post-exilic collections, how are the pre-exilic elements to be extracted?" In simpler language, the post-exilic editors put forward myth as revelation and re-wrote history in a way which they regarded as best for the cohesion of the Hebrew people. This is common  form in theology and history;. and the practice is pursued from lofty motives.

 

Genesis presents the Creator as fashioning the world both by hand and voice, as taking six days to complete the job and also as effecting it instantaneously. This is now recognized as being sheer myth: but the early fathers of the Christian Church were "hot for certainties"; and much uncertainty had to be reduced to certainty in the formulation of a Creed. One important point for them was whether God created the world out of nothing, or out of a preexistent something. The battle raged furiously; but the doctrine of Creation out of nothing was finally accepted and made doctrine in 1215 A.D. by the Fourth Lateran Council, and also appears in the current "Doctrine of the Church of England". As to the time occupied in the Creation, the accepted theological doctrine is that God created  the universe in six days but brought it into existence in a moment. This is one of theology's paradoxes.

 

Having disposed of the matter and the manner of creation, the fathers were greatly exercised as to the approximate date of Creation. The precise chronology of the sacred books apparently gave amide material for reaching at least approximate dating. The date was fixed according to some opinions at about 4000 B.C., while other opinions favoured about 6000 B.C.; until it the eighth century Bede lent his great authority to the later date (about 4000 B.C.) which had been advocated by the great ecclesiastical historian Eusebius. In 1650 however Bishop Usher by somewhat closer calculation also established the date as about 4000 B.C.; and the great authority Dr. John Lightfoot a few years later found himself able to fix the precise date and time of the Creation as 9 a.m. on October 23, in the year 4004 B.C.

 

A serious blow to the bibliocists however came from serious study of the Egyptian monuments, which established the certainty of the long duration of civilized man, far outdating' the ecclesiastically established date of the Creation. In addition to archaeology, zoology and geology completed the rout.

 

The belief in witchcraft became firmly established in Christian theological doctrine when in 1215 the Church realised that making non-belief in witchcraft a heresy was a great help to the Inquisition. Thereupon demonology was authoritatively traced to the Old Testament; and yet the early Hebrews had felt no need to establish the embodiment of the evil principle in the world, for the supremely powerful Yahweh was believed to be quite capable of dealing with the enmity of neighboring gods. But in Chronicles a new element appeared: and the Priests emphatically established Satan in place of God as the architect of evil. The first mention of a personal devil occurs in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, dating probably from the Maccabean age. The explanation of how evil angels originated was that they sinned and apostatized from God. The Jews explained the fall of the Angels in the Book of Enoch; but the early Christian Church went further and related the fall of the Angels to a pre-Adamite period and developed it into the final act that "brought death into the world and all our woe". Tertullian and others explain that the fall of the Angels and Satan and the multiplication of demons were brought about by the intercourse of Angels with women. With the example set by the fathers, the people avidly took up the belief in demonology, to which St. Augustine lent his great name: Like primitive people, the people of the Middle Ages were haunted by evil spirits; and lived under the omnipresent shadow of supernaturalism. This lasted up to the time of the Reformation, and was endorsed by Luther and Calvin; while as late as the eighteenth century we find John Wesley declaring that "the giving pup of (belief in) witchcraft Is in effect the giving up of the Bible"; and a High Court Judge in England about the same period emphasized his belief in witchcraft by a brutal sentence. In 1735 however by Act of Parliament the crime of witchcraft was banished from the law, which it had successfully invaded. "Doctrine in the Church of England" says: "The fact that the beliefs appear to have been shared by our Lord in his own human mind would seem to most Christians decisive even today. In the judgment of the Commission (which formulated the "Doctrine") they beliefs . . . have at least a symbolic value . . . the traditional language of the liturgy . . . appears to be fully justified." The Roman Catholic Church still believes in exorcism.

 

The theology of the Roman Catholic Church still holds by the Virgin Birth of Christ and the Miracles. Church of England "Doctrine" questions the former and pays equivocal tribute , to the latter; Bishop Barnes and some other Church dignitaries reject both.

 

On the question of life after death, the theology of the Roman Catholic Church is dogmatic and precise. Anglican theology is obscure as to "exactly what happens when we die . . . He cannot expect a coherent scheme, but must be content to employ partially irreconcilable symbolism and to remain otherwise agnostic."

 

The anthropomorphic nature of God, as laid down by the Old Testament, appears to be still preserved in modern Christian theology; but, as to "the ultimate issue of Judgment being consignment to Hell or admission to Heaven" the "Doctrine" says "that this scheme can be accepted only as a symbolic outline of the course of spiritual destiny".

 

While Christian theology stems from Hebrew theology, , the great break occurred with (a) the Christian "doctrine of the Incarnation and Resurrection, which asserts that Christ is both God and Man (while Jewish theology clung to messiahship, and (b) the extension of the benevolence and anger of the Jewish anthropomorphic God, Yahweh, to a Saviour God through whom divine benevolence and anger encompassed all peoples, or, as to benevolence, all people who believed.

 

The nucleus for a theistic-Christist creed, and indeed doctrinal Christian theology, was given in the second century A.D. in the fourth gospel; but the first Jewish Jesuits were simple Unitarians; and the Jesus of the heavily interpolated Pauline Epistles was no part of a Trinity in unity. Up to the .beginning of the second century there was no doctrine of the Trinity. Justin Martyr was still calling the Logos merely the inspiration given to men by God in different degrees at different times. After him the fourth gospel (which, rather than Paul's epistles, established Christian theological doctrine) began to operate; but met with much opposition. Sabellius formulated a plausible doctrine, that the Trinity did not signify persons but aspects or modes of deity; but this doctrine was not accepted. Controversy raged and theological hatred grew, until the State under Constantine the Great (AD 325) intervened and the Creed was finally settled. The safety of the Church was consolidated if not actually secured by the State.

 

By the third century Christian theology had become as much a matter of ritual and ceremonial as any of the older pagan cults. It is asserted that it had to, in order to compete successfully; and the deification--of the Virgin Mary, to which Roman Catholic theology still adheres, appears to have been established in the third century, the Church having to face the immense influence on the masses of the well-managed pagan cults of Isis, Rhea-Cybele and Demeter. Jerome (337 A.D.) was the first to suggest that the brethren of Christ were children neither of Mary or Joseph. In 451, the Council of Chalcedon accepted the doctrine of perpetual virginity; the doctrine of Immaculate Conception (which has nothing to do with the virginity of Mary) followed later. Neither doctrine appears to be mandatory in the theology of the Reformed Churches.

 

Anthropology is semantically regarded as signifying "science". But science is orderly knowledge of natural phenomena. One may have valuable intuitive apprehension or perception; but it is not scientific until it is tested by experiment. Theology, however, is based on claims to divine revelation or intuitive apprehension without the opportunity or necessity for verification by experiment; for there is no means of tracing effect to an ascertained cause in. matters metaphysical; there is plenty of sequence but no evidence of con-sequence. "An Angel appeared to . . . "; " . . . saw God in a dream"; Elijah or Isaiah says . . . ; St. Augustine says . . . carry no more assurance of scientific validity than the statements of Swendenborg, who claims that what he says of heaven and hell is authentic because `the Angels talked to my interiors".

 

THE DELUGE ASSYRO-BABYLONIAN MYTHOLOGY

 

One day the gods resolved to destroy the human race, and after conference decided that the form of destruction should be by deluge; but Ea, who was present at the conference, took pity on mankind, and confided the secret of the project to a reed-hut, intending that it should be overheard, as it was by Uta-Napisthim, who listened to Ea's advice and set to work immediately.

 

He built a great ship one hundred and twenty cubits high, loaded it with all   he possessed in -old and silver, taking his family "board along with his cattle and the animals and birds of the land.

 

The rain began to fall; and terror was widespread. "Six days and six nights the winds were abroad and the deluge descended". At last on the dawn of the seventh day the evil wind grew peaceful, the sea became calm, the voices of men were stilled, "and all mankind was changed into mud". Meantime the ship had come to rest on the summit. of Mount Nisir, the only land which had emerged from the waves. Uta-Napishtim let loose a dove and then a swallow, but they came back to the ship, having found nowhere to alight. A raven later released did not come back. Then Uta-Napishtim came out from his ship; lie poured a libation and placed a burnt offering on the summit of the mountain. With joy the gods smelled the good odor of sacrifice and were pleased.

 

THE GREEK VERSION OF THE DELUGE

 

When Zeus, enraged at the treatment he had received from Lyacon, resolved to destroy the degenerate race of men who inhabited the earth, Deus on the advice of his father, Promethcus, built a ship and carried into it stores and provisions; and when Zeus sent a flood all ever Hellas, which destroyed all its inhabitants, Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, alone were saved. After the ship had been floating about for about nine days, it landed on Mount Parnassus. When the waters subsided Deucalion offered up a sacrifice to Zeus, and thereupon the god sent Hermes to .promise him that he would grant any wish. Deucalion prayed that Zeus might restore mankind.

 

As in other myths, Greek and otherwise, there were many local variations of the above myth.

 

 

 

 

 

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Volume 5.    No. 10.       May 1963             .

 

FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT.

 

The over-riding function of Government is general welfare. Under socialist or communist government, Government undertakes complete control of production and distribution. Under capitalist government, the laissez nous faire principle of production and distribution which was doctrinal from the time of eighteenth century Adam Smith, has had to be considerably modified under political (stemming from economic) pressure, chiefly because freedom of trade was interpreted by powerful influences as freedom to exploit colleague and consumer. Side by side with his insistence on personal freedom and "natural rights", Adam Smith however 'dealt, although very sketchily, with a function of government, which has become of supreme importance in modern times. He recognized as coming within the functions of the state the erection and maintenance of those public institutions and public works, which, although advantageous to society, are of doubtful direct profit-making capacity. This function of government is today of great practical importance for Jamaica: (a) as a matter of service to the consuming public (b) as a matter of the utilization of wasted material (c) as a matter of priming the pump of. employment (d) as a matter of the balance of payments.

 

Perhaps one outstanding example of government function in Jamaica relates to the use and life of the soil. Every intelligent agricultural man will agree that if compost could be economically applied to cultivation, there would be within one year a revolution in production and, as many might agree, also in the-health of plant-life and in the health of the community. But every experienced agriculturist also maintains that compost-making on plantation scale can be done only at prohibitive cost. Here then is something that Government might profitably undertake: compost-making and distribution, perhaps per se at a loss, but, in terms of general welfare, at a profit. This is no idle dream. Belgium has tried it with success. There are municipal plants at Leatherhead, Radcliffe, Bristol and Middlesborough, in England and at Edinburgh, In Cirkconnell and other places in Scotland. Leicester in England will soon compost all its organic waste. The Agricultural Department at Tanah Rata, Malaya began its regular composting routine in 1960. Ceylon and India practice it.

 

It is interesting to note that municipal composting originated pot from an agricultural urge, but as a means of economical waste disposal.

 

England had 12,000,000 tons of domestic waste per annum to be got rid of. The choice arose in many places between the relative cost of incineration, pulverizing and composting. Experience showed that installation costs did not exceed £2 per head of the population. In Kingston, It might cost somewhat over £500,000. In Edinburgh it was found that composting cost 9/­per ton less than incineration, without crediting anything to sales of compost.

 

Composting is only one of the many undertakings in which Government might profitably (in the true meaning of the word) engage in pursuance of the four services above-mentioned: (a) service to consumers (b) economic utilization of waste (c) priming the pump of employment, (d) conserving the balance, of .. payments. The chemical industry would. not however. relish the diminution in the importation . of chemical fertilizers and pesticides; for the application of compost increases production and wards off pests, by employing the soil organisms in the work hitherto undertaken by the Chemists.

 

Another;.-worthwhile Government. agricultural service is the growing of sesame and the extraction of the crude oil, passing the product over, as to the oil, to the coconut oil manufacturers for refining with their existing machinery, and as to the trash, which is very rich in calcium, to the makers of cattle, pig and fowl feed. The machine for expressing the crude oil is already in the island and may be had for a paltry £2,500. The wise people of the East have known the great virtues of sesame from time immemorial. It has been used and esteemed through Latin America for very many generations. Here is the chance for Government to fill an economic need, which will probably lead to a valuable island industry, to be taken up later by private enterprise; but Government must lead the way for the profitability is not yet apparent to the private investor. Sesame can be grown on marginal lands and abhors heavy rainfall. With sesame oil in the island, corn-Oil need not be imported for the delicate stomach. With sesame trash, the importation of feeds might be considerably reduced. It has the highest assimilable calcium content of any tropical product, says the Platt table.

 

THE SOIL

 

Justus Von Liable was born at Darmstadt in 1803 and died seventy years later. For better, or worse, he made a greater impression on posterity than most men who lived out the traditional span of human life. He was a chemist. After a distinguished career, he spent most of the last thirty five years of his life in rejecting the established agricultural doctrine that plants derive their nourishment from humus. He taught that they get carbon and nitrogen from the air by way of carbon dioxide and ammonia, which they returned to the atmosphere by putrefaction and fermentation, while their potash, soda, lime, sulphur, phosphorus &c. came from the soil. The supply of carbon dioxide and ammonia, he taught--was inexhaustible, but the mineral supply from the toil being limited, the farmer must replenish it by administering to the soil those minerals which each crop is found, by the analysis of its ashes, to have taken from the soil. On this theory he prepared artificial fertilizers containing the essential mineral substances. It is alleged that before his death Liebig repented his summary dismissal of the virtue of humus; but it was too late; for the West had seized avidly on the get-rich-quick methods offered by chemical fertilizers, and the manufacturers and purveyors of chemical fertilizers had uncovered an immense source of wealth for themselves and of disease for plant and animal life. So much for Western agriculture.

 

To give account of Agriculture in the East up to the year 1907, for about six months, Professor F. H. King, formerly chief of division of soil management U .S. Department of Agriculture, toured China, Japan and Korea, and studied the life of these agricultural people. Professor King did not live to complete his agricultural message from the East; his book "Farmers of Forty Centuries" was published posthumously. It appears that these farmers of the East, being in a backwater, had never heard of Liebig or of chemical fertilizers; and pursued their traditional methods, without knowing of the life of the soil what we know scientifically today, but which they had learnt empirically.

 

Professor King wrote: "We are to consider some of the practices of a virile race of some 500 millions of people who have an unimpaired inheritance moving with the momentum acquired through 4000 years; a people morally and intellectually strong, mechanically capable . . . We had long desired to stand face to face with Chinese and Japanese farmers, the oldest farmers in the world; to walk through their fields and to learn by seeing some of their methods, appliances and practices which centuries of stress and experience have led them to adopt. We desired to learn how it is possible, after twenty, perhaps thirty or even forty centuries, for their soils to be made to produce sufficiently for the maintenance of such dense populations . . . We have now had this opportunity and almost every day we were instructed in the ways and extent to which these nations for centuries have been conserving and utilizing their natural resources; we were surprised at the magnitude of the returns they are getting from their fields, and amazed at the amount of efficient human labour cheerfully given . . . It could not be other than of industrial, educational and social importance to any nation if it could be furnished with a full and accurate account of all these conditions which have made it possible for such dense populations to be maintained upon the products of Chinese, Korean and Japanese soils . . . Such remarkable maintenance efficiency attained centuries ago and projected into the present with little apparent decadence merits the most profound study . . . Nearly 500,000,000 people are being maintained chiefly upon the products of an area smaller than the improved farm lands of the United States . . . an area greater than the cultivated fields of China, Korea and Japan from which five times our population are fed . . . The systems of agriculture they have evolved so as to realize the largest possible yield from them, are to us remarkable, and indicate a grasp of essential principles which may well cause western nations to pause and reflect". But the Western world finds no time to pause or reflect.

 

The United Fruit Co. has generously brought in a new type of banana said to be immune to Panama Disease and Leaf Spot. I find on file a letter from Albert Howard dated June 30, 1941: "I am convinced that unless Jamaica uses to the very best advantage all the animal manure they can produce, the agriculture of the island will soon be in ruins."

 

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

 

Many people claim that industrial relations in Jamaica have deteriorated. Perhaps they have really improved. It is trite, but useful to remind one's self that opinion depends on the standpoint from which opinion issues. Opinion depends on the point of view. It is indisputable that employers take a more reasonable view than they formerly did on the status and rights of labour. To that extent, industrial relations may be said to have improved. The employer has become more civilized, while labour has become somewhat more sophisticated if somewhat more touchy. Touchiness is a carry-over of an inferiority complex, for which employers are largely to blame.

 

Business is the orderly procedure of busyness, the busyness of the employer largely in management and the supply of capital and know-how, the busyness of labour largely in manual labour and production and in his particular form of know-how.

 

Business is traffic; and, as in the traffic of locomotion, there must be orderly procedure, so as to avoid collisions. In labour relations, as in ordinary traffic, collision is tragedy.

 

It was inevitable that in the transition to new and more reasonable relations between employer and labour, labour should tend to tip the scale of justice, as the employer did when he was supreme. Neither the employer nor labour can afford to be unjust to the other. Theirs is a joint business life, and the more automatic the symbiosis becomes, the better for industrial relations.

 

In industry the amount of profits earned are pretty well known to labour leaders. Might it not be possible to arrive at a formula for the proper proportion of gross earnings to be retained by employer for replacement, re-investment, and dividends and the proper proportion to be allotted in gross to labour? The job of Union leaders might well then be fully occupied first in seeing that the proper proportion is maintained and next in seeing to the appropriate division between the various categories of labour. A formula might become as valuable in industrial relations as a horse was to King Richard III of England, when he was said to have exclaimed: "A horse A horse! My Kingdom for a horse!"

 

It is however difficult for anyone but an incurable optimist to see any hope of an end being put to futile and inexcusable strikes until education in industrial relations pulls its full weight and the Unions stop mixing politics with industrial relations. Here is a sample of what is going on in the Sugar industry:

 

1.    On December 21, field workers at New Yarmouth went out again on strike, after Union rivalry having previously provoked a strike. The latter strike was unjustified, the question being capable of easy settlement by negotiation.

 

At Caymanas, after settlement arrived at with the Unions, the Estate remained strike-bound.

 

3.    At Worthy Park on January 31, cane loading gangs stopped work, claiming cow-itch in a field. By 2nd February cane cutters were out. On 5th operations shut down. It appears that there was unrest due to inter-Unions rivalry.

 

4.    On 9th February strike of cane loaders at Long Pond. Workers mistakenly alleged objectionable remark by member of Estate staff.

 

5.    On February 12, near riot at Bernard Lodge, workers alleging scale wrong. Trouble believed to have been Union-rivalry inspired; for the rumour was proved wrong.

 

6.    On February 16 the same gambit was worked at Serge Island, temporary strike resulting.

 

7.    On 18th February field workers on strike at United Estates. Allegation: short-payment for cane cutting, apparently without foundation.

 

8.    Cutting of cane at last got under weigh at Gray's Inn. Dispute capable of adjustment: severance pay on adoption of bulk loading.

 

TAGETES- MINUTA AND ALL THAT

 

It has long been known that certain plants have protective devices, exuding volatile oils which protect them from pests. The story of the tall African marigold is an interesting one. It starts several thousand years ago; but has been brought to the attention of Western horticulturists only within the present decade.

 

The Curator of Missouri Botanic Gardens, who has been studying the vases buried with ancient farmers of Peru and Ecuador found, painted on the vases side by side with economic crops, the umbel of the Marigold, which as they apparently observed, had benevolent qualities. This is reminiscent of the tradition that the slaves brought with them from Africa the Overlook Bean, which was found later to be a valuable cover crop. Among the Aztecs the Marigold seems to have been regarded as sacred to the gods, as the Africans accredited the overlook bean with magical qualities.

 

In recent years a Dutch nurseryman, Berg-Smit, planted Colorado Sunshine, an African Marigold (tagetes erecta) for a cut-bloom crop after he had cut his daffodil bulbs. He found that the Marigold killed the Narcissus eelworm or nematode. The Dutch then tried out both African and French Marigolds; and found that they killed the eel worm of special kinds at a range of three feet.

 

The Henry Doubleday Research Association of 20 Convent Lane, Bocking, Braintree, Essex, England is actively pursuing investigations; and will supply seed of the tall African Marigold, tagetes minuta, which has proved to be fatal to the potato eelworm.

 

Is our Government doing any investigation of the possibilities of biological control of the banana eel worm; or is this verboten in the interests of chemical control. Chemical control is no doubt more intriguing as a game of hide and seek; for chemical control, by destroying the life of the soil, makes the plants more susceptible to disease, and persuades us to try more chemical control. It is the old Lewis Carroll story of the whiskers and the fan.

 

The secretions which kill eelworms have been identified. They are produced in varying degrees by different types of Marigold . . . It was fortunate that Berg-Smit happened to hit on the type of marigold with the most potent secretion. A particular Crotalaria has been found to be fatal to the tobacco eelworm. The record height of the tagetes minuta is 12 feet. At this height it should be a valuable source of mulch and compost material. Nor does it spoil the look of the garden.

 

I find in a garden dictionary that with some reservation the name "tagetes" is said to be derived from "Tages". Tages was an Etruscan god, who taught the people haruspicy (the rules for foretelling the future by the examination of entrails and by the observation of lightning). The derivation does not seem to be far-fetched; for, according to Roman mythology, Tages, in the guise of a child, suddenly arose from the furrow of a labourer, Tarchon, and revealed to him magic formulas, which were afterwards gathered together in books. What more fitting name for the magic marigold.

 

THE BISHOP

 

Jamaica again! We had landed the day before, after a very pleasant voyage in company with our old friends, Dorothy, and her husband, the Professor. The Professor always reminded me of H. G. Wells.

 

Like Wells, he was biologist, philosopher, student of history and of comparative religion and an Imaginative writer of fiction. My Wife and myself looked forward with pleasure to a trip to the country in his company; for we never knew what particular entertainment, romantic or ecclesiastical, the Professor had in store for us.

 

It was late November; the seasons had been good, and the Port Royal mountains, which overlooked Kingston, were washed clean, and shone verdant and iridiscent in light and shade, as tropical mountains do. "Oh! for the North Coast", gurgled Dorothy, as she nestled closer to her Husband, the Professor. "And why not the North Coast?" I asked, turning enquiringly to my Wife, "I suggest that we go through Moneague and Fern Gully, past Ocho Rios, doubling back to St. Ann's Bay, and then on to Montego Bay by the coast, a glorious trip". At that, Dorothy inconsequently threw her arms around the Professor; and, with a break in her voice, murmured that, for some unaccountable reason, she felt premonition of impending trouble. Ever indulgent of superstition, I suggested postponing the trip. "Not at, all! Not at all!" said the others. As for the Professor, he nonchalantly remarked: "Too much farewell dinner last night, my dear; and perhaps a leetle too much wine, which has upset the digestion." And the "premonition" entirely passed from our minds, the next afternoon finding us at the Ethelhart Hotel, in Montego Bay. We thrilled to the steep ascent over the rounded hill, the massive stone wall, the quaint narrow flagged steps, the antique bottle-glass windows, and, as we hung over the verandah railings, the wall that bastioned the quaint converted-house-hotel.

 

Almost at our feet lay a narrow strip of beach which went by the odd name of Meagre Bay, a settlement of fisher-folk, often in dramatic human movement, with back-chat, swishing skirts and picturesque gesticulations, which seemed to betoken a quarrel, except that the movements were interspersed with high-pitched laughter. Beyond the beach lay the translucent waters of the Bay. As we lifted our eyes, the further shores across the Bay came into view, garnished with coconut palms. We avidly drank in the beauty of the scene, the clean-swept sea, alternately purpling and green, as the: clear water was interspersed. with reef and sandy bottom. The eye wandered to the distant bluff of Round Hill some ten miles away, hiding the beautiful cove of Lucea, called in one old map of Jamaica "Port Lucy" and in another "Santa Lusia".

 

We scanned the distant horizon, then the narrowing shades of orange, where the Bogue Islands nestled nearer still to the beautiful sea, almost at our feet, nearer still to the cluster of canoes on the beach at Meagre Bay, whence the voices and gesticulations continued to intrigue us and to annoy Miss Ethel, our busy landlady. She was busy bargaining with an itinerant higgler and preparing just as busily to dispense the good things of the table to her guests along with lodging at the then daily rate of ten shillings per day. Nearer still our eyes wandered to the strip of road lying between the hotel and the beach, until they rested on the outer wall which bastioned the steep hotel grounds.

 

As Dorothy lowered the field glass which she held before her, she gave a sudden start, exclaiming: "I do believe it is the bishop!" "Where?" I asked, looking for the sober garments and clerical collar of the old friend, whom I knew and liked. Unexpectedly, indeed startlingly, Dorothy cried: "There on the wall". What ecclesiastical gymnastic could this be on the part of our sedate bishop? I strained my eyes, but did not see him. Again Dorothy cried, in seeming anguish: "I knew it! I knew it! And there is the adversary encamped against him". Had she gone out of her mind? Did her insanity take the form of some fundamentalist fantasy, with overtones of Job and Milton and all that, with her wild talk of the Adversary? One thing seemed clear

 

Dorothy was very anxious and disturbed. She seemed convinced that our old friend, the Bishop, was in some mortal peril. But what the danger was, or even the presence of the Bishop, none of the others could sense or see.

 

At that moment the calm and reassuring tones of the Professor intervened, but served only to make the situation even more puzzling. "There is", he said, `.no cause for alarm, no cause whatever. The bishop will come to no harm". "But where is he?" I asked. "I do not even see him": "Don't give him a moment's thought", said the Professor, "he is a skunk anyway. As for Dorothy, she has Buddhist leanings: 'kill not, for pity's sake, and lest ye slay the meanest thing upon its upward way'." I was profoundly shocked at the Professor's levity and also still very puzzled, for, try as I might, I did not see the Bishop. "What is it all about?", I anxiously asked. "Oh! that", said the Professor lightly. "It is only the pentatomidae, a stink-bug, popularly called 'the bishop' by reason of its mitre-like protective coat of mail. It is the notorious insect stink-bug, which is of no apparent use to God or man; but Dorothy need not worry. The bishop is likely to prove a very indigestible morsel for its adversary, the little lizard which is stalking it, and which will soon abandon the attempt in the face of the formidable obstacle of the protective device with which nature has equipped the bishop."

 

"But", I asked, "what possible use can the stinkbug serve in the economy of Nature. Why was it created or allowed to come to maturity as a species in the course of evolution?" "That", said the Professor, "is so ego-centric a question that it amounts to gross scientific eccentricity. It presupposes that Nature produces species essentially for the service of man. It is a gross form of megalomania. It is the stuff of which organized religions and national hysteria are made. It is probably the so* of mental attitude that reinforced for many centuries the obstinate belief that the Sun revolved around the Earth."

 

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Volume 5.    No. 11.        June 1963 

 

J -RUDOLPH STEINER

 

This famous German philosopher, the son of a minor railway employee, was born in Austria in 1861. He died in 1925. From the age of twenty nine he worked for seven years at the Goethe-Schiller Archive, editing Goethe's works on natural history. Goethe, although more famous as a poet and playwright, is known among scientists as a forerunner to Darwin's organic evolution. It is probable that Steiner's familiarity with Goethe's work in natural science profoundly influenced him. Moving away from Theosophy, in which he evinced astounding activity in lectures and writings, Steiner developed his own philosophy, which he called "Anthroposophy" (anthropos=man and sophia = wisdom). He regarded mankind as the centre of all perceptions of this "spiritual science", and deduced the nature of the world from the nature of humanity. He founded a school of spiritual science and took great interest in agricultural pursuits. The United Kingdom and the U.S.A. are particularly interested in the development of his "bio-dynamic" theory and practice in the activation and use of compost in organic cultivation. The book on his bio-dynamic method written by his disciple Dr. Pfeiffer (recently deceased) is no longer on my book-shelf ("They borrow books they will not buy; they have no morals or religion. I wish some kind Burbankian guy would cross my books with homing pigeons"). But my recollection is that the Steiner formula is that set out by May E. Bruce in her famous little book `From Vegetable Waste to Fertile Soil-Quick Return Compost", for activating compost, made up from common English weeds, containing various nutrient elements, with honey added separately to avoid fermentation. While the full prescription of weeds consists of yarrow (for iron, potash, soda, lime, phosphorus, sulphur and nitrates), camomile (for potash, lime, phosphorus and sulphur), dandelion (for iron, soda, potash and phosphorus), oak-bark (for potash and lime), valerian (for formic acid and acetic acid) and nettle (for oil, formic acid, ammonia, carbonic acid and iron), Miss Bruce found that yarrow, broad-leafed plantain and nettles alone made up a promising activating mixture. She got her results in war-time Britain, short of manure, with reliance only on vegetable waste and the activating weeds. For, after all, manure is vegetable matter passed through an animals stomach. The nutrient elements fundamentally reside in the vegetable matter, which are a synthesis of soil, sun, air and water.

 

My recollection is that Steiner did not want his discovery to be commercialized, as he found the profit motive had a somewhat stultifying on worth-while human endeavour. Certainly the Pfeiffer Foundation appear to provide the powdered bacteria which forms the activating material, at little more than transportation cost. Their address is Threefold Farm, Spring Valley, New York, U.S.A., and they do soil analysis at reasonable rates.

 

Like Sir Albert Howard, Steiner was a firm believer in organic manure and compost; and the activating bacteria are for the purpose of reinforcing the microorganism population of the soil. This reinforcement is effected either by spraying the water-activated bacteria on to vegetable waste which is immediately turned into the soil (which may be sewn after a couple of weeks), or by using them as activator for the compost heap in course of construction. Steiner and Albert Howard reduced to scientific terms the methods practiced in the East as described in Professor King's book, "Farmers of Forty Centuries".

ALBERT HOWARD

 

Albert Howard learnt his job by practical experience in India. I understand that he was Government Mycologist there, and asked for a farm, so that he might study healthy instead of diseased plants. As a result of his research he formed the opinion that his sprays were doing more harm than good; and he formulated his famous Indore system of  composting, thus producing healthy plants and livestock by organic rather than chemical means. He wrote several books, founding his "Agricultural Testament" on the famous "Medical Testament".

 

On his retirement and return to England he co-operated with some like-minded people in England, notably Lady Eve Balfour and others of the Soil Association and the famous Dr. Rayner of mycorrhizal fame, who I understand on her visit to Jamaica advised the Sugar Manufacturers that they were inhibiting beneficial mycorrhizal action in sugar cane by over-indulgence in sulphate of ammonia.

 

Sir Albert Howard was most kind and generous in giving information freely. I have on file a letter from him dated June 30, 1941 in connection with the information then quite new to me (and disputed by our local geneticist) that mycorrhizal association took place in tropical crops such as bananas, sugar cane and cocoa, as well as in conifers. A short quota tion from his letter may be interesting to my readers. He wrote: "There is no popular or other account of the occurrence of mycorrhizal association in tropical crops beyond the references in An Agricultural Testament and in the report of my recent tour to tea estates in India and Ceylon. I have asked my private secretary to send you a copy of the letter. The former you already have . . . Mr. Larter's letter" (denying mycorrhizal association in bananas) "is unconvincing. I doubt whether he is familiar with the technique needed to detect the mycorrhizal association in such crops as bananas, sugar cane, coffee, cacao and so on.. Further, if the use of animal manure has been given up, the extent of the root surface showing this association may be small. This is confirmed in the case of the banana by the spread of Panama disease and Cercospora. I am convinced that unless Jamaica uses to the very best advantage all the animal manure they have or can produce the agriculture of the island will soon be in ruins . . . The local Agricultural Department is obviously too far gone to be of any pioneering value . . . "

 

Sir Albert's Widow carried on the good work of her husband in lending support to the promotion of the use of organic manure and composting; and it is twenty five years since Lady Eve Balfour and a lady friend generously gave their farms for the establishment at New Bells Farm, Haughley, Stowmarket. Suffolk, England of the famous Haughley experimental farms where the processes of chemical and organic cultivation are carried on on separate farms comparatively and contrastingly. The report of the work at Haughley extending over twenty five years has recently been published. While a good deal of it is technical and topical to English farming, it is interesting to observe that cows reared organically consume less fodder and produce more milk than cows reared on lands subjected to chemical fertilizers and chemical spraying.

 

Close associates in the work of Soil Association. have included Sir Albert Howard and Dr. Rayner, with Lady ,Howard (Sir Albert's Widow) as Hon. Life Vice-President of Soil Association and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Municipal Composting. The Soil Association may well be regarded as loyal disciples of the late Sir Albert Howard.

 

If one turns over the pages of one of the issues of Mother Earth (the official magazine of the Soil Association) for the year 1948, one finds that the Association featured during that year great activity in various parts of the world in devising composting as a means of the disposal of municipal waste; and also at that time was calling attention to the alarm which was being expressed at the harmful use of toxic sprays, featuring questions in the British Parliament. While Rachel Carson has done great service in publicizing the evil in her "Silent Spring", the disciples of  Sir Albert Howard were pioneers in the field of exposure a decade and a half ago, and have never let up on the job.

 

OOGABOO

 

The Prime Minister of Oogaboo was puzzled. He was a simple and formally uneducated man, with immense sympathy for the have-nots. He had begun his public life by plugging for higher wages for dock workers and labourers in the cane-fields. In his simple way he had said: 'Give them money and they will work out their own salvation". Having endeared himself to the people, with the coming of adult suffrage in Oogaboo, they had put him in a position of power; and he had become Prime Minister of Oogaboo. But things had not worked out the way he thought they would. Wages had increased more than fourfold; but so had the cost of living; but worse than that, labourers were not intelligently exploiting the opportunities of employment and better living conditions. Those that might have five days work each week with commensurate pay at the increased rates, and a good life, with two days a week for rest and recreation, or work on their town "grounds", let the opportunities slip by, and were no better off for the higher rate of wages. Indeed they were worse off; their good food habits had deteriorated; and, instead of seeking intelligent collaboration with employers so that they might have a share in joint deliberations for mutual benefit, they exhibited truculence and touchiness which interrupted work and adversely affected the island economy. The game of politics also had eroded the island's sense of responsibility among high and lowly.

 

The Prime Minister was well aware of the employers' share of blame; but he saw that no amount of improvement on the part of employers would solve the problem if workers persisted in their complete irresponsibility to themselves and the island.

 

But another aspect of affairs in Oogaboo weighed heavily on the mind of the Prime Minister. Island revenue had increased enormously; but he had been unable to bridge the gap; between the haves and the have-nots. Population was increasing out of proportion to increased wages and increased revenue; but general social amenities had not been provided. The Civil Service was not responding to increased salaries; Civil Servants and teachers were playing politics; bureaucracy was on the rampage; some of the major public institutions for public service were a shambles; and bribes were offered and accepted for services that should have been a matter of course, but were now matters of favour.

 

In these circumstances, the Prime Minister of Oogaboo appealed once more to the Philosopher for counsel and help. What the Philosopher advised follows.

 

The Philosopher claimed that real progress in the well-being of the people of Oogaboo must start with a serious study of the problems of fertility: the hyper-fertility of the human population and the hypo-fertility of the soil of the country, and investigation into and the practice of appropriate means of combating both these bars to progress. Indeed the Philosopher maintained that of the two problems, the latter (promoting the fertility of the soil) was the more pressing one. For, he said, with fertile soil, the population of Oogaboo would adequately and nutritiously feed itself, given normal industry and a sense of responsibility. He believed furthermore that a well-nourished population would be a well-intentioned and self-regulated population, just as a well nourished plant is healthy and fruitful.

 

Why was, there lack of fertility in the soil of  Oogaboo ? The philosopher was of opinion that the cultivation of the sugar cane had helped to lead the people astray in matters agricultural. The abundance of trash from the cane tended to promote humus and thus succeeded in concealing from cultivators the deleterious effect of deluging the soil with chemical fertilizer, which actually interfered with the normal process of soil life and fertility. Cane cultivation has therefore been able to overcome to a large extent the abuse which the soil suffered with the excess supply of fertilizers. The sugar cane had been betrayed by its inherent excellence. In the other major crops of Oogaboo, the Philosopher claimed, the high pressure salesmanship of the chemical people and the impatience of Government and quasi­ government institutions for quick and abundant results have completed the destruction of such soil as is not under the benevolent sway of sugar-cane.

 

The Philosopher advised that everything should be made subservient to the pressing need to produce organic material for replenishing the soil; and that the Government of Oogaboo should set the example and the pace by converting ail municipal waste into compost and organic manure and furnishing the same cheaply to all and sundry, putting on a prohibitive tariff on the importation of chemical fertilizers and forbidding the importation and use of toxic spraying material.

 

The Philosopher wondered whether in their eagerness to use quick synthetic nitrogen, sugar manufacturers have considered whether it might not be more profitable to use their molasses in the field rather than selling it. He claimed that research had indicated that when molasses and filter-press mud were added to the soil and allowed to undergo slow oxidation, there was a considerable increase in both total and available nitrogen within three or four weeks. He maintained that for permanent and productive agriculture (not to mention nutritional quality which would react favorably on the population) organic substances are of the very life of the soil.

 

The life of the soil, said the Philosopher is one thing, the life of the people is another. Soil-consciousness should be inculcated in the homes and in the schools based on its promotional value for both profit and pleasure. Under the favourable tropical conditions existing in Oogaboo, the Philosopher maintained, nit one with a patch of ground need go hungry. Planting for continuous crop once a week would, he maintained, provide food to some extent, in successive quantity and quality for the needs of the family; and its production would be of immense nutritional and aesthetically cultural value. Indeed, he said, this method of successive planting is the way that the higglers of Oogaboo see to the constant supply of many of the crops which they purvey. How else would one get in Oogaboo "string beans" all the year through?

 

The Philosopher suggested that this question of hyper-fertility of the human element and hypo fertility of the soil should engage the attention of Government as matters of paramount importance. He believed that there would follow marked results in the basic character and sense of responsibility of the population. He begged to be excused from consideration of the other problems mentioned by the Prime Minister until these fundamental matters were given first consideration and implementation.

 

IS LIFE A GAME?

 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did not think so. In his Psalm of Life, it may be remembered, he said: "Life is real! Life is earnest!", or again, "Tell me not, in mournful numbers, life is but an empty dream!" Walt Whitman however sees in life merely that "the powerful play goes on, and I may contribute a verse". However one looks at it, two things stand out clearly when one considers the way men live: (a) that the recreational urge is compulsive and pervasive in the seemingly most engrossing preoccupations of life (b) that human interests and reactions are mostly childish, as vividly indicated, among other things, by social systems of reward and punishment.

 

The explanation may lie in the close ties between manifestations of the archaic and primitive on the one hand and of the child on the other hand, as has often been noted in these Comments.

 

Why does the explanation lie in the close ties above referred to? Because homo sapiens (especially if we include his sub-human ancestors or predecessors) has had a much longer evolutionary history under primitive than under civilized conditions. In the history of the species, he has been a much longer time a child-like primitive than a man, and therefore the accumulation of childish instincts, mores and urges have received an immense store of indoctrinated childishness, which each generation of child-like adults passes on to the next generation during the latter's impressionable childhood period.

 

It is alas'! true that homo sapiens failed to fulfill the big promise of intellectual progress held out to mankind when he jumped from two dimensional to three dimensional consciousness. The story of man's achievement of the third dimension has not been impressively told to the world. I came across it first in a brief sentence in a book by H. G. Wells on the Nature of the World. I was reminded of it a short while ago, while reading a treatise on the brain by Reginald John Gladstone, former Reader in Embryology and Lecturer in Anatomy at the University of London.

 

Wells puts it this way (I write from memory)

 

The lemur and the higher apes (tree climbers) are the only sub-human animals that, like man, reveal oil death yellowness on the back of the retina, signifying that they had acquired stereoscopic or third dimensional vision. Gladstone writes: "The ancestry proper of man is thought traceable to some shrew like placental which became arboreal in habit. Modes of arboreal life put a premium on movements of varied range and accurate adjustment of both limbs and body. The evolving of a limb as a tool for uses additional to locomotion gives opportunity for limb and brain to interact. Physical opportunities beget mental opportunities and conversely. Fruits picked, insects caught, will be handled and examined under combined touch, muscular sense and sight. The hand became a testing organ additional to and of greater range than the snout. Some lemur-like type arose, followed by some monkey-like type. The brains corresponding with these are known and their increased scope of reaction and behaviour can be judged. Parts of the brain concerned with sight and manual dexterity increase greatly in transition from the lemurs up to the ape. The freeing of arm and hand from exclusively locomotor use and their employment for grasping and presenting objects to the eyes and mouth, with correlative change of the visual axes to parallelism, greatly amplifying and enhancing stereoscopic vision, are thought to have been of great moment for advance toward the human stage of brain. A core of three-dimensional space neighboring upon and centered at the animal then became visually, tactually and proprioperceptively explorable by and familiar to experience on a scale of accuracy hitherto unapproached in animal life . . . Later some form belonging to the ape-group, though not any existent ape, with anthropoid characters, came to live less in the trees and indeed far more on the ground, probably on the grasslands. With this went a greater attainment of the erect position, a more complete freeing of the arm and hand as a universal tool, and loftier point of vantage for the stereoscopic gaze. So an immediately sub-human and then, less than half million years ago, a human brain was reached".

 

It seems that by the physical habit of climbing, man's predecessor began his ascent, intellectual and/ or spiritual, from two dimensional to three dimensional conscious receptivity.

 

Gladstone continues with an intriguing reflection: "An inference-from the above-traced course of evolution of the vertebrate brain is that the freeing of a limb-pair for more manifold use as a "tool", while the other limb-pair still assured efficient landlocomotion, gave an impulsion or opportunity for cerebral development which was of decisive importance in the evolution of pallial growth and function" t It should be explained here that the pallium, or cerebral cortex, which meant so much to human evolution, was by-passed by nature in the evolution of bird. The tragedy in nature that Gladstone sees is that the bird, which developed wings in a later evolutionary stage than insects, lost the inestimable advantage of the cerebral cortex, while man and his predecessors, who retained the pallium, did not grow wings.). Gladstone continues: "This inference raises the surmise that, had wings arisen in the vertebrates, as actually in the insect, without cost of a limb-pair to co-exist with "land-locomotor" leg and "tool" arm, the consequent additional experience and exploitation of a great three-dimensional medium (containing, unlike water, ample oxygen) would have evolved a brain -of wider components and on fuller lines than is the human." (Perhaps a fourth dimensional or spiritual consciousness). "The evolutionary retrospect of the vertebrate brain shows clearly that the particular type of brain which thus far has by the development of intelligence done most to raise the level of life is not the later-launched bird brain but the earlier-launched mammalian brain". Gladstone concludes that from the non-development of the human brain according to earlier promise "it would look as though after all the upward development of mind were not -at least on this planet-an object of the scheme of things."

 

The above lengthy diversion is interposed; because it seems to me to explain why human beings by and large are still in a state of childhood; and wily perhaps life is merely a game.

 

The question naturally arises whether,  as  man has apparently betrayed his. heritage and  makes a joke of life, may Nature not try again, and by some collateral line fulfill the promise of a better species: Gladstone actually considers this: "A sobering re­flection", he says, is that, should such a vertebrate form, fraught with transcendent promise though it were, enter now upon evolution, man's dominance, leaving no part of the planet's surface untouched, would assuredly meet it and frustrate it by exter­mination, or by domestication. In the latter event its breeding would doubtless be controlled and guided to serve immediate human ends at the expense of the creature's own supreme ultimate possibilities".


 

Volume 5.   No. 12         July 1963   

 

Partial Review

 

"JOURNEY TO THE BEGINNING, A PERSONAL VIEW OF CONTEMPORARY HISTORY"

 

Author Edgar Snow, a great American (Random House 1958)

 

(Quotations with the kind permission of the Author)

 

Nothing has branded the rulers of thought in America as being so completely intellectually bankrupt as their wholesale condemnation of the government of Communist China, a government which has done such great service to so many. It was Edgar Snow's mission, at first unconsciously undertaken, to bring to America and the Western world the epic story of the remaking of China. This he did in his great works Red Star over China, Far Eastern Front, Living China, Random Notes on Red China, Journey to the Beginning and lastly in The Other Side of the River: Red China Today.

 

Edgar Snow is a strange American. In a country of conformity, he refuses to conform, and yet retains the respect of all Americans, and has even crashed the affections of old die-bards like the Saturday Evening Post and Look. (In the first number of these Comments nearly ten years ago we called attention to Edgar Snow and the Saturday Evening Post). Perhaps the secret of Snow's charisma In unexpected quarters is due to his integrity and objectivity, which serve to cloak the unwelcome lesson of toleration and understanding which he automatically teaches. Americans take from Edgar Snow what-they once took from Franklin D. Roosevelt but; when times. changed, refused to take from Owen Lattimore.

 

At the age of twenty two (in the year 1928) Snow set out for the Pacific, spent three months in Hawaii and Japan and went or. to Shanghai. "I had on my itinerary allotted six weeks to China. I was not to see America again for thirteen years" After leaving China in 1941, he was not to return until 1960, but not for lack of trying.

 

His introduction to J. B. Powell, of the China Weekly Review and correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, was to send him to the Northwest and enabled him seven years later to write Red Star over China, "a story about one of the great revolutions of human history and the men and women who made among them Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai i.

 

Powell wanted to persuade Americans that it was safe to travel in China again; Snow was to help in the job: the Chinese Government co-operated and Edgar Snow was on his way on "the grand tour of China, in so far as it was accessible to an 8,000 mile railway system in the best style and comfort available". It was in the time of the great famine in China, when he first met two great and dedicated men, the New Zealander Rewi Alley and the American Dr. George Hatern and with both of whom he was to foregather under circumstances of achievement when he returned to China in 1960. He saw that the revolution in China initiated by Dr. Sun Yat Sen and purloined by the egregious Chiang Kai Shek had not yet really begun. There would have to be a new birth. "Why did I begin to share a sense of concern about the process? Why did China begin to mean something to me?"

 

He was called back to Shanghai, for Powell was off to Manchuria to cover the hostilities there of Chang Hsueh-liang who was then under orders from Chiang. Snow became acting editor of Powell's Review. "I was then as convinced as Mr. Dulles was thirty years later that morality lay on the side of Chiang Kai-shek. I had yet to learn that . . . a nation's political behaviour is not finally determined by moral judgments from abroad so much as by practical demands of the deepest internal layers which motivate it from within".

 

The incident of Snow's rescue of a humble Chinaman on fire and the cynicism of the crowd bring out a bit of the humane philosophy which one meets throughout the author's books, nuggets of wisdom: "It didn't matter what others felt. What mattered was how I would have felt if I had lit that neighbour burn. And this feeling of concern for one's neighbour was not, as I would yet discover, any monopoly of the Christian White Man". Snow's philosophy mightily interests me, valuable as are his objective reports. It is the interplay between the political philosophy of Edgar Snow and that of President Roosevelt that seems to me particularly valuable for America at this time.

 

Of Indo-China: "But did one have to be a Communist, I wondered, to love one's country and liberty and hate being pushed around by outsiders? . . . The first great rebellion, quixotic, poorly armed and poorly organized, inevitably crushed by the might of France . . . I myself did not see much and yet it was enough to make me doubt that France had much time left to carry out the mission civilisatrice . . . " In Yunnan he learnt that "big fish eat little fish, little fish eat shrimps, shrimps eat mud. The peasants are the shrimps, the little fish are the bandits, the bin fish are the officials". On to Burina through the defiles of the Irrawaddy, down to Mandalay; and "at Rangoon . . . the same discontent with alien rule and among the youths the same rebellious spirit and yearning for national freedom . . . How secure British ownership of the country's tin, timber, oil, transportation and other monopolies still seemed".

 

He traveled from one extremity to another of India; and noted that what China and India had in common Add them together the greatest challenge to Western dominance. It "was not Communism or any ideology or religion but their huge underfed, illiterate peasant majorities, their backward, greedy landlord over-classes, their intellectuals' wounded pride as heirs of ancient civilizations branded inferior because they had fallen a century behind in scientific techniques and the modernization of agrarian and industrial economies, their joint search for short-cuts to close this alarming gap, and a determination amounting to national .paranoia to toss European imperialism out of their houses forever."

 

He conversed with Rabindranath Tagore, Ghandi and Nehru. Back in China he met and admired the great Ching Ling (Mme Sun Yat Sen, the Widow of the great reformer). He had met Chiang Kai-Shek and his Wife, Ching Ling's sister. "Knowing Ching Ling early made me comprehend that the Chinese people were capable of radically changing their country..." There is a brief chapter on "Ching Ling, Christian and Communist". It was mainly by her influence that he was able to make the close contact with Mao Tse-tung, which enabled him to write the classic "Red Star over China", which was to instruct President Roosevelt on Chinese affairs and even give lessons in guerilla warfare to Russian women partisans in World War II.

 

Snow's life of close comradeship with his splendid first wife, Nym Wales, is a beautiful but poignant bit of worth-while collaboration and autobiography; and there is much insight into Chiang's betrayal of China to the Japanese, while Chiang pursued his major objective of the complete annihilation of the Communists, rejecting their overtures for loyal cooperation in resistance to Japan; which Mao planned full well knowing that the expulsion of Japan would mean the consummation of Communism in China.

 

For the story of his visit to Mao Tse-tung, the discovery and full story of the "great mystery" among nations, the confused epic, the story of Red China, of the Celestial Reds fighting in the very heart of the most populous nation on earth for nine years, to reach which one would have had to pass (as our author did) a "mobile great wall of thousands of enemy troops constantly surrounding them," the reader is referred to "Red Star over China", and the story, as dictated night after night In the cave in which he lived by Mao Tse-tung himself.

 

"Chino cause was now my cause, and I linked the sentiment with a commitment against fascism, nazism and imperialism everywhere". (Why Edgar Snow did not become a victim of the Un-American

 

Congressional Committee .is not clear). Did Owen Lattimore say as much as this? "Throughout the war, Americans spoke of China as part of the world democratic front and of her national unity. Such terms were largely myths agreed upon among the allies".

 

To Snow's contacts with Roosevelt I desire to call special attention. After Pearl Harbor Snow learnt that President Roosevelt wanted to "Interview" him; "Snow, what would you do about constituting a new government in India under present conditions?" asked the President. He agreed with Snow's view that :"There will be immense problems; but they are for the Indians to solve". The President continued: "'And we are going to have to tell our friends the Allies that they must have faith in the Orientals and their ability to govern themselves. It is true not only of India and Burma and Indochina but also of Java and Malaya and even New Guinea'. I sat up afoot or two. 'Now the Dutch tell us they have already got self-government and democracy in Java . . . But what the Dutch and the British and the French mean is that they want a kind of self-government which will see Europeans still in the saddle a hundred years from now'. He held out his hand at last. 'Write me now and then if you hear anything interesting. You can send it to Missy Le Hand through the pouch and I'll get it. When you get back give me a personal report'."

 

Snow's next assignment was Russia; and on August 14, 1944, he wrote the President: "'The Russians are laying down some fundamental plans looking toward long-term co-operation with America . . . ' Within three months I was to get a sharp correction to my optimistic view . . . and a direct warning that officials were thinking more about the possibilities of another great war . . . The source? A friend of peace, surprisingly enough, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs!" (Max Litvinov). The author's interview with Litvinov follows: "The root of the post-war crisis, Litvinov predicted, would again be Germany. We would not, he said, be able to agree on what to do with the Germans and they would end by dividing us . . . All Anglo-American hopes of rebuilding Poland or Germany as a springboard against Russia were, he said, vain; the day had already passed when Russia could be excluded from Europe; incredibly the Anglo-Americans were going to make the attempt once again, Litvinov thought; so the answer is that Western Europe will be reorganized as an anti-Russian bloc". (Prophetic).

 

In February 1944, the White House telephoned to invite Snow over to see the President who had recently returned from Yalta. He was warmly received and told: "You've been doing a lot more traveling than I have. I enjoyed that book of yours, 'People on our Side'. You kept me awake half the night on board the Quincy". Snow writes: "The main thesis of that book proposed that the U.S.A. sponsor and help finance a series of post-war colonial liquidations in Asia and ultimately in Africa the only sure alternatives to a whole series of bloody colonial wars and social revolutions. I had discussed this briefly with the President. I knew that he hoped to make it a cardinal aim of American post-war policy to bring about the speedy attainment of freedom and equality for all colonial peoples . . . I had day this time, in 1945, become very pessimistic about the future of our relations with Russia. The President's optimism now renewed my own hope. A day or two after this talk his dispute with Stalin over interpretation of the Polish agreement became serious, and it was still unresolved when he died. Some commentators suggested that this 'disillusioned' Roosevelt and shattered his hopes of continued collaboration for peace. The speculations seemed premature to me. I believe Roosevelt would have left nothing untried, within the limits of his responsible power and imagination as a great politician to avoid a post-war armaments race. In my talk with him on May 1944, he made it clear that he wholeheartedly ,believed in the alternative of frankly accepting the Russian giant as a great and dreadful neighbor with whom we had to learn to live and share world power and authority and whom we had to try to understand, if we could not learn to like. At that time I had just finished reading Forrest Davis' series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post called 'The Great Design'. Those articles still gave us a remarkably good insight into Roosevelt's thinking about Russia at the time: his aim to remove Russia's historic fear of exclusion from Europe, to convince Russia that capitalist democracies were capable of accommodating necessary changes by peaceful means, to extend a helping hand to the Soviet Union as a 'member of the family' in exchange for her co-operation in maintaining world peace, and to open up broad possibilities of useful competition between the two systems, both adhering to an international defense organization-as opposed to reversion to Marxist dogmas about 'inevitable' violence and war followed by revolutionary change. The President said that Davis had 'done a , good job' but when I asked about his phrase 'the great gamble' used to describe Roosevelt's policy toward Russia, he said 'gamble' was not the word:---Was it a gamble to co-operate for peace when your alternative was to begin right then to prepare for World War III? =I am all for trying to make a lasting peace after this war and a world we can live in together', he declared, and meant it.

 

"It seemed clear to me that Roosevelt recognized as a practical politician the necessity of defining spheres of influence in making a workable peace. Even in 1944 on his return from Teheran he had spoken to me of Stalin's demand to 'get the Ukrainian part of Poland back inside Russian -borders' as reasonable. He also thought it 'reasonable to turn over East Prussia to Poland. 'If what Stalin wants is to get these noblemen's estates (referring to the Polish Ukraine) and give the Poles East Prussia in exchange. there shouldn't be any objection to that, should there?' he asked . . . 'I got along absolutely splendidly Stalin at Yalta', he told me almost exultantly. 'I feel I finally got to know the man'. Recalling Litvfiiov's notes, so full of pessimism. I asked him about the doubts he had expressed, and whether Yalta had cleared up basic questions of long-term controversy, particularly the predicted break down of co-operation in Germany. They hadn't settled every detail, of course, but on the whole, he said, Yalta had put everything straight. 'What about Russia's free Germans and captured officers?' I asked. "Do you think the Russians intend to use these people for administration of the areas they occupy, and won't this lead to two kinds of government there?' 'Of course they are going to make use of their Germans to help administer and police', he answered undisturbed. 'Their free Germans are Reds', I said. 'Does that mean we won't be able to have a common policy (with Russia) in Germany?' 'Obviously the Russians are going to do things in their own way in areas they occupy. But they won't set up a separate administration (independent of the Allied Control Commission) to rival an arrangement made for all Germany"'. (As one was to find, as explained in Basil Davidson's "Germany. what now?", it was America that was to divide Germany).

 

"Formal co-operation in the partitioning of Germany, rather than identity of political aims in the occupation, thus seemed al: that he expected at that time. In reality little had been settled at Yalta about the 'arrangement' for all Germany, but it was evident that Roosevelt believed all questions could thereafter be negotiated by mutual compromise. 'I got the impression that the Russians are now fully satisfied', he said, and that we can work out every thing together. I AM CONVINCED WE ARE GOING TO GET ALONG' (The emphasis was his). Now I think 'Obviously the Russians are going to do things their own way in the areas they occupy' was probably the controlling phrase there, and perhaps in Roosevelt's concept of a Russian policy in that period. Was it also a key to any entente which might have survived the war as regards both Germany and Japan? . . . It is easily possible to list, among mutual provocations which swiftly destroyed Roosevelt's 'great design' a half-dozen errors committed on our side which he would almost certainly have avoided".

 

In the event, immediately on-Roosevelt's death, those who were determined to "overtake Yalta" set about grooming American opinion toward that distrust of Soviet Russia by the American people that, in the opinion of this writer, has since bedeviled relations between the two countries, resulting in the armaments race which Edgar Snow believed that Roosevelt had planned to avoid.

 

For the rest of the book, the reader is referred to the book itself.

IMPEACHMENT

 

Impeachment is a form of judicial parliamentary procedure against criminals. In England the House of Commons are the prosecutors and the House of Lords the judges. In the United States the procedure of impeachment both in the national and in almost all of the state governments is very similar to English procedure, the House of Representatives being the prosecutors and the Senate the judges. In America a two thirds majority is necessary for conviction; and the president, vice-president or any civil officer may be impeached for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

 

The only case of an American President being impeached was that of Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) , the seventh president of the U.S.A. He had succeeded to the presidency on the assassination of Lincoln in April 1885. Johnson fell foul of Congress over national ,policy relating to the defeated South. The actual vote was 35 to 19; the switch of one negative vote would have meant conviction.

 

Other American Presidents have probably laid themselves open to impeachment: President Roosevelt over connivance with the revolt of Panama from Colombia, Eisenhower and his ambassador over subversion in Guatemala, Eisenhower and Kennedy over subversion and Kennedy over subversion and economic sanctions -on Cuba and in respect of connivance in the invasion of Cuba in breach of American Law and of the treaty structure of O.A.S.

 

THE ORIGIN OF SEX.

 

There is, I understand, general agreement that the plant kingdom made its start in the water, and in fresh water at that. The ability to live in salt water apparently came later. The simplest plant appears to be one whose body consists of a single cell, microscopic in size, the essential part being a sphere of a remarkable living substance known as protoplasm, which is finely granular, bluish-green with the consistency of thin jelly. The protoplasm is surrounded by a protective transparent gelatinous cell-wall. From such a primitive cell, homogeneous in form and functions, all other plants have descended.

 

Reference has been made to homogeneous form and function. A significant evolutionary step forward took place when differentiation and division of labour-occurred within the protoplast, evidencing themselves by cell organs. In the centre is a small, spherical, concentrated bit of protoplasm called the nucleus. This form of protoplasm is called cytosome. The cytosome is obviously no longer homogeneous. It includes more concentrated mass of the living substance known as the chloroplast, which takes over the function of manufacturing food. The green coloring matter, which is essential to food manufacture, now belongs only to the chloroplast. The rest of the cytosome uses this food and turns it into more protoplasm. It is the nucleus which at cell division distributes the hereditary qualities in orderly manner. At cell division each of the cell organs is divided (by a process called mitosis) so that the daughter cell starts life with the full equipment.

 

The next evolutionary step reveals a many-celled individual the various cells being attached end to end in a filament, each cell having its own nucleus and cytosome with the chloroplast. The lowermost cell puts out sucker-like processes which cling to some object at the bottom of the stream of water in which the plant lives.

 

Now we approach the stage of important advance in the method of reproduction. When a cell of the filament divides, this is merely growth, not reproduction. Reproduction is achieved by internal division which produces spores, which escape into the surrounding water, equipped with hair-like cilia which vibrate rapidly and propel the spores through the water, until they come to rest at the bottom of the stream, grow and divide repeatedly. Thus the spore produces a new individual by its separation from its .parent.

 

Any cell in a filament may produce spores, and commonly all cells do so at the same time, so that the discharge of spores leaves behind a lifeless string of empty cells.

 

Under hard conditions, such as those that occur at the end of the growing season, the cells of the filament divide internally, as in the production of spores; but now a greater number of internal divisions occurs, so that the resulting protoplasts are smaller and more numerous. These are known as gametes, which behave somewhat differently from the spores. They are discharged into the water and swim about in an erratic manner. They finally come together in .pairs, the two rapidly fusing from a single protoplast. This event marks the origin of sex, the modern and yet ancient method of reproduction in both plant and animal kingdom including human beings. The fusing gametes cannot be distinguished as male and female, yet the fusion is unmistakably a sex act.

 

It is now the method of reproduction which undergoes most specialization by means of significant modifications. The first of these is the differentiation of gametes into male and female, an extremely large and passive female gamete or egg and a very small and active male gamete or sperm. For the sex act to be achieved, the sperm must travel to the egg. This is promoted by the egg exuding a chemical which attracts the swimming sperm. The two gametes fuse; the sperm fertilizes the egg, and a zygote results, which has the capacity of producing a new individual.

 

The differentiation of gametes between male and female has another advantage. In the large passive egg is stored a great amount of nutritive material, which becomes available to carry the young individual over the critical period of early life.

 

Up to this stage, the male and female elements are contained in one individual. The next step is the differentiation into male and female individuals, the male producing only the sperms and the female only the eggs. This stage marks the culmination of sex evolution, the means whereby evolution itself is expedited. For this purpose apparently, nature makes the sex act pleasurable. A tree fruits heavily when about to die, giving a last salute to the goddess of fertility. The urge to perpetuate the species is gratified, if not satisfied.

 

 

 

.


 

 

Volume 5.     No. 13            August 1963

 

THE FORMULA.

 

The dictionary definition of a formula is: "an exact method or form of words prescribed as a guide for thought, action, expression or statement".

 

The latest public example of a formula is the formula for bonus-allotment arrived at in the agreement between the Labour Unions and the Sugar Manufacturers' Association (of Jamaica) Limited. As far as it goes, this is a great industrial achievement. It makes for peace and harmony, for efficient and effective co-operation.

 

The great Jamaican historian Edward Long (who was nevertheless somewhat intolerant as to social and economic classes) referred to the rich and the poor as natural enemies. (His successor Bryan Edwards in his marginal notes in Long's history countered this philosophy). Benjamin Disraeli in his novel "Sybil" re-echoes Long's philosophy; and refers to the two worlds of the rich and the poor.

 

Philip D. Curtin in his "Two Jamaica’s" (1830-1865) emphasises the dichotomy between the English and AFRICAN ELEMENTS AND between the plantation and small settler economy.

 

Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto of 1848, which was founded largely on the abominable factory system of the day, regarded capital and labour as natural and inevitable enemies condemned to internecine strife for supremacy. (And so they were until employers were brought to see justice through reason).

 

Events however displace theories; and both philosophy and practice should and do accommodate themselves to changed circumstances. A united Jamaica is a cliché; but it is also a philosophical truism; and may profitably become a social and economic fact. Everything points to the practical unity of a united Jamaica.

 

Capital has come to see that the laborer is a human being, and not merely a book-keeping entry on the debit side of the ledger. Part of what is now necessary is that the laborer should come to see that the employer is also a human being, and not an ogre. The other part is that both employer and employee should come to see that human nature is essentially good; and that it is good that human nature should be good.

 

The fact is that human nature, like many other things, is what we make it: good or bad. It becomes good, socially and economically, when it is recognized that co-operation (which means working harmoniously together) is basically the law of the good life; and that this is reached when apparently conflicting selfish interests iron out their difficulties and differences and reconciliation follows conflict. One may take a lesson from the symbiosis or joint-life that takes place in the soil, when fungus nourishes plants, while plants nourish the fungi which give nourishment to the plants. There is a toxic fungus; but even the toxic fungus gets broken down into useful form.

 

There is a "perennial philosophy" which runs throughout the history of human life and philosophy. It manifests itself in various forms, all coming back to the basic idea of unity or love. It is based on a realization of common interests. There is nothing mawkish about the idea. It is sound commonsense and an inevitable traffic law.

 

The labour-agreement above referred to should be regarded as a model and yet as only a first step, a recognition of mutual rights and obligations based on mutual interests. It may well be an object lesson in fruitful co-operation.

 

As I write, Serge Island Estate, with abundant cane, high prices, a high rate of island unemployment, great capacity for mobility of labour (as was evidenced in 1938 when labour flocked to Frome), cannot take off its crop, for lack of continuous labour at cane-cutting. This does not make sense.

 

Obviously if cane-cutting and/or loading are unpopular forms of employment, although they are necessary for production in our major island industry, mechanical cutting and/or loading become a necessity in a united Jamaica. If labour does not move to Serge Island Estate, Serge Island Estate has made out an ad hoc case for mechanical cutting and/or loading; and, in the case of Serge Island Estate, it is not a case of "redundancy" but a case of refusal. This is merely one example of the problem of co-operation.

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA

(The historical record)

 

William Baggett Grey, an eminent lawyer of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Jamaica, a man of great deportment, as was not unusual in those days, often remarked that only two questions might not be discussed in polite circles in Jamaica: one of them being the "colour question"! The historical record on the question is4 lengthy and interesting, and conditions endured little change until the Constitutional changes of 1944.

 

Edward Long in his History of Jamaica (1774) reflects somewhat intolerantly on negroes and persons of colour. His views were probably a sort of "conditioned reflex" arising out of the planters' guilt complex on the question of slavery. We find a similar vein in Aristotle's "Politics", when he seeks to justify slavery in Greek "democracy".

 

Long tabulates the Spanish gradations of shade: mulatto (offspring of white and black); sambo (mulatto and negro) ; terceron (white and mulatto) ; quateroon also called quadroon (white and terceron) ; quinteron (white and quateroon) ; the offspring of white and quinteron falling into the category of white.

 

The fine gradations preserved by the Spaniards did not prevail in Jamaica, where the terceron was often lumped with the quateron. In Jamaica, at the time these notes were first written, in the early nineteen fifties, the whites usually differentiated only between white, black and colored; but persons of colour were themselves somewhat more choosy and made closer differentiation for social purposes. In the United States black and colored are classed as Negroes.

 

The Dutch exceed the Spaniards in their fine gradations, symbolizing them by adding drops of pure water to a single drop of dusky liquid until the mixture becomes quite pellucid. Edward Long reflected that on this basis twenty or thirty generations might perhaps suffice to discharge the "strain", or, until, as it was recently called "the touch of the tar brush" was no longer visible.

 

Edward Long noted that in 1762 the Assembly caused enquiry to be made into the devises of white parents to their mulatto children; and found that they amounted to a value of two to three hundred thousand pounds, including four sugar estates, seven penns, thirteen houses besides other lands. "After duly weighing the ill consequences that might befall the colony by suffering real estate to pass into such hands, a bill was passed to prevent the inconveniences and to restrain and limit such grants." In a lengthy examination of the propriety of the law, Long concluded: "It is plain therefore that the policy of the law only tends to obviate the detriment resulting to the society from foolish and indiscriminate devises . . . It is a question easily answered, whether (supposing all natural impediments of climate out of the way) it would be more for the interest of Britain that Jamaica should be possessed and peopled by white inhabitants or by Negroes and Mulattos? Let any man turn his eyes to the Spanish American dominions, and behold what a vicious, brutal and degenerate breed of mongrels has been there produced . . . and he must be of opinion that it might be much better for Britain and Jamaica too if the white men in that colony would abate of their infatuated attachments to black women".

 

Long proceeds at some length on the evils of educating the mixed progeny abroad, followed by a censorious disquisition on the Negro in which he concludes that "when we reflect on the nature of these men, and their dissimilarity to the rest of mankind, must we not conclude that they are a different species of the same genus?"

 

If one makes allowances for the causes of negrophobia, Long's Book III, Chapter III, contains an impressive disquisition on the Negro imported and native Creole, including an account of the slave insurrections.

 

Rev. R. Bickell, writing twenty years later in his "West Indies", brands Long's strictures as "cruelly severe and utterly untrue".

 

Education of coloured progeny in England gives Long opportunity for a picture of the result: On their return to the island, Miss Fulvia faints when Papa tells her that black Quasheba is her mother, while young Fucus resents having to put up with the conversation of Quashie, and Mingo after hobnobbing with his old schoolfellows Sir George and My Lord. Marriages between Mulattos, Long claims, are usually barren; and he compares the hybrid mule. Long finds it a commonly known proverb that all people except Africans have some redeeming quality. "Brutish, ignorant, idle, crafty, treacherous, bloody, thievish, mistrustful and superstitious" are his choice of characteristically descriptive words. Long was an illustrious example of a distinguished and cultured English gentleman who had made Jamaica his home, was long resident here and had become one with the Jamaican planter. His views were very extreme; and there were many Jamaicans in his class who did not share his views.

 

It will afford interest to now consider the views expressed by an anonymous novelist, of a cultured coloured gentleman of the 1820's, educated abroad and a recipient of his white father's bounty, who is presented as having returned to the island to meet a complete denial of the favourable social recognition which he had received in the British Isles.

 

In the year 1828, a romance called "Marly, or a Planter's life in Jamaica", was published in London. There was a not inappropriate dedication on the title page from Shakespeare's "Othello": "Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice". "To the public", the author said, "when a slave driver lays down his whip to take up the pen, and thus publicly addresses the community, aware as he is that the great portion of that body beholds his occupation and his character with horror and detestation, some reason for such uncalled for intrusion may be deemed necessary. To say he is actuated by humane motives, he is afraid, will not be credited . . . Such are not his reasons . . . Much has been spoken and written on both sides, but unfortunately each party, in a true opposition spirit, has only stated the strong side of his case . . . Truth must lie between: and to add a mite towards obviating this difficulty, the present attempt to detail the actual occurrences which take place on a sugar estate owes its existence".

 

The author did a good job in Jamaican social history. We shall draw on him later for other purposes; at present we are concerned with the revelations of the sentiments of a coloured gentleman of the eighteen twenties on the colour question in Jamaica.

 

At the hour of sale, Marly enters the vendue room. Three coloured and fashionably dressed Mustee ladies are exposed for sale. Their white father had neglected to free them from their legal status of slaves, they being his children by a slave woman. On his estate proving insolvent, they had been taken in execution on behalf of his creditors.

 

At the sale, Marly met a well-dressed coloured gentleman who had been a fellow-student and friend in his college days at Edinburgh University. In twenty pages of close print Marly repeats his friend's long dissertation evidencing the sentiments of a well-educated and traveled coloured gentleman on the Jamaican colour question. Here first is the meeting of the friends in the vendue room.

 

Reflecting on the painful situation, anal lamenting the hard fate of these interesting looking girls, Marly was proceeding out of the sale room, when he met an old college acquaintance, with whom he had been in habits of intimacy while at the University. Marly cordially shook him by the hand, expressing the pleasure which he felt at so unexpected a meeting. His college chum was equally pleased, though he seemed so confused in his utterance as to attract the particular notice of Mlarly, who had known him for a smart youth and a very superior scholar. Marly, whose back was towards the people in the auction room, did not immediately perceive the cause of his companion's confusion; but, on turning round, he observed all eyes fixed upon himself, and from the contemptuous looks bestowed, the tittering carried on, and the appearance of the white company, he had no doubt but that he had done something to cause the confusion of his friend. He at once recollected, what had not occurred to him at the moment, that the face of his companion was brown, and that in their estimation, he had degraded himself, as unworthy of being white, by showing such familiarity and condescension to a person of so low a caste as a man of colour, although free, as to treat him as if he were an equal . . . He took him by the arm and walked out with him . . . and, on his companion's entreaty, accompanied him home to talk over old matters. The following extracts are some of the remarks of Marly's coloured friend.

 

Cruel fathers, disregarding the most strong and tender laws of nature, enact laws making their own issue slaves, no higher than negroes, declare their sons and daughters not worthy to be believed on oath. Educated in the universities of Britain, but, returning to Jamaica, their company shunned and disdained by the poorest white, incapable of holding any employment, their own father unable to give them more than £2000 of property. They groan under the want of personal freedom, the blood of their fathers neutralized by the blood of their mothers, conferring no rights upon them.

 

On the other hand, negroes know that it is their fate from both fathers and mothers to be hewers of

 

wood and drawers of water for the whites, but not so the man in whose veins flow the blood of a free white man.

 

It is the law of England that the child of a British father inherits all the privileges of the father; and unless those who hold people of colour in slavery can show it to be the law of England that the illegitimate children of Englishmen are deprived of their rights, they illegally hold in Jamaica the progeny of Englishmen in bondage. The charters of our colonies being founded on the Constitution of England, it is self-evident that no Englishman's child, whether legitimate or illegitimate can be deprived of his birthright of freedom without some act of his own forfeiting by law his rights.

 

The vulgar-minded among the whites could not bear the idea of seeing a person who had they smallest drop of black blood in him placed in a state of society any remove above a negro, far less in any situation like an equality with themselves. In Britain and in every country in Europe we are placed upon an equality with the whites; but in the country of our birth we cannot be even a juryman, a member of the vestry or an ensign in the militia. We are aliens in the country that gave us birth.

 

We are debarred from all situations of honour or of eminence, and rendered a proscribed race of a degraded caste in our own land. Although in England we are treated on a footing of equality, it is here considered as derogatory of the character of a white man to be in habits of intimacy with any of us. We are not allowed to sit at the same table with a man whose face is white even though he should be of the lowest extraction, education and employment; neither can we openly eat or drink with any of them. If we happen to be in a tavern by ourselves, and a white man should enter, it is expected that we should instantly retire as from the presence of one who is in every respect our superior. In the theatres separate seats are allotted to us-nay even in the house of God. (James Gall, journalist, referred in the 1890s to the crimson cord in the Parish Church at Half Way Tree, which "divided the sheep from the goat").

 

This system of galling degradation shows itself so perpetually that no minds possessing any of the feelings of men but must feel more irritated and hurt by it than by the want of more substantial benefits. Degradation we feel to be our lot; and many of the more favoured whites take delight to prevent us from forgetting it. Our white brethren should recollect that a continued course of degrading one race of mankind by a show of superiority by one class over another cannot remain forever. Revolutions in States are more frequently occasioned by such matters than by the real grievances which are assigned as the cause of revolutions.

 

With regard to the free girls of our complexion, observe how woefully ill-treated they are. Many of them are tolerably well educated; but mark the state of degradation to which they are doomed in their native land. Too few marriages among the coloured population themselves have yet been entered into. This arises not so much from the girls themselves being of an immoral character as from observing the superior affluence in which their acquaintances move who live with the white gentlemen. They are naturally attracted by the superior respect which they see a white man receive in comparison with the degradation of a brown one. A girl therefore observing this, and that living with a white man carries no disgrace, .naturally aspires to rise above her former mode of life by forming connection with a white man.

 

If a coloured girl happens to possess property, or has friends to look after her interests, the "transaction" sometimes takes place on the man giving bond against marriage or departure from the island. Sometimes the father, after doing his best in bringing up his illegitimate daughter, makes these arrangements for her himself. They regard this as being in no way immoral, seeing that marriage is precluded by custom. Some fathers however send their illegitimate daughters away for education and often insist on their remaining abroad. All this arises from our being marked out as an inferior race. Bestow on us our natural rights, and then our daughters and our sisters will be on an equality with the whites, and mixed marriages will then become prevalent.

 

(So much for the plight of the coloured people. What of the plight of the blacks? Our coloured friend shows little sympathy with them).

 

Now, he continues, that there is such a hue and cry in Britain about the Negroes, I should like to know what their pretended friends mean by granting them their freedom. If they bestow on them their freedom only, do they think it probable that a body so numerous will submit to the want of economic and political privileges; If freedom is granted to the blacks, the Colonies and the white and coloured population will be ruined, without the least improvement in the condition of the Negroes. After all, many of the free coloured people have no source of income except from hiring out their jobbing slaves.

 

Without imputing any other motive than pure philanthropy to those who are so anxious to have Negro slavery abolished, I wish that they would devote a small portion of their humanity to the position of the whites and the free people of colour.

 

These blacks-totally devoid of education, always under the most strict control, tell these men that they are their own masters, do the people of Britain think they would be eager to get employment like labourers in Britain? Would nearly half a million people without land or property tamely allow thirty or forty thousand people to possess the whole? With little knowledge of religion, with so little moral principle as to be generally addicted to stealing, even when under the strictest control, large bodies of them would become banditti, and masses of rebellious subjects, and repeat the tragedy which a similar race performed in Haiti. A scene of blood would follow. Neither sex nor age would be sacred. All would meet with one general massacre-blood, horror and devastation-the inevitable result of freedom. Far be it from me however to wish that negro slavery should exist for ever. I am strongly inclined to think that in the course of time manumission on an extended scale may safely be attempted after the people themselves by means of moral, religious and social instruction had become moral and industrious. (One is reminded of the sentiments of a Stewart, a Bickell and absentee proprietors and historians and West Indian Merchants in England, as if to say: "Emancipation? A consummation devoutly to be desired: but, please Lord, not in our time, not in our time".)

 

(To be continued)

 

DENIGRATION

 

History teaches; but there are few learners, and fewer who, while learning, allow themselves to sublimate the lust for power to the urge for service. What has happened in British Guiana may happen here. There are similar elements: overwhelming desire for political power, resulting in the obsession that Government must at all costs be discredited. It was the sedulous discrediting of Government that eventually contributed largely to the political abdication of 1865. The situation in British Guiana has been the product of sedulous discrediting by Opposition Parties (in their desire for power) of Jagan's Government. Determined efforts to embarrass Government may start a movement here which the promoters do not desire but may be unable to stop.

 

Promoted unrest is a boomerang: Emergency powers forced on a Government from the roundabout of the swing.


 

Volume 5.     No. 14          September 1963

 

OOGABOO

 

 

The Prime Minister of Oogaboo was more than ever a worried man. In addition to the apparently insoluble problems of population, unemployment, the drift of the peasantry away from the land and the general endemic lack of integrity and of a sense of responsibility, he was plagued by the obvious inanities of his experts.

 

Above and to the north of the metropolis of Oogaboo, which metropolis extended over a large area of potentially arable land, which had been built into a large city with the usual amenities, there lay mountain ranges of steep declivity, scoured by seasonal floods which had in the course of time produced gully-courses and destroyed much alluvial soil and building sites and now threatened buildings and the amenities of the urban and suburban population. The present Government while in office some years ago had been called by the Opposition a 'Gully Government", because they did a good deal of gully control by means of walls and groins. When the Opposition obtained: office it :proceeded to spend some millions of £s to floor with concrete the bed of the largest urban gully. In due course the Opposition which had become they Government was displaced by a subsequent general election and the so-called "Gully Government" again took office under the Prime Minister (the Philosopher's friend). This Government in turn proceeded with plans for continuing the paving with concrete of the remainder of the gully to the sea at a cost of several million £s. The Prime Minister, a man of shrewd horse-sense, felt that there must be something wrong about the whole procedure. His Minister of Health was making plans to integrate preventive with curative health measures; surely, thought ht the Prime Minister, a similar principle might be injected into gully-control. So he called in the Philosopher for a friendly chat over drinks. While the Prime Minister believed in the virtues of carrot juice, he had also found that whiskey or champagne (according to the taste of the Imbiber) was a promoter of that relaxed atmosphere which stimulated cerebration and orderly ratiocination.

 

P.M.: Philo, what do you think of our plan of paving with concrete the floor of the gully from top to bottom? You know the damage caused by floodwater running rampant through our gullies.

 

Philo : Prime Minister, where is the top? And how do you propose to prevent under-scouring where you begin your flooring at the top.

 

P.M.: Now, Philo, none of that! You know very well that I do not go into details. Other people do that for A& exercise judgment in the over-all, when the details have been teased out; and I have never found my overall judgment at fault.

 

Philo: Does your overall judgment approve of gully-paving, P.M.?

 

P.M. There you are at it again. I will not be cross-examined. You are asking me what I am asking you. That is impermissible.

 

Philo: Very well, P.M. It is permissible however to note that as an addict to carrot juice you are applying preventive, rather than curative measures in the matter of your personal health. (Let me hope, by the way, -that your carrots are organically grown, so that you get carotene and appropriate vitamins in your carrots). Well then; you should apply a little preventive medicine to your gully problem. The French say "cherchez la femme". La femme in your gully problem is not to be found in the gullies but in the mountains. £10,000,000 spent in the mountains would be well and wisely spent.

 

P.M.: I don't want to spend money just for the sake of spending it, Philo. How will the expenditure of £10,000,000 fix my gully problem?

 

Philo: I know, P.M., that you are unalterably opposed to Communism; and I know that the Opposition would immediately smear you with Communism if you sent a mission to the Republic of China;. but that is what I advise you to do, instead of paving your gullies.

 

P.M.: Philo, I have always told you that it would be better if you stuck to carrot juice. I ask your opinion about paving my gully and you talk to me about Communism and the Republic of China. Please tell me in. simple language: Should I pave my gully? If not, why not? And if not, how am, I to stop the darned gully nuisance?

 

Philo: I mention China because that is the only country that is tackling a similar problem greatly magnified in a preventive and productive manner.

 

P.M.: How are they doing it?

 

Philo: If you would only read a bit more, P.M., I say, without offence, you would learn a lot. Pick up Edgar Snow's "The Other Side of the River". You will see it all set out, commencing at page 485 of the Random House edition of the book.

 

P.M.: Never mind me and my reading. Tell it to me shortly.

 

Philo: Well here goes: "Years ago" (and I quote with author's permission) "North Shensi, Kansu and Ningshia were hills and mountains pitted slashed and scored by torrential rains that left bald peaks, deep ravines . . . an earth that might have been clawed and torn by herds of angry whale-size centipedes. The transformation that could mow be seen from the air was beautiful to behold. . , Denuded of trees and over-grazed, the loess had been slipping toward the sea after every heavy rainfall, losing its fertility and filling the Yellow River with silt which piled up in its lower reaches and caused extensive floods. . . Thousands of square miles had been contour-terraced and interspersed with pines and other shade trees and extensive orchards and vineyards. Very steep gradients were brought under control and gullies and ravines sealed of by check dams, catch basins and soil banks, between hundreds of leveled-off shelves which stoutly retain and enrich useful land. What the Swiss have done with stonewalled terraces . . . is now being duplicated here on a vaster scale by the use of mud and stone embankments to seven feet high and one to two feet deep. Elaborate draining and control systems retain and guide moisture and silt . . . new land has been won, flood dangers greatly reduced and clean water reservoirs provided for human needs and irrigation".

 

P.M.: Now tell me in your own language what we could do in our mountains. Never mind China.

 

Philo: Well first of all forestation should proceed on intelligent lines. First cover the mountains with herbage, then circle-weed the planting of timber. Put a couple of inches of straw (there is plenty of cow grass in your mountains) in every ravine and in your gully beds to absorb moisture and stop erosion. If you were a reader, you would have read all this in Professor King's "Farmers of Forty Centuries

 

P.M.: Now stop that, Philo. My reading has nothing to do with the matter.

 

Philo: It is as simple . as that. Paving your gullies is worse than wooden-headed; it is concrete which is the hardest thing to dig out of anything or out of anybody's head. Furthermore my method conserves water, yours runs it into the sea. I am finished. If you don't understand what I have said, then you must be duller than your advisers. And I still say: send a mission to China.

 

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA

(Continued)

 

The Historical Record.

 

Marley reports an interesting discussion on the subject of colour between an itinerant missionary and a somewhat radical overseer: The missionary descanted against Las Casas for introducing Negro slavery-into the islands in the vain hope of saving the frail Indians. What a .paradise these islands would have been had their inhabitants been the descendants of white men in place of black ones. They would have cultivated the soil of the country in which they were born. The climate of these islands would have been their native home. They would be inured to labour in tropical climes. He confesses to an involuntary feeling apparently implanted in the breasts of white men by nature itself that black men are a race apart and inferior an impassable barrier between the two races-a, wise Providence obviously intended them to be hewers of wood and drawers of water to those of the favoured caste with lighter complexions. Prejudice apart. would any white man associate with a black man on terms of equality, or fail to shudder at the idea of consigning his daughter into the arms of a Negro husband a white mother consent to a negress being the wife of her son?

 

The overseer interrupted: Black men may become rich. White parents might then be so unfeeling

 

as to consign to the arms of the old and frail though wealthy Negroes their lovely daughters. This must happen in the course of time. To meet this contingency, this is my plan. I propose whitening the people. The moment a black lady ushered into the world a brown child, I would free the child and endow every negress who helped the whitening scheme. I would give every inducement to the negress to bear brown children. In this way, not only would slavery gradually terminate, but the black colour would silently and ultimately vanish from the British colonies.

 

The missionary deplored the depravity of human nature which led to the repugnant and illicit unions. The overseer said that he took human nature as he found it; and would help it along in the desired direction by his "whitening" process. Indeed, he ventured the opinion that in the course of time, the whole of Africa might be benevolently helped to undergo the whitening process. When this new and happy era for Africa begins, at the same moment the whitening of the sable race will commence and proceed in an equally rapid manner as in the American colonies. The dark hue of the negro may eventually cease to exist and assume that of brown.

 

(What stands out in clear relief in a study of the history of colour prejudice is that by whites, coloured and blacks in all periods colour was accepted without question as a valid standard of value or measure of worth. That explains much of Jamaican social, economic and political history. A change in this evaluation was as difficult as might be an effort to equi-valuate a copper with a silver coin).

 

The reasons given by Mary’s friend for the preference of coloured girls for concubinage with white men rather than marriage with men of their own colour is largely borne out by historians J. Stewart (editions of 1808 and 1823) and W. J. Gardner (1873). Stewart puts it down to their love of finery and :parade. Gardner thought that the preference or attachment was largely due to the feeling that the coloured man, debarred from the enjoyment of civil liberties and privileges, could not give the protection from injury and insult that the white man could. Some of the coloured ladies, he points out, were possessed of considerable property of their own; and it was not until after the abolition of slavery that matrimonial alliances with white men were at all common. One may however take leave to doubt whether such alliances were frequent until a later date, at any rate with women as dark as mulattos.

 

Stewart notes that a coloured lady, however wealthy, never aspired to marital union with a white man, nor did custom permit it. "But", he adds, "the brown female gives herself little concern about this, while the most distinguished and opulent of the whites pay an illicit homage to her charms; and even the man of family shall forsake his wife and abandon his children to hold dalliance in her more alluring company".

 

Writing some sixty odd years later, Gardner notes the trying position of the white bride: "It was rarely that an offer of marriage was received from anyone who did not maintain at least one coloured

or black "housekeeper". This, all but universal appendage of a bachelor's household, would in most cases retain her position until a few days before the marriage. If a good-natured person, she would prepare the home she was quitting for the expected bride; while the lady would often take an interest in the future welfare of herself and her children".

 

The coloured population increased enormously. Stewart records that "one respectable clergyman" baptized about fifteen brown children to every white child; and this was considered a fair average for the island, and that it was tending to increase rapidly.

 

Stewart also noted the good behaviour of educated persons of colour; but that they are with few exceptions excluded from the society of the whites, "and exposed to other mortifications in consequence of the line of distinction which custom and the laws draw between the whites and the browns".

 

Stewart continues his reflections on a white child and a brown child educated at the same school in England, but discontinuing all social relations on their return to the island. He, like Gardner, describes the gala parties of the brown ladies, from some of which men of colour were excluded. Stewart notes that, with the exception of those educated abroad, coloured slave-owners were not so mild and humane to their slaves as the white people. Many of them were harsh and tyrannical; so that it passed into a proverb: "Give me a buckra mistress, no give me mulatto, dem no use neega well". Stewart reflects on the quiet and inoffensive habits of the free blacks, who chiefly inhabit the towns and follow some trade or occupation.

 

Such were the social conditions when in 1830 free persons of every colour had all civil disabilities removed. Doubtful exception must be made in the case of Jews, for whom a technical point of law delayed local legislative consummation for a year. When the local law was first passed, it was disallowed by the Crown, because it was claimed that the Jews were by the Windsor Proclamation of Charles II already free of all civil disabilities and that such an enactment might unsettle title to real estate.

 

The entry of persons of colour in the early 1830s as members of the Assembly must have had a profound effect on their social position; but it was to be very many years before the inhibition of the fear of the "throw-back" allowed free social relations between the whites and any appreciable number of persons of colour. The exceptions, such as admission to the exclusive Jamaica Club or to white homes, were made only in the case of the few who were regarded as having made themselves particularly acceptable. The line was less rigid in the country towns, where coloured persons of wealth or eminence, particularly medical practitioners, became automatically acceptable. But in business, association was free and friendly. The inhibitions yielded slowly; and particular reference will be made later to the great change which began to arise in the nineteen thirties and received additional impulse in the 1940s, '50s and sixties with successive changes in the island Constitution, which gave persons of colour

 

and the blacks more and more political prominence and influence.

 

An early great change had come in the 1880s with the arrival of Sir Henry Wylie Norman as Governor, who gave social recognition to coloured people at King's House. Membership of the Legislative Council in the 1390s was to further the social standing of some coloured people; while the excellent character and deportment of others helped the good cause along.

 

The inhibitions are still apparent; but the manifestations have yielded in Jamaica and elsewhere to the universally greater social tolerance of the times. In Jamaica, the attitude of the Missionaries and social workers from the British Isles have had profound effects, as have athletic sports, as will be later related, as well as school-associations.

 

The Census of 1844 (generally believed to have been somewhat inaccurate in under-estimating the number of coloured people) sets down the number of whites at 15,776, of persons of colour at 68,529 and the blacks at 293,128.

 

Between the 1830s and the 1860s, of which period Grant Allen wrote in his "In All Shades", there appears to have been little discernible movement towards complete social recognition of individual persons of colour, none of them as a class, and none of the blacks either individually or as a class. Later reference will be made to Grant Allen's novel (the greatest Jamaican satire of all times) as it may help to give a picture of social relations during the 1860s. Grant Allen, it may be remembered, was an immigrant white, beside being a biologist; and appears to have been uninfluenced by the prevailing colour-phobia, with its local standards of social value. Read as satire or romance, Grant Allen's "In All Shades" is illuminating and illustrative of the period; but, before availing ourselves of the picture of the times afforded by Grant Allen's satirical romance, it may be of interest to note the almost unique record we have of a free black on the question of colour.

 

In the year 1708 a law was passed negativing the validity of slave evidence against Manuel Bartholomew and John Williams, free blacks. This gave them a particular privilege which had been reserved to the whites. The same privilege was accorded to Dorothy, the wife of John Williams and their sons, Thomas and Francis. Francis Williams has been immortalised by the account of him given by the historian Edward Long, whose somewhat critical estimate of the genus Africanus has already been recorded. In introducing Francis Williams to his readers, Edward Long claims to be endeavoring to do him all possible justice, leaving it, as he claimed, to his readers to say whether what they shall discover will be sufficient to overthrow his previous arguments on the black race and their inferiority to white men.

 

Francis Williams, it appears, was selected by the Duke of Montagu for a somewhat curious experiment, namely to ascertain whether an educated negro might be found as capable of literature as a white person. He was sent to England and went through Grammar School and on to Cambridge University

 

Stewart also noted the good behaviour of educated persons of colour; but that they are with few exceptions excluded from the society of the whites, "and exposed to other mortifications in consequence of the line of distinction which custom and the laws draw between the whites and the browns".

 

Stewart continues his reflections on a white child and a brown child educated at the same school in England, but discontinuing all social relations on their return to the island. He, like Gardner, describes the gala parties of the brown ladies, from some of which men of colour were excluded. Stewart notes that, with the exception of those educated abroad, coloured slave-owners were not so mild and humane to their slaves as the white people. Many of them were harsh and tyrannical; so that it passed into a proverb: "Give me a buckra mistress, no give me mulatto, dem no use neega well". Stewart reflects on the quiet and inoffensive habits of the free blacks, who chiefly inhabit the towns and follow some trade or occupation.

 

Such were the social conditions when in 1830 free persons of every colour had all civil disabilities removed. Doubtful exception must be made in the case of Jews, for whom a technical point of law delayed local legislative consummation for a year. When the local law was first passed, it was disallowed by the Crown, because it was claimed that the Jews were by the Windsor Proclamation of Charles II already free of all civil disabilities and that such an enactment might unsettle title to real estate.

 

The entry of persons of colour in the early 1830s as members of the Assembly must have had a profound effect on their social position; but it was to be very many years before the inhibition of the fear of the "throw-back" allowed free social relations between the whites and any appreciable number of persons of colour. The exceptions, such as admission to the exclusive Jamaica Club or to white homes, were made only in the case of the few who were regarded as having made themselves particularly acceptable. The line was less rigid in the country towns, where coloured persons of wealth or eminence, particularly medical practitioners, became automatically acceptable. But in business, association was free and friendly. The inhibitions yielded slowly; and particular reference will be made later to the great change which began to arise in the nineteen thirties and received additional impulse in the 1940s, '50s and sixties with successive changes in the island Constitution, which gave persons of colour and the blacks more and more political prominence and influence.

 

An early great change had come in the 1880s with the arrival of Sir Henry Wylie Norman as Governor, who gave social recognition to coloured people at King's House. Membership of the Legislative Council in the 1390s was to further the social standing of some coloured people; while the excellent character and deportment of others helped the good cause along.

 

The inhibitions are still apparent; but the manifestations have yielded in Jamaica and elsewhere to the universally greater social tolerance of the times. In Jamaica, the attitude of the Missionaries and social workers from the British Isles have had profound effects, as have athletic sports, as will be later related, as well as school-associations.

 

The Census of 1844 (generally believed to have been somewhat inaccurate in under-estimating the number of coloured people) sets down the number of whites at 15,776, of persons of colour at 68,529 and the blacks at 293,128.

 

Between the 1830s and the 1860s, of which period Grant Allen wrote in his "In All Shades", there appears to have been little discernible movement towards complete social recognition of individual persons of colour, none of them as a class, and none of the blacks either individually or as a class. Later reference will be made to Grant Allen's novel (the greatest Jamaican satire of all times) as it may help to give a picture of social relations during the 1860s. Grant Allen, it may be remembered, was an immigrant white, beside being a biologist; and appears to have been uninfluenced by the prevailing colour-phobia, with its local standards of social value. Read as satire or romance, Grant Allen's "In All Shades" is illuminating and illustrative of the period; but, before availing ourselves of the picture of the times afforded by Grant Allen's satirical romance, it may be of interest to note the almost unique record we have of a free black on the question of colour.

 

In the year 1708 a law was passed negativing the validity of slave evidence against Manuel Bartholomew and John Williams, free blacks. This gave them a particular privilege which had been reserved to the whites. The same privilege was accorded to Dorothy, the wife of John Williams and their sons, Thomas and Francis. Francis Williams has been immortalised by the account of him given by the historian Edward Long, whose somewhat critical estimate of the genus Africanus has already been recorded. In introducing Francis Williams to his readers, Edward Long claims to be endeavoring to do him all possible justice, leaving it, as he claimed, to his readers to say whether what they shall discover will be sufficient to overthrow his previous arguments on the black race and their inferiority to white men.

 

Francis Williams, it appears, was selected by the Duke of Montagu for a somewhat curious experiment, namely to ascertain whether an educated negro might be found as capable of literature as a white person. He was sent to England and went through Grammar School and on to Cambridge University. On his return to Jamaica, the Duke of Montagu tried to persuade Governor Trelawny to appoint him to the Governor's Council; but the Governor refused on the ground that it might unsettle the slaves. Francis Williams accordingly started a school at Spanish Town. He selected a negro for training as his successor; but the successor elect lost his reason. This, writes Long, was "an unfortunate example to show that every African head is not adapted by- nature to such profound contemplations". J

 

Francis Williams, says Long, was haughty, looked down with contempt on his fellow-blacks, treated his parents with disdain and his children with severity bordering on cruelty and exacted the utmost deference from the blacks around him. He was said to affect singularity in dress, a huge wig and a severe cast of countenance. On the arrival of the new Governor, he :presented him with a Latin ode composed by himself and couched in extravagant terms. Long devotes a whole chapter of his second volume to Francis Williams and W. J. Gardner, three pages of his History of Jamaica and an appendix to the translation of the ode. It is the only record we have of the opinion of himself of the black man of the age. The ode (as translated) proceeds: "Though poured forth from one very black, it is valuable coming from a sonorous mouth; not from his skin, but from his heart. The bountiful Deity, with a hand powerful and firm has given the same soul to men of all races, nothing standing in his way. Virtue itself and prudence are free from colour; there is no colour in an honourable mind, no colour in skill. Why dost thou fear or doubt that the blackest Muse may scale the lofty house of the Western Caesar? Go and salute him, and let it not be to thee a cause of shame that thou wearest a white body in a black skin . , . A wise heart and the love of his ancestral virtue the more remove him from his comrades and makes him conspicuous . . . "

 

By and large, Williams appears to accept the prevailing and established pigmentary standard of value, the rule being proved by the outstanding exception of himself. He habitually described himself as a white man operating under a black skin; but endeavored to prove that a black was superior to a mulatto. But he did not think well of the black species: "Show me", he was wont to say, 'a black man, and I will show you a thief". Very many blacks for very many generations preferred to be employed by whites rather than by people of colour, partly as a matter of prestige, but partly also by reason of receiving more considerate treatment.

 

Marly's gentleman of colour sought to place his class on a pedestal in relation to the blacks. Williams sought to place himself on a pedestal in relation to his fellow blacks.

 

In or about 1850, an American journalist, Bigelow, who owned a Brooklyn newspaper, visited Jamaica; and wrote an interesting commentary on economic conditions. He reflected somewhat spitefully on the miscegenation between Jew and Black. It was left, he said, to his visit to Jamaica to reveal the possibility of the Jew inflicting his villainous countenance on the Negro. It is true that there was widespread mating between Jews, as well as other whites, with black and coloured females. Often persons of colour, some of them apparently negroes, in the Jamaican acceptation of the word, displayed handsome Semitic countenances and features.

 

In the year 1859, the famous English novelist Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) visited Jamaica. As a civil servant, he had much to do with postal affairs; and his mission to Jamaica seems to have been concerned with the current argument between the Jamaican Assembly and the Postmaster General of England, as a result of which Jamaica was reluctantly compelled to assume responsibility for her own postal arrangements, which had not proved lucrative to the British Postmaster General who operated by proxy.

 

To Trollope's visit we are indebted for his chatty book, "West Indies and the Spanish Main", which contains three chapters of forty five pages of reflections on "Black Men", "Coloured Men" and "White Men". Trollope's comments bring into clear relief the firmly established standards of value based on colour, a factor which persistently bedeviled Jamaican social relations, and eventually resulted in the surrender in 1865 of the ancient Jamaican Constitution with its large measure of self-government.

 

Of the Negro, Trollope writes: "The White Man is the god present to his eye; and he believes in him believes in him with a qualified faith and imitates him with a qualified constancy . . . They despise the coloured man . . . The white man looks upon himself as of the ascendant race, he looks upon those of colour as being so, or about to become so. He believed the star of the white man to be waning, their work, if not done, to be on the decline. Providence, his theory claims, sent white men and black men to these regions that from them might spring a race fitted for civilization and tropical labour.

 

Trollope reflect: sadly on people of colour who are tempted to deny their African parentage: "The evil arises mainly from the white man's jealousy. He who seeks to pass for other than he is makes a low attempt . . . But I doubt whether such energy of repudiation be not equally low. Why not allow the claim, or seem to allow it, if practicable? White, art thou, my friend? Be a white man, if thou wilt, or rather if thou canst. All that we require of thee is that there remains no negro ignorance, no negro cunning, no negro apathy of brain. Forbear those vain attempts to wash out that hair of thine, and make it lank and damp. We will not regard at all that little wave in shy locks, not even that lisp in shy tongue. But struggle my friend to be open in shy speech . . . 'A nice fellow Jones', says a stranger (to the island), 'very intelligent, very well-mannered'. 'Yes, indeed' (replies his Creole friend), 'yes, indeed a very decent fellow. They do say that he is coloured. Of course you know that"'. (I was reminded of that, when in 1939, a member of Lord Moyne's Royal Commission, in casual conversation, mentioned in a conspiratorial whisper that General S- of a distinguished Jamaican family was a person of colour. Full social recognition wasp at that period still denied to persons of distinguishable colour).

 

(To be continued)

 


 

Volume 5.     No. 15         OCTOBER 1963   

 

BOOK REVIEW.-The Friendly Fungi-A New Approach to the Eelworm Problem - C. L. Duddington

(Faber & Faber-1957)

 

Professor Duddington disarms the initiate by his candor and reassures the novitiate by his non-patronising lucidity, a difficult problem, presented as simply as possible.

 

It was in 1904, he reminds us, that British potato growers were shaken by an outbreak of the potato root eelworm. There followed discovery of the beet eelworm, destroying sugar beet on a large scale, of the cereal root eelworm, menacing grain crops, especially oats, and of the stem eelworm, destroying onions, hyacinth bulbs, clover and tomatoes. In Jamaica we have recently been confronted with the banana eelworm. Most of the following particulars are taken, mostly verbatim, from Professor Duddington's book.

 

Eelworms under the microscope look like tiny eels, moving rapidly with threshing movements of the body. To the zoologist they are round worms of the phylum Nematoda. Placed in a strong light against a dark background they can be seen with the naked eye; but in their normal environments they are usually invisible. For the species however their small size is amply compensated for by their enormous numbers and their immense activity.

 

Eggs of the eelworm are laid in the soil or in the host plant. There are eelworms that attack plants as obligate parasites, that is they can feed only on their living host plants. In the absence of the host plant such eelworms starve; but they do not immediately die, because they have food reserves in their own bodies. The larvae of the best eelworm, for example,--can- live in the soil for two years without its host. It has been claimed that an eelworm parasite of rye has been revived after a dormancy of thirty nine years. What of the banana eelworm? It pay be that Government's scientific advisers are somewhat too optimistic in sentencing the banana eelworm to immediate death when deprived of their host. If they are still alive in the soil when the fields are replanted, the Government eradication plan may miscarry.

 

There are eelworms which avoid the soil stage, like the coconut eelworms, which are carried by the rhinoceros beetle from tree to tree. Other eelworms also attack the stem structure of plants. There are others which live permanently in the soil, piercing the underground parts of the plants with their sharp stylets, but not at any time living inside their hosts.

 

Eelworms have enormous potentiality for reproduction, both male and female having maximized the sexual urge and capacity; while in some eelworms parthenogenesis is of common occurrence. Eelworms surpass in fecundity both locusts and guinea pigs.

 

The author discusses methods adopted for attacking the eelworm menace. He points out the well-known immunity which insects build up against DDT, also the danger often experienced in applying other toxic agencies. He mentions the well-known but difficult measure of applying heat to the soil. I have myself found eelworms at the root of the passiflora yield for a time at least to the heat generated by carbide. Biological control is dealt with by the author in some detail. Since the book was written the Henry Doubleday Research Association of 20 Convent Lane, Bocking, Braintree, Essex, England has been popularising the beneficial effect against some kinds eelworm menace by planting the Tall African Marigold or Tagetes Minuta. The name tagetes is suggestive; for not only was Tages an Etruscan god of agriculture, but excavated vases of Mayan or Aztec origin are found to have painted on them the umbel of the marigold, as of a sacred flower.

 

But the main point of the book is in relation to "our natural allies," the Fungi., which are among the many natural enemies that the eelworm has to face. For as Dean Swift wrote some two and a half centuries ago: "So, naturalists observe, a Flea hath smaller Fleas that on him prey. And these have smaller Fleas to bite 'em, and so proceed, ad infinitum." (The fact that Swift was in fact writing of poets adds piquancy to his natural history). The mycelium of the fungus consists of innumerable fine threads or hyphae which deliberately trap and consume the eelworm, the trappers or "friendly fungi" of the author being known to scientists as "predacious fungi." The book with its excellent plates and descriptions make absorbing reading. The author thinks that a promising field opens up for the development of our friendly allies; and gives us a good deal of information on the work that is being done in this direction in addition to fascinating explanations of how our allies (although only plants) do their apparently conscious spider-like work. Being a form of biological control however, it may be anathema to the Jamaican Scientific Department.

 

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA

(Continued)

 

The Historical Record.

 

Anthony Trollope continues:

 

"With nine-tenths of those of mixed breed", says our author, "no attempts at concealment are by any means possible. They take their lot as it is, and on the whole make the best of it  jealous of the assumed ascendancy of the white man, imperious to the black man, and determined on that side to exhibit and use their superiority. The old planter scorns the House of Assembly. Into public society the coloured people have made their way --- Governor's parties and such like. As a rule, they are disliked by the white aristocracy in a strong degree by the planters themselves, but in a much stronger degree by the planters' wives."

 

It maybe appropriate at this point to interpose the opinion of the egregious and inflated Thomas Carlyle, the master of turgid and obscurantic prose, and reactionary philosophy although he deals entirely with the Negro labouring class.

 

In 1849 the Jamaican planters' economy was or believed itself to be ruined by the withdrawal of tariff protection in the British market against the competition of Cuban and Brazilian slave-grown sugar. Compared with the eight years ending in 1846 when tariff protection ceased, the succeeding period of eight years showed a drop in the average price of sugar, exclusive of duty, from 37/6d. to 24/6d. per cwt. Labourers' wages since emancipation had experienced reduction from 2/6d. to 1/6d. per day. It now fell to 8d. or 9d. per day, with payment very intermittent, for the absentee proprietors often failed to supply the money for pay-bills which was not available from local production. In the words of Lord Olivier ("Myth of Governor Eyre"), "the representatives of West Indian interests in England filled the air with their lamentations. In this distress of a renowned British heritage Thomas Carlyle stood forth in his prophet's mantle to enlighten the nation, to counsel the West Indian whites and to admonish the blacks as to the divinely ordered necessities of the position." In Fraser's Magazine of November 1949 there appeared Carlyle's "Discourse on Niggers". The following extracts must suffice: "Where a black man by working about half an hour a day (such is the calculation), can supply himself, by aid of sun and soil, with as much pumpkin as will suffice, he is likely to be a little stiff to raise into hard work! Supply and Demand, which, Science says, should be brought to bear upon him, have an uphill task of it with such a man. Strong sun supplies itself gratis, rich- soil, in those un-peopled or half-peopled regions, almost gratis; these are his Supply; and half an hour a day directed upon these, will produce Pumpkin, which is his Demand. The fortunate black man; Very swiftly does he settle his account with Supply and Demand; - not so swiftly the less fortunate whiteman of these tropical localities. He himself cannot work; his black neighbour, rich in pumpkin, is in no haste to help him. Sunk to the ears in pumpkin, imbibing saccharine juices, and much at his ease in the Creation, he can listen to the less fortunate white man's demand and take his own time in supplying it. Higher wages, Massa! Higher! For your cane crop cannot wait! Still higher! - till no conceivable opulence of cane-crop will cover such wages! . . . It is the law of our nature that no black man who s all  not work according to what ability the gods have given him for working has the smallest right to eat pumpkin or to any fraction of land that will grow pumpkin, however plentiful such land may be; but has an indisputable and perpetual right to be compelled, by the real proprietor of such land, to do competent work for his living. That is the everlasting duty of all men black or white who are born into the world. No! the gods wish besides pumpkins that sugar, coffee, cinnamon, precious spices and valuable products be grown in their West Indies, . . . . . not indolent two-legged cattle, however happy over their abundant pumpkin . . . . Quashie, if he will not help in bringing out the spices, will get himself made a slave again ..... and with beneficent whip . . . will be compelled to work ....On the whole it ought to be rendered possible for white men to live beside black men and produce West Indian fruitfulness by means of them, Not a square inch of soil in those fruitful isles, purchased by British blood, shall any black man hold to grow pumpkins for him except on terms that are fair to Britain . ....Decidedly you have to be servants to those that are born wiser than you ….that are born Lords of you ."

 

Sixteen years later, Carlyle was again to make an exhibition of himself on the subject of the illegal trial and execution of George William Gordon. He drafted a petition to Parliament (the manuscript in his own handwriting is in the West India Reference Library): "The man Gordon..., a man whom it was the duty of all British subjects to assist in getting executed by the nearest and highest gallows there was a road to, and that in sanctioning this execution and thereby forever extinguishing the live coal of these flames, Mr. Eyre did one of the indubitable duties that could fall to a Governor of Jamaica."

 

Grant Allen (Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen-18481899), the author of "In All Shades" was of Irish descent but was born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He had a liberal education and was caught up in the prevailing scientific thought of his youth and adolescence and in the then modern theory of evolution. Charles Darwin's magnum opus "The origin of species by means of Natural Selection" was published when Grant Allen was ten years old. It is not surprising that the heretic author of "The evolution of the idea of a God" should also be a heretic on the matter of West Indian colour phobia or prejudice. He was in Jamaica in the 1860s as principal of the short-lived Queen's University College at Spanish Town. In his "In All Shades" nominally located in Trinidad, he produces in the form of romance a satire on colour prejudice in Jamaica. It will simplify matters if we ignore the camouflage and deal with the book as referring to conditions in Jamaica, and Jamaican society.

 

Edward Hawthorn, a young Jamaican, like his parents apparently white all of them but well known in Jamaican society to have "a touch of the tar brush", had in early childhood been sent to England to be educated, the idea of his parents being that he should remain there and never experience the indignities or disadvantages of a coloured man in Jamaica. Neither the question of colour nor the disability was ever mentioned to the young man by his parents.

 

Young Hawthorne had gone to a University; and, like other West Indians of independent means, had made many friends in high English society. A close college friend, Harry Noel, a member of the English nobility was as swarthy as Edward was fair. Edward had become a barrister; and the two friends were discussing the strange and inexplicable reluctance of Edward's parents to have him return to Jamaica. Shortly afterwards an advertisement invited applications for a vacant Jamaican judgeship. Edward applied Ad Secured the position. He and his fiancée, Marian, the daughter of a retired English general, decided to get married at once and proceed together to Jamaica.

 

Nora Dupuy, a white girl had also been sent to England in early life for her education. Being a close friend of Marian, and ready to return to Jamaica, she decided to travel with the Hawthorn's and have the pleasant companionship of Marian as chaperone. She knew and liked Edward; but, knowing nothing of his social disability, was puzzled by the fact that she had never heard of the Hawthorns. Harry Noel had fallen in love with Nora; and had actually proposed marriage; but his swarthy appearance made him persona non grata, if not actually taboo, to a West Indian Creole. He did not however lightly give up hope, and was to visit Jamaica in furtherance of his suit.

 

Some idea of the period of the scenes described by Grant Allen in his "In All Shades" may be gathered from two circumstances: (a) he was in Jamaica in the 1860s, although, so far as I know, his book was not published until nearly twenty years later (b) his mention of the use of the Ocean Telegraph which was connected up with Jamaica in 1869.

 

"Just look at the brown man", Nora exclaimed in a sharp whisper, as a tall gentlemanly - looking mulatto walked up the gangway from the puffing tug. "We shall be positively overwhelmed with colour ed people             There are three Hottentot Venuses in the saloon already ....and a San Domingo general ....and a couple of walnut old gentlemen going to Dominica; and now there is a regular brown man coming on board, . . . .his name on his portmanteau is Dr. Whittaker ....Fancy being attended through a fever by a man of his complexion". Marian could not understand Nora's attitude or her belief in the insensitivity of coloured people to scorn or ridicule.

 

On joining the party and greeting General Ord effusively and stating that the party must of course sit at his table, the Captain suffered his first shock when he learnt that Marian's husband was actually old Hawthorn's son; for it was well-known in the island that the Hawthorns were persons of colour. His second shock was learning that Nora, daughter of the proud white Dupuy, was actually being chaperoned by Edward's Wife. Marian was puzzled at the Captain's changed behaviour when he learnt who Edward was, and at his barely concealed amusement when he learnt who Nora was.

 

The ship was already under way when she was hailed by a messenger boy from a newly arrived boat:

 

"Passenger aboard by the name of Hawthorn? We've got a telegram for him. Passenger aboard of the name of Miss Dupuy? We've got a telegram for her". The telegrams were as follows: "From Hawthorn .... to Hawthorn R. M. S. Severn. . . .For God's sake don't come out. Reasons by letter". "From Dupuy ....to Miss Dupuy,  R. M. S. Severn. . . .Don't come out till next steamer. On no account go on board Severn". It was of course too late to obey the cables; but the travelers pursued their voyage in much puzzlement and anxiety. The Captain understood; and seemed merely amused. He suggested an outbreak of yellow fever in the island, or some similar occurrence.

 

Much play is made by the author of the relations on the voyage of the talented Dr. Whittaker on terms of relatively easy familiarity with the Hawthorns, but with difficulty and restraint with Nora, whom he greatly admired, and who, much against her will, found herself according him respect and esteem; for he was a man of great culture, character and social attainments.

 

The arrival of the boat in Jamaica witnessed one of those scenes foreshadowed by Edward Long, of a cultured son returning to vulgar family surroundings. The humiliation of Dr. Whittaker by the coarse, vulgar and tipsy behaviour of his father was to be continued by the spurious affectation of his female relatives during his sojourn in the island.

 

Dr. Whittaker, being of independent means, had planned to devote his leisure to music, to make it his vocation, in order to help the poverty stricken people with free medical advice and ministration. "The mulatto doctor however became weary of the terrible disillusion that had come upon him on his return to the home of his father, weary of the painfully vulgar and narrow world into which he had been cast by unrelenting circumstances. He could not live any longer in Jamaica. Let him fight it out as he would for the sake of his youthful ideals, the battle had clearly gone against him, and there was nothing left for him now but to give up in despair and fly to England; Edward had counseled him to go; for he felt how vastly different were the circumstances of the struggle in his own case and in those of the poor young mulatto doctor. He himself had only to fight against the social prejudices of men his real inferiors in intellect and culture and moral standing; Dr. Whittaker had to face as well the utterly uncongenial brown society into which he had been rudely pitch­ forked by fate."

 

As for the social problems of Marian and Edward, they may now be related. James Hawthorn made his way on board and greeted his son and daughter in law. "Oh, Mr. Hawthorn, there's Papa," Nora cried excitedly. "So, you've come, Nora," the old gentleman said quietly, disembarrassing himself from her close embrace . . . . . "in spite of my telegram. How was this, my dear? How was this, tell me?" After explaining this, Nora continued: "But we've got o t all safe, you see -and Marian you know Marian Ord - Mrs. Hawthorn that is now-she's taken great care of me.." Mr. Dupuy drew himself up to his stateliest eminence and looked straight across at Marian Hawthorn with stiff politeness. "I didn't know it was to Mrs. Hawthorn, I'm sure," he said, "that I was to be indebted for your safe arrival here in Jamaica. It was very good of Mrs. Hawthorn, no doubt, to bring you out to us and act as your chaperone. I am much obliged to Mrs. Hawthorn for her kind attention and care of you on the voyage. I must thank Mrs. Hawthorn sincerely for the trouble she may have been put to on your account. Good morning Mrs. Hawthorn. Good morning Mr. Hawthorn (to the father of Edward). "Your son, I suppose. Ah! So I imagined Good morning. Good morning." He raised his hat in formal courtesy to Marian; and bowed slightly to the son and father. Then he drew Nora's arm carefully in his, and was just about to walk her immediately off the steamer, when Nora burst from him in the utmost amazement and rushed up to kiss Marian. "Papa", she cried, "I don't think you understand. This Is Marian Ord, don't you know? General Ord's daughter, that I've written you about so often. She's my dearest friend, and now she's married to Mr. Edward Hawthorn - this is he - and Aunt Harriett gave me in charge of her to come across with . . . . ." She said goodbye to Marian, saying "Not of course that it matters saying goodbye to you, for you and we will be such very, very near neighbours, and of course we shall see a great deal of one another, won't we, Papa? ...." Mr. Dupuy bowed again very stiffly. "....I shall hope to take an early opportunity of paying my respect to your friend General Ord's daughter. I am much obliged once more to Mrs. Hawthorn for her well meant attentions. Good morning. This way, Nora, my dear."

 

"Father", Edward exclaimed in doubt and dismay, "what does it all mean? ...." The explanation was to come later. In the meantime, the old man turned his face away with a bitter gesture. "My boy, my boy, my poor boy," he answered slowly and remorsefully, "I cannot tell you. I can never tell you. You will find out for yourself soon enough. But I-I-I can never tell you".

 

After spending a week with the old people, Marian being unable to draw from Mrs. Hawthorn the solution of the mystery which Edward had also failed to elicit from his father, the young couple settled in their own home, and prepared to receive callers.

 

The Colonial Secretary and the Director of Immigration were the first callers. The Colonial Secretary took up his parable at once with profuse and ponderous apologies. His wife was far from well, malady of the country, shocking climate. The Director of Immigration made his apologies-his wife down with toothache - a perfect martyr to it. Edward was somewhat short with him. As both gentlemen jumped into the dog-cart outside, Edward heard one say to the other: "Yes, my dear fellow, he twigged it".

 

The third caller came immediately, a neighbouring planter. His wife was unable to come as she was suffering from extreme exhaustion due to the heat. In the course of the afternoon three more gentlemen came, their wives all unable to come through indisposition.

 

"Edward, darling, for God's sake, why are they treating me as if I were some sort of moral leper. They won't call upon me. What can be the reason". "I can't make it out," he cried. "I can't understand it-it is too terrible."

 

The Whittakers called, father, son and daughter; but the visit was somewhat marred by Miss Euphemia's affectation and prejudices. It appears that her cousin had been married that morning; but she had not gone to the wedding. "We didn't at all approve of de match me cousin was making. De lady, I regret to say, was a Sambo". Marian was mystified; so old man Whittaker explained: "A Sambo is one of de inferior degrees in de complexion. De offspring of a Mulatto and a White man is a Quadroon - dat is de grade immediately superior. But de offspring of a Mulatto and a Negress is a Sambo - dat is de class immediately below us - Septimus has chosen to ally himself with a Sambo gal - de second and immediate remove in de same progression. De family feel dat in discourse Septimus has thoroughly and irremediably disgraced himself." They left; and the Dupes (uncle and nephew) were ushered in before Marian had time to deny herself to them. Edward immediately asked for Nora, and why she hadn't come. "I don't know to whom you can be alluding, sir, when you speak of Nora; but if you refer to my daughter Miss Dupuy, I regret to say she is suffering just at present from  a severe indisposition ...." An indignant exchange followed, Edward insisting on knowing the reason why Nora had not come, and refusing to accept the excuse of indisposition.

 

(To be continued)

.


 

Volume 5.     No 16         November 1963

 

BOOK REVIEW : "The Other Side of the River - Red China Today" - By Edgar Snow

(Random House 1961 - Victor Gollancz Ltd. 1963)

 

       By reason of the excellent schematics of the book as well as its eloquent lucidity of expression, this review will largely partake of extended quotations made with kind permission from the author. The book is an important one for an independent Jamaica. There is no apparent reason why Jamaica should not learn from Communist China how a people may, without going Communist, pull themselves up by their own boot-straps. The necessary elements for emulation are: integrity, true patriotism and a will­ingness to work. That we function in Jamaica undo a form of parliamentary democracy politically and under a form of free enterprise (necessarily con­trolled) economically makes no difference whatever to our needs and our potentiality to remake ourselves and our country. We need of course what China ex­perienced: a spiritual regeneration.

 

"Why did China go Red? . . . It required no sharp intuition to comprehend why. In a country where child workers of ten or twelve were often locked up at night, to sleep in rags beneath the machines they operated by day, the Communist Manifesto "(that of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels of 1380 " was rend as gospel . . . Nor need one ponder why Chinese who met Western democracy only in its role- of foreign policeman, defending 'rights and interests' seized by violence in China, could readily accept at full face-value Marx's scornful denunciations. its hypocrisy; . . . to be treated as inferiors in their own country rankled for many years. Thus nationalism, the passion to reassert China's ancient role as a great power, initially played a greater part in attracting literate Chinese to Marxism than it did in Russia . . . The program . . . adopted . . . called for a two-stage revolution, in accordance with Lenin's classical theses for colonial and semi-colonial countries . . . first . . . the "bourgeois' democratic' revolution, with a united front of the progressive bourgeoisie, the working-class and the peasantry, led by the Communist Party. It would end foreign imperialist oppression and win complete independence. In rural China it would abolish rule by the landlord gentry and equalize land-ownership. In urban China it would nationalize the property of native reactionary capitalists held to be collaborators of foreign imperialism  Only when these two aims were accomplish would the revolutionary power move on to lay the foundations of the second stage: building socialism". When Communism got into its stride it also broke the fetters of a paralyzing patriarchism as far as children were concerned and of a male supremacy over and domination of women.

 

The author begins "rediscovering China" (he had sojourned there for many years, as recounted in "Red Star over China" and "Toward a Beginning") w . . . : beard the Premier's Special Train . . . It was a three-or four-car train . . . I was shown to an observation car and an air-conditioned state-room of my own. It, amounted to an exhibit of New China; this was an all-native train. Peking carpeting covered the floor, a large teak desk and easy chair stood under a lace-curtained window, and a full-sized bed filled one side of the room". On this trip the author interviewed his host, the Premier, Chou-En-Lai. In the course of three hours, "we had not got much beyond history, when our talk was interrupted. We had reached Miyun".

 

"Miyun is impressive . . . Droughts, alternating with abrupt torrents, which rose in the rainy season, had always been the scourge of Myun and its vicinity . . . The eleven new dams of the reservoir now contain 4,100,000,000 cubic meters of water, which provides a regulated supply for that same million acres (which in years of drought had been stricken, with starvation following) much of which had been converted into rice land . . . Miyun is also contributing to a new longitudinal canal system which will eventually join Peking . . . Lo Canton thirteen hundred miles further south", paralleling the old Grand Canal system. The Miyun-Peking Canal under Communist rule has recently joined "the Peking-Tientsin Canal to provide a water-way deep enough to carry boats of five hundred tons from the Wall to the China Sea."

 

As a side-line, Miyun "also produces 90,000 kilowatts of power to speed up electrification and industrialization . . . had already prevented a serious flood in 1959; in 1900 it minimized regional effects of the severe drought that struck all of Northern China. With its immense basin and eleven dams, the large reservoir was completed in two years, during the first fifteen months of which mainly hand labour was used".

 

Of the fact that there has been a spiritual regeneration in China under Communism there can be no doubt. I-low did it come about? "In Mao's case, the early personal history happened to coincide with the feelings of personal frustration injured national pride and patriotic dedication of a whole generation of revolutionary youths, determined to remake China. And if Mao had been killed, as many of his comrades were, someone else would now be Mao, doing and saying many of the same things".

 

Symptomatic of post-revolutionary China, it is interesting to learn that "Mao and his friends were ardent physical culturists"; while "early . . . the

army had imposed three simple rules: prompt obedi­ence . . . ; no confiscations whatever from the poor peasantry; prompt delivery to the Government . . .of all goods confiscated from the landlords", and "eight other rules . . . adopted and put to music, to be sung and remembered by all troops: 1. replace doors when you leave a house (wooden doors hung on pegs served a dual purpose of door and bed). 2. return and roll up the straw matting (also used for sleeping). 3. Be courteous and polite to the people and help them. 4. Return all borrowed articles. 5. Replace all damaged articles. 6. Be honest in all transactions with the peasants. 7. Pay for all articles purchased. 8. Be sanitary; establish latrines at a safe distance from people's houses . . . All the ele­mentary rules of consideration were innovations for Chinese soldiers-traditionally contemptuous of the people".

 

These maxims of a good social life were carried over from the army to the people and were to bear fruit in the spiritual regeneration of the people.

 

"The place is still China; and the civilization is still Chinese; but nothing of the old has been left untouched, and nothing of the new is complete. All is transition . . . a hitherto conservative society has been picked up bodily, turned forward and started upon a double-quick march to commit one man in every four humans to a socialist world . . . China . . . its obsessive haste to catch up with history . . . is positively awesome to those who can remember a passive China in which time meant nothing". (As Edgar Snow could).

 

"What about your father, Yau Wei?" "Oh, he's still a capitalist and doing very well. He's an old man, now retired, lives in one of his houses here in Peking and has more money than he knows what to do with". "His father had been fully resigned to losing everything and being a pauper. Instead he had found himself classified as a member of the national bourgeoisie". (An example of the cases in China of Fabian ,Socialism).

 

"Just as the rural population was arbitrarily divided by the Party into great, middle and small landlords and rich, middle or poor and landless peasants", so the national bourgeoisie-progressive and patriotic, were made to play "a useful role during a transition from a mixed economy to a socialist economy". Communist China under Mao was to escape much of the drastic transition that Soviet Russia suffered under Stalin.

 

The gradual liquidation of Chinese capitalism (as distinct from rural landlordism), largely by social and political pressure rather than violence, left open a way of reconciliation which preserved many skills needed by the country. In some instances it even won genuinely enthusiastic acceptance by reformed capitalists able to sublimate personal interests to the Communist conception of the good society as a whole.

 

The industrialization of Manchuria as "the continuation of a known story" is passed briefly in review in spite of its importance so that the author might hurry on to the description of "the transformation of some older regions" which is "much newer and more significant".

 

"'Walking on two legs' in 1958 meant starting tens of thousands of small brick blast furnaces or 'backyard hearths'. Millions learned the importance of smelting ore . . . Many workers trained at these primitive furnaces combined forces and started small modern mills on a wide scale" followed by the growth of a school of metallurgists using advanced methods and processes . . . Walking on two legs campaigns recruited many peasant prospectors who were able to furnish useful leads to resources long known to them but hidden out of superstition or fear of losing their land".

 

"Ninety four per cent of China's land is cultivated without mechanized equipment; and manpower still does most of the hauling." The story is told of its "10,000,000,000 carts . . . rubber tired. . . . making an easier life for the cartman who may be anyone from a former rickshaw coolie to a professor or a commune chairman doing his stint of manual labour".

 

Particulars are given of the practical inventiveness of the peasants, of the devotion to hygiene and true Socialism, of the general spirit of the people.

 

"Between 1949 and 1960 China graduated 230,000 engineers" and the author concludes that "China has made greater progress in liberating masses of people from illiteracy and bringing millions some knowledge of scientific and industrial technique than any nation has ever done in so short a time".

 

Thus far I have given roving excerpts gathered from little over 200 pages of this eight hundred paged book; and have barely scratched the surface of the inspiringly informative material accumulated for the education and delight of the reader. There is much factual information on the great Chinese endeavour and achievement until one reaches what might be called the summary conclusions beamed to America and directed by the author toward the emancipation of the legislature and public of America from the web of prejudice which has been woven by influential circles in America on the question of Communist China. That is why I advise my friends who have the anti-Communist bee in their bonnet to read first the last chapter of the book: "Childhood's End?" It may open their minds a bit and enable them to overcome prejudice and read the whole book. The author's interrogation mark after the words "Childhood's End" is, I fear, fully justified.

 

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA

(Continued)

(The historical record)

 

A light seemed to burst suddenly upon the passionate planter. "Why, Tom," he exclaimed, turning with a curious half-comical look to his wondering nephew, "do you know, upon my word, I really believe, no it can't be possible, but I really believe, they don't even now know anything at ail about it". On Edward insisting, the explanation was forced upon an uncomfortable and unwilling Dupuy finally lie baulked; but his less scrupulous nephew explained: "Well, you see, Mr. Hawthorn, my uncle naturally felt that with a man of your colour" he paused significantly - "seeing that you are a brown man yourself, and that your father and mother were brown before you"

 

Marian burst forth with a cry of relief: "We can bear it all, Edward. My darling! My darling! It is nothing, nothing. "She flung her arms around Edward and smothered him with kisses, unmindful of her visitors.

 

Oft the comparatively happy couple went to the old people for an explanation of the irrelevancy of how white people can be coloured.

 

"Listen to me, dearest", the old man said, drawing Marian closer to his side with a fatherly gesture. "My father was a white man. Mary's father was a white man. Our grandfathers on both sides were true white and our grandmothers on one side were white also. All our ancestors in the fourth degree were white save only one-fifteen whites to one coloured out of sixteen quarters-and that one was a mulatto in either line-Mary's and my great-great-grandmother . . . As long as you have the remotest taint or reminiscence of black blood about you in anyway as long as it can be shown by tracing your pedigree pitilessly to its fountainhead that anyone of your ancestors was of African origin-then by all West Indian reasoning you are a coloured man, Marian; and your children and grandchildren to the latest generations will all of them be forever coloured also". To Edward he said: "I sent you to England: and I meant to keep you there . . . Nobody in England would have known it, or minded it if they knew it". For himself however he stopped on, for he wouldn't be beaten in .the battle and driven out of the country by the-party of injustice and social intolerance. "Edward", Marian cried, "we too will stay and fight out the cruel battle against .this wicked prejudice".

 

Nora defied her father's injunctions, kept up her association with the hawthorns. She reported matters to her friend, the Governor's wife, who had met Marian's mother in England; and who soon established intimate social relations with the Hawthorn family and the young Hawthorns, as did also the Aide-de-Camp and his wife. Edward entered upon his duties as district judge, and gained the confidence of the people, who had been suffering from a sense of injustice at the hands of the planter magistrates. (The book is a reflection on the Eyre regime as well as a satire on colour prejudice in Jamaica).

 

Hey Noel pays a visit to the island, planning to stay with the young Hawthorns. He is intercepted by old man Dupuy and easily persuaded to stay with him. Indeed his love of Nora, as well as his affection for Marian and Edward was the major occasion of his visit. Planter Dupuy was inclined to be very hospitable to one of the English nobility. His nephew Tom however sensed a rival; and soon dug out the hitherto unknown fact that Lady Noel came from a Brown family of Barbados. The reflections of the author on this aspect of the matter are illuminating: "In many a cultured, light brown family, where the young ladies of the household, pretty and well-educated, hope and expect to marry an English officer of good connectors, the visitor knows that in some small room or other of the rack premises there lingers on feebly an old black hag-grandmother of the proud and handsome girls. Into such a family it was that Sir Walter Noel, heir of the greatest Lancashire house, actually married. The Budleighs of the Wilderness (Barbados) had migrated to England before the abolition of slavery, when the future Lady Noel was still a baby; and, getting into good society in London, had only been known as West India proprietors in those old days, when to be a West Indian proprietor was still equivalent to wealth and prosperity. Strange to say, too, Lady Noel herself was not by any means as dark as her son Harry. The Lincolnshire Noels themselves belonged to the black-haired type so common in their country; and the union of the two strains produced in Harry a complexion several degrees more swarthy than that of either of his handsome parents. In England nobody would have noticed this little peculiarity. They merely said that Harry was the very image of the old Noels of the family portraits; but in Trinidad (sic-Jamaica) where the abiding traces of Negro blood are familiarly known and carefully looked for, it was also impossible for him to pass a single day, without his pointedly black descent being immediately suspected. There was a "throw-back", as the Colonials vulgarly phrased it, to the dusky complexion of his quadroon ancestors."

 

Tom immediately suspected him. He claimed that his eyes and his knuckles, apart from his swarthy complexion and curly hair, were a dead giveaway. Assurance became doubly sure when his Cuban bloodhound attacked Harry, and still more sure when one of the labourers from Barbados, who had a strong resemblance to Harry, asserted that he was his cousin. When publicly and offensively attacked on the question of Tom, Harry said that the allegations were all probably correct, although hitherto unknown and unsuspected; but what of it? He had of course class, but no colour prejudice.

 

A local riot, Harry's gallant defence of the Dupuy family, close association with him, the marked contrast to boorish and uncouth Cousin Tom, all served to ripen Nora's admiration into love, and to overcome the ingrained prejudice which forms an integral part of the West Indian Creole make-up.

 

Edward Long illustrates the Planter prejudice; Marly that of a person of colour; Grant Allen the impact of colour prejudice on a trained scientific mind, and that too of a Canadian closely associated with English social outlook.

 

 

Continuing with the written record, we now turn back to the 1820s and 1830s to examine the political factors underlying to some extent the colour prejudice which so long permeated Jamaican society. Some illustrations are to be found in the "Annals of Jamaica" written by the egregious Rev. G. W. Bridges and published in 1828 by John Murray of Albemarle Street, London.

 

Eridges, himself a somewhat intolerant owner of a domestic slave, became notorious as the founder of the infamous Colonial Church Union, immediately after the slave revolt in Jamaica in January 1832. Bridges had already attracted attention as the author of a pamphlet, "Voice front Jamaica", a reply to Wilberforce's appeal on behalf of the slaves. The object of the Union was to drive the Missionaries from Jamaica. Incidentally it wrought wholesale destruction on their chapels throughout the island, assisted by the militia and member: of the plantocracy.

 

In 1823 people of colour had formed a Committee for the purpose of formulating a petition to the Assembly to remove all civil disabilities from free persons of colour. On the Committee were two young men, Lecesne and Escoffery, sons of immigrant Haitians. Enemies alleged that they were aliens engaged in subversive activities. Attorney General Burge advised the Governor, the Duke of Manchester, to deport them as undesirable aliens, as he would have been entitled to do under the Alien Law (passed after the Haitian revolution) provided they were aliens and engaged in subversive activities. They were arrested, but released under Habeas Corpus by Chief Justice Scarlett. Burge advised that they should be again arrested, but that deportation should synchronize with arrest so as to avoid the intervention of the Court. This was effected; and an English sea captain finding them in destitute condition at Puerto Prince in Haiti, took them to England which was at the time in the throes of the anti-slavery campaign. Dr. Lushington, a famous barrister and anti-slavery advocate, took up their cause, procured a Parliamentary investigation and their repatriation to Jamaica with compensation. Criminal proceedings for libel were brought in England against the publisher of Bridges' "Annals" and the second volume of the Annals containing the defamatory statements about Lecesne and Escoffery was impounded and withdrawn. Bridges had alleged that Louis Celeste Lecesne and John Escoffery were engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

 

What Bridges wrote on the colour question reveals the current opinion of the day: "With more temper than could have been expected from a body of men thus oppressed, the colonial senate once again proceeded with care and caution to revise the laws to lighten the last remaining links of the servile chain, and to remove from the condition of the coloured classes every pretence of unnecessary disability. That portion of the population began to feel its overwhelming power, and though far less wise than wealthy, it plainly perceived the influence which it must shortly obtain in an island which in the next generation will surely be their own. The discouragement of marriage, the degeneracy of the white Inhabitants has already bequeathed some of the largest properties to coloured children; the evil, 1f such it be, is hourly increasing; and the historian feels that the page which he is now editing will be far less useful or interesting to its present readers than it may hereafter be to them. It was however a failure of their usual prudence which led them to anticipate their rising fortunes, and to demand admission to the privileges of freehold suffrages, or, while the blood of pagan Africa still flowed thick and darkly in their veins, to affect to consider it an unnecessary degradation to be obliged to produce evidence of their conversion to Christianity before they were permitted to bind themselves by a Christian oath.

 

The island was become the scene of conspiracy and rebellion; every class was reasonably looked upon with suspicion and mistrust; and a disaffected few considered it a favourable opportunity to force these embarrassing claims upon the distracted attention of the legislature, which discreetly and liberally granted to such as maintained a character of merited distinction the special privileges which they asked; but their unlimited admission to the exercise of political power was firmly and prudently withstood"

 

A decade or so later, an astute observer at the Colonial Office, Henry Taylor of literary fame, was to emphasize Bridge's forecast. In a memorandum for the British Cabinet he pointed out that their fears of a "busted" white oligarchy was misplaced; and that attention should instead be directed to the more pressing danger of a Negro legislature in Jamaica and elsewhere in the West Indies, which he claimed would be even more intolerant than the Whites had been. Now, he urged, was the time to liquidate the ancient legislature and place it on a safer footing.

 

Taylor's views were to gain wide acceptance in Jamaica in succeeding decades, furthered on the one hand by the mutual jealousies between the Whites and Persons of Colour and their joint dread of the Blacks and on the other hand by the strong British loyalties of Persons of Colour who were denied social recognition in Jamaica by the Whites. By their own act, the Whites, supported by some of the Coloured Folk, were to immolate the Constitution in 1865.

 

One outstanding feature of colour prejudice in Jamaica was the acceptance by Coloured 7! elk of standards of pigmentary value. Resentment at lack of social recognition by the Whites was often tinged with personal resentment by Persons of Colour of the fact that they were themselves coloured. Daughters were known to hate their black mothers for having made them Black or Coloured, while esteeming their White Fathers for the ameliorating factor of dilution which they contributed.

 

(To be continued)

 

 

 

 


Volume 5.   No. 17. December 1963

 

"HONEST TO  GOD" by JOHN A. T. ROBINSON,- BISHOP of WOOLWICH.

 

This little paperback will create as great a sensation among theologians and congregations as Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring"' did among the makers, purveyors and users of chemical  fertilizers and pesticides.

 

Its great merits are' its honesty (as far as it goes) and the fact that) what is said is said by a high dignitary of the Anglican Church. For like Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring", what the Bishop says has been repeatedly 1 said before and with no less eloquence or talent.

 

The Jews claimed not only a personal God, but also a God personal and a elusive to the Jews. The Christians (originally a Jewish sect) broke down the exclusiveness but clung to the personal and antliropomorphic God of the Jews and substituted the doctrine of "the elect for salvation in place 6f the claim to being "a chosen people a". They also substituted for the traditional Jewish 'Messiah" a Saviour'', elevated him to the Godhead included anther within a limited Pantheon of three and established the Trinity of a tribune God, not symbolically but factually. '

 

Now what does the Bishop say about all this? He does not deal with the Trinity, but says that the doctrine of a personal God is an obscuration of true religion; that Genesis said there was a God "up there"; that scientific knowledge forced on the Church a modification of the God "up there" into a God metaphysically "out there".. "Now," he says, "it seems there is no room for God in the entire universe. The signs are that we are reaching the point at which the whole conception q a God `out there' is itself becoming more of a hindrance than a help". As to the doctrine of the Incarnation and the Divinity of Christ, he says: "Yes, indeed, it can survive - as myth. For myth has its perfectly legitimate and indeed profoundly important place".

 

       Does they Bishop experience any qualms about unsettling the faith of the congregations? Emphati­cally, No! he seizes upon the little known truth which has already been said by Swinburn in poetry, "From too much love of living; from hope and fear set free we thank with brief thanksgiving whatever fever gods there be" and notably also by Julian Huxley in prose: "For my own part, the sense of spiritual  relief which comes  from rejecting the idea of God as a super­ natural being is enormous. I see no other way of bridging the gap between the religious and the scien­tific approach". The Bishop himself says: "Indeed, as one goes on, it is the things one doesn't believe, and finds one doesn't have to believe, which are as liberating as the things which one does believe". So the blow which he gives to established faith does not seem to weigh heavily on the Bishop's conscience.

 

The Bishop's thesis that the elimination of the idea of a personal God from religious thinking would be of advantage to religion is by no means a new proposition.

 

Over one thousand years ago the distinguished theologian Duns Scotus (c.815-c.877>, (a contemporary of Alfred the Great of England) enunciated the same idea; Spinoza, some Height hundred years later (1632-1677) elaborated the theme while Albert Einstein in the twentieth century wrote: "The man who is thoroughly convinced of the universal operation of the law of causation cannot for a moment' entertain the idea of a Being who interferes in the course of events . . . A God who rewards and pun fishes is inconceivable to him . The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by the kind of religion which knows no dogma and no Go conceived in man's image". But he adds: "Only individuals of exceptional endowments and exceptionally high-minded communities, as a general rule, get in any real sense beyond the level of the anthropomorphic conception of God".

 

I am of opinion that the Bishop's` idea in writing his Book was not only to relieve his own feelings but also to try to lift the congregations  to a plane of thought which Einstein reserved for those of exceptional intellectual endowments.

 

What the Bishop says has been immeasurably better said by Julian Huxley in his "Religion without Revelation". This latter is a superb book. It sets out the matter in detail and with reverence; and explains fully (which the Bishop dries not) how the Churches, under the new dispensation, can fill a worthy role in true worship as well as in enlightenment. It may be said that defining religion as a belief in spiritual beings is a false definition of religion, in spite of the great authorities who have offered the definition.

 

SOIL IN HISTORY.                                                                                         1

 

In Sir Albert Howard's classic, "An Agricultural Testament" first published in 1940 and how obtainable at Wholefood Ltd. of 112 Baker St., London, he traces sketchily "the agriculture of the nations  which have passed away", largely, he thinks, because of their neglect of the soil. Tony in his monumental "Study of History" illustrates the principle in history of "challenge and response" by the agriculture of Egypt. It seems fitting in a local Review which is concerned chiefly  with history in all its Implications and ramifications that some thought should be given to  the soil in an independent Jamaica; for in the long view our soil, its care and potentiality, should be our main preoccupation. If we destroy the soil, we "kill the goose that lays the golden egg".

 

Writing in 1941, Sir Albert Howard said: "I am convinced that unless Jamaica uses to the very best advantage all t e animal manure they have or can produce the agriculture culture of the island will soon be in ruins . . . . Larter's (Lamer was then the local geneticist)  is unconvincing. I doubt whether he is familiar  with the technique needed to detect mycorrhiz association in such crops as bananas, sugar can coffee, cacao and so on. Further if the use of animal manure has been given up, the extent of the root surface showing the association may be small. This is confirmed in the case of the banana by the spread of Panama Disease and Cercospora." Since Sir Obert Howard wrote, animal manure has been practically given up in agricultural thinking and practice in Jamaica and plant diseases have increased. Every effort also has been made to corrupt native practice of the use of animal manure.

 

I wonder how many people have read or remember Howard's "Agricultural Testament"? I wonder how many agriculturists or gardeners practice his system of composting  which has rehabilitated large tea, sugar and coffee plantations  in Eastern countries? Since Howard's day , methods have been developed of expediting and cheapening his process of composting. Sir Albert explained fully the necessity of compost and the danger of chemicals. He wrote: "The ease with which crops can be grown with chemicals has made the correct   utilization of wastes much more difficult. If a chap substitute for humus exists why not use it? The answer is twofold. In the first place chemicals can never be a substitute for humus because Nature has ordained that the soil must live . . . In the second lace the use of such a substitute cannot be cheap because soil fertility, one of the most important as is of the country, is lost . . . When the finance of crop  production is considered together with that of the various social services which are needed to repair the consequences of unsound agriculture, and when it is borne in mind that our greatest possession is a healthy, virile population, the cheapness  disappears altogether. In years to come artificial chemical manures will be considered as one of the great follies of the Industrial epoch. The teachings of this period will be dismissed as superficial".

 

We are largely indebted to  A Waksman, a contemporary of Sir Albert Howard, for investigating and fully explaining the nature and importance of humus We are indebted to Sir Albert Howard for popularizing the works of the great master of humus, Waksman, and the great mistress of mycorrhizal association, Dr. M. C. Raymer.

 

It is a interesting refection that what Sir Albert Howard arrived  at by scientific investigation, farmers of the East had been practicing for forty centuries; and that composting, on which he insists by an improved process, was formulated in America by one George Bommer one hundred years before, as recorded in Rodale's "Organic Gardening" of October

 

1962. Indeed so well developed had been the making of compost in the East that the process was described in the 12th Century Ibn-al-awan in his Book of Agriculture.

 

In a future issue I shall set out in detail Sir Albert Howard's compost stem, which he called "The Indore System" from a name of the place in India where he developed it.

 

Two lines of thought determined his theories and practice: (a) he had observed  that the maintenance of soil fertility was the real basis of a plant's resistance to disease, (b) a had found that in sugar cane the full possibilities of a new variety could be achieved only when the so was fully supplied with humus otherwise the type would run itself out and search would have to be begun all over again for a new type or variety.

 

In an informative article entitled "Social Struc­ture in the British West Caribbean About 1820", Dr. M. G. Smith, a distinguished Jamaican anthropologist, emphasized the preoccupation with status among the slaves, that is, preoccupation with one's place in the social hierarchy of one's class. It seems to me that preoccupation with status generally stems from a consciousness or sub-conscious sensing of some form of real or imaginary inferiority. With the Black or Coloured individual in a White social milieu this real or imaginary inferiority is Colour. Within his social (or other) limitations there is the urge to assert. the little left to his thwarted or distorted self­ respect by insistence on status. Vanity, that almost all trait in humanity, often manifests itself in a similar manner.

 

Among the literary records mention may be made of Mrs. Carmichael's "Domestic Manners and Social Conditions of the White, Coloured and Negro population of the West Indies" (1833), of which the mournful account of the Jamaican housewife up to a generation or so ago is strongly reminiscent. Sir Alan Burn has also written (1948) on "Colour Prejudice with particular reference to the relationship between Whites and Negroes". How rapid has been the change in the social outlook of the African in the West Indies within one or two decades may be gathered from the following quotation from the last mentioned book: "Perhaps the most serious failing of the educated Negro, so far as the advancement of his own race is concerned, is his lack of the will for co-operation, the inability to follow for long a leader of his own colour, and the jealous vanity which prompts him to criticize and pull down his brother Negro who has ascended a few rungs higher than himself on the ladder of culture and progress."

 

I now perforce leave the written record and turn to contemporary personal recollection and observation.

 

It appears that the social differentiation based on colour which prevailed in 1838 must have remained fairly static for nearly a century, the tempo of slow change quickening somewhat during the 1920's, experiencing a greater quickening in the 1930s, coming in for accelerated motion in the 1940s with the river of knowledge finding itself in spate in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

Up to the 1920s conditions were superficially little removed from those described by Grant Allen as prevailing in the 1860s. Roughly speaking a discernible "touch of the tar-brush" disqualified the victim of circumstances from close social relations with the Whites. For it might lead to marriage and marriage might bring the dreaded "throw-back" (or reversion to colour) in the offspring. Many a dark member of an apparently white family was a cause of shame and embarrassment to the humiliation or frustration to himself.

 

Roughly speaking, Black and Coloured Persons "knew their place", the line being drawn at free acceptance in business, with due respect paid and graciously received, and with tacit exclusion from the homes of the Whites. The relations between Joseph Gordon (the Scotsman) and his coloured son, George William Gordon remaining typical for several generations up to and after the 1860s.

 

Some few persons of colour had what might be called a flair for society and might be admitted; but an awkward situation arose when he aspired to marriage. A coloured doctor or lawyer (particularly in the country towns) might live down the social disability by sheer outstanding merit. By and large, persons of marked colour were not on visiting terms with the whites, nor were they readily accepted in the more exclusive clubs in Kingston or in some rather snooty country towns like Mandeville.

 

White and coloured children mingled freely at school without any inhibitions whatever. When they grew up. however conditions solidified as above indicated:

 

The blacks long continued in a lower social category than persons of colour; and, with kinky ("pepper-grain") hair, the very dark man suffered the social ostracism of the blacks. Apart from the competitive Civil Service (first put into operation in 18E5) there were little or no white-collar jobs available to the blacks. They were also excluded from the social life of the whites and persons of colour except in limited measure in the homes of the Missionaries; and they were generally excluded from social admission in the homes, hotels and clubs.

 

For the blacks, a vicious social and economic circle prevailed. Denied economic opportunity, it was long before they enjoyed the amenities which economic resources usually bring: education, care of the person.

 

One is reminded of R. L. Stevenson's  In "A child that is not clean and neat, with lots of toys and things to eat, he is a naughty child I'm sure or else - his dear Papa is poor".

 

Between 1890 and 1896 in Jamaica in one of the boarding schools for secondary education not a dozen black Jamaican boys passed through the school.

 

In the 1920s some relaxation in the exclusiveness of the clubs based on shades of colour took place by reason of two factors: one being the filip given to sports particularly tennis and later golf (cricket had long had some very moderate effect), the other being the progress to adult life of old school friends o: various shades, coupled with the outstanding personal intellectual achievements of men of color  (and more rarely of women). In the meantime then was a good deal of relaxation on the question of marriage between whites and near whites and other.. known or appearing to be coloured.

 

It was however during this period that a black lady of culture and comparative wealth with her children was denied admission to a public children's party at Myrtle Bank Hotel in Kingston. It was difficult to decide which was the more surprised, the hotel manager at the lady's naivety in seeking admission or the lady at being refused admission.

 

OOGABOO

 

Readers are referred to Comments Vol. 5 No 14 on the paving of the urban gullies. The Town Planning Department of Oogaboo. was justly annoyed, for it seem d that they at least concurred in the advice of the Prime Minister to pave the bed of the gullies with concrete. On the basis of the Philosopher's comments )and the protest from the Town Planning Department, perhaps an apocryphal meeting be­tween the Philosopher (called "Philo" for short) and a technical planner or officer from the department (called ''T.P." for short) may serve to clarify the subject or muddy the issue:

 

T.P: I do not deny that the Prime Minister may profitably go to Communist China or Timbuktu: but the point which you don't appreciate is that urban flood water must be speedily run off; and like "the roses that bloom in the Spring", erosion control in the mountains has "nothing whatever to do with the thing”.

 

Philo: You are quite mistaken. Like all specialists, you tend to view problems sectionally (which is a good thing) but you fail to take a view of the whole (which is a bad thing). Quantification always needs qualification. Erosion control in the mountains and gully reclamation pose similar problems (in some respects, one and the same problem), calling for similar precautionary measures, the former a long to m problem, the latter, I agree, requiring prompt and almost summary attention.

 

T.P: Then you, agree that the gully problem is different in that flood water must to be sent speedily on its way, and the speediest way is over a concrete-paved gully bed.

 

Philo: There is little difference between the joint and several problems. Keep at the back of your head that erosion control in the mountain, must also be faced without delay. Also without delay the flow of flood water in the gully beds must be retarded.

 

T.P: are you quite mad or only stupid? I said that the problem was to get rapid movement of flood water.

 

Philo: I am quite sane, and merely intelligent. Have you ever heard of the magic of mulch Seven maid with seven mops could not in half a year satisfy the, requirements of the Walrus or the Carpenter in the removal of the sands of the sea-shore , which is the sort of thing you are attempting with your concrete paving. But one thousand men with 100 trucks could in less than half a year collect and dump in the gully beds enough mulch to retard the flow of flood water and allow it to percolate harmlessly and beneficially to the subsoil. If groins are needed to protect the banks and transverse groins to make weirs in the gully bed, that would be alright with me; but I believe  that mulch six or eight inches deep would do the trick without these adventitious aids.

 

T.P: I believe I beg to see a glimmer of light. But are you sure that mulch would do the trick? What is your authority for such a strange proposition?

 

Philo: I advised the Prime Minister "chercher la femme" in the mountains streams; I advise you to talk to a real experience organic cultivator agronomist. He knows the several virtues of mulch. Read Professor King's "Farmers of Forty Centuries", as to what heavy  mulching does on steep slopes in Japan. Read Faulkner's "Plowman's Folly" for what he has personally achieved with mulch. Or I may even say "experto me crede" (believe me, I have tried it) . The real trouble with your gully bed is that it is bare of vegetation. Even a steep declivit covered with grass does not suffer erosion. Thick grass is growing mulch. Mulch is magical, not only in the preservation of the life of the soil but in preventing destructive run off of flood water. Your exposed concrete is, perhaps merely a variation of exposed soil, with some of its perils .

 

T.P: Then, do you advocate planting  in the gully bed?

 

Philo: I do; but whether I do or don’t it will surely follow mulching as night the day. Your gully beds will become arable soil. But until  the gully bed fills up, due mulching should continue growing mulch or inert mulch, which latter belies its name of "inert", for it is one of the most vital elements in erosion control.

 

T.P: I promise you I'll seriously think over what you have said. It is a novel idea to me. Furthermore, if I find that you are correct, then I concede that you are a genius.

 

Philo: Genius consists in seeing things simply, or to put it more simply genius simply consists in saying things I am not however by any means a  genius because the masters of mulch pointed the way to me with their intuition and research and practice  The first man of the East who observed nature, learnt the lesson and used mulch was the genius, I, a mere disciple. If you pave your gulley and if the paving holds, future genera­tions will see in it the folly of a bygone age. But no doubt it will have silted up and made manifestly worse confounded. No doubt, after planting, you plan to have "maids" or a "Mrs. Partington " with mops to keep the paved bed of the gully clean and safe; for you will have lost the good services of percolation.

 

TROPIC SWEET CORN AND SESAME.

 

It is gratifying to learn that tropical sweet corn on an appreciable  scale is being grown and sold in Jamaica. This is long overdue. The first lot of tropical sweet corn came from Puerto Rico some thirty years ago. It has been privately grown for home use during the thirty years  but neither the Scientific Department nor the Jamaica Agricultural Society took the product seriously  and private persons to whom seed was given also neglected it.

 

The product was developed by the American Agricultural Expert  Station at Mayaguez in Puerto Rico from a  field corn by a process of selection over a period of twenty years. It is a very fine product. It has been grown in Jamaica successfully with organic manure and without chemical fertilizer. Of course care must be taken to avoid crosspollination with the general  lot of field corn. This is effected by staggering the periods of planting the two differing products, for bees will take the pollen over a great distance in a district

 

In Manchester the field corn is of such excellent quality for eating young, that it is reasonable to expect that a sweet corn could be developed from it; but why worry about this when we have the excellent Puerto Rican variety.I have been told that a variety from Texas grows  easily here. I wonder what variety of sweet corn is now being grown in quantity in Jamaica. I still grow the Puerto Rican variety; and am very willing to give seed.

 

Another product which I  have grown experimentally and for personal use over a period of thirty years is sesame (known of old in Kingston as "wangla", hoping against hope that t it would be established as a valuable island in try. As has been repeatedly noted, the oil is the $ test of all oils for dietary purposes, while the trash as a greater calcium content (according to the Platt table) than any other tropical product. It grows on marginal lands; but it will not pay the peasant to grow sesame unless the grower is given a share  in the proceeds of the oil, similar to what is done in cane farming. What are we waiting for? The  Coconut oil people would be only too glad to take refined  sesame oil. The refined oil is peculiarly valuable. Some time ago the quotation was £150 per ton.

 

.


 

 

Volume 5.   No. 18          January 1964

 

THE SOIL ASSOCIATION

 

Abet one hundred years ago what may be called the chemical movement in Agriculture began to displace in the West organic. cultivation, which appears to have been previously almost universally practiced for many centuries. Chemical fertilizer was a short-cut to quantity, production; but it was also a very undesirable shortcut to the absence of humus from the soil. Robbed of humus, Mother Earth struck back with plant, animal and human diseases of all sorts; for ;plant, animal and man were struck by malnutrition. Chemical industrialists, who, with great expertise, had built up a lucrative industry, struck back with high-pressure salesmanship and more and more chemical fertilizer accompanied by toxic sprays as medicine for the malnutrition of plant-life. Mother Earth struck back with new forms of disease. By that time the Economists had captured the agricultural fortress and held as prisoners the whole body of orthodox agronomists, biologists and entomologists.

 

With World War II however brewing and later in process, a dedicated band of pioneers were sounding words of warning; (if "pioneers" is a fitting name for people advocating and practicing a process of cultivation known and practised since human history began, namely that humus is essential to the soil, that it is Nature's way, and that man can no more fight against Nature than the legendary Mrs. Partington could successfully sweep the Atlantic).

 

The pioneers were preceded by Professor King, chief agronomist of America, who in the 1920s visited China, Japan and Korea and wrote his famous "Farmers of Forty Centuries". In 1938 Lord Portsmouth wrote his "Famine in England" and Dr. J. T. Wrench his "Wheel of Health" and Jacks and White their "Rape of the Earth". McGarrison had previously been steadily working on the relation of nutrition to health. The Cheshire Panel's "Agricultural Testament" of the same year on, the same subject, inspired Sir Albert Howard (who had for years been working on similar lines agriculturally) to name his new book "An Agricultural Testament". This book was published in 1939, and was followed later by Lady Eve Balfour's famous book "The Living Soil". A vivid account of the formation of the Soil Association 1s given by Lady Eve Balfour in the July 1952 number of "Mother Earth".

 

It was in this atmosphere of missionary zeal that THE SOIL ASSOCIATION (whose London Office is now at 8F Hyde Park Mansions, London, W.I., England) was founded and the Haughley experimental farms set up by the enterprise and generosity of Lady Eve Balfour and the late Miss Debenham, among others. The Soil Association claims that the great pioneers above referred to and others of their kind have demonstrated that the most important single factor in promoting good health is the right kind of food; that even if food is of the right kind for health it will fail to induce it unless It comes from a healthy soil (parenthetically it maybe noted that Dr. Pfeiffer in the course of a lecture once produced or referred to a carrot grown chemically which contained no carotene!) ; that visitations of pests and diseases are an indication of unbalanced soil conditions leading to unbalanced nutrition of plants and unbalanced diet of animals; and finally that health is not a state but a living process consisting of a mutual synthesis between organism and environment.

 

One of the avowed objects of the Association is to collect and distribute the knowledge gained by experiment, research, practice and information so as to create a body of informed .public opinion. This it has been doing in abundant measure by its quarterly magazine "Mother Earth", by exhibit of the famous film "The Cycle of Life", by tours and' reports on tours of world-wide scope, and by exhibits at Shows.

 

At Haughley, farming is carried on comparatively in three separate sections demonstrating the results of (a) Cultivation with live stock and all vegetable and animal waste returned to the soil and entirely without the application of chemicals in the form of fertilizers or toxic sprays; (b) cultivation with live stock and return to the soil of animal and vegetable waste but with standard application of chemical fertilizer; and (c) farming without, animals and therefore without animal manure but with vegetable waste and standard application of chemical fertilizer. The results appear to be a vindication of organic farming as regards the maintenance of soil, plant and animal fertility and well-being.

 

It one took the trouble to read the back numbers of "Mother Earth" dating back to 1947 (cost 3/- per copy) and/or to become a member of The Soil Asso­ciation . (£3 per year) the practical information gained from the exercise would be enlightening. Readers of these "Comments" may on application receive from me some duplicates of "Mother Earth" which I have; for, in a humble way, I also am an organic cultivation missionary. I have to be a prac­titioner; for this terra rosy soil is Nature's proto­type of super-phosphate in action: it locks-up the normal soil nutrients, rendering them unavailable until released by compost.                    

THE MIRACLE OF COMPOST

 

When the naturalist uses the word "miracle", it signifies the original or natural and not the acquired theological meaning of the word. He means "a wonderful or amazing thing, factor event, a wonder, a thing to be wondered at", as among the Romans "admirari" meant "to be wondered at". Hence, the matter of fact Englishman on the Continent was likened to the Latin Poet "Horace's `nil admirari" ". Composting is truly wonderful in the biological lesson it teaches, in the effect it has on plant life and on the food we derive there from and even on the posts-which afflict chemically grown plants, some of which do not appear to like the juices of healthy compost-grown plant; while slugs appear to so like compost that they often leave healthy plants alone.

 

Let us first consider what happens while compost is maturing, the sequence of microbiological changes which occur during the fermentation of the compost heap. This is excellently depicted by N. P. Barman in "Mother Earth" of Spring 1950; and from his account mine !s bodily lifted with the kind permission of the Soil Association. The parentheses are mine.

 

The initial phase is one of mixed growth of bacteria, protozoa and fungi (all enjoying what may be called a very primitive order of life). They utilize the most readily available carbohydrates and proteins in the vegetables and other waste of the compost heap. The oxidation of the carbohydrates by the bacteria liberates energy in the form of heat, and there !s immediately a rise of temperature in the compost heap. The length of the initial phase before the temperature rises appreciably depends on the nature of the vegetable waste. If it lasts only one day, it is brought about mainly by bacteria; if it lasts longer it enables the fang! to take a hand. The fang! appear as white or gray threads of mycelium.

 

As the temperature rises  (say) to 120 - 160 degrees F. the thermophllic (or heat loving) bacteria multiply rapidly and the fungi and non-thermophllic bacteria decline in numbers. The thermophllic bacteria avidly attack the proteins and the more readily available carbohydrates, producing in the process abundance of ammonia, with the more resistant cellulose and lignins relatively unaffected. The free and combined ammonia is converted into nitrites and nitrates (forms of nitrogen) by the special bacteria (a process which chemical fertilizer addicts appear to ignore). These bacteria are able to live and operate under conditions of lower temperature. The activity of the hermophils declines as the heap cools and the number of other bacteria and fungi increases and is maintained until the material cools to outside temperature when their number slowly declines. During the cooling-down phase the cellulose is broken down chiefly by the fungi.

 

During this phase also are various other organisms and a balance !s maintained by the antagonistic interaction of the various groups. The increase in number of one set of organisms leads to the multiplication of other organisms naturally antagonistic to them. These antagonistic bacteria are effective against disease organisms, as well as against natural comp organisms.

 

At this stage the elaboration of vitamins takes place, to meet the needs of the bacteria and fungi, which all require the B vitamins for their metabolism (or life process in building up dead food into living matter and breaking down living matter into simpler products within the cell or organism). Some of these, particularly the fang and yeasts, are capable of making up their own vitamins while others, like man, require theirs provided for them in their food­ supply. It is suggested by Mr. Barman  that the production of vitamins by some organisms in compost probably stimulates the production of other organisms which require vitamins. Then other organisms come in to preserve a balance in the production of vitamins and antibiotics; for during the process among the antagonistic organisms are antibiotic – producing bacteria and fungi like penicillum. The production of large quantities of any substances in a compost heap  is immediately followed by the multiplication of organisms capable of utilizing or decomposing them.

Even the finished humus which is produced in the compost is not stable but is, slowly, decomposed by specialist organisms.                                                                                                              -.

 

After the cooling-down phase, if there has been sufficient lime in the heap, free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria (like those in the . nodules on the roots mostly of legumes) multiply near the surface of the heap. This form of bacteria is called the Azotobacter (or Nitrogen bacterium). (Azote was the former name of nitrogen). On addition of compost to the soil, if it !s kept near the surface, the work of the azotobacter continues, also the work of most of the other bacteria and fungi which were active in the final phase of the compost heap; and bacterial activity is always intensified in the vicinity of plant roots. Then there is the surmise that some of the fungi in mature compost will probably be mycorrhizal formers. (How important this would be, if true, may be remembered by readers of these "Comments", in which association has been frequently mentioned). Earthworms also make their appearance in the compost heap and help to break down vegetable matter to a form more easily assimilable by bacteria and fungi.

 

(If one carefully considers the process above described, one understands why compost has a miraculous effect on the soil and on-plant' life and on the production of vitamins and enzymes in food that is compost-grown. Chemicals, are easier because they are delivered to us ready-made. It would be a real service if real compost were delivered to us readymade) .

SUGAR

 

The Rev. George Wilson Bridges, "A.M., Member of the Universities of Oxford and Utrecht, and Rector of the Parish of St. Ann, Jamaica" in an Appendix to the first volume of his Annals of Jamaica (1827) gives some interesting notes on the natural history of Jamaica", and among them some notes on Sugar. He caustically remarks that L'Abbe Raynal (1790), an early critic of imperialism with his usual confidence and inaccuracy, asserts that the Sugar-cane was first brought to Jamaica from Barbados in the year 1668." But there is very good reason to believe that it was indigenous !n all the Antilles; and La Borde mentions it as a plant in common use among the Charaibs. Trapham (the medical man who supplanted Hans Sloane in the estimation of the Duke of Albemarleand not to be wondered at while Hans Sloane neglected the medical attentions required of him to go off investigating the flora of Jamaica). Trapham then, speaks of the sugar-cane as commonly cultivated in Jamaica about that period, and that in 1671 there were numerous sugar works well-established. Trapham Indeed proceeds to give an eloquent description of the existing sugar works and their environment, which he likens to "a small town or village":  Bridges remarks that Raynal probably was misled by the fact that Modyford brought from Barbados some plants of a better species of cane, and greatly improved the culture of it.

 

Still following Bridges, we note that Strabo in the 15th book of his Geography observes that there is In India a rush which produces honey without the aid of bees; and Seneca in his 83rd Epistle describes sugar as a substance found by the Indians on the stalk of a reed and produced by the dews of those regions, or by the exuding sap of the leaves, which sap was designated salt, sugar or honey. Dioscorides mentions among the kinds of honey called sugar, a species of coagulated honey found In Arabia. Galen in his 7th book of Simples also mentions it, while in Egypt up to today the reed, called "cassah", grows wild in the marshes of the Nile.

 

Originally in the East in distant ages the stem of the cane was bruised and the sun acting upon the juice as it flowed hardened it into a balsamic gum.

 

Bridges continuing, traces the sugar cane, a native of both the Indies, brought to Sicily by the Arabs in the ninth century, Its migration thence to the South of Spain and progressively to the Canaries, Madeira and probably merely in the form of a new species to the American Isles, where varieties already existed.

 

It was sugar that brought the Negro to Jamaica; but politicians, with an eye to statistics and the vote, now claim that the country belongs to them; as indeed it does to all of us, as we belong to it. It was the White Man however who corrupted the pristine purity of land and food and people.

 

The economist might say: "All that is very interesting  (to faddists) ; but, as purveyors of sugar, where do we go for customers? For, one day America may capture or make friends with Cuba. But "Mother Earth" appears to tell us that there is a new customer on the horizon in the shape of eelworms, for they say that The Commercial Grower reports a finding of the horticultural field laboratory of the USDA at Orlando, Florida, that Sugar is one of the most effective nematocides yet discovered; and that five per cent in the soil makes a 100 per cent kill; the cell fluid of the eelworm moves out, and the eelworm is dehydrated and expires. It is killed with unkind sweetness. Apparently the eelworm may prove such a big customer that the problem of supply next arises. Here again a report by "Mother Earth" comes to our rescue: The Hawaiian Planter's Record of 1960, they state, contains a paper by Ewart and Humber which reports that experiments indicate that an increase of three tons of sugar per acre may be expected from the incorporation of 15 to 30 tons of cane trash or bagasse (does this mean "canoe trash and/or bagasse?) into heavy clay sons.-Assuming the supply of "cane trash or bagasse" to be available, this gives rise to an interesting calculation: At fifty tons of cane to the acre and even 10 tons of cane to a ton of sugar, the operation, if feasible,  would raise our annual sugar production from 480,000 to 780,000 tons. With the prolific eelworms as customers therefore, over-production need not become a nightmare. But perhaps they might prefer molasses.

 

COLOUR PREJUDICE IN JAMAICA

(Continued)

The historical record:

 

Shortly before the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century, a black man, Alexander Dixon, was returned to the polyglot Legislative Council as "elected member" for the parish of St. Elizabeth. His was at first a profound shock to respectability; but Dixon soon won favour by his rugged commonsense, his unvarying good humor and his fluent speech, spiced with homely proverbs. No black man had been elected to the island legislature in forty years or since the black Charles Price (after he had ceased to be a member) had been murdered on October 11,1865, it being believed in the excitement of the day that he had a "white heart". .                                                                                                                  -

 

A few years before Dixon entered the legislature, a black man, Jacob Wareham, had been elected a member of the municipal council, of Kingston; and had left his card at King's House and had been invited 'to attend and had attended the Governor's garden party. It is an interesting commentary that half a century later, another black man, Jag. Smith, a barrister and member of the legislature was to treat with neglect the suggestion of the Chief Justice, Sir Fiennes Barrett-Lennard, that he should "leave his card" so that he might be eligible to be invited to the Chief Justice's garden party. (It is not on record that Chief Justice ever gave a garden party).

 

Reverting to former days, a Negro was also to graduate from commissioned land surveyor to barrister, without being a conspicuous success in either capacity. Dr. J. Robert Love, coming from Nassau, also came into prominence in politics both in the legislature and in the Parochial Board of St. Andrew and also in journalism as editor of a newspaper and a frequent newspaper correspondent. He was an eloquent speaker and a cultured and educated man of pleasing personality. Men of swarthy hue had long been prominent and well-to-do; men of sable hue were at least acquiring economic stability and independence, educational advantages and professional and political status. As far as persons of colour were concerned, there was little difference in their social status between 1860 and 1920 except in the matter of the number of them that were "received". It was however in the social and cultural status of the blacks that the difference became marked during the early years of the twentieth century.

 

A first meager step in social recognition for coloured people came more or less officially under the regime of Governor Sir Henry Wylie Norman (1883 1888) and again under Sir Sydney Olivier (190? -1913) and more markedly for the blacks (Want, Barclay and others) under Sir Edward Stubbs (1921 - 1932) . Coloured and blacks were coming into their own, particularly in politics, under these Governors. Competitive examinations for the island civil service, established in 1885, and the march of history, as well as sheer merit and some degree of economic resources, hit all played their part. Not to be neglected among ameliorative factors were school associations, sport and the more detached outlook and greater sanity of visitors from abroad, pedagogues, missionaries, officials (who did not succumb to local prejudice), and social service workers; and above all there were the civilizing influence and example of the ministers of religion mostly of the dissenting churches. When in the 1920s the talented Jamaican Herbert George Delisser, editor of the Gleaner newspaper, was able to exhibit personal friendship with aristocratic Englishmen, his social position .in Jamaica, at last became more securely assured.

 

We cannot claim in this brief study of historical sequences to have covered the story of the gradual mellowing of colour prejudice in Jamaica; but perhaps we have helped to point the way to further study of the subject, which is closely interwoven with Jamaican history. No study of Jamaican colour prejudice should however omit some comparison with the subject of prejudice in general.

 

Colour prejudice does not differ in essence from other prejudices. All prejudices appear to find their origin in some sectional interests; but appear to come to efflorescence only when adopted emotionally by the general public. Prejudice then enters like a religion into the home, in the market-place, or the forum and in society. Often organized propaganda plays its part, sometimes sensationalism and fashion and newspaper enterprise. Prejudice is an over-accentuated noting of difference, mostly it is prejudgment in the sense of being largely uninformed and irrational; it is always unjust and cruel in its impact. Colour prejudice offends against the first rule of courtesy, the formal acceptance of another's personality.,

 

Compared with other prejudices which have rocked the ages and besmirched history, such as heresy, witch-hunting and anti-Semitism, colour prejudice has been relatively mild in its impact and consequences, at least in Jamaica, grave as these have been. In one element only is colour prejudice more impressive than other prejudices, and that is the difficulty, often the impossibility, of disguising what those who hold the prejudice might call '’the spots of the leopard" or the "touch of the tar brush". A black man, and often a coloured man, may not be able to conceal his colour; non-conformity (unlike conformity in religion) may not be camouflaged; the mark of colour may be eradicable; dissimulation may be useless; the victim is often indelibly branded. That this should be source of shame to the victim is his responsibility and largely his fault in that he accepts a value standard set by others and accepted by him self. In suffering embarrassment by reason of his colour, one accepts the very pigmentary standard of value set by the prejudice which he resents. May it not be true that the victim resents more the fact of his colour than the prejudice against it?

 

EPILOGUE

 

The material of this study is largely a reprint of what I wrote in the "Comments" in the year 1955. Eight years have passed since then and great changes have taken place in the meantime in the impact of colour prejudice in Jamaica. First the advent of ministerial government and now full independence; coupled with universal suffrage, have served to promote economically and socially a large body of people of sable hue. This is of course a culmination of other forces which have been promoting also the cultural and social habits of black and coloured people. The epigram of Marx and Engels that government is the means and manifestation of the oppression of one class by another, is as true as any epigram, after making allowance for the defect of any form of compendious expression. White political supremacy brought with it a form of social and economic oppression. It is already clear that Black supremacy in Jamaica will bring its own relative form of social and economic oppression. It will be a long time however before the coloured folk succeed in living down their veneration for the (even to them) admitted superiority of pigmentation. This fact will accentuate rather than diminish the exhibition of colour prejudice in reverse in an independent Jamaica. There is little indication that the coloured people will wrest political power as a class from the blacks; but for generations to come there will be the feeling that inter se the lighter hued (short of being apparently White) is inherently a better man ("for a' that and a' that") than the man of darker hue. It may well be that the whitening process (indicated by the "overseer" in "Marley") will be stepped up.

 

(Concluded)

 

 

 


Volume 5.  No. 19        February 1964   

 

"ARE YOU A COMMUNIST?"

 

Sir John Simon was NOT a Jew. In his autobiography he explains that he never denied the soft impeachment, lest people should think that in doing so he was exhibiting signs of anti-Semitism, or at least of denigration. It is however easier to answer the question whether one is a Jew than the question whether one is a Communist; for the term "Jew" needs no definition, while for the past ten to thirty tears the term "Communist" has defied definition.

 

Furthermore those who persistently ask the question of Cheddi Jagan are becoming as irrelevant as the question is becoming anachronistic, almost as anachronistic as the question in present-day England: "Are you a Papist?"

 

It is abundantly clear that Jagan thinks the "Cold War" puerile and economically non-productive. American sale of wheat to Russia and Britain's sale of buses to Cuba bring them vividly into line with Jagan's thinking for British Guiana in matters of trade and finance. But Jagan was ahead of them both. It is they that are now falling into line. It is the one who asks Jagan: "Are you a Communist?" that is hopelessly out of step and out of line with modern thinking.

 

"Doctrine" and "ideology" and "ruling philosophical affection" have no more to do with the thing than an enquiry of Manley: "Are you a Socialist?" or "Are you a Christian?" or "Are you an agnostic?" or "Are you an Atheist?" or "Do you really believe in the efficacy of prayer for rain?" Not to be invidious. one might think up an analogous series of questions for Sir Alexander Bustamante. But the Bustamante mind is less involved than the Manley mind; and there is none of the questions asked of Manley that would not be even more fantastically irrelevant if asked of Bustamante. However, the exercise in questions should bring into clear relief the irrelevancy of the question of Cheddi Jagan: "Are you a Communist?". But there are people (even journalists) that are way behind the times, "with the slow understanding of an ox and the quick temper of a parrot". I am reminded of an incident which occurred during a speech by the renowned American orator Everett. A heckler, at intervals, called out: "Louder, please, Sir, louder." Everett paused after the third interruption and said in measured tones: "On the last day, the day of Judgment., when the angel Gabriel, standing forth with one foot in heaven and one on earth, putting the silver trumpet to his lips, shall announce to the peoples of pet earth that the last day, the day of judgment had arrived, I doubt not that even then, some infernal fool from Buffalo will be heard shouting: "Louder, please, sir, louder".

OOGABOO

 

It gives me much pleasure to publish the stinging report of Technical Office (T.O.) to the apocryphal dialogue between himself and the Philosopher  Philo which appeared in the December "Comments". The "Comments" welcome dissidence. In the clash of opinions there may be more confusion; but the liberating influence is intellectually stimulating. The open letter from T.O. to the Philosopher follows:

 

Dear Philo,

 

You are of course most unfair to miss my point, and then make me make yours.

 

But it's your paper!

 

To make a Town Planner say that organic agronomy and what follows from it is a novel idea to him, is straight libel.

 

The trouble is that you don't write like a philosopher, but like a quasi-technician. You must have experience of the Man Who Thinks he knows the law. Beware taking Organic Philosophy too far for it is a bit like Natural Man. I'm an enthusiast for it, but it can't solve all problems, and, to pretend it can does it a disservice by making it ridiculous. Your mulching of gullies is straight nonsense, so far as main gullies are concerned, though a normal technique in some circumstances for reclaiming at the head.

 

It is no use thinking of keeping all the water from flash rains. Even without impervious streets and houses it's not practicable. Sure, much-more can be done to retain "dew rains", but nature provides, and always has provided, over-heavy rain at times.

 

The amount of run-off that has to be catered for can be calculated by simple arithmetic, together with its rate of flow. Look at it historically. In what geology says was recent, and up until man, gullies cut new courses, but left new moraines, which grew over. It must have taken a good few million years of erosion of the Blue Mountains to make Liguanea. (Limestone erosion by solution is more complete with only red dirt left). The idea that man introduced erosion dies hard. He shifts it and often accelerates it by cultivation and deforestation-alters its pattern-until it becomes a social problem a population mounts. He then has to start to cope.

 

Now for my philosophy, Man, even more than other animals, upsets previous natural balance. Here this comprised a plan with fierce gullies frequently changing course, allowing for the plant cover to grow on the parts not currently being intermittently washed down to enlarge the plain. He modified this by the decreasing of the permeable area by roads, houses etc., chopping trees and other moisture showers, enlarging existing courses by digging building aggregate.

 

Now, (my philosophy being that freedom is the recognition of necessity), he should establish a new balance, not try to go back to an idealized "natural" state, on which your philosophy so shakily rests. item 1 is to try to reduce run-off at source. Keeping root systems and ground cover, and winning back eroded areas. Planning to avoid impervious surfaces in areas where run-off will be difficult to handle. This can be quite effective and delay flow-off, increase ultimate evaporation loss by plants.

 

But in flash-flood conditions, particularly where ground is already saturated (as post Flora) nothing can stop run-off, and these conditions have to be calculated and planned for.

 

Thus Item 2 is to provide for getting rid of the water you can't use without losing your resources trees, buildings, people etc. So you work out the "cusecs", and provide for them in a fixed channel.

 

God over-provides water at times. Of course, we must use all we can, but you can't bottle all the rainwater like you can. surplus fruits. The energy-release in a rainstorm on high land is appalling and the way to release it is to slow up the expenditure of as much as you can, and release the rest as speed plus volume, not allowing it to scour. Your mulching won't work because the energy to be dealt with is too great. Tile absorption and friction of the gully bed is too small a contribution; the mulch and a lot more would carry down, just as it did before man started paving and controlling gullies.

 

Persuade God to provide only dew rain from now on, and we'll plant all gullies. Until then, stop doing harm to the cause of organic farming and landscape control by selling it as a panacea!

 

Yours,

T.O.

 

PS.  Now don't go running for cover behind the idea of modifying rainfall by plant cover, and adding a further myth to your philosophy. The possible variation in our case is little or nothing, since the amount of transpired moisture in the atmosphere is nothing to what evaporation takes off the sea.

 

THE PHILOSOPHER'S REPLY

 

I appreciate the problem of the immense precipitation of urban waters caused by the increased number of houses; but I think T.O. has failed to explore or appreciate the ameliorative factor of percolation and of the means of effecting the same. It took a long  time for modern agronomists and for officers to appreciate the anti-erosion qualities of a cover of herbage and/or mulch. I am inclined to think that the establishment of groins and weirs is an essential vade mecum in gully reclamation. But above all, remedial measures in the mountains cannot safely be delayed. In the never-to-be-forgotten words used by Professor R. Lindsay Robb in his famous Sanderson-Wells lecture at the London University Senate House on 28th May 1957: "If we destroy the grass on the hills, it will re-appear on the pavements of the cities." That is the story of the great ancient. civilizations that are now no more.

 

"THE SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN" by Morris West

 

Three books which are matters of comforting assurance to Catholics are also avenues for non-Catholics, and even of agnostics, of understanding at least the significance to the orthodoxy devout of "a state of grace" and the "love of God". These books are "The Cardinal" by Henry Morton Robinson and "The Devil's Advocate" and now "The Shoes of the Fisherman", both by Morris West. It is of the last named that I write these notes.

 

"This is a book set in a fictional time" (a new, and un-named President of the United States, after Kennedy; a new Russian leader, called "Kamenev", coming after Khrushchev; a Pope following after those of the twentieth century, whom we knew), "peopled with fictional characters, and no reference is intended to any living person whether in the Church or out of it"; but posing the same international problems of war and peace with which we are already unhappily familiar; taking us within the portals of the Vatican; and pivoting world affairs around the person of a truly remarkable Pope.

 

The former Pope was dead; the urbane and gentle Cardinal Camerlengo, Valerio Rinaldi, welcomed to the Vatican the eighty-five cardinals ("of whom the eldest was ninety two and the youngest, the Ukrainian, was fifty"). Rinaldi and his colleagues, Leone, of the Holy Office (the Inquisition) who was also the Dean of the Sacred College and a man of undeviating orthodoxy, were talking confidentially together. "If we don't. get a younger man this time", said Rinaldi. . . "We're all too old. There are not more than half a dozen of us who can give the Church what it needs at this moment: personality, a decisive policy, time and continuity to make the policy work"; and Leone countered: "They need someone . . . who has compassion on the multitude, who sees them, as Christ saw them-sheep without a shepherd."

 

And so it came to pass that these two stalwarts in the council of the Cardinals brought it about that the Ukrainian, Kiril Lahota, was elected Pope.

 

Running throughout the book as a connecting thread of events are the "extracts from , the secret memorials of Karil I Pont. Max", revealing the past life and the soul and heart and character of the new Pope, and revealing the ways of the world and the Vatican and the problems of a Pope: "I must try to smile and keep a good temper while I find my way round this Vatican maze . . . and I must commit my thoughts to a diary before I expose them to Curia or Consistory". "Two thousand years," the author proceeds, "of time and all of eternity were now given into his hand. Five hundred million people were hi, subjects, and his tribute came in every coinage of the world. He could wall., as he walked each day now iii the gardens of the Vatican, and measure the confines of his kingdom in a day's stroll; yet this narrow domain, was only a foothold from which his power reached out to encompass the tilted planet". To the Cardinals assembled before him the day after his coronation: "You ask me where I want to lead you, where I want to lead the Church . . . I want to lead you back to God, through men . . . We are what we are, for the service of God through the service of man. If we lose contact with man-suffering, sinful, lost, confused men crying in the night, women agonizing, children weeping-then we too are lost because we shall be negligent shepherds who have done everything but the one thing necessary . . . Quid vobis videtur? How does it seem to you?" The book tells us how this Pope fulfilled his papal mission, as lie saw it.

 

He had been personally tortured by Kamenev during his seventeen years of exile and imprisonment. It had failed to break him; but it had left a deep imprint on him physically and spiritually. He saw that Kamenev had his purpose in life and the good in that purpose although he disagreed with the means. Kamenev saw that Kiril had a purpose in life, which might not fit into Kamenev's scheme for the welfare of Russia, but was nevertheless honest and dedicate;.. Their common ground was their devotion to the principles of international peace and the complete exclusion of war.

 

Through the book runs the inconsistent thread of the petty lives of individuals with their loves and their antagonisms and intrigues; the thread of the purposeful lives of others; the thread of virtue and vice. Through it also run the affairs of the Church, of the dedicated men of the Church, of their individual problems and the over-all problem as to how best the Church might play its part on the far-flung world stage, and above all how Kiril played his part.

 

Tire book is a stimulating, inspiring and beautiful book, and Kiril the Pope a Christian man. The following is a typical extract from his "Secret Memorial":

 

`The Congregation of Rites has informed me that, they are ready to proceed to the beatification of two new servants of God . . . I am informed that the total cost may well be as much as fifty thousand American dollars. It could be that I shall be accused of diminishing the splendour of the liturgical life of the Church; but I have decided to reduce the ceremony to a simple formality and to devote whatever funds are available to the establishment of local works of charity . . . so that people will understand that the service of the servants of God is much

 

more important than their glorification . . . I am reminded of the saying of the Master that even a cup of water given in His name is a gift (made to Him. A thousand candles in St. Peter's mean nothing beside a poor man grateful to God because he is grateful to one of his fellows . . . I find myself being drawn irresistibly to the primitive thought of the Church, and I cannot believe that I am being drawn into error. I have no private inspiration. I aim in the Church and of the Church, and if my heart beats in tune with its pulse, I cannot be too far wrong. `Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from that of the unholy'."

 

Or again and finally: "I have been brought to see vividly that the real battleground of the Church is not in politics or in diplomacy or finance or material extension. It is the secret landscape of the individual spirit. To enter in this place the pastor needs . . . the very particular grace bestowed by the Sacrament of Holy Orders."

 

GOVERNOR EYRE AND GEORGE WILLIAM GORDON

 

Was Eyre all that bad? Was Gordon all that good? That was the way Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800 1659) wrote history. "He has a constant tendency to glaring colours, to strong effects, and will always b:: striking violent blows. He is not merely exuberant but excessive. . . His propositions have no qualifications. Uninstructed readers like this assurance. "The modern historical method is more temperate and more objective. Human beings have various and varying characteristics, some good, some bad, excesses of onoringing out excesses of the other characteristic. Both Lyre and Gordon were purists, the one was authoritarian, the other didactic, the one strongly Protestant in religion, the other liberally catholic, (brought u;) as Anglican, but Baptist when immersion seemed biblically enjoined). Both were devoted to the idea of the good, as each individually saw it. To Eyre. authority was supreme; to Gordon, the rights of the underdog. Gordon was temperate in his life and habits, intemperate in expression in the vindication of rights, the opposition of wrong and of official irregularity. Both men were formalists. To Eyre, demagoguery was sedition; to Gordon, official irregularity was poison.

 

Eyre's irregularities (chiefly through impatience to "get on with the job" and maintain official authority and also by reason of his intolerance of opposition or criticism). tended to bring Government into disrepute, especially in a country where denigration of Government was a popular pastime. Gordon's vehement and persistent exposure of Government irregularities brought him into disrepute with Governor Eyre, while helping to bring Government into disrepute.

 

When unrest exploded into riot and the mishandling of the situation brought about violence and murder, Eyre and others misread the situation and mistook riot for insurrection. Gordon was a marked man. Nothing but stern and even violent methods could, in Eyre's belief, arrest impending disaster, and the "ring-leader" must not escape while the misled were hunted down. Eyre himself set the pace and pointed the way. The arch-criminal must be scotched, both as a lesson and for the sake of justice. Eyre made his views plain in his dispatches. In such an atmosphere and in the field, it was inevitable that the terrible excesses which took place should have Eventuated„t How persuasive of Eyre's views was the situation that, while seasoned opinion in England judged the situation aright, it took nearly a century for public opinion in Jamaica to vindicate Gordon.

 

Even when Lord Olivier wrote his book "The Myth of Governor Eyre" in 1933 there were many who thought that Olivier was traitor to officialdom.

 

On this subject of identifying one with one or two of his characteristics, I recommend the reading of Korzybski's "Science and Sanity". The Whale IS big; the Flea IS small; this man IS short, that man IS tall. Enmeshed in aspects of themselves; impredicated, the objects suffer discontent. The vicious IS spell-binds them all; and weaves around each entity the magic web identity.

MORANT BAY 1865 AND ALL THAT

 

The years 1862 - 1865 were hard years for Jamaica, hard for labour, hard for manufacturers of sugar and produce growers and merchants, hard for the administration and particularly hard for Eyre in his acting appointment and for George William Gordon, a man of great sensibility and acute sympathy and a stickler for official propriety.

 

There was the after-math of two epidemics of cholera which had literally decimated the population; there was the prolonged American Civil War with its impact on prices and supplies, and employment, prices reacting seriously to the ad-valorem import duties which formed the chief means of island revenue; there were the repercussions from severe economic shocks dating back to readjustments after Emancipation in 1838 and the repeal of sugar preferences in the forties; there was a prolonged drought; Jamaica was still the shambles described by Bigelow in 1850 and more particularly by Sewell in 1800. There was George William Gordon, a voice crying in the wilderness, to the intense annoyance of smug officialdom; there were grievances over land disputes and the administration of justice, still largely in the hands of the plantocracy; there were the maladjustments due to the justifiable intransigence of labour and intolerance on the part of employers (largely brought about by impecuniosity and misunderstanding). With labour at one shilling to one shilling and sixpence per day, with praedial larceny rampant, with uncertain markets, with all the foregoing, there was unrest and there were grave apprehensions of trouble. But the people in the main were peaceful; and only Gordon was speaking up for them. This speaking-up for them in a later age was to make idols of Marcus Garvey, Sandy Cox, Jag. Smith and Alexander Bustamante. (Strictly speaking. Manley was in a different category. His great appeal was to the intellectuals and middle class, through whom it gravitated to the multitude).

 

But to return to 1865: Governor Eyre was aloof. Had he in August 1865 received the deputation led by Paul Bogle and others appointed to wait on the Governor by a Committee which had been named for the purpose by formal resolution at one of the "Underhill Meetings", the sequel might well have been different. As Lord Olivier puts it: "Eyre refused to see them. They tramped back their forty five miles to Stony Gut, with bitterness in their hearts. Eyre's rebuff failed not to have its natural effect".

 

Events moved to a climax. Bogle began to organise to make a demonstration and compel attention. The demonstration in force took place on a market and Court day at Morant Bay on October 7, 1865. There was a disturbance in Court. The arrest of a man for disturbance in Court was ordered; and he was rescued by Paul Bogle, assisted by other persons, and taken into the market square, where a snob joined in the struggle, assaulted and overpowered the police and defied them. Court proceedings however continued; and the incident was apparently at an end. No arrests were effected that day for the simple reason that the Police were out of action. There was then no further violence on either side. On Monday the 9th the Magistrates issued warrants for the arrest of Paul Bogle and twenty seven other persons for rioting. Again, had summonses been issued instead of warrants for arrest, the sequel might have been different. The Police with the warrants were overpowered by a local gang at Stony Gut. Paul Bogle appealed to the Governor by letter signed by himself and others which reached the Governor on the 11th: "We, the Petitioners of St. Thomas in the East, send to inform your Excellency of the mean advantages that has been taken of us from time to time, and more especially the present lime, when on Saturday, 7th of this month, an outrageous assault was committed upon us by the policemen of this parish, by order of the justices, which occasion an out breaking, for which warrants have been issued against innocent persons of which we were compelled to resist. We therefore call upon your Excellency for protection, seeing we are Her Majesty's loyal subjects, which protection if refused we will be compelled to put our shoulders to the wheel; as we have been imposed upon for a period of twenty seven years, with due obeisance to the laws of our Queen and country, and we can no longer endure the same; therefore is our object of calling upon your Excellency as Governor in Chief and Captain of our Island; and your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray"

 

(To be continued)

 

 

 


Volume 5.    No. 20         March 1964

 

THE MORAVIAN MISSION IN OLD JAMAICA

 

The original Moravian Church had a long and chequered history. The Moravian Brethren or Moravian Church, a Christian communion, was founded in the East of Bohemia. For some years after the death of John Huss in 1415 the majority of his followers were split into two contending factions, one of which was in 1433 recognized by the Pope as the national church of Bohemia. There yeas however secession from the national church and in 1467 they broke away entirely from the papacy, rejected the authority of the Catholic Church, Purgatory and the worship of Saints, and adopted a broad and radical doctrine. The outbreak of the Thirty Years War in 1618 nearly crushed them out of existence. Modern Moravians regard August 13, 1727 as the birthday of the renewed Moravian Church. They made a lasting impression on Goethe; but he was repelled by their doctrine of the substitutionary sufferings of Christ. They began their work in England through John Wesley, who, in 1735 on his voyage to Georgia, met some Moravian emigrants, and later Peter Boehler by whom he and his brother Charles were "converted" in 1738. In 1749, the British Parliament recognized them as "an ancient protestant Episcopal church."

 

The story of their coming to Jamaica in 1754 has been often told. Two absentee owners of sugar estates in Jamaica, William Foster and his brother John Foster Barham (who had added the surname "Barham" to his own on inheriting several estates in St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland, as Francis Moncrieff Kerr was many years later to add the name "Jarrett"to his on inheriting Barnett Estate) had been con­verted by-John Cennick, an eminent Moravian Evan­gelist. They tried to induce Cennick to himself undertake a mission to Jamaica to bring Christian­ity to their slaves. This proved impracticable, so George Caries; and his two assistants, Thomas Shallcross and Gottlieb Habrecht came to Jamaica.

 

I have before me an illustrated account of the Mission in Jamaica from 1754 to 1904 published by the Jamaica Moravian Church entitled "The Breaking of the Dawn or Moravian Work in Jamaica", which forms a valuable historical record. Part I (1754 -1854) is compiled from John Henry Buchner's "The Moravians in Jamaica" (London 1854) , an 1855 pamphlet entitled "Retrospect of the History of the Mission of the Brethren's Church in Jamaica, and the whole Part I was written by Moravian Ministers Walter Hark and Jonathan Reinke. In Part II they asked for Zacharias December 9, 1754; Caries is the work of Bishop Augustus Westphal of Fairfield, Spur Tree in Manchester.

 

Under slavery, there was little opportunity for the missionaries to do their work. One or two hours a week were allowed to the slaves for religious attendance; but Caries visited in their homes at night. They had the goodwill of the Attorney but ill will from the overseers and bookkeepers and the plantocracy. Lancaster, Elim, Two Mile Wood and the Bogue, situate at the foot of the Nassau Mountains were the scene of their early ministration, and they were allotted 300 acres of land in timber. In April 1755 two slaves were baptized; and by January 1756 there was a congregation of seventy seven baptized ,members and four hundred catechumens. Periodical visits were made to the other Foster & Barham properties in Westmoreland; and the Episcopalians and Presbyterians in various parts of the island enlisted the help of the Moravian Mission among the slaves. It was computed that at the time there were 200,000 slaves in the island.

 

There was heavy mortality among the Moravian Missionaries throughout the years. The Moravian Church for some time made no provision for their maintenance; Foster & Barham made them a small allowance. They obtained additional support by all sorts of activities, including growing their own food. At the end of fifty years, the Moravian baptisms in Jamaica numbered only 938.

 

An outstanding Missionary in Jamaica shortly after the turn of the century was John Lang. He proved to be an excellent administrator and execu­tive. In his diary we read: "We see plainly that the Fosters will not support the Mission  at New Eden and Ward and Light have equal complaints against their patrons Barham and Hall. The Fosters promised to do one-third of the Eden building, and one-ninth only is performed. The Halls promised every comfort to Bro. Light, yet the Negroes are threatened with flogging if they come to Church. Barham sends Bro. Ward without anything to live on. The whole island is against us all; who will defend us . . . " followed by a devout prayer. "The Brown and White people are very troublesome on Sundays".

 

At last (1812) "the time of success seemed to have arrived. The services and meetings began to be better attended". But the going was hard by reason of opposition among the planters, attorneys and overseers. When it appeared that the slaves welcomed the ministration, the planters adopted an ingenious counter-measure against the "sectarians". This was none other than a scheme to have mass baptism by a clergyman of the Church of

 

"The sacred rite was performed in the most profane manner. The slaves being all assembled in the millhouse, the rector went around accompanied by the housekeeper, or concubine, of the overseer, carrying a basin of water, naming each slave by a new name, while he sprinkled the water upon them. After this followed a dance, with a large allowance of rum. In one instance the minister played the fiddle and joined the dance. The slaves must be prevented from attending the ministry of the 'sectarians"'.

 

The Mission had a succession of distinguished missionaries. Of twenty nine who came between the years 1754 and 1775, fifteen died. Churches and Mission Houses were built and schools established.

 

Up to the time of Emancipation in 1838, contrary to the proprietors' distinct wishes the managers of the estates, assuming an attitude of almost constant opposition to the work, prevented the slaves from attending the missionary's ministry as much as possible, and placed other hindrances in the way. Extraordinary perseverance was shown by the Missionaries for seventy five years. There were then eighteen Missionary graves in the Mesopotamia burial-ground.

 

Mr. Barham, a steady friend of the Mission, was just about to make Mesopotamia station altogether independent of the estate when he died. His son too was kindly disposed, and was inclined to blame the Missionaries for the closing of this station for lack of support, for he could not, except at the peril of his income, accept complaints against his agents. Old Carmel had been previously abandoned for similar causes. Twenty nine members of the Mission had been buried there. Sixteen miles from Old Carmel a more salubrious and convenient site was found in the May Day Hills of Manchester.

 

And so the story went with alternating spiritual and temporal triumphs and disasters.

 

It was not until 1826 that the Mission had been able to establish schools, first Sunday Schools and then Schools. By 1828 the Mission at New Carmel was able to report "Sunday scholars 121 boys and 158 girls; six male and eight female teachers; average attendance more than 186; more than thirty of the children can read; many know the Catechism and numerous Scripture texts and hymns".

 

In the last days of 1831, the slaves in the parish of St. James rose in rebellion. The story has some years ago been related in the "Comments". Feeling against the Sectarians ran high; and although the Moravians were held in relatively high esteem by the Planters (the Baptists being their especial scapegoats), the Moravian Minister Dr. Pfeiffer came in for a very rough time. His trials are recounted under a separate article.

 

The slave revolt of' 1831-32 left Jamaica in a very unsettled state and more than one Moravian congregation was partially dispersed; but the Mission soon recovered; and in the course of 1833, a sixth independent station was formed at Malvern, and was to become under the name of Bethlehem a famous school and training centre. In 1834 a seventh station was established at Beaufort and the Church opened in 1837. The eighth station was established at Mile Gully (Manchester) in 1835; and the Church extended with rapid strides. Even the Assembly had made two gifts over the years of £500 each; and the esteem in which the mission was held by their colleagues in religion was testified by a gift sent by Rev. Litteljohn of the Anglican Church of Snowdon of E13 contributed by his flock, "displaying a most uncommon though most commendable spirit of Christian harmony". This was in the district now known as Newport. In 1841 the station known as Bethabara was opened and by 1848 counted 343 communicants.

 

The records from which I quote are exceedingly well illustrated, with Churches and local scenes; and the picture of a myalist on the road (one among many) is a fine example of a speaking likeness of movement and action.

 

Reference has been made to the publication as a historical record. In addition to the records of the mission as it impinged on Jamaican history, and the story of Myalism, and the account of the various illustrious missionaries, and the trials of Dr. Pfeiffer in connection with the slave revolt of 1831, there is reference to the terrible onslaught of cholera in 1850 and an account of the "great awakening" or "great revival" of the years 1860 and 1861.

 

THE "GREAT REVIVAL" OF 1860

 

(as told by the Moravians)

 

In August 1858, the Moravian memoirs state, one of the elder pupils in the training school at Fairfield "became convinced of his lost condition", and then gained the assurance that through grace he was pardoned and saved. The change in his life became clear to his companions and made a deep impression on them. A number of the young men in both the senior and the junior classes formed unions for prayer and the reading of the Scriptures . . . The awakening continued in the following year. The lads established special prayer meetings among themselves . . . they gave evidence of the Spirit of God on their hearts".

 

In June 1860 a few Brethren at Carmel came to their missionary and mentioned their great desire to have a weekly prayer meeting. He acceded to their request. Twenty came to the first weekly meeting. The numbers increased. On 20th September, for two hours after the meeting, the people remained in the yard, "telling each other what the Lord had done for them and theirs". Before long "numerous and powerful awakenings began in some of the neighboring districts". One missionary who had been bemoaning the indifference of his congregation, on returning from an awakened district, on enquiring for his helper was told that he was "at the meeting". Riding on, he saw a crowd, and was greeted: "Oh, Minister, the Lord has come among us". Some persons were weeping for joy, others appeared to be under deep conviction of sin. The next morning the Church was filled (without any notice given) as it ordinarily was on a Sunday. The meeting began; a verse of hymn was sung; the pastor issued an exhortation, and they then engaged in prayer. As soon as one ceased his audible prayer, another began.

 

In the course of the next few months the "revival" spread to all the Moravian congregations; there was widespread "confession of sin". People in deep contrition acknowledged their thefts. One gentleman to whom such a confession was made was inclined to look upon the "awakening" as a kind of madness that had seized the people; but admitted that there was something good in the movement.

 

The memoirs give this description of an incident: "I found the brother lying on a mat on the floor, writhing under the agonies of an awakened conscience. I knelt down with the members of the family and implored the Lord to give peace to his troubled soul. An appropriate hymn was then sung, and those present sat silently watching him for some minutes. Suddenly he raised himself up and exclaimed: 'My sins! My sins! I must confess them!' He then began struggling hard to bring out the words: 'Oh, that communion table witnesses against us'-a pause, 'Minister, rum drinking ruins us'-another pause-'Minister, we too deceitful. We tell Minister we have no money to pay the Church when we got plenty at home.' So he went on for some time and at last sat down on his mat quite exhausted . . . Again this morning a number of awakened and inquiring persons came to me. One of them was a young woman who had been to me twice before, and could obtain no peace day or night. She was nearly distracted with the torments of a guilty and-now awakened conscience. I endeavoured as far as lay in my power to set before her the blessed promises of a merciful and compassionate Saviour . . . Another woman told me that last Monday she was going to wash her clothes when suddenly an indescribable anxiety on account of her soul took possession of her. She could obtain no rest and was unable to eat anything for several days; At length the Saviour was revealed to her soul, and she found peace through the pardon of her sins." Many of them saw their guilt in terms of failure to pay Church dues.

 

Very strange phenomena showed themselves in many who came under the influence of "the Awakening". Women, occasionally also strong men, were seized with fits of trembling. People fell to the ground as if smitten by an invisible power. Some remained cold and stiff and unconscious for hours. At a meeting two young men were struck mute and one writhed in agony. One of the women was in a

 

state which resembled that recorded in Mark 1.23-26. The contortions of her body were dreadful. The narrator remarks: "It is not impossible that there were some cases of demoniacal possession at Y.S. where much wickedness had been committed". Many of those struck down seemed raving mad. They were torn to and fro in a dreadful manner, so that two or three strong young men were scarcely able to hold a child of thirteen or fourteen. The persons who were affected as above mentioned, uttered fearful sounds but no prayer". "In a meeting at Mahoe, no less than eighteen persons were smitten down, most of whom remained unconscious for hours. One woman exhibited most terrible signs of demoniacal possession, biting and gnashing her teeth at every one who ventured to come near her, tearing her clothes and flinging about everything that came within her reach. At last she bit her own arm in a most frightful manner and in agony and terror screamed aloud, 'Oh, the devil, the devil', and jumped out of the window .... Here and there people were for some time afflicted with deafness or dumbness. . . Some, having been brought to a deep sense of their sinfulness, at last found peace in the pardon of their sins. . . Our missionaries tried to check undue excitement, and forbade the giving way to it... There were people who said that the whole revival was fanaticism, or else pretence and fraud, imposition and hypocrisy. But who were the individuals that held and expressed such opinions? Rum-sellers, who saw their trade was in danger; men who never attended a place of worship, and those who lived in open transgression of the commandments of God. . . Some indeed were only temporarily awakened, but never truly converted. After a time they returned to their former evil life. On the other hand, a great many really passed from death into life. . . There were some startling examples of the fruits meet for repentance . . . It is a remarkable fact that it was chiefly the children and young people who came under the influence of the awakening . . . Churches that had been thinly attended were now crowded and overcrowded, while the rum shops were deserted. . . A great desire to be instructed in Christian truth took hold of the people, and the classes in the Sunday schools were full. . . At Carmel in 1861 the Church subscriptions amounted to £275 and contributions to missions to £131. . . I went to Ipswich this morning to hold a meeting. As I rode between the cane-fields the people saw me and at once left their work and ran to put on their clean clothes. The meeting was held where nearly three hundred people assembled. I have often gone to that village to hold service when I could hardly get twenty adults together for the purpose."

 

It is to be regretted that no account has been given of lasting effects on the people's lack of integrity and flagrant dishonesty. Today, in Newport, as elsewhere in the island, praedial larceny is rampant, and the sad thing is that the peasantry actually steal from one another; which is very

GOVERNOR EYRE and GEORGE WILLIAM GORDON

(Continued)

 

When this letter arrived Eyre had already arranged with General O'Connor for the despatch of troops to Morant Bay in compliance with the request of the Custos, received two hours previously. He directed the Colonial Secretary to reply in his usual aloof and unsympathetic and non-understanding manner . The reply, if written, was not delivered, for the riot took place that afternoon, (October 11), consequent on local mishandling of the affair in the face of a demonstrating crowd.

 

The Volunteers were drawn up in line. The crowd pressed on them. A bottle hit the captain of volunteers on the head, cut open his forehead and nearly blinded him; the order to fire was given and seven of the mob fell dead. Then they went berserk; several of the volunteers were killed; also magistrates and others of similar standing. After firing the Court House and committing the murders, with no police to restrain them, the acts of violence ceased. Then came the "suppression" based on the belief of Eyre and others that a widespread and bloody insurrection was afoot. Gordon was illegally tried by Court Martial and executed. No evidence was adduced against him of participation in or incitement to riot.

 

Concluded.

 

A NEW JAMAICA?

 

One wonders whether it might not be possible to create a new and worthwhile Jamaica, infuse a new spirit into the people and country so that Jamaica might pull itself upwards on its own boot-straps, so to speak. We know that complete reorientations may take place in a country and among a people in a short period. In Fascist and Communist countries it has been done at first under the compulsion of Government; but always afterwards it gains momentum for better for worse among the people. In both totalitarian and non-totalitarian countries, while Government may initiate or help, the impulse, to be effective. must pulsate through the people.

 

What are the essential desirable impulses among a regenerating people?

 

The answer is comprised in one word of the singular number: INTEGRITY. An integrated personality is imbued with: (a) the sanctity of work (laborare est orare) ; (b) the sanctity of service (in acknowledgment of the benefits automatically received by one from others in normal social life), (c) the compulsive force of courtesy and justice (as a logical environment of all social life).

 

Work? How may the idea of the value of work be brought home in the early formative period of one's life? I know of no better educational method than close contact with the soil and with insect and animal life, with accompanying instruction as to how they all operate and their several uses.

 

Even-compost and bee-keeping become valuable object lessons. In the former, the child learns the contribution which the millions of microorganisms make to the nutrition and therefore to the life of plant, animal and man, through creating humus in the soil itself. Here is a lesson in co-operation. But above all it is bound to inculcate a love of the soil itself, from which our distorted, if not perverted, ways of life produce in us a tendency to flee.

 

In bee-keeping, it is impossible to escape the fact that in this highly developed insect life there is dedication to productive work in close co-operation.

 

As a start, these two avenues of discipline might be made so pleasurable and profitable, that the educational value might remain with the individual for life. Out of these might flow in-dwelling ideas of the pleasure and profit and deep satisfaction to be got from the practice of the virtues: work, service, courtesy and justice, all going to make up integrity in the individual. Actions which are self-serving and self-satisfying are directed outward, thus avoiding the stultifying influence of directly or selfishly seeking exclusively or mainly one's own salvation.

 


Volume 5.   No. 21.      April 1964

 

A TRUE AND WONDERFUL STORY

 

I tell this story partly for its rare beauty and partly because it may serve as an inspiration anon sadly needed in Jamaica, for a sense of responsibility and inspired patriotism. It was written by Jean Giono and the translation appearing in Vogue (London) was re-planted in Mother Earth of October 1955, with whose kind permission I reproduce it, but necessarily in the form of a précis.

 

Some fifty years ago, the author was taking a long trip on foot over mountain heights quite unknown to tourists in that ancient region where the Alps thrust down into Provence. At the time, these deserted regions were barren land. Nothing grew there but wild lavender. The desolation was unparalleled. He had run out of water. The clustered houses, although in ruins, suggested that there must once have been a well or spring there. There was indeed a spring but it was dry. The houses were deserted. All life had vanished. The wind blew with unendurable ferocity. He had to move his camp. After five hours walking, all about him was the same dryness, the same coarse grasses; but he glimpsed in the distance a small black silhouette, which he took for the trunk of a solitary tree. It was a Shepherd with his thirty sheep. He gave the author a drink from his water-gourd, and a little later took him to his cottage. He drew his water from a deep natural well. He lived in a real house built of stone.

 

The place was solitary. Everything about the Shepherd was neat and tidy.

 

He shared his soup with the author. His dog was as silent as himself. It was understood from the first that the  author would spend the night there. The nearest village was far away, inhabited by charcoal burners and the living was bad and the people quarrelsome.

 

After supper the Shepherd poured out a heap of acorns on the table, inspected and carefully selected them, counting them out by tens. When he had selected one. hundred perfect , ones he stopped and we went to bed. Next morning he led his, flock to pasture. Before leaving he plunged his sack of selected acorns into a pail of water. He carried for a stick an iron rod. The author followed a path parallel to .his. His pasture was in a valley. After a while, he left the little flock in charge of his dog and climbed to where the author stood. He invited the author to go along with him. He climbed to the top of the ridge. There he began thrusting his iron rod into the earth, making a hole in which he planted an acorn; then he refilled the hole. He was planting oak trees. Asked if the land belonged to him, he said no. Did he know whose it was? He did not. He' supposed it was community, property; or perhaps belonged to people who cared nothing about it. He was not interested in finding out whose  it was. He planted his hundred acorns with the greatest care. After the midday meal he resumed his planting: For three years he had been' planting trees-in this orchard. He had planted one hundred thousand. Twenty thousand had caught.  He expected to lose about half to rodents or to the unpredictable designs of Providence. There remained ten thousand oak trees to grow where nothing had grown before.

 

The man's age was fifty five. He was to carry on his self-appointed and dedicated task for 30 years before a death claimed him. His name was Elzeard Boffier He had once had a farm in the lowlands; but on losing his son and wife, he had withdrawn into solitude, where his pleasure' was to live leisurely with his lambs and his dog. It was his opinion that this land was dying for want of trees, and, having no pressing business, he had resolved to remedy the state of affairs. He was now studying the reproduction of beech trees, and had a nursery of seedlings near his cottage. He  was also considering birches for the valleys where he claimed there was a certain amount of moisture a few yards below the surface.

 

The following year the 1914 War started. After demobilization, the author again took the road to the barren lands. The countryside had not changed but in the distance one saw a sort of grayish mist that covered the mountain tops like a carpet. Then he remembered the Shepherd and found him.. He now had only four sheep (for the larger .flock threatened his young trees); but he had a hundred bee-hives. The oaks of 1910 were then ten years old, taller than a man, an impressive spectacle. "When you remember that all this had. sprung.. from. the hands and soul . of this one man, without technical resources, you understood that. men could be as effectual as God in realms other  than that of destruction."

 

He had pursued his plan, and beech trees as high as one's shoulder, spreading out as far as the eye could reach, confirmed it. "Creation seemed to come about in a sort of chain reaction. He did not worry about it; he was determinedly pursuing his task in all its simplicity"; but as they went back toward the village the author "saw water flowing in brooks that had been dry since the memory of man. This was the most impressive result of chain reaction. These dry streams had once long ago run with water. Some of the dreary villages had been built on the sites of ancient Roman settlements, traces of which still remained; and archaeologists exploring there had found fish-hooks where in the twentieth century cisterns were needed to assure a small supply of water."

 

"The wind too scattered seeds. As the water  reappeared so there reappeared willows, rushes, mea­dows,  gardens flowers and a certain purpose in being. But the transformation took place so gradually that it became part of the pattern with­out causing any astonishment. Hunters climbing into the wilderness in pursuit of hares or wild boar, had of course noticed the sudden growth of little trees, but had attributed it to some natural caprice of the earth . . . If he had been detected he would have had opposition. He was indedectable. Who in the village or in the administration could have dreamed of such perseverance in a magnificent generosity. . .He worked in total solitude: so total, that, toward the end of his life, he lost the habit of speech".

 

In 1933 a forest ranger visited him to serve a notice on him as a resident to be careful of fire on account of the "natural" forest that had sprung up. Incidentally the ranger told him that he had never before heard of a forest growing of its own accord. Bouffier at the age of seventy-six built a stone cottage so as to be nearer to where he was planting beeches. In 1935 a Government delegation arrived rived to examine the phenomenon of a forest growing of its own accord. The forest was placed under the protection of Government and charcoal burning was prohibited. The author explained the mystery of the self-grown forest to one of .the forestry officers of the delegation who was his personal friend. Together they visited Bouffier. The officer kept the secret; and thanks to this officer not only the forest but also the happiness of the man was protected. Bouffier ignored the '39 war, as he had ignored the 1914 war, and went on with his work.

 

The author visited the district again in 1945. "Everything was changed. Even the air. Instead of the harsh-dry winds that used to attack me, a gentle breeze was blowing laden with scents. I heard the sound of water falling into a pool. Vergons (that was the name of the village) bore evidence of labour at the sort of undertaking for which hope is required. Hope had returned; ruins had been cleared away, dilapidated walls torn down. New Houses freshly plastered were surrounded by gardens where vegetables and flowers grew in orderly confusion. On the lower slopes I saw fields of barley and rye. Deep in the narrow valleys the meadows were turning green. It has taken only eight years since then for the whole countryside to glow with health and prosperity". . , _

 

"Elzeard died peacefully in 1947 at the age of 87 at the hospice in Banon. One man, armed only with his own  physical and moral resources, was able to cause this and of Canaan to spring from the wasteland."

 

(Charcoal burners and other destructive agencies had destroyed the forests and soured the land and the people. One man with courage and with a simple but healthy outlook on life and nature a had the compelling urge to do something for the land and did it with single-minded and single-handed purpose).

 

SUGAR, CANE EXPANSION AND NITROGEN

 

The Sugar Expansion Scheme involves the expansion of sugar cane cultivation as well as the expansion of sugar factory capacity and potential. Appropriate cultivation will therefore be an important element in the expansion programme.

 

The orthodox view is that in tropical agriculture, claims of the beneficial effects of organic manures are usually exaggerated; and that few, if any, present-day agriculturists subscribe to the theory that organic manuring is essential. It is claimed that in general artificial fertilizers are more precise and more economical; and their use is now standard practice throughout Jamaica and elsewhere. Hence the large amount spent on sulphate of ammonia and the large amount of organic matter disposed of off the fields.

 

These views do not however appear to be entirely accepted in India. In his "Agricultural Testament", the late Sir Albert Howard gives an interesting account of George Clarke's work in India in the 1920's, which is particularly valuable, because Clarke would never publish an account of his activities. Fortunately however we have not only Sir Albert Howard': record, but also Martin-heake has two manuscript' volumes which Clarke wrote in his retirement, and in the April 1956 number of Mother Earth gives a brief account of his views.

 

First as to George Clarke: Sir Albert Howard wrote in "An Agricultural Testament": "It would not have been possible to write this book without the encouragement of a former colleague in India, Mr. George Clarke, C.LE., who held the post of Director of Agriculture in the United Provinces for ten years (1921-31). He very generously placed at my disposal his private notes on the agriculture of the Provinces covering a period of over twenty years, and has discussed with me during the last three years (in the 1930s) practically everything in this book. He read many of the chapters when they were first drafted, and made a number of suggestions which have been incorporated in the text . . . Clarke found that it was advantageous to apply a small dressing of farmyard manure to the land just before the green crop is sown. The effect of this is to stimulate growth and nodular development in a remarkable way . . . ". Howard relates that Clarke operated closely in the field at a certain district in India from 1912 to 1921: "When work started in 1912, the yield of stripped cane on 95 per cent of the sugar-cane area of the United Provinces was only 13 tons to the acre, producing just over 1 ton of crude sugar (here follows a detailed 'account of Clarke's methods of Intensive cultivation). The results of this intensive method of cane cultivation-based on the growth of efficient varieties, proper soil aeration, (god surface drainage, carefully controlled irrigation and an adequate supply of organic matter-were astounding. In place of 13 tons of cane and just over a ton of sugar per acre, a yield of just under 36 tons-of cane and 3 tons of sugar. per acre was obtained for a period of twenty years, - - year in year out."

 

Martin-Leake contributes to our information about George Clarke: "Clarke's conclusions array be briefly summarised as follows: In place of the Autumn accumulation of nitrate which takes place under temperate conditions, there is a vast and very rapid accumulation of nitrate reaching its maximum at the end of the hot weather and beginning of the rains; with the break in the rains, that accumulation rapidly disappears, partly absorbed by crop growth, partly leached out of the soil, but largely fixed by the vigorous growth of the soil organisms for subsequent release. A second accumulation takes place between the end of the rains and that period in the cold weather when temperatures fall too low for active microbiological activity. His conclusion was that this extensive formation of nitrate was responsible for the maintenance of the fertility o1 the Gangetic soils through the thousands of years during which they have been cultivated". Martin Leake thinks it worth while to quote Clarke's exact words: "This result (the increased production) depended on raising to and maintaining at a, higher level the balance between the soil aeration, organic matter, plant food and variety. Short-cuts to increased production which give rise to unbalanced soil conditions, such, for example as the excessive use of artificial nitrogenous manures, under the conditions which prevail in the United Provinces are attended by the gravest risks. Irreparable damage can be done to the magnificent soil which for has been  the wealth of India".

 

thousands of years Martin-Leake concludes;, "The work of Clarke, and of Dhar . . . and of many others which could be added . . . all carry one common theme: the basis for the maintenance of fertility in tropical soils is organic matter".

 

An article by Ghosh is worthy of careful perusal. He notes that "the nitrogen of soil humus, including approximately five million tons of atmospheric nitrogen fixed by legumes, is still the chief nitrogen source of world food production" and that the inorganic ions (escaping atoms) are taken up by wet humus and absorbed by growing crops according to their need "hence inorganic fertilisers produce better results in the presence of organic matter or humus". He also concludes: "We have found in India . . . that the supreme value of added organic matter is to be found in the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen . . . Organic matter . . . undergoes slow oxidation at the soil surface". He claims that the presence of phosphates (not neces­sarily Inorganic) along with decomposing organic matter increases the efficiency of nitrogen fixation; and that the benefit to soil fertility obtained' from leaving plant root systems !s not due to an increase in nitrogen content alone but also to an increase in humus capital. This object can be furthered by adding all kinds of organic matter to the soil . . . It is well-known that the addition to the soil of artificial fertilizers year after year does not appreciably increase its nitrogen or humus content. Hence it is clear that the 40,000 million tons of total nitrogen present in all the cultivated bands of the world are derived from the nitrogen present in plant residues and to that fixed by microorganisms and from the air during the oxidation of organic matter present in the soil or added to it when fortified, by phosphate or other mineral salts. We must therefore endeavour to increase the humus content and  calcium phosphate reserves of our soil in permanent agriculture in order to meet the increasing food requirements of the world". Heavy dosage of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers may be both wasteful and harmful, particularly in the absence of humus.

 

THE EARLY BAPTISTS

 

The Greek .word "adelphos" signifies  "brother". The name Adelphi was given to the property of Isaac Lascelles Winn, believed to be the only remaining Quaker in  Jamaica in the 1780s, some one hundred and fifty years after the first trek of the Quakers to the West Indies.- ..                      

 

Moses Baker tells the stogy of how on the invitation of Winn he set up his mission at Adelphi This preceded the mission in Jamaica-later set up by the Baptist Missionary Society.

 

"Being settled in Kingston, carrying on the trade of a barber, sometime after the evacuation of New York by the King's troops in 1783, I met with Mr. Winn, and recognized him as a seafaring person whom I remembered commanding a trading vessel .. . running between England and the  American colonies." Winn was in search of a mantua maker. Baker's wife was a mantua maker. In finding her, Winn found Moses Baker, whose eyes were going back on him. His wife explained their predicament and wished they could find some place in the country which might be cultivated by the children. He left word that Baker's eyes should be attended to and he recovered his sight.

 

In February 1788 Baker arrived at Stretch-and Set, as Winn's property was then called (a surveyor's term) to undertake his missionary work. Moses Baker tells the story: "Well, friend, I am glad to see thee here." I told him I had reason to praise God and to consider that I could never do enough to serve him as through the kindness of God he had been chiefly instrumental in recovering my sight. Winn then said, 'When thou thinkest proper to go down to my negro-town, I will give thee a list of the names of my leading people. I do not mean that thou shaft abide among them any longer than the three thou takest to reprove them: I will give thee a place about a mile off where those who wish to follow thee can come and hear thee, and I will make out a salary for thee, that thou and thy wife and child may live comfortably, and I will protect thee from being molested by any one in the discharge of thy duties," and then he added, when he seal on the land a mile off: "Now I give thee liberty to instruct all that are willing to come and hear thee, bond and free"'.

 

Baker reports further: "I soon recommended every man to keep to his own wife and every woman to her own husband; but this proved very difficult because some of them had two, three, four or even five wives. I made it my daily study to search the Scriptures and apply my heart to God in prayer. In the course of time I found a small society. We are of the Baptist persuasion because we believe it agreeable to the Scriptures. We hold to keep the Lord's Day throughout the year in a place appointed for public worship in singing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We hold to be baptized in a river, or a place where there is much water, in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, receiving the Lord's supper in obedience to His command. We also hold to washing one another's feet, praying over the sick and anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord Jesus. We hold to appoint judges and such other officers among us to settle any matters according to the Word of God. We hold not to the shedding of blood and think ourselves forbidden to go to law with one another before the unjust, but settle any matters we have before the saints. We are forbidden to swear at all; and account. ourselves bound not to eat blood for it is the life of a creature. We abstain from things strangled and from meat offered to idols." (This was to avoid pagan rites of sacrifice). "We are forbidden to wear costly raiment and what would be superfluous. We are bound to submit ourselves to every ordinance of men for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the King as Supreme or unto Governors as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. We permit none to keep each other but to be married according to the word of God. If any one of this religion should transgress, and walk disorderly; and not according to the command we have received in the covenant of our Lord, he will be censured according to the word of God. If a brother or sister should transgress,  any of these articles written in this covenant, so as to become a swearer, a fornicator, an adulterer, a covetous person, an idolator, a railer, a drunkard, an extortioner, or should commit any abominable sin, and  doth not give satisfaction to the church according to the word of God, we hold that such a one should be put away from among us; and we must not keep company or eat with excluded persons".

 

At the same time or a little earlier, George Liele, a freed slave or a British officer from Georgia, U.S.A., had opened a chapel in Kingston. Laws had been passed in 1696, and 1788 for the religious instructions of slaves; but had become a dead letter; and a report of the Assembly in 1797 recorded this fact and recommended that the clergy should be compelled to instruct in religious doctrines.

 


Volume 5.          No. 22            May 1964

 

CAUSERIES

 

The warp and woof of the fabric of history are the land and the people. The welfare of the land, like the welfare of the people, should be the long-term or historical preoccupation of Government. In the modern historical setting there is an obligation on Government to see to it that neither the land nor the people is robbed of its rights. In the get-rich quick process of the individual, both land and people suffer deterioration.

 

Henry George, the Single-tax man, believed that if appropriate land-tax were imposed by way of rent for the land, all would be well. But that alone will not suffice. The occupier of land must be made in some way liable for "impeachment of waste". If the bad husbandman in his pursuit for quick and abundant profit will not or cannot afford to return to the land the vegetable waste that is wrung from the land, then Government must pro tanto perform its obligation and return to the land as far as practicable the waste wrung from the land. This may be done by Government providing municipal composting.

 

Municipal composting is economical; it provide: an economical way of disposing of waste; and provides economically for the occupier of land a means of returning the waste to the land. It is benevolent impeachment of waste.

 

This is not conjecture; municipal composting is being increasingly practised in many parts of the world. Whatever may be the answer to the problem of chemical fertilizer, there is no argument about the value of returning animal and vegetable waste to the land; the only problem is the problem of the process being made economical for the individual landowner. Municipal composting is the answer.

 

For individual composting, the supply of economical crops to provide vegetable waste is essential. If one has a chaff-cutter or a shredder and grinder (at a pinch even a lawn mower answers the purpose), economical crops appear to be sunflower, corn (sweet or field), sesame and the tall African marigold among others. They are (with the exception of the marigold) prolific producers of fruit as well as vegetable waste, while the aromatic nature of the marigold may be a slug and eelworm deterrent. All are easy to grow.

 

Has any one thought of making Albert Howard's "Agricultural Testament" a compulsory text book in all Jamaican schools? In the elementary school it may well displace Shakespeare's Plays.

 

JAMAICAN LAWYERS AS BROKERS

 

The occupation of "broker" appears to have had an ancient and honourable lineage, for the word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "brucan", signifying "use", and in Swedenborgian theology, "use" is a passport to Heaven. May a rich man enter the kingdom of Heaven? Assuredly, said Swedenborg, provided he used his wealth and did not let it rust. The Solicitor branch of lawyers in Jamaica undertook brokerage of two kinds: investment brokers, and insurance brokers but sparsely, until the turn into the twentieth century. No one in Jamaica thinks the worse of the broker-lawyer. However, during my frequent visits to New York in the decades of the Franklin D. Roosevelt's occupation of the White House, I was struck by the denigration which he underwent at the hands of many of my relatives, friends and acquaintances; and I often asked: "What is your special objection to Roosevelt?" Once I got the unexpected and disconcerting answer in the form of the question: "What would you think of a lawyer, who, unable to make the grade at his profession, had to sell insurance as a side line?"

 

Up to the time of the turn of the century, there was little demand for investment money on mortgage for building purposes or even for land purchases; and there was small supply of investment moneys except by the Banks, Building Societies and the Administrator General. But as shopkeepers acquired reserves and/or gave up the purveying business, or people with accumulated wealth died, moneys were gradually released for mortgage investment, and solicitors of those controlling these funds set up departments to deal with loans of these moneys. In those days a fund of £10,000 to £20,000 went a far way, and a loan of £3,000 was a large loan. A sugar estate changed hands at £3,000; and £500 to £600 purchased a gentleman's home.

 

At first, individuals with money or investment, instructed their solicitors to prepare the mortgage. It was seldom at first for Solicitors to largely control investments. Among the larger concerns were Estate Stiebel (which soon gave up such investment, the Trustee, Schloss, wryly explaining that in his experience only the Bank repaid money lent); Alfred Pawsey, who had put by reserves from a superior haberdashery business; T. N. Aguilar, who had built up reserves in the furniture business; Colonel Kitchener (later second Earl, who referred to his brother the first Earl as the fool of the family) and a few others. Among the small investors was John Cassis, who had built up his reserves from very efficient shoe-making supplemented by investment in Kingston houses. Later, estates or clients' funds were committed to solicitors for investment and still later some investors entrusted the preparation of the mortgage to any solicitor who brought in the approved application for a loan. Among the early solicitors who specialized on investment were Sidney Cargill and Alfred Motta. A solicitor controlling investment money earned the gratitude of borrowers and became popular.

 

Under the Jamaican Law, (then as now) the borrower pays all the "costs" of the investment; the negotiation fee, the solicitor's fee for preparing the mortgage and stamp duty and recording and registration fees, all but the fee on collecting the interest unless the borrower was in default. The mortgagee often also entrusted the regular collection of interest to his solicitor. Rates of interest varied between five and twenty per centum per annum according to the market, the needs of the borrower and the prudence or avarice of the lender, and largely too according to the size of the loan.

 

The frequency with which various solicitors undertook the duties of insurance brokers increased with the years; and these duties dovetailed neatly in with the business of investment brokers. Indeed it was claimed that the formation and activities of the Jamaica Permanent Building Society and the Jamaica Cooperative Fire Insurance Co. were originally synergistic if not symbiotic. Certainly the investment and insurance brokerage of many solicitors became so. When an insurance agent (solicitor or businessman) became director of a Company, he expected to get a share of the insurance brokerage; and in a Building Society, even a share of fees as a valuator for loan purposes.

 

In almost every case, the solicitors gave good service in their brokerage business. When a rare lapse occurred in a solicitor's investment brokerage, the consequences were serious, because the opportunity for dishonesty which delayed, when it did not defy detection, was devious. When the Secretary of the Solicitors' Committee pointed out to an erring solicitor who had been "reported" that if he had kept Clients' money and his own in separate Bank Accounts he might have avoided temptation, the erring solicitor, a man of the great deportment of the times, said: 'Surely you would not expect a man of my standing to keep his moneys like a Chinaman in separate thread bags". It was the same dignified Solicitor, when the Bailiff attempted to arrest him for d t, on his way to Court, sternly admonished him: "Touch not the Lord's anointed, nor do his prophets any harm", for a Solicitor might not be arrested on his way to Court.

 

THE ILLEGITIMATE

 

"Philosophy", says Moreau de St. Mery in his Histoire de St. Domingue, "has used certain differences, seen by every eye, to render intelligible hereditary pride. The distinction of race is the pride of having grandfathers whose blood is pure and unmingled. The good or the evil is modified by fractional parts and the community is severed or drawn closer together as it either approaches or recedes from purity". In his "Letters from Spain", Blanco White reports: "There exists the distinction of blood which is peculiar to Spain". "To this distinction," remarks the Jamaican publicist, naturalist and historian Richard Hill, "the mass of the people are so blindly attached, that the meanest peasant looks upon the want of it as a source of misery and degradation, which he is doomed to transmit to the latest posterity. The least mixture of African, Moorish and Jewish blood taints a whole family to the most distant generation; nor does the knowledge of such a fact die away in the course of years, or become unnoticed from the obscurity or humbleness of the parties".

 

Nevertheless in Spain illegitimacy was no reproach, nor was it a bar to advancement, if it did not involve disqualification by mixture of race. There was no country of Christendom except Spain where polygamy was accommodated and concubinage legalized. Such was the position at the time of the discovery of America.

 

When the Protestants of France were excluded from legal recognition by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the situation was that the law declared that many people previously married were living in concubinage. The result was that when the law prohibited the solemnization of marriage in the colonies between dissimilar races as "mesalliance" concubinage, being without social discredit, was accepted without scandal. To some extent, the law of Celibacy for the Roman Catholic clergy for a long time had a similar effect.

 

We do not know what influence Spanish and French customs had in the British settlements; but similar customs supervened, although in the British West Indian colonies there was no law declaring marriage between dissimilar races unlawful but there were laws depriving of civil rights free Negroes, Jews and Mulattoes and Indians.

 

It was persecution that drove the Quakers to Jamaica; and George Fox preached here. They were against the necessity of a priest for a legal marriage. An English Judge, Archer, in a case as to the legitimacy of a child born of a union not celebrated by a priest, told the Jury: "There was a marriage in Paradise, when Adam took Eve and Eve took Adam, and it was the consent of the parties which made the marriage".

 

The foregoing particulars are mostly taken from Richard Hill's "Lights and Shadows of Jamaican

 

History," forming a remarkable series of lectures which he gave at the Institute of Jamaica in the eighteen sixties on the social and political history of Jamaica "not as an apology much less an excuse for the prevalence of concubinage, at this day, in Jamaica. It is however an historical explanation of that prevalence. Public opinion had excluded different parts of society, differently accepted for political and social consideration, from unions of equality. The law had denied one of them credibility for any fact within their knowledge. They were shut out from the testimony necessary for registration. Excluded, they considered themselves not wrong but wronged. The result has been that the island, from one end to the other, is strewn with wives without husbands, children without ,paternity. For a hundred and fifty years inheritances have been taken not by what ought to have been law, but by a rule that opinion had created and made legal in spite of law, and families that maintained all the propriety of family unions, faithful in each other's affections-avowing their children as theirs, have been bastardized, the creatures of an inexorable necessity like the Protestants of France and the Christians of a contaminated race in Spain".

 

In Richard Hill, probably "fellow feeling" made him "wondrous kind," for his father was an Englishman; and he claimed that his mother was of Arawak descent.

 

It is a fact that illegitimate offspring are among the most illustrious Jamaicans. It is probable that many of the distinguished Jamaicans who lived in faithful concubinage with "housekeepers" and did not marry were grateful to the law which had helped to promote or establish a custom which they found convenable and gratifying. The custom which was widespread up to the 1870s and 1880s continued considerably abated after the turn of the century.

 

As one considers the quality of the offspring, it cannot be denied that the custom justified itself. Jamaica has every reason to be proud of its illustrious bands of Illegitimates, the fruit of faithful concubinage, and to be grateful to a custom which has yielded such fine results. There is a great difference between faithful concubinage and promiscuity.

 

MYALISM IN OLD JAMAICA

 

A good deal of Jamaican history is to be found in the memoirs of Missionaries and the records of missionary work here. "The Breaking of the Dawn Moravian Work in Jamaica 1754 - 1904" gives an account of the wave of Myalism that swept certain districts. It preceded the "Great Revival" of 1880, an account of which was given in Duncan Fletcher's "George William Gordon", and reproduced in these "Comments", and is also given in the Moravian Memoirs. The following account of Myalism is taken

 

from the Moravian Records. The wave of Myalism happened in the course of the year 1842. Among the congregation at Irwin Hill the outbreak was extremely violent. There some old Africans had never ceased to practice Obeah, and had found it a very paying business owing to prevailing superstitions. The Myalmen pretended to have greater powers than the obeah men, and were accounted good and holy. They pretended to make Obeahism of no effect; claimed that they could discover and destroy it; and maintained that they were sent by God to purge the world from all wickedness and that they had received power to procure rest for the wandering spirits or "shadows". They laid claim to an immediate Intercourse with God and divine revelations. Their proceedings were accompanied by songs in which the names of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Father Abraham were interspersed.

 

A wild and fanatical movement was inaugurated and rapidly spread in the parishes of, St. James, Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland. The Myalmen and their followers roved about and boldly and openly practised their rites. Thousands joined them. After dark, they assembled in large crowds in open pastures, most frequently under huge cotton trees, which the Africans had always held sacred. After sacrificing some fowls, the leader began his song in a wild strain; it was answered in chorus then followed the dance growing wilder and wilder, until those who participated were in a state of mad excitement. Some would perform incredible evolutions while in this state, until, utterly exhausted, they fell senseless to the ground, when every word uttered by them was received as a divine revelation. At other times the myal folk would single out certain obnoxious or hated people as obeah men, and commit gross acts of violence against them. Numerous cases of such assaults were at one time dealt with at the St. James Quarter Sessions. Obeah was to be discovered or a "shadow" was to be caught; a little coffin was prepared in which it was to be buried. Some of the votaries lost their senses and became unrecognizable, their features distorted, their looks haggard and their eyes glaring wildly. They were distinguished by a handkerchief tied in a fantastic manner round the head and another one fastened as tightly as possible around the waist. At night or by day they were to be seen, sitting in hollow trees, singing their songs or running along the road with outstretched arms, as fast as their feet, could carry them (They called this "flying"). They would interrupt church services, and became a great nuisance, to meet which several special constables were sworn in. They were bold and daring, and reasoning with) them served no purpose. Several of them who disturbed people by their howling or had damaged property, were confined to jail for several weeks.

 

The Missionaries complained "this revival of heathenism proved a trial and a temptation to the converts. Once they themselves or their fathers had been firm believers' in such superstitious and blasphemies . . . Many Intelligent Jamaican natives, whilst keeping aloof from the movement, did not venture to condemn it. 'We can't say good, we can't say bad', was their wavering estimate; nor would they dare to bear testimony against the lie, even if they thought it a lie. But for the vigorous opposition of the Missionaries, of the several denominations, the delusion would have grown and swept the whole island, in spite of the strong arm of the law."

 

The excitement continued for six months. Obeahism and Myalism grew weaker in the course of the years; but never quite died out. From time to time it recrudesced. Lititz experienced such a wave in 1846. In 1849 Nazareth and Bethany suffered from a spell of fanaticism. People would meet to read the Bible; none of them could read but they hired a man for the purpose. One of them uttered a prayer; then the leader would call: "Now let the Spirit speak". Thereupon they believed themselves inspired; they became excited and bawled and screamed and fell into convulsions; and the display of madness might go on for hours. They professed to be the salt of the earth, to be endowed with a special gift of prophecy and to have a special knowledge of the truth.

 

TOM REDCAM

 

Thomas Henry MacDermot was the third child and the only son of Rev. H. C. P. MacDermot and Mrs. MacDermot (nee Rutty). He began life teaching in an Elementary School in Trelawny and went on to teach in a private school in Grand Cayman. He interspersed teaching with journalism, began journalistic work on the Christian Chronicle and was for a short time a junior master at York Castle High School. After leaving York Castle he stuck to journalism: assistant editor of the Jamaica Post, special writer on the Gleaner, in 1900 assistant editor of Jamaica Times and later its editor. Under the pen name of Tom Redcam he wrote much in verse and fiction.

 

My earliest remembrance of Tom Redcam is of when he was at York Castle School in the early 1890s; and one outstanding recollection is his lending me some of his own poems and particularly those of D. M. Panton, which he held in high esteem. As I remember Panton's poems, they had affinity with those of McDermott. They were both emphatically lyrical, and as such quite pleasing.

 

A few years after I left York Castle, I was to come across MacDermott again on matters literary. Herbert George Delisser, while a clerk at the Institute of Jamaica, had come into prominence as the contributor of articles to the daily press, chiefly, as I remember them, on matters relating to evolution. It was, I think while Delisser was proof reader at the Gleaned, and before he joined successively Jamaica Times, Daily Telegraph and again the Gleaner in more responsible positions, that he formed a small literary society, meeting once a month in a room at the Jamaica Institute, consisting of himself, MacDermot, Hector Josephs, John Walsh and myself. The idea was that the members would in turn present individual papers for discussion. MacDermot read the first .paper. It was then that I observed that he had in an exaggerated degree the affection of the rising inflection at the end of the sentence, which seemed prevalent in Jamaica, and to which the elocutionist George Phillips was to direct much attention in attempts to cure it.

 

MacDermot was of a very gentle disposition and apparently far from being susceptible to erotic influences. Had he been otherwise, life might have taken a somewhat different turn for a young girl, with a prodigious love of and memory for verse, who was thrown into close association with him, without apparently a spark of emotion developing. Much later MacDermot was to marry. His friends believed the marriage to be an adventure in chivalry on MacDermot's part. He was a gallant gentleman and a very gentle soul, with immense loyalties to the Empire and the Colony.

 

Tom Redcam's poems were essentially lyrical and Britishly patriotic, breathing however a great love of Jamaica, as in "Melilla". His model appeared to be the poems of Tennyson with their lilt and assonance. As in Tennyson, there was also great economy of expression. I remember an outstanding example of this in a manuscript copy of his own poems, which MacDermot lent me in his early days, and which I do not remember seeing in his printed poems: "Only God has the power to take the unfilled act, the un-acted thought; and measure both without mistake, resolve fulfilled, resolve unwrought".

 

THE PHILOSOPHER'S ROSARY.

 

Although the Philosopher sometimes descanted somewhat cynically on the social and political uses of religion and prayer, he was deeply sensible of the spiritual value of meditation and prayer. He was however wont to say that, while the form of meditation and prayer was important, it was quite irrelevant to its value to whom one prayed. This was of course evident when one considered the multifarious forms of devotional beliefs, and "the many gods and creeds that wind and wind" sometimes with, sometimes without "the art of being kind".

 

His Rosary was however somewhat startling when first enunciated. He claimed that, for himself, he was wont to make up his Rosary from any scraps that suited his fancy, and that the nature of the particular scrap was irrelevant so long as it crowded out unpleasant thoughts.


Volume 5 Nos. 23 and 24.       JUNE and JULY 1964.     

 FINAL DOUBLE NUMBER.

 

NOTICE TO SUBSCRIBERS

 

Publication of the Comments will cease with this double number. The chief reason is that the editor is fully occupied with other interests. Thanks are extended to our Printers, the Herald Ltd., without whose generous help the cost of printing over a decade would have been prohibitive, and to Subscribers for their indulgence and encouragement.

JAMAICAN CONSPECTUS

 

Within a three-mile radius of almost every Jamaican village the population explosion becomes manifestly alarming. The congestion in Kingston and other urban centers tells its own story. While the population explosion gives rise to understandable anxiety, it is however noteworthy that there is much unexploited land potentiality, quite apart from the large areas lying idle by reason of agricultural and afforestation indeterminism. With land, labour and sound leadership, a people ought to be able to pull themselves up on their own bootstraps, if they were willing to forgo the luxury of avoidable imports; but events seldom. work out that way. On the contrary, adventitious aids, to the detriment of land and people, are sought in the form of destructive shortcuts.

 

The story of Eleazer Boffier, related in our April number, tells a tale, which, if applied in Jamaica, might, with the help of other factors, change the face of the land and the fortunes of its people.

 

As I write, in the third week of May, the area between Spur Tree and Newport in Manchester is in the grip of a severe drought. The area has been denuded of trees, although it is apparent that Broadleaf and Cedrella once flourished here. Other broad leafed timber and economic trees are quick growers and the falling leaves would help to restore humus and the water-holding capacity of the soil. The largely idle young population might well be made tree-conscious.

 

In the matter of education, there is evidence that a large number of pupils of the elementary schools leave school at fourth grade without yet having learnt to read or write. There is of course the serious problem of the duality of language which inhibits understanding in school and after life. Serious efforts might be made to respect dialect and relate it to Standard English.

 

The fact remains that a sound education in reading, writing and ciphering enables the individual to achieve self-education, as has been attested in the lives of many distinguished Jamaicans. Too little attention is paid to the peat potentiality of the well-directed elementary school, and too much misdirected attention to the attempt to socially integrate the people by forced-feeding into the secondary schools. The question arises whether we are educating for life or for show; whether our resources can support a misdirected educational policy. Elementary education without kitchen gardens and workshops is not true education.

 

Praedial larceny is endemic, making cultivation of any sort a frustrating undertaking. Little attention appears to be paid in our educational and social system to inculcating habits of thrift and integrity. Lack of care of implements of daily use is as evident among artisans, as dishonesty is among all sections of the community. There is something wrong with an educational and social system when character building is neglected or ineffective.

 

A civilized society shakes off a good deal of the superstitions of a primitive society; but sometimes it also loses the well-established virtues of a primitive society, such as integrity and honesty, the spirit of cooperation and habits of courtesy.

 

The population which came to us largely from primitive Africa and partly from the civilized British Isles possessed the virtues above referred to. Some of them deteriorated) under the stresses and strains of the local social and economic system; but until re­cently one virtue remained, that of  courtesy. That virtue is fast disappearing. Why?

 

POLITICAL ECONOMY

 

What is now known as Economics was up to some fifty or sixty years ago taught in the schools as political economy. Like many specialized subjects it presents in a somewhat distorted form what should be the true objectives of social life. A good corrective is to be found in a study of the economy of primitive peoples or the works of Economic historians such as the late R. H. Tawney. An economic historian may of course refrain from passing moral judgment; but the perusal of economic history carries with it its own lesson. This applies to the very able study by Douglas Hall of the University of the West Indies entitled "Ideas and Illustrations in Economic History". Incidentally it contains a very valuable account of the history of Jamaica's banana industry as well as useful lessons from the disappearing culture of the the people of Nigeria.

 

Western Economy has been partly predatory, brutal and unjust. Just now, one of its inconsiderate features, which is greatly in evidence, is the deluging of the world with toxic sprays as so vividly illustrated in the late Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring". The indifference's of Governments to the peril to life and health would be truly amazing but for the history of past economic practices. Economic history indicates that the prevailing  has often been the affirmative answer to the simple question: "Does it pay”? (But the "pay", does not mean in health, usefulness or service or well-being, for the purchaser, but in money or moneys worth for the manufacturer or purveyor). An affirmative answer sustained the British Slave Trade for a century and a half; and is now sustaining the toxic chemical industry. Profitable business in the money sense (which of course is not always all bad) is generally regarded as a nation's sheet anchor.

 

It is to the great credit of the "humanitarians" that they have been able to detach themselves from the current value-standard of profitability and take a more balanced social view. The Abbe Raynal was one of these in the early days of Western aggression. In his monumental work "Histoire Philosophique de deux Indes" (1770) he emphatically condemned the economic practices which took no account of human rights, "describing and delivering to the execration of .posterity those rapacious and cruel Christians whom chance unfortunately conducted to the other hemisphere".

 

In his "Acquisitive Society", Tawney wrote that Liberalism carried into the new world of capitalist industry categories of private property and freedom of contract "bent and twisted till they are no longer recognizable", erroneously putting rights and not functions as the foundations of society, so that the acquisition of wealth took precedence to the performance of services, and one's pursuit of his economic sell interest became independent of any service he might render. "The service of society is not the primary criterion of industry but a secondary consequence, which emerges incidentally through the existence of rights", and that "The opposition offered, in the name of the rights of property, to factory legislation, to housing reform, to interference with the adulteration of goods is the story of the struggle between humanitarian sentiment and the theory of property transmitted from the eighteenth century".

 

Political Economy has indeed sustained practices profitable to the individual or productive of national money-wealth but destructive of the true interests and even of the health of the people.

 

 JAMAICAN XENOPHOBIA

 

There is greater need for skills in Jamaica than the supply of skilled people. So that the presence

 

here of skilled people is a service rather than a disservice to the community. It is a means (a) of giving us services that we need, and (b) of training our nationals in the skills rove need. So much for the good we get by permitting and using skilled people from abroad.

 

Unskilled labour is in over-supply in Jamaica. For that and other less cogent reasons there is a heavy flow of labour from Jamaica. It is difficult for Jamaicans to claim with justice the right of migration to other countries, and at the same time deny to the people of other countries a welcome in Jamaica.

 

Many Jamaicans who have acquired skills here or abroad now fill important positions abroad. Can we continue to enjoy this privilege if we deny hospitality to skills from abroad?

 

We have among us distinguished citizens, who, or whose ancestors, came to us from abroad. They have helped to build a worth-while Jamaica. It is said that the Managing Director of the Gleaner is a second-generation and the Editor of the Gleaner a first generation ex-patriate; that the distinguished and extremely serviceable Sharp family are second generation ex-patriates; that both Bustamante and Manley are second generation ex-patriates, one of them in the maternal line. The Missionaries, who gave the African population of Jamaica a large measure of self-respect, were largely ex-patriates. We are intrinsically and worthily a nation of expatriates.

 

The first step of our Chief Minister on attaining office in (I think it was) 1955 was to hurry away to the United Nations and bring back an expatriate to help him in the job of government. The ex-patriate may not have been a great success; but the move showed a right spirit, a readiness to seek and obtain skills. New blood, new ideas help to break down insularity.

 

We beg tourists to come to us; we beg foreign investors to bring their money and their skills. We are betting on revenue derived from Bauxite mining by ex-patriates. We cannot expect cordiality abroad for our nationals if we deny it to other nationals here. We are too vulnerable for Xenophobia. "Tek care yu big mout doant but yu".

 

PESTIFEROUS

 

In an obituary tribute to Rachel Carsons, the author of Silent Spring, who at long last forced world attention on the evils of pesticides, Sir Julian Huxley commented that the British Government were taking precautionary measures.

 

In the April number of "Mother Earth" however there is another ghastly story entitled "Pesticides and the Smarden Affair". Nearby is or was a factory which made toxic orchard sprays from the more complex chlorinated carbons. D.D.T., Lindane. Parathion down to the simpler copper, arsenic, zinc and sulphur ones.

 

The resulting death toll in the neighborhood in or about January 1963 was 120 farm and pet animals, sheep, cows, dogs. On the neighboring farm, cow after cow died, until the whole herd was completely liquidated. The farmer had stopped selling milk, later he was unable to sell his hay. The question was when, if ever, this farm which had been the labour of two generations over thirty years, could be safely re-stocked.

 

If Government is taking due precautions against the pestiferous pesticides, here and abroad, the public have not been informed.

 

In the Gleaner of May 23, with the blessing of the Ministry of Agriculture, "Farmers are being encouraged to increase their acreage of sweet potato" but before doing so "to spray the field with D.D.T. at 8 -10 and 14 - 16 weeks after planting"!

 

As new fields for operational toxic sprays are exploited, more forms of staple foods become more and more unsafe; and the compulsion grows for more and more people to grow their own food. But even this might be imperilled by Government-instigated neighbors. The legal maxim, the foundation of all law, "ut utere tuo ut alieno non laedere" ("do not injure others") is superseded by the later legal maxim, "Caveat emptor" ("the purchaser must take care of himself"); and is even extended in the prevailing social maxim: "Pollution is permissible to others if profitable to some in money or money's worth".

 

In a world of bores and bored, the bores have the happier time. How does the reckoning stand in a world of polluters and polluted?

 

If not our sweet potatoes, are our Irish potatoes safe eating?

 

BRIDGES ON HUTCHINSON

 

Rev. George William Bridges completed his Annals for publication in 1828. He is distinguished, if not notorious, on more than one count. Bridges was the owner of a slave domestic, and came into , disrepute for his oppressive treatment of her; he also came into disrepute for his activities in forming or promoting the Anglo-Church union after the 183132 slave revolt with the avowed purpose of driving the Missionaries from Jamaica. The widespread and deliberate destruction of their churches and mission houses followed. John Murray, the English publisher of Bridge's Annals, was also found guilty on trial in England, of criminal libel over the Lecesne and Escoffery incident and the second volume of the Annals was confiscated and suppressed. Bridges' estimate of the alleged complicity of Lecesne and Escoffery in subversive acts in Jamaica, was negatived by decision of a British Parliamentary investigation. Lecesne and Escoffery were repatriated with substantial compensation from Britain. The proceedings were taken in England against the publisher for the avowed reason that proceedings in Jamaica would be subject to prejudice.

 

The second volume of the Annals is also noteworthy in that it contains, so far as I am aware, the only full account of the infamous Hutchinson of Edinburgh Castle, which lies on the road from Claremont (or Finger Post) to Pedro and Kellets.

 

In introducing the subject, Bridges notes that one of the first active services of Admiral Rodney, "who was soon to shine upon a nobler field", was noticed in the public thanks of the Assembly for his successful exertions to apprehend a notorious assassin, who had spread terror throughout the island, As Bridges is not wanting in eloquence or lucidity, I shall let him speak for himself.

 

The recurrence of African barbarities, with which these pages have been stained, will naturally suggest the idea that the miscreant was a slave; on the contrary, the lovers of a tragic legend will be pleased to hear that he was a man of wealth and ability, and a Scotchman.

 

In the close and wood-bound vale of Pedro, situated in the parish of Saint Ann, and nearly in the centre of the Island, stood a small and lonely turret, dignified by its northern architect with the name of Edinburgh Castle. It commanded the only pass leading directly from the south side of the island to the north; the defile is scarcely an hundred yards across; and the mountains which enclose the solitary vale, arise on either side to an almost Alpine height. On this spot, there dwelt a wretch whose birth was in the "land of the mountain and the flood": his name was Hutchinson - he possessed a few negroes, acquired a small property, and first stocked it with the strayed or stolen cattle of his neighbors. His slaves were the participators of his crimes; they were recently from Africa. The needy wanderer would sometimes call for refreshment at the only habitation which for many a mile had cheered his weary eye, but it was the last he was destined ever to behold. The wealthy passenger was alike the mark and victim of his unerring aim, from a loophole under which he was compelled to pass. A thickset hedge of logwood (If correct, the reference to logwood somewhat dates the scene; for logwood was not introduced into Jamaica until 1715) had also been so prepared by the roadside at a short distance from the house, that while he could detain in conversation anyone who might pass during the time that he was engaged in his cattle-fold hard by, his slaves from behind the fence could leisurely take aim at the devoted victim. A savage disposition, wrought perhaps by some injury inflicted upon him in early life, an unnatural detestation of the human lace, could be gratified only by the sight of blood, and the contemplation of human agony; for his destined victim were infirm or sick, he carefully revived his strength. The gloomy temper of his soul was sated only by a copious flow of blood; and when he could no longer gaze upon the decaying countenance, he placed it high in the air, in the hollow trunk of a cotton tree, where vultures might complete the horrid deed. The mangled carcass was thrown down one of the deep and hollow drains (popularly called sink-holes) which are peculiar to mountainous countries of volcanic origin. Nor were his crimes for many years suspected, though his society was shunned; so artfully did he contrive to conceal a character which might have been charitably pronounced insane.

 

Justice was however at length gratified by the punishment of the guilty monster. Callendar, the manager of a property in the same vale, had suffered much from the depredations of the cattle which strayed from the castle, and having driven some back to their owner, requested that they might not be allowed to so trespass again. Callendar was hospitably entertained, and dismissed with assurances which satisfied him. The murderer returned his visit; and with apparent cordiality passed the day with him. As he shortly afterwards rode past the fatal hedge, a rifle-bullet stretched him on the earth. An unsuspicious victim confined to his bed in the turret above beheld the transaction, and effected his timely escape. The assassin was unmasked and fled; the whole country was alarmed and in pursuit; when no less than forty-seven watches were found in his chests, and the number of persons who within a few years had strangely disappeared raised an immediate suspicion of their fate. The unfathomable charnel-house which Hutchinson had imagined would not give up its dead was searched upon the information of one of the guilty slaves; and, suspended on the point of a projecting rock at the depth of many feet was discovered by the help of a bundle of lighted straw the mangled body of the unfortunate Callendar. The abyss which yawned below had more effectually received his other victims. Hutchinson in the meantime escaped to sea in an open boat from the port of Old Harbour-he succeeded in reaching a vessel under sail, and when the vigilance of Sir George Rodney intercepted his flight, he threw himself into the waves, from whence he was rescued for a still more ignominious end. The enormity of his crimes might be exceeded by his hardened insolence before his judges

 

At the foot of the scaffold he left an hundred pounds in gold to erect a monument and to inscribe the marble with a record of his death: "Lewis Hutchinson-hanged in Spanish Town, Jamaica, on the sixteenth morning of March in the year of his Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy three-aged forty years. 'Their sentence, pride and malice I defy; Despite their power and like a Roman die' ".

 

Bridges adds: "From a Negro still alive in the service of a lady residing near the spot described, which slave witnessed several of his murders, I gathered these circumstances-a short record of which will also be found in the Annual Register".

 

REFLECTIONS ON SAMUEL BUTLER'S: "ERE WHON"

 

Grandson of a distinguished literary cleric grandfather of the same name, and son of a cleric father, Samuel Butler (1935-1902), the author of "The Way of All Flesh" and "Ere whon", and himself a master of satire, was coincidentally of the same name as the famous author of the famous satire "Hudibras", Samuel Butler (1812 -1880) . The Greek Satyr was a lewd, goatish fellow; the Latin "satura" was indiscriminately a plate of fruit, medley, botch-potch, as well as a peculiar kind of Roman poetry. As sacredness is the essence of religion, so humour is the essence of satire. The evolution from Satyr to satire tells the story of the progress from the Bacchic verse to drama. Verse, added to mimetic action, mostly improvised, was called by the Romans "saturae", signifying "miscellany", from the "satura lanx", a charger filled with the first fruits of the harvest.

 

Erewhon was first published in 1872, and, although refused by one publisher, was, when published, an immediate success. There was a second revised edition the same year and a new revised edition before the author's death in 1902. Since then there have been several editions.

 

Perhaps Erewhon is more popularly celebrated not for its satire but for the profound bit of philosophy for which the Erewhonians were famous, the proposition that crime is essentially disease, and disease essentially criminal. In Erewhon, crime was a venial offence, and subject to therapeutic treatment; while disease (as well as bad-luck) was a serious criminal offence.

 

"Erewhon" should be read as a satire on Butler's contemporary England. In both places physical beauty was much in evidence and highly esteemed. England gloried in the industrial revolution. In Erewhon, highly developed machines were hated and abolished. It had been conclusively Proved by one of their great thinkers that there was a strong possibility that in the course of its evolution the machine might, like man, achieve consciousness and in such event, might displace and domesticate man and achieve the hegemony of the world. Friend of Darwin, and well-versed in the theory of evolution, the author spends much time on this theory and practice of the Erewhonians.

 

The satire on hypocrisy is very pronounced. Hypocrisy is of course a tribute which vice pays to virtue; for, if one did not esteem virtue, one would not hypocritically pretend to possess it.

 

The author's ingenuity is very marked in his satire on religious beliefs. Throughout the book, as author-narrator and participator in the events, he poses as a devout evangelist; while in real life, he refused, by reason of religious doubts, to take up the Church as a profession. Immortality, as we understand it and generally believe in it, is turned

 

They follow prophets easily especially if they claim that a particular institution is contrary to morality. One of the prophets procured a law to be passed making it illegal to eat animal flesh. The law was unpopular, and like celibacy of the clergy in the ancient Church, or Prohibition in America, or laws against gambling, was often evaded. An astute professor of botany however got the law repealed, after it had been in force for several hundred years, by proving on evolutionary grounds that it was a sin to eat vegetables if it was a sin to eat the flesh of animals. "Thus after several hundred years of wandering in the wilderness of philosophy the country reached the conclusion that commonsense had long since arrived at. Indeed I can see no hope for the Erewhonlans till they have got to understand that reason uncorrected by instinct is as bad as instinct uncorrected by reason".

 

IDEOLOGY, DOCTRINE AND IDIOSYNCRACY

 

One is reminded of the "Vicar of Wakefield", who, rather than give up an argument on the academic question as to whether it was proper that one should again marry after the death of a spouse, risked and lost the fortunes of himself and the members of his family. We have seen an honest Cheddi Jagan doing it in British Guiana; and a Don Quixote tilting at windmills from time Immemorial. Sometimes however the cause appears to be a practical one; sometimes a missionary has changed the fortunes of a people for better or for worse. Some of the most pronounced achievements however have largely produced bitter fruit. But "the powerful play goes on and we may (or must) contribute a verse".

 

Writing of the "Monthly Comments", a reviewer expressed anxiety at not being clear as to what exactly the editor thought about religion, although, he said, it was clear that he thought a lot about it. Does the conclusion matter? The ideology of Karl Marx and the doctrine of Paul of Tarsus have both shaken the world for better or for worse; and presented angles of argument for the learned and unlearned. Out of the welter of controversy comes good and bad. For thousands of years the world of thought might be torn with controversy on matters important or unimportant, accompanied by right or wrong reasoning and right or wrong conclusions, often arrived at out of calculable or imponderable factors subjective and objective. We are still debating questions which Plato, Socrates and Aristotle left unsettled or thought they had settled more than two thousand years ago.

 

The facets of truth are of course multitudinous, too dazzling and too mysterious or human perception; but recreation appears to be an important part of life, certainly of human life. If one fails to see the strength of the recreational urge, one often misses the point or the pointlessness of the debate. Is America playing the game or playing a game when she ,departs from international protocol in the matter of national "recognition"? Was the use of the atom bomb. at Hiroshima or Nagasaki militarily, : or politically necessary, defensible or humane? Was the Cold War sensible or inane? Does America's Cuban policy exhibit a grain of commonsense or international decency?

 

The question of Sunday observance causes a great deal of­ controversial activity. The question seems to depend on one that is never raised in the debate, namely whether the Bible should be regarded as Jewish, folklore or the authentic word of God.

 

The settlement of a Christian Creed was arrived at by vote of' the assembled Bishops at a Convention arbitrarily summoned by a Roman Emperor. The controversy had gone on for three hundred years; and, when legally settled, was still disputed; and up to the present time most members of the congregations readily admit that they do not know what it means. In the famous "Heavenly Discourse", Jesus is made to ask God: “Father are we Jews?" He might well also have asked: "Are we or they Christians?" The controversies over Marxism (not to mention those between the Communist and Democratic worlds) have raged for over a hundred years; and like the Christian Creed controversy has been most acute among members of the particular persuasion. In British Guiana, politics, which started as a way of life; has become an endemic disease. The scien­tists also have had their unsettled controversies. Out of the welter of their controversies has arisen much knowledge but little wisdom. Distortion or per­version of knowledge is a rule of history; as recrea­tion is a law of life.

 

SACREDNESS

 

Sacredness appears to be or to have been the essence of Religion. Some forty years ago Havelock Ellis answered the. question of a Dr. Merz: "How is religion still possible?" Havelock Ellis wrote: "This question is posed  by so able a thinker as the question of paramount importance, and he can find only a paradoxical answer. It  is a question that seems to be taken seriously  by many otherwise intelligent persons . . . They do not ask: How is hunger still possible? Yet it is really the same kind of  question . . . The function of religion, like that of love, is not necessary to life (like eating), nor may it with certainty be stimulated into activity. These functions are either working with you or they are not. If not, then it is clear that your organism is in no need of them at the present moment, and perhaps is born without the aptitude to experience them. And if so, there are those who will tell you that you represent a superior type of humanity . . . I do not myself think that the inaptitude for the function of religion, ancient as the religious emotions are-represents a higher stage of development. But I am sure that the function is either there or it is not there- and that no ;intellectual speculations will take its place or hasten its manifestations . . . Like love, it is a little ridiculous to those who are unable to experience it; yet it develops and harmonizes our rarest and most extravagant emotions; it exalts us above the commonplace routine of our daily life, and it makes us supreme over the world. Since they who do not enjoy the function) can survive quite well without experiencing it, let them be thankful, as we also are thankful".

 

The agnostic Sir Julian Huxley writes: "I believe that religion arose as a feeling of the sacred. The capacity for experiencing this feeling In relation to various objects and events seems to be a fundamental capacity of man, something given in and by .the construction of the normal human mind, just as definitely as is the capacity for experiencing anger .or admiration, sympathy or terror"; and he goes on to refer to "the religious feeling, the sentiment of sacredness". Although he says unequivocally: "It seems to me quite clear that the idea of personality in God, or in any supernatural being or beings has been put, into and round a perfectly real conception, which we might continue to call God if the word had not acquired by long association the implication of a personal being; and therefore I disbelieve in a personal God in any sense in which the phrase is ordinarily used", nevertheless he adds: "Religion is a way of life, which follows necessarily from a man's holding certain things in reverence, from his feeling and believing them to be sacred. And those things which are held sacred by religion primarily concern human destiny and the forces with which it comes into contact."

 

Throughout his book, "Religion without Revelation", Huxley emphasises his linking up of religion with "a way of life founded upon the apprehension of sacredness in existence"; but notes that "the history of religion is the history of the gradual change in the situation which; with increase of experience and changed conditions of life, are felt as sacred . . . Regarded as progress, the history of Religion is a history of the purging of the religious emotion itself from baser elements such as fear, and of the substitution of even larger, nobler and more rational objects and situations on and in which the religious sentiment may spend itself".

 

Huxley claims that a justifiable religion of the future must have as its basis the consciousness of sanctity in existence-in common things, in events of human life, in the gradually comprehended interlocking whole revealed in the human desire for knowledge, in the benediction of beauty and love, in the catharsis; the sacred purging of the moral drama in which character is pitted against fate and even deepest tragedy may uplift the mind

 

It seems that while Huxley insists that sanctity is of the essence of religion and that sacredness as an element of religion should be preserved, yet he merger in a reverential wonder for all the elements of life and Nature. He almost paints a picture of sacredness in the course of its evolution, shedding the factuality of myth and the idea that anything or any Being is beyond the common touch. For the common touch would itself be wonderful, but not sacred; nor would free discussion of any and everything suffer inhibition even at the hands of a “ reach me-down” religion, the product of environment or Indoctrination from infancy. Sacredness might then disappear into the vista of abandoned superstitions; and yet all things still remain wonderful and fit to be admired in the old Latin sense of "admiranda", but not sacred to thought or speech. "Hallowed': would perhaps be the appropriate word in the sense of being cherished.

 

THIS MAKE-BELIEVE WORLD

 

Speaking recently from his wide experience with the youth of the country at the opening of the Newport book-centre, Rev. Morton-York emphasized the value of fairy-tales. Whether we like it or not, make believe plays a large part in our lives; while Nature and Natural Science play strange tricks of make believe in our daily lives, and not only in our dreams.

 

Among the lower animals, the solid world appears to be sensed merely as surfaces; and they have not got stereoscopic or solid vision. They function in a three-dimensional environment, but are limited to two-dimensional consciousness. As for ourselves, while some of us have glimmerings of things mysterious and mystical, our daily lives are "cribbed, channeled and confined" in a three dimensional consciousness. The things around us present to our consciousness a make-believe appearance of static solidity and continuity, while they are made up of discontinuous substance full of emptiness, with the electrical charges of which they consist in a continuous kinetic state, as the too, too solid world around' us 'melts into mere manifestations of electromagnetism.

 

In our make-believe world, the Sun once appeared to us to revolve around the Earth. Now we know better, a little better. For it seems to us to sit in regal state while the Earth revolves around it; and we have learnt that the beauty and colour of the things around us are largely a reflection of the glory of the Sun; and that the colours of the rainbow are a prismatic presentation of the Sun's white light; and finally that mass is energy and that energy has mass.

 

Human behaviour is largely make-believe, the more intellectual deceiving themselves when they fail to deceive us. Perhaps deception is necessary to make us tolerable companions of others and of ourselves. Even our religion is often simulated as a parable for social or political or economic purposes; while words conceal thoughts.

 

Political activities tend to be a game of make believe. Often, as in Jamaica, while there are two political parties, there are no two forms of political doctrine, nor two practical ways of governing. To give a semblance of reality to the make-believe of parties, resort is had to the personality cult; while the two parties have differing scope only over the details of administration and not over its principles. Even in the personality cult, the persona remains a mask, as it did in the old Roman days in the persona of the actor.

 

The whole phenomenal world appears to be a shadow of the noumenal or real world; and, with its illusions of space and time and matter, kept even the great Newton guessing, and his followers also guessing for three hundred years. Whether the "soul is dead" or only "slumbers" or "life an empty dream," one thing is clear, "things are not what they seem:"

 

The words "illusion" and "delusion" derive from the Latin "ludo" (I play") . Illusion seems to signify a mistaken perception or inference; while "delusion" connotes a completely erroneous conviction. The former is commonly held by normal peple; the latter is a psychopathic condition. Some of the most commonly held illusions come from use and wont which are very dear and often very sacred to us.

 

As we stood on a spinning earth, it was for many centuries commonly believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth. When however the illusion became a religious conviction, it had probably become a delusion or psychopathic condtion.

 

The normalcy, or probably the inevitability, of many prevalent and deep seated illusions constitutes one of the serious problems in any attempt to establish the validity of human knowledge. Phenomena, which are mistaken for facts, are mere appearances. The persistence with which one's belief (illusion or delusion) is forced on one's fellowmen constitutes one of the tragedies of social, religious, intellectual and political life. When we accept as factually true many of the myths served up or handed down to us as verities, we fail to realize that of the three forms of mental activity or so-called knowledge (believing, trowing and knowing) the least valid is believing (because it has little or no basis of fact or evidence), the most valid is trowing (because it more or less represents variable or suspended judgment); while the rarest of the three is knowing (because so many things depend on so many factors and so many of the factors are unknown). We are usually most certain of things which by their nature we do not know or of which we know least.

 

Strongly held beliefs or opinions more often than not stem from spiritual or intellectual uncertainty or bankruptcy. The orthodox religious believer, with his reach-me-down religion, would rather not discuss religion lest the discussion may unsettle belief. Some people fear social, some economic and so for nothing that the very word "secure" comes from an elision in two Latin words "sine-cura" (free from care).

 

Many illusions long prevailed for lack of scientific knowledge, such as ideas on the constitution of matter. Many scientific facts which have become matters of certain knowledge were formerly forecast as fantasies. Once upon a time, Science would stand no nonsense. Now nothing is too nonsensical to be true. How fantastic that mass should be a form of energy; that substance should be full of emptiness; that the behavior of a cell or a human being should depend on the way in which simple chemical elements are arranged in the nucleus of a cell, that the "coil of life" should be a spiral staircase.

 

One of the most widely held illusions is man's idea of social justice; another relates to his standards of value. Is one of egocentric man's most sacredly held beliefs a delusion, namely that the Creator does change the immutable laws of Nature from time to time according to the supplication, importunity or caprice of an individual, while such sequential occurrence serves to reinforce a consequential illusion or delusion?

 

EPILOGUE

 

As this number goes to press, two items worthy of note come to hand. One is the Government Bill (supported by the Opposition) requiring Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens to obtain work permits before they may be employed in Jamaica; the other is the suggestion that there should be centenary celebrations in respect of the events of 1865.

 

THE WORKS PERMIT BILL

 

The article in this number of Jamaican xenophobia was written before Government intention to propose tie Bill for enactment was known. The Prime Minister's decision to delay action for further consideration of the Bill by the Cabinet is salutary and statesmanlike.

 

1865 AND ALL THAT

 

In March 1863, George William Gordon again took his place in the Jamaican Assembly after an absence of nineteen years. Before and after his reelection he had constituted himself a watchdog for the labouring population of the island. He became the inevitable critic of Edward John Eyre, who had come to Jamaica as lieutenant-governor and locum tenens for Governor Darling, who had gone on long leave. After Darling demitted office, Eyre was confirmed as Governor. It was inevitable that Eyre, who regarded criticism of "constituted authority" as an unpatriotic sign of disloyalty to the Throne, should mark Gordon down as a dangerous demagogue.

 

The island was still in process of difficult readjustment after "Emancipation" when it was assailed by successive blows: the repeal of British preference for non-slave grown sugar; two decimating cholera epidemics; the American Civil War affecting the prices of commodities feeding and clothing the labouring population, and subject to a fiscal budget which leaned heavily on import duties; and finally a prolonged drought of two years, affecting island food production.

 

In these circumstances the Colonial Secretary in England received from Rev. E. B. Underhill an admonitory letter, relaying detailed information of local conditions affecting the labouring population of the island. The Colonial Secretary sent the letter to Governor Eyre for his comments. Governor Eyre involuntarily published it by sending it to the Custodes and Ministers of Religion for their comments. This resulted in a series of "Underhill Meetings" in the various parishes, often presided over by the Custodes, the last meeting being held in Morant Bay in August and presided over by George William Gordon. A Committee and a deputation including Paul Bogle were appointed to wait on the Governor. They went to Spanish Town; but the Governor refused to see them. The peasants had been fully alerted to their grievances by the Underhill meetings.

 

On October 11, Paul Bogle led a demonstration to Morant Bay. What developed into a riot was badly mishandled. The Volunteers (or local militia), being pressed by the crowd, loosed off an undisciplined volley, some of the crowd were killed; they rushed and killed some of the volunteers, and then went berserk and brutally murdered several innocent public men. Thereupon island panic supervened; and a military witchhunt, connived at, if not inspired by Eyre followed, involving the. wanton flogging, court-martialling and execution, as well as the shooting down of hundreds of the inoffensive peasantry. In the orgy of official excesses, Eyre himself arrested Gordon in Kingston and took him to Morant Bay and delivered him for summary trial by court-martial to the military in the field. A mock-trial ensued under which Gordon was found guilty of treason and, with the approval of Eyre, hanged at Morant Bay.

 

Jamaican public opinion bore the official excesses without protest and apparently with approval, until public opinion in England advised them to the contrary.

 

In November Eyre called upon the Legislature to "immolate" itself "on the altar of patriotism"; and (with few exceptions) like sheep they followed his lead and surrendered into the hands of the Queen all their legislative rights and powers.

 

In the name of historical common sense, what in this welter of island shame deserves or warrants a centenary celebration?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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