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Scotch women for petticoats. Of the blue Pennistowns, they receive every year at Christmas six yards, a yard and half wide. Of the linen five yards. The allowance of clothing for children depends upon their age; but, after twelve years of age, the full quantity is given. Additional clothing is afterwards distributed to those whose work is harder, and very often indeed also to those whose carelessness has deprived them of clothing; for, during the rainy seasonclothed they must be. Every individual, from birth, receives one blanket annually; and, in the event of an accouchment, there is absolutely not a want that is not supplied.
The women's gala dresses consist of fine worked muslin gowns, with handsome flounces ; satin and şarsenet bodices are very common; their under garments are of the best materials, and they have either good cotton or silk stockings ; their kid dancing shoes are often of the gayest colours, while their expensive turbans are adjusted with a grace that makes the dress really appear elegant. It is common for them to have not a hair dresser, but a head dresser, or rather a turban putter on, upon such occasions; and, for the mere putting on of the turban, they pay a quarter dollar, ---not less than 1s. Id. sterling !! This is a custom not confined to domestics, but predominates throughout all ranks of the female slave population.
Notwithstanding this brilliant and creditable account, yet it is somehow or other the fact, that negroes have been seen, and still are seen, without a tack to their backs. How comes this? Mrs. Car. michael says it is the effect of two causes; the one is, that a sense of decency is scarcely known to a savage ; and the other is, that the extreme heat of the weather inclines the negro to limit his exterior covering. The state of their natural skin, too, is so peculiar, that when a shower of rain comes they pull off their shirts, hide them under a hedge, and expose themselves to the rain, which flows off from their oily skin without doing the least inconvenience to them. The shower being over, they resume the shirts. Negroes are fond of bathing; and little infants, of not a year old, will sit for hours together in the shallow bed of a river. This braces and strengthens them; and it is found that a very free use of the cold bath contributes much to the health of the white population also. Should a negro. get very wet, and remain with wet clothes on, he is almost sure to suffer severely; pleurisy is often the consequence, and the disease proceeds with such rapidity, that a very few hours terminate it one way or another. The planters, however, are all half physicians; that is, they know the indications of approaching disease; and, upon the slightest appearances of pleurisy, they administer calomel and jalap, and the estate's medical attendant is instantly sent for to bleed the patient. It is astonishing how few deaths occur from this disease, in consequence of the prompt assistance which is uniformly given. There is no trifling ;-the most violent remedies are applied without delay, and the best effects generally follow.
The food allowed to field negroes is tolerably liberal--they have two pounds of salt fish each, a week; head negroes have four pounds; every child has a pound and a half every week. The fish is preferred by them over salt beef or pork. Besides the back gardens spoken of to each house, the negro has a pasture also at a short distance off. Here he plants trees which supply provisions, such as the plantain and banana. Two full grown bunches of plantains are worth from 4s. to 4s. 6d. sterling, if bought wholesale, but by retail they are exactly double the price. A bunch contains no certain number of plantains, but a good full bunch will seldom exceed thirty or forty plantains, and seldom fall short of twenty. One hundred plantains is considered by a negro, along with salt fish, as much as he can consume in a week. The plantain and yam are to the negro, what the potatoe is to the lower classes in Britain. Every good plantain tree yields one perfect bunch annually; when this is taken off, the tree must be cut down to the ground, and in the following year, two or three other trees sprout from the old stock, and they each yield their bunch. Thus every successive year the crop is increased with great rapidity.
The Banana is cultivated precisely in the same way. They have also the bread fruit tree, which bears a hundred heads at a time, each being of the value of from 3d. to 8d., according to its size. The yams are propogated by cuttings, like the potatoes. But there is no end to the list of the vegetables which they cultivate for their own use, or for the market. Mrs. Carmichael declares that there is not a single negro who could not easily accumulate his 301, a year, and very many, she says, save much more. But it is not alone by vegetable productions that the slaves make their money; they rear stock also, such as great quantities of fowls, ducks, Guinea birds, pigs, and full grown hogs, in many instances making the exclusive supply to colonial markets. They also rear goats and kids. They are in general loth to part with the head and feet, as they wish to keep such dainties for themselves. At the time that Mrs. Carmichael lived at St. Vincent, pork sold at eight pence sterling per lb. A pig fit for roasting, fourteen shillings. A chicken, two shillings. A full grown fowl, from three and sixpence to four and sixpence. A pair of ducks, twelve and sixpence. Arrow root is made in abundance by the negroes, and is prepared nearly in the same way as the starch, from the root of the manioe. It sells at two shillings, or thereabouts, the quart bottle, and can always be had in the coloured hucksters' shops.
Having now described the residences and the means of support of the estates' negroes, our authoress next undertakes the description of their daily fare. The head people (this name is given to the drivers, boiler-men, coopers, masons, and other useful mechanics) have their breakfast boiled generally the preceding evening. The mess consists of green plantains, eddoes or yam, made into soup, with an abundance of creole peas or beans, or the eddoe leaf, the calialou, or perhaps a plant which grows indigenous, and particularly
among the canes ; it is known by the name of weedy weedy; I
learn that there was any other appellation for it; it also nearly resembles spinach. This soup is seasoned with salt fish, and occasionally, as a change, with a bit of salt pork. The soup is boiled very thoroughly, and forms a substantial mess, being of the consistency of thick potatoe soup. It is well spiced with country peppers, and, cooked as they cook it, is a most excellent dish indeed. All the various soups, whether tanias, calialou, pigeon-pea, or pumpkin, are to be found almost daily at the tables of the white population, whose children are almost fed
these messes. I never met with an European who did not relish all the different creole soups, or, as they are often called “negro-pot."
Dinner is not a regular meal with them : a roasted yam, or plantain, and a bit of salt fish, roasted on the coals with it, is their repast between twelve and two, which are their dinner hours.
The wives of these people eat with their husbands; for, though the latter have several, still one regularly lives with him. To their children they give soup, roasted yam, plantain, or sweet cassada: at noon they get farine, cassada, plantain-cake, or roasted corn. Their drink is either molasses, syrup, or sugar and water; and in crop-time they take the cane-juice heated, and before it begins to thicken. But the supper is the important meal with the negroes, and their soup, although the principal dish, is not the only one : they often have tum-tum, made of plantains boiled quite soft, and beat in a wooden mortar; it is eaten like a potatoe-pudding; at other times the plantain, after being beaten soft, is made up into round cakes, and fried. Ripe plantains roasted is another dish, but they are best sliced and fried, and indeed are superior to apple-fritters. Pigeon-peas, stewed with a lith a little bit of salt fish, or salt pork, with the addition of country peppers and sweet herbs, is another supper-dish. In fact, it would require almost a volume to enumerate all their different modes of dressing their provisions. Sweet cassada roasted is excellent; and when they kill a hog, which they all do three or four times a-year, besides the pigs which they sell, they keep the head of the hog, and dress it in the following manner :-The head and feet being cleaned, and made quite white, they are boiled until soft in strong salt and water, or, if near the sea, in sea-water. The meat is then picked off the head, and, being cut up in small pieces, it is placed, along with the feet, in a deep vessel; and when cold, immersed in water well salted, lime-juice sufficient to acidulate it, and plenty of country peppers. It will keep good for a week at least, which renders it a very convenient dish. It is eaten cold; and the sauce, with a bit of cassada cake or farine soaked in it, is liked by every one.
The The dish is well known in the West Indies by the name of souse, and is a favourite with all.
Turtle is the cheapest meat in the market, and the negroes sometimes buy it. They scarcely care for any other fresh meat. The
children are under the care of one woman, who keeps them in a house, and sends tem home at night. These women behave to the children better than the mothers themselves. The method of rearing the children is somewhat peculiar. The mother always suckles the infant. For the first fortnight the nurse gives it no spoon-food; but from that time it gets two meals a day of arrow-root, or pap of some kind or other. Every third or fourth day she gives it a teaspoonful of castor oil, and bathes it morning and evening in cold water. After completely immersing it two or three times in the water, the nurse takes the baby, and holding it by the right leg only, she sus. pends it thus for about a second ; she then suspends it by the left leg, next by the right arm, then by the left one, shaking each joint apparently very roughly;; and last of all, taking the infant, she throws it up into the air, catching it very adroitly. They consider this the best and only method of making the baby's joints firm and supple. At first the child cries when this
operation is performed, but it soon becomes used to it, laughs and enjoys it amazingly. If an infant cry after it has been for some time washed in this way, they say, She good for noting at all, he coward too much."
At five or six months' old these children all eat the creole soup, even pretty well seasoned with country peppers. A negro mother would think it downright starvation if you were to deny her child salt fish; and it is quite common to see a little child of a few months' old, sucking a great piece of salt fish or salt pork. I have often tried children with fowl-soup, but I never found they could be persuaded to eat it. Infants are never weaned before they are fifteen or sixteen months, and rarely so early. They are often great robust children, following their mother all over the estate, before they are weaned.
Upon every estate there is an hospital for the sick. Their diseases are slight disorders of the stomach, arising chiefly from eating the cane at an improper period. They are liable to pleurisy, but the promptness with which they are treated secures them from feeling much uneasiness from that disease. Cutaneous diseases, as boils on the surface, from the use of salt meat, and eruptions, from mosquito-bites, are very common also ; but, of all diseases which affect them, the mal d'estomac is that the most difficult to cure. The presence of this disease is manifested by one very singular symptom; namely, the passion which the patients have for eating dirt. Mrs. Carmichael gives several cases of this disease, which are quite shocking. They all proved fatal. But Mrs. Carmichael tells us that she cannot recall to her mind that, during the whole period of her residence in the West Indies, she ever saw a single case of deformity in a child, or any grown person whose shape was not perfectly free from any defect. She never saw, either, but one blind negro, and three whose limbs were lost by amputation.
The notion, by some persons entertained, that “ the slaves are
idolaters," is erroneous. There is no trace of idol worship amongst them. Mrs. Carmichael took some trouble to enlighten her domestics on this important subject, and she relates that she found one strange notion.common to every negro mind with which she became acquainted :-it was, she says, while speaking of the resurrection of Lazarus, that one of the negroes, interrupting me, said, “ Misses, we all come live again, after we go dead." "Yes, said I, " at the resurrection, that is, the last day of the world, when every one shall be raised from the dead, and appear before God, as Judge." “ Yes, misses," replied the negro," me know that; we go dead one day, next day we bury in a coffin, the third day we shiver in a coffin, and den we go dead again till all de world come quite done." I need scarcely say that I endeavoured to remove this belief, but I found it to be almost an universally received opinion among negroes.'
The negroes principally go to the Methodist chapels; and Mrs. Carmichael does not hesitate to say that they are by no means the better for their trouble. Strange as it may seem,' she says, • but I never asked a negro
if he knew who was God's Son, or the Redeemer of mankind ? that he could answer :- Me never know 'bout him," was the universal answer. I have put this question to dozens of negroes, of all ages, who were in the habit of attending the Methodist chapel; nay, who had attended for many years with regularity; and yet it appeared that not one of them had ever heard of the Saviour in so plain a way as to convey to him an idea of his being.' Under these circumstances, she is unwillingly driven to believe that the Methodist missions have done little for the cause of true religion, and have rather lielped to foster dangerous delusion. The Methodists, she fears, have done harm; for, they have diffused a general feeling among the negro population, that abstaining from dancing, from drinking (a vice, by the way, which negroes are rarely prone to), and a certain phraseology, which is mere form on their part, is Christianity. Now, it would be much better, if the negroes were taught that lying, stealing, cruelty to each other, or the brute creation,
slander, and disobedience, were sins in the sight of God, rather than level their anathemas against dancing—the favourite, the innocent recreation of the negroes; unless when it trenches, as it sometimes does, upon the sacredness of the Sabbath. Religion of this kind is the thing to take with the negro ; it invokes no self-denial, excepting dancing, and the renunciation of gay clothes and jewellery. Fond as the negroes are of dancing and fine clothes, they are more willing to yield upon these points, than they'are to abstain from lying, theft, fighting, cruelty, or slandering their neighbours.
The superstition of the negroes is not more wild than is that of many of the lower classes in Scotland. The Obeah, in the West Indies, is nothing more or less than a species of witchcraft. In