Imágenes de páginas


is too well-known to require particular explanation. The remainder of the day was spent by the seamen with the utmost mirth and jollity. The officers and men were as usual

every morning and evening practised in military exercise, and had become very expert in the management of both artillery and small arms. The weather likewise from this date continued mild and favourable ; and, on the 22d, we were enabled mutually to congratulate each other upon the appearance of land, which had been for some time the ohject of anxious expectation. It proved to be the island of Barbuda, bearing south, distant about five leagues.

Captain Sharpe considered himself fortunate in having made this land during daylight; Barbuda being regarded as one of the most dangerous islands in the West Indies, in

consequence of its extreme flatness, and the numerous shoals by which it is surrounded.

24th. On the forenoon of this day we sailed into the harbour of Gustavia, in St. Bartholomew's, where we found (only a

few hours arrived) the ship Prince, with Colonel Wilson's corps on board, and the Emerald, with Colonel Hippesley's regiment, which latter vessel had been in port nearly a week. They gave us three hearty cheers on entering, which we returned with equal cordiality.

St. Bartholomew's belongs to the Swedes, to whom it was restored on the general termination of hostilities in 1814, being the only island they possess in the western world; and is so small and sterile, that their acquisition appears to be one of very little real value. The produce is confined to a small quantity of cotton, by the sale of which the poor in the interior principally subsist. Sour-sops*, prickly pears, and some other wild fruits, grow here spon

* The sour-sop (annona muricata) grows to about fiveand-twenty feet high, and the fruit generally to the size of a moderate melon, but is of an elongated or oval form, rough on the outside, and of a green colour. It cousists of a white and pulpy substance, possessing a sour-sweet taste. As this fruit will not keep more than a day or two after being gathered, it is never conveyed to England; but its use is strongly recommended to Europeans on

taneously, as also a few tamarind trees, and the poisonous manchineel in great abundance.

This island may be considered a place of general rendezvous for smugglers of every description. The flags of all nations (but more especially of America) are to be seen flying in the harbour of Gustavia, and the resident merchants, I understand, derive a very large proportion of their emoluments from their intercourse with those engaged in contraband traffic.

The Swedes received us with the greatest kindness and hospitality; and the Governor, Colonel Rosensvard, to whose affability and attention were highly indebted, a few days after our arrival invited the senior officers of each rank to a grand fête, given at Government-house, in honour of the birth-day of his Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Sweden. By Colonel R.'s desire we attended in the uniforms of our particular regiments, and were


their first arrival in the West Indies, being particularly cooling, and by many also considered of an antifebrile nature.

received with every mark of distinction and respect;

the band striking up our grand national anthem of “ God save the King” as we entered the saloon.

After passing through the accustomed ceremonies of presentation to his Excellency, 8c., we commenced dancing, which continued until a late hour, when a very elegant supper was displayed, composed of the richest and most delicate produce of the West Indies. Immediately after supper

the health of the Crown Prince was drank, I am confident, with unfeigned sentiments of devotion and attachment. The next toasts given, were the King of England and Royal Family; which compliment was handsomely acknowledged by Colonel Wilson, who in return proposed the memory of Charles the Twelfth, the recollection of whom is peculiarly flattering to the vanity of a Swede. Throughout the night large vases of sangree, and other cooling refreshments, were continually borne about by slaves, who appeared to vie with each other in attention and re. spect to the English ; doubtless originating

in feelings of gratitude for the strenuous and unremitting exertions, made by the friends of humanity in Great Britain, for their emancipation and comfort. During our stay at Saint Bartholomew's, which was nearly five weeks, we experienced many similar instances of public favour and attention, with the strongest proofs of hospitality and kindness, from numerous private individuals on the island*.

Early in the morning of the day following our arrival at Saint Bartholomew's, a ship hove in sight, beating up for the island ; and about ten o'clock had approached close to the harbour, but seemed particularly

* For the kindness and attention experienced on our arrival at Saint Bartholomew's, we were a considerable degree indebted to a very general belief, on the part of the inhabitants, that we were proceeding to the Main, with the approbation and consent of the British Government. How this idea originated, or by whom insinuated, I cannot pretend to say; it is understood, however, that some of the parties who are at present so actively engaged in England, promoting new South American expeditions, encourage the promulgation of a similar belief, for the purpose of giving greater importance and effect to their operations.

« AnteriorContinuar »