to the
Leeward Caribbean Isles:

of the
Natural History of These Islands.

By Maria R.......iddell

Printed for Peter Hill,
T. Cadell, London.


Mr William Smellie,
Member of the Antiquarian and Royal
Societies of Edinburgh

Permit me, my dear Sir, to address
these Sketches of Natural History to you.
Believe me, it is not from motives of vanity
that I wish to prefix the name of a
man so well known, and so deservedly
esteemed, in the literary world, to a performance
so little calculated to afford any
degree of credit to his patronage; but
merely because you lately expressed a desire
of having it submitted to your examination;
and I really know nobody to whose a2r vi
whose candid criticisms I would so gladly
commend it. Besides, after it has once
undergone a few corrections from your
improving hand, I shall feel less timid in
offering it to the perusal of those friends
for whose entertainment and information
it was originally written. If I have been
successful enough to make it answer either
of these views, I assure you my hopes
and ambition will be fully gratified. It
is by no means so correct as I could have
wished; for, although a great part of it
was written in an island, where I lived in
an almost total seclusion from society and
dissipation, yet my marriage (which took
place soon after) by obtruding on me a
number of domestic occupations, interrupted
my course of study, and prevented
me from finishing, with any degree of accuracy,
an undertaking that required more
time and labour than I had then leisure to a2v vii
to bestow on it. Such, however, as it is,
I will submit it to your inspection, and
that of a few friends, whose partiality,
perhaps, for its writer, more than any intrinsic
merit it can lay claim to, may incline
them to regard it in a favourable
point of view.

In my sketch of the Natural History of
Antigua, I have adopted the zoological
classification of Mr Pennant, as being
more elegant and perspicuous, and better
adapted to the simplicity of my plan, than
the grand scale upon which the immortal
Linnaeus has erected his Systema Naturae.
I have, however, always made use
of his generic and specific names, because
they are now the most universally received
by naturalists.

In a3r viii

In the botanical part of my history of
Antigua, I have given the Linnaean names
to every plant where I could undoubtedly
ascertain them to be the proper ones; to
some few, which I could not be so certain
of, I have contented myself with prefixing
the names that were current for
them in the country.

And now, my dear Sir, that I have
commended my book to our indulgence,
I must conclude, by commending yourself
to that Power has already bestowed
on you three of the greatest blessings
in his disposal—a head formed for
the study and contemplation of his own
works, a heart glowing with benevolence
to all his creatures, and a faculty of disposing
the minds of all who know you to
sentiments of friendship and esteem.

Believe a3v ix

Believe me, there are few who possess
a higher degree of both, than your sincerely
obliged and faithful

Maria R.......



A1v A2r


“The gentle spring which but salutes us here, Inhabits there, and courts them all the year.” —Waller.

“Hic ver prepetuum, atque alienis mensibus aestas.” VirgVirgil.

I left England on the 1788-04-1111th of April 1788,
and embarked, from Portsmouth, on board
the Britannia, a merchant ship, commanded by
Captain Woodyear. The party consisted of three
gentlemen and two ladies, passengers, besides my
father, mother, and myself.—The weather proved
excessively calm, and it was not till the 1788-04-2525th
that we came in sight of Porto Santo; the next
day we passed the Desertas, a cluster of little
islands, mostly uninhabited; the cliffs next the
sea are rugged and barren; but the largest, calledA2 ed A2v 4
the Great Deserta, affords pasturage for sheep,
and the grey canary bird is found there.

The island of Madeira is about 40 leagues in
circumference, situated in 16 deg.degrees of W. long.longitude
and 33 of N. latlatitude. We landed in the evening,
through the most prodigious surf I ever saw;
our English built boat was unable to withstand
the force of it, and we were obliged to shift from
that into one of the flat-bottomed boats of the
Portuguese; we got ashore, however, very safely,
and were received into the house of Mr Bisset,
one of the principal wine-merchants here,
who entertained us with the utmost politeness
and hospitality.

The next day (being Sunday) we went to hear
mass in the Great Cathedral, which is really a
noble edifice, and ornamented within in a most
costly stile; it is built of white stone, exceedingly
spacious, and divided into little alcoves, or
chapels; some of which are parted by a palisade
of massive silver, near six feet high from the A3r 5
the ground; the ceiling is beautifully encrusted
with mosaic; the walls are chiefly lined with
marble, and hung with fine tapestry and pictures;
the altars are perfumed with frankincense, and
hung round with curtains of silver tissue; and
the candlesticks and censers of gold, covered
with precious stones. There are several other
Roman Catholic churches at Madeira; the College
, in particular, is remarkable for its
elegance. After mass, we visited the convent of
, who is a saint of high repute among
the Portuguese; but, notwithstanding her holy
character, the votaries of her order at Madeira
are not very numerous, the convent including
but eighty nuns, and no novice having taken the
veil for upwards of twenty year. This is a very
strict order; for even the females of our party
were not admitted within the grate. Indeed the
mansion appeared so gloomy and dismal, that I
did not feel much inclination to pass its barrier.
The nuns appeared extremely happy in our company,
and entreated us to renew our visits often
but, on our taking leave of them, they assumed A3 a A3v 6
a very melancholy air, and candidly confessed
how much they envied us our liberty.

The day after, we took an opportunity of
viewing the town, which is situated on a bay in
the S.E. part of the island, and is called Fonchal
(from the great quantity of fennel that was
found growing on the shore.) The fort is placed
at a little distance, on a small island called the
Loo Rock; it is a kind of Gothic castle, or
tower, defended by a battery of cannon. The
town is dirty and shabby, though by no means
small; the houses are mean and irregular; the
streets are dreadfully ill paved, and extremely
narrow; the use of carriages being totally unknown
at Madeira, the inhabitants convey themselves
in hammock and palanquins; and, instead
of carts, they employ sledges drawn by oxen.
On our return from our morning’s ramble,
we received a visit from Don Henriquez de Correya,
and afterwards dine with Mr and Mrs

Tuesday A4r 7

Tuesday morning we visited a convent of Franciscans,
which is reckoned of all monastic orders
the most numerous. All sorts of property are
forbidden by this rule, and the Friars go barefooted;
their habit is a brown, coarse stuff, with
a cowl; and they have a cord tied round their
waist, from whence they assume the appellation
of Cordeliers. They are also forbidden to receive
money; but I had a very entertaining proof of
their ingenious equivocations in that respect;
for, on offering one of them a piece of money,
he held up his hands as if fearing they should
be polluted by the touch, at the same time turning
his head, pointed to a little pocket, in which
I accordingly slipped a dollar; and it had so
good an effect, that he obligingly offered to give
us a sight of some of the relicts and curiosities
of the monastery. Among others, he conducted
us into a cell entirely built of human bones and
skulls, which they pretend were formerly those
of their most eminent saints and martyrs; they
are not however incorruptible, but are beginning
to decay very fast, and exhibit an exceeding ghastly A4v 8
ghastly appearance. When we returned to Mr
, we received another visit from Don
and his sister Donna Helena de Correya,
and then dined with Mr and Mrs Lynch.

Wednesday we went to see a grand procession
in honour of St Francis, and afterwards took a
walk in Donna Guiomar’s vineyards; in the
evening Mr Bisset gave us a ball.

Thursday morning, we called on Donna Helena,
and dined with a large party at Mr Lacock’s;
we had a ball and concert in the afternoon.
Madeira, were it properly cultivated,
might justly be termed the garden of the world;
the serenity of the climate, the fertility of the
soil, every thing conspire to render it an absolute
terrestrial paradise; and it only requires the
nurturing hand of art to give the finishing touches
to a scene on which nature has so profusely poured
her choicest treasures. The scorching heat
of summer, and the icy chill of winter are here
equally unknown; but spring and autumn reign together, A5r 9
together, and produce flowers and fruit throughout
the year.

“Ripe fruits and blossoms of the same tree live, At once they promise what at once they give.”

This desirable island is reported to have been
discovered by an Englishman, Captain Masham,
in or about the year 13441344, and was conquered
by the Portuguese (under whose government it
still remains) in 14371437. They set fire to the forests,
which burned for a considerable time, and
gave the soil that degree of fertility which it
boasts of at present.

Friday morning, we made a party to ascend
the mountain and to view the country; we found
the ascent very steep; but were amply repaid for
our fatigues by the charms of the prospect, which
exhibits a continual succession of vineyards that
flourish in the utmost perfection. The vines are
trained and supported by poles, which form rows A5v 10
rows of colonades and arches to the summit of
the mountain; the vines twining their flexible
branches in arbours over head, and forming an
umbrage impervious to the rays of the fun.

“Here order’d vines in equal ranks appear, With all th’ united labours of the year; Some to unload the fertile branches run, Some dry the black’ning clusters in the sun; Others to tread the liquid harvests join, The groaning presses foam with floods of wine; Here are the vines in early flower descried, Here grapes discolour’d on the sunny side, And there in autumn’s richest purple dy’d.”
Homer’s Odyssey.

This island abounds in every kind of Tropical
and European fruits; as oranges, lemons of a
prodigious size, bananas, citrons, peaches, figs,
plumbs, and strawberries that grow wild in the
mountains with astonishing profusion; grapes
which are as large as our common plumbs, and
remarkable for their peculiar flavour; the orangesges A6r 11
here are of a sanguine red. This species is
produced from the common orange bud ingrafted
on the pomegranate stock. There is likewise
a kind of pear found here, not bigger than a walnut,
and very crisp. The sugar cane also is cultivated
with some success, though not in any
considerable quantity. The cedar tree is found
in great abundance; it is extremely beautiful;
most of the ceilings and furniture are Madeira are
made of that wood, which yields a very fragrant
smell. The dragon tree is a native of this island.
Flowers nursed in the English green-houses grow
wild here in the fields; the hedges are mostly
formed of myrtle, roses, jessamine, and honeysuckle
in everlasting blossom, while the larkspur,
the fleur-de-lis, the lupin, &c. spring up spontaneously
in the meadows, and form a thousand
natural parterres of embroidery. There are very
few reptiles to be seen in the island; the lizard
is the most common. Canary birds and goldfinches
are found in the mountains; of the former
numbers are sent every year to England.

But A6v 12

But to return to my journal. After we had
proceeded about half way up the mountain, we
found a little hermitage, situated on the brow of
a hill, and dug out of the solid rock; it is hung
round with ivy, and consists of two apartments
or caves, in which the embowering trees around
reflect a gloomy shade; by the side of it is a
fountain, with a Triton in the midst that throws
water from a conque shell to an amazing height,
and forms an artificial jet-de’eau.

We then visited the seat of Mr Murray, the
English consul. The house is neat; but, for the
gardens, I doubt whether those of Alcinous surpassed
them; every tree and flowering shrub
the island affords are here assembled and disposed
with the most exquisite taste, and with a wildness
that leaves you in doubt whether it is the
work of art or nature: A fountain gushes from
the side of a rock, which forms itself into a thousand
different shapes, sometimes rolling down
the hill in cascades, then gliding like a rivulet
among the shrubs, or spreading a limpid sheet of B1r 13
of water over a verdant carpet enamelled with

We dined at a country-house of Mr Lacock’s.
Most of the merchants have little cottages on the
slope of the hill, surrounded with gardens and vineyards,
which have a very pleasing effect in the
landscape. We proceeded in the evening to the
summit of the mountain, on which is a magnificent
church, dedicated to the Virgin, whose
image is yearly carried about in procession through
the island to visit the sick; and I was assured that
it constantly performed the most miraculous cures.
We were fortunate enough to visit this church
on the eve of a festival, and found it filled with
young girls, who were busily employed in decking
the altars with wreaths of flowers, and crowning
the waxen images of the Virgin and Child
with chaplets of myrtle and roses. The church
is surrounded with a triple row of small cannon,
eight or nine inches long. At sun set a signal
was given, and, after the evening service to the
Virgin was chanted, they were discharged with B a B1v 14
a running fire; the reports followed each other
with prodigious rapidity, and the mountain
echoes multiplying and prolonging the sounds,
gave it the grandest effect imaginable.

Saturday evening we paid our devoirs to Don
the governor, and his lady Donna Louisa,
who entertained us with an elegant ball and a
concert.—On Sunday, Mr and Mrs Lynch, Mrs
, Mr Masterton, and Mr Casey, spent
the afternoon, and drank tea with us.

Monday, we called to take leave of Donna
Helena de Correya
, and her brother. I regretted
the company of the former extremely; she
was one of the loveliest and most amiable girls I
ever conversed with. We then took a walk
through the town, and visited the shops, which are
very indifferent: The natives are, however, remarkably
ingenious, and famous for their skill
in making perfume, pastes, &c. The Portuguese
are extremely dark complexioned, but have fine
eyes and teeth; the women are in general handsome;some; B2r 15
the lower class of people here are indolent,
dirty, and much addicted to theft; they
are very musical, and extremely gallant. You
seldom pass a night at Madeira without hearing a
serenade of guitars and mandolines in some part
of the street.

I had the curiosity, during my stay on this
island, to assist at one of their funerals; the ceremony
of which did not a little disgust and surprise
me. The corpse was carried by porters in
an open hammock, dressed out in a most fantastic
manner; and, as soon as it was brought within
the church, the bones of the deceased were all
broken one after another, the body carelessly
thrown into the ground without a coffin, and the
hole filled up with large stones.

Tuesday, --05-06May the 6th, we took leave of our
host Mr Bisset, from whom we received the greatest
civility and attention, and embarked again
with out former party on board the Britannia.
At four o’clock we weighed anchor, and set sail
with a fair wind for the island of St Christopher’s.

B2 A
B2v B3r

to the
Island of St Christopher’s.

B3v B4r

St Christopher’s.

About a week after our departure from
the Madeiras, we got into the trade
winds, and, on the --05-1313th of May, we passed the
Tropic of Cancer. We now began to see a variety
of Tropic birds and flying-fishes; the latter
generally appear early in the morning to avoid
the piercing rays of the meridian sun, which, by
quickly drying their wings, considerably impedes
their flight; for the pinions, when they lose
their moisture, no longer retain the faculty of
transporting the animal through the air: Sometimestimes B4v 20
they are seen soaring high above the ship,
and then again skimming the surface of the water
with their transparent wings. The phaenomenon
of the luminous sea, well known to naturalists,
is almost constantly observed in this
part of the ocean; its appearance is as beautiful
as it is extraordinary: The prow of the ship,
when it glides with velocity through the water,
scatters around the foam, and casts a sudden ray
like lightening, that forms a semicircle round the
vessel; the track or furrow made by the rudder
is perfectly luminous; the sea itself is studded
with myriads of little radiant stars or dots of
azure and gold, and, if the night prove remarkably
dark, you fancy yourself sailing through an
ocean of liquid fire. The weather was so calm,
that, during the whole voyage, we never had occasion
to take in our royals but once. We spoke
several East Indiamen; and, soon after we left
Madeira, were chaced by an Algerine, who did
not give up his pursuit till we happened to fall
in with another English ship, when the Corsair,
fearful of encountering a force so much superior to B5r 21
to his own, gave up the chace, after having driven
us a little out of our course to the eastward;
which, however, was not to be regretted, as it
gave us an opportunity of seeing, though at a
great distance, the famous Peak of Teneriffe.

On Saturday the --05-3131st, we passed the islands of
Desaraeta, Guadeloupe, and Antigua; and, on
Sunday morning our ship struck upon a coral
rock just under the lee of Nevis. The shock
was far more violent than any earthquake I ever
experienced; but we sustained very little damage,
and found ourselves in deep water again almost
as soon as we heard the crash.

We landed that day (the --06-011st of June) at Basseterre
in the island of St Christopher’s.—This
island, discovered by and named after Christopher
, is situated in 17 deg.degrees 15 min.minutes
N. Lat.Latitude and 63 deg.degrees 17 min.minutes W. Long.Longitude. It is
about twenty miles in breadth, and seven in length, and divided into nine parishes, viz.
St George and St Peter, Besse-Terre; St Mary, Cayon; B5v 22
Cayon; Christ-church, Nichola-town; St John
and St Paul, Cabesterre; St Anne, Sandy Point;
St Thomas, Middle Island; and Trinity, Palmetto

A ridge of mountains runs through the island,
declining each way towards the sea, so that there
is scarcely a spot of level ground (of any extent
at least) in St Kitt’s. The highest of this chain
of hills is called Mount Misery, the summit of
which is lost in the clouds, and visible only in an
uncommonly clear day; sometimes the whole of
it is concealed by a veil of bluish vapours that
encircle it all round like a girdle; but, when entirely
divested of fogs and mists, it certainly exhibits
one of the most majestic objects the eye
can behold. In the year 17871787, three hardy
Scotsmen boldly adventured to explore this
mountain, which till that time was reckoned inaccessible.
They proceeded, as justly as they
could ascertain, to the height of 3711 feet, by
fastening ropes to the branches of trees, and the
craggy points of the rocks, and climbing thus, with B6r 23
with a thousand hazards and difficulties, till they
found it taper to a pinnacle of one immense solid
rock; at the foot of which they erected a flagstaff,
(which is now visible in a clear day with a
telescope) and here concluded their perilous undertaking,
finding it totally impossible to ascend
any higher.—An immense crater sinks near 1000
feet almost perpendicular in this mountain, the
bottom of which is nearly level, and may contain
about fifty acres, seven of which consist of
a lake or bason of rain-water; the rest is mostly
covered with grass nearly six feet high, and
trees, among which the delicious mountain cabbage
is found in great abundance. To the north
of this valley are six distinct cones, or hillocks,
near 100 feet in height, and composed of lava,
pumice, and a very fat argillaceous earth. The
feeble remains of this tremendous volcano bursts
out in as many mouths, and a stream of water,
which takes its rise higher up the side of the
grand crater, is partly absorbed in the chasms,
and thrown out with a furious boiling noise and
steam. Tetrahoedral chrystals of sulphur, alum in B6v 24
in an efflorescent appearance, and likewise mineralized
with iron, are abundant in the crannies of
these little hills, and avery pure argillaceous and
magnesian earth me to be found in great quantities;
the water which springs here is much
impregnated with alum and vitriolic acid; but,
except at martial pyrites, no mineral is observed.
Calcined lava, and the lava informis of Linnaeus,
are the only ones commonly seen, though a species
of petroleum, or jet, has been found mixed
with a hard stone of the calcareous kind, but very
rarely. The thermometer generally at 212. of
Fahrenheit’s scale in the fissures of the Solfaterra.

It is impossible to describe the various scenes
and views these mountains exhibit, as the landscape
never continues the same for the space of
of miles; in some places, you see nothing but
vast rocks, high precipices, and frightful caverns;
in others, deep vales, and hanging woods; and
then the eye is caught from these to the more
pleasing views of rich pastures, grazing cattle,
and little gardens dispersed on the slopes of the hill C1r 25
hill. Most of the inhabitants at St Kitt’s have small
cottages, where they remain during the hot
months; some of these are situated so high in
the mountains, that I have frequently heard the
thunder growl, and seen the lightening dart from
the clouds that rolled beneath the windows,
while the atmosphere above was pure and serene.

In the rainy season (at the latter end of autumn)
the cataracts are seen descending in vast
torrents from the summits of these mountains,
rolling their several streams, sometimes near half
a mile in breadth, with astonishing rapidity, and
sweeping all before them; the havock they make
is incredible; indeed a great part of the island is
entirely ploughed up in gullies and channels
formed at different times by these impetuous destroyers.

Abundance of fine spring water is procured at
St Kitt’s, a convenience not met with in many
of the other Leeward Islands. These springs take
their source in the mountains, and their course C is C1v 26
is directed by leaden pipes, that guide them down
to the several estates situated at the base of the

The chief town in St Christopher’s is Basseterre,
which is situated in the beautiful valley
from whence it derives its name. Here the courts
of justice are held, and all the public business of
the island is transacted. Basseterre, including
Irishtown, which adjoins it to the westward, consists
of 800 houses. The streets are rather narrow,
without any pavement either for carriages
or foot-passengers. The lands a little above the
town rise gradually towards the mountains; the
view of that part of the island from the sea is extremely
beautiful, as the various plantations in
the valley, with the buildings and trees about
them, appear to great advantage.

Eastward of the valley of Basseterre there is a
ridge of hills three miles in length, and near the
extremity of them the salt-ponds are situated.
In very dry seasons near 100,000 bushels of salt are C2r 27
are collected, which not only supplies the inhabitants
of the island, but large quantities are also
exported to America. The heat of the sun in
this climate produces the effect of crystallizing
the salt. Ponds, full 400 yards in diameter, become
one entire crust of salt several inches thick;
it is found adhering in brittle masses of a white
pellucid nature, as beautiful and diaphanous as
rock chrystal: The smell of these salt ponds is
insufferable at particular seasons of the year, and
is reckoned prejudicial to the health; the estates
that adjoin them are usually sickly; and the soil
of that district is unfruitful.

There is a beautiful little village, four or five
miles from Basseterre, called Cayon: It is picturesquely
situated on the brow of a hill, with a
fine streamlet of water running through it, which
supplies the whole of that district.

About eleven miles from Cayon is another village,
called Dieppe-bay; and beyond that, at a
little distance only, lies the town of Sandy Point, C2 which C2v 28
which contains 300 houses. Near this lies the
celebrated fortress of Brimstone-Hill, from the
summit of which you have the finest view imaginable,
and the sea almost washes the foot of it.
I visited Brimstone-Hill in the autumn of 17891789.
The 9th regiment of foot was then stationed
there, and artificers of various kinds were employed
about the fortifications. General Mathews
had just laid the foundation-stone of Fort-
. Six miles from Basseterre, on the S.W.
side of the island, is a village called Old Road,
consisting of about 100 houses, which are shaded
by a vast number of fine tamarind trees; two rivulets
of clear water run through the street, and
largely supply the whole of that district, which
is undoubtedly the most agreeable in the island.

As for the quadropeds, &c. found in St Kitt’s,
they being for the most part the same as those
of Antigua, I shall refer the reader to my sketch
of the natural history of that island, and content
myself with particularising, in this place, those
animals only which are indigenous in St Christopher’s,
and not found in Antigua.

I C3r 29

I recollect none at present except the monkey;
abundance of these mischievous creatures inhabit
the High-lands, and frequently come down in
large companies among the canes, where they
create inconceivable mischief and damage.

The birds are much the same here as in Antigua,
and all the amphibious animals, one species
of the lizard excepted: This reptile (lacerta
viridis, capite rubro
) differs nowise from the
others, except about the head, which is always
of a bright flame colour, and very beautiful: I
never knew of this particularity being observed
among lizards in any of the Caribbee Islands except
St Kitt’s.

During my residence in the West Indies, I
had several times the pleasure of seeing the phenomenon
of a water-spout. Its appearance is
thus: “You first observe the clouds extremely
agitated, upon which they assume a sable hue,
and appear as if hurried by a whirlwind, while
a rumbling noise proceeds from that part of C3 “the C3v 30
the heavens, the wind blowing from several
quarters, and the skies much ruffled. Its first
appearance is in the form of a deep cloud, the
upper part whereof is white and the lower
black, from which falls the spout like a conical
tube, biggest at top, and gradually diminishing
to a point. Under this tube the sea
boils, and throws itself into various forms, flying,
foaming, rising, and falling alternately,
and a pillar of water rises in the middle, crowned
with a vapour of a faint violet colour. At
the base of this column the sea frothing and
curling appears white as snow, and a vortex or
whirlpool is formed at some distance round.”Vide Encyclopaedia.

The water-spout sometimes rushes forward thro’
the element, ploughing up the water, and overwhelming
all that crosses its passage; sometimes
it advances to the shore, tearing and ravaging
every thing before it; and breaks with a tremendous
noise among the rocks, bearing back with
it to the ocean houses, cattle, or whatever happens
to intercept its way.


Antigua and Barbuda.

C4v C5r

Antigua and Barbuda.

I embarked the 1790-02-011st of February 1790,
from Basse-terre, on board the Blanche, a
32 gun frigate, then commissioned to the Leeward
station, and commanded by Captain
. My father, mother, brother, and three
gentlemen from Antigua, composed our party.
We sailed first to Nevis, and anchored there,
where however I did not land. This island does
not exhibit by any means so interesting a landscape
as St Kitt’s. A mountain, shaped like a
sugar-loaf, rises in the middle, whose summit is totally C5v 34
totally obscured in the clouds; but the houses,
plantations, sugar-works, &c. dispersed on its declivity,
give it a very pleasing appearance. Charlestown
is prettily situated along the sea coast. We
left Nevis in the evening, and weighed anchor
for Antigua. We passed the island of Redondo
about midnight; and the next day the wind
blew very hard, and directly contrary. Wednesday
morning, however, it abated, and we passed
Montserrat and Sandy Island, and anchored in
St John’s Bay, Antigua. We landed about one
o’clock, and went immediately to the house of
Mr Byam in Popeshead.

We spent that week in visiting different parts
of the island; and, Tuesday the 9th, we embarked
from Parham in a small schooner, and
weighed anchor at half past ten for the island of
Barbuda. We arrived there in a few hours, after
a most unpleasant navigation; the sea was
extremely rough; our little vessel pitched terribly,
and the waves were every instant beating
over her deck. We managed, however, to throw C6r 35
throw out our fishing tackle, and to catch two
young dolphins. The instant they were taken,
they wreathed themselves about in various shapes,
and swelled their lucid scales, that instantly assumed
the most brilliant colouring imaginable,
displaying alternately the glossy tints of the
sapphire, the emerald, the topaz, the amethyst,
and the brightest violet colour ornamented with
streaks of gold, silver, and azure. These vary
successively, and with such rapidity, that the eye
can scarcely distinguish one before another ensues.
Barbuda is so fenced round with rocks
and shoals, that, except in one or two places,
it is totally inaccessible, and the wrecks it occasions
are innumerable. We landed at the Fort,
within a league of which the navigation is extremely
dangerous, but at the same time the
most beautiful that can be imagined. The water
is shallow, and so perfectly transparent, that
the rocks underneath it are entirely visible;
they are sown so thick that there is but just room
for a small vessel to pass between them; some
are raised above the surface of the sea, (which is white C6v 36
white with foam from continually breaking
against them) and covered with moss, sea-weeds,
shells, and corals. It is sure destruction to all
vessels beyond a certain magnitude to approach
them. Our schooner (the steersman being accustomed
to it) thread them regularly through,
going in zig-zags all the way; but we could easily
touch the rocks on each side of us with a
stick. We found some chaises on the beach ready
to convey us to Mr Reynold’s house, where
we were joined next day by a large party from

The island of Barbuda is 20 miles in length,
and 12 in breadth, situated in 61 deg.degrees 50 min.minutes
W. long.longitude and 17 deg.degrees 42 min.minutes N. lat.latitude It is the
property of government, but has for many years
been leased out to the Codrington family. This
island being low and flat, is not healthy at all
seasons of the year. There are no hills or mountains
in it; but towards the middle of it the
ground gently rises in a gradual swell: This they
call the High-lands, and on them Sir William Codrington’s D1r 37
manager Mr Reynolds’s house is
situated. The air here is much more salubrious
than in the lowlands, and from hence you have a
fine view of the adjacent country. The whole
island is covered with woodlands; but, as the
soil is no where more than six inches deep,
there is of course no timber of any considerable
size. The inhabitants are black, mostly slaves
to Sir William Codrington; their employment
is husbandry. The sugar cane does not flourish
here in any perfection. The chief commodity,
from which the owner derives any benefit, is the
cattle, which breed wild among the woods, and
sell to prodigious advantage in the neighbouring
Caribbean isles.

Thursday morning, we took a ride to see the
island, and visited the Castle, which is in the
lowlands. It is a kind of ruin, formerly built
to defend the island against the invasions of the
Caribs, who frequently came in their canoes to
plunder it, and carry away the cattle, &c.

D Friday D1v 38

Friday morning we were conducted to the
banks of a river or lake of salt-water, where we
embarked in a barge, with a canopy over our
heads to shield us from the fun; and, after sailing
about half an hour, the most enchanting
prospect imagination can paint disclosed itself to
our view. From this lake issues on each side a
thousand little branches, that diffuse themselves
through the country in various meanders, and
whose banks are bordered with tufts of mangrove
trees; these trees flourish only in marshy situations,
and by the sea, or any stream of salt water;
out of their spreading branches issue a number
of small filaments that descend and penetrate
into the earth, take root, and rise again above
ground, shooting forth into new branches and
leaves. Thus a single mangrove tree can in time
produce a whole forest. The bark is made into
ropes, and the small filaments can be beat into
threads as fine as flax. These mangroves have
the thickest foliage imaginable, and a most lovely
verdure; the effect they produce by the side
of the lake is beautiful beyond description; the trees D2r 39
trees grow close to each other, and rise to a vast
height, yet bending over their flexible and delicate
branches to kiss the stream from whence
they derive their luxuriance. Towards the extremities
of these branches the oyster (that derives
its name from the tree) deposits her spawn;
and the shells, as they grow to their natural size,
twist themselves round the branch in such a
manner, and adhere so forcibly to it, that it is
impossible to pick off the oyster without tearing
the bark along with it. They are found by hundreds
at a time, suspended in prodigious clusters,
some above, and some below the surface of the

After sailing about two hours, we found ourselves
at the opposite side of the lake, on a narrow
neck of land bounded by the sea, where we
spent the day in a little cottage, shaded by a tuft
of cocoa trees, within thirty yards of a seabeach
enamelled with shells. About half a league
from this neck of land, a prodigious high reef
of rocks runs along for several miles, over which D2 the D2v 40
the sea breaks with a tremendous noise, and
dashing its foaming billows to a vast height; but
they seem to exhaust their force and fury against
the points of the rocks; for, as soon as it passes
them, the sea becomes as smooth as glass, and,
after the most gradual approaches, gently bathes
the roots of the ever verdant mangrove trees that
border the shore. From hence too we saw the
hulks of several ships that had been wrecked on
this reef. They were inhabited by a numerous
tribe of pelicans; I believe we did not see less
than forty or fifty of those enormous birds perched
on different parts of the hulk, and sitting to
watch their finny prey.

After dinner we again crossed the lake in our
little barge, and returned to our apartments in
the High-lands. Saturday we rode to see a remarkable
tree of the East India banian species;
a prodigious number of filaments, somewhat like
those of the mangrove, descend from its branches,
which are of an amazing thickness; they penetrate
into the ground, rise again, and twist round the D3r 41
the branch, forming thus a number of fine arcades
from six to ten feet in height all round the
body of the tree. They are closely entwined
with each other, and give the idea of a number
of little cabinets or alcoves of different sizes, according
to the height of and distance between
the branches. The vast foliage over the arcades
affords so delightful an umbrage that a large
company may dine under its shade. The roots
of this prodigious tree extend their fibres over
ten acres of land.

Sunday, morning we were entertained with
the diversion of a wild bull hunt, which we saw
very distinctly from a small eminence that commanded
an extensive view of the adjacent lowlands
where the animal was roused. The hunters
were a family of Caribs, who from their
childhood had been accustomed to that exercise;
they pursued the bull mounted on horses trained
for the purpose, without any saddle, and nothing
but a string in their mouths to guide them
through the mazes of the woods; each hunter D3 was D3v 42
was armed with a spear, and they were accompanied
by a parcel of fierce bull-dogs, who, after
a chace of two hours, fastened on the wearied
animal, that made the whole country echo
with his roarings, and pinned him to the ground,
till the hunters arrived, and struck him dead
with a hatchet.

Wild deer breed abundantly among the woods
at Barbuda; but they prove but indifferent venison,
owing to the poorness of the pastures.

On Monday we rode to see a spacious cavern,
which is situated on the eastern side of the
island. It is of a circular shape, and near eighty
feet in depth; there is no water in it, although
it appears to be considerably lower than the level
of the sea. Whether this cavern was formerly
the mouth of an extinguished volcano,
(which I do not think probable, as there is no
appearance of pumex or vestiges of fire about
it) or from what it derives its origin, no one has
yet been able to ascertain. In some places the water D4r 43
water filtering through the pores of the vast
rocks, that bend in gloomy arches over head,
form a great number of stalactites, which are
suspended from the roof and down the sides of
the cavern, and produce a beautiful effect. The
rains continually washing down the mold, &c. into
the bottom, have formed a thick rich soil there,
in which a number of lofty trees flourish with
great luxuriance; and the prodigious number of
wild deer and goats, who make this recess their
asylum, add considerably to its fertilization, by
the quantity of manure they afford. The cavern
is divided into two distinct apartments by
a verdant curtain of vines, which runs exactly
through the middle of it; and, having now subsisted
many years there, has gradually crept up
and fastened its topmost branches to the pinnacles
of the rocks that form the circumference of the
cave. The extreme thickness of this curtain,
and the refreshing verdure of the clustering foliage
make it one of the most grateful objects
(especially in this climate) that can be imagined.

On D4v 44

On Wednesday the 17th, we left Barbuda,
and returned to Antigua; and, on Sunday the
21st, we came back again to the island to St


Geographical Description
Natural History

D5v D6r

Geographical Description

“To me be Nature’s volume broad display’d, And to peruse its all-instructing page, Or, haply catching inspiration thence, Some easy passage, raptur’d, to translate, My sole delight.”Thomson.

The island of Antigua (formerly named by
the Spaniards Santa Maria l’Antigua, after
the famous church of that name in Seville)
is 16 miles in length, and 10 ½ in breadth. It is
situated in 62 deg.degrees 3 min.minutes W. long.longitude and 17 deg.degrees
4 min.minutes N. latlatitude. It is laid out in 14 divisions, viz.
St John’s, Five Islands, New Division, Bermudian
, Old Road, Rendezvous Bay, Falmouth,
Willoughby Bay, Nonsuch, Belfast, Old North D6v 48
North Sound
, New North Sound, Popeshead,
and Dickenson’s Bay; and contains six parishes,
viz. St John’s, St Peter’s, St Philip’s, St Mary’s,
St Paul’s, and St George’s.

The landscapes of Antigua are greatly inferior
in point of beauty to those of the neighbouring
Carribbean Isles, from its being less
mountainous than almost any of them. About
the divisions of Old Road and Bermudian Valley,
the lands are very hilly, and sometimes
steep, but the rest of the island is flat, and only
rises every now and then in gentle swells. A
number of springs and streamlets are dispersed
about the country, but (one or two small ones
excepted) they are all brackish, and strongly impregnated
with the fossile alkali, consequently of
no manner of use. The want of fresh water
here is often very great; for all that can be procured
is the rain water preserved in tanks and
cisterns; and, in dry seasons, the inhabitants are
even distressed for that. In the year 17891789, there
was no fall of rain for seven months, which not only E1r 49
only ruined the crop of sugar, but 5000 head of
horned cattle perished for want of drink.

The chief town in Antigua is St John’s. It
is one of the largest and most handsome in the
West Indies. The streets are wide and well laid
out, and the houses mostly commodious and
airy. The church is placed on an eminence almost
in the middle of the town; it is spacious,
and ornamented with great elegance. The courthouse,
where the council and assembly fit to
transact the legislative affairs of the island, is a
very handsome edifice. A little above the town
is a near range of buildings, which are the barracks
appropriated to the use of the military
corps commissioned to this island, and are extensive
enough to contain three regiments.

Antigua being the seat of government, a place
called Clark’s Hill (about five miles from St
) is kept up at the expence of the legislature,
where the commander in chief always resides.
Four small villages, viz. Parham, Bridgetown,E town, E1v 50
Falmouth, and Old Road, are dispersed in
different parts of the country; but none of
them are very populous. There is a fortification
in Falmouth division called Monk’s-hill;
it was raised by the first colonists as a retreat in
case of an insurrection among the Negroes. English
(which is also in Falmouth division)
is surrounded with hills, on the summits
of which various sorts and redouts are raised,
with barracks that will contain three regiments,
magazines, storehouses, &c. for the accommodation
of troops, built in a most expensive stile,
and extremely commodious: The whole goes
under the name of the Ridge, from the situation
on which the buildings are erected.

English Harbour is the principal naval dockyard
in the Leeward Islands. It is situated on
the south side of the island, and is capable of
containing fourteen or fifteen men of war, five
of which can heave down at once; the entrance
is only deep enough for a sixty-four gun ship;
larger ones must take their guns out before they can E2r 51
can come in; it is extremely narrow, and a ship
requires the assistance of several anchors and
warps to bring her to her birth. The piles on
which the wharfs are built are all of hard wood
cased with copper, and cost immense sums of
money to government. The storehouses, masthouses,
&c. are built on an elegant plan, and
very well executed.

Half a mile west of English Harbour lies Falmouth
, which is just deep enough in
one place for small trading ships, that come in
there to deliver stores for his Majesty’s dockyard;
for English Harbour is not open to any
craft but what belongs to the King.

St John’s Harbour is the principal trading
port. The road west of James Fort has good
anchorage and depth of water. At the mouth of
the harbour is a bar, with only thirteen feet water
at low ebb. Large merchant-ships complete
their loading in the road, which is two miles from
the town wharfs; but the harbour is only three- E2 fourths E2v 52
fourths of a mile: It is capable of holding 300
sail of merchant-ships. The men of war lie in
the road south of the merchant-ships, between
Goat Hill and James Fort; the road is difficult
of access, and requires the steerage of skilful pilots.
The Diamond Rock lies at the distance
of two leagues N.W. of James Fort. The
Warrington Rock, and the Two Sisters are W.
and by N. at the distance of two miles only;
and Sandy Island, which is above water, is five
miles off to the S.W. the N. side of the island,
and the south-west, and begirt with coral rocks,
intersected with channels of various depths,
known only to a few; consequently Antigua owes
her safety from invasion more to her natural fortifications
than to any resources of art.

E3r 53

of the
Natural History of Antigua.

Quadrupeds.Classed according to Pennant’s System.

Div.Division I.—Hoofed Quadrupeds.

Section I.—Whole Hoofed.

The breed of Antigua horses is small and active;
they are sometimes tolerably handsome.
Asses are very scarce in this island. Mules are
bred and imported here in great numbers; they
are extremely serviceable, and much employed
for draught, and for labouring the estates.

Sect.Section II.—Cloven Hoofed.

The oxen here are as much employed for the
service of the estates as mules. Milch cows are E3 so E3v 54
so scarce, and the milk they yield so poor, that
very few people are enabled to make fresh butter;
and in general the milk of the sheep and
goats is thought preferable to that of the cows.

The sheep soon lose their wooly fleece in this
climate: Providence has clothed them with
a lank brown hair instead; which, though it
diminishes their beauty, is infinitely more serviceable
to them in point of coolness. The breed
of goats is propagated here with great success,
especially by the Negroes; as they constitute a
very considerable part of the stock they are allowed
to raise for their own profit. There are
two different species of hogs in this island; the
one much resembling in form the wild boar,
which was the original breed left here by the
Spaniards; the other is the common European

Div.Division II.—Digitated Quadrupeds.

A breed of wild cats subsists in the woods
here; they are twice the size of the domestic cat, E4r 55
cat, and frequently carry off the young lambs
and kids. They are very useful however in destroying
the numerous tribe of rats that infest
the cane lands. Their fur is extremely fine. The
Negroes sell it for a shilling a skin; they kill
them to eat their flesh, which they regard as a
great dainty. A beautiful species of rat is found
both in St Kitt’s and Antigua. It is shaped like
the common rat, but its fur is excessively
fine, and as white and spotless as ermine: Several
of them have been caught in traps and
cages; but their nature is so fierce, that it is
found impossible to tame them.

The agouti is found in Antigua. It is a small
animal, of the mouse species, but as large as
a rabbit, and of a dun colour; it burrows in the
ground, and feeds upon wild fruits, &c. The
opossum (called by Linnaeus the didelphis marsupialis)
is likewise found here. It is of the size
of a domestic cat; its shape somewhat resembles
a weasel; the nose is long, and not unlike that
of a hog; the ears round, short, erect, and tipt with E4v 56
with black; the legs are short, and generally of
that colour likewise; the fur is of a greyish
brown; beneath the belly hangs a loose skin like
a bag, which the opossum can dilate and contract
at pleasure, and in which it secures its young
ones when alarmed or pursued by the hunters.
When the dogs approach, it feigns death, and,
by that means, is sure to escape, as the canine
race do not prey upon its flesh, but only hunt it
out of wantonness. The breed however is almost
extinct here; and the opossum is very scarce
in Antigua.

Div.Division III.—Pinnated Quadrupeds.

Div.Division IV.—Winged Quadrupeds.

Two species of bats are found here, the one
with, and the other without, tails.

Birds E5r 57

Birds.Classed according to Pennant’s System.

Div.Division I.—Land Birds.

Order I.—Rapacious.

Few of the feathered race comprehended under
this order are found in Antigua; the sea falcon,
and two kinds of hawks. The sparrow-hawk
is extremely beautiful, but very destructive to
poultry and all kinds of smaller birds.

Order II.—Pies.

Two kinds of orioles, two sorts of king’sfishers,
the creeper, and two species of the humming bird
or honeysucker, are found in Antigua; the trochilus
, and the trochilus polytmus (of Linnaeus);
neither of them is much larger than a
common butterfly, and they are both beautiful beyond E5v 58
beyond description. The plumage of the humming
bird, when expanded in the sun, exhibits
all the lucid tints of the rainbow; the head,
neck, and back, are of a resplendent variable
green and gold; the wings azure; the breast
and tail of a sapphire blue; a sparkling crest,
that might be mistaken for a polished emerald,
rises on the head of the trochilus polytmus,
which is much smaller than the other kind, and
infinitely more beautiful; the bill of the humming
bird is near an inch long, curved, black,
and polished like ebony; the tongue is cylindrical,
and much longer than the bill; it serves as a
trunk to extract the honied essences lodged in
the nectaria of flowers; for this bird subsists entirely
by suction; the eyes, from their colour
and brilliancy, resemble two beads of polished
steel. They fly with extreme swiftness, and the
wings, as they cut the air, make a noise like the
buzzing of an humble bee, but much louder;
the motion of the wings is so rapid as even to be
perfectly imperceptible. The humming birds are
fearless of mankind; they will suffer you to approachproach E6r 59
close to them while they remain suspended
under a blossom to extract its aromatic juices.
This little wonder of nature is perhaps one of the
boldest of the feathered race; it frequently attacks,
and never fails of defeating, any plumed
adversary, however superior in strength and size.
The weapon it employs on these occasions is its
bill, which is sharp and pointed like a needle;
it plunges it either in the enemy’s eye, or the
fleshy part under his wing. The nest is of an
hemispherical shape, and wove with cotton,
which they pick from the pods, when split open
by the sun; they fasten it to the bough of a
tree by drawing a few threads round it, and cementing
them with a little odoriferous gum
drawn from the flowers. The outside is generally
fortified with a few citron or orange leaves,
twined in with the cotton. It is doubtful whether
the mechanism of this nest, or its admirable
architects, are most worthy of admiration. The
humming bird lays two eggs, each the size of a
large pea.

Order E6v 60

Order III.—Gallinaceous.

The turkey, African Guinea bird, and the
quail, are found here.

Order IV.—Columbine.

Five kinds of doves are natives of Antigua, of
which the ramier and the ground dove are the
most beautiful. The latter is about the size of a
lark, the wings of a bright rose colour, and the
neck and breast of a variable purple and gold.

Order V.—Passerine.

The thrush, the green bunting, the wagtail, the
Jamaica and the three coloured finch, are likewise
found in this island; also the yellow breast and
the sparrow.

Div. F1r 61

Div.Division II.—Water Birds.

Order VI.—Cloven-footed, or Waders.

The curlew, the snipe, the plover, the yellow-legs,
the redshank, the sand-piper, the bittern, the water
, the blue and grey galding, and the crabeater,
are the only birds of this order I recollect
of seeing here.

Order VII.—Pinnated Feet.

Order VIII.—Web-footed.

Of this order is the flamingo, (phoenicopteous
of Lin.Linnaeus) which is of a surprising height,
and the wings, when expanded in the sun, resemble
a flame of fire. The albatross, the auk,
the guillemot, the gull, the stormy petterel, the
crested and wild duck, and the pelican (pelicanus
Lin.Linnaeus) remarkable for its size, and the
extraordinary bag or pouch that is suspended
under its bill, which the pelican makes use of to F secure F1v 62
secure its prey in. This pouch is sometimes so
spacious that one of them has been known to
contain four gallons of water. The noddy, the
cormorant, the man of war bird, the booby, and
the Tropic bird.

Amphi- F2r 63

Amphibious Animals.

Four species of turtle are found on the shores
of this island—the green-turtle, the hawk’s-bill,
(whose shell is famous for the brilliant polish it
takes) the loggerhead, and the land-tortoise, which
is remarkable for its extreme longevity. The
green-turtle is reckoned one of the greatest delicacies
in the West Indies. A variety of the
lacertas or lizard species inhabit the trees here.
The guana (lacerta iguana of Linnaeus) is the
largest in Antigua. It is sometimes upwards of
six feet long; with a crest indented like the
teeth of a comb, two inches high, beginning on
the crown of his head, and gradually diminishing
to the point of his tail; under his jaw hangs
a large bag, which he can dilate with air, or exhaust
at pleasure. The guana is of various colours;
but most commonly it is either brown,
green, or blue. It is perfectly harmless. Its sole
weapon of defence is its tail, with which, however,F2 ever F2v 64
it can give a violent blow. This reptile is
often eaten in the West Indies. They pretend
its flesh is as delicate as that of a chicken. The
extraordinary species of lizard called the woodslave
(lacerta gekko) is frequently seen in this
island. It is about seven or eight inches long;
his tail short, thick, and blunt at the point; his
feet have five semi-palmated toes, with sharp
claws, wherewith he adheres strongly even to
smooth perpendicular surfaces; the eye is formed
like a cat’s, the pupil being long and narrow,
and ending above and below in a point; the eye
has a singular and fascinating glare; and it is altogether
a loathsome and disagreeable animal.
The wood-slave is one of the most venomous
reptiles found in these islands. A gummy fluid
exudes from all his pores, which blisters and ulcerates
the skin of those who touch it. And under
each claw is a small bag filled with a thick
blue-coloured matter, which is said to be the
chief ingredient used in the composition of the
famous Malay poison, well known in the East

The F3r 65

The common lizards are usually from ten to
fifteen inches long. The ground lizard is commonly
of the colour of the earth on which it
creeps; but those that affect living among trees
are always of a vivid green like the foliage they
inhabit. The body of the lizard is covered with
shining pellucid scales, that assume a variety of
glowing colours every time they move, besides
their having the peculiarity of turning as black
as jet if frightened. The tradition of this reptile’s
being attracted by, and fascinated with, the
sound of music, is a fact of which, by experience,
I can assert the veracity. I have frequently,
when sitting in the garden, sung an air in a soft
voice, which, in a few minutes, would draw the
lizards from the shrubs and trees around to the
spot where I was; where they would remain
with their little heads gently inclined, their eyes
immoveably rivetted to the place from whence
the sound proceeded, and their glossy scales presenting
a thousand different hues every moment;
but, as soon as the air ceased, the charm was
broke, and the lizards made a precipitate retreat, F3 and F3v 66
and concealed themselves among the bushes.
This experiment I have frequently tried, and never
once found it vary in its success. Indeed it is
a well known fact in the West Indies, that,
when the Negroes want to catch lizards, (which
are a wholesome and favourite food with them)
the art they employ to allure them into their
hands is whistling. All the lizard species are
oviparous, and lay a soft egg of the consistence
of a jelly. A small kind of frog is found in this
island. The only reptiles of the serpent kind is
the coluber striatulus of Linnaeus, and a small
caecilia or slow worm. Both are perfectly harmless.
The former is extremely beautiful, about
six feet in length, with a smooth head, a striated
coffee-coloured back, and the belly of a lovely
rose colour.

F4r 67

Fishes.Classed according to Pennant’s System.

Div.Division I.—Cetaceous Fishes.

The common, and the beaked or spermaceti
; the high-finned cachalot, the dolphin, the
grampus, and the porpoise.

Div.Division II.—Cartilaginous Fishes.

The sting ray, the sea devil or raia marta,
which is of an hideous aspect; the body flat, about
twelve feet in length, and seventeen in
breadth; the mouth is four feet wide; the body
is about two feet in thickness; the tail is
fourteen feet long, and tapers to a fine point.
One of these monsters was killed at Rendezvous
in this island, and it required seven yoke of
oxen to drag him on shore. Five species of the
shark, the saw-fish, the unicorn fish, the old wife, the F4v 68
the sea bat or lophius vespertilio, which, though
an inhabitant of the ocean, carries in its form
the striking resemblance of an ill-formed quadruped;
the pectoral fins having exactly the appearance
of feet, and terminate by little points
like claws. The fishing frog or lophius piscatorius;
several species of the diamond fish or ostracion,
which are extremely curious and beautiful.
They are inclosed in a hard integument or shell,
of a triangular shape, sometimes marked with
regular hexagonal scales, and sometimes spotted.
Several of the species are distinguished by having
one or more horns placed either on the head
or back. The ostracion triqueter, the ostracion cubitus,
and the os bicornis, are very delicate food;
but the os quadricornis is poisonous, and has the
peculiarity of strongly intoxicating the person
who eats it. The toad fish or tetrodon lagocephalus,
the globe diodon, and the hedge-hog fish, which
have all the faculty of swelling themselves out,
when touched, till their bodies resemble an inflated
bladder, although their natural shapes are slender F5r 69
slender and handsome. The hippocampus or seahorse.

Div.Division III.—Boney Fishes.

Section I.—Apodal.

The conger eel, the speckled eel, and the swordfish.

Section II.—Jugular.

The harp-fish or calyonimus lyra.

Section III.—Thoracic.

The sucking fish, the dorado, the coryphaene
(vulgarly called the dolphin), the parrot-fish, the
father-lasher, the macaw fish, the moon-fish, the
angel-fish, the Jew-fish, the snapper, the hog-fish,
the pilot or rudder fish, whiting, bream, chubbs,
the blue hind, rock hind, deep water hind, and poisonous
, the cobler-fish, the king-fish, the albicore,
Spanish mackarel, the queen mullet, the bonetta,
the cavally, the grunt, and the flying-gurnard.

Section F5v 70

Section IV.—Abdominal.

The cat-fish, the barracuda, which is a fish of
dreadful voracity, that frequently attacks and
devours the men here when they bathe in the
open sea. It is more dangerous to encounter the
barracuda than even the shark; for that fish,
having his mouth placed beneath a long projecting
snout, is obliged to turn on his back before
he can devour his prey, which gives an opportunity,
or at least a chance, of escape, (for
many of our bold swimmers carry cutlasses in
the water with them, and, while the shark is
turning, they are sometimes lucky enough to
give him a mortal blow); whereas the barracuda
is very swift, comes with open mouth, and
has such prodigious agility, that it is impossible
to elude his rapacious jaw. The gare, the doctor-fish,
the argentine, the sea pike, the silver-fish,
the balahue, and two species of flying-fish.

Insects. F6r 71

Insects.Classed according to the Linnean System.

The cockroach or blatta is an insect of the
order hemiptera of Linnaeus, and as remarkable
for its loathsome shape and smell, as for its mischievous
quality of gnawing books, linen, furniture,
&c. and extraordinary fecundity, every
egg it deposits producing nine and thirty young
ones. The cricket is likewise found here, particularly
that species called the mole-cricket or
grillo talpa, which always begins to be prodigiously
noisy at the approach of night; and, if
one of them chances to take its station under
your bed, the shrill and disagreeable note it emits
will prove an effectual antidote against sleep
or rest.

Of the order lepidoptera, is a very numerous
tribe of butterflies, but none of them are remarkablemarkable F6v 72
in this island for their beauty. There
is a very mischievous insect here of the phalaena
or moth species, the eruca saccharivora, which, in
its caterpillar state, is called the borer, from its
property of perforating the body of the sugar
cane, sucking out the juice, and reducing the
pith to powder. This insect has long been a pest
to the colonies, and it is impossible to extirpate
it. Repeated experiments have been tried for
the purpose; but none have yet succeeded.
They are so extremely hardy, that an attempt
was once made to kill one of them, by throwing
it in a bottle of spirits of wine (an instantaneous
death to all other insects), yet the borer was
found floating about, alive and brisk, nine and
thirty hours after. In form it resembles the
white round maggot that breeds in the shell of
the filberd.

Of the order hymenoptera, is a large species of
wild bee, with a bright orange-coloured body.
A numerous tribe of ants, of a prodigious size,
that are a very destructive nature, and kill and G1r 73
and eat up the little birds. The lion-ant, or
formica-leo, is found abundantly in the sandy
soils of Antigua, where it digs a funnel-shaped
den, and there lies in wait for flies and small insects,
of which it makes its prey.

The blue ichneumon wasp is one of the most
beautiful of the winged insects here. The body
and wings resemble a brilliant blue foil, and the
long feelers that adorn the head are of a deep
orange colour. The free mason wasp is so domestic
as to build its nest, which is made of mud
or clay, in the inhabited chambers of houses,
and even under the tester of the beds, and is found
here. It is very harmless, and seldom, if ever,
stings. The most troublesome insect in this
island is the musquito, of the order diptera. A
great variety of insects, of the order aptera, inhabit
Antigua. That remarkable species of spider,
the phalangium incaudatum, or crab-spider,
as also the aranea avicularia, and the aranea venatoria,
the great hairy bird-eating spider of Brasil,
are all natives of this island. A kind of tarantulaG rantula G1v 74
too is found here, which resides chiefly
in rocky places and among old ruins. The bite
occasions convulsions and stranguries, and sometimes
proves mortal. But the idea of the patient’s
being relieved by the sound of music is
perfectly fabulous. The common domestic spiders
in this country are of a prodigious size;
the bodies are black and downy like velvet, while
the sponges and claws on their feet, and their
eyes, are perfectly distinguishable (from their
magnitude) without a microscope.

The scorpions here, though of no great magnitude,
are extremely venomous. Their bodies
are of a compressed shape, covered with lamellated
scales. They have eight legs, and next
the head are placed two long arms, terminated
by a pair of sharp indented nippers. The tail
is longer than the whole body; it consists of several
joints of equal lengths, and at the end of
them is the sting, which is of an incurvated
shape, and a bag of poisonous liquid is suspended
at the root of it. The scorpion is viviparous, and G2r 75
and brings forth young but once; for the little
brood, in a week or two after their birth, fasten
themselves on their parent’s back, and suck her
to death. This furious little animal is frequently
known to sting itself in the head, when caught
alive, and confined without means of escape.

About seventeen different species of crabs are
found on this island; the cancer cursor or sandcrab;
the cancer pinnophylax or sentry crab; the
cancer minutus or minute crab; cancer ruricola
or mountain crab; cancer moenas or
common crab; cancer rflawed-reproduction4 lettersola or land crab; cancer
, the florid crab, or redshank; cancer
or jumbee crab; cancer pelasgicus, the pelasgic
, sherrigo; cancer callapa or trunk crab;
cancer pagusus or black-clawed crab; cancer longimanus
or long-armed crab; cancer spiniser or thorny
; cancer grapsus or rock crab; cancer arachnoides
or spider crab; cancer granulatus or roughshelled
; and cancer bernhardus, the soldier,
or hermit crab. The last are remarkable from
establishing their residence in the empty shells of G2 other G2v 76
other testaceous insects, and remaining in them
till their size increases too much to suffer their
continuance in it any longer; when they choose
another more suited to their bulk, and leave the
old ones to younger inhabitants. This change
is regularly made once in a twelvemonth, when
they assemble in flocks on the sea-shore, for the
purpose of propagating their species and casting
their covering.

The sand-lobster, the trunk-lobster, sea and pond
cray fish
, prawns and shrimps, are found here in
great abundance. The centipé, or scolopendra morsitans,
is found on this and all the Caribbee
. It is fifteen inches long, and the body
about the thickness of a man’s finger. It consists
of a series of lamellated scales, each scale
having two legs affixed to it. The back is of a
deep brown, growing paler towards the belly;
the head and tail are crimson; the former is
armed with a pair of keen forceps, with which
they pinch most severely. The scolopendra marina,
which is an inhabitant of the sea, is much larger G3r 77
larger than the other, and the touch of it raises
blisters on the skin.

The oniscus physodes, or sea-cockroach, is about
two inches long; it has fourteen feet without
nippers; and the back is covered with seven lamellated
transverse scales or plates. This insect
buries itself in the sand, and is often found adhering
to the tongue of the green-backed cavally
(gasterosteus Carolinus Lin.Linnaeus), where it sheds its
spawn, and brings forward its young. Nothing
but actual proof puts this beyond a doubt; and
I have seen the mother and her young ones all
together in the mouth of that fish. The whale
is another species of oniscus. They adhere
to the back of the whale in multitudes, and torment
the unwieldy animal with a ceaseless itching,
and often cause him to rub himself for relief
against the bottoms of ships and large vessels.
A king of iulus, or gally worm, is found

G3 Vermes G3v 78

Vermes Molluscæ.According to Linnaeus.

Soft Sea Insects.

Three species of the ascidia, or animal flower,
are found adhering to the rocks in this island.
This extraordinary animal is somewhat of a
worm or grub, with a circular bunch of tentaculae,
round its mouth; this, when expanded, resembles
a carnation or pink, and is often of the most
lively and glowing colours. A slender tube attached
to a rock contains the body of the animal,
which appears like the stalk, and into
which, when alarmed, it withdraws its spreading
flower; but soon puts it forth again, as its use,
like a casting net, is to inclose and convey into
the mouth smaller insects for its food. The
larger kind have no tube or covering, but adherehere G4r 79
to the rock in holes and chinks by means
of many thousand little tubes or suckers placed
on all parts of its body. The head is adorned
with five short stalks, each forming a small radius
like an umbellated flower, every small radius
composing a part of the larger one. The
colours of this species of ascidia are generally
either brown or black.

The holothuria physales, or Portuguese man of
, is often seen floating on the sea near the
windward shores of this island. It is composed
of a parcel of soft threads like feet, suspended
to the bottom of a purple bladder almost pellucid,
and full of an acrid air, which blisters the
skin if it happens to burst in the hand. These
holothuriae are singularly beautiful when floating
on the surface of the water in a clear day.
Of the asterias or sea-stars, a variety of kinds
and sizes are found here. The caput medusae
is the finest. The reticulata is eighteen inches
diameter, and very beautiful. The echinus,
or sea-egg, is a round or oval shell, perforated like G4v 80
like the finest fillagree, and covered with spines
on moveable joints strongly adhering to the body,
by means of a nerve which runs through
them into it. There are two large perforations
at the top and bottom of the shell, one of which
is the mouth of the animal.

Plants. G5r 81

Plants.Placed alphabetically according to the Linnaean names,
with very little variation.


The aloes-semper-virens perfoliata, or Barbadoes
, is found in this island, from which the well
known medicinal gum is prepared. The agave
, or American aloe, grows with the utmost
luxuriance in the Savannas, and among
the cliffs of the rocks. The flower stem is thirty
feet high, and crowned with a profusion of
blossoms disposed in a pannicle or diffused spike;
they are of a splendid orange colour, and distil
a kind of honey or nectareous dew.

The amomum-zinziber, or ginger plant, grows
wild in the Savannas. The root is medicinal,
and makes an excellent sweatmeat.

The G5v 82

The anacardium-acajou, or cashew tree, is a
low, wide-spreading tree; the branches crooked
and straggling, and the leaves oval; the fruit,
which is called here the cherry, is somewhat like
a large apple; it is of a pale yellow, but the
side that faces the sun is usually diffused with a
lovely blush; it has a very fragrant smell, and
is full of a rough astringent juice, which is however
very pleasant to the taste. At the top of
the cherry grows a naked seed, shaped like a
sheep’s kidney, called the cashew-nut; the kernel
is eaten when roasted, and has a very fine
flavour. It is envelopped with a thin shell, that
contains an oily inflammable fluid, which is very
caustic. The ladies in the West India Islands
make use of it to extract the freckles from their
hands, neck, and face; and, in a few days, the
skin peals off in great flakes, after which the
complexion appears for some time exquisitely
fair, but is more liable to sun-burn than ever;
besides the pain of this operation is excruciating.
The milky juice of the acajou is often employedployed G6r 83
to stain the initials of a name in linen;
it leaves a jetty mark that will not crase by
washing. An exceeding fine gum exudes from
the bark of this tree when perforated.

A variety of the annonae species is found here
—the annona-reticulata, or custard-apple; the
annona-muricata, or soursop-apple; and the annona
, or sugar-apple. The apocynum-erectum,
or wild ipecacoan, is one of the strongest vegetable
poisons in this island, and often kills the
cattle if they chance to bite the blossoms.

The arundo-bambos, or bamboo-cane, grows to a
great height. It has no regular stem; but the
branches part and rise from the root. They
are divided into long joints, which are perfectly
hollow. The leaves are lanceolated. The bamboo-cane
is a very useful plant for may purposes.
The anthelminthia-spigelia, or worm-grass.
The arum-sagittifolium, or dumb-cane, is of a
subtle and poisonous nature. The taste of it is
certain death.

The G6v 84

The arum virginiana, or tannier, and the arum-esculentum,
or eddoe, are two excellent farinaccous
vegetables, and a very favourite food
with the Negroes.

The aurantium dulcissiumum, or China orange;
the aurantium amarum, or Seville orange; the
aurantium maximum, or shadock; and the aurantium
, or forbidden fruit, are all found here
in great perfection. The trees are bowed down
to the ground above half the year with the load
of their delicious produce.

The anguria trilobata, or water melon. The
acacia mimosa, or acacic bush, is a species of sensitive
plant. It bears a yellow blossom, that exhales
the most delightful smell imaginable.

The adiantum capillis veneris, or maiden-hair,
is indigenous in this island. The stalk is as black
as ebony, and the leaves small and oval. From
this plant the syrup of capillaire is extracted.

B H1r 85


The bombax gossypium, or silk cotton tree, bears
an oblong shaped pod, containing a parcel of
long filaments, or a wonderful fineness, that
have a lovely gloss like silver. These are the
alae belonging to the seeds. This tree supplies
the Caribs with wood for building their perioques
or canoes, which they cut out of the
trunk. It is a light timber fit for no other purpose.

The bromelia anana, or pine apple, grows here
without cultivation. The bauhinia purpurea, or
mountain-ebony, is found here, but is nevertheless
extremely scarce. The bombax-ceiba, or down-
, whose pod is even more curious than that
of the silk cotton, is likewise found here. The
bromelia karatas, or pinquin, is a fruit resembling
a small cucumber in shape. It is about
the thickness of the finger, and the ends sharply
pointed. It has much the flavour of the pineapple,
but rather more tart and poignant.

H C H1v 86


So numerous a tribe of the cactus, or prickle-
species, is found here, that I have not memory
enough to enumerate them. They have
the peculiarity of growing (sometimes to a vast
height) without any regular stem. The first
leaf that appears above ground produces two or
three more that grow out of its top and sides;
others again proceed from these, and so on ad
. The leaves are stuck full of prickles,
or little darts, as fine as the sting of a bee. The
fruit is armed with the same weapons; but,
when the outward skin, in which they are
lodged, is peeled off, the Negroes eat it. This
fruit is shaped like a pear, and full of a sweet
crimson juice, often used by confectioners to colour
their creams, ices, &c. The West India
ladies employ it not only as a dye for their ribbons
and gauzes, but also as one for their

The canella alba, or wild cinnamon, flourishes
here with astonishing luxuriance. The leaf has a H2r 87
a strong, spicy, aromatic taste; and the berries
are delightfully fragrant. A variety of the
capsicum or red pepper bushes are found here.
The cedrela adorata, or bastard cedar; and the
citrus medica, or citron tree, the fruit of which
makes an excellent conserve. The coccoloba uvifera,
or sea-side grape, grows chiefly among the
cliffs of the rocks that overhang the sea. The
fruit is extremely astringent and disagreeable to
the taste. The coffea occidentalis, or coffee-bush,
grows in great quantities on this island. It rises
to the height of ten or twelve feet. The foliage
is beautifully verdant, and the flower white, and
delicate beyond description. The berry is red
when arrived at maturity; its flavour is, however,
far inferior to that of the Turkey coffee.

The crescentia unica, or colabash tree, grows to
a great size. Its branches, naturally flexible,
are bowed to the ground by the load of the vast
fruit it bears, which, when arrived at maturity,
is near two feet in diameter, and of a globular
shape. While one the tree it is green; but, afterH2 ter H2v 88
it has been plucked a few days, brown. The
pulp is sour and unsavoury; it is never eaten;
and the Negroes extract it carefully from the
shell, in which they usually keep their liquors
and provisions; it will contain twenty-four pints
of water, and is notwithstanding as light and as
thin as paper.

The croton lacciferum, or physic nut bush, bears
a seed which is medicinal, and acts as a powerful
emetic. The juice of the nut makes a dark
stain on linen, that will never erase; but, if
washed, will corrode into holes. Quadrupeds,
and indeed every other species of animal, have
such an antipathy to the physic nut bush, that
they never approach it, and, if ever so pressed
with hunger, can never be prevailed on to feed
upon it.

The croton urens, or tallow tree. The carica
, or papaw tree, has a simple, strait, slender
stem, which is as hollow within as a trumpet.
The leaves are large, palmated, variously cut, H3r 89
cut, and standing upon large foot-stalks. The
fruit, which is orange-coloured, oval-shaped,
and about the size of a citron, hangs in several
rows close one to another, and forms a broad
girdle all round the stem of the tree, just under
the cluster of leaves: The fruit makes a good


The dioscorea bulbifera, or yam vine. The dolichios
, from which is extracted a juice reputed
to be a sovereign remedy in worm flawed-reproduction1 letterses.


The ficus religiosa, or East India banian tree.


The gossypium, or cotton shrub, is about nine
feet high. It bears an oval pod, which, when
ripe, splits open in several partitions, that discover
the cotton or down which enfolds the seeds.
It is as white as snow, and in as many flakes as H3 there H3v 90
there are cells or internal divisions in the capsule.

The guiacum, or lignum vitae, is found here.
The bark is white and gummy, the leaves winged,
the blossoms of a beautiful violet colour, and
the berries are used as bitters. The raspings of
the bark are likewise useful in medicine.

The glycine tomentosa, or wild liquorice, is a
scandent plant, with winged leaves. It bears
berries so beautiful, that the West India ladies
have them perforated, and wear them strung
like beads in necklaces and bracelets. They are
about the size of a pea, oval, hard, and of a
glowing red like coral, with a black spot directly
in the middle. The guilandia moringa, or yellow
, which likewise bears a beautiful berry
like polished marble, worn in earings, and
as tassels to watch-chains, &c.

H H4r 91


The hypomane lactescens, or manchincel tree,
grows chiefly by the banks of the sea. Its verdure,
its foliage, and the beautiful apple it bears,
would render it the most delightful tree within
the Tropics, were it not perhaps one of the most
destructive. The bark is filled with a thick,
clammy, lactescent fluid, which is so subtle a
poison that the Caribs and Indians dip the
points of their arrows in it when they wish the
wounds they inflict to prove mortal. The very
foliage of the tree is so venomous, that, if you
seek shelter under its branches in a shower of
rain, the drops that chance to fall on you, if
they have touched the leaves, will blister your
skin. The manchineel apple is certain death, if
eaten. The wood of this tree is superior, with
respect to hardness, polish, and colour, as well
as fineness of grain, to the best mahogany. The
hymenaea courbar, or locust tree. The hibiscus esculentus,
or ocro. The hura crepitans, or sandbox
, is remarkable for the fruit it bears,
which is about the size of an orange, of a globularbular H4v 92
compressed shape, and divided into several
cells, from about ten to twelve in number, each
cell inclosing a flat seed. The sand-box is an
entire hard shell, without any pulp; the cells
are divided by thin membranes. When the
fruit is ripe, it splits and falls from the tree,
and the seeds are scattered to a great distance
round it. The sand-box splits with prodigious
elasticity, and accompanied with a noise as loud
as the report of a pistol. The centre of this
extraordinary capsule is hollow, and perforated
with a number of little points at the top, which
has applied to it the name of sand-box, as it can be
adapted to that purpose extremely well. The seeds
of this fruit are very purgative. The haematoxylon
, or logwood, so much in request for
the fine purple dye it produces, is found abundantly
on this island. The leaves are winged,
and it bears a pale yellow blossom, somewhat
resembling that of the mignionette: The bark
distils a very fine gum. The holcus major assurgens,
or Guinea grass, is the chief food appropriated
to the horses and horned cattle: It is, in that H5r 93
that respect, one of the most valuable grasses
cultivated in the West Indies.


The jatropa manioc, or maniock plant, rises with
a streight, simple stem to the height of seven or
eight feet. The stalk is nearly black, and, at
the top, it bears a cluster of dark palmated
leaves. the root is a deadly poison; yet, when
the milky liquor it contains is expressed from it,
it is converted into a bread called cassava: The
Negroes make it their chief diet, and prepare it
themselves, which is done by means of a wooden
engine, extremely simple in its construction,
and managed by a wheel, while the manioc root,
after being thoroughly peeled, washed, rasped,
and pulverized till it is reduced to the consistence
of saw-dust, is pressed between two flat
boards, which finally squeezes out the poisonous
fluid: It is then dried in the sun, and baked
into large, flat, circular cakes, which when
toasted and buttered, are crisp and very pleasant
to the taste. The jatropa urens, or wild cassava.

L H5v 94


The laurus persea, or avocado pear-tree, bears a
fruit called the vegetable marrow. The name is
perfectly expressive of its taste. It resembles a
common pear in shape and colour; but the pulp
is as soft as a custard, and melts in the mouth.
It is both wholesome and nourishing, but too
luscious to be eat in any considerable quantity.
The lilia jacoboea, or Guernsey lily, is one of the
most beautiful flowers indigenous in this island.
The petals are crimson, powdered with gold
spangles, that render a surprising lustre when
the sun shines upon them.


The mangifera mango, or mango tree, is one of
the most beautiful in the American world. The
foliage is extremely shady and verdant, and it
bears the most delicious fruit imaginable. The
taste is highly aromatic, and it exhales a charming
perfume. The mango is frequently sent to
Europe in pickle. The maranta-galango, or Indiandian H6r 95
arrow root
, springs from a most valuable
medicinal root, which, when pulverized, is white,
and resembles fine starch or hair-powder. It is
mixed with warm water, which causes it to
thicken to a gelatinous consistency, and it is then
administered as a remedy in dysenteries and many
other Tropical complaints. It is one of the
most wholesome and nourishing foods imaginable
for people in a weak debilitated situation, or
subject to nervous disorders. This plant takes
its name from being an effectual antidote against
the venom of the poisoned arrows made use of
by the Caribs.

The musa paradisaica, or banana tree, has a stem
so porous and spongy that it cannot properly be
termed wood. It is of a vivid green, soft and
pappy, insomuch that the juice spurts out on
the least pressure. The leaves are two or three
yards long, and measure one foot across. They
afford an excellent shade, and are also made
use of to stuff the mattresses of beds in this
country, and answer that purpose extremely well. H6v 96
well. The fruit is shaped somewhat like a cucumber,
about five or six inches long; it hangs
in clusters on a peduncle at the bottom of the
leaves, which grow in a large bunch at the top
of the tree.

The musa sapientum, or plantain tree, bears so
strong a resemblance to the banana, that the
nicest eye can find no difference either in the
stem or leaves; the fruits, however, are not
perfectly similar.

The mimosa sensitiva, or sensitive plant. The
momordica charontia, or cerasee. The mammoca
, or mammee sappota, equals, if not surpasses
the English oak in beauty; it rises to a
majestic height, and spreads to a vast circumference.
The foliage is of a deep green, extremely
thick and umbrageous. It bears a fruit about
the size of a melon; the pulp is crimson, and
tastes somewhat like a carrot, but is sweeter and
more agreeable to the palate.

N I1r 97


The nicotiana tabacuma, or tobacco plant, is
much cultivated by the Negroes here, who are
extremely fond of it.


The palma corypha, or cabbage tree, grows to
the height of two hundred feet, and holds the
pre-eminence in beauty as well as loftiness over
every tree in the West Indies. The roots form
a mass of fibres without any ramifications. The
stem is cylindrical, and tapers regularly to the
top, it is simple, without branches; the bark is of
and ash colour till within a few yards of the
top, when it changes to a deep green, and becomes
soft and tender; the leaves (which are a
composition between a leaf and a branch) hang
gracefully round, and resemble a plume of feathers.
The stalk or branch that supports the
wings or partial leaves is twelve feet in length,
and the small ones between three and four. The
base of the great leaf or branch is solid; it envelopes
and embraces the stem, and is usually
blanched. The Negroes make use of it as a I cradle I1v 98
cradle for their children. The blossoms are disposed
in a pannicle, or diffused spike, placed at
the bottom of the cluster of leaves. A green
twisted spire rises in the centre of this cluster;
it is the spathe that incloses the young foliage.

The palma cocos, or cocoa nut tree, bears a
great resemblance to the cabbage tree, though it
is not so tall, and the stem generally inclines to
one side. The great branches, with their pinnae,
or partial leaves, are however perfectly similar;
but they are fastened together at the
bottom with a kind of web, interwoven with
strong brown threads that grow out of the tree.
It is very curious, and resembles that coarse kind
of canvas of which the sails of a ship are constructed.
The cocoa nuts hang over this web
in clusters, to the number of ten or twelve.
The first covering of this nut is a strong tegument
composed of rough brown threads, somewhat
like the web that unites the bottoms of the
leaves, but rather finer; within this is a hard
oval shell, that takes as fine a polish as ebony, and I2r 99
and is frequently carved into vases, goblets, &c.
This shell, when the fruit is young, incloses a
bluish jelly, that tastes like a sweet almond, and
afterwards becomes a hard kernel, which adheres
all round to the inside of the shell, and is
not more than two inches thick; the hollow
part contains about a pint of a cool milkey liquor,
extremely refreshing and grateful to the

Palma, a species of wild palm-tree, is found
here, the trunk of which is round, upright, and
studded regularly from top to bottom with protuberances
like scales, which are the vestiges of
decayed leaves. From the top issues a cluster
of leaves eight or nine feet long, that hang
round like an umbrella, with a graceful curve towards
the earth. This tree greatly resembles
the palma phoenix, or date tree; but it does
not bear that fruit, neither is the palm wine to
be extracted from it.

I2 The I2v 100

The palma camaerops, or palmetto tree, rises to
the height of fifty or sixty feet. From the upper
end of the trunk issues a bundle of leaves, which,
in turning off, form a round head; each leaf
represents a fan five or six feet in expansion,
supported by a stalk of the same length.

The palma elate, or mountain cabbage tree, is
one of the most exquisite vegetables in the world.
The parkinsonia-aculcata, or Jerusalem thorn.

Three species of passion flowers are found in
this island—the passiflora caeruleus, or blue passion
; the passiflora maliformis is a luxuriant
vine, that bears a fruit called the granadilla,
and which contains a cool jelly, full of seeds, of
a tart agreeable flavour. The passiflora-laurifolia,
so called from the resemblance of its leaf to
that of the laurel, bears a flower nearly resembling,
but not quite similar to, that of the maliformis.
Its fruit, (which is called the water
) in shape, size, and colour, resembles the apricot; I3r 101
apricot; but the inside is a jelly with seeds like
the granadilla.

The pisonia aculeata, or fingrigo. The poinciana
, or Barbadoes flower fence, is a
shrub bearing a blossom not only uncommonly
beautiful, but likewise medicinal.

The psidium pomiferum, guava bush, bears a
beautiful flower like that of the myrtle, but
much larger. The fruit is about the size of a
tennis ball, and pulp full of little seeds of an
agreeable flavour; some are white and some
crimson. The guava makes an excellent preserve,
and the young buds are medicinal.

The punica, or pomegranate, is one of the most
beautiful shrubs in the American world. Its
branches are slender, almost entirely covered
with small green leaves, and so flexible and
pliant that they are bowed to the ground by the
weight of their own fruit. The flowers are
crimson, admirably formed, and likewise medicinal.I3 cinal. I3v 102
The fruit is the pleasantest and most
grateful imaginable.


The ricinus palma christi is a shrub that bears
a palmated leaf, and large clusters of a small
round fruit or berry, which are severally envelopped
with a green husk armed with prickles
like the horse-chesnut. The seed resembles a
common bean, and when pressed yields a liquor
called castor oil, which is strongly purgative, and
in every respect a safe, and almost infallible, medicine
in cases of the greatest danger. This
oil may be reckoned one of the most valuable
tropical productions imported to Europe. Several
kinds of the rhiziophera, or mangrove tree,
are found here. The ribes, or West India gooseberry,
though it somewhat resembles the Europpean
in form and flavour, has the peculiarity of
being covered (instead of the soft hairy down)
with a number of little green leaflets that grow
out of the pulp.

S I4r 103


The saccharum arundo, or sugar-cane, is a species
of reed, divided into joints two or three
inches long, and filled with a pith that yields
the sweet juice or syrup, which is afterwards (by
a long and tedious process) converted into sugar.
The body of the cane is yellow, and covered
with a fine down or hair; the leaves are
long, serrated, and pointed at the end. The
sugar-cane is fifteen months from the time of
growing till fit to cut, and ripe for the mill. It
is then from ten to twelve feet in height. The
sloania-dentata, or sappadilla tree, bears a fruit
with a soft juicy pulp, extremely cool and refreshing
to the palate. The sinilax China, or
China plant, so remarkable for its prodigious foliage,
grows in great perfection on this island.
The Swietania mahogani, or mahogany tree; the
solanum lycopersicum, or tomata; the solanum Bahamense,
or mad-apple; the solanum melongena, or
cockroach apple; the solanum Virginiacum, or canker
; and the solanum ovifera, or egg plant.

T I4v 104


The tamarindus Americanus, or tamarind tree,
grows to the size of our English chesnut trees.
The branches are slender, flexible, and bear a
small winged leaf, of a delightful verdure. The
foliage is thick, and affords a charming umbrage.
The fruit, which grows in long flat pods,
is too acid to be eat in its natural state, but
makes a very good sweetmeat, and, when mixed
with water, is a pleasant and wholesome beverage.
The typha angustifolia, or red mace, is
found here.

The Linnaean Names of the following Plants are

The pomme rose tree bears a beautiful apple,
about the size of a golden pippin, which exhales
a charming odour like that of a rose, but,
if possible, sweeter. The franche pan is a lactescent
shrub, that grows with prodigious luxuriance
here. The branches are strong and cylindrical;
the leaves of a light green, shaded with I5r 105
with dark brown stripes; the flower is shaped
like that of the jessamine, but considerably larger;
the petals are embellished with the glossy
meal that is seen on those of the auricula; the
inside of the corolla is white, but the transparency
of the petals faintly tinge it with the rosy
blush that colours the outside. This flower has
likewise a delightful perfume. The conque nut,
which grows on a vine, resembles the walnut in
shape and colour; but the inside is a jelly full
of seeds. The bell bush is a pretty shrub, that
bears a yellow funnel-shaped flower. The stalks
are lactescent.

“Thus spring the living herbs, profusely wild, O’ver all the deep green earth, beyond the pow’r Of botanists to number up their tribes.”