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DIFFERENT RANKS OF WOMEN.
immediately above her. It is from such alliances as these that the colored race of Jamaica has
sprung. But all this if one cannot already boast that it is changed, is quickly changing. Matrimony is in vogue, and the colored women know their rights, and are inclined to claim them.
Of course among them, as among us at home, and among all people, there are various ranks. There are but few white laborers in Jamaica, and but few negroes who are not laborers. But the colored people are to be found in all ranks, from that of the Prime Minister-for they have a Prime Minister in Jamaica—down to the worker in the cane-fields. Among their women many are now highly educated, for they send their children to English schools. Perhaps if I were to say fashionably educated, I might be more strictly correct. They love dearly to shine ; to run over the piano with quick and loud fingers; to dance with skill, which they all do, for they have good figures and correct ears; to know and display the little tricks and graces of English ladiessuch tricks and graces as are to be learned between fifteen and seventeen at Ealing, Clapham, and Hornsey.
But the colored girls of a class below these-perhaps I should say two classes below them—are the most amusing specimens of Jamaica ladies. I endeavored to introduce my readers to one at Port Antonio. They cannot be called pretty, for the upper part of the face almost always recedes; but they have good figures and well-turned limbs. They are singularly free from mauvaise honte, and yet they are not impertinent or illmannered. They are gracious enough with the pale faces when treated graciously, but they can show a very high spirit if they fancy that any slight is shown to them. They delight to talk contemptuously of niggers.
LANGUAGE OF THE COLORED RACE.
Those people are dirty niggers, and nasty niggers, and mere niggers. I have heard this done by one whom I had absolutely taken for a negro, and who was not using loud abusive language, but gently speaking of an inferior class.
With these, as indeed with colored people of a higher grade, the great difficulty is with their language. They cannot acquire the natural English pronunciation. As far as I remember, I have never heard but two negroes who spoke unbroken English ; and the lower classes of the colored people though they are not equally deficient, are still very incapable of plain English articulation. The “th” is to them, as to foreigners, an insuperable difficulty. Even Josephine, it may be remembered, was hardly perfect in this respect.
CHAPTER V I.
It seems to us natural that white men should hold ascendency over those who are black or colored. Although we have emancipated our own slaves, and done so much to abolish slavery elsewhere, nevertheless we regard the negro as born to be a servant. We do not realize it to ourselves that it is his right to share with us the high places of the world, and that it should be an affair of individual merit whether we wait on his beck or he on ours We have never yet brought ourselves so to think, and probably never shall. They still are to us a servile race. Philanthropical abolitionists will no doubt deny the truth of this; but I have no doubt that the conviction is strong with them—could they analyze their own convictions—as it is with others.
Where white men and black men are together, the white will order and the black will obey, with an obedience more or less implicit according to the terms on which they stand. When those terms are slavery, the white men order with austerity, and the black obey with alacrity. But such terms have been found to be prejudicial to both. Each is brutalized by the contact. The black man becomes brutal and passive as a beast of burden; the white man becomes brutal and ferocious as a
beast of prey.
But there are various other terms on which they may stand as servants and masters. There are those well understood terms which regulate employment in England
LABOR IN ENGLAND.
and elsewhere, under which the poor man's time is his money, and the rich man's capital his certain means of obtaining labor. As far as we can see, these terms, if properly carried out, are the best which human wisdom can devise for the employment and maintenance of mankind. Here in England they are not always properly carried out. At an occasional spot or two things will run rusty for a while. There are strikes, and there are occasional gluts of labor, very distressing to the poor man; and occasional gluts of the thing labored, very embarrassing to the rich man. But on the whole, seeing that after all the arrangement is only human, here in England it does work pretty well. We intended, no doubt, when we emancipated our slaves in Jamaica, that the affair should work in the same way there.
But the terms there at present are as far removed from the English system as they are from the Cuban, and are almost as abhorrent to justice as slavery itself—as abhorrent to justice, though certainly not so abhorrent to mercy and humanity.
What would a farmer say in England if his ploughman declined to work, and protested, that he preferred going to his master's granary and feeding himself and his children on his master's corn ? Measter, noa; I beez a-tired thick day, and dunno mind to do no wark!” Then the poorhouse, my friend, the poorhouse! And hardly that; starvation first, and nakedness, and all manner of misery. In point of fact, our friend the ploughman must go and work, even though his o’erlabored bones be tired, as no doubt they often are. He knows it, and does it, and in his way is not discontented. And is not this God's ordinance ?
His ordinance in England and elsewhere, but not so, apparently, in Jamaica. There we had a devil's ordinance
CONDITION OF JAMAICA PLANTERS.
in those days of slavery; and having rid ourselves of that, we have still a devil's ordinance of another sort. It is not perhaps very easy for men to change devil's work into heavenly work at once. The ordinance that at present we have existing there is that far niente one of lying in the sun and eating yams—“of eating, not your own yams, you lazy, do-nothing, thieving darkee; but my yams; mine, who am being ruined, root and branch, stock and barrel, house and homestead, wife and bairns, because you won't come and work for me when I offer you due wages; you thieving, do-nothing, lazy nigger.'
“Hush!" will say my angry philanthropist. “For the sake of humanity, hush! Will coarse abuse and the calling of names avail anything? Is he not a man and a brother ?" No, my angry philanthropist; while he will not work and will only steal, he is neither the one nor the other, in my estimation. As for his being a brother, that we may say is—fudge; and I will call no professional idler a man.
But the abuse above given is not intended to be looked on as coming out of my own mouth, and I am not, therefore, to be held responsible for the wording of it. It is inserted there—with small inverted commas, as you seeto show the language with which our angry white friends in Jamaica speak of the extraordinary condition in which they have found themselves placed.
Slowly—with delay that has been awfully ruinous— they now bethink themselves of immigration-immigration from the coast of Africa, immigration from China, Coolie immigrants from Hindostan. When Trinidad and Guiana have helped themselves, then Jamaica bestirs itself. And what then? Then the negroes bestir themselves. “ For heaven's sake let us be looked to! Are we not to be protected from competition? If laborers be brought here,