Tag Archives: west indies

James Logan Journey 1838

Notes of a journey through Canada, USA, and the West Indies.

By James Logan, advocate, of Edinburgh.
Created/Published: Edinburgh [etc.] Fraser and co., 1838.
Digital ID: lhbtn 26860 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gdc/lhbtn.26860

These are excerpts taken from this document of the notes that were written about Santo Domingo. It is so interesting to read the views of the writer at this time. It seems that Port-a-Prince (Haiti) was the largest town on the island at this time and much more cosmopolitan. (To read the entire 259 page document refer to the link above.)

CHAPTER IX. JAMAICA.
(page 217)
On our coming in sight of St Domingo, a gentleman, a Mr P., on board the schooner, who had been resident some time there engaged in mercantile pursuits, gave me the following account of it:–This island, now the centre towards which all the eyes of Europe are turned, as developing the working of a republic of black population, has not come up to the expectations of the speculator on the system of precipitate emancipation. The Negroes of St Domingo or Hayti, about forty years ago, expelled their masters, the French and Spaniards, from the island, and after several leaders had ruled different divisions, and been successively put down, one of them, Christophe, a Negro from an English island, and who had been a servant in the town of Cape Hayti, governed for several years the northern division of the island, of which Cape Hayti is the capital.


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(page 218) At one time the most productive island in the West Indies, it is now amongst the least, though the population is considerably increased. No reasonable man sends his coat to the carpenter to be mended; he knows that a carpenter is not a tailor, his trade is quite distinct; before the carpenter can profess the trade of a tailor, he must serve an apprenticeship to the latter, that he may be fitted for the trade, Again, boys and girls are not fitted for the work of, men and women, they require experience and practice; and is not the Negro’s an analogous case? Unmercifully torn from his home and friends, treated like a dog, generally compelled to a labour he never before heard of, to

(page 219) adopt customs and views totally foreign to his nature, is it to be supposed that he works willingly, or that he has any desire to learn? It can only be time that will modify his mind and practice, and bend him to his situation, and, combined with other causes, may ultimately stimulate him to exertion for himself. To set him free at once, is analogous to opening the door of a prison to let loose the hundred criminals, who, as experience has shown us, generally return to their old habits. Here lie the difficulties even the rulers of this republic have to contend with; and what have the other islands not to contend with?

West Indies Map-James Logan Journey

St Domingo is, in point of size, next to Cuba, and is very mountainous. The plains are fertile, and have yielded abundant crops of sugar, coffee, rice, tobacco, &c. The northern parts of the island are most healthy, being exposed to more regular sea breezes from the Atlantic, which in winter are sometimes so cold as to render a fire necessary. The principal produce of the island for exportation is coffee, cotton, tobacco, and cigars, to which may be added mahogany and logwood. Rice, which, in the time of the French, formed one of the principal articles of export, is now largely imported for the use of the inhabitants, and in 1836 very considerable quantities of East India rice were even imported from Liverpool. Although at one time as much sugar was made here as on all the other West India islands together, now barely sufficient for their own use is raised. The imports consist principally of British, German, and French linens, (page 220) cottons, cloth, silk, and hardware and cutlery, with American flour, salt fish, and lumber.

The population is supposed to be about 700,000, seven-tenths of whom are entirely black. The French language is used in all the legislative proceedings, though Spanish is the prevalent language in that part of the island formerly called Hispaniola.

Port-au-Prince is said to be the most populous town in the island, having nearly 22,000 inhabitants, and at which a great proportion of the foreign trade of the island is carried on. Here the President Boyer resides. The town has a pretty appearance from the harbour, but is very irregularly built, the houses of wood principally, though some of the merchants have both stores and houses of brick. These materials are better suited to the climate, there being less expense and danger to be apprehended from earthquakes, shocks of which are of frequent occurrence, and sometimes very injurious to property. The town is situated in the beautiful bay of the same name on the west side of the island.

The story continues on…..
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Taken from the Library of Congress – American Memory
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/lhtnhtml/lhtnhome.html

Edouard Montule Voyage 1817

A voyage to North America, and the West Indies in 1817 / By Édouard de Montulé (Also titled as: Voyage to North America, the West Indies, and the Mediterranean)

Created/Published: London : Printed for Sir R. Phillips and Co., 1821.
Digital ID: lhbtn 28057 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gdc/lhbtn.28057 American Notes: Travels in America, 1750-1920

A painting inside the offices of the Alcazar Colón, Plaza España, Colonial Zone.
A painting inside the offices of the Alcazar Colón, Plaza España, Colonial Zone.

Title page: A VOYAGE TO NORTH AMERICA, AND THE WEST INDIES, IN 1817. BY E. MONTULE. KNIGHT OF THE ROYAL ORDER OF THE LEGION OF HONOUR. AUTHOR OF TRAVELS IN EGYPT, &C. Library of Congress 1867 City of Washington PRINTED FOR SIR RICHARD PHILLIPS AND Co.BRIDE COURT, BRIDGE STREET 1821

Note from Janette – Colonial Zone I will include excerpts of the document that pertains to Dominican Republic or things that I feel are of interest to my web site viewers and bold the things I really enjoy (to read the entire 102 page document click the link above). The voyage seems to start and end in New York. Starting on November 8, 1816 and ending on October 5, 1817. In his description of New York he seemed to really like the city according to what I read. It is interesting to note that he said one did not need a passport or documentation to enter the city.

The highlights of the document are where Édouard de Montulé writes about what he sees in his first visit to the Island. Included is a description of a cock fight, the way women look and behave, about the “lazy inhabitants” (maybe they are this way because of the heat). He describes the wooded areas, the birds he does not recognize, mosquitoes, a cave, mountains and rivers, different palm trees and fruits (bananas, coconuts, pineapple and more..). He describes how a house looked and how several “negros” were singing songs of the Congo and pounding a poisonous root to make cakes they serve as bread (casabe). He wrote about the tower where Columbus lived and how it was the “first European edifice erected on American soil.” Also about running into pirates when leaving the island.

The beginning of the Dominican Republic information starts on Page 19 – From St. Domingo, the 15th February 1817.
LETTER V.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

(page 20) The town of Santo Domingo is large, and built of stone, and the streets are, generally speaking, in direct lines; the cathedral might pass for a noble edifice in any country; in it is preserved the anchor of Columbus’s ship, together with his portrait, whose resemblance to that of the great man who has so recently filled the universe with his name, must appear striking to every observer. The place is surrounded by a pretty good fortification; some hills command it on one side, and it has recently been strengthened by a trench.
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Santo Domingo, the 26th February 1817. LETTER VI.

Santo Domingo is regularly enough built, and, generally speaking, handsome; the national or citizen guard performs duty well, but the colony is in so declining a state that it is painful to witness. The governor of Western Spain formerly resided at Santo Domingo, but that vice-royalty has long been removed to Vera Cruz.
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The Spaniard’s great delight consists in passing the day in idleness, his principal labor being reduced to drinking, eating, sleeping, and frequenting the churches, which are numerous: all this, however, does not prevent the two sexes from abandoning themselves to those passions which a burning climate creates and maintains. Every one on rising, at about five o’clock, takes a cup of black coffee, this being a general custom in the colonies; after which they repair to the public promenade. The ladies, habited in black, whereon the whiteness of the linen and lace contrasts agreeably, are at that hour usually unaccompanied; it is not however uncommon to see them accosted, or even escorted by priests; they are in general good looking, but precisely in the costume of Bazil, in the Marriage of Figaro. After this walk, and paying some visits to churches, they return home, there to remain till sun-set. At the moment when the oratio, or angelus bell rings, (no matter how distant from the pealing sound) you are bound to stop short; at least you must take off your hat, and fall upon your knees; this is a pious act which admits of no exception. In a more populous Spanish city, the sudden stoppage of an whole moving multitude, must appear very extraordinary; since it so forcibly struck me in the depopulated streets of Santo Domingo.

The women are not, strictly speaking, handsome, they are small, but well made; and their complexion, somewhat brown, is not unbecoming, but the sparkling vivacity of their eyes, and their whole physiognomy, conveys an expression of their internal thoughts and feelings.

Some time after my excursion to Nissas, passing along Commerce Street, one of the finest of the town, I saw a great crowd at the door of a house, and was informed by M. La Coste, the French physician, that the persons so assembled were waiting to witness the cock fights; that I might enter if I thought fit, that he himself often resorted there, and was fortunate in betting.

Accordingly I went in, having never witnessed a similar spectacle, of which the Spaniards here are very great amateurs. This cruel sport takes place in a species of theatre, the roof and columns of which are not unlike the covering and pillars of a cottage decorating a garden in the English style. The stairs conducting to the first tier!–You are doubtless astonished!! but really there are first places–formed like a ladder, which would well become a hen-house; be this as it may, persons of the highest ton honour this place with their presence, and bet for the black or white cock, from one, two, or three hundred piasters, up (page24) to two thousand francs, or eighty pound. The cocks have no steel spurs as in England, but nature has armed them with double spurs, at least compared with those of France, and care is taken to render them very sharp. These birds come from the island of Porto Rico, and are sold at very high prices, according to their strength and courage.

When the two cocks equally fatigued retire to the extreme verge of the arena, their respective masters excite them; each taking his bird, puts its bleeding head into his mouth, as if intending to devour it, at the same time passing his hand under the tail, he rubs it with an aspect so truly serious and comic, that I believe no physiognomy save that of a Spaniard could support the expression. The combat then recommences, and terminates only with the death of one of the champions. The day I was present, two cocks not fighting well, their masters seized them spontaneously, and killed them by dashing them vehemently to the ground. Not being tempted to bet, I retired, reflecting on the instantaneous fury with which those birds are seized; which led me to make some comparisons not very honourable to humanity; these, however, I shall keep to myself.
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We passed by an habitation, where several negroes, singing songs of Congo, were pounding the root of the manioc, from which they make cakes that serve for bread. They worked with unparalleled ardor, and did not seem to perceive the sweat which channelled down their ebony limbs. This root if not undried would be a poison; but as it could not then be scraped, the use of it is not so dangerous as might be imagined.
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The island of St. Domingo, and particularly that part in possession of the Spaniards, has gold mines, which are no longer worked; it is even stated that they are lost: they might, however, easily be found, since upon the banks of some rivers negroes are occupied in collecting the gold-dust. (page 29) The centre of the island being occupied by mountains, which in all directions descend to the sea, in hills, or verdant plots, called Mornes, it may be conceived that there are many rivers. The Ozama, upon the right bank of which St. Domingo is situated, is large and deep; the whole island is naturally divided into three parts, by the mountains; a circumstance which greatly tends to diminish any apprehensions from the Negroes and the Mulattos.

Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake

aka Pirate Drake, Privater Drake (1540-1596)

1.History | 2.Slave Trade | 3.The Commission | 4.Santo Domingo Invasion | 5.Voyage Maps | 6.Drake Settles Down | 7.Interesting Facts

History

Francis Drake was born in Tavistock, Devon, England in either 1541 or 1542. He was the son of Edmund Drake, a farmer later turned preacher.

The Drake family fled to Kent during the Roman Catholic uprising of 1549. When Francis, the second son in a large family, was 13 he went to sea on a cargo barge. By the time he was 20 he became master of the ship.

When the captain of the ship died Drake assumed command making his first sail to the new world when he was 23. He was involved in some of the first English slave trade expeditions. Loved by Queen Elizabeth 1, Drake went on to become one of the most famous men in Elizabethan times. As a sailor, adventurer, navigator, politician, engineer and landowner, he was a legend in his own lifetime.

Slave Trade

Sir John Hawkins, a cousin of Drake, was given permission from Queen Elizabeth to make his first voyage in 1562. Drake accompanied him on this voyage. Hawkins was to bring Africans to the Americas under their own free will. He agreed to this condition but did not do as he said. He captured the Africans, promising them free land and riches in the new world. Then he sold most of the slaves in what is now known as the Dominican Republic. Then Hawkins returned home with a large profit and ships laden with ivory, hides, and sugar. Thus began the British slave trade.

When the ship Hawkins manned returned to England Queen Elizabeth was horrified. She said that what he did was detestable and it would call down vengeance from heaven upon all who took part. But, after she saw the money that could be made, she joined in a partnership with Hawkins and even gave him his a new ship called Jesus of Lubeck, also known as The Good Ship Jesus.

It is very ironic that Drakes’ cousin and Drake himself were considered to be very religious men. Hawkins required his crew to serve God and to love one another. Drake held services on board his ship twice a day.

I cannot understand this, it was OK for him to lie, cheat and steal. Taking the African people by their lies and false promises. Stealing the belongings of others. And they still considered themselves to be religious.

The Commission

In 1577 Queen Elizabeth I commissioned three men to sail around the world. On November 15, 1577. The Queen’s Corsair consisting of the captains Sir Francis Drake (whom she called lovingly, “my dear pirate”), John Winter, and Thomas Doughty set sail on their voyages.

In time Drake became the leader of the group. He was to attack all Spanish settlements. Drake sailed to America with 40 ships and more than 2,000 soldiers. He attacked the Spanish ports throughout the Caribbean.

Drake sailed his ship “The Golden Hind” on December 13, 1577. Francis Drake became the second man to sail around the world and the first Englishman to accomplish this feat on September 26, 1580.

Upon Drakes return to England he presented the queen a very large bounty. Now she really loved her “dear pirate”.

On April 4, 1581 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth on the deck of the Golden Hind. This act gave Francis Drake a title. He became Sir Francis Drake, mayor of Plymouth and a Parliament member. The Queen also presented him with a special sword. Because of all the attention she paid to Drake others followed in his footsteps and became privateers also.

Francis Drake hated the Spaniards and their Catholic religion, probably having to do with his families flight from their home when he was young. He devoted his life to fighting against the Spanish and all they controlled. They called him a pirate but England called him a sailor and privateer.

Drake at age of 43

Drake at age of 43, with the coat of arms conferred on him on April 4, 1581, after he was knighted at Deptford, on the deck of the Golden Hind, the first English ship to go around the world. To see a larger view of this picture and to read “Sir Francis Drake : A Pictorial Biography with an Historical Introduction by Lt. Commander David W. Waters & Richard Boulind and a Detailed Catalogue of the Author’s Collection” in the rare book section of the US Library of Congress.

Invasion

January 1586 Sir Francis Drake landed at the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo bringing the entire city to its knees. His invasion and demolition weakened the Spanish dominion over the island.

For more than 50 years everything in the colony was abandoned and left to the mercy of the pirates. Drake drove the Spanish garrison out of Santo Domingo. He burned the city methodically, piece by piece until he received a ransom of 30,000 crowns. The amount he wanted was much more but he settled on this ransom. It is also told that the people of Santo Domingo gave him all their treasures. After much persuasion by the towns people, and when there was nothing else to take, Drake left the ruined city.

The church Santa María, the first church in the new world, was ransacked and burnt. Treasures were stolen and records burnt. The graveyard behind the chapel and its records were destroyed also. This left no records of the people who were interred there. The San Francisco Monastery was also significantly damaged in Drakes 1568 invasion on the city.

After Drakes invasion on Santo Domingo, he moved on to Cartagena (now known as Columbia) and St. Augustine (in Florida, USA). The war between England and Spain started because of these terrible acts of piracy.

Voyage Maps

Drake sailed directly west from Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa. The first port Drake reached in the West Indies was Santo Domingo in Hispaniola, present-day Haiti and Dominican Republic. This image shows the English fleet in the bay, and the infantry battalions attacking the town. This map represents the first printed view of this locality. To see this map and more about the Caribbean Raid

Many interesting PDF maps of Sir Francis Drakes early voyages.

Drakes Settles Down

Sir Francis Drake returned to England, got married and lived on a large estate outside of London. On January 28, 1596, he died aboard his ship the Defiance. He was struck by a tropical disease that he probably picked up during his last trip to the Americas. He died and was buried at sea. It was said that he got out of his deathbed early the morning of his death and tried to put on his suit of armor. He wanted to die as a soldier. Sir Francis Drake died of dysentery when he was about 55. He was buried at sea in a lead coffin off Puerto Bello to the sound of trumpets and cannons.

Sir Francis Drake by Jodocus Hondius

Interesting Facts

*There were many different types and classes of what we clump together as pirates now.
– Pirate is a robber and destroyer of ships at sea.
– Buccaneer was originally an inhabitant of Hispaniola. The name coming from a Taino word boucan or barbecue. Because these people were said to prepare their meat in this manner they were originally called boucaniers.
– Privateer was a privately owned ship and crew hired by a national government during wartime to plunder the ships of an enemy nation.
– Corsair was a Mediterranean pirate of the 16th century.

A Map titled S Dominico M.D.LXXXV (privilege dated December 20, 1584)

*The Golden Age of Piracy came about soon after the discovery of the New World and continued for about 250 years.

*When the Pope divided the New World between Spain and Portugal in 1494 the other European nations were not very happy. They wanted some of the stolen Aztec gold also. War was a given.

*The New World coast from South America through the Caribbean to Northern Florida was known as “The Spanish Main”.

*In 1630 a treaty was signed with Spain enabling the English and French to colonize some of the lands along the Spanish Main.

*One of the main sources of food the settlers consumed on the island of Hispaniola was the wild pigs originally introduced by the Spanish. The pigs were barbecued on open fires called buccans or boucan. This is how the settlers got the title buccaneers.

*The Spanish were getting a little nervous because of all the buccaneers on Hispaniola. They sent hunters to kill all the pigs which in turn made the buccaneers turn to piracy because their food source was gone. Later Spain realized they made a dire mistake.

*Many of the buccaneers (they called themselves Brethren of the Coast) moved on to a new island named Tortuga/ Turtle. It is located off the coast on the Haitian side of the island. This island became a sanctuary for the Buccaneers because of its perfect habitat and location.

*Not all pirates were fierce outlaws. Many were just sailors trying to make a living the only way they were able.

*Many things about how the ship would be run was agreed upon by all before the ship left port. They decided where to sail, how the bounty would be divided (usually the most going to the captain, then the skilled labor on the ship and the least amounts going to the laborers), and who would be captain.

*Sir Francis Drake introduced pipe smoking to Elizabethan age of England.

*Drake named Virginia in United States after Queen Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen

Other famous pirates I found that visited the Santo Domingo colony included
*Blackbeard – (Edward Thatch or Teach) Samana Bay in Hispaniola (Dominican Republic) in 1718?
*William Kidd is also known as The Unlucky Pirate
*Sir Henry Morgan is known as The Pirate King (1654 in Hispanola)

For more information on Sir Francis Drake check out these web sites –
Golden Hind | The Un Museum.org | Library of Congress – Exhibitions