of The Tablet's first edition
A West-India mail has arrived, bringing papers from Jamaica to the 21st of March, St. Thomas's to April 1, and Demerara March 19; their contents are of some importance. At Demerara the negroes evinced an increased disposition to labour; and the brightest prospects of the forthcoming crops were, in consequence, anticipated. In Saint Vincent there had been great drought, much sickness, and a disinclination to work on the part of the labourers. In Granada and Antigua the industry of the negroes was highly satisfactory, and excellent crops were expected. In Barbadoes there was a scarcity of food, arising from the illness of the peasantry and want of rain. The West-Indies Bank was opened on this island on the 2d of April, with every prospect of success; the interest was fixed at four per cent. The intelligence from Jamaica is very unsatisfactory. We copy the following from the Jamaica Dispatch , of the 30th of March:-
"Everywhere there is complaint - everywhere there is fear expressed for the hereafter - and everywhere we hear uttered the want of continuous labour; on the other side, Brother Jonathan speaks in the most gloomy language. They predict that many sugar estates will have to be given; nor is the case much better in the coffee plantations, where so great an amount of continuous labour is required, yet the labourers are unwilling to work for a sufficient space of time to keep the properties in proper order, or to gather in the crops."
The following is an extract of a letter received by a member of the Assembly from a highly respectable and extensive planter in St. James's:-
"The labourers in this quarter are ten times worse than last year; and, by the way they are going on, one-half of the sugar crop will not be completed by the 1st of August, although the rate of wages is increased 1s. 3d. above last year. Without immigration on a very extensive scale, Jamaica is gone. The parish of Trelawney will not exceed 5,000 hhds., St James's 4,000 hhds., Hanover 3,000 hhds., Westmoreland 2,000 hhds., St. Elizabeth 1,000 hhds. - say 15,000 hhds. of sugar. I have known this parish alone to make that quantity, and Trelawney much more. The island has made 120,000 hhds., and this year there will not be 40,000 made, with considerably worse prospects for the next year."
The following is an extract from the Jamaica Standard :-
"Immigration on an extensive scale is our only resource; but immigration, even will not avail, unless the labourers are made much more dependent than they at present are; and that can only be effected, we again repeat, by doing away with the pernicious slavery-system of provision-grounds, and establishing a land society, for the purpose of buying up all those mountain-settlements and other unoccupied lands which may from time to time be offered for sale by retiring proprietors. So long as the labourers, through the enormous profits of their provision grounds, can afford to lay by their whole earnings, no cultivation upon estates can be at all relied upon; and so long as they can, with these earnings, become themselves the purchasers of land in any quantities and at almost any prices, so long is Jamaica in the imminent danger of being entirely lost as a sugar-exporting colony. These are serious questions, affecting our very vitality; and yet they appear to receive but a very small portion of attention in any quarter."
By the Favourite, with letters from Saint Louis (Senegal) of March 24th, and from Goree of the 27th, we learn that several French vessels had been plundered by the natives in the upper part of the Senegal river, and that the governor had sent off troops to obtain satisfaction.
The Graham's Town Journal , of March 5th, mentions a rumour that a party of the Natal emigrants had fallen into the snares of the Zoola chief Panda, and had been cruelly massacred.
The disease brought to the Cape by the prize negroes was committing dreadful ravages in the neighbourhood of Cape Town. Thirty persons had died of it in one day.
The wine harvest was expected to be deficient.
The trial of Lieutenant Charles Peshall, of the Cape Mounted Riflemen, for cruelly whipping and ill-treating an orphan girl, his servant, Harriet Polack, and for other unofficer-like conduct, was proceeding before a court-martial, at Graham's Town. One of the witnesses swore that Peshall held the girl whilst he flogged her. The girl swore that Peshall often flogged her himself.
We are pleased to be able to announce that a respectable meeting took place on Tuesday last, for the purpose of adopting measures to promote emigration to the townships, and to open a communication between Quebec and that portion of the province. The meeting adopted eight resolutions, the fifth and seventh of which we here insert, as fully expressive of its views:-
5. "That a road the most easy and direct from Quebec to Melbourne, and thence to Montreal through the British settlements on the south side of the St. Lawrence, according to a plan sanctioned by Lord Aylmer, for the completion of which the inhabitants of the eastern townships are about to petition his Excellency the Governor-general, would tend greatly to facilitate intercourse, the transport of merchandize, to promote immigration, and the general interests of the province.
7. "That a junction with the British and North American Land Company's settlements on the river St. Francis, through the Dudswell-road, from the townships of Halifax and Ireland, would also be of vital importance, especially to that section of the country."
The Queen's marriage was celebrated at Toronto on the 31st of April. There was much feasting and good-humoured enjoyment; and every thing went off well till night came, and with night illuminations. Mr. Francis Hincks, editor of the Toronto Examiner , like many others, displayed transparencies. The consequence was, a riotous attack upon Mr. Hinck's premises. Such is the excuse for the outrage. Now let us hear the statement of Mr. Hincks:-
"The picture of Sir F.B. Head, the reviler of Her Majesty's Government, was conspicuously displayed in many houses. Such mottoes as 'Church and State,' and other party devices, were exhibited; and worse than all, an Orange flag, with King William on horseback, was permitted by the authorities to insult the feelings of a portion of our fellow-citizens. What, then, was our offence? It consisted in our displaying, on a transparency, the names of Lords Melbourne, Durham, John Russell, and Governor-general Thomson - the Prime Minister of England, the Colonial Secretary, the Governor-general of British America, and a former Governor-general, one of her Majesty's Privy Council. Could a more convincing proof be afforded of the state of feeling in Toronto, than that the name of the Governor-general of Canada on a transparency is held to justify the assault of a mob?"
The rioters and their abettors, it seems, were "gentlemen and officers."
Her Majesty's packet Swift arrived with the North-American mails, having left Halifax on the 16th April. Party spirit continues to run high in Nova Scotia; the hostile proceedings of the House of Assembly against the Lieutenant-governor and the Legislative Council being applauded by some and condemned by others. The numbers of the disputants on either side seem to be pretty even; therefore, no great mischief can result from their contention. The legislature of New Brunswick has passed a bill authorizing the granting of 300,000 acres of land to the Colonial Association, under certain conditions of settlement, to be laid out in blocks of 30,000 acres, they paying three shillings per acre for the same. On proroguing the Assembly, the Lieutenant-governor complimented the members strongly on their loyalty and attention to public business.
We have received New Brunwick papers to the 12th of April. His Excellency the Lieutenant-governor went in the usual state to the Council Chamber on the 31st ult., and having given his assent to the Appropriation Bill, and a number of other important enactments, was pleased to close the session with a speech, from which we extract the following:-
"The prospect of any further disturbance with the neighbouring states appears to have greatly diminished, if not wholly to have vanished, in consequence of the prudent course adopted by our more immediate neighbours of the Maine, in having placed the conduct of the boundary dispute wholly in the hands of the general Government of the United States; thereby affording to both countries the most satisfactory guarantee that the peace and friendship now happily existing between two of the greatest and most enlightened nations of the world, and in the maintenance of which their best interests are acknowledged mutually to consist, will not be suffered to be disturbed or interrupted on light or insufficient grounds."