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konest men) who made no remittances at all, though some of them had it in their power to make large ones. The greedy vultures! avaricious sycophants ! dishonestly revelled in excess and debauchery, until the properties they were intrusted with were totally squandered, or so involved, that they were not worth retrieving. When a man is appointed executor, he gets cwo or three of his own friends to appraise the estate, (previously embezzling every article he possibly can with secrecy) and takes it at the valuation, and makes no remittance until he is compelled by law, by those heirs who may be far away, and may not hear of their friend's death for several years; or he brings it to sale, after having taken the chiefest and choicest of the effects at the valuation, and purchases it, and then makes no remittance at all for four or five years, fo that the crops, or interest of the money, pays for the estate ; I do assure you, that many mighty men in councils and assemblies, all over the West Indies, have acquired all their greatness by such ignoble fchemes.
« Such mighty heroes that were pigmies born, “ Tempt not my envy, but provoke my scorn.”
An attorney to an estate, or plantation, has a weighty charge; if he was to act fair and honest, he should visit the plantation frequently, pry into every hole and corner of it, and surprize the manager when he least expected his coming, to fee
how he passed the time, and cultivated the estate; whether it was loitered in riotous diffipation, with the neighbouring managers, or spent induftriously attentive to his duty ; nor should he be deceived by clean intervals, pleasant walks, or artificial work of any kind; he should walk across and through the cane pieces all over the plantation, and see that they were properly weeded, moulded, hoed and thrashed; for managers are knowing, and artful, and when they supinely pass away time, they commonly prepare for the attorney's coming by trashing the canes seven or eight yards deep along the intervals, and making other deceptions and preparations. An attorney should see that the work went regularly on in rotation; that the ground was holed in proper time and season, and the canes planted accordingly; he should be a parent to the whole estate, naves, cattle, mules, and other stock; he should visit the boiling-house frequently; stand at the tack whole hours, at times, to fee how the boilers went on, and when they went wrong dia rect them and set them right; he should not support managers without merit, to serve his friends, or relations, but prefer the industrious book-keepers or overseers in his own einployment, whose merits and long painful servitude deserved it; in short, any man who presumes to be an attorney, should have gone through all the painful coils and drudgeries of an overseer, for three or four years, and be an experienced
planter, planter, to be capable of doing justice; formerly there were a few honest impartial attornies in Jamaica, such as Sheckle, Beckford, Winde, &c. though originally indented servants, who could not boast of families or connections, who acted with strict integrity, and kept the cowskin herd of managers under them attentive early and late to their duty.
A man by lending a small sum of money to a planter in distress, may get the attorney mip of his plantation, and a mortgage thereon by way of security ; and it often happens in the end, that the mortgagee poffeffes himself of the whole estate, whilst the mortgager reflects with horror on his extravagance and folly.
It would be vastly better for a planter, when distressed to answer any presling demands which may be against him, to sell his estate at once, or a part of it, than to put it to nurse (as I may term mortgaging); for it will be woefully foftered indeed, and he will repent, and curse his fate, when he will have only the raine of an estate, without the profits; for though he be present, and every day sees his property going to destruction, through the neglect of the manager, or through that of the manager and attorney together, he cannot presume to interfere with the management; nor can he by other means redress this grievance until the mortgage, with interest, and all costs, are discharged. When a mortgagee wishes to get an estate into his own possession, he
dischages the old manager, and appoints some indolent lazy fellow (one of his own friends no doubt) in his stead; he gives a large salary, and the estate is neglected ; and when it is at a low ebb, the major part of the cane pieces converted into wilds of cattle pastures, a number of the Naves, through hunger and severity, forced to run wild through the mountains and woods, and the late prosperous and delightful plantation quite ruined, agreeable to his wishes; he swells up an enormous fum of debts, gets out an exea. cution, brings the plantation, Naves, &c. to sale; and purchases them himself, or compounds with the unfortunate proprietor for a few joes, and gets it by this, or some other base stratagem, into his poffeffion. He then clandestinelyinvites all the run-aways to return, and that they shall be fore given by their new master ; by which servile stratagem
he gets an addition of so many Naves to his property
An attorney in Jamaica charges five per cent. commission on the net proceeds of the shipments from every plantation which he has the care of; and this, though very high, is but a small part of an attorney's emoluments. He is invested with full power to act as he pleases; nor do the managers correspond with the proprietors in Europe to check the attorney's proceedings; for the attornies appoint both managers and overseers, and discharge them at pleasure.
An attorney commonly supplies himself and friends with horses, cattle, sheep, poultry, sugar, rum, coffee, corn, &c. &c. from the plantations, and accounts for them as his conscience directs.
An attorney borrows the cattle, mules, and negroes occasionally to work on his own estate, and returns them at leisure. Some attornies write for larger quantities of stores than is necessary, and convert the overplus to their own use; others keep ftores, and take every opportunity of supplying the estates in their care with every article at an hundred per cent, advance. As attornies have the shipments of all the produce, they are courted by the inerchants and masters of vessels to freight their hips and give them quick dispatch; they get valuable presents. The following is the nature of a letter from a needy attorney to the proprietor in London.
Spanish-Town, 20th June 1781. Dear Sir, I was favoured with yours of the 6th of April, and offerse the contents. The present serves to cover bill of lading for sixty hogsheads of Mufcovado sugar from your Clarendon-hall estate, per the Eliza, Captain Donally; also, bill of lading for fifteen hogsheads from my own estate, which you will dispose of, and credit me for the net proceeds. I thought to have shipped forty hogihcads, but the heavy rains have broke up