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modations for ftrangers; fo that he was frequently furrounded by numbers of the neighbouring cowfkin gentry; he was remarkably polite and attentive in getting them sprightly bedfellows, for he had a feraglio of fine wenches at command, and was confidered the moft obliging, fimple, good natured, pimple fellow exifting.
Little Confequence, a journeyman weaver, had not been fix months a book-keeper, until, through the influence of his brother, a pedagogue, who got the parfonage of one of the best parishes in the iliand, he was preferred to the management of a fine eftate in the parish of Vere; the little shuttle-driver, being elevated from the threadle to a cowfkin hero, purchased horses, a kitterine, and fine clothes, and was foon honoured with the appellation of the beau planter; in short, he was the prince and emperor of coxcombs, and was making a fortune rapidly, until an unlucky circumstance transpired, which blasted and ruined his reputation ever after. It appeared that Little Confequence was very induftriously inclined, and had an uncommon itch for that fort of traffic called higling, which induced him to dispose of part of the fugars and rum privately, also, the plantation stock and stores, until at length these matters were detected, and poor Little Confequence was disbanded in difgrace! I am forry to fay that there are too many Sneaking-Cautions, and Little Confequences, in Jamaica, and all over the West Indies.
An overfeer should be allowed a generous falary; nor fhould he be permitted to pamper horfes, cattle, nor ftock of any kind, to fell or barter for his own emolument; nor fhould he be intrusted to difpofe of any of the eftate's produce, leaft he fhould be tempted to act difhonestly. I knew many overfeers who accumulated very rapidly large properties by retailing rum and ftock for the ufe of the proprietors, and yet to fupport tolerable good characters, because their villainy was not detected..
I must not omit to mention a very wrong practice of overfeers, moft injurious to proprietors in general; that is, planting Indian corn, or peas, amongst the canes; it is very evident to the meaneft capacity, that the richest foil will be impoverished more or lefs, according to the load of vegetables it produces; for every plant extracts its peculiar nourishment from the earth; the nurfe who fuckles more than one babe at once will exhauft herfelf, nor can fhe do them all juftice; the fimilie between vegetables and animals in this cafe is nearly the fame; for if that food on which two, or three, meagre animals barely exift was given to one, it might be fufficient to fatten it; hence, if that foil on which poor canes and fpindly corn grow at once, was allotted to canes or corn only, either might flourish luxuriously. It was a very fhrewd and farcaftical faying of a gentleman who had been many years in England, and had left the attorneyfhip
of his estate to a cabbage-headed gentleman in Kingstown On his return, finding Indian corn flourishing through the canes (for corn has a luxurious ftalk, and has the advantage of canes in quick vegitation) the corn was freed from weeds and carefully moulded, and the canes neglected. Seeing his plantation in fuch a ruined condition, he with much compofure of mind very tamely addreffed the overfeer, whofe name was Fungee, thus: "Mr. Fungee, I find you are very induftrious; you certainly have uncommon abilities, and will make a fine crop of corn to pamper your horfes, fwine, and poultry! but do not you think them worthless canes rather hurtful to it? Suppofe you would order the flaves to fet in and hoe them up. What fay you, Mr. Fungee?"
Poor Fungee was fo confounded that he was incapable to reply; confcious guilt glowed in his face, and indicated the agitations of his avaricious heart; but how miferably was this lofty cowfkin hero fallen in two days afterwards, upon receiving a letter directing him to give up charge of the plantation to the bearer, and to quit it immediately.
Now, the real fact was this: the cabbageheaded gentleman in Kingstown was related to Fungee, and had been always fupplied with mutton, pork, and poultry, alfo corn in wane loads for his horfes and negroes from the eftate: he was affected to be deprived of thofe valuable fnacks, and to find his reputation, like a football, kicked about.
It is very customary for overfeers to mix the weak and fickly negroes in the fame gang with the ftout and healthy, and to make them keep up their rows alike; and when any of those miferable, and probably half-ftarved wretches lag, to infift on their black deputies to cut and mangle their shrivelled skins, and torture them from morning 'till night, in like manner as if they were mules or oxen! instead of nourishing them with proper food, and dividing them into different gangs, proportioning the work to their abilities and ftrength. Such overfeers deferve not the name of men; they are as bad as hangmen; barbarous as hottentots, with favage fouls. Overfeers endeavour to perfuade that it must be so, and say that the West Indies would be of no use if feverity was not exerted; and many masters of flaves entertain the fame notion, and have as little pity and regard for them as for their oxen, as it is their intereft to preserve the lives of both and to get as much labour as poffible out of them. Even creole children, as foon as they begin to lifp, are taught to tyrannize over their domeftics; thus, custom, the defpotic ruler of reafon, is dead to the voice of humanity, and fmothers benevolence and charity.
The company and conversation of overseers, in general, is flat and infipid to all but themlelves, and feldom extends further than that of their vaft confequence and authority over the flaves, their uncommon abilities as planters, their amours
and gallantry with black and tawny wenches; of their infulting tyrannic behaviour to their raw book-keepers, or expofing the blemishes of their abfent neighbouring acquaintances; or of corn and cane pieces; and the ways and means they feverally practice to deceive the attornies or proprietors; fuch commonly are the topical fubjects of the planting herd.
The life of an overfeer is by no means a life of ease or content; though he may at times indulge himself in every vicious practice, yet, while he fits an hour extraordinary after dinner with his friends, he is uneafy in his mind leaft fomething is neglected, or he may be furprized by the attorney.
And if men, whofe bread depend on plantership, enter into the connubial bond, it will injure them, because it is not pleafing to gentlemen to have families on their eftates; a woman requires attendance, and may interfere with the management, fo as to influence her husband in the government of the rod; besides, a lovely amiable white partner would appear as an angel amongst naked rude blacks, and attract her husband to fquander that time which fhould be devoted to plantation duty in a more delightful manner; fo that batchelors fare beft, on which account they keep black or mongrel girls, and every grovelling overfeer and book-keeper is as fashionably wicked as his employer, as Davy says in the play. He Ꮐ