The Governor’s House, Spanish Town

Our Paper for last week contained an extensive View of part of the coast of Jamaica, at the eastern extremity of the island, in the neighbourhood of Morant Bay, with a nearer view of the small town of Port Morant and the ruined courthouse which was the scene of the late massacre perpetrated by the insurgent negroes, as well as views of the Hordley estate, one of the plantations attacked and ravaged by them, besides Port Royal and Kingston, the chief place of trade in the island.

As the interest excited by the recent news from Jamaica has not yet subsided, we give also in the present Number two or three Illustrations of places which are more or less associated with those deplorable events. One of them, from a sketch by Mr. C. Royle, represents the plain but commodious mansion which is the residence of the Governor at Spanish Town. That town, the official capital of the island, is nevertheless very inferior, both in size and population, to Kingston, the commercial metropolis, already mentioned, from which it is distant, by railway, about ten miles. The proceedings of the Executive Government, Legislative Council, aud House of Assembly, and the superior courts of judicature, are, indeed, ihe only business transacted in Spanish Town ; and it is, at all times, as dull a place as can be found in her Majesty’s colonial dominions. The head-quarters of the military force are at Kingston, the troops being quartered in Newcastle barracks, on the hill above that town.

Muirton Great House

Muirton Great House, Muirton works and plantation, are on the high road from Kingston (through Port Morant) to Port Antonio, and are about midway from Port Morant to the latter. The estate was formerly the property of George William Gordon; it was sold by him to Mr. Mitchell, of Edinburgh, who has sold it to the Jamaica Cotton Company. The house is said to be one of the finest and the healthiest in the island. The estate was at one time valued at £80,000, with the house built for the residence of the proprietor. Two hogsheads of sugar have been produced on it, but it is now merely cultivated for cotton. The last crop was very small, owing to the heavy wind and rains which prevailed at the time of picking, but it sold at 2s. 4d. the pound on an average. Some of the former year’s crop sold at 3s. 9d. and 4s. per lb. Plantains, cocoa-nuts, and bamboo, together with all the tropical fruits, grow on it to perfection. There is no and bamboo, together with all the tropical fruits, grow on it to perfection. There is no want of labourers, at wages varying from 1s 3d. per day for adults to Gd. for children. Captain Hole and his troops have taken possession of this house during the insurrection, and say, in the despatch to the Colonial Office, that it affords them secure and abundant accommodation. Mr. Bourne, jun., is carrying on an important experiment here in the way of industrial education — the most effectual remedy for the evils complained of, and the surest preventive of future rebellions.

The village of Maroon Town, in the Blue Mountains

The subject of our third Illustration is the military cantonment and village of Maroon Town, in the Blue Mountains. It derives that name from the neighbouring settlement of the people called Maroons, a mixed race, descended partly from the now extinct aborigines of Jamaica and partly from the runaway negro slaves of a former age, who waged a ferocious war against the British Government till the beginning of this century, when they were finally subdued. We are indebted to Captain the Hon. L. A. Addington, R.A., for the view we have engraved.

The whole island of Jamaica is al>out 130 miles long by an average width of about thirty miles. It contains about ‘2,500,000 acres. Jamaica is divided into three counties — Cornwall, Middlesex, and Surrey. Cornwall is at the western end of the island, Middlesex comprises the central parts, and Surrey the eastern. The population amounts to upwards of 450,000, out of which very little more than 10,000 are white. The blacks and coloured people, therefore, are nearly forty to one against the whites, a fact which is a startling commentary upon the late proceedings, as showing with what ease even a badly-organised uprising of the entire black population could exterminate the whites.

As regards tlmt section of the county of Surrey which has been the scene of the late atrocities, the following itinerary of the distances from place to place will help to an understanding of the movements of the troops. Morant Bay is about twenty-five miles from Kingston; and all the localities mentioned in the despatches, except Port Antonio, which is also twenty-five miles from Morant Bay, are within a distance of twenty miles. There is a good carriage-road from Kingston to Port Antonio, through Morant Bay; but the cross roads can hardly be dignified with the name of mule tracks. Several rapid streams cross the main road, and are at this season almost impassable, the water coursing down like a torrent; there are no bridges, and altogether the county is most difficult for troops.

Related material


“The Negro Insurrection in Jamaica.” Illustrated London News 47 (15 November 1865): 509 (image), 518-19. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 23 January 2016.

“The Outbreak in Jamaica.” Illustrated London News 47 (2 December 1865): 528 (image), 528-29. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 23 January 2016.

Last modified 23 January 2016