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SCHOOLS IN JAMAICA. We congratulate our readers who are interested in the objects of the Society on the marked attention given to the statements contained in the Freed-Man by the parties of all others we are concerned to influence in the right direction. It is a most hopeful and cheering sign that the planters in Jamaica, as well as their dependants, begin to weigh the facts we endeavour to bring before public attention. This opens to us a fine door of opportunity, which we shall endeavour to improve with diligence and care. Jamaica will be saved if the men of property and influence will only act on right principles and in the spirit of humanity. Our aim is to combine all classes in the work of improvement. The points we have to submit for fair investigation may give rise in the first instance to a little irritation. But if we keep cool, this will pass off without harm. Nothing will divert us from our one simple and grand object; we mean to promote the welfare of all classes of the community and therefore know nothing of partizanship or merely local contention. Every step we take shall be in broad daylight, Hence we submit to the candid consideration of planters and to our members of Parliament, the following document we have just forwarded to the Government. To the Right Hon. the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Her Majesty's principal Secretary

of State for the Colonies. May it please your Grace,

The President and Committee of the British and Foreign Freed-Men's Aid Society, in present ing to your Lordship a memorial relative to the funds existing for educational purposes in Jamaica, desire to express their firm conviction that this is a matter in which Her Majesty's government will take a special interest. The Committee are anxious that it should be dis. tinctly understood that their object in submitting the statements contained in the Memorial for the consideration of your Grace is simply to afford facilities for careful investigation. The Society represented by the Committee is purely philanthropic in its character, and it has no ulterior political aims. The Committee sent a large amount, both in money and goods to aid the Freed-men of the Southern States of America. At the time of the unhappy outbreak in Jamaica, its attention, as indeed that of the whole country, was directed to the deteriorated condition of that beautiful and fertile island so long under the British govern.

ment. The report of the Royal Commissioners confirms the Committee in their previous con
viction that the chronic source of evil is to be found in the neglected condition of many
districts of the country in which the people have received no useful instruction or religious
culture. The remedy for this semi-state of barbarism can only be gradually employed. It
will require the earnest and persevering co-operation of all who are really concerned for
the amelioration of the general condition of Jamaica. The aim of the British and Foreign
Freed-Men's Aid Society is to bring to light all available resources for the improvement of
the people, to lend whatever help may be in their power to those who are already working
in the field, to find suitable agencies, and to afford to all a common medium of information
and encouragement. It is not therefore in the spirit of needless interference that the
Committee invite your Lordship's attention to the matter of the existing endowments for
education in Jamaica, but to communicate the statements received from natives of the island
who are interested in its welfare. The Committee have no doubt whatever of the interest
your Grace will take in the case, and they feel assured that all will be done in securing
investigation that circumstances will permit.
Signed-In the name and on behalf of the British and Foreign Freed-Men's Aid Society,



The neglected state of many districts in Jamaica, arising from the absence of schools, or from inefficient teachers, has led us to enquire into the resources of the Island, to ascertain the available means for meeting existing necessities. We find that considerable property has been bequeathed by benevolent testators of former days to make provision for the relief of the necessitous, and the instruction of poor coloured children, and in particular of destitute orphans. It is interesting to learn that funds have been left for free schools in various districts. We may enumerate the following :

1 Beckford free school, (Spanish Town.)
2 Smith free school, (Spanish Town.)
3 Jamaica free school, Walton Pen, St. Ann's.
4 Manning's free school, Westmoreland.
5 Russea's free school, Hanover Lucia.
6 St. James's free school, St. James's, Morant Bay.
7 Titchfield school, Portland.
8 Vere District free schools, Vere.
9 Manchester District free schools, Manchester.
10 Woolmer's free school, Kingston.

The revenues of several of these schools are large. Jamaica free school is said to have £996 per annum, and Woolmer's free school, Kingston, has a yearly income of £1,044. The Woolmer school of 700 or 800 children, of all classes under the care of a black clergyman from Canada, is said to be well conducted. Having no opportunity for direct personal observation, we do not presume to judge of the efficiency of these educational establishments, but from all we can learn we fear, as in the case of too many endowments, the intentions of the


founders have only been partially respected. In some instances we are informed the benefit derived from them by the children of the poor is exceedingly small. Titchfield free school, Portland, exists only in name. There is, we understand, neither school house or teacher. In every case advantage would accrue from careful and impartial enquiry, and we venture to submit to Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, as well as to His Excellency the Governor of Jamaica,) that an early investigation ought to take place into the state of all these institutions. We feel the more warranted in respectfully urging such an enquiry from the circumstance that in most instances the members of the late Legislative Assembly were appointed trustees. It would be satisfactory to the friends of education to have a well-authenticated report as the result of a fair examination of the schools, giving the number of children under instruction, and the character of the education given.

Our attention has been especially directed to a correspondence in several Jamaica journals respecting the Monro and Dickenson's schools. We are not called upon to decide in a controversy which requires in order to form a correct judgment more local information than we possess. But there are certain items broadly mentioned that seem to call for early and searching enquiry.

It would appear that Robert Hugh Monro, a coloured man of large wealth, who died in 1798, left a considerable portion of these endowment funds. He directed in his will, that “at the time of the decease” of his nephew Caleb Dickenson, certain property should be laid out “ in the endowment of the school to be erected and maintained for the education of as many poor children of the parish of St. Elizabeth, as the said funds may be sufficient to provide for and maintain, and in defraying the annual expenses attending the same, in such manner as shall be from time to time directed by the majority of justices of the said parish, who shall meet for that purpose; and, if necessary, to apply to the legislature of this island for an act for the proper and due regulation of the said charity, and to carry the intent of this my will in respect thereof into full and complete execution.”

In 1821, Charles Dickenson, also a gentleman of colour, died and bequeathed £36,000 in money, and certain estates to the value of £100,000, for the endowment of a free school and for aid and support of the aged and infirm in indigent circumstances.

For eighteen years, we are informed and believe, the Governor of Jamaica, with the Attorney-General and others, shared the revenue derived from the property bequeathed by Monro and Dickenson, and the schools, &c., were left more than thirty years in abeyance. The Governor is said to have given some kind of engagement that in the event of a school being established the money received by him should be returned. The Duke of Manchester shared largely in the benefits of the escheat. In and about the year 1853.4 Mr. Raynes W. Smith and the Hon. Mr. Shakespeare rescued the remnant of the funds, amounting only to £23,337, and obtained an act (18th Vic. cap. 53) for the management of the charity. The interest of the invested sum amounted to £1,400 per annum, which the act directed to be laid out “in the keeping and maintaining of a free school or free schools for the reception, education, and maintenance of poor boys and girls,” for “the repairs of buildings, &c., and for keeping up and supporting of the several schools for day scholars." Thus empowered, the Trustees in 1856 established a boys' school for twelve pupils and a girls' school with an equal number. They also instituted eleven day schools, and distributed them over the parish. They provided, moreover, an almshouse at Black River In addition to this they elected “poor boys and girls, ” chiefly orphans, whose parents had been reduced to a state of indigence. All the intentions of the testators were respected.

The complaint is now made that since 1862 the existing trustees have seriously departed from the express requirements of the trust. The income of the charity amounts to £1,700 per annum. Of this sum £200 are distributed in grants of £6 to £8 and £12 to persons reduced from comfortable circumstances to a state of indigence. At Potsdam there is a principal school maintaining about sixteen boys on the foundation, also six boys whose parents contribute £20 for each boy. Private pupils are taken by the trustees, who require an annual fee of £35 for each boy of twelve years of age and under, and £40 for each pupil over twelve years. The master receives a salary of £350, with the residence and a glebe of 103 acres; the matron receives £500, more or less, for the maintenance of the boys, with a salary of £40 per annum.

A second master is appointed at a salary of £60. There is a girls' school at Torrington, in which, for the education and maintenance of six girls, the matron receives £250, and £40 is paid for the rent of the house. The clerk to the trustees is paid £80 per annum,

and a medical attendant has a salary of £50 per annum. From these respectable establishments, the children of Black people are excluded. For the class of children for whom the endowment was intended to provide, four or five meaner schools of a low order only, are supported out of the funds of the charity, in which the master and mistress receive salaries ranging from £12 to £25. Practically the advantages of education, which with a just appropriation of the original funds would have been enjoyed by thousands of poor black children, are confined to a small number provided for at an expense of about two hundred pounds. We submit that there is a prima facie case for full enquiry. The correspondence on the Monro and Dickenson's charity was continued for several weeks in the Jamaica papers. Specific allegations are made in it against the trustees for various irregularities. The Hon. John Salmon on the part of the trustees, though constrained to write in the journals on the subject, offers no defence. The only reply of the trustees is the following :-“September 22nd, 1863. A series of letters,' signed C. Plummer, and published in the newspapers, having been brought to the notice of the Boards.

“ Resolved, that the said letters be referred to a committee to report to the





next quarterly meeting, and that this resolution be published in the • Morning Journal' and “Guardian' Newspapers. “True Extract,' &c.

The editor of a Jamaica paper writes: “the above quotation from the newspapers, professing to be a 'true extract from the Minute Book' of the Dickenson's and Monro's charity, indicates one of those legionary abuses from which this country and so many of her families and vital interests have suffered for a century past.” “ His Excellency the Governor ought to be advised by his counsellors to appoint an impartial and disinterested commission.”

The Hon. J. Salmon did not answer Mr. Plummer, but in the perilous times of martial law he sent officers to search his honse. A scrap of paper that might afford the shadow of a pretext for taking his life would have been sufficient. Nothing could have saved him from the fate of Mr. Gordon. The officers held Mr. Plummer in charge whilst every corner of his dwelling was ransacked. We have before us the original letter of perfect clearance. The following is an exact copy of the document:

" 2 November, 1865.

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“ I return you the papers I took to look over. I am very glad that I have to report to the Governor that there appears no reason to believe that you are in any correspondence with any party, or may have been supposed from any information the Government may have received, evil disposed; or which leads me, so far as I can learn from the examination of your papers, to take any measures against you, or hold you answerable to the Government.

“ Your most obedient servant,

“ JOHN SALMON. “ Charles Plummer, Esq., Berlin.”


am, Sir,


Downing Street, April 10th, 1867. Sir, I am directed by the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th ultimo, relative to education in Jamaica, and enclosing a memorandum relative to endowed schools in that Island, especially Munro and Dickenson's schools. His Grace desires me to state that he will forward a copy of your letter and memorandum to the Governor of Jamaica, whose attention was especially directed to the subject of education by the Earl of Carnarvon.

I am Sir,
Your obedient servant,

FREDERICK ROGERS. The Secretary of the British and Foreign Freed Men's Aid Society.

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