The Limitations of Salt, Sticks and Incantations

By Ateebo

Ah see ah snake go up de tree
Ah ‘fraid de snake come dong fuh we
Ah tell mih wife to tek de baby.
Ah fine ah stick
Ah tek it fast
Ah beat dat snake
An ah break he … ask me no chupid questions.

Ah see ah jumbie fly chu de air
Ah feel mih pores raisin’ mih hair
Ah tell mih wife to tek de baby.
Ah fine some salt
Ah tek it fast
Ah fling it straight
An he bun like grass.

Ah see mih chile eyes start to roll
Ah feel ah madness in mih soul
Ah tell mih wife, "Gi mih de baby!"
Ah fine de Bible
Ah tek it fast
Ah res it 'pon he
An ah make it pass.

Ah hear de gunshots, po, po po
Ah know dem bullets does fly low
Ah tell mih wife to tek de baby.
We fine ah corner
We tek it fast
We cover we ears
An we hope it pass.

Ah feel ah sadness in mih land
Ah dreaming tings ah cyah understand
Ah tell mih wife, "Dey go tek dis baby!"
Ah fine he numbah
Ah call it fast
Mih cousin tell me,
"Go fix yuh pass

Mayombé bombé mayombé
Dem snake have eye like glass.

© 2006 - Ateebo
Reproduced with the kind permission of Ateebo.

Doggone Rubbitch [Poem]

By Gene Wilkes

A nasty bitch an' a dutty dog
Was limin' dong by de sea,
De bitch get vex an' tell de dog:
Haul yuh tail an' doh bodder me!
When people liming on de beach
I does get real nice food to eat,
It plenty better dan hustlin'
For scraps from dusbin on de street.
So me doh bark at nobody
Even when dey pelt mih wid stone,
When ah wag mih tail real friendly
Ah does get more dan chicken bone.
"Trini people is someting else",
De dutty dog tun rong an' say,
"Dey doh give ah shit bout nutten
When you see dey come out to play.
Dey eat dey food an' drink dey rum
An' leave rubbish all over de place,
You'd tink dat dese dam litterbugs
Doh belong to de human race.
But plenty ah dese same people
Belong to high society,
And does live in posh surroundings
Dat real tidy an' litter free.
TIDCO beach clean up committee
Does boast bout dey annual campaign,
But why should dey have to do dis
Again an' again an' again?
De tons ah rubbish dey pick up
Eh nutten to boast about...
It shows de measures dey using
Eh really have too mucha clout.
Every time dey have dey clean up
To me dey eh doin' it fair...
Good people pickin' up rubbish
Thrown by people who just doh care.
Dey should hold de ones dat litter
An' make dem self clean up dey mess,
Dat would better solve de problem
And be a warning to de res'.
We stray dog an' cobo does try
To clean up de place every time,
But better dan we to clean de mess
Dutty Trinis leave when dey lime."
De dutty dog leave Mayaro,
And went San Fernando to fete,
He hear there had plenty litter
And thought some nice morsels he'd get.
But he bounce up so much vagrant
Competing for food on de streets
Dat he really ketch he nennen
To get a lil someting to eat.
So back to Mayaro he went,
An he say never me again,
Livin' dong dere plenty better
Dan Sando I tellin' yuh plain !

© Copyright – Gene Wilkes, Cocoyea.
Posted with the kind permission of the poet.


A Note From The Gull

While not a problem peculiar to Trinidad and Tobago, littering is another symptom of a lack of civic pride. While there are laws that cover littering and illegal dumping and we can argue that littering and dumping persist because of lax enforcement of the penalties, the root of the problem remains. If an individual does not fully comprehend the impact of his or her attitude and behaviour on the society and natural environment then it's going to be very difficult, even with laws in place, to convince him or her to instinctively make the right decisions about garbage disposal. What comes more naturally it seems, is a selfishness that makes it OK and not a matter of personal shame to leave a place less lovely than it was found. It is the absence of embarrassment that I find quite amazing.

Fortunately, there is hope to be found in the good people mentioned in the poem. These are the Trinbagonians who understand the importance of, and do feel pride in their environment. On the strength of these convictions, they wish to communicate and engender this pride in the wider community. One of these movements is the Greenlight Network. Visit their website and lend your support in any way that you can.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so. Thank you, Gene.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!

A Sketch Of Trinidad - Excerpt 8

Excerpts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

A Sketch of Trinidad: The Canadian Mission and the opening of Presbyterian College in San Fernando, Trinidad by Alice Clark. Ottawa: Hope and Company, Stationers and Printers, 1892.


On Sabbath, the 21st March, Mr. Grant opened two small places of worship. For years he had a desire to occupy the ground in two villages growing in importance, but did not wish to call on the church at home to provide the funds, but a couple of months ago, a sugar shed was offered for sale, containing a. corrugated galvanized iron roof, sufficient for these small churches which he purchased cheaply, and on calling the villagers together, such was the readiness to aid, that he felt it to be his duty to go forward.—He reserved for Mr. Clark the honour of first lifting up his voice in these places of worship, but an attack of fever and ague kept him in bed all day. I represented him, singing one or two of our sweet gospel hymns, assisted by some present, who understood English. In the larger house, about 100 persons were seated, in the smallest 50. Rev. J. G. Coffin read in Hindi and Mr. Geddes Grant in English. Mr. Grant then preached in Hindi from 1 Tim 2-5. “There is one God and one Mediator” &c. He was followed by Rev. Lal Bihari in the same

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language. The attention at both places was all that could be desired, quite as reverent as in our churches at home. When Mr. Grant reported that the amount received was far short of what
was required a young Brahmin Mahabir, (not a christian) a shop keeper in the place, who had given $10 said he would give ten more. At the close of the service in the smaller place, Marabella, a lad who had been taught a prayer by his Indian teacher (who composed it,) repeated it very well

A marked feature of the Mission in Trinidad, was the early, warm, liberal and sustained interest shown by the proprietors of the Sugar estates on which the East lndians labor. Chief among these are Sir Charles Pennant and Sons, J. Cumming & Co., Wm. Burnley &.Co., the Colonial Company, Gregor Turnbull & Co, J. Lamont, Esq. But as most of these proprietors (perhaps Mr. Cumming being the only exception), reside outside the Colony, it will be at once noticed how much the absentees must be influenced in their good opinion, by their attorneys and business men, under whose eyes the mission operations are carried on. Indeed looking at the environments of the Mission, the Missionaries may say “The lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places.” What is asserted of the planters, we think may be also said of the general community. The enthusiasm manifested at the opening of the new College in San Fernando as proof; and just now we are informed of liberal

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donations from the mercantile body that have fully paid off every vestige of liability in connection with the premises. And rising from the general public, to the powers that be, we are glad to know that from the inception of the Mission to the present time there has been growing interest on the part of the government to advance the educational part of the work.

During our sojourn we have had frequent opportunities of noticing the intelligent training that the young men have received under Mr. Grant’s special care. Honorable mention ought to be made of the very intelligent part they take in the Sabbath School, and prayer meetings as teachers and superintendents. Specially were we struck by the masterly way in which a young Chinaman Mr. Jacob W. Corsbie conducted the review in the Sabbath School, on more than one occasion, equal to any we have heard at home. So much were we impressed by his efficiency that we made some inquiries about the incidents of his life, and found that he was born in China, during the time of the great Civil war, or the Tai-ping Rebellion, that both of his parents were Chinese, he came to Trinidad just at the close of the war in 1865. Being only then seven years of age. he was too young to remember much of the stormy period in China, In his very early years he had not much opportunity of going to school, as at eight years he had to work for his living. From the year 1872 he came

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under instruction in the Mission School San Fernando, and made rapid progress. Mr. Grant on a visit to Canada in 1876 expressed his anxiety that Mr. Corsbie should receive a good training; and under the guidance of Miss M. A. Stark was led to the Rev. J. K. Smith, then pastor of Knox Church, Galt, whose congregation generously provided the whole cost of his passage to and from Canada, and paid for two years course of instruction under the famous Dr. Tassie, whose educational work is so well remembered by many in Canada. It is very pleasant to note the sense of indebtedness which Mr. Grant evidently cherishes to Miss Stark, under whose guidance he was led to make such favorable arrangements for his chinese protégé. Could the many friends in Knox congregation, Galt, really know the excellent work he has done as a teacher, and as a devoted christian worker in all this most interesting field, they would have no reason to regret their large hearted beneficence in helping forward this very worthy young man.

Our Mission which is firmly rooted in the rich soil of Trinidad, while planted and watered by the faithful labors of our Canadian agents, has been greatly aided by the self denying intelligent services rendered by East India converts who not only accepted Christ themselves, but have sought to commend him to the acceptance of their fellow countrymen. We have met many of these

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workers in the several districts and have been impressed with the importance of utilizing these humble faithful men, who not only understand the language, but the peculiar difficulties begotten by the belief and traditions of the ages, and how best to dislodge them. And it may be said that on all hands, it is admitted that the Rev. Lal Bihari is like ‘Saul among his’brethren’. Let me speak especially of the noble aid Mr. Grant and his Mission have received from the very faithful efficient service of the Rev. Lal Bihari. This humble devoted minister of Christ was born near Arrah about 36 miles from the sacred city Benares, India. His father died when he was sixteen years of age. While his father lived be had good opportunities of getting instruction: but at his death according to Hindi patriarchal custom, he was put under the over-sight of his uncle; whose eldest son tyrannized over his cousin, especially scoffing at his religious feelings, which were strong and deep from his childhood. Such was the tyranny, he determined to escape from it, and left for Benares, where he heard that the government would continue to give him instruction, he being fatherless, further he had heard that could he bathe at Benares during the eclipses, he would receive as a reward a thousand cows. He did not meet with any who could tell him how his education should be carried on, nor did he receive the above reward; but he met a recruiting agent, who sought to enlist those who would go out to Trinidad to work amongst sugar, and such was his roseate description of the service and its wages, that he concluded that by acceding to his terms, he could save money enough in three years in Trinidad to enable

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him to return and obtain at least four years instruction without any aid, and thus he purposed to fit himself to be a teacher. But it was with him as many others, that “Man proposes but God disposes” and we find that instead of returning to India,’he was to become the coadjutor of Mr. Grant, which position he has filled with great faithfulness for the past eighteen years.

We thank all our very kind friends in Trinidad, for the attention they paid us, during our sojourn with them, and deeply regretted that we could not accept all the many invitations that we received before leaving. We will not forget the pleasant hours we spent at La Retrait, the residence of the Mayor, who for kindness and hospitality, stands unrivalled. Theirs is a charming villa, surrounded with lovely palms and ferns. Another delightful retreat ‘Caledonia’ a mansion replete, with every luxury, having extensive grounds to match, over looking the broad expanse of the gulf, and one or two other, lovely spots on an high eminence, where the varied and beautiful combination of trees and shrubs, and flowers peculiar to all climates makes the picture one of perfection. The picturesque road leading to Mr. and Mrs. Geddes Grant’s pretty home, first down in the valley, then up a steep, road, then round a curve, down and up, until we come to a fine avenue of trees, the cottage with its verandah tasseled with gorgeous mauve climbers, and the Quisqualis a shrub twenty

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feet high with clusters of crimson, pink, and white blossoms. Behind is a grove of oranges, limes, and star apple, the cocoanut palms with bunches of nuts at the base of the towering plumes. We also thank Rev, and Mrs. Wilson for their kind attention, and many delightful drives they gave us. During our stay amidst such lovely scenes, we could not fail to enjoy the treat; our time was drawing to a close, when those ties of friendship would be severed. Still although time and distance may separate us, there is a certain amount of satisfaction in looking back on the days spent here, with feelings of pleasure; and I cannot refrain from saying that as regards those with whom we were on terms of friendship, in many parts of the Island, their goodness, cordiality, and noble generosity combined with that hospitality, which makes a friend’s house one’s borne, can never be forgotten.

After the Sabbath school exercises, were requested to remain and take seats on the platform when a deputation came forward and modestly presented us with an address, written in English, Tamil, Bengali, Hindi and Urdu expressive of our interest in the Asiatic people and wishing us safe voyage home, and every needed blessing. The communion service was held in the evening conducted by Mr. Clark, and assisted by the Missionaries present. It was a very solemn touching service and when the large congregation stood up

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to sing the last hymn “God be with you till we meet again” it affected us all very much. Very busy packing the next day, the valuable souvenirs that were presented to us, such as the large family Hindi pipe, the brazen vessels which they use, specimens of musical instruments. Sandal wood fan, richly carved in India, beautiful wrought, India dress, &c. Every one was so kind and eager to bring up some curiosity, good thoughtful Bessie and Rachel were packing away tamarinds in a canari to go in a corner of my trunk they said Mrs. Grant had pots of granadillas and jelly, for corners, that were all taken up with some thing else. Mia Lal Bihari’s aged mother, come to bid us an affectionate farewell, bringing us a curiosity in the shape of large Hindi pipe. Bessie Girdharrie brought her handsome Indian silk Orhrnee, or veil, and the jullab. Mrs. Aaron a pair of silver bracelets made by the Indian jeweller, and sent a card conveying her compliments, written in fine penmanship. The saw of a Saw fish, caught in the Gulf of Paris, to be strapped on my trunk but found it far too long, and it was packed separately. Dear Claudia did not forget me, a fine handkerchief worked in India, nor Harriet and her three little darlings. What am I to do with the calabashes, the sugar cane and the vanilla beans? must find space for them some where. Even old Dolly came with her gift, a small bottle of Castor oil, made by her own hands, from the castor oil seeds, it looks very clear and good, but I put off the testing of its qualities from day to day. In the evening we had quite a Concert of Hindi music and singing a number walked in fourteen miles from the country, bringing with them the drum, cymbals and conduli, for our special

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benefit. We had made a delightfully long stay, amongst such kind friends of whom it pleasure to speak. There was a goodness and cordiality with their hospitality and warm heartedness, that can never be forgotten by those who know them. The next morning all our friends in the compound and the school children were gathered around us to say “Farewell” as we entered the carriage with Mr. Grant who accompanied us to Port of Spain. Rev. E. A. McCurdy met us at the Station he told us the S. S. “Alps” was detained a day or two, and we made our home with Mr. and Mrs. McCurdy till the day of sailing. April 9th, we leave to-day, Mr. and Mrs. McCurdy and son saw us on board the “Alps.” It was a lovely evening! not a single breath disturbed the glassy surface of the silent water; and yet how eloquently that silence spoke to the heart! We can scarcely describe our feelings as we thought of our Missionaries and friends we were leaving behind us, and the wonderful work God has wrought by them, and our prayer to God is that they may bring the East Indian people in still larger numbers to Christ.

Once more upon the sea, on our home voyage on board S. S. ‘Alps,’ we quickly lose sight of the island, in all its luxuriance and beauty, robed from the rounded peaks, to the base in its perenniel green; and my mind dwelt on the thought that we were bidding it a long, long ‘Farewell.’

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Before us are the Bocas, a huge rocky promontory, cut into four islands by the opposing forces of the Caribbean and the Orinocco; through the largest of the channels, called the Dragon’s Mouth, we leave the Gulf of Paria—passing the peninsula of Paria a part of Venezuela, South America. The next morning we steam very slowly into the anchorage of St. George’s Grenada. The harbor is a deep clear basin, surrounded and shadowed by immense volcanic hills, all green On deck, the creole women have spread their merchandise, necklaces of Mimosa beans, pots of Guava Jelly, and Tamarinds. all kinds of spices, and varieties of fruit—Mango, Sapodilla, Soursop, and Avocado pear. The Mango, looks like a large flattened apple, with an oval stone, the Sapodilla, has a peculiar appearance, some what like a russet apple, but larger, filled with a sugary brownish pulp. At the core are several seeds, of a dark brown color, and having a narrow white fibre running along the inner edge. It is of this fibre that the incense used in the Roman Catholic Churches in Spain is manufactured. Its odour is very sweet, and it brings a big price it ought to be good and sweet—$160 per pound. The Avocada pear and Soursop does not create a desire for any more,—after the first taste—Land is hardly ever out of sight; one island no sooner turns grey in the distance than another unwreathes itself with a repetition of the waving, palms and close ribbed hills, steeped in every shade of green which we have just left behind—In these tropic latitudes night does not seem “to fall “, it appears to rise up, like an exhalation from the ground. The coast line darkens first,—then the slopes and the lower

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hills and valleys become shadowed, --then very swiftly, the gloom mounts to the heights, whose very loftiest peak, may remain glowing like a volcano at its tip for several minutes, after the rest of the island is veiled in blackness, and all the stars are out. Tropical nights have a splendor that seems strange to northern eyes. The sky does not look so high, —so far away as in the North, but the stare are larger, and the luminosity greater. Just above the horizon, is the Great Southern Cross, the four stars. stand out large and clearly defined. Over the beautiful blue sea and under the charming blue sky, we make splendid progress. Nothing of note occurs except the occasional appearance of flying fish, and a vast quantity of sargasso float by, a light yellow sea weed. The Captain procured a fine specimen, and had it placed in a bottle of sea water for me, I have it among my treasures. The passengers nine in number are seated on long lounging chairs under the white awning on the deck. We are all enjoying the warm weather while it lasts. The chief officer had a large black and yellow snake, about five or six feet long, in a box, and when he wanted to have a scamper on deck, among the passengers, he would let the snake out, for a walk on the deck, he said it was not a poisonous reptile, and took hold of it by the neck, and gave it a drink of water out of a saucer. Below in the forecastle were large cages of monkeys of different species, many varieties of parrots and choice birds.—Each morning the air seems a little cooler, a gradual lengthening of the hours of light, is perceptible. When we came to the Gulf stream we found a great change in the weather, and the sea very much rougher,—it drove half of

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the passengers to their berths for two days. The waves were not as high as I have seen the north Atlantic produce. Off Cape Hatteras we met a strong gale, the waves sweeping the deck from stem to stern, and frequent[y dashing over the funnel. The next morning, April 18th, we found the storm had abated, and the surface of the ocean still undulating but glassy calm. We made good progress northward, and toward evening, the pilot came on board and the next morning at seven, we were through with the medical health officer, and slowly wending our way to the Union Docks, Brooklyn. The custom house inspection over, we bade good-bye to the genial Captain, officers, and stewards, who anticipated all our wants and desires, and the excellent stewardess Mrs. McCrombie, who was indefatigable in her attentions. Driving over the long Brooklyn bridge, and through the city of New York, we came to the Grand Central Station, and took the first train for Ottawa, where we arrived the next day, just four months absent from our Canadian home. This trip has been one of great delight to us, and I cannot conclude without expressing our thankfulness, that we have returned in safety, and found that our people have been so thoughtful in relieving us, from care and anxiety by keeping every thing running as if we had been in their midst, and that God had provided such efficient supply in our absence.

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“Much bless’d by Providence is Trinidad;
Flowers and fruits perpetual, trees ever green,
Our scenery most rich and beautiful;
The people of ‘all nations, countries, races,
French, English, Spanish, Scotch, or Portuguese.
From Afric’s or fair India’s hotter shores;
Creoles, Coolies, Chinese, their language,
Manners, customs, every thing so different.”



Excerpts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

A Sketch Of Trinidad - Excerpt 7

Excerpts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

A Sketch of Trinidad: The Canadian Mission and the opening of Presbyterian College in San Fernando, Trinidad by Alice Clark. Ottawa: Hope and Company, Stationers and Printers, 1892.


Off to Couva in the train; rolling over the
Couva river we cross one of the longest iron bridges in the island. Mr. Levie kindly met us at the station and drove us to the Rev. A. M. Thompson’s Manse. We received a kind christian welcome from the very energetic missionary, Miss Fisher the lady teacher, and Mrs. Tomkins the pleasant house keeper. Couva is one of the finest agricultural sections for the production of sugar and cacao. The chief manager of Brechin Castle estate, Mr. Arbuckle sent his carriage and groom for us, to drive to the Usine, and we spent a

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delightful day closely inspecting the manufacture of sugar from the cane. These were the first Vacuum Pan works erected in Trinidad, and the fine crystals made here, took the first prize at the local exhibition in 1886. We inspected the preparation in making the Cocoanut oil, they told us that 1000 cocoanuts produced 14 gallons of oil— the fibre is chiefly applied in making mats and brushes. We had handed to us some specimens of native wood, as the leopard, poui and cedar, and spent a very agreeable hour or two in their lovely home on Brechin Castle estate. The school in Couva, taught by Miss Fisher and her assistants, is held in the old Manse formerly the home of the Rev. T. Christie and family. As we entered all the schools, we were pleased to notice, the respect of the East Indian children, they all arose and made their salute, and said salaam. Good progress is made by the children here, George Jagganath, one of the teachers, recently a heathen but now a christian of high caste and well educated in Hindustani, teaches the Hindi in school. It is very difficult to keep the heathen girls in school long enough to learn to read, the parents say “they know enough for girls”. The custom of India, is that the girls are practically sold by their fathers, while yet children, to men generally much older than themselves. After the service on Sabbath we spoke to a number of the Hindi people, were pleased to hear the history of some, for example Chumala, a Hindi woman whose Husband left her years ago, makes her living hoeing in the fields, at not more than 25cts. a day, but is always at her place in the house of God, with her weekly offering of 6cts. for the support of the

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Mission. Another remarkable woman, when indentured on the estate, began to read Hindi, had no help from teachers, except from her fellow workers, she made good progress and began to read and study the Bible, and now knows it well in all its subjects, she is now the wife of one of the catechists, and will doubtless be a great acquisition in teaching the Bible. We were surprised at the efforts of two little heathen boys, attending the school, who have to support a mother, brothers and sisters, they are very anxious to learn but have to work in the fields to get bread; they go to work very early in the morning, and do a part of the days task then come to school for three hours and go back and finish the task. They are bright intelligent boys. Rather more than six miles distance from the railway station, we are in the land of the Cacao. It is hardly possible to have a sight more glorious than the ridge of the Montserrat hills when during the months of February and March the slopes are covered with the gorgeous mass of scarlet blossoms of the “bois immortel.” The Roman Catholic Church, a commodious cedar building contains rather a novelty, a black image of the Virgin Mother. I believe at Montserrat in Spain, the church has a similar image. The view from the top of a high hill was a superb one taking in one grand sweep, Caroni, Couva, the town and peak of San Fernando, the gulf with its shipping, the Bocas, and the lofty Tucutche 3,000 feet high making in all a vast panorama. Time would not give us more than a few days at Couva, after bidding adieu to our kind friends we took the train again for our old home in San Fernando.

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So called from a Spanish word meaning “pitch.” Under the guidance of Mr. Grant, we set off one morning, at 7 o’clock, to visit the Pitch Lake of La Brea; one of the wonders of the world! and about 20 miles distant—-Having secured a fine large mule and buggy, we were on our way, passing through a cultivated country, we met numbers of Mr. Grant’s people on the road, all wishing us salaam, “peace be unto you “—One would stop and have a question to ask, another some grievance to tell about—When in sight of a cabin, the little children ran in to tell their mother that the Sahib was coming; the mother with her sick child was at the door waiting for advice and medicine, the required mixture was handed to her, and after inquiring for the aged and infirm, we drove on to the Rusilac school.—The children were reading the scripture lesson when we went in, they sang in Hindi some of our familiar hymns, after a few words to encourage them to go forward in their lessons and giving them God’s blessing we resume our journey.—The Missionary has plenty of hard ministerial work in his lot employing all his time but he has the satisfaction of seeing his work greatly appreciated. After driving quickly past the swampy malarial district called the Oropouche Lagoon, we come to tropical scenery again, rice fields mango trees and pine apple plantations. --Now we are close to the sea, away south, along the western coast, we have the Village in sight, before us are a large number of men daily employed shipping pitch. We may consider ourselves very fortunate tourists, inasmuch as Mr. McCarthy,

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manager of the works, is an old friend of Mr. Clark’s, from Shelburne, Nova Scotia. By appointment he was ready to receive us at breakfast in his own home, after which he took us through the workshops and boiling houses for the preparation of epuré, and led us to the stables where more than 100 mules are kept for drawing out the carts of pitch from the lake to the shore. We watched the strong able negroes carrying large baskets of this valuable article on their heads, through the surf to load the lighters for the ships and steamers in the offing. Mr. McCarthyhy kindly placed at our service his own carriage, himself proceeding on a fine pony. The first half mile was a delightful drive over the smooth sand beach, to the lower landing, where a jetty is getting built to load the barges. Turning towards the Lake, not very far inland, we proceeded by the new road prepared by the Company, bordered by the cashew trees, and great variety of other trees that affords the passerby a refreshing shade from the scorching rays of the mid-day sun. Fortunately for us the day was not so hot, and the sky was overcast. Ascending a small incline, when suddenly you behold the Lake in all its strange beauty. This natural wonder occupies a surface of about one hundred acres 138 feet above the sea level, and estimated to contain 4,500.000 tons of asphalt. The New York Asphalt Paving Company gives £30,000 sterling a year to the government, for the use of their claims from which they took 80,000 tons of pitch in the year 1891. A surprising thing is the rapidity with which holes in the Lake are filled; if a few tons of asphalt are dug from any one place, twenty-four hours later the spot is again level with the other

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parts. Several attempts have been recently made to ascertain its precise depth but all ineffectual. The pitch becomes hard after being exposed on the surface for some time. It is dotted by small patches of mangroves forming tiny islets. These islets are the haunts of a small species of alligators that may be seen basking in the sun. In places here and there are fissures of clear water, narrow and shallow. In the centre of the Lake the pitch becomes softer, and there is a strong scent of sulphuric acid, with hissing and fuzzing out of salt, sulphurous water of different colours. As we come nearer the “Source” we find ourselves almost imperceptibly sinking, we come as near as we dare, to this boiling pot, it is curious that none of it adheres to the boot, or on our fingers as we handle it. Having secured a specimen of it, we retrace our steps for terra firma. Many large towns and cities, both in Europe and America have streets paved with asphalt from this district. Leaving this source of wealth, we take the road leading to a large Cocoanut plantation of 9000 palms. On the road homeward tall palms are on each side of us, for which this district is noted the Morichal palm being the loftiest. Night was upon us, our good mule was not so anxious to return as we were, he jogged on his own pace, took little heed of all our persuasive powers, of scolding and coaxing, stood still and moved on, just as he felt like it, he little cared for the laws of San Fernando that we would be fined if we entered the town after dark without lights. Arriving at a certain point, we saw a light approaching, it was faithful BhupSingh on the horse with a lantern coming to look for us, so we arrived home in safety, after a

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thoroughly enjoyable day. This is really a land of wonders! It has lakes of pitch; oysters growing on trees, as we saw them, attached to the roots and branches of the mangrove trees, growing near the shore; crabs that mount on trees to obtain their living, as the soldier crab; fish that give music, by blowing their own trumpet, as is the fact with the trumpet fish; and another fish clad in a coat of mail, called the cascadou.


Excerpts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

A Sketch Of Trinidad - Excerpt 6

Excerpts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

A Sketch of Trinidad: The Canadian Mission and the opening of Presbyterian College in San Fernando, Trinidad by Alice Clark. Ottawa: Hope and Company, Stationers and Printers, 1892.


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Bidding good-bye to Port of Spain, we were soon on our way to Tunapuna. Travelling by railroad, we catch a glimpse of St. Joseph, the ancient capital of the island, and pass in sight of Tucutche, the highest mountain in Trinidad, over 3,000 feet in height. On time we arrived at Tunapuna, beautiful for situation, some twelve miles from the city. It is situated at the base of the Northern range of mountains, with picturesque views on every side. The horse and phaeton were on hand to convey us to the manse. Dr. and Mrs. Morton, and Miss Morton, were waiting our arrival, and a right hearty welcome we received. Mr. William Morton accompanied us in the train from Port of Spain, where he is attending college, having already succeeded in gaining scholarships. We were charmed with the hibiscus hedge, in full bloom, that surrounded the large grounds and garden, and shaded by large trees. What is that high tree close to the house, covered with bunches of green berries? They are gooseberries, but not like those in Canada; and these with (dark smooth pointed loaves, thickly covered with white flowers? They are coffee trees. I may add that the coffee of this island is superior to many samples sent to the London market. The large bed of roses with many varieties, were faithfully tended by Miss Morton, and came to great perfection; not the moss-rose, which is always a failure. We noticed with interest Mrs. Morton’s school of Hindi girls, some thirteen or fourteen in number. The house is so constructed that the lower part supplies class rooms and dormitories for the pupils. The girls have been taught to do all their own cooking in native Indian style, taking it by

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turns. The dishes are mostly rice and tarkara, a savoury mixture of vegetables with salt fish, cocoanut oil, and hot with spices. Each girl is learning to make her own clothing under the direction of Mrs. Morton and others. Religious instruction has occupied an important place in the’ school. The Hindi Bible-class, held five days in the week, has been a great source of interest to the girls, and satisfaction to Mrs. Morton. They translate the Hindi into English. During the Friday evening prayer. meeting, nearly an hour is spent in answering Dr. Morton’s questions, and receiving instruction on the lessons for the week. We were surprised and pleased with their proficiency. Mr. Clark was asked to give an account of his trip to the Pacific Coast, over the Rockies. He did so, and Dr. Morton told the Students to ask any questions on the subject. The first question: “Was it not, a very expensive trip?” and being answered, he replied, “It was very good of Mr. Clark to take that long journey, and spend all that money, and then come down all the way to Trinidad to give them the knowledge about that new country, and the vast mountains”. We happened to be in Tunapuna on Communion Sabbath, and enjoyed the service very much, though it was all in Hindi, except the table service, Mr. Clark conducted in English, but it was quickly interpreted by Dr. Morton. We were pleased to ‘see a number of Europeans at the service, though, like ourselves, they had not much knowledge of the language. The weird singing of the Hindus has a very solemn effect. Four or five of the Hindi girls (Marion among the number, named after a little girl many of us know in Truro), under the guidance of Miss Morton, were morning busily engaged, preparing chocolate from

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the cacao beans. It was a novel sight to watch the process, from the outset to the end. Some of it was kindly handed to us, before leaving the hospitable home of Dr. Morton; and let me say, it is proclaimed to be, “absolutely pure, and a delightful beverage for breakfast or supper.”

During our stay we visited a number of the Mission Schools in that district, special mention should be made of Tacarigua school, under the care of Miss Blackaddar and her assistants—Miss B. is one of our earliest teachers and has done faithful and efficient work—We had a pleasant time in her cosy home, looking at her curios and rare china gifts, she had received from her Asiatic pupils. Another day she took us out in her dog-cart, drawn by a pretty little pony, and felt proud to tell us that the dog-cart was made by one of her Hindi boys. We were much astonished at the density of the Asiatic population from Tunapuna up to Arouca and indeed all the way to Arima. Here you see on the road, men and women, young and old, going to the market, with their fowls and vegetables, in loaded baskets or trays on their heads, returning in the evening with the home supplies. And many men leading don key with the panniers loaded with charcoal, and other commodities for sale. Donkeys and mules are very useful animals in that country, although it must be said of some, they go fast or slow, or not at all just as the fit takes him. We drive into

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the coolie village lined with plantain trees, flamboyants, and unfamiliar shrubs with large bright leaves. The dwelling houses are made of mud or bamboo, and thatched with palm leaves, half hidden by banana trees. Most of the men look tall, they are slender and small boned, but the limbs are well formed. Nearly all wear the same dress of India; the thickly folded turban usually white, white drawers or ‘kapra’ reaching but half way down the thigh, leaving the knees and the legs bare, and sometimes a white jacket. They are grave, talk in low tones, and seldom smile. Those you see with heavy black beards are probably Mussulmans, I am told they have their mosques and that ‘the muezzin’s call to prayer, is chanted three times daily on many plantations. The Mohamedans allow the beard to grow. Very comely some of the Hindi women are in their clinging soft, bright flowered dresses and veils, a costume leaving arms and ankles bare. Bright little bronzy innocents, are playing about in natural garb, one little garment would be a sign of religion or civilization and would not add much to the heat of the day. A coolie mother passes, carrying at her hip a very pretty naked baby, its tiny ankles and wrists are circled by thin silver rings, it looks like a little bronze statuette. The mother’s arms are covered from elbow to wrist with silver bracelets some flat and decorated. She has large flowers of gold in her ears, a large gold ring in her nose. This nose ornament does not seem absurd. Those who are well versed in the Hindi Bible, tell us that Rebekah wore a ring “in the breathing place”. This jewellery is pure metal; it is thus the Hindus carry their savings,

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melted down silver or gold coins, and recasting it into bracelets earrings and other ornaments. The Prebyterian church at Arima is partly owned by the congregation of the Rev. J. Dickson and partly by our Mission, the W. F. M. Society gave a handsome donation, the church meets the requirements of both admirably. A present of a fine large harmonium, had just been received from friends in Britain. The Rev. Mr. Diçkon has for many years ministered to the congregations of Arouca and Arima. Long will we remember our lunch at Arima consisting of luscious oranges, biscuits and milk from the green cocoanut. But the country: who can describe the charming, everlasting hills, here, ever before us? Those nearest are softly shaped and exquisitely green; above them loftier undulations take hazier verdancy and darker shadows. Those who desire to paint a West Indian landscape must take his view from some great height through which the colors come to the eye softened and subdued by distance, toned with blues or purples by the astonishing atmosphere. Now we are approaching the clear sparkling waters of the Arima river, the rocky descent to the river is covered with large ferns, moses and lichens. Leaving our carriage we advance slowly, we are down in the shady valley wandering from spot to spot and lost in wonder, at the variety of gorgeous shrubs and dainty ferns. As we follow this shady path on the bank of the stream are patches of snow white lilies, falling in clusters from stems that rise about a, foot from tufts of glossy green leaves. From the roots of some a delicious sago is prepared. We stood a while to watch the negro washer women busy at their washing in the shallow places of the

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river. It has a curious interest, this spectacle of primitive toil: the whiteness of the linen laid out to bleach upon the huge bowlders, or patches of grass in the sun. But we must leave this romantic spot, and take the road through Dabadie to the extensive nursery of Palms and principal plants of the tropical world, we were delighted and instructed by the person in charge, taking us through the grounds and explaining the names and qualities of the any plants, which in season would be forwarded to New York and Europe. Sundown approaches: we take the road homeward. The color of the heights is exquisite! being a rich golden,
and when reflected on the bright yellow blossoms of the poui trees, on the sides of the mountains gives an imposing picture for the brush of an artist, or the color photography, recently discovered by Prof. Lippmann.

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A Sketch Of Trinidad - Excerpt 5

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A Sketch of Trinidad: The Canadian Mission and the opening of Presbyterian College in San Fernando, Trinidad by Alice Clark. Ottawa: Hope and Company, Stationers and Printers, 1892.


Reference was made in one of the addresses, to the volumes of immense size, in the College library, to justify the wisdom of the Mission Council in appointing Rev. Lal-Bihari, as one of the instructors in Hindi literature. The absurdities in these books taught in India, will be seen at a glance by the following examples: The largest volume is the “Mahabharat”, which contains in its several parts, 6,704 pages, each page twenty-eight lines, and each line averaging ten words, aggregating at least 1,877,120 words, whilst our scriptures contain 773,746 words. The name signifies a great battle, and the story covers an eighteen days’ fight between two rival families,

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in the vicinity of Delhi. Five brothers contended with 100 brothers, and because Krishna, the eighth Incarnation of Vishnu fought with the five, they come off victorious. Another volume was the Balmiki Ramayan, which contains about 603,000 words, a little less than our Bible. The design of, the book is to glorify Rama, the seventh Incarnation of the god Vishnu, who is the second of the Hindi trio. A third, Sukhsagar, equal to the Ramayan in size, is a Hindi translation of the much prized book, in Sanscrit, the Bhagawat, so sacred, that the simple hearing of its words, is a guarantee for admission to the ocean of happiness as the name Sukh-Sagar signifies. A fourth is called the Debe-Bhagawat, in which the goddess Debi, is extolled and represented as the mother of the Hindi trio, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The collection contains several other books of less dimensions than those named. I believe it is not intended to go into any very minute examination of these books, and yet it appears to be important that young men preparing to preach the Gospel, and refute objectors, who draw their arguments from these sources, should themselves, in order to reply skilfully, know something of these volumes; hence Mr. Lal-Bihari, who had special advantages as a youth, will open up this class of literature in a general way.

As kind friends had invited us to visit their Cacao estate near the Montserrat Hills, we returned to Princestown by the Cipero tramway, which took us through eight miles of sugar estates. Rev. Mr.

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Macrae was on hand to meet us. Thanks to the kind hearted Mr. H. B. Darling, who made a gift to our Mission, of a large part of his beautifully situated property for the “Manse”, and the adjoining buildings and grounds. Though an Episcopalian he has ever shown the deepest interest in our Missionaries. We feel very grateful to Mr. Darling and the Doctor for their kindness to us, and we will not forget the many enjoyable drives, in the large comfortable “Victoria”, and the exquisitely arranged flowers they sent in to us during our stay. At 7 a.m., a party of us started for the Cacao plantation, and driving along through the charming country, we were delighted with the towering palms, the silk cotton tree (Ceiba), arid other trees. - In the distance were the very picturesque hills, ablaze with scarlet- blossoms of the great “bois immortelles “. We travelled on, and were attracted by the fine buildings on the “New Grant” sugar estate. Passing out of the estates, we drove through groves of majestic trees, still rising to a higher altitude. The Government has gravelled the roads at a great expense, as the gravel had to be brought from a great distance. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer were in waiting, at their neat cedar cottage, and gave us a hearty Scotch welcome. Among the friends at the West Indian breakfast, at 11 a.m., were Mrs. Morton, Mr. Macrae, Mr. Soudeen, and Mr. Warner, the warden of this section of Trinidad. The conversation was exceedingly racy, and fraught with much information about the fauna of the island. Having enjoyed a good piece of deer meat, at breakfast, and a cup of delicious coffee, that grew on the estate, we walked over to the Cacao estate. The tropical sun was hot on the road, but when we entered among the Cacao trees, and the wonderful shade trees, the

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“bois immortelles”, we were shaded and comparatively cool. These high trees, with wide spreading branches, hate been provided to shade the young cacoa trees, and their roots supply moisture during the height of the dry season. We were much interested in noticing the growth of the Cacao, much like medium sized apple trees. The blossom and pod were growing on the same tree. A singular feature about these pods, they grow out, and are attached to the trunk, as well as the branches of the trees; some of them are eight or ten inches long, and six inches round. The varied foliage of the trees, the bright yellow, green, and crimson pods, the towering “bois immortelles” with their brilliant blossoms, and the bright blue sky shining between, is very striking t the unfamiliar eye. The greatest hindrance to the successful cultivation of the valuable Cacao, is the parasol ants, which are only destroyed at great expense and labor, by digging deep holes around their hills; they fill these with water, and destroy them by myriads. After the pods are opened, the beans are dried, and made ready for market, to be sent to Great Britain and America, and prepared by Epp, Cadbury, and Mott. Very luscious oranges grow in Princestown. A large quantity were plucked from the trees in the garden. Only those who have eaten oranges freshly plucked from the tree, know what the real flavour of an orange is.

Leaving San Fernando in the train, for a visit to Port of Spain, the Capital, situated on the shores of the Gulf of Paria, about two miles from the mouth of the Caroni river, and one of the finest cities in

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the West Indies. It has a mixed population of 30,000, composed of British, Spanish, French, Chinese, African, Asiatics, and Creoles. At Marabella junction, the Rev. A Ramsay gave us a surprise, instead of meeting “us at the Quay”, as promised in his genial invitation. After going through 37 miles of beautiful scenery, we arrived at the Capital, and were driven to St. Ann’s Free Church “Manse”, where Mrs. Ramsay was waiting our arrival at the dour. Sooth friends came in to meet us that evening, and the hours went rapidly, reciting the’ “Cottar’ Saturday Night”, and other national poems, which transported all, to their “ain countrie”, though far away from the land of the heather. We were informed the next day, that the two days preceding Ash Wednesday, were devoted to King Carnival, by the Roman Catholics, masquerading and tomfoolery being the order of the day. We took a tram-car, and went round the city to see the sights, but we were glad to return, for the Creoles and rowdies take the advantage of the privilege of masking and speaking to every one they may meet on the street. The better class of Spaniards and French dress themselves in fantastic costumes, and ride or drive about, visiting their friends. The custom is gradually dying out. The City is flat, with broad level streets, laid out with mathematical precision, and kept very clean, having well-formed concrete gutters in every street, down which the tropical rains flow with great force. But I must not forget to mention, the natural scavenger, the black glossy corbeaux or vulture, to be seen in the middle of the street, gobbling up any refuse they can find; more useful than ornamental. Here and there are beautiful residences, in cool gardens of palms and lovely

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flowering trees. The road round the Savanna is called “The Circular”, and it is much frequented by those who like a drive after the heat of the day. The northern bend of the Queen’s Park, brings you to the Governor’s residence, and the Botanical Gardens. The house, a palatial edifice, designed on Indian model, and built of native limestone, was erected at a cost of £45,000. The Botanic Gardens who can describe them? Here are gathered the principal plants of the tropical world. Under the guidance of the learned Superintendent, who took great pleasure in describing to us the peculiar qualities of the many strange trees arid plants, all so new to us, he pointed out, the Palmyra palm, used by the orientals for making fans, baskets, etc.; the Talipot palm, used for making books. In the Palm walk are to be seen a number of Australian and Indian palms. Here is the Saponaria or soap tree, and the Chinese wax tree; one of the seeds gathered fresh from the tree, will burn readily with a bright white light, till it is consumed. Near the large gate is very fine Eucalyptus, with a trunk measuring more than thirty feet in diameter; and the giant bamhoo and the striped bamboo, both being natives of India. A gigantic Portugal laurel, throwing out a flower direct from the stem, like a cactus. Grandest among them all, and happily in full bloom, was the sacred tree of Burmah, at a distance like a splendid horse- chestnut, with large crimsom blossoms in pendant bunches. There stood an enormous ceiba or silk cotton tree, umbrella shaped, the boughs twisting in and out till they made a roof over one’s head, which was hung with every variety of parasites. The Ceiba is the sacred tree of the negro; the temple of Jumbi the proper home of Obeah. No negro

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would wound even the bark. Here the ground is covered with the Nux Vomica; we gathered some of the grey satin seeds. The nutmeg had a glen all to themselves, and perfumed the surounding air. Take one, and the thick green case splits in equal halves, at a touch; see the beautiful heart within, deep dark glossy brown, all wrapped in a bright network of flat red fibre, spun over it like branching veins, afterwards changing to yellow, and known a mace. Now we have entered the Nursery Grounds, containing many different varieties of coffee plants and cacao, the tea plant, the camphor, cinnamon and clove trees. What is that palm bearing its fruit at the base of the trunk? That is the ivory palm; the hard white material supplies the world with buttons and handles. The grandest of all is the broad fan-shaped Travellers’ palm, thirty feet high; make an incision in one of the fronds, and take a draught of cool water. Among the wonders of the gardens, are the vines or creepers that climb about the other trees, at particular times of the year. The fig vine throws out tendrils that hang down like strings. The time was far too short for us to see all, in this wonderland, containing 90 acres We took a hasty glance at the Electric eel, and entered the carriage kindly sent for us from “Errol House”, which is beautifully situated at the foot of the mountains, and is indeed a charming residence. Every where you see palms, in all stages of development. Palms border the garden walk; they are grouped in exquisite poise about the basins of fountains. At the gate we entered, stood, like stately sentinels, a superb pair of majestic, cabbage palms, their long silver-grey trunks, with deep green plume-tufted summits, reached nearly a hundred feet in altitude. Wide steps, lined with vases of rare

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begonias of every hue, lead up to a West Indian reception room, shaded and cool, with polished and richly carpeted floors, ornamental palms and ferns growing about the galleries and dining room. A large lawn, with beds of roses and a spraying fountain -—beautiful--—it was beyond dispute. At moments one can fancy that the world is an enchanted place after all.

Having heartily enjoyed our sojourn in “St. Anne’s”, we left on the kind invitation of our old friend, Rev. E. A. McCurdy, for Tranquillity, meet name for the residents of the amiable pastor of Grey friars church and his worthy wife, herself the daughter of a clergyman, and their kind and thoughtful son. The architecture of the fine new “Manse” might be described as of Swiss design, made suitable for the tropics. Eaves are developed into verandah roofs, and porches prolonged and lengthened into galleries, both front and hack, and approached by a broad flight of steps. These admirably ventilated rooms; these latticed windows, opening to the ceiling, are devised to keep out the heat and let in the air. Many of the varied crotons, with numerous ornamental shrubs, surround the garden. Every morning Cinderella would take great delight arranging the double and single hibiscus, crimson, pink, and fawn colour, and bunches of the tasselated red hibiscus, with the sweet-scented, double-white jessamine. The many delightful drives took us past charming villas, and palatial suburban mansions, wide-spreading Savannas with mammoth

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trees and fine specimens of the Cannonball tree. We wheel into a road that leads to the very romantic Maraval river. Nature and art have combined to make this spot a little paradise. The smooth white road curves round the slope of a forest-covered mountain, sometimes overlooking a valley shining with different shades of surface green. We pass underneath marvellous natural arcades, formed by the interweaving and intercrossing of bamboos 80 feet high. Rising in vast clumps, and spreading out from the soil towards the sky, the curves of their beautiful jointed stems meet at such perfect angles, above the way and on either side of it, as to imitate almost exactly the elaborate Gothic arch-work of old abbey cloisters. Arborescent ferns of unfamiliar elegance curve up from the path or river-brink. Here rustic bridges span the ferny dells of the Maraval and lead us to a miniature lake, whose crystal waters reflect the graceful trees and shrubs that hang over it. The slender, gracefully arched bamboos, many-lined crotons, fragrant oleanders, and slender ferns, surrounding the reservoir of bright clear water, combine to make a scene that is most striking. Great credit is given to the keeper of the water works, who is an old warrior, wearing the Crimean medal, hailing from the Emerald Isle. We had the pleasure of meeting a number of the excellent people of Grey-friars church, and will not soon forget their Christian hospitality and intercourse. Special mention should be made of their interest in’ the Presbyterian College, San Fernando, when on hearing of the £50 debt that remained on it, at the opening, the nobly came forward, and soon the debt was among the things that were ; and now it is free. The valuable gift of books, by the warm-hearted Mr. Goodwille, will invoke the gratitude of the students for many a day.

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A Sketch of Trinidad - Excerpt 4

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A Sketch of Trinidad: The Canadian Mission and the opening of Presbyterian College in San Fernando, Trinidad by Alice Clark. Ottawa: Hope and Company, Stationers and Printers, 1892.


It is a very pleasant drive to Princestown, about
eight miles from San Fernando. En route we passed large sugar estates, and a number of villages, namely Cocoye Mount Stewart, Palmyra, and Iëre, in the last named, our Trinidad Mission was commenced, a quarter of a century ago, by Rev. Dr. Morton, now stationed in Tunapuna. We drove past the dwelling- places of the East Indian and creoles. Their cabins are built of bamboo, thatched with palm leaves. The more free the passage given to the air under the floor, and through the side, the more healthy the habitation. A roof which will keep the rain out is all that is needed. They are overhung with breadfruit trees,

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mango, and calabash trees, out of which they make their cups and water jugs: plantains throw their cool shade over the doors; oranges and limes perfume the air, and droop their boughs under the weight of their golden burdens. There are yams and sweet potatoes in the gardens; cows and donkeys in the paddocks. The bright colours and graceful drapery, worn by the women of India, make the whole surroundings very picturesque. We were kindly received at the “Manse “, by the Rev. W. L Macrae, who had invited us to spend a few days with him and his dear little John, a bright intelligent boy. The “Manse” is large and airy, with shades to keep out the sun. The first noticeable feature about the place, is its neatly trimmed hedge of croton and catcus. Around the “Manse” are fine old trees. A large orange tree, loaded with luscious fruit, was very near our bed-room window; and next to it, an old lime tree, the stem and branches of which were hung with orchids; they had probably been collected in the woods. Princestown is considered the prettiest, little village, or town, in Trinidad. It was originally known as the Mission, but from the time of the visit of the two sons of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, in January, 1889, the name, in compliment to them, has been changed to that it now bears. In the pretty church yard, are two thriving young pouis trees, planted by the princes, and enclosed, in 1887, within iron railings, in commemoration of Her Majesty’s Jubilee. As we gazed upon these trees, full of life, we thought of the hand that planted one of them, now still in death, over whom the nation is now mourning. Several friends called to see us, and kindly asked us to 5-o’clock tea. We had an opportunity of walking in their pretty grounds and lawns,

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and looking at the fragrant lilies, the purple Dracaena; and what is this, which hangs over into the road? some thirteen feet in height, long, bare, curving sticks, carrying each at it end a flat blaze of scarlet leaves. It is the Poinsettea, paltry specimens of which adorn our conservatories. In company with Mr. Macrae, and his Catechist, Mr. Soudeen, we visited a number of Mission schools, Jordan Hill, Lingua, and Inverness, and were highly delighted with the progress made by the Indian children. We took our lunch in picnic style, of roast chicken, good bread, oranges and bananas, with a delicious cup of coffee (the mixture was prepared by a firm in Truro, Nova Scotia), the boiling water was kindly brought to us by Mehindebeg, a Christian now, formerly a Mahommedan of high caste. Another day we visited Miss Archibald’s school, which is near the Mission church and “Manse”, in Princestown. We found her school with an attendance of over 150 pupils, taught by herself and three or four assistants. We were much interested in hearing them read and recite in English and Hindi, and singing sacred hymns in both languages; the boys and girls read very distinctly in English. They answer very readily questions in grammar, geography, and arithmetic, and we wondered at the progress made in view of the difficulty in securing their regular attendance. Each scholar leaving the school received from Miss Archibald a prize, which kind friends in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton had contributed. Could I describe the joyful faces of the little girls, as the each received a doll (some of them never having had doll before), and the boy’s bright eyes were beaming with delight, as they got their books, and cases, containing pens and pencils. Could the Mission Bands of Canada

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and elsewhere have looked on, it would have encouraged them more and more in their good work, and lead them to resolve to be more in earnest in gathering suitable rewards, for regular attendance, and success in studies.

The second of February, 1892, the “Presbyterian College of Trinidad” was formally opened, in San Fernando. The exercises were of a most interesting kind. The Presbytery of Trinidad, with a large congregation of Hindus met in the College in the afternoon, and 36 intelligent East Indian young men were enrolled as students. Mr. Paul Bhukhan, one of the catechists, then presented a vote of thanks to the Missionaries, who had labored so long and so faithfully among the Indian people; to the Canadian church, which had sent them, and to all the friends of the Mission, who had contributed so freely to its support, and to the erection of the College. The motion as most cordially supported by all the Asiatics who were present. In the evening, the College was packed to overflowing by the leading people in the island; seated on the platform, were merchants, doctors, lawyers, and clergymen. After singing the 100th Psalm and the reading of the 35th chapter of Isaiah, and a very earnest prayer, chiefly of thanksgiving by Mr. Grant, he narrated the steps leading to the erection of the edifice. The chair was taken by His Worship, W. Sloane Robertson, Mayor of San Fernando, who is ever ready and willing to help in every way the work of the Mission. I am

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sure those interested it the Mission will be glad to read Rev. K. J. Grant’s and His Worship the Mayor’s speeches, as reported in the Gazette, as follows :—

Mr. Grant then proceeded to trace the successive steps which led up to the happy circumstances under which the meeting was convened. He stated: No church can expect any great success that has to rely upon an imported ministry. The Canadian Missionaries who labour amongst the East Indians in this colony are deeply impressed with this conviction. They believe that God has a work for them to do in this mission that at the present stage could not be very well carried out by the native agents, and yet they are as deeply convinced that no great results will be achieved without the co-operation of faithful converts, however humble, who are taught of God. Consequently, at an early stage, such men were selected, and instructed as the missionaries had opportunity to give instruction. Of course much depended on the personal application and consecration of the individual. A few made good progress, and they now occupy places of usefulness, being held in honour by their countrymen, and two have’ been set apart, by ordination, to the office of ministry. But “the King’s business requireth haste.” Through the kindness and liberality of all our leading sugar proprietors, seconded by the Government, our Indian schools now number fifty. By means of these a primary education is brought within the reach of a very large proportion of our East Indian population. These efforts to educate the young, render it increasingly imperative that our evangelists should be well instructed, that they may be qualified to teach others who are rapidly growing in knowledge.
To provide the necessary facilities to meet these requirements has been to the Missionaries a matter of deep concern. To provide suitable premises with equipments called for an outlay that they were not prepare to meet. Various proposals were made to meet the exigencies, and at that stage, 18 months ago, accompanied by my family, I went on leave to Canada. Having the privilege of addressing the General Assembly at Ottawa, I stated the case as it presented itself to my mind, and appealed for aid, asking $4,000. Within forty-eight hours I received two donations, ach &1,ooo. It was my good fortune to have been the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Clark, who are on the platform with us tonight, and to whom we are indebted for our first donation; and when we remember in entering on new enterprises how

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much depends on a good start, it is hardly over-estimating their liberality, and that of the saintly old lady that gave a similarly liberal donation, to say that to them we are indebted at this early day for our new premises. Donation after donation followed, and to date our scheme has received not only; the $4,000 but upwards of $5,00o, and if this large and influential meeting should place in the plate tonight about £5o, or if not to-night, cheques, bank notes or donations in any form, tomorrow, it would enable us to declare that we have opened shop with our unencumbered. Pray don’t think me ungrateful. To some of you we are indebted for your gifts and are thankful. I may name His Worship the Mayor and Mrs. John Drennan. I can’t enumerate all our donors. That collection of new books (pointing to a book case), costing £15, is the gift of George Goodwille, Esquire, Port-of-Spain. In furnishing for the students quarters, we are indebted to Dr. Morton for nearly an equal amount. It is only the other day that I received one of the most pleasantly written little epistles that has come to my hand with an order for £25 in aid. Mr. Edward Tennant, son of Sir Charles, was the writer.
One pleasing feature of the whole movement is the interest taken in it by the East Indians themselves. One of their number, Mr. Albert Sammy, whose services were given to this building continuously for five months, without any charge, was today presented with that book case which contains, in 30 volumes, an American edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, from the Foreign Mission Board of our Church, and he in turn for three years leaves it within these walls for the benefit of the Institution. Contributions have been sent in, not only by the Indian congregation of this town, but also from Tunapuna, Princes Town and Couva.
This afternoon this Institution was formally declared opened by the Presbytery of Trinidad, and the teaching staff designated. Dr. Morton, who will be President, to teach two days weekly; N Mr. Coffin one day; myself two days, and Babu Lal Bihari at intervals. Our subjects are quite distinct, so that one need not encroach on the work of another. When we turn our eyes to the ponderous tomes that you see on yonder shelves, the wisdom of appointing a native of India himself brought up in early years at the feet of a pandit, well versed in the lore of these books, will meet your approval.
We would be modest, and yet it is not improbable that this Institution will, for a time at least, do service for Colonies other than Trinidad. We have given men to a very interesting

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Mission in Grenada under the Rev. Mr. Rae; we have a branch Mission in St. Lucia under Mr. Jas. Cropper, which an ordained Indian this week goes forward to visit; and within a week, I had an intimitation from a Presbyterian Minister in Demerara, that he is sending up a Christian helper to this school for higher instruction. Speaking as a Presbyterian, it would appear as if Trinidad were to be for a time a recognized centre, and glad would I be, as almost a son of the soil, if we could be useful to the regions beyond. I can almost anticipate the time when from this western abode a company taught of God may be sent back to carry to the place of their nativity in the East, the riches better than gold acquired here—even the blessing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (Applause.)
The Rev. Dr. MORTON then addressed the meeting, and called upon His Worship the Mayor to take the chair: Mr. Robertson, said the speaker, was ever ready and willing to help in every way the work of this Mission. The speaker then paid a compliment to His Worship on the improvement which had been made in Coffee Street just in front of the building in which they were assembled that night.

His Worship THE MAYOR took the chair and, addressing the meeting, said: In response to an invitation of the Mission Council to preside on this occasion, I have much pleasure in taking the chair, and I feel it is a high compliment indeed to preside at such a large, influential and respectable a gathering as that assembled here this evening, composed as it is of all classes and of members of nearly all denominations in this town. I think this fact alone bears ample testimony to the interest that is taken generally by the community in the work of the Canadian Mission, and particularly of that section of it with which Mr. Grant has been connected for the last 20 odd years. (Applause.) Today he has had the satisfaction of seeing favourably opened the Training College for the native teachers that he has been so long striving to accomplish and bring into working shape, and we must congratulate him and the whole Mission on the success that has so far attended these labors, for I feel sure that he must have had many an anxious hour before he saw his way to get the funds necessary to enable him to undertake the erection of this building. Thanks, however, to the kindness of generous friends he has been able to do so. It is in a measure to celebrate the completion and opening of this institution in a more general and less formal way than has already been done that, I take it, we are assembled here this evening, and I am pleased to see that the meeting is such a large one. When,

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however I took around and see such a formidable array of clerical friends, several of whom are to address us this evening, it makes me feel rather diffident in giving expression to any of my views, as I feel it is not to listen to anything that I have to say that so many are present, but to hear from these clerical friends what they have to tell us, and especially, I should think, those from outside the Colony, such as our friend the Revd. Mr. Clark, of Ottawa, who is here at present on a visit to Mr. Grant, and who I know takes a lively and personal interest in the work of this Mission. (Applause.) However, placed as I am in the chair on this interesting occasion, do not think it would be right of me to sit down without saying a word or two regarding the work of the Canadian Mission generally, and particularly as regards the share that Mr. Grant has had in it during the time that his lot has been cast amongst us. Coming here, as I have already stated, something over 2o years ago—I remember well the very day that Mr. and Mrs. Grant arrived in Trinidad. I happened to be in Port-of-Spain that day and came down with them by steamer to San Fernando—Mr. Grant has been since then actively engaged in the work among the East Indians—in fact Dr. Morton and he were the pioneers of the Mission of the Canadian Church to the East Indians in this island—and I feel confident in saying that, so far as Mr. Grant’s work is concerned, no one in this community who has watched what has been going on will gainsay that this work has been eminently successful. Of course the other sections of the Mission have also no doubt met with very marked success, but of them I am not in a position to speak, as I am not so intimately acquainted with their work as I am with Mr. Grant’s. That of course, is natural, as being settled in our midst we see from year to year the success that has attended Mr. Grants labors, and one very visible sign of that success is the very handsome building next to this—I mean the Susamachar Church—and connected therewith a very large and appreciative congregation, composed principally of East Indians and Chinese, most of them trained in his own schools and all more or less contributing liberally to the support of this their own church. In evidence of this we have only to turn to Mr. Grant’s report for the past year in, which you will see it stated that this church contributed $1,474.62 and the out-stations $392.45—in all $1,79.o7, surely a very gratifying and tangible sign of the interest taken by the members in their church and in Mr. Grant’s work among them. Regarding the building in which we are this evening met, it is, I understand, to be used in future as the Presbyterian College—and a very

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nice building it is—and seems to he well suited for the purpose. The Inauguration of this building I take as another sign of the vitality of the work in which Mr. Grant has been engaged, and I have no doubt under his able direction and control, and with the assistance of the other members of the Canadian Mission will soon be sending out many native evangelists to assist and continue the good work that has been so long carried on by Mr. Grant and those associated with him. That this is a step in the right direction, I do not think any one will doubt, and with the thorough and conscientious training that these teachers are sure to get in this institution I feel that they will go out among their countrymen well armed and equipped for the work; and if Mr. Grant can only succeed in infusing into them some of his own earnestness and enthusiasm there is little doubt that they will, under God’s blessing, accomplish much good among their countrymen, and lead many of them to give up their superstitions and embrace the light and truth of the Living Gospel. (Applause). In connection with the Mission work in this town, there is also a large and eminently successful day school, where the children are being taught not only the truths of Christianity but also getting a good sound education; and that the school is doing an immense amount of good among the young people I am sure few will dispute. Look in San Fernando alone, there is scarcely a business house in the town but has one or more young East Indians employed (applause), and thoroughly exemplary and reliable clerks they make; and I have little doubt will also make good and intelligent citizens. (Applause.) There is also the Sabbath school to notice, which is evidently doing a vast amount of good, judging from the interest that is taken in it, as I see from Mr. Grant s report that there were 211 scholars present on the last Sabbath of the year and that he had 24 young men in his own class. There were about 21 teachers, half of whom had been present every Sabbath in the year—very satisfactory results I think; results that we must admit Mr. Grant has every reason to be proud of, I wish also to bring to your notice, in connection with the work here, a very valuable institution that was started some four years ago—I mean the Penny Saving’s Bank. It, too, has been a wonderful success as you will b able to judge when I state that at the 31st December last year there were 280 accounts open; that during the year 6,2 transactions took place: 5,252 deposits and 1,190 withdrawals—amounting to $3,192.66 deposits, and $3,463.09 withdrawals —showing a turnover of $6,655.75; and there is now in the Government Savings’ Bank, on behalf of the depositors $1,008.04.

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Since the bank was started the total number of transactions have been: deposits 21,851, amounting to $9,107,44; withdrawals 2,732, amounting to $8,099 40—total transactions 24,583, amounting to $17,206 84—demonstrating surely, that this institution is quietly and unobtrusively doing some good among the people here generally—for the depositors are not confined to East Indians alone—in inducing them to put a little aside for a rainy day, and in a way inculcating habits of thrift and saving which, in this community especially, is so much to be desired. This work is more specially under the direction of Mr. Geddes Grant, who is ably assisted by several of the young men connected with the Mission, and by two or three others from outside, but as treasurer, Mr. Geddes Grant gets the bulk of the work thrown on his shoulders, and that it entails a lot of labor and the sacrifice of a great deal of time, you can easily imagine from the figures I have already placed before you. In this connection I would say, as President of the Bank, that the work is getting too heavy for those now carrying it on—the transactions on a single evening at times having amounted to over 250—and further assistance is urgently required; and if any of the young men here this evening who have an hour or two to spare during the week will only come forward and lend their assistance they will be engaging in a good work and have the satisfaction of feeling that they were doing something for the benefit of those among whom they live. (Applause) Now all this work in San Fernando is carried on more or less under Mr. Grant’s care and supervision; but do not for a moment imagine that this is the measure and extent of the work in which he is engaged—oh no; just look around on the estates and see the number of schools there are earned on under his direction. It would take more time than I care to detain you to mention them all, and to go into details of the other labours in which he is engaged outside of the town. Suffice it to say that the proprietors of the sugar estates around evidently feel and know that he is doing a good work that is of benefit to their people on these estates, as evidenced by the liberal support that the Mission receives from nearly all of them for the support of schools, etc. Referring again to Mr. Grant’s report I see that there were open 17 schools with teachers and assistants, with a roll of 891, of whom 619 were boys and 272 girls—having a daily average attendance of 609. Surely this is very gratifying evidence of the success that is attending Mr. Grant’s labors in this direction. We must not forget, too, that in all this good work Mr. Grant has had an able and willing helper in his good wife, especially in her relations to

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the women who, in their own position and duties, are keeping pace with their husbands and brothers. (Applause) Looking at the whole work even on the lowest grounds, I say surely the community is deriving a great deal of benefit from it in the education and enlightenment that is being spread among them; and if such is the case, is it not our duty, as a community, to assist and encourage in every way we possibly can the good work of the Canadian Mission? Those people are brought here for the purpose of tilling our lands and are necessary for the agricultural development of the island, and surely there is a duty to them beyond the mere carrying out of the agreement to pay them so much for their labour, a duty that entails on us the necessity as far as lies in our power of not allowing them to return to their native land without offering them some of the advantages we possess. (Applause.) There has been a lot of controversy lately in some of the English papers as to the good that is being done by Missions in the East, and much has been said to try and bring Missionary effort into disrepute, as not being not ‘ worth the money that is spent on it. I do not wish to express any opinion on the matter, but this I know, that, so far as this Mission is concerned, we have only to look’ at what is taking place in our midst to see that this Mission is a success and giving ample testimony to the fact that the seed sown here is bearing good fruit. (Applause.) We are not all born to be Missionaries, like Mr. Grant, but each and all of us. especially those who have had the benefit of early Christian training, can to some extent show those people, by our., conduct and actions, that Christianity with us is not merely a name, but a living principle guiding all our actions, whether in the field, the store, the counting house, or in our own homes. I am confident that I only express the earnest hope and desire of all present this evening that Mr. Grant and those associated with him will be long spared to carry on the good work in which they are engaged, and that the Canadian Mission here may enjoy continued prosperity.’
The Rev. Dr. Morton, addressing the meeting, said: “On an occasion such as this, I always think of those who are no longer with us, but who contributed their share to the work that has been done. When in Canada two years ago, I came across, in the Records of the Foreign Mission Committee,

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the first written suggestions that looked toward this College. They were drawn up by the Rev. T. Christie, who for ten years laboured in Couva when there was neither railroad, nor macadamized roads, and his remains sleep in California. United States, and those of Mrs. Christie in Canada. For five years Rev. J. W. Macleod worked faithfully at Princestown, and built the church there. We consecrated our graveyard at Tunapuna by lying his body in the first grave. Mrs. Macleod is buried at Truro, N. S. Miss Archibald rests in the graveyard in San Fernando, and Mrs. Macrae, at Princestown. These have all been called away, while we have been spared; let us not this night forget their work. Rev. Mr. Wright, who built the church in Couva, left his child buried there. We have buried our dead in every district, and throughout these years, Mr. Grant and myself have been spared. There is no credit to us in that. God called the others; He spared us to see the College open this day, and to Him be the thanksgiving and praise. With life and health granted us, it would have been disgraceful had we forsaken the work. But it is well for us all, to recognize that this work does not depend on Mr. Grant and myself. We are more men of the past than of the future. The men of the future are Messrs. Macrae, Coffin and Thompson, behind me on the platform, and Lal-Bihari, Ragbir, Sooden, and other East Indians in the audience before me. More and more must we give place to those men; and you must receive them and cheer them on as God’s agents for carrying forward the work, which we were permitted to begin, and in which we were for a time aided and cheered.” After the other speeches were over, the Rev. Mr. Grant proposed a vote of thanks to the

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chairman, which was received with loud applause. His Worship replied, and after singing hymn 494, ”God be with you till we meet again,” and the pronouncing of the Benediction by the Rev. G. M. Clark, the meeting was brought to a close at 10 p.m. We felt it to be a pleasure indeed to be present at the opening of the College, certainly an epoch in the history of our Mission; and to all interested in the cause, it was felt to be a “red letter day”. If those who speak coldly of the results of Foreign Missions, could only have seen, with their own eyes, the so speedily wrought, and have heard with their own ears, the appreciative words in which the labour of our Missionaries were enthusiastically commended, there would be found at home a more widespread and abiding interest in a work, the full issue of which, eternity alone shall reveal.


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A Sketch Of Trinidad - Excerpt 3

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TITLEA Sketch of Trinidad: The Canadian Mission and the opening of Presbyterian College in San Fernando, Trinidad by Alice Clark. Ottawa: Hope and Company, Stationers and Printers, 1892.


Sabbath, January 3rd, was a very interesting one to us in San Fernando. In the early morning, Rev. K. J. Grant and his assistant, Rev. Lal-Bihari, went out about three miles from the Central Station, and conducted service in Hindostani, and a similar service in the hospital, a few miles distant. At 11 a.m., the service was held at the central church. We 4 were present, and will not soon forget the original Hindi hymns. They sang with a weird but solemn cadence; they all appeared to be very attentive and devout. The congregation was composed of about 150 Hindus, within reach of the church. They were clothed chiefly in the peculiar garb of India—the veil (Orhrnee), the petticoat (Ehanghera), and bodice(Jullah), in many brilliant colours. Some of the women had a large number of silver bracelets and armlets on their arms; ear and nose rings, ornaments for the hair, necklaces, and bangles for the ankles. Before the close of the service, Rev. G. M.

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Clark was requested to address them, which was quickly interpreted into Hindustani, by one of the many clever scholars; afterwards they were asked to express their welcome to us, in coming so far to see them, and to bid them God speed. To our surprise, they all rose and made their salaams to us, and we received them, as their unanimous and hearty welcome. Then they were invited to come forward and be introduced to us by name, we both shaking hands with them individually. It was a scene which moved us very much. The Sabbath-school was held in the afternoon, composed of the young Hindus and Chinese, in all about 210, under twenty or more intelligent native teachers. After the International lesson for the day, severa1 were examined on review of the lesson for 1891. As an example, I may tell you of five little girls, Hindus and Chinese, repeating distinctly the 52 titles and Golden Texts of the lessons in English, without missing a word, which was truly, no small effort for little ones under nine years of age. I think some of our Sabbath-schoo1s in Canada will have to study the Lessons better, or they cannot compete with these dark-eyed, smiling faces of the Hindi. A number of young men in the Bible-class were examined in the “Shorter Catechism”. Answers were given to the most difficult questions, in a clear and intelligent manner, without an error, equal, if not superior to any such examination we have ever heard. Mr. Grant and his assistant were again off to hold services in two other estates, four or five miles distant. Mr. Clark conducted the evening service in English, in the Susamachar church, to a very attentive, and it may be said, a better educated assembly of Asiatics, as they have been trained in the Mission schools. The Managing Committee

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with the exception of Mr. Geddes Grant, consists of Asiatics, who conduct all the outward affairs of the church with ability, and in a thorough business-like way. Thus ended our first Sabbath in Fernando, and may say, never did we spend a more interesting day, as we observed the wonderful changes God has wrought in the last 25 years, through the very earnest and indefatigab1e efforts of our beloved. We hope to see their work more in detail, as we visit the varied school-houses in which the young East Indians are receiving a very thorough education. Quite a number of them are employed as interpreters to the different courts, and in the Government, and Post Office; also, occupied as book-keepers, salesmen, and writers in lawyers’ offices. But the chief aim is that they may be humble, devoted Christians, which very many of them appear to be. It is very interesting to notice the great influence Mr. and Mrs. Grant have among these people, who come from far and near, for their advice and counsel, under every conceivable circumstance, in sickness and health. The study seems to be a consulting room, from morning till night.

This lovely island of Trinidad, discovered by Christopher Columbus on July 31st, 1498, is situated about 10 degrees north of the Equator, in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea; is only separated from the coast of South America by the Gulf of Paria. Trinidad is the largest island after Jamaica of the British ‘West Indies, being about 55 miles long and 40 broad, with

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an area of 1,750 square miles. Four hundred years ago Columbus discovered America, getting his first look of this Western world by gazing on San Salvador. On his third voyage he was delighted by looking on three peaks of Moruga in verdant loveliness, and observing that these three peaks rose from one base; the thought of the Trinity was suggested to his mind; he termed this lovely island, Trinidad. This island now contains the homes of nearly 200,000 people, who have been drawn to it from many lands. The soil is remarkably fertile, and indeed it may be said that upon its agriculture the future of the island mainly depends. Sugar (including rum and molasses) and cacao, are considered to be the staples of the colony. The forests abound in valuable hard wood trees, having a very fine grain, and are capable of a brilliant polish. Trinidad contains more varieties of birds than any other island in the West Indies. Myriad of fire flies sparkle here and there in the darkness of evening. Butterflies and moths of large size and resplendent beauty are frequently seen. We tasted many varieties of salt water fish, some of which are very delicate eating, such as the King-fish, Spanish mackeral, mullet, etc. The dry season, January, February, and March, are delightful months in Trinidad, the temperature ranging from 70 to 89 degrees. The heat sometimes would be unbearable if it were not for the fresh trade-wind, blowing all the time from the north-east. The hot westerly winds, coming off the coast of South America, they consider very unhealthy. June July, and August, are the months of intense heat, and heavy rain. They have no experience of spring, autumn, or winter; throughout the year it is one continual round of glorious summer brightness. But

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we miss the pleasant twilight time, nor do we get the summer evenings; the time of sunset varies only to the extent of one hour, being from 5:30 to 6:30, and as soon as the last gleam of sunlight disappears below the horizon, night is swiftly on us. The evenings and early mornings are delightfully cool. Here, if anywhere, the old maxim is kept: “Early to bed, and early to rise”. We seldom go out in the middle of the day, but take a walk or drive from 4 to 6 p.m. The air is so warm, we do not need any extra wrap in the evenings. One afternoon we visited a large sugar estate, “La Fortunee,” belonging to Messrs. Tennant, of Edinburgh. In the usine, where the sugar is manufactured, by extensive machinery, we saw the cane from the fields converted into sparkling golden sugar, ready for the London and American markets.

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