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Newfoundland is a large island belonging to Great Britain, and situated between forty-six and fifty-one degrees of north latitude, and between fifty-three and fifty-eight degrees west longitude from London ; it is bounded on the north by the štraits of Belleisle, which separate it from Labrador; on the east and south by the Atlantic Ocean; and on the west by the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Within the circuit of sixty miles of the southern part, the country is hilly, but not mountainous. The hills increase in height as they recede from the sea; and their course is irregular, not forming a continued chain, but rising and falling abruptly. The coasts are high, and the shores remarkably bold. The country is much wooded, and the hills (such, at least, as have not flat summits to admit the rain to stagnate on them), are clothed with birch, hazel, spruce, fir, and pine trees; all of which, however, are small, owing to the inhabitants taking off the bark to cover their fish stages. The island is on all sides, more or less, pierced with deep bays, which peninsulate it in many places, by isthmuses most remarkably narrow.
The mountains on the south-west side, near the sea, are very high, and terminale in lofty headlands. Such are Chapeau Rouge, a most remarkably high promontory. Cape St. Mary's, and Cape le Hune. On the north-east, most of the hills terminate pyramidally, but forin no chain. The interior parts of the country consist chiefly of morasses, dry barren haminocks, or level land, with frequent lakes and ponds, and in some places covered with stunted black spruce. The rivers of Newfoundland are unfit for navigation, but they are of use in floating down the wood with the summer floods. Near the brooks it is that timber
is commonly met with, but seldom above three or four miles inland, and in valleys; the hills in the northern district being naked and barren,
Cape Breton is separated from Nova Scotia by a narrow strait called Canso, and is about a hundred miles in length and filty in breadth. It is surrounded by little sharp-pointed rocks, separated from each other by the waves, above which some of their tops are visible. All its harbours are open to the east, turning towards the south. Except in the hilly parts, the surface of the country has but little solidity, being every where covered with a light moss and with water. The dampness of the soil is exhaled in fogs, without rendering the air unwholesome. In other respects, the climate is very cold ; owing either to the prodigious quantity of lakes, which cover above half the island, and remain long frozen; or to the number of forests that totally intercept the of the sun.
The island of St. John is situated partly between the continent and Cape Breton, whence it has nearly the same climate ; but greatly exceeds that island in its pleasantness, and the fertility of its soil. It is about sixty miles in length, has a commodious harbour, and abounds with a variety of useful timber and most kinds of game common to the neighbouring country.
THE mountains of Jamaica are in general crowned with trees of a thousand different species, ever verdant, forining groves and cool retreats, and irregularly mixing their branches in a beautiful sort of confusion; the cedar and other tall trees rearing their lofty heads, and the lignum vitæ, mahogany, and numberless others thriving under their friendly shade. The valleys too are generally verdant, being refreshed with so many streams; but their greatest beauty consists in the plantations that adorn them, laid out with the nicest art, and producing as choice and valuable plants as any in the universe, particularly the sugar-cane*, of whose culture, the preparation of sugar, &c. we shall here give an account, which may serve likewise for Barbadoes, Antigua, Nevis, and the rest of our sugar-islands; for not only the commodity, but the manufacture of it, is in all of them Nearly the same.
The reed or cane, which yields us such as agreeable juice, is like those others, we see in morasses and on the edges of lakes, excepting that
It is a question not yet decided among botanisks, whether the ancients were acquainted with this cane, and whether they knew how to express its juice ? All that we can gather from the arguments advanced on either side is, that, if they knew the cane and the juice, they did not know the art of condensing, hardening, and whitening it, and consequently knew nothing of our sugar. Salinasius however assures us, that the Arabs have used the art of making sugar, such as we now have it, above eight hundred years.--Another question among naturalists is, whether sugar-canes be originally of the West Indies, or whether they have been translated thither from the East? The Icarned of the last ages have been much divided on this point; but, since the dissertation of father Labat, published in 1722, there is no longer room to doubt but that the sugar-cane is as natural to America as India. All that can be said in favour of the latter is, that the Spaniards and Portuguese first learnt from the Oriontals the art of expressing its juice, boiliag it, and reducing it into sugar. YOL, X.
the skin of these latter is hard and dry, and their pith void of juice, whereas the skin of the sugar-cane is soft, and the spungy matter or pith it contains is very juicy, though in a greater or less degree according to the goodness of the soil, its exposure to the sun, the season it is cut in, and its age; which circumstances contribute equally to its goodness and its bulk. It usually grows to the height of six or seven feet, sometimes higher, exclusive of the long, green, tufted leaves at top, from the middle whereof arise the flower and the seed. The stem or stalk is divided by knots or joints, from whence likewise shoot out leaves, but these usually fall as the cane rises; and it is a sign either that the cane is not good, or that it is far from its maturity, when the knots are beset with leaves. The cane is yellowish when ripe, and about an inch in diameter; and its juicy pith is then eaten freely, being very nourishing and wholesome if taken with moderation. The tops of the canes are likewise reckoned good food for horses and black cattle *.
The ground fit for sugar-canes is that which is light, soft, and spungy, lying on a descent pro. per to carry off the water, and well exposed to the sun, "The usual manner of planting them is by digging long trenches, about six inches deep and as many broad, and about two feet distant
* Mr. Smith tells us, that the bottom part of the sugarcane top is about the thickness of one's finger, and that at Nevis they cut it into pieces about an inch and a half long, to give to their horses, being a very heartening food, and fattening them apace. They also give them the skimming of the sugar-coppers; but that must be done sparingly at first, for fear of griping and perhaps killing them.
from each other, laying a double row of canes along them from end to end. From every knot of the canes thus laid down in the furrows shoots up another cane; and these young ones grow to the heighth of eighteen ortwenty inches in abouttwelve weeks time, but do not arrive to maturity till they have been a year or fifteen months in the ground. The next care of the planter is to keep his canes free from weeds, and to observe whether any of his roots have failed, that the trenches may be supplied in time with others; for, the crop being, by a neglect in either case, partly ripe and partly green at the same time, they cannot well be separated without more labour than they are worth, and then the planter burns them, as they stand. By this means indeed he losesa crop, but he does not lose his planting ; for, the fire not touching the roots, they soon shoot out again, the soil is much improved, and swarms of rats are destroyed, which often do great damage in these plantations. The present practice is to dung the canes, either when they are planted, or when they come to be two feet high; and this is the planter's greatest trouble and expence, for, were it not for this dunging, much fewer negroes would be required.
When the canes are ripe, they are cut up one at a time by a proper instrument, being too large to be mowed by a scythe; and, as they cut them, they trim them and chop off the tops, which, as above intimated, are reserved for the cattle. The canes are then bundled up in faggots, and carried to the mills, which are very curious machines, contrived to bruise them and express the liquor or juice therein contained. These mills are composed of three wooden rollers covered with plates of iron, and are of four kinds, being turned