Description of Jamaica in 1740, Leslie's New History of Jamaica

[Taken from The Colonization of North America 1492 - 1783 by Bolton and Marshal.]

The Gentlemens Houses are generally built low, of one Story, consisting of five or six handsome Apartments, beautifully lined and floored with mahogany, which looks exceeding gay; they have agenerally a Piazza to which you ascend by several Steps, and serves for a Screen against the Heat. ... The Negroes have nothing but a Parcel of poor miserable Huts built of Reeds, any of which can scarce contain upwards of two or three.

The common Dress here is none of the most becoming, the Heat makes many clothes intolerable, and therefore the Men generally wear only Thread Stockings, Linen Drawers, and Vest, a Handkerchief tied around their Head, and a hat above.

... The negroes go mostly naked, except those who attend Gentlemen. ... The Laidies are as gay as any in Europe, dress as richly, and appear with as good a Grace. ... Learning is here at the lowest Ebb; there is no public School in the whole Island, neither do they seem fond of the Thing. ... The Office of a Teacher is looked upon as contemptible, and no Gentlemen keeps Company with one of that Character; to read, write, and cast up Accounts is all the Education they desire, and even these are but scurvily taught. ... The Gentlemen, whose Fortunes can allow, send their children to Great Britain. ... The Laidies read some, dance a great deal, coquet much, dress for Admirers, and at last, for the most Part, run away with the most insignificant of their humble Servants. Their Education consists entirely in acquiring these little Arts.

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