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SVG and Sir Frederick Treves

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Tue, Oct 23, 2012

Editor: I would be deeply appreciative if I could be provided with a logical, intelligent and pertinent explanation as to why Sir Frederick Treves C. CVO, CB, LLD, in his book “Cradle of the Deep”, which was first published in May 1908 by Smith, Elder & Co. of London, and reprinted December 1934 by John Murray, London made no mention of St Vincent and the Grenadines, where it should have been in the sequence of chapters at page 109.{{more}}

It appears in his travels that Sir Frederick Treves would have been northward bound, having sailed to Trinidad, then on to Grenada, mentioned in chapter 20, then makes an apparent jump on to St Lucia mentioned in chapter 21. Having gone through his book, I was disappointed to see no mention made of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

I was greatly stirred, yet nevertheless only mildly comforted, when I read in the fifth edition of “The Saint Vincent Handbook”, published in 1938 by the Vincentian and edited by Robert M. Anderson, a letter on page 247, written on the 23 August 1915 by A. Miles Moss, Chaplain of the Anglican Church Para, Brazil, in which he lamented the exclusion of a most important chapter in Sir Frederick Treves’ “Cradle of the deep” which ought to occur about page 109.

I view this as no mere passing observation, but one which merits some deliberation which I dare say may well prove insightful.

Chaplain Moss had passed “a most delightful holiday of two and a half months in the West Indies”. During that time he visited many places, made many acquaintances and explored many of “nature’s marvels”. He stated “the warmest friendships have been established in every island where I had the privilege of sojourning”. Chaplain Moss went on to say: “Now I am going to run the risk straight away of offending some one who may hereafter chance across these lines in Barbados, or Trinidad, in Grenada, St Lucia or Martinique”. He then spoke of the many speculations with regard to the precise spot which “this gem of the Antilles, this jewel of the coronet should adorn in its Caribbean setting”. He further stated “the charms of St. Vincent are simply betwitching, and if anyone should complain that my judgment is warped please point to those jumbie trees which mark your harbor front at Kingstown and lay the blame there. In their midst must the stranger land if he comes at all so of course he is at once spell bound”.

In his letter Chaplain Moss spoke of the many activities in which he partook while here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where he spent a fortnight, described as “too brief a stay”. He climbed the La Soufriere volcano, “yachted and trawled for fish”, he boated in Kingstown harbour and “off the leeward rocks of Bequia and caught fish”; he bathed at the “quarry” and Young Island, describing the waters as “transparent and delicious”; he rowed for four hours in a dug out canoe along the leeward coast, went on horseback to see Carib country and stayed at the Crichton Hotel “with great comfort and minimum expense”.

In view of the foregoing Chaplain Moss was moved to say “I think Sir Fred Treves must have been aware of their ensnaring influence when he visited the West Indies, for in his “Cradle of the Deep” aglow with interest as it is, there is a chapter missing, a most important chapter, and it ought to occur in the neighborhood of Grenada and St. Lucia about page 109”.

Gerelyn John

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