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Historical Notes

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“Report by Mr Cradwick on Visit to St Vincent.” (Cradwick was Superintendent of Hope Gardens in Jamaica and was to assist in identifying lands suitable for land settlement)

“On June 16 (1898), I visited and inspected Richmond Hill, the property of William Smith…in the company of the proprietor. This property consists of 285 acres, of which probably 30 acres is flat land. On entering the property a very fine patch of tobacco was observed…The tobacco was grown by a watchmaker named Gunds, who had no experience in the culture, showing that the land is well suited for tobacco.{{more}} The flat lands of this property, about 30 acres in extent, are well suited for bananas, cocoa, nutmegs, oranges and pineapples…I also rode over Orange Grove, a property overlooking Kingstown, where I saw some very fine nutmeg trees. Leaving Orange Grove I passed over Dorsetshire Hill, on which is a colony of most industrious white Barbadians, occupied in growing provisions, cassava etc. It is impossible to grow other crops on these lands, as the wind blows over them with terrific force.

Passing through Sion Hill, an arrowroot property, I visited the tobacco cultivation of Mr. Duncan, who leases land from Cane Garden. Mr. Duncan is probably the largest and best grower of tobacco in St.Vincent, depending almost entirely on tobacco for a living. He had already reaped his first crop, but the ratoon which he showed me demonstrated the suitability of the land for tobacco.

I could not fail to remark that Richmond Hill would make an admirable site for an experimental Agricultural Station. I have already said that I think it suitable for a large variety of well known cultures…The property is well watered and plants could thus be tried under irrigation…Most of the land is well sheltered, and it is close to the chief town of the Colony. The latter circumstance is very important, not only would it render the station easy of access to a greater number of people than would be possible in any other locality, but the manure heap, which is now a nuisance to the town, could be utilised by the Agricultural Station.

Questelles: Visited and thoroughly inspected this property with the owner. It consists of 204 acres, of which about 40 acres are really fine flat land. It is easy of access by the main leeward road, is well sheltered from wind by the surrounding hills and is close to the populous centre of Chauncy Village. The property was formerly a sugar estate, but the works were burnt down 4 or 5 years ago. The land is now chiefly occupied by tenants, raising the usual food crops, paying about 6 or 8 dollars per annum as rent, which Mr. Smith says is hard to collect. Mr. Smith has sold a small portion at the rate of £50 per acre…

Clare Valley, inspected on the same day, adjoins Questelles, and is the property of the same owner, consists of 394 acres, of which 30 acres are flat land, similar to the flat land of Questelles; indeed, the conformation, soil and general character of the two places is so nearly identical that what applies to one applies to both, except that I estimate that Questelles has probably two-thirds of cultivable land, while Clare Valle has probably not more than half of really good cultivable land, the rest being steep and of very little use. I do not consider either place fit for the cultivation of bananas, the soil is too light, sandy and consequently not retentive of moisture…The flat lands already mentioned are the finest lands in St.Vincent for grapes and as fine as one could wish for anywhere;.. Also rode through Camden Park, the property of G. R Corea, Esq., lately one of the Porter properties. Camden Park is a property which has been for a great many years under cultivation, and is much exhausted, but its gentle slopes render it easy to manure, and it is well watered…

June 17th :Visited Cane Garden, the property of E. A Richards…this is a small property of about 100 acres, part of which is in canes worked on the share system. The remainder is rented to tenants at 8 dollars per acre, which rent Mr. Richards informed me was readily paid, the tenants growing the usual food crops. The property plants tobacco with, he informed me, considerable success, growing and selling locally about 1,000lbs in 1897. A small piece of cocoa was not looking well (I arrived at St.Vincent at the end of a severe drought), being badly in want of more protection from wind and sun, it also required forking and manuring.

June 20th : Inspected Redemption. This is a property of 600 acres leased by the owner to a tenant who sub-lets it to the peasantry. The tenants pay from 10 to 12 dollars per acre per annum. They appear to cultivate the different food crops as well as cassava, canes, etc very well, but do nothing, I believe, in the way of manuring. The land does not appear to be suitable for anything else, although isolated patches of coffee and cocoa are doing fairly well. The valleys in which it is possible to establish permanent crops are so small as to render it difficult to do anything except in scraps, the soil being good in only the lower portions of the valleys, shallowing very quickly and running to nothing on the ridges.

Inspected Liberty Lodge: is the property of D.K Porter and Co., a poor, exposed windswept place, rented out to tenants at about 6 to 8 dollars per acre, and fit for little else in its present state.

Bowood is in the hands of small tenants, who chiefly grow canes for making syrups, it is only suitable for very short lived crops.”

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