Royal agricultural and commercial society of Briti.

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5. That the Chairman, Deputy-Chairman, and Treasurer now chosen
shall continue in office until the first general meeting to be held in
January next year, when a new election shall take place, and be fol-
lowed up the January meeting of each year thereafter. That in the
event of it being found necessary to have a Secretary to be remunerated
from the funds of the Society, he shall be chosen by ballot at a general
meeting. That a Standing Committee of Ten members, including the
Chairman, Deputy-Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary, shall be
elected from among the members at this present meeting and shall con-
tinue in office until the regular period of election in the January of each
succeeding year— vacancies occurring in any office to be filled up at
a general meeting. It shall be the business of this Committee, five
members of which shall form a quorum, to attend to the accounts,
documents, and records of the Society, and to all communications
addressed to the Society upon Agricultural, Scientific or Medical subje&s,
relating to the economy of Plantations. That the said Committee
shall embody in a report the substance of such communications, for the
better despatch of business and for the purpose of fixing the attention
of members to the contents thereof ; and they are required to bring the

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Agricultural Societies. , 259

same forward at each, meeting, together with the original documents,
accompanied by such observations as may have occurred to them on a
perusal of the same.

(Rule 6 fixed 12 o'clock noon as the hour for the
general meetings, those of the Standing Committee co
be held at 3 p.m. on convenient days.)

7. That each member of the Society shall be bound to pay the sum
of f. 44 (forty-four guilders) as his fee for admission, and f 66 (sixty-
six guilders) per annum, payable in advance ; and no member in
arrear shall be entitled to vote at any election or to take any part in
the business of the Society. Defaulters to be reported by the
Treasurer at each general meeting.

8. That the objefts of this Society shall be improvements in the
Culture and Manufacture of Colonial Productions, the protection and
advancement of the Agricultural Interest in all that may relate to the
abridgment of Manual Labour, improvements in Machinery, health and
comfort of the population, and general economy of Plantations.

(Rule 9 specified that a roll of the members should be
conspicuously exhibited in the Rooms ; that candidates'
names should be put up 14 days at least before ballot,
and that no ballot should take place unless 17 members
were present.)

10. The Society shall dine together twice a year, say in the last week
of June and first week of December, to be notified by public advertise-
ment, and the first Dinner shall take place on the 29th of June next ;
the Standing Committee being empowered to make arrangements for
the dinners, and to announce to the members the cost of the tickets.

(Rule 1 1 related to the furnishing of periodical publi-
cations and newspapers for the use of the Society).

12. That Scientific and Medical men who distinguish themselves by
forwarding the objects of the Society may be elected Honorary Members
by a majority of votes at a general meeting, in pursuance of a motion
made and seconded at a previous general meeting.

In addition to the ex officio members, six gentlemen
were elefted members of the Standing Committee, viz :—
Honourable John Croal, Honourable GEORGE RAINY,

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and Howard Bishop, A. Garnet?, Joseph BeeYe,
senior, and C. BENJAMIN, Esqs. The "best thanks"
of the Society were extended to the Honourable Mr.
CROAL, for the interest he had taksn in connexion with
its formation, and also to Major Staples for the use of
the hall of the Spa. The undermentioned newspapers
and periodicals were ordered to be regularly obtained for
tW. Society : —

Glasgow Courier, Falmouth Packet, Morning Post, Blackwood's Maga-
zine, Quarterly Magazine, Felix Farley y s Journal, Mechanics' Magazine,
West India Reporter, Liverpool Standard, Halifax Herald, and Barbados

Here is a copy of the roll of members — 48 in all — who
had been admitted up to the 12th June, 1833, which is
additionally interesting inasmuch as it may be assumed
to comprise the leading planters of that period : —

William Arrindell, of Zeelandia ; J. H. Albouy, of La Penitence, &c.
U. J. F. Bach, of Toevlugt, &c ; H. J. Baird, of Orange Nassau
Thomas Barry, of Vriesland ; Chas. Bean, of Richmond, &c. ; Chas.
Benjamin, of Spring Garden ; Jos. Beete, senior, of pin. Best ; Jos*
Beete, jnr., do. ; Edward Bishop, of Zorg, &c. ; Thos. Blake, of Vive
*a-Force ; J. F. Boode, of La Grange, &c. ; L. Breda, of Glasgow ;
R. G. Butts, of Thomas, &c. ; Donald Cameron, of Sparta ; Gillis
Cantzlaar, of Toevlugt ; John Croal, of Lima ; F. de Ridder, of
Versailles, &c. ; John Evans, of Better Success ; Wm. Fraser, of
Helena, &c. ; Thos. Frankland, of Elizabeth Ann ; Andrew Galloway,
of Hoff van Holland ; Abraham Garnett, of Cuming's Lodge, &c. ;
J. J. Gilgeous, of Windsor Castle ; Henry Halket, of Maria's Lodge, &c. ;
Andrew Jackson, Representative of La Bonne Mere, &c. ; C. Imhoff*
of Prosperity ; Jan. Koert, of Velzerhoofd ; J. A. D. Koolhas, Repre-
sentative of Maria Johanna, &c. ; John McKenzie, Representative of
Amsterdam, &c. ; N. M. Manget, of Schoon Ord, &c. ; Jacobus Meertens,
of Vauxhall ; John McLean, Representative of Vreed-en-Hoop, &c. ;
Alexander Macrae, of Endeavour, &c. ; Hugh McLeod, of Doornhaag;
Wm. McKeand, Representative of Hope, &c. ; John Noble, of Maryville ;
f . V. Nedderman, Representative of Zeeburg, &c. ; John Pearson, of

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Agricultural Societies. tbi

Dttntafg ; Hugh Rogers, of Clonbrook, &c. ; M. J. Retemeyer, of Little
Diamond • Geo. Rainy, of Leonora, &c. ; Alex. Simpson, of Mon-
trose, &c. ; Colin Simson, Representative of Sans Souci, &c. ; Thomas
Tesehemaker, of Amersfoot, &c. ; J. Van Waterschoodt, of Plaisanoe ;
George Warren, of Farm, &c. ; Alexander Wishart, of Aberdeen.

The inaugural dinner took place as had been arranged,
on the 29th June, 1833, the day on which, it may be noted,
the new Governor, Sir James Carmichael Smyth, held
his first levee. It was earlyMn Sir James Car MICHAEL
SMYTH'S administration that the institution of slavery
received its first blow, and the first duty which the young
society was called upon to perform was in connexion
with the great measure which had been heralded. On the
1 8th July, His Excellency direfted to be published in the
Royal Gazette (there was no Official Gazette until some
nine or ten years later) a despatch which had been re-
ceived from the Right Hon. E. G. STANLEY, Secretary
of State for the Colonies, together with a copy of the
" Resolutions for the Abolition of Colonial Slavery, agreed
to by the House of Commons, June 12th, 1833." In a
notice also published by way of preface to the foregoing
momentous documents, Mr. T. G. Hammill, afting
Government Secretary, said : —

" In thus frankly and openly communicating to the inhabitants, with,
out reserve, not only the whole of the details of the proposed changes
respecting the slaves, which have been determined upon by His Ma-
jesty's Ministers, but also the arrangements contemplated for carrying
these measures into execution, the Lieutenant Governor has been
influenced by two motives— In the first place, His Excellency is anxious
to prevent the circulation of all garbled extracts (which might be trans-
mitted here from other colonies) and which could only produce unneces-
sary excitement and alarm : and because in the second place, he is con-
fident that the liberal and prudent measures as advocated and proposed
by His Majesty's Ministers will, when once distinctly understood, be
duly appreciated by the generality of the inhabitants of British Guiana ;

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262 TlMEHRI.

and be met by a corresponding desire and anxiety on their part, to do
all in their power to preserve the public tranquillity, and to contribute
their aid in effecting those changes (which every one must be aware are
so decidedly inevitable) with the least possible inconvenience and loss
to all individuals concerned.

The Lieutenant Governor has directed it should be stated, in con-
elusion, that he confidently relies not only upon the superior talent and
information which he has witnessed with so much pleasure in this
colony, on the great wealth and immense interests at stake, but above
all, upon that spirit of moderation and good sense which has so strongly
characterized the proceedings of the inhabitants of British Guiana, with
respect to this most momentous question, to enable him to carry all the
details into execution with the concurrence, co-operation, and assistance
of all ranks."

This Government Notice was considered at a meeting of
the Agricultural Society on the 6th August, 1 833, Mr. N.
M. MANGET, presiding. In all 48 gentlemen attended the
meeting, whose views on the question of the abolition of
slavery were embodied in eleven resolutions. Space will
not I fear, permit of the reproduction in extenso of this
manifesto, so to speak, of "the greatest portion of the
resident proprietors, and of the representatives of absent
proprietors, of estates in this colony." The resolutions are
to be found, however, in The Royal Gazette of August 10th,
1833. The planters recorded, in the second resolution,
their feeling, born of experience, of the peril which
was to be dreaded incident to so sudden and premature
a change in the existing relations of Master and Ser-
vant, and the " fatal embarrassments" which would be
consequent upon its failure, but, " placing implicit con-
fidence in the declarations of the British Government,
and replying on the wisdom of the local Legislature to
organize the details applicable to this colony of this
great national experiment, so as to render the chance of
the future beneficial cultivation of the soil as little

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Agricultural Societies. 263

hazardous as possible to the Planter," they promised
cordially to co-operate in the endeavour to bring the
contemplated measures to a safe and happy result. In
the third resolution reliance was expressed on the
justice of Parliament and in the National Honour, "for
full and entire compensation for any ulterior loss or
deterioration of property which may attend its failure."
The other resolutions Set forth the importance of a fair
distribution of compensation, especially in the case of
British Guiana, of which it was proudly stated that " the
value of its exports, and the tonnage and seamen em-
ployed in its trade, far exceed in proportion to popula-
tion, anything recorded in the history of ancient or
modern colonies ;" the speedy payment of compen-
sation ; and the propriety of a proposal being sub-
mitted to the Imperial Government " that in addition to,
the compensation, .there be granted to this colony, a
Loan of Two Millions and a Half Sterling, bearing
4 per cent, interest, with per 1 cent, additional as a
Sinking Fund, to be secured upon the colonial revenue."
The 9th resolution was thus worded : —

That the restraints upon labour, and the diminished produ&ion of
the British West India Colonies, which must necessarily ensue, will
enhance the profit upon the productions of Foreign Colonies still
carrying on the Slave Trade. The British Planter has, therefore,
under new disadvantages, to compete with Foreign Possessions, and
unless afforded the salutary protection of Parliament in the Home
Market, it is to be feared that the total ruin of the British West Indies
will eventually take place.

Mr. MANGET. Chairman, and Mr. Warren, Deputy.
Chairman, of the Society, were appointed a deputation to
wait upon the Lieutenant Governor with the resolutions
requesting that they should be forwarded to the Home

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264 TlMEHRI.

Government. The deputation accordingly waited upon
Sir. J. Carmichael Smyth on the 7th August, who in
his reply to their address observed :

The moderation and temper with which the decision of the Imperial
Parliament, with respeft to the important change in the state of the
Labouring class, has been received in British Guiana by the great body
of the landed proprietors, must for ever redound to their credit, and
cannot fail to be highly acceptable to His Majesty, His Ministers, and
the Mother Country at large. The line of conduit thus judiciously
adopted, removes all ground of latent hostility, all feelings of
asperity, from the minds of the working population. I trust, and
hope, that when the Master and the Slave assume their new rela-
tive situations, when the moment does arrive that the Landlord and
the Tenant, the Owner of the soil and the Labourer, have to enter
upon their several duties — that, on the one side as there will be no ill-
will towards their late slaves, so, on the other, there will be no wilful
negligence, or insulting language or conduit, towards their late masters.

On the 5th September, 1833, the Agricultural Society
offered a premium of Fifty Pounds Sterling to the person
who, within three months should submit "the most
approved method, in point of economy in its cost and
utility in its effeft, of construfting, a Moveable Rail-
way and Trucks, for the purpose of carrying the Canes
from the Fields to the Punts; and proving to the satis-
faftion of a Committee to be named by this Society, that
such Railway and Trucks have been employed in such
service so as to occasion a saving of labour to an extent
to render it worthy of general adoption." Subsequently
the period allowed for the competition was extended to
December 31st, 1833. The period was further extended
for six months from the 1st June, 1834, in consequence
of only one model having been submitted " the original
of which was known to be in operation, ,, and "because
the model was not accompanied by any documents or

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Agricultural Societies. 265

evidence to prove its being for the purpose set fbtth ill
the advertisement." I doubt whether the prentium was
ever claimed or awarded, at any rate a diligent search for
evidence on the point has not been rewarded with

It was announced, on the 5th Oftober, 1833, that a
Gold Medal of the Society would be awarded to the
first Proprietor or Representative of an estate within the
colony, who should prove to the satisfa6tion of a Com-
mittee " that he has applied the labour of not less than
twenty persons of free condition, not apprenticed, profit-
ably for a continuous period of twelve months or upwards,
as labourers in the cultivation and manufacture of sugar
on his estate or that under his charge." Here again I
have failed to meet with any announcement of the prize
having either been claimed or awarded.

A* new invention by Dr. Ure, for sugar boiling, was
brought to the notice of the Society at the monthly meet-
ing on the 4th December, 1833, an< * referred to the Stand-
ing Committee. In the evening a semi-annual dinner
took place, at the house of Mrs. Thomas, Parade
Ground. This gathering was graced by the presence of
the Lieutenant Governor.

The first annual meeting of the Society took place on
January 8th, 1834, at which Mr. MANGET was succeeded
in the Chairmanship by the Hon. John Croal, the
deputy Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary being re-
ele6led, whilst Mr. MANGET and Mr. John McLean were
added to the Standing Committee in the room of the
Hon. Mr. Croal and Mr. Jos. Beete, Senior.

About this date, the Courier newspaper commented
strongly upon the alleged "political" tendency of the


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266 TlMEHRI.

Agricultural Society. The Society's defender was the
Royal Gazette, which apprehended no harm from its
constitution, notwithstanding that it had come into being
u at a time and in a place where recent circumstances
combine to make every individual who has property at
stake a politician to the extent of his ability." The
Gazette also remarked,

We certainly in some degree regret its exclusiveness, and would be
happy to see its numbers and efficiency augmented by the admission of
professional and mercantile men, by which means its objects would also
be more extended, and much greater practical benefit ensue than from
the limited sphere of its present range.

The writings of the rival journals on the subjeft of the
Agricultural Society were frequently most amusing in
respeft of warmth and vituperation.

In view of the discussions which recently took place on
the financial affairs of the R. A. & C. Society, I may
state that at one of the general meetings early in 1834,
it was found necessary to pass a regulation that no
member after eleftion should be permitted to take his
seat until his subscription had been paid, and failure to
settle up within three months entailed the expurgation
of the member's name from the roll.

Another dinner in connexion with the Society was
held on the 25th June, 1834, and this is the last gather-
ing of the kind under its auspices of which I can find
any record.

There appears to have been a lull in its operations for
several months, but at the monthly meeting in Septem-
ber, 1834, the hon. John Croal in the chair, it is stated
that the members present took into " serious consider-
ation" the fafl that the agriculture of the colony had
been greatly affefted by recent events— the allusion,

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Agricultural Societies. 267

of course, being to the great change in the social con-
dition of the labouring population — and there appears
to have been agreement as to the desirability of ascer-
taining the real condition of the agricultural industry,
in order " that it may be seen whether any steps have
been neglefted to be taken by the planters to reconcile
the apprentice-labourers to due obedience to the laws."
It was accordingly resolved that a series of questions
should be put to the several managers of estates, with
a view that all who were so disposed might favour the
Society with the desired information. This catechism,
if I may so term it, comprised thirty-two queries, replies
to which were requested by the 27th September. If the
answers ever were obtained no public intimation seems
to have been made to that effeft, and therefore all that
it is possible for me to do is to note the matter to the
extent I have done. At this meeting on September 3rd,
1834, a model of a self-afting railway was submitted for
inspeflion by the inventor, Mr. DUNCAN MACBEAN, Jnr.

The question of immigration was thus early after the
institution of the apprenticeship system, forcing itself
forward, but naturally a good many years elapsed before
a labour supply could be obtained from abroad upon
anything like a proper system. Well, at the last meet-
ing of the Society in 1834, on the 15th December,
certain resolutions were adopted with reference to the
necessity which the planters were beginning to experience
that additional labourers should be brought into the
country. These resolutions ran as follows : —

That the Standing Committee of this Society has seen with much
pleasure the correspondence of the Right Honourable the Secretary of
State for the Colonies relative to His Majesty's Government affording
its assistance and co-operation in furnishing the colony with additional

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Tha£ the Standing Committee do address a memorial to the lion*,
ourable Court of Policy, stating, that for the furtherance of the
agricultural prosperity of this colony, it is highly necessary that some
plan be devised under the sanction and protection of the Legislature,
for furnishing it with additional labourers.

That the attention of the Court be called to the faft that no law at
present exists whereby contracts between free labourers and masters
can be summarily enforced, and that it would, therefore, be attended
with considerable risk to individual enterprize were labourers imported
Into the colony on the mere faith of the former fulfilling their engagement
in the absence of any Ordinance to enforce an adherence to them
otherwise than by a tedious suit at common law ; that it, therefore
seems to be necessary as a preliminary measure, that a law embracing
the object of encouragement to entering into contracts with the means
of promptly enforcing an observance of them, both on the part of the
labourers and masters, be passed by the Legislature. The members of
this Society being desirous to afford encouragement to the introduction
of emigrants of the agricultural class, as soon as they see it likely to be
attended with a beneficial effect to the colony. The very fac]t of the
want of an effectual law for enforcing contracts of service operates as a
bar to the procuring of free labour even from the population at present
in the colony ; and the importation of free labourers from any other
quarter would consequently, in all probability, only add to the evils
already experienced through the want of so necessary an enactment.

That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the Right Honourable the
Secretary of State for the Colonies, with a letter from the Standing
Committee accompanying the same.

It was subsequently stated in the Royal Gazette that
on the ist August, 1835, "the anniversary of that event-
ful day which so completely changed the nature of
colonial society/' amongst other Bills which had reached
the second reading in the Legislature, was one " to re-
gulate the introduction of articled servants into the

Once more the Society had sunk into obscurity, and
the sole item in connexion with it tQ be gleaned frjQni

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Agricultural Societies. 269

the files of 1835, is the bare announcement that it had
established a Reading Room, on the 18th Oftober in
that year. Strange to say, a single item only is again
all that I can gather from the newspapers of the follow-
ing year, viz : — that on the 10th March, Mr. And
GALLOWAY, the Secretary, invited the Committee, to-
gether with such of the ordinary members as might find
it convenient to attend, to an inspeftion of some models
of agricultural implements intended to effeft a saving of
manual labour, the same having been sent out to the
Society from the patentees in England. As regards
1837 * fi n ^ no mention whatever of the Society, and
only an incidental reference in the journals of 1838:
This was in the Combined Court (the sittings of the*
Legislature had been thrown open to the public in the
previous year) during the consideration of a motion to
grant 21,000 guilders to the inventor of a steam-plough
upon its being profitably applied to the agriculture of
this colony ; and it was stated that the Agricultural
Society had previously been moving in the matter
and that subscriptions had been started under its
auspices among the planting body, but its efforts in this
direftion, the speaker added, seemed to have fallen into

The movement inaugurated in the capital on the
2 1st May, 1833, soon extended to the sister county
of Berbice. On the 28th December in that year
Mr. L. VAN ROSSUM presided over a gathering held
in the Colony House, New Amsterdam, at which
it was resolved to form an Association for the purpose of
protecting and promoting local interests, a Corn-

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270 TlMEHRI.

mittee being appointed composed of the following
gentlemen : —

John Alves, D. C. Cameron, Wm. Campbell, G. P.
Van Holst, Wm. Henery, Thomas Williams,
David Melville, Dr. Tait, Geo. Laing, Thos. B.
Winter, and Wm. Ross.

The next meeting was on the 18th January, 1834, when
the Society was formally established, " for promoting
agricultural matters and encouraging industry among
the labouring classes, for supporting the interests of
trade, facilitating plans of general utility, and consult-
ing upon any subje6t affefting the welfare of the
community in this district of British Guiana," to be
called " The Agricultural and Commercial Society of
Berbice." All gentlemen " qualified to vote for
Financial Representatives and Keizers and all who
pay taxes upon the second (3,500 to 5000 guilders)
or upon any higher class of income" were
entitled to become members, provided they gave in
their names within one month after which new

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Online LibraryRoyal agricultural and commercial society of BritiTimehri: the journal of the Royal agricultural and commercial society of British Guiana → online text (page 20 of 25)