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scarcely deserves to be so styled, for the offenders received corporal punishment, and returned to the estates to which they were attached. The Maroons
be called the native militia of the island, and had their origin amongst the first runaway slaves, who, preferring the soli. tude and dreariness of the mountain fastnesses, with the enjoyment of unrestrained liberty, to the duties of cultivation and domestic concern, abandoned the unnatural homes in which they found themselves imprisoned, for the more congenial habitations of the forest. After a series of years, they became remarkable for their numbers, owing to the security which the woods afforded them, and commenced a system of predatory molestation to travellers, and to slaves conveying produce to market. The Colonial Government at length considered it expedient to acknowledge the independence of the Maroons, and offered them certain rewards for the apprehension of such runaway negroes as they should detain, and for protection in the mountains, not altogether dissimilar from the system observed amongst the Pindarees in the East Indies. They soon furmed settlements in different parts of the island, and became a very considerable check to absconding negroes ; thus they became objects of terror to the slaves, and soon learnt to assume a degree of importance consequent upon, and natural to, a privileged order. In the first Maroon war, the island of Jamaica experienced the first ill effects of the danger with which its political existence is threatened by every temporary ebullition of anger or disaffection on the part of these powerful people. A hog having broken over one of the fences of an estate in the neighbourhood of one of the Maroon settlements, it was, after repeated notices to the owner of the offending animal, ultimately shot; whereupon the whole body of Maroons, conceiving themselves highly wronged by the injury done to one of their community, recommenced their depredations; and on the military being sent against them, manfully met their enemies with arms, and, after the most gallant conduct on the part of the king's troops, the Colonial Government was compelled to enter into terins with them. Hence the Maroons became a prominent feature in the internal strength of the island, and attracted the attention of the Colonial Legislature. They are now organized into battalions and companies, as the regular regiments of the line, having a certain annual allowance from Government, and receiving the same pay as the militia when called out for active service, or on the proclamation of martial law.
It is from this body of men that the possessors of the island of Jamaica have the most danger to apprehend, more especially should any circumstance arise to produce a coalition between the Maroons and slaves : for having been accustomed from their earliest youth to traverse the mountain fastnesses, they are perfectly acquainted with the defiles and localities of the island. They have been trained to, and acquired a degree of proficiency in the use of small arms, and, what is of much greater importance, a knowledge of that particular mode of warfare so admirably adapted to the face of the country.
The mountains in Jamaica are covered with a thick wood, offering
* An historical sketch of these people will be found in the Number for Feb. 1830, of this Journal,
very considerable obstructions to the transit of a regular army with all its appointments. The musket, from its portability, and the sword, from its aptitude for close action, even in a thicket, with a brace of pistols, constitute the entire armament, offensive and defensive, of the Maroons. They wear no established uniform, not, in fact, having need of any; but are clad in whatever garments the conveniency or pecuniary ability of the Maroon may suggest. Those about Port Antonio were generally clothed similarly to our seamen, in what appeared to be coarse duck frock and trowsers, with a hat of the roughest texture, or with a coarse woollen cap. They confine themselves to the most simple parts of the platoon exercise, their other movements being a sort of military mountebankism; but when proceeding into the woods for hostile purposes, they entwine their bodies and their firelocks with tendrils and bushes, thus presenting an appearance altogether indistinguishable from the forest. They then scour that part of the mountains which it is their object to examine.
When in the immediate presence of an enemy, or of a runaway slave, whom they are desirous of surprising, their method of approach is by worming or insinuating themselves through the thickets. They lay themselves down at full length upon the ground, and resting one elbow and fore-arm upon any irregularity of the earth's surface, or upon a projecting stump of a tree, or small bush, they thus obtain a lever by which to drag the body over the ground, hauling their arms after them with the other hand. By this method they frequently spring upon the object of their search with the suddenness and celerity of a beast of prey, before the astonished and terrified slave is even aware of their proximity. It is particularly desirable that the slave should be taken without injury, as the advantage arising from his re-capture would be very much diminished to the proprietor in the event of the slave being maimed ; add to which, the reward to the Maroon is considerably greater should he succeed in taking the slave uninjured.
When the presence of an active and determined enemy compels them to have recourse to the use of fire-arms, the Maroons are in the habit of bending to the ground the flexible branch of a tree, to which they attach themselves ; and having discharged their firelocks, they allow the returning branch to carry them to the summit of the tree, and being covered with green leaves and bushes, they are indistinguishable to the eye. Were it not for this mode of rapid and immediate evasion, the smoke occasioned by the discharge of their fire-arms would furnish a good indication of the position of an invisible enemy; a circumstance which the opposite party would avail themselves of for the direction of their missiles: as in a naval engagement during the darkness of the night, contending parties have no other method of ascertaining the object of their attack than by observing a flash.
The Maroons have an officer over them, styled a superintendent, from whom they receive all their orders and instructions upon ordinary occasions, and to whom they apply in all cases of disturbance or disagreement amongst themselves. They willingly and deferentially submit to the arbitration of their superintendent, who is received amongst them with every demonstration of respect.
BADAJOZ, one of the richest and most beautiful towns in the south of Spain, whose inhabitants had witnessed its siege in silent terror for one and twenty days, and who had been shocked by the frightful massacre that had just taken place at its walls, was now about to be plunged into all the horrors that are, unfortunately, unavoidable upon an enterprise such as a town taken by storm. Scarcely had Count Phillippon and his garrison commenced their march towards Elvas, when the work of pillage commenced. Some-many indeed—of the good soldiers turned to the ditch of the castle and to the breaches to assist and carry off their wounded companions; but hundreds were neglected in the general and absorbing thirst for plunder.
The appearance of the castle was that of a vast wreck: the various ladders lying shattered at the base of its walls, the broken piles of arms, and the brave men that lay as they had fallen-many holding their firelocks in their grasp—marked strongly the terrible contest in which they had been engaged, and presented to the eye of a spectator ample food for reflection; it was not possible to look at those brave men, all of them dead or frightfully maimed, without recollecting what they had been but a few short hours before ; yet those feelings, fortunately perhaps, do not predominate with soldiers, and those sights, far from exciting reflections of a grave nature, more usually call forth some jocular remark, such as, “ that he will have no further occasion to draw rations;" or“ that he has stuck his spoon in the wall and left off messing,”—such is the force of habit.
At the breaches, the light and fourth division soldiers lay in heaps upon each other—a still warm group; and many of those veterans from whom the vital spark had not yet fled, expired in the arms of the few of their companions who sought to remove them to a place better suited to their miserable condition. But war, whatever its numerous attractions to a young mind may be, is but ill calculated to inspire it with those softer feelings so essential to soothe us in the moment of our disa tress; it must not, therefore, be wondered at, that a wish for plunder and enjoyment took the place of humanity, and that hundreds of gallant men were left to perish from neglect.
A military writer*, whose book has been the theme of admiration by all that have read it,—and I hope, for their own sakes, that there are few who have not, -in speaking of this epoch, says, that three days after the fall of the town he rode towards the Guadiana, and that in passing the verge of the camp of the fifth division, he was surprised and shocked to find two soldiers standing at the door of a small shed; they made signs to him, and upon examination he found that each had lost a leg! The surgeon had dressed their wounds on the night of the assault, and although their melancholy and destitute situation was known to hundreds of their companions, who had promised them relief, they were
* Capt. Kincaid.
actually famishing within three hundred yards of their own regiment !!!
Before six o'clock in the morning of the 7th of April, all organization amongst the assaulting columns had ceased, and a scene of plunder and cruelty, that it would be difficult to find a parallel for, took its place. The army, so fine and effective on the preceding day, was now transformed into a vast band of brigands, and the rich and beautiful city of Badajoz presented the turbulent aspect that must result from the concourse of numerous and warlike multitudes nearly strangers to each other, or known only by the name of the nation to whom they belonged. The horde of vagabonds, Spaniards as well as Portuguese, women as well as men—that now eagerly sought for admission to plunder, nearly augmented the number of brigands to what the assailing army had reckoned the night before; and it may be fairly said that twenty thousand people-armed with full powers to act as they thought fit, and all, or almost all, armed with weapons which could be turned, at the pleasure or caprice of the bearer, for the purpose of enforcing any wish he sought to gratify-were let loose upon the ill-fated inhabitants of this devoted city. These people were under no restraint—had no person to control them, and in a short time got into such an awful state of intoxication that they lost all control over their own actions. What a frightful picture is this of a town carried by storm !-it is true, nevertheless, and, unfortunately for the sake of humanity, it is necessary, absolutely necessary; because if such latitude was not allowed to the soldiery, I believe that few fortresses would be carried by assault: the alternative is not, however, the less painful. If the reader can for a moment fancy a fine city, containing an immense population, amongst which may be reckoned a proportion of the most beautiful women that Andalusia, or perhaps the world, could boast of,—if he can fancy that population, and those females, left to the mercy of twenty thousand infuriated and licentious soldiers for two days and two nights,-if, I say, he can fancy this, he can well imagine the horrors that were acted within the walls of Badajoz. In the first burst, all the wine and spirit stores were forced open
and ransacked from top to bottom; and it required but a short time for the men to get into that fearful state that was alike dangerous to allofficers or soldiers, or the inhabitants of the city. Casks of the choicest wines and brandy were dragged into the streets, and when the men had drunk as much as they fancied, the heads of the vessels were stove in, or the casks otherwise so broken that the liquor ran about in streams.
In the town were a number of animals that belonged to the garrison, several hundred sheep, numerous oxen, as likewise many horses; those were amongst the first taken possession of; and the wealthy occupier of many a house was glad to be allowed the employment of conducting them to our camp, as, by doing so, he got away from a place where his life was not worth a minute's purchase; but terrible as was this scene, it was not possible to avoid occasionally laughing, for the conducteur was generally not alone obliged to drive a herd of cattle, but also to carry the bales of plunder taken by his employers--perhaps from his own house !—and the stately gravity with which the Spaniard went through his work, dressed in short breeches, frilled shirt, and a hat and plumes that might vie with our eighth Henry, followed, as he was, by our ragamuffin soldiers with fixed bayonets, presented a scene that would puzzle even Mr. Cruikshank
V. S. JOURN. No. 58, SEPT. 1833.
himself to justiy delineate. The plunder so captured was deposited in our camp, and placed under a guard, chiefly composed of the soldiers' wives!
The shops were rifled, first by one group, who despoiled them of their most costly articles, then by another, who thought themselves rich in capturing what had been rejected by their predecessors; then another, and another still, until every vestige of property was swept away. A few hours was sufficient for this ; night was fast drawing near, and then a scene took place that has seldom fallen to the lot of any writer to describe. Every insult, every infamy that human invention could torture into language, was practised. Age as well as youth was alike unrespected, and perhaps not one house, or one female, in this vast town, escaped injury: but war is a terrible engine, and, when once set in movement, it is not possible to calculate when or where it will stop. Happy are those countries that have not been visited by its scourge; and grateful ought the nation to be that can boast of having a man-I mean the Duke of Wellington—that, by his great genius as a general and steel-hardiness as a man–because nothing but the latter quality, in which, perhaps, he surpasses all ancient or modern heroes, could have enabled him or his army to remain in the Peninsula one day after the invasion of Portugal by the Prince of Esling, in 1810—has kept the British empire free from such a calamity; but such a picture of this great man can be but ill appreciated by the “people," who one day followed the triumphant car of the conqueror of Napoleon's hitherto invincible legions and marshals, and whose deafening shouts of applause shook the metropolis of Great Britain to its basement story, and who, a few short years afterwards, pelled him with mud in the same streets ! But war, not politics, is the subject of this " Reminiscence," so I shall aside the latter, and pursue the former.
The day of the eighth of April was also a fearful one for the inhabitants; the soldiers became reckless, and drank to such an excess, that no person's life, no matter of what rank, or station, or sex, was safe. If they entered a house that had not been emptied of all its furniture or wine, they proceeded to destroy it; or, if it happened to be empty, which was generally the case, they commenced firing at the doors and windows, and not unfrequently at the inmates, or at each other! They would then sally forth into the streets, and fire at the different church-bells in the steeples, or the pigeons that inhabited the old Moorish turrets of the castle-even the owls were frighted from this place of refuge, and, by their discordant screams, announced to their hearers the great revolution that had taken place near their once peaceful abodes. The soldiers then fired upon their own comrades, and many men were killed, in endeavouring to carry away some species of plunder, by the hands of those who, but a few hours before, would have risked their own lives to protect those they now so wantonly sported with : then would they turn upon the already too deeply injured females, and tear from them the trinkets that adorned their necks, fingers, or ears! and, finally, they would strip them of their wearing apparel. Some, 'tis said, there were—ruffians of the lowest grade, no doubt—who cut the ear-rings out of the females' ears that bore them, when they discovered a band of marauders approaching the unfortunate beings that were subjected to such brutal treatment, and whom they feared might antici