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Journal of a West India Proprietor

M. G. Lewis

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Devil must be “an extremely pretty fellow.” But in spite of the fineness of the morning, our passage was a most disagreeable concern: there was a violent swell in the sea; and a strong north wind, though it carried us forward with great rapidity, overwhelmed us with whole sheets of foam so incessantly, that I expected, as soon as the sun should have evaporated the moisture, to see the boat’s crew covered with salt, and looking like so many Lot’s wives after her metamorphosis.

The distance was about thirty miles, and soon after nine o’clock we reached Savannah la Mar, where I found my trustee, and a whole cavalcade, waiting to conduct me to my own estate; for he had brought with him a curricle and pair for myself a gig for my servant, two black boys upon mules, and a cart with eight oxen to convey my baggage. The road was excellent, and we had not a. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This was a challenging book to read, but also fascinating and well written.
Lewis is a slave owner, and has two sugar plantations in Jamaica at the turn of the 19th century.
Some of the language and assumptions used to describe people of colour is so outdated, outrageous and offensive to modern ears

This was a memorable read and I am glad to have taken the time for it. I see that this book has some interesting mixed reviews; some reviewers seem to think that the author was entirely self - interested, and that any supposed benevolence he showed his slaves was for self - congratulatory purposes.

A fascinating insight into the attitudes, opinions, and approaches of a slave owner sympathetic to his 'properties'.

This book provided an invaluable insight into plantation life in Jamaica in the early 1800s. Lewis was an absentee proprietor who visited his plantations twice and was fascinated by the island. He was a keen observer of everything he saw and nothing escaped his attention - from the insect life on th

This is a beautifully written, sometimes funny, repeatedly shocking, disarming diary by a person on the right side of the wrong side of history, by which I mean that he inherited a sugar plantation in Jamaica, but unlike most owners (including the father of Elizabeth Barrett Browning) he actually vi

As I spent this spring reading up on Danish West Indies whose chroniclers are mainly doctors and sailors this book was a very interesting read.

The literary background of the voyager is clear through the book and makes it, in a way, quite similar to the narratives of those Greco-Roman authors Lewis h

Fascinating book. Lewis is enlightening and attempts to be progressive as a slaveholder at the tail end of slavery. He reproduces lots of stories and traditions from his slaves and I see some traces of syncretism in his writing. His perspective and racist views are somewhat nausea-inducing as well.

This text was actually really easy to read through. The fractured element with the diary entries made it easier to split up and read in little chunks.

I loved the eloquence of the writing, especially over the sections where they travel over the seas. I enjoyed the nautical descriptions and the image

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