Saturday, January 15, 2011

The West Indies and the Spanish Main

Rodway, James, The West Indies and the Spanish Main, London: T. Fischer Unwin, 1896.

From a review in the New York Times (Published: April 18, 1896):
Mr. Rodway, however, is not a poet or even a tourist, but a West Indian planter, apparently, and his book is not designed to furnish entertainment, but to accomplish the somewhat belated purpose of convincing the public, first, that African slaves were necessary to the prosperity and even the existence of West Indian plantations, and in the next place to show that slavery was no such terrible thing as long-distance philanthropy made out.

From the Introduction:
The story of the West Indies and Spanish Main is one to stir the hearts of many nations. The shores of the Caribbean Sea have been the scene of marvellous adventures, of intense struggles between races and peoples, of pain, trouble, and disaster of almost every description. No wonder that the romance writer has laid his scenes upon its beautiful islands and deep blue waters, for nowhere in the world, perhaps, could he find such a wealth of incident. From "Robinson Crusoe" to Marryat's genial stories, and down to "Westward Ho!" and "Treasure Island," old and young have been entranced for many generations with its stories of shipwrecks, pirates, sea-fights, and treasure-seekers. Yet with all this the field has not been exhausted, for hardly a year passes without a new romance dealing more or less with the "Indies."

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