Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
One morning at sunrise we found ourselves steaming over a smooth, blue sea into the port of Kingston, on the island of Jamaica.
Jamaica was first discovered by Columbus, the great Spanish explorer, and was afterwards captured by the British expedition sent out by Cromwell in 1655, under Admiral Penn and General Venables.
Columbus, when asked by King Ferdinand of Spain what Jamaica looked like, crumpled up a piece of paper and laid it on the table, and said it looked like that.
And so it does; ridge after ridge of mountains rises, with their sides all seamed and crumpled with ravines and valleys, up to the highest peak of the Blue Mountains nearly 8000 ft. above the sea.
The harbour of Kingston is a magnificent lagoon or landlocked bay, cut off from the ocean by a long, narrow spit of land, about fifteen miles long and only 100 yards wide. This is covered with bush and a few palm trees. This spit is called “The Palisades.”
At the extreme point of it is a small town called Port Royal. This in the old days was a great headquarters for the sea-rovers and buccaneers. After we took the island, Port Royal became a Naval arsenal for our men-of-war. Lord Nelson spent many years of his service here, making Port Royal his headquarters. The first building we come to as our steamer glides up to the little settlement, with its red-roofed houses between the palm trees, is a long, low rampart pierced for big guns, with a small house perched upon it. This was where Nelson lived. The little terrace on the rampart is called “Nelson’s Quarter-deck,” because here he used to pace up and down, eagerly waiting for the French fleet.
A marble tablet has been set up which says:
In this place dwelt Horatio Nelson, Ye who tread his footprints Remember his glory.
And here also are great long buildings which used to be the sail-lofts for storing the sails of the mighty three-deckers which formed his fleet.
Down on the point are some low-lying modern forts for the protection of the entrance to the lagoon, but one of these has caved in like an apple pie after a Boy Scout has tackled it. In this case it was the great earthquake of 1907 which caused the destruction of even this strongly built work.
As our ship rounds the point, we enter into a beautiful inland sea, as smooth as a great lake, with the city of Kingston lying at the foot of the mountains, some five miles from the entrance.
As we approach the quays, we see that the town is chiefly of low houses with verandahs, and dusty white roofs, with lovely green palm trees in the gardens. It is beautifully bright and warm and peaceful. It is hard to believe that only five years ago it was just as calm and peaceful when a sudden heave of the ground took place, which smashed up every house and killed and injured thousands of inhabitants in the space of a few minutes.
As we come alongside the wharf, among the crowd waiting to welcome the ship we see the well- known uniform once more. A guard of honour of Boy Scouts is drawn up to receive me. Two