Author Topic: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston  (Read 3687 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« on: November 14, 2009, 03:04:39 PM »
Unlike other British outposts in the Caribbean, Jamaica did not need to use commodities for money. It was the British navy and army headquarters in the Caribbean and all those sailors and soldiers wanted to be paid. Yet, that was not the main source of coin: "The island began to abound in Money, which was brought tither by the Buccaneers, as the Pyrates in the Spanish West-Indies are called. And the Government of Jamaica, tho' they were far from encouraging such wicked courses, yet winked at them, in consideration of the Treasures they brought thither and squandered away there." This collusion of the authorities and the pirates is more than a little surprising, until you realise how little difference there is between a privateer and a buccaneer. As long as both were harassing Spanish shipping, who cared which ones did it legally?

With silver abounding, Jamaica wanted its own mint. However, London was distrustful of colonial mints after their experience with rogue mints in New England and Maryland. As a consequence, the coins in circulation were mainly Spanish doubloons and Spanish and Portuguese colonial silver. As elsewhere, the reforms of 1704 drove out silver coin and put Jamaica on a de facto gold standard " no part of the money they get from the Spaniards, except pistorines, a base coin, stays with them". In fact, Spanish, Portuguese and English gold was plentyful, but small change could scarcely be had. Sugar started to be used as small change. An attempt to keep silver in Jamaica by countermarking it failed miserably and was forbidden by London.

In 1822, the local government issued unsecured paper money. This immediately drove gold out of circulation, worsening the situation. The reforms of 1825 were accompanied by a large shipment of British coins. The silver was welcomed, but the copper failed to circulate. The island had no history of using copper beyond the billon pistareens. More important, the islanders continued to calculate in reales. While shillings were conveniently taken for a quarter dollar (2 reales), so that a sixpence, threepence and 1-1/2 pence were 1, 1/2 and 1/4 real, lower value British coins were found impractical. This again inconvenienced the Kingston English, who chose to issue their own penny tokens.

This token was probably issued between 1825 and 1840. It was undoubtedly struck by Boulton in Birmingham, since its style is so close to the regal British copper issue of 1797. The obverse is a close rendition of the Jamaican arms of 1661.



The motto "Indus uterque serviet uni" means "Both Indies (East and West) will serve one". The devices on the cross are pineapples. The shield holders are Arawak indans, the female holding a pineapple, the male a bow. The reverse gives the denomination as 1d Jamaica currency and the issuer as William Smith, Kingston. The issuer remains unidentified as there were many Bill Smiths in Kingston town.

Peter
« Last Edit: November 14, 2009, 08:15:12 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

translateltd

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Re: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2009, 07:15:35 PM »
The motto "Indus uterque serviet uni" means "Both Indies (East and West) will serve one".

Serve one or serve *as* one?  I guess it depends on whether "uni" is a nominative plural (making it part of the subject, i.e. "as one''), or whether the verb "to serve" takes a genitive object (also "uni"), which sounds a bit weird to me, though it is rather early in the morning here.  I'll hit the Latin dictionaries when I'm more awake ...



translateltd

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Re: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2009, 08:01:33 PM »
I'm getting more confused the more I look at this:

Indus is singular
Uterque is a singular nominative form (meaning either "both" or "each other")
Serviet is a singular verb.
The verb servio takes a direct object or an ablative case (so it should be unum or uno ...)

I can't analyse it in any way that makes sense, though some hunting for earlier sources seems to confirm the translation as shown by Peter above:

http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924020417527/cu31924020417527_djvu.txt

Indus Uterq : serviet uni { 1

All this, as I have heard, was designed by the present Lord Arch-
bishop of Canterbury, in the year 1661, and the Seal then delivered
to Sir Charles Littleton, that came hither Chancellour, for the Chan-
cellours always keep it, and with it Seal all Publick Grants, Com-
missions, Patents &c.

The King by a Clause in the Commission for the Government,
appoints the Governour to be Chancellour, as judging it fittest to
entrust him with the Equity,, who is to see the Laws executed, and
not thinking it for the good of his Subjects to have many great
Officers in a young Colony ; and that if the Seal were in private
hands it would be erected into an Office : Now its worth little or
nothing. For the Chancellour has no Pee, only for granting Land
and that amounts to very little now. . . .

There is no mention of a purse, but one was probably
sent out with the Seal and Counter-Seal.

Lawrence -Archer — misled by Bridges, who, ignoring
the " present," simply says, " This seal was designed by the
Archbishop of Canterbury" — says, "At that time (1662)
the Metropolitan See was filled by WiUiam Juxon." Tt
is true that Lord Windsor came to Jamaica while Juxon
was archbishop of Canterbury (1660 to 1663), but Sancroft
occupied the see in 1683, when the sentence quoted from
the Records of the house of Assembly was written.

* How sweet the fruit the hard rind yields.

t Behold ! the Cross hath spread its arms into another world,
and beareth fruit.

{ The Indians twain shall serve one Lord.


Offline Figleaf

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Re: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2009, 08:18:17 PM »
Maybe 17th century bishops weren't as well versed in latin as they ought to be?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

translateltd

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Re: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2009, 08:59:17 PM »
Maybe 17th century bishops weren't as well versed in latin as they ought to be?

Peter

I was thinking maybe the opposite - those who were using it every day had an instinctive feel for what was right, whereas those of us who have to rely on analysing it element by element get led up all sorts of blind alleys.

(I've been thinking about examples of "hypercorrectness" in English lately where people try to apply a "rule" without necessarily understanding what they're applying the rule to, resulting in a phrase that no longer quite means what the writer intended.  A little learning is a dangerous thing, and all that.  My Latin definitely comes into the "a little learning" category, certainly nothing more!)


Offline bruce61813

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Re: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2009, 03:36:28 AM »
Even though it is "Latin" there is the church Latin and there was the "vulgar" form, so why wouldn't the meaning of a word or even phrase change over time? the romans did not leave many dictionaries laying around.

Bruce

translateltd

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Re: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2009, 05:16:56 AM »
Even though it is "Latin" there is the church Latin and there was the "vulgar" form, so why wouldn't the meaning of a word or even phrase change over time? the romans did not leave many dictionaries laying around.


Word meanings changed, but grammatical forms didn't (not to the extent we are talking about, anyway).  The dative/ablative form UNO or the accusative form UNUM wouldn't have become UNI by a process of sound change over the centuries.  Even my 1758 edition of Ainsworth's Latin-English dictionary doesn't shed any light on what appears to be an unusual usage.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2009, 01:50:58 PM »
Are you collecting dictionaries as well, Martin? That collection must take a wee bit more place than coins...

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

translateltd

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Re: Jamaica: From Birmingham to Kingston
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2009, 07:42:02 PM »
Are you collecting dictionaries as well, Martin? That collection must take a wee bit more place than coins...

Peter

Yes, after a fashion - the shelves you saw behind me on Skype recently contained language books, as the coin books are in a different room ...