Soufrière Saint Vincent
Saint Vincent’s La Soufrière is the northernmost volcano on the island. At 4,049 ft, it is the highest peak on Saint Vincent. This volcano erupted in 1718, 1812, 1902, 1971, and 1979. The eruption of May 7, 1902, killed 1,680 people, almost all Caribs. Fatalities were avoided in April 1979; because of advance warnings.
Hiroona's Horatio Nelson Huggins
The following is the text from an e-
I was delighted to find the St Vincent Quizz on your web site and find my great great grandfather's, Horatio Nelson Huggins', epic poem, Hiroona, as one of the questions. I wondered whether these notes would be of interest:
I lived with in Trinidad during my teens with my great great Aunt, Lottie Huggins, one of H.N. Huggins' daughters. I leaned much about her father (and my great-
HNH was particularly close to his daughter, Lottie, and often talked to her about what he was writing about in Hiroona -
He was a descendant of a young Royalist officer who fled England after the battle of Naseby around 1645, HNH was 6th generation of the Huggins family to be born and live in the West Indies. He was a very busy hard-
He was the grandson of James Huggins (1753 – 1837) , one time Provost Marshall of Nevis, who had moved to St Vincent from Nevis probably in the late 1770s, but was certainly there during the Carib war. “Lottie” Huggins always maintained that her father based the character “Norman” very much on his grandfather, James. His father was Daniel Huggins (1790 –1853) of St Vincent , not, as Paula Burnett states in her excellent Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse, the son the earlier Horatio Nelson Huggins ( (1787 –1867), who was a godson of the then Capt. Horatio Nelson and both uncle of and godfather to the second H.N. Huggins, the author of Hiroona.
HNH’s mother, Lucy Crichton, was the daughter of Crichton, a young Scottish planter and accomplished artist who had settled in St Vincent. He fought in the Carib War, and was nearly killed in a brilliant Carib ambush, from which very few people survived. Paula Burnett’s misquotes part of the script – In the poem it was Crayton not Norman whom Ranée loved.
Aunt Lottie explained to me that her father had based the character “Crayton” very much on the young Crichton. She used to have a port-
Paula Burnett (Pg.li ) is also incorrect about the reason why Hiroona was not published until 1930 (not 1937!) The long delay in publication was nothing to do with his prophetic warning of the ultimate collapse of the British Empire. Trinidad had been a Spanish colony before taken over by the English, and its society contained descendants of many European countries, many who were came from political refugees, and well could take Hiroona on the chin, as they did from some of his earlier published work; for Paula Burnett is slightly incorrect on another matter; HNH did have other published works, such as the protest poem “The “Grand Usine” which was published in the Port of Spain Gazette on the Queen Birthday in, I recall, 1883. The publication of the poem caused a furore that achieved its objective in shaming the owners of this large sugar factory to deal with the immense pollution problem they were calling .
The reason why it took over 30 years to publish Hiroona is very simple and easily understood. HNH’s sudden and unexpected death left a heart-
HNH stepped down from his right to the family estates in St Vincent in favour of his younger brother William so that he could continue his calling as a cleric. He was not at all like the comfortable parsons one reads about in Victorian novels. Hiroona was written over a period of many years, and HNH died suddenly before he had an opportunity to even edit the work. There had already been an attempt on his life when a man attached him with a cutlass in St Paul's Church, San Fernando, Trinidad, where he was Rector, with the words “the masons have sent me to kill you”, but HNH was a strong, wiry man and overpowered his assailant before he could do harm. But sometime later, returning tired from visiting distant parishioners on horseback, he died of food poisoning or poisoned food – no one is sure.
HORATIO NELSON HUGGINS
HNH married twice. His first wife was his first cousin, Adelaide Lacroix, daughter of the French Count Lacroix, whose grand-
The above is recorded from memory, so there may be some mistakes, and I am not sure if I have some of the verses in the correct order. It was published in the Port of Spain Gazette, Queens Birthday 1883. The Usine was a large sugar refinery at St Madeline, in the Naparima district near San Fernando. For many years the factory owners had allowed a very unpleasant smell to issue unchecked, despite many complaints from the nearby town and villages.
Aunt Lottie kept the original press cutting (I am fairly sure it was dated 1883 -
by Horatio Nelson Huggins
The Grand Usine
Our Naparima's boast -
As one soon knows
Who has a nose
And ventures down the coast -
Whatever else its owners think,
Is famous for its mighty stink!
Its praises ring
As right good thing
To aid our country's weal;
And weight of gains
From golden canes
The Company's pockets feel;
But, whilst those laughing guineas chink
We breath a most prodigious stink!
It fouls the air
For miles and miles around.
Good templars -
Ye tipplers say-
Can fouler stench be found,
The refuge of the rum you drink,
That this atrocious, deadly stink?
"A great mistake,
"Good sir, you make,
"The scent is sweet and pure,
"Like bitters good
"Digests your food;
"Most wholesome, 'tis, I'm sure,"
says Slate, but says it with a wink,
He can't get o'er that awful stink.
"My dear good sir,
Is nicer word to write!"
Perhaps it is,
Can't always be polite.
No good it is for truth to blink,
It is an unmitigated stink!
It's hard to tell
If such a smell,
Old Charon's self would own,
Even for him,
Hell's porter grim,
Too highly flavoured grown,
With a lake like his, as black as ink,
And stench that's worse than Stygian stink!
But science sure
To seek a cure,
Must deftly find a way.
Invoke its aid
And see it paid,
As Companies can pay.
Your interest, sirs, will ours will link,
Top rid us of this awful stink.
I do suggest
It would be best
Some thousands now to spend.
And make the foe your friend,
Or else the whole concern may sink,
When SilverTorch requested permission to publish the above vebatim, Michael Huggins responded as follows:
Dear Torchbearer, Yes, of course, but my apologies if what I have written it is rather disjointed. This may have a interesting development as I have lost contact with so many of my old West Indian friends and family -
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