The View From Mount Clarence

A look back at settlement along Western Australia's South Coast

More thoughts on the origin of the name Glen Candy

Originally Published 18 April 2014:

Sugar Slaves

CANDY is an acknowledged borrowing from Arabic qandi (candied). 
The word developed from the CANE of sugar-cane (stalk-Genesis41:5).


Patrick Taylor left Spithead, Portsmouth, on February 9th, 1834, aboard the James Pattison arriving at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, 13 weeks later. He celebrated his 27th birthday on March 2nd, exactly three weeks into the voyage when the ship was somewhere off the north-west coast of Africa, probably between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. The weather will have been humid and hot.

By 1834, trading in slavery throughout the British Empire had been abolished over 25 years. I don’t know how aware Patrick was of his own family background in the business nor if it even occurred to him as they sailed off the western face of Africa, but there’s enough in the thought to warrant a closer look at how the wealthy young settler came to name his country property just outside Albany, Glen Candy.


African slave regions


Taylor had met Mary Bussell aboard the ship but it isn’t clear how quickly the relationship developed. Mary’s ship-board diary gives an insight to that but in keeping with the times was typically restrained. Mary was a disciplined diary keeper and in being so wrote with a perceived audience in mind, which means her revelations are strictly measured. Patrick will have been excited by the presence of the ship’s bee keeper, who at 29 (two years his senior) was sailing out with her mother to take up with the rest of the Bussell family who had finally settled at the Vasse after a particularly difficult start. (The Bussells of Cattle Chosen tie in with these pages and we’ll hear more about them in the coming posts). At the time of Patrick’s birthday he may not have fallen for Mary but the the idea of marriage probably did occur to him and with it, according to his status, all that the institution entailed.

In today’s terms, Patrick was a millionaire beneficiary of his father’s will. His father, John Tailyour, was accounted for in his youth but exceeded the family’s social status by becoming a successful merchant and amassing wealth. Patrick, on the other hand, never went in to business and had no experience of it. His father made his money in a relatively short period of time, essentially the last two decades of the 18th century, when the slave/sugar/goods trade was at its peak.

Patrick’s father re-bought the Kirktonhill House and grounds after his grandfather had been forced to sell it in order to provide liquidity. John was able to do this by associating himself with a cousin of his; Simon Taylor of Kingston, Jamaica. Simon was born in the West Indies and became a sugar planter and slave holder. Patrick’s father had involved himself with the tobacco trade out of Virginia first, but this was in the 1770’s and his efforts were frustrated by the American War of Independence. In 1782, John Tailyour went to the West Indies and allied himself to Simon Taylor by changing the spelling of his surname. Simon Taylor was one of Jamaica’s wealthiest men and John finally began to make money.


Sugar Cane Plantation


How much of this Patrick ever knew or understood, I’m not sure. Patrick was nine when his father died, though John Taylor had only been in Jamaica ten years before he came back (apparently for health reasons).  In 1793, soon after returning, John married Patrick’s mother and began his Scottish family at the regained Kirktonhill. After ten years in Kingston, John Taylor’s business was well organised, allowing him to take up the life of an aristocrat, living off its vast profits.

An African Slave Woman *oil on canvas *60 x 39 (fragment of a larger painting) *1580s
An African Slave Woman; 1580s. Probably by Annibale Carricci

During the mid-1780s, while John was in Jamaica establishing his trading firm, he took Polly Graham, one of Simon Taylor’s slaves, as a common-law wife. Together they had three or four children. In 1790, John appealed to Simon for the freedom of Polly and their children. Simon granted the request, and John sent three of them (James, John, and Catherine) to Britain to be educated, and to remove them from the prejudices of Jamaica. Two of those children, James and John, are recorded in some detail in the collection of letters in the William Clements Library at the University of Michigan. James became a serviceman in the East India Company army, and John worked as a clerk in a London merchant house. The letters show that John Taylor’s decision to take responsibility for his mixed-race children and to bring them to Britain gave rise to plenty of consternation within his own family. Bearing in mind, this was before he had returned to Scotland to live and therefore before he had begun the family Patrick was born into.


What I’ve found out about Simon Taylor largely comes from the University of Southampton which keeps a blog on Slavery and Revolution maintained by Christer Petley; Taylor’s letters are of serious historical importance. He looks to me to have been a male supremacist, an elitist who sought to establish a native White-Jamaican generation by breeding the black out of slave women.

Simon Taylor(Simon) Taylor was born in Kingston, the main port and largest town in Jamaica, in 1739. He was educated in Britain and returned to Jamaica in 1760, following the death of his father. On his return to the Caribbean, he began a career as a planter, purchasing sugar plantations, otherwise referred to as ‘estates’, in the eastern Jamaican parish of St Thomas in the East and in the north-eastern parish of St Mary’s. Apart from one short trip to England, Taylor lived in Jamaica for the rest of his life after 1760. He died at Port Royal, Jamaica, in 1813, at the age of seventy-four. At his death he was one of the wealthiest men in the British empire, and his massive personal fortune was built on the backs of the enslaved men, women, and children who laboured on the sugar estates and other properties that he owned or.managed. He ‘owned’ over 2,000 slaves when he died.

I think John Taylors acceptance of his mixed-race children and what he did for them is enough to suggest Patrick and his siblings will have known about them. The Jamaican children will have been between four and nine years older than the first born of Patrick’s direct siblings, and therefore from seventeen to twenty-two years older than him. He may not have known them very well, but there is nothing to suggest John Taylor kept them a secret.

Patrick’s father played aristocrat from the early 1790’s and the experience was not lost on his son because Patrick himself presented as aloof and above, as much of the Swan River commentary on him suggests. Patrick considered himself a Gentlemen; not someone that worked, but someone who employed other people to invest his money and provide him with a dividend. At least, that’s the way I imagine him to have seen things from his position as a young man of means.

Voyaging out to the Swan River Colony Patrick will have had to be his own eyes and ears when it came to investments there and to that end it was essential he maintained close relations with the other moneyed settlers, especially the likes of James Stirling. Stirling, as I’ve suggested before, saw the opportunity to make money at the Swan River before anything else. He was misguided enough on that point to effectively starve the economy from the outset.

But he wasn’t a quitter, that must be said too.

Aboard the James Pattison, there would have been much talk about the development of commerce, speculative property accumulations, mineral and precious metal explorations, coal, agriculture and pastoralism, etc.  Patrick must have been brim-full of confidence, in a position not dissimilar to his father at one stage, perfectly positioned on the edge of an explosion in trade. Perhaps a little short on health, but wise and astute enough to live very comfortably in the meantime. . .

Taylor - Simon - Hollande Estate Jamaica


Back to Glen Candy. . .

Glen, of course, reflects Taylor’s Scottish origins. He may have been educated in England and spoke with a gentrified English accent, but the Tailyours (now Taylors) were Highlanders, from Aberdeen.

Where the name Candy came from is much more of a mystery, but with the knowledge the Taylor’s merchant business was based in Jamaica and tied to slavery, it’s clear old John was in the business of selling sugar.

The following excerpt comes from an on-line National Geographic article called SUGAR. It’s telling. . .

By the 18th century the marriage of sugar and slavery was complete. Every few years a new island—Puerto Rico, Trinidad—was colonized, cleared, and planted. When the natives died, the planters replaced them with African slaves. After the crop was harvested and milled, it was piled in the holds of ships and carried to London, Amsterdam, Paris, where it was traded for finished goods, which were brought to the west coast of Africa and traded for more slaves. The bloody side of this “triangular trade,” during which millions of Africans died, was known as the Middle Passage. Until the slave trade was banned in Britain in 1807, more than 11 million Africans were shipped to the New World—more than half ending up on sugar plantations. According to Trinidadian politician and historian Eric Williams, “Slavery was not born of racism; rather, racism was the consequence of slavery.” Africans, in other words, were not enslaved because they were seen as inferior; they were seen as inferior to justify the enslavement required for the prosperity of the early sugar trade.


The original British sugar island was Barbados. Deserted when a British captain found it on May 14, 1625, the island was soon filled with grinding mills, plantation houses, and shanties. Tobacco and cotton were grown in the early years, but cane quickly overtook the island, as it did wherever it was planted in the Caribbean. Within a century the fields were depleted, the water table sapped. By then the most ambitious planters had left Barbados in search of the next island to exploit. By 1720 Jamaica had captured the sugar crown.


. . .  there was no stopping the boom. Sugar was the oil of its day. The more you tasted, the more you wanted. In 1700 the average Englishman consumed 4 pounds a year. In 1800 the common man ate 18 pounds of sugar. In 1870 that same sweet-toothed bloke was eating 47 pounds annually. Was he satisfied? Of course not! By 1900 he was up to 100 pounds a year. In that span of 30 years, world production of cane and beet sugar exploded from 2.8 million tons a year to 13 million plus. Today the average American consumes 77 pounds of added sugar annually, or more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.


What else is candy but sugar?

I have no idea if the young Patrick Taylor, who had only just turned 30 when he married Mary Bussell, was deliberately referencing his father’s financial success when he named his Lower Kalgan hillside hide-away Glen Candy, but, except for one thing, it’s hard not to think it.

Patrick bought densely wooded land at the height of a steep hill. It was impractical to clear and set to pasture or to growing anything that required labour-intensive tilling. Grapes perhaps; apples, oranges, lemons, peaches, apricots and pears more likely. Taylor planted an orchard, Patrick’s intention was to grow fruit. How much is anyone’s guess, but maybe there was something in that association.

Fruit preserves were a staple in that day and sugar was fundamental to the process, but I don’t think it was that. Taylor had his money invested and the business of sugar was booming. Candy was the new thing. With the added discovery of sugar beet juice as a sweetener the candy sweets business was flourishing. The industrial age was in full swing and mechanical appliances were being designed to make all kinds of new treats.

Patrick Taylor either had his money invested in that, or he thought in a fully innocent, old fashioned way that the homestead on the hill was for his heart’s desire, his love’s want, his sweetheart, Mary Yates Bussell.

Sadly, for Patrick neither story worked out.


Candyup Wordle

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