National Geographic : 1975 Apr
leeching bugs skittered about in the black. "I can feel every old fracture in my body," Bill said grimly as we angled down to the mine's 70-foot depth. "It's so dank in here." As we headed back for the real world, and sunshine, I thought of the comment of an 1807 visitor: "... I cannot get rid of the im pression, that without any extraordinary cru elty in its actual operation, there is something very like cruelty in the device and design." FTER HIS RELEASE in an October 1778 prisoner exchange, William Frank lin went to New York City, Britain's last bastion in the Colonies, and from there to England as one of more than 7,000 Loyalists who emigrated to the British Isles. Dame Britannia tended to look down her regal nose at the colonial expatriates, making them feel like the provincial bumpkins she presumed them to be. But then-after they had demonstrated their Yankee worthiness in business, society, and the arts-she quietly absorbed them. On another island I saw the opposite. My plane touched down at Marsh Harbour International Airport (the name is bigger than the facility), and within a few minutes I knew that Abaco, second largest of the Ba hamas, was Tory country. I took a taxi to the ten-unit Union Jack Club and Motel; on the way I passed the Loyalist Shoppe, one of few er than two dozen business establishments at Marsh Harbour. Elbow-shaped and 110 miles long, Abaco received the major share of the 2,500 Loyal ists and their 4,500 slaves who fled to the Ba hamas after the war. The refugees more than doubled the islands' number of white in habitants, and trebled the number of blacks.