Front Page Titles (by Subject) Appendix E: JAMAICA COMMITTEE: PUBLIC DOCUMENTS (1866, 1868) - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXI - Essays on Equality, Law, and Education
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Appendix E: JAMAICA COMMITTEE: PUBLIC DOCUMENTS (1866, 1868) - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXI - Essays on Equality, Law, and Education 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXI - Essays on Equality, Law, and Education, ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by Stefan Collini (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984).
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JAMAICA COMMITTEE: PUBLIC DOCUMENTS (1866, 1868)
Statement of the Jamaica Committee (1866)
Jamaica Papers, No. III, Statement of the Committee and Other Documents (London: Jamaica Committee, ), 3-7. Concludes: “Signed, on behalf of the Committee, J.S. Mill, Chairman. P.A. Taylor, Treasurer, / F.W. Chesson, Hon. Sec. / 65, Fleet Street, / 27th July, 1866.” Not listed in Mill’s bibliography. Printed, with a few substantive differences, in the Daily News, 30 July, 1866, 3, and, without substantive differences, in the Diplomatic Review, 5 Sept., 1866, 118-19; the variants between the version in the Daily News and the copy-text are given in notes, in which “DN” indicates Daily News.
For comment on this and the other Jamaica documents, see xxvi-xxviii and lxxviii above.
the jamaica committee[*] wish to explain to the public the motives by which they are actuated, and the objects which they have in view.
When there is reason to believe that a British subject has been illegally put to death, or otherwise illegally punished by a person in authority, it is the duty of the Government to inquire into the case; and if it appears that the offence has been committed, to vindicate the law by bringing the offender to public justice.
From the facts recorded in the Report of the Royal Commissioners of Inquiry,[†] and in other documents relating to the late disturbances in Jamaica, coupled with the legal opinion of Mr. Edward James and Mr. Fitzjames Stephen, published by the Committee,[*] there appeared strong reason to believe that George William Gordon, Samuel Clarke, Edward Fleming, Charles Mitchell, William Grant, Henry Lawrence, and many other subjects of Her Majesty, both male and female, had been illegally put to death, or flogged, and in some cases flogged and afterwards put to death, anda the houses of many othersb illegally burnt, by Ex-Governor Eyre, Brigadier Nelson,[†] and their subordinates and coadjutors. The attention of the Government was therefore called to these cases in Parliament by Mr. Mill, the Chairman of the Committee.[‡]
The Government not only declined to take any steps for the vindication of the law, but declined on grounds and in a tone which appear to the Committee to aggravate the dangerous aspect of the proceedings in question as infractions of the constitutional liberty of the subject.[§]
The duty now devolves upon private citizens of taking such measures as the constitution may point out for the defence of those legal and chartered rights which protect the lives and liberties of all.
In undertaking to discharge this duty, so far as circumstances and the means placed at their disposal may permit, the Committee are not, any more than the ordinary ministers of public justice, actuated by vindictive feelings towards those whom they believe to have violated the law. Their aim, besides upholding the obligation of justice and humanity towards all races beneath the Queen’s sway, is to vindicate, by an appeal to judicial authority, the great legal and constitutional principles which have been violated in the late proceedings, and deserted by the Government.
They desire in the first instance to establish, by a judicial sentence, the principle that the illegal execution of a British subject by a person in authority is not merely an error which superiors in office may at their discretion visit with displeasure or condone, but a crime which will certainly be punished by the law. The condition of a British subject will be altered if, for the offence of taking his life without law, a public functionary is to be responsible only to a Minister of the Crown who, in the case most dangerous to public liberty, would obviously be not the censor of his subordinate but his abettor. Our lives and liberties have not been, nor can they be safely allowed to be, under the guardianship of the Executive Government alone; they have been, and it is essential that they should remain, under the guardianship of the law. cA Royal Commission of Inquiry, the report of which it is proposed to substitute for the regular inquest of a court of justice in a case affecting the life of the subject, is a tribunal unknown to the constitution, not independent of the Executive, incapable even of entertaining a criminal charge, much more of passing any sentence upon the guilty, and therefore, though useful in instructing the Government, not competent to protect the lives of British citizens, or to fulfil the ends of public justice.c
In the second place, the Committee desire to challenge in a Court of Justice the jurisdiction of courts of martial law, which, as the late events show, may be made engines of indiscriminate butchery and torture; to obtain a judicial answer to the question whether military and naval officers, untrained to judicial investigation, and inflamed, probably, by the passions of the crisis, can legally try and torture or put to death the subjects of Her Majesty for high treason and other civil offences without a jury or any adequate security for justice, and without necessarily keeping even a record of the proceedings; and to have it determined by authority whether the law which these courts assume to administer is really law at all, or sanguinary licence which the law will repress and punish.
The mere refusal of Mr. Eyre’s superiors in office to reinstate him in his government affords little satisfaction to the community as regards the first of these objects, and none at all as regards the second. In the Dispatch conveying that decision some parts of his conduct are disapproved; but he is not pronounced to have violated the law; and the resolution not to retain him in office is put at last mainly on the ground that a new form of government is about to be inaugurated in the Island, and that it is better to intrust this “arduous task” to some person “who may approach it free from all the difficulties inseparable from a participation in the questions raised by the recent troubles.”[*] The execution of Mr. Gordon is condemned in more positive terms; but it is condemned as a stretch of severity uncalled for in the particular case, not as an infraction of public rights and principles of justice sacred in all cases alike. The practice of trying British subjects for high treason and other civil offences by court-martial is not repudiated in this Dispatch; while the language of Mr. Disraeli, in his reply to Mr. Mill’s questions, admits that the proclamation of martial law is the suspension of all law,[†] and exposes the lives of British subjects to irresponsible butchery.
The form of the legal proceedings prescribed by the law in such a case, and the issue in the event of those proceedings proving successful, the Committee must leave to be determined by the law itself, of which they take dthe regulation of the penalty by the exercise ofd the prerogative of mercy to be a part. It is not their fault if the law of England, instead of assigning a specific remedy against a public functionary guilty of contriving the death of an English citizen, includes the offence among those the common remedy for which is an indictment for murder;[*] nor can the Committee admit that public justice ought on that account to be allowed to fail.
In deciding on their legal course, however, the Committee have hitherto consulted,[†] and will continue to consult, professional advisers of the highest eminence and the most unbiassed judgment.
When indeed the Committee consider the circumstances of such a case as that of Mr. Gordon—the political antagonism which previously subsisted between him and Governor Eyre—the apparent absence of any ground of military necessity for taking the life of a man who was a helpless captive in the hands of the authorities—the eagerness with which the Governor personally interposed to arrest him and carry hime from the place where he was living under the protection of the common law to one where it was supposed that his life might with impunity be taken without a regular trial—fthe voice of warning raised in vain by a member of the Council,[‡] who, seeing the Governor’s intention, suggested that Mr. Gordon should be tried before a civil court—fthe composition of the court, which, by its combined incompetence and ruthlessness, cut off all hope alike of justice and of mercy—the pitiless manner in which the accused was deprived of all legal advice and assistance, and of the benefit of evidence which might have been given in his favour—the interception and destruction of the letter of advice sent open to the Brigadier-General for the guidance of the prisoner in pleading,[§] and the refusal of the brief delay necessary to call a most important witness[¶] who resided almost on the spot—the evidence on which the conviction was founded, and the total insufficiency of which to support the charge must have been palpable to any man of common understanding—the warm approval of the sentence upon that evidence by the Governor[∥] after the date at which, by his own account, the insurrection had been got under,[**] and when, consequently, the plea of military necessity could no longer have any force—they must confess that this is not a case which they would particularly shrink from submitting to the investigation of a court of justice.
If the execution of Mr. Gordon was illegal, and, in the eye of the law, a murder, it was a murder of which Mr. Eyre was not only constructively but personally guilty; which was committed not only under his authority, but, to all intents and purposes, with his own hand.
To lay it down that proof of private malice is indispensable in order to make an illegal execution a murder, would be to hold out impunity to the crime which is the most dangerous of all to the community—the crime of a public functionary who abuses the power entrusted to him to compass, under the forms of justice, the death of a citizen obnoxious to the Government. gTo lay it down that the plea of good intentions is sufficient to divest an act of criminality would be, in like manner, to hold out impunity to all political homicide: since all who commit political homicide, whether the agents of a Government or its opponents, believe that the political object which they have in view is good.g
The Government of Jamaica institutes a prosecution for murder against Mr. Ramsay,[*] the Provost-Marshal, though it is not suggested that his cruelties were committed from any feelings of private malice against the victims. Mr. Cardwell advises Sir Henry Storks, as Governor of Jamaica, to cause careful investigation to be made in those cases which appear to require it, with a view to such further proceedings as may be requisite and just. “Great offences,” he says, “must be punished.”[†] It is to be presumed that he would not except the great offences of great offenders.
In attempting to vindicate the law against the violence of persons in authority, the Committee will take care to give no pretence for the charge that they are showing sympathy with disorder. The gentlemen who represented them in Jamaica[‡] went out with strict instructions to lend no assistance or countenance to any persons who had suffered for real complicity in the late disturbances. The Committee will themselves act in the spirit of these instructions; and they will further abstain from founding proceedings on any case which appears to be fairly covered by the plea ofh necessity. They have no desire to abet resistance to lawful authority or to weaken the arm of the magistrate in preserving public order. But, on the other hand, they would remind their fellow-citizens that hopeless wrong is the sure parent of rebellion, and that its best antidote is the hope of constitutional redress.
The Committee, then, submit that they are endeavouring to defend public liberty against aggression from public motives, and by the means pointed out by law; and that they may justly claim the sympathy and support of all to whom public liberty is dear.
* * * * *
Address to Friends of the Jamaica Committee (1866)
Examiner, 13 Oct., 1866 (2nd ed.), 647. Headed: “The Jamaica Committee / The Jamaica Committee have issued the following address to their friends throughout the country: 65. Fleet-street, London, October, 1866.” Not listed in Mill’s bibliography. Printed also, without substantive variants, and with the same heading, in the Daily News, 12 Oct., 1866, 3. Signed: John Stuart Mill, M.P., Chairman: P.A. Taylor, M.P., Treasurer: F.W. Chesson, Hon. Secretary: / Thomas Barnes, M.P., John Bright, M.P., Joseph Cowen, M.P., J.E. Cairnes, Henry Fawcett, M.P., Thomas Hughes, M.P., Wilfrid Lawson, Bart., J.M. Ludlow, Duncan M’Laren, M.P., S. Morley, F.W. Newman, R.N. Philips, M.P., T.B. Potter, M.P., Humphrey Sandwith, C.B., Goldwin Smith, Herbert Spencer, James White, M.P.
sir,—For the reasons set forth in the accompanying “Statement”[*] —to which particular attention is requested—the Jamaica Committee resolved to undertake the duty which the Government had declined, of submitting to judicial investigation the conduct of Governor Eyre and his subordinates in putting to death Mr. Gordon and other British subjects for treason, sedition, and other alleged offences without a lawful trial.
The subscriptions and guarantees already received have justified the committee in taking the first steps; and they hope, by the time the courts resume their sittings, to be in possession of the opinion of eminent counsel as to the form of indictment and method of procedure.
The process, owing to the distance of Jamaica and other circumstances, will be very expensive; and it is evident that the committee will have to encounter a powerful resistance backed by all the resources of wealth. They deem it necessary, therefore, to appeal to the public to raise the fund to 10,000l. Your personal aid is earnestly requested, both in the form of subscription or guarantee, and in that of endeavouring to secure the co-operation of your friends.
In making this appeal, the committee desire once more to state that their sole object is to vindicate the law.
That the law has not yet been vindicated, that the principles of public liberty and justice impugned by the acts of Governor Eyre and his subordinates have not yet been effectively asserted, that no adequate security has been obtained against a repetition of such acts by men in power for the future, the Southampton banquet, the sentiments expressed at that banquet,[*] the doctrines propounded by the chairman and other members of the Eyre Defence and Aid Committee,[†] and the bearing of Mr. Eyre himself, are sufficient proofs. The conduct of the ex-governor, so far from being repented of or repudiated, is held up as a model for imitation; and the committee submit that, as the matter at present stands, the public cannot feel assured that British subjects, who may have given offence to a party in power, will not again be put to death without lawful trial, or that those who have been concerned in such proceedings will not again be applauded, caressed, and marked out for future reward and honour by peers, members of parliament, chaplains of her Majesty, magistrates, and other persons in high station.
The only adequate, as well as the only constitutional safeguard, is the decision of a court of justice, which, as the committee submit, those supporters of the ex-governor who believe that Mr. Gordon, Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Lawrence came lawfully and fairly to their ends ought to be the last to decline.
The committee also desire once more, in reply to persistent misrepresentation, to repeat that the acts for which they are about to prosecute were not done in the suppression of the so-called rebellion. Mr. Gordon, Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Lawrence all suffered after the period at which, as Mr. Eyre himself expressly stated, the insurrection had been completely crushed.[‡] They suffered, there is reason to suspect, for offence given to the party in power, quite independently of the disturbances, with which no one of the three was proved to have been connected in any way whatever.
While the interests of public liberty form the most obvious ground for an effectual protest against the lawless violence of persons in authority, it must not be forgotten that justice is also due to the memory, and to the families of those who have been put to a felon’s death, and buried as felons beneath the gallows, for crimes of which there is reason to believe they were not lawfully or justly convicted.
The committee commend to your support an undertaking which they believe to be essential to the interests of public liberty and justice. They have come forward as private individuals to put the law in motion only on the positive and almost contumacious refusal of the Government to do its duty, by inquiring into the cases in which there was reason to believe the lives of subjects of her Majesty had been illegally taken. But having come forward, they will not fail the public, if the public will not fail them.
P.S.—Subscriptions should be forwarded to the treasurer, Mr. P.A. Taylor, M.P., Aubrey-house, Notting-hill; or to Mr. F. W. Chesson, the hon. secretary, 65 Fleet-street, London.
* * * * *
Statement of the Jamaica Committee (1868)
London: The Jamaica Committee, 1868, Headed: “To the Members of the Jamaica Committee”; signed: “John Stuart Mill, Chairman: P.A. Taylor, Treasurer: F.W. Chesson, Hon. Sec.”, and dated London, 15 July, 1868. Not listed in Mill’s bibliography. Accompanied by the following letter from Chesson, dated as the statement, from 65 Fleet St.: “Dear Sir, I beg to send you, as a Member of the (General) Jamaica Committee, the enclosed statement, explanatory of the course which your Executive Committee has followed, and of the conclusion at which they have arrived. The Executive Committee propose to call together the whole body of Subscribers in the course of the Autumn, of which you will of course receive due notice. In the meantime I need hardly say we shall be happy to receive any suggestions or opinions with which you may please to favour us.” The only copies of the statement located are in the Mill-Taylor Collection, British Library of Political and Economic Science.
the attempt to call Mr. Eyre to account for his conduct as Governor of Jamaica, under the Colonial Governors’ Act,[*] being at an end, the Grand Jury of Middlesex having thrown out the Bill,[†] the Executive Committee are of opinion that the duty which they undertook of exhausting all the methods afforded by the criminal law of bringing the case under the cognizance of justice has now been performed.
So much misconception has prevailed, and has been fostered by the language of those who were opposed to an inquiry, that it may be desirable to recall to mind the leading facts.
A district in the Island of Jamaica had been the scene of a disturbance, caused as it appears, in part at least, by a system of misrule under which (according to the testimony of the present Governor, Sir J.P. Grant) in minor criminal cases, those mainly affecting the people, the system of legal procedure was extremely bad, and in civil matters for the poorer classes there was no justice at all, while there was nothing worthy to be called a police.* The disturbance, though sanguinary in its first outbreak, was suppressed without difficulty, no stand being ever made by the peasantry against the troops engaged in its suppression. The outbreak having occurred on October 11th, on the 20th the Governor reported, in a letter to the Colonial Secretary, that “the rebellion had been crushed.”[*] Nevertheless, for more than three weeks after this date, and even for many days after he had, on the 30th October, issued a proclamation of amnesty, declaring that the rebellion had been subdued—when all excuse of military necessity for summary proceedings was at end, and every person suspected of complicity in the disturbance might have been brought before the regular courts of justice—he continued to license the shooting, hanging and flogging of the peasantry, without distinction of sex, and the destruction of their houses and property, under the name and colour of martial law. According to the Report of the Royal Commissioners of Inquiry, 439 persons in all were put to death, not less than 600 were flogged, and 1000 houses were burned.[†] For a whole month there was a reign of terror. At one place, on a single day, 30 men and 20 women were flogged; the men with cats twisted with piano-wire, of which the Royal Commissioners of Inquiry, before whom portions of some of the cats were produced, say that it is painful to think that any man should have used such an instrument for the torturing of his fellow-creatures.[‡] Persons were tried and put to death under martial law for acts done, and even for words spoken, before the proclamation of martial law. A peasant, named Samuel Clarke, was hanged some days after the proclamation of amnesty, for words spoken two months before the proclamation of martial law, his only specified offence being that he had, at that time, declared with an oath that a letter signed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies was a lie.[§] The case of the Hon. G.W. Gordon was in its constitutional aspect still more grave.[¶] A member of the Legislature of Jamaica, and a leading opponent of the government of Mr. Eyre, he was taken by the Governor himself out of the protection of the common law, carried into the proclaimed district, handed over to a so-called court-martial presided over by Lieutenant Brand, of whose fitness to sit as judge in a case of life or death the public has since had sufficient means of forming an opinion, and put to death, with the express sanction of Mr. Eyre;[∥] to whom the sentence had been specially submitted, with an intimation from the commanding officer, General Nelson, that there was no military necessity for a summary execution: and this on evidence which the Royal Commissioners pronounce to have been wholly insufficient to support the charge,[*] and which is characterized by the Lord Chief Justice of the Queen’s Bench, not only as legally “inadmissible before any properly-constituted tribunal,” but as “morally worthless.”[†] “No one, I think,” says the same authority, “who has the faintest idea of what the administration of justice involves, could deem the proceedings on this trial consistent with justice, or, to use a homely phrase, with that fair play which is the right of the commonest criminal.” “All I can say,” proceeds the Lord Chief Justice, “is that if, on martial law being proclaimed, a man can lawfully be thus tried, condemned and sacrificed, such a state of things is a scandal and a reproach to the institutions of this great and free country; and, as a minister of justice, profoundly imbued with a sense of what is due to the first and greatest of earthly obligations, I enter my solemn and emphatic protest against the lives of men being thus dealt with in the time to come.”[‡]
The gravity of these events, in a constitutional point of view, and the necessity of bringing the case before a legal tribunal in the interest of public liberty and justice, were enhanced by the language of certain classes and of certain journalists in this country, who applauded the arbitrary violence of Mr. Eyre; by the publications of legal writers, the advocates of prerogative, who took occasion to uphold martial law as exemplified in the acts of the Governor and his subordinates in Jamaica (and notably in the trial and execution of Mr. Gordon) putting forth doctrines which the Lord Chief Justice denounces as “dangerous and pernicious,” and of which he says that he “almost shuddered when he read them,”[§] and, above all, by the attitude of the ministers of the Crown, one of whom, when questioned on the subject in Parliament, maintained, in effect, that martial law, when proclaimed, exempted those assuming to act under it from responsibility for their actions, however criminal and oppressive, to the laws and legal tribunals of the land,* while his colleague defended the execution of Mr. Gordon, without reference to legality, as “practically just.”†
Acting, as they have acted throughout, under the legal guidance of counsel at once eminent and dispassionate,[¶] the Executive Committee proceeded to try the question whether an officer of the Crown, who had illegally taken the life of a British subject, was or was not responsible to the law. This was done by proceeding at common law against Mr. Eyre and his subordinates, General Nelson and Lieut. Brand, for the illegal execution of Mr. Gordon. The subordinates were committed for trial by Sir Thomas Henry, the chief magistrate of the metropolitan district, but the Grand Jury of London threw out the Bill.[*] Mr. Eyre himself, acting, as was stated, under the advice of his Committee, had retired into Shropshire, where he was under the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who, upon application being made to them, refused to commit him for trial.[†] The case against Mr. Eyre was now laid in its completeness before the Attorney-General, that the investigation, which the Shropshire Justices of the Peace refused, might, under his authority and on his motion, be obtained; but the Attorney-General declined to act.[‡] Much time was next spent in endeavouring to bring Mr. Eyre, who had left Shropshire, but whose movements the Solicitor of the Committee found great difficulty in tracing, before a magistrate legally educated, and upon whose impartiality reliance could be placed. When, at length, this was effected, the magistrate[§] refused to commit, on the technical ground that General Nelson and Lieutenant Brand were the principals in the execution of Mr. Gordon, while Mr. Eyre was only an accessory, and that the Bill against the principals having been thrown out by the Grand Jury, the accessory ought not to be committed on that charge. Thus baffled by the forms of law, the Executive Committee made a final attempt, under the advice of their counsel, to bring the case before a jury under the Colonial Governors’ Act. Under that Act the magistrate,[¶] after first seeking the direction of the Court of Queen’s Bench as to his jurisdiction in the matter, committed Mr. Eyre for trial; but the Grand Jury of Middlesex threw out the Bill.
In accordance with their pledge, and in consistency with the instructions given by them to their legal representatives in Jamaica, the Executive Committee have abstained from calling in question any act done by an officer of the Crown in the suppression of insurrection. They have confined the proceedings to acts done after the insurrection had, in the recorded opinion of the Governor himself, been put down, and when, in the judgment of his chief military subordinate, the military necessity was at an end.
Nor would the Executive Committee have assumed to themselves and their constituents in any case the invidious function of setting the law in motion, if the Government had shewn any disposition to perform that duty. Once, as has already been stated, they attempted, and they would at any time have been ready, to transfer the matter to the hands of the Law Officers of the Crown. But the Government, though it instituted proceedings against some of the subordinate agents in Jamaica, wholly refused to take any steps for submitting the conduct of the principal agents to a judicial investigation here.[*] The duty of vindicating the law, when thus abandoned by the Government, is cast, by the principles of the English constitution, on private citizens; if private citizens declined it, there would be no check on the illegal conduct of officers of the Crown.
For the inappropriateness, uncertainty and awkwardness of the remedies provided by the law against a Colonial Governor guilty of oppression, and the protraction of the legal proceedings thereby occasioned, the Executive Committee are not responsible. Nor are they responsible for the unavoidable delay incurred in bringing witnesses from Jamaica, or for that caused by the difficulty of finding Mr. Eyre within the jurisdiction of a professional minister of the law. Due allowance being made for these impediments, the proceedings have been carried on with all possible despatch.
The difficulty of bringing evidence from Jamaica not only occasioned loss of time and expenditure of money, but prevented the case from being presented before the public in the Courts of Law, with its full moral force, the Executive Committee being compelled to content themselves with no more testimony than what was technically sufficient to support the charge.
The proceedings of the Committee may be said to have had three objects—to obtain a judicial inquiry into the conduct of Mr. Eyre and his subordinates; to settle the law in the interest of justice, liberty and humanity, and to arouse public morality against oppression generally, and particularly against the oppression of subject and dependent races.
The first object has not been attained. The Grand Jury in Jamaica threw out the Bill in the case of Provost-Marshal Ramsay (who had hanged a man for a gesture made, or an exclamation uttered under the torture of the lash) notwithstanding the declaration of the presiding judge that a trial was essential to the interests of public justice.[†] The county Magistrates of Shropshire, and the Grand Juries of London and Middlesex, have interposed their authority to prevent a judicial inquiry into the case of a British citizen put to death “unlawfully and unjustifiably,” in the words of the Lord Chief Justice,[‡] by an officer of the Crown. In each case the public must be left to judge whether the result was due to the want of ground for an inquiry, or to the determination of those who interposed that no inquiry should take place. On the other hand, it is needless to say that Mr. Eyre is in error when he speaks of himself as having been twice acquitted.[*] As there has been no trial, there can have been no acquittal; and in that respect the question remains exactly where it was before these proceedings were commenced.
The second object has been attained. The memorable charge of the Lord Chief Justice in the case of Nelson and Brand will remain, as the Executive Committee believe, a lasting barrier against the encroachment of martial law and its upholders on the rights and liberties of British subjects. If the subsequent charge of Mr. Justice Blackburn[†] in some respects differed from that of the Lord Chief Justice, the opinion of the Lord Chief Justice is known to be shared by every other member of the Court. But even Mr. Justice Blackburn did not maintain, as some lawyers had maintained, that the power of proclaiming martial law formed a part of the prerogative of the Crown in England. His doctrine was limited to Jamaica, and was founded on Acts of the Colonial Legislature, which, with all Colonial Acts of a similar character, have now, and in consequence of the manifestation of public opinion respecting the events in Jamaica, been repealed.[‡] British jurisprudence, therefore, has been finally purged of martial law. The committal of Mr. Eyre, General Nelson and Lieutenant Brand, for trial, by London Magistrates, has moreover confirmed the principle that the officers of the Crown are responsible in the ordinary course of justice to the Courts of Law for acts done by them in the suppression, or alleged suppression, of insurrection.
With regard to the third object, also, the Executive Committee feel that the efforts of the Jamaica Committee have been well repaid. A great amount of sound public opinion has been called forth; and it is not unreasonable to think that this has contributed to the escape of the nation from any thing which could leave a stain on its humanity or honour in the suppression of the recent disturbances in Ireland, where there were not wanting cruel and panic-stricken advocates of a proclamation of martial law. That sympathy with Mr. Eyre and with his policy should at the same time be exhibited in the quarters where it prevailed, was inevitable. It was inevitable also, that this sympathy should take the form of charges of vindictiveness, malignity and persecution against those who, without the slightest personal feeling, were endeavouring to discharge the unwelcome but indispensable duty of guarding public liberty and vindicating the law; nor was it unnatural that such charges should find acceptance among the unthinking, when, from the lapse of time, the agony of so many hundreds of sufferers had been forgotten, and the annoyance inflicted by legal proceedings on the author of the suffering alone remained present to the mind. In answer to the charge of persecution, so far as it is founded on the protraction of the proceedings, the Executive Committee repeat, that for this protraction they are not responsible. Had Mr. Eyre been advised to meet justice like his subordinates, his case would have been brought to as prompt a hearing as those of General Nelson and Lieutenant Brand.
[[*] ]The Committee had been formed in December, 1865, to attempt the prosecution for murder of the former Governor of Jamaica, Edward John Eyre, for his responsibility for the deaths of Jamaicans following the Morant Bay rebellion in October, 1865. See LL, CW, Vol. XVI, pp. 1117-18, 1191-2. Mill had become Chairman of the Committee on 9 July, 1866. The Jamaica Committee included those whose names appear in the headnote to the second paper, at p. 427 below, and others such as Charles Darwin and Thomas Henry Huxley.
[[†] ]A Royal Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate the case reported on 9 April, 1866; the Report of the Jamaica Royal Commission, released to the public on 18 June, 1866, appeared in PP, 1866, XXX, 489-531, and XXXI, 1-1172. Other documents include Papers Laid before the Royal Commission of Inquiry by Governor Eyre, PP, 1866, XXX, 1-488, and Papers Relating to the Disturbances in Jamaica, ibid., LI, 145-506.
[[*] ]See “The Jamaica Committee,” The Times, 16 Jan., 1866, p. 3.
[b]DN had been
[[†] ]Alexander Abercromby Nelson.
[[‡] ]Speech on the Outbreak in Jamaica (19 July, 1866; Commons), PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 184, cols. 1064-6. Mill also spoke on this matter on 31 July and 10 Aug., 1866, and 1 Aug., 1867; see ibid., cols. 1797-1806, 2160, and Vol. 189, cols. 598-9.
[[§] ]Benjamin Disraeli, Speech on the Outbreak in Jamaica (19 July, 1866, Commons), ibid., Vol. 184, col. 1069.
[[*] ]Despatch from the Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, M.P., to Lieut.-Gen. Sir H.K. Storks, PP, 1866, LI, 137-43.
[[†] ]Disraeli, speech of 19 July, 1866, col. 1067.
[[*] ]42 George III, c. 85 (1802).
[[†] ]James Fitzjames Stephen as barrister, and William Shaen as solicitor.
[e]DN in a war ship
[[‡] ]Henry Westmorland, see Minutes of Evidence Taken before the Jamaica Royal Commission, PP, 1866, XXXI, 890.
[[§] ]William Wemyss Anderson, Letter to George W. Gordon (Oct., 1865), ibid., p. 805.
[[¶] ]Edward Major.
[[∥] ]Edward Eyre, Letter to Brigadier-General Nelson (22 Oct., 1865), in Minutes of Evidence, p. 636.
[[**] ]Eyre, Despatch to Mr. [Edward] Cardwell (20 Oct., 1865), The Times, 20 Nov., 1865, p. 9.
[[*] ]Gordon Duberry Ramsay.
[[†] ]Cardwell, Despatch, p. 143.
[[‡] ]John Gorrie and J. Horne Payne.
[[*] ]I.e., the preceding paper.
[[*] ]See “Ex-Governor Eyre at Southampton,” The Times, 23 Aug., 1866, p. 7.
[[†] ]This Committee, formed in August, 1866, was chaired by Henry John Chetwynd Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and included Thomas Carlyle and Roderick Impey Murchison (Vice-Presidents), Hamilton Hume (Secretary), and other notables such as John Ruskin and Henry Kingsley. Carlyle expressed their views in a letter to Hamilton Hume (23 Aug., 1866), The Times, 12 Sept., 1866, p. 6.
[[‡] ]See Paper 1 above, p. 425.
[[*] ]42 George III, c. 85 (1802).
[[†] ]See “Ex-Governor Eyre,” The Times, 3 June, 1868, pp. 9-10.
[* ]Speech of Sir J.P. Grant to the Legislative Council, Oct. 16, 1866. [In The Times, 13 Nov., 1866, p. 7.]
[[*] ]See Paper 1 above, p. 425.
[[†] ]Report of the Jamaica Royal Commission, with Minutes of Evidence and Appendix, PP, 1866, XXX, 515.
[[‡] ]Ibid., pp. 515-16.
[[§] ]Ibid., XXXI, 1159; the Colonial Secretary was Edward Cardwell.
[[¶] ]Ibid., XXX, 518-28.
[[∥] ]See p. 425 above.
[[*] ]Report of the Jamaica Royal Commission, p. 528.
[[†] ]Alexander James Edmund Cockburn, Charge of the Lord Chief Justice of England to the Grand Jury at the Central Criminal Court, in the Case of the Queen against Nelson and Brand, ed. Frederick Cockburn (London: Ridgway, 1867), pp. 153, 115.
[[‡] ]Ibid., p. 165.
[[§] ]Ibid., pp. 155, 153.
[* ]Speech of Mr. Disraeli (Chancellor of the Exchequer), July 19, 1866 [PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 184, col. 1067.]
[† ]Speech of Mr. [Charles Bowyer] Adderley, July 31, 1866 [ibid., col. 1794].
[[¶] ]See p. 425 above. Robert Porrett Collier succeeded Stephen as counsel.
[[*] ]See “The Jamaica Prosecutions,” The Times, 12 Apr., 1867, p. 11.
[[†] ]See ibid., 30 Mar., 1867, p. 12.
[[‡] ]See “The Jamaica Committee and Mr. Eyre,” ibid., 29 July, 1867, p. 12, in which appear Shaen’s request of 10 July to John Rolt, the Attorney-General, and Rolt’s reply of 13 July refusing to prosecute.
[[§] ]Again Thomas Henry. See “Prosecution of Ex-Governor Eyre,” The Times, 28 Feb., 1868, p. 10.
[[¶] ]James Vaughan.
[[*] ]See The Times, 29 Oct., 1866, p. 10; 13 Nov., 1866, p. 7, 1 Jan., 1867, p. 9, and 2 Mar., 1867, p. 12.
[[†] ]Gordon Duberry Ramsay hanged George Marshall, the judge was Alan Ker. See The Times, 13 Nov., 1866, p. 7.
[[‡] ]Cockburn, Charge, p. 114.
[[*] ]Eyre, Letter to the Editor (2 June, 1868), The Times, 4 June, 1868, p. 7.
[[†] ]Colin Blackburn, Charge to the Middlesex Grand Jury (2 June, 1868), in “Ex-Governor Eyre,” The Times, 3 June, 1868, pp. 9-10.
[[‡] ]See Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert, “Circular Despatch to Colonial Governors. Dated 30th January, 1867, on the Subject of Martial Law,” PP, 1867, XLIX, 395.