Front Page Titles (by Subject) 26.: The Disturbances in Jamaica  19 JULY, 1866 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868
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26.: The Disturbances in Jamaica  19 JULY, 1866 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXVIII - Public and Parliamentary Speeches Part I November 1850 - November 1868, ed. John M. Robson and Bruce L. Kinzer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).
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The Disturbances in Jamaica 
PD, 3rd ser., Vol. 184, cols. 1064–6. Reported in The Times, 20 July, p. 5.
mr. j. stuart mill said, wishing to spare the House the monotonously painful details contained in the Questions of which he had given notice, he would simply ask the right honourable Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer,1 Whether any steps had been or would be taken by Her Majesty’s Government for bringing to justice those who had been concerned in the commission of various illegal acts in Jamaica?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer:
I should prefer, Sir, that the honourable Gentleman should ask the Questions in detail. I think the Questions which the honourable Gentleman has thought proper in his discretion to address to the Executive should be well known to the House, as many honourable Members have not really had an opportunity of making themselves acquainted with them. Under these circumstances, it is due to the House and to the subject that the honourable Gentleman should address himself now to the House, and let them hear what the Questions are. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. J. Stuart Mill:
Does the right honourable Gentleman desire me to read the whole?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer:
Mr. J. Stuart Mill:
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether any steps have been or will be taken to bring to trial Lieutenant Adcock,2 for unlawfully putting to death two men named Mitchell and Hill without trial, and six persons, after alleged trial by Court Martial, on charges not cognizable by a Military Court; for flogging, without trial, John Anderson and others, and authorizing one Henry Ford to flog many men and women without trial, one of whom, named John Mullins, died in consequence: Whether any steps have been or will be taken to bring to trial Captain Hole for hanging one Donaldson without trial; for shooting, and permitting to be shot, various persons without trial; for putting to death by hanging, or shooting, thirty-three persons, after trial by a so-called Military Court, for acts not cognizable by a Military Court, and without observance of the rules prescribed by the Articles of War; for flogging various men and women without trial; and for being accessory, after the fact, to the unlawful putting to death of numerous persons by soldiers under his command: Whether any steps have been or will be taken to bring to trial Lieutenant Oxley, for putting John Burdy to death after a similar unlawful trial, and for permitting the men under his command to fire at unarmed peasants and cause the death of several persons: Whether any steps have been or will be taken to bring to trial Ensign Cullen and Dr. Morris, for putting three men3 to death without trial, and Dr. Morris for shooting one William Gray: Whether any steps have been or will be taken to bring to trial Stipendiary Magistrate Fyfe, for burning houses of peasantry, putting to death one person without trial,4 and being accessory to the unlawful putting to death of various others: Whether any steps have been or will be taken to bring to trial Attorney General Heslop, Lieutenant Brand, Captain Luke, and Captain Field, for sitting as presidents or members of alleged Courts Martial, by whom numerous persons were unlawfully put to death: Whether any steps have been or will be taken to bring to trial General O’Connor, for having been accessory before and after the fact to numerous unlawful executions, some of them without trial, and others after the illegal trials already specified: Whether any steps have been or will be taken to bring to trial Colonel Nelson, Brigadier General in Jamaica, for unlawfully causing to be tried, in time of peace, by Military Courts irregularly composed, for acts alleged to have been done before the proclamation or beyond the jurisdiction of Martial Law, and after such trial to be unlawfully put to death, the following persons:—George William Gordon, Edward Fleming, Samuel Clarke, William Grant, George Macintosh, Henry Lawrence, Letitia Geoghan, and six other women, one of them in a state of pregnancy;5 Scipio Cowell, Alexander Taylor, Toby Butler, Jasper Hall Livingston, and various other persons who had been previously flogged, and about 180 other alleged rebels; and for authorizing the flogging without trial of Alexander Phillips, Richard Clark, and numerous others: Whether any legal proceedings have been or will be ordered to be taken against Mr. Edward John Eyre, lately Governor of Jamaica, for complicity in all or any of the above acts, and particularly for the illegal trial and execution of Mr. George William Gordon: And, if not, whether Her Majesty’s Government are advised that these acts are not offences under the Criminal Law?
[In response, after expressing his annoyance at the way in which Mill had embodied opinions in his questions, thus “trespassing in some degree upon the liberty and freedom of expression” of the House, Disraeli pointed out that the first nine questions assumed that illegal actions had been taken by individuals, while the tenth asked if the Government was of opinion that the actions were illegal. Not only were the questions put in a form that could lead to great inconvenience, but in substance they were inaccurate. First, Mill ignored the fact that martial law was in force in Jamaica, and so ordinary law was superseded. Second, he ignored the fact that the cases against Cullen and Morris were not proved on the evidence presented, and that further inquiries were being made. Similarly, the statements Mill made against Nelson were not founded on fact. Disraeli then went on to state what had happened: the former Government had—properly in his view—set up a Commission of eminent men whose inquiry led them to recommend the removal of Eyre, and had acted on the Commission’s recommendation. The Commission also recommended that the conduct of subordinate officers should be investigated by the Admiralty and the Horse Guards; the former had decided no fresh inquiry was needed, and the latter was still considering the matter. In the circumstances, Mill was quite wrong to be impatient and press for actions that would, if necessary, be taken at the appropriate time. “This being the state of the case,” Disraeli concluded, “I am not prepared to offer any further information to the honourable Gentleman.”]
[1 ]Benjamin Disraeli.
[2 ]For the people named in this question, see App. H. The six hanged by Adcock were John Landran, Dick Hall, John Lawrence, James McKenzie, William Winter, and one whose name is unknown.
[3 ]Richard Walton, John McCall, and Tommy Miles (alias Tom Bell).
[4 ]Henry Patterson.
[5 ]Ellen Dawkins, Judy Edwardes, Mary Ann Francis, Justina Taylor, Mary Ward, and another, unnamed woman who was shot during delivery of a child, according to one witness.