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T,T FAHLIAMENTARY JOTTINGS,

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) REPORT OF THE JAMAICA COM-1…

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) REPORT OF THE JAMAICA COM- 1 MISSION. We have received the report of the Jamaica Com- mission (without the evidence), dated Spanish Town, April 9, and a despatch of Mr. Cardwell thereupon to Sir Henry Storks, dated Jans 18. The report occupies 41 pages, and is signed by the three Commissioners. It is a summary of the principal evidence, as well as a statement of the opinions of its authors. The Commissioners describe the disturbance at St. Thomae,- in-the- East as having been planned with a view to resistance to lawful authority; and state that is originators did not generally belong to the working class, but were free settlers, who wanted to get land without paying rent, and that the magistrates had not the confidence of the labouring people, nor such as they were oouid be expected to have it. A large portion of the report is occupied with an inquiry into the suppression of the outbreak. The Commissioners approve the original proclamation of martial law, and applaud the military arrangements for checking the riots as prompt and judicieus, but the punishments inflicted under martial law are con- demned as excessive. The total number of deaths caused by those engaged in the suppression was 439, and the number of dwellings burned, 1,000. The num- ber of persons flogged cannot be stated with accuracy. "The whole number subjected to this degrading punishment during the continuance of martial law could not have been less than 600. The twining of wire into the cats is confirmed, and the flogging of women by the authority of courts-martial and Captain Hole, an infliction which is to be reprobated." The case of Provost-Marshal Ramsay, against whom so many charges of fiendish cruelty have been brought, is men- tioned, but the Commissioners decline to make any remark on his conduct, because he has yet ta, stand his trial on a charge of wilful murder. Considerable space is given to the case of Mr. Gor- don, and his relations with Paul Bogle and the other negroes at Stony Gat are minutely investigated. The opinion of the Commission is summed up in the follow- ing passage:— Although, therefore, it appears exceedingly pro- bable that Mr. Gordon, by his words and writings, produced a. material effect on the minds of Bogle and his followers, and did much to produce tha,t state of excitement and discontent in different parts of the island which rendered the spread of the insurrection exceedingly probable, yet we cannot see, in the evi- dence which has been adduced, any sufficient proof either of his complicity in the outbreak at Morant Bay or of his having been a party to a general conspiracy against the Government. On the assumption that, if there was in fact a wide-spread conspiracy, Mr. G. W. Gordon must have been a party to it, the conclusion at which we have arrived in his case is decisive as to the non-existence of such a conspiracy. The Commissioners discredit the story that the blacks were going to rise at a future time, and attach no importance to the reports of drillings and threaten- ing letters. The Commissioners, placing themselves in the posi- tion of the Government of Jamaica in the month of October, forbear to blame it for the protraction of the rule of martial law; but they observed that from and after the 80th of that month, when the governor had formally declared that the rebellion was subdued, that the leaders of it had been punished, and that the people of the diatricfe were desirous to return to their allegiance, there could be no necessity for that promptitude in the execution of the law which almost precludes a calm inquiry into each man's guilt or innocence." The Commissioners consider that from that date no more courts-martial should bave been held, but that prisoners in custody should have been handed over to the ordinary tribunals. The Commis- sioners terminate their report as follows: Upon the subjects proposed for our inquiry we have come to the following conclusions :-1. That the dis- turbances in St. Thomas's-in-the-East had their im- mediate origin in a, planned resistance to lawful an. thority. 2. That the causes leading to the determina- tion to offer that resistance were manifold:—(1.) That a principal object of the disturbers of order was the obtaining of land free from the payment of rent. (2.) That an additional incentive to the violation of the law arose from the want of confidence generally felt by the labouring class in the tribunals before which most of the disputes affecting their interests were car- ried for adjudication. (3.) That some, moreover, were animated by feelings of hostility towards pelitical and personal opponents, while not a few contemplated the attainment of their ends .by the death or expulsion of the white inhabitants of the island. 3. That though the original design for the overthrow of constituted authority was confined to a small portion of the parish of St. Thomas. iii-the-East, yet that the disorder in fact spread with singular rapidity over an extensive tract of country, and that such was the state of excitement prevailing in other parts of the island that had more than a momentary success been obtained by the in- surgents, their ultimate overthrow would have been attended with a still more fearful loss of life and property. 4. That praise is due to Governor Eyre for the skill, promptitude, and vigour which he manifested during the early stages of the insurrection to the ex- ercise of which qualities its speedy termination is in a great degree to be attributed. 5. That the military and naval operations appear to us to have been prompt and judicious. 6. That by the continuance of martial law in its full force to the extreme limit of its statutory operation the people were deprived for a longer than the necessary period of the great constitutional privi- leges by which the security of life and property is pro- vided for. Lastly. That the punishments inflicted were excessive.—(1.) That the punishment of death was unnecessarily frequent. (2.) That the floggings were reckless, and at Bath positively barbarous. (3.) That the burning of 1,000 houses was wanton and cruel. All which we humbly submit to your Majesty's gracious consideration. (Signed) H. K. STOEKS, Lieut.-General. RUSSELL GURNEY. J. B. MAUIE. Charles S. Eoundell, Secretary, King's-house, Spanish Town, April 9.1886. Mr. Cardwell, in his dispatch, expresses the general concurrence of the Government with the conclusions at which the,Commissioners have arrived. He reviews the circumstances under whioh Governor Eyre main- tained the duration of martial law to its utmost sta- tutory limits, but with the strongest disposition to make every possible allowance for his difficulties he expresses his full agreement with the Commissioners, that by the governor's act the people were deprivsd for a longer period than was necessary of the consti- tutional securities for their lives and property; that convictions were procured on insufficient evidence that the punishment of death was unnecessarily fre- quomt that the floggings were reckless and barbarous, and the burning of houses wanton and cruel. "Her Majesty's Government have arrived at these conclusions with the greatest concern they are desirous of recog- nising every consideration which can extenuate the condemnation it necessarily involves. But their prin- cipal anxiety must be to prevent the recurrence in any future case of proceedings like those which they have disclosed. It appears to them to be evident that even in the first excitement of the disturbances, and still more at some later period, if martial law was to be allowed to continue, instructions ought to have been issued to the officer to whom the actual conduct of the operations was intrusted, which would have rendered such an abuse of power impossible." Her Majesty's Government do not impute to Mr. Eyre any personal cognisance of the severe measures adopted, but, inas- much as it was his bounden duty to restrain them within the narrowest limits, and to inform himself of what was being done, they "cannot hold him irre- sponsible either for the continuance or the excessive severity ct those measures. Of Mr. Gordon's case Mr. Cardwell says that her Majesty's Government concur in the opinion that the evidence on which he was convicted was wholly insufficient to establish the charge on which he took his trial." The proper course would have been to arrest him on considerations i of public safety, and reserve him for trial before a regular tribunal. But his trial by court-martial, and his execution by virtue of the sentence of that court, are events which her Majesty's .Government cannot but deplore and con- demn." Mr. Cardwell states that copies of the Commis- sioners' report, with the evidence, have been communi- eated to the War-office and the Admiralty, who are the proper judges of the conduct of the officers engaged in the recent transactions. Sir Henry Storks is to cause careful investigations to be made in the cases of civilians. "Great offences ought to be punished," and the Queen's Government will rely on the Go- vernor for that purpose, and await his report of what he has done. The dispatch concludes with, the following refeseE.ee to the PoEiliol, 011 Mr. Eyre; — "It will be evident from what I ha,r, e, already said thac her Majesty's Government, while giving to Mr. Eyre full credit for those portions of his conduct to which credit is justly due, are compelled, by the result of your inquiry, to disapprove other portions of that q 10 coEduct.^ They do not fee], therefore, that they should discharge their duty by advising the crown to replace Mr. Eyre in his former government; and they cannot, doubt that, by placing the new form of govern- ment in new hands they are taking the course best calculated to allay animosities, to conciliate general confidence, and to establish on firm, and solid grounds the futiare welfare of Jamaica."

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