Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

10 articles on this Page


[No title]



OPXKIONS OF THE PRESS. The Debate on the Jamaica Disturbances. The Housia of Commons is pm-eminexitly the guardian of the liberties of the people, and the debute of last evening is chiefly remarkable as showing that in the opinion of the House no violation either of the statute law or of the constitution took place in Jamaica when Mr; Eyre proclaimed martial law. Of the manner in which that law was administered there was doubtless much to complain, but it must not be for- gotten that in its very nature the administration of this extraordinary system of judicature is specially liable to great abuse. Whatever errors may have been com- mitted by those who administered it in Jamaica, it was not shown that they sprang from mere wantonness or cruelty; and, this being so, it would be unreason- able to demand the punishment of persons who were called upon, under the most trying circumstances, to discharge a most difficult duty.-Morning Post. We are certainly amazed to hear from Mr. Forster an argument which has in it all the vices of Mr. Disraeli's outrageous reply to Mr. Mill's question, except its insolence of manner. Whatever Mr. Forster may say, Mr. Mill never did overlook Mr. Eyre's obligation to establish martial law. On the contrary, by implication he accepted and acknowledged that obligation. But he added—and in this lies the constitutional lesson of these lamentable occurrences ¡ —that the greater the difficulties of martial law, the greater was the necessity of its perfectly humane and just administration, and that the more Mr. Eyre was obliged to establish it, the more he was bound to avoid those excesses which he deliberately sanctioned, and which, judged by any other principle, must be deemed a precedent for every atrocity that a governor can oommit. The debate has strengthened our conviction that the Jamaica Committee have resolved upon the only course adequate to this most melancholy occasion. The perfunctory manner in which even the soundest of those who are opposed to the prosecution of Mr. Eyre deal with the vast issues involved, proves that any other line of action would be a caricature of r justice and a wanton abasement of the constitutional liberties which are the birthright of every subject of the British Crown.-Hoining Star. Let it not be supposed that we would palliate the excesses of which many of those employed against the negroes were guilty. Mr. Buxton recapitulated the sad events with great force, and showed that it would be the duty of Government to make further inquiry into these matters, particularly with the view of com- pensating, as far as possible, those who have uejustly suffered. But there can be no doubt, we think, that the present is not the time for the House of Commons to pledge itself to any particular course by the passing of resolutions. The questions of compensation, of further inquiry into the cases of the convicted rebels now undergoing punishment, and, in short, everything that relates to the management of the island affairs, and the wiping out the traces of this calamity, had better be left to the new Government. Everything is now new in Jamaica. The old Constitution is swept away, and the colony is administered and legislated for by the Crown. The late Governor and his Executive Council are now no more, an, power is lodged in the hands of a man accustomed to administration, one who may be depended on to judge with intelligence and to act with firmness The decision of the House was the most rea- sonable that could be adopted. The first resolu- tion, which deplores the "excessive punishments which followed the suppression of the distur- bances, and especially the unnecessary frequency with which the punishment of death was inflicted," was carried while the others, to the effeot that the acts of the civil, military, and n'wal officers, ought not to be passed over with impunity, that compensation should be awarded to those whose property was de- stroyed and to the families of those who were put to death illegally, and that, lastly, all further punishment on account of the disturbances ought to be remitted, were withdrawn. The discussion was carried on with much temper and discretion, as was becoming in a case which every one must feel to be a national misfortune. If anything could prevail on the Jamaica. Committee to abandon an inexpedient and unpopular prosecution, which is likely to end in practical failure, it would be the speeches of Mr. Forster and Sir R. Palmer. On the other hand, the Government gives assurances that due inquiry shall take place wherever there is reason to believe that acts of cruelty have been committed. It will be the duty of the present Colonial Secretary to carry out to completion the work whioh was begun by hifi predecessor, both as regards the late outbreak and the general government of the iolv-ud.-Vimes. The Tory Ministry at a Civic Banquet. The Tory Ministry dined on Wednesday with the Liberal Lord Mayor, and doubtless liked their dinner, Mr. PhillipH keeping up the repute of the City for hospitality in a style which ought to procure hiua the costly honour of a second term. The speeches had little political interest, but, the Lord Mayor made a good point by describing Lord Derby from his own translation of Homer as the smooth-tongued chief, from whose persuasive lips, sweeter than honey flowed the stream of speech," and a very bad one by hoping that Mr. Disraeli might be as successful with facts as he had hitherto been with fiction," a "taunt," as he called it, to which Mr. Disraeli retorted that can- dour and frankness were evidently not without charms in that hall." Lord Derby, in a somewhat lengthy and carefully weighed speech, regvetted that he was compelled to take office with money at 10 per cent. and the cholera in our midst; rejoiced in the coming harvest and in peace; declared that recent events in Germany affected neither our interest nor honour;" boasted of the new "link" between Eng- land and America; promised a new and stringent health bill this session; and affirmed that no cause, however good, could be furthered by intimidation and violence, a "proper" remark, at which, remembering 1831, he must have internally smiled. Mr. Disraeli denied that Parliament had wasted the session, the discussions on the Reform Bill having enlightened public opinion; and Sir John Pakington, for the fifth or sixth time this month, promised to be guided at once by science and economy.- Spectato- The Preliminaries of Peace on the Continent. We aro in a position now to furnish our readers with some interesting particulars concerning the pre- limine-rieei of peace. Prussia definitely annexes the Elbe Duchies; but it is stated as certain that she will restore a part of North Schleswig to Denmark. She demands also some rectification of frontiers, which would deprive the contiguous States of very little. Germany will be divided into two Confederations. A northern one, which will extend to the Maine, of which Prussia will have the military command and diplo- matic representation. A southern one, comprising Bavaria, Wartemburg, and the Grand Dnchy of Baden. This Southern Confederation will have the right to organise itself and regulate its relations with the northern Confederation as it pleases. Saxony will preserve her territorial integrity, and, contrary to what several papers have said, will form part of the northern confederation. Austria appears to have ao- oepted her exclusion from the two confederations on condition of her preserving her present territorial in- tegrity. These are the points regulated by the prelimi- naries of peace which have been signed between Prussia, and Austria at Nikolsburg. With respect to Italy and the cession of Venetia ne- gotiations are still going on and seem to be on the point of coming to a favourable result. Italy main- tains her pretensions to Trente, but her ally, Prussia, does not seem disposed to go beyond tho engagement she entered into by the treaty of alliance whioh only guarantees the possession of Venetia. guarantees the possession of Venetia. As for Venetia, the situation is very complicated, as 1 it has been given by Austria to the Emperor Napoleon, and as it is now in part occupied by the Italian army. To settlo the difficulty, it is asserted that the means which will be adopted, as being the moat worthy and the most in conformity with the principle of the national sovereignity, will be to "call on the Yenetians to decide their destiny themselves. In this way Ve. netia, given to the Emperor Napoleon, will be restored by him to the Venetians. It is known that Prussia claimed 200,000,000 francs of Austria, as indemnity for the war. This demand has been reduced by the mediation of France to less excessive proportions, and it is announced that it will not exceed 75,000,000 francs. The armistice is for four weeks, but it is supposed that long before the expiration of that term peace will be definitively con- cluded. The treaty of peace will be signed directly bet ii -er. the belligerents. Franca will not interfere in it. It is a great result for our country, having stopped this war at the moment when it might have extended in a way menacing to all Europe. The trne victory ot tha Emperor is Ms having appeased ambitions, the shock between which was a cause of such profound perturbation. But if the sovereign who governs us has the honour of having evoked peace, the responsi- bility of the conditions which are to regulate it, and the effects it may produce, will fall on those who are about to conclude it.-Lo& France, a, Paris Imperialist paper.