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have followed the order of events, which tell their tale of houses burnt or property was also the order prescribed by Your lost, in the undisguised hope of obtaining Majesty's Commission.
compensation. Some also beard of the We proposed that each branch of the money which was being paid out of the inquiry should be kept separate and dis- funds at our disposal to those who tra. tinct; that all the evidence under each velled to Spanish Towu to give evidence. head should be taken consecutively; and Even as regards the other witnesses, that no subsequent subject should be en- many even of the educated class could tertained until all the evidence under the often scarcely be restrained from giving prior head had been exhausted.
opinions in general and positive terins as By this method we should have secured equivalent to facts, or from stating as that order which tends so much to clear- facts within their own knowledge matter ness as well as to thoroughness in the in- communicated to them by others. vestigation. We should also have been A considerable body of evidence, espe. enabled to present the body of evidence cially in relation to the state of the Island, obtained in a convenient form for future was thus tendered, which, on being sifted reference.
by us, proved of but little value. But owing to a variety of causes, partly The result of these tendencies on the local and partly arising out of the strange- part of so large a number of the witnesses ness of the circumstances in which we has been the accumulation of a vast mass were placed, we soon found that much of evidence, much of which is vague, undelay was caused by irregularity in the important, and remote from the subject of attendance of witnesses.
inquiry. It then became necessary, in order to 8. Upon a review, however, of the eviavoid expense and loss of time, and not. dence as a whole, and with a full appreciawithstanding the inconvenience incident tion of the gravity of the defects, in subto the derangement of our plan, to take stance as well as in form, to which we have the evidence of such persons as were at adverted, we are nevertheless satisfied hand, numbers of whom were daily pre- that all such defects are more than consenting themselves before us, especially pensated by their collateral results. from the lately disturbed districts, for the If we have erred on the side of a too purpose of tendering their evidence.
great facility in giving audience to all We were thus compelled, by the force persons, of whatever class, at whatever of practical exigencies, to depart from the stage of the inquiry they might present systematic arrangement which we had themselves, and in receiving evidence in prescribed.
many cases but little pertinent or material, 5. So far, however, as circumstances and if, moreover, in consequence, the evipermitted, we have endeavoured to mar- dence taken is more or less wanting in shall the evidence in order of subjects. order and somewhat redundant, we have
6. We have, moreover, with a view to yet the satisfaction of feeling that the remedying the inconvenience of the de- inquiry has been both thorough in fact fective arrangement of the evidence, ap- and thorough likewise in the estimation pended to our Report a classified in addi. of the persons most concerned. tion to a general index of the witnesses. No difficulties in point of form hare
7. But besides the difficulty of enforcing been suffered to bar access to our tribunal ; adherence to method in the distribution no material witness, of whatever colour or of the evidence, we encountered one of party, has been denied a patient hearing; a still more serious complexion in the no material evidence has been excluded by nature of the evidence itself.
a too rigid circumscription of the limits In many cases the witnesses manifested of the Inquiry; and therefore we trust a singular ignorance of the nature and that any incidental formal defects will be value of evidence, as well as a miscon- thought of minor consequence, in compa. ception of the proper scope of the in- rison with the object which throughout quiry.
we have regarded as paramount,-that of As regards the negroes, it is enough to the fullness, thoroughness, and impar. recall the fact that they were for the most tiality of the inquiry. part uneducated peasants, speaking in 9. "There is, however, yet another obaccents strange to the ear, often in a servation to be made, arising out of a cirphraseology of their own, with vague con- cumstance not always appearing on the ceptions of number and time, unaccus. face of the evidence. tomed to definiteness or accuracy of speech, Some of the evidence which we have and, in many cases, still smarting under a received was wholly unworthy of credit, sense of injuries sustained.
and has been discarded by us in the preMany of them, again, misconceived the paration of our Report. object of the Commission, and came to We should have been glad if we, who witnessed the deportment of witnesses, the proper control over the proceedings, and had the opportunity of comparing should at the same time ensure a thotheir evidence with one another, could rough and searching inquiry into the exhave distinguished those upon whose tes- tent and nature of the severities inflicted. timony we could not rely. To have done 13. We resolved, therefore, to institute, so, however, we must have entered mi- under our own direction, an official visinutely and at length into details which tation of the lately disturbed districts, seemed to us to be inconsistent with the with a view to a report being made to us character of our Report.
of the number and value of houses de 10. We proceed to give a brief account stroyed in the course of the suppression. of the mode in which the evidence was 14. Having thus provided for an exhauspresented to us, as well as to state the tive investigation of one main branch of principle upon which we acted in defining the grievances alleged, we determined also the limits of the inquiry.
to investigate on the spot all the other 11. In any ordinary investigation of a alleged cases of a grave kind involving judicial character, the conduct of the loss of life, or circumstances of special proceedings is vested in recognized officers hardship. with well-understood functions, and by 15. In pursuance of this determination, such a course the great object of all such the Commission was opened on two several inquiries, the ascertainment of the truth, occasions in the parish of St. Thomas-inis best secured.
the-East. On each occasion the ComIn the case, however, of the inquiry missioner engaged in the investigation which we have been commissioned to in. traversed the district, and was occupied stitute, these ordinary aids towards the for several days in examining witnesses. discovery of the truth were wanting.
All the graver cases of repression which To supply them, so far as the nature of have been brought to our knowledge have the case admitted, we determined at the thus been individually investigated. outset to appoint a solicitor, to whom The results of the evidence so taken should be entrusted, subject to the super- have been carefully digested, and comintendence of the Secretary, the duty of pared with the official Returns, and will, marshalling the evidence, summoning together with the official Report on the witnesses, and taking preliminary depo subject of the houses destroyed, be found sitions.
in the Appendix. At the same time we took an early 16. We are thus enabled to present opportunity of notifying that the Inquiry Returns, compiled or verified on the spot, was an open one; that we were anxious for the accuracy of which we can vouch, to obtain the fullest information touching and which will offer as near an approxima. the subjects referred to us; that we tion to the number of lives lost and houses desired to summon all such witnesses as destroyed in the course of the suppression, might appear likely to afford us informa. as we believe the nature of the case will tion; and that we should be glad to admit. receive assistance from every quarter in 17. At an early period in our proceedprosecuting our object.
ings we were called upon to define some We also publicly declared, that in our principle by which to guide ourselves in capacity as Your Majesty's Commissioners restraining the inquiry within proper we were to be regarded as the
representa- limits. tives of all classes equally of Your Ma. Under the terms of Your Majesty's jesty's subjects in the Island.
Commission, which direct us to make 12. One of the most serious difficulties, inquiry into the "origin" of the dishowever, with which we had to contend, turbances, we were solicited to admit consisted in grappling with the vast mass evidence with respect to a great variety of evidence which was tendered in sup- of subjects, embracing almost the whole port of the allegation of excessive and range of Island politics for several years unlawful severity in the suppression of past. The limitation, however, of the the disturbances. We were informed that object of our inquiry to the subject of the there were some 300 witnesses to be ex- late disturbances in St. Thomas-in-theamined with respect to the graver cases East seemed to prescribe a natural limit comprised in that branch of the inquiry, to the range of the investigation. Accord. independently of the far more numerous ingly we resolved, as far as we could, to cases of the burning of houses.
confine ourselves to an examination of the The sufferers were mostly poor persons causes which proximately and directly led of the peasant class, living at a consider- to the disturbances. able distance from Spanish Town.
While, therefore, we were ready to It became necessary to adopt some entertain any subject, however general in course which, while securing to ourselves character, which seemed to satisfy this requirement, we made it our endeavour, the disturbances, respecting the means on the other hand, to reject all evidence adopted in the course of the suppression which, either in point of time or place, of the same, and respecting likewise the failed to conform to the above standard. conduct of those concerned in such dis
18. Your Majesty's Commission was turbances and suppression. first fully constituted in Jamaica, on the With the full information before us, arrival at Kingston of those of us who derived from the evidence deduced upon joined the President of the Commission, each and all of these important subjects, on Saturday the 20th of January.
we have anxiously sought to arrive at a The Commission was formally opened deliberate and a just decision upon the on the following Tuesday.
whole case referred to us. On Thursday the 25th of January we And, lastly, in submitting for Your began to take evidence.
Majesty's information the body of evi. From that day until the 21st of March dence which we have collected, we have we sat from day to day continuously, also, in obedience to Your Majesty's comwith scarcely an intermission.
mands, not failed to report, with respect Since the 21st of March we have held to the many grave and momentous issues three additional sittings, for the purpose directly involved, the opinions which, in the of receiving further evidence.
discharge of a difficult and painful public In the course of the first-named period duty, we have felt ourselves bound to form we paid several visits to the scene of the upon the foundation of established facts. late disturbances in St. Thomas-in-theEast.
On the first occasion we all visited Morant Bay and Stony Gut, and took evidence on the spot.
THE ORIGIN AND OUTBREAK OF THE On the second occasion, Mr. Russell
DISTURBANCES. Gurney, availing himself of the power conferred by Your Majesty upon any one
The first resistance to lawful authority or more of us of holding a separate Court, occurred on Saturday, the 7th of October, visited Morant Bay, Bath, and Manchio- 1865. neal.
On that day, which was also market At each of those places he sat as Com- day, a Court of Petty Sessions was held missioner, and examined in all 140 wit- at Morant Bay. nesses from the several adjacent districts. The business wbich came before the
On the last occasion Mr. Maule sat in magistrates during the early part of the the like capacity at Monklands, Leith day was of an ordinary description, con. Hall, Golden Grove, and Morant Bay, and sisting principally of charges of assault, took the evidence of eighty-two witnesses. and of the use of abusive language by
On both occasions on which one of the negroes towards persons of the same class. Commissioners was thus engaged in ex- Among other cases of this description, amining witnesses in St. Thomas-in-the- there was a charge of assault, brought by East, sittings were concurrently held by a woman against a boy. He was found the others, as usual, at Spanish Town. guilty by the magistrates, and sentenced
The total number of days occupied in to a fine of 48. and the payment of the the examination of witnesses has been costs, which amounted to 128. 6d. fifty-one.
When the defendant was called upon to I'he total number of separate sittings pay this amount, a person of the name of amounts to sixty.
Geoghegan interfered, and told him to The total number of witnesses examined pay the amount of the fine only, and not before us in the course of the inquiry is to pay the costs. 730.
This caused so much disturbance in 19. We have thus set forth a statement the Court, that business was for a time of the course which we have pursued in suspended, and the magistrates ordered conducting the solemn inquiry which that Geoghegan, who was speaking very Your Majesty has been pleased to entrust loud and causing the disturbance, should to us.
be brought before them. The constables It has been our endeavour to investi. laid hold of Geoghegan for that purpose, gate calmly, thoroughly, and impartially, but he was rescued by bystanders, and the origin, nature, and circumstances of left the Court House. He was followed the lamentable events, the intelligence of by the police, who attempted to retake which affected Your Majesty with so much but a considerable number of per.
sons having come to his assistance, the In the process of that investigation, we police were beaten, and compelled to rehave collected full evidence respecting treat without effecting their object. When
order was in some degree restored, a would "join their colour," that they summons, in which Lewis Miller was the would “cleave to the black.” defendant, was called on for hearing. It was stated by Bogle, in the presence This case, from the interest which was of the policemen, that they had expected felt in it, had caused a numerous attend- to go to Morant Bay that day, but that it ance at the Court House on that day. was then late; that on the morrow there
It arose out of a dispute relating to an was to be a vestry held at the Bay, and estate in the neighbourhood of Stony Gut, that they expected to come down. It was not far from Morant Bay, a portion of said by others that they intended to come which had been leased out to small occu. down to the Bay “to kill all the white piers. Some years ago the occupiers had men and all the black men that would not refused to pay rent for their holdings, on join them.” the ground that the land was free, and Information of what had taken place, the estate belonged the Queen.
and of the threat to come down on the The question was then tried, and de- following day, was on the same Tuesday cided against the occupiers. During the evening given to the Inspector of Police last summer there seems to have been a at Morant Bay, and to Baron Ketelhodt, disposition again to raise the same ques- the Custos of the Parish. In consequence tion, and a refusal to pay rent was accom- of this information the Custos summoned panied by the statement that the land the Volunteers of the district to assemble was free.
at Morant Bay, and at the same time It was for a trespass on a part of this wrote to the Governor for military aid. estate that Miller, who was one of the On Wednesday the 11th of October the occupiers, was summoned.
Vestry, consisting of certain elected memThe case was heard and decided against bers, and of the Magistrates, who were him, and notice given of an appeal against members ex officio, assembled in the Court the decision.
House at Morant Bay at about 12 o'clock, On the following Monday, informations and proceeded with their ordinary business having been taken upon oath, warrants till between three and four o'clock, when were issued for the apprehension of two notice was given that a crowd of people persons of the name of Bogle, and several was approaching. others who were stated to have taken an The Volunteers were hastily called toactive part in the riot of the previous gether, and almost immediately afterSaturday.
wards a body of men, armed with cutThese warrants were placed in the lasses, sticks, muskets, and bayonets, after hands of a policeman who, with five other having attacked the Police Station, and policemen and two rural constables pro- obtained possession of such arms as were ceeded early on Tuesday morning the 10th there deposited, were seen entering a of October to Stony Gut, a Negro Settle- large open space facing the Court House ment about five miles from Morant Bay, in front of which the Volunteers had been where Paul Bogle and some other of the drawn up. Baron Ketelhodt went out to alleged rioters lived.
the steps, and called to the people to know They found Paul Bogle in his yard, and what they wanted. He received no answer, told him that they had a warrant for his and his cries of “ Peace, peace,” were met apprehension.
by cries from the crowd of “War." He desired to have the warrant read to As the advancing people drew near, the him, which was done. He then said that Volunteers retired till they reached the he would not go, and upon one of the steps of the Court House. The Custos policemen proceeding to apprehend him then began to read the Riot Act. While he cried out, “ Help, here.” At the same he was in the act of reading it stones time a man named Grant, who was with were thrown at the Volunteers, and Caphim, and was addressed as “Captain," tain Hitchins, who commanded them, was called out, “Turn out, men.” Almost struck in the forehead. The Captain, immediately a body of men, variously having received authority from the Custos, estimated at from 300 to 500, armed with then gave the word to fire. The order cutlasses, sticks, and spikes, rushed out was obeyed, and some of the people were from a chapel where Bogle was in the seen to fall. habit of preaching, and from an adjoining There was some conflict of evidence on cane field, and attacked the policemen. the point, whether stones were thrown
The policemen were, of course, over- before the firing commenced. That fact, powered. Some of them were severely however, was, as it appears to us, clearly beaten. Three of the number were made established by the testimony of a large prisoners, and detained for several hours, number of witnesses, although there were and were ultimately released only upon some who stated that they did not see their taking an oath that henceforth they any stones throwu until after the firing.
One witness fixes the time of the throw- and fifty-one prisoners who were there ing of the stones. He saw stones thown, confined were released. and immediately left the place before the Several stores were attacked, and from firing commenced, which lie heard but did one of them a considerable quantity of not see.
gunpowder was taken. Previous to the Another, again, who did not see the attack upon the Volunteers, an unsuccess. stones thrown, saw the face of the cap- ful attempt had been made to obtain guntain bleeding before he gave the order to powder from the same store. fire.
An attempt was made to force the door The apparent contradiction may, we of the Magazine, where above 300 servicethink, be easily reconciled. It is possible able stands of arms were stored. Happily that the eyes of those who did not see the the endeavour was not successful. stones thrown were fixed on the main It became of course very important to body who were advancing towards the ascertain whether what occurred on this Volunteers, while the stones were appa- day was an accidental riot, followed, when rently thrown by women, who had been passion was excited in the heat of the observed carrying them, and by others contest, by the killing of opponents, or who were walking at the side of the main whether it bad its origin in a planned rebody.
sistance to the constituted authorities, At the time of the discharge of the and whether the killings were premeditated rifles, the mob were close upon the Volun- murders. teers. The rioters instantly rushed upon In considering this point it is necessary them, and succeeded in disarming some of to refer to the conduct and declarations them. The rest they compelled either of those who took an active part in the to flee or to take shelter in the Court riot before and upon the 11th of October. House.
It was proved that two or three weeks Here were assembled the Magistrates before that time meetings had been held and other members of the Vestry, with at some meeting houses in the neighboursuch of the Volunteers as had succeeded hood of Morant Bay, at which an oath in effecting an entrance.
was administered, and the names of the Some escaped at once by the back win- persons sworn were taken down. The dows, but the greater part remained for a terms of the oath were not shown. All considerable time, being pelted with stones that was proved before us respecting it and fired at from the outside ; such of the was that an oath was administered, a Volunteers as had retained their
also pledge of secrecy required, and the names firing from the inside.
of the persons sworn registered. A cry was then heard, “Go and fetch One witness was told by Alick Taylor fire;” “Burn the brutes out.” Bogle in (who was one of the persons sworn in his particular said, “Let us put fire upon the presence, and who moreover was during Court House. If we don't, we will not the sitting of the Commission convicted manage the Volunteers and the Buckra." and sentenced to penal servitude for life
Very shortly afterwards men were seen for the part which he had taken in the to set fire to the School House, which disturbances,) that what they wanted was adjoined the Court Hourse. Then, after to bave the back lands to work for nothing, a time, the fire spread from the roof of the and that they were going to kill the one building to that of the other.
Buckra. As the roof of the Court House was At the time too of the burning of the beginning to fall in, the inmates were Court House it was stated by Moses Bogle compelled to leave the building; and it to one person who had been invited by being now dark they sought to conceal him to attend one of the meetings, " This themselves in different places in the is the same affair I sent to call you vicinity.
about." Some remained undiscovered through Another meeting, at which a similar out the night, but others were dragged course was pursued, was shown to have from their hiding places, and one by one been held at Coley, a place about ten either beaten to death or left for dead on miles from Morant Bay, on the night of the ground.
the 9th of October. Those who were preThe number of persons killed by the sent, and who went through the form of rioters in or about the Court House ap- swearing, were told that they were to go pears to have been eighteen, and the down to the Bay the next day, and that number of the wounded to have amounted they would hear what it was for. to thirty-one.
At another of these meetings Bogle After this the town remained in posses- stated that he must have fifty men from sion of the rioters. The gaolers were each place, and a captain to each set. compelled to throw open the prison doors, Moreover, one witness who attended a