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one with some money, of which I now order; to which Mr. Gordon replied, “If stand greatly in need."
I go to St. Thomas-in-the-East the moment Again, on the 14th of September, “At Martial Law is proclaimed I shall be the Bogg matters must be doing very badly first man hung." when I get no remittances ! really too On Saturday, the 14th of October, Mr. bad. I bad been fully expecting some Gordon left “Cherry Garden
to pay a money from you, and feel great disap- short visit at Kingston with his wife, inpointment. I am sucked dry at present.” tending to return home on the following
And on the 18th of September,—“All Monday, the 16th. my sources of supply fail while I continue Amid the excitement in that town, being drawn on. I expected something which arose on and after the 12th of from Bogg, and ditto from SPRING, and October, upon the confirmation of the I hope at Rhine you will have something account first received from Morant Bay, to assist me with taxes. Bogg concerns Mr. Gordon's name was quickly associated are now too bad.”
with the authors of the disturbances. His On the 21st of September he writes, friends and relations thereupon suggested “We are all suffering from fever and the to him on Monday the 16th to retire at want of of (sic) money ; send me some if once, but he positively refused, and reperchance there be any, to help me out mained where he was. On the following by Saturday.”
morning, having been sought for by the Again, on the 28th instant, “I note police without success, he went to the that you are without money, and that the house of the Major-General commanding weather is heavy. This is rather a bad the troops, to give himself up. There he state to be in; can we raise nothing in was shortly after met by Governor Eyre aid of the taxes ? This is also a serious and the Custos of Kingston, and by them question.”
arrested. His landed property was under mort. From Kingston he was sent by sea to gage, and his admitted liabilities amounted Morant Bay, where he was put on shore, to above 35,0001.
a prisoner, on Friday evening the 20th of On the 12th of October, he enclosed a October. bill of exchange on Mr Lawrence for his The next day a Court-martial was acceptance to reduce and retire a bill for sitting for trial of prisoners there, con1601., becoming mature on the 19th of sisting partly of Members of the Legisthat month, and requested him to send lature. Brigadier-General Nelson, how. what money he could, as he was much in ever, having deemed it right that Mr. need.
Gordon should not be tried by a Court On the 12th of October Mr. Gordon composed of persons who might be supwrote to Mr. Lawrence from Kingston,- posed to be influenced by local prejudices, “I hear terrible things are doing at adjourned that Court, and another was Morant Bay, I know nothing of the convened, before which, about two o'clock proceedings or the particulars, but here the same afternoon, Mr. Gordon was I am blamed for it all. I feel for the brought for trial. poor people of Morant Bay. A steamer This Court consisted of Lieutenant with detachments of troops has gone up: Brand, of Her Majesty's Ship “Onyx, I wonder how it will all end. The Lord President ; Lieutenant Errington, R.N., have mercy. I regret that the people and Ensign Kelly, 4th West India Regihave acted unadvisedly.
This is sad ment, members. The charges against the matter to contemplate.”
prisoner were for furthering the massacre On Friday morning, the 13th of October, at Morant Bay, and at divers periods he went over to Spanish Town before ten previously inciting and advising with o'clock in the inorning. The case of certain insurgents, and thereby, by his Gordon v. Ketelhodt had been fixed for influence, tending to cause the riot. argument in court there that day. He Two heads of offence were drawn up, called at the office of his attorney there, one for High Treason, the other for comand asked how the matter stood, and was plicity with certain parties engaged in the told that the suit was at end, in con. rebellion, riot, and insurrection at Morant sequence of the death of the Baron, if that Bay. fact was true. He then made inquiries One witness has stated, that more than as to the costs of the suit, whereupon his once during this trial, at the opening and attorney declined, under the serious exist. during its progress, Mr. Gordon made ing circumstances, to enter into such application to postpone the trial on the details. A person then present remarked ground of want of jurisdiction of the to him that there was plenty of time for Court to try him, and also on account of him to go to St. Thomas-in-the-East, and the absence of material witnesses for the to exercise his influence on the side of defence.
The witness, however, who deposed to 7th. Statement of the 17th of Octo. this, seemed wholly unworthy of credit. ber, of Elizabeth Jane Gough, sworn at Neither the person who independently Kingston. She was also orally examined reported the trial for publication at the by the Court. time, nor the documents of the Court 8th. Three letters of Mr. Gordox, to recording the proceedings and particulars Chisholm, September 11th, 1865 ; to E. of the trial itself, make any mention of C. Smith, October 14th, 1865'; to Chissuch an application, one of such import- holm, June 19th, 1865. ance as could hardly have escaped notice. William Robertson Peart, and James
Other persons present at the trial who Fyfe Humber, whose joint statement was heard all that passed there, deny that any read, deposed to the matter spoken by such application was made.
Mr. Gordon at the Vere Meeting in SepAfter the case agaiust the prisoner had tember. closed, Mr. Gordon inquired for Dr. Both of these persons were in Jamaica Major, who he said could prove that the at the time of the trial, and might have state of his health had prevented him been summoned to give oral testimony. from attending the Vestry meeting at Charles Chevannes and George Thomas Morant Bay on the 11th of October. might also have been called as witnesses,
The Provost Martial was sent from the as they were living in Jamaica. Court to look for the Doctor, and on The written statements of these four returning shortly afterwards, said to Mr. persons had been taken in the absence of Gordon, “ Dr. Major is not in the Bay.” Mr. Gordon, and were inadmissible as The witness, Theodore Testard, was then proofs against him according to the rules called by Mr. Gordon, to prove the same that regulate evidence in English Courts, fact, but he had no knowledge on the either Civil or Military. subject.
With regard to the written statements Considering the importance then at- of J. Anderson, James Gordon, and Elizatached to Mr. Gordon's absence from the beth Jane Gough, they were not legal Vestry on the 11th of October, it would evidence, but those persons were sworn have been much more satisfactory if some and examined at the same trial. delay had been allowed in order that Dr. The printed placard headed “State of Major might have been sent for to speak the Island” is a duplicate of that above to the state of his health on that day. mentioned as posted up on a tree in
The evidence taken consisted of docu. August at Morant Bay, the original draft ments and oral testimony.
of which was proved to have been in the Some of these documents were selected handwriting of Mr. G. W. Gordon. from the papers of Mr. Gordon, by Bri. Five witnesses were sworn and examined gadier-General Nelson, and others were for the prosecution, and one on behalf of statements of persons taken and sworn the prisoner. before Magistrates, and then forwarded to The evidence, oral and documentary, Mr. Ramsay, the Provost-Marshal.
appears to us to be wholly insufficient to these were laid before the Court by the establish the charge upon which the priProvost-Marshal.
soner took his trial. They consisted of
He was found guilty, and sentenced to Ist. Statements of the 21st of October death, after six hours trial. separately made and sworn to by John After having approved and confirmed Anderson and James Gordon before a the finding and sentence, Brigadier NelJustice of the Peace of St. Thomas-in-the- son forwarded the proceedings of the trial East. These two persons were prisoners, to Major-General O'Connor, under cover and were sworn and examined orally by of a despatch, dated 21st October, 1865, the Court.
2nd. A statement of the 17th of Octo- In this despatch he states for the inber, purporting to be a dying declaration formation of the Major-General, that he of Thomas Johnson.
considered it his duty fully to approve the 3rd. A joint statement of the 19th of finding and confirm the sentence, and October, on oath, by W. R. Peart and J. adds, “To-morrow being Sunday, and F. Humber, made before a Justice of the there existing no military reason why the Peace.
sentence should not be deferred, I have 4th. A statement of the 19th of Octo- preferred to delay its execution till Monber, on oath, of Charles Chevannes, at day morning next, at 8 o'clock.” The Kingston, before a Justice of the Peace. whole proceedings of the Court were en.
5th. A statement of the 18th of Octo- closed for the General's information. ber, of George Thomas, on oath.
These proceedings reached the General 6th. Printed placard headed “State of at Kingston on the inorning of the 22nd the Island," above referred to.
of October, who, after reading them to
two members of the Executive Committee, safety, and no further. But that would forwarded them the same day to Governor not be so easy to his ignorant and fanaEyre, with a request that he would return tical followers. They would find it diffithem with as little delay as possible. cult to restrain themselves from rebellion These proceedings were returned to the when making a demonstration of it. General the same day by Governor Eyre, If a man like Paul Bogle was in the who wrote at the same time that he fully habit of hearing such expressions as those concurred in the justice of the sentence, contained in Gordon's letters, as that the and in the policy of carrying it into reign of their oppressors would be short, effect.
and that the Lord was about to destroy On the same day Governor Eyre wrote them, it would not take much to convince the following letter to Brigadier-General him that he might be the appointed inNelson from Spanish Town, dated 6 p.m.: strument in the Lord's hand for effecting “My dear Brigadier,
that end ; and it is clear that this was “Your report of the trial of George
Bogle's belief, as we find that after the William Gordon has just reached me
part he had taken in the massacre at through the General, and I quite concur
Morant Bay he, in his chapel at Stony in the justice of the sentence, and the
Gut, returned thanks to God that “he necessity of carrying it into effect.”
had gone to do that work, and that God
had prospered him in his work." This letter reached Brigadier Nelson It is clear, too, that the conduct of Gor. before the execution of Mr. Gordon.
don had been such as to convince both On the 23rd of October, Brigadier- friends and enemies of his being a party General Nelson sent a despatch to Major- to the rising. General O'Connor, announcing the execu- We learn from Mr. Gordon himself, tion of Mr. Gordon at 7.10 a.m. that
that in Kingston, where he carried on morning.
business, this was the general belief as On the 24th of October, General O'Con
soon as the news of the outbreak was renor transmitted, in letters to the Secretary ceived. of State for War, and to the Military But it was fully believed also by those Secretary at the Horse Guards, a copy of engaged in the outbreak. Bogle did not Brigadier-General Nelson's despatch re
hesitate to speak of himself as acting in porting the trial, sentence, and execution
concert with him. When Dr. Major was of Mr. Gordon, and in both letters he
dragged out of his hiding place on the adds, "A copy of his Excellency the night of the 11th of October, he saved Governor's letter approving the same is himself by exclaiming that Mr. Gordon enclosed, in which I fully coincide.” “ would not wish to have him injured,"
Evidence was given of indignities offered and when Mr. Jackson made a similar to Mr. Gordon at the time of his execu.
appeal for his own life to the murderers tion, but those on whom most reliance
of Mr. Hire it appears to have been can be placed negative that such was the
equally successful. The effect which was
a part, was foreseen by one of his most Comment on the case of Mr. Gordon.
ardent supporters, who, writing to a com
mon friend on the subject of an article he Upon a careful review of this evidence had inserted in a newspaper respecting the we have formed the opinion that the true Vere meeting, used these words, “All I explanation of Mr. Gordon's conduct is to desire is to shield you from the charge of be found in the account which he has anarchy and tumult, which in a short given of himself, “I have just gone as time must follow these fearful demonstrafar as I can go, but no further.” “If I tious." wanted a rebellion I could have had one Although, therefore, it appears exceedlong ago.” “I have been asked several ingly probable that Mr. Gordon, by his times to head a rebellion, but there is no words and writings, produced a material fear of that. I will try first a demonstra- cffect on the minds of Bogle and his fol. tion of it, but I must first upset that fel. lowers, and did much to produce that low Herschell, and kick him out of the state of excitement and discontent in vestry, and the Baron also, or bad will different parts of the island, which rencome of it."
dered the spread of the insurrection ex. Mr. Gordon might know well the dis- ceedingly probable, yet we cannot see, in tinction between a “rebellion” and a “de. the evidence which has been adduced, any monstration of it.” He might be able to sufficient proof either of his complicity in trust himself to go as far as he could with 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. CASE OF THE POLITICAL Gordon must have been a party to it, the
PRISONERS. conclusion at which we have arrived in his case is decisive as to the non-existence Among the papers of Mr. G. W. Gordon of such a conspiracy.
in the hands of the Government were The only evidence beyond that of vague found documents, the contents of which rumours in any degree tending to show an induced Mr. Eyre to direct the arrest of intended rising at some future time was Mr. Levien and Dr. Bruce. given by one witness, who deposed to a These were political friends of Mr. G. statement made by an insurgent engaged W. Gordon. in attacking a property in the neighbour. At the time of their arrest they were hood of Bath, that "it was not their living out of the district in which Martial time; that Christmas was their time, and Law was in operation, and were sent to they were preparing for it, but as it had Morant Bay. come on 80 soon they must go on and They were kept in prison there until mash down everything, and kill all the after the expiration of Martial Law, wben white and brown."
they procured their own discharge by writ It appears also that in one parish two of habeas
corpus. or three threatening letters were addressed Some other persons who were arrested to several persons, and that drillings were in Kingston for political offences were supposed to be taking place.
also sent to Morant Bay, and there kept Notwithstanding the alleged fact that prisoners. threatening letters were previously un- Doubts, however, were entertained by known in the Island, we were unable to Brigadier-General Nelson as to his power attach any importance to those brought to bring these prisoners to trial before a to our notice. As regards the drillings it Court-martial. was found upon investigation at the time He accordingly decided on his own that they were wholly unconnected with responsibility not to do so, and commuillegal objects.
nicated his decision to Major-General Řespecting an alleged change in the O'Connor. manner and deportment of the negroes, The Major-General “ coincided in this the evidence was very conflicting.
view," and expressed his opinion that We think, however, that various meet- “although there might be authority to ings had been held in the course of the try them by Court-martial, they would summer, at which speeches were made, not be justified in doing so." tending to cause excitement and discon- Mr. Eyre considered Brigadier-General tent. The effect of these speeches was Nelson “had exercised a wise and just the greater from being addressed to an discrimination in coming to this deterill-educated and impulsive people.
mination, if he had satisfied himself in Upon this point also the evidence of each case that there was no evidence Mr. Fyfe, a Stipendiary Magistrate long directly connecting the prisoners with the resident in the Island, is deserving of immediate outbreak at St. Thomas-in-theattention.
East." He speaks of an opinion which he formed and communicated at the time to the Government. He says, “There was a general excitement that led me to think
THE DURATION OF MARTIAL LAW. there would be a disturbance, and I wrote to Mr. Hosack to that effect, after the We have now narrated the means used meeting in Vere, to say that I thought for the suppression of the insurrection, the Law Officers of the Crown ought to and have commented on the conduct of interfere ; that things were going too far; some of those engaged in the suppression. that is, the meetings held by Mr. Gordon; The number of persons concerned in the that we had no Police, and that a conspi- original outbreak, and in the deeds of racy might be hatched next door to our violence by which it was accompanied and Police Station, without our knowing any. followed, was undoubtedly large ; the thing about it."
number also of those who availed themselves of a time of disorder to plunder their neighbours was far larger; but the punishments inflicted seem to us to have been far greater than the necessity required. Nor can we shut our eyes to the
fact, that among the sufferers during the in other parts of the Island. The question existence of martial law there were many to be considered in deciding upon the who were neither directly nor indirectly conduct of the Government is not whether parties to the disturbances which it was such risings were in fact likely to take the object of those placed in authority to place, but whether the Government, with suppress.
the inforination then in their hands, had We fear that this to a certain extent reasonable grounds for apprehending that must ever be the case when the ordinary they might take place. laws, framed for the suppression of wrong- It will be seen that they were receivdoing and the protection of the well-doer, ing almost daily reports from different are for a time suspended.
parts of the Island which must have led The circumstances which are supposed them to the conclusion that considerable to render necessary their suspension are danger of such risings existed. They alınost sure to be such as to excite both could not at the time investigate, as we fear and passion; and some injustice, and have, the grounds on which those reports we fear some cruelties will be certain at rested. such times to be perpetrated; but we They were forwarded by the Custodes of think that much which is now lamented different parishes, in whom the Govern. might have been avoided if clear and pre- ment was bound to place a certain amount cise instructions had been given for the of confidence, and they would have inregulation of the conduct of those engaged curred a serious responsibility if, with in the suppression, and every officer had this information before them, they had been made to understand that he would
thrown away the advantage of the terror be held responsible for the slightest de- which the very name of martial-law is parture from those instructions. It does calculated to create in a population such not seem reasonable to send officers upon as that which exists in this Island. a very difficult, and perfectly novel, ser- But there was a course which might vice without any instructions, and to leave have been pursued by which that advaneverything to their judgment.
tage would have been secured, and yet But as under any circumstances, how
many of the evils ordinarily attendant ever carefully instructions may be pre- upon martial law avoided. pared, and however implicitly obeyed, the On the 30th of October it was formally evils of martial law must be very great, stated by the Governor that the wicked we are driven to consider whether martial rebellion lately existing in certain parts of law might not have been terminated at an the County of Surry had been subdued, earlier peried than the expiration of the and that the chief instigators thereof and thirty days allowed by the statute.
actors therein had been visited with the We know how much easier it is to de. punishment due to their heinous offences, cide this question after than before the and that he was certified that the inha. event; and we are aware, too, that some- bitants of the districts lately in rebellion times the success of the measures adopted were desirous to return to their allegiance. for the prevention of an evil deprive the From this day at any rate there could authors of those measures of the evidence have been no necessity for that promptithey would otherwise have had of their tude in the execution of the law which necessity.
almost precluded a calm inquiry into We have endeavoured therefore to each man's guilt or innocence. place ourselves as far as is possible in the Directions might and ought to have position of the Governor and his Advisers
been given that courts-martial should disat the time their determination was arrived
continue their sittings; and the prisoners at. It was not till the 21st of October
in custody should then have been handed that the Maroons marched to Torrington, over for trial by the ordinary tribunals. which evidently was the stronghold of the We cannot conclude our inquiry without insurgents, and which place, from the
expressing our regret at the tone of levity marks of preparation found there, it had which is to be found in the letters and been intended to defend.
language of some of the officers while enAfter, however, firing a few shots, they gaged in serious and responsible duties. fled at the approach of the Maroons, and on the following Monday, the 23rd, Paul Bogle was apprehended with his few remaining followers, and on the 24th was conveyed as a prisoner to Morant Bay.
CONCLUSIONS. From this time it must have been clear to all that the rising in St. Thomas-in-the- Upon the subjects proposed for our inEast was put down, and that the only quiry we have come to the following conthing to be feared was simultaneous risings clusions :