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oath, warrants were issued for the apprehension of two persons of the name of Bogle, and several others who were stated to have taken an active part in the riot of the previous Saturday.
'These warrants were placed in the hands of a policeman who, with five other policemen and two rural constables, proceeded early on Tuesday morning the 10th of October to Stony Gut, a Negro Settlement about five miles from Morant Bay, where Paul Bogle and some other of the alleged rioters lived.
They found Paul Bogle in his yard, and told him that they had a warrant for his apprehension.
'He desired to have the warrant read to him, which was done. He then said that he would not go, and upon one of the policemen proceeding to apprehend him he cried out, "Help, here." At the same time a man named Grant, who was with him, and was addressed as "Captain," called out, "Turn out, men." Almost immediately a body of men, variously estimated at from 300 to 500, armed with cutlasses, sticks, and pikes, rushed out from a chapel where Bogle was in the habit of preaching, and from an adjoining cane-field, and attacked the policemen.
The policemen were, of course, overpowered. Some of them were severely beaten. Three of the number were made prisoners, and detained for several hours, and were ultimately released only upon their taking an oath that henceforth they would "join their colour," that they would "cleave to the black."
'It was stated by Bogle, in the presence of the policemen, that they had expected to go to Morant Bay that day, but that it was then late; that on the morrow there was to be a vestry held at the Bay, and that they expected to come down. It was said by others that they intended to come down to the Bay "to kill all the white men and all the black men that would not join them."
'Information of what had taken place, and of the threat to come down on the following day, was on the same Tuesday evening given to the Inspector of Police at Morant Bay, and to Baron Ketelhodt, the Custos of the Parish. In consequence of this information the Custos summoned the Volunteers of the district to assemble at Morant Bay, and at the same time wrote to the Governor for military aid.
On Wednesday the 11th of October the Vestry, consisting of certain elected members, and of the Magistrates, who were members ex officio, assembled in the Court House at Morant Bay at about 12 o'clock, and proceeded with their ordinary business till between three and four o'clock, when notice was given that a crowd of people was approaching.
The Volunteers were hastily called together, and almost immediately afterwards a body of men, armed with cutlasses, sticks, muskets, and bayonets, after having attacked the Police Station, and obtained possession of such arms as were there deposited, were seen entering a large open space facing the Court House in front of which the Volunteers had been drawn up. Baron Ketelhodt went out to the steps, and called to the people to know what they wanted. He
received no answer, and his cries of "Peace, peace," were met by cries from the crowd of "War."
'As the advancing people drew near the Volunteers retired till they reached the steps of the Court House. The Custos then began to read the Riot Act. While he was in the act of reading it stones were thrown at the Volunteers, and Captain Hitchins, who commanded them, was struck in the forehead. The Captain, having received authority from the Custos, then gave the word to fire. The order was obeyed, and some of the people were seen to fall.
There was some conflict of evidence on the point, whether stones were thrown before the firing commenced. That fact, however, was, as it appears to us, clearly established by the testimony of a large number of witnesses, although there were some who stated that they did not see any stones thrown until after the firing.
'One witness fixes the time of the throwing of the stones. He saw stones thrown, and immediately left the place before the firing commenced, which he heard but did not see.
'Another, again, who did not see the stones thrown, saw the face of the captain bleeding before he gave the order to fire.
'The apparent contradiction may, we think, be easily reconciled. It is possible that the eyes of those who did not see the stones thrown were fixed on the main body who were advancing towards the Volunteers, while the stones were apparently thrown by women, who had been observed carrying them, and by others who were walking at the side of the main body.
At the time of the discharge of the rifles, the mob were close upon the Volunteers. The rioters instantly rushed upon them, and succeeded in disarming some of them. The rest they compelled either to flee or to take shelter in the Court House.
'Here were assembled the Magistrates and other members of the Vestry, with such of the Volunteers as had succeeded in effecting an
Some escaped at once by the back windows, but the greater part remained for a considerable time, being pelted with stones and fired at from the outside; such of the Volunteers as had retained their guns also firing from the inside.
'A cry was then heard, "Go and fetch fire;" "Burn the brutes out." Bogle in particular said, "Let us put fire upon the Court House. If we don't, we will not manage the Volunteers and the Buckra."
'Very shortly afterwards men were seen to set fire to the School House, which adjoined the Court House. Then, after a time, the fire spread from the roof of the one building to that of the other.
'As the roof of the Court House was beginning to fall in, the inmates were compelled to leave the building, and it being now dark they sought to conceal themselves in different places in the vicinity. "Some remained undiscovered throughout the night, but others were dragged from their hiding places, and one by one either beaten to death or left for dead on the ground.
'The number of persons killed by the rioters in or about the Court House appears to have been 18, and the number of the wounded to have amounted to 31.
'After this the town remained in possession of the rioters. The gaolers were compelled to throw open the prison doors, and 51 prisoners who were there confined were released.'
Such were the occurrences which the West Indian mails of last November made familiar to the English people. The same mails also brought an account of the measures which Mr. Eyre adopted to stay the progress of the outbreak. He had first heard. of the apprehended danger by a letter from Baron Von Ketelhodt, on the 11th of October, the very day on which the Baron's worst apprehensions were realised, and his life was lost. Immediately on the receipt of this letter, an Executive Committee was convened at Spanish Town, and a requisition sent to MajorGeneral O'Connor, at Kingston, to despatch one hundred men to Morant Bay. The next day news was received that Baron Von Ketelhodt was massacred, and that the rebels were coming along the line of the Blue Mountain Valley. The requisition was increased to 200 men, and on the evening of the 12th the 'Wolverine' was steaming out of Kingston with 100 men to Morant Bay, and was not long afterwards followed by the Onyx' with another hundred. At the same time a body of white troops was sent along the line of the Blue Mountain Valley to intercept the rebels coming from the east. After directing these military preparations, the Governor held an Executive Committee; at midnight summonses were issued for a Privy Council. After midnight the Governor drove over to Spanish Town, and gave orders for preparing a proclamation of martial law; he then returned to Kingston, held a Privy Council at eight o'clock in the morning, and proclaimed the County of Surry (one third of the island), with the exception of the city of Kingston, under martial law.
These vigorous proceedings soon bore their fruits. Successive mails brought news of the utter dispersion and confusion of the disaffected blacks. They seem to have thought they were to have it all their own way, and never to have prepared themselves for the discomfiture of their plans. When, therefore, they had mutilated their first victims at Morant Bay, pillaged three or four neighbouring estates, murdered one manager, and attempted the murder of two or three other managers and magistrates, threatened one or two clergymen, and insulted two or three ladies, they broke loose in chaotic anarchy. They had no idea of facing regular troops. Rather, there seems reason for supposing that they indulged the hope that the regular troops
would side with them. When they discovered their mistake, the little cohesion which they formerly had gave way. They continued to go about in bands plundering the planters' houses, but for the most part observed a respectful distance from the soldiers, although they did not always keep out of the range of the Enfield rifle; and on two occasions they fired on the troops. It was the facility and the frequency with which they were shot or captured and executed, that turned the popular feeling in England, which otherwise would have been one of horror at their atrocities, into one of commiseration for their fate. And this feeling was further intensified by an incident which has impressed a most painful character on the whole affair.
Mr. Eyre had given directions to station troops at Port Antonio, and to march another body under Colonel Hobbs along the line of the Blue Mountain Valley. These, with the troops stationed at Morant Bay, hemmed the rebels in between the mountains and the eastern coast, preventing them from effecting raids in the Central, Western, and Northern districts of the island, all of which, it appears, had been threatened by them. The business of the troops consisted in intercepting and capturing negroes, and handing them over to courts martial. By these means the rebellion was confined to a district on the eastern part of the island and was there crushed. While these movements were going on, certain declarations made by rebels and some papers brought under the notice of the military authorities seemed to Mr. Eyre to fix the instigation of the outbreak on a mulatto named Gordon, a man of some substance and education, who had been a magistrate and a member of the House of Assembly. Gordon was a proprietor in the parish of St. Thomas in the East, where he had exercised his talents as a parochial agitator. Having made some allegations against a brother magistrate, which were afterwards disproved, he had been dismissed from his magisterial functions by the Governor. Subsequently, after having left the Church of England for the Baptist denomination, he was elected to fill the office of churchwarden; but, the custos and the vestry having refused to admit his qualification, he brought two successive actions against the custos, Baron Ketelhodt, and was defeated in both. These defeats, quarrels with the rector of the parish, and heavy pecuniary obligations, seem to have soured his temper. He became a grievance-monger and a railer at the Government. When the disturbances were going on at Morant Bay, Gordon remained at Kingston. There, hearing that his name was mixed up with the outbreak, and that it was attributed to his instigation, he went of his own accord to the house of the Major-General commanding, and surrendered himself to the authorities. He
was at once put on board the vessel which was taking Mr. Eyre back to Morant Bay and was there handed over to the military authorities, who tried him by martial law, condemned him and executed him. When this was known in England, it turned the uncertain current of popular feeling strongly against the Governor. It was said that it was bad enough to send out armed soldiers to shoot down unarmed negroes; but it was downright murder to take a civilian who had never been in arms against the Government, remove him from Kingston, where martial law had not been proclaimed, to the proclaimed district, and there have him tried and sentenced by officers who did not know the rules of evidence, and who, if they had known them, would have been unwilling to follow them. Meetings were held; speeches were delivered, full of the most intemperate violence and monstrous exaggeration; delegates went to Downing Street, to bluster and browbeat the Secretary of State. The upshot of all was that a Royal Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the Government, which had itself determined on this step prior to the agitation. The Commissioners selected were Sir H. Storks, a military officer of considerable experience in civil affairs; Mr. Russell Gurney, the Recorder of London; and Mr. Maule, a rising Barrister of eminence on the Northern Circuit and Recorder of Leeds. Apart from the consideration of the policy of this measure, no objection can be made to the constitution of the Commission itself. Sir Henry Storks is a soldier, who to a thorough knowledge of the English and continental armies. adds not only a familiarity with the routine of civil administration, but also an unaffected courtesy of manner and a singular tact in treating delicate and difficult questions. He therefore possessed eminent qualifications for the arduous office with which he was invested. For he was selected not only to preside over the Commission, but to supersede Mr. Eyre, whose retention of the government was inconsistent with an inquiry into his conduct. And no one, perhaps, was likely to perform this very disagreeable duty with greater comity and consideration than Sir Henry Storks. Mr. Russell Gurney and Mr. Maule are lawyers, who bring to any investigation of facts the acuteness and precision which long practice at the Bar and no small experience on the Bench make normal habits of mind. Whether it was a true and right policy to entrust such an investigation to gentlemen whose professional habits might be supposed to limit the area of inquiry by the horizon of facts, was doubtful to many persons whose local experience taught them to discern the character of the crisis which had occurred. We are, however, bound to say that a perusal of the Report will dis