Jamaica Committee

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The Jamaica Committee was a group set up in 1866, which called for Edward Eyre, Governor of Jamaica, to be tried for his excesses in suppressing the Morant Bay rebellion of 1865. More radical members of the Committee wanted him tried for the murder of British subjects (Jamaica was at that time a Crown Colony), under the rule of law. The Committee included English liberals, such as John Bright, John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Thomas Hughes and Herbert Spencer.

The counsel to the Jamaica Committee was James Fitzjames Stephen, who held that the defendants were guilty of legal murder, but extended considerable sympathy to them and intimated that they were probably morally justified.[1] From then on, Mill was cool to him.[2]

Thomas Carlyle set up a rival committee arguing in Eyre's defence. His supporters included John Ruskin, Charles Kingsley, Charles Dickens and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


  1. ^ Leslie Stephen: "Life of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen", pp 227-30, quoted in Lippincott.
  2. ^ Lippincott: "Victorian Critics of Democracy" (1938), page 140.