MR. BUXTON'S RESOLUTIONS. [To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."]
Fox Warren, Cobham, August 8, 1866.
SIR,—While I have every reason to be personally gratified by your article on the Jamaica debate last week, I extremely regret that you should appear to be under a mistake as to its result. You say, "The House refused every one of Mr. Buxton's de- mands except that which required them to deplore, that is, to weep over, the atrocities they declined to punish." Now, I told Mr. Adderley in the course of the evening that I should divide on every one of my resolutions unless I got what I wanted, and I think it is of importance that the public should understand how clearly the Government pledged themselves to real action, in accordance with those resolutions.
With regard to the first resolution, before it was put I said, " I hope the House clearly understands that the acceptance of it involves an emphatic and decisive condemnation of the excessive severity with which the disturbances were quelled." When the second resolution was put the most accurate report continues :— " Mr. Buxton wished to know whether the Government intended that the conduct of the officers should be inquired into with a view to their punishment, because if so, he would have no need to trouble the House with the second resolution.—Mr. Adderley repeated that the instructions given in the despatch of the late Government to the Government of Jamaica had been more imperatively insisted upon by the present Government, and proceedings were now taking place.—Mr. Brixton asked whether the proceedings would apply to the naval and military officers. —Mr. Adderley said that the same instructions had been sent from the Colonial Office to proceed against civilians, and similar instruc- tions had gone from the Admiralty and the War Office with refer- ence to naval and military officers. The second resolution was then withdrawn.—Mr. Buxton said with regard to the third resolu- tion, he understood it was under the consideration of the Govern- ment whether it might be desirable to give compensation to those whose property had been wantonly destroyed, and therefore he would not press it.—Mr. Adderley : What I said was that this resolution was differently worded from the one on the paper yesterday, and that proposition was that compensation should be charged on the Imperial revenue. He thought the question of compensation was one that should be left to the Government of Jamaica.—Mr. Buxton said that all he wished was that compensation should be given, and it was a matter of indiffer- ence whether it came from this country or from Jamaica. What he wished was, that compensation should be given to the sufferers, and if he understood that the Government contemplated such a proceeding, he would not press his resolution. — Mr. Adderley re- peated that he considered it should be left to the Government of Jamaica, which had full power to deal with it.—The resolution was then withdrawn.—Mr. Buxton said that, notwithstanding what had been said by the Attorney-General, he could not conceive why they should not remit the punishment because a certain number of individuals had been already punished. Every rebellion was followed by an amnesty and a remission of punishment, and he would certainly divide on the fourth resolution unless he understood from the right hon. gentleman that it was the real desire of the Government to remit further punish- ment wherever possible.—Mr. Adderley said that he must object to the looseness of the wording of the proposition and the resolutions. But there would be a revision of sentences. Some days ago instructions were sent out to Sir Peter Grant, calling for a note of each of the cases, and to report as to which cases there might be ground for remitting any part of the punishments."
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
[We gladly insert Mr. Buxton's letter, but he seems to us thankful for small mercies. Mr. Adderley could not refuse, and his chief did not wish to refuse, inquiry into the conduct of sub- ordinate offenders, or a regular revision of sentences, or even compensation, if the local Government ordered and paid for it, neither of which, as Lord Carnarvon explained, is it at all likely to do, but he did resist successfully a formal Parliamentary cen- sure on Mr. Eyre. That was what we wanted, and what we under- stood Mr. Buxton to want, and that he failed to get, certainly by no fault of his own. No " impeachment " has in our time been better managed, and its failure was due to the feeling expressed or latent in a majority of the House, that black labourers were not entitled to the treatment white labourers would have received.— ED. Spectator.)