[In one of its many attacks upon those urging the criminal prosecution of Governor Eyre and his underlings for atrocities committed in putting down the Morant uprising, Punch makes clear by the mentioning Cawnpore that many who defended Eyre saw the Jamaica uprising in the same light as the earlier Indian Mutiny. In both cases atrocities had been committed against men, women, and children, to be sure, and there were other similarities as well. For example, non-whites loyal to the British had helped suppress both rebellions. The main difference appeared in excessive retaliation in Jamaica that included a rush to execute an innocent member of the local legislature, largely because he was African, and the flogging of women — the kind of gender-specific action that appalled many back in England. In the clumsy attempt at satire below Mr. Punch actually admits and tries to excuse these excesses. The text below comes from the Hathi Digital Library Trust version of a copy of the periodical in the University of Michigan Library — George P. Landow]

WELL done old Shropshire! Well done, Market Drayton! Quite right to ring the bells w on the sensible Salopian Magistrates apprised MR. PETER TAYLOR that he might go back to Town and inform MR. BEALES (M.A.), MR. SHAMMYRUMSTUFF, and their tail, that there was no evidence on which Governor Eyre could properly be committed. That “individual” as the Star — intending to be awfully severe—calls him, has floored the Jamaica Committee as completely as he floored the Jamaica Rebellion. English good sense is seldom appealed to in vain. We really cannot murder a man for saving a colony. It may be theoretically, proper to kill him, but the fact that Jamaica now belongs to the QUEEN OF ENGLAND, and not to the “brown-skinned, canting, disreputable agitator,” GORDON, is a fact which somewhat overrides theories. It is to be lamented that excessive punishment was awarded to some of Gordon’s dupes; but, on the other hand, English ladies and children were saved from worse than Cawnpore atrocities. So that, on the whole, Englishmen are very well satisfied that PETER TAYOR BEALES (M A.), and SHAMMYRUMSTUFF are out in the cold. A word of recognition of Mr. Giffard's masterly demolition of the case for the prosecution, and as warm word of recogni- tion of MR. STEPHEN’s most gentlemanly discharge of his professional ‘duty. “The matter cannot rest where it does,” remarks the Star; and we agree. Some manifestation of English sympathy with a persecuted officer must be made. Meantime, why not return Mr. Eyre for Middlesex?

Other Punch interventions in the Eyre Affair

Last modified 29 November 2015