[In one of its many attacks upon those urging the criminal prosecution of Governor Eyre and his underlings for atrocities committed while putting down the Morant uprising, Punch, which makes its usual attack on Exeter Hall and the Baptists, manages to compare the execution of an innocent Black member of the local legislature and the flogging of women to firman breaking a few windows while putting out a blaze. As it turns out, the official report came to a very different conclusion that the one Mr. Punch expected. 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]
Now, if we were about to speak of a worldly and carnal writer, instead of one who is of Exeter Hall, Hallish, we should describe the following paragraph, which appears, in large print, in MR. BRIGHT's organ, as a specimen of the smallest spite and impertinence: -
“BRIGADIER GENERAL NELSON — This oﬂicer, respecting whose movements there has been considerable speculation during the last few weeks, sailed for Jamaica yesterday in the La Plata. MR. WILLIAM MORGAN, the solicitor retained by the Anti-Slavery Society and the Jamaica Committee, shares the same berth with him. The coincidence is certainly a remarkable one; and if the Brigadier is at all communicative, he may possibly save MR. MORGAN some trouble. At all events it may fairly be assumed that he will feel more surprise than pleasure when he learns who his companion is, and what is the mission which takes him to Jamaica."
Firstly, from the above charming paragraph the world may learn, if it cares to know, that Exeter Hall and the Baptists have hired an attorney, who goes to Jamaica to do his best or worst against GOVERNOR EYRE. Secondly, that the gentlemanly employers of this attorney would like him to avail himself of the sociality usually created on a voyage, and to "pump” GENERAL NELSON, who was in the conﬁdence of the Governor of Jamaica. Thirdly, that the same gentlemanly set derive pleasure from the idea of the gallant oﬁicer’s being annoyed at ﬁnding himself shut up with a person who is engaged to do GOVERNOR EYRE and his friends all the mischief possible. By the way, the he we have italicised makes it doubtful as to the party who is to be surprised — the pious paragraph-maker was in such a hurry to be spiteful that he forgot his grammar. But we imagine that much of this holy spite will be defeated. We never heard of MR. MORGAN, but many attorneys are the jolliest and best fellows going, and he may be one of the better class, and if so, Ma. Monoas and GENERAL NELSON have by this time become capital friends, and very likely MR. MORGAN has been thoroughly amused with GENERAL NELSON’s anecdotes of black baptists and nigger sermons as ARTEMUS WARD would have been. Finally, the amateur commission may do what it likes, but the real commission will, in all probability, conﬁrm the verdict which society has long since given — as everyone knows except a clique — namely, that a house was on ﬁre, and that the ﬁremen who put it out worked with a will and successfully. Englishmen do not, on such occasions, make a riot because some of the water may have broken a few windows, even though they were the windows of a Baptist chapel.
Other Punch interventions in the Eyre Affair
- “An Awful Warning” (17 November 1866)
- “The Jamaica Committee” (26 January 1867)
- “Exeter Hall Spite” (27 January 1866)
- “The Bold Governor Eyre and the Bulls of Exeter Hall” (10 February 1866)
- “Free as Eyre” (6 April 1867)
Last modified 28 January 2016