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A Jurisprudence of PowerVictorian Empire and the Rule of Law$
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Rande W. Kostal

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199551941

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551941.001.0001

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The Drawing-Room Men: The Jamaica Controversy in 1866

The Drawing-Room Men: The Jamaica Controversy in 1866

(p.132) 3 The Drawing-Room Men: The Jamaica Controversy in 1866
A Jurisprudence of Power

R. W. Kostal

Oxford University Press

In the spring of 1866, the Jamaica controversy returned as a focal point of English political debate, if now as part of a broader conflict over British democracy, the franchise, and the accountability of military and political officials to law. Under the unyielding leadership of John Stuart Mill M.P., the Jamaica Committee sought to use the Jamaica suppression to galvanize public support in England for the Second Reform bill and liberal constitutionalism. Mill and his allies promoted an alarmist view of the Jamaica affair: If George Gordon could be summarily executed under a declaration of martial law, did the same fate await John Bright and other radical reformers? Dissatisfied by the tepid response of Parliament to abuses of power at Morant Bay, the Jamaica Committee prepared to initiate, in England, a private criminal prosecution against Edward Eyre for the murder of George Gordon.

Keywords:   political reform, radicalism, John Stuart Mill, private criminal prosecution

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