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Letter from the Parish of St. Elizabeth

St Elizabeth's, February, 1866.

To His Excellency E. J. Eyre, Esquire, &c.

The Magistrates, Clergy, and Inhabitants of the Parish of St. Elizabeth, feel it a great duty which they owe to your Excellency to express to you, at this time especially, their conviction that to you the Island is indebted for the checking and putting down the Rebellion, which, commencing in Saint Thomas in the East, unless for the prompt measures and energy exhibited, we believe, would have spread death and misery through the Island.

Your Excellency, by wise and immediate action, has saved our families from worse than death. It will be our duty to impress on our sons and on our daughters that to you they owe life and honour. Your own heart will tell you as a husband, and a parent what you have done for us. Our hearts say, may God reward you, and deliver you from all your enimies.

Your Excellency we hesitate not to tell you that we have no faith in the present calm; we know not what will come, or how soon services such as you have rendered us may be required again. We trust such Counsels and action as lately preserved us, may not be wanting in a like emergency.

With every good wish towards yourself and Mrs. Eyre, with whom we sincerely sympathise, and for your family, we shall ever be,

Your Excellency's

Grateful and faithful friends,


John Salmon

J. Isaacs

Charles Isaacs

Robert Smith

William Finlason

M. Myers

Arthur P. Rowe

F. Hendricks

A. J. Hendricks

John Finlason

Thomas Doran

W. G. K. Boxer

John W. Earle, J.P

Sol. Myers DaCosta

T. Salmon Maxwell, JP.

Nathaniel Stevens

Stephen B. Parchment

Henry Labor

William Weller

John Calder, J.P.

Louis Lindo

William Simpson, J.P.

Samuel Anderson

William Lewis

John A. T. Calder

Alfred J. Wray

Abraham J. Hyam

John Clarke

R. P. White

Thomas Wetherby

George E. Levy

H. M. Belenfante

Edwin Levy

Frederick Alberga

Joseph Peart

Isaac R. Dacosta

E. T. Allen

J. R. Tuckett

B. Wells

Stephen Peynado, J.P.

E. A Sherlock

N. R. Hyam, C. P. D.

W. O'Francis Nangle

F. A. Petgrave

Myer Polack

Thomas W. Petgrave

Stephen Bondsell

Thomas A. Baguie

W. A. Roberts

H. C. Taylor

J. R. Tomlinson

J. Sinclair

Raynes W. Smith, J.P

John C. C. Thompson

Robert Watson, jnr

George G. Nicholson

William Smith

Thomas McDaniel

W. H. Coke, J.P.

J. E. Kerr, J.P

Arthur Beswick, J.P.

William Freckleton

George Beswick

John A. Roberts

William Doran

Elias Quallo

J. M Muschett

John Blake

Henry Thomson

G. W. Cator

M. H. Smith, Island Curate

N. J. Heath

J. R. Usher

John Hudson, J.P.

Peter Byone

D. Sullivan, J.P.

Daniel Fogarty

A. A. Finlason

William Sullivan

Thomas McTaggart

Henry McDonald

C. J. Monteath

W. E. Bennett

J. W. Bean

William Bean

John O'Sullivan

John Shaw

J. J. Gruber

William B. Crawly

John M. Cooper, J.P.

Francis Maxwell, J.P.

His Excellency's Reply

To the Honorable John Salmon, I. Isaacs, C. Isaacs, R. Smith, W. Finlaison, (sic) Esquire, &c, &c, &c.

Mr. Custos, Reverend Gentlemen, and Gentlemen,

Accept my grateful thanks for your warm hearted address expressing your appreciation of my services in putting down and preventing the spread of the late rebellion.

It is a very great grstification (sic) to me to know that whatever may be the misrepresentations I am subjected to by a section of the English public and press, the colonists of Jamaica who have the best means of estimating the emergency which existed and of understanding the limited resources available to meet it, recognized both the necessity and the justice of the course adopted, and that that course was crowned with success.

I deeply regret to learn that you have no faith in the present calm, but I fervently trust, that through the naval and military protection afforded by Great Britain, and by and the watchful vigilance of the colonists themselves, any further recurrence of disturbances may be averted, and that in the course of time the excitement or ill feeling which have existed or yet exist may gradually subside and a renewed state of confidence be restored between the different classes of the community

For your good wishes and sympathy towards myself and family, I thank you most heartily

(signed) E. EYRE.

Flamstead, 1st March, 1866.

Extracted from a typewritten book entitled; Addresses to his Excellency Edward John Eyre, Esquire, 1865, 1866.

Birmingham Central Library, Birmingham, West Midlands, England

Local Studies, 6th floor,

Shelved at; A 972.92, Eyre. (Has just been relocated to the Black History Collection section, same floor)

Background to the book

The names of the inhabitants appear as two vertical columns on page 54, same on page 55.

This book has hundreds more inhabitants listed from other parishes in Jamaica (but not Kingston and others). On a visit to the Public Records Office, London a few years ago, I quickly searched their 'Original Correspondence' files (I think!) and noted that they have the original documents to the above book in original handwritten form, some but not all, showing the 'original' signatures. I would imagine the above book was written using a selection of those original documents from the Public Records Office.

Reading through the book one learns that Edward Eyre was the Governor of Jamaica at the time and had been slated by some of the British public and press for not keeping the black people under control in Jamaica, whereby they believed the famous 'Morant Bay Rebellion' riots started. He apparently quickly deployed the British Army, Navy and Maroons etc. to quell the troubles. The white colonist inhabitants who had feared for their lives, wrote to him expressing their thanks.

Contributed by Robert Hodgson

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