This article argues that the emotion of shame explains how John Stuart Mill and the Jamaica Committee developed intellectual arguments in response to the brutal suppression by Governor Edward Eyre of the Morant Bay rebellion in post-emancipation colonial Jamaica in 1865. Positioning the emotions as integral to cognitive systems, the article traces Mill and the committee's arguments against their opponents, the Eyre Defence Committee. The Jamaica Committee was not solely concerned with liberal imperial order. Instead, under Mill's leadership, the committee sought to reconstruct and defend the pre-rebellion political culture that freedpeople in Jamaica had developed. The committee also demonstrated the illegality of martial law. There were, nonetheless, differences between Mill and other committee members, including Charles Buxton and Frederic Harrison. Shame, the emotion experienced when a subject fails to meet the values to which they are attached, helps to explain these differences. Shame also helped to generate the possibility of reforming the colonial political relationship.