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miralty, and in consequence of which the poor man escaped an ignominious death.
The family of young Heywood in the Isle of Man had been buoyed up from various quarters with the almost certainty of his full acquittal. From the 12th September, when the court-martial first sat, till the 24th of that month, they were prevented by the strong and contrary winds which cut off all communication with England from receiving any tidings whatever. But while Mrs. Heywuod and her daughters were fondly flattering themselves with every thing being most happily concluded, one evening, as they were indulging these pleasing hopes, a little boy, the son of one of their particular friends, ran into the room, and told them in the most abrupt manner that the trial was over and all the prisoners condemned, but that Peter Heywood was recommended to mercy; he added, that a man whose name he mentioned had told him this. The man was sent for, questioned, and replied he had seen it in a newspaper at Liverpool, from which place he was just arrived in a small fishing-boat, but had forgotten to bring the paper with him. In this state of doubtful uncertainty this wretched family remained another whole week, harassed by the most eruel agony of mind, which no language can express.* The affectionate Nessy determined at once to proceed to Liverpool, and so on to London. She urges her brother James at Liverpool to hasten to Portsmouth : “Don't wait for me, I can go alone; fear, and even despair, will support me through the journey: think only of our poor unfortunate and adored boy; bestow not one thought on me.” And she adds, “yet, if I could listen to reason (which is indeed difficult), it is not likely that any thing serious has taken place, or will do so, as we should then certainly have had an express.” She had a tempestuous passage of forty-nine hours, and to save two hours got into an open fishing-boat at the mouth of the Mersey, the sea running high and washing over her every moment; but she observes,“ let me but be blessed with the cheering influence of hope, and I have spirit to undertake any thing." From Liverpool she set off the same night in the mail for London; and arrived at Mr. Graham's on the 5th October, who received her with the greatest kindness, and desired her to make his house her home.
* It was in this state of mind, while in momentary expectation of receiving an account of the termination of the court-martial, that Hoy. wood's charming sister Nessy wrote the following lines :
Lycidas again is free,"
The suspense into which the afflicted family in the Isle of Man had been thrown by the delay of the packet, was painfully relieved on its arrival in the night of the 29th September, by the following letter from Mr. Graham to the Rey. Dr. Scott, which the latter carried to Mrs. Heywood's family the following morning.
“ Portsmouth, Tuesday, 18th September. “ Although a stranger, I make no apology in writing to you. I have attended and given my
While I gaze on Pleasure's gleam,
assistance at Mr. Heywood's trial, which was finished and the sentence passed about half an hour ago. Before I tell you what that sentence is, I must inform you that his life is safe, notwithstanding it is at present at the mercy of the king, to which he is in the strongest terms recommended by the court. That any unnecessary fears may not be productive of misery to the family, I must add, that the king's attorney-general (who with Judge Ashurst attended the trial) desired me to make myself perfectly easy, for that my friend was as safe as if he had not been condemned. I would have avoided making use of this dreadful word, but it must have come to your knowledge, and perhaps unaccompanied by many others of a pleasing kind. To prevent its being improperly communicated to Mrs. or the Misses Heywood, whose distresses first engaged me in the business, and could not fail to call forth my best exertions upon the occasion, I send you this by express. The mode of communication I must leave to your discretion; and shall only add, that although from a combination of circumstances, ill-nature, and mistaken friendship, the sentence is in itself terrible; yet it is incumbent on me to assure you, that from the same combination of circumstances everybody who attended the trial is perfectly satisfied in his own mind that he was hardly guilty in appearance, in intention he was perfectly innocent. I shall of course write to Commodore Pasley, whose mind from my letter to him of yesterday must be dreadfully agitated, and take his advice about what is to be done when Mr. Heywood is released. I shall stay here till then, and my intention is afterward to take him to my house in town, where, I think, he had better stay till one of the family calls for him: for he will require a great deal of tender management after all his sufferings; and it would perhaps be à necessary preparation for seeing his mother, that one or both his sisters should be previously prepared to support her on so trying an occasion.”
On the following day Mr. Graham again writes to Dr. Scott, and among other things observes, “ It will be a great satisfaction to his family to learn, that the declarations of some of the other prisoners, since the trial, put it past all doubt that the evidence upon which he was convicted must have been (to say nothing worse of it) an unfortunate belief, on the part of the witness, of circumstances which either never had existence, or were applicable to one of the other gentlemen who remained in the ship, and not to Mr. Heywood.""*
On the 20th September Mr. Heywood addresses the first letter he wrote after his conviction to Dr. Scott.
“ Honoured and dear Sir, “ On Wednesday the 12th instant the awful trial commenced, and on that day, when in court, I had the pleasure of receiving your most kind and parental letter ;t in answer to which I now communicate to you the melancholy issue of it, which, as I desired my friend Mr. Graham to inform you of immediately, will be no dreadful news to you. The morning lowers, and all my hope of worldly joy is fled. On Tuesday morning the 18th the dreadful sentence of death was pronounced upon me, to which (being the just decree of that Divine Providence who first gave me breath) I bow my devoted head with that fortitude, cheerfulness, and resignation which is the duty of every member of the church of our blessed Saviour and Redeemer Christ Jesus. To Him alone I now look up for succour, in full hope that perhaps a few days more will open to the view of my astonished and fearful soul his kingdom of eternal and incomprehensible bliss, prepared only for the righteous of heart.
**This is supposed to allude to the evidence given by Hallet.
+ This refers to a very kind and encouraging letter written to him by the Rev. Dr. Scott, of the Isle of Man, who knew him from a boy, and had the highest opinion of his character.
“ I have not been found guilty of the slightest act connected with that detestable crime of mutiny, but am doomed to die for not being active in my endeavours to suppress it. Could the witnesses who appeared on the court-martial be themselves tried, they would also suffer for the very same and only crime of which I have been found guilty. But I am to be the victim. Alas! my youthful inexperience, and not depravity of will, is the sole cause to which I can attribute my misfortunes. But, so far from repining at my fate, I receive it with a dreadful kind of joy, composure, and serenity of mind; well assured that it has pleased God to point me out as a subject through which some greatly useful (though at present unscarchable) intention of the divine attributes may be carried into execution for the future benefit of my country. Then why should I repine at being made a sacrifice for the good, perhaps, of thousands of my fellow-creatures; forbid it, Heaven! Why should I be sorry to leave a world in which I have met with nothing but misfortunes and all their concomitant evils ? I shall, on the contrary, endeavour to divest myself of all wishes for the futile and sublunary enjoyments of it, and prepare my soul for its reception into the bosom of its Redeemer. For though the very strong recommendation I have had to his ma. jesty's mercy by all the members of the court may meet with his approbation, yet that is but the balance of a straw, a mere uncertainty, upon
which hope can be built; the other is a certainty that must one day happen to every mortal, and therefore the salvation of my soul requires my most prompt and powerful exertions during the short time I may have to remain on earth.
“ As this is too tender a subject for me to inform my unhappy and distressed mother and sisters of, I trust, dear sir, you will either show them this letter, or make known to them the truly dreadful intelligence in such a manner as (assisted by your whole.