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to rescue the ship; that it might have been done, Thompson being the only sentinel over the arm chest."
Michael Byrne's Defence
was very short. He says, "It has pleased the Almighty, among the events of his unsearchable providence, nearly to deprive me of sight, which often puts it out of my power to carry the intentions of my mind into execution.
"I make no doubt but it appears to this honourable Court, that on the 28th of April, 1789, my intention was to quit his majesty's ship Bounty with the officers and men who went away, and that the sorrow I expressed at being detained was real and unfeigned.
"I do not know whether I may be able to repeat the exact words that were spoken on the occasion, but some said, 'We must not part with our fiddler;' and Charles Churchill threatened to send me to the shades if I attempted to quit the cutter, into which I had gone for the purpose of attending Lieutenant Bligh :" and, without further trespassing on the time of the court, he submits his case to its judgment and mercy.
It is not necessary to notice any parts of the defence made by Coleman, Norman, and M'Intosh, as it is clear from the whole evidence and from Bligh's certificates, that those men were anxious to go in the boat, but were kept in the ship by force.
It is equally clear that Ellison, Millward, and Burkitt were concerned in every stage of the mutiny, and had little to offer in their defence in exculpation of the crime of which they were accused.
On the sixth day, namely, on the 18th of September, 1792, the court met; the prisoners were brought in, audience admitted, when, the president having asked the prisoners if they or any of them had any
thing more to offer in their defence, the court was cleared, and agreed,
"That the charges had been proved against the said Peter Heywood, James Morrison, Thomas Ellison, Thomas Burkitt, John Millward, and William Muspratt; and did adjudge them and each of them to suffer death, by being hanged by the neck on board such of his majesty's ship or ships of war, and at such time or times, and at such place or places, as the commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain and Ireland, &c., or any three of them for the time being should, in writing under their hands, direct; but the court, in consideration of various circumstances, did humbly and most earnestly recommend the said Peter Heywood and James Morrison to his majesty's mercy; and the court further agreed, that the charges had not been proved against the said Charles Norman, Joseph Coleman, Thomas M'Intosh, and Michael Byrne, and did adjudge them and each of them to be acquitted."
The court was then opened and audience admitted and sentence passed accordingly.
THE KING'S WARRANT.
"Well, believe this
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
Ir was a very common feeling that Heywood and Morrison, the former in particular, had been hardly dealt with by the court in passing upon them a sen
tence of death, tempered as it was with the recommendation to the king's mercy. It should, however, have been recollected, that the court had no discretional power to pass any other sentence but that, or a full acquittal. But earnestly, no doubt, as the court was disposed towards the latter alternative, it could not consistently with the rules and feelings of the service be adopted. It is not enough in cases of mutiny (and this case was aggravated by the piratical seizure of a king's ship) that the officers and men in his majesty's naval service should take no active part; to be neutral or passive is considered as tantamount to aiding and abetting. Besides, in the present case, the remaining in the ship along with the mutineers, without having recourse to such means as offered of leaving her, presumes a voluntary adhesion to the criminal party. The only fault of Heywood, and a pardonable one on account of his youth and inexperience, was his not asking Christian to be allowed to go with his captain, his not trying to go in time. M'Intosh, Norman, Byrne, and Coleman were acquitted because they expressed a strong desire to go, but were forced to remain. This was not only clearly proved, but they were in possession of written testimonies from Bligh to that effect; and so would Heywood have had, but for some prejudice Bligh had taken against him in the course of the boat-voyage home; for it will be shown that he knew he was confined to his berth below.
In favour of three of the four men condemned without a recommendation there were unhappily no palliating circumstances. Millward, Burkitt, and Ellison were under arms from first to last; and Ellison not only left the helm to take up arms, but, rushing aft towards Bligh, called out, "D-n him, I'll be sentry over him." The fourth man, Muspratt, was condemned on the evidence of Lieutenant Hayward, which, however, appears to have been duly appreciated by the Lords Commissioners of the Ad
miralty, and in consequence of which the poorɩman 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. Heywood 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 cruel agony of mind, which no language can express.*
*It was in this state of mind, while in momentary expectation of receiving an account of the termination of the court-martial, that Heywood's charming sister Nessy wrote the following lines :
Doubting, dreading, fretful guest,
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.
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 Rev. Dr. Scott, which the latter carried to Mrs. Heywood's family the following morning.
"Portsmouth, Tuesday, 18th September.
66 Although a stranger, I make no apology in writing to you. I have attended and given my
While I gaze on Pleasure's gleam,
Isle of Man, September 10th.