Sidor som bilder

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 Nor. man, Joseph Coleman, Thomas MʻIntosh, 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.



“ Well, believe this-
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace

As mercy does."
It 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. MʻIntosh, 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 Admiralty, and in consequence of which the poor mart 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 náme 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 Hoywood's charming sister Nessy wrote the following lines :

Doubting, dreading, fretful guest,
Quit, oh! quit this mortal breast.
Why wilt thou my peace invade,
And each brighter prospect shade?
Pain me not with needless Fear,
But let Hope my bosom cheer;
While I court her gentle charms,
Woo the flatterer to my arms;
While each moment she beguiles
With her sweet enliv'ning smiles,
While she softly whispers me
* Lycidas again is free,”

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 jour, ney: 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. “ Sir, “ Although a stranger, I make no apology in writing to you. I have attended and given my

While I gaze on Pleasure's gleam,
Say not thou “ 'Tis all a dream."
Hence-nor darken Joy's soft bloom
With thy pale and sickly gloom :
Naught have I to do with thee

Isle of Man, September 10th.


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 bu 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 bot his sisters should be previously prepared to support her on so trying an occasion."

« FöregåendeFortsätt »