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in such terms as I am apprehensive will wound the delicacy which ever accompanies generosity like yours; but indeed, my dearest madam, I cannot, must not suffer my beloved boy to remain in ignorance of that worth and excellence which has prompted you to become his kind protectress.
“I have the honour to be, with every sentiment of gratitude, &c. &c. &c.,
“ NESSY HEYWOOD."
Among the numerous friends that interested thema selves in the fate of this unhappy youth was his uncle Colonel Holwell. The testimony he bears to his excellent character is corroborated by all who knew him while a boy at home. About a fortnight before the trial he writes to him thus :
“ 21st August, 1792. “ My very dear Peter, “I have this day received yours of the 18th, and am happy to find by its contents, that notwithstand. ing your long and cruel confinement you still preserve your health, and write in good spirits. Preserve it, my dear boy, awful as the approaching period must be even to the most innocent, but froni which all who know you have not a doubt of your rising as immaculate as a new-born infant. I have known you from your cradle, and have often marked with pleasure and surprise the many assiduous instances (far beyond your years) you have given of filial duty and paternal affection to the best of parents, and to brothers and sisters who doted on you. Your education has been the best; and from these considerations alone, without the very clear evidence of your own testimony, I would as soon believe the Archbishop of Canterbury would set fire to the city of London as suppose you could, directly or indirectly, join in such a d-d absurd piece of business. Truly sorry am I that my state of health will not
permit me to go down to Portsmouth, to give this testimony publicly before that respectable tribunal where your country's laws have justly ordained you must appear; but consider this as the touchstone, my dear boy, by which your worth must be known. Six years in the navy myself and twenty-eight years a soldier, I flatter myself my judgment will not prove erroneous. That Power, my dear Peter, of whose grace and mercy you seem to have so just a sense, will not now forsake you. Your dear aunt is as must be expected in such a trying situation, but more from your present sufferings than any apprehension of what is to follow," &c.
With similar testimonies and most favourable auguries from Commodore Pasley, the Rev. Dr. Scott of the Isle of Man, and others, young Heywood went to his long and anxiously expected trial, which took place on the 12th September, and continued to the 18th of that month. Mrs. Heywood had been anxious that Erskine and Mingay should be employed as counsel, but Mr. Graham, whom Commodore Pasley had so highly recommended, gave his best assistance; as did also Mr. Const, who had been retained, for which the commodore expresses his sorrow, as sea officers, he says, have a great aversion to Tawyers. Mr. Peter Heywood assigns a better reason; in a letter to his sister Mary he says, that “ Counsel to a naval prisoner is of no effect, and as they are not allowed to speak, their eloquence is not of the least efficacy; I request, therefore, you will desire my dear mother to revoke the letter she has been so good to write to retain Mr. Erskine and Mr. Mingay, and to forbear putting herself to so great and needless an expense from which no good can accrue. No, no! Mary, it is not the same as a trial on shore; it would then be highly requisite; but in this case I alone must fight my own battle ; and I think my telling the truth undisguised, in a plain, short, and concise manner, is as likely to be de. serving the victory as the most elaborate eloquence of a Cícero upon the same subject.”.
At this anxious moment many painfully interesting letters passed to and from the family in the Isle of Man: the last letter from his beloved Nessy previous to the awful event thus concludes :-"May that Almighty Providence whose tender care has hitherto preserved you be still your powerful protector! may he instil into the hearts of your judges every senti. ment of justice, generosity, and compassion! may hope, innocence, and integrity be your firm support! and liberty, glory, and honour your just reward! may all good angels guard you from even the appearance of danger! and may you at length be restored to us, the delight, the pride of your adoring friends, and the sole happiness and felicity of that fond heart which animates the bosom of my dear Peter's most faithful and truly affectionate sister,
“ N. H.”
« Irany person in or belonging to the fleet shall make, or endeavonr to make, any mutinous assembly upon any pretence whatsoever, every person offending herein, and being convicted thereof by the sentence of the court-martial, shall suffer DEATH."-Naval Articles of War, Art. 19.
The court assembled to try the prisoners on board his majesty's ship Duke, on the 12th September, 1792, and continued by adjournment from day to day (Sunday excepted) until the 18th of the same month.
* The minutes being very long, a brief abstract only, containing the principal points of evidence, is here given.
The charges set forth, that Fletcher Christian, who was mate of the Bounty, assisted by others of the inferior officers and men, armed with muskets and bayonets, had violently and forcibly taken that ship from her commander, Lieutenant Bligh; and that he, together with the master, boatswain, gunner, and carpenter, and other persons (being nineteen in number), were forced into the launch and cast adrift;—that Captain Edwards in the Pandora was directed to proceed to Otaheite and other islands in the South Seas, and to use his best endeavours to recover the said vessel, and to bring in-confinement to England the said Fletcher Christian and his associates, or as many of them as he might be able to apprehend, in order that they might be brought to condign punishment, &c. ;-that Peter Heywood, James Morrison, Charles Norman, Joseph Coleman, Thomas Ellison, Thomas M'Intosh, Thomas Burkitt, John Millward, William Muspratt, and Michael Byrne, had been brought to England, &c., and were now put on their trial.
Mr. Fryer, the master of the Bounty, being first sworn, deposed
That he had the first watch; that between ten and eleven o'clock Mr. Bligh came on deck according to custom, and after a short conversation, and having given his orders for the night, left the deck; that at twelve he was relieved by the gunner, and retired,
leaving all quiet; that at dawn of day he was greatly alarmed by an unusual noise; and that, on attempting to jump up, John Sumner and Matthew Quintal laid their hands upon his breast and desired him to lie still, saying he was their prisoner; that on expostulating with them, he was told, “Hold your tongue, or you are a dead man; but if you remain quiet there is none on board will hurt a hair of your head :" he further deposes, that on raising himself on the locker, he saw on the ladder, going upon deck, Mr. Bligh in his shirt, with his hands tied behind him, and Christian holding him by the cord; that the master-at-arms, Churchill
, then came to his cabin and took a brace of pistols and a hanger, saying, “ I will take care of these, Mr. Fryer;" that he asked, on seeing Mr. Bligh bound, what they were going to do with the captain; that Sumner replied,
D-n his eyes, put him into the boat, and let the - see if he can live upon three-fourths of a pound of yams a day;" that he remonstrated with such conduct, but in vain. They said he must go in the small cutter. “ The small cutter!" Mr. Fryer exclaimed; “why her bottom is almost out, and very much eaten by the worms !" to which Sumner and Quintal both said, “ D-n his eyes, the boat is too good for him;" that after much entreaty he prevailed on them to ask Christian if he might be allowed to go on deck, which after some hesitation was granted. When I came on deck, says Mr. Fryer, Mr. Bligh was standing by the mizen-mast with his hands tied behind him, and Christian holding the cord with one hand and a bayonet in the other. I said, “ Christian, consider what you are about.”. “Hold your tongue, sir,” he said; “I have been in hell for weeks past; Captain Bligh has brought all this on himself." Í told him that Mr. Bligh and he not agreeing was no reason for taking the ship. “Hold your tongue, sir," he said. I said, “Mr. Christian, you and I have been on friendly terms during the voyage, therefore