Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

evidence which had been brought sentence with all due fubmission ; against him, and commented upon being convinced I have acted by the several parts of it with considerable dictates of a good conscience. God, skill. He thanked the court for the who knows the hearts of all men, indulgence which had been given will, I hope, receive me. I hope him, and folemnly declared; that that my death will atone to the he had no hand in the commence- country; and that those brave men, ment of the mutiny; but that, two who have acted with me, will redays afterwards, he taw tirat a vio- ceive a general pardon. I am satislent spirit had spread among the fied they will all return to their men, and he then embarked in the duty with alacrity.” cause for the purpose of checking Parker was executed in a few the violence of the proceedings; and days afterwards, on board the Sandhe was thoroughly satisfied, that if wich. He died very penitent, and he had not taken an active part, the with great compofure. He was bumutiny, which ended to unfortu- ried at Sheerneis ; but his wife, by the nately, would have been attended aid of some other women, furreptiwith contequences ftill mor dread- tiously obtained the body, which ful. He called foveral witneiles, was conveyed to London ; and the whom lie examined with great abi. curiosity of the public leading them lity; but was unable to wprove the in crowds to intpect it, the magicharges brought against him; parii- strates were at length obliged to cnlarly that which bore the heaviett interfere, and by their orders it was against him, namely, that of order- interred in Whitechapel churching the men on board the Director yard. to tire on the Repulse, a thip which The court martial continued fit. had deserted from the mutinous ting and trying the other mutineers ships.

inore than a month, during which When the prisoner liad finished time a great number received senhis defence, the court was cleared tence of death ; and several were of strangers; and in about two hours ordered to be whipped. Many of afterwards the following sentence the ringleaders of the mutiny, who was pronounsel:-“That the whole were convicted, were executed; but of the charges are fully proved, that a considerable number remained unthe crinie is as unprecedented as der sentence, till after the signal wicked, as ruinous to the navy as victory, obtained by admiral Dunto the peace and prosperity of the can, when luis majesty fent a general. country; the court does therefore pardon to these unhappy men, who adjudge him to deathand he is were at that period confined on ordered to fuffer death accordingly, board a prison-ship in the river at such time and place as the lords Thames. commitioners of the admiralty, In the month of June, also, his or any three of them, thall ap- majetty's fhip the Pompée, one of

lord Bridport's feet, returned to After the sentence was passed, the l'orttmouth, in consequence of a prisoner, with a degree of andif mutiny which had broken cut on mayed compoture wiich excited board of her when off Brett. Four of the attonishment and admiration of the ringleaders were afterwards conevery one present, addreffied the victed, and two of them executed on court as follows: “ I buw to your board the fame thip at Portmouth.

point.”

Having thus stated the outline business, was, Will you agree to the of these transactions fo alarming to terms made by the admiralty with the peace and fafety of the king- the seamen, or not? Were the dom, it will be proper, before we terms fully ratified, it would be virtuconclude the subject, to take a thori ally giving a sanction to their conreview of the measures adopted by duct; if refused, it would thew the the two houses of parliament upon seamen that no reliance was to be this interesting attair.

placed on the promiles of governThe duk- of Bedford in the ment; and the consequences this house of lords on the 3d of May idea might have, were more easy asked, whether any of his majesty's to be seen than described. He minifters had it in charge, from his thought that the engagements of majesty, to make any communica- the admiralty with the seamen tion upon the recent and import. ought to be ratified by the legislaant events which had occurred in ture. the marine department. If no such Earl Howe afterwards observed, communication was made, either that, fron what had transpired, he DOW or on a future day, he should found that he should not have a think it confiftent with his daty to better opportunity of relating to bring a subject so closely connected their lordships the part he had with the best and dearest interests taken in this affair. "Between the of the country, before their lord. second week of February and the fhips, by moving for the produc middle of March (being then contion of certain papers connected fined by illness) he received by the with it.

poft several petitions, purporting to Earl Spencer replied, that he had be transmitted from different ships it not in charge from his majesty to of the Channel fleet. They were make any communication to the all exact copies of cach other, li. house, nor did he foresee that any mited solely to a request for an in. wonld be made upon the subject. crease of pay, that the seamen might

Earl Howe said, that as his name be able to make better provision had occurred upon the subject, he for their families; decertly exprefl. was desirous to explain to their ed, but without any signature. His lordships the part which he had lordfhip could not reply to applicaacted in the business, which he tions which were anonymous; nor would do whenever the noble duke acknowledge the receipt of them to brought the subject before the parties unavowed and unafcertainhouse; though, for the sake of the ed. About four or five of the pe. service, he could have wished that titions firit received, though a little the matter had never been brought different in the hand-writing, were before the legislature; because, in obviously, he said, dictated by the consequence of it, they would be fame person ; and his lord thip had brought into avery delicate situation. farther reason to think that they After the duke of Clarence and the were fabricated by fome malicious earl of Carlifle, however, had made individual, who meant to infinuate fome observations upon the delicacy the prevalence of a general difconof the subject, earl Howe again tent in the navy. Not reiting, howrofe, and observed that what an ever, on this conclufion, his lordpeared to him to be the question in ship wrote to an officer at Portia parliamentary discussion of the mouth, to inquire whether any

H 3

fuch

such diffatisfaction existed in the , 351,000l. and the increased eighi' fleet. The answer was that no in the expense of virtuliling 19 Yuch appearance had been obferved 115,000; making 530.0001. for on there, and it wa; supposed tha* the year. It should, however, be ubl 11petitions had been fiamed for the ed, that the eltimate of vie!!!purpole he suspected.

alling was founded upon an ol! On the morning of the 22d of rate, when provisions were mund March, the day after his lordihip cheaper than at present. What was able to come to town, one of the actual rum wanted would be, the lords of the admiralty, lince ab- he could not say; but he way sent on service, happening to call take the total sun for nine m nths, upon his lordship, he related thate beginnig in April, at 37200). particulars to him, shewed him the He therefore moved, that a rum petitions, and fent then the fame not exceeling 372,0001. be grand day to his house in the office, that to his majcity, to enable him to dethey night be communicated to the fray he expense of the increated first lord of the admiralty: Of the pay of the feinen and marines, and subsequent events he had no other the full allowance of provifiors. knowledge than such as was to be Mr. Fox fait, hat he thonld conobtained from the newspapers. He lider it as a deriliiton of his duiy, vindicated the character of he if he gave the frient vote h21 was British seamen in general, whom called for. It was not frein dithe described as open-hearted and cullion, but from filence, that the generous, but sometimes too easily present michief had proceeded. If miiled.

when it was first known thai therraWhat we have now related may men were diffati-tied, the 'ouse had be considered railicr as an irregular been considered as. entitled to the convertation than as a debate; but confidence of vinifiers, ardile bolithe subject was more formally in- not bad been properly discuiled, the troduced in the house of cimmons events of Evicr would not have taken by the chancellor of the exchequer, place. Orif immdiately after Eatter on the 8th of May; but not ill af- the question hadebeen openly agitated, ter the mu’iny had broken out a we should not now be reduced to second time with ftill more alarm- such a situation. But the scaning fymp.oms. He faid, he was dalous delay of a fortnight, which well aware, that when proposing to ministers had interpoied, and for increase the public burtiens, he which the hoped they would be should be expected to lay fome- made to answer, seemed to have thing of the causes that led to the been purpofuly meant to give room augmentation. In the present in- for milieprefentation. Aiter obftance, however, prudence and po- ferving that the idea of fmothering licy would prevent his entering the preient business by fecrecy was into any discuslion; and he untreat like lily children who think nobo. ed the house rather to trust to their dy can see them when they shut filent judgment, than to agitate a their eyes; and after adviting the subject, of which the fightcft mif- house not to confide in minifters at representation might give cause to once incapable and criminal, Mr. the most alarming etteas.

Fis concluded by stating directly, He then proceeded to state, that that he approved highly of the inthe increase of pay !o the different tended addition, but wiat he wished claffes of men would amount to to be made acquainted with the

circanfances that' rendered it ne as little as pofible ought to be ceilary.

said. He observed, that, on the Mr. Pitt faid, that the right hon. 26th of April, the petition of the Eademin bad himself thewn that feamen was referred to a committee there w.35 no need of explanation, of the lords of the admiralty. fince, while knowing no inore than Their report was made to the king any other my, he declared him- in council, and, as fuon as it was felf ready to vote for the mo:ion. approved of, directions were imnie

During the rest of the debate, diately given at the proper offices, Metirs. Pit, Fox, and Sheridan, the to prepare an estimats of the sum to only speakers, went nearly over the which the intended augmentation 1:me rround; the former justifying in the wages of the feamen would the delay and declining discuilion, amount; and as foon as that eliiand the two latter reprobating the mate was ready, it was laid before atfe: ted fecrecy and tardy meatures, the house, and the sum w.ds voted. of the ministers.

From these circumstances, there was The resolution then passed, and no ground to suppose that it was was ordered to be reported imme- not the intention of the executive diately.

government to propose such meaThe subje 3 was renewed on the fures as might ferve to satisfy the following day by Mr. Whitbread. demands of the seamen. He conCrofidering the impresions of men's cluded with observing, that he minds relative to the disturbances should propose a bill to be carried at Portimoth, he rose not to in- through all its stages in the most quire into the causes of that affair, expeditious manner; this he should but to press upon the chancellor of do as the best way of removing all the exchequer a question which doubts as to the executive governhas been distinatly proposed to him ment. the night before, and to which no Mr. Fox said that, after the exanlurer had been given. He then planation which had just been a'ket why the proposition for the given, he could not help observing aus dentation of the pay of the sea- that the delay complained of was men had not been moved for before an intolerable and fatal neglect of the preceding evening? It might duty. In his opinion, ministers have prevented the disastrous con were guilty of delay borh bifore and fequences. Unlef a satisfactory ex- after the fact. The history of the planation was viven of to fatal a transaction was, that in Easter week drlay, for which the honourable complaints had existed in the fleet, gentieman was responsible to that meetings of delegates had taken boute and to the country, it was place, and various other circumhis intention to move a direct vote stances happened. A letter was of censure against him

written from the admiralty upon The chancellor of the exchequer the fubject of there complaints, acknowledged that he certainly which stamped upon them a chawas responsible, provided there was raeter of incapacity the most faany misconduct imputable to any grant, or want of talents for acting perfon on the occasion alluded to. upon a great and difficult crisis, He would not then, however, en- unexampled in the annals of any ter into any discussion on the sub- administration. This letter not have jeu, concerning which he thought ing produced any effect, a second

had been fent, with which the fea- mised motion, for a cenfure of his men were said to be satisfied, and conduct on account of delay in this on which they were to return to attair. He moved, “ That a meka their duty. This traniaction had fage should be sent to the lords, to. taken place on Sunday morning, defire that they would continue the 23d of April. Under all the cir- fitting for some time.” cumstances with which this affair When ihe speaker was about to was accompanied, he would submit put the question, Mr. Fox said, that to any impartial mind, whether the motion of his honourable friend, this was an occasion for tardy forms whenever it should be made, would and ofiicial delays ?

have his warm support, if it even It was the duty of ministers, af went to supersede the executive goter they had recognised the dele- vernment; for the executive gogates from the feamen, with whom vernment, as it was then conducted, they treated, to have lost no time was an insult to the country. Mr. in completing the promise they had Baker called to order; he thought made, and so to have finished the that nothing could be more out of transaction ; instead of which they order nor more dangerous than took no step till the 26th of April, what he had just heard. Mr. Fox three days after the agrecment had explained. The minifier's motion been made. They waited, it was was agreed to, and Mr. Pybus was said, for the opinion of the council

. ordered to carry up the request to Was this the time, said Mr. Fox, the house of lords. ta wait for the opinion of the coun After the resolution of the comcil, when the active members of ad- mittee of supply was read, which ministration formed the most ef- passed the day before, for the aug: ficient part of that council ?” The mentation of the pay of the leaorder of council at length appeared men, the chancellor of the excheon the 3d of May. But it was not quer moved for leave to bring in a till the 8th of May that the propo. bill pursuant to the said resolution, fition was made to the house of Leave was given to bring in the commons.

bill; and it was ordered to be an Mr. Whitbread and Mr. Sheridan instruction to the persons appointed supported the fame arguments, to to bring it in, that they should prove the unnecessary delay of the make provision in it for granting a minister in this important affair. full allowance to wounded seamen, In some cases, they said, he was and to empower seamen to remit famous for celerity: he avoided all part of their additional allowance delay, and set aside all forms, in for the support of their wives, chil.. granting the imperial loan; he was dren, or mothers. fo anxious upon that measure, that As soon as the upper house had he would not wait for three days, agreed to the request of the com: although it was notorious that in- mons, the bill was brought in, read telligence was expected to arrive a first and second time, and paffed which would put that loan out of through every stage; and also fent the question.

to the lords that day, who paffed it To these accusations the chan- through all its ftages; when it imcellor of the exchequer-replied, it mediately received the royal ailent was indifferent to him when Mr. by commilion. Whitbread brought forward his pro The mutiny of the feamen at

Portimouth

« AnteriorContinuar »