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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1797 Mutiny on Board the British Hermione 103

discontent ; which kept increasing until the next evening, when it fatally burst forth. The men in addition to the loud murmurs they uttered, now began throwing double-headed shot about the deck ; and on the first lieutenant's advancing to inquire into the cause of the disturbance, they wounded him in the arm with a tomahawk. He retired, for a while, and then returned ; when the wretches knocked him down with a tomahawk, cut his throat, and threw him overboard. " The captain, hearing a noise, ran on deck, but was driven back with repeated wounds : seated in his cabin he was stabbed by his cockswain and three other mutineers, and forced out of the cabin windows, was heard to speak as he went astern." * In a similar manner did the mutineers proceed with eight other officers ; cutting and mangling their victims in the most cruel and barbarous manner. The only officers that escaped destruction were, the master, Edward Southcott, the gunner, Richard Searle, the carpenter, Richard Price, one midshipman, David O'Brien Casey, and the cook, William Moncrief : those murdered were, the captain, three lieutenants, purser, surgeon, captain's clerk, one midshipman, the boatswain, and the lieutenant of marines.

Having thus rid themselves of every possible opponent, the mutineers carried the ship into La Guayra, a port of the Spanish Main ; representing to the Spanish governor that they had turned their officers adrift in the jollyboat. The governor, soon afterwards, in spite of the remonstrances of Rear-admiral Henry Harvey, the British commander-in-chief on the Leeward-island station, who fully explained the horrid circumstances under which the ship had been taken possession of, fitted the Hermione for sea as a Spanish national frigate.

Could we descant upon the humanity or general kind behaviour of the Hermione's late captain, it might serve to heighten, if any thing could heighten, the guilt of his murderers ; but a regard to truth compels us to state, that Captain Hugh Pigot bore a character very opposite to a mild one : in short, he has been described to us by those who knew him well, as one of the most cruel and oppressive captains belonging to the British navy.

Many of the Hermione's mutineers were afterwards taken, and suffered for their crimes ; crimes that, had they each a dozen lives, merited the sacrifice of the whole. If the Ali Pacha of the ship had been the sole victim of their rage, the public indignation might have been appeased, the instant the daily practices of the tyrant became known ; but the indiscriminate slaughter of their officers, even to the young clerk and midshipman, gave a shock to public feeling, which vibrates even yet when the subject is touched upon. That the mutineers of the Hermione should turn traitors to their offended country, was the natural consequence

* Brenton, vol. ii., p. 438.

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