NARRATIVE OF THE MUTINY,
IN DECEMBER, 1811.
NARRATIVE OF THE MUTINY, IN DECEMBER, 1811.
Colonel Beatson's Report to the Honourable the Court of Directors
Affairs of the United East India Company.
AMOST daring mutiny having broken out in the St. Helena infantry, on the night of the 23d ult. for the avowed purpose of seizing my person, and subverting this government, it becomes my duty to lay before you a general view of the causes which led to these licentious, and highly criminal proceedings ; together with a detail of every circumstance that occurred, as well as the measures I adopted, from the commencement of the mutiny, until the surrender of the mutineers ; which happily led to the complete re establishment of military subordination.
Your Honourable Court is well aware of the state of St. Helena at the time you did me the honour to appoint me to this government. On my arrival in July, 1808, I found a population of 3600 living almost wholly upon the public stores ; and obtaining most of the necessaries of life in profusion, at prices not exceeding one third of the prime cost. The consequences of so unprecedented a system (as might naturally be expected) were the neglect of cultivation,—the decline of industry,—and an immense augmentation in the annual charges of the island.
This augmentation between the years 1800 and 1808, had been gradually progressive from £51,030. to £114,961. per annum.
I found a garrison, as well as many of the inhabitants, immersed in the grossest intemperance, from the facility of obtaining, and their excessive use of, spirituous liquors ; and I found that abuses obtained in some of the departments. The measures I resorted to, in correcting so many existing evils, (and which have been honoured by your entire approbation), must be in the recollection of your Honourable Court.
Whilst I was carrying forward my official duties, upon principles of strict justice between the Company and individuals, I was often assailed with reports of intended mutinies. These were sometimes conveyed in anonymous papers, and circulated, no doubt, with a view of intimidating me from persevering in a system of reform, which had become necessary, and which I was firmly resolved to pursue. Although these vile means, and some other circumstances, evinced a general dissatisfaction, yet, conscious of the uprightness of my conduct, I totally disregarded them, and those factions and discontented men, who took the lead in these despicable and seditious attempts, finding that their mean and unbecoming artifice had not the desired effect, were apparently lulled for many months past. Very lately, however, when a temporary inconvenience was felt, arising from our reduced stock of flour, and the total want of rice in the public stores, this occasion was eagerly laid hold of, and became a plea for the revival of unreasonable demands, accompanied with menaces of mutiny and rebellion.
The want of bread corn was the pretended cause of dissatisfaction : but circumstances have since clearly shewn that the sole object of the late violent measures, was to compel this government to give spirits to the garrison ; an object in which every drunkard on the island felt a deep and warm interest.
The first symptoms of discontent appeared on Sunday morning the 22d of December : the particulars will be found in the following General Orders ;
James's Town, 23d December, 1811.
"On Friday last, when it was reported to the Governor that no supplies of potatoes had been sent to market, and that considerable inconvenience was, in consequence, felt by the soldiers in garrison, he instantly adopted the only measure which was practicable for removing that inconvenience. Accordingly, a Proclamation was issued, which, he has no doubt, will secure supplies of that necessary article of food, in sufficient quantity to meet the imports of flour and rice that are hourly expected.
"The Governor's consideration for the comforts of the soldiers, was again manifested, by the orders that were immediately issued, for a Court of Inquiry to assemble, for the purpose of investigating the real and true causes of the inconvenience complained of. On Saturday evening he was furnished with the proceedings of the Court ; by which be plainly perceived, that for want of potatoes having been sent to market, and a premeditated design to make complaints, a temporary inconvenience was created. Nevertheless, he felt every inclination to remove it ; for, when it was reported on Sunday morning, that there was no bread in the messes, he immediately ordered twenty bushels of potatoes from Plantation house farm to be sent to James's Town.
"The Governor naturally hoped that such dispositions, to relieve as much as lay in his power, under present circumstances. the wants of the soldiers, would have been received as testimonies of his solicitude to promote their comforts. But how different was the reception ! Some of the men made purchases in the market, at the accustomed price of potatoes sent from Long Wood (and they of course, must have considered them reasonable) ; but soon after those purchasers returned the potatoes, and said they were too dear, in which the whole garrison seemed to combine. This was, indeed, the first complaint that occurred against the late reduced price of potatoes. If the soldiers will but look back to the difficulty they formerly experienced, and to the exorbitant rates that were extorted from them in procuring that excellent substitute for bread (so eagerly sought after, three years ago,) and compare the immense quantities that have been furnished them from Long Wood, during the last two years, they must be sensible they have derived peculiar advantages from the late enlarged scale of cultivation. Those advantages are, at least, equivalent to former indulgences, which it is, at present, impossible to grant, of purchasing rice and peas from the Company's stores.
"In all countries, and in all situations, temporary inconveniences of this kind will occasionally arise; and which no human foresight can prevent. Disappointments in the arrival of flour from England and America, and of rice from India, and other causes, have, unavoidably, occasioned a difference in the supplies to the garrison. But, in the year 1795, when the corn crops in England had failed, what was the state of the United Kingdoms? The very first families there were glad, and contented, to use the only substitute for bread corn that was procurable, and this substitute was potatoes. Are soldiers then, of all men in the world, whose profession often leads them to the severest privations and hardships., to depart from their character, by murmuring and. complaining, merely because they cannot get an indulgence they were accustomed to ; and at a time too when there is no real want of food, and when they receive their full rations of bread and meat?—Ought they not rather to prove themselves worthy of the name of soldiers; and to shew they are capable, (and willing too,) of sustaining such privations as it may one day be their lot to suffer? For shame ! What a striking contrast to the conduct of this stationary garrison, is that of those brave fellows who are at present gallantly fighting in Spain and Portugal ! No murmurs are heard of there, although the armies are exposed to the rigour of the seasons, to many privations, and to long and harrassing marches.
"The Governor is disposed to believe that this spirit of discontent, which was so strongly, and most improperly, manifested from Friday morning to Sunday evening, could not have been produced otherwise than by some few malicious persons, who have been but too successful in misleading others. This, indeed, may be justly inferred from some of the men having actually made purchases of potatoes, and afterwards returned them ; evidently because those advisers had persuaded them not to take them at the former price, of which there never before was the smallest complaint.—This led to an inconsiderate declaration that they must have the potatoes lowered to four shillings. What could reasonably be expected from such conduct ? Could any set of men for a moment persuade themselves that this was a mode of obtaining their ends ? Weak, indeed, must that man be who would yield to such combination.—If he did, he would need to hide his face, and despise himself for ever.
"Although the Governor has deemed it proper, on this occasion, to declare these as his most decided and unalterable sentiments ; yet he must, at the same time, assure every person on this island, that he never has been, nor ever will be, inclined to commit a single act of oppression towards any individual. He will do the strictest justice to all. He will act most fairly and uprightly between them and his honourable employers ; he will pay the utmost attention to every fair and reasonable representation of the soldiers through the medium of their officers ; and will be ready at all times to extend any necessary indulgence, as far as may be consistent with the established regulations, or compatible with his duty ; but it must not be expected that he will ever depart from these principles; and of which no reasonable man can complain.
"With this view, he will issue immediate orders for assembling a special court of inquiry, in order to ascertain on what plea or pretext, the murmurs that began on Friday morning were occasioned, and he will afterwards adopt such measures as he may deem proper.
"The soldiers in this garrison should also be reminded that similar inconvenience to the present (if it may be so called) has not been unfrequent. In the year 1747 so great was the distress for flour, rice, and meat on this island, that the rations were limited to half a pound of meat per day, and to five pounds of bread per week. In 1797, for similar reasons, the weekly rations were regulated at three pounds of bread, at two pence per pound, and at eight pounds of potatoes, at a penny a pound. These facts appear on the records ; but at those periods, even although the rations were reduced, no murmuring or dissatisfaction shewed itself ; all descriptions of persons submitted to the existing circumstances, because they were unavoidable.
"It gives the Governor sincere concern to be compelled to draw these comparisons, yet he trusts the future conduct of the soldiers (which he will do them the justice to say for these two years past, would have reflected credit on any garrison), may hereafter convince him, that the errors into which they have fallen, have only proceeded from the causes he has conjectured."
|C. R. G. HODSON,
When I delivered these orders to the Town Major to be issued, I opened a sealed anonymous paper which during the night was slipped under Mr. Doveton's door. I was, at the same time, informed by the Town Major that the regiment was prepared to mutiny, for the purpose of seizing my person, and sending me on board the Camperdown !
The following is a copy of the anonymous paper alluded to ; which was addressed "To the Governor and Council."
James's Fort, Decemr 22d, 1811.
"GENTLEMEN OF THE COUNCEL,
"Has it still your intension to percevere in your oppression and tyrannney to wards the troops in this garrison, has hitherto you have done ; if so, you can expect nothing but an open rebellion.
"I am hereby autherized, by the troops of this island, to inform this Councel, if they do not immeadatly soply this garrison with liquor and provisions, in the same manner has Governor Brooks did (whose regulations you have voilated) you shall be made answerable for what may follow, except you make your escape good front this settlement.
"It is in your power to prevent the impending vengeance which now hangs over your head's, and save the lives of many poor souls, which will inevitable fall a sacrefice."
This seditious paper was written in a feigned hand. The affectations of false orthography, and of bad style, are evidently intended to conceal its author.
The receipt of this letter, and the Town Major's information, determined me not to lose a moment in preparing for the worst that could happen. I ordered the Camperdown to sail immediately ; the strong forts of Ladder Hill and High Knoll to be re inforced ; and I made the necessary arrangements for taking post at Plantation house, which I resolved to defend in person against any attacks that might be made upon me.
To Captain Benjamin Hodson, of the artillery, an excellent officer, in whose judgment and discretion I had the most perfect confidence, I directed the Town Major to address the following instructions.
To Captain Benjamin Hodson, of the Artillery Corps.
I AM directed by the Governor to inform you that you are immediately to take charge of the post at Ladder Hill ; and to use your utmost vigilance in preventing any persons having communication with the men under your command ; and if you should perceive any assemblies of men in garrison, or any appearance of commotion among the troops, you will apprise them if they do not immediately disperse and return peaceably to their quarters, that you will instantly open a fire upon them ; and which you are hereby ordered to do, in case of a non compliance with the notice you shall have previously given.
You will keep up a constant communication with the commanding officer in garrison, who will be enabled to give you information of what may be going on in the fort ; and of which you will make a signal to Plantation house.
Upon the smallest appearance of tumult, you will immediately fire the general. alarm ; the volunteers will then assemble at their usual station ; and with whom the Governor will proceed to reinforce your post, or act according to circumstances.
The officers who are to act under your command, are,
Lieutenant and Adjutant Wilson.
|I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,|
|James's Fort, 23d December, 1811.||C. R. G. HODSON,
To Lieutenant Phillips, of the artillery, who has long been in the command of High Knoll, and in whom I also had an entire confidence, I sent the following instructions.
To Lieutenant George L. Phillips, Commanding High Knoll.
You are hereby ordered and directed to be particularly attentive both during the day and night, in watching the motions of men, or parties of men, passing or re passing in the vicinity of your post ; or upon the Side Path ; or upon the old road leading from James's Valley to Half tree hollow.
If any party or parties of troops with arms, should pass in sight of High Knoll, and which you have good reason to believe are disaffected, you will open a cannonade upon them, and disperse them. And upon the first appearance of such parties, you will instantly fire the general alarm.
Twenty select artillery men will reinforce your post this evening.
|I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,|
|James's Fort, 23d December, 1811.||C. R. G. HODSON,
After issuing these orders, I left the Castle, at four o'clock in the afternoon ; but, contrary to my usual custom of returning home by what is called the Governor's Path, I thought it proper to shew, to such as might be watchful, that the violent anonymous letter, the writing on the church, "A hot dinner and a bloody," and that on the castle gate, "This house to let on Christmas-day ;" the one alluding to the festival dinner, and the other to my vacating the Castle by being sent off the island, had produced no apprehension in my mind. I therefore desired my horses to be brought to the Castle gate, where I mounted, passed slowly in front of the main guard, who were supposed to be concerned in the intended mutiny, and proceeded gently through the town, stopping occasionally, and conversing with several persons I met. It seems that one of the most forward in the mutiny (Berwick, who has since been hanged) passed close to me. I did not observe him, but he was seen from a window, after I had proceeded a few yards beyond him, to turn round, and, in the most contemptuous manner, by his gestures, and the action of his clenched fist and arm, fully to express his desperate intentions. This information did not reach me until after he was hanged.
About five o'clock in the evening, I arrived at Plantation-house. I sent for Mr. Ford, the head overseer, to enquire regarding the characters and disposition of the artillery and infantry stationed there as a working party. He assured me they were all good men, and that I might depend on them. Lieutenant David Pritchard, whom I had selected to take charge of this guard, soon after arrived. I desired him to inspect their arms, and to get the men immediately accoutred. I had previously ordered supplies of musket and rifle ammunition to be sent, which arrived before sun set.
The men of the guard, consisting of 32, were then ordered into Plantation house ; and as Captain Benjamin Hodson had been instructed to fire a general alarm, upon the first appearance of commotion, (which would soon bring the volunteers to my post) I was certain, therefore, of being re inforced long before the mutineers could reach me : and, under these circumstances, I had no doubt as to the issue, being firmly determined not to yield a single point, nor to suffer my person to fall into their hands.
According to information I have since received, the mutiny was not to have broken out until the morning of the 25th. It had been settled by the mutineers, that when the troops paraded for relieving the guards that the whole of the regiment, joined by the main guard on duty, after seizing their officers, should march to Plantation house and seize me : but, providentially, the measures I had adopted, made a change in their plan : and the ringleaders seeing I was preparing, considered that no time should be lost, and therefore they commenced their operations within five hours after I had left the castle.
At half past seven o'clock in the evening, I received a report, that the mutinous troops intended to proceed to Long Wood, for the purpose of getting possession of some field pieces and ammunition. Upon hearing this, although I did not know how far it might be depended on, I sent an express to the Lieutenant-Governor ; in which I suggested the advance of some field pieces to oppose the mutineers, if they should move in that direction. The Lieutenant Governor lost no time in taking up an advantageous position with the field pieces, manned by the guard at Long Wood ; but, at the moment the advanced gun was loading, the mutineers surrounded him and his party, and took them prisoners.
The particulars of their transactions at Long Wood, and after they had seized Colonel Broughton, will be seen in his narrative.
It was three quarters past nine at night, when the general alarm fired. By this time, some of the volunteer riflemen, and volunteer artillery, to whom secret orders had been sent, had arrived ; and by midnight, the Plantation house contained a garrison of 130 men, which I considered sufficient to repel the most formidable attacks of mutinous troops. On the ground floor, every window and door was guarded by three or four armed men. Parties of rifle volunteers lay behind the parapet of the roof ; and the rooms on the upper floor, were prepared to have been occupied at the instant the mutineers approached. Mrs. Beatson and my children were placed in security against musketry, in one of the upper rooms. It had strongly been recommended to me to remove them from the Plantation house : but I foresaw, if this were discovered by the mutineers, it might perplex me : and as I felt the strength of my position, my mind was perfectly at ease, although it might not have been so if they had been removed from my own immediate protection.
After the alarm fired, a judicious movement was made from James's Town, of parties of artillery and infantry to reinforce me ; the former under the command of Major Kinnaird, and the latter under Captain Sampson, two excellent officers, who had both been extremely active in bringing back a number of the soldiers to a sense of duty. Captain Sampson halted at Red Hill, about a mile from Plantation house ; and Major Kinnaird, about twelve at night, had passed Plantation house, and took up commanding positions, in advance, with field pieces, and Captain Barnes's company, and some other artillerymen, upon the roads on which the mutineers must pass, in coming from Long Wood. Captain Desfountain, with three guns and the volunteer artillery, occupied another position in the rear of Major Kinnaird.
Although Captain Sampson had expressed a confidence in his men, yet I could not but entertain the strongest suspicions of the whole of the infantry. I therefore gave positive orders, that if any troops advanced near my post, without permission, they should be fired upon.
About one in the morning of the 24th, as no firing had been heard in the direction of Long Wood, I began to entertain apprehensions for the safety of the Lieutenant Governor ; and about the same time two lights and a number of men were discerned, moving slowly along the side of a hill, two miles east from Plantation house ; which were supposed to be the mutineers advancing with cannon. Major Doveton, commandant of the volunteers, immediately dispatched two active men of his corps to gain intelligence. Messrs. John Bagley and Kennedy were selected for that purpose ; but very soon after, a black messenger brought intelligence that Colonel Broughton and his party were taken prisoners.
This information gave me at first some uneasiness, on account of the danger to which my friend and colleague would be exposed in the intended attack upon the mutinous troops : but there was no alternative ; for however much I value the life of Colonel Broughton, I could not permit considerations of a private nature to interfere with my public duties ; nor to deter me from carrying into execution the plans I had formed, which were imperiously necessary for restoring military subordination, and the peace and order of this settlement.
At the same time I considered it proper to make an attempt to rescue his person the impending danger. I therefore wrote a note to Captain Sampson, directing him to advance with a 30 chosen men to form an ambuscade on the left flank of the mutinous column, and to commence the attack, by giving one fire in such a manner as to avoid Colonel Broughton, (who might be distinctly seen by the lights the mutineers had imprudently with them,) and immediately after to rush upon them with the bayonet. Kinnaird was to support this attack.
I had just given these orders when Major Wright arrived, and informed me the mutineers had halted within 50 or 60 yards of Major Kinnaird's post ; and had sent forward to offer the conditions on which they would surrender. The negociations were intentionally protracted until day light on the 24th ; which have terminated in the unconditional surrender of the whole party, the attempt to rescue Colonel Broughton became unnecessary.
The first proposals sent by the mutineers, were, "that grievances must be redresssd, and a promise given, that the soldiers should have regular issues of spirits from the stores ;" to which I sent word by Major Wright, "that I would grant no terms ; I could not treat with rebels ; and if they did not instantly surrender, I would put every man to the sword.".
Major Wright soon after returned and told me the mutineers hoped I would grant terms : and it was observed by some persons around me, that the life of' Colonel Broughton would be in great danger if the attack were made. To this observation I replied, that the mutineers having possession of the Lieutenant-Governor would be no security to themselves : and a second message was returned, apprising them of this resolution ; and that I would instantly order them to be fired upon, and the whole destroyed if they did not submit. Upon receiving this reply, they began to waver ; and finally they proposed to Majors Wright and Hodson, that all they would now ask, was my promise of pardon : but this I positively refused ; and, at the same time, informed them, if they did not yield unconditionally, that Major Kinnaird had received orders to put the whole of them to death. It was now day light, and seeing a superior force opposed to them, they at length surrendered, saying they would trust to my mercy.
Of above two hundred men that sallied from James's Town, upon this mad and desperate enterprise, only 75 remained together in the morning ; all the others seem to have repented, and returned to their barracks.
The prisoners were put in close confinement at High Knoll, and the following General Orders were issued.
Head Quarters, St. Helena, 24d December, 1811.
"The Governor had hoped that the communication of his sentiments in the orders of yesterday, would have had the effect of convincing the soldiers in garrison of his dispositions to render them the strictest justice on every occasion ; and of his readiness to afford redress for any real grievances they may sustain. He could hardly have supposed that so numerous a body of the corps of infantry, exceeding 200 men, could have been so misled by a few discontented and factious persons, as to commit acts of mutiny and rebellion in the manner they have done, by the seizure of the Lieutenant Governor, and by avowing an intention of also seizing the person of the Governor himself. From the conversations Lieutenant Colonel Broughton had with these deluded men, it evidently appears there has been too much pains taken, by some villains in this island, to misrepresent, or construe, every act of the Governor, as tyrannical and oppressive. On the contrary, he will venture to say, that no former governor had ever been so attentive to the comforts, as well as to the improvement, of the moral character of' the garrison. He has never ceased to do his utmost to augment the produce of the lands, by which alone can the necessaries of life be reduced in price, and thereby come within the reach of a soldier's pay. It is true the issues of spirits have been discontinued ; and this is by order of the Court of Directors. It is his duty to obey ; and what the soldiers did demand, it is impossible to give. The garrison may recollect the shameful excesses that were committed lately, after the arrival of 12 casks of rum from the Cape, and the great increase of patients in the hospital, which immediately followed ; notwithstanding the soldiers were limited to half daily rations of spirits. It was for these reasons that the Governor did recommend to Mr. Pringle, at the Cape, not to send the remaining casks ; but, at the same time, he requested him to send Cape wine, which is hourly expected ; in order to give a trial and to ascertain if this substitute for spirits would be acceptable : if so, it would be provided in sufficient quantity to afford regular issues, at the rate of one pint per day to each man. It is also well known, when any soldier's term of service is expired, that the Governor has never, in any instance, refused his discharge. Wherefore, if any are dissatisfied with the changes that have taken place on this establishment, they have it always in their power to quit it, when their term of service shall have been expired. Nay, the Governor will even go further ; for if there be any effective men here who dislike their situations, because they have not an opportunity of committing excessive intemperance, be will readily accommodate them, by entertaining them and making up the term of five years, for any of the India establishments, where they will have opportunities of satisfying their propensities.
"It came to the knowledge of the Governor last night, that the infantry complain of some hardships in the nature and amount of stoppages. The circumstances that have been represented to the Lieutenant Governor, as well as some particulars in a written statement in his possession, are matters that will be immediately attended to. In short every soldier may rest assured, that if real grievances are properly represented, there shall never be cause to complain of want of redress—but at the same time the Governor must apprise the soldiers, that no menaces, no intimidating anonymous papers, like those that have been recently handed about, can ever produce a change in his conduct. He will do his duty : but will never permit a stain on his reputation and character, by yielding to mutinous clamour and unreasonable demands.
|C. R. G. HODSON,
The discomfiture of these rebels had not subdued the mutinous spirit of their associates ; and it having been reported that an attempt would be made to rescue the prisoners ; I sent instructions to Colonel Smith to occupy two strong positions which commanded, with all cannon, the barracks, and the roads leading to the interior.—At the same time were issued further orders to the troops.
To Lieutenant Colonel Smith ; or Officer Commanding James's Town.
"I AM directed by the Governor to inform you that Captain Benjamin Hodson has been instructed to advance from his post at Ladder Hill, two guns to the first turning of the road ; where they are to remain until further orders, ready loaded with grape, for the purpose of firing upon any assemblies or parties of troops that may attempt to quit the barracks.
Immediately upon receipt of this, you will give orders for occupying Saddle hill battery with a captain of the Volunteer Corps, and the following detail :
|20 Volunteer||Infantry (Rifles),|
"You will direct him to load all the guns on that battery with grape ; and to depress them towards the barracks and Side-path and to open a fire upon any parties of troops that may be observed in the act of assembling or moving. In case, however, this fire should not have the effect of retaining the men in barracks, and that they may attempt to move along the Side path, or any where within reach, the commanding officer of the Saddle battery is then to advance with the whole of his riflemen, and to hang upon, and harass, the flank of the troops in their march taking care not to fire except from points immediately above the columns in motion ; which will be a guide to the artillery at High Knoll, in the event of these operations taking place in the night. The officer commanding, has been instructed to cannonade the path in the direction he may observe the musketry upon the summit of the opposite ridge. You will further direct the officer in charge of Saddle battery to use every other means of obstructing movements of troops on the path ; and which might readily be done by taking with him the Volunteer artillery men, for the purpose of rolling down stones, &c.
"If, nevertheless, the troops in motion should be able to advance, the captain of volunteers and his party are then to keep on their flank and to harass them in whatever direction they proceed.
|I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,|
|Plantation house, 25th December, 1811.||C. R. G. HODSON,
A considerable proportion of the St. Helena regiment having been guilty of mutiny and rebellion on the night of the 23d instant, by outrageously seizing the Lieutenant Governor, and avowing their desperate intention of attempting to seize the Governor : it is therefore the Governor's positive orders that the men keep in their barracks, and that the main guard shall not get under arms without the sanction of the commanding officer of Ladder Hill, who has been ordered to depress guns loaded with grape, and to fire upon the main guard if it shall presume to get under arms without his previous permission.
"Under the present state of affairs, the Governor deems it expedient to notify to the troops, that if any non commissioned officer or soldier shall be guilty of disobedlence to his officers, or shall evince by words or actions the smallest symptom of mutinous spirit, be will instantly be seized, tried by a Drum head Court Martial, and hanged.
|By Order of the Governor,|
|C. R. G. HODSON,
Orders were also issued on the 25th, for assembling immediately a General Court Martial. Nine of the ring leaders were brought to trial, all of whom received sentence of death. But six only were excuted in the evening, and finding that even these awful, and necessary examples, had not produced the desired effect ; and that the St. Helena infantry still intended to proceed in acts of mutiny and rebellion, by seizing their officers, in the expectation that this step would compel me to yield to their demands, or rather demand (for the sole object of the mutiny was to obtain issues of spirits) ; I deemed it expedient to undeceive them by issuing further orders.
Head Quarters, St. Helena, 26th December, 1811.
At a General Court Martial assembled yesterday, the following prisoners were tried, upon a charge of mutiny, preferred against them by the Governor.
Charge.—"Henry Sisell, Thomas Berwick, Archibald Nimmo, and Robert Anderson, privates, and Arthur Smith, Thomas Edgeworth, Peter Wilsey, and John Seager, corporals in the St. Helena regiment, and Richard Kitchen, gunner in the artillery, confined by order of the Governor, on a charge of mutiny."
Sentence.—"The Court having deliberated on the evidence, are of opinion that the prisoners are guilty of mutiny, the crime they are charged with, is breach of the Articles of War, do therefore sentence, that the prisoners Sisell, Berwick, Nimmo, Anderson, Smith, Edgeworth, Wilsey, Seager, and Kitchen, shall suffer death, in such manner and at such time and place as the Governor and Commander in Chief shall direct."
"We, the Governor and Council, approve the sentences awarded against the whole of the prisoners, and order the immediate execution of Sisell, Berwick, Nimmo, Anderson, Smith, and Edgeworth, who are to be hanged by the neck until they are dead."
"The sentences upon the other prisoners, Wilsey, Seager, and Kitchen, are remitted."
|E. S. BROUGHTON.|
|W. W. DOVETON.|
"It was the intention of the Governor that the execution, yesterday evening, of these unhappy men, should have taken place in presence of the whole of the garrison, assembled upon the Side path : but as the trials lasted much longer than was expected, and as the state of affairs required that immediate examples should be made, they were accordingly hanged at sun set, at High Knoll. The Governor sincerely hopes that these awful examples will prove a salutary lesson and warning to those who may still be inclined to persevere in the atrocious crimes of mutiny and rebellion ; and that they may effectually put a stop to that spirit of disaffection and combination which has, for some days past, infatuated a number of the soldiers of the St. Helena regiment.
"The Governor has been informed, there are reports prevalent of further attempts being in contemplation for the purpose of subverting authority, seizing his person, and releasing the prisoners, he therefore thinks it again necessary, to apprize those who may entertain such illusive hopes, that any attempt will infallibly prove equally abortive, as that which was made on the night between the 23d and 24th instant ; for whilst he is supported in the manner he has happily been, during the late conflict, it will be totally impossible to make any impression on the post he has occupied ; and in regard to such hopes as were entertained by the mutineers, at the time they had possession of the Lieutenant Governor's person, he trusts, he has already evinced the must fixed determination, that no feelings or considerations of a private nature shall ever deter him from discharging his public duty in that manner which his King and Country expect from him. Wherefore, if any farther attempt should be made, he shall, most assuredly, carry into effect the same orders as he sent to Major Kinnaird on the morning of the 24th ; which were, to advance upon the insurgents and put the whole to the sword : and which, undoubtedly, would have been their fate, if they had not surrendered at discretion.
|C. R. G. HODSON,
As it was reported to me on the evening of the 26th, that murmurs and discontents, and a sullenness amongst the mutinous troops still continued (notwithstanding, their violence was evidently abated, by the examples that had been made), I deemed it expedient, therefore to explain to them, the dangers to which they exposed themselves, the madness and folly of their proceedings, and the total impossibility of attaining their object, even if they were successful in securing my person ; and which I would take care to prevent. These sentiments were conveyed in Evening General Orders.
EVENING GENERAL ORDERS.
26th December, 1811.
There is no soldier so ignorant of military law as not to know that the crime of mutiny, which strikes at the foundation of all military subordination, is the most flagrant offence that he can possibly commit ; it is, therefore, punishable with instant death. But when to this greatest of military crimes are added acts of open rebellion against a state or government, the union of both constitutes an offence far more heinous than any that military law has singly provided for. The Governor, therefore, when, on the morning of the 24th, he compelled a body of rebels and mutineers, consisting of 75 men, to surrender at discretion, might have been fully justified if he had ordered the whole of them to be instantly hanged. But as he had received information that many had been seduced, or forced, by a few factious and incorrigible drunkards, he refrained from punishment, and so dreadful an effusion of human blood. Nine only of the ring leaders were selected and tried according to the forms prescribed by military law. The whole were found guilty ; but still to manifest his disposition to mercy, only six were ordered for execution.
"It gave the Governor some degree of consolation, in the late unhappy state of affairs, and disorganization of the St. Helena infantry, to be informed, that these awful examples have been admitted as perfectly just and necessary. The unhappy sufferers declared, that he did no more than his duty, and that they deserved their fate. The dispositions manifested since those executions, being symptoms of returning obedience, he most earnestly hopes, that on duly reflecting upon the enormities that have been committed, even the disaffected of the regiment, which he believes to be few, will soon be brought to a sense of their errors.
"The Governor has also reason to hope that the measures he has adopted, must have by this time, convinced the minds of all concerned in the late dangerous proceedings, that any attempt to intimidate him to swerve from his public duties, or to seize his person, can never avail ; and he thinks it proper on this occasion, again to apprize those factious and malicious persons who may yet remain, that, under such despicable leaders, in so bad a cause, he should feel, in the posts he has occupied, the fullest confidence and security.
"He trusts, therefore, that those leaders may perceive the folly and madness of their conduct ; and that no soldier may henceforward be misled by them, or seduced to return to such unlawful, dangerous, and desperate acts, so that the peace and order of this small community may soon be permanently established ; and the dreadful consequences that infallibly await the crimes of mutiny and rebellion may be averted.
The Governor will ask those deluded men what they could possibly expect, even from complete success?—Would the seizure of his person be of the smallest advantage?—Would his successor, whoever he might be, shrink from his duties?—Would be yield to the demands of the rebels?—Would be not carry into effect the orders and regulations of the Company?—Would the accomplishment of the avowed object of the late mutiny and rebellion secure the return of spirits to the island?—Undoubtedly not : for spirits have been its bane for more than a century ; the primary cause of all the disorders and mutinies that have taken place ; and therefore the reform that the Governor has felt it his duty to make, will undoubtedly be permanent. Yet if any persons continue dissatified, because they are now deprived of the means of destroying their health by excesses, and of corrupting the minds and morals of all around them, and of the younger men who may from time to time, be sent to this island, they shall have the Governor's free consent to change their situation, in the modes be has pointed out, in the orders of the 24th instant."
|C. R. G. HODSON,
The General Court Martial which sat on the 25th, re assembled on the 26th, for the trial of three other ringleaders, who were all capitally convicted. Hewit alone was ordered for execution ; and the sentences of the other two were remitted. This execution was conducted with great solemnity. The whole of the garrison were drawn up on the lower parade ; the prisoners led along the front ; the dead march was played ; and immediately after the prisoner Hewit was turned off, the Town Major read to the troops these orders.
GENERAL ORDERS, by the GOVERNOR and COUNCIL.
27th December, 1811.
"The Governor and Council most earnestly hope, that the necessary and awful examples which they have been compelled to make, from the madness and folly of a few malicious persons, who had artfully misled, or forced, a great number of the St. Helena regiment to join in acts of open mutiny and rebellion, will be sufficient to produce the happy effect of restoring military subordination, and the peace and tranquillity of the island.
"The Governor and Council will soon take into consideration, the expediency of granting an amnesty to the remainder of the prisoners ; and will also adopt such measures as may tend to redress the grievances of which the mutineers complained to the Lieutenant Governor, whilst he was their prisoner ; and which complaint, until the morning of the 24th instant, had never before reached the ears of either the Governor or Lieutenant Governor, otherwise they would undoubtedly have long since been attended to : but at the same time it must be distinctly understood, that the existence of grievances, even of the greatest magnitude, could never justify such daring, unlawful, and desperate proceedings as those to which too many misguided men had resorted, on the evening of the 23d instant.
|By Order of the Governor and Council,|
|T. H. BROOKE,
This awful scene made a strong impression ; the mutinous spirit was humbled ; and subordination from that moment was effectually restored.
In order, however, to prevent a return of such disgraceful proceedings, I gave orders to seize and confine every man who had been active and forward in the late mutiny. Between 20 and 30 have been put in close confinement, whom it is my intention to send off the island by the first favourable opportunity. On the 30th of December, I granted an amnesty to the remainder of the prisoners who were taken in arms. They were paraded at Plantation house ; and after admonishing them upon their recent conduct, desiring them to behave in future like good soldiers, and telling them that I freely forgave them, although they had taken up arms against me, I ordered them to return to their duty.
On this occasion, after the order of peace, I deemed it proper to issue general orders.
Head Quarters, 30th December, 1811.
The Governor having ascertained that many of the soldiers of the St. Helena infantry, who were taken in arms against him, on the 24th instant, had either been misled by some factious and discontented persons, or forced by a few desperate villains, to engage in the atrocious crimes of mutiny and rebellion, be is therefore pleased, in consideration of these circumstances, to grant an amnesty to the remainder of all those who were compelled to surrender, with the exception of those only who have been notoriously active and violent. These he has ordered into close confinement, until a favourable opportunity occurs of sending them off the island, because, if such characters were permitted to remain, they might again endanger its tranquillity.
The Governor trusts that the instances of clemency which he has manifested towards the mutinous troops, on the late unhappy occasion, and the explanations he has gone into, in the several orders he has issued, will prove his dispositions to mercy and his readiness to do justice to all men : and that henceforward they may prevent the possibility of unfavourable impressions being made on the minds of the soldiers by such as may again attempt to mislead them.
|C. R. G. HODSON,
On the evening of the 31st December, I had received all the reports of the commanding officers respecting the conduct of officers and men under them, from the commencement of the mutiny until it was subdued. I perused them with attention : and being satisfied that great exertions were made in the first instance ; that the officers in garrison were watchful : and that to their continued efforts, to the fidelity and loyalty of the artillery and volunteers, and to all those who came to re inforce Plantation house to repel the mutinous troops, who were then advancing from Long Wood, may be ascribed the happy termination of the mutiny : I therefore issued the following orders :
Head Quarters, Jan. 1st December, 1812.
The Governor embraces the earliest moment that circumstances have permitted of expressing to the officers of this garrison, the high sense he entertains of their meritorious and active exertions on the night of the 23d of December, when the licentious spirit of a great portion of the St. Helena infantry was so strongly manifested : and which, a short time afterwards, suddenly burst forth into open acts of mutiny and rebellion.
Although the utmost efforts of the officers were insufficient to restrain the outrageous conduct of the soldiers within the town ; yet to their continued efforts, to their zeal fit the cause of government, and their respect for its authority, are justly to be ascribed surrender of the mutineers, the return of military subordination, and the maintenance and preservation of the constituted authorities of the Island.
The Governor, therefore, feels much satisfaction and pleasure, in thus publicly expressing to the officers of St. Helena, his warmest approbation of their conduct : and he requests they will accept his best acknowledgments and thanks for the signal and important services they have rendered.
The uniformly steady conduct of the corps of artillery, who, almost to a man, escaped the contagion that spread around them, deserves the highest praise. Their unshaken fidelity in every post they occupied, and the assistance they gave in restoring the peace and order of this settlement, will best be seen by the reports of their officers. These reports shall be speedily promulgated, in order that it way be known how well the artillery corps of St, Helena has maintained the character of good and faithful soldiers, against a cause that threatened this Government, as well as the Governor's person, with imminent danger.
To all the non commissioned officers and privates of this excellent corps, therefore, the Governor requests that these his sentiments may be conveyed by Lieutenant Colonel Smith, together with his warmest thanks for the essential aid he derived from their loyalty and zeal.
The late occasion is the first that has occurred, by which a judgment could be formed of the establishment of St. Helena volunteers. It has fully demonstrated how useful and necessary is such an institution, Their loyalty is the support of public authority : their alacrity in re inforcing the Governor ; their determined spirit to stand by him to the last extremity ; their eagerness to do their duty, and to guard his person and family, for several nights after be himself considered the danger as past, will ever be remembered by him with sentiments of the warmest gratitude. He requests therefore, that these his sentiments and his best thanks may be conveyed to all the officers, non commissioned officers and privates of the St. Helena volunteers, by their worthy commandant and leader, Major Doveton.
The guard at Plantation house, commanded by Lieutenant David Pritchard, (consisting of 32 artillery and infantry,) having been immediately under the Governor's observation, he feels their full claim to particular notice ; and accordingly requests, that Lieutenant Pritchard and the non commissioned officers and privates of that guard, will accept his best thanks.
Where all the officers are entitled to praise, it is scarcely necessary to discriminate ; but the zeal and unceasing attention displayed by Major David Kinnaird, throughout the whole of his arduous and various duties, during the late transactions, (as well before as after they began,) have been so truly conspicuous, that no one can refuse him that tribute of praise, and particular notice. to which he is so entitled. To Major Kinnaird therefore, to Lieutenant Colonel Smith, Major Wright, Captain Sampson, and Captain Henry Pritchard, and Lieutenant Hunter, and to all those officers who exerted themselves among the mutineers, to persuade them to return to their duty ; as well as to Captain Benjamin Hodson, commanding the important post of Ladder Hill, and to Lieutenant Phillips in the command of High Knoll. the Governor feels particularly indebted, for their spirited exertions, and for the able manner in which they discharged their respective duties, from the commencement, until the happy termination of the late mutiny and rebellion.
The assistance he derived from Town Major Hodson, and Captain Henry Pritchard, his personal staff, and from Captain T. H. Brooke of the volunteers, entitles them to his warmest acknowledgments, and be thus publicly conveys to them his warmest thanks, an assurance, that he will not fall more fully to point out their merits, as well as that of other officers, to the notice of the Honourable Court of Directors.
Captain Sampson is requested to communicate to the non commissioned officers and privates of the infantry, who advanced under his command, to re inforce Plantation house ; and Major Wright, to those of that corps, who acted on the late occasion, as good and faithful soldiers, the Governor's highest approbation of their conduct, and his sincere thanks.
The Governor trusts that Lieutenant Colonel Broughton, and Major Doveton, will readily admit of his thus publicly expressing the high sense be entertains of their cordial co operation in overcoming the dangers with which this island was threatened. Colonel Broughton's seizure might be considered a providential interference : it gave him an opportunity of remonstrating with the mutineers, of knowing their sentiments, and of discovering how shamefully and fatally, those men have been misled by some wicked and designing villains. Although the Lieutenant Governor was prevented opposing them at the first onset, yet this very circumstance proved fortunate, and the arguments he made use of whilst a prisoner, no doubt contributed to avert the effusion of blood ; and ultimately led to the suppression of those daring and dangerous acts, and to the perfect re establishment of military subordination, in the space of four days, without the loss of a single innocent life.
|C. R. G. HODSON,
Such are the sentiments I entertain of those officers and men who were officially employed in suppressing the mutiny. But there are still some others, whose merits and important services I could not properly introduce in military orders, and which I am not less bound in duty than in gratitude to bring to the particular notice of your Honourable Court. These are some valuable friends (Doctor Baildon, Messrs. Jones, Brabazon, Balcombe. and Hollis), who voluntarily came forward to support me in the hour of danger : and on whose zeal for the public service, as well as personal attachment, I had the most perfect reliance.
Doctor Baildon had been on duty at the fort : and had opportunities, some days before the mutiny broke out, of hearing what was going forward. He had, indeed. reason to imagine the danger to which my person was exposed, was greater than I apprehended, for I declined Captain Pritchard's offer to accompanying me, and left the fort, on the evening of the mutiny, unarmed, and attended singly by my groom : but the Doctor. Suspecting some of those desperate mutineers might attempt my life, armed, himself (although, for some days, he had been extremely ill), and, unknown to me, followed ; keeping at some distance, and carefully watching if any persons approached me. Nothing, however, occurred ; and he arrived at Plantation house about sun set, on the 23d of December.
From this moment, until the termination of the mutiny, he was constantly with me, employed in aiding in preparations for defence, in communicating my orders, in collecting information, and, in short, in discharging, in the most able manner, all the duties of a zealous friend, and an active staff officer. For such distinguished services I feel great pleasure in thus recording my best acknowledgments and thanks ; and whilst I discharge this public duty, it is due to Doctor Baildon, that I should recommend him, in the strongest manner to the favour and notice of your Honourable Court.
The Rev. Samuel Jones, Mr. Brabazon, Mr. Balcombe, and Mr. Hollis, have also rendered essential service ; for as my person was the object of the mutineers, and suspecting, as I have before stated, even some of those who came to assist me, I deemed it prudent not to run the hazard of seizure, by placing myself between suspected troops and the mutineers, who were advancing : nor to trust the communication of orders excepting to confidential persons. These gentlemen eagerly and anxiously assisted in conveying, in the most punctual manner, the orders I had occasion to give on the night of the 23d : and were also, from that time, a strong acquisition to my guard, during the whole period of the mutiny ; being well armed, and always ready to support me to the last extremity. They have accordingly re establisbed their claims to my public acknowledgments and thanks, as well as to the favourable consideration of your Honourable Court, for their distinguished loyalty and zeal in the cause of this government.
|I have the honour to be, with great respect,|
|your most faithful and obedient humble Servant,|
|St. Helena, January 4th, 1812.|
Extract from Colonel Beatson's second Letter to the Honourable
the Court of Directors, upon the
Subject of the Mutiny.
" St. Helena, 14th January, 1812.
"Par. 1. ON the first instant, I had the honour of forwarding by H. M. Sloop Acteon, a Narrative of Proceedings from the commencement of the late mutiny until the surrender of the mutineers on the morning of the 24th ult. I was prevented at that time from saying more, as the Acteon was under orders not to anchor at St. Helena, and had lain to for only a few hours ; but after I had sent off my letters, Captain Cator, hearing of the late occurrences, obligingly came to Plantation house, and I had thus an opportunity of adding to my dispatch a copy of the General Orders of the 1st of January, by which your Honourable Court would have the gratification of observing that I have been completely successful in restoring military subordination and the tranquillity of the island.
"Par. 2. I have now the honour to forward a detailed account of every circumstance connected with the late mutiny. This document, dated the 4th instant, I deemed proper to have printed; for the purpose of counteracting misrepresentations from discontented persons who would gladly obstruct, by every means in their power, all sorts of improvement and reforms ; and would be happy to see the old system revived of feeding themselves and the inhabitants from the Company's stores as well as the return of spirits to the island.
"Par. 4. Your Honourable Court will perceive that the measures I pursued, during the late mutinous combination, were calculated to give time to reason with the troops upon the impropriety of their conduct ; by which I did not despair of bringing them back to a sense of duty ; for, by occupying Plantation house with a small but select number of men, I was prepared to give a severe check at the first onset, and to repel the most formidable attack that a mutinous body could make. Indeed when I took up that position, I knew not but the combination was general, of which I had but too much reason to suspect from the conduct of the whole garrison : this will appear from the General Orders of the 23d December : nor was it until the execution of six of the ringleaders, on the 25th, which happily met with no obstruction, that the doubts entertained by myself and those around me, were in some measure removed.
"Par. 5. On that day I directed additional positions to be occupied, which commanded the barracks, and the roads leading to the country. The mutinous troops, in James's Town, were then so completely in my power, (when I found the artillery uncontaminated), that if they had been ten times more numerous they could not have forced their way to the interior, nor have committed any disturbance. The last execution took place on the 27th, under the cannon of Ladder Hill and of those other positions which kept the mutineers in awe, and restored them to a sense of duty ; and from that moment, I am happy to say, the peace of this settlement was effectually re-established."
|A.||Proclamation, 20th December, 1811.|
|B.||Lieutenant Governor's Narrative.|
|C.||Lieutenant Colonel Smith's Report.|
|D.||Major Wright's Report.|
|E.||Major Kinnaird's Report.|
|F.||Extract from Captain Benjamin's Hodson's Report.|
|G.||Captain Sampson's Report.|
|H.||Captain Braid's Report.|
|I.||Captain Barnes's Report.|
|K.||Lieutenant F. Seale's Report.|
|L.||Lieutenant G. Phillips's Report.|
|M.||Lieutenant William Seale's Report.|
|N.||Lieutenant Thorn's Report.|
|O||Captain Pritchard's Report.|
|P.||Lieutenant Hunter's Report.|
|Q.||Lieutenants Phillips's and Thorn's Memoranda, relating to the behaviour of the Prisoners, during their Confinement.|
|St. Helena, 20th December, 1811.|
IT having been reported to the Governor and Council, notwithstanding, repeated proclamations regarding the produce of the farms being sent to market, that with only two exceptions, not a bushel of potatoes has yet been furnished, whilst the Company's farm at Long Wood has, since the beginning of November, supplied upwards of one thousand seven hundred bushels to the garrison and inhabitants ; and it being expedient, on account of reserving seed for the ensuing crop, to discontinue the supplies from Long Wood ; it is become absolutely necessary to resort to the same measure as was adopted in the year 1797, at a time similar to the present, when the stock of flour was nearly expended : and accordingly it is resolved, that the sale of potatoes to the shipping shall be restricted until further orders ; Insomuch, that an equal number of bushels only, as shall appear to have been sent to the public market, will be allowed for exportation.
As an encouragement to the planters, under present circumstances, to furnish the market with potatoes, the Governor and Council have resolved to allow the sale price of potatoes in the market to be eight shillings per bushel until further orders: and any person who shall be convicted of having, demanded a higher price will be liable to such fine or punishment as shall be awarded by the Governor and Council.
|By Order of the Governor and Council,|
|T. H. BROOKE,
|B.||Colonel Broughton's Narrative of the Conduct
of the Mutineers,—23d
and 24th December, 1811.
HAVING been detained on duty in James's Town, until past 7 o'clock, I did not arrive at Long Wood till late ; and reflecting on the disorderly state of the infantry regiment, which had shewn itself on that day, I had some suspicion that an attempt might be made to seize on the artillery at Dead Wood shed. As I passed by Hutt's gate, where Mr. Hall, the Conductor, resides, I acquainted him of my apprehension, and told him to go over to the shed and see that the guard was present, and to have the guns in readiness. I had not been at home three quarters of an hour, when I received a letter from tire Governor, (¼ past 9 o'clock) informing me that it had just been reported to him, that the mutineers intended to seize the guns at Dead Wood ; one party was to march directly from the fort, the other from Banks's. On the receipt of this intelligence, I immediately sent for Serjeant Lassels, the non commissioned officer in charge of the artillery and as he did not come so soon as I expected, I proceeded towards the shed and met him—inquired if he had beard of the disorderly conduct of the soldiers, and of their intention to seize the guns that night : he replied, ' that he had just come from the fort ; and that I might depend on it, they would not come that night,—we might all go to bed in perfect safety : for he had heard, that they meant to make the attempt on Wednesday : and added, that when I sent for him, he was coming to acquaint me of their intention.' We soon got to the shed : it was then about half past 10 o'clock ; raining and very dark. I found Mr. Hall there with the guard paraded, which consisted of 2 serjeants, and 12 or 14 artillerymen. I told them that I expected to be attacked by some mutineers ; and hoped that they had no concern with them ; and that they would do their duty in defending the guns, and stand by me : which they all assured me they would do, and that they had no concern whatever with the mutineers. The four outer guns I ordered to be got ready as soon as possible. The first two, as soon as equipped, were sent to Dead Wood, to cover the road leading up from Banks's, which I placed under the charge of Serjeant Tunstall, with 6 or 8 artillerymen, with orders to defend them to the last ; and in case of being overpowered, to spike them, rather than suffer them to fall into the hands of the mutineers. Much time elapsed before the other two guns were got out and equipped ; and I expressed my displeasure to the serjeant for the very great delay, and his not having the shot, portfires, &c. at hand : he seemed confused and muddled ; continued to say it was unnecessary trouble, as he was certain no attempt would be made that night. As soon as the first gun was read, the men from Long Wood, (working party) consisting, I think, of 2 matrosses, (one of them an unfit), and 3 privates of the infantry, joined ; and I think fell in with this gun : we then proceeded to a spot within 50 yards of the telegraph : where the road is narrow, and nearly 100 yards in length were commanded. Here I placed this gun, and gave orders to load with grape : the gunner replied, that no ammunition had yet come. I ran back 50 yards, and met a man with it, and hurried to the gun ; but when in the act of loading, the mutineers rushed upon us, and made me and the party prisoners : we had not time to spike the gun. Mr. Hall was in my rear about 20 yards, with a six pounder, coming up to form on the road where I had placed the first gun ; and seeing me a prisoner, he instantly spiked that gun, and ran back to the shed (about 200 yards)—spiked all the guns there, and afterwards went to Dead Wood, where the two first guns were posted—these he found in possession of the mutineers ; but nevertheless contrived to spike them. By this fortunate circumstance, the mutineers got only one three-pounder.
On their obtaining possession of my person, they told me, 'they did not mean to do me, or any person the smallest injury : all they wanted was the Governor's person,—whom they would take, and send on board the Camperdown—that he should no longer be Governor of the island, as he was a tyrant—would not redress their grievances nor do them justice—that I must be their Governor, and must go along with them to Plantation house.' I admonished them upon the impropriety of their conduct ; and advised them to return, and behave as good soldiers ;—that if they had any grievances, this was not the way to obtain redress ;—they should complain through their officers ; but if they persisted in such unlawful conduct, every man of them would be punished with death. The Governor, I said, had done no more than his duty in obeying the orders of the Court of Directors ; and that even if they succeeded in getting possession of his person, (which was very improbable) whoever was placed in charge of the government, would act, just in the same mariner as he had done : so that they would be as far from obtaining their ends as ever. I told them, their having me in their power, would be no security whatever to them ; as my life was of no consideration when the safety of the government was in danger ;—that the Governor was a good man,—the soldier's friend, and did justice to every man. Many of them then called out, ' No ! No we have often complained, but never could get redress.' I replied, that they had been misled by some villains ; that none of their grievances had ever come to the Governor's knowledge ; and asked them, what they had to complain of. Some called out 'that he meant to starve them, having neither written for flour, rice, nor spirits ; that he brought chinamen and blacks to the island to eat up all the provisions ;—that even for the Festival Dinner, he would not allow the purchase of spirits from the captain of the Camperdown, although it was proposed by Mr. Leech ;—that they were put under heavy stoppages for their undress uniform, for nankeen, wings, leather stocks, tufts, &c. when they could have them for nothing from the Company's stores ;—that after paying their mess, they had nothing left to purchase vegetables, or the smallest necessary.'.
I told them, that they had been quite misinformed ;—that both flour and rice were shortly expected ; and as soon as it arrived, they would be allowed to purchase the usual quantity : but, from our stock of flour being low, it was found necessary to limit each person's allowance, so as to meet the arrival of the expected supplies :—this they were perfectly satisfied with ;—that spirits were not sent for, was by order of the Court of Directors ; but that the Governor had sent to the Cape, for wine ; and that spirits had been procured for the Festival Dinner. As to the stoppages which had been made on account of dress, I said, it would be enquired into, and that the Governor had never been informed of it. Many exclaimed, ' we have been deceived, and are sorry we have gone so far—the Governor is a good man ; but it is spirits we want ; and had we spirits, less bread would do.' I continued to advise them to return to their duty, and behave themselves as obedient, good soldiers. This seemed to have some effect : and as they reached the shed, they asked me to write in their favour to Major Wright. I went into the serjeant's barrack, and while getting the pen and paper, some of the most violent called out, ' No letter! No longer delay! Bring him out! (meaning me) he must go with us to Plantation House!' They had now been upwards of an hour in getting the three pounder gun equipped with ammunition, &c. &c. when they proceeded ; and as I got to Long Wood gate, I asked them to wait until my horse came, as also two lanthorns with lights ;—to which they did not object : and during our stay at the gate, I again addressed them, and pointed out the enormity of the crime they had committed—Mutiny and rebellion, I said, were punishable with death, and nothing could possibly save them ; and if they would return to their barracks, and give up their advisers and leaders, I would recommend them to the Governor's clemency. 'No ! No! they said, we must have spirits.' It was now about one o'clock, when the party consisting of about 120 men, and the three pounder gun proceeded. I was placed in the centre, under the charge of Anderson, a private of the light company. Sisell, a private grenadier, appeared the most active, and the leader. Corporal Smith was violent, and threatened to take Mr. Hall's life, for spiking the guns, and not giving up the keys of the magazine. After passing Hutt's gate, and half way to the Alarm house, I found an opportunity of telling one of the servants who carried a lanthorn, to make the best of his way to the Governor, and inform him of my situation, and the strength of the mutineers ;—to give the lanthorn to one of my party, a prisoner with myself, and to go back as if returning to Long Wood. By this stratagem, he got clear off from the mutineers, and carried the first notice to the Governor. Two other men I afterwards sent, were made prisoners. The night was dark, and at times light rain, which caused much delay in getting on the gun. At one place it was over turned—this caused a halt of nearly half an hour ;—and during that time, much confusion and quarelling took place amongst the mutineers, which gave an opportunity to Matross Smith (who had been forced) to escape, and to carry off the pouch, containing 15 rounds of grape for the gun, which was all the ammunition they had, excepting one or two rounds : and Matross Clarke also succeeded in escaping with two boxes of tubes, &c. &c. and got back to the shed.
The mutineers reached Major Pierie's valley about half past three o'clock : here they halted, and began to abuse the men in the rear for not coming to the front to assist in dragging the gun up the hill ; and said that if they did not come, the gun would be turned upon them. This caused much abuse and fighting ; and a few men went from the rear to the gun. At this time, Major Wright came with a message from the Governor, desiring them to surrender unconditionally,—which they refused. The Major went back to the Governor, and soon after returned with Major Hodson, and again delivered the same message ; but in vain ; the infatuated mutineers still demanded a pardon and issues of spirits ; and on no other terms would they surrender. These officers again went back to the Governor, who still continued firm, and replied that unless they surrendered unconditionally, Major Kinnaird had received final orders to put the whole of them to death. This message was again delivered by Major Hodson :— most of them submitted immediately; but about eight or ten of the most daring, ran up the hill a few yards with their firelocks cocked, and presented at Major Kinnaird's party, and were about to fire when Major Hodson and myself ran up to them, and told them they were mad, in drawing destruction on themselves, and the men who had surrendered :—advised them also to surrender with the others, and trust to the Governor for mercy. They sullenly came down and submitted.
It was now day light, and the prisoners in number 75, were secured and marched to High Knoll : but a great many of the mutineers left their party between the Alarm house and the time of their surrender.
I was much indebted to Mr. Hall, the conductor, for his cool, steady, and soldier like conduct on the night of the 23d, and particularly in spiking the two guns after they were in possession of the mutineers.
|E. S. BROUGHTON.|
|St. Helena, 25th December, 1811.|
|C.||Lieutenant Colonel Smith's Report of Occurrences,
which took place in
Garrison, on the Evening of the 23d Instant.
AS soon as I was informed there was a disturbance in barracks, which was about a quarter before 9 o'clock, and Captain Pritchard came and spoke to me, concerning the ammunition chest in the guard room, I directed him to go down and have the ammunition destroyed by throwing water upon it. I then sent for all the keys of the magazines, chests, and laboratory, which were brought by Serjeant Clenchman, and secured in my house. I then went down to the guard, and told the officer I wished to speak to the men a few minutes. I went into their guard room and told them, that I was one of the committee which sat that day, and that the Governor would arrange every thing to morrow for them, and I doubted not to their satisfaction. They made answer, "It is too late now, and that they would not stay," and immediately rushed out of the guard. I used all my endeavours to persuade them to fall in : but the mutineers, at that instant, came on the parade, and surrounded me. I tried to persuade them to go back again ; they said, "No! they came for ammunition, and ammunition they would have." Some of them immediately went in the officers' guard room and broke open the chest ; but finding all the ammunition in it spoiled, they ran down to the laboratory and demanded the keys. One of them called out, "I have got a key," and immediately I heard the door knocked open with a thirty two pound shot that he had taken from the pile that stood near the spot. They had taken out a barrel of ball cartridges, and were supplying themselves when I got there. I immediately put my hand on the barrel, but three of them charged their bayonets on me, and told me they would run me through if I attempted to prevent them. They then proceeded up the valley as fast as possible. I observed that part of the garrison, which had been collected by the officers, coming down the upper street. I proceeded to the foot of Ladder Hill, met them, and gave orders for them instantly to repair to the Governor at Plantation house. Major Wright having proposed to follow the mutineers, and try if he could persuade them to come back, I approved of the suggestion, and ordered him to proceed after them. I then returned to the main guard, and got together what men I could, and placed two twelve pounder carronades, loaded with grape, between the church and garden gate, looking up the town. Things remained in that state until the morning of the 24th instant.
|E. C. SMITH,
|N. B. In the above report I have omitted much abuse and scurrility, vented by the mutineers.|
|D.||Major Wright's Report, 23d December, 1811.|
|To Colonel Alexander Beatson, Governor, &c. &c. &c.|
IN compliance with your orders, I send you the following statement of the different transactions which took place on the evening of the 23d instant, and the morning of the 24th.
On the evening of the 23d, between 8 and 9 o'clock, Serjeant Russel called me aside from Captain Knipe's door, and told me he did not like the appearance of the men ; that they were assembling in parties about the street, and in barracks. I went up as far as the bridge, where I met with some officers, and enquired if they saw any thing suspicious or incorrect, and related to them what I heard. The said, they saw nothing improper ; and then I went with me to Colonel Smith (the commanding officer) to report the circumstance, and from thence to the mens' barracks, and remained there some time. There were in barracks two of the light infantry company, whom Captain Sampson found intoxicated and noisy ; but they became quiet and went to their cots. Every thing seemed perfectly regular; and the officer of the barrack guard, and Serjeant major Honeyburn, told me they bad not observed any thing improper or suspicious. I then left the barracks, accompanied by the other officers, and remained at Captain Cole's. We had not long been there, before a report came, that the soldiers had got out of barracks, and were coming down the street. We immediately proceeded towards the barracks, and met the men with charged bayonets, rushing down the avenue : we endeavoured to stop them, but in vain.
Finding our attempts to stop them useless, we collected the whole of the men in barracks, and all the out layers, and brought them to the foot of Ladder Hill, where I left them : but upon hearing the mutineers had gone up Side path (with permission from Lieutenant Colonel Smith) I followed them, and overtook the main body of them, a little past the turn at the Alarm house ; where I stated to them the impropriety of their conduct, and endeavoured all in my power to persuade them to return to their barracks, which they positively refused : and finding I could not bring them back, I quitted them, and joined the party at Plantation house. After reporting to you my unsuccessful attempts to bring the mutineers to a sense of their duty, I proceeded, in obedience to your orders, to inspect the positions occupied by the troops at the outside of the Plantation house enclosure : after reporting which, I was about to assume the command, when I was called back by the Town Major, and informed, it was your wish that I should meet the mutineers, who had possession of the Lieutenant Governor's person, and once more point out to them, the folly and madness of their persevering in such outrageous conduct, and to advise them to surrender. This command I executed ; and prevailed on the mutineers to halt in a deep valley, where I knew they would be completely commanded by our troops and guns. When here, I endeavoured to prevail on them to acquaint me with the nature of their grievances, in order that I might lay it before you : but no one in particular would come forward and speak. At length, seeing Robert Kelly of the grenadiers near me, I desired him to declare what it was they had to complain of, promising him that he should not be considered as a principal in the mutiny in consequence of his speaking. He began, by stating the hardships they were under on account of dress, ornaments, &c. &c. ; but was interrupted by many of his associates, who called out to him, "Speak the truth, Kelly, you know it is not that ;" upon which he turned away, saying, as he retired, "the men never had a more comfortable dress than they have now." What I at length understand to be the real cause of complaint, I reported to you that night.
As I continued to be employed by you in treating with the mutineers, I had no opportunity of remaining with the troops in command, until after the surrender : but from time to time I gave such intimations to Major Kinnaird, as appeared to me necessary, and pointed out to him what I considered to be the most advantageous positions for him to occupy.
|I have the honour to be, Sir,|
|your most obedient Servant,|
|James's Town, 30th December, 1811.||J. A. WRIGHT,
|E.||Major Kinnaird's Report.|
ON Monday, the 23d of December, 1811, I came on the duty of field officer of the week ; and the preceding day I happened to be left senior officer in garrison : and had occasion, at different times, to report to the Governor, symptoms of dissatisfaction evinced by the men in barracks. Until near seven o'clock that evening (Monday) I had been detained on a court of enquiry. I had been directed to correspond with the officer commanding at Ladder Hill ; and having made a few arrangements with the artillery in town, at about a quarter past nine o'clock, I went to my house to answer a letter from Captain Hodson, at Ladder Hill : at the same time sending back a confidential person to inform me of any extraordinary occurrence in barracks.
I had not finished my letter when the messenger returned, and informed me, the men in barracks were turning out. I dispatched my letter to Captain Hodson ; and in hastening towards the barracks, Serjeant major Evans and several orderlies came to me. One I sent to inform Colonel Smith and the officer of the main guard. At the foot of the trees, I came in sight of the mutineers, and observed them make a momentary halt ; then, in the most tumultuous manner, they rushed down the street, passing me opposite the Slaughter house. In their rear were Major Wright, Captains Sampson and Cole, who, taking the alarm from my messenger, had preceded me up the street, and caused the halt I observed.
I ran to the foot of the trees, and had two pistols discharged, as a signal to Ladder Hill to fire a general alarm, which was instantly obeyed. I then directed Lieutenant Thorn to hasten to the barracks, and order the drummers to beat to arms, to collect the artillery, and march them to Ladder Hill corner. Coming there with Major Wright and Captain Barnes (the other officers having returned to assist in assembling the men in barracks), I found Captain Pritchard and several men (outlayers), had joined us. I served out to this party a small quantity of ammunition, intending to follow the mutineers down the street, hearing they had gone to the main guard. I was soon informed, however, that they had returned, and proceeded up the Side path road. Major Wright determined to follow them alone, as I had to proceed to Plantation house, with what men I could collect. Captain Barnes was sent to communicate the same to Colonel Smith, the commanding officer in garrison. The senior officer in barracks soon joined me at Ladder Hill corner, with all the men he could collect. The whole were assembled without regard to corps, and might amount to (including officers) 120. All the officers had joined, and we marched from town in less than half an hour from the first breaking out of the mutineers.
Having that day seen the orders given to Captain Hodson at Ladder Hill, and received orders for my own guidance, I was desirous of sending a messenger before the column, to inform Captain Hodson of my approach, and to proceed on to the Gevernor with the same intelligence : and Captain Pritchard, the Governor's aid de camp, handsomely offered his services on the occasion. I directed Captain Sampson to proceed with the party, and Captain Braid (giving him four file from the rear of the column) to join Colonel Smith for the present, in order to collect all the men he could, and to send me a reinforcement. After mounting my horse, I took a light in my hand as a signal to Captain Hodson, passed my party, and had ammunition ready on their arrival at Ladder Hill ; where they were halted, and served with four bundles per man. Front this post, I sent Lieutenants F. Seale and Thorn with ten file, as an advanced guard, with orders to wait my arrival at Red Hill gate, or obey what orders they might receive from the Governor; and to inform him and the commanding officer of High Knoll of their arrival. The steady appearance of the men at Ladder Hill, seemed to inspire my party with confidence. I also assured them there was nothing to be apprehended from the guns of the East Brigade, which seemed to be the object of the mutineers ; being confident Mr. Hall would spike them, as a measure I had recommended to him in the morning. On leaving town, there remained Lieutenant Colonel Smith, Captain Braid, Lieutenants Hunter and W. Seale on the main and Barrack guards, with about 80 men, including the marine and laboratory departments ; about 40 more joined.
Opposite High Knoll, I was met by Captain Pritchard, returning with orders from the Governor. At Red Hill gate, Major Hodson waited my arrival, with orders for posting the detachment. My advance party had been sent on to the gate leading to Major Pierie's. From the rear I counted off twenty file to guard the Francis Plain path, leaving Captain Sampson in command. At Plantation house gate, I took ten file, who, with Captain Barnes, I posted on the road leading to Casons, where I found a field piece, and a detachment of volunteer artillery. With what remained I proceeded towards the advanced party; and upon the road, Captain Desfountain of the volunteers, with a field piece, was posted in a commanding situation. At Major Pierie's gate I found the advanced party : and there, with the troops I had with me, I occupied a strong position ; and with the advance, proceeded to the ravine, taking possession of the only pass by which, on that road, the mutineers could advance to Plantation house.
Having made these arrangements, I sent Lieutenant Thorn to inform the Governor of the position I had taken up. Some time after, a servant of Colonel Broughton's came in with intelligence of the approach of the mutineers, and of their having taken his master prisoner. I immediately sent Lieutenant Thorn to the Governor to inform him of this, and of my intention to withdraw my party in advance, with my reasons for so doing. Major Wright soon came to me ; and while consulting on the measure proposed, Mr. Baildon, who had been sent to me from the Governor on the same subject, came up. Major Wright went to meet the mutineers, who were then near the place I before occupied in the ravine. Four men, as an advance from tile rabble, fell into my chain of sentinels, answering, when challenged, "Friends of Colonel Broughton," saying, "They wished to propose terms to the Governor:" and having them sufficiently within the pass, I challenged them from the edge of the hill, and ordered them to halt. A correspondence between them and the Governor, through Majors Wright and Hodson, brought on day light ; during which time the detached parties joined me on the brow of the hill, looking down on the mutineers, who were within pistol shot. When all had joined, the front extended from Major Pierie's garden wall, to the fence running parallel with it, in an oblique direction ; shewing the mutineers only the right. Presuming on their number, they became clamorous, and made a shew of advancing. Having then sufficient light to discover the rabble below, I brought up the left ; and two field pieces were placed so as to enfilade the only road by which the mutineers could approach. Seeing their perilous situation, they gave up Colonel Broughton, who, on coming up, was received with presented arms.
The mutineers still retaining their arms, I was apprehensive they might attempt a retreat ; to prevent which, I ordered Captain Sampson (who with a strong detachment had been in reserve) to advance over the fence to the right, where he had complete command of the pass in their rear. The manner of their surrender becoming a question, I again sent Lieutenant Thorn to the Governor for instructions, keeping my party fully prepared to carry into effect, the former decided orders I had received, should it become necessary. Major Hodson, who still remained with them (Major Wright having gone to the Governor), at last succeeded in persuading them to lay down their arms and accoutrements.
Major Wright, returning from the Governor, brought orders that the artillery only should escort the prisoners to High Knoll ; and there lodge them under the care of Lieutenant Thorn. These orders I obeyed, and made a report to the Governor.
|St. Helena, 28th December, 1811.||DAV. KINNAIRD,
Major St. Helena Artillery.
|F.||Extract from Captain Benjamin Hodson's Report.|
|To the Honourable Colonel Alexander Beatson, Governor, &c. &c. &co.|
"AGREEABLY to the instructions I received from you on Monday, 23d December, 1811, 1 proceeded to Ladder Hill, and took the command. As I supposed the intention of the mutineers would be to seize this post, I distributed what men I had, to the guns pointing on the road leading to the town : the whole of the men I expected, had not at this time arrived. About twenty minutes before ten o'clock that night, I heard a great shouting in several parts of the town, and two or three muskets were discharged in the upper part of the street below the officers' barracks. I immediately fired a general alarm ; and at that moment was reinforced with a party of artillery men I expected from Banks's guard. My detachment now consisted of two lieutenants, one volunteer, one serjeant major (invalid), one drill serjeant, nine serjeants, six corporals, nineteen gunners, two drummers, forty six matrosses of artillery, and two privates of infantry (telegraph officers.) At the instant the alarm was made, a very heavy shower of rain came on, and caused such darkness, that I could not distinguish any object in town, to which I could direct a fire. I remained with the men at the guns, endeavouring to discover what route the mutineers had taken ; and when the rain cleared off, I observed a large body of men moving on the road leading to this post. I concluded they were mutineers marching to attack me, and prepared the men to receive them with firmness, and was on the point of firing on them with grape shot, when Lieutenant Wilson advised we to wait a little, until they came into a more open part of the road, where I could bring more guns to bear on them ; and by that time I might be able to ascertain whether they were mutineers, or friends, particularly as a lanthorn was seen moving very quick in their front. My advanced picquet shortly after challenged Major Doveton, the commandant of volunteers, who informed me that the party advancing were friends proceeding to join the Governor, and that the mutineers had gone to Deadwood shed. Captain Pritchard then arrived with the same intelligence, and soon after Major Kinnaird (who rode with a lanthorn) and Captain Hodson, the Town Major, came and offered me a reinforcement from the party that was approaching : which however I declined, as it was not at all probable that the mutineers would attack me on the town side. After serving that party with musket ammunition, I made dispositions to receive an attack from the country side, and remained with the men at their quarters the whole night.
In the morning I was informed the mutineers had surrendered at discretion ; but as I was desired to keep my station, I moved a ten inch howitzer loaded with canister shot ; which, to check any rapid advance that might be made, was placed about one hundred yards on the road, on the outside of the works. As the pass is very narrow, a single discharge would make great slaughter ; and throw any body of men into confusion, and this in a situation where my guns, on the inside of the works, would have full effect.
The next day I received an order from you to advance two guns on the first turning of the road, above the soldiers' barracks, with directions to fire on any party that might attempt to force their way out of the barracks. In obedience to that order, two 5½ inch howitzers, being the two most disposable guns I had, were advanced under the command of Lieutenant Wilson ; and, at the same time, I pointed as many guns to the parade, opposite the main guard, as could be brought to bear on that point.
This, I trust, you will find to be a correct statement of the occurrences of the mutiny which commenced on the night of the 23d of December 1811, as far as concerned the post which I had the honour to command.
|I have the honour to remain, Honourable Sir,|
|your very obedient Servant,|
|Ladder Hill, Dec. 31, 1811.||B. HODSON,
Captain of Artillery commanding Ladder Hill.
|G.||Captain Sampson's Report.|
|To Colonel Alexander Beatson, Governor, &c. &c. &c.|
HAVING received a letter from the Town Major, dated the 29th of December, 1811, directing me to state, for your information, the circumstances of the night of the 23d instant, as far as they came within my knowledge, I send you the following Report.
At half past eight o'clock on the evening of the 23d, Major Wright sent for me, by Sergeant Russell of the grenadiers, a confidential non commissioned officer, who informed me, that he had every reason to believe the troops meant to rise in the course of the night. In my way to Major Wright's, I met Mr. Doveton, who told me, he had positive information to the same effect ; and requested me to go to the barracks, and let the soldiers know, that measures would be adopted on the 24th, much to their satisfaction. Major Wright, and some other officers of the regiment, with Captain Cole of the artillery, and myself, hurried up to the barracks. I went into the rooms occupied by my Company, and perceived an unusual agitation among the men. I enquired what was the matter, and informed them, as Mr. Doveton had requested, 'that measures would be adopted the next day, much to their satisfaction,' and ordered them to bed. My explanation appeared to satisfy the whole of them, with the exception of Berwick and Anderson, privates, who were intoxicated, and whom I forced to their cots. After this, while we remained, every thing was quiet. I enquired of Captain Knipe, how the grenadiers were? he replied 'perfectly still, and at rest for the night.' All the officers then quitted the barracks, and went down the town: but keeping on the alert. Major Wright and myself went with Captain Cole to his house ; and we had not been there more than five minutes before we were informed the men were rising. I met my orderly, who told us the troops were breaking out of barracks. Major Wright, Captain Cole and myself, hurried up to stop them ; and when arrived near the barracks, we met them coming down with charged bayonets. Major Wright called out to us, to resist and drive them back to the barracks. In a moment we met, and stopped the head of the column : but as the rear charged the front, and pressed forward with great impetuosity, it was impossible to prevent their proceeding.
Major Kinnaird with some other officers then joined ; and it was determined to make a general alarm. Majors Wright and Kinnaird went down after the mutineers, and I was directed to go to the barracks and collect what men I could. In passing up, I met several, going to join the mutineers ; but with the assistance of other officers forced them back : and when in the barracks I observed every officer zealous and active. The outlayers were joining us very fast ; so that in about twenty minutes I was at the head of 100 men well officered. I then marched from the barracks, expecting to meet them before they left town ; but as I marched down the street, they went up Side path. When I got to Ladder Hill corner, I there met Captain Pritchard with a few men : and on consulting with Majors Wright and Kinnaird, we determined to march directly to Plantation house to the assistance of the Governor, as we were informed that he was their object. Major Wright got a horse and rode after the mutineers to endeavour to bring them back, while the detachment advanced to Ladder Hill. Here we procured ammunition. Major Kinnaird then ordered Lieutenants F. Seal and Thorn to advance to Plantation house with 20 men, and inform the Governor we were on the march with one hundred men.
When we got to the tank at the foot of High Knoll, Major Hodson met us, with orders from the Governor to divide our force. Major Kinnaird went forward with about 40 men, and 40 were left with me to guard the foot of High Knoll, should the mutineers advance by that route. The following was the order of my position, Captain Knipe with 12 men at the head of the road leading from Mrs. Harper's ; Lieutenant Torbett in advance, to flank the above road, the wall under which his party was posted, forming a breast work ;—Lieutenant Chadwick, low down on the left of the tank, on the opposite flank ; another picquet, still further on the left of Lieutenant Chadwick, to watch Francis Plain, should they cross that way. At this time a field piece arrived from High Knoll, which I put under Lieutenant Mason's charge, with men to work it whom I could depend on, and placed in the best situation to rake the road. The rest of the men I ordered a little in the rear, to act as occasion might require :—having made these arrangements, I was fully satisfied that my post could not be forced by the mutineers.
About four o'clock in the morning, the Reverend Mr. Jones brought me orders from the Governor in writing : but as I had no light to enable me to read them, Mr. Jones informed me of their substance, viz. that I was to march thirty chosen men to Plantation house, where I should receive orders : he likewise informed me, he believed it was wished that I should attempt to rescue Colonel Broughton, and that if we succeeded, every man would receive a reward of £20. When I got to the Plantation house gate, I there met Captain T. H. Brooke of the volunteer corps, reported orders from the Governor similar to those I received by Mr. Jones ; but that I was to wait for further instructions on that head. Captain Pritchard (aid de camp) then ordered me to join Major Kinnaird, whom I found in a very strong position, within pistol shot of the mutineers. Our force then amounted to about 90 rank and file, and, I believe, ten officers. Major Kinnaird took me to reconnoitre, and I observed it would be impossible for the mutineers to escape, as they were completely impounded and in the worst possible position they could have chosen. From this time, being under the command of Major Kinnaird, I have nothing to communicate but what you will be informed of by that officer.
|I have the honour to remain, Sir,|
|your obedient and humble Servant,|
|James's Fort, 30th December, 1811.||C. SAMPSON,
Captain of lnfantry.
|H.||Captain Braid's Report.|
ON Monday, the 23d of December, 1811, I was on the duty of Captain of the day ; and in the evening I determined, in company with Captain Barnes, to remain at the house of Mr. Everton, near the barracks, where we could have the earliest intelligence of whatever might occur ; and from which situation we could, in some measure, observe the conduct of the men in barracks.
At about a quarter before ten o'clock, we perceived an unusual bustle and noise in one of the barrack rooms opposite to us ; and it soon became evident, that the men of the St. Helena regiment were turning out into the Barrack Square, with arms and accoutrements.
We proceeded towards the barrack gate, and were joined by Lieutenants Thorn and F. Seale. The gate was locked ; but we could easily perceive the mutineers were assembling rapidly inside. I instantly dispatched Lieutenant F. Seale (who volunteered his service) to give information of these circumstances to Lieutenant Colonel Smith, the commanding officer ; to Major Kinnaird, the field officer on duty ; and to order the main guard immediately under arms.
Our repeatedly calling for the gate to be opened, and for the officer of the barrack guard, Lieutenant W. Seale, to appear, was of no avail : it was but too apparent the guard, officer and all, were now prisoners to the mutineers. However, our incessant application for admittance, and the assurance they now had of their motions being discovered, seem to have pressed them to a determination of venturing out, sooner than they intended ; and while their numbers were much below what they expected to collect.
The wicket being opened, about one hundred of them rushed out : the whole appeared fully dressed and armed. We remonstrated with these deluded men as they passed ; but to no purpose. There were also many stragglers following to join them, most of whom were sent to the barracks.
On the way down the street we met Majors Kinnaird and Wright, and many other officers. The general alarm was made, and all the men of both corps who could be found, were assembled at the foot of Ladder Hill, and marched off into the country.
Major Kinnaird ordered me to remain with Lieutenant Colonel Smith, to collect all the force we possibly could, and to send him a reinforcement to Plantation house. I immediately joined Lieutenant Colonel Smith on the lower parade, and communicated to him the order I had received from Major Kinnaird.
Upon enquiring into the state of the main guard, I was astonished to find no opposition had been made to the approach of the mutineers ; no attempt to defend the magazine ; and in short, that the main guard were not even under arms at the moment. I had the names of the men of this guard called over, when it appeared twenty five had absented themselves, and joined the mutineers.
In going the rounds, I found the castle gate open at 12 o'clock at night : and there being no officer for the castle duty that night, I had two serjeants placed there and the gate locked.
The good conduct of Mr. Everton on that night, deserves to be noticed.
|St. Helena, 28th December, 1811.||ANDREW BRAID,
Captain of Artillery.
|I.||Captain Barnes's Report.|
ON the night of the 23d instant, Captain Braid and myself having stationed ourselves at the house of Mr. Everton, directly opposite to the barrack windows of the light company, that we might be in perfect readiness should we be called upon, were informed, about twenty minutes before ten o'clock, by Everton (whose vigilance deserves great praise) that there was a violent tumult in the barracks, and that the soldiers were attempting to force their way through the gates. Captain Braid and myself immediately went there, and were directly joined by Lieutenant F. Seale and Lieutenant Thorn. Lieutenant Seale was instantly dispatched by Captain Braid to inform Major Kinnaird, the main guard, &c. &c. of what had taken place. In less than five minutes after we had got to the gate, the wicket was opened, and about a hundred men, most of them fully armed and accoutred, rushed out. It was in vain for three of us to attempt opposing force to this body, and all that we could say to induce them to desist from their mad and disgraceful enterprize, was useless ;—declaring throughout "we want our rights, and will have them before we come back."—They proceeded down the street very quickly :—we followed, using our utmost endeavours to persuade every straggler following them to return to his barracks ; in some instances we were successful. Near the gate leading into the parade before the officers' barracks we joined Majors Wright and Kinnaird, Captains Sampson and Cole, and others. Lieutenant Thorn was dispatched by Major Kinnaird with orders to the barracks ; as was Captain Sampson by Major Wright. Two pistols were fired by Major Kinnaird, as a signal to Captain Hodson at Ladder Hill, who almost instantly made the general alarm. It was then determined to collect all the men we could, at the bottom of Ladder Hill road, where we found Captain Pritchard with a few men. Having been joined by Captain Sampson arid Lieutenant Thorn, with all the men they could find, we proceeded to Ladder Hill ; Captain Pritchard having been previously ordered by Major Kinnaird to hasten to the Governor, to inform him he was marching to Plantation house with a considerable force. At Ladder Hill we received four bundles of ball cartridge for each man ; and spare ammunition was carried by six black men. After reaching Red Hill house, where we met the Town Major, we were detached in parties to various positions. With 20 men, I was ordered to take post on the road leading to Cason's Gate, which I did ; and found there a field piece (a three pounder) with two volunteer officers, Lieutenants Wright and Blake, and 24 black artillerymen. I took charge of the whole, and disposed them so as to command every approach to my post. A little before day light, I was ordered with my party and guns (another three pounder, with Lieutenant D. Pritchard, having joined) to march down to the main body, under Major Kinnaird, which was drawn up in line, near Major Pierie's lower house, upon a small flat on the brow of a hill looking down upon the mutineers, who were within pistol shot of us. I fell in, with both field pieces on the left flank, so as completely to enfilade the only road by which they could attempt to pass, and soon after the rebels surrendered at discretion.
|30th December, 1811.||JOHN BARNES,
Captain of Artillery.
|K.||Lieutenant F. Seale's Report.|
|St. Helena, December 28th, 1811.|
ON Monday evening, the 23d instant, Serjeant Russell of the grenadier company having reported to Captain Knipe, between eight and nine o'clock, that a mutiny was likely to take place that night, in the garrison, I went to the soldiers' barracks with Major Wright and several other officers ; where we remained until some time after nine o'clock : and not finding the least misconduct among the men then in barracks, we retired to our quarters.—Before ten o'clock, I heard a great noise in the soldiers' barracks, and immediately went up to the gate. where I found Captains Braid and Barnes, with Lieutenant Thorn, endeavouring to get admittance. I heard Lieutenant William Seale and Serjeant Major Honeyburn among the rebels, endeavouring to pacify them. Captain Braid requested me to go and inform Majors Wright and Kinnaird, as quickly as possible, of the state of the men in barracks. In my way, I met Lieutenants Mason and Torbett coming towards the barracks ; who informed me, that Lieutenant James Wright had gone before for the same purpose. I therefore returned with them immediately and saw the mutineers rushing from the barrack gate. I ran forward, and called to them, but to no purpose : and then passed them on the left, with all intention, if possible, to stop some of their rear : and Lieutenants Chadwick, Mason, and Torbett, and Serjeant Major Honeyburn, having joined me, we succeeded and sent back immediately, Nimmo, Walker, Edmonston, Cain, Butler, and Beck, to their barracks. It was with some difficulty we prevailed on them to return ; saying 'that if they did not join the opposite party, they (the mutineers) would skiver them, and put them to death.' Captain Sampson ordered us to march, with what men could be collected in barracks, and join Major Kinnaird at the foot of Ladder Hill. We proceeded to that post, and after every man was supplied with ammunition, Major Kinnaird gave me the command of the advance guard, composed of Lieutenant Thorn, two serjeants, and twenty rank and file ; with orders to proceed until I reached Red Hill gate ; and there to halt until he came up. When there, the Town Major ordered me to proceed with my party to Major Pierie's gate. Major Kinnaird soon came up to me with the detachment : halted and ordered me, with the advance party, to occupy the pass in the ravine below ; and in the night to retire or advance as the nature of things required. A little before day light, I received orders to join the main body in line : and shortly afterwards, the mutineers halted in the ravine, about the same place I before occupied.
|L.||Lieutenant Phillips's Report.|
|High Knoll, Monday, December 23d, 1811.|
SYMPTOMS of dissatisfaction having appeared among some of the troops in the garrison yesterday, and it having come to the Governor's knowledge, that they intended to mutiny, I was sent for by him and the Council, at 2 P. M. and received orders to keep a strict look-out from my post, and to fire upon any party of men seen in arms, approaching Plantation house ; and to disperse them. At 5 P. M. I returned to High Knoll ; and immediately made every preparation to defend my post, by loading the guns with grape, placing centinels in advance, and securing the gates and tower. At 9 P. M. a reinforcement of one serjeant, one corporal, one gunner, and seven matrosses, joined my guard ; making the total number, one lieutenant, one serjeant, two corporals, one gunner, sixteen matrosses, and one private. Some of the mutineers having heard that this party was ordered to reinforce High Knoll, told them to inform me, 'that they would soon be after them, and perhaps be there as soon as they would.' Between ten and eleven at night, I was employed in serving out ammunition to the different parties, and getting out the fieldpieces, &c. for the volunteers : and at this time, about twenty volunteers joined my post. They did not, however. long remain with me, as I thought it better to order them to Plantation house. At a quarter before 10 P. M. the general alarm was fired at Ladder Hill. I immediately repeated it. At half past 10 P. M. I perceived a light going up Side path : hailed it, and ordered them to stop ; but it proved to be Mr. Balcombe. I kept a good look out for the mutineers during the night, with the night glasses ; but could not perceive them,—keeping my portfires constantly lighted, and hailing every body in sight, passing and re passing.
Tuesday morning, at about half past 12 A. M. I received information, by a running hand from the picquet guard under High Knoll, that the mutineers had been at Long Wood, and had taken the Lieutenant Governor prisoner, as well as Mr. Hall, the conductor ; that they had pressed Serjeant Lassels, and some artillerymen, to assist them in manning a three pounder,—the only one of the west brigade that had not been spiked,—and that they were approaching Plantation house with the Lieutenant-Governor in their centre. At half past one, A. M. I perceived two lights coming round under the Alarm house, and at times could see, with our night glasses, a great number of men. Conjecturing these were the mutineers, I immediately gave information to Captain Sampson, commanding the picquet, and to Plantation house ; keeping my guns, pointed at them, and my portfires lighted. But I did not conceive it proper to fire upon them, knowing Colonel Broughton was in their possession. At about half past 2 A. M. the mutineers had nearly reached Major Pierie's house, when I hailed them with a large speaking trumpet, and desired them not to advance, or I would fire upon them immediately. They soon halted, and at the break of day, I perceived, above Major Pierie's house, a large detachment of artillery and infantry, and some volunteers, with their front facing the run of water, and shortly after, I saw the mutineers, apparently about 90 in number, in the ravine, close under our detachments : and very soon, the mutineers appeared to have surrendered. At about 7 A. M. the whole of the mutineers (75) taken in arms, were marched here, by Major Kinnaird and his detachment. Lieutenant Thorn, with 21 artillerymen, reinforced my guard, and the whole of the prisoners were put into one barrack. I then loaded one 8 inch howitzer, and two 18 pounders, with grape, and pointed them directly upon the prisoners ; and also placed seven centinels, with loaded pieces, to watch them, and to keep a strict look out. I had also a guard of one serjeant, three corporals. and fourteen matrosses, in the room opposite the prisoners, with 20 rounds each of ball ammunition ; and a guard on the tower of one serjeant, three corporals. and twenty matrosses. I deemed it further expedient, for fear of being surprised by the prisoners, or any of their associates, to dismount the four 3 pound field pieces. and to lock them up in the tower ; which seemed to be the more necessary, as there were two ammunition carts, with field piece ammunition in the ordnance store room, outside the tower. These precautions were accordingly taken, and every thing here remained quiet.
|GEO. L. PHILLIPS,
Lieutenant of Artillery, commanding High Knoll.
|M.||Lieutenant W. Seale's Report.|
|St. Helena, 29th December, 1811.|
ON Monday evening, the 23d instant, I had the command of the barrack guard ; and about a quarter before 9 o'clock, Major Wright, in company with several officers, came and enquired if I had perceived any misconduct in the soldiers in barracks : I answered, no ! the men seemed quite orderly. Lieutenant F. Seale requested I would be particularly alert, as Serjeant Russell had informed Captain Knipe, that the soldiers intended to mutiny that night ; but the uniform conduct of the men at that time, as also in the former part of the evening.. Induced us to believe the report was erroneous. The officers quitted the barracks about half past nine o'clock, and after passing out those soldiers who have permission to sleep out of barracks, I ordered, as usual, the serjeant of the guard to put the lights out. On his return, I enquired if he had performed this duty, and if the men were quiet in barracks ? " he said he had put out the lights ; but that immediately after the men began to take down their arms and accoutrements, and were very turbulent." I desired him to accompany me and point, out the room in which the men were irregular : he directed me to one of the grenadier barracks, in which I saw several men accoutred. I asked them the reason of their being dressed in that way : they answered, "because they felt themselves aggrieved." At this moment the light infantry rushed into the upper square, and called out, "Grenadiers! are you not ready yet ? fall in ; fall in !" I endeavoured to prevail on them to return to their barracks, but without effect. Whilst some listened, others upbraided them for it. I was then forced by Anderson, private, to return to my quarters, and consider myself a prisoner, desiring me at the same time to give up my sword arid the keys of the gates ; which refusing to do, my sword was seized, and the keys were wrested from me. But on their returning front the guard room, I observed an opportunity of leaping among them and recovering the keys. Having effected this, I returned to my quarters ; but was followed by the mutineer, who still upon having the keys, and the gates being opened. Some cried out, "Put the bayonet through him, arid then he'll give them up." Hearing the voice of officers at the gate, I went to them, and found Berwick arid Mason, privates, had posted themselves, one on each side the gate ; declaring they would charge the first officer that entered. During the outrageous conduct of the rebels at the gates, they said, "they had frequently reported that they were in a state of starvation, without redress : and that they had no intention of injuring any one ; but that the Governor w as their object, arid have him they would." Serjeant major Honeyburn then came to my assistance ; but one of the rebels immediately struck hint, and desired him to 90 away. I secretly gave him the keys, and he took them to his quarters, arid I then returned to the guard room. The mutineers followed me, still demanding the keys : and on my assuring them, that some one had taken them from me, they searched the room. Kennally, private, then observed, they could get out without them, by scaling the walls near the cistern ; which he did ; and the rest followed. As they were getting over the different barracks, Serjeant major Honeyburn asked me if I had sent arty one to inform the officers : I replied, it was impossible, as my guard were all made prisoners. Honeyburn however found an opportunity to pass the serjeant of the guard through his quarters, down the back part of' his premises to the town. Finding it impossible to prevent the rebels getting out, by keeping the gates locked ; and as there were some officers on the outside, I at length opened them : on doing which, those rebels who were within, rushed out. I then received an order from Major Kinnaird, for the drummers to beat to arms : which was accordingly done.
This is a true statement of what happened on the night of the 23d December, to the best of my recollection.
|N.||Lieutenant Thorn's Report.|
|High Knoll, 28th December, 1811.|
ABOUT half past seven o'clock on the evening of the 23d Instant, I was sent for by Major Kinnaird, who ordered me to perform the duty of adjutant of artillery, as Lieutenant Wilson was detached to Ladder Hill. He informed me, there was a degree of dissatisfaction shewn by part of the men in barracks : and directed me to go there and order the non commissioned officers in whom I could place confidence, to keep on the alert, and inform me if any of the troops seemed to make preparations to quit the bar racks. At about half past nine, the Serjeant major came to my quarters, and informed me the light infantry were rushing out of their barrack rooms with their arms. I instantly ran up (sending the Serjeant major to Major Kinnaird), and found the barrack gates shut : the men were collected Inside, and the officer of the barrack guard was talking to them. Captain Barnes and Lieutenant F. Seale were now with me, The wicket of the gate was soon opened, when the men rushed out, most of them with charged bayonets : one of them struck Captain Barnes with his musket. I followed them as low as the foot of the trees, persuading them to return : but one only, Christian Beck, who told me he had been forced out of barracks, returned. I met Major Kinnaird and Lieutenant Torbett ; the former discharged two pistols, as a signal to Ladder Hill. Major Kinnaird ordered me to run to the barracks, and desire the drummers to beat to arms : and by this time the general alarm had fired from Ladder Hill. I ordered all the artillery (previously supplying them with arms from the store rooms) to fall in near the barrack gate with the remaining infantry, whom Captain Sampson was collecting. We proceeded to the foot of Ladder Hill, where we joined a party under Major Kinnaird : the whole then proceeded to Ladder Hill ; and there received ammunition. Lieutenant F. Seale and myself with twenty men, were ordered to march as quick as possible to Red Hill house. On our way, we were met by Captain Pritchard, who directed us to march immediately to Plantation house and report our arrival to the Governor : but meeting the Town Major, we were directed to advance towards Major Pierie's lower house and watch the motions of the mutineers ; and to oppose them if they attempted to advance to Plantation house. Sometime afterwards, Major Kinnaird joined us with a strong detachment, and ordered our picquet to advance near the water run. Major Kinnaird then ordered me to go to Plantation house and inform the Governor of the position he had taken up : but upon my return, I found the picquet had retired as far as a rise of ground at the back of Major Pierie's house. About one o'clock in the morning, a black man belonging to the Lieutenant Governor, came to our party, and informed us the mutineers were advancing towards Plantation house, with the Lieutenant Governor as their prisoner : and about two hours before day light, I perceived them approaching. They advanced to the same ground we before occupied with the picquet, and halted. At day light, Major Kinnaird collected all his force and formed a line fronting the mutineers : but on seeing our line formed, one of their party called out, "We have surrendered." After an interchange of two or three messages between them and the Governor, they surrendered themselves prisoners, and were marched as far as Plantation house gate ; and afterwards, by the Governor's orders, were escorted, by a party of artillery and myself, commanded by Major Kinnaird, to High Knoll, were they were put into confinement. Here I remained with Lieutenant Phillips, having reinforced his guard with thirty men.
Lieutenant of Artillery.
|O.||Captain Pritchard's Report.|
|To Colonel Alexander Beatson, Governor, &c. &c. &c.|
IN detailing, according to your request, all the circumstances which came within my knowledge, relative to the late mutiny and sedition, which broke out in the St. Helena regiment, I shall state such occurrences as transpired before the 23d ultimo ; and then proceed to mention such as subsequently took place.
Having received various private reports, that a mutiny was intended (with which I made you acquainted), but no precise hour of the night yet named, I resolved to wait the final intelligence of one of my emissaries ; which I received, about ten minutes before nine o'clock, on the evening of the 23d. Upon being made acquainted with the intention of the mutinous troops, I instantly informed the senior member of Council (Mr. Doveton), and the commanding officer in James's Fort (Lieutenant Colonel Smith) : and apprised them that the seizure of, the musket ball ammunition, in charge of the officer of the main guard (Lieutenant Hunter), was one essential part of their plan. And as I strongly suspected there was none but rifle ammunition in the laboratory, I recommended that the ammunition at the main guard, should instantly be destroyed by water ; and that Lieutenant Hunter should be apprised of the intentions of the mutineers, which was accordingly done.
I remained a few minutes in the lower street with Lindsey, a soldier, (who has since been tried for Joining the mutineers and pardoned), and stated to him what I had beard, relative to the intentions of some of the infantry. He declared he knew nothing of it : and he was resolved to have nothing to do with it ; and also that he would go and dissuade any who might be inclined to join them. I then went to the foot of Ladder Hill road, where I found William Boyles, private, centinel, whose steady and soldier like conduct I witnessed, and therefore as it reflected the highest credit on him, I must embrace this opportunity of recommending him to your favour. I spoke much to him upon the subject of the intended mutiny that night, and found his information corresponded with what I had before learned. This soldier then most solemnly swore, that not one of them should pass his post if he could prevent it : I told him my determination ; and whilst I spoke, I heard a body of men rushing down the street, crying out, " Fire ! fire ! stand out of the way!" I got in amongst them, and ordered them to stop and go back to their barracks : saying, with a voice sufficiently loud for them to hear, "that if they had grievances, they would be redressed in the morning." But this had no effect ; and the greater part of them continued rushing towards the main guard. I seized many of them ; but others forced their way ; amongst whom was Dougle Fraser, private, who was intoxicated. He said they had been two years representing their grievances, but could obtain no redress ; and that he would not stay : when retiring from me a few paces, he rushed at me with fixed bayonet and with great violence. The point of his bayonet happily passed by me : but the force of the blow I received from the muzzle of his musket, felled me to the ground. About this time Mr. Doveton and Lieutenant James Wright came up. Mr. Doveton expostulated with them for their infamous conduct, and demanded be heard as a member of the Government. He told them, that if they had grievances, they should be redressed to morrow. But all he and Lieutenant Wright (who was equally active and zealous) could say, was to no purpose ; they still persisted in the same mutinous and rebellious conduct.
This mob of mutineers had now passed towards the main guard, except about eight or ten ; amongst whom, was Richard Cartledge, whom I seized, and some time afterwards sent to Major Wright, his commanding officer : from this man, the Major received information relative to the intended route of the mutineers.
About this time a general alarm was fired, and Captain Sampson, with officers, marched about 120 men from the. barracks (who were perfectly regular), to the foot of Ladder Hill road. It was there determined that he should march towards Plantation house ; and be requested me to ride, as expeditiously as possible, to Ladder Hill, and acquaint Captain B. Hodson that the party ascending were friends : which I did, and after leaving some orders with that officer, I rode on with all haste to Plantation house, and gave you information of the proceedings and intentions of the mutineers.
After conveying your orders for the different positions of the troops, I was directed to take charge of three field pieces, principally manned from the volunteer corps. With these I remained until the morning ; when I received an order from Major Kinnaird to join his detachment as soon as it was light : which I accordingly did ; and soon after the mutineers were compelled to lay down their arms, and surrender at discretion.
|I have the honour to remain, Honourable Sir,|
|your faithful and obedient Servant,|
|1st January, 1812.||H. H. PRITCHARD,
Captain of lnfantry.
|P.||Lieutenant Hunter's statement of proceedings
at the Main Guard,
on the 23d December, 1811.
DURING the day of the 23d instant, I understood from reports, that the men in barracks were discontented. At half past eight o clock in the evening, Major Kinnaird visited my guard, and told me, he suspected a mutiny would take place, and desired me in that event, to fall in my guard and do my utmost to quell it. About nine o'clock Captain H. H. Pritchard came to my guard, and informed me the men intended to break out of barracks that night ; and advised me to destroy the ammunition under my charge, as soon as possible, in order to prevent its being seized by the mutineers. Having every reason to suppose my guard was also concerned, I immediately took Captain Pritchard's advice, and threw water upon the ammunition and locked the chest ; at the same time desiring the laboratory serjeant to have in readiness some useful ball cartridges and flints. About half past nine, hearing a noise as if front the barracks, I immediately ordered my guard to fall in : some reluctance was shewn. I then addressed them, and asked them if they would stand by their officer and do their duty as good soldiers : they said they would, and fell in. Presently I received a message from Lieutenant Colonel Smith commanding officer in garrison, to keep my guard in readiness ; and shortly after, the Lieutenant Colonel came down and thus addressed me at the head of my guard ; "Mr. Hunter, don't fall in your guard in the rain, let.them fall out, I wish to speak to the men in the guard room." I obeyed his order and the men ran into the main guard room, making much noise. We followed them into the main guard room, where he expostulated with them : but to no effect, as they used the most gross and abusive language. About this time (a quarter before ten) the mutineers were on the parade, to the amount of about 200. They approached my guard room with fixed bayonets, and called out, "Come my lads, we are come for you ; "when the whole of my guard except the centinels, Corporal Brimmer and another man, joined them. I did not see my serjeants at this time. Every attempt of the Lieutenant Colonel and myself to reason with them was ineffectual ; they rushed into my guard room ; broke open the inner door, and upon seeing the water issue from the ammunition chest, they quitted it greatly enraged, and ran to the laboratory and broke open the door. I called out for a few men to follow me (and they should be well rewarded), and we would prevent the mutineers getting at the ammunition. Not a man turned out for this service, and I immediately ran to the laboratory, but could not prevent the mutineers taking the ammunition, as several of them repeatedly laid hold of me and kept me off from the cask. They then ran up the street (about a quarter before ten), calling out "now for Long Wood !".
Not having seen my serjeants after the guard was dismissed, as before stated, I enquired for them, and presently saw them coming out of the Governor's garden, where, they said they had concealed themselves, to prevent the mutineers taking them, or being murdered upon refusing to join them.
|T. M. HUNTER,
|Q.||Memoranda of Lieutenants Phillips and Thorn,
of the Occurrences
at High Knoll, from the 23d to the 30th of December, 1811.
|High Knoll, 24th December, 1811,—3 P.M.|
LIEUTENANTS Phillips and Thorn having had several conversations with the prisoners, since the morning, persuading them to give up those who had excited them to commit acts of mutiny and rebellion, Gunner Kitchen of the artillery, and Dougal Fraser of the infantry, have made the following depositions :
"SISELL of the regiment, commanded the mutineers, and assisted Nimmo and Berwick, privates, to swear the men in. The nature of the oath was to seize the Governor, and to turn him off the island. Sisell also told them, that upon his firing a musket at the Alarm house, he would be joined by the men of Hold Fast Tom, Gregories, and Deadwood shed : and that this man was the chief ringleader."
"NIMMO of the regiment, administered the oath, assisted by Berwick and Sisell, with a bayonet held over the head of the person sworn in, threatening death to those that did not take it, and join their party."
"BERWICK of the regiment, assisted in administering the oath ; broke open the barrack gates, and procured volunteers for them."
"HEWITT of the regiment, broke open the small magazine door, and was very active in getting volunteers, and threatening others with death if they did not join them."
"LINDSAY and SEFTON of the regiment, also took an active part in the whole affair ; but Kitchen and Fraser did not particularise what they did."
At about 5 P. M. Major Hodson informed Lieutenant Phillips, that he had understood it was intended to endeavour to rescue the prisoners : we therefore kept alert during the night, and in readiness to receive them : at the same time informed the prisoners, it would be death to the whole if they attempted to escape.—But they behaved very well, and appeared quite sorry for their conduct.
8 A. M. Lieutenant Dentaaffe, with an escort, brought Nimmo, Sisell, Berwick, and Anderson, prisoners to this guard. At about 11, A. M. a General Court Martial sat, and tried the following prisoners, viz. Nimmo, Sisell, Berwick, Anderson, Edgeworth, Wilsey, and Seager of the regiment, and Gunner Kitchen of the artillery : When they all (being found guilty,) received sentence of death. At ¼ past. 7, A. M. the six first were hanged ; and Wilsey, Seager, and Kitchen received the Governor's pardon. The remaining prisoners seeming rather dissatisfied that Lindsay, Sefton and Hewitt, had not been confined, I informed the Town Major of it.
Thursday 26th.—All quiet during the night. The prisoners having heard that Lindsay, Sefton, and Hewitt, had been ordered to be tried, were quite satisfied, and said they deserved it ; as many had been led astray by them, who afterwards quitted them on the road. At 10 P. M. Lieutenant J. Seale of the regiment, came to the Knoll with the prisoner Sefton who had been tried ; and with the three men who had gone to give evidence against him, Lindsay, and Hewitt. The prisoner Sefton, appears very penitent, having continued all night in prayer, and requested that a clergyman might attend him in the morning.
Friday, December 27th.—The Rev. Mr. Boys came here to attend the prisoner (Sefton) who appears very penitent. I read the Garrison Orders to the guard and prisoners. At noon sent the prisoner Sefton to James's Fort to receive his sentence. At 3 P. M. understood that Hewitt was hanged before the troops in garrion, and that Sefton and Lindsay received the Governor's pardon under the gallows. All quiet at the Knoll.
Saturday 28th.—Nothing material passed here. The prisoners behave very well, and appear very sorry for their conduct—promising never to behave ill again. Both Lieutenant Thorn and myself have endeavoured all in our power, to find out the writer of the anonymous letters, and told the prisoners we were convinced the Governor would forgive any one of them that would inform him ; but they all declared they did not know ; nor did they know any letters had been written, until they heard some had been found. The prisoner Sefton, who expected to be hanged, also said, he knew nothing, of them.
Sundav 29th.—The prisoners having repeatedly requested of myself and Lieutenant Thorn to solicit the Governor to pardon them, making solemn protestations of behaving well in future, and having evinced a disposition of repentance and sorrow for their conduct, we were indeed to write to the Governor on the subject. The Governor was pleased to answer us very favourably : we read his letter to the prisoners before the guard. They were very thankful,—and expressed themselves sensible of the Governor's clemency towards them ; and protested one and all, that if the Governor would allow them to join their corps again their future conduct should shew their gratitude and the truth of their protestations. For these last three clays, as the prisoners appeared sickly, from their being confined in so small a barrack, they were allowed to walk out in the square from 20 to 30 together, from 10 to 4 o'clock. All quiet here during the night.
Monday, 30th.—At 10, A.M. I received a letter from the Governor desiring the prisoners might be marched to the Plantation house ; excepting seven who were to be left in close confinement. At 11 A. M. I paraded the prisoners, and marched them to Plantation house, under an escort of 35 artillerymen : leaving one corporal and six matrosses to keep charge of the remaining prisoners. There the Governor was pleased to pardon 48 of the mutineers, who were then marched to James's Fort to join their corps, by Lieutenant Thorn, and 20 men. He also ordered the following men into close confinement at High Knol1, until an opportunity offered of sending them off the island.
|R. Kitchen||Captain Cole's||D. Frazer|
|S. Cahill||Company of||T. Sullivan|
|T. Williams||Artillery.||J. Kennelly|
|Jacob Desney||M. Maroney||Light Company.|
|John Finnerty||John Hall|
|John Grant||Nich. Coote|
|James Clark||Grenadier||P. McGuire|
|Andrew Clarke||Company.||J. Mackle, Captain Statham's|
|James Small||J. Ward, Captain Killin's|
|E. Richardson||D. Finn, Captain Wright's|
The prisoners all quiet.—The same precautions taken as before.
|GEO. L. PHILLIPS,
Lieutenant of Artillery.
Lieutenant of Artillery.
|Trial of Serjeant Lassells.|
|Island St. Helena, 31st December, 1811.|
AT a GENERAL COURT MARTIAL re-assembled this day, by order of Colonel ALEXANDER BEATSON, Governor and Commander-in-Chief, &c. &c.
|Major J. A. WRIGHT, St. Helena regiment.|
|Captain A. BRAID, artillery.|
|Captain T. J. B. COLE, ditto.|
|Captain W. Knipe, St. Helena regiment.|
|Lieutenant F. SEALE, ditto.|
|Lieutenant H. BROADWAY, artillery.|
|Lieutenant J. TORBETT, St. Helena regiment.|
The Court having been duly sworn, proceeded with the following trial :—
CHARGE. Patrick Lassells, serjeant in the artillery, confined by order of the Lientenant Governor, for unsoldier like conduct, in not getting ready the field artillery as speedily as possible, when directed by him so to do ; and causing unnecessary delay in the requisite preparations for repelling a party of mutineers on the night of the 23d instant.
|30th December, 1811.||C. R. G. HODSON,
To which the prisoner pleads Not Guilty.
PROSECUTION. Lieutenant Colonel E. S. Broughton (the Lieutenant Governor), being sworn, deposeth as follows :—
On the night of the 23d instant, about ten o'clock, I sent for the prisoner, Serjeant Lassells ; but as he did not come for some time, I went towards the shed, and met him about half way. I asked him if he was acquainted with the disturbances in the fort : he said, he had just come from the fort, and that he had overheard the conversation of a number of the soldiers assembled in different parties, in the streets ; from which he understood they intended to attack Deadwood shed on Wednesday night ; and that he was certain there would be no attack on Monday night. I replied, it was better to be prepared, and to have every thing ready. We proceeded to the shed, where I found Mr. Hall, the conductor, with the guard paraded. I asked the men if they would stand by me in case of an attack : as I expected the mutineers that night : they answered, "they would to a man." The guns, four in number, were then ordered out as quickly as possible. The first two were soon got ready, and sent to Deadwood, under the command of Serjeant Tunstall, to cover the road leading from Banks's : and, notwithstanding my repeatedly urging the prisoner to make haste, there was great delay, both in preparing the other two guns, and in getting out the ammunition : the prisoner repeatedly saying, "that he had no apprehension of the mutineers making an attack at that time ; and that he was positive it would not then take place." He certainly appeared to me to be somewhat intoxicated, and seemed stupid and confused.
The prisoner has been in command of the guard at Deadwood shed two years and eight months, and during that time I have had but one occasion to find fault with him : for, prior to the night of the 23d, he had conducted himself with the greatest propriety.
Q. From the Judge Advocate to Colonel B.—What time, do you think, elapsed between getting out the first two guns, and getting ready the others?
A. I think It might have been half an hour ; and by the time they were equipped, four or five men of the working party, from Long Wood, joined, to assist in dragging them up the hill.
Q. From the Court.—Did the prisoner seem inclined to prevent the getting of the guns ready ; or was he active in getting them ready, after you directed him?
A. He was not active ; he did not move with that promptitude which I should have expected ; and the articles that were required for equipping the field pieces, seemed out of the way, or at least not at hand. But Mr. Hall, the conductor, can better explain the delay, as I was on the outside of the shed.
Q. How many men had the prisoner with him before the four or five men joined?
A. The whole guard, including the serjeants, consisted of sixteen men ; six of whom, as already mentioned, were detached with Serjeant Tunstall : the remainder were, I think, with the prisoner.
Mr. William Hall (Conductor), being sworn, gave the following statement :—
Betwixt eight and nine o'clock on Monday night, the 23d instant, the prisoner came to my quarters, at the Hutt's gate, and told me, " he had something very particular to say ; and that he would not say too much at present." I asked him what he meant ; he said, " he was doubtful of there being a disturbance soon in the garrison." I asked him what made him think so ? he said, " he had heard all about it, but would not say too much at present." He then told me, "that there was a man laying outside, and making use of mutinous expressions." I asked him who he was ; and why he did not take hold of him ? he said, " it was Jewitt, formerly a corporal of artillery, but he did not think it worth his while to trouble himself with him." I asked him how far he was away ? he said, "just outside ;" and immediately after he said, "he was on the Alarm house road." I asked him if he was half way to the Alarm house ? he then said, " just under it ; that if I would go a little way on the road, I should hear him ; for he was making a great noise." I told him, I did not think there was any person on the road : It was certainly a falsehood. As he was intoxicated, I said I would go with him to his post at Deadwood shed ; which I did. On the road, at one time he told me the disturbance would happen on Christmas night ; and at another, he told me it would happen the night after Christmas. I saw him safe to his room ; the guard peaceable and quiet, and the sentinel on his post ; I then returned to my quarters. Immediately I got home, the general alarm fired, and I returned to the Lieutenant Governor for orders, agreeably to the directions he had given me about half an hour before the prisoner came to my quarters. I met 1he Lieutenant Governor, with the prisoner, coming to the shed, and the Colonel desired me to go and take charge. I paraded the men ; the Colonel asked them, if they had any complaint to make to him ? they said none : they would stand by him if any disturbance took place. The prisoner assured the Colonel there was no danger, and suggested that the men should go into their barracks, and take off their side arms, saying there was no occasion for them : and further observed to the Lieutenant Governor, that he might go to bed, and rest as quiet and safe as ever he had done in his life. I ordered, however, that the men should not go into the barracks, nor take off their side arms ; but to come and get out the guns, agreeably to the Lieutenant Governor's directions. The men obeyed me, and Serjeant Lassells said, "there was no occasion for us to trouble ourselves : he was positive there was no danger." The prisoner also directed the men to do every thing contrary to what I ordered, which occasioned much confusion. Colonel Broughton then ordered him to desist, and to allow the men to obey his orders. In consequence of the confusion caused by the prisoner, we were not prepared to receive the mutinous party ; who came upon us so suddenly, that they took the gun the Colonel had command of, just as it was loading. I gave Colonel Broughton two spikes to have the gun spiked, in case it should fall into the mutineers' hands ; and when they came up to Colonel Broughton, as they shewed no violence, the Colonel slipped the two spikes into the prisoner's hands ; yet he made no use of them : but suffered the gun, unspiked, to fall into their hands.
Q. From the Judge Advocate.—What time do you suppose elapsed between the guns being ordered to be drawn out, and their being ready?
A. It was about an hour and a quarter from the time of the alarm to the gun falling into the mutineers' hands. If it had not been for the confusion that the prisoner put us all into, we might have been ready with the guns half an hour before the mutineers came up.
Q. How many men were there to take out the guns?
A. Sixteen ; but the whole, except two or three, went with the first two guns, under Serjeant Tunstall, to Deadwood. I had to get those men back again (leaving Serjeant Tunstall with three men) to man the other two guns, and to take them on the road towards the Telegraph, to meet the mutineers—but several men joined me from Long Wood, when I was leaving the shed.
Q. Notwithstanding these necessary delays, do you say that you could have been ready with the guns at their proper posts, half an hour before the mutineers came up, if the prisoner had not caused unnecessary delays?
Serjeant William Smith (of the artillery), sworn, gave the following statement :—
On Monday night, about nine o'clock, the prisoner came home from the Fort, to the shed (where he commanded), and Mr. Hall with him. The prisoner appeared intoxicated, and wished to return back to the Hutt's with Mr. Hall, who desired him to remain at his own post. I did not see him afterwards, until he came to the shed with the Lieutenant Governor : he then ordered the guard to fall in, which they did, with side arms—the prisoner seemed very angry at their doing so, and asked them the reason of their falling in with arms, and desired them to go in and take them off—Mr. Hall, however, stopped them. It appeared that the Lieutenant Governor had something to say to the men ; but he was greatly interrupted by the prisoner. Mr. Hall went to the Lieutenant Governor, and told him, it was much better to get the guns out, and have them ready, as quick as possible : the whole of the guard immediately set about it. I was then ordered by the Lieutenant Governor to go for the working men, and cannot say what occurred until I returned ; but by this time, Serjeant Tunstall had gone with two 3 pounders to Deadwood. I was ordered to take another towards the Telegraph ; and as soon as I got a little way from the shed, I found there was no ammunition for the gun, which I reported to the Lieutenant Governor, who desired me to send back for some, which I did ; before the man could return with it, the gun was surrounded, and taken ; as likewise the Lieutenant Governor, and we were all brought back prisoners to the gun shed.
Q. From the Judge Advocate. Had the general alarm fired when the guard were ordered to fall in?
A. Yes—some time.
The prosecution being closed, the prisoner is called on for his defence.
DEFENCE. The prisoner in his defence says :—
On the 23d instant, I was in the town, and some how or other, got so much disguised in liquor, that I cannot recollect what I said. or did that night. When informed of my conduct the next day, I was, as I am now, extremely sorry for what I had done. I beg the mercy of the Court. I have been in the garrison five years and four months, and have never been reported for any misconduct. For two years and eight months I have commanded at Deadwood Shed, and have met with every indulgence from the Lieutenant Governor, and have always been ready to execute his orders with alacrity :—his goodness to me makes me more sorry that I should have been so unfortunate as to be intoxicated at a time when my services were most wanted.
SENTENCE. The Court having considered the evidence, are of opinion that the prisoner, Serjeant Lassells, is guilty of the crime with which he is charged, in breach of the Articles of War ; do therefore sentence, that he shall be reduced to the pay and duty of a matross, and shall receive five hundred lashes in the usual way.
|(signed)||J. A. WRIGHT,
Major and President.
|C. R. G. HODSON,
|E. S. BROUGHTON,|
|W. W. DOVETON,|
Rating freight from India at L30. per ton (which is less than the average in time of war) and adding this rate, and the contingent expences, to L114,961. in 1808, I find the actual charges of that year amounted to L157,356. ; and if the same proportion of freight, &c. be added to L51,030. in 1800, the total is L69,000. ; consequently the charges of this small island had risen from L69,000. in 1800, to L157,356. in 1808.
This augmentation of L88,356. in the annual charges, originated chiefly in a new and very extraordinary system, which had gradually crept in, of feeding the population from the Company's stores. The cause of those additional expences being ascertained, it was easy to apply proper remedies ; but in doing so, I certainly could not expect to gain the good will of the St. Helenians : this will explain the "general dissatisfaction" alluded to.
It may be proper in this place to observe, that the effect of the measures introduced since 1808, has been to reduce the expences from L157,356. per annum, to L104,880. in 1812—thus, producing a saving to the Honourable East India Company of L52,476. per annum. This observation will be illustrated by the following Statement which was laid before the Honourable East India Directors, in April, 1814.
This saving of L52,476. in the annual charges, was the effect of regulations
and restrictions upon the issues and sale of provisions from the Company's
stores ; and of introducing the plough, and giving examples of English husbandry,
which have led to a larger scale of cultivation.