Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Re^3: How to deal with mutiny

CAPT Caltrop

On Thu Jan 19, Don Seltzer wrote
>On Thu Jan 19, CAPT Caltrop wrote
>>At Spithead things ended all quite peaceably.  "On HMS Minotaur, delegate George Crossland, from Thorne, near Doncaster, petitioned Howe to remove Lieutenant William Compton 'for abuse and ill-treatment - it is the general wish of the ship's company to have him changed'. Also Surgeon Bell, 'for inattention to the sick and not being qualified'".

>We Lay Before Your Lordship the Ill treatment We have received from Lieutenant Willm Compton In Beating Men Most Unmercifully, shaking Them. Pull off Their Jackets And Ordering two Boatswain's Mates to start them for No Crime Worth Mentioning. We have Always Done Our Duty As Men, Yet he as [sic] been Abusing Us and Dampning our Spirits by his Threats it becomes A British Officer to cherish As Much As in his power lays. Its Impossible to Insert in this Sheet the Many Acts of Cruelty, & the Many Men that has Run from this Ship through his Ill Usage, It's the Wish And Desire of the Ship's Company to have him changed.

>Surgeon Bell for Inattention & Ill treatment to the Sick And Not being Qualified, as We can judge by Severall Accidents happening In the Ship, Such as Broken Bones. there is On Board Now Witnesses that has had the Misfortune to be Under his care In their cases. And for Not Visiting the sick for two or three Months together, & When Visiting has Often been Observed In Liquor, & Not serving to the sick, such Nourishments As is Allowed by Government and for the want of such Nourishments Many Men has Died in this Ship. There has been men Went Down to him for relief When sick, & he has told them that A Flogging Would Do them Most Good. It is the general Wish of the Ships company to have him chang'd.

>Nicholas Hole master's Mate, for Defrauding the Ships Company Of their common nessaries Of Life, Particular Beer in Harbour and Water A Sea and giving the Captain false Reports such as telling him We have had more or Less of Water At Sea And at the same time there is not been A Drop of Water Hoisted Out of the Ship's Hold, & through them False Reports we are Almost Famished for Water At Sea. It is the Generall Wish of the Ships Company to have him chang'd.

>There is A Great Number of the Men On Board that has been In Actual Service three Or four years and Have received No Other Pay than 17 6d per month, & it's their Wish & Hope that your Lordship Will take It into consideration to Rate them According to the Rules of the Navey. We have Applied to Cap'n Louis And he has told us that he Cannot Do it, It has caused A great Murmuring in the Ship & many has Done Their Duty Reluctantly, Because they Are Not Paid According to the Rules of the Navey.

>Dated at Spithead On Board
>The Minotaur April 24th 1797

>So what happened to George after Spithead?  Did he remain aboard Minotaur when it sailed to the Mediterranean?  Could he have served under Nelson at the Nile?

I haven't a clue.  Seeing that he defied, verbally and in writing, the leadership, however politely, of the greatest Navy in his world, I'm going to speculate George went on to become George Crossland, QC, or maybe wrote a novel.

It is one thing to defy authority in as a nameless member of a swirling mob.  It is a very different thing to go to continuing effing meetings as representative of your mates.



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