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I believe in the power - 1/14/2016 8:48:12 AM   

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The bloodiest mutiny ever: The day the cruellest captain in the British Navy pushed his long-suffering crew too far

A bloodcurdling new book reveals the story of the most savage mutiny in British history - and why it made The Bounty look civilised
As the bows of the Hermione, a 32-gun frigate of His Majesty’s Navy, cut through the Caribbean waters on a routine patrol, her officers slept soundly in their cabins.
It was 11 o’clock on the night of September 21, 1797, and what was about to unfold would go down in history as one of the most savage and shameful episodes in the Navy’s history.
In his cabin on the upper deck, the ship’s captain, 27-year-old Hugh Pigot, was asleep, unaware that at that very moment his fate was being decided by a small group of men gathered around a bucket of rum.
Minutes later, Pigot was awoken by the sound of splintering wood: his door was being kicked in. Leaping from his cot, he snatched up a short dirk (a dagger) as several men armed with cutlasses, tomahawks and a bayonet burst in. As the men began to slash at him, Pigot desperately tried to fight them off, shouting for help.
Mutiny on The Bounty
The overthrow of Captain Hugh Pigot made the mutiny on The Bounty (pictured in the 1962 film) appear civilised
But none came. He landed several blows, but his attackers kept thrusting at him, taunting and jeering. At last, his white nightshirt soaked with blood from more than a dozen wounds, Pigot collapsed over the barrel of a cannon.
Up on the quarterdeck, another group of men seized Lieutenant Foreshaw, chopping at him with bayonets and tomahawks. As he tried to ward off the blows, pleading for mercy, he retreated to the ship’s side until, bleeding and weak, he slipped over the edge and was gone.
With the quarterdeck under the mutineers’ control, several of the ringleaders returned to the captain’s cabin. They found him drenched with blood, but still alive, and set upon him again as he begged in vain for mercy. ‘You’ve shown no mercy yourself and therefore deserve none,’ shouted one, running Pigot through with his bayonet.
Still he did not die. Exasperated, the mutineers seized him and heaved his blood-sodden body into the sea. Some later claimed that they heard his cries as the ship sailed on without him.
Men seized the opportunity to settle old scores
As word of the mutiny spread through the ship, other men saw the opportunity to settle old scores. By the end of the night, ten men were dead. What had begun as the overthrow of the captain had turned into the bloodiest mutiny in the history of the Royal Navy.
Unlike the mutineers who had seized HMS Bounty eight years earlier, but had given the captain and his loyal men a boat and supplies, the Hermione’s mutineers showed no mercy to their officers.
Today, as pirates of a very different kind once more stalk the oceans’ trading routes, an enthralling account of one of the most shocking massacres on board a ship is being published.
Using testimony from the courts martial of those who were eventually brought to trial for the murders, it provides a fascinating snapshot of just how brutal life at sea could be 200 years ago, and of how one man’s cruel tyranny resulted in his own murder and that of nine of his officers.
illustration of Hermione
An illustration of the Hermione, the location of a violent mutiny
The Hermione set sail from Cape Nicholas Mole on the eastern end of Santo Domingo island in the West Indies on April 16, 1797.
They had stores to last three months, and orders to patrol the Mona Passage, between the eastern point of Santo Domingo (now Haiti) and Puerto Rico, for enemy ships: Britain was at war with both Spain and France.
Some men had been pressed into service against their will
As the principal thoroughfare between the Spanish Main (South America) and the Atlantic, it should have provided rich pickings. The prize money from seized ships would, eventually, be shared out in a strict ratio by rank.
Most of the 170-odd men on Hermione had served on her for more than three years, with many of them not allowed on shore in all that time. They were, effectively, imprisoned in a cramped wooden jail with no idea when they would be free again.
Although the majority had volunteered for a life at sea, some had been ‘pressed’ into service against their will.
As well as British, there were men and young boys from Denmark, Italy, France, Sweden and the Caribbean. Life on a warship in the West Indies was tough.
In rainy squalls, sailors had to reef the sails (roll them up and tie them to the cross spar with a reef knot), clinging tightly to the yardarms (the horizontal spars across the masts) as the ship lurched below.
When it was not stormy, the weather was oppressively hot, sapping energy and spirits. Thanks to the lack of vegetables and fresh meat, many suffered from scurvy, which left them exhausted while their gums became swollen and bloody.
There was also the threat of yellow fever or ‘Black Vomit’, as it was known — the scourge of sailors in the West Indies — which brought a painful, grotesque death. At least one man on the Hermione was already in its grip as it set sail.
Under a benevolent, competent captain, such conditions would have been tough, but bearable.
The Hermione’s captain boasted no such qualities. Hugh Pigot, who had transferred to the Hermione from another ship, HMS Success, just weeks earlier, had been at sea since the age of 12.
The son of an admiral, he had powerful connections and, at the age of 25, had been handed his first ship’s command, with the power of life and death over his men.
Pigot was the cruellest captain in the Royal Navy
Captains could act as judge and jury to a seaman, and order them to be reprieved or flogged with the infamous cat o’nine tails — the nine ropes held together with a handle that, wielded by a muscular boatswain’s mate, would reduce a man’s back to a raw and bloody mess.
Most captains exercised this absolute power with restraint, but Hugh Pigot wielded his with tyranny and uncontrolled sadism.
He demanded instant, unquestioning obedience to his orders. He bullied and abused his men, acting inconsistently and giving preferential treatment to his favourites (mainly the 20 or so men he had brought with him from HMS Success), and persecuting others.
Pigot was the cruellest captain in the Royal Navy. On the Success he had ordered 85 floggings — nearly half his crew — in the space of nine months.
cat o' nine tails
Captain Pigot regularly ordered his crew flogged with cat o' nine tails, pictured
Regulations stipulated that a dozen lashes was the maximum any man should receive, but Pigot frequently ignored this, ordering three or four times that number. Two men died from the effects of repeated floggings.
Two incidents tipped the ship’s company from misery into mutiny. Five weeks into the voyage, Pigot ordered midshipman David Casey to be flogged because he had dared to remonstrate with Pigot over his abusive language. It fuelled the men’s loathing for their captain.
On the evening of September 20, a few days after Casey’s flogging, the men were working frantically to reef the sails as a tricky squall sent the tall masts gyrating wildly.
Below, Pigot watched the men on the mizzentop mast with mounting impatience and fury. Through his speaking trumpet he hurled up a chilling threat: ‘I’ll flog the last man down.’
In their panic and haste, three young sailors, one a lad of 16, lost their grip on the yardarm and fell screaming onto the deck 50ft below, one landing on Edward Southcott, the master.
Pigot gave the crumpled bodies a contemptuous look before ordering the men to ‘throw the lubbers overboard’ — a terrible insult to sailors.
The incident, as Casey later observed, ‘greatly increased the previous dislike of the Captain and no doubt hastened, if not entirely decided, the mutiny’.
Their lives had little value to the captain
Pigot ordered those remaining on the masts to be whipped with ropes as they completed their task, swearing to flog them in the morning.
It now dawned on some of the crew that, in the captain’s eyes, their lives had little value. It had become a case of kill or be killed.
Next day, the threatened floggings took place and the men’s resolve hardened. Pigot’s bloody reign must be brought to an end.
That night, a secret meeting was called below decks. And shortly after the lieutenant of the watch, Henry Foreshaw, called out his 11pm time check, Pigot’s door was kicked in.
Many of the mutineers would have stopped with the captain’s death, but others, whipped up by bloodlust and the opportunity to settle old scores, insisted that all the officers must die.
One by one they were dragged from their cabins or hiding places, hacked and stabbed by the jeering mob and, to the cries of ‘Cut the b****rs . . . Launch the b****rs! . . . Heave the b****rs overboard!’ were hurled, bleeding and mutilated into the sea.
Most were young men; one a ‘little boy’, as one sailor described him, aged only 13.
Lieutenant Foreshaw, having cheated death by landing on planks jutting from the side of the ship, reappeared on deck. But he was seized again and his hand chopped off before he was thrown into the waves.
The boatswain, William Martin, was put to death to satisfy the lust of one man: not for revenge, but for Martin’s wife, Frances. Though women were not supposed to be on board ship when it sailed, Pigot, like many captains, turned a blind eye to the presence of an officer’s wife.
During the voyage, Frances Martin would have kept a low profile, knowing that most of the 170 men on board had not seen a woman for months, if not for years.
But she had not escaped the notice of Richard Redman, the quartermaster’s mate. After the first four murders, there was a lull, during which a drunken Redman made his way to the boatswain’s cabin, growling: ‘By the Holy Ghost, the boatswain shall go with the rest!’
He wrenched open the cabin door, dragged the man on deck and hauled him over the side. Redman then returned to the cabin, where Frances remained, and closed the door. He was not seen again until morning, when he emerged red-eyed and swaggering.
The ringleaders realised they would be wanted men
None of the witnesses who later gave their testimony reported hearing any screams or cries for help. Did Frances willingly acquiesce to her husband’s murderer’s demands or was she terrified into silence? We cannot know.
Of the officers, only Southcott, the Master, and Casey — himself a victim of Pigot’s violence — were allowed to live, along with the cook, carpenter and gunner, and even then, only after they had had to listen to the men debating their fate for hours, eventually voting to spare them.
The mutiny had been plotted by a group of 18 men, swiftly joined by at least 40 others. The rest of the ship’s company could do little more than stand witness. To protest would be futile, maybe fatal. The mutineers had replaced one reign of terror with another more murderous one.
Their savage mutiny completed, the ringleaders realised that, though they were free, once their deeds were discovered they would be wanted men and face death by the hangman’s noose.
To avoid capture, they headed for the Spanish port of La Guaira, 500 miles south on the Spanish Main. Every man swore on oath never to speak of the mutiny, and most took aliases.
Five days later they dropped anchor in La Guaira and a small party went ashore under a white flag of truce. Using their aliases, they explained that the captain had been overthrown because of his cruelty and savagery. Claiming that he and several officers had been put afloat in a boat, as on the Bounty, they begged asylum in exchange for the ship.
The Spanish believed them and the men were taken ashore. A few men who had taken no part in the mutiny, such as Casey and Southcott, declared themselves prisoners of war and were handed over to the Spanish, who eventually returned them to the British. The rest were destined to remain wanted men for the rest of their lives.
When sailors drink, they talk
Despite the mutineers’ oath of silence, sailors drink — and when drunk, they talk. It was not long before word of the mutiny reached the commander- in-chief of the Jamaica station. He immediately ordered a manhunt to bring the mutineers to justice.
Most of the men who went ashore at La Guaira soon found themselves at sea once more, as seafaring was the only trade they knew. Many joined Spanish and French ships. Within five months, five men had been captured from a French privateer, identified and brought to trial.
Captain Edward Hamilton painting
Captain Edward Hamilton, pictured right in a painting by Pompeo Batoni, was knighted for his role in recapturing the ship
Four were sentenced to death and hanged on board a ship at St Nicholas Mole. Spectators watched their death struggles as they swung from the yardarm. Their bodies were then hung in chains from gibbets erected on the harbour — a grotesque warning to any would-be mutineers.
Over the next nine years, 32 of the Hermione’s former crew were brought to trial and 24 hanged. The rest escaped justice, either remaining in South America or building a new life in the U.S.
Frances Martin went to the U.S., but in 1802 she was back in Britain petitioning a naval charity for a widow’s pension. Her rapist (or lover) Richard Redman had been captured from a Spanish ship and hanged in 1799.
Casey, Southcott and the three other senior loyal men were tried for losing the ship, but acquitted. As for the Hermione — or the Santa Cecilia as she had become — the British authorities, furious at the Spanish refusal to hand over the mutineers, were determined to get their ship back.
Two years after the mutiny, in a daring night attack, six small boats from HMS Surprise, a British warship under the command of Captain Edward Hamilton, stole into the heavily fortified Spanish harbour of Puerto Cabello, where the Santa Cecilia lay at anchor.
While some men used axes to cut the Santa Cecilia’s anchor cable, others scrambled up her sides. After a desperate fight on the decks, the British sailors took control of the ship (those Spanish crew men who had not been killed, escaped overboard or surrendered) and towed it out of the harbour under heavy fire from the fortresses.
The ship was renamed the Retribution, and Hamilton knighted for his brilliant coup.
It was a glorious end to an inglorious chapter in naval history; an example how one man’s obsession with discipline ended up destroying it, and how relentless cruelty and terror could drive ordinary men to murder

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RE: I believe in the power - 1/14/2016 8:49:13 AM   

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But its the bleedin mail, guv. Pass.


Have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two? Judges 5:30

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RE: I believe in the power(Really! The power of what ex... - 1/20/2016 5:59:35 AM   

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What I write here many malevolent personalities will call mumbo jumbo. That is a term concocted by the former Bwana, white colonial rulers of my beloved country, South Africa. We served two masters, one the British were firm yet fair, and they governed well. The other, the Dutch Afrikaner were racist genocidists and blatant segregationists, just like the religious bigots of the USA southern states. Now we rule ourselves despite some blatantly corrupt opportunist politicians often repeating the Afrikaner methods.
This will fall upon deaf ears and the three wise monkeys will be joined by the three mischievous monkeys. I fully realize that my appeal will be vilified by antagonists and that the Moderators will do absolutely nothing whatsoever in the form of censure to the perpetrators. Most probably the messenger relaying the true facts will be victimized and penalized and the perpetrators be permitted to continue their vile rhetoric. This has happened before when the website owners placed out advertisements for moderators and the advertisements made it clear that fairness and impartiality were necessary. They hired a number of individuals who collectively conspired to cause multiple problems for the forums and the website. They were partisan and never moderated the forums in any fair and impartial manner. If a person disagreed with something the moderators supported are believed then that person was barred permanently from the message boards. That was contrary to the websites policies but the moderators concerned breached website protocols frequently.No warning, no appeal. Also they found that their account could not be accessed by others and at times even themselves. Many complained to the management who did nothing for several years until they realized that certain people were actually contributing to the websites ill reputation and profit loss. They then took action. The criminal element within collarspace was removed from office. They were replaced by new moderators. These new ones are fairer but also often very ineffective. They fail to realize that the self same group of malevolent individuals who include the former moderators and employees are the self same ones who frequently click onto the report button and complain about mostly innocent threads. These same malevolent individuals conspire daily to cause trouble in the forums. The accuse many of being trolls and sock puppets, few they accuse actually are such. Any sock puppets that exist do so because of the behaviour of those malevolent individuals. In order to try to justify their otherwise suspect behaviour they use terms like troll and sock to justify the vile and obnoxious comment attacks upon people.
The TOS are guidelines relating to online user conduct. They are written legalize that cannot really be enforced. Owners, employees, moderators, and members regularly ignore the TOS but only a minority are penalized for doing so and this signifies selected victimization of certain individuals and the majority are permitted to continue with the bullying, intimidation and victimization without censure.
These forums are visited 24/7/365 by people from around the world. They each come from different cultures that exhibit different attitudes and toleration levels to anyone who does not think and act likes them. The reality is we are all from diverse backgrounds. We have been shaped by our environment. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. We are never all going to agree with all topics on the forums but we must each respect other people’s perspectives even if they are blatantly wrong. We, ourselves, can be wrong at times and therefore should comprehend that being wrong is a human trait failing. Some of us are good at certain things and bad at others. Nobody excels at everything. Many are intolerant of spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes, but may themselves be inadequate when it comes to Arithmetic let alone mathematics. How quick we all are to condemn others for failings we may share. None of us are perfect because like infinity perfection cannot be attained, we can only aspire to attain. Politics and Religion conspire to divide people so we are easier to control and manipulate. We are lied to daily but it is dressed as truth but has no foundation and cannot stand up to inquisitive scrutiny. There are several competing sets of malevolent troublemakers frequenting these boards. They loathe each other and they each create multiple sock puppets to mock each other and annoy innocent thread starters. They think that they alone are the only ones entitled to use the forums as a private message exchange and they do not tolerate anyone they see as being another interloper. They each claim one person alone is responsible for all the trolls and socks. To use a British Expression, ‘I should Cocoa’ are ‘It’s just not Cricket’. I doubt if anyone has the time to create thousands of such cyber entities it is frankly far too much trouble. Several rival sets of troublemakers sure have the time and indeed, are actively engaged in doing so as you read these very words. If you were to waste time and remain awake and observe these boards you would witness that many appear never to be offline are even sleep much. They are constantly writing to their online friends and allies and also constantly attacking their online enemies and many new to the forum threads starters. They are always vile in their comments.
Moderators wakey, wakey, rise and shine. Do your jobs it’s what you volunteered for. Watch out for the serial reporter complaining about people without real foundation. Members report anyone who aimlessly attacks someone’s thread when the thread starter has not been rude are aggressive. If you do nothing then the message boards will deteriorate to a level of the kindergarten and not be worth entering. So report any and every vile comment and attack against a person who is a not being rude and obnoxious and they can be moderated and the boards will benefit. Do not let the malevolent few make malicious reports and go without challenge. I have sown the seeds and await the harvest. I have sown the wind and await the whirlwind. Moderator if you read this take heed of it and act rationally and fairly. See who the serial reporters are and ignore them unless they can justify their complaint

(in reply to mnottertail)
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RE: I believe in the power(Really! The power of what ex... - 2/2/2016 10:17:45 AM   

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You black mamba snake in the Grass you!

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RE: I believe in the power(Really! The power of what ex... - 2/3/2016 3:59:53 AM   

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I believe in the way, the truth and the light!

(in reply to Bayernsloss)
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RE: I believe in the power(Really! The power of what ex... - 2/3/2016 10:29:25 AM   

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Fuck off!

(in reply to revfrolaverty)
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RE: I believe in the power(Really! The power of what ex... - 2/3/2016 10:56:36 AM   

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ORIGINAL: revfrolaverty

I believe in the way, the truth and the light!

I am dubious of this.

For the rest?


ExiledTyrant's groupie. Catering to his ego since May 26, 2007. :D

(in reply to revfrolaverty)
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RE: I believe in the power(Really! The power of what ex... - 2/9/2016 4:29:31 PM   

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(in reply to DeviantlyD)
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RE: I believe in the power - 2/10/2016 12:20:28 AM   

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But the mail tells all truths! Believe in it!

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RE: I believe in the power - 2/10/2016 12:32:24 AM   

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The truth, the whole truth and nothing like the truth

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RE: I believe in the power - 2/11/2016 12:13:12 AM   

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The British Daily Mail is the top class Tabloid newspaper. We get it here along with other British newspapers. It is usually two days after each days publication.

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