Newgate Calendar - JOHN SMITH AND ROBERT MAYNE

JOHN SMITH AND ROBERT MAYNE

Executed for a Mutiny on Board the King George, 10th May, 1762

            On the trial of these men, along with five more of the crew, it appeared that disputes arose on board the King George, a fine privateer of thirty-two guns and two hundred men, commanded by Captain Reed, and cruising against the enemies of the country, concerning some prize wine, which was stowed in the hold, some of the crew insisting on its being hoisted up to be used for the whole ship's company. This would have been attended, in their then situation, with both difficulty and danger, and was consequently opposed by Captain Reed and his officers.

            Thus disappointed, a factious discontented set endeavoured to corrupt the remainder, who soon gained over so formidable a party, that they determined to seize the ship, and turn pirates in the Indian seas. In order to this, off Cape Ortugal, the mutineers demanded the keys of the arm-chests, on the refusal of which they drove the captain and officers into the cabin. They then placed a guard at the door, and brought a nine-pounder carriage-gun, loaded with round and grape shot, to fire among the officers; but were prevailed upon to desist by the entreaties of Mr. Gardener, the sailing master. To him they offered the command of the ship, acquainting him with their intention of steering for the East Indies; but on his refusal they put him under a guard, and took the ship into their own care, until they had, for want of skill, nearly lost both the ship and themselves. They then released Mr. Gardener, and gave him the helm; when he steered into Camarinas, in Spain, where most of the mutineers took to the boats, and made their escape.

            Such as were apprehended were brought to trial; and though two more, viz. Thomas Baldwin and Laurence Tiernan, were found guilty, yet Smith and Mayne only were executed, who were the ring leaders of the mutiny. They suffered at Execution Dock, May the 10th, 1762. They were both Irishmen, and Roman Catholics, and were attended by a priest of that religion.

            A few years after this affair a mutiny broke out among the crew of the Namur, of ninety guns. Fifteen were found guilty, and ordered to be hanged. They were brought for execution on board the Royal Ann, with halters round their necks, and, while waiting for the fatal gun being fired, were told that his majesty had pardoned fourteen of them, but one of them must die; and they were ordered to cast lots. How exquisite must have been the feelings of these miserable men at the awful moment of deciding on the fate of one! The fatal lot fell upon the second man that drew, Matthew M'Can, who was soon run up to the yard-arm, where the body hung nearly an hour. The pardoned seamen were turned over to the Grafton and the Sunderland, under sailing orders for the East Indies.

 

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