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1-263 (Raw)

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author,male,Broadside*,un addressee
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Newspapers & Broadsides
Ingleton, 1988
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The day on which the brig Wellington was to have made Norfolk Island, was the time fixed by the prisoners she was carrying, for putting into effect the plan for mutiny, contrived, by their ringleader, Walton. At noon, the Captain (Harwood) was employed in taking "sights". Two soldiers were parading the deck; Walton was sitting either on, or contiguous to, the bowsprit; the troops were in the forescuttle; six prisoners were on deck; the sergeant went below. No sooner did Walton observe all things were so far favourable, than the signal was given - the sentinels on deck were secured, and deprived of their arms; the Captain was made prisoner; the hatch of the fore-scuttle, in which the military were all pent up, was closed, in the act of doing which one of the prisoners was wounded in the shoulder, as the soldiers immediately commenced firing; the sailors were in a like manner secured, by being forced into the prison hold, at the same time that Walton and his party liberated their fellow-prisoners from confinement. The vessel was immediately in a state of confusion and in less than a minute the pirates had complete possession of the vessel.
Walton took upon himself the command - another of the name of Douglas was appointed chief mate - Edwards alias Flash Jack, became second mate, and Clay contented himself with mere stewardship. No violence was offered to any one on board after the capture. We had nearly forgotten to mention that the soldiers kept firing away through the bulk-head into the hold, until they understood that the crew were in danger of being shot. The military were divested of their accoutrements and red coats, in which the pirates became dressed, and, in less than a quarter of an hour, the sergeant had the mortification to behold all his stripes decorating one of the pirates who lorded it away at a great rate.
Being short of water, and in want of a nautical almanack, and a chart, they resolved on making for New Zealand with the view of obtaining, by fair or foul means, those requisites from any whaler that might be in the way, as their ultimate destination was South America.
It is worthy to remark, that, so divided was this motley group, there were, at one time, no less than three different parties - among the prisoners there was the neutral party, there was a Roman Catholic party, there was a Protestant party, who had command; and the Catholic brethren had formed the plan among themselves of taking the vessel from their Protestant brethren, and forcing them to walk the plank. But the call at New Zealand upset all this policy.
At 9 A.M. of Friday, 3rd of January, the brig Wellington entered the Bay of Islands, where she found at anchor, the Sisters, Captain Duke and the Harriet, Captain Clark, and these captains boarded her. Captain Duke enquired of Walton, whence he came? Walton replied from New South Wales, bound to the River Thames with troops and provisions. The two captains had no suspicion whatever that the Wellington was in the hands of the pirates, although they thought the manner in which they managed the vessel very strange.
In the course of the day, Mr. Fairburn of the Mission Station, having some business with Captain Duke, boarded the Sisters and enquired the name of the new arrival. Captain Duke replied, he could not tell, but supposed her to be the brig Wellington, from Port Jackson. Mr. Fairburn and Captain Duke then went on board, to see if there were any letters for the Missionaries; when Mr. Fairburn recognised a person who had formerly been a painter at Sydney, named Clay, and Captain Duke also recognised another, who had formerly been condemned in England, and was to have been sent to Norfolk Island. This excited their suspicions, that the vessel had been run away with from Port Jackson; for the people on deck, in soldiers' jackets, had no appearance, whatever of regular troops.
After leaving the brig they consulted together on what they had observed, and Captain Duke sent a polite note to the Commander to come on board to dine, as they wanted to learn who he was, and what he was about. Walton, however, declined the invitation, but said he would come for an hour in the afternoon. He did not come according to promise, and Captain Duke and the others went on board the Wellington.
They found everything in great confusion, what with watering the vessel and trading with the natives. They thought it very strange, that as she was only proceeding to the Thames, the brig should be taking in such a quantity of water to supply them on so short a passage. During the time Captains Duke and Clark were in the cabin, they observed a number of counter-signs passing amongst the company, which consisted of about 10 persons and a guard. Mr. Williams came on board whilst they were there, and put a few questions to the Commander, which he answered in a very unsatisfactory manner.
As the visitors were leaving, a gentleman, who proved to be Captain Harwood, found an opportunity of whispering to Captain Clark, and also to the Surgeon of the Harriet, telling them who he was, and that the vessel had been taken from him. Mr. Fairburn also had a note slipped into his hand, acquainting him that the brig was from Port Jackson, bound to Norfolk Island with prisoners and provisions; that, on the 21st of December, they rose upon the guard.
Walton was invited to visit the Sisters, and when he came on board, Mr. Williams put some close questions concerning the brig, and also their intentions. He prevaricated a good deal, and when Mr. Fairburn produced the note which he had been privately given him by Captain Harwood, he was struck with astonishment, but did not attempt to deny the truth of the statement. He confessed the whole of the transaction as to the taking of the vessel. A few, he said were wounded, but none were murdered. He observed also, that he little thought of being so trepanned [sic], but that he should be resigned to his fate. [116] He was told to consider himself a prisoner, but he was allowed to depart between 10 and 11 o'clock as the brig could not proceed to sea that night.
On Saturday the 6th, at daylight, the people on board the Sisters got the guns on deck, and made all ready in case the pirates should make any attack. At 8 A.M. the brig bore down close alongside the Harriet, and let go the stern anchor. The pirates wanted several articles, and offered provisions and tools, but the Captain resolved to have no transactions whatever with them. "Who is to recompense me," said Captain Clark, "for the probable loss of my ship?" "And who will repair our fractured limbs, or reward us," replied the Harriet's men, "if we trouble ourselves with such affairs?"
These remarks had a great influence on the cautious mind of Captain Duke, who was willing to extricate his fellow-subjects from their awful conditions, but who at the same time trembled for the consequences. The chief mate of the Sisters, Mr. Tapsell and the crew reprobated the idea of allowing their country-men to be carried away by pirates from under their very noses. The British feelings that pervaded all the hearts of the Sisters' gallant tars were not to be repressed, and they made preparations to carry them into effect, as soon as Captain Duke left the ship. The Harriet, however, was inflexible - her captain and crew were willing to yield the honours to the Sisters.
When Captains Duke and Clark went on board the Wellington, Mr. Tapsell got a spring upon the Sisters' cable, this action soon being discovered by the pirates, who drew Captain Duke's attention to it. The native girls told the pirates that the chief mate meant to fire the guns into them. However, they allowed Captain Duke to depart on giving his word, that it was not his intention to fire. When he returned on board the Sisters some rather strong language passed between the magnanimous Mr. Tapsell and Captain Duke, who said his life had been placed in jeopardy by the chief mate's action, and he reported his promise against interference with the pirates. But the chief mate and the crew, not having plighted their faith to so lawless a banditti, avowed their readiness to sacrifice their lives rather than surrender their character as Englishmen, in allowing such a host of incorrigible fellows to escape. Captain Duke was grieved with the conduct of his mate and crew - but they were inexorable, and were prepared to leave the ship rather than abandon the hope of recapturing the brig, and extricating innocent men from destruction: Captain Duke, thereupon, laudable gave the command to "Fire!" when all was ready.
On Sunday the 7th, at 4 A.M., the Wellington hove short, and loosed the jib. At the Sisters hoisted her colours and fired the first shot. The pirates hoisted no colours and at the second shot from the Sisters, the chief part of the pirates ran below, and some jumped overboard. The Sisters continued firing until the Wellington's deck was cleared, but when she ceased, a number of pirates again mustered on deck when the Sisters fired one more shot. The pirates never fired any and they received a considerable deal of injury both in the hull, masts and rigging. The Harriet joined in the firing towards the end.
Correspondence then ensued between Captains Duke and Clark on the one side and Walton, the Walton pirate leader, on the other regarding the terms of surrender. It was finally agreed that the pirates would be allowed to land at the Bay of Islands, on condition that the brig be given up. At 3 P.M. the pirates began to disembark, the guards were released, and at 4 Captains Duke and Clark had possession of the brig.
As soon as the pirates landed, the natives commenced stripping them, it being impossible to prevent them from doing so. Forty-one pirates landed, -but twenty-five prisoners were still in irons.
On Tuesday, the 9th, the natives brought a pirate on board the brig - Douglas, who acted as the chief mate - and the natives received 50 lbs of powder for his apprehension. Each succeeding day the natives brought on board the remaining pirates in groups of three and four, and in every case they were rewarded by powder or muskets. On Monday the 15th, the natives brought on board, John Walton and Charles. Clay, late pirate Captain and Purser, and as they understood that these two were superiors on board, they would not deliver them up without receiving 100 lbs of powder and two muskets. By Sunday, the 20th thirty-one pirates had been captured.
Monday, the 22nd, at daylight, the Harriet got under weigh, and departed. A strong guard was kept over the prisoners, who found, two days later, that eleven had cut their irons. They were tied up, and received each of them two dozen lashes, with the exception of a man, named Henry Drummond who, after receiving three lashes, begged to be let down, and that he would confess all he knew. He then told of the prisoners' plan to again take the brig and then to seize the Sisters. Drummond was kept on deck, as the other prisoners swore they would massacre him.
On Sunday the 28th, the Sisters got under weigh in company with the Wellington. Four prisoners were allowed on deck at a time, when their irons were inspected, but none were found cut. On February 3rd, the cooper's mate gave information that the prisoners had been consulting the previous night, how they could best take the ship, as two or three more days would bring them to Sydney. The cooper's mate they thought was the only person they could trust to render them any assistance. If he would do so they promised he should live in the cabin, and have all the money found in the ship. As a result, the prisoners were all handcuffed behind, and double ironed. Walton and Clay were bolted to the deck, as the best means for securing these desperate ruffians.
The Sisters and Wellington arrived in Sydney Cove, 9th of February, 1827, without further incident. Thus the pirates, but for these exertions on the part of the Sisters' crew, might have been successful in eluding the condign punishment, which justly awaits them, for mercy, to most of them, on this side of the grave, is beyond all hope.