Mutiny on the STAR OF THE WEST 1852 [QUEEN OF THE WEST]

Southport Visiter, March 12th 1852

Mutiny on the QUEEN OF THE WEST

On Saturday the QUEEN OF THE WEST, emigrant ship lying in the Mersey ready for sea, was the scene of a fearful encounter, between the Captain and Mate on the one side, and a large portion of the crew on the other.

Capt MORS, who was noting as deputy for Capt HALLETT, went, it seems on board the vessel about 1 o clock for the purpose of mustering the men, when some disagreement taking place, - the men insisting the vessel was insufficiently manned that 36 was her compliment not 26, which latter was deemed sufficient by MORS the Captain, who pushed back one of the men, and told him to mind his duty, was assailed by the crew with marlingspikes and belaying pins, knocked down, and severely injured.

Recovering himself somewhat he went aft, and, seizing a revolver pistol, aimed it at the head of one of the ringleaders, JACK, but the pistol missed fire.

He then armed himself with a cutlass, and, with the assistance of the mate, made a complete onslaught on the crew, cutting and wounding all who resisted, and driving the mutineers down into the hold.

Another of the ringleaders, DOWNS, was tied and flogged on the spot, and the police having been communicated with, 11 of the men were taken into custody to the Police-Office, while another, whose arm was badly mutilated, was removed at once to the Northern Hospital.

The evidence having been taken by Supt CLOUGH, the prisoners were removed to Birkenhead, [the affray having occurred on the Cheshire side] with the exception of those whose wounds required hospital treatment.

On Monday 10 of the men where charged by Capt MORS, before the Birkenhead magistrate, Sir E. CUST and Messers J. S. JACKSON and J. D. CASE, with mutiny.

Mr ASPINALL, Barrister appeared on behalf of the men, whose names were George FREEMAN, Thomas BROWN, James BLACK, Alexander JACK, John DROUER, James THOMPSON, James TRAINER, William PENNY, James FOWLER and Henry DOWNS.

Mr SNOWBALL, Solicitor, preferred the charge on behalf of the Captain.

After the evidence had been adduced in support of the charge, Mr ASPINALL commented in very severe terms on what he termed the tyrannical and brutal conduct of the Captain, and staked his character as a Lawyer on the assertion that even if the men had been guilty of the grossest mutiny, and the Captain, after he had once escaped from the crew, the mutiny being over, had shot any one, he would most unquestionably have been guilty of murder. And if that were so, then, having shot his revolving pistol twice, three barrels of which were loaded, but fortunately missed fire, he was to all intents and purposes liable to an indictment of murder, or at least the intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The conduct of the mate, too, and Captain afterwards, in cutting the defenceless crew with their cutlasses, also demonstrated that they did not desire to quell the mutiny, if any existed, but to wreak their vengeance for some injury real or imaginary, they supposed had been done to them, and for this brutal attack, by which one mans arm was nearly severed, they were deserving of marked punishment.

Witnesses having been called for the defence, Mr SNOWBALL replied and having pressed for a summary decision, the magistrates directed, FREEMAN to be fined 5 or 2mths prison, JACK, TRAINER and FOWLER 3 each, or 6wks prison in default, BROWN, DROUER, THOMPSON, PENNY and DOWNS, costs only or 15 days prison in default.

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