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[Five Unfortunate Sailors]

Full Account of the
Execution of
Five Unfortunate Sailors,
Michael Cox, Martin Ealey,
John Sullivan,
Robert M'Laurin, and William Morris.
And his most Gracious Majesty's Royal Pardon
John Flint, John Lawson,
George Wythick, William Handy

And the Sentence passed on Capt. Affleck, late of the Amethyst.

At Sheerness, on the eighth day of this month, at about nine o'clock in the morning, the signal for Execution was made on board of the DE?IANCE man-of-war by firing a gun, and hoisting a yellow flag at the fore-top-gallant-mast head : a lieutenant, in a boat manned and armed, was sent from each ship to witness the awful scene: the crews of the respective ships were called on deck, and the articles of war read to them by their captains, who afterwards warned them to take examples from the fate of the unhappy men who were about to suffer. The Rev. Dr. Hatherall, chaplain of the Sandwich, administered the sacrament to all of them, except Michael Cox and Martin Ealey, who were Roman Catholics; after praying with them for some time, they were brought on deck, and the ropes fixed around their necks, when John Flint, George Wythick, John Lawson, and William Handy were made acquainted that his Majesty had been pleased to pardon them.

Handy, who had a wife and child on board, immediately ran down to her, and fainted in her arms, which presented a most affecting scene. The tear of thankfulness and joy adorned the cheeks of the hardy tars; and Lawson addressing the clergyman, said, "I am afraid I shall never again be so well prepared for eternity."

At a quarter past eleven, the signal for the execution of the remainder was made, by firing a gun, when Michael Cox, Robert M'Laurin, John Sullivan, Martin Ealey, and William Morrison, were launched into eternity. After hanging the usual time, their bodies were sent on shore, to the agent at sick quarters, for interment.

These unhappy men suffered for a mutiny on board the Defiance, then in Leith roads, in the month of October last.

Portsmouth, March 16th, 1796.

The following is the sentence passed yesterday at Portsmouth, on Captain Thomas Affleck, late of the Amethyst frigate, for the loss of that ship: "That the loss of His Majesty's ship Amethyst was occasioned by her striking on a rock near the island of Guernsey, and by a hole being thereby beaten in her bottom; and that the same was attributable to the misconduct of the said captain, Thomas Affleck; and the court do adjudge him to be reduced from his rank on the list of post captains to the bottom of the said list, and to be incapable of being again employed in His Majesty's naval service for the remainder of his life; and the court further agree, that the loss of the said ship was not attributable to any misconduct in any other of the officers or company of the said ship, and do adjudge them to be acquitted."

W. Parker, Printer, Portsmouth and Gosport.

SOURCE: Curiosities of Street Literature, London, Reeves and Turner, 196, Strand, 1871.