[From Manx Soc vol XXI]


THE circumstances attending the mutiny of the Bounty" have a peculiar interest to the natives of the Isle of Man, as one of her sons was most painfully and unfortunately connected with it. The history of that event has been so repeatedly published, that it is only necessary briefly to notice it here in order to record how Mr. Heywood became implicated in the transaction.

"The Bounty," under the command of Lieutenant William Bligh, had been fitted up by Government under the care of Sir Joseph Bankes for the purpose of conveying the bread-fruit and other plants from Otaheite to the West Indies, to which place she sailed from Spithead on the 23d of December 1787. Peter Heywood, the fourth son of Peter John Heywood, Esq., Deemster of the Isle of Man, was born at the Nunnery, near Douglas, on the 6th June 1773, entered the naval service on the 11th October 1786, and made his first voyage as a midshipman in the " Bounty." The vessel having so far accomplished the object of her voyage, was on her way home, when, on the morning of the 28th April 1789, the unhappy catastrophe took place. From various causes disputes and dissatisfaction had arisen in the vessel, and Mr. Christian, the master’s mate, who had for some time been doing lieutenant’s duty, having received some insulting words a few days before from his commander, conceived the idea of seizing the ship, which he accomplished with the aid of a portion of the disaffected crew, and placed Lieutenant Bligh and eighteen companions in a small boat with only a very scanty supply of provisions, who, after suffering most extreme hardships, only twelve out of their number lived to reach their home.

Young Heywood, having gone below for the purpose of getting some clothes, was forcibly detained, and was thus prevented joining Lieutenant Bligh in the boat. Upon the news of the mutiny becoming known to His Majesty’s government, the Pandora frigate, Captain Edwards, was at once dispatched to Otaheite in search of the mutineers, and on her arrival out on the 23d March 1791, Heywood at once went on board and reported himself to her commander, who instantly placed him in irons. After taking twelve more of the "Bounty’s " men on board, the Pandora was wrecked, when four of the prisoners and thirty of the crew were lost. Undergoing a variety of hardships, young Heywood arrived at Spit-head on the 19th June 1792, and was placed in the Hector, seventy-four, to await his trial, which took place on the 12th September, and following days, along with the other prisoners accused of Mutiny. Heywood was condemned, but recommended to the King’s mercy, and on the 24th October the King’s warrant was despatched from the Admiralty, granting a full and free pardon to Heywood and two of his companions.

The particular details connected with Heywood in this affair are to be found in Tagarts’ Memoirs of Captain Peter Heywood, .R..N., 8vo, London, 1832, in which work are also those admirable letters of his sister, Nessy Heywood, emanating as they do from a pure and heroic soul, are an honour and a credit to her head and heart, so affectionately devoted was she to her brother. Mr. Heywood afterwards re-entered the navy, in which service he became honourably distinguished, and ultimately retired from the service in 1816 on the arrival of the Montague from the Mediterranean, of which vessel he was captain, being, as was the emphatic expression of one of his shipmates, " perfectly adored."
He married, on the 31st July 1816, Frances, only daughter of Francis Simpson, Esq., of Plean House, Stirlingshire, by whom he had no family, and died on the 10th February 1831, in the 58th year of his age.

The following lines, written by his affectionate sister during the time he was awaiting his trial, show how much her fond mind was fixed on her unfortunate brother.

On the arrival of my dearly-beloved brother, Peter Heywood, in England, written while a prisoner, and waiting the event of his trial on board His Majesty’s Ship Hector.

Come, gentle muse, I woo thee once again,
Nor woo thee now in melancholy strain;
Assist my verse in cheerful mood to flow,
Nor let this tender bosom anguish know;
Fill all my soul with notes of love and joy,
No more let grief each anxious thought employ!

Return’d with every charm, accomplish’d youth!
Adorn’d with virtue, innocence, and truth!
Wrapp’d in thy conscious merit still remain,
Till I behold thy lovely form again.
Protect him, Heav’n, from dangers and alarms,
And oh ! restore him to a sister’s arms;
Support his fortitude in that dread hour
When he must brave suspicion’s cruel pow’r;
Grant him to plead with eloquence divine,
In ev’ry word let truth and honour shine;
Through each sweet accent let persuasion flow,
With manly firmness let his bosom glow,
Till strong conviction, in each face exprest,
Grants a reward by honour’s self confest.
Let thy Omnipotence preserve him still,
And all his future days with pleasure fill;
And oh ! kind Heav’n, though now in chains he be,
Restore him soon to friendship, love, and me.

Isle of Man, August 5, 1792.


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