Verdict and Sentence
in the Court-Martial
of the Bounty Mutineers
Tuesday, 18th September, 1782
Image at left: The last page of the verdict in the Bounty court-martial, including the signatures of the members of the Court.
The Prisoners brought in and Audience admitted.
President having asked the Prisoners if they, or any of them, had
anything more to offer to the Court in their Defences, Mr. Haywood
produced a Certificate of his Birth which is hereto annexed, and the
others not having anything more to offer, the Court was cleared and
That the Charges had been proved against the said Peter Heywood, James Morrison, Thomas Ellison, Thomas Burkitt, John Mill–each of them to suffer Death by being hanged by the Neck, on board such of His Majesty’s Ship or Ships of War, at such Time or Times and at such Place or Places, as the Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain and Ireland etc. or any three of them, for the Time being, should in Writing, under their Hands direct; but the Court, in Consideration of various Circumstances, did humbly and most earnestly recommend the said Peter Heywood and James Morrison to His Majesty’s Royal Mercy–and the Court further agreed That the Charges had not been proved against the said Charles Norman, Joseph Coleman, Thomas McIntosh and Michael Byrn, and did adjudge them and each of them to be acquitted.
The Court was opened and Audience admitted and Sentence passed accordingly, after which William Muspratt delivered to the Court, a paper Writing, which was read by the Judge Advocate as follows:
To the Right Honble. Samuel Lord Hood, President, and the Members of the Court Martial Assembled on board His Majesty’s Ship the “Duke” for the Trial of William Muspratt and others for the Mutiny and Desertion.
My Lord and Gentlemen,
By the King’s Command I have been tried by the Honorable Court and stand convicted of Mutiny and Desertion.
I haven not the most distant Idea of arraigning the Justice of the Court, but I have to lament that the Practice and usage of a Court Martial, should be so different from the Practice of all Criminal Courts of Justice on Shore, as that, by the one I have deen debarred calling Witnesses whose Evidence I have Reason to believe, would have tended to have proved my Innocence, whereas by the other I should have been permitted to call those very Witnesses on my behalf. This Difference, my Lord, is dreadful to the Subject and fatal to me.