HC Deb 06 March 1849 vol 103 cc251-2

said, that in putting the question of which he had given notice to the First Lord of the Admiralty, his object was to ascertain whether there was any foundation for the rumour that had been extensively circulated, that Mitchel, while on board the Scourge, on his "way to Bermuda, was allowed to mess with the officers of that vessel; and, in other respects, placed on a footing in reference to those officers, which, he being at the time a convict in course of undergoing his sentence, was, if true, highly derogatory to them as officers bearing Her Majesty's commission. The question he wished to ask was, whether any report had been made to the Admiralty by Commander Wingrove, of Her Majesty's sloop Scourge, respecting the treatment of the convict Mitchel on his passage to Bermuda?


felt obliged to his hon. Friend for the opportunity he had thus afforded him of giving some explanation upon the subject of the rumours to which he had alluded. From a report which he had just received, it appeared that it was quite correct that Mitchel, while on his passage to Bermuda on board the Scourge, dined at the captain's table; but it was not correct that he messed with the officers of the ship. Commander Wingrove, in his report stated, that he gave the order for Mitchel to dine in his (the commander's) cabin, in order that he should be separated from the other officers, who, he thought, ought not to be brought into contact with him. This arrangement was made for the purpose of safe conduct, and also, in some respects, from motives of humanity in reference to the convict's state of health. The Admiral on the station, Lord Dundonald, had made inquiry into the matter, and reported that he was quite satisfied that all that was done was with the view of the safe conduct of the prisoner, and to separate him from the officers of the ship, and not with the view imputed in the rumours which had gone forth.


had understood, that the order given by the Admiralty to the commander of the Scourge was, to confine Mitchel in a separate cabin, wherein he was to take his meals, and to place a sentry over him. He was sorry to say, that the answer he had just received, showed that that order had been deviated from; and he wished now to be informed whether any notice had been taken of that which certainly appeared to him a direct disobedience of orders on the part of Commander Wingrove, by the Admiralty, or the Admiral of the station.


said, the order given to Commander Wingrove was to take every precaution for the safe custody of Mitchel; and, having consideration to the state of his health, to treat him in all respects as a convict. It appeared, the accommodasion the ship afforded did not allow of his having a separate cabin to take his meals in; and the captain, under those circumstances, thought it right to place him where he would be under his own eye, and at the same time separated from the other officers of the ship, with whom he never messed.

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