§ MR. HENEAGE (Grimsby)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty who is responsible for the blunders, commencing with the long imprisonment of William Thompson, arrested, by mistake, as a deserter from the Navy, and culminating in the attachment of Captain Woodward, and his being taken, under charge of a Sheriff's officer, to Winchester Gaol, whilst in command of the Receiving Ship of Her Majesty's Fleet at Portmouth; and whether Captain Woodward was on board Her Majesty's ship when his arrest was demanded by a Civil Authority; and, if so, by whose order he surrendered himself to the Sheriff's officer?
§ * THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
The primary cause of the mistake was the false statements made by Thompson, which, coupled with his resemblance to the actual deserter, misled the Police and Naval Authorities into the belief that he was a deserter. Captain Woodward is not exempt from arrest by a Civil Authority, and did not require any order to surrender himself to the Sheriff, who was authorized by a 419 decision of the High Court to make his arrest.
§ MR. HENEAGE
My question referred not so much to Thompson as to Captain Woodward. Is it not the case that ho was only acting on the orders of his superiors, and for that got himself into trouble?
§ * LORD G. HAMILTON
It is a very complicated question. Captain Woodward no doubt got orders before he received the writ from the Queen's Bench, and it was owing to some doubt as to the way in which he should carry them out that he acted as he did.