[taken from Chapter 7 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

PETER HEYWOOD (b. 1772, d. 1831)

was the third son of Deemster Peter Heywood (see p. 93.) and Elizabeth, daughter of James Spedding, of Whitehaven. He entered the Royal Navy in 1786, and made his first voyage as midshipman in the " Bounty," commanded by Captain Bligh, in the following year. The "Bounty " was bound for the South Sea Islands to make scientific observations. Captain Bligh was a great martinet, and there was, consequently, much discontent among the crew. On arrival at the Friendly Islands this feeling culminated in open mutiny, which was headed by FLETCHER CHRISTIAN, the " master's mate " (also a Manxman and one of the Christians of Milntown). The mutineers put Captain Bligh, together with 19 of the crew who remained faithful to him, on board a launch. They suffered the most extraordinary dangers and privations, but ultimately reached England. As soon as the English Government heard of the mutiny it sent out the " Pandora " frigate, which, in March, 1791, arrived at Otalieite, where HEYWOOD and thirteen others were found. On the way home the Pandora was wrecked, and some of the crew and of the prisoners were drowned The remainder, among whom was HEYWOOD, arrived in England in June, 1792. HEYWOOD was at once brought to trial, and, though he stated that he had been confined below while the mutiny was going on, and did not learn what had happened till after Captain Bligh had been cut adrift, he was found guilty, not of mutiny, but of not having endeavoured to suppress it. He was recommended to His Majesty's mercy, and in due course received a free pardon. On the express recommendation of Lord Hood, who had presided at his court-martial. he was permitted to re-enter the navy, going on board the "Bellerophon." He took part in several actions against the French, and, in 1797, Earl Spencer, who had attentively considered the evidence given at HEYWOOD'S trial, wrote to his captain, Sir Thomas Pasley, to say there was nothing in it to stand in the way of his promotion, " more especially when the gallantry and propriety of his conduct in his subsequent service are taken into consideration."

He became a post-captain in 1803 ; and, after a career of important and responsible service, including two diplomatic missions to South America, he was, in 1813, appointed to the command of the " Montagu, " of 74 guns, in which he served in the North Sea and afterwards in the Mediterranean under( Lord Exmouth. He returned to England in 1816, when the " Montagu" was paid off. He was greatly beloved by his officers and crew, by one of whom the following lines were written at that time

Farewell to thee, Heywood ! a truer one never
Hath exercised rule o'er the sons of the sea ;
The seamen who served thee would see for ever,
Who sway'd, but ne'er fettered, the hearts of the brave.

In this same year he married, and, as he was in a weak state of health, having never really recovered from his sufferings after the mutiny, he declined a commodore's command in the Canadian lakes which was offered to him by Lord Melville in 1818. From this period he lived in London in complete seclusion. This excellent officer and man had a well-proportioned figure, and was rather above the middle height. His features were regular and good, and indicative of a calm, observant, and reflecting mind. He was cheerful in demeanour, and was a lively and versatile conversationalist. " We do not hesitate," says Marshall in his " Naval Biography," " to say that his king and country never had a more faithful servant, nor the naval service a more worthy and respectable member." (From the Memoir by Edward Taggart London, 1832.)

[see also Nessie Heywood]


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