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Colonial Cases

Captain Dawson 1788

Captain Dawson

Court Martial, Portsmouth

Admiral Peyton, October-November 1788

Source: Times, 28 October 1788


Portsmouth, Oct. 26. This morning Admiral Peyton, appointed by the Lords of the Admiralty to superintend the trial of the Lieutenant of the Phaeton, hoisted his flag on board the Edgar, on which ship the court-martial will be held the beginning of this present week.  

Times, 11 November 1788



  On Friday, a Court-Martial was held on board the Edgar, and proceeded to the trial of George Dawson, of the Phaeton. The members of the Court-Martial we have stated in a preceding paper.

  Fourteen different charges were exhibited against George Dawson, Esq., Captain of the Phaeton, by Mr. Wilkie, the Master of the said ship; the heads of which were nearly as follows.

That he interrupted the said Master in his duty in piloting the ship, and refused him boats to gain improvement in his professional knowledge, to the detriment of his Majesty's service'

Of interfering in the Purser's victualling the ship, by which the Purser suffered greatly, and of refusing him boats when required, though they were not on any other duty;

Of cruelty and oppression to every officer in general, particularly to his third Lieutenant, Ch. M. Stoker, and of threatening him;

Of turning Mr. Roger Mears, a very amiable young gentleman, and one who bids fair for being an honour to the service, out of the ship, in a foreign port; and thereby exposing him to great indignity, disgrace, distress and want, without any apparent crime, or assigning a cause;

Of defrauding Mr. Hawes, by turning him, without any known cause, off the quarter-deck, and prohibiting him from walking any part, but on the forecastle, to the detriment of his health'

Of a similar treatment of Mr. Boulton - all which were gentlemen  of the most unexceptionable characters;

Of not suppressing, but conniving at repeated riots on board, particularly of one on the 16th of August last, and of countenancing the authors and abettors of them;

Of seizing and appropriating the men's  property, to his own use;

Of being guilty of many acts of meanness, highly derogatory to his high rank, and the naval service;

Of never paying any regard to the Lord's day, but rather studiously finding out extraordinary work on that day to the great uneasiness of the well disposed, and to the propagation and encouragement of vice and immorality, and of giving false and unjust statements of his ship, and spreading other palpable falsehoods, by letters, to the Navy-board, to the great detriment of the naval service; and of being reported, in the ship, as a common liar.

Previous to this last, I should have mentioned another - that of disrating some very worthy young Gentlemen, and rating others in their room, to give them their time, but on conditions of appropriating the additional pay to their own private life.

  Lieutenant Wale, late first Lieut. of the Phaeton, was then called, whose evidence was extremely tedious, and was not finished the first day.

The Court adjourned to Saturday. (To be farther reported.)


Times, 12 November 1788




  The Court proceeded to examine Lieutenant Wall, whose evidence was extremely tedious, and proved nothing very material.

  Mr. Lucas was then called, though very little could be collected from his evidence, as he appears very deficient in memory.

  Capt. Dawson rose and gave a slip of paper to the Judge Advocate, which he read as follows

  Gentlemen of the Court, I beg your protection, that the prosecutor may not be permitted to interrogate on those points which have not been proved, - that are not in the charges cried Capt. Thompson. - He repeated again, that had not been proved.  The Court replied, that nothing was yet fully proved, and that he should be interrogated only on the charges.  The petition was then withdrawn.

  The Master, Mr. Wilkie, then proceeded to interrogate the evidence.  The questions asked were mostly the same, or of the same tendency, as those asked the last evidence, but the answers more generally in favour of the Captain, and often tended to accuse the accuser.  He proved, that the ship sailed from Spithead the 2d of December, 1786, in an unprepared state, not having her anchors stowed for a storm, though very well for pilot water.  He could not swear that the Captain had ever refused Mr. Wilkie a boat for improvement in professional knowledge, but he swore he had often granted them.  He acknowledged Mr. Wilkie's being publicly reprimanded before the ship's company, for not giving the Captain's servants beer over night, though the first lieutenant only could order the hold to be opened, as the allowance of beer was issued out for the day, but he could not think the Master was ever treated with any severity at all.

  He was next called on to prove Capt. Dawson a reputed liar. Here he swore that the Phaeton, when Capt. Dawson represented her to the Navy Board as a perfect wreck, was not a wreck, nor any thing like it.  He swore that Capt. Dawson told the officers of health, at Leghorn, that the Pearl, had lain 40 days in quarantine at Gibraltar, in a place by herself, he (Lieut. Lucas) swore she was lying within the Mole, among the fleet.  He also swore that Capt. Dawson reprimanded him, for telling the truth to the officers of health at Leghorn, by acknowledging they had been at Tangier four days before their leaving Gibraltar.  In short, the sum of his evidence tended to this, that if Capt. Dawson was not a reputed liar, he could on some occasions dispense with truth; and, when the good of the service required it, be angry with it.

  The Master, in the first part of his questioning this witness appeared much confused, so that the Court was sometime obliged to correct him


  A little past ten o'clock, the Court sat again on the trial of Capt. Dawson.

  Mr. Lucas's examination by the defendant took up nearly the first three hours.  Nothing new occurred.  It was in most respects similar to the evidence of the preceding day.

  Mr. Stoker was then called.  When he came to that part of the charge relative to Capt. Dawson's turning Mr. Mears out of the ship at Gibraltar, and disgracing several other Gentlemen - the witness gave them all a very good character, and could give no reason for the marks of reproach.  He alleged, that the Captain's servant had carried down, at one time. 1000 or1500 lemons or oranges, to sell in the Cockpit; That he himself saw then there offered to sale.  That Sunday had not in general been distinguished. At half past seven the Court adjourned. (To be farther reported.)


Times, 14 November 1788




  On Monday the Court Martial on Captain Dawson, of the Phaeton frigate, was again resumed.

  At a quarter past nine the Court opened and the Third Lieutenant, Stoker, was first called.

  Accuser - Can you charge your memory with any instance in which Capt. Dawson has deliberately either denied his own words, or made misrepresentations of them?

[The answer tended to shew, that he had deliberately denied his own words.]

  Court - Did you hear Capt. Dawson say that he knew of any of the charges referred against the Surgeon, except that of the 17th of August last? - Answer - Capt. Dawson said something to that effect.

  The Captain was now ordered to ask any questions of the evidence he thought proper.  The questions he asked were much of the same nature as those he asked the First and Second Lieutenants, and the answers were little different.  However, the whole of this evidence was far from being so favourable to the Captain as the former two.  In particular, the Captain wished to insinuate, that the Admiral's Secretary had been once on board, with an intent if possible, to have matters compromised between the surgeon and the other gentlemen, without proceeding to the extremity of a Court Martial.  It was acknowledged he had been on board, but whether with that intent or not, the Lieutenant could not say.

  The Purser, Mr. Stephens was next called. - The Court determined that no question relating to seamanship should be asked him.  During the time he was absent on shore, for his minutes, John Sokel, the Captain's steward was called, and examined; the sum of his evidence was, That he never knew the master nor the purser threatened; that he carried back a day's work to one of the Gentlemen; he does not remember whether it was Mr. Bolton or not, and told him, that the Captain would not look at his weekly account unless he set it on a larger piece of paper.  He said that he had lost three capons; that he found a fowl with one of the seamen, which he had every reason to believe was the Captain's.

  Captain - Did not the master send for the sail maker, and, without any orders, have one of the awnings altered, and a large piece of canvass taken out of it?  I had then the watch on deck; what the master did was by my orders.  The large piece of canvass you mention, was, to the best of my recollection, about six inches square.

  (To be further reported.)


Times, 15 November 1788




 Mr. Stephens the Purser concluded his examination.

  Mr. Wilkie had, before the Purser was called, given in  a paper to the Court, signifying, that, from an ignorance of the fords of Court-martials, he had, he believed, given the Court some unnecessary trouble, in going through the whole charges with each witness; to avoid which, in future, he meant only to examine them with regard to those charges to which he thought they might, from their knowledge of them, give answer to the purpose; also attributing his not having mentioned the charges before, to the general slur which attends an inferior officer trying his superior; and declaring his only motive for trying Capt. Dawson, was the good of the service, and the vindication of injured characters, whereof his own was not the least.

  Capt. Dawson then presented a paper, begging that the Court would not suffer the Master to make use of expressions which might argue another accusation.  What he said proved nothing to the purpose with respect to the question then in hand.

  Mr. Stephens then began, from a copy of the original minutes, which had been selected, to read a conference which he had with Capt. Dawson; but had not read twenty lines when Capt. Dawson interrupted him by declaring, that the evidence was unfair.

  Admiral Peyton then remarked to Capt. Dawson, that the witness was sworn, and had a right to speak.

  Capt. Thomson supposed Capt. Dawson meant to object to the Minutes. - He answered in the affirmative - when, though he had before consented to their being read, the Court was cleared to consider of the question - "If the Minutes could be allowed?"

  When the Court opened again, they agreed to admit the Purser's original Minutes, but not the copy.  The original being asked, he was sent to produce it, and another witness was called on.  This was the Captain's Steward.

 The remaining part of this day's evidence appeared very favourable to the Purser.

  The Court adjourned.


It was next proposed, that about this time the men were ordered to be served their whole allowance of oatmeal raw, and shortly after half of it boiled and half raw; That Captain Dawson had often refused him boats on duty, and that he had sometimes hired boats, and often had other Commander's boats; That Captain Dawson told him her should never have the launch, if he demanded it as his right' but that the  next day it was granted him as a particular favour; That the Captain had once threatened him on a supposed crime of intending to buy shoes for the ship's company, but that he had cleared himself of any such intent, at a place where there was a naval storekeeper; That the Captain had often given him verbal orders to purchase provision, but had afterwards refused to give him written orders to enable him to pass his accounts; he however acknowledged that the Captain had given him every necessary order since.

  The Court demanded if it was since the Court Martial was ordered, or wrote for, on the 28th of last month.  He replied it was about that time, but he believed before; he could not be certain to a day before or after.

  The Purser next proved that he himself had paid Mr. Mitchell, the Captain's Clerk fifteen ponds, being the difference between Seaman's and Midshipman's pay, on account of Mr. Richard Curry, rated Midshipman on that account, and that the said Mr. Mitchell was rated Clerk.

  The Prosecutor asked the evidence what he knew of riots on the 1st January, 1788 - The Purser owned that he heard some abuse of Captain Dawson, but did not know if the Captain heard it.

  Mr. Curry, Midshipman, called.

  Question - What time were you informed that you was rated sand how long? - Answer - On the fourth of March 1788, and that I was rated since January 1787.

  Question - Did not the Captain say you must give your pay to the Clerk? - Answer - I asked him if I was not to have able pay? - He told me the pay was no object to me.  All that my friends wished was my time served, and that the difference above able pay was a mere trifle, but from that day I was rated for myself.

  Question - What money had Mr. Mitchell, the Clerk, of you? -Answer - He drew fifteen pounds on my father.

  Court - How came he to draw only fifteen pounds for fourteen months service?  that was not enough? Answer - I do not know; Mr. Stephen, the Purser, drew it.  I did not see the bill, nor know of it till some days after.

  The Court asked, if Mr. Stephen, the Purser, had orders to draw on his father when he wanted money; and was only answered, that he endorsed his bills, but that the purser had written to his father about it.  Several questions were asked by the Court, such as, if he knew that Mr. Mitchell, the Clerk, had given any of that money to the Captain? which he did not know.  If the Clerk was rated? he acknowledge was, with some others.

  The Captain, in cross-examining him, asked several questions tending to prove that he only meant Mr. Mitchell, the Clerk, to have the extra p[ay, which was but a trifle above an able seaman; but the Evidence stood to his former answer, that the whole pay was meant.  He was dismissed, and Mr. Mitchell, the Captain's Clerk, called. (To be further reported.-

Times, 17 November 1788




  On Tuesday, the Court Martial was again resumed.

 Having, in the course of the present trial, mentioned the Purser's certificate to the Captain, as necessary for passing the Captain's accounts, it may not be unnecessary to present a copy of it to our readers.

  "These are to certify, that G. D. Esq., Commander of his Majesty's ship P------, has signed all my books and papers necessary for passing my accounts, as Purser of the said ship, between the -------  and the ------. And I do further certify, that the said Captain G. D. hath not at any time commanded the victualling of any men, or the issuing of provisions, but by warrant under his hand; neither hath he at any time suspended, or confined me, noir refused me the use of the ship's

boats, on his Majesty's service.  Given under my hand, &c., E.S."

  It appeared at the trial, that at particular times, when he had hired boats, or been obliged to other commanders for them, that it was to bring himself on board, when he had been on shore on duty; and, when having sent off the boats with stores, and he obliged to stay behind to settle his accounts with victualling officers.  It was notoriously evident, that the Purser was very cautious in saying any thing to criminate the Captain; indeed, he declared publicly to the Court, that his evidence was in a manner forced upon him.  On the contrary, the Court reminded him more than once, to say nothing that could criminate himself.  The last line of the above certificate is that which he omitted in the Captain's certificate.


  Mr. William Mitchell called.

  He was first examined about some leaves being cut out of the log book, where Mr. Lucas, Second Lieutenant, had been noted down as confined.  He owned it had been noted down, and that he had wrote it out in the Captain's Journal to the Commodore, but had entered it again by the Captain's order.  The prosecutor then asked him, if he had ever made any agreement with the Captain for extra pay.  He answered, No.  Being desired to relate what had passed; he answered, that when he first came to Capt. Dawson, he was asked what he expected from the Captain; he told him, he first expected to be rated Clerk, and for any thing further, as he never made bargains with Captains of men of war, he would leave it to the Captain, who answered, that he was very right.

  Prosecutor - What further passed between the Captain and you, on that subject? - Answer - On the 3d of January, 1787, he desired me to rate Mr. Curry, midshipman, and as he only wanted his timer, I should have his pay, for his pay was no object to him.

  Court - Did you understand his whole pay, or only the difference of pay between an able seaman and a midshipman? - Answer - His whole pay.

  Prosecutor - What passed afterwards on that subject?  Answer - On the 4th of March 1788, I told the Captain, that every Captain I had sailed with in the war, made my pay as good as 50l. out of their own pocket; and that I was doing no good for myself by staying with him on my bare pay, and the affair of Mr. Curry's pay was so very precarious, that there was no dependence on it, without his own consent; for he must receive his pay at the pay-table himself.  He (the Captain) then sent for Mr. Curry, and told him the terms on which he was rated.

  The Court, with all the critical exactness of human sagacity, asked the evidence a number of questions about having made agreements with the Captain?

  Prosecutor - Do you know anything of the fowl said to be taken? -

  Capt. Berkley - Give me leave to ask the Prosecutor a question - Do you know any thing of its being taken? -It is already granted that it was taken, on the clearest evidence; you may call all the ship's company and ask that and such questions.  Your part is to assert matters and bring your evidence, and not keep the Court sitting six months filling paper with repetitions.

  Some other questions were asked, and answered much the same as before.  The Captain owned never having prayers on a Sunday, as they had no Chaplain; and that the men were sometimes employed, when necessary, on Sunday, and had sometimes the articles of war read. (To be further reported.)


Times, 18 November 1788




  On Wednesday, the Court Martial was again resumed.

  MAXWELL, Purser's Steward, called.

  All his examination related to the pease and oatmeal.  If he had been at any time obliged to serve more than the allowance, &c. He did not say he had.  He acknowledged he did not think the Purser was in any way in debt in these articles. He gave an account of a good deal of pease and oatmeal having been hove overboard, and  said, that when he complained to Lieut. Stoker, he damned the oatmeal and ship, and  said there was more fuss and trouble about her provisions, that all the fleet besides.  The Steward being asked if he complained to the Captain, owned that it was since his being under an arrest.

  Mr. Crook, Midshipman, called.

  He appeared at first under the greatest embarrassment and confusion, so far as hardly to know what he answered, and had very near contradicted himself, when the Court ordered that part of the Act of Parliament read, empowering the Courts Martial to imprison in case of prevarications.  After some time, he recovered a little, and the substance of his evidence was as follows:

  That the Surgeon had beat him publicly on the main deck; That he complained by letter to the  Captain; That the Captain would not suffer him to speak in the cabin, but told him he deserved to be turned out of the ship; That Lieut. Stoker had orders to make him keep the deck all the day as a punishment, and he had not liberty to go down till the Captain went out of the ship; That he then applied by letter for a Court-martial, and the Captain returned his letter by Lieut. Wall, and  said, if he wrote any more, he would turn him out of the ship.  The original of the last letter, and a copy of the first were produced.  Capt. Dawson had some objections to their being read.  The Court was cleared - when returned, they were ordered to be read.  The first stated, that the Surgeon came on deck, and accused him of striking his servant, gave him two severe blows, which made him reel against the gun.  This letter states the reason of his striking the boy, which was, that he had very insolently refused him a little water on the occasion to wash himself, the boy saying, he would be ---- if he would draw water for him or any body; and that several officers on the quarter-deck cried shame at him for suffering such words; further, that after he struck the boy two slight blows on the face, that could not hurt a child, the boy told him, "If I was a bit of an officer, you should not serve me so." In his second letter, requesting a Court-martial, he observed, that such behaviour is quite subversive of all naval discipline.

  Being asked by the Captain, if he had not struck the boy before twice, he denied it, and owned only striking him once before.  The Captain next asked him, if he did not reprimand the Surgeon in his cabinxxx - Answer - No; you only said I deserved it, and you were only sorry it was not done on shore.

  Mr. Jekins Boatswain, and Mr. Ormesby, Midshipan, were next called, but their evidence contained nothing material.


  Mr. M'Millin, Carpenter.

  The purport of his evidence was, that he did not tell the Captain the weight of the barricade on the quarter-deck was the cause of the ship's laboring at sea.  He thought, as Captain of the ship, it was better to be taken down; and it proved so, as the ship made much better weather.  He swore the ship's upper works were very leaky, the timber heads in the quarter partly rotten, and that on the whole the ship wanted repair, and was not only caulked in the lopsides, quarter, water-ways, &c., but in general.

  Mr. Boulton, Midshipman.

  This is the gentleman who was degraded for sending in his day's work on a small slip of paper.  The paper, the identical paper was produced; It was about three inches long, and two broad; and he was asked by both Court and Prisoner if that was the piece of paper to which he swore; as also that he thought he was turned off the quarter-deck for sending in that slip of paper alone.  It was dated the 12th of July last.  The first part of his evidence had so near a tendency to criminate himself, that the Court was cleared to consult on the occasion.  When returned, his examination was continued. He swore that Capt. Dawson often treated him ill; and being ordered to relate the particulars, he said Capt. Dawson always when he came on deck in his watch, if he was at any time absent from duty, enquired particularly for him.  The Court justly observed, that that might proceed from the captain's regard to him, wishing him to be attentive in learning his duty'; but he replied that the manner of his asking, sufficiently proved it did not flow from regard.  He swore, that being once on shore at Gibraltar, watering, he could not get the casks (butts) filled, till after sunset, and obtained the Governor's leave to have the gates so long open: That when filled, having no masts in the boats, nor tackles to get then in, and the water being low, so that they could not bring the boat to the wharf, they were forced to come away, and leave them till morning; That on coming on board he related to the Lieutenant of the Watch the affair, who informed the Captain of it, and that the Captain called him to his cabin, abused him much, and would not listen to his reasons, but ordered him out of the cabin , and ordered either Lieutenant to send him next day for them, not as officer of the boat, but as a punishment.  He further adds, that the Captain often damned him and his interest, and threatened to put him in irons if he spoke another word.

 Then Court asked him if he had ever heard Captain Dawson have any conversation at Leghorn with the Vice Consul? - Yes, he said, he heard him tell the Vice Consul that he thought it hard to be so long quarantine there, when they were so strict at Gibraltar; that he told him the Pearl frigate lay forty days quarantine, though she had only put a letter ashore.  And when asked by the Court if he had ever heard Captain Dawson utter any falsehood to the officers of health that might tend to the prejudice of the service by giving them a mean idea of the reputation, honour, and veracity of British officers in future, he replied, he had heard him utter falsehoods.

  The Court demanded what the falsehoods were.  He replied that Captain Dawson said the Pearl only left a letter at Tangiers, whereas she landed guns there also; and that the Pearl had not lain forty days quarantine at Gibraltar.  

  Court - How do you know she landed guns at Tangiers? - Answer -Captain said so under our quarter, who remonstrated with Captain Dawson about lying so long quarantine for landing a few guns.

  Court - Where did the Pearl lie quarantine? - Answer - In the bay, near the ships.

  Court - How far from the ships? - Answer - About three or four cables, I think. (To be further reported.)


Times, 19 November 1788




  On Wednesday, the Court Martial was again resumed.

  Mr. Boulton swore, that he was sent on shore to bring a man on board who had overstayed his liberty; that the man struck him once, and made several attempts to strike him, for which he had complained to the Captain through the Lieutenant of the watch, but received no satisfaction.  He owned the man was punished for overstaying his liberty; but his affair was not mentioned at the gangway.  The ship's log-book was read, and at the time mentioned was found Francis Courtney punished with twenty-four lashes for drunkenness, staying on shore without leave, and striking his superior officer.

  Mr. Clay, recalled.

  Court - How do you write your Journal, Sir? - Answer - Partly from the log-book, and partly my own remarks.

  Court - Do you write your own remarks as you make them? - Answer - Not always.  Sometimes I am behind two or three months.  I then write from the ship's log, but still I make my own remarks.

  Mr. Hawes, late Master's Mate.

  He swore that he was sent on shore at Tangiers to bring a cow, some sheep, &c. for Captain Dawson, with orders to return at sunset if he did not get them; That as he was returning, the parron of a setter, which was unloading cattle, called to him, and gave him a letter, requesting him to deliver it to one Haner, a butcher at Gibraltar.  That soon after, the first Lieutenant, Wall, told him he had a letter from the Governor, to the Governor of Gibraltar, which the Captain desired to have. He told the Lieutenant, by way of conversation, that he had a letter to a private person there, but none for the Governor, and if the captain wished to carry it himself, he should give it him.  Early in the forenoon, the Captain came on board, and weighed anchor, and as they were running out of the harbor, as his duty called him near the Captain, he spoke to him with a degree of heat and passion he thought he had not deserved, and demanded the letter from the Governor of Tangiers, which he said he was to take charge of for General O'Hara.  He now related all he had said before to the Captain, and further told him, had it been a letter on service, he would have instantly given it up to the commanding officer; and., as it was, he would give it up; if the Captain would give it up, as he had been ordered to deliver it.  Whether the Captain was enraged at my mentioning any conditions to him or not, I cannot say, (continued the evidence) but in a great rage he ordered me to bring him the letter he demanded.  I then informed him that I looked on a private letters as private property, and since he would not take it when I offered it, I did not think myself bound to deliver it by compulsion; on which, in a rage, he ordered me below, from the quarter-deck, in which situation I have continued ever since.  (To be further reported.)


Times, 20 November 1788




  Mr. Shuttleworth, Surgeon's mate - Swore, that he saw the man, said in a former paper to be struck by Mr. William Boulton, and to spit blood on the occasion, come and complain to the late Surgeon (for he is dead in law, being under sentence) but he did not see him spit blood; he, however, saw some drops of blood upon his arm.

It was he only who could prove the property, and the captain a party concerned in the crime, if not the principal.  Unfortunately, or rather according to the ideas of some, fortunately, he was not to be found; he had been missing three days.  The prisoner's face seemed to glow with pleasure, and the Court of Justice appeared to rest satisfied.


  At ten o'clock the Court met.  Capt. Dawson was called on for his defence.  He bowed to the Court, and begged it would indulge him till ----- There were many things in his evidence that would require strict looking into.  He begged the Court would grant him time till Tuesday morning.  The Court murmured approbation.  The President told Capt. Dawson, that the Court would grant him till Monday, and if he was not then ready, he durst say the Court would grant him further leave; and adjourned till Monday 17th inst. at half past ten o'clock.


 This morning the Court Martial met, when Capt, Dawson was called on for his defence; but not being prepared, the Court gave him till Wednesday.  He requested further time, which was refused.


Times, 22 November 1788




  On Tuesday the Court Martial was again resumed, when Capt. Dawson begged their patience till the next day.


Wednesday, Nov. 19.

  At eleven o'clock the Court assembled and opened.  Captain Dawson gave in his defence, on several. Sheets pf paper stitched together, which took nearly an hour in reading. After expatiating on the great patience of the Court, the time the business had detained them, and their sagacity in clearing up every thing to the bottom, he proceeded to answer each of the fourteen charges against him in regular order. - (The substance of which, from its length, we are obliged to defer till Monday.)

  Immediately after the reading of his defence, he produced all the orders he ever gave or received in the ship; among which was the letter sent him by the Navy-board, approving his alteration, by the Commodore approving his conduct in his absence - by Lieut. Lucas begging forgiveness after the riot on the 16th of August last; and an other from Mr. Bowen's friend, recommending him to the Captain's care, and requesting, if possible, he mat rate him about fourteen months, and give his extra pay to any person he thinks proper.  The reading of all these took up about three quarters of an hour; the prisoner then proceeded to call in evidence in support of his defence, none of which appeared very material, several of the witnesses contradicting each other.

  The evidence concluded and the Court adjourned till next morning at nine o'clock.


Thursday, Nov. 20.

  The Court assembled at nine, and sat till past one, when the Captain was called, and the Judge Advocate read audibly the Preamble of the Sentence, setting forth the President's and Members' names, the orders received for the trial of the prisoner, a recapitulation of the charges against him, and their mature deliberation, &c., concluding, that the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, part of the 10th, the 13th, and part of the fourteenth charges, were ill-founded, scandalous, malicious, and subversive of all good government and discipline in the navy; and the part of the 10th, the 11th, 12th, and part of the 13th charged, were fully proved; and therefore sentenced the said George Dawson to be DISMISSED FROM HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE.'


Times, 24 November 1788

Defence of Capt. George Dawson, of the Phaeton Frigate, to the Charges exhibited to the Court Martial appointed for his trial (referred to in Saturday's Papers.)

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School