§ MR. SERJEANT GASELEE
said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is true that a seaman on board the Favourite died under the operation of flogging; and, whether it was known to the surgeon of the ship that 36 he was at the time labouring under a disease of the heart?
Sir, in answering the Question of the hon. and learned Gentleman, perhaps the House will allow me, as it has reference to a case which has excited a very painful interest, to read some extracts from documents which the Admiralty have received on the subject. The Senior Lieutenant of Her Majesty's ship Favourite says in his Official Report—In compliance with your memorandum of the 19th of October, regarding the circumstances with which I am acquainted of the death of George Addison, I have the honour to report that on the evening of the 18th of October, about 6.30 p.m., George Addison was reported to me drunk, and on seeing him on the quarter-deck, in the presence of the officer of the watch and the master-at-arms, I ordered him under the sentry's charge on the starboard side of the steerage abreast the mainmast. His manner was so violent and noisy that I considered it necessary that he should be gagged (which was done about 6.55 p.m.) to prevent him making a disturbance in the ship.…. The time that elapsed between the gag being applied and removed was, to the best of my belief, about a quarter of an hour. I then reported the case to you, and you ordered me to send the master-at-arms on shore to search for a man breaking his leave. The sergeant had charge during the absence of the master-at-arms, and visited the prisoner in the steerage several times. At about 8.30 p.m. the Assistant-Surgeon was called away from the ward room.At nine o'clock, when the Assistant-Surgeon visited the unfortunate man, he found that life was extinct. The Surgeon of the ship reported as follows:—I have the honour to inform you that the man mentioned (George Addison) was brought on board at 6.30 p.m. on the 18th of October, 1867, in a violent state of excitement from drink. As this man was observed by the sergeant of Marines to be unusually quiet the medical officer on board was called to see him at 8.30 p.m., when he found that life was extinct. From a reference to the Sick Journal I find that this man has been nine times on the sick list for periods varying from two days to sixty-two days, and that he had suffered from scrofula, and from lung and heart disease. … I am of opinion that this man's death resulted from disease of the heart, accelerated by the use of the alcoholic poison; and probably, also, by the use of the gag employed to quiet him.On the circumstances being reported to Vice Admiral Sir G. R. Mundy a Court of Inquiry was ordered to be held by Captain Hamilton, of Her Majesty's ship Sphinx, and Captain Heysham, of Her Majesty's ship Fawn, who made the following Report:—First, That there appears to have been nothing unusual, according to the custom of the service, in giving the order to gag the late George 37 Addison; second, that the medical evidence points directly at the impropriety of the form of the gag which was used, in which we fully concur, believing also that the gag was too tightly drawn. Third, That there is no reason to attribute intentional cruelty or want of consideration to George Addison on the part of William Dawtry, the master-at-arms, who applied the gag. Fourth, That no precautionary measures appear to have been neglected as regards the visitation of the prisoner by the police. Fifth, That there is no evidence to show that anyone on board suspected that the prisoner was dead until the sergeant sent for the Assistant Surgeon. Sixth, That the medical officers appointed to assist us in this investigation concur in these opinions.Dr. Kaye, the coroner for the island, who attended the inquiry on board the Favourite, by express invitation, expressed himself satisfied that the evidence adduced, and especially that given by the two medical officers, proved that the man having died while under restraint was a perfectly accidental, although untoward, event. Under these circumstances, Vice Admiral Sir G. R. Mundy, in reporting the case to the Secretary of the Admiralty, said—I beg to state that Captain Shortt has informed me that the ship's company have been satisfied with the inquiry which has been instituted, and trust their Lordships will consider that the whole case has been dealt with by me in a manner suitable to its requirements.But it appeared to us that this very painful case required further investigation, and, accordingly, a Court martial was directed to be held on the First Lieutenant and upon the master-at-arms for the manslaughter of Addison. The result of that Court martial, which was held in January, was that both prisoners were fully acquitted. I was entirely ignorant of the fact that "gagging" was practised in the navy, and on my attention being drawn to the subject, an Admiralty Order was issued prohibiting the practice for the future, and ordering that men when noisy and violent should be confined in cells.