BLTC Press Titles


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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle


The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


American state trials

by John Davison Lawson

Excerpt:

Before Neal and Hopkins left the ship for the captain, Tulley, the mate, ordered them to hoist the sails, which they refused to do unless he told them what it was for as they noticed that the cables had been cut. He refused to say, but told them to hoist the sails and then he would give them the boat to go for the captain. They did so and then left in the boat. Owen, the cook, wanted to go with them, but Tulley would not let him. The men remaining on board were now only four; Tulley, the mate, Cummings, Dalton and Owen, the cook. The ship immediately put to sea and for the next two weeks Tulley and Dalton were at the wheel alternately. Cummings, who was a foreigner, soon showed signs of fright at what was being done, and the day before land was sighted, was thrown overboard by Tulley and Dalton after a struggle.1 The next day they scuttled the vessel, Tulley having distributed to Dalton and Owen a quantity of specie with the injunction not to tell anyone the truth, and all landed in a small boat on what proved to be the Island of St. Lucie. At first Owen told the story that Tulley had instructed him to tell; that the ship had been wrecked and that the captain had gone off in one boat with the other seamen and he and the rest in the other; but after a time he became uneasy and finally confessed the whole case to an American captain he met on the Island.2 The three were arrested and handed over to the United States officer who took them to New Bedford, and finally to Boston, where they were committed to prison.3 Captain Levy subsequently learning from the American Consul at St . Lucie of their arrest, went there and about $1,350 in specie and some of his effects which the prisoners had brought from the ship were returned to him.4

Tulley was a native of Pennsylvania, a man of fair education and a good seaman, having for most of his life followed that calling. He was forty-two years old. Dalton (or Heathcoat, which was his real name) was only twenty-two, of English birth, and uneducated. Owen was a negro.

On October 15, 1812, the Grand Jury for the Circuit Court of the United States for Massachusetts, sitting at Boston, returned indictments against Tulley and Dalton for (1) piracy; for (2) the murder of Cummings, and for (3) feloniously scuttling and casting away a vessel on the high seas. The government decided to prosecute them on the first indictment.8

1 John Owen, p. 48.

2 John Owen, p. 48.

3 James Holmes, p. 46. * Uriah P. Levy, p. 47.

5 They were not tried for the murder of Cummings because there

The trial took place on October 28,1812, before Mr. Justice Story and Judge Davis. The principal witness for the government was Owen the cook and the defense was that the ship had blown out to sea before the captain and sailors returned and that the act was not Piracy in law. The jury found both prisoners guilty, and after overruling a motion for a new trial they were sentenced by Mr. Justice Story to be hanged on December 10th.

An extraordinary incident, dramatic and inhuman, occurred on the scaffold. After being taken in a coach to the place of execution, the Marshal read the death warrant, and a deputy a partial confession which Tulley had written. The rope was then placed around the neck of Tulley and the bolt drawn. The officers then took Dalton, removed his collar, pinioned his arms, and drew the black cap over his head. At this awful moment the Marshal stepped to the front and after a bombastic introduction read a reprieve which had been sent to him by the President of the United States. A month later Dalton received a full pardon.

THE TRIAL8

In the United States Circuit Court, Massachusetts District. Boston, October, 1812.

seemed some doubt from the testimony of Owen (see p. 48) whether the killing of Cummings might not have been the result of an attack by him upon the other two, and, at all events, piracy was a capital crime just as much as murder.


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