Search This Blog

Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Reference by Landais to Jacob Nutter

Less than a week away from raising the American coast, the officers and passengers were so concerned about the near mutinous state of the crew that on Friday August 11th 1780, the officers went to Landais' cabin and attempted to convince him to make for the nearest American port; that being Boston.  Landais complained of being ill and refused to hear their petition.  Instead, he retired to his bed and fell asleep.  The officers, dismayed at Landais' lack of command since the incident of August 5th decided that they would appoint one of their own to command the ship.  The logical choice was the first lieutenant, James Degge.  The catch was that he had been previously put under arrest and confined to his cabin by Landais since the 14th of July for refusing to take Landais orders and assaulting him during a drunken fit.  The officers went to Degge and asked him to take command of the ship, which he accepted.

During the evening of the 11th, Landais awoke and looked at the compass mounted over his bed and noted that the course was not set as he expected for Philadelphia.  He went on deck to confront the officer of the watch about the unexpected course change.  Here is Landais' account per written testimony given at his court-martial.

"About an hour after, I believe, the steward brought me word all the officers wanted to speak to me.  I told them they might come, however they came in and told me they thought in their opinion in the present circumstances that the ship was not in a proper condition to go to Philadelphia and the neccesity to go to Boston and present me with a paper they said containing it.  I answered them I knew the situation the ship was in and thought selfish interest  was in great part the occasion of it.  As to their opinion I had not asked it since Congress' order was to carry the ship to Philadelphia I would never consent to break them.  They asked me to go on the Qtr deck.  I told them I was sick and knew too well how they had supported me and that they wanted me to go for to see me laughed at.  Mr. Elwood told me then to show him my orders as if I had satisfied him and the others it was in their power to go to Philadelphia.  I thought it pretty high of Mr. Elwood after I had told him it was Congress' orders to carry the ship to Philadelphia, to ask me to see it.  One may observe what share they had in all the people's conduct.  Mr. Blodget began to read their opinions.  I told them I would never listen to opinions against Congress' order.  Keeping looking then they resolved to leave their opinions on the table and went away.  I sent for my clerk who said their opinion as it is now.  The ship went always under sail.  I heard no tumult, neither saw the course altered, what convinced me it was the officers who initiated the people.  For how could I have prevented it if the people resolved to get Master of the ship.  As I have look half past nine the course was always kept.  I fell asleep and half past two AM I awoke, look at the compass, since the ship was steering WNW I got up, went to the companion, called for the officer on watch.  He did not hear.  Jacob Nutter, Qtr Master called Mr. Buckley who was laying on one of the starboard guns.  I told him to mind that the course was altered against my written order and went away... "

Here is the original handwritten testimony referencing Jacob Nutter:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.