THE HONOURABLE EAST INDIA COMPANY SERVICE

DISOBEDIENCE AND SUBSEQUENT COURT MARTIAL ON THE LORD KEITH

Two incidents recorded in the ship's log of the Lord Keith by Captain Campbell on the return voyage from Calcutta, on Wednesday 20th March 1811. Following, are details of the subsequent Court Marshall which took place on board the hulk Raisonable at Sheerness in late September 1811.

Extracts from the Journal.
At 10pm Confined Mr Rawes 1st Officer & Mr Davis 2nd ditto under arrest for disobedience of my orders & neglect of duty. [this last entry crossed out] N.B. This should have been entered at 10pm.

On Sunday 24th March 1811, At about half past 8pm I was in my Cabin. I was alarmed by the cry of Fire & went immediately upon deck when I found Fire blazing most violently about 3 feet high from the deck on the Larboard Side near the After Hatchway. On enquiring I found it was Dr Fleming had been trying Experiments with some Phosphorous composition by which we had a most narrow escape from being burnt. Several on deck were scorched in endeavouring to extinguish the flames. I, in consequence was much displeased at the imprudence of the Dr & reprimanded him severely for his conduct, on which he acknowledged his error. I first then heard Mr Davis the 2nd Officer who was under arrest below, call out, Oh you damned coward I thought you were a man of more courage than to have put up with such Language. This was evidently meant to encourage the Dr to be as mutinous as himself & to oppose me in carrying on the duty, in extinguishing the Fire. When the Fire was completely out I went down to get Mr Davis secured, as I conceived if he would not remain quiet under the Common arrest of being confined to his Cabin but on the Contrary would still encourage others to be mutinous, that it was an indispensable duty of mine to confine him so as to prevent him again acting in that way to the great danger of the ship. I went down & told him I would put him in Irons He dared me to Strike him or confine him & afterwards laid hold of me & struck at me. I, in consequence confined both his legs in Irons, handcuffed him & stapled him down to the Deck in his own Cabin.

On Tuesday 26th March 1811, Captain Campbell wrote: At 10am I directed Mr Rawes 1st Officer to his duty again.

Details of the Court Marshall
1: The Morning Chronicle - Saturday 28 Sept. 1811, issue 13226: Court Martial on board the Raisonable at Sheerness of Mr Joseph Davis, 2nd Officer of the Lord Keith.
2: The Examiner - Sunday 29 Sept 1811, issue 196: Court Martial on board the Raisonable at Sheerness of Mr Joseph Davis, 2nd Officer of the Lord Keith.

3: The Examiner - Sunday 6 Oct. 1811, issue 197: Court Martial on board the Raisonable at Sheerness of Mr Joseph Davis, 2nd Officer of the Lord Keith.

Joseph Davis
Born 12 May 1784 Redbridge, Hants; 3rd mate Alexander (3) 1803/4 & 1805/6; 2nd mate Alexander (3) 1807/8; 2nd mate Lord Keith 1809/10.] On the 20th March 1811 there was an occurance on board ship involving Mr Davis, Mr Rawes and Captain Campbell. This resulted in him being confined to his cabin. On the 24th there was a further altication resulting in Mr Davis being put into chains. See Google Books for the probable retirement of Joseph Davis 9 March 1832 when he was a "Messenger in the Master Attendant's Office at India House.

The Raisonable:
Built at Chatham, 10 December launched 1768. 3rd rate, armament 64. She was broken up in March 1815. She had a long and varied career and was the first ship on which Lord Nelson served. See Wikipaedia and Pbenyon for her history. In November 1810 she was made a hulk and towed to Sheerness where in October 1811 she was the venue for the Court Martial of Mr Joseph Davis.


HMS Raisonable