Cap­tain Hol­land’s sur­vey and mil­i­tary jus­tice

A harsh sen­tence but mercy pre­vails

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - COMMUNITY FEATURES -

Editor’s note: This is one of a se­ries by Earle Lockerby re­count­ing the de­tails of Capt. Hol­land’s Sur­vey in 1764/1765. This sub­mis­sion is for the week end­ing July 18.

Sa­muel Hol­land was a soldier, al­most all of his sur­vey team mem­bers were sol­diers and mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline and reg­i­men pre­vailed. We have seen mil­i­tary pun­ish­ment in ac­tion with the whip­ping of sea­men of the Canceaux for in­sub­or­di­na­tion, drunk­en­ness and theft. We have seen the pe­ri­odic read­ing of the ar­ti­cles of war to the men. July 16 was wit­ness to a court mar­tial or­dered by Sa­muel Hol­land, Cap­tain in His Majesty's 60th Reg­i­ment of Foot.

The pris­oner was John Had­dock, whose name was some­times spelled Had­dox and, at other times, At­tocks. He was a soldier in the 60th Reg­i­ment who had been re­cruited at Que­bec by Hol­land be­fore com­ing to the Is­land in Oc­to­ber 1764. He was a mem­ber of Thomas Wright's sur­vey crew and per­haps was a trou­ble­some worker. Ac­cord­ing to a record of the court mar­tial, Hol­land had or­dered Had­dock “con­fined ... for dis­obe­di­ence of or­ders.”

Pre­sid­ing over the court was Lieut. Ge­orge Burns of the 45th Reg­i­ment of Foot who had fought with Hol­land at Louis­bourg and later served with the gar­ri­son at Forth Amherst. He seems to have re­tired from the army in 1763 or 1764, set­tling on the Is­land near St. Peters. Also sit­ting on the court were Lieut. John Pringle, one of Hol­land's deputy sur­vey­ors, and En­sign Mer­ri­weather, ap­par­ently an of­fi­cer from the gar­ri­son at Fort Amherst.

Thomas Wright in­formed the court that he had given Had­dock “charge of his In­stru­ments that he might have them in proper or­der when­ever he had oc­ca­sion for them; that he or­dered the Pris­oner to go about a mile for some part of them, upon which he the pris­oner replied ‘ Damn his blood if he would,' or words to that pur­pose.”

The record con­tin­ues: “the pris­oner be­ing put upon his de­fence, ac­knowl­edged the crime laid to his charge. The Court are of opin­ion, that the pris­oner is guilty, there­fore sen­tence him to re­ceive four hun­dred lashes with a cat of Nine Tails.” The record is signed by Burns and ini­tialed by Hol­land, show­ing his ap­proval.

How­ever, an an­no­ta­tion in­di­cates that “on ap­pli­ca­tion of Mr. Wright in favour of the Pris­oner the sen­tence is re­prieved.” Had­dock re­mained with the sur­vey party for a time but ap­pears to have left it about half­way through 1766 while Cape Bre­ton was be­ing sur­veyed.

Hol­land wrote that Burns had “con­veyed his fam­ily and Ser­vants on the Is­land, [and has] been at con­sid­er­able ex­pense in build­ing a House and Barn, also stock­ing a tract of land.” Ow­ing to his mil­i­tary ser­vice Burns re­ceived a one-third share of Lot 40 in the land lottery of 1767. He was a mem­ber of the Is­land's first Grand Jury in 1771 and in 1773 was elected to the Is­land's first assem­bly, serv­ing for two to three years; he was again elected in 1787. He seems to have re­sumed his mil­i­tary ca­reer dur­ing the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion. Burns died in Ire­land in 1801 at the age of 63 and has de­scen­dants on Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

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