The death from Cruel Treatment on board the ship Harvard. — Coroner Smith, yesterday afternoon, finished investigating the causes leading to the death of Wm. R. Pritchard, the steward of ship Harvard, who died on board that vessel while coming up the harbor on Saturday afternoon last. Doctors Stedman and Ainsworth, after post-mortem examination of the body, gave an opinion that the appearances discovered in the chest and abdomen, indicated an amount of disease sufficient, at some time, to have produced death.
Geroge H.P. Disney, one of the crew of the ship, testified that the ship left Calcutta August 13th last, and that, when six or seven days out, the deceased was beat by the mate, John Farnum, because the captain and mate considered the rice bas. He (Disney) eat of the rice, and did not think it badly cooked. He examined Pritchard's back and found marks on it which the deceased said were given by Captain Hotchkiss. After that, he was placed in the forecastle and made to perform duty like the rest of the crew, and kept out of his forenoon watch below, though he complained of being sick. This continued until the arrival of the ship on soundings, a period of about four months, when he was allowed his forenoon watch below. On Friday, December 30th, the deceased was ordered on deck by the captain, he had then been confined in the forecastle about one week. He went to work, and the next day was again laid up, and never got out again himself. On arrival at Cape Ann, the captain sent a doctor on board, but beyond his saying that he ought to be kept warm and quiet, nothing was done for the deceased. The ship lay at Cape Ann five days, leaving there on Saturday last, and arriving in Boston Harbor about 5 P.M. the same day. Deceased died about 11 A.M., when the ship was abreast of Boston Light.
Wm. Brown, another seaman, corroborated Disney's evidence, and testified that on the morning on which the deceased was turned out of the steward's berth and put before the mast, the captain and the steward being in the cabin alone, he heard the captain say, "if you make a noise, I will beat your brains out." Soon after, the steward came up from the lower cabin. His back being towards Brown at the time, he could see the blood running through his shirt. When Brown was relieved from the wheel, at 8 o'clock, he went into the forecastle. Pritchard soon came in, bringing his bed, and saying the captain had turned him out of the cabin, He asked what was the matter, to which the only answer returned was "O! my poor back." He ate a little breakfast, and at about 9 o'clock was called by the mate to go to work. He had been on deck about half an hour, when the mate told him to bring out the mats that he had, his own private property. He brought one of them, when the mate asked him if he did not have more? The deceased made no answer, when the mate went into the forecastle and got the rest of the mats. The mate then went out and struck the deceased between the eyes. After that he was kept on deck, as narrated by Mr. Disney.
James Crosby, Henry Wooley, and Peter York corroborated the above statements, Wooley saying that Hotchkiss struck Pritchard, with a staysail sheet, in the face. It took a piece out of his face, and made the blood flow. The mate struck Pritchard with his hands and a mat, and also kicked him several times on the voyage.
The jury returned the following verdict:—
"That he came to his death at about 11 o'clock A.M., 7th inst., on board the ship Harvard, in Boston Harbor, from disease of long standing, and that death was hastened by brutal treatment received at the hands of the captain, Levi Hotchkiss, and the mate, John Farnum, of said ship Harvard, while on a voyage from Calcutta to this port."
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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