Here’s the Slideshare link to the presentation we gave at the New Researchers in Maritime History Conference in Glasgow on the 10th March 2012. We’d like to thank the conference organisers for giving us an opportunity to present our work and we’d also like to thank the delegates for all their interesting and encouraging comments.
George Cadogan: A Career in Courts Martial 1804 – 1809. Presentation for the New Researchers in Maritime History Conference, Glasgow, 2012
ADM 1/5370 Cyane Court Martial 1805
ADM 1/537? Ferret Court Martial 1806
ADM 35/2806 Pay Book 1806 -1810
ADM 37/1605-1606 Ferret Muster Book 1805 – 1806
ADM 52/2757 Ferret Masters log May 12th 1806
ADM 52/4071 Cyane Master’s Log August 1804 – June 1805
ADM 196/3 The Hon George Cadogan, official career record
Blake, R., (2008), Evangelicals in the Royal Navy 1775-1815, The Boydell Press.
Burg, B. R., (2007), Boys at Sea: Sodomy, Indecency, and Courts Martial in Nelson’s Navy. Palgrave Macmillan.
Byrn Jr, J. D, (1989), Crime and Punishment in the Royal Navy, Discipline in the Leeward Islands Station 1784-1812, Scolar Press, Aldershot.
Byrn, J. D., (2009), Naval Courts Martial 1797-1815, Navy Records Society, Vol 155, Ashgate.
Cock, R., and Rodger, N.A.M., (2006), A guide to the naval records in the National Archives of the UK, Institute of Historical research, University of London.
Cumberland, R., (1806), Memoirs of Richard Cumberland, West and West, Cornhill and Greenleaf, Boston.
Cumberland, R., (1809), John de Lancaster a novel in three volumes, Lackington Allen and Co, London.
Derriman, J., (1991), Marooned The Story of a Cornish Seaman, Kenneth Mason.
Gutteridge, L., F., (2006), Mutiny: A History of Naval Insurrection, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis.
Hardin Jr., C, (1970), “The First Lord Opens His Mail: Thomas Grenville and Personal Problems at the Admiralty, 1806 – 1807” in the Huntingdon Library Quarterly, Vol. 33, No 2.
Henderson, J., (2005), Frigates, Sloops and Brigs, Pen and Sword.
James, L., (1987), Mutiny in the British and Commonwealth forces, 1797-1956, Buchan & Enright, University of Virginia.
Marshall, J., (1833), Royal Naval Biography, Volume IV Part 1, Longman, Rees et al, London.
Moore, T., (1837), Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, in digitised version, at www.lordbyron.org.
Mudford, M., (1812), The life of Richard Cumberland Esq embracing a critical examination of his writings, Sherwood, Neeley and Jones, London.
Osler, E., (1837), The life of Admiral Viscount Exmouth, Stewart and Murray, London.
Pearman, R., (1990), The Cadogans at War, Haggerston Press, London.
Pope, D., (1963), The Black Ship, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London.
Pope, D., (2003), The Devil Himself: The mutiny of 1800, McBooks Press.
Rodger, N.A.M., (2004), The Command of the Ocean 1619 – 1815, Allan Lane, London.
Whibley, C., (1886), “Musings Without Method: Mutiny Quelled by One Determined Man” in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Vol CXL, July – December, Leonard Scott Publication Company, Philadelphia.
|5th May 1783||Born in Westminster||Pearman and baptismal record|
|17th May 1783||Baptised at St James Westminster||Baptismal record online via Ancestry.co.uk|
|25th Sept 1795||Spencer writes to Pellew asking him to accept George as a volunteer on HMS Indefatigable.||MS/92/027 Box 22|
|15th Dec 1795||Boy, First Class, Indefatigable.||Pearman, also in Marshalls Naval biography ( MNB)Indefatigable muster book ADM36/13142 1795 Jan -December|
|20th April 1796||Indefatigable engages Virginie.|
|13th Jan 1797||Indefatigable and Amazon engage Droits de L’Homme|
|28th Feb 1799||Discharged Indefatigable.||Pearman and MNB Also ADM36/13146Indefatigable muster book|
|10th March 1799||Able seaman, Impetueux.||Pearman and MNBADM 36/ 12827Impetueux muster book|
|15th March 1799||Midshipman, Impetueux.||Pearman and MNBADM 36/12827|
|30th May 1799||Impetueux mutiny||ADM 1/ 5349 Courts Martial Apr -Jun 1799|
|3rd March 1802||Lieutenant, Leda.||Service record ADM/196/3|
|April 1802 June 2nd 1802||Charlotte Cadogan marries Henry Wellesley, Emily Cadogan marries Gerald Valerian Wellesley, at St George’s Hanover Square witnesses are Lord Salisbury and Henry Cadogan||Pearman Marriage register SG HS 1802 Entry no 414 ( via ancestry.co.uk)|
|25th June 1803||William Badcock joins the Sulphur as a gentleman volunteer third and then second class. He is 10 years and 9 months old.||Midshipman’s certificate copy as exhibited during the court martial|
|8th March 1804||Cadogan Discharged, Leda.||Service record ADM/196/3|
|7th April 1804||William Badcock discharged with certificate from Sulphur||Midshipmans certificates etc.|
|30th May 1804||George writes to the admiralty to request passage on a ship to the West Indies||ADM 1/1637 Captains’ letters C 1804|
|22nd August 1804||Commander, Cyane.||Service record ADM/196/3|
|11th Nov 1804||Captured French brig privateer La Bonaparte with 18 guns and 150 men.||Masters Log Cyane ADM52/4071|
|1st September 1804||William Badcock joins the Loire Captain Frederick Maitland||Midshipman’s certificate|
|14th March 1805||Captured French schooner pacquet boat Mary Galante bound to Martinique.||Masters Log Cyane ADM52/4071|
|28th April 1805||Captured the Justitia a Spanish privateer of 7 guns and 86 men.||Masters Log Cyane ADM52/4071|
|14th May 1805||Letter from Sir Francis Lafouy stating that he has received intelligence stating the arrival of a combined French and Spanish fleet at Martinique ( with details of size of fleet and that they have captured the Cyane||ADM 12/116 Digest section 45 : 5|
|15th June 1805||Thomas Simpson appears on Cerf as entry no 93 per warrant . Eventually his wages are paid out to a lawyer, Thomas Lee , on 17th September 1806||ADM 35/441 Cerf paybook 1804-5|
|5th July 1805||Cadogan writes to Cochrane from Barbados complaining of treatment aboard L’Hortense.||Digest reference ADAM12/117 Letter is enclosed with that of Admiral Cochrane of 17th July 1805 which is ADM1/326|
|11th July 1805||Cyane Court martial, HMS Unicorn, Carlisle Bay, Barbados. Cadogan honourably acquitted.||Courts Martial 1805 ADM 1 /5370|
|11th July 1805||Discharged, Cyane.||Service record ADM/196/3|
|18th September and 23rd ditto 1805||Admiralty correspondence concerning Thomas Simpson carpenter appointed Acting ———— Cerf||ADM 12 /114 Index see also ADM1/ 5016|
|27th Oct 1805||Cadogan writes to Admiralty from Brandon, Suffolk, requesting employment.||ADM1/1642 Letters from Captains surname C 1805 Digest reference ADM12/117|
|13th November 1805||Edward Jones joins the Ferret musters described as from Repulse. Is described as 29 and born Londonderry also subsequently described as “ Late a Prisoner “ in the Musters of the Ferret||ADM 35/3806 Ferret pay book|
|2nd December 1805||Thomas Simpson appointed boatswain of the Ferret||ADM 12/114 Index see also ADM 1 /5016|
|1st March 1806||Letter from Captain Young of the receiving ship Salvador del Mundo concerning Edward Jones who ran from the Repulse and his behaviour and removing his surviving punishment.||ADM 1/836 C in C Plymouth correspondence 1806|
|30th March 1806||Cadogan appointed Commander, Ferret.||Service record ADM/196/3|
|10th May 1806||Edward Jones recorded as discharged to Plymouth Hospital||Ferret Pay Book ADM 35/3806|
|16 May 1806||Edward Jones from Salvador del Mundo|
|28th June 1806||Record of punishment of Edward Jones with 12 lashes||Masters log Ferret ADM 52/2757|
|8th July 1806||Boatswain contrary to express orders did not square the yard before the wind||Masters log Ferret ADM 52/2757|
|3rd August 1806||Edward Jones given 90 lashes for drunkenness||Masters log Ferret ADM 52/2757|
|5th Sept 1806||Admiralty minutes directing Admirals Dacres and Sir A Cochrane to send home Captain Cadogan in his majesty’s sloop Ferret the first occasion they shall have to send a sloop to England.||ADM 12/118 Index and Digest for 1806|
|6th Sept 1806||Admiralty write to Dacres and Cochrane as per instructions in minutes of 5th Sept.|
|17th September 1806||Thomas Simpson’s wages stated as paid out to Thomas Lee junior attorney||ADM 35/441|
|26th Sept 1806||Ferret mutiny.||Ferret Masters log ADM52/2757|
|29th September||Thomas Simpson is confined as a ringleader in the mutiny||Ferret Masters log ADM 52/2757|
|30th Sept 1806||First Earl Cadogan writes to Spencer requesting assistance in seeking promotion to Post for George. Mentions his character as an officer being established by Sir Edward Pellew.||Huntington ST6 Corresp. Box 137 (27)|
|4th October 1806||William Badcock discharged Loire||Midshipman’s certificate etc|
|8th Oct 1806||Ferret Court martial, HMS Elephant Port Royal.||ADM 1/5375 Courts martial Oct – Nov 1806|
|8th October 1806||Edward Jones gives evidence at the Court martial and admits his part but is not tried and not punished in any way||ADM 1/5375 Courts martial Oct- Nov 1806|
|13th Oct 1806||Dacres writes to Admiralty informing them of mutiny and praising Cadogan’s “prompt and spirited conduct” in repossessing himself of the sloop.And enclosing list of executed mutineers.||ADM 1/256 no 96 ( C in C Jamaica letters 1806 no 96) Digest reference is ADM12/121|
|13th Oct 1806||Cadogan writes to 2nd Earl Cadogan from Jamaica expressing low spirits following mutiny and requesting assistance in seeking promotion.||Huntington ST6 Corresp. Box 137 (29)|
|21 st October 1806||Edward Jones is discharged to the Thetis “ in lieu of pressed men “||ADM 37/1605 Ferret Muster book|
|27th Nov 1806||1st Earl Cadogan forwards George’s letter to Spencer with a second request for assistance in seeking promotion and expressing fears for George’s health. Mentions misfortune of Admiral of station not receiving orders for George’s recall.||Huntington ST6 Corresp. Box 137 (28)|
|29th Nov 1806||Spencer forwards 1st Earl’s letter & George’s letter to his father to Thomas Grenville. Request promotion to Pomona frigate but suggests he is likely to succumb to yellow fever before long.||Huntington ST6 Corresp. Box 163 (73)|
|9 December 1806||William Badcock joins Crocodile under Captain Bettesworth|
|14th Dec 1806||Dacres write to Admiralty confirming receipt of Admiralty letter to Cochrane dated 6th Sept 1807 recalling Cadogan. Dacres proposes to order Cadogan to take charge of the Honduras Convoy to leave the harbour of Berlize on the 27th January.||ADM 1/ 256 C in C Jamaica correspondence 1806|
|5th April 1807||1st Earl Lord Cadogan dies||Pearman|
|10th June 1807||Discharged, Ferret. “Invalided”.||Service record ADM/196/3, Ferret Pay books ADM/35/3806|
|23rd July 1807||George writes from London to the Admiralty to announce his arrival in England and his leaving the Ferret in the West Indies and that he is wanting work.||ADM1 /1673 Captains letters C 1807|
|10 October 1807||Captain Bettsworth who is about to be superceded by George writes a certificate for Willilam Badcock who is rated midshipman at that time.||Midshipmans certificates etc|
|11th Oct 1807||Cadogan appointed Captain, Crocodile.||Service record ADM/196/3|
|13th Oct 1807||Cadogan writes to the Admiralty to ask that two young officers who want to join him can be allowed to do so they are Midshipman Edward Percival and J Allen who both served under his command on the Ferret||ADM 1/1673 Captains’ letters C 1807|
|17th Oct 1807||Cadgoan writes to Admiral Montague requesting leave due to “circumstances of a most urgent natures”.||ADM 1/1112|
|19th Oct 1807||Cadogan writes to WW Pole, Admiralty requesting extension of leave to 23rd Oct.||Captains letters ADM1/ surname C 1807|
|31st October 1807||Cadogan writes to the Admiralty to ask if John Ramsey who has been acting Master may now be given a warrant||ADM 1 /1673 Captains letters C 1807|
|1st November 1807||Cadogan writes to the Admiralty to ask about Lieuts Hamley and Basson and there is a note of reply||ADM 1 /1673 Captains letters C 1807|
|22nd November 1807||George writes of his return to Spithead and his convoy and letters marked secret for Sir Edward Pellew||ADM 1/1673 Captains letters C|
|9 January 1808||Badcock disrated to able seaman||ADM 35 2666 Crocodile musters, no 126.|
|5 March 1808||Badcock disrated to landsman||ADM 35 2666 Crocodile musters, muster roll no 126.|
|Early 1808||Charlotte Wellesley meets Henry Paget and later elopes with him||Pearman|
|9 June 1808||Badcock discharged from the Crocodile to join HMS Stately as per order||ADM 35 2666 Crocodile musters, no 126.|
|25 June 1808||Letter from C in C Portsmouth regarding a missed order for increasing the complement of his ship and admiralty reply that it should go immediately to the Crocodile||ADM 1/ A 1240 C in C’s inletters|
|21 October 1808||Letter from William Badcock setting out his complaint against George and saying that “additionally about ten days ago Captain Cadogan personally abused me, saying I had a black heart and many other opprobious and degrading expressions.”||ADM 1/ enclosed with letter below from Admiral|
|23 October 1808||Letter from Admiral Montague enclosing one from Captain Cumberland of the Stately with William Badcock’s letter of complaint . response that the papers should be sent to vice admiral Wells who should have three senior captains hold an enquiry into the circumstnaces . Mr Badcock to be sent to the flag ship at the Nore but if he does not get there in time the Crocodile must sail as per her orders.|
|24 October 1808||William Badcock is directed to proceed to the Nore to get passage to the Baltic for the court of enquiry||Chronology from Richard Cumberlands’s memorial preserved in the papers of the Court Martial ADM 1/5395 afterward as “Memorial”|
|25 October 1808||Badcock becomes ill but on 26th goes on board the Skylark to get passage to the Nore arriving on the 29 th.||Memorial|
|31 October 1808||Badcock to be borne as supernumerary on books of the Stateley and to offer him leave of absence while he waits for the Crocodile to return.|
|1 and 2 November 1808||Badcock worse in health. Says “he was ready any time for the captain” Goes on board Namur and health improves briefly.||Memorial|
|2 November 1808||Letter from Mr Currie appointed purser to the Crocodile reached her just before she sailed and Cadogan denied him passage. Details of this and request that he be given advice.||ADM1Prom Corresp. surnames Cletter 716|
|2 November 1808||Admiralty requests to ask the senior officer in the Balkans to demand Cadogan explain why he did this and explain why he had not disharged an apprentice whom he had improperly impressed||ADM 1/prom corres. surname C letter 716notes for response|
|7 November1808||Admiralty direction to send Badcock and the witness the sergeant of marines to the Baltic by first available means.|
|15 November1808||Discharged sick to the Sussex hospital ship. Badcock writes to his grandfather.||Memorial|
|19 November 1808||Admiralty letter stating that Badcock and sergeant Gilham have been ordered to go to Gottenburg.||ADM1/ prom corres C11999|
|19 November 1808||Captain Ross has the news that Badcock has gone into the hospital ship. Replies to say send Badcock and Sgt Gilham as soon as Badcock recovers.|
|7th December 1808||William Badcock dies at his grandfather’s home at 8.30 pm in his seventeenth year and the sixth year of his naval service.||Richard Cumberland’s memorial now inserted in the CM transcript.|
|11 December 1808||William Badcock buried at St Andrew Holborn. Address given as James Street .||1808 Burial register for St Andrews digital image via ancestry.co.uk|
|22 December 1808||Letter from William Crutchley to Admiralty enclosing Cumberland’s memorial taking up Badcock’s case.||ADM 1/ Prom corres 1808 surname C 683|
|23 December 1808||let Cumberland and lawyer know that court martial will take place and they will be notified when it is to take place.|
|2 January 1809||Letter from agent for Richard Cumberland asking whether the Admiralty solicitor is to conduct the prosecution against George. Or whether his own counsel and if so the charges will be the Admiralty’s to bear.||ADM 1/ 4423 promiscuous correspondence surname C 1809|
|3 January 1809||Admiralty note in reply stating initially that Cumberland should be told that George will be tried in the normal way. This is then crossed out. Instruction to send all papers to Mr Bicknell and direct him to state his opinion and to report 4th January.||ADM 1/4423 as above in the corner note summary of reply to be made.|
|9 January 1809||Letter to Cadogan informing him that he is to proceed to Portsmouth where he will face a court martial Cadogan writes asking that the court martial be postponed until he can summon witnesses.||ADM 1/ Captains letters surname C 1809 ditto|
|16 January 1809||Admiralty note stating books required will be on board and also the copies of the regulations. And further note asking if the four witnesses mentioned have been summoned to Portsmouth.||ADM 1/4423 Prom Corr surname C|
|22 February 1809||Letter from William Crutchley “re Rex v Cadogan” requiring Edward Percival, Mr Norris and Mr Hamilton midshipmen and Mr Price Captain’s clerk and John Davies, Boatswains mate and ——Buchannan, quarter master to give evidence for the crown.||ADM 1/ 4423 Promiscuous correspondence surname C 1809|
|1 March 1809||Admiralty directive that Sir Roger Curtis put Cadogan under arrest.||ADM 1/1135 Letters from C in C Portsmouth ( though this is from Digest ref 23 :8 as letter 368 was not in box or was very out of sequence))|
|1 March 1809||Letter from Admiral Roger Curtis to the Admiralty enclosing one from Cadogan stating he has witnesses who still cannot get to court martial.||ADM1/1135 Letters from C in C Portsmouth 1809 also ADM 12 Digest 1809|
|1 March 1809||Cadogan’s letter asking as above and naming H Rhymer the purser, Wm Price Clerk, George Norris and Edward Perceval midshipmen as witnesses left at Goteborg in a prize||ADM 1/1135 correspondence C in C Portsmouth|
|4 March 1809||Letter from Vice Admiral Douglas regarding release of Captain William Cumberland to attend the trial of George Cadogan.||ADM 1/1428 correspondence Commander Yarmouth [G123]|
|9 March 1809||Letter from Admiral Douglas to captain Cumberland instructing him to leave the Stately in the command of his first lieutenant and attend the trial as Captain Cadogan has requested.||ADM 1/ 1653 Captains letters|
|12 March 1809||Letter from Lt Devon of the Crocodile requesting advice on the mast which George had intended to have altered.||ADM 1/1135 correspondence C in C Portsmouth [A 441]|
|13 March 1809||Letter from Admiral Curtis enclosing Lt Devon’s letter and Amiralty note of reply stating their lordships do not want any changes made.||Attached to previous so as above.|
|17 March 1809||Letter to William Wellesley Pole from Richard Cumberland requesting the trial date be set and 3 days notice given so that he could wait at home, he having been in Portsmouth from 26 February already at his own expense, Also reply of Admiralty that they agree he may do so. (dated 18 March)||ADM 1/4423 Promiscuous Correspondence first series Surnames C 1809|
|20 March 1809||Cadogan writes to Admiral Curtis asking that since he had heard Richard Cumberland may go home till the trial if he may have leave of absence till the three days warning having urgent matters to attend to.||ADM 1/1136 Corres.C in C Portsmouth|
|21 March 1809||Admiral Curtis writes enclosing Cadogan’s letter||ADM 1/1136 C in C Portsmouth [A 473]|
|22 March 1809||Admiralty note stating: Acquaint him that as he is under arrest he cannot have leave of absence||Annotation to above so is the same.|
|11/12 April 1809||Court Martial of Capt the Hon George Cadogan on charges brought by Richard Cumberland grandfather of the late midshipman Richard William Badcock. George is acquitted on all charges.||ADM 1/5395 Courts martial papers April 1809|
|April 14 1809||Letter from William Cumberland setting out his expenses in attending the trial||ADM 1/1635 Captains’ letters surname C|
|April 16th 1809||There is reference in the Index and Digest to letter from C in C Portsmouth no 603 which is about leave for Cadogan but this letter is not in the file at the National Archives which should contain it||ADM 12/135 Index A-H 1809 AD12/138 Digest|
|April 25 1809||George writes to William Wellesley Pole from a London address requesting leave for two months and for an acting captain for the Crocodile||ADM1/1365 Captains’ letters surname C|
|April l9 -May 5 1809||The Crocodile muster books show Cadogan mustered only once more on May 5th and thereafter present on the books but not mustered.||ADM 37/1855 Crocodile muster book Jan 1809 – Jan 1810|
|April 25th||Navy board minute records response from Admiralty – leave till end April and have appointed Captain Chamberlayne acting Captain||ADM3/168 Minutes|
|11 May 1809||Letter from the Admiralty ( inc Gambier ) to William Cumberland setting out his expenses options||ADM 1/1635 Captain’s letters surname C|
|13th May 1809||George fights duel with Henry Lord Paget.||Pearman and “Disputes Between Gentlemen on points of honour &c &c Capt Cadogan Vs Lord Paget”, Sporting Magazine, Vol, 34, 1809, Rogerson & Tuxford.|
|19 May 1809||Letter to WWP from William Cumberland claiming his expenses for attending the court martial .||ADM 1/1635 Captains letters Surname C|
|4 May 18095 May 1809||Mustered for the last time in Crocodile muster book and signs off log .Captain Chamberlayne appointed acting acting captain .Punishment record resumes earlier levels||ADM 51/ 1869 Crocodile muster book to 4 May 1809ADM 51/1959 Crocodile muster book from 5 May 1809|
|15 September 1809||Admiralty Board minute appoinging Cadogan to the Pallas||ADM3/169|
|31 December 1813||Signs off the log of the Havannah on his last day of active service.||ADM51/2450 Havannah log 1813|
|Issue of Naval General Service Medal 1847||Awarded the GSM with a bar each for the actions involving the Virginie and the Droits de l’homme||Medal Roll ADM 171/8|
|15 September 1864||George, third Earl Cadogan , Admiral of the Red ,dies at home at 138, Piccadilly aged 81. He is possibly the last of the remarkable crew of the Indefatigable, as it was in January 1797, to die.||Burial records of St Luke Chelsea ( via ancestry.co.uk)Will of George Cadogan, proved London,|
|1864||Burial at St Luke, Chelsea|
There is a letter, unfortunately missing from the ADM File at the National Archive, which according to the digest in ADM12 for 1809 was from the Admiralty concerning leave for George Cadogan very soon after the court martial ended.
Evidently Cadogan, having got through the trial, was afterwards quite ill. On 25th April, in a letter which does survive he writes that he cannot possibly do his duty as the state of his health is so bad and requests a stand-in captain be appointed to the Crocodile for two months . The Admiralty had in fact already appointed an acting captain, Captain Chamberlayne but in response to the request for two months leave actually granted him leave untill the beginning of May. The muster book for the period shows that in fact George was mustered only once more, on the first weekend in May, when he signed off the log and a new one was begun by Chamberlayne. However he remained captain, at least in name, until September of that year and he also remained on the books of the Crocodile during that time, with the final September muster recording that he had been superceded.
Further evidence that George was not a particularly unusual harsh disciplinarian is provided by the captain’s log of 1810 . The first two months in which Captain Chambelayne was at sea with the Crocodile reveal a punishment record similar to that of Cadogan at its higher end. In the two month period of June and July there were more than 20 punishments in total, of 18 men, some of them more lenient than under Cadogan and some, for instance three of 60 lashes each, more severe. At least 7 of the men punished were men who had earlier been disciplined by Cadogan
Cadogan knew that he might be left with a damaged reputation despite his acquittal, that something of the accusations of tyranny would stick. At the same time it seems likely that he, and indeed his officers, much though they might deplore Badcock’s death, could not help feeling some relief at the change to their ship and their quarterdeck following the departure of Badcock. The spirit in which the successful Autumn cruise of 1808 was undertaken with its success in prize taking and lack of punishments would seem to bear this out. The cruise (described in more detail in the previous post on the Crocodile command) had been one with many prizes captrued and a very low punishment record indicating a crew and captain more at ease with each other.
The court martial transcript reveals Badcock as a young man almost bent on self destruction as he compounds one offence upon another and appears unaware, indifferent, or worse, to the attempts to discipline him.
Were he alive now we would no doubt be looking to a diagnosis of some behavioural disorder, though it is always difficult to read back into descriptions of individual behaviour what would count as precise symptoms.
However it is Cumberland himself who provides some insight into what may have been one of the major problems in William Badock’s life. He describes in his Memoirs the dissolute life of Badcock’s father Richard, talking of him having died “from excess” but he also he also describes his nature in terms uncannily reminiscent of William Badcock as seen through the eyes of the officers of the Crocodile . Cumberland writes of Richard Badcock
...he had a great share of a peculiar kind of humour, was an admirable mimic, and at times would be extremely pleasant and entertaining in society but the general turn of his habits was reserved and gloomy, proudly independent, too quick in conceiving himself affronted, and much too slow in regaining his good humour when he had discovered his mistake. I have often found him under the visitation of these sullen fits of discontent…
It seems that Cumberland saw clearly the traits of behaviour which led to a wasted life and early death in his son in law. Perhaps it is only natural to a grandparental perspective that he did not see them in his grandson in the same way. The kind of family life William Badcock must have experienced with such a father is illustrated not only by Cumberland but by no less a witness than the sharp-eyed Jane Austen. Encountering the couple at Bath, she has left a brief glimpse into some of the nature of their excess. In a letter to her sister Cassandra she makes passing mention of a group of people encountered at the Assembly Rooms in Bath:
Mrs Badcock and two young women were of the same party, except when Mrs Badcock thought herself obliged to leave them and run round the room after her drunken Husband. His avoidance and her pursuit, with the probable intoxication of both, was an amusing scene. 
Sophia Badcock nee Cumberland , William Badcock’s mother painted by Romney
William would then have been only nine years old, as the eldest child of Richard and Sophia he would have been the longest exposed to what one must assume was hardly the best parenting around. His father then died before his tenth birthday and he was at sea a year later, still not quite eleven years old. There is little to wonder at in the fact that William Badcock was a disturbed young man.
Thomas Devon was discharged just over a week after the court martial and in fact on the day that Cadogan was writing to ask for extended leave, the 26th April Devon was in Exeter marrying his fiancee Anne Tompson, daughter of a local doctor . After a few months he took command, still as a lieutenant, of the Brev Drageren gun brig, 18, with a crew of fifty officers and men. He went on to distinguish himself in action and was later made a Knight and then Knight Commander of the Hanoverian order of the Guelph and died in 1846.
George Cadogan was in effect without a ship until the Autumn when he was appointed to command the Pallas and was involved in taking the future Duke of Wellington on board with his entourage. Cadogan continued in active naval service until 1813 when he retired with honours following the capture of Zara on the Dalmatian coast, an action for which he was decorated. Cadogan was thirty and had been at sea for sixteen years since joining HMS Indefatigable in 1795.
Over the course of his naval career George Cadogan experience the best and the worst of the sea service and his few surviving letters provide a glimpse of the personal cost of these events. Cadogan may never have ascended to the heights of his early mentor Captain Sir Edward Pellew but neither did he sink to the depths of the brutal Captain Hugh Pigot. His letters suggest a man of some sensibility who was moved and affected by the events that he experienced and who is ultimately revealed as a deeply human individual.
 ADM 1/
 ADM 51/ Crocodile captain’s log 1810.
 Richard Dircks (ed), Memoirs of Richard Cumberland AMS Studies in the 18th Century vol 32, pp177-8.
 Deirdre le Fay (ed), Jane Austen’s letters, 2011. p 89.
 Marshall’s Naval Biography and marriage entry in Registers of St Lawrence, Exeter from the records on microfilm at www.familysearch.com
The Honourable George Cadogan, for cruelty and tyranny used to Richard Badcock, late midshipman on board the same ship .
So, in the great cabin of the Gladiator began the third court martial to touch the life of George Cadogan, and the one which is least reported and written about. There is hardly any trace of it to be found compared to accounts of other instances in his life. For example, to take the research facility of the British Library’s newspaper database, a search for references to George Cadogan and or Crocodile brings up articles mentioning the sale of a ship captured by the Crocodile shortly before the run up to the trial. But a similar search for Cadogan and court martial but outside a printing of the brief minute of the verdict etc in an Edinburgh paper and an edition of a gentleman’s magazine, there are no references found. Both of these papers have clearly picked up, as was their habit, the official minutes as issued of the verdict. The incident is omitted entirely from The Cadogans at War . In fact, almost the only reference to the story presently to come up in an internet search is one which is a kind of side line to a genealogical website and which relies on an account which is less than accurate. There are several books published over recent years which repeat a variation on a theme by casting Cadogan in the mould of Hugh Pigot and therefore as an out and out tyrant and gratuitously cruel captain.
As we shall see later, George Cadogan himself thought that his fate might well be that, even if exonerated, something of the emotive language and wilder accusations might live on as after echoes and be what was remembered of him from this occasion.
Cadogan had faced a court martial for the loss of the Cyane to the enemy, though that had been something of a formality since it was evident to everyone that he had been outgunned and outmanned.
He had then been the prosecutor of the mutinous group aboard the Ferret who had attempted, and briefly almost succeeded, in taking the ship in the West Indies.
And now he stood accused, in the highly emotional language of a civilian and playwright of “cruelty and tyranny”. Those are the words in the indictment and they are taken from the memorial sent by Richard Cumberland after the death of his grandson Richard, who was serving on the Crocodile at the time Cadogan became captain, and continued until he transferred to the Stately in the June of 1809. He died of some kind of serious and severe infection in the December of that year half way to his 17th birthday, but he had been at sea since he was 11 years old.
The trial in April was preceded by a number of aggravating incidents and logistical difficulties all now to be found in the correspondence between the Admiralty and the main protagonists, and in letters from commanders in chief at Portsmouth and Spithead and other stations briefly involved.
The papers of the court martial itself, which are in the volume for April of ADM1/5395 and consist, as one would expect, of the written record of the questions asked and answered by various witnesses together with the usual minuted summary of those who preside. There is a record of which captains were present and the eventual verdict and sentence signed by the captains and the deputy Judge Advocate General. In the case of Cadogan’s court martial there are also statements made by both Badcock and Cadogan presumably for the original court of inquiry, judging by the date on Cadogan’s document, and also the vast foolscap pages of Cumberland’s memorial, nine of them in all. Lastly there is the text of a statement made to the court by George Cadogan in his defence. All these are bound in with the court martial papers.
Almost immediately after William Badcock’s burial service on 11th December at St Andrew Holborn , Cumberland swung into action, and something of his state of mind can be gathered from his own literary output at that time. He was in the midst of writing a novel which was being published in several volumes and went so far as to include in the preface to part four part of William’s story and an address to the readers which promised his grandson’s case should be heard despite his death . The Admiralty had already ordered a court martial for Captain Cadogan based on the much less detailed and plainer complaint of Badcock himself and it is likely perhaps that the matter would have ended with the former Crocodile midshipman’s death, given the constant desirability of washing as little dirty linen as possible in public, and had Badcock been without powerful and determined family. However it is unlikely that the Admiralty could or would ignore something as strongly worded and by such a public figure as Cumberland. So, and it was by this time Christmas Eve, they wrote to acknowledge the receipt of Cumberland’s memorial and they also replied to inform him that the court martial would go ahead and he would be advised when to attend.
During early January there were exchanges between the Admiralty and Cumberland through his agent, William Crutchley of Bedford Row, in which queries were raised as to who the prosecution would be led by; the Admiralty’s counsel or one chosen by Cumberland but at the Admiralty’ s expense!  The exchange of letters is perhaps indicative of one feature of the whole episode for Cumberland and his cause. For a start, the letter from Crutchley is headed with reference to the case as Rex v Cadogan as if it were a criminal prosecution in the civil courts. The terminology sounds strange in the world of courts martial where it is not used in this way and may indicate how Cumberland, who was known as a litigious man in the civil courts, viewed the proceedings. At this stage Cumberland also gave notice of witnesses whom he wished to call, and there was a flurry of activity determining whether they were all on board the Crocodile still, which proved not to be the case. Four witnesses were mentioned by Cumberland’s memorial in December, they were Lieutenant Cockell of the marines, Sergeant John Gillham of the marines and Joseph Stoker the former ship’s cook who was now serving in another ship, and Henry Rhymer, purser of the Crocodile.
And on January 16th another list of witnesses was sent to the Admiralty with a request that they be required to attend to give evidence “for the crown” as Crutchley put it, again adopting the more common land based terminology. They were three midshipmen; Edward Percival, George Norris and Mr Hamilton, William Price the captain’s clerk and John Davies, boatswain’s mate .
George Cadogan was also calling witnesses in his defence and some of them, unsurprisingly, were the same people. His letter of March 1st, sent via Admiral Curtis to request the court martial be postponed until the witnesses could be available, mentioned Edward Percival and George Norris, two of the midshipmen already listed by Cumberland, and William Price and Henry Rhymer, both of whom were also on the prosecution’s list . As we shall see the witnesses eventually called at the court martial included some of these people, but not all, and also others were called who are not named in the correspondence. In that same letter it is Cadogan who requests the presence of Captain William Cumberland as a witness and that at least is one aspect of the arrangements which happened speedily, since on March 4th Vice Admiral Douglas is writing to the Admiralty to confirm that he has ordered Captain Cumberland to Portsmouth .
There was, however, a lengthy delay in the end because of the problem of waiting for four of the witnesses to arrive from Goteborg, where they had gone in a prize ship that the Crocodile had taken and from whence they had to arrange a passage home.
There were many awkward and frustrating moments for all parties concerned in the period from Cadogan’s arrest to the court martial. Richard Cumberland petitioned finally on 17th March, having spent time between 26th February and the 17th of March waiting around at his own expense in Portsmouth. He had been requested to go Portsmouth, but no court martial had yet begun. He wished to have permission to go home and wait there rather than for an indeteminate period in Portsmouth.He asked to be given three days notice to attend once the date was set . This the Admiralty had concurred in and he had gone back to London to continue with his affairs. George Cadogan, possibly pushing his luck, or being so frustrated that he did not think it through well enough, made an appeal he might have known would be denied; he applied for like permission, citing like Cumberland urgent personal business. (He certainly did have urgent personal concerns relating to his sister and the scandal of her affair and elopement with Lord Paget.) William Wellesley Pole’s response to Admiral Curtis who had of course submitted the request on behalf of Cadogan was nothing if not to the point:
Acquaint him that since Captain Cadogan is under arrest he cannot be granted leave of absence .
The letter Cadogan wrote making the request was written from the Crocodile, rather than from lodgings or another place onshore, so it may be assumed that he was in effect confined to quarters and to walking the main deck for exercise. The latter privilege would normally be allowed in such circumstances, usually on the honour of the officer that they would do nothing to escape. The quarterdeck would have been ruled out for him because of his suspension, and indeed his own proud high value of naval tradition would have meant he would respect that it was now Lieutenant Devon’s privilege and responsibility.
For some long weeks that Spring Cadogan lived in this limbo state and one can only guess his feelings of frustration and shame and anger. His writing style is always precise and mostly formal to the fullest extent, at least in the few letters he wrote at the time of the court martial and, as with so many parts of his life we have no personal letters from him which appear to have survived.
But one very mundane piece of ship’s business occurring in the Admiralty correspondence at this time acts as a sidelight on what it must have felt like to be so impotent in the limbo of waiting.
On 13th March Admiral Curtis forwarded a letter from Lieutenant Devon, written from the Crocodile and signed “Barker Devon, Lieutenant and commanding officer”, with a question about problems with the masts of the Crocodile and some alterations that he knew Captain Cadogan had intended to have seen to and asking if the matter could be progressed. The admiralty replied swiftly that they saw no need for any changes to be made .
But for Cadogan, confined to the ship more than likely and unable even to transact the most regular ship’s business as well as aware of the scandal and stress caused by his sister’s actions elsewhere, those must have been long weeks indeed. From what we are aware of Cadogan’s character so far it seems likely, that he would have held on tenaciously to a belief that the court martial would clear him and that he would redeem his honour one way or another.
The ship on which the court martial took place, the Gladiator, was a large fifth-rate built in Buckler’s Hard in 1783, which had the curious fate of never going to sea but remained in Portsmouth to serve the administrative functions for the navy.
As a result the Gladiator was to become the venue for some courts martial which are rather better known than that of the Crocodile’s captain, including the trial of one of the mutineers from Pigot’s Hermione who was caught, tried and executed years after the offence. Another notable trial, later, was the controversial court martial of Admiral Lord Gambier.
The president of the court martial assembled aboard the Gladiator was William Albany Otway, Rear Admiral of the Red, who was second in command in Portsmouth and Spithead at that time. He had been at sea since he was nine years old and had a distinguished career if not an outstandingly famous one, though he had been known for his bravery and skill in the American war and at the Battle of Copenhagen amongst others.
The judge avocate, who is the person charged with advising the court and the parties on matters of legal process, was in this case a man called Moses Greetham junior, an experienced solicitor who was Deputy Judge Advocate of the fleet and indeed held that office for about 30 years or more.
The court martial system did not of course make use of a jury as did land courts, at least not constituted in the same way: the jurists were made up of no fewer than five and no more than twelve of the most senior captains on the station which, with the president, gave a maximum of thirteen.
Byrn has noted that the seriousness of the offence is not necessarily related to the number of captains present . In fact all qualifying post captains and commanders were obliged to attend unless they had been confirmed as unwell by a doctor, or if they were on official leave. Quite often, the opening section of the transcript records officers not participating for these reasons, though there are none listed in Cadogan’s case. They were by law meant not to have any vested interest in, and not to have had contact with the case previously, so those captains who had constituted the court of inquiry for instance would not be present. And although the use of officers meant that seamen and warrant officers did not get a jury of their peers, a fact which was commented upon even at the time, it has to be said that the Hon George Cadogan got as near to a jury of peers as anyone might. Two of the twelve hearing his case, the Hon Arthur Haye Legge and the Hon Courtney Boyle, were the sons of earls! The minutes list the captains in order of seniority, which was indeed the order in which they would be asked their verdict and so reveal that the most junior present was Hugh Cook, son of the famous explorer -captain. Also of interest is that one of them was Donald McLeod, who had been Badcock’s first commanding officer in the Sulfur .
Unlike some other courts martial transcripts, the one for the Cadogan trial does not reveal at what point the first day ended and the second day began, nor does it describe the witnesses as being for the prosecution or for the defence, though the standard legal precedent of defence after prosecution was followed. The witnesses are questioned by Richard Cumberland first and then cross questioned by Cadogan with “the court“ – in the person of the judge advocate, examining the witnesses , able to intervene at any point, and in this case they did so quite often. The reverse is then the case with the defence’s witnesses. This court martial is very unusual in having a civilian prosecutor. The minutes record this phrase “the prosecutor, the said Richard Cumberland, asked ..” confirming that Cumberland took this role himself, despite his earlier letters about a lawyer in this role. Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to locate the reply of the Admiralty solicitor to the question about this issue that was posed to him in by the Admiralty in a letter dated……….  which might have offered some precedents. The advice on procedure in the relevant section of the 1806 regulations does allow for these categories of questioner “the accuser, if any, the court, the judge advocate and afterwards by the party on trial” . The most common person in such a role would be the judge advocate for a commander tried for the loss of his ship, or a commander himself in the prosecution of mutineers. In Bryn’s detailed survey of courts martial in the years 1793-1815, where more than 100 trials are covered, there is not a single example of another civilian prosecutor .
The trial began with the judge advocate and all court officers taking the oath and with the reading of Richard Cumberland’s lengthy memorial. Curiously almost half of it concerns events which had really very little if anything to do with George Cadogan at all . The memorial begins with a description of Badcock’s service since joining the Sulfur, Captain Donald McLeod, before his 11th birthday in 1803. It then continues with an account of Badcock’s attempt to put his case against Captain Cadogan but is in effect detailing the struggles he had to reach the flag ship, his treatment in the hospital ship, the bureaucracy of getting him released to his grandfather’s London home and his treatment, decline and death, in none of which George Cadogan was really concerned at all. Perhaps there was something of a sense that Cumberland was trying the whole navy, not just his bête noire Cadogan. It is difficult to imagine what were the emotions of many of the court at hearing the really quite harrowing account of the young mans’ last days. No one could be unaware of what a tragic waste of a young life it was. The remainder of the memorial uses strongly worded language about both Captain Cadogan and Lieutenant Devon the Crocodile’s first lieutenant. Indeed it remains a puzzle why Devon was not accused along with his captain; there are certainly other instances of two officers being tried together for some ill action towards a crew member. In fact it emerges in the course of the testimonies given, that the most hated villain of the piece, for Badcock, was Lieutenant Devon, and not Captain Cadogan. However for Cumberland it was Cadogan who was the focus for his hatred ,fired by grief at his grandsons death. The language is dramatic in the extreme, he speaks of Cadogan and Devon “systematically following to destruction their already injured victim” and continues:
he (the memorialist) finds them determined to carry their threat into execution and that the ill-treatment he received from Captain Cadogan and Lieutenant Devon on board the Crocodile ……seem to have materially contributed to his dissolution
This was the first statement heard, and it sounds to our ears now very highly charged and emotional in tone. It is of course impossible to tell what the original hearers made of it, but it is hard to believe that it did not cause some stir. Cumberland was after all a master of pathos.
Letters from Admiral Montague, Captain Cumberland and William Badcock himself were read next, including his statement from his original complaint. It contrasts strongly with his grandfather’s rather hyperbolic memorial.
At Richard Cumberland’s insistence, the 13th and 42nd Articles of the “new” naval instructions were also read out. These were the revised Regulations and Instructions relating to His Majesty’s Service at Sea, which had been very heavily revised in 1806 and so were still relatively new. The 13th Article concerned discharging men from a ships muster and the 42nd related to the duty of a captain to provide for all the men under his command, for their wellbeing in food and clothing and that their wages were duly administered etc.
Two of Richard Cumberland’s accusations were based on his understanding of these clauses; one that Badcock had been “illegally” discharged when he left the Crocodile, and the second concerning the alleged circumstances of the threat to put him ashore at St Helena.
The prosecution called the following witnesses:
William Price, the captain’s clerk, John Davies and John Johnson, boatswain’s mates, Joseph Stokes, formerly cook on the Crocodile, and William Cumberland, captain of the Stately.
The witnesses called by Captain Cadogan were Captain Cumberland, Lieutenant Barnett Devon, Lieutenant William Hamley, David Glegg, the Master, Charles Hughes Rymer , purser, Marfleet King, captain’s cook.
This was not a trial in which there was much to establish in terms of disputed facts. George Cadogan did not deny that he had ordered Badcock to be punished twice, nor that he had disrated him or indeed that he had acted as if he were minded to put him ashore when the ship was at St Helena. The facts only varied in some small degree but the interpretation of them was crucial to the whole picture. This was already a changed navy from the days of George Cadogan’s service as a volunteer. Many events, not least the Spithead and Nore mutinies of 1797, were bringing about a change in attitudes. The practice of “starting”, which the Ferret mutineers had complained of, was abolished in the year of this court martial 1809, and atttitudes to punishment were also changing gradually. Shortly after this, while Commander in Chief in India, it was Sir Edward Pellew who pioneered a system of quarterly returns of punishments, which of course meant it was much easier to detect the captains who were excessively strict and the system was soon universally adopted. So there is a sense in which this court martial did come at a time of increased concern for ways in which discipline was administered. However as Cadogan himself comemnts, in his remarks to the court, all of his actions were consonant with the practice of the service as he had grown up in it.
The first witness called by the prosecutor was William Price the captain’s clerk who was asked briefly about the entries concerning Badcock in the ships’ muster. Then the certificates that Badcock had received from his previous captains on leaving their ship or, in Captain Maitland’s case, on his leaving his command were introduced as evidence. It is interesting that this is said to have required Captain Cadogan’s permission to be done. The certificates, though important in Cumberland’s eyes, were possibly not of great significance to the assembled captains. As the evidence of William Price was to show soon enough, a captain might well sign such a certificate and still have serious misgivings about the young gentleman in question.
The first main witness then was John Davies, the boatswain’s mate who had administered one of the two punishments given to Badcock, of 24 lashes. These were delivered with a “boys cat” which was similar in type to the cat o’ nine tails, but had only six tails and fewer knots. The main part of Davies’ evidence is in answer to questions from the court, and confirmed that Badcock in fact did not receive the full 24 lashes, because during the second dozen he begged the pardon of the first lieutenant, who immediately had ordered the punishment to stop making it about 15 lashes in all. The court’s questions check whether there was much damage to Badcock’s skin and are told there was nothing very serious. Davies states that he did not use any especial severity and is also clear that he was not told to do so.
Cumberland also asked two questions more, one of which was to be asked of every witness in turn. This was whether the boatswain’s mate had ever seen Badcock turn the spit in the galley, to which the reply was that he has seen this happen but was not certain whether it was as part of his duty or of his own volition. He also answered that he had never seen Badcock holystoning the deck nor had ever been instructed to put him to work doing so.
A second Boatswain’s Mate, John Johnstone, was the next witness as he had administered the other punishment, stating this time that a cat o’ nine tails was used but still identifying it as a boys cat, in that it was a good deal lighter and had less knots. He did testify that he was ordered more than once to use severity but claims he did not do so.
The third witness, William Price, recalled who was present at the first flogging in the cabin. He does not mention the flogging having been cut short but describes Badcock as being remarkably unaffected apparently and certainly hardened if anything. The prosecutor then asked whether Price had had opportunity to know the young man well and what he could say of his character. This may have been a question he regretted asking, for it is Price, who had been Captain Bettesworth’s clerk too, who was the first to reveal another side to Badcock than the innocent persecuted victim presented in the memorial.
Perhaps the most significant part of the clerk’s evidence is that he confirmed George Cadogan allegation that Captain Bettesworth had regarded Badcock as difficult. He says that there were several incidents involving the former captain and the first lieutenant in the later part of Bettesworth’s command and that the captain had sent for Badcock to disrate him for a general inattention to duty. In a somewhat odd sequel to this Bettesworth had told Price not to enter the lower rating in the muster at that moment but to keep this from Badcock in the hopes that this discipline would take effect. Significantly he also paints a picture of a captain already finding this particular midshipman very difficult
He said he had a great deal of trouble with him and was quite at a loss in what way to manage him.
Price was especially charged with oversight of the midshipmen’s berth and frequently he says found Badcock both rude and directly neglectful, being absent from the deck when he was on watch, a particularly serious offence and of course one which easily angered one’s fellow officers. There were other difficulties such as Badcock’s tormenting of the dog belonging to the first lieutenant causing it to bark frequently and disturb the rest of off duty officers. Price is the first to use the language that Badcock treated orders and those giving them with contempt. He states that George Cadogan did not use the expression about “the utmost severity.”
The sergeant of marines evidence changes the perspective a little as he recalls Badcock in his experience as apparently a well behaved boy and provides a curious vignette of hearing him “at music” on a fife or flute. Otherwise the question is raised again about the turning of the spit and its place in the duties of the mizzen top boys, among whom Badcock was placed when he had been disrated. This issue, which seems in the court record to preoccupy Cumberland a great deal, in that he sees it as a great insult to Badcock’s status and age, is the sole topic explored with the next witness, Joseph Stokes, who was the former cook of the Crocodile. In the course of that examination Richard Cumberland makes his questions on that head more specific:
And are the boys gentlemen and the sons of gentlemen supposed to be?
The last witness called by the prosecution is Captain William Cumberland, one of Richard Cumberland’s sons and Badcock’s captain at the time of his death. His evidence concerns the arrival of Badcock into his ship, about which he seems curiously vague, and two very fraught interviews he had with George Cadogan in Portsmouth where he says he was trying to find out why Cadogan had not issued Badcock with the usual certificate. He quotes Cadogan as telling the young man that “his heart was a black as his hat” and speaks of the boy’s distress in this interview.
Captain Cumberland also seems vague about whether he applied for Badcock, or at least how he did this. He describes Badcock as behaving with every degree of attention and respect towards him and then a curious exchange follows with George Cadogan about Badcock’s role in Captain Cumberland’s own boat on the Stately where Cadogan seems to be trying to dig out whether Badcock had in fact had special treatment, which of course Cumberland for his part strenuously denies.
The witness who is the first for the defence and whose evidence is by far the most detailed is Lieutenant Devon, first lieutenant of the Crocodile.
In answer to a generic question from Captain Cadogan, he gives a catalogue of the many vexed dealings he had with William Badcock and one can hear, in some of the wording, an officer realising how much trouble one young man, though only still 16 years old, was causing. The first lieutenant had to face the ship’s officers all coming to him one after another, often at the ends of their tethers and bringing complaints against Badcock. The master, for instance, is quoted as saying he would rather be without any midshipman on his watch at all rather than have Badcock, too many instances of his failing to report for duty or to remain at his post having rendered the master unable to tolerate working with him. This kind of problem would put more pressure on the first lieutenant, since it is impossible to sail and fight a ship with any degree of success unless officers can rely on and trust one another in all circumstances and Badcock’s apparent combination of inattention to his duty, resentment at being reminded of it, and overall contemptuous attitude was by degrees undermining the whole of the wardroom.
There is a tension that communicates itself, even from the relatively distancing effect that official court minutes have, where Devon describes what happened on a particular instance when he had to reprimand Badcock following a serious complaint by an officer. On the occasion Lieutenant Devon recalls in the court martial, Badcock remains silent in terms of any apology or explanation and when dismissed, stares his senior officer full in the face.
He is questioned upon it by both defence and prosecutor, and the bare text still gives a sense of the insolence of the young man. The picture offered by the evidence is of a strong willed young man doing all he can to ridicule the system of quarter deck respect and discipline. Things in themselves not apparently so very bad but in the context undermining the ability of the officers to do their duty. Badcock’s behaviour included total silence and a contemptuous failure to answer questions put to him, combined with daring to stare rather than keep ones eyes foreward at attention, and hanging from the ropes of the quarterdeck pulling faces.
The prosecutor can be heard using a little ridicule in getting Devon to go over the events again:
Cumberland (RC): You complained of his manner of going off the deck stating that he looked you full in the face. What particular offence do you attach to the circumstance of his looking you full in the face?
Devon (BD): That was only one part of my complaint it was the manner of his looking me in the face and the manner of his going off the deck.
RC: As I lost the description of his manner and am ignorant of the manner in which a person should adopt in going off the deck of a man of war I beg of you to described it again.
BD: he was some time going off the deck hanging by the ropes and pausing at every step which was certainly an improper manner to quit a Man of War’s quarterdeck and during this time he was looking me in the face and grinning.
Cumberland was being ironic but revealed a genuine ignorance here. It seems he was unaware of the manner in which all officers were required to conduct themselves. He was also unimaginative if he could not conceive why this level of insolence on public display was at best unsuitable in a ship of war. But the listening captains would know only too well the potential for difficulty caused by such acts of open defiance as this. And the defence goes on to call as witnesses several men of the ship’s company with the aim of illustrating that their worst fears, those of insurrection or some kind of collective action, might not have been so far from the truth.
The later witnesses include the purser, Mr Rhymes, who had befriended Badcock and had been the one officer who persisted in trying to maintain a friendship and offer advice. Ultimately he too found that Badcock was incorrigible. Other witness appeared on recall including the captain’s cook and the boatswain’s mate, who both testified that Badcock wrote a letter of complaint about the officers and men and then got one of the ships’ crew to copy it so that it was not in his own hand. The convenient deniability of this strategy may have alerted the crew to the risks involved and they seem not to have been particularly determined to join in and the letter was subsequently destroyed. Mr Rhymes was also involved on the day that Badcock was put into the boat of a privateer with his things as if he were going to be put ashore in St Helena.
According to the answers given by Rhymes and the others questioned about it, no one seems to have thought that there was ever any real intention on Captain Cadogan’s part to put Badcock ashore, it was just another attempt in the increasingly desperate catalogue of ways to control or curb his behaviour. Cadogan in his early days as midshipman no doubt had heard the oft-told tale of Pellew and his shipmate Frank Cole who were put ashore in Marseilles without any resources except when the ship’s lieutenants took pity on them and gave them some money. This adventure passed into the record of the many daring exploits of the young Pellew and was often retold (for instance by his fiirst biographer Edward Osler) . Even at the time it had been considered somewhat cavalier of the captain, John Stott, but it was no means an unheard of punishment. By 1809 however, things had moved on and such actions were more likely to be frowned upon in naval circles, and indeed in the month of George Cadogan’s court martial news reached London of a case that was to become notorious and result in political and jounrnalistic scandal and the dismissal of the perpetrator Captain Lake, from the service. That incident involved the marooning of a young Cornish seaman Robert Jeffrey on Sombrero, an ‘island’ little more than a bare rock with no real means of sustaining life . He was in fact rescued by a passing American ship and spent a couple of years living as a blacksmith in the United States before being discovered and returned to his home country. Badcock’s potential abandonmnent in St Helena was much nearer in spirit to the treatment of the young Pellew in that he would have been left in an inhabited place where there was a high likelihood that he could have worked a passage home on a ship, but in any case it seems highly unlikely that this was ever seriously the captain’s intention.
Like Captain Maitland’s earlier disrating of Badcock, which was not quite a disrating, this action speaks of officers who had no more ideas left for curbing and controlling the unruly midshipman. An interesting variance does lie in the officers’ estimates of how long Badcock spent in the boat, ranging from a few minutes to three quarters of an hour, though none of them appears to consider it as a particularly serious incident.
The latter part of the testimony also concerns Badcock’s view of Devon which appears to be founded in class prejudice as much as anything and certainly it is Mr Devon whom Badcock seemed to have wanted to bring down had he lived. A short survey of Devon’s later career shows that he successfully commanded several small boat actions amongst other activities on his way to becoming a post captain which does rather suggest he was an officer capable of commanding respect and loyalty. But the comments quoted by witnesses from the crew seem to reflect real resentment on Badcock’s half. For example, the boatswain’s mate and the captain’s cook both gave evidence of statements of revenge:
He said he did not give a damn for the captain’s punishing him. The captain was a gentleman but that rascal Devon was no gentleman and it was all his blame and he would be avenged of him if possible.
George Cadogan’s address to the court largely concerns the difference between the original simple complaint made by Badcock and the much more extensive charges which had been allowed to proceed. One of his regrets was that the nature of the accusation levelled against him had forced him to bring to light Badcocks actions which otherwise would have been, as he puts it, “buried in oblivion”. His anger with Cumberland bears the hallmarks of the naval insider wondering why such a prosection of this kind had ever gone ahead.
The court martial verdict found that the charges were not proven and added that “many of the stsaments in the memorial were unfouded.” The court was completely clear that there had been no connection between the two beatings Badcock had received and the illneass which subsequently led to his death. They made this clear by using the phrase “not in the most remotest degree”. George Cadogan was finally acquitted some seven months or more after the first complaint has been made.
The court is of the opinion that the charges have not been proved against the said George Cadogan but that many of the observations stated in the memorial of the prosecutor were unfounded and that the death of the said William Richard Badcock can not in the most remote degree be ascribed to the punishment he received on board HM said ship Crocodile and doth adjudge the said Hon George Cadogan to be acquitted and he is hereby acquitted accordingly.
 ADM 1/5395 Courts martial papers April 1809.
 A full text search of the British Library’s database of 19th century newspapers produces no hits whatsoever for this event and in a comparable search on Google books only two references are found , in the Edinburgh Annual Register for April 1809 p 112 and in the Sporting Magazine volume 34 pp6-7.
 Souce St Andrews Holborn burial registers, digitised by Ancestry.com
 John de Lancaster, Volume 4.
 ADM 1/4423 (Pro C 455a) William Crutchley to John Barrow Esq.
 ADM 1/4423 (Pro C457) William Cruchley to unnamed recipient at the Admiralty
 ADM 1/1135 (A 368) Admiral Sir Roger Curtis to William Wellesley Pole, inc letter of Captain Cadogan, March 1st 1809.
 ADM 1/1428 (G123) Vice Admiral Sir William Douglas to WWP , March 4th 1809.
 ADM 1/ 4423 Richard Cumberland to WWP, March 17, 1809.
 ADM1/1136 (A 173) WWP note for reply to Roger Curtis.
 ADM1/1135 (A 441) Admiral Curtis to WWP inc letter of Lieutenant Barker Devon, 13th March 1809.
 Byrn, p39 n2.
 The others were : Charles Rowley, Donald Campbell, John Irwin, Edward Henry Columbine, Edward Galway John Terrrell, John Bowen and John Ayscough.
 As laid down in Chapter 5 of the Regulations and Instructions of 1731 and in a slightly modified form in chapter 8 of the “new” regulations and instructions of 1806.
 The ADM12/138 Index and Digest volumes for 1809 describe a letter from Bicknell, solicitor to the Navy, responding to a letter dated from the Admiralty which enclosed Cumberland ‘s query .However the document is not in the correspondence filed under solicitor as the digest suggests it is. (i section 23:1)
 Regulations 1806 quoted in Bryn Naval courts martial 1793-1815
 All text relating to the Court Martial from the transcript of the trial in ADM 1/5395
 Edward Osler The life of Admiral Lord Exmouth, 1835
 this event is described in James Derriman Marooned , published by Kenneth Mason, 1991
Our last post on George Cadogan’s naval career left him at the end of his command of the Ferret, where his discharge from the muster recorded him as “invalided” . This designation was shared by an alarming number of officers on the Jamaica and Leeward Islands stations at that period. There is a brief conversation shown in the Hornblower series where seamen Styles, Matthews and Oldroyd discuss where they might be bound for this time. The youthful Oldroyd dreams of tropical islands but the veteran Matthews squashes the Oldroyd’s naive visions, merely commenting “tropical diseases” . That kind of wary conversation was likely often repeated amongst officers and seamen alike. As Lord Spencer’s letter to Lord Granville about Cadogan mentions , yellow fever was a common fate and especially for those worn down by the demands of office or by crisis, presumably because of the weakened immune systems that today would be recognised as symptomatic of stress. Although the connection was not understood in those terms by Georgian doctors, captains certainly recognised that good spirits equated to better health. John Bryn, in his excellent detailed study of naval crime and punishment in the Caribbean in this period quotes examples of commanders putting emphasis on providing opportunities for leisure and amusement for their crews .
Cadogan’s career summary in Admiralty records dates his command of the Ferret to June 7th 1807  giving him a period of just over 1 year and 2 months service in her. In fact Admiralty records reveal that the Navy Board took the decision to appoint Cadogan to Post rank on March 23rd 1807 , at the same time recording the appointment of one Lieutenant Baker to command “the sloop now commanded in the West Indies by Captain Cadogan” . The apparent inability of either the Navy Board committee or the clerk recording the minutes, to remember the Ferret’s name is no doubt in sharply ironic contrast to the way in which her name would be graven on the memories of both Cadogan and the families of the executed mutineers.
The captain’s log for the Ferret for this period is missing and the masters log dates only to April of 1807 so it is only from the ship’s pay book and muster book that we have the information that Cadogan was discharged as an invalid on 10 June . The passage of time from March to June which lies between the decision to appoint Cadogan elsewhere and the actual date of his leaving his ship gives a good example of the typical delay between an Admiralty decision and the possibility of its being put into practice, when it concerned any far flung station. In this case the delay of three months or so is about average. While Lieutenant Baker was, no doubt, proudly going to buy his single epaulette of commander’s rank and arranging for his passage to the West Indies, Cadogan would have been simultaneously arranging to get home. However, there is no entry in the Admiralty record  of Cadogan’s request for a passage home so we cannot tell precisely how long his stay in the West Indies was. We know, however, that it was not long because on July 23rd he writes to the Admiralty from London, reminding them that he has left the Ferret on being made post rank and asking again to be employed .
Appointed to the Crocodile
And so Cadogan is given his first full captain’s commission and takes command of the Crocodile, a 22 gun post ship, after her previous commander, Captain Bettesworth, won the promotion longed for by many a newly minted post captain: command of a fine frigate. Bettesworth was a cousin of Lord Bryon and it is from one of Byron’s letters that we get a sense of the excitement of that promotion.
“Next January … I am going to sea for four or five months with my cousin, Captain Bettesworth, who commands the Tartar, the finest frigate in the navy … We are going probably to the Mediterranean or to the West Indies, or to the devil; and if there is a possibility of taking me to the latter, Bettesworth will do it, for he has received four-and-twenty wounds in different places, and at this moment possesses a letter from the late Lord Nelson stating that Bettesworth is the only officer in the navy who had more wounds than himself. 
In fact this never took place because Bettesworth was killed in the battle of Alvoen . This was to have another knock on effect, which was that he was not around to offer evidence in the court martial that Cadogan was to face something over a year later.
That particular cloud was yet to break over Cadogan’s head at this point however and it was other problems, of an apparently personal kind, which were concerning him as he prepared to take command on 11 October 1807.
The ship was fitted for foreign service by order of the Navy Board of 19th October 1807 but at the same time Cadogan was having to request leave of absence barely a week after coming on board to read his commission. Two letters survive in the ADM Captains’ Letters series from Cadogan requesting leave of absence and then requesting extended leave until the 24th October. It is perhaps a mark of his personality, as tending to the very private and formal, that he states only:
Circumstances of the most urgent nature requiring my presence in town London I have to request you will be pleased to request move my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to grant me forty eight hours leave of absence from my duty to transact it , and that they will be pleased to return a telegraphic message .
This letter and its style create a sense of secrecy and urgency about the “circumstances”. The letter was no doubt written in haste. Ordinarily a reply would have reached Cadogan on the Crocodile within a day and so a demand for a telegraphic reply constitutes quite an unusual request. And as for the style, Cadogan was by habit a coherent and orderly, if always somewhat sparing, writer and yet this example has two crossed out words in four lines. The second of which, admittedly, is because he has intensified the hope of the admiral’s help by amending “request” to the more urgent “move”. However the whole sentence is unbalanced: “ circumstances” would require the phrase “attend to” or “deal with” whereas Cadogan has said “transact”, a verb more suited to his having used “business” at the opening of his sentence. This was a man in a tearing hurry for a reason we cannot presently determine. Whatever the Admiralty Board’s response to this request, whether sympathy, frustration or merely a raised eyebrow or two, both the leave and extended leave were granted.
The preparations for taking the Crocodile to sea continued. Cadogan’s orders included sailing to the Cape of Good Hope and there handing over secret dispatches to his old mentor Sir Edward Pellew . Even after sailing things did not go to plan. The instructions below, laconic as ever, were given to Admiral Montague, commander at Portsmouth, for him to pass on to Cadogan. They are from an Admiralty Board minute of November 25th. At first sight the instructions came too late, the Crocodile had already sailed on the 19th. However they refer to the fact that the ship and her crew were again there in port two days later. Having lost sight of part of her convoy in rough weather Cadogan, who had returned with a damaged merchant ship, wrote a fairly full explanatory letter but only received an indirect and terse reply via this directive to Admiral Montague.
Direct Admiral Montague to order the Crocodile to sail and to follow her former orders .
That the preparations for the voyage might not be the smoothest was eventually to seem a minor irritation but that was perhaps merely a little like a warning shot across the bows. But neither literally nor metaphorically did Cadogan have opportunity or will to heave to.
Difficulties in Preparing for the First Voyage
Whatever hopes Cadogan may have had of this command going better for him than his last were destined not to be fulfilled on this particular voyage anyway. He had openly written to his father of what he had endured in the Caribbean and probably felt it was more than time he had some good fortune . He was at least inheriting a crew who had more cohesion than the rabble who had been scraped together to crew the Ferret, which no doubt made for better day to day performance in terms of sailing skills. But they were also a crew adjusting to a new, young first–time post captain and one who tended to combine the desire for high standards with a rather stiff necked and fierce way of trying to achieve them. And he perhaps laboured under the effect of whatever “circumstances” had caused him to be sailing late after having taken that mysterious leave.
The captain had some friends aboard among the young gentlemen at least, a letter in the ADM 1/1673 series of captain’s letters from Cadogan states that two men who had been under his command in the Ferret, Edward Percival midshipman and F. Allen, rank not stated, wished to follow him to the Crocodile although they had in the meantime been assigned to another sloop, the Pilot. This permission was granted and it is testament to the fact that Cadogan was far from universally disliked, especially since they had experienced him struggling with command on board the Ferret. Midshipman Edward Percival was to play a role in the future court martial drama too. He was a young man of 18, born in Ireland, according to the Crocodile’s muster book .
There were other staffing problems besetting Cadogan in getting a full and functioning crew. A letter from Cadogan, undated but written from the Crocodile, to Admiral Montague stated that one Lieutenant Boss had removed from the ship to the Bulwark, and goes on to ask with some urgency:
I have to request you will be pleased to apply to my Lords commissioners of the Admiralty for a lieutenant to be appointed immediately, the ship being ready to sail. The letter is enclosed with a forwarding one from Admiral Montague .
Although Cadogan’s letter is undated, that of Admiral Montague forwarding it, is dated October 12th . It is usual for such requests to be acted upon on the following day and so, given the closeness in date to Cadogan’s entry in to his command, it does seem as if it was just as he arrived to read his commission he found himself minus a capable lieutenant. There could be many reasons for a lieutenant removing into another ship, experience of working in a larger vessel, promotion to a more senior lieutenants post, following an admired captain etc. Captain Bettesworth had of course gone to the Tartar frigate, but Lieutenant Boss had a career to forge too and was also moving on to a larger vessel. It is possible that Cadogan and Lieutenant Boss were known to each other, or at least that they knew a good deal about one another, certainly they had one link which was very much part of Cadogan’s former service in the Indefatigable.
John George Boss was a young officer who had served with Captain Bettesworth when both were junior lieutenants on board the Centaur and he had followed him into the Crocodile . Their fellow lieutenant on the Centaur had been Robert Carthew Reynolds, son of Sir Edward Pellew’s friend, Robert Carthew Reynolds senior, who had been captain of the Amazon during the Engagement with the Droits de l’Homme. Robert junior knew George Cadogan well as he had been a fellow midshipman under Pellew’s command on both the Indefatigable and the Impetueux. Bettesworth, Boss and Reynolds had had some adventures in a daring boat action and clearly worked well together, with Reynolds the senior lieutenant of the three .
There was yet more chaos as a result of missteps in administration concerning the finding of a replacement for the departed Lieutenant Boss. A letter from Cadogan of the 1st November reveals that one Lieutenant Thomas Hamley had just arrived having taken passage on the Sloop Hazard from Plymouth as ordered by the Admiralty. However there was a problem, due to the Crocodile’s imminent sailing, the Admiralty had in the meantime sent down Lieutenant Bassan “in his room” as the term was! So now Cadogan had two lieutenants and only one position to fill! He wrote to the Admiralty and asked: what was he to do? It seems typical of the bad luck that so dogged Cadogan that even in getting a new lieutenant he should end up with a problem, this time of superfluity! The Admiralty decision was that Mr Hamley should join the Crocodile and Mr Bassan join the Royal William .
Bad luck with mistimed letters and orders seems to play a part in Cadogan’s history more than once. We have seen one important example of this already our previous post about the missing order to recall Cadogan from the Caribbean, and here was another.
This time it seems that there were indeed orders for an increase to the Crocodile’s compliment which were issued but which did not reach him as they should have done. Cadogan was supposed to have had this information in that November and could have then at least tried to obtain more men, but he had sailed already and the instruction was sent back to the Admiralty – it is not clear why this was or what happened to it next. But as long after the event as June 25th 1808 Admiral Montague, Commander in Chief at Portsmouth, writes to the Admiralty that Captain Cadogan has shown him an Admiralty letter addressed to him aboard Crocodile, dated November 1807 and which, Admiral Montague reports, arrived too late at Spithead the previous year. The Crocodile had already sailed and so the orders were sent back to the Admiralty. The Admiralty clerk’s usual instruction for reply to the Admiral’s letter of explanation is in the corner of the reverse of the sheet, and even the terse summary gives away their Lordship’s frustration at this latest slip up :
27 June This order ought to have been sent to the Crocodile – if it has not already gone to that ship, pray send it! (a duplicate of the order was sent to Captain Cadogan on Friday last).
Given George’s staffing problems, the realisation that he might much earlier have had more people to help work his ship must have been a galling one.
William Richard Badcock
It was among the young gentlemen however, that nemesis awaited Captain Cadogan. One of the inherited crew of the Crocodile was a midshipman named William Richard Badcock, who was then aged 15 but who had been at sea since his 11th birthday
An orphaned young man sent to sea very early indeed, nevertheless he was not without interest or influence on his behalf. His grandfather and guardian, Richard Cumberland was a celebrated journal editor and dramatist. Cumberland had a good number of friends in useful high places and was himself a very well known figure by that time of his life. Cumberland’s daughter, Sophia had married Richard Badcock, a somewhat dissolute man who had died young, as a result of his lifestyle, at least according to his father in law who wrote that:
This young man died, a victim to excess in the prime of life before he reached the age of thirty .
Cumberland was left as the legal guardian of Badcock and his siblings, a duty he took very seriously. Cumberland’s plays were characterised by their sympathy for the marginalised and those on the edges of society and he was seen as an emotively outspoken and keenly litigious man, both of which traits are of significance to later events. His writing style is self consciously sentimental and striving, sometimes too obviously, for pathetic effect, something also relevant to the court martial clash that was to come.
Richard Cumberland painted by Romney in 1771
The writing style is evident in his autobiographical work too and nowhere more so than when he recounts the guardianship of the Badcock children,
…five children, awarded to my care by chancery, and looking up to me for the education, that is to decide upon their future destinies—My God! can I presume to hope that thou wilt give me life to execute this sacred trust, and train them in the way, poor innocents, wherein they ought to go? 
William Richard Badcock was one of nineteen grandchildren but his parental circumstances made him one whom Cumberland particularly wished to see established in life.
William also had an uncle at sea who was, at that time, captain of a 64, the Stately. This was Captain William Cumberland, his mother’s younger brother. William Cumberland senior was a captain of some years standing having made post in 1798  and he was to be, as Captain of the Leydan, 64, part of Admiral Gambier’s fleet in the capture of the Danish navy later in 1807 .
William was rated midshipman at the time Cadogan took over the Crocodile and, by Cadogan’s own account had been hopeful of transferring to the Foudroyant.  However Cadogan had refused his transfer on the grounds that he was short of midshipmen at that time.
The Voyage to the Cape
On the voyage to the Cape the master’s log records a burst of punishments in the second month of being at sea, a pattern often seen both in new commands, as identified by Bryn in his study. Pearman describes it very well as a “dismal voyage where there were often two floggings a week”. Nine men were punished by flogging in December with between one dozen and three dozen lashes and during that time, the relationship between Cadogan and his midshipman, though initially beginning well according to William, rapidly deteriorated.
Captain Cadogan sent for me to his cabin and there told me that he had observed the general slackness with which the midshipmen carried out their duty, that I was the only one he thought worthy of speaking to , and exhorted me to do my duty better. I told him if felt highly gratified by the distinction he gave me and should certainly do everything in my power to serve him and the officers of the Crocodile .
From Cadogan’s perspective, he perhaps intended to persuade a young man already marked out to him as problematic by Captain Bettesworth by getting him onside as an ally. This is what he says in his original statement made at the time of a court of inquiry into Badcock’s allegations .
Mr Badcock’s neglect of duty ..and the complaints that were made to this effect caused me …to remonstrate with him in the terms he has stated, upon finding there …marks of my attention to him to little or no effect…I can only refer you to those officers who have known him longer than myself for his general character, which makes me repent, from the impression Captain Bettesworth’s opinion in the first place made on me (and which in the end I found so true) I ever allowed myself to be prejudiced so much in his favour.
This sentence is another of George Cadogan’s rare incoherent moments but his later address to the court martial makes it clear that he was repenting of the decision to try to win Badcock [H4] over rather than simply go straight to the application of punishment. He writes:
I found Mr Badcock in the Crocodile upon my arriving in the month of October 1807. I received from Captain Bettesworth an unfavourable character of him, although no third person having been present at this conversation it is out of my power to substantiate it by my evidence .
That captain’s remonstrance came, according to William apparently inexplicably; Cadogan accused him of being lax in his duty and subsequently left him to the mercy of Lieutenant Devon who had him flogged.
I was seized up to one of the guns, Captain Cadogan went out of the room and told the first lieutenant that if he spared me he was injuring the service Lieutenant Devon then ordered me two dozen lashes …
This downturn in the relationship worsened on the return from the Cape and in a period marked by other clashes caused by Cadogan’s exacting style of captaincy. The master’s log for January records on the 7th:
Captain Cadogan ordered the boatswain confined for contempt of him .
Having to confine the boatswain is a serious problem in any ship, and in a small ship like the Crocodile, where, as James Henderson has pointed out in his study of smaller ships,  the close proximity made discipline harder to enforce, it is an even more difficult problem. This incident also carried disturbing overtones of the breakdown of the relationship between Cadogan and Thomas Simpson, the mutinous boatswain of his previous command, the Ferret.
All methods of trying to bring him to his senses about the level of his behaviour seemed to lead nowhere and he remained indifferent to being disciplined, even when the captain threatened to put him ashore at St Helena, going so far as to make him sit for a short time in the boat of a privateer which was alongside them as if he were going ashore.
Things went from bad to worse . From his own statements and the remarks quoted by his grandfather later, William Badcock was at best a proud, arrogant and forthright young man, and from the officers reactions he was also difficult, lazy and contemptuous one when corrected. George Cadogan had all the pride and almost inbuilt hauteur an Earl’s son imbibes from the cradle, together with his own dutiful record as a midshipman and a high view of what constituted the actions of a gentleman. A clash was inevitable, and with all the power on one side could only spell a difficult time for the young midshipman. Any commander of a brig may take on a ship of the line but he would be not so much bold as foolhardy and ripe for destruction. It appears that Badcock became increasingly set on the course for destruction.
Eventually, after several punishments and demotions, Badcock was discharged from the Crocodile, crucially without the issue of a certificate from his captain stating his behaviour to have been satisfactory. Again, in the Hornblower episode The Examination for Lieutenant you may remember Horatio being asked for his certificates when he presents himself for his lieutenant’s examination in Gibraltar . These certificates were formulaic documents and each one read the same. The first of the three possessed by William Badcock serves as an example, the others follow the formula precisely:
This is to certify the principal officers and commissioners of His Majesty’s Navy that Mr William Badcock served as (gentleman volunteer in the second and third class) of H M Ship Sulphur under my command from 25th June 1803 to the date hereof during which time he behaved with diligence and sobriety and was always obedient to command.
Given under my hand on board the said ship, in the Downs, this 7th day of April 1804 .
The certificates may be formulaic but without them one could not get taken on by another ship, nor – crucially – could one go forward for the examination and then apply for a lieutenant’s post. William Badcock had been at sea for almost six years and would thus have been in a position before too long to hope for promotion had he had a complete record of his midshipman’s years but at this stage, with only the rank of a common seaman and no certificate, his chances were slim. His discharge came at the time of his 16th birthday in June 1808 and it might have been the end of his career hopes entirely.
Badcock was fortunate that he still had one card to play – his uncle William Cumberland was by this time captain of the Stately and he accepted William with him as midshipman. William immediately began a written complaint to the Admiralty accusing George Cadogan and his first lieutenant, Mr Devon, of ”tyranny and cruelty” and submitted this via the usual system to the Admiralty.
Badcock’s Complaint Against Captain Cadogan
There were, in any given month, a number of complaints against officers, in fact one of the headings regularly appearing in the ADM 12 Digests of Correspondence is headed “Complaints on Officers”. Indeed the irony is that while Captain Cumberland was submitting Badcock’s complaint on his behalf the Admiralty had been corresponding with him concerning a complaint made against him by one of his own lieutenants.
The Admiralty took such complaints seriously, and wished to be seen to do so, even when the complaint was likely an exaggerated or vexatious one. However to avoid the expense, and the demand on senior officers’ time of too many unnecessary courts martial the court of enquiry system was used. By the time that Badcock’s complaint reached the admiralty the Crocodile had sailed to the Baltic. The board therefore ordered Admiral Webb, the Commander in Chief in the Baltic station, to convene a court of enquiry with the participation of the three most senior captains on the station. John Bryn in an excellent study of naval crime and punishment in this period writes about the court of inquiry: of its usefulness in allowing commanders on foreign stations to act with relatively little delay in investigating complaints and describes the way in which the extra judicial status of these courts of inquiry enabled them to operate with extreme discretion, no formal minutes, etc. In the case of the investigation of Badcock’s complaint the inquiry clearly took place as a court martial was ordered on Cadogan, but the record of the comments that is, if there was one, of the court of [H7] inquiry has not survived .
The enquiry found there was a case to answer and so the Admiralty then ordered a court martial for Cadogan based on the assertions in Badcock’s statement. There then began what was the inevitable logistical nightmare of getting Captain Cadogan, his accuser, the witnesses for both sides and the necessary examining officers all in the right place at the right time. Badcock himself was summoned to attend at the flagship at the Nore along with a marine who was a witness. They were told that they would be ordered to proceed to the Baltic for a court martial which was deemed proper to be held on George Cadogan.
The usual logistical factors turned much more tragic when Badcock began to fall ill whilst attempting to make the journey asked of him. He had managed to reach the Namur , the flagship at the Nore, but became so ill he was transferred to the hospital ship HMS Sussex where his health deteriorated rapidly. Soon it must have become obvious that an onward journey to the Baltic would have been out of the question, though naval bureaucracy made it difficult for his family to get him shore leave initially as it seemed that the severity of his illness was not recognised .
Richard Cumberland managed, by a great deal of expenditure and effort, to get his grandson home, by barge and ship as he was too ill for coach travel, and had him attended by some eminent London doctors, but nothing availed and Badcock died a month or so later. Perhaps the most affecting statement that Cumberland wrote is this simple description, which displays none of his florid prose:
He died at 8.30 pm on the 7th December in the 17th year of his age and the sixth of his service in the navy.
At the time of Badcock’s death Cumberland was in the middle of writing a novel: John de Lancaster [H10] and he was in fact in the process of writing the preface to the third volume. He included in book three what one reviewer called “an affecting appeal …to the feelings of the reader” . This section of the novel was being written in the bleak days between William’s death and his burial and book one ended with the personal element:
Whilst I write this, my grandson, a brave youth, of six years service in the royal navy, born, as I vainly hoped, to grace my name and recompense the cares that I bestowed upon his education lies as ‘twere before me, dead and as yet unburied. Whilst I not only mourn his death but feel his wrongs, of which the world must hear, if the appeal, that he had made to justice, is cut short by his untimely death .
In the novel itself there is a passage which, whilst it is integral to the story the novel is telling perhaps also echoes Cumberland’s own feelings at his grandson’s death:
The evil spirit hath not so established his authority on earth ,that men will risqué to be the friend of him who dares to be the foe of virtue. Innocence will not be violated nor justice braved and insulted with impunity. Where is there one among all the favourites of fortune to whom more happy opportunities and brighter hopes of prosperity have been vouchsafed than to that young man who is now become the object of our aversion and contempt? What might he not have been? Alas what is he now?
I should be at a loss, said the elder Wilson to answer that question because I could not find words in the language to express his crimes, but murder in the blackest cast is one of them. Were I on his court martial I would hang him without mercy and I think I could almost find it in my heart to be present at his execution .
Immediately after the funeral a distraught Cumberland pursued his grandson’s case. He wrote a Memorial which runs to many pages but which is a considerable amplification of Badcock’s own original complaint. He asserted additionally, amongst other things, that Captain Cadogan and Lieutenant Devon were responsible for hastening, if not causing Badcock’s death. Though in fact his death occurred more than six months after he left the Crocodile and whilst he was a midshipman on his uncle’s ship, the Stately. The Admiralty saw fit to proceed with a court martial on charges relating to Cumberland’s memorial rather than Badcock’s simpler complaint.
This was an action between much more evenly matched vessels in one sense. And so the pre court martial skirmishing began, with the original complaint already three months old, between Christmas and New Year of 1808/1809.
The Delayed Court Martial: Cadogan Under Arrest
The attempt by Badcock to pursue a case had begun in the October of 1808 and many delays were involved in the continuation after his death. The four principal witnesses from the Crocodile’s crew were not yet available because they had been left in charge of a prize she had captured in Gothenburg. These men were two midshipmen, the purser and the captain’s clerk. In fact there were somewhere between 18 and 24 men out bringing in prizes as the Crocodile log reveals as the Baltic cruise was very successful. The log for December 6th for instance records what must have been a very satisfying day indeed:
at 4.30 made sail in chace…at 7 boarded and took possession of Danish Galliot Saint Andrew…at 8:10 made sail in chace of a sloop…at 10 hove to and took possession of the Danish sloop Restitution
at 4.10 boarded and took possession of the Danish brig Emmanuel from Longsound bound to Denmark, at 10 tacked and made sail, prizes in company.
It is not surprising that togther with the successful prize taking there was an improvement in the discipline record. What is somewhat surprising is the extent of tht improvement, in all the time from late October to February there are only two occasions when punishment takes place and a total of only four men disciplined. This cruise shows George Cadogan as a capable commander by any standards, and he must have felt considerable satisfaction about it. In the aftermath of Badcock’s removal from the ship the crew appears to have settled down. As once before however when the Cyane had been a successful command in the West Indies, it was not to last for Cadogan. The log records that on December 28 they met with the Superb and that Captain Cadogan went on board her for a hour or so to receive orders and dispatches. This may quite possibly have been the time that Cadogan learned that a court martial was to go ahead and indeed when he heard also of Badcock’s death earlier that month. One can only imagine the depressing and anxious feelings that would have come with that news.
At length all the witnesses were able to assemble and in April of 1809 the court martial went ahead.
 ADM37/16045 Ferret muster book 1806-1807
 In the episode The Frogs and the Lobsters [The Wrong War ] originally broadcast ITV 1999. Screenplay: Chris Ould
 Letter from Lord Spencer to Lord Granville .29th November 1806 Huntingdon Library STG Correspondence.Box 163( 73)
 Bryn, p104.
 ADM 196/3 folio 372 Officers’ service records.
 ADM3/159 Navy board rough minutes March 1807 ( ADM 12/124 Index A-F)
 ADM 35/ 8406 Ferret paybook 1806- 7
 ADM12 /124 Index A – G for1807
 ADM 1/1673 Letters from Captains surnames C for 1807
 Letter to Elizabeth from Trinity College Cambridge , October 26th 1807, quoted in Moore.
 Article in Wikipedia on George Edmund Byron Bettsworth , quoting Edward Pelham Brenton, The History of the Royal Navy 1793-1796. London 1823
 ADM 1/1673 Letters from captains surname C 1807 nos 2 and 3 .
 ADM 3/ 162 Navy Board rough minutes 4:1 24 th November 1807
 George Cadogan to Charles, First Earl Cadogan,
[[[from amaica October 13th, 1806 Huntingdon Library correspondence, Box 137( 29)
 ADM 1/1673 Captain’s letters 1897
 ADM 37/735 Crocodile muster book 1807-8
 ADM 1/1112 Letters from C in C Portsmouth , nos1653 -1800 ( A 1685)
 Marshall, Vol IV part 1, p 29
 Marshall vol IV part 1 p 29
 ADM 1/ 1673 Letters from captains surname C letter no 5.
 Badcock’s certificate from first commander, a copy of which forms part of the Court Martial evidence in ADM1/ 5395
 Cumberland, Memoirs p315
 Cumberland, Memoirs , p315
 The Gentleman’s Magazine. Obituary of Rear Admiral William Cumberland, 1817
 Badcock’s personal statement of complaint ,posthumously reported at George’s trial, and now in the Court martial record ADM 1/ 5395
 Georges ‘statement of 19th October 1808 now part of the Court Martial record AMD 1/5395
George’s address to the court made at the time of the Court martial and preserved in the record ADM1/5395
 Badcock’s statement in the court martial record as above
 ADM 51/ Ferret Master’s Log January 1808.
 Henderson, p
 In The Examination for Lieutenant ,ITV 1998, screenplay Mike Cullen.
 Certificate copy attached as evidence by the prosecution to court martial document ADM1/5385
 Byrn, pp 35-7
 See Richard Cumberland’ s description of Badcock’s last days in his memorial of December 1809 preserved in the court martial record.
 Mudford p535
 Cumberland John de Lancaster, p106
 Cumberland, John de Lancaster , pp5-6