A Whip and Sword
Ah! well-day! what evil looks Had I from old and young! Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung.
IN The early summer of 1770 John Paul's ship was lying in Rockley Bay, at the West Indian island of Tobago, which is the southernmost of the Windward Isles. Full of the pride of life in his capacity as a twenty-three-year-old skipper, he looked from the deck now down upon his sweating crew, now upward to the island's high crest streaked with tropical greenness.
There was one man on the vessel who was not working according to John Paul's notion of fitness. He was the ship's carpenter, a mulatto named Mungo Maxwell. The young skipper strode forward and bawled at him sharply. Maxwell replied mumblingly, rolled his sultry eyes, and showed no disposition to look alive. On a ship such conduct toward a captain is outrage, it is treason, it is mutiny. John Paul acted hastily but according to law and tradition. He seized a whip and lashed it many times across the carpenter's shoulders, raising long bruised welts. Maxwell, not daring to retaliate, went to the judge of the island vice-admiralty court and lodged a charge. Captain Paul was summoned. His defence was that Maxwell had deserved the beating, at the same time, according to the judge's subsequent statement, "declaring his sorrow for having corrected the complainant." This was characteristic