Royal Naval Biography/Meredith, Richard


Entered the royal navy in 1790; obtained his first commission on the 15th Aug. 1806; and served, during the peace, as senior lieutenant of the Northumberland 78, and Cambridge 82, under the command of Captain Thomas James Maling, the latter ship employed on the South American station. He was promoted to the rank of commander on the 16th Mar. 1824; and appointed to the Pelorus sloop, fitting out for the suppression of the African slave-trade, Sept. 26th, 1831. The following is taken from the Hampshire Telegraph:–

“A court-martial was held on Monday,” June 16th, 1834, “on Lieutenant Philip De Sausmarez, of H.M. sloop Pelorus, on the following charge preferred against him by Commander Meredith, viz. – For having, on the 18th of April, 1832, whilst in charge of the Segunda Teresa, slave-brig, punished Francis Brown, with twenty-four lashes, for neglect of duty, contrary to the general rules of the service, and in opposition to the written orders of Commander Meredith. It appeared from the evidence, that Lieutenant De Sausmarez was surrounded by a disrespectful and even mutinous crew; that Francis Brown, the seaman who was punished, was most conspicuously so; that on being ordered by Lieut. De Sausmarez to put the helm up he refused to do so, and on the order being repeated to him, he said he could steer a ship as well as he (the lieutenant) could. That, on another occasion, being sent ashore on duty, by the officer of the Match, he did not return to the ship until several hours after he ought to have done so, and then he refused to take the quarter-master (Price) off to the schooner, though ordered to do so. – Lieut. De Sausmarez, in his defence, commented on the insubordinate state of the crew, and on the evident necessity there was, that he should make an example of Brown, but whose punishment he did not resolve upon until he had consulted with Lieut. Huntly, then the senior officer at Sierra Leone, who not only concurred in opinion, but sent the boatswain’s mate and marines of his own vessel (the Lynx), to carry the punishment into execution. The Court decided that, under the circumstances, Lieut. De Sausmarez was justified in having had recourse to such punishment, and therefore acquitted him. The President, Sir Frederick L. Maitland, K.C.B.,” (Admiral-Superintendent of Portsmouth dock-yard) “then returned Lieutenant De Sausmarez his sword, saying, ‘I have great pleasure in returning you your sword, and in saying that nothing whatever has appeared to affect your character on this occasion.’ – Lieutenant De Suasmarez had been under arrest eighteen months upon this charge!