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Spithead naval mutiny

Spithead naval mutiny, 1797. While this mutiny lasted a calendar month, 16 April to 14 May, its roots had a century's growth. The Channel fleet was immobilized, with men withholding further service until grievances over pay, provisions, and leave had been redressed. Their case was firmly yet reasonably put by 33 ‘delegates’, and the mutiny might have been terminated as early as 23 April had the royal pardon, which reached Portsmouth that day, been accompanied by evidence that Parliament had also voted the appropriate financial supply. Not until 10 May could the seamen be satisfied on this score, but Earl Howe's prestige and conciliatoriness, buttressed by a fresh pardon, was decisive in bringing what had in effect been a strike to an end.

David Denis Aldridge

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