Riou's letters to the Admiralty | State Library of New South Wales

Riou's letters to the Admiralty

Captain Edward Riou arrived back in England in 1790. He was required to undergo a court-martial - a mandatory trial for a sea captain who lost a ship. (After arriving back at the Cape of Good Hope, the damaged Guardian was finally wrecked and beached during a storm at False Bay). Thanks to his bravery, the court-martial was merely a formality and Riou was acquitted. His conduct was considered beyond reproach. The officers and crew who abandonded the Guardian in the smaller boats, however, were heavily criticised by some for not doing their duty. Captain Riou wrote a series of letters to the British Admiralty, exonerating their conduct (particularly focussing on those men who survived the escape). He also requested pardons for the convicts who had remained on board the Guardian and who were later transferred to Port Jackson. Fourteen of the twenty surviving convicts were granted pardons thanks to Riou.

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 > View more letters by Captain Riou in the Library's catalogue catalogue link