15 DECEMBER 1855, Page 15


Gosport, 12th December 1855. Srn—I trust to your kindness and sense of justice to give insertion to the following statement of the cruel and iniquitous case of my brother, Mr. James Wilkinson Elliott, Surgeon, R.N. He was promoted for meritorious conduct on board the Britannikwhen the dreadful outbreak of cholera occurred last August, and for service at Balaklava. Over-work and exposure in a tent in the horrid winter in the Crimea, brought on dysentery and shattered nerves; the latter, no doubt, as we now know from evidenoe, the result of incipient disease of the brain. Under these circumstances, he was accused of neglect of duty ; for this he was reprimanded, and returned to duty. In a week or two afterwards he was placed under close arrest, instead of being sent to an hospital, kept so for three long months, then tried by Court-martial, 25th June 1855,—when his friends had left the station, and with all his honourable testimonials in England,—and sentenced to dismissal and two years' imprisonment in a gaol. The illegality of the Court-martial is apparent, inasmuch as be was twice punished for the same acts : but the Admiralty set at nought the illegality.

Great strew; has been laid on my unfortunate brother having made no de- fence, when it was obvious he could easily have made a triumphant one ; but he was paralyzed by long confinement, the horrid sufferings he had gone through, and., above all, by the incipient disease of the brain.

On his arrival, a prisoner, in England, my brother was forthwith consigned to a thief's punishment and a thief a cell in Exeter Gaol, although the Ad- miralty were informed that in his state of health they were dooming him to inevitable death.

Heartrending aupplicatione were made by his widowed mother to Sir Charles Wood again and again, but in vain. The disease of the brain, incipient in the Crimea, now began to show it- self in low nervous fever ; this was instantly communicated, on the 29th Oc- tober, to the First Lord of the Admiralty, who was again implored to release him. The First Lord was still inexorable. A higher power than the First Lord—the Almighty Disposer—now stepped in and took lhim to Himself, on the 1st of the present month, after five or six weeks' serious

This is a hideous narration, but it is a true ono; a more cruel and iniqui- tous case has not occurred since the days of Judge Jefferies. Let us hope that the members of the Court-martial erred unintentionally ; but what an error ! That an officer should be punished literally to death for an infliction of the Almighty, (a softening of the brain,) and that infliction brought on by over-work and hardships in the execution of his day is such a case of iniquity that it cries aloud to Heaven for retribution. There is' however, no excuse for the Admiralty, for they knew (at least Sir Charles Wood did) that imprisonment would kill him. A petition setting forth this heartrending case has been sent to her Ma- jesty, and the whole subject will be brought before Parliament when it. as- sembles.

There is but one feeling, at least in naval circles, respecting my brother's treatment, and that feeling is one of the deepest indignation. Such, Sir, is a statement of this case; to which I am sure your kindness and sense-of justice will give publicity.