`BEACON-HOUSE, 22ND JUNE 1810, FIVE O'CLOCK P.M.
`SIR, - I have just now received a letter purporting to be from the landing-master's crew and seamen on board of the SIR JOSEPH BANKS, though without either date or signature; in answer to which I enclose a statement of the daily allowance of provisions for the seamen in this service, which you will post up in the ship's galley, and at seven o'clock this evening I will come on board to inquire into this unexpected and most unnecessary demand for an additional allowance of beer. In the enclosed you will not find any alteration from the original statement, fixed in the galley at the beginning of the season. I have, however, judged this mode of giving your people an answer preferable to that of conversing with them on the beacon. - I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, ROBERT STEVENSON.
`BEACON HOUSE, 22ND JUNE 1810. - Schedule of the daily allowance of provisions to be served out on board of the SIR JOSEPH BANKS tender: "1.5 lb. beef; 1 lb. bread; 8 oz. oatmeal; 2 oz. barley; 2 oz. butter; 3 quarts beer; vegetables and salt no stated allowance. When the seamen are employed in unloading the SMEATON and PATRIOT, a draught of beer is, as formerly, to be allowed from the stock of these vessels. Further, in wet and stormy weather, or when the work commences very early in the morning, or continues till a late hour at night, a glass of spirits will also be served out to the crew as heretofore, on the requisition of the landing-master." ROBERT STEVENSON.'
On writing this letter and schedule, a signal was made on the beacon for the landing-master's boat, which immediately came to the rock, and the schedule was afterwards stuck up in the tender's galley. When sufficient time had been allowed to the crew to consider of their conduct, a second signal was made for a boat, and at seven o'clock the writer left the Bell Rock, after a residence of four successive weeks in the beacon-house. The first thing which occupied his attention on board of the tender was to look round upon the lighthouse, which he saw, with some degree of emotion and surprise, now vying in height with the beacon-house; for although he had often viewed it from the extremity of the western railway on the rock, yet the scene, upon the whole, seemed far more interesting from the tender's moorings at the distance of about half a mile.
The SMEATON having just arrived at her moorings with a cargo, a signal was made for Captain Pool to come on board of the tender, that he might be at hand to remove from the service any of those who might persist in their discontented conduct. One of the two principal leaders in this affair, the master of one of the praam-boats, who had also steered the boat which brought the letter to the beacon, was first called upon deck, and asked if he had read the statement fixed up in the galley this afternoon, and whether he was satisfied with it. He replied that he had read the paper, but was not satisfied, as it held out no alteration in the allowance, on which he was immediately ordered into the SMEATON'S boat. The next man called had but lately entered the service, and, being also interrogated as to his resolution, he declared himself to be of the same mind with the praam-master, and was also forthwith ordered into the boat. The writer, without calling any more of the seamen, went forward to the gangway, where they were collected and listening to what was passing upon deck. He addressed them at the hatchway, and stated that two of their companions had just been dismissed the service and sent on board of the SMEATON to be conveyed to Arbroath. He therefore wished each man to consider for himself how far it would be proper, by any unreasonableness of conduct, to place themselves in a similar situation, especially as they were aware that it was optional in him either to dismiss them or send them on board a man-of-war. It might appear that much inconveniency would be felt at the rock by a change of hands at this critical period, by checking for a time the progress of a building so intimately connected with the best interests of navigation; yet this would be but of a temporary nature, while the injury to themselves might be irreparable. It was now therefore, required of any man who, in this disgraceful manner, chose to leave the service, that he should instantly make his appearance on deck while the SMEATON'S boat was alongside. But those below having expressed themselves satisfied with their situation-viz., William Brown, George Gibb, Alexander Scott, John Dick, Robert Couper, Alexander Shephard, James Grieve, David Carey, William Pearson, Stuart Eaton, Alexander Lawrence, and John Spink - were accordingly considered as having returned to their duty. This disposition to mutiny, which had so strongly manifested itself, being now happily suppressed, Captain Pool got orders to proceed for Arbroath Bay, and land the two men he had on board, and to deliver the following letter at the office of the workyard:-
'ON BOARD OF THE TENDER OFF THE BELL ROCK, 22ND JUNE 1810, EIGHT O'CLOCK P.M.
`DEAR SIR, - A discontented and mutinous spirit having manifested itself of late among the landing-master's crew, they struck work to-day and demanded an additional allowance of beer, and I have found it necessary to dismiss D-d and M-e, who are now sent on shore with the SMEATON. You will therefore be so good as to pay them their wages, including this day only. Nothing can be more unreasonable than the conduct of the seamen on this occasion, as the landing- master's crew not only had their allowance on board of the tender, but, in the course of this day, they had drawn no fewer than twenty-four quart pots of beer from the stock of the PATRIOT while unloading her. - I remain, yours truly, ROBERT STEVENSON.
`To Mr. LACHLAN KENNEDY, Bell Rock Office, Arbroath.'