Here's a hint of what happened on the Hercules (1) ....
A 406 ton vessel built at Sheilds (1801), her master was Luckyn BETTS,
Surgeon J.J.W. KUNST, and she sailed from Ireland on 29th November,
1801, via Rio and the Cape, and after a passage of 209 days she arrived
into Port Jackson on 26th June, 1802. She embarked 140 males and 25
females but by the time she landed in the Cove, 44 of those 140 males had
died ... all the females survived :)
On possibly her maiden voyage, the Hercules was in the vicinity of Cape
Verdes near the end of December, 1801. Weeks earlier an informer had
informed her master of a plot to seize the ship, but as the voyage was
continuing peacefully and uneventfully, his story was dismissed as having
been concocted in the hope of gaining himself indulgences.
In the early afternoon of December 29th, with the exception of the mate
whose watch it was and the helmsman, most of the soldiers and seaman
were below deck. Suddenly, there were shrill cries from the female
prisoners and the noise of shuffling feet moving quickly across the deck.
BETTS, KUNST, and other officers ran from the cabin to find the
sentinels overpowered and the prisoners in possession of the quarter-
deck. Mutiny ! ... and bloodshed.
A convict snapped a blunderbuss at BETTS and WILSON (NSW
Corps) but it failed to go off and the man was shot down by WILSON.
Other soldiers and seamen swarmed on deck and opened fire on the
convicts. Using their cutlasses and the butts of their muskets, and
occasional gunfire the guard and ships company drove the convicts
back down the ladders and into the prison. After 45 minutes they had
secured the deck. Thirteen convicts were killed - some from the quarter-
deck, others on the main deck and some others who had attempted to
break out of the 'tween decks. On the Chief Mate's orders, two convicts
who had freed themselves from their irons, were held on the quarter-deck.
One of them, Jeremiah PRENDERGASS, who had been named (by the
informer) as the ringleader was shot dead by BETTS, as he knelt on the
deck protesting his innocence. During the remainder of the voyage the
prisoners were kept closely confined and when she sailed into Port
Jackson, they were filthy and dreadfully emaciated. Forty three of them
required medical treatment and the mortality rate was reckoned at "one
death to every 3.8 convicts embarked". Some of the higher mortality
rate ships were the 1802 Atlas (2.7) - which sailed in company with
the Hercules - the 1790 Neptune and 1798 Hillsborough (3.1), and
the 1790 Scarborough (3.5).
BETTS was tried in Sydney before a Vice-Admiralty Court. He was
acquitted of the charge in regard to the shooting of the 13 convicts killed
in the supression of the mutiny, but was convicted over the manslaughter
of PRENDERGASS and fined 500 pounds. The court ordered that he
should be imprisoned till the fine was paid, but Gov. KING granted him
a pardon, doubting the Court's power to sentence him. No action was
taken against him and he seems to have escaped all punishment.
Following on from the trial, five seamen from the Hercules were brought
before the Court, as being implicated as principals in the mutiny. The
evidence was unconvincing and all were aquitted.
Governor KING later requested that a committee determine whether
BETTS had complied with the condition of his charter-party which
required him to prosecute his voyage without undue delay. He was
adjudged guilty of this "technical" offence, the committee holding that
he had been under no necessity to call at either Rio or the Cape, which
had, in turn, unduly prolonged his voyage. Perhaps if he had not done
so, the death rate on the Hercules (1) may have been much higher.
BETTS may have been justified in calling in at Rio and the Cape
because of the adverse effect of the close confinement upon the
prisoner's health, but it is another question as to whether he was
justified in confining them to the extent that he did ......
Source : Bateson, The Convict Ships
Two survivors of the Hercules (1) voyage, Samuel HUMES and
Connor DWYER were later implicated in the Castle Hill uprising
in 1804. HUMES was executed by hanging within days of the
uprising and DWYER was among another group who were
corporally punished by flogging.
Lord Hobart to Gov. King - Provisions by the Atlas and Hercules :
The Atlas and Hercules, with convicts from Ireland, sailed from thence
the end of November, 1801. These ships afterwards touched at the
Cape of Good Hope, from whence they departed about the 17th
April, 1802. They took from the Cape 100 tierces of beef, in addition
to 250,000 llbs of pork, shipped here for the settlement, exclusive of
the supply sent with the convicts that were on board, for a nine month's
consumption after their landing, so that you would, upon the arrival of
those ships, have more than a sufficient quantity of salt meat, at a full
ration, for the remainder of the year 1802. Source : HRNSW