HAITI. Papers of Commander Arthur Hildebrand Alington of HMS Boxer, relating to the conduct of the Royal Navy during the riots at Port au Prince, 1879
Lot 78
HAITI. Papers of Commander Arthur Hildebrand Alington of HMS Boxer, relating to the conduct of the Royal Navy during the riots at Port au Prince, 1879
£300 - 400
US$ 500 - 660
Lot Details
HAITI
Papers of Commander Arthur Hildebrand Alington of HMS Boxer, relating to the conduct of the Royal Navy during the riots at Port au Prince leading to the overthrow of President Pierre Théoma Boisrond-Canal, comprising (i) Retained autograph copy of the report headed "Proceedings at Port au Prince" by Commander Alington, submitted to Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Inglefield, Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indian Station, being a "Protest" justifying his conduct in taking on board political refugees "during the recent dissensions at Port au Prince", 5 pages, folio, HMS Boxer, Halifax, 8 September 1879; (ii) Memorandum, signed, by Admiral Inglefield in reply to Alington, pointing out that his conduct had been "fraught with danger" and an unjustifiable departure from his orders, 2 pages, minor wear and repairs, folio, Bellerophon, at Quebec, 27 August 1879; (iii) Memorandum, signed, by Admiral Inglefield to Commander Alington, informing him that, the matter having been referred to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Salisbury, and the Lords of the Admiralty, he had now been exonerated from all blame: "Taking into consideration the turbulent nature of the populace at Port au Prince, and their reckless habit of taking life and shedding blood, it appears...that you, without using, threatening, or making a show of, force, caused the British Flag to be respected as affording protection to life illegally in danger...You showed great discretion, did your duty well, and acted lawfully in the service of humanity", 2 pages, folio, HMS Bellerophon, at Halifax, 27 October 1879; (iv) Alington's commission as Captain in the Royal Navy, 6 November 1879

Footnotes

  • As his report explains, Commander Alington had disobeyed the letter of his orders by taking on board political refugees "when the excitement was at fever heat" at the request of the President, in order to defuse a tense and potentially explosive situation, an act of humanity that was in apparent breach of his orders to maintain strict political neutrality. The report notes that it was "written after an interview with Sir Edward in which he expressed such strong opinions as to the part I had acted during the Revolution, & so unfavourable were they to my chances of promotion, that I asked leave to write [the present] protest". As this file indicates, Alington's humane behaviour was exculpated and he was soon after promoted captain. He later served as Second-in-Command of the Channel Squadron, and ended his career as Admiral on the Retired List.
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