There wasn’t much goodwill aboard the Flowery Land when she set sail from England for Singapore on July 20th, 1863, carrying a cargo of wine and sundry goods. The crew, mostly Spanish and some Chinese, were said to be “difficult” from the start. They had been at sea for less than two months when they mutinied.

On the night of September 10th seven crewmen attacked first mate John Karswell with handspikes and threw him overboard. When Captain John Smith and his brother George went to investigate the commotion, they were both stabbed to death.

The men then broke open the cargo and got drunk on champagne. The decided to spare the second mate, William Tiffin, and the Chinese crewmen, because they wanted to sail for Brazil. Ten miles off the coast of South America they scuttled the ship and prepared to make landfall in a lifeboat. A Chinese crewman was thrown overboard, and several others probably perished violently as the ship went down. Tiffin escaped, got to the River Plate, and raised the alarm.

Eight of the mutineers were quickly arrested and sent back to Britain where they stood trial at the Old Bailey in February 1864.

After a two-day trial Juan Leon, 22; Francisco Blanco, 23; Miguel Lopez, 22; Miguel Duranno, 25; Matros Vartos, 23; Juan Marsolino, 32, and Basilio de los Santos, 22, were convicted of murder. The eighth man, Georgos Carlos, 20, a Greek, was acquitted, but the following day was sent to prison for 10 years for helping to scuttle the ship.

Marsolino and de los Santos were reprieved and transported to Australia, while the other five were hanged on Monday, February 22nd, 1864, outside Newgate Prison “before an immense concourse of people.”