Samuel Tully and John Dalton were sailers aboard George Washington, on its maiden voyage from Delaware in October 1811. The ship, captained by Uriah Phillips Levy, picked up a cargo of Spanish wine and coins at Tenerife, Canary Islands, before sailing to the Cape Verde Islands.
While at anchor, Tully and Dalton took control of the ship, killed fellow sailer George Cummings, and sailed off without the knowledge of the captain or other crew.
Crossing the Atlantic, they landed in St. Lucia. Once evidence of their crime was detected, the men were returned to American jurisdiction at Martha’s Vineyard and then transferred to Boston.
Tully and Dalton were tried in the First U.S. Circuit Court in Boston in October 1812. Both were convicted and sentenced to death.
After his conviction was upheld on appeal (United States v. Tully, 28 F. Cas. 226, 1812), Samuel Tully was hanged in South Boston on December 10, 1812. In a remarkable display of both terror and mercy, John Dalton’s execution was reprieved on the gallows. He was pardon in July 1813 and released from prison.