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Whistle Down the Wind

Samuel Shaw and Richard Marven were two sailors in the new American Navy during the Revolutionary War with Britain in the late 1770s. In 1777 they were so appalled by the torture of British naval prisoners of war ordered by Esek Hopkins, Commander in Chief of the so-called Continental Navy, that they (and eight other colleagues) protested to the Continental Congress.

Hopkins was dismissed and he retaliated by suing his accusers which resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of Shaw and Marven. Congress responded by passing a new law to protect Shaw and Marven who were thus responsible for the world’s first whistle blower legislation.

The resolution passed by Congress in July 1778 stated “it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States…to give the earliest information to Congress or any other proper authority of any misconduct or misdemeanours committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge”

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issue 60 of the award-winning iScot Magazine featuring an exclusive interview with the SNP's Dr Philippa Whitford