Lead: In the fall of 1842, the sailing brig USS Somers with 121 officers and crew began its training voyage to the west coast of Africa. Within a week of sailing the seeds of mutiny were planted.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Midshipman Philip Spencer was the son of one of the finest families of New York. His father was Secretary of War under President John Tyler. Despite his genteel upbringing, Philip was a constant source of annoyance. Bounced out of more than one college, through his father's political influence he had received a midshipman's warrant in the Navy. There he quickly established a reputation for insubordination and troublemaking. He twice struck a superior officer before being shipped out on USS John Adams bound for Brazil. During a month at Rio de Janeiro, Spencer spent most of his time in brothels and taverns often coming back to the ship completely drunk. Commodore Morris of the Brazil Squadron probably feared that if he properly punished the boy he would get himself in political trouble, so he had Spencer shipped back to New York.