On 27 February, 1623, Gabriel Towerson, the chief factor or merchant of the English East India Company in Amboyna, was beheaded by command of the local Dutch governor, Herman van Speult. Nine other Englishmen, ten Japanese and one Portuguese shared Towerson's fate. The charges brought against these unfortunate men were that they planned to kill Speult and overwhelm the Dutch garrison of Fort Victoria as soon as an English ship appeared in the roadstead to support them. It is not the purpose of the present article to re-open the more controversial aspects of the Amboyna tragedy. Suffice it to say that the plausibility of the Dutch accusation has never commanded much respect in the estimate of British historians and it is unlikely that this attitude will change. On the other hand, there is every evidence to suggest that Speult, despite English suspicions to the contrary, was genuinely convinced that an English plot was afoot to overthrow his government. Normally the governor was a humane and reasonable man, who had received Towerson at his table on many occasions, and his bitterness at the strange turn of events in February, 1623, is very understandable. Dr. Stapel has recorded the reputed reply of Towerson to Speult when the latter upbraided him for thus abusing his hospitality and friendship: “Alas! If it were to beginne againe, it should never be done”. Is this the response of a man who knew he was innocent? asks Dr. Stapel. On the face of it, Towerson would appear to be condemned by his own words, but it must be remembered that his physical condition at that time was pitiful. He had firmly protested his innocence under prolonged and severe torture until his powers of endurance were broken, after which he sought relief, presumably, by telling the Dutch what they wanted to hear. In these circumstances, it is difficult to attach to Towerson's rather cryptic expression of repentance the importance it would otherwise deserve.