observed that the chief, on leaving the ship, took
possession of every thing that had been distributed.
One of them showed some signs of dissatisfaction ;
but, after a little altercation, they joined noses and
The Bounty anchored at Anamooka on the 23d
April; and an old lame man named Tepa, whom
Bligh had known here in 1777, and immediately
recollected, came on board, along with others from
different islands in the vicinity. This man having
formerly been accustomed to' the English manner
of speaking their language, the commander found he
could converse with' him tolerably well. He told
him that the cattle which had been left at Tongata-
boo had all bred, and that the old ones were y^t liv-
ing. Being desirous of seeing the ship, he and his
companions were taken below, and the oread-fruit
and other plants were shown to them; on seemg
which they were greatly surprised.
" T landed," says Bligh, " in order to procure soma
THE BREAD-FRiriT. 61
bread-fniit plants to supply the place of one that was
dead, and two or three "others that were a little
sickly. I walked to the west part of the bay, where
some plants and seeds had been sown by Captain
Cook, and had the satisfaction to see, in a plantation
close by, about twenty fine pineapple plants, but no
fruit, this not being the proper season. They told
me that they had eaten many of them, that they
were very fine and laige, and tliat at Tongataboo
there were great numbers."
Numerous were the marks of mourning vvith which
these people disfigure themselves, such as bloody
temples, their heads deprived of most of the hair,
and, which was worse, almost all of them with the
loss of some of their fingers. Several fine boys, not
above six years of age, had lost both their little
fingers : and some of the men had parted with the
middle finger of the right hand.
A brisk trade soon began to be carried on for
yams ; some plantains and bread-fruit were likewise
brouglit on board, but no hogs. Some of the sailing
canoes, which arrived in the course of the day, were
large enough to contain not less than ninety passen-
gers. From these the officers and crew purchased
hogs, dogs, fowls, and shaddocks ; yams, very fme
and large ; one of them actually weighed above fort} -
five pounds. The crowd of natives had become so
great the next day, Sunday 26th, that it became im-
possible to do any thing. The watering party were
therefore ordered to go on board, and it was deter-
mined to sail ; the ship was accordingly unmoored
aiKl got under way. A grapnel, however, had been
stolen, and Bligh informed the chiefs that were still
on board, that unless it was returned they must re-
main in the ship, at which they were surprised and
not a little alarmed. " I detained them," he says,
" till sunset, when their uneasiness and impatience
increased to such a degree, that they began to beat
themselves about the face and eyes, and some of
62 THE BREAD-FRUIT.
them cried bitterly. As this distress was more than
the grapnel was worth, I could not think of detain-
ing them longer, and called their canoes alongside.
I told them they were at liberty to go, and made
each of them a present of a hatchet, a saw, with
some knives, gimblets, and nails. This unexpected
present, and the sudden change in their situation,
affected them not less with joy than they had before
been with apprehension. They were unbounded in
their acknowledgments ; and I have little doubt but
that we parted better friends than if the affair had
From this island the ship stood to the northward
all night, with light winds ; and on the next day, the
27th, at noon, they were between the islands Tofoa
" Thus far," says Bligh, " the voyage had advanced
in a course of uninterrupted prosperity, and had been
attended with many circumstances equally pleasing
and satisfactory. A very different scene was now
to be experienced. A conspiracy had been formed,
which was to render all our past labour productive
only of extreme misery and distress. The means
had been concerted and prepared with so much
secrecy and circumspection, that no one circum-
stance appeared to occasion the smallest suspicion
of the impending calamity, the result of an act of
piracy the most consummate and atrocious that was
probably ever committed."
How far Bligh was justified in ascribing the
calamity to a conspiracy will be seen hereafter.
The following chapter will detail the facts of the
mutinous proceedings as stated by the lieutenant,
in his own words.
TITE MUTINY. 63
"ITiat, Captain Bligh, that is the thing ; 1 am in hell !— T am in hell !"
-" Horror and doubt distract
His troubled thoughts, and (rom ilie boitom stir
The hell within him ; for within liim hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from hell *
One step no more than from himself can fly
By change of place ; now conscience wakes despair
That slumber'd, wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse ; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue."
**In the morning of the 28th April, the north-
westernmost of the Friendly Islands, called Tofoa,
bearing north-east, 1 was steering to the westward,
with a ship in most perfect order, all my plants in a
most flourishing condition, all my men and officers
in good health, a^id, in short, every thing to flatter
and ensure my most sanguine expectations. On
leaving the deck I gave directions for the course to
be steered during the night. The master had the
first watch, the gunner the middle watch, and Mr.
Christian the morning watch. This was the turn
of duty for the night.
" Just before sun-rising on Tuesday the 28th, while
I was yet asleep, Mr. Christian, officer of the watch,*
Charles Churchill, ship's corporal, John Mills, gun-
ner's mate, and Thomas Burkitt, seaman, came into
my cabin, and seizing me, tied my hands with a cord
behind my back, threatening me with instant death
if I spoke or made the least noise. I called, how-
ever, as loud as I could, in hopes of assistance ; but
they had already secured the officers who were not
of their party, by placing sentinels at their doors.
64 THE MUTINY.
Thore were three men at my cabin-door, besides the
four Avithin ; Christian had only a cutlass in his
hand, the others had muskets and bayonets. I was
hauled out of bed, and forced on deck in my shirt,
suffering great pain from the tightness with which
they had tied my hands* [behind my back, held by
Fletcher Christian, and Charles Churchill, with a
bayonet at my breast, and two men, Alexander Smith
and Thomas Burkitt, behind me, with loaded mus-
kets cocked and bayonets fixed.] I demanded the
reason of such violence, but received no other an-
swer than abuse for not holding my tongue. The
master, the gunner, IMr. Elphinstone the master's
mate, and Nelson were kept confined below; and
the fore-hatchway was guarded by sentinels. The
boatsv.'ain and carpenter, and also Mr. Samuel the
clerk, were allowed to come upon deck, where they
saw me standing, abaft the mizenmast, with my
hands tied behind my back, under a guard, with
Christian at their head. The boatswain was ordered
to hoist the launch out, with a threat, if he did not
do it instantly, to take care of himself.
" When the boat was out, Mr. Hay ward and Mr.
Hallet, two of the midshipmen, and Mr. Samuel,
were ordered into it. I demanded v^^hat their inten-
tion was in giving this order, and endeavoured to
persuade the people near me not to persist in such
acts of violence ; but it was to no effect — ' Hold
your tongue, sir, or you are dead this instant,' was
constantly repeated to me.
" The master by this time had sent to request that
he might come on deck, which was permitted ; but
he was soon ordered back again to his cabin.
"[When I exerted myself in speaking loud, to try
if I could rally any with a sense of duty in them, I
was saluted with — ' D — n his eyes, the , blow
his brains out ;' while Christian was threatening me
with instant death, if 1 did not hold my tongue.]
♦ Th» words within brackets are in the onginal despatch.
THE MUTINY. 6d
"I continued my endeavours to turn the tu^ie of
affairs, when Christian changed the cutlass which
he had in his hand for a bayonet that was brought
to him, and holding- me witli a strong gripe by the
cord that tied my hands, he threatened, with many
oaths, to kill me immediately, if I would not be
quiet ; the villams round me had their pieces cocked
and bayonets fixed. Particular persons were called
on to go hito the boat, and were hurried over the
side ; whence I concluded that with these people I
was to be set adrift. I therefore made another effort
to bring about a change, but with no other effect
than to be threatened with having my brains blown
" The boatswain and seamen who were to go in
the boat were allowed to collect twine, canvass,
lines, sails, cordage, an eight-and-twenty gallon cask
of water; and Mr. Samuel got on% hundred and fifty
pounds of bread, with a small quantity of rum and
wine, also a quadrant and compass ; but he was for-
bidden, on pain of death, to touch either map, ephe-
meris, book of astronomical observations, sextant,
timekeeper, or any of my surveys or drawings.
" The mutineers having forced those of the sea-
men whom they meant to get rid of into the boat,
Christian directed a dram to be served to each of
his own crew. T then unhappily saw that nothing
could be done to effect the recovery of the ship:
there was no one to assist me, and every endeavour
on my part was answered with threats of death.
" The officers were next called upon deck, and
forced over the side into the boat, w-hile I was kept
apart from every one, abaft the mizenmast; Chris-
tian, armed with a bayonet, holding me by the ban-
dage that secured my hands. The guard round me
had their pieces cocked, but on my daring the un-
grateful wretches to fire, they uncocked them.
" Isaac Martin, one of the guard over me, I saw
hafl an inclination to assist me, and as he fed me
66 THE MUTINY.
with shaddock (my lips being- quite parched) we ex-
plained our wishes to each other by our looks; but
this being observed, Martin was removed from me.
He then attempted to leave the ship, for which pur-
pose he got into the boat ; but with many threats
they obUged him to return.
" The armourer, Joseph Coleman, and two of the
carpenters, M'Intosh and Ncrman, were also kept
contrary to their inclination; and they begged of
me, after I was astern in the boat, to remember that
they declared they had no hand in the transaction.
Michael Byrne, I am told, likewise wanted to leave
" It is of no moment for me to recount my endea-
vours to bring back the offenders to a sense of their
duty ; all I could do was by speaking to them in
general ; but it was to no purpose, for I was kept
securely bound, and no one except the guard suffered
to come near me.
" To Mr. Samuel (clerk) I am indebted for secu-
ring ray journals and commission, with some mate-
rial ship papers. Without these I had nothing to
certify what I had done, and my honour and char-
acter might have been suspected, without my pos-
sessing a proper document to have defended them.
All this he did with great resolution, though guarded
and strictly watched. He attempted to save the
timekeeper, and a box with my surveys, drawings,
and remarks, for fifteen years past, which were
numerous; when he was hurried away with 'D — n
your eyes, you are well off to get what you have.'
" It appeared to me that Christian was some time
in doubt whether he should keep the carpenter or
his mates ; at length he determined on the latter,
and the carpenter was ordered into the boat. He
was permitted, but not without some opposition, to
take his tool-chest.
"Much altercation took place among the muti-
nous crew during the whole business ; some sworft
THE MUTINY. 67
* I'll be d — d if he does not find his way home, if he
gets any thing with him ;' and when the carpenter's
chest was carrying- away, ' D — n my eyes, he will
have a vessel built in a month ;' while others laughed
at the helpless situation of the boat, being very deep,
and so little room for those who were in her. As
for Christian, he seemed as if meditating destruction
on himself and every one else.
" I asked for arms, but they laughed at me, and
said I was well acquainted with the people among
whom I was going, and therefore did not want them ,
four cutlasses, however, were thrown into the boat
after we were veered astern.
"The officers and men being in the boat, they
only waited for me, of which the master-at-arms
mformed Christian ; who then said, ' Come, Cap-
tain Bligh, your officers and men are now in the
boat, and you must go with them ; if you attempt
to make the least resistance, you will instantly be
put to death ;' and without further ceremony, with
a tribe of armed ruffians about me, I was forced
over the side, when they untied my hands. Being
in the boat, we were veered astern by a rope. A
few pieces of pork were thrown to us, and some
clothes, also the cutlasses I have already mentioned ;
and it was then that the armourer and carpenters
called out to me to remember that they had no hand
in the transaction. After having undergone a great
deal of ridicule, and been kept for some time to
make sport for these unfeehng wretches, we were
at length cast adrift in the open ocean.
" I had with me in the boat the following persons:
John Fryer Master.
Thorr.as Led ward AiHin? Surgeon.
David Nelson Botanist.
William Peckover Gunner.
William Cole Boatswain.
William Purcell Carpenter.
William F'.pliinstone Master's Mate.
68 THE MtTTlNY.
Thomas 1 lay ward ) Midshipmen.
JotiM Norton \ Quarter-masters.
Lawrence Lebogue Sailmaker.
JohnS.niih ) Cooka.
Thomas Hall <
George Simpson Quarter-master's Mate.
Robert Tinkler A Boy.
Robert Lamb Butcher.
Mr. Samuel Clerk.
In all eighteen.
There remained in the Bounty : —
Fletcher Christian Master's Mate.
Peter Heywood )
Edward Young ^ Midshipmen.
Georjte Si f) wart j
Charles Churchill Master-at-arms.
John Mills Gunner's Mr.te.
James Morrison Boatswain's Mate.
John Mill ward
Mi'-liael Byrne V ^^,1^ geamen.
William Musprat '
Alex 'nder Smith
Ric ard Sknner
Mau ew Tlioinpson J
William Brown Gardener.
.losep.'i Colem m Armourer.
Charles Norman Carpenter's Mate.
. Thomas MM ntosli Carpenter's Crew.
In all twenty-live— and the most able of the ship's company.
" Christian, the chief of the mutineers, is of a
respectable family in the north of England. This
was the third voyage he had made with me ; and as
I found it necessary to keep my ship's company at
three watches, I had given him an order to take
charge of the third, liis abilities being thorouglily
THE MUTINY. 69
equal to the task ; and by this means the master
<ind ffunner were not at watch and watch.
" Heywood is also of a respectable family in the
north of England,* and a young man of abihties as
well as Christian. These two had been objects of
mj'- particular regard and attention, and I had taken
great pains to mstruct them, having entertained
hopes that, as professional men, they v^ould have
become a credit to their country.
" Young was well recommended, and had the
look of an able, stout seaman; he, however, fell
short of what his appearance promised. [In the
account sent home he is thus described : Edv.'ard
Young, midshipman, aged twenty-two years. Dark
complexion and rather a bad look — strong made —
has lost several of his fore teeth, and those that
remain are all rotten.]
'• Stewart was a young man of creditable parents
in the Orkneys ; at v/hich place, on the return of
the Resolution from the South Seas, in 1780, we
received so many civilities that, on that account
only, I should gladly have taken him with me ; but,
independent of this recommendation, he was a sea-
man, and had always borne a good character.
" Notwithstanding the loughness with which I
was treated, the remembrance of past kindnesses
produced some signs of remorse in Christian. When
they were forcing me out of the ship, I asked him
if this treatment was a proper return for the many
instances he had received of my friendship "? he ap-
peared disturbed at my question, and answered, with
much emotion, " That, Captain Bligli, that is the
thing ; — I am in hell ! — 1 am in hell !"
"As soon as I had time to reflect, T felt an in-
ward satisfaction, which prevented any depresssion
of m)'^ spirits : conscious of my integrity, and anxious
solicitude for the good of the service in which I had
* Ke was born in the Isle of ^Ian,his father being deemster of Maji,
and seneschal to tb^ Duke of Athpi-
70 THE MUTINY.
been engaged, I found my mind wonderfully sup-
ported, and I began to conceive hopes, notwithstand-
ing so heavy a calamity, that I should one day be
able to account to my king and country for the mis-
fortune. A few hours before my situation had been
peculiarly flattering. I had a ship in the most per-
fect order, and well stored with every necessary
both for Service and health ; by early attention to
those particulars I had, as much as lay in my power,
provided against any accident in case I could not
get through Endeavour Straits, as well as against
what might befall me in them ; add to this, the plants
had been successfully preserved in the most flourish-
ing state : so that, upon the whole, the voyage was
two-thirds completed, and the remaining part, to
all appearance, in a very promising way ; every per-
son on boa^rd being in perfect health, to establish
which was ever among the principal objects of my
" It will very naturally be asked. What could be
the reason for such a revolt 1 In answer to which
I can only conjecture, that the mutineers had flat-
tered themselves wath the hopes of a more happy
life among the Otaheitans than they could possibly
enjoy in England ; and this, joined to some female
connex'ons, most probably occasioned the whole
transaction. The ship, indeed, while within our
sight, steered to the W. N. W. ; but I considered
this only as a feint, for when we were sent away,
* Huzza for Otaheite !' was frequently heard among
" The women of Otaheite are handsome, mild and
cheerful in their manners and conversation, pos-
sessed of great sensibility, and have sufficient deli-
cacy to make them admired and beloved. The
chiefs were so much attached to our people, that
they rather encouraged their stay among, them than
otherwise, and even made them promises of large
possessions. Under these and many other attend
THE MUTINY. 71
ant circumstances, equally desirable, it is now per
haps not so much to be wondered at, though scarcely
possible to have been foreseen, that a set of sailors,
most of them void of connexions, should be led
away ; especially when, in addition to such power-
ful inducements, they imagined it in their power to
fix themselves in the midst of plenty, on one of the
finest islands in the world, where they need not
labour, and where the allurements of diss^ipation are
beyond any thing that can be conceived. The ut-
most, hov/ever, that any commander could have
supposed to have happened is, that some of the peo-
ple would have been tempted to desert. But if it
should be asserted that a commander is to guard
against an act of mutiny and piracy in his own ship,
more than by the common rui^ of service, it is as
much as to say that he must sleep locked up, and
when awake be girded with pistols.
" Desertions have happened, more or less, from
most of the ships that have been at the Society
Islands ; but it has always been in the commanders'
power to make the chiefs return their people ; the
knowledge, therefore, that it was unsafe to desert
perhaps first led mine to consider with what ease so
small a ship might be surprised, and that so favour-
able an opportunity would never offer to them again.
" The secrecy of this mutiny is beyond all con-
ception. Thirteen of the party, who were with me,
had always lived forward among the seamen; yet
neither they nor the messmates of Christian, Stew-
art, Heywood, and Young had ever observed any
circumstance that made them in the least suspect
what was going on. To such a close-planned act
of viliauy, my mind being entirely free from any
suspicion, it is not wonderful that I fell a sacrifice,
Perhaps, if there had been marines on' board, a sen^.
tinel at my cabin-door might have prevented it ; for
1 slept with the door always open, that the officer
of the watch might have access to me on all occa-
78 THE MUTINY.
sions, the possiinlity of such a conspiracy be.ng ever
the furthest from iiiy thoughts. Had their nuuiiiy
been o-ccasioned by any grievances, either real or
imaginary, I must have discovered symptoms of
their discontent, which would have put me on my
guard: but the case was far otherwise. Christian,
in particular, I was on the most friendly terms with :
that very day he was engaged to have dined with me ;
and the preceding night he excused himself from
supping with me, on pretence of being unwell ; for
which I felt concerned, having no suspicions of his
integrity and honour."
Such is the story published by Lieutenant Eligh
immediately on his return to England, after one of
the most distressing and perilous passages over
nearly four thousand miles of the wide ocean, with
eighteen persons, in an open boat. The story ob-
tained implicit credit ; and though Lieutenant Bligh's
character never stood high in the navy for suavity
of manners or mildness of temper, he was always
considered as an excellent seaman, and his veracity
stood unimpeached. But in this age of refined lib-
erality, when the most atrocious criminals find their
apologists, it is not surprising it should now be dis-
covered, when all are dead that could either prove
or disprove it, that it was the tyranny of the com-
mander alone, and not the wickedness of the ring-
leader of the mutineers of the Bounty, that caused
that event. " We all know," it is said, " that mutiny
can arise but from one of these two sources, exces-
sive folly or excessive tyranny; therefore"— the logic
is admirable—" as it is admitted that Bligh was no
idiot, the inference is obvious."* If this be so, it
may be asked to which of the two causes must be
ascribed the mutiny at the Nore, &c. ? The true
answer will be, to neither. " Not only," continues
the writer, " was the narrative which he published
♦ United Service Jounxal for April, 1831.
THE MUTINY. 73
proved to be false in many material bearings by evi-
dence before a court-martial, but everv act of his
public life after this event, from his successive com-
mand of the Director, the Glatton, and the Warrior,
to his disgraceful expulsion from New South. Wales,
was stamped with an insolence, an inhumanity,
dnd coarseness which fully developed his character."
There is no intention, in narrating this eveiitful
history, to accuse or defend either the character or
the conduct of the late Admiral Bligh ; it is well
Known his temper was irritable in the extreme; but
che circumstance of his having been the friend of
Captain Cook, v/ith whom he sailed as his master,
■ — of his ever afterward being patronised by Sir Jo-
seph Banks — of the Admiralty promoting him to the
rank of commander, appointing him immediately to
the Providence, to proceed on the same expedition
to Otaheite, — and of his returning in a very short
time to England with complete success, and recom-
mending all his officers for promotion on account of
their exemplary conduct; — of his holding several
subsequent employments \w the service, — of his
having commanded ships of the iine'in the battles of
Copenhagen and Camperdown, — and risen to the
rank of a flag-officer, — these may perhaps be con-
sidered to speak something in his favour, and be
allowed to stand as some proof, that with all his
failings he had his merits. That he was a man of
coarse habits, and entertained very mistaken notions
with regard to discipline, is quite true : yet he had
many redeeming qualities. The accusation, by the
writer in question, of Bligh having falsified his " nar-
rative," is a very heavy charge, and, it is to be feared