Sir John Barrow.

The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty: Its Cause and Consequences online

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enjoyed: for you may believe me when I say it never yet has
suffered any disquiet from my own misfortunes, but from a
truly anxious solicitude for, and desire to hear of, your
welfare. God be thanked, you still entertain such an opinion
of me as I will flatter myself I have deserved; but why do I
say so? can I make myself too worthy the affectionate praises
of such amiable sisters? Oh! my Nessy, it grieves me to think
I must be under the necessity, however heart-breaking to
myself, of desiring you will relinquish your most affectionate
design of coming to see me; it is too long and tedious a
journey, and even on your arrival, you would not be allowed
the wished-for happiness, both to you and myself, of seeing,
much less conversing with, your unfortunate brother: the rules
of the service are so strict, that prisoners are not
permitted to have any communication with female relations;
thus even the sight of, and conversation with, so truly
affectionate a sister is for the present denied me! The
happiness of such an interview let us defer till a time
(which, please God, will arrive) when it can be enjoyed with
more freedom, and unobserved by the gazing eyes of an
inquisitive world, which in my present place of confinement
would of course not be the case.

'I am very happy to hear that poor old Birket is still alive;
remember me to her, and tell her not to _heave aback_, until
God grants me the pleasure of seeing her.

'And now, my dear Nessy, cease to anticipate the happiness of
personal communication with your poor, but resigned brother,
until wished-for freedom removes the indignant shackles I now
bear, from the feet of your fond and most affectionate
brother, P.H.'

In a subsequent letter to his sister, he says, 'Let us at present be
resigned to our fate, contented with this sort of communication, and be
thankful to God for having even allowed us that happiness - for be
assured the present confinement is _liberty_, compared with what it has
been for the fifteen months last past.' On the 15th July, Commodore
Pasley addresses the following business-like letter to Miss Heywood.

'I received your letter, my dearest Nessy, with the enclosure
[her brother's narrative], but did not choose to answer it
until I had made a thorough investigation; that is, seen
personally all the principal evidences, which has ever since
occupied my whole thoughts and time. I have also had some
letters from himself; and notwithstanding he must still
continue in confinement, every attention and indulgence
possible is granted him by Captain Montague of the _Hector_,
who is my particular friend. I have no doubt of the truth of
your brother's narrative; the master, boatswain, gunner, and
carpenter, late of the _Bounty_, I have seen, and have the
pleasure to assure you that they are all favourable, and
corroborate what he says. That _fellow_, Captain Edwards,
whose inhuman rigour of confinement I shall never forget, I
have likewise seen; he cannot deny that Peter avowed himself
late of the _Bounty_ when he came voluntarily aboard; this is
a favourable circumstance. I have been at the Admiralty, and
read over all the depositions taken and sent home by Bligh and
his officers from Batavia, likewise the court-martial on
himself; in none of which appears anything against Peter. As
soon as Lieutenant Hayward arrives with the remainder of the
_Pandora's_ crew, the court-martial is to take place. I shall
certainly attend, and we must have an able counsellor to
assist, for I will not deceive you, my dear Nessy, however
favourable circumstances may appear, our martial law is
severe; by the tenor of it, the man who stands neuter is
equally guilty with him who lifts his arm against his captain
in such cases. His extreme youth and his delivering himself
up, are the strong points of his defence. Adieu! my dearest
Nessy; present my love to your mother and sisters, and rest
assured of my utmost exertions to extricate your
brother. - Your affectionate uncle, T. PASLEY.'

This excellent man did not stop here: knowing that sea-officers have a
great aversion from counsel, he writes to say, 'A friend of mine, Mr.
Graham, who has been secretary to the different Admirals on the
Newfoundland station for these twelve years, and consequently has acted
as judge-advocate at courts-martial all that time, has offered me to
attend you; he has a thorough knowledge of the service, uncommon
abilities, and is a very good lawyer. He has already had most of the
evidences with him. Adieu! my young friend; keep up your spirits, and
rest assured I shall be watchful for your good. My heart will be more at
ease, if I can get my friend Graham to go down, than if you were
attended by the first counsel in England.'[22] Mr. Graham accordingly
attended, and was of the greatest service at the trial.

Nessy Heywood[23] having in one of her letters inquired of her brother
how tall he was, and having received information on this point,
expressed some surprise that he was not taller. 'And so,' he replies,
'you are surprised I am not taller! - Ah, Nessy! let me ask you
this - suppose the two last years of _your_ growth had been retarded by
close confinement - nearly deprived of all kinds of necessary
aliment - shut up from the all-cheering light of the sun for the space of
five months, and never suffered to breathe the fresh air (an enjoyment
which Providence denies to none of His creatures) during all that
time - and without any kind of exercise to stretch and supple your
limbs - besides many other inconveniences which I will not pain you by
mentioning - how tall should you have been, my dear sister? - answer, four
feet nothing: but enough of nonsense.'

Nessy Heywood had expressed a strong desire to see her brother, but was
told the rules of the service would not allow it; also, that it would
agitate him, when he ought to be cool and collected, to meet his
approaching trial. This was quite enough: - 'But as for myself,' she
says, 'no danger, no fatigue, no difficulties, would deter me - I have
youth, and health, and excellent natural spirits - these and the strength
of my affection would support me through it all; if I were not allowed
to see you, yet being in the same place which contains you, would be joy
inexpressible! I will not, however, any longer desire it, but will learn
to imitate your fortitude and patience.'

Mr. Heywood of Maristow, and his daughter, Mrs. Bertie, had intimated
the same thing. These excellent people, from the moment of young
Heywood's arrival, had shown him every kindness, supplied him with
money, and what was better, with friends, who could give him the best
advice. To this worthy lady, Miss Nessy Heywood thus addresses herself.

'Overwhelmed with sensations of gratitude and pleasure, which
she is too much agitated to express, permit me, dearest Madam,
at my mamma's request, to offer you hers and our most sincere
acknowledgements for your invaluable letter, which, from the
detention of the packet, she did not receive till yesterday.
By a letter from my beloved brother, of the same date, we are
informed that Mr. Larkham (whom I suppose to be the gentleman
you mention having sent to see him) has been on board the
_Hector_, and has kindly offered him the most salutary advice
relative to his present situation, for which allow me to
request you will present him our best thanks. He also speaks
with every expression a grateful heart can dictate of your
excellent father's goodness in providing for all his wants,
even before he could have received any letters from us to that

'Ah! my dear Madam, how truly characteristic is this of the
kind friendship with which he has ever honoured our family!
But my beloved Peter does not know that Mr. Heywood has a
daughter, whose generosity is equal to his own, and whose
amiable compassion for his sufferings it will be as impossible
for us to forget, as it is to express the admiration and
gratitude it has inspired. It would, I am convinced, be
unnecessary, as well as a very bad compliment to you, Madam,
were I to presume to point out anything particular to be done
for our poor boy, as I have not the least doubt your goodness
and kind intention have long ago rendered every care of that
sort on our part unnecessary. I shall only add, that my mamma
begs every wish he forms may be granted, and sure I am, he
will not desire a single gratification that can be deemed in
the smallest degree improper.

'In one of my brother's letters, dated the 23rd, he hints that
he shall not be permitted to see any of his relations till his
trial is over, and that he therefore does not expect us. I
have, however, written to Mr. Heywood (without whose
approbation I would by no means take any step) for permission
to go to him. If it is absolutely impossible for me to see him
(though in the presence of witnesses), yet even that
prohibition, cruel as it is, I could bear with patience,
provided I might be near him, to see the ship in which he at
present exists - to behold those objects, which, perhaps, at
the same moment, attract his notice - to breathe the same air
which he breathes. - Ah! my dearest Madam, these are
inestimable gratifications, and would convey sensations of
rapture and delight to the fond bosom of a sister, which it
is far, very far beyond my power to describe. Besides, the
anxiety and impatience produced by the immense distance which
now separates us from him, and the uncertainty attending the
packet, render it difficult and sometimes impossible to hear
of him so often as we would wish - and, may I not add (though
Heaven in its mercy forbid it - for alas! the bare idea is too
dreadful, yet it is in the scale of possibility), that some
accident might happen to deprive us of my dearest brother: how
insupportably bitter would then be our reflections, for having
omitted the opportunity, when it was in our power, of
administering comfort and consolation to him in person. For
these reasons, I earnestly hope Mr. Heywood will not judge it
improper to comply with my request, and shall wait with eager
impatience the arrival of his next letter. Think not, my dear
Madam, that it is want of confidence in your care and
attention which makes me solicitous to be with my beloved
brother. Be assured we are all as perfectly easy in that
respect as if we were on the spot; but I am convinced you will
pardon the dictates of an affection which an absence of five
years, rendered still more painful by his sufferings, has
heightened almost to a degree of adoration. I shall, with your
permission, take the liberty of enclosing a letter to my
brother, which I leave open for perusal, and at the same time
request your pardon for mentioning you to him in such terms as
I am apprehensive will wound the delicacy which ever
accompanies generosity like yours; but indeed, my dearest
Madam, I cannot, must not, suffer my beloved boy to remain in
ignorance of that worth and excellence which has prompted you
to become his kind protectress.

'I have the honour to be, with every sentiment of gratitude,
&c., &c, &c,


Among the numerous friends that interested themselves in the fate of
this unhappy youth, was his uncle, Colonel Holwell. The testimony he
bears to his excellent character is corroborated by all who knew him
while a boy at home. About a fortnight before the trial he writes to him
thus: -

'_21st August_, 1792.

'MY VERY DEAR PETER, - I have this day received yours of the
18th, and am happy to find by its contents that,
notwithstanding your long and cruel confinement, you still
preserve your health, and write in good spirits. Preserve it,
my dear boy, awful as the approaching period must be, even to
the most innocent, but from which all who know you have not a
doubt of your rising as immaculate as a new-born infant. I
have known you from your cradle, and have often marked with
pleasure and surprise the many assiduous instances (far beyond
your years) you have given of filial duty and paternal
affection to the best of parents, and to brothers and sisters
who doated on you. Your education has been the best; and from
these considerations alone, without the very clear evidence of
your own testimony, I would as soon believe the Archbishop of
Canterbury would set fire to the city of London as suppose you
could, directly or indirectly, join in such a d - - d absurd
piece of business. Truly sorry am I that my state of health
will not permit me to go down to Portsmouth to give this
testimony publicly before that respectable tribunal where your
country's laws have justly ordained you must appear; but
consider this as the _touchstone_, my dear boy, by which your
worth must be known. Six years in the navy myself, and
twenty-eight years a soldier, I flatter myself my judgement
will not prove erroneous. That Power, my dear Peter, of whose
grace and mercy you seem to have so just a sense, will not now
forsake you. Your dear aunt is as must be expected in such a
trying situation, but more from your present sufferings than
any apprehension of what is to follow,' &c.

With similar testimonies and most favourable auguries from
Commodore Pasley, the Rev. Dr. Scott, of the Isle of Man, and
others, young Heywood went to his long and anxiously expected
trial, which took place on the 12th September, and continued
to the 18th of that month. Mrs. Heywood had been anxious that
Erskine and Mingay should be employed as counsel, but Mr.
Graham, whom Commodore Pasley had so highly recommended, gave
his best assistance; as did also Mr. Const, who had been
retained, for which the Commodore expresses his sorrow, as sea
officers, he says, have a great aversion to lawyers. Mr. Peter
Heywood assigns a better reason; in a letter to his sister
Mary he says, that 'Counsel to a naval prisoner is of no
effect, and as they are not allowed to speak, their eloquence
is not of the least efficacy; I request, therefore, you will
desire my dear mother to revoke the letter she has been so
good to write to retain Mr. Erskine and Mr. Mingay, and to
forbear putting herself to so great and needless an expense,
from which no good can accrue. No, no! Mary - it is not the
same as a trial on shore; it would then be highly requisite;
but, in this case, _I_ alone must fight my own battle; and I
think my telling the truth undisguised, in a plain, short, and
concise manner, is as likely to be deserving the victory, as
the most elaborate eloquence of a Cicero upon the same

At this anxious moment many painfully interesting letters
passed to and from the family in the Isle of Man: the last
letter from his beloved Nessy previous to the awful event thus
concludes: - May that Almighty Providence whose tender care has
hitherto preserved you be still your powerful protector! may
He instil into the hearts of your judges every sentiment of
justice, generosity, and compassion! may hope, innocence, and
integrity be your firm support! and liberty, glory, and honour
your just reward! may all good angels guard you from even the
appearance of danger! and may you at length be restored to us,
the delight, the pride of your adoring friends, and the sole
happiness and felicity of that fond heart which animates the
bosom of my dear Peter's most faithful and truly affectionate




If any person in or belonging to the fleet shall make,
or endeavour to make, any mutinous assembly, upon
any pretence whatsoever, every person offending
herein, and being convicted thereof, by the sentence
of the Court-martial, shall suffer DEATH.

_Naval Articles of War, Art._ 19.

The Court assembled to try the prisoners on board his Majesty's ship
_Duke_, on the 12th September, 1792, and continued by adjournment from
day to day (Sunday excepted) until the 18th of the same month.[24]


Vice-Admiral Lord Hood, _President_.
Capt. Sir Andrew Snape Hamond, Bart.,
" John Colpoys,
" Sir George Montagu,
" Sir Roger Curtis,
" John Bazeley,
" Sir Andrew Snape Douglas,
" John Thomas Duckworth,
" John Nicholson Inglefield,
" John Knight,
" Albemarle Bertie,
" Richard Goodwin Keats.

The charges set forth that Fletcher Christian, who was mate of the
_Bounty_, assisted by others of the inferior officers and men, armed
with muskets and bayonets, had violently and forcibly taken that ship
from her commander, Lieutenant Bligh; and that he, together with the
master, boatswain, gunner, and carpenter, and other persons (being
nineteen in number), were forced into the launch and cast adrift; - that
Captain Edwards, in the _Pandora_, was directed to proceed to Otaheite,
and other islands in the South Seas, and to use his best endeavours to
recover the said vessel, and to bring in confinement to England the said
Fletcher Christian and his associates, or as many of them as he might be
able to apprehend, in order that they might be brought to condign
punishment, &c. That Peter Heywood, James Morrison, Charles Norman,
Joseph Coleman, Thomas Ellison, Thomas M'Intosh, Thomas Burkitt, John
Millward, William Muspratt, and Michael Byrne, had been brought to
England, &c., and were now put on their trial.

_Mr. Fryer_, the master of the _Bounty_, being first sworn, deposed -

That he had the first watch; that between ten and eleven o'clock Mr.
Bligh came on deck, according to custom, and after a short conversation,
and having given his orders for the night, left the deck; that at twelve
he was relieved by the gunner, and retired, leaving all quiet; that at
dawn of day he was greatly alarmed by an unusual noise; and that, on
attempting to jump up, John Sumner and Matthew Quintal laid their hands
upon his breast and desired him to lie still, saying he was their
prisoner; that on expostulating with them, he was told, 'Hold your
tongue, or you are a dead man, but if you remain quiet there is none on
board will hurt a hair of your head'; he further deposes, that on
raising himself on the locker, he saw on the ladder, going upon deck,
Mr. Bligh in his shirt, with his hands tied behind him, and Christian
holding him by the cord; that the master-at-arms, Churchill, then came
to his cabin and took a brace of pistols and a hanger, saying, 'I will
take care of these, Mr. Fryer'; that he asked, on seeing Mr. Bligh
bound, what they were going to do with the captain; that Sumner replied,
'D - - n his eyes, put him into the boat, and let the see if he can live
upon three-fourths of a pound of yams a day'; that he remonstrated with
such conduct, but in vain. They said he must go in the small cutter.
'The small cutter!' Mr. Fryer exclaimed; 'why her bottom is almost out,
and very much eaten by the worms!' to which Sumner and Quintal both
said, 'D - - n his eyes, the boat is too good for him'; that after much
entreaty he prevailed on them to ask Christian if he might be allowed to
go on deck, which, after some hesitation, was granted. When I came on
deck, says Mr. Fryer, Mr. Bligh was standing by the mizen-mast, with his
hands tied behind him, and Christian holding the cord with one hand, and
a bayonet in the other. I said, 'Christian, consider what you are
about.' 'Hold your tongue, Sir,' he said; 'I have been in hell for
weeks past; Captain Bligh has brought all this on himself.' I told him
that Mr. Bligh and he not agreeing was no reason for taking the ship.
'Hold your tongue, Sir,' he said. I said, - Mr. Christian, you and I have
been on friendly terms during the voyage, therefore give me leave to
speak, - let Mr. Bligh go down to his cabin, and I make no doubt we shall
all be friends again; - he then repeated, 'Hold your tongue, Sir; it is
too late'; and threatening me if I said anything more. Mr. Fryer then
asked him to give a better boat than the cutter; he said, 'No, that boat
is good enough.' Bligh now said to the master, that the man behind the
hen-coops (Isaac Martin) was his friend, and desired him (the master) to
knock Christian down, which Christian must have heard, but took no
notice; that Fryer then attempted to get past Christian to speak to
Martin, but he put his bayonet to his breast, saying, 'Sir, if you
advance an inch farther, I will run you through,' and ordered two armed
men to take him down to his cabin. Shortly afterwards he was desired to
go on deck, when Christian ordered him into the boat: he said, 'I will
stay with you, if you will give me leave.' 'No, Sir,' he replied, 'go
directly into the boat.' Bligh, then on the gangway, said, 'Mr. Fryer,
stay in the ship.' 'No, by G - - d, Sir,' Christian said, 'go into the
boat, or I will run you through.' Mr. Fryer states, that during this
time very bad language was used by the people towards Mr. Bligh; that
with great difficulty they prevailed on Christian to suffer a few
articles to be put into the boat; that after the persons were ordered
into the boat to the number of nineteen, such opprobrious language
continued to be used, several of the men calling out 'Shoot the - - ,'
that Cole, the boatswain, advised they should cast off and take their
chance, as the mutineers would certainly do them a mischief if they
stayed much longer. Mr. Fryer then states the names of those who were
under arms; and that Joseph Coleman, Thomas M'Intosh, Charles Norman,
and Michael Byrne (prisoners), wished to come into the boat, declaring
they had nothing to do in the business; that he did not perceive Mr.
Peter Heywood on deck at the seizure of the ship.

On being asked what he supposed Christian meant when he said he had been
in hell for a fortnight? he said, from the frequent quarrels that they
had, and the abuse he had received from Mr. Bligh, and that the day
before the mutiny Mr. Bligh had challenged all the young gentlemen and
people with stealing his cocoa-nuts.

_Mr. Cole_, the boatswain, deposes, - that he had the middle watch; was
awakened out of his sleep in the morning, and heard a man calling out to
the carpenter, that they had mutinied and taken the ship; that Christian
had the command, and that the captain was a prisoner on the
quarter-deck; that he went up the hatchway, having seen Mr. Heywood and
Mr. Young in the opposite berth; that coming on deck he saw the captain
with his hands tied behind him, and four sentinels standing over him,
two of which were Ellison and Burkitt, the prisoners; that he asked Mr.
Christian what he meant to do, and was answered by his ordering him to
hoist the boat out, and shook the bayonet, threatening him and damning
him if he did not take care; that when he found the captain was to be
sent out of the ship, he again went aft with the carpenter to ask for
the long-boat; that they asked three or four times before he granted it;
that he saw Mr. Peter Heywood, one of the prisoners, lending a hand to
get the fore-stayfall along, and when the boat was hooked on, spoke
something to him, but what it was does not know, as Christian was
threatening him at the time; that Heywood then went below, and does not
remember seeing him afterwards; that after the few things were got into
the boat, and most of the people in her, they were trying for the
carpenter's tool-chest, when Quintal said, 'D - - n them, if we let them
have these things they will build a vessel in a month'; but when all
were in the boat she was veered astern, when Coleman, Norman, and
M'Intosh, prisoners, were crying at the gangway, wishing to go in the
boat; and Byrne in the cutter alongside was also crying; that he advised
Mr. Bligh to cast off, as he feared they would fire into the boat.

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Online LibrarySir John BarrowThe Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty: Its Cause and Consequences → online text (page 13 of 24)