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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_The Court_ asked if he had any reason to believe that any other of the
prisoners than those named were detained contrary to their inclinations?
Answer - 'I believe Mr. Heywood was; I thought all along he was intending
to come away; he had no arms, and he assisted to get the boat out, and
then went below; I heard Churchill call out, 'Keep them below.' _The
Court_ - 'Do you think he meant Heywood?' 'I have no reason to think any

_Mr. Peckover_ the gunner's evidence is similar to that of Mr. Cole's,
and need not be detailed.

_Mr. Purcell_, the carpenter, corroborated, generally, the testimony of
the three who had been examined. _The Court_ asked, 'Did you see Mr.
Heywood standing upon the booms?' 'Yes; he was leaning the flat part of
his hand on a cutlass, when I exclaimed, In the name of God, Peter, what
do you with that? when he instantly dropped it, and assisted in hoisting
the launch out, and handing the things into the boat, and then went down
below, when I heard Churchill call to Thompson to keep them below, but
could not tell whom he meant; I did not see Mr. Heywood after that.'
_The Court_ - 'In what light did you look upon Mr. Heywood, at the time
you say he dropped the cutlass on your speaking to him?' _Witness_ - 'I
looked upon him as a person confused, and that he did not know he had
the weapon in his hand, or his hand being on it, for it was not in his
hand; I considered him to be confused, by his instantly dropping it, and
assisting in hoisting the boat out, which convinced me in my own mind
that he had no hand in the conspiracy; that after this he went below, as
I think, on his own account, in order to collect some of his things to
put into the boat.' _The Court_ - 'Do you, upon the solemn oath you have
taken, believe that Mr. Heywood, by being armed with a cutlass at the
time you have mentioned, by anything that you could collect from his
gestures or speeches, had any intention of opposing, or joining others
that might oppose, to stop the progress of the mutiny?' _Witness_ - 'No.'
_The Court_ - 'In the time that Mr. Heywood was assisting you to get the
things into the boat, did he, in any degree whatever, manifest a
disposition to assist in the mutiny?' _Witness_ - 'No.' _The Court_ - 'Was
he, during that time, deliberate or frightened, and in what manner did
he behave himself?' _Witness_ - 'I had not an opportunity of observing
his every action, being myself at that time engaged in getting several
things into the boat, so that I cannot tell.' _The Court_ - 'Putting
every circumstance together, declare to this court, upon the oath you
have taken, how you considered his behaviour, whether as a person joined
in the mutiny, or as a person wishing well to Captain Bligh?'
_Witness_ - 'I by no means considered him as a person concerned in the
mutiny or conspiracy.'

_Lieutenant Thomas Hayward_, late third lieutenant of the _Pandora_, and
formerly midshipman of the _Bounty_, deposes, - that he had the morning
watch; that at four o'clock Fletcher Christian relieved the watch as
usual; that at five he ordered him, as master's mate of his watch, to
look out, while he went down to lash his hammock up; that while looking
at a shark astern of the ship, to his unutterable surprise, he saw
Fletcher Christian, Charles Churchill, Thomas Burkitt (the prisoner),
John Sumner, Matthew Quintal, William M'Koy, Isaac Martin, Henry
Hillbrant, and Alexander Smith, coming aft, armed with muskets and
bayonets; that on going forward, he asked Christian the cause of such an
act, who told him to hold his tongue instantly; and leaving Isaac Martin
as a sentinel on deck, he proceeded with the rest of his party below to
Lieutenant Bligh's cabin; that the people on deck were Mr. John Hallet,
myself, Robert Lamb, Butcher, Thomas Ellison (prisoner) at the helm, and
John Mills at the conn; that he asked Mills if he knew any thing of the
matter, who pleaded total ignorance, and Thomas Ellison quitted the helm
and armed himself with a bayonet; that the decks now became thronged
with armed men; that Peter Heywood, James Morrison (two of the
prisoners), and George Stewart, were unarmed on the booms; that Fletcher
Christian and his gang had not been down long before he heard the cry of
murder from Lieutenant Bligh, and Churchill calling out for a rope, on
which Mills, contrary to all orders and entreaties, cut the deep-sea
line and carried a piece of it to their assistance; that soon after
Lieutenant Bligh was brought upon the quarter-deck with his hands bound
behind him, and was surrounded by most of those who came last on deck.

This witness then states, that on the arrival of the _Pandora_ at
Matavai Bay, Joseph Coleman was the first that came on board; that he
was upset in a canoe and assisted by the natives; that as soon as the
ship was at anchor, George Stewart and Peter Heywood came on board; that
they made themselves known to Captain Edwards, and expressed their
happiness that he was arrived; that he asked them how they came to go
away with his Majesty's ship the _Bounty_, when George Stewart said,
when called upon hereafter, he would answer all particulars; that he was
prevented by Captain Edwards from answering further questions, and they
were sent out of the cabin to be confined. He then describes the manner
in which the rest of the mutineers were taken on the island. Having
stated that when he went below to get some things he saw Peter Heywood
in his berth, and told him to go into the boat, he was asked by _the
Court_ if Heywood was prevented by any force from going upon deck, he
answered, 'No.' _The Court_ - 'Did you, from his behaviour, consider him
as a person attached to his duty, or to the party of the mutineers?'
_Witness_ - 'I should rather suppose, after my having told him to go into
the boat, and he not joining us, to be on the side of the mutineers; but
that must be understood only as an opinion, as he was not in the least
employed during the active part of it.' _The Court_ - 'Did you observe
any marks of joy or sorrow on his countenance or behaviour?'
_Witness_ - 'Sorrow.'

_Lieutenant Hallet_, late midshipman of the _Bounty_, states, - that he
had the morning-watch; that he heard Lieutenant Bligh call out murder,
and presently after saw him brought upon deck naked, excepting his
shirt, with his hands tied behind him, and Christian holding the end of
the cord which tied them in one hand, and either a bayonet or a cutlass
in the other; that the cutter was hoisted out, and Mr. Samuel, Mr.
Hayward, and myself ordered to go into her; but the boatswain and
carpenter going aft, and telling Christian they wished to go with the
captain rather than stay in the ship, and asking to have the launch, it
was granted. On being asked if he saw Peter Heywood on that day, he
replied, once, on the platform, standing still and looking attentively
towards Captain Bligh; never saw him under arms nor spoke to him; does
not know if he offered to go in the boat, nor did he hear any one
propose to him to go in the boat; that when standing on the platform,
Captain Bligh said something to him, but what he did not hear, upon
which Heywood laughed, turned round, and walked away.

_Captain Edwards_ being then called and sworn, was desired by the Court
to state the conversation that passed between him and Coleman, Peter
Heywood, and George Stewart, when they came on board the _Pandora_.

_Edwards_ - 'Joseph Coleman attempted to come on board before the ship
came to an anchor at Otaheite; he was soon afterwards taken up by canoes
and came on board before the ship came to an anchor; I began to make
inquiries of him after the _Bounty_ and her people. The next who came on
board were Stewart and Peter Heywood; they came after the ship was at
anchor, but before any boat was on shore. I did not see them come
alongside. I desired Lieutenant Larkin to bring them down to the cabin.
I asked them what news; Peter Heywood, I think, said he supposed I had
heard of the affair of the _Bounty_. I don't recollect all the
conversation that passed between us; he sometimes interrupted me by
asking for Mr. Hayward, the lieutenant of the _Pandora_, whether he was
on board or not - he had heard that he was; at last I acknowledged that
he was, and I desired him to come out of my state-room, where I had
desired him to go into, as he happened to be with me at the time.
Lieutenant Hayward treated him with a sort of contemptuous look, and
began to enter into conversation with him respecting the _Bounty_, but I
called the sentinel in to take them into custody, and ordered Lieutenant
Hayward to desist, and I ordered them to be put into irons; some words
passed, and Peter Heywood said he should be able to vindicate his

_Lieutenant Corner_, of the _Pandora_, merely states his being sent to
bring the rest of the mutineers on board, who were at some distance from
Matavai Bay.

The prisoners being called on for their defence, the witnesses were
again separately called and examined on the part of the prisoners.

_Mr. Fryer_, the master, called in and examined by Mr. Heywood. - 'If you
had been permitted, would you have stayed in the ship in preference to
going into the boat?' _Witness_ - 'Yes.' _Prisoner_ - 'Had you stayed in
the ship in expectation of retaking her, was my conduct such, from the
first moment you knew me to this, as would have induced you to intrust
me with your design; and do you believe I would have favoured it, and
given you all the assistance in my power?' _Witness_ - 'I believe he
would: I should not have hesitated a moment in asking of him when I had
had an opportunity of opening my mind to him.'

The same question being put to _Mr. Cole_, the boatswain, _Mr.
Peckover_, the gunner, and _Mr. Purcell_, the carpenter, they all
answered in the affirmative.

Mr. Heywood asked, 'What was my general conduct, temper, and disposition
on board the ship?' _Witness_ - 'Beloved by everybody, to the best of my
recollection.' To the same question, _Mr. Cole_ answers, 'Always a very
good character.' _Mr. Peckover_ - 'The most amiable, and deserving of
every one's esteem.' _Mr. Purcell_ - 'In every respect becoming the
character of a gentleman, and such as merited the esteem of everybody.'

_Mr. Cole_ being examined, gave his testimony, - that he never saw Mr.
Heywood armed; that he did not consider him of the mutineers' party;
that he saw nothing of levity or apparent merriment in his conduct; that
when he was below with Stewart, he heard Churchill call out, 'Keep them
below,' and that he believes Heywood was one of the persons meant - has
no doubt of it at all; that Bligh could not have spoken to him, when on
the booms, loud enough to be heard; that Hayward was alarmed, and Hallet
alarmed; that he by no means considers Heywood or Morrison as

_Mr. Purcell_ being examined, states, - that, respecting the cutlass on
which he saw Mr. Heywood's hand resting, he does not consider him as
being an armed man; that he never thought him as of the mutineers'
party; that he never heard Captain Bligh speak to him; that he thinks,
from his situation, he could not have heard him; that he was by no means
guilty of levity or apparent merriment; that he heard the master-at-arms
call out to keep them below; that Mr. Hallet appeared to him to be very
much confused; and that Mr. Hayward likewise appeared to be very much

_The Court_ asked, - 'As you say you did not look upon the prisoner as a
person armed, to what did you allude when you exclaimed, "Good God,
Peter, what do you do with that?"' _Witness_ - 'I look upon it as an
accidental thing.'

_Captain Edwards_, being asked by Heywood - 'Did I surrender myself to
you upon the arrival of the _Pandora_ at Otaheite?' _Witness_ - 'Not to
me, to the Lieutenant. I apprehend he put himself in my power. I always
understood he came voluntarily; our boats were not in the water.'
_Prisoner_ - 'Did I give you such information respecting myself and the
_Bounty_ as afterwards proved true?' _Witness_ - 'He gave me some
information respecting the people on the island, that corroborated with
Coleman's. I do not recollect the particular conversation, but in
general it agreed with the account given by Coleman.' _Prisoner_ - 'When
I told you that I went away the first time from Otaheite with the
pirates, did I not at the same time inform you that it was not possible
for me to separate myself from Christian, who would not permit any man
of the party to leave him at that time, lest, by giving intelligence,
they might have been discovered whenever a ship should arrive?'
_Witness_ - 'Yes, but I do not recollect the latter part of it,
respecting giving intelligence.'

_Mr. Fryer_ again called in and examined by Mr. Morrison. - Mr. Fryer
states, he saw him assist in hoisting out the boats; that he said to him
(Fryer), 'Go down below.' _The Court_ asked, 'Whether it might not have
been from a laudable motive, as supposing your assistance at that time
might have prevented a more advantageous effort?' _Witness_ - 'Probably
it might: had I stayed in the ship, he would have been one of the first
that I should have opened my mind to, from his good behaviour in the
former part of the voyage': states his belief, that he addressed him as
advice; and that, in hoisting out the boat, he was assisting Captain

_Mr. Cole_, the boatswain, states, that he ordered Morrison to go and
help them with the cutter; that he told him the boat was overloaded;
that Captain Bligh had begged that no more people should go in her, and
said he would take his chance in the ship; that he shook Morrison by the
hand, and said he would do him justice in England; that he had no reason
to suppose him concerned in the mutiny.

_Lieutenant Thomas Hayward_ states, that Morrison appeared joyful, and
supposed him to be one of the mutineers; on being asked by Morrison if
he could declare before God and the Court that what he stated was not
the result of a private pique? _Witness_ - 'Not the result of any private
pique, but an opinion formed after quitting the ship, from his not
coming with us, there being more boats than one; cannot say they might
have had the cutter.' This witness was pleased to remember nothing that
was in favour of the prisoner.

_Lieutenant Hallet_ states, he saw Morrison under arms; being asked in
what part of the ship, he says, 'I did not see him under arms till the
boat was veered astern, and he was then looking over the taffrail, and
called out, in a jeering manner, "If my friends inquire after me, tell
them I am somewhere in the South Seas."'

_Captain Edwards_ bore testimony that Morrison voluntarily surrendered

_Mr. Fryer_ did not see Morrison armed; he was in his watch, and he
considered him a steady, sober, attentive, good man; and acknowledged,
that if he had remained in the ship, with the view of retaking her,
Morrison would have been one of the first he should have called to his

_Mr. Cole_ gave testimony to his being a man of good character,
attentive to his duty, and he never knew any harm of him.

_Mr. Purcell_ bore witness to his good character, being always diligent
and attentive; did not see him under arms on the taffrail; never heard
him use any jeering speeches. Respecting the prisoner _Muspratt, Mr.
Cole's_ evidence proves that he had a musket in his hands, but not till
the latter part of the business; it is also proved that he assisted in
getting things into the launch. _Mr. Peckover_ saw him standing on the
forecastle doing nothing - he was not armed.

_Lieutenant Hayward_ saw Muspratt among the armed men: was asked, when
Captain Bligh used the words, 'Don't let the boat be overloaded, my
lads' - 'I'll do you justice'; do you understand the latter words, 'My
lads, I'll do you justice,' to apply to clothes or to men, whom he
apprehended might go into the boat? _Witness_ - If Captain Bligh made use
of the words "my lads," it was to the people already in the boat, and
not to those in the ship.' _The Court_ - 'To whom do you imagine Captain
Bligh alluded: was it, in your opinion, to the men in the boat with him,
or to any persons then remaining in the ship?' _Witness_ - 'To persons
remaining in the ship.'

Against the prisoners Ellison, Burkitt, and Millward, the evidence given
by all the witnesses so clearly and distinctly proved they were under
arms the whole time, and actively employed against Bligh, that it is
unnecessary to go into any detail as far as they are concerned.

The Court having called on the prisoners, each separately, for his
defence, Mr. Heywood delivered his as follows: -

'My lords and gentlemen of this honourable Court, - Your
attention has already been sufficiently exercised in the
painful narrative of this trial; it is therefore my duty to
trespass further on it as little as possible.

'The crime of mutiny, for which I am now arraigned, is so
seriously pregnant with every danger and mischief, that it
makes the person so accused, in the eyes, not only of military
men of every description, but of every nation, appear at once
the object of unpardonable guilt and exemplary vengeance.

'In such a character it is my misfortune to appear before this
tribunal, and no doubt I must have been gazed at with all that
horror and indignation which the conspirators of such a mutiny
as that in Captain Bligh's ship so immediately provoke; hard,
then, indeed is my fate, that circumstances should so occur to
point me out as one of them.

'Appearances, probably, are against me, but they are
appearances only; for unless I may be deemed guilty for
feeling a repugnance at embracing death unnecessarily, I
declare before this Court and the tribunal of Almighty God, I
am innocent of the charge.

'I chose rather to defer asking any questions of the witnesses
until I heard the whole of the evidence; as the charge itself,
although I knew it generally, was not in its full extent, nor
in particular points, made known to me before I heard it read
by the Judge Advocate at the beginning of the trial: and I
feel myself relieved by having adopted such a mode, as it
enables me to set right a few particulars of a narrative which
I had the honour to transmit to the Earl of Chatham,
containing an account of all that passed on the fatal morning
of the 28th of April, 1789, but which, from the confusion the
ship was in during the mutiny, I might have mistaken, or from
the errors of an imperfect recollection I might have
mis-stated; the difference, however, will now be open to
correction; and I have great satisfaction in observing, that
the mistakes but very slightly respect my part of the
transaction, and I shall consequently escape the imputation of
endeavouring to save myself by imposing on my judges.

'When first this sad event took place I was sleeping in my
hammock; nor, till the very moment of being awakened from it,
had I the least intimation of what was going on. The spectacle
was as sudden to my eyes, as it was unknown to my heart; and
both were convulsed at the scene.

'Matthew Thompson was the first that claimed my attention upon
waking: he was sitting as a sentinel over the arm-chest and my
berth, and informed me that the captain was a prisoner, and
Christian had taken the command of the ship. I entreated for
permission to go upon deck; and soon after the boatswain and
carpenter had seen me in my berth, as they were going up the
fore-hatchway, I followed them, as is stated in their
evidence. It is not in my power to describe my feelings upon
seeing the captain as I did, who, with his hands tied behind
him, was standing on the quarter-deck, a little abaft the
mizen-mast, and Christian by his side. My faculties were
benumbed, and I did not recover the power of recollection
until called to by somebody to take hold of the tackle-fall,
and assist to get out the launch, which I found was to be
given to the captain instead of the large cutter, already in
the water alongside the ship. It were in vain to say what
things I put into the boat, but many were handed in by me; and
in doing this it was that my hand touched the cutlass (for I
will not attempt to deny what the carpenter has deposed),
though, on my conscience, I am persuaded it was of momentary
duration, and innocent as to intention. The former is evident,
from its being unobserved by every witness who saw me upon
deck, some of whom must have noticed it had it continued a
single minute; and the latter is proved by the only person who
took notice of the circumstance, and has also deposed that, at
the moment he beheld me, I was apparently in a state of
absolute stupor. The poison, therefore, carries with it its
antidote; and it seems needless to make any further comment on
the subject, for no man can be weak enough to suppose, that if
I had been armed for the purpose of assisting in the mutiny, I
should have resumed a weapon in the moment of triumph, and
when the ship was so completely in the possession of the
party, that (as more than one witness has emphatically
expressed it) all attempts at recovering her would have been

'The boat and ship, it is true, presented themselves to me
without its once occurring that I was at liberty to choose,
much less that the choice I should make would be afterwards
deemed criminal; and I bitterly deplore that my extreme youth
and inexperience concurred in torturing me with apprehensions,
and prevented me from preferring the former; for as things
have turned out, it would have saved me from the disgrace of
appearing before you as I do at this day - it would have spared
the sharp conflicts of my own mind ever since, and the
agonizing tears of a tender mother and my much-beloved

'Add to my youth and inexperience, that I was influenced in my
conduct by the example of my messmates, Mr. Hallet and Mr.
Hayward, the former of whom was very much agitated, and the
latter, though he had been many years at sea, yet, when
Christian ordered him into the boat, he was evidently alarmed
at the perilous situation, and so much overcome by the harsh
command, that he actually shed tears.

'My own apprehensions were far from being lessened at such a
circumstance as this, and I fearfully beheld the preparations
for the captain's departure as the preliminaries of inevitable
destruction, which, although I did not think could be more
certain, yet I feared would be more speedy, by the least
addition to their number.

'To show that I have no disposition to impose upon this Court,
by endeavouring to paint the situation of the boat to be worse
than it really was, I need only refer to the captain's own
narrative, wherein he says that she would have sunk with them
on the evening of the 3rd May, had it not been for his timely
caution of throwing out some of the stores, and all the
clothes belonging to the people, excepting two suits for each.

'Now what clothes or stores could they have spared which in
weight would have been equal to that of two men? (for if I had
been in her, and the poor fellow, Norton, had not been
murdered at Tofoa, she would have been encumbered with our
additional weight), and if it be true that she was saved by
those means, which the captain says she was, it must follow
that if Norton and myself had been in her (to say nothing of
Coleman, M'Intosh, Norman, and Byrne, who, 'tis confessed,
were desirous of leaving the ship), she must either have gone
down with us, or, to prevent it, we must have lightened her of
the provisions and other necessary articles, and thereby have
perished for want - dreadful alternative!

'A choice of deaths to those who are certain of dying may be a
matter of indifference; but where, on one hand, death appears
inevitable, and the means of salvation present themselves on
the other, however imprudent it might be to resort to those
means in any other less trying situation, I think (and hope
even at my present time of life) that I shall not be suspected
of a want of courage for saying, few men would hesitate to
embrace the latter.

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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 14 of 24)