Copyright
Sir John Barrow.

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

. (page 23 of 24)
Online LibrarySir John BarrowThe Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty: Its Cause and Consequences → online text (page 23 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


cause of the mutiny.

[8] _Quarterly Review_, No. 89.

[9] One person turns his back on the object that is to be divided;
another then points separately to the portions, at each of them asking
aloud, 'Who shall have this?' to which the first answers by naming
somebody. This impartial method of distribution gives every man an equal
chance of the best share. Bligh used to speak of the great amusement the
poor people had at the beak and claws falling to his share.

[10] If Bligh here meant to deny the fact of men, in extreme cases,
destroying each other for the sake of appeasing hunger, he is greatly
mistaken. The fact was but too well established, and to a great extent,
on the raft of the French frigate _Meduse_, when wrecked on the coast of
Africa, and also on the rock in the Mediterranean, when the _Nautilus_
frigate was lost. There may be a difference between men, in danger of
perishing by famine, when in robust health, and men like those of the
_Bounty_, worn by degrees to skeletons, by protracted famine, who may
thus have become equally indifferent to life or death.

[11] The escape of the _Centaur's_ boat, perhaps, comes nearest to it.
When the _Centaur_ was sinking, Captain Inglefield and eleven others, in
a small leaky boat, five feet broad, with one of the gunwales stove,
nearly in the middle of the Western Ocean, without compass, without
quadrant, without sail, without great-coat or cloak, all very thinly
clothed, in a gale of wind, with a great sea running, and the winter
fast approaching, - the sun and stars, by which alone they could shape
their course, sometimes hidden for twenty-four hours; - these unhappy
men, in this destitute and hopeless condition, had to brave the billows
of the stormy Atlantic, for nearly a thousand miles. A blanket, which
was by accident in the boat, served as a sail, and with this they
scudded before the wind, in expectation of being swallowed up by every
wave; with great difficulty the boat was cleared of water before the
return of the next great sea; all of the people were half drowned, and
sitting, except the balers, at the bottom of the boat. On quitting the
ship the distance of Fayal was two hundred and sixty leagues, or about
nine hundred English miles.

Their provisions were a bag of bread, a small ham, a single piece of
pork, two quart bottles of water, and a few of French cordials. One
biscuit, divided into twelve morsels, was served for breakfast, and the
same for dinner; the neck of a bottle broken off, with the cork in,
supplied the place of a glass; and this filled with water was the
allowance for twenty-four hours for each man.

On the fifteenth day, they had only one day's bread, and one bottle of
water remaining of a second supply of rain; on this day Matthews, a
quarter-master, the stoutest man in the boat, perished of hunger and
cold. This poor man, on the day before, had complained of want of
strength in his throat, as he expressed it, to swallow his morsel; and,
in the night, drank salt-water, grew delirious, and died without a
groan. Hitherto despair and gloom had been successfully prevented, the
men, when the evenings closed in, having been encouraged by turns to
sing a song, or relate a story, instead of a supper: 'but,' says the
Captain, 'this evening I found it impossible to raise either.' The
Captain had directed the clothes to be taken from the corpse of Matthews
and given to some of the men, who were perishing with, cold; but the
shocking skeleton-like appearance of his remains made such an impression
on the people, that all efforts to raise their spirits were ineffectual.
On the following day, the sixteenth, their last breakfast was served
with the bread and water remaining, when John Gregory, the
quarter-master, declared with much confidence that he saw land in the
south-east, which turned out to be Fayal.

But the most extraordinary _feat of navigation_ is that which is related
(on good authority) in a note of the _Quarterly Review_, vol. xviii. pp.
337-339: -

Of all the feats of navigation on record, however, that of Diogo Botelho
Perreira, in the early period of 1536-37, stands pre-eminent; it is
extracted from the voluminous Decades of Diogo de Couto, whose work,
though abounding with much curious matter, like those of most of the old
Portuguese writers, has not been fortunate enough to obtain an English
translation. We are indebted to a friend for pointing it out to us, and
we conceive it will be read with interest.

'In the time of the vice-royalty of Don Francisco de Almeyda
there was a young gentleman in India of the name of Diogo
Botelho Perreira, son of the commander of Cochin, who educated
him with great care, so that he soon became skilled in the art
of navigation, and an adept in the construction of marine
charts. As he grew up, he felt anxious to visit Portugal,
where, on his arrival, he was well received at court, and the
king took pleasure in conversing with him on those subjects
which had been the particular objects of his studies. Confident
of his own talents, and presuming on the favour with which the
king always treated him, he ventured one day to request his
Majesty to appoint him commander of the fortress of Chaul. The
king smiled at his request, and replied, that "_the command of
the fortress was not for pilots_." Botelho was piqued at this
answer, and, on returning into the ante-chamber, was met by Don
Antonio Noronha, second son of the Marquis of Villa Real, who
asked him if his suit had been granted: he answered, "Sir, I
will apply where my suit will not be neglected." When this
answer came to the ears of the king, he immediately ordered
Botelho to be confined in the castle of Lisbon, lest he should
follow the example of Megalhaens, and go over to Spain. There
he remained a prisoner until the admiral viceroy Don Vasco da
Gama, solicited his release, and was permitted to take him to
India; but on the express condition that he should not return
to Portugal, except by special permission. Under these
unpleasant circumstances this gentleman proceeded to India,
anxious for an opportunity of distinguishing himself, that he
might be permitted again to visit Portugal.

'It happened about this time that the Sultan Badur, sovereign
of Cambaya, gave the governor, Nuno da Cunha, permission to
erect a fortress on the island of Diu, an object long and
anxiously wished for, as being of the greatest importance to
the security of the Portuguese possessions in India. Botelho
was aware how acceptable this information would be to the king,
and therefore deemed this a favourable opportunity of regaining
his favour, by conveying such important intelligence; and he
resolved to perform the voyage in a vessel so small, and so
unlike what had ever appeared in Portugal, that it should not
fail to excite astonishment, how any man could undertake so
long and perilous a navigation, in such a frail and diminutive
bottom.

'Without communicating his scheme to any person, he procured a
_fusta_, put a deck on it from head to stern, furnished it with
spare sails and spars, and every other necessary, and
constructed two small tanks for water.

'As soon as the monsoon served, he embarked with some men in
his service, giving out that he was going to Melinde; and, to
give colour to this story, he proceeded to Baticala, where he
purchased some cloths and beads for that market, and laid in
provisions; some native merchants also embarked with a few
articles on board for the Melinde market, to which he did not
choose to object, lest it should alarm his sailors.

'He set sail with the eastern monsoon, in the beginning of
October, and arrived safely at Melinde, where he landed the
native merchants, took in wood, water, and refreshments, and
again put to sea, informing his crew that he was going to
Quiloa. When he had got to a distance from the land, it would
appear that some of his crew had mutinied; but this he had
foreseen and provided for; putting some of them in irons, and
promising at the same time amply to reward the services of the
rest, and giving them to understand that he was going to Sofala
on account of the trade in gold. Thus he proceeded, touching at
various places for refreshments, which he met with in great
plenty and very cheap.

'From Sofala he proceeded along the coast till he had passed
the Cabo dos Correntes, and from thence along the shore,
without ever venturing to a distance from the land, and
touching at the different rivers, until he passed the Cape of
Good Hope, which he did in January 1537.

'From thence he stretched into the ocean with gentle breezes,
steering for St. Helena; where, on arriving, he drew his little
vessel ashore, to clean her bottom and repair her, and also to
give a few days' rest to his crew, of whom some had perished of
cold, notwithstanding his having provided warm clothing for
them.

'Departing from St. Helena, he boldly steered his little bark
across the wide ocean, directing his career to St. Thomé, where
he took in provisions, wood, and water; and from thence he
proceeded to the bar of Lisbon, where he arrived in May, when
the king was at Almeyrin. He entered the river with his oars,
his little vessel being dressed with flags and pendants, and
anchored at Point Leira opposite to Salvaterra, not being able
to get farther up the river. This novelty produced such a
sensation in Lisbon that the Tagus was covered with boats to
see the _fusta_ Diogo Botelho Perreira landed in a boat, and
proceeded to Almeyrin, to give the king an account of his
voyage, and solicit a gratification for the good news which he
brought, of his Majesty now being possessed of a fortress on
the island of Diu.

'The king was highly pleased with this intelligence, but, as
Botelho brought no letters from the governor, he did not give
him the kind of reception which he had expected. On the
contrary, the king treated him with coldness and distance; his
Majesty, however, embarked to see the _fusta_, on board of
which he examined every thing with much attention, and was
gratified in viewing a vessel of such a peculiar form, and
ordered money and clothes to be given to the sailors - nor could
he help considering Diogo Botelho as a man of extraordinary
enterprise and courage, on whose firmness implicit reliance
might be placed.

'The little vessel was ordered to be drawn ashore at Sacabem,
where it remained many years (until it fell to pieces), and was
visited by people from all parts of Europe, who beheld it with
astonishment. The king subsequently received letters from the
governor of Nuno da Cunha, confirming the news brought by
Botelho; the bearer of these letters, a Jew, was immediately
rewarded with a pension of a hundred and forty milreas; but
Botelho was neglected for many years, and at last appointed
commander of St. Thomé, and finally made captain of Cananor in
India, that he might be at a distance from Portugal.'

The vessel named _fusta_ is a long, shallow, Indian-built row-boat,
which uses latine sails in fine weather. These boats are usually open,
but Botelho covered his with a deck: its dimensions, according to
Lavanha, in his edition of De Barros' unfinished Decade, are as
follows: - length, twenty-two palmos, or sixteen feet six inches.
Breadth, twelve palmos, or nine feet. Depth, six palmos, or four feet
six inches. Bligh's boat was twenty-three feet long, six feet nine
inches broad, and two feet nine inches deep. From the circumstance
mentioned of some of his crew having perished with cold, it is probable
that they were natives of India, whom the Portuguese were in the habit
of bringing home as part of their crew.

[12] Previous to the writing of this letter, the following copy of
verses shows how anxiously this young lady's mind was engaged on the
unhappy circumstances under which her brother was placed.

On the tedious and mournful Absence of a most beloved BROTHER, who was
in the _Bounty_ with Captain BLIGH at the Time of the FATAL MUTINY,
which happened April 28th, 1789, in the South Seas, and who, instead of
returning with the Boat when she left the Ship, stayed behind.
Tell me, thou busy flatt'ring Telltale, why -
Why flow these tears - why heaves this deep-felt sigh, -
Why is all joy from my sad bosom flown,
Why lost that cheerfulness I thought my own;
Why seek I now in solitude for ease.
Which once was centred in a wish to please,
When ev'ry hour in joy and gladness past,
And each new day shone brighter than the last;
When in society I loved to join;
When to enjoy, and give delight, was mine? -
Now - sad reverse! in sorrow wakes each day,
And griefs sad tones inspire each plaintive lay:
Alas! too plain these mournful tears can tell
The pangs of woe my lab'ring bosom swell!
Thou best of brothers - friend, companion, guide,
Joy of my youth, my honour, and my pride!
Lost is all peace - all happiness to me,
And fled all comfort, since deprived of thee.
In vain, my Lycidas, thy loss I mourn,
In vain indulge a hope of thy return;
Still years roll on and still I vainly sigh,
Still tears of anguish drown each gushing eye.
Ah I cruel Time I how slow thy ling'ring pace,
Which keeps me from his tender, loved embrace.
At home to see him, or to know him near,
How much I wish - and yet how much I fear!
Oh I fatal voyage! which robb'd my soul of peace
And wreck'd my happiness in stormy seas!
Why, my loved Lycidas, why did'st thou stay,
Why waste thy life from friendship far away?
Though guiltless thou of mutiny or blame,
And free from aught which could disgrace thy name;
Though thy pure soul, in honour's footsteps train'd,
Was never yet by disobedience stain'd;
Yet is thy fame exposed to slander's wound,
And fell suspicion whispering around.
In vain - to those who knew thy worth and truth,
Who watch'd each op'ning virtue of thy youth;
When noblest principles inform'd thy mind,
Where sense and sensibility were join'd;
Love to inspire, to charm, to win each heart,
And ev'ry tender sentiment impart;
Thy outward form adorn'd with ev'ry grace;
With beauty's softest charms thy heav'nly face,
Where sweet expression beaming ever proved
The index of that soul, by all beloved;
Thy wit so keen, thy genius form'd to soar,
By fancy wing'd, new science to explore;
Thy temper, ever gentle, good, and kind,
Where all but guilt an advocate could find:
To those who know this character was thine,
(And in this truth assenting numbers join)
How vain th' attempt to fix a crime on thee,
Which thou disdain'st - from which each thought is free!
No, my loved brother, ne'er will I believe
Thy seeming worth was meant but to deceive;
Still will I think (each circumstance though strange)
That thy firm principles could never change;
That hopes of preservation urged thy stay,
Or force, which those resistless must obey.
If this is error, let me still remain
In error wrapp'd - nor wake to truth again!
Come then, sweet Hope, with all thy train of joy
Nor let Despair each rapt'rous thought destroy;
Indulgent Heav'n, in pity to our tears,
At length will bless a parent's sinking years;
Again shall I behold thy lovely face,
By manhood form'd, and ripen'd ev'ry grace,
Again I'll press thee to my anxious breast,
And ev'ry sorrow shall be hush'd to rest.
Thy presence only can each comfort give.
Come then, my Lycidas, and let me live;
Life without thee is but a wretched load,
Thy love alone can smooth its thorny road;
But blest with thee, how light were every woe;
How would my soul with joy and rapture glow!
Kind Heav'n! thou hast my happiness in store,
Restore him _innocent_ - I ask no more!
_Isle of Man, Feb. 25,_ 1792. NESSY HEYWOOD.

[13] This interesting letter is given in the following Chapter, to which
it appropriately belongs.

[14] His orders run thus: 'You are to keep the mutineers as closely
confined as may preclude all possibility of their escaping, having,
however, proper regard to the preservation of their lives, that they may
be brought home, to undergo the punishment due to their demerits.'

[15] _Voyage round the World_, by Mr. George Hamilton, p. 84.

[16] _A Missionary Voyage to the Southern Pacific_, p. 360.

[17] _United Service Journal_.

[18] The Phoceans, on account of the sterility of their country, were in
the habit of practising piracy, which, according to Justin, was held to
be an honourable profession.

[19] These laws are contained in an ancient authentic book, called 'The
Black Book of the Admiralty,' in which all things therein comprehended
are engrossed on vellum, in an ancient character; which hath been from
time to time kept in the registry of the High Court of Admiralty, for
the use of the Judges. When Mr. Luders made enquiry at the office in
Doctors' Commons, in 1808, he was informed by the proper officers there,
that they had never seen such book, and knew nothing of it, nor where to
find it. The fact is, the book in question was put into Lord Thurlow's
hands when Attorney-General, and never returned. There is a copy of it
in the Admiralty.

[20] Morrison mentions, in his _Journal_, a plan to this effect,
contrived by Heywood, Stewart, and himself, but observes, 'it was a
foolish attempt, as, had we met with bad weather, our crazy boat would
certainly have made us a coffin.'

[21] The following shows how much her fond mind was fixed on her
unfortunate brother: -

_On the Arrival of my dearly-beloved Brother, Peter Heywood, in England,
written while a Prisoner, and waiting the Event of his Trial on board
his Majesty's Ship 'Hector.'_
Come, gentle Muse, I woo thee once again,
Nor woo thee now in melancholy strain;
Assist my verse in cheerful mood to flow,
Nor let this tender bosom Anguish know;
Fill all my soul with notes of Love and Joy,
No more let Grief each anxious thought employ:
With Rapture now alone this heart shall burn,
And Joy, my Lycidas, for thy return!
Return'd with every charm, accomplish'd youth,
Adorn'd with Virtue, Innocence, and Truth;
Wrapp'd in thy conscious merit still remain,
Till I behold thy lovely form again.
Protect him, Heav'n, from dangers and alarms,
And oh! restore him to a sister's arms;
Support his fortitude in that dread hour
When he must brave Suspicion's cruel pow'r;
Grant him to plead with Eloquence divine,
In ev'ry word let Truth and Honour shine;
Through each sweet accent let Persuasion flow,
With manly Firmness let his bosom glow,
Till strong Conviction, in each face exprest,
Grants a reward by Honour's self confest.
Let thy Omnipotence preserve him still,
And all his future days with Pleasure fill;
And oh! kind Heav'n, though now in chains he be,
Restore him soon to Friendship, Love, and me.
_August 5th, 1792, Isle of Man_. NESSY HEYWOOD.

[22] The late Aaron Graham, Esq., the highly respected police magistrate
in London.

[23] Till the moment of the trial, it will readily be supposed that
every thought of this amiable young lady was absorbed in her brother's
fate. In this interval the following lines appear to have been
written: -

_On receiving information by a letter from my ever dearly loved brother
Peter Heywood, that his trial was soon to take place_.

_Isle of Man, August_ 22, 1792. NESSY HEYWOOD.

[24] The minutes being very long, a brief abstract only, containing the
principal points of evidence, is here given.

[25] This Journal, it is presumed, must have been lost when the
_Pandora_ was wrecked.

[26] It was in this state of mind, while in momentary expectation of
receiving an account of the termination of the court-martial, that
Heywood's charming sister Nessy wrote the following lines: -
ANXIETY.
Doubting, dreading, fretful guest,
Quit, oh I quit this mortal breast.
Why wilt thou my peace invade,
And each brighter prospect shade?
Pain me not with needless Fear,
But let Hope my bosom cheer;
While I court her gentle charms,
Woo the flatterer to my arms;
While each moment she beguiles
With her sweet enliv'ning smiles,
While she softly whispers me,
'Lycidas again is free,'
While I gaze on Pleasure's gleam,
Say not thou 'Tis all a dream.'
Hence - nor darken Joy's soft bloom
With thy pale and sickly gloom:
Nought have I to do with thee -
Hence - begone - Anxiety.
_Isle of Man, September 10th._ NESSY HEYWOOD.

[27] This is supposed to allude to the evidence given by Hallet.

[28] This refers to a very kind and encouraging letter written to him by
the Rev. Dr. Scott, of the Isle of Man, who knew him from a boy, and had
the highest opinion of his character.

[29] Captain Bligh states in his journal, that none of his officers were
suffered to come near him while held a prisoner by Christian; and Hallet
was, no doubt, mistaken, but he had probably said it in the boat, and
thought it right to be consistent on the trial.

It has been said that Hallet, when in the _Penelope_, in which frigate
he died, expressed great regret at the evidence he had given at the
court-martial, and frequently alluded to it, admitting that he might
have been mistaken. There can be very little doubt that he was so. But
the Editor has ascertained, from personal inquiry of one of the most
distinguished flag-officers in the service, who was then first
lieutenant of the _Penelope_, that Hallet frequently expressed to him
his deep contrition for having given in evidence what, on subsequent
reflection, he was convinced to be incorrect; that he ascribed it to the
state of confusion in which his mind was when under examination before
the Court; and that he had since satisfied himself that, owing to the
general alarm and confusion during the mutiny, he must have confounded
Heywood with some other person.

[30] Vol. ii. p. 778.

[31] Some few captains were in the habit of turning over a delinquent to
be tried by their messmates, and when found guilty, it invariably
happened that the punishment inflicted was doubly severe to what it
would have been in the ordinary way. This practice, - which, as giving a
deliberative voice to the ship's company, was highly reprehensible, - it
is to be hoped has entirely ceased.

[32] Information that the pardon was gone down to Portsmouth.

[33] She had received, previous to this, information of what the event
would be, and thus gives vent to her feelings.

_On receiving certain Intelligence that my most amiable and beloved
Brother, Peter Heywood, would soon be restored to Freedom_.
Oh, blissful hour! - oh moment of delight!
Replete with happiness, with rapture bright!
An age of pain is sure repaid by this,
'Tis joy too great - 'tis ecstasy of bliss!
Ye sweet sensations crowding on my soul,
Which following each other swiftly roll, -
Ye dear ideas which unceasing press,
And pain this bosom by your wild excess,
Ah! kindly cease - for pity's sake subside,
Nor thus o'erwhelm me with joy's rapid tide:
My beating heart, oppress'd with woe and care,
Has yet to learn such happiness to bear:
From grief, distracting grief, thus high to soar,
To know dull pain and misery no more,
To hail each op'ning morn with new delight,
To rest in peace and joy each happy night,
To see my Lycidas from bondage free,
Restored to life, to pleasure, and to me,
To see him thus - adorn'd with virtue's charms,
To give him to a longing mother's arms,
To know him by surrounding friends caress'd,
Of honour, fame, of life's best gifts possess'd,
Oh, my full heart! 'tis joy - 'tis bliss supreme,
And though 'tis real - yet, how like a dream!
Teach me then, Heav'n, to bear it as I ought,
Inspire each rapt'rous, each transporting thought;
Teach me to bend beneath Thy bounteous hand,


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 23

Online LibrarySir John BarrowThe Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty: Its Cause and Consequences → online text (page 23 of 24)