HOME

TheInfoList




The
mutiny Mutiny is a revolt among a group of people (typically of a military, of a crew or of a crew of Piracy, pirates) to oppose, change, or overthrow an organization to which they were previously loyal. The term is commonly used for a rebellion among ...

mutiny
on the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
vessel occurred in the South Pacific Ocean on 28 April 1789. Disaffected crewmen, led by acting-Lieutenant
Fletcher Christian Fletcher Christian (25 September 1764 – 20 September 1793) was master's mate on board HMS Bounty, HMS ''Bounty'' durin ...
, seized control of the ship from their captain,
Lieutenant A lieutenant ( or abbreviated Lt., Lt, LT, Lieut and similar) is a commissioned officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, i ...
William Bligh Vice-admiral (Royal Navy), Vice-Admiral William Bligh (9 September 1754 – 7 December 1817) was an officer of the Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. The Mutiny on the Bounty occurred during his command of in 1789; after being set adri ...
, and set him and eighteen loyalists adrift in the ship's open
launch Launch or launched may refer to: Involving vehicles * Launch (boat) A launch is an open motorboat A motorboat, speedboat or powerboat is a boat that is powered by an engine. Some motorboats are fitted with inboard engines, others ...
. The mutineers variously settled on
Tahiti Tahiti (; Tahitian ; ; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward group of the Society Islands The Society Islands (french: Îles de la Société, officially ''Archipel de la Société;'' ty, Tōtaiete mā) a ...

Tahiti
or on
Pitcairn Island The Pitcairn Islands (; Pitkern Pitkern, also known as Pitcairn-Norfolk or Pitcairnese, is a linguistic cant based on an 18th-century mix of English and Tahitian. It is a primary language of the Pitcairn Islands, though it has more speak ...

Pitcairn Island
. Bligh navigated more than in the launch to reach safety, and began the process of bringing the mutineers to justice. ''Bounty'' had left England in 1787 on a mission to collect and transport
breadfruit Breadfruit (''Artocarpus altilis'') is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry ''Morus'', a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living ...

breadfruit
plants from Tahiti to the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, in ...
. A five-month
layover 250px, Layover for buses at LACMTA's Warner Center Transit Hub Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people ...
in Tahiti, during which many of the men lived ashore and formed relationships with native
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
ns, led many men to be less amenable to military discipline. Relations between Bligh and his crew deteriorated after he began handing out increasingly harsh punishments, criticism, and abuse, Christian being a particular target. After three weeks back at sea, Christian and others forced Bligh from the ship. Twenty-five men remained on board afterwards, including loyalists held against their will and others for whom there was no room in the launch. After Bligh reached England in April 1790, the
Admiralty Admiralty usually refers to: * Admiralty (United Kingdom), military department in command of the Royal Navy from 1707 to 1964 *The rank of admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank ...
despatched HMS ''Pandora'' to apprehend the mutineers. Fourteen were captured in Tahiti and imprisoned on board ''Pandora'', which then searched without success for Christian's party that had hidden on Pitcairn Island. After turning back towards England, ''Pandora'' ran aground on the
Great Barrier Reef The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology), polyps held tog ...

Great Barrier Reef
, with the loss of 31 crew and four prisoners from ''Bounty''. The ten surviving detainees reached England in June 1792 and were
court-martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective A postpositive adjective or postnominal adjective is an adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scien ...
led; four were
acquitted In common law jurisdictions, an acquittal certifies that the accused is free from the charge of an offense, as far as the criminal law is concerned. The finality of an acquittal is dependent on the jurisdiction. In some countries, such as the ...
, three were
pardon A pardon is a government decision to allow a person to be relieved of some or all of the legal consequences resulting from a criminal conviction. A pardon may be granted before or after conviction for the crime, depending on the laws of the j ...

pardon
ed, and three were
hanged Hanging is the suspension of a person by a noose A noose is a loop at the end of a rope A rope is a group of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, croc ...

hanged
. Christian's group remained undiscovered on Pitcairn until 1808, by which time only one mutineer,
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of ...

John Adams
, remained alive. Almost all of his fellow mutineers, including Christian, had been killed, either by each other or by their Polynesian companions. No action was taken against Adams; descendants of the mutineers and their Tahitian captives live on Pitcairn into the 21st century.


Background


''Bounty'' and its mission

His Majesty's Armed Vessel (HMAV) ''Bounty''
His Majesty's Armed Vessel (HMAV) ''Bounty''
, or HMS ''Bounty'', was built in 1784 at the Blaydes shipyard in
Hull Hull may refer to: Structures * Chassis, of an armored fighting vehicle * Fuselage, of an aircraft * Hull (botany), the outer covering of seeds * Hull (watercraft), the body or frame of a ship * Submarine hull Mathematics * Affine hull, in affin ...
,
Yorkshire Yorkshire (; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England England ...

Yorkshire
, as a
collier Collier or colliers may refer to: Coal industry * Collier, coal miner or coal Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as stratum, rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of o ...
named ''Bethia''. It was renamed after being purchased by the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
for £1,950 in May 1787. It was three-masted, long overall and across at its widest point, and registered at 230 tons burthen. Its armament was four short four-pounder carriage guns and ten half-pounder
swivel gun The term swivel gun (or simply swivel) usually refers to a small cannon A cannon is a large-caliber A 45 ACP hollowpoint (Federal Cartridge, Federal HST) with two .22 Long Rifle, 22 LR cartridges for comparison In gun A gun ...

swivel gun
s, supplemented by small arms such as
musket A musket is a muzzle-loaded A muzzleloader is any firearm into which the bullet, projectile and usually the propellant charge is loaded from the Muzzle (firearms), muzzle of the gun (i.e., from the forward, open end of the gun's barrel). Th ...
s. As it was rated by the
Admiralty Admiralty usually refers to: * Admiralty (United Kingdom), military department in command of the Royal Navy from 1707 to 1964 *The rank of admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navy, navies, and in many navies is the highest rank ...
as a cutter, the smallest category of warship, its commander would be a
lieutenant A lieutenant ( or abbreviated Lt., Lt, LT, Lieut and similar) is a commissioned officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, i ...
rather than a
post-captain Post-captain is an obsolete alternative form of the rank of captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police ...
and would be the only
commissioned officer An officer is a person who holds a position of authority as a member of an armed force A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an i ...
on board. Nor did a cutter warrant the usual detachment of
Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is an amphibious Amphibious means able to use either land or water. In particular it may refer to: * ''Amphibious'' (film), a 2010 film * Amphibious aircraft An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an air ...
that naval commanders could use to enforce their authority. ''Bounty'' had been acquired to transport
breadfruit Breadfruit (''Artocarpus altilis'') is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry ''Morus'', a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living ...

breadfruit
plants from
Tahiti Tahiti (; Tahitian ; ; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward group of the Society Islands The Society Islands (french: Îles de la Société, officially ''Archipel de la Société;'' ty, Tōtaiete mā) a ...

Tahiti
(then rendered "Otaheite"), a
Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; fj, Kai-Polinesia; sm, Polenisia; rar, Porinetia; ty, Pōrīnetia; tvl, Polenisia; tkl, Polenihia) is a ...

Polynesia
n island in the south Pacific, to the British colonies in the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, in ...
. The expedition was promoted by the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exis ...
and organised by its president
Sir Joseph Banks Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, (19 June 1820) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning more towards observat ...
, who shared the view of Caribbean
plantation A plantation is an agricultural estate, generally centered on a plantation houseA plantation house is the main house of a plantation A plantation is a large-scale estate, generally centered on a plantation house, meant for farming that spe ...

plantation
owners that breadfruit might grow well there and provide cheap food for the slaves. ''Bounty'' was refitted under Banks's supervision at
Deptford Dockyard Deptford Dockyard was an important naval dockyard A naval base, navy base, or military port is a military base A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military A military, also known collectively a ...
on the
River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in England and the Longest rivers of the United Kingdom, se ...
. The great cabin, normally the ship's captain's quarters, was converted into a greenhouse for over a thousand potted breadfruit plants, with glazed windows, skylights, and a lead-covered deck and drainage system to prevent the waste of fresh water. The space required for these arrangements in the small ship meant that the crew and officers would endure severe overcrowding for the duration of the long voyage.


Bligh

With Banks's agreement, command of the expedition was given to Lieutenant
William Bligh Vice-admiral (Royal Navy), Vice-Admiral William Bligh (9 September 1754 – 7 December 1817) was an officer of the Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. The Mutiny on the Bounty occurred during his command of in 1789; after being set adri ...
, whose experiences included Captain
James Cook Captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a milit ...

James Cook
's third and final voyage (1776–80) in which he had served as
sailing master The master, or sailing master, is a historical rank for a naval officer An officer is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously a ...
, or chief navigator, on HMS ''Resolution''. Bligh was born in
Plymouth Plymouth () is a port city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: ...

Plymouth
in 1754 into a family of naval and military tradition—Admiral
Sir Richard Rodney Bligh
Sir Richard Rodney Bligh
was his third cousin. Appointment to Cook's ship at the age of 21 had been a considerable honour, although Bligh believed that his contribution was not properly acknowledged in the expedition's official account. With the 1783 ending of the eight-year
American War of Independence The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colon ...
and subsequent renewal of conflict with France—which had recognised and allied with the new United States in 1778—the vast Royal Navy was reduced in size, and Bligh found himself ashore on half-pay. After a period of idleness, Bligh took temporary employment in the mercantile service and in 1785 was captain of the ''Britannia'', a vessel owned by his wife's uncle Duncan Campbell. Bligh assumed the prestigious ''Bounty'' appointment on 16 August 1787, at a considerable financial cost; his lieutenant's pay of four
shilling The shilling is a historical coin, and the name of a unit of modern currencies A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Image:National-D ...
s a day (£70 a year) contrasted with the £500 a year he had earned as captain of ''Britannia''. Because of the limited number of
warrant officer Warrant officer (WO) is a rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two ...

warrant officer
s allowed on ''Bounty'', Bligh was also required to act as the ship's
purser A ship's purser (also pusser)From which the Pusser's Pusser's Rum is a brand name of rum produced by Pusser's Rum Ltd. Nine years after the Royal Navy discontinued the daily rum ration in 1970, the company was founded to produce the rum from th ...

purser
. In order to survey an important but under-explored passage, Bligh's sailing orders stated that he was to enter the Pacific via
Cape Horn Cape Horn ( es, Cabo de Hornos, ) is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego #REDIRECT Tierra del Fuego#REDIRECT Tierra del Fuego Tierra del Fuego (, ; Spanish for "Land of Fire", formerly also Fireland in English) is an archipelag ...
around South America and then, after collecting the breadfruit plants, sail westward through the
Endeavour Strait The Endeavour Strait is a strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. Most commonly it is a channel of water that lies between two land masses. Some straits are not na ...
. He was then to cross the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans to the West Indies islands in the Caribbean. ''Bounty'' would thus complete a
circumnavigation Circumnavigation is the complete navigation Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another.Bowditch, 2003:799. The field of navigation inc ...
of the Earth in the Southern Hemisphere.


Crew

''Bounty''s complement was 46 men, comprising 44 Royal Navy seamen (including Bligh) and two civilian botanists. Directly beneath Bligh were his
warrant officer Warrant officer (WO) is a rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two ...

warrant officer
s, appointed by the
Navy Board The Navy Board (formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes) was the commission Commission or commissioning may refer to: Business and contracting * Commission (remuneration), a form of payment to an agent for ser ...
and headed by the sailing master
John Fryer John Fryer may refer to: *John Fryer (physician) (died 1563), English physician, humanist and early reformer *John Fryer (physician, died 1672), English physician *John Fryer (travel writer) (1650–1733), British travel-writer and doctor *Sir John ...
. The other warrant officers were the
boatswain A boatswain ( , ), bo's'n, bos'n, or bosun, also known as a Petty Officer, deck boss, or a qualified member of the deck department, is the seniormost rate of the deck department The deck department is an organisational team on board and sh ...
, the
surgeon In modern medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive kno ...
, the carpenter and the gunner. To the two
master's mate Master's mate is an obsolete rating which was used by the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically ...
s and two
midshipmen A midshipman is an officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first m ...
were added several honorary midshipmen—so-called " young gentlemen" who were aspirant naval officers. These signed the ship's roster as able seamen, but were quartered with the midshipmen and treated on equal terms with them. Most of ''Bounty''s crew were chosen by Bligh or were recommended to him by influential patrons. William Peckover the gunner and Joseph Coleman the armourer had been with Cook and Bligh on HMS ''Resolution''; several others had sailed under Bligh more recently on ''Britannia''. Among these was the 23-year-old
Fletcher Christian Fletcher Christian (25 September 1764 – 20 September 1793) was master's mate on board HMS Bounty, HMS ''Bounty'' durin ...
, who came from a wealthy
Cumberland Cumberland ( ) is a historic counties of England, historic county of North West England that had an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. It is bordered by the historic counties of Northumberland to the northeast, County Dur ...

Cumberland
family descended from
Manx Manx (; formerly sometimes spelled Manks) is an adjective (and derived noun) describing things or people related to the Isle of Man: * Manx people **Manx surnames * Isle of Man It may also refer to: Languages * Manx language, also known as Manx ...
gentry Gentry (from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Lat ...
. Christian had chosen a life at sea rather than the legal career envisaged by his family. He had twice voyaged with Bligh to the West Indies, and the two had formed a master-pupil relationship through which Christian had become a skilled navigator. Christian was willing to serve on ''Bounty'' without pay as one of the "young gentlemen"; Bligh gave him one of the salaried master's mate's berths. Another of the young gentlemen recommended to Bligh was 15-year-old
Peter Heywood Peter Heywood (6 June 1772 – 10 February 1831) was a British naval officer who was on board during mutiny on the Bounty, the mutiny of 28 April 1789. He was later captured in Tahiti, tried and condemned to death as a mutineer, but subsequ ...
, also from a Manx family and a distant relation of Christian's. Heywood had left school at age 14 to spend a year on , a harbour-bound training vessel at Plymouth. His recommendation to Bligh came from Richard Betham, a Heywood family friend who was Bligh's father-in-law. The two botanists, or "gardeners", were chosen by Banks. The chief botanist, David Nelson, was a veteran of Cook's third expedition who had been to Tahiti and had learned some of the natives' language. Nelson's assistant William Brown was a former midshipman who had seen naval action against the French. Banks also helped to secure the official midshipmen's berths for two of his protégés, Thomas Hayward and John Hallett. Overall, ''Bounty''s crew was relatively youthful, the majority being under 30; at the time of departure, Bligh was 33 years old. Among the older crewmembers were the 39-year-old Peckover, who had sailed on all three of Cook's voyages, and Lawrence Lebogue, a year older and formerly sailmaker on ''Britannia''. The youngest aboard were Hallett and Heywood, both 15 when they left England. Living space on the ship was allocated on the basis of rank. Bligh, having yielded the great cabin, occupied private sleeping quarters with an adjacent dining area or pantry on the
starboard Port and starboard are nautical Seamanship is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, oppos ...
side of the ship, and Fryer a small cabin on the opposite side. The surgeon Thomas Huggan, the other warrant officers, and Nelson the botanist had tiny cabins on the lower deck, while the master's mates and the midshipmen, together with the young gentlemen, berthed together in an area behind the captain's dining room known as the
cockpit A cockpit or flight deck is the area, usually near the front of an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle or machine that is able to fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belo ...
; as junior or prospective officers, they were allowed use of the
quarterdeck The quarterdeck is a raised deck behind the main mast of a sailing ship. Traditionally it was where the captain commanded his vessel and where the ship's colours were kept. This led to its use as the main ceremonial and reception area on b ...
. The other ranks had their quarters in the
forecastle The forecastle ( ; contracted as fo'c'sle or fo'c's'le) is the upper deck of a sailing ship A sailing ship is a sea-going vessel that uses sails mounted on Mast (sailing), masts to harness the power of wind and propel the vessel. There is a ...

forecastle
, a windowless unventilated area measuring with headroom of .


Expedition


To Cape Horn

On 15 October 1787, ''Bounty'' left
Deptford Deptford is an area on the south bank of the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known a ...

Deptford
for
Spithead Spithead is an area of the Solent The Solent ( ) is a strait between the Isle of Wight and Great Britain. It is about long and varies in width between , although the Hurst Spit which projects into the Solent narrows the sea crossing b ...
, in the
English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" (Cotentinais Cotentinais is the dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two ...

English Channel
, to await final sailing orders. Adverse weather delayed arrival at Spithead until 4 November. Bligh was anxious to depart quickly and reach Cape Horn before the end of the short southern summer, but the Admiralty did not accord him high priority and delayed issuing the orders for a further three weeks. When ''Bounty'' finally sailed on 28 November, the ship was trapped by contrary winds and unable to clear Spithead until 23 December. With the prospect of a passage around Cape Horn now in serious doubt, Bligh received permission from the Admiralty to take, if necessary, an alternative route to Tahiti via the
Cape of Good Hope A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a Hood (headgear), hood in the Chaperon (headgear), ...

Cape of Good Hope
. As the ship settled into its sea-going routine, Bligh introduced Cook's strict discipline regarding sanitation and diet. According to the expedition's historian Sam McKinney, Bligh enforced these rules "with a fanatical zeal, continually fuss
ng
ng
and fum
ng
ng
over the cleanliness of his ship and the food served to the crew." He replaced the navy's traditional
watch system Watchkeeping or watchstanding is the assignment of sailor A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from l ...
of alternating four-hour spells on and off duty with a three-watch system, whereby each four-hour duty was followed by eight hours' rest. For the crew's exercise and entertainment, he introduced regular music and dancing sessions. Bligh's despatches to Campbell and Banks indicated his satisfaction; he had no occasion to administer punishment because, he wrote: "Both men and officers tractable and well disposed, & cheerfulness & content in the countenance of every one". The only adverse feature of the voyage to date, according to Bligh, was the conduct of the surgeon Huggan, who was revealed as an indolent, unhygienic drunkard. From the start of the voyage, Bligh had established warm relations with Christian, according him a status which implied that he was Bligh's second-in-command rather than Fryer. On 2 March, Bligh formalised the position by assigning Christian to the rank of Acting Lieutenant. Fryer showed little outward sign of resentment at his junior's advancement, but his relations with Bligh significantly worsened from this point. A week after the promotion, and on Fryer's insistence, Bligh ordered the
flogging Flagellation (Latin ''flagellum'', "whip"), flogging or whipping is the act of beating the human body with special implements such as whips, Birching, rods, Switch (rod), switches, the cat o' nine tails, the sjambok, the knout, etc. Typical ...

flogging
of seaman
Matthew Quintal The complement of , the Royal Navy ship on which Mutiny on the Bounty, a historic mutiny occurred in the south Pacific on 28 April 1789, comprised 46 men on its departure from England in December 1787 and 44 at the time of the mutiny, including ...
, who received twelve lashes for "insolence and mutinous behaviour", thereby destroying Bligh's expressed hope of a voyage free from such punishment. On 2 April, as ''Bounty'' approached Cape Horn, a strong gale and high seas began an unbroken period of stormy weather which, Bligh wrote, "exceeded what I had ever met with before ... with severe squalls of
hail Hail is a form of solid precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until ...

hail
and sleet". The winds drove the ship back; on 3 April, it was further north than it had been a week earlier. Again and again, Bligh forced the ship forward, to be repeatedly repelled. On 17 April, he informed his exhausted crew that the sea had beaten them, and that they would turn and head for the Cape of Good Hope—"to the great joy of every person on Board", Bligh recorded.


Cape to Pacific

On 24 May 1788, ''Bounty'' anchored in
False Bay False or falsehood may refer to: *False (logic) In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing var ...

False Bay
, east of the Cape of Good Hope, where five weeks were spent in repairs and reprovisioning. Bligh's letters home emphasised how fit and well he and his crew were, by comparison with other vessels, and expressed hope that he would receive credit for this. At one stage during the sojourn, Bligh lent Christian money, a gesture that the historian Greg Dening suggests might have sullied their relationship by becoming a source of anxiety and even resentment to the younger man. In her account of the voyage,
Caroline Alexander Caroline Alexander (born 3 March 1968) is a cross-country mountain biker and road cyclist born in Barrow-in-Furness Barrow-in-Furness is a town in Cumbria, North-West England. Historic counties of England, Historically part of Lancashire, i ...
describes the loan as "a significant act of friendship", but one which Bligh ensured Christian did not forget. After leaving False Bay on 1 July, ''Bounty'' set out across the southern Indian Ocean on the long voyage to their next port of call, Adventure Bay in
Tasmania Tasmania (), abbreviated as TAS, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atol ...
. They passed the remote
Île Saint-Paul Île Saint-Paul (Saint Paul Island) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can ...

Île Saint-Paul
, a small uninhabited island which Bligh knew from earlier navigators contained fresh water and a hot spring, but he did not attempt a landing. The weather was cold and wintry, conditions akin to the vicinity of Cape Horn, and it was difficult to take navigational observations, but Bligh's skill was such that on 19 August he sighted Mewstone Rock, on the south-west corner of Tasmania and, two days later, made anchorage in Adventure Bay. The ''Bounty'' party spent their time at Adventure Bay in recuperation, fishing, replenishment of water casks, and felling timber. There were peaceful encounters with the native population. The first sign of overt discord between Bligh and his officers occurred when the captain exchanged angry words with William Purcell the carpenter over the latter's methods for cutting wood. Bligh ordered Purcell back to the ship and, when the carpenter stood his ground, Bligh withheld his rations, which "immediately brought him to his senses", according to Bligh. Further clashes occurred on the final leg of the journey to Tahiti. On 9 October, Fryer refused to sign the ship's account books unless Bligh provided him with a certificate attesting to his complete competence throughout the voyage. Bligh would not be coerced. He summoned the crew and read the
Articles of War The Articles of War are a set of regulations drawn up to govern the conduct of a country's military and naval forces. The phrase was first used in 1637 in Robert Monro Robert Monro (died 1680), was a famous Scottish Scottish usually refers to s ...

Articles of War
, at which Fryer backed down. There was also trouble with the surgeon Huggan, whose careless blood-letting of able seaman James Valentine while treating him for
asthma Asthma is a long-term Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) was a hedge fund''A financial History of the United States Volume II: 1970–2001'', Jerry W. Markham, Chapter 5: "Bank Consolidation", M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 2002 based in Greenwich, ...

asthma
led to the seaman's death from a
blood infection Bloodstream infections (BSIs), which include bacteremias when the infections are bacterial and fungemias when the infections are fungal, are infections present in the blood Blood is a body fluid in humans and other animals that delivers n ...
. To cover his error, Huggan reported to Bligh that Valentine had died from
scurvy Scurvy is a disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of ...
, which led Bligh to apply his own medicinal and dietary
antiscorbutic Scurvy is a disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of ...
remedies to the entire ship's company. By now, Huggan was almost incapacitated with drink, until Bligh confiscated his supply. Huggan briefly returned to duty; before ''Bounty''s arrival in Tahiti, he examined all on board for signs of
venereal disease Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the older term venereal disease, are infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, ...
and found none. ''Bounty'' came to anchor in
Matavai BayMatavai Bay is a bay on the north coast of Tahiti, the largest island in the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward group of French Polynesia. It is in the commune of Mahina, French Polynesia, Mahina, approximately 8 km east of the capita ...
, Tahiti, on 26 October 1788, concluding a journey of .


Tahiti

Bligh's first action on arrival was to secure the co-operation of the local chieftains, as well as the King of Tahiti
Pōmare I Pōmare I (c. 1753 – September 3, 1803) (fully in old orthography: Tu-nui-ea-i-te-atua-i-Tarahoi Vaira'atoa Taina Pōmare I; also known as Tu or Tinah or Outu, or more formally as Tu-nui-e-a'a-i-te-atua) was the unifier and first king of Tahit ...
. The paramount chief Tynah remembered Bligh from Cook's voyage fifteen years previously, and greeted him warmly. Bligh presented the chiefs with gifts and informed them that their own "
King George
King George
" wished in return only breadfruit plants. They happily agreed with this simple request. Bligh assigned Christian to lead a shore party charged with establishing a compound in which the plants would be nurtured. Whether based ashore or on board, the men's duties during ''Bounty''s five-month stay in Tahiti were relatively light. Many led
promiscuous Promiscuity is the practice of engaging in sexual activity frequently with different Sexual partner, partners or being indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners. The term can carry a moral judgment if the social ideal for sexual activity is m ...
lives among the native women—altogether, eighteen officers and men, including Christian, received treatment for venereal infections—while others took regular partners. Christian formed a close relationship with a Polynesian woman named Mauatua, to whom he gave the name "Isabella" after a former sweetheart from Cumberland. Bligh remained chaste himself, but was tolerant of his men's activities, unsurprised that they should succumb to temptation when "the allurements of dissipation are beyond any thing that can be conceived". Nevertheless, he expected them to do their duty efficiently, and was disappointed to find increasing instances of neglect and slackness on the part of his officers. Infuriated, he wrote: "Such neglectful and worthless petty officers I believe were never in a ship such as are in this". Huggan died on 10 December. Bligh attributed this to "the effects of intemperance and indolence ... he never would be prevailed on to take half a dozen turns upon deck at a time, through the whole course of the voyage". For all his earlier favoured status, Christian did not escape Bligh's wrath. He was often humiliated by the captain—sometimes in front of the crew and the Tahitians—for real or imagined slackness, while severe punishments were handed out to men whose carelessness had led to the loss or theft of equipment. Floggings, rarely administered during the outward voyage, now became increasingly common. On 5 January 1789 three members of the crew— Charles Churchill, William Muspratt and John Millward—desertion, deserted, taking a small boat, arms and ammunition. Muspratt had recently been flogged for neglect. Among the belongings Churchill left on the ship was a list of names that Bligh interpreted as possible accomplices in a desertion plot—the captain later asserted that the names included those of Christian and Heywood. Bligh was persuaded that his protégé was not planning to desert, and the matter was dropped. Churchill, Millward and Muspratt were found after three weeks and, on their return to the ship, were flogged. From February onwards, the pace of work increased; more than 1,000 breadfruit plants were potted and carried into the ship, where they filled the great cabin. The ship was overhauled for the long homeward voyage, in many cases by men who regretted the forthcoming departure and loss of their easy life with the Tahitians. Bligh was impatient to be away, but as Richard Hough observes in his account, he "failed to anticipate how his company would react to the severity and austerity of life at sea ... after five dissolute, hedonism, hedonistic months at Tahiti". The work was done by 1 April 1789, and four days later, after an affectionate farewell from Tynah and his queen, ''Bounty'' left the harbour.


Towards home

In their ''Bounty'' histories, both Hough and Alexander maintain that the men were not at a stage close to mutiny, however sorry they were to leave Tahiti. The journal of James Morrison (mutineer), James Morrison, the boatswain's mate, supports this. The events that followed, Hough suggests, were determined in the three weeks following the departure, when Bligh's anger and intolerance reached paranoid proportions. Christian was a particular target, always seeming to bear the brunt of the captain's rages. Unaware of the effects of his behaviour on his officers and crew, Bligh would forget these displays instantly and attempt to resume normal conversation. On 22 April 1789, ''Bounty'' arrived at Nomuka, in the Tonga, Friendly Islands (now called Tonga), intending to pick up wood, water, and further supplies on the final scheduled stop before the Endeavour Strait. Bligh had visited the island with Cook, and knew that the inhabitants could behave unpredictably. He put Christian in charge of the watering party and equipped him with
musket A musket is a muzzle-loaded A muzzleloader is any firearm into which the bullet, projectile and usually the propellant charge is loaded from the Muzzle (firearms), muzzle of the gun (i.e., from the forward, open end of the gun's barrel). Th ...
s, but at the same time ordered that the arms should be left in the boat instead of carried ashore. Christian's party was harassed and threatened continually but were unable to retaliate, having been denied the use of arms. He returned to the ship with his task incomplete, and was cursed by Bligh as "a damned cowardly rascal". Further disorder ashore resulted in the thefts of a small anchor and an adze, for which Bligh further berated Christian and Fryer. In an attempt to recover the missing property, Bligh briefly detained the island's chieftains on the ship, but to no avail. When he finally gave the order to sail, neither the anchor nor the adze had been restored. By 27 April, Christian was in a state of despair, depressed and brooding. His mood was worsened when Bligh accused him of stealing coconuts from the captain's private supply. Bligh punished the whole crew for this theft, stopping their rum ration and reducing their food by half. Feeling that his position was now intolerable, Christian considered constructing a raft with which he could escape to an island and take his chances with the natives. He may have acquired wood for this purpose from Purcell. In any event, his discontent became common knowledge among his fellow officers. Two of the young gentlemen, George Stewart and Ned Young, Edward Young, urged him not to desert; Young assured him that he would have the support of almost all on board if he were to seize the ship and depose Bligh. Stewart told him the crew were "ripe for anything".


Mutiny


Seizure

In the early hours of 28 April 1789, ''Bounty'' lay about south of the island of Tofua. After a largely sleepless night, Christian had decided to act. He understood from his discussions with Young and Stewart which crewmen were his most likely supporters and, after approaching Quintal and Isaac Martin, he learned the names of several more. With the help of these men, Christian rapidly gained control of the upper deck; those who questioned his actions were ordered to keep quiet. At about 05:15, Christian went below, dismissed Hallett (who was sleeping on the chest containing the ship's muskets) and distributed arms to his followers before making for Bligh's cabin. Three men took hold of the captain and tied his hands, threatening to kill him if he raised the alarm; Bligh "called as loudly as [he] could in hopes of assistance".Bligh's account of events on 28 April 1789, from ''Log of the Proceedings of His Majestys Ship Bounty Lieut. Wm Bligh Commander from Otaheite towards Jamaica'' The commotion woke Fryer, who saw, from his cabin opposite, the mutineers frogmarching Bligh away. The mutineers ordered Fryer to "lay down again, and hold my tongue or I was a dead man". Bligh was brought to the quarterdeck, his hands bound by a cord held by Christian, who was brandishing a bayonet; some reports maintained that Christian had a Depth sounding#Lead and Line, sounding plummet hanging from his neck so that he could jump overboard and drown himself if the mutiny failed. Others who had been awakened by the noise left their berths and joined in the general pandemonium. It was unclear at this stage who were and who were not active mutineers. Hough describes the scene: "Everyone was, more or less, making a noise, either cursing, jeering or just shouting for the reassurance it gave them to do so". Bligh shouted continually, demanding to be set free, sometimes addressing individuals by name, and otherwise exhorting the company generally to "knock Christian down!" Fryer was briefly permitted on deck to speak to Christian, but was then forced below at bayonet-point; according to Fryer, Christian told him: "I have been in hell for weeks past. Captain Bligh has brought this on himself." Christian originally thought to cast Bligh adrift in ''Bounty''s small jolly boat, together with his clerk John Samuel and the loyalist midshipmen Hayward and Hallett. This boat proved unseaworthy, so Christian ordered the launching of a larger ship's boat, with a capacity of around ten. However, Christian and his allies had overestimated the extent of the mutiny—at least half on board were determined to leave with Bligh. Thus the ship's largest boat, a launch (boat), launch, was put into the water. During the following hours the loyalists collected their possessions and entered the boat. Among these was Fryer, who with Bligh's approval sought to stay on board—in the hope, he later claimed, that he would be able to retake the ship—but Christian ordered him into the launch. Soon, the vessel was badly overloaded, with more than twenty persons and others still vying for places. Christian ordered the two carpenter's mates, Norman and McIntosh, and the armourer, Joseph Coleman, to return to the ship, considering their presence essential if he were to navigate ''Bounty'' with a reduced crew. Reluctantly they obeyed, beseeching Bligh to remember that they had remained with the ship against their will. Bligh assured them: "Never fear, lads, I'll do you justice if ever I reach England". Samuel saved the captain's journal, commission papers and purser's documents, a compass and Backstaff#Davis quadrant, quadrant, but was forced to leave behind Bligh's maps and charts—fifteen years of navigational work. With the eighteen men who had remained loyal to Bligh, the launch was supplied with about five days' food and water and Purcell's tool chest. Bligh mentions in his journals that a sextant and any time-keeper was refused by the mutineers, but boatswain's mate James Morrison (mutineer), James Morrison stated Christian handed over his personal sextant saying, "There, Captain Bligh, this is sufficient for every purpose and you know the sextant to be a good one." The ship's Larcum Kendall#K2, K2 chronometer was left on ''Bounty'', but Peckover had his own pocket watch that Bligh used to keep time. At the last minute the mutineers threw four cutlasses down into the boat. Of ''Bountys complement—44 after the deaths of Huggan and Valentine—19 men were crowded into the launch, leaving it dangerously low in the water with only seven inches of Freeboard (nautical), freeboard. The 25 men remaining on ''Bounty'' included the committed mutineers who had taken up arms, the loyalists detained against their will, and others for whom there was no room in the launch. At around 10:00 the line holding the launch to the ship was cut; a little later, Bligh ordered a sail to be raised. Their immediate destination was the nearby island of Tofua, clearly marked on the horizon by the plume of smoke rising from its volcano.


Bligh's open-boat voyage

Bligh hoped to find water and food on Tofua, then proceed to the nearby island of Tongatapu to seek help from King Poulaho (whom he knew from his visit with Cook) in provisioning the boat for a voyage to the Dutch East Indies. Ashore at Tofua, there were encounters with natives who were initially friendly but grew more menacing as time passed. On 2 May, four days after landing, Bligh realised that an attack was imminent. He directed his men back to the sea, shortly before the Tofuans seized the launch's stern rope and attempted to drag it ashore. Bligh coolly shepherded the last of his shore party and their supplies into the boat. In an attempt to free the rope from its captors, the quartermaster John Norton leapt into the water; he was immediately set upon and stoned to death. The launch escaped to the open sea, where the shaken crew reconsidered their options. A visit to Tongatapu, or any island landfall, might incur similarly violent consequences; their best chance of salvation, Bligh reckoned, lay in sailing directly to the Dutch settlement of Kupang in Timor, using the rations presently on board. This was a journey of some to the west, beyond the Endeavour Strait, and it would necessitate daily rations of an ounce of bread and a quarter-pint of water for each man. The plan was unanimously agreed. From the outset, the weather was wet and stormy, with mountainous seas that constantly threatened to overwhelm the boat. When the sun appeared, Bligh noted in his daily journal that it "gave us as much pleasure as a winter's day in England". Bligh endeavoured to continue his journal throughout the voyage, observing, sketching, and charting as they made their way west. To keep up morale, he told stories of his prior experiences at sea, got the men singing, and occasionally said prayers. The launch made the first passage by Europeans through the Fiji, Fiji Islands, but they dared not stop because of the islanders' reputation for cannibalism. On 17 May, Bligh recorded that "our situation was miserable; always wet, and suffering extreme cold ... without the least shelter from the weather". A week later with the skies clearing, birds began to appear, signalling a proximity to land. On 28 May, the
Great Barrier Reef The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology), polyps held tog ...

Great Barrier Reef
was sighted; Bligh found a navigable gap and sailed the launch into a calm lagoon. Late that afternoon, he ran the boat ashore on a small island which he named Ma’alpiku Island National Park#History, Restoration Island, where the men found oysters and berries in plentiful supply and were able to eat ravenously. Over the next four days, the party island-hopped northward within the lagoon, aware that their movements were being closely monitored by natives on the mainland. Strains were showing within the party; following a heated disagreement with Purcell, Bligh grabbed a cutlass and challenged the carpenter to fight. Fryer told Cole to arrest their captain, but backed down after Bligh threatened to kill him if he interfered. On 2 June, the launch cleared Cape York Peninsula, Cape York, the extreme northern point of the Australian continent. Bligh turned south-west, and steered through a maze of shoals, reefs, sandbanks, and small islands. The route taken was not the Endeavour Strait, but a narrower southerly passage later known as the Prince of Wales Channel. At 20:00 that evening, they reached the open Arafura Sea, still from Kupang. The following eight days encompassed some of the toughest travel of the entire journey and, by 11 June, many were close to collapse. The next day, the coast of Timor was sighted: "It is not possible for me to describe the pleasure which the blessing of the sight of this land diffused among us", Bligh wrote. On 14 June, with a makeshift Flag of the United Kingdom, Union Jack hoisted, they sailed into Kupang harbour. In Kupang, Bligh reported the mutiny to the authorities, and wrote to his wife: "Know then, my own Dear Betsey, I have lost the ''Bounty'' ..." Nelson the botanist quickly succumbed to the harsh Kupang climate and died. On 20 August, the party departed for Jakarta, Batavia (now Jakarta) to await a ship for Europe; the cook Thomas Hall died there, having been ill for weeks. Bligh obtained passages home for himself, his clerk Samuel, and his servant John Smith, and sailed on 16 October 1789. Four of the remainder—the master's mate Elphinstone, the quartermaster Peter Linkletter, the butcher Robert Lamb and the assistant surgeon Thomas Ledward—all died either in Batavia or on their journeys home.


''Bounty'' under Christian

After the departure of Bligh's launch, Christian divided the personal effects of the departed loyalists among the remaining crew and threw the breadfruit plants into the sea. He recognised that Bligh could conceivably survive to report the mutiny, and that anyway the non-return of ''Bounty'' would occasion a search mission, with Tahiti as its first port of call. Christian therefore headed ''Bounty'' towards the small island of Tubuai, some south of Tahiti. Tubuai had been discovered and roughly charted by Cook; except for a single small channel, it was entirely surrounded by a coral reef and could, Christian surmised, be easily defended against any attack from the sea. ''Bounty'' arrived at Tubuai on 28 May 1789. The reception from the native population was hostile; when a flotilla of war canoes headed for the ship, Christian used a four-pounder gun to repel the attackers. At least a dozen warriors were killed, and the rest scattered. Undeterred, Christian and an armed party surveyed the island and decided it would be suitable for their purposes. However, to create a permanent settlement, they needed compliant native labour and women. The most likely source for these was Tahiti, to which ''Bounty'' returned on 6 June. To ensure the co-operation of the Tahiti chiefs, Christian concocted a story that he, Bligh, and Captain Cook were founding a new settlement at Aitutaki. Cook's name ensured generous gifts of livestock and other goods and, on 16 June, the well-provisioned ''Bounty'' sailed back to Tubuai. On board were nearly thirty Tahitian men and women, some of whom were there by deception. For the next two months, Christian and his forces struggled to establish themselves on Tubuai. They began to construct a large moated enclosure—called "Fort George", after the British king—to provide a secure fortress against attack by land or sea. Christian attempted to form friendly relations with the local chiefs, but his party was unwelcome. There were persistent clashes with the native population, mainly over property and women, culminating in a pitched battle in which 66 islanders were killed and many wounded. Discontent was rising among the ''Bounty'' party, and Christian sensed that his authority was slipping. He called a meeting to discuss future plans and offered a free vote. Eight remained loyal to Christian, the hard core of the active mutineers, but sixteen wished to return to Tahiti and take their chances there. Christian accepted this decision; after depositing the majority at Tahiti, he would "run before the wind, and ... land upon the first island the ship drives. After what I have done I cannot remain at Tahiti". In order to flee ''Bounty'' cut the ropes to two anchors in the bay; one was recovered by , while the other was rediscovered in 1957.


Mutineers divided

When ''Bounty'' returned to Tahiti, on 22 September, the welcome was much less effusive than previously. The Tahitians had learned from the crew of a visiting British ship that the story of Cook and Bligh founding a settlement in Aitutaki was a fabrication, and that Cook had been long dead. Christian worried that their reaction might turn violent and did not stay long. Of the sixteen men who had voted to settle in Tahiti, he allowed fifteen ashore; Joseph Coleman was detained on the ship, as Christian required his skills as an armourer. That evening, Christian inveigled aboard ''Bounty'' a party of Tahitians, mainly women, for a social gathering. With the festivities under way, he cut the anchor rope and ''Bounty'' sailed away with its captive guests. Coleman escaped by diving overboard and reached land. Among the abducted group were six elderly women, for whom Christian had no use; he put them ashore on the nearby island of Mo'orea. ''Bounty''s complement now comprised nine mutineers—Christian, Young, Quintal, Brown, Martin, John Williams, John Mills, William McCoy (mutineer), William McCoy and
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of ...

John Adams
(known by the crew as "Alexander Smith")—and twenty Polynesians, of whom fourteen were women. The sixteen sailors on Tahiti began to organise their lives. One group, led by Morrison and Tom McIntosh, began building a schooner, which they named ''Resolution'' after Cook's ship. Morrison had not been an active mutineer; rather than waiting for recapture, he hoped to sail the vessel to the Dutch East Indies and surrender to the authorities there, hoping that such action would confirm his innocence. Morrison's group maintained ship's routine and discipline, even to the extent of holding divine service each Sunday. Churchill and Matthew Thompson, on the other hand, chose to lead drunken and generally dissolute lives, which ended in the violent deaths of both. Churchill was murdered by Thompson, who was in turn killed by Churchill's native friends. Others, such as Stewart and Heywood, settled into quiet domesticity; Heywood spent much of his time studying the Tahitian language. He adopted native dress and, in accordance with the local custom, was heavily tattooed on his body.


Retribution


HMS ''Pandora'' mission

When Bligh landed in England on 14 March 1790, news of the mutiny had preceded him and he was fêted as a hero. In October 1790 at a formal
court-martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective A postpositive adjective or postnominal adjective is an adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scien ...
for the loss of ''Bounty'', he was honourably
acquitted In common law jurisdictions, an acquittal certifies that the accused is free from the charge of an offense, as far as the criminal law is concerned. The finality of an acquittal is dependent on the jurisdiction. In some countries, such as the ...
of responsibility for the loss and was promoted to post-captain. As an adjunct to the court-martial, Bligh brought charges against Purcell for misconduct and insubordination; the former carpenter received a reprimand. In November 1790, the Admiralty despatched the frigate HMS ''Pandora'' under Captain Edward Edwards (Royal Navy officer), Edward Edwards to capture the mutineers and return them to England to stand trial. ''Pandora'' arrived at Tahiti on 23 March 1791 and, within a few days, all fourteen surviving ''Bounty'' men had either surrendered or been captured. Edwards made no distinction between mutineers and those who claimed they had been detained on ''Bounty'' unwillingly; all were incarcerated in a specially constructed prison erected on ''Pandora''s quarterdeck, dubbed "Pandora's Box". ''Pandora'' remained at Tahiti for five weeks while Edwards unsuccessfully sought information on ''Bounty''s whereabouts. The ship finally sailed on 8 May to search for Christian and ''Bounty'' among the thousands of southern Pacific islands. Apart from a few spars discovered at Palmerston Island, no traces of the fugitive vessel were found. Edwards continued the search until August, when he turned west and headed for the Dutch East Indies. Ironically, one of the islands ''Pandora'' sailed to, but did not land at, was Pitcairn Island; had he either done so or had checked his charts, he could very well have fulfilled his mission by capturing the last nine ''Bounty'' mutineers. Edwards' search for the remaining mutineers ultimately proved fruitless. When passing Vanikoro on 13 August 1791, Edwards observed smoke signals rising from the island. Edwards, single-minded in his search for ''Bounty'' and convinced that mutineers fearful of discovery would not be advertising their whereabouts, ignored the smoke signals and sailed on. Wahlroos argues that the smoke signals were almost certainly a distress message sent by survivors of the Lapérouse expedition, which later evidence indicated were still alive on Vanikoro at that time—three years after their ships ''Boussole'' and ''Astrolabe'' had foundered. Wahlroos is "virtually certain" that Edwards, whom he characterizes as one of England's most "ruthless", "inhuman", "callous", and "incompetent" naval captains, missed his chance to become "one of the heroes of maritime history" by solving the mystery of the lost expedition.Wahlroos, Sven, "Mutiny and Romance in the South Seas", Salem House Publishers, c/o Harper & Row, New York, NY, 1989 On 29 August 1791, ''Pandora'' ran aground on the outer Great Barrier Reef. The men in "Pandora's Box" were ignored as the regular crew attempted to prevent the ship from foundering. When Edwards gave the order to abandon ship, ''Pandora''s armourer began to remove the prisoners' shackles, but the ship sank before he had finished. Heywood and nine other prisoners escaped; four ''Bounty'' men—George Stewart, Henry Hillbrant, Richard Skinner and John Sumner—drowned, along with 31 of ''Pandora'' crew. The survivors, including the ten remaining prisoners, then embarked on an open-boat journey that largely followed Bligh's course of two years earlier. The prisoners were mostly kept bound hand and foot until they reached Kupang on 17 September. The prisoners were confined for seven weeks, at first in prison and later on a Dutch East India Company ship, before being transported to Cape Town. On 5 April 1792, they embarked for England on a British warship, , and arrived at Portsmouth on 19 June. There they were transferred to the guardship to await trial. The prisoners included the three detained loyalists—Coleman, McIntosh and Norman—to whom Bligh had promised justice; the blind fiddler Michael Byrne (or "Byrn"); Heywood; Morrison; and four active mutineers: Thomas Burkett, John Millward, Thomas Ellison and William Muspratt. Bligh, who had been given command of HMS Providence (1791), HMS ''Providence'' for a second breadfruit expedition, had left England in August 1791 and thus would be absent from the pending court-martial proceedings.


Court martial, verdict, and sentences

The court-martial opened on 12 September 1792 on in Portsmouth harbour, with Vice-Admiral Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood, Lord Hood, Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, presiding. Heywood's family secured him competent legal advisers; of the other defendants, only Muspratt employed legal counsel. The survivors of Bligh's open-boat journey gave evidence against their former comrades—the testimonies from Thomas Hayward and John Hallett were particularly damaging to Heywood and Morrison, who each maintained their innocence of any mutinous intention and had surrendered voluntarily to ''Pandora''. The court did not challenge the statements of Coleman, McIntosh, Norman and Byrne, all of whom were acquitted. On 18 September the six remaining defendants were found guilty of mutiny and were sentenced to death by hanging, with recommendations of mercy for Heywood and Morrison "in consideration of various circumstances". On 26 October 1792 Heywood and Morrison received Royal prerogative of mercy, royal pardons from King George III and were released. Muspratt, through his lawyer, won a stay of execution by filing a petition protesting that court-martial rules had prevented his calling Norman and Byrne as witnesses in his defense (law), defence. He was still awaiting the outcome when Burkett, Ellison and Millward were hanged from the yardarm of in Portsmouth dock on 28 October. Some accounts claim that the condemned trio continued to protest their innocence until the last moment, while others speak of their "manly firmness that ... was the admiration of all". There was some unease expressed in the press—a suspicion that "money had bought the lives of some, and others fell sacrifice to their poverty." A report that Heywood was heir to a large fortune was unfounded; nevertheless, Dening asserts that "in the end it was class or relations or patronage that made the difference." In December Muspratt heard that he was reprieved, and on 11 February 1793 he, too, was
pardon A pardon is a government decision to allow a person to be relieved of some or all of the legal consequences resulting from a criminal conviction. A pardon may be granted before or after conviction for the crime, depending on the laws of the j ...

pardon
ed and freed.


Aftermath

Much of the court-martial testimony was critical of Bligh's conduct—by the time of his return to England in August 1793, following his successful conveyance of breadfruit to the West Indies aboard ''Providence'', professional and public opinion had turned against him. He was snubbed at the Admiralty when he went to present his report, and was left on half pay for nineteen months before receiving his next appointment. In late 1794 the jurist Edward Christian, brother of Fletcher, published his ''Appendix'' to the court-martial proceedings, which was said by the press to "palliate the behaviour of Christian and the Mutineers, and to criminate Captain Bligh". Bligh's position was further undermined when the loyalist gunner Peckover confirmed that much of what was alleged in the ''Appendix'' was true. Bligh commanded HMS Director (1784), HMS ''Director'' at the Battle of Camperdown in October 1797 and HMS Glatton (1795), HMS ''Glatton'' in the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), Battle of Copenhagen in April 1801. In 1805 while commanding HMS Warrior (1781), HMS ''Warrior'', he was court-martialled for using bad language to his officers and reprimanded. In 1806, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales in Australia; after two years a group of army officers arrested and deposed him in the Rum Rebellion. After his return to England, Bligh was promoted to rear-admiral in 1811 and vice-admiral in 1814, but was not offered further naval appointments. He died, aged 63, in December 1817. Of the pardoned mutineers, Heywood and Morrison returned to naval duty. Heywood acquired the patronage of Hood and, by 1803 at the age of 31, had achieved the rank of captain. After a distinguished career, he died in 1831. Morrison became a master gunner, and was eventually lost in 1807 when HMS Blenheim (1761), HMS ''Blenheim'' foundered in the Indian Ocean. Muspratt is believed to have worked as a naval steward before his death, in or before 1798. The other principal participants in the court martial—Fryer, Peckover, Coleman, McIntosh and others—generally vanished from the public eye after the closing of the procedures.


Pitcairn


Settlement

After leaving Tahiti on 22 September 1789, Christian sailed ''Bounty'' west in search of a safe haven. He then formed the idea of settling on Pitcairn Island, far to the east of Tahiti; the island had been reported in 1767, but its exact location was never verified. After months of searching, Christian rediscovered the island on 15 January 1790, east of its recorded position. This longitudinal error contributed to the mutineers' decision to settle on Pitcairn. On arrival the ship was unloaded and stripped of most of its masts and spars, for use on the island. It was set ablaze and destroyed on 23 January, either as an agreed upon precaution against discovery or as an unauthorised act by Quintal—in either case, there was now no means of escape. The island proved an ideal haven for the mutineers—uninhabited and virtually inaccessible, with plenty of food, water, and fertile land. For a while, the mutineers and Tahitians existed peaceably. Christian settled down with Isabella; a son, Thursday October Christian I, Thursday October Christian, was born, as were other children. Christian's authority as leader gradually diminished, and he became prone to long periods of brooding and introspection. Gradually, tensions and rivalries arose over the increasing extent to which the Europeans regarded the Tahitians as their property, in particular the women who, according to Alexander, were "passed around from one 'husband' to the other". In September 1793 matters degenerated into extreme violence, when five of the mutineers—Christian, Williams, Martin, Mills, and Brown—were killed by Tahitians in a carefully executed series of murders. Christian was set upon while working in his fields, first shot and then butchered with an axe; his last words, supposedly, were: "Oh, dear!" In-fighting continued thereafter, and by 1794 the six Tahitian men were all dead, killed either by the widows of the murdered mutineers or by each other. Two of the four surviving mutineers, Young and Adams, assumed leadership and secured a tenuous calm, which was disrupted by the drunkenness of McCoy and Quintal after the former distilled an alcoholic beverage from a local plant. Some of the women attempted to leave the island in a makeshift boat but could not launch it successfully. Life continued uneasily until McCoy's suicide in 1798. A year later, after Quintal threatened fresh murder and mayhem, Adams and Young killed him and were able to restore peace.


Discovery

After Young succumbed to
asthma Asthma is a long-term Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) was a hedge fund''A financial History of the United States Volume II: 1970–2001'', Jerry W. Markham, Chapter 5: "Bank Consolidation", M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 2002 based in Greenwich, ...

asthma
in 1800, Adams took responsibility for the education and well-being of the nine remaining women and nineteen children. Using the Bounty Bible, ship's Bible from ''Bounty'', he taught literacy and Christianity, and kept peace on the island. This was the situation in February 1808, when the American sealer ''Topaz'' came unexpectedly upon Pitcairn, landed, and discovered the by-then thriving community. Adams gave ''Bounty''s Azimuth compass and Marine chronometer to ''Topaz''s captain, Mayhew Folger. News of the discovery did not reach Britain until 1810, when it was overlooked by an Admiralty preoccupied by Napoleonic Wars, war with France. In 1814, two British warships, HMS Briton (1812), HMS ''Briton'' and HMS ''Tagus'', chanced upon Pitcairn. Among those who greeted them were Thursday October Christian and George Young (Edward Young's son). The captains, Thomas Staines, Sir Thomas Staines and Philip Pipon, reported that Christian's son displayed "in his benevolent countenance, all the features of an honest English face". On shore they found a population of 46 mainly young islanders led by Adams, upon whom the islanders' welfare was wholly dependent, according to the captains' report. After receiving Staines's and Pipon's report, the Admiralty decided to take no action. In the following years, many ships called at Pitcairn Island and heard Adams's various stories of the foundation of the Pitcairn settlement. Adams died in 1829, honoured as the founder and father of a community that became celebrated over the next century as an exemplar of Victorian period, Victorian morality. Explorer Luis Marden rediscovered the remains of ''Bounty'' in January 1957. After spotting remains of the rudder (which had been found in 1933 by Parkin Christian, and is still displayed in the Fiji Museum in Suva), he persuaded his editors and writers to let him dive off Pitcairn Island. After several days of dangerous diving, Marden found the remains of the ship: a rudder pin, nails, a ships boat oarlock, fittings and a ''Bounty'' anchor that he raised. Later in life, Marden wore cuff links made of nails from ''Bounty''. He also dived to the wreck of ''Pandora'' and left a ''Bounty'' nail with that vessel. Some of the ''Bounty''s remains, such as the Sailing ballast, ballast stones, are still partially visible in the waters of Bounty Bay. The last of ''Bounty''s four-pounder cannon was recovered in 1998 by an archaeological team from James Cook University and was sent to the Queensland Museum in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, to be stabilised through lengthy conservation treatment via electrolysis over a period of nearly forty months. The gun was subsequently returned to Pitcairn Island, where it has been placed on display in a new community hall. Over the years, many recovered ''Bounty'' artefacts have been sold by islanders as souvenirs; in 1999, the Pitcairn Project was established by a consortium of Australian academic and historical bodies to survey and document all the remaining material, as part of a detailed study of the settlement's development.


Cultural impact


Biographies and history

The perception of Bligh as an overbearing tyrant began with Edward Christian's ''Appendix'' of 1794. Apart from Bligh's journal, the first published account of the mutiny was that of Sir John Barrow, 1st Baronet, Sir John Barrow, published in 1831. Barrow was a friend of the Heywood family; his book mitigated Heywood's role while emphasising Bligh's severity. The book also instigated the legend that Christian had not died on Pitcairn, but had somehow returned to England and been recognised by Heywood in Plymouth, around 1808–1809. An account written in 1870 by Heywood's stepdaughter Diana Belcher further exonerated Heywood and Christian and, according to Bligh biographer Caroline Alexander, "cemented ... many falsehoods that had insinuated their way into the narrative". Among historians' attempts to portray Bligh more sympathetically are those of Richard Hough (1972) and Caroline Alexander (2003). Hough depicts "''an unsurpassed foul-weather commander ... I would go through hell and high water with him, but not for one day in the same ship on a calm sea''". Alexander presents Bligh as over-anxious, solicitous of his crew's well-being, and utterly devoted to his task. However, Bligh's reputation as the archetypal bad commander remains: the ''Baltimore Sun'' reviewer of Alexander's book wrote "poetry routed science and it has held the field ever since".


In film and theatre

In addition to many books and articles about the mutiny, in the 20th century five feature films were produced. The first was The Mutiny of the Bounty, a 1916 silent Australian film, subsequently lost film, lost. The second, also from Australia, titled ''In the Wake of the Bounty'' (1933), was the screen debut of Errol Flynn in the role of Christian. The impact of this film was overshadowed by that of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MGM version, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935 film), ''Mutiny on the Bounty'' (1935), based on the popular Mutiny on the Bounty (novel), namesake novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, and starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable as Bligh and Christian, respectively. The film's story was presented, says Dening, as "the classic conflict between tyranny and a just cause"; Laughton's portrayal became in the public mind the definitive Bligh, "a byword for sadistic tyranny". The two subsequent major films, Mutiny on the Bounty (1962 film), ''Mutiny on the Bounty'' (1962) with Trevor Howard and Marlon Brando, and ''The Bounty (1984 film), The Bounty'' (1984) with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson, largely perpetuated this image of Bligh and that of Christian as tragic hero. In 1998, in advance of a BBC documentary film aimed at Bligh's rehabilitation, the respective descendants of Bligh and Christian feuded over their contrary versions of the truth. Dea Birkett, the programme's presenter, suggested that "Christian versus Bligh has come to represent rebellion versus authoritarianism, a life constrained versus a life of freedom, sexual repression versus sexual licence." In 2017, Channel 4 undertook a recreating of the voyage of Bligh featuring the former soldier Ant Middleton. A musical ''Mutiny!'' played at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's West End theatre, West End for 16 months from 1985. It was co-written by David Essex based on the novel ''Mutiny on the Bounty'' and starred Essex as Fletcher Christian. Morecambe and Wise produced a spoof "play what Ernie wrote" called ''Monty on the Bonty'', starring Arthur Lowe as Captain Bligh.


Notes and references


Notes


References


Sources


Online

* * * * * *


News

* *


Archives

*


Books

* * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * Ledward, Thomas Denman. Letter of 15 October 1789 briefly giving an account of the Mutiny and his status in Timor. Printed i
Notes and Queries Oxford Journal 26 December 1903 pp.501–502
* *


External links

{{Authority control Mutiny on the Bounty, 1789 in Oceania 1789 in the Pitcairn Islands Conflicts in 1789 18th-century pirates Acts of piracy Events that led to courts-martial History of the Pitcairn Islands History of the Royal Navy History of Tahiti Royal Navy mutinies, Bounty 18th-century history of the Royal Navy