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James Morrison, boatswain's mate and probable mutineer on the Bounty, was an accomplished liar, so, even though the book is highly entertaining, I can only give it an "I don't like it" rating. He libels Captain Bligh unconvincingly. Morrison was convicted of mutiny, but escaped hanging partly because influential men in the Admiralty were worried about the scandal his book might cause if he was hanged. See all 5 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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11 editions of this work

ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. East Dane Designer Men's Fashion. Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. Most of Bounty' s crew were chosen by Bligh or were recommended to him by influential patrons. Among these was the year-old Fletcher Christian , who came from a wealthy Cumberland family descended from Manx gentry. Christian had chosen a life at sea rather than the legal career envisaged by his family.

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. Among the older crew members were the year-old Peckover, who had sailed on all three of Cook's voyages, and Lawrence Lebogue, a year older and formerly sailmaker on the Britannia.

Living space on the ship was allocated on the basis of rank.

MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY - Mutiny of the Bounty and other narratives by Capitain William Bligh

Bligh, having yielded the great cabin, [32] occupied private sleeping quarters with an adjacent dining area or pantry on the starboard 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, [33] 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 ; as junior or prospective officers, they were allowed use of the quarterdeck.

Bligh was anxious to depart quickly, to reach Cape Horn before the end of the short southern summer, [38] 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. As the ship settled into her 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[ing] and fum[ing] over the cleanliness of his ship and the food served to the crew.

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 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 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.

On 24 May , Bounty anchored in False Bay , east of the Cape of Good Hope, where five weeks were spent in repairs and reprovisioning. 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.


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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. 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 , at which Fryer backed down. Huggan briefly returned to duty; before Bounty' s arrival in Tahiti, he examined all on board for signs of venereal disease and found none. Bligh's first action on arrival was to secure the co-operation of the local chieftains. The paramount chief Tynah remembered Bligh from Cook's voyage 15 years previously, and greeted him warmly. Bligh presented the chiefs with gifts and informed them that their own " King George " wished in return only breadfruit plants.

They happily agreed with this simple request. Whether based ashore or on board, the men's duties during Bounty's five-month stay in Tahiti were relatively light. Many led promiscuous lives among the native women—altogether, 18 officers and men, including Christian, received treatment for venereal infections [70] —while others took regular partners.

Editorial Reviews

Huggan died on 10 December. Bligh attributed this to "the effects of intemperance and indolence He was often humiliated by the captain—sometimes in front of the crew and the Tahitians—for real or imagined slackness, [70] 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.

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.

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, breadfruit plants were potted and carried into the ship, where they filled the great cabin. 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 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 , the boatswain's mate, supports this. Christian was a particular target, always seeming to bear the brunt of the captain's rages. On 22 April , Bounty arrived at Nomuka , in the Friendly Islands now called Tonga , intending to pick up wood, water, and further supplies on the final scheduled stop before the Endeavour Strait. He put Christian in charge of the watering party and equipped him with muskets, but at the same time ordered that the arms should be left in the boat, not carried ashore.

He returned to the ship with his task incomplete, and was cursed by Bligh as "a damned cowardly rascal". 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. Bligh punished the whole crew for this theft, stopping their rum ration and reducing their food by half.

He may have acquired wood for this purpose from Purcell. Two of the young gentlemen, George Stewart and 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. 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. 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; [97] some reports maintained that Christian had a sounding plummet hanging from his neck so that he could jump overboard and drown himself if the mutiny failed.

It was unclear at this stage who were and who were not active mutineers. Hough describes the scene: 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 foot 7. 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 [94] —but Christian ordered him into the launch. Soon, the vessel was badly overloaded, with more than 20 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. Samuel saved the captain's journal, commission papers and purser's documents, but was forced to leave behind Bligh's maps and charts—15 years of navigational work. At the last minute the mutineers threw four cutlasses down into the boat. Their immediate destination was the nearby island of Tofua, clearly marked on the horizon by the plume of smoke rising from its volcano. 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.

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 Coupang in Timor , using the rations presently on board. The plan was unanimously agreed. From the outset, the weather was wet and stormy, with mountainous seas that constantly threatened to overwhelm the boat. To keep up morale, he told stories of his prior experiences at sea, got the men singing, and occasionally said prayers.

A week later with the skies clearing, birds began to appear, signalling a proximity to land. 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, 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. The next day, the coast of Timor was sighted: In Coupang, Bligh reported the mutiny to the authorities, and wrote to his wife: 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. Bounty arrived at Tubuai on 28 May 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. 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 30 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.

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 After what I have done I cannot remain at Tahiti". 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. Of the 16 men who had voted to settle in Tahiti, he allowed 15 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 her captive guests.

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The 16 sailors on Tahiti began to organise their lives. Morrison's group maintained ship's routine and discipline, even to the extent of holding divine service each Sunday. Churchill was murdered by Thompson, who was in turn killed by Churchill's native friends. In October at a formal court-martial for the loss of Bounty , he was honourably acquitted of responsibility for the loss and was promoted to post-captain.

Mutiny on the Bounty - Wikipedia

As an adjunct to the court martial, Bligh brought charges against Purcell for misconduct and insubordination; the former carpenter received a reprimand. The ship finally sailed on 8 May, to search for Christian and Bounty among the thousands of southern Pacific islands. The men in "Pandora's Box" were ignored as the regular crew attempted to prevent the ship from foundering.


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  6. 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. 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 Coupang 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. 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: 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 defence.