History of Mutiny on the Bounty Part 2

About the history of the famous mutiny on the Bounty, account and information on Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian.



Quietly he gathered his followers and at sunrise forced Bligh into the ship's launch with 18 loyal supporters and a scant supply of food and water. Before being cast adrift, Bligh pleaded: "I'll pawn my honor, I'll give you my bond, Mr. Christian, never to think of this if you'll desist."

From the deck Christian replied: "No, Captain Bligh, if you had any honor, things had not come to this; and if you had any regard for your wife and family, you should have thought on them before and not behaved so much like a villain."

Aftermath. The 23-ft. launch, designed for use in quiet water between ship and shore, had little more than 100 sq. ft. of space. Every inch was packed tightly with men, ditty bags, carpentry tools, 28 gal. of drinking water, 150 lb. of bread, 6 qt. of rum, 32 lb. of salt pork, and 6 bottles of wine. With this three-ton cargo, the little launch rode perilously low in the choppy Pacific as it drifted away from the Bounty.

Bligh immediately assigned round-the-clock watches and determined the daily food ration--one ounce of bread and a half-pint of water. A course was set for Tafoa, the nearest island, where they arrived on the 30th. In two days they found a few coconuts, some bread-fruit, but no water before the natives ran them off, killing Quartermaster John Norton. On May 2 they headed for Timor, across 3,600 mi. of open sea.

Each day they battled the elements. Storm followed storm. Wet food spoiled and undernourished men grew haggard. But miraculously, Bligh's seamanship brought them to New Holland on the 28th and into Coupang Bay on July 14. There the party transferred to a small schooner bound for Batavia. A Dutch packet set them ashore on the Isle of Wight on Mar. 14, 1790. Only Bligh and 12 men survived the impossible voyage.

The Admiralty immediately dispatched the frigate Pandora, under Captain Edwards, to Tahiti, where they anchored on Mar. 23, 1791. Of the 16 mutineers who had returned there, 2 had died. The remaining 14 were captured.

In May, while island-hopping in search of Christian and the other mutineers, the Pandora ran onto the reefs near Batavia. Only 89 seamen and 10 of the mutineers survived to get back to England, on June 19, 1792. The court-martial was convened on Sept. 12, and guilty verdicts were obtained on Sept. 18. Five mutineers were hanged, four were acquitted, and one was pardoned.

Bligh ultimately became an admiral and for a time was governor of New South Wales. He was deposed in 1808, but allowed to retire with the rank of vice-admiral. With his family, he lived peaceably until his death in 1817.

Fletcher Christian and his men sailed the Bounty back to Tahiti, where 16 mutineers decided to stay. Nine native women and seven boys joined Christian and the eight remaining mutineers to found a colony on Pitcairn Island. A year later Christian was killed in a fight over a woman. Then the women rebelled and massacred all of the mutineers but Young and Smith.

The colony remained undiscovered until 1814. Alexander Smith, who had changed his name to John Adams, was the patriarch of the colony and the single survivor of the mutineers. He died on Mar. 29, 1829. The colony, however, survived in the descendants of Fletcher Christian and his eight followers.

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