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Narrative Of The Mutiny Of The Bounty

About the year 1786, the merchants and planters interested in the West
India Islands became anxious to introduce an exceedingly valuable
plant, the bread-fruit tree, into these possessions, and as this could
best be done by a government expedition, a request was preferred to
the crown accordingly. The ministry at the time being favorable to the
proposed undertaking, a vessel, named the Bounty, was selected to
execute the desired object. To the command of this ship Captain W.
Bligh was appointed, Aug. 16, 1787. The burden of the Bounty was
nearly two hundred and fifteen tons. The establishment of men and
officers for the ship was as follows:--1 lieutenant to command, 1
master, 1 boatswain, 1 gunner, 1 carpenter, 1 surgeon, 2 master's
mates, 2 midshipmen, 2 quarter-masters, 1 quarter-master's mate, 1
boatswain's mate, 1 gunner's mate, 1 carpenter's mate, 1 carpenter's
crew, 1 sailmaker, 1 armorer, 1 corporal, 1 clerk and steward, 23 able
seamen--total, 44. The addition of two men appointed to take care of
the plants, made the whole ship's crew amount to 46. The ship was
stored and victualled for eighteen months.

Thus prepared, the Bounty set sail on the 23d of December, and what
ensued will be best told in the language of Captain Bligh.

Monday, 27th April 1789.--The wind being northerly in the evening, we
steered to the westward, to pass to the south of Tofoa. I gave
directions for this course to be continued during the night. The
master had the first watch, the gunner the middle watch, and Mr.
Christian the morning watch.

Tuesday, 28th.--Just before sunrising, while I was yet asleep, Mr.
Christian, with the master-at-arms, gunner's mate, and Thomas Burkitt,
seaman, came into my cabin, and seizing me, tied my hands with a cord
behind my back, threatening me with instant death if I spoke or made
the least noise. I, however, called as loud as I could, in hopes of
assistance; but they had already secured the officers who were not of
their party, by placing sentinels at their doors. There were three men
at my cabin door, besides the four within; Christian had only a
cutlass in his hand, the others had muskets and bayonets. I was pulled
out of bed, and forced on deck in my shirt, suffering great pain from
the tightness with which they had tied my hands. I demanded the reason
of such violence, but received no other answer than abuse for not
holding my tongue. The master, the gunner, the surgeon, Mr.
Elphinstone, master's mate, and Nelson, were kept confined below, and
the fore-hatchway was guarded by sentinels. The boatswain and
carpenter, and also the clerk, Mr. Samuel, were allowed to come upon
deck. The boatswain was ordered to hoist the launch out, with a threat
if he did not do it instantly to take care of himself.

When the boat was out, Mr. Hayward and Mr. Hallett, two of the
midshipmen, and Mr. Samuel, were ordered into it. I demanded what
their intention was in giving this order, and endeavored to persuade
the people near me not to persist in such acts of violence; but it was
to no effect. Christian changed the cutlass which he had in his hand
for a bayonet that was brought to him, and holding me with a strong
grip by the cord that tied my hands, he with many oaths threatened to
kill me immediately if I would not be quiet; the villains round me had
their pieces cocked and bayonets fixed. Particular people were called
on to go into the boat, and were hurried over the side, whence I
concluded that with these people I was to be set adrift. I therefore
made another effort to bring about a change, but with no other effect
than to be threatened with having my brains blown out.

The boatswain and seamen who were to go in the boat were allowed to
collect twine, canvas, lines, sails, cordage, an eight-and-twenty-gallon
cask of water, and Mr. Samuel got a hundred and fifty pounds of bread,
with a small quantity of rum and wine, also a quadrant and compass;
but he was forbidden, on pain of death, to touch either map, ephemeris,
book of astronomical observations, sextant, time-keeper, or any of my
surveys or drawings.

The officers were next called upon deck, and forced over the side into
the boat, while I was kept apart from every one abaft the mizzen-mast.

Isaac Martin, one of the guard over me, I saw had an inclination to
assist me, and, as he fed me with shaddock (my lips being quite
parched), we explained our wishes to each other by our looks; but this
being observed, Martin was removed from me. He then attempted to leave
the ship, for which purpose he got into the boat; but with many
threats they obliged him to return. The armorer, Joseph Coleman, and
two of the carpenters, M'Intosh and Norman, were also kept contrary to
their inclination; and they begged of me, after I was astern in the
boat, to remember that they declared that they had no hand in the
transaction. Michael Byrne, I am told, likewise wanted to leave the

It appeared to me that Christian was some time in doubt whether he
should keep the carpenter or his mates; at length he determined on the
latter, and the carpenter was ordered into the boat. He was permitted,
but not without some opposition, to take his tool-chest. The officers
and men being in the boat, they only waited for me, of which the
master-at-arms informed Christian; who then said, "Come, Captain
Bligh, your officers and men are now in the boat, and you must go with
them; if you attempt to make the least resistance, you will instantly
be put to death:" and without further ceremony, with a tribe of armed
ruffians about me, I was forced over the side, where they untied my
hands. Being in the boat, we were veered astern by a rope. A few
pieces of pork were thrown to us, and some clothes, also four
cutlasses; and it was then that the armorer and carpenters called out
to me to remember that they had no hand in the transaction. After
having undergone a great deal of ridicule, and having been kept some
time to make sport for these unfeeling wretches, we were at length
cast adrift in the open ocean.

I had eighteen persons with me in the boat. There remained on board
the Bounty twenty-five hands, the most able men of the ship's company.
Having little or no wind, we rowed pretty fast towards Tofoa, which
bore north-east about ten leagues from us. While the ship was in
sight, she steered to the west-north-west; but I considered this only
as a feint; for when we were sent away, "Huzza for Otaheite!" was
frequently heard among the mutineers.

It will very naturally be asked, What could be the reason for such a
revolt? In answer to which, I can only conjecture that the mutineers
had flattered themselves with the hopes of a more happy life among the
Otaheitans than they could possibly enjoy in England; and this, joined
to some female connections, most probably occasioned the whole
transaction. The women at Otaheite are handsome, mild and cheerful in
their manners and conversation, possessed of great sensibility, and
have sufficient delicacy to make them admired and beloved. The chiefs
were so much attached to our people, that they rather encouraged their
stay among them than otherwise, and even made them promises of large
possessions. Under these, and many other attendant circumstances
equally desirable, it is now perhaps not so much to be wondered at,
though scarcely possible to have been foreseen, that a set of sailors,
most of them void of connections, should be led away: especially when,
in addition to such powerful inducements, they imagined it in their
power to fix themselves in the midst of plenty, on one of the finest
islands in the world, where they need not labor, and where the
allurements of dissipation are beyond anything that can be conceived.


My first determination was to seek a supply of breadfruit and water at
Tofoa, and afterwards to sail for Tongataboo, and there risk a
solicitation to Poulaho, the king, to equip our boat, and grant us a
supply of water and provisions, so as to enable us to reach the East
Indies. The quantity of provisions I found in the boat was a hundred
and fifty pounds of bread, sixteen pieces of pork, each piece weighing
two pounds, six quarts of rum, six bottles of wine, with twenty-eight
gallons of water, and four empty barrecoes.

We got to Tofoa when it was dark, but found the shore so steep and
rocky that we could not land. We were obliged, therefore, to remain
all night in the boat, keeping it on the lee-side of the island, with
two oars. Next day (Wednesday, April 29) we found a cove, where we
landed. I observed the latitude of this cove to be 19 degrees 41
minutes south. This is the northwest part of Tofoa, the
north-westernmost of the Friendly Islands. As I was resolved to spare
the small stock of provisions we had in the boat, we endeavored to
procure something towards our support on the island itself. For two
days we ranged through the island in parties, seeking for water, and
anything in the shape of provisions, subsisting, meanwhile, on morsels
of what we had brought with us. The island at first seemed
uninhabited, but on Friday, May 1, one of our exploring parties met
with two men, a woman, and a child: the men came with them to the
cove, and brought two cocoa-nut shells of water. I endeavored to make
friends of these people, and sent them away for bread-fruit,
plantains, and water. Soon after, other natives came to us; and by
noon there were thirty about us, from whom we obtained a small supply.
I was much puzzled in what manner to account to the natives for the
loss of my ship: I knew they had too much sense to be amused with a
story that the ship was to join me, when she was not in sight from the
hills. I was at first doubtful whether I should tell the real fact, or
say that the ship had overset and sunk, and that we only were saved:
the latter appeared to be the most proper and advantageous for us, and
I accordingly instructed my people, that we might all agree in one
story. As I expected, inquiries were made about the ship, and they
seemed readily satisfied with our account; but there did not appear
the least symptom of joy or sorrow in their faces, although I fancied
I discovered some marks of surprise. Some of the natives were coming
and going the whole afternoon.

Towards evening, I had the satisfaction to find our stock of
provisions somewhat increased; but the natives did not appear to have
much to spare. What they brought was in such small quantities, that I
had no reason to hope we should be able to procure from them
sufficient to stock us for our voyage. At night, I served a quarter of
a bread-fruit and a cocoa-nut to each person for supper; and a good
fire being made, all but the watch went to sleep.

Saturday, 2d.--As there was no certainty of our being supplied with
water by the natives, I sent a party among the gullies in the
mountains, with empty shells, to see what could be found. In their
absence the natives came about us, as I expected, and in greater
numbers; two canoes also came in from round the north side of the
island. In one of them was an elderly chief, called Macca-ackavow.
Soon after, some of our foraging party returned, and with them came a
good-looking chief, called Egijeefow, or Eefow.

Their affability was of short duration, for the natives began to
increase in number, and I observed some symptoms of a design against
us. Soon after, they attempted to haul the boat on shore, on which I
brandished my cutlass in a threatening manner, and spoke to Eefow to
desire them to desist; which they did, and everything became quiet
again. My people, who had been in the mountains, now returned with
about three gallons of water. I kept buying up the little bread-fruit
that was brought to us, and likewise some spears to arm my men with,
having only four cutlasses, two of which were in the boat. As we had
no means of improving our situation, I told our people I would wait
till sunset, by which time, perhaps, something might happen in our
favor; for if we attempted to go at present, we must fight our way
through, which we could do more advantageously at night; and that, in
the meantime, we would endeavor to get off to the boat what we had
bought. The beach was lined with the natives, and we heard nothing but
the knocking of stones together, which they had in each hand. I knew
very well this was the sign of an attack. At noon I served a cocoa-nut
and a bread-fruit to each person for dinner, and gave some to the
chiefs, with whom I continued to appear intimate and friendly. They
frequently importuned me to sit down, but I as constantly refused; for
it occurred both to Nelson and myself that they intended to seize hold
of me, if I gave them such an opportunity. Keeping, therefore,
constantly on our guard, we were suffered to eat our uncomfortable
meal in some quietness.

After dinner, we began, by little and little, to get our things into
the boat, which was a troublesome business, on account of the surf. I
carefully watched the motions of the natives, who continued to
increase in number; and found that, instead of their intention being
to leave us, fires were made, and places fixed on for their stay
during the night. Consultations were also held among them, and
everything assured me we should be attacked. I sent orders to the
master that, when he saw us coming down, he should keep the boat close
to the shore, that we might the more readily embark.

The sun was near setting when I gave the word, on which every person
who was on shore with me boldly took up his proportion of things and
carried them to the boat. The chiefs asked me if I would not stay with
them all night. I said "No, I never sleep out of my boat; but in the
morning we will again trade with you, and I shall remain till the
weather is moderate, that we may go, as we have agreed, to see
Poulaho, at Tongataboo." Macca-ackavow then got up and said, "You will
not sleep on shore, then, Mattie?" (which directly signifies, we will
kill you); and he left me. The onset was now preparing: every one, as
I have described before, kept knocking stones together; and Eefow
quitted me. All but two or three things were in the boat, when we
walked down the beach, every one in a silent kind of horror. We all
got into the boat except one man, who, while I was getting on board,
quitted it, and ran up the beach to cast the sternfast off,
notwithstanding the master and others called to him to return, while
they were hauling me out of the water.

I was no sooner in the boat than the attack began by about two hundred
men; the unfortunate poor man who had run up the beach was knocked
down, and the stones flew like a shower of shot. Many Indians got hold
of the stern rope, and were near hauling the boat on shore, which they
would certainly have effected, if I had not had a knife in my pocket,
with which I cut the rope. We then hauled off to the grapnel, every
one being more or less hurt. At this time I saw five of the natives
about the poor man they had killed, and two of them were beating him
about the head with stones in their hands.

We had no time to reflect, for, to my surprise, they filled their
canoes with stones, and twelve men came off after us to renew the
attack; which they did so effectually, as to nearly disable us all. We
were obliged to sustain the attack without being able to return it,
except with such stones as lodged in the boat. I adopted the expedient
of throwing overboard some clothes, which, as I expected, they stopped
to pick up; and as it was by this time almost dark, they gave over the
attack, and returned towards the shore, leaving us to reflect on our
unhappy situation.

The poor man killed by the natives was John Norton: this was his
second voyage with me as a quarter-master, and his worthy character
made me lament his loss very much. He has left an aged parent, I am
told, whom he supported.

We set our sails, and steered along shore by the west side of the
island of Tofoa, the wind blowing fresh from the eastward. My mind was
employed in considering what was best to be done, when I was solicited
by all hands to take them towards home; and when I told them that no
hopes of relief for us remained, except what might be found at New
Holland, till I came to Timor, a distance of full twelve hundred
leagues, where there was a Dutch settlement, but in what part of the
island I knew not, they all agreed to live on one ounce of bread and a
quarter of a pint of water per day. Therefore, after examining our
stock of provisions, and recommending to them, in the most solemn
manner, not to depart from their promise, we bore away across a sea
where the navigation is but little known, in a small boat,
twenty-three feet long from stem to stern, deep laden with eighteen
men. I was happy, however, to see that every one seemed better
satisfied with our situation than myself.

Our stock of provisions consisted of about one hundred and fifty
pounds of bread, twenty-eight gallons of water, twenty pounds of pork,
three bottles of wine, and five quarts of rum. The difference between
this and the quantity we had on leaving the ship was principally owing
to our loss in the bustle and confusion of the attack. A few
cocoa-nuts were in the boat, and some bread-fruit, but the latter was
trampled to pieces.

Sunday, 3d.--At daybreak the gale increased; the sun rose very fiery
and red--a sure indication of a severe gale of wind. At eight it blew a
violent storm, and the sea ran very high, so that between the seas the
sail was becalmed, and when on the top of the sea, it was too much to
have set; but we could not venture to take in the sail, for we were in
very imminent danger and distress, the sea curling over the stern of
the boat, which obliged us to bail with all our might. A situation
more distressing has perhaps seldom been experienced.

Our bread was in bags, and in danger of being spoiled by the wet: to
be starved to death was inevitable, if this could not be prevented. I
therefore began to examine what clothes there were in the boat, and
what other things could be spared; and having determined that only two
suits should be kept for each person, the rest was thrown overboard,
with some rope and spare sails, which lightened the boat considerably,
and we had more room to bail the water out.

Fortunately the carpenter had good chest in the boat, in which we
secured the bread the first favorable moment. His tool-chest also was
cleared, and the tools stowed in the bottom of the boat, so that this
became a second convenience.

I served a teaspoonful of rum to each person (for we were very wet and
cold), with a quarter of a breadfruit, which was scarce eatable, for
dinner. Our engagement was now strictly to be carried into execution,
and I was fully determined to make our provisions last eight weeks,
let the daily proportion be ever so small.

Monday, 4th.--At daylight our limbs were so benumbed, that we could
scarcely find the use of them. At this time I served a teaspoonful of
rum to each person, from which we all found great benefit. Just before
noon, we discovered a small flat island, of a moderate height, bearing
west-south-west four or five leagues. I observed our latitude to be 18
degrees 58 minutes south; our longitude was, by account, 3 degrees 4
minutes west from the island of Tofoa, having made a north 72 degrees
west course, distance ninety-five miles, since yesterday noon. I
divided five small cocoa-nuts for our dinner, and every one was
satisfied. During the rest of that day we discovered ten or twelve
other islands, none of which we approached. At night I served a few
broken pieces of bread-fruit for supper, and performed prayers.

Tuesday, 5th.--The night having been fair, we awoke after a tolerable
rest, and contentedly breakfasted on a few pieces of yams that were
found in the boat. After breakfast we examined our bread, a great deal
of which was damaged and rotten; this, nevertheless, we were glad to
keep for use. We passed two islands in the course of the day. For
dinner I served some of the damaged bread, and a quarter of a pint of

Wednesday, 6th.--We still kept our course in the direction of the
North of New Holland, passing numerous islands of various sizes, at
none of which I ventured to land. Our allowance for the day was a
quarter of a pint of cocoa-nut milk, and the meat, which did not
exceed two ounces to each person. It was received very contentedly,
but we suffered great drought. To our great joy we hooked a fish, but
we were miserably disappointed by its being lost in trying to get it
into the boat.

As our lodgings were very miserable, and confined for want of room, I
endeavored to remedy the latter defect by putting ourselves at watch
and watch; so that one-half always sat up while the other lay down on
the boat's bottom, or upon a chest, with nothing to cover us but the
heavens. Our limbs were dreadfully cramped, for we could not stretch
them out; and the nights were so cold, and we so constantly wet, that,
after a few hours' sleep, we could scarcely move.

Thursday, 7th.--Being very wet and cold, I served a spoonful of rum
and a morsel of bread for breakfast. We still kept sailing among the
islands, from one of which two large canoes put out in chase of us;
but we left them behind. Whether these canoes had any hostile
intention against us must remain a doubt: perhaps we might have
benefited by an intercourse with them; but, in our defenceless
situation, to have made the experiment would have been risking too

I imagine these to be the islands called Feejee, as their extent,
direction, and distance from the Friendly Islands answer to the
description given of them by those islanders. Heavy rain came on at
four o'clock, when every person did their utmost to catch some water,
and we increased our stock to thirty-four gallons, besides quenching
our thirst for the first time since we had been at sea; but an
attendant consequence made us pass the night very miserably, for,
being extremely wet, and having no dry things to shift or cover us, we
experienced cold shiverings scarcely to be conceived. Most fortunately
for us, the forenoon, Friday 8th, turned out fair, and we stripped and
dried our clothes. The allowance I issued to-day was an ounce and a
half of pork, a teaspoonful of rum, half a pint of cocoa-nut milk, and
an ounce of bread. The rum, though so small in quantity, was of the
greatest service. A fishing-line was generally towing from the stern
of the boat, but though we saw great numbers of fish, we could never
catch one.

In the afternoon we cleaned out the boat, and it employed us till
sunset to get everything dry and in order. Hitherto I had issued the
allowance by guess, but I now made a pair of scales with two cocoa-nut
shells, and having accidentally some pistol-balls in the boat,
twenty-five of which weighed one pound, or sixteen ounces, I adopted
one[1] as the proportion of weight that each person should receive of
bread at the times I served it. I also amused all hands with
describing the situation of New Guinea and New Holland, and gave them
every information in my power, that, in case any accident happened to
me, those who survived might have some idea of what they were about,
and be able to find their way to Timor, which at present they knew
nothing of more than the name, and some not even that. At night I
served a quarter of a pint of water and half an ounce of bread for

[Footnote 1: It weighed 272 grains.]

Saturday, 9th.--About nine in the evening the clouds began to gather,
and we had a prodigious fall of rain, with severe thunder and
lightning. By midnight we caught about twenty gallons of water. Being
miserably wet and cold, I served to the people a teaspoonful of rum
each, to enable them to bear with their distressed situation. The
weather continued extremely bad, and the wind increased; we spent a
very miserable night, without sleep, except such as could be got in
the midst of rain. The day brought no relief but its light. The sea
broke over us so much, that two men were constantly bailing; and we
had no choice how to steer, being obliged to keep before the waves,
for fear of the boat filling.

The allowance now regularly served to each person was 1-25th of a
pound of bread, and a quarter of a pint of water, at eight in the
morning, at noon, and at sunset. To-day I gave about half an ounce of
pork for dinner, which, though any moderate person would have
considered only as a mouthful, was divided into three or four.

All Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the wet
weather continued, with heavy seas and squalls. As there was no
prospect of getting our clothes dried, my plan was to make every one
strip, and wring them through the salt water, by which means they
received a warmth that, while wet with rain, they could not have. We
were constantly shipping seas and bailing, and were very wet and cold
during the night. The sight of the islands which we were always
passing served only to increase the misery of our situation. We were
very little better than starving, with plenty in view; yet to attempt
procuring any relief was attended with so much danger, that prolonging
of life, even in the midst of misery, was thought preferable, while
there remained hopes of being able to surmount our hardships. For my
own part, I consider the general run of cloudy and wet weather to be a
blessing of Providence. Hot weather would have caused us to have died
with thirst, and probably being so constantly covered with rain or sea
protected us from that dreadful calamity.

Saturday, 16th.--The sun breaking out through the clouds gave us
hopes of drying our wet clothes; but the sunshine was of short
duration. We had strong breezes at south-east by south, and dark
gloomy weather, with storms of thunder, lightning, and rain. The night
was truly horrible, and not a star to be seen, so that our steerage
was uncertain.

Sunday, 17th.--At dawn of day I found every person complaining, and
some of them solicited extra allowance, which I positively refused.
Our situation was miserable; always wet, and suffering extreme cold
during the night, without the least shelter from the weather. Being
constantly obliged to bail, to keep the boat from filling, was perhaps
not to be reckoned an evil, as it gave us exercise.

The little rum we had was of great service. When our nights were
particularly distressing, I generally served a teaspoonful or two to
each person; and it was always joyful tidings when they heard of my

The night was dark and dismal, the sea constantly breaking over us,
and nothing but the wind and waves to direct our steerage. It was my
intention, if possible, to make to New Holland, to the southward of
Endeavor Straits, being sensible that it was necessary to preserve
such a situation as would make a southerly wind a fair one; that we
might range along the reefs till an opening should be found into
smooth water, and we the sooner be able to pick up some refreshments.

Monday and Tuesday were terrible days, heavy rain with lightning. We
were always bailing. On Wednesday the 20th, at dawn of day, some of my
people seemed half dead. Our appearance was horrible, and I could look
no way but I caught the eye of some one in distress. Extreme hunger
was now too evident; but no one suffered from thirst, nor had we much
inclination to drink--that desire, perhaps, being satisfied through the
skin. The little sleep we got was in the midst of water, and we
constantly awoke with severe cramps and pains in our bones.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we were in the same distressed
condition, and I began to fear that such another night or two would
put an end to us. On Saturday, however, the wind moderated in the
evening, and the weather looked much better, which rejoiced all hands,
so that they ate their scanty allowance with more satisfaction than
for some time past. The night also was fair; but being always wet with
the sea, we suffered much from the cold.

Sunday, 24th.--A fine morning, I had the pleasure to see produce some
cheerful countenances; and the first time, for fifteen days past, we
experienced comfort from the warmth of the sun. We stripped, and hung
our clothes up to dry, which were by this time become so threadbare,
that they would not keep out either wet or cold.

This afternoon we had many birds about us which are never seen far
from land, such as boobies and noddies. As the sea began to run fair,
and we shipped but little water, I took the opportunity to examine
into the state of our bread, and found that, according to the present
mode of issuing, there was a sufficient quantity remaining for
twenty-nine days' allowance, by which time I hoped we should be able
to reach Timor; but as this was very uncertain, and it was possible
that, after all, we might be obliged to go to Java, I determined to
proportion the allowance so as to make our stock hold out six weeks. I
was apprehensive that this would be ill received, and that it would
require my utmost resolution to enforce it; for small as the quantity
was which I intended to take away for our future good, yet it might
appear to my people like robbing them of life; and some, who were less
patient than their companions, I expected would very ill brook it.
However, on my representing the necessity of guarding against delays
that might be occasioned in our voyage by contrary winds or other
causes, and promising to enlarge upon the allowance as we got on, they
cheerfully agreed to my proposal. It was accordingly settled that
every person should receive 1-25th of a pound of bread for breakfast,
and the same quantity for dinner; so that, by omitting the proportion
for supper, we had forty-three days' allowance.

Monday, 25th.--At noon some noddies came so near to us, that one of
them was caught by hand. This bird was about the size of a small
pigeon. I divided it, with its entrails, into eighteen portions, and
by a well-known method at sea, of "Who shall have this?"[2] it was
distributed, with the allowance of bread and water for dinner, and ate
up, bones and all, with salt water for sauce. I observed the latitude
13 degrees 32 minutes south; longitude made 35 degrees 19 minutes
west; course north 89 degrees west, distance one hundred and eight

[Footnote 2: One person turns his back on the object that is to be
divided; another then points separately to the portions, at each of
them asking aloud, "Who shall have this?" to which the first answers
by naming somebody. This impartial method of division gives every man
an equal chance of the best share.]

In the evening, several boobies flying very near to us, we had the
good fortune to catch one of them. This bird is as large as a duck. I
directed the bird to be killed for supper, and the blood to be given
to three of the people who were most distressed for want of food. The
body, with the entrails, beak, and feet, I divided into eighteen
shares, and, with an allowance of bread, which I made a merit of
granting, we made a good supper, compared with our usual fare.

Sailing on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I at length became
satisfied that we were approaching New Holland. This was actually the
case; and after passing the reefs which bound that part of the coast,
we found ourselves in smooth water. Two islands lay about four miles
to the west by north, and appeared eligible for a resting-place, if
for nothing more; but on our approach to the nearest island, it proved
to be only a heap of stones, and its size too inconsiderable to
shelter the boat. We therefore proceeded to the next, which was close
to it, and towards the main. We landed to examine if there were any
signs of the natives being near us: we saw some old fireplaces, but
nothing to make me apprehend that this would be an unsafe situation
for the night. Every one was anxious to find something to eat, and it
was soon discovered that there were oysters on these rocks, for the
tide was out; but it was nearly dark, and only a few could be
gathered. I determined, therefore, to wait till the morning, when I
should know better how to proceed.

Friday, 29th.--As there were no appearances to make me imagine that
any of the natives were near us, I sent out parties in search of
supplies, while others of the people were putting the boat in order.
The parties returned, highly rejoiced at having found plenty of
oysters and fresh water. I had also made a fire by the help of a small
magnifying glass; and, what was still more fortunate, we found among a
few things which had been thrown into the boat, and saved, a piece of
brimstone and a tinder-box, so that I secured fire for the future.

One of the people had been so provident as to bring away with him from
the ship a copper pot: by being in possession of this article, we were
enabled to make a proper use of the supply we now obtained; for, with
a mixture of bread, and a little pork, we made a stew that might have
been relished by people of far more delicate appetites, and of which
each person received a full pint. The general complaints of disease
among us were a dizziness in the head, great weakness of the joints,
and violent tenesmus.

The oysters which we found grew so fast to the rocks, that it was with
difficulty they could be broken off, and at length we discovered it to
be the most expeditious way to open them where they were fixed. They
were of a good size, and well tasted. To add to this happy
circumstance, in the hollow of the land there grew some wire-grass,
which indicated a moist situation. On forcing a stick about three feet
long into the ground, we found water, and with little trouble dug a
well, which produced as much as our necessities required.

As the day was the anniversary of the restoration of King Charles II.,
I named the island Restoration Island. Our short stay there, with the
supplies which it afforded us, made a visible alteration for the
better in our appearance. Next day, Saturday the 30th, at four
o'clock, we were preparing to embark, when about twenty of the natives
appeared, running and hallooing to us, on the opposite shore. They
were each armed with a spear or lance, and a short weapon which they
carried in their left hand. They made signs for us to come to them,
but I thought it prudent to make the best of our way. They were naked,
and apparently black, and their hair or wool bushy and short.

Sunday, 31st.--Many small islands were in sight to the northeast. We
landed at one of a good height, bearing north one-half west. The shore
was rocky, but the water was smooth, and we landed without difficulty.
I sent two parties out, one to the northward, and the other to the
southward, to seek for supplies, and others I ordered to stay by the
boat. On this occasion fatigue and weakness so far got the better of
their sense of duty, that some of the people expressed their
discontent at having worked harder than their companions, and declared
that they would rather be without their dinner, than go in search of
it. One person, in particular, went so far as to tell me, with a
mutinous look, that he was as good a man as myself. It was not
possible for me to judge where this might have an end, if not stopped
in time; therefore, to prevent such disputes in future, I determined
either to preserve my command, or die in the attempt; and seizing a
cutlass, I ordered him to take hold of another and defend himself, on
which he called out that I was going to kill him, and immediately made
concessions. I did not allow this to interfere further with the
harmony of the boat's crew and everything soon became quiet. We here
procured some oysters and clams, also some dog-fish caught in the
holes of the rocks, and a supply of water.

Leaving this island, which I named Sunday Island, we continued our
course towards Endeavor Straits. During our voyage Nelson became very
ill, but gradually recovered. Next day we landed at another island, to
see what we could get. There were proofs that the island was
occasionally visited by natives from New Holland. Encamping on the
shore, I sent out one party to watch for turtle, and another to try to
catch birds. About midnight the bird party returned, with only twelve
noddies, birds which I have already described to be about the size of
pigeons; but if it had not been for the folly and obstinacy of one of
the party, who separated from the other two, and disturbed the birds,
they might have caught a great number. I was so much provoked at my
plans being thus defeated, that I gave this offender a good beating.
This man afterwards confessed that, wandering away from his
companions, he had eaten nine birds raw. Our turtling party had no

Tuesday and Wednesday we still kept our course north-west, touching
at an island or two for oysters and clams. We had now been six days on
the coast of New Holland, and but for the refreshment which our visit
to its shores afforded us, it is all but certain that we must have
perished. Now, however, it became clear that we were leaving it
behind, and were commencing our adventurous voyage through the open
sea to Timor.

On Wednesday, June 3d, at eight o'clock in the evening, we once more
launched into the open ocean. Miserable as our situation was in every
respect, I was secretly surprised to see that it did not appear to
affect any one so strongly as myself. I encouraged every one with
hopes that eight or ten days would bring us to a land of safety; and
after praying to God for a continuance of his most gracious
protection, I served an allowance of water for supper, and directed
our course to the west-south-west, to counteract the southerly winds
in case they should blow strong. For six days our voyage continued; a
dreary repetition of those sufferings which we had experienced before
reaching New Holland. In the course of the night we were constantly
wet with the sea, and exposed to cold and shiverings; and in the
daytime we had no addition to our scanty allowance, save a booby and a
small dolphin that we caught, the former on Friday the 5th, and the
latter on Monday the 8th. Many of us were ill, and the men complained
heavily. On Wednesday the 10th, after a very comfortless night, there
was a visible alteration for the worse in many of the people, which
gave me great apprehensions. An extreme weakness, swelled legs, hollow
and ghastly countenances, a more than common inclination to sleep,
with an apparent debility of understanding, seemed to me the
melancholy presages of an approaching dissolution.

Thursday, 11th.--Every one received the customary allowance of bread
and water, and an extra allowance of water was given to those who were
most in need. At noon I observed in latitude 9 degrees 41 minutes
south; course south 77 degrees west, distance 109 miles; longitude
made 13 degrees 49 minutes west. I had little doubt of having now
passed the meridian of the eastern part of Timor, which is laid down
in 128 degrees east. This diffused universal joy and satisfaction.

Friday, 12th.--At three in the morning, with an excess of joy, we
discovered Timor bearing from west-south-west to west-north-west, and
I hauled on a wind to the north-north-east till daylight, when the
land bore from south-west by south to north-east by north; our
distance from the shore two leagues. It is not possible for me to
describe the pleasure which the blessing of the sight of this land
diffused among us. It appeared scarcely credible to ourselves that, in
an open boat, and so poorly provided, we should have been able to
reach the coast of Timor in forty-one days after leaving Tofoa, having
in that time run, by our log, a distance of 3618 miles and that,
notwithstanding our extreme distress, no one should have perished in
the voyage.

I have already mentioned that I knew not where the Dutch settlement
was situated, but I had a faint idea that it was at the south-west
part of the island. I therefore, after daylight, bore away along shore
to the south-south-west, which I was the more readily induced to do,
as the wind would not suffer us to go towards the north-east without
great loss of time.

We coasted along the island in the direction in which I conceived the
Dutch settlement to lie, and next day, about two o'clock, I came to a
grapnel in a small sandy bay, where we saw a hut, a dog, and some
cattle. Here I learned that the Dutch governor resided at a place
called Coupang, which was some distance to the north-east. I made
signs for one of the Indians who came to the beach to go in the boat
and show us the way to Coupang, intimating that I would pay him for
his trouble; the man readily complied, and came into the boat. The
Indians, who were of a dark tawny color, brought us a few pieces of
dried turtle and some ears of Indian corn. This last was the most
welcome, for the turtle was so hard, that it could not be eaten
without being first soaked in hot water. They offered to bring us some
other refreshments, if I would wait; but, as the pilot was willing, I
determined to push on. It was about half-past four when we sailed.

Sunday, 14th.--At one o'clock in the morning, after the most happy
and sweet sleep that ever men enjoyed, we weighed, and continued to
keep the east shore on board, in very smooth water. The report of two
cannon that were fired gave new life to every one; and soon after, we
discovered two square-rigged vessels and a cutter at anchor to the
eastward. After hard rowing, we came to a grapnel near daylight, off a
small fort and town, which the pilot told me was Coupang.

On landing, I was surrounded by many people, Indians and Dutch, with
an English sailor among them. A Dutch captain, named Spikerman, showed
me great kindness, and waited on the governor, who was ill, to know at
what time I could see him. Eleven o'clock having been appointed for
the interview, I desired my people to come on shore, which was as much
as some of them could do, being scarce able to walk; they, however,
were helped to Captain Spikerman's house, and found tea, with bread
and butter, provided for their breakfast.

The abilities of a painter, perhaps, could seldom have been displayed
to more advantage than in the delineation of the two groups of figures
which at this time presented themselves to each other. An indifferent
spectator would have been at a loss which most to admire--the eyes of
famine sparkling at immediate relief, or the horror of their
preservers at the sight of so many spectres, whose ghastly
countenances, if the cause had been unknown, would rather have excited
terror than pity. Our bodies were nothing but skin and bone, our limbs
were full of sores, and we were clothed in rags: in this condition,
with tears of joy and gratitude flowing down our cheeks, the people of
Timor beheld us with a mixture of horror, surprise, and pity.

The governor, Mr. William Adrian Van Este, notwithstanding extreme ill
health, became so anxious about us, that I saw him before the
appointed time. He received me with great affection, and gave me the
fullest proofs that he was possessed of every feeling of a humane and
good man. Though his infirmity was so great that he could not do the
office of a friend himself, he said he would give such orders as I
might be certain would procure us every supply we wanted. A house
should be immediately prepared for me, and with respect to my people,
he said that I might have room for them either at the hospital or on
board of Captain Spikerman's ship, which lay in the road....


The intelligence of the mutiny, and the sufferings of Bligh and his
companions, naturally excited a great sensation in England. Bligh was
immediately promoted to the rank of commander, and Captain Edwards was
despatched to Otaheite, in the Pandora frigate, with instructions to
search for the Bounty and her mutinous crew, and bring them to
England. The Pandora reached Matavai Bay on the 23d of March, 1791;
and even before she had come to anchor, Joseph Coleman, formerly
armorer of the Bounty, pushed off from shore in a canoe, and came on
board. In the course of two days afterwards, the whole of the
remainder of the Bounty's crew (in number sixteen) then on the island
surrendered themselves, with the exception of two, who fled to the
mountains, where, as it afterwards appeared, they were murdered by the

Nearly twenty years elapsed after the period of the above occurrences,
and all recollection of the Bounty and her wrecked crew had passed
away, when an accidental discovery, as interesting as unexpected, once
more recalled public attention to that event. The captain of an
American schooner having, in 1808, accidentally touched at an island
up to that time supposed to be uninhabited, called Pitcairn's Island,
found a community speaking English, who represented themselves as the
descendants of the mutineers of the Bounty, of whom there was still
one man, of the name of Alexander Smith, alive amongst them.
Intelligence of this singular circumstance was sent by the American
captain (Folger) to Sir Sydney Smith at Valparaiso, and by him
transmitted to the Lords of the Admiralty. But the government was at
that time perhaps too much engaged in the events of the continental
war to attend to the information, nor was anything further heard of
this interesting little society until 1814. In that year two British
men-of-war, cruising in the Pacific, made Pitcairn's Island, and on
nearing the shore, saw plantations regularly and orderly laid out.
Soon afterwards they observed a few natives coming down a steep
descent, with their canoes on their shoulders, and in a few minutes
perceived one of these little vessels darting through a heavy surf and
paddling off towards the ships. But their astonishment may be imagined
when, on coming alongside, they were hailed in good English with,
"Wont you heave us a rope now?" This being done, a young man sprang up
the side with extraordinary activity, and stood on the deck before
them. In answer to the question "Who are you?" he replied that his
name was Thursday October Christian, son of the late Fletcher
Christian, by an Otaheitan mother; that he was the first born on the
island, and was so named because he was born on a Thursday in October.
All this sounded singular and incredible in the ears of the British
captains, Sir Thomas Staines and Mr. Pipon; but they were soon
satisfied of its truth. Young Christian was at this time about
twenty-four years old, a tall handsome youth, fully six feet high,
with black hair, and an open interesting English countenance. As he
wore no clothes, except a piece of cloth round his loins, and a
straw-hat ornamented with black cock's feathers, his fine figure and
well-shaped muscular limbs were displayed to great advantage, and
attracted general admiration. His body was much tanned by exposure to
the weather; but although his complexion was somewhat brown, it wanted
that tinge of red peculiar to the natives of the Pacific. He spoke
English correctly both in grammar and pronunciation; and his frank and
ingenuous deportment excited in every one the liveliest feelings of
compassion and interest. His companion was a fine handsome youth, of
seventeen or eighteen years of age, named George Young, son of one of
the Bounty's midshipmen.

The youths expressed great surprise at everything they saw, especially
a cow, which they supposed to be either a huge goat or a horned sow,
having never seen any other quadrupeds. When questioned concerning the
Bounty, they referred the captains to an old man on shore, the only
surviving Englishman, whose name, they said, was John Adams, but who
proved to be the identical Alexander Smith before-mentioned, having
changed his name from some caprice or other. The officers went ashore
with the youths, and were received by old Adams (as we shall now call
him), who conducted them to his house, and treated them to an elegant
repast of eggs, fowl, yams, plantains, breadfruit, etc. They now
learned from him an account of the fate of his companions, who, with
himself, preferred accompanying Christian in the Bounty to remaining
at Otaheite--which account agreed with that he afterwards gave at
greater length to Captain Beechey in 1828. Our limits will not permit
us to detail all the interesting particulars at length, as we could
have wished, but they are in substance as follows:--

It was Christian's object, in order to avoid the vengeance of the
British law, to proceed to some unknown and uninhabited island, and
the Marquesas Islands were first fixed upon. But Christian, on reading
Captain Cartaret's account of Pitcairn's Island, thought it better
adapted for the purpose, and shaped his course thither. Having landed
and traversed it, they found it every way suitable to their wishes,
possessing water, wood, a good soil, and some fruits. Having
ascertained all this, they returned on board, and having landed their
hogs, goats, and poultry, and gutted the ship of everything that could
be useful to them, they set fire to her, and destroyed every vestige
that might lead to the discovery of their retreat. This was on the 23d
of January 1790. The island was then divided into nine equal portions
amongst them, a suitable spot of neutral ground being reserved for a
village. The poor Otaheitans now found themselves reduced to the
condition of mere slaves; but they patiently submitted, and everything
went on peaceably for two years. About that time Williams, one of the
seamen, having the misfortune to lose his wife, forcibly took the wife
of one of the Otaheitans, which, together with their continued
ill-usage, so exasperated the latter, that they formed a plan for
murdering the whole of their oppressors. The plot, however, was
discovered, and revealed by the Englishmen's wives, and two of the
Otaheitans were put to death. But the surviving natives soon
afterwards matured a more successful conspiracy, and in one day
murdered five of the Englishmen, including Christian. Adams and Young
were spared at the intercession of their wives, and the remaining two,
M'Koy and Quintal (two desperate ruffians), escaped to the mountains,
whence, however, they soon rejoined their companions. But the further
career of these two villains was short. M'Koy, having been bred up in
a Scottish distillery, succeeded in extracting a bottle of ardent
spirits from the tee root; from which time he and Quintal were never
sober, until the former became delirious, and committed suicide by
jumping over a cliff. Quintal being likewise almost insane with
drinking, made repeated attempts to murder Adams and Young, until they
were absolutely compelled, for their own safety, to put him to death,
which they did by felling him with a hatchet.

Adams and Young were at length the only surviving males who had landed
on the island, and being both of a serious turn of mind, and having
time for reflection and repentance, they became extremely devout.
Having saved a Bible and prayer-book from the Bounty, they now
performed family worship morning and evening, and addressed themselves
to training up their own children and those of their unfortunate
companions in piety and virtue. Young, however, was soon carried off
by an asthmatic complaint, and Adams was thus left to continue his
pious labors alone. At the time Captains Staines and Pipon visited the
island, this interesting little colony consisted of about forty-six
persons, mostly grown-up young people, all living in harmony and
happiness together; and not only professing, but fully understanding
and practising, the precepts and principles of the Christian religion.
Adams had instituted the ceremony of marriage, and he assured his
visitors that not one instance of debauchery and immoral conduct had
occurred amongst them.

The visitors having supplied these interesting people with some tools,
kettles, and other articles, took their leave. The account which they
transmitted home of this newly-discovered colony was, strange to say,
as little attended to by government as that of Captain Folger, and
nothing more was heard of Adams and his family for nearly twelve
years, when, in 1825, Captain Beechey, in the Blossom, bound on a
voyage of discovery to Behring Strait, touched at Pitcairn's Island.
On the approach of the Blossom, a boat came off under all sail towards
the ship, containing old Adams and ten of the young men of the island.
After requesting and obtaining leave to come on board, the young men
sprung up the side, and shook every officer cordially by the hand.
Adams, who was grown very corpulent, followed more leisurely. He was
dressed in a sailor's shirt and trousers, with a low-crowned hat,
which he held in his hand in sailor fashion, while he smoothed down
his bald forehead when addressed by the officers of the Blossom. The
little colony had now increased to about sixty-six, including an
English sailor of the name of John Buffett, who, at his own earnest
desire, had been left by a whaler. In this man the society luckily
found an able and willing schoolmaster. He instructed the children in
reading, writing, and arithmetic, and devoutly co-operated with old
Adams in affording religious instruction to the community. The
officers of the Blossom went ashore, and were entertained with a
sumptuous repast at young Christian's, the table being spread with
plates, knives, and forks. Buffett said grace in an emphatic manner;
and so strict were they in this respect, that it was not deemed proper
to touch a morsel of bread without saying grace both before and after
it. The officers slept in the house all night, their bedclothing and
sheets consisting of the native cloth made of the native
mulberry-tree. The only interruption to their repose was the melody of
the evening hymn, which was chanted together by the whole family after
the lights were put out; and they were awakened at early dawn by the
same devotional ceremony. On Sabbath the utmost decorum was attended
to, and the day was passed in regular religious observances.

In consequence of a representation made by Captain Beechey, the
British government sent out Captain Waldegrave in 1830, in the
Seringapatam, with a supply of sailors' blue jackets and trousers,
flannels, stockings and shoes, women's dresses, spades, mattocks,
shovels, pickaxes, trowels, rakes, etc. He found their community
increased to about seventy-nine, all exhibiting the same
unsophisticated and amiable characteristics as we have before
described. Other two Englishmen had settled amongst them; one of them,
called Nobbs, a low-bred, illiterate man, a self-constituted
missionary, who was endeavoring to supersede Buffett in his office of
religious instructor. The patriarch Adams, it was found, had died in
March, 1829, aged sixty-five. While on his deathbed, he had called the
heads of families together, and urged upon them to elect a chief;
which, however, they had not yet done; but the greatest harmony still
prevailed amongst them, notwithstanding Nobbs's exertions to form a
party of his own. Captain Waldegrave thought that the island, which is
about four miles square, might be able to support a thousand persons,
upon reaching which number they would naturally emigrate to other

Such is the account of this most singular colony, originating in crime
and bloodshed. Of all the repentant criminals on record, the most
interesting, perhaps, is John Adams; nor do we know where to find a
more beautiful example of the value of early instruction than in the
history of this man, who, having run the full career of nearly all
kinds of vice, was checked by an interval of leisurely reflection, and
the sense of new duties awakened by the power of natural affections.

Next: Our First Whale

Previous: Random Adventures

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