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.

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