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MANY use al and salutary lessons of conduct may be drawn from this eventful history, more especially by officers of the navy, both old and young, as well as by those subordinate to them. In the first place, it most strongly points out the dreadful consequences that are almost certain to ensue from a state of insubordination and mutiny on board a ship of war; and the equally certain fate that, at one time or other, awaits all those who have the misfortune to be concerned in a transaction of this revolting nature. In the present instance, the dreadful retribution which overtook them, and which was evinced in a most extraordinary manner, affords an awful and instructive lesson to seamen, by which they may learn, that although the guilty may be secured for a time in evading the punishment due to the offended laws of society, yet they must not hope to escape the pursuit of Divine vengeance. It will be recollected that the number of persons who remained in the Bounty after her piratical seizure, and of course charged with the crime of mutiny, was twenty-five; that these subsequently separated into two parties, sixteen having landed at Otaheite, and afterward taken from thence in the Pandora, as prisoners, and nine having gone with the Bounty to Pitcairn's Island.
Of the sixteen taken in the Pandora,
1. Mr. Peter Heywood, midshipman, was sentenced to death, but doned.
2. James Morrison, boatswain's mate,
3. William Muspratt, commander's steward, do.
4. Thos. Burkitt, seaman,
5. John Millward, 6. Thos. Ellison,
condemned and executed.
7. Joseph Coleman, armourer,
8 Charles Norman, carpenter's mate, 9. Thos. M'Intosh, carpenter's crew, 10. Michael Byrne, seaman,
11. Mr. George Stewart, midshipman, 12. John Sumner, seaman,
13. Richard Skinner, seaman,
14. Henry Hillbrant, cooper,
tried and acquitted.
drowned in irons when the Pandora was wrecked.
15. Chas. Churchill, master-at-arms, murdered by Matthew Thompson. 16. Matthew Thompson, seaman, murdered by Churchill's friends in Otaheite.
Of the nine who landed on Pitcairn's Island,—
4. John Mills, gunner's mate,
5. William Brown, botanist's assistant,
were murdered by the Otaheitans.
6. Matthew Quintal, seaman, put to death by Young and Adams in self
7. William M'Koy, seaman, became insane, and killed by throwing himself from a rock.
8. Mr. Edward Young, midshipman, died of asthma.
9. Alex. Smith, alias John Adams, seaman, died in 1829.
Young officers of the navy, as well as the common seamen, may also derive some useful lessons from the events of this history. They will see the melancholy results of affording the least encouragement for seamen to depart from their strict line of duty, and to relax in that obedience to the orders of superiors by which alone the discipline of the service can be preserved; they will learn how dangerous it is to show themselves careless and indifferent in executing those orders, by thus setting a bad example to the men. It ought also to enforce on their minds how necessary it is to avoid even the appearance of acting in any way that can be considered as repugnant to, or subversive of, the rules and regulations of the service; and most particularly to guard against any conduct that may have the appearance of lowering the authority of their superiors, either by their words or actions.
No doubt can remain on the minds of unprejudiced persons, or such as are capable of weighing evidence, that the two young midshipmen Stewart
and Heywood were perfectly innocent of any share in the transaction in question; and yet, because they happened to be left in the ship, not only contrary to their wish and intention, but kept down below by force, the one lost his life by being drowned in chains, and the other was condemned to die, and only escaped from suffering the last penalty of the law by a recommendation to the royal mercy. The only point in which these two officers failed was, that they did not at once demand permission to ac company their commander, while they were allowed to remain on deck and had the opportunity of doing so. The manly conduct of young Heywood, throughout his long and unmerited sufferings, affords an example of firmness, fortitude, and resignation to the Divine will that is above all praise; in fact, nothing short of conscious innocence could have supported him in the severe trials he had to undergo.
The melancholy effects which tyrannical conduct, harsh and opprobrious language, ungovernable passion, and a worrying and harassing temper on the part of naval commanders seldom fail to produce on the minds of those who are subject to their capricious and arbitrary command, are strongly exemplified in the cause and consequences of the mutiny in the Bounty, as described in the course of this history. Conduct of this kind, by making the inferior officers of a ship discontented and unhappy, has the dangerous tendency, as in the case of Christian, to incite the crew to partake in their discontent, and be ready to assist in any plan to get rid of the tyrant. We may see in it, also, how very little credit a commander is likely to gain, either with the service or the public at large, when the duties of a ship are carried on, as they would appear to have been in the Pandora, in a cold, phlegmatic, and unfeeling manner, and with an indifference to the comfort of all around him;-subjecting offenders of whatever description to unnecessary restraint, and a severity of punishment which, though strictly within the letter of the
law, contributes in no way to the ends of discipline or of justice.
The conduct of Bligh, however mistaken he may have been in his mode of carrying on the duties of the ship, was most exemplary throughout the long and perilous voyage he performed in an open boat, on the wide ocean, with the most scanty supply of provisions and water, and in the worst weather. The result of such meritorious conduct holds out every encouragement to both officers and men, by showing them that by firmness and perseverance, and the adoption of well-digested measures, steadily pursued in spite of opposition, the most hopeless undertaking, to all appearance, may be successfully accomplished.
And, lastly, the fate that has attended almost every one of those concerned in the mutiny and piracy of his majesty's ship Bounty ought to operate as a warning to, and make a deep impression on the minds of our brave seamen, not to suffer themselves to be led astray from the straight-forward line of their duty, either by order or persuasion of some hot-brained, thoughtless, or designing person, whether their superior or equal, but to remain faithful, under all circumstances, to their commanding officer; as any mutinous proceedings or disobedience of his orders are sure to be visited upon them in the long run, either by loss of life, or by a forfeiture of that liberal provision which the British government has bestowed on its seamen for long and faithful services.
P.S. Just as this last sheet came from the press, the editor has noticed a paragraph in the newspapers, said to be extracted from an American paper, stating that a vessel sent to Pitcairn's Island by the Europeans of Otaheite has carried off the whole of the settlers to the latter island.
In reference to the subject of extraordinary passages made in open boats on the wide ocean, and the note thereon at page 113, the following may be added as another instance, the most painfully interesting, and the most calamitous, perhaps, ever recorded. It was related to Mr. Bennet, a gentleman deputed by the Missionary Society of London, together with the Rev. Daniel Tyerman, to visit their several stations in the South Sea islands, by Captain George Pollard, the unfortunate sufferer, whom these gentlemen met with at Raiatea, then a passenger in an American vessel, having a second time lost his ship near the Sandwich Islands. The narrative is extracted from "The Journal of Voyages and Travels," just published, of the two gentlemen above-mentioned, and is as follows:
"My first shipwreck was in open sea, on the 20th of November, 1820, near the equator, about 118° W. long. The vessel, a South Sea whaler, was called the Essex. On that day, as we were on the look out for sperm whales, and had actually struck two, which the boats' crews were following to secure, I perceived a very large one-it might be eighty or ninety feet long-rushing with great swiftness through the water, right towards the ship. We hoped that she would turn aside, and dive under, when she perceived such a balk in her way. But no! the animal came full force against our sternpost; had any quarter less firm been struck, the vessel must have been burst; as it was, every plank and timber trembled throughout her whole bulk.
"The whale, as though hurt by a severe and unexpected concussion, shook its enormous head, and sheered off to so considerable a distance that for