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sions, the possibility of such a conspiracy being ever the furthest from my thoughts. Had their mutiny been occasioned by any grievances, either real or imaginary, I must have discovered symptoms of their discontent, which would have put me on my guard: but the case was far otherwise. Christian, in particular, I was on the most friendly terms with: that very day he was engaged to have dined with me; and the preceding night he excused himself from supping with me, on pretence of being unwell; for which I felt concerned, having no suspicions of his integrity and honour."
Such is the story published by Lieutenant Bligh immediately on his return to England, after one of the most distressing and perilous passages over nearly four thousand miles of the wide ocean, with eighteen persons, in an open boat. The story obtained implicit credit; and though Lieutenant Bligh's character never stood high in the navy for suavity of manners or mildness of temper, he was always considered as an excellent seaman, and his veracity stood unimpeached. But in this age of refined liberality, when the most atrocious criminals find their apologists, it is not surprising it should now be discovered, when all are dead that could either prove or disprove it, that it was the tyranny of the commander alone, and not the wickedness of the ringleader of the mutineers of the Bounty, that caused that event. “ We all know,” it is said, “ that mutiny can arise but from one of these two sources, exces. sive folly or excessive tyranny; therefore"—the logic is admirable—“ as it is admitted that Bligh was no idiot, the inference is obvious."* If this be so, it may be asked to which of the two causes must be ascribed the mutiny at the Nore, &c. ? The true answer will be, to neither. “ Not only," continues the writer, was the narrative which he published
* United Service Journal for April, 1831.
proved to be false in many material bearings by evi. dence before a court-martial, but every art of his public life after this event, from his successive command of the Director, the Glatton, and the Warrior, to his disgraceful expulsion from New South Wales, was stamped with an insolence, an inhumanity, and coarseness which fully developed his character.”
There is no intention, in narrating this eventful history, to accuse or defend either the character or the conduct of the late Admiral Bligh; it is well known his temper was irritable in the extreme; but che circumstance of his having been the friend of Captain Cook, with whom he sailed as his master, of his ever afterward being patronised by Sir Joseph Banks
of the Admiralty promoting him to the rank of commander, appointing him immediately to the Providence, to proceed on the same expedition to Otaheite,-and of his returning in a very short time to England with complete success, and recommending all his officers for promotion on account of their exemplary conduct;-of his holding several subsequent employments in the service-of his having commanded ships of the line in the battles of Copenhagen and Camperdown, and risen to the rank of a flag-officer,-these may perhaps be considered to speak something in his favour, and be allowed to stand as some proof, that with all his failings he had his merits. That he was a man of coarse habits, and entertained very mistaken notions with regard to discipline, is quite true: yet he had many redeeming qualities. The accusation, by the writer in question, of Bligh having falsified his “narrative,” is a very heavy charge, and, it is to be feared is not wholly without foundation ; though it would perhaps be more correct to say, that in the printed narrative of his voyage, and the narrative on which the mutineers were tried, there are many important omissions from his original manuscript journal, some of which it will be necessary to notice presently.
The same writer further says, “We know that the officers fared in every way worse than the men, and that even young Heywood was kept at the masthead no less than eight hours at one spell, in the worst weather which they encountered off Cape Horn.”
Perhaps Heywood may himself be brought forward as authority, if not to disprove, at least to render highly improbable, his experiencing any such treatment on ihe part of his captain. This young officer, in his defence, says, “ Captain Bligh in his narrative acknowledges that he had left some friends on board the Bounty, and no part of my conduct could have induced him to believe that I ought not to be reckoned of the number. Indeeu, from
his attention to, and very kind treatment of me personally, I should have been a monster of depravity to have betrayed him. The idea alone is sufficient to disturb a mind where humanity and gratitude have, I hop ever been noticed as its characteristic fea. tures.” Bligh, too, has declared in a letter to Hey. wood's uncle, Holwell, after accusing him of ingratitude, that “ he never once had an angry word from me during the whole course of the voyage, as his conduct always gave me much pleasure and satisfaction.”
In looking over a manuscript journal kept by Morrison, the boatswain's mate, who was tried and convicted as one of the mutineers, but received the king's pardon, the conduct of Bligh appears in a very unfavourable point of view. This Morrison was a person from talent and education far above the situation he held in the Bounty; he had previously served in the navy as midshipman, and after his pardon was appointed gunner of the Blenheiın, in which he perished with Sir Thomas Trowbridge. In comparing this journal with other documents, the dates and transactions appear to be correctly stated, though the latter may occasionally be somewhat too highly coloured. How he contrived to preserve this jour
nal in the wreck of the Pandora does not appear; but there can be no doubt of its authenticity, having been kept among the late Captain Heywood's pam pers; various passages in it have been corrected either by this officer or some other person, but with. out altering their sense.
It would appear from this important document that the seeds of discord in the unfortunate ship Bounty were sown at a very early period of the voyage. It happened, as was the case in all small vessels, that the duties of commander and purser were united in the person of Lieutenant Bligh; and it would seem that this proved the cause of very serious discontent among the officers and crew ; of the mischief arising out of this union the following statement of Mr. Morrison may serve as a specimen. At Teneriffe, Lieutenant Bligh ordered the cheese to be hoisted up and exposed to the air; which was no sooner done than he pretended to miss a certain quantity, and declared that it had been stolen. The cooper, Henry Hillbrant, informed him that the cask in question had been opened by the orders of Mr. Samuel, his clerk, who acted also as steward, and the cheese sent on shore to his own house, previous to the Bounty leaving the river on her way to Portsmouth. Lieutenant Bligh,without making any further inquiry, immediately ordered the allowance of that article to be stopped, both from officers and men, until the deficiency should be made good, and told the cooper he should give him a d- -d good flogging if he said another word on the subject. It can hardly be supposed that a man of Bligh's shrewd. ness, if disposed to play the rogue, would have placed himself so completely in the hands of the cooper, in a transaction which, if revealed, must have cost him his commission.
Again, on approaching the equator, some decayed pumpkins, purchased at Teneriffe, were ordered to be issued to the crew, at the rate of one pound of
pumpkin for two pounds of biscuit. The reluctance of the men to accept this proposed substitute on such terms being reported to Lieutenant Bligh, he flew upon deck in a violent rage, turned the hands up, and ordered the first man on the list of each mess to be called by name; at the same time saying, “ I'll see who will dare to refuse the pumpkin, or any thing else I may order to be served out;" to which he added, “ You d -d infernal scoundrels, I'll make you eat grass, or any thing you can catch, before I have done with you."
This speech had the desired effect, every one receiving the pumpkins, even the officers.
Next comes a complaint respecting the mode of issuing beef and pork; but when a representation was made to Lieutenant Bligh in the quiet and orderly manner prescribed by the twenty-first article of war, he called the crew aft, told them that every thing relative to the provisions was transacted by his orders; that it was therefore needless for them to complain, as they would get no redress, he being the fittest judge of what was right or wrong, and that he would flog
the first man who should dare attempt to make any complaint in future. To this imperious menace they bowed in silence, and not another murmur was heard from them during the remainder of the voyage to Otaheite, it being their determination to seek legal redress on the Bounty's return to England. Happy would it have been had they kept their resolution. By so doing, if the story be true, they would amply have been avenged, a vast number of human lives spared, and a world of misery avoided.
According to this journalist, “ the seeds of eternal discord were sown between Lieutenant Bligh and some of his officers" while in Adventure Bay, Van Dieman's Land; and on arriving at Matavai Bay, in Otaheite, he is accused of taking the officers' hogs and bread-fruit, and serving them to the ship's. company; and when the master remonstrated with