The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
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More than two centuries have passed since Master's Mate Fletcher Christian mutinied against Lieutenant Bligh on a small, armed transport vessel called Bounty. Why the details of this obscure adventure at the end of the world remain vivid and enthralling is as intriguing as the truth behind the legend.
In giving the Bounty mutiny its historical due, Caroline Alexander has chosen to frame her narrative by focusing on the court-martial of the ten mutineers who were captured in Tahiti and brought to justice in England. This fresh perspective wonderfully revivifies the entire saga, and the salty, colorful language of the captured men themselves conjures the events of that April morning in 1789, when Christian's breakdown impelled every man on a fateful course: Bligh and his loyalists on the historic open boat voyage that revealed him to be one of history's great navigators; Christian on his restless exile; and the captured mutineers toward their day in court. As the book unfolds, each figure emerges as a full-blown character caught up in a drama that may well end on the gallows. And as Alexander shows, it was in a desperate fight to escape hanging that one of the accused defendants deliberately spun the mutiny into the myth we know today-of the tyrannical Lieutenant Bligh of the Bounty.
Ultimately, Alexander concludes that the Bounty mutiny was sparked by that most unpredictable, combustible, and human of situations-the chemistry between strong personalities living in close quarters. Her account of the voyage, the trial, and the surprising fates of Bligh, Christian, and the mutineers is an epic of ambition, passion, pride, and duty at the dawn of the Romantic era.
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His fate as became a Christian; but “I receive with Gratitude my Sovereign’s Mercy, for which my future Life shall be faithfully devoted to his Service.” With few possessions to collect, there was little to delay Peter’s departure. From his former shipmates, companions of the terrible, shared intimacy of fear and confinement, he took his final leave. Probably, the men wished one another well. Given Peter’s religious feeling, he undoubtedly left his friends with his blessing. After thanking the.
By parties who placed a high premium on finding discredit. If Bond’s report is given credence, “unhappy” incidents—or, to use Tobin’s words, “passing squalls”—surely occurred, but a firewall of loyalty seems to have been erected around Bligh. Perhaps at voyage’s end, his men harbored more instructive memories than the miscellaneous slights they may have received: Captain Bligh, shaken with fever, reading the morning service, for example; or, ashen with the headache that made him feel the top of.
Remarks about breadfruit as food for West Indian slaves, see Hinton East to Banks, July 19, 1784, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (BC 1. 168). The economic and political issues behind the breadfruit venture are discussed in David MacKay, “Banks, Bligh and Bread-fruit,” The New Zealand Journal of History 8 (1974), pp. 61-77. A favorite fiction inserted at the end of many accounts of Bligh’s Tahitian voyages is that the breadfruit was disliked and spurned in Jamaica, and hence Bligh’s efforts had been.
Hugo Vickers, Sven Wahlross, Mike Welland, Stephen White, Frances Wilkins, Lindon Williams, Dennis Bell, Barry Marriott, Carol Woodcock and Sir George Young. I am grateful to Laurence and Judy Webster, Captain Gerry Christian and Dorothy Wickenden for providing good omens for the voyage ahead. On the domestic front, I am indebted to Linda Baker and John and Belinda Knight for their unwavering support. To George Butler and Smokey, Joanna Alexander and Ron Has-kins, and my mother, Elizabeth.
Devised a novel form of punishment: “I therefore Ordered the different Persons evidence to be drawn out and attested, and then gave Orders that untill he Worked he should have no provisions, and promised faithfully a severe Punishment to any Man that dared to Assist him.” Bligh was satisfied with the result of this action, “which immediatly brought [him] to his senses. . . . It was for the good of the Voyage that I should not make him or any Man a prisoner,” Bligh concluded his account of the.