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ertions to turn the tide of affairs were continued; when Christian, changing the cutlass he held for a bayonet, and holding me by the cord about my hands with a strong gripe, threatened ine with immediate death if I would not be quiet; and the villains around me had their pieces cocked and bayonets fixed.
Certain individuals were called on to get into the boat, and were hurried over the ship’s side; whence I concluded, that along with them I was to be set adrift. Another effort to bring about a change produced nothing but menaces of having my brains blown out.
The boatswain, and those seamen who were to be put into the boat, were al. lowed to collect twine, canvas, lines, sails, cordage, an eight-and-twenty gallon cask of water; and Mr Samuel got 150 pounds of bread, with a small quantity of rum and wine; also a quadrant and compass : but he was prohibited, on pain of death, to touch any map or astronomical book, and any instrument, or any of my surveys and drawings.
The mutineers having thus forced those of the seamen whom they wished to get rid of into the boat, Christian directed a dram to be served to each of his crew. I then unhappily saw that nothing could be done to recover the ship. The officers were next called on deck, and forced over the ship's side into the boat, while I was kept apart from every one abaft the mizen-mast. Christian, armed with a bayonet, held the cord fastening my hands, and the guard around me stood with their pieces cocked; but on my daring the ungrateful wietches to fire, they uncocked them. Isaac Martin, one of them, I saw, had an inclination to assist me; and as he fed me with shaddock, my lips being quite parched, we explained each other's sentiments by looks. But this was observed, and he was removed. He then got into the boat, attempting to leave the ship; however, he was compelled to return. Some others were also kept, contrary to their inclination.
It appeared to me, tha: Christian was some time in doubt whether he should keep the carpenter or his mates. At length he determined for the latter, and the carpenter was ordered into the boat. He was permitted, though not without opposition, to take his tool-chest.
Mr. Samuelisecured my journals and commission, with some important ship-papers; this he did with great resolution, though strictly watched. He attempted to save the time-keeper, and a box with my surveys, drawings, and remarks for fifteen years past, which were very numerous, wben he was hurried away with—“ Dama your eyes, you are well off to get what you have."
Much altercation took place among the mutinous crew during the transaction of this whole affair. Some swore, “I'll be damned if he does not find his way home, if he gets any thing with him,” meaning me; and when the carpenter's chest was carrying away, “Damn my eyes, he will have a vessel built in a month;” while others ridiculed the helpless situațion of the boat, which was very deep in the water, and had so little room for those who were in her. As for Christian, he seemed as if meditating destruction on himself and every one else.
I asked for arms, but the mutineers laughed at me, and said I was well acquainted with the people among whom I was going; four cutlasses, however, were thrown into the boat, after we were veered astern.
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, I was forced over the side by a tribe of armed ruffians, 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, also the four cutlasses. The armourer and carpenter's mate then called out to me to remember that they had no hand in the transaction. After having been kept some time to make sport for these unfeeling wretches, and having undergone much ridicule, we were at length cast adrift in the open ocean.
Eighteen persons were with me in the boat,—the master, acting surgeon, botanist, gunner, boatswain, carpenter, master, and quarter-master's mate, two quartermasters, the sail-inaker, two cooks, my clerk, the butcher, and a boy. There remained on board, Fletcher Christian, the master's mate; Peter Haywood, Edward Young, George Stewart, midshipmen; the master-at-arms, gunner's mate, boalswain's mate, gardener, armourer, carpenter's mate, carpenter's crew, and fourteen seamen, being altogether the most able men of the ship's company,
Having little or no wind, we rowed pretty fast towards the island of Tofoa, which bore north-east about ten leagues distant. The ship while in sight steered westnorth-west, but this I considered only as a feint, for when we were sent away, “Huzza for Otaheite!” was frequently heard among the mutineers.
Christian, the chief of them, was of a respectable family in the north of England. This was the third voyage he had made with me. Notwithstanding the roughness with which I was treated, the remembrance of past kindnesses produced some remorse in him. While they were forcing me out of the ship, I asked him whether this was a proper return for the many instances he had experienced of my friendship He appeared disturbed at the question, and answered, with much emotion, “That -Captain Bligh-that is the thing I am in hell—I am in hell." His abilities to take charge of the third watch, as I had so divided the ship's company, were fully equal to the task.
Haywood was also of a respectable family in the north of England, and a young man of abilities, as well as Christian. These two had been objects of my particular regard and attention, and I had taken great pains to instruct them, having entertained hopes that, as professional men, they would have become a credit to their country. Young was well recommended; and Stewart of creditable parents in the Orkneys, at which place, on the return of the Resolution from the South Seas, in 1780, we received so many civilities, that in consideration of these alone I should gladly have taken him with me. But he had always borne a good character.
When I had time to reflect, an inward satisfaction prevented the depression of my spirits. Yet, a few hours before, my situation had been peculiarly flattering ; I had a ship in the most perfect order, stored with every pecessary, both for health and service; the object of the voyage was attained, and two-thirds of it now completed. The remaining part had every prospect of success.
It will naturally be asked, what could be the cause of such a revolt? In answer, I can only conjecture that the mutineers had flattered themselves with the hope of a happier life among the Otaheitans than they could possibly enjoy in England; which, joined to some female connexions, most probably occasioned the whole transaction.
The women of Otaheite are handsome, mild, and cheerful in manners and conversation; possessed of great sensibility, and have sufficient delicacy to make them be 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 concomitant circumstances, it ought hardly to be the subject of surprise that a set of sailors, most of them void of connexions, should be led away, where they had the power of fixing themselves in the midst of plenty, in one of the finest islands in the world, where there was no necessity to labour, and where the allurements of dissipation are beyond any conception that can be formed of it. The utmost, however, that a commander could have expected, was desertions, such as have already happened more or less in the South Seas, and not an act of open mutiny.
But the secrecy of this mutiny surpasses belief. Thirteen of the party who were now with me had always lived forward among the seamen ; yet neither they, nor the messmates of Christian, Stewart, Haywood, and Young, had ever observed any circumstance to excite suspicion of what was plotting; and it is not wonderful if I fell a sacrifice to it, my mind being entirely free from suspicion. Perhaps, had marines been on board, a sentinel at my cabin-door might have prevented it; for I constantly slept with the door open, that the officer of the watch might have access to me on all occasions. If the mutiny had been occasioned by any grievances, either real or imaginary, I must have discovered symptoms of discontent, which would have put me on my guard; but it was far otherwise. With Christian, in particular, I was on the most friendly terms; 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 indisposition, for which I felt concerned, having no suspicion of his honour or integrity.
SONNET ON CHILLON.
Eternal spirit of the chainless mind!
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
For there thy habitation is the heart-
To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom, And Freedom's fame finds wings on every
wind. Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar—for 't was trod, Until his very steps have left a trace, Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod, By Bonnivard!—May none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God.