I had the first watch on the 28th April 1789, Captain Bligh came on deck, and gave orders for the night. I was relieved at twelve o'clock by William Peckover the gunner, and the gunner was relieved at four by Mr. Christian; all was quiet at twelve, when I was relieved; at dawn of day I was alarmed by a noise in the cabin, and as I went to jump up from my bed, Sumner and Quintal laid their hands on my breast, and desired me to lay down, adding, "Sir, you are a prisoner." I attempted to expostulate with them, but they told me to hold my tongue, or I was a dead man; if quiet, no man in the ship would hurt me. I then, by raising myself on the locker, saw Captain Bligh on the ladder going on the quarter-deck in his shirt, with his hands tied behind him, Christian holding him by the cord; Churchill came to my cabin, and took a brace of pistols and a hanger, saying, "I'll take care of these, Mr. Fryer." When I saw Captain Bligh on the ladder, I asked, what they were going to do with him; when Sumner answered, "Damn his eyes, put him into the boat, and let the bugger see if he can live upon three-quarters of a pound of yams per day." I said, For God's sake for what? Sumner and Quintal replied, "Hold your tongue, Mr. Christian is captain of the ship, and recollect, Mr. Bligh brought all this upon himself." I advised them to consider what they were about. Sumner replied, "they knew well what they were about, or they would not persist." I then persuaded them to lay down their arms, and assured them nothing should happen for what they had done. They replied, 'Hold your tongue, it is too late now.' They said they would put Captain Bligh into the small cutter. I said, her bottom was almost worn out. They said, 'Damn his eyes, the boat is too good for him.' I said I hoped he was not to be sent by himself. They said, "No; Mr. Samuel, Mr. Heywood, and Mr. Hallet, are going with him." I then requested to go on deck to Captain Bligh, before he went into the boat; they refused to let me. I then prevailed on them to let me call to Christian on the deck, to get permission; I did so, and was permitted to go on deck. When I came on deck, Captain Bligh was standing by the mizen-mast with his hands tied behind him, Christian holding the cord with one hand, and a bayonet in the other. I said to Christian, Consider what you are about; Christian answered, "Hold your tongue, Sir, I've been in hell for weeks past; Captain Bligh has brought all this upon himself." I said, their not agreeing was no reason for taking the ship. Christian replied, "Hold your tongue, Sir, this instant." I then said, You and I have been upon friendly terms during the voyage, give me leave to speak; let Captain Bligh go down to his cabin, I make no doubt all will be friends again in a short time. Christian again said, "Hold your tongue, Sir, it is too late." Being threatened by Christian, I said no more on that head. I then said, Mr. Christian, pray give Captain Bligh a better boat than the cutter, the bottom is almost out, let him have a chance to get on shore. Christian answered, "No; that boat is good enough." I whispered to Captain Bligh to keep up his spirits, for if I stay on board I may find means to follow you. Captain Bligh said aloud, "By all means stay, Mr. Fryer"; and further said, "Isaac Martin" (then under arms) "was a friend"; and likewise said several times, "Knock Christian down." Christian must have heard all this, but took no notice. Sumner and Quintal, who had followed me upon deck, were behind all the time with musquets and bayonets. I tried to pass Christian to speak to Martin, but could not. Christian, putting a bayonet to my breast, said, "If you advance an inch further, I'll run you through"; and ordered me down to my cabin, and Sumner and Quintal conveyed me there. Going down the hatchway, I saw Morrison fixing a tackle to the launch's stern. I said, Morrison, I hope you have no hand in this business; he said, "No, Sir; I do not know a word about it." I said in a low voice, If that is the case be on your guard, there may be an opportunity of rescuing the ship. His answer was, "Go down, Sir, it is too late." I was then confined to my cabin, and Milward was put over me as a third centinel. I then thought Milward friendly, and winked at him to knock Sumner down, who stood next him. Milward immediately cocked his piece and dropped it, pointing to me, saying, "Mr. Fryer, be quiet, no one will hurt you." I said, Milward, your piece is cocked, you had better uncock it, you may shoot some person; then holding up his piece said, "Sir, there is no one means to hurt you." Sumner said, "No, that was our agreement not to commit murder." Mr. Peckover and Nelson continued in the cock-pit, and I persuaded the guards set over me to let me go to them. I found Mr. Nelson and Mr. Peckover in his cabin. Nelson said, "Mr. Fryer, what have we brought on ourselves?" and Mr. Peckover said, "What is best to be done?" I told them, I had spoke to Captain Bligh to keep up his spirits, and if I stay on board, I hope soon to be able to follow him; and that Captain Bligh had desired me to stay by all means. I then said to Mr. Nelson and Mr. Peckover, If you are ordered into the boat, say you will stay on board; and I flatter myself we shall restore the ship in a short time. Mr. Peckover said, "If we stay, we shall all be deemed pirates." I said, No; I would be answerable for any one who would join me. Whilst we were talking, Hilbrant was in the bread room getting bread to put in the boat. I think Hilbrant must have heard our conversation, and went upon deck and told Christian, for I was immediately ordered up into the cabin. I then heard from the centinels Sumner, Quintal, and Milward, that Christian had consented to give Captain Bligh the launch, but not for his sake, but for the safety of those that were going with him. I then asked if they knew who were going with him; they said No, but they believed a great many. Christian then ordered every man a dram that was under arms, and Smith, the Captain's servant, served the drams out. I then hoped I should stay on board, that if the men got drunk, I should be able to take the ship. Mr. Nelson and Peckover were then ordered upon deck, and I soon afterwards. And Christian said to me, Mr. Fryer, go into the boat, I said, I will stay with you, Sir, if you will give me leave; but Christian said, No Sir, go directly. Captain Bligh being on the gangway without the rail, his hands at liberty, said, Mr. Fryer, stay in the ship. Christian said, No, by God, Sir, go into the boat, or I will run you through, pointing the bayonet to my breast. I then went outside the rail to Captain Bligh, and asked Christian to let Mr. Tinkler (my brother-in-law) go with me: Churchill said, No; but after some time Christian permitted it, and upon request let me have his trunk, but ordered nothing else to be taken out of my cabin. I requested my log book and quadrant, but they were denied, as Captain Bligh had a quadrant. I cannot say who went into the boat first, whether Captain Bligh or myself, we were both on the gangway together, and all the time bad language was used towards Captain Bligh, by the people under arms. I begged for muskets, but Churchill refused, saying Captain Bligh was well acquainted where he was going. The boat was then ordered astern, and four cutlasses handed into her, by whom I know not; but the people all this time used very bad language towards the Captain, adding, Shoot the bugger. William Cole, the boatswain, said to Captain Bligh, We had better put off, or they will do us some mischief; which Captain Bligh agreed to, and we rowed astern to get out of the way of the guns. Christian ordered the top gallant sails to be loosened, and the ship steered the same course as Captain Bligh had ordered. From the confusion and great attention we were obliged to pay for our preservation, I had no means or opportunity to make any notes or memorandums until we arrived at Timor. I observed under arms, Christian, Churchill, and Burkitt, that they were in the cabin securing the Captain; Sumner, Quintal, and Milward, were centinels over me, Martin was centinel at the hen coop, and the four persons following wished to go into the boat. Coleman, who called to the witness several times to recollect that he had no hand in the business; McIntosh and Norman were leaning over the rail, and Byrne was along side; all appeared to be crying. Byrne said, If he went into Captain Bligh's boat, the people would leave him when he got on shore, as he could not see to follow them. I did not perceive Heywood upon the deck the time the ship was seized.
COURT. What number of men did you see on the deck at each time you went there?
A. Eight or ten.
Q. How long did you remain there each time?
A. Ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour.
Q. What works were going on each time?
Q. Do you think the boats could be hoisted out by eight or ten persons?
Q. You have no reason to know who were under arms besides those you have named?
Q. When the dram was served, did you see any of the prisoners partake?
Q. You say when the cutlasses were handed into the boat there was much bad language, did any one of the prisoners join on that occasion?
A. Not to my knowledge, it was a general thing.
Q. At the time you were ordered upon the deck after the conversation in the cockpit, how, and by whom were these orders conveyed to you?
Q. You say when the boat was cast off, you rowed astern to get out of the way of the guns: had you seen any preparations made for firing?
A. I meant the small arms they had in their hands, when they said Shoot the bugger.
Q. When you heard Christian order the top gallant sails to be hoisted, was you near enough to know any of the people that went on the yards?
A. Since: I frequently told the people in the boat, that I had not seen the Youngsters on deck.
Q. How many men went up to loosen the topsails?
A. He appeared very uneasy.
A. None but the four.
Q. In what part of the ship was the Youngster's birth?
A. Down the main hatchway on each side.
Q. Did you observe any centinel over the main hatchway?
A. I believe he was, with a cutlass.
Q. Did you consider him as a centinel over the Youngster's birth?
A. Yes; and a centinel on the arm chest at the same time.
Q. Was any effort made by any person to rescue the ship?
Q. What was the distance of time from the first alarm to the time of your being forced into the boat?
A. Two hours and a half, or three hours.
Q. Had there been any recent quarrel?
A. No; the same centinels that confined me, kept them below.
N. B. Prisoners were now asked, If they had any questions to ask the witness.
A. Yes, I am; "Go down to your cabin, it is too late."
Q. Ditto.—Do you recollect my saying, I will do my endeavours to raise a party and rescue the ship?
Q. Ditto.—Did you observe any part of my conduct on any part of that day that leads you to think I was one of the mutineers?
A. I never saw him only at that time, and his appearance gave me reason to speak to him; he appeared friendly, but his answer surprized me; I did not expect it from him; whether he spoke from fear of the others, I know not.
A. Probably it might; if I had staid in the ship, he would have been one of the first I should have opened my mind to, from his good behaviour.
Q. Did he speak to you in a threatening tone, or address you as advice?
A. As advice.
Q. Did you see or hear me swearing or giving any directions, or taking any charge when on the deck, or during the mutiny?
Q. Did I not do my duty on the voyage as a seaman?
A. No, you was ordered as an additional centinel over me after wards.
Q. Had I the arms I held at that time voluntarily, or by force?
A. I cannot tell.
Q. Do you recollect what I said when I came down to the cockpit?
A. Nothing but what I have said already.