On the 9th of September 1787
I entered on board His Majestys Armed Vessel Bounty,
Lieut. Wm. Bligh Commander, then lying at Deptford.
18 9th October following she drop'd down to long reach
& in a few days after saild for Spithead
where she anchor'd on the 4th of November
and after several attempts in one of which the Fore topsail Yard was carried away,
(which together with a cable that was rubbd at St. Helens
were return'd at Portsmouth Yard and new ones got in their stead)
she saild on the 23rd. of December with a fresh Gale Easterly,
which Increased to a heavy Gale by the 27th
in which the Ships Oars a spare Topsail yard & Top Gallt. Yard were wash'd from the Quarters
one of the Eye Bolts being drawn from the side.
She also ship'd a sea, which broke the Boats Chock
& tore all the planks from the large Cutters Stem,
and washd some empty Casks overboard which were on the Deck;
another Sea stove in a part of the stem between the deadlights,
but did very little other Damage except breaking an Azimuth Compass
& wetting a few bags of bread in the Cabbin;
the breach in the stem was soon secured, and the Ship hove to,
as it became dangerous to Scudd.
January, 1788. When the weather became Moderate we made sail, the Carpenters repaird the Boat & Chock & the wet bread was got up and dried and first used; we met with no other Accident or any thing Material till the 5th of January 1788 when we Made the Island of Tennariffe & anchord in the Road of St. Croix on the 6th. Map Here she Compleated her Water and took on board some Wine for the Ships use, and several Casks for Gentlemen in England and the West Indies, Four quarters of Miserable Beef a few pumpions & a Goat & Kid (which died soon after) were all the refreshments this Island afforded, the Beef was for the most part thrown overboard as soon as it was served out by the People who were not yet sufficiently come to their Stomacks to eat what they supposed to be either an Ass or Mule. Evry necessary except Wine was here both scarce & dear, nor Could the loss of the Topsail Yard & Sweeps be here repaird.
The Water being Compleated & the Hold Stowd the boats were got in on the l0th and the 11th We Weighd and Stood to the SW with a fine breeze and pleasant weather, the Ships Company were now put in three Watches and Mr. F. Christian appointed to act as Lieutenant by Order of Lieut. Bligh which order was read to the Ships Company —Mr. Bligh then informd them that as the length of the Voyage was uncertain (till He should get into the South Sea, and that He was not certain whether or no He should be able to get round Cape Horn as the Season was so far spent but at all events was determined to try,) it became Necessary to be Careful of the Provisions (particularly Bread) to Make them Hold out for which reason He orderd the Allowance of Bread to be reduced to two thirds, but let evry thing else remain at full, this was cheerfully received, and the Beer being out Grog was served. The Weather still Continuing fine a few days after, the Cheese was got up to Air, when on opening the Casks two Cheeses were Missed by Mr. Bligh who declared that they were stolen, the Cooper declared that the Cask had been opend before, while the Ship was in the River by Mr. Samuel's* order and the Cheeses sent to Mr. Bligh's house— Mr. Bligh without making any further inquiry into the Matter, ordered the Allowance of Cheese to be stoppd from Officers and Men till the deficiency should be made good, and told the Cooper He would give him a dam'd good flogging If He said any More about it.
These orders were strictly obey'd by Mr. Samuel, who was both Clerk and Steward; and on the next Banyan day butter only was Issued, this the seamen refused, alledging that their acceptance of the Butter without Cheese would be tacitly acknowledging the supposed theft, and Jno. Williams declared that He had carried the Cheeses to Mr. Blighs house with a Cask of Vinager & some other things which went up in the Boat from Long Reach as they persisted in their denial of the Butter, it was kept also for two Banyan days and no more notice taken. As the Ship approachd the Equator the pumpions began to spoil, and being in general too large for the Cabbin Use, they were Issued to the Ships Company in lieu of bread.
The People being desirous to know at what rate the exchange was to be, enquired of Mr. Samuel who informd them that they were to have one pound of Pumpion in lieu of two pounds of bread, this they refused, and on Mr. Blighs being informd of it He Came up in a violent passion, and Calld all hands telling Mr. Samuel to Call the first Man of every Mess and let him see Who would dare to refuse it, or any thing else that He should order to be Served, saying 'You dam'd Infernal scoundrels, I'll make you eat Grass or any thing you can catch before I have done with you.' This speech enforced his orders, and evry one took the pumpion as Calld, Officers not excepted, who tho it was in their eyes an imposition said nothing against it, tho it was plain to be seen that they felt it more severely than the Men, who having yet a Good Stock of Potatoes which they had laid in at Spithead did not Immediately feel the effects of such a reduction of their Bread—as the pumpion was always served at one pound a Man it was frequently thrown together by the seamen and the Cooks of the diffrent Messes drew lots for the Whole. The pumpion was Issued evry other day, till they were all expended, and in all probability the grievance would have ended with them, but private stock began to decreace and the Beef and Pork to appear very light, and there had never yet been any Weighd when Opend, it was supposed that the Casks ran short of their Weight, for which reason the people applyd to the Master, and beggd that he would examine the business and procure them redress.
The Master making this known to Mr. Bligh he order'd all Hands aft and informd them that evry thing relative to the provisions was transacted by His Orders, and it was therefore Needless to make any Complaint for they would get no redress, as he was the fittest Judge of what was right or wrong. He further added, that He would flog the first Man severely who should dare attempt to make any Complaint in future and dismissd them with severe threats.
The seamen seeing that no redress could be had before the end of the Voyage, determined to bear it with patience and Neither Murmur'd or Complaind afterwards, however the Officers were not so easy satisfied and made frequent Murmurings among themselves about the smallness of their Allowance and Could not reconcile themselves to such unfair Proceedings; but they made no Complaint seeing that the Men had drop'd it and did not appear either in publick or private to take any notice of it.
When a Cask was broachd they saw with regret all the prime pieces taken out, for the Cabbin table, while they were forced to take their Chance in Common with the Men, of what remain'd without the satisfaction of knowing whether they had their Weight or Not; being forced to take it as Markd—this Circumstance while it served to increase their distress and to draw forth heavy Curses on the Author of it in private helpd to Make the Men reconciled to their part, seeing that it was not level'd at them alone but that all shared a like fate, Nor were they as the Sea phrase expresses it able or calculated 'to stand the Wrangle in the Gally for their Pease, & Oatmeal, which was served in very sparing quantities—So sparing that there never was any of either left for the Hogs who must have Starved but for bread & the Indian Corn purchased for the Poultry.
The Usual Allowance of Pease was Seven Quarts for the Whole Compliment and of which none faild to partake and of Oatmeal Nine quarts each banyan day. In the Pease was frequently boild four Cakes of Portable beef Broth and some Sourkrout (Salted Cabbage)—The Butter and Cheese being expended Oil and Sugar was served in lieu, in the proportion of half a jill of Oil, & one Ounce of Sugar pr Man each banyan day.
We Caught very few fish while standing a Cross the trades. Near the line we had heavy rain, & filld several Casks of Water both for our selves and stock—& Crossd the Line with the Usual Ceremony. Map
March, 1788. We Met with No accident or Occurrence worth Mentioning except speaking the British Queen of London since leaving Tennariff, She was bound for the Cape of Good Hope on the Whale Fishery—on board this ship we sent letters for England supposing she would in all probability be the last We should see Mar 23, 1788 on this side of Cape Horn— We saw several ships on the Coast of Patagonia, but spoke None of them; and Carried a fair Wind & fair Weather (except at intervals) with us till We made Terra del Fuego which Happend on the 23d. March. Map
23d. March. One of the Sheep dying this morning Lieut. Bligh order'd it to be Issued in lieu of the Days allowance of Pork & Pease; declaring that it would Make a delicious Meal and that it weighd upwards of fifty pounds, it was divided and most part of it thrown overboard, and some dried shark supplyd its place for a Sundays dinner, for it was no other then Skin & Bone. The Day Continued fine, and We stood along the land Crossing the Straight of La Maire; but fair Weather in this Clime is always a fore-runner of foul, and this we found by experience as soon as we were Clear of Staten Land, but before it set in we got the top Gallt. Masts down & made evry thing ready for it—The Appearance of the Country is rugged & barren—and the Snow on the hills gives it a very Inhospitable look at a Distance.
What it may be on a Nearer View I do not pretend to say. We saw here Vast quantitys of seals, Pengwins, Shags & other Sea fowles, White & Black Albtrosses—some of which We caught which made an excellent Meal. Some of them Measured upwards of 8 feet from tip to tip of their Wings; the Black ones We Calld Padries, but never Caught any of them. We tried for fish but without success. The weather becoming very sharp as We stood to the Southward, the people requested that their Rum might be served without water, this was readily agreed to as the water was saved by it, and the allowance of water was now reduced to 3 pints pr day which in such Weather as We had was more than sufficient, having no Method of using it otherwise then as drink, and this indulgence was not lost on the Seamen Whose Spirits seemd to have an additional flow from it, they thought Nothing of Hardship and Notwithstanding fatigue and increasing bad weather they Carried on their duty with alacrity and Cheerfulness; anticipating the Pleasure and profit they hoped to reap by the success of the Voyage.
Wheat & Barly were now boild evry Morning for breakfast, in lieu of the Bargoo, but of this the quantity was so small that it was no uncommon thing for four Men in a Mess to draw lots for the Breakfast, and to devide their bread by the well known Method of 'Who shall have this' nor was the Officers a hair behind the Men at it.
The quantity of Wheat boild was one Gallon for 46 Men, of which they all partook, and of Barley two pounds for the like number—the division of this scanty allowance Caused frequent broils in the Gally, and in the present bad Weather was often like to be attended with bad Consequences and in one of these disputes the Cook Thos. Hall got two of His ribbs broken, & at a Nother time Churchill got his Hand Scalded and it became at last Necessary to have the Masters Mate of the Watch to superintend the division of it.
The Weather Continued to grow Worse evry day, hail rain sleet & snow or rather large flakes of half formd Ice alternately following each other in heavy squalls, which often reduced us under bare poles & battend Hatches, as the sea made fair breaches over us running in a Manner Unknown in Northern Climes frequently obscuring the sun when 20° above the Horison, tossing the ship so violently that the people could not stand the deck without the assistance of a rope or something to hold by; at several times with this violent Motion and sudden Jerking Mr. Huggan the Surgeon was flung down the after ladder into the Cockpit and dislocated his shoulder, and a few days after Richd. Skinner Met with the same fate in the same place, and Peter Linkletter got a hurt in his back by being thrown down in the fore Cock pit, of which he always complaind afterwards—Yet notwithstanding the severity and inclemency of the Season and the Continued Gales & repeated Squalls, which seemd to break with redoubled violence & threaten us every Moment with distruction such was the alacrity and carefulness of Officers & Men, that we never lost a spar, or a Yard of Canvas, tho frequently forced to take the sails in, after loosing them before the tacks Could be hauld on board or the Sheets aft.
Sweet Wort was Now Made from Malt, & a pint a Man served hot evry day, which was very acceptable & Nourishing in our present situation; but the intense cold, and being continually Wet, the hard duty & continual fatigue which the rigourous Season required, this and the uncomfortable situation of the Men between decks which were always filld with smoke while the Hatches were fast, soon began to lay hold of their constitutions & several fell sick. The straining of the ship tho perfectly sound, kept the hammocks always wet, which made them very uncomfortable, Not only for the Sick but for the Well. As the people began to fall sick the duty became heavyer on the Well but was still Carried on with alacrity & Spirit; and the behaviour of the Seamen, in this trying Situation, was such as Merrited the entire Approbation of the Officers, and Mr. Blighs thanks in a Publick speech.
After a fatiguing, and innefectual tryal, it was found that the Passage round Cape Horn was not practicable at this season of the year, tho we had reach'd the 62nd deg: of South Lattitude & 79th of West Longitude; yet we found that we lost ground, and tho the Ship was an excellent Sea Boat, it was as much as she could do to live in this tremendous sea where the Elements seem to wage Continual War.
April, 1788. On the 18th of April Mr. Bligh ordered all hands aft and after returning them his thanks for their unremitted attention to their duty, informd them of his intention to bear away for the Cape of Good Hope; as it appear'd to him an Impossibility to get round Cape Horn.
This was received with Universal Joy and returnd according to Custom with three Cheers; the Ship was instantly put before the Wind, & the reef'd Foresail, & Close reefd Main topsail set, which with the Main Sail & Mizen Staysail were the Chief sails that had been in use for some time; but they were seldom in use all at the same time. A hog was now killd & served out in lieu of the days allowance, which tho scarce anything else but skin and bone was greedily devoured; evry one by this time being fairly Come to their Appetites—in the Evening the Wind veerd to the Northward which induced Lieut. Bligh to heave to, & try again, tho We had run near 120 Miles to the Eastward, Apr 22, 1788 but these flattering appearances soon vanishd & are always forerunners of something worse, for it shifted again to the West and blew with redoubled fury and we again bore away on the 22nd., seeing our hopes vain While we continued in this inhospitable Climate; the Thermometer was seldom at the freezing Point but We always thought it much colder then the Thermometer seemed to indicate, which might be partly owing to the Continual Sleet over head, and the Ship being drenchd alternately with seas; so that No Man could keep dry for one minute after He came on Deck. After we bore away we got the Hatches opend which we could not very often do before, being forced to keep them almost constantly battend down. We also got the stoves to work airing and drying the Ship between decks, and the sick recovered fast, as we got into a more temprate Climate.
We met with Nothing during this passage worth Mentioning, nor Could we find the Isles of Tristan de Cunha according to their situation on the Chart tho We hove to, & lay by part of a Night for that purpose; this perhaps is owing to their not being well laid down. Map
May, 1788. We made the Cape on the 23d. of May, and anchord in False Bay on the 25th, here we found Several Dutch and french Ships and soon after Arrived & Waterd here the Hon. East India Companys Ship Dublin who also Saild & left us here. Map.
June, 1788. Fresh provisions were now procured, with Soft Bread & Wine for present use, the Pease, Oatmeal Oil & Sugar were stopd except Oatmeal for Mondays which by general Consent was kept for thickening the Broth, we also hauld the Seine with various Success & Caught several fine fish With Hook & line Calld Here Romans and Hottentots, and a few Seals on a Rockey Island in the Middle of the Bay Calld by us Seal Island where those Animals resort in great Numbers and lay basking themselves like Swine in the Sun; on this Island we found part of a Boat which had been dashd to peices and several Bundles of Seals Skins which were for the most part rotten; as the Island is an entire rock it affords Shelter for No Animals but the Seals, & Sea fowls with which it abounds, and on firing a Musquet they rise up in vast flocks, making a great Noise, and in a Manner forming a Cloud over the Whole Island which is not more then half a Mile in Circumference.
The Birds are Gannets, Shags, boobys, Gulls, Cape Hens, Peterels of sorts & Pengwins. We found here a large bird of the Size of a Goose of a Grey Collour which seemd to us unable to fly, several of which we knockd down and from their darting imedeatly at the Eye of those who Came in their reach we Calld them Eye peckers, they were full as heavy as a Goose but their flesh rank & coarse and indifferent food. On enquiry Concerning the Boat we found that this place used to Supply the Settlement with oil but that the Boat had been lost in a Gale of Wind & her Crew of Seven hands drown'd but the Dutchmen had never been so Curious as to enquire how, the landing being very bad it is possible she might have been dash'd in pieces in attempting to land as part of her was there in our time but as we saw no bones we supposed the Men never reachd the shore—and the Govrnor has never sent a boat there since; this Island lays about 3 leagues East of Symons Bay.
While We remaind here the Ship was reffitted, the rigging over-hauld, and the Sails repaird, the Armourer set to work to make new hinges for the Weather boards which had been washd away, the Carpenter and his Mates with two Dutch Caulkers Caulkd the Sides and repair'd the Weather Boards, the Hold unstowd to get the Iron Stockd anchor up, and the Sheet put down in lieu, the Water filld, & several long boat loads of stones got in for Ballast, the Bread sifted, and an addittion of 9 Cwt got in for Sea store, and 3 Barrels of Brandy and 2 of Arack with some flour and Raisins, and the powder taken on shore and aird, to which also was added two Barrels of fine Dutch Powder, from the Fort—Hay and Barly was procured for the stock of Sheep Goats and Poultry.
July, 1788. Evry thing being Compleat by the 1st of July we saild, having on board five live sheep for the Ships Companys use & some Pidgons and we stood to the Eastward with a fine Breeze; as we edged to the Southward the Wind increased to a fresh Gale and Continued with little alteration—we passd Close by the Island of St. Paul, but saw no place where a landing might be made with safety, the Island is high & barren affording but a very few trees, & shrubs; but as this was the dead of winter it may have a better appearance in Summer, we Saw no appearance of Water on any Part Sep 3, 1788 and a heavy Gale coming on prevented our further examination and We arrived at Adventure bay in N Holland Map Without any Material accident on the 2nd or 3rd of September where We Wooded & Waterd and Saild about the Middle of the Same Month for Taheite.
The Country is Mountainous, & Clothed with Wood from the Beach to the tops of the Mountains, the trees are of several kinds and run to a prodigious size; we measured one which had fallen, by being burnt at the root by the Natives, which was 27 Yards to the first Branch & 9 in Circumference.
The Surf on the Beach makes the labour of Wooding and Watering very severe in the Winter Season, and the water tho plenty, is neither Good nor Convenient.
The Soil near the Beach is Sandy, but on the Hills is a strong red loam and in Clear places affords excellent Grass which We Cut & dried for the Sheep & Goats, and on the East part of the Bay planted some Vines Pear trees & Bananas which we brought from Tennariff & the Cape with several kinds of seeds, marking the adjacent trees with the Ship & Commanders Names & the date of the Year; we saw no quadruped but a dead Opossum, but various kinds of Birds; among which were Black Swans, Ducks, Hawks, Parroquets, Sea Pyes, & several others which we could not name with numbers of Gannets & other sea fowles. We hauld the Seine but had no success catching very few fish—we saw several of the natives huts which consist of nothing more in structure then several pieces of Bark set up against a tree and round them several marks of fire & number of Crab, Muscle & other Shells, and a few days before we saild, some of the Natives came down on the rocks on the West part of the Bay, where Mr. Bligh, accompanied by Mr. Nelson, went in the Cutter to see them and made them several presents, of which they seemd to take very little notice, as they approachd the Boat, the Weomen stayd at some distance, and the Men, in Number 10, threw away their short sticks, and came close down on the rocks.
Their Collour was nearly black but they appeard to be smutted in several parts with Charcoal, their heads were all Close shorn, so that we could not tell whether they were woolly or not but thought that the short remains lookd more like wool then hair, their Countenances were by no means agreeable, and their teeth black and uneven: they were quite naked, and appeard harmless miserable Creatures. Amongst them was one very much deformd which Mr. Nelson declared to be the same he had seen here on a former Voyage.
Tho they did not appear in the least Curious to examine any thing given them, they talk'd a good deal which none of us understood, and would frequently Jump up & shout seemingly pleased, When the Boat rose higher then Common on the surf and again When she fell; as we did not land it was not possible to see into their Method of living but from the Number of shells at different places we supposed that Shell fish was their Chief food. We saw no Canoes among them tho they appeard by their lights in the night to be numerous we therefore supposed that they depend on what the sea throws up, and on the whole appear the most miserable creatures on the face of the Earth. While we were here, the Carpenters sawd some plank while the wooding & watering was going on, bread was served at full allowance, & Water Gruel boild for breakfast, but as soon as we put to Sea we returnd to the former Allowance and here also were sown seeds of eternal discord between Lieut. Bligh and his Officers.
He confined the Carpenter, and found fault with the innatention of the rest, to their duty, which produced continual disputes evry one endeavouring to thwart the others in their duty, this made the men exert themselves to divert the storm from falling on them by a strict attention to their duty and in this they found their account and rejoyced in private at their Good success. Soon after we saild we discovered a Group of small Islands to the Eastward of New Zealand which were Call'd the Bountys Isles, and Jas. Valentine having been let blood his arm festered and turnd to a mortification of which he Died. Several of the seamen particularly the oldest began to complain of Pains in their limbs and some simptoms of the Scurvy began to make its appearance and weakness and debility began to be observed through the Ships Company, for which Essence of Malt was given to those who appeard worst with portable soup & rice from the Surgeons Chest; the salt provisions were also stopd & flour given in lieu.
October, 1788. During this passage Mr. Bligh and His Mess mates the Master & Surgeon fell out, and seperated, each taking his part of the stock, & retiring to live in their own Cabbins, after which they had several disputes & seldom spoke but on duty; and even then with much apperant reserve. —previous to making Taheite, a dispute happend between Mr. Bligh and the Master, relative to signing some books, which the Master had refused to sign, for reasons best known to himself, Upon which all Hands were Calld aft, and the Articles of War read, and some part of the Printed Instructions, after Which the Books and papers were produced with a Pen and ink and Mr. Bligh said 'Now Sir Sign them Books.'
The Master took the Pen and said 'I sign in obedience to your Orders, but this may be Cancelled hereafter.' The Books being signed the People were dismiss'd to return to their duty.
On the 24th of October we made the Island of Mayteea (or Osnaburgh Island) and stood Close in with it when Several of the Natives came down on the Rocks on the North part & waved large pieces of White Cloth, but none attempted to come off and in the afternoon we bore away for Taheite Map which we made between 5 and 6 in the N W—at 8 we hove too and at 4 in the Morning of the 25th made sail and anchord at 10 in Port Royal (or Ma'taavye Bay. Map