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Revised 2010-03-31

Court-Martial of William Bligh et al.
for the Loss of the Bounty October 22, 1790
Testimony and Conclusion

The Court asked Lieutenant Bligh

Q. Have you any objection or complaint to make against any of your Officers and Ship's Company now present respecting the Seizure of His Majesty's Armed Vessel, the Bounty under your Command?

A. I have no other than the charges I have made against the Carpenter.

To the Officers and Men

Q. Have you any objection or complaint to make against Lieutenant Bligh?

A. None.

Then all of them, except Lieutenant Bligh being ordered out of Court Mr. John Fryer, the Master, was called in and sworn.

Q. Did you know any thing of the Mutiny before it broke out?

A. Not any thing.

Q. After the mutiny did break out did Captain Bligh and the rest of you use your best endeavours to recover her?

A. Every thing in our power.

Lieutenant Bligh asked

Q. Did you see me taken out of my Cabin?

A. I saw Lt Bligh going up at the Ladder with his hands tide behind him, and Fletcher Christian the Mate following him, holding the Cord he was tied with. He had a Cutlass in his hand.

Q. Did you see any other men under arms guarding me up?

A. The Master at Arms Charles Churchill with three or four other people.

Q. What became of me afterwards?

A. They took Captain Bligh on the deck abaft the Mizen Mast where they kept him in confinement. I got leave to go on deck to speak to him and after I came up I asked Mr Christian, who had then hold of Mr Bligh with a bayonet in his hand, what he could think of himself or what he was after, or words to that effect. He told me to hold my tongue, for he had been in hell for a week. After some little talk with Mr Bligh, Mr Christian ordered me to my Cabin again. I was kept confined to my Cabin till I was ordered into the boat.

Q. Who was the last man in the boat?

A. To the best of my recollection Mr Bligh. We were both at the gangway together, when they untied his hands in order to let him go into the boat.

The Witness withdrew

Mr. John Hallett, Midshipman, called in and sworn.

Q. Did you know anything of the Mutiny before it broke out?

A. No Sir.

Q. After the Mutiny did break out did Captain Bligh and the rest of you use your best Endeavours to recover her?

A. Yes Sir.

Lieutenant Bligh asked

Q. Did you see me taken out of my Cabin?

A. No, I did not.

Q. Who was the last man in the boat?

A. Captain Bligh.

Q. Although you did not see me taken out of my Cabin, did you not afterwards see me confined?

A. Yes. The Captain was up about half ways the companion when I first saw him with his hands tied behind him. He was naked all to his shirt and night cap, and Christian was close behind him and had hold of the cord. They brought him on deck and kept him there with several guards about him, and Christian himself stood close to him holding a bayonet close to his breast. Whenever he remonstrated with him, the only answer he got was "Not a word Sir". Christian then ordered us into the boat and I heard nothing further pass.

The Court asked

Q. Did you mess with Mr Christian?

A. I did.

Q. Did you reason with him at all at the time on his conduct?

A. The only question I asked him was, why I was turned into the boat in that manner, he made no answer at all.

Q. Were you Midshipman of the Watch?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see nothing to give you alarm previous to the Captain's being brought on deck?

A. The first thing that I saw was a number of men ran up the fore hatchway armed and run aft immediately. I then went to the fore hatchway with an intent to go down to call such Officers as were below and two bayonets were put up the hatchway and I was desired to stay where I was. Then I went aft and saw the Captain coming up the ladder as I before related.

Q. Where were the arms usually kept?

A. In a chest in the main hatchway.

Q. As you messed with Mr Christian it is natural to suppose, that you must have obsrved his conduct, did you ever see him talking to any of the people?

A. I never saw him speaking to any of them, except as duty.

Q. Did you see anything unusual during the watch, before you saw the people running up the fore hatchway?

A. No.

Q. In what part of the ship was the berth that you messed in?

A. On the starboard side the main hatchway.

Q. Did you observe the arms taken out of the arm chest before this?

A. No.

Q. Was he Christian in the same watch at this time?

A. Yes, he had the charge of the watch.

Q. Was Lieutenant Bligh permitted to go into his cabin to put his cloaths on, or was he put into the boat in the situation already described?

A. He never went below after I saw him on deck. His Servant was ordered to go below for his Trowsers, and to haul them on for him. He had nothing else on to my recollection.

Q. Was the arm Chest kept locked?

A. Always.

Q. Where were the keys of the arm chest kept?

A. In the Master's Cabin.

The Witness withdrew

Thomas Hayward, Midshipman, called in and sworn.

The Court asked

Q. Did you know anything of this mutiny efore it broke out?

A. No.

Q. After the mutiny did break out did Captain Bligh and the rest of you use your best endeavours to recover her?

A. Yes.

Lieutenant Bligh asked

Q. Did you see me taken out of my Cabin?

A. No.

Q. Although you did not see me taken out of my Cabin did you not afterwards see me confined?

A. I saw Lieutenant Bligh brought on deck with his hands behind him tied with a cord held by Mr Christian with several Mutineers around him. He asked them what they were going to do. Christian told him that they were going to do no harm only to put him on shore and then ordered us to hoist the small Cutter out. On our representing to him the smallness of the boat and her having a hole in her he gave us the large cutter. The Boatswain then came aft and told him that that was also small and hoped he would give us the longboat, which he did. He asked him for provisions and he ordered us to get some bread. We asked him for charts, and he refused it and for instruments and a compass. He gave us a quadrant and a sextant. The sextant was broke, but he refused a compass. He then ordered us into the boat and by some means, which I did not myself see, a compass was got into the boat with several other articles. We were then all ordered into the boat, Lieutenant Bligh excepted. After we were all secure in the boat Captain Bligh was put in after us. We asked for firearms which they positively refused but gave us four cutlasses. We were then veered astern they telling us that they would tow us into the land. Asking for some pork they refused unless we would give them the Boatswain's Call and the watch, which we had in the boat. When we delivered them up they threw us in some pork; finding that the Ship went through the water very slowly Captain Bligh thought it best we should cast off and take to our oars which we did, the Ship then veering about we made to the land and they to the southward and in about two or three hours we lost sight of them.

Q. Did the Ship tack before you put off?

A. No, she steered an irregular course.

Q. Did the Mutineers order the boat to be put off?

A. No.

Q. Was there any more than one arm chest in the Ship?

A. No.

Q. Had the Mutineers secured all the arms, that were in that arm chest?

A. Yes.

Q. Were the men, that were put into the boat with you, called upon deck one by one to be disposed of, or were they all upon deck together?

A. They were nearly all upon deck together.

Q. Were they bound?

A. No.

Q. Were the Mutineers all upon deck at that time and armed?

A. Yes.

Lieutenant Bligh asked

Q. How far astern was the boat or what length of rope had we when we were towing?

A. About six fathoms from the stern of the Ship, the rope was made fast, I think about the fore chains.

The Court was cleared and was was of opinion that the said armed vessel, the Bounty was violently and forceably taken from the said Lieutenant William Bligh by the said Fletcher Christian and certain other Mutineers, and did adjudge the said Lieutenant William Bligh, and such of the Officers and Ships Company as were returned to England and then present to be honourably acquitted.

The Court was opened, Audience admitted and sentence passed accordingly.

Mr. Greetham Jun'r
Judge Adv't for the Time being


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