Other Post Log Book about Bounty

John A Silkstone

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Log book’s discovery reveals how Navy caught up with Bounty mutineerSimon de Bruxelles Recommend? It was the moment the Royal Navy finally caught up with the mutineers who had taken over HMS Bounty and set its captain William Bligh adrift in an open boat.

For 25 years warships had searched the South Pacific to bring the mutineers to justice but found no trace of them.

Now, a naval officer’s logbook containing a brief account of the rediscovery of Pitcairn Island, where the mutineers led by Fletcher Christian had taken refuge, has turned up in a house clearance in Cambridge. The log was kept by a junior officer serving on board HMS Briton, which put into Pitcairn in September 1814, where it found the last surviving mutineer, John Adams, then the patriarch of a thriving Christian community.

The 44-gun HMS Briton had been dispatched to the Pacific by the Admiralty to intercept an American frigate, the USS Essex, which had been wreaking havoc with the British whaling fleet.

Midshipman Hoodthorp appears to have been a man of few words. On September 17, 1814 he wrote: “. . . found the island inhabited by the descendants of Mr F. Christian and mutinous Crew of the Bounty settled here AD1788 . . .” However, his log gives the wrong date — the mutiny did not take place until 1789, with the mutineers settling on Pitcairn in 1790.

The Briton and her sister ship HMS Tagus were there for less than a day, but several of the islanders visited the ship. The visitors included Thursday October Christian, Fletcher Christian’s eldest son.

The visitors agreed it would be “an act of great cruelty” to arrest Adams. In 1825, he was granted amnesty and the island’s capital, Adamstown, is named after him. He died in 1829 aged 62. The logbook is expected to sell for up to £1,000 when it is auctioned at Cheffins, in Cambridge, tomorrow.

In April 1789, 1,300 miles from Tahiti, Fletcher Christian, with 18 of the 42-man Bounty crew on his side, entered William Bligh’s cabin and ordered him off the ship. Bligh and 22 others were set adrift in the Bounty’s launch but survived. He later faced a court martial for losing his vessel but was acquitted.

The mutineers tried to settle in Tahiti but were attacked by cannibals, and when they landed on the uninhabited Pitcairn they burnt the Bounty. Fletcher Christian’s descendants live on the island, which has a population of about 50.

Distant relations

Pitcairn Island is one of the world’s most remote communities, halfway between New Zealand and Peru. With 50 residents, it is also one of the least populated and boasts that it is also the world’s smallest democracy

In the 19th century the population outgrew its 4.6 square kilometres and the Government moved all 193 islanders to Norfolk Island. Within 18 months many of them, homesick and miserable, returned to Pitcairn, where their descendants still live

The island was known for little but its link with the Bounty until allegations of sexual abuse of young girls for which the mayor Steve Christian, his son Randy, and four other men were convicted in 2004

Their lawyers failed to establish that Pitcairn is not subject to British law, but did get the trial transferred from New Zealand to Pitcairn

Ironically, in view of the attractions that persuaded the Bounty mutineers to stay in the South Pacific, the islanders are Seventh Day Adventists, and bans on smoking, drinking and dancing have only recently been relaxed
 
This was great reading material - took me for a spin into history right into modern day society!

Thanks, Silky.

AW
 

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