A guy called Joseph Banks spotted it when he was with Captain Cook on Tahiti. Joseph Banks later became a major ideas man and fixer for the British Empire which was at that point in Phase One (steal anything thats not nailed down in which case steal the nails and then steal it). It has made me acquainted with three Things, which are little known, First, the Villainy & Censoriousness of Mankind second, the Futility of all Human Hopes - & third, the Enjoyment of being content in whatever station it pleases Providence to place me in Lieutenant William Bligh got the job and his little ship was called The Bounty. So after three weeks sailing back to England the 23 year old more-or-less second-in-command Fletcher Christian, later to be played by Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson, burst into Captain Blighs bedroom, grabbed him up in his nightshirt and thrust him and 19 others into a small launch and bade them go to the devil. The only reason which makes sense to me is that they had just had 5 months of all-sex-all-the-time paradise, and all that Captain Bligh was promising them was a tough voyage back to Blighty and look sharp about it. (In the crew of the Pandora was one of the loyal sailors from the Bounty.) It arrived on 23 March 1791 after a serene voyage and quickly rounded up the 14 mutineers they could find on Tahiti. The others took to the sea on four little boats and yes, very ironically they more or less had to duplicate Captain Blighs voyage of two years previously. Later in 1791 Captain Bligh was given a second chance to bring breadfruit from Tahiti to Jamaica. But alas, as Wikipedia laconically reports its immediate objective, which was to provide a cheap and nutritious food for West Indian slaves was not made, as most slaves refused to eat the new food The court martial of the mutineers, and the story of the second lot who made their way to Pitcairn Island and were discovered 15 years later is a tale too tangled to take up your time.
He recommended William Bligh as Captain as he wanted to collect breadfruit trees for transportation. He was a Royal Navy sailing master (chief navigator) by age 22 and served under Captain James Cook whom he worshiped. Another blow to the expedition was the Navy ordered Captain Bligh to sail around Cape Horn which was a treacherous shortcut to Tahiti during poor weather. Fletcher Christian was assigned master mate on the ship as age 23 and was recommend by Captain Bligh's wife Elizabeth for the voyage. He accused the sailors of thievery but the ship's cooper (man who make s wood containers to store food) reminded Captain Bligh that he had ordered the cheese to be delivered to his own home back in England. Things under Captain Bligh went from bad to worse and with Fletcher Christian's leadership, some of the men mutinied after spending five months in Tahiti. I highly recommend this book if you want to know the real history of what happened on that small merchant vessel HMS Bounty.
We tend to look at these ships Captains (Bligh was actually a Lieutenant) as tyrants. Bligh used the lash much less frequently than other Captains. After their trials, they in turn were able to slowly revise the history of the mutiny and make Flectcher Christian (and the mutineers in general) into a romantic renegade and Bligh the dogmatic and repressed tyrant.
We are familiar with the story of the Bounty, captained by William Bligh, and the mutiny, headed by Fletcher Christian but the story has morphed over the years into more of a myth. Bligh, who in the myth of the mutiny, was painted as a martinet who flogged his men constantly and treated them like animals.
This amounts to an historical bombshell, yet she presents it concisely, logically and authoritatively Most of us are well acquainted with the popular accounts of the mutiny. One of the first real novels I ever read was Nordhoff and Hall's MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY. The author spends a great deal of time reconstructing the motives and actions of Peter Heywood (Roger Byam in the Nordhoff and Hall book; Franchot Tone in the 1935 movie). Ms. Alexander's book makes that film seem like the Reader's Digest version of the event.
Duty and a pile of coconuts I was surprised while reading this book that no one I spoke with had ever heard of "the mutiny on the Bounty." In 1789, Lieutenant William Bligh sailed his ship, the Bounty, to the beautiful island of Tahiti. Unfortunately, a combination of combustible personalities, the beauty of Tahiti and its women, and a pile of stolen coconuts led to a mutiny that left Bligh and 18 other sailors abandoned on the rough seas in a very small boat. The maps and illustrations were great to help follow the story, but I wished it had included a list of the 46 men on the ship and their positions at the beginning, since it was hard to tell them all apart.
The mutiny in Tahiti left the mutineers scattered about the paradisiacal islands and found Bligh and 18 of his loyal crew members set adrift in a 23-foot open boat. Alexander does us all the favor of presenting Bligh the way he was understood and received in his day--as a brilliant navigator who, when placed in context, was not a brutal task-master at all.
My main complaint was that one of the first chapters of the book details what happened to the mutineers after the mutiny, but I didn't know who any of them were yet since I hadn't read the part of the book that actually deals with the mutiny. And then, after the bulk of the book has happened, the author doesn't revisit where the mutineers went with the boat and what life they lived before being picked up to answer for their crimes.
William Bligh, who was actually a lieutenant captaining the ship Bounty, sent from England to the South Pacific to gather of all things breadfruit (you have to read the book to understand this)was rudely awakened at swordpoint from his bunk to be informed that he would be leaving the ship. In charge of this operation was Mr. Fletcher Christian, (and God help me, I can't help but think of Mel Gibson every time his name was brought up), who explained that he was in Hell and could no longer abide the captain's behavior. We all know that Fletcher Christian and a few of his associates landed on & settled Pitcairn Island, which lay largely undiscovered...so what was the real story here? The story then moves to part two, in which we are introduced to each of the crew members including Captain Bligh & Fletcher Christian. The voyage of the Bounty commences, and this part of the book ends with the mutiny. Not that this is earthshaking in itself, but those of you who have read The Caine Mutiny (one of my favorite books of all time) will remember the dastardly Captain Queeg and the strawberry incident.