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  • MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY

    (hope I'm in the right place but if not Mods please move)

    A few months ago I became absolutely obsessed with this. I am talking a serious, passionate, all consuming obsession. It's been a long time since something historical has captured me in this way, but not for the first time, a subject became all consuming and I read, and read, and researched and ate it, thought about it and dreamt about it up till the point I was done and there was probably nothing left to read. Short of travelling to Pitcairn (possibly in retirement) I don't feel there is much more I can do to bolster my knowledge.

    This single maritime event was the subject of three Hollywood blockbusters and continues to fascinate many of us. There is also the small matter of this tiny two miles by one mile scrap of land in the middle of a vast, empty ocean thousands of miles from anywhere, on which a present day population continue to live. The descendants of the mutineeers and the Tahitian women they abducted (persuaded to leave their homes and go and live with them) on Pitcairn Island.

    Whether you are into maritime history or not, this has to be one of the most fascinating events surely? It obsessed me for several weeks. I feel I have become something of an aficionado (not an expert by a long shot) but someone who has read all I can possibly source, and can debate the subject intelligently and knowledgeably with anyone else who may have an interest.

    If Fletcher Christian, William Bligh and the sage of the Mutiny on the Bounty is something that has captured your imagination in the way it has mine, then I look forward to hearing from you.
    "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
    - Mad Jack Churchill.

  • #2
    One of the events that has been most distorted in popular (nay vulgar) understanding. One needs to read Bligh's own account and the official enquiry into it to get some balance. Popular understanding derives from Mutiny on the Bounty by James Norman Hall and Charles Bernard Nordhoff. This was a novel and not a history and Hall was an Irish American with a particular anti British attitude when he co authored it. Despite its depiction Bligh was actually an officer with a proven record for being the commander in the RN least prone to sentencing crew to flogging (and was criticised for this). The prime cause of the mutiny was that he had forbidden shore leave because too many of the crew were still suffering from venereal diseases and he didn't want to infect a local population who had hitherto been free of such afflictions ( a situation that Mr Christian and his associates changed after he mutiny). Bligh's oceanic voyage in a grossly overloaded and under provisioned boat after the mutiny is one of the great sagas of seamanship and navigation.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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    • #3
      Mark me darling

      I have read Bligh's own account and then some.

      When I say I have been 'obsessed' with this event I am not over egging the pudding.

      The whole thing has occupied my mind and time to the point I think I might possibly be moving into 'informed authority' territory.

      I appreciate your post, but without wishing to come across as a 'know-it-all on this particular subject', I do think I may have a bit of a head start on others who might contribute given my obsession of the past few months, and the absence of posts about it on here.
      "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
      - Mad Jack Churchill.

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      • #4
        When thinking about the character of Bligh I always reflect on his time as governor of NSW and his arrest and deposition by the New South Wales (aka Rum) Corps. Normal History tells us that the authorities in England knew that the Crony capitalist military in NSW were getting out of hand and needed to be reigned in. They sent Bligh but he was the wrong man for the job, or at least he didn't have the correct tools for the job of re-imposing law and order. Ultimately I see Bligh as a great man but not wily or Machiavellian enough to be effective as a true leader. Great Personal strength and intelligence still need some wit and guile to get you over the line.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rum_Rebellion

        The History of the mutineers on Pitcairn is another interesting case in itself, how their island paradise turned sour real fast and all drink, violence, sickness and insanity claimed the mutineers one by one until only John Adams survived. The fact that the Tahitians refused to be obedient slaves due to their skin and race didn't help. His straight from the first principles of the bible Christianity might have something for us all.
        One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

        "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
        Wu Cheng'en Monkey

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Chukka View Post
          The History of the mutineers on Pitcairn is another interesting case in itself, ...
          Now THAT is what I would like to know more about. It is amazing how they survived at all, let alone to the present day. I have never seen a full history of that group of people, just general stuff after the island was found again by the outside world.
          Anthropologists would have a field day... or so I thought. I have never seen an explanation of why the males continued to look so British and the women so Polynesian for 2 centuries, for example. Such a tiny group (I think it maxed-out at about 200 in the 1930s) would have been an ideal study group when it comes to that field.

          And the fact that they endured such a paroxysm of violence and went on to a peaceful, stable society is inspiring... I'd like to know how they did it. No enduring feuds came of it, and how that came to be would be a great lesson for the world today.

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          • #6
            Tucky my boy,

            One thing thatour Mark is spot on with is the distortion by modern standards of this story.

            australian researches took a good look at Bligh's service record on other ships, wanting to see for themselves jst what sort of "harsh' disciplinarian Bligh REALLY was.

            They compared sources with other ships, and focussed in on the number of floggings and other measures for bligh, as compared to other ships of the RN.

            when the results came back, (I don't have the figures for you, sorry), they revealed that Bligh was, in fact, nothing of the sort of a strict disciplinarian. The number of disciplinary actions on his vessels were very much below par, compared to the more sadistic and "to the letter of my instructions" type officers of the navy itself.

            This makes the mutineers protestations of "harsh" Mr. Bligh complete and utter tosh. It also calls into question the very reasoning behind the mutiny itself. Some postulate it was the vary fact that they were half way round the globe. They simply "thought they could get away with it" for an indefinate period. they also were not as ruthless as they should have been to guarantee their own success. bligh should have been put to the sword. no-one thought for a moment their humane gesture of putting him in a jolly boat and setting him to his fate, would backfire so badly.

            one f the reasons that the "Rum Rebellion" was put in motion at all was that bligh WAS a humanitarian BY THE STANDARDS OF THE DAY.

            The Rum Corps needed a much haraher man, who would dispence discipline by cutting out a section of loyal troops from the ranks of the corps themselves, and putting the rest in irons, or flogging and executing the rest.

            bligh wasn't up to it. As his service record from ships like "Bounty" show ell enough.

            bligh was browbeaten into submission by rum corps officers. It is speculative that the same thing happened to him on "bounty", his "softer" nature being taken advantage of by officers and men far away from the center of Maritime Justice.

            Drusus

            Sorry, all from memory, so no links. suffice to say that our Mark isn't as far away from the truth as fisrt thought. He usually never is very far away from the Truth, if not spot on.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
              Tucky my boy,
              Tucky's a girl, actually.
              The long toll of the brave
              Is not lost in darkness
              Over the fruitful earth
              And athwart the seas
              Hath passed the light of noble deeds
              Unquenchable forever.

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              • #8
                OOpps...

                Well, she DOES have a picture of Bob Tuck on the avatar, if thats really who it is..

                In fact, is anybody on this forum who they really say they are?

                Am I really me, or just a robot, going "down to the forum with a freind called "5"?

                My apolgies sir...err marm...MAMM...

                excuse me!
                My Articles, ALMOST LIVE, exclusive to The Armchair!

                Soviet Submarines in WW2....The Mythology of Shiloh....(Edited) Both Sides of the Warsaw Ghetto
                GULAG Glossary....Who Really Killed The Red Baron?....Pearl Harbor At 75
                Lincoln-Douglas Debates

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
                  OOpps...

                  Well, she DOES have a picture of Bob Tuck on the avatar, if thats really who it is..

                  In fact, is anybody on this forum who they really say they are?

                  Am I really me, or just a robot, going "down to the forum with a freind called "5"?

                  My apolgies sir...err marm...MAMM...

                  excuse me!
                  You do know that The Exorcist isn't a dog don't you?

                  Paul
                  ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                  All human ills he can subdue,
                  Or with a bauble or medal
                  Can win mans heart for you;
                  And many a blessing know to stew
                  To make a megloamaniac bright;
                  Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                  The Pixie is a little shite.

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                  • #10
                    I have always had a soft spot for Bligh.

                    I think he was unjustly maligned on the Bounty, and in the Rum Rebellion.

                    Christian, Johnson and MacArthur were all liars in my book!

                    JMO
                    The PLO claims ALL of Israel!!! There will and can NEVER be a "2 State solution".

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ozjohn39 View Post
                      I have always had a soft spot for Bligh.

                      I think he was unjustly maligned on the Bounty, and in the Rum Rebellion.

                      Christian, Johnson and MacArthur were all liars in my book!

                      JMO
                      Indeed, a brave and a consummate seaman: captured excellently by Anthony Hopkins in the filmThe Bounty. The tale that he was found hiding under a bed when the Rum Rebels arrived is so out of character as to be quite incredible.

                      I have spend several holidays on Norfolk Island where the overspill from Pitcairn Island were moved in the middle of the 19th.century, after the penal settlement there was closed. Here there are Christians, Quintals,Youngs etc galore.

                      An interesting survival is the local language (I think it qualifies) called " Norf'k" which is a fascinating creole mixture of West-of-England and Tahitian.
                      Thus a greeting is "What-a-way ,you ? ". Answer "I's a cushu ".(all right).
                      The speaker generallylooks Tahitian and yet...
                      Last edited by BELGRAVE; 21 Feb 16, 02:27.
                      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                      Samuel Johnson.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
                        You do know that The Exorcist isn't a dog don't you?

                        Paul
                        PROOF
                        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                          PROOF
                          For all that I bring evidence to the discussions on this site; this time you have me stumped.

                          Paul
                          ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                          All human ills he can subdue,
                          Or with a bauble or medal
                          Can win mans heart for you;
                          And many a blessing know to stew
                          To make a megloamaniac bright;
                          Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                          The Pixie is a little shite.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
                            You do know that The Exorcist isn't a dog don't you?

                            Paul
                            .... thank goodness I took down the skeleton, eh?

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                            • #15
                              I used to buy into the myth that Bligh was an out and out savage disciplinarian, but have come to see him more as a reasonable captain for the time and circumstance.

                              As for the folks of Pitcairn, well too much inbreeding and under-age 'marriage' led to a run in with the British and NZ/Australian? governments a few decades back.

                              One of my father's uncles [ended up with a peg leg], plied the seas on a windjammer and visited a number of remote spots, including Tristan da Cunha, Norfolk Island and Pitcairn.

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