Manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue
Adlib Internet Server 5


  • Title
    William Bligh - Papers relating to HMS Bounty, 1787-1794, undated
  • Call number
    Safe 1/46a ; Safe 1/45 ; Safe 1/37 ; Safe 1/43 ; DLMSQ 163 ; Safe 1/33 ; Safe 1/44 ; PRO 1601
  • Level of description
  • Date

    1769-1822, undated
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Issue Copy
    Microfilm : Logbook of HMS Bounty, 1 Dec. 1787 - 13 Mar. 1790: Safe 1/46-47).
    Photocopy : Xerox copyflo volumes (open access) at CY Safe 1/33, CY Safe 1/44-47 and CY DL MSQ 163. Xerox of Bligh's logbook on HMS Bounty, 1 Dec. 1787 - 13 Mar. 1790, is at CY Safe 1/46-47.
    Microfilm : ADM 55/151: Bligh's official HMS Bounty Log, 16 Aug. 1787 - 20 Aug. 1789. Original held in the Public Record Office, London.
  • Scope and Content
    (1) LOG BOOKS, 1787-1790
    Personal log books (2) containing a daily log account of hourly entries (climatic conditions, navigational data and brief comments) running from noon to noon, together with journal entries titled `Remarks' being an amplification of the comments. These logs were used to produce an official log deposited with the Admiralty at the end of the voyage. Included with the logs is the index to the Bounty log book for the period 23 Oct. 1788-5 April 1789.

    (a) `Log of the proceedings of His Majestys Ship Bounty in a Voyage to the South Seas, (to take the Breadfruit plant from the Society Islands to the West Indies,) under the Command of Lieutenant William Bligh.'
    1 Dec. 1787 - 22 Oct. 1788
    Bound in original vellum with 'Bounty's Log' in Bligh's hand on the spine; marbled endpapers. 387pp.
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Personal log in Bligh's hand recording the voyage from England to Otaheite (Tahiti), beginning with the initial attempt to leave Spithead on 1 Dec. 1787. Records the failure to round Cape Horn owing to gales (17 Apr. 1788) descriptions of ports of call - Tenerife (6 -11 Jan. 1788), Capetown (22 May-1 July 1788) and Adventure Bay in Van Diemen's Land (21 Aug.-4 Sep. 1788); includes a pencil and ink sketch map of the Island of St. Paul (28 July 1788, p.276). The log is prefaced with 'Remarks at Deptford' (pp.1,3-4) describing preparations for the voyage including the fitting out of the Bounty at Deptford and the journey to Spithead, receiving the commission to command HMS Bounty, the final order to proceed issued by Lord Hood and the payment for two months' salary in advance to the crew, the gift of a Kendall timekeeper (chronometer) from Sir Joseph Banks, instructions for keeping the log and calculations to determine the error on navigational instruments. (Call No.: Safe 1/46: Copies at CY Safe 1/46 and CY 274)

    (b) Index to the Log Book of HMS Bounty (covering the period 23 October 1788 to 5 April 1789)
    Temporary cover of lined foolscap with Librarian's inscription. 8pp.
    Provenance unknown. Known to have been in the State Library of NSW at least since 1956.
    Index in Bligh's hand to the main events in the Bounty log for the period 23 Oct. 1788 - 5 Apr. 1789. Events covered occur from just before the arrival of the Bounty in Matavai Bay, Otaheite (Tahiti) to her departure.
    The only known copy of the Bounty log for this period, 23 Oct. 1788 - 5 Apr. 1789, is the official Admiralty copy in the hand of Blighs clerk, now held in the Public Record Office in London. This index was identified from the PRO microfilm of that copy, Admiralty series 55/151, reel PRO 1601. (Call No.: Safe 1/46a: Copies at CY Safe 1/46a and CY 274)

    (c) `Log of the Proceedings of His Majesty's Ship Bounty Lieut. Wm Bligh Commander from Otaheite towards Jamaica', signed `Wm Bligh'.
    5 Apr. 1789 -13 Mar. 1790
    Bound in original vellum; spine worn, no visible title; marbled endpapers.
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Bligh's personal log for HMS Bounty continued by him to document his voyage in the Bounty's launch, 28 Apr.-19 Aug. 1789, in HMS Resource from Timor to Batavia, 20 Aug.-2 Oct. 1789 and his return to England via Capetown. Entries for 21 Aug. 1789-14 Mar. 1790 are not in Bligh'shand. Records some words in the native language of the Island of Whytootackee (13 Apr. 1789); the mutiny ten leagues south of Tofoa (Tofua) led by Acting Lieut. Fletcher Christian (28 Apr. 1789); lists of the crew who joined Bligh in the Bounty's launch and the mutineers annotated with comments on their later histories; landing on Restoration Island off the Australian coast (29 May1789); navigating the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait; events at Coupang, Timor (14 June -20 Aug. 1789) including the purchase of the schooner Resource (30 June -1 July 1789) to take Bligh and his crew to Batavia in time to catch the Dutch fleet sailing for Europe; the voyage from Timor to Batavia (20 Aug. - 2 Oct. 1789); the sale of the Resource and the Bounty's launch in Batavia (10 Oct. 1789); the voyage on board the Dutch packet Vlijdt to the Cape of Good Hope and the voyage to England. Includes a watercolour and pencil profile and a map of two islands within the Great Barrier Reef (Island of Direction p.115 and Lagoon Island p.132) and three watercolour, ink and pencil land profiles of New Holland (Australia) labelled A,B and C (p.384) titled `Views taken the morning after landing on Restoration Island' and signed `Wm Bligh'. Profile C includes a sketch of the Bounty's launch. (Call No.: Safe 1/47: Copies at CY Safe 1/47 and CY 274)

    27 July 1789 - 20 Aug. 1789
    Notebook, no cover, title at top of first page. 16pp. (pp.1-16)
    Acquired from Alice Rose Oakes, 11 Dec. 1923.
    Records the ailments suffered by the surviving crew of the Bounty's launch during the latter part of their stay in Coupang, Timor. Probably written in the hand of Thomas Ledward, the Assistant Surgeon. Includes brief remarks on events in Coupang, 14 June 1789 - 20 Aug. 1789 (pp.7-10) and some rough calculations (p.16). It is incorrectly dated 1787. (Call No.: Safe 1/45: Copies at CY Safe 1/45 and CY 178)

    Undated. Written sometime between 1789 and 1817
    Bound in tooled leather, spine worn, blocked in gold; marbled endpapers; flyleaves at beginning and end of book watermarked 1811 but the text is on a different type of paper possibly of an earlier date. 169pp.
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Narrative In Bligh's hand. The original was compiled from the Bounty's log probably while Bligh was resident in Timor and Batavia. It is prefaced by a signed copy of a letter (undated but probably 1790) to Sir Joseph Banks informing him of the mutiny and enclosing a copy of the narrative. Then follows a summary of events up until 29 Apr. 1789, the first log entry. The summary includes a list of the Bounty's crew divided into those accompanying Bligh in the launch and those remaining on board the Bounty as pirates under arms. The narrative ends on 2 Jan. 1790, the date Bligh sailed for England from Capetown. Includes sketch maps of lands discovered or surveyed, showing the launch's route; islands mapped May 1789 (pp.46b, 52b, 60b, 60c) and the coast of New Holland (Australia) June 1789 (p.124b). Sketch maps are in pencil, ink and water colour.
    The narrative was published in 1790 as, A Narrative of the Mutiny on Board His Majesty's Ship Bounty ... The printed version contains a more detailed account of the mutiny than does this MS version. (Call No.: Safe 1/37: Copies at CY Safe 1/37 and CY 178)

    (4) LEGAL PAPERS, 1789, 1794.

    (a) Copy No. 5 of `Description of the Pirates remaining on board His Majesty's Armed Vessel Bounty on the 28th April 1789'
    Undated. Written between 14 June and 20 Aug. 1789
    4 pp. (pp.1-4)
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Gives detailed physical description of each mutineer including age, height, complexion, hair colour and distinguishing marks. Includes a plea for clemency for Michael Byrne, Joseph Coleman, Charles Norman and Thomas McIntosh who had been detained on board the Bounty against their wills. Not in Bligh's hand but signed by him and annotated 'Drawn up at Timor. Copies of this list were forwarded from Batavia to Lord Cornwallis then Govr of India at Calcutta. To Gov Phillips at New S Wales and one was left at Batavia with the Govr Genl of the Dutch possessions in India.' (Call No.: Safe 1/43: Copies at CY Safe 1/43 and CY 178)

    (b) 'Attestation Mr Wm. Bligh Plaintiff'.
    13 Oct. 1789, 15 Oct. 1789
    14pp. (pp.5-18).
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Declaration in Dutch No.14396, 13 Oct. 1789 and appended oath, 15 Oct. 1789 by officers and men who accompanied Bligh in the Bounty's launch (John Fryer, Thomas Ledward, John Hallet, John Samuels, Robert Tinkler, Peter Linkletter, Lawrence Lebogue, George Simpson, John Smith, Robert Lamb, William Cole, William Peckover, William Elphinstone and Thomas Haywood) made at Bligh's demand. The Dutch declaration was signed before the Public Notary in Batavia, Nicolas Van Bergen Van der Grijp. Includes a copy of the declaration in English under seal. (Call No.: Safe 1/43: Copies at CY Safe 1/43 and CY 178)

    (c) Affidavit of Joseph Coleman
    31 July 1794
    6 pp. (pp.27-32) c. Affidavit of Joseph Coleman
    Bequeathed by Sir William Dixson in 1952
    Coleman had been captured at Tahiti by Captain Edwards but was acquitted of mutiny. Affidavit concerns information about William Bligh and the Bounty mutiny which he had previously given to Edward Christian. It is generally favourable to Bligh. (Call No.: MSQ 163: Copies at CY DL MSQ 163 and CY 223)

    (5) NOTES, c.1793-1794

    (a) `Rem[ark]s on Court Martial'
    Undated. Probably 1793
    12pp. (pp.27-38).
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Notes in Bligh's hand on the evidence given by John Fryer, William Cole, William Peckover, William Purcell, Thomas Haywood, John Hallet and John Smith at the court martial of the Bounty mutineers. Includes a list of the officers presiding at the court-martial, notes on the cross-examinations of witnesses and the sentences passed. Annotated on the last page in William Russell Bligh's hand: 'Remarks by Capt Bligh on Ed. Christian's pamphlet and on the Evidence given at the Ct. Martial on the Mutineers'. (Call No.: Safe 1/43: Copies at CY Safe 1/43 and CY 178)

    (b) `Rem[ark]s on Mr Christian's letters -The 1st dated
    Decr.16. 1792 - Letter Decr. 16. - 3rd Letter Decr. 17th'.
    Undated. Probably 1793
    8pp. (pp.19-26).
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902
    Notes in Bligh's hand countering allegations made by Edward Christian in three letters to Sir Joseph Banks dated 16 Dec. 1792, `16 Dec.' and `17 Dec'. -Remarks on letter dated 16 Dec. 1792. Bligh suggests that the evidence given to Edward Christian by Fryer, Purcell, Peckover, Haywood and Smith differs from `their previous evidence at the Bligh court martial for the loss of the Bounty (pp.23-24). -Remarks on letter dated 16 Dec. Bligh refers to the favours he had shown Fletcher Christian and declares that his Narrative is entirely accurate (pp. 19-20). -Remarks on letter dated 17 Dec. Includes Bligh's comments on the accuracy of the information derived from Peter Heywood (pp.21-24). (Call No.: Safe 1/43: Copies at CY Safe 1/43 and CY 178)

    (c) `Rem[ark]s'
    Undated. Probably 1794
    6pp. (pp.39-42).
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Notes in Bligh's hand apparently refuting the charges made against him in Edward Christian's Appendix to Stephen Barney's pamphlet Minutes of the Proceedings of the Court-Martial... (Call No.: Safe 1/43: Copies at CY Safe 1/43 and CY 178)

    (d) 'Remarks on Morrison's Journal'
    Undated. Probably 1793
    12pp. (pp.43-54).
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Notes in Bligh's hand answering the charges made against him by James Morrison. The content of Bligh's remarks and several direct quotations used by him indicate that he is actually criticizing Morrison's memorandum (Z Safe 1/33) rather than Morrison's journal (Safe 1/42). The memorandum was probably sent to Bligh by Sir Joseph Banks for his comments. (Call No.: Safe 1/43: Copies at CY Safe 1/43 and CY 178)

    Undated. Probably 1792
    Binding not original. Black buckram binding, title and owner's name blocked in gold on the front cover. Bound for W.R. Bligh, Parramatta by Geo Short & Son, Bookbinders, Sydney. 71pp.
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    MS narrative in an unknown hand. Chronicles HMS Bounty's voyage from 23 Dec. 1787 to 28 Apr. 1789 and the events leading up to the mutiny. Charges levelled against Bligh by Morrison include misappropriation of provisions, his foul tempers and the ineffectiveness of his command. The ship's officers are also criticised for their failure to resist the mutiny. Includes a copy of a letter from Morrison to Rev. William Howell dated 10 Oct. 1792. The letter, written on board HMS Hector, attacks Captain Edward Edwards for his ill-treatment of the Bounty mutineers on board HMS Pandora. (Call No.: Safe 1/33: Copies at CY Safe 1/33 and CY 265)

    (7) `A COPY OF VERSES ON THE LOSS OF HIS MAJESTY'S BOUNTY AND PANDORA, the former by Mutiny, the Latter by Accident upon the Coast of New holland near Endeavour Straits. A Bad Catastrophe to the Latter On the 29th of August 1791'.
    4pp. (pp.5-8)
    Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902.
    Describes the Bounty mutiny, the voyage of HMS Pandora, the loss of the Pandora off the coast of Australia and the voyage of the survivors to Timor in open boats. Concludes with the discovery of the Pandora's tender at Batavia commanded by Thomas Oliver. Written as if by a member of the Pandora's crew. Not in Bligh's hand. Author unknown (Call No.: Safe 1/44: Copies at CY Safe 1/44 and CY 178)
  • Source
    Select pages of the logbook of HMS Bounty have been digitised as part of the Nelson Meers Foundation Benefaction, 2002. Presented by William Russell Bligh, 29 Oct. 1902 Acquired from Alice Rose Oakes, 11 Dec. 1923
  • General note

    DLMSQ 163 transferred from DLSPENCER 367
  • Creator/Author/Artist
  • Name
  • Subject
  • Exhibited in

Share this result by email