Bligh or Christian

Who was to Blame Bligh or Christian?


  • Total voters
    41
Nov 2011
4,742
Ohio, USA
#41
Nope its of no consequence whatsoever a completely minor foot note in British naval history that 'should be forgotten' (not that any history should be forgotten).

It wasn't even a 'HMS' the boat was too small an unimportant and the only RN officer on the ship was 'Captain' (lieutenant) Bligh. It wasn't even the most bloody or dramatic mutiny of the period --HMS Hermoine a full blown 32-gun frigate the crew mutinied and killed almost all the officers and defected to the Spanish.

Ironically Bligh did have 'radical' views on Naval discipline --- he was very humane and believed flogging should be kept to a minimum , there were sadistic flogging Captains but Bligh wasn't one of them.
I agree here. Bligh was in the right, by the times, and he was quite unfortunate. However, I am always something of a fan of the mutineers' "idyll" on Tahiti, so I may have to vote for them here.
 
Oct 2009
3,557
San Diego
#42
Bligh went on to become Post-Captain (most RN officers didn't) and commanded 'Ship of the Line' and was praised by Nelson for his handling of the ship in the Battle of Copenhagen.

Involved in two more mutinies ---- but one was actually selected by the men as a Captain they could deal with. The other again he may well have been the 'innocent' party (but again show his diplomatic skills to be lacking?) in dealing with 'corrupt' army officers and 'Australian' merchants.

Christian went on to be (its generally agreed) murdered by his 'shipmates'.
Bligh went on past his THREE mutinies...to be Governor of New South Wales, where his inability to deal reasonably with subordinates led to the Rum Rebellion, his imprisonment, and a further two courts martial.

As with his shipboard mutinies… the admiralty was forced to take the position that the the authority of a commander could not be questioned or thwarted under any circumstances… but the fact that the man was incapable of getting along with anyone and behaved overbearingly when his demands were questioned eventually came to be the reason that he got "promoted" into inactivity.

His ultimate promotion to Admiral was only to get him to effectively retire and to send the message that underlings were NOT going to get anyone put in charge by the admiralty in trouble, no matter what they did. That is, The admiralty felt that the authority of commanders in the field needed to be absolutely upheld, even when that authority was egregiously exercised.


To his credit… In NSW his primary problems were in trying to prevent the landed and wealthy class from taking advantage of the poorer, fresher immigrants… its just that the way he went about it got him arrested by the influential people rather than his being able to sway, or compromise in a manner that would have preserved his authority and won him allies, rather than enemies among the powerful men he had to govern.


Again, my point is not that he was a bad man… but that his temperament and character were Not well disposed to the command of others. He lacked charisma, and the ability to win cooperations.

He was undoubtedly a capable seamen, as his actions under fire showed… and, when not in charge of a bunch of men directly, a capable engineer, as he showed in his harbor works.

But there aren't many commanders in british history that had 3 shipboard mutinies, were deposed as a territorial governor, and then two additional courts martial, all in one career.

Regardless of his intelligence or other good qualities… this history points to a deep character flaw where it comes to eliciting the cooperation and support of the men he was tasked with commanding.
 
May 2011
13,938
Navan, Ireland
#43
..................

As with his shipboard mutinies… the admiralty was forced to take the position that the the authority of a commander could not be questioned or thwarted under any circumstances… but the fact that the man was incapable of getting along with anyone and behaved overbearingly when his demands were questioned eventually came to be the reason that he got "promoted" into inactivity.

......................................
True the Admiralty usually (although not exclusively) did tend to support captains but he wasn't promoted to 'inactivity' but to the commend of 'battleships' and earned Nelsons praise.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,677
Australia
#44
Bligh went on past his THREE mutinies...to be Governor of New South Wales, where his inability to deal reasonably with subordinates led to the Rum Rebellion, his imprisonment, and a further two courts martial.

As with his shipboard mutinies… the admiralty was forced to take the position that the the authority of a commander could not be questioned or thwarted under any circumstances… but the fact that the man was incapable of getting along with anyone and behaved overbearingly when his demands were questioned eventually came to be the reason that he got "promoted" into inactivity.

His ultimate promotion to Admiral was only to get him to effectively retire and to send the message that underlings were NOT going to get anyone put in charge by the admiralty in trouble, no matter what they did. That is, The admiralty felt that the authority of commanders in the field needed to be absolutely upheld, even when that authority was egregiously exercised.


To his credit… In NSW his primary problems were in trying to prevent the landed and wealthy class from taking advantage of the poorer, fresher immigrants… its just that the way he went about it got him arrested by the influential people rather than his being able to sway, or compromise in a manner that would have preserved his authority and won him allies, rather than enemies among the powerful men he had to govern.


Again, my point is not that he was a bad man… but that his temperament and character were Not well disposed to the command of others. He lacked charisma, and the ability to win cooperations.

He was undoubtedly a capable seamen, as his actions under fire showed… and, when not in charge of a bunch of men directly, a capable engineer, as he showed in his harbor works.

But there aren't many commanders in british history that had 3 shipboard mutinies, were deposed as a territorial governor, and then two additional courts martial, all in one career.

Regardless of his intelligence or other good qualities… this history points to a deep character flaw where it comes to eliciting the cooperation and support of the men he was tasked with commanding.
Bligh may have lacked charisma and had an inability to deal with those he considered fools, however he was respected by enough people to be asked to speak for the Nore mutineers, to have men fighting for a place in his boat after the Bounty mutiny and to have the common people of NSW firmly onside against the control of the local military/industrial complex.

Bligh was sent to NSW with the specific mandate to take control of the colony away from the NSW Corps and return it to the appointed governor. The Corps had broken the authority of two previous governors and to the colonial office Bligh was just the man to sort things out.

On arrival he immediately made himself popular with the ordinary citizens by ordering government relief for farmers affected by floods, much to the annoyance of the wealthy merchants who had been profiting by selling much needed supplies at inflated prices. He made some mistakes, but not attempting to compromise with the NSW Corps and the wealthy monopolists was not one of them.

Unfortunately he had no military force to back him up, apart from a town watch made up largely of ex-convicts, and the NSW Corps saw him as enough of a threat to arrest him and appoint one of their own as Governor.

One thing that particularly annoys me is that one of the rebellions ringleaders, John Macarthur, ended up with his picture on Australian currency for alleged services to agriculture rather than with his head on a pike for the mutinous filth he was.:sick:
 
Mar 2014
6,632
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
#45
His ultimate promotion to Admiral was only to get him to effectively retire and to send the message that underlings were NOT going to get anyone put in charge by the admiralty in trouble, no matter what they did. That is, The admiralty felt that the authority of commanders in the field needed to be absolutely upheld, even when that authority was egregiously exercised.
Promotion to admiral was strictly by seniority. A junior admiral might be given a choice command over a senior one, but the rank itself was automatic as soon as there was a vacancy.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,938
Navan, Ireland
#49
Daniel Day Lewis & Liam Neeson as well before either had become household names.

Great film.
There are a load of great actors.

However I now consider the film to be 'terrible' because of an historical inaccuracy -- when HMV Bounty set sail John Adams is at the wheel and Mr Heyward says 'I never been to sea and was at school just a few weeks ago' or something similar and Adams replies he has never been to school.

Impossible -- Adams can read -- either that or a miracle occurs on Pitcairn because the last two surviving males Adams using the ships Bible teaches the survivors Christianity

Taken fron Wiki but seems accurate from mt reading

"........After leaving Tahiti on 22 September 1789, Christian sailed Bounty west in search of a safe haven. He then formed the idea of settling on Pitcairn Island, far to the east of Tahiti; the island had been reported in 1767, but its exact location was never verified. After months of searching, Christian rediscovered the island on 15 January 1790, 188 nautical miles (348 km; 216 mi) east of its recorded position.[184] This longitudinal error contributed to the mutineers' decision to settle on Pitcairn.[185
On arrival the ship was unloaded and stripped of most of its masts and spars, for use on the island.[181] It was set ablaze and destroyed on 23 January, either as an agreed upon precaution against discovery or as an unauthorised act by Quintal—in either case, there was now no means of escape.[186]

The island proved an ideal haven for the mutineers—uninhabited and virtually inaccessible, with plenty of food, water, and fertile land.[184] For a while, the mutineers and Tahitians existed peaceably. Christian settled down with Isabella; a son, Thursday October Christian, was born, as were other children.[187] Christian's authority as leader gradually diminished, and he became prone to long periods of brooding and introspection.[188]
Gradually, tensions and rivalries arose over the increasing extent to which the Europeans regarded the Tahitians as their property, in particular the women who, according to Alexander, were "passed around from one 'husband' to the other".[186] In September 1793 matters degenerated into extreme violence, when five of the mutineers—Christian, Williams, Martin, Mills, and Brown—were killed by Tahitians in a carefully executed series of murders. Christian was set upon while working in his fields, first shot and then butchered with an axe; his last words, supposedly, were: "Oh, dear!"[189][n 12] In-fighting continued thereafter, and by 1794 the six Tahitian men were all dead, killed either by the widows of the murdered mutineers or by each other.[191] Two of the four surviving mutineers, Young and Adams, assumed leadership and secured a tenuous calm, which was disrupted by the drunkenness of McCoy and Quintal's after the former distilled an alcoholic beverage from a local plant.[184]
Some of the women attempted to leave the island in a makeshift boat but could not launch it successfully. Life continued uneasily until McCoy's suicide in 1798. A year later, after Quintal threatened fresh murder and mayhem, Adams and Young killed him and were able to restore peace

Discovery[edit]
.............

After Young succumbed to asthma in 1800, Adams took responsibility for the education and well-being of the nine remaining women and 19 children. Using the ship's Bible from Bounty, he taught literacy and Christianity, and kept peace on the island.[185] This was the situation in February 1808, when the American sealer Topaz came unexpectedly upon Pitcairn, landed, and discovered the, by then, thriving community.[193] News of Topaz's discovery did not reach Britain until 1810, when it was overlooked by an Admiralty preoccupied by war with France.
In 1814, two British warships, HMS Briton and HMS Tagus, chanced upon Pitcairn. Among those who greeted them were Thursday October Christian and George Young (Edward Young's son).[194] The captains, Sir Thomas Staines and Philip Pipon, reported that Christian's son displayed "in his benevolent countenance, all the features of an honest English face".[195] On shore they found a population of 46 mainly young islanders led by Adams,[195] upon whom the islanders' welfare was wholly dependent, according to the captains' report.[196] After receiving Staines's and Pipon's report, the Admiralty decided to take no action.

In the following years, many ships called at Pitcairn Island and heard Adams's various stories of the foundation of the Pitcairn settlement.[196] Adams died in 1829, honoured as the founder and father of a community that became celebrated over the next century as an exemplar of Victorian morality........."

Mutiny on the Bounty - Wikipedia
 

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