London: J. Deighton, 1794. 4to, old half calf, marbled boards, red morocco gilt label, rebacked.
Very rare. Stephen Barney was an attorney retained by mutineer William Muspratt to take the minutes of the evidence for the prosecution. According to Barney’s advertisement, they were not intended for publication. Hill states that only a few copies were printed for distribution among the interested parties and the ministers of state. The appendix is the work of Edward Christian, brother of the mutineer Fletcher Christian, on which Bligh commented that it was “written apparently for the purpose of vindicating his brother at my expense.” Christian had represented his brother Fletcher as a tormented romantic figure, which did much to fix for posterity the perception of Bligh as a brutal authoritarian.
The court-martial of the ten mutineers was held aboard the H.M.S. Duke, with Lord Hood presiding over a panel of twelve captains. Of the ten men tried, Joseph Coleman (armorer), Thomas McIntosh, Charles Norman (carpenter’s mates), and Michael Byrn (able seaman) were acquitted. Bligh had singled out the first three as loyalists but as there was no more room in the launch on which he was set adrift, they were obliged to stay aboard the Bounty. Peter Heywood (midshipman), James Morrison (boatswain’s mate), William Muspratt (cook’s assistant), and able seamen Thomas Ellison, John Millward and Thomas Burkett were found guilty and condemned to death. Heywood and Morrison were later given royal pardons; and Muspratt was acquitted owing to the fact that certain evidence had not been entered at the time of the court-martial. Only Burkett, Ellison, and Millward were hanged.
This copy is annotated in a contemporary hand on p.5 with the fate of “the people who remained on the ship”, and in three different places the same single derogatory word to describe Bligh has been erased.
The work elicited Bligh’s ‘An answer to certain assertions contained in the appendix to a pamphlet, entitled Minutes of the proceedings on the court-martial’ (1794), which in its turn was met by Edward Christian’s A Short Reply to Capt. William Bligh’s Answer (1795)
Ferguson I, 175; Hill 1162.