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William Bligh

William Bligh (1754-1815) will forever be remembered for the mutiny on the Bounty, which took place in 1789Shortly after leaving Tahiti, where they had been gathering breadfruits, the mutineers, led by Bligh’s second-in-command Fletcher Christian, cast their Captain and 14 loyal crewmen adrift in a small boat with only a week’s rations and a compass. Fortunately Bligh was a master navigator who had served on Cook’s third and final voyage, and he succeeded in reaching Timor, the nearest European settlement, after a 47-day, 4000 mile voyage, with only one casualty. Probably the greatest feat of seamanship in the annals of British maritime endeavour.

There is a considerable body of literature associated with Bligh, notably A Narrative of the Mutiny on board His Majesty's Ship "Bounty" (1790); A Voyage to the south Sea undertaken by command of His Majesty, for the purpose of conveying the bread-fruit tree to the West Indies, in His Majesty’s ship the Bounty (1792); The search for, and capture of some of the mutineers, as recorded in George Hamilton’s A Voyage round the World in His Majesty's Frigate Pandora (1793), a wonderful, immensely readable account of a disastrous voyage; and of  course the three exceedingly rare court-martial pamphlets.

 

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  1. First editions. 4to (29.2 x 23 cms), x, 1-153, [ii], 246-264; iv, 88pp., engraved portrait of Bligh and 7 engraved charts, plates and plans (of which one folding and 4 double-page); folding plan frontispiece, 3 charts (2 folding). Together bound in contemporary sprinkled calf, neatly rebacked.

    £25,000
 

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