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Mutiny and Aftermath

Mutiny and Aftermath: James Morrison's Account of the Mutiny on theBounty and the Island of Tahiti

Vanessa Smith
Nicholas Thomas
with the assistance of Maia Nuku
Copyright Date: 2013
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    Mutiny and Aftermath
    Book Description:

    "Morrison'sAccount of the Mutiny on the Bountyhas been known to scholars and students through Owen Rutter's 1935 edition. Smith and Thomas draw on all the relevant scholarship in the seventy-five years since this edition, as well as their own distinguished research and expert understanding of Pacific cultures, to provide readers with an impeccable work of scholarship that will be an essential point of reference for all future writing on Tahiti at the time of first contact as well as on theBountymutiny itself." -Rod Edmond, University of Kent"This book is a model work of scholarship. It shows how a critical edition can do more than just make a valuable text freshly available to readers; it can also illuminate an entire field of scholarship. Readers will be grateful for what Smith and Thomas have achieved in this painstaking, up-to-date presentation of Morrison's account of two subjects of lasting interest, theBountymutiny and Tahiti in the era of early contact." -Harry Liebersohn, University of IllinoisThe mutiny on theBountywas one of the most controversial events of eighteenth-century maritime history. This book publishes a full and absorbing narrative of the events by one of the participants, the boatswain's mate James Morrison, who tells the story of the mounting tensions over the course of the voyage out to Tahiti, the fascinating encounter with Polynesian culture there, and the shocking drama of the event itself.In the aftermath, Morrison was among those who tried to make a new life on Tahiti. In doing so, he gained a deeper understanding of Polynesian culture than any European who went on to write about the people of the island and their way of life before it was changed forever by Christianity and colonial contact. Morrison was not a professional scientist but a keen observer with a lively sympathy for Islanders. This is the most insightful and wide-ranging of early European accounts of Tahitian life.Mutiny and Aftermathis the first scholarly edition of this classic of Pacific history and anthropology. It is based directly on a close study of Morrison's original manuscript, one of the treasures of the Mitchell Library in Sydney, Australia. The editors assess and explain Morrison's observations of Islander culture and social relations, both on Tubuai in the Austral Islands and on Tahiti itself. The book fully identifies the Tahitian people and places that Morrison refers to and makes this remarkable text accessible for the first time to all those interested in an extraordinary chapter of early Pacific history.Vanessa Smithis Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of Sydney.Nicholas Thomasis Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, and a fellow of Trinity College.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-3905-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-ix)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. x-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    The two central protagonists of the story of theBounty—William Bligh and Fletcher Christian—hold an enduring place in the popular imagination. Both film and scholarship have portrayed one or the other as hero or villain of the mutiny, speculating on the biographical and historical factors that impelled their contest of authority. But a figure equally significant to the historiography of the mutiny remains much less well known.

    James Morrison (1761–1807) entered the British Navy in 1779, aged eighteen, and signed on as boatswain’s mate of theBountyon 9 September 1787, having previously served as midshipman on...

  8. Part I. The Journal:: Mutiny, Mutineers, Islanders

    • 1 The Voyage and the Mutiny
      (pp. 25-55)

      On the 9th of Sept. 1787 I entered on board His Majestys Armed Vessel Bounty, Lieut. Wm. Bligh Commander, then lying at Deptford—On the 18th Oct following she drop’d down to long reach & in a few days saild for Spithead Where she Anchor’d on the 4th of November and after several attempts in one of which the Fore topsail yard was carried away, (which together with a Cable that was rubb’d at St. Helens were return’d at Portsmouth Yard and new ones got in their stead) she saild on the 23rd, of December with afreshGale Easterly, which...

    • 2 The Occupation of Tubuai
      (pp. 56-87)

      On the 9th being in the Latd of 30º Sd the wind shifted to the Westd in a heavy squall which split the Fore topsail; this was the first accident of the kind we experienced during the voyage, and was Chiefly owing to the sails being much worn, however it was soon replaced and the Wind continued fair till we made Tubuai which happened on the 28th May.

      During this passage Mr. Christian Cut up the old Studding sails to make Uniforms for All hands, taking his own for edging, observing that nothing had more effect on the mind of...

    • 3 Return to Tahiti
      (pp. 88-120)

      We stood to the N N E with a fine Breeze an fair Weather and during the passage Coleman was employd in making trade. On the 20th we made the Island of Me‘etia under which we hove too and devieded the Trade, Amunition, Arms, Wine, Slops &c in lotts which was put into the Cabbin in Safety till the Ship should Come to an anchor, and on the 21st we bore away, and anchord on the 22nd in Matavai Bay, where evry thing being Settled the Following Men went on Shore,


      and with them the Two friends of the...

    • 4 From Tahiti to England
      (pp. 121-154)

      On the 1st of October the Canoe bearing the Marae, Ark &c.—was brought and deliverd into charge of the Priests ofMatavaiandPare;who proceeded with her directly toPare, and Orders were now given for the Fleet & Army to return home, when they accompanied the Sacred Canoe escorting it Carefully toPare, and in the Afternoon a breeze springing up we Weighd, having Poeno & the Two Atehuru Chiefs, and run up toTetahawhere we anchord for the Night, & were Joind by Burkett and Amo who came to assist at the Peace we weighd at 9 Next...

  9. Part II. The Account:: The Island of Tahiti

    • 5 The Tahitian World
      (pp. 157-184)

      The Island of Tahiti is better laid by Captn Cook then I with an indifferent Quadrant could be able to ascertain. Its Lattd is between 17º 28’ and 18º South and its Longitude about 211º East. (According to Captn Cook Pt. Venus is in Lat 17º 29’ 30” So, Long 149º 32’ 30” West.)¹

      It Consists of two Peninsulas both of which are of a Circular form with an Isthmus of Low land about 2½ or 3 Miles a Cross—the larger Peninsula is CalldTahiti Nuior Great Tahiti, and is about 80 Miles in Circumference and the Smaller,...

    • 6 Tahitian Society, History, and Culture
      (pp. 185-219)

      The Island ofTahitiis devided into Seventeen Districts CalldFenua(or Lands) with the name of the Head Chief of each annex’d. These are again divided into Chiefs Shares (orPatu) and these again into lesser Divisions calldVahiwhich are the Squires Shares and the Lord of the Mannor holds threeVahi

      The Names of the Districts ofTahiti Nuiare, 1stPare, 2ndMatavai, 3rdHa‘apaiano‘o, 4thPuna‘auia, 5thTiarei, 6thHitia‘a—These six are always in alliance and are Calld by the General Names ofTe Porionu‘uandTe Aharoaand Extend from the Isthmus along...

    • 7 Arts, Rites, and Customs
      (pp. 220-268)

      Their Buildings are principally theMarae’sor Places of Worship, which have been discribed by Captn. Cook and some of them are amazing large piles of stone that must remain as Monuments of their Ingenuity for ages, they regularly and exactly built without tools, or Cement, and can receive No damage but from time, of these evry family of note have one of proportionable size to the Wealth of the Owner, and In them as beforesaid they perform their relegious rites with becoming decency and awful Reverence¹–

      Their Houses are Neat Thatches Made of the Palm leaves and Supported on...

  10. Appendix I: Morrison’s Polynesian Words and Terms
    (pp. 269-274)
  11. Appendix II: Morrison’s People
    (pp. 275-282)
  12. Appendix III: Morrison’s Place-names
    (pp. 283-284)
  13. Appendix IV: Morrison’s Plants
    (pp. 285-286)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 287-320)
  15. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 321-328)
  16. Index
    (pp. 329-344)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 345-349)