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A Narrative of the Mutiny on Board His Majesty’s Ship Bounty;
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BLIGH, Lieutenant William.

A Narrative of the Mutiny on Board His Majesty’s Ship Bounty;

and the Subsequent Voyage of Part of the Crew, in the Ship's Boat, From Tofoa, one of the Friendly Islands, To Timor, a Dutch Settlement in the East Indies.

Published: London: George Nicol, 1790

Stock code: 90805

Price: £8,750

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First edition of Bligh’s personal account of “one of the most remarkable incidents in the whole of maritime history”, published two years before his full official version of the voyage and the mutiny in an effort to influence opinion in his favour, absolving him “from any blame that might be levelled against him because of the incident” (Hill). The story of Fletcher Christian’s mutinous commandeering of the Bounty, and the setting adrift of Bligh and his 18 loyal crewmen on a 23-foot launch is a tale known to all. But “what is not so well known is that in the course of this hazardous journey Bligh took the opportunity to chart and name parts of the unknown north-east coast of New Holland as he passed along it – an extraordinary feat of seamanship” (Wantrup). Despite the film-fuelled condescension of posterity, it should be remembered that Bligh’s skill as a navigator and his courage as a seaman ensured his continued employment by the Admiralty, led to his election to the Royal Society, and to his appointment as governor of New South Wales.

Quarto (299 240 mm). Modern streaked half sheep to style, marbled boards, red morocco label, foliate tool gilt to compartments. With the folding engraved plan “A Copy of the Draught from which the Bounty’s Launch was built” by Mackenzie, and 3 folding engraved charts by J. Walker after W. Harrison, one of them printed on pale blue paper. Some offsetting from the plates, track chart a touch mottled, light browning, ink splash to the bottom edge with very slight encroachment in the margin, and one leaf with a small piece at the corner torn away but no loss of text, overall a very good, wide-margined copy.

Bibliography: Ferguson, 71; Hill, 132; Kroepelien, 87; O'Reilly-Reitman, 543; Parks 7; Sabin, 5908a; Wantrup, 61.

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