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A Narrative of the Mutiny on Board His Majesty’s Ship Bounty;
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BLIGH, 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: 92286

Price: £8,500

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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, perhaps second only to Cook of his time, 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 (288 231 mm). Recent lightly sprinkled half calf, old boards, to style, red morocco label, single gilt rules enclosing the bands and to the spine and corner edges. With the folding engraved plan “A Copy of the Draught from which the Bounty’s Launch was built” by Mackenzie, and 3 engraved charts by J. Walker after W. Harrison, two of them folding. The folding plates are somewhat creased from old misfolds, and have some minor splitting and chipping,the “Draught” with a small scraped puncture, some off-setting from the plates as usual, light browning and some marginal finger-soiling, some later red-pencilled marginal relating to the distance from Tofoa to Timor, overall a very good copy.

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

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