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Testimony of Lt Thomas Hayward HMS Bounty

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Date: 1792 [unknown]
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Surnames/tags: Hayward Bligh
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Testimony of Lt. Thomas Hayward (9/14/1792)

Lieutenant THOMAS HAYWARD, late 3rd Lieut. of His Majesty's Ship "Pandora", and formerly Midshipman belonging to His Majesty's Armed Vessel the "Bounty", called in and sworn.


Examined by the Court

Q. Inform the Court of all the Circumstances within your own Knowledge respecting His Majesty's Armed Vessel the "Bounty" being run away with?
A. At 4 o’clock in the Morning of the 28th of April, 1789, Fletcher Christian relieved the Watch as usual; at about 5 o’clock, after giving Orders to prepare for Washing Decks, he ordered me to look out, as being Master's Mate of his Watch, while he went down to lash his Hammock up - a few Minutes elapsed, and I was abaft looking at a Shark that was astern of the Ship, when to my unutterable Surprise I saw Fletcher Christian, Charles Churchill, Thomas Burkitt, one of the Prisoners, John Sumner, Matthew Quintal, William McKoy, Isaac Martin, Henry Hilbrandt and Alexander Smith coming aft, Armed with Musquets and Bayonets. On my going forward to prevent their Proceedings I asked Fletcher Christian the Cause of such an Act & he told me to hold my Tongue instantly, and left Isaac Martin as a Centinel on Deck, and proceeded with the rest of his Party below to Lieutenant Bligh's Cabin, some few of the number remaining in the After Hatchway with their Head above the Deck. At the time that this happened the People on Deck were Mr. John Hallett, myself, Robert Lamb, Butcher, Thomas Ellison (the Prisoner) at the Helm and John Mills at the Conn. When Christian had got below I asked Mills if he knew any thing of the Matter - he pleaded total Ignorance, and Thomas Ellison quitted the Helm and armed himself with a Bayonet. The Ship's Decks now began to be thronged with Men, out of which Edward Young, a Midshipman, John Millward, William Muspratt, John Williams, Richard Skinner and William Brown were Armed with Musquets and Bayonets - Peter Heywood, one of the Prisoners, George Stewart and James Morrison, one of the Prisoners, unarmed on the Booms. Fletcher Christian and his Gang before mentioned had not been down long before I heard the Cry of Murder from Lieutenant Bligh, and on the other Hand heard Churchill call for a Rope - it was now that I found that John Mills was one of the Mutineers' Party, for, contrary to all Orders and entreaties, he cut the Deep sea Line, and carried a piece of it to their Assistance. Soon after, I saw Lieutenant Bligh brought up upon the Quarter Deck with his hands bound behind him; he was surrounded by most of those who came last on Deck. Now some of the Officers were permitted to come on Deck, and Christian ordered us to hoist the Cutter out; we remonstrated against it, she being too small and very leaky to contain us, and he gave us the Launch, and as soon as the Launch was out Christian ordered Mr. John Samuel, the Clerk, Mr. John Hallet, Midshipman, and myself into her; we requested time sufficient to collect a few Clothes before we disembarked, which being granted, I repaired to the Main Hatchway, which was clear by the Launch's being out, but was prevented from descending at first by Matthew Thompson, who was Armed with a Cutlass and Centinel over the Arm Chest, which stood in the after part of the Main Hatchway. Gaining his consent, I descended with Mr. Hallet, and perceived Peter Heywood the Prisoner in his Birth; I told him to go into the Boat, but in my hurry do not remember to have received any Answer; after taking a few. Clothes in a bag I went up and put them into the Launch and went to Christian and asked him for my Instruments and Charts, but was positively refused and hurried into the Boat by Christian, tho' not before I had seen Lieutenant Bligh brought to the Gangway held by Christian and surrounded by John Mills, who was at this time Armed, Thomas Burkitt, the Prisoner, Matthew Quintal, John Sumner, John Millward, the Prisoner, William McKoy, and Thomas Ellison, the Prisoner, who came up rather in a hurry with a Bayonet in his hand swearing, "Damn him, I will be Centry over him:" I then went over the Gangway. When in the Launch I saw Michael Byrn in the Cutter and heard him say he was sorry he could not have leave to come with us. The Officers and Men being in the Boat, Lieutenant Bligh was then forced in and we were veered astern, the Mutineers saying they would give us a tow towards the Land. In this Situation astern of the Ship we prayed much for Arms, Ammunition and more Provisions, which, for a Watch and the Boatswain's Call, we received four Cutlasses and a small addition of Pork. Numbers of the Mutineers had collected themselves at the Taffrail, among whom I particularized Richard Skinner, Matthew Quintal, John Millward, the Prisoner, Henry Hilbrandt, Thomas Ellison, the Prisoner, Alexander Smith and William Brown, who publicly insulted Lieutenant Bligh, and Richard Skinner would have shot into the Boat, but was prevented by others of the Mutineers. After Waiting some time John Millward, the Prisoner, jeered us saying, " Go and see if you can live upon a Quarter of a lb. of Yams Pl'. Day." Just before casting off, Joseph Coleman came and avowed his Ignorance and Innocence of the Matter. After casting off, I heard Orders given for loosing Top Gallt. Sails and saw Thomas Ellison going up the Shrouds for that purpose. This is all I know of the Mutiny in His Majesty's Ship "Bounty."

Q: Were you sent by Captain Edwards to apprehend some of the Prisoners at Mativy?
A: Yes.

Q: Relate to the Court all you know of that Circumstance?
A: Before His Majesty's Ship "Pandora" anchored at Mativy Bay in the Island of Otaheite I saw Joseph Coleman, the Prisoner, coming off to the Ship, who was upset but was assisted by the Natives and brought on board, and when on board he asked me how I did and after the Officers and Men who had quitted the "Bounty" in 1789. Soon after we were at an Anchor George Stewart and Peter Heywood, Prisoner, came on board, but I did not see them until they were in Captain Edwards' Cabin. They made themselves known to Captain Edwards, saying that they belonged to His Majesty's late Ship "Bounty" and were happy that he was arrived. I asked them how they came to go away with His Majesty's Ship "Bounty" and received an answer from George Stewart, that when called upon hereafter he would answer all Particulars; from further Questions I was prevented by Captain Edwards, and they were sent out of the Cabin to be confined. In the Afternoon, about 4 o’clock of the same Day, Richard Skinner came on board, but I was not present at any Conversation, which passed between the Officers and him. Hearing from the Natives that part of the Mutineers which had staid on Shore from His Majesty's Ship "Bounty" had built a small Vessel and the Day before had sailed from Mativy Bay to the North West part of the Island, Captain Edwards in the Evening of the Day that the Ship arrived sent Lieutenant Corner and myself in two boats manned and Armed to take them; on the next Morning about 7 o’clock we perceived a Schooner far to Windward on the Shore (she appeared to us at first to be on Shore) and we being under the reef rowed up but were soon perceived, or from Intelligence from the Natives, by the Mutineers; they made all possible Dispatch and got under Way and stood out to Sea. The Schooner might be about 16 Tons. Our Boats being inside the Reef and not any opening near, we were obliged to row ahead against a strong Sea Breeze, which give the Schooner an opportunity of getting far out to Sea; in about half an hour we gained an opening and made Sail after them, myself in the Pinnace, Lieut. Corner in the Launch; we chased them out to Sea till Sun Set, when I was the Headmost Boat, and perceived the Schooner to gain much of us. It coming on Dark and being about seven Leagues from the Land, and having no hopes of coming up with her, I made the Signal and gave over Chace, and we returned to the Land and the next Morning to the Ship. On my Arrival at the Ship I found that Michael Byrn was come on board and that a European by the Name of Brown, who had been left by a Ship that had visited Otaheite since the departure of Lieutenant Bligh in the "Bounty," was also on board, having Intelligence of the Schooner's returning to Land at a Place called Papara. Lieutenant Corner was dispatched with a Party to take them. A few hours afterwards I was dispatched with a Party, and on my arrival at Attahourah, which is half way from the Ship to where the Schooner was supposed to be, I found the Launch lying there with James Morrison, Thomas Ellison and Charles Norman, Prisoners, on board, whom I dispatched under Charge of Mr. Seville to the Ship, left the Boat that I came in and marched by Land to the Assistance of Mr. Corner. On my Arrival at Papara I found that the rest of the mutineers - Thomas Burkitt, John Sumner, John Millward, Henry Hillbrandt, William Muspratt and Thomas McIntosh - had fled to the Mountains, and had left their Schooner there. We lay there over Night and in hopes by the Assistance of the Natives to procure the abovementioned Men, but finding it ineffectual returned to the Ship with the Schooner. Either the Day or two Days after our return Mr. Corner landed at Point Venus with an Armed Party [and] Marched to Happianah, in order to proceed thro' the Valley which stretches to the Opposite side of the Island into the District of Papara. The next day after Mr. Corner's departure I was dispatched to Papara with an Armed Party in Order to receive and take Prisoners the Mutineers, who were supposed to be in the Valley. As soon as I arrived in Papara I had Intelligence that they were not far off, and with a Guide I marched in search of them but without success. In the Morning following at about 11 o’clock I had intelligence of the Mutineers coming down. I therefore drew out my Party in Order to receive them, and when they were within hearing called to them to lay down their Arms and to go on one side, which they did, and I confined them and brought them to the Ship. Before I left Papara I wrote to Lieutenant Corner, who was coming thro' the Valley, of my having taken them Prisoners.

Q: What was the Number of Armed men you perceived on board the "Bounty" on the Morning of the Mutiny?
A: Eighteen.

Q: Were there eighteen upon Deck armed?
A: Yes, at last.

Q: Do you know of any Conversation that passed between Christian and any of the Officers of the "Bounty" for having the Launch in the Room of the Cutter?
A: None, there was a general Clamour respecting the Size of the Boat, she being too small, but I know of no particular Person speaking to Christian.

Q: What Number of Men were in the Boat when you were ordered in her?
A: I saw none. I was the first that was ordered in her.

Q: How long did the Boat remain alongside after you were in her?
A: About a 1/4 of an Hour or it might be less.

Q: Were all the People that were in the Boat ordered or did they go Voluntarily?
A: I know no one ordered in except Mr. John Hallet, Mr. John Samuel, and myself.

Q: What Number of Men were on Deck assisting hoisting out the Boats?
A: I cannot say.

Q: Can you particularize any that were below at that time?
A: None except those who guarded the Officers' Cabins in the after part of the Ship.

Q: Relate to the Court all you remember of Coleman's Behavior on the Day of the 28th?
A: I saw nothing of Coleman till he came to the Tafrail and declared his Innocence.

Q: Relate everything you remember of Mr. Heywood's Conduct on that Day?
A: I remember Mr. Heywood on the Booms where he was not doing anything that I remember and afterwards in his Birth below, where I spoke to him as before mentioned.

Q: Did he make any Answer to you?
A: Not as I remember.

Q: Did you at any time of that Day see Mr. Heywood with Arms in his hands?
A: No.

Q: Did you see him assist in hoisting the Boats out?
A: No.

Q: Relate what you know of Michael Byrn's Conduct?
A: I saw nothing of Michael Byrn until I was in the Launch when I saw him keeping one of the cutters and heard him say he was sorry he could not go with us.

Q: Relate what you know of James Morrison?
A: I remember seeing Morrison assisting in clearing the Yams out of the Boats, but am doubtful whether he was first under arms or not.

Q: Did you hear any Conversation pass between him and any Officers in the Ship at first?
A: I do not remember any.

Q: Did he at all appear to you by his Conduct to be assisting the Mutineers or was it merely obeying the orders that were given to get the Boats out?
A: If I was to give it as my opinion I should say that he was assisting the Mutineers, he perhaps might wish to get the Boats out to get quit of us as fast as possible.

Q: Did you at any time see Morrison go aft upon the Quarter Deck?
A: I am doubtful whether I did or not.

Q: Relate what you know of Norman?
A: Norman was forward on Deck, but I neither saw him under Arms nor in the least assisting the Mutineers, but got a Tool Chest towards the Gangway for the Purpose of putting it into the Boat.

Q: Relate all you know of Ellison?
A: Ellison was at the Helm, and soon after the People had gone below to Lieutenant Bligh's Cabin quitted it and armed himself with a Bayonet, and just before my going into the Boat, saw him as a Centinel with a Bayonet in his hand, over Lieutenant Bligh, saying damn him I will be Centinel over him.

Q: Relate all you saw of McIntosh?
A: I did not see McIntosh under Arms, neither did I suppose him to be one of the Mutineers; he was one that assisted in getting the Boat out.

Q: Relate what you know of Muspratt respecting the Mutiny?
A: I remember seeing Muspratt on the Larboardside of the Waste with a Musquet in his hand and supposed him to be one of the Mutineers.

Q: Relate what you remember of Thomas Burkitt?
A: I saw Thomas Burkitt come aft, following Christian and Churchill, and saw him descend the After Ladder with them, Armed, with a Musquet and Bayonet.

Q: Relate what you remember of Millward?
A: I do not remember Millward's being upon Deck at first, but after Lieutenant Bligh being brought on Deck I saw him Armed as one of the Centinels, and after the Boat was astern, I saw him at the Tafrail where he jeered [at] us and said, "Go and live upon a Quarter of a Pound of Yams per Day," or something to that Purport.

Q: Was you present when Norman, Morrison and Ellison were taken and put into the Launch?
A: No, they had been left there by Lieutenant Corner under the Charge of Mr. Seville.

Q: When you fell in with the four Prisoners McIntosh, Muspratt, Burkitt and Millward did they make any Resistance to you?
A: None.

Q: Did they surrender immediately upon your demanding them to lay down their Arms?
A: Yes.

Q: When you went down the main Hatchway who was there besides Thompson?
A: Peter Heywood, Mr. John Hallet, who went down with me, and Mr. Elphinstone.

Q: Were no body else to your knowledge between Decks?
A: Not to my Knowledge.

Q: Was Thompson the only Centinel there?
A: In the Main Hatchway, Yes, but there were Armed Men round the Hatchway on the Booms.

Q: Of the Prisoners, whom you did not see under Arms, did you observe any Efforts either by their Actions Words or Deeds made to recover the Ship?
A: None.

Q: On the Day of the Mutiny on board the "Bounty" did the Prisoner Norman express to you any Desire of going into the Boat with you?
A: No.

Q: Or any disapprobation of the Conduct of the Mutineers?
A: No.

Q: How long after the Mutiny began was it that you saw Muspratt Armed?
A: It might be about ten Minutes.

Q: At the time you have related the Mutineers to go down into the Cabin was Thomas Burkitt one of those People that you Say remained in the Hatchway?
A: No.

Q: Have you any Reason to know that the Prisoner Peter Heywood would have been prevented from going into the Boat at the time you did, after you desired him to do so?
A: No.

Q: How long was it before you went into the Boat after you spoke to him?
A: Two or three Minutes.

Q: You have said that if you had given it as your Opinion you looked upon the Prisoner James Morrison to be assisting the Mutineers and to get rid of us out of the Ship; you have also said in another part of your Evidence that the Prisoner McIntosh was also assisting to hoist the Boat out, and that you did not look upon him in that light; what is the Reason of your thinking Differently of them?
A: The Difference was in the Countenances of the People, tho' Opinion may be ill grounded; the Countenance of the one was rejoiced and the other depressed.

Q: You have said the Prisoner Norman was employed in putting a Tool Chest into the Boat; do you know why he did not accompany you in her?
A: No.

Q. When Peter Heywood was in his Birth and you admonished him to go into the Boat, was he prevented by any force or restraint from going on Deck?
A: No.

Q: What was Mr. Heywood employed about in his Birth when you went below?
A: Nothing but sitting with his Arms folded on his own Chest, in the fore Part of the Birth.

Q: Did you from his Behavior consider him as a Person attached to his Duty or to the Party of the Mutineers?
A: I should rather suppose after my having told him to go into the Boat, and he not joining us, to be on the side of the Mutineers, but that must be only understood as an Opinion as he was not in the least Employed during the active part of it.

Q: Did you observe any Marks of Joy or Sorrow on his Countenance or Behavior?
A: Sorrow.

Q: You have said just now that you supposed McIntosh not to be attached to the Mutineers because he had a depressed Countenance; might not the Sorrow that you perceived in the Countenance of Peter Heywood arise from the same Cause?
A: It might so.

Cross-examined by JAMES MORRISON

Q. You say that you observed Joy in my Countenance and that you are rather inclined to give it as your Opinion that I was one of the Mutineers; can you declare before God and this Court that such Evidence is not the result of a private Pique?
A: No, it is not the result of any private Pique, it is an Opinion that I formed after quitting the Ship, from the Prisoner's not coming with us when he had as good an Opportunity as the rest, there being more Boats than one.

Q: Are you certain that we might have had the large Cutter to have accompanied you?
A: Not being present at any Conference between you, I cannot say, but perhaps you might.

Q: Can you deny that you were present when Captain Bligh begged that the Long Boat might not be overloaded and that he did say he would do Justice to those who remained?
A: I was present at the Time Lieutenant Bligh made such a Declaration, but understood it as respecting Clothes and other heavy Articles with which the Boat was already too full.

Q: Do you recollect that in Consequence of such Declaration I told you, "I will take my Chance in the Ship"?
A: No, I do not remember such a Circumstance.

Q: Do you remember when you handed your Bag up the Main Hatchway and with it your Fuzee, that I was the Person who received them from you, and that Matthew Quintal came and seized upon the Fuzee, and swore damn his Eyes if you should have it?
A: I don't remember the Person that took the Bag and Fuzee from me and it might have been you, but remember the Circumstances of Matthew Quintal's swearing that I should not have it - but from whose hands he took it I cannot remember.

Q: Do you remember any time on that Day calling upon me to Assist you in any Point of Duty or to give any Assistance to retake His Majesty's Ship?
A: I have a feint Remembrance of a Circumstance of that Nature.

By the Court

Q: Relate the Circumstance?
A: It is so very feint that I can hardly remember it or the Person who it was - but on seeing Charles Churchill upon the Booms I thought that had I had a Friendly Island Club, of which there were many on board, I could, had I not been observed, have gone forward, which was behind Churchill, and knocked him down; that was the Time after handing the Bag up, and the Prisoner might have been the Person whom I called to my Assistance.


Q: What answer did I give to you?
A: I do not remember.

Q: Did I say, "Go it, I'll back you, there is Tools enough"?
A: I do not remember.

Q: Did you ever observe any thing in my Conduct thro' the Voyage and particularly on that Day that should give Cause of Complaint?
A: During the Voyage not - and on that day I thought he was pleased as far as I can judge of Countenances. The Prisoner Assisted in preparing the Boat for our departure, but as I have Said before I do not know his real intention.

Q: Are you positive that there was a Continual Smile or Appearance of Joy in my Countenance, all the time that you observed me, or at that time only when you called upon me for Assistance?
A: I cannot say.

Cross-examined by WILLIAM MUSPRATT

Q: In answer to a Question just asked by Morrison, you allow Captain Bligh used these Words - "Don't let the Boat be overloaded, my Lads, I'll do you Justice," which you say alluded to the Clothes and other heavy Articles. Do you mean to understand the latter Words of "My Lads I'll do you Justice" to apply to Clothes or to Men whom he apprehended might go into the Boat?
A: If Captain Bligh made use of the Words "My Lads," it was to the People already in the Boat and not to those in the Ship.

By the COURT

Q: To whom do you imagine Captain Bligh alluded when he said that he would do them Justice, was it your Opinion to the Men in the Boat with him or to any Persons then remaining in the Ship?
A: To Persons remaining in the Ship.

Q: Are you of Opinion that he meant he would do them Justice on Account of their remaining in the Ship or that he would cause Satisfaction to be given to them for any property they might lose?
A: I rather imagine that it was to those few whom Captain Bligh knew to be of his Party that were detained contrary to their Inclinations and that he would do them such Justice which would throw aside all doubt of their being True to the Service of their Country.

Q: Do you know of any Persons that were detained in the Ship contrary to their Will?
A: But of two to my own Knowledge - Joseph Coleman and Michael Byrn, which from the latter's declaration I supposed to be the Case.

Q: What authority have you for saying that Coleman was detained contrary to his Will?
A: From hearing from among the Mutineers their Intention to detain him, as well as the Acting Surgeon, whom they afterwards let go, saying that they would have Little Occasion for Doctors.


  • The Court-Martial of the Bounty Mutineers: An Account
  • The Mutiny on the Bounty: A Chronology
  • The Mutiny on the Bounty: Maps
  • The Mutiny on the Bounty: Images
  • The Log & Letters of William Bligh Pertaining to the Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Company of the Bounty & Their Various Fates
  • William Bligh's Narrative of the Mutiny on the Bounty (London: George Nicol, 1790)
  • Transcript of the Court-Martial of the Bounty Mutineers
  • Verdict and Sentence in the Court-Martial of the Bounty Mutineers
  • Bligh's Orders: Gather Breadfruit for later transplanting
  • Screen Depictions of the Mutiny on the Bounty
  • The Mutiny on the Bounty: Selected Links

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