If Bligh had no part in bringing these disasters upon himself, he was a very unfortunate man (he was never given another command), and his enemies were extremely lucky in coming off so well. Mutineers whom he accused of taking active part against him, instead of getting hanged, rise to high rank in the service of the King; the military leader of an insurrection, in place of being shot on a parade-ground, is mildly dismissed the service, and becomes a prosperous settler upon the soil on which he raised the standard of revolution. But, whatever may have been his faults, arising from his ungovernable temper and arbitrary disposition, the statements of his military traducers reflecting on his personal courage may be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.
OTHER NAVAL PIONEERS, AND THE PRESENT MARITIME STATE
Long after Bligh, the last naval governor, was in his grave, the pioneer work of naval officers went on; and if not the chief aid to the settlement of Australia, it played an important part in its development. Begun at the foundation of the colony, when the marine explorer did his work in open boats; carried on, as the settlement grew, in locally built fore-and-aft vessels down to the present, when navigating officers are year in, year out, cruising “among the South Sea Islands,” or on the less known parts of the northern and western Australian coast-line, surveying in up-to-date triple-expansion-engined steam cruisers or in steam surveying yachts, the work of chart-making has always been, and still is, done so thoroughly as to command the admiration of all who understand its [Sidenote: 1793] its meaning, and withal so modestly that the shipmaster, whose Admiralty charts are perhaps little less or even more valuable to him than his Bible, scarcely ever thinks, if he knows, how they are made.
In the earliest days of the colony, Phillip and Hunter were land as well as sea explorers; Dawes and Tench, of the Marines, and Quartermaster Hacking, of the Sirius, in 1793 and 1794, made the first attempts to cross the Blue Mountains. Shortlands (father and son), Ball, of the Supply, and half a dozen other naval lieutenants, all made discoveries of importance; Vancouver, McClure, and Bligh (the latter twelve years before he was thought of as a governor) each did a share of early charting.
The list might be extended indefinitely. Let us take only one or two names and tell their stories; and these examples, with the narrative of Flinders and Bass, must stand as illustrative of the work of all.