We stood to the northward all night with light winds.
And on the next day the 27th at noon were between
the islands Tofoa and
Kotoo. Latitude observed 19 degrees 18 minutes south.
Thus far the voyage had advanced in a course of uninterrupted prosperity, and had been attended with many circumstances equally pleasing and satisfactory. A very different scene was now to be experienced. A conspiracy had been formed which was to render all our past labour productive only of extreme misery and distress. The means had been concerted and prepared with so much secrecy and circumspection that no one circumstance appeared to occasion the smallest suspicion of the impending calamity.
A Mutiny in the Ship.
1789. April. Monday 27.
We kept near the island Kotoo all the afternoon in hopes that some canoes would come off to the ship; but in this I was disappointed. The wind being northerly in the evening we steered to the westward to pass to the south of Tofoa. I gave directions for this course to be continued during the night. The master had the first watch, the gunner the middle watch, and Mr. Christian the morning watch. This was the turn of duty for the night.
Just before sun-rising, while I was yet asleep, Mr. Christian, with the master at arms, gunner’s mate, and Thomas Burkitt, seaman, came into my cabin, and seizing me tied my hands with a cord behind my back, threatening me with instant death if I spoke or made the least noise: I however called as loud as I could in hopes of assistance; but they had already secured the officers who were not of their party by placing sentinels at their doors. There were three men at my cabin door besides the four within; Christian had only a cutlass in his hand, the others had muskets and bayonets. I was hauled out of bed and forced on deck in my shirt, suffering great pain from the tightness which with they had tied my hands. I demanded the reason of such violence but received no other answer than abuse for not holding my tongue. The master, the gunner, the surgeon, Mr. Elphinstone, master’s mate, and Nelson, were kept confined below; and the fore hatchway was guarded by sentinels. The boatswain and carpenter, and also the clerk, Mr. Samuel, were allowed to come upon deck, where they saw me standing abaft the mizenmast with my hands tied behind my back under a guard with Christian at their head. The boatswain was ordered to hoist the launch out with a threat if he did not do it instantly to take care of himself.