Document with Fletcher Christian’s signature

Partial document. 1788.

Two‑sided document written on board Bounty, signed by Fletcher Christian, the Master, John Fryer and William Elphinstone.

Laid paper with no visible watermark. Written off Cape Horn.


SKU SF000165 Category


Share
Description

Fletcher Christian was the master’s mate on His Majesty’s Armed Vessel Bounty, which sailed on 23 December 1787 from Hampshire to the South Seas to transport breadfruit trees to the West Indies. Christian had sailed twice previously under the ship’s Commanding Lieutenant William Bligh, and the two men thought themselves friends when the voyage began. But after months of Bligh’s severe discipline, interrupted by an extended stay docked at idyllic Tahiti, Christian led the officers and crew in mutiny on 28 April 1789. Bligh and 18 men loyal to his command were set adrift in a small boat, and Christian, knowing that his mutineers could never return to England, steered Bounty and her remaining crew to Tubuai in the French Polynesian Islands. Tubuai proved inhospitable, however, and the mutineers eventually split into two groups. The larger group of rebels returned to Tahiti where they settled until their idyll was fatally interrupted by the arrival of HMS Pandora sent by the Admiralty to capture the mutineers and return them to England to face trial. Meanwhile, the other group of mutineers, consisting of Christian and eight others, sailed in a different direction, settling on Pitcairn Island.

There are very few known examples of Fletcher Christian’s signature, making this a noteworthy work.

Additional information
Date

1788

Author/Maker

Fletcher Christian

Material

Ink (iron gall ink), Paper