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age in the Bounty, and was but a youth of between fifteen and sixteen on the occasion of the mutiny. He had now been away from his father, mother, brothers, and sisters, for five years. About the latter end of March, 1790, his mother heard with grief and consternation of the mutiny which had taken place on board the Bounty. Her husband had died two months previous, and had thus been spared a severe domestic trial. The dreadful intelligence which reached her was aggravated by many malignant additions to the facts. She had been cruelly informed that her son, as a ringleader of the mutiny, had gone armed into Mr. Bligh’s cabin. She did not, indeed, believe the account; but though she knew her son's general good qualities, she feared the worst results from his having been mixed up with such a transaction.
His sister, Nessy, (Hester,) uncertain whether he was alive or dead, but full of ardent love for a dear brother whom she would not believe guilty of an atrocious crime, thus writes to him :
“Isle of Man, 2d June, 1792. “In a situation of mind only rendered supportable by the long and painful state of misery and suspense we have suffered on his account, how shall I address my dear, my fondly beloved brother !—how describe the anguish we have felt at the idea of this long and painful separation, rendered still more distressing by the terrible circumstances attending it! Oh! my ever dearest boy, when I look back to that dreadful moment which brought us the fatal intelligence that you had remained in the Bounty after Mr. Bligh had quitted her, and were looked upon by him as a mutineer !-when I contrast that day of horror with my present hopes of again beholding you, such as my most sanguine wishes could expect, I know not which is the most predominant sensation,—pity, compassion, and terror for your sufferings, or joy and satisfaction at the prospect of their being near a termination, and of once more embracing the dearest object of our affections. “I will not ask you, my beloved bro
ther, whether you are innocent of the
“How strange does it seem to me that
I am now engaged in the delightful task of writing to you. Alas! my beloved brother, two years ago I never expected again to enjoy such a felicity, and even yet I am in the most painful uncertainty whether you are alive. Gracious God, grant that we may be at length blessed by your return! But, alas! the Pandora's people have been long expected, and are not even yet arrived. Should any accident have happened, after all the miseries
have already suffered, the poor gleam of hope with which we have been lately indulged will render our situation ten thousand times more insupportable than if time had inured us to your loss. Let me conjure you, my dearest Peter, to write to us the very first moment-do not lose a post’tis of no consequence how short your letter may be, if it only inform us you are well.
“We are at present making all possible interest with every friend and connection we have, to insure you a sufficient support and protection at your approaching trial; for a trial you must unavoidably undergo, in order to convince the world
of that innocence which those who know you will not for a moment doubt; but, alas! while circumstances are against you, the generality of mankind will judge severely. Bligh's representations to the Admiralty are, I am told, very unfavourable; and hitherto the tide of public opinion has been greatly in his favour. My mamma is at present well, considering the distress she has suffered since you left us; for, my dearest brother, we have experienced a complicated scene of misery from a variety of causes, which, however, when compared with the sorrow we felt on your account, was trifling and insignificant.
“Farewell, my most beloved brother! God grant this may soon be put into your hands! Perhaps at this moment you are arrived in England, and I may soon have the dear delight of again beholding you. My mamma, brothers, and sisters join with me in every sentiment of love and tender
Write to us immediately, my everloved Peter, and may the Almighty preserve you until you bless with your presence your fondly affectionate family, and