Description

    Scarce signature by the commander of the HMS Bounty

    William Bligh Endorsement Signed "Wm Bligh Capt." One page of one leaf, 8" x 12.5", Yarmouth, March 8, 1798. Bligh, the British Royal Navy officer who commanded the HMS Bounty during its infamous mutiny in 1789, endorses this letter from William Dearly to "Mr. Lewis Acting Agent Victualler" regarding the supplying of Bligh's ship, the HMS Director. Bligh's signature is clear, though it bears some heavy ink blotting nearby. Smoothed folds with only minor soiling. Docketing and later penciled notations exist on the reverse. The letter reads in full:

    "Please to supply his Majesty's Ship Director with the under Mentioned Provisions, Beer, and water to complete the same to Four Months. Bisket Five thousand, three hundred &c - 47 bags. Butter Five hundred and fifty two pounds. Cheese One thousand, One hundred & ten pounds. Beer Thirty Butts. Water Forty Butts. I am Sir, your Obedient Servant, [signed] Wm. Dearly."

    When he signed this, William Bligh (1754-1817) had been in command of the HMS Director for two years. The Director, launched in 1784, was a 64-gun third-rate ship of the line. (Later in 1801, Bligh would be placed in command of another ship, the HMS Glatton.) Before endorsing this letter, Bligh had suffered through two mutinies. The first and most famous occurred earlier in 1789 as the Bounty sailed from Tahiti, around Africa, to England. Bligh and a few loyal crewmen were turned adrift on a launch with only minimal supplies by his rebellious crew, who sailed away in the ship. Despite the dangers of island natives, bad weather, and hunger, Bligh and his men finally made their way across the Pacific Ocean to Jakarta, Indonesia, where they were eventually transported to England. In an important vote of confidence, Bligh was given command of the Director. One year later, however, the crew of that ship mutinied, but Bligh was restored to command only weeks later. From the Donald P. Dow Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
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