Despite Bligh’s Bounty journal being widely regarded as the most important of all of the primary documents related to the famous mutiny, the relationship between the official version of the journal (at The National Archives in London) and Bligh’s private version (at the Mitchell Library in Sydney) has never been thoroughly investigated. That surprising omission has now been comprehensively rectified with the publication of The Bounty and beyond, a meticulous comparison of the two versions of the journal by John A. Fish. Numerous surprising and important differences are revealed, particularly those relating to food and drink, and Bligh’s relationships with his officers and men. The comparison is preceded by a thorough historical and bibliographical investigation of Bligh’s three first breadfruit expedition journals, that is, the journals of the Bounty, the Resource and the Vlydt.
Also included is a comprehensive investigation and considered interpretation of Bligh’s separate manuscript account of the mutiny and the voyage in the open boat. This large manuscript is the forerunner of Bligh’s published Narrative of the Mutiny (1790). The significance of this manuscript, in Bligh’s own hand and held by the Mitchell Library, has not, hitherto, been fully recognised.
Based on extensive research (including several examinations of the primary sources) and a deep understanding of the relevant literature, this work will prove to be a landmark event in the history of Bligh/Bounty scholarship.