Edward Christian

Edward Christian

Edward Christian (3 March 1758 - 29 March 1823) was the older brother of Fletcher Christian, leader of the Mutiny on the Bounty.

In 1794, Stephen Barney, counsel to Mutineer William Muspratt, at the urging of Edward Christian, published his version of the Minutes of the Bounty Court-Martial which included an 'Appendix' written by Edward Christian. In the Appendix, Edward did not try to excuse his brother Fletcher's conduct, but citing his interviews with several of the people involved (none directly), and listing the names and addresses of several prominent people as witnesses to these interviews, he recounted several of the excesses of William Bligh, Commander of the Bounty. At the time of the publication of the Minutes and Appendix, the public's only published source of information about the mutiny were Bligh's own 'A Narrative of the Mutiny on the Bounty,' published in 1790, and 'A Voyage to the South Sea,' published in 1792. With the publication of the 'Appendix,' the tide of public opinion began to turn against Bligh. Indeed, Bligh responded by publishing 'An Answer to Certain Assertions Contained in The Appendix to a Pamphlet, entitled...' etc., etc., to which, Edward Christian promptly published "A Short Reply to Capt. William Bligh's Answer,' which only served to fan the flames.

The process was aided by the efforts of the family of Peter Heywood, a Midshipman on the Bounty, and others, but many attribute the source of William Bligh's bad reputation, to this day, to Edward Christian's 'Appendix.' It is believed by many that Edward Christian's impetus for both the 'Minutes' and the 'Appendix,' were a letter from, and a subsequent meeting with, Peter Heywood, after the latter's pardon.


*Papers of Sir Joseph Banks [http://image.sl.nsw.gov.au/banks/40167.jpg"Newscutting concerning Fletcher Christian, November 1792 (Series 46.35)"] State Library of New South Wales. Accessed March 12, 2008.

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