Nostalgia. Nostalgia. Who among us, boys, did not dream of a heroic profession in a distant childhood. Become an astronaut, a pilot, a football player?
Other times, other manners. Most people choose a portfolio of bankers, financiers, managers, at the worst, officials or politicians. Yes. But someone, admit it, dreamed of being a pirate, huh? To step, so to speak, on a pirate path, to lift "Merry Roger," to shoot from cannons of the main calibre on a royal flagman ... Pistols and machetes - ready? Surrender your vessel, or you're going to die. Forward! Come on, aboard! (abordage – French.) Piasters!... Piasters!... Romance. And the award is Captain Flint's treasure box. Our Treasure Island! Our fantasies.
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest –
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest –
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"
What thoughts, for example, lead us to the date of December 23? Well, let's ask otherwise, what does "bounty" associate with? Someone will say: "Well, it's simple: chocolate bar with coconut filling..." Meanwhile, the name "Bounty" was worn by a frigate or brig (more like a brig than a frigate, judging by the displacement of 215 tons) of His Majesty King George III, the king of England, with whom the events described below took place.
At the end of the XVIII century, London officials from the colonial administration decided that it was necessary to close once and for all the food topic for the black population of the West Indies islands, which served as a source of slaves for the metropolis. Even though they were "niggers," they had to be fed with something. Then what to feed without burdening the treasury? Someone remembered how Captain Cook, describing his voyages to the South Seas, spoke enthusiastically of the local trees that taste like bread but the size of a coconut. It is not bread, but something quite edible than blacks on sugar plantations could fill their bellies after work. Cheap and angry, as they say. The British cared not about the health of slaves, of course, but about the reputation of the Mistress of the seas.
Let's not forget that the British Empire in those days indeed "ruled the seas," continuing to open new territories and expanding its possessions around the world, and therefore was extremely interested in their rapid colonization. This fully applies to the West Indies, where a cheap workforce brought could be used. Slaves, alas, had to be fed with something every day.
The idea to bring a bread tree to America for the first time came to the local governor Morris's mind - and he submits a petition to the English cabinet with a request to equip an expedition to the islands of Oceania for this purpose. The answer of the Admiralty did not make itself wait. The choice fell on Lieutenant William Bligh, an experienced sailor, who has already once visited the southern latitudes with the expedition of James Cook, was familiar with the customs of the natives and accustomed to the hardships of many months of navigation. Bligh was received by the President of the Royal Society Joseph Banks, whose services to the Crown were rated by the Grand Knight Cross of the Order of the Bath. It was he who financed expeditions, travels, "reconnaissance missions" of His Majesty's subjects to the distant shores, which he was interested in as a scientist, collector of rarities and - importantly - a member of the Royal Privy Council in the rank of adviser... And he was known as a large naturalist, who botany, collecting samples of plants from different parts of the world, where he had visited.
- What route did you choose, Bligh?
The audience in the Admiralty was more of a formality than a desire of high officials to examine a young officer. His professional qualities did not cause doubts.
- I think we should go to the shores of South America. Go around Cape Horn. And the Pacific.
His current name, "Pacific" ocean, was received from Fernand Magellan, a Portuguese in the service of Spain, when he managed under propitious weather conditions to make the first round-the-world trip while opening the closest way from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean to the Strait, later named after him. It is said that in search of spices. In fact, it was a deal: the Spaniards equipped the expedition with all necessary, and Magellan promised to share the treasures upon his return.
- This will save us time, sir.
- Well, a reasonable approach.
Bligh was just over 30 years old. The years of Christ. Well built, sturdy, chunky, he had a loud, commanding voice, which unwittingly compels his interlocutors, regardless of rank, to notice what he was he speaks. Bligh was known to be a sea wolf, and there were expeditions to Jamaica, an around-the-world trip to Tahiti, where he accompanied Captain Cook.
Bligh is credited with the fatal role he played in the death of his commanding officer. It was he who allegedly provoked the local Aborigines by shooting, and the famous navigator was killed by a spear blow to the head when the English were forced to retreat under the pressure of the crowd while trying to land from HMS Resolution (was a sloop of the Royal Navy) on an unknown territory they were investigating. However, this seems to be pure fiction, as the monument to James Cook is erected on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, where the 50-year-old captain of the Royal Navy finished his earthly journey. It happened on February 14, 1779. Cook's remains were useless to the Hawaiians, and they threw them into the sea. However, there is evidence that William Bligh was a master of the team, which Cook hired for the third and last round-the-world voyage for him. But did he shoot the natives? - The story is silent about it. Most likely, it was James Cook himself who did it. The carelessness has led to tragedy.
Bligh managed to command and commercial vessels before he received the rank and uniform of a lieutenant of His Royal Majesty's fleet. By all accounts, he was the most suitable candidate for the role of executor of the will of the Royal Privy Society.
- And when do you expect to return home?
- It will take two years if not three. By the weather.
- Please take this with you.
Banks took a pack of handwritten sheets from the table.
- This is a dictionary of Tahitian language I have collected with the help of the generous Captain Cook. You know, communication with the local tribes - the President of the Royal Society kept silent for a few seconds - should no longer end in tragedy. You need to win the arrangement of the leaders, get them on your side, make them allies. This will bring success to the expedition and strengthen the position of Great Britain. Let's not forget who owns the seas - she owns the world. The iron hand in a velvet glove is our motto. Remember it.