On this day, 25th September 1763, Fletcher Christian, of the Mutiny on the Bounty fame was born.
Fletcher Christian was born in 1763, the son of Charles Christian of Cumberland, the family had originated from the Isle of Man. He sailed with William Bligh in the Bounty in 1787 as senior master’s mate for Tahiti. In April, 1789, after leaving Tahiti, Christian and some of the crew arrested Bligh and set him adrift with 18 others in the ship’s launch. He then took command of the Bounty and eventually landed at Pitcairn Island where he died in 1792.
There is no portrait or drawing extant of Fletcher Christian that was drawn from life. Bligh described Christian as “5 ft. 9 in. high [175 cm]. blackish or very dark complexion. Hair - Blackish or very dark brown. Make - Strong. A star tatowed [sic] on his left breast, and tatowed [sic] on the backside. His knees stand a little out and he may be called a little bow legged. He is subject to violent perspiration, particularly in his hand, so that he soils anything he handles"
His fellow crew members on the Bounty had this to say about him “He was a gentleman; a brave man; and every officer and seaman on board the ship would have gone through fire and water to serve him.” – “I would still wade up to the arm-pits in blood to serve him.” – “As much as I have lost and suffered by him, if he could be restored to his country, I should be the first to go without wages in search of him.” – “Every body under his command did their duty at a look from Mr. Christian.” – “Mr. Christian was always good-natured, I never heard him say ‘Damn you,’ to any man on board the ship.” (Bounty’s crew Encyclopedia)
The State Library of New South Wales holds the Fletcher Christian family papers.