Statement by Charles Norman (9/17/1792)
CHARLES NORMAN being called on for his defence, he delivered a Paper Writing to the Court, which was read by the Judge Advocate and is hereto annexed.
I had the Watch on Deck on the Morning of the 28th. Of April, 1789, and between the Hours of five and Six Mr. Christian ordered me to Coil up the Ropes on the quarter Deck. When I had done I saw a large Shark alongside and call'd out, " There's a Shark on the larbd. quarter." Mr. Hayward said, "Don't make a Noise," and him and Mr. Hallet went forward on the larboard side and call'd to some one to get a Shark hook. Mr. Christian then order'd me to go aft and unship the Gangboard ready for Drawing Water for Washing Decks. He then Went down the Fore hatchway and two or three Minutes after I saw Chas. Churchill, Isaac Martin, Alexr. Smith, In. Sumner, Matthew Quintell, come armed with Musquets and bayonets, loading as they Came Aft, and run down the After hatchway; in about two Minutes after, Christian Came Aft with a Drawn Cutlass in his hand and follow'd them down the Hatchway. I was then standing by the Larboard Gangway and I heard Captain Bligh Call out, "What's the matter? What's the Matter? Murder!" Thos. Burkett was then Standing by the Pump on the larboard side and I saw no Arms that he had then. Churchill call'd out two or three times in terrible threats for some one to hand a line down to tye the Captain, and John Mills, the Gunner's Mate did hand a piece of line down. Soon after I saw Captain Bligh Come up and Christian and Churchill with him, and Martin and A. Smith after him; his hands were tied and he was in his Shirt without any Breeches or Trowsers. They placed him between the two Guns on the Larboard Side of the Quarter Deck and Christian stood by him with the Cutlass in his hand. Churchill then Came to me With a Drawn Cutlass and Pistol and in a Commanding Voice ordered me to Clear the Yams out of the Small Cutter. I ask'd him for What, to which he replied" Do as I order you." I was afraid to refuse and as soon as she was Clear I was hoisted out in her. She was not long Out before I call'd out that she would sink if she was not hoisted in as I could not keep her free with bailing, her bottom being Eaten so much by the Worms. While I was in her McIntosh call'd to me and ask'd me where the large Cutter's Knees were. I told him they were in my tool Chest and soon after the large Cutter was hoisted out and the Small one was hoisted in. As soon as I came out of the Boat Mr. Purcell ordered me to go down to the Store room and Assist McIntosh to bring up the Launch's Knees, which I did, and we brought them up and got her ready for hoisting out and then I lent a hand at the Main Stay and Yard tackles to get her out. Mr. Purcell then told Me and McIntosh to get the two Saws out of the Store Room and a Bucket of Nails of different sizes and some other Stores for the Use of the Boat. I obey'd his orders willingly, as I thought to go with the Captain, but Mr. Christian gave Churchill Orders to mind that Coleman, McIntosh and Norman were kept in the Ship and on hearing this I was affraid to go over the Side for fear of being Shot at, and I can solemnly say before God and this Honorable Court that I was kept against my Own Consent and I told Mr. Hallet to remember me to my Wife and family, for Mr. Christian would not let me go in the Boat with them.