Pitcairn & Norfolk Islands - HMS Bounty

Entries: 10102    Updated: 2006-12-12 22:27:03 UTC (Tue)    Owner: Paul

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  • ID: I4574
  • Name: DAVID NELSON
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1740'S in London, England
  • Death: 18 JUL 1789 in Timor
  • Occupation: Bounty Botanist
  • Note:
    He was directly appointed by Sir Joseph Banks, having previously performed the same duties
    for Capt. Cook's third voyage, thus was well known by Bligh. He had been a Kew Gardens
    botanist. He was described by Capt. Clerke as 'one of the quietest fellows in nature'.
    He actually designed and oversaw the conversion of the Bounty required to house the
    breadfruit through the weeks of transport. His earlier relationship (during the Cook voyage)
    with the Tahitians was the key to the Bounty's quick acceptance on their arrival.
    He was equally respected and liked by all the crew and officers. The mutineers ordered him
    below so he would not become even peripherally involved. Despite the fact that he was no
    doubt one of the oldest men on the Bounty, he enthusiastically went about his duties with the
    vigor of a much younger man, constantly relishing the opportunity to study the native
    vegetation.
    The voyage in the launch, however, was very hard on him. During the voyage of the Launch,
    he appears to have sided with Bligh in the disputes with Fryer. About a week before the
    landing on Timor, he was taken quite ill with "a burning in the bowels, loss of sight, and
    inability to walk" which he attributed to eating poisonous berries that he could not identify.
    He died on 20 Jul 1789, about five weeks after their arrival at Timor, of an inflammatory
    fever. In his log, Bligh wrote at the time of Nelson's death, "The loss of this honest man bears
    very heavy on my mind, his duty and integrity went hand in hand, and he had accomplished
    through great care and diligence the object he was sent for, always forwarding every plan I had
    for the good of the service we were on. He was equally serviceable on the [Launch] voyage,
    in the course of which he always gave me pleasure by conducting himself with resolution and
    integrity."
    Nelson was buried the next day with full honors. The corpse was carried by 12 soldiers
    dressed in black, followed by the Governor, ten gentlemen of the town, the officers of all ships
    in Timor harbor, and finally by all Bounty crewmembers. He was interred behind the chapel
    in a burial-ground appropriated to the Europeans living on the island. No tombstone was
    available to be placed.
    On a later voyage to Tasmania, in 1792, Bligh named a high spot as "Nelson's Hill" as "he
    was the first white man on it". This later became known as Mount Nelson, and is the present
    day location of Hobart University, a distinction that the old scientist would have very much
    appreciated.




    Father: OTHER BOUNTY LOYALISTS
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