Did Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian know Latin?

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Did Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian know Latin?

Post by jeidsath » Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:02 pm

I've been reading through Captain Bligh's and Edward Christian's dueling publications about the Bounty mutiny. Bligh's A Narrative of the Mutiny on the Bounty. Christian's The Appendix to the Minutes of the Bounty Court-Martial. Bligh's An Answer to Certain Assertions Contained in The Appendix to a Pamphlet. Christian's A Short Reply to Capt. William Bligh's Answer.

One of the issues that comes up is the extent of Fletcher Christian's classical education.
I am sorry that Mr. Hallet has ventured to assert that "Christian did not appear to have received any portion of classical learning, and was ignorant of all but his mother tongue." It is very probable that a young midshipman may be unacquainted with the extent of the learning of any other officer on board; but Mr. Hallet's assertion that Christian was absolutely ignorant has been made either with too little caution or too much zeal. Christian was educated by the Reverend Mr. Scott, at St. Bees school in Cumberland, where the young men of the best families in that country receive their education, and from which many are sent to the universities; and I am confident that Mr. Scott, his school-fellows, and all who knew him well, will testify that "Christian was an excellent scholar, and possessed extraordinary abilities." This is a point which a great number of gentlemen in the most respectable situations in life must be acquainted with; and I shall leave it to them to determine, whether Mr. Hallet or I, in this instance, be most deserving of credit.
So was Fletcher Christian a brute or educated gentleman? Apparently this was the "Cockermouth Free School" where William Wordsworth was educated (entering the school the same year that Christian matriculated).
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Did Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian know Latin?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:55 pm

Well, if in fact he attended a decent "grammar school" of the period, he certainly would have been exposed to Latin, a great deal more in fact than most university students starting Latin as a freshman today might have. How much he actually learned would have to be determined by other methods, but that he would have been exposed to it is a sure thing.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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