Open main menu

Matthew Quintal (baptised 3 March 1766 as Mathew Quintril, Padstow, Cornwall – 1799, Pitcairn Island) was a Cornish able seaman and mutineer aboard HMS Bounty. His surname was, in all probability, the result of misspelling the Cornish surname "Quintrell". He was the last of the mutineers to be murdered on Pitcairn Island. He was murdered or executed by Ned Young and John Adams, leaving them the last two men alive on the island.

Quintal was the first crew member punished by flogging "for insolence and mutinous behaviour." He readily joined the mutiny. Five days after landing on Pitcairn Island, Quintal burned the Bounty, before the settlers had had a chance to remove everything of value from the ship, as a safety precaution to avoid the ship giving their location away to the British Navy. It is not known if he took the action on his own or if he was ordered to. He led the others in oppressing the Polynesians. On 20 September 1793, the four remaining Polynesian men stole muskets and killed Christian, Mills, Brown, Martin, and Williams. Quintal barely escaped being one of the victims by hiding in the mountains with William McCoy.[1]

McCoy discovered a means of distilling alcohol from one of the island's fruits. He and Quintal quickly descended into alcoholism, often abusing and bullying both the Polynesian men and women, including his consort Tevarua. Rosalind Young, a descendant of Ned Young, relayed a story handed down to her that Tevarua went fishing one day failed to catch enough fish to satisfy him. He punished her by biting off her ear. He may have been drunk at the time, because he and William McCoy were drunk most of the time, consuming the ti-root brandy that McCoy had succeeded in distilling. Tevarua fell – or, some believe, killed herself by leaping – off a cliff in 1799. After McCoy killed himself, Quintal became increasingly erratic. He demanded to take Isabella, Fletcher Christian's widow, as his wife, and threatened to kill Christian's children if his demands were not granted. Ned Young and John Adams invited him to Young's home and overpowered him, then murdered or, by some accounts, executed him with an axe.[1][2]

Quintal's descendants reside on Norfolk Island to this day. A descendant, Malcolm Champion, was a swimmer in the 1912 Summer Olympics, becoming New Zealand's first ever gold medalist.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Bounty's Crew Encyclopedia". library.puc.edu. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  2. ^ Matthew Quintal

External linksEdit