Another more famous Lakeland figure, William Wordsworth, also played a crucial part in the aftermath of the mutiny.
Susan Thorneley, whose first husband Edward Curwen was a direct descendant of Isabella and who lived on Belle Isle until a few years ago, says:"We know Wordsworth was involved in helping Fletcher’s brother Edward to prepare his defense. And for a period of seven weeks Dorothy Wordsworth stopped writing her journal; perhaps she was afraid of writing something about his return."
Evidence indicates that, not only did he know more about the fate of Fletcher Christian than he ever divulged, but he also used this knowledge as inspiration for the epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner on which he collaborated with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
When a pamphlet was published supposing to contain letters written by Christian after the mutiny, William Wordsworth wrote to the press with the cryptic comment that he ‘had it on the best authority that these were false’ – the ‘ best authority’ could only have been Christian himself.
In the British Museum is a notebook, belonging to Coleridge, in which he jotted down possible subjects for his poems. The notebook, compiled during the time he wrote the Ancient Mariner, contains the entry: ‘Adventures of Christian, the mutineer’ and a study of the poem reveals many similarities to the voyage of the Bounty and Christian’s guilt.
The Argument for ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ indeed reads: "How a ship having passed the line was driven by storms to the cold country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical latitude of the great Pacific Ocean: And of the strange things that befell: And in what manner the Ancient Mariner came back to his own country."
Wordsworth could easily have been privy to exclusive information about Christian’s whereabouts as he was one of those who helped Fletcher Christian’s brother, the lawyer Edward Christian, to collect evidence to defend him against the accusations of William Bligh.