When either of these occurred Bligh's invective could bruise men's egos as much as any lash their backs. After the Bounty left Tahiti, Bligh fretted excessively about the plants' welfare. When officers and crew offended he called them 'damn'd Infernal scoundrels, blackguard, liar, vile man, jesuit, thief, lubber, disgrace to the service, damn'd long pelt of a bitch'; he told them he would make them 'eat grass like cows'; he told the officers that he would make them jump overboard before they reached Torres Strait . .
Interestingly, this ‘bad language’ was not obscene in the modern sense; rather, it was humiliating and dislocating. As Dening puts it, '[Bligh's language] was bad, not so much because it was intemperate or abusive, but because it was ambiguous, because men could not read in it a right relationship to his authority' . . Bligh's great failing was that he was so unaware of the effect his mood swings and harsh criticisms had on those about him . . '