Author's note: William McCoy, able seaman and mutineer from H. M. S. Bounty, was the first man to distil spirits on Pitcairn Island, using the roots of ti trees. The first bottle was made on 20 April 1797. The following year, McCoy, in an alcoholic delirium, tied stones around his neck and threw himself over a cliff.
Epigraph: Towards 1897, the Pitcairn Island community had deteriorated into lawlessnes. 'The man who stemmed the tide of degenerationn was James Russell McCoy, a great-grandson of the mutineer. The direction and purpose he gave the community as Chief Magistrate and Chief Executive, on and off for thirty-seven years, earned the mutineer's great-grandson and honoured and secure place in Pitcairn History.' - Robert B. Nicolson, The Pitcairners