pians, that the skulls of the shipwrecked strangers were preserved in a public building called the spirit-house : he is of opinion that the hostility of the islanders to the French, who it appears were obliged, while they remained on the island, to entrench themselves with wooden palisades, arose not from wanton barbarity, but from the belief that the strangers were preternatural beings, or spirits of the sea. That their habitual ferocity was irritated by superstition is rendered likely from the accounts which they give of the French, whom they describe as conversing with the sun and the stars by means of a long stick, thus obviously alluding to the business of the observatory. The cocked hats of the French perhaps misled them into the belief that their noses were a yard long. Their description of the sentinels was not less ludicrous; for they represented them as men standing on one leg, and holding a bar of iron in their hands.

Captain Dillon applied himself with assiduity and success to collect the relics of the French. On examining the coral reef where the ship had struck, he discovered and raised several brass guns. From the natives he purchased some fragments of a theodolite, the backboard of a ship, ornamented with a fleurde-lis; a ship's bell with the inscription Bazin m'a fait; a great quantity of iron in bars and bolts; some fragments of china; fragments of barometer tubes, and other articles. In April he returned to Calcutta.

When Captain Dillon arrived in Paris, in February, 1828, with the relics of the French expedition, he was graciously received by Charles X., who liberally recompensed his toils with a pension of 4000 francs. Count Lesseps, who had quitted the expedition of La Perouse at Kamtschatka, recognised the guns and the millstones as resembling those which were on board the French frigates; the carved backboard also he believed to have belonged to the Boussole; the armorial bearings, engraved on the bottom of a silver candlestick included among the relics, were at the same time recognised by the expert genealogist, sir William Betham, to be those of Colignon, who was botanist on board the same frigate. Thus it appears likely that the Boussole, with La Perouse himself, was thrown upon the ridge, while the Astrolabe and all her people sank in deep water: what became of the unfortunate commander, after he left Manicolo, it is impossible to conjecture. Of the two Frenchmen who had been seen on that island by the Lascar, one had died at an advanced age, about three years before captain Dillon's arrival there; the other had followed the fortunes of a chief with whom he was allied, and who, being worsted by his enemies, had retired to some of the neighbouring islands.



Arrival of the Penrhyn at Otaheite.---Captain Watts pretends that Cook still

lives.--- Voyage of Captain Bligh.-His stay at Otaheite.-Mutineers seize the Bounty.---Surprising Voyage of Bligh in an open Boat.-The Mutineers sail to Otaheite.-Carry of the live Stock.-Proceed to Toobooaj.-Obliged to return.-The Bounty sails from Otaheite by Night.-Is heard of no more. The Mutineers seized.-The Pandora wrecked.-Bligh's second Voyage.Hete-Hete accompanies him to the West Indies.-The Posterity of the Mutineers found on Pitcairn's Island.-Description of the People.- History of their Settlement.--The Antelope wrecked at the Pelew Islands.--Priuce Lee Boo visits England.-Changes effected in the South Sea Islands.- Increased Value of Iron.-Old Arts forgotten.-Influence of European Traders.-Revolution in the Sandwich Islands.-The Missionaries.--The Art of Printing introduced into Otaheite.--Industry of the New Zealanders.-Christianity embraced by the Friendly Islanders

Though Cook was not the first navigator who visited the South Sea, yet, by the combined merit of his discoveries, and of his skill in preserving the health of his crew in long voyages, he may be said to have been the first who have traced a perinanent path across the great ocean, and laid it completely open to the enterprise of Europeans. The fur trade on the north-west coast of America, to which he guided the hardy enterprise of British merchants; the colony in New South Wales, which also originated in his discoveries; and the success with which he wintered and provisioned his ships among the numerous islands of the great ocean; were all so many causes which led to a frequent and active intercourse between Europeans and the islanders of the South Sea. The fur trade started up with vigour immediately on the return of his ships from the last expedition; but the active tide of commerce originating in this impulse ran at first to the northward of the line, so as to embrace only the Sandwich Islands in its scope.

It was not till eleven years had elapsed after Cook's last visit to Otaheite, that a European ship again touched at that island. In 1788, the Penrhyn, commanded by lieutenant Watts, on her voyage from port Jackson to China, being in great want of water and provisions, ran far to the east and made the island of Otaheite. The natives were so earnest in their inquiries respecting captain Cook, that lieutenant Watts, fearful lest he should lose his influence with them if he revealed the truth, pretended that Cook was still alive and returning to visit his Indian friends. A portrait of himself, which that great navigator had left with the king of the island as a token of his esteem, was brought on board the Penrhyn to be repaired. Notwithstanding the charge of levity brought against the islanders of the South Sea, and particularly the inhabitants of Otaheite, their

attachment to those who first made them acquainted with the arts of civilization appears to have been unalterably sincere.

Not long after the departure of the Penrhyn from Otaheite, captain Bligh arrived there in the Bounty. He had been sent to the South Sea for the purpose of collecting plants of the bread-fruit tree, and other valuable vegetable productions, to be afterwards transplanted to our colonies in the West Indies. He helped to confirm the natives in the delusive belief that captain Cook was still living. He experienced from them all the kind treatment that the dissensions of the island would allow: Poinare the king, and his queen Iddea, entreated him to carry them to Britain. Having remained eight months in Matavai Bay, and taken on board above 1000 plants of the artocarpus, or bread-fruit tree, captain Bligh left the island to return home: but his crew were become corrupted by the life of indolence and enjoyment which they had led here. The superiority which they possessed over the islanders, and the homage they received from them, intoxicated their minds and allowed them to see only the alluring side of a semi-barbarous life. They formed a plan of mutiny, which they put in execution when the ship was leaving the Friendly Islands; and captain Bligh, being seized by the mutineers, was forced into an open boat with his officers and a few of his men, in all sixteen persons; and, with a compass and small stock of provisions, was turned adrift, and left to make his way homewards. The mutineers in the Bounty, under the command of Fletcher Christian, then put the ship about, and giving three cheers for Otaheite, soon disappeared. This occurred not far from the island of Toofooa, on which Bligh landed, in hopes of obtaining a stock of water; but the islanders, perceiving his weakness, were disposed to detain him and his companions, and with difficulty he effected his escape. After a most surprising voyage, he reached the Dutch settlement at Timor, having passed Torre's Strait by a channel different from that explored by Cook, and having made such observations in his passage, notwithstanding his want of instruments, as to render considerable service to geography.

In the mean time the mutineers in the Bounty, under the command of Fletcher Christian, one of the mates, directed their course to Otaheite; but not thinking it prudent to remain on an island where detection and punishment would be so likely to follow their offence, Christian steered for Toobooai, an island discovered by Cook in his second voyage, about 100 leagues to the south of Otaheite; but the want of animals on that island forming a great objection to their residing on it, the mutineers returned to Otaheite, where Christian told the natives that he had met captain Cook, who commanded him to get all the live stock possible, to make a settlement on an island not far to the

west. The islanders, overjoyed at this intelligence, and anxious to evince their zeal for the great man whose presence they shortly expected, vied with each other in executing the commands of Christian; and in a few days he was able to set sail for Toobooai, having on board 460 hogs and 50 goats, besides a plentiful supply of dogs, cats, and poultry. The bull and cow left on the island by captain Bligh were also taken away, but the former soon after died of the injuries he received. Several Otaheitan women, and a still greater number of men, who had concealed themselves in the ship, accompanied the mutineers. Among these emigrants was Oedidee, or more properly HeteHete, the native of Borabora, who had accompanied captain Cook during a part of his second voyage. But at Toobooai the mutineers could not agree with the native inhabitants, whose continual hostilities rendered their abode there so uncomfortable, that in 1789 they quitted it for the third and last time. · As soon as the Bounty anchored in Matavai Bay, some of the natives, and sixteen of the mutineers, went on shore. Those who remained on board cut their cable in the night and put to sea, and

no account was heard of them for many years: thirty-five isl. anders, men, women, and children, went with them.

The Englishmen who remained at Otaheite, and who had been seduced into crimes by the hope of a life of ease and pleasure, were now obliged to exert themselves, to avert the consequences of their helpless situation. They succeeded in building a schooner of forty tons; and astonished the natives not so much by their skill as by their industry and perseverance. The example of their boldness and vigour must have excited an important influence on the simple natives; and their intrinsic superiòrity would probably in a short time have rendered them practically masters of the island. One of them, named Churchill, actually became sovereign of Waheadooa, the smaller peninsula, by right of succession to his tiyo, or friend, the former king. The natives seemed to have been proud of their foreign chief; for when he was murdered by an envious comrade, they avenged his death by burying the assassin under a shower of stones.

In 1791, the Pandora frigate, captain Edwards, arrived at Otaheite, having been sent by the British government to apprehend the mutineers. All of these who remained on the island, fourteen in number, were taken on board, to the inexpressible grief of the islanders. The Pandora was wrecked on her passage home, in Endeavour Straits, and four of the mutineers were among the number of those who perished on that occasion. Of the ten who arrived in England, only three suffered sentence of death.

No tidings, in the mean time, could be met with respecting

Christian and the seven mutineers who had sailed with him in the Bounty; and twenty years passed over before any clue was found to the mystery of his fate. At length, in 1808, captain Folgar, commanding an American trader, touched at Pitcairn's Island to complete his cargo of seal skins. He supposed that the island was uninhabited, but, to his surprise, three young men, who spoke English well, came off to the ship in a double canoe, with a present of fruit and a hog. They said that their father was an Englishman, who had sailed with captain Bligh; and captain Folgar, on landing, saw an Englishman, named Alexander Smith, who had been one of the crew. He was the only one of the mutineers who remained alive, the rest having been murdered by the Otaheitan men, who were immediately after sacrificed to the vengeance of the widows.

Smith appears to have been uneasy at the discovery made of his retreat, for in all subsequent accounts he appears under a changed name. In 1814, captain Staines fell in with Pitcairn's Island, and found, to his astonishment, that all the inhabitants, forty-six in number, spoke good English. A venerable old man, named John Adams, was the patriarch of the community, or rather family, in which no germs of discord or vice had yet found place. The eldest born on the island was the son of Christian, and was baptized Thursday October Christian. Old Smith, or Adams, was at first much alarmed lest the English were coming to apprehend him; but this fear once dispelled, he and his people expressed the most extravagant joy at the sight of those whom they were pleased to call countrymen.

The young natives of Pitcairn's or Christian's Island are beautifully formed, uniting the vigour so common among the islanders of the South Seas with features decidedly English. The women, in particular, are remarkable for their majestic carriage and matchless symmetry: they are, at the same time, modest, innocent, and cheerful. The houses on the island are well built, and neatly furnished with beds and bedsteads. A supply of instruments, such as spades, hatchets, &c. was made from the iron in the Bounty, which was broke up for that purpose. The ground was cultivated by both sexes; the first colonists availing themselves of European seeds, as well as of the native productions of the South Sea. Old Adams kept a journal, in which he entered minutely the quantity of work done by each individual : and besides private property, there seemed to be a general stock; or, perhaps, it may rather be concluded, that in the infancy of society the whole community feels a nearer interest in the industry and welfare of each of its members.

Some further particulars relating to this interesting community were learned in 1819, from an Otaheitan women, who visited New South Wales. She was the wife of Isaac Madden,


« ForrigeFortsett »