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him with the intention of the British government, and expressing the hope that he would be induced to receive under his protection a people whose moral and religious character had created so lively an interest in their favour; but it happened that this person passed the island without stopping. A Mr. Joshua Hill subsequently proposed their removal to New South Wales, but his vessel was considered too small for the purpose.
Two years after this, as difficulties had occurred to prevent the above-mentioned intentions from being carried into effect, Sir George Murray deemed it desirable that no time should be lost in affording such assistance to these islanders as might, at all events, render their present abode as comfortable as circumstances would allow, until arrangements could be made for their future disposal either in one of the Society Islands, as originally proposed, or at one of our settlements on New-Holland. The assistance here alluded to has been afforded, as above mentioned, by his majesty's ship Seringapatam.
It is sincerely to be hoped that such removal will be no longer thought of. No complaint was made no apprehension of want expressed to Captain Waldegrave, who left them contented and happy; and Captain Beechey, since his return, has received a letter from John Buffet, who informs him of a notification that the king was willing to receive them, and that measures would be taken for their removal; but, he adds, the people are so much attached to, and satisfied with, their native island, as not to have a wish to leave it. The breaking up of this happy, innocent, and simple-minded little society by some summary process, would be a subject of deep regret to all who take an interest in their welfare; and to themselves might be the inevitable loss of all those amiable qualities which have obtained for them the kind and generous sympathy of their countrymen at home. We have a person who acts as consul at
Otaheite, and it is to be hoped he will receive in structions on no account to sanction, but on the contrary to interdict, any measure that may be attempted for their removal.
The time must come when they will emigrate on their own accord. When the hive is full, they will send out their swarms. Captain Beechey tells us, that the reading of some books of voyages and travels, belonging to Bligh and left in the Bounty, had created a desire in some of them to leave it; but that family ties and an ardent affection for each other and for their native soil had always interposed on the few occasions that offered to prevent indi viduals going away singly. George Adams, however, who had failed when the Blossom was there to soften the heart of Polly Young, and had no wife to detain him, was very anxious to embark in that ship, that he might see something of the world beyond the narrow limits of his own little island; and Beechey would have taken him, had not his mother wept bitterly at the idea of parting from him, and wished to impose terms touching his return to the island that could not be acceded to.
Pitcairn's Island lies at the south-eastern extremity of a chain of islands, which, including the Society and Friendly Islands, exceed a hundred in number, many of them wholly uninhabited, and the rest but thinly peopled, all speaking the same, or nearly the same, language, which is also spoken by the natives of Pitcairn's Island; and all of the two groups are richly clothed with the spontaneous products of nature fit for the use of man. To all these they will have, when necessity prompts them, easy means of access. No large vessels are required for an emigration of this kind; the frailest barks and single canoes have been driven hundreds of miles over the Pacific. The Pitcairners have already proceeded from the simple canoe to row-boats, and the progress from this to small decked vessels is simple and
natural. They may thus at some future period, which is not at all improbable, be the means of spreading Christianity, and consequently civilization, throughout the numerous groups of islands in the Southern Pacific; whereas to remove them as has been suggested might be to devote them at once to misery and destruction.
That there is no deficiency in the number and variety of plants producing food and clothing for the use of man will appear from the following list, which is far from being complete :
And a great number of other indigenous plants, some of which are useful and others ornamental.
Besides these they have European pease, beans, and onions; sugar-canes, ginger, pepper, and turmeric. In fact, situated as the island is, in a temperate climate just without the tropic, and enjoying abundance of rain, there is scarcely any vegetable,
with the exception of a few of the equinoctial plants, that may not be cultivated here. The zea mays, or Indian corn, would be infinitely useful both for themselves, their poultry, and their pigs.
As a great part of the island is at present covered with trees, which would necessarily give way to an extended cultivation, and as trees attract rain, Captain Waldegrave seems to think that when these are removed showers will be less frequent; but there is little fear of this being the case; the central ridge, with points that exceed eleven hundred feet in height, will more effectually attract and condense the clouds than any quantity of trees growing at a less elevation; and there can be little doubt that plenty of water will be found by digging at the foot of the hills or close to the seacoast.
The climate appears to be unexceptionable. During the sixteen days of December (the height of summer) that the Blossom remained there, the range of the thermometer on the island, from nine in the morning till three in the afternoon, was from 76° to 80°; on board ship from 74° to 76°; from whence Captain Beechey places the mean temperature during that time at 7630. In winter he says the south-westerly winds blow very cold, and even snow has been known to fall.
Not one visiter to this happy island has taken leave of its amiable inhabitants without a feeling of regret. Captain Beechey says, "When we were about to take leave, our friends assembled to express their regret at our departure. All brought some little present for our acceptance, which they wished us to keep in remembrance of them; after which they accompanied us to the beach, where we took our leave of the female part of the inhabitants. Adams and the young men pushed off in their own boat to the ship, determined to accompany us to sea as far as they could with safety. They continued on board, unwilling to leave us, until we were
a considerable distance from land, when they shook each of us feelingly by the hand, and, amid expressions of the deepest concern at our departure, wished us a prosperous voyage, and hoped that we might one day meet again. As soon as they were clear of the ship, they all stood up in their boat, and gave us three hearty cheers, which were as heartily returned. As the weather became foggy, the barge towed them towards the shore, and we took a final leave of them, unconscious, until the moment of separation, of the warm interest their situation and good conduct had created in us