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interesting little society until the latter part of 1814, when a letter was transmitted by Rear Admiral Ho. tham, then cruising off the coast of America, from Mr. Folger himself, to the same effect as the preceding extract from his log, but dated March, 1813.
In the first-mentioned year (1814) we had two frigates cruising in the Pacific,—the Briton, commanded by Sir Thomas Staines, and the Tagus, by Captain Pipon. The following letter from the former of these officers was received at the Admiralty early in the year 1815.
“ Briton, Valparaiso, 18th Oct. 1814. “I have the honour to inform you, that on my passage from the Marquesas Islands to this port, on The morning of the 17th September, I fell in with an island where none is laid down in the Admiralty or other charts, according to the several chronom. eters of the Briton and Tagus. I therefore hove. to, until daylight, and then closed to ascertain whether it was inhabited, which I soon discovered it to be, and, to my great astonishment, found that every individual on the island (forty in number) spoke very good English. They proved to be thé descendants of the deluded crew of the Bounty, who, from Otaheite, proceeded to the above-mentioned island, where the ship was burned.
“ Christian appeared to have been the leader and sole cause of the mutiny in that ship. A venerable old man, named John Adams, is the only surviving Englishman of those who last quitted Otaheite in her, and whose exemplary conduct and fatherly care of the whole of the little colony could not but command admiration. The pious manner in which all those born on the island have been reared, the correct sense of religion which has been instilled into their young minds by this old man, has given kim the prooeminence over the whole of them, to
whom they look up as the father of one and the whole family.
“ A son of Christian was the first born on the island, now about twenty-five years of age, named Thursday October Christian; the elder Christian fell a sacrifice to the jealousy of an Otaheitan man, within three or four years after their arrival on the island. The mutineers were accompanied thither by six Otaheitan men and twelve women; the for. mer were all swept away by desperate contentions between them and the Englishmen, and five of the latter died at different periods, leaving at present only one man (Adams) and seven women of the original settlers.
• The island must undoubtedly be that called Pitcairn, although erroneously laid down in the charts. We had the altitude of the meridian sun close to it, which gave us 25° 4' S. latitude, and 130° 25' W. longitude, by the chronometers of the Briton and Tagus.
" It produces in abundance yams, plantains, hogs, goats, and fowls; but the coast affords no shelter for a ship or vessel of any description; neither could a ship water there without great difficulty.
"I cannot, however, refrain from offering my opinion, that it is well worthy the attention of our laudable religious societies, particularly that for propagating the Christian religion, the whole of the inhabitants speaking the Otaheitan tongue as well as the English.
“During the whole of the time they have been on the island, only one ship has ever communicated with them, which took place about six years since, and this was the American ship Topaz, of Boston, Mayhew Folger, master.
"'The island is completely iron-bound with rocky shores, and the landing in boats must be at all times difficult, although the island may be safely approached within a short distance by a ship. (Signed)
Such was the first official account received of this little colony. As some further particulars of a society so singular, in all respects, were highly de. sirable, Captain Pipon, on being applied to, had the kindness to draw up the following narrative, which has all the freshness and attraction of a first communication with a new people.
Captain Pipon takes a more extended view, in his private letter,* of the condition of this little society. He observes, that when they first saw the island, the latitude made by the Tagus was 24° 40' S. and longitude 130° 24' W., the ships being then distant from it five or six leagues; and as in none of the charts in their possession was any land laid down in or near this meridian, they were extremely puzzled to make out what island it could possibly be ; for Pitcairn's Island, being the only one known in the neighbourhood, was represented to be in longitude 133° 24' W.t if this new discovery, as they supposed it to be, awakened their curiosity, it was still more excited when they ran in for the land the next morning, on perceiving a few huts, neatly built, amid plantations laid out apparently with something like order and regularity; and these appear ances confirmed them more than ever that it could
* With which the editor, at his request, was favoured at the time.
The only authority that then existed for laying down this island was that of Captain Carteret, who first saw it in 1707. “It is so high," he says, “ that we saw it at the distance of more than fifteen leagues and it having been discovered by a young gentieman, son to Major Pit cairn of the marines, who was unfortunately lost in the Aurora, wo called it Pitcairn's Ísland." He makes it in lat. 250 2 S. and long. 1330 30' W., no less than three degrees out of its true longitude! Three minutes would now be thought a considerable error: such are the superior advantages conferred by lunar observations and improvemento h chronometers.
Pitcairn's Island has been supposed to be the "Encarnacion" of Quiros by whom it is stated to be in lat. 240 30', and one thousand leagues from the coast of Peru; but as he describes it as “a low, sandy island, almost level with the sea, having a few trees on it,” we must look for “ Encarnacion" somewhere else; and Ducies Island, nearly in that lati tude, very low, and within 60 or longitude from Pitcairn's Island, an swers precisely to it
not be Pitcairn's Island, because that was described by navigators to be uninhabited. Presently they observed a few natives coming down a steep descent, with their canoes on their shoulders; and in a few minutes perceived one of those little vessels darting through a heavy surf, and paddling off towards the ships ; but their astonishment was extreme when, on coming alongside, they were hailed in the Eng. lish language with “ Won't you heave us a rope now ?"
The first young man that sprung, with extraor. dinary alacrity, up the side, and stood before them on the deck, said, in reply to the question, “ Who are you?"—that his name was Thursday October Christian, son of the late Fletcher Christian, by an Otaheitan mother; that he was the first born on the island, and that he was so called because he was brought into the world on a Thursday in October. Singularly strange as all this was to Sir Thomas Staines and Captain Pipon, this youth soon satisfied them that he was no other than the person he represented himself to be, and that he was fully acquainted with the whole history of the Bounty; and, in short, that the island before them was the retreat of the mutineers of that ship. Young Chris. tian was at this time about twenty-four years of age, a fine tall youth, full six feet high, with dark, almost black, hair, and a countenance open and ex. tremely interesting. As he wore no clothes except a piece of cloth round his loins, and a straw hat, ornamented with black cock's feathers, his fine figure and well-shaped muscular limbs were displayed to great advantage, and attracted general admiration. His body was much tanned by exposure to the weather, and his countenance had a brownish cast unmixed, however, with that tinge of red so common among the natives of the Pacific islands.
" Added to a great share of good-humour, we were glad to trace.” says Captain Pipon, “ in his
benevolent countenance, all the features of an lionest English face.” He told them he was married to a woman much older than himself, one of those that accompanied his father from Otaheite. The ingenuous manner in which he answered all questions put to him, and his whole deportment, created a lively interest among the officers of the ship, who, while they admired, could not but regard him with feelings of tenderness and compassion; his manner, too, of speaking English was exceedingly pleasing, and correct both in grammar and pronunciation. His companion was a fine handsome youth of seventeen or eighteen years of age, of the name of George Young, son of Young the midshipman.
If the astonishment of the two captains was great on making, as they thought, this first and extraordinary discovery of a people who had been so long forgotten, and in hearing the offspring of these of. fenders speaking their language correctly, their surprise and interest were still more highly excited when, on Sir Thomas Staines taking the two youths helow, and setting before them something to eat, they both rose up, and one of them, placing his hands together in a posture of devotion, pronounced, distinctly and with emphasis, in a pleasing tone of voice, the words, "For what we are going to receive the Lord make us truly thankfu
The youths were themselv-s greatly surprised at the sight of so many novel objects the size of the ship-of the guns, and every thing around them Observing a cow, they were at first somewhat alarned, and expressed a doubt whether it was a huge goat or a horned hog, these being the only two species of quadrupeds they had ever seen. Å little dog amused them much. « Oh! what a pretty little thing it is !” exclaimed Young. “I know it is a dog, for I have heard of such an animal.”
These young men informed the two captains of nany singular events that had taken place among