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Otoo, the chief of the district, on hearing up the arrival of the Bounty, sent a small pig and a young plantain-tree, as a token of friendship. The ship was now plentifully supplied with provisions; every man on board having as much as he could consume.
As soon as the ship was secured, Lieutenant Bligh went on shore with the chief, Poeeno, passing through a walk delightfully shaded with bread-fruit trees to his own house, where his wife and her sister were busily employed staining a piece of cloth red. They desired him to sit down on a mat, and with great kindness offered him refreshments. Several strangers were now introduced, who came to offer their congratulations, and behaved with great decorum and attention. On taking leave, he says,' “the ladies, for they deserve to be called such from their natural and unaffected manners, and elegance of deportment, got up, and taking some of their finest cloth and a mat, clothed me in the Otaheitan fashion, and then said, “We will go with you to your boat;' and each taking me by the hand, amid a great crowd, led me to the water-side, and then took their leave.” In this day's walk, Bligh had the satisfaction to see that the island had received some benefit from the former visits of Captain Cook. Two shaddocks were brought to him, a fruit which they had not till Cook introduced it; and among the articles which they brought off to the ship, and offered for sale, were capsicums, pumpkins, and two young goats. " In the course of two or three days,"
an intimacy between the natives and the ship’s company was become so general, that there was scarcely a man in the ship who had not already his tayo or friend."
Nelson, the gardener, and his assistant, being sent out to look for young plants, it was no small degree of pleasure to find them report, on their return, that according to appearances, the object of the voyage would probably be accomplished with ease; the
plants were plentiful, and no apparent objection or the part of the natives to collect as many as migh be wanted. Nelson had the gratification to meet with two fine shaddock-trees which he had planted in 1777, and which were now full of fruit, but not ripe.
Presents were now given to Otoo, the chief of Matavai, who had changed his name to Tinah. He was told, that on account of the kindness of his people to Captain Cook, and from a desire to serve him and his country, King George had sent out those valuable presents to him; “and will you not, Tinah,” said Bligh, “send something to King George in return ?"_“Yes,” he said, “I will send him any thing I have;" and then began to enumerate the different articles in his power, among which he mentioned the bread-fruit. This was the exact point to which Bligh was endeavouring to lead and he was immediately told that the bread-fruit-trees were what King George would like very much, on which he promised that a great many should be put on board.
Hitherto no thefts had been committed, and Bligh was congratulating himself on the improvement of the Otaheitans in this respect, as the same facilities and the same temptations were open to them as before. The ship, as on former occasions, was constantly crowded with visiters. One day, however, the gudgeon of the rudder belonging to the large cutter was drawn out and stolen, without being perceived by the man who was stationed to take care of her; and as this and some other petty thefts, mostly owing to the negligence of the men, were commencing, and would have a tendency to interrupt the good terms on which they were with the chiefs, “I thought,” says Bligh, “it would have a good effect to punish the boatkeeper in their presence, and accordingly I ordered him a dozen lashes. All who attended the punishment interceded very ear. nestly to get it mitigated; the women showed great
sympathy, and that degree of feeling which charac terizes the amiable part of their sex.
The longer they remained on the island the more. they had occasion to be pleased with the conduct of the islanders, and the less incommoded, either on board or when on shore, by the natives following them as at first. Into every house they wished to enter they always experienced a kind reception. The Otaheitans, we are told, have the most perfect easiness of manner, equally free from forwardness and formality; and that “there is a candour and sincerity about them that is quite delightful.” When they offer refreshments, for instance, if they are not accepted they do not think of offering them a second time; for they have not the least idea of that ceremonious kind of refusal which expicts a second in. vitation. “Having one day,” says Bligh," exposed myself too much in the sun, I was taken ill, on which all the powerful people, both men and women, col. lected round me, offering their assistance. For this short illness I was made ample amends by the pleasure I received from the attention and appearance of affection in these kind people.”
On one occasion the Bounty had nearly gone ashore in a tremendous gale of wind, and on another did actually get aground; on both which accidents these kind-hearted people came in crowds to congratulate the captain on her escape; and many of them are stated to have been affected in the most lively manner, shedding tears, while the danger in which the ship was placed continued.
On the 9th December the surgeon of the Bounty died from the effects of intemperance and indolence. This unfortunate man is represented to have been in a constant state of intoxication, and was so averse from any kind of exercise that he never could be prevailed on to take half a dozen hours upon deck at a time in the whole course of the voyage. Lieutenant Bligh had obtained permission to bury him on shore; and on going with the chief Tinah to the spot intended for his burial-place, “I found,” says he. “the natives had already begun to dig his grave. Tinah asked if they were doing it right.
6 There," says he," the sun rises, and there it sets." Whether the idea of making the grave east and west is their own, or whether they learned it from the Spaniards who buried the captain of their ship on the island in 1774, there were no means of ascertaining; but it was certain they had no intimation of that kind from anybody belonging to the Bounty. When the fune. ral took place the chiefs and many of the natives attended the ceremony, and showed great attention during the service. Many of the principal natives attended divine service on Sundays, and behaved with great decency. Some of the women at one time betrayed an inclination to laugh at the general responses; but the captain says, on looking at them they appeared much ashamed.
The border of low land, which is of the breadth of about three miles between the seacoast and the foot of the hills, consists of a very delightful country, well covered with bread-fruit and cocoa-trees, and strewed with houses in which are swarms of children playing about. “It is delightful,” Bligh observes, " to see the swarms of little children that are everywhere to be seen employed at their several amusements; some flying kites, some swinging in ropes suspended from the boughs of trees, others walking on stilts, some wrestling, and others playing all manner of antic tricks, such as are common to boys in England. The little girls have also their amusements, consisting generally of heivahs or dances."
On an evening, just before sunset, the whole beach abreast the ship is described as being like a parade, crowded with men, women, and children, who go on with their sports and amusements till nearly dark, when every one peaceably returns to his home. At such times, we are told, from three
to four hundred people are assembled together, and all happily diverted, good-humoured, and affectionate to one another, without a single quarrel having ever nappened to disturb the harmony that existed among these amiable people. Both boys and girls are said to be handsome and very sprightly.
It did not appear that much pains were taken in their plantations, except those of the ava and the cloth-plant; many of the latter are fenced with stone, and surrounded with a ditch. In fact, Nature has done so much for them that they have no great occasion to use exertion in obtaining a sufficient supply of either food or raiment. Yet when Bligh com. menced taking up the bread-fruit plants he derived much assistance from the natives in collecting and pruning them, which they understood perfectly well.
The behaviour of these people on all occasions was highly deserving of praise. One morning, at the relief of the watch, the small cutter was missing. The ship's company were immediately mustered, when it appeared that three men were absent. They had taken with them eight stand of arms and ammunition; but what their plan was, or which way they had gone, no one on board seemed to have the least knowledge. Information being given of the route they had taken, the master was despatched to search for the cutter, and one of the chiefs went with him; but before they had got half-way they met the boat with five of the natives, who were bringing her back to the ship. For this service they were handsomely rewarded. The chiefs promised to use every possible means to detect and bring back the de. serters, which in a few days some of the islanders had so far accomplished as to seize and bind them, but let them loose again on a promise that they would return to their ship, which they did not ex. actly fulfil, but gave themselves up soon after on a search being made for them.
A few days after this a much more serious occur.