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same assistance, and took leave of these interesting people-satisfied that the island is so well fortified by nature as to oppose an invincible barrier to an invading enemy; that there was no spot apparently where a boat could land with safety, and perhaps not more than one where it could land at all; an everlasting swell of the ocean, rolling in on every side, is dashed into foam against its rocky and ironbound shores.
Such were the first details that were received
respecting this young settlement. It may here be remarked, that at the time when Folger visited the island Alexander Smith went by his proper name, and that he had changed it to John Adams in the intermediate time between his visit and that of Sir Thomas Staines; but it does not appear in any of the accounts which have been given of this interesting little colony, when or for what reason he assumed the latter name. It could not be with any view to concealment, for he freely communicated his history to Folger, and equally so to every subsequent visiter.
The interesting account of Captains Sir Thomas Staines and Pipon, in 1814, produced as little effect on the government as that of Folger; and nothing more was heard of Adams and his family for twelve years nearly, when, in 1825, Captain Beechey, in the Blossom, bound on a voyage of discovery, paid a visit to Pitcairn's Island. Some whale-fishing ship, however, had touched there in the intermediate time, and left on the island a person of the name of John Buffet. "In this man," says Captain Beechey, "they have very fortunately found an able and willing schoolmaster; he had belonged to a hip which visited the island, and was so infatuated with the behaviour of the people, being himself naturally of a devout and serious turn of mind, that he resolved to remain among them; and, in addition to the instruction of the children, has taken upon himself
the duty of clergyman, and is the oracle of the community."
On the approach of the Blossom towards the island, a boat was observed, under all sail, hastening towards the ship, which they considered to be the boat of some whaler, but were soon agreeably undeceived by the singular appearance of her crew, which consisted of old Adams and many of the young men belonging to the island. They did not venture at once to lay hold of the ship till they had first inquired if they might come on board; and on permission being granted, they sprung up the side and shook every officer by the hand with undisguised feelings of gratification.
The activity of the young men, ten in number, outstripped that of old Adams, who was in his sixtyfifth year, and somewhat corpulent. He was dressed in a sailor's shirt and trousers and a low-crowned hat, which he held in his hand until desired to put it on. He still retained his sailor's manners, doffing his hat and smoothing down his bald forehead whenever he was addressed by the officers of the Blossom.
The young men were tall, robust, and healthy, with good-natured countenances, and a simplicity of manner, and a fear of doing something that might be wrong, which at once prevented the possibility of giving offence. Their dresses were whimsical enough; some had long coats without trousers, and others trousers without coats, and others again waistcoats without either. None of them had either shoes or stockings, and there were only two hats among them, "neither of which," Captain Beechey says, "seemed likely to hang long together."
Captain Beechey procured from Adams a narrative of the whole transaction of the mutiny, which, however, is incorrect in many parts; and also a history of the broils and disputes which led to the vio
lent death of all those misguided men (with the exception of Young and Adams) who accompanied Christian in the Bounty to Pitcairn's Island.
It may be recollected that the Bounty was carried away from Otaheite by nine of the mutineers. Their
1. Fletcher Christian, Acting Lieutenant.
2. Edward Young, Midshipman.
3. Alexander Smith (alias John Adams), Seaman.
4. William M'Koy,
5. Matthew Quintal,
6. John Williams,
7. Isaac Martin,
8. John Mills, Gunner's Mate.
9. William Brown, Botanist's Assistant.
They brought with them six men and twelve women, natives of Tabouai and Otaheite. The first step after their arrival was to divide the whole island into nine equal portions, to the exclusion of those poor people whom they had seduced to accompany them, and some of whom are stated to have been carried off against their inclination. At first they were considered as the friends of the white men, but very soon became their slaves. They assisted in the cultivation of the soil, in building houses, and in fetching wood and water, without murmuring or complaining; and things went on peaceably and prosperously for about two years, when Williams, who had lost his wife about a month after their arrival, by a fall from a rock while collecting birds' eggs, became dissatisfied, and insisted on having another wife, or threatened to leave the island in one of the Bounty's boats. Being useful as an armourer, the Europeans were unwilling to part with him, and he, still persisting in his unreasonable demand, had the injustice to compel one of the Otaheitans to give up his wife to him.
By this act of flagrant oppression his countrymen made common cause with their injured companion, and laid a plan for the extermination of the Euro
peans; but the women gave a hint of what was going forward in a song, the burden of which was, Why does black man sharpen axe ?-to kill white man." The plot being thus discovered, the husband who had his wife taken from him, and another whom Christian had shot at (though, it is stated, with powder only), fled into the woods, and were treacherously murdered by their countrymen on the promise of pardon for the perpetration of this foul deed.
Tranquillity being thus restored, matters went on tolerably well for a year or two longer; but the oppression and ill treatment which the Otaheitans received, more particularly from Quintal and M'Koy, the most active and determined of the mutineers, drove them to the formation of another plot for the destruction of their oppressors, which but too suc cessfully succeeded. A day was fixed for attacking and putting to death all the Englishmen while at work in their respective plantations. Williams was the first man that was shot. They next proceeded to Christian, who was working at his yam-plot, and shot him. Mills, confiding in the fidelity of his Otaheitan friend, stood his ground, and was murdered by him and another. Martin and Brown were separately attacked and slain, one with a maul, the other with a musket. Adams was wounded in the shoulder, but succeeded in making terms with the Otaheitans, and was conducted by them to Christian's house, where he was kindly treated. Young, who was a great favourite of the women, was secreted by them during the attack, and afterward carried to Christian's house. M'Koy and Quintal, the worst of the gang, escaped to the mountains. "Here," says Captain Beechey, "this day of bloodshed ended, leaving only four Englishmen alive out of nine. It was a day of emancipation to the blacks, who were now masters of the island, and of humilia tion and retribution to the whites."
The men of colour now began to quarrel about choosing the women whose European husbands had been murdered; the result of which was the destruction of the whole of the former, some falling by the hands of the women, and one of them by Young, who, it would seem, coolly and deliberately shot him. Adams now proceeded into the mountains to communicate the fatal intelligence to the two Europeans, M'Koy and Quintal, and to solicit their return to the village. All these events are stated to have happened as early as October, 1793.
From this time to 1798 the remnant of the colonists would appear to have gone on quietly, with the exception of some quarrels these four men had with the women, and the latter among themselves; ten of them were still remaining, who lived promiscuously with the men, frequently changing their abode from one house to another. Young, being a man of some education, kept a kind of journal; but it is a document of very little interest, containing scarcely any thing more than the ordinary occupations of the settlers, the loan or exchange of provisions, the dates when the sows farrowed, the number of fish caught, &c., and it begins only at the time when Adams and he were sole masters of the island; and the truth, therefore, of all that has been told rests solely on the degree of credit that is due to Adams.
M'Koy, it appears, had formerly been employed in a Scotch distillery, and being much addicted to ardent spirits, set about making experiments on the tee-root (dracana terminalis), and at length unfortunately succeeded in producing an intoxicating liquor. This success induced his companion Quintal to turn his kettle into a still. The consequence was, that these two men were in a constant state of drunkenness, particularly M'Koy; on whom, it seems, it had the effect of producing fits of delirium; and in one of these he threw himself from a cliff and