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ried on in those days in a very different spirit from that which regulates its movements now; otherwise the Bounty would never have passed six whole months at one island.stowing away the fruit,' during which time the officers and seamen had free access to the shore. Under similar circumstances nowadays, if the fruit happened not to be ready, the ship would have been off, after ten days' relaxation, to survey other islands, or speculate on coral-reefs, or make astronomical observations; in short, to do something or other to keep the devil out of the heads of the crew."* Bligh would appear to have been sensible of this on his next expedition in the Providence; for on that occasion he collected more bread-fruit plants than on the former, and spent only half the time in doing so.
Be that as it may, Bligh might naturally enough conclude that the seamen were casting “a lingering look behind" towards Otaheite. “If,” says Forster, who accompanied Cook, “we fairly consider the different situations of a common sailor on board the Resolution, and of a Taheitan on his island, we cannot blame the former if he attempt to rid himself of the numberless discomforts of a voyage round the world, and prefer an easy life, free from cares, in the happiest climate of the world, to the frequent vicissitudes which are entailed upon the mariner. The most favourable prospects of future success in. England, which he might form in idea, could never be so flattering to his senses as the lowly hope of living like the meanest Taheitan. And supposing him to escape the misfortunes incident to seamen, still he must earn his subsistence in England at the expense of labour and in the sweat of his brow,' when this oldest curse on mankind is scarcely felt at Taheité. Two or three bread-fruit trees, which grow almost without any culture, and which flourish
Review, No. 89
as long as he himself can expect to live, supply him with abundant food during three-fourths of the year. The cloth-trees and eddo-roots are cultivated with much less trouble than our cabbages and kitchenherbs. The banana, the royal palm, the golden apple, all thrive with such luxuriance, and require so little trouble, that I may venture to call them spontaneous. Most of their days are therefore spent in a round of various enjoyments, where Nature has lavished many a pleasing landscape; where the temperature of the air is warm, but continually refreshed by a wholesome breeze from the sea; and where the sky is almost constantly serene. Á kind of happy uniformity runs through the whole life of the Taheitans. They rise with the sun, and hasten to rivers and fountains to perform an ablution equally reviving and cleanly. They pass the morning at work, or walk about till the heat of the day increases, when they retreat to their dwellings, or repose under some tufted tree. There they amuse themselves with smoothing their hair, and anoint it with fragrant oils; or they blow the flute, and sing to it, or listen to the songs of the birds.
At the hour of noon, or a little later, they go to dinner. After their meals they resume their domestic amusements, during which the flame of mutual affection spreads in every heart, and unites the rising generation with new and tender ties. The lively jest without any ill-nature, the artless tale, the jocund dance, and frugal supper bring on the evening, and another visit to the river concludes the actions of the day. Thus contented with their simple way of life, and placed in a delightful country, they are free from cares and happy in their ignorance."
Such is the picture drawn of the happy people of Otaheite by a cold, philosophical German doctor; and such, with very little change, Bligh found them. As far, however, as the mutiny of his people was concerned, we must wholly discard the idea thrown out by him, that the seductions of Otaheite had any share in producing it. It could not have escaped a person of Christian's sagacity, that certain interrogatories would unquestionably be put by the natives of Otaheite on finding the ship return so soon without her commander, without the bread-fruit plants, and with only about half her crew; questions, he knew, to which no satisfactory answer could be made; and though at subsequent periods he twice visited that island, it was some time afterward, and not from choice, but necessity. His object was to find a place of concealment, where he might pass the remainder of his days unheard of and unknown, and where it is to be hoped he had time for sincere repentance, the only atonement he could make for the commission of a crime which involved so many human beings in misery, and brought others to an untimely end. But of this hereafter.
THE OPEN-BOAT NAVIGATION.
“The boat is lower'd with all the haste of hate,
CHRISTIAN had intended to send away his captain and associates in the cutter, and ordered that it should be hoisted out for that purpose, which was done-a small wretched boat, that could hold but eight or ten men at the most, with a very small additional weight; and, what was still worse, she was so worm-eaten and decayed, especially in the bottom planks, that the probability was, she would have gone down before she had proceeded a mile from the ship. In this “rotten carcass of a boat," not unlike. that into which Prospero and his lovely daughter were “hoist,"
did Christian intend to cast adrift his late commander and his eighteen innocent companions, or as many of them as she would stow, to find, as they inevitably must have found, a watery grave. But the remonstrances of the master, boatswain, and carpenter prevailed on him to let those unfortunate men have the launch, into which nineteen persons were thrust, whose weight, together with that of the few articles they were permitted to take, brought down the boat so near to the water as to endanger her sinking with but a moderate swell of the sea—and to all human appearance, in no state to survive the length of voyage they were destined to perform over the wide ocean, but which they did most miraculously survive.
The first consideration of Lieutenant Bligh and his eighteen unfortunate companions, on being cast adrift in their open boat, was to examine the state of their resources. The quantity of provisions which they found to have been thrown into the boat by some few kind-hearted messmates amounted to one hundred and fifty pounds of bread, sixteen pieces of pork, each weighing two pounds, six quarts of rum, six bottles of wine, with twenty-eight gallons of water, and four empty barricoes. Being so near to the island of Tofoa, it was resolved to seek there a supply of bread-fruit and water, to preserve if possible the above-mentioned stock entire; but after rowing along the coast, they discovered only some cocoanut-trees on the top of high precipices, from which, with much danger, owing to the surf, and great difficulty in climbing the cliffs, they succeeded in obtaining about twenty nuts. The second day they made excursions into the island, but without success. They met, however, with a few natives, who came down with them to the cove where the boat was lying; and others presently followed. They made inquiries after the ship, and Bligh unfor. tunately advised they should say that the ship had