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Otaheite, and it is to be hoped he will receive instructions 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 individuals 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
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:
.......... Toonena, a large timber tree. Ficus indica
. Banyan-tree. Morus Chinencis..
. Mulberry. Pandanus odoratissimus ?
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 761°. 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
Many useful and salutary lessons of conduct may be drawn from this eventful history, more especially by officers of the navy, both old and young, as well as by those subordinate to them. In the first place, it most strongly points out the dreadful consequences that are almost certain to ensue from a state of insubordination and mutiny on board a ship of war; and the equally certain fate that, at one time or other, awaits all those who have the misfortune to be concerned in a transaction of this revolting nature. In the present instance, the dreadful retribution which overtook them, and which was evinced in a most extraordinary manner, affords an awful and instructive lesson to seamen, by which they may learn, that although the guilty may be secured for a time in evading the punishment due to the offended laws of society, yet they must not hope to escape the pursuit of Divine vengeance. It will be recollected that the number of persons who remained in the Bounty after her piratical seizure, and of course charged with the crime of mutiny, was twenty-five; that these subsequently separated into two parties, sixteen having landed at Otaheite, and afterward taken from thence in the Pandora, as prisoners, and nine having gone with the Bounty to Pitcairn's Island.
Of the sixteen taken in the Pandora,
1. Mr. Peter Heywood, midshipman, was sentenced to death, but par
doned. 2. James Morrison, boatswain's mate, do. do. 3. William Muspratt, commander's steward, do. do. 4. Thos. Burkitt, seaman, 5. John Millward, do. condemned and executed. 6. Thos. Ellison, do