Christian duties. By the instrumentality of these
precepts, drawn from"^ the Book of Common Prayer
and the Bible,* he Avas enabled, after the slaughter
of all his associates, to rear up all tlie children m
the principles and precepts of Christianity, in purity
of morals, and in a simphcity of manners that have
surprised and delighted every stranger that has
visited the island.
The whole islana, it seems, Avas partitioned out
by Adams among the families of the original set-
tlers, so that a foreigner cannot obtain any, except by
* Well may Adams ha-ve sought for rules for his little society in a
book which contams the foundation of the civil and religious policy of
two-thirds of the human race â€”in that wonderful book, into whose
mspired pages the atflicted never seek for consolation m vain Millions
of examples attest this truth. "There is no incident in Robinson
Crusoe, ' observes a writer in a critical journal, " told in language more
natural and affecting thnn Robert K.iox's accidental discovery of a
Bible m the mulst of the Candian dominions of Ceylon His previous
despondency from thedeatn of his father, his only friend and companion
whose grave he had but just dug with his own hands, ' being now ' as
he says, 'left desolate, sick, and in captivity,'-his agitation, joy, and
even terror on me.ting with a book he had for such a length of time not
seen, nor hoped to seeâ€” his anxiety lest he should fail to procure itâ€” and
the comfort, when procured, which it afforded him in his afflictionâ€” all
Â»re told in such a strain of true piety and genuine simplicity as cannot
'^il to interest and affect everv reader of sensibilitv "
286 pitcairn's islanp.
purchase or marriage. Captain Waldegrave reckons,
that eleven-twelfths are uncultivated, and that popu-
lation is increasing so rapidly, that in the course of
a century the island will be fully peopled, and that
the limit may be taken at one thousand souls.
The rate at which population is likely to increase
may, perhaps, be determined by political economists
from the following data.
In 1790 the island was first settled by fifteen men
and twelve women, making a total of twenty-seven.
Of these were remaining in 1800 one man and five
women with nineteen children, the eldest nine years
of age, making in the whole twenty-five. In 1808
Mr. Folger makes the population amount to thirty-
five, being an increase of ten in eight years. In
1814, six years afterward, Sir Thom.as Staines states
the adult population at forty, which must be a mis-
take, as fourteen years before, nineteen of the
twenty-five then existing were children. In 1825
Captain Beechey states the whole population at
sixty-six ; of whom thirty-six were males and thirty
females. And in 1830 Captain Waldegrave makes
it amount to seventy-nine ; being an increase of
thirteen in five years, or twenty per cent., which is
a less rapid increase than might be expected ; but
there can be little doubt it will go on with an ac-
celerated ratio, provided the means of subsistence
should not fail them.
Captain Waldegrave's assumption that this island
is sufficiently large for the maintenance of one thou-
sand souls is grounded on incorrect . data ; it does
not follow, that because one-twelfth of the island
will maintain eighty persons, the whole must sup-
port nine hundred and sixty persons. The island is
not more than four square miles, or two thousand
five hundred and sixty acres ; and as a ridge of rocky
hills runs from north to south, having two peaks ex-
ceeding one thousand feet in height, it is more than
pitcairn's island. -siS?
probable that not one-half of it is capable of cultiva-
tion. It would seem, indeed, from several ancient
morais being discovered among these hills; some
stone axes or hatchets of compact basaltic lava,
very hard and capable of a fine polish ; four stone
images about six feet high placed on a platform not
unlike those on Easter Island, one of which has
been preserved, and is the rude representation of
the human figure to the hips, hewn out of a piece of
red lava : â€” these remains would seem to indicate a
former population, that had found it expedient to
abandon the island from its insufficiency to support
it. Captain Beechey observes, that " from these
images, and the large piles of stones on heights to
which they must have been dragged with great
labour, it may be concluded that the island Avas in-
habited for a considerable time ; and from bones be-
ing found, always buried under these piles, and never
upon the surface, we may presume that those who
survived quitted the island in their canoes to seek an
It appears from Beechey, that Adams had contem-
plated the prospect of an increasing population with
the limited means of supporting it, and requested
that he would communicate with the British govern-
ment upon the subject, which he says he did ; and
that through the interference of the Admiralty and
Colonial Office means have been taken for removing
them to any place they may choose for themselves.
It is to be hoped, however, that no such interference
will take place ; for half a century, at least, there
is no danger of any want of food. The attempt,
however, was made through the means of a gen-
tleman of Otaheite, who, being on a visit to this
country, was authorized on his return to make ar-
rangements for their removal to Otaheite, if they
wished it, and if Pomarre, the king of the island,
should not object to receive them ; and he carried a
letter to this chief from Lord Bathurst, acquainting
288 pitcairn's islanc.
him with the intention of the British g-overnment,
and expressing the hope that he would be induced
to receive under his protection a people whose
moral and religious character had created so lively
an interest in their favour ; but it happened that
this person passed the island without stopping. A
Mr. Joshua Hill subsequently proposed their removal
to New South Wales, but his "vessel was considered
too small for the purpose.
Two years after this, as difficulties had occurred
to prevent the above-mentioned intentions from being
carried into effect, Sir George Murray deemed i^
desirable that no time should be lost in affording
such assistance to these islanders as might, at all
events, render their present abode as comfortable as
circumstances would allow, until arrangements could
be made for their future disposal either in one of the
Society Islands, as originally proposed, or at one of
our settlements on New-Holland. The assistance
here alluded to has been afforded, as above men-
tioned, by his majesty's ship Seringapatam.
It is sincerely to be hoped that such removal will
be no longer thought of. No complaint was made
no apprehension of want expressed to Captain Wal-
degrave, who left them contented and happy ; and
Captain Beechey, since his return, has received a let-
ter from John Buffet, who informs him of a notifica-
tion that the king was willing to receive them, and that
measures would be taken for their removal; but, he
adds, the people are so much attached to, and satis-
fied with, their native island, as not to have a wish to
leave it. The breaking up of this happy, innocent,
and simple-minded little society by some summary
process, would be a subject of deep regret to all
who take an int erest in their welfare ; and to theni-
selves might be the inevitable loss of all those
amiable qualities which have obtained for them the
kind and generous sympathy of their countrymen at
home. We have a person who acts as consul a>
PITCAIRN'S ISLAND. 289
Otaheite, and it is to be hoped he will receive in
structions on no account to sanction, but on the
contrary to interdict, any measure that may be at-
tempted 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 indi-
viduals 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 ovv^n 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 atthe 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 na-
ture fit for the use of man. To all these they will
have, when necessity prompts them, easy means of
access. No large vessels are required for an emi-
gration 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
290 pitcairn's island.
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 ; Avhereas 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 : â€”
Cocos nucifera Cocoanut.
Musa Paradisiaca Plantains.
Musa sapientum Bananas.
Dioscorea sativum Yams.
Convolvulus batatas Sweet potatoes.
Arum esculenttnn Taro root.
Arum costatum â– Yappa.
Broussonetia papyri/era Cloth-tree.
DraccBna terminalis 'i>e-plant.
Aleurites triloba Doodoe.
Morinda citri/olia Nono.
Toonena, a large timbe> treo
Ficus indica Banyan-tree.
Moras Chinencis Mulberry.
Pandanus odoratissimus ?
And a great number' of other indigenous plants,
some of which are useful and others ornamental.
Artocarpus incisa Bread-fruit.
Cucurbita citrullus Watermelons.
Cucurbita pepo Punipkins.
Solanum esculentum Potatoes.
Nicotiana tabaccum Tobacco.
Citrus lemoneum Lemon.
Besides these they have European pease, beans,
and onions ; sugar-canes, ginger, pepper, and tur-
meric. In fact, situated as the island is, in a tem-
perate climate just without the tropic, and enjoying
abundance of rain, theje is scarcely any vegetable,
pitcairn's island. 291
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 them-
selves, 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. Cap-
tain 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. Dur-
ing 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 80Â° ; on board ship from 74Â° to 76Â° ; from
whence Captain Beechey places the mean tempera-
ture during that time at 76^Â°. 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, onr friends assembled to express
their regret at our departure. All brought some
little present for our acceptance, which they Avished
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 con-
tinupd on board, unwilline^ to leave us, until we were
293 PITCAIRN'S ISLAND.
a considerable distance from land, when they hook
each of us feelingly by the hand, and, amid expres-
sions of the deepest concern at our dvjparture,
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 "
( 293 1
Many V.SI1 'til and salutary lessons of conduct may
be drawn from this eventful history, more especially
by officers of the navy, both old and yoimg, as well
as by those subordinate to them. In the first place,
it most strongly points out the dreadful conse-
quences that are almost certain to ensue from a
state of insubordination and mutiny onboard a ship
of war,- and the equally certain fate that, at one
time or other, awaits all those who have the misfor-
tune to be concerned in a transaction of this revolt-
ing 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 recollec-ted 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
Of the sixteen taken in the Pandora, â€”
1. Mr. Peter Heywood, midshipman, was sentenced to death, but par-
2. James Morrison, boatswain's mate, do. do.
3. William Musprait, commander's steward, do. do.
4. Thos. BurkilL, seaman, )
5. John Millward, do. \ condemned and executed.
6. Thos. Ellison, do S
7. Joseph Coleman, armourer, \
8 Charles Norman, carpenter's mate, f ^^.^^^ ^^^ acqnitted.
9. Thos. M'Intosh, carpenter s crew, C ^
10. Michael Byrne, seaman, '
11. Mr. George Stewart, midshipman, \
12. John Sumner, seaman, ( drowned in irons when tlw
13. Richard Skinner, seaman, C Pandora was wrecked.
14. Henry Hillbrant, cooper, J
13. Chas. Churchill, master-at-arms, murdered by Matthew Thompson.
16, Matthew Thompson, seaman, murdered by Churchill's friends in
Of the nine who landed on Pitcairn's Island, â€”
1. Mr Fletcher Christian, acting-lieutenant, \
2. John Williams, seaman, / ^^^^^ murdered by the
3. Isaac Martm, do. V otaheitans.
4. John Mills, gunner's mate, \
6. William Brown, botanist's assistant, J
6. Matthew Quintal, seaman, put to death by Young and Adams in self-
7. William M'Koy, seaman, became insane, Â»nd killed by throwing
himself from a rock.
8. Mr. Edward Young, midshipman, died of asthma.
9. Alex. Smith, alias John Adams, seaman, died in 1829.
Young officers of the navy, as well as the common
seamen, may also derive some useful lessons from
the events of this history. They will see the mel-
ancholy results of affording the least encouragement
for seamen to depart from their strict line of duty,
and to relax in that obedience to the orders of supe-
riors by which alone the disciphne of the service
can be preserved ; they will learn liow dangerous it
is to show themselves careless and indifferent in exe-
cuting those orders, by thus setting a bad example
to the men. It ought also to enforce on their minds
how necessary it .is to avoid even the appearance of
acting in any way that can be considered as repug-
nant to, or subversive of, the rules and regulations of
the service ; and most particularly to guard against
any conduct that may have the appearanf;e of low-
ering the authority of their superiors, either by their
words or actions.
No doubt can remain on the minds of unpreju-
diced persons, or such as are capable of weighing
â€¢vidence. that the two vounfi; midshipmen Stewart
and Heywood were perfectly innocent of any share
in the transaction in question ; and yet, because they
happened to be left in the ship, not only contrary to
their wish and intention, but kept down below by
force, the one lost his life by being drowned in
chains, and the other was condemned to die, and
only escaped from suffering the last penalty of the
law by a recommendation to the royal mercy. The
only point in which these two officers failed was,
that they did not at once demand permission to ac-
company their commander, while they were allowed
to remain on deck and. had the opportunity of doing
BO. The manly conduct of young Heywood, through-
out his long and unmerited sufferings, affords an ex-
ample of firmness, fortitude, and resignation to the
Divine will that is above all praise ; in fact, nothing
short of conscious innocence could have supported
him in the severe trials he had to undergo.
The melancholy effects which tyrannical conduct,
harsh and opprobrious language, ungovernable pas-
sion, and a worrying and harassing temper on the
part of naval commanders seldom fail to produce on
the minds of those who are subject to their capri-
cious and arbitrary command, are strongly exem-
plified in the cause and consequences of the mutiny
in the Bounty, as described in the course of this
history. Conduct of this kind, by making the infe-
rior officers of a ship discontented and unhappy, has
the dangerous tendency, as in the case of Christian,
to incite the crew to partake in their discontent, and
be ready to assist in any plan to get rid of the tyrant.
We may see in it, also, how very little credit a com-
mander is likely to gain, either with the service or
the public at large, when the duties of a ship are
carried on, as they would appear to have been in the
Pandora, in a cold, phlegmatic, and unfeehng manner,
and with an indifference to the comfort of all around
' him ; â€” subjecting offenders of whatever description
to unnecessary restraint, and a severity of punish-
ment which, though strictly within the letter of the
law, contributes in no way to the ends of discipline
or of justice.
The conduct of Bligh, however mistaken he may
have been in his mode of carrying on the duties of
the ship, was most exemplary throughout the long
and perilous voyage he performed in an open boat,
on the wide ocean, with the most scanty supply of
provisions and water, and in the wÂ®rst weather.
The result of such meritorious conduct holds out
every encouragement to both officers and men, by
showing them that by firmness and perseverance,
and the adoption of well-digested measures, steadily
pursued in spite of opposition, the most hopelesdi
undertaking, to all appearance, may be successfully
And, lastly, the fate that has attended almost
every one of those concerned in the mutiny and
piracy of his majesty's ship Bounty ought to operate
as a warning to, and make a deep impression on the
minds of our brave seamen, not to suifer them-
selves to be led astray from the straight-forward
line of their duty, either by order or persuasion of
some hot-brained, thoughtless, or designing person,
whether their superior or equal, but to remain
faithful, under all circumstances, to their com-
manding officer; as any mutinous proceedings or
disobedience of his orders are sure to be visited upon
them in the long run, either by loss of life, or by a
forfeiture of that liberal provision which the British
government has bestowed on its seamen for long
and faithful services.
P.S. Just as this last sheet came from the press,
the editor has noticed a paragraph in the news-
papers, said to be extracted from an American paper,
stating that a vessel sent to Pitcairn's Island by the
Europeans of Otaheite has carried off the whole oJ
the settlers to the latter island.
In reference to the subject of extraordinaiy pas-
sages made in open boats on the wide ocean, and the
note thereon at page 113, the following may be
added as another instance, the most painfully inter-
esting, and the most calamitous, perhaps, ever re-
corded. It was related to Mr. Eennet, a gentleman
deputed by the Missionary Society of London, to-
gether with the Rev. Daniel Tyerman, to visit iheir
several stations in the South Sea islands, by Captain
George Pollard, the unfortunate sufferer, whom
these gentlemen met with at Raiatea, then a pas-
senger in an American vessel, having a second time
lost'his ship near the Sandwich Islands. The nar-
rative is extracted from "The Journal of Voyages
and Travels," just published, of the two gentlemen
above-mentioned, and is as follow^s : â€”
" My first shipwreck was in open sea, on the 20th
of November, 1820, near the equator, about 118Â° W.
long. The vessel, a South Sea whaler, was called
the Essex. On that day, as we were on the look
out for sperm whales, and had actually struck two,
which the boats' crews were following to secure, I
perceived a very large one â€” it might be eighty or
ninety feet long â€” rushing with great swiftness
through the water, right towards the ship. We
hoped that she would turn aside, and dive under,
when she perceived such a balk in her way. But
no ! the animal came full foirce against our stern-
post; had any quarter less firm been struck, the
vessel must have been burst ; as it was, every plank
and timber trembled throughout her whole bulk.
" The whale, as though hurt by a severe and unex-
pected concussion, shook its enormous head, and
sheered off to so considerable a distance that foT
298 ADDITIONAL NOTE.
some time we had lost sisrht of her from the star-
board quarter : of which we were very glad, hoping
that the worst was over. Nearly an hour afterward,
we saw the same fish â€” we had no doubt of this,
from her size and the direction in which she came â€”
making again towards us. We were at once aware
of our danger, but escape was impossible. She
dashed her head this time against the ship's side,
and so broke it in that the vessel filled rapidly, and
soon became waterlogged. At the second shock, ex-
pecting her to go down, we lowered our three boats
-with the utmost expedition, and all hands, twenty
in the whole, got into them â€” seven, and seven,
and six. In a little while, as she did not sink, we
ventured on board again, and, by scuttling the deck,
were enabled to get out some buscuit, beef, water,
rum, two sextants, a quadrant, and three compasses.
These, together with some rigging, a few muskets,
powder, &c. we brought away ; and, dividing the
stores among our three small crew^s, rigged the boats
as well as we could ; there being a compass for
each, and a sextant for two, and a quadrant for one,
but neither sextant nor quadrant for the third.*
Then, instead of pushing away for some port, so
amazed and bewildered were w^e that we continued
sitting in ourplaces gazing upon the ship, as though
she had been an object of the tenderest affection.
Our eyes could not leave her, till, at the end of
many hours, she gave a slight reel, then down she
sank. No words can tell our feelings. We looked