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of the mutineers of the _Bounty_, of whom there was still one man, of the
name of Alexander Smith, alive amongst them. Intelligence of this
singular circumstance was sent by the American captain (Folger) to Sir
Sydney Smith at Valparaiso, and by him transmitted to the Lords of the
Admiralty. But the government was at that time perhaps too much engaged
in the events of the continental war to attend to the information, nor
was anything further heard of this interesting little society until 1814.
In that year two British men-of-war, cruising in the Pacific, made
Pitcairn's Island, and on nearing the shore, saw plantations regularly
and orderly laid out. Soon afterwards they observed a few natives coming
down a steep descent, with their canoes on their shoulders, and in a few
minutes perceived one of these little vessels darting through a heavy
surf, and paddling off towards the ships. But their astonishment may be
imagined when, on coming alongside, they were hailed in good English
with, "Wont you heave us a rope now?" This being done, a young man
sprang up the side with extraordinary activity, and stood on the deck
before them. In answer to the question "Who are you?" he replied that
his name was Thursday October Christian, son of the late Fletcher
Christian, by an Otaheitan mother; that he was the first born on the
island, and was so named because he was born on a Thursday in October.
All this sounded singular and incredible in the ears of the British
captains, Sir Thomas Staines and Mr. Pipon; but they were soon satisfied
of its truth. Young Christian was at this time about twenty-four years
old, a tall handsome youth, fully six feet high, with black hair, and an
open interesting English countenance. As he wore no clothes, except a
piece of cloth round his loins, and a straw-hat ornamented with black
cock's feathers, his fine figure and well-shaped muscular limbs were
displayed to great advantage, and attracted general admiration. His body
was much tanned by exposure to the weather; but although his complexion
was somewhat brown, it wanted that tinge of red peculiar to the natives
of the Pacific. He spoke English correctly both in grammar and
pronunciation; and his frank and ingenuous deportment excited in every
one the liveliest feelings of compassion and interest. His companion was
a fine handsome youth, of seventeen or eighteen years of age, named
George Young, son of one of the _Bounty's_ midshipmen.

The youths expressed great surprise at everything they saw, especially a
cow, which they supposed to be either a huge goat or a horned sow, having
never seen any other quadrupeds. When questioned concerning the
_Bounty_, they referred the captains to an old man on shore, the only
surviving Englishman, whose name, they said, was John Adams, but who
proved to be the identical Alexander Smith before-mentioned, having
changed his name from some caprice or other. The officers went ashore
with the youths, and were received by old Adams (as we shall now call
him), who conducted them to his house, and treated them to an elegant
repast of eggs, fowl, yams, plantains, bread-fruit, etc. They now
learned from him an account of the fate of his companions, who, with
himself, preferred accompanying Christian in the _Bounty_ to remaining at
Otaheite - which account agreed with that he afterwards gave at greater
length to Captain Beechey in 1828. Our limits will not permit us to
detail all the interesting particulars at length, as we could have
wished, but they are in substance as follows: -

It was Christian's object, in order to avoid the vengeance of the British
law, to proceed to some unknown and uninhabited island, and the Marquesas
Islands were first fixed upon. But Christian, on reading Captain
Cartaret's account of Pitcairn's Island, thought it better adapted for
the purpose, and shaped his course thither. Having landed and traversed
it, they found it every way suitable to their wishes, possessing water,
wood, a good soil, and some fruits. Having ascertained all this, they
returned on board, and having landed their hogs, goats, and poultry, and
gutted the ship of everything that could be useful to them, they set fire
to her, and destroyed every vestige that might lead to the discovery of
their retreat. This was on the 23d of January 1790. The island was then
divided into nine equal portions amongst them a suitable spot of neutral
ground being reserved for a village. The poor Otaheitans now found
themselves reduced to the condition of mere slaves; but they patiently
submitted, and everything went on peacefully for two years. About that
time Williams, one of the seamen, having the misfortune to lose his wife,
forcibly took the wife of one of the Otaheitans, which, together with
their continued ill-usage, so exasperated the latter that they formed a
plan for murdering the whole of their oppressors. The plot, however, was
discovered, and revealed by the Englishmen's wives, and two of the
Otaheitans were put to death. But the surviving natives soon afterwards
matured a more successful conspiracy, and in one day murdered five of the
Englishmen, including Christian. Adams and Young were spared at the
intercession of their wives, and the remaining two, M'Koy and Quintal
(two desperate ruffians), escaped to the mountains, whence, however, they
soon rejoined their companions. But the further career of these two
villains was short. M'Koy, having been bred up in a Scottish distillery,
succeeded in extracting a bottle of ardent spirits from the _tee root_;
from which time he and Quintal were never sober, until the former became
delirious, and committed suicide by jumping over a cliff. Quintal being
likewise almost insane with drinking, made repeated attempts to murder
Adams and Young, until they were absolutely compelled, for their own
safety, to put him to death, which they did by felling him with a hatchet.

Adams and Young were at length the only surviving males who had landed on
the island, and being both of a serious turn of mind and having time for
reflection and repentance, they became extremely devout. Having saved a
Bible and prayer-book from the _Bounty_, they now performed family
worship morning and evening, and addressed themselves to training up
their own children and those of their unfortunate companions in piety and
virtue. Young, however, was soon carried off by an asthmatic complaint,
and Adams was thus left to continue his pious labors alone. At the time
Captains Staines and Pipon visited the island, this interesting little
colony consisted of about forty-six persons, mostly grown-up young
people, all living in harmony and happiness together; and not only
professing, but fully understanding and practicing, the precepts and
principles of the Christian religion. Adams had instituted the ceremony
of marriage, and he assured his visitors that not one instance of
debauchery and immoral conduct had occurred amongst them.

The visitors having supplied these interesting people with some tools,
kettles, and other articles, took their leave. The account which they
transmitted home of this newly-discovered colony was, strange to say, as
little attended to by government as that of Captain Folger, and nothing
more was heard of Adams and his family for nearly twelve years, when, in
1825, Captain Beechey, in the _Blossom_, bound on a voyage of discovery
to Behring Strait, touched at Pitcairn's Island. On the approach of the
_Blossom_, a boat came off under all sail towards the ship, containing
old Adams and ten of the young men of the island. After requesting and
obtaining leave to come on board, the young men sprung up the side, and
shook every officer cordially by the hand. Adams, who was grown very
corpulent, followed more leisurely. He was dressed in a sailor's shirt
and trousers, with a low-crowned hat, which he held in his hand in sailor
fashion, while he smoothed down his bald forehead when addressed by the
officers of the _Blossom_. The little colony had now increased to about
sixty-six, including an English sailor of the name of John Buffett, who,
at his own earnest desire, had been left by a whaler. In this man the
society luckily found an able and willing schoolmaster. He instructed
the children in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and devoutly
co-operated with old Adams in affording religious instruction to the
community. The officers of the _Blossom_ went ashore, and were
entertained with a sumptuous repast at young Christian's, the table being
spread with plates, knives and forks. Buffett said grace in an emphatic
manner; and so strict were they in this respect, that it was not deemed
proper to touch a morsel of bread without saying grace both before and
after it. The officers slept in the house all night, their bedclothing
and sheets consisting of the native cloth made of the native
mulberry-tree. The only interruption to their repose was the melody of
the evening hymn, which was chanted together by the whole family after
the lights were put out; and they were awakened at early dawn by the same
devotional ceremony. On Sabbath the utmost decorum was attended to, and
the day was passed in regular religious observances.

In consequence of a representation made by Captain Beechey, the British
government sent out Captain Waldegrave in 1830, in the _Seringapatam_,
with a supply of sailors' blue jackets and trousers, flannels, stockings
and shoes, women's dresses, spades, mattocks, shovels, pick-axes,
trowels, rakes, etc. He found their community increased to about
seventy-nine, all exhibiting the same unsophisticated and amiable
characteristics as we have before described. Other two Englishmen had
settled amongst them; one of them, called Nobbs, a low-bred, illiterate
man, a self-constituted missionary, who was endeavoring to supersede
Buffett in his office of religious instruction. The patriarch Adams, it
was found, had died in March, 1829, aged sixty-five. While on his
deathbed, he had called the heads of families together, and urged upon
them to elect a chief; which, however, they had not yet done; but the
greatest harmony still prevailed amongst them, notwithstanding Nobb's
exertions to form a party of his own. Captain Waldegrave thought that
the island, which is about four miles square, might be able to support a
thousand persons, upon reaching which number they would naturally
emigrate to other Islands.

Such is the account of this most singular colony, originating in crime
and bloodshed. Of all the repentant criminals on record, the most
interesting, perhaps, is John Adams; nor do we know where to find a more
beautiful example of the value of early instruction than in the history
of this man, who, having run the full career of nearly all kinds of vice,
was checked by an interval of leisurely reflection, and the sense of new
duties awakened by the power of natural affections.

[1] One person turns his back on the object that is to be divided;
another then points separately to the portions, at each of them asking
aloud, "Who shall have this?" to which the first answers by naming
somebody. This impartial method of division gives every man an equal
chance of the best share.



Our watchful adventurer captain was not blind to these sinister omens.
No sooner did the peculiar atmosphere by which the mysterious image that
he so often examined was suddenly surrounded, catch his eye, than his
voice was raised in the clear, powerful, and exciting notes of warning.

"Stand by," he called aloud, "to in-all-studding-sails! Down with them!"
he added, scarcely giving his former words time to reach the ears of his
subordinates. "Down with every rag of them, fore and aft the ship! Man
the top-gallant clew-lines, Mr. Earing. Clew up, and clew down! In with
every thing, cheerily, men! - In!"

This was a language to which the crew of the _Caroline_ were no
strangers, and it was doubly welcome, since the meanest seaman amongst
them had long thought that his unknown commander had been heedlessly
trifling with the safety of the vessel, by the hardy manner in which he
disregarded the wild symptoms of the weather. But they undervalued the
keen-eyed vigilance of Wilder. He had certainly driven the Bristol
trader through the water at a rate she had never been known to go before;
but, thus far, the facts themselves gave evidence in his favour, since no
injury was the consequence of what they deemed temerity. At the quick
sudden order just given, however, the whole ship was in an uproar. A
dozen seamen called to each other, from different parts of the vessel,
each striving to lift his voice above the roaring ocean; and there was
every appearance of a general and inextricable confusion; but the same
authority which had so unexpectedly aroused them into activity, produced
order from their ill-directed though vigorous efforts.

Wilder had spoken, to awaken the drowsy and to excite the torpid. The
instant he found each man on the alert, he resumed his orders with a
calmness that gave a direction to the powers of all, and yet with an
energy that he well knew was called for by the occasion. The enormous
sheets of duck, which had looked like so many light clouds in the murky
and threatening heavens, were soon seen fluttering wildly, as they
descended from their high places, and, in a few minutes, the ship was
reduced to the action of her more secure and heavier canvas. To effect
this object, every man in the ship exerted his powers to the utmost,
under the guidance of the steady but rapid mandates of their commander.
Then followed a short and apprehensive pause. All eyes were turned
towards the quarter where the ominous signs had been discovered; and each
individual endeavored to read their import, with an intelligence
correspondent to the degree of skill he might have acquired, during his
particular period of service on that treacherous element which was now
his home.

The dim tracery of the stranger's form had been swallowed by the flood of
misty light, which, by this time, rolled along the sea like drifting
vapour, semi-pellucid, preternatural, and seemingly tangible. The ocean
itself appeared admonished that a quick and violent change was nigh. The
waves ceased to break in their former foaming and brilliant crests, and
black masses of the water lifted their surly summits against the eastern
horizon, no longer shedding their own peculiar and lucid atmosphere
around them. The breeze which had been so fresh, and which had even
blown with a force that nearly amounted to a gale, was lulling and
becoming uncertain, as it might be awed by the more violent power that
was gathering along the borders of the sea, in the direction of the
neighbouring continent. Each moment, the eastern puffs of air lost their
strength, becoming more and more feeble, until, in an incredibly short
period, the heavy sails were heard flapping against the masts. A
frightful and ominous calm succeeded. At this instant, a gleam flashed
from the fearful obscurity of the ocean, and a roar, like that of a
sudden burst of thunder, bellowed along the waters. The seamen turned
their startled looks on each other, standing aghast, as if a warning of
what was to follow had come out of the heavens themselves. But their
calm and more sagacious commander put a different construction on the
signal. His lip curled, in high professional pride, and he muttered with
scorn, -

"Does he imagine that we sleep? Ay, he has got it himself, and would
open our eyes to what is coming? What does he conjecture we have been
about, since the middle watch was set?"

Wilder made a swift turn or two on the quarter-deck, turning his quick
glances from one quarter of the heavens to another; from the black and
lulling water on which his vessel was rolling, to the sails; and from his
silent and profoundly expectant crew, to the dim lines of spars that were
waving above his head, like so many pencils tracing their curvilinear and
wanton images over the murky volumes of the superincumbent clouds.

"Lay the after-yards square!" he said, in a voice which was heard by
every man on deck, though his words were apparently spoken but little
above his breath. The creaking of the blocks, as the spars came slowly
and heavily round to the indicated position, contributed to the imposing
character of the moment, sounding like notes of fearful preparation.

"Haul up the courses!" resumed Wilder with the same eloquent calmness of
manner. Then, taking another glance at the threatening horizon, he added
slowly but with emphasis, "Furl them - furl them both. Away aloft, and
hand your courses!" he continued in a shout; "roll them up, cheerily; in
with them, boys, cheerily; in!"

The conscious seamen took their impulses from the tones of their
commander. In a moment, twenty dark forms were leaping up the rigging,
with the alacrity of so many quadrupeds. In another minute, the vast and
powerful sheets of canvas were effectually rendered harmless, by securing
them in tight rolls to their respective spars. The men descended as
swiftly as they had mounted to the yards; and then succeeded another
breathing pause. At this appalling moment, a candle would have sent its
flame perpendicularly towards the heavens. The ship, missing the
steadying power of the wind, rolled heavily in the troughs of the seas,
which began to lessen at each instant, as if the startled element was
recalling into the security of its own vast bosom that portion of its
particles which had so lately been permitted to gambol madly over its
surface. The water washed sullenly along the side of the ship, or, as
she labouring rose from one of her frequent falls into the hollows of the
waves, it shot back into the ocean from her decks in glittering cascades.
Every hue of the heavens, every sound of the element, and each dusky and
anxious countenance, helped to proclaim the intense interest of the
moment. In this brief interval of expectation and inactivity, the mates
again approached their commander.

"It is an awful night, Captain Wilder!" said Earing, presuming on his
rank to be the first to speak.

"I have known far less notice given of a shift of wind," was the answer.

"We have had time to gather in our kites, 'tis true, sir; but there are
signs and warnings that come with this change which the oldest seaman
must dread!"

"Yes," continued Knighthead, in a voice that sounded hoarse and powerful,
even amid the fearful accessories of that scene; "yes, it is no trifling
commission that can call people that I shall not name out upon the water
in such a night as this. It was in just such weather that I saw the
_Vesuvius_ ketch go to a place so deep, that her own mortar would not
have been able to have sent a bomb into the open air, had hands and fire
been there fit to let it off!"

"Ay; and it was in such a time that the _Greenlandman_ was cast upon the
Orkneys, in as flat a calm as ever lay on the sea."

"Gentlemen," said Wilder, with a peculiar and perhaps an ironical
emphasis on the word, "what would ye have? There is not a breath of air
stirring and the ship is naked to her topsails!"

It would have been difficult for either of the two malcontents to give a
very satisfactory answer to this question. Both were secretly goaded by
mysterious and superstitious apprehensions, that were powerfully aided by
the more real and intelligible aspect of the night; but neither had so
far forgotten his manhood, and his professional pride, as to lay bare the
full extent of his own weakness, at a moment when he was liable to be
called upon for the exhibition of qualities of a more positive and
determined character. The feeling that was uppermost betrayed itself in
the reply of Earing, though in an indirect and covert manner.

"Yes, the vessel is snug enough now," he said, "though eyesight has shown
us it is no easy matter to drive a freighted ship through the water as
fast as one of those flying craft aboard which no man can say who stands
at the helm, by what compass she steers, or what is her draught!"

"Ay," resumed Knighthead, "I call the _Caroline_ fast for an honest
trader. There are few square-rigged boats who do not wear the pennants
of the king, that can eat her out of the wind on a bowline, or bring her
into their wake with studding-sails set. But this is a time and an hour
to make a seaman think. Look at yon hazy light, here in with the land,
that is coming so fast down upon us, and then tell me whether it comes
from the coast of America, or whether it comes from out of the stranger
who has been so long running under our lee, but who has got, or is fast
getting, the wind of us at last, while none here can say how, or why. I
have just this much, and no more, to say: give me for consort a craft
whose captain I know, or give me none!"

"Such is your taste, Mr. Knighthead," said Wilder, coldly; "mine may, by
some accident, be different."

"Yes, yes," observed the more cautious and prudent Earing, "in time of
war, and with letters of marque aboard, a man may honestly hope the sail
he sees should have a stranger for her master; or otherwise he would
never fall in with an enemy. But, though an Englishman born myself, I
should rather give the ship in that mist a clear sea, seeing that I
neither know her nation nor her cruise. Ah, Captain Wilder, this is an
awful sight for the morning watch! Often and often have I seen the sun
rise in the east, and no harm done; but little good can come of a day
when the light first breaks in the west. Cheerfully would I give the
owners the last month's pay, hard as it has been earned, did I but know
under what flag the stranger sails."

"Frenchman, Don, or Devil, yonder he comes!" cries Wilder. Then, turning
towards the attentive crew, he shouted, in a voice that was appalling by
its vehemence and warning, "Let run the after-halyards! round with the
fore-yard; round with it, men, with a will!"

These were cries that the startled crew but too well understood. Every
nerve and muscle were exerted to execute the orders, to be in readiness
for the tempest. No man spoke; but each expended the utmost of his power
and skill in direct and manly efforts. Nor was there, in verity, a
moment to lose, or a particle of human strength expended here, without a
sufficient object.

The lurid and fearful-looking mist, which, for the last quarter of an
hour, had been gathering in the north-west, was driving down upon them
with the speed of a race-horse. The air had already lost the damp and
peculiar feeling of an easterly breeze; and little eddies were beginning
to flutter among the masts - precursors of the coming squall. Then, a
rushing, roaring sound was heard moaning along the ocean, whose surface
was first dimpled, next ruffled, and finally covered with a sheet of
clear, white, and spotless foam. At the next moment, the power of the
wind fell upon the inert and labouring Bristol trader.

While the gust was approaching, Wilder had seized the slight opportunity
afforded by the changeful puffs of air to get the ship as much as
possible before the wind; but the sluggish movement of the vessel met
neither the wishes of his own impatience nor the exigencies of the
moment. Her bows slowly and heavily fell off from the north, leaving her
precisely in a situation to receive the first shock on her broadside.
Happy it was, for all who had life at risk in that defenceless vessel,
that she was not fated to receive the whole weight of the tempest at a
blow. The sails fluttered and trembled on their massive yards, bellying
and collapsing alternately for a minute, and then the rushing wind swept
over them in a hurricane.

The _Caroline_ received the blast like a stout and buoyant ship as she
was, yielding to its impulse until her side lay nearly incumbent on the
element; and then, as if the fearful fabric were conscious of its
jeopardy, it seemed to lift its reclining masts again, struggling to work
its way through the water.

"Keep the helm a-weather! Jam it a-weather, for your life!" shouted
Wilder, amid the roar of the gust.

The veteran seaman at the wheel obeyed the order with steadiness, but in
vain did he keep his eyes on the margin of his head sail, to watch the
manner in which the ship would obey its power. Twice more, in as many
moments, the giddy masts fell towards the horizon, waving as often
gracefully upward, and then they yielded to the mighty pressure of the
wind, until the whole machine lay prostrate on the water.

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