A detachment of men were immediately ordered, under the command of Lieutenant Corner, to march across the country, and if possible to get between the mountains and the mutineers; this gentleman was extremely well calculated for an expedition of this kind, having, in the early part of his life, bore a commission in the land service, and next morning they landed on Point Venus, attended by the principal chiefs as conductors, and a number of the common people to assist in carrying the ammunition over the heights: what rendered their assistance more necessary, was their having to cross a rapid cataract, or river, which came down from the mountains, and formed so many curves. They had to ford it sixteen times in the course of their journey, which gave evident proofs of the superior strength of the natives over the English seamen. The former went over with ease, where the sailors could not stem the rapidity of the torrent without their help. They were, however, forced to send to the ship for ropes and tackles to gain some heights which were otherwise inaccessible.
On the party coming to a rest, the Lieutenant expressed a wish to one of the natives for something to eat, who told him he might be supplied with plenty of victuals ready dressed; he immediately ran to a temple, or place of worship, where meat was regularly served to their god, and came running with a roasted pig, that had been presented that day. This striking instance of impiety rather startled the Lieutenant, which the other easily got over, by saying there was more left than the god could eat.
It was with much difficulty they could restrain the natives from committing depredations on the Cava grounds of the upper districts, as they were on the eve of a war with them respecting the hereditary right of the crown.
The party now arrived at the residence of a great chief, who received them with much hospitality and kindness; and after refreshing them with plenty of meat and drink, carried the officer to visit the Morai of the dead chief, his father. Mr. Corner judging it necessary, by every mark of attention, to gain the good graces of this great man, ordered his party to draw up, and fire three vollies over the deceased, who was brought out in his best new cloaths, on the occasion; but the burning cartridge from one of the muskets, unfortunately set fire to the paper cloaths of the dead chief. This unlucky disaster threw the son into the greatest perplexity, as agreeable to their laws, should the corpse of his father be stolen away, or otherwise destroyed, he forfeits his title and estate, and it descends to the next heir.
There was at the same time a party embarked by water, under the command of Lieutenant Hayward, who took with him some of the principal chiefs, amongst whom was Oedidy, before mentioned by Captain Cook, who went a voyage with him, but fell into disrepute amongst them, from affirming he had seen water in a solid form; alluding to the ice. He also took with him one Brown, an Englishman, that had been left on shore by an American vessel that had called there, for being troublesome on board: but otherwise a keen, penetrating, active fellow, who rendered many eminent services, both in this expedition and the subsequent part of the voyage. He had lived upwards of twelve months amongst the natives, adopted perfectly their manners and customs, even to the eating of raw fish, and dipping his roast pork into a cocoa nut shell of salt water, according to their manner, as substitute for salt. He likewise avoided all intercourse and communication with the Bounty's people, by which means necessity forced him to gain a pretty competent knowledge of their language; and from natural complexion was much darker than any of the natives.
Captain Edwards had taken every possible means of gaining the friendship of Tamarrah, the great prince of the upper district, by sending him very liberal presents, which effectually brought him over to our interest. The mutineers were now cut off from every hope of resource; the natives were harrassing them behind, and Mr. Hayward and his party advancing in front; under cover of night they had taken shelter in a hut in the woods, but were discovered by Brown, who creeping up to the place where they were asleep, distinguished them from the natives by feeling their toes; as people unaccustomed to wear shoes are easily discovered from the spread of their toes. Next day Mr. Hayward attacked them, but they grounded their arms without opposition; their hands were bound behind their back and sent down to the boat under a strong guard.
During the whole business there was only two natives killed; one was shot in the dusk of the evening, two nights before the people surrendered, by one of the centinels, who had his musket twice beat out of his hand from the natives pelting our party with large stones; but the instant he was shot, some of his friends rushed in and carried off the corpse.
The other native was shot by the mutineers; when attacked by the natives they took to a river; a stone being thrown by one of the natives at the wife, or woman, of one of the mutineers, enraged him so much, that he immediately shot the offender.
A prison was built for their accommodation on the quarter deck, that they might be secure, and apart from our ship's company; and that it might have every advantage of a free circulation of air, which rendered it the most desirable place in the ship. Orders were likewise given that they should be victualled, in every respect in the same as the ship's company, both in meat, liquor, and all the extra indulgencies with which we were so liberally supplied, notwithstanding the established laws of the service, which restricts prisoners to two-thirds allowance: but Captain Edwards very humanely commiserated with their unhappy and inevitable length of confinement. Oripai, the king's brother, a discerning, sensible, and intelligent chief, discovered a conspiracy amongst the natives on shore to cut our cables should it come to blow hard from the sea. This was more to be dreaded, as many of the prisoners were married to the most respectable chiefs' daughters in the district opposite to where we lay at anchor; in particular one, who took the name of Stewart, a man of great possession in landed property, near Matavy Bay: a gentleman of that name belonging to the Bounty having married his daughter, and he, as his friend and father-in law, agreeable to their custom, took his name.
Ottoo the king, his two brothers, and all the principal chiefs, appeared extremely anxious for our safety; and after the prisoners were on board, kept watch during the night; were always keeping a sharp look out upon our cables, and continually spurring the centinels to be careful in their duty. The prisoners' wives visited the ship daily and brought their children, who were permitted to be carried to their unhappy fathers. To see the poor captives in irons, weeping over their tender offspring, was too moving a scene for any feeling heart. Their wives brought them ample supplies of every delicacy that the country afforded while we lay there, and behaved with the greatest fidelity and affection to them.
Next day the king, his two queens, and retinue, came on board to pay us a formal visit, preceded by a band of music. The ladies had about sixty or seventy yards of Otaheitee cloth wrapt round them, and were so bulky and unwieldy with it, they were obliged to be hoisted on board like horn cattle: hogs, cocoa-nuts, bananas, a rich sort of peach, and a variety of ready dressed puddings and victuals, composed their present to the Captain.
As soon as they were on board, the Captain debarassoit the ladies, by rolling their linen round his middle; an indispensable ceremony here in receiving a present of cloth: and Medua, wife to Oripai, the king's brother, took a great liking to the Captain's laced coat, which he immediately put on her with much gallantry; and that beautiful princess seemed much elated with her new finery. I cannot ommit a circumstance of this lady's attachment to dress. There was a custom which had prevailed for a long time, to present the god with all red feathers that could be procured; but thinking she would become red feathers full as well as his godship, immediately employed all her domestics making them up into fly flaps, and other personal ornaments, to prevent the altar making a monopoly of all the good things, in this, as well as in other countries.
A grand Haeva was next day ordered for our entertainment ashore, on Point Venus, and on our landing we were preceded by a band of music, and led to where the king and his levee were in waiting to receive us. The course was soon cleared by the chiefs, and the entertainment began by two men, who vied with each other in filthy lascivious attitudes, and frightful distortions of their mouths. These having performed their part, two ladies, pretty fancifully dressed, as described in Captain Cook's Voyages, were introduced after a little ceremony. Something resembling a turkey-cock's tail, and stuck on their rumps in a fan kind of fashion, about five feet in diameter, had a very good effect while the ladies kept their faces to us; but when in a bending attitude, they presented their rumps, to shew the wonderful agility of their loins; the effect is better conceived than described. After half an hour's hard exercise, the dear creatures had remuee themselves into a perfect fureur, and the piece concluded by the ladies exposing that which is better felt than seen; and, in that state of nature, walked from the bottom of the theatre to the top where we were sitting on the grass, till they approached just by us, and then we complimented them in bowing, with all the honours of war.
These accomplishments are so much prized amongst them that girls come from the interior parts of the country to the court residence, for improvement in the Haeva, just as country gentlemen send their daughters to London boarding-schools.
This may well be called the Cytheria of the southern hemisphere, not only from the beauty and elegance of the women, but their being so deeply versed in, and so passionately fond of the Eleusinian mysteries; and what poetic fiction has painted of Eden, or Arcadia, is here realized, where the earth without tillage produces both food and cloathing, the trees loaded with the richest of fruit, the carpet of nature spread with the most odoriferous flowers, and the fair ones ever willing to fill your arms with love.
It affords a happy instance of contradicting an opinion propagated by philosophers of a less bountiful soil, who maintain that every virtuous or charitable act a man commits, is from selfish and interrested views. Here human nature appears in more amiable colours, and the soul of man, free from the gripping hand of want, acts with a liberality and bounty that does honour to his God.
A native of this country divides every thing in common with his friend, and the extent of the word friend, by them, is only bounded by the universe, and was he reduced to his last morsel of bread, he cheerfully halves it with him; the next that comes has the same claim, if he wants it, and so in succession to the last mouthful he has. Rank makes no distinction in hospitality; for the king and beggar relieve each other in common.
The English are allowed by the rest of the world, and I believe with some degree of justice, to be a generous, charitable people; but the Otaheiteans could not help bestowing the most contemptuous word in their language upon us, which is, Peery Peery, or Stingy.
In becoming the Tyo, or friend of a man, it is expected you pay him a compliment, by cherishing his wife; but, being ignorant of that ceremony, I very innocently gave high offence to Matuara, the king of York Island, to whom I was introduced as his friend: a shyness took place on the side of his Majesty, from my neglect to his wife; but, through the medium of Brown the interpreter, he put me in mind of my duty, and on my promising my endeavours, matters were for that time made up. It was to me, however, a very serious inauguration: I was, in the first place, not a young man, and had been on shore a whole week; the lady was a woman of rank, being sister to Ottoo, the king of Otaheitee, and had in her youth been beautiful, and named Peggy Ottoo. She is the right hand dancing figure so elegantly delineated in Cook's Voyages. But Peggy had seen much service, and bore away many honourable scars in the fields of Venus. However, his Majesty's service must be done, and Matuara and I were again friends. He was a domesticated man, and passionately fond of his wife and children; but now became pensive and melancholy, dreading the child should be Piebald; though the lady was six months advanced in her pregnancy before we came to the island.
The force of friendship amongst those good creatures, will be more fully understood from the following circumstance: Churchhill, the principal ringleader of the mutineers, on his landing, became the Tyo, or friend, of a great chief in the upper districts. Some time after the chief happening to die without issue, his title and estate, agreeable to their law from Tyoship, devolved on Churchhill, who having some dispute with one Thomson of the Bounty, was shot by him. The natives immediately rose, and revenged the death of Churchhill their chief, by killing Thomson, whose skull was afterwards shown to us, which bore evident marks of fracture.
Oedidy, although perfectly devoted to our interest, on being appointed one of the guides in the expedition against the mutineers, expressed great horror at the act he was going to commit, in betraying his friend, being Tyo to one of them.
They are much less addicted to thieving than when Capt. Cook visited them; and when things were stolen, by applying to the magistrate of the district, the goods were immediately returned; for, like every other well regulated police, the thief and justice were of one gang.
Sometimes we slightly punished the offenders, by cutting off their hair. A beautiful young creature, who lived at the Observatory with one of our young gentlemen, slipped out of bed from him in the night, and stole all his linen. She was punished for the theft, by shaving one of her eye-brows, and half of the hair off her head. She immediately run into the woods, and used to come once or twice a day to the tent, to request looking at herself in the glass; but the grotesque figure she cut, with one side entirely bald, made her shriek out, and run into the woods to shun society.
With respect to agriculture, in a soil where nature has done so much, little is left to human industry; but had there been occasion for it, abilities would not be wanting. It is much to be lamented, that the endeavours of the philanthropic Sir Joseph Banks were frustrated, by their razing of every thing which he took so much pains to rear amongst them, a few shaddocks excepted. Tobacco and cotton have escaped their ravage; and they are much mortified that they cannot eradicate it from their grounds: but were a handloom on a simple construction, as used by the natives of Java, introduced amongst them, they could soon turn their cotton to good account. An instance of their ingenuity and imitative powers in matting, was a thing perfectly unknown amongst them till Captain Cook introduced it from Anamooka, one of the Friendly Isles: but in that branch of manufacture they now far surpass their original. They have likewise abundance of fine sugarcanes, growing spontaneously all over the island, from which rum and sugar might be extracted. Indeed an attempt was made by Coleman, the armourer of the Bounty, who made a still, and succeeded; but, dreading the effects of intoxication, both amongst themselves and the natives, very wisely put an end to his labours by breaking the still.
Captain Bligh has likewise planted Indian corn, from which much may be expected. On our landing, as soon as public business of more importance would permit, our gentlemen were indefatigable in laying out a piece of garden ground, and ditching it round. Lemons, oranges, limes, pine-apples, plants of the coffee tree, with all the lesser class of things, as onions, lettuces, peas, cabbages, and every thing necessary for culinary purposes, were planted.
In order that they might not meet the same fate of the things planted by Sir Joseph Banks, Captain Edwards made use of every stratagem to make the chiefs fond of the oranges and limes, by dipping them in sugar, to cover the acid before it be presented to them to eat. Messrs. Corner and Hayward were equally zealous in using the most persuasive arguments with the chiefs to take care of our garden, and rear and propagate the plants when we were gone; to all which they lent a deaf ear, and treated the subject with much levity, saying, they might be very good to us, but that they were already plentifully supplied with every thing they wished or wanted, and had not occasion for more. But on the Lieutenant's representing, that if, on our return, they could supply us with plenty of such articles as we left with them, they in exchange would receive hatchets, knives, and red cloth, they seemed more favourably inclined to our project; and I have no doubt but that some after navigators will reap the benefit of their industry.
The Bread-fruit, although the most delicate and nourishing food upon earth, is, with people like them, liable to inconveniencies; for in such a group or Archipelago of islands, whose inhabitants are in such various gradations of refinement, from the gentle and polished Otaheitean, to the savage and cannibal Feegee, a war amongst them is often attended with devastation as well as famine. By cutting round the bark of the Bread-fruit tree, a whole country may be laid waste for four or five years, young trees not bearing in less time. Crops, such as Indian corn, English wheat and peas, that have been left amongst them, can in time of war be stored in granaries on the top of their almost inaccessible mountains.
While speaking of the Bread-fruit tree, I can exemplify my subject from what happened to an island contiguous to Otaheite, whose coast abounded with fine fish; and the Otaheitans, being themselves too lazy to catch them, destroyed all the Bread-fruit trees on this little island; by which act of policy, they are obliged to send over boats with fish regularly to market, to be supplied with bread in barter from Otaheite. To this island they likewise send their wives, thinking they become fair by living on fish, and low diet. They also send boys for the same reason, whom they keep for abominable purposes.
As to the religion of this country, it is difficult for me to define it. Their tenets, although equally ignorant of heathen mythology or theological intricacies, seem to partake of both; and, like other nations in the early ages of society, are rendered subservient to political purposes, as by the machinery of deification the person of the king is sacred and inviolable. Notwithstanding the king be a broad shouldered strapping fellow, three sturdy stallions of cecisbeos, or lords in waiting, are kept for the particular amusement of the queen, when his majesty is in his cups. Yet the royal issue is always declared to be sprung from the immortal Gods; and the heir-apparent, during his minority, is put under the tuition of the high priest. Their God is supposed to be omnipresent, and is worshipped in spirit, idolatry not being known amongst them. The sacred mysteries are only known to the priests or augurs, the king, princes, and great chiefs, the common people only serving as victims, or to fill up the pageantry of a religious procession. One of our gentlemen expressing a wish to the high priest, of carrying from amongst them that God whose altars craved so much human blood, he, like a true priest, had his subterfuge ready, by saying, there were more of the same family in the other islands, from whence they could easily be supplied. On all great occasions, each district sends a male victim; and the island containing forty districts, it may be presumed the mortality is great. Between the sacrifices and the ravages of war, a preponderating number of females must have taken place; to counteract which, a law passed, that every other female child should be put to death at birth; and the husband always officiating as acoucheur to his wife, the child is destroyed as soon as the sex is discovered.
The absurdity of this inhuman law is now pretty evident. Women are become more scarce, and set a higher value on their charms, which occasions many desperate battles amongst them. Some with fractured skulls were sent on board of us, which had been got in amorous affrays of that kind.
It may naturally be supposed, that people of such gentle natures make no conspicuous figure in the theatre of war.
Their war-canoes are very large, on which a platform is placed, capable of containing from a hundred and fifty to two hundred men. But their taste in decorating the prow of their men of war, plainly indicates they are more versed in the fields of Venus than Mars, every man of war having a figure head of the god Priapus, with a preposterous insignia of his order; the sight of which never fails to excite great glee and good humour amongst the ladies.
It is customary with those nations at war, that the treaty of peace be confirmed by the conquerors sending a certain number of their women to cohabit with the nation that is vanquished, in order to conciliate their affection by a bond more lasting than wax and parchment. It was the unhappy lot of Otaheite to be overcome by a nation whose women were too masculine for them; they being accustomed to the amorous dalliance of their own beautiful females, were averse to familiar intercourse with strangers. The ladies returned with all the rage of disappointed women, and the war was renewed with all its horrors.
They are well acquainted with the bow and arrow, but use it as an amusement. The only missive weapons they use are the sling and spear. They have now amongst them about twenty stand of arms, and two hundred rounds of powder and ball. They can take a musket to pieces, and put it up again; are good marksmen, take proper care of their arms and ammunition; and are highly sensible of the superior advantage it gives them over the neighbouring nations.
In the preparing and printing their cloth, the women display a great share of ingenuity and good taste. Many of their figures were exactly the patterns which prevailed, as fashionable, when we left England, both striped and figured. They print their figured cloth by dipping the leaves in dye-stuffs of different colours, placing them as their fancy directs. Their cloth is of different texture of fineness, from a stuff of the same nature in quality as the slightest India paper, to a kind as durable as some of our cottons; but they will not bear water, and of course become troublesome and expensive. They are generally made up in bales, running about two yards broad, and twenty or thirty yards long. We had some thousands of yards of it sent on board as presents.
Their sumptuary laws, at first sight, may appear severe towards the fair sex, who are not permitted to eat butchermeat, nor to eat at all, in the presence of their husbands. It certainly does not convey the most delicate ideas, to a mind impressed with much sensibility, to see a fine woman devouring a piece of beef; and those voluptuaries, who may be said to exist only by their women, would naturally endeavour to remove the possibility of presupposing a disgusting idea in that object in which all their happiness centres.
Every woman, the queen and royal family excepted, on the approach of the king, is denuded down to the waist, and continues so whilst his majesty is in sight. Should the king enter a woman's house, it is immediately pulled down. The king is never permitted to help himself with meat or drink, which makes him a very troublesome visitor, as he is never quiet whilst a bottle is in sight till he has had the last drop of it.
Their houses are well adapted to the temperate climate they inhabit, and generally consist of three chambers, the interior one of which the chief retires to, after he has drank his cava. A profound silence is observed during his repose; for should they be suddenly awaked, it produces violent vomiting, and a train of uneasy sensations; but, otherwise, if undisturbed, it proves a safe anodyne, creates amorous dreams, and a powerful excitement to venery. In the adjoining chamber, his fair spouse waits, with eager expectation, to avail herself of the happy moment when her lord should awake, which is by slow degrees; and he is roused from Elysium, by her gentle offices, in tenderly embracing every part of his body, until his ideal scenes of bliss are realised; and when fully sated with the luscious banquet, they retire to the bath, to gather fresh vigour for a renewal of similar joys. In this mazy round of chaste dissipation, the hours glide gently on, and the evening is spent in dancing to the music of Pan's pipes, the flute, and haeva drum. They then go to the bath again, and the festivity of the evening is concluded with a repast of fruit, and young cocoanut milk. The whole village indiscriminately join the feast; and the demon of rank and precedence, with their appendages malevolence and envy, has never yet disturbed their happy board.
Happy would it have been for those people had they never been visited by Europeans; for, to our shame be it spoken, disease and gunpowder is all the benefit they have ever received from us, in return for their hospitality and kindness. The ravages of the venereal disease is evident, from the mutilated objects so frequent amongst them, where death has not thrown a charitable veil over their misery, by putting a period to their existence.
A disease of the consumptive kind has of late made great havoc amongst them; this they call the British disease, as they have only had it since their intercourse with the English.
In this complaint they are avoided by society, from a supposition of its being contagious; and in every old out-house, you will find miserable objects, for want of medical assistance, abandoned to their wretched fate. From what we could learn, it generally terminates fatally in ten or twelve months; but I am led to believe, that in many cases it originates from the venereal disease.[117-1]
The voice of humanity honour, and justice, calls upon us as a nation to remedy those evils, by sending some intelligent surgeon to live amongst them. They at present pant for the pruning-hand of civilization and the arts; love and adore us as beings of a superior nature, but gently upbraid us with having left them in the same abject state they were at first discovered.
We had buoyed many of them up with the hopes of carrying them to England with us, in order to secure their fidelity and honesty, especially those who were most useful in our domestic concerns; but on explaining to them that even bread was not to be obtained in England without labour, they lost hopes of their favourite voyage.
Large presents were now brought us for our sea-store; and notwithstanding Mr. Bentham our purser having most liberally supplied the ship with four pounds of fresh pork per man each day, it made no apparent scarcity; beside salting some thousand weight, and a prodigious number of goats, fowls, and other things. Could we have made it convenient to have staid another week, some cows were promised to have been sent us from a neighbouring island. Capt. Cook had left with them a horse and mare, a cow with calf, and a bull; but, from some mistake, they killed a horse instead of one of the cows, and found it very tough, disagreeable eating, by which means they were disgusted with all the horned cattle, and drew an unfavourable conclusion that their meat was all of the same texture. Had some pains been taken with them, to get the better of a dislike they have to milk, and explained to them how variously it might be employed as food, I have no doubt but they would have paid more attention to the horned cattle. They used to persist in saying that milk was urine; but on pointing to a woman that was suckling her child, and pushing their own argument, they seemed convinced of their error. We have left them a goose and a gander, which they take a great delight in.
Edea, the Queen, endeavoured to conquer that absurd dislike, and at last became fond of milk in her tea.
A painting of Capt. Cook, done in oil by Webber, which had been delivered to Capt. Edwards on his first landing, was now returned to them. It is held by them in the greatest veneration; and I should not be surprised if, one day or other, divine honours should be paid to it. They still believe Capt. Cook is living; and their seeing Mr. Bentham our purser, whom they perfectly recollected as having been the voyage with him, and spoke their language, will confirm them in that opinion.
The harbour was surveyed by Mr. Geo. Passmore, the master, an able and experienced officer.
Our officers here, as at Rio Janeiro, showed the most manly and philanthropic disposition, by giving up their cabins, and sacrificing every comfort and convenience for the good of mankind, in accommodating boxes with plants of the Bread-fruit tree, that the laudable intentions of government might not be frustrated from the loss of his majesty's ship Bounty.
We had now completed our water from an excellent spring, out of a rock close to the water's edge, at Offaree.
King Ottoo, and his queen Edea, came on board, and were very importunate in their solicitations to Capt. Edwards, requesting him to take them to England with him. Aeredy, the concubine, likewise requested the same favour; but she more generously begged they might all three go together. But Oripai, and the other chiefs, remonstrated against his going, as they were on the eve of a war.
We were now perfectly ready for sea; and as Capt. Cook's picture is presented to all strangers, it is customary for navigators to write their observations on the back of it; so our arrival and departure was notified upon it.
The ship was filled with cocoa-nuts and fruit, as many pigs, goats, and fowls, as the decks and boats would hold. The dismal day of our departure now arrived. This I believe was the first time that an Englishman got up his anchor, at the remotest part of the globe, with a heavy heart, to go home to his own country. Every canoe almost in the island was hovering round the ship; and they began to mourn, as is customary for the death of a near relation. They bared their bodies, cut their heads with shells, and smeared their breasts and shoulders with the warm blood, as it streamed down; and as the blood ceased flowing, they renewed the wounds in their head, attended with a dismal yell.
Ottoo now took leave of us; and, with the tears trickling down his cheeks, begged to be remembered to King George. The tender was put in commission, and the command of her given to Mr. Oliver the master's mate, Mr. Renouard a midshipman, James Dodds a quartermaster; and six privates were put on board of her. She was decked, beautifully built, and the size of a Gravesend boat.
[91-1] First printed at Berwick in 1793.
[96-1] Afternoon entertainments.
[117-1] Compare the ravages of the great Lila (wasting sickness) in Fiji, and the accounts of similar visitations following on the first visit of an European ship to an insular people. (The Fijians, p. 243).
VOYAGE FROM OTAHEITE TO ANAMOOKA.
WITH a pleasant breeze, on the evening of the 8th of May, passed Emea or York Island, contiguous to, and in sight of Otaheite. It is governed by Matuara, brother-in-law to Ottoo. It is a pleasant romantic looking spot, with very high hills upon it, and about twelve miles in circumference. They were lately attacked by some neighbouring power, and Matuara requested the lend of a musket from his friend and ally. When peace was restored, Ottoo sent for his musket. Matuara represented, that as a man, from a sense of honour, he wished to return it; but that as a king, the love he bore his subjects prevented him complying with the request. That single musket, and a few cartridges, gives him no small degree of consequence, and are retained as the royal dower of his wife.
Next morning we reached Huaheine, and sent the boats on shore in Owharre Bay. As Oedidy the chief requested to go with us to Whytutakee, he went on shore with the officers, in their search for intelligence of the mutineers; but they returned without success.
Here we learned the fate of Omai, the native of Otaheite, whom Captain Cook brought from England. On his return here he had wealth enough to obtain every fine woman on the island; and at last fell a martyr to Venus, having finished his career by the venereal disease, two years after his landing. His house and garden are still standing; but his musket occasioned a war after his death, and was found in the possession of a native of Ulitea. His servant was on board of us, but had not retained a single article of his property.
On the 10th, we examined Ulitea and Otaha, interchanged presents with the natives, and landed in Chamanen's Bay; but got no information.
We examined Bolobola on the 11th; and Tatahu, the king, honoured us with a visit. The people of this island are of a more warlike disposition than any other of the Society Islands; and on account of that national ferocity of character, are much caressed by the Otaheitans and neighbouring islands. They are sensible of their pre-eminence, and boast of their country, in whatever island you meet them. They are tatooed in a particular manner; and whether they may have spread their conquests, or other nations imitated them, I could not learn; but a prodigious number, in islands we afterwards visited, were tatooed in their fashion. What was most singular, we saw some with the glans of the penis entirely tatooed; and our men, from being tatooed in the legs, arms, and breast, places of much less sensation, were often lame for a week, from the excruciating torture of the operation. Tatahu likewise informed us there were no white men on Tubai, a small island to the northward of Bolobola, and under his jurisdiction; nor upon Mauruah, another island in sight, and to the westward of Bolobola. He also mentioned another island, which he called Mopehah. Here Oedidy went on shore; but getting drunk in meeting some of his old friends, he fell asleep, and lost his passage. On the 12th we left Mauruah, and on the 13th lost sight of the Society Islands.
Here one of the prisoners begged to speak with the Captain, and gave information of Mr. Christian's intended rout.
We now shaped our course to fall in to the eastward of Whytutakee, an island discovered by Capt. Bligh, and on the 19th made the island. We sent the boat on shore, covered by the tender, to examine it; but found it a thing impossible for the Bounty to have been there; and the natives said they had seen no white people. They were very shy, and we could not coax them on board. One of them recollected having seen Lieut. Hayward on board the Bounty. Here we purchased from the natives a spear of most exquisite workmanship. It was nine feet long, and cut in the form of a Gothic spire, all its ornaments being executed in a kind of alto relievo; which, from the slow progress they made with stone tools, must have been the labour of a man's whole life.
Here nature begins to assume a ruder aspect; and the silken bands of love gives way to the rustic garniture of war. The natives of either sex wear no cloathing, but a girdle of stained leaves round their middle, and the men a gorget, of the exact shape and size as at present wore by officers in our service. It is made of the pearl oyster-shell. The centre is black, and the transparent part of the shell is left as an edge or border to it, which gives it a very fine effect. It is slung round their neck with a band of human hair, or the fibres of cocoa nut-shell, of admirable texture, and a rose worked at each corner of the gorget, the same as the military jemmy of the present day.
We now began to discover, that the ladies of Otaheite had left us many warm tokens of their affection.
Instructions were given to the commander of the tender to be particular in guarding against surprise, and a rendezvous established, in case of separation; and on Sunday, the 22nd of May, made Palmerston's Islands.
The tender's signal was made to cover the boats in landing; and some natives were seen rowing across the lagoon to a considerable distance. Soon after their landing, Lieut. Corner and his party discovered a yard and some spars marked Bounty, and the broad arrow upon them. When this intelligence was communicated to the ship, a signal was made to the party on shore to advance with great circumspection, and to guard against surprise. Mr. Rickards, the master's mate, went in the cutter, and made a circuit of the island.
Lieuts. Corner and Hayward landed on the different isles with cork-jackets; but the surf running very high all round, rendered it exceedingly dangerous, and in many places impracticable. Had they not been expert swimmers, in duty of this kind, they must have certainly been drowned, as they had not only themselves and the party to take care of, but the arms and ammunition to land dry.
About four o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Sival the midshipman came on board in the jolly-boat, and brought with him several very curious stained canoes, representing the figure of men, fishes, and beasts. He had committed some mistake in the orders he was sent to execute, and was ordered to return immediately to rectify it; but the boat did not come back again. A few minutes after she left the ship, the weather became thick and hazy, and began to blow fresh; so that, even with the assistance of glasses, they could not see whether she made the shore or not. It continued to blow during the night, so as to prevent the party on shore from coming on board. They had been employed during the day in searching all the islands with particular attention, having every reason to suspect the mutineers were there, from finding the Bounty's yard and spars. But at last, wore out with fatigue in marching, and swimming through so many reefs, and having no victuals the whole day, in the evening they began to forage for something to eat. The gigantic cockle was the only thing that presented. Of the shell of one they made a kettle, to boil some junks of it in. (It may be necessary here to remark, for the information of those who are not acquainted with it, that there are some of them larger than three men can carry.) Of this coarse fare, and some cocoa-nuts, they made shift, with the assistance of a good appetite, to make a tolerable hearty supper; they then set the watch, and went to sleep. They had thrown a large nut on the fire before they lay down, and forgot it; but in the middle of the night, the milk of the cocoa-nut became so expanded with the heat, that it burst with a great explosion. Their minds had been so much engaged in the course of the day with the enterprise they were employed in, expecting muskets to be fired at them from every bush, that they all jumped up, seized their arms, and were some time before they could undeceive themselves that they were really not attacked.
In the morning the boats returned; and we were much concerned to hear that they had seen nothing of the jolly-boat. The tender received a fresh supply of provisions and ammunition; at the same time they had orders to cruise in a certain direction, to look for the jolly-boat; and Palmerston's Isles was appointed as a rendezvous to meet again. Lieut. Corner now came on board, in a canoe not much bigger than a butcher's tray. The cutter was sent a second time to search the reefs, but returned without success. We then run down with the ship in the direction the wind had blown the preceding day, in hopes of finding the boat; but after a whole day's run to leeward, and working up again by traverses to the isles, saw nothing of her. The tender hove in sight in the evening, and we again searched the isles without success. All further hopes of seeing her were given up, and we proceeded on our voyage. It may be difficult to surmise what has been the fate of these unfortunate men. They had a piece of salt-beef thrown into the boat to them on leaving the ship; and it rained a good deal that night and the following day, which might satiate their thirst. It is by these accidents the Divine Ruler of the universe has peopled the southern hemisphere.[126-1]
Here are innumerable islands in perpetual growth. The coral, a marine vegetable, with which the South Seas in every part abounds, is continually shooting up from the bottom to the surface, which at first forms lagoon islands; and the water in the centre is evaporated by the heat of the sun, till at last a terra firma is completed. In this state it would for ever remain a barren sand, had not Divine Providence given birth to the cocoa-nut tree, whose fruit is so protected with a hard shell, that after floating about for a twelve-month in the sea, it will vegetate, take root, and grow in those salt marshes, lagoons, incipient islands, or what you please to call them. Their roots serve to bind the surface of the coral; and the annual shedding of their leaves, in time creates a soil which produces a verdure or undergrowth. This affords a favourite resting-place to sea-fowls, and the whole feathered race, who in their dung drop the seeds of shrubs, fruits, and plants; by which means all the variety of the vegetable kingdom is disseminated. At last the variegated landscape rises to the view; and when the divine Architect has finished his work, it becomes then a residence for man.
From the various accidents incident to man in the early stages of society, their wants, and the restless spirit inherent in their natures, they are tempted to dare the elements, either in fishing, commerce, or war; and from their temerity are often blown to remote and uninhabited islands. Distressing accidents of this nature often happening to inhabitants of the South Seas, they now seldom undertake any hazardous enterprise by water without a woman, and a sow with pig, being in the canoe with them; by which means, if they are cast on any of those uninhabited islands, they fix their abode.
Their remote situation from European powers has deprived them of the culture of civilised life, as they neither serve to swell the ambitious views of conquest, nor the avarice of commerce. Here the sacred finger of Omnipotence has interposed, and rendered our vices the instruments of virtue; and although that unfortunate man Christian has, in a rash unguarded moment, been tempted to swerve from his duty to his king and country, as he is in other respects of an amiable character and respectable abilities, should he elude the hand of justice, it may be hoped he will employ his talents in humanizing the rude savages; so that, at some future period, a British Ilion may blaze forth in the south with all the characteristic virtues of the English nation, and complete the great prophecy, by propagating the Christian knowledge amongst the infidels. As Christian has taken fourteen beautiful women with him from Otaheite, there is little doubt of his intention of colonising some undiscovered island.
On the 6th day of June, we discovered an island, which was named the Duke of York's island. Lieuts. Corner and Hayward were sent out to examine it in the two yauls, covered by the tender. Some huts being discovered by the ship, a signal was immediately made for the party on shore to be on their guard, and to advance with caution.
Soon after their arrival on shore, a ship's wooden buoy was discovered. On searching the huts, nets of different sizes were found hanging in them, and a variety of fishing utensils. Stages and wharfs were likewise discovered in different parts of the creek, which led us to imagine it was only an island resorted to in the fishing season by some neighbouring nation. The skeleton of a very large fish, supposed to be a whale, was found near the beach; and a place of venerable aspect, formed entirely by the hand of Nature, and resembling a Druidical temple, commanded their attention. The falling of a very large old tree, formed an arch, through which the interior part of the temple was seen, which heightened the perspective, and gave a romantic solemn dignity to the scene. At the extreme end of the temple, three altars were placed, the centre one higher than the other two, on which some white shells were piled in regular order.[128-1]
After traversing the island, they returned to the huts, and hung up a few knives, looking-glasses, and some little articles of European manufacture, that the natives, on their return, might know the island had been visited.
On the 12th, we discovered another island, which was named the Duke of Clarence's island. In running along the land, we saw several canoes crossing the lagoons. The tender's signal was made, to cover the boats in landing, and Lieuts. Corner and Hayward sent to reconnoitre the beach, to discover a landing-place. In this duty they came pretty near some of the natives in their canoes, who made signs of peace to them; but, either from fear or business, avoided having any intercourse with us. Morais, or burying-places, were likewise found here, which indicated it to be a principal residence. Here they find some old cocoa trees hollowed longitudinally, as tanks or reservoirs for the rain water.
On the 18th, we discovered an island of more considerable extent than any island that has hitherto been discovered in the south; and as there were many collateral circumstances which might hereafter promise it to be a discovery of national importance, in honour of the first lord of the admiralty, it was called Chatham's Island. It is beautifully diversified with hills and dales, of twice the extent of Otaheite, and a hardy warlike race of people. The natives described a large river to us, which disembogued itself into a spacious bay, that promises excellent anchorage.[129-1] Here we learned the death of Fenow, king of Anamooka, from one of his family of the same name, who had a finger cut off in mourning for him. After trading a whole day with the natives, who seemed fair and honourable in their dealings, we examined it without success, and proceeded on our voyage.
On the 21st we discovered a very considerable island, of about forty miles long. It was named by the natives Otutuelah. Capt. Edwards gave no name to it; but should posterity derive the advantages from it which it at present promises, I presume it may hereafter be called Edwards's island.[129-2]
It is well wooded with immense large trees, whose foliage spreads like the oak; and there is a deal of shrubbery on it, bearing a yellow flower. The natives are remarkably handsome. Some of them had their skins tinged with yellow, as a mark of distinction, which at first led us to imagine they were diseased. Neither sex wear any cloathing but a girdle of leaves round their middle, stained with different colours. The women adorn their hair with chaplets of sweet-smelling flowers and bracelets, and necklaces of flowers round their wrists and neck.
On their first coming on board, they trembled for fear. They were perfectly ignorant of fire-arms, never having seen a European ship before. They made many gestures of submission, and were struck with wonder and surprise at every thing they saw. Amongst other things, they brought us some most remarkable fine puddings, which abounded with aromatic spiceries, that excelled in taste and flavour the most delicate seed-cake. As we have never hitherto known of spices or aromatics being in the South Seas, it is certainly a matter worthy the investigation of some future circumnavigators. We traded with them the whole day, and got many curiosities. Birds and fowls, of the most splendid plumage, were brought on board, some resembling the peacock, and a great variety of the parrot kind.
One woman amongst many others came on board. She was six feet high, of exquisite beauty, and exact symmetry, being naked, and unconscious of her being so, added a lustre to her charms; for, in the words of the poet, "She needed not the foreign ornaments of dress; careless of beauty, she was beauty's self."
Many mouths were watering for her; but Capt. Edwards, with great humanity and prudence, had given previous orders, that no woman should be permitted to go below, as our health had not quite recovered the shock it received at Otaheite; and the lady was obliged to be contented with viewing the great cabin, where she was shewn the wonders of the Lord on the face of the mighty deep. Before evening, the women went all on shore, and the men began to be troublesome and pilfering. The third lieutenant had a new coat stole out of his cabin; and they were making off with every bit of iron they could lay hands on.
It now came on to blow fresh, and we were obliged to make off from the land. Those who were engaged in trade on board were so anxious, that we had got almost out of sight of their canoes before they perceived the ship's motion, when they all jumped into the water like a flock of wild geese; but one fellow, more earnest than the rest, hung by the rudder chains for a mile or two, thinking to detain her.
This evening, at five o'clock, we unfortunately parted company, and lost sight of our tender. False fires were burnt, and great guns and small arms were fired without success, as it came on thick blowing weather.
We cruised for her all the 23rd and 24th, near where we parted company, which was off a piece of remarkable high land. What was most unfortunate, water and provisions were then on deck for her, which were intended to have been put on board of her in the morning. She had the day before received orders, in case of separation, to rendezvous at Anamooka, and to wait there for us. A small cag of salt, and another of nails and iron-ware, were likewise put on board of her, to traffic with the Indians, and the latitudes and longitudes of the places we would touch at, in our intended rout. She had a boarding netting fixed, to prevent her being boarded, and several seven-barrelled pieces and blunderbusses put on board of her.
As we proceeded to the eastward, we saw another island, which we knew to be one of the navigator's isles, discovered by Mons. Bougainville. On the 28th, in the morning, saw the Happai Islands, discovered by Capt. Cook, and before noon, the group of islands to the eastward of Anamooka, and sailed down between Little Anamooka and the Fallafagee Island.
On the 29th, we anchored in the road of Anamooka. Immediately on our arrival, a large sailing canoe was hired, and Lieut. Hayward and one private sent to the Happai and Feegee Islands,[132-1] to make inquiry after the Bounty and our tender; but received no intelligence. Here they found an axe, which had been left by Capt. Cook, and bartered with the natives of the different islands for hogs, yams, &c.
The people of Anamooka are the most daring set of robbers in the South Seas; and, with the greatest deference and submission to Capt. Cook, I think the name of Friendly Isles is a perfect misnomer, as their behaviour to himself, to us, and to Capt. Bligh's unfortunate boat at Murderer's Cove, pretty clearly evinces. Indeed Murderer's Cove, in the Friendly Isles, is saying a volume on the subject.
Two or three of the officers were taking a walk on shore one evening, who had the precaution to take their pistols with them. They seemed to crowd round us with more than idle curiosity; but, on presenting the pistols to them, they sheered off. The Captain soon joined us, and brought his servant with him, carrying a bag of nails, and some trifling presents, which he meant to distribute amongst them; but he took the bag from him, and dispatched him with a message to the boat, on which the crowd followed him. As soon as he got out of our sight, they stripped him naked, and robbed him of his cloaths, and every article he had, but one shoe, which he used for concealing his nakedness. At this juncture Lieut. Hayward arrived from his expedition, and called the assistance of the guard in searching for the robbers. We saw the natives all running, and dodging behind the trees, which led us to suspect there was some mischief brewing; but we soon discovered the great Irishman, with his shoe full in one hand, and a bayonet in the other, naked and foaming mad with revenge on the natives, for the treatment he had received. Night coming on, we went on board, without recovering the poor fellow's cloathes.
Next day we were honoured with a visit from Tatafee, king of Anamooka, who was of lineal descent from the same family that reigned in the island when discovered by Tasman, the Dutch circumnavigator; and the story of his landing and supplying them with dogs and hogs, is handed down, by oral tradition, to this day.[133-1]
Here society may be said to exist in the second stage with respect to Otaheite. As land is scarcer, private property is more exactly ascertained, and each man's possession fenced in with a beautiful Chinese railing. Highways, and roads leading to public places, are neatly fenced in on each side, and a handsome approach to their houses by a gravel-walk, with shubbery planted with some degree of taste on each side of it. Many of them had rows of pine apples on each side of the avenue. Messrs. Hayward and Corner, with their usual benevolence, took much pains in teaching them the manner of transplanting their pine-apples; which hint they immediately adopted, and were very thankful for any advice, either in rearing their fruit, or cultivating their ground. The shaddocks are superior in flavour to those of the West Indies; and they will soon have oranges from what we have left amongst them.
The women here are extremely beautiful; and although they want that feminine softness of manners which the Otaheite women possess in so eminent a degree, their matchless vivacity, and fine animated countenances, compensate the want of the softer blandishments of their sister island.
There is a favourite amusement of the ladies here, (the cup and ball), such as children play at in England. It serves to give them a degage kind of air, by which means you have a more elegant display of their charms. They are well aware of their fascinating powers, and use them with as much address as our fine women do notting, and other acts of industry. Trade went briskly on. They brought abundance of hogs, and several ton weight of very excellent yams. We found that the pork took salt, and was cured much better here than at Otaheite.
Many beautiful girls were brought on board for sale by their mothers, who were very exorbitant in their demands, as nothing less than a broad axe would satisfy them; but after standing their market three days, la pucelage fell to an old razor, a pair of scissors, or a very large nail. Indeed this trade was pushed to so great a height, that the quarter-deck became the scene of the most indelicate familiarities. Nor did the unfeeling mothers commiserate with the pain and suffering of the poor girls, but seemed to enjoy it as a monstrous good thing. It is customary here, when girls meet with an accident of this kind, that a council of matrons is held, and the noviciate has a gash made in her fore finger. We soon observed a number of cut fingers amongst them; and had the razors held out, I believe all the girls in the island would have undergone the same operation.
A party was sent on shore to cut wood for fuel, and grass for the sheep; but they would not permit a blade of grass to be cut till they were paid for it.
The watering party shared the same fate; and notwithstanding a guard of armed men were sent to protect the others whilst on that duty, the natives were continually harassing them, and commiting depredations. One of them came behind Lieut. Corner, and made a blow at him with his club, which luckily missed his head, and only stunned him in the back of the neck; and, while in that state, snatched his handkerchief from him; but Mr. Corner recovering before the thief got out of sight, levelled his piece and shot him dead.
Tatafee[135-1] the king was going to collect tribute from the islands under his jurisdiction, and went in the frigate to Tofoa; but previous to our sailing, a letter was left to Mr. Oliver, the commander of the tender, should he chance to arrive before our return, with Macaucala, a principal chief. In the night, the burning mountain on Tofoa exhibited a very grand spectacle; and in the morning two canoes were sent on shore, to announce the arrival of those two great personages, Tatafee and Toobou, who went on shore in the Pandora's barge, to give them more consequence; but the tributary princes came off in canoes, to do homage to Tatafee before he reached the shore. They came alongside the barge, lowered their heads over the side of the canoe, and Tatafee, agreeable to their custom, put his foot upon their heads. When on shore, what presents he had received from us, he distributed amongst his subjects, with a liberality worthy of a great prince.
Some of the people were here who behaved with such savage barbarity to Capt. Bligh's boat at Murderer's Cove. They perfectly recollected Mr. Hayward, and seemed to shrink from him. Captain Edwards took much pains with Tatafee, the king, to make him sensible of his disapprobation of their conduct to Capt. Bligh's boat. But conciliatory and gentle means were all that could be enjoined at present, lest our tender should fall in amongst them.
[126-1] This gives occasion for a splenetic and unjust tirade from an anonymous writer in the United Service Journal for 1831: "When this boat with a midshipman and several men (four) had been inhumanely ordered from alongside, it was known that there was nothing in her but one piece of salt beef, compassionately thrown in by a seaman; and horrid as must have been their fate, the flippant surgeon, after detailing the disgraceful fact, adds 'that this is the way the world was peopled,' or words to that effect, for we quote only from memory." With a fresh E.S.E. breeze and no provisions there can be little doubt that Midshipman Sival perished at sea, but neither Edwards nor Hamilton are to be censured, the former for despatching a boat on ordinary duty, the latter for penning a platitude.
[128-1] This suggests the Fijian Nanga, or 'bed of the ancestors,' a cult introduced by native castaways many generations ago. These castaways may have been Polynesians.
[129-1] Savaii in the Samoa group. See p. 49 ante.
[129-2] It is known by its native name, Tutuila.
[132-1] A mistake. Hayward visited Huapai only.
[133-1] Tasman visited Namuka in 1642.
VOYAGE FROM ANAMOOKA, WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE LOSS OF THE PANDORA.
THE wind not permitting us to visit Tongataboo, we proceeded to Catooa and Navigator's Isles, the loss of our tender having prevented us from doing it before, and endeavoured to fall in with the eastermost of these islands.
On the morning of the 12th of July, we discovered a cluster of islands in the N.W. quarter; but the wind being favourable for us, left examining of them till our return to the Friendly Isles.[136-1] On the 14th, in the forenoon, saw three isles, supposed to be the cluster of isles called by Bougainville Navigator's Isles. The largest the natives called Tumaluah.[136-2] We passed them at a little distance, and found much intreaty necessary to bring them on board.
On the 15th, we saw another island, which proved to be Otutuelah,[136-3] which has been already described. Here we found some of the French navigator's cloathing and buttons; and there is little doubt but they have murdered them.[136-4]
On the 18th, saw the group of islands we discovered on our way here; and on the 19th, ran down the north side till we came to an opening, where we saw the sea on the other side. A sound is formed here by some islands to the south east and north west, and interior bays, which promises better anchorage than any other place in the Friendly Isles. The natives told us there were excellent watering-places in several different parts within the sound. The country is well wooded. Several of the inferior chiefs were on board, one of the Tatafee, and one of the Toobou family; but the principal chief was not on board. We supposed he was coming off just as we sailed.[137-1] The natives in general were very fair and honourable in their dealings. They were more inoffensive and better behaved than any we had seen for some time. They have frequent intercourse with Anamooka, and their religion, customs, and language, are the same.
A number of beautiful paroquets were brought off by the natives, all remarkable for the richness and variety of their plumage.
The group of islands was called Howe's Islands, but were particularly distinguished by the names of Barrington's, Sawyer's, Hotham's, and Jarvis's Islands. The sound itself was called Curtis's Sound. Under the general denomination of Howe's Islands, were included several islands to the south east, to which we gave no particular name, and two more islands to the westward, called Bickerton's Islands, including two small islands near the above. There seems to be a tolerable landing-place on the north-west side of Gardner's Island. All this part of the island has a most barren aspect. There were evident marks of volcanic eruptions having happened. The very singular appearance which this part of the island presented, I cannot omit mentioning; it bore the figure of a piece of flat table-land, without the slightest eminence or indentation, and smoke was issuing from the edges, round its whole circumference.
On the 23rd, we passed an inhabited island, which we supposed to be the Pylestaart island. It has two remarkable high peaks upon it.
On the 26th, we saw Middleburg Island, and run down between it and Euah; examined it without success; passed Tongatabu; got some provisions here, but found the water brackish.
On the 29th, we anchored again in the road of Anamooka. We were sorry to hear the tender had not been there. On the 5th of August, we again proceeded on our voyage. As the occurrences at this time bore some semblance to the transactions in our last visit, to avoid wounding the delicate, or satiating the licentious, we shall conclude in the torpid phraseology of the log, with ditto repeated.
Every thing being ready for sea on the 3d day of August, we sailed from Anamooka; and on the 5th, discovered an island of some considerable extent, called by the natives Onooafow,[138-1] which we called Proby's Island, in honour of Commissioner Proby. We traded with the inhabitants for some hours. The land was hilly, and the houses of much larger construction than we had observed in those seas.
We were now convinced that we were further to the westward than we imagined, and therefore shaped a course to fall in to the eastward of Wallis's Island; and next day fell in with it. We gave presents, as customary, to the first boat; who, from a theft they committed, were afraid to return. Their cheek-bones were much bruised and flattened, and some had both their little fingers cut off.[138-2]
We bore away, intending to steer in the track of Carteret and Bligh, between Spirito Santo and Santa Cruz; and on the 8th saw land to the westward. We sounded, but found no bottom. We run down the island, and saw a vast number of houses amongst the trees. It is very hilly, and, from the great height of some of them, may be called mountains. They are cultivated to the top; the reason of which, I presume, is from its being so full of inhabitants. It is about seven miles long; and being a new discovery, we called it Grenville's Island, in honour of Lord Grenville. The name the natives gave it is Rotumah. They came off in a fleet of canoes, rested on their paddles, and gave the war-hoop at stated periods. They were all armed with clubs, and meant to attack us; but the magnitude and novelty of such an object as a man of war, struck them with a mixture of wonder and fear. They were, however, perfectly ignorant of fire-arms, and seemed much startled at the report of a musket, were too shy to stand the experiment of a great gun. As they came off with hostile intentions, they brought no women with them.
They wore necklaces, bracelets, and girdles of white shells. Their bodies were curiously marked with the figures of men, dogs, fishes, and birds, upon every part of them; so that every man was a moving landscape. These marks were all raised, and done, I suppose, by pinching up the skin.
They were great adepts in thieving, and uncommonly athletic and strong. One fellow was making off with some booty, but was detected; and although five of the stoutest men in the ship were hanging upon him, and had fast hold of his long flowing black hair, he overpowered them all, and jumped overboard with his prize. There is a high promontory on this island, which we named Mount Temple.
On the 11th, no land being then in sight, we run over a reef of coral, in eleven fathom water. We were much alarmed, but passed it in five minutes; and on sounding immediately afterwards, found no bottom. This was called Pandora's Reef.
On the 12th, in the morning, we discovered an island well wooded, but not inhabited. It had two remarkable promontories on it, one resembling a mitre, and the other a steeple; from whence we called it Mitre Island. We passed it, and stood to the westward; and at ten, the same morning, discovered another island to the north west. It is entirely cultivated, and a vast number of inhabitants, though only a mile in length. The beach from the east, round by the south, is a white sand, but too much surf for a boat to attempt to land. In gratitude for the many good things we had on board, and the very high state of preservation in which they kept, we called this Cherry's Island, in honour of —— Cherry, Esq; Commissioner of the Victualling-office.[140-1]
On the 13th of August, we discovered another island to the north west. It is mountainous, and covered with wood to the very summit. We saw no inhabitants, but smoke in many different parts of it, from which it may be presumed it is inhabited. This we called Pitt's Island.[140-2]
On the 17th, at midnight, we discovered breakers on each bow. We had just room to wear ship; and as this merciful escape was from the vigilance of one Wells, who was looking out ahead, it was called Wells's Shoals. Those hair-breadth escapes may point out the propriety of a consort. In the morning, at day-light, we put about, to examine the danger we were in, and found we had got embayed in a double reef, which will very soon be an island. We run round its north west end, and on the 23d saw land, which we supposed to be the Luisiade, a cape bearing north east and by east. We called it Cape Rodney. Another contiguous to it was called Cape Hood; and a mountain between them, we named Mount Clarence.
After passing Cape Hood, the land appears lower, and to trench away about north west, forming a deep bay; and it may be doubted whether it joins New Guinea or not.
We pursued our course to the westward, keeping Endeavour Straits open, by which means we hoped to avoid the dangers Capt. Cook met with in higher latitudes.
On the 25th, saw breakers; hauled up, and passed to the westward of them; the sea broke very gently on them. To these we gave the name of Look-out Shoals. Before noon we saw more breakers, the reef of which was composed of very large stones, and called it Stony-reef Island.
On seeing obstruction to the southward, stood to the westward, where there appeared to be an opening. We saw an island in that direction, and a reef extending a considerable way to the north west. Hauled upon the wind, seeing our passage obstructed, and stood off and on, under an easy sail in the night, till daylight; and in the morning bore away, and discovered four islands, to which the name of Murray's Islands was given. On the top of the largest, there was something resembling a fortification. We saw at the same time three two-masted boats. We kept running along the reef, and in the forenoon thought we saw an opening. Lieut. Corner was immediately ordered to get ready, to discover if there was a passage for the ship, and went to the topmasthead, to look well round him before he left us. It was judged necessary that he should take with him an axe, some fuel, provisions, a little water, and a compass, previous to his departure.
It was now the 28th of August. It had lately been our custom to lay to in the night, M. Bougainville having represented this part of the ocean as exceedingly dangerous; and it certainly is the boldest piece of navigation that has ever yet been attempted. We would gladly have continued the same custom; but the great length of the voyage would not permit it, as, after we had passed to the wastward of Bougainville's track, the ocean was perfectly unexplored.
At five in the afternoon, a signal was made from the boat, that a passage through the reef was discovered for the ship; but wishing to be well informed in so intricate a business, and the day being far spent, we waited the boats coming on board, made a signal to expedite her, and afterwards repeated it. Night closing fast upon us, and considering our former misfortunes of losing the tender and jolly-boat, rendered it necessary, both for the preservation of the boat, and the success of the voyage, to endeavour, by every possible means, to get hold of her.
False fires were burnt, and muskets fired from the ship, and answered by the boat reciprocally; and as the flashes from their muskets were distinctly seen by us, she was reasonably soon expected on board. We now sounded, but had no bottom with a hundred and ten fathom line, till past seven o'clock, when we got ground in fifty fathom. The boat was now seen close under the stern; we were at the same time lying to, to prevent the ship fore-reaching. Immediately on sounding this last time, the topsails were filled; but before the tacks were hauled on board, and the sails trimmed, she struck on a reef of rocks, and at that instant the boat got on board. Every possible effort was attempted to get her off by the sails; but that failing, they were furled, and the boats hoisted out with a view to carry out an anchor. Before that was accomplished, the carpenter reported she made eighteen inches water in five minutes; and in a quarter of an hour more, she had nine feet water in the hold.
The hands were immediately turned to the pumps, and to bale at the different hatchways. Some of the prisoners were let out of irons, and turned to the pumps. At this dreadful crisis, it blew very violently; and she beat so hard upon the rocks, that we expected her, every minute, to go to pieces. It was an exceeding dark, stormy night; and the gloomy horrors of death presented us all round, being every where encompassed with rocks, shoals, and broken water. About ten she beat over the reef; and we let go the anchor in fifteen fathom water.
The guns were ordered to be thrown overboard; and what hands could be spared from the pumps, were employed thrumbing a topsail to haul under her bottom, to endeavour to fodder her. To add to our distress, at this juncture one of the chain-pumps gave way; and she gained fast upon us. The scheme of the topsail was now laid aside, and every soul fell to baling and pumping. All the boats, excepting one, were obliged to keep a long distance off on account of the broken water, and the very high surf that was running near us. We baled between life and death; for had she gone down before day-light, every soul must have perished. She now took a heel, and some of the guns they were endeavouring to throw over board run down to leeward, which crushed one man to death; about the same time, a spare topmast came down from the booms, and killed another man.
The people now became faint at the pumps, and it was necessary to give them some refreshment. We had luckily between decks a cask of excellent strong ale, which we brewed at Anamooka. This was tapped, and served regularly to all hands, which was much preferable to spirits, as it gave them strength without intoxication. During this trying occasion, the men behaved with the utmost intrepidity and obedience, not a man flinching from his post. We continually cheered them at the pumps with the delusive hopes of its being soon day-light.
About half an hour before day-break, a council of war was held amongst the officers; and as she was then settling fast down in the water, it was their unanimous opinion, that nothing further could be done for the preservation of his Majesty's ship; and it was their next care to save the lives of the crew. To effect which, spars, booms, hen-coops, and every thing buoyant was cut loose, that when she went down, they might chance to get hold of something. The prisoners were ordered to be let out of irons. The water was now coming faster in at the gun-ports than the pumps could discharge; and to this minute the men never swerved from their duty. She now took a very heavy heel, so much that she lay quite down on one side.
One of the officers now told the Captain, who was standing aft, that the anchor on our bow was under water; that she was then going; and, bidding him farewell, jumped over the quarter into the water. The Captain then followed his example, and jumped after him. At that instant she took her last heel; and, while every one were scrambling to windward, she sunk in an instant. The crew had just time to leap over board, accompanying it with a most dreadful yell. The cries of the men drowning in the water was at first awful in the extreme; but as they sunk, and became faint, it died away by degrees. The boats, who were at some considerable distance in the drift of the tide, in about half an hour, or little better, picked up the remainder of our wretched crew.
Morning now dawned, and the sun shone out. A sandy key, four miles off, and about thirty paces long, afforded us a resting place; and when all the boats arrived, we mustered our remains, and found that thirty-five men and four prisoners were drowned.
After we had a little recovered our strength, the first care was to haul up the boats. A guard was placed over the prisoners. Providentially a small barrel of water, a cag of wine, some biscuit, and a few muskets and cartouch boxes, had been thrown into the boat. The heat of the sun, and the reflection from the sand, was now excruciating; and our stomachs being filled with salt water, from the great length of time we were swimming before we were picked up, rendered our thirst most intolerable; and no water was allowed to be served out the first day. By a calculation which we made, by filling the compass boxes, and every utensil we had, we could admit an allowance of two small wine glasses of water a-day to each man for sixteen days.
A saw and hammer had fortunately been in one of the boats, which enabled us, with the greater expedition, to make preparations for our voyage, by repairing one of the boats, which was in a very bad state, and cutting up the floor-boards of all the boats into uprights, round which we stretched canvas, to keep the water from breaking into the boats at sea. We made tents of the boats' sails; and when it was dark, we set the watch, and went to sleep. In the night we were disturbed by the irregular behaviour of one Connell, which led us to suspect he had stole our wine, and got drunk; but, on further inquiry, we found that the excruciating torture he suffered from thirst led him to drink salt water; by which means he went mad, and died in the sequel of the voyage.
Next morning Mr. George Passmore, the master, was dispatched in one of the boats to visit the wreck, to see if any thing floated round her that might be useful to us in our present distressed state. He returned in two hours, and brought with him a cat, which he found clinging to the top-gallant-mast-head; a piece of the top-gallant-mast, which he cut away; and about fifteen feet of the lightning chain; which being copper, we cut up, and converted into nails for fitting out the boats. Some of the gigantic cockle was boiled, and cut into junks, lest any one should be inclined to eat. But our thirst was too excessive to bear any thing which would increase it. This evening a wine glass of water was served to each man. A paper-parcel of tea having been thrown into the boat, the officers joined all their allowance, and had tea in the Captain's tent with him. When it was boiled, every one took a salt-cellar spoonful, and passed it to his neighbour; by which means we moistened our mouths by slow degrees, and received much refreshment from it.
[136-4] De Langle's boat had been cut off on 10 Dec. 1787.
[137-1] Finau Ulukalala.
[138-2] A sign of mourning.
VOYAGE FROM THE WRECK TO THE ISLAND OF TIMOR.
EVERY thing being ready on the following day, at twelve o'clock, we embarked in our little squadron, each boat having been previously supplied with the latitude and longitude of the island of Timor, eleven hundred miles from this place.
Our order of sailing was as follows.
In the Pinnace:
Capt. Edwards, Lieut. Hayward, Mr. Rickards, Master's Mate, Mr. Packer, Gunner, Mr. Edmonds, Captain's Clerk, Three Prisoners, Sixteen Privates.
In the Red Yaul:
Lieut. Larkan, Mr. Geo. Hamilton, Surgeon, Mr. Reynolds, Master's Mate, Mr. Matson, Midshipman, Two Prisoners, Eighteen Privates.
In the Launch:
Lieut. Corner, Mr. Gregory Bentham, Purser, Mr. Montgomery, Carpenter, Mr. Bowling, Master's Mate, Mr. M'Kendrick, Midshipman, Two Prisoners, Twenty-four Privates.
In the Blue Yaul:
Mr. Geo. Passmore, Master, Mr. Cunningham, Boatswain, Mr. James Innes, Surgeon's Mate, Mr. Fenwick, Midshipman, Mr. Pycroft, Midshipman, Three Prisoners, Fifteen Privates.
As soon as embarked, we laid the oars upon the thwarts, which formed a platform, by which means we stowed two tier of men. A pair of wooden scales was made in each boat, and a musket-ball weight of bread served to each man. At meridian we saw a key, bounded with large craggy rocks. As the principal part of our subsistence was in the launch, it was necessary to keep together, both for our defence and support. We towed each other during the night, and at day-break cast off the tow-line.
At eight in the morning, the red and blue yauls were sent ahead, to sound and investigate the coast of New South Wales, and to search for a watering-place. The country had been described as very destitute of the article of water; but on entering a very fine bay, we found most excellent water rushing from a spring at the very edge of the beach. Here we filled our bellies, a tea-kettle, and two quart bottles. The pinnace and launch had gone too far ahead to observe any signal of our success; and immediately we made sail after them. The coast has a very barren aspect; and, from the appearance of the soil and land, looks like a country abounding with minerals.
As we passed round the bay, two canoes, with three black men in each, put off, and paddled very hard to get near us. They stood up in the canoes, waved, and made many signs for us to come to them. But as they were perfectly naked, had a very savage aspect, and having heard an indifferent account of the natives of that country, we judged it prudent to avoid them.
In two hours we joined the pinnace and launch, who were lying to for us. At ten at night we were alarmed with the dreadful cry of breakers ahead. We had got amongst a reef of rocks; and in our present state, being worn out and fatigued, it is difficult to say how we got out of them, as the place was fraught with danger all round; for in standing clear of Scylla, we might fall foul of Charybdis; the horror of which, considering our present situation, may be better understood than expressed. After running along, we came to an inhabited island, from which we promised ourselves a supply of water. On our approach, the natives flocked down to the beach in crowds. They were jet black, and neither sex had either covering or girdle. We made signals of distress to them for something to drink, which they understood; and on receiving some trifling presents of knives, and some buttons cut off our coats, they brought us a cag of good water, which we emptied in a minute, and then sent it back to be filled again. They, however, would not bring it the second time, but put it down on the beach, and made signs to us to come on shore for it. This we declined, as we observed the women and children running, and supplying the men with bows and arrows. In a few minutes, they let fly a shower of arrows amongst the thick of us. Luckily we had not a man wounded; but an arrow fell between the Captain and Third Lieutenant, and went through the boats thwart, and stuck in it. It was an oak-plank inch thick. We immediately discharged a volley of muskets at them, which put them to flight. There were, however, none of them killed. We now abandoned all hopes of refreshment here. This island lies contiguous to Mountainous Island.
It may be observed, that the channel throughout the reef is better than any hitherto known. We ascertained the latitudes with the greatest accuracy and exactness; and should government be inclined to plant trees on those sandy keys, particularly the outermost one, it would be a good distinguishing mark; and many difficulties which Capt. Cook experienced to the southward would also be avoided. The cocoa-nut tree, on account of its hardy nature, and the Norfolk and common pines, might be preferred, from their height rendering the place more conspicuous. The tides or currents are strong and irregular here, as may be expected, from the extending reefs, shoals, and keys, and its vicinity to Endeavour Straits.
We steered from these hostile savages to other islands in sight, and sent some armed men on shore, with orders to keep pretty near us, and to run close along shore in the boats. But they returned without success. This island we called Plumb Island, from its bearing an austere, astringent kind of fruit, resembling plumbs, but not fit to eat.
In the evening, we steered for those islands which we supposed were called the Prince of Wales's Islands; and about two o'clock in the morning, came to an anchor with a grappling, along side of an island, which we called Laforey's Island. As the night was very dark, and this was the last land that could afford us relief, all hands went to sleep, to refresh our woe-worn spirits.
The morning was ushered in with the howling of wolves, who had smelt us in the night, when prowling for food. Lieut. Corner and a party were sent at day-light, to search again for water; and, as we approached, the wild beasts retired, and filled the woods with their hideous growling. As soon as we landed, we discovered a foot-path which led down into a hollow, where we were led to suspect that water might be found; and on digging four or five feet, we had the ecstatic pleasure to see a spring rush out. A glad messenger was immediately dispatched to the beach, to make a signal to the boats of our success. On traversing the shore, we discovered a morai, or rather a heap of bones. There were amongst them two human skulls, the bones of some large animals, and some turtle-bones. They were heaped together in the form of a grave, and a very long paddle, supported at each end by a bifurcated branch of a tree, was laid horizontally alongst it.
Near to this, there were marks of a fire having been recently made. The ground about was much footed and wore; whence it may be presumed feasts or sacrifices had been frequently held, as there were several foot-paths which led to this spot. After having gorged our parched bodies with water, till we were perfectly water-logged, we began to feel the cravings of hunger; a new sensation of misery we had hitherto been strangers to, from the excess of thirst predominating. Some of our stragglers were lucky enough to find a few small oysters on the shore. A harsh, austere, astringent kind of fruit, resembling a plumb, was found in some places. As I discovered some to be pecked at by the birds, we permitted the men to fill their bellies with them. There was a small berry, of a similar taste to the plumb, which was found by some of the party. On observing the dung of some of the larger animals, many of them were found in it, in an undigested state; we therefore concluded we might venture upon them with safety. We carefully avoided shooting at any bird, lest the report of the muskets should alarm the natives, whom we had every reason to suspect were at no great distance, from the number of foot paths that led over the hill, and the noise we heard at intervals. Centinels were placed to prevent stragglers of our party from exceeding the proper bounds; and when every other thing was filled with water, the carpenter's boots were also filled. The water in them was first served out, on account of leakage.