Billeder på siden

bishop has promptly afforded both with the utmost kindness and sympathy.


“Norfolk Island, September 28th, 1868. “ The fever has quite left us, not without laying many of our friends and relatives in the grave. Many of us have, under God, to thank that dear good old soul Mr. Nobbs for the preservation of many of our lives. Morning, night, and noon, sick and faint himself from watchings and anxieties, he is to be seen now here, now there, now commending a departing spirit into the hands of a merciful God, and then again administering medicines to some, cheering and comforting others by lively conversation. In fact, like an angel of light, all through the horrors of that terrible and fearful sickness, he diffused light and comfort wherever he went. The true friend and the true shepherd of the flock, he cared not for himself, but went wherever and whenever duty called him."

It may be added that the Pitcairn people found in time that their retirement was not so much invaded as they had apprehended. They became interested in the scheme, and as the college was founded on St. Barnabas Day, they named it “The College of St. Barnabas,” and the bishop adopted the title.

The following letter records the grateful feelings of the Pitcairn community for the exertions of their kind friend, Sir Fairfax Moresby, on their behalf regarding the college and the appropriation of land.

“Norfolk Island, October 20th, 1868. "DEAR ADMIRAL MORESBY,-Your kind letter to Mr. Nobbs, with extracts of letters from Messrs. Glennie and White to yourself, under date of May 15th, were publicly read a few days after receipt, and it only serves to add, in our estimation, one more to the already innumerable proofs of your disinterested kindness to our community.

“We can not allow you to quit the 'scene of conflict' where you have battled so long and so nobly for our welfare, without tendering you our united thanks for favors so generously and so unostentatiously bestowed upon us by yourself and by others through you, commencing from the first day of our acquaintance up to the present time.

“Now that all is over, will you kindly tender to those who have taken an interest in our cause our sincerest thanks, and assure them that we deeply appreciate their kind intentions. Well do we know that our cause was just, but perhaps we were in a measure to blame. As you have said, the ‘die is cast'-now let the past be buried in oblivion.

“Again, dear, dear admiral, accept our heartiest thanks for all


have done for us, for, we assure you, long will we cherish in our hearts the remembrance of your kindness to us and ours.

“That Heaven may shower its choicest blessings upon you and yours will ever be the prayer of your grateful friends,

John BUFFETT, Chief Magistrate,
JOHN ADAMS, Councillor,
GEORGE H. NOBBS, Chaplain,
GEORGE ADAMS, aged 65 years,

ARTHUR QUINTAL,* aged 76 years," and last surviving children of the mutineers of the Bounty. In the name and on the behalf of the Pitcairn community now residing on Norfolk Island.”

The next extract of a letter from the Rev. G. Nobbs is of the same date as the above:

“We are slowly returning to our usual duties. The whaling-season is drawing to a close-one hundred and fifty barrels have only yet been taken. The whales are every year becoming more difficult to approach, and more dangerous. We have had one boat smashed within fifteen

* “The oldest man on the island, with something of the spirit of the old Covenanters."—Note by Admiral Moresby.

seconds of darting the harpoon. The whale went off with one hundred and fifty fathoms of line; the crew took to the oars and pieces of the wreck. Signals were made from the hills to another boat some three miles off, and in less than half an hour they were providentially saved from a watery grave, or the more ravenous sharks. The wreck was not worth picking up, and the whale never seen


October 16th.-To-day I enter my seventieth year, and 'tis only sixteen years to-day since I arrived in England with dispatches from the Commander-in-chief in the Pacific Ocean. What changes both in the great world and our microcosm have taken place since the latter period! but amid all the chances and changes of this transitory world Jehovah is unchangeable, and that Triune God is our God, He will be our guide even unto death.

“Since the commencement of this letter we have been more successful in whaling; we have now three hundred and fifty barrels of oil, and probably might get a hundred barrels more, but all our casks and other available articles are full, and we can not, like the Shunamite of old, borrow from our neighbors, but I trust we are imbued with similar feelings of gratitude.

“We have still a good deal of sickness amongst us of a febrile type, but not alarming; whether ever I shall get clear of medical responsibilities until I get into my coffin, I have much doubt.

“I am, at this time, anxiously awaiting either the advent of Lord Belmore, or some ship of war from Sydney, to bring me my annual supply of medicine, for I am beginning to run short..

October 22d.—The vessel we are expecting from Auckland has not yet arrived; but an opportunity offers for forwarding this, and John Adams's letter in the name of the community, signed by the chief magistrate and myself in the name and by the request of all hands. “And now, once more, God be with you, honored friend. “Gratefully yours,


The daring and hardihood of the islanders in steering boats through the surf, and among the surf-beaten rocks of Pitcairn, no less than their powers of swimming long distances, and remaining for hours in the water, were admirable qualifications for the whale-fishery. A more remarkable story of adventure is perhaps not recorded in the annals of whale-fishing than that contained in Mr. Nobbs's letter to Admiral Moresby, which we give at length:

“Norfolk Island, December 11th, 1868. “We have had an adventurous whaling-season. About three hundred barrels (of oil) have been taken, or at least preserved; two boats destroyed entirely (one of these I mentioned in my last letter); and one crew of six persons were for three hours in the water, without the aid or knowledge of the other boats. The boat in question, Frederick Young's, was some three miles from the shore, and having imprudently fastened to a cow whale, no other boat being in sight, she very quietly turned the boat bottom up without staving a plank, and then went off some distance. The crew set about righting the boat, but of course could not free her from water; however, they got the oars lashed athwart, and, though the gunwale was level with the sea, commenced paddling (each boat always carrying a set of paddles besides the oars) very comfortably towards the shore, as I said, about a league distant. The current was against them, and they did not make much progress, still they were gaining ground, when to their surprise they saw the wounded whale coming towards the boat. As soon as they were convinced the boat was the object which engaged her attention-she either supposing it to be her calf, which lay dead some two miles distant, or actuated by a desire for vengeance—the crew leaped overboard, and the irritated monster placed her head on the boat and there remained motionless for some time. Then she retired to a short distance, and the beadman swam back and got a lance ready, determined to use

it if the whale came again within reach. She did return, and Young actually thrust the lance several times into her spout-hole.' Feeling the smart, the whale settled down some fathoms, then came up swiftly and smashed boat and oars into fragments.

“ There was now no alternative but to strike out for the land. One of the crew, an English sailor, could not swim, but two of our people bid him put an arm on each of their necks, and they would not leave him while life remained. The last time they saw the whale she was in a very weak state from loss of blood, but still remaining by the debris of the boat. And now, for three long weary hours, did they exert their energies to the utmost; but, the current setting off, they had not gained more than a mile. The poor sailor was almost exhausted, and most began to think their ultimate safety doubtful. There was also a lad of sixteen, one of our own people, who was beginning to weary, so that the other two of the crew were obliged to keep by his side to encourage him. That which seemed to alarm the lad more was the presence of immense sharks, whose fins were continually coming in contact with his legs. At this time their perilous situation was unknown to the other boats, or to us on shore.

“At length my son Fletcher, seeing nothing of Young's boat for several hours, left off chasing whales and went in quest of him. After a search of some time he concluded the boat must have landed, and began to think of doing so himself, as what are technically called the chances of the day were over. While rowing leisurely along shore, about a mile from the land, Fletcher, who was standing up steering, fancied he heard something like a distant shouting or calling. Having mentioned this to the boat's crew, they ceased pulling, and surveyed the adjacent ridge, which came down nearly to the water's edge, thinking it might be some one desirous of telling them in what direction the other boats were. But they could see no one. Presently they heard the same sounds again, and then af ter a short interval a third time.

« ForrigeFortsæt »