Billeder på siden

cle, Colonel Holwell,* wrote to Bligh immediately he arrived in England; and although a copy of this letter is not forthcoming, the following reply of the lieutenant is preserved among the family papers :

“London, 28th of March, 1790. “SIR-I have just this instant received your letter. With much concern I inform you that your nephew, Peter Heywood, is among the mutineers; his ingratitude to me is of the deepest dye, for I was a father to him in every respect, and he never once had an angry word from me during the whole course of the voyage, as his conduct always gave me much pleasure and satisfaction. I very much regret that so much baseness formed the character of a young man I had a real regard for, and it will give me much pleasure to hear that his friends can bear the loss of him without much concern. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Wm. Bligh.” In consequence of various reports which had reached the Isle of Man, to the effect that young Peter had been a ringleader in the mutiny, and had gone armed into the captain's cabin, Mrs. Heywood, in a state of mind almost bordering on distraction, addressed a letter to Lieutenant Bligh on the subject, and his reply has been preserved. It is as follows:

“London, April 2d, 1790. “MADAM, I received your letter this day, and feel for you very much, being perfectly sensible of the extreme distress you must suffer from the conduct of ter. His baseness is beyond all description; but I hope

your son Pe

* Colonel Holwell was son of W. Holwell, Esq., Governor of the infant English settlement at Calcutta, one of the twenty-three survivors out of one hundred and forty-six persons put into the Black Hole, and kept there during many hours without ventilation. This officer, by his union with one of the sisters of the Deemster Heywood, was uncle by marriage to Peter.

you will endeavor to prevent the loss of him, heavy as the misfortune is, from affecting you too severely. I imagine he is, with the rest of the mutineers, returned to O'Tahiti. I am, madam, your most obedient, very humble servant,

Wm. Bligh.” The overwhelming effect of this unfeeling letter on the minds of an affectionate mother and her family, and the grief it occasioned, may be readily imagined. Later, however, came a gleam of comfort from the hope that Peter was innocent. A kind friend had written to them, saying that Lieutenant Bligh had declared that the report of Peter Heywood having gone armed into his (Bligh’s) cabin was a complete fabrication !

As soon after Lieutenant Bligh's arrival as the service permitted, the Pandora frigate, of twenty-four guns and one hundred and sixty men, was ordered to be fitted out with all possible dispatch to search for the Bounty and those of her officers and crew who had remained on board after the departure of Lieutenant Bligh. Some months, however, elapsed before she was fairly under weigh for the South Seas.


Proceedings of the Officers and Crew who separated from Fletcher Chris

tian.— The Schooner Resolution built.—Arrival of the Pandora.-Sufferings of the Prisoners. —Shipwreck.—Privations on the Boat-voyage. -Reach Batavia.-Return to England.

WHILE the events related in the foregoing pages were occurring, and the Pandora was on her voyage from England to Tahiti, those of the Bounty's people, who had determined not to accompany Christian, separated into parties, and resided in different districts of the island. Stewart and Peter Heywood remained with their old friend Tippaoo,* whose land bordered on Maatavaye Bay, and whose daughter Stewart married.

Morrison and Millward became the guests of another chief-their old friend Poeno—also possessing land on the shores of the Bay, and others were dispersed among their various friends or acquaintances in different parts of the island. Morrison, however, was by no means inclined to wait until a ship should be sent from England to search for the crew of the Bounty. The idea occurred to him that it might be possible to build a small vessel in which to proceed to Batavia, and from thence find a passage to England. His friend Millward at once entered into the scheme with eight others, including the armorer, cooper, carpenter's mate, and one of his crew, who all resided at Maatavaye Bay. The latter four being skilled workmen,the others agreed to do the rough work, such as cutting down trees, and clearing a place to lay the blocks prepar

They had become intimate with him when the Bounty first arrived at Tahiti.

[ocr errors]

atory to the undertaking. When it is considered that all the tools they possessed were the few belonging to the carpenter's mate, a small handsaw, small adzes, etc., and that they had to make all others they might require in the best manner they could, the undertaking must appear most enterprising. Stewart and Peter Heywood declined taking any part, preferring to wait the arrival of a ship of war from England, according to Christian's advice.

On the 12th of November, 1789, the keel of the vessel was laid down, the length being thirty feet, breadth of beam nine feet six inches, and depth of hold five feet. The wood of the pooroo-tree was considered the best for timbering, and that of the bread-fruit tree for planks. Before proceeding farther, however, Morrison was obliged to explain to his friend, the chief Poeno, that they were going to build a vessel for the purpose of making pleasure-trips round the island, or else every obstacle would have been thrown in the way, so unwilling were the natives to part with their guests. On this understanding, and with the expectation of future enjoyment when the vessel should be completed, every assistance was afforded them by the chief and his people. During three months the vessel progressed rapidly, numbers of natives surrounding the place, and their amazement daily increasing at the mode in which the timbers were fitted into one another by rule. Morrison, our journalist, writes thus of it:

February 1st, 1790.—The work was interrupted by a 'Heira' (a ceremony), which according to custom was annually performed before the chief of the district, and the greater number of the inhabitants assembled to witness it. When all was prepared, the picture of Captain Cook* was brought out with great ceremony, and exhibited to the assembled multitude, who paid homage to it. A national dance was then performed, and a person of importance pronounced a long oration, at the conclusion of which the portrait was restored to the care of an old man specially appointed for that purpose. The queen, Eddea, was present, and after the ceremonial visited the little vessel, which had become an object of so much interest to the natives that numbers of persons from all parts of the island flocked to see her, and brought supplies of provisions to the shipbuilding party, as a compensation for being permitted to watch the progress of the work. The perseverance and skill of the Englishmen excited their astonishment; but they could not understand how they could labor so hard, and for so long a period.”

* Captain Cox, commanding a merchant ship, the Mercury, had left them a picture of the circumnavigator, and also informed them of his death; but though they expressed great indignation against Lieutenant Bligh for having practised such a deception as to say Cook was alive, and that he was his son, yet they were not displeased with Christian for having in a measure availed himself of the subterfuge. (See page 48.)

All went smoothly until an event occurred which seemed likely to raise a serious obstacle in the way of completing the vessel. Thompson, who resided with Coleman, had insulted a member of one of the principal families of the district in which he resided, and for this offense he was knocked down, but not otherwise injured, by an incensed relative. He left that district, vowing vengeance for the affront, and returned to his former home near Point Venus, the usual resting-place for canoes when they were going round the island. This point had become a still more favorite resort on account of the facility it afforded for seeing the ship in progress of building. One day a canoe from a distant district touched at the Point, and the party landed. The owner was taking his wife and family on a pleasure-excursion, and proceeding up the beach with a young child in his arms, the rest of his family following, when Thompson angrily ordered him to quit

« ForrigeFortsæt »