Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

wholesome subsistence, without even the trouble of cultivation. The crew of the Bounty consisted of forty-four individuals, including the commander and two skillful gardeners to take charge of the plants, for the removing of which every accommodation had been provided on board, under the superintendence of Sir Joseph Banks, who had personally visited Otaheite with Captain Wallis. After a most distressing voyage, in which, after reaching Cape Horn, they were compelled to put the helm aweather, and take the route by Van Dieman's Land, the voyagers anchored in Matavia Bay, Otaheite, on the 26th October, 1788, having run over by the log, since leaving England, a space of 27,086 miles, or an average of 108 miles in twentyfour hours.

The simple natives, who had experienced much kindness from Captain Cook, testified great joy at the arrival of the strangers, and loaded them with presents and provisions of

The character, condition, and habits of the islanders, as described to us even by their earliest visitors, present a most extraordinary contrast to the usual features of savage life. They were a kind, mild-tempered, social, and affectionate race, living in the utmost harmony among themselves, and their whole lives being one unvaried round of cheerful content

every sort.

ment,uae, health exercise
amusements.

Bligh appears to have been tempted to remain at this luxurious spot much longer than was either proper or necessary, as the breadfruit plants, and provisions of hogs, fowl,fish, and vegetables of every description, were amply supplied him by the kind natives.

helbert which he gave his crew to go on shore, and enjoy all the indulgences which the place afforded, was extremely imprudent; and this, together with the capricious harshness and unjustifiable insult with which he occasionally treated every one on board—officers as well as menappears to have been the sole cause of the unfortunate occurrence that afterward took place. The Bounty, which, as we have mentioned, arrived October 26, 1778, did not sail till the 4th of April, 1789, when she departed, loaded with presents, and amid the tears and regrets of the natives. They continued till the 27th among the islands of that archipelago, touching at many of them, bartering and interchanging presents with the natives, many of whom remembered Bligh when he accompanied Cook in the Reso

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The remainder of this narrative can be best detailed in Captain Bligh's own words.

About three weeks were spent among the

small islands which lie scattered round Otaheite, at some of which we touched. According to my instructions, my course was now through Endeavor Straits, to Prince's Island, in the Straits of Sunda. On the 27th of April, at noon, we were between the islands of Tofoa and Kotoo. Latitude observed, 19 degrees 18 minutes south.

Thus far the voyage had advanced in a course of uninterrupted prosperity, and had been attended with many circumstances equally pleasing and satisfactory. A very different scene was now to be experienced.

Monday, 27th April, 1789.-- The wind being northerly in the evening, we steered to the westward, to pass to the south of Tofoa. I gave directions for this course to be continued during the night. The master had the first watch, the gunner the middle watch, and Mr. Christian the morning watch.

Tuesday, 28th.—Just before sunrising, while I was yet asleep, Mr. Christian, with the master-at-arms, gunner's mate, and Thomas Burkitt, seaman, came into my cabin, and seizing me, tied my hands with a cord behind my back, threatening me with instant death if I spoke or made the least noise. I, however, called as loud as I could, in hopes of assistance; but they had already secured the officers who were not of their party, by placing sentinels at their doors.

There were three men at my cabin door, besides the four within; Christian had only a cutlass in his hand, the others had muskets and bayonets. I was pulled out of bed, and forced on deck in my shirt, suffering great pain from the tightness with which they had tied my hands. I demanded the reason of such violence, but received no other answer than abuse for not holding my tongue. The master, the gunner, the surgeon, Mr. Elphinstone, master's mate, and Nelson, were kept confined below, and the forehatch way was guarded by sentinels. The boatswain and carpenter, and also the clerk, Mr. Samuel, were allowed to come upon deck. The boatswain was ordered to hoist the launch out, with a threat if he did not do it instantly to take care of himself.

When the boat was out, Mr. Hayward and Mr. Hallet, two of the midshipmen, and Mr. Samuel, were ordered into it. I demanded what their intention was in giving this order, and endeavored to persuade the people near me not to persist in such acts of violence; but it was to no effect. Christian changed the cutlass which he had in his hand for a bayonet that was brought to him, and holding me with a strong gripe by the cord that tied my hands, he, with many oaths, threatened to kill me immediately if I would not be quiet; the villains round me

had their pieces cocked and bayonets fixed. Particular people were called on to go into the boat, and were hurried over the side, whence I concluded that with these people I was to be set adrift. I therefore made another effort to bring about a change, but with no other effect than to be threatened with having my brains blown out.

The boatswain and seamen who were to go into the boat were allowed to collect twine, canvas, lines, sails, cordage, an eight-and-twenty gallon cask of water, and Mr. Samuel got a hundred and fifty pounds of bread, with a small quantity of rum and wine, also a quadrant and compass; but he was forbidden, on pain of death, to touch either map, ephemeris, book of astronomical observations, sextant, time-keeper, or any of my surveys or drawings.

The officers were next called upon deck, and forced over the side into the boat, while I was kept apart from every one abaft the mizzenmast.

Isaac Martin, one of the guard over me, I saw had an inclination to assist me, and, as he fed me with shaddock--my lips being quite parched—we explained our wishes to each other by our looks; but this being observed, Martin was removed from me. He then attempted to leave the ship, for which purpose he got into the boat; but with many threats they obliged

« ForrigeFortsæt »