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distress, the sea curling over the stern of
The bread, being in bags, was in the greatest danger of being spoiled by the wet, the consequence of which, if not prevented, must have been fatal, as the whole party would inevitably be starved to death, if they should fortunately escape the fury of the waves. It was determined, therefore, that all superfluous clothes, with some rope and spare sails, should be thrown overkoard, by which the boat was considerably lightened. The carpenter's tool-chest was cleared, and the tools stowed in the bottom of the boat, and the bread secured in the chest. All the people being thoroughly wet and cold, a teaspoonful of rum was served out to each person, with a quarter of a bread-fruit, (which is stated to have been scarcely eatable,) for dinner; Bligh having determined to preserve sacredly, and at the peril of his life, the engagement they entered into, and to make their small
THE OPEN-BOAT NAVIGATION.
stock of provisions last eight weeks, let the daily proportion be ever so small.
The sea continuing to run even higher than in the morning, the fatigue of baling became very great; the boat was necessarily kept before the sea. The men were constantly wet, the night very cold, and at daylight their limbs were so benumbed that they could scarcely find the use of them. At this time a teaspoonful of rum served out to each person was found of great benefit to all. Five small cocoa-nuts were distributed for dinner, and every one was satisfied; and in the evening a few broken pieces of bread-fruit were served for supper, after which prayers were offered.
On the night of the 4th and morning of the 5th the gale had abated; the first step to be taken was to examine the state of the bread, a great part of which was found to be damaged and rotten-but even this was carefully preserved for use. The boat was now running among some islands, but after their reception at Tofoa, they did not venture to land. On the 6th they still continued to see islands at a distance; and
this day, for the first time, they hooked a
Lieutenant Bligh observes, “it will rea-
On the 7th another group of islands was seen, from whence they observed two large canoes in pursuit of them, one of which, at four o'clock in the afternoon, had arrived within two miles of the boat, when the
savages gave up the chase, and returned to shore. Mr. Bligh concluded, from their direction, that these must have been the Feejee Islands.
The appearance of these islands, especially of the two largest, is generally very beautiful and interesting. They are wellwooded, and have extensive rivers. Little, however, is known respecting the interior: nor would it be safe to penetrate into the country without an armed party.
Bligh, in his defenceless state, appears to have had a fortunate escape from the Feejeeans, who are not only cunning, cruel, and vindictive, but are to be ranked among the vilest cannibals. This horrid custom of theirs is the more remarkable, as they excel their neighbours in talent and ingeuuity. Cannibalism prevails everywhere among them, except in the places in which Christianity has made progress. Captain Worth was informed by Mr. Hunt, connected with the Wesleyan Mission, that not fewer than five hundred persons had been eaten within fifteen miles of his residence, during the five years previous.
Many of the Feejeeans acknowledge that
A small blank book, which had been com-