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people, they are good-natured when pleased, and harm. less when not irritated; obsequious when inferior in force, and overbearing when they have the upper-hand. In features, language, and customs, they resemble the Society, Friendly, and Sandwich Islanders; but they differ from these tribes in being much more exemplary in their manners, as well as in their intercourse with one another. The captain of the Blossom mentions to their honour, that during the whole time he was amongst them, he did not witness “ an indecent act or gesture." They display so great a mixture of feature and colour as to give some probability to the conjecture, that several tribes from remote parts of the Pacific had here met and mingled their peculiarities. Their language and religion are closely allied to those of several other small nations; yet they differ essentially from all the tribes in having no huge carved images surmounting their marais, and no fiatookas or wattas. Unlike them also they are deficient in canoes, though they have the means of constructing them; they have neither clubs, slings, nor bows; and they do not present in their persons those marks of mutilation which some others deem indispensable on the death of their relations, or when they wish to appease their offended deities. While they are for the most part fairer and handsomer than the Sandwich Islanders, they are less effeminate than the Otaheitans. In general they have a fine Asiatic countenance with mustachios and beards; and when their heads are covered with a roll of white cloth, they might pass for Moors.*
On the island to which Captain Beechey gave the name of Byam Martin, he discovered about forty individuals, natives of Otaheite, who, having undergone shipwreck, found there a place of rest and comparative safety. They
* Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Behring's Straits, vol. i. p. 187. Captain Beechey remarks, that the average height of them is above that of Englishmen, but they are not so robust
. In their muscles there is a Aabbiness and laxity of integument which allows the skin to hang in folds on the body.
all entreated him to carry them in his vessel to their own land; a favour which he agreed to confer on a man who appeared the most intelligent of their number, and who with his wife and children was allowed to embark in the Blossom.“ We soon discovered,” says the commander, " that our little colony were Christians; they took an early opportunity of convincing us of this, and that they had both Testaments and hymn-books printed in the Otaheitan language; they also showed us a black-lead pencil and other materials for writing. Some of the girls repeated hymns, and the greater part evinced a reverence and respect for the sacred books, which reflects much credit upon the missionaries, under whose care we could no longer doubt they had at one time been.*
Tuwarri, the person selected by the British officer as a passenger on board his ship, met with a brother at Bow Island, where he appears to have been employed in the pearl-fishery. An incident is here mentioned which proves in a pleasing manner the happy effects of true religion even on the least cultivated minds. Another native of Anaa, a missionary, who is described as a very well-behaved man, used every effort to convert his new acquaintances to Christianity. He persevered amidst much silent ridicule, and at length succeeded in persuading the greater part of the islanders to conform to the observances enjoined by the gospel. It was interesting to contemplate a body of savages abandoning their superstitions, reverently kneeling down upon the sandy shore, and joining in the morning and evening prayers to the Almighty. At this period there were at Anaa no fewer than thirteen houses of prayer, under the direction of indigenous teachers, men who themselves, a little while before, indulged in all the superstitious usages of a most degrading idolatry.
It is stated, that previously to the arrival of the sedulous teacher now mentioned, every one had his peculiar deity, of which the most common was a piece of
Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Behring's Straits, &c. vol. i. p. 223.
wood with a tuft of human hair stuck into it; but that which was deemed most efficacious was the thigh bone of an enemy, or even of a friend recently dead. Into the hollow of this remnant of mortality they inserted a lock of the same person's hair, and then suspended the idol to a tree. To these symbols, as long as they remained in favour, they addressed their prayers ; but their piety, having no fixed basis, continued not steady either in regard to its object or the manner of its expression. So soon as they doubted the power of their god, or his inclination to favour them, they cast him away and substituted another not less ridiculous.
As Bow Island is one of the largest in the archipelago, and affords distinct indications of the manner in which such formations are accomplished, the reader may
find some instruction in the following details. It will be recollected, that, like all the others in that region of the Pacific, it has a lagoon in the centre surrounded by a stripe of low land about seventy miles in extent, the part which is dry being about a quarter of a mile in width. On the inner side, a few yards from the margin of the lake, there is a bank consisting of finely broken coral ; and at the outer edge, a much higher bank of large blocks of the same material, long since removed from the reach of the waves, and gradually preparing for the usual process of vegetation. Beyond this high bank there is a third ridge similar to that which skirts the lagoon; and outside of it again, as well as in the lagoon, there is a wide shelf, three or four feet under water, the outer one bearing upon its surface huge masses of broken coral; the materials for an outer bank similar to the one just described. These appearances naturally suggest the idea that the island must have risen by slow degrees. Thus the sand dispersed over the lagoon indicates a period when the sea rolled entirely over the reef, tore up blocks of coral from its margin, and by constant friction ground them to powder, and finally deposited the particles where they now rest. The bank near the lake must have originated at a subsequent period, when the
outer edge, rising nearer to the surface, moderated the strength of the waves, and the wash of the sea reached only far enough to deposit the broken coral in the place described. At a.still less distant period, when the island became dry, and the violence of the sea was wholly spent upon its margin, the coral, which had before escaped by being beneath the surface, gave way to the impetuous surge, and was deposited in broken masses which formed the high ridge. Here the sea appears to have dashed a considerable time, until a second ledge gradually extending seaward, and approaching the surface, so lessened the effect of the waves upon this ledge also, that they were again only capable of throwing up an inferior heap similar to the one first mentioned. In process of time, this outer ledge will become dry, and the many large blocks of coral, now resting near its margin, will probably form another heap similar to the large one; and thus the island will continue to increase by a succession of ledges being brought to the surface, while, by the same process, the lagoon will gradually become more shallow and contracted.
The islands between the Low Archipelago and Otaheite are all of the same geological structure as those already described, and present to the naturalist no information beyond that which respects their position and extent. It is highly probable that ships sailing in a direct line south-eastward from Pitcairn Isle to the Strait of Magellan, would make many discoveries ; for it is very unlikely that the process which has filled the Pacific with insular groups, throughout a space of eight thousand miles from the Malayan peninsula to Easter Island, shall be found to stop entirely at the latter point. Navigators who enter the South Sea by the way of Cape Horn, usually ascend at once to a higher latitude, as well to avoid the storms which agitate that parallel as to seek supplies or the means of repairing their losses. Hence it may be asserted, that no portion of the great ocean which covers nearly the whole of the southern hemisphere has been less carefully explored than between lat.
30° and 50° S., and long. 80° and 130° W.,--the field, it may be presumed, of a great volcanic action, which is destined hereafter to form the basis of new lands.
As Pitcairn's Island properly belongs to the Paumotus, or Coral Archipelago, now described, we must not pass on without noticing its interesting history. This remarkable spot of land, which is situated in lat. 25° S., and long. 130° W., is supposed to have been seen by Quiros, and named by him Incarnation. In 1767, it was again mentioned by Carteret, who found it still uninhabited, and, owing to the want of harbours, almost quite inaccessible. All the interest connected with it, even at present, arises from its having been selected by a few individuals engaged in the mutiny on board the Bounty, as a place so remote from the ordinary path of navigation as to afford a secure asylum from the vengeance of the law which they had violated. Distracted by personal animosities, they left the island of Toobouai, where they had meant to establish themselves, and, after landing sixteen of their number at Otaheite, the remainder, amounting to nine, together with seven men and twelve women, who joined them at Matavai Bay, put to sea, directing their course towards the east.
This departure took place in September 1789, and nearly twenty years elapsed before the fate of the adventurers was made known in Europe. The first notice respecting them was communicated to the Admiralty, in May 1809, by Sir Sidney who had received intelligence from Valparaiso to the following effect :-Captain Folger, of the American ship Topaz, relates that, upon landing on Pitcairn's Island, he found there an Englishman of the name of Alexander Smith, the only person remaining of nine who escaped in his majesty's late ship Bounty. Smith states that, after putting Captain Bligh in the boat, Christian, the leader of the mutiny, took command of the ship, and went to Otaheite. Sailing thence, they reached their present residence in the course of the following year, where they ran the ship ashore and broke her up.