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On the afternoon of Thursday the 22d, I received a message from Teppahoo, to inform me that our deserters had passed that harbour, and were at Tettaha, about five miles distant. I ordered the cutter to be got ready, and a little before sunset left the ship, and landed at some distance from the place where the deserters were. They had heard of my arrival; and when I was near the house, they came out without their arms, and delivered themselves up.
This desertion of three of my ship’s company did not strike me so much at the time as it did afterwards ; nor did an occurrence which happened not long after attract that degree of attention from me which it merited. This was the cutting of our ship’s cable one night near the water's edge, in such a manner that only one strand remained whole. I naturally attributed this malicious act to some of the natives, although the uniform friendliness of the Otaheitans led me to suppose that the culprits must have belonged to some of the other islands, the inhabitants of which were continually coming and going. The consequence was a coolness of some days between me and the chiefs, as I wished to stimulate them to the discovery of the guilty parties. All their exertions, however, to gratify me in this respect were unavailing; and it has since occurred to me that this attempt to cut the ship adrift was most probably the act of
some of our own people, whose purpose of remaining at Otaheite might have been effectually answered, without danger, if the ship had been driven on shore. At the time, I entertained not the least thought of this kind, nor did the possibility of it enter into my ideas, having no suspicion that so general an inclination, or so strong an attachment to these islands, could prevail among my people as to induce them to abandon every prospect of returning to their native country.
The month of February had passed-our people becoming always fonder of the Otaheitans, and the Otaheitans of them and we had already advanced far into the month of March. It was known that the time of our departure from the island was approaching, and much sorrow was manifested on that account. One day after dinner, I was not a little surprised to hear Tinah seriously propose that he and his wife should go with me to England. To quiet his importunity, I was obliged to promise that I would ask the king's permission to carry them to England if I came again; that then I should be in a larger ship, and could have accommodations properly fitted up.
In the latter part of March, we were busy with our preparations for departure. On the 27th of the month, we began to remove the plants to the ship. They were in excellent order: the roots had appeared through the bottom of the pots, and would have shot into the ground, if care had not been taken to prevent it. By the 31st, all the plants were on board, being in seven hundred and seventy-four pots, thirty-nine tubs, and twenty-four boxes. The number of bread-fruit plants was 1015, besides which we had collected a number of other plants: The avee, which is one of the finest-flavoured fruits in the world; the ayyah, which is a fruit not so rich, but of a fine flavour, and very refreshing; the rattah, not much unlike a chestnut, which grows on a large tree in great quantities—they are singly in large pods, from one to two inches broad, and may be eaten raw, or boiled in the same manner as Windsor beans, and so dressed, are equally good; and the orai-ah, which is a very superior kind of plantain. All these I was particularly recommended to collect by my worthy friend Sir Joseph Banks. I had also taken on board some plants of the ettow and matte, with which the natives here make a beautiful red colour; and a root called peeah, of which they make an excellent pudding.
At length all was ready for our departure, and on Saturday the 4th of April 1789, we unmoored at daylight. At half-past six, there being no wind, we weighed, and with our boats and two sweeps, towed the ship out of the harbour. Soon after, the sea-breeze came, and we stood off towards the sea. Many of the
natives attended us in canoes. Tinah and his wife were on board. After dinner, I ordered the presents which I had reserved for Tinah and his wife to be put in one of the ship's boats, and as I had promised him firearms, I gave him two muskets, a pair of pistols, and a good stock of ammunition. I then represented to them the necessity of their going away, that the boat might return to the ship before it was dark; on which they took a most affectionate leave of me, and went into the boat. One of their expressions at parting was: “Yourah no ť Eatua tee eveerah !”—“May the Eatua protect you for ever and ever!”
Thus, after a stay of five months and a half at Otaheite, we took our leave of it. That we were not insensible to the kindness which we experienced there, the events which followed more than sufficiently prove; for to the friendly and endearing behaviour of these people may be ascribed the motives for that event which effected the ruin of an expedition which there was every reason to hope would have been completed in the most fortunate manner.
CHAPTER I I.
MUTINY IN THE SHIP. 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 Endeavour Strait to Prince's Island, in the Strait of Sunda, between Sumatra and Java. On the 27th of April, at noon, we were between the islands of Tofoa and Kotoo.
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 sun-rising, while I was yet asleep, Mr Christian, with the masterat-arms, gunner's mate, and Thomas Burkitt, seaman, came into my cabin, and seizing me, tied my hands with a cord behind my back,