Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[graphic][merged small]

CHAPTER I.

THE VOYAGE-OTAHEITE. ABOUT the year 1786, the merchants and planters interested in the West India Islands became anxious to introduce an exceedingly valuable plant, the bread-fruit tree, into these possessions, and as this could best be done by a government expedition, a request was preferred to the crown accordingly. The ministry at the time being favourable to the proposed undertaking, a vessel, named the Bounty, was selected to execute the desired object. To the command of this ship, Captain W. Bligh was appointed, August 16, 1787. The burden of the Bounty was nearly two hundred

and fifteen tons. The establishment of men and officers for the ship numbered forty-four, and with the addition of two men appointed to take care of the plants, made the whole ship's crew amount to forty-six. The ship was stored and victualled for eighteen months.

Thus prepared, the Bounty set sail on the 23d of December; and what ensued will be best told in the language of Captain Bligh, whose interesting narrative we abridge.

My instructions relative to the voyage, furnished me by the Commissioners of the Admiralty, were as follow: I was to proceed, as expeditiously as possible, round Cape Horn to the Society Islands. Having arrived at the above-mentioned islands, and taken on board as many trees and plants as might be thought necessary (the better to enable me to do which, I had already been furnished with such articles of merchandise and trinkets as it was supposed would be wanted to satisfy the natives), I was to proceed from thence through Endeavour Strait, which separates Australia from New Guinea, to Prince's Island, in the Strait of Sunda ; or, if it should happen to be more convenient, to pass on the eastern side of Java to some port on the north side of that island, where any bread-fruit trees which might have been injured, or have died, were to be replaced by such plants growing there as might appear

« ForrigeFortsæt »