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The most wonderful occurrence in the history of this mutiny, is the navigation in the open boat from the Friendly Islands to Timor, in the Indian Ocean, a distance of above four thousand miles, with bardly enough of food to keep the people alive. On the 5th of June, a booby was caught by the hand, the blood of which was divided among three of the men who were the weakest, and the bird kept for next day's dinner.
On the 7th, after a miserably wet and cold night, the sea, which was running high, broke over the boat the whole day. Mr. Ledward, the surgeon, and Lawrence Lebogue, a hardy old seaman, appeared to be giving way very fast. No other assistance could be given to them besides a teaspoonful or two of wine, which had been carefully saved for such a melancholy occasion. In the morning of the 10th, there was a visible alteration for the worse in many of the crew. An extreme weakness, swelled legs, hollow and ghastly countenances, a more than common inclination to sleep, with loss of memory, seemed the melancholy presages of approaching death.
Indifferent spectator, careless observer. On the 11th, Mr. Bligh announced to his wretched companions, that he had no doubt they had now passed the south of the eastern part of Timor, a piece of intelligence which diffused universal joy and satisfaction. Accordingly, at three in the morning of the following day, the island was discovered at the distance of only two leagues. “It is not possible for me,” says the captain, “to describe the pleasure which the blessing of the sight of this island diffused among us. It appeared scarcely credible to ourselves, that, in an open boat and so poorly provided, we should have been able to reach the coast of Timor in forty-one days after leaving Tofoaa, having in that time run, by our reckoning, about three thousand six hundred and eighteen nautical miles; and that, notwithstanding our extreme distress, no one should have perished in the voyage.”
The poor sufferers, when landed, were scarcely able to walk; their condition is described as most deplorable. But they were received with every mark of kindness, hospitality, and humanity; the houses of the principal inhabitants being thrown open for their reception. Their leader observes, “ that the abilities of a painter could rarely, perhaps, have been displayed to more advantage than in the delineation of the two groups of figures which at this time presented themselves to each other. An indifferent spectator, if such could be found, would have been at a loss which most to admire—the eyes of famine sparkling at immediate relief, or the horror of their preservers at the sight of so many spectres, whose ghastly countenances, if the cause had been unknown, would rather have excited terror than pity.”
Abridged from “ Voyages of Discovery."
PITCAIRN'S ISLAND. On the arrival of Captain Bligh in England, a ship was immediately despatched to bring back the mutineers. Only a few were found, and the disasters of the return voyage even excelled the sufferings of Captain Bligh and his companions.
Of the remaining mutineers nothing was heard for a long period, but at length two British vessels chanced to fall in with Pitcairn's Island. As they had always supposed it to be uninhabited, they were not a little astonished to observe, as they came near it, plantations regularly laid out, and houses much neater than any they had seen in those regions.
When they were about two miles from the shore, they saw some of the natives coming off to them in boats. The sea ran very high, but the people fearlessly dashed through the waves, and came near the ships. The surprise of the English captains was unbounded, when one of the natives called out in English, “Won't you heave us a rope ?”
In a few moments one of them came on board, and explained what seemed so strange. Christian and his companions had gone to Pitcairn's Island. They married the Otaheite women, and had lived there ever since. They had a good many children; and the young man who first came on board was one of them. His name was Thursday October Christian, and he was the first born or
the island. He was a very handsome young man, and looked more like an Englishman than an Otaheitan.
Several others came on board and breakfasted with the English captains. Before breakfast they all kneeled down and asked a blessing of God; and after the meal was done, they again kneeled, and returned thanks to heaven. They had been taught to do so by their fathers.
These young men saw many things on board the ship at which they were very much surprised. Among other things that excited their wonder was a cow; they had never seen one before, and did not know what to make of it. They concluded it must be either a great goat, or a horned sow.
The captains now went to the island with the young natives. The inhabitants were all overjoyed to see people who spoke English, and whom they considered as their countrymen. They brought cocoa-nuts, yams, and other fruit, and gave them to the Englishmen. Only one of the mutineers was alive. His name was John Adams. He was very old, and his wife was blind with age.
There were about forty-six persons. They had a pretty little village, and their houses were very pleasant and comfortable. There were no other animals but hogs or goats on the island, but they had poultry, and plenty of bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts, sweet potatoes, and turnips.
The English officers were delighted with their visit. The people appeared to be happy and virtuous. The old sailor, Adams, watched over and governed them, and they looked upon him as their common father and benefactor.
This old man expressed his abhorrence of the crime he had committed, in being concerned in the mutiny. He knew that if he weut to England, he might be tried and executed, but such was his desire to see his native country once more, that he proposed to go with the captains to England. They were willing to take him, but when he asked the consent of the islanders, they burst into tears, and besought him not to leave them. The old man was much affected, and told his people that, such being their feelings, he would not go. So after giving them some books and other things, the English captains bade the islanders farewell, and sailed on their voyage.
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