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She gazed, and flung the sea-foam from her eyes,
Again their own shore rises on the view,
EXTRACT FROM THE VOYAGE BY CAPTAIN BLIGH.
On the 27th of December it blew a severe storm of wind from the eastward, in the course of which we suffered greatly. One sea broke away the spare yards and spars out of the starboard main-chains; another broke into the ship and stove all the boats. Several casks of beer that had been lashed on deck broke loose, and were washed overboard; and it was not without great risk and difficulty that we were able to secure the boats from being washed away entirely. A great quantity of our bread was also damaged and rendered useless, for the sea had stove in our stern, and filled the cabin with water.
On the 5th of January, 1788, we saw the island of Teneriffe about twelve leagues distant, and next day, being Sunday, came to an anchor in the road of Santa Cruz. There we took in the necessary supplies, and, having finished our business, sailed on the 10th.
I now divided the people into three watches, and gave the charge of the third watch to Mr Fletcher Christian, one of the mates. I have always considered this a desirable regulation when circumstances will admit of it, and I am persuaded that unbroken rest not only contributes much towards the health of the ship's company, but enables them more readily to exert themselves in cases of sudden emergency.
As I wished to proceed to Otaheite without stopping, I reduced the allowance of bread to two-thirds, and caused the water for drinking to be filtered through dripstones, bought at Teneriffe for that purpose. I now acquainted the ship's company of the object of the voyage, and gave assurances of certain promotion to every one whose endeavours should merit it.
On Tuesday the 26th of February, being in south latitude 29° 38', and 44° 44', west longitude, we bent new sails, and made other necessary preparations for encountering the weather that was to be expected in a high latitude. Our distance from the coast of Brazil was about 100 leagues.
On the forenoon of Sunday, the 2d of March, after seeing that every person was clean, divine service was performed, according to my usual custom on this day. I gave to Mr Fietcher Christian, whom I had before directed to take charge of the third watch, a written order to act as lieutenant.
The change of temperature soon began to be sensibly felt; and, that the people might not suffer from their own negligence, I supplied them with thicker clothing, as better suited to the climate. A great number of whales of an immense size, with two spout-holes on the back of the head, were seen on the 1lth.
On a complaint made to me by the master, I found it necessary to punish Matthew Quintal, one of the sea-men, with two dozen of lashes, for insolence and mutinous behaviour, which was the first time that there was any occasion for punishment on board.
We were off Cape St. Diego, the eastern part of the Terra de Fuego, and the wind being unfavourable, I thought it more advisable to go round to the eastward of Staten-land than to attempt passing through Straits le Maire. We passed New. Year's Harbour and Cape St. John, and on Monday the 31st were in latitude 60° 1' south. But the wind became variable, and we had bad weather.
Storms, attended with a great sea, prevailed until the 12th of April. The ship began to leak, and required pumping every hour, which was no more than we had reason to expect from such a continuance of gales of wind and high seas. The decks also became so leaky that it was necessary to allot the great cabin, of which I made little use except in fine weather, to those people who had not births to hang their hammocks in, and by this means the space between decks was less crowded.
With all this bad weather we had the additional mortification to find, at the end of every day, that we were losing ground; for notwithstanding our utmost exertions, and keeping on the most advantageous tacks, we did little better than drift before the wind. On Tuesday the 22d of April, we had eight down on the the sick list, and the rest of the people, though in good health, were greatly fatigued; but I saw, with much concern, that it was impossible to make a passage this way to the Society Islands, for we had now been thirty days in a tenpestuous ocean. Thus the season was too far advanced for us to expect better weather to enable us to double Cape Horn; and, from these and other considerations, I ordered the helm to be put a-weather, and bore away for the Cape of Good Hope, to the great joy of every one on board.
We came to an anchor on Friday the 23d of May, in Simon's Bay, at the Cape, after a tolerable run. The ship required complete caulking, for she had become so leaky, that we were obliged to pump hourly in our passage from Cape Horn. The sails and rigging also required repair, and, on examining the provisions, a considerable quantity was found damaged.
Having remained thirty-eight days at this place, and my people having received all the advantage that could be derived from refreshments of every kind that could be met with, we sailed on the 1st of July.
A gale of wind blew on the 20th, with a high sea; it increased after noon with such violence, that the ship was driven almost forecastle under, before we could get the sails clewed up. The lower yards were lowered, and the top-gallant mast got down upon deck, which relieved her much. We lay to all night, and in the morning bore away under a reefed foresail. The sea still running high, in the afternoon it became very unsafe to stand on; we therefore lay to all night, without any accident, excepting that a man at the steerage was thrown over the wheel and much bruised. Towards noon the violence of the storm abated, and we again bore away under the reefed foresail.
In a few days we passed the island of St. Paul, where there is good fresh water, as I was informed by a Dutch captain, and also a hot spring, which boils fish as completely as if done by a fire. Approaching to Van Diemen's land, we had much bad weather, with snow and hail, but nothing was seen to indicate our vicinity, on the 13th of August, except a seal, which appeared at the distance of twenty leagues from it. We anchored in Adventure Bay on Wednesday the 20th.
In our passage hither from the Cape of Good Hope, the winds were chiefly from the westward, with very boisterous weather. The approach of strong southerly winds is announced by many birds of the albatross or peterel tribe; and the abatement of the gale, or a shift of wind to the northward, by their keeping away. The thermometer also varies five or six degrees in its height, when a change of these winds may be expected.
In the land surrounding Adventure Bay are many forest trees one hundred and fifty feet high; we saw one which measured above thirty-three feet in girth. We observed several eagles, some beautiful blue-plumaged herons, and parroquets in great variety.
The natives not appearing, we went in search uf them towards Cape FrederickHenry. Soon after, coming to a grapnel, close to the shore, for it was impossible to land, we heard their voices, like the cackling of geese, and twenty persons came out of the woods. We threw trinkets ashore tied up in parcels which they would not open out until I made an appearance of leaving them; they then did so, and, taking the articles out, put them on their heads. On first coming in sight, they made a prodigious clattering in their speech, and held their arms over their heads. They spoke so quick that it was impossible to catch one single word they uttered. Their colour is of a dull black; their skin scarified about the breast and shoulders. One was distinguished by his body being coloured with red ochre, but all the others were painted black, with a kind of soot, so thickly laid over their faces and shoulders, that it was difficult to ascertain what they were like.
On Thursday, the 4th of September, we sailed out of Adventure Bay, steering first towards the east-south-east and then to the northward of east, when, on the 19th, we
came in sight of a cluster of small rocky islands, which I named Bounty Isles. Soon afterwards we frequently observed the sea, in the night time, to be covered by luminous spots, caused by amazing quantities of small blubbers, or medusæ, which emit a light, like the blaze of a candle, from the strings or filaments extending from them, while the rest of the body continues perfectly dark.
We discovered the island of Otaheite on the 25th, and, before casting anchor next morning in Matavai Bay, such numbers of canoes had come off, that, after the natives ascertained we were friends, they came on board, and crowded the deck so much, that in ten minutes I could scarce find my own people. The whole distance which the ship had run, in direct and contrary courses, from the time of leaving England until reaching Otaheite, was twenty-seven thousand and eighty-six miles, which, on an average, was one hundred and eight miles each twenty-four hours.
Here we lost our surgeon on the 9th of December. Of late he had scarcely ever stirred out of the cabin, though not apprehended to be in a dangerous state. Nevertheless, appearing worse than usual in the evening, he was removed where he could obtain more air, but without any benefit, for he died in an hour afterwards. This unfortunate man drank very hard, and was so averse to exercise, that he would never be prevailed on to take half a dozen turns un deck at a time, during all the course of the voyage. He was buried on shore.
On Monday, the 5th of January, the small cutter was missed, of which I was immediately apprised. The ship's company being mustered, we found three men absent, who had carried it off. They had taken with them eight stand of arms and ammunition; but with regard to their plan, every one on board seemed to be quite ignorant. I therefore went on shore, and engaged all the chiefs to assist in recovering both the boat and the deserters. Accordingly, the former was brought back in the course of the day, by five of the natives; but the men were not taken until nearly three weeks afterwards. Learning the place where they were, in a different quarter of the island of Otaheite, I went thither in the cutter, thinking there would be no great difficulty in securing them with the assistance of the natives. However, they heard of my arrival; and when I was near a house in which they were, they came out, wanting their fire-arms, and delivered themselves up. Some of the chiefs had formerly seized and bound these deserters; but had been prevailed on, by fair promises of returning peaceably to the ship, to release them. But finding an opportunity again to get possession of their arms, they set the natives at defiance.
The object of the voyage being now completed, all the bread-fruit plants, to the number of one thousand and fifteen, were got on board on Tuesday, the 31st of March. Besides these, we had collected many other plants, some of them bearing the finest fruits in the world; and valuable, from affording brilliant dyes, and for various properties besides. At sunset of the 4th of April, we made said from Otaheite, bidding farewell to an island where for twenty-three weeks we had been treated with the utmost affection and regard, and which seemed to increase in proportion to our stay. That we were not insensible to their kindness, the succeeding circumstances sufficiently proved; for to the friendly and endearing behaviour of these people may be ascribed the motives inciting an event that effected the ruin of our expedition, which there was every reason to believe would have been attended with the most favourable issue.
Next morning we got sight of the island Huaheine; and a double canoe soon coming alongside, containing ten natives, I saw among them a young man who recollected me, and called me by my name. I had been here in the year 1780, with Captain Cook, in the Resolution. A few days after sailing from this island, the weather became squally, and a thick body of black clouds collected in the east. A water-spout was in a short time seen at no great distance from us, which appeared to great advantage from the darkness of the clouds behind it. As nearly as I could judge, the upper part was about two feet in diameter, and the lower about eight inches. Scarcely had I made these remarks, when I observed that it was rapidly advancing towards the ship. We immediately altered our course, and took in all the sails except the foresail; soon after which it passed within ten yards of the stern, with a rustling noise, but without our feeling the least effect from its being so near. It seemed to be travelling at the rate of about ten miles an hour, in the direction of the wind, and it dispersed in a quarter of an hour after passing us. It is impossible to
say what injury we should have received had it passed directly over us. Masts, I imagine, might have been carried away, but I do not apprehend that it would have endangered the loss of the ship.
Passing several islands on the way, we anchored at Annamooka, on the 23d of April; and an old lame man called Tepa, whom I had known here in 1777, and immediately recollected, came on board, along with others, from different islands in the vicinity. They were desirous to see the ship, and, on being taken below, where the breadfruit plants were arranged, they testified great surprise. A few of these being de(ayed, we went on shore to procure some in their place.
The natives exhibited numerous marks of the peculiar mourning which they express on losing their relatives ; such as bloody temples, their heads being deprived of most of the hair, and, what was worse, almost the whole of them had lost some of their fingers. Several fine boys, not above six years old, had lost both their little fingers; and several of the men, besides these, had parted with the middle finger of the right hand.
The chiefs went off with me to dinner, and we carried on a brisk trade for yams; we also got plantains and bread-fruit. But the yams were in great abundance, and very fine and large. One of them weighed above forty-five pounds. Sailing canoes came, some of which contained not less than ninety passengers. Such a number of them gradually arrived from different islands, that it was impossible to get any thing done, the multitude became so great, and there was no chief of sufficient authority to command the whole. I therefore ordered a watering party, then employed, to come on board, and sailed on Sunday, the 26th of April.
We kept near the island of Kotoo all the afternoon of Monday, in hopes that some canoes would come off to the ship, but in this we were disappointed. The wind being northerly, we steered to the westward in the evening, to pass south of Tofoa ; and 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. This was the turn of duty for the night.
Hitherto the voyage had advanced in a course of uninterrupted prosperity, and had been attended with circumstances equally pleasing and satisfactory. But a very different scene was now to be disclosed; a conspiracy had been formed, which was to render all our past labour productive only of misery and distress; and it had been concerted with so much secrecy and circumspection, that no one circumstance escaped to betray the impending calamity.
On the night of Monday, the watch was set as I have described. Just before sunrise, on Tuesday morning, 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,
my hands with a cord behind my back; threatening me with instant death if I spoke or made the least noise. I nevertheless called out as loud as I could, in hopes of assistance; but the officers not'of their party were already secured by sentinels at their doors. At my own cabin-door were three men, besides the four within : all except Christian had muskets and bayonets; he had only a cutlass. I was dragged out of bed, and forced on deck in my shirt, suffering great pain in the mean time from the tightness with which my hands were tied. On demanding the reason of such violence, the only answer was abuse for not holding my tongue. The master, the gunner, surgeon, master's mate, and Nelson the gardener, were kept confined below, and the fore-hatchway was guarded by sentinels. The boatswain and carpenter, and also the clerk, were allowed to come on deck, where they saw me standing abaft the mizen-mast, with my hands tied behind my back, under a guard, with Christian at their head. The boatswain was then ordered to hoist out the launch, accompanied by a threat, if he did not do it instantly, TO TAKE CARE OF HIMSELF.
The boat being hoisted out, Mr. Hayward and Mr. Hallett, two of the midshipmen, and Mr. Samuel, the clerk, were ordered into it. I demanded the intention of giving this order, and endeavoured to persuade the people near me not to persist in such acts of violence; but. it was to no effect; for the constant answer was, “Hold your tongue, sir, or you are dead this moment."
The master had by this time nt, req sting that he might come on deck, which was permitted; but he was soon ordered back again to his cabin. My ex