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acceded to their entreaties would have encumbered the party, and subjected them to depredations. As it was, the boats were so weighed down by persons clinging to them, that for personal safety, the crew were compelled to have recourse to sticks to keep them off, at which none of the natives took offence, but regained their position the instant the attention of the persons in the boat was called to some other object. Just within the gunwale there were many small things which were highly prized by the swimmers; and the boats being brought low in the water by the crowd hanging to them, many of these articles were stolen, notwithstanding the most vigilant attention on the part of the crew, who had no means of recovering them-the marauders darting into the water, and diving the moment they committed a theft. The women were no less active in these piracies than the men; for if they were not the actual plunderers, they procured the opportunity for others, by engrossing the attention of the seamen, by their caresses and ludicrous gestures.
"In proceeding to the landing-place, the boats had to pass a small isolated rock, which rose several feet above the water. As many females as could possibly find room, crowded upon this eminence, pressing together so closely that the rock appeared to be a mass of living beings.
Of these Nereids, three or four would shoot off at a time into the water, and swim with the expertness of fish to the boats to try their influence on their visitors. One of them, a very young girl, and less accustomed to the water than her companions, was taken upon the shoulders of an elderly man, conjectured to be her father; and was, by him, recommended to the attention of one of the officers, who, in compassion, allowed her a seat in his boat. She was young and exceedingly pretty; her features were small and well made; her eyes dark, and her hair black, long, and flowing; her colour deep brunette. She was tattooed in arches upon the forehead, and, like the greater part of her countrywomen, from the waist downward to the knee, in narrow compact blue lines, which, at a short distance, had the appearance of breeches. Her only covering was a small trianguJar maro, made of grass and rushes; but this diminutive screen not agreeing with her ideas of propriety in the novel situation in which she found herself, she remedied the defect by unceremoniously appropriating to that use a part of one of the officers' apparel, and then commenced a song not altogether inharmo.
nious. Far from being jealous of her situation, she aided all her countrywomen who aspired to the same seat of honour with herself, by dragging them out of the water by the hair of the head; but unkind as it might appear to interfere to prevent this, it was necessary to do so, or the boats would have been filled and unmanageable.
"As our party passed, the assemblage of females on the rocks commenced a song, similar to that chanted by the lady in the boat, and accompanied it by extending their arms over their heads, beating their breasts, and performing a variety of gestures which shewed that our visit was acceptable, at least to that part of the community. When the boats were within a wading distance of the shore, they were closely encompassed by the natives, each bringing something in his hand, however small, and almost every one importuning for an equivalent in réturn. All those in the water were naked; and only here and there, on the shore, a thin cloak of the native cloth was to be seen. Some had their faces painted black -some red-others black and white, or red and white, in the ludicrous manner practised by our clowns; and two demonlike monsters were painted entirely black. It is not easy to imagine the picture that was presented by this motley crowd, unrestrained by any authority or consideration for their visitors, all hallooing to the extent of their lungs, and pressing upon the boats with all sorts of grimace and gestures.
"The gentleman who disembarked first, and from that circumstance probably was considered a person of distinction, was escorted to the top of the bank, and seated upon a large block of lava, which was the prescribed limit to the party's advance. An endeavour was then made to form a ring about him; but it was very difficult, on account of the islanders crowding to the place, all in expectation of receiving something. The applicants were impatient, noisy, and urgent: they presented their bags, which they had carefully emptied for the purpose, and signified their desire that they should be filled: they practised every artifice, and stole what they could in the most careless and open manner: some went even farther, and accompanied their demands by threats. About this time, one of the natives, probably a chief, with a cloak and head-dress of feathers, was observed from the ship hastening from the huts to the landing-place, at
tended by several persons with short clubs. This hostile appearance, followed by the blowing of the conch-shell, a sound which Cook observes he never knew to portend good, kept our glasses for a while riveted to the spot. To this chief, it is supposed, for it was impossible to distinguish amongst the crowd, Mr Peard made a handsome present, with which he was very well pleased, and no apprehension of hostilities was entertained. It happened, however, that the presents were expended, and this officer was returning to the boat for a fresh supply, when the natives, probably mistaking his intentions, became exceedingly clamorous; and the confusion was farther increased by a marine endeavouring to regain his cap, which had been snatched from his head. The natives took advantage of the confusion, and redoubled their endeavours to pilfer, which our party were at last obliged to repel by threats, and sometimes by force. At length, they became so audacious, that there was no longer any doubt of their intentions, or that a system of open plunder had commenced; which, with the appearance of clubs and sticks, and the departure of the women, induced Mr Peard, very judiciously, to order his party into the boats. This seemed to be the signal for an assault; the chief who had received the present threw a large stone, which struck Mr Peard forcibly upon the back, and was immediately followed by a shower of missiles which darkened the air. The natives in the water and about the boats, instantly withdrew to their comrades, who had run behind a bank out of the reach of the muskets, which former experience alone could have taught them to fear, for none had yet been fired by us.
"The stones, each of which weighed about a pound, fell incredibly thick, and with such precision, that several of the seamen were knocked down under the thwarts of the boat, and every person was more or less wounded, except the female to whom Lieutenant Wainwright had given protection, who, as if aware of the skilfulness of her countrymen, sat unconcerned upon the gunwale, until one of the officers, with more consideration for her safety than she herself possessed, pushed her overboard, and she swam ashore. A blank cartridge was at first fired over the heads of the crowd; but forbearance, which, with savages, is generally mistaken for cowardice or inability, only augmented their fury. The showers of stones were, if possible, increased,
the personal safety of all rendered
it necessary to resort to severe measures. The chief, still urging the islanders on, very deservedly, and perhaps fortunately, fell a victim to the first shot that was fired in defence. Terrified by this example, the natives kept closer under their bulwark; and though they continued to throw stones, and occasioned considerable difficulty in extricating the boats, their attacks were not so effectual as before, nor sufficient to prevent the embarkation of the crew, all of whom were got on board.
"Several dangerous contusions were received in the affair; but, fortunately, no lives lost on our part; and it was the opinion of the officers commanding the party, that the treacherous chief was the only victim on that of the islanders, though some of the officers thought they observed another man fall. Considering the manner in which the party were surrounded, and the imminent risk to which they were exposed, it is extraordinary that so few of the natives suffered; and the greatest credit is due to the officers and crew of both boats, for their forbearance on the occasion."
As little or no hope remained of entering into any peaceful relations with the people of this place, the Blossom now pursued her course for Ducie's, and thence to Elizabeth Island, which last, though small and uninhabited, offers a curious example of one of the several modes of formation, by which islands have been, and probably are, continually produced in the Pacific. Volcanic appearances are distinct in so many of the principal groups, that no doubt can exist of the agency of that phenomenon in the creation of a great number; but, if influencing at either of these two exhibits, it must all the peculiar structure which be exerted in very different manner from that in which it commonly acts. but little difference from the usual In Ducie's Island, there seems to be coral formation, except that, at the north-eastern and south-western extremities, projecting masses thrown out with a less degree of inclination than presented by the ordinary sides of the island, and thus two immense natural breakwaters are formed, which intercept the action of the sea before it can reach the entrance of a little lagoon formed in the centre. "It is singular," Captain Beechey remarks," that
these two buttresses are opposed to the only two quarters whence their structure has to apprehend danger— that on the north-east, from the constant action of the trade wind; and that on the other extremity, from the long rolling swell from the southwest, so prevalent in these latitudes; and it is worthy of observation, that this barrier, which has the most powerful enemy to oppose, is carried out much farther, and with less abruptness, than the other."
Elizabeth Island has very peculiar and distinct characters; and though great doubt may exist whether volcanic agency had any share in its production, as Captain Beechey imagines, yet his description is so minute and clear, that it may lead to a true solution, even if his own be not the correct one.
"We found that the island differed essentially from all the others in its vicinity, and belonged to a peculiar formation, very few instances of which are in existence. Wateo, and Savage Islands, discovered by Captain Cook, are of this number, and, perhaps, also Malden Island, visited by Lord Byron in the Blonde. The island is five miles in length, and one in breadth, and has a flat surface nearly eighty feet above the sea. On all sides, except the north, it is bounded by perpendicular cliffs about fifty feet high, composed entirely of dead coral, more or less porous, honeycombed at the surface, and hardening into a compact, calcareous substance within, possessing fracture of secondary limestone, and has a species of millepore interspersed through it. These cliffs are considerably undermined by the action of the waves, and some of them appear on the eve of precipitating their superincumbent weight into the sea; those which are less injured in this way, present no alternate ridges, or indication of the different levels which the sea might have occupied
at different periods; but a smooth surface, as if the island, which there is every probability has been raised by volcanic agency, had been forced up by one great subterraneous convulsion. The dead coral, of which the higher part of the island consists, is nearly circumscribed by ledges of living coral, which project beyond each other at different depths; on the northern side of the island, the first of these had. an easy slope from the beach, to a distance of about fifty yards, when it termi nated abruptly about three fathoms under the water. The next ledge had a greater descent, and extended to two hundred
yards from the beach, with twenty-five fathoms water over it, and there ended as abruptly as the former; a short distance beyond which, no bottom could be gained with two hundred fathoms of line, Numerous echini live upon these ledges; and a variety of richly coloured fish play over their surface, while some cray-fish inhabit the deeper sinuosities. The sea rolls in successive breakers over these ledges of coral, and renders landing upon them extremely difficult. It may, however, be effected by anchoring the boat, then, watching the opportunity, by jumpand veering her close into the surf, and ing upon the ledge, and hastening to the shore before the succeeding roller approaches, In doing this, great caution must be observed, as the reef is full of holes and caverns, and the rugged way is strewed with sea-eggs, which inflict very painful wounds; and if a person fall into one of these hollows, his life will be greatly endangered by the points of coral catch. ing his clothes, and detaining him under water. The beach, which appears at a distance to be composed of a beautiful white sand, is wholly made up of small broken portions of the different species and varieties of coral, intermixed with shells of testaceous and crustaceous animals."
It is this minute and comprehensive detail this dwelling upon each particular without confusing the whole, which gives to description the stamp and impress of reality, which enables science to know and judge without the tangible presence of the object, and presents to the casual reader a clear and complete picture, which no vague and general terms could convey. This was one of the great points in that wonderful reformation which the Author of Waverley worked in the world of novelwriters. Instead of loose descriptions, uncertain figures, and a misty atmosphere of indefinite verbiage, which enveloped every character of the former school, he substituted a clear and definite form, in which each feature and line had been marked and traced by a master's hand and eye, and over which the picturesque spirit of a poetical mind spread the magic sunshine of his own vivid and wonderful imagination. Others followed with infinitely less power, and less originality, but still an immense improvement was produced. Every man who knows any thing intimately, will have the means of
describing it minutely; and though, in general reasoning, or even in the sallies of wit and imagination, it is necessary to possess the great talent of casting away the insignificant and the worthless, yet it is the small fine shades, these minute details, which give identity to description, and call up every particular scene in all its individuality before the mind's eye. Captain Beechey thus gives as true and distinct pictures of what he saw, as if he represented them by painting to the material organ of vision. Nor is this confined to the scenery alone; the actions and habits of the people with whom he is brought in contact are all treated in the same graphic way, and we as much see Adams, the mutineer of the Bounty, his patriarchal customs, his interesting race, and his beautiful island, as if we had once been there ourselves, and memory called up all that we then had seen. The history of that famous mutiny has been already told by Captain Heywood, and ornamented in the poetry of Byron; but the account given of it by Adams himself to Captain Beechey, will still be read with infinite pleasure, as well as the farther story of the nascent nation on Pitcairn Island, and of the strange, but beautiful change from a community of violent and criminal Europeans, and wild licentious savages, to a religious, sober, orderly race, amongst whom violence is unknown, and the lightest promise inviolable-perhaps the grandest and most splendid instance on record of the true influence of that bright religion which interested knaves have sometimes corrupted, and proud fools have pretended to despise.
As a whole, this account of the mutineers of the Bounty would be too long for insertion here, and to mutilate it would be injustice to the author and to the public. The present state of the island and its inhabitants, however, is more within the limits of a justifiable extract, and is full of pleasant feelings and anticipations-But first, the appearance of old Adams himself.
"The interest which was excited by the announcement of Pitcairn Island from the mast-head, brought every person upon deck, and produced a train of reflections that momentarily increased our anxiety to
communicate with its inhabitants—to see and partake of the pleasures of their little domestic circle-and to learn from them the particulars of every transaction connected with the fate of the Bounty; but, in consequence of the approach of night, this gratification was deferred until the next morning, when, as we were steering for the side of the island, on which Captain Carteret has marked soundings, in the hope of being able to anchor the ship, we had the pleasure to see a boat, under sail, hastening towards us. At first, the complete equipment of this boat raised a doubt as to its being the property of the islanders; for we expected to see only a well-provided canoe in their possession,
and we therefore concluded that the boat must belong to some whale-ship on the opposite side; but we were soon agreeably undeceived by the singular appearance of her crew, which consisted of old Adams and all the young men of the island. Before they ventured to take hold of the ship, they enquired if they might come on board; and upon permission being granted, they sprang up the sides, and shook every officer by the hand with undisguised feelings of gratification.
"The activity of the young men outstripped that of old Adams, who was consequently almost the last to greet us. He was in his sixty-fifth year, and was unusually strong and active for his age, notwithstanding the inconvenience of considerable corpulency. He was dressed in a sailor's shirt and trowsers, and a lowcrowned hat, which he instinctively held in his hand, until desired to put it on. He still retained his sailor's gait, doffing his hat, and smoothing down his bald forehead whenever he was addressed by the officers.
"It was the first time he had been on board a ship of war since the mutiny, and his mind naturally reverted to scenes that could not fail to produce a temporary embarrassment, heightened, perhaps, by the familiarity with which he found himself addressed by persons of a class with those whom he had been accustomed to obey. Apprehension for his safety formed no part of his thoughts; he had received too many demonstrations of the good feeling that existed towards him, both on the part of the British Government and of indivi
duals, to entertain any alarm on that head: and as every person endeavoured to set his mind at rest, he very soon made himself at home.
"The young men, ten in number, were fall, robust, and healthy, with good-natured countenances, which would any where have procured them a friendly reception ;
and with a simplicity of manner, and a fear of doing wrong, which at once prevented the possibility of giving offence. Unacquainted with the world, they asked a number of questions which would have applied better to persons with whom they had been intimate, and who had left them but a short time before, than to perfect strangers; and enquired after ships and people we had never heard of. Their dress, made up of the presents which had been given them by the masters and seamen of merchant ships, was a perfect caricature. Some had on long black coats, without any other article of dress, except trowsers, some shirts without coats, and others waistcoats without either; none had shoes or stockings, and only two possessed hats, neither of which seemed likely to hang long together."
After landing the observatory, and partaking the hospitality of the islanders, the English party were shewn to the beds prepared for them, consisting of mattrasses of palmleaves, covered with native cloth, and sheets of the same material. The evening hymn, sung by the islanders, after the lights were extinguished, pleasingly disturbed the first sleep of their guests, and the morning hymn broke their early dreams; but the evening and the night passed away otherwise in calm repose; and, the next day, Captain Beechey proceeded to examine the island more minutely.
"We assembled at breakfast about noon, the usual eating hour of the natives, though they do not confine themselves to that period exactly, but take their meal whenever it is sufficiently cooked; and afterwards availed ourselves of their proffered services to shew us the island, and under their guidance, first inspected the village, and what lay in its immediate vicinity. In an adjoining house, we found two young girls seated upon the ground, employed in the laborious exercise of beating out the bark of the cloth-tree, which they intended to present to us, on our departure, as a keepsake. The hamlet consisted of five cottages, built more substantially than neatly upon a cleared patch of ground, sloping to the northward, from the high land of the interior, to the cliffs which overhang the sea, of which the houses command a distant view in a northern direction. In the NE. quarter, the horizon may also be seen peeping between the stems of the lofty palms, whose graceful branches nod like ostrich plumes to the refreshing trade-wind. To the north
ward, and north-westward, thicker groves of palm-trees rise in an impenetrable wood, from two ravines which traverse the hills in various directions to their summit. Above the one, to the westward, a lofty mountain rears its head, and towards the sea terminates in a fearful precipice filled with caverns, in which the different seafowl find an undisturbed retreat. Immediately round the village are the small enclosures for fattening pigs, goats, and poultry; and beyond them, the cultivated grounds producing the banana, plantain, melon, yam, taro, sweet potatoes, appai, tee, and cloth plant, with other useful roots, fruits, and shrubs, which extend far up the mountain, and to the southward; but in this particular direction they are excluded from the view, by an immense banyan tree, two hundred paces in circumference, whose foliage and branches form of themselves a canopy impervious to the rays of the sun. Every cottage has its outhouse for making cloth, its baking place, its sty, and its poultry.house.
"Within the enclosure of palm-trees is the cemetery where the few persons who had died on the island, together with those who met with violent deaths, are deposited. Besides the houses above mentioned, there are three or four others built upon the plantations beyond the palm-groves. One of these, situated higher up the hill than the village, belongs to Adams, who has retired from the bustle of the hamlet to a more quiet and sequestered spot, where he enjoys the advantages of an elevated situation, so desirable in warm countries; and there are four other cottages to the eastward, which belong to the Youngs and Quintals.
"All these cottages are strongly built of wood, in an oblong form, and thatched with the leaves of the palm-tree, bent round the stem of the same branch, and laced horizontally to rafters, so placed as to give a proper pitch to the roof. The greater part have an upper story, which is appropriated to sleeping, and contains four beds built in the angles of the room, each sufficiently large for three or four persons to lie on. They are made of wood of the cloth-tree, and are raised eighteen inches above the floor; a mattress of palmleaves is laid upon the planks, and above it three sheets of the cloth-plant, which form an excellent substitute for linen. The lower room generally contains one or more beds, but it is always used as their eating-room, and has a broad table in one part, with several stools placed round it. The floor is elevated about a foot from the ground, and, as well as the sides of the house, is made of stout plank,