a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership
Title: Captain Bligh's Second Voyage to the South Sea
Author: Ida Lee
A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook
eBook No.: 1204361h.html
Date first posted: December 2012
Date most recently updated: December 2012
Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do not keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition.
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file.
This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia Licence which may be viewed online.
GO TO Project Gutenberg Australia HOME PAGE
Go to Table of Contents
The second voyage of Captain Bligh to the South Sea, so far as I know, has never been published. A short description of the passage of his ships, the "Providence" and the "Assistant," through Torres Strait, was included in his work Terra Australis, by Matthew Flinders, who served as a midshipman in the "Providence". These particulars, however, were taken from Flinders' own log. Written in 1791-93 Bligh's log-books, after being for some time at the Admiralty, were lent to the Great Exhibition of 1851. They were not afterwards returned to Whitehall, but remained at South Kensington undisturbed and unsought for, until Mr. Perrin, the present Admiralty Librarian, to whom my cordial thanks are due for permission to transcribe them, recovered the forgotten volumes and replaced them in the Admiralty Library.
Interest in this second voyage of Bligh may possibly have been over-shadowed by the popularity of the story of his first voyage, which included the "Mutiny of the Bounty'". Dampier, Anson, and Cook on returning to England had given glowing accounts of the virtues of the breadfruit, and in 1787, when King George III. complied with a request from the merchants of the West Indies to introduce the tree into those islands, Bligh was placed in command of the ship chosen to carry out this object. William Bligh was a Cornishman, although at least one biographer* tells us that he was born in Kent. According to his own account, however,** he was born in 1753 in the parish of St. Tudy. Another biographer*** says that an entry appears in the register of St. Andrew's, Plymouth, to the effect that William, son of Francis and Jane Bligh, was baptised in that church on October 4th, 1754, Francis being the son of Richard Bligh, of Tintern, a duchy estate in St. Tudy, a few miles from Bodmin.
[** Polwhele's Biographical Sketches in Cornwall.]
William Bligh joined the Royal Navy at an early age. He was only twenty-three when he set sail with Cook on June 15th, 1776, on his third and last voyage. Returning home after an absence of four years, Bligh became a Lieutenant, and carried out some important surveys for the Admiralty. He fought in the battle off the Dogger Bank in 1781 and again under Lord Howe in the following year at Gibraltar. In 1787 he proceeded in the "Bounty" to Tahiti in order to collect the breadfruit.
The history of the mutiny which brought the voyage of that ship to a disastrous conclusion, and nearly cost Bligh and his loyal comrades their lives, has been told many times. A brief account of it has been included here, but primarily for comparison of the course taken by the ship's launch in which Bligh was turned adrift by the mutineers with that of the "Providence" and "Assistant". The second voyage contained no such thrilling incidents, yet it also deserves a place in the history of exploration; not only because Bligh succeeded in carrying out the mission entrusted to him, but also because of the new and valuable information that he was able to give concerning the different places visited by the ships, and the various islands which lay in their track. On Bligh's return to England after his boat voyage in March, 1790, he had been warmly welcomed by the nation and praised for his courage and skill, being promoted first to the rank of Commander, and soon afterwards to that of Post Captain. King George was particularly enthusiastic, and directed that Captain Bligh should be assigned two ships, and that he should go a second time to Tahiti and carry out the instructions which had been previously given to him. He was also ordered to make a complete examination of Torres Strait.
The first ship to be secured was the "Providence," which was launched at Blackwall with that name on April 23rd, 1791. She was purchased from Mr. Perry, and is described as being a superior ship of 420 tons burthen with three decks, while her length of keel was over 98 feet. Her complement numbered 134 men. A smaller ship, a brig of 110 tons burthen, called the "Assistant," was chosen to accompany the "Providence". Her length of keel was 51 feet, and the command of her was given to Lieutenant Nathaniel Portlock; she carried a complement of 27 men. On the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks, two skilled botanists, Mr. James Wiles and Mr. Christopher Smith were appointed to accompany the expedition. The management of the plants was placed in their charge, and, as well as taking care of the breadfruit intended for Jamaica, they had orders to bring home a collection of rare plants for the King's Garden at Kew.
The ships began to fit out at Deptford, and on June 22 dropped down to Galleons. Here the "Providence" took on board 12 carriage guns and 14 swivels, while the "Assistant" received as her share four 4-pounders and 8 swivels. The vessels then sailed to the Little Nore where they were joined by Lieutenant Pearce, 1 sergeant, 2 corporals, 1 drummer, and 15 privates of marines from the Chatham division. After a short stay at Sheerness in order to take in more ballast, the "Providence" and the "Assistant" sailed on July 12th, and passing through the Downs anchored four days later at Spithead.
From Spithead they voyaged to the Cape of Good Hope, touching on their way first at Teneriffe, and afterwards at Porto Praya. Late in the afternoon of November 6th they arrived in Table Bay. During his sojourn at the Cape, Captain Bligh wrote an account of the country in those early times, which should prove interesting reading for South Africans to-day. From Table Bay the ships sailed to Tasmania, following very closely the track that the "Bounty" had previously taken, and coming to an anchorage in Adventure Bay where she also had lain.
Here Captain Bligh saw natives, and gained new knowledge of Bruni Island and of the harbours within D'Entrecasteaux Strait as yet undiscovered. His charts arc important testimony as to what he there learned, and form a connecting-link in the chain of early Tasmanian discovery, helping to show how the coast-line of the country first made its appearance on the old world maps.
Leaving Tasmania, Bligh steered far southward of New Zealand, to enable him to be in a new track, and the ships kept in these latitudes until they had gained the longitude of Tahiti, whence they worked northwards, and discovered the low-lying Tematangi or Bligh's Lagoon Island, which in one of his letters he describes as a "half-drowned island".
At Tahiti, Captain Bligh met many of his old friends among the natives, who received him with every mark of joy, and "literally thanked God" that he had survived the perils of the boat voyage. The natives related the story of the arrival at Tahiti of the mutineers and of their final departure. Captain Bligh also learned of the visits of Captain Edwards and Captain Vancouver to the island, and of the capture of some of the mutineers by the former.
Bligh stayed over three months in Matavai Bay collecting breadfruit plants, and, after leaving, touched at Aitutaki on his way to the Tonga Islands. He then made his way to Fiji in order to survey his former discoveries.
In his second voyage through Fiji Captain Bligh entered the group to the northward of where he had brought the "Bounty's" launch in May, 1789. His ships passed between Mothe and Oneata, or rather between Mothe and the reef Thakau Lekeleka, which forms the south side of the Oneata channel. The vessels were kept plying off and on Mothe Island, and in the middle of the night the "Providence" was visited by some Fijians. With the exception of Cook's mention of a Fijian seen at Tonyataboo, Bligh's description of these men appears to be the earliest account of the natives of Fiji in existence. From Mothe he bore away on a north-westerly course, passing between Naiau and Vanua Vatu Islands, and catching a glimpse of a considerable island (Lakemba) whereon several fires were burning.
The ships lay to for the night, and at daylight, Moala, which had been seen by the launch in 1789, was identified, later Vatu Vara was seen and was christened Gibraltar Rock. Bligh spent some days completing his explorations in Fiji. He steered northwards towards Taviuni, which he thought must be two islands, and came as far north as the Nukutolo Islets. Here he spent another night, and then turning abruptly, sailed down to the south-west, crossing his old track in the launch, and passed between Nairai and Ngau Islands.
The ships continued to steer southward in order to get more sea room until they came to Kandavu, the south-westernmost island of the group, after weathering which Bligh got out to sea again.
From Fiji the ships sailed to the northernmost of the New Hebrides as Bligh wished to revisit the islands of the Banks Group seen by him in the "Bounty's" launch. They consist of Vanua Lava, Mota, Valua and Ureparapara, and it seems rather a pity that he did not try to open communications with the inhabitants who at one place were seen in strong numbers upon the beaches.
Bligh next took the ships through the dangerous Louisiades and into Torres Strait by an entrance which ever since bears his name, Bligh Entrance, and is the best approach to the Great North-East Channel. After some perilous navigation in threading his way through the strait, he left it by a channel which is also called Bligh Channel after him.
What is rather remarkable about Bligh's tracks is that the courses he took in Torres Strait through two different channels, firstly in the "Bounty's" launch through Prince of Wales Channel on the west side of the strait, and secondly with the "Providence" and "Assistant" on the eastern side through Bligh Entrance, are both to-day recommended by the authorities as the safest and best.
Having passed through Torres Strait, Bligh sailed to Timor, and spent some time refreshing his ships at Coupang. From Coupang he went round the Cape of Good Hope without touching at any port until he reached St. Helena on December 17th, 1792. He left there some of the breadfruit plants and others of rare species with the Governor, Colonel Broke, and then took his departure for St. Vincent, where he arrived on January 23rd, 1793.
A week was spent there landing plants and receiving those intended for Kew Gardens, and when the work was finished the voyage was resumed. Jamaica was sighted on February 4th, but the ships did not reach Port Royal until the following day, when Bligh's task was successfully accomplished and the breadfruit brought to Jamaica.
Unhappily there was only a small practical result of the voyage as far as the plants were concerned, as we are told that the West Indians disliked the flavour of the breadfruit, and preferred the plantain.
The "Providence" and the "Assistant" had an uneventful voyage back to England; France and England were at war, and although they must have run danger of being captured, they reached the Downs safely on August 2nd, and anchored at Deptford on the 7th.
In May, 1801, Captain Bligh was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in consideration of his distinguished services in navigation and in botany. The most lasting benefits of Bligh's voyage, however, were those gained by the seamen who followed him into southern waters, from their knowledge of his explorations. Such discoverers as Flinders and King profited by his investigations and experiences.
In both voyages Bligh had extraordinary opportunities of proving his skill in navigation; in both voyages he was singularly fortunate; and in both voyages he made fresh discoveries where Tasman and Torres had preceded him. It is not too much to say that his countrymen are indebted to him for their first knowledge of Fiji and of the islands in Torres Strait.
Over and over again men have gone forth as Bligh did in the service of their country, and yet there is barely a vestige of evidence to show what they have done. Bligh's work remains. Many times he is seen as a prominent figure in maritime exploration and in naval enterprise--as sailing master with Cook in the "Resolution," until the great navigator's death at Hawaii on February 13th, 1779; as commander of the "Bounty" in 1789; and later as victim of the mutiny when he was cast adrift. Then followed his wonderful voyage when his boat ploughed Fijian seas, which no Englishman had ever traversed. Once more he appears as Captain of the "Providence" in 1791-93, threading his way through Torres Strait--a pioneer in the charting of those unknown waters.
We find him back in Europe in 1797 when, on the breaking out of the mutiny at the Nore, the Admiralty employed him to go among the men and do what he could to restore order. On that occasion he behaved with great bravery. In the same year he was in command of the "Director" at the battle of Camperdown, when Admiral Duncan defeated the Dutch under De Winter.
In 1801 he "led the 'Glatton'"* (54) at the battle of Copenhagen, under Lord Nelson, who having sent for him after the action, said in the presence of several officers: "Bligh, I sent for you to thank you. You have supported me nobly." In 1811 he was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral, and to that of Vice-Admiral in 1814. He died on December 7th, 1817, aged sixty-four years, and was buried in the Church of St. Mary, Lambeth, where a monument was erected to his memory.
At sea he was always capable, persevering, and courageous, and his name distinguishes many places in the Southern Hemisphere, the first to be called after him being a black rock off Kerguelen Land, in 48° 29' S., christened Bligh's Cap by Cook. On shore his work seems to have been on a lower level, and as Governor of New South Wales (1806-10) he was not a success.
With regard to the mutiny it is of course well known that many of Bligh's contemporaries set an example which has been freely followed, of blaming him for its occurrence. Among those who have censured him, Marshall (1824) is conspicuous, as is also Lady Belcher (1870), wife of the Admiral of that name, the former being influenced by Heywood's statements at the trial of the mutineers, and also by those contained in Morrison's journal. The author does not in this volume make any comment upon the mutiny, or discuss Bligh's merits or his failings in connection with it. It is her aim to show the part played by Captain Bligh as a seaman and a discoverer.
At the beginning of his Journal Captain Bligh gives us the following information concerning his observations:--
"To assist me in my astronomical observations I have three chronometers, two made by Earnshaw and one by Arnold. The longitude of each time-keeper will be set down at noon.*
[* The nautical reckoning of the log-books commenced at noon, twelve hours earlier than the civil account, excepting while in port, when civil time was observed.]
"The variation of the compass will be always observed on the binnacle taking the shadow each way fore and aft, so that two observations are performed by each compass, the mean of which is considered the truth.
"The compasses are by G. Adams.
"The log will be always marked in proportion of 50 feet to thirty seconds of time. The mean height of the eye, about the level of the sea, is equal to 3' 49" altitude."
PREFACE I. The Ships leave England II. The Cape of Good Hope III. Tasmania IV. From Tasmania to Tahiti V. The Arrival at Tahiti VI. The Mutiny of the "Bounty" VII. In Matavai Bay VIII. Among the Tahitians IX. The Breadfruit Plants Collected X. Wytootackee and the Tonga Islands XI. Discovery of Fiji XII. Fiji Explored XIII. The New Hebrides XIV. Torres Strait--Bligh's Entrance XV. In Torres Strait XVI. Torres Strait--Bligh's Farewell XVII. Coupang XVIII. Timor to Jamaica and Home XIX. The Journal of Lieutenant Portlock INDEX
01. Captain William Bligh 02. A Sketch of the Island of St. Paul 03. A Survey of Van Diemen's Land 04. A Plan of Adventure Bay in Van Diemen's Land 05. The "Providence" and "Assistant" at Anchor in Adventure Bay 06. Bligh's Lagoon Island (Tematangi) (Low Archipelago) 07. Matavi Bay, Oparre and Taowne Harbours 08. Captain James Cook 09. A Single Sailing Canoe of Otaheite (Tahiti) 10. Wytootackee (Aitutaki) 11. Natives of Wytootackee (Aitutaki) 12. A Chart of Bligh's Island (Fiji) 13. Natives of Bligh's Islands (Fiji) 14. Part of the Fiji Islands to show Captain Bligh's Track in 1792 15. A Chart of the Islands North of the New Hebrides (Banks Islands) 16. A Survey of the Straits between New Holland and New Guinea (Torres Strait) 17. Canoe of the Islands--South Coast of New Guinea
F. G. Bond
Lieutenant of Marines
On Wednesday, August 3rd, 1791, Captain Bligh left England for the second time in search of the breadfruit.
The "Providence" and the "Assistant" sailed from Spithead in fine weather, the wind being fair and the sea calm. As they passed down the Channel the Portland Lights were visible on the 4th, and on the following day the land about the Start. Here an English frigate standing after them proved to be H.M.S. "Winchelsea" bound for Plymouth, and those on board the "Providence" and "Assistant" sent off their last shore letters by the King's ship. A strange sail was sighted on the 9th which soon afterwards hoisted Dutch colours, and on the loth a Swedish brig passed them on her way from Alicante to Gothenburg.
Black clouds hung above the horizon throughout the next day threatening a storm which burst over the ships on the 12th, with thunder and very vivid lightning. When it had abated a spell of fine weather set in and good progress was made by both vessels. Another ship was seen on the 15th, and after the "Providence" had fired a gun to bring her to, was found to be a Portuguese schooner making for Cork. On this day "to encourage the people to be alert in executing their duty and to keep them in good health," Captain Bligh ordered them "to keep three watches, but the master himself to keep none so as to be ready for all calls".
Four strange sail were in sight on the morning of the 18th, although none came within hail, and land birds were following Bligh's ships; one like a woodcock tried to reach the "Assistant," but fell into the water only a few yards from the brig.
The wind on the 19th freshened into a strong gale with heavy rain which drenched the "Providence" so much that fires were kept alight at night fore and aft, and an officer and seaman of each watch told off to attend to and dry the saturated clothes. This practice was continued throughout the voyage, in wet and damp weather, and helped to keep the men in good health.
On Monday, August 22nd, amid a little excitement, the effects of Mr. William Day, midshipman, who had failed to join his ship before she left Spithead, were sold at the mast, his non-appearance having caused the captain much annoyance. At this time the distance between the two ships had greatly increased, and Captain Bligh tells us that he "bore down to the 'Assistant'" in order to prevent a separation. Thick heavy weather set in on the 23rd, and the sea ran high until the 26th, when the "Providence" spoke the "Redbridge," whaler, bound to the Southern Fishery. She had left Southampton on the loth, and her master, John Kelly, being very ill, Captain Bligh sent Mr. Harwood, surgeon of the "Providence," on board his ship to prescribe for him.
Early in the morning of August 27th the Island of Teneriffe was sighted. The land appeared "high in the clouds above our heads. It was only at times we could see the Pic which was covered as well as all the country round with a prodigious thick haze. At noon by my bearings I found I was on a meridian with St. Francis' Church."
A fair wind towards evening induced Captain Bligh to try and gain his anchorage, but he had no sooner got within reach of it than the breeze dropped and the high land becalmed the ships. At the same moment a blast of hot wind blew towards them from the shore which "seemed as though it had passed through a furnace and caused those on board great discomfort". The ships were compelled to put out to sea for the night, but they steered in-shore in the morning and were towed by the boats safely to an anchorage. A Spanish packet and several merchantmen were lying there.
As soon as he had anchored, Captain Bligh sent an officer to call upon the Governor and to obtain supplies of wine, water, and fresh beef from the Agent. The Governor was absent among the islands, and the commandant "neither received nor returned any salute". During the stay of the vessels in the port Captain Bligh was seized with a severe attack of fever, which so weakened him that he was obliged to place Mr. Portlock in charge of the "Providence," while Mr. Bond replaced the latter in command of the "Assistant". On September 2nd the two ships made sail from Teneriffe, Bligh continuing very ill. At 6 p.m. on the 10th the west end of Bonavista was just in sight, and Luton rock an hour later: on September 11th they entered Porto Praya, St. Iago, where they anchored. Here an American schooner from Boston, and the "Industry," whaler, were lying in port.*
[* Mr. Portlock was warned by Mr. England, gunner of the "Providence," who had served here in the sloop "Fairy," that "a prodigious sea sets into the bay two months in the year. It is called the Rollers, and it is absolutely necessary for ships to put to sea or they may founder at their anchors. The 'Fairy' once only just escaped them. She was then protecting Mr. Braithwaite and his companions who were recovering with a diving machine the treasure of the E.I. Co. ship 'Hartwell' which had run ashore at Bonavista."]
Captain Bligh writes of Porto Praya in his journal: "My illness seemed to increase on our anchoring at Porto Praya; a more miserable and burnt up and inhospitable place I never beheld; the shore is low and barren: the interior part mountainous, without a single spot of verdure to delight the eye or invite the stranger to land. The wind came in hot blasts from the shore, and I saw so little advantage to be gained by my stay here that I should have weighed instantly if the surgeon had not recommended me to send on shore to procure fruit...This was done...only a few oranges were obtained, and Mr. Tobin found the place very sickly."
Mr. Tobin and Mr. Pearce, Lieutenants of Marines, while on shore tried to find a house where Captain Bligh could spend a few days comfortably to enable him to combat the severity of the fever, but the reports were so unfavourable, and the complaint was also raging so violently in the place, where "six or seven people die daily," that the ships, after spending only one night there, put to sea again on Monday, September 12th. As they were leaving the harbour the bower anchor of the "Providence" was unfortunately lost.
Not until the 15th, "when the air was remarkably cool for our situation," did Captain Bligh feel somewhat better. The log records, however, that he was often "distracted with headache" and suffered occasionally from a return of the fever for a much longer period.
Two strange sail were seen to the southward on the 21st, and next day the "Providence" spoke one of them. She hoisted her colours, and was seen to be a French brig thirty days out from Havre and bound for the River Gambia. She remained in sight of Bligh's ships for two days, and dispatches from Captain Bligh to the Admiralty were sent home by her.
On the 23rd "a prodigious number of porpoises were seen darkening from the S.E. They were two miles ahead when we first saw them and extended from two points on the lee bow to two points on the weather." Shortly afterwards one of the quartermasters, an old southern whaler, harpooned two of them, but to the disappointment of the sailors both broke their hold and got away.
On October 3rd the ships crossed the line. Captain Bligh had by then greatly improved in health, and we read that on Sunday, October 9th, he was once more able to perform Divine Service on board the "Providence".
At this time a flight of "curious birds resembling seagulls" were following the course of the ships, and towards the end of October frigate birds, storm petrels, albatrosses, and white and brown boobies were frequently seen, and the appearance of each species is separately noted in Bligh's log-book. A little earlier in the month two large albatrosses had hovered for some time around the ship, when suddenly one of them flew on board, and seizing a large hook, broke it, a surprising feat even for an albatross.
Nothing occurred to disturb the harmony of the ships' passage to the Cape until October 30th, when John Letby, quartermaster, refused to carry out the orders of Mr. Impey (mate of the hold), and then knocked down F. Barber, the boatswain's mate, who had been told to send him to duty. For this bad conduct Letby was punished with thirty lashes.
November came in with frequent squalls, and for some days the ships encountered rough weather. On the 5th, being then on the parallel of Cape Town, the course was altered and they steered a point to the southward. On the following day the Sugar Loaf Hill was sighted in the south-east, and at noon the Lion's Rump was 7 leagues distant. Late in the afternoon of November 6th the "Providence" and the "Assistant" entered Table Bay and anchored 1 mile off-shore. Six Dutch Indiamen, two English whalers, and a French brigantine were found riding there.
An officer was sent to wait on the Governor, and shortly afterwards a message came from the Lieutenant-Governor requesting that salutes should be exchanged in the morning, and next day, accordingly, the two ships saluted the Fort with thirteen guns, which courtesy was returned with the same number. Captain Bligh then went to call upon Mr. Rhenius, the Lieutenant-Governor, who, in the absence of the Governor, Mr. Van De Graaf, in Europe, was invested with the command. These formalities over, the captain made arrangements for a tent to be pitched on shore while the ships were being thoroughly overhauled, and gave orders for the sick men "who required the advantage of the land air to be sent to sick quarters". Then, he tells us, he endeavoured to restore his own impaired health.
While the "Providence" and the "Assistant" were lying at anchor, a number of ships came into and sailed out of Table Bay, among the latter being the "Chaser" of London, commanded by Captain Lloyd, from Delaware Bay, and the "Loyalist" of London, Clark master, both English whalers, and two French brigs (one from Marseilles), both of which were carrying slaves to Martinique.
On November 27th the "Pitt," transport, Captain Manning, for Port Jackson, arrived from Rio, and the "Duke of Clarence"* from Saint Helena.
[* Probably the ship in which Captain John Hayes explored Tasmanian waters in 1793.]
On December 16th an English ship was seen to arrive at the entrance of the harbour flying signals of distress. The "Providence" fired twenty-two guns at intervals, and boats from various ships were sent to tow the stranger into the bay. She proved to be the "Waaksamheyd," Captain John Hunter, from Batavia. There were on board with Captain Hunter many officers and part of the crew of H.M.S. "Sirius" which had been wrecked at Norfolk Island. The "Sirius" had sailed from Port Jackson on March 6th, 1790, and after she was wrecked Governor Philip hired the Dutch snow, which had brought provisions to New South Wales, to take the officers and crew to England. She left Sydney on March 27th, 1791, and proved a very bad sailer. It was blowing so hard on her arrival at the Cape that she was unable to reach a place of safety, and having lost two anchors and cables in the attempt she had to put to sea again. At length, with the assistance sent by Captain Bligh, she was safely moored in Table Bay on December 22nd.
Captain Bligh writes: "During my stay here nothing of a material nature intervened scarce worth relating. The ships were got ready and my disease began to wear away. I might have established my health had I kept away from Cape Town, but it was necessary for me to remain near the ship. I received only a partial relief by a short excursion into the country to Stellinbosch, a pretty village about 25 miles eastward of Cape Town, so called after a Captain Stellin who first planted a tree there.* It is situated on a small plain watered by a charming river and shaded by luxuriant oaks in the neighbourhood of wild and inaccessible mountains. The adjacent hills give eligible situations for farms, and produce corn, grapes, peaches, apricots, almonds, and abundance of vegetables."
[* It was called after a Governor named Van der Stell who planted an orchard there.]
"The town consists of 40 or 50 houses and a church neatly built; the houses are so detached that the town occupies a large space and has the benefit of gardens. The church had the year 1722 carved on the upper part of the doorway, but some of the houses are of a much more ancient date. If stature or robust looks are proofs of a fine climate they are observable among the Dutch here.
"The soil in some places is a kind of clay which produces corn and charming vineyards, and the droves of horned cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and poultry denote opulence. The roads in general are so sandy as to render travelling bearable only in covered wagons...their oxen are the most swift in labour of any in the world. It is common to see eight of them driven full gallop with a wagon and managed only by a lash of the whip.
"Partridge, snipe, and wild duck are the common game; about the hills are a number of deer and ostriches--the deer is dry food and lean--parties go after these in open wagons with eight horses. They drive these two abreast without a leader, and it is common for them to run full 50 miles. They fire from the wagon, and in their full tilt will take the shortest turnings without accident. I had one day's sport, but our prowess gave us but one ostrich, some partridges, and moor game. We saw several deer, but could not get a shot at them.
"The Madeira wine of this country is equal to any in the world, but it is only at some of the opulent farmers' houses that it is to be got of the best. This quality is as superior to Constantia as Constantia is to common Malmsey. The different kinds of grape produce many sorts of wine, so that little can be known of them under the common term Cape Wine. From the last of January to the last of August, the wine season, the farmer is permitted to drive his wine or brandy to town, but at other parts of the year he may ship it off by paying three Spanish dollars to the Company and five to the Pachter for every leaguer.
"The superior part for vineyards is an extensive flat called the Paarl. It has a considerable rock on a hill which resembles the longitudinal of a pear more than a pearl from which it is said to derive its name. An immense rock of the same stone lies adjoining it with a narrow pass between the two. This pass leads into a deep valley and on the opposite side of it is another mass of stone, one side of which is buried in the steps of the hill. Its base lying far below the other renders it not so remarkable. I saw a hundred large baboons on the side of it basking in the sun.
"The height of Paarl Hill is nothing compared to those around it, and it cannot be called a mountain. I rode to the top of it and it is not difficult of access. The Paarl Rock only is accessible; the one adjoining it having perpendicular sides; they are nearly of a height, and Dr. Anderson's comparison of the size of the Paarl to that of St. Paul's Church, is too great by the whole cupola. The wood about these hills is in general small and some of it grows out of solid rock. The stone, however, being friable, it is not so much a phenomenon as at Timor where trees grow out of rocks as hard as flint.
"In a note in Cook's 'Last Voyage,' vol. i., p. 45, he points out the difference of observation of Holben and De la Caille. I attribute this to Dr. Anderson's having called the Paarl the Tower of Babel, which it is not. The Tower of Babel is a few miles from it, and as De la Caille says, 'est un très bas monticule'. Mr. Sonnerat's description of the Paarl is less accurate; instead of it being one of the highest mountains in the neighbourhood of the Cape he would have been nearer the truth had he said it was among the smallest...The Tower of Babel is a small round hill lying near the road between Stellinbosch and the Paarl...A neat church is built in a proper situation for the parish.
"The police, like those of Stellinbosch, are governed by a chief magistrate*--referring to Cape Town in all cases of life and death. I remained a week only at Stellinbosch, where I lived at Mr. Borchaud's, a sensible, worthy man, minister of the Parish...A distracted headache returned to me at Cape Town."
"I was obliged to Mr. Breddau, who lives near Table Hill, for the plants he gave to us. I took about 240 from him that we might not only have some for propagation where we were likely to touch at, but others to give the gardeners information of the treatment necessary on board ship. In this gentleman's garden is the thing best worth seeing of any at Cape Town. It is a beautiful spring of fine water. I left with Mr. Brandt three nectarine trees, which I was told were the only ones ever in that country.
"As I considered it necessary for the good of the service I sent Lieutenant Portlock a copy of my general orders with my directions how to proceed.
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE,
Dec. 20th, 1791.
I have enclosed a copy of my general orders which you will take care of and be guided by in case you are separated from me. I shall not go to the southward of 40° South on our way to Adventure Bay (which you are to consider as the first place of rendezvous) until I get a meridian with the west side of New Holland, unless the wind obliges me to do so. I will wait for you in Adventure Bay ten days. Should a separation he the cause of my being there before you I will leave a bottle with a letter in it on Penguin Island covered with stones on the part nearest the main, and cut some memorandum on a tree near the River's mouth towards the sea. Should you get there before me stay the same time and do the like. From Van Diemen's Land I shall proceed to Otaheite (by the South of New Zealand) where our rendezvous is to beat Matavai Bay on the north side of the island. Should my misfortune prevent my joining you there you are to do the best for His Majesty's Service, and as you think yourself capable to comply with the orders from my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.
I am, etc.,
The "Providence" and "Assistant" left Table Bay on December 23rd, T 791; as they sailed out they saluted the Fort with fifteen guns which were returned. "We cheered Captain Hunter and the 'Swan' cheered us," writes Bligh, "H.M.S. 'Swan,' Captain Jno. Elphinstone, being then in the port."
On leaving Table Bay, as they steered eastward Bligh's ships had fair weather with light breezes for several days. Early on Christmas Day a storm had threatened but the sea moderated later and became calm again. Supplies of fresh mutton, flour, pork, and onions were served to the men "to make a sea pie for each person," and this seems to have been the only attempt made to celebrate Christmas. On December 29th Captain Bligh hove a bottle overboard to Mr. Portlock, with the rate of his time-keeper, which was safely picked up by the "Assistant". On January 6th, 1792, Bligh records that "when going above six knots, we sail faster than the 'Assistant,' but when the wind will not carry us, she sails better than we do."
Two days later a heavy sea broke in on the larboard gallery, and strong gales continued until January 15th. On this day the time-keepers were found to err, giving 2' 11" less longitude than that given by observation. Mr. Portlock says that in the afternoon he heard a most extraordinary sound in the water close to the "Assistant". "It was like a voice, not like the voice of a bird, but like that of some animal, and so much like a moaning that had we been in the wake of the 'Providence,' I should have concluded they had dropt a man overboard."
The ships came abreast of the Island of St. Paul on the 18th; Captain Bligh had intended to land at this high inaccessible island, but he felt sure that the foggy weather he encountered there would cause him risk and delay. It was a disappointment to him not to be able to ascertain whether the island was inhabited and if any fresh water was to be found. Dutch captains had assured him that there was plenty. He gave their account of the place as follows: "The east port of St. Paul bearing S.W. by S. (by the compass, for they never use the magnetic bearings, their compasses being daily rectified by a movable center card) there is a good anchorage in 23 fms. on a bank of fine black sand. It is a good road, and fine fresh water is to be got and there is also a hot spring in which fish can be dressed as if boiled on the fire."
Bligh continues: "There appears some confusion in calling St. Paul and Amsterdam twin islands, although they lie in such an immense space without any known land near them, but I have seen no old maps of them where the southernmost was not called St. Paul and the northernmost Amsterdam,* and I see no reason to alter this."
[* An old geographer writes, not without reason: "These islands have been objects of singular confusion". Both before and after Bligh's voyage their names were reversed by navigators. Vlamingh, the Dutchman, who first examined them in 1696 called the northernmost Amsterdam or Isle of St. Peter. The southern island was given the name of St. Paul. Barrow and Beautemps-Beaupré (who accompanied D'Entrecasteaux) were both misled as to their proper situation, the former describing St. Paul by the name of Amsterdam, while Beaupré has given six views of the supposed isle of Amsterdam which is really that of St. Paul. In 1873 the late Commodore Goodenough was ordered to call at Amsterdam on his way southwards to see if anyone was living there as the island was known to have been inhabited by sealers and castaways. Goodenough saw no one, but he inspected the house (near which stood a flagstaff) that had the appearance of age. French people had recently left it, and a notice of their departure was found written on the fly-leaf of a book. From its appearance, the Commodore says, the house might have been built in 1795 when M. Perron and his companions had lived there. The story of Perron's coming to Sydney in January, 1796, is told by Colonel Collins in his account of New South Wales. The ship "Ceres" brought four people to the colony, two English and two French, one of the latter being M. Perron: they had spent three years on Amsterdam and had existed chiefly on seal's flesh. Perron had kept a journal and made sketches of the island. In relating this Commodore Goodenough adds in his journal: "As, however, at that time the names of the islands had somehow been reversed, M. Perron may have been on St. Paul".]
Captain Bligh obtained some accurate information with regard to the situation of the anchorage at St. Paul, which he says he had sought for in vain in Mortimer's publication describing the voyage of Captain Cox. When the "Bounty" had passed this island in 1788, he had been prevented himself from finding its exact longitude owing to the winter's passage. He was now able to make a chart of it, and writes:--
"...I consider the latitude of the east end of the island to be 38° 48' S. by longitude 77° 42' E."
In its neighbourhood were many different kinds of birds, and flocks of tern with silver-coloured feathers and red bills were seen fishing off this end of the island.
Bearing away from St. Paul the ships continued to sail on an easterly course until they were on a parallel with the southern shores of Western Australia when they steered southwards to Tasmania, or, as it was then called, Van Diemen's Land. On the voyage thither little of importance occurred. Great care was taken to keep the men in health, and sweet wort or sour krout was served out to them with great regularity on board both ships. At this time Mr. Portlock remarks of the "Assistant's" crew, "Thank God all perfectly well except the boatswain".
On Wednesday, February 1st, the wind freshened into a strong gale and the water became rough--much sea coming from the W.S.W. Three days later the ships met a heavy cross sea which almost enveloped the "Assistant," while the "Providence" also shipped much water.
Captain Bligh was now rounding the southern shores of Tasmania.
Bunches of rock weed called Tangle, "as it is like the lashes of coach whips," were seen on the water, and there also appeared numbers of a species of grampus known to South Sea Whalers as Black Fish.* At sunrise, on the morning of February 8th, land was sighted.
[* Globiscephalus melas.]
This was the third time that Bligh had seen this then little-known land, and there was with him on board the "Providence," as midshipman, Matthew Flinders, who was destined to explore the country thoroughly, and who six years later, in company with Dr. Bass, first circumnavigated the island.
The ships first made the land slightly westward of South West Cape. The morning was thick and foggy, but through the mist the coast appeared in the form of huge masses of rock set one upon another with scarcely a vestige of wood anywhere to be seen.
The "Providence" and "Assistant" steered towards the Mewstone, and from here the country had a better appearance, being well covered with wood, especially on the sides of the hills. The vessels stood without the Mewstone, and as they drew near the land a thick smoke from native fires was rising among the trees. Baffling winds prevented the ships getting into Adventure Bay until next morning at daybreak, when they were brought to at a quarter of a mile from the west end of the beach.
As soon as the anchors were let go Captain Bligh went on shore with a party of officers to fix a spot where the ships could obtain water, and also to find a place for the wooding parties. He thought the west end of the beach, where the "Bounty" had wooded in 1788, most suitable for the wooders, and the best water was found at the old watering place of the "Resolution". Having been master in that ship when Cook visited Tasmania in 1777, Bligh knew exactly its situation and that it was a plentiful stream.
While a party from the ships were tracing the stream to its source, they came across an old native hut round which lay the remains of a repast of shell-fish, showing that the natives had lately been there. The hut was 8 feet wide and about 4 feet high. Its form resembled a beehive--the open part facing north-east. It was constructed, as were many others afterwards seen, with small branches of trees, the large ends fixed in the ground, and "crossing each other they are here tied together with a kind of tough grass". Over these rafters were laid sheets of bark "in the manner of tiles".
Inside the hut were little heaps of sea-snails and other shells with the remains of a kind of lobster or cray-fish. Later on the bones of an animal, most likely the kangaroo, were found in some of these huts, and some woven baskets made from a species of sea-rush,* in which were small pieces of white stone with rolls of soft bark wrapped up carefully in dry grass, showing that the natives obtained their fire by striking two pieces of stone together. Lieutenant Tobin says the stone was white and hard and very different from any that had been seen in Adventure Bay. Fine shavings of wood were also picked up, and near them a bundle of dried bark about 2 feet long, tied tightly together, which was evidently intended for a flambeau.
[* Junctus maritimus.]
Captain Bligh thought the native huts neither wind nor water-proof. He saw an old saw pit near the anchorage, which he had made during the "Bounty's" stay, partly filled in, but the cross logs remained the same as did a post which he had set up. A piece of red baize was found lying on the ground perfectly fresh in colour and not in the least decayed.
He saw no signs of any ship having called there, and indeed none had been, unless it was some storm-bound vessel on her way to Sydney. But Admiral Bruni D'Entrecasteaux's ships were now heading towards Tasmania, where they arrived in April, just two months after Bligh had left. The French Admiral made the discovery that a strait ran between the island that Bligh was now examining and the mainland. D'Entrecasteaux named both the strait and island after himself. On his first arrival he anchored in Recherche Bay, an indentation in the mainland to the south of the strait; he then sailed northward and carried out the explorations which have won him so much fame as a Tasmanian discoverer.
The afternoon of Bligh's arrival had been given up to the crews--by way of rest--and on the following day the weather prevented any work being done until after 10 o'clock. From this time onward, however, different parties were arranged to go on shore, and every one, was kept busily employed during their stay. The giant forest trees growing around Adventure Bay, from the time of their first coming, had greatly impressed the visitors. They were called by Dr. White of H.M.S. "Sirius," Eucalyptus resinifera, and were a species of the eucalyptus commonly known as the Tasmanian blue gum tree. In writing of these tall trees Bligh calls them by the name Metrocedera.* Lieutenant Tobin has also written of them: "From the head of the bay (Adventure Bay) to the low neck of land which separates it from one to the northward (Isthmus Bay in D'Entrecasteaux Strait) is only four miles...the country...is covered with trees of great height and magnitude. I measured one that was twenty-nine feet in girth, and I saw some that were even larger. In general, the trunks grow to a great height before they branch out; the leaf is not long and not unlike a peach, and the bark is light-coloured and has the appearance of having been peeled."
[* Evidently Metrosideros, now restricted to a closely allied genus. The genus Eucalyptus was first established by L'Héritier.]
Among the wood found in East Cove was a kind called Snake Wood, being remarkable for the way in which the grain ran in a wave through it. Captain Bligh says that "it is used in veneering, and one of our people at home heard of it and desired me to look for it. It is of light colour." The wooders had cut it down and burned the branches so that the leaf could not be found, "but," adds the commander, "it is certainly one of the metrocedera kind".
From Adventure Bay Mr. Wiles and Mr. Smith, the botanists, made excursions into different parts of Bruni Island in search of plants. One day they went to Nelson's Hill, so named by Bligh in honour of the botanist of the "Bounty" "the first white man ever on it"; another day going northward towards Cape Frederick Henry, where they saw native huts but no recent marks of the Tasmanians. They got some valuable specimens here, and when looking westward upon the waters of D'Entrecasteaux Strait, they supposed the narrowest part of a bay (Bligh's Frederick Henry Bay) to be not more than 300 yards wide.
Captain Bligh had fruit trees, strawberries, pomegranates, and a rosemary planted near the lake at the east end of the beach. He examined this lake himself in a small boat belonging to the "Assistant," and writes "It winds through a flat surrounded by hills and bears nothing but wire grass reeds and a few shrubs--the water is everywhere brackish". Penguin Island, so named by Captain Furneaux, because he had caught a curious penguin there, was often visited; the ship's goats were sent there to feed, and when the commander went over the island "they followed him about everywhere and made much bleating when he left them".
Kangaroos were often seen by different parties, but not often shot, as they were wild and crouched down out of sight in the long wire grass which formed good cover for them. Wild duck frequented Adventure Bay; many were brought down and were good eating. There were also black swans swimming on the lake and in the rivers. The brown quail were mistaken for partridges by the Englishmen, and a little later the French made the same mistake, christening an island in D'Entrecasteaux Channel, where they found them, L'Ile aux Perdrix.
Bligh mentions the dark-coloured lizards, the bright-plumaged parrots, a rat with a head like a mole,* and a black cockatoo* which was shot; it had six long black feathers in its tail, speckled with yellow, so that when the bird flew they formed a circular yellow mark; "its body was larger than the largest parrots, and its head disproportionately formed and rough". This bird measured 3 feet S inches from tip to tip of the wings when spread out. The carpenter also knocked down a reptile called by seamen a galley wasp. It resembled an overgrown lizard, and crawled like one. It was black in colour, spotted with yellow, and the commander says, "it is well known on the coast of America".
[* Tobin also describes an animal "the size of a large roasting pig, with short legs and long claws," which evidently was a wombat.]
[** A variety of the Banksian cockatoo.]
The platypus, however, was quite new to the discoverers, and we are told that Lieutenant Guthrie killed "an animal of a very odd form". Bligh thus describes it: "It was seventeen inches long, and has a small flat head connected so close to the shoulders that it can scarce be said to have a neck. It has no mouth like any other animal, but a kind of a duck bill, two inches long, which opens at the extremity and will not admit anything above the size of a pistol ball. It has four legs, and on each foot are very sharp claws; it has no tail but a rump not unlike a penguin's, on which are quills of rusty brown." As he ends his account of the birds he saw, Bligh adds: "Near our fires we had little birds like robins, except the want of a red breast, that visited us as domestically as in England".
On February 18th the smoke of native fires was seen in the direction of Cape Frederick Henry, and on this day it was much nearer to the anchorage than ever before. Many tall trees in the surrounding country had been hollowed out by fire, and the French thought when they came to Bruni Island later on that the natives made their homes in these hollow trunks, for the burnt-out recesses like the openings in their huts invariably faced the north-east. Lieutenant Tobin had heard a similar report, but after examining them he wrote, "I imagine no such custom exists".
On February 19th some of Bligh's men met twenty-two men and women at Gully Head, near the low land surrounding Frederick Henry Bay. There was much surprise not unmixed with fear at the sight of the white men. The Tasmanians were coming towards the ships, and probably because of the hills between had not seen their visitors until they were a short distance from them. There were sixteen men and six women, one of the latter carrying a child on her back. Neither sex was quite naked, although their coverings, the skins of some animal--most likely the wallaby--were loosely worn over their shoulders. All the men had beards.
The interview was very short, and we are told that the natives were anxious to have a hat, but the weather was too wet for their visitors to spare one: Bligh had heard that the inhabitants of Oyster Bay, during the "Mercury's" stay there, had also wished for hats. After this interview only a young man remained behind for a few minutes, and took some bread that was presented to him by the Englishmen. It is curious that when the French officers were afterwards surveying Bruni Island they disturbed a party of natives at a meal, and a young native who had left his basket behind him turned again to seek it and passed Lieutenant Cretin with an air of absolute fearlessness. One wonders whether this fearless young aboriginal was the same man who had staved behind to receive bread from Bligh's people.*
[* One of the natives made the French understand that he had seen a ship or ships in Adventure Bay.]
The natives seen by the English were of middle-size and well formed. They left four spears at the place where the two parties met, and a short stick like one which had been seen by Captain Cook. Bligh describes the spears as straight and tapering, being about 10 feet 6 inches long, and he remarks: "They are fit for trout fishing rods".
Close to this spot there was a skeleton of a new hut which the natives were constructing but had not finished, and inside it two kangaroo skins were found.
While he was in Adventure Bay Bligh saw the memorandum which had been cut on the trees in 1777 during Cook's visit, and he cut one there himself stating that he had called in February, 1792, and this was seen by the French* on their second visit to Tasmania during their search for La Pérouse.
[* The inscription ran thus: "Near this tree Captain William Bligh planted seven fruit trees 1792:--Messrs. S. and W., botanists." Of these trees all but one were alive. Labillardière, the French naturalist, was scandalised by "the despotism which condemned men of science to initials and gave a sea captain a monopoly of fame".]
On February 20th, the wooding and watering operations being finished, the "Providence" and "Assistant" were ready for sea, and the commander says that he would have sailed on that day had not a member of the "Assistant's" crew absented himself and could not be found. A search was made and guns were fired, but still the man did not return. Captain Bligh, greatly concerned at his absence, ordered a light to be left all night at the ships' mastheads to show him the way back to the bay.
Next morning parties were sent out to search for him. He was eventually discovered near the beach by Lieutenant Pearce and one of the botanists. This man, it was afterwards proved, had wished to desert from the "Assistant" and did not want to be brought back. His name was Bennet.
On the morning of February 23rd, at daybreak, the ships got under sail and went to examine the land to the northward, as before he finally left Tasmania the Captain wished to see more of the coast.
He steered to the head of Storm Bay and got a good view of the mainland which in all parts looked pleasant and was covered with wood. There were numerous native fires in different places and particularly "about the shores of Table Mountain, which," says Bligh prophetically, "is certainly the finest part of the country and the most likely place to find rivers".
While the ships were off the coast of Cape Frederick Henry the "Assistant" had the misfortune to carry away her foreyard. Bligh then put back into Adventure Bay coming in after dark, and he remarks, "this is the third time I have worked into this bay on a very dark night. I give it as proof of its being easy of access."
After the "Assistant" had refitted, the vessels, on February 24th, resumed their voyage.
REMARKS AT ADVENTURE BAY, VAN DIEMEN'S LAND. FROM CAPTAIN BLIGH'S JOURNAL.
"My third visit to the country has been attended with scarce any new occurrence. I had hoped that my last voyage might have been productive of some good. But of all the plants I planted only one apple tree remained. It has not produced any fruit nor shows luxuriance of growth, not having made a shoot exceeding 12 inches; it, however, remains in a healthy state and may, if it escapes more accidents of wind and weather, produce fruit. Those that were planted with it have certainly been destroyed by fire or the fall of trees. I can't help reflecting on my inattention in not searching for the potatoes I had planted. I saw no vestige above ground, and never thought of digging till I came away. It is not impossible they have increased. I have seen no reason to hope that the hogs left here by Captain Cook or any breed of them were alive. I am, however, sanguine that the cock and two hens I have left will breed and get wild.
"Perhaps the most valuable of articles I have planted this time are nine fine young oak plants about eight inches high. They were planted at East Cove on the slope of the hill on the left side of the flat as you land about 200 yards from the water side. On Penguin Island and Grass Point I sowed fir seed, apricot, and peach stones. I expect the oaks and the fir will thrive, and some water cresses that were placed in the rivulet on the east side which connects with the brackish water. During my stay here the weather has been as unsettled and boisterous as any of our unseasonable summer or autumn months in England. We have had both hail and snow; the latter lay on Table Mountain for days.
"The thermometer varied from 54° to 61°. In January, 1777, when I was here in the 'Resolution' one month earlier, we had the thermometer 63° and 75°, and in August, 1787 (equal to our February), when I was here in the 'Bounty,' I had it from 41° to 53°.
"The unseasonableness of this season kept the fish out of the Bay. A mosquito was scarce to be seen even in the swamps, and the flies were not troublesome as in hot weather. Our fish supply was chiefly reddish-coloured cod that weighs up to 3 lb. At other times we caught elephant fish, flounders, a flat-headed slimy fish called by some fisherman's foxes, bream, sting-ray, skeet, and small fish, amounting to 28 sorts. The finest fish are the bream caught in the marsh, and they afford very excellent diversion when fishing with a float and baited with worms and mussels.
"In the winter season I saw many spider crabs; this time, not one, nor any whales. In August, 1788, we had many in the Bay; they were the Bone or Right Whale as they are called, having two blow-holes, whereas the Spermaceti Whale has but one. It appears the whales have fixed times of coming into bays. Probably August may be the time in Van Diemen's Land, as we have not seen them in the summer months. The huts have large heaps of mussel shells and some oysters and crayfish in them but we never saw any fish bones...the few oysters we got were very large, but the superior shellfish is the Ear, so called because it adheres to the rocks like a limpet; when properly stewed it is delicious.
"In Frederick Henry Bay there is a large oyster bank which our officers met with when on an excursion to that place. I shall give an account of it in Lieutenant Bond's own words at the end of my remarks.
"It appears to me that the natives avoid being wet with the sea. Our party saw them gathering mussels when it was remarkable to see men fly away from every surge of the water which would not have reached their knees. I have remarked in a former voyage that the natives retire in the boisterous weather to places not exposed to the sea winds. Frederick Henry Bay is a most eligible situation in the northern part of it for them; from the smokes we observed there the natives are more numerous than is generally supposed. They have there a range of high continental land sheltered by large islands from the sea where both water and food are probably more plentiful than we have found it to be. Their food is not confined to fish. I have seen several wood spits with which they support larger masses of food against the fire than either fish or birds.
"The kangaroos are numerous: several escaped being killed by the close under-wood; a good dog would give a good deal of sport. I suspect the great fires which the natives make about the coast are the cause of many animals keeping away from it. As I am convinced the neighbouring isles are inhabited I see no reason to doubt of their having canoes, however ill-constructed; mere logs may be only required to transport them such short distances.
"It has been remarked from small baskets being found containing flints that they get fire by them. I have not heard of any fungus discovered that will contain sparks made by collision, but I have found rolls of peculiar bark of trees of the smallest species of Metrocedera that would effect this purpose, but with the fairest trials I could not accomplish it, although a small spark put to it will generate such a body as to secure the end in the wettest weather. They also use shavings of some dry wood which looks as if taken off by a plane iron an 1/8 of an inch wide.
"These shavings lay about most of their wigwams I saw, and I apprehend they are formed by the sharp end of the mussel shell.
"These people cautiously avoid any intercourse with us. Before they were observed our party came to a wigwam and saw marks of fire and traces of natives, and it proved to be a small distance from the place at which they found them. Our people left two tin tumblers and a linen bag at this hut with the intention of taking them up on their return, when to their surprise the natives in their absence had taken them all away; but either their curiosity is easily satisfied or else fears of the consequences were so great that next day these poor creatures left each article in a conspicuous place on the trunk of a fallen tree.
"We found no native products fit for food excepting a little wild parsley at Penguin Island and Grass Point, but the hills and country in general have a better soil than about the Cape of Good Hope. The face of the shore is of a peculiar sandy stone. Great slabs of it lie on Hewn Stone Head squared with such a thickness as if done by art. I saw no marks of fusion or subterraneous fire, nor any stones that would affect a magnet. The country is not destitute of fresh water although no river has been found. Adventure Bay is furnished with several runs. Resolution Brook is a fine plentiful stream. At the east end of the beach at Water Cress Valley a small brook has its source near Nelson's Hill: it may be made a good watering place. East Cove Valley produces good water, but at the place where it is at all times pure we baled it dry as fast as it ran, and the rolling way is troublesome. The 'Bounty's' watering place is most convenient. At all these places we found trout.
"I have said in the accounts of my former voyage that the trees shed their bark every year, and said it principally on the authority of Mr. Nelson, the botanist, but it appears to me at this time not to be the case.
"Lieutenant Bond and other of our gentlemen walked along the west shore as far as the south part of Frederick Henry Bay."
Of that expedition Bligh gives Bond's account:--
"The Bay of Frederick Henry is separated on the south and east from Adventure Bay by a narrow neck of land which in some parts is 250 or 300 yards across. The north-east of it forms a high peninsula extending to the entrance of these two bays. To the north and west is the mainland.* The greatest extent is about eight miles from north to south, and about half the distance across. It has a small island in the middle and is perfectly land-locked. From the shore of the isthmus is a bank on which are numerous oysters and mussels, the latter larger but not so good as those in Adventure Bay. The harbour is fine and capacious, perfectly free of surf, while on the east side of the isthmus the sea broke with great fury.
[* Bond saw the waters of D'Entrecasteaux Strait from Isthmus Bay, while Bligh saw them farther to the northward.]
"The country is the same as about Adventure Bay, and at the beginning of the low land is a morass about three-quarters of a mile long where we met with brackish water but saw no springs. We saw none of the natives; they had, however, taken away some trinkets left in a wigwam the clay before by some of our gentlemen."
A glance at the charts will show that Captain Bligh called the largest bay he saw in D'Entrecasteaux Strait, Frederick Henry Bay (of Tasman), which of course it was not. He had first bestowed the name of the Dutch Prince upon it in 1788 when he came to Tasmania in the "Bounty" and on September 2nd, 1788, he wrote in the log of that ship: "I set out in the cutter accompanied by Mr. Nelson. I rowed over to take a view of the country when I discovered The Bay of Frederick Henry. The entrance is round Cape Frederick Henry which I consider to make the east part of it. To the north-west it has a considerable extent, perhaps four or five leagues. I could easily observe a small island* was situated about the middle of the bay. Frederick Henry Bay is a most capacious and excellent harbour." On September 4th he writes: "Cape Frederick Henry inclines north-west, and continues in that direction until it forms the entrance into Frederick Henry Bay".
[* Probably Green Island.]
The fact that Bligh called the bay Frederick Henry Bay does not detract from the discovery he has recorded, for the seamen who first visited these waters after Tasman, were quite uncertain as to the situation of Frederick Henry Bay. Furneaux and Marion gave the title to other bays, both failing to identify it, and as a result the name of the Dutch Prince distinguishes a harbour unseen by Tasman, and the rightful bay of Tasman is known by the name of Blackman's Bay.
Both the "Bounty" and the "Providence" therefore preceded the ships of Admiral D'Entrecasteaux in Tasmania, and it seems strange that Captain Bligh's discoveries are so little known. He certainly saw a greater extent of coast-line than he has been credited with, and he has received even less recognition than Captain John Hayes who came after both Bligh and the French Admiral. However imperfectly he depicts them on his chart the points of land traced by Bligh in D'Entrecasteaux Strait can easily be identified, so that it is a mistake to suppose, as is often done, that D'Entrecasteaux was the first to see the interior waters of the strait when he began his work in this region.
Bligh's discoveries may be thus enumerated:--
He and his officers were the first to explore Bruni Island beyond the limits of Adventure Bay, which Furneaux had discovered.
Bligh and not D'Entrecasteaux first learned that Isthmus Bay is divided from Adventure Bay by a narrow neck of land, although Peter Fannin, who came with Captain Furneaux, had remarked on his chart of the western shores: "There is a large lagoon close aback of this low land which appears to run a great way up into the country".
Bligh and not D'Entrecasteaux was the first to see the northern half of the strait which the French Admiral named after himself.
Bligh's charts are the first to show Table Mountain (Mount Wellington) or any part of the strait, the outlet and entrance of which were afterwards found by D'Entrecasteaux.
Bligh describes as islands what really were points of the mainland. He followed Furneaux in erroneously calling Tasman Peninsula by the name of Maria Isles, and he mistook the situation of Storm Bay. Like Furneaux he was wrong when he thought he had reached Tasman's Frederick Henry Bay, and he erroneously gave the name Frederick Henry to a portion of D'Entrecasteaux Strait without knowing that he had himself made a new discovery.
Although Captain Bligh did not find the entrance to the bay called by him Frederick Henry Bay he took the "Providence" and "Assistant" northward on the morning of his departure to look for it, and while they were beating between Bruni Island and Tasman's Peninsula he despatched Lieutenant Bond in the cutter on exploration. Bond did not find the entrance, but he entered another bay which Captain Bligh named Providence Sound in honour of his ship.*
[* To-day Bligh's Providence Sound is called Frederick Henry Bay, having been so named by Furneaux in 1773.]
Bond records in his log: "At ¾ past nine in cutter having looked into a large bay formed by Maria Islands (Tasman's Peninsula) and the main from which no outlet could be seen to the northward yet strongly believed to exist". Bligh called Cape Raoul by the name of Cape Pillar, and to Cape Pillar he gave the name of The Lookers Out.
When the "Providence" and the "Assistant" again put to sea they left Adventure Bay at half-past six in the evening. Early next morning the land near Fluted Cape was seen disappearing in the north-west; upon it through the night large native fires were seen burning brightly.
The ships had no sooner left Tasmania than they were surprised by a heavy gale of wind and rain during which the "Providence" split her jib, and with difficulty saved her other sails. In addition to being tempestuous, the weather was cold, the thermometer on deck registering 53°. This thermometer was broken by one of the midshipmen immediately afterwards. "It is the second I have lost," remarks Bligh, "and having but one other I am not so regular in registering its height."
For some days the ships steered to the east-southeast across the Tasman Sea which is one of the deepest seas in the South Pacific. Desolate as it is of islands and swept by polar gales, long rolling waves with a heavy swell traverse it in all weathers.
Bunches of rock weed, seals, and whales were seen in the voyage across, and many ocean birds, including divers and Port Egmont hens, one of which alighted one day on a mast of the ship. There were also some large birds "as black as a crow excepting their beaks which were yellow," and these appeared to settle a great deal on the water. Others of a shining lead colour with a flight like that of an albatross were sometimes skimming above the heads of the waves, at others almost hidden by them.
As the ships drew near to the southern shores of New Zealand, on March 1st, Captain Bligh gave orders to steer a course farther to the southward so as "to give New Zealand a wider berth and to enable me to be in a new track". The weather grew misty and was now exceedingly cold.
At seven on the morning of the following day there was observed from the deck of the "Assistant" what appeared to be a small island or quay, but the mist was too dense to see it distinctly and it was afterwards thought to be only a fog-bank. Mr. Portlock gives the position as 49° 03' S. and 168° 04' E., so that if due allowances are made for the difference in situation, this fog-bank may have been The Snares* which lie in the track taken by the ships. The log records that "The Traps off New Zealand were north-west at noon, distant 47 leagues".
[* Discovered by Vancouver as he voyaged to Tahiti in 11791.]
In the forenoon on the 5th Captain Bligh sailed to the north-east hoping to catch a glimpse of the Bounty Islands, discovered by him in the "Bounty's" voyage, but the fog did not lift, and he writes, "I steered past them in 48° 08' S."
On March 6th it blew very hard, but fortunately the wind soon moderated, and telling of his ship's progress, Captain Bligh says: "In these strange winds I am always obliged to spare the sail. I am now under top sails and fore top mast steering sail and could carry topgallant steering sails and increase her going by two or three miles an hour." Evidently pleased with the way in which the "Assistant" had kept up with the "Providence," he writes later, "The 'Assistant' sails as well as we do," and then he adds, "We are all well and hearty except myself. I am never free from headaches all day long." He sent the cutter to fetch Lieutenant Portlock on March loth to dine on board, when he informed him of his intention to "keep south of the latitude of 48° until the ships reached the longitude of Otaheite".
While the ships were sailing in this new track through the darkness on the night of the 16th, the sea became illuminated by a wonderful display of phosphorescence which spread in the wake of the ships for at least half a mile; "the water had the appearance as if thousands of small lamps were lighted thereon, and it looked beautiful beyond description". On the 19th, "the sea was again full of them".*
Captain Bligh writes next day: "A great haze over the horizon, the wind hangs like a trade that I dare not steer more to the north; many birds about, and a great number were seen flying after a school of porpoises and skip-jacks".
By the 21st the ships had made the longitude of Tahiti, and were beginning to work northward towards the Society Islands. On their way they sailed within a short distance of Pitcairn Island. Bligh little knew that there his old ship, the "Bounty" had been broken up and that some of the men who had cast him and his loyal comrades adrift in an open boat were living on that island, Christian having made his way there when he left Tahiti for the last time.
The 25th being a Sunday, Captain Bligh performed Divine Service on board the "Providence". On this day the water after being rough suddenly became smooth, and as usual the great guns and the small arms were exercised and the marines fired.
At this time a good account of the health of the "Assistant's" people was received from Lieutenant Portlock. While in Adventure Bay her commander had obtained some soil there in which he had planted some potatoes. He tells us that he now had ten plants and two melon or pumpkin plants, and growing in the same cask horse-radish in English earth. He had also obtained some figs at the Cape which he brought away in two iron pots, and in the cask and the iron pots and a bucket he had sown cress which enabled him now and then to furnish all hands with a little salading. "This and other means," writes Portlock, "but above all the protection of God, will, I hope, carry us on to port in perfect health."
On April 5th, to the joy of all on board, land was sighted. Captain Bligh's entry runs: "Saw a low lagoon island from S.W. to W. ½ N., by the W. distant four or five miles. We made the signal and hauled up for it; there was a tremendous surf on the shore; we saw some brown noddies with a white spot on the beach, and a few cocoa-nut trees on the south-west point, but no inhabitants. We saw the break of the surf as soon as the island was discovered. The extent of coast is about 22 miles; from the east to the west point is 8 miles, and it is nearly 9 miles from south-west to north-east across a lagoon which takes up most of the isle.
"In some parts it is covered with bushes and trees common to the islands in this sea--in others a bare sandy beach over which in places the sea broke in a most tremendous manner. At the end of it there are several very large rocks, but in every other place it has a white sandy shore; we saw only cocoa-nut trees, and near the point was a cluster of seven very tall ones remarkable for their situation. I do not believe the island is inhabited.* Its nearest situation to any known land is N. 68 E. distant 59 miles from Osnaburg Island, discovered by Captain Carteret, which is in latitude 22° S. and longitude 218° 26' E. I am doubtful if it was possible for a boat to land, so high was the surf on the lee side of the island.
[* This island is now known as Bligh's Lagoon Island--its native name is Tematangi. It is inhabited. The native's were seen by Captain Beechey who called there in 1826, and they were darker than the Lagoon islanders of Cook. They were provided with stones, clubs, and spears. Its north end is in latitude 21° 37' S., longitude 140° 40' 15" W.--Findlay.]
"It was, however, of too little consequence for me to delay any time in search of it, although I daresay there are many turtle and abundance of fish. I did not see any opening into the Lagoon Island. Lat. of N. part of the land 21° 38' S. long. 219° 19' E. Var. 5' 51" E. The ships were from 10 a.m. until noon weathering it."
On their way to Matavai Bay the "Providence" and "Assistant" made a short call at Maitea, a high round island, remarkably steep on the north side, which lies in the track of ships proceeding to Tahiti from the eastwards.
The following entries made by Captain Bligh in his log-book describe his coming to Tahiti and his stay there:--
"Sunday, April 8th, 1792. Saw the island of Maitea bearing west.
"Read orders to establish friendly intercourse with the Otaheitans.
"I also gave out orders for establishing an amicable intercourse with the natives of any island we might go to, and promised disgrace and punishment to those who disobeyed them.* In my last voyage I found the island Maitea to be in 17° 53' S. 211º 58' W. I therefore steered for it to ascertain its situation a second time.**
[* Orders of which the following are an extract
were issued to all on board by Captain Bligh at the Society and
1. No officer or seaman is to speak of the loss of the "Bounty," or tell that Captain Cook was killed by Indians.
2. No officer or seaman is to mention that we have come on purpose for the breadfruit plant.
3. Every one is to study the goodwill of the natives and not to recover by violence any article that has been stolen.
4. All care is to be taken that no arms or implements are stolen.
5. No man is to offer for sale any part of the King's Stores.
6. A proper person will be appointed to regulate trade and to barter.
7. The mate of the watch will be answerable for all neglects of the sentinel.
8. No canoe is to come on board after 8 o'clock.
9. Everything is to be handed out of the boats at sundown.
10. The awnings are to be set at sunrise and furled at sunset (except the after one).
11. The officer of the watch is not on any pretence whatever to get into conversation with the Indians.
12. All boats to be moored alongside.
13. No curiosities are to be kept between decks.
14. No person is to take fire-arms (without permission) on shore. Any transgression of these rules will be punished with the utmost severity.]
[** Maitea, discovered by Wallis, who gave it the name of Osnaburg in 1767. It is the easternmost of the Society Islands, all of which are high. It is now spelt Mehetia or Matia, and is in 17° 53', longitude 148° 5'. Bligh writes in the "Bounty's" log that as Wallis and Cook passed to the south of Maitea, he determined to go to the north of it, and he followed his old track in this voyage.]
"Monday, 9th April. I steered to the north of the island, and hauled round under the lee of it where I brought to about two miles distant from the shore. Four small canoes came off to us with whom I traded for a few cocoanuts, two baked breadfruit and a small bunch of plantains. The men were all but one of the lowest class of natives (tow tows). Some of them recognised me. The superior man said he was Erree-ra--high or chief of the island, but I have found he was deceiving me.
"This misrepresentation is not at all uncommon among these people. He had on a European shirt which he said was given him by one Pateenee (a seaman called Martin belonging to the 'Bounty,' but I could not then make out who Pateenee was). He was desirous to go to Otaheite in the ship and on my refusing he told me he would follow to-morrow. He said two ships had passed about three months since, but he knew not from what country they came.
"The lee side of this island has no plantation on it, being so steep to the summit of the mountain that scarce any soil will lie on it; the weather side appeared clothed with cocoanut trees. Made sail towards Otaheite.
"The night came on boisterous and the morning so much so that I was obliged to lie by for some time for I was not able to see the land distinctly. Towards noon the weather came fair, and we hauled round the Dolphin Bank and anchored in Matavai Bay, Otaheite, in nine fathoms of water, without accident. Point Venus* N. 30 E. two-thirds of a mile. West head of Tarrah S. 25° W.
[* So named by Cook. It forms the east side of Matavai Bay, the south-west limit is Tahara or Tarrah. Captain Bligh anchored close to Point Venus which has been described as the most important geographical site in the Pacific Ocean on account of the extensive observations and surveys which were made there in the voyages of Cook, Beechey, and Fitzroy.]
"I was immediately visited by my old acquaintances, and to my surprise by a whale-boat of a ship that was lost, called the 'Matilda,' Matthew Weatherhead, Master. I found that Captain Vancouver had been here and Captain Edwards in the 'Pandora,' and we heard many various accounts respecting them. Every person I saw gave me joy of my safe return to Otaheite.*
[* Otaheite or Tahiti was discovered by Captain Samuel Wallis, who came there in H.M.S. "Dolphin" on June 19th, 1767. Wallis called it King George's Island; Cook spelt its native name Otaheiti. It is now known as Tahiti and was made a French Protectorate in 1842. Matavai Bay on the north side of it was called Port Royal Harbour by Wallis.]
"I had only a few canoes off to the ships, for the people of Oparre and Matavai were at war on account of the Matavai people refusing to share the things which they had stolen from the seamen of the 'Matilda'. I heard this news with some concern as it militated much against my plans of immediately beginning to get the breadfruit. The people who came off to me were Iddeah the Queen, whose husband, Tynah,* was absent from home, Tootaha, an old priest, and Oreepyah and Whydoah, the brothers of Tynah."
[* Called formerly Otoo, but after being succeeded in his lifetime by his son (who took the name Otoo), he used the name of Tynah and afterwards of Pomare. Captain Bligh writes of Otoo in 1789 in the "Bounty's" journal: "I was surprised to find that instead of Otoo he was now called Tynah, and the name of Otoo with the title of Earee-rahi had devolved upon his eldest son who was yet a minor, this being a custom of the country".]
"Tuesday, April loth, 1792. Very fine weather. Got on board a launch load of water.
"I had only a few Oparre canoes off, but they brought a sufficiency of hogs, breadfruit, and cocoanuts to feed every person sumptuously: my visitors were the same as yesterday, and Iddeah assured me that a canoe was sent to Morea 2 for Tynah, her husband, and his father and mother. These people are necessary to my well-doing, though Iddeah and Oreepyah seem sufficient to effect my plans assisted by Otoo, the Erreera-high,** who though yet a boy continues to be instructed by them. To-morrow I intend to pay him a visit and establish a peace which I have some hopes will be lasting...nothing could exceed the joy of these people at seeing me.
[* Morea, now Moorea, is an island W.N.W. of Tahiti, 9 miles distant.]
[* Eree-ra-high or Aree-ra-i (Flinders), i.e. paramount chief. Admiral Wharton spells it Arii-ra-hi.]
"I received a letter to-day, directed to any of His Majesty's Ships that might touch here, from Matthew Weatherhead, commander of a ship called the 'Matilda'. It relates that in lat. 22° S. and long. 139° 45' W. from London the ship was lost on a shoal, and so he begs my assistance as follows:
March 29th, 1792.
I beg you will rectify the wrongs I have received on this island by one Tabyroo...after the misfortune of losing the "Matilda" we were six days in the boat. We landed at Matavai and put ourselves under the protection of this man. I had with me one box containing most of my papers, 407 dollars, 17½ guineas, between 3 and 4 lbs. of English silver, and a bag containing a few necessary clothes. After being in the house six days I was turned out without anything, to shift for myself with only one shirt.
Your obed. servant,
P.S.--Sir, the chief mate and carpenter will explain more clearly if required.--M.W.
"On inquiry I found that the 'Matilda,' Captain Weatherhead, and 'Mary Ann,' Captain Munro, were two ships that had been at Port Jackson.* They left England March 27th, 1791, arrived at Port Jackson August 1st, 1791, and sailed on December 28th, bound to the coast of Peru.
[* While in New South Wales Captain Weatherhead had charted Jervis Bay.]
"On February 14th, 1792, both ships anchored in Oaitepeha Bay, where having got a plentiful supply of hogs and fruit, they sailed on the 17th, after a stay of two days. A few days after they sailed, the masters of the ships agreed to part company and to meet again in Lat. 10° S. when they should arrive on the coast to fish for whales. On February 25th, the 'Matilda' went aground on a dark night upon a shoal of some extent, perhaps eight or ten miles.* With a few necessaries, having with them muskets, three pistols, ammunition, and two or three cutlasses, they cut away their masts, lowered their boats, and left the ship at ten in the morning.
[* The shoal was Mururoa or Vairaatea Island (the Osnaburg of Carteret who discovered it). In February, 1826, Captain Beechey when exploring found there signs of a shipwreck consisting of two anchors, a cannon, metal boiler, and a leaden pump. These were on the back part of the reef, and the spot was identified as being the scene of the "Matilda's" wreck.]
"The ship's company consisted of twenty-eight men and boys, but a convict having secreted himself at Port Jackson, the number was twenty-nine. They divided into four boats, and they left the shoal without examining it, and knew of no island or land near it. They proceeded fortunately to Maitea, and after a night's rest and refreshment sailed to Otaheite on March 5th. On the next night the boats were separated by bad weather, two arrived at Matavai, one at Oaitepeha,* the other round by Attahooroo. The people of Oaitepeha were so hostile that the third boat proceeded to Matavai and joined the parties there, and in the course of eight days the men from Attahooroo also came to join their countrymen. In the opinion of the Captain it was best for them to separate. Some resided at Matavai, some at Oparre, and some at Attahooroo. They were all dispossessed of the articles and clothes they had with them, but the greatest prize fell into the hands of the Matavai people under command of Poeno, their chief, and one Tabyroo, a person of some power.
[* Oheitepeha is a province on the north of Tiarrabu, and Attehuru is a province on the west side of Tahiti.]
"The circumstances became known, and Otoo demanded the surrender of the articles consisting of money and arms, on behalf, he asserts, of his friends the English, but no restitution was made. Some deliberations took place immediately, the result of which was that war was declared on March 19th. The Oparre people came to Matavai destroying houses and all they could lay their hands on. The Matavians made considerable resistance and still retain their booty, and at this time the parties are violently at war.
"Notwithstanding our countrymen were robbed of their clothes they were afterwards treated with kindness. It would have been better if all had stayed at Oparre under Otoo's protection. The first step I took was to order three of the men who were absent with the Matavians to join their shipmates.
"The war was interrupted by the arrival of a schooner called the 'Jenny' from Bristol. She arrived March 25th, 1792; had sailed from England six weeks after me, and came round by Cape Horn. This vessel remained here until March 31st, when she sailed for the north-west coast of America, and by her Captain Weatherhead and two boys and one man had the opportunity to return home.* He had one passenger more than he expected, for it is supposed a seaman secreted himself on board who has not been heard of since. While the 'Jenny' remained here the second mate, Campbell, undertook to go away in one of the whale boats to Port Jackson. It was fitted up in a miserable manner with mat sails, and himself and two men, Phillip Christall, and John Bagster (or Baster), sailed the same day.
[* In December, 1792, Captain Vancouver relates the "Matilda's" story, and adds the information that Captain Weatherhead with two men and two boys arrived safely on board the "Jenny" at Nootka where Senor Quadra had not only provided Weatherhead with a passage to England through New Spain, but generously furnished him with money to defray his expenses home.]
"The number of men now remaining on the island are twenty-one (including the convict who has absented himself). Among them are the chief mate, surgeon, boatswain, and carpenter. The whole of them I directed to stay at Oparre where they are well taken care of.
"I find that two months after I left Otaheite in the 'Bounty,' Christian returned in her to the great astonishment of the natives. Doubting that things had gone well with me the first questions they asked were: 'Where is Bry?' 'He is gone,' he replied, 'to England'. 'In what ship?' asked the natives.
"'In Toote's ship.'*
[* I.e. Cook's ship.]
"'How came you to meet Toote, and where is he?'
"'We met him at Wytootackee where he is going to live, and he, Toote, has sent me for all those who will come and live with him, and he wants the bull and cow and as many hogs as you will send him.'
"'What has become of the breadfruit?'
"'He has sent it home to England with Bligh.'
"Everything was given him, and in eight or ten days he left Matavai and with several men and women.*
[* Note in log: ten men, two boys, nine women and one girl.]
"In one month after Captain Cox had left this place, Christian again arrived, and having landed sixteen of his villains, he sailed in the course of a day, but I cannot find that any person was acquainted with the route he intended to take. It may readily be believed that I found great satisfaction to hear of these men all being taken by Captain Edwards except two who were killed by the Indians.
"From the best accounts those taken in the 'Pandora' were as follows: George Stewart, acting master's mate; Peter Heywood, midshipman; Jas. Morrison, boatswain's mate; Thos. Burkitt, A.B.; John Millward, A.B.; Hen. Hilbrant, cooper; Wm. Musprat, tailor; Thos. Ellison, A. B.; Richard Skinner, barber; Michael Byrne, A.B.; Joseph Coleman, armourer; Chas. Norman, carpenter's mate; Thos. McIntosh, Do. Crew; Chas. Churchill, master-at-arms; and Mathew Thompson, A.B.; Jno. Sumner, A.B.
"Thompson killed Churchill who was made Erree or chief of Tiarraboo,* and the Tiarraboo people killed Thompson.
[* Churchill went to live with a chief named Whaeatuah at Tiarrabu.]
"George Stewart, Thos. McIntosh, and Richard Skinner each left a daughter by women here. Thos. Burkitt and John Millward each had a son. I have seen none of them and some are said to be dead. The man whom Captain Cox left here called Brown had a son.* He sailed with Captain Edwards four months before Vancouver arrived. The anchor which Christian left behind the natives got and delivered to Captain Edwards. Captain Vancouver with Lieutenant Broughton arrived here after the 'Pandora' and stayed five weeks. After he sailed on January 12th, 1792, a disease afflicted the natives and they declare it was caught on board."
[* Brown had wounded a messmate on board the "Mercury," and on being punished desired that he might remain at Tahiti: "We were glad to get rid of the troublesome fellow".--Mortimer.]
With reference to the above it will be of interest to recall at this point some of the principal incidents which attended the mutiny of the "Bounty" both with regard to the mutineers and their captain. We are less concerned, however, with the fate of the former than with Bligh's feat in navigating the launch in which he was turned adrift from Tofua to Timor. Not only does it remain unsurpassed as a feat of seamanship and perseverance, but it is constantly referred to in the log-book of the "Providence". In succeeding chapters Bligh shows how closely he followed his former track in order to verify his observations and to complete and amplify his discoveries.
The "Bounty" left Spithead on December 23rd, 1787, with a crew of forty-four men all told. Lieutenant Bligh was instructed to sail to Tahiti round Cape Horn, but at the same time he was told that if, on his arrival off the South American coast, he found the season too late to allow him to proceed by that route, he was to turn back and make his way to the Cape of Good Hope and thence sail to Tahiti.
The ship touched at Teneriffe and again set forth on her voyage to South America, sighting the coast of Tierra del Fuego on March 23rd, 1788. She struggled against contrary winds for four weeks in trying to round Cape Horn, until seeing it was hopeless to contend with the westerly gales, Bligh bore away to the Cape of Good Hope where he came to an anchorage in False Bay on May 22nd.
After a stay of thirty-eight days in False Bay, the "Bounty" steered to Tasmania, passing St. Paul Island on July 28th. From this time until she arrived in Tasmania, the ship experienced rough weather, and frequently encountered snow-storms.
Eventually she reached Adventure Bay, discovered fifteen years before by Captain Furneaux who had named it after his ship, but neither he nor Bligh knew that it was an indentation of an island now known to us as Bruni Island. Here some natives were interviewed. Bligh compares the noise of their chattering to the cackling of geese. He gave them presents wrapped in paper; they took out the articles and placed them on their heads in token of thanks, just as Witsen records that the natives in the Gulf of Carpentaria did with some presented them by Dutch seamen many years before. While the "Bounty" was in Tasmania, Bligh learnt much about the coast and found a bay north-west of Adventure Bay, which to-day ranks as a discovery of D'Entrecasteaux whose name is borne by the strait.
Leaving Tasmania on September 4th, Bligh stood to the south-east, rounded New Zealand, and discovered the Bounty Isles, so named by him in honour of his ship. From these southern latitudes he worked northward to Tahiti where he arrived on October 26th. Here he remained for twenty-three weeks, and during his lengthy stay his sailors became intimate with the daily life of the Tahitians. The charm of native life, the loveliness of the island, and particularly the attractions of the native women, seem to have fascinated them, and the glimpse of liberty after long restraint on board ship had such an effect upon them that before they left Tahiti some of the men were ready to cut every tie that bound them either to the service of their country or to the ship.
On January 5th, while Bligh was visiting Toahroah Harbour in his search for breadfruit plants, Charles Churchill (the ship's corporal) and two seamen, Musprat and Millward, made off with the cutter intending to desert. The chiefs were asked by Bligh to help to bring back the men, and they soon discovered the boat, but it was found that the three men had fled in a sailing canoe to Teturoah, some islets north-west of Tahiti. On the 23rd intelligence was brought to Bligh that the deserters had gone past the harbour of Toahroah and had put in to Tettaha 5 miles away. Here, with the aid of a chief named Teppahoo, the men were captured or rather delivered themselves up at the last possible moment. This incident will show that before ever the "Bounty" had put to sea from Tahiti the idea of getting their freedom had entered the minds of at least some of the men.
The "Bounty" left Tahiti on April 5th, 1789, and steered to Huaheine which Cook had visited in 1777. Upon leaving there Bligh followed almost the same course as Cook had taken, and sighted land in the southwest on April 11th, which proved to be an island, hitherto unknown, called by its inhabitants Wytootackee or Aitutacki. Continuing her course westward, the "Bounty" proceeded past Savage Island (Niue) which Cook had discovered, and three days later made Kao, a vast rock of conic figure, which is the north-westernmost of the Tonga or Friendly Islands.
On the 23rd she anchored in the roads of Annamooka, called Rotterdam by Tasman, where a native chief of Mango Island, another of the Tongas, was entertained on board. The situation being unsuitable for watering, Bligh weighed and anchored again slightly further to the eastward, where several chiefs who had seen Cook's ship in 1777 came to visit him. On the 26th, however, the grapnel was stolen, and Bligh detained some of them on board, hoping that it would be restored; but they appeared so distressed at their situation that he, being uncertain whether they were guilty of the theft, released them.
On April 27th the ship made sail, the voyage until this time having been in Bligh's words one of "uninterrupted prosperity". He at all events had no suspicion of what was about to occur.
The "Bounty" was passing south of Tofua, one of the Tonga Islands lying westward of the Haapai Group in 19° 45' S., when, just before sunrise, Bligh was awakened by the presence of a number of men in his cabin. In a letter written later to Sir Joseph Banks, Bligh describes what happened:--
"On April 28th at break of day, Fletcher Christian, officer of the watch: Charles Churchill, ship's corporal: Thomas Burkitt, seaman, and several others, came into my cabin, and while I was asleep seized and tied my hands behind my back with a strong cord, and with cutlasses and a bayonet fixed at my breast threatened instant death if I spoke or made the least noise. I was hauled on deck in my shirt, held by Fletcher Christian and Charles Churchill, with two men, Alexander Smith and Thomas Burkitt, behind me with loaded musquets cocked...under this guard I was kept abaft the mizen mast.
"Mr. Samuel, my clerk, secured to me a quadrant and compass, some clothes, my journals, and a few ship's papers, but all my valuable instruments, a timepiece...a valuable collection of books, maps, and drawings with my remarks and observations for fifteen years past, were kept from me. The officers and men being now drove into the boat, I was told by Christian, 'Sir, your officers are now in the boat and you must go with them'. I was then taken hold of and forced over the gangway into the boat which waited only for me...a few pounds of pork were thrown to us, and each began to solicit some valuables. I desired some fire-arms, but was told I should have none. Four cutlasses, however, were thrown into the boat and we were cast adrift."
With frequent shouts of "Huzza for Otaheite" from the mutineers, the ship steered away to the W.N.W., while the launch rowed towards Tofua, 10 leagues to the north-east. There were with Bligh the following men: John Fryer, master; Thos. Ledward, acting surgeon; David Nelson, botanist; Wm. Peckover, gunner; Wm. Cole, boatswain; Wm. Purcell, carpenter; Wm. Elphinstone, master's mate; Thos. Hayward and John Hallet, midshipmen; John Norton and Peter Linkletter, quartermasters; Laurence Lebogue, sailmaker; Jno. Smith and Thos. Hall, cooks; Geo. Simpson, quartermaster's mate; Robert Tinkler, boy; R. Lamb, butcher, and Mr. Samuel, clerk, making with the commander nineteen men in all.
The boat in which they were cast adrift was only 23 feet from stem to stern and rowed six oars; their provisions consisted of 150 lbs. of bread; 28 gallons of water; 16 pieces of pork (weighing each 2 lbs.); and there were also in the boat 6 quarts of rum and 6 bottles of wine.
Bligh estimated that these provisions would only last his people for one week, and determined first to seek breadfruit and water at Tofua. He intended afterwards to sail to Tongataboo, and there solicit from Poulaho, the king, sufficient supplies to enable him to reach Timor.
The weather fortunately was calm and they arrived at Tofua after dark, paddling with two oars so as to keep the boat all night under the lee of the island. At dawn a cove was discovered on the north-west part where the grapnel was let go. Here a small party landed to look for food, and a little water was obtained. Bligh issued very meagre rations as he was anxious to reserve a store for their future needs. A few of the men, however, climbed the cliffs and found cocoanuts, and these afforded every one a meal. As the sea was too stormy the launch did not proceed further for several days. During their stay, while some of their company were seeking supplies on May 1st, they met with natives who, although curious to know what had become of the ship, were peaceful and brought breadfruit and plantains in exchange for buttons which the men cut off their clothes.
On this day the stock of water and provisions greatly increased; but on the following day the natives were restless. Three canoes came in, bringing chiefs who held consultations; then the natives began to gather round the white men in increasing numbers, and as the hours went by they lit fires and took up their positions round them for the night. Judging that these were symptoms of hostility, Bligh gave orders on the return of the watering party for every one to be ready to embark. When it became known that the white men were going to leave, a chief said to Bligh: "You will not sleep on shore? Then we will kill you," and at the same time the natives, who were lining the beach, began to knock stones together in their hands in a threatening way.
The sun was setting as Bligh, taking a native by one hand and holding his cutlass in the other, walked with his people towards the boat and watched them embark. All were filled with horror at their situation. No sooner were they in the boat (with the exception of Norton, one of the quartermasters who ran to cast off the sternfast rope) than the attack began. The stones flew round them like a shower of shot. Poor Norton was immediately knocked down, and some of the natives were seen to run forward and beat him about the head with stones, while others rushed into the water and tried to haul the launch on shore. They would have succeeded if Bligh had not cut the rope with his knife. Even then they were followed by twelve men in canoes who kept up a terrific fusillade of stones. In order to divert their attention some clothes were thrown overboard, and at last, principally by aid of the darkness, the launch got away, but with all on board more or less bruised and wounded. They then set sail and steered alongshore on the west side of Tofua. Bligh's companions now entreated him to take them to a place of safety. In reply he told them that the only hope of their being able to save their lives was to reach Timor, fully 1200 leagues away, and that unless they could find food in New Holland, this would mean that each man must live upon one ounce of bread and a quarter of a pint of water a day.
They promised him not to exceed that allowance, and he begged them solemnly to adhere to this promise. He divided them into watches and "putting the boat in order" bore away from Tofua at eight o'clock in the evening of May 2nd. Then all thanked God for having spared their lives.
Next day they weathered a furious gale which carried the launch before it, and at noon she was 86 miles W.N.W. of Tofua. The commander set his course in order that he might sight Fiji, for the natives had pointed out to him the direction in which the group was to be found. On May 4th he entered the group between the islands of Mothe and Namuka and then steered north-west, passing between Vanua Vatu and Moala. The latter island has been called one of the discoveries made in his second voyage.* Continuing in the sane direction, he took the launch to the northward of Nairai Island, and went between two other islands, Koro and Makongai. He then turned and proceeded through the Makongai Passage which lies to the north-east of Ovalau, after which he sailed due westward for a short distance across a shoal in the Vatu-i-Thake Passage which had only 4 feet of water on it. Turning again to the north-west he passed through the Vitu-ira Channel and across the waters which separate the Yasawa Group from Viti Levu, and got clear out to sea by way of Round Island Passage--a magnificent piece of seamanship.
[* The details of this part of Bligh's voyage are
to be found in the chart at p. 146.
(The chart referred to was of such poor quality in the copy of the book from which this ebook was made that it could not be reproduced. A chart from the account of Bligh's first voyage, A Voyage to the South Sea, has been included instead of the chart referred to in this note. View the chart. Ed.)]
In Bligh's chart the Yasawa Group appears as one island, and possibly Bligh thought that it was connected with Viti Levu, for the long straggling barrier reef stretches from it for 90 miles towards the centre of Viti Levu's north coast. Matthew Flinders remarks somewhat curiously when writing about Z Island (the letter-name Bligh gave to Viti Levu), that off the north coast of this land the commander was chased by a canoe, but the entry in the "Bounty's" log-book,* May 7th, 1789, runs:--
"At 10 two small rocky islets now made the northern extreme of the land we had to weather against a lee current, setting us on the shore. We now saw two large sailing canoes coming after us alongshore, within the islets, which now bore W.N.W. 2 miles, and the Round Hill Island N.E. by E."
[* In the MS. log as written up by Bligh, now at the Admiralty.]
A reef enclosed these two rocky islets from which the sailing canoes came, and Bligh says the current set him near the shore and he could only get clear of it by rowing and passing over the reef surrounding the islets. Only one of the canoes gained on the launch, and at three o'clock, when 2 miles off, it gave up the chase.
After leaving Fiji a thunder-storm drenched the boat with heavy rain, but 6 gallons of water were saved, and on the 8th, the weather being fine, the people were able to dry their wet clothes. Scanty meals were weighed out to each man with a pair of scales, made by Bligh for this purpose out of two cocoanut shells, so that every man was sure of getting an equal portion of food.*
[* The Rev. T. B. Murray, Prebendary of St. Paul's, writing in 1857 says: "The very gourd out of which he (Bligh) ate his miserable allowance; the little horn cup for serving a quarter of a pint of water to each person; the bullet which weighed the rations of bread, and though last, not least, the MS. book which contains his notes and a prayer which he composed for their joint devotion are all in existence".]
The boat's course was set to the north-west towards the New Hebrides. The northern group of these islands (Banks Islands) were seen on May 14th, after a week's sailing from Fiji, during which time very great trials tested the endurance of the unfortunate men. Their limbs grew so cramped that they could scarcely move them. Frequently the sea ran right over their boat, and only constant baling with all their might kept her afloat. Their food was the smallest possible allowance of mouldy biscuit and pork with an occasional cocoanut.
During this time Bligh needed all his courage and it did not desert him. He did his best to interest his comrades in their voyage by describing the situation of the places for which they were steering,'that is to say, the northern shores of Australia and Torres Strait. Of these he drew a sketch. He also endeavoured to make the boat more comfortable. A pair of shrouds were fitted for each mast and a weather cloth placed round the boat while the quarters were raised, all of which proved of considerable benefit.
The Banks Group seen on May 14th consists of the islands of Vanua Lava, Valua, Ureparapara, and Mota. They were thought by Bligh to be a new discovery, but Quiros had already seen them in 1606.
"The sight of these islands served only to increase the misery of our situation," says Bligh. He did not dare seek relief there in his weakened state, and "prolonging life even in the midst of so much privation seemed preferable while there remained hopes of being able to surmount our hardships". At noon on the 16th, the launch was over 1200 miles distant from Tofua.
Next day saw every one complaining. They were very wretched for the night had been extremely cold, and all were growing very weak. Some begged for more food which the commander was forced to refuse them. On the 10th he remarks: "Our appearances were horrible, and I could look nowhere without seeing distress". The extreme hunger which now assailed the men was perhaps the hardest fight of all they had to endure. Fortunately the wet weather prevented great thirst and most likely saved their lives. After each rainstorm Bligh told the men to wring out their clothes and then dip them in sea water, and this proved beneficial; but the discomfort of having to sit so long in their wet things caused cramp and severe pains in their bones.
Towards noon on May 21st the sun shone and greatly cheered every one, and on this day Bligh believed himself to be on a meridian with the easternmost part of New Guinea.
Another miserable night followed. The sea came over the boat with tremendous force and kept its crew constantly baling. Bligh writes: "Our situation to-day is highly perilous. If ever men experienced the power of Divine Providence we do at this instant". This gale continued until the evening of the 23rd, when the wind moderated and a fine Sunday morning dawned and cheered them a little. The threadbare clothes were dried, but they would keep out neither rain nor cold. Boobies and noddies now flew about the launch.
While the weather was fair Bligh determined to examine the food, when it was found that there was sufficient remaining to last twenty-nine days. To the joy of all on the 25th a noddy was caught. It was equally divided, and bones and all were eaten with salt water "as a sauce". A baited line was always left trailing over the end of the boat in hopes that a fish would bite, and a sharp look-out was kept for birds venturing near. A booby, a bird as large as a duck, was caught on the 25th, which provided a good meal, and two were caught again on the 26th. On this day the branches of trees came floating by which looked as if they had not been long in the water, then a gannet was seen, and Bligh knew that land, which he believed would be the Barrier Reef of Australia, was not far off.
At midnight on the 28th he heard the sound of breakers and next day fell in with reefs on which the sea was breaking furiously; soon afterwards, at nine in the morning, in the latitude of 12° 51' S. a break in them about a quarter of a mile broad was discovered, through which the launch passed into smooth water and hardships for the time were forgotten.
An island within the reef which at this time bore due west was called Direction Island. The break in the Great Barrier Reef, ever since called Bligh Boat Entrance, through which Bligh passed, is 12 miles north of the Second Three Mile opening in the reef, and it lies to the south of Providential Channel where Cook entered and which is in 12° 34' S.
As the launch steered to the north-west, the mainland, now known as Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, was visible, as well as two other islands 4 miles distant west by north. These lie close to the mainland. The nearest was found to be a mere heap of stones, so the launch sought shelter at the larger lying next the mainland (off Cape Weymouth). There a fine bay and a sandy point afforded an easy landing place.
Oysters, a welcome feast for starving men, were discovered on the rocks, and for the first time since they had left their ship, all enjoyed a night of rest and sleep. Next day a well was dug (S.E. of Restoration Point) which produced good water. A fire was lighted by the help of a magnifying glass, and as there was fortunately a copper pot on board the launch, a stew was made with the oysters and with the pork they had with them.
They soon found traces of native fires; two ill-constructed huts showed that the natives had lived on this island, and a pointed stick was picked up resembling those they had noticed in Tasmania. The track of an animal was also seen, conjectured to be that of a kangaroo which possibly had swum over from the mainland.
This island was named Restoration Island by Bligh, not only because the health of his men became somewhat restored, but also on account of the day being the Anniversary of the Restoration of King Charles II.
On the 30th, having collected everything edible that the island would afford, Bligh got ready to put to sea. Thanksgivings for their preservation thus far had been offered, and the men were preparing to embark when twenty natives appeared on the mainland opposite running with shouts of surprise towards the white men. They were armed with spears and made signs to the visitors to come to them, but Bligh thought it more prudent to leave at once. He steered away passing between two islands and the mainland towards a cape which he called Fair Cape. At night he found himself embayed near the low land (south of Cape Grenville) and had to stand back to the southward in order to get clear of the land.
Proceeding northward again at daybreak he was surprised at the change in the nature of the Queensland coast, for low sandhills, which he describes as milk-white, ran down to the water's edge and there was little or no verdure. He now saw inhabited islands and many covered with wood lying close to the mainland. These were the Home Islands. The land then bore N. 4 miles and Fair Cape S.S.E. 5 or 6 leagues.
He took the launch through the channel between the nearest island and the coast, naming an indentation Indian Bay because there another party of black fellows, seven in number, were seen on the shore who, like the others, shouted and made signs for the boat to come to land. Some of them waved green branches and seemed peaceable, others looked less friendly, and farther off there was a much larger party whose presence determined Bligh not to go ashore although his boat lay close to the rocks. He beckoned instead to the nearest natives to approach the launch, but none would come nearer than 200 yards. They were stark naked, jet black in colour, with short bushy hair, and closely resembled those seen from Restoration Island.
At this time an island, which was afterwards called Sunday Island by Bligh, was seen, bearing N. W. 4 miles, and he resolved to land and examine it. He arrived there at eight o'clock in the morning of Sunday, May 31st.
The shore was rocky, but the water was smooth and the landing took place without difficulty. Two parties were sent out; one went northward, the other took a southerly route to look for food and water. A third party remained with the boat. This made some of the sailors who had been ordered to seek supplies discontented, and the carpenter declined to go, saying that he would rather do without dinner than go in search of it. He showed himself so mutinous that Bligh, recognising the danger that might result from his bad example and determined to maintain discipline, seized a cutlass and called on him to take another and defend himself, at which he became submissive and gave no further trouble.
On looking from the highest point of Sunday Island Bligh could still see no coast excepting the low white sandhills on the northern part of the nearest mainland. The small islands now lay E.S.E. and a small key, or cay as they are more often called in these days, bore north-west, this being considerably farther away from the shores of Queensland than the island on which Bligh was standing.
Sunday Island was very barren and produced only a few poor bushes, but oysters, shell-fish, and some rainwater were found among the rocks. On the north side of it in a sandy bay Bligh found an old native canoe lying bottom upwards on the beach, and half buried in the sand. It had a sharp projecting prow rudely carved to resemble the head of a fish, and it was made in three pieces, being capable of carrying twenty men.
When he saw this, Bligh decided to seek another anchorage and left Sunday Island. It lay N. by W. ¾ W. from Restoration Island, and both places to-day bear the names he bestowed on them. On the following day he steered to the key seen in the north-west, reaching it before dark on June 1st. It was surrounded by a reef of rocks which made landing dangerous. The launch worked round to the north side of it and was there brought to a grapnel. Bligh called it Lagoon Island; it was one of the Bird Islands. Bligh expected to find turtle here but was disappointed. Clams and dolichos* were discovered. After eating these Mr. Nelson and several others felt very ill, but a little wine seems to have restored them.
[* The genus of kidney bean to which the Indian gram belongs.]
The launch was not destined to stay here long, however much those on board needed rest. Samuel the clerk and Peckover the gunner had been told to light a fire, and Bligh cautioned them not to make a large one for fear the natives might see it. While he was walking along the beach to his dismay he suddenly saw what seemed to him the whole island in a blaze. This had been caused by the carelessness of the master who, wanting a fire to himself, had neglected to prevent it spreading to the dry grass which was soon in flames. Later, Samuel and Peckover were sent to look for birds for the sea store and returned at midnight with only twelve noddies, a bird about the size of a pigeon. They might have caught many more had not one of their party separated from the others and frightened the birds. The commander, who was anxious to lay in a store of food for the voyage, was so angry with the offender, whose name was Robert Lamb, that he gave him a good beating.
On June 2nd at dawn of day all embarked in the launch and ran to the north-west. When they had gone 2 leagues the sea became very rough, as if they were passing a channel open to the sea. Soon afterwards they made a large shoal with two keys between which and two others Bligh passed to the northward. Towards noon six small keys appeared, most of them covered with small trees and brushwood or mallee. They formed a pleasing contrast with the mainland which now seemed nothing but low sandhills, while the country farther northward appeared like downs sloping to the sea.
Continuing to voyage along the Queensland coast the launch came abreast of a flat-topped hill which Bligh named Pudding Pan Hill, and it is still so called. Two other hills near it were named the Paps.
A cape whence the coast inclined to the north-west (Shadwell Point) was passed, then "a large and fair inlet" in 11° S. which is known to us as Newcastle Bay. Three leagues to the northward of this is an island in a wild situation where Bligh took shelter for the night, and where turtle bones and shells, the remains of a native feast, were seen, and for this reason he named the island, which is in 10° 52' S., Turtle Island.
The coast of Queensland abreast of Turtle Island looked sandy, and 3 leagues to the northward terminated in a point (Cape York), near to which were several islands. At daylight on June 3rd the launch left Australia and steered between these islands; a high mountainous island with a flat top (Mount Adolphus) lay on the starboard side. Three rocks to the southeast of it Bligh named the Brothers. To-day they are called North Brother, Mid Brother, and South Brother. Bligh then passed what he thought was an indentation in the mainland to which he gave the name Bay of Islands. This opening was really Endeavour Strait, and even then Bligh must have had some idea where he was for he afterwards wrote in his journal: "I have little doubt that the opening which I have named Bay of Islands is Endeavour Strait, and that our track was to the northward of Prince of Wales Islands".
He continued to steer through Torres Strait where he saw several islands; the northernmost was a mountainous island (Banks Island on which is Mount Augustus) and a smaller one "was remarkable for a single peaked hill" (Mount Ernest Island). Bligh passed round Wednesday Island which he named, fell in with a reef to the north-west of it (North-West Reef), and passing between it and Wednesday Island went through Prince of Wales Channel out of Torres Strait. By passing north of Prince of Wales Island, while Cook had passed south of it, Bligh opened up a new channel and added to his discoveries.
On Thursday, June 4th, he gave the name of Shoal Cape to a point of Prince of Wales Island, and called a small island covered with boobies which bore west of it Booby Key. By a curious coincidence Cook had already given it the same name.
At eight o'clock at night the launch was once more in the open sea. She steered westward, and on the 6th the course was altered to W.N.W. The sea ran high, and frequent showers of rain caused great discomfort to the men who now seemed less able than before to withstand their privations.
Ledward the surgeon and Lebogue,* a hardy old seaman, appeared to be giving way. Wine was served out to them occasionally by Bligh. On the 8th a dolphin was caught and divided as usual, and Bligh, to encourage the sick men, told them that at the present rate he was sailing he would be in Timor in a few days. On the 10th all the men seemed to have greatly altered for the worse. Their legs 'swelled and their countenances are described as "ghastly". The boatswain remarked that the commander looked worse than anybody in the boat. Bligh says that the simplicity with which he said this amused him and he returned him a better compliment. Patches of rockweed and the birds showed that land was near, and early in the morning of the 12th, to the great relief and joy of all, Timor was sighted. It scarcely seemed possible for them, in an open boat and so poorly provided with food, to have reached their goal, a distance of 3618 miles in forty-one days. They first touched the coast S.W. of Coupang where natives brought them dried turtle and Indian corn, and on the 14th they anchored at Coupang where they landed, looking, as Bligh says, like so many spectres, their bodies skin and bone, all covered with sores, and their clothes in tatters.
[* Lawrence Lebogue not only survived but shipped again under Bligh in the "Providence".]
The Governor, Mr. Van Este, although very ill, Mr. Wanjon,* and Captain Spikerman received them with great kindness, and every kind of relief was afforded them. To Bligh's sorrow Mr. Nelson, the botanist, died of fever on July 10th. He was buried with many signs of respect from the inhabitants of Coupang, and the commander himself read the burial service.
[* or Vanion.]
A schooner, the "Resource," was purchased here, and Bligh and his men left in her on August 10th for Batavia, where they arrived on October 1st. Here Thomas Hall, one of the cooks, died. The "Resource" was sold, and passages for the men were obtained in various ships sailing to Europe. Lieutenant Bligh, with Samuel, his clerk, and John Smith, went home in the "Vlydte" bound for Holland. On March 14th, off the Isle of Wight, Bligh and his men left the ship and a boat landed them at Portsmouth.
Four others besides those mentioned did not survive to reach home. Elphinstone, master's mate, and Linkletter, quartermaster, died at Batavia; Robert Lamb on the passage home, and Mr. Ledward also succumbed. Thus only twelve out of the nineteen who had been cast adrift lived to reach their native land.
When Bligh and his companions were turned adrift in their boat, there were left on board the "Bounty" with Fletcher Christian twenty-four of the ablest men of the ship's company: they were as follows:--
Alexander Smith alias Jno. Adams
Master at arms
Christian had assumed command. He did not steer at once to Tahiti but took the vessel to Tubuai, one of the Austral Group, in 20° 23' S. and longitude 149° 28' W., where he anchored on May 25th, 1789.
Meanwhile the breadfruit trees which had taken so long to collect were thrown overboard, the ship was ransacked, and the property of Bligh and his companions was divided among the mutineers. Their leader took possession of Bligh's cabin and ordered the rest to call him Mr. Christian. As there was a scarcity of provisions at Tubuai, Christian decided to visit Tahiti, where the "Bounty" arrived on June 6th, much to the surprise of the natives. They immediately asked where Bligh was, and were told that he had gone to England and that Cook was at Wytootackee. Christian returned to Tubuai in the "Bounty" on June 23rd, taking with him--according to Bligh's account--ten men, two boys, nine women, and one girl, and the live stock given to him by the islanders.
On the voyage bad weather was encountered and most of the live stock died. When he arrived at Tubuai Christian started to build a fort which he meant to defend with the "Bounty's" guns. These proceedings so alarmed the natives that they made an attack on their visitors, and Christian and another man were wounded, while many natives lost their lives.
In addition to defending himself against the natives, Christian had to listen to murmurings of discontent among his own people. Morrison, Heywood, and Stewart formed a plan to escape to Tahiti in the cutter, but owing to its unsound condition the design was abandoned. At length, finding it impossible for them to agree together, Christian decided to abandon Tubuai and return to Tahiti, and land there all those who chose to quit the ship. Before sailing he received on board a Tubuaian chief who was friendly to him, and three of his servants: three other Tubuaians and twelve women were also passengers. The "Bounty" then put to sea and arrived at Matavai Bay on September 22nd.
Here sixteen men, among them Stewart, Heywood, and Morrison, left the "Bounty," while eight men elected to remain with Christian, who, during the ship's short stay in Tahiti, divided the small arms and powder belonging to the ship equally among the men. After spending a few hours on shore with Stewart and Heywood at the house of a chief, Christian bade his comrades farewell and returned to the "Bounty". They weighed anchor at daylight on the 23rd and carried away, according to Bligh's account, nine Tubuaian men, one Tahitian man, two boys, and six women (probably in addition to the women brought from Tubuai).* The Tahitians were not told where Christian intended to go, but he had been heard to say that he meant to seek an uninhabited island where he would run the ship ashore and break her up.
[* In the Appendix to the History of the Mutiny, Universal Lib., vol i., the numbers are 7 men and 12 women of Tahiti.]
The natives treated the men who remained at Tahiti very hospitably. Several of them took Tahitian women for their wives. Mr. Stewart married the young daughter of a chief named Tippaoo or Teppahoo, who owned a large tract of country.
After the "Bounty's" departure Morrison undertook to build a schooner by means of which he hoped to reach Batavia with his companions and to get back to Europe in a Dutch ship. With the assistance of the carpenter and the cooper the schooner was finished: she was named the "Resolution," and is described as being a very fast little ship. Morrison and his companions embarked in her and had actually set sail on their voyage when, finding their stores insufficient, they were obliged to return to Tahiti.
Meanwhile Churchill who, with Thompson, had gone to live with Whaeatuah at Tiarrabu or the lesser peninsula of Tahiti, became so popular with the chiefs that they raised him to the rank of a chief. Thompson and he, it is said, were not always on friendly terms. Churchill tried to persuade the natives to steal Thompson's pistol. On finding out what he had done Thompson shot Churchill at sight, and soon afterwards the natives (out of revenge) killed Thompson. By this time Mr. Stewart was a man of some property, and Mr. Heywood also possessed a pretty home not far from Matavai Bay.
In 1791 Captain Edwards, who had been sent to search for the mutineers, arrived at Tahiti in the "Pandora". He captured the remaining fourteen men and the schooner "Resolution" which Morrison had built. The men were put in irons, and Stewart was parted from his Tahitian wife, whom he had named Peggy. It is recorded that the first meeting of the two after his capture, on board the "Pandora," was heartrending, and the poor girl died two months after his departure from a broken heart, leaving a little child who later on was educated by the missionaries.* Captain Edwards manned the schooner with some of the "Pandora's" men, and took her away as tender to his ship when he left Tahiti. The two vessels parted company off Tutuila, but Edwards met the schooner again in Java after he had lost the "Pandora". The schooner's crew had suffered great privations and had been imprisoned by the Dutch, but they were released and returned home with Edwards. The schooner was sold at Batavia, and it is recorded that she afterwards made a record voyage between China and the Sandwich Islands, and was the means of preserving the lives of the crew of the "Providence" in 1797 when that ship was wrecked off Formosa.
[* In Chapter VII Bligh records:
"A fine child about twelve months old was brought me to-day--the daughter of George Stewart, midshipman of the 'Bounty'; it was a very pretty creature, but had been so exposed to the sun as to be little fairer than an Otaheitan."]
The "Pandora" left Tahiti on May 8th. She made an unsuccessful search for the "Bounty" among various islands in the Pacific and at length sailed for home. On August 29th, while running along the Great Barrier Reef off the north-east coast of Australia, the ship struck what is now known as the Pandora's Shoal, and her people were forced to take to the boats. The unfortunate prisoners at the time were still in confinement in the "'Pandora's' Box," as their horrible prison was called, excepting three who had been liberated to work at the pumps. Probably none of the others would have been saved if Moulter, the boatswain's mate of the "Pandora," had not risked his life to set them free. In spite of his heroism, four prisoners went down with the ship, Stewart and Sumner being struck down by the gangway and Skinner and Hillbrant being drowned while still in their handcuffs.*
[* Lady Belcher's account.]
Captain Edwards, with those who were saved, managed to reach Coupang in the ship's boats, and from there they went to Batavia. The shipwrecked crew obtained passages in Dutch ships as far as the Cape of Good Hope, where on their arrival they were transferred to H.M.S. "Gorgon" for a passage to England, and arrived at Spithead on June 19th, 1792.
Thus ten of the mutineers regained their native land where a court martial was held on September 12th, under the presidency of Lord Hood, to investigate the charges laid against them. The proceedings lasted six days, and as a result of the evidence which was then produced, the charges against Heywood, Morrison, Ellison, Burkitt, Millward, and Musprat were declared proved, but Heywood and Morrison were recommended to mercy. Norman, Coleman, McIntosh, and Byrne, who had all wished to accompany Bligh into the launch, were acquitted. Millward, Burkitt, and Ellison were hanged on board the "Brunswick" on October 29th, 1792. Shortly afterwards His Majesty sent a free pardon to Heywood, Morrison, and Musprat. Heywood, who had not completed his sixteenth year at the time of the mutiny, rejoined the Navy (as did Morrison), and his subsequent career was most distinguished. He saw much hard service, attained the rank of captain, and died in 1825. Morrison perished in the "Blenheim" in 1807.
In the meantime Fletcher Christian had sought for and found the remote island where he wished to live undisturbed with his people. He fell in with Pitcairn Island,* discovered by Captain Carteret in 25° 4' S. and 130° 25' W., which was well out of the track of any ship. Here the "Bounty" after being dismantled, was set on fire and run on the rocks. The English divided the island up among themselves: they built houses for their families and cultivated the ground, but it is said they gave nothing to the Tahitians. For two years all went well until Williams lost his wife. He then took one belonging to a Tahitian. For this injury done to one of their countrymen, the black men were determined to have their revenge. The women, however, revealed their plot to the white men, and in consequence two Tahitians were put to death.
[* Pitcairn Island was named by Carteret after the midshipman who first saw it from the masthead.]
For a little while the settlers lived together peaceably, then again violence was used by the English towards the Tahitians who rose up and attacked them. In this quarrel Fletcher Christian, Williams, and Mills were killed. Quintal and McKoy sought refuge in the mountains and escaped. Young was saved by the aid of the women, and Alexander Smith or John Adams, as he was now called, was able to make his peace with the natives. The Tahitians now chose wives for themselves, and for a short time they lived quietly until violent disputes again broke out; one of the Tahitian men was shot by Young, and the rest were killed by the Tahitian women, who were more attached to the white men than to their own countrymen.
After this the men who had fled to the mountains returned to the settlement, which brought the number of the white men there up to four, Young, Adams, McKoy, and Quintal. There was another quiet interval until McKoy, who was a Scotsman with a love of whisky, and who was always trying to manufacture spirit out of various plants, succeeded in making some from the root of the tee tree. Through drinking this spirit he and Quintal constantly became intoxicated, and, in a fit of delirium caused by it, McKoy one day committed suicide by throwing himself over a cliff. Later on Quintal became violent in his actions, and at last attempted to murder Young and Adams, so that, for their own preservation, they were forced to put him to death.
The two men who were left seem to have become changed characters, and set to work to rule the settlement wisely and methodically. They read the Bible to the children, instructing them in its teachings and instituting regular services on Sunday for them. Young died a year after Quintal, but Adams continued to live steadily, and ended by being beloved and looked up to by the whole of the settlement. Its members lived tranquilly, entirely isolated from the outside world until February, 1808, when Captain Mayhew Tolger, in the American ship "Topaz," touched at Pitcairn Island to procure seals, supposing the island to be uninhabited. He saw thirty-five persons there, speaking English and Tahitian fluently. He also discovered an azimuth compass and a timepiece which had belonged to the "Bounty," so that he soon knew who they were. The compass he returned to the Admiralty in 1813. When the intelligence of the existence of these settlers reached London, H.M.S. "Briton" was told to call there, and she reached the island on September 17th, 1814. Her commander, Sir Thomas Staines, found everything regulated in the most exact order; every family possessing its separate property, and John Adams leading the men and the women to work every day. In 1819 Captain Arthur of the American Whaler "Russell" touched at Pitcairn Island. It had then fifty inhabitants, Adams and six Tahitian women being the only survivors of those who had originally landed from the "Bounty". Adams assured Captain Arthur that there were signs that the island had been inhabited before they arrived there, but by whom and at what period it was difficult to conjecture. A party from the "Russell" found several clearings where houses had once stood, as well as burying places and images representing a human figure. Adams or Smith, the last of the mutineers, died in 1829.*
[* Evangelical Magazine, vol. xxx., p. 459.]
As the community soon grew too numerous for the island to support the people, the British Government offered them Norfolk Island, as a gift, in 1856. The whole of the settlers, numbering 192, were conveyed thither in the "Morayshire". They, however, were not happy there, and, longing for their old home, most of them gradually returned to Pitcairn Island, where in 1906 their population numbered 146 persons.
While the author has been actually writing this account of the mutineers, a piece of cloth, the handiwork of the wives of two of them, has been shown to her. It is made after the pattern of the Tahitian cloth, and a slip of paper attached to it bears the following inscription "Tapa or cloth made from the paper mulberry. This piece of Tapa was made at Pitcairn Island by Mrs. Christian and Mrs. Young, the only survivors of the original settlers from the 'Bounty'". Unfortunately no date is given, but the cloth is well preserved under glass in a small frame, and is a most interesting memento of the first settlers at Pitcairn Island.
We now return to the story of Bligh's second voyage. He had received a warm welcome from many old friends on his arrival at Matavai Bay, and he and his officers soon began to carry out energetically the objects of their visit. He took up a position on shore on some rising ground a quarter of a mile from Point Venus, and, while he was personally superintending the collecting of the breadfruit, availed himself of every opportunity of cultivating the friendship of the Tahitians.
"Wednesday, April 11th, 1792. Employed getting fresh water off and trading with the natives for hogs, breadfruit, tarro, cocoanuts, and some fowls.
"Early in the morning I went to Oparre to see Otoo.* He was overjoyed to see me. When I was here in the 'Bounty' he was rather an ill-looking boy, but he is now grown a fine youth. None of the ceremony took place between us that did then, although he was very familiar and kept hold of my hand. He was carried astride on a man's shoulders where he rode as on a horse and carried a switch with which to beat back the crowd. He received presents of clothes and iron tools with great thankfulness, and pressed me to bring the ships down to Oparre. He had only a few bodyguards with him, the whole district being employed against Matavai...Among my old friends I saw Terrano, the wife of Teppahoo, a great chief of Tettaha. This old woman, with her sister, clung about me, and literally thanked God for saving me after I had lost the 'Bounty,' for they were informed of the whole transaction. Teppahoo she told me was dead...I found also that Moworoah, the uncle of Tynah, was dead and lying-in-state on a teappopow at Oparre, and that Tynah's eldest daughter had died of a decline. They told me that Odidee was gone with Captain Edwards** in the 'Pandora' to Ulitea and the rest of the Society Islands.
[* "The Otaheitan regal name is Otoo as was Pharaoh for the Egyptians."--Flinders.]
[** He left Captain Edwards at Huaheine.]
"On our return to the ship I saw a multitude of men on the low land of Matavai, all armed, prepared to attack the Matavians, whom they had already driven from the spot and burnt their houses. In the afternoon the Oparre people drove the others to the mountains, killed one man, and returned victorious. I have been solicited to join Otoo's army, but I only promised to interfere if the Matavians attempt to go near Oparre, in which case I would land a party of men and drive them back, which promise gave great pleasure to our Oparre friends. I also sent the surgeon of the 'Matilda' in company with a chief to Poeno and Tabyroo, to order them to return the Captain's (Weatherhead) effects, if they wished to be on good terms with me, and he brought me back word that everything would be returned. The surgeon informs me that he was conducted through an immense number of men armed with spears, clubs, and slings, who appeared extremely anxious to know the terms of the message, and if I intended to act against them. They behaved with much decorum, and showed some attention to the chief who went with the party. Hostilities ceased during the parley...these men when heaped together in such numbers, armed with spears 12 or 14 feet long, have a tremendous appearance though they do very little mischief to each other. They seldom come to a serious charge, but content themselves with the execution they are able to effect with slinging stones, by which men are sometimes killed.
"It is of the utmost concern to me to land here, yet I dare not send any party on shore. I have not yet seen any chief of consequence but Oreepyah, and his brother, and Tynah still remains at Morea.*
[* "Where he had a newly acquired possession."--Vancouver.]
"When the 'Matilda,' Captain Weatherhead, passed Matavai, the natives swam off to him with notes that some of the 'Discovery' people had given them to recommend them as Tayos.* These were dated January 12th, 1792, which I suspect was the time they sailed.
[* Tayo or friend.]
"I find that the villains Christian landed were permitted to have sails and various implements; they built a vessel 25 or 30 feet long, with two masts, and the natives tell me that Captain Edwards took this vessel with him, and this gave me much pleasure, as I think he may derive a great advantage from her when going between New Holland and New Guinea. Our friends here have benefited little from their intercourse with Europeans. Our countrymen have taught them such vile expressions as are in the mouth of every Otaheitan, and I declare that I would rather forfeit anything than to have been in the list of ships that have touched here since April, 1789.
"Thursday, April 12th. Fair wind and regular trade wind in the bay. A few canoes trading with sufficient supplies.
"This morning word was brought me that the Matavians were drove to the mountains and they would leave when Tynah came from Morea. They assured me he was sent for. Oreepyah appears desirous for me to remain on the boat till Tynah comes, and it appears to me his presence here is necessary.
"In the afternoon an Indian was caught thieving on board the 'Assistant'. He was confined until Oreepyah returned, when I released him. At eight in the evening the same person was again found swimming about the cable. The night was dark, therefore it was with difficulty he was taken. I put him in irons. Several inferior chiefs were on board to-day; they were remarkably glad to see me and thanked their God for protecting me from the hands of Christian; their manner of expressing themselves was literally to that effect.
"Friday, April 13th. Fine weather, wind at E.N.E., and much swell in the Bay. Not many canoes about.
"In the morning I ordered the small bower anchor to be shifted nearer the shore in 12 fms. Point Venus N. 22° E. distant two-thirds of a mile. Point of reef N. 13° W., and West Head of Tarrah S. 29° W. Throughout the day I have some of the natives welcoming me here, and it is a great fatigue to me to show them proper attention and to assort the presents I give them.
"In the afternoon Iddeah and her friends begged me to send my boat for Tynah, and said if I did not send for him he would not come. I saw this was a plan of her own, and insisted on her sending for him herself if she meant to be on a friendly footing with me. The way I did it gave her some alarm, and she ordered a boat to be ready and sailed, promising me to be back in two days, if the weather would permit, and I told Oreepyah I should wait no longer for Tynah's arrival from Morea, and that in the morning I should go on shore to prepare a place for my plants in which it was to his interest to assist me, for I would have no more fighting. This brought him about, and he engaged to assist me to-morrow as soon as I had determined on the spot where I intended to have my post.
"Saturday, April 14th, 1792. At day dawn I sent Mr. Norris, Surgeon of the 'Matilda,' with a message from me to Poena and Tabyroo to give up Mr. Weatherhead's money and some other articles in their possession, particularly the musquets. After a troublesome walk of six miles he found Poena and Tabyroo at Wapyhanoo, a district next to Matavai. They received him in a friendly manner and promised that the money should be returned as soon as it could be got from Teturoah (a small island N. of Point Venus) where they had sent it for security. They refused to give up the musquets unless by mutual consent all those that were on the island were given to me. In that case they had no objection to comply, but in their present situation they could not think of it, as it was necessary for them to retain some means to preserve their property. They would do anything to serve me, they said, and hoped I would not be angry with them. 'It was the mob who had taken away the people's clothes and hauled the boats on shore.' If I came after them they said that 'all that could be done was to fly farther away'. They called Matavai my country, and said that the people of Oparre had destroyed all their houses and barked their trees, killing what I had left among them, and done the country irreparable injury. I am sorry to say I found it too much the case.
"According to my promise I landed with Oreepyah and Tootaha, and fixed on a rising ground for my post about a quarter of a mile from Point Venus along the beach. Matavai River runs close to the back of it, which makes the situation advantageous for the plants. With Oreepyah's assistance I got the lines marked out, and by night got a fence and a shade about 30 yards long, and six wide, two-thirds completed, to receive the plants. I also got everything ready for erecting the houses to-morrow as they are preferable to erecting my own tents. A party of twenty-five men under the command of Lieutenants Guthrie and Pearce were also got ready, twenty being marines.
"Sunday, April 15th. Thermometer 82°. Washed ship. Mustered the people. Performed Divine Service. Put the people on short allowance of liquor. This enables me to assist Weatherhead's people, and it acts against necessity from any delay that I may meet with in my sailing to Timor.
"Monday, April 16th. Moderate and cloudy weather which towards midday became squally, and at night smart rain.
"In the morning I sent the 2nd Lieutenant of the ship, Mr. Guthrie, Lieutenant Pearce of the Marines, with his party, and those of the 'Assistant' to guard our 'breadfruit walk'. I also ordered the surgeon of the 'Matilda' to be sent, who, with the two botanists, made twenty-seven men capable of using arms. Not many canoes about the ship. The favourable wind yesterday brought me my friend Tynah. He came on board about two o'clock in a covered canoe with his two wives Iddeah and Whyerreddee. His father, old Otow, came in another canoe.* There appeared a degree of natural affection between Tynah and his father that gave me much pleasure. 'We all thank God,' he said to me, 'that you are safe. We were told that you were put into a little boat and sent adrift without anything to eat or drink, and that you must perish. You have a fine ship now. Have you good men? Is there a bad man among them? Have you seen King George? What did he say to you?' and many other questions he asked, respecting every person he knew.
[* Otow, Tynah's father, Bligh tells us, was called Whappai in 1769. His name is usually spelt Tu or Teu, which was the dynastic title of the reigning head of the chiefs of Tevaitai or Tevvyty.]
"I asked him how he came to be so friendly to Christian, for that proved to me that he was not sincere in what he said. He replied: 'I really thought you were living, and had gone to England until Christian came back the second time. I was therefore from home, but all my friends, who heard you were lost from the men who came on shore, from that time did not profess any friendship to him, and Christian knew it so well that he only remained a few hours and went away in such a hurry that he left a second anchor behind. One of the anchors we got I gave to the "Pandora," Captain Edwards.' Thus Tynah freed himself from suspicion, and, with his usual good-nature and cheerfulness, regained my esteem.
"Peona and the Matavai people seem to be objects of great dislike to Tynah and his father, and they requested me to go to war against them and destroy those people who, as well as the inhabitants of Paparra and Oaitepeha,* had many musquets. They had the good sense not to be seriously offended at my refusal, when I told them it would interfere with the business I was sent on. I, however, still threatened the adverse party unless they brought in the arms and the money.
[* Papara and Oaitepeha, provinces of Tahiti.]
"Tynah brought me a large hog, some cloth, breadfruit, plantains, and cocoanuts. His wife also put a few pieces of cloth about me, but little of the ancient customs of the Otaheitans remain--all that was laid aside. It is difficult to get them to speak their own language without mixing a jargon of English with it, and they are so altered that I believe in future no Europeans will ever know what their ancient customs of receiving strangers were.
"It surprised me to find Tynah had another wife while Iddeah was living. She is a younger sister of Iddeah and of her stature, but has a more handsome countenance. She was the wife of Whaeahtuah, a Chief of Tiarraboo, who is dead. They all slept on board, and the women were on the best of terms.
"Tynah brought with him Captain Cook's picture,* and on the back of it, underneath my memorandum, is as follows:--
"'His Britannic Majesty's ship "Pandora" sailed from Matavai Bay, Otahaite, May 9th, 1791.
"'His Britannic Majesty's ship "Discovery" and armed tender "Chatham" sailed from Matavai, Bay, January 24th, 1792.'
[* During the visit of the "Resolution" to Tahiti
in 1777, Tynah, or Otoo, as he was then called, by the desire of
Captain Cook, sat to Mr. Webber, who required a sketch of his
features for the purpose of a full-length picture to be completed
on the return of the ship to England. When the sketch was finished
and Otoo was informed that no more sittings would be necessary, he
anxiously inquired the meaning and purpose of the painting. He was
informed that it would be kept by Captain Cook as a memorial of his
person, his friendship, and the many favours received from him.
Pleased with the idea he instantly replied that for the same
reasons he would like a portrait of Captain Cook. Captain Clerke
and Mr. Webber also pressed Captain Cook to comply with his
request. The portrait when finished was framed, and with a box,
lock, and key was delivered to Otoo. He promised faithfully to
preserve it. Lieutenant Watts in July, 1788, visited Tahiti, and
from his voyage the above account of Cook's picture has been taken.
On going on shore to meet Otoo, Watts was surprised to see a man
carrying about the portrait of Cook, and he was told that Otoo took
it with him wherever he went. Notwithstanding the length of time
that had elapsed since the picture had been drawn, it had received
no injury. Bligh saw it when he came in the same year, and was told
that Cook had desired Otoo whenever any English ship came to show
this picture, and that it would be acknowledged as a token of
friendship. Bligh inscribed it thus: "Lieutenant Bligh of His
Britannic Majesty's ship 'Bounty' anchored in Matavai Bay, October
25th, 1788, but owing to bad weather was obliged to sail to Oparre,
December 25th, where he remained until March 30th, 1789. Was then
ready for sea with 1015 breadfruit plants besides many other
fruits, and only waiting an opportunity to get to sea, at which
time the picture was given up. Sailed April 14th, 1789."
Mortimer, in the same year, records in his story of the "Mercury's" voyage, "He (Poenow) dispatched two servants for the picture, and it was brought to us wrapped in cloth, and carried back in the same manner". Captain Edwards, as recorded by Bligh, inscribed his ship's name upon the back of the picture in 1791, and was followed by Captain Vancouver in 1792, who writes in his journal: "Poeno, Chief of Matavai, brought with him a portrait of Captain Cook drawn by Mr. Webber in 1777. The picture is always deposited at his house and is become the public register."]
"I should have been happy to have received a letter from Captain Edwards to say how he had proceeded: it would have been delivered to me as safe as the picture, and I might have assisted in finishing the object of his voyage.
"The presents I made to Tynah and his friends gave them much pleasure, particularly a suit of crimson cloth with gold lace about the cape and sleeves, and a printed calico gown given to the women; to these I added iron and trinkets. I forgot to mention that I had saluted Tynah on his arrival with ten guns.
"Tuesday, April 17th. All the morning light variable winds easterly. Employed caulking and drying sails and salting pork.
"This was the first day that I began to collect my plants; we had thirty-two in the pots at sunset. I had a visit to-day from the young king. He was brought to the post on a man's shoulders in the usual way, but would not come off to the ship. After receiving presents he returned to Oparre. When they had eaten a great deal Tynah and his wives and Oreepyah and Tootaha went to Oparre in the cutter. Nothing pleases them more than this mark of attention, and my saluting Tynah on his arrival delights him. He says it will show his enemies that we are good friends. He has none but friends about him, for the Matavai people are fled; their houses destroyed, and the whole plain desolate which I have seen replete with cheerfulness and wealth.
"By the Matavai people being away I have lost an intercourse with full 2000 people, so that I have not half the bustle I had in my last voyage, which is fortunate, my nerves and headache being at times scarce bearable.
"Wednesday, April 18th. Westerly winds--at night calms and smart rain favourable to my plants. About thirty canoes around the ship to-day trading, but I have only seen three goats which I bought for my sea store. Otoo sent me a handsome present of hogs and fruit, and gave others to the officers at the post. This day we completed eighty-three pots with plants. I have got the duty now going on with regularity; coming among Indians it is always some time before this can be effected. Mr. Smith and Mr. Wiles, the gardeners, have every assistance, some of the men were employed by me in my last voyage which is of considerable advantage to them.
"A fine child about twelve months old was brought me to-day--the daughter of George Stewart, midshipman of the 'Bounty'; it was a very pretty creature, but had been so exposed to the sun as to be little fairer than an Otaheitan.
"From the most authentic account I can get I find the Otaheitans have got musquets from different ships.
8 musquets 5 pistols Oparre. 5 " 5 " Oaitepeha. 1 " 0 " Itteah 0 " 5 " Attahooroo. 5 " 0 " Matavai. 8 " 6 " Paparra. ---- ---- Total: 27 " 21 1 swivel.
"Thursday, April 19th, 1792. Air cool and pleasant, they. 76 to 77 degrees. This day we filled 140 pots with plants, the weather being favourable. In the evening Tynah and his wives returned from Oparre; they brought a quantity of dressed breadfruit to me as a present. As they remained on board I was obliged to give up the cabin to them, where three men-servants, the King, and his wives, after eating a heavy supper, slept upon the floor.
"It surprised me to find that both Iddeah and Tynah were now called 'Pomarre,'* and on inquiring the cause of it I find it is owing to their having lost their eldest daughter Terranaoroa of an illness of that name which they describe to me by coughing. Pomarre is compounded from 'Po,' night, and 'Marre 'or 'Morre,' the name of the disease.** Whenever a child dies, the parents take the name of the disease; if a dozen children die of different diseases the parents have as many different names, or give them to their relations, and may be called either by the new name or their own. It is a custom common to all ranks of people here.
[* Bligh continues to call him by the name of Tynah.]
[** Ellis, in Polynesian Researches, gives a different reason for the change of name. He writes: "He (Tynah) was travelling in a mountainous part of Tahiti where it was necessary to spend the night...He took cold and was affected with a cough: this led some of his companions to designate the preceding night by the appellation pomare--night of cough from 'Po' night, and 'Mare' cough. The chief was pleased with the sound of the words, adopted them as his name, and was ever afterwards called Pomare." As Bligh was told of the change of name by Tynah himself, his account seems more likely to be the true one. Tynah was known as Pomare I, and his son Otu as Pomare II.]
"Among a number of plants which I brought here from England, the Cape of Good Hope, and New Holland, consisting of pines, guavas, pomegranates, quinces, figs, vines, firs, metrocedera, and aloes, the natives only desire the last three--the firs and metrocedera, because I assured them they would grow into very large trees and fit for building ships, and the aloes on account of its fine flower. No value is set on our garden productions. It is really to no purpose to bring them anything that requires care. I saw yesterday a fine shaddock very nearly destroyed by fire, and the fruit of it they told me 'was good for nothing'.
"Friday, April 20th. Calms with light airs. Easterly breezes. Ther. 78 to 81. Everything is now well at our post, and the natives behave in a very orderly manner. I have my shed for the plants completed, and the botanists accustomed to the work.
"To-day I had another visit from the young king Otoo. I could do nothing to induce him to come on board or get off his man's shoulders, where he rides as easy as any of us would do upon a horse. About twenty or thirty young men attend him, and he shifts from one to the other without the least inconvenience as they become tired. I cannot get Tynah or anyone to tell me the exact time when he will be permitted to walk, other than by saying, 'when he is a man'. At home he runs about like other boys. About the same time Tynah will perform the ceremony of Oamo to all his children, and he will then become free to feed himself. I have described this ceremony in my last voyage.
"Whatever men are taken in wars are killed, and share the same fate as those who fall in battle; their eyes arc taken out, one is presented to their God Oro, the other to the Erree-ra-high; then the body is buried.
"The men belonging to the 'Matilda' who have lived at Oparre brought the word that they at times have seen a white man who will not speak English to them, but had spoken at one time to a boy of theirs, and they suspect he might be one of the 'Bounty' people; they asserted also that he had attempted to disfigure himself by tying a string around his head and across his nose to flatten it. They told me the story clear and distinct. The Oparre people deny the fact, and I was beginning to suspect their fidelity when Iddeah said 'perhaps they mean Taow'. The story was then unravelled and there was no truth in it, for the person was obviously an Otaheitan, but it was one of those lapses of nature for which it is not possible to account--his skin and hair being white, and it is the same person of whom I have spoken in my last voyage.
"Saturday, April 21st. Strong sea breezes in the day, and much swell on the Dolphin Bank.* Number of plants potted 196, I mean so many pots were filled each with two plants in them. Very few canoes off to us. Tynah is as usual on board with me. No strangers have yet been to see us, and we are quiet both here and at the post.
[* The Dolphin Bank was so called because Wallis's ship the "Dolphin" struck it as she entered the bay.]
"Sunday, April 22nd. Sea breezes at E.S.E., in the night. Calm. In the morning completed 166 pots with plants. Very few natives about us. Cleaned ship. Performed Divine Service. To-clay some shaddocks** were sent to me; they were very large and of a fine sort, but not sufficiently ripe. They were brought about four miles out of the country near Peahroah, where Mr. Nelson in 1789 had planted three trees, that are now loaded with fruit: the natives do not value them. Mr. Portlock picked up a lump of lava to-day near the post, which had every mark of having been thrown up from a volcano. I made inquiries among the chiefs about it, one assured me that it came out of one of their ovens where by the heat of the fire the stones frequently are changed...but Sir William Hamilton says the hottest furnace would not be able to bring the materials of lava into any degree of fusion...I found it would attract the magnetic needle.
[* Portlock writes: "Messrs. Tobin, Harwood, Franklin, and Norris in an excursion up the valley of Matavai saw a number of shaddocks and as they thought some orange trees. I think they are mistaken. I do not think there are any in the island except the young ones we have landed." Wallis, however, planted limes, lemons, and oranges in Tahiti, but he does not tell us if they were seeds or plants.]
"Monday, April 23rd. Employed trading with the natives.
"I took a walk to-day over the greatest part of our neighbourhood. I found it altered very much for the worse; this is occasioned by the late war. Few houses remained, and all the places that once swarmed with inhabitants now had scarce an individual to account for the calamity.
"At this time peace is said to be established, but the Matavai chiefs do not wish to send to me the money or arms, and therefore keep away in the mountains: although they send promises that they will return the money.
"Otoo again paid us a visit at the post where a Heiva was performed by one woman and four men in their common interlude style. In the cool of the evening the Marines exercised, and the natives were exceedingly delighted, particularly with the sergeant who played so many tricks with his musquet that they said he was mad.
"Tynah with his wives, father, and brother dine with me every day: a canoe with a party came over from Morea to see the ship--they were some friends of Whyerredee, for whom Tynah had recourse to my lockers to satisfy with presents. Tynah is a perfect fool to this woman; she rules him as she pleases, while Iddeah quietly submits, and is contented with a moderate share of influence. Since I sailed in the 'Bounty,' Tynah has had another child, a boy called Oroho, by Iddeah, by Whyerredee he has none.*
[* Note in log: "Tynah's children now are Otoo, Erree-ra-high; Teritapanovai, his brother, and Tahamydooa, his sister, and Oroho, another brother".]
"Huheine Moyere, the wife of Oreepyah, arrived today from the district of Itteah where she had been at the burial of her father's brother. To my surprise she would touch no victuals but what was put to her mouth by the hands of another person. I have accounted for this in my last voyage in one case, and I now find from Tynah that the loss of relations is another cause of their not feeding themselves; it is a degree of mourning that lasts three months.
"It is extraordinary to see how fond these people are of liquor. I have done all in my power to prevent it. With me they are contented with their wine, but when they can get spirits about the ship they are sure to get drunk. We completed 80 pots to-day with plants.
"Tuesday, April 24th. Ther. 81 to 83½ degrees.
"Got the spare anchor out of the main hold and put the 'Guardian's'* anchor down in its place. The Erree-ra-high Otoo, changed his residence to-day from Oparre to this place. This is a pleasant circumstance, and I have now all the chief people about us. Otow lives on Point Venus, Tynah and Otoo five hundred yards within the point, and Oreepyah on the beach towards Tarrah. In this manner they prevent worthless fellows lurking about the post. The quantity of old clothes left among these people is considerable; they wear such rags as truly disgust us. It is rare to see a person dressed in a neat piece of cloth which formerly they had in abundance and wore with much elegance. Their general habiliments are now a dirty shirt and an old coat and waistcoat; they are no longer clean Otaheitans, but in appearance a set of ragamuffins with whom it is necessary to observe great caution.
[* 2 The "Guardian" struck an iceberg off the Cape of Good Hope on December 23rd, 1789, on her way to Sydney. The ship was past recovery when she was brought into port. Captain Parker of the "Gorgon" afterwards took away her stores but left her anchors, "which may be of use to the King's ships coming this way," and Captain Bligh evidently took one on board at the Cape to supply the place of one that he lost at Porto Praya.]
"Wednesday, April 25th. Fair weather during the morning, the latter part cloudy with rain in the mountains, and a sprinkling below.
"Our friends have some weighty deliberations on their hands which I cannot account for. The cause of Otoo having removed to Matavai is some business respecting the late war; some concessions have been made by the Matavai party. The temple of Oro, their God, which is always kept near the residence of the Erree-ra-high, was brought up in a canoe with him. It is to remain until to-morrow, when after a meeting of the parties Otoo returns with it to Oparre. All the other chiefs remain here. To-morrow morning I am to have a sight of it, and hear the prayers performed by Tootaha the priest. This man is a great orator among them, and is highly respected for his abilities as well as being a chief of consequence. He has always been the prime minister of Tynah, and is the oracle and historian of this country, and possesses a great fund of humour. He is called Hammene-manne, but in my last voyage was called by the name of Tootaha.* He speaks English well, and, if he could write, is capable of forming a vocabulary of near 1000 English words. I have mentioned the death of Teppahoo, the chief of Tettaha. His mother was Terrennoo, the sister of Oberreeroah, and I find he is succeeded by Tynah's youngest brother, his nephew by marriage. We filled 71 pots to-day, and the whole are doing well.
[* Called by Bligh sometimes by one name and sometimes by the other and, by Wilson, Manne-manne. He was formerly a principal chief of Raiatea, the principal island of the leeward section of the Society Islands.]
"Thursday, April 26th. At daylight this morning I walked with Tynah and Tootaha to see the great temple. I found it on a double canoe about a mile from Point Venus in the harbour of Taipippee near the small island of Modoow. It was hauled up on the beach--on the prow of the canoe was a baked hog, the head of a dog, a fowl, and a piece of sugar cane. After being seated in the canoe, Tootaha began a prayer in favour of King George and of myself, and Mr. Portlock, the purport of which was that we might never want or be overcome by our enemies. His chanting was accompanied by two drums: one was beat by a native, the other by one of my people who came with me, so that it cannot be supposed that there was much harmony in it. There was an interval in prayer when the priest took off all his clothes and lifted a bundle like an Egyptian mummy covered with red cloth from out of its vault into a kind of trough on top of it. It contained, he said, the Etuah, the Marro Oorah, and other sacred things. I requested to have it opened, but he assured me that I should see it to-morrow at Oparre at a ceremony to which I was going--this senseless lump and the canoe have been spoken of with much wonder and respect...they call the temple the Ephare Tuah or the House of God. It is about 6 feet 4 inches long and 5½ feet high.
"Otoo slept in a small shed near the Morai. This place is sacred to the chief, and no person ventures near it. He always sleeps here when it is too late to go to Oparre. He had most of the things we had given him and a St. George's Ensign which had been left here by Captain Cook...this Ensign is always carried with the Morai, and was displayed in company with a small red flag in sailing past the ships on the way to Oparre.
"The harbour of Taipippee is but small. A shark seven feet long was caught alongside and many porpoises are in the bay. The native name for a high-forked mountain which I have called Otoo's Horns is Oroena.*
[* The loftiest mountain in the northern peninsula, Orohena, according to the French, is 7339 feet high.]
" Peace is established. Poena and Pynah have had a meeting, and it is agreed that Poena shall live again at Matavai. They have promised to return Captain Weatherhead's money. I am in doubt about their sincerity, but I dare not involve myself in trouble with these people although I will do my utmost to regain it."
As well as visiting Pare and other places, Captain Bligh investigated the customs and religious ceremonies of the Tahitians, descriptions of which are given below in his log. He was naturally interested in the activities of the mutineers of the "Bounty" and in the part that they had taken in the civil feuds of the natives. His knowledge of the Tahitian language enabled him to ask questions and to record details which would have been beyond the reach of anyone less well equipped.
The log proceeds:--
"Friday, April 27th, 1792. On my inquiring the cause of the Marro Oorah being moved from Attahooroo,* where it was kept in Captain Cook's time, they told me that after Christian had left his villains at Otaheite, Otoo made war against the Attahooroo people, and by aid of the 'Bounty's' men overcame them. The Marro Oorah, the Etuah, and Tebbootaboo were then seized and brought to Oparre.
[* Atehuru, formerly a province of Tahiti, comprised the area known to-day as Punaaui and Paea and bordered Papara.]
"Saturday, April 28th. Fine weather with land and sea breezes. At sunrise I set out in my boat with Tynah for Oparre where Tootaha was waiting our arrival at the Morai.
"The Morai or temple where the ceremony was held was an oblong pile of stones about ten yards long and fourteen feet high--on the top of which were about fourteen rude ornaments, some resembling a man and some a bird. The whole range of them was called the Tebbootaboo-ataiah.* I interpret this as meaning Great Temple or the principal place of worship.
[* Captain Bligh says this word is given to the Morai or Temple wherever the Etuah is brought.]
"Tootaha was at prayers and the Etuah laying before him wrapt in red cloth. To the right of it lay the dead body of a man wrapt in the plaited branch of a cocoanut tree, and tied to a pole by which means the body was carried about. To the right of the priest were two drums, and at a distance of twenty yards off was the Evatah or altar, on which there were lying twenty-nine dead hogs and a turtle. On nine stout posts was erected the Ephare Tuah. Two priests assisted Tootaha at the ceremony as well as two inferior people of that order. After the first prayer upon our arrival the bundle called the Etuah was untied and exposed. The Marro Oorah or feather belt was taken out of another bundle and spread out, so I could see every sacred thing they had.
The Marro Oorah* or feather belt is put on the Erree-ra-high when the sacrifice is made and the eye presented. It was twelve feet long. One half was made with yellow feathers, traced with red feathers, the other half was simply of red English bunting--it was not neatly made or in any way elegant.
[* Vancouver calls it the "Girdle of Royalty". There can be but one Arii Maro Eoora which means chief of the red-feathered Maro, and under this title Otoo's authority is acknowledged in Otaheite and elsewhere.]
"The red bundle or Etuah, which they call Oro, was nothing more than a number of yellow and red feathers, and four rolls eighteen inches long plaited over cocoanut fibres, and to these they give the name of some inferior Deities. I had scarce been seated a quarter of an hour when the sun having risen above the trees, I was overcome by the atmosphere, and forced to quit the place, and take a seat out of the direction of the wind, where our friend Tynah had placed himself under a spreading tree.
"Tootaha now began a prayer, it was very long and had many repetitions, so that the retentiveness of this man's memory is not so extraordinary. Taking up his prayer in all its various changes and repetitions, the whole amounted to this: 'We have sacrificed a man. We have presented one of his eyes to thee as a token of thy power and one to our King, because it is by thy will he reigneth over us. We display our feathers! We present our hogs to thee! We do this O Oro,* because we know thou delightest in it! Our wish is to do as thou desirest: prosper therefore our undertakings. Let us conquer our enemies and live in plenty.' After this one of the hogs was burnt and cut up, and the remains brought to the Morai. This appeared to me to be particularly the offering of my friend Tynah. Another prayer was pronounced in favour of King George, myself, and the people who were with me in the ships. Drums were beat at intervals, and the hog laid on the Evatah or altar and the body buried by the side of the Morai.
[* Writing of their traditions, Cook says: "Their remotest account extends to Tatooma and Tapuppa, who are male and female rocks, and support our globe...These begat Totorro...then Otaia and Oro were produced, who first begat land and then a race of Gods."--Cook's Last Voyage, vol. ii., p. 107. Ellis writes: "Taaroa was the father of the Gods, and Oro was his first son. Oro was their principal war God who is described by some as both God and man."--Polynesian Researches.]
"The Marro was tied up in one bundle, the Etuah in another, and carefully covered over with a piece of red English cloth, and the ceremony ended. There were not many people present, and, among those that were, I saw no grave or serious attention. Otoo was carried about on a man's shoulders, talking to us and playing his tricks, during the whole time of the devotion. The priest himself, the moment he had done prayers, began to joke in an obscene manner.*
[* "As a priest," Ellis says, "Hamanemane (or Tootaha) practised every species of extortion and cruelty." In 1798 he formed a league with Otoo to deprive Tynah of his authority. He was murdered on his way to Pare by one of Idia's men at Tynah's instigation on December 3rd, 1798.]
"In war time the sacrifices are common. On being defeated a man is sacrificed to their God, and on a victory it is the most sacred way of returning thanks.
"Tynah requested I would not return immediately to the ship, as he had ordered a turtle to be killed for us; it was baked as they do their hogs. While it was dressing we went to the Morai, called Woworoa, on the point of the harbour. The turtle being ready, our repast was taken on the ground, which was covered with fresh leaves.
"When we were all seated Tynah desired the priest to perform a ceremony as a token of friendship to us...the priest then collected a number of leaves, and standing up called upon us each by name as Tynah directed; each name he numbered with a leaf...these were given to Otoo who was still sitting on his man's shoulders, and he held them till all the friends were called over, among whom were ourselves and the ship. Mr. Bond, Mr. Harwood the surgeon, and myself, assisted in part of the ceremony, by help of Tynah who told us alternatively what we had to say. We took our repast heartily, and with the most kind welcome ever men had. They spoke of Christian. They had showed me in one of their houses a large drum that he had given to them which he had brought from Tobooi;* they now said that they were happy that Captain Edwards had carried so many of Christian's men away. Coleman the armourer they said had not concurred in the mutiny: he had declared so to myself when I was drove away from the ship. They were glad to hear I had forgiven him. Churchill and Thompson lived at Tiarraboo, where, being jealous of each other, Churchill induced the chiefs to endeavour to steal Thompson's musket and pistol. The friends of Thompson informed him of it; he therefore shot Churchill through the body at first sight. This produced an utter aversion in the chiefs to Thompson, and they laid hold of him in return and beat his brains out.
"I was particular to know how it was that the Marro which we had known to be kept at Attahooroo together with the God Oro, the Etuah, and Temple Tebbootabooataiah, should be now at Oparre. The general answer was that they had been at war with the Attahooroo people, and had seized their God and brought him to Oparre. This I find is really the case, and in the war the 'Bounty's' people assisted them with their musketry.*
[* Bligh writes: "Before the present Otow's (Tynah's father) time Attahooroo was the principal residence of the Erree-ra-high. In my last voyage I have given an account which I find perfect as far back as Otow's father, and from this information Tootaha, who was a great chief and Otow's uncle, was the cause of the Marro and Tebbootaboo-ataiah remaining at Attahooroo, but as he had been a long time dead and these people had injured them, they went to war and conquered the whole district."]
"The moon was now nine days old. I asked the name of the month and Tootaha told me as he did in 1788 that it was Ahoonoonu--April.*
[* Aununu--April and part of May.--Ellis, Polynesian Researches.]
"Monday, April 30th. Our post is now little incommoded by the natives. In the evenings they collect to see the marines go through their manoeuvres, but retire at sundown and all is quiet. The plants are doing well; I have to this day 1194 pots filled and 4 tubs. There are 1090 breadfruit, 25 vees (a sort of apple), 25 rattahs (a kind of chestnut), 25 ayeyahs (Jambo of the East), 12 orayahs (fine plantains), 9 peeahs (sago root), 6 mattees and 2 ettows (the two last both produce a fine red dye).
"I have forgotten to give you a description of the Great Evatah where the hogs were lying. This famous altar is formed by three rows of stout posts eight feet high, thirty-six in number, so that the whole space of ground taken up is forty feet by ten feet. From the top of one post to the other, poles are secured to form a platform which is covered with small branches and leaves to receive the offerings. The Evatah was prettily ornamented all round with a curtain of cocoanut leaves.
"Tuesday, May 1st. Fine weather. Poeno has come in and is now friendly with Oparre people. As usual I have forbid him to see me until he returns the lost property stolen from Weatherbead; they say it is at Teturoah,* and will be brought in...this will be more than I expect, for to-day Mr. Bond bought two dollars with a few trifles he had, and it is probable that now no one person possesses the money.
[* Some low flat coral islets within a reef 25 miles N.W. of Tahiti, now called Tetiaroa. According to Erskine, "in former times it was the watering place of the Areois for recovery of their diseases".]
"Wednesday, May 2nd. Light winds and calms. The people began to collect early at Matavai, mostly women and children. A woman with a child in her arms eighteen months old, calling herself wife of McIntosh, late of the 'Bounty,' and gone home in the 'Pandora,' came to see me to-day. This woman with several others had been with Christian to Tobooi: she related that they had stayed there two months with the 'Bounty'. Christian's intentions were to settle in that island, and he had begun to build houses and a battery there to defend himself--with the ship's guns. Two principal chiefs on the island on seeing these proceedings objected to his staying longer. Altercations ensued and war was declared. Many of the islanders lost their lives. Christian did not find it safe to remain among them and embarked with all his party and arrived two days later at Otaheite...the principal chiefs here treated Christian with so much coolness that he determined to part with those of his men who were discontented, and immediately to set sail: it took place in the course of sixteen hours. The 'Bounty' then left Matavai with some natives on board,* never to return again. The only knowledge of his future proceedings was that he openly declared his intentions to look for some land where he could make a settlement and then to haul the ship on shore and break her up. The woman calls herself Mary and her child Elizabeth, and says all wives of the men had English names. She constantly remarked that McIntosh, Coleman, Hillbrant, Newman, Byrne, and Ellison scarce ever spoke of me without crying. Stewart and Heywood were perfectly satisfied with their situation, and so were the rest of them. "They deserved to be killed," she said, but she "hoped those who cried for me would not be hurt." She agreed with Tabyroo's account that Coleman had to swim from the ship by stealth when the 'Bounty' left, as he was detained, being a blacksmith and a useful man. So perfectly had this woman learned the whole story that she told me names of all the men who came into my cabin at the time of the mutiny, and assisted to tie my hands, and said that no person beside myself was tied. The ship lay in an open road at Tobooi and rode out some gales of wind.
[* Note in log: Nine Tubuaian men, one Otaheitan man, two boys and six women.]
"Thursday, May 3rd. Land and sea breezes. Ther. 81° to 82°. Tynah, Otow, Oreepyah, and their wives are always with me at dinner. We continue on the best footing with the natives, and our plants thrive so fast as to give me satisfaction.
"It is not clear to me that good fellowship is yet established among the Matavai people, although they are erecting sheds and Poeno is here and on good terms with our Oparre friends. No chiefs of consequence have yet come to see us except the Otoo family. Some of our gentlemen made an excursion to-day which terminated with their being outwitted by an Indian, and resulted in the loss of their jackets and a brace of pistols. Weary of wearing their own jackets, the gentlemen pulled them off with their arms in the pockets and gave them to a worthless fellow to carry. He led them to a blind and intricate path, and left them to find their way home, which they did not accomplish until eight o'clock. I have taken the greatest pains to explain to my officers and people how little they can rely on the fidelity of the Indians.
"Friday, May 4th. Light winds and calms. In the morning our old friend the Queen Dowager Oberreeroah arrived from Morea, and her daughter, Wowwo.* Nothing could exceed their joy and kind congratulations to myself in the midst of which they disavowed friendly intercourse with Christian. It is remarkable the pains the chiefs have taken to prevent stigma lying on them on that account. Wowwo is the woman who in my last voyage was cured of a skin disease by Mr. Ledward. She inquired particularly after him. Oberreeroah has grown more corpulent; she finds difficulty in walking. I gave them great pleasure by hoisting her into the ship in a chair. Wowwo's husband, the Erree-ra-high of Morea, is dead. The present chief is Mahow, nephew of Oberreeroah, a pleasant creature; he informs me that there are only six horned cattle at Morea.**
[* Note in log: "The family of Oberreeroah and Otow are Towry, daughter; Wowwo, daughter; Peppahoo, son; Tynah, and Oreepyah and Wydooah, sons".]
[** Note in log: "Mr. Norris saw six cows and one bull".]
"Saturday, May 5th. Fine weather and east winds. In my walk to-day I found a few Matavai people in their dwellings...Tynah took me to a Opeowpah,* or concert; there were three flutes and two drums; the performance did not lack harmony, but there is a sameness in the airs, and dull heavy sounds that delight the natives, but we soon became tired of the performance.
[* Opeowpah or Heiva. Bligh says: "These performances were formerly called Heivas, but the word being given to Tomaree Erree of Paparra as a name they are now called Opeowpah".]
"Sunday, May 6th. Land and sea breezes. Mustered the ship's company. Performed Divine Service. Oreepyah brought back the things to-day that had been taken away from Mr. Tobin and Mr. Franklin...I thanked him and promised him not to forget it. I saw a dwarf here to-day about thirty-one inches high. The natives agree that he will never be taller. His name was Tommah.* Since my account on the 30th we have completed with breadfruit plants, 26 boxes and 13 tubs.
[* Turnbull in 1802 also saw a dwarf there.]
"Monday, May 7th. Fair weather. An account was brought me to-day from Tabyroo that the money was to come from Teturoah...Tabyroo said he only wanted some person to come for it. In consequence I directed Mr. Norris to go with the 'Matilda's' people to-morrow and fetch it.
"Tuesday, May 8th. Land and sea breezes. Fair weather.
"Early in the morning I had a visit from Toepoee, wife of Pohaitaia Otee, the Chief of Itteah, who was a fine active man and highly respected. I have mentioned him in my last voyage as a person who was fed in the same manner as Tynah...nothing can exceed the vehemence with which his wife expressed herself against Captain Vancouver's ship. It was there he caught his illness, as did many others...she described the disease to be a flux. Tynah was called suddenly to Oparre; on his return he told me he had been to pray, for he had ordered a man at Tiarraboo to be sacrificed to the Etuah. About twelve o'clock Iddeah who was on board showed me a canoe going past the ship with a human sacrifice from Wannah, a chief of Happyano--this was offered to Otoo. The cause of the sacrifice was owing to his not having assisted Whydoah, his brother chief, to get the arms from Tabyroo. This displeased Tynah and Otoo. Wannah solicited forgiveness, but they refused until after many concessions they agreed to take him into favour on his presenting a sacrifice to the King. Upon such occasions it is sufficient for the dead body to be sent wrapped up in a plaited cocoanut branch and fastened to a pole. The body to-day was in a canoe with only one man to conduct it...These sacrifices are truly shocking and savage...I find that Otoo is betrothed to his cousin Tarro-aheine, a little girl of twelve months old, a child of his Aunt Wowwo, born since 1789-90 that first cousins marry. Her father Moduarro, chief of Morea (when I was here in the 'Bounty') is dead, and his son Tettoanovee elected in his stead.* I imagine he is about four years old. Mahow whom I have mentioned has only an honorary title.
[* Note in log: "In my last voyage I have given particulars of the principal families of this island. From a connection in the female line, the present Otow's grandmother, being sister to a King of Tiarraboo, his grandchild, becomes Erree of that place, the male line being extinct, as the late Whaeahtuah (whose wife Tynah is now connected with), died without children, and on his death Teritapanovai, Tynah's second son, was sent to Tiarraboo to be elected Erree of that part of the island. 'The Tiarraboo people always insisted that Whaeahtuah was Erree-ra-high of that country, and Otoo, Erree-ra-high of the western part, but all the Otoo family say there is only one Erree-ra-high of the whole. The present one, Teritapanovai, has taken the name of Whaeahtuah."]
"Wednesday, May 9th. Fine weather with calms. Fine weather with land and sea breezes.
"About noon Mr. Norris returned from his visit to Tabyroo, who was now retreated far back in the mountains, and complained of the treachery of his people. He kept possession of all the musquets! The money delivered to Mr. Norris and Mr. Marshall, the chief mate, was 172 dollars, and three half-crown pieces; ten dollars were also received at the Post, making 182 dollars in all: and a watch belonging to the 'Matilda's late chief mate was given up. The name Jan Henkels, maker, Amsterdam, was engraved on the back. Therefore, thus ends our negotiations for the money. It is not half of what the Captain left behind him.
"Thursday, May 10th. Employed building places for the plants: Mr. Ridgeway, surgeon's mate, brought me a guinea, which was offered him to-day by one of the natives for a knife. It is part of the missing money.
"Friday, May 11th. Very cloudy weather.
"Employed as yesterday. In addition to my constant guests, Tynah and his wives and brother, I had my old friend Monah,* spoken of in my last voyage, on board.
[* Spelt Moannah in the "Bounty's" log.]
"Saturday, May 12th. While I was at Van Diemen's Land I procured a quantity of plank of the metrocedra to make boxes for my plants: the wood which strangers would imagine valuable for building is not fit for any purpose but fuel, it is so inclinable to warp and split. Oreepyah with his nephew Otoo the king came to take leave of me on going to Paparra to see their relation, Tomaree, the chief of that place, who lies very ill. But their chief object is to see what can be done to take some musquets away from the people of that district which had belonged to the 'Matilda's' boat. Before they set out it was necessary to consult me. Tynah came and asked for them to be equipped with presents. I indulged him to the utmost, and they left us with light hearts, dressed in European clothes, and with a large quantity of trinkets in their bundles. A few canoes are passing and repassing, and these supply us with all we are in need of.
"Matavai still remains a deserted village. Towards Tarrah, which hill divides Matavai from Oparre, a great deal of injury has been done to the finest of the trees, in this war: numbers of them are barked round and are in a dying state. The natives have endeavoured to save them by laying a bandage of a clayish kind of soil round the wound and wrapping it carefully over with leaves. Here we find among uncultured people what has been lately entitled in our own country as an ingenious device of Dr. Fothergill.
"Not far from this spot was the residence of Peter Heywood, the villain* who assisted in taking the Bounty' from me--the house was on the foot of a hill, the top of which gave him a fine lookout. He had regulated the garden and avenue to his house with some taste. The latter was made conspicuous by a row of fine shaddock trees, which, like other things, have suffered in the late war.
[* Heywood was not sixteen years of age at the time of the mutiny, see earlier.]
"Sunday, May 13th. Cloudy weather, a few showers of rain in the night.
"Saw every person clean, and as usual on this day I performed Divine Service. This being the 'Po no t Etuah' as the natives call it, we have fewer of them about us as they see we observe it without doing any work.
"Monday, May 14th. Light variable winds and a sultry heat.
"Employed building extra places for the plants and repairing the launch: examined our plants and arranged all the doubtful ones for another week's trial and putting them by themselves.
"Tuesday, May 15th. Light winds; the clouds hung heavy about the hills.
"I now happily found my nervous complaint much removed. I got my observatory up and my astronomical quadrant ready to make some observations for the rate of my time-keepers.
"Wednesday, May 16th. We had mostly calms today.
"Only Tynah and Whyerredee remain with us. In the morning had the seine hauled near the East head of Farrah, and caught 190 lbs. of fine fish--cavallys two to ten lbs. in weight, fine mullet, horse mackerel, a kind of herring, a number of small fish something like a gurnet, and some others not known.
"Thursday, May 17th. Until four o'clock this afternoon it was calm. Cloudy weather. Very few natives about our Post.
"Friday, May 18th. Calms and cloudy weather.
"Some of our people who have been sent to the river for water have lately been insulted by worthless fellows who threw stones and dirt at them...I thought proper to punish such unfriendly behaviour, and one of them appearing at the Post, I ordered him to be seized and put in irons. I had little difficulty to explain to the natives the cause of it, when they all exclaimed, You would have done right to kill him '; they told me he was a person belonging to Oreepyah.
"Saturday, May 19th. Light winds.
"At two o'clock this morning a native, under cover of a thick squall of rain, opened the port of the first lieutenant's cabin, and took from him the sheet that covered his bed, which was not discovered until the last inch of it was pulled from him. Boats were sent after the native but to no effect. The night was so dark and favoured his escape. Whether this man had hid himself at sunset when all the natives had left the ship, or had swam off we cannot determine. He made an attempt first about midnight, but Mr. Bond not suspecting what the twitches were that he had felt--but which had awakened him--went to sleep again. What is remarkable I found that the sentries on deck and at my cabin door, whose walk is also before Mr. Bond's, and guards each equally, and the mate and midshipmen all equally attentive to duty. Tynah as usual dined with me; after dinner I told him that I had put a man in irons whom I intended to punish for insulting my officers. He agreed that the man deserved it, and I gave orders that he was to receive thirty-six lashes...He received the punishment without wincing...it must be owing to the bodies of these people being constantly exposed that they are not susceptible...I ordered the prisoner again in irons.
"Sunday, May 10th. Strong winds and fair weather.
"Performed Divine Service. Another complaint was made to me of a native beating one of the seamen and giving him a black eye. The parties happened to be on board, so I could hear both sides of the story, which went so against the native that I told the seaman to take his own satisfaction. A few strong blows made his antagonist jump into the sea. In general I forbid officer or man to strike a native on any pretence whatever.
"Monday, May 21st. Strong breezes at E.S. East.
"Sufficient supplies; few natives about the ship. After dinner Tynah solicited me to forgive the man I had in irons. He promised not to offend again. I forgave him and he was dismissed.
"Tuesday, May 22nd. Moderate breezes and fair weather.
"I have now got most of my plants that I brought from England and the Cape of Good Hope planted here, where they will be taken care of; the principal dependence I have is in an old man, already spoken of as Mr. Nelson's friend, he having taken care of some shaddock trees that he had planted.
"Wednesday, May 23rd. Winds at east.
"So little is brought to the ship that I am obliged to send the boat to Oparre for supplies. Carpenters fitting a new trussell tree to the mainmast.
"Thursday, May 24th. This morning I was informed that an Indian had got in by stealth and stolen several articles of clothing. In the night a fellow was seen about the 'Assistant with the design of doing mischief: the boats were sent after him, but the night was dark and he escaped.
"I have frequent conversations with Tynah respecting the want of power or order in his Government to prevent thieving. He has told me that only good people could be governed so as to prevent thieving. 'Townahs or rogues, he said, would at all times, when it was in their power, do mischief, and thieve, and could only be guarded against by a strict watch; and he desired me (whenever we had it in our power) to put them to death as an example to deter others.
"I cannot discover that they have any custom or law to inflict punishment for particular crimes by trial. The strongest man or most powerful chief decides in his own cause, but there is an appeal from the inferior people of every district to their superior chief who judges fairly of the matters in dispute.
"Friday, May 25th. Light breezes and calms.
"At daylight I had the ship unmoored to examine the cables which we found not at all injured. By two o'clock shifted our berth a little more to the N.N.E. After dinner Tynah arid his wives requested I would accompany them to a Heiva. They are remarkably fond of these amusements...the number of persons collected on shore were about two hundred. The performers were two men who did the interlude, and a woman and a little girl the dancing part. The Airarahyree or plaited cocoanut leaf was as usual brought to me, but there was nothing new in the performance. In the evening we gave great entertainment to the natives by setting off a dozen sky-rockets. We have ever found them delighted with our fireworks.
"Saturday, May 26th. Fresh breezes and fair weather.
"I received a parcel of five breadfruit plants to-day from Tiarraboo, which are vastly superior to any at this place; I had heard of this kind, and had such reports confirmed by the chief, that I employed two men to go for mine. Our number is now increased by seven tubs, containing three to five plants, seven small pots containing one and two, and seven extra pots of ayeyahs (the Jambo of Java). I have taken some small breadfruit trees seven feet high in very large tubs, and I expect they will stand the sea...all the plants are now in charming order, and spreading their leaves delightfully. I have completed nice airy spaces for them on the quarter deck and galleries, and shall sail with every inch of space filled up.
"Sunday, May 27th. This day terminated with heavy rain.
"Mustered the ship's company, performed Divine Service. I went on board the 'Assistant'; everything to my satisfaction. Tynah and his wives dined with me to-day; he had, however, taken such a dose of Ava before he came on board, that his common allowance of wine made him drunk. It required several people to hold him...Iddeah took more pains to assist him than Whyerredee...At daybreak he rose as well as ever he had been in his life.
"In the beginning of the night Tarrah Hill was beautifully illuminated with flambeaux to light Tynah over it, he having stayed late at Oparre. A prettier sight was perhaps never seen than the effects of the lights upon the smooth water about the shore, for they were brilliant and numerous. When any of the Royal Family pass over the hill, they have it lighted, as the road is bad. Notwithstanding the rags the Otaheitans have for clothes, we find some of them so honest that our people in general have given them their linen to wash, and no losses have been yet experienced.
"I have endeavoured by every means in my power to get a knowledge whether marriage has any common or general ceremony attending it, to give legality to it, and I find from the best collected accounts among those capable of giving me information, that a ceremony is not general.
"The women are asked for their consent, and until they give it, the man dare not take the woman away. When the parents approve of the match, there is a ceremony of prayer at a Morai.
"Monday, May 28th. During the morning hard rain, other parts westerly winds.
"Accounts were brought to Iddeah and Tynah that their daughter* was dead. They cared very little about it, particularly Tynah...Iddeah at last shed a few tears. The people who had care of the child had been with it to see some Heivas at Paparra: it had caught a violent cold and died on the way back to its parents.
"Tuesday, May 29th. Land and sea breezes.
"This morning I went to Oparre to look after some plants I had ordered to be planted in the hills at Tynah's country seat. I have now planted fifty-nine orange and citron plants, and twelve pineapples there, besides many seeds, and eight young firs, which the natives value most. Upon any part of the hills the situation is delightful, and this place of Tynah's is charmingly shaded with cocoanut trees and breadfruit. He has a few old people to look after it whose only stock are a few fowls and half-starved hogs. Whenever Tynah goes there he takes food with him--our repast to-day was a baked fowl.
"On my return I found Iddeah attending her dead child at a distance...The child was laid in a neat shed with her hands crossed over her breast. Some scarlet European cloth as well as some native cloth covered her body, and a man attended cleanly dressed and stood there to show the child to their friends. A remarkable silence gave a solemn cast to the scene rendered effective by servants preparing the teappapow...This is a stage elevated six feet above the ground, fenced round with reeds, and neatly ornamented with coloured cloth, leaves, and flowers. The body remains till all that is perishable is gone, and then the bones are put in the earth. They told me the mourning would be over in two days.
"It is only when an Erree lies in state that the body remains so long on the teappapow. With the lower orders of the people, the body is put in the earth after the short time allowed for mourning. Our good friend Tynah was not at all concerned at the loss of his child. He would not, however, return with me to the ship, for he seemed to consider it decent to remain with Iddeah.
"In my last voyage I have spoken of natives embalming their chiefs, and now I find that there are particular people for this office called Meeree* teappapow. They are similar to undertakers.
[* Ellis spells this word Miri.]
"Wednesday, May 30th. Land and sea breezes and fair weather.
"We have still sufficient supplies to allow every person ½ lb. of pork a day, but no breadfruit can be got for common use.
"Thursday, May 31st. Ther. 75° to 79°.
"Unhappily, to-day I had a severe nervous head ache."
Busy as he was in completing his cargo of breadfruit trees intended for Jamaica, Captain Bligh still found time to record in considerable detail his impressions of the Tahitians. Unfortunately his main object, the spreading of the cultivation of the breadfruit, was destined to have little or no result. But the particulars he gives concerning the natives themselves, and also with regard to the divisions and partitions of the island at that time, form perhaps the most valuable of his observations.
In the following pages Captain Bligh also relates how after bidding the natives farewell, he sailed from Tahiti.
"Friday, June 1st, 1792. Moderate breezes in the east.
"Nothing new! A few natives about us bringing a scanty supply of plantains, cocoanuts, vees, and a few tarro.
"Saturday, June 2nd. During the day strong breezes from W.S.W.
"I find my nervous complaint better which I attribute to bathing in Matavai River at sunrise; the water is remarkably cold and may have a better effect than seawater.
"Sunday, June 3rd. Light winds at night but strong wind during the day.
"Performed Divine Service. Tynah and his wives dined with me to-day as usual. His youngest child is ill and he solicited the attendance of the surgeon. We found it in the care of an old man: and it was in a deplorable state. I told Iddeah to take better care of her child, but she insisted that Whyerredee's attention should be engaged and not hers. It is not extraordinary that Tynah is not remarkably fond of his children, for he is in some degree weaned from them by the accursed custom of their becoming superior in rank. On that account no one approaches them except the mother to give them suck, and the man who is nurse. When the father speaks to the child it is at a distance of ten yards. Thus until the children become men and women they do not mix together like other people. Happily it is different with the lower orders. The fathers and mothers have mostly their little flock of children about them. They nurse them with great care and tenderness and receive returns of affection and respect. Few more engaging children are to be met with could we divest ourselves of the dislike to the colour.
"Monday, June 4th. In commemoration of our most gracious and good King, we held this day a Festival. At eight in the morning both ships were dressed to the delight of the natives. At noon the marines were drawn up under arms and fired three vollies, and the Indians joined their cheers with ours. At one the ships fired twenty-one guns each. To every person was served an allowance of liquor. At night I had a dozen sky rockets sent off, and Mr. Tobin having made two small balloons the whole were successfully displayed to the great pleasure of Goo persons. 'Mahannah no Erree Britanee! King George.' (The King of England's birthday! King George!) was repeated every minute by men, women, and children. All the chiefs were collected around us, and drank to His Majesty's good health and afterwards dined with me.
"Tuesday, June 5th. The indolence of the people is so great, that now the breadfruit is not to be had...they have little to eat,...no country in the world would produce more provisions, yet these lazy wretches cultivate scarce a yam or potato: their late broils joined to natural indolence has most likely been the cause of the present scarcity.
"Wednesday, June 6th. I sent Tynah in the boat at dawn with sufficient presents to purchase a large quantity of provisions; he returned about three o'clock with only a few plantains and cocoanuts. I never saw a regular plantain walk in Otaheite: a few trees are struck in here and there about their houses, and around the hills in the same manner. This is all the trouble taken, or with anything that requires planting; cleaning and keeping their grounds free from weeds is beneath the care of an Otaheitan. They have as little neatness about their dwellings; an Otaheitan village--if their mixed dwellings may be so called--is the dirtiest place imaginable. Everything is thrown down before and around the house...yet no person in the world is cleaner in his person. So much sloth is attributed to the vast support that Nature has given them in providing them with the most valuable fruits of the earth, the breadfruit and the cocoanut.
"I asked Iddeah to-day if her name was to be changed on account of her child dying. She said 'No!' as the name was given to the child's aunt Wattawow (who in my last voyage was called Towry). It is a very common custom to shift names in this country. A chief may take any name he likes, and if it happens to be the name of a thing, or of day, or night, another is thought of for it to be called by, and he retains the name. Heiva, the common name for all the dances, is now known by the term of Opeowpah.
"Pomorre, the name of Tynah and Iddeah, is from Po--night, and Morre--the name of the disease the child died of. To make up for the loss of 'Po' in the language Ooarrooee is substituted. Oreepyah has fancifully taken the name of Abobo; in the language it means 'to-morrow,' but it is very odd that in supplying the want of this word, they have substituted 'Ahnonnahigh,' which before, and now, means 'yesterday'. Since my last voyage, Heiva, the common name for all the dances, has been taken by Terrederree, Chief of Paparra, and son of Oamo. The latter was his first name, next he took the name of Tomaree, and now Heiva. Tynah also took the name Mattee, which signifies 'to kill,' and Poee was ordered to be used instead of it, which was strictly attended to. I remember Iddeah scolding at the people when they inadvertently made use of the word mattee'. I should imagine this mode of changing names must possess many disadvantages to the language: the alterations in the course of a century will be very great, and they will make it difficult to be understood.
"Thursday, June 7th. Fresh breezes.
"Found a few plants attacked by a kind of weasel...therefore directed them to be shifted lest the other plants be injured.
"Friday, June 8th. Fresh W. breezes. At night cloudy.
"Sufficient supplies of hogs, plantains, and tarro have been brought on board. A party are on shore cutting up a tree that Tynah gave us.
"Saturday, June 9th. Light breezes.
"Hauled the seine: the young breadfruit are in abundance on the trees, and I get a head or two brought me almost every day.
"Monday, June 11th. Calms with winds at west.
"Mr. Guthrie informed me an Indian was discovered thieving at the Post, at half-past ten at night, and the sentinel had fired at him. These people have become so troublesome on dark nights that it requires all our exertions to prevent them taking all we have. I fear some one will be shot for I have been under the necessity to give orders to deter them. One vicious fellow may destroy our plants and cut our ship adrift! Every one knows they must not come near the Post after dark.
"Tuesday, June 12th. Light westerly winds.
"We have few natives about us. Tynah has been so bad lately that I have had to forbid anyone giving him liquor. I passed in my walk to-day a Morai which was called Rooahadoo, and on it was the piece of cocoanut leaves which is called Tepaou when presented at a Chief's feet. The Morai consisted of a few stones a few feet square with pieces of plaited cocoanut leaves and tarro placed before it. The altar of offering was a palm stump with a small stage on which was a cocoanut grater (a piece of coral), some cocoanuts and an empty basket. I found it was erected to ensure success to a ware or dam Tynah has made with stones without Point Venus, in order to catch fish, and I am told that prayers have been performed there by persons of the priesthood. I heard that the thief who was fired at in the night was wounded, being shot through shoulder, and has set off to Tettaha.
"Wednesday, June 13th. Much swell in the bay.
"Our plants are still doing well.
"Thursday, June 14th. Light westerly winds. Completing the rigging.
"Tynah, Oreepyah, and their brother, Whydooah, stupify themselves with ava every day. They have, however, promised me to drink less of it in future.
"Friday, June 15th. The natives seem indifferent to any intercourse of trade with us, for we have scarce twenty persons on board a day, and not more now come to the Post at sundown to see the marines exercised.
"Saturday, June 16th. To-day we have more supplies than we can use of everything but breadfruit, canoes having brought off plantains, tarro, and several hogs to the ships.
"Sunday, June 17th. Variable winds and calms. Mustered the ship's company. Performed Divine Service.
"Tynah had a visit to-day from some of the Tiarraboo people, so a Maownah or wrestling match gave a change to the dull scene which we experience every day, but as the Tiarraboo people had only a few champions, a number of fine active boys gave us more amusement than the men. The strangers were more uneasy at every victory they gained for fear it would displease me, and I could not convince them I was disinterested. There were several knock-down blows between some of the parties before they grappled.
"Monday, June 18th. Our friend Tootaha returned from his tour round the island. Otoo, the young king, with his grandfather Otow, will be absent for some time. It appears the old man's journey is for the purpose of collecting cloth and hogs, etc., to sell to the people of the ships and to make friends of all his chiefs before I sail.
"The plants are doing exceedingly well, which is a peculiar happiness to me, and as my time of sailing draws near it makes their well-doing anxiously interesting to me.
"Tuesday, June 19th. Light easterly winds.
"A tolerable sized chest was shown to me to-day in our manner by an Otaheitan. It was really a curiosity: the hinges were made of wood, both sides being dovetailed, and put together perfectly square, and the lock with a bolt all of wood was made like ours with a piece of iron for a key. The whole showed such ingenuity that I rewarded the man, and he bartered the chest away for an English one to one of the gardeners. I was sorry to hear again of a sacrifice taking place.* I am now satisfied they are very frequent.
[* Note in log: "Iddeah informed me that the chiefs of Waennah (called Ohainne (Huaheine) in Captain Cook's map) had sent one to Otoo. I found it was wrapt up in a plaited cocoanut branch, and slung to a pole...the late war between Oparre and Matavai was the cause of this sacrifice. The people of Waennah took part with Matavai, and the offence was not to be forgiven but by this melancholy claim. The absence of Otoo prevents anything being done until his return when the eye will be presented, and the Etuah supplicated to continue the friendship between the two districts."]
"If a chief or powerful man seriously offends the Erree-ra-high, he is obliged to obtain forgiveness by this means; it is not to be refused, so sacred it is as a pledge of good faith, and it is evidently not confined to making peace or declaring war, or supplicating the Etuah or on an emergency or general calamity.
"Wednesday, June 20th. I went out to-day to sound about the bay, and towards Oparre we found many coral banks and some dangerous places for a large ship coming into the bay: 3, 7, 4 fms. were obtained in several places off Tarrah towards the Dolphin. On my landing at the second station to take some bearings, I was seized with burning heat that I could no longer support myself. I got into the shade of the trees and by help of some kind natives, who brought me cocoanuts and apples, I recovered. I left the rest to be done by Lieutenant Portlock, whose alertness and attention to duty makes me at all times think of him with regard and esteem.
"Thursday, June 21st. I happily recovered from my fever but remain oppressed with headache. I dare not expose myself to the sun, the shining of it affects me so that I cannot bear it.
"Friday, June 22nd. I found myself better to-day. I was able to protract my survey, and examine the soundings about this place. I continue to bathe in the river which is cold and refreshing. At intervals of ten days and a fortnight we have fleets of ten and fifteen sail of canoes passing and repassing to and from Teturoah. In the course of the night a thief found an opportunity of passing the sentinels at the Post, and to take out of the house a bag of clothes belonging to Lieutenant Guthrie.
"The guard has hitherto been three sentinels, one corporal to visit them and see they do their duty and with a midshipman to superintend the relief every two hours. I ordered another sentinel, so we now have four sentinels.
"Saturday, June 23rd. Very sufficient supplies and breadfruit coming in season again. I suffered vastly in my head. To-day I cannot bear the sight of the sun.
"Sunday, June 24th. Mustered the ship's company. Performed Divine Service. My friends Tynah and Oreepyah appear much concerned at the theft committed on Friday night, and have promised to discover the thief. I have determined to send Lieutenant Portlock to Attahooroo to bring away the 'Matilda's' boat which Monah has promised to see after for me. My motive in taking this boat if worth repairs is to assist me in case of accident in my voyage.
"Monday, June 25th. At dawn of day Lieutenant Portlock set out.
"I sent Tynah to Tettaha with Lieutenant Tobin to try to get Mr. Guthrie's clothes; they returned and were not able to get a single stolen article.
"Tuesday, June 26th. Moderate Trade Wind, E. by S.
"A little before noon I had the pleasure to see Lieutenant Portlock arrive from Attahooroo, and with him the whaleboat, which after some deliberation was given up to him, but not by the general voice of the people. Attahooroo is divided into two districts, and is the largest country in the island. The northernmost, called Taaigh, was governed by Pohaitaia, and Paterre, the southernmost portion, was governed by Tettowah, men of much consequence when I was here in 1788, and in Captain Cook's time*, but these men are now dead, and children are elected in their stead. Tettowah left a wife and a son who naturally succeeds to his power and influence, but Pohaitaia left no child, and I believe in consequence the present minor chief, his successor and some relation, is not firmly fixed in his government.
[* Bligh says: "Oporreeonoo or the Great Peninsula
of Otaheite is divided into 12 counties under these names, Matavai,
Oparre, Tettaha, Taaigh, Paterre, Pappara, Whyoreddee, Whyerree,
Ideeah, Whaennah, Tierrai, Happyano. These counties have different
districts or chiefdoms, and it is a mistake to call the whole
Oporreeonoo. They sometimes place Atteemono between Pappara and
Whyoreddee. Under the head of Attahooroo lie Tettaha, Taaigh, and
Paterre. Under the head of Oporreeonoo lie Oparre, Matavai,
Happyano, Tierrai, Whaennah, and Ideeah. Under the head of
Otaiwyotah or Tevvyootah lie Pappara, Atteemono, Whyoreddee, and
"Tiarraboo makes a fourth grand division under the head of Tevvyty and the whole land is called Taheite (Otaheite improperly) from no Taheite, i.e. of Taheite--the sign of the genitive case. Tevvyty is also divided into twelve counties.
"When the island was divided into 4 general divisions it was governed by one king. Since I have known it the divisions have a power which govern independent of the rest. The division of Tevvyootah is governed by a person who certainly has had equal power to Otoo. This is Tomaree. He had the eye of the human sacrifice presented to him, wore the marro, and every person uncovered to him. Every person agrees that no chief had such power as Otoo and Pomarre, but this was before the present boy Otoo was born. All the superior marks of distinction are now shown to him. Tomaree is the son of the famous Obereah. He married Tynah's sister and is Otoo's uncle.
"The division of Tevvyty has been since our time governed by one Whaeahtuah. This has always been the name of the person who reigns there, and as Tynah's second son has become heir, he has taken the name.
"The division of Oporreeonoo is governed by Otoo so that here are 3 distinct princedoms, and I believe Attahooroo is the fourth.
"To know the exact state of the Government a person would require to spend some time in each part. I conclude that Otaheite is a Kingdom divided into four grand divisions or Princedoms, each of these is divided into Governments, and these are subdivided into districts.
"There are two words they attach to the different subdivisions of the island, one is 'Manno' and the other 'Matynah'. Fortunately Oparre and Attahooroo have each two mannos, but all the others and even Tiarraboo they say are 'not mannos' but 'matynah's'. The people of Oporreeonoo are 'Matynahs no Tynah'. Those of Tiarraboo are the people (manno) of Whaeahtuah and those of Attahooroo of Tettowah arid Pohaitaia. Yet they say the whole of them are 'Matynahs no Otoo '. This certainly implies that he is their King. Matynah signifies a set of people belonging to and governed by a chief, but I am at a loss to know what manno means unless it is a place of resort or palace of the King."]
"It was at Paterre the whaleboat was found; the mob were for keeping it, but Tettowah's wife ordered it to be given up, which after a few hours was effected upon Mr. Portlock's declaration that if he did not return with it I would come round in a day or two and set fire to the country.
"The endeavours of Tettowah's wife were seconded by a clever young fellow called Terraighteerree; his official capacity is that of a priest, and his word has great weight among the people. On the boat being launched, Mr. Portlock made a present to the chief which I had given him for that purpose. He states that they received it with great eagerness, as if they knew the value of iron without ever having had the use of it, and they expressed a thankfulness which gave him great pleasure. They gave him cause to think that the Matavai and Oparre people had prevented them having intercourse with us, and on his assuring them of my friendship it spread general satisfaction.
"Tettowah's wife with Terraighteerree and Towryighno, the second husband, asked to see the ship where they arrived in time for dinner. Tettowah's wife they called Owehee Vaheine, a common name for women. She is a stout, good-looking woman. I found a shyness about our friend Tynah and his wives to this woman and her party. He had bantered me the night before about my getting back the boat, and I now in turn laughed at him. I also made a very large present of valuable things to the strangers, and made a great deal of them, so they were truly delighted. The men ate cheese and drank porter: all strangers ask what the cheese is, and it is a standing joke with our friends to call it teappapow (part of a dead body).
"In the evening they all went on shore with Tynah, who provided them with all they wanted. Owehee Vaheine ate nothing while with us, for no women save Iddeah and Whyerredee will ever eat before us, and on shore it is their custom to eat apart from the men.
"Wednesday, June 27th. Sufficient supplies: washed ship and kept fires in all night; repairing the whaleboat.
"Monday, July 2nd. Hot weather; their breadfruit still continues scarce, but the trees have a fine show on them about half and two-thirds grown, and some we got perfectly fit for use. Plantains and tarro are the principal fruit kind. Yarns have been neglected by these idle people of Matavai and Oparre.
"We had a few inferior chiefs from the East of Oporeeonoo to visit us to-day. After dinner they began to enumerate the healthy ships. They describe the 'Jenny' of Bristol as a miserable vessel, and the commander a great rascal.*
[* The "Jenny" was a three-masted schooner, and her captain's name was Baker. She met Vancouver's ships at Nootka in 1792. On her way there she had called at the Sandwich Islands, and had carried away two native girls both belonging to Onehow. As a rumour was spread abroad at Nootka that Baker intended to sell these girls as slaves, he begged Captain Vancouver to receive them on board the "Discovery". Vancouver returned them to Attowai, one of the Sandwich Islands, in order that they might be restored to their friends.]
"My friend Tynah undertook to go after the thief who had stolen the goods from the Post. I find it was done by an inferior chief of Tiarraboo, a friend of Oreepyah's, to whom we had shown attention.
"It is astonishing with what indifference these people speak of death. They have no idea of a future state, but say they fall into a state of nothingness without reward or punishment after life.
"Thursday, July 5th. Tynah returned to-day with part of the stolen goods. Some of the 'Matilda's' men were round at Oaitipeha and brought an account that a plank and part of a yard of the 'Matilda' were drifted there. I do not think this is likely, as from the Captain's account of the shoal it is distant two hundred and seven leagues from this place in the direction of E. 64° W.
"Friday, July 6th. Very cloudy weather and heavy rain all day. The rain to-day swelled the river to a great degree, only one turn of water could be got on board.
"Saturday, July 7th. Some of our officers this day were successful in duck-shooting as they have been frequently in their excursions to Oparre. They brought me an account that the chief of Paparra, Tomaree, was in possession of many of my books, and one volume of Damapier's Voyage which he had given them: some remarks I had written on it with a pencil in the blank pages at the end of the book were perfectly distinct. I have sent Tomaree a message that I shall be glad to see him.
"Sunday, July 8th. Performed Divine Service. Otow and Oberreeoah came to see me. These old people are now infirm. They are happy in their children whose filial attention to their parents is such a blessing to the old pair, and delights me on every occasion.
"Monday, July 9th. My plants are now in such charming forwardness that the botanists have determined I need not be detained here any longer than a week or two.
"Our most laborious work is watering. In this particular I had two things to attend to. One to start all my old water, the other to take up the new water at such a distance from the seaside as to be sure no salt particles were mixed with it.
"I find our friends disconsolate at our preparations. Tynah considers himself slighted in my not permitting him to proceed to England with me, and our friendship hinged on my complying to take one of his men, who, he said, would be of great service to him, when I sent him out again after he had seen all he could see and learn in England. He was sure King George, had he been here, would not refuse him, and he enumerated the many ways he had served us, particularising his conduct to the 'Pandora'...so I complied with his request. The man's name is Mydiddee. He is a servant and therefore more eligible person for the purpose of learning than a chief. Such a towtow is more likely to benefit his country than a chief who might be led into idleness and dissipation as soon as he arrived in Europe, as was the case with Ornai. He is a fine active person of about twenty-two years of age.
"Wednesday, July 11th. Employed watering. In the afternoon Otoo arrived from his tour which was shortened by the news he had of the ships sailing. A few Paparra people came round. Tomaree refused to accompany him for fear of not being cordially received by me. I am informed by the 'Matilda's' people that Tomaree has many of my books and papers: he had the impudence to send me a message yesterday that if I would send him cartridge paper he would deliver up a portion of my books. It appears that he is in possession of all the powder that the 'Matilda's' people brought, as well as the arms, and he intends to make cartridges out of the books. As Otoo came to the Post I saluted him with seven guns, which gave much satisfaction. On my going on shore a wrestling match took place amid 500 people. I diverted the strangers with a few fireworks at night.
"Thursday, July 12th. Fresh breezes at east during the day.
"At daybreak the sacrifice that I have spoken of on the 19th was removed to a double canoe which was part of the offering of the chief Ohodoo of Waennah. He was himself in the canoe with eighteen men. The dead body was laid across the fore part of the canoe, and by it were lying--tied up--five live hogs. Near the body were eight or ten long rods, each rod had short pieces about eight inches long, neatly tied to it in the form of a cross. About these and the tops of the rods a few red feathers were fastened...the whole is called Mannooteah. The canoe was hung round with coarse white cloth, and proceeded to Oparre with drums beating. At eight o'clock I set off from the ship accompanied by Otoo, Tynah, and his wives; Otoo received us on landing. The progress of the canoe was so slow that we got to Oparre first. As soon as the canoe arrived Tootaha conducted us to the Morai and began a prayer, and they all joined invoking different deities...the bundle like the Egyptian Mummy called the Etuah was brought on a man's shoulders, and the canoe hauled on the beach a few yards from the Morai. The priest now quitted the Morai and seated himself at the sacrifice...two drums beating while he pronounced a prayer. This ceremony lasted a quarter of an hour. Then the sacrifice was laid on the ground before Otoo, who was all the time sitting on his man's shoulders--the basket was taken off and the body and the head exposed...one eye was laid on the steps of the Morai and the other was offered to Otoo...while the Etuah was held up on a man's shoulders. They then retired to a pavement called Teppah, where Otoo dismounted and the Etuah was placed on the ground. The King was invested with the marro or feather belt, and had it put round him in the common manner in which the marros are worn--round the hips. During this ceremony there was a pretty chant from the priests. I had agreed to fire three vollies on the occasion, and I accordingly ordered a volley to be fired from the boat as soon as the boy was invested. This was repeated three times amid shouts of 'Mairah Erree'--Long live the King. I noticed that the marro since I last saw it was ornamented with hair. It was some hair belonging to one of the people of the 'Bounty,' an ostentatious mark of their connection with the English...it was of a pretty auburn colour, and they told me that it was the hair of Skinner, who was barber to the ship's company.*
[* Richard Skinner, barber on board the "Bounty," who joined the mutineers.]
"The boy was now placed again on his man's shoulders, the other man took up the Etuah, and they went back to the Great Temple. Here Otoo was disrobed and the Marro and the Etuah were taken away by the priests...The hogs were given to us. In the interval the body was left unprotected, and I found this was owing to the offering being an atonement to the Erree, and not a sacrifice to the Etuah. All the men sacrificed to the Etuah are put in the earth adjoining the Great Temple, but those sacrificed as an atonement to the King are buried under the coral rocks. The water burying ground lies at the entrance to the harbour.
"Friday, July 13th. Employed completing for sea.
"An apparent regret at our departure is only visible in Tynah and his wife Iddeah. With them it is very sincere...the indifference with which the general run of the people treat us is remarkable to me. The great proof of their indifference is that few people came about us...hitherto I have been accustomed to see them show great concern at parting...I can only compare them to some of our English folk who ask their friends to remain in their house when they wish them out of it. There are many, however, here who are interested in our well-doing.
"Saturday, July 14th. Light westerly airs and calms. Many of the natives are desirous of going with us, and have asked their friends to shut them up in their chests and in casks.
"The distress of Tynah and Iddeah at my leaving them is very great, but Whyerredee cares little about us. I have promised to ask permission of King George for Tynah to be brought home by the first ship sent out.
"Sunday, July 15th. Very squally weather, and little rain. In the morning I struck observatory and finished my astronomical observations.
"A large double canoe arrived from Ulitea. About fifteen men came in her--Errees or chiefs. They had a shed or hut in the middle of it which sheltered six or seven persons. I am sure from the rough sea they had that these vessels made better weather of it than we suppose.
"Monday, July 16th. Employed in various duties completing for sea. No strangers about us but the Ulitea people: to the principal man I made a handsome present. To old Otow likewise I paid my last gift, and made it so truly valuable that the poor man could not refrain from shedding tears of gratitude. By night the ship was truly well fitted; besides the cabin I appropriated the quarter deck and other places for the plants. Pots, tubs, etc., total yesterday 937, to-day, 1281.
"Before sundown I embarked my party amid a concourse of people who regretted our leaving, particularly Otoo, poor boy, who cried a great deal. We saluted him with three cheers and they returned the compliment. Brought on board the whaleboat.
"Tuesday, July 17th. By daylight we had a number of canoes round us and at noon a hundred of them. The light winds we had and those from the sea prevented us getting out. I therefore steadied the ship with a stream anchor.
"I thought I had nearly done making presents, but I had a greater throng to-day than yesterday, and most of the lower order of people begging for something to remember me by. I rewarded them for their good behaviour. At night Tynah with his wives slept on board.
"Wednesday, July 18th. The weather came clear to-day, but we had such west winds and north until 3 p.m. that we could not sail. I had the west end of the Dolphin Bank buoyed, and at four we got under way and towed out into a fresh sea breeze, 'Assistant' in company.
"In the morning I went to old Oberreeroah and Otow to take my leave of them. About nine o'clock Otoo came off to the ship in a double canoe. He would not come on board; I therefore gave him my presents from my boat. They consisted of shirts, printed linen, large axes, knives, hatchets, scissors, nails, saw, and beads; they were very gratefully received. We parted, shaking hands, and a promise exacted from me to come again to Otaheite.* Tynah, Iddeah, and Oreepyah and their servants requested to be last out of the ships. At day dawn I made up my presents for them, and having stored them with an assortment of every article, I had the whole of them embarked and ordered them to be landed at Oparre. During the absence of the boat we kept plying off and on. About eleven she returned and was hoisted in.
[* The natives built for Bligh "a large oval-shaped native house" which was finished in 1797 and evidently they expected him to return. "It was pleasantly situated on the western side of the river near Point Venus."--Ellis.]
"It continuing to blow hard we made sail under double reefs, and at noon* Point Venus was S.E. distant six miles, and the N. part of Morea N.W.
[* July 19th where the log account begins. Twelve hours earlier than civil account.]
"We had marks both of regret and indifference in leaving this hospitable place. This is the second time I have experienced their friendship and regard, and I have done everything in my power to reward them. I can venture to say that they are sensible of it.
"After earnest solicitations I gave our friend Tynah a musquet and five hundred rounds of powder and shot, as he had served us well.
"To my astonishment I found a man who had always been collecting with the botanists secreted between decks and I had not the heart to make him jump overboard. I conceived he might be useful in Jamaica...therefore directed he should be under the care of the botanists. His name is Bobbo.* Mydiddee parted affectionately with the chiefs. He left them and his country without shedding a tear although much attached to them all.
[* He was nicknamed Jackets by the English. His name is written Pappo by Mr. Tobin.]
"The 'Matilda's' people who I have taken with me are:--
"Two others, Jno. Witstaff and Jas. Gilbert, are entered on board the 'Assistant'.
"I delivered up Captain Cook's picture before I sailed with a memorandum on the back, stating the time of my arrival and sailing, and the number of plants on board at time. The time of sailing was, however, by mistake dated the 16th.
"The 'Matilda's' people who have deserted from me are: James Conner, James Butcher, Wm. Yaaty, Jno. Williams, Andrew Cornelius Lind.*
[* This man, a native of Sweden, was found at Tahiti by the missionaries who came there later.]
"A person from Port Jackson who escaped in the 'Matilda' remains in the island. I could get no information of him than that he was a Jew called Samuel Pollend. Upon a moderate calculation we suppose total of plants on board to number as follows:--
Breadfruit 2126 plants. Other plants 472 plants. Curiosity plants 36 plants. ---- 2634 ----
"Letter to the Commander of the 'Assistant':--
ON H.M. SERVICE.
To LIEUTENANT NATHANIEL PORTLOCK.
Being now ready for sea and thus far the object of our voyage fully completed, you are to proceed with me as in all former cases in our intended route home. Having furnished you with a copy of my orders and shewn you how uncertain my route will be between here and Timor, you will readily perceive what an attention is requisite to keep company and observe such signals as I may make to you.
Should accident separate us before I reach the Friendly Islands I shall cruise twenty-four hours for you in sight of the islands Caow and Tofoa. I shall then pass to the north of Bligh's Islands,* of which you have a map, and proceed round those I discovered off the New Hebrides, where in Lat. 14° 30° I shall also cruise in sight of land for twenty-four hours. This is the last place of rendezvous I can fix with any certainty, and you must cruise twenty-four hours if you get there before me.
Coupang in Timor is the place I propose to complete my water, and it is situated 10° 12' S. 124° 41' E. of Greenwich.
As the time of the westerly monsoon is advancing fast upon us, I with much concern give up the power of examining strange lands but what will not detain us. I shall therefore make the coast of the Louisiades, and take the most direct and effectual means to pass on to Timor with the utmost dispatch, where you may wait for me such a time as you think advisable and best for His Majesty's service. I shall wait for you eight days and leave such directions as I may think will satisfy you how to proceed.
Given under my hand on board His Majesty's ship "Providence" in Matavai Bay, July 15th, 1792.
"From the result of my observation here on the tides it was high water at the full and change of the moon at forty-nine minutes past noon."
ON Friday, July 10th, in hazy weather and with a cross-running sea, the ships left Tahiti, first passing Morea and afterwards the southern shores of Huahine* and Ulitea. Matthew Flinders writes of them: "These are high mountainous islands and contain good harbours: the land to the north of Ulitea is Bola Bola.** They acknowledge the Aree-ra-i of Otaheite which place their canoes often visit, and where many of their people live." When he had left these islands behind Captain Bligh steered in a south-westerly direction for five days until the 25th. On this day the "Assistant," then leading, made the signal to the "Providence" that land was in sight bearing S.W., distant 4 or 5 leagues.
[* Huahine, otherwise Huaheine, is the easternmost of the Society Group discovered by Cook in 1769. Raiatea, or Ulitea, lies 7 leagues westward of Huahine.]
[** Bora Bora.]
Bligh's log continues: "Wednesday, July 25th. I determined to take a look at Wytootackee* not only to endeavour to gain information respecting the 'Pandora' and of the 'Bounty' but also to ascertain its exact situation and examine the west side of it for anchorage. I went round the east and south-west part of it when I first discovered the island in the 'Bounty'.
[* Aitutaki or Wytootackee is the northernmost of the Cook Group, and was discovered on April 11th, 1789, by Captain Bligh in the "Bounty" about a fortnight before his men mutinied. He spells the name Wytootackee in his charts, and Whytootackee in his log.]
"The land is remarkable by a round hill which lies near the northernmost extremity and it is of very conspicuous height. After a very boisterous night I bore away, and having passed the N.E. side we hauled round the north end and kept working under the lee of the land trying for an anchorage which we did not find after having sounded in 140 fms. of line without striking the bottom.
"What I have to remark new on the geography of this island is that for an extent of 3 miles on the west side there is a perfectly good shelter for a ship under sail. Like a border round the shore runs a steep reef. It lies at a small distance from the beach where, I believe, in moderate weather our boats may land in safety.
"My sketch of the island will give a just idea of it. It is remarkable that I made the longitude of the round hill in my last voyage to be 200° 19' E. by time-keepers, and this time from a mean of my three time-keepers 200° 17' E., from whence I conclude that 200° 18' is very near the truth after so short a run from Otaheite.
"This island which the natives call Whytootackee is 10 miles in circuit. Its north part lies in 18° 50' S. and its south end in 18° 54' S. Eight small keys lie off the S.S. East of it and one to the W.S. West. The southernmost lies from Round Hill S. 30 E. by compass 7 miles; the island itself is not above 2½ miles from E. to W., but the limits of the reef that surround it are 9 miles N. to S. and 7 miles from E. to W.
"It is beautifully clothed with wood and exceeds any place I ever saw in cocoanut trees. A great number on the east side are without branches, and even to the leeward many of them were in the same state. I therefore apprehend the island is subject to severe wind storms.
"We had no sooner got round the north end of the island than we observed several huts on the shore and the natives about their canoes. As soon as we were well under the lee of the shore, they launched through the surf and came off to us. As the 'Assistant' was able to keep nearest the shore most of the canoes went to her. Three came alongside of us, and I made them presents of beads and iron work for which they gave us a few worthless spears and breastplates. They had not a cocoanut or any article of food with them. Some cocoanuts were, however, carried on board the 'Assistant'. They were confident of our good intentions towards them, and instead of any look of surprise and astonishment it was rather of complacency and admiration. They asked for Togee Nooee which is the New Zealand word for a large hatchet--a great part of their language was Otaheitan, yet the two Otaheitans I have with me did not understand them so readily as did myself. On the whole I was satisfied with my inquiries.
"They said that no white person had been or was on the island. They had seen three ships or vessels. They named Britainee and Otaheite very distinctly and spoke of a person they called Oheedidee. They called the island Whytootackee and named particularly 'Cornackkaiah' and 'Tongawarre' as Errees or chiefs of the island. They have all our plants, and called the breadfruit 'cooroo' and 'pork boackah' (the latter is a Friendly Island word).
"It was understood they had no hogs on shore, but I suspect they meant to say that they were scarce and fowls were in abundance. The scraps of cloth they brought off with them were the same sort as the cloth of the Friendly Islands.
"The men were above the middle size, had very good regular features and were fleshy--their heads were covered with strung black hair which was very bushy, and I observed that some had their faces smutted, the remains of it being evident about the eyebrows and under the throat. Their dress was only a marro and the pearl shell pendent from the neck by plaited human hair; their colour is darker than that of an Otaheitan.
"They spoke of their women unbecomingly, some of them were in the canoes that went alongside the 'Assistant'. They were tattooed on the legs, thighs, and arms, and the legs and thighs of the men were fully tinctured so as to lose the natural colour of the skin.
"In all I observed 15 canoes, some of them might have had 20 men. I distinctly counted 15, 9, and 11 in three others. Some of the canoes had high black feather ornaments at the stern. Within the reef they were managed by setting poles, those that were alongside of us were hollowed out of the trunk of the breadfruit trees, without any scarf or piece except in the length, to increase which they injudiciously join the ends of one piece of hollow trunk to the end of another by sewing as it may be called without forming a scarf to strengthen it. To make up for this weakness perhaps they support the gunwales by long poles lashed along the edge. The outriggers are common and like all I have seen on the larboard side. I saw not any with sails.
"The dwellings or huts on the beach were only shelter for fishermen. They were made like the common sheds at Otaheite, but I saw some lofty houses under and among the cocoanut trees, that had the exact form of those of the Sandwich Islands. They looked like haystacks. I do not think we saw above 400 persons, including every one we could discover with our glasses.
"It blew so violently that the natives showed some apprehension of being drifted off the land. Notwithstanding this two men wished to stay with us, and others gave our Otaheitan men an invitation to go on shore for which with much incivility they laughed at them. On my looking at a scrap of cloth that one of them had in his hand he conceived I wanted it, and with an apology he gave it in a manner which delighted me. 'Terah airaddee no te tye.' 'Take it, you are welcome, but it is wet with the sea.'
"There was no sign of any wreck about the coast. It is clear that the 'Pandora' was here, as I am confident of their description of Oheedidee the Otaheitan who sailed with Captain Edwards,* as his shallop probably made the second vessel the native spoke of, and as to the third I fear that they allude to my touching there in the 'Bounty,' but for this I should flatter myself that Captain Edwards had taken her. One of the natives who came on board had a sore throat and neck, evidently the same disease as the Otaheitans are subject to. At 5 o'clock in the evening I bore away in a hard gale of wind regretting very much that I could have no further intercourse with them.
[* Oheedidee left the "Pandora" at Huaheine and did not come here with Captain Edwards.]
"Besides the breastplates and spears I got some fish hooks made of turtle shell--the line was made of cocoa husk, also a stone edge or Ettoey, the edge of which was circular like a gouge."
The following account of Wytootackee is taken from Mr. Tobin's log:--
"We were off this island near a whole day. In the course of it we were visited by three canoes containing in all about a dozen persons. We saw numbers more within the reef that contained above that number singly.
"The natives were rather cautious, in the first canoe, of visiting us, but were soon satisfied that our intentions were friendly.
"Nails and toeys were received with great satisfaction by them, for which they exchanged their only ornament, a pearl oyster shell hung to a collar of human hair plaited and worn about the neck. Besides this article they disposed of some spears, the end part jagged and formed of a hard, dark-coloured wood. Their spears, I am inclined to think, are only used as an implement for fishing. There was besides in one of the canoes a club not unlike (though shorter) some we had procured at Otaheite which had been brought from Toubouai, an island to the southward.*
[* Tubuai, one of the Austral Islands.]
"The people were of the common height or rather above it; one man was remarkably robust and strongly formed, in colour the same as the Otaheitans. The hair in most of them black and worn differently, some cropped short around the head and in others flowing over the shoulders. All of them were tattooed, particularly about the arms and legs, but the custom so prevalent in the Society Islands for particularising the breech as a field for operating does not exist at this island.
"There was one among the visitors whose whole body was marked with scars which, from appearance, did not seem accidental. The custom of raising wounds on the flesh is well known to prevail on the east coast of New Holland. Probably it may exist at Whytootackee. Certain it is that this man's wounds struck several of us as being intentionally raised. Another of them had his face daubed with red pigment.
"Their dress consisted of a piece of cloth fastened round the waist and brought between the thighs, but one of them had a cloth over his shoulders hanging down below the waist through which his head passed exactly in the Otaheitan manner. Others wore sandals of some kind of matting fastened about the ankles.
None of their beards were long; teeth very indifferent, and the whole well supplied with vermin and dirt. All their ears were perforated with two holes. Their language was little understood by our Otaheitans although there was an affinity in some of their words.
"As we drifted from the shore they were anxious to get away, and on our nearing the three canoes put off, leaving two of their countrymen on board, nor could our patroon or hand-waving bring them back, so that we were under the necessity of making them take the water. We were at this time 2 or 3 miles from the shore. One of them swam lustily and gained his canoe, the other was nearly spent when the 'Assistant' picked him up and put him on board a canoe nearer in shore."
Leaving the island in hard squalls of rain on July 26th, the ships sailed to the westward, and on August 1st, at a little after six in the evening, the "Assistant" made the signal for seeing land, when Savage Island was descried from the masthead W. by S. ½ S., but no part of it could be seen from the deck.
Captain Bligh writes on Thursday, July 26th: "Just at dusk I could see it from the fore yard, and suppose myself about seven leagues from it. It appeared a flat surface without one rising hill: steered to the north of it." In thick weather the "Assistant" was sent ahead and Bligh remarks: "In 1777 I made the longitude of the centre of Savage Island in 190' 23' E., in the 'Bounty' 190° 18' E. The latitude is 19° 20' S."
Leaving Savage Island the two ships continued to sail westward towards the Friendly or Tonga Islands. They steered round the Vavau Group, but unfortunately the log-books contain no chart of their track. Bligh continues:--
"Thursday, August 2nd. Before I left England I was informed by my friend, Mr. Alexander Dalrymple, that Captain Francisco Antonio Maurelle, in a ship called 'The Princessa,' in 1781, had discovered numerous islands between the latitude 17° S. and 21° S., and between the longitudes of 182° and 184° E. He favoured me with a sketch of them and some views of the land, and an extract from the journal of the ship's track. The northernmost island, Maurelle, lies down in a parallel with those I discovered by 2° to the eastward of them and 1° to the westward of the Friendly Islands. He called them Don Martyn Mayorga Isles.* The southern islands he lays down south of the Mayorga, and calls them Don Jon de Galveys Islands.** He placed them on a parallel with the Friendly Islands but 1° west of them. It is evident that their relative position is sufficiently exact. I think, therefore, as one group cannot be removed out of the position he has laid them in without the other that Captain Cook's track from Tofoa to Turtle Island, and my track in my boat prove that Maurelle's Southern Islands and the Friendly Islands are the same, and his grand Montagne and St. Christoval are Caow and Tofoa.*** As Mayorga according to my supposition lies on a meridian with the northern part of the Friendly Islands, if I prove it to be so, I shall evidently determine the rest. I therefore gave up all thought of revisiting Annamooka in order to determine this point which is of greater consequence, and otherwise may remain unknown for ever.
[* Vavau Group.]
[** Haapai Group, discovered by Cook in 1777.]
[*** Kao and Tofua Islands of the Haapai Group; Maurelle was under the impression that he had reached the Solomon Islands.]
"At four o'clock in the afternoon, lat. 18° 42' S. and long. 187° 37' E., hailed Lieutenant Portlock, the weather being very dark and gloomy, and ordered him to lead during the night, and steer W. ½ S. At midnight land* was discovered from S.W. to W. by N., 4 leagues distant.
[* Flinders says at daybreak this island had the appearance of a beautiful champaign country.]
"Friday, August 3rd. A fine moonlight which shone through the clouds gave us a better chance of seeing danger than if the sky had been perfectly clear, and I therefore determined to stand on all night.
"I took my track to the south of Maurelle's latitude (of the north part of Mayorga) that I might be sure to fall in with it, and I informed Lieutenant Portlock of my intention. We, however, saw the land first at a tolerable distance, and having made the signal to haul the wind and tack, we spent the night under low sail. The day turned out very tempestuous with much rain, and except severe cold it was as bad as any winter's day in England. In consequence I had not as good a view of the land as I could wish.
"The northern part made a fair cape with a very lofty shore and the east part had some projecting heads that looked like islands: the southern parts were much lower. They nevertheless formed double lands, and for that reason I believe are islands. There are two very remarkable hills, which lie on the N.W. part of the island, and one is a table mountain,* and the other is nearly as high, the top of which formed like a ducal crown or rather a Scotch bonnet. We could observe the country was abundantly clothed with wood, and to the southward of the east cape, many cocoanut trees.
[* Moungalafa (Vavau Group).]
"The north point of the land was higher than any other, and formed a very steep cliff although with some inclination: it was something like Beachy Head. The verdure which clothed the cliffs was broken in many places as if the face of the shore was sandy, but this I attribute to the torrents of rain that fall into the sea, for the general outline rather marked some wonderful convulsion which has placed these islands in this immense sea.
"The east side of the land lies in the direction of S. 15° W. by compass. From the North Cape it inclines S. 62° W. and then to S.S.W. Round the N.W. part I could observe a small island, and an opening in the land, and from this the land is much lower and broken, and is the same to the southward of the east part of the land, so that if the high land forms one island it is only about twenty miles in circuit, whereas the whole is more than forty miles. Nothing but extreme bad weather would have prevented me from knowing more of it as well as two other islands which we discovered at noon. The northernmost from the masthead appeared as two very inconsiderable lumps of land which I believe are connected.* The southernmost a remarkably high peaked mountain,** the summit hid in the clouds.
[* Fanua Lei or Amagura Island. "It is formed by two hills which are connected by a low space."--Adm. Slg. Directions. Note in log: "At noon discovered a mountainous island S. 42 W. 11 leagues and a lump of an island not quite so high and regularly formed. N. 29 W. 11 leagues."]
[* Late or Lette Island, the peak is 1790 feet high.]
"The distance we saw the islands proves their height must be considerable. At noon I unexpectedly got a good latitude. As I saw no good consequence attending my delay I directed my course to the westward.
"Saturday, August 4th. Nothing could exceed the unfavourable weather after noon. It came on thick and squally and was like a fog. I therefore informed Lieutenant Portlock by hailing him that after the close of the day I should keep on a wind for the night. I had the good luck, however, to get a sight of the two islands last discovered, which enabled me to determine their situation tolerably exact, and the new day bringing us better weather, I had a good sight of the south island again and excellent altitudes of the sun to determine my longitude.
"How far my description of these islands will agree with the Journal of Mr. Maurelle I cannot say, but I see no reason to doubt of their being the same. The relative positions and latitudes agree very nearly, and the longitude is out of the question. He has been exact in which it is unpardonable in a navigator to neglect. I mean his latitude. I shall not, therefore (though he seems to have been a poor unhappy wanderer about this sea, and not unlike many of our modern English navigators about this part of the globe), take away the names he has given to these islands by supplanting them with others which a new discovery would have led me to have done. The Island of Mayorga is the first land I saw. The Mountainous Island is the Island Late and the northernmost is Amargura.
"Close under Table Hill is certainly Maurelle's Port Refuge. The north part of Mayorga is in 186° 09' E. and it by me lies in 18° 34½' S., by Maurelle in 18" 33' S. 183° 53' E. Port Refuge* by me is in 18° 38½ S. 186° 14' E., by Maurelle in 18° 38' S. 183° 52' E. Island Late** by me is in 18° 50' S. 185° 31' E., by Maurelle in 18° 46' 183° 11 E. Island Amargura*** by me is in 17° 58½' S. 185° 26' E., by Maurelle is 17° 59' S. and 183° 21' E."
[* Maurelle in 1781 anchored in a harbour which he called El Puerto del Refugio.]
[** Late or Lette Island is west of the Vavau Group.]
[*** Amagura (Span. Bitterness). Maurelle so named Fanua Lei, because he was disappointed in obtaining fresh provisions here.]
Bligh, on leaving the "Tonga Islands (Vavau Group), proceeded to Fiji, a group which had been first seen by him in his boat voyage, and which from that time had appeared in the maps under the name of Bligh's Islands and is so called in the log-books of Bligh and his officers. At this point of his voyage he adopts a rather tiresome method of naming the islands and reefs of the different groups through which he passed by successive letters of the alphabet. The letter names, however, were convenient for distinguishing the different localities, and required less ingenuity than the inventing of a number of new names. On Sunday, August 5th, to use his own phrase, after sighting Fiji he took bearings of the land and wrote in his diary: "My object was now to determine that Maurelle's lands were not the islands that I discovered in my last voyage to the W.N.W. of the Friendly Islands and to determine more accurately their situation; at that time I could only determine their boundary to enable a navigator to discover them again, and I now steered such a course as would put it beyond a doubt.
"At 11 a.m. we saw an island from the masthead S.W. by W. which I called A. At noon I made the land, but it all at this moment appeared new to me as may readily be conceived by those who have read my account of 1789 with proper attention. From the recollection I had of it, however, the Island A* appeared to me to be the land I had passed to the southward of in 1789, although it did not agree with my latitude by a few miles, an error that may be easily accounted for, Lat. 18° 25' 52" S. 181° 57' E.
[* A is Mothe Island, and it is called Sunday Island in Tobin's log-book. Five years afterwards, in 1797, while voyaging to China in the ship "Duff," Wilson saw Mothe which is surrounded by a barrier reef that encloses Karoni (the Skerries of Wilson). He also saw Namuka (the Neat's Tongue of Wilson), Oneata, and several other islands seen by Bligh in 1789 and 1792. Mothe, like most, if not all, of the Fijis is known by its native name. Wilson is often called its discoverer, yet he saw less of it than Bligh had done.]
"Monday, August 6th, 1792. At 12.5 p.m. saw other land W. by S. and W. S. W. and called it B.*
[* B, now Oneata, seen afterwards by Wilson.]
"The breakers which we saw at 1 o'clock rendered a passage doubtful to the northward of Island B and made me steer to the S.W. Island B is a low island with a number of hillocks. The easternmost island is the highest and very remarkable by being detached although connected with a reef.* Island A is a fairly lofty island and diversified by a moderate uneven surface.
[* 3 Loa Islet, 6 cables eastward of Oneata and connected with it by a sunken reef. It has a sharp summit 140 feet high, and is the Observation Islet of Wilkes.]
"At a quarter past 5 we were close in under Island A, and kept on and off it all night. At sunrise bore away.
"At 5 o'clock, when we first came close to A, I found a dangerous range of breakers midway between A and B where I intended to pass.* I therefore hauled in for A and found its north shore bold without any anchorage and its west side apparently shut up by a reef extending to the Islands F, G, and H** where shoals were so numerous that standing on in the night became highly dangerous: for that reason I preferred my present situation.
[* Thakau Lekaleka. Bligh passed between Mothe Island and the reef which forms the south side of Oneata channel.]
[** There are three well-defined reefs north-east of Mothe: Thakau Lekaleka which is in the middle of the passage, Thakau Vau, and Thakau Motu. F = Komo. G = Olorua. H = Thakau Viute.]
"I hailed Lieutenant Portlock and told him to keep in with the island all night (with the west end of the island bearing from S. to S.S.E.) and we preserved this station without trouble. A canoe came off to us with two men in her who bartered without reserve a few cocoanuts for toweys and nails. I paid them well, and as I expected they were off in the morning and came back with two other men and sold us many more nuts and some spears and clubs. Two of the men came on board and looked about them with some surprise, and one of them had his hair plaited about four inches long on his neck--hanging in a number of tails loaded with black grease--the other wore it short and lime burnt. Some of them had lost both little fingers as far as the second joint and the others only of one hand. They had very few marks of tattooing; one of their ears was remarkably long and had a hole in it that would have taken a large knife for an ornament. The others were bored in the common way: their beards were rough and untrimmed and they were dirty in person.
"We could not understand them except in a few words of the Friendly Islands language: I happened to mention Tongataboo, and when they got hold of it I saw that they were perfectly acquainted with that land.
"The canoe was the common outrigger, but it was on the starboard side. It differed too in its form from any I have seen. It was open about two feet wide in the middle, sharp at both ends with a prow that curved a little. Their paddles were like those of the Friendly Islands. As I could not delay I made sail, and they quitted us well satisfied with what they got. The spears were those common for striking fish, and the clubs were identically the same as those of the Friendly Islanders one of the men wore a pretty pearl oyster shell at his breast. I have no very favourable opinion of the country. Around the shores were a great many cocoanut trees, and on the hills the trees marked the strong winds from the E. and S.E.
"There can be no doubt of the natives being desirous of intercourse with us. It was remarkable their coming off in the night. The sea appeared closed to the W. N.W. but we soon began to discover more islands, and at noon we had them on each side. A sailing canoe followed us for some time, but at last seeing that I would not wait for them returned. The sail was like the Friendly Islands sails and there was a small shed on the canoe and about twenty men in it.
"The Island C* appeared the most considerable of any we have yet seen. It may be about 4 leagues in circuit, and it is high and diversified with hills and dales sufficiently dotted with wood. A smaller island** lies between it and B Island.
[* Lakemba Island, or Laguemba, the largest island of the Eastern Fiji Group, un which are Mount Goodenough and Kendi Kendi.]
"In the 'Bounty's' Launch I passed to the southward of Island A.* then fixed its latitude to be 18° 27' S. whereas I now fix it as 18° 39' S.: and my charts will give a more exact idea of the land. Its longitude is 181° 32' E. A few words I was able to understand in the Friendly Islands language were: Heeoh, yes; Maltow, afraid; Fockotou, to trade or barter."
[* Bligh passed between Mothe and Namuka in the "Bounty's" launch, see earlier.]
Lieutenant George Tobin describes Mothe, and he tells much the same story as Captain Bligh, but as these descriptions of the Fijians are the earliest in existence we quote them. "Between this island and some breakers to the northward we kept plying the whole night of Sunday, August 5th. We had seen a few natives on the beach before dark and they continued making fires there as well as on the hills all night. At 2 o'clock in the morning we were surprised with a visit from two of them. They brought a few cocoanuts but would not venture on board the ship. At daylight on Monday the 6th, four more came in a canoe alongside.
"These people readily came on board, but exhibited great signs of timidity and wonder at everything that caught their attention. They brought with them cocoanuts and a few weapons which our shipmaster, who had been in the Friendly Islands, seemed to think were of the same kind. We soon afterwards bore up, and our visitors paddled for the shore. In exchange for their articles we had given them iron of different sorts, and from the avidity with which they took it it would appear that they were not ignorant of the use of it, which can only be accounted for by their having communication with the Friendly Islanders or from the visit of a. European ship.
"Some large sailing canoes among these islands leave no doubt that their navigation is rather extensive.
"The people were about middle size, some of our gentlemen thought them above, but we have all been led into this error from seeing them naked. In colour they are not so red and brown as the Otaheitans, but being a more filthy people the real cast is not to be distinguished.
"Their hair is more woolly and worn different by each other, but in none was it suffered to acquire any degree of length. One man in the canoe was stained with a kind of pigment, nor did the custom of shaving the hair beneath the arms prevail at the island. This circumstance gave great offence to Mydiddee and Bobbo, and our present visitors, as well as the Whytootakeyans, appeared inferior to these two gentlemen.
"There appeared no affinity whatever in the language of Sunday Island and Otaheite, as neither ourselves nor the Otaheitans could glean a word from them but the word 'Tatow,' which they readily pronounced and pointed to a few of these marks one man had on his left heel. These were the only marks of tattooing I discovered among them. Each man had either two joints of the right or left little finger taken off; one man had both. The ears of all were perforated, and in one man the lobe was slit and distended so as to hang down as far as his chin, and was big enough to introduce an egg through. Excepting a wrapper round the middle they were naked; one indeed was ornamented with a breastplate of pearl oyster shell something like but inferior to those of Whytootakee. Another had a cowry shell hanging to his neck, and a string fastened tight round the right arm a little above the elbow.
"The canoe was formed by a single piece of wood, dark coloured and not unlike the Toa tree of Otaheite, sharp at both ends and rising towards the head. Its length about 18 feet--its breadth one foot and three-quarter and greatest amidships. To the outrigger which was on the starboard side there were three projecting pieces; it had no seats, but the people sat on the cross pieces of the outrigger. The paddles were remarkably neat and high polished and appeared of the same wood as the canoe; about 4 feet long. The island is not above a league in circumference, of a moderate height, and in all places surrounded by a reef half a mile from the land. Could a passage be found the landing no doubt would be good, as there are several sandy beaches. The upper grounds are bare and boast no appearance of fertility, but near the sea we observed cocoanuts in plenty and a great deal of the Toa tree. No huts were observed, yet from their manufactures they cannot be destitute of dwellings."
In his diary Matthew Flinders also gives us his impression of the inhabitants of Mothe Island. "The inhabitants of A Island, who were the only Indians (of the Fiji Group) to come to the ship, were stout and of middling size. They were remarkable in having the first joints of the little finger cut off, and one had lost the second joint of one of his fingers and another the first joint on one hand...They expressed some curiosity when they 'were shown the breadfruit plants and some other things, and said 'Illeeboo' signifying, I suppose, that they had such trees on shore."
Captain Bligh had now determined to explore Fiji very thoroughly, and his log at this point becomes more than a carefully compiled record of his observations. It enables us at a late date to award the honour of first discovery where it is due, for hitherto Wilson and Dumont D'Urville have both been credited with having been the first navigators to visit islands where Bligh in fact had preceded them.
The log continues: "Tuesday, August 7th. Lat. 18° 16' S., Long. 180° 57' 46" E. I directed my course to W.N.W. between two lofty islands which we saw from the masthead called M and L.* In passing island C** we saw numerous smokes and a well-cultivated country. A sailing canoe made the utmost exertions to overtake us, but as they were far astern and the night coming on I could not wait for it, as I had to take a small range to be certain of a clear space for the ships during the night. Saw another island called N.*** At 8 in the evening I was 4 leagues to the S.W. of Island M, and about the same distance to N.N.W. of Island L. Here we lay to for the night.
[* M, Naiau Island, called in some of the old charts Oedida. L, Vanua Vatu Island.]
[** C, Lakemba Island.]
[*** N, Thithia, called in some of the old charts Favourite Island.]
"At daylight we saw other islands called P and O,* the latter became very remarkable being like Gibraltar Rock.** As we stood on we saw a very high island in the north, called it R*** and land to the north of it T Island, and to the S.E. of these a small high island which was called Q.**** The land in the S.W. by W. I considered to be the south-easternmost of the islands I discovered in the 'Bounty's' Launch, and that in the N.W. by W. to be part of the northernmost. To the eastward of our station at noon was new to us. I therefore determined to stand to the northward to see what lands were connected with those I had passed in my boat in 1789.
[* P, Moala. O, Vatu Vara.]
[** On O, Gibraltar Rock, we saw a few trees on the low part of it."--Finders.]
[*** R and T, Taviuni Island.]
[**** Q, Yathata.]
"All the islands are high. We saw smokes on the smallest of them, and I am confident they are well inhabited. The Island N lies in Lat. 17° 45' W.
"Wednesday, August 8th. As we got to the northward we saw a shoal of keys* lying about 2 leagues to the West S.W. of Island Q, it is probable they join with it. Q lies on a meridian with O Island, or Gibraltar Rock, and about 9 miles from it. It is also high and about the same size, but neither is above two miles in circuit.
[* Nukutolo Islets.]
"The land in E.N.E. at 5° 20' was seen the preceding noon bearing N.E. by N. As the wind was scant I determined not to pass northward of Island R, as I had first intended, but to keep the wind to the southward. R is a very high land.* I have placed it in 17° 10' S., but it was from supposed distance. The Island S** is of good height, it is the easternmost of the islands I passed between on May 6th, 1789; I now place it in 17° 22' S. At daylight I sent for Lieutenant Portlock to give him a few necessary directions, and having hoisted in the boat I steered for islands in the S.W. called U*** and V.**** At noon we had sight of P Island***** seen on the morning of the 7th. V had a very fruitful appearance. The Island U was like it, but smaller, and had a remarkable islet****** or rock off the S.E. part of it, the Lat. 17° 53' S., Long. 179' 49' E., 21 days from Otaheite.
[* Mount Ngalai on Taviuni Island is 4040 feet above the sea.]
[** S, Koroso.]
[*** U, Nairai Island. Its true lat. is 17° 48' S. and true long. 179° 23' E.]
[**** V, Ngau Island. Y, part of Ovalau. W, Mbatiki. X, Wakaya.]
[***** A second view of Moala.]
[****** Nai Kobu, a rock go feet high, remarkable for its magnetic properties.]
"Thursday, August 9th. Until we advanced towards the islands and opened the channel fairly it appeared full of breakers. Besides what were round the shores there were broken patches off the west part of V, everywhere else the passage was fair and about 5 miles wide. The reefs were steep too, for we could not find any bottom, and from the extreme parts of the island they extend a long way--about two miles.
"We ranged along the shore of V Island and on its west side, open to a valley, appeared an excellent harbour or bay for ships.* Another likely place was seen on the south side. It was at this time nearly dark, I was therefore obliged to give up the idea of examining these places and to get a little sea room for the night, the land extending from W.S.W. round by North to Island U. The most southernly land was very high and extensive, it was called Z.** At daylight made sail to the southward, a very high mountain to be seen on Island Z and, from its likeness to one, was called the Cockscomb;*** the whole of this island is very mountainous, and its S.W. part terminated in a very high cape sloping to south, an island lies to the south of it called No. 1.**** The Island Z joins or forms a part of the largest islands of this Archipelago through which I passed in 1789.
[* Probably Herald Bay, a sheltered roadstead indenting Ngau Island.]
[** Z is Viti Levu, "the island that gives its name to the group and is so called by the natives, meaning Great Viti. The islanders call themselves Kai Viti, and the origin of the name Fiji is probably due to the Tonga Islanders who thus pronounce the word Viti."Erskine's Western Pacific Islands.]
[*** Probably Koro Mbasa Mbasanga, 18 miles W.N. West of Suva Harbour, which has an altitude of 3960 feet. This peak is distinguishable from the sea in clear weather.]
[**** Mbengha Island.]
"As land continued to present itself to the southward I determined to sail round its southern extreme although it might cost me a day to accomplish it.
"The nearer we came to the shore of Island V the more we became delighted with the country. We sailed within a mile of the reef which surrounds the shore. Inside the reef the water is perfectly smooth and shoal and has some fine sandy beaches; there are some openings in the reefs fit for boats. About the reefs we saw many natives striking the fish and tracking the canoes about with poles. On the shore the natives were numerous. As we sailed along they followed us, waving pieces of white cloth. Nothing could exceed the beauty of the country at this time. It was cultivated far up into the mountains in a regular and pretty manner. Fine plantain walks and shades of cocoanut and other trees near were rendered more picturesque by the dwellings that were among them.
"It is an uncommon sight in this sea to see well-built villages on an eminence, but here was a considerable one delightfully situated on the brow of a hill amidst a charming grove of trees. The houses were thatched all round the sides and tops with one opening or doorway. Some of them resembled those of the Friendly Islands with the roofs exceedingly overhanging the base, and the sides inclined outwards so that the floor is considerably less than the bounds of the roof. Others were like the Sandwich Island houses. Everything seemed to show that they were an industrious and social people.
"They are evidently accustomed to war, for their signals were numerous to collect their whole forces. On an elevated hill (on the north part of the island) where we saw a number of the natives, two signals were made by flags hoisted to two detached cocoanut trees, no doubt to alarm the whole island. On this hill we could observe a well-beaten road and a single hut which I thought was for the purpose of a watch house. They appeared very desirous to communicate with us, and I regretted very much that the night prevented this. Three canoes came after us, but as they were too late in leaving the shore they failed to come up with the ships. In the first were seven men, they were of a very dark colour, almost black. Their heads bound round with white cloth, they had pearl oyster shells pendent from their necks. One man stood in the bow of the canoe holding up a club such as I got at the last island and made signs for us to stop and trade with them. Their clothing was the common marro--a strip of cloth round their hips.
"The colour of these men must certainly have been artificial, for in the other canoes the people were rather lighter coloured than the Otaheitans. Their hair was bushy. These men also showed much desire to trade with us, and held up cloth to induce us to stop. In one of the canoes they used a large paddle to scull with, as at Friendly Islands, and I believe we may consider them to be the same kind of people. It appeared indifferent to them on which side the outriggers were--as at the last island; the form of the canoe was the same and the double canoes secured by cross pieces in the common way. At Whytootackee I observed the natives blackened their skins with grease and smut. Here they do the same. It is an undoubted mark of ferocity. This Island V has about 7 leagues of sea coast. Its north point is in 17° 58' S. and Long. 179° 40' E. It was first seen on the 7th at noon S.W. by W., distant 15 leagues.
"The Island U is very like V, but not above half its size although prettily diversified with high grounds and cultivation."
Mr. Tobin wrote of Ngau Island in much the same strain:--
"In passing Island V the natives were collected on the shore about a reef that surrounds it and on the hills in great numbers, and seemed anxious by waving and other motions for us to land, and most of them carried a long spear in their hands.
"Towards sunset their canoes put off from the shore and paddled strenuously to overtake us, but the ship sailing at a greater rate, we had the mortification to see them put back. The canoes appeared the same as those at Sunday Island, but we observed that besides the common paddling they had a method of sculling like the Chinese, one man stands up and is constantly at work with a long narrow paddle for the purpose. Several of them were ornamented with the pearl oyster shell or gorget, and others wore something white on the head like a turban. Except their other wrapper round the middle they were quite naked. It was remarked that the natives in the one canoe were of a much lighter colour than the others. Those on the beach were of the same colour as the natives of Sunday Island.
"The island exhibits a delightful appearance, and is most plentifully supplied with cocoanuts and plantains. It is hilly, and, towards the summit, covered with wood. The middle hills, which are all well cultivated, seem to be the favourite spot for the natives to fix their habitations. We saw few single ones, but generally seven or eight together; round the villages the ground was cleared and regularly planted."
Flinders was even more enthusiastic in his praise of Ngau, and he wrote: "This is the most beautiful island we have yet seen. We saw a village half way up the hill surrounded with cocoanut trees under whose shade the houses were built...We saw pieces of cloth fixed to the trees, but whether to give alarm to the island or as a signal I cannot tell. The people in the canoes laboured very much to come up with us, relieving each other at the paddles and one of them standing up to stop us, but the situation of the ship surrounded by rocks and island was too dangerous to admit of it...We saw them put back with the greatest regret. They had a quantity of white cloth round their heads and some round their waist, but otherwise were entirely naked. We saw a small bay on the S. W. side...This island was thought worthy to be called Paradise Island."
Captain Bligh continues. "Friday, August 10th. As we advanced towards the south land* we fell in with several rocky islets and dangerous breakers. They lie north from it about 6 leagues. As I could not weather the one or the other I tacked to the northward and spent the night plying to windward. We saw smokes and marks of cultivation about these small isles, and a very high mountain** with a flat top on the western part of the land that I had determined to go round. In the course of this day we advanced but little, for at noon we had only made a direct course of 7 miles so that the objects were the same but the weather unfavourable to discern them.
[* Mt. Washington, of which the native name is Mbuke Levu.]
"Saturday, August 11th. At 4 o'clock we were abreast of the rocky islets. On the largest were several smokes and it was prettily covered with trees. There is no passage among these isles for vessels of any size. The ground appears very broken and perhaps forms a ridge of breakers to the shoal to the northward of them.
"Night closed upon us before we could be within a proper distance to observe much of the land or main of these rocky keys which we called No. 2.* It was very high and diversified with hill and dale interspersed with trees and cultivated no doubt equal to the other islands.
[* 2 No. 2 is Kandavu Island and the Astrolabe Reefs. Kandavu has two isthmuses; at Tavuku the island is nearly divided and at Ndaku Isthmus it is only three-quarters of a mile broad.]
"At daylight I no longer found any land to the southward of us, the high flat top mountain seen yesterday was now also the west part of the land and I steered for it. We passed the south side of No. 2 (which I suspect is three islands), about 10 leagues in extent from E.N.E. to W.S.W. The whole country was like continental land doubling hill over hill. Moderately woody and cultivated. Saw many smokes and cocoanut trees, but the weather was so unfavourable that we could not observe anything with certainty. A small high island, laying S.E. to the mountain, was well cultivated.*
[* Matanutu Island.]
I could get no observation at noon. However by the assistance of my map I am inclined to think we were not above a mile or two wrong in our situation.
"In connecting these islands I now discovered that with those which I discovered in the 'Bounty's' Launch, they have an extent of fully 90 leagues from E. to W. and full 53 leagues N. to S. The N.W. and western islands are much the largest, some of them I daresay have 20 or 30 leagues of coast. I have now opened a way to their being regularly surveyed. If I had had a month to spare I would have completed it myself. The difficulties I expect to meet with in exploring my way between New Holland and New Guinea, with a contrary monsoon advancing, call for my utmost exertions to avoid delay."
Before taking his departure from Fiji, while the ships were rounding Kandavu, Mr. Portlock wrote in the "Assistant's" log on August 10th: "There can remain but little doubt of these islands being the Feejee Islands that the Friendly Islanders speak so much about, whose inhabitants they seem to fear and speak of as great warriors who make use of poisoned arrows in battle. Tasman, it appears (in 1643), fell in with the eastern or small cluster of this group and gave to them the name of Prince William's Islands, but certainly Captain Bligh is the discoverer of the Western or large group.*
[* Turtle Island, the southernmost of the group, was discovered by Cook in 1773. The following is a list of islands named by Captain Bligh: A, Mothe Island; B, Oneata; C, Lakemba; F, Komo; G, Olorua; H, Thakau Viute (reef); L, Vanua Vatu; M, Naiau Island; N, Thithia; O, Vatu Vara; P, Moala; Q, Yathata; R and T, Parts of Taviuni; S, Koro; U, Nairai; V, Ngau; W, Mbatiki; X, Wakaya; Y, Ovalau; Z, Viti Levu; No. 1, Mbengha; No. 2, Kandavu and the Astrolabe Reefs.]
"They are altogether, and are a prodigious fine group of islands, and their inhabitants very much resemble the Friendly Islanders in person and manners. Those that were off to the 'Providence' had joints out from the little finger and their hair stained with clay or lime exactly as those islanders do."
These words of Portlock, written while he was on board the "Assistant" in Fiji, having just led the "Providence" through the very centre of the group, assume a curious importance to-day, when historians are endeavouring to decide to whom belongs the honour of their discovery. Bligh's track and his chart of his second voyage are little known in connection with the early exploration of Fiji, and it is strange that the chart has received so little notice.
It is true that twenty-two years after Bligh's return Arrowsmith included the course of the "Providence" in a combined chart of Fiji "constructed from original documents," in 1814 which is now at the Admiralty,* but the track is very incorrectly laid down, and it must have been drawn without reference to Bligh's original chart. On Arrowsmith's chart the ships are not shown to have come to Mothe Island at all, yet as has been told above Captain Bligh kept in touch with the island all night and was visited by the natives. Again the course as drawn by Arrowsmith, instead of showing that the vessels passed between Ngau and Nairai Islands, runs away to the southward of both these islands. There are also some small islands placed S.W. of Kandavu on Arrowsmith's chart where none exist on Bligh's. On Arrowsmith's chart, too, Kandavu (part of Bligh's No. 2) bears the name of Mywolla, and as a result Admiral Erskine in his Western Pacific Directory writes: "D'Urville sought Kandavu as being Mywolla discovered by Bligh in his second voyage in 1792, but it would certainly seem that Mywolla is the same as Mouala to the E.N.E., and that Bligh passed between Totowa and Matougou (Totoya and Matuku) because there are no islands to the S.W. of Kandavu as marked on Bligh's Chart,** and the distance, bearings, and drawings are so bad in Bligh's track that the discrepancies are not too great for such an assumption".*** Admiral Erskine is right in thinking that Mywolla is the same as Moala (P island twice seen by Bligh), but he is mistaken in surmising that Bligh passed between Totoya and Matuku, for we know that the ships steered between Ngau and Nairai (U and V Islands).
[* A chart of Fiji was made in 1808, which does not differ from that made in 1814. There is not, however, a copy of the earlier one at the Admiralty.]
[** On Bligh's original chart there are no islands S.W. of Kandavu.]
[*** Findlay makes similar criticisms. See South Pacific Directory.]
The Cockscomb Mountain on Viti Levu and some of Bligh's Islands may not be quite correctly in position in his chart, but his track can be easily followed and his islands identified without difficulty, the chart being quite as accurate as those recording new discoveries usually are. In passing between U and V Islands Captain Bligh gives us the latitude and longitude of U or Nairai Island as being in 17° 53' S. and 179° 49' E. Its true latitude and longitude are 17° 48' S. and 179° 23' E. It is evident that Admiral Erskine was writing about the combined chart by Arrowsmith on which islands are placed in that situation, and that he had not seen the original chart drawn and signed by Captain Bligh, on which no islands appear. On Arrowsmith's chart, too, the name Mywolla is given to Kandavu and no doubt this chart misled Admiral Erskine, but there is no reason to attribute the error to Captain Bligh. He has placed the islands where he saw them, named only by letters of the alphabet, and unless the natives of Mothe pointed out to him the direction of Moala and named it to him he could not have known it by that name. If they did so, he has made no mention of it in his log.
On Saturday, August 11th, the two ships left Fiji and made all sail towards the New Hebrides. For seven days they kept on their course to the north-west in variable weather with alternate days of sunshine to temper days of intense gloom, of tropical haze and of showers of rain. At 2 p.m. on the 14th, Captain Bligh sent a boat to the "Assistant" with an invitation to Lieutenant Portlock to dine, which he accepted, returning on board his ship again at 7 p.m. Bligh often summoned the "Assistant's" commander in order to discuss the route the vessels were taking and other details concerning the voyage, throughout which the "Assistant" (as it will have been noticed) almost invariably led the "Providence". In Lieutenant Portlock's log he tells us that it was his custom on first coining on board the "Providence" to take a survey of the ship's situation from her masthead.
On August 19th the "Assistant" made the signal for seeing land. It lay to the south-west and proved to be one of the Banks Group, which had been seen by the "Bounty's" launch on May 14th, 1789, when on the way from Tofua to Timor.
The Banks Group is included in the New Hebrides, which consist of about forty islands in all. Ouiros in 1606 discovered Tierra del Espiritu Santo, south of Banks Islands, which he supposed to be part of the continent. Bougainville in 1768 found that it was not so when he passed to the southward of any land seen at that date, discovering Aragh, Marwo, and Aoba Islands. He thus satisfied himself that the continent of Quiros was a group of islands, upon which he bestowed the name of Cyclades. Cook in 1774 discovered and charted other islands to the south and named them the New Hebrides, a title since applied to the whole group.
Captain Bligh thought that he had made a new discovery. Quiros and Torres, however, had not only seen the Banks Group, but had called Vanua-Lava Island "Portales de Belen," Mota Island "Las Lagrimas da San Pedro," Gaua "La Virgen Maria," and Ureparapara "Pilar de Zaragoza". Little was really known of the Banks Group for many years afterwards, and even in 1838, when D'Urville came there, he found navigation difficult owing to the lack of knowledge concerning it.
The Torres Group, also part of the New Hebrides, lies slightly to the north-west, and Captain Bligh, after passing round the northernmost islands of the Banks Group, took the "Providence" and "Assistant" past the southern extreme of the Torres Group, which again, as its name denotes, forms part of Torres' discoveries in 1606. It is composed of Hiu or North Island, Tegua or Middle Island, Lo or Saddle Island, and Tog or South Island.
On Sunday, August 19th, Bligh writes of the Banks Group in his log: "In pursuance of my plan to verify my observations made during my distressing voyage in the 'Bounty's' Launch, I directed my course to make the islands* I had then discovered to the northward of the New Hebrides.
[* Banks Islands.]
"We saw them soon after 1 o'clock, but our situation was farther to the northward than I had intended, and being out of the point of view I saw them before, they had not the same appearance. The sugar-loaf peaked island, as I then called it, was very different. It had only a peaked hill on its eastern part joined by land which scarcely made it remarkable but for its situation and small size although high. It was now called Island A.* Island B** is higher, and forms with three hills a mountainous body of land with a low border of land round it which has a cliff shore. They bear S. ½ E. and N. W. by compass from each other, and lie off the coast of the largest island of this group.
[* A, Mota Island.]
[** B is Valua Island, situated S miles N. of Mota Island.]
"I was certain of my situation by the North Rocks, and I spent the night plying to windward that I might get a better view of the land in the morning as well as to prevent accident to the ships.
"At daylight I stood round Island B, to the S.V. of which we saw the largest Island called C* towering in the clouds, the summits of its high mountains hid or at times but partially seen. My views of it will give a just idea of it, and its size sufficiently marks it out from all the rest. Between B, C, and D we observed two low isles or keys, and some broken ground which was thought to join to C** and make that pass dangerous--it therefore induced me to pursue my old track round the Island D.***
[* C, or Vanua Lava, is the largest island of the Banks Group. A volcanic mountain range attaining a height of upwards of 3000 feet runs nearly throughout its whole length.]
[** They in fact form a separate reef.]
[*** D, Ureparapara or Bligh Island.]
"We passed near to Island B. It has a rocky shore, and I believe steep too, for we could get no bottom. It is covered with wood without any cleared ground: cocoanut trees grow luxuriantly, and raise their heads conspicuously above the rest. I saw only one smoke and not a single habitation. Some trees looked like breadfruit, but I saw no plantain trees. It has a remarkable hill on its west side that opened with other high land at S. 34° W. This island is about 6 or 7 leagues round.
"Upon the north rocks* which I now called the Bounty's Launch' we saw through our glasses some trees, and the land is of tolerable height for we saw it at 7 leagues distant. It lies N.N.W. nearly by compass 22 miles from B Island, and is in the latitude of 13° 17' S., longitude by time-keepers 167° 42' E.
[* The North Rocks are now known as Vatganai. They consist of two rocks about 250 feet high.]
"I steered close in with Island D to take a look at the bay I had described in my last voyage.* It is a remarkable island from the formation of this bay which occupies a large circular space in the middle of it, surrounded by a continuous ridge of mountains that incline rapidly to the waterside. I could get no ground off this place, and think the water is extremely deep close to the shore: the points of the bay lie S. 20° E. and N. 20° W. from each other, about one mile apart, but whatever anchorage a ship may find in it, I am afraid she cannot get shelter from the wind at the N.E., in other respects it may answer. At the bottom of the bay there appeared some sandy beaches, and we saw the same round the north part of the island, but as they were bounded by a rocky shore it is probably a deep anchorage.
[* The name of this bay is Dives Bay; it is 2 miles in length by two-thirds of a mile in breadth.]
"The whole country has an entire covering of wood without a single cultivated spot. Clumps of cocoanut trees were uncommonly numerous about the hills. Around the sea-shore we saw only a few natives, but as we passed the bay we saw a large body collected in the inner part of it drawn up in some order as if with a design to prevent our landing. We observed some natives on the sea-shore who had cloth over their shoulders like the Otaheitans. We saw no habitations.
"Island D may be about a dozen miles round or more. Its latitude is 13° 34' S. and longitude 167° 25' E. and lies S. 32° W. by compass, 7 leagues from the 'Bounty's Launch' Island.
"I have forgotten to say that in passing the low keys we saw a few natives with a canoe.* The sail was similar to those of the Friendly Islands. At noon I directed my course towards the westernmost of the islands** of this group which I discovered in my last voyage.
[* This would be off Vanua Lava.]
[** Torres Group.]
"Monday, August 20th. As I expected, we saw the land about 2 o'clock: this was the same island I had discovered in the 'Bounty's' Launch, and what was new to me two other islands lying to the W.N.W. of it. They were called E, F, and G;* are of good height, woody, and similar to the islands we had passed. The Island E, I believe, is the largest of the three and about 3 leagues in circuit.
[* E, Tog or South Island; F, Lo or Saddle Island; G, Tegua and the North Island of the Torres Group.]
"It lies in latitude 13° 27' S., longitude 166° 45' E. These islands lie between 166° 37' E., and 167° 46' E., latitude 13° 17' S. to 14° 21 S.
"During the night I hauled the wind, and at daybreak made sail on my way. I suspect the chain of these islands extends to Santa Cruz."
Matthew Flinders wrote in his log: "Island A which Captain Bligh calls Sugar Loaf is little better than a rock. Island B is well covered with wood. We thought we saw cocoanuts at the summit of the mountains which were very high. Island C is by far the largest; we saw no signs of inhabitants on it, but on its northernmost key, which we suspect is joined to the island by a reef, we saw a canoe with a triangular sail like those of Bligh's Islands,* with several Indians in her. Island D, we saw no reef round this island and no doubt the bay is accessible. We saw a great body of natives at the bottom of the bay, and several smokes in different parts of the island which is covered with wood. There is very little low land, the mountain descending to the water's edge. We saw no inhabitants on E and F."
Captain Bligh left the New Hebrides on August 20th, and sailed towards the southern shores of New Guinea having fine weather with "a prodigious thick haze" for several days; there were fortunately bright intervals which enabled him to get some good observation by which he found "the mean of the time-keepers to differ only 7 miles".
The ships were now approaching the dangerous labyrinth of coral reefs which surround the entrance to Torres Strait, and upon one of which Captain Edwards had lately been wrecked. By August 25th they were nearly on a meridian with Cape Deliverance, the easternmost extreme of the Louisiade Archipelago.
On August 28th, as they were advancing toward the southern coast of New Guinea, and keeping a sharp watch for land, Lieutenant Portlock tells us that the midshipman who had the lookout at the "Assistant's" masthead cried out that land was in sight. He immediately went up, and found out what the midshipman had supposed to be land was a very large and most beautiful waterspout which proceeded from a small black cloud some 15° from the horizon. It ran in a zig-zag manner frequently altering in size and shape until within 5° of the horizon, and there it was joined by a large column of water the size of a church tower. This was much agitated and frequently moved its position, being surrounded with a dense mist "from the force with which it was either ascending or descending".
From the ships the waterspout was clearly seen for the space of half an hour. This was in 11° 36' S. On the same day the ships came on a meridian with Culde-Sac of Bougainville. Two days later early in the morning New Guinea was sighted. A haze concealed its shores although a bluff point could be discerned in the N.E., and a little later some mountains were visible. Evidently one of these was Mount Clarence as the ships made the land in the neighbourhood of Cape Rodney. From the bluff point the coast-line appeared to fall back to the northward, and as the ships steered to the W.N.W. they soon lost sight of the mountains. The land looked moderately high and well wooded, but Captain Bligh says that "its form was too indistinct" for him to give a sketch of it. We are indebted to Matthew Flinders for a drawing of the coast-line seen. In his work Terra Australis* he incorporates Bligh's chart of Torres Strait with other authorities, and in addition to giving Cape Rodney and the position of the land he also shows the trend of the mountain range which was seen by the "Providence".
[* Atlas, Plate XIII.]
On the following day--the 29th--during the forenoon, a white studding-sail boom, or something that exactly resembled it, floated past the "Assistant". The master saw it and said nothing about it until later in the day when Mr. Portlock, who seems to have been vexed at hearing the news so late writes: "It was great neglect of duty his not mentioning the matter as I had given orders that when leaves or rockweed or anything drifting was seen, I might be acquainted of it. If I had known that it really was a studding-sail boom, or any ship's spar, I most certainly would have hoist a boat out and picked it up," and he adds, "my alarm would have certainly been for Mr. Pérouse who is missing and who I understand had orders to visit these seas and explore the coasts of these islands".
M. de la Pérouse, although Portlock did not know it, had been lost with his ships close to the islands Bligh had last examined. Portlock's conjecture that the spar belonged to his ships was not an impossible one, and at the time that he wrote of Pérouse there were actually survivors of the French expedition still living and hoping to be rescued. Jean Francois de Galaup, Comte de la Pérouse, the ill-fated French commander, had left New South Wales four years before, in March, 1788, with his frigates "La Boussole" and "L'Astrolabe". Both ships were wrecked a few months later off Vanikoro, one of the Santa Cruz Group, which lies to the north of the Torres Group. For years nothing was heard of them. D'Entrecasteaux searched in vain for traces of the expedition although he also passed close to Vanikoro.
In 1826 Peter Dillon, captain of a trader, called at Tucopia to ascertain the fate of some persons he had left there in 1813. He found them living, and in the possession of one of them was a sword hilt of French manufacture which the natives said had come from Vanikoro where, long since, two large ships had been lost. During the night they were overtaken by a hurricane; one ship had foundered, the other was swept high upon the reef surrounding the island. Unfortunately Dillon found it impossible to call there then, but on his return to Calcutta he successfully petitioned the East India Company to equip an expedition and allow him to go in search of La Pérouse.
A ship named the "Research" was fitted out and he left India in January, 1827. Calling first at Tucopia he proceeded to Vanikoro, where he heard from the natives, as he had already been told by the Tucopians, that one of the ships had gone down at some distance from the reef at a place called Wanau. The Tucopians had said that the unfortunate survivors on reaching the shore had been immediately killed by the natives who believed that the white men were "ship spirits" and had since placed their skulls in their spirit house. Dillon was unable to find out whether this story was true, and the natives of Vanikoro denied that they had killed the men.
The second ship had remained fast on the reef opposite Payau, and those who were saved being able to conciliate the natives were permitted to remain there. Later they built a two-masted vessel, and in it sailed from the island but were never heard of again. Two men only stayed behind, one of whom was dead,* while the other had left Vanikoro with a native chief some time before Dillon's arrival. One of Dillon's officers visited the clearing on the west bank of a river that the Frenchmen had made, and where they had entrenched themselves with wooden palisades. A number of articles were brought away by him including parts of anchors, brass guns, and ringbolts, a silver spoon with the letter P. and the fleur-de-lys engraved plainly upon it, and a bell with the maker's name, "Bazin m'a fait". These articles on being sent to France were identified as belonging to La Pérouse's expedition, and were deposited in the naval museum at the Louvre.
[* This man is said to have died only three years before Dillon's visit.]
In 1829 Captain Dillon was presented to the French king, Charles X, who conferred on him the Order of the Legion of Honour. Dumont D'Urville in 1828 made a thorough examination of Vanikoro and set up a monument there in memory of his unfortunate countrymen; and the younger Bougainville, in 1825, when visiting Australia, had erected one in New South Wales where a beautiful suburb of Sydney is to-day known by the name of La Pérouse.
Captain Bligh continues: "Saturday, August 25th, I am now on a meridian nearly with Cape Deliverance* allowing it 154' 37' E., and as it is in 11° 45' S. our distance from it is 94 miles.
[* So called by Bougainville, the French navigator, who, on his return to Europe in 1769, first told of the existence of land in these waters, and is generally known as the discoverer of the Louisiade Archipelago.]
"Tuesday, August 28th. I am nearly on a meridian with the Cul-de-Sac. 'Assistant' ahead on the lookout.
"Wednesday, August 29th. Fair weather, extremely hazy. Got the large cutter out and stowed her on skids on the gunwales, so I now had four boats ready for an emergency.
"Thursday, August 30th. Fine night, with lightning on the N.E. At half past 5 I saw the coast of New Guinea from the deck, from N.N.E. ½ E. to N.E. ½, 12 leagues distant from the masthead.
"Remarks on this day. As I intended, we fell in the most western parts of Mr. Bougainville's discovery. My longitude shows it to be westward of any part he saw, but we may readily attribute the difference to an error on his side owing to the unfavourable weather he had. It was at a distance of at least 12 leagues, for with my best glasses before the sun rose and a clear horizon I could discover nothing but its form which was too indistinct to give a sketch of. Notwithstanding, to give an idea of the height it was 15 feet above the horizon and formed in hills and dales and may be therefore considered to be a highland.
"Fixing the land at 12 leagues bearing N.E. by true compass, its situation will be 9° 38' S., Long. 147° 16' E. by time-keepers which, 14 being added for their error, becomes 147° 30' E. The west part that Mr. Bougainville saw is computed by a late publication to be in Lat. 10° 00' S. and 148° 40' E.
"Friday, August 31st. My being so late in the season and a great probability of my meeting with delays in passing between New Holland and New Guinea is the cause of my running on in the night. Since the 23rd, the boobies and noddies that we have seen daily are indubitable proof of our passing dangers. This track should be taken with great caution, and I recommend whoever may follow me, not to run in the night but to keep the ship on a wind under such sail as will render her manageable. I am in good time to save the monsoon to Timor provided my route is clear. The weather is fine. I depend on clearing any danger, and Lieutenant Portlock has his orders to keep ahead. This is a double security, as his vessel is as manageable as a boat. Fine weather but extremely hazy, so that 5 or 6 leagues is the utmost we can see. My last Lat. observed 9° 25' S. 145° 23' E.
"Saturday, September 1st. The 'Assistant' being on the lookout made a signal for danger and tacked towards us. I found it to be a dangerous shoal 3 miles from us.* Happily we saw it before night. No land could be seen near those dreadful breakers, but boobies and noddies in abundance.
[* This shoal was named Portlock's Reef, in honour of Mr. Portlock.]
"I hailed Lieutenant Portlock to keep the wind for the night, which we passed without any trouble. At sunrise, for until then the weather was so hazy we could not distinguish the colour of the water, we bore away and I ordered the 'Assistant' to lead. A 7 o'clock we saw the shoal bearing west and west-north-west and, supposing it to be a small spot, we steered to go southwards of it, but to my surprise, as we advanced, found the breakers inclined more and more to the south and we were obliged to keep our wind. At a quarter past ten tacked as a stream set us fast to the breakers, and there was no possibility to weather them provided the end terminated where we saw it. What I shall prove this shoal to be, I hope will soon be determined. It gives a horrible picture of the navigation of this unknown strait.
"Sunday, September 2nd. Towards evening we saw the termination of the breakers to the northward, but as we had reason to suppose the sea full of dangers from the many noddies and boobies about us, I ordered Lieutenant Portlock to keep on the wind for the night.
"At 4 in the morning we supposed ourselves 6 miles from the shoal. We were only too apparently set to the southward by a stream of the tide.
"As soon as we could see about us we bore away with, to all appearances, a clear sea, but at noon we were obliged to haul the wind. Boobies and noddies and a large trunk of a tree near us, the latter covered with barnacles. The breakers were tremendous and the wind increased to a gale. The 'Assistant,' on the lookout, signalled to steer to the southward; under double reef we kept close to the wind for I conceived we could be but a few leagues from the south part of New Guinea. The horizon is hazy, and if the coast is low that will account for our not seeing it, but at noon I do not think we could have seen land above 5 leagues distant. Perhaps the south part of the coast may extend as far south as we are...and the shoals may be a barrier of reefs round the coast which we must break through as well as we can. Had I a month to spare it would be of no consequence to the plants.
"The north part of the shoals* lie nearly E. and W., 40 miles in Lat. 9° 26' S. and the north part is in 144° 54' east."
[* Called North Reef by Bligh.]
Captain Bligh, proceeding with great caution among the sunken reefs and clusters of rocks lying off the Barrier Reef, now brought his ships to the entrance into Torres Strait which ever since his day has been known by the name of Bligh Entrance.* It is a clear space 18 miles broad with regular soundings between Anchor and Bramble Cays, and it is the best approach to the Great North-east Channel from the Coral Sea. Anchor Cay, which bears the name Bligh gave it, is the northern extreme of the Great Barrier Reef.
[* It was so named by Bligh.]
The log continues:--
"Monday, September 3rd. As we advanced southward we saw a sandy key in the S.W. 2 leagues distant; this I conceived to be connected with what we saw the preceding noon; it was therefore extremely hazardous to move before dark...I stood to the north and spent the night in short tacks. In the morning I directed the 'Assistant' to lead to the north-west in hopes of determining something about the land. Towards noon we were again retarded by breakers about 10 miles in extent lying from W.N.W. to north in 9° S. and long. 144° I o' E. A dangerous reef was seen from the lower yard: towards this shoal we had very bad soundings of coral bottom.* I could see no land. The 'Assistant' was on the lookout with boats ahead sounding.
[* This reef was called Bond's Reef by Bligh in honour of Lieutenant Bond.]
"Tuesday, September 4th. The shoal we met with lay to the northward, and soon after noon seeing a lump of highland in the S.W. called Island A* made it doubtful to me whether I was far enough south to go round the land. I thought best, therefore, to stand to the southward. In doing this I found better bottom and discovered a sandy key with reefs about. The night coming on made it necessary for me to anchor. I called this place Anchor Key, and came to near it with small bower in 37 fms. in 9° 19' S. 144° 11' E. Island A, S.W. by W., 10 leagues.
[* Captain Bligh afterwards named it Darnley Island (Errub). Excepting Murray Islands, the islands identified in the footnotes were named by Bligh.]
"In the morning we got under sail, and with caution proceeded to the S.S. West; about ten o'clock we saw more land, high like the first in the south, called it B.* Soon after found a sandy key upon the whole tolerably good ground. It appeared to me most eligible to go to the southward of Island A. Island A may be 4 or 6 miles round, it rises from each end to the centre to a good height. It is interspersed with trees, but is not a very fertile looking island, and in some places it seemed scorched up. We, however, saw some cocoanut trees, and canoes were seen from the masthead.
[* This was one of Murray Islands which were discovered and named by Captain Edwards in 1991.]
"Wednesday, September 5th. Soon after noon shoal'd the water along the shoal lying to the eastward of Island A, and the boats sounding to leeward had only 12 fms. About 1 o'clock we found we were standing towards a sandy key that extends towards the Islands B and C* in the south-east; and we saw white water southward of Island A. At 4 o'clock I came to an anchor and sent the third lieutenant in a boat and Mr. Nichols, master, in another to examine the passage to the leeward. Night only permitted them to go as far as the key where they found sufficient depth of water. I ordered everything to be ready for them to proceed in the morning. At daylight they were down at the key (called it Canoe Key*) and were on their return towards noon where the master, by having the best rowing boat, got first on board. We observed Lieutenant Tobin make signals for assistance. I judged his people were fatigued and sent fresh hands to him in the pinnace.
[* C is also one of Murray Islands.]
[** Canoe Cay, still called by this name, is a sand-bank 7 miles from Darnley Island.]
"We have seen several large canoes with oblong sails fishing about the shoals. All this day the haze was great, but Island B appeared as large as A. Its western part forms a hill.* C island lies 2 miles westward of it, a small high round lump of land, and between the two a small low island or key.' The whole are wooded like A. During the forenoon we observed Canoe Key to cover with the tide.
[* B Island is Maer Island, the largest of the Murray Islands. The hill seen is 750 feet in height.]
[* C Island is Dowar Island, and the small low island seen was Wyer Island, also of the Murray Group.]
"Thursday, September 6th. At 1, Mr. Tobin returned, both his and the Master's report was they had found a deep water channel but narrow. It was too late to risk going down lest we should not have time to get into good anchoring ground for the night. I was therefore obliged to remain there. Mr. Tobin informed me he was overtaken by a canoe 50 feet long with 15 men in her. When about 15 yards from him they offered him a cocoanut which he refused, making signals to them to proceed to the ship. Upon this they immediately got their bows ready and he saw that it was their intention to send some arrows at him. In self defence, therefore, he was obliged to fire at them, and no doubt did some mischief as the poor wretches immediately quitted them. This was the most melancholy account I have received.
"All my hopes to have a friendly intercourse with the natives were now lost."
Flinders the midshipman was also watching Tobin's signals, and he gives a more detailed narrative of what took place:--
"When the cutter returned, Mr. Tobin informed us that he had had a skirmish with the Indians. At first on seeing four large canoes coming towards him he made a signal to the whale-boat to come to assist him but she either did, or would, not see it and returned on board. When Mr. Tobin saw himself thus situated he loaded all the musquets, which amounted to seven besides his own, and made the signal to the 'Providence' for assistance. One of the canoes presently came up very fast, in which were about nine Indians, quite black and stark naked, who at first made apparently peaceable signs and held out a green cocoanut to him. The signs he imitated as well as he could, but did not think it prudent to take the cocoanut and continued to pull for the ship, whereupon a man who was sitting upon the top of a house in the centre of the canoe, and who appeared to be the chief, said something to his fellows and immediately they were handed up a great number of bows and arrows which they began to string with great expedition; two of them had drawn out their arrows ready to let fly when Mr. Tobin conceived it his duty to fire in his own defence and discharged six pieces among them. They all fell flat in the bottom of the canoe in the greatest consternation except the chief who was still sitting upon the house. This man the cockswain, immediately the smoke had a little dispersed, fired at, and brought him down thinking he had done a meritorious action. During this time the canoe dropped astern and, the three others having joined her, presently they were seen coming together very fast, no doubt still determined to cut the cutter off, when fortunately the pinnace came to her assistance and they set their sails and made sail to Island A.
"No boat could have been manoeuvred better in working to windward than were these long canoes by the naked savages. The lieutenant did not fire before it was absolutely necessary, and notwithstanding his superiority of arms he would have been able to make only a poor defence against 15 men, for the canoe contained that number, six of them being below in the house when they first came up."
Captain Bligh continues: "Thursday, September 6th. At sunrise we weighed and sailed under 3 reefs. The 'Assistant' and boats ahead and hands at the masthead conning the ship, we ran between Canoe Key and the reef off A Island where it was ½ a mile wide with 21 fms. and steered to N.W., and anchored in 13 fms., a fine sand and clay bottom. I was afraid to go in farther lest the anchoring ground might be lost before I could explore with the 'Assistant' and my boats. In the afternoon the sun's rays do not refract the shoals and show them as in the morning. At ½ past 11 the 'Assistant' weighed to explore.
"Island A is prettily interspersed with trees, among which are the cocoanut and plantain, and has clear patches; but they are burnt up, and the most luxuriant trees have a poor verdure. We saw several canoes and about too natives on the sandy beaches. I could observe some of their dwellings which appeared neatly thatched and fenced round; the canoes looked long and low and about 12 were seen. By my map Island A lies in 9° 34' S. and 143° 45' E.* No wind could send any sea into this anchorage except from the north and it could not endanger a ship riding here. If Island A produces water, and a good footing with the natives could be gained, it would be an eligible place to refresh at.
[* Its highest part, a peak, is in 9° 35' 20" S. and long. 143° 45' E.]
"The passage in from Canoe Key is perfectly safe...when abreast of A's sandy key* the passage is about 3 miles wide and fine anchoring ground. How far the reefs extend to the N.N.E. of Island A is uncertain. If they do not connect with the North Reef the passage over them is likely to be dangerous for in that part we saw no land. Some sandy keys lie in the north-west so I determined to proceed to the northward around two woody keys or isles called E and F.**
[* Clifton's Cay.]
[** E is Nepean Island (Attagoy). F is Stephen Island (Hogar). Nepean Island was named by Bligh, and a key to the south of it called Tobin's Key.]
"As our anchoring depended on our caution I sent Lieutenant Portlock to weigh again with the boats and explore the passage between Islands A and E.* While the 'Assistant' was at anchor several canoes went alongside of her and traded with their bows and arrows for iron of any kind.** They took care to make good bargains, but we were honest and readily gave what was agreed upon. On account of these canoes being about us I could not send my boats away without the 'Assistant,' otherwise I might have accomplished a sufficient survey of the passage with them alone.
[* Darnley and Nepean Islands.]
[* Note in log: "These natives came from A Island".]
"These people expressed a great deal of surprise at seeing the ships...were perfectly acquainted with the use and value of iron and called it touree or tourick. Their war implements were all they had to trade except a few plantains and a yarn or two. There were 15 in each canoe and Lieutenant Portlock made signs to them to come to me, but only one showed inclination to separate from the rest and come towards the ship. The readiness with which these people go on board the 'Assistant' makes me hope no injury was done them yesterday.
"Friday, September 7th. At noon the 'Assistant' and boats were under sail about 5 miles from us exploring the passage between A and E. It is impossible to foresee what delays may attend me in this strait, want of water may not be the least of our difficulties. At 1 o'clock a canoe came alongside with 10 men in her, but as the 'Assistant' made the signal for us to follow her, they had not time to come on board. The men in her expressed much surprise at our getting under way and appeared much mortified, for they had been in the 'Assistant' and traded there with fairness. Mr. Tobin's battle seems to have been of no consequence. We found difficulty in weighing anchor, the ground was so good. At ½ past 3 anchored for the night under F Island.*
[* "The ships were sheltered by two western islands named Stephen's and Campbell's Islands."--Flinders.]
"We saw some natives on Island F, one being a woman who had some covering round her hips and had a dog with her; the houses on this island were noticed to be well thatched within the fences. It is a small woody spot about 1½ or 2 miles round. 9° 32' S. 143° 39' E.
Saw another island called G* S. 5° W. 2 or 3 miles, and here the canoes which we had left behind came to the ship again and traded with their bows and arrows, clubs and spears very fairly for large nails and hatchets which they also called toorick. Three came on board who showed great surprise, but they could not be enticed below. They are of middle size, quite black and woolly headed, with beards. Some of them had lost their teeth and some had their foreheads daubed with red: some had a few feathers stuck in their wool, and others had the skin on their shoulders raised in circular rims that together formed a kind of badge about the size of a waterman's. Their noses were very full at the point, and the septum had been pierced in which they wore a ring of shell or bone to distend it. Their ears were also pierced, being sometimes cut through and sometimes full of small holes into which were thrust ornaments of plaited grass or shell. Some of the natives appeared aged and their rough beards were tinged with grey.
[* Campbell Island (Tappoear).]
"On the whole the countenances of these men were not bad. The chief sign they made us Was patting the top of their heads with the palms of their hands. Their expression of surprise sounded wow wow wow wow wah. They made use of the words attahgooroo for sleep, and teeteerec when they wanted to haul up their canoe. One of the men wore a conch-shell over the lower part of his body, the others were quite naked. Their bows were made of bamboos and their strings were of the outer skin of this plant, and no one man in the ship could string them. Their arrows were variously pointed with bones and with bamboo; their clubs rudely carved and their spears about 14 feet long.
"Their canoes were 58 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 2 feet deep, and in one piece, except a kind of gunwale to form a straight sheer. They had a stage across the gunwale and an outrigger on each side, and the stem was a little carved and ornamented in the head with shells. They paddled standing, the paddles being long and having narrow blades. A looking-glass did not surprise them, but they cared for nothing but iron. I bought but one yam and that they wanted to cut in half to make a better bargain. They had a strange way of showing their astonishment by whistling and making a noise like a ball whizzing through the air. At 8 o'clock the canoe left us and they went to Island E to sleep, as we understood by their signs. A boar's tusk was seen.
"Saturday, September 8th. The afternoon sun being like a blind when observing danger, I waited until the morning before I set sail. To the south we were shut in with a number of low woody isles, but in the west and north all appeared clear. One hour's sail westward, however, showed us shoals in the direction we had hoped to steer and the water shoaled. Many banks lay in the north and I therefore determined to steer for Island H.* As we came near it we saw a sandy key** to the north of it, and an extensive bank in the west and others N.E. of the Sandy Key. Lat. 9° 31' 143° 28' E. Midway between the Sandy Key and H Island we had 12 fms., when I hauled to the southward of it and anchored in a charming little road under Island H,* the bottom sand and clay 9° 32' S., 143° 31' E., an island lying S. 8° W. which called Island M*** and 4 others to the east of it in sight.****
[* Dalrymple Island (Damuth).]
[** Pearce's Cay (Mallicamas).]
[*** Rennel Island (Mauar).]
[**** These were Marsden Island, Keats Island, and the Yorke Islands.]
"Abreast of us was a small village consisting of a dozen or 15 huts with flat roofs. Each had a doorway but no door, and several of the huts were joined together and formed one front. They were slightly built and covered with mattings or palm thatch. Their canoes were hauled up on the beach and we saw a dog there but no natives, and I concluded they were either a-fishing or had retired into the woods at our approach.
"This isle is not above a mile or a mile and a half round and its surface not 20 feet above the level of the sea, yet this little spot is covered with wood and trees of a very large size branching like forest oaks. Except A, B, and C, all we have seen are of this kind.
"The winds are now very strong, and our safety depended on the greatest caution. I therefore prepared the boats to explore to the S.W., the only open pass for us to proceed. I have no doubt about the space to the north of F Island to North Reef being full of shoals.
"Sunday, September 9th. As soon as the people had dinner I sent the boat away with Mr. Nichols to sound in the S. and S.W. The tide was now to the W.S.W., which, I believe, is owing to banks in the west. In the evening the boats returned and Mr. Nichols reported he had found good soundings towards Island M and 13 to 15 fms. S.W. On their return to the ships they were observed by the natives, who followed them making signs for them to land. When all arrived at the village the number was 42, 7 of whom were children. One was carried on the shoulders of a woman, and not on the back as is common. It was noticed that the women had a covering round the hips, while the men were naked.
"There proved to be 15 men who had bows and arrows which they laid at the back of one of their sheds. Then they made signs for us to come to them. I therefore dispatched two boats to make some presents of iron to them which I conceived was most valuable. Like the rest they call it toorick. They were frantic when they heard it jingle, and in return they gave us some fruit like a red plum and some shell ornaments. This fruit is what I have described under the Malay name Sou or Sour. They had only one dog with them, and I suspect no other quadruped on the island. A little water was got; it is most likely to be brackish.
"They offered us no kind of provisions. Not a single cocoanut tree was seen, but the boats when sounding observed a few plantains. They made use of the word Hobbo signifying to eat. Their general signs were waving a green branch and patting the top of their heads; they waded into the water to the boats and wanted the men to come on shore: their women were very ugly except one whose youth was the only advantage over the others. The dog was like the Otaheitans. On the S.E. part of the island they have fences behind which, I believe, they retire to fight: these fences are formed of straight poles breast high, and are secured to one another by cross-pieces. Fish, turtle, shell-fish are their chief support."
In Flinders' log we find another description of Dalrymple Island. All the accounts written by Bligh and his officers are interesting, as they were the first to describe the inhabitants of many islands in Torres Strait.
Flinders writes: "The huts we saw distinctly under the trees like so many cowsheds, but not a soul near them; however, when the boats were standing alongshore...the natives came out and ran along the beach waving green branches and clapping their hands...When the boats returned they were sent to them well armed and provided with some trifles for trade. They found the natives very amicable, running into the water to meet them and some of them getting into the boat. They exchanged some trifles of small shells like we had seen before, and some dates or plums something like the Jambo of the East Indies which was the only eatable they had. One of the Indians had a moderate sized dog with him of a brown chestnut colour. When the boats came away the natives followed them into the water to detain them, but offered no violence."
Bligh's log continues: "On seeing us get under way they launched a canoe but I could not wait for them. They resembled in every respect the people we had already seen here. As we sailed to the S.W. we saw a great shoal westward of us, in every other quarter shoals seem to threaten us. All the forenoon we continued to see woody keys or isles round by the south as far as W.S.W., and a continuation of the reef seen from our last anchoring place seemed to join a low woody island called P, next to which was a larger island called O. At noon N Island S.E., distance 3 miles.*
[* P is Warrior Island (Tutte); O is Dungeness Island (Jeaka); N is Arden's Island (Garboy).]
"Monday, September 10th. At ½ past one in our course to Island O, we fell in with a very dangerous and extensive reef that made it doubtful how to proceed. I made signals to the 'Assistant' to be ready to anchor and to explore with the boats, while I could keep on a wind. We soon discovered that the reef was detached from Island O, and we came to an anchor off the point of the reef and bank, having passed along the east side of it in 15 fms. 9° 50'; 142° 55'. The tide was 3 knots and the bottom being bad we rode with great risk. The weather tide could only now get us out of this situation, as running to the southward of O Island was hazardous. It was noon, therefore, when we were under sail with the first of the ebb setting strong to the eastward.
"A greater part of this bank covers at high water. It is made up of coral, and the surface is spotted with a number of small rocks. I call it Point Dungeness, and the Island O Dungeness Island, between which and Island P appeared the best passage for the ships to proceed. Island P is a small woody spot and is inhabited, but Island O seems to be made of rock about 4 miles round, is low and covered with an impenetrable forest.
"Although I did not approve of going to the southward of it, I now apprehend there is a safe channel towards some higher islands, one of which from its appearance I have called Turtle Backed Island.*
[* Turtle Backed Island is so called to-day; its native name is Yamma.]
"A canoe came off in the evening and would have come alongside us but for the boat quitting the ships, and the canoe followed it under sail to Island P where they parted company without any communications.
"The sails of their canoes are made of matting in an oblong form rudely stitched together. The mast to which it is hoisted consists of 2 bamboo poles, the lower ends fixed close together in the bottom of the canoe and the upper ends extended the width of the sail, from whence it is hoisted travelling upon two guys. Some canoes have two sails. They are always fixed close together in the fore-part of the canoe. We observe them always row well to the windward before they set their sail, and I think they have a piece of plank which they sometimes use as a lee-board.
"Lieutenant Tobin who had great opportunities of observing the natives of Torres Strait while he was in charge of the boat, says of them:--
"'The natives of the islands are rather under the middle size and by no means well formed, some of them were marked on different parts of the body and all were daubed with grease. In colour they were generally black, and woolly headed, but the hair not so slothed as in an African. Their beards were not shaved and their legs not more than ordinarily thick. Eyes small and deep-sunk in the head, nose not flat but the septum was perforated, on which part they wear a ring either of shell or fish bone big enough to go on a man's finger. This ring is quite hid nor could we account for the distension of the nose till one of the natives took the ring out. All their ears were slit and the lobe hung down sometimes as low as the chin, the other part perforated and stuck round with small bits of stick. Both men and women had their shoulders scarified, particularly the left, and none were tattooed. The whole save one or two wore a piece of shell over the lower part of the body. The men were perfectly naked, the women wore an apron of rushes that fastened above the hips and fell down below knees. Their ornaments were not very numerous. From a woman on Island H, I got a large ear ornament as big as a child's foot, made of wood, and they wore necklaces of the panama and other shells; and bracelets of cocoanut plaiting were worn by both sexes as well as round the ankles and below and above the knee. Most of the men wore a strong case of matting that extended the whole length of each joint of the arm. From a canoe some masks were procured which we thought were used as a protection for the face in battle. Their weapons were mostly bows and arrows, but a sling, some clubs and spears were observed amongst them. The bows are the most powerful I have yet seen in any Indians, none of our people, nor the two Otaheitans, were able to string them. They are of split bamboo, some are 7 feet; the arrows are equally destructive and pointed with bone and barbed several inches from the point.'"
Bligh had now passed through the eastern side of Torres Strait and was steering towards what are now known as the "Western Approaches".
His journal continues: "Tuesday, September 11th. We were not long under sail before we saw the canoes that were about Dungeness and Island P. These were nine in number with from 8 to 20 men in each paddling towards the ships. Some went towards the 'Assistant,' but the strongest party came to us and made signs that water and food were to be had at Island P. A word they generally use for water is 'Wabbah-Wabbah,' at the same time holding up a bamboo and pointing to their throats. They expressed great astonishment at the ship, and at the men at the mast heads, and although we offered them ropes they would not come alongside but showed signs of distrust and design.
"I was considering what these symptoms were, when I saw the 'Assistant' suddenly fire at some canoes, as did our cutter, and she alarmed us by the signal she made for 'assistance'. It was now seen that the canoes had made an attack, and that those around us were intending to do the same. I knew that mischief was done to our poor little companion by these wretches, and arrows were fired at us. It was not a time to trifle. My ship might be on shore in a few minutes without being carefully handled, and it was a serious point who were to be masters of the situation. I settled it by discharging two of the quarter-deck guns with round and grape. The contents of one carried destruction and brought horrible consternation to them, and they fled from their canoes into the sea and swam to windward like porpoises.*
[* Flinders writes: "In passing a deserted canoe one native was observed still sitting in it. The other canoes returned to him and through our glasses signals were perceived to be made by the Indians to their friends on Dungeness Island expressive of grief and consternation."]
"Three men on the 'Assistant' were wounded by their arrows. Great fires were now made on the Island P, where we saw about too persons. We passed between islands O and P through a good channel of two or three miles, and leaving a small reef to the northward of us anchored under Island O for the night. Island O, or Dungeness Island, is a rocky spot on which the natives do not reside, preferring the sandy islands for fishing. It has a narrow border of rock that surrounds this side within which is a kind of lagoon. About the shore are mangroves, and within shore the wood is prodigiously thick. We saw curlews and white birds with their wings tipped black and as large as a pelican.
"Situation of anchorage 9° 48' S. and 142° 51' E. Dungeness Island S. 64° E. to S. 10' E. off shore 1 mile; the long flat island on the south extreme.* Turtle Backed Island S. 54° W. to S. 60° W. 3 leagues. A small lump called the Cap** S. 86° W. 4 leagues, and an island*** with 2 hills called The Brothers S. 50° W. 5 leagues; at tip saw a high lump of an island like Maitea N. 43° W. 6 leagues, called it Q.**** It appeared to me that as the stream of tide had run to northward of west that our course should be directed that way. Therefore weighed and steered to go round The Brothers, the 'Assistant' with boats ahead leading.
[* Long Island or Sassic.]
[** Cap Islet or Dluquar.]
[*** Now called The Brothers Hills Island or Gabba, one of the principal pearl shell stations in Torres Strait. It lies about 60 miles N. of Cape York and 20 miles from the coast of New Guinea.]
[**** Mount Cornwallis or Tauan Island.]
"Wednesday, September 12th. Soon after noon our progress westward was unhappily retarded by shoal water which lay to the north of The Brothers. Uncertainty of our situation made me anchor for the night in 7 fathoms sandy ground, and I sent the master and 2nd lieutenant at once to sound between The Brothers and the Sandy Key.* Lat. 9° 43' S., Long. 142° 39' 19" E.
[* Called Nichols Key by Captain Bligh in honour of the master of the "Providence".]
"There proved to be a good passage. It was not till nearly sunset that the haze was sufficiently off the horizon to see the distant lands. To the northward of Island Q this lowland only extended two points of the compass, but some of us thought they saw a great deal more, if so it may be the main land of New Guinea.
"Island R was a very high island with a rather peaked mountain.* Q was a high island** in the N. West, 6 leagues dist., with an even surface rising to the centre; and S. Island lying S. West, dist. 8 leagues, was a lofty lump of land.*** My situation by my map at this time was 9° 43' S. and 142° 40' E. In the morning with the brig and boats leading I followed on a course to the northward of west between The Brothers and the Sandy Key, but our sounding shoaling to 6 fathoms we were once again obliged to come to an anchor. A signal from the boat told us that they were in 3 fathoms. We saw a range of banks from south to west and we were not above 2 or 3 miles from them.
[* R, Banks Island and Mount Augustus.]
[** Q, Mount Cornwallis.]
[*** S, Burke's Island. ]
"I immediately called the boats on board and prepared them to set off with the master and 3rd lieutenant to examine what passage there was to the northward of this shoal between it and an island (rather low like the woody keys) which I called T.*
[* T is Turn-again Island (of Captain Bligh), on it are two high hills which bear a resemblance to each other. (Mourilyan Reef lies off it.)]
"The island R, I considered lay near to the northernmost I had seen in the 'Bounty's' launch. This anchoring place is in 9° 41' S. and 142° 28' E. We saw many flocks of both land and sea birds, among which were some yellow-feathered ones and 2 pretty feathers in the tail and a hooked bill like a humming bird. Five curlews, some turtle and flying fish were also seen.
"The Brothers is a miserable mass of rocks and stones with a few trees on the lee side of it. We saw a few inhabitants. Cap and Turtle Islands lie south-east of it; they are of tolerable height but equally barren. I have no favourable opinion of the channels between them and I suspect they are bad.
"Thursday, September 13th. A little after noon I sent the boats to examine the passage to the west and north-west. Instead of keeping round the bank in that direction they fell to the northward and eastward of it, so that after an absence of seven hours from the ship they at last arrived without any information to induce me to take the passage.
"They had four fathoms near to a shoal that bore N.N.W. from the ship, with the rather low island called T in the W.N. West, and this made me determine to try round the south end of the bank of higher islands lying to south-west. To accomplish this I sent off Lieutenant Guthrie with two boats at 4 o'clock in the morning with the weather tide to carry out my design. At half past ten he returned and reported that 5 and 6 fathoms with a good bottom were his general soundings, and that he had 4 fathoms near the east end of the shoal from whence it seemed to trend to the south-west. In consequence I determined to go by that channel; but to enable me to do it I must get to windward if possible with the next ebb. At noon the weather became squally and it blew strong.
"It is remarkable the shoaling of the soundings as I have proceeded eastward, and I hope they will not continue to decrease: I know that it was so in the case of Captain Cook when in passing to the southward of Prince of Wales Island. I therefore trust I shall find nothing worse here.
"In my present situation without shelter and subject to much sea, and with a ship drawing 16½ feet of water, four fathoms is not a pleasant depth, and now the haze is like a fog and it is seldom we can see the high land. The month of October is advancing upon us and everything urges me to get on.
"When the boats were away towards the reefs, Mr. Portlock informed me he had seen some animals in the water 20 feet long. He could not say what they were like. Should we be near the main of New Guinea it is not improbable that they were alligators. The situation of this place by my map which differs 3 miles from the time-keepers is 9° 41 S. 142° 27 E.
"Friday, September 14th. Very strong winds and rain this afternoon. I thought it prudent to weigh with the weather tide, not only to keep farther from the bank which lay under our lee, but to see if my cable was hurt. I gave Lieutenant Portlock instructions to that intent, and after a few boards we anchored 3 miles to windward of our first station.
"The evening looked wild and stormy. The gale increased and the ships pitched very much. We had now to ride out or be driven upon banks of coral sand. I therefore struck the lower yards and came to with a new cable. The day brought little abatement of wind and we were obliged to lie fast. In the morning I sent for Lieutenant Portlock to know how he rode out the night as the little vessel pitched tremendously; no accident had happened, and the three wounded men were doing well.
"Saturday, September 15th. Nothing but hail and snow are wanting to make this a hard gale! We lay pitching and tossing in a very distressing way without means to help ourselves. To my concern I found the new cable had laid over a bank and was rubbed a great deal. I had no remedy but to shift our bank; therefore got under weigh and came to anchor further northward--in a better situation. It continued to blow all night moderating a little in the morning. I therefore gave orders to Lieutenant Portlock to get under way and explore the sea to the southward. At 6 he was under sail, and at It we saw him return and anchor 3 miles to the west of us. By signal he reported all was well."
In this chapter Captain Bligh tells how he got safely out of Torres Strait, leaving it by the channel which bears his name. As he came through the Strait he was frequently reminded of his trying experiences in his boat voyage, and occasionally recognised islands and landmarks that he had seen in 1789.
"Sunday, September 16th, 1792. At half past 3 the Assistant got under way, and at half past 5 anchored near us. Lieutenant Portlock reported that he had not been able to weather the reef, but had seen the eastern part from whence it trended to the south-west. I began to doubt if there was sufficient water in the channel to the W.N. West south of Island T for the land was low: a large space was open to the S. West towards Island R, which made me determine to weigh with both vessels and explore that way. We were under sail at sunrise; nothing could exceed the regularity of the soundings. At noon we found Island R to be of more extent than any we had yet seen. Its high mountain lies on the north-east part of it. To the west and south of Island U* lay an island we called V** of nearly equal extent with R, and between it and V appeared an open passage.
[* U, Jervis Island.]
[** V, Mulgrave Island (Badu).]
"In the south-east lay three lofty islands, one of them called S* was seen from our anchoring ground to the eastward of The Brothers at 10 leagues distant. The southermost I knew to be the island I have called the Peaked Hill** in my last voyage, and now it confirmed to me that Island R is the mountainous island with a very high round hill that I saw also. All the islands are lofty, and different from the sandy keys we have passed to the eastward, being without verdure although not destitute of wood.
[* S, Burke's Island (Suaràji).]
[** Now Mount Ernest and the island Mt. Ernest Island. Bligh called the whole group "Clarence's Archipelago".]
"Monday, September 17th. At half past noon made a signal to the 'Assistant,' and came to 1½ miles from the most northern of these small isles about 5 or 6 miles from Island R. Since we left Dungeness no canoes have been seen and only a few natives on The Brothers.
"The small Isles* next to us were without inhabitants. I therefore sent Lieutenant Guthrie with two boats to land on the northermost to hoist our colours and to take possession of it. We named it Possession Island.** I also sent our botanists to see what they could pick up. I now found the high mountain*** on Island R to lie in Lat, 10° 12 S., Long. 142° 14 E. Deducing its longitude from Cape York (by Captain Cook's situation of it) it lies in 141° 32 E. (My map places it in 10° 15 S.)
[* North Possession Isles, Tobin's Islet, and Portlock's Islet were the names given to these small isles. Bond's islet and Providence Shoal also received their names at this time.]
[** Now North Possession Islet.]
[*** Mount Augustus.]
"I have no doubt of its being the mountainous island with a very high round hill which I have described in 1789. The difference in my own latitude of 3 miles and 42 miles in longitude between Captain Cook and myself is admissible. In this case the north part of New Holland is placed 42 miles too far west.
"To the northwards of Island R in the account of my last voyage in the 'Bounty's' Launch, I allowed a navigator to hope for a clear passage. I have found it a very intricate one, isles and shoals being scattered in every direction. The most eligible pass now seemed to be to the westward between Islands U and V. Island U is not one-third so large as Island V: about it lie several lofty small isles--the largest to the east-southeast of it I called Passage Island*--for with a remarkable black rock that lies south of it, it formed the passage I was to go through.
[* Black Rock and Passage Island are so called to-day.]
"The sandy key,* E.N.E. of Possession Island, indicated shoals all the way to Long Island.
[* Watson's Cay.]
"Possession Island is an inconsiderable lump of rock and stones bearing a few shrubs and small trees. Here, to these islands, the Indians come for turtle. Our party saw a number of shells lying on the beach (a sandy point where they landed), near this were twenty or thirty small cocoanut trees bearing fruit. They gathered a few and found them very delicious. Trees which bore the fruit that had been brought us by the natives at Island H and called Sour by them were also here, but had no fruit on them. The botanists saw many curious and new plants and collected about a score of good specimens. They found the Peeah and Nonah of Otaheite. The British flag was hoisted by Lieutenant Guthrie who was accompanied by Lieutenant Tobin. After the ceremony the party drank the King's health and then made a tour of the island. Mr. Tobin writes of it: 'The island I was sent to with Mr. Guthrie to look for a passage to westward (which I called Lookout Island), like the highest parts of this inhospitable country, is a group of rocks tumbled on one another to the summits. In some parts a sandy track surrounds it. For such a barren spot it boasts some trees of tolerable growth and some flowers and plants of lively appearance. Among the trees was the wharra of Otaheite, and two kinds of what in the West Indies are called Jumbee Beads.'"
Flinders tells us more about Possession Island:--
"The gentlemen landed on a fine sandy beach on its S.W. side; they found no inhabitants, but by the turtle shell scattered about it seems to be often visited, and not long since, for they found where a fire had been recently kindled. Except a small spot near the beach the island is a mass of rocks. In going among the shrubs they got covered with a large species of ant of a light green colour which was very troublesome. It is of a long slender make and very delicate. They found the nest of another species which was black, as large as and much thicker than the other; the nest was a number of twigs glued together in round form as large as a quartern loaf: and two new plants the size of the common mulberry. One of the class Polyadelphia bears a scarlet, bell-shaped flower large as a china rose, the other a species of Erythrina bearing clusters of butterfly-shaped flowers of a light yellow tinged with purple; both were entirely destitute of leaves, and their woods remarkably brittle."
"No marks of any quadruped were observed. A beautiful little lizard was seen among some loose stones, and the webbed nests of the ants the same as I have seen on the coast of New Holland. A few oysters adhered to the rocks, clams and a kind of whelk were likewise seen, but not a drop of fresh water was obtained. In all other respects it appeared to me like the Island of Restoration which lies in Lat. 12° 38' S. discovered in my last voyage. Doves and some pretty birds were seen but too shy to come within reach of our shot. We lay all night here.
"At dawn having informed Lieutenant Portlock how to proceed I sent the boats on ahead of him with orders to weigh, and lead out between Islands U and V. In weighing our anchor came up with only one arm. A serious loss.
"As we advanced to westward passing between the Black Rock and Passage Island we saw several lofty islands to the south of the opening between U and V. Soon afterwards we discovered reefs overlapping one another. The 'Assistant' advanced and was obliged to anchor, as the flood tide was running so strong. I furled all sails and also came to anchor. To my horror when the half cable came out it had the dogstopper on, which although I cut it immediately and let go a second anchor I only had it just in my power to save the ship from the rocks. The men who had done this were no more faulty than the officer who was in command so I did not punish them.
"We were now anchored on the north part of Island V. It has a barrier of rocky keys around it, forming narrow passages to Island U. I ordered Lieutenants Tobin and Guthrie in two boats to examine the passage I thought most eligible, and directed them to land on one of the isles. Island V appeared a miserable burnt-up country; it had wood in some places, and the rocky keys resemble those off the coast of Norway.
"Between these keys and U is a space of 3 miles that promises a passage but (from the masthead) it appears full of shoals, and I did not attempt to explore it minutely. We saw canoes lurking alongshore towards the 'Assistant'.
"Tuesday, September 18th. About 3 o'clock the boats made the signal for a good anchorage. At 4 had both up with the loss of an arm of one. (I had now 2 anchors disabled.) The 'Assistant' weighed without accident. I made her the signal to lead. Lieutenant Guthrie met me as I was passing the first narrows, and I now found we had neither good anchorage nor a convenient passage for the ships.
"Our situation was worse than before. Rocks all around us and a dreadful tide running. Night obliged me to anchor with little certainty of keeping off the rocks. After a miserable night daylight threatened a storm, but sunrise brought more favourable weather. Giving Lieutenant Portlock orders to lead through such a passage as may appear and sending the boats ahead of him, I made the signal to weigh at slack tide...and after ranging along the keys off the N.W. of Island V in a channel* three-quarters of a cable wide, and that winding, I passed into an open sea. No land was to be seen from the south round by west to north.
[* Called by Captain Bligh "Bligh's Farewell". 'This channel is still called Bligh's Channel, and is "the northernmost of all the known channels through Torres Strait, being hounded on the north by Jervis reef, North Patch, North Islet, and the shoals extending from Farewell Islets".--Adm. Sailing Directions.]
"At 9 o'clock, an hour after we were clear of the rocks, we again fell into shoal water. After anchoring here the boats reported favourably and I intend sending them with the 'Assistant' to examine at greater distance. There were twenty-seven men in canoes here: these were all we saw. They had their bows with them and I imagine the country is thinly inhabited.
"Wednesday, September 19th. I ordered Lieutenant Portlock to try soundings on the west and west-south-west with boats ahead for a passage. He did so, and at 20 past seven made the signal for me to follow. It was now necessary to push on. I had no port to go to. My water was getting short. My ground tackling crippled and only two anchors fit to anchor with. The sea appeared open in the west, and by noon we found the water deepen--our last anchorage is in 141° 56' E. and 10° 05' S. It is 6* leagues west of the reefs I first met with. The open space to the westward and the views of the high mountain on Island R convince me that it is the same place I saw in the 'Bounty's' Launch. If it is, Captain Cook is 40 miles wrong in its position, and I apprehend the coast of New Holland will also be in error.
[* This entry is indistinct; the numeral is 6 or 10.]
"Thursday, September 20th. I ordered the 'Assistant' to stretch to the northward. The night passed without accident and at morning sent the boats away to lead ahead. I could not discover land or shoals. At noon we were 4 leagues to the westernmost shoal that Captain Cook had anchored at (N.W. of Booby Key in my last voyage): the sea much covered with spawn and scum of brown colour.
"Friday, September 21st. My soundings fully confirm my belief that we are passing through the strait and are in Captain Cook's track where he stood to the northward towards the island of St. Bartholomew, At sunset hoisted the boats in, and hailed Lieutenant Portlock to lead to the north-west till dusk and to keep on a wind during the night. At daylight sent the boats ahead.
"Saturday, September 22nd. I considered it proper to spend the night under sail. At half past ten I made the signal to steer west-north-west; the water had shoaled and I determined to get into latitude of 9° S. so as to steer clear of the Wessel Islands.
"Sunday, September 23rd. In the morning the ship's company spent the day without work and happy to a degree that they had passed the reefs of New Guinea...Lat. 9° 7' 50" S., Long. 136° 48' East.
"Monday, September 24th. In the morning we fell in with a bank on which there was no dry ground either rocks or sand. The 'Assistant' was close to it when she made the signal. It gave me much concern to hear of the death of the poor man William Terry, Quartermaster, who was wounded with an arrow some time since* on board the 'Assistant'. The day before he died he was thought to be recovering...he was buried yesterday morning. The other two wounded at the same time are happily doing well. 8° 46' S., 135° 23' E.
[* September 11th.]
"Tuesday, September 25th. At 7 o'clock shortened sail. Lieutenant Portlock informed me that what he supposed was shoal water had 44 fathoms: at 6 o'clock we had 84 fathoms. I now find a current setting to the northward. In the beginning of this month Captain Cook found a current setting to southward. My plants are in a charming condition, up to this day our loss of breadfruit has been 126 large pots and 94 small pots.
"Wednesday, September 26th. I sent for Lieutenant Portlock to give him an idea of my intention to touch at the south side of Timor, and of the situation of Coupang. Water is now our only want.
"Thursday, September 27th. In 1789, when I quitted the coast of New Holland in the 'Bounty's' Launch, I then laid down the mountainous island with a high round hill in 10° 15' S. and 143° 45' E.* These were found from a fair account of the ship's run. I found Coupang to be in 10° 12' S. and 127° 42' E.
[* Banks Island or Island R.]
"I made the long. of the same mountain by my account at this time 145° 41' E., as my account is carried on with the same fairness my long. from Coupang to-day is 4° 31' East.
"Friday, September 28th. Hailed the 'Assistant' to steer N.W. to clear a bank which must lie off the coast of New Holland. It appears likely that this bank lies off the north part of New Holland, the situation of it being farther north and west than any information has led us to believe. I steered N.W. to deepen our water which took place an hour and a half after, we had 64 fathoms. The bank must be very steep. At noon I steered W.S.W. for the south side of Timor to make the land below the lat. of 10° S.
"Saturday, September 29th. I did not think we should make the land to-day, but altered the course at night and steered direct for it at daylight. At noon the curlews indicated land being near, and I am confident we could have seen Timor had it not been for a prodigious thick haze.
"Sunday, September 30th. I expected to have made Timor this evening, but the haze prevented it. At daybreak we saw land...and at noon we could see the low land which terminates the west part of Timor. I considered it advisable to keep on a wind for the night.
"Monday, October 1st. At daylight I sent the boats to lead ahead of the 'Assistant,' and bore away towards a long low shore forming the south-west point of Timor. Samow Strait now shows itself distinctly.
"Tuesday, October 2nd. At 1 o'clock we were nearly through the Straits of Samow when the southeast wind left us. I stood in under the point and fired several guns, but no notice was taken of them except by some Malay prows who came no nearer than to see what we were. As soon as my people were a little refreshed I sent Lieutenant Guthrie to acquaint the Governor of my arrival. I also desired a pilot if any person was sufficiently acquainted with the roads.
"At 10 at night Mr. Guthrie returned. He had met with a friendly re-option from Mr. Wanjon* who was now Governor, and was told I should have every assistance. The captain of the 'Snow Verwagting' came to show us the way into the Road. He was called Tytrand Jacobus Bouberg and, having known me before, was kindly solicitous to give us assistance. With light winds in the morning to the northward, in a couple of hours we got into Coupang Roads when the Fort saluted us with 15 guns, and the same on my landing.
[* Or Vanion.]
"Wednesday, October 3rd. It was a pleasant circumstance to me to find Mr. Timotheus Wanjon, the gentleman who had assisted me so kindly when here in the 'Bounty's' Launch, to be now Governor. Out of the little society then living, four were now dead, among whom was the surgeon, Mr. Max, who had attended our sick and dressed our sores."
At Coupang Bligh was welcomed by many old friends, and he doubtless would have had a pleasant visit had he not been seized with an attack of fever. While the ships were in port, however, he made many interesting entries in his log on various matters connected with the locality.
From Captain Bligh's Journal: "I found our friend Mr. Wangon was very glad to see us. He was now Governor, and had it in his power to oblige me by expediting our business.
"The first news I heard was that Captain Edwards had lost the 'Pandora' on August 28th, 1791, between New Holland and New Guinea: the crew, except thirty men (four of whom were the 'Bounty's' men), who were lost with the ships, took to the boats. Captain Edwards arrived at Coupang with two boats on September 17th, and the day following two other boats arrived making ninety-nine in all. Before the ship was lost they had parted company with their shallop, and never heard of her until on their way to Batavia, when they found her in possession of the Dutch at Sourabaja, and the men confined in prison. They were released, and with the Pandora's' company all sailed from Batavia for Europe in different vessels towards the end of November.
"The Governor unfortunately had lost the written account of the loss of the ship given him by Captain Edwards. A letter I had given the latter for Mr. Wangon was delivered, and was an introduction independent of their misfortune.
"The next interesting news was the arrival of a six-oared cutter from Port Jackson with eight men, one woman, and two children. They had deserted from the settlement on March 28th, 1791, and arrived at Timor on June 5th. The principal represented himself as mate of the lost whalefisher, and said all except themselves had perished, and he had written a very ingenious account of their misfortunes, which had gained them protection until one of the party informed through pique (at not being taken so much notice of as the rest), and they were all sent to Batavia with Captain Edwards. The day before I sailed, after being disappointed at having no written account to judge Captain Edwards' misfortune, and teasing the Governor to find that which he had left, he presented me with a correct journal of their boat's voyage. This journal was very distinctly kept and entitled 'Remarks on a Voyage from Sydney Cove, New South Wales, to Timor'. It gave the account of everything as it really happened, and from this the fictitious one was formed.
"It appears the men had taken a fishing boat that Captain Phillip had entrusted them with. They had provided themselves with the immediate necessaries both for themselves and for the safety of the boat, and they had a seine which they frequently hauled with success. Two musquets were all the arms they had, and with these they kept the natives in awe as they coasted along the shore from Port Jackson round the northern part of New Holland. Fish and cabbages were the general supplies spoken of. I suppose they mean mountain cabbage. They had flour and pork in the boat, but the quantity is not mentioned, besides a grapnel, nails, beeswax, and rosin. To the southward they found the natives armed with spears and shields, but to the northward among the islands in Endeavour Strait they had bows and arrows. In Lat. 32 degrees S. 2 leagues from the shore these people discovered a shoal with only 5 ft. of water on it.
"On March 28th at 11 p.m. the journalist says they sailed from Sydney Cove and stood to N.N.E. On March 30th, after variable winds and weather, they bore away for a small creek; having the wind contrary they caught mullet and repaired the boat. 'Walking along shore towards the entrance of the creek we found several large pieces of coal; seeing so many pieces we thought it was not unlikely to find a mine, and searching about a little we found a place where we picked up with an axe as good coals as any in Englanci, took some to the fire and they burned exceedingly well.'
"On March 31st at 6 a.m. they left this place, and on April 1st he says they were in Lat. 33° 20' S. On the afternoon of the 2nd they saw a fine harbour which they entered and described it to be 'superior to Sydney'. Hence they ranged along the coast, frequently getting supplies of fish and undergoing many difficulties until they arrived at Timor. The woman and children bore the fatigue wonderfully well and not one person died. The latitude and distances were not regularly kept up, so it is impossible to ascertain the different places stopped at, but the journal is clear and distinct, and shows the writer must have been a determined and enterprising man.
"I was too ill at this time to copy the journal. I however employed a person about it, but he did not get a fourth part through it. The circumstances of the coals being found may make the account valuable, but I am sorry I could not ascertain its exact situation. Captain Edwards, I hope, has done all this. The journalist remarks that it was with difficulty he got the boat into the creek, there being shoal water across it,* but he backed the boat in without receiving damage.
[* It is to be regretted that Captain Bligh did not
succeed in obtaining a copy of this journal. The statement as to
the discovery of coal is important, because the first finding of
coal in New South Wales is usually ascribed to some fishermen who
saw it in 1796 at what is now known as Newcastle. This may be
because neither Edwards nor Bligh informed anyone in the colony,
but the story that Bryant, the leader of the runaways, and his
companions discovered coal had already been published in England.
In an article in a London paper (July 3rd, 1792) the writer stated
that "large veins of remarkably fine coal" were discovered by the
runaways 3° north of Sydney. This is a good deal farther north than
33° 20' S., the latitude reached by their boat (according to their
journal) on the day after it had left the creek where they found
coal. It is therefore difficult to fix the actual spot where coal
was discovered. If the journal from which Bligh quotes is to be
relied on, it was somewhere between Sydney and Newcastle.
The identification of the harbour which was thought "superior" to Sydney, is also somewhat difficult. Captain Tench, in his Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, gives a full description of the escape, and without mentioning coal refers to a harbour of superior excellence and capacity which was seen by the deserters in 30° S.
It will be observed that Tench and Bligh both write of a "superior" harbour which has generally been conjectured (from Tench's account of it) to have been Shoal Bay in 29° 43' S., or Port Macquarie in 31° 24' 45" S.
But if four days after leaving Port Jackson the boat was still in 33° 20' S. (the latitude quoted by Bligh), through having been unable to proceed farther owing to contrary winds, it seems more likely that the harbour seen on April 2nd was Port Stephens, in latitude 32° 45' S.]
"During my stay here I had not a moment's intermission from a violent headache and touches of fever at times; from 8 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon I dare not expose myself to the heat of the sun. The houses, too, from the red tiling were heated like ovens, so that morning and evening were the only parts of the day at all bearable. Our Otaheitan friends were delighted with the houses and sight of the Europeans, as it conveyed to them some idea of what they would see in England. They dislike the Malays because they have dirty mouths and black teeth; seeing a few of them in chains created surprise, but when we told them the reason they thought it right and proper.
"There is great severity used in this country to preserve power. The brother of a king who considered it his right to reign after his brother's death (although there was a son to inherit approved by the Dutch) made some opposition which caused him to be declared rebel. In hopes of forgiveness he gave himself up to the Dutch authorities, but contrary to expectation he was sent away in a snow to Batavia whence he will be banished for life...it was an affecting picture of fallen royalty to see the distress of his friends who attended him to the water side.
"I can assign no reason, but the loss of our breadfruit at this time amounted to 224 pots. The botanists have been diligently employed to make up with what can be got here and with natives to assist have collected 92 pots of the best plants of this place. The plants taken up here are Mangoes, Jambelang Jambos, Balumbeng, Chermailah, Karambola, Lemon More-sang, Cosambee, Cattahpas, Bread-fruit, Seereeboah, Penang or Beetle Nut, Dangreedah trees with which they perfume, Bughnah, and Kanangah. The Nanka or jack they could not get. My sketch of Samow (Semao) is not so complete as I could wish.
"On October 10th we filled up our water and brought two buffaloes on board.
"A person offering to pilot us out to sea, I agreed with him in hopes of getting information. I was disappointed in him as there appeared a want of nautical knowledge in him which prevented my relying on what he said. On the whole there is reason to believe there are several good reef harbours about Timor. Dailey, where the Portuguese Settlement is, he says is one where the 'Providence' might anchor safely during the East Monsoon, and there were more supplies to be had there than at Coupang. The Governor and two men are the only European inhabitants, but a ship annually calls there from Macow.
"It appears I have got away from this place just in time as six men are ill in the ship.
"Hove short and half past five a.m. got under way, with the boats towing. Saluted with thirteen guns which was returned with the same number. A fine little breeze in the morning carried us clear out of the road, and having parted with the pilot made sail, and at noon were two miles west of Samow.
"Soon after noon on October 11th we saw a small island off the S.W. part of Samow...S.E. distant four leagues I steered to go to the northward of Savu when I saw it. We saw also a smaller island called Bengoar (in Robertson's late publications) which is nearly as lofty as Savu: to the southward of this the Dutch informed me lies a smaller isle. A current setting to the westward has been considerable since we came out of Coupang. Our sick list to-day was increased to nine."
When Bengoar had been left behind, the "Providence" and the "Assistant" steered a south-westerly course towards Madagascar, as Captain Bligh had been instructed, if it were necessary to put into any port on his way to St. Helena, to choose St. Augustine's rather than Table Bay. The climate of the latter place, it was thought, would be too cold for the plants; and the botanists had also been ordered to take every possible precaution to cover up the breadfruit while the weather was rough.
In their voyage across the Indian Ocean the ships passed close to the Cocos Islands, but did not see them as a dense mist hid them from view. A spell of wet weather now set in until the end of October. On November 4th the captain says he saw an albatross among the birds flying round the ships "whose presence with a great swell from the southwards indicates a strong wind from that quarter". The great swell and a very high wind that blew hard retarded the progress, of the vessels towards the Cape, and at this time Bligh also experienced anxiety with regard to the health of his crew. Several men were suffering severely from illness contracted from the unhealthy climate of Timor, and on November 6th it is recorded in the logbook that "Thomas Lickman, Marine, a poor, worn-out creature "died" through catching cold and from an improper use of arrack before he embarked". His body was committed to the sea at ten o'clock on November 7th.
On the 10th, in lat. 27° 33' S. and long. 51° 15' E. Captain Bligh informed the botanists that he now had it in his power to put in to St. Augustine's Bay, Madagascar, if they thought it would be advantageous to the plants. Messrs. Wiles and Smith, however, thought that such a proceeding would be attended with great risk; and they wrote a letter to that effect to Captain Bligh who, having sufficient water for his needs and being short of anchors, was, no doubt, pleased at their decision, as he writes: "At this time of year the northwest winds begin to blow and send in a heavy sea to St. Augustine's Bay, so that at any rate touching at that place is not proper, my ground tackling not being sufficient".
On Sunday, November 11th, a "large body of dark clouds" passed over the ship whence, according to Bligh, issued what appeared to be a small meteor. He thus describes it: "An extraordinary whistling and a rippling in the water about five yards in diameter passed alongside of us without our feeling any effect from it; a light coloured spot the size of a hat was in the centre of it--the other part appeared like a smart shower of rain falling with it--a few drops were barely discernible to fall on the ship. Its motion was with the wind which was easterly."
A strange sail was sighted next morning, the first since the vessels had left Timor. She proved to be "an American hull down in the S.W. and steered to the E.S.E.". No other ship was seen until they arrived at St. Helena.
In fair and cloudy weather Bligh's vessels weathered the Cape of Good Hope, and, as they stood farther southward, flocks of oceanic birds appeared on the 19th, and succeeding days. A westerly wind on the 21st blew into a strong gale and brought a heavy head sea, and Bligh remarks: "My plants have been shut up close these few days past: they are nevertheless doing well, but these adverse winds are much against them".
On December 1st, many on board the ship "felt a strong smell of rock weed, which our people who have been on the whale fishery said was from whales near us," and next day two whales actually were seen. At noon on the 4th, Captain Bligh was able to take an observation, the sun being visible for the first time for many days, and he records that he found himself in lat. 37° 37½' S. and long. 17° 20' E., this being nearly his highest latitude. The ships at this time were well round the Cape, and were steering in a north-westerly direction towards St. Helena, the situation of the Cape of Good Hope being on December 6th S.E., distant 94 leagues. On December 11th he observes: "I have again crossed the tropic," and later under the same date heading gives a list of the plants he had lost on the voyage from Tahiti:--
From Otaheite to Timor lost 224 pots. From Timor to 7th Nov. lost 192 pots. From 7th. Nov. to this day lost 80 pots. --------- Total 496 pots. ---------
"The numbers now stand 655 vessels containing 830 plants."
St. Helena was seen from the masthead at daylight on December 17th, 9 leagues distant. Early in the morning while the ships were on their way to the anchorage the second lieutenant was sent off in the launch to wait on the Governor. At 9.30 the vessels came abreast of the 4th Battery, where they were saluted from Ladder Hill with fifteen guns to which they replied with an equal number. An hour later after having spent ten weeks at sea, they anchored half a mile from the shore, St. James Church Tower and the Flag Staff both South by West. An English whaler called the "British Tar," bound for the southern fishery, and a French merchantman were found lying in the harbour.
Bligh tells of his coming:--
"At noon after I anchored an officer was sent from the Governor, Lt.-Colonel Broke, to welcome us. I landed at 1 o'clock when I was saluted with 13 guns, and the Governor received me. In my interview with him I informed him of my orders to give into his care to breadfruit plants, and one of every kind (of which I had five), as would secure to the island a lasting supply of this valuable fruit which our most gracious King had ordered to be planted there. Colonel Broke expressed great gratitude, and the principal plants were taken to a valley near his residence called Plantation House, and the rest to James's Valley. On the 23rd I saw the whole landed and planted; one plant was given to Major Robson, Lt.-Governor, and one to Mr. Rangham, the first in Council. I also left a quantity of mountain rice seed here. The Peeah* was the only plant that required a particular description. I therefore took our Otaheitan friends to the Governor's House where they made a pudding of the prepared part of its root, some of which I had brought from Otaheite."
Writing of St. Helena, Captain Bligh says: "Few places look more unhealthy when sailing along its burnt-up cliffs--huge masses of rock fit only to resist the sea, yet few places are more healthy. The inhabitants are not like other Europeans who live in the Torrid Zone, but have good constitutions--the women being fair and pretty. James Town, the capital, lies in a deep and narrow valley, and it is little more than one long street of houses; these are built after our English fashion, most of them having thatched roofs. Lodgings are scarce, so I was fortunate in finding rooms with Captain Statham in a well-regulated house at the common rate of twelve shillings a day. The Otaheitans were delighted with what they saw here, as Colonel Broke showed them kind attention, had them to stay at his house, and gave them each a suit of red clothes."
A letter from the Governor and Council of St. Helena was sent to Captain Bligh before he left--conveying thanks for the gifts which the recipients declared "had impressed their minds with the warmest gratitude towards His Majesty for his goodness and attention for the welfare of his subjects"; while the sight of the ships "had raised in them an inexpressible degree of wonder and delight to contemplate a floating garden transported in luxuriance from one extremity of the world to the other".
"All needful refreshment "was taken on board, and the ships left St. Helena on December 27th, receiving the salute from the battery on Ladder H ill as they sailed out of the harbour. The Island of Ascension was made on New Year's Day in fine weather, the "Assistant" passing so near the island that Mr. Portlock was able to make a sketch of it which is preserved in his journal. On January 7th, 1793, Thomas Galloway died on board the "Providence" from dysentery contracted at Timor. His body was buried at sea the following day. During the remaining part of the passage to St. Vincent the ships encountered rough and squally weather, and on the loth the "Providence" carried away her main topgallant mast. At sunset on the 22nd Barbados was seen to the north-west, and next morning St. Vincent where, on the same evening, the ships anchored safely in Kingstown Bay.
"As twenty years have elapsed," writes Captain Bligh, "since I was at this island, and as I was not certain of knowing Kingstown Bay in the night, I was induced to bring to near a French sloop for a pilot. I got a negro who was perfectly acquainted with the harbour, and I anchored at half past ten without accident: the winds were light, but fortunately the merchant ships knew who we were and sent assistance to tow us in.
"I sent Lieutenant Guthrie to inform the Governor of my arrival, and to request that everything should be forwarded to receive the plants I had been ordered to leave on the island. In the morning Dr. Anderson, the superintendent, came on board and with him I waited on General Seton, and it was agreed to have the plants brought up to the Garden by negroes.
"On the morning of the 24th we began to land the plants. A number of negroes carried the pots on their heads to the Botanic Garden which is about 2 miles distant from the beach; and on returning they brought back in the same manner the plants that Dr. Anderson had got ready for His Majesty's Garden at Kew.
"A deputation from the Hon. Council and Assembly waited on me the day after my arrival, and presented me with a resolution and request to accept a piece of plate valued at 100 guineas as a mark of their approbation and esteem. They likewise did me the honour to give a public dinner to all my officers, and during our stay were unremitting in their kindness and attention. Two bullocks were given us on behalf of the ships' companies so that every one benefited by their hospitality. I left in all 544 plants at this place, and I received, for His Majesty's Garden at Kew, 465 pots and 2 tubs containing botanic plants."
While the ships were in port at St. Vincent, Captain Bligh lost two men, Jno. Thompson (one of the "Matilda's" men), who deserted, and Henry Smith who fell overboard and was drowned.
On January 30th the ships once again put to sea, and proceeded towards Jamaica. Three days later their courses were altered to make Altavella and Beata, islands off the southern shore of San Domingo, which were visible at noon. The "Providence" sighted Cape Tiburon, the most westerly point of Haiti, on February 4th, and at the same time Jamaica was visible but indistinctly. Next day both ships were brought to their moorings in Port Royal harbour, when Bligh's long voyage was safely accomplished, and at last the breadfruit tree was brought to Jamaica.
On the 6th Captain Bligh went on shore to call on Commodore Ford and to place himself under his command, while Lieutenant Guthrie waited on Governor-General Adam Williamson to whom a letter had been dispatched asking that the plants might be taken out of the ship as soon as possible. The commodore and many gentlemen from the shore came on the following day to see the breadfruit trees which we are told were then "in the highest perfection".
Captain Bligh also informs us that he attended a meeting of the Committee on the 9th to discuss the destination of the breadfruit. It was then determined to divide the plants among the different counties, but to reserve two general houses or nurseries for them, one of which was to be at East Garden and the other at Bath. Mr. Wiles, one of the botanists, was engaged in the capacity of gardener to remain at Bath, and Bobbo or Pappo, the Otaheitan, was selected to remain with him.
"I was solicited to take the plants allotted to Bath round in the ship to Port Morant when I had delivered those intended for this place, and requested to order the 'Assistant' to carry the Cornwall plants round to Savannah la Mar."
A pilot arrived on the 13th to take the "Providence" to Port Morant where the remainder of the plants on board that ship, 268 in number, were landed; and on February 14th the "Assistant" sailed with her cargo of plants for Savannah. Those delivered to Jamaica were thus distributed: The county of Middlesex received 110: Greenwich (for the county of Surrey), 136: Port Morant (for the county of Surrey), 268: Savannah (for the county of Cornwall), 109.
In gratitude for his valuable services the Committee ordered a letter to be sent to Captain Bligh, of which the following is an extract:--
"March 20th, 1793.
"I am authorised in the name of the Committee appointed to act in the reception of the Bread Fruit and other valuable plants lately received, to assure you in their name of the high sense they entertain of your exertions and great merit in bringing to so happy a conclusion the beneficent object of our most gracious Sovereign in this most arduous task committed to your charge.
"I am, etc.,
The young trees were delivered at Port Morant in the usual way, being landed from the ship and carried to their destination on the heads of the negroes. When they had all been put on shore, Bligh weighed anchor and made sail again for Port Royal where he found the "Assistant" lying already. Important news was received shortly afterwards from Europe on the arrival of the "Duke of Cumberland" packet at Jamaica. She reported that the National Convention of France had declared war on England. This naturally caused great excitement, and it also delayed the departure of the "Providence" and "Assistant," as Commodore Ford detained them "until more force had arrived at Port Royal".
The commodore made great use of the ships. He sent the "Assistant" often to sea to convoy ships to ports near at hand, and on April ist hoisted his pennant on board the "Providence" and his staff was embarked in her. A little later many King's ships came there, among them being the "Persephone," "Penelope," "Spitfire," "Hyaena," "Europa," "Serpent," and "Fly". They were very energetic in giving chase to French vessels, in taking prisoners, and bringing prizes into the harbour, being often aided by the "Assistant". Monsieur Borrell, Commandant at Port au Prince, was one of those thus made a prisoner of war.
During April Mr. Norris, who had been surgeon in the "Matilda," was taken ill, and sent on shore to the hospital. Not until June loth did Captain Bligh receive his orders from Commodore Ford to sail for England. The "Assistant" was then absent at Bluefields, and as Bligh's instructions were "to sail to Cape San Antonio (off the coast of Cuba), with the 'Assistant,' and there to take such ships of the Honduras Fleet as might be assembled and proceed with them home," he determined to put to sea without his consort. Having taken on board the whole of the plants for Kew, and the "Providence" being ready for sea, he left Port Royal on June 15th for Bluefields, where he hoped he might meet the "Assistant". There, however, a letter was delivered to him from Lieutenant Portlock, informing him that he was standing by a distressed ship called the "Rosehampton," off the west end of the island, and would, if permitted, meet the "Providence" off the Island of Grand Cayman.
The two ships met there on June 17th, reaching Cape San Antonio on the loth, "where," writes Captain Bligh, "with eight sail in company including ourselves, and with the Honduras Fleet not in sight, I conceived the spirit of my orders to mean that I should not wait longer, otherwise the delay would cause the loss of my plants: accordingly made sail".
The convoy left Cape San Antonio next day, and there were with the "Providence" and the "Assistant," the "Antelope" packet, the "Roehampton," the "Clemenson," and "Thomas" of Bristol, "the last two being Guinea-men". They rounded Cuba, and entered the Bay of Matanzas, on the northern coast of that island, on the 24th, from which port Captain Bligh took a new departure. On the 25th "The Pan of Matanzas appeared a round lump of an island about a handspike length above the horizon."* On the 26th the coast of Florida came in sight, and the vessels proceeded on a course through the Florida Channel and the Gulf Stream.
[* It is 1280 feet in height.]
Captain Bligh continues: "I found that I was on the Florida shore, and not, as I first thought, on the Bahama Side. This circumstance enabled me to determine an essential point. The coast of Florida is in latitude 26° 36', and lies 1° 29' 23" E. of the Bay of Matanzas, whereas the map has it only 35 miles. This very serious error is the cause of the loss of many ships."
After leaving Florida, the "Providence" and the "Assistant," with the other vessels, steered a northeasterly course across the Atlantic to Cape Clear on the Irish coast.
In describing his last voyage to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, Bligh says: "I only met a few small American vessels bound to Oporto and the Windward Islands coming across the Atlantic. H. M. Packet 'Antelope' with one Liverpool and one Bristol ship have kept under our convoy, and by the former, who now leaves us, I transmit this to your Lordships. I am sorry to inform your Lordships that H.M.S. 'Hyaena' was. taken by a line-of-battle ship and a 44 off Cape Tiberoon".
The "Providence" and "Assistant" arrived off Ireland on July 27th in thick and foggy weather. Finding no vessels awaiting them as Captain Bligh's orders had led him to expect, the ships bore away to the southward, and on the 29th, when 14 leagues westward of Scilly, fell in with the Windward Islands Convoy consisting of H.M.S. "Charon" flying the broad pennant of Commodore Dodds, H.M.S. "Centurion," and H.M.S. "Scorpion". Captain Bligh went on board the commodore's ship and obtained permission to proceed to port. After passing the Needles, the "Providence" and "Assistant" first anchored off Dungeness on August 2nd, then worked up to the Downs, where at 11 a.m. they saluted the Flag of Admiral Peyton with fifteen guns, which "was returned with cheers," and came to, when Captain Bligh called upon the Admiral.
On August 7th the ships anchored at Deptford.
The last entries in the log are as follows:--
"Friday, August 9th, our Otaheitan friend* became so ill that I was obliged to send him to lodgings and sick quarters at Deptford.
"Wednesday, September 4th, our Otaheitan friend died.
"Friday, September 6th, our Otaheitan friend was buried at Deptford New Church Yard in the parish of St. Paul's. I shall ever remember him with esteem.
"This voyage has terminated with success, without accident or a moment's separation of the two ships. It gives the first and only satisfactory accounts of the pass between New Guinea and New Holland, if I except some vague accounts of Torres in 1606; other interesting discoveries will be found in it.
(Signed) WILLIAM BLIGH,
September 9th, 1793.
"Here follows the result of my voyage:--
Among the plants from Otaheite were Breadfruit, Rattah or Chestnut, Ayyah or Jambo, Avvee or Apple, Peeah Sago Flour, Oraiah Plantain, Cocoanut, Nono singular and Hoohee or Yams.
From Timor: Breadfruit, Sucoorn of Malay, Chermailah, Lemon China, Cosambee, Nanka, Jambo, Mango and Boabidarah.
From St. Helena: China Orange.
From Jamaica: Custard Apple, Avocada Pear, Cabbage Tree, Askee, Wild Mangosteen and Naisberry.
The muster-roll of the "Assistant," if it survives, is not at the Record Office, but the following is a list of the officers* and crew recommended for promotion by Mr. Portlock:--
[* Wm. Terry, quartermaster, deceased, was also on board the "Assistant".]
George Watson -- Master.
David Gilmour and John Gore -- These two gentlemen served with me in a voyage of three years round the world, afterwards went out in the "Guardian" and remained in her during her distress.
John Richard Lapenotiere -- Acted as midshipman and was also with me in a voyage of three years round the world.
Mr. Thos. England -- Midshipman.
Mr. Francis Matthews -- Midshipman.
Andrew Dyce and James Campbell -- Acted as midshipmen.
James Norris -- Surgeon's mate.
Andrew Goldie -- Gunner's mate.
Daniel Myers -- Carpenter's mate.
Robert Scott -- Carpenter's crew acting as carpenter.
Richard Wallace -- Sailmaker.
Francis Wilson -- Boatswain's mate.
(Signed) Nathaniel Portlock, Lieutenant and Commander.
Many of Bligh's officers afterwards distinguished themselves. The later exploits of Francis Godolphin Bond, to give him his full title, are related in the Naval Chronicle of 1799-1801, when, in command of the schooner "Netley," he was actively engaged in capturing French and Spanish privateers, and in retaking English ships from the enemy.
George Tobin on his return to England heard that Captain Nelson, afterwards Lord Nelson, had kept a third lieutenancy on board his ship the "Agamemnon" open for him for some time. This may not have been entirely on account of his record, as Nelson through his wife was connected with Tobin's family. In writing to his wife, however, in 1796, Nelson asked, "What is to become of George Tobin? He is a fine young man. It is a pity he has not got more forward." Tobin was then in the "Thetis" frigate with Captain Alexander Cochrane. In the following year, Nelson again wrote, "The time is past for doing anything for George Tobin: had he been with me he would long since have been a Captain, and I should have liked it, being exceedingly pleased with him". Tobin was made commander in 1798, and captain in 1802. One of his most brilliant successes was when the "Princess Charlotte," disguised by him as a merchantman, captured the French vessel "Cyane" off Tobago. This was not achieved without a hard-fought action.
Matthew Flinders' work is so well known that it need not be dwelt upon here. His accurate survey of the greater part of the Australian coast has been the basis of our modern charts, and has placed him in the front rank of Australian navigators. It is to be noted by the way, that in his story of the passage of Bligh's ships between New Guinea and Australia, he gives every credit to his commander, and to Mr. Portlock. Flinders says, "Perhaps no space of 3½° in length presents more dangers than Torres Strait, but with caution and perseverance, Captains Bligh and Portlock proved them to be surmountable".
A portion of Nathaniel Portlock's journal is given in the following pages--from the time of the "Assistant's" arrival at Wytootackee until she had passed through "Bligh's Farewell". He was a well-known navigator, having entered the Navy in 1772, and in 1776 was rated as master's mate on board the "Discovery" by Captain Charles Clerke. He continued in her during Cook's celebrated voyage, and in 1779, as his log-book relates, served in the "Resolution". In 1780 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and joined the "Firebrand," one of the Channel Fleet. In 1785 he started on his voyage to the north-west coast of America in command of the "King George," a vessel of 320 tons, He held this appointment under the King George's Sound Company, an undertaking designed to promote the fur trade which seems to have had the support of the British Government. His voyage was successful, and the story of his explorations was published by him on his return.
The extracts from his journal written on board the "Assistant" are added to this narrative of Bligh's voyage, not only because he was second in command of the expedition, but also because, as has been stated elsewhere, the "Assistant" invariably led the "Providence" when exploring difficult waters, and when there was not sufficient depth to afford a safe passage for the "Providence," it was Captain Bligh's custom to dispatch the brig to find a way alone. Portlock writes very interestingly, and gives details not found in the commander's diary.
Bligh's journal, it may be mentioned, is for the most part in the handwriting of his clerk, Mr. Hatfull, although it is corrected and added to by Bligh himself. Portlock's writings, particularly where he tells of how he led through Fiji, and weathered Kandavu, constitute very valuable early records of the colony. Only a portion of his journal is at the Record Office, and Flinders' log-book is not all there either. Tobin's is complete, and contains, moreover, very skilfully executed drawings in water colour of Adventure Bay, and of the natives of Tahiti, Fiji, and various other places. Reproductions of these are included in the present volume. The illustration of Adventure Bay was reproduced with an article in the Geograplalcal Journal and is believed to be the only drawing by Tobin published hitherto. On Portlock's return to England he was raised to the rank of commander. In 1799 he commanded the "Arrow" sloop, and on September 9th captured the Dutch ship "Draack". His health in later years was not good, and in 1816 he was admitted to Greenwich Hospital, where he died on September 12th, 1817, after a short but severe illness.
Mr. Portlock describes the natives of Wytootackee* and gives an account of his ship's passage through the Vavau Group, Fiji, the New Hebrides, and Torres Strait in the following pages:--
"July 25th, 1792. At 10 rounded the north part of the island,* the natives thick upon the beaches and several canoes paddling along shore within the reef, and soon afterwards came alongside. In one of the canoes there appeared to be three men of note, and one of them I took to be a priest, as he had in each hand a piece of white cloth, made up like the Otaheitan bonnets, and a branch of the cocoanut tree, which he handed to me. I considered them as a token of peace and friendship, and the man repeated a number of words which I suppose to be a prayer. I made a suitable return, and several of them came into the ship, and made the common South Sea mode of saluting by joining noses.
[* Wytootackee (now Aitutaki).]
"A friendly trade commenced, and for nails, beads, and rings, they parted with anything they had in their canoes, and some of them stript themselves of their cloth and threw it into the ship. I made a point of rewarding their liberality by giving them large towes and spike nails which delight them. They brought plantains and cocoanuts, and I saw pieces of drest breadfruit in one canoe.
"I procured from them some small pieces of cloth, two small mats, four paddles, five spears, and three gorgets. Their cloth is much like that of the Friendly Islands, being stout, and some of it prettily glazed, and printed in a very regular manner, red, black, and white in small squares.
"Their mats were small and coarsely made, and wrought with more taste than the Otaheitans' mat, being made with different coloured rushes, which has a pretty effect. Their paddles are five feet seven inches long and nine inches broad, neatly made, and pains taken to ornament them. One side of the blade nearly at the grasp is cut out like Cornish work, and on the other side just above the point of the paddle is a ridge of about half an inch above the surface of the blade. Besides ornamenting they take pains in staining them with a black dye in variety as their fancy directs. Their spears are about twelve feet and thick in proportion, some of them of the hard toa, very much barbed near the point, others of bamboo pointed with toa wood, and one I got pointed with pieces of the sun-ray's tail, and must be a very dangerous weapon. I also got one weapon about eight feet long, made of toa tree and shaped like an officer's spontoon.*
[* A kind of halberd formerly serving as the distinguishing arm for certain officers of the British Infantry.]
"Their gorgets are suspended from the neck with a wreath of human hair down below the chin, and whether for ornament or service I cannot say, but I incline to think for both. It looks very well, and may in battle fend off a blow from a spear. It is of a single large pearl shell six inches in diameter, worked by some means so as to look very smooth and beautiful. I also got another ornament which they wear about the neck or head. This was of the palm nut strung upon a beautiful pink-coloured rush. I am inclined to think the rush is stained, others think not.
"The people in general are above the common height, and remarkably well-made, and have something of the wild look of the New Zealander; their language is, I think, more like that of New Zealand than the Otaheitan, and the manner of speaking quicker than the Otaheitan, and by no means so soft and pleasant. They asked for a hatchet by the same name as the New Zealanders, that is 'togey '. These people are tattooed about the legs, arms, and bodies. Mr. Franklin observed to me that he saw a man cut upon the arm like a native of Africa, but I could not see these myself, and think it is not general, but made by an accident.
"In one canoe were three women of, I should judge, upwards of thirty years of age, stout, poorly clad, and not at all desirable. One of them had lost an eye, and had scarcely cloth enough to cover her waist. However, they were very cheerful and delighted at the sight of the ships. One of the officers says he observed the women were as much tattooed as the men.
"The canoes of this little spot are double and single kind, and more numerous than might be supposed from its size. We saw upwards of a dozen--none carrying less than five men, the long single ones carrying some eight and some ten, and the double ones of which we saw four had at least sixteen men; the single canoes have outriggers. All the men in these were armed with spears and the weapon like the spontoon.
"The canoes are made from a single tree hollowed out, and kept exceedingly white and clean, and ornamented all round with a kind of little red pea with a black eye stuck on the outside of the canoe, and strengthened by a piece of wood one and a half inches thick, that is securely lashed within and just below the gunwale. The largest was forty feet, and between the gunwale one foot four inches wide, minosing to about two feet in the middle, and round at the bottom. They are, too, very handsomely finished, tapering away gradually towards each end, and terminating in a blunt point. Some of the large canoes had a kind of gallows erected in the stern, about six feet high and decorated with many man-of-war birds' feathers.
"The men have good manly countenances, and are in general stout and strongly made, their hair in some worn short, in others very long. In general it was black, some few had light or reddish-coloured hair; these I supposed to be stained by a kind of clay. Some of the older men had long beards, some appeared to be closely shaved by shell or other means, and several had their faces painted entirely black, I think with soot. I made them several presents with which they were much pleased, and they were fair in their dealings with us. One poor fellow was struck very much with the forelock of the ship's pump, and desired to take it away with him. He looked at it very often, but the chain that it hung by was too strong for him. He viewed it as a monkey would, and left it quite in a pet and disappointed. At noon we made sail, and the natives quitted the ship, and the canoe left us and paddled in shore.
"This island is about eight miles in circuit; on the east side which had not such a good appearance as the west, I observed many cocoanut trees with their tops blown off as if from the violence of the wind. Soon afterwards the Commodore hailed and desired me to pick up two Indians that had jumped overboard from his ship when the canoes paddled off to the shore, and would not pick them up. I made sail to the leeward-most of them, and drifting down we took one in abreast of the main chains: he was so far spent that he could not approach the vessel. Two men were obliged to help him into the ship...a canoe picked up the other. The one I had taken got round. I gave him two large towes, and put him in the same canoe, and he left us highly pleased.
"July 30th. I found the plants flourishing; some few in the starboard quarter gallery have been wet with salt water, but do not show any bad effect from it.
"July 31st. Hazy weather, constant rain, so much so that we cannot see Savage Island, although we are not eighteen miles from it.
"Wednesday, August 1st. Dark heavy clouds and rain. Saw bonetos and some tropic birds, different in plumage to most others I have seen, having the edges of the wing feathers tipped with black. They dart into the water after fish as do the gannets of the Cape of Good Hope and Adventure Bay from a considerable height. At 5 p.m. saw Savage Island from the foretop masthead, the body bearing W. by S., distant six miles. This island is small, low, and remarkably flat. Made the signal for seeing land, which the Commodore answered, and acquainted me that I should steer northward of the island: at midnight, no land in sight, having passed it in the night.
"August 2nd. At half past five the Commodore signalled to come within hail, brought to, and spoke. He acquainted me that he intended to steer W.S.W. to-night. At daylight brisk gales.
"August 3rd. Dark cloudy weather. The Commodore acquainted me that he should steer W. ½ S. for the night, and apprehended passing in with islands here laid down by Spanish Navigators. Recommended a good lookout to be kept. At eight it cleared up well. At half past eleven saw the land, the extremities in sight, islands from W.N.W. to N.W. ½ N., the distance two leagues. Lat. 18° 29' 09" S., 185° 59'. Maurelle's first discovered isle from S. 19 to S. 75, distant from body three leagues. It was singularly fortunate it was so fair as to give us a sight of the land. Had it remained such weather as we have experienced for some nights and days past, we should most likely have struck the shore before we saw it, as we were just steering for the low land to the southward, therefore we have a very recent instance of the care and protection of Divine Providence over us, and for which I am sure we cannot be thankful enough. About 6 o'clock saw the land again. Wore ship and stood off for good daylight. At half past six, wore ships again, and stood in shore.
"Daylight gave us a good sight of an island extending from S. 73° W. to about 86° W., distant from the body of the island about three leagues. This island* towards the northern extremity is of a very moderate height, and the N.E. and N. points made very much like the Forelands but something higher. This moderate height of land extends from the north part to about the middle of the island, and then is terminated by a remarkable Table Hill.** From this to the southern extreme is low land, and in some places bore the appearance of islands. (I am inclined to think that the land is all connected except a little isle on the eastern side.) The lower lands are well wooded, the summit of the higher lands thinly clad with trees. I saw few on the sides of the hills. At eight fresh breezes and squally weather. The extremes of the island from W. to S.W. ½ S. are distant from N.E. point about two leagues. The north point of the island bore S. 81° 00' W., the variation 9 E., consequently we were exactly in its latitude (it lays in a S.S.W. and N.N.E. direction). We cannot say much about the anchorage, and the most likely place, for so it appeared to me, was at the termination of the higher land to the southward (where there appeared some bend in the shore) with the Table Hill bearing S. 60° 00' East.
[* Mayorga of Maurelle.]
[** Moungalafa (Vavau Group).]
"About half past eleven the man at the masthead discovered a high round island to the S.W., and very soon after discovered another island from the masthead. This island lay to the N.W. At noon the extremes of the first discovered island S. 19° 00' E. and S. 95° 00' E., judge our distance offshore nine miles. The second discovered island S. 42° W. and S. 45° W., distant eight or nine leagues, and the third discovered island N.N.W. ½ W., distant about ten leagues.* Lat. 18° 20' 46", long. 184° 41' E., by obs. 185° 28'. Captain Bligh 184° 35'.
[* The first island seen was Mayorga, Late next, and then the northernmost Amagura.]
"August 4th. At 1.40 the extremes of the first discovered island bore S. 76° 00' S. and S. 58' 00' E., distant six leagues. Immediately afterwards it became thick and rainy, and we lost sight of the land at five.
"The Commodore informed me if the weather continued thick that he would not run during the night, but keep our present situation until daylight. I thought it a proper and prudent measure...At eight the second discovered island in sight.
"August 5th. At half past five the Commodore acquainted me of his intention of running at night as the weather is fine. At half past ten a.m. the Commodore made the signal for seeing land. Saw the easternmost of Bligh Islands* bearing S. W. ½ W., distant eight leagues.** At noon the same island S. 44.°W., distant seven leagues, and what appear at this distance a cluster of Hummock Isles bearing N. 70° W. distant seven leagues; the land in sight appears of a moderate height and tolerably well wooded. Smokes on several parts of the island.
"August 6th. Moderate breezes and pleasant weather. At 1 p.m. saw an island bearing W.N.W., and saw some breakers extending from the east point of the northernmost island first seen. Hauled more to the southward. Soon afterwards saw extensive rocks and breakers extending from the east end of the southernmost rocks first seen.
"The breakers are composed of sandy shoals nearly even with the surface of the sea, and appear to lay off in an E.N.E. direction five or six miles. There is a break in them, and the outer reef appears 1½ miles in extent. The inner reef appears to connect with a small island laying to S. 25° W. The reef from the north island runs off in an easterly direction for about four miles from the shore, and appears composed of black rock. About three p.m. saw another shoal* laying between the southernmost and northernmost island and detached from both. We shaped a course to go between it and the south island, reefed top sails, and made snug for standing on and off under the lee of the island** for the night.
[* Thakau Lekaleka, between Oneata and Mothe.]
"In running along shore saw some natives on the beaches, and two canoes. Within the reef the islands were tolerably well wooded. I could see cocoanut trees. Employed during the night making short tacks under the lee of the island, in course of which a canoe with two Indians came off to the 'Providence'. They brought cocoanuts with them which they readily handed into the ships, and were highly pleased with the towes and trinkets they received.
"At half past seven a.m. they bore away, and another canoe with four natives in her had by this time got on board the 'Providence'. They also brought some cocoanuts which they handed into the ship, and parted with a few spears and clubs, much like those of the Friendly Islands. They left the ship on her making sail. At noon pleasant breeze with fine weather. Islands in sight all round, fourteen in number, I think mostly small, of moderate height and well wooded.
"August 7th. Moderate breezes and fair pleasant weather. At four p.m. passing between two islands* of moderate height (three or four leagues distance from each other). At five, shortened sail. At half past five the Commodore made the signal to come within hail; hove to; the Commodore acquainted me that he intended to lay to for the night.
[* Naiau and Vanua Vatu Islands.]
"At seven, extreme of an island N. 20° E. and N. 30° E., distance thirteen leagues, the body of an island S.E. ½ S., another N. 76° 00' W. This forenoon cleared an island bearing N. 81° E. and N. 89° E. Lump Island N. 31° E., small island N. 18° E., and a large island bearing N. 19° W. and N. 31° W., distance eight leagues. We observed smokes on most of the islands, and three sailing canoes attempted to join us but could not come up.
"August 8th. Moderate breezes. A large island bearing N. 13° W. and N. 27° W., and some small hummocks laying off the W. point of the large island N. 32° W. I am inclined to think the hummocks to be a part of large islands;* at half past five the body of the large island N. 47° W. and N. 22° W., distance seven leagues. An island S. 83° W. and S. 87° W., distance nine leagues. An island bearing N., distance eight leagues.
"We counted thirteen large and small islands.
"At midnight the Commodore acquainted me of his determination of giving up the idea of making a passage through the northern parts of this great cluster, and to steer instead for a passage between two islands* that lay to the westward, lat. 18° 01' S. and 180° 01' E.
[* Nairai and Ngau Island.]
"August 9th. About half past one we were close into the reef of a most beautiful island,* and coy'd away to S.W., and ran along the reef at a distance of four miles. The reef extends from the beach about one mile, and about three miles to the eastward of the north point is a break in the reef of about a quarter of a mile wide and promises for a good harbour.** One mile from the north to the eastward is another break in the reef of about a quarter of a mile which promises well for a good little harbour. It first takes a turn to the S.W. and there appears a fine harbour perfectly sheltered by the reefs.
[** Probably Herald Bay.]
"On our way down alongshore I saw numbers of natives on the beach, I suppose amounting to many hundreds and some canoes within the reef.* About four I led round the north point of the reef and hauled to southward bordering another two miles of reef. Three canoes attempted to join us but could not. An appearance of a spacious harbour was formed by the north-west and west point of the island trending in an east direction, and the distance from the point about two miles. There was also an appearance of a harbour to the northward of the north-west point.
[* Encircling Ngau.]
"From the quantity of leaves, rushes, and other stuff that were opposite these openings in a kind of tide line I should suppose there was a river. There was an abundance of cocoanut and other trees and the island had a most delightful appearance and stretched to the southward. At five, tacked ships and made sail to south and stood to south-south-west. An island in sight northwest by north. Another south by west to south-west ½ west. Another west by north and west ¼ north, lat. 18° 30' S., 178° 53' E.
"August 10th. Commodore made signal to come within hail. At the time were about four or five miles from a reef* that lies a considerable way off an island that Commodore Bligh intended to pass down on its north side on our route to westward. There were a number of small straggling islands that lay off the coast which made the passage between this island and one to the northward of us uncertain and dangerous. I had just edged away to lead round the west point of the reef (which reef I judge to be detached) when the Commodore made his signal, on my coming within hail. The Commodore informed me he was not quite satisfied about the safety of the passage we were standing for, and that he determined to weather the island** and pass down on its south side, the surest passage, particularly as he conceived this island to be the southernmost of the cluster.
[* North Astrolabe Reef.]
"Just as we tacked I saw two sailing canoes, one large and one small, standing out from between two of the small islands, and saw several smokes about the country. These two small islands lay off from about the north-east point of the island, and to the westward of them the land of the main island appears to take a deep bend as if in the formation of a deep bay. This island has the highest land on it of any of the cluster, particularly a high Table Hill, near the western extreme of it, or rather a high mountain, round at the sides, and flattish on the top.* The country appears well wooded, and there is little doubt but that all of them are well inhabited. On our standing out to the north-east, we lost sight of the canoes. I think they put for the shore again.
[* Mbuke Levu or Mt. Washington.]
"Captain Bligh in his launch when he left Tofoa stood a course for these islands west-north-west, which was the direction the Friendly Islanders described the Feejee Islands to lie in, and by pursuing that course fell in with these islands. There can, therefore, remain but little doubt of their being the Feejee Islands that the Friendly Islanders speak so much about, whose inhabitants they seem to fear, and speak of as great warriors who make use of poisoned arrows in battle.
"Tasman it appears in 1643 fell in with the eastern or small cluster of this group, and gave to it the name of Prince Williams Isles, but certainly Captain Bligh is the discoverer of the western or large group. They are all together, and are a prodigious fine group of islands, and their inhabitants very much resemble the Friendly Islanders in person and manners. Those that were off to the 'Providence' had joints cut from the little finger, and their hair stained with clay or lime, exactly the same as those islanders do.
"We are rather unfortunate in not getting observations the last two days either for latitude or longitude to determine the exact situation of this southernmost island of the cluster, but as it is laid down here it cannot be mistaken, or in but a very few miles if any. At eight a.m. the island that we are attempting to weather bore from south-south-west ¼ west to west by south distant five leagues. At noon the island we are attempting to weather bore S. 22° W. and S. 30° W. distant seven leagues. Observation an indifferent one, gave latitude 18° 39' 11" S.
"August 11th. At 4 p.m. the extremes of the south island* in sight 172° 00' W. and S. 54° 00' W., distant five leagues, and the body of the small islands west distant six leagues. At six the south-east point of the South Island bearing S. 50° 00' W., distant five leagues. A high mountain in the same island S. 69° 00' W. At midnight made and shortened sail to keep our station. At four a.m. a good lookout is absolutely necessary as should we fall in with anything the weather is so thick and the night so dark that we should see breakers before we could properly see land. Half past four, cleared up a little. At eight, South Island in sight bearing N. 56° 30' W. to N. 48° 30' W., the flat or Table Mount N. 55° 20' W., distant 10 leagues. No other Island but South Island in sight, therefore I conclude we are clear of this large group of islands.
"August 12th. At eight, fresh breezes and thick weather, hauled the wind on the starboard tack and continued to sail. I am unfortunately situated at present; the master and two master's mates being laid up. Lat. 19° 03" 02' S., and long. 178° 02' E., Captain Bligh 177° 13' E.
"August 13th. Answered in the affirmative signal of the Commodore to dine on board the 'Providence'.
"August 14th. At half past one the Commodore sent his whaleboat for me. At two tacked ship and stood to the north-west. At half past five returned from the 'Providence' and soon afterwards made sail with a fine breeze from south-south-east.
"August 15th. At midnight moderate with dark cloudy weather.
"August 16th. Saw several tropic birds and some sheerwaters.
"August 17th. Saw several tropic birds and passed a piece of stick and substance in the water that looked like the fruit of the Otaheitans. At half past seven bore away under easy sail to keep company with the Commodore. About nine passed through a remarkable rippling of a current and observed small luminous appearance in the sea. At midnight a multitude of porpoises about the ships. The weather at daylight remarkably heavy owing to our drawing near land, as we judge ourselves within 100 miles of the Hebrides. Lat. 13° 36' S., 170° 49' E. by reckoning.
"August 18th. At eight a.m. moderate breezes and close cloudy weather. The sea remarkably smooth because I judge of our having part of the Hebrides to windward of us.
"Sunday, August 19th. At half past two p.m., saw a high island bearing south-west, distant eight leagues. Made the signal to the Commodore for seeing land in the south-west quarter which he answered. Saw another small island bearing south-south-west, distant eight leagues. This island makes very like the hill at the Cape of Good Hope called the Lion's Rump. These are a part of the islands discovered by Captain Bligh in his launch (1789).* They lay to the northward of the Hebrides. At four saw another high island bearing from south-west by south to south-west ½ west, distant nine leagues. At half past five saw some small isles and rocks bearing N. 55° W., distant five leagues. About this time the Commodore signalled that he intended standing off and on for the night. Made and shortened sail to keep our station. Lat. 13° 27' S., 169° 20' E. Island A,** S. 45° 30' W. and S. 25° 00' W. Island B,*** S. 12° 00' W. and S. 3° 31' W. Island C,**** 23° 30' W. and S. 52° 00' W. At 8 stood to W.S.W. and edged away more to the westward as we approached the land, and during the forenoon passed Island A at the distance of about 8 miles and steered to the westward. These islands are all of them well wooded, and I could perceive cocoanut trees in abundance, but could not distinguish the others. Some appeared like the breadfruit tree and others like the Towa tree. Many of them appeared very much blighted. Towards noon we were abreast of Island E which is a high woody island. On the north side***** appears a well-sheltered and tolerable deep bay.
[* Banks Group.]
[** A, Mota Island.]
[*** B, Valua Island.]
[**** C, Vanua Lava.]
[***** Bligh's Island D (Ureparapara or Bligh Island)--the bay, Dives' Bay.]
"To the westward of this bay I saw people who appeared to be as light coloured as the Otaheitans. In several places I saw smoke. This is the only island of the cluster where we saw signs of inhabitants, but most likely they are all peopled. At the bottom of the bay the country had a pleasant appearance of verdure, but in many other places it was much parched with the sun, in particular the cocoanut trees which made a small border at the foot of the hills. I could see no plantain trees nor yet any houses. No canoes or boats made their appearance and we stood on to the westward. 13° 27' S. and 69° 20' E.
"August 20th. At half past noon saw other islands bearing about W.S.W., distance 7 leagues. These islands from the view we had of them were of very moderate height and in some parts appeared wood. We saw no signs of inhabitants. At three hauled in the studding sails in order to pass down the south side of these islands.* One of the islands last seen now bore S. 66° W. and S. 75° W., distant 5 leagues. Another S. 84.° W. and S. 87° W., distant 6 leagues. Another N. 83° W. and N. 69° W., 7 leagues. About six the Commodore hailed me, and told me of his intention of standing off and on all night. At daylight no land in sight, bore away to the W. by South; a brisk breeze and showery weather. Made all sail. Saw multitudes of flying fish and a few large petrel. 13° 51' S., 168° 14' E.
[* The Torres Group.]
"August 21st. Saw a booby and a large flock of noddies. At ten wore ship. The Commodore hailed and acquainted me of his intention of tacking every 2 hours. Passed by a piece of sugar cane and a small piece of wood.
"August 22nd. At noon a fine breeze with pleasant weather.
"August 23rd. Saw boobies, sheerwaters, and tropic birds. Multitudes of flying fish, some large, and numbers not above an inch long. At half past six spoke to the Commodore who acquainted me of his intention of running all night and asked me to lead as usual. During the night several flying fish caught on deck; the cats watch for them narrowly all night and get a good meal. The fish is scarcely on deck before they have it. 13° 41' S., 159° 31' E.
"August 24th. Saw white boobies and tropic birds. Half past 6 the Commodore acquainted me of his intention of running all night providing the weather continued fine. Passed a large part of a tree and two branches this day. 13° 31' S., 157° 13' E.
"August 25th. Moderate breezes and cloudy. At 8 p.m. very fine weather. Ran all night and shortened sail to keep the 'Providence' up with us.
"August 26th. At half past six spoke to the Commodore, and he acquainted me of his intention of standing on all night and of altering the course W. by N. 12° 33' S., 152° 24' E.
"August 27th. Just now coming into Mr. Bougainville's traverse near the coast of the Louisiade, therefore the Commodore thought we might run with more safety than we have done for some nights past. He directed me to lead as usual.
"August 28th. About 4 p.m. the midshipman that had the lookout at the masthead called out that he saw an appearance of land.
"I immediately went up and found that what he supposed to be land to be a very large, awful, and beautiful water spout bearing W. ½ S. The spout proceeded from a small black cloud about 15° from the horizon running in a zig-zag in the most beautiful manner, and frequently altering its size and shape until within about 5° or 6° of the horizon, and there it joined a large column of water in size to our sight of that of a large Church tower, which frequently altered its position and appeared exceedingly agitated being, as it were, all in a smoke from the force that it was either ascending or descending. The water spout, where it joined the cloud, appeared about the size of a man's body growing smaller towards the end. It continued plainly for half-an-hour and then it disappeared. It never approached nearer to us than three or four miles, therefore we were not under apprehension of danger from it. Some seamen assert, I daresay with truth, that they are destructive to ships or anything else that cornes under their influence. 11° 34' S., 149 56' 30' E. Captain Bligh 149° 00' E.
"At nine caught a noddy in the sweep, beautiful in its shape, it is about the size of a pigeon, glossy dark brown, except the crown of the head which is tinged with a light colour. It allowed itself to be taken when awake and was not shy of the hand that caught it, therefore, I conclude, it cornes from some uninhabited island. At 5 a.m., when it was good daylight, I left the deck, there was then a heavy dew for the first time (excepting once) since we left Otaheite. This forenoon saw a large flock of egg-birds and tropic birds and passed some drift-wood and rock-weed.
"August 29th. The Commodore acquainted me of his intention of standing on all night and steering W.N.W. and directed me to lead with a light as usual.
"About this time the master reported to me that during the forenoon he had seen pass a stick that appeared very much like a white studding-sail boom. It was great neglect of his duty his not mentioning the matter to me as I had given orders than when leaves, rock-weed, or anything drifting was seen I might be acquainted of it. If I had known or had any idea that it really was a studding-sail boom or any other ship's spar I most certainly would have hoist a boat out, and picked it up, judging it must have belonged to a ship lost at sea hereabouts or cast on shore or some coast not far distant. My alarm would have certainly been for Mr. Pérouse who is missing, and I understand had orders to visit these seas and explore the coasts of these islands.
"August 30th. At 6 the Commodore made my signal to come within hail, answered it and hauled our wind to the southward. The Commodore acquainted me of his intention to run all night. Birds about all night.
"At 6 made the coast of New Guinea, appearing of a very moderate height, and bearing thus the easternmost extreme N. 53° E., distant TO leagues. The highest hill N. 43L E., distant 10 leagues. A bluff point N. 42½ E., distant 9 leagues. The westernmost extreme in sight N. 31½ E., distant 9 leagues.
"This part of the coast appears to fall back something to the northwards, and I think there is little doubt that it is either the westernmost land seen by Mr. Bougainville or a continuation of it. We lost sight of the land in steering a W.N.W. course, and by noon could scarce perceive it from the masthead. Some faint appearance of very distant high land bore N.W. and N.N.W. About 10 passed a turtle. No drift-wood or rock-weed seen this 24 hours. Lat. 10° 02' S., 146° 48' E.
"August 31st. At half past noon saw land making in two moderately high-peaked mountains. The easternmost bearing N. 26° E. and the westernmost bearing N. 23° E. Our distance I judge from them to be 14 leagues. They appear to have a connection with the land seen this morning.
"We continued to steer W. N. W., and by four o'clock lost sight of the mountains. At 6 when it was sunset, could see no certain appearance of the land except to the N.N.W., and that was very faint, and if land could not be less than 15 leagues distance as it was clear enough to see that distance at this time. The Commodore acquainted me of his intention to run all night, or a west by north course. During the night we had several noddies about the ship; several settled on our yards. At noon a gentle breeze, not an appearance of land in sight.
"September 1st. Pleasant weather. Saw noddies and tropic birds. At 5 saw breakers on the starboard bow 1½ to 2½ miles away. Made the signal to the 'Providence' and hauled to the north-east. This reef* appeared about half a mile broad and 2¼ long, trending in a S.E. and N.W. direction. The north point laying in Lat. 9° 27' 29" S. and longitude 144 53' 4" E. At half past 5 a.m. bore away. At 7 saw breakers on the starboard bearing S.E. by W., distant 8 miles. At half past 7 the Commodore told me of his intention of steering some distance to the southward in hopes of seeing the termination of the reef and directed me to lead. We stood to south until 10¼ at which time breakers were seen distinctly bearing as far south as S. 25° W ., distance 2 miles.
[* Named by Bligh Portlock's Reef.]
"This reef appears to join the first discovered reef, and the extreme point that we could distinctly see formed a bay bending into the westward. We could now only lay south with a current setting us down on the reef. The Commodore therefore determined upon trying the north part. We accordingly tacked and stood to N.E.
"At noon the southernmost breakers out of sight, and the extremes of the breakers in sight bore N.W. and W. by S., distance 8 miles. I make the south point of the breakers in Lat. 9° 43' 22" S. and 144° 53' 16" E.
"September 2nd. Until 2 p.m. we steered N.E. ½ N. to get to windward of the first discovered reef, then edged away N. ½ W. until 4 p.m., then judging that we were far enough north of the reef bore away to westward. At sunset the Commodore acquainted me of his intention of spending the night on a wind making short tacks.
"The first discovered reef was seen from the 'Providence's' masthead bearing south, distance 8 or 9 miles. At 6 a.m. bore away and made sail to the westward; towards ten the water appeared coloured as if we were in sounding, and was also affected by a tide or current for in several places there were strong ripples. At half past eleven saw breakers bearing N. 70° W. to N. 83° W., distance 7 miles. Made the signal, hauled in our studding-sail, and 4 before noon hauled our wind to southward. At noon the breakers distance 6 miles and the sea broke very high on them. Broached a second cask of Otaheite pork. Thank God all hands in perfect health and spirits.
"September 3rd. At ¾ past noon made a small sandy key, distance 8 miles. We stood to the southward in hopes of finding a termination to the reef, and made the signal to the Commodore for seeing land.
"At half past one we gained good sounding in 40 fathoms over a red coral bottom, and immediately afterwards saw a shoal bearing S. East by E. 2 cables. Tacked ship and made the signals to the Commodore. At the time we saw the sandy key there was a reef extending from it S.S.W. ½ W., distant from us 8 miles, which was as far as the eye could discern the breakers, but I have little doubt they extended still farther southward and eastward and perhaps connect with the Eastern Reefs. Saw a whale, boobies, and noddies, and flocks of white birds the size of a pigeon which I suppose to be egg-birds. As appearances were rather against our safety, we made stretches during the afternoon and stood on short tacks during the night. Coral rock and broken shells: I led during the night with a light. A good lookout and all hands on deck to act as circumstances might make it necessary. We sounded every half hour and carried from 41-46 fathoms over coral rock bottom.
"At 6 the Commodore sent his whale-boat to sound, and directed me to lead on to the westward. The whaleboat proving leaky, I made the signal and sent her on board. The cutter was sent to take her place, and during the forenoon until about II steered from N.W. to W. ½ over a coral rock. At 11 shoaled our water to 36 fathoms, rocky bottom, several discoloured spots on the water as if shoal water.
"I hoist out the cutter and sent her to sound; one of them found 28 fathoms, and immediately afterwards saw a reef bearing N.N.W. ½ W. 5 miles to N. by E. ½ E. 7 miles, and another bearing W. by N. 6 miles; made the signal for danger. Hauled to the southward. How far this reef extended to the N. and E. I cannot say, but most likely farther than we could see. The other reef bore W. by N. 5 miles.
"September 4th. At ¾ past one I went on board the Commodore, and we stood to the N.E. by E. until 2, then tacked and stood to the S. by W. Half past 3 made a sandy key bearing about S. 6 W., distance 9 miles, and at 4 saw a high island bearing S.W. by S., distance 7 leagues.*
[* Bligh afterwards named it Darnley Island.]
"The reefs to the north and west are out of sight. We continued to steer to the southward and westward towards the Sandy Key and carried from 28 to 42 fathoms over a rocky bottom, dark grey sand and mud until 7 p.m., when we anchored* in 38 fathoms dark grey sand and muddy bottom, smooth water. Found the current to set to the W. ½ N. one mile an hour. I think this tide had been running for about one hour, for at midnight turned and set to the east, and although we had a moderate breeze from the S.E. the tide turned our stern to the wind. Whether the tide setting to the east is ebb or flow I am not able to determine. The moon's age at this time is 17 days, 12 hours, 19 seconds.
[* At Anchor Cay.]
"Long streams of fish-spawn on the water which has the appearance of shoal water. Boobies and noddies about the ship; caught several. In standing in for Sandy Key I sounded on one of the streams of fish-spawn, it had the same depth of water as other places. At this anchoring place the Sandy Key No. 1 bore S. 6° E., distance 5 miles. One high island I shall call by the letter A* bore S. 38° W., distance 7 leagues. During the night fine pleasant weather. At half past six a.m. weighed and came to sail, and stood to S.S.W. in order to pass to the southward of Island A in hopes of finding clear navigation. At 10 saw 3 small rather high islands to the S. ½ E., distance 9 leagues.** Made the signal to the Commodore to follow without danger. Soon after he signalled 'Breakers in the S.E.'
[* A, Darnley Island.]
[** Murray Islands.]
"In stretching to the south of Island A we discovered a sandy key* to the east of it, and from Island A there stretched a long bank or reef that appears nearly to join the Sandy Key. Passing this bank we shoaled on water to 15 fathoms, and had irregular soundings till we passed it. Deeper water at noon. Island A west, distance 6 leagues. The extremes of the three islands which I called B, C, D,** S. 23° E. and S. 36° E. and the Sandy Key N.W. by N., 7 miles.
[* Clifton's Cay.]
[** Murray Islands.]
"September 5th. Soon after noon we discovered several appearances to S.W. and S.S.W. that bore the appearance of boats, or canoes under sail and soon afterwards saw they were really canoes fishing about a long and extensive reef* that our situation appeared to connect to Islands A, B, C, and D, and to forbid us a passage through this way. We knew a long reef lay to the eastward of B, C, and D, and we had too much reason to conjecture that north of A there were reefs and sandy keys in abundance. It was therefore judged right to anchor for the night while we had a moderate depth of water and good bottom, and to send two boats to sound and try for a passage between a number of banks that lay to the westward of us. This plan was adopted and at half past three p.m. we anchored over a bottom of grey sand and broken shells. Island A now bore N. 52° W. and N. 63° W., distance 9 miles. Islands B, C, and D, S. 30° E. to S. 40° E., distant (from B) 7 leagues.
[* Canoe Cay.]
"The sandy key on the north point of the reef where the natives were fishing bore S. 51° W., distance 3½ miles. From this Sandy Key there stretched an immense reef as far as the eye could reach to the W.S.W. around by the south and appeared to join to Islands B, C, and D.
"The only place there was any prospect of our getting through to the westward was between Island A and the Sandy Key, and there seemed a very faint prospect even in that direction. We counted seven large canoes that were fishing on the reef, and as we appeared they paddled southwards. There were seven or eight men in each canoe, and many long poles and spears perhaps for striking fish. When we anchored the tide set to the E.S.E. about one knot an hour, and made to W.N.W. about 7 p.m. The ebb of the tide comes from the westward.
"We gained our knowledge of the ebb and flood by a sandy key. At half past 3 p.m. when we anchored the key was nearly covered, and at sunset, which was an hour before the tide made to the westward, it was some feet above the water. At 5 p.m. two boats went from the 'Providence' to sound towards the Sandy Key No. 2, and to try for an anchorage.
"About six, after consulting with the Commodore on board the 'Providence' in order to gain his instructions for future proceedings, I returned to go on board the 'Assistant,' and found she had drifted near half a mile to the northward. I went immediately on board and meant to have hove up to the bower, apprehending some danger had happened to it, but I found the anchor had good hold of the ground, therefore weighed the small anchor and veered to a whole cable.
"The ship had drove through; the officer in command not giving the ship the cable when the weather tide slacked.
"At four a.m. the two boats were again sent from the 'Providence' to sound, and at nine a.m. the master returned giving a tolerably favourable report of an anchorage some little distance to the westward and northward of Sandy Key; he had not time to explore far. A little time previous to his return we saw five canoes under sail stretching to the northward; some of them passed very near the cutter in which was Mr. Tobin, and some muskets were observed to be fired from her and a signal made for assistance. The Commodore immediately dispatched the pinnace under Mr. Guthrie to the caller's assistance. Soon after the firing the canoes were all observed to make sail, and stand for the north point of Island A.
"At four p.m. on Thursday 6th the cutter and pinnace returned, and Mr. Tobin reported that one of the canoes in which were twelve or fourteen men came very near them at first holding up cocoanuts; they beckoned to the people in the boat to come near them. Mr. Tobin who was then at his oars continued to pull for the ship, for he was at least four or five miles from her with a breeze against him and an unfavourable tide, when he fortunately saw them stringing their bows, and three other canoes were paddling fast towards him just as he had got his boat's crew under arms. Two of the blacks (for they were as black as the natives of Africa) had got their bows up, and were in the act of discharging their arrows into the boat when he gave orders to fire, which threw them into consternation and stopped their proceedings. They immediately hoist their sail and joined the other canoes, and they all stretched for and landed at Island A.
"In my opinion Lieutenant Tobin acted with much prudence, for had the seven canoes come up before he drove the first one off I have little doubt that he and many others in the boat would have fallen. Mr. Tobin was of the opinion that some of the Indians were killed or wounded. Islands A, B, C, and D appear much parched, little cultivated, and not well wooded. On Island A we saw some cocoanut trees. A small woody key or island which I distinguish by the letter E,* which bore from our present anchoring place W. by N., distance 16 miles, appeared well wooded. Lat. 9° 41' 09" S., 143° 56' 24" E.
[* E, Nepean Island.]
"September 6th. Messrs. Tobin and Nicholls having given a favourable report of the anchorage as far as they had been, it was determined by the Commodore to push for a passage in the morning at daylight, it now being too late to encounter the reefs and sand banks, and accordingly he gave me directions to lead as usual and to take such steps as might appear to me most likely to facilitate our passage. At daylight I weighed and made a small stretch to the S.S.E., until the 'Providence' was under way. I then bore for the north part of the Sandy Key No. 3, and from the main topgallant mast conducted the ship through a narrow intricate navigation, carrying mostly from 15 to 25 fathoms of water. Sometimes rocky and sometimes a coral bottom. Our distance from the reefs on either side sometimes ¼ mile, sometimes a little more, sometimes less.
"Ships might anchor in these passages, but it will be necessary for them to have trusty buoy ropes for fear of the anchors hooking the rocks. We found the water perfectly smooth. The navigation so far is not very dangerous in fine weather, for from the masthead with a good lookout you may see and avoid danger from the colour of the water. The bottom can be seen in 6 or 7 fathoms of water, many more I am confident. But people must not depend too much on this, for from 6 or 7 fathoms you step on the reef where there is not above two feet.
"About nine we had got through from among this cluster of shoals, and stood to the westward for a passage that offered between Island E and a sandy key that lay to the southward of it. We carried regular soundings from 20 to 17 fathoms over a good bottom. At half past eight this passage appeared too narrow and doubtful to take, I therefore led more to the southward, and meaning to try and get between Island E and Island A. About nine we shoaled our water suddenly to 12 fathoms over fine black muddy sand, and I saw several appearances of shoal water in the direction we wanted to go.
"I made the signal to anchor, and immediately anchored in 12 fathoms smooth water, well sheltered by islands, reefs, and sand banks from prevailing winds. The Commodore anchored immediately afterwards. I went on board and it was immediately determined that I should proceed with the 'Assistant' and two boats to sound the passage between Islands E and A. Island A was now N.E., distance ½ mile. Island E bore N.W., distance 3 miles. The sandy key next to E, N. 83° W., 3 miles.
"Soon after anchoring we saw five canoes coming towards us from Island A, and from what had happened had little expectation of their venturing near us. But we were mistaken, for they came cautiously to receive some little presents that were thrown to them from the 'Providence,' but would not venture alongside.
"After remaining by the 'Providence' half an hour four of them dropped down towards the 'Assistant' and ventured close to her and laid hold of the ropes that were thrown them. My people were all under arms. I at this time left the 'Providence' and got on board in time to establish a friendly intercourse. I made them presents of a few hatchets and towes which they received with great eagerness and called Tureeke and were aware of the use of them, making signs to me how they were to be used. They made me presents in return of bows, arrows, and several ornaments for the neck, head, and arms.
"The ornament for the arm was in general about five inches long, made to draw on the arm above the elbow, worked neatly like basket work, and on one side had worked into it a row of cowries. This appeared a badge of distinction, for I could observe none to wear it but those who appeared to be of more consequence than the rest. I have reason to think the arm ornament is to protect the arm from the bow string.
"The head ornament, hat or mask, for I cannot say for which purpose it is used, or perhaps for each, is neatly enough worked in the manner of mat work with different designs and fancies, and painted red and white with a kind of clay or lime. The neck ornament, or neck laces, are made of rows of shells, and others are of plaited grass and a kind of oval formed red mat, hanging to the ends of this plaited grass.
"Their bows are made of large strong bamboo with about half the diameter split off, neatly tapering towards each end. They are 6 feet 2 inches long and so very strong it was with much difficulty a strong man could string them.
"Their bow string is also made of split bamboo. Their arrows and darts also are 4 feet 9 inches long; they are headed with very hard wood or bone, and are sharp and must be dangerous weapons. They have spears of different lengths.
"According to the best judgment we could form of their canoes, they were from 60 to 70 feet long; about 2 feet 6 inches wide, and about the same depth, made apparently from one tree hollowed out. They had an outrigger on each side, and over the body of the canoe was a stage projecting 3 or 4 feet past each gunwale and about 8 or 10 feet long. There was a kind of barricade on each side of this stage, about 2 feet high, and here they carried their spears and long bamboo poles for setting their canoes along the reefs.
"Their sail was made of matting--an ill-contrived thing, and appeared to be hoist or shored up on two poles that projected from the fore part of the canoe. It was about 5 feet wide, 6 or 8 feet deep, yet with this untoward contrivance for a sail they made great way when going, but, of course, could do but little on a wind. I do not remember seeing wash boards, and the only contrivance for keeping water out of the canoe was a mat tied taut around the fore part of it.
"The canoes were ornamented in different parts with shell, and towards the stern there was a small kind of gallows with some nude figures carved on it. They made use of a very large conch shell for bailing out their canoes, and certainly understand and make use of signals to each other when at a distance, for this day as well as the day the cutter fired at the canoe, I saw them frequently display a small flag on a long pole, and whenever this was done by a canoe one or more of the other canoes at a distance also displayed a small flag, as if in answer to the signal.
"The colour of these people is black, as the natives of Africa, and, like them, woolly headed. The eyes in general very heavy, having a redness about the whites. Their teeth were white and even. I could not tell the natural shape of the nose, as they have the cartilage taken out except a very thin bit of the fore part, and in its place a ring made of bone or ivory as large as they find convenient to prop up the point of the nose, which gives to them the appearance of having what we call bottle noses.
"Captain Bligh procured one of their nose-rings and wore it on his third finger as a ring. Some of them have large holes in the lobes of the ear, others have theirs cut entirely through nearly half the length of the ear up, and no doubt suspend weights to the separated parts, for some hang down several inches.
"The persons of these people are below common stature. Their legs rather small and neatly made, but they are certainly very active, and to judge from the strength required to string their bows, must be strong.
"They are also very quick in the water, indeed as much as any South Sea Islanders I have seen. They use paddles about 5 feet long and stand up when they paddle, exactly as do the natives of Africa about the River Gabun, Bristol River, and other parts that I have seen.
"After our friendly intercourse I prevailed upon several to come into the ship. They did not seem remarkably struck with what they saw there. Their whole attention was taken up with Tureeke, iron, which they incessantly asked for. Beads, trinkets, and looking-glasses they set little value on. The people I appointed to purchase some little curiosities found them to trade fairly, and the article bargained for was sure to be handed into the ship. I gave one of them a straw hat and silk handkerchief that I had on for which he was very much pleased.
"Our anchor being now away made signs for them to go to their canoes which they did, and I proceeded on to the northward to sound, leaving the 'Providence' at anchor. At 11 Island A, the body of it bore east; we had then 12 fathoms. At noon Island A, S. 83° E., Island E, S. 86° W., and a small woody Island N. 72° W. At this time perfectly smooth water. Under the west side of Island A were good sandy beaches, and the water appeared smooth. I think it probable a ship might anchor within a mile or less of the shore.
"Island A is of tolerable height, and most likely good water can be got here and yams and plantains, for the Indians had some of each which was purchased, and previous to our weighing, when I made signs to the Indians for water, they pointed to Island A and I understood them there was plenty there.
"Besides the ornaments already noticed, they also some of them wear a boar's tusk stuck in the hole of the ear. They go naked, except for these ornaments and a shell to cover the lower part of the body. They use the same customs that the Africans practise of having burnt scars, some of them on one shoulder and some of them on the other. But I think the left is most prevalent.
"September 7th. Stood by N. by W. and W.N.W. until half past noon, then being in good anchorage in 17 fathoms 6 miles from the 'Providence' I hauled the wind and made the signal to follow without danger. The Commodore saw the signal and got under way and stood towards us. I sent the whale-boat and cutter to sound and lead, while I kept plying on the place of anchorage. At half past one the Commodore drawing near, we anchored over a bottom of fine sand and shells. It was now determined by the Commodore to send the boats to the N.N.W. and N.W. at daylight in the morning, and if they fell in with no shoals, to signal to follow them, as we could see nothing in that direction to impede us getting to westward from our present situation. There were appearances of shoal water north of the island.
"Soon after I had anchored, a canoe came from Island E and came alongside. The natives came on board and were much surprised. They would not go below, and the Commodore would not urge them for fear of alarming them. I suppose the magnitude of the ship, her height above water, and the number of people on board surprised them, for they were more struck there than on board the small 'Assistant' and frequently made use of the word 'Whywool,' 'Whywool,' and it appeared to me it expressed wonder and surprise.
"A number of bows, arrows, necklaces, and other things were purchased from them and they traded with the greatest honesty. They remained with us until near dark and then went to Island E, and made signs they were going there to sleep. During the night we rode perfectly smoothly.
"In the morning the boats were sent to the N. W., and at half past nine having got a good distance without signalling danger I weighed and stood to the N.W. ½ W., and after steering a few miles in that direction then steered W. by N., W.S.W., and west towards another small woody island which I distinguish by the letter F.* About half past eleven hauled and stood in under the lee of Island F to try the anchorage. I found coral, sandy bottom, our distance from the reef 2½ miles.
[* Stephen Island.]
"The Commodore stretched in after me and I went on board. He judged it the most eligible place to anchor for the night, and in the morning to proceed to the westward.* At noon cloudy, pleasant weather, several small woody islands and keys in sight to the E., S., and W. Lat. of anchorage 9° 31' 28" S., 143° 31' 51" E.
[* "The ships were sheltered by two western islands named Stephen's and Campbell's Islands."--Flinders.]
"Saturday, September 8th, 1792. When at anchor, Island A, S. 79° E., distance 7 miles. Island E, S. 75° E., distance 10½ miles. Island F, N. 81° E., distance 4 miles. Island G, S. 5° W., 4 miles. Island H, S. 17° W., distance 1½ miles. Island I, S. 57° W., distance 11 miles, and a sandy key S.E., distance 3 miles.
"All these islands, excepting Island A, are small, woody islands, and in general each has a reef extending from it which surrounds the island a distance of one and a half miles in some places, a little more in others or less, but under the lee of the island it is perfectly smooth on the reef and boats may land on them safely. During the afternoon we saw several canoes passing among the islands, and towards sunset two passed from Island F to Island G,* where they made two large fires and kept them up during the night.
[* G, Campbell Island.]
"At daylight prepared to get under weigh, but did not break loose until quarter past seven as it is very unsafe to run in this navigation before the sun has been up a little to show the banks and shoals. At half past seven we bore away to the westwards. At 8.35 we got ground with 14 fathoms line. We continued to steer W. and W.S.W. in fair pleasant weather. At half past nine I saw a sandy key* bearing W. by S. The Commodore at the same time made the signal for seeing land. We continued towards the key, and I led the ships past a spot of coloured water about 1½ cable from it; I suppose this spot might be 5 fathoms.
[* Pearce's Cay.]
"A very extensive reef now made its appearance extending as far as the eye could reach from the M.T.G. Mast. It stretched towards the north, the east, the west, and the S.S.W. and discovered to us under but a dreary prospect. We stood on to within 2½ or 3 miles of the key to discover any opening in the reef, but could not. Every direction except the one we had just come appeared shut up against us. We now hauled towards a small woody island that lay to the southward of us. This I called L,* and as we stood southward our western prospect improved a little, the reef appearing to fall back a little to the westward. This gave us hope, and we still continued to steer in for the lee of Island L, and deepened our water to 13½ fathoms over coarse sand intermixed with broken shells.
[* L, Dalrymple Island. Portlock sometimes calls the islands by different letter-names from those which Bligh has given them. Portlock's Island L is Island H of Bligh.]
"The Commodore signalled: Prepare to anchor, and at noon we both anchored under Island L., happy enough to find a good anchorage in a situation where we were surrounded by a reef. At anchor the following bearings were taken. Island L, S. 11° E. and S. 75° E., distance ¾ of a mile. The southern part of the reef in sight about W., distance 2½ miles, and extending to the W. and N. as far as eye could see.
"A small woody isle which I distinguish as M* bore S. by W., distant 8 miles, and opposite the ship we could see several low houses, some in tolerably good order and others apparently gone to ruin. They appeared large enough to contain each eight or ten people and were very low, closed on all sides excepting that facing the sea and appeared to have no roofs. I think they are composed chiefly of the branches of the palm or cocoanut trees, neither of which tree I could perceive on the island except a very low one which I took for a palm.
[* Rennel Island.]
"There were also two or three canoes lying up among the houses that appeared to be damaged. This island is remarkably well wooded, many of the trees tall and thick. We could not make out what kind they were. 9° 51' 18" S., 143° 10' 15" E.
"September 9th. Two boats the Commodore had dispatched to the southward to sound, returned about 3 p.m. and gave a favourable report of the surroundings to the S.S.W. About two I saw a dog come down from among the woods; he walked into the water a few paces, looked at the ships, and returned to the woods again. I concluded that there were people in the island who concealed themselves. One of the boats on her return stated they had discovered on the south part of the island a number of inhabitants, and saw there one canoe and a kind of breast-work of matts built up. The officer, agreeable to orders, did not land, but bore away round the west end of the islands for the ship, several of the natives following alongshore, and making signs of friendship by holding up green boughs and beckoning them to come on shore.
"Soon after the boat appeared we saw the natives to the number of 35, men, women, and young children, for some of the women carried very young ones on their backs. Out of this number there might be 18 or 20 men; the men were not armed, but we could see the boys loaded with bows and arrows and spears attending the men. The boat came on board, and the natives walked into the huts seen from the ship where they deposited their weapons and immediately made some fires along the beach. We were near enough to see them walk down some distance into the water holding out green branches and begging us to come on shore.
"About an hour before sunset the Commodore sent two boats on shore with directions to the officers not to land, but if possible to bring about a friendly intercourse by giving presents to the natives which he sent in the boat for that purpose. The boats rowed close to the beach, and as they rowed we could plainly see the natives carry their weapons and lodge them behind the huts. Men, women, boys, and girls came down to the boats and were very friendly. They were delighted beyond measure with the nails and towes that were presented to them, and called them Tureeke as the people of Island A do. They gave several of their ornaments in return and a quantity of fruit about the size of our plums, which is pleasant enough to the taste, but is not highly flavoured. This fruit abounds in Java.
"The boats remained until sunset, when they were called on board by signal. The officer's mate on inquiring for water fancied the natives made signs that there was water on the island; this may be, for I remember the only water that we got in the 'Resolution' and 'Discovery' at Tongataboo was procured from an island smaller than this. The natives kept fires upon shore all night, and we were in hopes they would venture in the morning before we got away, but I believe the wind was too much for them. At quarter past eight a.m. we weighed, and according to orders I led as usual. I stood to the southwarder under Island L to get a good berth from the shoals to the westward and northward, and edged away to W.S.W. We were not able to follow this course long, for we made a sand bank (perfectly dry) extending S. and W. as far as eye could reach.
"To the north of it were several canoes under sail, and stretching under its lee and shelter to the S.W. We were obliged to haul up S.W. and S.S.W. to coast along this bank, and soon made two low woody islands to the S. and westward.' The bank appeared to join to the northernmost of these, but there appeared still a passage between the two islands. As we continued to stand on to the S.S.W., several more small woody isles made their appearance southward and eastward and in their neighbourhood some sandy keys--and by this time we made an extensive reef to the southward, which appeared to join the southernmost of the two first seen islands (since weighing from L).
"The northernmost of these I distinguished by the letter N,* the southernmost O; there still was an appearance of a pass between O** and N which we determined to try, and accordingly as we approached the southern reef we edged away to the S.W. and then to the west.
[* N, Warrior or P Island of Bligh.]
[** O, Dungeness Island.]
"September 10th. At half-past one one of the boats that was sounding to the southward signalled danger. We immediately hauled to the N.E. and stood under easy sail to give the boat an opportunity to come within hail. On her coming near found they had signalled in consequence of seeing the reef we were edging down.
"I bore away and sent the whale-boat to lead ahead of the Commodore. I edged down within one cable's length of the reefs in 11 fathoms until I brought the north point of the reef to bear S. 75° E. The sun being to the westward of the meridian and shining bright, threw such a prodigious glaze on the water as to make it very unsafe to run to westward--for the glare so perfectly blinded us that it would be impossible to see a reef or sand bank a ship's length ahead. I thought it best to anchor and made the necessary signal, and anchored in 13 fathoms coarse coral sand.
"The Commodore stretched in and anchored half a cable away, to the northward. Just as we had hauled up to anchor I saw what at the sight appeared a large bed of rocks, but I was agreeably surprised to find they were a multitude of large fish. I was in hopes that to the west of this reef, in between it and Island O, we should have found good anchorage, but I was mistaken, and found the space between Island O and the reef nearly filled up by numberless beds of rock.
"The canoes we saw stretching to the S.W. under the extensive sand bank to the N. and W. landed at Island N and kept up fires during the night. Bearings from our anchorage: Island N, N. 8° W., distant 3½ miles; Island O, W. to N. 72°, distant 2½ miles. A moderate island which I call P* lies S. 75° W., and S. 78° W., distant 14 miles; the body of the reef that we lay under which I call by the name of Dungeness, S.E., distant 4 miles. Island Q, S.W. ½ W., 3½ miles; several patches of water distant 2 cables' length. Sent our boats to sound, found good depth around the ship except to the south, where 1½ cable distant was a rocky bank in 3½ fathoms.
[* P, Turtle Backed Island. Bligh so calls it, and does not describe it by a letter.]
"After the 'Assistant' was secured I hauled on the Commodore, and from the masthead of the 'Providence' took a good lookout, and saw a tolerable appearance of a passage between Dungeness reef and Island O and also between O and N.* This gave us great hopes, and about eight p.m. I returned on board the 'Assistant'. About 10.20 the flood tide was slack, and the ebb made strong, and we were afraid the ships would get on board each other. I verred away on the small bower and shot the ship on shore and let go the bower, and we lay snug for the night.
[* Between Dungeness and Warrior Island.]
"In the morning we began to heave up our best bower by the stream cable, and after getting short and heaving, the Buoy rope parted, and our hopes of recovering the anchor were gone. During the morning several large canoes came over from Island N, passed us, and rendezvoused under Dungeness reef. At eleven the canoes, six or seven in number, began to move and approach the ships.
"September 11th. In steering between Dungeness reef and Island O for a passage it appeared narrow and doubtful, and we hauled out for the passage between Islands O and N. I was at the masthead for the purpose of hauling out, and at that instant saw some of the Indians in one of the canoes (that had separated from the rest) seize their bows, and without the smallest provocation on our part, discharge several arrows at the people in our cutter which was alongside preparing to put off for the purpose of sounding, and at those most exposed on deck.
"I called out the men to arm and fire on them, which order was complied with, but their first arrows had wounded two men in the boat and one on deck. The wounds, though painful, the surgeon did not think dangerous.*
[* One man, William Terry, quartermaster, died on September 24th. Portlock was greatly grieved at his death. He says that he "had got him out of the 'Royal William' from Admiral Roddam".]
"I came down at once from the masthead, made the signal to call the 'Providence's' whale-boat and cutter that were at some distance away on board for fear of their being attacked by other canoes that were drawing near, and kept up a smart fire of small arms on the canoes which attacked us, which made them all jump overboard, and at once shelter under their canoes. I made the signal for assistance to the Commodore (for at this time we had not signalled to denote being attacked by an enemy), and he understood my meaning. Just at that instant the savages in a large canoe under his starboard bow were observed firing a number of arrows at his ship.
"A smart fire of small arms and now and then from a four-pounder began from the 'Providence,' which very soon drove them all off except one large canoe near the 'Providence' and the one which had attacked us, these two being disabled, having many shot holes through them, the people belonging to them being killed or wounded or had taken to the water. On the 'Providence' boats coming on board, they told me that they had seen the natives firing at us some time before we fired, and by the height they were aiming, apprehended that they were firing at me when at the masthead.
"I could not examine the canoes as it became necessary that we should make sail and stand N. and W. to clear the reef that runs some little distance from the east end of Island O. Accordingly made sail, and the Commodore followed after me. When we had got some distance from the disabled canoes the remainder of the fleet came to their assistance, and through our glasses we could perceive that they were struck with horror on looking into them. By this, I conclude, some must have been killed or wounded so much as not to be able to get up.
"They took the disabled canoes in tow, and went over to N, or the Traitor's Isle we may call it. Just about the time they began the attacks a very large smoke was made on N or Traitor's Isle. I am extremely sorry to have occasion to alter my opinion of these people, for I had conceived a very favourable one, and from the friendly intercourse we had had with the natives of Island A and their fairness in dealing, I had great hopes that our visit to these parts might have established a friendship and made it safe and pleasant for any navigator that might come after us. In the late instance we have proof that they are not to be trusted.
"Their weapons are extremely dangerous and they are good marksmen, therefore any vessel that comes should be well prepared. If a small vessel it will be absolutely necessary to have a breast-work half an inch or an inch broad to shelter the people with loop holes for small arms. It would also be highly necessary in small tonnage vessels which are very easily boarded by these active savages to be provided with close quarters, by having loop holes in the deck bulk-head of the cabin and connings of the hatches, and a few stands of good arms with musquetoons should be kept constantly in proper parts of the ship. The savages throw the arrows with great force, and the wound made by them is extremely painful.
"Several arrows were found about the deck and in the boats, mostly with their points off. The point of one about an inch long remains in the loem of an Ash oar and has gone in with such force as to split the oar 2 inches on each side. I have by me the point of another with a small bit broke off that has on it a white substance something like rosin, of a balsamic smell. This, perhaps, may be poison, and is the only one we have seen with this substance on it.
"About one p.m. we drew clear of the east point of the Island O. We edged away to W.N.W. and W. by W. to look for an anchorage. Soon after passing the north point of Island O we made a sand bank with the sea just breaking on the surface, bearing from the said north point N. 35° W., distance 2½ miles. This is a dangerous shoal, and it does not well show itself, but may be arrived at by keeping the coast of Island O on board. At 3.10 p.m. we stretched in and anchored near Island O over coral sands. Island N, or Traitor's Isle, N. 66° E. and N. 62° E., 4 miles. Island O, S. 14°, distant 1½ miles. P or Turtle Back Island S. 57° W., distant 8½ miles. Island Q, S. 14° W., distant 4 miles. The Cap or Round Island, S. 86° W., distant 11½ miles. The Brothers or Island S, N. 76° W., and N. 79° W., 14½ miles. The sand bank distant 1¼ miles. Islands P, R, and S are moderately high islands with very little wood, and appear dry and parched. Islands N and O, and particularly O, are well wooded, and this side of it appears large trees. Those that grew in a kind of lagoon which ran nearly the length of the island were mangroves I think. We saw no signs of inhabitants in the island. We saw a flock of seven or eight birds stalking along the beach at one place, which some thought were pelicans.
"I waited on the Commodore and took at sunset a good look round from the 'Providence's masthead, and could see nothing to impede us to the westward, so the Commodore determined to push on in the morning as soon as it would be safe to run. At daylight began to prepare to get under weigh. At 9 a.m. weighed and led on to the N.N.W. with fine pleasant weather.
"As we approached The Brothers shoaled to 6½ fathoms, and at half past eleven made a shoal with the sea just washing on its surface, and here and there could see the heads of rocks. This shoal bears from The Brothers N. 10° E., distant 2¼ miles. At noon a highish island like the Island of Meatea* made its appearance to the northwards and westward, and some long low flat land lay to the eastward of it. Lat. 9° 45' 07" S. and Long. 142° 43' 125" E.
[* Mount Cornwallis or Tauan Island.]
"September 12th. Pleasant weather and perfectly smooth water. As we approached the bank we continued to shoal our water, and did not deepen by steering either way. It was therefore judged necessary to anchor and send the boats to sound round the banks and The Brothers. Accordingly at ten past noon anchored both vessels near each other, and two boats were sent to sound. P, or Turtle Back Island, S.W., distant 10 miles. R or the Cap South, distant 6½ miles. S or The Brothers, S.W. 5 miles. T or Meatea Island N.W., distant 21 miles. Low flat land seen from the 'Providence's' masthead, distant 15 miles. A high round topped mountain S.S.W., distant 13 leagues. O, or Dungeness Island, distant E.S.E. 14 miles. The boats returned, they had sounded and found four and five fathoms within a cable's length of the bank over a good bottom, and around it for half a mile six or seven fathoms, and had carried the same depth over towards The Brothers.
"We were now assured of a passage on either side of the bank, and the Commodore decided on the passage between it and The Brothers. We lay perfectly smooth and serene during the night.
"At 7.10 weighed, and when the Commodore was under way steered with the boats ahead to the S.W. to clear the south point of the bank then edging away to the W. by S. West. At three-quarters past nine the Commodore signalled for seeing land to W. by N. and saw the land. Immediately afterwards made a reef on which the sea broke N.W. by N. which appeared of small extent, and a dry sand bank south of the land bearing from S.W. to W.N. At 11 the cutter made the signal to anchor. She was S.W. by W., distant 1½ miles. The ship immediately anchored, and called the boats on board. The cutter had shoaled to three fathoms over a coral rocky bottom, and very near her the water broke on the rock. The Commodore sent two boats immediately to sound down towards the low land to the W. by N. in hopes of finding deeper water. Our bearings Meatea or Island T, distant N. 12° E. and N. 9° E., distant 16 miles. Low Island N.W., distant about 15 miles. Some high land, distant 8 leagues. The extremes of the long bank or reef W. by N., 8 miles and S.W., 6 miles. The sea broke with much violence on this reef. There were two other shoals, one S.S.W. two miles distant, the other N.W. by N., distant 3 miles.
"At noon pleasant weather, numbers of ringed snakes, turtles, scuttle fish, rock-weed, rushes, etc., floating past with the tide. The turtle make so shy we cannot procure a single one. No doubt they are harassed by the savages of these islands. Since we have been among these islands and reefs we have not seen any fish common to the sea, but we have seen a number of large porpoise, many of them white and others piebald, and a large brownish kind of animal whose make and colour lead me to believe they are the sea cow. I found the tide of flood to set W. by N., about two miles per hour.
"September 13th. The tide of flood slacked. At six fresh breezes which caused the ships to ride with some motion. At seven the master of the 'Providence' returned in the whale-boat from sounding, and about eight the cutter with Mr. Tobin, third Lieutenant, returned. Their report was that in sounding to the west and towards the low island they found 5 fathoms frequently over a rocky coral bottom. This being bad anchorage induced the Commodore to send the boats away in the morning to sound to the southwards towards the round-topped mountain and past the reef to the westward. At night it blew a fresh breeze, and we had some sea and the 'Assistant' considerable motion, she having a hollow low counter struck the sea very heavy, so much so that the master came aft and reported that she had struck the ground. The boats not returning from sounding yet, I went on board the Commodore.
"Every day now becomes more critical on account of the plants; a number of them have dropped off, and our prospect of getting through becomes very uncertain. Therefore the whole of them are in a critical situation. It is absolutely necessary to shorten their allowance of water so that in case we are foiled in finding a passage there may be enough left to save the ship's company during the time of beating back. The want of water is all we have to dread.
"About 10 a.m. the boats returned. They could give us little information with respect to a passage, although they had gone six or eight miles to S.S.W., 6 fathoms of water over a tolerable bottom. However, it was pleasant to find they had better water if only half a fathom.
"September 14th. Weighed at quarter past three p.m. in company with the Commodore meaning to stretch to the southward clearer of the banks and reefs. At quarter past 5 p.m. answered the Commodore's signal to anchor, and anchored in 8 fathoms for the night. At 6 a.m. fresh gales, squally with rain. Waited on the Commodore. He was of the opinion it was not safe to proceed further while the present weather continued. The situation becoming every day more critical on account of the unsettled weather we may expect to find on the sun's crossing the line and the shifting of the monsoon. Lat. 9° 42' 8" S. and 142° 23' 22" E.
"September 15th. At 5 a.m. received an order from the Commodore desiring me to stand on to the southward alone, and try to find a passage and take soundings. He also sent Mr. Tobin with the whaleboat to accompany me. At half past 6 I stood to the southward and directed Mr. Tobin to keep between us and the reef. We had not gone half a mile before we shoaled to less than 5 fathoms, but soon deepened our water to 6, 7, and 8 fathoms. When we shoaled to the 5 fathoms we were passing the west end of The Brothers.
"We soon passed the whale-boat and she fell to leeward and soon became useless, being unable to weather the reef, and came to a grapnel where she appeared to ride safe. I stood on a mile past the eastern extreme of the reef, and found this part to run on N. and S. 2½ miles, then to bend N.W. and run towards the low island bearing W. by N. and S.W. and towards the high island bearing S.W. The reef bending to the S.W. gave me reason to believe we might find a passage between the island in the S.W. and the island with the round-topped mountain on it. There was none between the high island and the reef. I stood till past 9 and then tacked and stood back to the 'Providence'. After getting clear of the reef edged down to take the whale-boat in tow and at a quarter past 11 got hold of her. As we were losing ground I anchored in 7 fathoms. Lieutenant Tobin carried 6 fathoms over a sandy bottom. The Brothers bearing S. 63° E. and the 'Providence' E., 5 miles from here.
"September 16th. At half past 3 p.m. weighed and joined the Commodore; waited on him and made my report, in consequence of which he determined to get under way early in the morning and try for a passage to the southward and westwards. At quarter past 4 got under way; the 'Providence' towed the cutter and the 'Assistant' the whale-boat as there was too much sea for them to keep ahead; ran the same course and carried the same depth as yesterday till we approached the island with the high, round-topped mountain, then got 8 fathoms.
"As we stood to the southward we made a number of small but moderately high islands; some lying between the high island and the island with the high, round-topped mountain* and several eastward of the latter island. At noon standing in for the island with the round high top. Answered signal: Prepare to anchor.
[* Banks Island.]
"September 17th. At half past noon we anchored in 7 fathoms, the extremes of high, round-topped mountain which I distinguish by the letter X, distant S. 5 miles. High hummock land which I find is three islands which I call U, V, and W,* S.E., 6 leagues; three small islands off east part of X, S.E., distant from nearest 2 miles. On the south end of the nearest of these little isles were a cluster of cocoanut trees. All were well wooded. Island E E,** a small rocky isle from the E. and W. end of which is seen a reef (that on the western being extensive), is S.W., distant 2½ miles. Island DD, between which and X we thought was a passage, distant S.W. 8 miles. Island Z,* N.W., distant 6½ miles. High island I call Y, N.W., distant 12½ miles. The islands hereabouts are of moderate height and well wooded, particularly X and DD. The wood on them grows high and in very thick groves, much resembling the woods of Van Diemen's Land. They have fine sandy beach on which the sea appears smooth and promises safe landing, and where we might procure water.
[* Mt. Ernest, Pole, and Burke Islands.]
[** Bond Island.]
[*** Passage Island.]
"We saw no signs of inhabitants, houses, or canoes. At sunset I went on board the 'Providence,' and took a good look round from the masthead and saw to the north a patch of broken water. We must have passed very near it. Between islands DD* and Y, there were a few small rocky islands, but nothing to prevent us getting to the westward. The Commodore determined to try for a passage through in the morning. In the meantime sent two boats to one of the small islands lying off Island X, which small island I will call BB,** to look for fresh water and take possession of the islands in the name of the King of Great Britain, and land and display the British flag on the shore. At half past six the boats returned. They could not find fresh water or see inhabitants, but there were signs of their having been there recently. They found one or two small low huts like those of Adventure Bay, Van Diemen's Land, and brought on board a few cocoanuts and some prodigious large bamboo poles which they found growing on the island. They found very good landing, and by the number of bones and shell of turtle there is little doubt that the island is the resort of the animal.
[* DD and Y, Mulgrave and Jervis Islands.]
[** North Possession Island.]
"In the evening it blew fresh. We lay tolerably easy, the 'Providence' perfectly smooth. At ten past six a.m. weighed and bore away to the westward, whaleboat and cutter sounding. We steered W. by N. for the passage between Islands DD and Y, but as we approached it some sunken rocks appeared and almost forbid us a passage. At 8.55 the cutter fired some muskets as a signal for sudden shoal water, immediately signalled the 'Providence' and hauled to southward and tacked and bore away to westward, and ran in between two patches of broken water. The tide carried us through this dangerous passage at a great rate and was carrying us towards the reefs, therefore hauled under the shelter of the rocky lump that lay off the north of Island DD and anchored.
"The tide was hurrying the 'Providence' towards the reefs, and I signalled: Good anchorage, but did not like to signal: Follow without danger. I kept signal flags out ready to direct her course, but they steered very well between the reefs and patches of broken water, and about II anchored a cable and a half north of us.
"We now lay surrounded in every direction with reefs, rocks, and sandbanks. However we still had great hopes of finding a way--although narrow and extremely dangerous to the westward. I went over to the 'Providence' and found the ship would not take the cable properly. The Commodore ordered the sheet anchor to be let go and eventually she was brought up. Bearings, Island Y, N.E., distant 5½ miles. A small lump of an island east of Y, which I call GG,* N.E., distant 9 miles, a small rocky island I call FF,** S.E., distant half a mile, extremes of DD, S.W., distant 2 and three-quarter miles. Besides these bearings there are a number of small rocky islands, banks, and reefs which are described in the sketch I have been able to make (which owing to my being constantly at the masthead, and prevented from taking all bearings necessary for making a most complete chart) will be useful to future Navigators who will come this way.
[* Florence Island.]
[** Castle Island.]
"The west side of island DD that we lay off now was so very low and full of large trees growing along the shore, I was led to believe that there was a river or lagoon running into the land just opposite Island FF. For between the trees I could see a piece of water, of what extent it is impossible to say. The small islands of which there are many in sight are barren and rocky; a little low wood on some of them. Having at X lost the palm of one anchor, and having reason to believe that another was disabled here, the Commodore set to work all hands to get the remaining anchor and cables in the best possible state. Lat. 10° 10' S. and Long. 144° 43' 11" E.
"September 18th. About 1 p.m. observed three canoes passing and paddling along Island DD. They continued their course until they reached a small rocky island to the S.E. of the 'Assistant' where they landed, the tide I suppose being too strong for them to venture off. They lay on shore till 2 o'clock and then pushed off, and directed their course towards the 'Assistant,' and nearer to them than the 'Providence'. When they had got to within too yards of her they brought to anchor with a stone or something else fastened to a rope that rode them very well considering the strength of the tide. They made many signs for us to go on shore, and remained at anchor until a musket shot was fired over their heads, they then hauled up their anchor and paddled to the shore.
"The' Providence's' boats which had been dispatched after we had anchored now hove in sight from behind a small island to the westward, and the canoes seemed to be edging that way. The Commodore ordered a swivel to be fired across their fore part. They immediately hauled to the southward and stood in for the west shore of DD. There were seven or eight men in each canoe.
"At 3 p.m. we observed the cutter had the signal up for safe anchorage, and as the Commodore was anxious to remove to a better place, as it was found that on heaving up the west bower it had lost one of its flues, the ship was now reduced to two bower anchor. Accordingly at 4 weighed and made sail. We shoaled our water on running to the westward before we could reach the spot where the boats had sounded. Therefore at quarter past six we anchored in a narrow passage in 6 fathoms. The 'Providence' close to us. Our bearings an Island N.W., distant half a mile, the nearest part of another Island in N..W., distant three-quarters of a mile, another S.W. 3 miles, and another W. by S., 3 miles. I am in hopes there is a passage between the last two islands. These were rocky islands and reefs and broken water to the southward.
"At 6 a. m. weighed and made sail, the 'Providence' in company, the boats ahead. We at first steered for the situation where the boats had found good soundings which lay between N.W. Island, and the island that bore W. by S. from our last anchorage. But soon saw from the masthead that there was no passage in that direction, and as the channel between the islands to the W. by S. and the one to S.W. appeared better although narrow, I led for it until we passed through it* between the W. by S. and S.W. islands. We stood on westward carrying up 6 or 7 fathoms until half past 8.
[* Bligh's Channel, locally known as Alligator Passage.]
"I was still ahead. The boats had long dropped abreast of us. When I saw something black in the water from the masthead I supposed it to be a rock; made the signal and hauled to southward, but soon shoaled, and the cutter 2 cables to the southward had cut 3½ fathoms of water. I consequently slacked and joined the Commodore who thought it best to anchor, therefore stood back and anchored. An island I call LL,* N.E., distant 5 miles. Island N.E., distant 5 leagues. HH,** N.E., 5 leagues. The W. by S. Island, N.E., 3 miles; the S.W. Island, N.E., 4 miles; the extremes of DD, S.E., distant 3 miles. A white rock bearing S.E., distant 3 miles.
[* Farewell Island.]
[** Belle Vue Island.]
"I went on board the 'Providence,' and the Commodore immediately dispatched boats to sound to the northward and southward for 2 or 3 miles. The black appearance in the N.W. that I took for a rock we have reason to believe is the 'Providence' Buoy that broke adrift when the flue of the best bower was broken.
"September 19th. About 3 p.m. the boats returned, the one from the southward had found 3½ fathoms, the one to the northward not less than 5 fathoms. We saw no appearance of land or shoals to the westward, but the shallowness of the water was alarming, and the Commodore entertained doubt if there was sufficient for the 'Providence'. He determined to send me away at daylight to take the 'Assistant' westward to sound.
"At half past five weighed and made sail to W. by S. At seven being 6 miles from the 'Providence,' signalled to follow without danger. The 'Providence' being well up bore away again to the W. by S. and found the bottom good and sounding regular. A much better prospect than we have had since we entered the Straits. We continued to carry 6; at noon, 8 fathoms, the most regular flat I ever passed over, and at this time no land or shore in sight in any direction. Lat. 9° 55' 54", 140° 29' 11"."
It is fitting that with Mr. Portlock's description of the track of the "Providence" and "Assistant" through Bligh's Farewell we should close the story of Captain Bligh's second voyage to the South Sea, for at no time during that voyage did Bligh guide his ships more skilfully or display greater ability as a navigator than when passing through the dangerous channels of Torres Strait he "accomplished in 19 days the passage from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean".*
[* Flinders' Terra Australis.]
In transcribing the story of the log-books it has not always been possible to include all the entries which they contain, but perhaps in course of time the whole of Bligh's journal, as well as those written by his officers, may be published. In the meantime the present volume must serve as a brief relation of what he accomplished as an explorer in 1792 during the voyage of the "Providence" and the "Assistant".
Page numbers have not been retained in this ebook. Use the SEARCH function in your browser to find names and places set out in the following index.
This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia