Having detailed the particulars of the mutiny in the Bounty, and the fate of the most notorious of the ringleaders, and having brought the history of Pitcairn Island down to the present period, I shall return to the party who had assembled on board the ship to greet us on our arrival.
The Blossom was so different, or, to use the expression of our visitors, "so rich," compared with the other ships they had seen,* that they were constantly afraid of giving offence or commiting some injury, and would not even move without first asking permission. This diffidence gave us full occupation for some time, as our restless visiters, anxious to see every thing, seldom directed their attention long to any particular obje2010-04-04emained in one position or place. Having no latches to their doors, they were ignorant of the manner of opening ours; and we were consequently attacked on all sides with "Please may I sit down or get up, or go out of the cabin?" or, "Please to open or shut the door." Their applications were, however, made with such good nature and simplicity that it was impossible not to feel the greatest pleasure in paying attention to them. They very soon learnt the christian name of every officer in the ship, which they always used in conversation instead of the surname, and wherever a similarity to their own occurred, they attached themselves to that person as a matter of course.
It was many hours after they came on board before the ship could get near the island, during which time they so ingratiated themselves with us that we felt the greatest desire to visit their houses; and rather than pass another night at sea we put off in the boats, though at a considerable distance from the land, and accompanied them to the shore. We followed our guides past a rugged point surmounted by tall spiral rocks, known to the islanders as St. Paul's rocks, into a spacious iron-bound bay, where the Bounty found her last anchorage. In this bay, which is bounded by lofty cliffs almost inaccessible, it was proposed to land. Thickly branched evergreens skirt the base of these hills, and in summer afford a welcome retreat from the rays of an almost vertical sun. In the distance are seen several high pointed rocks which the pious highlanders have named after the most zealous of the Apostles, and outside of them is a square basaltic islet. Formidable breakers fringe the coast, and seem to present an insurmountable barrier to all access.
We here brought our boats to an anchor, in consequence of the passage between the sunken rocks being much too intricate, and we trusted ourselves to the natives, who landed us, two at a time, in their whale-boat. The difficulty of landing was more than repaid by the friendly reception we met with on the beach from Hannah Young, a very interesting young woman, the daughter of Adams. In her eagerness to greet her father, she had outrun her female companions, for whose delay she thought it necessary in the first place to apologize, by saying they had all been over the hill in company with John Buffet to look at the ship, and were not yet returned. It appeared that John Buffet, who was a seafaring man, ascertained that the ship was a man of war, and without knowing exactly why, became so alarmed for the safety of Adams that he either could not or would not answer any of the interrogations which were put to him. This mysterious silence set all the party in tears, as they feared he had discovered something adverse to their patriarch. At length his obduracy yielded to their entreaties; but before he explained the cause of his conduct, the boats were seen to put off from the ship, and Hannah immediately hurried to the beach to kiss the old man's cheek, which she did with a fervency demonstrative of the warmest affection. Her apology for her companions was rendered unnecessary by their appearance on the steep and circuitous path down the mountain, who, as they arrived on the beach, successively welcomed us to their island, with a simplicity and sincerity which left no doubt of the truth of their professions.
They almost all wore the cloth of the island; their dress consisted of a petticoat, and a mantle loosely thrown over the shoulders, and reaching to the ancles. Their stature was rather above the common height; and their limbs, from being accustomed to work and climb the hills, had acquired unusual muscularity; but their features and manners were perfectly feminine. Their complexion, though fairer than that of the men, was of a dark gipsy hue, but its deep colour was less conspicuous, by being contrasted with dark glossy hair, which hung down over their shoulders in long waving tresses, nicely oiled: in front it was tastefully turned back from the forehead and temples, and was retained in that position by a chaplet of small red or white aromatic blossoms, newly gathered from the flower-tree (morinda citrifolia), or from the tobacco plant; their countenances were lively and good-natured, their eyes dark and animated, and each possessed an enviable row of teeth. Such was the agreeable impression of their first appearance, which was heightened by the wish expressed simultaneously by the whole groupe, that we were come to stay several days with them. As the sun was going down, we signified our desire to get to the village and to pitch the observatory before dark, and this was no sooner made known, than every instrument and article found a carrier.
We took the only pathway which leads from the landing-place to the village, and soon experienced the difficulties of the ascent, which the distant appearance of the ground led us to anticipate. To the natives, however, there appeared to be no obstacles: women as well as men bore their burthens over the most difficult parts without inconvenience; while we, obliged at times to have recourse to tufts of shrubs or grass for assistance, experienced serious delay, being also incommoded by the heat of the weather, and by swarms of house-flies which infest the island, and are said to have been imported there by H.M.S. Briton.
As soon as we had gained the first level, our party rested on some large stones that lay half buried in long grass on one side of a ravine, from which the blue sky was nearly concealed by the overlapping branches of palm-trees. Here, through the medium of our female guides, who, furnished with the spreading leaves of the tee-plant, drove away our troublesome persecutors, we obtained a respite from their attacks.
Having refreshed ourselves, we resumed our journey over a more easy path; and after crossing two valleys, shaded by cocoa-nut trees, we arrived at the village. It consisted of five houses, built upon a cleared piece of ground sloping to the sea, and commanding a distant view of the horizon, through a break in an extensive wood of palms. While the men assisted to pitch our tent, the women employed themselves in preparing our dinner, or more properly supper, as it was eight o'clock at night.
The manner of cooking in Pitcairn's Island is similar to that of Otaheite, which, as some of my readers may not recollect, I shall briefly describe. An oven is made in the ground, sufficiently large to contain a good-sized pig, and is lined throughout with stones nearly equal in size, which have been previously made as hot as possible. These are covered with some broad leaves, generally of the tee-plant, and on them is placed the meat. If it be a pig, its inside is lined with heated stones, as well as the oven; such vegetables as are to be cooked are then placed round the animal: the whole is carefully covered with leaves of the tee, and buried beneath a heap of earth, straw, or rushes and boughs, which, by a little use, becomes matted into one mass. In about an hour and a quarter the animal is sufficiently cooked, and is certainly more thoroughly done than it would be by a fire.
By the time the tent was up and the instruments secured, we were summoned to a meal cooked in this manner, than which a less sumptuous fare would have satisfied appetites rendered keen by long abstinence and a tiresome journey. Our party divided themselves that they might not crowd one house in particular: Adams did not entertain; but at Christian's I found a table spread with plates, knives, and forks; which, in so remote a part of the world, was an unexpected sight. They were, it is true, far from uniform; but by one article being appropriated to another, we all found something to put our portion upon; and but few of the natives were obliged to substitute their fingers for articles which are indispensable to the comfort of more polished life. The smoking pig, by a skilful dissection, was soon portioned to every guest, but no one venture to put its excellent qualities to the test until a lengthened Amen, pronounced by all the party, had succeeded an emphatic grace delivered by the village parson. "Turn to" was then the signal for attack, and as it is convenient that all the party should finish their meal about the same time, in order that one grace might serve for all, each made the most of his time. In Pitcairn's Island it is not deemed proper to touch even a bit of bread without a grace before and after it, and a person is accused of inconsistency if he leaves off and begins again. So strict is their observance of this form, that we do not know of any instance in which it has been forgotten. On one occasion I had engaged Adams in conversation, and he incautiously took the first mouthful without having said his grace; but before he had swallowed it, he recollected himself, and feeling as if he had committed a crime, immediately put away what he had in his mouth, and commenced his prayer.
Welcome cheer, hospitality, and good humour, were the characteristics of the feast; and never was their beneficial influence more practically exemplified than on this occasion, by the demolition of nearly all that was placed before us. With the exception of some wine we had brought with us, water was the only beverage. This was placed in a large jug at one end of the board, and, when necessary, was passed round the table—a ceremony at which, in Pitcairn's Island in particular, it is desirable to be the first partaker, as the gravy of the dish is invariably mingled with the contents of the pitcher: the natives, who prefer using their fingers to forks, being quite indifferent whether they hold the vessel by the handle or by the spout. Three or four torches made with doodoe nuts (aleurites triloba), strung upon the fibres of a palm-leaf, were stuck in tin pots at the end of the table, and formed an excellent substitute for candles, except that they gave a considerable heat, and cracked, and fired, somewhat to the discomfiture of the person whose face was near them.
Notwithstanding these deficiencies, we made a very comfortable and hearty supper, heard many little anecdotes of the place, and derived much amusement from the singularity of the inquiries of our hosts. One regret only intruded itself upon the general conviviality, which we did not fail to mention, namely, that there was so wide a distinction between the sexes. This was the remains of a custom very common among the South Sea Islands, which in some places is carried to such an extent, that it imposes death upon the woman who shall eat in the presence of her husband; and though the distinction between man and wife is not here carried to that extent, it is still sufficiently observed to exclude all the women from table, if there happens to be a deficiency of seats. In Pitcairn's Island, they have settled ideas of right and wrong, to which they obstinately adhere; and, fortunately, they have imbibed them generally from the best source.
In the instance in question, they have, however, certainly erred; but of this they could not be persuaded, nor did they, I believe, thank us for our interference. Their argument was, that man was made first, and ought, consequently, on all occasions, to be served first—a conclusion which deprived us of the company of the women at table, during the whole of our stay at the island. Far from considering themselves neglected, they very good-naturedly chatted with us behind our seats, and flapped away the flies, and by a gentle tap, accidentally or playfully delivered, reminded us occasionally of the honour that was done us. The conclusion of our meal was the signal for the women and children to prepare their own, to whom we resigned our seats, and strolled out to enjoy the freshness of the night. It was late by the time the women had finished, and we were not sorry when we were shown to the beds prepared for us. The mattress was composed of palm-trees, covered with native cloth; the sheets were of the same material; and we knew by the crackling of them, that they were quite new from the loom or beater. The whole arrangement was extremely comfortable, and highly inviting to repose, which the freshness of the apartment, rendered cool by a free circulation of air through its sides, enabled us to enjoy without any annoyance from heat or insects. One interruption only disturbed our first sleep; it was the pleasing melody of the evening hymn, which, after the lights were put out, was chaunted [chanted] by the whole family in the middle of the room. In the morning also we were awoke by their morning hymn and family devotion. As we were much tired, and the sun's rays bad not yet found their way through the broad opening of the apartment, we composed ourselves to rest again; and on awaking found that all the natives were gone to their several occupations,—the men to offer what assistance they could to our boats in landing, carrying burthens for the seamen, or to gather what fruits were in season. Some of the women had taken our linen to wash; those whose turn it was to cook for the day were preparing the oven, the pig, and the yams; and we could hear, by the distant reiterated strokes of the beater,* that others were engaged in the manufacture of cloth. By our bedside had already been placed some ripe fruits; and our hats were crowned with chaplets of the fresh blossom of the nono, or flower-tree (morinda citrifolia), which the women had gathered in the freshness of the morning dew. On looking round the apartment, though it contained several beds, we found no partition, curtain, or screens; they had not yet been considered necessary. So far, indeed, from concealment being thought of when we were about to get up, the women, anxious to show their attention, assembled to wish us a good morning, and to inquire in what way they could best contribute to our comforts, and to present us with some little gift, which the produce of the island afforded. Many persons would have felt awkward at rising and dressing before so many pretty black-eyed damsels assembled in the centre of a spacious room; but by a little habit we overcame this embarrassment; and found the benefit of their services in fetching water as we required it, and substituting clean linen for such as we pulled off.
*This is an instrument used for the manufacture of their cloth.
It must be remembered, that with these people, as with the other islanders of the South Seas, the custom has generally been to go naked, the maro with the men excepted, and with the women the petticoat, or kilt, with a loose covering over the bust, which, indeed, in Pitcairn's Island, they are always careful to conceal; consequently, an exposure to that extent carried with it no feeling whatever of indelicacy; or, I may safely add, that the Pitcairn Islanders would have been the last persons to incur the charge. We assembled at breakfast about noon, the usual eating hour of the natives, though they do not confine themselves to that period exactly, but take their meal whenever it is sufficiently cooked; and afterwards availed ourselves of their proffered services to show us the island, and under their guidance first inspected the village, and what lay in its immediate vicinity. In an adjoining house we found two young girls seated upon the ground, employed in the laborious exercise of beating out the bark of the cloth-tree, which they intended to present to us, on our departure, as a keepsake. The hamlet consisted of five cottages, built more substantially than neatly, upon a cleared patch of ground, sloping to the northward, from the high land of the interior to the cliffs which overhang the sea, of which the houses command a distant view in a northern direction. In the N. E. quarter, the horizon may also be seen peeping between the stems of the lofty palms, whose graceful branches nod like ostrich plumes to the refreshing trade-wind. To the northward, and northwestward, thicker groves of palm-trees rise in an impenetrable wood, from two ravines which traverse the hills in various directions to their summit. Above the one, to the westward, a lofty mountain rears its head, and towards the sea terminates in a fearful precipice filled with caverns, in which the different sea-fowl find an undisturbed retreat. Immediately round the village are the small enclosures for fattening pigs, goats, and poultry; and beyond them, the cultivated grounds producing the banana, plantain, melon, yam, taro, sweet potatoes, appai, tee, and cloth plant, with other useful roots, fruits, and shrubs, which extend far up the mountain and to the southward; but in this particular direction they are excluded from the view by an immense banyan tree, two hundred paces in circumference, whose foilage and branches form of themselves a canopy impervious to the rays of the sun. Every cottage has its out-house for making cloth, its baking-place, its sty, and its poultry-house.
Within the enclosure of palm-trees is the cemetery where the few persons who had died on the island, together with those who met with violent deaths, are deposited. Besides the houses above-mentioned, there are three or four others built upon the plantations beyond the palm groves. One of these, situated higher up the hill than the village, belonged to Adams, who had retired from the bustle of the hamlet to a more quiet and sequestered spot, to enjoy the advantages of an elevated situation, so desirable in warm countries; and in addition to these again there are four other cottages to the eastward which belong to the Youngs and Quintals.
All these cottages are strongly built of wood in an oblong form, and thatched with the leaves of the palm-tree bent round the stem of the same branch, and laced horizontally to rafters, so placed as to give a proper pitch to the roof. The greater part have an upper story, which is appropriated to sleeping, and contain four beds built in the angles of the room, each sufficiently large for three or four persons to lie on. They are made of wood of the cloth-tree, and are raised eighteen inches above the floor; a mattress of palm-leaves is laid upon the planks, and above it three sheets of the cloth-plant, which form an excellent substitute for linen. The lower room generally contains one or more beds, but is always used as their eating-room, and has a broad table in one part, with several stools placed round it. The floor is elevated above a foot from the ground, and, as well as the sides of the house, is made of stout plank, and not of bamboo, or stone, as stated by Captain Folger; indeed they have not a piece of bamboo on the island; nor have they any mats. The floor is a fixture, but the sideboards are let into a groove in the supporters, and can be removed at pleasure, according to the state of the weather, and the whole side may, if required, be laid open. The lower room communicates with the upper by a stout ladder in the centre, and leads up through a trapdoor into the bedroom.
From the village several pathways (for roads there are none) diverge, and generally lead into the valleys, which afford a less difficult ascent to the upper part of the island than the natural slope of the hills; still they are very rugged and steep, and in the rainy season so slippery that it is almost impossible for any person, excepting the natives, to traverse them with safety. We selected one which led over the mountain to the landing-place, on the opposite side of the island, and visited the several plantations upon the higher grounds, which extend towards the mountain with a gentle slope. Here the mutineers originally built their summer-houses, for the purpose of enjoying the breeze and overlooking the yam grounds, which are more productive than those lower down. Near these plantations are the remains of some ancient morais; and a spot is pointed out as the place where Christian was first buried. By a circuitous and, to us, difficult path, we reached the ridge of the mountain, the height of which is 1109 feet above the sea; this is the highest part of the island. The ridge extends in a north and south direction, and unites two small peaks: it is so narrow as to be in many parts scarcely three feet wide, and forms a dangerous pass between two fearful precipices. The natives were so accustomed to climb these crags that they unconcernedly skipped from point to point like the hunters of chamois; and young Christian actually jumped upon the very peak of a cliff, which was so small as to be scarcely sufficient for his feet to rest upon, and from which any other person would have shuddered even to look down upon the beach, lying many hundred feet at its base. At the northern extremity of this ridge is a cave of some interest, as being the intended retreat of Christian, in the event of a landing being effected by any ship sent in pursuit of him, and where he resolved to sell his life as dearly as he could. In this recess he always kept a store of provisions, and near it erected a small hut, well concealed by trees, which served the purpose of a watchhouse. So difficult was the approach to this cave, that even if the party were successful in crossing the ridge, as long as his ammunition lasted, he might have bid defiance to any force. An unfrequented and dangerous path leads from this place to a peak which commands a view of the western and southern coasts: at this height, on a clear day, a perfect map of the bottom is exhibited by the different coloured waters. On all points the island is terminated by cliffs, or rocky projections, off which lie scattered numerous fragments of rock, rising like so many black pinnacles amid the surf, which on all sides rolls in upon the shore.
We descended by a less abrupt slope than that by which we advanced, and took our way through yam grounds to a ravine which brought us to the village. The path leading down this ravine is, in many places, so precipitious, that we were constantly in danger of slipping and rolling into the depths below, which the assistance of the natives alone prevented.
While we were thus borrowing help from others, and grasping every tuft of grass and bough that offered its friendly support, we were overtaken by a groupe of chubby little children, trudging unconcernedly on, munching a water melon, and balancing on their heads calabashes of water, which they had brought from the opposite side of the island. They smiled at our helplessness as they passed, and we felt their innocent reproof; but we were still unpractised in such feats, while they, from being trained to them, had acquired a footing and a firmness which habit alone can produce.
It was dark when we reached the houses, but we found by a whoop which echoed through the woods, that we were not the last from home. This whoop, peculiar to the place, is so shrill, that it may be heard half over the island, and the ear of the natives is so quick, that they will catch it when we could distinguish nothing of the kind. By the tone in which it is delivered, they also know the wants of the person, and who it is. These shrill sounds, which we had just heard, informed us, and those who were at the village, that a party had lost their way in the woods. A blazing beacon was immediately made, which, together with a few more whoops to direct the party, soon brought the absentees home. Their perfection in these signals will be manifest from the following anecdote: I was one day crossing the mountain which intersects the island, with Christian; we had not long parted with their whale-boat on the western side of the island, and were descending a ravine amidst a thicket of trees, when he turned round and said, "The whale-boat is come round to Bounty Bay;" at which I was not a little surprised, as I had heard nothing, and we could not see through the wood; but he heard the signal; and when we got down it proved to be the case.
In this little retreat there is not much variety, and the description of one day's occupation serves equally for its successor. The dance is a recreation very rarely indulged in; but as we particularly requested it, they would not refuse to gratify us. A large room in Quintal's house was prepared for the occasion, and the company were ranged on one side of the apartment, glowing beneath a blazing string of doodoe nuts; the musicians were on the other, under the direction of Arthur Quintal. He was seated upon the ground, as head musician, and had before him a large gourd, and a piece of musical wood (poron), which he balanced nicely upon his toes, that there might be the less interruption to its vibrations. He struck the instrument alternately with two sticks, and was accompanied by Dolly, who performed very skilfully with both hands upon a gourd, which had a longitudinal hole cut in one end of it; rapidly beating the orifice with the palms of her hands, and releasing it again with uncommon dexterity, so as to produce a tattoo, but in perfect time with the other instrument. A third performed upon the Bounty's old copper fish-kettle, which formed a sort of bass. To this exhilarating music, three grown-up females stood up to dance, but with a reluctance which showed it was done only to oblige us, as they consider such performances an inroad upon their usual innocent pastimes. The figure consisted of such parts of the Otaheitan dance as were thought most decorous, and was little more than a shuffling of the feet, sliding past each other, and snapping their fingers; but even this produced, at times, considerable laughter from the female spectators, perhaps from some association of ridiculous ideas, which we as strangers, did not feel; and no doubt had our opinion of the performance been consulted, it would have essentially differed from theirs. They did not long continue these diversions, from an idea that it was too great a levity to be continued long; and only the three before-mentioned ladies could be prevailed upon to exhibit their skill. One of the officers, with a view of contributing to the mirth of the colonists, had obligingly brought his violin on shore, and, as an inducement for them to dance again, offered to play some country dances and reels, if they would proceed; but they could not be tempted to do so. They, however, solicited a specimen of the capabilities of the instrument, which was granted, and, though very well executed, did not give the satisfaction which we anticipated. They had not yet arrived at a state of refinement to appreciate harmony, but were highly delighted with the rapid motion of the fingers, and always liked to be within sight of the instrument when it was played. They were afterwards heard to say, that they preferred their own simple musical contrivance to the violin. They did not appear to have the least ear for music: one of the officers took considerable pains to teach them the hundreth psalm, that they might not chaunt [chant] all the psalms and hymns to the same air; but they did not evince the least aptitude or desire to learn it.
The following day was devoted to the completion of our view of the island, of which the natives were anxious we should see every part. We accordingly set out with the same guides by a road which brought us to "the Rope," a steep cliff so called from its being necessary to descend it by a rope. It is situated at the eastern end of the island, and overlooks a small sandy bay lined with rocks, which render it dangerous for a boat to attempt to land there.
At the foot of "the Rope" were found some stone axes, and a hone, the manufacture of the aborigines, and upon the face of a large rock were some characters very rudely engraved, which we copied; they appeared to have been executed by the Bounty's people, though Adams did not recollect it. To the left of "the Rope" is a peak of considerable height, overlooking Bounty Bay. Upon this eminence the mutineers, on their arrival, found four images, about six feet in height, placed upon a platform; and according to Adams's description not unlike the morais at Easter Island, excepting that they were upon a much smaller scale. One of these images, which had been preserved, was a rude representation of the human figure to the hips, and was hewn out of a piece of red lava.
Near this supposed morai, we were told that human bones and stone hatchets were occasionally dug up, but we could find only two bones, by which we might judge of the stature of these aborigines. These were an os femoris and a part of a cranium of an unusual size and thickness. The hatchets, of which we obtained several specimens, were made of a compact basaltic lava, not unlike clinkstone [volcanic rock], very hard and capable of a fine polish. In shape they resembled those used at Otaheite, and by all the islanders of these seas that I have seen. A large stone bowl was also found, similar to those used at Otaheite, and two stone huts. That this island should have been inhabited is not extraordinary, when it is remembered that Easter Island, which is much more distant from the eastern world, was so, though nothing is known of the fate of the people.
From these images, and the large piles of stones on heights to which they must have been dragged with great labour, it may be concluded that the island was inhabited a considerable time; and from bones being found always buried under these piles, and never upon the surface, we may presume that those who survived quitted the island in their canoes to seek an asylum elsewhere.
Having this day seen every part of the island, we had no further desire to ramble; and as the weather did not promise to be very fair, I left the observatory in the charge of Mr. Wolfe, and embarked, accompanied by old Adams. Soon after he came on board it began to blow, and for several days afterwards the wind prevented any communication with the shore. The natives during this period were in great apprehension: they went to the top of the island every morning to look for the ship; and once, when she was not to be seen, began to entertain the most serious doubts whether Adams would be returned to them; but he, knowing we should close the island as soon as the weather would permit, was rather glad of the opportunity of remaining on board, and of again associating with his countrymen. And although he had passed his sixty-fifth year, joined in the dances and songs of the forecastle, and was always cheerful.
On the 16th the weather permitted a boat to be sent on shore, and Adams was restored to his anxious friends. Previous to quitting the ship, he said it would add much to his happiness if I would read the marriage ceremony to him and his wife, as he could not bear the idea of living with her without its being done. He had long wished for the arrival of a ship of war to set his conscience at rest on that point. Though Adams was aged, and the old woman had been blind and bed-ridden for several years, he made such a point of it, that it would have been cruel to refuse him. They were accordingly the next day duly united, and the event noted in a register by John Buffet.
The islanders were delighted at having us again among them, and expressed themselves in the warmest terms. We soon found, through our intercourse with these excellent people, that they had no wants excepting such as had been created by an intercourse with vessels, which have from time to time supplied them with European articles. Nature has been extremely bountiful to them; and necessity has taught them how to apply her gifts to their own particular uses. Still they have before them the prospect of an increasing population, with limited means of supporting it. Almost every part of the island capable of cultivation has been turned to account; but what would have been the consequences of this increase, had not an accident discovered their situation, it is not difficult to foresee: and a reflecting mind will naturally trace in that disclosure the benign interference of the same hand which has raised such a virtuous colony from so guilty a stock. Adams having contemplated the situation which the islanders would have been reduced to, begged, at our first interview, that I would communicate with the government upon the subject, which was done; and I am happy to say that, through the interference of the Admiralty and Colonial office, means have been taken for removing them to any place they may choose for themselves; and a liberal supply of useful articles has recently been sent to them.*
*I have been informed since that they have changed their mind, and are at present contented with their situation.
Some books of travels which were left from time to time on the island, and the accounts they had heard of foreign countries from their visiters, has created in the islanders a strong desire to travel, so much so that they one day undertook a voyage in their whale-boat to an island which they learnt was not very far distant from their own; but fortunately for them, as the compass on which they relied, one of the old Bounty's, was so rusty as to be quite useless, their curiosity yielded to discretion, and they returned before they lost sight of their native soil.
The idea of passing all their days upon an island only two miles long, without seeing any thing of the world, or, what was a stronger argument, without doing any good in it, had with several of them been deeply considered. But family ties, and an ardent affection for each other, and for their native soil, had always interposed to prevent their going away singly. George Adams, however, having no wife to detain him, but, on the contrary, reasons for wishing to employ his thoughts on subjects foreign to his home, was very anxious to embark in the Blossom; and I would have acceded to his wishes, had not his mother wept bitterly at the idea of parting from him, and imposed terms touching his return to the island to which I could not accede. It was a sore disappointment to poor George, whose case forms a striking instance of the rigid manner in which these islanders observe their word.
Wives upon Pitcairn Island, it may be imagined, are very scarce, as the same restrictions with regard to relationship exist as in England. George, in his early days, had fallen in love with Polly Young, a girl a little older than himself; but Polly, probably at that time liking some one else, and being at the age when young ladies' expectations are at the highest, had incautiously said, she never would give her hand to George Adams. He, nevertheless, indulged a hope that she would one day relent; and to this end was unremitting in his endeavours to please her. In this expectation he was not mistaken; his constancy and attentions, and, as he grew into manhood, his handsome form, which George took every opportunity of throwing into the most becoming attitudes before her, softened Polly's heart into a regard for him, and, had nothing passed before, she would willingly have given him her hand. But the vow of her youth was not to be got over, and the love-sick couple languished on from day to day, victims to the folly of early resolutions.
The weighty case was referred for our consideration; and the fears of the party were in some measure relieved by the result, which was, that it would be much better to marry than to continue unhappy, in consequence of a hasty determination made before the judgment was matured; they could not, however, be prevailed on to yield to our decision, and we left them unmarried.*
*They have since been united, and have two children.
In the course of conversation, he one day said he would accompany me up the mountain, if there was nobody else near; and it so happened, that on the day I had leisure to go, the young men were all out of the way. Adams, therefore, insisted upon performing his engagement, though the day was extremely hot, and the journey was much too laborious, in any weather, for his advanced period of life. He nevertheless set out, adding, "I said I would go, and so I will; besides, without example, precept will have but little effect." At the first valley he threw off his hat, handkerchief, and jacket and left them by the side of the path; at the second his trousers were cast aside into a bush; and had he been alone, or provided with a maro, his shirt would certainly have followed; thus disencumbered, he boldly led the way, which was well known to him in earlier days; but it was so long since he had trodden it, that we met with many difficulties. At length we reached the top of the ridge, which we were informed was the place where M'Coy and Quintal appeared in defiance of the blacks. Adams felt so fatigued that he was now glad to lie down. The breeze here blew so hard and cold, that a shirt alone was little use, and had he not been inured to all the changes of atmosphere, the sudden transition upon his aged frame must have been fatal.
During the period we remained upon the island we were entertained at the board of the natives, sometimes dining with one person, and sometimes with another: their meals, as I have before stated, were not confined to hours, and always consisted of baked pig, yams, and taro, and more rarely of sweet potatoes.
The productions of the island being very limited, and intercourse with the rest of the world much restricted, it may be readily supposed their meals cannot be greatly varied. However they do their best with what they have, and cook it in different ways, the pig excepted, which is always baked. There are several goats upon the island, but they dislike their flesh as well as their milk. Yams constitute their principal food; these are boiled, baked, or made into pillihey (cakes), by being mixed with cocoa nuts; or bruised and formed into a soup. Bananas are mashed, and made into pancakes, or, like the yam, united with the milk of the cocoa-nut, into pillihey, and eaten with molasses, extracted from the tee-root. The taro root, by being rubbed, makes a very good substitute for bread, as well as the bananas, plantain, and appai. Their common beverage is pure water, but they made for us a tea, extracted from the tee-plant, flavoured with ginger, and sweetened with the juice of the sugar-cane. When alone, this beverage and fowl soup are used only for such as are ill. They seldom kill a pig, but live mostly upon fruit and vegetables. The duty of saying grace was performed by John Buffet, a recent settler among them, and their clergyman; but if he was not present, it fell upon the eldest of the company. They have all a great dislike to spirits, in consequence of M'Coy having killed himself by too free an indulgence in it; but wine in moderation is never refused. With this simple diet, and being in the daily habit of rising early, and taking a great deal of exercise in the cultivation of their grounds, it was not surprising that we found them so athletic and free from complaints. When illness does occur, their remedies are as simple as their manner of living, and are limited to salt water, hot ginger tea, or abstinence, according to the nature of the complaint. They have no medicines, nor do they appear to require any, as these remedies have hitherto been found sufficient.
After their noontide meal, if their grounds do not require their attention, and the weather be fine, they go a little way out to sea in their canoes, and catch fish, of which they have several kinds, large and sometimes in abundance; but it seldom happens that they have this time to spare; for the cultivation of the ground, repairing their boats, houses, and making fishing-lines, with other employments, generally occupy the whole of each day. At sunset they assemble at prayers as before, first offering their orison and thanksgiving, and then chaunting [chanting] hymns. After this follows their evening meal, and at an early hour, having again said their prayers, and chaunted the evening hymn, they retire to rest; but before they sleep, each person again offers up a short prayer upon his bed.
Such is the distribution of time among the grown people; the younger part attend at school at regular hours, and are instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic. They have very fortunately found an able and willing master in John Buffet, who belonged to a ship which visited the island, and was so infatuated with their behaviour, being himself naturally of a devout and serious turn of mind, that he resolved to remain among them; and in addition to the instruction of the children, has taken upon himself the duty of clergyman, and is the oracle of the community.* During the whole time I was with them I never heard them indulge in a joke, or other levity, and the practice of it is apt to give offence: they are so accustomed to take what is said in its literal meaning, that irony was always considered a falsehood in spite of explanation. They could not see the propriety of uttering what was not strictly true, for any purpose whatever.
The Sabbath-day is devoted entirely to prayer, reading, and serious meditation. No boat is allowed to quit the shore, nor any work whatever to be done, cooking excepted, for which preparation is made the proceeding evening. I attended their church on this day, and found the service well conducted; the prayers were read by Adams, and the lessons by Buffet, the service being preceded by hymns. The greatest devotion was apparent in every individual, and in the children there was a seriousness unknown in the younger part of our communities at home. In the course of the Litany they prayed for their sovereign and royal family with much apparent loyalty and sincerity. Some family prayers, which were thought appropriate to their particular case, were added to the usual service; and Adams, fearful of leaving out any essential part, read in addition all those prayers which are intended only as substitutes for others. A sermon followed, which was very well delivered by Buffet; and lest any part of it should be forgotten or escape attention, it was read three times. The whole concluded with hymns, which were first sung by the grown people, and afterwards by the children. The service thus performed was very long; but the neat and cleanly appearance of the congregation, the devotion that animated every countenance, and the innocence and simplicity of the little children, prevented the attendance from becoming wearisome. In about half an hour afterwards we again assembled to prayers, and at sunset service was repeated; so that, with their morning and evening prayers they may be said to have church five times on a Sunday.
Marriages and christenings are duly performed by Adams. A ring which has united every person on the island is used for the occasion, and given according to the prescribed form. The age at which this is allowed to take place, with the men, is after they have reached their twentieth, and with the women, their eighteenth year.
All which remains to be said of these excellent people is, that they appear to live together in perfect harmony and contentment; to be virtuous, religious, cheerful, and hospitable, beyond the limits of prudence; to be patterns of conjugal and parental affection; and to have very few vices. We remained with them many days, and their unreserved manners gave us the fullest opportunity of becoming acquainted with any faults they might have possessed.
In the equipment of the Blossom, a boat was built purposely for her by Mr. Peak of Woolwich dock-yard, upon a model highly creditable to his professional ability, and finished in the most complete manner. As we were now about to enter a sea crowded with islands which rise abruptly to the surface, without any soundings to give warning of their vicinity, this little vessel was likely to be of the greatest service, not only in a minute examination of the shore, but, by being kept a-head of the ship during the night, to give notice of any danger that might lie in her route. She was accordingly hoisted out while we were off this island, and stowed and provisioned for six weeks. I gave the command of her to Mr. Elson, the master, an officer well qualified to perform the service I had in view; having with him Mr. R. Beechey, midshipman, and a crew of eight seamen and marines. Instructions were given to Mr. Elson for his guidance, and proper rendevous appointed in case of separation. We first experienced the utility of this excellent sea-boat, in bringing off water from the shore through seas which in ordinary cases would have proved serious obstacles; and had there not been so much surf upon the rocks, that the casks could only be got through it by the natives swimming out with them, we should in a short time have completed our stock of water. This process, however, was very harrassing to them, who, besides this arduous task, had to bring the water from a distance in calabashes; so, that with the utmost despatch, our daily supply scarcely equalled the consumption, and we were compelled to trust to the hope of being more fortunate at some other island.
During the period of our stay in the vicinity of the island, we scarcely saw the sun, and I began to despair of being able to fix our position with sufficient accuracy. On the 20th, however, the clouds cleared away, and the night was passed in obtaining lunar distances with stars east and west of the moon, several meridional altitudes, and transits which, compared with those taken the first night the instrument was put up, gave good rates to the chronometers. Our labours having thus terminated more successfully than we expected, we hastened our embarkation, which took place on the 21st. In return for the kindness we experienced from the islanders, we made them presents of articles the most useful to them which we could spare, and they were furnished with a blue cloth suit each from the extra clothing put on board for the ship's company, and the women with several pieces of gowns and handkerchiefs, &c.
When we were about to take leave, our friends assembled to express their regret at our departure. All brought some little present for our acceptance, which they wished us to keep in remembrance of them; after which they accompanied us to the beach, where we took our leave of the female part of the inhabitants. Adams and the young men pushed off in their own boat to the ship, determined to accompany us to sea as far as they could with safety. They continued on board, unwilling to leave us, until we were a considerable distance from land, when they shook each of us feelingly by the hand, and, amidst expressions of the deepest concern at our departure, wished us a prosperous voyage, and hoped that we might one day meet again. As soon as they were clear of the ship, they all stood up in the boat, and gave us three hearty cheers, which were as heartily returned. As the weather became foggy, the barge towed them towards the shore, and we took a final leave of them, unconscious until the moment of separation of the warm interest their situation and good conduct had created in us.
The Pitcairn islanders are tall, robust, and healthy. Their average height is five feet ten inches; the tallest person is six feet and one quarter of an inch; and the shortest of the adults is five feet nine inches and one eighth. Their limbs are well-proportioned, round and straight; their feet turning a little inwards. The boys promise to be equally as tall as their fathers; one of them whom we measured was, at eight years of age, four feet one inch; and another, at nine years, four feet three inches. Their simple food and early habits of exercise give them a muscular power and activity not often surpassed. It is recorded among the feats of strength which these people occasionally evince, that two of the strongest on the island, George Young and Edward Quintal, have each carried, at one time, without inconvenience, a kedge anchor, two sledge hammers, and and armourer's anvil, amounting to upwards of six hundred weight; and that Quintal, at another time, carried a boat twenty-eight feet in length. Their activity on land has been already mentioned. I shall merely give another instance which has been suppliedLieutenantenat Belcher, who was admitted to be the most active among the officers on board, and who did not consider himself behindhand in such exploits. He offered to accompany one of the natives down a difficult descent, in spite of the warnings of his friend that he was unequal to the task. They, however, commenced the perilous descent, but Mr. Belcher was obliged to confess his inability to proceed, while his companion, perfectly assured of his own footing, offered him his hand, and undertook to conduct him to the bottom, if he would depend on him for safety. In the water they are almost as much at home as on land, and can remain nearly a day in the sea. They frequently swam round their little island, the circuit of which is at least seven miles. When the sea beat heavily on the island they have plunged into the breakers, and swam to sea beyond them. This they sometimes did pushing a barrel of water before them, when it could be got off in no other way, and in this manner we procured several tons of water without a single cask being stove.
Their features are regular and well-looking, without being handsome. Their eyes are bright and generally hazel, though in one or two instances they are blue, and some have white speckles on the iris; the eyebrows being thin, and rarely meeting. The nose, somewhat flat, and rather extended at the nostrils, partakes of the Otaheitan form, as do the lips, which are broad, and strongly sulcated. Their ears are moderately large, and the lobes are invariably united to the cheek; they are generally perforated when young, for the reception of flowers, a very common custom among the natives of the South Sea Islands. The hair, in the first generation, is, with one exception only, deep black, sometimes curly, but generally straight; they allow it to grow long, keep it very clean, and always well supplied with cocoanut oil. Whiskers are not common, and the beards are thin. The teeth are regular and white; but are often, in the males, disfigured by a deficiency in enamel, and by being deeply furrowed across. They have generally large heads, elevated in the line of the occiput. A line passed above the eyebrows, over the ears, and round the back of the head, in a line with the occipital spine, including the hair, measured twenty-two inches; another, twenty-one inches and three-quarters; and in Polly Young, surnamed Bighead, twenty-three inches,—the hair would make a difference of about three-quarters of an inch. The coronal region is full; the forehead of good height and breadth, giving an agreeable openness to the countenance; the middle of the coronal suture is rather raised above the surrounding parts. Their complexion, in the first generation, is, in general, a dark gipsy hue: there are, however, exceptions to this; some are fairer, and others Joseph Christian in particular, much darker.*
*This man was idiotic, and differed so materially from the others in colour, that he is in all probability the offspring of the men of colour accompanied the mutineers to the island, and who, unless he be ohave hae left no progeny.
The skin of these people, though in such robust health, compared with our own always felt cold; and their pulses were considerably lower than ours. Mr. Collie examined several of them: in the forenoon he found George Young's only sixty; three others, in the afternoon, after dinner, were sixty-eight, seventy-two, and seventy-six; while those of the officers who stood the heat of the climate best were above eighty. Constant exposure to the sun, and early training to labour, make these islanders look at least eight years older than they really are.
The women are nearlymuscularclar as the men, and taller than the generality of their sex. Polly Young, who is not the tallest upon the island, measured five feet nine inches and a half. Accustomed to perform all domestic duties, to provide wood for cooking, which is there a work of some labour, as it must be brought from the hills, and sometimes to till the ground, their strength is in proportion to their muscularity; and they are no less at home in the water than the men.
The food of the islanders consists almost entirely of vegetable substances. On particular occasions, such as marriages or christenings, or when visited by a ship, they indulge in pork, fowls, and fish. Although, as has already been mentioned, they discovered a method of distilling a spirit from the tee-root, the miseries it entailed on them have taught them to discontinue the use of it, and to confine themselves strictly to water, of which during meals, they partake freely, but they seldom use it at other times. The spirit, which was first distilled by M'Coy, and led to such fatal consequences, bears some affinity to peat-reeked whisky.
The treatment of their children differs from that of our own country, as the infant is bathed three times a day in cold water, and is sometimes not weaned for three or four years; but as soon as that takes place it is fed upon "popoe," made with ripe plantains and boiled taro rubbed into paste. Upon this simple nourishment children are reared to a more healthy state than in other countries, and are free from fevers and other complaints peculiar to the greater portion of the world. Mr. Collie remarks in his journal, that nothing is more extraordinary in the history of the island than the uniform good health of the children; the teething is easily got over, they have no bowel complaints, and are exempt from those contagious diseases which affect children in large communities. He offered to vaccinate the children as well as all the grown persons; but they deemed the risk of infection to be too small to render that operation necessary.
In rainy weather, and after the occasional visits of vessels, the islanders are more affected with plethora and boils than at other periods; to the former the whole population appear to be inclined, but they are usually relieved from its effects by bleeding at the nose; and, without searching for the real cause, they have imbibed a belief that these diseases are contagious, and derived from a communication with their visiters, although there may not be a single case of the kind on board the ship. The result naturally leads to such a conclusion; but a little reflection ought to have satisfied them, that a deviation from their established habits, an unusual indulgence in animal food, and additional clothing, were of themselves sufficient to account for the maladies. They are, however, unaccustomed to trace effects to latent causes. Hence they assert, that the Briton left them headaches and flies; a whaler infected with the scurvy (for which several of her crew pursued the old remedy of burying the people up to the necks in the earth) left them a legacy of boils and other sores; and though we had no diseases on board the Blossom, they fully expected to be affected by some cutaneous disorder after our departure; and even attributed some giddiness and headaches that were felt during our stay to infection from the ship's company.
The women have all learned the art of midwifery: parturition generally takes place during the nighttime; the duration of labour is seldom longer than five hours, and has not yet in any case proved fatal. There is no instance of twins, nor of a single miscarriage, except from accident.
We found upon Pitcairn Island, cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit (artocarpus incisa), plantains (musa paradaisaca), bananas (musa sapientuni), water-melons (cucurbita citrullus), pumpkins (cucurbit a pepo), potatoes (solanum esculentum), sweet potatoes (convolvulus batatas), yams (dioscoria sativum), taro (caladium esculentum), peas, yappai* (arum costatuin), sugar-cane, ginger, turmeric, tobacco, tee-plant* (dracasna terminalis), doodoe* (aleurites triloba), nono* (morinda citrifolia), another species of morinda, parau* (hibiscus tiliaceus), fowtoo* (hibiscus tricuspis), the cloth-tree (broussonetia papyrifera), pawalla* (pandanus odoratissimus?)! toonena* (?), and banyan-tree. A species of metrosideros, and several species of ferns.
*Native names.—A more correct account of the botany will be published by Dr. Hooker, Professor of Botany, &c. of Glasgow.
The first twelve of these form the principal food of the inhabitants. The sugar-cane is sparingly cultivated; they extract from it a juice which is used to flavour the tea of such as are ill, by pounding the cane, and boiling it with a little ginger and cocoanut grated into a pulp, as a substitute for milk. In this manner a pleasant beverage is produced.
The tee-plant is very extensively cultivated. Its leaves, which are broad and oblong, are the common food of hogs and goats, and serve the natives for wrappers in their cooking. The root affords a very saccharine liquor, resembling molasses, which is obtained by baking it in the ground; it requires two or three years after it is planted to arrive at the proper size for use, being then about two inches and a half in diameter; it is long, fusiform, and beset with fibres: from this root they also make a tea, which when flavoured with ginger is not unpleasant. The doodoe is a large tree with a handsome blossom, and supplies ornaments for the ears and hair, and nuts containing a considerable quantity of oil, which, by being strung upon sticks, serve the purpose of candles. The porou and fowtoo are trees which supply them with fishing-lines, rope, and cord of all sorts. The tree is stripped of the bark while the sap is in full circulation, and dried; a fibrous substance is then procured from it, which is twisted for use; but it is not strong, and is very perishable.
The cloth-tree is pre-eminently useful; and here, as in all places in the South Seas, where it grows, supplies the natives with clothing. The manner in which the cloth is manufactured has been frequently described, and needs no repetition. There is however, a fashion in the beater, some preferring a broad, others a very closely ribbed garment; for which purpose they have several of these instruments with large and small grooves. If the cloth is required to be brown, the inner bark of which the cloth is made is wrapped in banana leaves, and put aside for about four days; it is then beaten into a thick doughy substance, and again left till fermentation is about to take place, when it is taken out, and finally beat into a garment, both lengthwise and across. The colour thus produced is of a deep redish brown hue. The pieces are generally sufficiently large to wrap round the whole body, but they are sometimes divided.
The toonena is a large tree, from which their houses and canoes are made. It is a hard, heavy, red-coloured wood, and grows on the upper parts of the island. There was formerly a great abundance of this wood, but it is now become so scarce as to require considerable search and labour to find sufficient to construct a house. The young trees have thriven but partially, arriving at a certain growth, and then stopping. A tree of this kind, which was the largest in the island, measured, at the time of our visit, twelve feet in circumference; another was nine feet seven and a half inches in girth, at five feet from the root; its trunk grew to the height of thirty feet, perfectly straight, and without branching.
The banyan is one of those largest spreading trees common in India. Nature has been so provident to this island, that there are very few trees in it which cannot be turned to account in some way, and this tree, though it yields no fruit and produces wood so hard and heavy as to be unserviceable, still contributes to the assistance of the islanders, by supplying them with a resin for the seams of their boats, &c. This useful substance is procured by perforating the bark of the tree, and extracting the liquor which exudes through the aperture.
We saw dyes of three colours only in Pitcairn Island, yellow, red, and brown. The yellow is procured from the inner bark of the root of the nono tree (morinda citrifolia), and also from the root of a species of ginger. We did not see this plant growing, but it was described as having leaves broader and longer than the common ginger, a thicker root in proportion to its length, a darker hue, and not so tubercular. The red dye is procured from the inner bark of the doodoe tree, and may have its intensity varied by more or less exposure to the rays of the sun while drying. These dyes are well coloured, but for want of proper mordants the natives cannot fix them, and they must be renewed every time the linen is washed. The method of producing the brown dye has already been described.
The temperate climate of Pitcairn Island is extremely favourable to vegetation, and agriculture is attended with comparatively light labour. But as the population is increasing, and wants are generated which were before unthought of, the natives find it necessary to improve their mode of culture; and for this purpose they make use of sea-weed as manure. They grow but one crop in a year of each kind. The time of taking up yams, &c. is about April. The land is not allowed time to recover itself, but is planted again immediately. Experience has enabled them to estimate, with tolerable precision, the quantity that will be required for the annual consumption of the island; this they reckon at 1000 yams to each person. The other roots, being considered more as luxuries, are cultivated in irregular quantities. The failure of a crop, so exactly estimated, must of course prove of serious consequence to the colony, and much anxiety is occasionally felt as the season approaches for gathering it. At times cold south-westerly winds nip the young plants, and turn such as are exposed to them quite black: during our visit several plantations near the sea-coast were affected in this manner. At other times, caterpillars prove a great source of annoyance.
The yam is reproduced in the same manner as potatoes in England. The taro (caladium esculentuni) requires either a young shoot to be broken off and planted, or the stem to be removed from the root, and planted after the manner of raising pine-apples. The yappe is a root very similar to the taro, and is treated in the same manner. All the above-mentioned farinaceous roots thrive extremely well in Pitcairn Island; but this is not the case with English potatoes, which cannot be brought even to a moderate growth. Peas and beans yield but very scanty crops, the soil being probably too dry for them, and are rarely seen at the repasts of the natives. Onions, so universally dispersed over the globe, cannot be made to thrive here. Pumpkins and water-melons bear exceedingly well, but the bread-fruit, from some recent cause, is beginning to give very scanty crops. This failure Adams attributes to some trees being cut down, that protected them from the cold winds, which is not improbable, for at Otaheite, where the trees are exposed to the south-west winds, the crops are very indifferent.
Having given this short sketch of the soil and vegetation of the island, I shall add a few words on the climate and winds.
The island is situated just without the regular limit of the trade-winds, which, however, sometimes reach it. When this is the case, the weather is generally fine and settled. The south-west and north-west winds, which blow strong and bring heavy rains, are the chief interruptions to this serenity. Though they have a rainy season, it is not so limited or decided as in places more within the influence of the trade-winds. During the period of our visit, from the 5th of December to the 21st, we had strong breezes from N. E. to S. E., with the sky overcast. The wind then shifted to N. W., and brought a great deal of rain: though in the height of summer, we had scarcely a fine day during our stay.
The temperature of the island during the above period was 70½°. On shore the range from nine A.M. to three P.M. was 76° to 80°: on board at the same time from 74° to 76°. Taking the difference between these comparisons, we may place the mean temperature on shore for the above-mentioned period at 76½°. In the winter the south-westerly winds blow very cold, and even snow has been known to fall.
The number of persons on Pitcairn Island in December, 1825, amounted to sixty-six, and for the information of such as may be disposed to give their particular attention to such an inquiry, I subjoin a notice of the population from the period of its first establishment on the island.
Males. Females. The first settlers consisted of white. . 9 0 coloured. 6 12 __ __ 27 Total 15 12 __ __ Of these were killed in the quarrel white 6 0 coloured 6 0 by accident . . white . 1 3 died a natural death . . 1 3 __ __ 1 went away. Total deaths 14 6 __ __ The original settlers therefore whom we found on the island were 1 5 The children of the white settlers (the men of colour having left none 10 10 Their grandchildren 22 15 Recent settlers 2 0 Child of one of them 1 0 __ __ 66 present population. 36 30 __ __
The total number of children left by the white settlers was fourteen, of whom two died a natural death; one was seized with fits, to which he was subject, while in the water, and was drowned; and one was killed by accident, leaving ten, as above. Of the grand-children, or second generation, there was also another male who died an accidental death. There have, therefore, been sixty-two births in the period of thirty-five years from the 23d January, 1790, to the 23d December, 1825, and only two natural deaths.
In a climate so temperate, with but few probabilities of infection, with simple diet, cleanly habits, moderate exercise, and a cheerful disposition, it was to be expected that early mortality would be of rare occurrence; and accordingly we find in this small community that the difference in the proportion of deaths to births is more striking than even in the most healthy European nations.