In the afternoon, we saw the Island of Toobouai, bearing North East by East half East, distant about eleven leagues; and at eight at night passed within two miles of it. We perceived several lights on shore, and fired two guns to draw the attention of the inhabitants; but night prevented us from seeing them. We could perceive a great surf upon the reef, which extended a considerable distance from the Island, with a heavy swell setting in upon it. Owing to its being dark, we got much nearer this reef than was prudent or safe; for had it fallen calm, which it seemed very likely to do, the swell would inevitably have driven us upon it, as the breakers were not a quarter of mile from us when we wore ship. At nine at night, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, in 211° East longitude. In the course of the day we saw three tropic birds; the thermometer stood at 70°.
On the 15th, I accompanied the captain on shore, to see a picture of Captain Cook in oil-colours, left here by that celebrated navigator himself, and in the possession of Poneow, chief of Matavia. On the back of the picture was the following inscription:
Lieut. Bligh, of his Britannick Majesty's ship Bounty, anchored in Matavia Bay the 25th of October 1788; but, owing to bad weather, was obliged to fall to Oparre on the 25th of December, where he remained until the 30th of March 1789; was then ready for sea, with one thousand and fifteen bread-fruit plants on board, besides many other fruits, and only waited an opportunity to get to sea; at which time this picture was given up. Sailed the 4th of April 1789.
Though we went several times to see this picture, we could never discover where it was kept, as we were always conducted to Poneow's house, who desired us to wait there til it was brought to us. He then dispatched two of his servants for it, who used to bring it wrapped up in a cloth; and after we had viewed it, carried it back again in the same manner. On our return from Poneow's house on the 15th, we were shewn a spot of ground where the natives told us one of the officers of the Bounty was buried. There had been an inscription to his memory on a piece of board nailed to a post; but it was taken away by Otoo, the present king, and carried to his residence at Oparre. I have been informed since I came to England that this gentleman was the surgeon of the Bounty, and that his name was Huggan; yet it is very remarkable, that the Otaheiteans could not form any nearer assimilation of sound to his name than Trono. They professed a great regard for Mr. Huggan's memorey, and talked in high terms of his professional abilities, particularly in the healing art; and several of them shewed us very large scars on different parts of their bodies, the effects of dreadful ulcers, which they told us had been cured by him.
While we were looking at the place where Mr. Huggan was interred, an English pointer, left here by Captain Bligh, came running up to us, having singled us out from the surrounding crowd, and demonstrated his joy at seeing us by every action of fondness the poor animal was capable of. In the course of our walke , we saw several plants and vegetables, produced from seeds sown by the different visitors of this Island; some of them growing in a luxuriant manner, but choaked-up with weeds, and totally neglected by the natives, who set no kind of value upon them. It seems somewhat extraordinary, that though Captain Bligh had quitted this Island so lately, and remained at it for such a length of time, the inhabitants should shew as much curiosity to see us, as if they had never seen any inhabitant of the earth besides those of their own nation: yet this was really the case; for we never went on shore without being followed by a crowd of people of both sexes, and all ages, who strove to get near and touch us, some of them stroking their hands down our backs and sides, and others admiring our clothes. They were eager to shew us any little civility; and vied with each other who should carry us over any brook or rivulet we happened to meet in our walks; those who were preferred by us, on this or on any other occasion, appearing highly gratified at being distinguished from the rest of their companions.
The natives were willing to give us an early specimen of their abilities as expert thieves; for we had several articles stolen from on board to-day; and I had my pocket picked while on shore of a small vocabulary of the Otaheitean language. At night, Brown, one of our seamen, a desperate fellow, and who had before been guilty of several misdemeanors, cut another sailor across the face with an old razor in a terrible manner, for which he was immediately put in irons.
...In the evening he [Otoo] took his final leave of us, and set off in his double canoe for Oparre, carrying with him Brown, the man who had been confined for wounding his mess-mate. It was Brown's desire to remain at Otaheite; and we were glad of the opportunity to get rid of a troublesome fellow. Otoo seemed highly pleased at his being suffered to stay, and promised to protect and take care of him. Brown left the ship without shewing the least regret at parting from his countrymen, or taking leave of a single person in her, and seated himself in the canoe with all the assurance imaginable, telling the Otaheiteans to hand in his hammock, &c...
On the 24th, the captain received a letter from Brown, in which he informed him he was content with his situation, and well-treated by the natives; he petitioned for a bible, some carpenters tools, and a few other trifling articles; which were sent him, accompanied with a letter of good advice from the captain, with regard to his future conduct and behaviour towards his new friends. Among the articles Brown requested might be sent him, and which he seemed most desirous of obtaining, was a large quantity of large nails, which he said he should have a particular occasion for, as he meant to build a stout boat: this he may be able to effect, as he was an ingenious man, and could turn his hand to anything; so that I have no doubt he will make himself useful to the Otaheiteans, and be very much caressed by them, especially as it will be out of his power to obtain any spirituous liquors, to the drinking of which he was much addicted, and which had an effect upon him nearly equal to madness. ...