The Plough Boy Journals

The Journals and Associated Documents

The Plough Boy Anthology

19th Century American Whaling

Bonin Islands

Pitcairn's Island

Dictionaries & Glossaries

Ashley's Glossary of
Whaling Terms

Dana's Dictionary of
Sea Terms






158 Silva. No. Vll. – Letter from James Adams. [Feb.

. . . .

To the Editor of the European Magazine.


      In the Magazine for September last, p. 210 you were kind enough to insert the copy of a letter from John Adams, of Pitcairn's Island, in the South Sea, to his brother here in London. I beg leave to transmit herewith the copy of another from the above-mentioned person, which if you think worthy a place in your interesting and useful miscellany, it is very much at your service.

I am, respectfully, Sir,           
Your most obedient servant,     

12, Camomile-st. Jan. 28, 1820.

            my dear brother,

      I THIS day have the greatest pleasure in my life since I left my native

1820.] Miscellaneous Information. No. LVI. 159

country, that is, of receiving your letter, dated 13th October, 1817. I have now lived in this island thirty years, and have a wife and four children, and considering the occasion which brought me here, it it not likely I shall ever leave this place. I enjoy good health, and except the wound which I received from one of the Otaheiteans, when they quarrelled with us, I have not had a day's sickness. I regret to hear the death of my sister Diana, but am happy to hear of your welfare. I understand it is the intention of the Missionary Society of London to send a person here to instruct us in the Christian religion: I can only aay I have done every thing in my power in instructing them in the path to Heaven; and, thank God, we live comfortable and happy, and not a single quarrel has taken place these eighteen years. Should this reach you in time, that is, before the gentleman comes out which it intended by the Missionary Society, should it be in your power to send me any useful articles, they will be received with many thanks and kindness. You will no doubt recollect my affair with Hannah Bayley; should she still be in the land of the living, let her know I am still in life, and sorry it it not in my power to fullil my engagements; and let me know what is become of the child: also remember me to all my other relations that may be alive. Inform the Missionary Society I have received the box of books by the East India ship Hercules, Captain James Henderson. Wishing every health and happiness this world can afford you, I remain.

My dear Brother,                 
Your very affectionate Brother,

Pitcairn's Island. South Seas,
            18th January, 1819.

      P.S. The articles which I would wish you to send me out, if you can afford it, are mattocks, spades, an iron pot or two, and a few axes and saws. – J. A.

. . . .


Also published in:

  • "London, Thursday, March 9", The Hampshire Chronicle, etc (Hampshire, England), March 13, 1820, Page 2.
  • Hereford Journal (Hereford, England), March 15, 1820, Page 4. [Had 10/18 date not 10/13]
  • "Pitcairn's Island", Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet & Plymouth Journal (Truro, England), March 16, 1820.
  • The Lancaster Gazette and General Advertiser, for Lancashire, Westmorland, &c. (Lancaster, England), March 18, 1820.
  • "From London Papers", Albany Gazette (Albany, New York), May 8, 1820, Page 4. -- [attributes the Commercial Advertiser]

      Most of these publications omitted the "affair with Hannah Bayley;" sentence toward the end of the letter and carried the following introduction:

      "The following letter is written by Adams, one of the crew of the Bounty, and the sole survivor of the mutineers, now residing on this island at an interval of 30 years since his crime, where he exercises a sort of patriarchal right over the inhabitants, who are chiefly the wives and descendants of his compantions: -- "


      This transcription has been made from the following article:

"To the Editor of the European Magazine.", The European Magazine, and London Review, Vol. 77, February 1820, pp.158-159.