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19th Century American Whaling

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Pitcairn's Island

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Caledonian Mercury

(Edinburgh, Scotland)

April 14, 1823


      We have been favoured with the following extract of a letter from Captain John Heron, of the ship Hercules, dated Calcutta, 9th September 1822: –

      "I sailed from the coast of Chili, on 26th March 1822, for Calcutta, and arrived at the island of Pitcairn on 28th April, where I had the pleasure of seeing my old acquaintances. I had there to land a quantity of goods which were sent by the gentlemen of Calcutta as presents to the inhabitants. It being Sunday when I arrived, I was present at the performance of divine service by John Adams, which he did in a very pious and devout manner; and the young folks behaved remarkably well. J. Adams and the rest of them were very happy to see me again, and after shaking hands and going through the common course of compliment, J. A. said, that he was surprised that a clergyman had not been sent out to them by the English, although they had promised to do it; that they wanted one very much to instruct them. He was not sure whether it was lawful for him to marry. I told him that a Magistrate or a Captain of a man of war might marry, if there was no clergyman to be had, and that the marriage was lawful; so of course he had a right to marry, being the Chief of the island. He said, likewise, that their ground was getting fast done, and they could not trust to sow seed in one piece of ground a second time, and some of the ground, which had been lying 22 years in fallow, had not yet come round. There would be plenty for them in his lifetime, but for the next generation there would not be enough, and that the English Government would have to remove them off the island. Bidding adieu to the friendly inhabitants of Pitcairn, and taking an affectionate farewell of them, I bore away for the Straits of Torres, where I arrived on the llth of June, and after getting nearly through, I lost two of my anchors, and drove ashore on a sand bank in a gale of wind. Having then only one anchor, I succeeded in getting her off in 10 days, but had the misfortune, before I got clear of the Straits, to lose my last anchor. Being then without anchors, and short of provisions, and half the ship's company sick, (in the course of seven days, after clearing the Straits, five died,) I bore away for supplies is the town of Cassary, in the island of Timor, where I arrived on 12th July. I got what provisions I required, but there was no anchor to be had. I had a broken anchor on board, one of the flucks being broken off, with which, after lashing a wooden flucks to it, I anchored the ship, and remained there three days. The ship's crew were so sickly, that I had to get men from the shore to weigh our anchor. Heaving it up, we had the good luck to get another anchor hooked to it of about ten cwt., which was very acceptable. Leaving Timor, I made all sail for Bengal, where I arrived on 17th August. You may judge of the pleasure I enjoyed in seeing my old shipmates and friends, after an absence of three years."



This transcription has been made from the following newspaper article:

"Pitcairn's Island", Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland), April 14, 1823.

see: 1822 04 28 - Hercules 2d visit.jpg