The Plough Boy Journals

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19th Century American Whaling

Bonin Islands

Pitcairn's Island

Dictionaries & Glossaries

Ashley's Glossary of
Whaling Terms

Dana's Dictionary of
Sea Terms









A professional Gentleman, who visited Pitcairn’s Island in December last, has communicated to the Directors the following particulars: –

      At the above-mentioned period, there were residing on the island 54 persons, of whom 49 were the offspring of the mutineers of the Bounty. Seven of the young men were married, having in all 27 children, of whom 23 were under 10 years of age. John Adams presides as a patriarch over this interesting population. To the utmost of his power, he has endeavoured to train them up in the principles of piety and virtue, and they appear to approach nearer to the state of primeval innocence and simplicity, than, perhaps, any other community. Their condition/presents a delightful picture

FOR NOVEMBER 1823. 479

of social happiness. The Bible is their Directory. Most of them who are above 10 years of age can read it. A considerable part of their time is employed in offering up praises to the Almighty. Nearly the whole of the Sabbath is spent in prayer, singing, and reading the Holy Scriptures. Every morning, at four o’clock, they assemble in their respective habitations, for family worship, when an appropriate psalm is sung. At eleven, all the families meet together on a green, in the front of their dwellings, when John Adams reads prayers, and portions of the Scriptures, and one or two psalms are sung. Before sunset, they thus assemble again. Afterwards, they have family prayer, sing the Evening Hymn, and retire to rest.

      This little island is extremely healthy, and produces, with very little labour, all the necessaries of life, and some of its luxuries. The scenery where this interesting portion of the human race have fixed their habitations, is described as peculiarly picturesque and beautiful.

      From this remote and in various respects desirable spot, anxiety, however, is not excluded. The number of ships which touch at the island, both English and American, is now much more numerous than formerly. John Adams is apprehensive that this may lead to an intercourse between strangers, who, impelled chiefiy by curiosity, occasionally visit this little colony, and his people, injurious to their morals and happiness. Although possessing considerable physical strength, with the use of his faculties entire, he is yet sensible of his advancing age, and feels desirous, as do also the adult portion of his large family, that an individual, of weight and excellence of character to acquire over the people a personal influence at once just and beneficial, shonld settle in the island during his lifetime. The plans such an individual might form for promoting the education, religious improvement, and social welfare of the people, John Adams would second with all the influence which he himself derives from their confirmed attachment and affectionate veneration.

      It is the desire of Mr. Adams and his people, that the person who may settle on the island with these views should be an Englishman, a Minister, and that he should be sent out under the sanction of the London Missionary Society.

      As, however, the interesting people who thus require the intervention of the Society, do not fall within the recognised sphere of its operations, the Directors cannot pledge themselves to contribute towards the expenses either of equipment or maintenance, on behalf of any person going out, as proposed, under the sanction of the Society; but they hereby engage to exert themselves to procure for such person, and for his wife, (if married) a free passage to Pitcairn's Island.



This article was reprinted in the following publications:

  • "Pitcairn's Island", Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, Scotland), Monday, November 17, 1823
  • "Pitcairn's Island", The Aberdeen Journal (Aberdeen, Scotland), Wednesday, December 3, 1823
  • Christian Watchman, (Boston, Massachusetts) December 13, 1823, Page 1. [n.b. -- From the Evangelical Magazine of London for November. -- has a long introduction.]
  • "Pitcairn's Island", Boston Recorder (Boston, Massachusetts), December 20, 1823, Page [201]. [n.b. -- From the Evangelical Magazine of London -- has a long introduction.]
  • "Pitcairn's Island", Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Massachusetts), December 24, 1823, Page [3]. [n.b. -- More of a paraphrse with a long historical introduction.]
  • "From the London Missionary Chronicle / Pitcairn's Island", Columbian Star (Washington, D.C., December 27, 1823, Page 2.


This transcription is from the following source:

"Pitcairn's Island," The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle. Vol. 1 (Nov 1823) pp.478-479.