Thomas Raine,

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And Weekly Review

No. 268.            LONDON, SATURDAY, JULY 3, 1824            Price 6d


. . . .

YEAR 1821.

      We are happy in being enabled supply our readers with some curious particulars this interesting island. The long series of occurrences connected with its history, would of themselves be sufficient to rivet our attention to any thing concerning it; but, when the character of its inhabitants presents features more novel and wonderful than the affecting events with which its name is associated, we are ready to regard the whole rather as a fairy scene of poetic vision than a picture sober truth; but we forbear to enlarge in introductory remarks. Capt. Raine shall speak for himself; and the perspicuity and feeling with which the extraordinary circumstances of his visit are narrated, will not, we are confident, be less gratifying to the curiosity of our readers than affecting their Christian tenderness. We acknowledge that we are indebted for this narrative the Australian Magazine, published in New South Wales, to whom Capt. Raine, of the Surrey, communicated it: –


     Monday. APRIL 9, 1821.

      'At 4 P.M. we shaped our course for Pitcairn's Island; during the night had squally weather, with much thunder, lightning, and hail. – Towards the morning the weather cleared, and at eight, although 55 miles distant, we saw the island right a-head; and at 4 p.m. on Tuesday we were close up with it. But, though we saw many cultivated spots, we could not discern any habitations or landing-place, till just as we were rounding the S.E. point, when, to our great astonishment and joy, we saw the British flag hoisted. In a very few minutes after, a canoe came alongside with two men in it, who asked in good English, "How do you do?" We hove to, and they came on board. Their names we learnt to be Edward Quintral and George Young. Two other canoes also came, in which were Donald M'Koy and Charles Christian, Robert Young and Edward Young. The effect which the appearance of these men had upon all of us it is difficult to describe. They were quite naked, excepting a covering entwined with so much neatness around their middle, that the most delicate eye could not he offended. I remarked at Easter Island, that I thought the natives there resembled Europeans; but here I saw the features of Englishmen, and heard them speak in my native tongue; and the colour of their skin was so very light, that it appeared more the effect of the sun, than of the mixture of blood. I asked them down into the cabin, and set before them something to eat; but, before they would touch the food, they devoutly implored a blessing, and when they had finished, returned thanks. The night coming on, I was preparing to prosecute my voyage; but they begged with so much warmth and importunity that I would stay till the following day, when they said they would provide us with a large stock of yams, plantains, and cocoa-nuts, &c. that I could not refrain from acceding to their wishes. Having determined upon waiting, Dr. Ramsay, the second officer and myself, went on shore in the gig, the canoes following us. But when we arrived at the landing place we were much alarmed, there being a great surf, and the entrance between two rocks being very narrow. I therefore laid off, when the natives coming up in their canoes, told us to wait, and pulled direct in, hauled their canoes up, and then, being joined by many others who had come down, one of them swam off to us, and the rest


got upon the rocks to show us the channel. This scene was, I think, the most romantic I ever read of, or ever saw. The men on the rocks, with the plantain-leaves in their hands, watched the roll of sea, and kept us from coming in till the subsiding of the waves offered a good opportunity, when they all waved their leaves and cried out, "Start now! Start now!" We were at this time lying with the boat's head right for the channel, and immediately at this signal gave way with a good will, and were carried in past the rocks with wonderful velocity; when they all got hold of the boat and dragged her safely up, and, when we had landed, lifted her with great ease on their shoulders, and carried her beyond the reach of the surf. There being but little wind, I determined upon staying all night, which gave them great pleasure. I never saw poor creatures so happy as they seemed. We were met, on landing, by young Adams, the son of John Adams, the only surviving Englishman of the Bounty. – He told us his father was very ill, unable, from biles and sores, to get out of bed. This was owing to a whaler's having touched there, whose crew were severely afflicted with the scurvy, many of whom remained on shore a week, and thus, on leaving the island, left behind them their noxious contagion, as nearly all the inhabitants were soon after affected with irruptions in the skin.

      'We being all assembled, and having received their usual compliments, such as "How do you do? I am so happy to see you," &c. we prepared for our walk to their habitations, which we could no where perceive, and were at a loss to conceive where they were situated – for we were now at the bottom of a small bay, surrounded by hills that appeared insurmountable; but, on looking up, we saw two of them about half way on the side of a deep precipice. It was a complete "Rob Roy" scene: the mountains, from their summits to their feet, were covered with verdure. Having got every thing ready that we brought on shore, to make use of their own words, "we started," and taking a short turn round one of the rocks, we began to ascend, one by one, in a foot-path. They would fain have carried the whole of us. Having climbed the first height, we opened into a beautiful grove of cocoa-nut trees, where they proposed to "blow a little." This place was actually enchanting – the moon shining so brightly through the trees, the appearance of our companions being so novel, and our imaginations being, perhaps, assisted by our own feelings. And here I saw in these poor fellows the beauty of religion, for before we again started, they said, "I think better say now – past sun-down;" to which they all agreed, and stood up, forming a circle, and sung a hymn, which begins thus: –

'Sing to the Lord Jehovah's name,
    'And in his strength rejoice;
'When his salvation is out theme,
    'Exalted be our voice.'

They then knelt down, and one of them offered up a prayer, to which all were very attentive, holding up their hands to Heaven, and saying "Amen!" After this they again stood up, and sang another hymn, which when done, with all the cheerfulness possible, we resumed our journey. On my asking them why they did that then, they told me they always have prayers the first thing in the morning, at ten in the forenoon, at sun-set, and on going to bed "Because," said they, "suppose we no pray to God, we be very soon bad men."

      'After ascending another height, we opened into a beautiful clear spot, where we found seven dwelling-houses, and various out-houses for their pigs, &c. and both before and behind them a fine grass-plat. Here we were met by the whole of the inhabitants, men, women, and children (except John Adams and his wife,) whose total number is forty-nine, and who really did not know how to make enough of us. The women were soon dispatched to get supper for us, and the men would make us taste their spirits, which they had just distilled; it was very good, something like whiskey. When they drank to our health, they never forgot that of Capt. King and Capt. Douglas, who appear to have been very kind to them.

      'As soon we had got over our first encounter, I expressed a wish to see John Adams, as they always call him; we were consequently all shown to his house, when I delivered to him a parcel of books from Miss Thornton, Battersea, for which he was very thankful. On first seeing him, he was sitting on his bed with Otaheitean woman, his wife, almost superannuated. I must confess I was rather surprised at his reception of us, as he did not evince that feeling one would naturally expect from such a person on seeing his countrymen. He is a man of, I should think, about sixty years of age, is very stout and bloated, and stands about five feet ten.

      'As I was very curious to have the true account the mutiny of the Bounty, I procured from him the following information

      'After that ship's leaving Otaheite, for the prosecution of her voyage the West Indies, a very few days had elapsed when many of the crew, infatuated with the females, and disgusted with Bligh's tyranny, formed the plan of taking the ship, which they soon accomplished; and having given the captain the long-boat, and allowed those that liked with him, they returned to Otaheite, where again those that chose had liberty to remain. The rest, viz. –- Christian Adams, M'Koy, Young, Quintral, Wilson, Martin, Brown, and Mills, having taken Otaheitean wives, with six Otaheitan men and their wives, left that island, and went to a neighbouring one, where they remained some time; but, some difference arising between the natives of this island and themselves, they could not settle there, and therefore again returned to Otaheite, which, when they had procured what they wanted, they again forsook, and (as Adams told me) kept in Carteret's track, some one having his voyage on board. They made Pitcairn's Island, where they ran close in and anchored; and, being very much afraid being discovered, in less than week they got what they could out of the ship, and then set fire to her; when she soon parted and drifted upon the rocks, where the remains of her still exist. In going on shore, one of the black women was drowned, and this was the origin the dreadful work that soon afterwards ensued. The first place they pitched upon was the one in which they now live, but which they then only cleared in the middle; so that from the sea their habitations could not be seen. From Adams's account, they appear to have been very industrious, and were doing well, until the jealousy of the black men arose. For this jealousy Adams acknowledges there existed grounds. At length, the Otaheiteans waylaid them; and, having muskets, they first shot Wilson, as he was at work in the bush, and Christian next, who, however, had some revenge, for he killed some of their party; three others of the whites were also killed, Martin, Brown, and Mills, and all but two Otaheiteans. Adams was also dreadfully wounded ball passing under his ear, and coming out under his chin, the scar which he showed us; he, however, tried to get away from them; but they hallooed to him, and said they were satisfied, and if he would stop and join them, they would all be friends. To this he consented, and all got safely to their huts; but these two blacks were that night murdered by the women. One of them had his head cut off whilst asleep, and the other was at the same moment shot. Thus was terminated this dreadful conspiracy among so small a community. Christian left three children, two boys and one girl, and Mills two, both of whom soon died. The Englishmen remaining had children follows: – M'Koy, one boy and one girl; Adams, one boy and three girls; Young, four boys and two girls; and Quintral, two boys and two girls. Of the four survivors, three died nine or ten years ago, one of an asthma, another of a consumption, and the third by falling down the rocks; and John Adams is now the only white man on the island, and the different families are named after their respective heads, the Youngs, the Christians, the M'Koys, the Quintrals, and Adams'.

      'Having thus obtained the particulars from the old gentleman, they were all very anxious for us to assemble in Young's house. On arriving there, we found the women had not been idle, by the fine supper we saw provided, consisting of a fine, large, roasted pig, bananas, yams, and a very pleasant beverage made from cocoa-nut. Old Adams was glad to find himself so revived as to be able join us; and after they had seated us at the table, and themselves in a ring upon the floor, which they had spread with plantain-leaves, the old man said grace as follows (which was likewise done one of the other group): 'O God! bless this perishing food for the nourishment of our bodies, and feed our souls with the bread of eternal life, for Jesus Christ's sake. – Amen!" Supper being finished, before any one arose, grace was again said, and then, as I before remarked, they were as


cheerful as possible. Without exception, I think it was the happiest evening I ever spent. Just before retiring to bed, they again assembled, but at their respective habitations, and sang a psalm, offered up their prayers, and concluded with a hymn.

     'We were provided with very comfortable beds upstairs, in a room of about twenty-five feet long and fifteen broad. The beds consisted of dried leaves, very soft and comfortable, and the clothes were those of Otaheite, which answered the purpose well. – One of the Youngs, who slept at the foot of my bed, kept me in conversation for some time, and in a manner that surprised me much. He first began by saying, "We wish very much that person would arrive that is to teach us to read and write, and to do what is good towards God; because," said he, "we don't know enough. John Adams is very good man, but he can't teach us any more now; and he dont know enough either." This was a very true remark. Adams certainly deserves every credit for having given these people so true a sense of religion as they have; but as he has never had, I almost venture to say, any education, it could not be expected that he should have done more then he really has. At present many of them read very well, and are very fond of it; for they frequently took up their Bibles, and we heard them read several chapters. None of them can write, nor do I think they ever will, unless some one remain with them and teach them; for Adams, although he can write, is now too old to undertake the task.

     In this conversation with Young his brothers joined, and they all repeatedly said, "We wish to do what is right; and suppose we get this man, we pay great attention, and do every thing he tell us. Two years now since we heard this man coming; so we think now he never come." I told them, when I went home, I would do my best to get one sent out, when they exclaimed in great joy – "Oh! you good Captain! we like to hear you talk so; you no forget us, we never forget you!" The simplicity and genuine goodness, so manifest in all these poor fellows' conduct and expressions, filled me with admiration; and it was observed by the whole of us, that in neither word nor deed did they ever evince the least vice. To one another they displayed such brotherly affection, such a willingness to comply with each other's wishes, that quarrelling appeared almost impossible. This remark I made to Adams, who confirmed it by saying, that he thought they really were the happiest people in the world, for, as we then saw them, so they always were; and their greatest pleasures consisted in doing each other good; for, although they were in separate families, whatever one possessed was always at the disposal of the other.

      We are compelled to defer the remainder of Capt. Raine's highly interesting narrative until next week.

. . . .


And Weekly Review

No. 270.            LONDON, SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1824            Price 6d


. . . .


(Concluded from p. 427)

      'In their conversation they were always anxious for information on the Scriptures, and expressed their sorrow that they did not understand all they read. 'John Adams.' they observed. 'wants us to learn the catechism; but we say No, we learn so much we no understand, we no learn all; and same with our prayers.' They then asked if that was not right? I told them they should learn the catechism, at which they seemed astonished, saying, 'What for we learn and no understand?' I answered, that by and by they would un-


derstand; but that, respecting their prayers, it was very proper and very necessary they should understand what they were saying. One of them, in talking with the Doctor, showed such a knowledge of the Scriptures as is worthy of remark, particularly as it evinced their simplicity and harmlessness; the subject was quarreling, on which he said, 'Suppose one man strike me, I no strike again, for the Book says, suppose one strike you on one side, turn the other to him; suppose he bad man strike me, I no strike him, because no good that; suppose he kill me, be can't kill the soul – He no can grasp that, that go to God, much better place than here.' At another time, pointing to all the scene around him, and to the Heavens, he said, 'God make all these, sun, moon, and stars; and,' he added, with surprise, 'the book say some people live who do not know who made these!' This appeared to him a great sin. They all of them frequently said, 'If they no pray to God they grow wicked, and then God, have nothing to do with the wicked, you know.' – This may perhaps be sufficient, to show the religious feelings and habits of these people, though such instances as are above related we frequently witnessed. Nothing gave them more satisfaction than hearing us read to them, and our explaining what we read. At dawn of day I was awakened by their singing, not only in the house where we slept, but in all the others; they were at their devotions; and having sung the psalm, one of them prayed aloud, returning thanks for the blessings of the night; and then they said a prayer to themselves, and finished with a hymn. Their worship being finished, they divided themselves into parties for the purpose of procuring us refreshments. Some went for yams, others for plantains and bananas, and others for cocoa-nuts. We shortly after got up, but everyone being at his part of the labor, there was no one to be seen but three or four women and the children, the women busily preparing breakfast. At eight the men returned, but I was surprised to see them without any produce; but, upon inquiring, was agreeably surprised to find that they had taken a great quantity down to the beach, and more in the path from the houses to the boat. For breakfast we had fowls, fruit, and the cocoa-nut beverage before mentioned; and also yam soup, a very nutritious diet. Breakfast being ended, we all set off to the landing place, taking what vegetables were at the houses and a few fowls. As we journeyed, I was really astonished at the quantity of bundles of plantains its one place, cocoa-nuts in another, and yams in another, which we every now and then met with, and which were taken up as they appeared; but on no account would they allow any of a us to carry any thing. On reaching the boat, we found the surf so great that it a was not prudent to allow the cutter to come in; but they offered to load her by their canoes. This I thought was impossible; but they instantly loaded one of them, and carried her into the mid-channel before described, when one of them got in, and on the signal being given by those on the rocks, off he went, but did not succeed in getting out; for directly in the channel a surf caught him, and upset the canoe right upon one of the rocks. At this I was greatly alarmed, for I thought both he and the canoe would be dashed to pieces; but, in a moment, my alarm was changed into wonder and mirth, for it appeared nothing but amusement to them. – The canoe was soon righted and sent on shore, and his companions swam off, each taking to the boat part of the cargo that had been upset, so that nothing was lost. The women were also very active in the loading of the canoes and getting them off; and then amused themselves with sliding, as they term it; one of the strangest, yet most pleasing performances I ever saw. They have a pieces of wood, somewhat resembling a butcher's tray, but round at one end and square at the other, and having on the bottom a small keel; with this they swim off to the rocks at the entrance, getting on which they wait for a heavy surf, and, just as it breaks, jump off with the piece of wood under them, and thus, with their heads before the surf, they rush in with amazing rapidity, to the very head of the bay; and although amongst rocks, &c. escape all injury. They steer themselves with their feet, which they move very quickly. I was so diverted with this performance, that I asked some of the men to do it, which they frequently did, and with such dexterity as surpasses description. Indeed, so easy were their actions in the water, that we could scarcely help thinking them amphibious.

     I sent Mr. Powers, the second officer, on board, with orders for Mr. Hall, the chief officer, to bring on shore such things as they seemed most to want, viz. canvas, two or three muskets, knives, powder, and wearing apparel, with a variety of other articles, trifling to us, but useful to them. This being all arranged, we were again preparing to ascend the heights, when they said, 'Stop a bit – time to say now;' and then they formed a ring, and sung and prayed. This ceremony being finished, some went up with me, and the rest divided, to procure more provisions for us. Of the rich scenery of this island I can only say, that I am not adequate to the task of describing its beauties in a proper manner.

     Having brought on shore some potatoes, wheat, Indian corn, peach-stones, walnuts, and almonds, I was anxious to have them set and sown. The potatoes and the Indian corn I set myself on one side of Young's house; and some of my people put all the other into the ground. I also gave to Adams a bunch of grapes, which we had preserved for the seed, and begged of him to use his utmost to produce their growth.

     The boat being despatched, we returned to the village, where, whilst dinner was being prepared, I was much amused with their conversation, and had an opportunity of seeing their manner of making cloth, and a variety of other things. – Soon after dinner, Mr. Hall arrived with the presents, with which they were all much pleased. They were exceedingly pressing on us to remain all night, but that I did not think prudent, though my will was great; and at four, having determined on going on board, we prepared for going down to the boat; and here a scene took place which brought tears into my eyes. One of them wished very much to go with us, and, thinking I would take him, asked his mother's leave, taking hold of her hand and mine. At this the mother, an elderly, fine, motherly-looking woman, stood speechless for some time, first looking at her son and then at me, till at length the tears began to trickle down her venerable cheeks, and prevented her utterance. I could no longer stand it; and so told her not to mind, for I would not take him, and bid him to remain on the island to take care of so good a mother. I then went to his wife, who was also in great grief, and told her not to fear; that he was only jesting to try her affection. This gave great satisfaction to all around, for the scene had cast a gloom over all our countenances. Being now all assembled, I took my party on one side, and drank health, &c. to them all with three times three. At this they were highly amused; and I was astonished to see how well they imitated us in returning the compliment. I now took leave of old Adams, promised to do what I could to get a person sent out, and expressed myself highly gratified at what I had observed on the island; he appeared much affected, and said, 'Only speak as you find.' – We were followed to the boat by nearly all the inhabitants, with whom we took an affectionate parting. The young women, generally speaking, are all handsome, fine figures, with beautiful teeth and fine hair; and being in a state of native simplicity, combined with apparent innocence, they have an effect upon the mind which is not easy to describe. Farewell! ye truly happy creatures! May God continue to preserve you in health and increase in you the love of those social virtues with which you are now so much distinguished!

     As we left them, they constantly kept saying 'God bless you all, and all of us! We never forget you, and you never forget us. God send you safe home!' After we had got through the surf, we waved our hats to them, which they returned by waving their hands, &c.

     There is one remark I cannot omit respecting the eagerness the women manifested to see an Englishwoman. I told them Capt. Henderson, of the Hercules, would call there, and that he was married and had children. At this their joy was truly excessive, and, though only two heard me relate the fact, it was soon


spread amongst them all. Some said, 'Oh! I so like to see an Englishwoman! Suppose I see an Englishwoman, I kiss her, suppose I die directly after,' Two canoes accompanied us off, to take on shore some of their people who were on board. Adams's son, who was an board the greater part of the day, is a very fine young man, about 18, the most regular-featured of any of them, and we thought he seemed to keep himself above the rest.

     At eight, p.m. Friday, 13th, we lowered their canoes down, and once more wished them farewell; and then made sail, though there was very little wind. We all began now to feel the effects of parting with these islanders; in fact, one could scarce help thinking it all a dream, or that we had just left some fairy land; and so evident were our feelings, that each countenance was a true index of what was agitating the mind.

      In the morning we found ourselves close to the island, with very little wind. We saw a canoe, with a little sail up, standing in shore; as she was near us, and at least ten miles from shore, I hove-to for them, which they perceiving took in their sail, and paddled to us with great rapidity, and we were soon boarded by Arthur Quintral and George Young, who told us that at soon as day-light came, they started in hopes of again seeing us, for our going away 'make them all very sorry.' I was glad they had come, for I had omitted to leave any letter to the next visitors, which I now did. We contrived to make them a present of a tin box, full of wearing apparel, and various useful articles, among which were some spelling books and a dictionary, for which they were very thankful. I also gave them a ram; Capt. Henderson had given one before, and two ewes, but the ram had unfortunately died. On asking them if iron would be useful, they said, 'No; we no want iron; when we want we get it from old Bounty; we watch low water, them dive down, and with hammer and wedge we drive it out, and then bring it up.' – At noon, they again left us, much affected. At three, p.m. we saw another canoe at some distance, pulling with all their strength, and in about ten minutes we took on board two of the Youngs. We learnt from them that they had, in the morning, drawn lots for the different articles we had given them; for, although many things were given to individuals, yet it is a custom amongst them that whatever is got from a ship shall be divided fairly; thus they parcel the things out, and then draw lots for the choice. – To these I also gave several useful things, amongst which were a musket, and a goose and a gander. We likewise left amongst them a flute, and an instruction book, which we explained to them, and which were received with great pleasure. At four p.m. they left us with feelings of gratitude and regret.

      Of the vegetable productions of this Island, not being a botanist, I cannot give a proper description, but will state what we found on it. – These were cocoa-nut; plantain; a tree on which grows an oily nut, whose kernel, stuck on a wooden skewer, they use for candles; yams; bread-fruit tree; a tree resembling much our elm, the bark of which they beat into cloth; sugar-cane; ginger; tobacco; with a variety of creeping plants, flowering shrubs, grasses, &c. They have a large tree which serves for the timber from which they make their canoes; but of hard wood they are very much in want, and were thankful for some beet wood of New South Wales, which we gave them for beating their bark into cloth. The only ships that have ever touched at this island, are as follows: – the first, the Topaz, Captain Folger, an American; this was at least the first vessel with which they had any communication, for Adams told me that some years before this they saw two vessels; one passed the island, the other landed, and procured some wood and water, but had no communication with them. He added, that they waited about two hours after their boat had returned, but did not send on shore again, though they knew there were inhabitants. It strikes me forcibly that this must have been the vessel (I believe the Pandora) that was sent in search of the mutineers, as it is said she did touch at an island which the commander thought was Pitcairn's. – It was in 1808 that the Topaz touched here; the next was the Briton, English frigate, commanded by Sir Thomas Staines, in September, 1814; and since then, the Sultan, Captain Reynolds, an American whaler; the Hercules, Captain Henderson, a country ship from Valparaiso, on her return to India; the Elizabeth, Captain King, English South Seaman; the, Stanton, Captain Birch, an American whaler; the Elizabeth, Captain Douglas; and lastly; ourselves, the Surry, – making in all seven, counting the Elizabeth's second visit.

      Saturday, 14th – The wind being from N.W. steering in a parallel of the latitude of Pitcairn's Island, and consequently keeping a good look-out for the island, laid down as discovered by Carteret, viz. latitude 25 5 S. and longitude 133 5 W. which I can now determine to be incorrect, as this day at noon we are in latitude 24 48, and longitude 132 58' W. about eighteen miles from the situation described by Carteret. From this, together with his description of Pitcairn's Islands, I conclude the island we left yesterday to be the one he discovered.

. . . .


      The "Surrey" of the transcription is the transport ship, Surry of London. Captain Raine is Captain Thomas Raine.

      The original source of the article reprinted in the Literary Chronicle of London was the following article:

Thomas Raine.
      "Captain Raine's Narrative of a Visit to Pitcairn's Island in the ship Surry, 1821." The Australian Magazine, or, Compendium of Religious, Literary and Miscellaneous intelligence, Vol. 1 (1821): pp. 80-84; 109-14.

Thomas Raine, (1793–1860)

      A biography of Captain Thomas Raine will be found at the website of the Australian Dictionary of Biography .


      This transcription is from two article as noted below:

"Narrative of a Visit to Pitcairn's Island, in the Ship Surrey, in the year 1821. By Capt. Raine", The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review. No. 268, July 3, 1824. pp. 425-427.

"Narrative of a Visit to Pitcairn's Island in the year 1821", [Continued from p. 427], The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review. No. 270, July 17, 1824. pp. 460-462.

"Narrative of a Visit to Pitcairn's Island, in the Ship Surrey, in the year 1821. By Capt. Raine", The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review. No. 268, July 3, 1824. pp. 425-427.      & "Narrative of a Visit to Pitcairn's Island in the year 1821", [Continued from p. 427], The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review. No. 270, July 17, 1824. pp. 460-462.