TAHITI HISTORICAL ASPECTS
Tahiti - Pandora - Part 2
'So that, at some future period, a British Ilion may blaze forth in the south,' Hamilton continued, working to a crescendo of sentiment, 'with all the characteristic virtues of the English nation, and complete the great prophecy, by propagating the Christian knowledge amongst the infidels.' Even there, at the early stage of the bounty sage, the figure of Christian himself represented a powerful, charismatic force; already there is the striking simplistic tendency to blue the mutineer's name - Christian - with a Christian cause.
In the third week of June, while in the Samoas, Edwards was forced to report yet another misfortune: 'Between 5 & 6 o'clock of the Evening of the 22nd of June lost sight of our 'Tender in a thick Shower of Rain,' he noted tersely. Edwards had now lost two vessels, this one with nine men. Food and water that were meant to have been loaded onto the tender were still piled on the Pandora's deck. Anamooka (Nomuka), in the Friendly Islands, was the last designated point of rendezvous in the event of a separation, and here the Pandora now hastened. 'The people of Anamooka are the most daring set of robbers in the South Seas,' Hamilton noted matter-of-factly. Onshore, parties who disembarked to wood and water the ship wee harassed as they had not been elsewhere. Edward's servant was stripped naked by an acquisitive crowd and forced to cover himself with his one remaining shoe. 'We soon discovered the great Irishman,' Hamilton reported, 'with his shoe full in one hand, and a bayonet in the other, naked and foaming mad.' While overseeing parties foraging for wood and water, Lieutenant Corner was momentarily stunned on the back of his neck by a club-wielding islander, whom the office, recovering, shot dead in the back.
There was no sign of the tender.
Leaving a letter for the missing boat in the event that it turned up, Edwards pressed on to Tofua, the one island on which Bligh, Thomas Hayward and the loyalists in the open launch had timely landed. One of Bligh's party had been stoned to death here, and some of the men responsible for this were disconcerted to recognise Hayward. From Tofua, the Pandora continued her cruising before returning to Anamooka, where there was still no word of the missing tender. It was now early August. Edwards's laconic report reveals nothing of his state of mind, but with two boats and fourteen men lost, uncowed mutineers on board and a recent physical attack on the most able of the crew, it is safe to hazard that he was anxious to return home. His own cabin had been broken into and books and other possessions taken at improbable prizes (James Morrison, with discernible satisfaction, had earlier reported that a new Uniform Jacket belonging to Mr. Haywood' had been taken and, as a parting insult, donned by the thief in his canoe while in sight of the ship). Now, 'thinking it time to return to England,' Edwards struck north to Wallis Island, then west for the long run to the Endeavour Strait, the route laid down by the Admiralty out of the Pacific - homeward bound.
The Pandora reached the Great Barrier Reef towards the end of August, and from this point on Edward's report is closely concerned with putting on record his persistent and conscientious depth soundings and vigilant lookout for reefs, barfs and shoals. The Pandora was now outside the straits, the uncharted, shoal-strewn, divide between Papua new Guinea and the northeastern tip of Australia. From the masthead of the Pandora, no route through the Barrier reef could be seen, and Edwards turned inside to patrol its southern fringe, seeking an entrance. After two days had been spent in this survey, a promising channel was at last spotted, and Lieutenant Corner was dispatched in the yawl to investigate. it was approaching dusk when he signalled that his reconnaissance was successful and started to return to the ship. Despite the reports of a number of eyewitnesses, it is difficult to determine exactly how subsequent events unfolded, 3 fathoms on the starboard side.
'On the evning of the 29th August the Pandora went on a Reef.' Morrison wrote bluntly, adding meaningfully, 'I might say how, but it would be to no purpose'; Morrison had prefaced his repot with a classical flourish, 'Vidi et Scio' - I saw and I know. in short, despite soundings, despite advance reconnaissance, despite both his fear and his precautions, Edwards had run his ship aground.
'This ship struck so violently on the Reef that the carpenters reported that she made 18 inches of water in 5 Minutes., 'the captain was compelled to write in his Admiralty report, 'In 5 minutes after there was 4 feet of water in the hold.' Still chained fast in the darkness of Pandora's Box, the fourteen prisoners could only listen as sounds of imminent disaster broke around them - cries, running feet, the heavy, confused splash of a sail warped under the broken hull in an attempt to hold the leak, the ineffectual working of the pumps and more cries that spread the news that thee was now nine feet of water in the hold. Coleman, McIntosh and Norman - three of the men Bligh had singled out as being innocent - were summarily released from the prison to help work the pumps, while at the same time the ship's boats were readied.
In the darkness of their box, the remaining prisoners followed the sounds with growing horror, seasoned sailors, they knew the implication of each command and each failed outcome/ The release of the exonerated men added to their sense that ultimate disaster was imminent, and in the strength of their terror they managed to break free of their irons. Crying through the scuttle to be released, the prisoners only drew attention to their broken bonds; and when Edwards was informed, he ordered the irons to be replaced. As the armourer left, the mutineers watched in incredulity as the scuttle was bolted shut behind him. Sentinels were placed over the box, with the instructions to shoot if there were any stirring within.
'In this miserable situation, with an expected Death before our Eyes, without the least Hope of relief & in the most trying state of suspense, we spent the night,' Peter Heywood wrote to his mother. The water had now risen to the coamings, or hatch borders, while feet ramped overhead across the prison roof. 'I'll be damned if they shall go without us,' someone on deck was heard to say, speaking, as it seemed to the prisoners, of the officers who were heading to the boats. the ship's booms were being cut loose to make a raft, and a topmast thundered onto the deck, killing a man. High broken surf around the ship hampered all movement, and compelled the lifeboats in the black water to stay well clear. The confusion continued until dawn, when the prisoners were able to observe through the scuttle armed offices making their way across the top of their prison to the stern ladders, where the boats now awaited. Perhaps drawn at last by the prisoners' cries, the armourer's mate, Joseph Hodges, suddenly appeared at the prison entrance to remove their fetters. Once down in the box, Hodges freed Maspratt and Skinner, who immediately scrambled out through the scuttle, along with Byrn who had not been in irons; in his haste to beak out, skinner left with his handcuffs still on.
From above, some unseen hand suddenly closed and barred the scuttle again. Trapped with the prisoners, Hodges continued to work, striking off the irons in rapid succession, while the confined men renewed their please for mercy. 'I beg'd of the Master at Arms to leave the Scuttle open,' Morrison wrote, 'he answered 'Never fear my boys we'll all go to Hell together.' As he spoke, the Pandora made a fatal sally, rolling to port and spilling the master=-at-arms and the sentinels into the water. the boats had already left, and Morrison claims he could see Edwards swimming towards his pinnace. Nowhere in his long report of the wreck and abandonment of his ship does Edwards make any mention of the prisoners.
With the ship under water as far as the mainmast, Pandora's Box began to fill. Hen coops, spars, booms - anything that would float had been cut loose and flung overboard as a possible lifesaver. Passing over the top of the prison roof on his way into the water, William Moulter, the boatswain's mate, heard the trapped men's cries, and his last action before he went overboard was to draw the bolt and hurl the scuttle away. Scrambling inside the box, the men fought heir way towards the light and air. Peter Heywood was one of the last to get out, and when he emerged in the sea he could see nothing above he water but the Pandora's crosstrees. All around him, men floundered and called for help, lurching to take hold of anything afloat. A gangway floated up with Muspratt riding on one end. Coleman, Burkett and Lieutenant Corner were perched ton top of the old prison. Heywood, stripped stark naked, had grasped a floating plank.
'The cries of the men drowning in the water was at first awful in the extreme,' Hamilton wrote, 'but as they sunk, and became faint, it died away by degrees.' Slowly the lifeboats circled the wreckage, gathering up distressed men as they found them. After an hour and a half in the water, Morrison was picked up by the master's mate, and found Peter Heywood already on board. One by one, the boats made their way to a sandy key, some three miles distant, and here when a muster was held it was discovered that eighty-nine of the ship's company and four prisoners had drowned - but, as Morrison pointedly note, 'all the Officers were Saved.' Of the prisoners, Richard Skinner had gone down while still in handcuffs, along with John Sumner and Peter's closest friend, George Stewart, both of whom had been struck and killed by a falling gangway; Henry Hilbrant, also still in irons, had never made it out of Pandora's Box. On the day following the disaster, a boat was sent back to what remained of the Pandora, to see what could be salvaged. Nothing much was gained, and the boat returned with the head of the topgallant mast, some rigging, the chain of he lightning conductor - and the ship's cat, who had made his way to the crosstrees.
As the blazing Pacific sun rose over the sandy key, Edwards took a survey of his new situation. An assessment was made of the supplies that had been saved, which wee now spread out along the sand to dry. Somehow, with the whole of the night to prepare for certain disaster, no orders seem to have been given for the salvaging of provisions. 'Providentially a small barrel of water, a cag (keg) of wine, some biscuit, and a few muskets and cartouch boxes, had been thrown into the boat,' Hamilton wrote, suggesting that what little supplies there were had been saved by chance. A daily ration was determined of three ounces of bread, two small glasses of water and one of wine, with the occasional addition of an ounce of portable soup, or cakes of dried soup, and half an ounce of essence of malt. Edward's plan was to sail for the Dutch East Indies settlement of Coupang, in Timor, the same port that had received Bligh and his company at the end of their ordeal in the Bounty's launch. the irony that the Pandora's boats were to replicate part of Bligh's famous voyage is unlikely to have escaped anyone - least of all poor Thomas Hayward, who had been with Bligh and was thus about to embark on his second Pacific open-boat journey in a little more than two years. A voyage of some eleven hundred miles lay ahead.
On 31 August the third day after the Pandora had struck the reef, the little squadron set sail, with Captain Edwards leading he way in his pinnace, followed by the red and blue yawls and the launch. The prisoners had been carefully apportioned among the vessels. Peter Heywood, in the launch under the sympathetic Lieutenant Corner, had drawn what was probably the happiest boat, while James Morrison, as he reported 'had the good or evil fortune, call it which you please to go in the Pinnace with Capt. Edwards.'
Proceeding northwest, the little squadron now at last passed through the reef by way of a channel that, as Edwards reported to the Admiralty was 'better than any hitherto known' - a discovery that had come rather late in the day. In the morning of the following day, they came to the desolate, treeless coast of New Holland. here, the parched men had the rare good fortune to find a spring rushing onto the beach. The prisoners in particular were tortured by the sun, their skin, pale and tender after five months of confinement, had quickly burned and blistered. Peter wrote: 'We appeared as if dipped in large tubs of boiling water.' The company passed the night off a small island, where they were awakened by the howling of dingoes, which they mistook for wolves. on the afternoon of a September, they passed a series of distinctive islands that were recognized from Bligh's account and a chart made during his boat voyage. by the evening, the boats were in sight of Cape York, the northernmost tip of New Holland, and the end of the strait. Ahead was the Indian ocean and a one-thousand-mile run to Timor.
'It is unnecessary to relate our particular sufferings in the boats during our run to Timor,' wrote Edwards, with his usual literary sangfroid, 'and is sufficient to observe that we suffered more from heat & thirst than from hunger.' The weather, at least, was good and the overloaded boats made satisfying progress. At dawn on the sixteenth the Dutch fort at Coupang, Timor, was at last hailed. Edwards had lot no men on this leg of the journey, although they had been reduced to drinking the blood of captured birds and their own urine. Backed by gentle, verdant, wooded hills, the small settlement of Coupang was built at the head of a deep natural harbour. It consisted of little more than a fort and a handful of houses, a church, a hospital and company stores serving a population of Dutch officials, Chinese merchants and Malay slaves. A European ship at anchor amid other small craft offered a comfortingly familiar sight. the Pandora's four boats hailed the fort, and the men were welcomed ashore.
While the Pandora's officers and men were dispersed in different houses around the settlement, the prisoners were taken to the fort itself and put in the stocks. Again, Edwards's report makes no mention of the prisoners at all during this sojourn, but Morrison's account is graphic: 'Immediately on or landing Provisions were procured which now began to move our bodys and we were forced to ease Nature where we lay.' Most of the men had not moved their bowels for the duration of the journey, and some were now administered enemas through a syringe. 'The Surgeon of the Place who visited us could not enter the place till it had been washed by Slaves,' Morrison continued. 'We had laid 6 Days in this situation. . . .' A compassionate Dutch officer of the fort, clearly appalled at the prisoners' treatment, arranged to have the men released from the stocks and placed in leg irons, manacled two by two, but otherwise at liberty to walk about. The prisoners were still almost naked, but with 'some of the leaves of the Brab Tree ... set to work to make hats', a skill undoubtedly learned in those faraway days in Tahiti. These hats the enterprising prisoners then sold and with the little money earned bought tobacco.
As it turned out, the Pandora's company were not the only distressed British sailors at Coupang. Some months earlier, seven men, a woman and two children had arrived at the fort in a small six-oared cutter with the story that they were part of the crew and passengers of a wrecked brig called Neptune. They too had had been treated with great compassion by the Dutch authorities. And when Edwards and his men came ashore, the kind Dutchmen had hastened to their guests to bring them the good news that their captain had arrived.
'What Captain! dam'me, we have no Captain.' Hamilton reports one of them had unwisely exclaimed. The small party, it turned out, had not been shipwrecked, but wee convicts who had made a daring escape from Botany Bay (they wee discovered to be Cheats,' as Morrison noted self-righteously). On 6 October having recovered strength, Edwards led his entire company to sea gain, this time as passengers on a Dutch East Indiaman, the Rembang. Their destination was the Dutch settlement of Batavia, on Java, from where Edwards expected to get passages to Cape Town. Here, there would be other company ships bound for Europe. This short passage from Timor to Batavia proved to be as eventful as any in the men's now protracted travels. On the sixth day out, while they were off the coast of Flores, a tremendous storm erupted. According to Dr Hamilton, within a few minutes 'every sail of the ship was shivered to pieces. . . . this storm was attended with the most dreadful thunder and lightning we had ever experienced.'
At the height of this crisis, when the ship was in imminent danger of being driven onto the lee shore, the Dutch seamen, Hamilton reported, 'went below; and the ship was preserved from destruction by the many exertion of our English tars, whose souls seemed to catch redoubled ardour from the tempest's rage.' this appears to have been no exaggeration. Morrison himself, hardly one to volunteer praise for the captors stated matter-of-factly that the ship was 'badly found and Worse Managed and if Captain Edwards had not taken the command and set his Men to work she would never have reached Batavia.'
On 30 October, the Rembang limbed into Semarang, on the north coast of Java. The prisoners had been let out of irons during the battle with the storm to take turns at the pumps but had discovered they no longer had strength for this routine duty. But the spirits of the whole company were raised by an entirely unexpected and welcome surprise: the Pandora's little schooner, Resolution, awaited them, safely anchored in the harbour. After having lost sight of Pandora in the gale four months earlier, the Resolution's men set out from the Samoas to the Friendly Islands, skirted the southernmost of the Fiji group, a made northeast for the Endeavour Strait, struck out for the Indonesian islands and came, through the Strait of Bali to Surabaya, on the north-east of Java. Their navigational equipment had consisted of two quadrants, a volume of Robertson's Elements of Navigation and an edition of Guthrie's Geographical Grammar, but no charts.
At Surabaya, the vessel's young commander, master's mate William Oliver, had presented himself to the Dutch authorities. All Dutch settlements, however, had been alerted to the fate of the Bounty; and a David Renouard, one fo the Pandora's midshipmen, said, it was 'a singular coincidence that the mutineers who quitted Otaheite in the Bounty corresponded with ourselves both in rank and numbers.' The Resolution, built in fact by mutineers, was moreover hand-hewn from Otaheitan wood. Distrustful of Liver's story, the Dutch authorities politely detained the small company for a month. At length, Oliver persuaded them to let him make for Batavia, by way of Semarang, where by another uncanny coincidence the Resolution had arrived on 29 October, the day before the Rambang. Between Bounty, Pandora, Resolution ad the boat from Botany Bay, four epic voyages had been accomplished within a two-and-a-half-year period: the Dutch authorities, ever picking up the wreckage, must have wondered if the British had a penchant for this kind of business.
The Rembang and the Resolution proceeded together to Batavia, the principal part of the Dutch East Indies. Founded in 1618, it was now a spacious town set at the head of a deep bay half a mile from the sea, its streets cut, Dutch style, by tree-lined connecting canals. Picturesque from afar, it was also reckoned to be one of the most fever-ridden and pestilential places on earth. Out of the surrounding swamp and stagnant canals, malarial mosquitoes spread like miasma. A 'painted-sepulchire, this golgotha of Europe,' Dr Hamilton described the city. Dead bodies floating into the sea from the canals had struck their ship on arrival, which, as Hamilton noted, 'had a very disagreeable effect on the minds of our brave fellows.' Two years earlier, four of Bligh's men had died of fever here, after successfully weathering their great boat journey, and Bligh himself had fallen gravely ill. on arrival, Edwards arranged for his men to e housed on board a Dutch East India Company ship then in the road, or anchorage, outside the harbour. Thirty of his sick were borne to a hospital - a number of these were men from the Resolution who had suffered badly in the course of their impromptu journey.
In the nearly seven weeks they were detained at Batavia, the majority of the prisoners were allowed on deck only twice, although once again Coleman, Norman and McIntosh enjoyed more freedom. but it may be that the confinement afforded the men some protection from the mosquitoes. 'here we enjoyed our health,' Morrison stated, noting with satisfaction that the Pandora's people fell sick and died apace.' Edwards had negotiated an arrangement with the Dutch authorities to divide the Pandora's complement among four ships bound for Holland by way of the Cape, 'as he somewhat nervously informed the Admiralty. A disaster such as the loss of a ship did not allow a captain of His Majesty's Navy carte blanche in extricating himself from the disaster. All accounts for the 724 pounds 8/- od. in expenses incurred between Coupang and Batavia would have to be meticulously itemized and justified on return.
Edwards also used the sojourn at Batavia to write up his report to the Admiralty relating all that had transpired subsequent to 6 January 1791, the date of his last dispatch from Rio. Edwards' report, in his own hand, filled thirty-two large, closely written pages and ranged over all his adventures - the capture of the mutineers, the fruitless search for Christian and the Bounty, the wreck of the Pandora, and the voyage to Timor. The events are narrated in strict chronological order, like a story, with discursive material about the customs and country of the islands visited and anecdotal asides ('I took this opportunity to show the chief what Execution the Canon and Carronades would do by firing a six pound shot on shore ...'), so that their lordships of the Admiralty would have had no clue until page twenty-six that the Pandora had in fact been lost. boldly noting that he was enclosing 'Latitudes & Longitudes of several islands, & ca discovered during our voyage,' with his report, Edwards then offered a tentative conclusion:
Should their Lordships upon the whole think that the voyage will be profitable to our Country it will be a great consolation to,
Also before leaving Batavia, Edwards presented the mutineers' schooner, Resolution, to the governor of Timor as a gift of gratitude for his kindness. Morrison watched this transaction closely. He had been the architect of the plan to build the schooner and although she was the handiwork of many, he had placed the greatest sake in her. Her timbers had been hewn from Tahitian hibiscus, and both her planking and the bark gum used as pitch had come from that versatile of fateful tree, the breadfruit.
On Christmas Day 1791, the Dutch Indiaman Vreedenburg, Captain Christiaan, weighed anchor and sailed out of the straits at the harbour's entrance carrying a cargo of coffee bens, rice and arrack, a liquor distilled from coconut milk. ON board as passengers were Captain Edwards, twenty-seven offices and men of the Pandora, twenty-six Chinese and the ten mutineers. The remainder of the Pandora's company, including the Botany Bay prisoners, were divided among two other ships. Lieutenant Larkan and a party of twenty had departed a month earlier on the Zuan. Edwards had also taken on board a distressed English seaman from the supply. In turn, he had been forced to leave in the deadly hospital one of his own men, who was too ill to be moved. all in all, Edwards lost fifteen men to the Batavian fever, one being young William Oliver, the twenty-yar-old master's mate who had commanded the Resolution with such leadership and skill on her unexpected voyage.
A few days from the Cape of good Hope, nearly three months out on what had been a slow passage, the mutineers were released from their irons and allowed to walk the deck. here, testing the wind, Morrison noted that the men 'now found the weather Sharp and Cutting'. The balmy Pacific lay far behind. On 18 March, the Vreedenburg anchored in Table Bay, at the Cape of Good Hope. Close by the harbour was the fortress that safeguarded the Dutch East India Company stores, and indeed the whole town had been established solely to serve the company. Here ships could break the long journey between Europe and the East Indies, restock and refit and if coming from Batavia, offload their sick at the Cape Hospital.
The Vreedenburg joined other sail at anchor, including to the universal joy of the Pandora's company, a British man-of-war, the Gorgon, Captain John Parker. this 44-gun frigate had arrived from Port Jackson in New south Wales, where she had dropped off much anticipated and desperately needed supplies, including livestock and thirty new convicts. Seeing an opportunity to return directly to England, instead of by way of Holland where the Dutch Indiamen were bound, Edwards arranged passages for part of his mixed company on the Gorgon. thus, two days after arrival, Edwards added himself, the Botany Bay convicts and the Bounty mutineers to the Gorgon's company, joining other passengers that included a detachment of marine privates and their families leaving Port Jackson, and fifteen distressed British seamen picked up at the Cape. Among the mixed cargo, boxes of dispatches for the colonial office were probably the most important. More burdensome were the sixty tubs and boxes of plants destined for the royal Botanic Gardens at Kew under the direction of the great naturalist and president of the royal Society, Sir Joseph Banks. Specimens of New South Wales timber cramming the main and quarter decks were for the navy Board, while a dingo was a gift for the Prince of Wales. Similarly two kangaroos and opossums were also gifts for Joseph Banks, whose tentacles of influence stretched to the remotest corner of all parts of the globe; it was Banks who had been the driving force behind the bounty's breadfruit venture.
The arrival of the mutineers was noted offhandedly in the Gorgon's log along with the more important additions: 'Recd Wine fresh meat; Bread for ships Company; also Water. Caulkes Caulking within and without board. Carpenters as necessary. Armourer at his forge; Sent to Sick quarters 1 Supernumerary Marine. Came on board from the Dutch ship Vreedengurgh 10 Pirates belonging to His Majesty's Ship Bounty....'
At four in the afternoon of 5 April 1792, the Gorgon at last set sail for England, exchanging salutes with the fort as she passed. Blessed with fine weather and 'a charming Breeze', as one of the marines, Lieutenant Ralph Clark, noted in his private journal, the Gorgon passed the island of St Helena in under two weeks. Five days later they anchored at Ascension island, primarily to refresh their food stock with local turtles. Although each passing mile brought the prisoners closer to their day of reckoning, they enjoyed the return to familiar British naval routine. Their confinement had been made less rigorous than under Edwards, and as Morison noted, they had begun to regain their health and strength.
May 1 brought an extraordinary diversion, two sharks were caught and in the belly of one was found a prayer book, 'quite fresh,' according to Lieutenant Clark, 'not a leaf of it defaced.' 'The book was inscribed 'Francis Carthy, cast for death in the Year 1786 and Repressed the Same day at four o'clock in the afternoon/' The book was subsequently confirmed as having belonged to a convict who had sailed to Botany Bay on 1788 with the first fleet of prisoners consigned to transportation. In the early rainy hours of 6 May died Charlotte Bryant, the child of Mary Bryant, the escaped convict who had sailed so boldly into Coupang before the arrival of the Pandora. Amid the mixed humanity that the Gorgon carried, it was not the pirates of the bounty who appear to have stood out, but the young widow from Cornwall, age twenty-seven, 'height 5'4", grey eyes, brown hair, sallow complexion,' as the register of Newgate Prison records, who had been sentenced to transportation for stealing a cloak. by coincidence, Marine Captain Watkin Tench, returning from botany Bay, had gone out with Mary five years before, and recalled that she and her husband-to-be 'had both of them been always distinguished for good behaviour.' Now, he got from her the details of her extraordinary 3254-mile voyage, coasting the shores of new Holland, harassed by the 'Indians' when attempting to land, foraging for food and water - this story, which surely circulated around the ship, was one every sailing man on board would appreciate.
On 19 June, the Gorgon completed her long voyage and on an overcast day anchored at Spithead off Portsmouth alongside three of His Majesty's ships, the Duke, Brunswick and Edgar, three frigates and a sloop of war. Captain Parker immediately notified Sir Andrew Snape Hamond, the port's commander on duty, of his ship's arrival and awaited further instructions. Meanwhile, his crew busied themselves with the numerous tedious and chaotic duties that awaited the end of a long voyage. the offices and men of the Portsmouth and Plymouth Division were disembarked, and water and victuals were brought onboard. The carpenter made his customary report, noting that the ship's 'works in general is very weak from carying large quantities of water and hay & tubs of Plants.'
Captain Edwards, a passenger, had nothing to do with these transactions. Most of his men were still behind him, on the other Dutch ships and the pirates and convicts would now be turned over to the proper authorities. Disembarking early at the Isle of Wight, he was safe in Portsmouth by the time the Gorgon came to anchor. At some point in their wanderings, most probably during the sultry, sickly sojourn at Batavia, an anonymous member of the Pandora's crew had immortalized their journey, and their captain, with a long doggerel poem:
Edward's last semi-official duty had been to accompany the captain's wife, Mary Ann Parker, to shore, a journey that, perhaps predictably, turned into a four-hour ordeal, as she noted, 'rowing against the wind'. Once onshore, nothing remained for Edwards but to await his own court-martial; like Bligh, he had returned without his ship.
On the day after the Gorgon's arrival, Captain Hamond informed Captain Parker that their lordships the Admiralty had directed that 'the ten Prisoners belonging to the bounty' be sent to the security of one of the port guardships. The following day, a longboat, manned and armed, was sent from the Hector, Captain George Montagu, to collect the mutineers. Put over the side of the Gorgon in chains into the waiting boat, the prisoners were able to enjoy the sights of the busy, lively anchorage in the course of their short journey. the cloudy weather had briefly cleared and showed breezy and air - an English summer day. Their arrival on board was mentioned briefly in the Hector's log; 'Post noon received the above Prisoners, Wm Muspratt, James Morrison, Jn Milward, Peter Heywood, Thomas Ellison, Michl Burn, Thos Burkett, Josh Coleman, Thos. McIntosh & Charles Norman ... and secured them in the gun room.' A sergeant's guard of marines was sent over to provide additional security. for Thomas Burkett, at least, the Hector was familiar territory' he had served as an able seaman on this same ship, six years previously.
Peter Heywood had brought away a single possession from his long ordeal, a book of Common Prayer which he had carried in his teeth as he swam from the wreck of the Pandora. On the flyleaves, he had made some notations of events and dates important to him: 'Sept. 12 1789, Mya TOOBOOAI mye; Mar; 25 1791, We ta Pahee Pandora ... We tow te Vredimberg tea ... Pahee HECTOR' - the most striking thing about Peter's entries is that he had written them in Tahitian.
* * *
Back in Tahiti, the bounty men who had cast their lot in with the islanders were remembered largely with affection. Less than eight months after the Pandora left Matavai Bay, Captain George Vancouver arrived with his two ships, Discovery and Chatham. Through conversation with the Tahitians, he and his men learned a great deal about the mutineers' lives on the island: they had built a schooner; they had each taken a wife and treated their women well; Stewart and Heywood had laid out gardens that were still in a flourishing state; these two had conformed to Tahitian manners to such an extent that they ceremonially uncovered their upper bodies when in the presence of King Tynah, as was the local custom.
One day the Chatham's men 'surprised at seeing alongside in a double Canoe, three women all dress'd in white Linen shirts, and having each a fine young child in their arms, perfectly white,' as Edward Bell, a young clerk in the Chatham, reported in his journal. These were the women who had lived with the Bounty's mutineers, and their children. 'One call'd herself Peggy Stewart, after Mr. Stewart, one of the Bonty's midshipmen, and her child which was very beautiful was called Charlote,' wrote Bell. 'Another's name was Mary MacIntosh and the other's Mary Bocket (Burkett).'
Following this first meeting, Peggy Stewart frequently came to visit often bringing small gifts and always enquiring after hr husband. At length, it was time for the ships to depart, and she came to make her affectionate and tearful farewell. 'Just before she went away, she came into my Cabbin,' wrote Bell 'and ask'd me the same question she had often done, whether I thought Stewart would be hung.' Deeply moved, he replied that he didn't know - perhaps not. 'She then said 'if he is alive when you return, tell him that you are his Peggy and his little charlotte, and that they were both well, and tell him to come to Otaheite, and live with them, as they will be unhappy.' She then burst into Tears and with the deepest regret forced herself into her Canoe and as long as we could see her she kept waving her hand.' The next ship that came from Tahiti brought word that Peggy had pined away and died of a broken heart.
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