Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/130

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126
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sank down to the dull lusts of savagery's desires. Uncheered he heard his dark-skinned offspring romp and play and sport among the breakers of the shore, their mother's wanton spirit over all. A family worthier of his gentle name he might have reared in England, had he not in the exultation of revenge bartered his birthright to civilization. And lonely Pitcairn lost upon the sea was but a prison for his starving soul where he must languish through a waste of years, his sole alternative oblivion or the hangman's rope.

Feuds bitter, unreasonable and prolonged arose on Pitcairn, and Christian soon was shot, and before ten years had passed midshipmen Edward Young and Alexander Smith were the sole surviving mutineers upon the island. Then a strange change came over Young, who appears to have been a weak, rather than a vicious character. He determined to devote his remaining days to elevating the standards of the entire community. The Bible and Prayer Book that had belonged to Christian were recovered from the cave where they had lain for years neglected, and thus the last of the ill-fated crew turned missionaries and school teachers to the women and children of the colony. In 1800, Young died, his end being unique in that his death was due to natural causes. Thus Smith became sole guardian of this strange community, winning as years passed their love and veneration; for, indeed, he stayed the hand of rage and imparted to the rising generation true principles of civilization.

Nearly twenty years had come and gone and the world had forgotten the Bounty in the stirring events of the first decade of the nineteenth century, when one day the American ship Topaz under Captain Folger of Nantucket discovered an uncharted island, and a boat manned by brown-skinned English-speaking youths came out to welcome him. Thus was the retreat of the mutineers revealed; Alexander Smith, or "John Adams," as he now called himself being the sole survivor of the Bounty's pirate crew; and he lived the revered leader of the islanders until his death in 1829 at the age of sixty-five.

The coming of the Bounty's mutineers to Tahiti in 1788 was an event of primary significance in the history of the island. Hitherto Tahiti had been a community of feudalisms, the power of the Ariirahi being constantly checked by the contending claims of rivals; but here as elsewhere over the South Seas, the coming of the white man tended at first to increase the power of the chief they came most in contact with though finally it led to the utter ruin of all native leaders including the "king" himself.

The head chief of the District of Pare in 1789 was Pomare, the nephew of Purea, now grown to manhood. Cook had known him as " Outou,"[1] but upon hearing his little son cough at night he had changed

  1. Otoo's real name was Tunuicaite-atua, signifying descent from the gods.