Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 127.djvu/776

This page has been validated.

764

RECENT HISTORY OF THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS.

house, should be very handsome, extremely obliging, and with behaviour and dress equal to any she had seen in the English court; this gave her such good impressions of Scotland generally, that she began to see how injured the country had been by misrepresentation. The writer passed into Scotland just before the landing of the "King" (Charles II. that was to be) there, and was in daily attendance upon Lady Dunfermline and her niece during the royal visit to that family. At times, we read, Charles was pleased to look favourably upon Anne Murray, "Yett itt was noe more then what hee did to strangers." He made ample amends, however, for this neglect when taking leave by this little speech: —

Mrs. Murray, I am ashamed I have been so long a' speaking to you, butt itt was because I could nott say enough to you for the service you did my brother; butt if ever I can command what I have right to as my owne, there shall bee nothing in my power I will nott doe for you.

With that the "King" laid his hand upon both hers as they lay upon her breast, and she humbly bowed down and kissed the hand, making a pretty little reply as she did so. Much shrewd insight into character is displayed in the course of this autobiography, and we can give no better instance of it than by quoting the account of what follows upon this gracious interview: —

As scone as the king parted from mee, there came two gentlemen to mee; one tooke mee by one hand, the other by the other, to lead mee outt to the Court (where all the ladys wentt to see the King take horse,) with so many flattering expresions that I could nott butt with a litle disdaine tell them I thought they acted that part very well in The Humoruous Lieutenant, where a stranger comming to see a solemnity was hardly admitted to looke on by those who affterwards troubled her with there civility when they saw the King take notice of her. This answeare putt them both a litle outt, and made them know I understood their humour.

The reader will close this book with a regret that the concluding portion of the manuscript from which it is printed should be missing. But, fragmentary as it is, "The Autobiography of Anne Lady Halkelt" will rank high among the many excellent works of that class which the seventeenth century has bequeathed us.




From Chambers' Journal.

RECENT HISTORY OF THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS

A brief notice of the Pitcairn Islanders in Dilke's "Greater Britain" reminds us that there are still in existence two remnants of the once famous mutineers of the "Bounty" — one in Pitcairn Island, in the vast South Seas; the other in Norfolk Island, in the Australian Seas. The readers of this journal may perhaps remember the main incidents of this singularly interesting history, down to about the year 1850. We then recounted how Captain Bligh, in H. M.S. "Bounty," set out on a voyage of discovery to the South Seas in 1787; that in 1789 many of his crew, headed by Lieutenant Christian, mutinied, forced him and eighteen of the crew into an open boat, and cast them adrift; that after much suffering he and some of his companions reached England in 1790; and that in 1791 the government sent off Captain Edwards in the "Pandora," to seek out the mutineers and bring them home for trial. There came to light facts, one by one, showing how Lieutenant Christian and his companions, after much quarrelling and fighting, settled down, some at Otaheite (Tahiti), and some at Toobonai, with Otaheitan women as wives. Captain Edwards captured the party at Otaheite, but did not know that the others were at Toobonai. Christian navigated the "Bounty" to Pitcairn Island, burnt the ship, and settled down finally at that island. Happily, there was a steady religious man, John Adams, among them, and he, after Christian's death, trained up a rising generation of mixed breeds, in habits of peaceful industry. How these Pitcairners increased and multiplied to a community of a hundred and fifty souls — simple, well-principled, and loyal to the English sovereign — and how they came to have interviews occasionally with visitors from the outer world, our two former articles shewed. Let us now briefly touch on the incidents of the last quarter of a century.

The year 1851 marked the beginning of a series of proceedings destined to make an important change in the condition of the islanders — more than sixty years after the mutiny. A plan was formed to remove them to another spot, under the dignified title of a colony, although small in dimensions. The colonial secretary in England, Sir John Pakington, wrote despatches on the subject; and so did his successor; but these ministers differed one from another concerning what it was