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CHAPTER VII

FOUR THOUSAND MILES IN AN OPEN BOAT

OF all the stories of blue water there is none so romantic and well remembered as that of the mutineers of the Bounty who sought an Arcadia in the South Seas, and found it on Pitcairn Island, where their descendants to-day welcome the occasional ship that stops in passing. In 1787, ten years after Captain Cook had been slain by the natives of Hawaii, a group of West India merchants in London, whose interest was stirred by the glowing reports of the discoverers, urged the Government to explore the natural resources of those enchanted realms of the Pacific and particularly to transport the breadfruit tree to Jamaica and plant it there.

The ship Bounty was accordingly fitted out, and sailed in command of Lieutenant William Bligh, who had been one of Cook's officers. After the long voyage to Tahiti, the ship tarried there five months while the hold was filled with tropical trees and shrubs. With every prospect of success, the Bounty hove anchor and sheeted topsails to roll out homeward bound.

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