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Adams, Memoirs of Arii TaimaiIndigenous Histories
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Chapter XI


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Chapter XI

I come now to the year 1788, when Lieutenant William Bligh was sent by the British Government in H. M. ship Bounty to bring breadfruit from Tahiti, to be domesticated as a fruit of peculiar usefulness in the various tropical colonies of Great Britain. The Voyage of the Bounty has become as classical as the Voyages of Cook and Bougainville. More books and essays have been written about the Bounty than about any other two-hundred-ton ship whose crew ever mutinied, before or since; but the part of its story which was most serious to us is the part which has been least noticed by the world. What Bligh said to Christian, and what Christian said to Bligh, and what Peter Heywood said to both, and how Thursday October Christian made his dramatic appearance at Pitcairn Island, and a thousand other details of the picturesque story, have been told a hundred times, and always to interested audiences; but no one has taken the trouble to tell how great an influence Bligh and his mutineers exercised over the destinies of Tahiti, and especially of its old chiefs.

Bligh had been the master of Cook’s ship, the Resolution, on Cook’s third and last voyage. He came back in 1788 with all the ideas which Cook had fixed on his mind in 1777. Had he been a Frenchman, he might perhaps have enjoyed discovering the mistakes of his predecessors, and trying to correct them by mistakes of his own, but when the English once saw what they took to be a fact, they saw nothing else forever. Bligh appeared at Matavai in the Bounty, Octo-


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© Derived from the revised Paris edition of 1901 page 98, 2004
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