The commander of a ship in which he had sailed, had expatiated so frequently on the happiness of the people at Pitcairn, that Mr. Nobbs seriously intended to go thither, if his life should be spared; and he set out with this object in view, on the 12th November, 1825, in the Circassian, bound for Calcutta. He had at that period been four times round the world, and his wish was to lead a life of peace and usefulness to his fellow-creatures. With his mind steadfastly set on Pitcairn's Island, he was detained until August, 1827, in Calcutta; from whence, after a very narrow escape from shipwreck in the Straits of Sunda, he crossed the Pacific in a New York ship, called the Ocean, to Valparaiso. There, and afterwards at Callao, he suffered a further detention; but ultimately he succeeded in leaving Callao in a frail bark of eighteen tons burthen, having expended one hundred and fifty pounds sterling on the vessel and her outfit. He was accompanied by only one other person, an American, named Noah Bunker, and arrived at Pitcairn, after a six weeks' voyage, in October, 1828. His companion died soon afterwards; and the vessel afforded the materials for a house for Mr. Nobbs. John Adams received him with kindness; and after Adams's death, in March, 1829, Mr. Nobbs, who had been engaged in keeping school from the period of his arrival, was appointed the teacher of the community.
When he first entered upon his charge, the number of inhabitants of Pitcairn was only sixty-eight. From that time until the present, he has been with them through evil report and good report, as their pastor, surgeon, and school-master, with the exception of a few months during which he was absent from the island, in consequence of the intrusion of a Mr. Joshua Hill, who arrived from Otaheite in 1832. This pompous person, who was then about sixty years of age, informed the inhabitants that he had been authorized by the British Government to reside at Pitcairn's Island; when, in fact, he had received no such authority. Mr. Nobbs appears to have been of too plain and straightforward a character to suit this new-comer, whose presence amongst the people caused much trouble, and who divided their little society into two factions; one siding with him, the other with the constitution as it was. At length, partly by splendid promises, and partly by instilling into the simple minds around him the terror of giving offence to the Government at home, whom he affected to represent, he enlisted some of the natives against the three Europeans, and succeeded in excluding them and their families, for a time, from the island.