Captain Denham had now daily reason to expect the arrival of the Morayshire with the Pitcairn community on board. "And," he added, "as the presence of one of Her Majesty's ships at the new home of that interesting people would doubtless cheer them, as well as afford them essential aid in landing and organizing, on the one hand, whilst, as simultaneously as possible, clearing the island of its residue as a penal settlement, I became solicitous of being on the spot. I therefore had only to hope that the transport would arrive before my primary object in taking Norfolk Island en route to the Polynesian Islands could be accomplished.
Fortunately, on Sunday the 8th instant, although a gloomy and rather boisterous day, with considerable surf, the Morayshire not only closed with the island, but, being joined by the Herald, and assisted by a tracing of our survey, she took up a favourable position for disembarcation; and by sunset the Pitcairn community, numbering 194 persons, were comfortably housed, as well as landed, without accident. I was invited to their first evening Church service at their new home, when a special thanksgiving was rendered unto God for the preservation vouchsafed, and His guidance implored in the new era they had just entered upon. It was an exemplary manifestation of habitual piety that would not allow fatigue, amounting with many to almost exhaustion, nor that excitement in the robust at the extreme novelty of matters around them, to interfere with their wonted primary duty in life. On the contrary, these artless, self-denying people seemed to gather physical comfort and energy as they responded to our beautiful Church service, rendered the more touchingly so by their admirable chanting. And they listened patiently and devoutly to the well-adapted exhortation of their revered pastor and counsellor, the Rev. George Hunn Nobbs. This gentleman could not rest until he had expressed to me the pervading gratitude which the arrangement for the transit and reception of his flock had excited."
Captain Denham then adverted to the admirable manner in which acting Lieut. Gregorie managed their embarcation, so that every movable article, "even to the Gun and Anvil of the Bounty" had been transferred. He described the friendly zeal with which Captain Mathers, the master of the transport, followed out his undertaking on a five weeks' passage; the tender treatment of alarming cases of sea-sickness, which ceased not from inland to island; the birth which took place during the voyage; and finally, the joyful sight of one of the Queen's ships, in whose boats the people were landed. Captain Denham, with the commissariat officer, greeted them individually, as they set foot on shore, and conducted them to their comfortable quarters, on Norfolk Island.
"The following week," said he, "was successfully employed in landing all the seventy years' gathering of chattels belonging to the Pitcairners, notwithstanding the precarious sea-board of this island causing the ships to put to sea every night. They could, therefore, duly observe yesterday's Sabbath in the first fitted-up church they had seen. In this the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was most impressively administered to us, together with every adult of the new congregation a privilege I can never forget. This Sabbath was marked by another solemnity, our attendance upon which assuaged the general depression which their first mourning visit to the cemetery was calculated to inflict; it being their custom for the whole of the community to attend each funeral. In the present case, it was to inter a female infant, who had been embarked in a most delicate state, but had survived the voyage, though beyond medical relief when placed under the care of one of my medical officers, Mr. Denis Macdonald.
"Mr. Macdonald has, with his characteristic kindness, attended to some cases of illness consequent on so great a change of life, and has instructed the islanders essentially in the resources of the ample dispensary for their use. Our artificers have imparted to these naturally apt people the uses of the variety of tools and implements, including the wind and water mills on the island. Indeed it has been a week of initiation; and amongst the novelties, the operation of the photograph, with which our zealous artist, Mr. Glen Wilson, has been taking likenesses to forward to England, has not failed to excite their attention, delight, and wonder.*
∗ These likenesses consist of a group of the Rev. G. H. Nobbs, his wife, (daughter of Fletcher Christian of the Bounty,) and two daughters; a group of Rebecca and Rachel Evans; and three sisters, Ellen Quintal, Maria Christian, and Sarah M'Coy.
"The first step for future provision has been taken by planting their esteemed sweet potato. Pending harvest time, which they give six months to come about, I leave this community of 193 persons, comprising 40 men, 47 women, 54 boys, and 52 girls, provided with 45,500 lbs. of biscuit, flour, maize, and rice, with groceries in proportion, and abundance of milk at their hand. Their live stock and fodder consists of 1,300 sheep, 430 cattle, 22 horses, 10 swine in sties, 16 domestic fowls, 16,000 lbs. hay, 5,000 lbs. straw, and a quantity of wild pigs and fowls. Lest, however, the first crop should be retarded or fall short, I have submitted a list of supplies which the Governor-General will forward to these islanders as an extent-in-aid."
Every reader must be struck with the fore-thought and delicacy, as well as energy, shown in this transaction by all concerned in it.
Reverting to Pitcairn's Island, Captain Denham added, that future voyagers might find fresh beef there, as some cattle had been left upon it. A few sheep, with several goats and fowls, were also left at Pitcairn. The pigs were destroyed, lest they should break through the fence, and disturb the graveyard.