Nothing worthy of note happened till the night between the 12th and 13th, when John Harrison, a marine, who was sentinel at the observatory, deserted, carrying with him his musket and accoutrements. Having in the morning got intelligence which way he had moved off, a party was sent after him; but they returned in the evening, after an ineffectual enquiry and search. The next day I applied to the chief to interest himself in this matter. He promised to send a party of his men after him, and gave me hopes that he should be brought back the same day. But this did not happen; and I had reason to suspect that no steps had been taken by him. We had at this time a great number of the natives about the ships, and some thefts were committed; the consequence of which being dreaded by them, very few visitors came near us the next morning. The chief himself joined in the alarm, and he and his whole family fled. I thought this a good opportunity to oblige them to deliver up the deserter; and having got intelligence that he was at a place called Hamoa, on the other side of the island, I went thither with two armed boats, accompanied by one of the natives; and, in our way, we found the chief, who also embarked with me. I landed about a mile and a half from the place, with a few people, and marched briskly up to it, lest the sight of the boat should give the alarm, and allow the man time to escape to the mountains. But this precaution was unnecessary, for the natives there had got information of my coming, and were prepared to deliver him up.
I found Harrison, with the musket lying before him, sitting between two women, who, the moment that I entered the house, rose up to plead in his behalf. As it was highly proper to discourage such proceedings, I frowned upon them, and bid them begone. Upon this they burst into tears, and walked off. Paha, the chief of the district, now came with a plantain tree, and a sucking pig, which he would have presented to me as a peace-offering. I rejected it, and ordered him out of my sight; and having embarked with the deserter on board the first boat that arrived, returned to the ships. After this, harmony was again restored. The fellow had nothing to say in his defence, but that the natives had enticed him away; and this might in part be true, as it was certain that Paha, and also the two women above-mentioned, had been at the ship the day before he deserted. As it appeared that he remained upon his post till within a few minutes of the time when he was to have been relieved, the punishment that I inflicted upon him was not very severe.