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CHARACTERS.

A Description of the Island os Otaheite; tuith many Particulars of its Produce and Inhabitants ; their Dress, Habitations, Food, domestic Life, Amusements, ManufaSures, Sec. From Dr. Hawkesworth'r Account of the late Discoveries made in the Southern Hemisphere.'

TH E face of the country, except that part of it which borders upon the sea, is very uneven; it rises in ridges that run up into the middle of the island, and there form mountains, which may be seen at the distance of sixty miles: between the foot of these ridges and the sea, is a border of low land, surrounding the whole island, except in a few places where the ridges rife directly from the sea: the border of low land is in differ, ent parts of different breadths, but no where more than a mile and a half. The foil, except upon the very tops of the ridges, is extremely rich and fertile, watered by a great number of rivulets of excellent water, and covered with'Truit-trees of various kinds, some of which' are of a stately growth and thick foliage, so as to form one continued wood; and even the tops of the ridges, though in general they are bare, and burnt up by the fun, are, in some parts, not without their produce. Vol, XVI.

The low land that lies between the foot of the ridges and the sea, and some of the vallies, are the only parts of the island that are in. habited, and here it is populous; the houses do not form villages or towns, but are ranged along the whole border at the distance of about fifty yards from each other,, with little plantations of plantains, the tree which furnishes them with cloth. The whole island, according to Tupia's account, who certainly knew, could furnish six thousand seven hundred and eighty fighting men, from which the number of inhabitants may easily be computed.

The produce of this island is bread-fruit, cocoa nuts, bananas, of thirteen forts, the best we had ever eaten ; plantains; a fruit not unlike an apple, which, when ripe, is very pleasant; sweet potatoes, yams, cocoas, a kind of Arum; a fruit known here by the name of Jambu, and reckoned most delicious; sugar cane, which the inhabitants eat raw; a root of the salop kind, called by the inhabitant* Pea; a plant called Ethee, of which the root only is eaten; a fruit that grows in a pod, like that of a large kidney bean, which, when it is roasted, eats very much like aches, nut, by the natives called Abee; a tree called Wbarra, called in th«

2 East' East-Indies Pandanes, which produces fruit something like the pineapple; a shrub called Netio; the Morinda, which also produces fruit; a species of fern, of which the root is eaten, and sometimes the leaves; and a plant called Tbeve, of which the root also is eaten: but the fruits of the Nono, the fern, and the Tbeve, are eaten only by the inferior people, and in times of scarcity. All these, which serve the inhabitants for food, the earth produces spontaneously, or with so little culture, that they seem to be exempted from the first general curse, that " man should eat his bread in the sweat of his brow." They have also the Chinese paper mulberry, morus papyri/era, which they call Aouta; a

there being no other quadruped*, nor any serpent. But the sea supplies them with great variety of most excellent fish, to eat which is their chief luxury, and to catch it their principal labour.

As to the people, they are of the largest size of Europeans. The men are tall, strong, well-limbed, and finely shaped. The tallest that we saw was a man upon a neighbouring Island called Hvahiine, who measured six feet three inches and an half. The women of the superior rank are also in general above our middle stature, but those of the inferior class are rather below it, and some of them are very small. This defect in size probably proceeds from their early commerce

tree resembling the wild fig-tree of with men, the only thing, in which

the West-Indies; another species of they differ from their superiors, that

fig, which they call Matte, the car* could possibly affect their growth. Aia febeftina oritntalit, which they Their natural complexion is that

call Etou\ a kind of Cyperus grafs, kind of clear olive, or Brumttt,

which they call Mio; a species of which many people in Europe pre

tturntfertia, which they call Ta- fer to the finest white and red. In

beinoo; another of the convolvulus poluce, which they call Eurhi; the Jolanum ctntifolium, which they call F.booa; the calophyllum mophylum, which they call Tamannu; the hibiscus tiltactus, called Pocrou, a frutescent nettle; the urtica argtntta, called Eroiva; with many other

those that are exposed to the wind and sun, it is considerably deepened, but in others that live under shelter, especially the superior clasa of woAien, it continues of its native hue, and the skin is most delicately smooth and soft; they have no tint in their cheeks, which we distin

plants which cannot here be parti- guish by the name of colour. The

cularly mentioned: those that have shape of the face is comely, the

been named already will be refer- cheek bones are not high, neither

red to in the subsequent part of this are the eyes hollow, nor the brow

work. prominent; the only feature that

They have no European fruit, does not correspond with our ideaa

garden-stuff, pulse, or legumes, of beauty is the nose, which, in

nor grain of any kind.

Of tame animals they have only hogs, dogs, and poultry; neither is there a wild animal in the island, except ducks, pigeons, paroquets, with a few other bird;, and rats.

general, is somewhat Hat; but their eyes, especially those of the wo. men, are full of expression, sometimes sparkling with fire, and sometimes melting with softness; their teeth also are, almost without exception. txception, most beautifully even and white, and their breath perfectly without taint.

The hair is almost universally black, and rather coarse; the men have beards, which they wear in many fashion, always, however, plucking out great part of them, and keeping the relt perfectly clean and neat. Both sexes also eradicate every hair from under their arms, and accused us of great uncleanliness for not doing the fame. In their motions there is at once vigour and ease; their walk is graceful, their deportment liberal, and their behaviour to ltrangcrs, and to each other, affable and courteous. In their disposition* also they seemed to be brave, open, and candid, without either suspicion or treachery, cruelty, or revenge; so that we placed the same confidence in them as in our best friends, many of us, particularly Mr. Banks, sleeping frequently in their houses in the woods, without a companion, and consequently wholly in their power. They were, however, all thieves; and when that is allowed, they need not much fear a competition with the people of any other nation upon earth. During our stay in this island we saw about five or fix persons, like one that was met by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander on the 24th of April, in their walk to the eastward, whose skins were of a dead white, like the nose of a white horse; with white hair, beard, brows, and eye lashes; red, tender eyes; a short sight, and scurfy skins, covered with a kind of White down; but we found that no two of these belonged to the fame family, and therefore concluded, that they were not a species, but unhappy individuals, rendered anomalous by diseases

It is a custom in most conntrfe*, where the inhabitants have long hair, for the men to cut it short, and the women to pride themselves in its length. Here, however, the contrary custom prevails; the women always cut it short round their ears, and the men, except the fisher's, who are almost continually in the water, suffer it to flow in large waves over their shoulders, or tie it up in a bunch on the top of their heads.

They have a custom also of anointing their heads with what they call Mcnoe, an oil expressed from the cocoa-nut, in which some sweet herbs or flowers have been infused : as the oil is generally rancid, the smell is at first very disagreeable to an European; and as they live in a hot country, and have no such thing as a comb, they are not able to keep their heads free from lice, which the children and common people sometimes pick out and eat: a hateful custom, wholly different from their manners in every other particular; for they are delicate and cleanly almost without example; and those to whom we distributed combs soon delivered themselves from vermin, with a diligence Which showed they Were not more odious to us than to them.

They have a distort of staining* their bodies nearly in the fame manner as is practised in many other parts of the world, which they call Taitotuitig. They prick? the fltin so as just not to fetch blood, with a small instrument, something i'h the form of a hoe j that parr which answers to the blade is made <jf a bone or shell, scraped very' thin, and is from a quarter of an inch to an inch itti a haif wide» B a the the edge is cut into {harp teeth or points, from the number of three to twenty, according to its size: when (his is to be used, they dip the teeth into a mixture of a kind of lamp-black, formed of the smoke that rises from an oily nut which they burn inltead of candle;, and water; the teeth, thus prepaid, are placed upon the (kin; and the handle to which they are fastened being struck, by quick smart blows, with a stick fitted to the purpose, they pierce it, and at the same time carry into the puncture the black Composition, which leaves an indelible stain. The operation is painful, and it is some days before the wounds are healed. It is perform* ed upon the youth of both sexes when they are about twelve or fourteen years of age, on several pasts of the body, and in various figures, according to the fancy of the parent, or perhaps the rank of the party. The women are generally marked-with this stain, in the form of an Z, on every joint of their singers and toes, and frequently round the outside of their feet: the men are also marked with the same figure, and both men and womtn have squares, circles, crescents, and ill-designed representations of men, birds, or dogs, and various other devices impressed upon their legs and arms, some of which we were told had significations, though we could never learn what they were. ?ut the part on which these ornaments are lavished with the greatest profusion, is the breech: this, in both sexes, is covered with a deep black; ov^r which, arches are drawn one above another as high as the stiort.ribs. They are often a quarter of an inch broad, and the edges are not strait lines, but in.

dented. These arches are their pride, and are shewn both by nv-n and women with a mixture of ostentation and pleasure; whether as an ornament, or a proof of their fortitude and resolution in bearing pain, we could not determ:ne. The face in general is left unmarked; for we saw but one instance to the contrary. Fome old men had the gieatest part of their bodies covered with large patcne> of black, deeply indented at the edges, like a rude imitation of flame; but we were told, that they came from a lowisland called Noouoo&a, and were no: natives of Otaheite.

Mr. Batiks saw the operation of tatto'wing performed upon the backfide of a girl abo.t thirteen years old. The instrument used upon, this occasion had thirty teeth, and every stroke, of which at least an hundred were made in a minute., drew an ichor or serum a little tinged with blood. The girl bore it with most stoical resolution for about a quarter of an hour; but the pain of so many hundred punctures as she had received in that time, then became intolerable: she first complajne<fr"in murmurs, then wept, and at last burst into loud lamentations, earnestly imploring the operator to desist. He was, however, inexorable; and when she began to struggle, she' was held down by two women, who sometimes soothed and sometimes chid' her, and now and then, when she was most unruly, gave her a smart blow. Mr. Banks staid in a neighbouring house an hour, and the operation was not over when he went away; yet it was performed but upon one side, the other having been done some time before*; and; the arches upon the loins, in which

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they most pride themselves, and which give more pain than all the rest, were still to be done.

It is strange that these people should value themselves upori what is no diltinctiori; for I never saw a native os this island, either man or woman, in a state ot maturity, in whom thele marks were wanting: possibly they may have their rife in superstition, especially as they produce no visible advantage, and are not made without gieat pain; but tnough we enquired of many hundreds, we could never get any account of the matter.

Their clothing consists of cloth or matting of difierent kinds, which will be described among their other manusacturesi The cloth, which will net bear wetting, they wear in dry weather, arid the matting when it rains; they are put on in many difftient ways, just as their fancy "leads them; for in their garments nothing is cut into shape, nor are any two pi. ces sewed together. The dress of the better fort of women consists of three or four pieces: one piece, about two yards wide and eleven yards long, they wrap several times round their waist, so as to hang down like a petticoat as low as the middle of the leg, and this they call Farcu: two or three other pieces, about two yards and an half long, and c.ne wide, each having a hole cut in the middle, they place one upon another, ai.d then putting the head through the holes, they bring the long ends down before and behind; the others remain open at the sides, and give liberty to the arms: this, which they call the '1 tbuta, 5s gathered round the waist, and confined with a girdle or fash of thinner cloth, which it

long enough to go many times round them, and exactly resembles the garment worn by the inhabi. tants of Peru and Chili, which the Spaniards called Poncho. The dress of the men is the fame, except that instead of suffering the cloth that is cund about the hips to hang down like a petticoat, they bring it between their legs so as to have some resemblance to breeches, and it is then called Maro. This is the dress of all ranks of people, and being universally the same as to form, the gentlemen and ladies distinguish themselves from the lower people by the quantity; some of them will wrap round them se. veral pieces of cloth,'eight or ten yards long, and two or three broad; and some throw a large piece. loosely over their shoulders, in the manner of a cloak, or perhaps two pieces, if they are very great personages, and ate desirous to appear in state. The inferior fort, who have only a small allowance of cloth from the tribes or families to which they belong, are obliged to be more thinly clad. In the neat of the day they appear almost naked; the women having only a scanty petticoat, and the men nothing but the fasti that is passed between their legs, and fastened round the waist. As finery is always troublesome, at.d particulaily in a hot country, where it consists in putting one covering upon another, the women of rank always uncover themselves as low as the waist in the evening, throwing off all that they wear on the upper part of the body, with the fame negligence and ease as our ladies would lay by a cardinal or double handkerchief. And the chiefs, even when they visited as, though thy had as much cloth B 3 round

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