A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15.
fond of cocoa-nut oil for the same reason; a great quantity of which they not only pour upon their head and shoulders, but rub the body all over, briskly, with a smaller quantity.  And none but those who have seen this practice, can easily conceive how the appearance of the skin is improved by it.  This oil, however, is not to be procured by every one; and the inferior sort of people, doubtless, appear less smooth for want of it.

[Footnote 178:  So at the Caroline Islands.  “Ils sont accoutumes a se baigner trois fois le jour, le matin, a midi, et sur le soir.” Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses, tom. xv. p. 314.—­D.]


Employments of the Women, at the Friendly Islands.—­Of the Men.—­Agriculture.—­Construction of their Houses.—­Their working Tools.—­Cordage and fishing Implements.—­Musical Instruments.—­Weapons.  —­Food and Cookery.—­Amusements.—­Marriage.—­Mourning Ceremonies for the Dead.—­Their Divinities.—­Notions about the Soul, and a Future State.—­Their Places of Worship.—­Government.—­Manner of paying Obeisance to the King.—­Account of the Royal Family.—­Remarks on their Language, and a Specimen of it.—­Nautical, and other Observations.

Their domestic life is of that middle kind, neither so laborious as to be disagreeable, nor so vacant as to suffer them to degenerate into indolence.  Nature has done so much for their country, that the first can hardly occur, and their disposition seems to be a pretty good bar to the last.  By this happy combination of circumstances, their necessary labor seems to yield in its turn to their recreations, in such a manner, that the latter are never interrupted by the thoughts of being obliged to recur to the former, till satiety makes them wish for such a transition.

The employment of the women is of the easy kind, and, for the most part, such as may be executed in the house.  The manufacturing their cloth is wholly consigned to their care.  Having already described the process, I shall only add, that they have this cloth of different degrees of fineness.  The coarser sort, of which they make very large pieces, does not receive the impression of any pattern.  Of the finer sort, they have some that is striped and chequered, and of other patterns differently coloured.  But how these colours are laid on, I cannot say, as I never saw any of this sort made.  The cloth, in general, will resist water for some time; but that which has the strongest glaze will resist longest.

The manufacture next in consequence, and also within the department of the women, is that of their mats, which excel every thing I have seen at any other place, both as to their texture and their beauty.  In particular, many of them are so superior to those made at Otaheite, that they are not a bad article to carry thither by way of trade.  Of these mats, they have seven or eight different sorts, for the purposes

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