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South Sea Islands


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Manners & customs of S. Sea Islands

We have now seen 17 Islands in these Seas and been ashore upon 5 of the most principal ones. Of these the Language manners and customs have agreed almost exactly, I should therefore be tempted to conclude that those of the Islands we have not seen differ not materialy at least from them. The account I shall give of them is taken cheifly from Otahite where I was well acquainted with their most interior policy, as I found them to be a people so free from deceit that I trusted myself among them almost as freely as I could do in my own countrey, sleeping continualy in their houses in the woods with not so much as a single companion. Whither or not I am right in judging their manners and customs to be general throughout these seas any one who gives himself the trouble of reading this Journal through will be as good a Judge as myself.

All the Islands I have seen are very populous all along the sea coast, where are generaly large flats coverd with a vast many breadfruit and Cocoa nut trees. Here are houses almost every 50 yards with their little plantations of Plantains, the tree that makes their cloth &c. but the inland parts are totaly uninhabited except in the vallies where are rivers and even there are but a small propo[r]tion of people

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© Derived from State Library of NSW Transcription of Banks's Journal page (vol.1) 333, February 2004
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