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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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Inhabitants of Otaheite


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CHAP. VIII. A more particular Account of the Inhabitants of Otaheite, and of their domestic Life, Manners, and Arts.

HAVING lain off this island from the 24th of June to the 27th of July, I shall now give the best account of its inhabitants, with their manners and arts, that I can; but having been in a very bad state of health the whole time, and for great part of it confined to my bed, it will of necessity be much less accurate and particular than I might otherwise have made it.

The inhabitants of this island are a stout, well-made, active, and comely people. The stature of the men, in general, is from five feet seven to five feet ten inches, though a few individuals are taller, and a few shorter; that of the women from five feet to five feet six. The complexion of the men is tawney, but those that go upon the water are much redder than those who live on shore. Their hair in general is black, but in some it is brown, in some red, and in others flaxen, which is remarkable, because the hair of all other natives of Asia, Africa, and America, is black, without a single exception. It is generally tied up, either in one bunch, in the middle of the head, or in two, one on each side, but some wear it loose, and it then curls very strongly: in the children of both sexes it is generally flaxen. They have no combs, yet their hair is very neatly dressed, and those who had combs from us, made good use of them. It is a universal custom to anoint the head with cocoa-nut oil, in


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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 480, 2004
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To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-hv01-480