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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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CHAP. XVIII. Of the Manufactures, Boats, and Navigation of Otaheite.

IF necessity is the mother of invention, it cannot be supposed to have been much exerted where the liberality of Nature has rendered the diligence of Art almost superfluous; yet there are many instances both of ingenuity and labour among these people, which, considering the want of metal for tools, do honour to both.

Their principal manufacture is their cloth, in the making and dying of which I think there are some particulars which may instruct even the artificers of Great Britain, and for that reason my description will be more minute.

Their cloth is of three kinds; and it is made of the bark of three different trees, the Chinese paper mulberry, the bread-fruit tree, and the tree which resembles the wild fig-tree of the West Indies.

The finest and whitest is made of the paper mulberry, Aouta; this is worn chiefly by the principal people, and when it is dyed red takes a better colour. A second sort, interior in whiteness and softness, is made of the bread-fruit tree, Ooroo, and worn chiefly by the inferior people; and a third of the tree that resembles the fig, which is coarse and harsh, and of the colour of the darkest brown paper: this, though it is less pleasing both to the eye and the touch, is the most valuable, because it resists water, which the other two sorts will not. Of this, which is the most rare as well as the most useful, the greater part is perfumed, and worn by the Chiefs as a morning dress.


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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 210 - 211, 2004
Published by South Seas, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-hv23-210