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James Morrison's Account of TahitiIndigenous Histories
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Soil & Produce


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Soil & Produce

The Soil of the Country is rich and fertile, and in the Vallys & low land is a fine Black Mould, but near the Isthmus on both sides it is Coral & sand and rather Barren, producing little else but Fwharra (or Palm) Trees — the Hills Consist of several Strata of Red, White, Black Yellow & Blueish Collours — with several kinds of stones; the Red is a kind of Clay, and in it, is found a stone somthing like the Cornelian, that will strike fire, but is full of veins & Joints & will not stand a second stroke — the White is a kind of Pipe Clay without Stones, the Black a fine fat mold & the Yellow of a Gravelly Nature with large stones and the Blue is a Strong tough Loam, all of these are found in a Depth of ten or twelve feet from the Surface, and under that a soft sandy rock of a Brownish Collour intermixed with some that is hard & Black, there is also large Cliffs of a Black stone in the Mountains which runs in squares from two to Eight or ten inches, & several feet in length of which the Natives make their Adzes.

The Mountains are rocky to the Tops, but covered in most places with earth to a good depth and produce a Number of Large trees, the Clifts in the Mountains bear evident marks of having been burnt by fire, tho there is no account among the Natives that ever a Volcano subsisted here — in one place in the Mountains of Fwhassyeano a whole Hill appears to have been Overturned but the Natives say it was done by Thunder, but more probably by an Earthquake — the Beds of the Rivers are Gravel, and large stones

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© Derived from the 1935 Print Edition edited by Owen Rutter, page 142, 2004
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