GEORGES ISLAND. MANNERS & CUSTOMS.
And this way of Travelling is Extremely commodious about such [left margin note - Their large Canoes] - Islands as are inclosed[sic] by a reef as this is, for as these Canoes draw but Little water they can always keep within the Reefs & by that errand are never in danger. They have some few other Canoes Pahee's as they call them which differ from these above discribed[sic]but of these I saw but 6 upon the whole Island & was told they were not built here the 2 largest was each 76 feet long & when they had been in use had been fastened together these are built Sharp & Narrow at both Ends & broad in the Middle the bottom is likewise Sharp inclining to a Wedge but bilges out very much & [....] in again very quick just below the Gunwale they are built of several Peices of thick plank & put together as the others are only these have their boss in the inside which the others have not they have high Curved Sterns the head also Curves a little & both are Ornamented with the image of a man carved in wood very little inferior work of the like kind done by common Ships Carvers in England when one Considers the Tools these People have to work with one cannot help but admiring their workmanship. There are Adzes& small Hatches made of a hard Stone Chisels & Gouges made of human bones generally the bone of the Fore Arm, but Spike Nails have Pretty well supply'd the place of these, with those ordinary Tools that a European workman would expect to break the first stroke, I have seen them work surprisingly fast, to plain or Polish their work they rub upon it with a small stone & Mixt with Water this is done sometimes by scraping it with Shells with which alone they perform most of their Small wood work.~
Their Poses or Canoes large & Small are crew'd & Steer'd with Paddlers & notwithstandg the large ones appear to be very unweildy they manage them very dextrously & I believe Perform long & distant Voyages in them, otherwise they could not have the Knowledge of the Islands in those Seas they seem to have, they wear for Show or Ornament at the Mast Head of most of their Sailing Canoes Pendants made of Feathers, having described their fighting Canoes I shall next describe the Arms with which they [left margin note- Their Arms.]- attack their Enemies both by Sea, & Sand, these are Clubs, Spears or Lances, Slings & Stones which they throw by the hand, the Pubs are made of a hard wood & are about 8 or 9 feet long, the one half is made flatish with 2 Edges & the other half is round & not thicker than to be easily grasped by the hand, the Lances are of various lengths some from 12.20: or 30 feet & are generally Arm'd at the Small end with the Stings of Sting-rays which makes them very dangerous weapons. Altho' these people have Bows & Arrows & those none of the worst, we are told that they never use them in their wars which doubtless is very extraordinary & not easily acounted for, they haver very Curious breast Plates, made of small [.....] Pieces of Matting &tc. & neatly Cover'd with Sharks teeth, Pearl Oystershells, birds. feathers & Dogs hair, th... much for their Arms &tc.
I shall now describe their method of making Cloth which in my opinion is the only Curious manufacture they have all their Cloth is I believe made from [left margin note - Their way of making Cloth-] - the Bark of Trees, the finest is made from Plant which they Cultivate for no other Purposes, Dr. Solander thinks it is the same Plant the bark of which the Chinese make Paper of. they let this plant grow till it is about 6 or 8 feet high. The Stem is then about as thick as ones Ham or thicker, after this they cut it down.