A Voyage Round the World (2-Volume Set) by Georg Forster

By Georg Forster

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Let us Introduction for instance suppose, that the people of New Caledonia are the offspring of a nation, who by living in affluence, and in a genial climate, have not been stinted in their growth; the colony which removed into the barren soil of New Caledonia, will probably preserve the habit of body of their ancestors for many generations. The people of Tanna may have undergone a contrary revolution, and being descended of a slender and short race, like the Mallicollese, the richness of their present country may not yet entirely have taken effect.

Forster’s ethnographic reportage is extensive, rich, and particular; it also features the summary distillations and sweeping judgments endemic in travel writing, though these tend to be advanced at one moment and qualified or contradicted at the next. It is theoretically informed, in the sense that a range of broadly environmentalist notions inform the description and interpretation of particular peoples, their physique, their customs, and their responses to visiting or intruding xxxiii xxxiv Introduction Europeans.

Perhaps my readers expect to be told of his taking on board some articles of real use to his *This disease proved fatal to Aotourou,18 the native of O-Taheitee, whom M. de Bougainville brought to France, and who received nearly the same education as O-Maï. 11 A VO Y A G E R O U N D 12 THE WO R L D country; I expected it likewise, but was disappointed. However, though his country will not receive a citizen from us much improved, or fraught with valuable acquisitions, which might have made him the benefactor, and perhaps the lawgiver of his people, still I am happy to reflect, that the ships which are once more sent out upon discovery, are destined to carry the harmless natives of Taheitee a present of new domestic animals.

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