The maner and custome of the lyuing of these Americans as well men as women. Cap. 29.
WE haue here before shewed speaking of Africa, the which we costed in our Nauigation, that ye Barbarians and Ethiopians, and others in India went customably naked excepting their priuie partes, the which they couer with certayne vailes or aprons of cot∣ton, or beastes skins, the which without comparison is more tolerable than in our Americans,* that liue all na∣ked euen as they come out of their mothers wombe, as well men as women without any shame. If you woulde know whether they do it of indigencie, or for the extreme heate, I answere that they may make themselues clo∣thing of cotton as well as to make them beds thereof to rest in, either they might cloth them with beastes skins, as well as those of Canada, for they haue greate plenty of wild and tame, easy to be taken. They haue this opiniō, that being naked and without apparell, they are more nimbler and better disposed to all kynde of exercises.
Moreouer if any tyme they be clad with any thyn and light shirte, the which they haue peraduenture gotten by greate payne: when they mete with their enimies they put it of before they set hande to their weapon (whose weapons) are a bowe and Arowes, for they thinke yt this garment or shyrte would take away their dexteritie in their fight, also that they could not easily flye nor remoue their iointes before their enimies: yea they say that they shoulde be taken of their enimies by such garments. And therefore they had rather be naked, so ignorant are they and yll aduised. Neuerthelesse they are very desirous of gownes, shirts, hats, and other clothing, and they esteme them so precious and costly, that they will rather let them Page 45 marre & take harme, than once to weare them, least that by that meanes they shuld hurt them. In déede somtimes they will put them on when that they remaine at home, drinking and making good chéere after the death of their parents and friends, or in some solemnity after that they haue obtained victorie of their enimies. Moreouer if that they haue on any garment, they will put it of when that they sit downe on the ground, and caste it on their shoul∣ders for feare of soyling of it. There are olde men & wo∣men among them, that hide their priuie partes with leaues. Some haue said that in Europe when it was first inhabited, the men and women went al naked, only their secrete parts couered, as we read of our first parents. Ne∣uerthelesse in that time the men liued longer than they do in our age, being not subiect to so many diseases as we are, so that they haue affirmed that all men ought to goe naked as Adam and Eue our first parents did, when they were in Paradise. As touching this nakednesse, we finde it not by Gods commaundement, I know that there are certaine heretikes called Adamians, that mainteine this nakednesse, the which sect liued all naked, as these Ame∣ricans of which we speake.* And they assēbled in their sina¦gogs for to pray, al naked, and by this ye may know their opinion to be false, for before the sinne of Adam & Eue, as it is shewed in the scripture, they were all naked, but af∣terward God gaue them garmēts of lether to couer their nakednesse, as the Canadians vse at this day.* The which error others haue maintained, as the Turlupins and the Phylosophers named Ciniques, yt which alleage for their reasons, & do teach it publikely, that a man ought not to hide that, which nature hath giuen him. By this ye may sée that these heritikes are more impertinēt, hauing had the knowledge of things than our Americans. The Ro∣mainesPage [unnumbered] though they were very straūge in their liuings, yet they neuer remained naked. As touching ye statues and images, they were made and reared vp in their tem∣ples all naked, as Titus Liuius sheweth, hauing neither hat nor coife vpon their heads: as we find of Caius Caesar, who being balde before, was wont to bring his hair that grew behinde,* forward for to couer his forhead: and ther∣fore he had licence to weare a cap or coife on his head, for to hide that parte of his head that was balde. So muche thought I good to speake, treating of the wilde men of America. Moreouer I haue séene those of Perou vse to weare litle garments made of Cotten after their maner. Also Plinie sheweth, that in the farther parte of the East Indies, (for he neuer had no knowledge of America:) on ye borders of Gangis, there is a kinde of people cladde with broad leaues, which people are of a litle stature. I wil say moreouer as touching our wilde men, yt they haue a very feareful loke, bolde of speche, their language is short and obscure, and yet more easier to learne than the Turkishs speche, and others of the East parts, the which I may af∣firme by experience. They take great pleasure to speake distinctly, and to vaunt of the victories and triumphs that they haue had ouer their enimies. The elders among thē will kepe their promisse, and are more faithfull than the yong men, & yet they are all subiect to theft, not that they steale one from another, but if they finde a christian or a straunger, they will rifle him (of their golde & siluer they will take none) for they haue not the knowledge nor vse therof, but their garments. They vse great threatnings, specially when yt they are angred, not only to smite but to kil. Though they be vnciuil, yet are they prompt & ready to do one seruice, yea for a little reward, euen to guide a straunger .l. or .lx. leagues into the Countrey for feare of Page 46 difficulties and dāgers, with other charitable and honest déedes (more than among Christians.) Now these wilde men being naked, haue a tawny colour,* the reason ther∣of I leaue to the iudgement of naturall Phylosophers, & why they are not so blacke as the Neigers of Ethiopia. To the rest, wel formed and proportioned of their members, but their eyes are euill made, that is, blacke and louring, and their loke like to the loke of a wilde beast: they are of a high stature, wel disposed, quicke & nimble, seldome grieued with sicknesse, vnlesse they be hurt with arowes in the warre.