Daily Archives: July 18, 2006

Item of the Day: The World in Miniature (1740)

Full Title: The World in Miniature: or, the Entertaining Traveler. Giving an Account of every Thing necessary and curious; as to Situation, Customs, Manners, Genius, Temper, Diet, Diversions, Religious and other Ceremonies; Trade, Manufactures, Arts, and Sciences; Government, Policies. Laws, Religions, Buildings; Beasts, Birds, Fishes, Plants, Reptiles, Drugs; Cities, Mountains, Rivers, and other Curiosities, belong to each Country. In Two Volumes. Vol. II. Containing America, and the Isles thereof, To which is added, an Account of england, Scotland, and Ireland; with the Isles adjacent. By Mr. John Fransham, of Norwich With several Curious and Useful Tables.. London: Printed, and sold by John Torbuck, 1740.


The Indians are generally of a deep Olive; the Men have strait [sic] clean Limbs, are big-bon’d, and well shap’d, scarce a crooked or deform’d Person is to be found amongst them; they are very active, and run swiftly. The women moderately fat and well shap’d, and the Faces both of Men and Women (who have not taken Pains to alter their natural Shape) are round; their Eyes black, large, lively and sparkling, high Foreheads and short Noses; the Mouth well siz’d, the Lips thin, with fine Sets of Teeth. The Features of both Sexes are generally good; they wear the Hair of their Heads somewhat differently, nor suffer any to grow any where else, it being pull’d off by Tweezers as soon as it appears, which is done by old Women who make it their Business: Insomuch, it seems, that the Spaniards did not find a Beard in this Country, nor any Hair below the Waist. They begin to paint their Children very young, with Red, Blue, and Yellow, and sometimes make the Figures of Men, Beasts, Birds, and Plants.Most of the Mexican Nations wear some Garments or other, but there are Indians that go perfectly naked, except their Nudities.

As to the Genius of the Mexicans, they are far from being improv’d either for Arts or Morals, since the Spaniards came amongst them; for the first Adventurers inform us, that they were a wonderful ingenious People, inoffensive, and hospitable. It also appears, that they were no mean Artificers in Painting, Statuary, and Building, which shows them to have an extraordinary Genius, to perform these Works without an Iron Tool to work with. But the present Mexicans are degenerated into Cowards, and Cruel, having no Sense of Honour; and die without Concern or Apprehensions of Futurity; for the Spaniards treat them worse than Slaves. But the Indians, who still preserve their Liberty by retiring into midland Country, these, Dampier and other late Adventurers say, are still People of great Humanity, brave, generous, and in general are inoffensive People, kind to Strangers, and live just as the ancient Indians did, by Hunting, Shooting, and Fishing.


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Filed under 1740's, Culture, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel