chapter  IX
5 Pages

Of Clothes and of Hairs

GOD in the beginning did create man naked and innocent, made all the parts of his body to be of honest sight. But sin hath made the members of generation to become shameful unto us, and not unto beasts which have no sin. It is the cause why our first parents, having known their nakedness, destitute of clothes, did sow fig-leaves together for to hide their shame therewith; but God made unto them coats of skins, and clothed them with it; and this before they went out of the garden of Eden. Clothing, then, is not only to defend us from cold but also for decency, and to cover our shame. And nevertheless many nations have anciently lived, and at this day do live, naked, without apprehension of this shame, decency, and honesty. And I marvel not of the Brazilian savages that are such, as well men as women, nor of the ancient Pitts (a nation of Great Britain), who (Herodian saith) had not any use of clothes, in the time of Severus the Emperor; nor of a great number of other nations that have been and yet are naked; for one may say of them that they be people fallen into a reprobate sense, and forsaken of God. But of Christians which are in lEthiopia under the great Negus, whom we call Prester John, which, by the report of the Portuguese that have written histories of them, have not their parts which we call privy members any ways covered. But the savages of New France and of Florida have better learned and kept in mind the lesson of honesty than those of lEthiopia. For they cover them with a skin tied to a latch or girdle of leather, which, passing between their buttocks, joineth the other end of the said latch behind. And for

the rest of their garments they have a cloak on their backs, made with many skins, whether they be of otters or of beavers, and one only skin, whether it be of elan, or stag's skin, bear, or luserne,98 which cloak is tied upward with a leather riband, and they thrust commonly one arm out, but being in their cabins they put it off, unless it be cold. And I cannot better compare it than to pictures that are made of Hercules, who killed a lion and put the skin thereof on his back. Notwithstanding they have more civility, in that they cover their privy members. As for the women, they differ only in one thing, that is they have a girdle over the skin they have on; and do resemble (without comparison) the pictures that be made of Saint John Baptist. But in winter they make good beaver sleeves, tied behind, which keep them very warm. And after this manner were the ancient Germans clothed, by the report of Cresar and Tacitus, having the most part of the body naked.