The following relation is so curious and entertaining, and the
dissertations that accompany it so judicious and instructive, that
the translator is confident his attempt stands in need of no
apology, whatever censures may fall on the performance.
The Portuguese traveller, contrary to the general vein of his
countrymen, has amused his reader with no romantic absurdities or
incredible fictions; whatever he relates, whether true or not, is at
least probable; and he who tells nothing exceeding the bounds of
probability has a right to demand that they should believe him who
cannot contradict him.
He appears by his modest and unaffected narration to have described
things as he saw them, to have copied nature from the life, and to
have consulted his senses, not his imagination; he meets with no
basilisks that destroy with their eyes, his crocodiles devour their
prey without tears, and his cataracts fall from the rock without
deafening the neighbouring inhabitants.
The reader will here find no regions cursed with irremediable
barrenness, or blessed with spontaneous fecundity, no perpetual
gloom or unceasing sunshine; nor are the nations here described
either devoid of all sense of humanity, or consummate in all private
and social virtues; here are no Hottentots without religion, polity,
or articulate language, no Chinese perfectly polite, and completely
skilled in all sciences: