Friday, October 09, 2015

The island of Madagascar, from its interesting and singular history, has claims upon the attention of every European visitor #QotD

2015.10.04-DSC04025The island of Madagascar, from its interesting and singular history, has claims upon the attention of every European visitor. But from a Briton it demands more; for — independently of the pleasing novelty of a nation overcoming the deeply-rooted prejudices and customs of ignorance and superstition, and suddenly grasping at the highest pitch of civilization and improvement — he finds himself surrounded by a people emulous to imitate his habits, solicitous of his acquaintance, and gratefully attached to his country. The more he communicates with them the more he must admire their character; courageous yet docile, with a thirst for glory and information that leads them to stray from their homes, although their hearts still fondly linger there; and in possession of talents and perseverance that enable them to overcome every obstacle likely either to obstruct or advance their progress in knowledge. Their firm and enthusiastic patriotism cannot be better illustrated than by the following striking example, which much resembles that stern but inhuman sense of duty which made the filicide Brutus the best of citizens but the worst of parents.(pp. 66-67)

From W.F.W. Owen, Narrative of Voyages to Explore the Shores of Africa, Arabia, and Madagascar, Volume 1 (1833).

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