University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Africa Focus

Page View

Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Prologue to the reader


Prologue to the Reader

It is an accepted view, deriving from the divine Plato, that
the law of nature imposes the obligation on us that we are not
born solely for ourselves but also for others. Recollecting this
debt (to others), I resolved on the composition of this treatise,
agose _.title. is A description of Ethiopia Minor and the Province
of Serra Leoa. I have divided it into two parts. In both Parts
there is accurate information derived from various friends who
are as experienced and knowledgeable in relation to the subject
as they are truthful. Those in this region whom we have involved
having sounder information (?), their kindness, which has been
fortunately great, has served to bury the disrepute of those
Letters sent by the padres, in keeping with the ancient custom of.
the Church, from the most remoie parts of the globe.   For one
letter, added at the end of the book entitled "Relaigo anual das
cousas de Jan'ao", etc., a letter which throughout tends to be
fictitious in respect of the holy religion of the Jesuits, has
been sowing disrepute regarding Pefgar4inag our enterprise and our
organisation. On this subject the religious who came to this
Ethiopia, as they had not supplied the information, had at the time
the book came into their hands, no light other than that given in
the false Relacao. They could not be expected to be more critical
since the topics in questi-n involved far-away lands. The accuracy
(of such writings) depends less on the good faith of those who
compile them than on the truthfulness which ought to be maintained
by those who provide information on such exotic matters. Accuracy,
or lack of it, is the fons et origo from which course and flow,
either respect for a work, or contempt for it.
Should the present work produce an excess of unfavourable
judgements which censure it as of little worth, this will be to
raise it in estimation (?) ; and all discredit will in fact redound
in greater credit (?).
Manuel Alvares.


Go up to Top of Page