Thus, gentle reader, I have given thee a faithful history of my travels for sixteen years and above seven months; wherein I have not been so studious of ornament as truth. I could perhaps, like others, have astonished thee with strange improbable tales; but I rather chose to relate plain matter of fact, in the simplest manner and style; because my principal design was to inform, and not to amuse thee.
It is easy for us who travel into remote countries, which are seldom visited by Englishmen, or other Europeans, to form descriptions of wonderful animals, both at sea and land. Whereas a traveller's chief aim should be, to make men wiser and better, and to improve their minds by the bad, as well as good example, of what they deliver concerning foreign places.
I could heartily wish a law was enacted that every traveller, before he were permitted to publish his voyages, should be obliged to make oath before the Lord High Chancellor, that all he intended to print was absolutely true, to the best of his knowledge; for then the world would no longer be deceived, as it usually is; while some writers, to make their works pass the better upon the public, impose the grossest falsities on the unwary reader. I have perused several books of travels, with great delight, in my younger days; but, having sinc=i gone over most parts of the globe, and been able to contradict many fabulous accounts from my own observation, it hath given me a great disgust against this part of reading, and some indignation to see the credulity of mankind so impudently abused. Therefore, since my acquaintances were pleased to think my poor endeavours might not be unacceptable to my country, I imposed op