A SKETCH OF
straight hair and olive complexion. But there are some evidences that the dark colored tribes were the earliest settlers in the island, and may perhaps therefore be considered as the aborigines of the country, as tradition respecting the settlement of the fairer race invariably represents them as having, at the time of their arrival, found the country inhabited.
The peculiarities of the dark race are, a black complexion, and a taller stature than the olive colored tribes, stouter body, thick and projecting lips, curly or frizzly hair, a frank and honest bearing, or a grave or timid expression of countenance, exhibiting a full bust and resembling the Africans of the Mozambique shore.
The fairer race are distinguished by a light olive or copper skin, smaller stature, long hair, hazel or black eyes, erect figure, courteous and prepossessing address, active movements, with an open, vivacious aspect.
Although the intellectual capacities of the people of Madagascar appear equal to their physical qualities, which are equal to those of other portions of the human race, yet they are generally characterized by apathy, want of decision, and excessive indolence. And these qualities, taken together with the oppression of the government, may be regarded as the fruitful source of much of the extreme poverty that prevails in the country, and of many of the seasons of famine from which they suffer so severely. The mass of the people seem alike destitute of forethought and enterprise, and hence are unprepared for any failure of their crops, and unable to extricate themselves from any unforseen calamity. Nothing is a greater impediment to the advancement of civilization than indolence; and nothing shows this more distinctly than the state of starvation in which the people are sometimes found, while a small amount of labor on the rich soil of the country around them, would supply provisions in abundance for a greatly augmented population. They are also far from being cleanly in their persons, and bathe but seldom. They are not quick in avenging injuries, but cherish for a long time the desire of revenge for the most trifling insults, while they exult in the distress of others. The public executions exhibit more painfully, not only the absence of all the finer sensibilities of our nature, but the worse than brutalized state of the public mind. The unhappy victims of the treacherous ordeal of poisoned water which is used for detecting wickedness and witchcraft, are savagely dragged away, their bodies mutilated in a most horrid manner, or they