Complex and still unsettled

Macaulay, torn between his sympathies with the progressive aspirations of the French Revolution on 1789 and his horror at its periods of unhesitating bloody sacrifice, wrote of the difficulty for a fair observer to give judgment on an event so complex and still, at his time, so unsettled:

A traveler falls in with a berry which he has never before seen. He tastes it, and finds it sweet and refreshing. He praises it, and resolves to introduce it into his country. But in a few minutes he is taken violently sick; he is convulsed; he is at the point of death. He of course changes his opinion, pronounces this delicious fruit a poison, blames his own folly in tasting it, and cautions his friends against it. After a long and violent struggle he recovers, and finds himself much exhausted by his suffering, but free from some chronic complains which have been the torments of his life. He then changes his opinion again, and pronounces this fruit a very powerful remedy, which ought to be employed only in extreme cases and with great caution, but which ought not to be absolutely excluded from the Pharmacopoeia!

Roy Mottahedeh, The Mantle of the Prophet.

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