Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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  Page xxxv  


by Monsr ; F. Bernier, Physician of the Faculty of Montpellier
(about A.D. 1656)—a work, the very name of which avows its im¬
portance, and its known scarcity, its value, and hence so highly and
desirable as a record of Indian Affairs, as the most important Historical
event that has engaged either Scholar or Historian;—a work so im¬
portant in itself and written by an Eye-witness of that important
transaction which forms the great Era of Hindoostanee reference as
the foundation of another Dynasty,—claims the first place in the estima¬
tion, and search—and would do if as easily attainable, as it is now
scarce—in the Library of every Indian Antiquarian,—a work that is
not more known to, than it is prized by, every lover of oriental
literature,—while at the same time, it is now so scarce,—that even a
transient and hasty sight of it is a treat hardly obtainable—as a volume
that requires (as it did in the present instance) years of patient and
persevering search to procure. Forming as it does the basis of every
document that relates to the celebrated Aurungzebe,—it is by this
alone, self-avowed to be of the greatest importance.

Every attempt that is made by scientific research or literary labour to
elucidate the history and establish the truth of any record regarding
Hindoostan—this mighty aggregate of former kingdoms ; must derive
its materials from and refer to this work, because—it is the only authentic
source of that information which an Eye-witness (and an eye-witness
alone) can afford—as well as being the testimony of an European. By
birth an European who had every advantage of time and place, under
most favourable circumstances. By Education of a liberal profession—
by Situation a Physician—and as such occupying the first of all possible
opportunities for observation—unsuspected, and peaceably allowed
access to every attainable particular—attending the ROYAL FAMILY,
who were the contending parties—he would hear, and see, and know.
All that was to be, or heard, or seen or known, and more than probably
was he also consulted and confidently entrusted with all the private
reasons and resources which publicly influenced the Great contending
belligerents—while his situation thus placed for so long a time put
him in possession of every information of the native character, under
all its various and varying modifications, at such an eventful period—
who then could possess greater or so great advantages !—as if Providen¬
tially placed there to record by simple historical detail, the passing
events he witnessed as they occurred.

It is therefore proposed to reprint the London Edition ('Englished
out of French') of 1671. And it is further proposed to do this un¬
altered, that a work so scarce, so valuable and so desirable may be easily
procurable (as easy as it has hitherto been difficult) by every person who
wishes to possess it, either as a depository in the Library, or a com¬
panion for the sitting-room ; For the contemplation of the Philosopher,
or the instruction of Youth.
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