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

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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202                    LETTER TO COLBERT

rate of travel, and considering that it is a journey of three
months from the frontier of the kingdom of Golkonda to
Kazni,^ or rather beyond it, near to Kandahar, which is
the first town in Persia, the distance between those two
extreme points cannot be less than five hundred French
leagues, or five times as far as from Paris to Lyons.

It is important to observe, that of this vast tract of
country, a large portion is extremely fertile; the large
kingdom of Bengale, for instance, surpassing Egypt itself,
not only in the production of rice, corn, and other
necessaries of life, but of innumerable articles of commerce
which are not cultivated in Egypt; such as silks, cotton,
and indigo. There are also many parts of the Indies,
where the population is sufficiently abundant, and the
land pretty well tilled; and where the artisan, although
naturally indolent, is yet compelled by necessity or other¬
wise to employ himself in manufacturing carpets, brocades,
embroideries, gold and silver cloths, and the various sorts
of silk and cotton goods, which are used in the country or
exported abroad.

It should not escape notice that gold and silver, after cir¬
culating in every other quarter of the globe, come at length
to be swallowed up, lost in some measure, in Hindoustan.
Of the quantity drawn from America, and dispersed among
the different European states, a part finds its way, through
various channels, to Turkey, tor the payment of commodities
imported from that country; and a part passes into Persia,
by way of Smyrna, for the silks laden at that port. Turkey
cannot dispense with the coffee,^ which she receives from
Yemen, or Arabia Felix ; and the productions of the Indies
are equally necessary to Turkey, Yemen, and Persia. Thus it
happens that these countries are under the necessity of
sending a portion of their gold and silver to Moka, on the
Red Sea, near Babel-mandel; to Bassora, at the top of the
Persian   Gulf;   and   to   Bander  Abassi  or   Gomeron,  near

■'■ Ghazni.

^ Cauve in the original, from the Arabic kahwa, see p. 364, footnote ^.
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