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

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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204                       LETTER TO COLBERT

purchased at a very high price nearly the whole winter;
—and likewise dried fruit, such as almonds, pistachio
and various other small nuts, plums, apricots, and raisins,
which may be procured the whole year round ;—that she
imports a small sea-shell from the Maldives, used in
Bengale, and other places, as a species of small money;
ambergris from the Maldives and Mozambic ; rhinoceros'
horns, elephants' teeth, and slaves from Ethiopia ; musk
and porcelain from China, and pearls from Beharen,^ and
Tutucoury,'^ near Ceylon; and I know not what quantity of
other similar wares, which she might well do without.

The importation of all these articles into Hindoustan
does not, however, occasion the export of gold and silver ;
because the merchants who bring them find it advantageous
to take back, in exchange, the productions of the country.

Supplying itself with articles of foreign growth or
manufacture, does not, therefore, prevent Hindoustan from
absorbing a large portion of the gold and silver of the
world, admitted through a variety of channels, while there
is scarcely an opening for its return.

It should also be borne in mind, that the Great Mogol
constitutes himself heir of all the Omrahs, or lords, and
likewise of the Mansebdars, or inferior lords, who are in
his pay ; and, what is of the utmost importance, that he is
proprietor of every acre of land in the kingdom, except¬
ing, perhaps, some houses and gardens which he sometimes
permits his subjects to buy, sell, and otherwise dispose
of, among themselves.

' The island of El-Bahrein, in the Persian Gulf, still the site of a
great pearl-fishery. The name, literally the Two Seas, probably owes
its origin to the notion that the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman
meet there. It is used in the sense of rowos diddKaacros in Acts xxvii.
41, 'And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship

^ Tuticorin, the seaport in the Tinnevelli District, Madras Presidency,
formerly in the hands of the Portuguese, then of the Dutch, has still
a considerable foreign trade, the value of which ranks next to that of
Madras, and the sixth in all India.
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