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

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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caused the death of half the population by famine, con¬
verted the country into forests, and prevented for many
years the tillage of the land. But all this did not suffice :
even this plan was unsuccessful; a division of the kingdom
took place, and Ava, the capital, was very lately on the
point of being captured by a handful of fugitives from
China.^ We must confess, however, that there seems
little probability of the total ruin and destruction of the
Turkish empire in our day—it will be happy if we see
nothing worse !—because the neighbouring states, so far
from being able to attack it, are not in a condition to
defend themselves effectually, without foreign aid, which
remoteness and jealousy will always render tardy, in¬
efficient, and liable to suspicion.

If it be observed that there is no reason why eastern
states should not have the benefit of good laws, or why
the people in the provinces may not complain of their
grievances to a grand Visii; or to the King himself; I
shall admit that they are not altogether destitute of good
laws, which, if properly administered, would render Asia
as eligible a residence as any other part of the world.
But of what advantage are good laws when not observed,
and when tbere is no possibility of enforcing their
observance ? Have not the provincial tyrants been
nominated by the same grand Visir and by the same
King, who alone have power to redress the people's
wrongs ? and is it not a fact that they have no means
of appointing any but tyrants to rule over the provinces.''
either the Visir or the King has sold the place to the
Governor. And even admitting that there existed a
disposition to listen to a complaint, how is a poor peasant
or a ruined artisan to defray the expenses of a journey
to the capital, and to seek justice at one hundred and
fifty or two hundred leagues  from  home ?      He  would

' This happened in May 1659, and it is said that the repulse of the
Chinese was mainly due to the skill and bravery of native Christian
gunners, descendants of Portuguese captives.
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