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

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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there existed a sea from one Pole to the other, which
passed through Europe, we should there find these two
currents regulated in every respect as in the Indies, and that
the reason why this regularity is not general is that the
seas are intercepted by lands, which obstruct, break, and
diversify their course; in the same manner as some
persons allege that the usual flux and reflux of the sea is
prevented in those seas which, like the Mediterranean,
stretch from East to West. According to this theory,
it might also, in my opinion, be maintained that there
are only two principal and opposite currents of air or
wind, and that in regard to them the same regularity
would reign generally, if the earth were also perfectly and
generally smooth, and similar throughout.

Answer to the fourth Inquiry, as to the fertility, wealth
and beauty of the Kingdom of Bengale.

Egypt has been represented in every age as the finest
and most fruitful country in the world, and even our modern
writers deny that there is any other land so peculiarly
favoured by nature : but the knowledge I have acquired of
Bengale, during two visits paid to that kingdom, inclines
me to believe that the pre-eminence ascribed to Egypt is
rather due to Bengale. The latter countiy produces rice
in such abundance that it supplies not only the neigh¬
bouring but remote states. It is carried up the Ganges as
far as Patna, and exported by sea to Maslipatam and many
other ports on the coast of Koromandel. It is also sent to
foreign kingdoms, principally to the island of Ceylon and
the Maldives. Bengale abounds likewise in sugar, with
which it supplies the kingdoms of Golkonda and the
Karnatic, where very little is grown, Arabia and Mesopo¬
tamia, through the towns of Moka and Bassora, and even
Persia, by way of Bender-Abbasi. Bengale likewise is cele¬
brated for its sweetmeats, especially in places inhabited
by Portuguese,  who are   skilful   in   the art of preparing
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