TO THE KING
The zeal which I have for the service of your Majesty, and for the honour of France, does not permit me to enjoy the repose which I believed had come to me after such prolonged labours. My age not permitting me to undertake new voyages, I have experienced a kind of shame at finding myself of no use to my country, and at not acquitting myself of all which it expects from me. I have thought it to be my duty to it to render an account of my observations upon that which I have seen, and have not been able to excuse myself from making public. I hope, Sire, that these exact and faithful accounts which I have written, since my return, from the notes which I have collected, will not be less useful to my country than the valuable articles of merchandise which I have brought back from my travels. For my object in this work is not merely to assuage public curiosity. I have proposed for myself a more noble and more elevated aim in all my deeds. As the hope of legitimate gain alone has not made me traverse these regions, so the sole desire of placing my name in this book has not caused me to-day to have it printed.
In all the countries which I have traversed, my strongest desire has always been to make known the heroic qualities of Your Majesty, and the wonders of your reign, and to show how your subjects excel by their industry and by their courage all other nations of the earth. I venture to say to Your Majesty that I have done so with more boldness, and even more success, than those who had a title and an authority to speak. My method of action, hostile to deception, and possibly somewhat too free, has exposed me to many risks among the nations jealous of our prosperity, who defame us as far as they can in order to exclude us from trade. I have often risked both my fortune and my life by exalting Your Majesty by my words above all the monarchs of Europe and these Kings of the East -- even in their very presence. I have emerged with honour from all these dangers -- impressing a respect for your name in the hearts of these barbarians.
Under the shadow of this august name, respected throughout the world, I have travelled more than 60,000 leagues by land in perfect safet. I have six times traversed Turkey, Persia, and the better part of India, and was the first to attempt to go to the famous diamond mines. Too happy to have brought precious stones which Your Majesty has condescended to join to the jewels of your throne, but still more happy to have made observations in all these places, to which Your Majesty will possibly not deem it unworthy to devote some moments, as you will find there many details of three of the most powerful Empires of Asia. You will see the manners and customs of the people dwelling there at present. I have interposed in certain places stories, which may relieve the mind after a tedious march of caravans, imitating in that the Orientals, who establish caravansarais at intervals in their deserts for the relief of travellers.
I am principally devoted to the description of the territories of Turkey, Persia, and the Mogul, in order to point out on the five different routes which one may take to go to them certain common errors with reference to the positions of the places. Although these accounts may be wanting in grace and in politeness of language, I hope that the diversity of the curious and important matters which they contain, and more particularly the veracity which I have scrupulously observed, will nevertheless cause them to be read, and possibly to be esteemed. ! shall consider myself well repaid for my work if it has the good fortune to please Your Majesty, and if you accept this evidence of profound respect.
With which I am,
J. B. TAVERNIER.
|~~ Glossary ~~ Tavernier index page ~~ fwp's main page ~~|