« PreviousContinue »
work, and often quoted long passages verbatim, the deficiencies of the former have been supplied, by quoting from the latter such passages as were required to complete the history of the Saiyid dynasty down to the end of the reign of 'Aláu-d dín in 1450 A.D.
The Extracts from the Matla'u-8 Sa'dain consist of some short passages relating to Tímúr's invasion; but the major portion are devoted to the events of the author's embassy to the Rájá of Bíjanagar, and throw considerable light upon the condition of India in the fifteenth century. 'Abdu-r Razzák was a florid writer, and relates his travels in the grand style ; but the portions relating to Tímúr's invasion are written in a plain unpretending narrative remarkable by the contrast. It is hardly credible that both could have come from the same pen. The part relating to Tímúr was probably copied or translated, but as only some Extracts of the first volume of the MS. have been available, we are in ignorance as to what account 'Abdu-r Razzák gives of his authorities. The style of the portion devoted to the history of Tímúr is very like that of the Malfúzát-i Tímúrí, and so closely follows the details of that work and the Zafar-náma, that it has been necessary to print only a few lines as specimens.
The Extracts from the Habibu-s Siyar appertain to the history of the Ghaznivides, and so they are supplemental to the accounts given of that dynasty in the second volume, though, from the date of their composition, they appear in this volume. Sir H. Elliot had so fully annotated these passages as to enhance their intrinsic value, and to justify their publication out of their natural order. To these Extracts are appended Sir H. Elliot's translations from the Odes of 'Unsuri and the Diwán of Salmán, which appear in the Appendix, and upon which he evidently bestowed considerable labour and attention.
Of the Extracts from the Autobiography of Bábar little need be said. These Memoirs are the best memorials of the life and reign of the frank and jovial conqueror; they are ever fresh, and will long continue to be read with interest and pleasure. To have passed these over on the ground of their previous publication would have left a blank in this work which no other writer could supply. Who but himself could have so fully and openly described his aims and feelings, or who could have exhibited that adaptability of character and that ready appreciation of the manners and prejudices of his new subjects ? All the important passages relating to India have therefore been extracted from Leyden and Erskine's translation, and they will be the more acceptable since the original work has now become scarce and dear. A new French translation by M. Pavet de Courteille from Bábar's own Turkí version of the Memoirs made its appearance just in time to furnish materials for a few notes and comparisons; but the differences between the translations from the Persian and Turkí versions are not so great as might have been expected.
The Afghán dynasty, which followed that of the Saiyids, has plenty of Chronicles, but no work approaching the dignity of a history. The spirit of clanship has always been strong among Afgháns, and their writers exhibit a greater affection for personal anecdotes and family feuds than for matters of public policy. All the works relating to this dynasty abound with anecdotes and stories, many of which are trivial and uninteresting. The Tarikh-i Sher Sháhí, though written in a spirit of eulogy, does not tend to raise the character of Sher Shah, who has enjoyed a reputation apparently above his merits. That he was an able administrator is no doubt true, but the account which this work gives of his regulations and arrangements does not show them to be of a very enlightened order. He was a cautious rather than an enterprising commander, and was more prone to seek success by crafty and crooked courses, than by the exercise of valour and daring. His soldier-like death in the trenches has cast a ray of martial glory upon his memory; but the treacherous betrayal of Bíbí Fath Malika of Bengal and the cold-blooded murder of the prisoners of Ráísín would bedim a much brighter fame than he ever achieved.
The Tárikh-i Dáúdi, another of these Afghán chronicles, is of a similar character, and can claim no great literary merit; still the Extracts here printed are the best available authority for the period of which they treat. They enter into details, and furnish many scraps of information hitherto inaccessible, and, in so doing, they afford the means of arriving at a true estimate of the characters of Sultáns Sikandar and Islám Shah. The work closes with the death of Dáúd Shah and the extinction of the Afghán dynasty.
The Memoirs of Sher Khán, Khawas Khán, and Shujá’at Khán, which appear in the Appendix, are from the pen
of Sir H. Elliot. The Extracts from the Wákiát-i Mushtaki will show the true value of a work once often
quoted, but now little known. It is a favourable specimen
The following is a list of all the articles in this volume,
XX.-Táríkh-i Háfiz Abrú -Sir H. M. Elliot and the Editor.
XXV.-Dastúru-l Wuzrá—Sir H. M. Elliot.
XXX.-Lubbu-t Tawáríkh-Sir H. M. Elliot.
A.-Notes on Matla'u-s Sa’dain-Col. Yule.
A slight change has been made in the title-page, in