François Bernier.

Travels in the Mogul empire, A.D. 1656-1668.. online

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ad 1656-1668

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Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co., Ltd., London
Sole Trade Agents for the United Kingdom

Thacker, Spink and Co. Calcutta ,, India

Otto Harrassowitz . . Leipzig „ Germany

Jean Maisonneuve . . Paris „ France


All Booksellers in Town and Country
[Price Six Shillings, or Four Rupees Eight Annas, nett.]

Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable, Printers to Htr Majesty,
at the Edinburgh University Press.

AH right* tturvtd

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AD 1656-1668











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List of Illustrations xiii

Preface xv

Chronicle of some of the principal events in the life and times of

Francois Bernier xiz

Bibliography of the writings of Francois Bernier xxv.

Translation of Bernier's Dedication to King Louis xiv. of France,

from the 1670 Paris edition xlv

Translation of Bernier's Address to the Reader, from the 1670

Paris edition xlvii

An extract of a letter to Mr. H. 0., from M. de Monceaux the

younger, from the 1671 London edition .... xlix

The History of the late Rebellion in the States of the Great

Mogol 1

Remarkable occurrences after the War 116

Letter to Monseigneur Colbert concerning Hindoustan 200

Letter to M. de la Mothe le Vayer, containing a description of

Dehli and Agra » 239

Letter to M. Chapelain describing the Gentiles of Hindoustan 300

Series of nine letters to M. de Merveilles, descriptive of a march
made with the Camp of the Emperor Aureng-Zebe to
Kachemire 350

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Replies to questions put by M. Thevenot regarding: —

i Jews in Kachemire 4*9

ii The Moisson or periodical rains in the Indies . 431

iii The regularity of the Winds and Currents in the Indies 434
iv The fertility, wealth and beauty of the Kingdom of

Bengale 437

v The periodical rising of the Nile .... 446

A Memorandum, omitted to be inserted in my first Work, to
complete the Map of Hindoustan, and make known the
Revenues of the Great Mogol 455

Abstract of the King's Licence, from the 1670 Paris edition 461

Appendices: —

i Regarding Dryden's Tragedy of Aureng-Zebe . 465

ii On the identity of the ' Great Mogul's diamond ' with

the Koh-i-nur 469

iii Tavernier's description of the Peacock Throne of the

Great Mogul 471

iv Note on the letter to Monseigneur Colbert concerning

the absorption of the precious metals in India 473

v Some particulars relating to Mr. H[enry] 0[uldin-

burgh] 477

Index 481

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The Emperor ShAh JahAn, Frontispiece

Reproduction by Messrs. NFLagan and Cumndng of
Edinburgh of a cotempor ary painting by a Delhi A rtist
in the possession of Colonel H. B. If anna, late B.S.C.


I. PRINCE AURANGZEB. After a cotemporary Indian paint-

fag, in the possession of Colonel

2. The Emperor ShAh JahAn.

3. Prince MurAd Bakhsh.

After the engraving
dian drawing, in
Beschryving .


from an In-



4. Sultan Shujah.

5. Prince DArA Shikoh and his son

Sipihr Shikoh.




6. The Emperor ALAMGfR (Aurang-




7. Amir Jumla amusing himself in
his Zenana.




8. SivAjf.

9. 'GUNGADfN.'

After the engraving in Valentyn
After a lithograph from a draw-


ing by Captain Oliver J. J01

R.N .'206

10. AN ELEPHANT FIGHT AT LUCKNOW After a drawing by a Lucknow

DURING THE NAWABf. A* 1 *** 2 7*>

11. THE EMPRESS TAJ MahAl. After the engraving from an In-

dian drawing, in Valentyn's
Beschryving .... 296

12. Raushan ArA Begum. Da do. . 351

Figs 1 -12 reproduced by Messrs. Walker and Boutai/, London.


L'EMPIRE DU GRAND MogOL. Reproduced from the original fa

the 1670 Paris edition facing 238
REGNI KacHEMIRE NOVA BT ACCURATA Reproduced from the original in

DESCRIPTIO. tne l6 7 2 Amsterdam edition . 408

Imperii Magni Mogolis. Novissima Do. do. . 454

Maps reproduced by John Bartholomew and Co., Edinburgh.

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I WAS led to select Berniers Travels as the opening
volume of my Oriental Miscellany Series for two
reasons. An edition of this book had been promised,
but never actually issued, by my Grandfather as one of
the works to be included in that Miscellany, which
may be regarded as the precursor of all the healthy,
cheap, and popular literature of the present day; and,
further, it was a book which I had ever admired, even
before I was able, from actual experience, to fidly appre-
ciate its very remarkable accuracy.

Strange to say, although frequently reprinted and trans-
lated, there does not exist, so far as I am aware, any satis-
factory edition as to general editing, notes, and so forth,
and this has, I hope, proved of advantage to me. For all
that, I cannot claim to have approached, even partially, an
ideally perfect edition ; but, to quote Bernier's own words
as applied to his map of The Mogol Empire, I prefer to
hope that I have produced a work ( not absolutely correct,
but merely less incorrect than others that I have seen/
For instance, a copy of the Urdu translation made in 1875
by Colonel Henry Moore, and lithographed in two volumes
8vo, at Umritsur and Moradabad in 1886 and 1888 re-
spectively, only reached my hands after the Bibliography
had been printed off. Nor have I been able as yet to
find any copy of a Lucknow reprint of the Delhi edition,
No. 22 of the list.

In my treatment of Indian proper names, and Indian
and Persian words generally, in my notes and elsewhere,
I have availed myself very liberally of the ' time-honoured
spelling' proviso or clause, laid down by authority, in
the rules which govern the transliteration of such words.


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In the matter of type, ornament, and printing generally,
I have endeavoured to retain the old-time flavour of the
early French and English editions, but I have never aimed
at a facsimile reprint; and I need hardly add that in
the text I have preserved the transliterations, admirably
phonetic as they all are, to be found in the first French
editions, and have avoided attempting any work that
might be open to the charge of ' restoration ' in the
manner too often practised in the art of Architecture at
the present day.

In accordance with these general principles I have given
a translation of Bernier's Dedication to the French King,
and of his Address to the Reader, both of which have been
hitherto omitted from every edition except the first. They
contain, as was generally the case at the period, a great
deal of valuable personal history not to be found elsewhere,
and all worthy of preservation.

The letter from M. de Monceaux the younger, to Mr.
H. 0., given in the first English translation, and omitted
in most of the subsequent reprints or new editions, has also
been included, and containing as it does very pleasant tes-
timony to the high esteem ('the most knowing Coiripany
on Earth ') in which our own Royal Society was held by
Foreign savants thus early in its history, I trust that it
will prove of general interest, taken in connection with
the identification of Mr. H. O. with the first indefatigable
secretary of that illustrious body, which it has been my
privilege to establish.

As will be seen from Appendix I., it is to the first
English edition of Bernier that we are indebted for
Dryden's masterpiece of Aureng-Zebe, a tragedy (first
acted, it is believed, in the Spring of the year 1675, and
printed in 1676) of which Dr. Johnson was moved to say
that, founded on the actions of a great Prince then reign-
ing, it was fortunate that his dominion was over nations
not likely to employ their critics upon the transactions of
the English stage ; otherwise, ' if he had known and dis-

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liked his own character, our trade was not in those times
secure from his resentment. His country is at such a dis-
tance, that the manners might be safely falsified, and the
incidents feigned : for the remoteness of the place is re-
marked, by Racine, to afford the same conveniencies to a
poet as length of time/ However, as may be gathered
from Appendix I., the poetic licence allowed to himself
by Dryden has enabled him to portray the character of
Aurangzeb in a much more favourable light than the
stern facts of history would warrant, and strange to say
this seems to have been generally overlooked by those
writers who have hitherto quoted Dr. Johnson's criticism.

An implicit believer in Professor J. R. Seeley's dictum —
to be found in his work, The Expansion of England — that
' history, while it should be scientific in its method, should
pursue a practical object ; that is, it should not merely
gratify the reader s curiosity about the past, but modify
his view of the present and his forecast of the future/
I have endeavoured to illustrate several passages, — such
as the Emperor Aurangzeb's distrust of a merely mechani-
cal classical education, and Bernier's letter to Colbert
concerning the absorption of gold in India, — by some
comments applicable to them, as they are still ' burning
questions ' of the present hour ; and I have thus, I hope,
shown how I trust to be able at all times to justify my
adoption of a recent utterance by Professor Max Miiller as
the leil motiv of my Oriental Miscellany Series. I venture
to draw the attention of all students of the origin of por-
trait-painting among the Moslem artists of India in the
Mogul period, to the composition of the portraits I have
reproduced as illustrations to Bernier's text. This is a
subject I hope to treat of elsewhere, and thus endeavour to
utilise the extensive collections I made in India during a
series of years, with this object in view.

To my friend of bygone days in Lucknow, — and of the
present too, I rejoice to think, — General Sir Martin Dillon,
K.C.B., C.S.I., I am indebted for invaluable encouragement

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and help of all kinds. To the President and Council of
the Royal Society I offer my sincere thanks for permission
to examine the Oldenburg ms. correspondence in their
archives. To Colonel Hanna I am grateful for his liberality
in communicating to me the valuable original paintings
which have added so much to the enrichment of this
volume; and to Dr. V. Ball, F.R.S. of Dublin, for his aid
with regard to Appendix II. My thanks are also due to Mr.
George Scharf, C.B., and his assistant Mr. L. G. Holland,
for their kind aid in the matter of the description of the
Oldenburg portrait. To my kinsman, Archibald [David]
Constable, I can never sufficiently express my obligation
and sense of the valuable suggestions his oft-tried literary
judgment so freely placed at my disposal at all times.

Following the traditions of my forefathers, I have done
my utmost to enlist the skill and knowledge of craftsmen
of our own country, as an aid to my project; and I believe
that whatever may be the literary defects of this edition,
only too well known to myself, its mechanical production
does credit to my friends and fellow- workers, Mr. Allan
Wyon, F.S.A., Chief Engraver of Her Majestv's seals;
Messrs. T. and A. Constable, Her Majesty's Printers for
Scotland; Messrs. M c Lagan and Cumming, Lithographic
Artists, of Edinburgh ; Messrs. Walker and Boutall, Auto-
matic and Photographic Engravers, of London ; Messrs. JL
Bartholomew and Company, Geographers, of Edinburgh ;
and, finally, to my binders, Messrs. Matthew Bell, Colley,
and Company, of London, who have received all my sug-
gestions, and given effect to them, in a spirit which has
largely aided me in elaborating my designs for the
standard binding of this Series. Messrs. Bell and Colley
have also, I am comforted to think, long since forgiven
me for suggesting the punning device on the binder's
ticket, which has been prepared for use throughout my

A. C.

i Uh November 1891.

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&ouis xiii., itfng of iranre.

lames ^ttwrt, vi. of &cot(anb ano i. of linglanb, reigns in

Itfyangfr, Emperor of Kinbostan.

Born at Jou£, near Gonnord, in Anjou. His parents, cultivators of 1620.
the soil, were leaseholders, in the Barony of Etiau, of land belonging September
to the Canoniy of St. Maurice at Angers. * wl1 ** *■■"•

Baptized. September


AujourdTiui vingt-sixiesme jour de septambre mil six cent vingt, a

este" baptize 1 par moy cur6 sonbsign£ Francois fils dc honnorable bomme
Pierre Bernier et de Andree Grimaah ; fut parrain venerable et discret
Messire Francois Bernier cure* de Chantzanx, et marraine honneste fille
Julliesne Bonnin, laquelle ma declarer ne scavoir signer.

F. Bernier. Guytton.

— {Register of the Parish ofJouJ, preserved in the Archives of the
Commune of Joui- Etiau. )

paries i., Itmg of Snglanb, begins to retgn, 27HJ JHarrj) 1625.
louts xiv. sucteebs to tf)e tfjrone of irance, 14H) JRaj 1643.
iSljafj Safjan, Emperor of ftinbostan, 4t!> Jtoruarg 1628.
<&rarmonfoeaItf> proclaimed in £nglanb, 3otft Sanuarg 1648-9.

Travels in Northern Germany, Poland, Switzerland and Italy. 1647-1650.

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1652. Haviog passed an examination in physiology, for which he had been

Hay 5th. prepared by the philosopher Gassendi, in Provence, he matriculates at
the University of Montpellier.

July 18th. Passes his examination as licentiate in medicine.

Augnst 26th* Takes his degree as Doctor of Medicine, and subsequently goes to

1654. Visits Palestine and Syria.

1655. Tends, together with Antoine de la Potherie, amanuensis, the philo-
October 24th. sopher Gassendi in his last illness, and is present at his death.

Bernier undoubtedly owed his great powers of accurate observation
to his training under Gassendi, and he has warmly recorded his sense of
gratitude to M. Chapelle (who first introduced him to that philosopher)
in the last paragraph of his letter to M. Chapelain, on the Gentiles of
Hindostan, see p. 349.

Admirable testimony to the genius of Gassendi has been borne by
Henry Rogers as follows : ' The character of Gassendi's intellect is
everywhere indicated by his works ; — it was critical rather than inven-
tive. • . . Gassendi's powers of acquisition must have been singularly
active ; nor was his logical acuteness, or the liveliness of his imagin-
ation, much inferior to the promptness and retentiveness of his
memory. His learning is never mere learning ; like that of many of
his erudite contemporaries, it ministers to his intellect, but does not
oppress it. The vivacity of his mind animates and penetrates the
mass ; and the acuteness of his reasoning and the exuberance of his
illustrations relieve of much of their tedium discussions in themselves
often uninviting enough.' Encyc, Brit, Eighth edition, 1856.

Suran&rs proclaims fjtmstlf Emperor of fttnlrostan, untoer Hje
title of&tamgtr, 21st Suln 1658.

1656-1658. Goes to Egypt. Has ' the plague ' at Rosetta. Lives at Cairo for

upwards of a year. Embarks at Suez for Jedda, where he is detained
for nearly five weeks. Sails thence for Moka, where he arrives after a
passage of fifteen days. Is compelled to abandon his intention of
visiting Abyssinia, and sets sail in an Indian vessel for Surat, which he
reaches in twenty-two days, most probably towards the end of 1658 or
early in 1659.
1659. After (he battle fought at Deora near Ajmere, between the Princes

Maxoh- April. Aurangzeb and Dara, on the 12th- 13th March 1659, Bernier, then on
his way from Surat to Agra, is compelled by Da>£, whom he meets
near Ahmedabad, to accompany him as his physician. Dara being
obliged to fly towards Sind, Bernier is harassed by robbers ; but event-
ually reaches Ahmedabad, where he falls in with a Mogul Noble who
was travelling to Delhi, and places himself under his protection.

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Charles 11. of England enter* Ixmoon, 29HJ flRag 166a

Is in Delhi, whence he dates his letter to M. de la Mothe le Vayer,
see p. 239.
At Delhi, Aurangzeb about to start for Kashmir.

July lit.

December 14th

February 25th.

December 6th.

At Lahore, Aurangzeb having arrived there.

After travelling in Kashmir, he voyages to Bengal with Tavernier,
who left Agra on the 25th November. On the 6th December they are at
Alum Chand, about eighteen miles west of Allahabad.

Tavernier and Bernier part company near RijmahaX Bernier pro-
ceeding to Kasimbaza> (Tavernier's Travels. Edited by Dr. Ball,
London, 1889), afterwards travelling from Bengal to Masulipatam (see
my text, p. 113) and Golkonda, where he heard of the death of the Shih
Jahan (p. 198), which event happened on the 22d January 1666.

In this year he was still in Golkonda (text, p. 195), and it is probable
that in the early part of it he embarked at Surat, where he saw Chardin
the traveller, see page 312.

He is at Sheraz in Persia, see p. 300.

Is at Taduan near Sheraz, whence he addresses a letter to M.
Chapelain at Paris, received there on the 15th February 1669.

M. Chapelain addresses a letter on the 26th April from Paris to
Bernier at Marseilles.

Bernier is still at Marseilles, as would appear from a letter addressed
to him there by M. Chapelain. It is probable that shortly after this
date he was in Paris arranging for the publication of his Travels.

Date of the French King's Licence for the printing and publishing
of his book.

The transfer of all his rights in the publication, to Claude Barbin, August 13th
is registered in the book of the Booksellers and Printers of Paris.

lames 11. succeeDS to trje Crofon of Snglano, 6trj Jtbruarg 1685.

January 6th.


October 4th,

Jane 4th.



April 25th.

Visits England.
Dies at Paris.

Extrait du Registre des sepultures faites en riglise parois stale de
St. Barthilemy a Paris de septembre 1677 a mars 1692.

Annee 1688.— Le jeudi vingt-troisieme septembre a M inhume dans
cette eglise M° Francois Bernier, docteur en medecine de la Faculte*
de Montpellier, age* de soixante et treize ans, d&ede le vingt-deuxieme


September Md.

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du dit mois en la maison place Dauphine, a la Renommee, de cette
paroisse. Ont assiste" au convoy Philippe Bourigault, aussi docteur en
m^decine de la dite Faculty, demeurant de present susdite place
Dauphine, et Martin Barthelemy d'Herbelot, escuyer, demeurant rue
de Touraine, paroisse St. Sulpice.

B. d'Herbelot. P. Bourigault.

His friend D'Herbelot, the Orientalist, and his nephew Philippe
Bourigault, who arranged for his burial, would appear to have given his
age inexactly as seventy-three, whereas he was then a few days short of
sixty-eight years.

Bernier does not appear to have been long ill, and it is said that his
death resulted from an apoplectic fit, the effect of excitement caused by
some rude bantering he had been subjected to when in the company of
M. le Procureur-g£n£ral de Harlay. He had made his will on the
1 8th September, bequeathing his property to his nephew Philippe
Bourigault, charged with legacies to Antoine de la Potherie, his man of
business, formerly secretary to Gassendi, to the Prior of Saint- Marc-
les-Venddme, his two female servants, and another.

For the facts contained in the foregoing Chronicle I am mainly in-
debted to the researches of Drs. E. Farge and Pomp^e Mabille, and
M. L. De Lens; see Biographies and Miscellanea, No. 12-16, p. xlii.

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I**nt* in the Qnthox'* lifetime.


Grand Mogol, | Dediie av ROY, \ ParleSuurF. Bernier I Me- parli 1670
decin de la Faculti de \ Montpellier. | [Ornament] | A Paris, | Chez 2 vol*
Claude Barbin, | au Palais, | fur le Perron de la fainte Chapel le. 1 llmo.
m.dc.lxx. | Avec Privilege du Roy. \

[Frontispiece, Map of the Empire of the Great Mogul ; title-page ;
Dedication to the King, two leaves ; Address to the Reader, one leaf ;
pages 268. The map (reproduced at p. 238 of this volume) is interest-
ing, and the position of many of the places tolerably accurate, others
are very far out. For a translation of the Dedication to the King, and
the Address to the Reader, see pp. xlv.-xlvii.]

EVENEMENS | particuliers, | Oucequis'estpass^deplus | con-
siderable apres la guerre j pendant cinq ans, ou en- | viron, dans les

Online LibraryFrançois BernierTravels in the Mogul empire, A.D. 1656-1668.. → online text (page 1 of 46)