WHILE employed in completing the following Translation, and in arranging the various prefatory and supplementary observations which accompany it, I have often indulged the wish of inscribing them with your name, as being the only appropriate return I could make for the perpetual assistance received as well from your advice and judgement, as from your valuable manuscript collections, which contain more information regarding the Geography, Manners, and Political Situation of the Countries that were the scene of the two first periods of Bābur’s History, than are to be found in all the printed and written authorities which exist in any other quarter.

That the work is still very imperfect, no one can be more sensible than myself. I might explain some of the difficulties which occasioned this imperfection, were such apologies ever attended to. Some of them, perhaps, should have deterred me from the undertaking, and others a more resolute scholar might have overcome. Had the work indeed been finished by the same hand by which it was begun, no such apologies would have been required. For the task, whether of translat­ing or illustrating any work on Oriental history, Dr. John Leyden was eminently qualified, as well as for greater things. The number and variety of the literary undertakings of that extraordinary man, many of which he had conducted far towards a conclusion, would have excited surprise, had they been executed by a recluse scholar, who had no public duties to perform, and whose time was devoted to literature alone. As he was cut off in the full vigour of his mind indeed, but suddenly, and without warning, he was prevented from putting the last hand to any of his greater works; yet from the knowledge which you possess of his researches, you will perhaps agree with me in thinking, that the full extent of his powers cannot be justly estimated from anything that he has published. The facility with which he mastered an uncommon number of languages, ancient and modern, European and Oriental, the extent and ingenuity of his antiquarian inquiries into the Literary History of his own country, and even the beauty of his poetical genius, are surpassed by the sagacious and philosophical spirit which he evinced, in the latter period of his life, in his different Memoirs regarding the languages of the East, and particu­larly those of Hindustan, Bengal, the Dekhan, and Northern India. The acute discrimination, the various and patient research which he brought to the task, combine to render them, unfinished as they unfortunately are, and imperfect as, from the nature of the subject, they necessarily must be, one of the most valuable literary gifts that India has yet bestowed on the West. These, or the substance of them, will, it is hoped, be given to the world under the care of some one who may do justice both to them and their author. The turn of mind that directs to the successful prosecution of studies so remote from the beaten tracts of literature, is so rare, that even the unfinished essays of an accomplished observer, with all their defects, are of singular value, and inconceivably lessen the happier labour of succeeding inquirers.

If the share which I have had in completing and correcting for the press the following papers, which, however, are of a very different kind, shall enable the Public to benefit by one of the lesser labours of Dr. Leyden, of which it would otherwise have been deprived—or if it adds, in any degree, to the idea justly entertained of his learning, industry, and judgement, I shall be satisfied. I could have wished, on his account, that the execution had been more perfect. It would have been pleasing to me to have offered a tribute worthy of a friend endued with so many rare and valuable talents, warmed by every manly and generous feeling, and rendered doubly dear to me, as the only companion of my youthful studies and cares, whom I have met, or can ever hope to meet, in this land of exile.

Though I well know, that no man is so likely as yourself to be alive to the defects of the following pages, no European having seen so much of the countries described in them, or inquired so successfully into their history, yet I present them to you with more confidence than I might otherwise have done, as I seem only to pay you a debt which I owe in common with my excellent friend. And perhaps you will not judge me too hardly, should it seem that I am not uninfluenced by the vanity of letting it be known, that I too may pride myself in having shared some portion of your regard. Believe me to be,

Yours very faithfully,


Bombay, April 12, 1816.