ENcouraged by the generous attention of my honour­able masters, the East-India Company, and of their representatives in Bengal, to every species of useful information from their servants, I was induced, during my residence in India, to study the languages and history of the country, with a view of recommending myself to their notice and favour. I also cherished the hope of laying up a fund of amusement from these studies for the hours of retirement, should I be so fortunate as to revisit my native country: nor was I without the ambition, of being able to add somewhat to the store of public informa­tion respecting the extensive empire of Hindostan, of which Great-Britain possesses so large a share. Rewarded by the accomplishment of my two first objects, I am now led to try the merit of the last.

The History of Hindostan, from the earliest Mahum­medan conquests to the year 1669 of our æra, has been already presented to the public by the late Colonel Dow, who, had he lived, would in all probability have continued it down to the present day; but, unfortunately, his work concludes at a period, when the affairs of Hindostan were becoming most interesting to European curiosity. I mean the 11th year of Aulumgeer, commonly called Aurung­zebe, the events of whose reign, and those of his successors, are to us more important, as nearer to our own times.

The celebrated Mr. Orme, when writing of this period in his Historical Fragments of Hindostan, regrets the want of information regarding it, and justly observes, “the knowledge is well worth the enquiry; for, besides the magnitude of the events, and the energy of the characters, which arise in this period, there are no states or powers on the continent of India, with whom our nation have either connexion or concern, who do not owe their present condition to the reign of Aurungzebe, or to its influence on the reigns of its successors.”

It is the History of Dekkan, and the above-mentioned very important period, with which, if the following Translation is approved, I hope shortly to present the public. Of materials I have no want, but must confess myself unwilling to labour in their arrangement, without some prospect of such a task’s proving acceptable. On this account, I have judged it prudent to offer first a specimen of my work, that, if unworthy of the public eye, I may keep the remainder of it in that privacy I shall then think it only fit for, and save myself the pain of disappointed expectation.

The following Memoir is translated from the Persic of Eradut Khan, a nobleman of the court of Aulumgeer. The authenticity of the facts he relates is undoubted in Hindostan, and the simplicity of his style regarded as a strong proof of his veracity. I have studiously endeavoured to make him write English, in the same unaffected and plain manner that he has his native tongue; being more anxious for the fidelity of my translation, than desirous of praise for composition.

It now remains only to give a short introduction to the subject of my author. It is generally known, that the Emperor Aulumgeer reigned fifty years over Hindostan, and extended his empire, before too vast to be secure, over the southern peninsula of India, called Dekkan, in the reduction of which he spent the last five-and-twenty years of his life. In this period, he reduced the monarchies of Golconda and Beejapore; but though he could conquer enervated kings, he could not subdue the minds of their uncorrupted subjects. His zeal for the Mahummedan religion, led him to deprive the Hindoo princes of those indulgences which his less bigotted ancestors had allowed them: he destroyed their temples, and disgraced them by a capitation-tax. This tyranny weakened the affections of the ancient vassals of the house of Timur, and raised such a spirit of resistance in the hardy natives of Dekkan that could never be effectually subdued. Sewajee and his suc­cessors, the Mharatta chiefs, though they could not wholly withstand the Imperial arms, yet so harrassed Aulumgeer by their predatory incursions, as to render his victories of no advantage. The treasures of the old provinces were dissipated in half-conquests of new territory, and the emperor’s long absence from his hereditary dominions, occa­sioned a universal weakness in the powers of government. The nobility and army, tired with nearly thirty years of constant war, were grown remiss, and anxious for repose in the luxurious pleasures of Dhely and Agra. Aurung­zebe’s three sons, ambitious of empire, waited only the death of their father, to fight against each other for the important prize. Thus every circumstance combined to bring on the decline of the Mogul empire, and involve it in the miseries related by Eradut Khan, whom I shall now leave to speak for himself.