The foregoing note has described how, sixteen years after Sir Henry Elliot's first volume was given to the world, his papers were placed in my charge for revision and publication.

My first intention was to carry out the work on the original plan, but as progress was made in the examina­tion of the voluminous materials, the necessity of some modification became more and more apparent. The work had long been advertised under the revised title which it now bears, as contemplated by the author himself; its bibliographical character having been made subordinate to the historical. It also seemed desirable, after the lapse of so many years, to begin with new matter rather than with a reprint of the old volume. Mature consideration ended with the convic­tion that the book might open with fresh matter, and that it might at the same time be rendered more available as an historical record.

In the old volume, Sir H. Elliot introduced a long note upon “India as known to the Arabs during the first four centuries of the Hijri Era,” and under this heading he collected nearly all the materials then within the reach of Europeans. Since that compilation was made, it has been to a great degree superseded by new and more satisfactory translations, and the work of Al Istakhrí has also become available. The trans­lation of Al Idrísí by Jaubert was not quoted by Sir H. Elliot, but an English version of the part relating to India seemed desirable. The subject had thus outgrown the limits of an already lengthy note, and a remodelling of this portion of the book became necessary. The notices of India by the early Arab geographers form a suitable introduction to the History of the Muhammadan Empire in that country. They have accordingly been placed in chronological order at the opening of the work.

Next in date after the Geographers, and next also as regards the antiquity of the subjects dealt with, come the Mujmalu-t Tawáríkh and the Futúhu-l Buldán. In the latter work, Biládurí describes in one chapter the course of the Arab conquests in Sind. The Chach-náma deals more fully with the same subject, and the Arabic original of this work must have been written soon after the events its records, though the Persian version, which is alone known to us, is of later date. The Arab occu­pation of Sind was but temporary, it was the precursor, not the commencement, of Musulmán rule in India. On the retreat of the Arabs the government of the country reverted to native princes, and notwithstanding the suc­cesses of Mahmúd of Ghazní, the land remained practi­cally independent until its absorption into the Empire during the reign of Akbar in 1592 A.D. Priority of date and of subject thus give the right of precedence to the Historians of Sind, while the isolation of the country and the individuality of its history require that all relating to it should be kept together. The “Early Arab Geo­graphers,” and “The Historians of Sind,” have therefore been taken first in order, and they are comprised in the present volume.

So far as this volume is concerned, Sir H. Elliot's plan has been followed, and the special histories of Sind form a distinct book, but for the main portion of the work his plan will be changed. In classifying his materials as “General Histories” and “Particular Histories,” Sir H. Elliot adopted the example set by previous compilers of catalogues and other bibliographical works, but he sometimes found it convenient to depart from this divi­sion. Thus the Kámilu-t Tawáríkh of Ibn Asír and the Nizámu-t Tawáríkh of Baizáwí, are general histories, but they are classed among the particular histories, be­cause they were written shortly after the fall of the Ghaznivides, and their notices of India are confined almost exclusively to that dynasty.

The great objection to this arrangement in an his­torical work is that it separates, more than necessary, materials relating to the same person and the same sub­ject. Thus the Táríkh-i Badáúní of 'Abdu-l Kádir is particularly valuable for the details it gives of the reign and character of Akbar under whom the writer lived. But this is a general history, and so would be far removed from the Akbar-náma of Abú-l Fazl, which is a special history comprising only the reign of Akbar. A simple chronological succession, irrespective of the general or special character of the different works, seems with the single exception of the Sindian writers to be the most convenient historical arrangement, and it will therefore be adopted in the subsequent volumes. This plan will not entirely obviate the objection above noticed, but it will tend greatly to its diminution.

Upon examining the mass of materials left by Sir H. Elliot the bibliographical notices were found for the most part written or sketched out, but with many additional notes and references to be used in a final revision. The Extracts intended to be printed were, with some import­ant exceptions, translated; and where translations had not been prepared, the passages required were generally, though not always, indicated. The translations are in many different hands. Some few are in Sir H. Elliot's own handwriting, others were made by different English officers, but the majority of them seem to have been the work of munshís. With the exception of those made by Sir H. Elliot himself, which will be noted whenever they occur, I have compared the whole of them with the original texts and the errors which I have had to correct have been innumerable and extensive. But with all my care it is to be feared that some misreadings may have escaped detection, for it is very difficult for a reviser to divest himself entirely of the colour given to a text by the original translator. In some cases it would have been easier to make entirely new translations, and many might have been made more readable; but, according to Sir H. Elliot's desire, “the versions are inelegant, as, in order to show the nature of the original, they keep as close to it as possible; and no freedom has been in­dulged in with the object of improving the style, senti­ments, connection, or metaphors of the several passages which have been quoted:” the wide difference in the tastes of Europeans and Orientals has, however, induced me to frequently substitute plain language for the turgid metaphors and allusions of the texts.

The notes and remarks of the Editor are enclosed in brackets [], but the Introductory chapter on the Arab Geographers must be looked upon as being in the main his work. Where any of Sir H. Elliot's old materials have been used and throughout in the notes, the dis­tinctive mark of the brackets has been maintained.

The reference made by Sir H. Elliot to the works of other authors are very numerous, especially in the articles which appeared in his printed volume. Some of these references have been checked, and the passages referred to have been found to be of very little im­portance. They would seem to have been made for the author's rather than for general use, but still it is difficult to determine beforehand what particular part of an article may attract attention or excite opposition. I have worked under the great disadvantage of living in the country, far away from public libraries, and have been confined in great measure to the limited resources of my own library. It has thus been impracticable for me to verify many of these references or to judge of their value. I have therefore deemed it more expedient to insert the whole than to omit any which might even­tually prove serviceable.

With the advertisements published before the work came into my hands, there was put forth a scheme of spelling to be observed in the reprint of Sir H. Elliot's Glossary and in this work, by which Sanskritic and Semitic words were to be made distinguishable by dia­critical marks attached to the Roman equivalent letters. Admitting the ingenuity of the scheme, I nevertheless declined to adopt it, and so a determination was come to, that the long vowels only should be marked. It seemed to me that this system of spelling, while it would have required a great deal of minute attention on the part of the Editor and Printer, would practically have been un­heeded by the general reader, and useless to the scholar. In doubtful cases, the affiliation of a word without proofs or reasons, would have been valueless; but more than all this, the many Turanian words must have appeared with a Sanskritic or Semitic label upon them. Either too much or too little was attempted, and even if the design could be completely accomplished, a philological work like the Glossary would be a more fitting vehicle for its introduction than a book like the present.

To shorten the work as much as possible it has been determined to omit the Extracts of the original texts, but even then, it will be impossible to include the whole of the materials in the three volumes advertised.

I have throughout been anxious never to exceed my powers as Editor, but to place myself as far as possible in Sir H. Elliot's place. I have not attempted to controvert his opinions, or to advance theories of my own, but palpable errors have been corrected, and many altera­tions and additional notes have been introduced, which have been rendered necessary by the advance of know­ledge. With the unrevised matter, I have used greater freedom, but it has been my constant aim to complete the work in a manner that its designer might have approved.

It only remains for me to express my obligations to Mr. E. Thomas for many valuable hints and suggestions. I am also indebted to General Cunningham for several important notes, which I have been careful to acknow­ledge in loco, and for placing at my disposal his valuable Archæological Reports, which are too little known in Europe, and some extracts of which appear in the Appendix.