THIS fourth volume of the History of India traverses the disordered interval between the irruption of Tímúr and the culmination of Musulmán glory under Akbar; but the thread of the history is not perfect, as the annals of some of the reigns have to be drawn from later works, and will appear in the succeeding volume. The period is one which has been less illustrated than any other in the seven centuries of Muhammadan rule, for, with the exception of Bábar's Memoirs, no work of mark has come down to us, and the authorities within the reach of European students have hitherto been scanty and incomplete.

The Táríkh-i Mubárak Sháhí now makes its first appearance. It is an exceedingly rare work, and a knowledge of it has long been anxiously desired, for it covers that “hiatus of about sixty years” which Col. Lees thought it would be difficult to fill up from “contemporaneous historians.” It is not a work of any literary pretensions, and it can only be regarded as a plain unvarnished chronicle of the period over which it travels. Such as it is, however, it is a contemporary record, and all later writers have been directly or indirectly indebted to it for the history of the troublous times which followed the invasion of Tímúr. Sir H. Elliot's MS. is incomplete, but as Nizám Ahmad, the author of the Tabakát-i Akbarí, made great use of this 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-s 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 Habíbu-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 'Unsurí and the Díwán 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 Táríkh-i Sher Sháhí, though written in a spirit of eulogy, does not tend to raise the character of Sher Sháh, 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 Táríkh-i Dáúdí, 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 Sháh. The work closes with the death of Dáúd Sháh and the ex­tinction of the Afghán dynasty.

The Memoirs of Sher Khán, Khawás Khán, and Shujá'at Khán, which appear in the Appendix, are from the pen of Sir H. Elliot. The Extracts from the Wáki'át-i Mushtákí will show the true value of a work once often quoted, but now little known. It is a favourable specimen of the anecdotal literature of the age, and though assert­ing no claims to be considered as a consecutive historical record, it contains numerous interesting passages better worthy of attention than many of the stories recorded by the professed historians.

The following is a list of all the articles in this volume, with the names of the writers.

XX.—Táríkh-i Háfiz Abrú—Sir H. M. Elliot and the Editor.
XXI.—Táríkh-i Mubárak-Sháhí—Editor.
XXII.—Matla'u-s Sa'dain—Probably Mr. C. J. Oldfield, B.C.S.
XXIII.—Rauzatu-s Safá—Sir H. M. Elliot.
XXIV.—Khulásatu-l Akhbár—Sir H. M. Elliot.
XXV.—Dastúru-l Wuzrá—Sir H. M. Elliot.
XXVI.—Habíbu-s Siyar—Mr. H. Lushington, B.C.S.
XXVII.—Táríkh-i Ibráhímí—Sir H. M. Elliot.
XXVIII.—Túzak-i Bábarí—Leyden and Erskine's translation.
XXIX.—Tabakát-i Bábarí—Editor.
XXX.—Lubbu-t Tawáríkh—Sir H. M. Elliot.
XXXI.—Nusakh-i Jahán-árá—Sir H. M. Elliot.
XXXII.—Táríkh-i Sher Sháhí—Mr. E. C. Bayley, B.C.S.
XXXIII.—Táríkh-i Dáúdí—“Ensign” Chas. F. Mackenzie.


A.—Notes on Matla'u-s Sa'dain—Col. Yule.
B.—Odes of 'Unsurí—Sir H. M. Elliot.
C.—Díwán of Salmán—Sir H. M. Elliot.
D.—Memoir of Mír Alí Sher—Sir H. M. Elliot,
E.—Memoir of Khawás Khán—Sir H. M. Elliot.
F.—Death of Shujá'at Khán—Sir H. M. Elliot.
G.—Wáki'át-i Mushtákí—A munshí and Sir H. M. Elliot.
H.—Bibliographical Notices—Sir H. M. Elliot.
I.—Autobiography of Tímúr—Editor.

A slight change has been made in the title-page, in order to make it more accurately descriptive of the altered position of the Editor, who has had to take a larger share of actual authorship than was at first con­templated. To Sir H. M. Elliot belongs the merit of the whole design and plan of the work, and the collection of the mass of the materials; but a great deal remained to be done in the way of selection and translation at the time of his premature decease. The amount of matter 2required to carry out his designs has proved to be much greater than was supposed when the publication was commenced, and the Editor has had to trace out and translate all that was necessary to complete the work. He has endeavoured to the best of his judgment and ability to finish each volume according to the plan laid down; but he is fully conscious of having fallen short of what Sir H. M. Elliot would have accomplished had his life been spared.