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VI

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 sch61ar, 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 judgment, 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

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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,

W«. ERSKINE.

Bombay, 12th April 1816.

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Preface:

The Memoirs of the Emperor Baber, of which the following pages contain a translation, are well known, by reputation, to such as are conversant with the history of India. They were written by that prince in the Jaghatai or Chaghatai Turki, which was his native language, and which, even down to the present time, is supposed to be spoken with more purity in his paternal kingdom of Ferghana than in any other country. It is the dialect of the Turki tongue which prevails in the extensive tract of country that formed the dominions of Jaghatai or Chaghatai Khan, the son of Chengiz Khan, the celebrated conqueror, which extended from the Ulugh-Tagh mountains on the north to the Hindu-Kush mountains on the south, and from the Caspian sea on the west to the deserts of Cobi, beyond Terfan, Kashghar, and Yarkend, on the east. It was, however, chiefly the language of the deserts and plains, as the cities, especially along the Jaxartes, and to the south of that river, continued to be, in general, inhabited by persons speaking the Persian tongue, while the inhabitants of most of the hills to the south retained their original languages.

The Jaghatai Turki was a dialect of the language of that extensive division of the Tartaric nations, which, in order to distinguish them from the Monguls, or Moghuls, have recently, though perhaps erroneously, been more peculiarly denominated Tartars or Tatars. The language really spoken by that geeat race is the Turki; and the language of Kashghar, of the Crimea, of Samarkand and Bokhara, of Constantinople, and the greater part of Turkey, of the principal wandering tribes of Persia, and, indeed, of one half of the population of that country, of the Turkomans of Asia Minor, as well as of those east of the Euxine, of the Uzbeks, the Kirghis, the Kaizaks, the Bashkirs, and numerous other tribes of Tartary, is radically the same as that of the Jaghatai Turks. The most mixed, and, if we may use the expression, the most corrupted of all the dialects of the Turki, is that of the Constantinopolitan Turks,* which, however, for some centuries, has been the most cultivated and polished. The others all still very closely approximate, and the different tribes speaking them can easily understand and converse with each other.

The Turki language had been much cultivated before the age of Baber, and at that

* In order to discriminate the Constantinopolitan or Osmanli Turks from the Jaghatai and other original Turks, I shall in the following pages denominate the former Turks, and their language Turkith; the latter Ttlrks and their language Turki, pronounced Toorks and Toorki.

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period bad every title to be ranked among the most perfect and refined in the East. The sovereigns of the different Turkoman and Turki dynasties to the south of the Caucasian range, the Caspian sea, and the river Sirr, (the ancient Jaxartes,) though many of them had been distinguished encouragers of Arabic literature in the. kingdoms which they had conquered, and though several of the earliest and most eminent of the Persian writers flourished in their courts, had still continued to speak their native tongue in their families and with the men of their tribe. When Sir William Jones decided* that the Memoirs ascribed to Taimur could not be "written by Taimur him"self, at least as Caesar wrote his Commentaries, for one very plain reason, that no "Tartarian king of his age could write at all," he probably judged very correctly as to Taimur, who seems to have been unlettered, though, as to the other princes of Tartarian descent, his contemporaries, he perhaps did not sufficiently consider that two centuries had elapsed since the conquest of Chengiz Khan, and two more since the reign of Mahm(id of Ghazni, during all which time the territories to the east of the Caspian, as well as a great part of Persia, had been subject to Turki dynasties, and the country traversed by tribes of Turki race and speech; and that this period was far from being one of the darkest in the literary history of Persia. The want of a suitable alphabet, which he gives as a reason for doubting whether the language was a written one before the days of Chengiz Khan,f was soon remedied. The Arabic character is now used, as it was at least as early as the thirteenth century,}: the age of Haitho. The fact only proves that the Turki language was, as Sir William Jones justly concluded, very little cultivated before the Turki tribes entered those provinces which had formed part of the immense empire of the Arabian Khalifs, in which the Arabian literature still prevailed, and the Arabian character was still used. .

I may be permitted to add, that there seems to have been some mistake or confusion in the account given to Sir William Jones of the Tuz&k, or Institutes of Taimur. "It is true," says he, "that a very ingenious but indigent native, whom "Davy supported, has given me a written memorial on the subject, in which he "mentions Taimur as the author of two works in Turkish; but the credit of his' "information is overset by a strange apocryphal story of a King of Yemen, who in"vaded, he says, the Emir's dominions, and in whose library the manuscript was "afterwards found, and translated by order of Alishir, first minister of Taimur's "grandson." || He tells us in the same discourse^ that he had "long searched "in vain for the original works ascribed to Taimur and Baber." It is much to be regretted that his search was unsuccessful, as, from his varied knowledge of Eastern languages, he would have given us more ample and correct views than we yet possess of the Turki class of languages, with the Constantinopolitan dialect of which he was well acquainted. The preface to the only copy of the complete Memoirs of Tai

* Discourse on the Tartars. Works, vol. I. p. 69, 4to ed. t Ibid. p. 68.

J Haitho observes that the Jogour, literas liabent proprias, (Hist. Orientalis, c. 2, ed 1671.) The inhabitants of Turquestan, he says, vocantur Turchae, literas non habent proprias, scd utuntur Arabicis in civitatibus, sive castris. lb. c. 3. See also Hist. Orient, c. 3, ap. Bergeron, p. 7.

|| Jones's Works, vol. I. p. 69. § lb. p. 60.

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