The first part of the present work given an account of the Jesuit Missions to the court of Jahangir. Part two and three contain the accounts of Benedict Goes, and of the Portuguese occupation of Pegu.
All three part are based almost exclusively on the Relations of Father Fernao Gurreiro, which constitutes a complete history of the missionary undertakings of the Society of Jesus in the east Indies, China, Japan, and Africa, during the first nine years of the seventeenth century. The work was compiled from the annual letters and reports sent to Europe from the various missionary centres as Jesuit Fathers did not profess to write history.
IN an earlier volume of this series (Akbar and the Jesuits) I gave an account of the Jesuit Missions to the court of Akbar, translated from the Histoire of Father Pierre du Jarric. It was my intention to let the same author tell the story of the Jesuits at the court of Jahangir; but as the third Part of the Histoire, in which the period in question is dealt with, is based almost exclusively on the Relations of Father Fernao Guerreiro, it seemed better to translate the latter work, and thereby get a step nearer to the original letters. I made the choice with some regret; for though du Jarric did not hesitate to abridge his authorities, at times somewhat drastically, he is a more polished and, on the whole, a more engaging writer than Guerreiro.
Parts II and III contain Guerreiro's accounts of the travels of Benedict Goes, and of the Portuguese occupation of Pegu. All three Parts belong to the first decade of the seventeenth century, and each adds something of value to our knowledge of that period. As I have said elsewhere, the Jesuit Fathers did not profess to write history. But though their letters tell us little of the political happenings of the time, they light up the picture as a whole, and we see detail where before only outline was visible.
In the text I have allowed Guerreiro to have his own way with the spelling of proper names. In this respect he was nothing if not inconsistent; or perhaps he had a passion for variety. Father Ricci's name is spelt in four different ways in a single chapter.
The portrait of Jahangir, which forms the frontis-piece, is from a miniature in the possession of the British Museum, The portrait, which is unsigned, was probably painted in the early part of the seventeenth century, and is a particularly fine example of the Mogul art of the period.
My grateful acknowledgments are due to Sir E. D. Maclagan for the help he has given me in the preparation of this volume, which owes much to his expert knowledge of the Mogul period and of the Jesuit writings. I am also indebted for valuable information and suggestions to Mr. J. P. Hardiman, formerly Commissioner of Tenasserim, who has been kind enough to read through the proofs of Part III. Of the numerous authorities quoted or referred to in the notes, I have specially to acknowledge the assistance I have received from the writings of the Rev. H. Hosten, S.J., and the works of Col. Sir Henry Yule. Lastly I have to express my gratitude to my wife, who has drawn the sketch maps for Parts II and III, and whose advice throughout has been of great value.
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