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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

[6] Perhaps some account of this Soliman might be contained in the lost
    pages:  But the circumstance of a Mahomedan judge or consul at Canfu is
    a circumstance worthy of notice, and shews that the Mahomedans had
    carried on a regular and settled trade with China for a considerable
    time, and were in high estimation in that country.—­Renaud.

[7] It is difficult at this distance of time to ascertain the rout laid
    down by this author, on account of the changes of names.  This mart of
    Siraff is not to be met with in any of our maps; but it is said by the
    Arabian geographers to have been in the gulf of Persia, about sixty
    leagues from Shiraz; and that on its decay, the trade was transferred
    to Ormuz.—­Renaud.

[8] It is probable, or rather certain, that Canton is here meant.—­E.

[9] Meaning the Parsees or Guebres, the fire-worshippers of Persia.—­E.

[10] It is probable that this Balhara, or king of the people with bored
    ears, which plainly means the Indians, was the Zamorin or Emperor of
    Calicut; who, according to the reports of the most ancient Portuguese
    writers concerning India, was acknowledged as a kind of emperor in the
    Indies, six hundred years before they discovered the route to India by
    the Cape of Good Hope.—­Harris.

The original editor of this voyage in English, Harris, is certainly mistaken in this point.  The Balhara was the sovereign of Southern Seindetic India; of which dominion Guzerat was the principal province.—­E.

[11] This is a very early notice of the construction and use of clocks, or
    machinery to indicate divisions of time, by means of weights.—­E.

SECTION II.

Commentary upon the foregoing Account, by Abu Zeid al Hasan of Siraff.

Having very carefully examined the book I was desired to peruse, that I might confirm what the author relates so far as he agrees with what I have learnt concerning the affairs of navigation, the kingdoms on the coast, and the state of the countries of which he treats, and that I might add what I have elsewhere collected concerning these matters:  I find that this book was composed in the year of the Hegira 237, and that the accounts given by the author are conformable with what I have heard from merchants who have sailed from Irak or Persia, through these seas.  I find also all that the author has written to be agreeable to truth, except some few passages, in which he has been misinformed.  Speaking of the custom, of the Chinese in setting meat before their dead, and believing that the dead had eaten, we had been told the same thing, and once believed it; but have since learnt, from a person of undoubted credit, that this notion is entirely groundless, as well as that the idolaters believe their idols speak to them.  From that creditable person we have likewise been informed, that the affairs of China wear quite a different aspect since those days:  and since much has been related to explain why our voyages to China have been interrupted, and how the country has been ruined, many customs abolished, and the empire divided, I shall here declare what I know of that revolution.

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