It would be difficult to name any other book so full of instruction for the young Anglo-Indian administrator. When this work was published in 1844 the author had had thirty-five years’ varied experience of Indian life, and had accumulated and assimilated an immense store of knowledge concerning the history, manners, and modes of thought of the complex population of India. He thoroughly understood the peculiarities of the various native races, and the characteristics which distinguish them from the nations of Europe; while his sympathetic insight into Indian life had not orientalized him, nor had it ever for one moment caused him to forget his position and heritage as an Englishman. This attitude of sane and discriminating sympathy is the right attitude for the Englishman in India.
To enumerate the topics on which wise and profitable observations will be found in this book would be superfluous. The wine is good, and needs no bush. So much may be said that the book is one to interest that nondescript person, the general reader in Europe or America, as well as the Anglo-Indian official. Besides good advice and sound teaching on matters of policy and administration, it contains many charming, though inartificial, descriptions of scenery and customs, many ingenious speculations, and some capital stories. The ethnologist, the antiquary, the geologist, the soldier, and the missionary will all find in it something to suit their several tastes.
In this edition the numerous misprints of the original edition have been all, and, for the most part, silently corrected. The extremely erratic punctuation has been freely modified, and the spelling of Indian words and names has been systematized. Two paragraphs, misplaced in the original edition at the end of Chapter 48 of Volume I, have been removed, and inserted in their proper place at the end of Chapter 47; and the supplementary notes printed at the end of the second volume of the original edition have been brought up to the positions which they were intended to occupy. Chapters 37 to 46 of the first volume, describing the contest for empire between the sons of Shah Jahan, are in substance only a free version of Bernier’s work entitled, The Late Revolution of the Empire of the Great Mogol. These chapters have not been reprinted because the history of that revolution can now be read much more satisfactorily in Mr. Constable’s edition of Bernier’s Travels. Except as above stated, the text of the present edition of the Rambles and Recollections is a faithful reprint of the Author’s text.
In the spelling of names and other words of Oriental languages the Editor has ’endeavoured to strike a mean between popular usage and academic precision, preferring to incur the charge of looseness to that of pedantry’. Diacritical marks intended to distinguish between the various sibilants, dentals, nasals, and so forth, of the Arabic and Sanskrit alphabets, have been purposely omitted. Long vowels are