The appearance of a new history of India requires some words of explanation. If the ingenious, original, and elaborate work of Mr. Mill left some room for doubt and discussion, the able compositions since published by Mr. Murray and Mr. Gleig may be supposed to have fully satisfied the demands of every reader. But the excellence of histories derived from European researches alone does not entirely set aside the utility of similar inquiries conducted under the guidance of impressions received in India; which, as they rise from a separate source, may sometimes lead to different conclusions. Few are likely to take up these volumes unless they are previously interested in the subject, and such persons may not be unwilling to examine it from a fresh point of view: if the result suggests no new opinions, it may at least assist in deciding on those contested by former writers. In the choice of difficulties presented by the expression of Asiatic words in European letters, I have thought it best to follow the system of Sir W. Jones, which is used by all the English Asiatic Societies, as well as by Mr. Colebrooke,
Professor Wilson, and various other writers. But as I do not, in general, attempt to express the aspirates, gutturals, or other sounds which are peculiar to Asiatic languages, I have not found it necessary to copy all the minutiae of Sir W. Jones’s orthography, or to distinguish particular consonants (as k and c), which, in his system, would represent very different sounds.
In well-known words, I have retained the usual spelling; as in Delhi (for Dilli or Dihli); Bombay (for Mumbai); Mysore (for Maheswar or Maisur). Where the corrupt names are only applied to particular persons and places, I have limited them in that manner. The famous rivers Indus and Ganges are so called; while others, bearing the same Indian names, are written Sind and Ganga: the Arabian prophet is Mahomet, but all others of the same Arabic name are Mohammed: Tamerlane is used in speaking of the Tartar conqueror, but Teimur on all other occasions.
There are other irregularities: gutturals and aspirates are sometimes used; and double consonants are put in some cases where the sound is single, as the double t in Attoc, which is pronounced as in matter; while in general double consonants are sounded separately, as in bookkeeping, hop-pole, or drum-maker. In names with which I am not myself acquainted, I am obliged to take the spelling of the author by whom they are mentioned.
This collection transcribed by Chris Gage