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On the 31st of January 1834 will be Published,

No. XV.

OF

THE EDINBURGH CABINET LIBRARY:

BEING AN

HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT

OF

PERSIA,

FROM THE EARLIEST AGES TO THE PRESENT TIME: WITH A DETAILED VIEW OF ITS RESOURCES, GOVERNMENT, POPULATION, NATURAL HISTORY, AND THE CHARACTER OF ITS INHABITANTS, PARTICULARLY OF THE WANDERING TRIBES; INCLUDING A DESCRIPTION OF AFGHANISTAN AND BELOOCHISTAN.

BY JAMES B. FRASER, ESQ.,

Author of "Travels in Khorasan," "A Tour through the Himâlâ," &c. Illustrated by a Map, and Thirteen Engravings by Jackson.

PREFACE TO THE WORK.

In undertaking to describe so extensive and celebrated a region as the Persian empire, the Author is by no means insensible to the difficulty of the task on which he enters. The subject is wide and intricate, while the sources of information are frequently imperfect or obscure; but it has been his study, by adopting a distinct arrangement, and by consulting the best authorities, to present his readers with a correct and complete picture of that interesting portion of Western Asia.

His personal acquaintance with many parts of the country has afforded him material assistance in describing its aspect, productions, and inhabitants; and he has availed himself of the observations of the greater number of modern travellers, both to correct his own opinions, and to supply additional facts.

The advantage of this actual knowledge has been especially important in constructing the Map; and, it is proper to remark, a very considerable difference will be found between the positions of many of the principal places, as given in that now submitted to the Public, compared with all other geographical delineations of Persia. These corrections have been made in accordance with a series of astronomical observations taken by the Author, the details of which may be found in his "Travels in Khorasan" and "On the Banks of the Caspian Sea ;" and every precaution has been adopted to lay down the whole of the countries described in this Work with the greatest possible accuracy. The route which the Author pursued is distinctly marked, and may be satisfactory to some readers, as showing the districts to which such of his descriptions as are founded on personal survey more particularly apply.

The fountains from which the ancient history of Persia is derived are generally well known; but, in drawing from them on this occasion, the most earnest endeavours have been made to elucidate the subject, by examining into the opinions of every distinguished writer down to the present time. The greater part of the narrative, subsequently to the Mohammedan invasion, is taken from the pages of Sir John Malcolm, whose volumes are now every where regarded as a standard authority in this department.

In his account of the religion of Zoroaster, the Author has trusted principally to three sources; First, To the works of Anquetil du Perron, whose persevering zeal has accomplished a translation of those curious relics of Magian lore entitled the Zendavesta, and explored every source of ancient and modern literature calculated to throw light upon the subject; secondly, To the writings of the ingenious Abbé Foucher, who has examined it with great critical ability; and, thirdly, To the less voluminous, but most perspicuous and conclusive disquisitions of Mr William Erskine, who, in addition to his accurate knowledge of European learning, has brought to the investigation an intimate acquaintance with Oriental languages, and the advantage of a familiar intercourse with some very intelligent Parsee doctors. The labours of these three gentlemen appear to have exhausted the subject, so far as materials for inquiry or conjecture are considered.

In describing the antiquities of Persia, the Author has corrected and enlarged his own observations by the accounts of other travellers; among whom, Chardin and Niebuhr at an earlier period, and Sir Robert Ker Porter and Morier in our own day, will be found to give the amplest and most accurate details.

In all that relates to the nature and resources of the government, the classification and character of the people, to the wandering tribes, and, in short, the substance of the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Chapters, the Author has not trusted to his own researches alone, but has converted to his use many original materials, furnished upon the spot by persons in every way qualified to afford the best information. For this reason he believes that these chapters will be found to contain a considerable mass of new and very interesting matter.

For the account of Afghanistan, he is principally indebted to the valuable work of Mr Elphinstone, the correctness of which, so far as he had it in his power to inquire, was in every instance confirmed. The latter part of the history, from the dethronement of Shah Sujah ul Mulk, including the adventures of Futeh Khan, the vizier, is abridged from a statement of facts communicated to the Author while in Khorasan.

The scientific notice contained in the Twelfth Chapter is entirely furnished from observations made by him while he employed his leisure in collecting a number of specimens for the Geological Society of London. A more extended account of the geognostical relations and mineralogy of Persia is greatly to be desired. In a climate so little different from that of contiguous countries no great novelty was to be expected in the natural productions. But a short account of the principal animals and vegetables is given, in which such as are in any respect remarkable have received particular notice.

It remains to speak of the decorations of the volume. These, with one exception, the portrait of Abbas Mirza, which by permission was taken from the excellent picture by Sir Robert Ker Porter,—are engraved from drawings taken on the spot by the Author. They were chosen from an extensive collection, more with the view of illustrating the text and conveying characteristic ideas of the country, than for producing a merely picturesque effect. He, however, hopes that neither of these objects has been overlooked, and that they will in no respect fall short of any hitherto presented to the readers of the EDINBURGH CABINET LIBRARY.

PRINTED FOR OLIVER & BOYD, EDINBURGH; SIMPKIN & MARSHALL, LONDON; AND WILLIAM CURRY, JUN. & CO. DUBLIN.

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BAGICH MUSEUT

DUELE

OF

ARABIA,

ANCIENT AND MODERN:

CONTAINING

A DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY-AN ACCOUNT OF ITS INHABITANTS, ANTIQUITIES, POLITICAL CONDITION, AND EARLY COMMERCE-The life AND RELIGION OF MOHAMMED-THE CONQUESTS, ARTS, AND LITERATURE OF THE SARACENS THE CALIPHS OF DAMASCUS, BAGDAD, AFRICA, AND SPAIN THE CIVIL GOVERNMENT AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES OF THE MODERN ARABS-ORIGIN AND SUPPRESSION OF THE WAHABEES-THE INSTITUTIONS, CHARACTER, MANNERS, AND CUSTOMS OF THE BEDOUINS;

AND A COMPREHENSIVE

VIEW OF ITS NATURAL HISTORY.

BY ANDREW CRICHTON.

WITH A MAP, AND TEN ENGRAVINGS BY JACKSON.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.

EDINBURGH:

OLIVER & BOYD, TWEEDDALE COURT;
AND SIMPKIN & MARSHALL, LONDON.

MDCCCXXXIII.

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