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restrained moments, and daily doings, picture them more interestingly than can be found in grave history. It is an erroneous assumption in Europeans to think that their actions are not critically canvassed by the natives of India, the contrary being the case, an example in proof of which will be seen in the following pages; indeed, their actions are closely watched, and too often unfavourably criticised and misrepresented. This results from mutual misunderstanding,—a state of matters hitherto unavoidable, whatever the future may bring forth.

Lastly, the translations will show how unfeigned and unfailing esteem may be generated in the native mind by just conduct and refined manners. It would be surprising if contrary bearing did not create the opposite feelings, hurtful to British moral and material ascendancy. Further, the opinions and views expressed by an intelligent and well-disposed native, such as Abdulla, on events passing among his fellow-countrymen, give an insight into their motives, prejudices, partialities, hatreds, superstitions, and other impulses, from a qualified source, and this in a manner never to be thoroughly attained by an European.

It will be observed that, as the Autobiographer's point of view is different to that of an European, many subjects are painted in new colours, and sometimes, as

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PREFACE.

ONE who writes an autobiography yields his spirit for consideration and study by his fellow-men or by the world. That a native of the Far East should have done this is certainly, as far as my information goes, a signal event, as I can call to memory only such another case, viz., "The Memoirs of a Malay Family," translated by Marsden. Casting my memory thirtyfive years back, this was a melancholy tale. The present memoirs, on the contrary, will show the vigorous and lively representation of personal feelings and opinions, as well as acute observations on men, manners, and cotemporary events.

In bringing the following translations before the public, I am moved by several inducements. In the first place, the Autobiographer himself, when in life, asked me to translate his writings; this was in the year 1846, but I was too much engaged in business to permit of the attempt. At the same time this is to

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be regretted, as I could then have done more justice to the task than now, having had to undertake the work after eighteen years' absence from Singapore, and without the assistance of a munshi, or native scholar. Still, as an offset to this, if I can bring less familiar acquaintance with the ideology of the language, I can bring more experience of influences outside, which have to be considered in remarking on many of the topics.

*

In the second place, I have had an ever-recurring interest in the scenes and countries among which the Autobiographer recounts his experiences, and I warmed to the subject on taking up and perusing the longneglected manuscript which I obtained from the Autobiographer himself. In the third place, the topics are connected with that period when English valour and statesmanship won the prize of Insular India, an Island Empire of twenty millions of inhabitants: so the transactions cannot have lost their interest. the Autobiographer was in close connection with one of the leading actors in the achievements, and saw many others, his remarks (the remarks, be it reiterated, of a native) on their familiar conversations in un

As

* I understand that it has also been printed in Malay letters. The language used by the Autobiographer is Malay, and the writing Jawi; that is, what may be called mixed character, founded on, or rather being essentially Arabic.

restrained moments, and daily doings, picture them more interestingly than can be found in grave history. It is an erroneous assumption in Europeans to think that their actions are not critically canvassed by the natives of India, the contrary being the case, an example in proof of which will be seen in the following pages; indeed, their actions are closely watched, and too often unfavourably criticised and misrepresented. This results from mutual misunderstanding, a state of matters hitherto unavoidable, whatever the future may bring forth.

Lastly, the translations will show how unfeigned and unfailing esteem may be generated in the native mind by just conduct and refined manners. It would be surprising if contrary bearing did not create the opposite feelings, hurtful to British moral and material ascendancy. Further, the opinions and views expressed by an intelligent and well-disposed native, such as Abdulla, on events passing among his fellow-countrymen, give an insight into their motives, prejudices, partialities, hatreds, superstitions, and other impulses, from a qualified source, and this in a manner never to be thoroughly attained by an European.

It will be observed that, as the Autobiographer's point of view is different to that of an European, many subjects are painted in new colours, and sometimes, as

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