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Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.


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As I have seen but a part of the countries which I am about to describe, it is necessary that I should give an account of the sources from which I have drawn my information; and I take the opportunity, thus afforded, of acknowledging my obligations to the gentlemen from whom I have received assistance.

I was engaged for a year on my journey to the King of Caubul's court, and another year elapsed before the mission was finally dissolved. The whole of that period was employed in such inquiries regarding the kingdom of Caubul as were likely to be useful to the British Government. The first part of the time was spent, by all the members of the mission, in the acquisition of general information; but during the remainder a precise plan was arranged among the party, and a particular branch of the investigation assigned to every gentleman who took a share in it.

The geography was allotted to Lieutenant Macartney (Mr. Tickell, the other surveyor, having been sent back to India on duty); and he was assisted by Captain Raper, already known to the public by his account of a Journey to the Sources of the Ganges. The climate, soil, produce, and husbandry were undertaken by Lieutenant Irvine, and the trade and


revenue by Mr. Richard Strachey. The history fell to Mr. Robert Alexander, and the government and the manners of the people to me.

We had abundant opportunities of inquiry while in the Afghaun dominions; and after our return we continued to examine the numerous natives of those countries that accompanied us, and those whom we could meet with at Dehli and in its neighbourhood. We also went to the fair at Hurdwar (the great rendezvous for natives of the countries north-west of India), and into the Afghaun colony of Rohilcund. By these means we completed our reports, which were transmitted to Government in the end of 1810; at which time I set out for the Deccan, and considered my share in the transactions of the Caubul mission as at an end. Mr. Irvine had then thoughts of writing an account of the Afghauns, for which, from the diligence and extent of his researches, he was well prepared; but as it had from the first been less his object to describe a particular people, than to enlarge his acquaintance with the history of human society, his investigations soon led him to some general views, which he thenceforth determined to pursue. For this purpose he has been occupied, during the last three years, in laborious inquiries into the condition of different Oriental nations, and his account of Caubul has in consequence been abandoned.

I was first determined to undertake the task by the suggestion of Sir James Mackintosh, whose zeal for the promotion of knowledge has been felt even in these remote countries. He strongly recommended that the geographical information collected by the gentlemen of the mission should in some shape be

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