An oriental biographical dictionary - by Thomas William Beale -PDF ( 1861)

An oriental biographical dictionary

An oriental biographical dictionary

Excerpt from the introduction:

The substance of this Dictionary was collected by Mr T. "W. Beale, formerly a Clerk in the office of the Board of Revenue, N.W.P., at a time when the Secretary was Henry Myers Elliot, afterwards well known as Sir H. M. Elliot, K.C.B. It is probable that, in preparing his extracts from the Muhammadan Histories of India, Elliot availed himself of the aid of Mr Beale, of whose scholarship Prof. Dowson makes justly deserved mention in the eighth volume of his valuable edition of Elliot's work.

Mr Beale died at Agra, at a very advanced age, in the summer of 1875; having before his death expressed a wish that I would see his MS. through the press, and reduce the transliteration into conformity with the system then recently adopted by the Government of India, and founded (as I need hardly observe) upon the system of Sir W. Jones. Accordingly, on the 5th October of that year, I laid the MS. before Sir John Strachey, the then Lieut. -Governor, in a letter from which the following is an extract: 

" This is no ordinary book. I have used it as a work of reference for years: and have lately had an opportunity of showing it to the eminent scholar Mr E. B. Eastwick, C.B., who, I am authorised to say, concurs with me in thinking that the Dictionary will be of unique value to oriental students." Sir J. Strachey took up the subject with that enlightened energy that always actuated him in dealing with the past history of the country over whose administration he then pre- sided. The MS. and copyright were acquired at the expense 

"In preparing a work of this nature, intended to be used as a work of reference on matters connected with Oriental Ilis- tory, it is proper to state that the greatest care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the narrative, as also in the dates of births, deaths, and other events recorded. . . . Various MSS. have been collated whenever discrepancy was observed .... To remove all doubt, chronograms indicating the dates with a certainty not to be found by any other method and written when the events were fresh in the minds of men, have been inserted, when available."

I may, however, add that it has been judged expedient to omit these chronograms, for the most part, in printing the book. In the chapter of Mr Dowson's book already cited, will be found an account of this species of memoria Technica. But it is chiefly interesting as machinery for producing a certain result, and when the result has been produced is not of much more use than the scaffolding of a building when the building is complete. 

This notice may well terminate with a repetition of Mr Beale's guarantee of accuracy: and with an appeal to scholars of larger leisure and opportunities for an indulgent treatment of work originated by a man who had never been in Europe nor enjoyed the use of a complete Library.

book details :
  • Author: Thomas William Beale 
  • Publication date: 1894
  • Company: London, W.H. Allen

  • Download An oriental biographical dictionary 36.8 MB

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