A FEW words may not be out of place regarding the circumstances under which the preparation of this edition of the “Letters from India” of P. della Valle was entrusted to the present Editor.
Some years ago a translation of these letters was made by Professor E. Rehatsek, of Bombay University (who died there in January of this present year), apparently in ignorance of the fact that an English translation of the letters (which forms the text of the present edition) was already in existence. The Professor, being unwilling to undertake the task of annotating the translation made by him, sent it to the Hakluyt Society, in the hope that the work might be published by that Society. The letters were included in the list of works “suggested to the Council for publication”, and one of the members of the Council proposed to the present Editor that he should undertake the work of revising and annotating the translation referred to.
The present Editor, though he had not had any previous experience of editorial work, ventured to undertake the task. A residence of twenty-one years in India, in the Civil Service, and some acquaintance with previous publications of the Hakluyt Society, several of which had come into his possession through his relationship with a former member of the Council, Mr. Ralph William Grey, formed a slight foundation, on which he felt bold enough to rest the attempt of which the result is now brought before the public.