Akbar and the Jesuits: An Account of the Jesuit Missions to the Court of Akbar

Akbar and the Jesuits: An Account of the Jesuit Missions to the Court of Akbar

Akbar and the Jesuits: An Account of the Jesuit Missions to the Court of Akbar

Akbar and the Jesuits: An Account of the Jesuit Missions to the Court of Akbar

Excerpt

The early Jesuit missionaries wrote so sparingly and withal so modestly of their adventures by sea and land that we are unaccustomed to think of them as travellers. Yet few men of their day have a better right to the designation; while one at least of them is entitled to a place amongst the foremost travellers of the world. We point with pride to the narratives of Fitch, Hawkins, Coryat, Roe, and other of our merchant heroes who, in the opening days of the seventeenth century sowed the seeds of British influence in the East; and the daring and enterprise of these sturdy pioneers may well kindle our admiration. But they went nowhere where the Fathers had not been before them. The latter were, in fact, the first, and with the exception of Ralph Fitch's flying visit to the court of Jahangir in 1585, the only Europeans who found their way into the Mogul empire in the sixteenth century. Moreover, theirs was no flying visit. They spent more years at Akbar's court than the others did months, and, in the course of their missionary labours, traversed his dominions from end to end, from Lahore to Kabul, and from Kashmir to the Deccan. It must be allowed, therefore, that they are fully qualified for admission even into so distinguished a company as the Broadway Travellers.

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