Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet. Volume 1/Translator's Preface

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TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

It was at one of the meetings of the Russian Geographical Society in the winter of 1873-74 that Colonel Prejevalsky, then recently returned from his travels, first gave an account of his adventures and experiences in the heart of Asia.

Being personally acquainted with him, and hearing that he was seeking a publisher for an English t version of his work, the idea suggested itself to me ^. of becoming the means of making known to English S readers these Russian explorations in countries of ^ daily growing interest. The task, however, would have been a difficult one had I not succeeded in ^ securing the all-valuable co-operation of Colonel Yule, who from beginning to end has assisted me '^^^ by his ready advice, suggestions, and amendments. To Dr. Hooker, President of the Royal Society, my warmest thanks are also due for his kindness in revising the names of plants.

Most of the illustrations are from photographs ■*^ lent by Baron Fr. Osten Sacken, late President of the physical section of the Imp. Geog. Soc, and well known in Europe as geographer, explorer, and botanist. He has also furnished the plates ' Ovis Poll' and ' Gyps Nivicola ' from his copy of Severt- soff's work on the Fauna of Turkestan. Of the remaining illustrations I am indebted for that of the Rhubarb Plant to Professor Maximovitch, of the Imperial Botanical Gardens of St. Petersburg ; three are from photographs by Mr. J. Thomson, whose splendid photographic albums of China and its people are deservedly admired, and the remainder are borrowed from the ' Tour du Monde.'

In the following translation, Avhile preserving the Author's meaning, I have endeavoured to re- move from the path of the reader those stumbling- blocks which might arise from following too closely the original idiom ; in this way Russian versts are rendered into English miles, Russian fathoms into feet or yards, degrees of Centigrade into Fahrenheit, old style dates into new style, &c.

I take this opportunity of expressing my thanks to Mr. Clements Markham, C.B., Hon. Sec. R.G.S., for an introduction to the publishers of this work ; to Mr. Henry Dresser, F.Z.S. ; to Dr. Glinther, of the British Museum ; to Mr. Robert Harrison, of the London Library ; to Mr. Edward Weller, for the care and pains he has bestowed on the accompanying map ; and to Mr. Cooper, who has executed the engravings.

It only remains to say a few words about the Author.

Lieut. -Col. Prejevalsky was born in the government of Smolensk of parents belonging to the class of landed gentry. He received his education at the gymnasium or public school of Smolensk, finishing his studies at the Academy of the Staff Corps. From early life he displayed a strong love for natural science, and it was to gratify these tastes that he applied for and obtained permission to serve in Eastern Siberia. Thither he proceeded in 1867, and there he remained two years, occupying all the time he could spare from his official duties in hunting, shooting, and collecting objects of natural history. On his return to St. Petersburg in 1S69 he published his ' Notes on the Ussuri,' containing a great deal of information on the eastern boundaries of Russia in Asia. Soon after its appearance in 1870 Lieut.-Col. Prejevalsky prepared for his second greater expedition, for which his previous travels and studies had served as a preparation. His companion and helpmate throughout this arduous undertaking was Lieut. Pyltseff. I have only to add that, from a letter recently received from him, I learn that he is preparing for a third expedition, and that he hopes this time to penetrate to Lob-nor, and possibly from that quarter into Tibet. E. DELMAR MORGAN. London: January 1, 1876.