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Christopher Henrik Braad (1728-81) and his extracts in 1760 from the Surat Capuchins' mission diary that they had kept since the 1650s.

An Introduction

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image of Journal of Early Modern History

Made in Surat, India, in 1760, these extracts from a confidential diary kept in French by a Capuchin mission there since the 1650s are presented in a 21st-century translation into English. Beginning when Aurangzeb became the Mughal emperor, they record nearly a century of significant events while the mission survived as the city declined. The manuscript of extracts, held by Uppsala University, is the only known evidence of the diary's existence. C.H. Braad (1728-81), a senior trader for the Swedish East India Company when he made the extracts, was a Stockholm-born Lutheran. The Catholic Capuchins' trust that he, alone of countless Europeans in Surat, would keep the diary secret—as he did to the end of his life—is good reason for relying on his accuracy. The introduction provides a context for the extracts by drawing on his extensive, still unpublished writings about India: Surat in 1750-51, Bengal in the mid 1750s and his autobiography from 1781 for this and his voyages in the Indian Ocean.

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