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researches, and even his Persian grammar, whilst they fix the curiosity and attention of
very ancient and abstruse tongue was known to the priests and philosophers, called the language of the Zend, because a book on religious and moral duties, which they held sacred, and which bore that name, had been written in it. The Zend, and old Pahlavi, are now almost extinct in Iran; but the Parsi, which remains almost pure in the Shahnameh (a poem composed about eight centuries ago), has now become a new and exquisitely polished language. The Parsi has so much of the Sanscrit, that it was evidently derived from the language of the Brahmans; but the pure Persian contains no traces of any Arabian tongue. The Pahlavi, on the contrary, has a strong resemblance to the Arabic, anda perusal of the Zend glossary, in the work of Mr. A. du Perron, decidedly proves the language of the Zend to be at least a dialect of the Sanscrit. From all these facts it is a necessary consequence, that the oldest discoverable languages in Persia, were Chaldaic and Sanscrit; that when they ceased to be vernacular, the Pahlavi and Zend were deduced from them respectively, and the Parsi from the Zend, or immediately from the dialect of the Brahmans, but all had perhaps a mixture of Tartarian; for the best lexicographers assert, that numberless words in ancient Persian are taken from the language of the Cimmerians, or the Tartars of the Kipchak.
The ancient religion of the old Persians was pure theism, which prevailed until the accession of Cayumers, and was evidently the religion of the Brahmans; whilst the doctrine of the Zend, was as evidently distinct froin that of the Véda. With their religion, their philosophy was intimately connected, and a metaphysical theology has been immemorially professed by a numerous sect of Life-V.II.
the reader, by the novelty, depth, or importance of the knowledge displayed in them, al
Persians and Hindus, which was carried partly into Greece, and prevails even now among the learned Mohammedans, who sometimes avow it without reserve. The modern professors of this philosophy, which is that of the Indian Vidanti school, are called Sufis. Their fundamental tenet is, that nothing exists but God; that the human soul is an emanation from his essence, and though divided for a time from its heavenly source, will be finally rea united with it, in the enjoyment of the highest possible happiness.
The result of this discourse is, that a powerful monarchy was established in Irân, long before the Pishdadi or Assyrian government; that it was in truth a Hindu monarchy, that it subsisted many centuries, and that its history has been engrafted on that of the Hindus, who founded the monarchies of Ayodhya or Audh, and Indraprestha or Delhi; that the language of the first Persian empire was the mother of the Sanscrit, and consequently of the Zend and Persian, as well as of the Greek, Latin, and Gothic; that the language of the Assyrians was the parent of Chaldaic and Pahlavi ; and that the primary Tartar language has been current in the same empire.
Thus the three distinct races of men, described in the former essays, as possessors of India, Arabia, and Tartary, are discovered in Irân ọr Persia, in the earliest dawn of history.
Whether Asia may not have produced other races of men distinct from the Hindus, the Arabs, or the Tartars, or whether any apparent diversity may not have sprung from an intermixture of these three, in different propors tions, remains to be investigated; and in this view, the
ways delight by elegance of diction. His compositions are never dry, tedious, nor dis
enquiry next proceeds to the CHINESE, who form the subject of the seventh discourse.
The word China, is well known to the people whom we call Chinese, but they never apply it to themselves or their country. They describe themselves as the people of Han, or some other illustrious family, and their country they call Chim-cue, or the central region, or Tien-hid, meaning what is under heaven.
From the evidence of Con-fut-su or Confucius, it is proved that the Chinese themselves do not even pretend that, in the age of that philosopher, any historical monument existed preceding the rise of their third dynasty, above eleven hundred years before the Christian epoch; and that the reign of Vuvam, who has the fame of having founded that dynasty, was in the infancy of their empire; and it has been asserted by very learned Europeans, that even of this third dynasty no unsuspected memorial can now be produced. It was not until the eighth century before our Saviour, that a small kingdom was erected in the province of Shensi; and both the country and its metropolis were called Chin. The territory of Chin so called by the old Hindus, by the Persians and Chinese, gave its name to a race of Emperors, whose tyranny made them so unpopular, that the modern inhabitants of China hold the name in abhorrence.
The Chinas are mentioned by Menu, in a book next in time and authority to the Véda, as one of the families of the military class, who gradually abandoned the ordinances of the Véda; and there is a strong presumption for supposing, that the Chinas of Menu are the Chinese. Hence it is probable, that the whole race of Chinese descended from the Chinas of Menu, and mixing with the
gusting; and literature and science come from his hands, adorned with all their
Tartars, by whom the plains of Honan, and the more Southern provinces were thinly inhabited, founded by degrees the race of men, who are now in possession of the noblest empire in Asia. The language and letters, religion and philosophy of the modern Chinese, or their ancient monuments, their sciences, and their arts, furnish little, either in support or refutation of this opinion, but various circumstances under the two heads of literature and religion, seem collectively to prove, (as far as such questions admit of proof) that the Chinese and Hindus were originally the same people. Many singular marks of relation may be discovered between them and the old Hindus, as in the remarkable period of
four hundred and thirty-two thousand*; and in the cycle of sixty years, in the predilection for the mystical number nine, in many similar fasts and great festivals, especially at the solstices and equinoxes; in the obsequies consisting of rice and fruits offered to their deceased ancestors; in their dread of dying childless, lest such offerings should be intermitted ; and perhaps in their common abhorrence of red objects; which the Indians carry so far, that Menu himself, when he allows a Bramin to trade, if he cannot otherwise support life, absolutely forbids “his trafficking in
any sort of red cloths, whether linen or woollen, or " made of woven bark.”
The Japanese are supposed to be descended from the
* The period of 432,000 years, seems to be founded on an astronomical calculation purposely disguised, by ciphers added or subtracted, ad libitum. See Discourse on Chronology of the Hindus, Sir William Jones's Works, vol. iv. p. 1.
No writer perhaps ever displayed so much learning, with so little affectation of it. In
same stock as the Chinese; the Hindu or Egyptian idolatry has prevailed in Japan from the earliest ages, and amongst the ancient idols worshipped in that country, there are many which are every day seen in the temples of Bengal.
The borderers, mountaineers, and islanders of Asia, form the subject of the eighth discourse. It begins with the Idumeans or Erythreans, who were indubitably distinct from the Arabs, and, from the concurrence of many strong testimonies, may be referred to the Indian stem.
That the written Abyssinian language, which we call Ethiopic, is a dialect of the old Chaldean, and sister of the Arabic and Hebrew, is certain; and a cursory examination of many old inscriptions on pillars and in caves, leaves little doubt, that the Nagari and Ethiopian letters had a similar form. It is supposed, that the Abyssinians of the Arabian stock having no letters, borrowed those of the black Pagans, whom the Greeks called Troglodytes; and upon the whole, it seems probable that the Ethiops of Meroe were the same people with the first Egyptians, and consequently, as it might easily be shewn, with the original Hindus.
There is no trace in the maritime part of Yemen, from Aden to Maskat, of any nation who were not Arabs or Abyssinian invaders; and from the gulf of Persia to the rivers Cur and Aras, no vestige appears of any people distinct from the Arabs, Persians, and Tartars. The principal inhabitants of the mountains which separate Irán from India, were anciently distinguished among the Brahmans, by the name of Doradas; they seem to have been destroyed or expelled by the Afgans or Patans; and there is very solid ground for believing, that the