Page images
PDF
EPUB

stead of overwhelming his readers with perpetual quotations from ancient and modern

Afgans descended from the Jews; because they sometimes in confidence avow that unpopular origin, which in general they selulously conceal, and which other Musselnians positively assert; because Hazaret, which appears to be the Azareth of Esdras, is one of their territories; and principally because their language is evidently a dialect of the scriptural Chaldaic.

It is not unworthy of remark, that the copious vocabulary exhibited by Grellmann of the Gypsy dialect, contains so many Sanscrit words, that their Indian origin can hardly be doubted.

The Boras, a remarkable race of men, inhabiting chiefly the cities of Gujarat, though Musselmans in religion, are Jews in genius, features, and manners, and probably came first, with their brethren the Afgans, to the borders of India.

The languages, letters, religion, and old monuments of Silân (Ceylon), prove that it was immemorially peopled by the Hindu race. To the people of Java and Sumatra, the same origin may be assigned; and relying upon the authority of Mr, Marsden, that clear vestiges of one ancient language are discernible in all the insular dialects of the Southern seas froin Madagascar to the Philippines, and even to the remotest islands lately discovered, we may infer from the specimens of those languages, in his account of Sumatra, that the parent of them all was no other than the Sanscrit.

That the people of Potyid, or Thibet, were Hindus, is known from the researches of Cassiano; their written language proves it.

The natives of Eighur, Tancut, and Khata, who had systems of letters, and are even said to have cultivated

authors, whose ideas or information he adopts, he transmutes their sense into his own lan

liberal arts, may be suspected to have been of the Indian, not of the Tartarian family; "and the same* remark may be applied to the nation called Barmas, but who are known to the pundits by the name of Brahmachinas, and seem to have been the Brachmani of Ptolemy.

From alt that can be learned of the old religion and manners of the Hyperboreans, they appear like the Massagetæ, and some other nations usually considered as

Tartars, to be really of the Gothic, that is, of the Hindu ‘race; for it is demonstrable, that the Goths and Hindus had originally the same language, gave the sânte appellation to the stars and planets, adored the same false deities, performed the same bloody sacrifices, and pro'fessed the same notions of rewards and punishments after death. It may be concluded, that all the Northern languages, excepting the Gothic, had a Tartarian origin like that universally ascribed to the Sclavonian.

From the best information procurable in Bengal, it satisfactorily appears, that the basis of the Armenian, was the ancient Persian, of the same Indian stock with the Zend, and that it has been gradually changed, from the time that Armenia ceased to be a province of Irân.

The Greeks and Phrygians, though differing some what in manners, and perhaps in dialect, had an apparent affinity in religion as well as in language; the grand object of mysterious worship in Phrygia, is stated by the Greeks to be the mother of the gods, cr nature personified; as she is seen among the Indians, in a thousand forms, and under a thousand names. The Diana of Ephesus, was manifestly the same goddess, in the character of productive nature; and the Astarte of the Syrians and Phænicians, appears to be the same in another form.

guage ; and whilst his compositions on this account have a pleasing uniformity, his less

The Phænicians, like the Hindus, adored the sun, and asserted water to be the first of created things ; nor can it be doubted, that Syria, Samaria, and Phænice, (or the long strip of land on the shore of the Mediterranean) were anciently peopled by a branch of the Hindu stock, but were afterwards inhabited by that 'race, for the present called Arabian; in all three, the oldest religion was the Assyrian, as it is called by Selden, 'and the Samaritan letters appear to have been the same at first with those of Phonice; but the Syriac language, of which ample remains are preserved, and the Punic, of which a specimen is seen in Plautus, and on monuments lately brought to light, were indisputably of a Chaldaic or Arabic origin. Thus all the different races mentioned in this discourse, may be referred to an Indian or Arabian pedigree.

The ninth discourse, On the Origin and Families of Nations, opens with a short review of the propositions to which we have been gradually led.

That the first race of Persians and Indians, to whom may be added the Romans and Greeks, the Goths and the old Egyptians or Ethiops, originally spoke the same language, and professed the same popular faith, is capable of incontestable proof: that the Jews and Arabs, the Assyrians, or second Persian race, the people who spoke Syriac, and a numerous tribe of Abyssinians used one priinitive dialect, wholly distinct from the idiom just mentioned, is undisputed and indisputable: but that the settlers in China and Japan liad a common origin with the Hindus, is no more than highly probable; and that all the Tartars, as they are inaccurately called, were primarily of a third separate branch, totally differing from

learned readers are enabled to reap the fruits of his laborious studies.

the two others in language, manners, and features, may be plausibly conjectured, but cannot for reasons alleged in a former essay be perspicuously shewn, and is therefore for the present merely assumed."

If the human race, as may be confidently affirmed, be of one natural species, they must all have proceeded from one pair; and the world, with respect to its population, in the age of Mahomet, would exhibit the same appearances as were then actually observed upon it. At that period, five races of men, peculiarly distinguished for their multitude and extent of dominion, were visible in Asia; but these have been reduced by enquiry to three, because no more can be discovered, that essentially differ in language, religion, manners, and known characteristics. These three races of men, (if the preceding conclusions be justly drawn) must have migrated originally from a central country, and all the phænomena tend to shew that country to be Trân; it is there only that the traces of the three primitive languages are discovered in the earliest historical age, and its position with respect to Arabia or Egypt, India, Tartury, or China, gives a weight to the conclusion, which it would not have, if either of those countries were assumed as the central region of population. Thus, it is proved that the inhabitants of Asia, and consequently of the whole earth, sprang from the three branches of one stem: and that these branches have shot into their present state of luxuriance, in a period comparatively short, is apparent from a fact universally acknowledged, that we find no certain monument, nor even probable traditions of nations planted, empires and states raised, laws enacted,

His legal publications have been noticed in these Memoirs : of their merit I am not

cities built, navigation improved, commerce encouraged, arts invented, or letters contrived, above, twelve, or at most fifteen or sixteen, centuries before Christ,

Hence it seems to follow, that the only family after the Flood established themselves in the Northern part of Iron; that as they multiplied, they were divided into three distinct branches, each retaining little at first, and losing the whole by degrees, of their common primary language, but agreeing severally on new expressions for new ideas; that the branch of YAFET was enlarged in many scattered shoots over the North of Europe and Asia, diffusing themselves as far as the Western and Eastern seas, and at length in the infancy of navigation beyond them both;, that they cultivated no liberal arts, and had no use of letters, but.formed a variety of dialects' as their tribes were variously ramified; that, secondly, the children of HAM, who founded in Irán itself the first monarchy of Chaldeans, invented letters, observed and named the luminaries of the firmament, calculated the known Indion period of 432,000 years, or an hundred and twenty repetitions of the Saros ; that they were dispersed at various intervals and in various colonies over land and ocean; that the tribes of allisr, Cush, and Rama, (names remaining unchanged in Sanscrit, and highly revered by the Hindus) settled in Africk and India; while some of them, having improved the art of sailing, passed from Egypt, Phænice, and Phrygia, into Italy and Greece; whilst a swarm from the same hive moved by a northerly course into Scandinavia, and another, by the head of the Oxus, and through the passes of Imaus, into Cashgar and Eighúr, Khata, and

« PreviousContinue »