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that it was no less deep than miscellaneous. Whatever topic he discusses, his ideas flow with ease and perspicuity ; his style is
The deities adored in India, were worshipped under different names in Old Greece and Italy, and the same philosophical tenets which were illustrated by the Ionick and Attick writers, with all the beauties of their melodious language, are professed in India. The six philosophical schools of the Indians, comprise all the metaphysicks of the old Academy, the Stốa, and the Lyceum; nor can we hesitate to believe, that PYTHAGORAS and Plato, derived their sublime theories from the same fountain with the sages of India. The Scythian and Hyperborean doctrines and mythology are discovered in every part of the Eastern regions, and that Won or ODEN, was the same with Budh of India, and Fo of China, seems indisputable.
The remains of architecture and sculpture in India, seem to prove an early connection between that country and Africa. The letters on many of the monuments appear partly of Indian, and partly of Abyssinian or Ethiopick origin; and these indubitable facts seem to authorise a probable opinion, that Ethiopia and Hindustan were colonized by the same race. The period of the subjugation of India, by the Hindus under Rama, from Audh to Silan, may be dated at about 36 centuries before the present period.
The ARABS come next under investigation. The Arabic language is unquestionably one of the most ancient in the world. That it has not the least reseinblance either in words, or in the structure of them to the Sanscrit, or great parent of the Indian dialects, is established by the most irrefragable arguments. With respect to the characters in which the old compositions of Arabia were written, little is known except that the Koran originally appeared in those of Kufah, from which the modern Arabian characters were derived, and which unquestionably had a cominon origin with the Hebrew and Chaldaic.It has generally been supposed, that the old religion of the Arabs was entirely Sabian ; but the information concerning the Sabian faith, and even the meaning of the word, is too imperfect to admit of any satisfactory conclusion on the subject. That the people of Yemen soon fell into the common idolatry of adoring the sun and firmament, is certain ; other tribes worshipped the planets and fixed stars, but the religion of the poets seems to have been pure theism : of any philosophy but ethics, there are no traces among them ; and their system of morals was miserably depraved for a century, at least, before Mohammed.
Few monuments of antiquity are preserved in Arabia, and of these the accounts are uncertain. Of sciences, the Arabs of Hejaz were totally ignorant, and the only arts successfully cultivated by them, (horsemanship and military accomplishinents excepted,) were poetry and rhetoric. The people of Yemen had possibly more mechanical arts, and perhaps more science.
always clear and polished; animated and forcible when his subject requires it. His philological, botanical, philosophical, and chro
Thus it clearly appears, that the Arabs both of Hejaz and Yemen, sprang from a stock. entirely different from that of the Hindus; and if we give credit to the universal tradition of Yemen, that Yoktan, the son of Eber, first settled his family in Arabia, their first establishments in their respective countries were nearly coeval, about eighteen centuries before the Christian æra.
The TARTARS furnish the subject of the fifth discourse. In general, they differ wholly in feature and complexion from the Hindus and Arabs. The general traditional history of the Tartars begins with Oghuz, as that of the Hindus does with Rama; and according to Visdelou, the king of the Hyumnus or Huns, began his reign about 3560 years ago, not long after the time fixed, in the former discourses, for the regular establishments of the Hindus and Arabs in their several countries.
The enquiry concerning the languages and letters of the Tartars, presents a deplorable void, or a prospect as barren and dreary as their deserts; they had in general no literature, (a proposition, which is not affected by admitting with Ibnu Arabshah, the existence of Dilberjin and Eighuri letters); and all that can be safely inferred from the little information we have on the subject, is the probability that the various dialects of Tartary descended from one cominon stock, essentially different from that from which the Indian and Arabian tongues severally came. The language of the Brahmans affords a proof of an immemorial and total difference between the savages of the mountains, as the Chinese call the Tartars, and the studious, placid, contemplative inhabitants of India.
Pure theism appears to bave prevailed in Tartary for some generations after Yafet; the Mongals and Turcs some ages afterwards relapsed into idolatry; but Chingis was a theist.
Thus it has been proved beyond controversy, that the far greater part of Asia has been peopled, and immemorially possessed by three considerable nations, whom for want of better names we may call Hindus, Arabs, and Tartars; each of them divided and subdivided into an infinite number of branches, and all of them so different in form and features, language, manners, and religion, that if they sprang originally from one common root, they must have been separated for ages.
The sixth and next discourse is on Persia or IRÂN..
There is solid reason to suppose, that a powerful monarchy had been established in Irán, for ages before the Assyrian Dynasty, (which commenced with Cayumers, about eight or nine centuries before Christ) under the name of the Mahabadian Dynasty, and that it must be the oldest in the world.
nological disquisitions, his historical researches, and even his Persian grammar, whilst they fix the curiosity and attention of the reader,
When Mohammed was born, two languages appear to have been generally prevalent iu the great empire of Irân; that of the court, thence named Deri, which was only a refined and elegant dialect of the Parsi, and that of the learned named Pahlavi. But besides these two, a 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 Irân; 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 po traces of any Arabian tongue. The Pahlavi, on the contrary, has a strong resemblance to the Arabic, and a 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 from that of the Veda. With their religion, their philosophy was intimately connected ; and a metaphysical theology has been immemorially professed by a numerous sect of 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 re-united with it, in the enjoyment of the bighest 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 con
by the novelty, depth, or importance of the knowledge displayed in them, always delight by elegance of diction. His compositions
sequently 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 had 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 or 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 proportions, remains to be investigated ; and in this view, the 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-hiu, 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 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 circum
are never dry, tedious, nor disgusting; and literature and science come from his hands, adorned with all their grace and beauty.
stances 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 siinilar fasts and great festivals, especially at the solstices and equinoxes; in the obsequies consisting of rice and fruits offered to their deceased ancestors ; in the 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 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 froin 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 Irân from India, were
* 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. i. p. 283.