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No writer perhaps ever displayed so much learning, with so little affectation of it. Instead of overwhelming his readers with perpetual
anciently distinguished anion.* die Brahtnans, by the name of Doradas; they seem to have been destroyed or expelled by the Afguns or Patans; and there is very solid ground for believing, that the Afgans descended from the Jews; because they sometimes in confidence avow that unpopular origin, which in general they sedulously conceal, and which other Mussclmans 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 ofSilan (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 from 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 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 all that can be learned of the old religion and manners of the Hyperboreans, they appear like the Massagetae, 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 same appellation to the stars and planets, adored the same false deities, performed the same bloody sacrifices, and professed 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 tual quotations from ancient and modern authors, whose ideas or information he adopts, he transmutes their sense into his own language;
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 Iran.
The Greeks and Phrygians, though differing somewhat in manners, and perhaps in dialect, had an apparent affmity 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, or nature personified; as she is seen among the Indians, in a thousand forms, and under a thousand names. The Diana of Epbesus, was manifestly the same goddess, in the character of productive nature; and the Astarte of the Syrians and Phoenicians, appears to be the same in another form. The Phoenicians, 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 Phoenice, (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 Phoenice; 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 ma}' be added the Romans and Greeks, the Got/is and the old Egyptians or Ethiops, originally spoke the same language, and professed the same popular faith, is capable of incontestable proof: that the Jens and Arabs, the Assyrians, or second Persian race, the people who spoke Syriac, and a numerous tribe of Abyssiniaus used one primitive dialect, wholly distinct from the idiom just mentioned, is undisputed and indisputable: but that the settlers in China and Japan had 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 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,
3 D in guage; and whilst his compositions on this account have a pleasing uniformity, his less learned readers are enabled to reap the fruits of his laborious studies.
m 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 aud 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 onginaWy from a central country, and all the phaenomena tend to shew that country to be Iran; 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, Tartary, 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 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, 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 Iran; 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, tecondly, the children of Ham, who founded in lr&n itself the first monarchy of Chaldeans, invented letters, observed and named the luminaries of the firmament, calculated the known Indian period of432,000 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 Misr, 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, Phanice, 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 Ox us, and through the passes of Imaus, into
Cashgar His legal publications have been noticed in these Memoirs: of their merit I am not qualified to speak. I have been informed, that his Essay on the Law of Bailments was stamped with the approbation
Cashgar and Eighur, Khata, and Rhoten, as far as the territories of Chin and Tancut, where letters have been immemorially used and arts cultivated, nor is it unreasonable to believe, that some of them found their way from the Eastern isles into Mexico and Peru, where traces were discovered of rude literature and mythology, analogous to those of Egypt and India; that, thirdly, the old Chaldean empire being overthrown by CayuMeks, other migrations took place; especially into India, while the rest of Shem's progeny, some of whom had before settled on the red seas, peopled the whole Arabian peninsula, pressing close on the nations of Syria and Phasnice; that, lastly, from all the three families many adventurers were detached, who settled in distant isles or deserts, and mountainous regions; that, on the whole, some colonies might have migrated before the death of Noah, but that states and empires could scarcely have assumed a regular form till 1300 or 1600 years before the Christian epoch ; and that for the first thousand years of that period, we have no history unmixed with fable, except that of the turbulent and variable, but eminently distinguished nation, descended from Abraham.
The tenth discourse is appropriated to unfold the particular advantages to be derived from the concurrent researches of the society in Asia ; and amongst the foremost and most important which has been attained, he justly notices the confirmation of the Mosaic accounts of ihe primitive world.
Part of this discourse is quoted at length in the Memoirs; and to abstract it would add too much to the length of this note: I shall only observe, that the discourse is worthy of
the most attentive perusal.
For a similar reason, and with the same recommendation, I shall barely advert to the subject of the eleventh and last discourse, delivered by Sir William Jones before the so. ciety, on the 20th of February, 1794, On the Philosophy of the Asiatics, quoting a part of the concluding paragraph:—" The subject of this discourse is inexhaustible; it has "been my endeavour to say as much on it as possible in the fewest words; and at the "beginning of next year, I hope to close these general disquisitions with topics mea"sureless in extent." In this general and concise abstract of the subjects discussed in these discourses, I beg it may be understood, that I by no means pretend to have don* justice either to the argument or observations of Sir William J ones; but it may induce the reader to peruse the dissertations themselves, which will amply repay the trouble of the task.
Nor is the reader to conclude that these discourses contain all that Sir William Jones wrote on the sciences, arts, and literature of Asia. We have a dissertation on Indian
Chronology; bation of Lord Mansfield, and that his writings shew, that he had thoroughly studied the principles of law as a science. Indeed it is impossible to suppose, that Sir William Jones applied his talents to any subject in vain. «
From the study of law, which he cultivated with enthusiasm, he was led to an admiration of the laws of his own country; in them he had explored the principles of the British constitution, which he considered as the noblest and most perfect that ever was formed: and in defence of it he would cheerfully have risked his property and life. In his tenth discourse to the society, in 1793, little more than a year before his death, we trace the same sentiments on this subject, which he adopted in youth.
"The practical use of history, in affording particular examples of civil and military wisdom, has been greatly exaggerated; but principles of action may certainly be collected from it: and even the narrative of wars and revolutions may serve as a lesson to nations, and an admonition to sovereigns. A desire, indeed, of knowing past events, while the future cannot be known, (and a view of the present, gives often more pain than delight,) seems natural to the human mind: and a happy propensity would it be, if every reader of history would open his eyes to some very important corollaries, which flow from the whole extent of it. He could not but remark the constant effect of despotism in benumbing and debasing all those faculties which distinguish men from the herd that grazes ; and to that cause he would impute the decided inferiority of most AsiaChronology; another on the Antiquity of the Indian Zodiack, in which he engages to support an opinion (which Montucla treats with supreme contempt,) that the Indian division of the Zodiack was not borrowed from the Greeks or Arabs; another specifically on the Literature of the Hindus; and one on the Musical Modes of the Hindus; besides many essays on curious and interesting subjects, for which I can only refer to his woiks.