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haps from the example of Confucius, looking rather to ,morality than religious forms, as the more effential object, have taken the strongest measures to depress their pretenfions. From similar motives, whatever they may be, the Chinese tolerate every species of religion.
• Realon, said Confutsee, is an emanation of the Divinity; the supreme law is nothing but the effect of nature and of reason ; such religions as contradict these two guides of our existence, proceed not from heaven.'
This liberality of the Chinese may probably be attributed to a little fcepticism; but we cannot mistake their tenderness, their affection, and their patient industry. Akbur says also that they are a wise people ; for they have all the various arts of a polished nation from their own invention. The present rulers and a part of the people are Tartars ; though they have been originally derived, in the opinion of many, from Egypt. This our author opposes, and with reason; for the wisdom of the Egyptians is at least problematical : Akbur is of this opinion. With all their virtues, he thinks them indolent and effeminate.
Our author next proceeds to Japan, where the religious character gains, in its turn, the ascendancy. It is really fingular that the small, the comparatively small district of China, ihould deviate in this respect from the customs of the surrounding nations : it most probably must be attributed to the influence of Confucius. The Japanese are represented as originally tolerant, and the change in their disposition to have arisen from the intemperate zeal of the missionaries. They thought the honour of their religion concerned, in being, in every sense, superior to the bonzes. Religious wars were the consequence; and the rancour which they inspire is not soon erased.
The Tonquinese are described as an honeft candid nation, more spirited and warlike than the Chinese. ment is of the feudal kind, and their religion in a more respectable form.
From Tonquin our author proceeds to the country of the Malays, another numerous race, which we have seen,' in a former Review, are extended through the occasional elevations of a vast and extensive ocean.
• With the Hindoos and the Chinese, the oldest civilized nations with which we are acquainted, they have had a trade from the earliest periods of time; and why should they not be allowed to have profited themselves of these opportunities? To assert that they have not, is to assert arbitrarily, and without proof, But that which to my mind fets their improvement be.
yond the possibility of doubt is, that in all commercial transactions, a scrupulous honeity is found to be their ruling principle; and they are unsuspicious in the highest degree. From the foseign merchant, whom they never saw before, they will purchase such commodities as they want, on the bare credit of his .word; and though unacquainted with the scientific law of nations, and so fituated as to be debarred all hope of reparation should fraud be practised on them, they yet, in the excess of good faith, are sever apprehensive of any finifter design; nor can they admit the idea that they themselves are to be sufpected.
• This fair character, I know, will be denied the Malays; I am sorry for it; but I am free to say, I think they are entitled to. it. Proofs, in repeated instances, have come within my own knowledge, of the reliance they have on the honour of stran. gers; and the universal dependence which is placed on their honesty in the purchase of those bags of gold dust which they annually send from their coasts, and which are never either in. spected or aflayed, is evidence fufficient that they are to be trufted., In fact, in this very valuable article in which the people of Hindoitan deal considerably, I never heard of any unfair practice. The intrinsic value of the dult is always found such as it is declared to he.'
Sumatra is, in Akbur's opinion, the Ophir of Solomon; at least a mountain near Achin, on its north-west coast, is called so; and, from the usual ftate of the winds, fuch à voyage might have been easily made by Solomon's hips, from the Arabian Gulf. The internal inhabitants, probably the aborigines, differing from those of the coast, are faid to devour their prifoners; and we formerly observed that there was much reason to suspect that this pra&ice had been some time common among the more delicate inhabitants of the South Sea islands.
The greater part of the second volume is employed in the history of the laws and customs of the Hindoos. Our author's representations of all the eastern nations are favourable: it may be partiality; but if so, it is an amiable error, and we should with it to be true. The Hindooś are described as tender and generous; they are not always fpirited and warlike, but instances of heroism, even among females, frequently occur. The laws of Indoftan are severe and brutal with relpect to their women; but the heart, in spite of the laws, betrays its tender feelings: the men are faithful and constant, and the women chaste. The following deserve the severest reprehension; they are unworthy of a nation which boafts the Nightest degree of refinement.
* A woman, say they, in their code of laws, is never fatişfied with man-no more than fire is satisfied with burning fuel, or
the main ocean with receiving the rivers, or the empire of death with the dying of men and animals. She has fix qualities : the first, an inordinate desire of jewels and fine furniture, handsome cloaths, and nice victuals; -the second, immoderate lust; - the third, violent anger; - the fourth, deep resentment; the afth, the good of others appears evil in her eyes ; - the fixth, she is invariably addicted to bad actions. For these reasons, it is evident, the Creator formed her for no other purpose than children might be born from her.– A wife shall not, continue they, growing with the subject, a wife shall not discourse with a ftranger; but the may converse with a Sinaffee, (a wandering priest) a hermit, or an old man. She shall not laugh without drawing the veil before her face. She shall not eat (unless it be physic) until he has served her husband and her guelts with vice tuals. She shall not, while her husband is on a journey, divert herself by play, nor shall see any public show, nor shall laugh, nor shall dress herself in jewels and fine cloaths, nor shall fee dancing, nor hear music, nor shall fit in the window, nor shall ride out, nor shall behold any thing rare; but she ihall faften well the door of the house, and remain private ; and shall not eat any dainty victuals, and shall not blacken her eyes with
eye powder, and shall not view her face in a mirror : the shall never exercise herself in any such agreeable employment during the absence of her husband.'
Yet the laws of the Bramins sometimes breathe a spirit of humanity, though they are severe against the faireft part of created beings.
• The same laws provide, that the magistrate shall not make war with any deceitful machine, or with poisoned weapons, or with cannon and guns, or any other kind of fire arms; nor shall he slay in war a person born an eunuch, nor any person who, putting his hands together, fupplicates for quarter, nor any per. fon who has no means to escape, nor any man who is fitting down, nor any man who says, I am become of your party; nor any man who is asleep, nor any man who is naked, nor any per. son who is not employed in war, nor any person who is come to see the battle, nor any person who is fighting with another, nor any person whose weapons are broken, nor any person who is wounded, nor any person who is fearful of the fight, nor any person who runs away from the battle.'
The Hindoos are certainly an ancient nation; but, that they have a complete hiftory composed upwards of two thou. fand years before the coming of the Messiah, and which treats of the foreign and domestic regulations of the government of Hindoftan, several millions of years preceding,' is, we own, beyond our belief. These annals are preserved in sacred mystery by the Bramins; even the language is now
little understood by themselves. Is any thing more required to excite suspicion ?
Though Indoftan presents many curious and interesting particulars, yet we must proceed in our travels. The account of Mahomet is not very new; but that of his religion is favourable and pleasing
The next step of Akbur is to the little island of Joanna, Zooawnee of the inhabitants, and their innocent fimplicity is highly entertaining. Like the Chinese, they are careful of, and fcrupulously exact respecting the effects of the shipwrecked mariner. They learned pity from their misfortunes; for their fulers were once shipwrecked, and hof; itably received by the natives; and we do not find that the subsequent conduct of the strangers ever induced the inhabitants to repent of their mercy. Very different was the event of the humanity of the first inhabitants of Hispaniola, who received Columbus in his distress.
The next country is Egypt, and our author's accounts are not very favourable to it. The extent is small, and was never probably even so great as at this moment : we must look, therefore, on their formidable armies as exaggerated relations, and their victories as so many fables. The Grecian philosophy, derived from it, owed probably more to the genius of those who received it than to the penetration or knowlege of the teach
The conclusion of Akbur is just and proper ; that the detection of errors in any accounts which are given as authentic, unavoidably throws a gleam of suspicion,' on their other records, That considerable fallacies have been detected, in some of these, is evident; and it is equally so, that we know of their having furnished more trifling fable than real science to Greece. In fact, their grandeur was only a display of vaft masses, without design or proportion; and their tafte was an aukward attempt to produce a distant resemblance of a human figure, or to combine in one heterogeneous body what nature had never yet formed. It is time to discard the childish prepoffeffions in favour of this peculiar nation, whose pretentions are not supported by the slightest evidence.
In the third volume our inquisitive author steps from Egypt to Greece, and begins with observing, that the Greeks had little invention, and no philofophy of their own. Their philosophers travelled indeed into Egypt; but they travelled also into the East, and the genius of their original philosophy betrays its native foil, Yet the Greeks were not without riches peculiarly their own the more fublime geometry, many branches of natural philofophy, were raifed by them to perfection, in comparison to the State in which they probably receiv
ed it. - Medicine, they reduced to such a form, that, till within these few years, it was the model to which we looked up with veneration, and to which ages were almost afraid to add any thing, left they Nould contaminate the simple majeity of the original. Their metaphysics we shall leave to the defence of lord Monboddo ; it is at least sufficient for us to observe, that it contains the foundation of all the modern fyftems of logic and ontology: the author's conclusion is, however, candid.
• To conclude: the inconsiderable territory of which we have been treating, was certainly the nursery of great and eminent statemen; of accomplished generals, and deep and subtle philosophers; the unrivalled patroness, if not the parent, of va-rious arts and sciences; but farther than this, candour forbids us to go. That she was the fource of knowledge cannot be ad. mitted. Her claim to perfection in what she undertook is indis. putable; and with this we will let her reft : for to say that the ha een equalled, would be erroneous. Experience in a succession of years, diffufed fuch light over the ancient, as it since hath over the modern world, that with a diftinguished, though not with a pre eminent, rank among the kingdoms of the earth, she and her admirers may certainly be satisfied.'
The European nations are foon furveyed; and, as Akbur is less minute in his detail, and less original in his observations, we shall pass them over, and only notice one strange, but general error, that the world is less populous now than it was two thousand years ago. This is a part of the system of those who perceive an increaling depravity in all nature's works; who think the cheering light and genial warmth of the sun lessened, that the face of nature looks less gay, and that every thing seems to show a decaying world. It is no: easy to demonstrate the error of our author; but that it is an error is highly probable, from the vast tracts now fully populated, which were once deserts, and, from the comparatively small ones that have been deserted. We now speak of what actually happened, and will not admit as evidence, the vast armies of Sefoftris or of Xerxes, those pious frauds, with which we have been hitherto amused.
We must now take our leave of this entertaining author, who indeed often errs, but feldom on subjects of importance. We have not stayed to enumerate his errors ; for even to follow his steps more generally, has detained us too long. He is always candid and benevolent. He, accompanies usi with smiles and good humour, except when he meets with inhu manity or ingratitude; even then the frowns are foon smoothed, and he goes cheeringly along. In short, we have feldom met with a more pleasing companion.