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involved in darkness, About the year 540 B. C., died Gauthana Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

In the present state of historical knowledge, it is impossible to determine the peculiar character of this religious system. It sprung up in opposition to the hierarchial tendencies and doctrines of Brahminism ; its object was, to reform the əxisting religious condition of the country. It reached the height of its prosperity and glory about the year 240 B. C. The Persian kings, Cyrus and Darius, undertook the conquest of India, but without any decided success. Their dominion extended over a very small portion of the country. No important results were occasioned by their efforts to subjugate it. Their invasions may be regarded as so many preparations for the victorious career of Alexander the Great.

Second Period.

327 B. C.-1000 A. D. The invasion of India by Alexander the Great, constitutes a remarkable epoch in its history. His own ambitious spirit, which aimed at the conquest of the then known world, urged him to attempt the subjugation of a country that had baffled the energies of his predecessors. At the solicitation of the Indian king, Taxiles, or Tacshailas, who was at enmity with his neighbors, he commenced his march. As Western India was torn by violent dissensions and its power weakened, Alexander found no difficulty in penetrating beyond the Indus to the river Hyphasis, now called Sutledge. On the banks of the Hydaspes, he was vigorously assailed by Porus, or Phoor, who had collected an army of the bravest men India could furnish. His soldiers terrified by the extensive desert which it was necessary to pass in order to reach the Ganges, mutinied. Alexander was compelled to return. He sent his fleet down the Indus, and returned himself to the West by a long and laborious march through immense deserts.

After his death, his successors unfortunately dismembered his extensive empire. The Indian possessions—the precise number of which we cannot tell—which his bravery had acquired, were neg. lected. Internal distractionsgradually consumed the political strength of the nation. A state of disorder ensued. Ambitious individuals, whose only interest was self-aggrandizement, watched the opportunity for seizing the reins of government. One of them, by name

Chandragupta, more bold than the rest—whose history, however, is so intermingled by fabulous accounts, and so variously represented by Brahminical and Buddhist writers, who mutually contradict each other, that nothing certain about his life is known beyond the date of his reign, 300 B. C.-usurped the throne. He is said to have commenced his march at Penjab, to have traversed the whole of India, and provoked Seleucus, king of Syria, to undertake an expedition against himself, which resltued in no important consequences. Recently discovered coins prove beyond doubt, that several smaller kingdoms, founded originally by Grecian immigrants, continued to flourish in the middle of the second century before the Christian era.

But now the power of the Indian nation was effectually broken. Its shattered condition occasioned irruptions, (2 B. C.) which it could not withstand, by nomadic tribes from the north and north-east, and by the Sakas, a Scythian nation, who succeeded in establishing a new and extensive kingdom in North India. But though externally harrassed by barbarous enemies, India, under the moulding influences of Grecian thought, revived its true spirit by a vigorous and successful cultivation of science. During this period, Sancrit literature attained to an unusual height of prosperity and glory. Great praise must be awarded to Greece, so insignificant in political magnitude, but infinitely superior to all other nations in the achievements of Science and Art. Her influence at this time did not only arouse to fresh activity the dormant energies of the Orient, but was engaged in obtaining a complete mental victory over the Romans who had destroyed her political independence.

The kingdom of the Sakas was of short duration. Internal feuds hurried it to ruin. It was subverted by Vicramaditya, 56 B. C. His reign had been made immortal by the most brilliant achievements of India art and science Indian literature burst forth in its richest bloom. The circumstances of the age were extremely favorable to the growth of thought. Brahminism, which had for some years past lost its influence, was resuscitated, and again became the predominant religion of the country. But the intellectual bloom of this period soon withered. Fresh hordes who extended their dominion to Benares on the Ganges, broke in from the north, and interrupted the progress of the country. A time of gradual internal dissolution follows; a host of petty dynasties spring up in the lesser kingdoms. Here the thread of our narrative is broken. Various contradictory statements concerning the condition of this period, render a true account of it almost impossible. Pliny, the celebrated Roman historian, gives an account of an important commercial intercourse between Rome and India, 50 A. D. In the year 80 A. D., Salivahana succeeded to the throne. During his reign, India carried on some trade with China. The character of this king is so beclouded with fabulous myths, that it is absolutely impossible to perceive the truth they may contain. A long period now ensues of which we have no satisfactory account. But it is certain that in the north an extensive Cashmere empire was established, while the rest of India was divided into a multitude of petty kingdoms. Bardesanus, of Babylon, who set out on a travelling expedition from Rome, in the year 220 A. D., gives us some valuable information respecting them. After the supremacy of the Scythians in India had been abolished, the new Persian empire of the Sassanidæ took forcible possession of a portion of Indian territory. From this time onward, through a long series of years, we are not able to trace with exact precision the course of Indian history. With the rise of Mohammedanism, which in the seventh century spread from Arabia over the Eastern world, a new epoch begins. At this juncture, when a crisis in the condition of India had arrived, no person could be found strong enough to hold the reins of government with a firm and steady band. The distractions which now agitated the nation from one extremity to the other, prepared the way for the victory of Mohammedanism.

Third Period.

711 A. D.- the present day. During this period, India fell into the hands of foreign powers. The Mohamedans, in particular, committed extensive depredations, plundered province after province, and planted the Crescent so firmly, that succeeding ages acknowledged its claims. Amid these vicissitudes of fortune, the peculiarities of Indian character remained unchanged.

It would lead us too far beyond our prescribed limits, to describe in detail the conflicts which terminated at last in the complete supremacy of Mohammedanism. It stretched its dominion from Golconda to the East Indian sea, and curtailed the power of the kings to such an extent, that very few sovereigns in the sixteenth century VOL. II.-NO. I.


exercised an independent sway. The Portuguese, on the other hand, began to extend their domains by the settlement of colonies along the coasts of India, but were not able to retain the possessions they had usurped. Their expulsion was hastened by the pernicious operation of the iniquitous government they had introduced. What a deficiency of moral power could not effect, they tried to accomplish by the tortures of the Inquisition. In the year 1600, the Eng. lish, and in 1602, the Hollandish East India companies were instituted. The English taking advantage of the weakness of India, occasioned by internal feuds, which were conducted by the warlike Mahrattas against the great Mogul, gradually established a complete system of government, regulated by prudent laws and supported by an efficient military power. In opposition to the French, who for some time endeavored to check their victorious march, but without success, and the sagacious Hyder Ali, king of Mysore, who proved to be a more powerful opponent, the English steadily advanced to the consummation of their designs. A treaty having been ratified in the year 1792, with Tippoo Sultan, the son of Hyder Ali, which secured to them many advantages, and he himself having been slain in battle, (1799,) the English obtained unlimited sway and partitioned his kingdom. Every philanthropist will return a hearty response to the wish that the supremacy of a Christian nation may in the end renovate the national character of India, and communicate a spirit which will promote the interests of its immense population.

The Character and Social Condition of the Indians. Whilst it is almost impossible, on account of the uncommon mag. nitude both of their history and their country, to reduce to general principles their moral character and social habits, we will be assisted in forming some conception of them by keeping in mind this single fact, that, notwithstanding all external influences which tended to repress their national spirit, the old Sancrit life, though revealed in a thousand individual forms, survived every change, and constitutes to this day the predominant feature of Hindoo character.

According to old occidental accounts, the inhabitants of India were a prudent, virtuous, courageous people, with minds capable of discerning and appreciating foreign modes of thought. One peculiar feature in their character is, a lawless and uncommonly extravagant imagination combined, in an unusual way, with a clear, penetrating understanding. In manly energy they are deficient. Their patience in enduring calamities exceeds their activity in combatting them. Though not distinguished for genuine manliness, they are very affectionate, fond of meditation, and inclined to the mystical and profound in science. In form, color, and contour of face, they present extreme diversity. Their faces are generally of an oval shape ; eyes and hair black; look, placid and gentle. The females of the higher classes are often possessed of bewitching beauty; their limbs smoothly rounded, features mild, and skin fair and tender. In their dress the Indians are passionately fond of gaudy ornaments; they often color their beards, their nails, and even their hair. Of games and plays they are devoted lovers. They are said to have invented the game of chess about 200 B. C.

In the different provinces, the common customs of social life vary. In this respect India occupies a higher position than China, where a universal sameness reigns. The Brahmins expend great care in the education of their children, particularly of the male portion. Indeed, the Indians generally have excellent talents for the study of foreign languages, and for the pursuits of science.

The proper idea of marriage and the true dignity of woman, have: never been realized in India. Polygamy is very generally practised, and not unfrequently polyandry. For the female sex the marriageable age is the eighth, for the males, the fifteenth. Though the female is not debarred from a participation in the active duties of life, she is nevertheless regarded as the slave of the husband. In earlier times, it seems, woman was clothed with more dignity and commanded more respect. The dead are either burnt or buried, or drowned, or exposed. The Holy Books of India justify suicide on the part of the aged who may be weary of life. Slaves, who nevet existed in the earliest history of India, are either free or bound; they generally receive kind treatment.

Their Government.

The Holy Books of India recognize as the only proper form of government an hereditary monarch, regulated by the laws of primo.

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