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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 deprefs their pretenfions. From fimilar motives, whatever they may be, the Chinese tolerate every species of religion.
Reason, faid Confutfee, is an emanation of the Divinity; the fupreme law is nothing but the effect of nature and of reafon; fuch religions as contradict thefe two guides of our exiftence, 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 induftry. Akbur fays alfo that they are a wife people; for they have all the various arts of a polished nation from their own invention. The prefent 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 oppofes, and with reafon; for the wifdom of the Egyptians is at leaft 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 afcendancy. It is really fingular that the fmall, the comparatively small diftrict of China, fhould deviate in this refpect from the cuftoms of the furrounding nations: it most probably must be attributed to the influence of Confucius. The Japanese are reprefented as originally tolerant, and the change in their difpofition to have arifen from the intemperate zeal of the miffionaries. They thought the honour of their religion concerned, in being, in every fenfe, fuperior to the bonzes. Religious wars were the confequence; and the rancour which they infpire is not foon erafed.
The Tonquinefe are defcribed as an honeft candid nation, more fpirited and warlike than the Chinese. The govern 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 extenfive 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 fhould they not be allowed to have profited themfelves of thefe opportunities? To affert that they have not, is to affert arbitrarily, and without proof, But that which to my mind fets their improvement be
yond the poffibility of doubt is, that in all commercial tranfactions, a fcrupulous honefty is found to be their ruling principle; and they are unfufpicious in the highest degree. From the foreign merchant, whom they never faw before, they will pur chafe fuch commodities as they want, on the bare credit of his word; and though unacquainted with the fcientific law of nations, and fo fituated as to be debarred all hope of reparation fhould fraud be practifed on them, they yet, in the excess of good faith, are never apprehenfive of any finifter defign; nor can they admit the idea that they themselves are to be fufpected.
This fair character, I know, will be denied the Malays; I am forry for it; but I am free to fay, I think they are entitled to it. Proofs, in repeated inftances, have come within my own knowledge, of the reliance they have on the honour of ftrangers; and the univerfal dependence which is placed on their honefty in the purchase of thofe bags of gold dust which they annually fend from their coafts, and which are never either infpected or affayed, is evidence fufficient that they are to be trufted., In fact, in this very valuable article in which the people of Hindoftan deal confiderably, I never heard of any unfair practice. The intrinfic value of the duft is always found fuch as it is declared to be.'
Sumatra is, in Akbur's opinion, the Ophir of Solomon; at leaft a mountain near Achin, on its north-west coaft, is called fo; and, from the ufual ftate of the winds, fuch a voyage might have been eafily made by Solomon's fhips, from the Arabian Gulf. The internal inhabitants, probably the aborigines, differing from thofe of the coaft, are faid to devour their prifoners; and we formerly obferved that there was much reason to fufpect that this practice had been fome time common among the more delicate inhabitants of the South Sea iflands.
The greater part of the fecond volume is employed in the hiftory of the laws and cuftoms of the Hindoos. Our author's reprefentations of all the eastern nations are favourable: it may be partiality; but if fo, it is an amiable error, and we fhould wish it to be true. The Hindoos are defcribed as tender and generous; they are not always fpirited and warlike, but inftances of heroifm, even among females, frequently occur. The laws of Indoftan are fevere and brutal with refpect to their women; but the heart, in spite of the laws, betrays its tender feelings: the men are faithful and conftant, and the women chafte. The following deserve the feverest reprehenfion; they are unworthy of a nation which boasts the flightest degree of refinement.
A woman, fay they, in their code of laws, is never fatisfied with man-no more than fire is fatisfied 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 defire of jewels and fine furniture, handfome cloaths, and nice victuals;-the fecond, immoderate luft; -the third, violent anger; the fourth, deep refentment ;the fifth, the good of others appears evil in her eyes; - the fixth, fhe 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 fhall not, continue they, growing with the fubject, a wife fhall not difcourfe with
franger; but fhe may converfe with a Sinaffee, (a wandering prieft) a hermit, or an old man. She fhall not laugh without drawing the veil before her face. She fhall not eat (unless it be phyfic) until she has served her husband and her guests with victuals. She fhall not, while her husband is on a journey, divert herself by play, nor fhall fee any public fhow, nor fhall laugh, nor fhall drefs herself in jewels and fine cloaths, nor fhall fee dancing, nor hear mufic, nor fhall fit in the window, nor fhall ride out, nor fhall behold any thing rare; but the hall 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 fhall not view her face in a mirror: she shall never exercise herself in any fuch agreeable employment during the absence of her husband.'
Yet the laws of the Bramins fometimes breathe a spirit of humanity, though they are fevere against the faireft part of created beings.
The fame laws provide, that the magiftrate fhall not make war with any deceitful machine, or with poifoned weapons, or with cannon and guns, or any other kind of fire arms; nor fhall he flay in war a perfon born an eunuch, nor any person who, putting his hands together, fupplicates for quarter, nor any perfon who has no means to efcape, nor any man who is fitting down, nor any man who fays, I am become of your party; nor any man who is afleep, nor any man who is naked, nor any perfon who is not employed in war, nor any perfon who is come to fee 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 perfon who is fearful of the fight, nor any perfon who runs away from the battle.'
The Hindoos are certainly an ancient nation; but, that they have a complete hiftory compofed upwards of two thou fand years before the coming of the Meffiah, and which treats of the foreign and domeftic regulations of the government of Hindoftan, feveral millions of years preceding,' is, we own, beyond our belief. These annals are preserved in facred myftery by the Bramins; even the language is now
little understood by themfelves. Is any thing more required to excite fufpicion ?
Though Indoftan prefents many curious and interefting particulars, yet we must proceed in our travels. The account of Mahomet is not very new; but that of his religion is favourable and pleafing.
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 refpecting the effects of the shipwrecked mariner. They learned pity from their misfortunes; for their rulers were once fhipwrecked, and hofitably received by the natives; and we do not find that the fubfequent conduct of the ftrangers ever induced the inhabitants to repent of their mercy. Very different was the event of the humanity of the firft inhabitants of Hifpaniola, who received Columbus in his diftrefs.
The next country is Egypt, and our author's accounts are not very favourable to it. The extent is fmall, and was never probably even fo great as at this moment: we must look, therefore, on their formidable armies as exaggerated relations, and their victories as fo many fables. The Grecian philofophy, derived from it, owed probably more to the genius of those who received it than to the penetration or knowlege of the teachers. The conclufion of Akbur is just and proper; that the detection of errors in any accounts which are given as authentic, unavoidably throws a gleam of fufpicion,' on their other records. That confiderable fallacies have been detected, in some of thefe, is evident; and it is equally fo, that we know of their having furnished more trifling fable than real fcience to Greece. In fact, their grandeur was only a difplay of vaft maffes, without defign or proportion; and their tafte was an aukward attempt to produce a diftant refemblance of a human figure, or to combine in one heterogeneous body what nature had never yet formed. It is time to difcard the childish prepoffeffions in favour of this peculiar nation, whofe pretentions are not fupported by the flighteft evidence.
In the third volume our inquifitive author fteps from Egypt. to Greece, and begins with obferving, that the Greeks had little invention, and no philofophy of their own. Their philofophers travelled indeed into Egypt; but they travelled alfo into the Eaft, and the genius of their original philofophy 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
Medicine. they reduced to fuch a form, that, till within these few years, it was the model to which we looked up with veneration, and to which ages were almoft afraid to add any thing, left they should contaminate the fimple majesty of the original. Their metaphyfics we fhall leave to the defence. of lord Monboddo; it is at leat fufficient for us to obferve, that it contains the foundation of all the modern systems of logic and ontology: the author's conclufion is, however, candid.
To conclude: the inconfiderable territory of which we have been treating, was certainly the nursery of great and eminent statelmen; of accomplished generals, and deep and fubtle philofophers; the unrivalled patronefs, if not the parent, of va-rious arts and sciences; but farther than this, candour forbids us to go. That he was the fource of knowledge cannot be admitted. Her claim to perfection in what she undertook is indif putable; and with this we will let her reft: for to say that the has not been equalled, would be erroneous. Experience in a fucceffion of years, diffufed fuch light over the ancient, as it fince hath over the modern world, that with a distinguished, 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 lefs minute in his detail, and lefs original in his obfervations, we shall pass them over, and only notice one ftrange, but general error, that the world is lefs populous now than it was two thousand years ago. This is a part of the fyftem of those who perceive an increafing depravity in all nature's works; who think the cheering light and genial warmth of the fun leffened, that the face of nature looks lefs gay, and that every thing feems to fhow a decaying world. It is not easy to demonstrate the error of our author; but that it is an error is highly probable, from the vaft tracts now fully populated, which were once deferts, and, from the comparatively small ones that have been deserted. We now speak of what actually happened, and will not admit ás evidence, the vaft armies of Sefoftris or of Xerxes, thofe 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 fubjects of importance. We have not ftayed 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 us with fmiles and good humour, except when he meets with inhu manity or ingratitude; even then the frowns are foon fmoothed, and he goes cheeringly along. In fhort, we have feldom met with a more pleafing companion.