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branches of natural philosophy were cultivated in Cam-cheu, then the metropolis of Serica.
We may readily believe those, who assure us, that some tribes of wandering Tartars had real skill in applying herbs and minerals to the purposes of medicine, and pretended to skill in magick ; but the general character of their nation seems to have been this: they were professed hunters or fishers, dwelling on that account in forests or near great rivers, under huts or rude tents, or in
waggons drawn by their cattle from station to station ; they were dextrous archers, excellent horsemen, bold combatants, appearing often to flee in disorder for the sake of renewing their attack with advantage; drinking the milk of mares, and eating the flesh of colts ; and thus in many respects resembling the old Arabs, but in nothing more than in their love of intoxicating liquors, and in nothing less than in a taste for
poetry and the improvement of their language.
Thus has it been proved, and, in my humble opinion, 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 a cominon root, they must have been separated for ages :
whether more than three primitive stocks can be found, or, in other words, whether the Chinese, Japanese, and Persians, are entirely distinct from them, or formed by their intermixture, I shall hereafter, if your indulgence to me continue, diligently inquire. To what conclusions these inquiries will lead, I cannot yet clearly discern; but, if they lead to truth, we shall not regret our journey through this dark region of ancient history, in which, while we proceed step by step, and follow every glimmering of certain light, that presents itself, we must beware of those false
and luminous vapours, which mislead Asiatick travellers by an appearance of water, but are found on a near approach to be deserts of fand.
DELIVERED 19 FEBRUARY, 1789.
GENTLEMEN, I TURN with delight from the vast mountains and barren deserts of Túràn, over which we travelled last
with no perfect knowledge of our course, and request you now to accompany me on a literary journey through one of the most celebrated and most beautiful countries in the world; a country, the history and languages of which, both ancient and modern, I have long attentively studied, and on which I arrogance promise you more positive information, than I could possibly procure on a nation so disunited and so unlettered as the Tartars: I mean that, which Europeans improperly call Persia, the name of a single province being applied to the whole Empire of Iràn, as it is correctly denominated by the present natives of it,
and by all the learned Muselmans, who reside in these British territories. To give you an idea of its largest boundaries, agreeably to my former mode of describing India, Arabia, and Tartary, between which it lies, let us begin with the fource of the great Assyrian stream, Euphrates, (as the Greeks, according to their custom, were pleased to miscall the Foråt) and thence descend to its mouth in the Green Sea, or Persian Gulf, including in our line some considerable districts and towns on both sides the river ; then coasting Persia, properly so named, and other Iranian provinces, we come to the delta of the Sindhu or Indus; whence ascending to the mountains of Cashgbar, we discover its fountains and those of the Jaibùn, down which we are conducted to the Caspian, which formerly perhaps it entered, though it lose itself now in the sands and lakes of Kbwárezm: we next are led from the sea of Kbozar, by the banks of the Cur, or Cyrus, and along the Caucasean ridges, to the shore of the Euxine, and thence, by the several Grecian feas, to the point, whence we took our departure, at no considerable distance from the Mediterra
We cannot but include the lower Asia within this outline, because it was unquestionably a part of the Persian, if not of the old Assyrian, Empire; for we know, that it was under the dominion of CAIKHOSRAU; and DIODORUS, we find, asserts, that the kingdom of Trous was dependent on Allyria, fince PRJAM implored and obtained succours from his Emperor TEUTAMES, whose name approaches nearer to TAHMU'RAS, than to that of any other Allyrian monarch. Thus may we look on Iràn as the nobleft Isand, (for so the Greeks and the Arabs would have called it), or at least as the noblest peninsula, on this habitable globe; and if M. BAILLY had fixed on it as the Atlantis of Plato, he might have supported his opinion with far stronger arguments than any, that he has adduced in favour of New Zembla: if the account, indeed, of the Atlantes be not purely an Egyptian, or an Utopian, fable, I should be more inclined to place them in Iràn than in any region, with which I am acquainted.
It may seem strange, that the ancient history of so distinguished an Empire should be yet
fo imperfectly known; but very satisfactory reasons may be assigned for our ignorance of it: the principal of them are the superficial knowledge of the Greeks and Jews, and the loss of Persian archives or historical compositions. That the Grecian writers, before XENOPHON, had no acquaintance with Persia, and that all their accounts of it are wholly fabulous, is a paradox too extravagant to be seriously maintained ; but their connection with it in war or peace had, indeed,