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to believe, that some of them found their way from the eastern ifles into Merico 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 the Asyrians under Gayu'MERS, other migrations took place, especially into India, while the rest of Shem's progeny, some of whom had before settled on the Red Sea, peopled the whole Arabian peninsula, pressing close on the nations of Syria and Pbenice ; that, lastly, from all the three families were detached many bold adventurers of an ardent spirit and a roving disposition, who disdained subordination and wandered in separate clans, till they settled in diftant illes or in deserts and mountainous regions; that, on the whole, some colonies might have migrated before the death of their venerable progenitor, but that states and empires could scarce have assumed a regular form, till fifteen or sixteen hundred 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.

My design, gentlemen, of tracing the origin and progress of the five principal nations, who have peopled Asia, and of whom there were

Q

VOL. I.

considerable remains in their several countries at the time of MUHAMMED's birth, is now accomplished ; succinctly, from the nature of these essays ; imperfectly, from the darkness of the subject and fcantiness of my materials, but clearly and comprehensively enough to form a basis for subsequent researches : you have seen, as distinctly as I am able to show, who those nations originally were, whence and when they moved toward their final stations; and, in my

future annual discourses, I propose to enlarge on the particular advantages to our country and to mankind, which may result from our fedulous and united inquiries into the history, science, and arts, of these Afiatick regions, especially of the British dominions in India, which we may consider as the centre (not of the human race, but) of our common exertions to promote its true interests; and we shall concur, I trust, in opinion, that the race of man, to advance whose manly happiness is our duty and will of courfe be our endeavour, cannot long be happy without virtue, nor actively virtuous without freedom, nor securely free without rational knowledge.

THE TENTH

ANNIVERSARY DISCOURSE,

DELIVERED 28 FEBRUARY, 1793.

BY

THE PRESIDENT.

ON ASIATICK HISTORY, CIVIL AND NATURAL,

BEFORE our entrance, gentlemen, into the disquisition, promised at the close of

my

ninth annual discourse, on the particular advantages, which may be derived from our concurrent researches in Asia, it seems necessary to fix with precision the sense, in which we mean to speak of advantage or utility: now, as we have defcribed the five Asiatick regions on their largest scale, and have expanded our conceptions in proportion to the magnitude of that wide field, we should use those words, which comprehend the fruit of all our inquiries, in their most extensive acceptation ; including not only the solid conveniences and comforts of social life, but its elegances and innocent pleasures, and even the gratification of a natural and laudable curiosity; for, though labour be clearly the lot of man in this world, yet, in the midst of his most active exertions, he cannot but feel the substantial benefit of every liberal amusement, which may

lull his passions to reft, and afford him a sort of repose without the pain of total inaction, and the real usefulness of every pursuit, which may enlarge and diversify his ideas, without interfering with the principal objects of his civil station or economical duties ; nor should we wholly exclude even the trivial and worldly sense of utility, which too many consider as merely synonymous with lucre, but should reckon among useful objects those pra&ical, and by no means illiberal, arts, which may eventually conduce both to national and to private emolument.

With a view then to advantages thus explained, let us examine every point in the whole circle of arts and sciences, according to the received order of their dependence on the faculties of the mind, their mutual connexion, and the different subjects, with which they are conversant: our inquiries indeed, of which Nature and Man are the primary objects, must of course be chiefly Hisorical; but, since we propose to investigate the actions of the several Asiatick nations, together with their respective progress in science and art, we may arrange our investigations under the fame three heads, to which our European analysts have ingeniously reduced all the branches of human knowledge ; and my present address to the society shall be confined to history, civil and natural, or the observation and remembrance of mere facts, independently of ratiocination, which belongs to philosophy, or of imitations and substitutions, which are the province

of art.

Were a superior created intelligence to delineate a map of general knowledge (exclusively of that sublime and stupendous theology, which himself could only hope humbly to know by an infinite approximation) he would probably begin by tracing with Newton the system of the universe, in which he would assign the true place to our little globe ; and, having enumerated its various inhabitants, contents, and productions, would proceed to man in his natural station among animals, exhibiting a detail of all the knowledge attained or attainable by the human race; and thus observing, perhaps, the same order, in which he had before described other beings in other inhabited worlds ; but, though Bacon seems to have had a similar reafon for placing the history of Nature before that of Man, or the whole before one of its parts, yet, consistently with our chief object already mentioned, we may properly begin with the civil bistory of the five Asiatick nations, which necessarily comprises their Geography, or a de

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