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DELIVERED 21 FEBRUARY, 1788.
AT the close of my last address to you,
Gen. tlemen, I declared my design of introducing to your notice a people of Asia, who seemed as different in most respects from the Hindus and Arabs, as those two nations had been shown to differ from each other; I meaned the people, whom we call Tartars: but I enter with extreme diffidence on my present subject, because I have little knowledge of the Tartarian dialects; and the gross errours of European writers on Asiatick literature have long convinced me, that no satisfactory account can be given of any nation, with whose language we are not perfectly acquainted. Such evidence, however, as I have procured by attentive reading and scrupulous inquiries, I will now lay before you, interspersing such remarks as I could not but make on that
evidence, and submitting the whole to your impartial decision.
Conformably to the method before adopted in describing Arabia and India, I consider Tartary also, for the purpose of this discourse, on its most extensive scale, and request your attention, whilst I trace the largest boundaries that are assignable to it: conceive a line drawn from the inouth of the Oby to that of the Dnieper, and, bringing it back eastward across the Euxine, so as to include the peninsula of Krim, extend it along the foot of Caucasus, by the rivers Cur and Aras, to the Caspian lake, from the opposite shore of which follow the course of the Jaibun' and the chain of Caucasean hills as far as those of Imaus: whence continue the line beyond the Chinese wall to the White Mountain and the country of Yetfo; skirting the borders of Persia, India, China, Corea, but including part of Rusia, with all the districts which lie between the Glacial fea, and that of Japan. M. DE GUIGNES, whose
great work on the Huns abounds more in solid learning than in rhetorical ornaments, prefents us, however, with a magnificent image of this wide region; describing it as a stupendous edifice, the beams and pillars of which are many ranges of lofty hills, and the dome, one prodigious mountain, to which the Chinese give the epithet of Celestial, with a considerable number of broad rivers flowing down its sides : if the mansion be so amazingly sublime, the land around it is proportionably extended, but more wonderfully diversified ; for some parts of it are incrusted with ice, others parched with inflamed air and covered with a kind of lava; here we meet with immense tracts of fandy deserts and forests almost impenetrable ; there, with gardens, groves, and meadows, perfumed with inusk, watered by numberless rivulets, and abounding in fruits and flowers; and, from east to west, lie many considerable provinces, which appear as valleys in comparison of the hills towering above them, but in truth are the flat summits of the highest mountains in the world, or at least the highest in Asia. Near one fourth in latitude of this extraordinary region is in the same charming climate with Greece, Italy, and Provence; and another fourth in that of England, Germany, and the northern parts of France ; but. the Hyperborean countries can have few beauties to recommend them, at least in the present state of the earth's temperature: to the south, on the frontiers of Iràn are the beautiful vales of Soghd with the celebrated cities of Samarkand and Bokbárà; on those of Tibet are the territories of Cashgbar, Kboten, Chegil and Kbátà, all famed for perfumes and for the beauty of their inhabitants; and on those of China lies the coun
try of Chin, anciently a powerful kingdom, which name, like that of Khátà, has in modern times been given to the whole Chinese empire, where fuch an appellation would be thought an insult. We must not omit the fine territory of Tancut, which was known to the Greeks by the name of Serica, and considered by them as the farthest eastern extremity of the habitable globe.
Scythia seems to be the general name, which the ancient Europeans gave to as much as they knew of the country thus bounded and defcribed; but, whether that word be derived, as Pliny seems to intimate, from Sacai, a people known by a similar name to the Greeks and Persians, or, as BRYANT imagines, from Cuthia, or, as Colonel VALLANCEY believes, from words denoting navigation, or, as it might have been supposed, from a Greek root implying wrath and ferocity, this at least is certain, that as India, China, Persia, Japan, are not appellations of those countries in the languages of the nations, who inhabit them, fo neither Scytbia nor Tartary are names, by which the inhabitants of the country now under our consideration have ever distinguished themselves. Tátáristan is, indeed, a word used by the Persians for the south-western part of Scythia, where the musk-deer is said to be common; and the name Tátàr is by some considered as that of a parti
cular tribe ; by others, as that of a small river only; while Túràn, as opposed to Iràn, seems to mean the ancient dominion of AFRA'SIA'B to the north and east of the Orus. There is nothing more idle than a debate concerning names, which after all are of little consequence, when our ideas are distinct without them: having given, therefore, a correct notion of the country, which I proposed to examine, I shall not scruple to call it by the general name of Tartary ; though I am conscious of using a term equally improper in the pronunciation and the application of it.
Tartary then, which contained, according to Pliny, an innumerable multitude of nations, by whom the rest of Asia and all Europe has in different
ages been over-run, is denominated, as various images have presented themselves to various fancies, the great hive of the nortbern fwarms, the nursery of irresistible legions, and; by a stronger metaphor, the foundery of the buman race; but M. BAILLY, a wonderfully ingenious man and a very lively writer, seems first to have considered it as the cradle of our species, and to have supported an opinion, that the whole ancient world was enlightened by sciences brought from the most northern parts of Scythia, particularly from the banks of the Jenifea, or from the Hyperborean regions: all